Title: heart-to-heart
Author: Grasshopper (A.K.A. The Undertaker's Muse)
Rated: PG
Warnings: Drama. Romantic entanglements. Gokudera's issues.
Fandom: Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Challenge: No True Pair
Prompt: Kyouko & Gokudera, "I've been wanting to hear from you."
Spoilers: None.
Pairings: Past Yamamoto/Kyouko, pre-Yamamoto/female!Gokudera
Summary: There were things Kyouko needed to say. And there were the things Gokudera needed to hear.
Author's Notes: The main thing to know is that in this 'verse, Tsuna and Gokudera are both women. But this is actually an AU of the AU written about in another 0TP fic, Reason; the original remains Yamamoto/Kyouko and has a great deal of Shamal/female!Gokudera. (I've seriously gotta name this AU at some point...)
Disclaimer: All characters and the series they come from belong to their creators. Grassy can only lay claim to the fic.

"Hayako-chan, are you truly so desperate to get away from me that you'll willingly go drinking with Onii-chan in your free time?"

Hayako froze, willing the softly-spoken words of disappointment from behind her to be a hallucination. Possibly one brought about by alcohol and willingly-prolonged exposure to Sasagawa Ryouhei. A quick glance over one shoulder and, no, Kyouko was indeed standing mere feet away from her.

"Who's avoiding you?" Not me, oh certainly not.

The pained press of Kyouko's lips deepened at the rather pitiful attempt of misguidance. "Please don't do this. We really need to talk. Alone."

Were Hayako less off-guard - alcohol and the issues that drove one to it were insidious - she might have found a quick way out of the situation leaving none the wiser. But despite her buzz, she was still smart enough to know such things were best discussed behind the closed and Mist-guarded doors of Kyouko's sitting room. For all that the mansion was Vongola, infighting regarding any of the Guardians was subject to gossip. The last thing Hayako needed was to be the cause of yet more internal strife.

"I'd hoped to hear from you some time ago, or at least get the chance to tell you certain things myself. I'm positive now that you haven't slowed down enough to let Takeshi do so himself."

Hayako rubbed one temple wearily. "Kyouko-san, I really don't think-"

"No, you don't think." The words were even, sharper all the more for the level tone. "Hayako-chan, it's not your fault."

"I-" Hayako's voice broke harshly. Unable to meet Kyouko's steady, non-judgmental eyes, she focused on the subtle designs in the rug beneath her feet. Soft blues and greys blended seamlessly through deep indigo.

"I want you to listen and to hear me, alright?" Taking Hayako's silence for acceptance, Kyouko continued. "I love Takeshi and he loves me. I don't see that ever changing. But - and this is important - we haven't been in love for some time. It's no one's fault, that's just the way things are."

"...has to..." Silver hair hid Hayako's face from view.

Kyouko blinked, confused at the mumbled words. "Come again?"

"But it has to be," Hayako gritted out between clenched teeth. "My fault, I mean."

"Why? Are you the master of all creation, that your will was greater than our hearts?" Kyouko was not one for snark under normal circumstances, but Hayako needed to be handled in a certain way or all Kyouko's work would be for naught.

"What? No, that's not what I-"

"Of course not, but unless you've suddenly become capable of subverting free will then you can not take credit for my and Takeshi's actions."

"But if not for me, he wouldn't have left you!" The words weighed heavily in the ensuing silence. Hayako reached for the pack of smokes in her jacket pocket; desperate for something, anything, to fill the air between them with something other than words.

"Hayako..." Kyouko's face softened, pained.

"I didn't encourage him or anything, but I knew! And I didn't discourage him the way I should've." Green eyes blurred with furious tears, spidery fingers mangling the cigarette they had wrapped around. "I just- I thought, if I ignored it - him - this whole thing would just go away!"

"But it didn't." The matter-of-fact words stung.

"No!" Limp, exhausted by the situation as a whole, Hayako flopped back in her seat. Refusing again to look at Kyouko, she focused sightlessly upon the ceiling. "No. And then- all this."

"You mean our breakup."


"Hayako-chan... What you don't seem to understand, though, is that we would have broken up anyway."

"Ah, hell..."

"We would have. Things were heading in that direction a long time ago. Takeshi and I acknowledged that. But we tried to keep things going and then it just-" A soft sigh, not so much exhausted as relieved. "When trying to fix things just destroyed our relationship faster, something had to give. And we didn't want to wind up hating each other."

Hayako straightened, finally meeting Kyouko's steadfast gaze without flinching. Her open honesty and lingering sadness did as much to reassure Hayako as the words she spoke.

"He and I are moving on and we're happier for it." Kyouko moved to stand before Hayako, slim arms wrapping around her friend. No hesitation, no wariness; just warmth and reassurance.

With a soft sigh, Hayako couldn't help but lean into the hug, face buried against Kyouko's side. She so rarely touched or was touched by others non-violently, Tsunami excluded, that she was bereft of words.

Mostly bereft, at least. "'M sorry," she mumbled, knowing Kyouko would hear her muffled words.

"It's alright, I understand." She did, too. Even after so many years, Hayako was brittle in a number of ways; some were even obvious to those who cared for her best.

"Could've handled it better, though."

"No offense, Hayako-chan...but when it comes to emotional stuff, you're a bit dim." Kyouko couldn't resist tousling that cap of silver hair resting against her. Hayako was beautiful; Kyouko understood well how Takeshi could have fallen in love with her, even had Hayako not been his best friend for years.

Now if she would only stop avoiding Takeshi... That, however, was a job Kyouko would leave to the man himself. Repairing friendships was not at all the same thing as matchmaking. Next was Takeshi's turn to put in the effort of catching the woman he loved. It would not mean the same thing were Kyouko to do all the work for them.

So Kyouko silently remained where she stood, fingers carding through silver tresses as Hayako allowed herself to accept a moment of comfort from a friend.

The End