The Long Haul

By codedredalert

Prologue

Summary: Seven years later, the Vongola Tenth generation guardians have settled into their roles as the leaders of one of the greatest mafia families around. Hibari does long missions, and Gokudera doesn't. That is, until Tsuna sends them on a long mission. Together. 1859 friendship fic.

Disclaimer: 'Katekyo Hitman Reborn!' is theproperty of Amano Akira and its various licensers. I do not own any other licensed works this story may hold resemblance to or make references to. I do, however, reserve the rights to my whimsy and original ideas and characters which may appear. Yay.

Warnings: Profanity. LGBT related jokes, events or characters. Violence. Hints of random (albeit completely unimportant to the actual story) pairings.

(If something in my fic offends you, or is factually inaccurate, please feel free to review or PM me. ^_^)

A/N: Inspired and beta-ed by KusajishiFukutaicho, to whom this fic is dedicated. In fact, it is because of her that I'm writing KHR fanfiction at all, so yeap.

If anyone wouldn't mind answering some questions on Italy/ Italian language/ culture, please drop me a PM! I'd love to clarify some things. if anyone wants to talk about whatever, feel free to PM me and let's chat. ^_^

-/\-

Dec 13

Gokudera hated long missions.

It was hardly a secret. In the eight years since the Tenth had graciously accepted him as part of Vongola, he'd gone on exactly one long mission. It had been a three-month search and sabotage, and he'd been sent with Yamamoto and Lambo. Needless to say, it was disastrously terminated even before the month was out, and the three of them hadn't been allowed to spend more than a week together since. Unless supervised. How humiliating.

Gokudera maintained that it had completely been the baseball freak and the idiot cow's fault, even though there was clear evidence of C4 being set off at what used to be a hotel. As far as the storm guardian was concerned, it as good as never happened and the family obliged, except on Christmas when a little too much alcohol made all sorts of embarrassing stories surface. He made sure to discretely kick any offender for their transgression, unless of course, it was the Tenth who saw fit to bring The Incident up, in which case Gokudera only raised a mild verbal protest. Tsuna—when it was just family, it was supposed to be 'Tsuna' and not 'Tenth'—never meant any harm and Gokudera could take a little jibing. Just a little.

That was all that the notion of Gokudera on a long mission was: a slightly shameful memory at worst and a joke at best. However, for some inexplicable reason, the Tenth had decided that Gokudera was the perfect choice for this particular mission. Never mind that the last long mission had become a permanent scar on Gokudera's psyche. Never mind that Gokudera hadn't been on the field proper for at least two years straight. Never mind that the Tenth had no other conceivable way of dealing with the sheer volumes of paperwork Gokudera had to wrangle with.

"Trust me, I need you, specifically you, on this mission," the Tenth had said, looking straight into Gokudera's eyes. "You know I wouldn't ask otherwise. Please, Hayato?" The small brunette had smiled, caramel eyes conveying polite apology and gentle imploring all at once. Gokudera had hesitated just a fraction of a second, then bowed to his boss' wishes. There was nothing he wouldn't do for Sawada Tsunayoshi, Vongola Decimo, and damnit they both knew it.

"In that case, it is my honour to go, Tenth," Gokudera said.

"Thank you," the Tenth had breathed in relief. "Oh, Gokudera-kun? One more thing, if you don't mind."

"Yes, Tenth?"

"Try to keep Hibari-san in line for me?"

Gokudera had a brilliant mind, a fact freely acknowledged both within the Famiglia and without. He didn't have an eidetic memory, but it was a near thing. Information and its processing just came readily to him, provided he had a moment to focus. Gokudera himself would grudgingly admit that he was still the 'blow stuff up first and rationalise it later' type, but no one could deny that the man was intelligent—between Irie and himself, Vongola could execute the complete takeover of entire rival families so smoothly that the family would not realise they'd become a subsidiary until they'd been invited to the Vongola's private Christmas dinner three years in a row.

He beat Fuuta in chess easily, provided no cow-print shirt wearing kid started kicking at his chair until he just overturned the damn table and threw said kid into the pool from the window. He had the complete respect of the entire IT sect in the Vongola, a feat harder to achieve than it sounded, what with the sheer solidarity of the 'geeksquad', as they were fondly—or sometimes not so fondly—referred to. In fact, Gokudera was occasionally called a genius, and with four languages firmly under his belt and a fifth on the way, he was hardly humble enough to deny it.

This self-same almost-genius, eloquent Gokudera froze and stared at his beloved boss, who had the most serene and trusting smile upon his face.

"What?"

-/\-

20 Dec

Gokudera loved and respected his boss from the bottom of his heart, he truly did, but sometimes he had to wonder if the man was mad. The selection of the tenth generation's guardians spoke volumes in itself. The fact that Gokudera stood among them as right-hand was solid evidence that the Tenth was generous, and willing to disregard centuries of tradition for those close to him.

Still, the rest of the guardians were a crew so motley that they'd literally been laughed at when they'd been officially presented to the underworld. A wishy-washy baseball nut, a boxing enthusiast with no concept of an indoor voice, a crybaby cow kid, a girl who looked like she would faint if she stood in the sun too long, a convicted mass murderer whose idea of fun was sending people to hell, and a violent loner who would sooner hit you than help you.

Speaking of which, the icing on this particular half-baked cake was his mission partner: the irritable, particular and very unforgiving Hibari Kyouya, who would not appreciate Gokudera's presence one whit. Sure, the cloud guardian had always been given certain liberties over the rest, but Hibari's complete disregard of his obligations to the family just rubbed Gokudera wrong in every way. A good man and a great boss like the Tenth should not need to wheedle favours from his own guardians, especially when said favours were for the guardian to do his damn duty.

Right now, Hibari was late and damn if Gokudera was going to take this kind of bullshit. Muttering curses and not bothering to even keep track of what language he was using anymore, he tried to call Hibari's cellphone for the forty-third time.

Like the previous forty-two times, he was sent straight to voicemail.

"Where the fuck are you, you bastard?" Gokudera snarled before he hung up.

Taking a deep breath, he took the phone away from his ear long enough to check the time, then hit redial. Again.

-/\-

Hibari had no particular distaste for long missions. There was a solace in long journeys where no one knew him on the street and he could do as he pleased without anyone demanding he take responsibility. The foreign lands he saw were interesting enough, and it made home so much sweeter when he returned.

It helped that Hibari had a knack for the long game. Despite appearances, he knew when to give, when to pressure, when to wait. Oh, and how he could wait. Sometimes it amazed even himself. He hadn't been quite so patient when younger, but now, now he was someone whose name was held in high regard among the mafia elite and business world. Hibari Kyouya, Vongola Cloud, they whispered in quiet awe, underlined by an instinctual wariness when he walked through their halls without care of the danger.

"A remarkably patient man provided he gets his way in the end," Chiavarone had commented once, only half in jest.

The little brunette, Sawada, had probably noticed the same thing and as a result, Hibari was usually sent for the jobs that took months and a sharp mind to complete. He didn't mind, as long as Sawada made it worth his while. Long missions were never as exciting as short ones, and had periods of utter tedium. They took planning, research, and politicking, which Hibari despised. He much preferred when the little sometimes-carnivore said nothing at all and just gave him a folder with a little red tag in the top right hand corner. Utterly decimating buildings and striking fear into the hearts of complacent, arrogant men was the perfect description of what Hibari thought was a good time.

Sharing a jet with the silver-haired, chain smoking, obnoxious man who declared himself Hibari's superior, on the other hand, was not Hibari's idea of a good time. In fact, Hibari doubted it was anyone's idea of a good time. Gokudera Hayato had no idea how to conduct himself around Hibari, and Hibari was not interested enough to invest the time needed to educate him. Hibari already had the Italian mixed-blood figured out. Mid-range explosives expert, pathetically incapable of handling his emotions for a man of twenty-two, intelligent but simply not fast enough to put up a decent fight against Hibari. Then there was the myriad of personal issues he came with. Hibari snorted just thinking about them.

Simply put, Gokudera Hayato was a herbivore who could bite if he was driven to, but his fangs would never so much as touch Hibari. The Italian mixed-blood should have stayed behind his desk in the Vongola tenth generation's main house in Japan, or better yet, gone to the traditional family house in Italy where he would be out of sight, out of mind, and out of Hibari's beloved Namimori.

"You're late," Gokudera scowled, ignorant of Hibari's mental tirade against him. Hibari narrowed his eyes. He was not late. Takeoff was at 2050, and if Gokudera wanted to be two hours early, that was his prerogative. Hibari was not obliged to obey a text that came at two AM asking him to turn up at 1800, especially when said text came rudely worded and from someone he held little regard for.

"You going to answer for yourself?" Gokudera demanded as he stood, pulling up the handle of his luggage and rolling it along with him as Hibari started walking away. Hibari did not even bother to look back at the man.

"Hey, I'm talking to you, asshole! Show some respect!"

Hibari frowned. This was going to be a very long flight.

-/\-

A/N: I hope you liked what I have so far. I'll try to update at the end of every month, but real life and the fact I haven't finished writing the story may just thwart me. Anyway, please review! Thanks, and I hope to see you next chapter)!