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ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER : I do not own Katekyou HITMAN REBORN!
Universe Title : Loss and Gain。
Story Title : Love Is。。。
Chapter Title : Choices (1/1)。
Chapter Rating : PG12。
Main Character(s) : 雲雀 恭弥、ディーノ、スペルビ•スクアーロ。
Genre(s) : Angst。
Summary : Thirty different ways to love。
Warning(s) : M/M, Swearing。
Word Count : +/- 1951。
Author's Note(s) : A series of drabbles and oneshots depicting thirty kinds of love. Written for Hibari's birthday (2012/5/5)。
"I know why he clings to you."
Hibari glances sideways at Dino - notes the not-quite concealed accusation igniting his hazel eyes - and proceeds with pouring hot water over the sakura petals in his teacup. How strange, he thinks, to bear such an addiction to the one thing he had learned to so thoroughly despise more than a decade ago. How strange indeed.
Dino stirs his coffee - once, twice - before hitting the teaspoon gently against the side of his porcelain cup. "You and Xanxus," he intones, lifting the cup to his lips, speaking around its rim, "are much more alike than you think."
The sound of that name engenders a disapproving frown between Hibari's dark brows. He watches the pale pink petals unfurling at the base of his cup, their slow ascent in scalding water. He thinks about cloth slipping off a too thin shoulder, of a pale body opening itself to him in utter surrender. The right corner of his mouth ever so subtly twitches upwards. "You knew him well."
It's not a question. Hibari hears - more than sees - Dino's placid smile.
"Before I knew Squalo, actually. We were childhood friends."
Hibari wrenches his slate grey gaze from the searing liquid. He observes Dino sip his coffee, set the cup back on its waiting saucer on the wildly-patterned counter. He wonders what Dino's childhood was like. "What happened?"
The blond waves his right hand dismissively. "We drifted apart. Squalo and I grew closer. It's the oldest story in the book." He looks straight at Hibari then, gaze stern and unwavering, like a parent about to reprehend a badly misbehaving child. "You shouldn't let him depend on you so much, Kyouya. He needs to stand on his own."
Hibari takes a sip of his drink, hands steadily warming against the teacup. He savors the salt on his tongue, thinks about licking sweat along the taut vein residing beneath surprisingly soft skin of a deceivingly frail neck. He crosses over to the small marble table in the middle of the kitchen, leans his weight against its curved edge. Strong, sinewy arms fold themselves over the front of his forest green yukata. "He is not a child you need to coddle. He'll be fine."
Irritation makes itself evident on Dino's countenance, twists his handsome facies into something much less pleasant. "I know that!"
A slender eyebrow lifts almost high enough to disappear into Hibari's hairline, more out of condescension than any real inquisitiveness. "Do you?"
Dino's shoulders visibly tense, his jaw works angrily in barely constrained ire. Those intelligent brown eyes blaze challengingly. "What is he to you, Kyouya?"
Silence descends upon the room, thick and heavy, like a blanket of sakura enveloping the entire ceiling. It presses uncomfortably on Hibari's chest, makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. Hibari frowns deeply in apparent displeasure. He can't offer the answer Dino is waiting for, and that fact makes every patch of his skin burn with loathing. The lack of words disconcerts him. Silence is something Hibari chooses because he wills it, not because he has nothing to say.
The Cloud Guardian sets his cup down upon the table - sakurayu mostly untouched - and heads towards the doorway. He thinks about the fear simmering beneath the annoyance he'd just witnessed in Dino's eyes. And then, that fear morphs into infallible trust and blistering need clouding bright, silver-grey irises.
Hibari pauses in the kitchen doorway, mentally stomps all over any uncertainty Dino's words germinated in the back of his mind, like a cruel child trampling all over an anthill. "I'm not Xanxus." His back remains ramrod straight, his deep baritone carries a challenge of its own. "I can't promise not to hurt him. But I will not abandon him."
He leaves before Dino gets the chance to say another word.
"How is he?"
Yamamoto's voice sounds rough and distant over the phone. Hibari knows it has nothing to do with the fact that they're both on different continents. He runs his thumb along the edge of the expensive mahogany desk in his office, mouth pulled tight into a contemplative line. He hesitates - only momentarily - on the border of knowing precisely how much he should divulge and temptation of revealing the entire truth.
And, because Hibari is honest by nature but clever enough to leave out unneeded details, he says, "Discomposed, for the most part." Long, battle-hardened fingers run absently along the smooth surface of that desk, tracing fine patterns ingrained into the wood. Hibari remembers the feel of his fingers dancing along heated alabaster skin. He remembers the sensation of the scars he traced with his hands, his mouth, his tongue; wonders how Yamamoto would respond if he knew about Squalo under this very desk just minutes before, mouth wrapped tightly around Hibari's cock.
The sound of Yamamoto's frustrated sigh grates on Hibari's ear the way weakness grates on his nerves. His fellow Guardian's worry - Hibari has come to learn - is nearly a physical thing.
"Could you tell him I miss him?"
Deep provocation creeps through his skin, permeates his veins with the same ferocity Hibari is too well acquainted with. It makes his fingers tighten around the cellphone glued to his left ear, almost enough to break it. "I am not an errand boy, Yamamoto Takeshi. Tell him yourself."
"You know I can't do that," Yamamoto snaps, voice dripping with irritation. "I promised - "
"Not my concern," Hibari swiftly interrupts. He hangs up, leans back in his plush office chair - hands neatly folded across his stomach, pronounced frown inscribed upon his face - and tries hard to ignore the fist twisting unkindly in his gut.
It's not, Dino thinks, that Squalo is weaker.
He's just unfocused - like the impatient eyes of a bored schoolkid magnetically drawn to a slowly ticking clock on the classroom wall, willing lessons to be over. He's a glaring contrast to Hibari - all sharp eyes and swift feet, every fiber of his being reflecting a deep-seated thrill at each drop of blood drawn, at each one spilled.
A loud crack - Hibari's tonfa chain colliding against the wall; if Squalo were still standing there, it would have smashed his jaw - resounds through the training room in the Chiavarone home. Dino watches Squalo - dark rings encircling his eyes, chest rising and caving rapidly with each ragged breath, every muscle in his body straining like he's trying too hard.
Dino's not quite sure what exactly Squalo's chasing anymore, but he's undoubtedly certain of what he's running away from.
Hibari aims a kick at his opponent, left leg impacting harshly against Squalo's raised forearm. It's a simple attack; a test - one Squalo should have been able to avoid entirely.
It's as if he's forgotten how to fight.
Every assault is barely escaped, every reaction is belated.
Squalo seems to have forgotten a lot of things - his abilities; the cocky bravado and boundless enthusiasm which serve as constant companions to his battles. The pugnacious attitude, his annoyingly smug grins, the strident taunts, those incessant voooiis, his irreverent nature - all of them appear to have vanished, leaving this angry, angry thing in their wake.
The formerly obstreperous male is consistently guarded now - posture always defensive and mistrustful, lips perpetually pulled back in a ferocious snarl. His eyes are vast, bottomless lakes of frustration and despair - they still burn, only with a fire of a different sort.
Squalo, Dino bitterly realizes, has forgotten confidence and trust and how to smile. It's as if he's a different person now; an impostor - broken, broken thing that he is - clothed in the raiment of Dino's best friend.
Dino wonders if those losses are trade-offs for Squalo's regained memory.
He wishes Xanxus was still alive. Hibari Kyouya is a decidedly poor replacement.
Dino watches carefully when Squalo lights a cigarette - flame flickering against the end, illuminating the planes of his face, that dark spot at the point where jaw meets neck; blatant contrast against pale skin. He studies his companion the way a scientist studies a bug under a microscope - meticulous, calculating.
Dino finds himself observing Squalo a lot more often these days. He watches the play of shadows on the younger man's visage, made possible by the moon's cold glow; the touch of the cigarette to his lips, the seemingly endless hair pulled back into a messy ponytail which does absolutely nothing to conceal the line of bite marks along his neck.
Squalo wears those bruises - branded into his skin, Dino knows, by lips and teeth and snarls of steel - like a necklace. It makes blood pulse madly in Dino's veins, indicative of inexplicable rage. He leans back, palms pressing roughly into the cold tiles of the roof they're sitting on, shifts his attention from those glaring marks to the starlit sky. "It's Kyouya's birthday tomorrow."
He hears Squalo's soft inhale, exhale of noxious fumes, the scrape of his boot against the roof. There is silence for a heartbeat - two, three - and then his friend's voice, disinterest masking surprise. "Is that so?"
Dino returns his gaze to that line of mottled skin, eyes narrowing dangerously even though he knows Squalo can't see it - he's too occupied staring out at nothing. "Clouds are wildly capricious things." The warning in Dino's tone is clearly palpable. "You should be careful, Squalo."
Squalo crosses his legs Indian-style, takes another drag of his cigarette. "Mm."
Smoke curls and stretches around them both, filling the resulting silence, like the ghost of shattered dreams in a graveyard.
"What do you want?"
Hibari looks up from placing another shirt into his suitcase, to find Squalo standing in his bedroom doorway.
Squalo looks small - all sharp angles and piercing bones under the cover of friable pride - enfolded within a shirt that's always too big for his slight form. His hair is a curtain that frames his face, a shield he's taken to hiding behind of late. His eyes are diamond-hard - deep, dark pools of stubbornness warring with uncertainty. His flesh hand is a defense, wrapped possessively around the silver crucifix which hangs from his neck.
Hibari crosses over to his closet, retrieves a Commes des Garcons suit, sets it on the bed beside his case. He has to be on a plane to Moscow in the morning. He has no time for riddles, for another imminent explosion. His gaze travels over his packed belongings, making sure that he has everything he needs, before snapping it shut. "What's this all of a sudden?"
"Your birthday," Squalo clarifies, still lingering in that doorway. "What do you want?"
Hibari looks at Squalo then, surprise flickering momentarily in his eyes. He steps closer to his... what? Friend? No. Lover? He isn't sure if that's what they are - lovers who understand nothing of the concept. They're a pair of tragic fools - one, in love with a ghost and a man he can't trust, the other, in love with the pursuit of strength and a hometown he rarely ever sees these days.
The tonfa-wielder smirks - fuck it, fuck it all - and walks towards Squalo, stands close enough to touch him, to kiss him, to snap his neck.
He does neither.
Squalo smells like nicotine and red tea. It makes Hibari's smirk widen into a razor blade smile. He leans down, lips nearly brushing Squalo's ear, warm breath ghosting feather light over the auricle. "I want," Hibari declares, voice nothing but an orgulous command, "to fuck you."
Squalo steps inside and shuts the door.