The big, fancy mansion that served as the Vongola family’s headquarters had both a library room and a records room. The library was for books; fiction, nonfiction, biographies, a couple sets of encyclopedias, and even some picture books for their younger members.
The records room, on the other hand, was where they kept all their files and other important documents. Letters and other mementos from previous generations. A vast collection of newspaper articles and clippings that no one really knew what to do with. That kind of thing.
No one ever really went in the records room. Except Gokudera. He went there whenever he needed to be alone for a while, and didn’t want to be found. And today was one of those days.
He’d been sitting on the cold, dusty floor for probably an hour already. With his knees pulled up to his chest and his head bowed low, arms wrapped protectively around himself. He felt pathetic, and he hated it. But he just couldn’t seem to get out of this stupid cycle of self-pity, for some reason.
Suddenly, he felt something cold and wet touch the back of his hand. He quickly raised his head and balled his hands into fists, afraid that somehow an enemy had slipped in while his guard was down.
But it wasn’t an enemy. It was Yamamoto’s box weapon, Jirou. He licked Gokudera’s arm and wagged his tail.
“Gokudera? You in here?”
Gokudera groaned and refolded all his limbs. “Go away.”
Yamamoto stuck his head around the door, a puzzled frown on his face. “We got worried when we couldn’t find you anywhere. Wait, are you crying?”
“No,” Gokudera lied, keeping his head down. “Fuck off, Yamamoto, I don’t wanna talk to you.”
“Well, ok then. I’ll text Tsuna. Want me to tell him you don’t feel well enough to come to the meeting?”
Gokudera’s head snapped up again. “...Meeting?”
“Yeah, we were going to have a meeting with the other guardians. Don’t you remember?”
“Ugh, I do now. I completely forgot. It’s ok, just let me-”
“No, no, don’t get up. Tsuna says we can postpone it.”
Yamamoto stepped fully into the room and scratched Jirou’s ears before returning him to his box. “Do you...want to talk about it?”
“Are you sure? ‘Cause I don’t think you should be dealing with something this serious by yourself.”
“It’s not serious.”
“Gokudera, you never cry. Look, if you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine, I totally get it. Let me go get Haru, or someone better-”
“Dude, I’m fine. Just…” Gokudera sighed heavily. “Just hopelessly in love with a man who can never love me back, that’s all.”
Yamamoto blinked. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Gokudera looked away. “Sorry I made you guys worry for such a stupid reason.”
“It’s not stupid.” Yamamoto walked over and sat down across from Gokudera. “Is it Tsuna?” he asked quietly.
Gokudera nodded miserably. “That obvious, huh.”
“I had a hunch. But no, I don’t think anyone else has noticed.”
Gokudera shrugged. “Since, like, the beginning? I don’t know. I didn’t realize it at first, but I think I’ve always loved him.” He swallowed past the lump in his throat, fighting off another wave of tears. “God, I’m pathetic.”
“No! No, you’re not. You’re a normal human person, with feelings. You’re not pathetic, Gokudera.”
Gokudera stretched out his legs and leaned his head back onto the cool surface of the filing cabinet he was sitting up against. His feet were starting to tingle from lack of proper circulation.
“Listen, I know I’m not the best at this kind of thing, but have you ever considered, maybe telling Tsuna how you feel?”
“Of course I have. But I can’t. I couldn’t do that to him.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s straight, Yamamoto. Telling him I have feelings for him would just make him uncomfortable. And I don’t want that.”
“C’mon, this is Tsuna we’re talking about. I think he’d want you to be honest with him.”
“Yeah, but even if it is the Tenth, he’d never quite be able to look at me the same way. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience here. Good intentions aren’t everything.”
“Maybe you’re right. But I still don’t think you should hide something like this from him.”
“Plus, he and Kyoko are so happy together...I could never ruin that for him.”
“That’s true. They do seem really happy.” Yamamoto leaned over and rolled over onto the floor, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. “I get where you’re coming from on that score. Sometimes I wonder what that’s like, too.”
“What what’s like?”
“Being in a happy relationship like that. I’ve never had anything like that. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in love, really.”
“I don’t know. Not like how people talk about it in like, songs, and movies and stuff.”
“...Yamamoto, are you ace?”
“Asexual. It’s like, um…” Gokudera frowned, trying to think of a simple way to explain what he meant. “Like, you don’t experience physical attraction the way most people do. Like you’re not interested in physical relationships? I think?”
“Oh.” Yamamoto shrugged. “Maybe. I never thought of it that way.”
“How can you be so calm about all this?”
“I’m just not that bothered by it, honestly. If I ever do fall in love, then, great. If I don’t, whatever. I’m not gonna force it. I’m just waiting.”
Gokudera hesitated for a moment, then turned to the side and laid down next to Yamamoto. The tile floor was uncomfortably cold and hard. He didn’t really feel like crying anymore.
“You don’t feel lonely?”
“Sometimes, a little. But it’s not too bad, especially when you’ve got as many friends and family members as we do.”
Gokudera snorted. “Even though most of our friends and family members are in happy relationships right now? Sometimes it feels like the base is completely empty, with just a few single people drifting through like ghosts.”
Yamamoto chuckled. “That’s a good analogy. But no, I’m ok with it. I just want them all to be happy, y’know?”
They lay there in silence for a moment or two.
“You won’t tell the Tenth about this, will you?”
“That you’re in love with him, or that you were crying in here by yourself?”
“...Both. Neither, I mean, don’t tell him either one of those.”
“Ok. I won’t. You feel a little better?”
“I guess. Thank you.”
“Sure. What are family for, right?”
Yamamoto pushed himself up into a sitting position and stretched his arms high above his head. Gokudera sat up too, brushing dust off his sleeves.
“When did we reschedule the meeting for?”
“Alright. I won’t miss it next time.”
“You’d better not, or Tsuna will really start to worry about you.”
“I won’t miss it, I said!” Gokudera stood up and offered a hand to Yamamoto. “Wanna go get some food and talk about something else?”
Yamamoto grinned. “Sounds good. Let’s get sushi!”
“Yamamoto we’re in Italy.”
“Then, I’ll make us some. I could teach you, if you like.”
“You, teach me?” Gokudera shook his head, smiling in spite of himself. “Sounds like just the sort of stupid nonsense that I need right now.” He swept an arm out to the side in a mock-gracious gesture. “After you then, sushi boy.”
Yamamoto laughed and took the lead. On his way out he held the door open for Gokudera, then let it swing quietly shut on the empty room behind them.