Warnings: Mentions of sex.
Pairings: 1896, mentions of 5986, 27K, LamPin, pretty much every het pairing out there.
Summary: Haru considered her friend. Yes, it was definitely Chrome-chan, even if she was 10 years older. But it was a little shocking to see her ram her trident into Hibari-san's stomach as if she did it every day.
Present Time: Haru
At twenty, Haru is even less inclined to put up with Gokudera’s dramatics than she was at fourteen.
She’s in the kitchen with Kyoko and Bianchi when the yelling starts, and she rolls her eyes and keeps on washing the dishes.
“Hahi! Always picking on Lambo-kun! Doesn’t the idiot have even a shred of decency? Why doesn’t he pick on somebody his own size?” she
Kyoko laughs softly. “Someone like you?”
“Exactly!” Haru says, conveniently forgetting that the top of her head hits somewhere just below the bottom of his chin (stupid boys with their stupid growth spurts).
Kyoko hums a little in reply as she dries a plate, and Bianchi casually continues sharpening Nana’s knives. “My brother can handle Lambo,” she says. “Heaven knows he’s had enough practice at it over the years.”
“Oh, I know that,” Haru says. “But can Lambo handle Gokudera-kun? I think not.”
“Tsuna-kun is the only one who can really handle Gokudera-kun,” Kyoko points out. “Well, Tsuna-kun and you.”
“Yes, which is why you and I are moving to Italy as soon as we graduate,” Haru says. “Those boys can’t fend for themselves—they need
someone to keep them in line so Tsuna-kun can get some rest, what with all the crazies he has to deal with. You’ll be good for that, Kyoko-chan, he always listens to you. Hahi, just watch! The mafia won’t know what hit them. I’m gonna be the best mafia lawyer ever, and you’re going to be the scariest, most polite social organizer in history! We’re gonna wipe that stupid smirk off that idiot’s face!”
Kyoko blinks. “Did Gokudera-kun say something to upset you?” she asks, before hastily amending, “More so than usual, that is.”
“Not really,” Haru grumbles. “He just smirked at me when I…got some sand in my eye outside.”
Kyoko is smart enough to read between the lines, and doesn’t push her best friend any further. “It’s just two more years,” she says instead, her tone gentle and understanding.
Haru sighs. “I know, I know. And I’m going to need it, since I’m not like you when it comes to languages and customs and knowing how to act to make people like you. Hahi, you learned Italian in, like, two months! I listen and listen and listen to those stupid CDs and Gokudera-kun still makes fun of my pronunciation.”
“You’ll get the hang of it,” Bianchi assures her.
Haru twists her mouth petulantly. “Even Hana-chan is better at it than I am, though, and she’s only learning it half-heartedly when she’s helping Ryohei-san.”
“You’re still better than Onii-chan,” Kyoko says soothingly. “He’s only learned how to say ‘hello’ and ‘good night’ and ‘extreme!’”
Haru gives her an incredulous look. “That’s not much consolation, Kyoko-chan.”
Her best friend smiles sheepishly. “But it’s some, right?”
“Right,” Haru says, heaving out a breath. Then she pauses and cocks her head, her hands still in the sudsy water. “Hey, the shouting stopped—”
Her eyes widen, and she and Kyoko exchange horrified looks.
That was never a good sign.
Haru and the others head outside to find Gokudera-kun yelling at Lambo-kun, who is crying fitfully.
There’s a third person in the yard as well, a woman with long black hair dressed in a black kimono. Her back is to Haru, but she seems to be reaching out and trying to get Lambo to stop crying.
“Lambo-kun, there is no need to be upset,” the woman said.
“Like hell there isn’t! The stupid idiot just shot you! There’s every reason to be upset—and you better not be taking this so calmly because it happens all the damn time, because I will kill this little monster before I let that happen! What the hell! What if you had been on a mission?!”
Gokudera yells, running a hand through his hair.
“Well, I wasn’t,” the woman says calmly.
“But you could have been!”
“Gokudera-kun…?” Kyoko interrupts.
The three people turned around, and Haru can feel a sense of shock go through her once she catches her first full glimpse of the woman’s face. She’s beautiful, composed, and startlingly familiar.
“Chrome-chan?!” she says.
The woman smiles, the same sweet and slightly mysterious half-smile that graces her younger self’s mouth whenever she greets her friends. “Hello, there, Haru-san. No need to worry—we’ve just had a slight mishap. Everything will be back to normal in about…oh…” She glances at the rather expensive if very elegant watch on her wrist. “…two minutes, give or take a few seconds.”
Lambo whimpers and covers his face with his hands. Haru suddenly has a very bad feeling—she recognizes the way he’s hunching his shoulders, and it’s never a good sign. It usually means he’s feeling guilty and has good reason to want to disappear.
From the way Gokudera-kun’s glaring at him, he recognizes it, too. “Oi,” he says in a threatening manner, “what’s the problem now, you dumb midget?” His hand drifts down to his pockets, reaching for the omnipresent stick of dynamite he keeps there.
Ten-years-older Chrome-chan reaches out and tugs Lambo protectively against her body. “Now, Storm Man—”
“You stopped calling me that ages ago!”
She grins a little crookedly. “But you think it’s a little weird for me to call you Gokudera-san as if I know you, because you don’t know me, not really—right?”
He shifts uncomfortably, and Haru’s brows raise in surprise. Chrome-chan’s always been observant, but she tends to keep what she sees to herself. Such casual, bold statements of fact indicate despite everything about her that’s looks the same, the decade that separates this version of her from the one they know have most definitely changed her.
Gokudera-kun shifts uncomfortably. “Well…yeah…but Storm Man’s just as weird!”
Chrome-chan chuckles. “You’ll only have to deal with this for a few more seconds,” she says. “Just wait it out.” She glances back down at her watch, and Haru thinks that despite her calm façade, there’s a tension to the way she holds herself that indicates she’s as anxious as
Gokudera-kun is for her to get back to her own time period. “Ah, here we go…I should switch back in three…two…one…”
They all wait for the cloud to envelop her and whisk her away.
Chrome-chan blinks, looks down at Lambo, who’s still cowering in her lap, and says, “Oh, dear.”
Present Time: Gokudera
At twenty, Gokudera is even less inclined to put up with Lambo’s sheer stupidity and general incompetence and overall proclivity for precipitating crises of apocalyptic proportions.
“What the fuck did you do now?!” he yells, brandishing his dynamite.
The kid just cries harder, and Gokudera’s two steps away from strangling him when a pebble hits him in the forehead.
He looks up to find the stupid woman glaring at him, her hands on her hips, a scowl twisting her full mouth downwards. “You stop that right now,” she says commandingly. “Give him a chance to explain himself, then throw your little tantrum. In the meantime, please do your best to act your age instead of the six-year-old you like to pretend you are.”
Gokudera glares back at her. “Stupid woman, if anyone is a six-year-old in this situation it’s Lambo. Now, the little idiot can either ‘fess up what he did right this second, or I can beat him up until he tells us.”
“I told you!” Lambo shrieks. “I told you the bazooka was special!”
“You liar! It’s the same damn bazooka!”
“Special how?” Chrome says, cutting through the argument. She places her hands on Lambo’s skinny shoulders and forces the boy to look at her. “Special how, Lambo-kun?”
Lambo swallows nervously. “It’s a new bazooka,” he says in a small voice. “A special prototype—they wanted to see if my past self could spend more time in the future, and my future self in the past, so they sent me this cool, super-special, really, really awesome bazooka with more settings, and—”
“How much longer is the time period?” Chrome asks intently, giving Lambo a slight shake.
Lambo gulps and holds out the bazooka. “Well, see, here are the settings,” he says, pointing to the same indecipherable scribbles that have always covered the damn thing—though now that Gokudera thinks about it, some of the stickers on the bazooka do look a little brighter than they usually are, even if they’re the same design…
Jesus Christ, did he really hit her with a new bazooka? Oh, shoot, they were in so much damn trouble.
“And this is one hour…one day…one week…one month…”
With each increasing time period, Chrome goes a little paler. “One month?” she says in a faint voice.
Lambo bites his lip. “Wait, wait! Look, look, here, stupid Gokudera moved the little pointer thingie halfway between one week and one month…so I think you’ll be here for maybe…two weeks?”
“Two weeks?” Gokudera and Chrome shout at the same time.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘two weeks?’” Gokudera demands. “We’re leaving for Italy in two weeks’ time! We’re not brining a Mist Guardian who’s out of her own fucking time period halfway across the world with us! And what if the Tenth in the future needs this Chrome?” he says, gesturing at the woman, who’s currently staring at Lambo with eerily wide eyes. “What the hell is wrong with you?! You should have shot yourself instead! Your twenty-one-year-old can’t possibly be that important, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t possibly want to strangle him more than I want to strangle you right now!”
Lambo opens his mouth as if to try and defend himself (how, Gokudera doesn’t really want to know, certain it’s only going to use some more of his lunatic-logic), but he’s interrupted by Chrome.
“Two weeks,” she repeats, gazing unseeingly in front of her, fingers tangling in the fine silk of her kimono, the style of which looks rather familiar, as if he’s seen it before, but Gokudera can’t quite place where…it hangs a little loosely on her, though, as if it were made for someone larger…he shakes his head. They’ve got bigger problems now.
He moves to kneel in front of her, but Haru and Kyoko are there before he can do anything.
“It’s going to be okay, Chrome-chan!” Kyoko says reassuringly.
“Yeah!” the stupid woman seconds, squeezing the accidental time traveler’s hands. “It’ll go by really, really quickly! I promise! And, well, I’m sure the other Chrome can handle things just fine in your timeline! She’s a strong fighter, after all, you remember. And in the meantime, you can help us move stuff, and—and—and—”
“Move stuff—the move to Italy—oh, of course,” Chrome says, suddenly straightening, a gleam in her eyes that Gokudera recognizes and dreads. It means she’s got a plan, and he probably isn’t going to like it. “Of course! This has happened already!”
“…what?” Haru says, brows furrowing.
Chrome stands abruptly, toppling her and Kyoko as she does so. She smiles down at them a little manically. “I have a two-week gap,” she says, tapping her head. “In my memories, I mean. I once spent two weeks in the future, and I can’t remember a thing about it, but you all told me it was fine—that everything was fine, and that I should just be prepared ten years from now—you made sure to tell me not to panic because we had everything under control, and that my future self handled things very well.”
Gokudera stares at her, frowning. “Wait—so this is something that’s already happened for you?”
She nods eagerly. “I didn’t pay attention and forgot the dates, obviously, but I’m my future self now, and if I remember having a two-week gap, then we’re in the middle of a stable time loop, meaning anything I do now has already happened in my future, and nothing should change.”
She bites her lip and places her chin in her hand. “Hopefully. I could be completely wrong and what I’m planning to do next could start a crisis the likes of the timeline where Byakuran turned evil, but I think I’m going to risk it. It’s important.”
“Wait, what?” Haru says, staring up at her in worry.
“Important?” Kyoko says, tilting her head in question.
“Crisis?” Gokudera says. “Oh, hell, no.”
But it’s too late. Before he knows what she’s planning, she’s grabbing the bazooka from Lambo and examining the lever.
“Does this have a fifteen-minute setting?” she asks authoritatively.
Before Gokudera can tell him not to do anything, Lambo’s already pointing.
Chrome smiles again, that polite, chilling half-smile she gets sometimes in a middle fo a mission, and Gokudera can feel a chill go down his
spine. “Thank you, Lambo-kun. You;ve been very helpful. Now, there’s somebody I have to go see.”
With that, she’s taking off like a shot, the bazooka held tightly in her hands.
“Stop!” he yells.
“Chrome-chan, wait!” Haru shouts, and the two of them sprint together after her.
It’s too late, however, and the rumble of an engine confirms that she’s stolen Ryohei’s motorcycle and left the house, leaving them staring after her.
“Maa!” Yamamoto says. “Was that Chrome-chan just now? She looked really different!”
“Yeah! To the extreme!” Ryohei says unhelpfully from where he’s sprawled on the floor.
“Gokudera, what’s going on?” the Tenth asks, coming out from the house to see what the fuss is about.
“I—it’s—I’ll tell you later! I promise! I can handle this!” he says, running for cars.
“Hahi!” Haru says, opening her car’s door and sliding into the seat. “Get in now, idiot, before we lose her! Something bad might happen to her!”
Not to mention the rest of us, he thinks, but he hurriedly gets in and throws the seat belt on, thankful for once for the crazy woman’s crazier driving skills, because they manage to follow older-Chrome (because she’s most definitely not their Chrome—their Chrome would have never pulled a stunt like this—okay, maybe she would have, but only in really, really huge emergencies, and she’d have the decency to run it by the Tenth first) through Namimori’s traffic.
They stop in front of a vaguely familiar old-style Japanese mansion, and he and Haru get out, Haru already calling Kyoko to tell her the address so she and the others can follow—he can hear the idiot boxer’s excited shouts and the stupid swordsman’s demented laughter and the Tenth’s worried voice coming through the speakers, and he feels a moment of intense gratitude for this family, for his family, for a family and a boss that’ll follow him into a potential fight without a second’s hesitation.
A family that always, always has his back.
So he heads right through the doors left open in Chrome’s wake with Haru by his side, and they follow the sounds of shouting to a little room where—
“Hibari?!” Gokudera shouts.
The Cloud Guardian shoots him a glare sharp enough to have sliced his head off if it had been a blade. “What is the meaning of this invasion?” he says icily from where he’s sitting on a cushion on the tatami mat floor, a cup of tea on the low table in front of him and the ever-present Tetsu standing a little ways behind him.
Across from him is ten-years-older Chrome in all her glory, hair windswept and bazooka at her side. “My apologies, Hibari-san,” she says in a polite but firm voice. “But this is an emergency.” She lifts the bazooka so it’s resting against her shoulder and puts her hand on the trigger, aiming it straight at Hibari.
The man bares his teeth in an angry snarl. “Don’t you dare—”
“Just wait a damn minute!” Gokudera shouts.
“Chrome-chan, please!” Haru yells.
She calmly ignores all three of them and pulls the trigger. The missile shoots out and sweeps in a lazy pattern right before missing Hibari completely.
“Huh,” Gokudera says. “Well, that was—”
He speaks too soon, however, because although it bypasses Hibari, it hits Tetsu right in the chest instead.
Hibari’s right-hand man has a few seconds to look surprised before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. A few seconds later, his decade-older self pops up in his place, blinking in confusion.
“What is going—Chrome-sama?” he says.
“Chrome-sama?” Haru says.
Gokudera would have said something along similar lines if Hibari hadn’t chosen that moment to leap to his feet and attack Chrome.
“Oh, shit,” is all he has time to say, fully expecting Chrome to crumple to the ground, knocked unconscious by Hibari’s fist any second now.
Instead, she brings up her hand and blocks him.
Everybody stands around blinking for a couple of seconds. Gokudera thinks he’s never seen Hibari look this disconcerted.
Chrome gives him a quiet look. “Not now,” she tells him in a decidedly authoritative voice. She swings her attention to Tetsu. “Testu-san,” she says, “we have a problem. Code Tsunami.”
The other man pales considerably. “Oh. I see. Oh.”
Chrome nods grimly. “Yes.”
Gokudera looks from him to her to him again before stomping his foot and yelling, “Okay, somebody tell me what the fucking hell is going on and they better tell me now!”
Of course, right then was the exact second that the tenth and the others decided to make their entrance.
Gokudera closed his eyes. Sometimes he really hated his life.
Endnote: And that’s chapter five, folks. Thanks for reading, and please leave us a comment telling us what you thought! ;)