Author - makeste
Rating - PG-13 for language.
Characters/Pairings - Gokudera, gen.
Warnings - Spoilers up to chapter 193.
Summary - It hasn’t happened yet, and with any luck it never will. All the same, he needs to make up for it.
Sixteen boxes. Twelve of which don’t open no matter how strong a flame he creates. Sixteen boxes, and a name: the Sistema C.A.I. No instructions. He left a letter telling him how to get back to the past, but he couldn’t be bothered with anything to explain his stupid system. “Defeat Byakuran,” but first he has to figure out how to turn some bones, a useless cat, and twelve defective containers into something resembling a weapon.
Gokudera’s been sitting there for hours, but he still can’t figure it out. He wonders, not for the first time, just what his future self was thinking.
How did you figure this out? How do I make it work?
It’s frustrating, because it shouldn’t be beyond him. He’s done it before—or will do it, anyway. It’s his system. Him, in the future. He’s the same person, isn’t he?
Then again, maybe not. Because that other him is from a future he’s actively trying to prevent. The other him has made mistakes he won’t repeat. Somehow he fucked up; somehow he let the Tenth…
…Somehow he let that happen to the Tenth.
So maybe it’s better not to think of him as the same person after all. It’s a different world… so many horrible things have happened here. Things he wants to prevent at any cost. This is his family, damn it. He was lucky to find it, and he’s barely deserving of it, but he’ll fight to his last fucking breath if anyone even thinks about trying to take it away from him. He won’t let that happen.
It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. What the hell went wrong? What did you do? What did you do wrong?
Ten years. A long damn time. He should have been stronger by then, smarter. More experienced. Didn’t people always talk about experience, how it made such a huge difference? You didn’t last a whole fucking decade in the mafia world without learning something about how to keep yourself and the people you care about alive. Enough to not be taken by surprise.
So how did they manage to surprise you?
How. What. Why. Answers that his older self will never be able to give, and he hates it, because he needs to know those answers. Weren’t you strong? Weren’t you always by his side? Weren’t you his Right Hand, his Guardian? Wouldn’t you have given your own life to save his?
Ten years doesn’t change things that much. Tsuna is his whole world; he would die for him. No matter how much time passes, that will never change. Shouldn’t have ever changed.
…Didn’t ever change. Some part of him knows that, deep down.
You couldn’t stop it.
Why couldn’t you stop it?
He has the will. What he wants to think is, it’ll be all right, no matter what, as long as he doesn’t give up. As long as he’s determined.
What he is thinking, is that his determination isn’t even enough to open these twelve boxes.
How can I save him if I can’t even get this to work?
What he’s also thinking, is that he ran out on his sister’s training because he thought he could do this on his own. That he never managed to destroy more than two of her twenty scorpions. That Yamamoto is getting stronger, and the Tenth is getting stronger, but him, he’s just sitting here at a table because he’s failed at everything and now he’s failing at this too.
How could you let him down?
He can’t let it happen again.
How do I fix it? I need to know how to fix it.
I need to know how to make it work.
The cat leaps onto the desk, suddenly, knocking aside a few of his boxes and grabbing one of the weapons as if it were a toy. Angry, he shouts at it, and the thing—it’s vicious—leaps at his face instead. A minute later it stalks off proudly, very much the victor, and Gokudera ponders that maybe “Uri” is too sweet a name. It lacks that killer edge.
One of the boxes is open. There’s something new on the table. A ring.
He picks it up, puts it on. A flame appears, but it’s blue.
Like parts of a puzzle clicking into place, the rest comes together in no time at all. Sixteen boxes, five rings, five different types of flames. C.A.I.—Cambio Arma Instantaneo. An instantaneous armament changing system.
It’s not perfect yet, but he’ll practice. He’ll get it right.
All of it. He will make it right.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why you couldn’t protect him. But I’m going to try again. I’m going to save him this time.
He can learn from his mistakes. Even ones he hasn’t made yet.
All it means is that I’m going to stop it here.
You are not my future, because I’m going to fix your past.