The Little Boy and the Piano Nehszriah

The Little Boy and the Piano

It was not necessarily that Gokudera hated Yamamoto all throughout the years; au contraire. For the most part, the Storm figured at even though the Rain did stupid shit and really pissed him off something fierce, he figured that everything was not all that bad in the end. Yamamoto was good at catching Gokudera with little things here and there that somehow ended the rifts that sheer stupidity had wedged between them. It was never anything big, yet somehow it kept Gokudera from turning the baseball idiot into cinders every other time they met.

When they were teenagers, it had been a reluctantly-bought packet of cigarettes or a bar of his favorite dark chocolate. Nowadays, a place to crash for the night while visiting Japan was good enough to placate the Italian. The silver-haired man stretched out languidly on his friend’s couch, listening peacefully to the thunder outside. Ever since he was little Gokudera had enjoyed thunderstorms; they were so beautiful to watch and calming to listen to. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Yeah… Yamamoto was not such a bad guy after all.

Gokudera twitched as he heard a soft, jerky gait hobble down the stairs. Sleeping in Yamamoto’s living room had come with a price this time around; it was Takeshi and Haru’s anniversary or something like that and there was no one to babysit little Haruhi when the couple went out to a fancy dinner with the possibility of extra-circulars to follow. The stuffed-kangaroo-toting-girl shuffled into the room and stared at Gokudera through half-asleep eyes.

“Hiii… Goku-oji…” she whined, “I can’t sleep.” Gokudera sat up as Haruhi hopped up onto the couch beside him, nestling into his side.

“What’s the matter ‘bina?” he asked, not in the mood to argue. “You afraid of thunderstorms or something?”

“No… just can’t sleep.” The eight-year-old cuddled with her stuffed toy and gave Gokudera a Takeshi-patented smile. “Can you tell me a story?”

“I don’t know any good stories,” Gokudera said. Damn, he needed a smoke… stupid Haru banning his cigarettes around the kid… it was nothing short of cruel.

“Sure you do,” Haruhi said. She held up her toy, a birthday gift from Ryohei’s son, and smiled. “Kanga-kun told me you know awesome stories.”

“Kanga-kun can’t talk,” Gokudera said bluntly. Haruhi pouted vehemently.

“You don’t even know one story? I’ve even heard Hibari-oji tell stories to Daddy sometimes… though I don’t understand what he means half the time.”

So she’s around when Hibari gives the idiot Famiglia updates? Gokudera thought. He looked down at the girl, who was sticking out her lower lip as far as she could in order to wrench a story out of him. It went against his regular babysitting policy of “kid stays in other room, I stay on couch,” but it never hurt to deviate from regulation just a little.

“Alright,” he groaned. Gokudera leaned back down into the couch, allowing Haruhi to crawl up into his lap and rest her head on his chest. “Just one story and then you’re back in bed, got it?”

“Got it.”

Gokudera paused. Story…? He did not know any good stories. He could figure trigonometry mentally and had nearly memorized all of Fuuta’s lists and rankings, but was out of luck when it came to stories. As a child, he never much cared for them. He would have to make something up, which would probably turn the entire situation into a disaster…

…unless… maybe… sure; she had not heard it before. Gokudera’s voice dropped and he began with a stern and somber tone.

“Once upon a time there was a boy, not much older than you. He lived in a large house in Italy with his father and sister. The little boy liked to play the piano and he played it every chance he could.”

“The little boy must be Italian because you are Goku-oji!” Haruhi laughed. She smiled at him, face illuminated by a bolt of lightning. He searched her face and found she had not connected the dots.

“Let me continue. The boy loved playing piano every chance he got. He practiced every day and became one of the best pianists of his age. Everyone called him a genius and would sit around listening to him play. He never liked playing for his father’s friends, but really practiced so he could be close to his mother. The little boy rarely saw her and wanted to play the piano just as well as she did.”

“Why didn’t the little boy see his mom? Were his parents divorced like Ryo-oji and Masaru-kun’s mommy?”

“Yeah, something like that,” Gokudera sighed. No; the little boy’s parents were nothing like Lawn-head and that banshee he just recently finished the final divorce paperwork with. Actually, they had been pretty far from it.

“The little boy loved playing with his mom when she would visit and she loved playing with him. They loved each other very much and always looked forward to the next time they could see one another.

“One day, when the little boy’s mother was supposed to come and visit, she never showed up. The little boy waited and waited by his bedroom window, because he could see the driveway from his desk, but she never came. He was sad, but he still played the piano all the same, hoping that she would come back one day.

“A few years passed and the little boy became really good at playing the piano. His father still made him perform in front of his friends and pretended like nothing happened—like the little boy’s mother never existed. Every time he would ask where his mother was, his father would just say nothing and walk away or change the subject. Eventually, the little boy’s only source of happiness was the piano and the songs his mother taught him.”

“That’s sad,” Haruhi said. “I don’t like the boy’s dad.”

Neither did I, ‘bina.

“Shh… now one day, the little boy was supposed to play a concert for a bunch of important guests his father had over. It was the first time he had played in front of so many people. Before the performance, the little boy’s sister made some cookies in hopes to help her brother. She thought a good boost of sugar would help him a little and that food would calm his nerves. She was still really young herself and did not bake very well, so the cookies she fed her brother were enough to make him ill. Although he had planned on playing Mozart, the little boy ended up banging something otherworldly from the keys instead. The adults loved it and the little boy was told he was going to perform again after having more of his sister’s cookies.

“The concerts came and went and before long, the cookies ran out. The little boy’s father told his daughter to make more cookies, exactly the same as before, as they must have been the good-luck-charm that was needed. She baked the awful cookies so much that she never learned to cook properly and her brother became sick every time he saw her.”

“This story makes me sad Goku-oji,” Haruhi yawned.

“Won’t you let me finish?”


“Before long, the little boy tried everything he could to get out of putting on a show and eating his sister’s cookies. He took to hiding in the large house when it was time for him to play, but he was found every time. He got good at hiding after a while and finally, one day his father and sister were unable to find him. He thought he was really smart hiding where he did and decided he was going to stay there until the party was over.

“In the little boy’s house, there were always many people there. Others came and went as they pleased and some even worked there. While the little boy was hiding, he overheard some of these people talking sadly amongst each other. They talked about the little boy’s mother and how she would disapprove of the way her son was being treated, but could not since she was dead. Bad car crash—never even had a chance.

“The little boy became angry for not hearing this before and as soon as the people had gone, he found his father and confronted him. His father said nothing, other that it was time for the little boy to play the piano.”

“What did the little boy do?”

“He ran away. He knew that there was somewhere out there he could go, free from piano recitals and evil cookies, where friends would wait for him and care about him and not care about anything related to whether or not he could play the piano really well.”

“Did the little boy ever find friends?”

“Yeah. He found friends and a home with them. It took many years, but he was able to find his place with them. The sight of his sister still made him sick to his stomach, but he was happy with the people he cared about most. It did not matter they were idiots or poorly-trained and in some cases down-right frightening… because as long as he was with them, he was home.”

Gokudera looked at Haruhi, who was now fast asleep on his chest. She was curled up tight, her Kanga-kun wrapped up in her little arms. Gokudera shifted so that he could easily carry her and brought the sleeping Haruhi upstairs to her bedroom. After making sure she was still asleep, he left the room, keeping the door open a crack, and returned to the lower level of the house in time to greet a very rain-soaked Yamamoto and Haru.

“Hahi, the weather is awful,” Haru groaned as she allowed Takeshi to take her coat off her. Gokudera noticed Haru’s makeup was smudged and streaked in directions the rain did not go and that Yamamoto’s tie was put on under his shirt collar after it had clearly been worn the right way before leaving the house.

“Well, it is the rainy season,” Yamamoto grinned. “It can’t be helped.”

“I know,” Haru sighed. She smiled weakly at Gokudera. “How was Haruhi?”

“Fine,” he shrugged. “I just put her back in bed; she apparently needed a story to get back to sleep after a nightmare or some shit like that.”

“I didn’t know you told stories Gokudera-kun,” Yamamoto said. Gokudera kept on walking, not even looking back at his hosts.

“I don’t.”


A few days later, Tsuna and his family came into town to visit a hometown festival he had not attended in years. Haru decided it was best if everyone went together. Since Gokudera was still camping out on the sofa, “everyone” unfortunately included him. Although he had to admit festivals were interesting, it still was not fair that he was stuck escorting the kids around while Yamamoto took Haru off to who-knows-where and Tsuna literally disappeared with Kyoko.

“I wanna scoop goldfish, Goku-oji!” Haruhi announced excitedly, pointing to one of the stands. “Please…? Please can I?”

“I don’t care,” the Guardian scoffed. The girl cheered and pulled the young Eleventh along beside her. Gokudera watched from afar, making sure he could still hear the children, but was enough paces away to light a cigarette.

“Here Yohi-kun, take this net,” Haruhi said as she got two little nets from the vendor. Sawada Kiyohiko, who had rarely been to Japanese festivals due to living in Italy, seemed puzzled by the very concept of goldfish scooping.

“The net’s made of paper,” he stated. “It won’t hold.”

“That’s why you gotta catch ’em quick,” Haruhi smiled. She scooped up a goldfish instantly, triumphantly holding up the prize bag so that Gokudera could clearly see. He nodded in fake approval and let out a slight chuckle when he saw Kiyohiko’s net rip almost immediately.

“I’m no good,” Kiyohiko cried as they continued walking through the festival.

“I hear goldfish-scooping takes practice, Eleventh,” Gokudera said. “Haruhi has been to tons of these festivals and had the chance to scoop many goldfish; of course she’s better.”

“I never thought about it that way,” Haruhi said. Her head snapped to the side and she smiled wide as something caught her eye. “Hey look! What are they doing over there!?”

Gokudera looked and saw that there was the half-set up makings of an orchestra for later in the evening when there would be more people. There were traditional Japanese instruments mixed in with Western ones, causing there to be a massive collection of clutter. Towards the back of the collection, there was an upright piano that literally called out to Gokudera as soon as he laid eyes on it.

“Hang on for a minute, kids,” he said as he walked over towards the instrument. “Goku-oji’s gonna be just a minute.”

“I didn’t know you played the piano Goku-oji,” Kiyohiko said as the man sat down. Gokudera smiled wanly at the children.

“I’ve never had a piano to show you.”

Gokudera began to play the piano—slow and sad at first, yet still expertly. He did not have any sheet music, but went right along from his head and changed the pace every so often. Composing as he went, it did not take him long to get lost in the music; he had been transported to another realm entirely. There was no festival, no children, no Tenth or baseball idiot, no Mafia and no Japan. There was only him, the piano and the faceless woman sitting beside him that his mother had morphed into being after so many years of fuzzy memories. He was playing for her, like he did as a child. He knew he must have been silently crying… for that was how he felt on the inside.

Suddenly, Gokudera stopped playing. His consciousness rushed back to the real world, where Haruhi had wrapped her arms around his middle, crying into his shirt. Kiyohiko was panicking, as the goldfish bag had fallen to the ground and now the little creature was flopping about on the wet pavement. Gokudera looked down at Haruhi, who in turn looked at him with watery eyes.

“I’m glad the little boy found home,” she sniffled. It took a second before Gokudera knew what she was talking about, but laughed softly once he did, wrapping an arm around the girl to hug her.

“Yeah… I’m glad too.”

Date Published
02/09/09 (Originally Created: 02/09/09)
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