3 AM found Haru surrounded by grease and metal and blueprints, completely content and utterly absorbed. She was nearly finished with her latest project; a couple more tweaks, and she could attach the engine to the wing and get to the part where she got to test and make sure the whole thing worked.
A little past 3 AM found Gokudera storming into the hangar for the sixth time that morning. “Damnit, woman, are you still not done with that thing?”
“Hahi! This thing is a faster, safer trip for all of us! You should be grateful!” she huffed back at him, slapping her hand onto the side of the plane’s hull in a half-protective gesture. She had half a mind to keep adjusting things just to spite him, even moreso when he replied with a click of his tongue—but he was here on Vongola business, and the family wasn’t something she would disregard.
“Whatever. Look, we found another Funeral Wreath, and—“
“Which one?” she asked offhandedly, more focused on rubbing her hands off on a rag she kept handy.
“The girl. You won’t like it.”
Haru paused as she began to honestly take in this information. She involved herself in almost every area the Vongola placed a modicum of interest in, from box weapons to international affairs; in a way, she was a bit like their resident jack of all trades. Sometimes she overworked herself, but it made her feel needed, and to her, it was worth it. She was nearly equal in her attentions to all the projects she threw herself into, save her fascination with planes and her volunteer work at the Vongola’s children’s hospital.
Tracking down the people who had, in a different reality, become the powerful, passionate followers of Byakuran Gesso, however, was one subject she’d been passively avoiding.
“I don’t suppose she’s insisting on learning to fly.” Gokudera snorted, and that was answer enough.
The rooms were all the same. White walls, white ceilings, white floors, white sheets--but someone (and someone very, very reasonable, at that) insisted when the hospital was built that the curtains and chairs and cabinets would be decidedly not white. So there were dark wooden dressers and blue curtains that matched the (cheap, but still fairly comfortable) chair and couch on either side of the bed. There was a sink in a corner of the room, across one way from the wall the bathroom hid behind and across the other way from the windows, and more often than not there was a wheelchair folded up against the wall right near it.
The hospital had specialists to treat any possible ailment, including the unfortunate possibility of bullet wounds. There were enough doctors that some of them did the nurses’ work for them, so that they turned instead to volunteer work, and Haru was very rarely asked to do anything but comfort a crying child.
This girl was not crying, and Haru doubted her hand puppets would be of any help here.
“You were there,” she stated, blue eyes critical from where she sat propped up in her hospital bed, sheets tugged up to the bottom of her ribcage. Haru was surprised at her age—twelve? Thirteen, at the oldest—but didn’t show it.
“Where was I?” she asked instead, trying out a reassuring smile. It didn’t change the atmosphere in the least, and she let it drop.
“Don’t play dumb! The place where he died,” she said, her voice getting stronger and more petulant with each word, and Haru drew back involuntarily. She’d forgotten, for a moment, that the memories from the future had traveled back to them all. (She wondered how this girl had taken it ten years ago, when she was tiny and helpless and suddenly overtaken with memories of a world twisted out of shape.)
“… I was,” Haru agreed, after a pause. “You must have a good memory.”
“Better than most.” They both looked away at about the same time, Haru to the seat next to the hospital bed, and the girl to the window. After a pause, Haru sighed and walked to the chair. "Do they assign you to all the Funeral Wreaths?"
This time, Haru wasn't taken by surprise. "No," she answered. "Just you and the boy with the rabbit." The girl whirled around to face her, blue hair skating across her shoulders.
"Daisy is here?" she asked, her voice light with expectation. Haru tensed.
"That's not his name," she corrected, and they narrowed their eyes at one another.
"Then what is?"
Haru thought of the boy with dark green hair, who would babble on about nonsense and go into fits when people came too close, and looked away first.
"... He won't talk to us.”
"Then it might as well be Daisy, right?"
"That man isn't here anymore!" Haru jerked up to her feet, palms slapping down on the sheets. "He may have helped you before, but he can't now! We can, and we are!"
"I can't get up." It came out as a hiss, a jolting quietness when the conversation had been becoming progressively louder. Haru found herself letting out a small "hahi," but the girl continued in a far greater voice and stomped over any attempts she might have made to cut in. "If you're all as great as he was, when will my legs work?"
Haru pressed her lips together. "Byakuran can't help you with that either. Not in this reality," she shot back, and regretted it the moment she saw the girl flinch and look away. "... What's your name?"
"I don't believe you!"
"It may as well be!"
Haru gritted her teeth and stormed out of the room.
"How did it go?"
"Terribly." Haru sighed, finger combing her hair out of her face and contemplating hair clips. "I can't believe I yelled at a little girl." Chrome peered at her through her one eye, her expression as unreadable as always.
"She must have been very... trying," she commented in that soft voice of hers, and Haru laughed.
"That's a word for it, I guess. I'd certainly never put her in a room with Gokudera-kun."
"... She remembers?" Haru studied Chrome for a moment; she was awkward with words and too quiet to attract attention, so although Haru knew better, it still sometimes came as a small shock when she reached the right conclusion so quickly.
"As well as I do," Haru admitted. "Even though she must have been so tiny and cute when she got the memories. Ah, if only she were that small now! She would be much easier to deal with."
She always considered it a bit of a victory when she got Chrome to smile, for however brief a moment.
"You shouldn't brush her off so quickly for that," Chrome added after a pause. She'd know the extent of that kind of loyalty, Haru realized. "She isn't trying to be difficult. She just... she wants to be strong enough to keep things the same."
And she'd know what it was like to be crippled in a car accident.
Haru stared at her eyepatch, but looked to the working eye hopefully fast enough that she wasn't caught by Chrome's quizzical gaze. "Let's go get some cake," she decided for the both of them as she linked their arms together and smiled like joy.
She could concede to Bluebell with the names, she supposed.
"I want to see him."
The statement paused Haru in the doorway, halfway into the room. "... Daisy?" she asked. "I... it might be possible, but--"
"Not Daisy," Bluebell snapped, and Haru had no idea what she was talking about anymore. "My brother."
"I didn't know you had a brother," she mused, but Bluebell had no patience for idle conversation.
"I want to see him," she repeated, and Haru nodded.
"I'll talk to one of the doctors for you."
She turned away from the room and sought out the nurse's station, tapping the counter in front of an occupied computer.
"Did the patient in room 503 have a brother admitted?" she asked when the man looked up.
"I'll check." And he did.
Haru didn't want to go back into Bluebell's room just to tell her that no, she couldn't see her brother, but she forced herself to at least walk to the doorway. She'd probably be stopped there again the moment she was caught sight of, anyway.
"The Calcassa wants to commission you for a fighter jet again," Gokudera informed her the moment she stepped back into the hangar. She huffed, partially because he was invading her space again and partially because she'd been looking forward to doing menial adjustments to preexisting models instead of an entire new project, but mostly because, well.
"That jerk! I've told him more than once that I don't make bomber planes! We're not a military base!"
"Apparently you need to tell him again," Gokudera snorted. "Skull's a damn moron."
"You tell him. The Vongola shouldn't be so willing to provide an arsenal for every ally family who gets into a skirmish," she declared, ignoring his indignant who do you think you are, deciding things for the Vongola, you're the one who's supposed to talk to people anyway, and so on, mostly because they were both perfectly aware that she was right this time.
Sadly, however, Gokudera still ranked her, and she did have to refuse them herself.
She had been planning to just flop down in the chair next to Bluebell's bed, maybe argue some, maybe try to be a comforting presence, and then leave and go home and call it a day. She would have, too, if Bluebell hadn't spoken to her the moment she filled the doorway, yet again.
"You like flowers?" she asked, bewildered and with a mental capacity temporarily shot from talking with the Calcassa don for too long. What did daisies have to do with anything, exactly?
Bluebell looked at her. "Of course I do, I'm not a freak! But I want to see Daisy, the boy."
Haru shifted as she thought of sleepless eyes and mindless screaming.
"I don't think that's a very good idea."
"I don't care. I want to see him."
There was a long pause filled with determined staring and Haru's fruitless hope that she might spontaneously change her mind, and then she sighed and wondered how many times she'd end up yielding to this stubborn little girl.
"I don't think you'll like it very much," she warned, and then she crossed the room to the wheelchair near the sink to unfold it and roll it over to the bed.
When Daisy saw Bluebell, he went absolutely still.
Haru worried for a moment about whether or not he was breathing--
--and then she was more worried about whether or not he was going to strangle Bluebell.
He didn't, oddly. He frowned and clutched at his rabbit, and if he weren't a decade or so too old to be carrying a pink bunny he would have almost looked like a normal boy for a moment.
"Yeah, it's me," she said as she wheeled closer. "Geez, you look even weirder than I remember. No scar, at least."
"Byakuran-sama--" Bluebell shook her head. "... W-where are we?"
"We're in a hospital. It's Vongola," she said, "but they aren't exactly screaming for our blood, and we don't really have anywhere better to go."
"Screaming for, Bluebell, can we--"
Haru marveled at the interaction; Bluebell would shoot insults at Daisy like they were a given part of casual conversation, and Daisy would stutter and twitch, and yet he listened to her and didn't lash out, and she almost seemed to care about him. She'd never seem Daisy so coherent, or Bluebell so calm.
She wondered if all the Funeral Wreaths had gotten along with one another so... strangely. And then she thought to the Vongola's own Guardians and wondered if it was just a Guardian thing.
"Kyoko-chan, let's go for cake together!" Kyoko looked over her shoulder and smiled back at Haru as she practically tackled her into a hug.
"Ah, Haru-chan! It's been a while."
"It's been too long! You’re always so busy; we've missed three months straight of Self Appreciation Day! We'll need to eat three times to the amount of cake to make up for it!"
Prompt 2: Badass!Haru, fem!Shouichi, bodyguard duty and someone left unsatisfied.
They were running.
They'd been running for hours, now--she could hear Shouko wheezing behind her and wished they could stop--but they couldn't stop. Not yet. (Not ever, Shouko had said once.)
They ducked between a pair of houses, a few shots ringing out behind them.
"Keep going!" she hissed as they came to the backyards, nudging Shouko forward and tossing her a lockpick. Shouko fumbled to catch it as it bounced off her fingers and obediently stumbled towards a back door, willing herself not to look as her guard unholstered a pistol and aimed it carefully at the mouth of the alley. She'd just managed to get her hands to stop shaking long enough to open the lock when another shot rang out, and somewhere in her mind she wondered if she should be glad or horrified that the noise no longer made her jump a foot in the air.
She darted into the house and leaned against the wall, breathing heavily as she slid down and held the door a crack open with her thumb. She waited there for a few minutes and two more gunshots before the door burst open and slammed shut the moment she'd pulled her hand away.
"Are you all right?" Haru breathed, and Shouko could only nod numbly.
They'd done so much. They'd cut their hair, dressed Shouko is men's clothes, left the entire country--and yet they still both slept with daggers under whatever makeshift pillows they had that night and ran all through the day. "This- this needs to end," she decided, wrapping her arms around her aching stomach. Haru bit her lip.
"I'll keep protecting you!" Haru blurted, dropping to her knees in front of where Shouko still sat. "I'll keep protecting you, and we'll be fine! I'm your knight in shining armor!"
Shouko cracked a dry smile. "You left your armor behind because it slowed us down too much."
"That doesn't matter! You-- you don't need to go back. You'll never need to go back."
"You can't promise that--"
"But I am." Haru reached out to take one of Shouko's hands, lifting it and clasping it between her own. "I promise to never let you give up." And she pressed a kiss to Shouko's knuckles. “I’ll protect you, Princess.”
When Haru first came to the barracks, she’d nearly been laughed right back out, but Haru was Haru, and as Haru, she was determined to join the Royal Guard and no amount of tradition or mockery could stop her.