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[personal profile] asael
Oh man, I totally failed to finish or post one of my [ profile] khrfest fics. I guess that shouldn't be surprising, since I don't know why I thought I'd be able to post a fic after spending 10 and a half hours on an international flight and then an additional 5 hours getting back to my apartment. NOT A VERY WELL-THOUGHT-OUT PLAN, SIR. Anyway, I'll try to get that finished and posted... later. Sometime.

For now, some gen. The prompt was: 'Chrome, Haru & Kyoko - Girls day out'. Thanks again to [ profile] vaultedthewall for the super quick beta and awesome, awesome comments. You rock.

A Chance Meeting
Katekyo Hitman Reborn
Gen (Kyoko, Haru, Chrome)

For Kyoko, running into one of Tsuna's other friends while out shopping with Haru was something of a surprise. After all, most of Tsuna's friends were boys, and finding them in a girls' clothing store would be... well, strange, to say the least. But of course it wasn't Gokudera or Yamamoto, it was Chrome - the quiet girl who'd barely spoken when they were all in the future, the one who'd disappeared almost as soon as they'd gotten back.

Haru spotted her first, wandering among the formalwear section, looking confused. "Hahi!" she said, gripping Kyoko's arm lightly, "Look! What's she doing here? She looks lost."

And she did, but it was hard to tell if she was actually lost or if it was just that she always looked that way. Kyoko hadn't seen her in long enough that she wasn't quite sure anymore. They'd done their best to be welcoming and friendly when all of them were on that strange adventure in the future, but since she'd left so suddenly, they hadn't seen her once. Not that Kyoko was surprised or bothered by that - Chrome obviously hadn't been used to having friends like Haru and Kyoko.

"Let's go say hi," Kyoko said with a smile at her friend. Haru smiled back, and Kyoko was happy to see that they seemed to be on the same wavelength. Chrome always looked so lost and lonely, and she knew that not everyone could be like Tsuna or her brother. Some people had trouble making friends, some people didn't really know how, and Chrome seemed to be one of them. That was okay. They'd do the hard parts for her.

Haru, brimming with energy as usual, lead her through the maze of clothing racks and displays until they peeked around a corner and spotted Chrome, who really did look like she had no idea how she'd ended up in this clothing store. "Chrome-chan! Hi!" Haru said, and Chrome started when she saw them, her eye getting wide. She didn't say anything, but Kyoko remembered those days in the Vongola base. Chrome was just like this, not used to people or the world or anything, and there wasn't anything wrong with that.

"It's so strange to meet you here," Kyoko said, clutching her purse and smiling at the quiet girl. "Are you shopping? We just came to look, the things here are so cute."

Chrome managed a soft hello, looking at them as if she didn't recognize them, though Kyoko was certain she did.

Haru was completely unashamed as always, reaching out to take Chrome's arm, ignoring the girl's flinch. "Come with us! You look bored, and window-shopping is so much more fun with more people!" She smiled brightly, and Chrome looked confused. "That is, unless you have something else to do?"

"N-no..." Chrome said, her voice quiet and a little shaky, and Haru took that as an answer to everything.

"Great! Oh, it was good luck meeting you here, we haven't seen you in ages!" And then Haru was off, pulling people into her own flow as she usually did. Kyoko really liked that about her. Haru's energy and willfulness made it so easy to just have fun when they were together, and if she was sometimes over-the-top, that was okay. Haru reminded Kyoko a little of her brother in that way, and Kyoko adored her brother.

Chrome was swept up in it like most people were, all the more easily because of her quiet nature. She spoke little, but it was hard to get a word in edgewise with Haru sometimes, and if anything she seemed a little relieved that she didn't have to do anything but nod and occasionally agree softly. Kyoko watched her, a little worried that this whole thing might be too much for a girl like Chrome, but she didn't seem scared or looking for an escape, just... completely out of her depth.

They left that store and found another, with a collection of cute flowery dresses that were perfect for spring, and Haru insisted they all try one on. It was one of the very few times that Kyoko had seen Chrome out of the uniform she always wore, and it just confirmed what she'd thought before - Chrome was a really cute girl. It would be nice if she had more clothes, Kyoko thought, because Chrome would look good in most things. But neither her or Haru broached that subject, not really. There was something about the way Chrome stood when she wore her uniform, with her hair up in that strange style, that made Kyoko think she'd be unwilling to change. There was surely a reason for the way she dressed, but that was one of the many things they didn't ask.

Kyoko had realized that even if she now knew the truth about Tsuna's friends, all those Mafia things that she still found almost unbelievable, she still chose not to ask about a lot of things. It wasn't out of a lack of curiosity, but rather a respect for privacy. That world was something she knew so little about, and in a lot of ways she didn't want to know more, or at least she didn't want to pry more information out of people who might not be willing to give it. Haru felt the same, she thought. They'd talked about it a little, after everything.

Chrome wasn't like them, she wasn't new to that world, but she was more like them than any of the others. She fought and trained like Tsuna's other friends, but... it was different, somehow, Kyoko thought. Chrome was a girl among so many boys. Kyoko had never believed that girls couldn't be strong, couldn't fight alongside boys, and if that was what Chrome wanted then Kyoko was sure she could do it. She just deserved to have other girls around her to talk to and be friends with, like any girl their age. Boys were funny and interesting, but there were some things they didn't get, some things you couldn't talk to them about, and Kyoko didn't think that would change even for the Mafia.

Did Chrome have anyone she could talk to? Kyoko didn't know, and she didn't think Chrome would give a proper answer if asked. She might not talk to them, might not ever want to, but at least Kyoko and Haru could give her a little time to just be a girl and have fun.

"Oh! Are you hungry?" Haru said, perking up suddenly as she glanced at the time on her cell phone. "The cake shop is about to open!"

"Ah, we should eat there. It's really good," Kyoko said, smiling at Chrome, who was straightening the skirt of the uniform she'd just put back on. "They make this yummy red velvet cake, and if we get there soon we're sure to get a table."

Chrome looked uncertain, looked like she wanted to say something but wasn't sure how, and Kyoko thought she understood. She touched Chrome's arm lightly, reassuringly, and said, "I'll pay for you, since we dragged you all over with us already."

Then Chrome relaxed a little and nodded, and Haru lead them through the now-crowded shopping district to their favorite cake shop. Kyoko couldn't help noticing the way Chrome flinched away from people, and tried her hardest to make an empty space in the traffic for them so she wouldn't be jostled too much.

At the shop, Kyoko found them a table while Haru fetched their cakes, making sure to choose one in the corner, and for some reason it didn't surprise her at all that Chrome took the seat against the wall and faced the door. She couldn't imagine the life the girl must lead, being on guard like that all the time.

But those thoughts weren't important right now. The important things were the cakes, and Haru and Kyoko watched Chrome's expression of startled pleasure at the first bite, and smiled at each other. They hadn't talked about it at all, but Kyoko knew they were thinking the exact same thing.

"See, it's great, right?" Haru said, clapping her hands together with a smile. "But they have different specials every week. So there'll be something different next time!"

"Next time?" Chrome said softly, looked between them with bewilderment clear on her face.

"Next time," Kyoko said, and she smiled at Chrome, pushing her plate towards the girl. "Here, try a bite of mine."

She decided then that it was really worth it, the whole day and the crowds and everything, just to see Chrome's tiny, shy smile.
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