Squalo was greatly intrigued by the Varia's newest recruit, an eight-year-old blond boy named Belphegor. The kid had seemingly made his way here from some unknown country, splattered in blood with a twisted grin crossing his face, and it was no surprise he was taken in immediately, his blood lust and thirst for killing invaluable for an assassination squad.

The kid had learnt quickly, praised as a genius by his teammates. His skills with the knives he started crafting by himself were unparalleled by anything Squalo had seen for a boy his age. The insanity that lived in his head was well-hidden behind a calm, polite demeanour, but ready to emerge at the slightest sign of his own blood or that of those around him. His signature laugh was, to those who would meet him for the first time and more often than not die within minutes, the first sign that Belphegor wasn't all there; it was a cold laugh, unnatural to a point.

Xanxus ignored Belphegor and instead of handling his training like a good boss was supposed to, dumped the blond on his subordinates. Leviathan ignored the troublemaking brat, Lussuria doted on him like a mother, and Mammon treated him as a friend - Squalo seemed to be the only one (apart from the greedy Arcobaleno, but Mammon was seemingly welcome of the brat, surprisingly, and could keep him all to herself) Belphegor had taken somewhat of a liking to.

That didn't mean Squalo liked him, though; there was a fine line between liking and tolerating someone, and being intrigued by their characteristics.

No; what Squalo wanted was not friendship or whatever the brat wanted from him – it was to unravel him and see just how far both that 'genius' mind went, and the true extent of his insanity. He wondered if he could break the blond more than he already was; send him into a state of pure, uncontrollable madness. It was no secret that Belphegor had a fucked up childhood before his arrival here – most likely the reason he was the way he was – but had that childhood been enough to destroy all hope of curing the brilliant mind that lusted for blood? To have pushed him into the point of no return? Or was Belphegor's childish innocence his saving grace?

Despite all the sins Belphegor had committed he was, by heart, just a child – a very, very messed up child, but still a boy nonetheless. He enjoyed his chocolate milk, his bowls of strawberry ice cream and cartoons as much as the next kid, and throughout the things he had seen and done, he could still look at the world with a curiosity only a sheltered kid had, his mind questioning things Squalo nor the others had even considered before.

But if there was one thing that could be fatal to forget, it was that Belphegor was an insane murderer who'd skewer you just because he was bored and no one would 'play' with him.

~~XX~~

"Shishi~"

Squalo looked up from his paperwork as he heard the familiar laughter outside the office door. He rolled his eyes before he called out, telling Belphegor to come in. The brat had been here for two weeks already, and if it weren't for the blond's skills, Squalo was sure he'd have been nothing special – just a brat they had to babysit.

"What do you want, brat?" Squalo grit his teeth, undoubtedly frustrated in more ways than one; being second-in-command of the Varia was hard enough, but on top of having to deal with rookies like Belphegor who thought they were top shit pissed him off more than usual.

"The prince is bored~" Belphegor twisted one of his custom-made knives between his hands, the design of the knife having been carefully formulated to allow for maximum bloodshed and pain. "Entertain him~"

"Voi! Piss off, brat! I'm fucking busy!" Squalo felt like taking a page out of Xanxus' book and throwing something at the tiny nuisance, but that wouldn't serve any other purpose than getting him even more annoyed by going to have to retrieve it later.

"Nope~" Belphegor's trademark grin never left his face; he merely moved over to the couch resting against the far wall. He sat on the black material, swinging his legs back and forth as he slipped his knife into his pocket, resting his hands in his lap peacefully. "The prince is really bored; no one else is here to annoy."

"Xanxus is," the silver-haired male pointed out. "How about you go play 'Dodge the Bullets'?"

Belphegor shook his head, that smile not budging an inch. "Nope~ The prince values his life."

"Well, you won't fucking have one if you don't fuck off!" Squalo roared.

"Shishi~ If Squ-Squ doesn't quieten down, he'll wake Boss~" Belphegor's grin just widened as he pictured the dark-haired teenager ripping Squalo to shreds. "But that will be entertaining to watch~"

"Voi, you little fucking brat..." Squalo sighed, hating to deal with Belphegor in moments like this. In fact, he rarely ever wanted to deal with the younger.

But then, a thought crossed his mind. While no one but Xanxus was in the base – which was a fucking rare occasion – no one would walk in on them if the silver-haired male happened to do a... bit of experimenting. Xanxus wouldn't come out of hibernation until dinnertime, and none of the other members were about, so as long as he kept Belphegor quiet, he could get away with anything, really.

"You're bored that much?" Squalo questioned, for once in a normal tone. He wondered about what would be the best way to get Belphegor to lapse into incurable insanity, to show him how far it went, and what better way than to force Belphegor into something he had no control over? "Well, come here, than."

Belphegor's grin became impossibly wide as he jumped off the couch, hurrying over the Rain Guardian's side. He bounced on the spot as he stood by Squalo's side, his excitement clear by his quivering form – Squalo knew he was probably anticipating some sort of bloodshed.

Squalo gestured for the boy to come closer before he reached down, unclipping his belt and sliding it from the loops. Belphegor seemed oblivious as he stood there, and Squalo wondered if the boy had any knowledge of what he was about to get himself into.

XXX LEMON REMOVED XXX

Belphegor whimpered as nails dug into his lips and chest, the sudden onslaught of a hot liquid inside him burning. He felt tears slip down his cheeks, just wanting this to be over with – so when he felt the older male pull out of him, he could only sob in relief.

Squalo took a few minutes to regain his senses, to calm his body, but once he could, he cleaned himself up and redressed. He was about to return to work, his loyalty to Xanxus unwavering, but he had just one problem; Belphegor was in the way.

Squalo approached the boy with the intent of pushing him off the desk, but he noticed that once the blond saw him coming closer, Belphegor started to shake and cry, as if he expected it to happen all over again.

The teenager sighed, knowing that his quest – while fun – had been in vain; he hadn't been able to elicit such insanity from the boy – instead, he had probably broken the younger for good. Was seeing the extent of Belphegor's craziness worth what he had just done? Probably not, but they were Varia, and they had done worse.

But Belphegor was Squalo's comrade, not some stupid civilian on the street.

"Stupid shithead..." Squalo muttered as he reached out, pulling the bleeding, quivering body into his arms. He felt Belphegor scramble to rest against him, tiny fingers clutching the older's Varia jacket tightly as tears created wet patches in the clothing. "You're just not worth the hassle."

Sitting back down at the desk, Squalo picked up his pen and slid a piece of paper in front of him again, ignoring the trembling, whimpering boy on his lap.

Maybe Squalo hadn't noticed it before, what with the way Belphegor was, but the blond was just a little boy, pure and innocent. Whether or not Belphegor had committed his own crimes was irrelevant; Squalo had just broken his eight-year-old comrade.