Characters: Romano/ South Italy (Lovino)

Bunny's note: This is a T-rated chapter. Also, possible ooc-ness…

Thank you for the lovely reviews!

A soft babble of voices streamed out through the half open door. From within, glasses chinked and a woman's laugh sounded.

Outside in the darkened balcony, a boy stood scowling, his back pressed against the railing. Cocktail parties were incredibly dull affairs; there were no games, no proper food and no drinks fit for an eleven-year-old, or so he had been told. Grown-ups too, were dull creatures; somehow (it was quite amazing how), adults were content sitting for hours, moving only their tongues.

Lovino groaned and sank to the floor; he was bored; so very, incurably bored; cocktail parties were stupid, useless affairs held by stupid, useless people.

The glass door to the balcony slid fully open, revealing the silhouette of a man, his brow high and nose hawk-like. Lovino knew him-Mr. Carlo Luigi, a man just past his fortieth year, renowned for his fine wines and luxurious new Porsche; also another blasted neighbor, he thought bitterly.

"Good evening, Lovino," Mr. Luigi smiled; his eyes were oddly glazed. Lovino, climbing slowly to his feet, did not reply. Mr. Luigi leaned over the railing, taking a long puff from his rather thick cigar, all the while puffing smoke from his nostrils.

"Lovely evening," he took another long puff; his breath reeked of alcohol. An ambulance wailed by in the street below. Lovino shot him a swift glance; Mr. Luigi's smile was almost benign as he shifted abruptly closer.

"How's school?" Lovino let out an involuntary gasped; calloused, bony fingers travelled up the back of his thigh, fingering his cool flesh, past the hem of his shorts…

"Hey!" Disgust surged violently in his throat as he struggled out of the older man's grasp; his mouth felt horribly dry while his heart pounded furiously against his ribcage; he wanted to throw up, "what the f*** are you doing?"

"Such nasty words, coming from such a sweet little boy like yourself," Mr. Luigi shook his head almost mockingly; his voice was a low purr, greedy with lust, "relax boy. You'll enjoy this."

"Get off me, you son of a b****!" The works were strangled, wrenched forcibly from his throat; at least, what he knew was supposed to be his throat. It felt almost like he was floating underwater, his own voice shouting blindly, controlled by a stranger, but muffled, as if through a thick veil. Dimly, he could feel his chest heaving, icy skin drenched in sweat, "what the f*** is wrong with you?"

There came a sharp flurry of footsteps from behind the glass door as several curious faces emerged. His mother pushed towards the front of the crowd, a look of horror distorting her rather naïve features.

"Lovino!" Her expression was pale with shock, "what happened? Why did you swear like that?"

"He-he-he…" why wasn't his voice coming? He felt violated, sickened by the monster before him, so where was his voice? Why couldn't he open his mouth and f***ing say something? Mr. Luigi's face was smooth, wiped blank from his previous greed. Suddenly, he felt something ugly, twisted erupt within him, or at least, from a part that he knew was meant to be part of him, but which now seemed to be strung up and tugged at mercilessly by the stranger.

"He was… he was… touching me." A voice, tainted by anger and disgust, was spat by the stranger from his mouth. There was a stunned, deadened silence. Then, his mother spoke again, softly, as if comforting a very small child.

"Darling," she said softly, soothingly, "I think you're tired. It's late you know… maybe you need something to eat…" Dimly, Lovino felt a smooth, gloved hand on his shoulder, steering him gently towards the glass doors, back into the sickeningly colorful room, and onto a plush sofa.

"Here you go darling," a small, thinly made sandwich was pushed into his palm, "I know I shouldn't have brought you here. You must have been really hungry and bored. It's alright honey, I'll take you home and it'll all be fine-,"

"No!" Anger surged again, bubbling like hot lava in his throat, and once again the stranger cried out, "Mamma, you don't understand! He-this man-this bastard-he…he…"

"Darling," his mother appeared nervous, tugging rapidly at her silk gloves, "I'm sure Mr. Luigi wouldn't… would you, Mr. Luigi?" Her laugh sounded almost hysterical as she cast the older man a half-terrified glance. He returned with a gentle smile, shaking his head in a disgustingly benevolent manner.

"I think your mother is right," he replied smoothly, "maybe you should go home, get yourself to bed, have a nice cup of coco-,"

"Shut up, you bastard, jerk, a**hole-…" Somehow, Lovino heard the stranger again, crying out with his voice, exhausting his extensive vocabulary of curses. His eyes stung and he blinked furiously; no way in hell was he going to cry now! Especially not here, not in front of all the nameless, faceless people. There they all stood, crowded around him in their cocktail dresses, nudging one another and shaking their heads. As the heads shook, mockingly, he felt Him again-that stranger-, His anger exploding within him.

"Don't act all innocent, like you're a prissy little saint or something." He was tired; so very, very tired. Lovino would have been content to sit back and allow the mysterious stranger to take complete control of his body for a while, but then, there was that small, irritating little voice, crying and struggling in the back of his head, which kept him teetering on the edge between drunken sleep and sleeping wake.

At some point, Lovino realized that most people would have panicked at the idea of a stranger wrenching control of their body's into his own hands. Maybe it was foolishness on his part seeing as he wasn't 'panicking', maybe he was just an idiot, but somehow, incredibly, miraculously, he didn't care.

Another figure pushed towards the front of the crowd; a woman, perhaps in her mid-30s stood almost defensively before Mr. Luigi, hands on rather heavy-set hips.

"Are you saying," her voice was slow, deliberate, "that my husband is a, a-… a pervert?" the last word was hissed from behind thickly coated lips.

"Your husband is a monster!" The stranger shouted back, not bothering to keep his voice low, "he is a foul, disgusting, perverted…" He was panting with the effort of spewing insults.

Suicidal. That was it! The stranger was suicidal. And he, Lovino Vargas, was being led like an obedient lamb to the slaughter by the stranger himself.

It was almost funny really, the way everything was playing out. Here he was, trapped in his own body with a stranger who obviously had a death wish. No adult, not even his own mother would stand for all the insults the stranger hurled at Mr. Luigi, and yet, Lovino found he was content to sit back and watch. Hell no, not content! He wanted the stranger to continue! He wanted the stranger to continue and relish in every single delicious insult he threw at the bastard. With a triumphant smirk, he noticed the bastard's face had turned a disquieting shade of magenta.

"Shut your mouth," Mrs. Luigi looked angry enough to have a seizure, "this," she turned to the crowd, voice cold, "is the perfect example of a spoilt, disgusting little brat, a foul liar who doesn't know an ounce of respect-,"

"That's enough," his mother's voice was harsh, "Lovino, I don't know what happened between you and Mr. Luigi but you have no right to talk to an adult like that. Apologize and we'll go home."

I will not apologize!" The stranger's furious shrieks were almost melodious "I didn't do anything wrong. He was the one who-,"

"Lovino," her tone had risen, grown rapidly more threatening, "apologize."

"I won't!" His voice was growing hoarse, his throat parched, blistering from within. It dawned on him that the stranger had been screaming. "I won't I-," Lovino gasped; his cheek stung painfully; the most logical explanation, of course, was that someone had struck him.

Where was the stranger?

Frantically, Lovino felt blindly around for him. Strange as it may sound, the stranger had been oddly comforting. All the curses, all the insults, they had comforted him, had been what the bastard deserved. But now the stranger was gone, and all there was left was that dull, empty void pooling in the pits of his stomach and dragging him down slowly into a blissfully blank abyss.

His eyes felt viciously hot, and he knew tears had gathered at the edges, spilling over, leaving hot trails in their wake. His mother was trembling slightly, her chest heaving as if she had run several miles. She looked almost regretful.

"Come on Lovi," and again he felt a gloved hand on his shoulder, steering him towards the oak door and the colorful welcome signs, towards the elevator, down and down, sinking further, until it pinged loudly, out into the parking lot, into the car, engine revved up, and they were off.

How oddly routine.

All the way home, his mother was quite. She sniffed, occasionally, but otherwise, she didn't say a thing. Finally, they pulled into an empty spot, but neither made to get out of the car. His mother just sat there, sniffing quietly.

"Lovi darling," the cry was so quite; Lovino wandered if perhaps, he had misheard, but he saw his mother's lips move, fumbling with unformed words. "Honey… I'm sorry for slapping you earlier."


Lovino let out a breath he didn't realize he had been holding. What had he been expecting? Did he perhaps want her to say that she believed him? That he wasn't a liar?

"You don't believe me, do you?" It was shocking how monotonous he sounded. Normally, he just sounded angry. She took a deep, shuddering breath.

"I don't know," her voice was muffled behind the gloves she had buried her face into, "I honestly don't know. It seems so illogical! Mr. Luigi is such a nice man… but I didn't think you would lie like that." Her voice had become more and more hysterical. And as if watching the scene from afar, Lovino heard the words fall, monotonous, memorized line from his lips,

"I'm sorry mamma. I was very rude to Mr. Luigi. Let's go upstairs now." His mother gave him a watery smile.

A child has no place in an adult's world. A child is small, simple, foolish; right is always rewarded and wrong always punished. An adult on the other hand, is complicated, mysterious; in his world, there is neither right nor wrong, neither rewards nor punishments.

There is just him, in a dull, empty void.

Innocence and ignorance brings joys, but an adult has neither.

There were those like Mr. Luigi, who had perhaps forgotten what it was like to grow up. Then there were those like his mother, who clung helplessly to non-existent hope, wishing for the joys of ignorance they had for so long forfeited.

It was rather odd, now that he thought about it, but the stranger, he realized, was knowledge, revelation. Knowledge brings power and understanding to those who wield it, but those who wield Ignorance are the ones least hurt.

Years later, Lovino wondered how he could have been foolish enough to hope someone would believe him when he no longer believed himself.

Bunny's note: The name 'Mr. Luigi' was chosen entirely at random, and holds no connotation to any person, living or dead, or the Mario game character.

This story sucks. You probably realize this, since you're reading the end notes. Nevertheless, thank you for wasting several minutes of your life for me =)