First of all, Merry Christmas too everyone! I'd just like to make a special dedication of this story to my friend, who loves Spamano to pieces and has vied for a Mafia! Spamano fic for some time now. I usually don't write romance, but I'm doing this for a good cause...hopefully o.O anywayz, I google translated all of the Italian and Spanish phrases, so correct me if I'm wrong. ^^ i don't speak a word of either, so yeah...but I did do a lot of historical research and I made it as accurate as possible, just like usual. Old habits die hard. Enjoiiiii!~

Cosa Nostra: Part 1

Palermo, Italy, 1962

The darkest hour. Moonless. Musty, damp, and crumbling were all the nooks and crannies, every house and every alley. The night was their shroud, the shadows their valuable yet dishonest companion. The silence was a double-edged blade, coldblooded and cruel, sharper than any sword, faster than any arrow. This was the darkest hour, no more and no less. Only 60 minutes. 3600 seconds. But each second, the blade was ready. It sensed blood. It tasted blood. It saw blood.

This they all knew. Every single one, from the boys with cold trembling hands to the old men with the thick stink of cigars wafting about. But he knew it best of all. He knew it all too well.

It was a particularly stuffy night. Uncomfortably humid. They were gathered at a tight corner of a narrow alley, the damp and mossy bricks forcing claustrophobia to overwhelm their senses. Six vague figures stood half-swallowed by the shadows, like vengeful ghosts that haunted the night. There was one in particular. He wasn't particularly tall, like the one to his left, or particularly muscular, like the one to his right. No. He was simply particular.

The particular one stepped into the dim light, apart from the rest. In the eerie yellow light of a dying street lamp was his trim figure, accentuated by a simple black suit that merged seamlessly with the night. Hands deep in pockets, but body held rigid and upright. Short hair, dark brown. Eyes like dark green ink, almost vaguely luminescent. His face held the expression of a slightly-annoyed young man, the kind who was always somewhat disgruntled and will always be somewhat disgruntled. He turned towards the other five men behind him with the same countenance of slight annoyance. The rest of the group had cloaked themselves in absolute darkness, awaiting his directions.

"Alright, men," he addressed them directly with the tone of cold indifference, "You know the objective. As soon as we find Di Pisa, we run the usual routine and whack'im*. No questions asked. And just a reminder for you Young Turks*…" He paused, dark jade eyes swiftly flickering to a pale face at the corner of his eye. "The omerta* is the law of God. If you so choose to violate it, then you will be punished."

All stood with heads slightly bowed and hidden in the shadow. No movement. No words. The sign of absolute obedience.

And with a slight sigh, the annoyed youth whirled around and, hiding his face under a black-rimmed fedora, slipped into the darkness like a phantom. Two, three, four. Shadows that flitted before the light only a fraction of a second followed closely behind, evaporating like smoke into thin air.

So they proceeded. Soundlessly through the broken cobblestone streets. Slipping through the broken night. In a slumbering broken city. Thus was the darkest hour. Only 60 minutes. 3600 seconds.

Anger. The Don's* rage was imprinted in his mind.

"I want him dead! Tonight!" The sinister, raspy voice echoed.

Romano saw it in those dangerous eyes, threatening to detonate. He had watched as murderous intent arose from within the burnt ashes of anger, like the Devil's phoenix resurrected for the sole purpose of vengeance. And from that moment, Romano knew that he would be here this very moment, sneaking through these very streets. Because when the Don was angry, the city saw blood.

Under his black-rimmed hat, Romano gritted his teeth in frustration. The pounding in his head was deafening, in sync to the rhythm of each heavy step he took. With each step, a different face. Each image so frighteningly vivid. They went in a vicious cycle, over and over again, one after the other.

Thirty-seven. He counted thirty-seven. This would be the thirty-eighth.

He didn't know how many cycles later. But somewhere between the docks and the rundown ghetto, he slowed to a stop. It was a quaint little villa that blended in well with the long row of similar houses along the street. The road separating residence and ocean sloped downward steeply on the edge, giving way to dark waves crashing upon the shore.

Tch, looks like he had himself a posh life.

Romano ran his hand over the icy black pistol on his hip and slowly drew it out. He raised it to his forehead with the barrel pointing upwards, steady hands and a careful finger on the trigger. He turned to two of the men behind him and cocked his head towards the door. They rushed over and, upon detailed inspection for any traces of gunpowder, simply gave the door a light push. It creaked open. Absolute black seeped out from the thin crack. No light.

"It's unlocked, padrino*."

A frown emerged on the capo's* face as suspicion flickered in his green eyes. How can it be unlocked? Di Pisa would be mad to be so careless, especially after… Unless…

"Porca vacca*!" he swore under his breath, and swerved past the two underlings before they could react. He barged in with a violent kick to the door, pistol centered and aimed.

The moment he stepped in the house, he knew it was all over. The distinct scent of blood was strong in the silent room. Silent as death. A trail of crimson was still wet on the soft carpet, and in the black room filled with long angular shadows cast by the furniture, the trail led to a single irregular silhouette. Irregular but dead nonetheless. A limp figure lay on the white armchair, now dripping with red.

Romano relaxed, straightened himself up, and approached the lifeless body. The middle-aged man's arms dangled from the armchair, bloodied pieces of paper clutched tightly in his hands. No, not just paper. Money. The tired capo let out a disappointed sigh at this pitifully grotesque scene. The last moments of his life…spent with his most precious treasure in the world.

He heard footsteps as the rest of the group gathered behind him, awaiting an order. An older member, around his mid-thirties, stepped up to inspect the body.

"What do you think, Moretti?" The capo inquired in a bored voice.

"He hasn't been dead for long. Maybe an hour or so."

"But who could it be…" Romano mused as he played with the pistol in the hands, tossing it nonchalantly from one hand to the other. "You're positive this is off the record*, ci?"

"Ci," came Moretti's short reply.

"Well, the Don's gonna be royally pissed," Romano grumbled to no one in particular.

Secretly, he let out a relieved sigh. His pounding headache lifted a little.

"Well, don't just stand there, strunzo*," he snapped at the underlings standing a little ways apart from him and Moretti. Characteristic annoyance was thick in his voice. "Get rid of it!"

Two men hurried over and carried the dead body out of the room. After a thorough search of the house, the group retreated to the outside where they stood on the street in front of the villa, leaving Romano by himself standing on the bloody carpet.

"Now to clean up," the capo mumbled to himself as he drew out a small bottle that smelled strongly of gasoline.

He tossed the cap aside and circled around the room, leaving a trail of black behind him as he went. The black liquid stained the carpet darker than the crimson. Then he pulled out a small box of matches from inside his jacket. A hungry flame soon sprang to life in his hands, lighting up the room with an orange glare.

Taking one last glance at the finely-decorated house, Romano tossed the tiny flame effortlessly onto the floor and strode out of the building, hands deep in his pockets. The house burst into vicious inferno behind him, swallowing up the building as it danced faster and faster. The fire cackled like the ambition of the Devil as it dispersed the shadows shrouding the cluster of mafiosi. Because the light of destruction was the only light that the Cosa Nostra had to offer.

But soon they set off again, into the deep embrace of the shadows, the night, the darkness.

Thirty-seven, thought the annoyed young man, still thirty-seven.

He remembered all their faces clearly, as if the images were frozen in time. They haunted him every night, drove him to the point of insanity. The moment he closed his eyes, the images were there, swimming in his mind. A young man, barely out of boyhood, handsome, with frightened eyes that pleaded for a few more minutes of precious life. A beautiful woman around her thirties with flowing raven hair, an estranged comare* who had come to know too much. A balding middle-aged man. A rich man's frivolous son…thirty-seven different faces, all scarred with the same sentient of fear and horror. Scarred with death.

Romano lay there for five long hours that dragged on for a century. The images, fresh in his mind, made his head spin so fast he didn't know north from south. So many times, but yet the pain would not fade.

So he simply gave in. He knew he wasn't getting any sleep tonight. He slipped out of bed and stalked over to the window. The window pane rattled loudly with the strong, chilly winds. It was going to be a dreary day with heavy, grey skies. He smelled it.

With a click, a feeble flame came to life. He lit a cigarette and breathed in the tobacco. God, how he hated that taste. Because these were his days, spent in this city with grey skies. Dull and long, no escape. The taste of tobacco, the smell of mold. Broken streets and broken buildings and broken people.

It's December already…almost Christmas... But it'll never be Christmas on this miserable rock. His thoughts strayed to Florence, where there was bound to be bright torch-lit processions and the pungent fragrance of fresh panettone afloat in the air. Christmas songs, children's shoes out on every doorstep*…and that idiot who was always sleeping, whining, or getting himself injured. Fratello. But of course he would be with that uptight bastard Germany, who, despite his own political predicament*, somehow always had time to be entangled in his brother's business. Or was it because his brother got Germany entangled in his own business? An angry beast gnawed at the inside of his chest.

He scrutinized at his own annoyed reflection in the dirty window pane. Dark circles under his eyes stood out against his waxy skin. God, I look awful…

Romano spat out the revolting cigarette onto the ground and stamped it out forcefully with his foot. The more he thought about it, the more painful his headache, and the more painful his headache the greater his irritation.

He glanced at his own reflection once again. There was a time when this reflection resembled his brother. But not anymore. Endless toil and exhaust had taken its toll. It's been too long. Way too long.

"Affanculo*…I'm going to Florence!"

1 Whack- Mafia talk for 'to murder.' Also, hit, burn, pop, clip, or put out a contract.

2 Young Turks- younger generation of the Mafia, less likely to follow the traditions

3 Omerta- The sacred code of silence which forbids Mafiosi to betray each other to the authorities.

4 Don- head of a mafia clan.

5 Padrino- an inferior's way of addressing a superior. It means father.

6 Capo- short for capodecina or caporegime. It literally translates to "head of ten" but are simply in charge of normal Mafiosi and report to the cosca (head people of the family)

7 Porca vacca- It's somewhere between the degree of dammit and shit if rated by severity but means the same thing as the other two. But literally, it translates to "pig cow." Those Italians.

8 Off the record- not authorized by the Family.

9 Strunzo- Also, strunz. Basically, piece of shit. Used to refer to useless people.

10 Comare- mistress (Any respectable Mafiosi had one)

11 These are all usual Christmas traditions of Italy. Children leave out their shoes for La Befana, a female witch who gives gifts for children (There's a whole story behind this). Pannetone is a kind of light Christmas cake, though it's also kind of like bread at the same time.

12 At this point in history, Germany was divided into West and East (Pray for Prussia), and post-WWII Germany was under strict regulation, with little political freedom and grave economical issues.

13 Affanculo- F*ck it all.

So...tell me what you think. Reviews? :3

Re-edit: Ok, so people have complained about the apparently confusing numbers that were actually footnote references, so I've changed them to asterisks. Sorry about that, it was me being stupid because i copy-pasted directly from word and not realizing 's not a high-tech and don't havecool automated footnote programs. xDDD