Gunslinger Girl Side Story: A Triumph of the Heart is a series of serial short stories about an original character (OC) fratello, Paolo Di Tomaso and Dina. It starts early in the series, prior to Raballo's death. It is written to be faithful to the dark and grim feel of the manga, so you will not see cyborgs flaunting their abilities in sports or races.
It is arranged into volumes to mimic the feel of the early volumes of the manga where the events are told in a series of self-contained chapters, and the chapters are presented in a more-or-less serial manner in volumes. In the case of this work, a half-dozen or so short FanFiction chapters will comprise a short story, which would be presented as a chapter in the manga. This is in keeping with my preference for short FanFiction chapters, which captures the page-turning appeal of Yu Aida's work. Each FanFiction chapter will be preceded by its title and the title of the short story to which it belongs. Each handful of short stories will be collected as a Volume, which marks a major advance in the story. Volumes will be appended to this story.
GsG SS is marked as 'completed' because each short story is appended to it only when the short story is complete. I will add short stories to it as time and inspiration permits. The work itself will not be complete until I've posted the chapter in which they cyborg dies. The work is also constantly under revision, largely based on feedback from readers. The new chapter naming/numbering scheme is one of those changes. Revisions such as this are of lower priority than actually writing chapters, so some of the later chapters in Volume One will not yet be relabeled. Where 'breaking changes' type revisions are made, Author's Note sections will be appended to the chapter.
Volume One consists of the short stories Favianne, Alessia and Paolo. Together, they give the background stories for the cyborg and handler.
Favianne Chapter 1: Mother's Day
The warm Tuscan sun gently woke the large bed's sole occupant. She stretched, blinked and adjusted her alabaster-hued sleep-shirt, it having become twisted and snugged around her torso from her fitful sleep. She was not a beautiful woman - attractive, yes, beautiful, no longer. Before the silk was loosened, her profile testified to a life well-lived, a body slightly softer, rounder than she would like. While still shapely, she knew the days of turning heads in a daring bikini were past.
Almost as if they were listening by the door, two children dashed onto the oaken sleigh bed. "Mommy! Good morning!" "Happy Mother's Day, mommy!" They embraced her with the exuberance only the young could muster.
"Alessia! Alessio! Mm! Mm!" She wrapped her arms around the five year olds and gave each a huge, wet, and loud kiss.
"I love you, Mommy! I made you a flower!" From the pocket at the front of her skirt, she pulled out a crepe-paper and chenille craft, slightly crushed from their hug.
"I love you more! I made you a card!" Alessio produced a card which he had tucked into the back of his pants before tackling his mother. It too showed some creasing with one corner folded down.
"And I made you breakfast, Vi!" With a deliberately over-dramatic voice, her husband entered, carrying a huge tray nearly overflowing with plates, cups, and bowls. With him came the aroma of powdered cakes, buttered croissants, and that wonderful, bracing tang of coffee.
"Oh, Piero! Bless you! The English have no idea what constitutes a real breakfast. But there's so much! You must want me as fat as old Signora Contadino!"
"Only if you'll still have me when I'm as round as Signore Contadino, my love. No, this is for all of us - I guessed you would be too tired for a picnic, so let the picnic come to us!" Piero would never be described as fat. His pajama sleeves were rolled up to the biceps, and displayed arms well-defined and fit. His carriage, his stance, they showed this from his time in the military.
"Daddy, I didn't hear you come in! When did you come in? Did you kiss me?" Alessia bounced on the bed as she squealed.
"Now, now. Let's calm it down. If you do that with the tray on the bed, we'll -"
She was interrupted by a warm chuckle. "You must think me a bigger fool than usual, Vi." He gave a wink and a smile, belying the words spoken in a deep, amused voice. Piero DeAngelis was anything but a fool. As Chief Prosecutor for the province of Arezzo, the east-most part of Tuscany, he could not afford to be.
"Alessia, of course I kissed you. And you too, Alessio. Now, let's use our indoor voices, hm? Piero, if you're going to put it on the dresser, you're going to have to fill a plate for me. After all, it's Mother's Day!" She threw up her arms with a huge smile, and then hugged them again.
In unison, the twins giggled and said, "Indoor voice, Mommy..."
Breakfast littered the burgundy sheets with all manner of cake crumbs and stains. The children, as most do, gorged themselves, and quickly heeded the game console's siren call when the parents started to talk about work.
"So how did your trip go?" Piero asked between civilized nibbles on a croissant, glowing in the sun with butter.
"It was ... pointless, really." Favianne sipped the cappuccino. "They claimed they threw out all the records from when Hong Kong was under their rule. Can you imagine that?"
"Actually, I can." Piero rubbed a finger against his goatee, one trimmed and neat, with bits of grey peppering its dark brown. "I can very easily see them saying, 'It's your problem now, Beijing' and, how do they say it, 'binning it all.'"
"Probably more like 'binning all that bullocks,' I imagine. But, this leaves me back to nothing with those sweatshops and all those illegal immigrants. Well, I'll see if Nicco will fly me to Hong Kong, then. Though, with nothing in hand after this trip, I doubt it." She sighed, and took comfort in another sip. "But enough about me. How about you?"
"The same, the same. Not a lot changed in a week, you know. I have a new shooting to investigate. Well, more than one. One Chinese thug, probably Lo Tze's man. No wallet, so we're doing the usual. Two are ... they're trouble, that's what they are. They're ex-military and Northerners, but not around here."
"Sounds like the one from two weeks ago, then. Only the other way around." She set down the cup on the nightstand and stretched.
"Don't remind me. Rome is still hounding me about that. But that one wasn't two-to-one. It was a slaughter - one of ours for eight of theirs. I'm sure Lo Tze got these two for revenge."
"'Ours?' Don't let Michela hear you saying that. She'll think you turned." Her boss at the Guardia di Finanza was famous for her paranoia.
But is it really paranoia, Favianne thought, given how many were revealed to have ties to the underworld?
Piero started to undress. Favianne never tired of looking at his physique. When he was dressed only in his trunks, he turned and gave her that devilish grin.
She smiled back, but said, "I would, but I just started."
He selected a shirt from the closet. "I'll take a rain-check then. Shall we visit the market?"
"But I thought you said you were bringing me breakfast because you knew I was tired!"
As he adjusted his tie, he said, "Yes, but with such a good breakfast in you, I know you're not tired now."
Grudgingly, she left the bedding's embrace. There in the closet was the flowery sundress she just bought. It'd be perfect for today. "Children! Get dressed! We're going to market!" The cacophony from the living room ceased after a bit, and she heard the stampede up the stairs. "And remember to walk when you're in the house!"
In short order, they were dressed, or mostly there. "Piero, did you see my phone?" Favianne asked while tucking Alessio's shirt in.
"I'll call it."
Silence. It wasn't in the house.
She rolled her eyes. "It must be in my car. Lord, it was so late. I can't even remember when I got in."
Piero said over his shoulder as he walked toward the door. "It was four in the morning, love. No surprise you left it in the car. I'm just surprised you didn't leave your keys as well."
"How would I have gotten in? Help me with Alessio, Piero-"
"I'm ready, Mommy!"
She gave him a kiss on his forehead. "Indoor voice, my angel. And you need to brush your hair."
"Mommy! I can't find Signore Bear!" Alessia's cry nearly rattled the windows.
"I'll be right there. Piero, it's Mother's Day - can you get my phone for me? And help Alessio?" She feigned a helpless look at her husband, leaning against the doorframe with a bemused grin brightening his face.
"Of course! Come, Alessio! Let's play 'hunt for the phone!'" He turned smartly about and parade marched out the door. Their son quickly followed, falling in step behind him.
"How is that helping, Piero?"
"I'm keeping him busy while you help Alessia, Vi. You can thank me later."
She suppressed a giggle as she left for her daughter's room. She'll thank him later, surely. She thanked him now, in her heart.
It was only because they were in the back of the house that she and her daughter were spared from the explosion.
Father's name was changed from Sandro to Piero because, when story was written, I had not yet read the later volumes of the manga with the canon character named Sandro.