Author's Notes: Ah, hello all! Yes, this is the beginning of another really long fic. And one I came up with the idea for myself! Anyway, the real point of this note is to add some warnings: as this is a Mafia fic, this will eventually feature crime in some detail. Character death, violence, blackmail/extortion, prostitution; these are all subjects that will raise their heads at one point or another. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, by all means, leave now.
...Also, everyone will be referred to by human names in this chapter. If characters do not have canonical human names, I will tell you who they are before the chapter. Oh, and everyone (or most people) are slightly Italian in this fic. They are probably speaking Italian unless I specify otherwise. As it is set in Italy.
Chapter 1: A Letter
"…So, what do you think?"
Ludwig sighs and tosses the letter to the side. "I don't know why you'd even bother showing me this."
"Ehhh?" Feliciano hurriedly grabs the letter. "Ludwig, don't be like that! Ve, what's wrong with it?"
"It's a transparent plea for money–"
"Well, yes but–"
"And frankly, I thought even you would have more common sense than this."
"Ludwig shut up!" Feliciano's face is getting all red in anger. "Don't be mean! You don't know what's going on okay? This isn't just some weird old guy asking me for money; this is Antonio and–"
"Feli, Feli it's okay; don't cry!" Ludwig is grabbing his hand and making Feliciano look at him; Feli didn't even notice he was crying. "I don't… blame you; I'm not angry, I just–"
Feliciano sniffles and Ludwig sighs. "I'm not going to convince you about this, am I?"
Still sniffling and annoyed, Feliciano shakes his head. "No. I mean… just read it Ludwig. He needs me. He raised me after–"
"I know, Feli." Ludwig suddenly takes his chin in hand. "It's just… With what happened to your family, and everything I've heard about that town; I don't… want you to get hurt if you go back there."
"…I won't," says Feliciano weakly. Ludwig sighs.
"Lord – what you lack in common sense, you… well you don't exactly make up in courage, but…"
Ludwig trails off, still staring at him. Feliciano stares back.
The hand falls and Ludwig coughs awkwardly. "Of course, Vater won't like it," he says.
Feliciano rolls his eyes. "Well duh. That's where you come in, Ludwig!"
"No no no it's all okay! See, all you have to do is tell Papa I've gone somewhere else!"
"Um… Anywhere else?"
Ludwig glares at him.
"It doesn't matter, okay! Just say I'm on business or something, I don't know."
Ludwig sighs again. "You haven't thought this through very well, have you?"
"…I'l think of something," Ludwig says, and Feliciano beams. "Vater will want to know where you are, though. You be careful of him too."
"Yessir!" Feliciano leaps up and throws his arms around Ludwig, hugging him tightly. "Thank you thank you thank you!"
"Erm, indeed…:" Ludwig mumbles as Feliciano happily kisses his cheeks. Feli giggles. Even though he's never been there, no-one's ever quite bred the German out of poor Ludwig. "Um, you know Feliciano, oxygen is typically considered part of a healthy lifestyle…"
"Huh, oh sorry!" Feliciano pulls back. "Ve – thank you Ludwig! I love you!"
Ludwig coughs again and sighs. "Feliciano… listen to me."
He blinks. He listens.
"…Promise me you'll take this seriously, alright?" Ludwig asks. "I meant what I said about how dangerous it is there. If anything happened to you…"
"Of course," says Feliciano, frowning. "Ve… You went there, like, once or twice Ludwig. I grew up there. I remember what it was like, and no, it wasn't easy. And that's – that's why I need to go back. Antonio needs me, and after everything he did for us, he deserves it."
"I see," says Ludwig, smiling. "Well, if you're that convinced, there's nothing I can say to persuade you otherwise."
"Hee. I always win."
Ah, hello! I know it must seem strange hearing from me, after all this time. It took me some work to track down your address, don't you worry! How are you?
Anyway. I know this may be a little too much to ask, but – would you mind visiting the old town sometime soon? Yes, I still live here! It's nothing to worry about, just I've had a few troubles lately and I was hoping you could help me out?
You were so cute when you were little… I've missed you, you know, and your brother. Have you spoken to him lately? We didn't really stay in touch when he left the orphanage; that was sad.
I probably shouldn't waste any more of your time. Please write back soon, Feli! I'm waiting to hear from you!
Romano scowls and looks up from his newspaper. "What do you want, jackass?"
Heracles rolls his eyes and sits next to him on the couch. "What are you reading?"
"We got contacted today."
The hairs of the back of Romano's neck stick up. "Really? What do the bastards want us to do now?"
"Nothing specific, just..." he trails off and Romano kind of hopes he's falling asleep again. No luck. "There was something... our friends in the post office found..."
"Spit it out already, dammit!" Christ he's annoying.
Romano swears Heracles is smirking. "Your brother's coming here."
Heracles definitely smirks.
This whole issue is suddenly interrupted by a plaintive, pleading "Meow?"
"Oh, for fuck's sake," grumbles Romano as Heracles smiles and takes the stupid ball of fluff into his arms. "Really? You just come in and drop that fucking bombshell on me and–"
"Shh, Romano. You're not the only person in the world who matters, you know."
Romano's stomach clenches and he balls his fists.
That son of a bitch.
"It's okay, Bella; I'll feed you soon." Heracles pokes at it's nose with a finger, and the kitten sniffs at it, before butting it's head against Heracles' hand.
"Stupid fucking name," Romano says. "It's not even that cute."
Heracles rolls his eyes. "I'm sure she's devastated."
"Just keep that thing out of my fucking room, okay? You know I have allergies. I will break it's neck, I mean it."
"I see. Threatening a kitten. Dignified." Heracles plops her down, to get an irritated squawk. "To focus on what's actually relevant to you – they copied out the letter; I thought you'd might like to take a look..."
"Gimme that." Romano snatches it out of his hand. "Don't act like you give a fuck about my family or some bullshit, alright? This is your fault anyway."
Heracles sighs. "Fine then. Come along, Bella."
Romano scowls as the kitten follows Heracles out, and he looks down at the letter. And sneezes.
Wow, it really has been a long time, huh? I was really surprised to get your letter! I'm fine, thank you. I don't really know what to say – eh, I have a lot of money now! I work for my father's company. You know, Roderich, the man who adopted me? Sorry if you don't remember him.
I don't mind coming and visiting. Can you pick me up from the train station just before the town? If it's anything like it used to be, yeah, I wouldn't want to take the train all the way in. But don't worry! If you don't have a car right now I'm sure I'll find a way.
I really haven't spoken to Romano. Haven't you? Did someone take him? I thought he'd try and keep talking to you; he always used to like you.
Anyway, I'll uh, see you soon. Ludwig is telling me I'll be free for awhile after the 28th? So I guess that's when I'll go.