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"Breath slower, Alaude" Giotto whispered to the blond beside him, as they walked into the smoked filled room; the air was thick with the burning smell of drugs - which neither of them had much of a tolerance for. The dark surroundings only added to their trouble as they made a silent agreement to stick close to each other; it was bad enough that the space was filled with strangers, but Mafioso strangers was deadly.
Men and their trophy women hung off of their arms, stopped what they were going and glanced their way as they walked through the hall - some muttering at their appearance; whether it'd be their taste in clothes, to their age or looks. Though most of the chatter fell on death ears as Alaude and Giotto were listening for other things; like the sound of quick footsteps approaching them from behind, or maybe the safety being released off of a gun.
The room was large and crowded. The huge windows were covered and blacked out; their only source of light was the artificial kind - and it was still dim at best. Rows and rows of tables greeted them as they went around the side; deeming it the safest and quickest way as they searched for their companion, who was meant to meet them here.
"Boss!" called a calm voice. Giotto, though still not used to the pompous title, followed the familiar sound; seeing off to the distance a Japanese man wavering at them. nodding to Alaude, they went to their newly found table. Sighing as they reached their friend without any trouble.
Giotto sat down in the plastic seat, after a barely noticeable glance at their surroundings. Alaude mimicked the action, as he too pulled out his chair from beneath the scratched, wooden table "Sorry, Asari, I was held up" he apologised, unspoken words travelling between the two men before the Japanese broke out into a peaceful smile and laughed.
"No worries, I wasn't here long, anyway" Asari waved off, leaning on his arms to prop himself from the surface of the table. His boss nodded gratefully, before he turned to the stage that was in front of him with a scowl, and folded his hands lowly over his chest as his fingers drug into his arms - Giotto's nails going straight through his crisp suit.
Alaude shook his head as he noticed; knowing instantly when Giotto was thinking "Calm down." he ordered in a low voice; not wanting to be overheard and draw any unwelcome attention "remember what we came here for."
Giotto gradually nodded, but before he could utter his thanks a loud voice boomed across all the others. A tall Italian stepped out from behind the thick, black curtains, a spotlight brightening his form as he spoke into the microphone which he held firmly in his left hand "On behalf of the Acerbi family thank you for attending today's auction" his words dripped with smug conceit; like he was on untouchable.
Giotto had to bite down a growl, and tried to contain himself. He felt disgusted with himself - truly disgusted; if you had asked him ten years ago if this is where he saw himself, he'd have asked what you'd been drinking, because in all honesty, no amount of foresight could have predicted this.
His transformation from vigilante leader to mafia don had been based on a saying he had never paid much attention to - 'If you can't beat them, join them'. At first it had been to strengthen his forces for a practically difficult threat that could have levelled half of Italy. But he would have never suspected that getting out would be so difficult.
Coincidently someone had forgotten to mention the unspoken rule of the mob world; that says once you in - your in, breaking your ties is impossible, and life threatening.
Five years later and he was still very much around; the Vongola had grown exponentially - there were hundreds of them now, but that didn't mean he didn't keep a eye on every single one of them; making sure they kept themselves in check, and didn't do anything underhanded. However, if one of his men did do something before he could catch it, they were thrown out of the family, no exceptions.
It had been three months ago when he had been arrested on the street for no good reason that all this had started; he had been walking home with G when a cop came out of no where and handcuffed him, before throwing him in the back of his car with force while his friend chased after them down the road - guns blazing.
He had been taken to an interview room, where he was introduced to a middle-aged detective who kindly unbound his hands, and much to Giotto's surprised, apologised. It had taken a good hour, and five cigarettes for the smoker to explain why he was there. The detective explained that they - the police had been watching the Vongola for sometime, and that they wanted their help on a case he was working on.
This had taken Giotto's interest, and he had point-blank agreed. The detective had blinked and blinked again before breaking down with laughter, explaining after he had calmed down that there would be a human trafficking auction soon, and that he wanted the boss to place a bid to get the transaction clearly on record; the money changing hands, as well as the person.
So here he was - a very pissed of Giotto, watching through narrowed eyes as the man on the stage stepped back "So without further-a-due, please bring out catalogue primo!" he exclaimed, as some members of the crowd clapped.
Two well-built men brought out a cuffed child; no older then four - and he had already seen such a bad side of humanity. His eyes were blindfolded as his messy bangs caught in the white martial - probably because it was put on in a hurry. His unruly hair poked out in all directions as it was dead on his head; strands stuck together with sweat and other substances.
Dragging the child to the middle of the stage, they bolted him into place by the lead like chain that was attached to the collar he wore. It was locked into a lop of metal that pertrubed from the floorboards. The brunet, as soon as he was secure, was pushed down on all fours as the two men walked away.
Strolling over to the defenceless boy, the announcer plucked the child's head up from the sagged position, his body knelt to the side as to not obstruct the view as he pushed the brunet's face up high to face the audience.
Under his touch, the child's body trembled - unseeing and scared as his head was forced upwards. The brunet's whole body felt limp and cold; the abuse was taking it's toll and the smallest of movement went straight through him.
"This ladies and gentleman is our first boy - and if you couldn't tell by the size - averages at seven years old" he told. Murmurs resounded through the crowd with the statement, and Giotto started to feel sick, a quick look to his two guardians told him that they weren't doing well either; Asari had paled, and Alaude was itching towards his handcuffs - which in anybody's books, wasn't a good sign for their mission.
"Sad to say that he isn't a virgin, but I guarantee, that for the people who are interested, is still a lot of fun" the Italian said, using his free hand reveal more of the child's bare hip; his only piece of clothing was a adults-sized dress-shirt, though only half of the buttons were done up which showed a good half of his bare chest. After feeling the air lift with something like excitement, the man released the material and allowed it to fall back down and stood - not bothering to brush himself off on the way up.
"Now you've all gotten to know him better, let me show you what your hard earned money's for" he muttered before placing his microphone in his pocket, before he started to fiddle with the blindfolds knot; roughly tugging the cloth away as he once again lifted the boys face, because the child had no energy to keep it in place.
There were a few gasps as the child's large, beautiful, chocolate eyes where revealed. The Vongola table was no exception; Alaude's eyebrows rose to his hairline, while Asari gaped, before he tugged on his boss' jacket "G-Gio, that - that looks…" the man trailed off; unsure of how to continue as his hazel orbs where fixated on the stage.
"Like me" Giotto finished in a whisper of a voice, though that was an understatement, he knew; the boy was like a younger clone - looking so much like he had when he was that age, or what a son of his could look like if he had time for long-lasting relationships like his other guardians did.
- And looking at the child's face, Giotto couldn't help but see how much he had missed out on because of the responsibilities that had been placed on his shoulders; a girlfriend, a wife, love, a child and watching them grow.
And as the announcer bent down to touch that small, frail child again, Giotto had snapped out of the haze he had been in, and sprung from his seat; toppling the plastic chair over in the process. The blond vaguely heard his guardians protests, and the other Mafioso's shock as he sprinted forward - leaping onto the stage with ease, and running to the boy's side within seconds. The man stumbled backwards as Giotto raised his mantle as a shield to protect the child from prying eyes.
"How much?." Giotto asked through gritted teeth, and a stain tone - as everyone was able to see his self-restraint weakening. His glare only grew as the announcer started stammering like a fish out of water; the boss' outburst having scared the living day lights out of him.
"W-w-w-well, y-you see, signor Vongola, t-this i-is a bidding s-s-so -"
Said boss cut off the pointless stuttering, as his patience finally cracked. His usual calm, blue eyes burned orange, and a flame lit itself on top of his head "Then get your superior to chose a figure on what they think they would have earned tonight." he answered "once they've settled on the number they want, contact me to set a drop. Anything funny and there will be no mercy," he added for good measure, he preferred bastards like this to be wry of him; it kept his family safe and it made him less of a target.
His two guardians had soon recovered from their surprised and were now standing protectively by Giotto's side; sending warning glares to the goons behind the curtain - telling them to stay were they where or there would be hell to pay.
In Asari's foresight, he had engulfed the blade he was now wielding with his Rain flame - that he had hidden up his sleeve, for one of those 'just encase' moments. Bringing his Tantō sword down on the chain that was attached to the child's collar; cutting the boy loose whose expression by now was priceless - complete stunned surprise.
Nodding his thanks, Giotto draped his mantle over the boy's shivering form - careful not to scare the boy as he went down and lifted the child onto his hip; having more the enough practice with his guardian's children. Wrapping his arms defensively around the brunet's waist, the man made sure to hide the boy's face in the nock of his neck, and felt oddly comforted when he felt warm puffs of air ghost over his skin.
"We're leaving." Giotto stated. His two friends led the way; fully intent on blocking any attack that may come their way as they stalked down the middle of the room and out the double doors. The cool, night air met them head on, though it was more then welcome from the stuffy surroundings that they had been made it sit in.
Breathing up the fresh oxygen, Giotto let his features relax, though they were still in a big rush as he was led to their car. As soon as they reached the vehicle, Asari quickly, but gently, pushed his boss into the cars back seat. The driver rose an eyebrow at the odd behaviour, but got the picture once he saw the bundle his boss was carrying.
Asari got into the front hastily, while Alaude followed suit and chose the back.
"Kidnapping now, are you sir?" he questioned in good humour, while starting the engine with the turn of the key.
Chuckling grimly, Giotto shook his head "Home please, Beppe" he requested, though looked down when he felt a small, hesitant tug on his jacket. His eyes settled onto the brunet's unsure features; his lips were thin, and wore a knot in his brow, while his skin was awfully pale "sorry, bambino, I acted a little rashly there, didn't I?" he laughed. Alaude next to him scoffed, but said nothing and instead turned and looked out the window, watching the reflection it produced.
Though, his weren't the only eyes watching the interaction. Asari and Beppe kept glancing back too, though Giotto was a little preoccupied looking at the brunet's weak form; it really was worrying - someone looking so frail.
The child shifted on the man's lap, chewing on his bottom lip as his fidgeted with his shoulder while averting his chocolate orbs "What is it?…" Giotto asked as he felt the brunet's discomfort "you don't have to worry, we won't hurt you"
Giotto nodded his head, a reassuring smile placed on his lips, as he tried to relax into the leather seat "We can even try to find your family for you" he murmured, sensing his guardians leaning closer to the two of them "Mister grumpy, next to us has amazing resources" he commented, which earned a pointed glare from Alaude for the nickname, and a amused grin from Asari and Beppe.
"T-then y-y-you don't w-want…" the boy stuttered, his grip on the expensive suit tightening as he struggled to continue the sentence. Flashes of things most people won't experience in a life time, hid behind his young eyes as his he retreated into himself.
"Want what, Bambino?" he inquired softly.
The brunet bit hi lip harder. This had happened once before; thinking that he was safe - that he had gotten away from the hell he had been forced into, only to find out it had only just begun. But something about this man and his friends - something about his eyes and the way he smiled at him; like he cared said that they weren't like those other people.
Something in the child's heart wanted to believe that, though there was also a logical element to it; this man had mentioned finding his parents - taking him home, and no one had ever said that before.
"Y-you don't…w-want to put it in?" The car was pulled into silence, thick and deadly as understanding came with those words.
Swallowing passed the sudden lump in his throat, Giotto ignored the churning of his stomach and bought his hand up and gently ruffled the brunet's hair, when he couldn't hold himself back "No. And no one else will" he scowled at the very thought "I promise"
The brunet's eyes widened as tears welled, and his body started to tremble all over again "R-really, signor?, you - you pr-promise?"
"I promise." and as the car passed through the empty roads, Giotto couldn't help but feel that something was changing…
Translation/ Information -
'Signor' - is Italian for "Mister"
'Bambino' - translates to "Baby", or "Child"
Alright I'm gonna half to apologise and say that I'm far too tired to do the translation for some of not-so-English words (Update: I have now, more than nine chapters in, added the 'Translation and information'), and I would and really do want to, but I'm completely shattered - I'm surprised I even managed to finish this without falling asleep on the job; it took longer then I thought it would, mainly because, not only did I keep getting distracted, but I had to look up all of the guardians names, which let me tell you, was a real pain. Damn it, I wanted to finish a one-shot of I've been writing tonight too.
Anyway, I've been trying (key word there, 'trying') to write this story for the longest time, I think it was before I start Masquerade, so the ideas pretty old; I just didn't have the means to right it until now, and considering this isn't even done all that well, is pretty sad. Sorry, but I've written this as well as I can, I just hope it's enjoyable.
Also, I apologise if the characters seem a little out of it and OCish, but I'm still settling in and writing for characters who haven't really made an appearance and doing it well is hard. Making them life like and likeable is harder still.
And and if you want the timeline; Giotto started his group when he was 17 - Got involved with the mafia 5 years later - And is now 27 and fully respected as a boss -whether he likes it or not.
So on another subject; I'm weighing the pros and cons of writing a small one(or maybe two)-shot of when Giotto gets arrested, in my free time. But if you I do and your interested on reading it, I'll let you know in a update.
Update/Finally gotten around to proofreading this again. I'll be going through the other chapters in my free time as well. Hopefully this is an improvement : ) - 07.09.12
I Apologise if there are any mistakes in my spelling/ grammar, or if you find anything I have written offensive.
Thank you to everyone who added 'Our Family' to their favorites/ alerts or who took the time to review, you also have my gratitude for reading.