Would you go find yourself a gondola!
I don't know when it happened, but it did. I'm not sure if it was gradual, like it usually is, but it just sort of hit me one day.
After my little epiphany, I realized that I'd loved him for a very long time. Probably since the day I met him. But I'll never know for sure.
It doesn't matter right now though, maybe someday when I'm old and have lived my life I'll have time to wonder about such things, but all that matters right now is him.
Or more specifically, he and I.
"Hey! Leave him alone!" Dino ran forward towards the boys who had a younger boy by the collar of his shirt.
The poor kid looked scared half to death. Dino shoved the boy holding him backwards, and he released the kid's collar, who took off as fast as he could down the sidewalk.
The next thing Dino felt was a hard punch to his nose, "What the fuck you think you're doin', pipsqueak!"
Dino was the same age as these boys, sixteen, but he was still pretty short for his age, so he looked up at the bully, even as he felt the blood begin to pour down his face.
"You pick on that same boy everyday, and it makes me sick! Why don't you pick on someone your own size!"
The leader of the gang laughed raucously and grabbed the collar of Dino's shirt, tossing his ash-blond hair from his slate colored eyes and readying himself for another punch, "HAHAHAHA! If that's the way you want it, we're just shit outta luck, aren't we boys?"
The other three boys laughed, and he brought back his fist, but before he could swing it, a loud, booming voice from behind startled them all.
"VOOOOOOOOOOI! Akira! The fuck is your problem? I thought I told you not to pick on girls!"
The voice was mocking, and very pissed off.
Akira released what sounded like a feral growl and shoved Dino to the ground.
"Jesus H. Squalo, don't you ever shut the fuck up?"
Dino looked over to where the voice was coming from and gulped.
Reaching almost six foot, with cold, merciless grey eyes, Squalo was a swordsman and one of the nastiest boys in Dino's graduating class, and now he was here too!
Dino groaned inwardly. He was seriously going to get the crap kicked out of him.
Now he snorted, "I could ask you the same thing, you fucking moron." he waved him away, "You seriously piss me off. Now fucking beat it before I beat you!"
Akira had murder in his eyes, but surprisingly, he backed off, calling over his shoulder, "One of these days Superbi, one of these days."
"In your dreams maybe." Squalo scoffed.
Dino just sat there for a moment, unsure of what to do.
He started when a hand was offered to him.
"Well? Are you just going to sit there all day and bleed until you're too lightheaded to walk?" an annoyed voice snapped.
Dino shook his head and took the hand offered to him, and he couldn't help but stare.
Squalo really was beautiful. His eyes were so light you could almost say transparent, and his light silver hair was short and feathery, playing around the back of his neck and in front of his eyes. He was tall and lithe, long-legged and pale.
"Well come on! Do you want help with that or not? Akira's punk-ass probably broke it. Let's go."
Dino could do nothing but nod, and then he followed him. There was suddenly a movement in the corner of his eye that caught his attention.
When he looked, he didn't get a very good look at the person, but he could have sworn it was the little boy whom he had rescued from Akira.
"What'd you say your name was?" Dino flinched away from the ice being pressed to his nose. He was sitting in a chair in Squalo's dorm, where the latter had brought him.
"U-um, I didn't…"
Squalo rolled his eyes, "Well don't you have one?"
Dino gave a very small nod, wincing afterward, "C-Chiavarone Dino."
Squalo's eyebrows shot up and he stared at Dino incredulously, "You? You're the 10th Boss of the Chiavorone Famiglia? Are you shitting me?"
Dino cringed, "Is that a bad thing?"
"YOU are a bad thing!" Squalo raged, "That was pathetic! If you're going to be a Boss, you'd better fucking well start acting like it! Not going and getting your ass beaten by someone like Akira!"
Dino's gaze was downcast, "I know. It's not like I'm not trying though! I'm just not very…good at fighting…"
Squalo heaved an immense sigh, "If that's the case, do you at least know how to fight hand-to-hand?"
Dino shook his head, and Squalo snarled. The silverette grabbed Dino's arm and yanked him up, hauling him out the door and closing it with a resounding slam.
"W-where are we going?"
Squalo snarled again and walked faster, practically dragging Dino along behind him, "I am going to teach you to be of some use by teaching you. If you don't know how to fight at least with your fists by the time I'm done with you, then my name isn't Superbi Squalo!"
Dino gulped and hurried along behind the other, and he couldn't help but wonder, 'What exactly is training like with Squalo?'
And he was about to find out.
The days that followed were brutal for Dino.
Squalo kicked, punched, and countered at a furious pace, and even tried biting him a couple times, but not once did Dino even consider giving up.
And he began to, slowly but surely, improve, and for him, Squalo's praise was enough. Acknowledgement from the silverette was hard to come by, so whenever Squalo dropped his guard and let it show how surprised or impressed he was, it satisfied Dino greatly.
And now, over a month since the day they met, it was declared, by Squalo, that even if he had trouble with a weapon, at least now he had "a mean right hook".
Although their sessions lessened, they still occurred, and Dino didn't stop spending time with the silverette. For the most part, Squalo didn't mind either. They did their homework together, played video games, watched movies; sometimes Dino even slept in Squalo's dorm overnight.
Mostly because Squalo didn't have a roommate, while Dino was unlucky enough to get the most annoying kid in the school. A boy younger than himself named Longchamp.
It was during one of said sleepovers that Dino realized the reason Squalo probably didn't have a roommate was because he was still snarling and shouting while unconscious. Not to mention the fact that he kicked or swung out viciously whenever anyone disturbed him, which Dino found out for himself the first time he tried to wake him up in the morning.
The next time he woke up before Squalo on a Saturday morning, he let the other continue sleeping.
This morning was no different, and he decided to sing a tune to himself. When he woke, the blond had caught himself staring at Squalo. Again. He had begun to notice that he was doing that a lot recently, and he couldn't help but realize that he had developed feelings for the loud, arrogant swordsman.
During all of the time they spent together, they had created a bond stronger than the steel of Squalo's blade, and somewhere along the line, Dino had managed to fall for him.
Now, when he woke up in Squalo's dorm room every Saturday, he couldn't help but wish that he could wake up lying next to Squalo and not in the armchair across from Squalo's bed or, more often than not, on the floor.
This morning was no different. He sighed and sat up, his back protesting mildly after a night spent on the floor.
He softly began to sing, "Uno specchio d'acqua fermo e arrugginito. Rispecchia, talvolta, rispecchia la verità."
He was blissfully unaware that Squalo had opened his eyes to slits, and was listening to his best friend sing.
The chief emotion that kept popping up throughout the swordsman's mind was puzzlement. Confusion at how heartbroken Dino sounded.
The blond was singing quietly, but Squalo still heard it.
"Libertà è solitudine. Mi volgo al cielo, mi volgo al cielo notturno: Aiutami, aiutami!"
After he heard that Squalo shifted, making his consciousness known, "Would you go find yourself a gondola!"
Dino practically jumped out of his skin, "SQUALO! H-how long have you been awake?"
Squalo snorted and sat up, "I just woke up, thanks to your singing. What do you want to do today?"
Dino turned dark pink briefly, then his face seemed to light up and he grinned, "I know a place we can go, but you'll have to wait and see! Come on and get dressed, we'll pick up some breakfast on the way!"
"How in the HELL did you get this idea in your head?" Squalo mused bitterly, his silver hair catching the orange-red rays of the spent sun, turning the short strands to copper.
Dino's eyebrows raised, "You said it, not me."
The silverette slapped a hand to his face, "Me and my big mouth."
Dino rolled his eyes with a smile, "You have no idea."
Squalo merely huffed, "Where the hell are we anyway?"
Dino looked surprised, "You don't know where we are?"
Squalo gave him a scathing look, "Does it look like I go around mapping every square inch of Venice, nitwit?"
Dino raised his hands in surrender, "Okay, I see your point. This waterway goes under the Bridge of Sighs."
Squalo threw his hands up, causing the gondola the two (three if you include the man who was giving them the ride) of them were currently in to pitch back and forth, "And of WHAT significance is that, pray tell?"
Dino hesitated for a moment before answering. He smiled and chuckled, "It's said that you'll have good luck if you pass under it. I just thought it might be something fun to do today…"
He trailed off as the mustachioed man moving the boat along cleared his throat and gave the blond a meaningful look when Squalo was turned the other way.
Dino had a pained look on his face, and the ferryman subtly raised an eyebrow and looked from one to the other, seeming to dismiss a thought before turning back to his task.
Squalo huffed again, "If you say so Chiavarone."
Dino scrunched his eyebrows together, "Why don't you ever just call me 'Dino'? we've known each other for a long time…"
Squalo seemed to think on that for a moment, then said, "I really don't know."
"You don't mind me calling you just 'Squalo' do you?"
Squalo looked over at him, slight vexation apparent, " No."
Dino was quiet for a moment until the silence was broken by the ferryman, "The Bridge of Sighs is just ahead gentlemen."
He gave Dino another glance, and the blond swallowed.
'Why do I have the feeling that I'm going to die today?'
The bridge itself was elegant in its outward limestone appearance, despite the fact that many who had walked across it had never come back to the other side.
It was called the Bridge of Sighs because it was said that convicts would sigh when they passed over the bridge and got their last view of the city before being led down to their cells of the prison on the other side.
As they neared it, Dino moved from his place across from Squalo to beside him.
The swordsman gave him a sideways look, but said nothing.
Dino wondered briefly whether the gondola was moving slower or if it was just him.
They weren't far from the bridge when Squalo asked, "Okay, what does this bridge really stand for. Don't think I can't tell when you're lying, Dino."
Squalo's gaze shifted to his hand when Dino placed his over the silverette's and leaned in closer, the bridge passing overhead as he gently pressed their lips together as the sun's final rays bathed them in red. Only when they had cleared the bridge did Dino pull away.
Squalo was impossibly red and looked indecisive over whether to gut him or rip his head off.
"Well?" the swordsman said, his voice frighteningly calm.
Dino was suddenly aware of the crushing grip Squalo had on his hand. The blond felt tears sting his eyes. Squalo was definitely pissed.
He swallowed, "It's for…eternal love Squalo. I love you."
Squalo's expression changed rapidly in the seconds that followed.
The first was one of shock, then disgust, and finally, rage.
He turned to the ferryman, "Get me off of this boat now."
The man nodded and as soon as he could, Squalo leapt from the boat.
Dino followed him, "Squalo, wait-"
The swordsman shoved him backwards harshly and he went tumbling into the water. Dino came up and spat some water from his mouth to find Squalo glaring at him.
For once the swordsman seemed lost for words, "You…you…you…IDIOT!"
Dino climbed out of the water faster than he thought he could and scrambled after Squalo, who was now running. But if there was one thing Dino was truly good at, it was running, and he managed to catch up and keep pace with Squalo.
"Squalo! WAIT! Please!"
Squalo tried to shove him down, "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME DINO!"
Not only did Dino keep his balance, he sped up, "NO!"
Then he did something he had never dreamt he would do. He brought Squalo to the ground, and not vice versa.
The silverette was panting hard, almost gasping, and Dino thought he looked…sad?
The blond pinned down Squalo's arms, though he knew it probably wouldn't make a difference, "Squalo…I'm sorry. I can't just let you go after this. I at lease need to hear what you have to say to me now, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because if I don't, it may kill me."
Squalo extricated his hands from Dino's grip, making them into fists and growling, "You want to hear what I have to say Dino?"
The blond nodded, but he was unprepared when Squalo hooked his leg into Dino's and reversed their positions, "I think you're a stupid little spotlight stealer, you fucker. You've got some nerve, making the first move, and using my idea to boot. Do you really think I don't know every goddamn waterway in Italy? Not just Venice? What the fuck kind of person do you take me for?"
Dino was silent, but only for a moment, "Your egotistical tendencies know no bounds Squalo."
Squalo smirked, "You're damn right."
Squalo dove in and captured Dino's mouth with his own, and the blond's eyes went wide before they closed completely.
Squalo pulled away and analyzed Dino's expression, "I take it you didn't mind?" he said cheekily.
Dino just grinned and pulled him down for another kiss.
Squalo sprawled out on the grass, his silver hair, fanned out behind his head, turned golden from the sunset as Dino rested his head on his shoulder.
"So, how long did you know?"
Squalo shrugged, "I don't know. One day I just suddenly…knew."
Dino twined their fingers together, gazing up at the baby blue sky dotted with orange and yellow clouds, "Well, however you found out, I'm glad you did."
Dino smiled and Squalo soon followed suit, squeezing the hand holding his, "Yeah, me too."