A/N: I would just like to thank everyone for bearing with such a worthless, slow-updating author like myself. I feel so pathetic for not being able to update regularly like some of my favourite authors do, but I have to be in the right mood to right the stories I have going. I've really gotten into this fandom again lately, so I have a feeling I will get farther in this before September 3rd comes around and school starts.
Please, feel free to abandon me and my slow updates, I deserve it. I'm so sorry if this wasn't up to your par, readers, and please tell me if it isn't. Until then, or I update again. Enjoy!
"A letter." Dante said shortly, thrusting it into Dante's chest and scowling at the man. "Mondo was made aware of where the princess has been hiding, and he has addressed this to you, Debito." The tall, bald man didn't flinch as Debito's face darkened slightly, emotion flickering across the gold of his visible eye, and he glanced at the letter in his hand obviously.
'Read it.' his eyes said, and Debito tore open the letter furiously. He waved away the few Coins men that approached warily, his face blazing with unreleased displeasure, and he snapped at one of them to get back to work. It was unlike Debito to be so harsh.
"'Debito,'" He read aloud, clutching the paper with both hands and looking more and more agitated. "'if what Luca tells me is true, I hope that -for your sake- Felicita is unharmed'" -He glanced up at her, his eyes burning.- "' and that she returns with Dante and Luca when they come to collect her.'" Debito could feel himself shaking and forced down the urge to rail against this letter and Papa's commands. As he read farther on, he bit his lip hand, snarling at Luca, and jumped when Felicita touched his hand.
"Debito?" She murmured, angling her head so that she could meet his golden left eye. He couldn't respond, drowning himself in her emerald eyes for what might be the last in a long time, and he let her take the letter from him numbly. She looked down at it, breaking the spell, and Debito watched a bit of hair fall from its place to hide her expression.
"Papa wants me home now..." She said after a long time, "and you're not allowed at the house anymore..." She kept reading, her little body going tense, and she stared up at him helplessly. "I'm not allowed to leave the house; my patrol duties will be handled by the rest of my division."
With Felicita staring at him so helplessly, Debito felt his heart pound. She didn't know what to do -they might never see each other again except in passing- and she looked to him for the answer. Debito sighed, tucking her loose hair behind her ear.
"I'm sorry to get you into so much trouble, Bambina." He managed to smile for her, patting her cheek, and he pulled back to toss his house keys over to Dante. Purposely to Dante. " If you could, Dante, Bambina has a few things she'll want to take to take."
"But Debito-" Felicita tried to protest, having fought too hard for her freedom during the Arcana Duello to lose it now over all this. She met his eyes and scowled at the easy smile he presented her with. He looked so sad -the cool smile didn't touch his eyes the way she knew it should have- and his usually-confident gaze begged her silently.
'Don't. Just go.'
'This hurts. Just go.'
And she pulled back, mirroring Debito as he turned away and quickly following Dante out of the casino. However, Luca and Debito remained behind the desk, the cards scattered there, and they stared at one another wordlessly until both people were out of earshot.
"This is all you, isn't it?" Debito accused Luca, grinding his teeth together angrily, and shoved a finger in the black-haired servant's face. "What did you tell Mama and Papa?"
"The truth." Luca smiled and tilted his head to one side, clasping his hands behind his back demurely. "I told him what he would need to protect Felicita."
"My ass." Debito rumbled, waving away a Coin who'd looked over anxiously. "What did you say to him, Luca?"
"That Papa's precious daughter was sharing a bed with you every night without suitable clothing." Luca said harshly, "That you two were flaunting your situation openly all over the island. With no regards for Felicita or the family's honor." Luca's expression darkened until it shocked the Coins leader and made his eye widen. The face Luca made was so suspicious- so unsettling- so... Jolly that Debito wondered how much la Luna had taught him. "Not that you care much for the honor of women, Eremita, they way you jump from woman to woman."
Debito recoiled from Luca's harsh tone as if the older man had slapped him across the face, his rage building at the insinuation, and he struck back at his childhood friend blindly. Years of good times and casual teasing fell away as the dark-haired man standing with him now felt alien -like a stranger- and threatening. Luca fell, shocked by the blow to his cheek, and Debito snatched the fallen hat from the floor to inspect it -distract himself with it- while he spoke.
"Luca, we've been friends a long time," Debito murmured, well aware of the circle of horrified Coins and customers as it grew around them. "But I have never struck you until now. And you" -Debito's eye shot down from the brim of the hat and he glared heatedly enough to make Luca flinch.- "have never spoken like that to me before, ever."
"I never had a reas-" "Therefore, I won't shoot you in the knees like I wanted too a few minutes ago," Debito said levelly, twirling the hat lazily on his finger. "but I will say this: Temperanza, never come back here. I don't ever want to see your face in any Coins establishment without an order from Papa to be there."
Luca glared back at him from the floor, growling as the gunman toyed with his hat. "And if I do?"
"Then I'll shoot you until I run out of bullets." Debito hissed, "You've insulted me once and once is enough. Our friendship means nothing now if you think that I would 'A', stoop to that level, and 'B', succeed in coercing her into something like that. It's disgusting how poorly you think of Bambina, Temperanza," Tossing the hat to Luca like a frisbee, Debito said no more about the disgrace to his own name and snarled, "now get out."
Much to the one-eyed gunman's satisfaction, the dark-haired servant fled with it hurriedly.
Debito knew he should feel a little bad for using such a blatant threat on a once-good friend, especially in public, but he was too angry to care for Luca's reputation or his.
How could Luca accuse them like that?
Did he think so low of him that he would approach Felicita when she was so obviously hurt?
Did he think Felicita was some common floozy, throwing herself into someone's arms at every turn?
Debito had been sure that Felicita was the perfect woman ever since they had met, only growing more and more certain as she fought for herself in the Arcana Duello. Her face had bought him, but her strength had paid for and shipped him head over the hells of his expensive black loafers. She was everything typical island women weren't: stubborn, independent, so innocent, and so very determined to help people.
She'd worked so hard to help a little kitten find its owner again, and she had praised him so innocently at the Piccolino for being so nice to the children there. She treasured so many little things -card games, tomatoes, toast- that he took for granted as tasks that it was refreshing to wake up with her every day. She was always grateful for what was done, and he had underestimated how eager she was to learn things and repay favours more than once. She had tried to cook once, claiming she felt bad relying on him for so much, and it had been so endearing that he hadn't been able to resist cuddling her sooty little frame to his chest.
And she'd been so small -so fragile- in his arms. She hadn't pulled away, or cried out; she returned the gesture, her embarrassed face hiding in his chest, and eventually they'd laughed it off together and gotten lunch.
Now, Debito didn't feel much like laughing. His mouth tasted like it was full of ashes and he hurried into his office -which he usually avoided- to prevent interaction with his men or the customers. Right now, he wanted to be anything but civil, but he would be damned if he accidentally snapped at someone on the job.
No need to give Luca any more fuel for the fire.