A/N: Mild spoilers from 3x01. Hope you enjoy.

"Rufio," Cesare says, leaning against a wall. "Does that name mean anything to you?"

"I've never heard it before, my lord," Micheletto says.

"I've heard he's a shadow. He can get in anywhere he desires to go. How can I defend my family against a shadow?"

"Be realistic, my lord. No man is a shadow. Everyone has substance. And the moment he appears…"

Micheletto doesn't need to finish his sentence to get the meaning across.

"No. No, this should not fall to you," Cesare says, standing up again and starting to pace. "You've served me very well, Micheletto, very well indeed, but this is something I must take on myself. If I do not protect my family, then no one will."

"I would, my lord."

"But you aren't—this is not your fight. This is mine. I must kill this Rufio, shadow or no."

"With all respect, your father will never think you worthy," Micheletto says.

Cesare stops dead. "And what do you think gives you the authority to make such a bold statement?"

"Your brother—"

"Do not mention my brother!" Cesare yells. "Juan is dead. Unless he wants to rise again and watch over us all as a guardian angel, he can never help this family again. Not that he ever did in life. This is my duty. Maybe I can make my father see, maybe I cannot. But either way, it is not your job to tell me what my father thinks."

"What exactly is my job then, my lord?"

"To do what I tell you without question, like you've always done. Know your place."

"And my place is kneeling at your feet, aimlessly killing? Risking my life to never hear a word of gratitude?"

"Is it gratitude that you desire?" Cesare asks, not waiting for a response. "Then it is gratitude you shall have." He kneels at Micheletto's feet. "Thank you. Thank you for saving my family, thank you for all you've done for me."

His tone is filled with such scathing mockery that Micheletto has to resist the urge to kick him.

"Alright," Micheletto says. "If you could have done this yourself, then I'll go. You can hunt your shadows and save your family without me."

He turns and starts to leave, but before he takes five steps, Cesare's running to catch up to him, putting a hand on his back.

"Wait," Cesare says. "I apologize. I forgot myself. It's been a long night. Thank you."

And now his tone is completely sincere.

It's not like Micheletto could have left, even if he had tried.

Cesare will always need him, and there Micholetto will be at his side, always and forever.

A/N: Thanks for reading, and all feedback is appreciated.