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Business Before Pleasure

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The name itself was enough to send shivers down your spine.

Five years had passed since it’d been taken over by a boy your age—though, thinking of it now, it seemed silly to call him a boy. He was a man now. And there you sat—with your father—in the city of Napoli, waiting for this man, Don Giorno Giovanna, to grace you with his presence and talk business with your father.

Now, your father—Don Vittorio Andolini of the Sicilian Mafia (famously known as the Cosa Nostra)—adopted you over twelve years ago, practically raised you himself (along with the help of his subordinates) and cemented your status as Cosa Nostra’s principessa, the heir to his fortune and entire force of five thousand men. Of course, being a woman, you would not inherit it yourself—this would fall to your husband.

Cosa Nostra had once been a looser association of hundreds of smaller groups throughout Sicilia, but at the age of thirty-three, your father climbed up the ranks and took over not only his own faction in Corleone, but also the largest and most powerful group in Palermo—it was only a matter of time before the hundreds of other groups in the region bowed down to your father in fealty and handed control of their territories to him. From there, your father lead the new unified Cosa Nostra to greater heights and sought to make more money and gain more influence throughout the mainland, eventually becoming the most powerful mafioso in the business.

Your father laid men everywhere throughout Sicilia and the remainder of the country, and even had distant blood ties to the Americans in Manhattan. He was unstoppable.

But some five years ago, a young boy had come into the picture, having taken over Passione. Giorno Giovanna.

You’d never met him, nor seen him in person, but you’d heard plenty of tales regarding this Don. He was quiet, calculating and extremely ruthless; the trail of blood he’d left in the wake of his victory were proof of the latter. A charismatic man who was very well capable of convincing the most stubborn to swear themselves to his cause. Grown men kneeled before him and swore their fealty to him. He frightened everyone, even those who had never met him. But what most appealed to your father were Giorno’s policies regarding narcotics and civilians. Don Vittorio had not met Giorno, but the reports his own scouts had given him gave him sufficient proof that this boy ( man , you corrected him) would become a very important figure in the business.

If, of course, he was smart enough to broker his own ties with the rest of the crime world.

Giorno Giovanna’s rise to power caused an uproar among the elites, and while he was powerful enough to take control of an organization as a boy and managed (somehow) to maintain control and order in his city whilst establishing himself, he appeared to be struggling as far as the politics of the criminal underworld was concerned. People were either too frightened to work with him or simply remained uninterested—after all, he was a child compared to the older men of the countless other organizations in the country. To the others it seemed only a matter of time before he’d be overthrown and replaced. “Disposed of,” was the phrase your uncle had used.

Still, your father saw some sense in forging some kind of alliance with this man. Passione had only been a fledgling organization when Don Vittorio had first been exposed to it, and up until Giorno Giovanna had taken control of it, Passione and Cosa Nostra found themselves in terrible states of affairs. Years of bloodshed and schemes did not make for a pleasant past association with Passione, but Don Vittorio knew it was best to let bygones be bygones; as far as he’d heard, Giorno Giovanna was a decent man, the kind to clean his streets himself and act with honor and integrity. There was no sense in drawing out hostilities any longer, and it was best to strike whilst the iron was still hot—there would be others swarming in on the young Don sooner or later, and Don Vittorio was looking to touch a rather personal matter with Giorno.

It’d taken him a few months to arrange a meeting—plenty of communication had occurred between Don Vittorio and one of “Don Giorno’s” capos before your father finally expressed his desire to meet with Giorno himself. Seeing that your father was a rather influential figure in the country, Giorno had very little choice but to accept, lest he insult your father; regardless, his response had an air of humility and modesty, which you took to be a good sign. Others were not half as humble.  

Although this meeting was only meant to express acknowledgement and offer friendship, your father also had other plans. He smirked to himself as you shifted in your seat beside him, a shoddy attempt at masking your impatience.

Giorno was already fifteen minutes late.

“Does he mean to keep us waiting until we’ve started eating dessert? Or until my hair’s gone grey?” You asked impatiently.

Don Vittorio hushed you and patted your hand on the table. “Patience, trisoru. Good things come to those who wait.”

“We have been waiting.”

“Perhaps he’s discovered our plot and means to straighten his appearance for you.”

You snort at this and take a sip of water, trying your best to regain some sense of composure. Really

A ruckus comes up from the front of the restaurant then (Libeccio, was the name), and this is when you catch a flash of blond hair passing through the seating area. It was clear to you now—the people in this city loved Don Giorno, almost worshipped him, and he did plenty to fan their ardor; shaking hands with the friendly restaurant patrons, waving and smiling to those seated in the far corners of the main dining room and even paying for all of their meals. That was always a good sign. Your father smirks at your sudden display of curiosity and pulls you towards him.

“Remember,” He whispered. “Not a word. We’re not sure if he’ll be all too pleased to have a woman around while we discuss business.”

You nod at this, preparing yourself for the worst, before whispering back, “If he asks you to dismiss me, I’ll sit elsewhere with Spaghetti and Linguini,” You say, referring to your identical twin bodyguards.

Your father hummed at this and straightened his appearance, rising from his chair and offering a small bow of acknowledgment to the man of the hour himself. Beside your potential betrothed is a tall man with sun-kissed skin, a mop of lovely black hair (a pity—it was mostly covered by a hat), and a pair of dark eyes. They’re both comely in appearance, and part of you wonders if being handsome was a prerequisite to joining Passione’s ranks.

“What a pleasure it is to finally meet you,” says Don Vittorio, grasping Giorno’s hand and offering a warm smile.

“The pleasure is all mine. I’m honored to finally meet you.” Giorno’s eyes flicker towards your seated person—you were never invited to rise from your seat and approach him—ever so briefly before returning his attention to your father. Don Vittorio catches this, though the only indication to his satisfaction lies in the subtle curl in his lip. You always drew attention, and it seemed even Giorno couldn’t resist the temptation to steal a quick glance at you.

Patri likes him already, you mused.

Don Vittorio gestures for you to rise to your feet and step to his side. “My daughter and sole heir, the principessa of Cosa Nostra—Y/n.”  

You offer a small curtsy and bow your head. You may not be “interested” in Giorno Giovanna or his capo, but you were not looking to embarrass your father.

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Signorina.” says Giorno, who, after taking your hand, quickly presses his lips to your knuckles, before returning his attention to your father. “Will Y/n be joining us?”

“I can send her away, though I find having a woman around often throws away suspicion with the authorities. But I will leave the decision to you. We are your guests, after all.”

To your surprise, Giorno shakes his head and offers you both a polite smile. “I see no reason why I should send her away.” He bows to you and pulls a chair beside him—for you. “Please order anything you’d like.”

You bow your head in thanks. “You are very kind, Don Giorno.”

“Lovely.” Your father presses a quick kiss to the crown of your head and pushes your chair in for you. “Enjoy your meal, trisoru.”

And remembering that you’re in the midst of company, you show your brightest smile and shyly respond, “Grazie, Patri.”

Much to your surprise, Giorno does not fall putty to this elaborate and convincing act; him and his companion simply watch your interactions with your father with mild interest.

There was little time to be wasted; your “Patri” had plenty of other business to attend to, and it was clear that Giorno also had his own appointments after this. They speak of business as soon as they settle into their seats.

“I hear you’re quite busy around the spring. Tourism lines your pockets quite a bit around this time of year, doesn’t it?”

“That it does.” Giorno waves a hand towards his companion. “I’ve put Signore Mista in charge of the hotel and gambling sector. He’s the one overseeing most of those operations.”

Taking advantage of your seat beside Giorno, you observe him as they continue to speak amongst themselves.

Most of the men you’d ever met were of two types: the first kind would always puff their chests and attempt to gain favor with your father and woo you, using sweet words and carefully measured physical contact and body language—the second breed would ignore you altogether and dismiss you as simply another tool to be used to wave off suspicion from any passersby.  

At first Giorno appeared to be the second type, only showing interest in business and only ever concerning himself with the expertise of the great Don Vittorio Andolini. But you find that he often inquired about the food with you, made offers to send more bread when you’d taken the last piece, or ordered another plate of food for you after you’d finished your own dish. You accepted his offers graciously.

“I hear you’ve had a bit of trouble making friends for some time.”

Giorno chuckled and threw a glance at “Signore Mista” before admitting to it. “‘Trouble’ is a bit of an understatement, Don Vittorio, but yes. I’ve not been lucky.”

“I’ve had some of my own grievances as of late; some of the youth seem to look down on their elders.”

“I don’t suppose this has anything to do with my own actions?”

“It might, but I don’t fault you for any of it… I do, however, think that in times like these, people like us ought to forge new alliances.”

“Yes,” says Giorno hopefully. Perhaps he’d be lucky this time. He could use a good “friend” or two.

“Such alliances are often best sealed with some kind of deal.”

“So I’ve heard,” replied Giorno, eyeing your father intently. Whether or not he was unhappy with what was to come, you could not tell, but your father’s words certainly caught Don Giorno’s attention.

“I’d like to forge an alliance with you. Passione and Cosa Nostra have never been on good terms, but I would think it best to join our forces.”

“I would be honored to align myself with you.” Giorno says, taking a sip from his glass of wine. He briefly makes eye contact with his companion and a sudden shift occurs in the room. The table fell silent then; you’re thankful that the chattering of distant voices and clattering of utensils from the main dining room of the restaurant is enough to soften the tension.

“Do you accept?” Don Vittorio asks suddenly.

“Accept? I’ve only just met you.”

Don Vittorio chuckled and nodded. “Surely you could use the five thousand men under my command? They’ll all be sworn to you, should you wed my daughter. Of course, this will only come to pass after I draw my last breath. Until then, I’d allow you to wield my forces under my authority.”

Giorno drops his guard then, too shocked by your father’s straightforwardness. “...You’re proposing a marriage alliance?”

Your father motioned towards you. “You see, Y/n is my adopted daughter, but I love her as though she were my own flesh and blood. She has been courted by many, though I’ve not found any of these previous suitors to be a worthy enough match. I only want the very best for her, and I’m a little inclined to believe that you’d benefit from being a part of my family.”

Giorno ignores your father and turns to you. “I can’t imagine why you’d agree to something as archaic as an arranged marriage in a time like this. What do you make of all this?”

You ears perk up at this, and all of a sudden this conversation has become more interesting than the plate of food you’d been poking at with a fork. It was bizarre for a man to ever ask for your opinion, much less a stranger, so you were completely caught off guard. You stare back into Giorno’s blue eyes before dumbly blurting out, “I have a duty to my father and family.”

Giorno appears unconvinced but says nothing more to you after giving you a solemn nod.

The rest of the meeting rolls on rather quickly once they move onto the logistics: the amount of business deals Giorno had managed to obtain and keep over the past five years, which areas he’d been struggling in (which appeared to be the politics,) and assurances that he’d have plenty to gain from this… “merger.”

He pulls you aside later on, just as you are about to leave the restaurant with your father, asking once more. “Are you sure about this?”

You’re surprised, perhaps even moved by this gesture, but remain firm in your stance. “I am touched by your concern, Don Giorno, but I gladly perform my duties as the daughter of Don Vittorio. And besides—” You look up at him with a shy, sweet smile, hoping to gauge his person. Most men would fall victim to your carefully crafted charms, but unfortunately for you, Giorno only offers a piercing blue stare— how strange , you thought—and in a panic you string out the best excuse you can manage. “We… We’ve only just met, but... I know you’ll never hurt me. You seem a kind man. If you’ll excuse me,” You offer him a polite nod just before allowing your bodyguards to guide you outside the restaurant and into the car.

The next day, Giorno sends word to your father of his acceptance, and within a week he makes the effort to give you a “proper” proposal. The engagement ring fit perfectly, easily became the most beautiful piece of jewelry you ever owned, and when you return to your father’s home in Palermo, your aunties and cousins—and even your own father—constantly urge you to show it them.

“Why isn’t that the loveliest thing!” one of them squealed, taking your hand and smiling so brightly.

“Certainly can’t hurt that her fidanzato is one of the most handsome bachelors in Vito’s network.”

“And for him to be such a kind and charming man! Count yourself lucky, Y/n—most of us were not half as blessed.”

For the next three months Don Vittorio allocates the finances to cover the expenses of your wedding, and insists that he has no trouble shouldering all of the finances seeing that he’s the father of the bride; regardless, Giorno makes a few protests of his own and claims that he would gladly help alleviate some of the expenses. At first, Giorno offers to pay for all of it—perhaps, you think, to express his gratitude—but your father insists that a mere ten percent would suffice. They make an agreement at the halfway mark, though neither seem entirely pleased.

Together, they make sure to invite many of your family members as well as any of Giorno’s trusted men. This was all done in much haste and while this was clearly taking its toll on the wedding planner’s health, he says nothing and simply takes on the task of planning what would be “the largest wedding celebration the country has seen.”

As the day rolls closer, Giorno makes feeble attempts at conversing with you and each failure simply encourages you both to save this work for after the wedding, silently agreeing—perhaps hoping—that you would warm up to one another once you lived in the same household.

You find it amusing that Don Vittorio’s taken so much care to plan this entire wedding, but you can see that this entire arrangement is rather exciting for him. For nearly three months he forsakes his regular sleeping schedule to not only plan the event, but also still operate business as usual. Several times you’d insisted that there was no need to press over something as silly as a wedding, but he insists on personally carrying it out and you begin to wonder if wedding planning is little more than a pleasant distraction from his grievances.

March and June were a mere three months apart, but for some reason time lapses at an incredibly agonizing pace; unfortunately for you, the actual day of the wedding goes by rather quickly. Too quickly, if you were to be frank.

The entire ceremony was held in a cathedral, and though Giorno is no pious man, he understands that sometimes tradition ought to be respected. In spite of this, he finds it rather difficult to feel any sense of comfort in the marble floors and walls of the cathedral in Napoli. Normally, a wedding would occur in the bride’s home and regular place of worship, but you make a request to have the entire event done in Napoli; you were to live there from then on, after all. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to break away from tradition, even if only a little bit. Giorno seems pleased enough and says that the decision is entirely up to you.

Seeing that your father and betrothed made significant contributions to the budget, you both wore fine silks and satin in your garb for the event. Giorno wore a navy tuxedo with ladybugs and vines stitched along the lapels and cuffs in fine gold thread, and you were thrown into a long sleeved gown of ivory silk and Venetian lace, the skirts decorated in floral motifs picked out in seed pearls. Giorno manages to pass a compliment to you as soon as you join him at the altar, and gently takes your hand as you exchange your vows. At one point you force yourself to look up at him and find yourself staring back into those cold blue eyes. Eyes like his should be a marvel to gaze upon, but instead they are cold and distant, a complete and utter contrast to the loving words in the vows he utters. Part of you almost shudders under his scrutiny, but you square your shoulders and inhale sharply. For the remainder of the ceremony, you make no further attempts to initiate eye contact with him, choosing instead to train your eyes on the peculiar coils resting above his forehead. Yes; that would do for now.

It was at this time that you both tepidly take each other’s hands and slide the wedding bands onto your fingers. The kiss is as chaste as it is loveless, but you remind yourself that there were much crueler fates. Giorno offers you a sympathetic smile and his arm as you both walked out. There was no backing away now. You’d be bound together for all eternity.

There was no passion to the first kiss you shared as husband and wife, and your first dance, though perfectly executed, lacked any true emotion, feeling or passion. You stared blankly at each other as you simultaneously fed the other a piece of the wedding cake, and your speeches were lifeless and rehearsed. The two of you certainly made a beautiful pair, and most would agree that this was the ultimate match, but there was no love involved. You almost felt a small twinge of pain in your heart when you realized this. Yes, you were guaranteed safety and security for the rest of your life, but at what cost? You felt guilty, as though your father had tricked your husband into marrying you, but Giorno assured you many times that he was very pleased with the arrangement.

Your first night together had been a fumbling mess. Giorno was unsure whether you were comfortable and so once you both were finished, he retreated to a separate room in the hopes of giving you privacy. You scoffed at this, wondering what use privacy was now that he’d seen you bare and naked. Still, you were touched by his gentleness and tenderness.

Nothing changes when you both return from your honeymoon. You sleep in your separate rooms, and Giorno rarely ever calls on you, out of worry that he is intruding. You were, after all going to spend all of eternity with him. Perhaps staying out of your way would lessen the blow.

You both kept to yourselves, and the interactions you had were always polite, always cordial, always distant. You eventually share with Giorno some of your other experiences in regards to romance, and he was already aware that many men have bothered or (worse yet,) attempted to force themselves onto you, so he recedes even more, worried that his advances, romantic or otherwise, are unwelcome.

Sometimes, Giorno finds himself itching to ask more about you, to become acquainted with his new wife and to become a better husband, but it seems too forward and intimate. He’s not yet sure if he’s earned your trust. All Giorno wants is for you to have a peaceful and satisfying life, even if it meant that he would be unceremoniously shut out from it. Although both of you agreed to marriage for the sake of business and security, he still had hopes that you two would have become friends at the very least. He fears that you are miserable and dissatisfied, that you believe the arrangement to be a mistake.

Giorno himself is rather secretive about his past, insisting that there’s nothing worth sharing. You manage to find some information about him, be it whispers amongst the household staff or from overhearing his conversations with his team. While you haven’t heard many details, one thing is certain: he made many sacrifices to become the man he is today. He’s always had your respect, but now you feel a sense of pride for being married to someone so strong and honourable.

Learning more about the other seems to foster a mutual fondness for each other. You’re still strangers, but at the very least you and Giorno seemed to like each other. This situation was arguably better than many other couples, and you were thankful for it. 

You were terrible at showing your gratitude, but you felt that keeping to yourself would be sufficient; you’d noticed his dismissive and uninterested attitude towards the flirtatious and bolder members of the household staff and figured regular old charms would irritate him. This came as a relief to you—you hated having to play the role of coquettish airhead, and much preferred showing affection through thoughtful and dutiful action. If being alone was what he preferred, you would gladly agree to those conditions and leave him to his work. 

You initially read into each other’s actions in an attempt to cater to the other’s needs but your efforts are counterproductive. Your marriage is as strained (and distant) as ever. 

You’re married for a little over six months when you come to the conclusion that your life—though comfortable and quite splendid—was lacking something. You go through most days in a very particular fashion—breakfast, overseeing the household tasks, a great number of important errands, lunch, attending meetings, afternoon tea, and finally, quietly eating dinner across the table from Don Giorno Giovanna. He'd shown you nothing but the utmost kindness and respect, and while you feel lucky for this arrangement, as each day passes by, you can’t help but feel as though something is missing. 

Occasionally, your loving father will visit, doting on you and making sure you are being cared for properly. Your marriage pleases him, and he’s certain that although you are not wildly in love with Giorno at present, you will eventually find some sense of companionship at his side. You’re not so sure if that will ever happen, but your life is not miserable, so perhaps that is what your father meant. On one particular evening, you realize that you and Giorno had yet to discuss something as a married couple, and decide to take matters into your own hands.

Giorno is surprised by the knock on his bedroom door at three in the morning and is even more surprised to learn that it was you who called on him. You perch yourself on the edge of his desk and attempt to start some conversation with him, asking how he is and what he has been up to all day. After a few minutes of forced pleasantries, you finally reveal your true intentions for seeking him out at such a late hour.

“I’d like to have a child.” Giorno’s eyes widen ever so slightly, and he has trouble finding words to respond with. He is so different from the Giorno you sit next to during meetings. You continue. “Passione needs an heir. We should begin trying.”

A sigh slips past his lips as he runs his fingertips through the loose ends of his hair, contemplating the reality of the situation. You were right. “I agree.”

Your proposal is far from being romantic, but whatever it is that exists between you and Giorno is not love or romance or grand gestures; it’s business.

And so Giorno does his duty as the Don of Passione, working in earnest to obtain an heir to his great empire. He’s methodical in his approach and the two of you meet at night, thrice weekly, for four months. Later on, when his team learns of this, they’re amused, and find pleasure in poking fun at their boss. 

Narancia snickered. “Seriously, there’s something wrong with you if you call making love to your spouse a ‘job.’” What kind of person schedules these kinds of things anyway?

Mista shook his head and chuckled. “It’s almost been a year since you two married. Haven’t you gotten closer since then? It can’t be that bad.”

Sergio, a newly instated Capo, tutted quietly as he sifted through the pile of paperwork on the table. “Well, for one thing, Y/n still calls poor Giorno ‘Don Giorno.’ She refuses to call the boss by just his first name.”

Narancia shook his head and leaned further back into his chair. “Some husband you are, Giorno.”

Mista suddenly bursts into another train of thought and groans, “Wait—does she call you that when you’re alone too? Maybe you can try some new positions or something when you’re having sex— spice things up? If you loosen her up maybe she’ll start calling you by your name. I’ll admit though, I’m probably the last person you should go to for marriage advice...”

Giorno brushes these comments off. “Let’s talk about more pressing matters, shall we? I haven’t been getting much rest as of late, so I don’t want to waste any time.” 

This only made them cackle even more. Narancia wiped at his nose, ready to speak on the causes of the Don’s “sudden fatigue,” but Sergio discouraged him with a frightened shake of his head. They all dropped the matter, disappointed to hear that Giorno still felt rather detached from his wife. Was this not the ultimate match? They were hopeful, just as the other gang members had been, for the marriage to bring some happiness to their boss. The both of you deserved to experience some bliss.

You were just outside the door when you overheard this conversation, cheeks hot to the touch after overhearing some of their lewd comments. Still, you were just as saddened to hear that Giorno still shared the same feelings as you. Perhaps this was doomed to be a loveless marriage after all. You did seek out your husband for a reason, so once you mustered the courage to intrude upon their meeting, you gently turned the door handle and waltzed into the room.

The entire group of men stood as you made your entrance, your husband included. He’s concerned and waits until you’ve approached him to speak. “Is something the matter? We’re in the middle of a meeting. We can speak afterwards if you like.”

You shake your head and lean in, unable to contain your excitement. Hoping to keep this news secret from the other men present, you cup a delicate hand around his left ear. Your warm breath tickles the hairs on his neck as you whisper, “I’m pregnant.” 

This doesn't remain a secret for very long; Giorno’s team catches wind of the exciting news soon after and constantly wait on you, be it helping you carry things around the house or offering to accompany you to your doctor’s appointments. You and Giorno only discuss boy names—the doctor has informed you and your husband that you will be bearing a son, and so the two of you are left to await the day that your dear Giuseppe will spring to life. 

Nine months lapse before either of you can fully realize it, and that’s when you begin to feel contractions. Giorno is up the entire evening while you’re in labor and tries his best to help the nurses and doctors, going as far as using Gold Experience to distract you from the pain. He’s not quite sure if you can even see his stand, but he’s certain that he catches a glimpse of a smile forming on your lips when he changes the doctors’ stethoscopes into vines and flowers.

Giuseppe bursts into the world in the early hours of the morning, when the sun peeks out from beyond the horizon—a small bundle of black hair with blue eyes. My eyes, Giorno realizes. Giuseppe was a near spitting image of his father. Upon careful inspection of this newborn baby, Giorno silently wonders if his son’s hair will also change color when he grows older.

“Thank you, Don Giorno,” You sighed contentedly as you fed your son for the first time.

Giorno is not sure why he feels unsettled by your formalities, but he immediately thinks that he should be the thankful one. He had never grown up with an actual family, and now he found himself blessed with a wife and a son. How could he ever repay you?

Mista and Narancia take an immediate liking to the baby and constantly ask to hold him. GioGio, as they’ve affectionately called him, looks so much like Giorno, and the duo often compare the growing resemblance between father and son at every chance they can get.

Giorno on the other hand is captivated by the dedication you show to the son he fathered. He’d once offered to find a powder formula for Giuseppe’s meals after noticing your discomfort from breastfeeding. Giorno reasoned that he himself grew up on formula, and that it should be suitable enough for any of the children you two would have should you be in any pain. 

But you kindly refused your husband’s offer, choosing instead to smile down at your son as he laid a small hand upon your chest. “Thank you, but I wish to feed him myself. It’s my duty, as his mother.”

Giorno is taken aback by the love and devotion in your voice and never thinks to mention it again afterwards, watching with interest as you feed the baby. He wonders if his own mother had ever gone through the trouble of feeding him herself. The three of you sit in silence for a few minutes, and Giorno, still insecure regarding your feelings, is given the impression that you wish to be alone. He immediately excuses himself and returns to his work.

I’m probably overstaying my welcome, he thought.

Your own father was visiting that day and was just outside the door. He greeted Giorno with a friendly nod and held his grandson in his arms, beckoning you to rest on the daybed in the room. Giorno looked over his shoulder and took in the happy scene laid before him one last time before retreating to his office.

On a cold, dreadful day in the middle of October, several months after Giuseppe is born, Giorno passes by the nursery and overhears singing. He glances about the hallway in search of that sweet soprano, eventually peering into the room through the small crack in the doorway, watching as you cradle Giuseppe in your arms and quietly sing a familiar melody. Your voice drops as soon as your eyes meet Giorno’s reflection in a nearby mirror. Everything is silent and still until Giuseppe begins to fuss and whimper, and once again you are singing and cradling him to sleep. Giorno enters the room quietly and sits at the edge of the bed while you soothe your son. Giuseppe was already rather tall for his age, and the mess of dark hair hanging over those droopy eyes is proof enough of his heritage. There was no doubt of it—he was a Joestar through and through, just like his own father.

Giorno’s heart ached just a little bit then. He was thankful that his son had a mother like you. Though he once expressed his lack of desire to become a father, he silently thanked whatever God there was for all the blessings he'd been given. Giorno could feel his heart swell with happiness the more he thought of his son. Giuseppe would have the childhood that Giorno always wanted and he would receive all the love and care he needed. He would have a mother and father to look after him, too.

Giorno has a hard time finding the words to properly express his thanks, and so he slowly approaches you as you hold Giuseppe and gently embraces you both, wrapping his arms around your shoulders and pulling you close to his chest. For a moment he hesitated, but eventually he bows his head and presses his lips to the crown of your head, slowly closing his eyes and settling his breathing.

Perhaps for the first time in over two years, it felt as though you were actually husband and wife.

Giorno knows that it isn’t love, but…

It would certainly do for now.

Chapter Text

Giorno was very busy; being in charge of a large organization like Passione was proof of this. The two of you barely interacted with each other, so you never knew whether he spent time with Giuseppe, but you’d overheard the maids gushing about him one afternoon.

“He is a very loving father.”

“I notice he always begins and ends his day with a visit to the nursery.”

“The way Don Giorno cradles the baby and talks to him...”

With that being said, you’re taken aback by his sudden display of affection and though it feels rather awkward and forced, you find that his embrace is warm and protective. 

Soon after this strange episode, you approach Giorno and express your desire to connect with him. You’re happy when Giorno tells you he feels the same way.

“I’d like for us to become closer… If not for our own sakes, then for Giuseppe’s.” It’s the sincerity behind his words that moves you. He truly cared about his son. About Giuseppe.

“Yes, I’d like that too.” You hummed softly, eyes lighting up.

So by the advice of your aunties—and, the advice Giorno receives from his team—you resume holding regular “nightly meetings.” They all emphasized the use of sex as a vital tool in developing intimacy, but after doing this for four weeks, it didn’t seem to be the case. Holding these meetings more frequently doesn’t seem to be any helpful either, much to your shared confusion.

Regardless, your straightforwardness astonishes Giorno, and after you encourage him to be more vocal about his preferences, you both start to enjoy your evenings a little more. After a few nights, you find yourselves experimenting in the bedroom. One time you’d even surprised him with an entire lingerie set you’d bought earlier on in your marriage.

He’d noticed your discomfort and immediately stopped pressing those feather light kisses on your collarbone. “That can’t possibly be comfortable.”

“It isn’t,” You reply bitterly. “I thought it would suit me better…”

“It does,” He says reassuringly. “You’re pretty no matter what state you’re in, though I’d much prefer to see you bare instead of wearing that leather corset.”

After realizing what he’d just implied, he fell silent. You quickly steal a glance at him and see that his cheeks have turned pink.

Hoping to break the silence you quietly (and blandly) say, “Don Giorno, I believe the correct term is ‘bustier.’”

His eyes soften at your plain-spoken correction, and suddenly it’s your turn to stutter and avoid eye contact.

For the record, the rest of the night goes off without a hitch once you discard the lingerie.

Emotional detachment and lack of an initial crush on Giorno has always helped you in speaking with him rather candidly though you never would have expected it to be useful in this context. Perhaps starting your relationship the way it did has its perks.

In any case, you were enjoying the friendly and unguarded banter slowly developing between the two of you. You suspect Giorno feels the same because the both of you can now converse beyond your usual “buongiorno” and “come sta.”

Though, if either of you were to currently assess your relationship, you would still agree that sex with each other—despite being quite delightful and pleasant—proved to be inadequate. What would be the key to bring you both together?

After a particularly strenuous romp, you find yourself getting rather comfortable in your bed. In the corner of your eye you can see that Giorno is getting ready to retire to his own suite, pulling on a robe and tying his hair away from his face. Just before he leaves you call out to him.

“Don Giorno,” He looks over to you with curiosity. Usually you two would part in silence. “Do you think sex has helped at all?”

He lowers his eyes and exhales. “No, I don’t think it has.”

“I didn’t think so either,” you reply dejectedly.

Much to your surprise, he retraces his steps back to the edge of your bed and seats himself by your feet. It appeared he was about to disclose some important, sensitive information with you.

“The men on my team suggested that I initiate physical intimacy,” he starts. “I apologize for speaking about you in that context, especially without your permission. I’ve never had to worry about matters like this, and truthfully, I was desperate to find some—“

He notices you wrap your arms around your quaking shoulders and immediately pauses. Were you crying? His heart nearly drops to his stomach at the thought of making you cry but when he studies your face, he finds his answer. The subtle upward quirk in your mouth tells him you were simply smothering a laugh.

He’d never seen you laugh before. In fact, no one in this house had ever seen or heard you laugh. The both of you have been married for over two years, but today was the first time he’d seen a break in that poised and refined facade you’d put on. The fact that he had been the one to bring a smile to your face—albeit in the middle of discussing something rather serious—pleases him immensely. If only he could find a way to do it again. He’d certainly like to hear your laugh. At the very least, it would dispel some of the guilt he felt for discussing his marital life with Mista and Narancia.

“Forgive me,” you chuckle. Your shoulders are still fighting to contain the laughter in your chest. “I find this all rather funny. You see—my aunties had given me similar advice.”

“I suppose that is rather funny,” he says amusedly.

Giorno doesn’t necessarily laugh but you catch him smiling on his way out. You see it just before he closes the door behind him.

The following morning you both come to an agreement: while you certainly wouldn’t cease any nightly activities, you would both have to try other methods. Sex has become a bit of an amusing experiment for you two, so you would use it in combination with other means to connect with each other. At the most, you meet about once a week, and the meetings are always scheduled, much to your satisfaction.

One morning, you rise from your suite feeling particularly well rested. There’s even a delightful bounce to your step as you walk through the house and towards the nursery. You quietly slip into the room to greet your son, only to find that he isn’t in his crib. Your heart races and mind scrambles. Sweat starts to form on the palms of your hands. You’d left him with one of the nurses the night before, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

You always greeted your son in his crib every morning. You were also always calm, always collected in a number of tense and stressful situations, but when it came to family—no, the people you loved —you often succumbed to panic.

Not wishing to alert any possible kidnappers in the house, you quickly make your way to Giorno’s suite. Yes; if anyone could stay calm, it would be Giorno.

Had this been any other day, you would have had the decency to knock before entering, but this was an emergency. Giorno’s privacy would have to be violated for a few minutes. He would understand; his son was in danger after all!

You push through the doorway to his bedroom and breathlessly pant, “Don Giorno, Giuseppe has been—”

Your heart catches in your chest. The only greetings you receive are barely audible snores. There, under the soft blue sheets and blankets, lay your husband and son. A small tuft of black hair—undoubtedly belonging to Giorno’s son—peeked out at you from underneath the covers, and not too far away was Giorno himself. The two of them are fast asleep and huddled rather close to each other.

You softly pad your way through the plush carpeting and walk to the side of the bed, kneeling mere inches away from Giorno. His hair was an absolute mess. The curls are long gone, most likely from the tossing and turning he’s done in his sleep and the coils that usually sat atop his head are loose, just barely covering his eyes. When you take a closer look at him, you can’t help but notice the perfect slope in his nose or the way those soft, full lips parted with each breath.

He looked rather peaceful like this. You’d always seen Giorno as ethereal and untouchable, but seeing him now—unguarded, disheveled and sleeping peacefully—strikes a pleasant chord within you. For once, he looked very normal. Seeing Giorno like this is endearing, and you suddenly felt bold enough to run your hands through his hair. You’ve always wondered how it felt, and you figure you should take your chance now, while he’s still sleeping.

Not wishing to disturb him from his peaceful slumber, you gently comb your fingers through his hair, running the tips of your fingers through the ends and eventually making your way to the roots. You softly hum as you do this, not realizing Giorno’s eyelids are slowly drooping open and closed.

At first Giorno was unsure if he were dreaming. For a moment he felt as though he’s surrounded by abundant warmth and finds this sensation incredibly pleasing. Once your fingertips reached his scalp, however, his eyes snapped open. You’re startled by this and recoil immediately, hissing when you harshly draw back into the wall behind you.

You stare at each other, and Giorno looks back and forth between you and the entrance to his room. He’s noticed that the bedroom door is still hung open. You must have entered when he was asleep, though it doesn’t exactly explain your sudden appearance. You never came to his room unless you had something to discuss with him.

“Is…” He stared after you, eyes still drowsy and adjusting to the light coming in through the windows. You notice he’s still half asleep, that his usual eloquence has been replaced with inarticulacy. Words are not coming easily to him at the moment. “Is everything alright?”

You nodded slowly, rising to your feet and returning to his bedside. “I... worried that Giuseppe might have gone missing and thought to go to you first.”

You look at him expectantly, hoping he’ll explain why Giuseppe is sleeping there instead of his crib. Truthfully, you’re delighted that Giorno’s taken further steps to spend time and bond with his son, but it still confuses you.

Apparently Giuseppe hadn’t warmed up to Giorno until last night. “He’s constantly looking for his mother,” Giorno explained. “For you.”

Before, Giorno would simply hold his son and talk to him, but Giuseppe’s mind would be elsewhere. He was always restless, searching for you when you were not with him. Last night, however, Giuseppe had settled into Giorno’s arms.

“We sat in silence for a few minutes, and when I stood to return him to his crib, he held onto me even tighter.”

When Giorno finally experiences the breakthrough with his son, he couldn’t let the opportunity go to waste. He carried Giuseppe off to his room, and that’s where they spent the night.

You give him a small smile and nod in understanding. It’s in this moment that Giuseppe finally awakens. He looks at the both of you with those large blue eyes.

“Papà,” he called.

You and your husband exchange looks of bewilderment. Had you imagined that?

Giorno looks astounded. “Has he… ever spoken before...?”

“He hasn’t,” you whispered in reply.

Seeing the two of them next to each other warms your heart to no end. Seeing your son share such tender moments with his father—your husband, you reminded yourself—it felt like a wonderful dream. You hoped it wouldn’t end anytime soon.

You observe them from where you’re sitting on the bed, and notice that the both of them had that same peaceful and quiet air about them. Giuseppe really took after his father. You scoot closer to where your son is resting and greet him.

“Buongiorno tesoro,” You cooed affectionately.

Giorno watches as you lay your head in front of Giuseppe. By instinct, your son reaches out and plays with your hair, laughing in amusement when your hair starts to cover your eyes. Amidst the hair covering your face, Giorno can just barely discern the outline of a smile, but his vision focuses on the clock just behind you. You’re both ten minutes late to the meeting.

He immediately straightens up and the sudden change in his demeanor alerts you that something is wrong. It is not until he emerges from his closet fully dressed that you realize you were running late to the small council meeting. You quickly take Giuseppe into your arms and hand him over to the maid, pressing a kiss to his forehead before he’s taken to the kitchen for breakfast.

Giorno is surprised to find you waiting for him outside his door. The two of you descend the staircase in silence, hoping that Mista or Narancia are running even later than you are.

Giorno holds the door open for you, standing aside to let you in first. You reluctantly enter before him, knowing you both will be subject to the others’ entertainment. Giorno’s hair is still rather disheveled, despite being hastily pulled into his usual braid, and your clothes were wrinkled from stretching out on Giorno’s bed earlier. Unfortunately for you, the others have already taken note of the small changes in your appearances.

“Is it safe to say you two were discussing 'sensitive information?’” Sergio asks smugly.

“A lady never tells,” You reply dryly, helping yourself to a cup of tea before eyeing him down with that quiet sternness the others have come to know you for.

In all honesty it was your reserved and taciturn nature that quietly intimidated them. In some ways they can see why you and Giorno had been paired off to begin with. Why you two never hit it off immediately, they will never know.

Giorno smirks at this exchange, and for a second he finds himself unearthing a part of him that disappeared after becoming a gangster—a part of the unguarded young pickpocket who pursued his dreams and never quite returned. He quickly catches himself and discards this attitude, slipping back into his signature composed facade. The others are still chuckling over your sudden quip, so you’re the only one who seems to notice it. You choose not to make any comments on it.

Roberto Alfonsi, a local politician, had recently gone back on one of his promises. Giorno allowed this man to remain in office so long as he agreed to certain conditions; Giorno was to be alerted of any suspicious activity pertaining the drug deals that were suddenly occurring throughout Napoli.

Politicians and policemen were the least trustworthy amongst his subjects, but in order to have a better sense of the city’s happenings, he understood that he would have to simply work with them. He was extremely displeased to learn that the mayor had not only withheld intelligence, but was allowing the deals to transpire in exchange for a hefty share of the profits. Giorno had only learned of the deals because one of his own men had overhead a group of policemen discussing the treachery and reported it to him, and this irritated him to no end.

You simply sat and listened as you usually did during the meetings. Sometimes you wondered why you even bothered attending, but your father had explicitly laid his terms in your marriage contract to Giorno:

“Y/n will attend all of your meetings. I will not be present myself, as I still have plenty of business to oversee in Sicilia but given the nature of our alliance, I ask that she sit in on these meetings on my behalf. I believe it to be fair, considering you now wield the power of Cosa Nostra in addition to that of Passione.”

Giorno had no problems with this stipulation though he could tell that you would rather be elsewhere. You seldom spoke to anyone during the meetings, and today may have been the first time you’d even made so much as a remark, much less a wry comment. He suspects that you have finally become comfortable enough to speak amongst these unfamiliar acquaintances.

He finds it amusing that he’s using this term to refer to Narancia, Mista and the other men present, considering he knows them all rather well, but you had never so much as spoken a word to them aside from “Buongiorno” and “grazie.” He reckons this change may be connected to your recent behavior towards him—while you were initially guarded and extremely distant with Giorno, you’d recently began revealing your bitingly sarcastic humor and candid manner of speech. He’s not sure if it’s simply the passage of time that’s helped or something else entirely, but he welcomes this change no matter how subtle.

As the meeting goes on Giorno and his team immediately settle on taking Alfonsi out and placing a new figurehead as the mayor. You immediately quirk an eyebrow at this, but upon remembering your place, you simply continue to stare into your empty teacup. You find that men don’t listen to their wives (or women in general), and you figure that the agreement only pertains to your compulsory attendance to these meetings. There was never any indication specifying that you were to actually participate in them. So you kept your thoughts to yourself.

With this in mind, you sit further back into your chair as the rest of the meeting rolls on. Everyone had recently returned from separate trips to Roma and Venezia, so this meeting would most likely run into the afternoon. Once everyone is dismissed you rise from your seat, only to be approached by your husband.

“You wouldn’t happen to be busy, would you?”

“Yes, I’m going to be taking my tea right now… Is something the matter?” You ask curiously.

“May I join you?”

You silently wonder why he’s bothered asking. This is his estate after all—he can do as he pleases. Aside from that, his request is rather unexpected; he’s never shown any interest in joining you for tea. Still, you make it a point to apologize for not inviting him to join you sooner, and much to your surprise, he dismisses it, saying he simply wishes to spend extra time with you today.

Although you’ve been married for quite some time, Giorno still manages to surprise you. He acts so differently from every other man you’ve met, and he’s constantly catching you off guard.

It’s refreshing.

Giorno follows close behind you on the way to the terrace. The weather is pleasant today; it’s balmy and rather sunny outside and as you suspected, everything is already laid out, but only for one person. You immediately turn to one of your attendants and ask that they bring another place setting for the Don as well as an additional serving of all the treats laid on the tiered dessert tray at the center of the table. When everything is settled, Giorno immediately pours out some tea for you.

“I assume you take milk and sugar?”

You shook your head, much to his surprise. “I actually take it plain—before I lived with my father, I couldn’t afford any additives. I’ve yet to acquire a taste for them, if I’ll be perfectly honest with you.”

You note that Giorno himself has already put two sugar cubes into his tea and immediately forgoes the finger sandwiches to help himself to a chocolate macaron. “And to think that the almighty Don of Passione has a sweet tooth.” You say amusedly.

He plays along with your lighthearted jab. “And the Don’s wife seems to like plain tea.”

“Will you consider sampling the other items the kitchen staff has prepared for us? They’re actually not too bad at cooking.”

You do coax Giorno into eating the finger sandwiches and he takes an immediate liking to the cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches. He only barely touches the scones and makes sure to slather whichever ones he does eat with cream and preserves. Unfortunately, when it comes to desserts, he’s only interested in chocolate. You’d even caught him observing your untouched macaron and offer it to him.

“Do you like chocolate, Don Giorno?” You ask.

“It seems as though you’ve found your answer,” He replies nonchalantly.

“I’ve personally never developed a penchant for sweets… the chocolate macaron is yours if you’d like it.”

Giorno accepts your offer immediately. "Thank you."

He seems to be enjoying his tea, and this amuses you even more; he’s added exactly two sugar cubes in each serving so far, which you find wholly unnecessary considering this blend contains dried figs and strawberries, which already naturally sweeten the tea. You wonder if he had any cavities as a child.

Eventually Giorno sets his teacup onto the table. “There’s something I‘d like to discuss with you.”

“What is it?” you ask curiously.

“I’ve never asked for your opinions during meetings, and I suppose this is because I misread your behavior. I assumed you were uninterested in the subject matter.” You eye him with great interest as he continues to explain himself. “I suppose what I’m trying to say is… You’re free to express your own thoughts in that room, Y/n. I don’t want to silence you. Your input is just as valuable as anyone else’s.”

You nod at this, teacup and saucer in hand, returning his statements with a polite smile and say, “Thank you.”

Why on earth was he mentioning this? Had he seen you pull that face during the meeting? You could have sworn that you were as subtle as possible about it. You wonder if spending time with him and letting your guard down was a mistake.

“You can tell me if I’m wrong about the mayor, Y/n.”

Ah. So it was about the face you made.

You process what he’d said just now. Would your input truly have any value? You hadn’t ever considered the possibility of working with Giorno. You simply believed that your arrangement was fine as is—that being uninvolved in Passione and its operations was for the best. Besides… you’d made the decision not to get tangled up in family affairs.

You looked into your teacup and began tilting it side to side, watching as the tea leaves clumped together along the bottom.

“Well…” You continue reluctantly. “Some people may disagree with me…” Giorno nods, eyes searching yours thoroughly. He gestures for you to continue. “But I think pain and humiliation are the most effective ways to discipline someone. Death is far too merciful as far as Alfonsi’s punishment is concerned.”

“Merciful?” He repeats questioningly.

You immediately correct yourself. “Tales of your strength are legendary, Don Giorno. You’re a cunning foe, and a ruthless fighter; I don’t mean to say that you’re softhearted.” You take another breath before proceeding. "However… if I’m going to be frank with you… operating as a Don in less turbulent times is vastly different than your trek to amass power. Killing people off simply because they refuse to work with you is rather careless. My own father does kill those who defy him, but I suppose it’s rather different, considering he’s much more established, and he rarely has to handle insubordinate behavior...”

You wonder if you’ve overstepped a boundary or angered him, but when you glance at your husband you see that he’s processing what you’ve just said.

“What would you suggest?” His words are sincere, and you can see that he genuinely wants to hear you out.

“Money and status are akin to power, are they not?” You wait for him to express his understanding before continuing. “Strip him of both and no one will ever take him seriously again. He wouldn’t be able to betray you, much less anyone else.”

There’s no guarantee that the next person he puts into power will listen to him, that it might simply be a waste of his time. He appears to follow your reasoning, much to your satisfaction.

You then remind him that talent and strength alone are not enough to stay at the top. He would have to be smart about wielding his power. After all, Diavolo hadn’t been the Don of Passione for fifteen brutal years without reason. You even draw attention to the fact that this feat is even more impressive considering no one knew his identity for the better part of his reign.

“Although you have many people following you and swearing their loyalty to you, there’s other people who question you because of your youth. I think it’s rather stupid on their parts, but I’ll never understand the way the mind of an idiot’s works.”

Giorno visibly softens at your indirect compliment though you fail to notice this.

The truth of the situation was that although Giorno was talented and strong enough to acquire so much power at such a young age, it made people—older figures and individuals in particular—less willing to bow down to him. Many of them, upon Giorno’s acquisition of Passione, simply said “when your rise is this rapid, your fall will be rapid as well.”

You were of a different belief—Giorno’s ideals would gain favor with many people, and that would be stronger than any established reputation that came with old age and a family name. Of course, now that he was married to you it seemed as though he wouldn’t have to worry about not having ties to a powerful family.

“What you mean to tell me is that if I embarrass him, he would lose his legitimacy, and he’d no longer hold any real power... I see your point.”

You nod your head at this. “I understand you’re a man of action, but I think you’ll find that in this world, you’ll have to play the game by certain rules.”

Giorno briefly wonders if he’s sitting face to face with Abbacchio, if he’s still fifteen, if this has all been a dream. He imagines Bucciarati walking into the room to mitigate the impending argument, but he doesn’t; Bucciarati and Abbacchio passed away years ago.

He is not fifteen years old anymore—he’s twenty-three years old, and he’s married. It's his wife he is speaking to, not Abbacchio. For once, such advice doesn't sound rigid or ridiculously narrow-minded.

He imagines that his fifteen-year-old self would still be too headstrong to consider such a rigid way of thinking but he understands now that you and your father could provide helpful insight. The both of you were, after all, sitting at the head of Cosa Nostra, possibly the oldest crime organization in Italia.

When he asks how you would go about punishing the mayor, you pause. You were certain that you’d heard the name Roberto Alfonsi somewhere else before, though you couldn’t quite remember where. You quietly confess that you don’t have a detailed plan for him and ask that he give you time to come up with a solution.

To your surprise he simply responds with, “I look forward to hearing it.”

When you finish your tea, you quickly tell him that Frida Giannini has altered some pieces for you from Gucci’s latest collection, and that you would be picking them up personally today, as they’d just been completed. He leaves you to run your errands, and it’s only there in Frida’s office that you chance upon a familiar face.

“My how you’ve grown! I remember you used to have extremely short hair as a child, I used to mistake you for a boy. It’s all rather funny isn’t it?  Though I must say, you look so lovely now.”

There, standing in front of you is Teresa Alfonsi, the wife of the very same mayor you and Giorno had just spoken about.

Chapter Text

“It is so nice to see you,” You said as you stiffly returned her embrace.

“It’s been nearly a decade since I saw you last. I am happy to see that you’ve outgrown that horseface from your teenage years.”

“Zietta Teresa, you are too kind.” You replied, clasping your hands behind you and clenching your fists so tight that your fingernails dig into your palms.

It’s at this moment that Frida returns from the restroom, and upon seeing you, quickly grasps your hands and frets over the bags underneath your eyes. You brush off her comments, assuring her that you’ve been getting just enough rest. There was certainly no need to tell her that you and Giorno stayed up all night struggling to get Giuseppe to sleep.

“Please tell your husband that I was asking after him.” Was all Frida said in reply before redirecting her attention to Teresa.

“Oh?” Teresa’s eyes darted to the rings on your left hand, and then to Fugo who silently stood at the doorway, waiting for your signal to return to the car. “Then I suppose that young man over there would be…?”

She shrewdly waited for you to fill in the blanks for her, to divulge more information, but you had no intention of disclosing any details regarding your personal life. You notice the way her lips tightened in irritation and settle on giving her a few crumbs.

“An escort,” You started. If there was one thing you’d learned from this woman, it was to provide her with as little detail as possible. “My husband and son are both home.”

“Married!” Teresa gasped and immediately took your left hand, inspecting your jewelry with the utmost curiosity. “He must be a very affluent and important man; not many are able to meet with Frida privately, much less have her personally oversee mere alterations…” She gives your hand a light squeeze. “And to have a son as well. It seems you are very blessed.”

“Just so.”

You both exchange contact information before you leave—though not voluntarily on your part—and despite Fugo’s eagerness in assisting you with your clothing, you carry all of your new garments yourself, hoping you’ll be able to hide your scowl under the heaps of garment bags. Speaking to Teresa Alfonsi was draining, though no one else needed to know that, especially not Pannacotta Fugo or Guido Mista, or Narancia Ghirga.

Fugo often carried out business for Passione outside of Napoli, and so once your bodyguards had been injured (at a popular nightclub, much to your embarrassment), Giorno requested that his friend return to Passione’s headquarters, reassuring his friend that several soldato would take over his posts. Fugo had been under the impression that something was wrong, but accepted his mission with the utmost fervor upon learning of your previous security detail’s incompetence. Narancia and Mista were also assigned to protect you soon after this.

Giorno’s friends found it amusing that he had taken additional measure in ensuring your safety. He could have appointed other gang members to watch over you, but he chose to ask his highest ranking officers to carry out this task. Mista, Narancia and Fugo had very powerful stands. To have them all watch over you at the same time seemed rather excessive.

Of course, Giorno insisted that it was simply his duty as your husband to ensure your safety, and who were they to question their boss’s orders?

Mista sat in the passenger seat in the front of the car, and every so often he would watch you from the rearview mirrors. The others would also occasionally glance at you, leaving one question hanging in the air between the three of them—what had spurred Giorno’s sudden concern for you?

“You and Alfonsi’s wife know one another?” Giorno asked curiously.

You both sat there in the parlor of your suite, helping yourselves to tea for the second time today while Giorno held Giuseppe. Your new clothes lay on the chaise, and while Giorno had paid a visit to inquire about your appointment with Frida, he’d since found himself engrossed in this sudden development.

“I’ve known her since I was a young girl.” You said. “Teresa Alfonsi is an art curator my father once romanced.”

Of course, by art curator, you meant thief. Teresa Alfonsi worked as an art curator by day, and in the evenings she would organize heists to rob her own exhibits. She’d stolen many items—paintings, sculptures, and even jewels handed down in the Royal families of Europe. She also owned a very prominent fine art foundation, which put her in the proper social circles to gain clearance to sought after pieces.

She was not powerful or strong but her intelligence and ambition made her very dangerous.

“She’s stolen art for decades, Don Giorno. I’m certain that’s where most of their money lies…”

“If I remember correctly, you said that ‘money and status are akin to power.’”

“I did,” You said, rising from the chaise to tidy the table in front of you.

“Perhaps we should relieve them of their private collection.”

“Well, we certainly could rob them and leave it at that. Or… We can take some of their stolen art, sell it, and deposit the money in an account in Alfonsi’s name. They’d be thrown into jail in less than a day, and I’m sure no one would want to work with an idiot who was stupid enough to get caught.” You said as you looked through one of Giuseppe’s storybooks.

Giorno does not say anything, staring after you dumbly while you flipped through the story books in mild disinterest. He’s sat there for so long that Giuseppe’s begun to play with his braid.

“Well,” He began to draw small circles on Giuseppe’s cheek with his finger. “I suppose stealing all of it would be excessive. If the police find one valuable necklace, it would be more than enough to justify a search warrant on their home… In which case, they can do the remainder of the work for us."

“Astute as always,” You said with the faintest trace of amusement, closing the picture book and hugging it to your chest.

He sighed and ran his fingers through the ends of his braid, ignoring your taunt. “I try my best to keep up with you.”

Giorno takes note of the hour, and seeing that you have become rather drowsy, leaves the room with Giuseppe, requesting to break fast with you in the morning, to which you oblige enthusiastically—a soft “Yes, of course, but do be on time,”—and he bids you good night shortly after.

You both sit at breakfast the next morning, and when you finish he notices that you're assisting the staff in clearing the table. He asks the maid if you’ve always helped them with such small tasks, which she confirms with a shy nod.

“Signora Giovanna is a bit of a pedantic; extremely picky when it comes to cleaning… She was adopted, you know, probably lived on her own in a dump before all that.”

When she'd put it that way, he could see why you might want to keep your living space as tidy as possible. It certainly explained why your room was always well kept and rarely needed cleaning.

She threw a cautious glance over her shoulder and lowered her voice. “As the story goes, she was a runaway and picked at people’s pockets in Roma. The most popular version involves her father; apparently she nabbed one of his wallets and he caught her, dragged her kicking and screaming to his home in Palermo and adopted her soon after.”

Giorno meant to ask your father about this when he visited, though he'd been distracted by the late wedding anniversary gift your father meant to send months ago.

“I missed your second wedding anniversary, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking through these.” He’d said with a soft smile. 

Giorno and his friends spent the following hour poring over the photographs your father collected. They were carefully and thoughtfully arranged in a series of photo albums, all bound in soft leather and each numbered by year. Mista and Narancia found one particular photo that was interesting.

“Don Vittorio… did you have a son at one point?” Narancia scratched at his temple.

Who on earth was this young boy? He looked scraggly and irritable: sallow skin, hollow cheeks… the cold glare in his eyes was most off-putting.

“Now that,” Your father chuckled. “That is a very long story.”

Giorno brought the photo closer to his face. The child must have been a twelve year old, with a horrendous bowl cut and a long face.

Fugo peered at the photo over Giorno’s shoulder. He’d seen those eyes somewhere before, though he couldn’t remember where exactly. “Would you be willing to share it with us?”

Your father fiddled with the rings on his fingers, pacing in front of Giorno’s desk and grinning broadly. “He’d stolen my Maserati when I had dinner in Roma one evening with Teresa Alfonsi. It had plenty of valuable merchandise, and I’d watched him take off with all of my possessions. I never left my seat to stop him either—I was blinded by the balls on that brat.”

He explained that that same insufferable child dumped the car somewhere on the outskirts of Roma, not knowing that the car itself and its contents belonged to a very dangerous and powerful man.

Your father ran his fingers over the same photograph, smiling to himself as he recounted those first few days. “I made certain to find him, to tell him who I was, what I was capable of, and that he owed me a great deal of money. Of course, after I’d gone on my spiel, I realized that the person whom I had scolded was not a boy, but a girl. A grumpy and extremely irritable young girl.”


Giorno rose to his feet and took the wedding portrait on his desk, comparing it to the photograph in the album. His eyes darted back and forth between the two images, but he could find no resemblance. A long gaunt face, matted and greasy hair, the hard glare in your eyes… It was such a stark contrast from your calm and poised demeanor. That couldn’t possibly be you… Could it?

The other three broke into violent bursts of laughter. Mista clutched at his aching stomach, Fugo trembled where he sat and Narancia was on the verge of tears.

“I never would have guessed that that was your wife, Giorno.” Mista wheezed.

“It’s the hair! No, the horseface!” Narancia chimed in, waving a finger at the same photograph.

Fugo slapped both of them on the back before throwing a few nervous glances over his shoulder. The last thing they needed was for you to walk in on them. He could only imagine the horror you’d face upon discovering these embarrassing photographs. Hopefully, you would be too busy with Giuseppe to consider visiting Giorno’s study.

Their laughter, however, carried all the way to the bottom of the staircase. You’d heard it on your way to your room, as did Giuseppe, who happily gurgled in your arms upon hearing Mista and Narancia.

He was growing much faster than you had expected, and he’d only recently began to run (he'd been walking for months now), though he'd often stumble and fall to the ground mid sprint. Staircases were also proving to be dangerous for him, so Giorno still thought it best to have Giuseppe carried up staircases until he could walk up them properly and you agreed. You do, however, come to the conclusion that Giorno made this suggestion so he may continue doting on his son, but you knew better than to tease him and his fatherly instincts.

“I suppose we ought to visit your Papà now…” You said, steadying him against your torso as you walked up the remaining stairs.

You carefully set your son to the ground at the top of the staircase and watched as he made his way to his father.

As one would expect from any of child of Giorno Giovanna, Giuseppe quietly knocked on the door and waited to be invited into his father’s study. Giorno had done a great deal of work to ensure that Giuseppe would remain a sweet and well-mannered young boy. His son may have been a mere toddler, but he was already the perfect gentleman.


Fugo and Narancia cheer when they chance upon their small companion in the doorway, but once they catch sight of you approaching, they settle down and straightened their posture. You greeted them with a friendly “Buon pomeriggio,” as you passed through the doorway and minced your way to your husband. Everyone was adjusting their posture and seemed apprehensive about your intrusion.

Your father, however, intercepted you before you reached Giorno and embraced you. “I have not heard from you in weeks. Are you well?”

“Yes, I am.” The sound of your voice was muffled against his jacket.

He pulls away, grasps you by the shoulders and eyes you with a certain playfulness. “I don’t suppose you’ve forgotten to contact me because you’ve fallen madly in love with your husband?”

You snorted. “Falling in love is for children, Patri. Perhaps you didn’t know this, but adults simply decide whether or not they want to love someone.”

“Forgive me, tesoro. Let me reword it for you—have you “decided” to fall in love with your husband yet?”

You scarcely knew your husband. You did not know about his childhood, his family, if he was rich or poor before he joined Passione. The only personal information you knew about your husband was that he fathered your son (he had a birthmark the shape of a star at the base of his neck, if you recall), and that he had suffered many losses to become the Don of Passione. The rest may as well be a mystery.

And how could you ever be in love with someone you barely knew?

This is not to say that you held Giorno in contempt; it was quite the opposite. You liked him, enjoyed spending time with him, and you loved the son you both shared. You were friendly acquaintances who occasionally partook in the pleasures of the flesh but this did not mean that you were in love with each other.

Love was passionate—at least in the movies you had seen and the books you had read and the couples you’d observed in public. None of that, however, existed between you two.

Neither of you embraced the other passionately or professed your undying love for the other or shared heartfelt conversations after making love: you silently parted ways each time, and the closest either of you had gotten to “I love you” was “I find you incredibly competent,” and “you are a good person.” You’ve both silently come to the agreement that you liked one another, but neither of you had ever dared to say it aloud.

With those thoughts aside… you vaguely recalled hearing laughter before entering the room. What on earth was so entertaining? You ambled along the room, scanning the area for any possible object of interest when you discover those horrific photo albums scattered across the room. 

“Who gave you these?!” You asked, plucking one of the albums from Giorno’s hands and cramming it into a shelf.

Your father fiddled with your hair and smiled. “I thought it would be a thoughtful wedding anniversary gift. Your husband and his colleagues are enjoying the memories.”

They had probably seen more than enough, but you dragged your father out of the room anyway. You made certain to softly pull on the door before glaring at your father. “What on earth will he think of me now?” You hissed.

”They are only pictures, tesoro. And do not be alarmed, but…”

Your heart dropped when he pointed to the door behind you: the door hung slightly open, and you could faintly distinguish the outline of Giorno’s silhouette through the cracks. You fear how much he and the others may have overheard but walk away quietly, shutting yourself into your room until later that day.

And what a shame—Giorno was going to tell you that he too had a bowl cut at that age. He even had his pictures tucked away in his desk.

 Dinner was often silent for the two of you, though neither of you seemed to mind as it gave you both the opportunity to relax and spend more time with your son, whom Giorno now fed.

He recently dismissed the nurses from their feeding duties, declaring that he was not so kingly that he could not feed his son himself. He may have been unable to share the burden of breastfeeding Giuseppe with you (for obvious reasons), but now that Giuseppe ate soft foods, Giorno could finally relieve you of feeding your son.

Giorno could tell you were staring at him as he fed Giuseppe and wondered why you hadn’t spoken yet. Then he remembered your outburst earlier that day and wondered if there were more to the stories he’d heard from the maids and your father. He was itching to learn more.

“Y/n,” He said. “How did you get your hands on your father's car keys?”

He imagined that the restaurant valet kept a close eye on your father's belongings. How had you managed to pull it off?

“By power of persuasion, I suppose.” You said, lowering your eyes. There was, of course, another reason, though one of your attendants comes rushing in as soon as you are ready to elaborate. “There's also the fact that—”

“Signora,” She shyly steps past Giorno and Giuseppe and hands you a letter.

“Who on earth sends mail in the evening…” You set down your cutlery and rise from your chair.

It was an invitation. An invitation to Teresa Alfonsi’s highly esteemed fine art gala. This was the kind of event that other Dons and other powerful and wealthy figures attended. Giorno would certainly gain more contacts by attending.

“We’ll be meeting plenty of my father’s friends there. They seemed wary of you before, though I’m sure that they’ll take a liking to you soon enough. I like you, and I rarely ever warm up to people…”

The last few words die in your throat. You slowly redirected your gaze to your food and continued to eat, choosing not to speak for the rest of the meal. Every so often you would try to steal a glance at your husband, only to find those piercing blue eyes staring back at you.

“You’re very talkative today, Y/n.” He said.

“Am I? I hadn’t noticed.”

In a desperate attempt to divert Giorno’s attention, you gestured toward his mouth and tell him that a piece of spinach has wedged itself between his front teeth, and he falls for it, much to your amusement. You quickly spoon the remaining risotto into your mouth, trying your hardest to contain the laughter building in your chest when he rises from his chair to fix his appearance.

Once your plate is cleared of all food, you excuse yourself from the table, muttering something about responding to Teresa and thanking her for the invitation. In the corner of your eye, you can see that Giorno is still searching for that supposed piece of spinach, brows furrowed in deep concentration.

It’s not until after he’s picked at his gums for five minutes when he realizes that the spinach was a distraction. He then shifts his gaze from his teeth to Giuseppe in the mirror and the sight of his son brings a smile to his lips. The three of you made for an interesting trio.

A family, as it were.

He slowly made his way back to the table, and, seeing that no one else was around, threw himself into a chair and began to eat dinner himself.

“Your Mamma is too clever for us, Giuseppe.”

Mista had seen the entire exchange and joined Giorno at the table, throwing a smug grin at his boss and patting him on the shoulder.

Giorno began to play with the risotto in his dish. “I never should have let any of you take up residence here.”

“We’re only here because of your concern for your wife.” Mista said. “Still think you’re not in love?”

“It’s not love, it’s just a friendly partnership.”

He ignored Giorno and leaned over to Giuseppe, making silly cooing noises before relieving Giorno of his baby feeding duties. “Ah this son of yours is just too cute.”

“Please leave and watch over her, Mista.”

“Her suite is the safest part of the house. I don’t need to watch her right now.” He continued to spoon more food into Giuseppe’s mouth before looking at Giorno. “Besides—I think you’re in desperate need of my love expertise.”

“What advice could you possibly give me? You’re not even married.” Giorno set his spoon into its dish once again and folded his arms across his chest.

“Il fiori! Il cioccolatini!” Mista grabbed Giorno by the shoulders. “Belle ragazze love those things, don’t they? I’m sure she’d appreciate those. Take your relationship a step further.”

“Y/n is not just a bella ragazza. Cioccolatini and fiori may work for whoever it is that’s stupid enough to let you court them, but the mother of my son deserves something more substantial.”


Mista grinned sharply at Giorno, who shot the capo another foul look before excusing himself from the table.

“Me?” You laughed. “I can’t possibly… I’m certain your plan will be much better.”

The others looked to Giorno in confusion. Why was he inviting you to speak up? What on earth gave Giorno the indication that his wife could handle planning something like this?

Mista thought Giorno’s fixation on you was merely connected to your “nightly meetings,” but apparently he was wrong. It seemed you and Giorno were not fucking, but rather scheming behind closed doors. At the very least, that is what he had come up with.

Giorno pressed his lips into a slight frown. “Your father said you were frail and passive but I can see now that you’re neither of those things. You know more about these people than any of us do. Your opinions are valuable to me.”

Giorno knew you were smart; others may have interpreted your silence as an absence of intelligent thought, but he’d seen how calculating you were. You were far from being vapid or dull, always observing, always listening, always quietly processing the environment around you. You learned a great deal about gang business just by observing your father and his men at work. It had taken him the better part of two years to notice, but he now knew that you had plenty of your own opinions, and all he wished was for you to share them with him and his men. It seemed a terrible waste for you to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Your husband’s trust in you stirred something in your heart—he may have been the first person to acknowledge your intelligence, the first person in years to encourage you to use it, the first to suggest that it was one of your best traits. He did not seek to silence you. He wanted to work with you.

Perhaps you would reward his faith with useful advice.

“Well I suppose we can sneak the three of them into the gala, seeing that the Alfonsi's will be hosting it at their home.” You slowly rose from your chair and gestured towards Narancia, Mista and Fugo. “And as you mentioned last night, they’ll only need to get one of the necklaces. One that’s big enough to warrant more suspicion with the authorities.”

You and Giorno would simply entertain and distract Roberto and Teresa as the others grabbed a few pieces of stolen jewelry. It was, quite honestly, a very simple job. She’d always looked down on you, so there was little reason for her to suspect you. No one seemed to think much of Giorno for reasons you had yet to understand and while this was normally vexing to deal with, he could now use it to his advantage.

Narancia scratched at his scalp and yawned. “Do we have to steal all of their crap and frame them? Can’t we all just go to this party and have fun instead?”

“No.” You and Giorno froze—perhaps you had only imagined it, but… had the both of you spoken at the same time?

“That was strange.” said Fugo.

You were ready to move onto the second phase of the plan when a shift occurred in the room; Giorno catches sight of something behind you and bows his head. The others follow suit.

A pair of large hands crashed onto your shoulders, squeezing them lightly. You flinched at the sudden contact. Of course—if your father were visiting, he’d finally be able to attend Giorno’s meetings himself.

“Fret not. Since I am here, you won’t have to suffer through this meeting. I’m sure Giuseppe will be pleased to spend more time with you.” You stood there, frozen. Your father had forbidden you from participating in his affairs. Would he police Giorno on this? “Run along, now.”

You unconsciously sucked in your breath and replied, “Se, patri,” before bidding your farewells to everyone and offering Giorno a quick nod. “Don Giorno,"

While your husband was far better at reading other people’s behavior and body language than you would ever be, even you could sense his annoyance from his stiff posture and blank stare. You stood there in the doorway, wondering if you ought to say something else to him.

Your father noticed that you had not moved an inch from the door. Your lips were slightly parted, as though you were ready to say a proper farewell to your husband.

It was truly touching to him, but Don Vittorio Andolini would not have his daughter (adopted or not) idle about whilst they carried out business. “Shall I escort you out, tesoro?”

“No… I will take my leave now. Mi scusassi, patri.” And with that, you dragged your feet along the floor and closed the door behind you. Your eyes meet Giorno’s just before the gap in the door fully closes.

Don Vittorio sighed and took a sip from your teacup. “She’s a clever little thing isn’t she? Far too clever for her own good... We would do well to keep her out of our business affairs.”

The words may have rolled off his tongue easily, but Giorno could sense the veiled threat behind your father’s words.

“If there’s one piece of advice I’d like you to adhere to, Don Giorno, it’s to never mix business with pleasure. Keep your wife out of this nonsense and wait until Giuseppe grows into a young man before you expose him to your work.”

“May I ask why?” Giorno’s prying question caught your father off guard. “As you have said before, we’re family now. I’d like to be a good husband… and a dutiful son-in-law.”

Those last few words seemed to do the trick. Don Vittorio poured himself another cup of tea, and if he was uncomfortable from all the staring Giorno and his men were doing, he did not show it. He silently helped himself to two more cups before replying to Giorno.

“I had a wife and son once but they were taken from me. My capos and consigliere berated me for my recklessness and it still haunts me… I never thought I would have children again. When I welcomed Y/n into my family, I swore to keep her out of anything business related, that I would protect her. I expect you to do the same. She will not be assisting you with whatever job it is you’re trying to pull.”

“Of course, Don Vittorio.”

Your father then gestured for Giorno to continue his meeting, leaning forward and giving his son-in-law his undivided attention. He’d even given his own contributions and made sure to credit and praise Giorno when necessary.   

In spite of all the rumors they had heard of Don Vittorio being a tyrannical and dogmatic Don, Giorno and the others found him to be an extremely patient and supportive business partner. He often listened to their ideas and only offered advice when it was asked of him. He also referred them to certain associates of his who could help as far as surveilling any suspicious drug-related activity in and out of the city was concerned.

Most importantly, however, Don Vittorio made certain to stress the gravity of politics in the world of organized crime. Shootouts and other scuffles were a rarity now; most gangs were relying on scheming and treachery to vie for domination. It was a game for power that required caution and quick discernment in any given situation.

Part of this game meant dealing with other players—Napoli was but one city in Italia, and there were many other gangs spread across the country. Many other Dons were unsure what to make of him, and while they certainly never held Passione and its mysterious past Don in a particularly positive light, Giorno’s rapid ascent to power made them extremely suspicious (and perhaps frightened) of him. He’d caused an uproar among the elites.

When Passione and Cosa Nostra formed a marriage alliance, everyone silently accepted Giorno as another powerful presence in their world, and while it was a very good start for Giorno and Passione, he still needed to personally forge relationships with the other families if he hoped to remain an influential boss and eradicate the drug trade in Italia.

“My business partners will be attending Teresa’s art gala but she and I are not on good speaking terms. I will be unable to join you and properly introduce you to them myself. My daughter, however, should be able to help you in that respect. She’s quite popular with them.”

And so it was settled—it appeared as though you would be attending the gala after all.

Giorno made a visit to your suite when the meeting ended, knowing you would take your afternoon tea there when the weather was not permitting. He hadn’t even set one foot through the doorway before he overheard your father harshly scolding you.

He knew that it was rude to eavesdrop but perhaps listening in would allow him better insight in dealing with this minor setback. Unlike your father, Giorno did not want to lock you away or shelter you. It was a waste of your talent.

He leaned on the door frame, training his eyes on your reflection in a nearby mirror.

“You have a duty to your husband and your family.” Your father said. “You are Don Giorno Giovanna’s wife, the mother of his son—not his consigliere. Do not meddle with his business affairs.”

“I was not meddling,” You said quietly. “I was invited to contribute.”

“Invited? Y/n… You need to think about your safety. Gangs are not a playground. This business is not a game that you can take part—”

“This is becoming one of the most boring conversations I’ve ever had,” You snapped, eyes drifting down to inspect your lacquered nails in an effort to avoid your father’s fiery glare.

“Y/n,” He started.

“Patri,” You shot back.

Giorno readied himself to watch you undergo another round of criticisms, but much to his surprise, Don Vittorio couldn’t find it in himself to return your insolence.

It seemed your father understood your aggravation, that you wanted to help, but as a father, he needed you to understand—he would not allow you to take part in gang business. Your safety was paramount to him.

Your father was, however, grateful that no one else was there to bear witness to your informalities towards him. What would the other men think if they saw his daughter use that tone to speak with him? He tried not to dwell on it too much.

Eventually he held his breath, closed his eyes and waited, but even with his eyes closed, he could feel the tension between the both of you. He could not bar you from attending the gala—Giorno needed you there, after all—but he could petition you to simply play your role as Giorno’s dazzling wife.  

“No funny business.” He said. “You are only escorting him and introducing him to my associates.”

“'I am only going to escort him,'” You repeated plainly.

Your father rose from his seat and padded into the hallway, muttering under his breath. “That child… When will she learn…”

Your father only just noticed that Giorno had been standing near the doorway, though he didn’t bother to ask whether or not he had overheard anything; instead he gave his son-in-law a polite nod before retreating to his guest rooms.

Giorno entered your parlor and was pleased to see that another set of china was already waiting for him at the table. You waved your hand languidly, beckoning him to take his seat.

“How much did you overhear?” You asked as he wrapped his fingers around the teapot.

Giorno froze, midpour. “I beg your pardon?”

You pointed to the same mirror he’d used to spy on you. “You’re very hard to miss. I‘d recognize that suit of yours anywhere.”

“There’s no hiding from you, is there?” His lips twitched into a satisfied smirk. “I heard enough.”

You tensed the muscles in your jaw and straightened yourself, a wall bracing itself against another gust of strong wind. Was he going to scold you too? You’d had enough with men ordering you around today.

“I need your help with the heist.” Giorno sees something like excitement flicker in your eyes, and hope begins to unfurl in his stomach.

“That I cannot do. Women do not work in gangs, Don Giorno.” You said, lowering your eyes and wringing your hands.

Giorno chewed on his lip in agitation. He never quite understood the Mafia’s dated system.

Women could be just as competent as men—for Christ’s sake, Trish held a pivotal role in Giorno’s adventures, and they had only been fifteen then. Women were more than the mere accessories and status symbols that mafiosi made them out to be.

This system disregarded your intelligence, your maturity, your wisdom, and your cautiousness. It reduced you to a mere possession. It demanded you to spend the majority of your days as a mother and wife. It was a dull existence in comparison to what laid ahead for Giorno.

Marriage and motherhood, of course, was difficult and vital (and fulfilling) work. Giorno knew this. And yet, he still wanted more for you. You deserved to be more than just a mother or wife. Giorno did not care if it meant defying your father or the centuries-old system—he’d already taken any chance you had at finding happiness and love; he would not rob you of your identity as well. You’d made Giorno happy by loving and caring for his son, and it only seemed right that he try to bring you some happiness himself.

“Please consider it.”

A vein pulsed at your temple. Is this how he became a Don? By fighting the nature of things, and irritating everyone he met? You could see now a glimpse of his legendary persistence. Your husband was the kind of man who never backed down from a challenge, even if it meant disregarding rules and tradition.

You respected him for it, but breaking rules was not something you did. Giorno would have to accept this.

"'Famigghia, obbricu, unuri'—these are the unspoken rules of Cosa Nostra.” You said quietly. Giorno raised a brow. It seemed he did not understand. “I will do my duty as a daughter, and honor my father’s wishes. I cannot help you.”

And still, Giorno presses on. “Then I will fulfill my duty as your husband, and urge you to choose for yourself. You are a person, Y/n. You have the right to do whatever you want.”

“Yes,” You blazed, angry now. Why couldn’t he see? “And I have chosen to do what is expected of me.”

Giorno ceases any further discussion on the matter, though you can tell from his hunched shoulders and sudden disinterest in sweets that he is still processing what you’ve just said. Silence hung awkwardly between the both of you for what seemed to be the longest five minutes of your life.

You had always silently taken up the burden of being your father’s daughter. Always abiding by the unspoken rules in this criminal world—you were the perfect daughter. You were happy enough knowing that you did what you could for your family.

But Giorno saw more in you than just a daughter, wife, or mother. He saw a partner. The thought never crossed your mind before, but now that he’d hammered it into you, you can’t help but consider the possibilities he offered. You could do more than just smile and wave and charm—much more.  

“Fine.” You said finally. “I will provide you with counsel.”

Giorno does not say a word; he does not hide behind flowery speeches when he’s in your company. You’ve since learned to read his body language, but today seems different. His eyes crinkle slightly, lips lifting at the corners. Had he ever smiled at you like that before?

The rest of your afternoon tea goes very well, and to your surprise, Giorno samples and finishes every item on the trays. He’d even asked one of the maids to send more scones and lemon cakes to his study on his way out.

 “Mia cara,” She said. “You must wear it draped around the arms! You have lovely shoulders—do not cover them up with this cape.”

And so you shyly tugged down the fabric and bared your shoulders, wrapping the cape around your arms. Frida stood behind you, and after scrutinizing every detail of your outfit, realizes that your current footwear is not suitable and trotted out of the room to lend you a pair of heels. You frowned as you looked into the mirror. You’d never felt so exposed in your entire life.

It was a cape with sleeves and a long train, lined with luxurious fur, weighing in at approximately fifty pounds. If the sheer weight wasn’t enough to discourage you, Frida planned on squeezing you into a dress that bared your shoulders and the top of your bosom. The cape was essentially a glorified stole, draped around the shoulders, leaving much of your neck, shoulders and chest exposed for the world to see. Funny that you and Giorno have switched attire for this event; your chest would be exposed, and his would be covered for once.

You stood in front of the mirror for a few seconds, shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Giorno could sense your discomfort, though he wasn’t quite sure what he could do to make you feel at ease. He fumbled with the lapels on his patterned satin tuxedo, stealing glances at you every now and then.

You looked very pretty. “Y/n—“

Frida pushed past him then—seven pairs of heels in her arms—and fretted over your appearance for nearly half an hour before calling Giorno over to the mirror when she’s pleased with her work. She makes several great sweeping movements with her arms and mouths a few words to Giorno, who interprets her gestures as a signal to stand beside you.

She examines the both of you for a few minutes, pacing about and adding pins every now and then before grinning broadly. Frida dragged Giorno to the side afterwards and provided him with instructions before sending him off to change clothing.

“You both look lovely. Now you’ll need to come back for these in several days. There’s still plenty of altering to do on these.”

Giorno meant to approach you afterwards and compliment you to quell any of your insecurities, but the words are lodged in his throat when he catches sight of you swaying in front of the mirror, inspecting your appearance and smiling at your reflection. It appeared as though you wouldn’t need any reassurance after all.

Frida smiled at the sight and, noticing Giorno was too awestruck to provide comment, whispered, “I never did put that piece on the runway—none of the models could handle it. But Y/n… She wears it with the confidence of a queen.”

He smiled at this. What was a king without his queen?

Chapter Text

A large and rather heavy necklace fell into your lap.

“These stones are fake. Where did you take the real necklace?” Teresa towered over you, resting a hand on her hip.

“Forgive me, Zietta Teresa, but why would I want to take any of your assets?” You asked. “My husband can make your yearly art curator salary in a week. Less than that, actually.” In the corner of your eye you catch Giorno smiling to himself.

“Please,” She snarled. “You and I both know that I am not a penniless art curator. You know where my money comes from and that the jewelry and art I own is all—”

“What you do in your spare time is of no interest to me or my husband.” You say, raising a hand and feigning disinterest. “Now if you’d be kind enough to excuse us—”

But Teresa Alfonsi would have none of your excuses; she’d leaned over and gripped you by the shoulders, her long lacquered nails biting into your skin. You weren’t prepared to be met with such ferocity, but it was to be expected; you and Giorno had strayed just a bit from your original plan, after all.

All plans were subject to change, of course, and required some degree of flexibility. One had to be ready adjust to any unforeseen complications. You knew this. It was all part of the job.

This, however, was a rather disastrous turn of events.

You quickly glance to Giorno and wonder how the night had gone so terribly wrong.

“Enjoy your date, Giorno,” Mista said over the radio.

“It’s not a date,” Giorno said. You nodded vigorously and linked arms with him. At least he didn’t fool around on the job.

A cool breeze blew through the wind, sending shivers up your spine as you ascended the steps with your husband at your side. You thought of all the people you would have to converse and mingle with. All the people you would have to fight off.

You hadn’t been at the party for more than fifteen minutes before Teresa and Roberto Alfonsi minced their way towards you. They appeared to be assessing the both of you.

“That’s a lovely gown, my lady.” Alfonsi simpered, eyeing your exposed skin with a certain hunger.

“Yes, it suits her perfectly.” added Teresa, voice drenched in venom. “I imagine you might be rather cold in that.” She gestured towards your chest and shoulders, smirking to herself when you shifted beside your husband.

Alfonsi offered a silly solution. "Perhaps you ought to wrap that cape higher upon your shoulders?" 

Giorno felt you tighten your grip on his arm. “I'm touched by your concern,” You started, lips curling in feigned warmth. “Luckily for me, my blood runs quite warm. Doesn’t it, Don Giorno?

Your husband nodded his head, masking his mirth behind a polite smile.

“What was your name again, carina?” Alfonsi tilted his head to the side.

“She’s the Principessa of Cosa Nostra, amore mio.” Teresa said as she fixed her jewelry. “Vittorio’s adopted daughter, Y/n.”

“Ah,” He muttered, fiddling with his fingers now. You quirked an eyebrow at this. “What a small world!”

You smiled and nodded. “Don Vittorio sends his regards to you both.”

Alfonsi seemed rather fidgety afterwards and barely maintained eye contact with you.

Giorno thought it was rather strange, and held you closer. Perhaps Alfonsi helped himself to some wine, or the wretched merchandise he’d been smuggling into the city and under Giorno's nose.

Teresa, perhaps out of embarrassment, led her husband away before calling to you over her shoulder. “If you’ll excuse us, passerotta; please enjoy the food and drink.”

As soon as they disappeared from sight, your husband took you by the arm and together the two of you slowly waded into the river of silk, satin and velvet floating around the ballroom. Some guests had gone inside to find their places on the scant seating, and others were milling in front of the balcony doors, enjoying the seasonable breeze of the evening (Mediterranean winters were very forgiving, after all). Giorno slowly led you around the hall to perform the necessary courtesies, and was pleasantly surprised by what he saw.

She’s good at this, he thought, as he watched you compliment various ladies on their evening wear, express your congratulations to a businessman’s recent engagement, and even praise another for his improved health and appearance. You were also subject to a few other snide comments, and to Giorno’s delight you returned all the attacks with sweet smiles and the utmost propriety; they all huffed away in frustration.

He could not help but praise you for it as you picked an hors d‘oeuvre off a nearby tray.

“My father was courting Teresa when he adopted me, and she looked at me like a pitiful little thing and decided to take me on as a project of sorts, turn me into a proper young lady.” You said, dusting the crumbs off your fingers. “The first lesson she taught me was that ‘courtesy is a lady’s armor.’ I’ve found her advice to be very helpful.”

“Teresa doesn’t seem to like you very much.” He said, watching your “auntie” from afar.

“She doesn’t, no; she thinks I’m stupid.”

“Perhaps she’s jealous of you?” Giorno offered.

You raised a brow at him mid-swallow. “Why would she be jealous of me?”

Giorno smiled; that should have been rather obvious. At one point you may have very well been a careless pupil, but now you were beating her at her own game.

You catch sight of several familiar faces then, and once you recognize them as your father’s associates, you break away from Giorno’s side and clasp his hand. He follows your gaze and sees that the evening had only just begun; he’d finally be acquainted with all of those men.

“I will bring them over,” You whispered to him, reaching up to brush something off of his jacket. “Stay here.”

He watches as you approach them, notes the way they all stiffen and straighten their posture. Mafiosi, no matter the family, always adhered to one rule: show respect to the wives of other men. This wasn’t because they respected women, no; it was merely a sign of respect to the men who they “belonged” to.

Giorno knows that it is better than putting you at the receiving end of unwanted advances, but to know that their behavior is done less out of respect to you and more for paying respect to him... It did not sit well with him, to say the least.

Even so, an alliance with those other mafiosi was necessary for him (though undoubtedly unpleasant). Giorno needed to make more friends, regardless of whether or not he actually liked them, so he straightens his posture and plasters on his best smile, watching you glide through the crowd towards him.

You smiled at Giorno as you drew nearer, arm linked with an older man. “...It brings me great honor to present my husband, the boss of Passione—Don Giorno Giovanna.”

You return to your husband’s side, looking on at your new companions.

Giorno bowed his head. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Much to your surprise (and the surprise of everyone else present), Giorno begins to assign names to each individual man before him. He’d certainly done a great deal of research.

Signore Matteo Barese (the man whom you’d escorted personally), one of your father’s faithful capos in Cosa Nostra (“Signore Barese runs the gambling sector. He’s also a distant relative of your father’s.” He’d said, to which you nodded in confirmation), Don Arnaldo Oscuro of the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, Don Marizio Gratteri of the Basilischi in Basilicata, Don Gianni Russo of the Magliana in Roma, and Don Angelo Infanti of the Comasina in Milano.

“I like him,” Don Arnaldo said, waving a finger towards Giorno.

Just as you and your father suspected, they warm up to Giorno rather quickly. They spoke of business, mostly regarding gambling and making friends with different politicians in the country. The older men were especially impressed with the amount of money Giorno had been able to acquire in the past year. He’d made nearly three times as much money within the past year compared to the other men present, and that was certainly not an easy feat.

There was no questioning it; Giorno Giovanna was very good at what he did. Too good, in fact. Everyone else was so incredibly intimidated by his talent.

You wondered if your presence made him more approachable, more benevolent and less malicious. Giorno was more or less a stranger to them before this encounter, and now they all seemed to be getting along rather well.

Eventually the conversation shifted away from business and towards you; you’re not sure if you like the attention.

Matteo lifted your chin with a finger and beamed down at you. “Marriage agrees with you, child.” He turned towards the other men present. “Does she not look lovelier than ever? Her husband must be very pleasant company.”

The others murmured in agreement.

You bowed your head and flashed your signature sweet smile; all men loved sweet girls, and you weren’t looking to embarrass Giorno by lashing out at all of them for their silly and trifling comments. “You’re all too kind.”

Matteo gazed at Giorno intently. “My niece was a prized bride; a pretty face with a famous father. Plenty of men were lining up to court her, but none of them lasted more than a week. Certainly did not discourage any of them, however.”

“And why wouldn’t they be lining up?” Don Gianni asked Matteo. “Don Vittorio has plenty business ties and a handful of blood ties to every single crime family right now, even to the Americans in Manhattan. Should anything happen to him—Y/n would be the key to the rest of Italia’s crime ring, and any man who marries her has the key to the entire Mafia system in his pocket.”

Giorno nodded, the corners of his lips lifting into a polite smile. The last thing he wanted to do was undo all of the hard work he’d just done, but he could not ignore the heat rising in his chest. These men had known you for a great deal of your life, and yet here they were, reducing you to a key. A mere object. It was disgusting, to say the least.

All of the tension leaves Giorno’s body when you grasp his hand and caress the smooth skin of his palm with your thumb. Giorno looks down at you and finds himself pinned down by that inquisitive stare of yours, and although you never say a word, he can already tell that you'd caught on to his behavior.

You squeezed his hand, brows knitted in worry.

Giorno’s eyes soften as he looks at you, and he nods his head in an effort to quell your anxieties. He could not tell you about it right now, even if he wanted to. You were both still in the midst of company, after all. For a moment you forget that the others are there, until one of them coughs loudly. You shyly look over your shoulder and bow your head in embarrassment.

“We’ll leave you two to enjoy your evening,” Matteo said, winking at you mischievously. He shook Giorno’s hand and pulled him closer. “We look forward to doing business with you, Don Giorno.”

“As do I.”

You take a sip from your wine glass, watching as they all clear out and spread out throughout the hall.

“I haven’t seen Zietto Matteo since…” You paused. Was it appropriate to talk of that, so soon after Giorno had met him? They all liked each other anyway, so perhaps it did not matter anymore. “Since before you and I married.”

“I take it he didn’t attend our wedding?”

“No, he didn’t.” You say, looking down at your feet.

Plenty of the men in your father’s gang opposed your engagement to Giorno; Passione and Cosa Nostra were bound by fifteen years of bloodshed and aggressive scheming… And for Don Vittorio to marry his daughter off and broker an alliance with Passione—it was a mockery to them all, a nail to his family’s coffin. They would not hear a word of it, even if Passione was under new management. Some of these men couldn’t even muster the humility to attend your wedding, and that included Matteo Barese.

He’d risen rather rapidly after you married Giorno and brought your father’s gang hundreds of millions of euro, though no one seemed to know where the money came from. Some of your father’s men thought his casino was experiencing better business, but even gambling revenue couldn’t have made the bulk of his profits… It was far too much in comparison to what he’d made before. Of course, maybe he’d taken on side jobs like Teresa Alfonsi. There was certainly no need to fret over it too much; he was family after all. He was only bringing in extra money for the benefit of the family.

Apart from that your uncle would have been next in line to inherit Cosa Nostra, but now that your marriage bound Passione to your father’s “family,” both gangs would fall under Giorno’s command in the event of your father’s passing. Even Giuseppe fell in line before your uncle. Perhaps that was another reason why he opposed the marriage.

“If I remember correctly,” Giorno started. “Some of them were less than enthusiastic about our engagement.”

“Only a few,” You respond, lying through your teeth.

There were several, in fact; all of them were capos and higher ranking soldato. They loathed this newly formed association with Passione, but their sentiments would undoubtedly dissipate in time. There was no rush to gain their favor.

Back then, you bowed your head and accepted the task of being offered in marriage to any worthy suitors, knowing that an advantageous marriage would keep your father’s business afloat; people were, after all, testing their hand at your father’s expense.

Giorno’s victory and acquisition of Passione emboldened plenty of petty criminals. Your “family” subsequently became the next target.

Cosa Nostra and Don Vittorio had given you everything: food on your table, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, an education, and most of all a family. You would return their kindness and set aside those childish notions you had of marrying for love. An arranged marriage was necessary, and you were ready to sacrifice some of your happiness to protect those you cared about.

Famigghia, obbricu, unuri.

On those days, you repeated the words as though they were prayer, constantly reminding yourself that serving your family was the greatest honor one could have.

And all you needed to do was marry a stranger, give them a son or daughter, and guarantee everyone’s position and safety. Unfortunately marriage was one of the only ways to secure any kind of promise in this criminal underworld; loyalties could be swayed, and money was not always enticing enough—blood, however, was an unbreakable commitment.

You’d gone through several potential suitors before your father discovered your uncle's schemes and took on the task of finding you a husband himself. Giorno was his final candidate.


“I hear he’s a good man,” your father said one evening, as you both read by the fireplace. “I’m sure he will make a good husband.”

If he’s interested in marriage,” you pointed out. "He probably doesn't have any interest in marrying anyone, much less myself. And who's to say he isn't already romantically entangled with another?"

“He’d have to be an idiot to refuse you.”

The look on your father’s face almost draws a laugh from you. “By all means, have Zietto Gaspare or another one of your consigliere arrange a meeting with him. He can’t be as bad as the others.”


That was nearly three years ago, you thought.

Giorno saw that you’d barely emptied your glass of Chianti and curiously hovered over you, tipping his nose over the rim of the glass to assess your drink. He made no attempt to hide his disgust.

“I can see why you haven’t had any of this,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “It’s terrible.”

You frowned. “I never took you for a proper wine snob, Don Giorno. All wine tastes the same once you’re drunk.”

“Well since you can’t tell for yourself, I’ll let you know right now that that wine is incredibly cheap.”

“You haven’t even had a sip.” You replied, thrusting the glass to him.

He takes it from you and places it on a passing waiter’s tray, swapping it out for a new glass. Once again he tips his nose into the glass and inspects the aroma. His lips curled into a pleasant smile; surely this one would change your mind.

“You clearly haven’t had any decent wine.” Giorno rolled the stem of the glass between his fingers, swirling the wine inside before holding it out to you. “This one should taste much better. Everyone likes Masseto; it's one of the best merlots money can buy.”

You cast a suspicious glance at him before tipping your head back rather vigorously, eager to taste this “decent wine,” but Giorno grabs your wrist before you can get a taste.

“That is not the proper way to enjoy wine.” Giorno said, tilting the glass towards you. “You have to smell it first.”

“Why on earth do I have to smell it? I’m going to be drinking it.”

“‘Why?’” Giorno was incredulous. “Smell affects your sense of taste.”

For the next several minutes, Giorno provides you much needed information in regards to enjoying fine wine. “Smelling wine is crucial,” he’d insisted—you were skeptical at first, but Giorno kindly pointed out that sick people are unable to enjoy the taste of food and that bit of evidence was sufficient enough to you, so you stuck your nose inside the glass.

And much to your surprise, the wine did, in fact, have a very strong aroma. Plums, and…

“Chocolate?” you asked, to which Giorno smiled politely and nodded. You smirked at him and ask, “Is that why you like it?”

He shot you a pointed look. “Let’s move on to tasting.”

Sloshing wine around one’s mouth seemed rather revolting, and fussing over the subtle flavors in alcohol seemed a bit excessive until Giorno called attention to your fondness of tea. “They’re not so different, if you think about it,” He’d said.

You stared into your glass of wine and think of all the different teas you had lying around at home; some were assam with bits of rhubarb and cornflower, others green tea with peaches, lemongrass and mint… Perhaps Giorno was right. Maybe they weren’t very different after all.

You’re well into your second glass when Giorno hands you suitable foods to accompany the wine settling on your palate—bits of smoked veal, pies with mushroom and parmesan, a salad with apples, fennel and walnuts... The food is just as delicious as it looks, and you graciously accept whatever Giorno hands to you.

It seemed that feeding you had improved his mood; Giorno was talking much more than he usually did, scanning your face for any reaction, positive or negative. Your husband was very invested in this side project. He’d even taken a napkin to dab some food that stuck to the corner of your mouth.

“You seem to be enjoying this,” you teased lightly.

“Just a bit,” He admitted, the corners of his mouth quirked upwards in amusement.

Perhaps it was the alcohol, or the atmosphere of the party that emboldened you to speak up; Giorno didn’t seem to mind. Not at first, anyways.

“We should have wine with our dinner from now on,” you suggested.

It’d be nice to refine your palate—you always had very cheap taste, after all—and surely Giorno would be eager to help, just as he had this evening.

But, to your disappointment, Giorno did not share the same sentiments.

“No…” he said, looking at you warily. “Dinner is fine as it is.” 'Without alcohol,' you interpreted.

“We have a wine cellar but we haven’t touched a single bottle—”

“Certainly the quality of food and company makes up for the lack of alcohol on our table, does it not?”

“Yes, but I’ve come to learn that wine is delicious; not to mention the fact that Italians drink wine like water. It wouldn’t hurt to have a glass every evening.” You pause for a few seconds and think to yourself, “I wonder if alcoholism is a problem in this country...”

For a few seconds, Giorno is taken back to memories of another home, a life he never wanted to remember ever again.

His mother and stepfather never really drank before beating or yelling at him; in fact, they were only ever sober when they would strike him or run about the house looking for him. But he remembered seeing them come home once, after a night of heavy drinking. Their eyes were bloodshot and the smell of cigarettes and cheap wine mingled together in the air. It was terrifying.

Neither of them laid a hand on him, of course, but he never fell asleep that night; he’d been too frightened to close his eyes, lest his mother or stepfather barge into his room in the middle of the night and beat him half to death. Seeing them inebriated like that unnerved Giorno, and on a separate occasion, his stepfather had actually acted on his drunken impulses after catching Giorno’s staring at him, reading him and his actions once again.

The bruises stayed there for weeks.

He flinched when you touched his shoulder.

You wondered… Giorno never mentioned his parents, never spoke of his childhood, and now he seemed opposed towards the idea of drinking wine at home. It couldn’t possibly be; Giorno was not skittish or overly fearful of little noises. He seemed alright. And yet...

“Don Giorno,” you started. “Did…” You chewed on your bottom lip.

He knew what you were thinking, what you were about to ask.

“Your mother and your father... did they—”

“I have not seen my mother or stepfather in years,” said Giorno. “What use is there to speak of them?”

The sharpness in his tone took you aback. “I… I did not mean to give offense, Don Giorno.”

“Nor could you,” Giorno replied, but all the warmth had gone from his voice. He refused to look at you afterwards.

Two years and you’d finally managed to unearth something about his past. You had touched something, there was no doubt of it; you’d found a spot where touching hurt, for Giorno winced and darted a suspicious glance at you the moment you mentioned his mother and stepfather. He was always calm and collected, and his face never gave a good indication for his feelings, but this—this was beginning to unravel him.

Was it as bad as you were imagining? You hoped not.

“You ought to talk to someone, anyone, about your parents. It’s harmful to keep such things to yourself.” You lightly touched his arm. “What happened?”

He laughed bitterly and plucked the glass from your fingers before helping himself to some of your wine. “That’s hardly important. They’re nothing to me.”

Perhaps you were taking too direct an approach? Subtlety might help. You tucked a strand of hair behind your ear and sighed. “In any case, I highly doubt a glass of wine at dinner will hurt you.”

“We’re not drinking around Giuseppe.” He snapped.

You wrinkled your brows. He seemed rather tense. “If you’re worried about getting irresponsibly inebriated and harming Giuseppe—”

“I would never harm my son.” Giorno trembled slightly, narrowing those blue eyes at you, his smile long gone and replaced with an unpleasant scowl. “Never.” He turned away from you then, walking towards another group of businessmen he recognized. “If you’ll pardon me, I would like to speak with some of those gentlemen.”

You skipped to his side and lightly touched his arm. “Shall I—”

“I would like to go alone.” He replied coolly, gently pulling his arm away from you before walking off.

“Of course,” you reply, lowering your glass and surrendering it to another passing waiter in defeat.

What an idiot I am.

 Giorno felt rather tense afterwards, though no one was the wiser.

He continued to make rounds throughout the hall, charming others with his manners and sharp wit. It certainly did not hurt that he was rather handsome. Everyone gravitated towards him, and he welcomed the attention—so long as it came with lucrative business deals.

Trying his best to forget those unhappy memories, Giorno stared blankly about the ballroom, but his mind kept wandering back to his mother and stepfather. The muscles in his jaw tensed immediately. Damn it all. He’d made his apprehension towards the subject abundantly clear; he even brushed off your comments more than once. Not to mention that fact that you’d gone as far as suggesting that he would harm Giuseppe…

Perhaps that was what upset him the most.

Still, he read the expression on your face, heard the slight tremors in your voice and assessed that you had come from a place of goodwill and genuine concern. She didn’t do it on purpose, he repeated over and over again.

He’d taken all but two steps before he’d been stopped by a familiar voice. “Giorno?”

He recognized that voice; everyone did. “Trish Una,” He said, turning around and bowing his head at his old friend. “You look well.”

“Well” was an understatement; Trish had risen to international fame as a singer. She’d gone all over the world, lived luxuriously and had plenty of new friends. Giorno hadn’t seen her in years.

“As do you,” Trish replied warmly, returning his greeting with a friendly smile. “Are you here for business?”

“Partly,” Giorno said. “My wife also happens to know Teresa Alfonsi.”

“Wife?” Trish took Giorno’s hand and looked upon his ring. “I don’t suppose you have children too?”

Giorno searched for his wallet, pulling Trish aside to show her a picture of a young boy with black hair and striking blue eyes. “Giuseppe; he’s nearly a year old now.”

“He looks like you. Apart from the hair color, of course.” She thumbed the picture with great care. “I’m… I’m happy to know you’re doing well; it’s quite the consolation, considering all the horror you’d gone through to get to where you are.”

“The both of us,” Giorno corrected her.

They spent several more minutes chatting, and eventually Giorno finds himself speaking rather animatedly about you; your devotion to Giuseppe, how helpful your advice had been, that he’d often worry for your safety—

“You seem rather taken with her,” Trish said amusedly. “I’ve never heard of a happier arranged marriage.”

“Marriage is…” Giorno’s voice trails off. How did he feel about you? Of course, that situation aside, he rather liked you, but there was no need to burden Trish with all that information. “I was surprised to see how pleasant it can be. I enjoy her company.”

“Are the others here?” Trish asked, returning Giuseppe’s picture to Giorno. Giorno didn’t need to answer of course; she probably already knew, judging by the smirk on her face. “Send them my warm regards.”

“Of course.”

It was around this time that your sweet auntie ambushed you.

“Y/n,” she called. “I was wondering where our sweet passerotta had flown off to. You look very pale, child. Is everything alright?”

“Yes, thank you,” you said quickly. "A very lovely event you've planned here."

You walked with her in stifling silence for some time. Neither of you knew what to say to each other really, but conversation picked back up when Teresa took note of your behavior, the way your eyes frantically searched the crowd—you were looking for someone. And you were alone.

“Do I sense trouble in paradise?”

You craned your neck in every which way, still searching for Giorno. “Not at all. I simply lost track of him, Zietta Teresa.”

She pulled you closer to her and laughed. “Signore Giovanna is rather handsome; is he any bit intelligent though? I can’t quite tell.”

Don Giorno Giovanna,” you said, correcting her. “And he’s delightful company.”

“So formal, even when he is not present.”

“I respect my husband.”

You wondered then, what the others were up to. Surely they were already packing to leave. Perhaps they were—


That bastard sent more guards to the closet.”

We’re stuck inside—

“Should we just take them out? There’s only—”

Don’t.” You recognized that voice. It was Giorno’s. “I’ll take care of it.”

No, you thought. He’d been the center of attention this entire evening. Surely someone would notice his sudden disappearance. Had you angered him so much that he’d ceased any further intelligent thought?

There was, of course the fact that you had caused all of it; if you hadn’t meddled, Giorno wouldn’t have stormed off, and perhaps you wouldn’t be subject to Teresa’s patronizing comments.

In the corner of your eye, you can see that your dear “auntie” was watching you. She’d seen the way you froze and tensed upon hearing the others; her eyes slowly trailed up your neck and finally landed on that peculiar flesh colored bud lodged in your right ear. She knew, oh she knew. You’d blown everyone’s cover in just a matter of seconds.

“You’re up to something, aren’t you?” Teresa asked, narrowing her eyes.

There was only one way for you to fix it.

You grabbed her wrist and pulled her into a nearby shadow, pressing your mouth to her ear. “Sleep,” You hissed.

She struggled against you, nearly knocking you off balance. “Why, you little—”

But then the color drained from her face, and down she went, falling to the floor in a crumpled mess. You looked over your shoulder and saw that Giorno had already gotten halfway up the staircase. Hopefully you could buy him enough time.

“Please, help!” You gasped, feigning tears and burying your face into your hands.

The rest of the party flew into a panic as soon as you fell into your role.

A crowd quickly gathered around you, and soon enough all the attention had shifted away from Giorno. Surely any talk of your husband would be forgotten, seeing that tonight’s host lost consciousness. Dozens of guests flew to your side to either comfort you or attempt to wake up your “sweet, dear Zietta Teresa.”

Good luck on that , you thought as you watched them fan at her face. She wouldn’t be waking up until you released her from your little spell.

Your husband managed to smuggle everyone out of the house in the midst of all the panic while you remained at Teresa’s side, though you intended on seeing Mista, Narancia and Fugo off yourself.

With several slow and careful strides, you made your way out of the house, making sure that your stand gradually relinquished its grip on Teresa. You knew she’d woken up by the time you exited their villa because her ear splitting screeches pierced through the windows and echoed into the gardens. She was looking for you. You take several cautious glances around the long circular driveway, and eventually catch sight of your husband and his companions.

“Scusami, signorina,” A hand rested on your shoulder. “Signora Alfonsi is looking for you and your husband.”

You step to the side, making sure your shadow comes into contact with that poor, unsuspecting guard and sure enough, his body begins to tremble. His movements are quick and rigid as he takes several steps backwards and away from you.

“That’s Signora Giovanna to you,” You told him coolly before pointing to the ground. “Now kneel.”

“What—” His knees buckle uncontrollably, eyes widening in horror. “What is—”

When he finally falls to his knees, you grab a handful of his hair and knee him in the face, knocking him unconscious. Carefully, you crouch to the ground beside him and search his person, relieving him of his handgun and returning his other inconveniences to his coat pocket. You glance over your shoulder to find all of them staring at you, each of them frozen in place.

With great care to the environment around you (there may be more guards, after all), you walk over to Giorno and take him by the shoulders, inspecting him at arm's length and check for any wounds. “Are you hurt?” You asked.

“No,” He answered absentmindedly.

“We should go back—“

“That was a stand.” He said, gesturing towards that strange shadow looming behind you. “You didn’t tell me you had one.” He looked at you pointedly.

“You never asked,” You quipped back. You sighed, prying his fingers open and lay the handgun in his palm. “You do know how to shoot, don’t you? I’m afraid that’s the best I can do.” You said, jerking your head towards the man on the ground.

“Why would I need a gun?”

Gold Experience was powerful enough. What on earth were you going on about?

“I saw you use your stand while I was giving birth to our son.” You explained, lightly touching his arm and smiling. “The flowers were awfully sweet, but I can scarcely see how useful they’d be in an actual fight.”

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “What do you think my ability is?”

“You can clearly turn things into flowers and vines. Did I not say that earlier?” You asked, folding your arms over your chest.

You wonder if he’ll start laughing. The others had broken into violent fits of laughter in the car behind him.

But Giorno’s mood shifted rather quickly then. Something was moving towards you in the shadows—not that you had noticed, seeing that your back was turned to it. He stepped towards you and yanked you to his side, wrapping a protective arm around your shoulders.

“Gold Experience!”


“You left your back wide open.” Giorno said matter-of-factly, looking around for any other guards.

“It happens from time to time… And besides—” You pat his shoulder affectionately. “I leave my life in my husband’s capable hands.”

At first, you were startled by the sudden appearance of your husband’s stand, but quickly determined that Gold Experience was, in fact, quite lovely. You’d never seen it before today, but... It certainly suited Giorno. It was just as regal, just as beautiful, just as divine. And there it was, hovering over your would-be attacker, who was currently cowering on the ground on all fours. It appeared as though he were in a daze. You take several cautious steps towards him and nudge him with your foot.

You shiver, looking at Giorno with concern. “Is he—”

“We should go back now,” Giorno said, offering you his arm, which you took after throwing one last glance at the man on the ground.

Just before you leave, he glances over his shoulder and gives Mista the signal to leave, waiting for them to reach a safe distance before starting the walk back to Alfonsi’s villa. Neither of you are in a rush to return to the party and the trip wouldn’t be long, considering you were only in the gardens, but you felt incredibly stifled by the silence.

You and Giorno enjoyed each other’s company precisely because neither of you forced the other to speak. Silence was often comfortable and pleasant, but the current atmosphere was undoubtedly thanks to your tactlessness earlier.

And while you were happy that you’d both set that small stumble aside for the sake of the job, you knew that your discussion was far from over. An apology was certainly in order.

“Don Giorno—”

“Are you going to ask about my mother and stepfather again?” He asked, eyes still focused on the footpath ahead.

“I suppose that depends.” You looked at him from the corner of your eye, quirking an eyebrow at him. “If I asked you once more, right now, would you answer?”


If anything, this was proof enough that whatever had happened to him as a child left a deep wound in his heart.

In truth you did not know how to ask Giorno, how to convince him to confess without trampling on his feelings and hurting him. Giorno had been through enough without being prodded for answers he wasn’t ready to give; it pained you even more to acknowledge the fact that you had contributed to his pain.

“Well… I have no right to know.” You said, lowering your eyes.

Giorno was taken aback by your response, eyes wide as saucers, mouth hung slightly open. You’d been so adamant on hearing it all. What caused you to surrender?

You watched as his face folded in confusion and chose your next words carefully.

“So I’ll wait.” You started, voice even and calm, as though you were speaking not to the most powerful man in Italia, but to a frightened animal. “When you’re ready to talk, when you want to talk… if you ever want to talk… talk to me. I’ll be there to listen. I’ll wait until then.”  

He did not reply, not when you ascended the stairs at his side or when you gently took his hand and ran your thumb along his palm. 

He pulls the door open without a word and you wonder if what you said made everything worse, if you should have simply stayed quiet. You risked a glance at Giorno and found him watching you with something like tenderness in his expression.

“Alright,” He answered softly.

And for a while you forget that Teresa’s been searching for you both, that you’d deviated so far from the plan and that neither of you no longer have a solid alibi. And what did it matter? Everything seemed to turn out alright when Giorno was at your side.

 “Are you listening to me?”

You forget where you are until a delicate hand comes down to slap you across the face. Teresa’s rings, plenty as they were, caught onto the skin of your lips, leaving you with a lovely split on your bottom lip. Your cheeks stung, surely, but all you could focus on was the blood seeping into your mouth and its warm, metallic taste.

Giorno leaned over, shielding you from where he sat. “Please keep your hands off of her.”

Teresa clutched her sides and roared. “Oh, he’s just perfect isn’t he?” She steps towards you, intending to play with your hair but stops midway; the cold glare in Giorno’s eyes unnerves her entirely.

Giorno’s lips tightened into a frown. “This is the second time now. I won’t repeat myself a third time—keep your hands off of her.”

“Amore,” Roberto called sheepishly. “Perhaps we could—”

“Shut up, you little fool.” Teresa tapped at the floor with her heel, ignoring Giorno and staring at you intently. “Is this your way of punishing us? Embarrassing me in the middle of an important event and stealing my property?”

“Punish you?” You looked up at her innocently. “Have you done something to warrant punishment? I’m sure Signore Alfonsi has done nothing but assist my husband in monitoring any suspicious drug activities in this city. There is no reason for him to fear any punishment.”

There was silence for a few seconds; as far as they knew, Giorno was unaware of Roberto’s treachery. They knew they’d betrayed Giorno, and now they panicked at any slight irregularity they could catch. Their skittishness over one necklace would have tipped Giorno off, even if he wasn’t aware of the treachery.

Roberto was the first to collapse under the pressure. “Signore Barese— he is the one sneaking drugs into the city. I haven’t gotten much money in exchange. I only did it because he’d threatened me.”

You narrowed your eyes at him. “That’s impossible. My father would know if his cousin was involved in the drug trade.”

“There are letters—correspondence. A courier came in and had us sign a contract as well.” He glanced at his wife, who now looked furious. He shook where he stood. “I-I… I did not want to do it. I told him, ‘I am pledged to Don Giorno!’ My loyalties lie with you both.”

You turn to Giorno, hoping he will reaffirm your statements, but his gaze is locked on Alfonsi, who left the room very briefly before returning with several stacks of paper in his arms. Giorno takes the papers from him and scans over the contracts and correspondences. He bit his lip.

It couldn’t be. Your uncle...

“I thank you for being honest about your duplicity.” Giorno hummed softly, looking up at Alfonsi. His voice was alarmingly calm and even.


Giorno ignored him, extending a hand to you and helping you to your feet. On the way out, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, dabbing at your lip with a frown. What a nasty cut .

Giorno did not realize that you’d both angered Teresa so much.

She sidestepped her way into your path, folding her arms over her chest. “We’re not finished.”

“I didn’t know you were interested in discussing your treachery,” Giorno said, making sure to put plenty of distance between you and Teresa. “You don’t have enough evidence to prove us guilty of robbing you tonight, but I, on the other hand, have plenty of evidence to prove your husband’s disloyalty.”

“So you’ll punish us some other way? You’re going to kill us?”

“Such penalties are reserved for those who have insulted me; you two are nothing more than a couple of pests that have exhausted my patience. Have a pleasant evening.” And with that, he led you both out of the room.

You returned to the party, escorted by the Alfonsi’s’ security detail (unfortunately, your uncle had already left the gala), and remain in the main hall for just a bit longer, spending the remainder of your evening walking about and clearing the gala of any remaining food. Neither of you had worked up an appetite prior to your argument, so now you were ravenous. Still, the food tasted of ash compared to whatever Giorno’s staff served you.

“I think I’d like to go home now,” you whispered. “Giuseppe will be looking for us.”

Giorno nodded, guiding you both to the exit. “I can arrange for that, signora.”

 The job was finished by the time you arrive at your home; Fugo had returned from the fence, Narancia had already paid the actors who auctioned off the necklace, and Mista was preparing to transfer all the profits to Alfonsi Holdings LLC., a transitive account made specially for this occasion.

“They should be in jail in less than a day.” Mista declared triumphantly, looking through the auction pamphlet before tossing it to Giorno’s desk.

The jewelry had been reset to three separate pieces: the largest stone had been taken out of the original necklace and reset as a diamond ring, and the rest were turned into a smaller necklace and a pair of earrings. Selling it in separate pieces as opposed to the original piece would make it easier to sell in a private auction, and would only worsen Roberto and Teresa’s jail sentence. The auction appraisers were supposedly very impressed with the quality of the jewelry, and considering the stones all matched that of a certain Queen Elizabeth’s necklace—it would only be a matter of time before the authorities put two and two together.

“What have we here?”

Shivers ran down your spine and threatened to send you on the floor and to your knees, but instead you spin on your heel and greet your father with a sweet smile, hoping that he hasn’t found out just yet. “Patri.”

No such luck.

He tugged on your wrist and pulled you away from your husband. It was the icy glower on his face that shook you. “I told you not to do this, and what do I find, but—“

“It’s already done,” You said, tugging your arm away. “Once the tree’s been picked, there’s no returning the fruit to its branches, so here I am to see this through to the end.”

“We’re all criminals here; even you have a criminal record. Keeping your hands entirely clean is not my concern here. You’re getting involved in very dangerous work. Leave it all to your husband.”

“I’ll be in danger regardless of whether or not I work; I may as well contribute to the family legacy.”

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Shall I explain to you, in one easy lesson, how the world works?”

“Do use small words, I’m not as bright as you.” You spat.

Giorno remained still but the others were mortified; they’d never seen you speak to your father (much less anyone else) like this. (“Can she do that?” “Shut up!”) Giorno nearly intervenes but thinks better of it.

Your father sighed and rubbed at his eyes. “If I were to acquiesce to every single one of your whims and wishes, would we still be here? Would my family survive if I simply spoiled my children? Do you remember what happened to my wife and my son? My son was a good man, a smart man, and he died all the same.”

“I never met my ‘brother,’ but I know our family’s history.” You said, waving your hand and hoping it'll soothe him and quell his anxieties. “This is different. I will not die.”

“‘Tuttu gli uòmunu mòriri.’ One mistake here can cost you your life.”

“‘All men die’—this is true—but first I’ll live.” You set your jaw and poked him hard in the chest. “If you think you can send me back to my room—“

“Would that I could,” he sighed bitterly. And then, in the same breath, he pulled you close and embraced you fiercely. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re too clever for your own good?”

It feels strange, finally getting the approval you so desperately wanted from your father, but you nuzzled his arm affectionately and bury your face into one of his sleeves. “Only you.”

Don Vittorio was a proud man, and an even prouder father. He’d held you back for far too long; perhaps it was time he let you embrace this new opportunity. You were very good at advising Giorno anyhow.

He grasped you by the shoulders then and beamed down at you. “I’ll leave you to it then.”

Giorno takes him aside later on, informing him of Matteo Barese’s side hustle. Your father’s face grows pale but he apologizes to Giorno for the slight on behalf of his cousin, and promises to summon him to the estate the following day.

In the spirit of the evening, both you and Giorno spend the night together—curled up in your evening wear on one of the couches in the parlor of his suite. Giuseppe, on the other hand fell asleep on Giorno’s bed.

 The next day, you’re greeted with fantastic news; your lovely hosts were arrested just before the party ended. Mista, Narancia and Fugo called you to Giorno’s study later on in the evening, announcing the success and urging Giorno to appoint you as his consiglieri.

Mista puffed his chest. “As your underboss, I think it’d be smart for you to officially appoint Y/n as consiglieri.”

“Mista is your second?” you looked to Giorno in surprise.

Mista quirked a brow in confusion. “Yes…?”

“An excellent choice,” you said, touching Giorno’s arm lightly. “I’ll admit, he’s improvises a little too much for my liking, but he’s very perceptive, intelligent, and handles his work well. Fugo and Narancia are also extremely invaluable. I can see now why you assigned them all as higher ranking officers in your gang.”

Mista and the others seemed rather pleased with this comment.

Fugo and Narancia disappear briefly, only to return with several bottles of wine from one of the cupboards in the kitchen and make haste in handing out glasses. Giorno was apprehensive of drinking at home but with a few encouraging stares, he finally acquiesces.

Giorno peered at you over the rim of his wine glass. “We didn’t know you had a stand.”

“How else do you think I got the keys to my beloved father’s sports car?” you asked innocently. “I’ve had it for a very long time.”

Narancia shook his head. “Maybe Giorno didn’t know about your stand, but we did . And we only figured that out because you never panicked when we’d pull our stands out to protect or watch over you.”

“Precisely,” Mista exhaled, helping himself to a slice of rich chocolate cake. “Anyway, I thought it was kind of creepy how you barely reacted to any of our stands, but I knew you probably had one yourself.”

“Thank you,” you muttered. “But ‘creepy’? I’m not sure how I ought to react to that.”

“Best not to,” Fugo said. “That aside… What are your abilities? I don’t suppose your father is a stand user as well?”

“He isn’t, no; Cosa Nostra doesn’t appear to have any stand users and if there are, I imagine they’re not very strong stands.” You took a deep breath. “My stand… Disturbia ; it doesn’t have a physical form like Gold Experience, but I can use my shadow—”

“You can possess other people’s bodies with it.” Giorno finished.

“I prefer ‘puppet master,’” you say sheepishly. “Bodily possession sounds a bit sinister.”

Mista waved it off. “You worry about these things too much. The way I see it, as long as you’re protecting yourself and helping the people you care about, the rest will hardly matter.”

Giorno glanced at you, letting the wine settle on his tongue before swallowing it. “Your stand is very interesting.”

They’d subjected you to more probing questions, of which you answered to the best of your ability.

Disturbia did not like the dark (shadows cannot be made in the dark, after all), and because it lacked a physical form, it was somewhat invincible (“You can’t punch or shoot shadows, can you Mista?” Fugo laughed).

Of course, there were some drawbacks; you could not make direct attacks, and it was rather useless in an actual fight, making it best suited for covert operations.

As far as possessing people were concerned, it depended entirely upon the target; weak-minded and weak-willed people were far easier to control, and at best you could take on about five of them, but those with stronger minds and unbreakable resolves like Teresa required you to physically touch them, and still it exerted plenty of your energy. One can only imagine that having to deal with an intelligent stand user would be an extremely dangerous task for you. Actual fights were out of the question.

“Some people require more… finesse .” You say softly, pursing your lips. “All in all, it’s not very strong, and I’d prefer to have an escort whenever I leave the house.”

Mista gazed at you curiously. “How did you get it? If you don’t mind me asking, of course.”

You stare sadly into your empty glass; this must have been your third by now.

“I lived on the streets for about a year—cut my hair and posed as a boy for a while—and just so happened to awaken my stand around that time. It's saved me plenty of times.” With a sigh, you rise from your chair and ask, “Is there any more wine? I think I would like another glass.”

Over the next hour, the others cleared out one by one, eventually leaving you alone with your husband. With no one else but Giorno around to see, you plop down into one of the armchairs and groan. Your cheeks felt rather hot; perhaps you drank too much.

The two of you sat in comfortable silence until the lights began to dim.

Worrying that you’d overstayed your welcome, you quickly straighten your appearance and make your exit, shyly asking, “I’m not forcing you to endure my company, am I? I could leave if I’ve disturbed you.”

“I never said you were disturbing me,” Giorno replied softly. Uncertain on whether you’d heard him correctly, you glanced back at him, your hand still reaching for the door handle.

There he was, at his desk, cheeks pink from the alcohol but eyes still very much alert; he was watching you very carefully.

“No, I suppose you didn’t.” You say, letting your hand fall to your side once again. You take careful strides towards him and perch yourself on the edge of his desk.

This was nice.

“About my mother and stepfather,” You felt your heart jump at the sudden mention of his parents. Giorno continued. “They were… not very affectionate.” Your silence encouraged him to elaborate. “They hurt me.” He added quietly.

Never mind that an idiot could guess as much; Giorno was telling you something, something that was clearly very personal and private to him—and voluntarily at that. You wonder if you’re the only person he’s ever confided this information to.

“Did they drink heavily?” You asked, eyes instinctively darting to the bottle of wine on the far table.

“Not really, no.” Giorno answered. “They would only drink occasionally.” And then, surprising even himself, he continued. “But, when they did drink… well. It wasn’t very pleasant for me, to say the least. They certainly didn’t need to be inebriated to lash out at me, however.”

You moved towards him impulsively and stood beside him, resting a hand on his shoulder in awkward silence. “I am so sorry.”

“It wasn’t your doing, Y/n; you’re not at fault.”

“I pried when I had no business of doing so. You had every right to be angry with me last night, and I’m sorry for bringing back painful memories.” You buried your face into your hands. “And that awful bit with Giuseppe... I really am an idiot.”

Giorno looked confused. “I wasn’t…” He leaned towards you, brows knitted together in frustration. “I wasn’t trying to force an apology out of you.” He grasped your hand then, drawing small circles on the back with his thumb. “I wanted to tell you because I trust you.”

“Oh.” A flash of heat crept up your neck then.

In some ways, “I trust you” felt more intimate, more meaningful than a passionate declaration of love; you might have even preferred to hear this as opposed to “ti amo.”

You linger at his side a little longer, letting your fingers play at the rim of his wine glass. A quick glance over your shoulder and at the clock tells you that it’s well past bedtime. You take Giorno’s arm and motion for him to rise to his feet.

“It’s getting rather late.” You said, rubbing at your eyes. “You need to get some rest.”

Giorno was by then, politely, but thoroughly drunk; his legs swayed ever so slightly with each step, and although you wondered whether you could manage to get him to his room, you find that Giorno is still rather graceful. He still stepped with purpose, though he'd also occasionally take an unsteady step to the side, and in those moments you would steady him.

Somewhere along the way, his hands travel further south than he originally intended, and you’re certain he would have spent the remainder of the evening apologizing if you hadn’t brushed it off immediately (“For pity’s sake, your hands have been there plenty of other times before this evening!”).

By the time you both arrived at Giorno’s bedroom, his body appeared to have (finally,) processed the six glasses of wine he’d drunk.

He laid his eyes on you, fingers lightly ghosting over your bottom lip where there now lay a dark red scar; Teresa’s handiwork from yesterday, if he recalled. He frowned at the sight of it. “I could close up that cut,” He offered.

“If it please you.” You replied. And then, as if by cue, Gold Experience came forth and lightly tapped on your lip with its finger.

It pinched slightly, but what happens next distracts you from any discomfort: Giorno gently cups your cheek, gazing at you in silence before pressing his lips to your forehead with the same kind of gentleness one would exhibit towards a porcelain doll. You wonder if he can hear your heart pound in your chest.

You’ve always known he was comely—your flirtatious butlers and maids never let you forget that—but seeing his blond hair, blue eyes, flushed cheeks, full lips, and soft, chiseled face… You know now that it’d be a sin to deny his good looks. And Giorno Giovanna was handsome. Probably the most handsome man you’d ever known. And he was kind.

Something about him was different today. The lighting, no doubt.

You raise a hand and shyly tuck a loose strand of hair behind his ear, eyes softening at the sight of your husband.

“My Siciliano isn’t very good,” Giorno blurted out. You hold a hand to his cheek; it was blazing hot. Perhaps it was the remaining alcohol in his system. “Is it ‘Bona notte’?”

“Close,” Your lips twitch into a crooked smile when Giorno takes your hand and presses his lips to your knuckles. He was being uncharacteristically affectionate this evening. “It’s ‘Bona notti,’ Don Giorno.”

“Bona notti, Y/n.”

 In the morning you break fast with Giorno and the others. Neither of you say much, but the others watch as Giorno’s hand lingers just a second longer over yours when you both reach for the crostata. There’s less distance in the air and you both seemed warmer towards the other. Much warmer.

“Pardon me, Don Giorno,” You said softly. “I only needed a piece—”

“Please, allow me.” He said, taking on the task of preparing your crostata for you.

“That’s far too much,” You snorted, reaching across the table to redo the work. “I’ll get a cavity at this point.”

Giorno smirked at you. “I have more than enough money to get you a cavity filling or two.”

“Hand it over,” You quipped.

Giorno willingly surrendered the knife with no further comment, and all with a smile on his face. Mista wonders what’s gotten him in such a pleasant mood.

That episode aside, neither of you exchange another word, and before long you and your father leave to discuss your uncle and the possibility of investigating his other men.

Narancia and Fugo were far too busy bickering over their caffe macchiato at the end of the table to see, but Mista notices the way Giorno’s eyes follow you as you exit the room.

“I take it something happened when we left last night?” Mista cooed, nudging Giorno.

“We only—“

“They definitely did it on his desk.” Narancia snickered, holding a hand out for his companion. “Pay up, Fugo.”

Fugo knocked his fists onto the table. “For one thing, Giorno didn’t finish speaking, and for another, I can hardly imagine either of them wanting to do something as tried and tired as desk sex—“

Giorno slammed his coffee cup a little too forcefully onto its saucer.

You’d been kind to him, loved his son, and even provided a safe enough space for him to talk about his childhood. He’d considered Mista to be his closest confidant for the past few years, but after last night… well. You probably knew more about him than anyone else at this table. Giorno considered you to be his closest friend.

To discuss your bedroom habits would certainly mortify you, that he was sure of… and what kind of friend would he be, if he were to speak of you like this?

“I don’t feel comfortable discussing my wife like this,” said Giorno.

Mista blinked in shock at Giorno’s tone. Giorno was always so well-mannered; for him to finally break his composure…

“You’re starting to like her, aren’t you? Has she done something for you? Did she go on her knees and kiss your—“ Mista’s voice trails off as soon as he’s met with that glare. Giorno was being serious. “Sorry boss.”

 “Your husband received this bottle of wine a while back, but he doesn’t seem to like Dolcetto; I suppose we ought to drink it now, while we wait for your Zietto to come over. Signore Alfonsi also sent some quail to the house just this morning; said he shot it himself."

“Out of jail already?” You asked, face twitching in mild amusement.

”Yes, it seems they called in some favors with their friends in the police force, but I imagine they’ve lost all credibility in regard to their criminal activities. No one will want to work with them after that mess with the necklace.”

It seemed that all of their other possessions had been taken as well, and Alfonsi was stripped of his political titles. Teresa, on the other hand, wasn’t to be allowed within fifty feet of any piece of art in the country. 

“They were never any match for you or your husband.”

You bowed your head in thanks and gesture for your father to open the bottle of wine. “Let’s get to work.”

For the next half hour you both sift through possible suspects other than your dear uncle (over a few glasses of wine), but none come quite close. Your father tried to talk you into eating the quail but you politely decline him and help yourself to some bread.

“He’s one of the most dangerous men alive right now.” Your father said, staring blankly into his hands. “All that money he’d made, his sudden eagerness in assisting me, the fact that he’d asked me to appoint him as my underboss… I knew something was wrong.”

“Why didn’t you do anything then?” You asked impatiently. This was going to cost you all dearly, thanks in no small part to your father’s recklessness and lack of caution.

“Because I didn’t want to believe it.” He snapped. “He is my last living relative.”

Your father always had a soft spot for family. What were you going to do with him? You smiled sadly at him and ran your fingers through the end of your hair.  What a mess.

“Why would he want to betray us?” You ask, brows furrowed.

Don Vittorio thought long and hard, staring blankly into the distance, blinking every so often.

He took your hand and gazed at you. “If you’re going to be Don Giorno’s consiglieri, then it only makes sense that I give you the proper tools to succeed.”

Proper tools?

“When you want to figure out someone’s motives, you have to play a game.”

And for the next several minutes your father imparts you with very sage wisdom.

There were plenty of ways to find out an enemy's motives, but the best one, your father argued, was by putting yourself in their shoes.

"Always assume the worst possible scenarios," he said—the worst reasons they could have for the words they say and the actions they carried out, whether their actions and words aligned perfectly with those same reasons, and most of all what they could possibly gain. Another bit of advice he gave was to imagine every possible scenario in any situation, to picture every possible series of events all at once.

"Live that way and nothing will ever surprise you; everything that happens and every turn of events that unfolds before you will be something you'd already foreseen." He explained."Now with your uncle... Only a fool would try to cross us.” Your father thought aloud. “He must have some justification for all this.”

“He’s probably angry that we made a marriage pact with Passione.” You muttered. “I know that’s why a handful of your capos never bothered attending the wedding or Giuseppe’s christening.”

Your father took another sip and hummed softly. “Probably not a good thing that he’s gained everyone’s trust in Palermo either. I suspect that he and his handful of supporters will attempt a coup in the near future.”

“They wouldn’t dare,” You snarled. “You brought the previous Don to his feet. You were poor, had no titles, stopped the drug trade in Sicilia and gained their respect. You brought honor back to Cosa Nostra. They can't just take your title from you. They would have to—”

“They’d have to kill me, yes.”

“I won’t let them hurt you.” You said, grabbing his hand and staring at him intensely. “Stay here. Stay with me and Don Giorno and Giuseppe.”

He smiled sadly at you, patting your hand affectionately. “As you said—once the tree’s been picked, there’s no returning the fruit to its branches. I must return to Palermo and fix this myself.”

“You’ll be surrounded by enemies; you don’t even know who’s after you. At the very least, let Don Giorno and I find them before you return to that snake pit.”

But there was no way to convince your father. He decided then, that he would return to his home and sort it all out himself; while it was highly likely that Matteo Barese gained some allies in your father's ranks, the majority of Cosa Nostra's five thousand members were sworn to your father. He was confident that he would be safe with the majority on his side.

“You’re good at this, you know.” Your father said, pinching your cheeks. “There’s plenty of good and honorable men in our world who die because they disdain the game and the people who play it—but you enjoy it.”

You smile sheepishly. “It’s the last thing I expected. I’d like to keep playing it with you.”

“Play it with your husband,” He replied. “I won’t always be around, you know.”

You swatted his arm impatiently. “Stop that. I’ll make sure you live to be three hundred years old.”   

He laughed at this and pulled you close. It was times like these when you remembered that he did not share your blood, that somehow, in spite of all the odds, you’d been given another chance to find a family. He’d raised you himself, loved you as though you were his own flesh and blood. Don Vittorio was your father, and nothing would change that.

The two of you sat there for another half-hour, and still, Matteo had not shown up.

“Something is wrong,” You said to your father.

Matteo knew the consequences of not heeding your father’s call—he’d be branded a traitor for all of the suspicion regarding his recent activities. And yet he was absent anyway. You’d have to alert Giorno at this point; perhaps he could help find that weaselly old uncle of yours.

At first, you both agreed to leave for Giorno’s study (it was on the other side of the estate, but not a terribly long walk), though it seemed your father would be unable to escort you out of the parlor. His legs seemed rather weak all of a sudden—how much wine did you drink again? You could not remember. There was that loaf of bread you’d been eating, and you couldn’t help but notice the way it dried out your throat (it was rather stale), so you helped yourself to another glass of wine before rising from your chair.

There was something awfully strange about this wine. It tasted delicious, to be sure, but it was not very helpful in regard to clearing your throat. If anything, it seemed to be making your condition worse. No matter; you’d simply have to fetch some water in Giorno’s study. You took another sip and tested it on your palate just as Giorno taught you, concentrating hard—

“Y/n,” Your father coughed. “It’s been tampered with.”

Your heart sank. The wine... It was proof enough. Giorno may have embarrassed the Alfonsi's and thrown them into jail, but they had played you all, and your uncle certainly had no intention of coming to the house. Not while you were alive, anyway.

You coughed and sputtered, holding your hand to your chest as your breathing grew shallow. With each and every ragged breath, you could feel your throat tighten and shrink in on itself. It was becoming rather difficult to breathe.

“Patri,” You croaked. You nearly faint when you lay eyes on him; he was already on the brink of losing consciousness. You lightly stroked the dark hairs on his head and whispered, “Stay with me. We have to get Don Giorno.”

Giorno could help; he always knew what to do. He never panicked or crumbled under pressure.

But tried as you might, you could not lift your father out of his chair, so you settle on bringing Giorno back to your room yourself to help your father.

You hobble your way to the door but to no avail; even the smallest movements are draining you of any energy you have left. The next step you take saps you of the last bit of your strength.

You fall to your knees, but just before you tumble to the ground you sweep your arm over the table, sending all of the glassware and silverware to the floor with you. It would hurt as soon as you fell to the ground, but at the very least it would make enough noise to alert the others.

This room, your suite—it was in the most remote area of the house. It was carefully planned out so that you could safely flee the house with Giuseppe should someone ambush Giorno in his home.

Oh, the irony of it all, you thought bitterly. You were going to die in the very room designed to keep you safe. Regardless, you prayed that the noise would be enough. Giorno or Mista or Narancia or Fugo would hear it. They had to.

You winced as you moved about, dragging yourself along the floor and towards the door. At some point you’re no longer bothered by the sting from the shards of glass lodged in your palms. There’s a piece of the wine bottle on the floor—perhaps it would be a sufficient clue for whoever chances upon you two. You close your fingers around it, ignoring the sharp pain as the glass digs into your hand.

As you inch your way forward, you think of Giuseppe—if he’s with his father, if he’s safe. You hope they’re both safe, that they’ll be spared from the same fate as you if you can’t make it through.


What would become of your family? Surely Giorno wouldn’t mourn you for very long, but Giuseppe… your heart ached just thinking of it all. Every moment you would miss, every stumble, every milestone. You may never see your son again. You would never live to see him grow into an adult, and he would have to grow up without a mother. You were going to leave him behind, just as Giorno’s mother had done to him.

Children needed two parents. One simply wasn’t enough. Perhaps Giorno would marry again. Man or woman—it wouldn’t matter really. But he could not (and should not) shoulder the burden of raising Giuseppe alone, and you suppose this might work nicely for him. He could finally marry for love. How nice would that be for him? To marry someone he liked, to enjoy their company. Giorno certainly deserved the opportunity to find happiness, and Giuseppe needed another parent to stand in for the void you would leave.

You wonder how the marriage contract works out an unexpected death, but you're confident that your father’s men would continue to back Giorno, regardless of whether or not you were alive. Giorno was your son’s father, and they would honor that. They would protect your son and help his father… they were all bound by this marriage, all bound by blood.

You repeated it over and over again, they’ll be safe, they’ll be safe.

But the more you thought it through, the less plausible this seemed.

Your uncle’s treachery was all but confirmed and there was no guarantee that Cosa Nostra would take kindly to Giorno if you and your father were gone. At best, they’d simply pull the little support they’d shown to Passione, and at worst they would make Giorno pay for “failing” to protect you and your father.

Father was right. Cosa Nostra was going to be torn apart, from the inside. Giorno and his team needed to know; at this rate, they’d all be picked off, one by one.

Matteo had taken you and your father out first; Giorno and Giuseppe—your husband and son—were certainly next. You shook your head, tears welling up in your eyes from shock and pain.

Why now? Everything was finally coming into place. You’d finally closed the gap in your marriage. You were happy. Your life couldn’t come to an end, not yet.

You tried to yell for help but the only sounds you can manage to rip from your body are painfully thin whines from the back of your throat. Panic slowly settled on your face. You could feel your eyes bulge from their sockets and began to claw at your throat.

You couldn’t breathe anymore.

I can’t die, not here. Please—

Chapter Text

With you and your father away, Giorno’s attention became solely attached to his son. It was only then that he’d noticed his son was not drinking milk.

“Now, what have we here?” he asked softly, stroking Giuseppe’s cheek with care.

“Oh that?” asked Mista with a snicker. “We’ve been giving him cioccolata for an entire week now. I’m surprised you only just noticed.”

“And he likes it?” he asked, lips parted in amusement.

“Well there’s a bit of a story to it,” Narancia chirped.

Fugo laughed. “You’ll like this one.”

According to the others, Giuseppe took after Giorno in a number of ways, and was a rather observant young fellow—so observant that he couldn’t help but notice the peculiar drink his father had at breakfast every morning. And of course, this naturally progressed to a point in which he was only interested in drinking whatever it was Giorno was helping himself to at breakfast. Their efforts—even your’s, they said—were to no avail. The boy refused milk and certainly wasn’t going to drink water but with him being only a child less than two years old, Mista, Narancia and Fugo were all rather apprehensive at the idea of giving Giuseppe something as acidic and bitter as espresso. But after a few minutes of careful explanation, you inform the others that your young nieces and nephews were given small quantities of caffè in their milk, so there wasn’t much to fear in humoring Giuseppe just this once.

Mista, Narancia and Fugo weren’t entirely convinced but keep their thoughts to themselves as they watch you deposit a scant teaspoon of your own espresso into Giuseppe’s mug.

There, ” you said, crossing your arms over your chest and staring at them pointedly before motioning for Giuseppe to drink. “Really, it’s only a spoonful. Plenty of children drink their milk like this, so I can scarcely see why—"

WAIT!"  They screeched in unison, lunging over the table.

But by then it was already too late: Giuseppe raised your cup and helped himself to a good two sips of unsweetened espresso. And to no one’s surprise, Giorno’s caffeinated son flung himself from his seat at the table and ran wild throughout the entire first floor of the house for a half-hour before finally tumbling into a couch in one of the sitting rooms.

Fugo looked at Giuseppe tiredly. “He’s always so well-behaved. I never would have guessed that he had such abundant energy lying in reserve.”

“Y/n wondered if she should ask you to switch to milk so that GioGio would quit asking for espresso—”

“But you should have seen her face when I told her that we could easily just give him cioccolata for now and pass it off as your espresso; looked at me like I was the smartest person she’d ever met.” Mista added cheerfully.

Narancia stretched and sighed contentedly before taking another piece of crostata from the center of the table. “You know, Giorno, it took me a couple of weeks to notice, but your staff’s improved since the last time we lived in with you. Before you kicked us out and brought Y/n into your house anyway.” Narancia stabbed at his slice with a fork. “I’ve been taking bubble baths and soaks and everything. I even started using those bath salts. One of the maids leaves a different tray of stuff twice a week. Sometimes more if I’m really stressed.”

“Don’t tell us you’re planning on opening your own spa resort,” teases Mista. Narancia glowered and swatted at him over the table.

“At least I take showers and baths more frequently than you do.”

“I think Mista’s hygiene has improved remarkably since moving back in.” says Giorno. “Now when did you start taking bubble baths? Not while you’re supposed to be working, I hope.” His question earns him a few laughs from the others and a scowl from Narancia.

“Well,” he began. “A few weeks ago I was a bit worn out from our work. Must’ve been that time I came back from that little scuffle with those idiots from the Camorra—”

“Get to the point already,” Fugo sighed.

“I was getting there,” Narancia replied hotly. “Anyway, when I returned to my room there was a bath drawn for me, with lavender scented oil.”

Narancia had been far too fatigued to question any of these things but soaked in the water regardless, admiring the calming scent for a few minutes. He was rather embarrassed to share it, but he’d been so exhausted that he fell asleep shortly after he’d hopped into the bathtub. Fugo was the one to discover his pruney body fast asleep in the tub the next morning.

“And that was why you were covered head to toe that day?” Mista roared and nudged Giorno with an elbow. “I was wondering why you were wearing gloves but Fugo wouldn’t tell me a thing. If only we took pictures...”

Fugo shrugged. “He made me promise not to tell anyone.”

Fugo had a tale of his own—though most of it comes out muffled and embarrassed. Giorno gave up asking Fugo to repeat himself after a second try.

“Fugo’s been watching those stupid soap operas with you-know-who,” Narancia said, acting as translator.

Fugo slammed a fist onto the table. “They’re an acquired taste, that’s all—the plots are convoluted and the characters shallow but they stand as decent distractions—”

“No one is saying that you can’t enjoy them, Fugo—”

“I don’t enjoy them, Narancia; I only watch them because—”

“You’re telling me my wife watches them?” Giorno asked, quirking a brow. “I don't believe that one bit.”

Fugo shrugged. “They appear to be a guilty pleasure of hers… I’m a little inclined to agree with her. They’re not entirely terrible.”

“And you, Mista? Anything from you?”   

“Nothing really,” he started thoughtfully, then quickly added, “But I have gotten much better sleep now, thanks to the new mattress and linens you’d bought me. And you have my thanks for making sure my clothes are clean.”

Giorno choked on his espresso. “I can promise you that I’ve done no such thing; I’m not your mother, Mista.”

“Well, someone’s taken the time to do all of this. Are you telling me your staff’s suddenly found a reason to do their work?”

“Now that you mention it,” Fugo began, “The house is a lot more… orderly.”

Giorno didn’t care much for the staff when he’d first moved into this mansion all those years ago. Nothing changed either when he offered his friends their own rooms. As long as the house didn’t get terribly cluttered by Narancia and Mista and the food got onto the table every night, he would not find any reason to complain.

He’d made these same observations months ago and noticed that the house had never been in such a wonderful state, but now that his friends had brought it up he couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that everyone was working much more efficiently in the house. Perhaps they were motivated by Giuseppe’s presence. Children seemed to have that effect on people...

“When did you start noticing all this? The bubble baths and whatnot,” Giorno asked the others.

“Oh, a few weeks ago, I suppose—sometime after you’d started chatting it up with Y/n… and forced us to move in again to watch over her.”

“We’re simply getting to know each other.” The others smirked at him knowingly. “Yes, we will occasionally indulge in certain activities but we’re married and it’s all harmless.”

“If it’s so harmless then why are you getting so defensive over these things? You used to be fine when we’d poke jokes at you for trying to have children, for Christ’s sake. I’m beginning to think that—”

“If I want to hear jokes then I’ll hire a comedian,” Giorno said, plucking a speck of dust in Giuseppe's hair.

Mista glanced at the staircase warily, not wanting to put Giorno on the spot but still wanting to get some answers from him. “Giorno, you don’t have to answer this, but… you seem awfully close now. Compared to before anyway.”

From the beginning of this marriage you and Giorno were distant if polite strangers, always remembering your manners and formalities. Breakfast today only confirmed that your relationship had taken a bit of a departure from the usual.

“...She’s a good mother to Giuseppe,” Giorno started slowly. “But... I suppose I wanted to put more effort into this marriage. I’d been a bit of a terrible husband.”

He’d always left you alone in the earlier days of your marriage, and at that time it seemed to work just fine. When the time to start a family came, his greatest fear lay in the possibility that his child would grow up not feeling any love from either of their parents.

These fears were quelled the second you’d embraced your role as a mother. She is nothing if not dutiful, this wife of mine, thought Giorno.

Not once did he see you throw a fit or make complaints—not during the sleepless nights when Giuseppe would cry into the early hours of the morning, or when feeding him became uncomfortable, or when the boy would misbehave (though this was now a rarity thanks to Giorno’s own work).

Giorno certainly made the effort to look after Giuseppe himself and always dedicated hours out of his busy schedule everyday to care for him… But as the months went by he couldn’t help but feel as though something were amiss.

And then it suddenly occurred to him that you—his wife, the mother of his son—were also a part of his family. It wasn’t that he’d forgotten, really, he always knew you were a part of the family; what truly dawned on him was the realization that he too, would need to fully embrace his role—not only as a father, but as a husband. Not only in name, but in spirit as well.

The day he caught you humming Giuseppe to sleep in the nursery was the breaking point for him, and without thinking, Giorno found himself—literally—embracing his wife and son.

“Well,” Giorno said finally, breaking out of his nostalgia. “She’s made pleasant company. I’ve no idea why I didn't try to befriend her any sooner...”

Mista makes an attempt to reassure Giorno, though it doesn’t come out very well. “Don’t say that—arranged marriages are… well—”

“Boring,” says Narancia.

Fugo hissed through his teeth. “Good grief, what if one of them heard you?!”

“Am I wrong?! They were both pretty miserable about this ‘arrangement’ at the beginning, weren’t they?! No use in denying it.”

“Still, for you to—”

Mista pats Giorno on the back and allows the other two to continue arguing in the background. “I think you’ve done what you needed to do—the both of you. There’s hardly any need for you to stress over this. It’s all turning out well either way, isn’t it?”   

“I suppose,” said Giorno. “I wanted to spend more time with her… I was thinking of inviting her to dinner outside of the house or something. Once all of this nonsense is over, of course.”

Narancia grins smugly, “You know, if you’ve been enjoying Y/n’s company so much, maybe you ought to enjoy her ‘private company’ some more.”

“Excuse me?”   

“Have more children—” said Fugo, taking a sip of his caffe macchiato with an air of nonchalance. “You’ve both made excellent parents.”

“This is a decision Y/n should make. I won’t be the one carrying the child for nine months.”

The two of them cooed in unison, snickering amongst themselves; Giorno walked right into their small trap. So he did care about you, after all.

“I don’t think she would mind, seeing that she’s scheduled pretty regular ‘meetings’ with you as of late—”

Narancia hushed Fugo, his ears perking ever so slightly at a faint crash. From what it sounded like, he’d probably guess it to be silverware and glass, so he looked over his shoulder and pulled a face. “Did you hear that?”

Giorno knew that his friend was rather perceptive and gave him his full attention, just as he always did whenever Narancia happened to pick something up. “What is it?” asked Giorno.

“It sounded like… well—" He paused. “...I thought I heard glass shattering just now.”

Mista waved it off. “The kitchen staff probably broke something.”

Narancia thought carefully once again, rising from his seat. “That noise didn’t come from the kitchen,” He observed.

And he was right; the cooks were all chatting animatedly, their banter bouncing off the walls in the kitchen and spilling through the corridors and all seemed well. None of the maids had rushed to the scene of the accident to clean anything up either. Narancia peered up the stairs in curiosity. The crash and clatter was so faint that one might have guessed that it came from one of the bedrooms upstairs. Still at the foot of the staircase, he looked over his shoulder and at the others, his face deathly pale.

“Do you think—”

Giorno pushed past him and leapt up the staircase.

Why did I choose a house with this many stairs? He wondered. Speeding through half the staircase in seconds, he could already feel an unpleasant burn in his lungs starting to surface.

He thought of what you were doing, thought that perhaps you’d only dropped something.

Yes. That could certainly be it. Perhaps you’d dropped something, or perhaps your father accidentally knocked over a vase. You were never the type to be clumsy—your movements were always full of purpose and caution—but perhaps today you’d experienced a lapse in protocol.

His heart drops to his stomach when he pushes through the door to your rooms.

There was plenty of shattered glass and cutlery on the floor, not to mention that terrible wine stain on one of the rugs, though that was the least of his concerns; on the floor lay your unconscious body, face down. Don Vittorio remained seated in his chair, his head laying on the table beside the windows.

Narancia was the first to catch up, and panted, “What happened here?!”

Fugo paced along the wall, only stopping to pull the curtains away from one of the windows. “Someone may have attacked them and fled afterwards.”

And while this made perfect sense, it did not explain how neither you or your father appeared to be relatively unwounded. The wounds on your hands were clearly from crawling on the ground but to Giorno’s dismay, this led them further away from reaching any definitive answers. Had you been crawling away from someone? And who had been the one to break all of the fine china? He remembered you were particularly fond of this blue set—your father had gifted it to you at the bridal shower, after all.

“Aerosmith!” Narancia pushed the curtains aside and bit his lip. “Whoever attacked them is gone now. ”

Mista frowned and swiveled around, waiting for Giorno to give them further instructions though it seemed as though he was otherwise occupied.

“Giorno,” said Mista. “What should—”

“Y/n,” Giorno said, ignoring Mista entirely and shaking you, hoping it was all a joke and that perhaps you had a terrible sense of humor. It could all very well be an elaborate prank that you and your father decided to pull last minute.

With a collective sigh, the others join Giorno and check your father for any signs of life.

“Don Vittorio’s still breathing. Just barely.” said Mista. “Is Y/n alright? Apart from those cuts, of course.”

Giorno pressed his head to your chest, and then, remembering that his stand could easily detect life, called on Gold Experience to assess the situation. You were still breathing, though it was so faint that you may as well be on the brink of death. Giorno looks at your closed fist with curiosity, and when he pries your fingers open, he finds a shard of green glass sitting comfortably in your palm. There was no doubt of it; you’d left a clue, but as to what your message may have been, he had no idea. Still—he knew that you’d done it on purpose, that you’d wounded yourself so that he could solve whatever mystery was going on.

It was from a bottle of wine, that was clear, and if that was the case, then it was certainly time to rule out the fact that you or your father were attacked.

“We placed her in this room so that she would be safe,” Giorno started. “In that case, we’ll have to assume that there was never an attack to begin with.”

“Who would’ve done this?” Fugo asked, resting a hand on his hip. “They clearly didn’t make a mess for the fun of it. Someone must have done this.”

Giorno shook his head. “We would have known if someone had broken in.”

There weren’t many windows in this part of the house, and even then they faced the gardens in the southern part of the property, which were nearly impossible to reach unless you lived in the house or were permitted on the grounds. Giorno would have known if someone was taking so much as a leisurely walk by your windows.

“A remote-controlled stand?” Mista suggested.

Giorno examined the clue once again before motioning for Narancia to switch places with him. He slowly settled his breathing as he picked up the broken pieces of glass on the floor and one by one he picked each matching piece eventually piecing together a portion of the wine label.

Alfonsi . Why would either of you even think to drink something of theirs, especially at a time like this? Why would you do something so reckless now that their association with Matteo Barese had been confirmed? Did either of you notice? None of this was comprehensible.

At any rate, this was hardly the time to press such questions. There wasn’t much time left.

Slow heart rate, ragged breathing, loss of strength...

Was it poison? If it were poison, then there were even more complications to your treatment, considering Giorno had no idea which poison had been employed to take you out. It also meant that Giorno was powerless in this situation; poisons were chemical, often biological substances, and considering that they were technically already living things…

Giorno shook his head. Gold Experience could not counteract them.

I can’t do anything right now, he thought bitterly.

“Get a doctor,” said Giorno. “I’m afraid I can’t treat them myself.”

Gold Experience can treat—”

“It can treat injuries, yes, but I’m afraid it can’t treat poison. Call a doctor, we haven’t got much time.”

“Poison?” Narancia held a hand to his mouth. “Are you—”

Giorno rose to his feet, and, after giving life to the shards of glass in your hands and healing the cuts, lays you in your bed. “There’s a hospital just down the road; see to it that they bring several doctors here. And let them know that I won’t have my wife or Don Vittorio leave the house.”

“We’ll need to treat her father first,” explained one of the doctors.

“She hasn’t been breathing for a few minutes now,” Giorno explained. “She needs—”

Mista lays a hand on Giorno’s shoulder and shakes his head.

The doctor fidgeted about nervously while his assistants worked on fitting a breathing tube to your mouth. “Your father-in-law is in a terrible state right now. Your wife is young, and she’s perfectly healthy; she’s in a much better state to handle this. We’ll secure her airway after administering the antidote and ensure she can breathe properly, but we must work on reviving and treating Signore Andolini first. Please understand.”

The doctor pulls Giorno aside to discuss certain matters regarding you and your father’s treatment, and though Giorno is troubled by what he hears, he resolved to follow through with whatever it is the doctors tell him.

Mista reassures Giorno with a sympathetic smile. “She’ll be fine. She’s been given an antidote.”  

His forehead puckered as though he were in doubt. “...And where is my son?”

“Fugo’s watching over him.” Mista grabs an armchair from the parlor and brings it to your bedside, pointing to it and orders Giorno, “Go on, sit here; you can watch over her for now. I’ll take care of whatever appointments you have on your schedule today—”

“Mista, there’s only two, surely I can—”

“Sit here. How hard can your job be anyway?”

Giorno shot him a foul look. “You’d be surprised.”

“More reason to take the day off, hm? Sit here and keep watch, Prince Charming. Your princess will be awake soon enough.” Giorno furrows his brows and nearly opens his mouth to protest, but all the witty replies he’d had in stock are forgotten as soon as he sees you stir slightly in your sleep. He gives Mista a nod in thanks and takes a random book from one of your side tables to pass the time while he waits. Mista turns on his heel and gets to work.

While most gangs did not tolerate such things (men were to always stay on their posts, even if their wives were in labor or some other emergency occurred), Mista reasoned that Passione wasn’t any regular organization anyway. Certain exceptions could be made, and it was Giorno they were speaking of. Giorno’s men were fiercely loyal to him, admired him even. They would have done the same as Mista, that was unquestionable, and so Mista personally oversees the two appointments Giorno had scheduled for the day. Once those are dealt with, he returns to the house and mans the telephones in Giorno’s study, oversees certain tasks (regarding the search for your uncle, among other things) and takes any supplications in Giorno’s stead in the sitting rooms downstairs.

Every so often he’ll return to your room to check on you himself. Sometimes, he’ll catch Giorno reading, throwing a glance at you over the edge of the book every so often, other times he’ll find that Giorno’s sitting erect with his hands resting neatly in his lap, eyes trained on you and sharply focused, and after a few hours, he finds that Giorno’s fallen asleep in that very same position.

Your father woke first (sometime after Giorno’s fallen asleep), though not for lack of trying on the doctor’s parts. He chokes at the sight of you, still fast asleep under a pile of blankets.

“She’ll be alright,” Mista explained. “The doctor’s informed us that she will wake within a few hours.”

“And how long did it take to revive me?”

“...Three hours, Don Vittorio.”


“Signore Barese is nowhere to be found. We’re very sorry for—”

“No,” Don Vittorio started. “This is all a mess I created. I’m sorry for causing all of this.”

Don Vittorio is just about to inquire after Giorno’s whereabouts when he catches his sleeping son-in-law at your bedside, body slouched in a large armchair, arms crossed and head tipped over. If he listened very closely he could hear very faint snores synched with the slow rise and fall of Giorno’s chest. How long Giorno has been in that position he does not know, but Mista follows his eyes and smiles.

“He’s been like that for a half-hour now... I didn’t want to wake him.”

“And what a shame it’d be if you did,” said your father warmly. “It’s quite the pretty picture.”

“And—a fantastic save from A.C. Milan’s Donnarumma,”

“For fuck’s sake, Napoli— please , score, take the ball—do something…”  

“Now Cavaliere, running with the ball—passing to Faulisi—”

“Shoot! Shoot!”



“Splendid game so far from A.C. Milan and Faulisi—"

“Can’t say the same for Napoli, unfortunately,”

“Turn that radio off before I break it,”

It’d felt as though you were drowning in darkness for hours, so these voices were welcome company. Slowly but surely they become louder, more comprehensible...

You sat up suddenly, looking about the room—my room, you observed—and smile when you see that the others have huddled around the radio in the corner of the room. They must have been waiting for you.

You try to slip out from the covers but notice that a weight has settled onto your bed; your husband.

Giorno’s fallen asleep in a plush armchair beside your bed, body slumped over and head resting a few inches from your lap. His brows were furrowed. You wonder how long he must have been sitting there watching over you before finally drifting off.

“I must be dead,” you croaked, reaching for a glass of water.

The others swiveled around in their seats, staring at you in bewilderment from the far corner of your room.

“Y/n!” said, Narancia, quaking like a leaf at the sight of you.

Soon enough they all rush to your bedside, their presence causing plenty of commotion. All this movement causes Giorno to wake with a start and see that you are sitting up, awake. Alive.

“Y/n,” he said, relief washing over his tired face. “Are you alright?”

“Careful now—if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you actually care about what happens to me.” You quipped, hiding your smile behind the glass of water you were drinking from.

He softened a little, pleased that you’d fallen back into your usual banter so quickly.

“I suppose I—”

“Y/n,” says Don Vittorio, who rushes to your side and gives you a quick embrace. “Your husband has made sure that you’ve gotten proper treatment. Now, you haven’t eaten and I imagine your limbs have gotten a little stiff—I’ll feed you myself and—”

“Alright, Patri,” you laughed. “Whatever pleases you. But before that—” you glanced about the room and made sure that the only ears there to hear you were those you trusted. “—what happened?”

“Do you not remember anything?”

You brought your fingers to your neck unconsciously. “I couldn’t breathe for a bit… and after that? I honestly can’t remember.”

“What about what happened before?” asked Narancia. “You broke a lot of glass.”

“Poison,” You said softly. “Where is he?” you asked your father.

“Giuseppe is—”

“He’s here in this room, I know that,” you interrupted. “But where is uncle?”

“Well… he’s gone. I’ve no clue where he is or where he could be.”

“And how long has it been since I blacked out?”

“I’d say it’s been eight hours,” said Fugo, counting the hours on his fingers and glancing at the clock.

Eight hours . He could be anywhere now. You chewed on your lip anxiously. Who knew what could happen next. Giorno’s presence, however, proves calming enough. “We’ll find him soon enough,” he says.


“So… A.C. Milan and Napoli faced off just now?” you asked, rubbing your temple and still trying to comprehend what was going on. “It must be night time then.”

“Yes, it is,” said Giorno. “Half-past five, I think. Dinner will be served in two hours.”

Mista joined you in a better attempt to lighten the mood and noted, with curiosity, “Seems you’re pretty familiar with football.”

Giorno chimed in rather quickly, now eager to flaunt some of the knowledge he retained from the earlier days of your marriage. “Now, if I remember correctly, my dear wife was once romantically involved with a certain Ignazio Faulisi—”

“I can’t believe you bothered remembering that,” you said, lowering your head into your hands in embarrassment.

“Why wouldn’t I? That was one of the first few conversations we’d had—the first bit of information about yourself that you’d surrendered to me. Of course I would remember it.”

“Hard not to say something, with the interrogation you’d put me under,” you responded dryly. “Figured I’d spare you a few crumbs.” Giorno concentrated a little whilst holding the back of his hand against your forehead. A little warmer than it should be, he mused, but not terribly hot. The doctors warned him that you may catch some fever when you woke, but made certain assurances that little else would happen. He’d have to send his thanks to them in the morning; in the meantime he’d focus his efforts on looking after you.

“Wait—what?” Mista sprang from his chair and bolted to your bedside. “You were dating the best forward in A.C. Milan?”

Out of fatigue—and perhaps embarrassment—you allow Giorno to regale the others with a colorful account of your first courtship. Secret dates, sneaking out of your father’s house at odd hours of the evening (earning you cold, hard stares from your father—you’d have to “thank” Giorno for that properly later), and the eventual heartbreak (as most adolescent flings ended).

“It wasn’t really built to last,” you said. “But I suppose, looking back on it, it was rather nice. He was sweet.”

Giorno isn’t surprised that you’d caught the eye of someone even before your family had put you forward for marriage. People were drawn to you and your charm.

He thought carefully as he took another burning sip of tea (Mista brought you a fresh pot just now, with humorously mismatched tea cups and saucers), and as he sipped, he allowed his mind to wander, if just a bit, whilst the remainder of the people in the room prodded you for more questions about your old suitors and admirers.

So, he thought. What would have happened to you if you never had the misfortune to meet him? If he’d never come to your father and refused the meeting, if your father had simply chosen some other Don to bequeath his daughter and life’s work to… what would have become of you?

If it weren’t for Giorno, your father would have certainly continued to keep your best interest in mind, but it also would not stop him from seeking an advantageous match with another handsome, promising and influential gangster. Another arranged marriage then? Was that it?

No , he thought. Surely there were other possibilities.

He wonders then what would have happened if you’d been free to marry anyone else. Perhaps you might have grown sick of your duties and simply run off with Ignazio Faulisi or some other lucky person. Or perhaps you would marry some decent hard working person somewhere outside of Palermo; a respectable businessman (or woman) or doctor. Someone who didn’t douse their hands in dirt and blood.

He could see you now, surrounded perhaps by several small children. You were a good mother to Giuseppe, surely you could’ve done the same for another person’s children. But these children he pictured... They didn’t look like Giorno or any of his paternal linkages—no, they all looked like the children of strangers. And in this vision, you barely resembled the person he knew—the calm, poised, refined Y/n who diligently maintained her perfect image and did as her family bid her. Here you were smiling and laughing.

It was not long before he spiraled into countless “what-if’s” and other imaginings of what your life could have been. Though none of it seemed to really matter. For each scenario he could picture, another alternative sprung up. This very well could be the path you were always meant to take, regardless of whether or not he were part of the picture, always holding to the words of Famiglia, dovere, onore. Why? He did not know.

And suddenly he remembers the words of an old friend.

Stand users are drawn to other stand users.

Was that what Koichi said? And if it were...


It seemed your fate was sealed the day Giorno had taken over Passione.

And it certainly didn’t help that Narancia suddenly added, “That’s a shame—now you’re stuck with Giorno.”

The others laughed and you yourself cracked a thin smile, but Giorno frowned.

“I wouldn’t say that,” you replied firmly. “Don Giorno has been nothing but kind to me. I was not so fortunate before.”

“Right,” says Mista, remembering that you had your fair share of monstrous suitors in your youth.

Your father watched from a table in the far corner of the room, helping himself to a plate of leftover veal from the other day; the others informed you that he was a little worse for wear after his treatment, and were told that he needed to take several smaller meals throughout the day. It seemed he was a bit distressed by the lighthearted turn this conversation had taken. It was understandable of course; you needed to take some action before your uncle did. So he immediately calls your attention back to the grievances at hand.

“We need to act quickly,” He says. “Your uncle isn’t stupid; he’ll turn the others against your husband as soon as he can. We also can’t let him get away with his—” He frowned at your silence, taking note of the amused expression on your face. “Do you want to say something clever? Go on, say something clever.” He snapped.

“I just—I didn’t realize you placed such a high value on my husband’s life and career—”

“Of course I do; he’s one of us. Every second that we spend in this precarious position, the less respect our names command.”

“So it appears the lion does concern himself with the opinions of sheep—”

“It’s not an opinion. It’s a fact,” he interrupted hotly.

If one of his own men could pull an attempt on your lives and threaten Giorno’s with impunity, Cosa Nostra would no longer be a gang that incited fear and submission. Passione’s reputation would likely suffer similar consequences.

“My wife is dead, as are my son, daughter-in-law, and my first grandchild,” he snarled, cutting at his food like a madman. “Before long, I will die, and so will you, your husband, his friends, and your son—all of us dead and rotting beneath the ground. But you know what remains of us? The family name. Not our personal glory, or our good deeds and honor. Family. Do you understand?”


"The future of our family will be determined by your actions in the coming weeks—we'll either collapse into nothing or reestablish our great dynasty." He held your head in his hands. “And to do that, you need to become the person you were always meant to be; not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Now. 

Here you learned that of the three suspects involved in the poisoning, only one was available for questioning, and seeing that you lacked any enthusiasm to interact with a particular woman again, you’re pleased to find out that Giorno and the others had already interrogated her.

Giorno casts a sideways glance at your father, then looks to you. The others do the same.

You nodded in understanding, all the while wondering why they did not want to discuss this with your father. But you knew they most likely had their reasons.

“Patri,” You called. “Could you take Giuseppe downstairs for his dinner? I’m afraid I can’t get up out of bed just yet.”

“Gladly, trisoru. Come now, cucciolo.” He lifted your son with a groan and exited the room.

Giorno is the one to close the door behind them and settles back into the chair beside your bed while the others gathered round.

According to them, Roberto Alfonsi was dead. Not much of a surprise, considering he collapsed under pressure and let slip that your uncle had been wreaking havoc on Giorno’s turf. But with this came more troubling news.

“She said that the pieces of paper—all those contracts and correspondences you’d been shown—disappeared.”

“‘Disappeared’?” you repeated. “Did she burn them?”

“I can’t say for sure,” says Mista. “At first that’s what I thought, but…”

Fugo does you the courtesy of getting to the point. “We think your uncle has certain abilities… The way she’d described it—”

You frowned. “That is not possible—”

“She said her husband was sworn into silence, and that most people couldn’t see the papers even if they were stacked in plain sight.”

There were other things, they said—apparently he dropped dead not long after returning home and sending some things to Giorno’s home (the quail in particular). Before that, he’d fidgeted around nervously, displaying the same kind of behavior as a cornered animal.

“That could be anything,” you argued. “We don’t have enough evidence.”

“Fair enough,” Mista says dejectedly. “But please, think of it. It’s just… some of her story sounded a little bit bizarre.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Is there anything else?” asks Mista.

You get the impression that they’ve all gotten hungry and dismiss them so they can finally have dinner. “No, I think we’ve talked plenty. Please leave us.” Mista nodded and ushered the rest out of your room. Only you and Giorno remained.

Everything is still and you couldn’t ignore the fact that Giorno had gotten awfully quiet earlier. It was different from his usual silence; if he were relaxed and calm he would have leaned back, loosened those broad shoulders of his and perhaps added a few words or question of his own. But right now he was hunched over, playing with the end of his plait, deep in thought.

“You seemed to be in deep thought earlier,” you said suddenly. Giorno looks up at you but immediately goes back to focusing on his hair. “What was it, I wonder?”

He stayed silent for a few minutes, and you took this as a sign that he wouldn’t surrender whatever it was that was bothering him—not voluntarily, at any rate—and so you simply allow him the space he needs. You’d learned your lesson before; Giorno would take his secrets to the grave if he wanted to, and there was no need to press him any more than necessary. Still, you hope that he’d come to you and simply get whatever it is that’s bothering him off of his chest. There were other things to worry about. Surely whatever this was wasn’t as important.

Finally he speaks.

“What would have happened if you’d never met me? If you never had to marry me?” he asked quietly, eyes pointed to his lap.

Did this matter? You shrugged. “If it weren’t you, then I would’ve been married off just the same…” Giorno nods at this, lips tightening into a frown.

“But perhaps your father would have allowed you to—”

“Marry someone I loved? I doubt it,” You note the way Giorno winces at the bitterness in your voice and, after a few seconds of hesitation, reach for his hand and give it a light squeeze. It stopped him from saying anymore of that nonsense, almost appeared to be soothing him, so you slowly trace small circles around his knuckles with your thumb.

He didn’t say anything for sometime, bothered by the tightness in his chest.

He swallowed hard.

“There’s no point in mulling over what-if’s… and besides,” you patted his shoulder with hesitance. “This is who I am. This is my life. I don’t regret any of it.”

“You don’t know for sure. You could have been happy, or lived a normal life.”

Is that what he took you for? “Tell me, what kind of life would be much better for me than this one? One where I’m left to take care of someone else’s children in a farmhouse? Is that it?”

When you’d put it that way… “I suppose you have a point. Still, you looked happy enough when I pictured you living a life somewhere else.”

“Let me guess—" You said, leaning forward and looking him keen in the eye. “I was surrounded by laughing children, probably hanging laundry in the middle of a pretty green meadow, and there were birds chirping and we were all smiling, hm? Were there puppies and rainbows as well?”

He smiled at this. It was a bit of a stupid thought, now that he’d heard it aloud. “No, I added unicorns and princes. Thought they suited you more.” His grin grew wider when you groaned and rubbed your forehead.

“Princes and unicorns…” You muttered. “Look—”

"Yes?" Giorno awaits your response in bated breath.

“I’m glad it was you,” You said finally, leaning towards him and making sure to look him directly in the eyes. “Please believe me when I say that.”

He doesn’t respond in kind, but the warmth in his eyes and the small, subtle upward curl in his lip tells you that he feels the same.

By the time you’re finished talking, dinner had already been served. Giorno joins you in the dining room, watching as you place a bandaid on Giuseppe’s scraped knee; apparently he’d taken a tumble when Narancia chased him around the patio. Not a terrible cut, really, but something inside of Giorno breaks when he sees the small tears roll down his son’s cheeks. How he wished he could take some of the pain away.

“I could fix it,” he offered.

“You don’t need to use that ability of yours for every little thing, you know. He needs to know pain.” Giorno seemed displeased with this. “Don’t look at me like that.”

His nose twitched slightly, to your amusement. “It’ll save time, and he’s clearly uncomfortable.”

You shook your head, still firm in your stance. “I know that you mean to protect him, but our job is to prepare him for all the things he’ll have to face in the world.” You looked down at your son and smiled sadly. “He won’t be a boy forever, Don Giorno.”

Giorno lowered his eyes and in that moment he saw that his son was walking about and no longer crying. Was there any use in protesting? You were demonstrating that stubbornness once again, and he no longer had the energy to challenge you. He nods then and seats himself next to your father several feet away.

In an attempt to give Giorno some reassurance, Don Vittorio says, “Every parent develops a sentimental soft spot for their children—more of a hindrance to them than it is to us, though.”

Giorno hummed softly in reply; perhaps he had developed a soft spot for Giuseppe.

“Tell me now, how is married life?” He laughs when he’s met with silence. “Your silence speaks volumes… I also had an arranged marriage. I believe you met my brother-in-law the other day, Don Arnaldo? A kind fellow, to be sure.”

“He was friendly, yes…”

“The ‘Ndrangheta… They do things a little differently. Women work as couriers for the men in prison and even induce hostilities and turf wars. And my wife and I became the best of friends, fought through plenty together and worked together, though we didn’t always get along so well. Love did not happen naturally for us.”

It was built slowly, over the years—for their sakes, as well as their son’s. Giorno smiles at this. How familiar did that sound? Branch by branch, stone by stone—it could be the same story.

“It may not be as exciting as some secret forbidden romance, but it is stronger and it lasts much longer if you’re smart enough to put in the effort.”

“Do you miss them?” Giorno asks suddenly. “Your family.”

“I do. Y/n is my family too, of course, but...”

Giorno heard of the story after you were married; something about your father refusing to surrender his forces to Passione and distribute their narcotics—and the price was paid in blood. Don Vittorio’s first son and heir (twenty years old at the time, and a father at that) had been slaughtered, along with his mother, wife and newborn child (in the hospital room just seconds after the baby had been born). The bodies were never found, so they’d never been given a proper funeral. It was considered the greatest insult to the family.

Giorno was unaware that this one event was continuing to cause so much tension.

“You might not have even been born yet,” said your father. “Must have been 1985, I think, when that devil first came to haunt the world…” He watched as you combed your fingers through Giuseppe’s hair. “You know, my son was brash, belligerent, and most likely the worst heir I could have ever had—still, you never love anything the way you love your first child. Doesn’t matter what they do… but Y/n?”

Neither of you shared blood, but you were family, in every other sense of the word.

“My greatest achievement,” he said finally. And after a few beats he added, “I’ve achieved more with Y/n’s cunning and diplomacy than my son’s open aggression. What you saw yesterday? That was only a small taste.” Giuseppe’s laughter catches their attentions. “Giuseppe looks more and more like you everyday. If fate allows, he’ll grow as tall and strong as you one day.”

“He will.” Giorno sits there in silence, and after a few minutes pass he excuses himself. “Bona notti,” he murmured gently.

“Ha! Seems she’s taught you a few phrases.”

“She has.” Giorno bowed slightly, but your father took his wrist before he could step away.

“Before you go… You… haven’t told her anything, have you?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Good. I imagine you’re rather tired now; go on and get some rest, I shall like to speak with my daughter now.”

Giorno offered to take Giuseppe to bed then and you watch as he climbs up the staircase. Giuseppe gives you a small wave before they disappear to the upper floors of the house.

You see now that your father’s eyes have glazed over, as though he’d fallen into deep thought.

“Is there something wrong, Patri?” You asked, crossing the terrace and reclining into one of the chairs beside him. “Did Don Giorno say anything about—”

“Nothing, really. Just idle chit chat, I’m afraid.” He said with a smile. “Did you contact all of my capos? To come here?”

Your father planned on retiring once again, which meant that the capos would have to elect another Don. The Italian American gangs often passed down from parent to child, but here, a gang member gets what they earned. Nepotism was not tolerated. The organizations here did not measure in blood—it was only strength and merit that mattered. Don Vittorio’s son Santino was elected heir because of his strength, and your father was the man who united every separate faction of Cosa Nostra under his own rule.

Giorno was the unofficial heir through marriage, which certainly left him in a more precarious position, but because Don Vittorio was still alive, swaying the vote in Giorno’s favor would be easy. And despite the fact that he was considered an outsider, Giorno charmed and befriended most of your “family” during the wedding. It was already set to his advantage.

“Make sure to contact them all, and do not ask after your uncle’s whereabouts—”

“We talked about this already,” You sighed. “I took care of it.”

“Right, sorry,” he said, shaking his head.

Why was he repeating himself?

Something is bothering you,” You observed, taking note of the unnaturally pallid tone of his skin and the shakiness in his breathing. Perhaps he hadn’t fully recovered. You gently take his hand into your own. “I told you I’d take care of everything, Patri—I’ll take care of it.”

“I know you’re very capable of getting the job done. I suppose I’m also still privy to that same thing as your husband.” He rubbed at his eyes and made a small sound of realization. You had no idea what he was talking about, you were not there when they’d spoken of it. “We were talking about developing soft spots for our children. Well—I was, at any rate. Don Giorno’s a bit of a silent fellow.”

“He speaks plenty to me.” You ignore the little smirk on his face when you say this.

“Are you… happy with them? Your family—your husband and son?”

Your answer is immediate, and in that moment your father feels his heart lift a little. “Yes.”

“Good, good…”

“Will you tell me what’s bothering you now?” you pressed once more. He knew now; you would not stop asking until he’d spit it out. He could only do so much at this point.

“I’ve spent a bit of time thinking of my family.”

“Your wife and Santino? And the others?”

He knew your brother Santino would have his share in this stupidity, that his life would always be threatened and that he’d have to worry about traitors in the dark and all the nonsense only idiots like Don Vittorio or Giorno would ever willingly sign their lives for. But he’d never wanted this for you. When you were first adopted, he’d made arrangements so that you could get a proper education and obtain plenty of useful contacts; he’d seen the potential in you, knew that no simpleton could easily steal his car. You were destined for great things.

And suddenly he realizes that he’s said this all aloud, and that you’re hushing him and squeezing his hands gently.

He shook his head and sighed. “I always imagined you would find your way out of this mess—that you’d become something bigger. A politician maybe, or the head of some large company… something, anything , other than this.”

“Another pezzonovante,” You spat bitterly. Was that what he wanted for you? To act like the rest of the rich and mighty of this world, and stand amongst them? To become part of the problem?

The rich, the high and mighty… They sat by idly while the world around them burned. You didn’t want any part of that. 

“I only hoped that one day, you would be the one pulling all the strings; instead you’re being pulled onto the stage, taking up my strings for me... I wanted more for you, but I suppose there just wasn’t enough time. There wasn’t enough time for me to make better arrangements for you. To make your life better than it was before we first met.”

First Giorno and now your father. What were you going to do with them? Why could they not see?

Instead of telling him off like you had with your husband earlier—things were different this time—you rose from your chair and kiss him on the brow, as though Don Vittorio were the child and you the mother. You had to be strong. Giorno needed your help to restore Cosa Nostra to its former state; it wouldn't bode well for you to fret alongside you father, no matter how much of a toil this mess was taking on your being. “We’ve got much better things ahead. This is just the beginning.” You make way to the door. “I’ve probably slept eight hours now today, but I think it’s getting a bit late. I’m going to turn in. You ought to get some sleep too.”

It was not until later, after you had climbed into bed and began to drift off, that you realized you’d forgotten to ask after your father’s health.

In the morning you announce to everyone else that you plan on going to the markets with Giuseppe and that you’d be in need of company, not expecting all four—Giorno and his faithful shadows—to offer to accompany you. Mista fetches a larger car this time and you all depart soon after Narancia stuffs several cornetto into his mouth and washes it down with espresso.

Little did they know, you were planning on restocking the entire pantry. You’d been poisoned, after all—couldn’t take any risks with the other food laying around.  

“Fugo,” whined Narancia. Fugo hushed him and shook his head, prompting Narancia to call out to you. “Why do these trips have to take so long?”

You stared at him in bewilderment. Do they think I do all this for the fun of it? “Have you any idea how much work has to be done to make sure a household as large as Don Giorno’s is running smoothly?” They all fell silent. Of course they didn’t—but you would not fault them for it. You ran a finger along your temple and sighed. “I think I should be alright if you wandered off. I’ll be sending for some of our butlers to pick these items later anyway, but I want to reserve what we need first and pay for them. I won’t be in any real danger, so... go on,” You urged. Giorno seemed apprehensive. “I’m not terribly weak,” You said defensively. “I’ll use Disturbia if I have to.”

So he slowly wandered off with the other three in tow.

As Giorno walked about and separated from you, he took a deep breath, recognizing the sharp aromas of garlic and pepper, the smell of the citrus fruits and the vibrant, lively atmopshere of La Pignasecca, and slowly but surely a smile crept on his face. For a second he’d forgotten that he was twenty-three. If he closed his eyes he could’ve easily been fifteen again, walking around without a care in the world, in search of a nearby stall to buy some fresh cuoppa. Now how long had it been since he’d last come here? He could not remember. It must have been at least three years.

Part of him wishes to leave in search of you and offer his assistance; he hadn't realized that all of this food shopping took time and care, and though other husbands would have easily left it to the women in their lives, Giorno cannot help but think that shouldering some of your burdens is a responsibility of his. Surely you could use some help, and though he knew you were fully capable of doing it all on your own, he also knew that you appreciated efficiency. If you finished earlier he knew for certain that you'd be pleased. 

That besides, it was the least he could do for you, after having put you through a fair share of danger these past few days.

And then he remembered the conversation he’d had with the others, regarding the state of his home. Everything had improved when they’d moved out, they said.

When you had moved in, he corrected himself.

And he remembered then, what he’d overhear the maids whisper about you; mostly frightened murmurs as they scrubbed harder at the small specks of dirt on the tables and that they—even the butlers and gardeners and cooks—had all taken to a much more efficient system of getting their work done.

He remembered that his friends had all seemed to be cheerful soon after moving in, that they’d been enjoying his newly improved household staff. Only his staff wasn’t new, and that the only thing that had really changed since they’d moved out was…

Giorno stopped in his tracks. “She'd said a few things about managing a household... Do you think—”

“I thought so too,” says Mista, with a laugh. “Maybe I should run off to thank her now? We kind of ridiculed her work...”

“Oh no,” Narancia groaned as the realization hit him. “So she’s the one who’s been leaving the bubble bath in my bathroom?”

“Y/n isn't the one personally doing it though,” says Fugo with a laugh. “The maid does it for her.”

“Yes, but she told the maid to do it. That counts for something.”

They agree to treat you to lunch and choose not to thank you directly, knowing that the last thing you’d enjoy was being put at the center of attention, much less the receiving end of endless flattery and gratitude from a group of grown men.   

You spot Giorno in front of a cluster of fish tanks when you’re finished.

“You know,” You said, creeping over Giorno’s shoulder. He jumps at the sound of your voice and stares at you in curiosity. You point a finger at the fish in the tanks in front of him. “...if you catch one with your hands it’s free,” You finished with a devious smile.

Giorno’s caught off guard by this—you’d never joked with him before, not like this; now he’s left wondering why. You clearly had the wit to make clever japes. He cracks a smile and even chuckles at this without restraint, and it’s precisely the kind of behavior you’d expect from a man in his early twenties.

The others join him, but their attention is almost entirely focused on the fact that Giorno’s finally laughed at something. Surely, he’d smile and offer a very charitable smirk on rare occasions (one time he’d given Narancia a very short but audible “Ha!”), but these were few and far between. Mista could count the times Giorno genuinely broke into laughter (or, perhaps more appropriately, a single laugh) on one hand, and he’d known Giorno for over eight years at this point.

“Is that so?” asked Giorno.

“I once told someone that… and they were stupid enough to actually try it.” You admitted sheepishly.

“How devious of you,” Giorno says. “Seems I’ve married a true hardened criminal.”

“She deserved it, mind you.” You quipped.


“My American cousin, Milena… We got along horribly.”

She’d been sent to your father’s home one summer and immediately took to calling you names and tugging at your hair. You were twelve years old then, and she was thirteen.

“I’m guessing you went to the markets with her one day?”

“That we did.”

Having noticed the hostility between you both, Don Vittorio arranged for the two of you to go to the markets accompanied by personal guards and without the company of your nanny, hoping that you’d both somehow bond with one another and put these silly jokes behind you.

No such thing happened.

Milena did not know the Siciliano dialect very well then, so she’d taken your "translation" of the fisherman’s words to heart and grabbed at a large bluefish from one of the tanks. She cried all the way home and angrily ran to your father as soon as you reached the front door. Don Vittorio tried his best not to laugh at your crying cousin as she recounted the entire story later that evening, and made certain to scold you properly later, though he’d made the blunder of praising you for your cleverness first and thereafter commanded you to apologize (though not before having a laugh over it with you).

“I’d never have guessed that you were so… unruly as a child,” says Fugo. “Given the way you act now, of course. I’ll bet that felt very good to do.”

You smiled shyly. “Only a little bit. And Patri might argue that I’m still unruly.”

“So what happened to this American cousin of yours? Back in New York?” asked Mista.

“Oh, she became the most beautiful woman in our family, married one of my father’s handsome capos and they have five darling children and live in a villa by the sea. It’s all so terribly frustrating,” You finished with a derisive laugh.

“She’s probably jealous of you now,” says Narancia. “You’re married to Giorno. He’s rich—”

“And he’s very very handsome.”

“He is.” You confirmed with a small but polite smile. “And clean, and charming, and polite, and smart.”

Giorno is a little displeased that your words are said without a hint of discomfiture, that you had said this all without necessarily meaning to compliment him. At the same time, you’d spoken with the same quiet confidence you’d had when you gave him advice; you were simply giving everyone your honest opinion. In the end he decides that he’s happy enough knowing that you were speaking so freely—not only with him, but with his closest friends.

“Tell her she’s pretty,” Mista whispered, winking at Giorno and nudging him. “Girls like that, don’t they?” And despite Giorno’s silent, warning stares, he loudly asks, “Well Giorno? Don’t you think Y/n is beautiful?”

To the others Giorno seemed nonplussed. “Is this a joke?” he asked.

You stared blankly at Giorno, trying your best to ignore the rush of blood coursing to your head. Why was it getting hot, you wondered. Were you angry? Embarrassed? Both?

You might have said ‘yes,’ or something, damn you, You thought impatiently. Would it have been so hard for him to open those lips for once and pay you some small compliment? Let me keep some dignity.

Giorno shook his head. There was no point in lying. “Of course I think she’s beautiful; last I checked, my eyes are working perfectly fine.” They all snickered in unison, much to his annoyance.

To your credit, you do not squeal, and it’s not Giorno’s comments that make you stutter incoherently and look away embarrassedly. Instead it’s the loud squelching noise coming from your stomach. You lowered your eyes.

Giorno looks amused by this and Mista takes this opportunity to go on yet another diversion.

“It appears as though your ‘lady wife’ is hungry, Giorno.” says Mista.

“Yes,” you glowered at him. “It appears as though she is. And she’d like to eat now, if her ‘lord master’ would be so kind as to bring her home so she may eat.” Giorno softens at the jab.

“‘Lord master,’” he repeated. “Surely you can do better than that.”

You knew that he could throw back his own clever comebacks all day if you gave him enough material to work with. But now you were hungry—

“Let’s not go home yet—there’s a number of ristorante I think you’ll find suitable.” He offered you his arm. “But I am partial to a particular establishment.”

You accept his offer graciously. “Please lead the way.”

It’d been a while since Giorno had eaten in Libeccio’s with his friends, and seeing that you were hungry and this was a short walk from the market, it seemed to be the perfect choice.

He’s not happy when they’re seated, and you can see why; at the other end of the dining room sat Don Elio di Capua of the Camorra—the rival gang in Napoli.

Your uncle once told you that they’d disappeared when Passione rose to the top in Napoli, and that most of their numbers had been decimated in turf wars. When Giorno took over the city, they crept back from the shadows. Giorno let them operate so long as they stayed on their own their own territory and kept to his new policy regarding narcotics.

What they didn’t know was—

Why is he looking here?” asked Narancia. “I should kick that face of his in, he shouldn’t even be here.” Fugo nodded.

Giorno glanced at him for a few seconds, and you see something flicker across his face ever so briefly, but find you’re unable to read it.

Then Don Elio waves—not at any of them, per se, but to you. Mista was puzzled.

“What the—”

“We were engaged,” you explained. “The last man Zietto Matteo had been so kind to match me with.”

“Is he kind?” asks Mista. “Maybe he has a soft side none of us know about.”

He didn’t. “He’s a monster,” you replied plainly. “And that’s the way of it.”  

Giorno exchanges a look with Mista as if to say I told you so. “Ah,” said your capped companion. “That’s a pity.”

Narancia slammed a fist on the table and nudged Mista roughly. “Why is he coming here?” he hissed. “No one asked him to come here, why is he coming here?” he asked, as Don Elio rose from his seat all those feet away and walked towards you all.

Your ex-fiance makes his entrance then. He looks the same from when you’d last seen him: handsome and tall and lean and well-dressed, with tanned skin and a mop of short, curly black hair. His eyes still disturbed you; they were a curiously pale blue, with almost no color—very different from the deep azure of Giorno’s eyes. Upon closer inspection you notice that barely detectable wrinkles have started to surface around the corners of his eyes. He was fifteen years older than you and your husband, so it came as no surprise to you that his age had begun to show.

“Giorno Giovanna. And, Signora Giovanna,” He says bowing his head to you before taking your hand in his own and kissing it. He does not pay any such respects to your husband, which the others take note of.

“How many years has it been since—”

“Four, if I’m to be correct,” you respond with a thin smile. “I’ve heard you recently returned to your home.”

“Yes, I’ve had some trouble slipping out of that ten year sentence. Seems the authorities got their hands on plenty of harrowing physical evidence. A little difficult to argue against in a court of law, I’m afraid.”

“Though it appears as though you’ve been released early,” you pointed out.

“Not for lack of trying on my part, I assure you.” His icy gaze raked mercilessly over your figure. “It seems motherhood becomes you.”

“You are very kind to say so.”

“And is this your son? I heard they rang the church bells all day when he was born, sunrise to sunset.” Don Elio asks, kneeling before your husband and mussing up Giuseppe’s hair. Giorno praises himself for exercising restraint, most especially when Don Elio has the gall to lecherously whisper into his ear. “Fathering children is a most wonderful task, isn’t it? And to have the honor of bedding such a lovely—“

“It appears you’ve lost your way to your table,” Giorno interrupted calmly. He felt no need to yell or raise his voice, but enough was enough. He’d had enough of this idiot’s company. You bite back the urge to thank Giorno then and there.

“Yes, I have, actually...” Don Elio says quickly, and in an attempt to display some decorum, asks Giorno, “I don’t suppose you would mind if…?”

“My wife can make decisions for herself; see to it that you ask her directly.” Giorno replies curtly.

“Of course, Don Giorno. My apologies.” And with this he offers you his arm. “If you would be so kind as to help me find my table, Signora?”

You rise to your feet, and refuse Don Elio’s offer and walk past him rather brusquely. “I imagine your food’s gotten rather cold. I hope you’ll forgive us for delaying your meal.” You call over your shoulder.

“The fault rests with me,” He says, eyeing the others with hostility before turning on his heel and catching up with you.

He immediately uses the distance from Giorno to his advantage and shows no hesitance in speaking ill of your husband.

“I hear your husband turns astonishingly savage when he receives proper provocation.”

“I ought to praise you for your belligerence.”

“He’s much more boring than I remembered. A shame he doesn’t live up to his reputation.” He glanced down at you and plucked at the cuff of his sleeve. It seemed to him that his jokes weren’t quite working their magic anymore. “You’re awfully quiet.”

“I will not speak ill of Don Giorno, nor will I tolerate such behavior towards him; you’re already trespassing on his territory, though he’s been kind enough to treat you like a guest. See that you remember that,” you reminded in a frosty voice.

There’s a welcome pause, until he decides to try his luck in irritating you once more.

“Is it ‘Don Giorno’?” He asked. “Do you not call him by his given name? Is he not your ‘beloved Giorno’?”

Doing your best to mask your irritation, you offer him a small smile and shook your head. “My husband is my Don. Simple as that.”

Why was this restaurant so large? Or perhaps the time was rolling by so slowly.

“I noticed your son doesn’t resemble him very much. Apart from those eyes of course. A lovely color, to be sure...”

“Yes, Giuseppe appears to have inherited them from his father," you say softly. “They also share a number of other similarities in character and appearance—though I suppose such subtleties go unnoticed by those with a lesser trained eye.”

“Indeed...” He frowned. “At any rate, I am sure Giorno Giovanna has proven to be a fine husband.”

“You seem rather interested in my marriage to Don Giorno,” you observed aloud, clasping your hands together at the small of your back.

He fires a smirk in return. “Your marriage is quite interesting—not only to me, but to everyone else within our circles. Marriage alliances always breed some interest, if nothing else.”

You hummed in acknowledgement. “Tell me… You haven’t married or been involved with anyone else since our brief courtship, have you?”

“If I recall, we were engaged at one point.” Don Elio huffed in mild annoyance. “Perhaps you’ll do me the courtesy of remembering some of it?”

“We were engaged,” you acknowledged softly. “Rather unfortunate end, wasn’t it?”

“It was. And I will shamefully admit that I’ve been unlucky in romance since then. A bit sad, to say the least.”

You offer as sympathetic a smile as you can. “That is sad… But perhaps it’s for the best—the whole notion of marriage seems to confuse you, so allow me to explain, Don Elio: my loyalties lie with my family, and that includes my husband. I hope you haven’t made the mistake of believing otherwise.” You gestured to his table and bow your head in acknowledgment to the familiar faces seated there. “I believe this is your table.”

He bends down and leans toward you; his face is mere inches away when you hold your palm against his lips and stare at him in disapproval.

“Too soon?” He asks teasingly. “I imagined I might steal a kiss from you before I returned to my meal.”

“And what a pretty picture it would have been,” you respond calmly. You jerk your head in Giorno’s direction; they were all watching. Giorno’s expression was blank but he had plenty of ways to subtly show his disapproval; his stare was well known for its ability to make any man’s blood run cold—Don Elio included.

If there was one thing you’d learned in your youth from your father, uncle and auntie, it was that life often served insults that simply had to be borne; one found comfort in the knowledge that in this world, there would come a time when a humble piece on the playing board could make a move of its own—even against the most powerful players. It was this knowledge that informed most of your decisions and actions; men like Elio di Capua did not live long—rash and reckless behavior always kills them off—and the ones who survive and make their way to the top of this cutthroat world are often the ones who know when to strike and when to sit back and wait. Now was the time to wait; this display of arrogance and impudence did plenty to warrant retribution, but you knew Don Elio would get his piece soon enough. You and your husband would see to that.

“Enjoy your meal.” You murmur gently, walking off and picking at the varnish on your nails. Patience, you told yourself.

As you return to the others you find that Giorno’s eyes have not yet left a particular table nor its occupants. It was no secret that they disliked each other, but you suppose your previous engagement and personal history with Don Elio worsened what was already a flimsy relationship.

“He ought to remember how to behave properly.” Giorno says quietly, staring at the table.

You shrugged at this as you took your seat. “He’s not known for his subtlety.”

“Should I have him gelded, Y/n?” asked Giorno. There was a glint of excitement in his eyes.

“Tempting,” you shot back sarcastically. “But you need not soil your hands with his blood. I think I handled it fairly well.”

“You did,” he said, voice warm with amusement. “I rather enjoyed watching it.”

“Is that what that expression was?”

The others watched the back and forth with interest, but Fugo makes sure to bring Libeccio’s unwanted patron back into conversation.

Fugo watched Giorno carefully. “Would you like for us to put him in his place?”

“Not here,” Giorno reproached Fugo and pointed to the boy seated in his lap. “Not while this one’s around. And let’s not forget that there are also plenty of civilians and tourists dining right now.”

“Of course,” replied Fugo, remembering that Giuseppe was also present. “...Still can’t let him get away with something like that, though.” Such behavior was disrespectful to you both.

“And we won’t,” Giorno assures. “But we can’t do it right now.”

You drew a deep breath, thankful that Giorno was the kind to think before acting. It was one of your favorite qualities of his.

“Y/n,” Giorno calls. You look up at him questioningly. “What would you have us do?”

“Is this a joke?” He frowned at you. “Alright, lets see,” You hummed. “Well… You could go to war with him, I suppose; basic arithmetic tends to favor the side with bigger numbers, doesn’t it? You have more men than he does.”

Fugo disagreed. “Fighting isn’t the same as arithmetic; if it were that simple then someone else would be sitting in Narancia’s place right now.

“Alright,” you sighed. “I know nothing of warfare, that is no secret.” Giorno smiled apologetically. “But I do know these people. I know that they’ll flock to whatever side they think will win.”

“And what use do I have for people like that?” asks Giorno.

“The world is full of ‘people like that.’ Do you mean to kill them all?” Giorno closed his eyes and sighed at this. “Your gang was prone to fickleness, if I remember correctly, yet you managed to inspire devotion in them. You’ve not had problems with loyalty among your own men since then. Perhaps the same will happen here.”

“Perhaps.” Giorno thought for a few seconds. For a while he hesitates, until he takes another glance at Don Elio from afar. “Y/n… If he bothers you again, or asks you for anything, tries anything… or is so brazen as to touch you or harm you... then I want you to tell me.”

Your lips twitch slightly at the corners as you try to mask your amusement. “Why? What do you plan on doing afterwards, Don Giorno?”

“I’ll make him stop.” He answered softly.

A waiter mutters a word of apology as he sets your food in front of you. “Scusami, Signora; the main course will be served now.”

You absentmindedly mutter a word of thanks, your eyes locked with Giorno’s until a fragrant plate of spaghetti catches your eye. “Oh!” You exclaim, clapping your hands together in excitement. Quickly loading a heap of pasta onto a fork, you lean towards your son and offer him the first taste. You frown when he purses his lips and turns away. Was he really going to do this now, in public?

“Really now,” You huffed, “Why are you so picky over things like food? Mangiamo, tesoro.”

Giorno’s face softens a little then, and before he can think he shifts so that he can look his son directly in the eye. Your shoulders brush slightly when he readjusts his posture.

“Giuseppe,” he said gently. “Tua madre ti sta parlando.” His son stares back at him and shakes his head, backing further away from you and shrinking back into Giorno’s chest.

You looked at your son and shook your head. “Don Giorno, I don’t think asking him nicely will do anything. He’s very stubborn.”

“I suppose he gets it from his mother,” muttered Giorno. He smiles a bit and lowers his eyes when you toss him a dirty look. “I did have an idea…” Suddenly Giorno leans forward and eats from your fork himself, making sure to hum his approval loud enough for his son to hear. “Mangiamo,” he hummed softly, pinching Giuseppe’s cheek with affection.

And it works; his son immediately asks for a bite of his own.

“That’s actually pretty smart,” Narancia chuckled.

“Th… that was for Giuseppe , not him ,” You sputtered, haphazardly piling more food onto your fork and stabbing at the shrimp. You slide Giorno’s plate closer to him and huffed, “Do I have to feed you too?”

“No, that’s quite alright, I’m not so kingly that I can’t feed myself,” He assures you.

“Mista can feed him if anything,” Fugo added in passing.

All thoughts of Don Elio are forgotten in the bouts of laughter throughout the meal, but it does not change the fact that you were being watched by a particular set of eyes from across the room.

 When you return home, you spend the afternoon with your father and your son in the gardens, spraying the flowers and shrubs with pesticides; normally the gardeners would take these tasks themselves, but your father wanted fresh air and to do something other than handle the telephones. Apparently insects had found themselves into the gardens and began eating away at all the plants. Your father kept tutting, “Prudence, prudence,” as he worked, and as he sprayed the plants with pesticide, you guided your son through the garden and watered the plants with him. Behind you, Giuseppe carried his own small watering can, and only ever poured when you’d given him explicit instruction.

“Grazie, Giuseppe,” You say sweetly, tucking some of his hairs back into place.

“Dove è Papà?” he asked. Giorno would be pleased to know his son was looking for him. It’d only been ten minutes since they parted.

“Hm.” That was a good question. He was most likely working. “Papà sta lavorando, tesoro.”

Quite suddenly it felt as if the ground had shook—and it did , but to your horror it was your father. Just a few feet away he’d fallen to the ground as though he’d been hit with a sledgehammer, gasping for breath and clutching handfuls of dirt and grass. In an act of desperation, you had your son turn to face the house and ask that he bring Giorno, resolving not to let him see his grandfather on the ground. You watched over your father and looked back over your shoulder periodically, watching as Giuseppe raced to the house to find his father. The others help him onto a chair, and you knelt beside him, holding his hand while Mista called for an ambulance. He was in extremis, this you knew, but you clung to his hand desperately. Giorno looked on sadly. Even he knew.

In what were undoubtedly his final moments, he smiled at you; he died surrounded by good men, holding the hand of the child he most loved.

His eyes closed long before the ambulance came but you waited for the doctors to see if something could be done.

The pair of doctors approached you later on outside of your father’s guest room. You and Giorno both rose to your feet immediately.

“Is he alright?” You asked.

The pair of them looked quickly at each other. “Signora—”

“Is something wrong?” You asked, looking from one to the other.

“Well, when you called, he’d already had trouble breathing,” one of them says hesitantly.


“He—oh, his health has been in such a terrible state the past day—Signora, I—”

Your insides lurched. Your father was sixty-two; he was never a frail man but his health had concerned you for the past day. He’d never looked so weak before. And his hand fell limp and cold long before anyone came to help.

“And?” You asked once more, dreading the answer.

“He’s— well—” The doctor shifted his feet a little and glanced at Giorno nervously.

“May I see him?” Please—

“Yes, I believe you reserve that right.”

He’d never woken up; there on the bed was not your father, but a lifeless body, already growing stiffer and grayer by the second. Did he always look so old? you wondered.

At his bedside was a chair; you sunk into it. Your legs felt weak and your heart heavy, but you force a small smile as soon as your son rushes to your side. I must be strong, you told yourself. For all of them.

Oddly enough the sunlight shown through the windows and you watched as it beat down on the very same garden you’d toiled on with Don Vittorio. The last memory you had of him had started out just fine; it was full of sun and warmth and good company. In this room you were in the company of your husband and your son. It was a stirring sight, but it did not lift your heart nor your spirits. You wondered if indeed your heart would ever lift again.

The others poured in then and offered their condolences, which you accepted quietly. You leaned forward and touched his hands briefly before shrinking away at the cold. They were not the same hands that guided you down the aisle or into your childhood home. You did not recognize him anymore. For a while you stare at his face.

And then you remembered… the way the doctor had looked to Giorno just moments earlier. Just the other day he and your father had spoken amongst themselves...

“Did you know about this?” None of them answered, but when you look in the mirror and see that Narancia averts his eyes, you know your suspicions have been confirmed. You waited for an explanation.

“Quails have a natural immunity to hemlock; they can eat the seeds without perishing.” Giorno said finally.

“What does that have to do with anything?” You asked, finally looking over your shoulder. What the hell was he talking about? Giorno sees that you’re growing impatient and gets to the point.

“Your father ate one of these birds… One of them was sent to the house. By--"

"Yes, I know." You interrupted. "Why didn't he get treated for this?"

Remembering the events from the other day, you reach for your neck and stroke it unconsciously. You'd crawled and dragged yourself on the floor, could barely breathe for a time before finally passing out. It'd been so painful. Hemlock, you repeated. Hemlock caused a gradual weakening of the muscles, if memory served you well. Death was slow and painful. How long had he fought through it? For how long did he go through all of that pain? If you had known that he were dying you would have said more, perhaps spent more time with him instead of running off and fooling around. Perhaps you could have said goodbye. Your fists closed and all you could think to do was squeeze tighter, your fingers biting into the palm of your flesh. You hope that the pain distracts from it all.

Giorno exhaled slowly. He'd never seen you this angry. "Before you woke, we carried out another small investigation and what we’d found out was that the bird that was sent to the house had eaten hemlock seeds, that the flesh was contaminated with the poison. By then it was already too late; we would have had to treat it sooner, but the cyanide you’d been exposed to from the wine took most of our attention when the doctors first arrived.”

Apparently these cases needed to be treated within two hours after initial contact; by the time anyone had noticed, it had already been four hours after he'd ingested it. There was little anyone could do. Giorno hadn't felt this helpless for years.

The doctors suspected your father would only last twelve hours, though they tell Giorno that this is not always the case and depended entirely upon the health of the individual. Your father was given a choice; he could receive euthanasia or simply wait for his death to come. Not wanting to leave before you’d woken up, your father had chosen the latter.

“And you all chose not to tell me?”

“We did,” says Giorno. He scans your face. The silence is unsettling for the others. They knew. They all knew and they did not care to tell you.

“...You’re upset.” He observed.

“Yes, I am.” You seethed, turning away once again.

He was confused. “I thought—your father as well—”

“Does it matter what any of you thought? He’s my father. Why was I not told of this?”

“I’m sorry. We should have told you sooner. I understand—”

“I shouldn’t have to ask you to tell me the truth,” You said, rising to your feet and turning to face them, all the while ignoring the quiver in your lip. “You should have just done it from the beginning. And I don’t have time to take care of all of these funeral preparations and prepare the house for all the guests we’re expecting and look after our son and—” You paused before your voice cracked and before you could break into tears. I’m not doing this right now. Not in front of them. You could feel their eyes on you, all four pairs of tired eyes. Your chest heaved slightly as you calmed yourself.

Giorno notices this. “Do you want us to leave?” he asks.

You blinked and shook your head. Please, you prayed. I must not cry, not here. “Forgive me, I’m just a bit tired, that’s all. And don’t leave on my account—I’ll take my leave now, seeing that I have work to do,” You muttered in a rush, pushing past them with an air of indifference and shutting the door behind you before Giorno can get another word in.

They do not see you for the rest of the day, and it’s not for lack of trying on your part; you had to remain strong, you could not break down and cry. Father was not there to wipe your tears and you were not a child. You could be brave. You had to. There was plenty of work to be done, and who better to put to these tasks than yourself?

And so you see to it that every bit of food that you’d purchased at the markets earlier has been stored away, that the guest houses on Giorno’s property are cleaned and ready to accommodate the thirty capo’s who would arrive in five day’s time. You prepare to send some letters to them, knowing that news of Don Vittorio’s death would reach them soon enough, and that it’d be best for your “brothers” to hear it from you— but every time you sit down at your desk your hand shakes uncontrollably and you feel yourself start to tremble. You push yourself away from the table each time, telling yourself that you would get around to writing once the emotions subsided. In less than two hours, you’re dismayed to find that you’d finished all the work that needed to be done. You praised yourself for gathering the strength to facilitate the arrangements to cremate your father and have his remains buried elsewhere. The funeral arrangements were made with the priest in the same cathedral you’d been married in. Happier times, you thought wistfully. If only I’d cared to notice then.

So in the end you shut yourself in your room and gave yourself to the darkness.

You drew the curtains, lay under the covers and shook until you slept. It was not long before you realized that your cheeks had gotten wet with your tears, few as they were. Solitude would only worsen what you felt, but seeing as you were still upset with the others, you decided to shiver alone in your grief. Maids and butlers came and went—no doubt sent by Giorno—bringing plates of food at dinner and periodically throughout the night. Eventually the food piles on one of your tables until it wastes away untouched; the maids would take them away eventually.

Sometimes your staff will attempt to talk to you, usually with inconsequential and unimportant matters, but rarely did you give them an answer.

You locked the door to your room eventually and sleep, though not after staring at the ceiling of your room for an hour.

One of the maids lures you downstairs at the following day, at midday, and soon enough Mista, Narancia and Fugo pour into the dining room. It’d been over twelve hours since you last ate at this point, a mere twelve hours since you’d gone to the ristorante and laughed with the others, though you couldn’t quite muster an appetite. A shame, really.

The kitchen staff prepared a wide array of food for you to eat. Giorno made certain to inform them that you hadn’t eaten for some time, and that you needed plenty of food to eat during lunch. He is not present.

The others—Fugo, Narancia, Mista—joined you at the table, eager to take part in your small feast. There were plenty of dishes laid about the table: polpette smothered in tomatoes and peppers, a salad of oranges, fennel, olives and onions, an entire margherita pizza (with porcini mushrooms, as per Narancia’s request), pork braised with apples, carrots and mushrooms in trenches of hollowed out bread, and a number of other dishes. Mista and Narancia were quite ravenous at this point, having put off their meals in order to watch over you; they sat beside you at the table appearing to have forgotten their table manners, whereas Fugo sat a few chairs away, politely chewing on some of the bread laid out on the table.

They must have eaten for an entire half hour before they had the sense to check on you, and when they did they took it upon themselves to shovel plenty of meatballs and salad onto your plate. Fugo rises from his chair and shoos Narancia away signaling to him that they ought to switch seats.

“I bet it was your horrendous table manners that made her appetite disappear,” Fugo says in mild annoyance. He proceeds to lift a fork to your face. “Caponata? I know it’s your favorite; your father made sure that the chefs served it at your wedding.”

Your eyes remain glued to your plate and notice that the olive oil from the orange salad was beginning to mix with the tomato sauce from the meatballs; the mere sight of the two completely contrasting dishes mingling together made your stomach turn. If you had an appetite before (however small), you'd certainly lost it now.

“No thank you,” You say quietly, trying your best to hide your disgust.

“Polpette?” He lifts one of the serving dishes and lays it beside your own plate. “Mista said you ate plenty of these when you were pregnant.”

“No thank you,” You say once more, absentmindedly pushing the dish away.

Fugo glares at Narancia, who between mouthfuls of margherita pizza, says, “You do need to eat, Y/n.”

“I don’t want to eat.” You reply almost apologetically.

He shrugs, lifting his hands in defense to Fugo, mouthing the words, I tried.

Mista, on the other hand, slyly slides a plate of cake towards you. “Cake? I’m not opposed to letting you skip your main course, but we can’t exactly let you leave the table without eating.”

You shook your head and smile sadly. “I’m not hungry, thank you.”

Fugo inhales sharply, his best attempt at controlling his temper. “We swore to protect you; we can’t let you starve.”

“I am not going to—”

Fugo slams his hands onto the table then, and had Giorno not arrived the second after, Narancia and Mista would have had to restrain Fugo from shovelling food into your mouth.

“Is the food not to your taste?” asks Giorno, taking his seat beside you and placing Giuseppe onto his lap.

“I’m not hungry, thank you—”

“She needs to eat,” Fugo says angrily. “Tell her she needs to eat, Giorno.”

Giorno waves it off; he could scarcely see the point in force feeding you. If you weren’t going to eat on your own, there was no use in force feeding you. At any rate, you’d get hungry sooner or later, and in that case Giorno would have the staff prepare whatever it is you desired. And while Giorno certainly wanted to keep you well fed, he was not going to coddle you or treat you like a child. You were his wife—not his prisoner.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” Giorno asks quietly, trying to examine your face, but alas—you were avoiding eye contact with him once again. What on earth am I going to do with her

You rise from your seat and offer Giorno a polite bow. “If you’ll all pardon me, I’d like to visit the cathedral.”

Giorno stares after you in confusion. The cathedral?

He was never devout and never quite understood how others took to faith so easily, but perhaps that was what you needed at the moment. Faith saves many people from the pitfalls of despair, and while he never believed in any of that, it certainly did not mean that he should keep you from finding solace and comfort. Perhaps God could give you what Giorno could not—answers, comfort...

“Yes, of course, and I'll have someone escort you.” He replies, before absentmindedly adding, “Prayer is quite helpful, I hear—”

“I don’t pray,” You say at the doorway, tossing a cold glance at him and the others over your shoulder. “It’s the only place I can go where people will leave me alone.”

Chapter Text

Puffs of incense wafted through the air and swirled around you. Footsteps echoed throughout the entire sanctum—no doubt from the legions of tourists that always came tumbling into the city this time of year. 

It was nearly Natale—or Christmas, as the Americans and the English called it—and so some intrusion was to be expected. Though your eyes were closed, you could hear the shuffling of feet around you from where you knelt in the niche, could see them all in their silly clothes and backpacks and sneakers. 

In the far corner of the church you could hear a small group of women speaking in the local dialect, their whispers bouncing off the marble walls and reaching your ears without failure. There were a few words you’d caught here and there, but other than that you could barely understand a word any of them said. 

Already it had been two and a half years since you took up residence in this city, but the Napoletano dialect continued to mystify you. Most of it you found incomprehensible, an entire language of its own—which was rather fitting for a city as wild and charming as Napoli (or Napule, as the locals pronounced it—Giorno included).

You made several efforts to learn it—mostly through eavesdropping when you went to the markets, watching facial expressions and body language to assess the connotations behind some of these phrases—but alas, it was of little use. Perhaps you would never learn; several times you’d asked Giorno to translate for you, but often he would avoid providing you any, claiming that the language was incredibly vulgar, far too indecent to even be spoken in the house and in front of you. He went as far as policing everyone on their language in your presence, ensuring they all kept to a certain brand of decency when they visited. A stern glare from him was all that was needed to remind guests that they were speaking in front of royalty (as far as crime lords were concerned, at any rate), so the only times you could immerse yourself in the language were the times you left the house to run errands.

Of course, despite his efforts to shield you from this “indecency,” you’d heard him slip into it a number of times himself… Whilst eavesdropping on a few of his conversations with his friends. But with you he simply spoke in the more common Tuscano dialect. Sometimes he’d almost slip back into it in the middle of a conversation with you, but he was rather skilled in playing it off as though it were nothing. This of course, was a rarity now; Giorno had been practicing the Siciliano dialect for your sake and if he made any slips back into Napoletano, he’d ask you for a random Siciliano translation and keep you distracted for a few minutes. It’d worked the first dozen times; only recently did it occur to you that your husband had been cleverly diverting your attention elsewhere, and all for the sake of keeping his speech towards you as respectful as possible.

Ever the perfect gentleman that one… 

You crinkled your nose as you finished this thought. Just as you pushed him out of your mind, he’d quickly found his way into your thoughts once again. Can I have but one moment to myself without thinking of you? Leave me be, even if for a few seconds.

Unconsciously you lifted each of your knees one at a time from the prie-dieu, and rub at them—a gesture you made often in the past hour though it gave you little relief. You must have been at the church, kneeling in front of this statue, for over an hour—the longest visit you’d made to any place of worship in months. 

The last time you’d gone was for Giuseppe’s christening perhaps… Oh, you could not remember. Neither you or Giorno visited, not often anyway, and the only times you’d make appearances would be for the larger Catholic holidays—Pasqua or Natale—for the sake of keeping appearances and allowing the city to fawn over their benevolent Don. 

Giuseppe’s birthday was on the Epifania—a day where most children received gifts (the Americans did things a little differently, you heard). A celebration befitting Passione’s little prince was in order; perhaps donating a mass of toys to the less fortunate in his name would suffice. As would a small but extravagant gathering, of course…

It was rather peculiar, for Giuseppe to come into the world on a day when gifts were given and received. Giorno was pleased enough that day; it was the first time you saw him genuinely smile. In a way, Giuseppe was a gift...

You tossed a quick glance over your shoulder, staring out at the pews, eyes scanning the area in search of your primary escort for the day. Sergio had been the one to escort you to the church, though you managed to shoo him off and send him running for the safety of the car by way of underhanded methods. If he was any bit as useful as the others believed him to be, he’d get over that tiny act you pulled and return soon. You are not left alone for much longer, however.

The flames flicker a bit as someone approaches; a quick glance at the reflective surface of the marble walls revealed a tall figure slowly approaching you from behind. At this thought, you lowered your gaze to your feet; it seemed as though you’d be dragged home now. You could almost hear Sergio saying it now, in that dreadfully dull voice of his: “Time to head back—boss’s orders.”

But it’s not Sergio approaching you.

“He’s gone now, isn’t he?” called your uncle’s voice. You slowly lifted your gaze from the floor, staring at the tiny wisps of flames in front of you. He was the last person you expected to meet here. “That’s a shame... I would have liked to have seen that.”

There was silence for a few minutes, and then he spoke once more.

“I see you’re not wearing black. Perhaps my intel was off, dolcezza.” You remained silent. “So? Is he dead or alive?”

“Shouldn’t you know? You were the one who killed him.” You spun around and looked daggers at him. “And you tried to kill me.” 

Perhaps he’s come to kill me now. You had your doubts, of course; your uncle was a little too religious and too superstitious to even consider murdering one of his own in a place of worship (regardless of the flimsy familial ties you held).

“Why—I can assure you I did not send the poison, dolcezza. What kind of man would I be, to murder my own blood? I held him in high esteem and loved him just as the others do.”

“You were involved all the same,” you pointed out. What difference did it make, whether or not he did the deed himself? It had the markings of his technique and trickery smeared all over it.

“A friend of mine supplied the spoiled food and drink—”


This was the first clue; he would never call a politician a “friend,” no matter what. Politicians and policemen were not friends to criminals—they were but mere pawns in your father and uncle’s schemes. There were others involved in this, it was clear to you now, and it made perfect sense the more you thought of it; two men alone could not have killed your father or caused this much trouble for your husband. 

But just how many were involved? Perhaps you would find out.

“Alfonsi is just a pawn of yours,” You thought aloud. He was a distraction—the drugs, the wine label—all of it diverted you and your husband's attention elsewhere, led you further away from the truth. It was all done to waste your time and trick you into feeling some sense of accomplishment. “You did not trust him with the poisoning… But you did trust this friend of yours.”

Your uncle was pleased with this, as seen in the smirk that crept onto his lips. “My niece is a clever girl, isn’t she?”

Hardly a secret to you. “Answer me.”

“Alfonsi… He is too unreliable,” he said, confirming your suspicions. “He’s not a brave man and needed persuasion and certain assurances before I could tempt him to do my bidding. My new friend, however, wanted your father out of the picture, and I was able to give him what he wanted. I provided him with advice and the necessary conditions for him to carry out his wishes.”

“You made an exchange with him.” There were likely other, less obvious conditions that they agreed upon, of which you would soon discover. “Is he...”

He held a hand up before you could speak once more. “You were never the target, that I can assure you; I was rather adamant on leaving you unharmed.”

“Why me?” Your father was the one who held all of the power… wasn’t he? “I should have been the one to—”

“You can kneel in this lovely building and mourn for the rest of your days,” said your uncle. “Or you can prepare for what lies ahead. Sweet Y/n must face the truth. See… You, amore mio, are the future of Cosa Nostra. Your father has died, as has the old ways of the mafia.”

With the way things are now, people had to search for new ways to amass power. Shootouts and turf wars and aggressive negotiations were effective, but in the long run diplomatic solutions were necessary to attain and keep power. This was not a fight—it was more of a dance, and one that you knew very well. You learned from the best. 

He needed you alive. Still… “The wine—” 

“As for the poisoned wine? I never would have guessed that you drank wine at home, so you can imagine my surprise when I received news of your condition. Cyanide is a rather dangerous agent.”

“As is hemlock.”

Matteo shrugged. “I had to be certain that dear Vito would die. Poisoned quail was only an insurance. I know how little you like it, and my new friend had been the one to suggest it.”

He denies none of it. “Did you always hate him?” You asked in a pinched voice. 

“Hated him?” His eyes burned, like a fire in a hearth. You saw a bit of your father in him then. “I once worshipped the ground he walked upon. I fought beside him, helped him get what he wanted, arranged his marriage, mourned beside him when he lost it all—and what does he give me?”

You were confused. “He made you his underboss—gave you lands, wealth and titles, when before you had none—”

“A sop thrown to me at the last minute, meant to appease me when he bore me the greatest insult one could imagine.” He shook his head and sighed. “I worked all my life for this gang… And he hands it off to a green boy—”

“Don Giorno is very capable in spite of his age. He’s capable enough that you found it necessary to resort to sly gimmicks.” You frowned. “What has he done for you to do this? Do you hate him so much?”

“Truthfully? I have no hatred for the boy. Even so—what kind of man would I be, to simply bow my head after all this? To hand over Cosa Nostra to Passione and reward those who slaughtered my dear nephew?” He was smiling now. “…Though, I find it rather surprising that you’re defending your husband… He did keep your Patri’s condition a secret from you.”

You pulled your arm from your uncle, staring at him wide eyed. How on earth did he—  

“I have ears everywhere, dolcezza. Has it been so long since we’ve last seen each other that you’ve forgotten just how good I am at playing this game?” He sighed. “So? Have you forgiven him? Poor Giorno, that is.”

You thought on that for a moment. Had you forgiven him? He lied, but… Patri told him to do it… He must have thought it was for the best. Giorno would never do anything to hurt you. You’d known him long enough—he had many opportunities to hurt you, but not once had he given you any reason to cower in fear from him. He never raised a hand against you, threatened you or even spat any kind of abuse towards you. He certainly did not deserve any of your family’s theatrics, regardless of the hurt his actions had caused you. 

There was little point in dragging out your grievances towards Giorno. Everything you once worked towards protecting was being threatened: Cosa Nostra, your family, and most of all Giuseppe. Family, duty and honor were paramount. 

I must set this aside. There were more unsettling matters ahead, and mourning over the past could lead to dire consequences.

“Come now,” said your uncle. 

You turned your attention back to him as you both walked, arm in arm, and strolled past a large marble pillar. “I beg pardon, Zietto Matteo?”

“I should like to see my friend now; I’m sure they’d be happy to receive you as well.”

His friend lives in this city. But who? “I…” How would you find a way out of this?

“The choice is yours, as always. Though I’ll have you know that my friend is not as understanding. I can’t promise that they won’t inflict any harm on the others if they think they’re being denied what they want.”

Sergio was there with you today, as were several others… He couldn’t possibly mean… He does, you realized. Perhaps he won’t kill them himself, but…

I must make some kind of excuse. “I’d like to pray a little longer—for God to have mercy on Patri.” He howled at that.

“Mercy? Why—” He wiped the corners of his eyes. “God does not have mercy; that’s precisely why he’s God. Best you learn quickly, child.” He gave a quick sigh and said, “I’ll wait for you outside.”

“... The others,” You said. “The guards my husband assigned to me for today, will they—”

“They’ll be disposed of promptly, should a need for that arise.” He bowed his head and made way for the front entrance. “I’ll see you outside. And take your time. Prayer is quite helpful, I’ve heard.” 

You frowned at that. He was not lying about listening in on your conversations… I’ll have to tell Don Giorno about that later on. 

Someone grabbed you by the shoulders shortly after he left, hissing in a low voice. “Signora—that was uncalled for! You owe me an explanation—” It was Sergio.

Sergio is alright. But the others— “We have to—”

No, no more of that… that nonsense you pulled on me earlier. I'm not going to be reading any more passages from the Bible. And! I think you’ve spent way too much time here, mingling with strange people. Who was that older man by the way? Was he trying to get you to join a Bible study group?” You opened your mouth to protest but he hushed you. “Ah—don’t ever fall for those. God knows what'll happen to you if you’re left alone. You’re helpless! And too trusting, speaking to strangers. The Boss is nuts to let you go off into the city with Mista and the others. I'll bet they're the ones letting you run wild outside of the house, doing as you please! Not today; not with me!”

“He’s not—”

“It's been well over an hour; we should get going. We’ll meet your husband at home.” It was true, you had done more than enough to put him on edge earlier. Perhaps if you hadn’t done that, he’d be taking your words a little more seriously. 

“We must call my husband,” you said at once. Sergio was a reasonable man. Giorno would not promote an idiot to the rank of capo. Then again…

“Don Giorno? Ha! He’s a busy man, your husband.” Sergio grabbed your arm and began pulling you towards the exit, likely where the others were waiting to ambush you and your unsuspecting hoard of guards. And as much as he was irritating you right now, you would not have Sergio Tufino’s blood on your hands. “He doesn’t have time to come to the church and fool around or listen to you praise Jesus and God or read—”

“Forget about the wretched Bible and listen to what I’m trying to tell you,” you growled. “There are people who will harm us if we go outside right now. But they won’t think to do a thing if Don Giorno is here. Call him and tell him I said it was urgent.”

He scoffed at you and rolled his eyes. When he pulls out his cell phone you’re almost certain that he’d come around. But when he dials a number and puts the phone to his ear, he pauses, then harshly whispers to you. “I won’t call Don Giorno, but I’ll gladly call Mista for you—call him and tell him that you’ve gone crazy!”  

And at this point you’ve found yourself unable to rely on him, so you leaned over, cast a shadow on him and let Disturbia take care of the rest.

“Do shut up and go to sleep.”

Giorno had been in the middle of a meeting at a ristorante when a few women at a neighboring table began to gawk at him. When the staring became too much to handle, he risked a glance at them, only to reduce each and every one of them into a mess of giggles and blushes.

“That must be nice,” said one of Giorno’s associates. “Imagine,” he adds, looking to the others, “What must it be like to be as handsome as Don Giorno?”

The other one waved it off. “Don Giorno has no need for squealing pigs; he’s married now. What was her name again? Y/n isn’t it? Her father is the Don Vittorio of Cosa Nostra, if memory serves me right.”

Was, thought Giorno, though he didn’t dare say this aloud; he’d taken on a self imposed vow of silence after upsetting you yesterday. “Yes,” he said, finally. 

“I hear she’s given you a son—Giuseppe, I think? I hope you receive many more blessings.” 

“That’s very kind of you, Signore,” he replied on cue, suddenly remembering that you never forgot your courtesies, even when you were upset or being insulted at a private event or being eyed down like a piece of meat by Don Elio. Giorno had never been one to speak tartly—he was always polite and respectful, but what he’d learned from you (whilst observing you at work) was that forging genuine and personal ties with others was just as necessary as charming them with wit and courtesy. He always made very strong first impressions, but he supposed he could move beyond that and see these “associates” less as mere tools and more like people he could work with. What would you say next? He thought for a second. That’s right— “...I hear your son is soon to be a father; I hope the child and mother are in good health.”

His companion beamed at this. “Why—yes, that’s right. Your thoughts are much appreciated.”

Their business was far from finished, of course. For a time, Giorno was unsure whether or not to bring up any of these grievances with his business partners, but it’d been weeks since his men first detected the presence of narcotics in the city. It would not bode well for them to leave the city to its own devices, regardless of the puppetry being done behind the scenes. 

What kind of Don would he be, to let the rest of the city crumble into chaos as his wife’s family feuded over the line of succession? He would not focus all of his energy on this foolishness; he had a city to watch over. The wellbeing of the city depended entirely upon the decisions he would make in the coming weeks, and he had no intention of letting civilians get crushed in the war that may come. 

Mista is with him this time, and together the two of them pieced together intel regarding the unfortunate infestation currently taking root in the city. He hoped that some of this would help unearth some information concerning a certain uncle’s whereabouts, but nothing of use turns up, much to his disappointment. They leave just before the clock strikes noon and resolve to simply clean the streets; Giorno assures his partners that he will investigate himself, not daring to share anything that concerned you and your family. Doing so would only allow things to get further out of hand.

As Mista and Giorno return to the car, a small shop catches Giorno’s eye. He calls to Mista, expressing his desire to visit.

When Mista walks over the threshold, he realizes what it is that’s caught Giorno’s eye.

“China?” Mista was incredulous. “We’re buying china? Are you turning into some—”

“I wanted to replace the tea set that broke the other day,” explained Giorno.

Mista made a face. “Do you think that’ll fix anything? Getting her a gift isn’t going to cover up the fact that we… well, you know—” 

“I’m not an idiot,” says Giorno. “I just want to give her a gift.”

“She must be awfully special for you to go through all that trouble.”

It seemed Giorno was far too absorbed in his task to realize what he was doing, and as much as Mista would like, he chooses not to say something clever. It would not bode well for him to discourage Giorno from whatever it was he was feeling towards you.

But Giorno, knowing the thoughts passing over Mista’s face, says, “Giving someone a gift doesn’t have to mean anything. And what do you know about this sort of thing anyway?”

Mista waved it off; arguing with Giorno was useless. “Whatever, just hurry it up. Giuseppe’s only being watched over by the maids, and we don’t know if any of those idiots were responsible for slipping Y/n and Don Vittorio the poisoned food and drink.” 

At the mention of his son, Giorno finds himself overcome with a sudden efficiency, walking throughout the store and finally deciding on a pattern. He sheepishly admitted to the clerk that he would need it wrapped—”and quickly,” he says, pulling out a thick stack of bills from his wallet and laying it on the counter—seeing that he was not very good at doing it himself. The poor thing managed to wrap it in three minutes, but only after cutting her finger (which Giorno healed out of courtesy and without her knowing) and turning into a stuttering mess.

On the way back to the car, Giorno can’t help but wonder how you’ll react to this small gift. Would you shove it away? Throw it on the ground and shatter everything inside? Plaster on some kind of smile, most likely, he thought. And if you were upset, you still would have thanked him graciously, no matter how angry you might be. You were not the kind to act on impulse. 

And he wonders then if he knows anyone else capable of exercising such a tremendous amount of self control. Bucciarati, maybe—but he was gone now. 

He huffed and clenched a fist around the handle of the bag, where your new tea set sat, wrapped neatly.

Giuseppe’s birthday was shortly after Christmas; he’d have to think of some kind of celebration befitting a little prince. Giorno’s twenty-fourth birthday would also come soon enough...

Imagine that—to be older than Bucciarati or Abbacchio.

Nearly eight years had passed, and as much as he hoped, it never failed to haunt him; the same thought would creep up on him every year. He was older than them, had outlived them by a few years now. Others tell him that their deaths and all the horror that surrounded it made their victory possible. Many tell them that the sacrifices were necessary to bring about the kind of changes Giorno made. Were they? It was hard to tell, and harder still to even think that that kind of thinking was true. 

He looked to the sky then, as though he might find them both smiling down at him—maybe not Abbacchio—from their perches in the clouds, all the while wondering if every good thing in this world, big or small, rested on the shoulders of something terrible.

Surely it didn’t always have to be this way.

“Mista—” A loud chirping noise cuts him off before he can ask Mista anything.

Mista stopped in his tracks and lifted the phone to his ear. “Hello?” He rolled his eyes then, trying in earnest not to laugh into the mouthpiece. “Oh it’s just you Sergio. What was that again? You want me to come to the church? I think I’ll pass.”

In spite of his curiosity, Giorno shook his head and faced away, hoping that none of their conversation reaches his ears. It was best he left it all to his imagination, he knew, but even still; there was something amiss with this phone call. 

On the other hand it could be Giorno’s paranoia. He was not a fearful man, not really—only cautious, he tells the others. And it was this same vigilance and wariness that kept many of his comrades safe. Many, but not all, he thought bitterly. A useless talent.   

“Alright, calm down now,” beckoned Mista’s voice, breaking out of its usual buoyancy as its owner listened to Sergio’s frantic screeches. Giorno stopped walking then. “Breathe—now, run that by me one more time—”

It came out in short bursts. And though Mista had gone through the trouble of lowering the volume on his phone, Giorno overheard nearly everything. Perhaps for the first time in his life, Giorno hated being right.


“I fell asleep in the church—”

“When I woke up—”


“Mista, help me find her, but don’t tell—”

Mista tightened his fingers around the phone. “‘Disappeared’?  Whatin a puff of smoke?! You had one job, you idiot.” After muttering a string of curses, he shoved his phone into his pocket and trudged ahead, digging his thumb into a throbbing temple. If any harm had come to you...

“Is something wrong?” Mista jumped at the sound of Giorno’s voice. How was he going to tell him about this?

“I, uh—” It was silent for a moment, and then Mista spoke. “...Giorno, I’ve got to go look for Y/n… Idiot lost track of her. You should go home, though.”


Try as he might, Giorno could not help but think of Abbacchio and Sardegna—the blanket of blood he’d been covered in, how pale his face looked—and it had all happened when everyone left him by himself. To leave you in such a precarious position when there were so many people in the city who wanted leverage against him...

What if—   

Giorno dropped the car keys into Mista’s hand, along with the crisp, white paper bag. What use was a gift if you were—No, I’ll not make any assumptions. Mista stared after him dumbly, watching as he started making his way to the cathedral. 

“I’ll go looking for her; go home and watch over Giuseppe for me.”

Mista tried his hardest to hold in his laughter. “Look, I don’t mean to piss you off, but you’re probably the last person she wants to see right now.”

“And you’re the first?”

“Not exactly, but I can always tell her that I was sent by you—”

“‘Because I just can’t be bothered with finding her myself.’” Giorno finished. 

“Why did you have to put it like that? ‘And why are you so stubborn, dammit?’ Giorno read the exasperation on Mista’s face with amusement. “Fine,” Mista said finally, turning on his heel. “I didn’t sign up for this kind of stuff, you know. Babysitting and all.”

“Looking after Passione’s little principe is a great honor, Mista,” called Giorno. Mista didn’t turn to look at Giorno, but from the sound of his voice he could tell his boss was quite pleased. “I can’t trust anyone else with this task, either—I need the very best looking after my son, bathing him and feeding him snacks and watching over him as he rests—”

“Yeah, alright—but don’t say I didn’t warn you; I’m not any good with rugrats.”

You snuck out through the window to the women’s restroom, slipping past your uncle’s own car whilst hiding behind another group of women. It’s at this time that several men rush to your uncle, banging on the windows and alerting him of your escape. 

There’s a frown on his lips, but he waves it off and rolls the windows to his car up. When you look elsewhere, you see that Don Elio has also arrived outside the cathedral. How many of you have come to feign piety today?  

Some of his men rush to his side and whisper something into his ear; immediately he frowns and readjusts his jacket, and when he does this, you catch a glimpse of the handgun strapped to his belt. Your breath caught in your throat as you watched him shout to several other men to come to the car. Thankfully, he did not see you. 

What was he doing here? Had you not been alone you might have stuck around to watch, but now was not the time to sit and wait. You needed to get home, preferably before any of these men found you.

The shouts dwindled down as you moved further away, though you never dared to look back for fear that Don Elio might have seen and thought to follow you. Alleyways twisted before you, and though you scarcely knew your way around, you knew that you’d come across the market eventually. 

And you did.

You pulled your jacket tighter around you, making sure to take a sharp knife from a restaurant table as you pass through the crowded and narrow street. The entire street smelled of fried food and it was difficult to push your way through the streets. Damn tourists. 

It’d taken some time for you to notice, but someone was indeed following you. The footsteps would die down as your pace slowed, and resumed as soon as you hurried off again. Someone began to follow you around the church the moment you’d left Sergio, but they stopped their chase as soon as you entered the bathroom.

You curled your fingers around the knife handle and scowled. With shaking hands, you pointed it at whoever was following you; in the grand scheme of it all, it wasn’t likely to do much, but it was certainly better than not arming yourself at all. 

“Keep away from me. If my husband hears that—” You squinted for a second, when a light flashed before you. 

When your vision returns to normal, you nearly drop the knife. All you could do was stare in shock, your body frozen and stiff. 

How? It was almost as though he materialized from nothing.

“Surely you missed me?” 

It was your husband.

“Y-you…” You shook your head. Surely you were dreaming; how had he known where you were? 

“Oje nè,” he said, with a smirk.

What did that mean? Well… You had heard Mista use it in passing to very attractive—oh. Giorno had never spoken like that before—not to anyone else, and certainly not you. Those kinds of phrases were meant for… well...  

“Why are you talking to me like—”

“I missed you,” He pulled you close and breathed in the scent of your hair. “Let’s go find some place to eat. You’re hungry aren’t you?”

“Well—” You clutched your stomach then. You hadn’t eaten for nearly twenty-four hours. I suppose I could eat. “But—there are people looking for me,” You told him. “What if—”

“My sweet Y/n,” He frowned when you snorted at this and swatted his arm away. He tilted your chin with a finger and looked you directly in the eyes. You shuddered a little. This is new. “There’s nothing to be afraid of; I’ll protect you.”

Afraid? I’m not afraid, you idiot! And apart from that, why on earth was he addressing you like that? Neither of you were this affectionate with one another! You frowned at him. “Listen to me—”

But just before you can protest, he presses his lips to your cheek—a little too quick and too feverishly—before taking your hand in his and dragging you off. “We’ll find a safe place to hide, I promise. But first I must get you something to eat. Let’s go to a cafe right now.”

“Do you need help?”

Giorno sighed. The fewer people who knew of your disappearance, the better; he’s sure of it, that a certain Don would take advantage of the situation if he knew of your straying off. Best he keep the search party number down to one, lest he alert any of his enemies by conducting a large scale search. He was rather good at tracking people down (his stand was, at any rate). I should do this on my own

“I think I should be able to handle it just fine on my own. Thank you, Fugo.”

Alright… And Mista—”

They stayed on the phone a little while longer; Giorno makes sure to give Fugo a few more instructions pertaining to Giuseppe’s care and thanks him and Narancia for helping Mista once more before heading off.

They seemed to be acting a little strange over the phone, though he’s not sure why. If it were childcare that they were nervous about, Giorno made sure to give them plenty of assurances that it wasn't nearly as difficult as it seemed—not with his son anyway. In spite of his efforts, their nervousness only persisted, and it gave Giorno the idea that perhaps leaving them alone with his son was a bit of a mistake. Probably one of my worst ideas, he thought, worrying himself. Still… they’ll manage just fine.  

If he’d known what truly happened at home then, perhaps he would have thought differently… But he would find out on his own time.

Sergio awaits him in the aisles, talking with a priest—likely one of the last people she spoke to, Giorno thinks—and fidgets nervously as Giorno approaches him.

“Don Giorno,” Sergio straightened and bowed his head. “I can explain.”

“We can speak on your incompetence later,” Giorno said with a scowl. “I want to find her first.”

“I did as I saw fit, Don Giorno, I swear it—”

“You obviously didn’t see fit to watch over my wife.” Giorno gave a little sigh and shook his head. “What happened?”

“I’d been by her side for over an hour,” explained the man. “And I knew she’d grown tired of my company but hadn’t said anything, and then… and then…”

“What?” What the hell did she do?

“I—ugh! The Signora—she started prattling on about God and started reading me some verses! I never would have taken her for some devout little pigeon but she wouldn’t stop and I had to excuse myself for a second. I meant to come back as soon as I gathered myself once again, and once I did she started talking nonsense and...” 

Y/n isn’t some religious fanatic, thought Giorno. Despite their upbringings, Sergio and the bulk of Giorno’s men were not religious, no matter how much they kept appearances by going to mass every Sunday, but even so; even they wouldn’t be able to handle something as grating as pious bleating. Always the clever one... But why did you leave?

The other seven charged with looking after you had been incapacitated, Sergio explained; some had been beaten badly enough that they’d be hospitalized for a few weeks, and others simply had their throats slit. It was not until after Sergio woke up and called Mista that he discovered the others. This worried Giorno a bit—these were some of the strongest men among his ranks, and although none of them were stand users, they were strong and fierce enough to ward off most threats. He was dealing with a very crafty individual. 

Could Signore Barese have been here?

“Was she acting strange when you last saw her?” asked Giorno.

“Well… I saw her talking with an older man for a bit—I think he may have been trying to convince her to do Bible study—she seemed a little bit uncomfortable...” 

So he was here… That could explain all of this. “Why didn’t you contact me right away?” All of this could have been avoided, damn you.

“I… didn’t find her concerns credible enough…” Sergio cleared his throat and took on a defensive tone. “And I told her that you’re too busy to be dealing with her silly feminine worries! She was going to call you and disturb your appointments! I didn’t think she had any good enough reasons to disturb you...”

Giorno gave a stare so intense Sergio’s face began to pale. “Surely you’ve come to find her concerns credible enough, now that she’s gone missing?”

“I… I’m—I’ll go and find her at once! I should have—”

“Save me your courtesies,” sighed Giorno. “I’ll go look for her, but first you’ll have to answer some of my questions. Now—where did she spend most of her time? In a pew, or one of the niches?” Giorno looked around, walking towards a window and looking past the cloisters and into the courtyard outside, hoping he might find you there, reading something, but it was empty save for a few birds. He frowned at that.

There were plenty of people in the building; surely you weren’t taken by extreme force—such a stunt would have caught someone’s attention. Had you been threatened then? There was also the possibility of you sensing danger. Earlier, Mista went as far as suggesting that you might have felt a little adventurous and mischievous, but Giorno knew you better. You wouldn’t have left if it would cause this much trouble. 

“She prayed at a few of the altars and in front of those candles… Might have left a few things there. I could check.”

“You were supposed to check before I got here,” Giorno reminded him sharply. “That way I could have begun my search outside.”

“Oh!” Giorno quirked a brow when Sergio pointed and exclaimed at something. “I fell asleep when we went to this pew,” Sergio said, pointing a ways off. “She told me to shut up and sleep, and I did.” As if that would be any useful information. And then he realizes— 

Giorno snorted at this. You didn’t fall asleep, you idiot—she used her stand on you. None of his other men knew about your abilities, and not even a soul—apart from Giorno and his closer friends—knew how smart you were—you’d sworn Giorno and the others to secrecy, citing “safety first,” as an excuse. He was a little unconvinced—why should you want to keep such talents and gifts a secret?—but he followed through anyway, knowing it would please you. 

“Is there anything else?” he asked.

“No…” Giorno saw him straighten then. “But I’ll help you look for a clue.”  

They begin at the pew you were last seen in, then make their rounds about the entire sanctum, asking anyone if they’d seen you; they had, but mostly left you by yourself. ‘She seemed to want solitude,’ ‘I did not wish to disturb her,’ ‘A man was with her…’ None of them seemed to provide any useful information.

They move on then, to the altars and the candles. It’s here that Sergio finds something of use.

Something caught Sergio’s eye then. “Ah, she was most definitely here, boss. Looks like she left something too.”

“What makes you say that?” asked Giorno. 

“This.” Sergio laid a piece of light pink plastic on the palm of Giorno’s hand.

What is this? Giorno held it up and against the light of a nearby candle. Light pink and smooth… It felt pliable and was about the size of a fingernail. And he realizes. No, not a piece of plastic.

“She’s been picking at her nails the past few days,” Giorno mused softly, holding the tiny pink chip. Trish would have told her how damaging it is—if they knew each other, anyway. “I’ll handle things from here; you’re dismissed for today.”

With his subordinate’s departure, he called on Gold Experience and turned that small pink chip into a butterfly, following it as it made its way towards the back exits.

And so his quest began.

There was something off about your husband today, though you couldn’t quite tell what it was.

His eyes wandered to any and every woman you walked past—and really, it shouldn’t bother you, but… It was very much unlike him. 

Who he had eyes for was no business of yours, and you never made it so; you were prepared to be dishonored by any other husband, to look the other way whilst they sought company elsewhere. A loveless marriage was always what lay ahead for you, and though you knew Giorno was a decent person compared to the others, you would not fret if he decided to give in to more… unsavory urges. Most men had affairs, and you’d heard whispers of your father laying with a number of men and women after his wife passed; if Giorno were to do the same early on in your marriage, you wouldn’t have cared all that much.

Imagine your surprise when, after the first several months of marriage and careful sneaking around, you discovered that Giorno did not bat an eye at anyone. He scarcely paid any mind to the attractive people who propositioned him; not the maids, the butlers, the women in the street, the lovely men he met at parties and dinners… None of them interested him. As for you? Well, he’d sworn it on his honor to treat you the way he’d treat a wife—so of course he was a little more generous with his affections. Kind gestures, a smile here and there—most of them forced in the beginning, though that was of little consequence to you—and more recently a few laughs.   

But now he was looking around. 

It didn’t bother you—and it never would have, really… But, Giorno had never given any indication to wanting that sort of thing. Why was he interested in other people all of a sudden? For some reason—one you could not explain—you found this rather difficult to stop fretting over.

Earlier, at the cafe, his credit card had been declined, and the waiter came back to your table with a fearful, apologetic look on his face. The poor young man (a college student—he confessed, when you’d asked of course) offered to pay it off with his own money. The people of Napoli did love your husband after all. 

You insisted otherwise, and quickly fished a few bills from your own wallet, tucked away into your coat pocket, and made sure to speak to the manager on your way to the restroom to praise their staff and management. Of course… Such things wouldn’t have been necessary had Giorno simply brought cash, but it wasn’t much of an inconvenience to you.

It was strange enough that Giorno brought you to a cafe when you were being followed—but for him to use a credit card… This you found absolutely bizarre. 

You and your father were a little cautious toward finances. After Passione wiped out Don Vittorio’s family all those years ago, your father took to a more furtive lifestyle—this included finances, public appearances, so on and so forth... It was important that—whilst Passione and their drugs submerged Napoli and the rest of the country into chaos—Cosa Nostra remain hidden and relatively undetected. Credit cards could be traced back to their owners and could reveal something as simple as a certain Don Vittorio’s location. Your father’s gang went as far as creating their own currency with their associates. 

It was necessary, imperative that you remain off the grid whenever necessary, lest Passione and its evil dictator sent his best men after you. And it worked, for the many years that you lived in fear for your life. Of course, when Giorno took over, you assumed that your father would take a more relaxed approach to these things, but he did not; he knew it kept him and his men out of jail and out of the authority’s sights. It made sense, and this was now mere protocol for you.

It was not long after you married Giorno when you learned he shared the same ideas.

“Better to be cautious,” he’d told you. “I’ve taken all the advice your father’s given me; he’s very wise.” What was that saying again? Right— “Beware of an old man in a profession where men usually die young.” Not entirely false.

Still... When did he get a credit card? Patri would have howled at this.

Some time after you left the cafe, you found yourselves walking through several more crowded and winding streets. Where was he taking you? You looked at each of the bright yellow and orange buildings as you trudged forward and eventually at the blue sky above. You didn’t know your way around the city but… I think we’re getting further away from home. Your thoughts come to a close, and in the most horrific and unpleasant manner.

As you walked further down this crowded street, you met yet another accident; someone had pushed past Giorno, and rather roughly. 

Normally your husband would have ignored it and gone on his own way, but today is different. You wonder if the past few days have stressed him out so much.

It was bad enough that Giorno pulled an unpleasant grimace—which already looked out of place on that lovely face of his—but what worries you most is an action exceedingly out of character, one that startles you and makes your heart clench in on itself for fear of what might come next.

“Piezz’ e sfaccimm.” He spat on the ground. 

Judging by the reaction of the man who’d pushed him—most likely by accident, you think mournfully—this phrase was very offensive. Extremely so. At this moment, you’re actually quite grateful, to not know what it means; it was bad enough seeing the shock and horror on everyone else’s faces when the situation worsened.

Forget the fact that Giorno had never cussed in front of you (really, this was bound to happen sooner or later). He’d spat his abuse at a person, and out in public, of all places! It’d been one thing if it were one of his friends in the comfort of your home, but…

You gaped at Giorno, not daring to move until he grabs his supposed offender by the collar and raises one of his fists. He’s… He’s going to actually start a fight. You had to do something.

You rushed to their side immediately, making quick work of diffusing the situation and making several apologies on your husband’s behalf. 

Luckily for Giorno, most of the people who were watching had been tourists. This would be forgotten in a few days, so long as he was careful. Your father’s death and the arrival of your family members were likely to divert their attention at any rate. This could be fixed.

You huffed in frustration as you pulled him away from the scene of the crime. “Why are you acting so incredibly stupid? This is very much unlike you.”

“Me? Stupid?” Giorno snorted and walked ahead, guiding you further away from home.

It was silent for a while. You felt a little guilty about this. All of this was clearly starting to take its toll on him. Perhaps your words had upset him? It wouldn’t be the first time. 

“I’m sorry,” You said finally, laying a hand on his arm in apology. “I suppose I’m a little nervous… But... we really ought to head home now. I want to see our son.”

“Ah yes… He’s at the house.” He didn’t sound very enthusiastic about that. 

“Oh!” You let out a tiny gasp. “I… I didn’t say thank you… For looking after Patri. That was very kind of you to do.” Your husband went as far as fulfilling a few last minute requests for your father—what did it matter, that you didn’t know and that it’d been kept from you? You’d been through plenty of other brushes with death by his side; you were always prepared, always ready to say goodbye. At any rate, keeping his condition a secret allowed you to spend your father’s last moments candidly, free of any painful knowledge and any kind of stress or worry of what was to come.

“My wife is gracious to thank me for this—your father deserves far more than what I’ve done for him.”

“Don Giorno, what you did was not a small kindness—you went as far as fulfilling some of his final wishes. I’m very grateful to you for that. And I’m sure it meant everything to Patri.”  

Giorno gave a modest smile. “I only did what any other husband would have done for his father-in-law.”

He does not care, you thought with startling realization. He is only returning my courtesies… You were convinced that Giorno had done it all out of the kindness in his heart, had done it for your sake—that he’d gone through with your father’s wishes because they’d come to see each other as family. Earlier you were certain that it meant something… that it had meant everything. 

There was a thought that crossed your mind, and for a moment you refused to consider it... It was only a sneaking suspicion, but you were beginning to suspect that you were in the company of an imposter. This could not be your husband.

Oh, what am I doing? You asked yourself as you followed whoever this stranger was. It was rather hard to believe that it was your husband; Giorno would never act like this. He was kind and courteous, never betraying that legendary ruthlessness even when he was angry—certainly not in front of you, at any rate. He wouldn’t pick fights in the street or spit at someone, no matter what kind of provocation he received either. He had much better self control. You were certain of it, believed it. I’d be an idiot to keep following this man. But this was admittedly better than leading him home where the others were.

In the end, you decide to follow closely behind. He was a stand user, that much was clear to you, and a dangerous one at that; one that made use of some kind of disguise. 

It was powerful enough to fool you of all people… As far as you could tell, he resembled Giorno entirely. This stand must have some kind of weakness. 

There was a flash of light, you remembered.

Light refraction could often create illusions… Is that what this was? If it were, then all you needed to do was take away some of the light. It seemed as though fate had sided with you today.

I could wait for Don Giorno to find me, you thought, desperately. What else could you possibly do? Everything you had done ended up a disaster—agreeing to your uncle’s terms and letting him prance you about in front of strange men for marriage, marrying for advantage so that your family would be safe, aiding Giorno in his work—all of it you’d made a mess of. Would this be any different?

You realized, however, that you had little choice but to try and escape on your own and perhaps apprehend your would-be kidnapper. How else will I get home? You hadn’t any clue.

There was no guarantee that Giorno would even find you. How could he? You left the church in a panic and didn’t think to leave any clues behind. You could have left a trail of your nail polish—you’d been picking at it enough times for the past few days—but you peeled the last of it off long before you’d even come to the idea. I’m an idiot, you thought mournfully. 

But, when you lift your gaze from your feet, you take note of the path this other “Giorno” makes as he walked through the streets. He’d been avoiding shadows.

So it was the flash. Where it came from or what caused it did not matter; you knew now that the dark was its weakness. You could use Disturbia, but first you would catch him in his lies…

“Don Giorno,” You called to him after stopping several paces behind him. 

He spun around on his heel and peered at you curiously. “Yes?” His voice sounded a little nervous and lacked that quiet confidence and self assurance you’d come to recognize in your husband. Strike one.


“What is it?” He drew to your side immediately. 

You looked lovingly into his eyes and held his face, stroking his cheek with your thumb. There was a bit of stubble on it. Giorno didn’t have any stubble. Strike two. “Let’s get out of here, amore mio,” You purred.

“...W-We can certainly do that,” He replied dumbly, placing his hands on your waist. It felt so terribly awkward.

You yelped when his hands traveled lower and groped your bottom. Strike three—you are most definitely not—  

“I knew it,” You hissed into his ear. “See—my husband and I don’t call each other amore mio, or any of those other silly names.” You grabbed his hand, which was still perched on your person. “But above all, he would never lay a hand on me without asking for permission first.”

He did make an attempt to run—he gained some of your respect for that—but it was of no use.

“Disturbia!”  Unfortunately for him, your stand caught his shadow rather quickly. You beckoned him to trace his steps back to you with a finger, and like an expert puppet master, you brought him before you with little difficulty. “Follow me, Signore.”

You pulled him into an alleyway sometime after catching him off guard, and after you pulled him into the complete darkness of the alley, his stand disappeared. This was when you began to question him—but not before giving him a few good kicks in the stomach and groin. That ought to have done it. A fair trade—a violation of his privacy for having harassed you and overstepped plenty of boundaries. 

After several dozen kicks (you did feel a bit sorry for him after a certain point—you’d been wearing heels after all) a wallet falls from one of his pockets; you retrieved it from the ground, making sure Disturbia kept him in place as you looked through its contents. His name was Ciabatta. And it seemed as though he was out of money. Inside another pocket was a small metal bullet casing—a marker for the members of the Camorra. One of Don Elio’s men, you realized. He was most definitely a lower ranking soldato. Don Elio’s gang suffered several devastating losses within the seven-day duration of your engagement, though you really didn’t think the effects would be this apparent four years after the fact. 

Your interrogation proves to be quite successful, however.

You were not the kind to torture—such methods worked for men like your father, but you were a little more discreet with your methods. You often resorted to making deals and exchanges, much like your uncle, who was also a little weaker compared to most “made men.”

He spoke a little, after you’d worked your magic, but, of course, seeing that you’d battered him quite a bit before hand, there was only so much information that he was willing to provide to you. Still, your findings are quite useful.

His stand was called Dirty Mind. 

Its form was that of a camera, and could be seen by non-stand users. The ability and its effects, however, worked only on those who had seen the camera flash, which then allowed its user to manipulate light and create an image or illusion. Ciabatta admitted to using it on people as a way of disguising himself; he’d often use it to take on a disguise of the person his target was thinking of. In this case, he took on the appearance of your husband. 

You would have conducted your interrogation a little longer, but something else grabs your attention.

Footsteps echoed from one end of the alleyway; you spun on your heel and squinted, nearly flinching in fear at the sight of your intruder.

Another Giorno.

He made several more steps, each slower and smaller than the last. You seemed terrified… What happened?

“Don’t!” You jumped when he moved another step closer and drew the steak knife in front of you. “I didn’t give you permission to approach me.”

“Are you going to stab me if I get any closer?” Truthfully, Giorno was impressed, though it doesn’t show on his face; he stepped back a little, holding his hands up in surrender with the hopes that it would quell some of your agitation. 

“I will,” you promised, appearing to finally find your courage. “...Tell me who sent you.”

“No one; Mista received a phone call from Sergio, and I decided to look for you on my own accord.” He turned his hand so his palm faced upwards. “Hold your hand out.”

A butterfly landed softly upon your hand, its legs tickling the skin of your palm before reverting back to a small pink chip. Your nail polish. He’d been waiting for you to react, but instead you eyed him cautiously.

“A clever enough trick…” You hesitated for a moment. “But… If you are who you say you are, then... tell me something only you would know.”

Giorno thought carefully for a few seconds before saying, “‘I believe the correct term is bustier’?”

Before you can say any more, he moved closer towards you, tapped your weapon of choice with a finger and smiled as you watched it turn into a frog. There was a look of relief on your face, one that pleased him. But Giorno is more shocked than anything when you close the gap between you both and hold him by the shoulders. 

“It really is you,” You gazed up at him, voice little more than a whisper. And suddenly you shoved at his shoulder and hissed, “But you really didn’t have to say something that private! Out in public too! Are you an idiot?”

“It was the best I could come up with in these circumstances.” Giorno gave an embarrassed little shrug. 

You turned away and shook your head. “Can you take care of this one for me? I’ve had enough with his antics for today.” You handed him the wallet. “His name is Ciabatta. Seems he works for Don Elio.”

Giorno has little want to hear of what’s happened since he last saw you, but even so— ”What happened?” 

Ciabatta spoke up immediately. “I warn you—” 

“I’ll receive no warnings from you, Signore,” sighed Giorno. “Tell me, Signora.” 

You nodded stiffly. “This one disguised himself as you, and took certain liberties when handling my person—” Giorno gave your captive a nice long glare before returning his attention to you. “I took care of it,” You assured him. “There’s little need for you to carry out any punishment, Don Giorno. I promised I wouldn't harm him any more than I did, and I did as much as unwanted physical contact might warrant—”

The man’s face went red. “I would never think of touching another man's wife! I am a member of a gang—a man of honor.” 

“So I’ve noted,” you said. 

Giorno then asked, "Did you decide to violate her before or after you escaped Don Elio’s line of sight?" It was only a question, pure speculation. Even so, the look of guilt on that man’s face—however brief—was all Giorno needed to confirm all of this. He'd been paid to whisk you away, and he clearly helped himself to a few unsavory violations; not that Giorno doubted any of your words, of course. “What—no more warnings for either of us, Signore?”

“Y-you…Your wife should withdraw these filthy accusations! Right away!”

“Please. Did you give any thought as to what Don Elio will do when he finds out that you’d been sexually harassing the object of his affections? And all while he wasn’t around to punish you.”

“I-It was not like that!” The man named Ciabatta protested in utter terror.

“No? What was it like then, if you’ll be so kind to tell me?”

“I was given explicit orders to take her to Don Elio; I was ordered to treat her the way her husband may treat her, to bring her to him at any cost—”

“Were you ordered to touch her and grope at her without her permission too?”

He looked at Giorno, horrified. “N-NO! I only did as I was bid, I-I… I never...”

“Hated every second of it, did you? Is that what you’d have me think? The pleasurable company of my wife, no one to police you on where your hands travel, and an opportunity to parade around the city without a care in the world—oh, how terrible it must have been for you.” Giorno stopped briefly, then fished his phone out of one of his coat pockets. “Wait here, Don Elio will want to hear of this. You wouldn’t happen to know his contact information, would you, Signora?”

If it weren’t for the current situation, you might have teased him for using his formalities at a time like this, but such things are to be expected; you were in front of an enemy after all. “I think I might, Don Giorno,” You say hesitantly. “It shouldn’t be any different from before.”

“No, please, Don Giorno, please I—” The man cleared his throat. “You can’t!”

“‘I can’t’?” Giorno asked, quirking a brow. 

The last bit of aggression he’d shown toward you both flew away in an instant. “Mercy, Don Giorno, I beg you.”

“Save it for Don Elio. I’m sure he’ll like to hear of this sooner rather than later—and it’ll be good for him to hear it from you directly.”

“I’ll do anything you want, please! I cannot—”

“Anything, you said?” Giorno had a little glint in his eyes. You gave a little chuckle and caught Giorno’s attention for a moment. 

“Anything!” Ciabatta’s voice rang once more, calling to Giorno’s ears.

Giorno turned away once again, however, scrolling through his phone with disinterest. “No, I don’t see why I should take you up on your offer.”

“It is as you said! I am sworn to Don Elio’s miserable service, but I was given instructions by the lovely Signora Giovanna’s uncle, Signore Barese, to deliver his niece to my boss—but Don Elio… he’d never understand—”

“Never understand that you’re as much of a lecherous dolt as he is? Now—” You laid a hand on his arm, grabbing his attention, and perhaps in understanding, he switches gears. He asked then, “Signore… Would you have me keep secrets from Don Elio?”

Ciabatta spoke up once more. “Please! I ask of you—I beg you! I can leave the city too, and your sweet, kind wife—”

“Don’t speak of her again, not with that filthy mouth of yours.”

“I would have her pick a proper punishment, I swear it, that is all I meant to say, please! I will leave the city or face punishment by you, either is fine, but please don’t speak a word of this to Don Elio.”

Giorno knew long before interrogating this man that you only meant to use him; otherwise you would have finished him off yourself or incapacitated him long before you were found. And while this had all worried him from the start, he was actually quite pleased with how things turned out. He didn’t imagine you’d work so well together. It was hard not to laugh, however. Giorno should stop, and he’s well aware of it—but he was the kind to play with his food.

But now came some more troubling thoughts—where did Don Elio fit in all of this? Had your uncle called in a favor with him? 

Questioning this man would likely yield few results—Ciabatta was clearly lower on the grapevine and was not given much information. Trusting a liability with more intel than necessary would put your uncle and whoever else was involved in these schemes at a disadvantage, so they were wise to send him to search for you in place of Don Elio. Even so, there could be some use to this man.

Finally Giorno spoke. “I think not.”

“D-Don Giorno?” Now the poor thing looked lost.

“I’m sure you heard me. You are sworn, body and soul, to Don Elio? Very well—obey him and Signore Barese.  Stay close to his side and keep his trust.”

“No... no punishment for me? But I—”

You shook your head, this time echoing Giorno’s thoughts as you came to his side. “No one ever need know of this.” You were willing to forgive any of this idiot’s actions, so long as— 

“So long as you keep faith with me,” finished Giorno. “I want to know what Don Elio is up to—where he goes, who he meets with, what they speak of, what plans he is scheming. All of it. And you’ll be the one to tell me, won’t you?”

“Yes, Don Giorno.” Ciabatta spoke without even a second of hesitation. Giorno liked that. “I will—I swear it. As you command, Don Giorno.”

“Good. Now—rise.” Giorno held out a hand and helped the lad to his feet. “Smile now—this is all for the good of the city. You could do well from all this. Don Elio may have increased your pay significantly for this task, but that is nothing—mere scruples. If you’re clever, you’ll become a capo soon enough.” Giorno shrugged his overcoat off of his person, draped it over your shoulders and stood at your side. “We want Don Elio to have every bit of trust in you. Return to him and tell him that I happened to find her first.” It was not a lie, after all. “Giorno” did find you first.

“But… Don Giorno…” Ciabatta glanced at you briefly. “My boss—I mean, my former boss—he’ll want...”

Giorno gave a little wave in understanding. “Oh, tell him that he should be able to win Y/n away from me, that he need not resort to such extreme methods. That ought to appease him for the time being.”

“Of course. As you say.” 

“One more thing—” said Giorno. “It should be rather inconvenient for me if you were to come to my home to give your reports without a disguise.”

“I’ll make sure to use my stand whenever I come visit you.” He bowed stiffly and promptly left in search of his boss, though not before thanking you and kissing your hands profusely.

Much to Giorno’s surprise, you allowed yourself a moment to feel pity for the man.

“What an idiot,” you sighed. “Even so—he doesn’t deserve to suffer a part in the game we’re all pulling him into.” Giorno nodded solemnly.

Now Don Elio was involved in this—as for how Giorno would deal with it? He had a few ideas... But he wouldn’t discuss that sort of thing out in the open. That would have to wait until later. He still had to apologize to you, too.

Giorno turned to you suddenly. “What was the name of his stand?”

“Dirty Mind, I think… It’s a camera, and allows him to reflect and take the form of whomever it is the target is thinking of.”

So you thought of him when you were on your own? He smiled to himself at that thought.

Ha! So you did care about him. At least a little bit.

“How fitting,” He said, not daring to tease you for what you unwittingly revealed. And with that he turned to you and offered his arm. “I think—”

“Yes, I think it’s time to go home too,” You said. You’d seen enough of the city for today.

“Napule a little too much for you today, Signora?”

“No, not at all—it’s a... very charming city...” 

Chapter Text

“I take commands from Don Giorno, Signora ,” said Sergio. “Not you.”

“Don Giorno married me for my claim to my father’s property. I am the heir to Don Vittorio Andolini,” you countered back in a sharp tone. “I do command you.”

“Is that right?” he sneered, before looking to Giorno in askance. 

“Perhaps some fresh air will do you some good,” suggested a tall man. His offer was not made out of courtesy.

Giorno held your gaze for a moment too long, and before he can defend you, you rose from your chair and left quietly. He frowned at that.

Apart from relaying the occasional message between gang members, women did not participate in gang activity. At first, the men who worked with Giorno found Don Vittorio’s stipulations unreasonable, but they had all accepted it as a necessity. If they wanted the money and prestige from the alliance, it was necessary that they pay the price. And because they respected his name and respected Giorno’s decision to marry into a powerful family and comply with his father-in-law’s terms, they kept their opinions to themselves. Now that Don Vittorio was gone and not alive to retaliate, however...

“I would sooner let myself be eaten alive by sharks before I let a woman tell me how to do my job,” said one of Giorno’s men.

“I understand her father’s death will make her a bit… unstable , but you would do well to police her on her conduct for the next few weeks. Though I suppose we should be glad that she left the room without bursting into tears…”

Giorno kept his face still, even when Sergio began to chuckle. “I agree; see, I just can’t stand the wailing of women—” Sergio was cut off when Narancia lunged at him over the table.

“Shut up!” he snapped, shaking Sergio by the shoulders angrily. “I should’ve done this a long time ago! Merdaiuolo—”

“You’re talking to a capo—

Narancia punched him. “Yes, and now I’ve punched a capo,” he snarled back, waving his hand in the air. “Did my hand fall from my wrist?!”

Sergio pushed Narancia away and pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket and holding it to his bloody nose. “Why, you—”

“That’s enough,” Giorno called. “If you could both find your seats, I’d like to continue.”

Both Narancia and Sergio slipped into their seats in the deafening silence. Everyone was taken aback by Giorno’s sudden silent fury, and the room had fallen still. There was something about his slight frown and narrowed stare that made the bulk of them very nervous.

“Listen very carefully, all of you,” Giorno said into the quiet, and then he proceeded, telling them all how they were to continue operating, and that you would take on a much more active presence in the gang. Mista and Narancia backed him up, just as Giorno expected, but he was pleasantly surprised when Fugo joined their enthusiastic petitions. Sergio was hesitant, but Giorno knew exactly what to say in order to move him. One by one, the rest fell in line. Giorno persuaded a couple of them, cajoled others, made subtle threats when threats were required. 

At the end, they all agreed to welcome your own presence and opinions into future discussions. All of them agreed, except an older and wealthier capo. 

“You children can do as you please,” said Signore Buonocore. “But I won’t be taking any orders from a woman.” He gave Giorno one last daring glance before leaving them all there.

It would have been too much work to simply off him; his men were loyal to him and he did his job well. Giorno didn’t see a need to replace someone like Buonocore, not when he was a useful person to keep around, so he and the others would have to think up some other means to convince him.

So, a few hours later, long after the other capos expressed their apologies to you and gave their leave, Giorno and the other three paid Signore Buonocore a call—in the middle of his appointment at a massage parlor. Narancia held his arms while Fugo sat on his legs. Giorno could hear Buonocore’s rapid breathing when Mista jammed a pistol against the soft skin of their associate's temple, hard enough to leave a bruise. “Remember,” Giorno reminded softly. “I don’t like having to repeat myself a second time when once is sufficient enough. Please don't make me repeat myself a third time."

Giorno was pleased to see that very same capo in one of the sitting rooms that same morning, apologizing to you and brushing off your courtesies in regard to his bruise.
“That looks very… fresh ,” you observed politely. “Are you alright? I could dress it with a bandage...”

“Ah, Signora, it’s, er… you see, one of the masseuses dropped one of those very hot rocks—”

“Against your temple?” Giorno asked, looking at Buonocore amusedly. “Perhaps I should speak to the owner of that establishment—make sure they’re not harming their customers.”

His face went red. “That will not be necessary, Don Giorno. Thank you.” And off he went.

Being as wary and attentive as you are, Giorno is not surprised that you invite them all to afternoon tea in thanks.

“Inviting us to tea now?” asked Mista with a grin. He laughed when you neglect to respond, sighing as you passed him a cup of tea. “Wonder if this is a good sign...”

“Obviously it’s a good sign,” Narancia hummed, helping himself to a lemon and pistachio scone. “Tea is an ‘invitation only’ thing in this house,” he added, winking at Giorno.

“I don’t know what you all did,” you said, “but I know you did something.” You looked into your cup of tea. “No one has ever spoken up for me before. Not like that.”

“It’s what any friend would do,” said Fugo, choking on his tea when he realized what exactly he’d just said.

“Friend?” you asked quietly. 

The other two smiled sheepishly at this. Only Fugo has the grace to blush. “Well… We know you’re very close to Giorno, but we’d like to be your friends too. And if you don’t want that, then we’ll still watch over you and protect you, regardless of what you think of us.”

“I haven’t had many friends before,” you finally managed.

Chapter Text

The night was sure to come shortly after Ciabatta took his leave, as evidenced by the red streaks left by the sun on the horizon. Giorno, in all his determination to find you, had forgotten to make the necessary arrangements to get you both home. Still fearful that your uncle would overhear any telephone conversations, you made quick work of securing a vehicle, balling the sleeve of your jacket into your fist and striking at the window of the nearest car. After fiddling around with the door handle, you managed to slip into the driver’s seat and went straight to work. By the time Don Elio or Zietto Mateo discovered your whereabouts, you’d be long gone.

Giorno turned around as soon as he heard the noise, staring intently as you tore away at the ignition box, you knew, but the only thing on your mind was fleeing to safety. As strong as Giorno was, even he would find himself in trouble if the wrong people got wind of your location. One assailant was nothing, but dozens would prove troublesome. If it had only been Giorno, you were certain he could fight them all off on his own, but it would be different now that he had you to worry over; the last thing you needed was for Giorno to suffer an injury while trying to protect you.

Silent though he was, it was difficult to ignore the man standing to your right, hovering over you as you worked away.

“Careful with your hands.” Without thinking Giorno raised his hand, only stopping himself when he sees you flinch, starting back, fearful. Giorno doesn’t need to be reminded that you’re only acting out of instinct, that it was only ten minutes ago that Ciabatta left and that you needed time and space. “They might get… well—”

“I can do this in my sleep,” you snapped at him, slapping his hand away. This is Don Giorno, not Ciabatta, you reminded yourself. Still, he’s much too close. “...I’m sorry.” The words come out awkward and rehearsed. They were not genuine.

As if he’d read the thoughts passing over your face, he drew back. “No, it’s my fault. I should have found you sooner.”

Given the events that transpired, you’re thankful for his presence. Giorno was welcome company in most scenarios, but too much has happened in the past day and neither of you know how to address it. Neither of you try.

Before the silence could get awkward, he spoke once more. “I sent Mista home to watch over Giuseppe. Fugo and Narancia agreed to help him.”

You paused then. Of all the people to leave Giuseppe alone with… Was there really no one else? But you knew better than to yell. Arguing with Giorno wouldn’t fix much of anything. As for the other, they had proven themselves time and time again, had protected you a number of times before… You trusted them with your life. Even so, it’s Giuseppe’s life that I’m fretting over right now. Taking care of a grown woman was easier than taking care of a baby. The fact that it was your son they were watching over only worsened your concerns. Best you worked fast; your only option now was to jumpstart the car and go home before the three set the property ablaze. 

When the engine sprung, you slid into the passenger seat. While you hadn’t counted the seconds yourself, you were sure that you had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before. Most of your evening was spent tossing and turning under the sheets. When you did fall asleep, you found yourself reliving the events of the other day, only this time you clawed at the door until your hands were raw and bloody, watching as your father choked on a thick black liquid. In the nightmare, no one came to help you. Throughout the night you would wake with a start and find yourself in the dark, alone. That was the manner you had slept (or tried to). By noon, you had given up on falling asleep altogether, and that was when the others called you down for lunch.

It was a wonder then, how you managed to make it through the day without collapsing from exhaustion. Walking through the city was taxing enough. Driving for thirty minutes through the traffic in Napoli and fighting off the urge to fall asleep was entirely out of the question.

And perhaps Giorno understood all of this, because he immediately took his place behind the wheel. 

Giorno’s home was a ways off from the city center, perched on a cliff in one of the most exclusive residential areas in Napoli. Via Posillipo (or Pusilleco, as Giorno would often call it) was beautiful, and home to some of the wealthiest inhabitants in the city. In the summers, the country’s very own president would reside in Villa Rosebery, which stood just a few hundred acres away from Giorno’s property, completely unaware that the charming young man living next door controlled the entire city.

When Giorno first brought you to his home, you were pleasantly surprised by the state of it. For a time, you wondered what his living conditions were before your engagement. In the little time that you had known Giorno, you prepared yourself to be welcomed into a distastefully made shack; up until you met your husband, you had been entertained by other capos and Don’s in gaudy and embarrassingly lavish homes, all of them kept in terrible shape. Small wonder then, that you were enamored with the well-kept gardens, lawns and citrus groves, the intricate wrought iron gates and limestone fencing surrounding the perimeter, an open air loggia facing the ocean and the smell of salt and fresh air coming from the sea. The interior itself was in a bit of a sorry state, courtesy of Giorno’s laidback attitude towards his staff, but that was a small price to pay in consideration of the home’s best features. Even your father could sense that you were slowly settling into your new life. 

But as lovely as Giorno and Napoli seemed to be, it was difficult for you to accept the fact that your place was no longer at your father’s side. It was a marked improvement from the compound you lived in for the past ten or so years, but Napoli was not your home and Giorno was not family. Even so, a great sense of relief came over you the second you reunited with Giorno, and you sensed the same feeling creeping up on you the second the house came into view.

When you finally find the courage to look at Giorno, you absentmindedly reach for the sleeve of his jacket, snorting as you plucked at the cuff on his wrist.

“You’re wearing black,” you observed bitterly. “Do you mourn for Patri, Don Giorno?”

Giorno, in all his benevolence, did not return any of your spite. “Don Vittorio was my father-in-law. A good—“

“‘A piece of shit,’ is what I think you’re trying to say.”

Giorno blinked at your sudden profanity. “Y/n, I’ve always thought that he was—”

“You knew exactly what he was,” you sighed, grudging every word that came from your lips. “You always have.”

“Alright,” said Giorno, “I won’t lie to you. I know the Don of Cosa Nostra earned his name.” 

It was only understandable that Giorno knew. He and your father were in the same line of work, after all. Good men didn’t exist, not in the gangs you encountered. Don Vittorio and the rest of your family were criminals who profited off of blood and a number of unsavory things. 

“If he’s as terrible as you say,” said Giorno, “why would you let him offer you up to—”

“Do me the courtesy of remembering my uncle’s role in that charade,” you interrupted hotly. “But besides that, I’m his daughter . What kind of person would I be if I didn’t protect my own family?”

Giorno glanced at you briefly before focusing on the road again. “And you believe that? That you’re all family?”

To anyone else, your loyalty and affection towards Cosa Nostra would seem questionable given the fact that your adoption was little more than a kidnapping. While the event itself didn’t unfold the way the stories claimed, you were still given little choice but to accept your fate. Killing children (especially a girl) would cause Don Vittorio far too much trouble, and you were unlikely to be put at a disadvantage by being brought into his home. In the end, you were ushered into the car and promised a much better life. You were not dragged into the car entirely against your will, only given the choice to stay with Don Vittorio or with one of his capos. The rest was clockwork.

“Patri loved me, and I loved him. I still do. I know that for sure,” you said, “just as I know that he got exactly what he deserved. As for the others? They all love me well enough.” 

Neither of you exchanged another word after you passed through the gate. What else is there to say? You wondered for a bit, not wanting to breach the obvious. If you brought up your father, you were sure you’d get riled up once more. The silence stayed, even when the car came to a stop. He couldn’t possibly think that we should ignore that , does he? You blinked ahead, confused. If he thinks I’ll let this off easily, then he is mistaken—

“As for what I did,” said Giorno, “I understand if you’re still upset. I kept all of this a secret from you…” he swallowed and trailed off, unsure how to finish. “I’m sorry I hurt you. If you don’t want to speak to me, I’ll understand—just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it. I can leave you alone, or…” he paused again, desperately searching for the right words to say. 

Leaving you alone? What would that solve? The mere suggestion of it is enough to set you off. What kind of idiot would actually believe that? 

There was enough miscommunication between you two. Avoiding each other would only hurt your cause and this entire afternoon was proof of it. Things could not continue as they were, not if you were to resolve this entire conflict. Too much is at stake, and I’ve already wasted an entire day crying, you thought bitterly. I can’t hold onto this forever. 

“We need to trust each other,” you said finally. “There are people who mean to harm us, and they’ll do just that if we keep secrets from each other.” 

Fighting amongst yourselves would only benefit your enemies; you were certain that they would rejoice to hear of your bickering. Surely, this conversation meant that everything had been addressed, that all past hurts would be forgiven and you would finally be able to address  Was everything alright now? Try as you might, you were well aware— even Don Giorno , you thought—that things were far from fixed.

“Looks like things are better now,” Mista observed over dinner. 

Giorno corrected him. “Only by a small margin.”

“Let me guess. You—”

“We spoke a bit, that’s all,” Giorno said, with a warning glance. “You look disappointed.”

“Didn’t you rescue her from Don Elio...?” Mista’s voice trailed away, reluctant to add: ‘Or swept her off her feet?’ He didn’t have to say it out loud to earn another cool stare from Giorno.

“I didn’t save her from anything,” said Giorno. “And it wasn’t Don Elio. Only one of his men—and she took care of him long before I found her.”

“What was the point in splitting up then? She probably would’ve gotten herself home anyway.”

Narancia agreed. “You don’t have to treat her like she’s fragile. We all know she isn’t.”

As if I needed reminding , Giorno thought to himself. “Her father asked that I protect her. I’m only doing what he asked of me.”

Don Vittorio's body had already processed the hemlock and was well on its way to a slow and painful death by the time he woke, but it was not the poison or impending death that he feared. Giorno sat at his father-in-law’s bedside for hours, lent a listening ear and provided the best possible comfort he could, but in the end nothing could console the old man. At times, Giorno could still hear his voice. ‘You have to protect her,’ he pleaded. ‘Promise me.’ Most of his strength had been sapped from the doctors’ treatment and his voice was little more than a feeble whisper, but when Giorno gave his word, the fear had gone from his eyes. Giorno remembered the way Don Vittorio smiled then, remembered how tightly his fingers had clutched his hand. 

Most of all, Giorno remembers what he had asked of Don Vittorio after.

“Shouldn’t you ask that I love her too?”

At this, Don Vittorio could only offer a sad smile. “You can certainly try to, my boy.”

After that, Giorno had been instructed to keep Don Vittorio’s condition a secret from you, and as reluctant as Giorno had been, he’d gone through with it. It took most of Giorno’s self control to play his part in the deception, but it did give you several “normal” hours to spend with your father. None of it seemed to matter though. She’s still upset, and rightfully so.

It was the only reason Giorno hadn’t bothered to call you down for dinner yet.

“She didn’t have lunch earlier,” said Fugo. “Shouldn’t we call her over?”

Giorno shook his head. “She ate sometime in the afternoon,” he said, shifting in his seat upon remembering who it was you were eating with. “Y/n also mentioned something about wanting to wash up.” Though, come to think of it, it had been a while since he last saw you. She’s been there for an hour now, he thought, glancing over his shoulder at the staircase. “Scusi,” he called to one of the maids, “is my wife joining us for dinner?”

She shook her head. “Last I saw her, she was scrubbing her arms raw with a body brush—”

“Probably just scrubbing off the skin that that other creep was touching,” Narancia said with a frown. “I’d be doing the same if I were her.”

The others were briefed on the entire situation as soon as you stepped foot into the house. Seeking privacy most of all, you lead every one of them into the study, relating to them the circumstances under which you had run into Mateo Barese, exactly as it had occurred, repeating what had been said regarding your uncle’s new friend, word for word. When you were finished with your narrative, you found Giorno’s bright, resolute eyes staring intently into yours, and found that his face expressed little more than vivid interest and astonishment. At that moment it was clear to you that Giorno was nowhere closer to solving any of this mystery than you were, and soon after that, you excused yourself and made way to the privacy of your suite. Sometime in the afternoon, Giorno caught Narancia looking up the staircase and speaking to the maids in hushed whispers, asking that they send a few bath salts for your use. The others also made their attempts to reconcile with you. Fugo, after having spent enough time with you the past few weeks, quickly took over your role as the household manager for the evening, and Mista had personally left a cart with strawberry cake and tea outside of your suite, which to his delight, had returned to the kitchen entirely empty. 

“Earlier you said that Giuseppe was tired?” asked Giorno. “Has he eaten yet?”

“No… he hasn’t,” said Mista, “but I don’t think he’ll be having dinner anytime soon. I mean—not this evening, anyway. Maybe try tomorrow!”

“Yeah, tomorrow!” Narancia added. “Wait until tomorrow.”

Giorno frowned. “And why should I wait? He needs to eat. He’s still growing.”

“I’m sure skipping a meal won’t hurt him,” said Fugo. “Narancia’s skipped thousands of meals when he was a kid, and look at him now. GioGio will be fine.”

Narancia was also malnourished, Giorno thought to himself. 

They hadn’t called him since before he went to the cathedral. How many hours had passed since he last got an update on Giuseppe? It must have been three or four hours. Either something happened in the nursery, or— “Is he sick?” he asked frantically. 

“No, far from it,” Mista waved his hand, mumbling something about Giuseppe running into Giorno’s desk and breaking it while you were both away.

Giorno rose immediately. “Why didn’t you tell me about this right away?” he asked, furious. “Is he hurt?”

Mista shrugged, and without thinking said, “He’s fine alright? Strong as an ox, just like you it seems. Anyway, I’m surprised you’re not worried about the desk, what with the drawer broken and the pictures flying around the room.”

Narancia shoved at him angrily and whispered, “Shut up! We said we’d show him the desk before mentioning the pictures inside.”

“If he’s not hurt, then—” Giorno cut himself off suddenly and froze with his eyes riveted on Narancia. “What did you just say?” he asked in a strangled voice.

The desk in his study was beautiful, not to mention expensive, but Giorno could care less about the piece of wood that had been sitting in his office for the past several years. It was a piece of furniture that could easily be replaced, but if Mista had spoken true, and the desk had in fact, been broken, then they might have seen them. 

“You looked at them,” Giorno said with a frown, “didn’t you? The pictures.”

“...They’re only pictures,” said Narancia. “Right?”

Several years ago, shortly after Giorno’s sixteenth birthday, Jotaro had paid him a visit, introduced himself, spoke of their shared family history, and eventually gifted Giorno with a packet of leftover pictures courtesy of the Speedwagon Foundation’s close monitoring of him. Most of them were pictures of his earlier schooldays, when his hair was still black and cropped short, but there were other pictures. Some were pictures of his mother on vacation in Cairo, others were pictures of him as a baby in Japan. One by one, he studied the photographs, marveling at the changes he’d undergone. After looking through them, Giorno returned the pictures to the envelope and threw it into the drawer of his desk, locking it away with the intention to dispose of them when he found the time.

“I’ve been meaning to dispose of them.”

Mista was confused. “Why—they’re... only pictures of your step-mom and step-brother, right? Or maybe your cousin! Definitely can’t be you, because your name isn’t Haruno.” He laughed and clapped Giorno’s back nervously.

“Yeah!” Narancia chittered anxiously. “Your name is Giorno! Fugo thought Haruno looked like you, but I guess we’re right!”

He could feel the anger rising inside him.

“...We haven’t met him, have we?” asked Mista. “Haruno… he looks familiar.”

“Well, either way they’re just normal pictures.” Narancia smirked at Fugo. “See! It’s fine, they’re just pictures. He won’t be angry at us for looking at them.”

“You ‘looked through them,’” repeated Giorno, staring at the tear in the envelope and distrusting the evidence of his own eyes. These were men he’d known for years, and in all those years, he’d kept his secrets hidden from them. It felt strange, for them to take such a sudden interest in his childhood. But, perhaps if he played along, they’d forget it altogether. Of course, when he catches Fugo staring at him, it’s too late.

“Seems like they’re important pictures,” said Fugo. “It’s the only reason why you kept them locked away. Am I right?”

Giorno felt a coldness pass through him. He pressed his lips into a thin line and said nothing.

“So they are important,” said Fugo. “I’m not a sentimental person myself, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like it if someone went through my things without asking first. We’re sorry for looking through them and letting curiosity get the better of us.” Still satisfied with his theory, he grinned. “That is a picture of you though, isn’t it?”

“Haruno Shiobana was my name,” Giorno admitted stiffly, “until I changed it nineteen years ago.”  

“Crap, I guess we were wrong Narancia,” Mista said, rubbing at his forehead. “Who would’ve thought…”

“I don’t get it…” Narancia said, confused. “How…? You look so different…”

He knew exactly where this conversation was headed, and for some reason, knowing its destination made it all the worse. The last thing he wanted to speak of was his childhood. Why was today so awful?

“See!” said Fugo, grinning at the other two. “I was right about it—Giorno is—”

“Whatever,” said Narancia. “Honest mistake. Giorno doesn’t even look the same anymore, what with his hair blond and grown out like that.”

“Well, I think we can piece the rest together on our own,” said Mista. He looked at Giorno then and noticed the color had drained from his face. “Are you… alright?”

“No,” Giorno whispered, getting angrier by the second.

Mista laughed nervously, hoping to ease the mood. “They’re just pictures—”

“Yes, pictures that I should have destroyed years ago,” Giorno blazed.

“But you should never bury stuff like that,” Narancia blurted out, desperately trying to comfort his friend.

“Why on earth would I want to remember any of that?” asked Giorno. 

They had their own theories as to why Giorno might keep it secret, and knew that there would be consequences if Giorno continued to ignore it. If Giuseppe mattered nearly as much to Giorno as they suspected, it was important that he find some healing.

“We’re worried, that’s all,” said Mista. “We’re your friends, and we think it isn’t safe for you to bury that stuff away.”

Giorno couldn’t care about anything they had to say at this point. “You all work for me; we’re not friends.”

“More’s the pity,” said Fugo. He put a hand on Giorno’s shoulder. “As for the pictures and acting like everything’s just fine? You’re going to hurt people, even if you don’t mean to.”

“I won’t,” said Giorno. “And I don’t need to think about my mother to improve myself.”

“You might think otherwise, if you realized you might take on your mother’s parenting skills without meaning to.” 

Giorno trembled. “I would never hurt Giuseppe,” he said carefully. “ Never!” he spat the words out like venom.

Suddenly he realized that the table had fallen silent, and they were all looking at him, even the butler who had come to pour Mista another glass of wine. He felt the tremors all throughout his body, was well aware that if he weren’t careful he might cry then and there. He pushed himself to his feet.

“I must be excused,” he said with the last of his dignity. Before any of them could break the silence, Giorno headed straight for the door. He could feel his hands shake as he reached for the handle, and in that moment someone had come to his side and laid a hand on his shoulder. Someone—one of them , Giorno suspects—was trying to steady him. Still upset, he wrenched free of their grip and immediately pulled the door open, and out he went into the hall.

Several of his staff members scattered away in all kinds of directions as soon as he left the dining room. And now everyone thinks I’ve gone mad, Giorno fumed, trodding through the halls, away from the others. For a while he walked around aimlessly, but somewhere along the way he decides to go to the nursery. If anyone would give him peace, it would be his son. 

He reaches the door to the nursery, and slowly slips through the door, exhaling softly when he was greeted by Giuseppe’s soft snores. Careful not to wake his son, Giorno makes small, soft steps into the room and gently swings the door to close.

It’s not until Giorno shuts the door behind him that he notices it—the unmistakable sound of sniffling. He spun on his heel then, surprised to learn that he’s not the only visitor to Giuseppe.

In that same moment, you look over your shoulder with wide eyes. Giorno pretends not to look when you rub at your eyes and rise from the edge of the daybed, still holding onto the rail of the crib. 

“What are you doing here?” The words tumbled out a little more venomous than he intended.

“I... “ You looked down at the floor. “I just didn’t want to be—”

Giorno held your gaze for a moment, his heart sinking to his stomach when you bowed your head and finally caved in. You sank down once more and began to cry, small choking sobs that made your entire body tremble. Giorno could only stand and watch. Like the rain beginning to pitter against the windows outside, it seemed like the tears would never end.

But it seemed Gold Experience knew what to do, because it crept close to you, silent as a shadow, and began to fiddle with the rings on your left finger, turning the yellow diamonds into small ladybugs.

You sucked in a breath, startled… and somehow, in less than a heartbeat, your face broke into a smile. Soon enough you began to laugh. Giorno chuckled with you, and the brief bashful glance you cast in his direction does not go unnoticed by him. Finally comfortable, he took his spot beside you and sat.

“What does it do?” you asked. “I never thought to ask.”

Unconsciously, you drew to his side, listening as he gives his explanation, and for a long moment you sat beside one another, shoulder to shoulder, Gold Experience still hovering over the ground. Giorno told you the story of when he first saw his stand, only a handful of months before he joined and infiltrated Passione. Looking back, it seemed like a thousand years ago.

Before long, he found himself speaking of everything—his childhood, his mother, and plenty of other things. Eventually he confesses that he’d lost contact with his mother years ago, and hadn’t considered looking for her again. Without even realizing, he mentions Dio Brando and Jonathan Joestar, along with his family's history, not failing to mention the remaining Joestars.

“Sometimes I have these strange dreams,” he said. “I’m walking down a long and empty hall. I can hear my own voice echoing off the walls when I shout, but no one answers, so I walk faster, opening doors, shouting names. I don’t even know who it is I’m looking for. Sometimes I’ll look for Mista, other times I’ll call for Narancia or Fugo, or my other friends.” That thought saddened him. Abbacchio and Bucciarati were long gone.

“Do you ever find anyone in your dreams?” you asked.

Giorno shook his head. “No one. The mansion is always empty.” He did explain to you, however, that it was not a coincidence. Although Giorno had never visited Cairo or seen the inside of Dio’s mansion himself, his mind managed to conjure up its own image of it. It came to Giorno as no surprise that he wouldn’t find his friends there, but it only meant that something terrible was waiting for him somewhere in that haunted building. He had never told anyone of that dream, and he did not understand why he was telling you now after all these years, yet somehow it felt good to talk of it. “There’s not a single soul inside or outside, and the halls are full of half-eaten corpses. That always makes me nervous. I start to run then, throwing the doors open, looking for someone, anyone. And then I find myself at the foot of the staircase. The mansion is always dark, but I can see the steps. Somehow I know that I have to go upstairs, but I don't want to. I’m afraid of what might be waiting for me.” 

There were a number of powerful stand users in Dio’s mansion, but it wasn’t them that Giorno feared. He knew that somewhere upstairs, someone was waiting for him. “I’ll yell into the dark, say that my place isn’t there and that I’m not a monster, but it’s no use. I have to go upstairs, so I start to climb up, feeling the railing as I walk, with no light to guide the way. It gets darker and darker until I feel like I can’t breathe anymore.” He stopped, frowning, embarrassed. “That’s when I always wake.” His skin cold and clammy, shivering in the darkness of his room. He’d stay awake for an hour at least, staring at the ceiling. When his eyes finally drifted shut, the sun was already beginning to stream through his window.

“You haven’t spoken to your family about this, have you? About your father—or, well... I suppose it would be fathers …” you corrected yourself.

“No, I haven’t,” Giorno replied, frowning. “I don’t think they like me very much. I suppose they’re worried I might turn out like my other father.”

“Hm.” He was surprised then, when you nudge him. “Well... here we sit,” you sighed. “Two terrible children of two terrible fathers.”

“Do you think I’m terrible?” Giorno asked, offended.

“...I’ve heard a few stories,” you began hesitantly.

“Why would you even consider marrying me, if I’m so terrible?”

“I figured you were the right kind of terrible.”

“Which is—”

“The kind that keeps the worst of them in line.”

Giorno didn’t need to take after Dio Brando or his stepfather, you explained, not if he didn’t want to. He was still his own person after all, free to choose his own fate.

Your husband, however, is too shocked to say much of anything. Did you really think so highly of him? 

“I spent a lot of time by myself today, and I’ve been thinking...” you began hesitantly. “I’ve been pretty nasty to you for the past day, haven’t I?”

Giorno shrugged at that. “I’d say that I deserved it.”

You laughed bitterly and shake your head. “I was being awful, just admit it.”

He sighed. “I’ll admit, even I was surprised at some of the things you said, but you haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Can you forgive me?”

“I don’t have to,” Giorno replied, quirking a brow. “Really, it’s—”

“Please,” you asked. “Or I might just get angry with you again.”

Giorno smiled at that. “Alright—I forgive you.” 

You sat for a moment there, watching as Giuseppe’s chest rose and fell. Even if you were beginning to patch things up amongst yourselves, there were still other perils waiting for you. You would need to address them now.

“What will you do?” you asked then. “Now that Patri’s gone… The others… They’ll probably—”

“‘What will we do,’” Giorno corrected in a low voice. He can feel a smile tugging at the corner of his lips when you snap your eyes towards him, your mouth hung open slightly. “Well, to start with, I promised your father that I would keep you safe. I intend to keep it.”

Your face darkened then. “No one is safe in this world.” Giorno felt his heart clench. The words had come out in such a tight, pinched voice, barely a whisper. 

You weren’t wrong. 

Not that uttering that fact made Giorno feel any better, of course.

Perhaps it was the fact that Don Vittorio constantly petted and fawned over you, or that a number of your relatives would call and ask after you, or that you often were given some attention from your closest relatives. The thought of it all gives Giorno the sudden urge to take your hand or express some kind of understanding. 

Your family was tactile in their affections towards you. 

Every single one of them, save for him.

Surely enough, it came from years and years of familiarity and habit, and that kind of familiarity didn’t spring up from thin air. It was made normal after hundreds of failed or awkward attempts. Surely there was a time when any kind of physical contact between you and Don Vittorio felt forced (or was forced). These things required work and time. But it’s been years now that you’ve known each other. Even now Giorno isn’t sure what is and isn’t appropriate at a time like this. It’s almost embarrassing.

He thought long and hard for a moment, and with a shaky breath, moved towards you. 

It’s still strange for Giorno to be holding anyone so close to him. Neither of you spent much time together, let alone held each other for the first two years you spent as husband and wife. But something as simple as hugging is all that he can think to do at a time like this, when words fail him and all sense of propriety escapes him. When his senses do return to him, he almost pulls away, realizing he hadn’t even thought to ask for permission to touch you. 

But in the end, even if you are uncomfortable, you say nothing of it, holding him closer to you and burrowing your face into his shoulder. He’s not sure how long you stay like this before pulling apart.

“I want us to be friends,” says Giorno. 

“Friends?” you repeated.

You wonder if he can hear the pounding in your chest when he takes your hands and smooths his thumbs over your knuckles. “I want us to be good friends,” he corrected himself. “Would you like that?” He hummed softly at the little surprised noise coming from the back of your throat. 

“I would,” you replied, a smile tugging at the corners of your lips. “That would make me very happy, actually.”

Over the years, your father’s encouragement to reach out to Giorno seemed helpless. Giorno was distant and you could never fool yourself into thinking that your relationship with Giorno would be anything more than a symbol of Passione’s alliance with Cosa Nostra . If he were alive to see this right now, you were sure he’d laugh as if to say ‘I told you so!’

But he’s not here, you sighed, shaking your head. Giorno squeezes your hand then, smiling sadly and knowingly. He understood. He cared. Somehow that made all the difference. At the very least, I have Don Giorno. That could be enough. It would have to be. You scooted closer and wrapped your arms around him again, exhaling softly when he returns your embrace and holds you. After taking a few deep breaths, you pull away, your hands still resting on his shoulders.

For a moment you stare at each other, finally coming to the realization that something had shifted, that a very significant change had taken place in your relationship. But your thoughts are immediately interrupted by a faint “achoo!” and the sound of it is so sudden that you both jump in your seats, only to stare back at each other and laugh for getting startled so easily.

“I wonder if he’s sick,” you said shyly. 

“The others seemed worried enough about his health,” said Giorno. “But I could’ve sworn the sneeze came from somewhere else…”

“Nevermind that,” you said, waving a hand. “And he hasn’t had dinner yet, has he? I should feed him.”

Giorno beamed at that. “Would you… mind if I had dinner with you two? I barely touched my food earlier.”

“I think that would be very nice, yes…” Your voice died down as you rose from the bed, and Giorno, worried, followed suit. 

As the bed creaked, relieved of the weight from its two occupants, something had caught your attention. Someone—one of the men from Giorno’s team, you suspected—was listening. It must have been Mista; the heavy footsteps echoing in the hallway couldn’t have belonged to Fugo, who snuck up on you more times than you could care to admit, or Narancia who was smaller and more graceful. Either way, if it was any one of those idiots, you were likely to get caught in the middle of another squabble. Both of you exchange a look. 

Noticing your discomfort, Giorno walks over the carpet and through the room, and peers out into the hallway.

“How much did you overhear, Mista?” 

“Giorno,” called Mista’s voice, ever so faint. “I was just walking by—”

You snorted at that and gazed up at your husband, who was studying Mista from the doorway. 

“You can come inside, if you want,” said Giorno.

“Where are the others?” you asked Mista as he followed Giorno into the nursery.

“They’re in the study,” he said, scratching at his cap with one hand and pointing to the baby monitor with the other. “The one in the office and nursery are connected and it was on, so we overheard some of it…”

“I’m the one who sneezed,” called Narancia’s voice from the monitor. 

“I figured as much,” said Giorno. 

In a few minutes, Fugo and Narancia made their (awkward) entrance, shyly muttering their hello’s to you and plopping down onto a nearby sofa. Mista joins them.

“Here’s the envelope,” Narancia said, shyly holding out the ragged packet.

Giorno didn’t so much as look at it. “Thank you.”

“Look,” said Narancia, “we’re sorry for snooping around… We were curious, and—”

“It’s fine,” Giorno said dismissively. It was clear to you now: Giorno was eager to move on and act as if nothing had happened. We can’t have that, you mused, watching him as he fiddled with the lip of the envelope.

“Can I see them?” you asked Giorno. Looking through the pictures yourself, you were able to identify a number of the faces, among them being Dio Brando and Giorno’s mother. Of course he would want to keep it secret; you were sure his claim to Cosa Nostra rested heavily on the belief that he was Italian, not only in spirit, but through blood. For him to be neither Siciliano or Napolitano… this might be a problem. The pictures would need to be kept somewhere safe. “If I were you, I’d count myself lucky that only these three looked through your things.”

“Of course,” Giorno said bitterly. “My most trusted comrades.”

“They’ve been at your side the longest,” you said, determined to settle this quarrel. “They’ve fought at your side and bled for you, haven’t they?”

“We have gone through the worst of it together,” Giorno admitted warily. He looked into your eyes and knew there was a trap there. He could feel it closing around him.

“Does that mean anything to you?”

Life as a gang member was not easy, but you had always heard that gang members considered themselves family. All of them claimed that their bond was not restricted to business. A number of them found their gangs to be places that they could call home.

“Of course it means everything to me,” Giorno said sharply, but the force had gone out of his anger. Suddenly he looked ashamed and guilty. “I never… I was only… The pictures...”

“It’s alright,” said Mista.

You watched as they made their peace, thinking that everyone in your family had spoken the truth after all; it was clear that Giorno cared for his biological family, but he had never truly been one of them. Dio Brando and the mess he’d made of their family history had seen to that, but it was no matter—Giorno had found a family in Passione.  

“I don’t think any of us have actually opened up to each other,” said Narancia. 

“Well, not that any of it’s interesting,” said Mista. “I’m sure none of it’s any different than what you’ve heard from your family, Y/n.”

“‘Nothing interesting?’” you asked, curious. “I doubt that.”

It took some coaxing, but eventually you convince them that the nursery was a safe place for secrets.

“Mista got thrown into jail for being a Good Samaritan,” said Fugo.

“Fugo’s had it pretty rough,” said Narancia. “Pretty shitty parents, right?”

Mista snorted at that. “I think the both of you had pretty shitty parents.”

“Has anyone in this room had a decent life?” asked Fugo.

“We’re all here, aren’t we?” you asked, tired. “That should tell you everything you need to know.”

Mista laughed. “She’s got you there, Fugo.”

Slowly, one by one, they share their stories. Fugo is reluctant to go into details, Narancia spends an awful amount of time describing his daily meals at the juvenile hall, and Mista shares his favorite pastime of watching movies and reading books.

Eventually they share a few stories of their old friends—Abbacchio and Bucciarati—and Fugo surrenders a photograph from long ago. You’d heard their names enough times after eavesdropping and hearing gossip in the kitchens for the past few years; it was nice, you thought, to finally see what they looked like. After studying their faces for a few minutes, you ask if they would like the picture to be framed and set somewhere in the study, and to your delight they all agree, even Giorno, who quietly stood to the side.  

Mista scratched at the back of his head awkwardly. “So… None of us have ever thanked you, have we? For the stuff you do around the house, snapping at the maids and butlers...” He gave a frustrated little groan when you laugh. “What, did I say something funny?”

You shook your head and sobered up rather quickly at that. “No, I’m not laughing at you. It’s only that…” you began to explain nervously, “it’s strange, to hear someone thank me for something like that.”
Narancia made a face. “Really? No one’s ever noticed that you keep the house from falling apart?” he asked. “You’re telling me no one’s even thanked you for making sure the house is ready for us to relax in after a long day, or well… just making sure Giorno’s money is being put to good use around here?”

You were used to it at this point, really; things were not so different in Palermo, where you lived on your father’s compound. “It’s always been expected of me,” you reminded them, “so no one’s ever thanked me.”

“What kind of jerk doesn’t thank you for all of the work you do?” asked Mista. “Well, we appreciate everything you’re doing around here, whether it’s snapping at Giorno’s lazy butlers or helping with our work.”

“It really isn’t any trouble,” you replied. “It’s not like I need to be thanked for—”


Giuseppe had been the one to interrupt you, standing in his crib on a pair of wobbly legs. It was hard not to smile at his excited and proud little face, but who taught him that word?  

Giorno’s mouth twitched when Giuseppe pointed at Mista and repeated, “Cazzo.”

“Giuseppe,” you said, staring at him in horror. “Mista’s name is not—”

“Where did he learn that, I wonder?” Giorno glared at the trio sitting on the nearby sofa.

Mista was the first to cave in. “He was going to learn it eventually!” he said, holding his hands up in surrender. 

“I warned them,” Fugo said, coming to his own defense immediately.

“Shut up!” cried Mista. “ You’re the one who taught him the other word.”

Which is…? “Please don’t say it,” you said quietly. Giorno looked furious.

“Mehw-da.” Giuseppe clapped. “Cazzo!”

“It’s merda, actually,” Fugo sighed. “His pronunciation of cazzo, however, is impeccable.”

“As if that makes any of this better,” you hissed. “What have you all done? My sweet Giuseppe, already tainted…” you lifted Giuseppe and held him in your arms, trying your best to hush him. “I was hoping I could have a few more years of peace before he started learning these things from you!”

“That’s not even the worst thing they did today,” sighed Narancia. He stopped suddenly, smiling sheepishly when he saw Mista and Fugo’s angry glowers and realized what he’d just said. His face flushed a dark red. 

“Tell me,” said Giorno. “What else have you done today?”

Apart from letting Giuseppe break a few pieces of furniture and teaching him a handful of profanities, the three of them had let him run loose around the house naked, unwittingly fed him astice (a severe allergy you had learned of several months before) and had him sent to the hospital. 

“He also peed on Mista during their nap,” said Narancia.

“Why does everyone need to know about that part?! Can’t you—”

With Giuseppe in your arms, you and Giorno left them there arguing and made way into the kitchens. 

Shortly after you settle on proper punishment (all three were refused extra pay for their abysmal babysitting services), you went downstairs and helped yourself to whatever leftovers there were from dinner, and after administering the medication Narancia received from Giuseppe’s pediatrician during their hospital visit earlier, you surrender your son to Giorno and go to your room.

Later on in the evening, hunger pangs tear you away from the confines of your bed, leading you to the kitchens downstairs. By this time, the staff had gone to bed, and save for the members of Giorno’s guard posted throughout the house, the entire estate was still.

With the staff already asleep and the kitchen closed for the evening, you’re left with nothing else to nibble on but a few grapes and a shard of Ragusano. There was a flagon of cold water lying on the counter, but with the night came a chill, and tea would best serve you in the cold. Once the tea was ready, you sat at the dining room table, cradling the cup in your hand and watching as the steam lifted away. 

When a sudden ‘ahem ,’ echoes in the dining room, you jump in your seat, knocking over your cup and slopping the entirety of its contents over the front of your gown and robe. Whoever it was had muttered a curse under their breath and padded away into the kitchen. You stared down at your nightclothes, frowning. Giorno had been the one to gift it to you. Just a few seconds ago it was a smooth piece of silk, dyed in a pretty shade of lavender; the only thing you could admire about it now was the water stain setting into the fabric. Whoever ruined it would certainly be replacing it, you thought impatiently.

“I didn’t mean to startle you—”

You froze, staring up into a familiar pair of blue eyes. “Don Giorno?”

Giorno stood beside you, though he was not alone; Giuseppe was there too, clinging to his father’s shoulder. “Are you alright?” he asked, offering you a small towel. “I’m sorry if you got burnt.”

“I’m fine,” you shrugged, mopping at the stain. “But the tea’s ruined the silk you bought for me.”

Lights flashed in from the windows, and after that Giuseppe began to whimper. Giorno hushed him and rocked him. Of course he’d be awake , you thought. There was a thunderstorm outside. 

“Are you afraid of thunder, Don Giorno?” you teased lightly.

He chuckled a little, suddenly awake. “Me? Not so much… But, Giuseppe…”

“May I be of assistance?” You asked, craning your neck and peering at the staircase over your husband’s shoulder. Giorno looked relieved.


The journey to his room goes by much faster than you expect, though Giorno is convinced it’s because Giuseppe relaxes when surrounded by his mother and father (“Such a spoiled little thing, don’t you think?”). Ever the perfect gentleman, Giorno pulls the door to his suite open for you when you reach the doors.

“After you,” Giorno said, stepping to the side with a tired smile.

The entirety of it was neater now, though you note that it still smelled of lavender and blood oranges. You smiled as the scent reached your nose, closing your eyes in content while Giorno shut the door behind you. As Giorno walks to his room, you tread close behind, taking note of the changes in his suite and his bedroom.

There was a wooden crib beside his bed now, smooth and unstained. And very expensive, you added silently. Whoever crafted it had gone through the trouble of decorating the top ledge with delicate carvings, leaving behind the product of countless hours' worth of work. You allowed yourself a moment to fully appreciate the appearance of it, smiling at Giorno and giving your approval, to which he returned a bright smile. Tracing a hand over the crib, you sighed, admiring the intricate vines and lilies etched into the wood. When Giorno lowers Giuseppe into the crib, you smile and coo at Giuseppe, who immediately stood on his own legs to hold your finger, babbling away and reaching for you. 

But when the lights outside flash once again, Giuseppe sinks to the bottom and starts to whimper. 

“It’s alright, tesoro,” said Giorno, rushing over to the side of the crib. Before he can reach over and pick Giuseppe up again, you grab his wrist and shake your head. Giorno is confused.

“Surely you can do something better than coddle him?” you asked. 

“And what would that be?” asked Giorno. “Should I tell him a joke?”

There’s an idea. “Well, I’m sure he’ll forget all about the thunder outside if something else captures his attention. Any ideas?”

Giorno grinned at that. “As a matter of fact—”

He leaned over the edge of the crib towards Giuseppe. For a moment, you wonder if he might use his stand, but to your surprise, he began to fold the entirety of his right ear onto itself, tucking it away until it vanished inside his head. Slowly, Giuseppe's whimpers died down and his bright, bubbly laughter took its place. You watched them both—Giuseppe, reaching for his father’s ear, and Giorno, smiling as a pair of small, chubby hands groped about his face—and begin to think that perhaps joy has not been lost to you after all.  

“That’s a very good trick,” you said, tugging on Giorno’s earlobe with a smile.

“Do you think so?” he asked, smirking. “I’m not so sure if he likes it… Maybe I should give it another go?”

“Please do.”

Of course, before Giorno can demonstrate his trick a second time, a knock came at the door.

Giorno frowned. “Who is it?”

“It’s me,” announced Mista, walking through the doors to Giorno’s room with little care. “Hope I’m not interrupting anything?”

“You really ought to knock before coming into my room,” said Giorno.

“Why would I do that?” asked Mista. “I’ve already seen what your ass looks like, if you're worried about modesty.” He took notice of the flustered expression on your face and laughed. “Ah, don’t worry, I kept blessed Giorno’s virtue intact. I walked in on him once and no touching was involved whatsoever—”

“What do you want, Mista?” asked Giorno.

Someone had come to visit Giorno in the dead of the night, under a disguise. Mista had been the one to catch him, and after carrying out a thorough interrogation, was promptly informed that Giorno himself had asked the intruder to visit. Only after the supposed "visitor" agreed to be restrained did Mista promise him an audience with the Don.

“Did you get his name?”

“Uh, no, I didn’t actually,” Mista snickered. “Sorry about that, Giorno.”

Giorno rose quickly from his seat and glared at Mista. “And you let him inside? Mista—”

“Listen, he said that you told him to come here—”

When did he ever tell anyone to visit him at this hour? And without a warning beforehand? If it were an enemy, surely you would’ve been attacked by now, so it was likely someone of little threat. Even so… who would bother to come at a time like this? At that moment, you and Giorno exchanged a glance with one another, only breaking eye contact when Mista coughed and broke your train of thought. 

“Tell him I’ll see him tomorrow. I’m busy right now,” said your husband.

“Don Giorno,” you said sternly.

Giorno stared at you dumbly. “Are you going to tell me that—”

“It seems urgent.”

“It is,” confirmed Mista. Giorno glared at him. “Sorry.”

“Fine. I’ll need a few minutes to make myself decent,” Giorno sighed finally, shrugging off his robe and padding into the closet. “Will you wait for me here?” he asked you, poking his head out of the doorway.

“I will,” you returned with a nod. You frown a bit when he disappears into the closet once again and play with Giuseppe’s hair.

Mista waited until Giorno was well out of sight to make his observations known to you. It had been a long day for you, however, and you were not in the best of moods to hear any of Mista’s clever japes. It took a great amount of self control to still your face.

Finally, as if he’d given up on waiting for you to deliver your own quip, Mista spoke. “Fancy seeing you here, at this hour. And I notice you’re wearing one of his nightshirts.”

“Choose your next words very wisely,” you warned him. “I enjoy your company Mista, but be careful.”

He waved his hands in defense. “I just think it’s nice that you’re getting along so well. Sharing secrets is one thing, but private time at ungodly hours? I think—” 

“Don Giorno frightened me by accident,” you explained. “I spilled tea all over myself and he offered a change of clothes.”

Mista folded his arms over his chest and nodded in jest. “Oh yes, of course. An accident .”

“It was,” you insisted, pursing your lips. “Don Giorno wouldn’t do it on purpose.”

“Of course not!” He smiled. “...And I suppose his eyes weren’t lingering when your clothes started sticking to—”

“What are you doing?” Giorno asked as he emerged from the closet, walking in just as Mista began to wiggle his eyebrows. “Fooling around on the job, I see.”

“With you around? I wouldn’t dream of it,” snorted Mista. “Shall we?”

“Wait outside; I’ll be there soon enough,” Giorno ordered. Once Mista left the room, he offered you a shy smile and said, “You can sleep here if you’d like.”

You fiddled with Giuseppe’s hair, smiling down as your son babbles and plays with the ends of your hair. “I don’t think that will be necessary.” 

“Where will you sleep then, if not here?”

“I have my own rooms just on the other side of the house,” you replied, smirking. “The walls are a lovely shade of blue, too. You might recall them, you’ve been to them yourself a few times, after all.” When you were finished, you realize that perhaps Mista was right, and Giorno did want something from you. “Or…” You blinked up at him, face impassive as you ask, “Do you… wish to take your rights tonight, Don Giorno?”

The question caught him off guard. “No, no… I only meant—if you’re tired, you can sleep here, in this room... tonight.” 

“That’s... very thoughtful of you,” you said politely. “But I can walk just fine. I’ll wait for you to return before I go to my own bed.”

“Surely you’ll sleep better here?” Giorno was insistent. “The bed is comfortable, if that’s of any concern.”

You wondered then, if he knew about the nightmares you were suffering from the night before. Of course, even if they were troubling your sleep, it was no responsibility of Giorno’s to look after you like a small child. And that besides, your pride wouldn’t allow it. What kind of grown woman sought comfort from another adult?

On the other hand… Giorno was a very welcome presence. You did feel safe with him, oddly enough. Sleeping in his room would be a welcome change, but it felt too sudden, and certainly too intimate.

“Y/n,” said Giorno.

You lifted your head to look at him then, blinking your thoughts away. “Yes?”

“Where would you feel most comfortable?” asked Giorno. 

You were terrified of returning to your room, that was no secret. Still—the last thing you wanted to do was to trouble Giorno all over again. It had been a long day for him. Surely he’s seen enough of me by now.

“I can sleep in your parlor and bring the crib to your room; we would all be in the same suite should something terrible happen in the night. Or maybe you’d feel safer if Narancia slept in the suite beside yours? Or Fugo. Fugo has a very strong stand. He would gladly watch over you. Any of them would, really.”

“No,” you blurted out, tired. “That would be unnecessary. I slept just fine the night before,” you said at once. “I won’t need any bodyguards tonight.”

“Truly?” He did not sound convinced. “I can assure you, it won’t be any trouble on my part.”

“Yes,” you snorted. “I think I can manage, as I’ve said several times now.”

“I ought to know better than to argue with you at this point,” he said with a rueful smile. “Permit me at least to escort you back to your own room once I’m finished with my business.”

It was Ciabatta.

A good thing she stayed upstairs, thought Giorno. The last thing you’d want to see at the end of the day was Ciabatta’s thin and pasty face. 

“Allow me to introduce you all to your new colleague,” said Giorno. “Samuele Ciabatt—”

“So you’re the one who touched Y/n,” Narancia growled. “We should break your face right now. Your entire body, actually.”

To Giorno’s surprise, Ciabatta didn’t so much as flinch. “The Signora herself has taken the honor for herself, though she was gracious enough to leave my face as it is.”

“Why did you come?” asked Giorno.

“I was told to come notify you of any suspicious activity,” Ciabatta said solemnly. “I have some news.”

Ciabatta’s business was urgent. There were some new developments in Barese’s plan, of which Ciabatta had overheard. It seemed that your uncle left the country on “urgent business,” and was unlikely to return before the funeral. Giorno did not like that one bit.
“And where would he go?”

Ciabatta shook his head. “I-I don’t know. I only heard a fraction of their conversation and decided to come as soon as I could.”

The others did not trust a word coming from his mouth, and it was all within reason. Ciabatta had only just sworn himself to Giorno’s cause. “Would you lie to me, Signore?” When Ciabatta only looks at him, confused, Giorno asks once more. “Are you lying to me right now?”

“No,” he replied all too quickly. 

“That’s a lie right there,” Fugo said, sitting to Giorno’s side.

“It’s not a lie! Why would I lie?”

“Let’s see... Fugo!” Mista hummed. “Do you think Don Elio is more likely , or less likely to skin Ciabatta alive when we tell him what happened during his fail of a kidnapping? I’m thinking it’s highly likely.”

Fugo considered that for a moment and nodded with a grin. “We can start a bet.”

“Or maybe,” said Narancia, “maybe he’ll be forgiving, considering he has his own disgusting urges.”

“Don Elio was given very thorough instructions—”

“Surely there’s only one way to find out, Mista,” said Fugo, taking out his phone and readying himself to dial the number.

“Barese has already left the city!” Ciabatta said frantically. “He’s confident that Don Elio will succeed in his task. He left and told Don Elio that he can claim his prize whenever he likes, that it will be his for the taking.” It certainly didn’t help that Ciabatta had followed Giorno’s instructions and convinced Don Elio that whisking you away would be an easy task.

Prize? Is that what he takes her for? “When did you hear of this?” he asked, frowning.

“Just after I left you, I went back to our base. He was speaking with Signore Barese on the phone and the door to his office was open. I heard that much of their conversation, I swear it.”

“Swear it, you said?” asked Giorno. “Swear to me on what?”

“On my life—on Don Elio’s life!”

Giorno shrugged. “Why—I don’t care for either of your lives.”

Giorno’s informant bowed his head in defeat. “In the name of all that is holy—in God’s righteous name, I Samuele Ciabatta, do solemnly vow that—”

“Christ, even torturing him is boring,” groaned Mista.

Giorno gazed down at Ciabatta from where he stood. And I left my wife and son’s company for this? “Well then,” he said, walking towards his desk and seating himself, “surely you know why Don Elio has taken an interest in Y/n?”

Ciabatta stared at him, confused. “That should be very obvious. She’s married to you, isn’t she?”

According to Ciabatta, Don Elio considered Giorno as nothing more than an ambitious upstart who stole away his fidanzata. What other reason could there be? he asked. Still, something was not right. Don Elio was to stay in prison for five years before he was eligible for parole.

“Guess we’ll have to do some snooping around,” said Narancia. 

Eventually Ciabatta is dismissed and sent away, with orders to return should he uncover some other secrets. The others retired to their rooms in the far corners of the house, bidding each other goodnight. Giorno and Mista walked to their rooms in the eastern wing of the house, considering what action they ought to take.

“Seems I might have to take care of Don Elio myself,” Giorno said to Mista. What an awful week this has been. He sighed. “Going to bed soon?”

“Yeah, I think I’m going to turn in for the night,” said Mista. Giorno wondered why Mista looked so pleased with himself. “I’m guessing it’s going to be a long night for you? How long do you plan on staying up?”

“Why would I stay awake? I need to rest.”

“I heard about the tea-spilling situation,” Mista said, as he walked beside Giorno to the suite. 

“And what of it?” asked Giorno.

“An accident? Really? I can’t believe you tricked her into thinking that.”

“It was an accident.”

“Well, I hope you two have a lovely evening together,” Mista called as he shut himself away into the suite beside Giorno’s. “Just keep it down. Don’t want to wake the baby or anything—”

“I don’t pay you to put these kind of notions into my head.”

“No, you don’t,” called Mista, “but I’m sure those ideas have been swimming around that head of yours, even without my help!”

Please , Giorno thought, shutting the door to his suite behind him. I have more dignity than that . He padded quietly on the carpet of the parlor, careful not to wake Giuseppe after all the hard work you had done to put him to sleep. So gentle and so attentive… your care would be more than enough even for the most pampered prince, Giorno thought fondly. He really ought to thank you more. Gazing upon the object of his musings, now fast asleep and curled up in an armchair beside the crib, he sighed. 

Giorno frowned and checked the time. It was much later than he’d thought. Hardly a wonder why you had fallen asleep where you sat. 

“Signora,” he teased. “I don’t think an armchair will serve half as well as a bed.”

To his surprise, you didn’t stir, not even at his obvious taunt. Definitely fast asleep , he thought, staring down at you in wonder. 

“Y/n,” he said, gently shaking your shoulder. “I promised to escort you to your rooms when I came back, didn’t I? It’s time we went off to bed.”

You murmured something unintelligible in your sleep, turning away and tightening into a smaller ball, refusing to wake up. Giorno blinked tiredly at the door and considered his options. If he were to leave you there, you’d wake up feeling dreadful, and that simply wouldn’t do. He also knew of your nightmares, thanks to the maids’ gossip in the kitchens. Waking you now, when you had finally gotten sleep, was unacceptable. You needed as much rest as you could get. 

Giorno peeked over his shoulder at the door. If Mista were shut away in the other room, he could pass by undetected.

Bleed that, thought Giorno, huffing and following through with his final option. Think whatever you like, Mista—if you happen to see us.

Careful not to make any sounds, he slid an arm around your shoulders and snuck the other under your legs, lifting you from the chair and smiling to himself as he held you to his chest. Giorno is thankful that you’re not awake then. But before he can move, you bury your face into his neck and mumble. After finally finding the right spot to rest your head on his shoulder, you sigh softly and Giorno can’t help but wonder if this is inappropriate. What would the others say if they saw this? They’d been teasing him enough the past few days, surely this would only provide them with more ammunition.

He shook his head then, and took another step. What did their opinions matter? Even if it were inappropriate, it wasn’t the first time he’d held you like this. If any of the others saw him, he could make that excuse. 

Just as he took a step further, he froze, unable to ignore the soft pair of lips brushing against the column of his neck. 

He pauses, not even daring to breathe when you sigh into the side of his neck and mutter something contentedly in your sleep. Everything is still for a moment, and when Giorno remembers to breathe again, he makes his way towards the door, with every intention of returning you to your bed. Just as he begins to fiddle with the door handle, you begin to snore softly. The breaths hitting the sharp curve of Giorno’s jaw are warm and even. His eyes widen in surprise, and suddenly Giorno recognizes the unmistakable sensation of lips tickling his skin. He blinked then. Was he… enjoying this?

Giorno swallowed thickly and glanced at the door handle. Today’s victory had made him bold. You were closer now, and even considered each other good friends. As a friend, Giorno thought it would be best to offer his own bed to you. He straightened himself, headed towards the bed as quickly as he dared and lowered you onto the mattress, smiling to himself as he adjusted the covers and neatly tucked you in. Without thinking, he leaned forward, brushing the hair away from your face.

“Bona notti,” he whispered.

After making one last adjustment to the bed, he slipped out of the bedroom and made his way towards the couch in his parlor. For several hours, Giorno laid down under a blanket on the couch, staring at the ceiling, feeling uneasy for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on. 

Giorno woke with a stiff neck the next morning, groaning and stretching as the sunlight poured into the room. Blinking up at the ceiling, he recalled the events that had occurred the night before and felt his cheeks grow hot. With a quick glance at a nearby clock, he confirms his suspicions. He had barely gotten any sleep the night before, but the growling in his stomach had forced his eyes to flutter open, encouraging him to rise from his resting spot.

When he checks the bedroom, he finds the bed perfectly made, and neither you or Giuseppe are anywhere to be found. Hoping to catch you in the breakfast room, he readies himself for the day as quickly as he can, shuffling down the stairs and straightening his appearance in the mirror before greeting you. Just before Giorno enters, the butler kindly informs him of the unsightly knots hanging from his head. With one final glance at the mirror, he slips into the room as casually as he can manage, hoping to carry himself with a bit of dignity in spite of his obvious exhaustion.

“Buongiorno,” he mumbled tiredly, nuzzling the top of Giuseppe’s head.

“Buongiorno,” you replied brightly, setting down a tiny cup of cioccolata in front of Giuseppe and reaching into a basket of bread. “Cornetto?” you offered, already fiddling with a jar of orange marmalade.

“You know me so well,” he replied fervently, seating himself beside Giuseppe. You tucked some hair behind your ear, somewhat taken aback by the honest appreciation in his voice.

“Could you get the espresso from the maids?” you asked, setting another cornetto in front of Giuseppe. “There’s two cups waiting for us in the kitchen.”

"As you command, Signora," Giorno returned, quietly making his way to the kitchens.

It had been nearly three years since you first started living together, but it was only in the past several months that you perfected your morning routine. Giorno returned in record time, two cups of scalding hot espresso in hand, passing yours without a word and watching Giuseppe as he tore into a pastry with his tiny fingers. Meanwhile, you were beginning to spread some of the preserves onto Giorno’s own pastry, sliding it across the table and quietly thanking the maids as they set a bowl of fruit onto the table. After you settled into your seat, Giorno bit into his breakfast with a smile. 

“I didn’t get to thank you,” you said, lowering your gaze and playing with the rim of your espresso mug when he quirked a brow at you. “For letting me rest in your bed,” you explained.

“Oh,” said Giorno. “It’s nothing, really. Did you sleep well?”

“I did.”

“I’m pleased to hear that,” said Giorno. 

“Did you sense any movement from upstairs?” you asked, nodding your head towards the staircase. Giorno shook his head.

“Not yet. Seems like we might have a peaceful morning.”

The rest of the meal goes by pleasantly, each of you greeting Narancia, Fugo, and Mista as they file into the room. When you’re finished with breakfast, you rise and make way for the kitchen, looking back over your shoulder. “Did any of you want refreshments for your meeting? I can send for a pot of tea, or cold water…”

“Aren’t you coming?” Narancia asked groggily.

You smiled shyly and shook your head. “Oh, I don’t think I’ll be needed.”

“And why not?” asked Mista. “You were speaking up just fine at the one before the gala.”

That meeting was only among you four, you thought to yourself. Today’s meeting saw the attendance of Giorno’s remaining capo’s—men who were not likely to appreciate your vocalizations. “I don’t think my presence will be welcome. Now that my father’s gone, I don’t see who else I can relay Giorno’s orders and plans to…”

“You’re needed all the same,” said Mista. “And c’mon, it’s not like they’re going to complain—all of them like you!”

“They like the Signora,” you said sadly. The perfect, quiet Signora, who sits at the table and smiles and nods at everything her husband says, you thought, tired. “I don’t know if they’ll appreciate the informalities I take up with any of you.”  

Giorno had somehow managed to convince you to join them in their meeting, insisting that your presence was just as welcome as Narancia and Fugo, who, unlike Mista, were not higher ranking officers but simply leftover members of Bucciarati’s old team. Not even five minutes had passed before you realized that coming had been a mistake.

Giorno was very curious about Don Elio’s recent release, and ordered some of the capo’s to interrogate their contacts imprisoned in Poggioreale. Some of the men seemed a bit confused at this order, had even warned Giorno against it; looking into Don Elio’s personal business could be interpreted as an act of aggression. 

“We can’t start a war in this city,” said one of them. “There’s other things that require our immediate attention, like your right to take over Cosa Nostra.”

Another one agreed. “We should secure your position as the Don of both gangs before we even look into Don Elio.”

“What do you think?” Giorno asked ignoring them and turning to you.

“Me?” you asked. You could feel everyone staring at you.

“Why should her opinion matter?” asked one of the countless faces present. 

“The Signora and Don Elio were once engaged to each other,” Fugo reminded the others. “I’m sure she knows a few things about him.”

“Yes, their engagement is common knowledge. It lasted for only a week.”

Giorno scanned every face at the table. “Then you’ll understand why I’d like to hear her opinion.”

Most of them didn’t like the sound of that.

“Surely you could discuss this later on, in private?”

“I don’t see why she should continue to attend these meetings, either.”

These responses did not please Giorno. “Her attendance was part of my agreement with Cosa Nostra. My wife is to act as a liaison between—“

“You and her father, who is now dead,” replied one of his men. “My condolences, of course, Signora.”

Tactless though his sympathies were, you responded with a dignified nod. “You are most kind, Signore.” The last thing Giorno expects is for you to rise from your seat and take leave. “Will you be needing anything from the kitchens?” 

“No, the water is just fine, Signora,” one of the men said dismissively. 

As soon as you left the room, the others had redirected their attention to Giorno’s succession, but not before reminding Giorno of his position in the marriage. Women, the others had explained, were smart, yes, and pretty too, but their opinions were scarcely useful to gang business. What would Giorno gain from listening to his wife? On and on, they prattled about Giorno’s need to assert his authority, to explain to the Signora that she simply needn’t do any more than manage the house and help to keep peace between her family and Giorno. All throughout their supplications, Giorno and the others exchanged subtle looks of bewilderment, though they made sure to mask their disapproval; Narancia, however, was beginning to fail miserably.

Giorno kept his face still, even when Sergio began to chuckle. “Well, at least she’s made herself useful and offered to fetch us some refreshments—” he was promptly cut off when Narancia lunged at him over the table.

“Shut up!” he snapped, shaking Sergio by the shoulders angrily. “I should’ve done this a long time ago! Merdaiuolo—”

“You’re talking to a capo—

Narancia punched him. “Yes, and now I’ve punched a capo,” he snarled back, waving his hand in the air. “Did my hand fall from my wrist?!”

Sergio pushed Narancia away and pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket, holding it to his bloody nose. “Why, you—”

“That’s enough,” Giorno called. “If you could both find your seats, I’d like to continue.”

Both Narancia and Sergio slipped into their seats in the deafening silence. Everyone was taken aback by Giorno’s sudden silent fury, and the room had fallen still. 

“Listen very carefully, all of you,” Giorno said into the quiet, and then he proceeded, telling them all how they were to continue operating, and that you would continue to attend all meetings at Giorno’s side. Mista and Narancia backed him up, just as Giorno expected, but he was pleasantly surprised when Fugo joined their enthusiastic petitions. Sergio was hesitant, but Giorno knew exactly what to say in order to move him. One by one, the rest fell in line. Giorno persuaded a couple of them, cajoled others, made subtle threats when threats were required. 

At the end, they all agreed to welcome your own presence and opinions into future discussions. All of them agreed, save for an older and wealthier capo. 

“You children can do as you please,” said Signore Buonocore. “But I won’t be heeding advice from a woman.” He gave Giorno one last daring glance before leaving them all there.

It would have been too much work to simply off him; his men were loyal to him and he did his job well. Giorno didn’t see a need to replace someone like Buonocore, not when he was a useful person to keep around, so he and the others would have to think up some other means to convince him.

So, a few hours later, long after the other capos expressed their apologies to you and gave their leave, Giorno and the other three paid Signore Buonocore a call—in the middle of his appointment at a massage parlor. Narancia held his arms while Fugo sat on his legs. Giorno could hear Buonocore’s rapid breathing when Mista jammed a pistol against his temple, hard enough to leave a bruise. 

“I must admit, your confidence is worthy of admiration. But I’m sure you can understand that I won’t allow any insubordinate behavior. It’d be unbecoming for someone like me.”

“Are you going to kill me then?” asked Buonocore. “Ha! I imagine my men won’t be very happy about that.”

“Quite the contrary,” countered Giorno. “You’ve done your job well and I imagine you’ll continue to do the same thing. It’d be a waste to kill you, and I’m sure my wife wouldn’t want me to punish you on her behalf.”

“If you’re not going to kill me, and your wife didn’t send for you to punish me, then—”

“Once your appointment is over, you’ll pay me a visit at my home and give my wife proper respect.”

“And if I don’t? You can’t expect me to share the same space with a—”

“See, this is where you’re wrong, Signore,” interrupted Mista, “because that’s exactly what we’re expecting of you.” He might have slammed Buonocore’s face into the wall if Giorno hadn’t laid a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s alright, Mista.” And in that moment, Giorno bent over and looked Buonocore straight in the eye. This man was the only capo left from Diavolo’s reign—the majority had perished since Giorno rose to power. He’s useful, that is true, but not indispensable. Still, with all the other problems he had as of late, the last thing Giorno wanted was to waste time finding another capo to fill in that role. Giorno would simply have to persuade him, and that itself wasn’t a difficult task; he understood the weight of his words, the effect he had on even the most stubborn of men. “I have every confidence that Signore Buonocore will make the right choice.”

Giorno was pleased to see that very same capo in one of the sitting rooms that same morning, apologizing to you and brushing off your courtesies in regard to his bruise.
“That looks very… fresh ,” you observed politely. “Are you alright? I could dress it with a bandage...”

“Ah, Signora, it’s, er… you see, one of the masseuses dropped one of those hot rocks—”

“Against your temple?” Giorno asked, looking at Buonocore amusedly. “Perhaps I ought to speak with the owner of that establishment—make sure they’re not harming their customers.”

His face went red. “That will not be necessary, Don Giorno.” And off he went.

Being as wary and attentive as you are, Giorno is not surprised that you invite them all to afternoon tea in thanks. You kept silent about these things, but you weren’t ignorant to them.

“Inviting us to tea now?” asked Mista with a grin. He laughed when you neglect to respond, sighing as you passed him a cup of tea. “Wonder if this is a good sign...”

“Obviously it’s a good sign,” Narancia hummed, helping himself to a lemon and pistachio scone. “Tea is an ‘invitation only’ thing in this house,” he added, winking at Giorno.

“I don’t know what you all did,” you said, “but I know you did something.” You looked into your cup of tea. “No one has ever spoken up for me before. Not like that.”

“It’s what any friend would do,” Fugo said, hiding behind the safety of his tea cup. Realization only dawned on him as he took a burning sip of tea and he makes the mistake of trying to correct himself, hissing when hot water spills down his chin. There was a brief moment of hesitation, but you think better of it and gingerly pat a napkin to his chin, smiling as Fugo muttered a word of thanks.

“Friend?” you asked quietly. “Did I hear that correctly?”

The other two smiled sheepishly at this. Only Fugo has the grace to blush. “Well… We know you’re very close to Giorno, but we’d like to be your friends too. And if you don’t want that, then we’ll still watch over you and protect you, regardless of what you think of us.”

“I haven’t had many friends before,” you finally managed. 

“Well, you have three new ones,” said Narancia.

“I seem to have some new china too,” you murmured, lifting the teacup and inspecting it in the light. Even with your gaze directed elsewhere, you could feel Giorno’s eyes on you, but you did your best to ignore the attention. 

“I bought it yesterday,” said Giorno, crossing over the length of the terrace to press his lips against your hairline. He always did that after presenting a gift to you, no matter the occasion, but today the ceremony felt queerly different. For the first time, you felt very self-conscious, staring at Giorno and acting as if the heat creeping up your neck is a figment of your imagination. “Do you like it?”

“Hm? Oh, yes it’s very lovely.” What else could you think of but the pair of lips that grazed your forehead? Kind, sweet Giorno’s lips—“Grazie.”

Your husband frowned slightly. “I only wish I could find an exact replica.”

Giorno had gone through the trouble of finding a set that resembled your old china, but this, in all its simplicity, was just as beautiful as the blue set from your father. It was a delicate piece of ivory colored bone china, with pale green vines dancing along the golden rim. Very pretty . Best of all, it was yours; the set gifted to you by your father had once belonged to his wife, and as special as it had been to him, you were happy to own your own set now. 

“It’s perfect,” you reassured him. “Thank you.”

Giorno seemed pleased with himself and poured himself another cup of tea. “You’re welcome.”

“As for what happened last night…” Mista began awkwardly. “That guy—Ciabatta—said something about Don Elio.”

“What of him?” you asked, feigning disinterest and examining a scone from the dessert tray. 

“He’s going to try and take you again,” said Fugo. “We should figure out how best to protect you.” 

It’s soon decided that you would continue to sleep in Giorno’s room, on the condition that he slept on the other side of the bed (“It’s a king-sized bed,” you sighed in exasperation. “There’s plenty of room for the two of us.”). With Giorno having the strongest stand, it made perfect sense for him to be the one watching over you. As for errands, Giorno offered himself once again, much to Mista and Narancia’s amusement. But with Giorno, busy as he is, it seems impractical to you to take him away from work, so you select Fugo to be your primary companion outside of the house. Mista, on the other hand, would continue to carry out his duties as a capo, along with keeping his unofficial posts as Giorno’s underboss and bodyguard. Narancia had proven his competence with children the other day, being the only one to properly care for Giuseppe as well as be innocent of feeding him astice, and was left to look after Giuseppe (“That’s the most important task!” he huffed triumphantly).

“What does Don Elio want with you?” asked Mista. Giorno gave him a look. “What? After Ciabatta said that crap, I got curious.”

“Really, Mista?” asked Narancia. 

“Oh, I don’t think you need to be clever to figure out what Don Elio wants with me,” you said, shaking your head and nibbling on a biscotto. “But there is something I must tell all of you. Something about Don Elio.” 

The engagement, you explained, lasted only a week, and was arranged by your uncle. Had Don Vittorio considered the match to be appropriate, it may have ended well, but he’d heard of Don Elio’s seedy reputation as a widower.

Giorno knew the story of Don Elio’s arrest well enough, though he had only known of it because the events occurred in Napoli. It had all happened at a party; the Commission, to Don Elio’s misfortune, had been in attendance, and witnessed the embarrassment firsthand. Don Elio had been arrested for his involvement in a politician’s murder, and the Commission, a higher governing body consisting of every powerful Don in the country (excluding Giorno at the time), demanded that Don Elio break off the engagement, claiming his arrest would shame his would-be father-in-law. Another consequence Don Elio faced was losing his own position as part of the Commission; what made it worse was the fact that he’d gone as far as to blame Don Vittorio for cleverly setting up a plan to get him arrested. 

“He wasted his energy on all that,” you sighed. “Accusing Patri of that dirty work, of which he took no part...”

“Well, he did do it, didn’t he?” asked Fugo. “Who else would have?”

“He could have done it, but he didn’t,” you said flippantly. 

“There’s no way to know for sure,” said Mista. “Now that he’s not here to tell the tale himself.”

“But I do know,” you said impatiently. Giorno was staring at you now. “Tell me, Don Giorno—why did my engagement with Don Elio fall apart? Could you be a dear and repeat the events for us?”

“He was arrested and shamed,” said Giorno, the color draining from his face as he pieced the rest together. “Arrested… at a party he attended with you…”

“Y-you’re the one who… no…” Mista’s eyes had grown the size of saucers. Narancia shook his head. Fugo’s face dropped. “I don’t—I don't understand…”

“You didn’t think I’d let my uncle marry me off to that beast, did you?”