"GioGio, the report you requested is here. Do you need anything else?"
When Fugo enters his boss' office, he doesn't expect him to be sitting by the window, instead of his big mahogany desk. It leaves him stunned for a moment; the sun is setting, and Giorno looks completely enthralled by how peaceful the scenery in front of him looks. Orange hues slowly descend on the trees, and the sounds coming from the cars below don't sound as obnoxious as they usually do. Giorno's muscles look relaxed, for once, and it must be the summer air finally setting - "I hate the cold seasons. They don't let me feel free," he once explained, leaving Fugo wondering what he really meant, and whether summer feels different in other countries. Giorno would know, because he always gets the chance to travel way more than anyone else in Passione does.
Fugo joined the gang four years ago, so he wouldn't know; he has never travelled outside of Italy, and he has no idea how many wonders the world is hiding from him. But Giorno is right here, just a few steps away. As the sun slowly makes its course, it casts an angelic glow upon the boy's skin; it is then, Fugo figures, that the world forgot to hide one of its wonders.
He doesn't give any of these thoughts a voice. He chooses to leave the papers on the desk, a bit crumpled from how tightly he was holding onto them, and sits next to his boss when he pats on a vacant chair beside him.
"GioGio," Fugo speaks again, "can I ask you a question?"
"You don't need my permission to ask questions, Panna."
Whatever Giorno sees outside his window, Fugo doesn't notice.
"You told me back in April that you did not regret taking me back with you. Do you still mean it?"
There's a moment of silence, then; he almost gets the sudden impulse to apologize and go back to his paperwork, but Giorno calmly takes one of Fugo's hands into both of his own, and stares right at him. Fugo keeps his gaze steady on the windowsill, too embarrassed to look up. Giorno has repeated this action countless times; sometimes he'll leave the ghost of his lips on Fugo's shoulder while he's concentrated, or he'll gently grab the other boy's forearm when he's nervous; sometimes Giorno will play with Fugo's hair, and some other times he will reassuringly squeeze his hand when he gets suddenly angry.
"Panna, listen to me. I will never regret my decision. Not now, not ever."
"You don't know that," Fugo whispers, finally looking up.
"I did what my heart told me was right, as I always do." Giorno lets go of his hands briefly, only to leave his own on top of Fugo's shoulders. "As your friend, I will never ask too much of you. But as your boss, I demand you to stop believing you are a nuisance to me."
"Should I reply as your friend, or as your subordinate?"
"As yourself," Giorno promptly responds.
"Then I will tell you, as myself, that I cannot find a single reason why you put so much trust in me. Purple Haze doesn't always follow my commands, and I could literally kill you. What then, Giorno? What would happen if my Stand suddenly decided you weren't worth keeping around anymore?"
Giorno pauses. He gets up from his chair, eyes still trained on the boy in front of him. It is then, he realizes, that Fugo is absolutely terrified. The irony of his Stand being the representation of everything he fears, and at the same time, of himself, is almost unbearable; Fugo can't escape from his past, no matter how hard he tries.
"We talked about this, me and Bucciarati, when we found you again. We reached the same conclusion, Panna. Care to know what it was?"
Fugo tilts his head in lieu of a response, eyebrows furrowed.
"Purple Haze doesn't have to be dangerous. You said it could kill me; and if it were to happen, I would have to simply accept my own death. But you could use it to save our lives."
"Purple Haze destroys lives. It can't save them."
"How do you know that?"
"It destroyed mine," Fugo simply says, voice almost ironically steady, like this is a pill he already swallowed long ago. "I apologize, GioGio. There is still work to be done, I can't leave everything to Abbacchio."
"You won't," Giorno reassures him, elegantly sitting back down, "and I need you to be here. I can't help you if you don't let me."
Fugo has always known this conversation would have to happen, someday. Since the moment he first met Purple Haze, he realized there was no way he could ever connect with it. He remembers asking Bruno what it truly represented, and why his Stand had its mouth sewn shut, why it kept scratching its own skin, why it wouldn't ever listen to him; but Bruno was also too young to offer a proper answer, so they cried together, and Fugo decided to never have this conversation again - not even when he knew he could trust Bruno.
And with Giorno it feels different, because Giorno is his boss, despite the two boys often sleeping on the same bed, and holding each other's hands, and despite the million questions Fugo isn't brave enough to ask.
"You saved Narancia last month," Giorno starts, lightly grasping Fugo's hand again.
"He was falling off a train. It was the least I could do."
"Purple Haze grabbed him."
"It's a miracle it even listened to me."
"You almost sacrificed the mission for a friend."
"And it was a sign of weakness."
Giorno is startled for a second, but he doesn't let it show. "Do you believe you're evil, Panna?"
Fugo desperately wants to say yes, he wants to admit he feels terribly hideous, he wants to look his boss in the eyes and tell him that he feels worthless, but these thoughts are his to witness and no one else's.
"I'm not as good as you think I am, GioGio."
"You are an incredible resource, both as a friend and as a member of our team. Why do you keep doubting yourself?"
Fugo chuckles bitterly. "It's not hard when you fear the day you could potentially kill everyone around you. Giorno, Gold Experience can revive people. You can create life. I only bring death with me..."
Fugo has always known, after all: Giorno is steady and unwavering, and well-deserving of his title; and Fugo - volatile, explosive and unstable, more often than not feels unworthy of even being in Giorno's presence. While Gold Experience heals and mends, Purple Haze can only wreak havoc - it is the only thing he feels perfectly capable of doing.
"You'll learn to control it, Panna, and yourself with it. I won't let your fear torture you."
"What if I can't control it?"
"Then I'll be afraid with you," Giorno solemnly admits. "Let me tell you something, Panna. When I revived Narancia, it was hard. I felt exhausted, because he kept slipping in and out of consciousness--"
"You don't have to tell me. It's not necessary."
"Please, let me. Gold Experience was giving up on me, it wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. Abbacchio sat down next to me, and he was-- shaking, but he said," Giorno lowers his voice just slightly, "'Giovanna, I'm gonna need you to do that magic of yours.' And it worked, then. Narancia finally opened his eyes."
"That doesn't sound like the Abbacchio I know."
"Perhaps, but it is because he believed in me that Narancia is alive."
Fugo clicks his tongue, refusing to accidentally spill his heart out. Giorno has at least the chance to choose his words carefully.
"The world is scary when you look at it from below. I understand, Panna; but what you're doing is essentially going on a suicide mission. And I cannot let you do that. I cannot let you isolate yourself again."
"You watch the world from above, GioGio. The entire country would get on its knees for you. We're not the same. I could never..." And he trails off, staring at his own hands, like he just got caught at a crime scene holding a bloody knife.
Giorno can only pause. He doesn't know the exact words he should say; no one has ever shown him before. So the silence that fills the room isn't awkward, but it isn't comfortable either: it simply remains in the air, leaving Giorno wondering if life will ever have any mercy on the two of them.
"Do you mind telling me about yourself before you joined Passione?" He asks when Fugo's eyes sting and his chest aches.
"Do you want the good part or the bad part?"
"Anything you want," Giorno responds, and Fugo chuckles quietly.
"My grandmother... She had a lot of faith in me. She used to pray for me everyday, and when she made her tiramisù, I would always get the biggest portion. 'You're gonna grow big and strong, my angel!', she would always say. I don't think there is anybody left praying for me...", he casually admits. "My life was tolerable thanks to her. She was comforting. Did Polnareff tell you, uh, anything else about your family?"
Giorno raises his eyebrows at the sudden change of topic, but he has no complaints. He simply pauses for a second, his lips forming into a tight line before inhaling deeply.
"He said he wants me to meet this Japanese man-- his name is Jotaro, I believe. Next month, perhaps. I am far too busy now."
"Oh. Japanese? Is he a relative of yours?"
"I'm not sure. Polnareff refused to explain anything more than that."
Fugo wants to reply; he wants to keep holding Giorno's hand until it fuses together with his own, until there is nothing else left; he wants to swear fealty to Giorno once again, and a million times more, and give him his all until he forgets his own name.
So he feels brave, for a moment; he forgets how terrified he is, and how undeserving of the boy in front of him he feels: it's a whisper, barely audible, but Giorno is thankfully a good listener. "Hey, GioGio. Dance with me."
Giorno can feel his cheeks slowly getting stained with reds and pinks, and widens his eyes. "I... I'm not sure I know how to do that."
Giorno nods, chewing on his bottom lip.
"I'll-- We can figure this out. Just move with me? Please?"
They get up, then; Fugo realizes it would be awkward with no sound at all embracing them in the background, but that is one more thing he doesn't need to worry about. He leads Giorno to the middle of the room, and belatedly realizes he truly has no idea what to do.
"Can I follow your lead?", Giorno asks, attempting to hide a smile.
"No," Fugo chuckles, "I'm usually the one following you."
"You're just admitting you're bad at dancing, aren't you?" He chuckles too this time, letting his hands linger around Fugo's shoulders. Fugo sways a little, holding delicately onto Giorno's waist and trying to imagine how different it would feel with some smooth jazz echoing in the room, but he figures he prefers hearing Giorno's steady breaths.
The sun keeps going down, pink hues getting dimmer; Giorno hides his face on Fugo's neck, inhaling from his nose. "Thank you, Panna."
"I wouldn't mind doing this all the time, you know?" He leaves the ghost of his lips on a collarbone. "If you wanted to, I mean."
Fugo holds the blond boy tighter, and doesn't say anything back, to avoid messing anything up. They keep swaying for a few minutes, with Giorno humming sweet tunes and Fugo caressing his back.
"Did you use Trish's shampoo again?"
"I-- it smells good!"
"Oh, does it?" He teases.
"It does! And don't tell her, she might kill me."
"With her bare hands, too. She's so small, but her arms are made of muscle and rage." Fugo opens his mouth, ready to ask a question, but Giorno soon speaks again. "I, uh, experienced them first hand. She slapped me once, before you joined us again."
"She slapped a mafia boss in the face?"
"No, she slapped Giorno Giovanna because he turned her favorite lipstick into a frog," he corrects. "Mista asked me."
Fugo parts from Giorno, then, in an attempt to cover his mouth when he starts laughing; Giorno makes a confused expression, but when Fugo finally explodes with laughter, he lets himself laugh, too. And it's a genuine sound from both of them: Fugo's voice is explosive, and it resonates in the room loudly, while Giorno is quieter and more delicate, but it's genuine nonetheless, and Fugo mentally files the sound away into the back of his brain.
"I'm sorry-- I just-- wow," Fugo speaks again when he calms down just a little bit, propping down on a chair again, "will you ever stop surprising me?"
He notices Giorno follow him, but instead of sitting down, he falls down on one knee in front of Fugo. He stays silent, eyes glassy with laughter this time, because the act feels so intimate he's afraid of ruining it; so Giorno stares at him right in the eyes, presses the gentlest of kisses on his knuckles, and stays still for a few seconds. Then, with a voice so delicate it could ache, he asks, "Hey, Panna. If I gave you something, do you believe you could give it back?"
Fugo simply nods, determined as ever; and when Giorno raises his head to kiss him, Fugo feels brave again, and decides to give him his all.