Roman raised an eyebrow, an unimpressed smirk on his face. The teenager, holding a handgun to Roman's temple, trembled at the sight of the mafia heir. "Don't come any closer to me." The kid swallowed harshly. Roman chuckled.
"Now, I'm here to kill this gang because they opposed us. You opposed us. If you were to show us submission then I may show mercy," Roman suggested. He was not expecting the way the kid instantly dropped his whole body into the crowd in a bow. The movement drawing his flimsy shirt up, revealing the lines of scars marring his pale skin.
Roman's mouth ran dry. He hesitated between grabbing the gun and tracing one of the worst burn scars to be sure it was real. How could it be true that so many scars fell on this kid?
"Stay right where you are," Roman ordered, intending to carry on into a threat. The threat fell dead on his lips at the mumbled words that fell from the kid's lips.
"Yes, Master, of course."
Roman was tempted to say something, anything, to correct him. Another, more business oriented, part of Roman screamed at him to collect the rest of this gang and end them like he came here to do. Only this time it wasn't longing to be quick about it.
Roman snatched the gun off the floor and went to meet up with his men. Remus and Dee were taking turns punching the gang's leader in the face while he spit blood. When he entered all of the men that had been off to the side guarding the others instantly stood at alert, while his brother and brother-in-law simply took a step away from the subject of their interrogation, to give him their full attention and respect.
Roman narrowed his eyes at the man on his knees, face an abstract canvas of the night sky. "I was looking for your plans when I came across something else, something oh so interesting. There's another member of your little crew." The man snarled at him but confusion twinkled in his swollen eyes. Roman's men began to snicker at the dangerous tone to Roman's voice.
"Tell me who that child that was locked in the closet is."
Instantly the atmosphere changed to one much more tense. Dee's hands clenched into fists while Remus had given Roman a questioning look. Logan Sanders ran a harsh mafia but not a ruthless one, children were off limits always and never allowed to be a member of the gang. They were only children. It was a line that had been instilled into all of his mafia and into his own children.
"WHO IS IT!?" Roman demanded, he slammed his hand into the man's abdomen and blood splattered onto his shirt. The man coughed and sputtered, more blood flying from his lips to cover Roman.
"You can have him if you want. He's a real useless one anyway." The words confirmed the cold not in Roman's stomach. The child was a slave.
"Do you own anymore slaves?" The word came out as a feral growl. The man shook his head and Roman decided he was done with the man. He knew the handgun wasn't an option when he had raised it and Dee tugged it from his hand and threw it to their feet, a violent look on his face. Roman nodded at Dee. "Find out as much as you can on the kid. Remy can you tell your husband that we'll need him at the base for an examination," the words were an order not a question and Roman didn't wait for a confirmation before stalking out of the room.
He had just stepped into the room where he left the boy when the first scream echoed throughout the house. "Hey, kid." Roman tried to keep his voice stern but warn. As he had predicted the kid hadn't budged from his position. The child didn't respond verbally but he straightened his posture and brought his head further downward so that his nose was brushing the floor.
"Do you have any injuries, currently?" Roman asked.
The kid instantly shook his head but then quickly corrected himself with a verbal response. "No, Master."
"Alright, first important rule. My name is Roman. You will call me by my name. Second important rule is that you don't lie to me, so once more. Do you have any injuries, whether it's bleeding or a bruise?"
"Yes, Roman." The boy said. Roman inquired after the injury, learning that it was injuries. "Dark spots on my legs, the kind that hurt to touch." Roman could only imagine he meant bruises. "Burns from my owner's joint along my left shoulder to my forearm. Lashes from a few days ago on my upper back. A fresh brand on my shin and two amputated toes."
Roman took a moment to process. "Okay, does anything hurt badly right now?" Roman knew that was not the best question to ask but if he was going to give a report to Emile then he needed to know. "And remember, don't lie. I need to know so I can tell my doctor and he can help you."
"The brand, and the lashes, Roman." The boy paused. "Owner said my toes are supposed to hurt and I had to be a good boy about them. He made them really hot so that I didn't get sick."
Roman offered a strained smile. "Thank you for telling me about them. What's your name?"
"Owner said Anxiety."
"Anxiety?" Roman frowned, confused.
The boy nodded dutifully. "Owner said I'm Anxiety."
Oh. Roman resisted the urge to snarl. He was glad he could still hear the bastard being tortured by his men. "What should I call you?" Roman rephrased.
"You may call me anything, Roman."
"What do you want to be called?"
"Vir… V…" The kid cut off. Roman could see the battle going on in his mind based off his body language.
"I could call you Vee?" Roman offered, "if that would make you more comfortable."
The kid instantly nodded and Roman's concern that the child was simply trying to please him was wiped away when the kid looked up at him with stars in his eyes. "Vee is nice… Mast-Sir-Roman." The last part was tackled on as an afterthought and was almost a subconscious decision if the stumbling was anything to go by.
The kid had winced at his own mistake and was awaiting his punishment with tense shoulders. "Alright, Vee. Get up and let's get you to my house."
The kid, Vee, agreed almost immediately and this time Roman paid attention to him as he walked. His right foot never taking his full weight, the foot where the men had cut off his toes. Undoubtedly.
Roman led Virgil out to the car and got him in the backseat, he wrapped a shock blanket around his shoulders and gave him a cold water from the cooler. With orders to stay in the car and drink some water, Roman departed to take care of the gang.
Remus and Dee were fuming, blood coated both of them. Remus even had his teeth and tongue dyed red, which Roman assumed was contributed by the half missing ear. The final gunshot felt much to soon, Roman would have liked to torture the man until he died if his own accord but he couldn't leave the child waiting in the car for long.
As the crew was exiting the building Remy ran up beside Roman. "Emile is on his way to the base. Our kids are going to be staying with your papa though, which means we had to inform your dad of why Emile was needed. I apologize, but we didn't want the kids to be there for this." Remy gave Roman a hopeful look.
Roman wished he could be the one to tell his father but it is what it is and Remy was correct to not want his kids there. They were the same age as Vee. "No problem. I'll call dad to give him the full story. You go pick up the kids from papa, I'm sure they're tired. Just be sure to shower first, you get bloodier than usual." Roman sent Remy a wink as he slid into the backseat of his car.
Vee snapped his head up to look at him with a smile. The water bottle was empty and the blanket had been pulled tighter around him. Roman gave him a small smile in return and gestured to the other two to get in the car.
Dee and Remus slipped into the front of the car in one unified motion. Neither of them turned to look at Vee but Roman noted them both scanning him in the rearview mirror. Virgil had gotten tense when the strangers entered the corner and his eyes had locked firmly in the floor.
"Vee, this is Remus and Dee," Roman introduced the two. The two boys up front smiled, Remus carefully keeping his mouth closed to avoid showing off the bloody mess.
"It's very nice to meet you, Vee. We're going to get you somewhere nice and safe, okay?" Dee asked as Remus started the car and began to drive. The car was moving at a slower, safer, pace than Remus usually drove to avoid startled or sickening the child.
"Yes, Master." Vee answered. Both Remus and Roman began to choke and splutter sounds of anger causing Virgil to fold in on himself.
"You can call me Dee," Dee said in a calm tone. "You will no longer need to call anyone master or owner as you will have neither of those things."
Vee slowly straightened up to look at Dee. "Am I free?" He asked in a voice so small Roman could hear his own heart beating over the question.
Dee smiled and turned to look at Vee, meeting his eyes. Vee averted his gaze, swallowing harshly before he slowly brought his eyes back to Dee's. "Free as anyone else," Dee confirmed.