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ROME, 1998

You're not totally sure why you've agreed to this.

Subbing in for an ill bassist at some grimy punk club where they play punk music and punks surround the area. It's clear enough to decipher with your stupid attire that you do not fit into the ska or punk scene that is required to even gain someone's attention within the club. Let alone get a drink in this insufferable cesspool of teenagers similar to you that enjoy trying to grab your ass for a reaction.

Yet, you're mostly left disappointed and neurotic about this scene you've encountered, finding nor seeking any pleasure from it, and your eyes constantly flickering towards the entrance for a chance to escape. There's some typical judgment you'd expect as you express your preference for popular rap and whatever alternative grunge the media finally enjoys pushing out like a meat factory of music. Then they soon leave you to your own devices, offering a drink you dump into some stray plant or leaving a lingering touch despite you're evidently suffering.

"You cool, man?" the unfamiliar guitarist questions you, the stench of alcohol manages to waft to your face and you can't help but nod so she can close her slimy cavern meant to chug down cheap beer. "Yeah, that's fresh. By the way, we go on in a few minutes so I hope you've memorized our set."

You have in fact not memorized the set and had never planned on doing so rather than faking it by unleashing all the anger you carry within your mentally concerning mind. But you're sure that the patrons and fans won't know the difference and occasionally you peek at the sheet music that isn't all too hard for someone of your level. Just some crappy covers of songs you're forced to listen to as your cousin constantly drives you around and enjoys the styling of terrible musicians who are most likely one-hit wonders.

However, you don't honestly have a right to judge the people who occupy the space as you're only here for a favor and will soon have a solid reason to avoid this shithole altogether. You're not even sure that these people wouldn't want you here assessing the event that occurred when the bouncer had been fairly adamant about the eighteen and over system despite seeing some fellow classmates lounging about while you're pacing around for a reason you can't pin down.

"[Y/n], we're about to go on."

Your cousin coos, yet you don't pay any mind to her any set yourself up on the stage as the others filter out. The stage light is blinding and it's not complementing your greasy features, you're sure the crowd can probably wipe a thin layer of shin off of your face and use it as a baking spray. But you can only really focus on your dumbass relative who hops up on stage and blows kisses to the crowd of unfamiliar faces who stare back with snarling frowns.

She sucks, it becomes more and more apparent as she takes advantage of your average skills on more than one occasion. You often enjoy when she doesn't show up to your small apartment during the holidays, drunk out of her mind and jacked up on coke, taking some of your sentimental valuables and acting as if she found them while also fishing for a pitiful favor.

You're also quite positive she's taken your mother's pearl choker, but you don't care enough about your parents in order to actively seek it. It was a gift, an expensive gift you've sworn to never wear and are fairly glad that someone else found some kind of use for it. In fact, in the dim lighting, you're fairly certain that she's donning the necklace right now in order to validate whatever self-worth she even has.

Which is precisely why you even agreed to this favor, to validate yourself.

It isn't a thing you've come to naturally have as a child for whatever reason. Still, it's unsuccessfully forced into the back of your mind all too often until you've come across situations such as this, forced onto a stage to perform things that are way below your level as others will possibly throw glass bottles at her head.

"And I scream from the top of my lungs,"

The wailing pierces your eardrums and you cringe as you miss a beat, the rest of the band glaring at you while attempting to get back into rhythm. But all efforts are futile as everyone is on a different beat causing an ear-splitting cacophony to occur on stage, managing for speakers to squeal and squeak while blasting through the small location. Patrons swiftly reaching for their ears to protect their hearing from the cacophony of four teenagers who didn't have a clue what they were doing.

The set ends (the set turned out to be only one song) and the stage technicians can't wait to shove you guys off, you don't blame them for wanting to do so. You can hear someone make an apology, it's unclear, there's this desperation for time to go faster even with your slowed mind so you can waste another day in isolation. But you're promptly stopped by the one thing you probably hate more than calendars with pictures of random animals on them.

"What the hell was that?!" your cousin screams, some stray spit landing on your already flushed face. Flushed from embarrassment or the thrill of destroying the only thing she's mediocre at is unsure, but one thing you're certain of is that you won't be seeing her annoying face till the next holiday that required the attendance of distant family.

"You're such a fuck up! No wonder my aunt sent you to another country because she couldn't stand the sight of your face!"

All she does is yell from that point, her words are jumbled and you can see that her bandmates are experiencing second-hand embarrassment from whatever she thinks she's doing right now because, God, let her being anything more than an insufferable bitch. It's as if she thinks you actually experienced any type of bond with your parents in order for her words to sting. You hate your parents, you used to like Rome; there isn't much more to the story than that.

She stops, heaving from how much energy it took for her to make you unimpressed and you probably think that she perceives herself as gorgeous. There's a smug smirk that tugs against her lips and you'd want nothing more than to bash all her teeth in so she'd finally be able to shut up for once in her life.

You blink and her arms fold, waiting for you to respond like this is a rap battle and her crew is terribly humiliated by her behavior. "Are you fucking done? I'm tired and I wanna smoke before I go home."

There's a sense she wants to yell at you again and this time brings up your father as if his disapproval hurts more than your mother's. But she doesn't and you pick up your stitched together backpack and head outside to see if you can actually acquire some brain cells you've lost from simply being around so many people at once.

You fiddle around for the one thing that can promptly give you comfort despite a large number of anxiety meds and antidepressants swaying around in your bag. The joint is tucked behind your ear, already rolled up and bought at a discount by an acquaintance, and you find your lighter sitting in the front pocket of your jacket.

You flick it multiple times and a spark always appears before the wind snuffs it out. There's a couple of "come on"s that follow every strive to make sure your eyes are bloodshot by the time you get home. You groan, chucking the lighter at the floor and needing a fix before the landlord asks why your parents haven't sent another check to pay for the trashy apartment.

It's pointless to try and do this shit so late, it's dark and you could get stabbed— or worse, lose the only weed you have. You glance towards where you previously threw the object before landing on another lighter. It's not much different than the fact that it's gold and has little intricate designs, okay it's a lot different and better than your neon orange liquor store bought one.

Pondering if it can withstand the harsh wind, you flick it open and it miraculously manages to stay alight. Placing the rolling paper between your lips and bringing the lighter up to it, you almost successfully achieve your task. Yet, someone has to always ruin your day even further and you turn to meet the eyes of an aviating machine. Clawing at your body and promptly slamming you against the wall, their movements are so fast and the pain is only secondary to process what's happening.

The shadowy figure towers over you, gripping your shoulders so tight you're afraid you might've just popped like a balloon. Gazing into its lifeless golden eyes, you wonder if this is the end. If messing up a performance at some dirty club and officially ending your terrible relationship with your cousin were your final moments in this cruel world, you hoped for a better end in the next life.

Unexpectedly, it speaks. Voice booming in the grim alleyway as if it has a built-in speaker which you ponder if it can play some shit that actually slaps rather than a prerecorded message.

"You relit the lighter, didn't you?"

You have no idea what the robot is going on about but you're struck silent with its menacing exterior. The lane is silent for a few moments, with the exception of rain pattering against the structures and concrete, then it speaks again. Frightful, you jump in its grip and it tightens its claps on your body as if to assure that there is no escape from this terrible fate.

"You have two possible paths," it speaks in the most robotic tone possible, yet you barely notice that you do not feel any strain from its hold rather just a sense of its grip on you. Your enlarged eyes wandering on what is essentially your aura while your psychical figure is thrust into a similar condition. "The first path is to live and become the chosen one, your only other path is death."

"You relit the lighter, this is your fate!"

The arrow pierces your skull, gasping out in pain as you continue to squirm and wrestle against its clutch. The second of intense agony you undergo appears as if it's an eternity, groaning and moaning as you wish your extended suffering would end and you'd be greeted into the embrace of death.

But it never comes and you stay there with the arrow still penetrating your head.

"This soul," it continues as your spiritual essence slips from the arrow and returns to your own body. "belongs to one who should be chosen!"

"Ugh, my head."

From the moment you wake up, it's fucking hot. It's so hot that you can hear the gravelly alleyway sizzle from the heat and you feel like it might just blister your skin. You try to place your hand down to lift yourself up, but it only stings and manages to color your palm. Scrambling away towards the shade cast by a couple of looming structures, a pounding in your head preventing you from accessing memories of last night.

"Trust me," another voice mumbles from beside you, letting out a mellow chuckle. "you look worse than you feel, pal."

Your eyes search for where the sound is coming from and when you land upon the figure, you yelp and tumble away from it. It's repulsive, both in looks and behavior, and puzzledly stares into your own bewildered expression as if it's unsure why you're so stunned. Yet, it's docile as it approaches you, seemingly terrified that it will injure you with its touch, but it's gentle as it wraps an unexpected warm hand around your thigh.

"Uh, I'm Mindless Self Indulgence or whatever." the grotesque being doesn't explain what exactly whatever is in further detail and you're definitely perplexed on how coherent words manage to pour out with fangs protruding from its mouth with a little bit of drool dribbling down its cheek.

You don't mind the name it provides for you, it rolls off of the tongue but it'd be a hassle for you to refer to it as that exact name all the time. If you even get the chance to see this thing again at all, provided this isn't some fucked up fantasy accompanied by the embodiment of your childish resentment and lust-fueled vengeance. After all, you did die last night or at least it felt like you did.

It brushes a few stray hairs out of the way and fiddles with the broken silver chains cuffing their wrists which you scarcely succeed in observing, "You also got real nice nails for a person who sleeps in dirty alleys."

"This is a one-time thing." and the thing ignores your remark, instead choosing to focus on your vibrantly colored nails and you finally take its appearance as more than just a scary monster you'd encounter during sleep paralysis. "Mileena from Mortal Kombat that's what you look like! Hold up, am I dead?"

You've come across the thought a few minutes before, but it hasn't really set in until now. There's no way on Earth a creature like this could exist unless someone drugged you last night at the club. It taps its fingers against their torn-up knees and raises an eyebrow at your inquiry, maybe it believes you're crazy.

"Why'd you ask that?"

"Have a thing for hot chicks who aren't real." you nonchalantly admit, however, it only comes out as a whisper, a secret you expect the otherworldly being to keep for themselves.

"Wow," it pauses, squinting its inky robotic eyes and you barely noticed the crimson stain underneath both eyelids akin to blood pooling around their irises. "you're kind of a loser, aren't you?"

You flush and tenderly pull away from its touch, fiddling with your fingers and avoiding eye contact with the thing. You haven't heard that word in a while, loser. Maybe it's your cynical nature that makes you immune from such simplistic insults that anyone at school could come up with.

"Fuck off," you spit out, a small frown breaking out on your features.

"Mmm, sorry, didn't mean it like that."

Its apology is almost laughable, there is no other way to perceive their comment over you being a loser. You thought it would be a manner to connect the thing to something fonder, but it's apparent you can't connect everything to nostalgia.

Like all attempts at conversation with you, it quickly fails and the only option to wallow in the silence accompanied by background noise that's far more entertaining.

However, it places something on your lap before withdrawing its touch and it's strange how gentle a monster could actually be. "Found it on the floor, figured it could be yours."

You look down at it, it's the unlit weed you had from last night, you night your lip from the sight. So everything was real? Or maybe you really are dead? Nothing about this situation feels remotely right.

"Thanks," your gratitude stops there as you hear gravel crunching underneath someone's feet.

It's silent for a bit, not in the way you'd normally have it where you're stuck in social isolation like some angsty teen who listens to Nirvana (as if it's underground), but in a way that you're too scared to speak of anything. You haven't really checked your surroundings since you came here but all that there is to notice is that, surprisingly, nobody has stolen your backpack yet and the dude who's walking takes really short strides.

Well, whoever they may be, they approach you and your head turns to meet their stare, moss green eyes glistening under the intense heat, "Who are you talking to?"

"Can't you " you wish to answer his question, but your words are soon caught in your throat as soon as your eyes return to a familiar spot.

They're gone. Not a trace of them left behind except for the memories you have, you want to puke. Fuck, you're going insane and maybe you should've sorted things out with your cousin so she could pick you up from this shit hole. You look down and the bile begins to rise up, the joint is held right in the crevice your thigh and pelvis.

"I don't I don't know." the words are only a whimper and you're so fucking close to admitting yourself in a psych ward.

He can tell you're having issues and doesn't want to be the one solving them, bidding you a quick "bye" before doing something that's actually worth his time. Maybe it's heatstroke, you're inclined to agree with the most logical reason you can come up with. Yet, you feel a tap on your knee and it's oddly reminiscent of something you can't place.

Your head turns from your lap to where the tap came from and you jump once again from seeing them, still there and almost making you out to be insane. They almost resemble something close to pitiful, but you'd be dead if you ever gave your pity to something that's not even real.

And that's how you know you're alive.

You move up from the shady area, using a chain-link fence to steady yourself against the immense and concerning amount of times your body cracks while trying to perform a simple task. Walking's even harder as every step to your backpack feels like hell trailing right on your calves.

Groaning has now become a typical part of your routine as you proceed to do so while picking up your things along with the light you lost last night. God, you still hope it works.

You stick the cigarette right between your teeth and find it much easier to light than from what you remember of last night. Inhaling whatever you can before puffing it out in small clouds in a single fluid motion. It'll be much easier to get evicted now.

Your glance moves from the vapor to the meek figment of your imagination that tucks itself away in the coolness and you nod in some unspecified direction. "Come on, we're going home."

NAPLES, 2000

Mindless Self Indulgence is pretty much your best friend, a sentence that you'd never thought you'd have to say, but it's stuck by you since you first encountered it. It sometimes saddens you that an invisible grotesque creature is the only constant thing in your life. You've moved from place to place, seen a lot of people, and tried a multitude of things you shouldn't have but nothing makes you feel any different than you did previously.

Sometimes it feels like you're a bit too ungrateful, MSI disagrees with this sentiment and says you deserve everything the world offers. You can only wonder if her words actually hold any meaning or she just wishes for some form of companionship. It's been two years with her and as much as you feel like she's the mother you never had, it's been two years too long that she's been a hinder to your life.

MSI reveals she never existed until you woke up in that grimy alleyway and now feels indebted to you. She also reveals that she prefers feminine pronouns despite often calling her by "them" or "it" in previous periods which made her feel like a monster and while she is you don't wish for her to lecture you about it.

She hums some random tune, probably of an all too specific movie soundtrack she remembers, and sits beside you to wait for your upcoming stop. Despite how many painkillers you popped before you got here, you still feel like shit and have a persistent headache that only worsens with MSI's chipper attitude. It's so disappointing how you managed to end up in Naples of all places.

Naples. It's a city a colleague recommended after breaking out of a lackluster romance with her. And so far, you don't hate it as much as Milan or Rome. You get clients, the only way you can pay the bills is with the cash you receive from the overwhelming amount of prescription pills in your trusty worn down bag. People here are much more naive and just that easier to swindle with baby aspirin rather than actual coke. And you get to witness the rather rampant shoot out or police chasing, its a lot more exciting than people think.

But even at your age, you work a job most people would find unreliable yet ludicrously wealthy. Clientele usually revolves around adult men you should not be talking to in the first place who have other adult men guarding them with polished weapons meant for you if you step out of line. It's not your dream job, but you can't really get anywhere else with the education of a ninth-grader.

You step out of the taxi provided by another middle-aged dude who thinks he can butter you up by giving you a mode of transportation. Your eyes graze over the building you've stopped in front of, it's like any other club where the bass of the beat causes its own little miniature earthquake. The people you pass by are trembling, eyes darting in every possible direction as it'll do anything to help with the withdrawal. You may just have a field day with the way things are looking right now.

Despite MSI's dislike for anything considered too rowdy or dangerous, she seems to be enjoying herself and awing over colored lights you've seen a thousand times before. The clubs in Naples are no different than the ones in Florence or Catania but anywhere new is better than getting stuck in the same old routine.

You're too busy trying to absorb some of your companion's energy when you're promptly shoved into someone. Only a mixture of orange, blue, and maybe a dash of white passes by your eyes before it's soon gone.

Your eyes flicker around and eventually land on the floor, a boy trying to fix his terribly knit beanie.

"My bad, dawg," you reach out your hand to him, but he looks a little flustered even in the artificial lights.

He doesn't accept your hand and you're forced to awkwardly wipe it against your clothes as if that's what you originally intended. A tight scowl grows on your face as he proceeds to get up on his own. You don't like frowning all that often, it only gives people a sense of how vulnerable you are to emotional outbursts.

Okay, asshole.

He looks at you but soon turns away and mumbles out, "It's cool."

He's awkward or maybe just trying to be the least bit courteous in a club is awkward, MSI is gone by now or at least you can sense it. People pass around you, it's just a small circle of silence being surrounded by blaring music and drunken chatter.

His lips part then close but open once again. "Y'know, I don't picture someone like you showing up here."

You give him a shrug, you don't really either but you have a job to do.

"Business or pleasure?" he offers a sly smile, you can already tell this will be a conversation you purposely erase from your memory.

"Strictly business, I can't be tweakin' out here."

He appears a bit confused until his eyes follow your gaze, a bunch of junkie popping pills and laughing while smoking some shit that's probably laced. You hadn't really noticed them before, you might just be able to afford two pot pies at KFC.

"So you're a druggie?"

The question can be seen as offensive, but there's no animosity when it comes to the truth.

"Part time," you slug the bag over your shoulder to make it clear what's exactly in it. "other time is for sellin'. Shit goes hard sometimes, other shit's tight."

"Yeah, yeah, right. Things totally go tight sometimes,"

It's clear he has no idea what the word means but you appreciate his lenient gesture towards trying to connect with you. You step a little closer to him, the circle between the two of you closes in but you don't mind that.

"Name's [Y/n]," you reach out a hand towards him with a lazy grin.

He accepts, "Mista,"

"Tight."

You've deemed Mista as decent, he kept trying to flirt with you in his own endearing way that maybe someone in a romantic comedy would find charming. But you're not in some anime where a harem of boys and a singular girl will soon appear and will die for the chance to smooch you. You're not smoochable (without standing for the number of times Mista tired to peck your cheek once he figured the conversation was done with).

But the sidetrack doesn't differ your mission, you still have a job to do.

Soon enough, you reach your destination. Farther back into the club is the secluded VIP room that's tucked away behind velvet curtains that appear to be tinted purple. There's a certain curiosity you wish to fulfill by opening each curtain and seeing what could be inside, but that would get you either mugged or killed.

He sent you a message earlier, something about being posted up near the back and something about how his name is written in unnecessarily gaudy calligraphy that your pea brain couldn't possibly read.

He's wrong, it looks like a child wrote it and is that crayon? You look at the nameplate where it only reads a last name, it's probably all that could fit. It addresses, Zeppole.

What a stupid name.

You push away the curtain, it creaks and somehow doesn't alert them of your presence, it's probably just some rust. You speak and they turn, your client's eyes stretch a bit before inviting you to sit down. Maybe he didn't expect someone like you, in all honesty, you wouldn't either. You've looked at yourself in the cracked mirror in your apartment, it's not a pretty sight.

It doesn't matter, you sit yourself down with a polite smile to acknowledge that you are indeed here for more than fucking him over and getting whatever cash he has. That was your intention, but there's a slight change of heart when you sink into plush couch cushions and find that there are too many men staring at you with fixated glares.

He asks the same old questions, ones you've grown weary of during your time out on the streets. You'd think people who buy drugs would already know what they want. He keeps repeating the same question even after you pull out some Xanax and other painkillers, "what else do you have?".

This is so boring, you rest your elbows against your thighs and your bag hangs between your legs.

It's so tedious to make you come here, pull out every little thing before deciding he wants nothing. God, you figure if the pope ever did drugs, he would probably be more decisive than this guy. Your eyes flicker towards him and he repeats the same inquiry once again as if that will provoke you to continue.

"Depends on you want, signore. I can't just read your fucking mind," his men already have their hands on their holsters, waiting for the command to punish your disrespect with bullets lodged in your chest. "I managed to get my hands on some skag if that's what you're looking for."

He appears interested, you hope in the drugs at least, and leans forward so he's able to see what's actually in the bag. From his perspective, you have heroin. From your knowledge, you have whatever's left in a filthy syringe you found near a dead homeless guy. You're dead, you're for sure dead once you show him you actually don't have it and may just be paranoia; you feel like his dudes have their handguns trained on you.

With shaky hands, you reach inside your bag to play Russian Roulette with prescription pill bottles and a dirty needle. When's the last time you even received a tetanus shot? Is tetanus even fucking real?

He coughs, growing impatient by the minute.

You chuckle, still scrounging around in your bag.

The curtain loudly squeaks but no one hears it, you might just be going insane from how loud your own heartbeat is over the thundering speakers. You continue your task, finding it as the glass clinks against plastic and you try to pull the object out as slow as you can. The curtain squeaks again and maybe it's only just the wind.

In a flash, a bullet shoots straight through his chest and the same seems to happen to his guys, this might appear like a set up to any person who wakes in here with no concept. But you have no idea what took place within the seconds you were about to offer him poorly contained hard drugs. You're lucky, he probably would've shot you immediately after learning this new information, but all you are is fucking pissed.

"Ugh," your hands reach to pull your face towards your scalp, he was one of your highest paying client you managed to snag. "fuck this!"

You feel like shouting would reduce any frustration but it only manages to rile you up even more. You rush over to his corpse, if he wanted shit like heroin then he must have some cash stuffed away in his suit. He's pretty fat and anything stuffed away in his pocket should be easy to pick out. You pat the dead body down and your breath hitches once you reach his thighs.

"Ew, is that "

You sure fucking hope it isn't and that this guy didn't invite you just to jerk off afterwards. But what if it's cash?

Your way of thinking doesn't assist you in anyway as you promptly shove your hand down the right pocket of his pants, she's shrieking behind you telling you to get it out from there. But you feel something brush against your fingers and try to grab it. Luckily, it's not an old dead guy's hard penis but rather a fat wad of dough that's bigger than supermarket apples.

"This motherfucker was holding back on me," you toss the money clip behind your shoulder and flick through to see enough cash to get you through maybe the next three years. "I should stop selling drugs, huh?"

The question is rhetorical, you consider the thought that you'll throw it all away on some exotic pet or actual heroin.

You can feel her hands softly slide around your sides, you know she can see the money from where she previously stood but you appreciate the affection. "You barely grow a conscience after four years? All it took was to make bank?"

She's not gonna ramble, you assume she isn't, but now there's finally a chance to put your illegal career at rest. MSI has never really liked drugs, not since when you first lit up a joint and nearly got ran over by a motorcycle. It's all fun and games to you, never really got hurt from simple jobs.

"Enemy Stand, enemy Stand!" you hear someone shout before shots ring out and you feel something tear right through your shoulder.

"Shit!"

Despite all the immense violence you thrust yourself into, you've never actually been shot before and it's nothing like you thought it would be. The pain sears into the wound, crimson trickles down your shoulder, and while it's only managed to hit your shoulder, you feel like you're dying. You kinda forgot how dying feels like.

"[Y/n]!"

"Bitches!"

As soon as the word leaves your mouth, your only companion goes fucking beserk. Sludge pouring from every crevice pours out into a thick puddle that somewhat resembles putty people liked to shove in your hair. It moves on its own towards the entrance of the door, leaving a trail of rotting wood in its wake while you're stuck watching.

What the fuck?! WHAT THE FUCK?!

In the two years you've know this monster thing that's come to be your somewhat mom, you never knew it could secrete some acidic slime that has a mind of its own. The headache that had once dulled, revives with a grudge and the pain pounds against your skull.

You should've never taken advice from your ex.

You flop yourself forward to grip onto her ankle, "You've got to be shitting me, stop that!"

At your command, everything stops and the weird putty crawls it's way back to MSI and slinks back into the crevices of decaying flesh that never truly smells or acts like it's decomposing. Even as the events come to an end and she rushes by your side to put pressure on the wound, she appears a bit perplexed at what just happened when you simply shouted the word, "bitches".

It's comical, you're a fucking joke.

Whether it's been at the end of your relationship with your parents or being humiliated by interacting with your invisible friend in public, it's obvious that life itself can't take you seriously. MSI whispers some words that are hard to grasp as everything just becomes a little fuzzier than before.

She strokes your hair and if imaginative figments of zombies could cry, she probably would over the astounding amount of blood you've managed to lose in eight minutes. You hold her hand, lightly wheezing and, wow, you didn't know you needed blood to breathe.

Your eyelids fall shut, it's become to much work to keep them opening and you can feel her patting your face to possible stop you from succumbing to an eternal slumber. It doesn't sound all too bad the way she puts it, your body feels numb and any movement or noise you may make is unbeknownst to you.

The darkness washes over your body, and you feel at peace.

"Ugh, my head."

The phrase sounds awfully familiar, but you shake it off and really wonder if this time you're dead. You don't feel dead, but so dead people feel or know they're dead?

Your surroundings are unfamiliar and you soon notice your chest is covered in bandages that have a couple of stains of red splotching it. You don't focus on that for too long before your head turns to the window where sunlight streams through, taking in the dirt roads and what appears to be a mile of vines set into neat columns. Is heaven supposed to be a single bedroom in an Italian vineyard? The thought seems unlikely because you for sure thought that heaven wouldn't let you come in and people wouldn't bleed there but perhaps it's different for everyone.

What even happened last night?

The bed creaks as you move to try and stretch out your limbs, but you only wince as the prompt movement sends up a sting to your shoulder. So that's what happened, you got shot for the first time ever and almost died from it.

The door creaks open, you feel like covering yourself with the nearest sheet to try and resemble something close to decent. Still, you don't and decide to wait for the person to enter and see your semi-naked body. Or maybe not, you quickly wrap the bedsheet over your shoulders like a shawl before footsteps creak against the wooden floorboards.

"Hey, [Y/n]," you peer towards the unfamiliar doorway, Mista stands there and he almost appears guilty. "sorry about all of "

He waves his hand around as if it should mean something to you until it clicks his referencing the room, "this."

You figure that a normal person's first thoughts would consist of: why am I here? Why am I shirtless and covered in bandages? Is this some kind of hostage situation where there's a ransom hanging over my head but a group of secret and hot spies come to recuse me and the world from certain doom?

The first question seems a bit ridiculous in your opinion but everyone's different. Probably your only concern is as to why Mista is exactly apologizing, from what you are aware of, somebody shot you and he is the one that saved you from bleeding out over a poorly furnished room.

You lick your lips, they're dry and flaky but they don't burn. You wish to ask him for a glass of water or something, however, that may be ill-advised considering you're in an unfamiliar place with a boy you barely know.

"Your Stand's real nice," he nods over to where she's sitting, but all she does is glare in his direction.

"Oh, MSI, yeah, she's like my mom or whatever." it's such a casual admission that he doesn't have time to respond before you catch on to his wording. "Wait, Stand?"

Mista doesn't have a lot of time to respond as the door opens once he parts his lips. It's another man, you don't recognize him, navy blue hair that's  cut into a bob that probably wouldn't work on any other dude and eyes a shade lighter that bore into you. Dude's attractive in knowing he could probably murder you and spit on your face, but you're also too frightened by his presence to make light of him entering the room.

He then looks at Mista, nodding towards the door before the boy reluctantly leaves with a wave and lets out another small apology. It's just you two now and there's uncomfort within your actions as you're now under his scrutiny. You expect him to straight up kill you at this moment, but you also feel like he's got some unfinished business with you.

If he can see MSI, he ignores her as she stands near the edge of the bed watching to make sure the shit that happened yesterday doesn't happen again. Mystery guy pulls up a stray chair that happens to just lie around this barren room and his eyes fixate on you in some way that others may find uneasy, but you find it flattering. It's not often people try to look your way, you'll take what you can get.

He breathes out a sigh, almost as if what he's about to tell you is too stupid for his brain to handle.

"Mista shot you," he states, it's almost as if expects this behavior from him.

That shithead.

"I know that it may be a bit strange waking up in this place, but I promise no harm has come to you. Bruno Buccellati," he reaches out a hand towards you, but you're so bewildered over his gentleness that it takes a few seconds before you dab it up. He doesn't know what the fuck is going on anymore, "okay. Your Stand has answered most of our questions about your motives on that night and we placed your things on the desk."

You probably only have one question which is; where is Mista right now? However, it's probably best to not piss off the guy who can easily shoot you again. You let out a small "thanks" that only get drowned out when the door is opened with a shrill creak.

"Hey, boss, Polpo sent us a folder." A new man enters and while he smiles at Bruno, he takes a single glance at you and scowls.

Whatever the fuck his problem is, you don't care. Boss is what intrigues you and you can see him somewhat cringe at the formal handle. The other guy leaves and it's back to just the two of you, he sees the grin on your face and his expression turns to a stoic one. He nods, allowing you to ask whatever inquiries have begun to tangle within your mind.

"So you're like a gang, right?" revelation of information doesn't stop your sudden interest. "That's really fucking rad. How do I join?"

It's probably a bit stupid to say that, your school warned you that the mob is totally not rad.

Bruno runs a hand through hair and it should not look as good as it does, "I shouldn't encourage you to get involved with this, it's not something kids should be in."

It's a bit hypocritical, you thought of Mista to be in his teens but maybe he's just a bit older than you. A lot of people still have young faces, you wouldn't blame Bruno if he originally and still thinks you're twelve years old. You look like a pubescent child and maybe that's why MSI coddles you like one.

You slide off the bed, it's a bit weird you still haven't put your shirt on. You move towards the aforementioned desk and find your backpack is there along with your favorite shirt. There's no blood stained on it, they must've washed it which is kind for being a gang leader, but there's that tear that leads right to the wound. Maybe it's just plain luck that's landed you in this situation or stupidity, either one works out just fine.

"Please, I just want I need something to get away from all of my shit, plus you kinda recruited the guy that shot me and I think you owe me." That's probably not how gang recruitment works, but you figure your ignorance is charming enough.

He looks at you, more than just a glance or a slight once over, but he really just stares. It doesn't make it any less creepy, yet, you can tell it's just some critical analysis over your words. You weren't lying, shit gets boring way too easily and while joining the mob might be extreme, you might find it's the only tangible achievement at the moment.

"Alright then," he stands up from the chair, body behind illuminated by the daylight pouring in. "I'll help you."

Man, people like to be dramatic. But you find this all to be a little too anticlimactic for your tastes. Is getting recruited really this lackluster?

You tilt your head, skeptical of when he's just gonna just say "psych" and camera crews will come out and clown on you. "Really, that's all it took?"

"Yes, why did you expect something more?"

Yeah, you really did.

"I don't know, it's just probably just imagined something with a bit more bam!" you emphasize your point by throwing your hands in his face, it uncovers a bit of amusement from him.

"Well, like what?"

"Um," tapping your finger against your chin, you pretend to be in thought but the choice is already clear to you. He appears to like to play into your little charade, some slight smirk placed on his features. "an indoctrination tattoo!"

"Oh, you can get a tattoo."

You grin, fists balling up in excitement that you may, after all, get a naked sailor lady tattooed on your thigh, "Really? Hell "

"When you're of age."

The interruption is unwelcome and you roll your eyes at his motherly nature, something that evokes hints of MSI. Sauntering towards the single bed, you flop on it and groan into the pillow. You hear a light laugh coming from behind you.

"Ugh, this gang sucks already."

It's weird, this is weird. You're some stupid teen born with a silver spoon who threw that all away to sell drugs and have now joined a gang. This really shouldn't have been a tangible destiny, but there's a certain bubbling in your chest, you don't think you ever wanna let that go.