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Buon Compleanno

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April went by faster than expected. 

Each day passed along quickly and smoothly, like the spring breeze so familiar throughout the air this time of year. Before long, it was already the 16th. To the rest of the world, April 16th was nothing special. Just another ordinary day. A day that would pass and go, forgotten among the next. 

And to Giorno Giovanna, that same belief held true. April 16th was nothing special.

Sure, it was his birthday today, but that held little to no importance to him. Why would it? To Giorno, the fact that April 16th was his birthday held the same significance as the fact that it was sunny outside, or that it was Mista’s turn to pick up the groceries. Just a small detail about the day, that’s all it was.

The day held no significant value to him, nor did it ever.

So it came as quite the surprise when Giorno was enlightened by the delicious smell of pancakes being made as he entered the kitchen.

Normally, being the early bird that he had always been, Giorno would make breakfast and eat alone at the table— at the same time the sun would just begin to rise. It would be far too early for anyone else to be awake, unless there were special circumstances. 

He wondered what the circumstances were this time, discovering that Bucciarati was down in the kitchen before him, with breakfast already made.

“Ah, Giorno! Good morning.” Bucciarati beamed, flipping a pancake from the griddle onto an already-stacked plate.

“Good morning.” Giorno responded simply, walking towards the kitchen table. Bucciarati retrieved another plate from the pantry, moving some of the pancakes to it. 

Those smell good. The teen thought to himself, his mouth subtly watering. Perhaps I should try to make pancakes sometime?  

As if he could read minds, Bucciarati swiftly placed the dish by Giorno’s seat at the table, waving him over to come sit. 

“Well come on! These pancakes aren’t gonna eat themselves.” Bruno teased.

“...Those are for me?” The boy asked, bewildered. 

“Why of course.”

The Capo said it so simply, as if there should have been no question towards his actions—not that Bucciarati was unkind in any way, but going out of his way to wake up extra early, just to make Giorno breakfast? It seemed like a little much. He didn’t know what to say. 

“Oh! Uh...thank you, Bucciarati.” Giorno settled on. 

“Don’t mention it. ” The man replied with a proud smile. 

Giorno nodded, returning his attention to the plate in front of him. A small stack of steaming homemade pancakes, decorated with chocolate chips. He took a bite, the delicious warmth immediately flooding his mouth. The smile that tugged at his lips couldn’t be helped. 

“Happy Birthday, Giorno.”

An unfamiliar warmth blossomed within his chest, mixing with the slightest swirl of confusion. 

Bucciarati did this...for him? For his birthday?

The generous man seemed to hold more value towards Giorno’s birthday than the boy ever had in his entire life. Was it that special?

No, I’m probably overthinking it. 

Bucciarati was a kind man. Of course he’d jump at any opportunity to show care for Giorno. That’s all. His birthday didn’t really mean anything.

Eating the last bite of his delicious breakfast, the teen quickly scooted out from his seat.  

“Ah, may I take your plate, Giorno?” Bucciarati quickly asked, noticing his departure from the table. 

Giorno nodded, handing him the plate. Bruno placed the plate softly in the sink, among the other dirtied dishes that were used to make the breakfast. There were...a lot of dishes. 

“Bucciarati…” Giorno asked hesitantly, the man quickly turning to face him. 

“Yes? What is it?” He asked innocently. 

“Could I...help you clean up? That’s a lot of dishes, and you already went through the trouble of making—“

“—It’s no trouble Giorno, I promise.” Bucciarati laughed softly, urging the boy to go along with his day. 

He wanted to argue, to insist, but Bucciarati’s stance was firmly decided. The tall man wiped down the dishes with practiced ease, determined to clean all of them. Giorno released a small sigh from his nose in response.

“...Alright. I’ll be up in my room if you need me. I have some paperwork to finish up.” The young gangster explained casually. 

His footsteps gently ascended the staircase, traveled towards his room, and disappeared through the doorway. 

Just another day. 

 

————

 

Narancia stretched groggily, leaving his room and walking towards the staircase. As he traveled, Giorno’s shut door came to his attention. Light peeled underneath, signaling that the boy had already eaten, and was probably working on papers of some kind. 

Man, how does he always get up so early?

Still too sleepy to think about it too hard, Narancia yawned as he continued his way downstairs and towards the kitchen. As he walked, conversational sounds reached his ears. 

“Woah, Trish! Can you even eat that many pancakes?” Mista’s voice gawked. 

Narancia finally entered the room, rubbing his eyes. 

Abbacchio sat at the table, sipping his morning tea quietly. Trish and Mista sat opposite of eachother (as well as a safe distance from morning-Abbacchio) talking enthusiastically. They each had plates stacked with pancakes, their amounts rivaling each other. 

“If it’s Bucciarati’s pancakes, I could eat them forever.” She explained, taking a bite with her fork. 

Looking over, Narancia saw Bucciarati at the sink, cleaning various dishes. The Capo scrubbed dutifully, a pleased glint in his eye. 

“Bucciarati made pancakes?” Narancia finally spoke, voice hoarse from sleep. 

“Yep! Make sure to grab some for yourself, before Trish takes em’ all—!” Mista’s tease was abruptly cut off by a playful elbow to his side. 

Abbacchio tried to hold back a huff of amusement. 

“Ah, I see Abbacchio’s finally woken up!” Trish giggled. 

“Shut up.” He grumbled, his scowl not having nearly as much bite as intended. Trish and Mista’s replying smiles went ignored. 

Sitting down, Narancia looked at the plate of pancakes he had grabbed for himself. They were fluffy, sprinkled with small chocolate chips. The soft taste flooded his mouth—an amazing way to start the morning.

“Why did Bucciarati even make pancakes? Not that I’m complaining.” Narancia asked between mouthfuls. 

“Oh, I made them for Giorno.” Bruno replied simply, overhearing the conversation. 

Narancia looked around, noticing the said boy’s absence. 

“Where is he then?” Mista asked, pulling the words from Narancia’s thoughts. A plate clinked against the bottom of the sink.

“He’s in his room, I think— and don’t worry, he had some pancakes already. I woke up extra early to make them, just to make sure that he’d have a chance to enjoy them.” Bucciarati explained, placing another dish on the drying rack. “It’s his birthday, after all.” 

Mista choked, pounding his chest before gulping down the offending chunk of pancake. 

“His birthday?!” The gunslinger yelled incredulously. Similar shock presented itself around the table. 

Trish stared stupidly at their Capo as Mista continued to sputter. Abbacchio’s brow furrowed briefly before the small expression quickly vanished. 

Giorno’s...Birthday?

Mista quickly scooped the remains of his meal into his mouth before running his plate over to the sink. 

“Trish! Come on, we have to get him something  before he notices we’re gone!” Mista exclaimed. 

“Okay, okay! At least let me finish eating—“ 

Mista quickly ran to get the keys. 

“Don’t forget to buy groceries while you’re out! It’s your turn, after all.” Bucciarati called after him. 

“Mm-hmm!” Mista hummed intensely, holding the car keys with his teeth as he slipped on his shoes. 

Abbacchio scoffed at the sight, standing up to put away his empty cup. 

“Narancia, you coming?” Trish asked, shaking her head amusedly at Mista’s panic. 

“Sure, I guess. Let me grab some money for a gift real quick.” He said, clearing his plate. Almost forgetting, he turned to the man by the sink. “Thanks for breakfast, Bucciarati.”

The Capo smiled. “You’re welcome, Narancia. Make sure Mista doesn’t buy anything too crazy, alright?”

The boy laughed and nodded, walking to the front door shortly after grabbing his wallet from his bedroom. Mista and Trish were already outside, heading towards the car. 

Just before he could leave, a deep voice addressed him. 

“Hey.” 

It was Abbacchio. The tall man thrusted a few bills into Narancia’s hand. 

Narancia looked at him, confused. 

“It’s to pitch in. For the gift.” Abbacchio explained, grumbling. “...for Giorno.” He added quietly. 

The orange-clothed boy stared at the note, taken aback at Abbacchio’s generosity. He wanted to pitch in?

“Take it before I don't let you.” The tall man growled. 

Oh. Right. He had been staring at the money. 

Putting the money in his pocket, Narancia nodded in understanding, before shutting the door behind him. 

 

————

 

Hours passed as the day went on, Giorno spending most of it doing paperwork, or just straightening up around the house. The usual stuff, chores expected for a typical day. 

At the moment, Giorno was sitting in the living room. Mista, Trish, and Narancia had returned from grocery shopping shortly before dinner time, acting...somewhat strangely, if he were to be honest. After unloading all of the groceries, the small group scrambled upstairs and into Mista’s room, slamming the door behind them. 

“What’s up with them?” Giorno couldn’t stop himself from asking. 

On the couch farthest from him, Abbacchio let out a characteristic sigh. 

“They probably bought something stupid and decided to mess with it before dinner.” The ex-cop said lazily. 

Giorno hummed, dismissing the thought. 

 

—————

 

Dinner passed quickly, the gang routinely cleaning up afterwards. 

Since it was Trish and Narancia’s turn to do the dishes, Giorno casually left the kitchen after the meal had ended. 

Thirty minutes passed when the teen noticed that he was the only one in the living room. Usually, after dinner, the gang would slowly filter into the living room and talk together, or watch TV. Today, something seemed to be holding them up in the kitchen. His answer came as a shout from a few rooms away. 

“Giorno, come here! Bucciarati just finished setting up dessert!” Trish called. 

Dessert? On a weekday?

Bewildered, Giorno stood from the couch and marched towards the formal dining room. He wasn’t offended about having dessert, it just struck him as unexpected. Mista probably picked up something at the store, he guessed.

As soon as he crossed the doorway, an enthusiastic chorus of yells greeted him. 

“Happy Birthday!”

His eyes widened in shock. 

The entire gang sat around the table, smiling up at him. Even Abbacchio’s typical scowl was smaller than normal. In the middle of the table was a chocolate cake, the icing cutely decorated with flowers and ladybugs. Plates and forks sat beside it, eagerly awaiting use. 

That odd combination of warmth and confusion squirmed in his gut again. How did they know it was my birthday? Did Bucciarati tell them? Why were they doing this…?

“Uh, you guys didn’t have to—“  Giorno started awkwardly. Mista happily cut him off. 

“Nonsense! You’re a part of this family now, so of course we’re gonna celebrate your birthday!” The gunslinger enthused. 

Against Giorno’s will, the warmth spread even more at that comment. It was a feeling he didn’t quite understand. Just like this celebration—the cake, everything. He didn’t understand why they were making it such a big deal. 

“Giorno? Why are you standing there all confused, like you’re trying to figure out a crossword puzzle? Aren’t you surprised?” Narancia asked, noticing his expression. 

“Yes, I am quite...surprised. I never expected to celebrate my birthday, so all of this is kind of a shock…” The birthday boy said, rubbing his neck. 

Bucciarati perked up at that. 

“Hmm? You weren’t expecting to celebrate your birthday? What do you mean?” The Capo questioned. 

Giorno shrugged. 

“I never really celebrated it before...I think this is actually the most celebration I’ve ever seen for my birthday, actually...” He explained, brushing it off. 

“You’ve never celebrated your birthday?!” Narancia yelled in disbelief. 

“Not really.” The golden teen shrugged again.

“Damn. Whatever friends you used to have while growing up must’ve sucked!” Narancia spat. 

Giorno bit his lip. “Yeah…” 

I didn’t have friends.

Abbacchio seemed to read his thoughts, frowning slightly at his weak answer. 

“...What about your parents? Didn’t they ever celebrate?” He interrogated. 

Giorno tensed, unable to bear Abbacchio’s gaze anymore. His eyes took interest in the floor instead, as the boy rubbed his arm. 

“No...they didn’t.” He swallowed nervously. “They never did.” Giorno added quietly, looking up. 

Abbacchio’s eyes flashed with something, but it went away before Giorno could decipher it. The tall man sighed. 

“Well then, we have a lot of celebration to catch up on. Sit down.” The lilac-haired gangster said blandly, pointing to the chair at the head of the table. 

Not wanting to provide any more tension to the already slightly-tense room, Giorno sat down. It was a little awkward, with the heaviness of the previous conversation still being prominent. Narancia sensed it, groaning. 

“Ughhhhh. I can’t eat cake with this atmosphere.” The rowdy teen said as he pulled at his hair, trying to loosen the atmosphere. “You guys need to lighten up! It’s a celebration, not a funeral.”

That got Giorno to chuckle quietly, Narancia’s tone working its magic. 

“Why don’t we do gifts first? I know cake is usually first, but we need to brighten up the mood some more. Like Narancia said.” Mista pitched. 

“Gifts? You guys got me gifts?” Giorno sounded taken aback. 

“Why wouldn’t we?” Trish asked innocently. 

Even Abbacchio pitched in!” Narancia squeaked, causing the man to glare. 

“Shut up, brat.” He growled, looking away. “I should’ve never given you the money.”

“Aww! I didn’t know Abbacchio was soft!” Mista laughed. The rest of the gang laughed too, the happy air feeling contagious. 

“Alright guys, how about we get started? Mista, go bring down the gifts.” Bucciarati said. 

“You got it!”

“I’m so excited!”

“He’s gonna like mine the most!”

The eager voices drifted through Giorno’s ears. Their utter glee instantly brightened the mood, and he could feel a smile tug at his lips.

Is this what birthdays are supposed to be?

His thoughts were interrupted as eager footsteps pounded against the floor, quickly approaching the room.

“Here we are!” Mista huffed, placing several boxes on the table. They were...poorly wrapped, being honest, but the effort was there. 

“What are you waiting for? Open one!”

“Oh! Uh, okay.” Giorno said, grabbing the closest gift.

He ripped through the loose paper, unveiling the gift. Inside contained 4 packs of chocolate pudding, each pack containing 6 cups. Narancia smiled nervously.

“I noticed that chocolate pudding is your favorite snack, so I thought...you know...do you like it?” He twiddled his fingers, waiting for Giorno’s response.

The birthday boy smiled genuinely.

“Of course, Narancia. This is a great gift, thank you.” He said, instantly causing Narancia to sag with relief

Whew , I was worried that for some reason—”

“— Mine next, mine next!” Mista swiftly interrupted, pushing forwards another crinkly-wrapped gift. 

Giorno chucked, accepting it.

The gift felt soft and fluffy, triggering curiosity from Giorno as he unwrapped it in his lap. Bits of paper floated towards the floor as they were ripped away, exposing a soft bundle —a blanket?

As he unraveled it, he discovered the blanket to also be decorated in a ladybug pattern. An awkward smile pressed against his face as he squished the soft blanket between his fingers.

“Ladybugs. I’m noticing a trend here.” He said, causing Bucciarati to chuckle.

“I told them that all this ladybug stuff seemed a bit much, but they insisted.” The Capo explained. “I hope it's not a bother.” He joked.

Giorno provided a small laugh at that. “No, not at all. I was never even expecting this, so…” He trailed off. A sad smile grew on his face.

“Well, don’t get all thankful yet, you still have one left.” Bruno reminded him.

“Oh! Yes, right.” He nearly forgot.

Giorno grabbed the final gift, the one with the neatest wrap job. Clearly Trish’s doing.

Everyone watched in anticipation.

He tore gently through the ladybug-themed wallpaper (did they really have to make everything ladybug-related?) until he finally held a small box. The rest of the gang watched excitedly as he opened it gently.

Inside, was a beautiful silver chain, decorated with a small pendant in the shape of a blue ladybug, extremely similar to the brooches resting on his chest. It was utterly breathtaking; He stared in awe as it rested in his hand.

Giorno couldn’t even joke that it was another thing ladybug-related. The gift felt too important, too valuable to tease. It was special to him, and he immediately became attached. 

“It's wonderful.” He praised, turning to the pink-haired girl, “This is amazing, Trish. I don't know how I could ever repay you.” He was genuinely lost. It was probably the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him.

Trish smiled warmly, her eyes shining deepy with gratitude.

“Giorno, that pendant represents the resolve that saved us all. It wasn’t just me, everyone pitched in for it—even Abbacchio. It’s a thank you. Without you, none of us would be here. You’ve already paid us enough, so don’t worry about it.” She explained seriously, the gang nodding in agreement. 

Giorno stood up, connecting the chain behind his neck. It was perfect, and he couldn’t have asked for anything better. His eyes burned with gratitude.

“Thank you—all of you. I’m thankful beyond words. It means more to me than you’ll ever know—” He cut himself off, his throat tightening with emotion.

“Ah, just hug us already, birthday boy!” Mista interrupted, laughing. 

Narancia didn’t hesitate at the queue, throwing his arms around the younger boy. The others quickly followed, slowly enveloping him in a group hug. Abbacchio generously stood close by, gently placing a hand on Giorno’s shoulder.

The boy stood shocked in the middle of the embrace, the warmth he’d been feeling occasionally throughout the day hitting him at full force. After all these years, he finally understood.

He had friends now. He had a family now. And they cared about him.

“Happy Birthday, Giorno. We’re glad you’re here.”

 

————

 

A few hours, cake slices, and movies later, the entire gang had crashed in the living room. The mafia members were peacefully strewn across the floor in various sleeping positions. Located in the middle of them all, was Giorno. A pillow fort had been built around him, the boy slumbering peacefully under his new ladybug-pattern blanket. 

His chest rose and fell evenly, the necklace moving with it. A smudge of chocolate pudding rested on his cheek.

It was a good birthday.