Sunday afternoon finds them sitting side by side in the large couch at the office, Giorno enjoying a much needed break from work and Mista keeping an eye on the surroundings - and on Giorno, as always. Giorno has his hair on a ponytail, having deemed braids just too complicated for a Sunday, and both have their legs thrown over the coffee table. Aside from the sound of Giorno turning the pages of the book he’s reading, the place is fairly quiet. It’s the kind of afternoon Mista loves the most.
Another thing Mista loves is Giorno’s copy of Les Misérables.
Not much for its content; he hasn’t read more than fifty pages of the thing, defeated by boredom everytime he tries to advance a little bit more. No, what captivates him is the tome itself - the well-worn violet cover, the thin pages, the sheer size of it. It reminds him of his mother’s old Bible, left behind long before he left home. And, judging by how many times Mista’s seen Giorno curled up with the book since the two of them started working together, it might as well fill that role in his Boss’s life.
He’s tracing the book’s spine with a finger to feel its velvety texture when he notices Giorno’s been stuck on the same page for a while now, if the lack of sounds of rustling paper is any indication.
Mista looks up to find Giorno pursing his lips and staring at the book with a look that says he’s not really seeing what’s in front of him. It’s not an unusual expression for Giorno, especially since he became the head of Passione - there’s always a rival faction to take care of, a political hindrance to deal with, work to be done.
However, it doesn't mean Mista is under any obligation to like it when Giorno gets like this during their scarce off-hours.
He flicks the book’s spine with a finger. The sound is muffled by whatever material the binding is made of, but it’s enough to startle Giorno a little. He turns to Mista with an alarmed look.
“Did anything happen?”, he asks.
“Nah”, Mista replies, the corner of his mouth rising a little. “You were just… Not really here, y’know.”
Giorno blinks two, three times - “do his lashes really have to be that long”, Mista thinks - and then nods, with a sigh.
“Sorry, Guido”, he says, leaning back towards the cushions. “Just running over some details from Fugo’s last report about those new Stand users in Florence.” He lowers his book and settles it over his lap, worrying his lower lip. “It might become an ugly situation if we let it unsupervised for long.”
“I guess”, Mista says. “But it’s gonna be really difficult to deal with it if you don’t get some rest once in a while.” He eyes the bags under Giorno’s eyes with what he thinks is a vehement stare, but doesn’t mention it out loud. “It’s not like we’re on the run now like we were during that mess with the old Boss.”
“Could you stop being right for two seconds?”, Giorno quips before raising his arms above his head and stretching like a cat. He then nestles further against the couch and brings his legs closer, the book still perched over them.
Mista leans in to take a peek. “Which chapter is this?”
“The one that introduces Les Amis d’ABC”, Giorno says in impeccable French. Mista’s sure that name must be a pun of some sort - a lot of the things in the book seem to be, if Giorno wasn’t messing with him when he asked for clarifications after watching the musical once. “I’m rather fond of their descriptions for some reason. And no, none of the actors in the musical you’ve watched match them.”
And it’s not a real conversation about Les Misérables if Giorno doesn’t express his distaste for everything the musical chooses to be.
“I thought musical theatre was more about who could sing and whatnot”, says Mista, less to prove any particular point of his - he’s not that invested in theatre anyway - and more to hear Giorno’s adorable huff of irritation.
Then he realizes it’s the perfect time to put in motion a little plan of his.
“Anyway, how’s that guy’s name pronounced again? The revolutionary leader?”
Giorno looks at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Wasn’t it used in any songs during the musical?”
“I guess, but fuck if I understood.”
Giorno lowers his head and goes back to the book, turning pages and running a slender finger over lines in search of something. He then nods to no one in particular and scoots closer to Mista.
“Here it is”, he says, pointing to one of the names. “Just… Don’t ask me to say it.”
Mista mutters a low “yeah”, a tad distracted by the blush creeping up Giorno’s neck and ears. He doesn’t know if it’s just frustration for not knowing something or if it’s because they haven’t been that close physically in quite some time, but oh, how he’d love to find out.
He blinks, going back to the task he assigned himself, and looks at the name Giorno is still pointing at.
“En… Enjol… Enjolras?”, he tries. “Man, and people say Narancia and Fugo have weird names.”
Giorno’s head is still lowered and his hair covers his face a little, but Mista thinks he can see him biting back a smile.
“But why do you want to know that?”
“Nothing special, its just a little story I’ve heard that involves his name.”
Giorno shoots him a look out of the corner of his eye.
“Is this another of those ‘little stories’ ending in terrible puns you’ve been telling me all week?”
Giorno raises his head and studies Mista’s face for a few seconds with pursed lips. Mista resists the temptation to fidget in his seat.
“Fine", he says after a minute. "Go ahead.”
Mista gulps and nods. It’s incredible how Giorno can look so intimidating over a book of all things, but then again that’s also how he looks everytime he deems the matter serious enough and that’s how he had looked the moment Mista started falling for him. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
“OK. Also, please tell me if I get the names mixed-”
“Don’t worry, I will”, Giorno answers, a wicked glint in his eye.
“OK”, Mista repeats. “So, there’s a girl named Louison who works at the Cafe Musain, right?”. He refuses to think about how awful his French must sound.
“Good. So, after her mother dies, she starts taking her daughter-”
“She’s barely in the text and no one mentions a mother or a daughter”, Giorno points out. Mista rolls his eyes.
“It’s behind the scenes speculation, OK? Just let me finish.”
“OK, fine.” Giorno’s legs are almost over Mista’s lap at this point. He takes a deep breath to ground himself and continues.
“Where was I? Oh, yeah, her mother dies and she has to bring her daughter with her to the Cafe because there’s no one else to take care of the kid.”
“Isn’t this story a bit grim?”
“Giogio, as far as I know the whole fucking book is grim.”
“... Point taken.”
"Anyway, she leaves the girl in the back-room where Les Amis make their conferences. They all start to like her because she’s really cute, but she likes Jehan and Feuilly best and prefers to sit next to them most of the time. Then, one day, Enjolras is talking about the advent of the Republic and stuff, and she takes her thumb out of her mouth and whispers to Jehan, ‘maman’s old cat Delphine had babies and they are all Republicans!’.”
Giorno looks fairly intrigued by the story at that point, and Mista high-fives himself mentally.
“Then a week passes, her mother brings her to the meeting again and Jehan asks her, ‘how are you little Republican kitties doing?’. She looks at him with wide eyes and says ‘oh, m’sieur, they aren’t Republicans any longer’.”
“But why, what happened?”, asks Giorno.
“Well, Jehan’s just as puzzled as you are. ‘But you said they were just last week!’, he asks her. Then she nods and says ‘yes, but last week they were still blind’.”
Giorno blinks once, twice, mouthing the end of the story to himself. Mista holds his breath.
It begins with a slight shake of his shoulders, and a hand being raised to the mouth. Then his whole body starts shaking too, and soon enough Giorno can’t contain his laughter. The book looks about to fall from his lap and it doesn’t look like he even cares, which is a first as far as Mista can remember. He briefly summons Sex Pistols to grab it and set it aside.
“Republican cats!”, Giorno says between helpless giggles, turning to the side to grab Mista’s arm and pressing his forehead against Mista’s shoulder.
“I wish I had known this would be the one to get to you; I’d have told it sooner”, Mista comments. It’s hard to stop smiling at the sight, even with Giorno’s weak, but repeated, punches to his sides.
And then Giorno makes a little snort sound, completely undignified and cute as hell, and that’s when Mista pretty much considers his mission on Earth done. “Rest in peace, Guido Mista, you’ve lived a good life, defeated great evil and made Giorno Giovanna laugh”.
… Or maybe not, since Giorno’s next action is reach up to give him a shy little kiss on the cheek and croak out a “thank you”, voice still laced with laughter.
He has to live if he wants more of those in the future, after all.