The voice wasn’t recognizable, but there was no doubt it was talking to him. Brows furrowing at the call of his name, he stopped walking, looking up and turning to face the voice. As expected, he didn’t know them. The owner of the voice was a man, he looked around his own age—possibly, one could never tell—with golden blonde hair that fell in curls around his shoulders, adorned with some victory rolls. His dress was rather flashy as well, why someone would bare their chest like that was beyond him, and looked even quite expensive. The man was smiling brightly, expression showing some relief as well. Why did he look so relieved to see him? How did he even know his name? And why was there a sense that he recognized this man? Before he could even voice a single question that was rolling around in his head, he found himself pulled into a hug by the other, causing him to freeze up and go wide-eyed.
“I found you! I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to!”
Found him? He didn’t even know him. Was he mistaking him for someone else? But he’d known his name, there was no way this was a mistake. How did he know him? Why was he looking for him or even why was he worried?
“Uhm,” he finally spoke, not at all reciprocating the other’s hug, “Who are you?”
The words caused the man to release his grip, stepping back to arm’s length. Now his expression read of hurt as well as confusion. He continued to stand there, trying to figure out mentally if he really did know this man or not. If he did, he was sure he’d remember him immediately based on appearance alone, and probably just in passing on the street or something similar. Maybe someone he was introduced to by a friend once and then never seen again. Nothing that would cause the other to look so…dejected.
“You don’t…remember me?”
Fugo blinked before shaking his head. “No, in fact I don’t recall ever meeting you at all. Should I recognize you—“
“No,” he interjected swiftly, causing Fugo to reel a bit in surprise at the reaction. Only moments before the other had seemed so down at the proposition of him having not recognized the man, but now it seemed he’d recovered fully.
“I suppose you shouldn’t have, it was my mistake,” the man continued, smiling once more and extending his hand. “My name is Giorno Giovanna, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Pannacotta Fugo,” he responded a bit skeptically, carefully taking the other’s hand to shake it. “It’s...nice to meet you too.”
Really, he never expected things to change as much as they did after that meeting.
“Mista! Open up! Come on, everyone else is waiting for us already!”
Banging on his roommate’s door, he hoped it would hurry the other up already. He heard muffled curses coming from the other side as well as shuffling and some bumping, causing him to wonder just what the hell it took for the other to get up and dressed. After a few more minutes of waiting the door finally opened to reveal the other. Dressed in his normal beanie, hoodie, and jeans stood Mista, also looking exhausted—as if he hadn’t been asleep for the past twelve hours or so.
“Come on they can wait, you know Narancia isn’t there yet either anyway. He always shows up later than we do.”
“The fact that we show up even close to when he arrives is exactly the problem, you know.”
Watching Mista roll his eyes, he just scrunched his nose, mumbling an ‘Andiamo’ before grabbing his keys and heading out the door. It had been around three or four years since he and Mista had become roommates. They had been good friends for longer before that, but decided to live together when living by themselves had become too expensive. They’d even offered Narancia to the third room in their apartment so they didn’t have to rent it to some stranger, but the other boy had refused since he’d apparently grown too attached to his own place (and it was already cheap enough for him to afford). So instead it was just them, and multiple other third roommates that came and went, not being able to mesh well with how laid back and lazy Mista was nor able to be patient with Fugo’s temper. Neither minded too much, cost was the only issue but it was affordable enough as it was.
Walking in silence, they were headed to a café that their group of friends went to probably far too often for their own good. It was just easier than picking a new place every few days, considering they all met up to get lunch every time they were all free. When they arrived, only Buccellati and Abbacchio were there, which was no surprise other than the fact there wasn’t a third face with them.
“Where’s Trish?” Mista was the first to speak, pulling out a chair to sit. “Usually it’s just Narancia we’re waiting on.”
“She said she was caught up with work, had to show the newest employee around,” Buccellati responded, shrugging lightly. “While she said we could start without her since she’ll be by later on, I doubt Narancia will get here much before her.”
Fugo couldn’t help but give a snort at that as he sat down himself. Narancia was always late—without question. All of them knew it by now and didn’t bother to hide that they expected it from him. In all honesty though, if it weren’t for the fact he and Mista were living together he was certain Mista would be the last to arrive out of them all. The other barely woke up without prompting in the first place. It was honestly impressive he managed to keep a job. Though he was pretty sure Trish had some play in helping keeping him employed.
“Sorry I’m late! There was—”
“We know,” Fugo responded to the cheerful voice that had approached from behind and plopped down in the seat next to him. “There was something on the way over that you couldn’t pass up or whatever. Same as usual.”
“Hey hey, maybe sometime it’ll be like…like… uh…” Scrunching up his face in thought, Narancia tried to come up with a retort, leaving Fugo to roll his eyes.
“Dude if you can’t even come up with an alternative it’s not gonna happen,” Mista interjected, smile playing at his lips at the younger who was struggling.
“Man, shut up!” Narancia snapped back, glaring at Mista. “It’ll come to me eventually!”
“Sure it will, don’t strain yourself thinking too hard.”
“I’m not gonna strain myself!”
“Alright, calm down,” Buccellati’s calm voice cut through the argument that was building between the two, causing both to turn their attention to him. “There’s no need to argue over this. I’m sure Narancia meant that maybe there will be an accident or something similar that would cause the road to be blocked.”
Narancia simply nodded, mumbling a ‘Yeah, what Buccellati said’ as Mista reclined back in his seat. Some argument always started up during these lunches, and if they were lucky it was Buccellati to break it up before it escalated. If they weren’t so lucky, Abbacchio was yelling at them to shut it before he threw them out of the café himself. Luckily enough for them, he had never done good on his word. So far. Mentally cataloging all the times they had been threatened, Fugo started to ignore the conversation around him, only being brought back into it by a clasp of his shoulder.
“Hey, Fugo, Mista. You two still have a room free at your apartment, right?”
Even without looking, he knew who was talking to him. Regardless, he looked up to greet Trish, nodding at her question as she let go of his shoulder to go sit in the one empty seat at the table.
“Yeah, there is,” he responded, eyebrow raised a bit in question. “Why, do you want to move in?”
“No.” Her response was a little too quick, but he didn’t pay any mind to it. “You know how I was helping out with the new employee at work?”
“Aren’t you always helping with the new employees at work,” Narancia commented, elbow propped up on the table with his head leaned into his palm. “Does your dad really hate you that much to deal with them all?”
“Yes,” she gritted out, “but that’s beside the point. Anyway, you all know how we have to do background checks on everyone that applies before even considering them, since you all went through that process.” There was a pause as everyone nodded, well aware of how paranoid the other’s father—their boss—was about his employees. None of them were allowed to receive an actual interview for their positions until every detail of their history had been dug up and carefully sifted through.
“Just get to the point already,” Abbacchio commented, regardless of the fact the conversation had little to do with him. Trish rolled her eyes before continuing.
“The point is through this guy’s background check we found absolutely nothing, save for the fact he’s been living out of a hotel for the past week. That’s it. No prior work history, prior residency, family history, nothing. Like he just popped up out of nowhere.”
“And your dad still employed him?” Mista’s surprise wasn’t unfounded. Fugo clearly remembered how much was asked during his interview pertaining to his background check. If there was nothing to draw from, there was no way to determine how much the candidate was lying and how trustworthy they were in the boss’ eyes. The fact whoever this was managed to get hired with nothing to their name was a feat in itself.
“Well, at first he didn’t even want to consider him,” she admitted, sighing a bit and crossing her arms, leaning on the table a bit. “I asked him to reconsider since it was clear he was in need of work. Whatever little money he had for the hotel was going to run out eventually. So we gave him an interview, and he passed with flying colours. Of course my dad is still skeptical and wants a close eye kept on him. Which brings me to…”
“Why you asked about our free room.” Fugo interjected.
“Exactly,” she stated, leaning back in her seat a bit. “I also feel bad for him living out of a hotel. He’d need an apartment eventually anyway. If rent is the issue I can pay for his share for the month until his first paycheck goes through.”
“That’s assuming we agree to let him live with us,” he stated flatly. “We’ve never met him, even people we’ve leased to before we at least met and had a conversation with before deciding if we really wanted to live with them.”
“Then let’s have Trish bring him over tomorrow,” Mista offered, shrugging gently. “Neither of us have work so it’s fine. Not to mention that way we can both meet him and he can see the place to even make sure if he wants to stay there.”
Trish looked over to Fugo, eyes clearly asking if that was fine with him. He just sighed, closing his eyes. Normally he wouldn’t mind this sort of thing, but he had to admit he was a little skeptical. Having nothing come up in a background check was…more than a little sketchy. Still, he couldn’t disagree to at least meeting the man. Then he could really decide whether or not he was willing to live with him.
“Fine,” he finally responded, opening his eyes to look back over at Trish. “Swing by around 10, I’ll make sure this one’s awake.”
Tired eyes stared at the alarm clock, watching it switch to read ‘8:30’ and start to go off. Reaching out a hand, Fugo quickly shut off the alarm, shifting to sit up in bed. He sat there for a moment before swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and getting up. Lack of sleep was normal for him by now. Nightmares were fairly frequent, and if not for them he simply woke up at odd hours, unable to fall back asleep. In fact, he was fairly certain it had been weeks, if not months, or even over a year since he’d had a full night’s rest. He didn’t bother to dwell on it much, though.
Heading to the bathroom, he ignored the mirror as he brushed his teeth, not bothering to confirm the dark circles that were there. Turning on the shower, he took his time to wash up, using the warm water to help clear his head. When he began to feel sleepy from it, he quickly turned it hotter, so that it was scalding against his skin, waking him up immediately. Shutting the water off, he grabbed a towel, wrapping it around his waist and heading back to his room to dry off and get dressed. Once he was fully dressed, he glanced at the clock, noting it was just past nine. Looking around the room for something that he could throw, he settled on a stress ball that sat on his desk (a gift, though it did little to help when his temper got out of hand). Ball in hand, he walked down the hall to Mista’s room, not bothering to knock before opening it. He knew full well the other was still fast asleep. Staring at the lump under the sheets that was his friend, he just sighed before reeling his arm back, throwing the ball at him as hard as he could. Earning a groan in response as well as a shifting from underneath the covers, he just watched as Mista’s head poked out to glare at him.
“Get up, Trish will be here in less than an hour. You have that long to get dressed and make breakfast.”
“Why can’t you learn to just not set the kitchen on fire so I can sleep a little longer,” was the response he got, watching as Mista pushed himself up from the bed to rifle through the clothes piled on his floor. He was going to have to help him clean this mess up one day.
“I’ll make coffee,” he stated flatly, ignoring the jab at his cooking skills. He knew they were terrible anyway. “Just make eggs and toast if you don’t want to put effort into it.”
Receiving a grunt in response from the other, he turned on his heel to head to the kitchen. Grabbing the coffee grounds from the fridge, he set them on the counter before grabbing everything else needed to make the coffee, ignoring Mista as he walked in to make breakfast. Watching the coffee slowly fill the pot, he grabbed two mugs, asking Mista how he wanted his prepared. Taking note of the answer, he made sure to make it first once the coffee was done, handing the mug off to the other before pouring one for himself. He didn’t add anything to it, drinking it more for the caffeine it brought than the taste. Not moving from standing next to the coffee pot, he downed the first cup as fast as he could without burning his tongue before pouring another.
Moving to the table, he sat down, picking up the paper from the day before to stare at blankly. His eyes weren’t even registering the words, simply passing them over as he waited for the other to join him at the table. As soon as Mista had set down a plate in front of him and sat across the table from himself, he put the paper away, focusing on breakfast instead. Their mornings were generally quiet, even when there was a third roommate to join. It wasn’t as if he minded that, though. In fact he preferred it over the high energy of when everyone got together for lunch.
“So what do you think this guy is gonna be like?”
Mista’s voice cut through his thoughts, causing him to look up from his food. Contemplating the question for a bit, he eventually just shrugged, looking back down at his plate. There wasn’t a reason to speculate, right? Looking at the clock, it was close to ten already—they’d find out soon enough.
“Who knows,” he mumbled out in response, taking a sip of his coffee. “We’ll be meeting him soon enough, and he can’t be worse than some of our previous roommates.”
“What if he’s a killer,” the other mused through a mouth full of food. “That’s why his background is wiped clean.”
“If he is, I’m letting him kill you first. Maybe then it wouldn’t smell so bad around here.”
Standing up as Mista retorted angrily with an ‘I do not smell that bad!’, he grabbed his plate, downing the rest of his coffee on the way to the sink. While he was putting the dishes in to be washed, there was a knock on the door. Both his and Mista’s heads turned toward look at it, before his own eyes glanced to the clock. They were early.
“I’ll get it,” Mista stated, standing up and handing his mug and plate to Fugo. “You clean up since I made everything. We’ll be in the living room.”
Nodding and muttering an ‘alright’, he simply took the dish, adding it to the rest of the pile in the sink. Grabbing a sponge and the soap, he focused on washing all of the dishes, hearing the door open and greetings exchanged between friends. Their words were muffled and indecipherable, but he could clearly distinguish the voices. Mista spoke first, then Trish, then a third, unknown voice chimed in before Mista responded, and the door was closed. The conversation continued, but Fugo became stuck on the third voice. It felt…familiar. As if in a distant past, he heard it every day. It was a past comfort, something he always listened to with intent. Lips turning into a frown and brows furrowing as he washed the dishes, he did his best to ignore the feeling. But it kept creeping into his mind, making him more and more curious as to who was the owner of it.
He had to figure this out right away.
Giving up on the last few dishes, he discarded the sponge, not bothering to dry his hands as he headed toward the living room. The voices were clearer as he got closer, and he definitely recognized the third voice the more he could hear of it. When he entered and caught sight of the person Trish had brought, their potential new roommate, he froze. He knew them alright, and as their eyes met, he didn’t know what to feel about any of this anymore.
“Ah, Fugo!” Trish’s voice cut through the momentary silence that hung when he entered, and even though she was addressing him, he didn’t dare break eye contact with the other. “This is—”
“Giorno Giovanna,” he answered, finally looking away to take a seat on the couch next to Mista.
Trish blinked, mouth hanging open from when she was cut off, trying to register what he’d just said. Eventually she just looked between them, finally asking: “So you two know each other?”
“Not per se,” Giorno was the one to answer her, Fugo did his best to look at anything other than him now, caught up in his own thoughts. “I mistook him for someone else last week. We exchanged names, but that was it.”
“I see,” Trish responded slowly, looking a bit skeptical but accepting the answer regardless. “Well anyway, since Mista seems to be fine with this and what not, it’s just your decision Fugo on whether or not Giorno can live here. Like I said, I can pay for his share of rent until his first paycheck comes in as well as for the fee for another key—”
“Alright, then write up the check,” he responded, looking over at Trish. “If Mista is fine with it and things were talked out then its fine, the room’s his. He can move in now if he wants.”
The response seemed to bring a wide smile to Trish’s face, and looking over, he saw that it brought one to Giorno’s as well. While he was still a bit skeptical of him and where he came from, he felt at the same time that he could trust him deeply. He didn’t want to dwell on it too much. He’d rather just get this done and over with so he could shove the thoughts to the back of his head for a while. Trish animatedly began talking about sending someone to get Giorno’s things from the hotel, and talking to Mista to figure out the rent. Standing up, he motioned for Giorno to do the same, figuring Mista hadn’t bothered to show him the room.
Not saying a word as he made his way over to it, he simply stopped in front of a door down the hall. Opening it up, he flicked on the light. The room was equipped with a bed and a dresser, and Fugo had made sure to keep it clean in between roommates.
“This is your room,” he stated, turning to face Giorno. “Mine is next door and Mista’s is one adjacent to this if you need either of us for anything. The bathroom is down the hall.”
“Thank you for showing me,” Giorno responded, flashing another smile his way. “And thank you as well for allowing me to live with you two. I look forward to it.”
Fugo just nodded in response, staring at him for a moment before turning to head to his own room. Pausing at the door, he looked back over to the other, staring for a moment before speaking.
“I look forward to living with you as well.”