touches of affection, lingering @catboytina
of blood and man

Bruno is but a man.

A man with blood on his hands, dripping into the water - a man who himself bleeds in return when slashed with a knife - a man whose heart beats in desire ever so often. 

Of course, he has to become something more. It is the responsibility of those who have others in their care - the establishments in the area, the men under his care. To be but a man is to invite danger and suffering to those under his wings.

“It is a Sisyphian task to be a mafioso of kind disposition, one who wishes no harm ; a living paradox. He enters confession, repeating all his sins to the priest like a learned lesson, but something of learning of Stands, and the willpower of a man, breaks his conviction in a God’s actions just a bit. If his will is manifest, then it shall be through his own strength that he should help himself, for he was given means to do so. 

Despite being a man, and ergo, in turn bleeding like one, he must refuse to let himself falter. 

Unfortunately, some under his care, who he protects and shields by becoming a rock, seem to be more dead set on unmaking this trait of his than his enemies.

“If you do not let someone disinfect the wound, it’s going to get ugly...” Abbacchio points out. He himself is hurt, a blatant failure and miscalculation on Buccierati’s part (he was just supposed to be a supporter, not get involved in the fight. But here he was, scratches on his chest after being struck by an enemy stand, shirt torn). Decidedly not quiet about their leader’s weakness, - a deep cut on his thigh, hidden by his zipper. Narancia and Fugo seem not to have noticed and they have been dismissed, leaving to learn math or english or other subjects in the sweets shop Narancia enjoys. And yet Abbacchio stays, in the back room of Libeccio, despite having the freedom to go to his apartment, clean up his scratches and bruises, and indulge in some wine with his long hair down and makeup cleaned.

(A pretty picture.)

“Nah, don’t bother, Leone, I’ll handle this..” he announces with a handwave, and expects the issue to be done, especially since he used the other man’s first name. But Abbacchio is stubborn and not so easily moved even by authority, be it the age difference (unlikely) or innate stubbornness combined with familiarity (likely).

“Like last time? You really want another fever, Buccierati? Mista yelled at me for days about joining you and making it a group of four, you know!” The swift verbal parry makes Bruno bite his tongue. It would be easy to simply direct an order and be done with it, but something in him - something not hardened from the years of Mafia work - holds him back. 

A man he can not let himself be, but Abbacchio is being reasonable here - besides, it is easier to be frank with him than with the teens. Despite appearances, Bruno finds himself pouting. Zipping up wounds always worked just fine.. 

“Fine then. You're Right.” Abbacchio smirks to himself over his victory. Leaving the room, he swiftly returns with a first aid box and… bottle of wine?“Are we out of disinfectant? Maybe I shouldn’t trust you with first aid then.” Bruno says, unable to forgive himself a quip. Abbacchio tch’s and digs in the box, but the smile remains. It is a rare sign, and Bruno enjoys it for the smallest moment it lasts. Warmth digs into his stomach, some sort of pride at being the source of the expression. It is better than pride at outwitting an enemy before slaying them, at least. 

Feeling warm over making a man smile. Was this him catching up to that teenager lovey-dovey stage he missed? He would scoff at himself. Then again... making Leone Abbacchio smile was a small challenge.  A comfortable silence follows, as is customary between them. 

Until Abbacchio asks him to undress.

He says it so calmly. “Okay, the pants have to go, they are ruined anyway. So casually.

That tugs Bruno’s heartstring. Several of them actually, like a swift pianist hitting keys with long slender hands. It makes his heart skip in an entirely different way, less lovey-dovey and more primal. Pumping blood to the downward areas rather than upward to make his cheeks blush. He makes an extremely undignified noise in response, and Abacchio puts up his hands defensively. “Okay, okay! Bad wording on my part. I do need to bandage you up, and I am not doing it over the pants. Jeez... you did put so many zippers on them over the years.” 

“Absolutely worthless to throw out perfectly fine pants over a small cut. Besides, the zippers add flair! Ah, whatever, I forgive ya - still feeling knocked around from the mess we got into...” Abbacchio huffs in response, not wanting to carry on the conversation over that delicate, awkward line - he prepares the bandages as well as the cloth for cleaning the wound, turning his back while Bruno takes off his pants. The mafioso winces in pain as he moves the wounded area. Even without Abbacchio’s gaze on him it feels… intimate. Perhaps because of the comment. Perhaps because of Abbacchio’s insistence to care for him. Perhaps because of his own damn flaw of catching feelings for beautiful men who definitely deserve more. 

Sticky Fingers manifests at his side and its fingers move over the pants, creating yet another of the beautiful golden zippers on the white fabric. Then, on reflex, and because he feels he is being ungrateful here, it moves to the other man and repairs his shirt, making it close on itself, hiding his chest behind the purple and gold. Abbacchio blinks in surprise... but then just shakes his head. “Well. I did want to sew it myself, but it looks decent like this...I suppose.”“I didn’t want ya catching a cold this chilly evening. Who would Narancia pester then? Me?” he jests. 

How does it look when Abbacchio gets on his knees in front of him and grabs his thigh, making him hiss? The imagery is supposedly erotic, and yet Bruno does not feel aroused. A little bit, perhaps (he is strong and big, cutting a handsome figure in a small room shadowed by streaks of light), but it is much worse than that. For his traitorous heart is lighter than air, and his hands shake. They yearn to grasp the silver hair. It must be silky. Abbacchio takes excellent care of it - the gang jokes he spends all of his money from his fairly expanded salary on beauty products, which he does not deny. 

The folly of feelings, love most of them all!

It is almost a relief to feel the sting of pain as the alcohol flows into his bloodstream. The rag Abacchio uses is soft against the exposed flesh. His hands are rough, but, gentle as they hold on his knee.  “You can remove the zipper, Bruno, I’m holding it in. Hopefully there won’t be a bloodbath here…. Seriously, how the hell did you come to the conclusion that zipping a bullet hole is enough?” Abbacchio tch’s. He sounds like a doting nurse; Bruno barely fights off a smile. 

He wants to kiss him. The thought crosses his mind swiftly, electrical current shocking his whole being. Of course he wants to kiss him. Leone was nothing but a steady presence on his side, his kindness and dependability shining like a diamond in rough. He notices how he watches out for  Mista during missions sometimes, or moves to make sure Narancia is eating in his own stand-offish way, or calms Fugo away from outbursts of anger. 

And now Abbacchio curses as he wraps up Bruno’s wound, and the mafioso is absolutely, thoroughly, enamored. 

He really is just a man in the end.

With the final tie of the bandage, Abbacchio finishes up and stands up from his position, displeasure wrought on his face as his knees crackle. As he collects materials and returns them to the back, Bruno puts on his pants, testing his leg. Not bad - but the pain isn’t negligible either, letting out an irritated groan as he flexes the wounded muscle as best as he can.. At least Abbacchio knows how to wrap injuries with a fair amount of skill. 

“Careful not to move it too much, and do try to keep out of trouble...until it heals, at least.” says the other man as they face each other again.

“You think a little thing like this will stop me?” Bruno scoffs, frowning as he meets Abbacchio’s concerned gaze. “We’re soldato, Abbacchio. We don’t have the luxury of picking our struggles, injured or otherwise.”

“But you can order me, or hell, any of the brats to carry out missions for you. Shit, we aren’t  gonna wither the second you let us out of your careful gaze. Just for a week, you can actually act as a real Passione leader, let your underlings run around while you eat grapes or some shit.” That is a dig at Polpo and really, any other Passione member would have punished Abbachhio...But as it is, Bruno just snorts, because Polpo is a despicable parasite. 

They look each other in the eye for a while, unsure where to take it from here. Bruno can not promise he will take it easy, he knows that; the responsibility, the worry will eat him alive. As for Abbachhio, well.... He can not possibly guess why the other man does not look away, but his mind makes up many, many reasons. All false hopes, of course, and hope is the last thing a man in his position and with his sins should have right now. 

“Bruno - “ Abbacchio starts suddenly. A man’s given name should not have the effect of a thunder, or searing fire, even if spoken in that concerned tone, the low voice. It should not bring down all of his defenses that torture, beatings and various Stands could not even scratch! Really, it is just the two of them here, only him and Abbacchio in the small room in the back of Libeccio so what is he scared of? Abacchio was cleansing his wounds just a seconds ago, hands all over him, so why does this closeness feel even more intimate? Was a touch too much now? Embrace? In the moment, all caution thrown to wind, Bruno moves forward - (and perhaps this is one of his hopes, but does Abbacchio do too?)  

The door thunders. Who else would it be, taking up the whole entryway, but the thick-headed gunslinger and his rambunctious stand troupe. All arguing. Luckily, not paying attention to them (doing what, exactly? Bruno’s heart races, the sound filling his ears as the strained organ tries to claw out through his throat). 

“Mista, what the fuck...” Abbacchio grumbles, fully straightening himself. Despite the situation, he seems his typical self - almost like nothing ever happened. Mista’s eyes jump from him to Bruno and then back again, hands shooting upwards in defense. 

“Hey, don’t what the fuck me! I came to raid the damn snacks cabinet! What the hell are YOU doing here, huh!?” Mista retorts. One of the Bullets (Two, Bruno hazards) is already holding a chip from God knows where, while he can vaguely hear the others scrounging around the place. 

Bruno ponders the ethical quandaries of punching Mista. He technically has no reason other than Mista stumbling onto...something, and preventing him from - 

From what? This was not Mista’s issue, it was his. He rubs at his temples to soothe the incoming headache, a side effect of Sex Pistols roaming and clashing over whatever they found. Mista is still giving them an accusatory glare.

“Abbacchio wanted to check on my injury. It is not worrisome, but he stubbornly insisted on making sure I got patched up.” he explains, making Abbacchio turn away, and - was that a blush on his face?

“Well, we need our leader in good condition, don’t we?” he says, tone low, almost growling with annoyance, as if defending himself from an accusation of murder. Mista grins widely, mischief twinkling in his eyes. 

“Aaaah, so Abbachio does have heart. Heeeey, can you wrap up my injury next time? Fugo fucking sucks at it! You would make such a good nurse, hell, I’ll go and buy the outfit-”

The smack comes out of nowhere for Mista and he stumbles backwards, yelping. Lack of a fighting stand aside, Abbachhio can throw a solid right hook. The needling gunslinger was lucky he held back.

If Bruno feels a bit of schadenfreude, he does not express it outwardly. “Don’t make me give Fugo a reason to improve his first aid skills, idiot. And for stepping out of line, I am taking the wine AND your damn snacks.” Abbacchio announces, as he tears out a bag of chips from two of the Sex Pistol’s tiny hands, ignoring their outraged cries as he heads for the back exit. 

He looks back at Bruno, briefly. Something shimmers in his eyes; his typical goodbye of “see ya, boss,” falters, dropping from his lips broken, unfinished. 

As Abbacchio departs, Bruno feels like a fool. Like he failed a test, or a mission, or, something even worse...and Mista staring at him with a huge grin on his face does nothing to help his mood. 

Well, at least he does not take his personal frustrations out on the poor man at the wrong place and wrong time; even if he knows that, tomorrow, not even the Boss himself would be able to stop the gang’s tongues. 

Arriving at his apartment, Bruno  throws his suit over his dining chair, extorting minimal energy to make himself proper before falling into his bed. Something about nerve wrecking fight with enemy Stands drains his energy more, far more, than anything else - and even that is nothing, compared to him pining helplessly even more than usual. His fingers pass over the bandage, remembering Abbachhio’s hands on him, his face so close. He is a coward. A coward and a fool, running from a job half done.

The bed feels even emptier and colder than normal as he drifts off to sleep. It all reminds him of how human he really is. 

“I was considering inviting you to a restaurant as a thank you.” he says, at the dawn of the new day Abbachhio looks at him briefly, the same look as the one he gave him before leaving yesterday. This time...this time, Bruno remains steadfast, matching his gaze. The taller man snorts as he rifles through a stack of reports. 

“Sure. It beats take-out. But don’t pick any fancy garbage, you hear? I’d die before I stepped in Umberto without proper attire.” A confirmation, a reciprocation; a job done, at last.

Bruno smiles. 

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