Chapter 2

For Luciano Vargas, the reason he likes his "special pasta" is not so much an action of grudge against his people or his counterpart as it is a desire to express himself in the only way he knows how.

It cannot be said that the fact that his favorite color is red is in any way surprising - what is surprising, however, is that he absolutely hates the color at the same time. He dresses himself in it - brocades of red and gold that express wealth and passion and desire - and he drowns and surrounds himself in it through his pasta, his foods, his house decorations, and his daily walks. He revels in painting the world around him red, and that is the reason for his contradicting love and hatred.

In his monochrome world that the others called the "2p" or "another color" universe, the shades of the darker tints of the color spectrum only fitted its inhabitants better than the garishly bright surroundings of the 1p world ever could. Luciano hated the way the others would frown and sneer upon him and his fellow 2p's - didn't they see that if he wasn't there, that they would have to become like him? Their ingratitude was galling.

His country in particular - though honestly he could care less about it - had not been kind to him by any means. Kicked around, bloodied, bruised, handed about like a sack of gold in a business transaction "under the tables," and overwhelmed with the coups, mafias, guerrilla wars, and struggle to defend their national identity, it was unsurprising that Luciano was so fond of the color red. It reminded him of his early years, where he had known nothing but red, warm and wet and sticky. Then when he had been introduced to other colors, and seen what the rest of the world was like, it was only natural to hate that red that accompanied such pain.

But it was still his favorite, because he could say he had witnessed so much and yet was still alive and flourishing and prosperous. Because of him. Because of his fortitude and his strength that had delved into the nasty, red-robed underworld of his counterpart Feliciano's beloved land, and dared to wrestle its occupants under his rule and keep it.

Early memories always consist of red. Rooms splattered with it, his body and soul and mind painted with it, and his eyes always exposed to it, hypnotizing in its ability to take on so many shapes and forms and shades and malicious tints. Golden feathers dipped in it, and the color of mahogany wood, signs of richness and comfort.

Learning to keep the unruly and unlawful under your thumb is not an easy task, and requires inhuman amounts of effort, cunning, and harshness to accomplish such an impossible feat - yet he had done it. He had protected the dubious innocence of his weakling counterpart, and took a grudging pride in the fact, displayed by Feliciano's cheerful naïveté. He didn't hate Feliciano per-say, because Feli was living proof of his pride, but neither did he particularly care about him either. They lived their separate lives, and people were welcome to look upon Feliciano as well as they liked, as long as they didn't force him to stay in the same room with Feli for any amount of time. Feli was his pride. He was Feli's shame. And yet, shame and pride coexisted through their mediator of guilt, though they preferred not to see each other's faces.

And so comes the pasta. Denying his people's love of the dish was impossible, no matter if it likened him too close to the air headed Feliciano for comfort; it was ridiculous to even try. However, the addition of his "special ingredient" was not so much an open display of wanting to be "different" from his counterpart as it was a personal resolve. The few and grand pleasantries of his life were always minimized by the bitterness of his position: to protect the safety of his people by managing the treacherous, hazardous, and utterly volatile citizens and low-lifes of the Underworld.

Being head of the Mafia made him have to look over his back at all times, check every new corner to round with readiness, search under every bed he occupied, sweep every room before he entered, and forego all visible displays of emotion that might be seen as a 'weakness' in order to stay alive and continue to keep a lid on the precarious volcano that rumbled within his country. Negotiations sapped his wits, bodyguards his patience, and daily life his energy. Hatred from his people meant nothing; ingratitude was something entirely different.

The rusty taste of the pasta made him remember that he must always be on his guard - always alert and ready for anything, never hesitating to kill such filth he dealt with with extreme prejudice if necessary. It reminded him that the cogs of his world were oiled by blood, sweat, and tears, and that the ever-changing hierarchy was something he must stay above at all times. Reputation was important, whether or not it was real; life was a huge chessboard and he would be the black King and manipulate the black pieces as well as he could.

The pasta was a reminder that red always stains white, and nothing can ever wash it out. If he must be stained with red, let him be immersed in it; let it drive him mad and remind him that there is no hope for ever escaping the physical and metaphorical rooms of scarlet and crimson and vermilion. His duty was set before him since the beginning of his nation, and would be the same until the end.

Was it a wonder that he was not quite all there? Was he to be blamed for getting lost in the red-hued labyrinths of his pressured mind? Was it fair to be hated when all he did was complete with such faithfulness the demanding and impossible tasks that his people set before him?

Injustice is commonplace; his world is red and black - because he is his people, and they are him.

A fill for a request by AzaleaTea to do Luciano Vargas AKA 2p North Italy. I hope I have succeeded and risen to your expectations and standards. It came out a little shorter and perhaps even more vague than the first one, for which I apologize, but I'm not as big a fan of Italy (both Feliciano and Luciano) as I am Oliver, so I didn't have enough information or time to really think about them like I did Ollie.

I've always thought Luciano to be indifferent towards his counterpart if not proud of him as a direct result of his own actions; I don't agree with the majority vote that he absolutely hates Feliciano. And considering that Italy is known for their Mafia and Assassins, it was only fitting that I portray that darker side of the beautiful and refined country and mention their turbulent history. It's not pretty, but it's all too real.

I was also given the suggestion to do the 1p's thoughts of their 2p counterparts; my answer is that perhaps if I finish the 2p's, I can move on to the 1p's. I suppose we'll have to see. My grasp on the 2p's and 1p's are not quite perfect, since it would take a huge amount of historical research to accomplish that, but I do believe that in general I can manage to portray them in frames that will do them justice.

I hope you've enjoyed at any rate, and I'm always ready to PM and talk about my views on both the 1p's and 2p's!

Hasta la pasta~!