Finally updated... ;u;

Alright, the story is slowly advancing. This chapter and a few others will focus on the back story of Giotto. These chapters are side stories and will occur every two chapters or so from the main story. In terms of update frequency, I'm still not sure how it will work out so bare with me while I figure it out. What I do know is that the next chapter which is the main story will upload either late november or december. Anyways, I hope you will enjoy Giotto's back story.

Chapter Three: Beginnings part 1

The wind blew low, everything was cold with the reminder of winter's arrival.

The children ran about, they didn't seem to mind the cold weather as they were dressed in warm clothing. A ball was kicked across the street and children were laughing and screaming like they should. It was only the afternoon, they were to play. Off to the side of the road, there stood a small group of children not at all dressed for the winter cold. They were huddled together not to fend off the cold but to discuss. They spoke low and hushed, eyes shifty as they looked around for anyone suspicious. They had their hands out holding and counting bags of white powder.

"Now, you make sure that you sell these a dollar a pound, you hear?" A taller one, probably the oldest of the bunch, spoke. It sounded as though someone had made a mistake previously and he was making sure these youngins knew not to mess up. "You don't want to end up like Julio did, now?" He said. He had history of teaching those who mess up.

One of the boys looked back at the children playing around with the ball, his eyes were envious.

"Giotto!" The boy's head was smacked by the older boy. Giotto didn't say anything, he held on to the part where his head was hit by the older boy, who he knew very well but he hated very much.

"Pay attention, you brat!" The older boy tensed not wanting to mess up again. The adults here could smell a wimp a mile away, and if the kids weren't tough, they'd be robbed of the good stuff from the same adults that kicked them out to the curb.

Giotto turned away from looking at the street and focused back to the briefing. "Go on, Giovanni." He said, taking his share to sell from Julio who wore an eyepatch with a frown. Giovanni gave a look to Giotto making sure he was attentive before going over what he said.

"Be back at midnight, that's when the cops make their rounds." Giovanni signaled them to go off, he went back behind an alley disappearing into who knows where. They never knew where he goes off, just that they could always find him at the hideout by midnight.

Giotto stood where they were, and he didn't look too excited about this. He knew the chances of the kids selling a whole bunch was slim, it always pissed Giovanni off when they didn't sell a whole lot. Most of the adults would swindle out of a payment from them. They were kids! It wasn't hard to trick them into getting a cheaper deal. Giotto grimmed, placing the small bag into his pocket. He leaned against the brick wall, the back of his blond head touched it as he glanced back to the ball bouncing about.

"What's got you in a slump?"

Giotto looked away from a kid kicking the ball and to the voice. The person was standing right in front of him, an annoyed expression was staring at him.

And then it dawned on him. "...You've been here the whole time, G?" Giotto's mouth was quirked up as he tiredly mused to himself. G was his best friend since they found each other in this mess hole. G ran away from an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, but he didn't leave everything behind. They gave him a scar straight down his left side, a nice slice across his angry face.

"been here the whole time," G mocked, taking an angry step forward. "Yeah, I've been here the whole time! got to see your stupid face staring at little kids too!"

Giotto got off the wall and hit G on the shoulder. "Don't say it like that, it's gross."

"Well? What else are you doing? Dreaming?" G rubbed his shoulder, staring accusingly at Giotto. Giotto didn't say anything about it and simply shrugged. He could be dreaming, those kids have better freedom than they realize. But he knew at any moment, they could fall into a hell and never find a way to escape. He didn't want to tell G his dream but what's the harm…

"Have you ever thought, we could go back?"

"Go back? We haven't even sold anything yet, Giovanni will do us like he did to Julio's eye!"

"Not what I meant… I'm talking about those kids playing…."

G realized what Giotto meant at this point. He sighed, shaking his head. "No point in dreaming about the impossible… now come on, these drugs ain't gonna sell themselves."

A ball tumbled towards them. G and Giotto looked at it, almost frozen. One of the kids came over and noticed them.

"Mind kicking that back to us?" A small voice came from the kid. Giotto and G didn't move and they didn't speak. They knew the proper response was to kick it back and let the kids go back to playing without a major care. But what if they didn't want to give it back? What if they wanted it for themselves?

"Prudes…" The kid said, taking the ball away from them. "So weird…"

G and Giotto blinked. The ball was gone, they couldn't even touch it. They knew in their hearts they were afraid of many things. If they had kicked the ball, would they involuntarily involve the kids in their mess… or if they took the ball? They didn't want to think it but they knew what each other was thinking. They felt shame.

Giotto shrugged his feelings off and walked off, knocking G on his shoulder again but this time with his own shoulder. "Come on, let's go. Them drugs ain't gonna sell themselves, right?" He chuckled, a sad smile on his face.

They had just finished selling the drugs, they had a few hassles but because they've been doing this for some years now they were experienced at dealing with difficult clients. They were walking back to the typical route to the base when something odd happened.

Giotto and G were taking a break on the walk bridge that went over top the road so that people could cross the street without worry of a car crashing them. It was well off into the night most of the street was empty of women and children, a few cars here and there. Giotto leaned against the railing, staring at the street where the kids were once playing but were now gone for the night. G was facing away from it and looked where the city was.

"That guy was a hassle…" G said, thinking back to their second last customer. He was a bit on the edge, the guy looked like he was ready to attack them. "Pretty lucky that you dealt with it."

Giotto hummed, not really caring about what he was saying. It all was annoying work and he didn't want to do it anymore. But he knew that Giovanni needed the older kids, they were the ones to bring in the real cash from the real customers. The younger ones would mostly do delivery and then receive the payment. The older kids were the ones to hound adults passing by and to take in orders with advanced cash.

"Hey, how'd you know this guy was a bit of a looney?" G asked, looking at the top of Giotto's blond hair. Giotto was leaned over the railing, as though he was ready to fall off but they both know he wouldn't. He had too many dreams to slip off. G listened to Giotto humming and watched him shrug.

"What? It some kind of trade secret?"

Giotto chuckled, which relieved G somehow. "Nah, I just use my eyes and watch."

"Watch? The heck?" That sounded like a lie to G. Just watching can't help them score one of the biggest cash haul they've had in awhile. He nudged Giotto to keep talking and to tell the truth. Giotto laughed, he kept saying it was the truth. His laughter slowed down a bit when he noticed it, something weird was happening.

"Hey, wait," Giotto held his arm out to get G from hitting him. "You see that?" Giotto said not pointing but shifting his head so it gestured to what he was looking at. G was a bit curious and looked at it the direction, he raised his eyebrow not understanding what was so interesting. "What is it?"

Giotto nodded his head not realizing that G did not understand what he meant. Giotto has this habit or routine to watch things. He would see things and remember it, this usually helped him with keeping safe, staying away from cops, and reading people. The reading people part comes in handy when dealing with difficult clients just like G was talking about before. Giotto likes to watch the things around him and he would remember things, some of these things happened to be vehicles and people. This was an odd scene for him.

"I've been seeing that van an awful lot…"

"So?" G pulled Giotto by the arm. "Let's go, we've wasted enough time."

Giotto let himself be pulled away as he thought about the van as he looked away he noticed someone familiar forcefully go inside of the van that caused him to widen his eyes. Giotto realized this was getting more complicated than he thought it could.

They arrived at the base, thinking they were last but realized that someone was missing. Giovanni stood in the front of the room, counting the coins and cash that the kids already gathered. He looked rather pleased with himself. As G and Giotto walked in, Giovanni smiled at them. G smiled back, walking in front of Giotto with both their takings of the night and gave it to Giovanni to count up. Giotto didn't smile at Giovanni and sat down by one of the benches they salvaged from a church.

"Alright, brats! We've got ourselves a goooooooood night." Giovanni spoke, the kids smiling as he seemed excited. This meant many things for them, it promised food and warmth. He got up and walked over to a table with boxes on it. He opened them up and revealed blankets and apples. The kids got excited happy to see something edible and thankful for the blankets. Giovanni beamed at their excitement and handed them the items.

"Good to see the kids smiling, right?" G said, looking at Giotto when he did not respond. "Giotto?"

Giotto was sitting with his leg up, his foot resting on his right knee. He didn't look happy, in fact he looked upset. "Hey, Giovanni." He called out loudly.

Giovanni kept smiling as he looked at Giotto preoccupied as he gave an apple to out of the kids. "Yeah?"

Giotto stared at him, he stared at the way he was smiling, he stared at the way he was treating the kids. "Where's Julio?" He watched as Giovanni actions slowed down and halted. He watched as Giovanni smile turned into a frown.

G looked over at Giotto and then back at Giovanni, it dawned on him who was missing. Julio wasn't one to miss a meeting and especially messing up last time, he would think he would strive to be here first.

"Julio? Oh, he's probably late you know, with only one eye must be tough getting around." Giovanni said, looking at the kids get worried. He smiled at Giotto and G. "Why don't you both go look for him? You're the older ones, can't have the kids out so late…"

Giotto walked back into the cold, G followed behind him with a blanket over his shoulder and an apple in hand. "Hey! Wait up!" he called out to Giotto to slow down. Giotto looked as though he wanted to run but didn't do it and walked really quickly instead. G finally caught up to him having to jog up to catch him. "Man, hopefully we'll find Julio quick. It's so cold… Good thing I bought along the blanket. Here, wanna share?"

Giotto clenched his fists and kept walking. "No! I don't need that kind of blanket!"

"Kind of blanket?" G said, not sure what to take from it. "...wanna apple instead?"

Giotto stopped walking, G noticed they were back to foot of the bridge as before. He looked at it and back to Giotto. He was about to ask him the question again but didn't have the time when Giotto turned around and stressed out his words. He looked like he wanted to yell but didn't do it either but he spoke between full sentences and incomplete ones.

"No. Don't you see what's wrong. Julio isn't here. He's gone. And somehow just as we are bringing in money, Giovanni has blankets and apples? How? He didn't go off to buy it right away and we didn't have the cash from last time either. Not enough. So where and how did he get the time and money to buy all of us orphans blankets and apples?"

Giotto let go a shaky breath, he stopped talking hoping that G would absorb this information. He didn't.

"Maybe he had it saved up? Or maybe the kids managed to bring some earl-"

"No. G. Listen. Do you remember how up on this bridge," He pointed at it. "I motioned at something?"

Giotto watched as G nodded his head. "When you pulled me away, I saw something going inside it. Or more specifically, someone."

G narrowed his eyes. "Are you trying to say-" He was silenced by Giotto's hand covering his mouth. Giotto hushed him, monitoring to follow him. They moved behind the bridge hiding at an angle so no one, specifically no van, passing by could see them. They watched as a similar van as before passed them by.

"We need to be careful. Giovanni is up to something and I don't want to be apart of it." Giotto whispered, G didn't say anything. He was mostly confused and not sure how to decipher what Giotto was saying.


Note: We will get back to the main story in the next chapter. Hope you enjoyed so far.