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The Theater of the Mind

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Morning light bathed the room in gold. It woke Giorno gently and he snuggled down into the warmth of his bed, into the embrace of his lover. He smiled, taking a deep breath. Gucci cologne surrounded him, clinging to his hair, his skin, the sheets. It seemed at once haunting and reassuring.

“I know you’re awake,” Bruno’s voice came low and soft against his ear.

“It’s too early,” Giorno said, pressing back against his chest. The arms around him tightened.

“You’re spoiled.”

“I am,” he agreed, closing his eyes against the light and drifting. “Your fault.”

He felt warm and at peace, wrapped in sunlight and Bruno’s arms. It was all he had ever wanted: to belong somewhere that mattered. With someone who mattered. They were where they were meant to be; together in Napoli, running Passione like benevolent kings. Or fearsome tyrants, to those who crossed them.

No one was foolish enough to do that anymore.

Turning over, Giorno tucked his head beneath Bruno’s chin. His eyes felt heavy. He couldn’t lift them to see Bruno’s face. He had a passing thought that it seemed strange, bordering on panic when he tried to open his eyes and found that he couldn’t. But then Bruno hugged him ever closer and he put the thought aside. Bruno played with his hair, humming soft, calming things. Giorno let himself drift again.

“I miss you.”

“I know.”

Wait. What did that mean? Giorno shifted uncomfortably. How could he miss Bruno when he was right there? When they’d been together for… how long was it now? He couldn’t remember.

He drew back. He still couldn’t open his eyes. So why could he see? Why was Bruno’s face blurry, hidden by shadows despite the sunlight?

Giorno’s heart sank. He was dreaming.

“You’re dead.”

Bruno smiled sadly. Giorno couldn’t see it, but he knew.

“I’m sorry.” Bruno began to fade.

“No. Don’t go…”

Giorno clung to the dream, chasing remnants of memory, fragments of thought. He wanted to see Bruno one more time. To have everything, everyone , he had mourned for the last four years, but it was fading too fast. Giorno was left in a bed too big for one man, in a room spilled with too much sunlight.

His eyes could open now.

Taking a deep breath, Giorno turned onto his back, flinging one arm over his eyes to block out the reality crashing down upon him. It was too bright. Too painful.

I thought we’d have time…

He remembered their first kiss in Venice. Their last. He hadn’t known it would be the last when it happened. If he had, he wouldn’t have stopped at one. 

Giorno touched his lips. Bruno’s lips had still been warm then. Blood stained them, but Giorno hadn’t cared. He had been too relieved, adrenaline and fear giving way to an outpouring of love and admiration. He’d thought Bruno would never wake from the wounds Diavolo had inflicted at San Giorgio Maggiore. Thought Gold Experience failed. That he had failed.

Bruno had been shocked but kind when he gently pushed Giorno away.

“We’ll talk about this later,” he had promised. 

Giorno knew Bruno hadn’t meant to lie, but there would never be a later. There would never be a future. Not for them together.

He could still smell Bruno’s cologne. It was a phantom that clung to him as if he’d been wearing it himself. His heart ached for what might have been. What should have been. When Giorno first began to dream of becoming a Gang-star, he hadn’t imagined that someone like Bruno would be beside him. In those few short days together, he hadn’t been able to imagine it without Bruno.

Without was infinitely worse. Maybe Bruno would never have returned his feelings, but at least he would be alive. He would be Giorno’s right hand, just as he was meant to be. Without him, Giorno felt as though his other half was missing. Bruno should have been beside him in everything. In business. In friendship. In love. 

He could live without love. It was harder to get by without the rest.

Nothing had turned out the way it was meant to be. Bruno was gone. Abbacchio. Narancia. The weight of their souls was heavy on Giorno’s shoulders, left him feeling older than he was. Left shadows on his soul, threatening to eclipse his light and leave him as empty and heartless as Diavolo had been.

Without Bruno, who could Giorno trust to chase away the dark?

Turning onto his side, away from the light of the windows, Giorno hugged a pillow close and tried to dream again. Tried to dream of a life where Bruno was still alive, where Narancia and Fugo argued down the hall while Mista egged them on and Abbacchio yelled at them all to shut the fuck up. 

He tried to dream of a life where each kiss with Bruno was never the last.