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"Johnny seems like a nice friend." Giotto said as he then gasped at what Jesse had mentioned. Mutants. The whole security department issue was forgotten. "There are other mutants around here?" Giotto asked, a tinge of excitement in his words. "I've never met another mutant before. Do you know some of them? Are they nice enough to befriend?" Giotto asked. The thought of other mutants within the city made him feel alleviated. He had heard his father talk before of how there were barely any mutants left. He didn't know anything else beyond that context. "Jesse, you don't have siblings? Does that make you Johnny like your big brother, somewhat?" Giotto asked as he followed Jesse to his home, not knowing what was in store.

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Jesse shrugged. "I don't know any of them. The mutants keep to themselves. They hide. The ones that don't hide usually try to rob places and attack people with their powers. Oh... Actually..." Jesse looked back to Giotto with a frown on his face. "Don't mention that you're a mutant if you see my parents... My dad... Well, he's racist towards them. Just like probably most of the people in this stupid city. So just can it okay? Now as for Johnny, I guess you could say he's my annoying older brother." Jesse suddenly stopped in front of a rather cheap looking small house. Jesse went up the stairs, and tried too open the door.

"Ugh... It's locked... That means my pops ain't home." He knocked on the door. "Ma!! Open the door!"

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Giotto gave a small nod. He had heard all too well of the people having different reactions to mutants. Some were fascinated by them, others scared, others angered and disgusted. His own father wasn't a fan of mutants. He would vocally express how 'they were quite difficult to arrest'. Around those words. "I won't say a word." Giotto added with a smile. "At least you have him. He watches after you and makes sure you don't get hurt." Giotto said smiling. He looked up at the door, and watched Jesse express how the door was locked, calling over to his mom inside. "Um..."

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Jesse nodded. "Good." He said. Suddenly, the door opened and a young woman who looked in her early twenties opened the door. She looked like she just came out of bed, in nothing but a gown and her hair all messy.

"Jesse... And who's this?"

Jesse looked down. "This is my friend, Ma."

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Giotto looked up. His mom was so pretty! It made him nostalgic and think of his own mother. "Um..." Giotto stammered, clearing his throat as he straightened up. "My name is Giotto. I'm Jesse's new friend. Nice to meet you, mam'." Giotto said as he straightened himself up and tried to make himself look and sound as friendly as he could. "Um...sorry if we have disturbed your daily routine or anything...mam." He added, shuffling his feet nervously.

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(Sorry if the last post was too short. I was rushing while I was typing it >.<)

"Nice to meet you?" The mother asked with a sudden lazy laughter. She appeared to be distant, and rather dazed. On her arms were small markings, appeared to be made by some kind of injection. And on her chest as well as her neck was bruises but her messy blonde hair covered it up for the most part. She also had brown eyes. "What Jesse did ya meet this kid in the gold layer or somethin'? He said sorry and called me ma'am and everythin'!"

 

Jesse gave a somewhat forced chuckle and rubbed his head. "Yeah he's different alright... I'm just showing him the neighborhood. I met him over in the nicer side of the layer, where the nice park is at so he never goes to this side. You know pops won't let me leave this layer. In speaking of pops, where is he...?"

 

The mother yawned again, and rested herself against the doorframe. "Oh you know, he's off with his friends again. He deserves it after the money he brought home into the house this week." She smiled at Giotto. "Well I'm going to go back to sleep, since it's so early in the mornin' but I'll see you boys later alright?"

 

Jesse nodded slightly. It was actually not even morning anymore but oh well. "Yeah yeah... Sleep well ma." With that, she went inside and left the door open for Jesse as Giotto to come in. Jesse wanted to bash his head on the door. 'She's high as a f****** kite in the middle of the day and it looks like she's doing heroin again. Really?' He thought to himself. He looked to Giotto. "It's up to you if us wanna go inside. My dad probably won't be home until way later so I could just show you my room or something or get you a snack in the kitchen."

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Giotto slightly hid his face under the shade of his hood when he saw the bruises. Bruises only happen when someone gets hurt, he'd know as much. She did still seem sleepy. "(Why so many bruises...Jesse told me that his dad would beat them up but...)" Giotto thought as he hid his look of horror at the thought. His father never laid a hand on his mother in a violent way. Only barbaric people did that to one another, especially against someone who they are meant to love and protect. This world was becoming more real by the passing minute. Giotto slowly analyzing and putting the pieces together one by one. "...I...It's your choice. I don't want to make much noise, so your mom will be able to sleep." Giotto said as he looked up at Jesse. "I'll go with whatever you wanna do. Anything is fine. We have most of the day ahead. I would love to see your room though, if possible?" Giotto asked, his voice softer than earlier.

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Jesse nodded. He took Giotto's wrist and led him inside his house. Jesse's gaze had hardened.

"Don't let it bother you, hotshot." Jesse said seriously. "This is what the city is. It's not lala land like you think it is. You're going to see things that are going to make you sad. Things that are going to make you angry and mad at the world. This world isn't a great place. If you want to go back now, we can. But one day you're going to have to deal with this world." Inside didn't look too bad. Everything was small, the kitchen was connected to the living room, which equaled the size of Giotto's bedroom. Some of the tiles. In the floor was missing, and there was small traces of mold. In the living room there was a small plasma TV, which infront of it was a black couch. Jesse led Giotto down a small hallway, in which he entered into to one of the doors. He opened it, revealing a small room the size of a regular bathroom with a matress in the corner, a small fat TV along with a gaming system next to it. "This is my room." He said, sitting down on his matress. "I have some games we could play."

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Giotto gave a slow nod. "(But only bad people get bad luck. Only people who do bad have bad things happen.)" Giotto thought as he followed Jesse. He was starting to realize how blinded he was from the world. How reality was very different than from what his father was raising him in. He couldn't comprehend it still, at this age. He figured that as grew older...things would start making sense. Eventually. Giotto gently sat down next to Jesse and smiled. The room was cozy. "A game sounds fun! What kind of game you wanna play? I promise you that I won't use my powers to cheat or anything." Giotto said with a smile, in hopes of living up a bit.

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"You better not use your powers to cheat." Jesse said as he turned on his game and tossed Giotto a controller. "Let's just start off with simple I dunno Minecraft or something for your virgin eyes." He chuckled and started up the gaming system, sitting next to Giotto with his own controller. "We could build a fort and fight skeletons that shoot arrows."

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Giotto took the controller and smiled. "Sounds like fun, lets do it!" Giotto said as he played. It was a basic game with basic rules. Blocks of items and materials, build yourself a shelter to be able to sleep in, and be wary of mining in the dark because that's when the monsters such as zombies came out. Giotto awed as they build a fort and would upgrade it from time to time. They fought zombies, skeletons, spiders, and other types of enemies. "It's getting dark, should we stay and fight for some ingredients or head back to the fort?" Giotto asked, until his eyes caught glance for a figure in the game. He gasped. "I-It's Enderman, Jesse run run run!"

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(Omg I love Minecraft so much.)

Jesse was very into his craft in the came. He made a small little house in the forest, and furnished it with little things like couches and whatnot. He even made an armory in the ground, but it was only furnished with regular wooden swords. "Let's just go into the fort and go back out in he morning. We could work on the inside of the fort." He said, currently chopping down a tree. He started to snicker at Giotto's predicament. "Just don't look at it. Don't be a p****."

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Giotto whined silently as his character ran away from the Enderman. "Don't look in his eyes don't look in his eyes." He repeated as he escaped back to the fort and closed the door. "Ah...I'm safe." Giotto sighed with a smile. "I think that soon enough, we could be ready enough to enter the nether! To make a house out of nether bricks is more of a fashion statement though. It doesn't look that nice in daylight, and the best material for the nether would be cobblestone because the creatures can't destroy it no?" Giotto said with a smile as he proceeded to step outside once he saw the Enderman was nowhere to be seen. "This is so much fun, thank you so much for inviting me to play."

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Jesse snickered, watching his little friend run into the fort. He ran inside also. "Hold your horses. We can't going off into the nether yet. We haven't even made iron swords yet. Remember what I said? You have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Don't try to rush yourself or your sorry ass will fall right back down. You have to be patient, like a cheetah with its prey. If you do that, soon you'll be right on top, living in a giant nether house in the sky with a throne of diamonds." He patted Giotto's back. "No problem. Anytime."

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Giotto nodded and smiled. "I guess that is one of my weaknesses. I'm a bit too impatient at times. Ok, too impatient most of the times when I shouldn't be." Giotto smiled as he looked back to play. It was nice to play with Jesse. He didn't feel lonely. Was it like this to feel to have a sibling, or a best friend and just hang around and have fun? He truly enjoyed it. His own father had him to be homeschooled, and anything outside of that he would take him out to learn about the business and other aspects. All of his point of view, of course. Ignoring little details, such as the condition of living within the third layer, and the causes. Giotto perked his head up as he glanced at the door for a bit. "Hm...? I thought I heard the door for a second."

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Jesse looked away from the TV screen. "I think it's time we should go. We'll play another time alright? Maybe I could bring my game over." He got up and after making sure the progress was saved, he turned off the PlayStation and looked out his window. "So what do you think so far? It ain't what you're used to obviously." He looked towards the door, then back at the window. 'He can't be home now...' Jesse thought.

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Giotto stood up. "I like it. It's not the safest, it's not the most holy, it's not the most perfect. But it's warm. You guys watch over each others' back when there is trouble afoot. Even not by blood, you're all one big family because you're in it together. There's no empty void. Just space filled with warmth and what is necessary." Giotto said as he scratched the back of his head. "You have people to rely on here." Giotto said with a smile. He turned over to Jesse. "Thank you for showing me your home, and your friends. I needed to learn about reality sooner or later. I'm glad you showed me there is always good in bad and bad in good." Giotto said gratefully. "Let's hope we didn't wake your mom though. I didn't mean to be too loud." 

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Jesse grinned and patted Giotto's back. He liked that. One big family. It was true. Everyone was in the same boat. "No problem. Now let's get you home. I think that's enough of the real world for today." He took Giotto's hand and left his room. As Jesse went up to the front door and opened it, he saw a man over six feet tall, with short brown hair and blue eyes. He had a five o clock shadow and looked very threatening.

Jesse looked up to him, and inwardly almost soiled his pants. "D-Dad- uhh hi..."

The man looked down at Jesse with the gaze of a savage dog. "Who is this?"

Jesse looked to Giotto. "M-My friend Uh..."

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Giotto was about to say something when he saw a tall man standing in the doorway. He was huge compared to the two kids. His gaze gave Giotto chills down his spine. He had never seen someone so...scary looking. Even the atmosphere around the house just completely changed, making it uncomfortable and unwelcoming. Not even the guys that tried to kidnap Giotto were as scary as he. "(Dad. This must be...)" Giotto felt his figure become rather unsettled, but he managed to stay calm. This was the same man that Jesse mentioned would hurt him and his mom. Jesse looked equally scared, but equally as composed. Giotto breathed and took a step forward, giving a small bow. "U-Um, good afternoon sir. I'm Giotto. Jesse's friend. N-Nice to meet you...?" Giotto said, avoiding eye contact. He guessed that the least he could do is be polite. No provocation would lead to no problems...right?

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The man raised an eyebrow. He was about to let out a fit of laughter, but decided not to. Instead he just gave Giotto a quick inspection, and entered the house while bumping Jesse's shoulder. "Hmph." He entered the mothers' room.

Jesse looked at his father with an equally nasty gaze. He watched his father walk past him and enter his mother's room. Jesse muttered something underneath his breath and tugged Giotto's wrist. "Let's just go." There was a hint of annoyance in his tone.

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Giotto felt his body freeze as the man walked by and enter a room. He looked at Jesse, seeing the annoyance in his face and hearing it in his tone. "...H-" Giotto started, but quickly paused and closed his mouth. He didn't want to comment on it, not wanting to say something out of place. He walked with Jesse out of the house, closing the door behind. The two started to make their way back, Giotto thinking about the day. The good, and the bad. "...will...I mean..." He didn't even know where to start. He didn't want to say something out of line by accident. But he also wanted to say something to assure him of something. Anything. "...is it...a bad thing for me to say that I don't like your dad right now?" Giotto muttered, playing with his fingers.

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Jesse looked over to Giotto and chuckled. "It's really not a big deal. It's alright if you don't like my pops. I don't really care. Honestly no one likes my pops. He's a pretty big a******." They walked for a while, and Jesse just kept looking around at the wonderful city. He loved being outside, seeing new things and exploring every book and cranny he could find. Once they got near to Giotto's street, Jesse looked at him. "Do you want to go home right now? We still got time to look around and explore. The city can get even more beautiful at night."

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Giotto looked over at Jesse. "Can it really?" Giotto asked. He paused to think and analyze. "Actually, I think I've learned a lot for today. I need to analyze all of it...everything I've learned and so on." Giotto said before giving a small bow. "You showed me so much today too, you should get some rest too! Good sleep means more energy to be able to do stuff the next day onward." Giotto said with a smile. "You really made my day. This has been the best day of my life, basically! I've never learned so much before of the world around me, of the world beyond the Gold Layer. I'm so grateful. I'm so glad to be friends with you!" Giotto said with a grateful tone and smile. He then offered his hand for a handshake. "Today it's only step one of learning to crawl, right? Maybe one day in the near future I won't be crawling anymore, and will be able to run by your side, yes?"

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Jesse grinned. "Hell yeah." He listen to everything Giotto had to say, and it just made him so damn happy. He felt excited of what was to come of this new partnership. And more importantly, friendship. "One day hotshot, I promise you we will be side by side. This city will be hours. We won't just be mindless normal ghosts anymore. We'll be so much more... And maybe one day we could freely be around one another. I could meet your pops. And maybe our parents could even meet. My ma is always the fancy type, always dreaming of being in the Gold Tier. She's really nice when she's sober. Maybe she'll even call you her son." He threw his arm around Giotto's neck. This entire thing made him downright estatic. "I'll be all ours."

 

As the days and months went by, Jesse grew even closer to Giotto. Jesse taught Giotto many things he could. He stood over at Giotto's so much, he practically secretly lived there. This usual meeting happened until a year and a half after they met, for Jesse's mother fell slightly ill and he had to take care of her more often. He still stopped by Giotto's every day, to see if he wanted to go into the city or simple conversations on how the day went. Everyday he stopped by. However on one day just as Giotto was waiting for Jesse to show up at the usual time, he didn't.

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Giotto casually looked out his window. A whole lot of time had passed. His father was as strict as ever to keep him in home school. But thanks to such Giotto was also able to both advance in his classes and be able to meet up with Jesse more often. The friendship blossomed and changed Giotto positively. Even Sebastian noticed that Giotto had become more confident over the past year, even speaking up when asked by his father of certain manners. He had started to develop a hobby involving machines, trying to create small gadgets out of spare parts that he could find on the street. He wore a black shirt with red claw mark designs on the front which also had a hoodie, jeans, some red sneakers, and a leather jacket. He looked up at the clock as he sat on a chair by the coffee table. "(How strange, he's usually here by now. Maybe traffic?)" Giotto stood up and gently walked over to the balcony, glancing down in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. None. "(Well he does have his mother-...wait, what if something happened?)" Giotto thought as he looked around some more. What if something bad happened to his mother's condition and that's why he's late? He could need the help? He thought about it for a bit. "(...I'll go over, just to check up, maybe I'll encounter him on the way.)" Giotto thought as he looked around to make sure no one was looking, and used his belt's grappling hook to lower himself to the bottom, and then over the fence. He got his hood up and began to walk. He didn't want to appear clingy, and give Jesse his space when he needed it and demanded it. But one of the many things he has learned is that this city has its sinners, and he couldn't be too sure that he was unharmed.

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