Done for the NPC Slash Challenge on Ian/Gino week (or weeks technically, it went on for two because it was so popular. ;D )


A soft, depressed sigh escaped Ian’s lips as he wandered through one of the more deserted parts of the Gambino Mansion. After all that has happened to them: all the jealousy, all the heartache, even after giving her the beautiful diamond seashell he had found so long ago, she had left him at the drop of a hat for Liam of all people. Gino was no better off, but Ian no longer had the ability to feel threatened by him anymore, even if he was still 18. After the separation the boy had reverted back to his original timid state. Only child-like cuteness remained, apparently it was his father that had retained the charm.

Ian grimaced slightly at the thought of Johnny being charming.

But that didn’t really matter, the point was Sasha left both of them without a second thought. The only good that came out of it was that now that wannabe beach-bum player was being hunted down. It was a small consolation. In all truthfulness Ian would have preferred Sasha going out with Gino instead of Liam, at least he knew the boy wouldn’t cheat. Maybe she didn’t like the thought of her boyfriend being prettier than her.

Ian stopped in his tracks. Where did that thought come from? He shook his head, he was just exhausted by the day’s events, that’s all.

A small sniffle drew the man’s attention to the door to one of the mansion’s many balconies. The door was ajar, letting in a delightfully cool breeze that was heavily scented with the ocean. Ian peeked outside to find the youngest Gambino leaning on the balcony railing. His soft, purplish-red eyes gazed out over the beach and the ocean, the moonlight glinting off his hair as if it were some sort of precious metal. A porcelain hand reached up to wipe something from his eye.

“Hey,” Ian called out, taking a step out onto the balcony and leaning back against the door, “The party’s inside you know.”

The younger boy jumped slightly at the sound of the shopkeeper’s voice and he turned his head to look at him, his eyes glistening with unshed tears. He tried to blink them away before speaking. “I… I can’t deal with a crowd right now…”

Ian’s lips curled up into an understanding smile, “Sasha right?”

Gino’s eyes fell downward and he turned back to the railing. His eyes were so intent on boring a hole into the decorative wood that he didn’t notice when Ian moved to lean on the railing beside him. The Barton shopkeeper gazed up at the pale moon above them.

“This is probably your first dump isn’t it?” He didn’t look down to see the answer, “That would explain why you’re taking it so hard.”

Gino glanced at him, “What about you? You worked harder than I did for her… How can you…?”

A small smirk played o the older man’s lips, “I’ve been involved with women longer than you have. I’m no stranger to this feeling.”

Gino’s eyebrows knit together and he gazed down at the sands of the beach not too far from the base of the mansion. “I just… I just don’t understand.”

“First rule about women kid, you’ll never understand them.”

A silence fell upon them as the two men became lost in their thoughts. Gino rubbed his thumb against his other in a nervous habit as he watched the not-so-distant waves claw at the shore. A new tear tried to blaze a trail down his cheek, but he quickly wiped it away. “Ian?”

“Hm?” The shopkeeper looked at him.

“When… when does it stop hurting?” Gino’s eyes gazed up pleadingly at the other’s.

Ian placed a hand on the young Gambino’s shoulder and squeezed, “Until you find someone or something else to pour all that energy into.”

The boy contemplated this before closing his eyes for a moment, then looking back up at him with dry eyes. He smiled, “Thank you Ian.”

Ian smiled back, “It’s no problem.”

They stood there like that for a few moments before Ian cleared his throat and took a step back. “I’m, uh, going back in. You coming?”

Gino bit his lip, “No I… think I’m going to stay out here for a little while longer.”

“Oh, okay,” Ian rubbed the back of his head before heading back to the door, “Guess I’ll be seeing you around then.”

The shopkeeper almost made it to the door before Gino cried out, “Uh, hey!”

Ian paused and looked back at him, “Yes?”

Gino looked kind of embarrassed, “I… I really liked talking to you. Can we do it again some time?”

Ian smiled and nodded, “Sure.”

The boy returned the smile, “O-okay. See you then.”

Ian gave him a short wave before exiting the balcony. As the man walked back down the hall towards the loud noises of merriment, aliens, and cows, one thought lingered in both their minds.

Why is my heart beating so fast?