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"Nicolas Anthony Romano!" Louis slammed the apartment door behind him angrily. He'd just been to pay a visit to Nico's boss and was met with some rather unexpected and shocking news. He felt hurt and betrayed. His mind was nearly exploding with questions like, Why would Nico lie to me? What has he been doing these last two months? Where is he getting money from?           

The last question was the one that bothered him the most. 

He knocked sharply on Nico's closed bedroom door. "Nicolas?" When he received no answer he tried again. "Nicolas, open the door right now!" Nothing. He sighed heavily and opened the door to reveal an empty room. "Where the devil is he," he muttered, feeling his anger and frustration grow stronger.

A quick search ended with the conclusion that Nico was not home. Louis sat heavily on the couch, putting his aching head in his hands. His mind raced, trying to imagine every place he might be, but he hit a dead end with every new possibility. Eventually Louis decided that he would wait until Nico returned home rather than try to find him without a lead. 

A lead, he thought. Perhaps there's something in his room to indicate where he's been, or where he is now. 

Rifling through his brother's things felt wrong to Louis, but he argued that it was for his own good. He searched every inch of the room, the entire task taking up all of an hour, but he came up empty. Finally, he came to the closet. He scoured each piece of clothing, every box or bag, but still, nothing. He groped along the top shelf with his hand and his heart skipped a beat when it met something that didn't feel like it quite belonged. He swallowed nervously, a dreaded anticipation building in his chest, as he pulled the object down from the shelf and brought it into the light.   

It was a plastic bag half filled with a fine, white powder. 

"No," Louis breathed at he stared, horror struck, at the bag in his trembling hand. His legs suddenly felt like jelly and his stomach turned. He didn't know what he'd been expecting to find, but it was certainly not this. In his heart of hearts, he'd had a faint hope that Nico had a good reason for lying about his work. But this dashed every hope he'd ever had. Tears sprang unbidden into his eyes, the grief he felt weighing heavier than the anger that had burned in his chest earlier. 

At least now, however, he had an idea as to where Nico might be. With an aching heart, he stuffed the bag into his sweatshirt pocket and set out to find his brother. 


Nico trudged through the dark alley, a bitter taste in his mouth. Louis was going to visit his former boss and there was nothing he could do to stop him without raising suspicion. He kicked at a piece of trash frustratedly. All this time he'd been able to keep his secret, and he was doing just fine! People wanted what he was selling, and he was bringing in way more money than he was when he worked for Mr. Scott. 

But he knew how Louis would react. He always overreacts, he thought. He's gonna yell at me and make me feel bad, then act like he's never done anything wrong in his life. He huffed disgustedly. I'll show him. I'll show him that I don't need him. I can do this just fine on my own. 

He stopped suddenly, having reached his destination. But now that he was there, he was beginning to question his decision to come at all. The shadows seemed darker here. A heavy draft blew through the alleyway causing a shiver to course through the teen's body. His heart drummed against his ribs as his anxiety built and for a brief moment, he considered running, getting far away, finding Louis and confessing everything to him. 

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