Fandom: Thief Lord
Word Count: 2,421
Summary: High School AU. Prosper has resorted to thievery in order to support his younger brother and delusional mother when he meets an elusive Thief Lord in the streets of Venice. Meanwhile, in daylight, he befriends a boy who helps him but also confuses him. There's something that he just can't put his finger on... ScipProp
The sound of running feet filled the dark alleyway, accompanied by harsh panting. In the dim light, all that could be seen was a single figure, male, approximately early teens, with medium-length curly hair that bounced as he ran.
RUNRUNRUNDON'TGETCAUGHTRUNRUNRUN was the manta that pounded in his ears as he heard the police yelling behind him for him to stop and to show himself. That was the one thing he couldn't do. He grasped the stolen jewelry in his hands with a grip that would never allow it to fall. He had to get back, back to his brother, to the only person he found important in his life anymore, to the person that he dedicated his life to.
Allowing himself one last look backwards, he saw the light of a flashlight and ducked into a stone doorway, where he pressed himself up against the wall and waited for his pursuers to pass by. His heart nearly leapt out of his chest when he heard the policemen run by, shouting at each other. He only allowed himself a breath when he was sure that they were all past.
"Well, what do we have here? A little thief, I presume?" He spun around, snarling. Before him stood a figure cloaked in black, with a bird's mask covering half of his face. All that could be seen was an apathetic set of pursed lips and dark brown eyes that seemed to be gleaming with amusement and curiosity.
Careful to move slowly, he pocketed the jewelry in his coat, maintaining eye contact the entire time. "And what of it?" he questioned warily. "What are you going to do about it?"
The cloaked figure laept off of his perch, landing with a soft thud onto the stone floor. His head flashed up once more, face serious. "Why nothing at all, of course. I assume you must have your reasons?" He allowed a single nod, careful not to let the other leave his sight.
As the person approached him, he noticed that he seemed to be of around the same height as himself, with brown hair that nearly reached his shoulders. His face was youthful, so they must be around the same age, the other possibly older by a year or two.
"Then there's no problem at all. Run along then. Your family must be waiting for you." His eyes widened. It must have just been a careless guess, that's all. He turned and set about on his way, feet pattering on the wet stone that paved the road. Behind him, he heard a soft call of, "I hope to see you later, my fellow thief."
He spun. The figure was gone. Narrowing his eyes, he continued running back home, where he could finally feel safe. And then life would continue on as it always had.
Prosper sighed. He hated school, he really did. Every day was like the other, a constant drone of homework and studying. He had no friends, had no need for any, so he filled his time loitering in the library, reading everything he could get his hands on.
Life was decent, save for the fact that he was often picked on because of his girlish looks or his family's…financial status. The social ranks played a major part in the school. Those who were poor were picked on and bullied while those who were better off were the ones to do the harassing. Prosper was one of those that was poor, having gotten in only through scholarship. Those like him were extremely few in number, so he was isolated.
The teachers seemed to like him well enough though. There was Mr. Getz, who taught Italian, English, and Latin. He was a friendly person and always liked coming into class with a new disguise every day, claiming that he used to be a detective before settling down and becoming a teachers. The science teacher was Ms. Spavento. She was a kind and motherly figure that always seemed to be smiling at him, helping him when he got into tough situations. There was Mr. Barbarossa, who taught math. He always used money as examples and had quite the reputation for scamming students of their money. Needless to say, he never scammed Prosper (seeing as he had no money to give), and tolerated him. The last teacher was Conte, which was what everybody called him. Nobody knew what his real name was, but nobody seemed to care in the least. Conte was old and his classes often put students to sleep, but those who managed to stay awake actually learned a lot.
Prosper heard the shrill bell ring, signaling the end of the school day. With a huff, he slammed his book shut, sliding it back onto the shelf in its proper place. Hefting his backpack onto his shoulder, he exited the library with a half-hearted wave and a smile at the librarian, who pursed her lips in return. Despite his frequent visits, she never seemed to like him.
The wave of people that greeted him was one that he had long learned to navigate, finding the cracks in the crowd and slipping through due to his thin frame. Finally, he made his way to the door with little trouble, exiting out to the fresh air. Legitimate sunlight simply couldn't beat the fluorescent lights of the school, no matter how energy efficient the light bulbs were.
He sprinted down the stairs and ran out onto the street, eager to get away from the school as fast as possible before any of his harassers found him. Today didn't seem to be a lucky one, as he was cornered by three taller teenagers who wore identical sneers on their faces.
"Well well well, if it isn't poor Prop." One laughed. "It must be our lucky day!"
Prosper turned his head away with a grimace. "Doesn't seem to be mine. And couldn't you come up with a more interesting name if you're going to give me one?" He made to leave but was jerked back by a rough hand that threw him against the wall. Prosper refused to let out a cry of pain, despite the knowledge that it would leave a bruise, joining the plethora of contusions around his body.
One of the teenagers punched him in the stomach when he wasn't paying attention, driving him to his knees. Of all the things to happen, Prosper hadn't expected that. It only got worse. Another, perhaps the burliest of the group, yanked him up from the ground by the lapel of his shirt, proceeding to throw him to the ground with enough force that Prosper could practically guarantee a thin fracture. Knowing what the three were there for, he clutched onto his backpack, refusing to let them have any access at all to whatever he had in it.
Prosper could feel their frustration and enjoyment radiating off of them, which spurred him to increase his hold on the backpack. The three descended onto him, kicking him back and forth, tossing him around. The younger teen clenched his teeth. He wouldn't let them have the satisfaction of hearing him scream in pain. Besides, the best thing to do would be to wait it out. It wasn't as though anybody would stop to help.
The single commanding voice got his attackers to stop assaulting him, allowing him to hesitantly get to his feet. He didn't trust himself to run just yet, so he slowly inched away, holding onto his bag with with an iron grip.
"And what do you want with us, pretty boy?" Prosper forced one eye to open, giving him a blurry image of another boy standing at the entrance of the alley. He was standing there with his hands in his pockets. Prosper couldn't make out many details, but he could see the brown hair, which wasn't really much help in identifying his savior.
As he watched, the boy strode closer, ignoring the protests of the three bullies. He came to a halt a foot away from Prosper, who threw his backpack on and shifted backwards, stopping when he saw a hand reaching out to him.
"Come on." Even though he couldn't see his face through his swollen eyes, Prosper latched onto the offered hand and felt a jerk and he was dragged along after the running teen. He kept his eyes up and barely open, so he could see where he was going through the tiniest slit. Even though Prosper was tripping over every bit of ground he was traversed, he felt oddly safe and protected, despite not knowing the identity of the person pulling him along.
After weaving through people, random obstacles, and buildings, Prosper skidded to a halt, panting. "I…think we lost them…"
The other teenager spun his head around, scanning the area for any signs of their pursuers. "Alright. Coast is clear," He turned to face Prosper. "You alright there? Seems like they did quite a bit of damage. If you want, I can help patch you up."
Prosper yanked his hand back. The other boy looked down at his now empty hand, surprised as though he had forgotten that they had been linked. Awkwardly, he shoved the hand into his pockets, glancing over at Prosper with a casual glance. Sighing, Prosper averted his eyes and stared at a random sign while he replied, "I would, but I need to get home soon. My brother still needs to eat and…"
The teen coughed. "Yeah, sure. That's okay. Just…make sure to patch up. Oh right, I never introduced myself, did I?" He removed his hand from his pocket once more, reaching out towards Prosper. "The name's Scipio."
Grasping the hand in a firm grip, Prosper shook it once. "I'm Prosper. Nice to meet you, Scip." The name felt foreign on his tongue, but he liked the feel of it.
Scip smiled. "And nice to meet you too, Prosper. So, are we friends now?"
"Friends?" Prosper furrowed his brows. He had never had friends before… The word felt weird but it was nice. Friends. "Sure then. Friends." Prosper answered with a shy grin of his own, tucking his hair behind an ear.
Right before he appeared, Prosper felt a chill down his back.
"So we meet again, little thief." The teen scowled under his new mask, one he had just found so he could keep his face hidden. Just in case.
"Aren't you a thief yourself? Why take an interest in this little thief?" Prosper tightened his hold on that night's catch, a sapphire brooch surrounded by diamonds. It would be enough to feed them for a while and there was no way he was going to give up his prize.
The other person stepped out of the shadows. "Now now, many call me the Thief Lord, and you may do so as well. What name would I have the pleasure of calling you, little thief?"
A name? Prosper hadn't thought that far. He searched through his mind, trying to find the right words to string together. "How about…Maschera Fortunato?" He smirked. It would work for the meantime. After all, it was fitting wasn't it? Lost in thought, he fingered his white and purple mask. It was expressionless, he knew. There was no need for emotions here.
"Maschera Fortunato, huh? Seems a bit mouthy for me. I'll call you Schera, then!" Prosper could see the small smirk on the Thief Lord's face, feeling the heat rising on his own. He had known this person for a mere two nights, and he had already been given a nickname?
Prosper spun on his heels, preparing to leave. "That's fine, I suppose." However, before he could cover any ground, he felt a hand grab hold of his arm and pull him back.
"You never told me your reasons last time we met, did you?" An innocent question, but Prosper sneered his reply. He didn't have any time for petty tricks and useless questions. He had always maintained his distance from people and he had no need for socializing in the middle of a theft, whether the other was fellow thief or not.
He yanked his arm out of the grip, wincing as he felt a jolt of pain spark from one of the still unhealed bruises. "It's none of your business, Thief Lord. You have your motives and I have mine. I see no reason to be sharing them in the flooded streets of Venice, and in the middle of theft of all times."
That mouth bothered him greatly. There was no smirk, but a corner of it twitched, and that was enough to set off Prosper's rage. "Can't you leave me alone? I have no such desire to be fraternizing with you and would greatly appreciate it if you would merely LEAVE. ME. ALONE." Prosper hissed, stalking away from the other thief.
As 'Schera' disappeared into the shadows of Venice, the Thief Lord tugged lightly at his bird mask with a wry smile, crossing his arms as he leaned against a nearby wall. "Seems like I've lit the boy's flame. You can come out now, Riccio, Mosca, Hornet."
From a hidden doorway, three people, around the height of mere children, emerged. The shortest, a boy, reached up and scratched the back of his head with a sheepish smile. "Ah, he caught us, huh?"
The girl rolled her eyes, the motion lost in the darkness. "Of course he did. I knew it was a bad idea to follow him."
The third person, another boy threw his arms up in exasperation. "It was all Riccio's fault. He had the brilliant idea of stalking you to see where you were going!"
"I did not!" Riccio replied in indignation. "Besides, Mosca, you and Hornet were all for the idea too! Admit it, you were curious, weren't you?"
The Thief Lord held up his hands for silence, which was provided almost immediately. "Alright, I don't care whose idea it was. Let's just get back to the Stella. I know Hornet and I still have school tomorrow and we still need to help you two with catching up on the most basic education. I can't help you three forever, so this is important, okay?"
"Okay…" The three chorused, shuffling back to the decrepit abandoned theater that they called home. The masked boy glanced over at the shadows that Schera had vanished in one last time before heading back to the building that he would never accept as his own home.