I'm Back Baby

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Better Than Ever

*Analissa is now almost 18 years old. In the story, we are two weeks away from her birthday, so it has been around 2 years and 5 months.


(Lissa POV)

THUMP THUMP BANG

THUMP THUMP BANG

BANG BANG SWOOSH

THUMP THUMP BANG

The rhythmic sounds of my hitting the punching bag filled the gym room.

It was calming, in a way. I loved the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my muscles. The jarring impact of my fists and leg connecting with the bag made me feel almost happy.

BANG

I kicked the bag once more, breaking seal and spilling the sand and sawdust onto the floor, along with any trace of happiness I had gotten out of my morning workout.

Great. Just great. This was exactly what I needed this morning.

The sound of a slow clap came from behind me, startling me out from my gazing at the falling particles.

"You know, you don't have to keep breaking them."

Bast stood behind me chuckling at the scene. It almost looked like a murder had taken place, with the punching bag as my poor victim.

"Well, it shouldn't have pissed me off."

"Oh no, what happened piccolina?" he asked, his smile dropping from his face.

Bastiano had never given up on his nickname for me, despite my numerous attempts, arguments, and evidence presentations for the otherwise.

"I'm not little." I growled back. "And we have a leak. Someone is going after Pietro in the States."

A little over two years ago, once my body had started to finally mend, I learned what the family business was.

I had been kept away from everyone and everything until I was healed enough to walk without the wheelchair. Bast helped me with the physical therapy, and Dr. Mansi helped with regular checkups and lots of nutrition guidelines.

It was during this isolated time that I was able to learn Italian, among a few other languages. I was finally able to tell what people were saying and converse in Italian! It seemed that I had a knack for languages.

When I was introduced to my grandparents, it was a reunion that could never be forgotten. My grandfather was Leone, a slimmer man around 60 years old with greying hair that used to be black. His strong jaw still remained proud, and he carried himself with honor.

My grandmother's name is Tina. She was on the shorter side, around 5'2, and had long dark brown hair that was so thick I could have used it to knit. She broke down when she saw me and I nearly had to undergo all of my physical therapy again because of her tackle hug that she gave me.

Ever since I met them, I started taking over bits of the family business. Leone is getting too old, and he cannot rely on his subordinates to do everything for him all the time. It is better to lead by example instead of just ordering people about all the time.

Once my arm and leg had improved enough, my lungs wouldn't tear, and my ribs were healed, I was able to start building up my muscle and resistance.

I started to train. And hard.

I became one of the best street fighters Bast had ever trained at the age of 16. It was less than a year after my fall, around 8 months.

I was proud of my accomplishments. I started to learn other things too. I learned to shoot, how to throw knives with pinpoint accuracy, how to streetrace with both cars and motorcycles, and how to "interrogate"'.

I have become one of the most sought after assassins in the world because of my skills. I don't take assignments too often, but when I do, I make sure that they are worth my while.

But most of all, I learned how to be a family. Lucia had become a mom to me, with her sons as my brothers. Leandro is 17 now, so he will be my second when I officially take over the family, and Donatello is 15, soon to be 16.

Don is an amazing hacker too. He can get in and out of anything with ease. He assists me with my assignments while Lee stays back and helps run things in my absence.

And my little Luca. My partner in crime, my little cherub. He has the fattest cheeks on a 7 year old that I have ever seen while still being super skinny. It is a conundrum. We love to go around pranking the rest of the family, especially Lee, Don, and Bast. They give us the best reactions.

I also paint on the side. Many people have told me that I need a reprieve from the stress of command and the violence that comes with my job, so I took up painting. And I found out that I was pretty good at it.

I sell my painting anonymously and they rake in hundreds of thousands in Euros, which I donate to charities.

What? I might be in the mafia, but I am not totally heartless.

Getting back to the problem at hand, I was trying my best not to go on a rampage.

"What do you mean we have a leak?" Bast asked, with worry in his eyes.

"I mean that we have a fucking informer from our family telling the fucking Romani family about our business deals. What do you think I meant by a leak Bastiano? In the attic?" I yelled, waving my arms in the air to emphasize my point.

I was beyond pissed. We took care of our family, and for one of them to betray us like this was like a knife to the back.

"Hey.... hey, calm down. You don't need yell at me, I was just asking. What do we need to do?" Bastiano asked calmly.

He knew the best ways to calm me down. The 38 year old could always push me to my max when I needed it, but he could always bring me right back down to earth.

"I need to send someone to protect Pietro. Even if I didn't leave there on the best of terms and haven't spoken to them since then, they are still family. They are still Winters."

My voice had calmed considerably, considering the situation that we had on our hands.

"Okay, lets call up a meeting with the higher ups and discuss this. Killing another bag full of dirt won't help you. Besides, I think the cleaning staff have enough to do with all the activities that take place around here anyways." He grinned at me, causing the corners of my mouth to turn upwards.

"Fine, but after this, you owe me a sparring match. It has been forever since i knocked you on your ass." I said smirking.

Terror raced through his eyes as we began to make our way up to the meeting halls.

After some time, everyone who was higher up in the family had gathered in the meeting hall. My grandfather was sitting at the head with me on his right. Lee was on his left. The rest of the members were then down the table in descending rank.

"Leone, why have we met here today." one of the lesser members called out.

Ugh, Nico. I never did like him. The only reason why he is allowed to sit in on these meetings is because his father is a higher member. Nico hopes that his father will give him his spot one day.

"The Romani's have a spy in the family. They have been our greatest enemies for over a century, ever since the old family split into two."

Ah, yes. Our families used to be one. The Romani's and Winter's. Until something happened and the mafia of that time was split into two and each side took half. Since then the Romani and the Winter mafias have been great enemies.

I have been hearing this story for a while. But I never heard of anything happening between the two families until this point. And now the Romani's and threatening my uncle and his family in the States.

"A spy?!"

"What are you talking about?"

"Why haven't we heard about this sooner?"

The cries of disbelief and outrage came from the people sitting in the room. Looking at Lee, he nodded and stood up.

"We found traces of a coded message leaving the mansion last night. Donatello flagged it, decoded the message, and immediately told myself and Lissa. The message was talking about the lax security we have around my uncle Pietro in the States, and how they need to make their move now if they are going to have any chance obtaining our mafia."

Lee sat down and looked to me. Sighing, I stood up and began to explain.

"We need to send more security over to the States for my uncle. He may not be actively involved with the family anymore, but he still is my grandfather's only son and he is a member of this family. If we start turning our back on our family members, it goes against everything our family stands for."

As I sat down, I heard the murmurs of agreement down the table.

All of a sudden, Nico stood up, shouting, "I don't see why someone who hasn't been with us for over 20 years needs our protection. And you, Lissa, you were gone for so long. Why do you deserve to be our leader?"

The room got deadly quiet. My face did not betray my thoughts.

'I want to flay this little pipsqueak. Who the hell does he think he is?'

"Are you doubting my grandaughter's ability to lead or her legitimacy to the family?" my grandpa asked in a deadly tone.

Nico started shaking, fear setting into his eyes as my grandfather's own bore into them.

"I misspoke sir. I apologize." He quickly sat down again, and for some odd reason, he found the table underneath his hands fascinating, as he wouldn't stop staring.

"If any of you have complaints about me, please, speak now." I stated in a clear voice that held no illusion that I was in complete control over the room.

No one spoke a word.

"Getting past that annoying interlude, we need to know how to protect Pietro. Clearly sending more guards isn't working. The leak would just tell the Romani's. I will think about this for the next few days and get back to you." With this, my grandfather stood up and stode out of the room.

Lee and I followed, our heads held high. I glanced at Nico as I walked by, but he still found the table fascinating.

I scoffed.

Reaching my grandfather's office, Lee and I sat down in the chairs opposite his desk and waited for him to speak.

"Lissa, I know what you're going to say to this, but I do not have any other way right now. I need someone I trust next to my son, and you can have the perfect excuse. I..."

"Grandfather, please get to the point." My nerves were frayed enough.

"I would like it if you pretended to take an assignment and went back to the States to protect Pietro."

"What?!" both Lee and I shouted.

"You have to be out of your mind. Do you not remember what they did to her? How she came to us in the first place?" Lee growled.

"Do YOU not remember that I am still your grandfather and your Don? Show me some respect Leandro." my grandfather boomed.

Sinking my head into my hands, I started to breathe deeply, in and out, in and out.

I glanced up at my grandpa and he looked back with expectant eyes.

"They will recognize me. If you haven't noticed, I kind of stand out. Silver hair and mismatched eyes do that to a person." I stated facetiously.

He rolled his eyes. "I have thought of that. Give me some credit, please. We can dye your hair and you can wear colored contacts. Or just one if you prefer. Please Lissa. I don't want to loose him like I lost your mother."

Ouch.

That fucking hurt. "You can't play that card. That isn't fair and you know it." Sighing, I closed my eyes. "Alright, but on a few conditions."

"Perfect! Name anything, it's yours!"

I grinned evilly.

I laughed. "Don't regret grandpa."

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