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An Odd Dynamic

Chapter Text

Jotaro was thrown against the cold floor of his cell. The restraints around his wrists and ankles burned when he tried to pull them apart. Sigils carved in the chains around his torso glowed if he did anything more than breathe. Someone banged against the cell bars. The old man was paler than a ghost, with stringy black hair pulled back into a ponytail. His outfit was pristine, if one ignored the slash of spotted blood on his shirt.

“You’re really in the shitter now, Jojo.”

Jotaro didn’t say anything, but he did grin, showing off a mouthful of bloodied teeth.

The old man threw a rock, hitting Jotaro right where one of his horns met his skull. “That’s the last client of mine you send to the hospital. I already got your next buyer. Even have him paying twice as much as the last guy. His pets tend to go mad enough to run away or worse. Basically, you won’t be coming back.”

Jotaro snarled at him before pressing his cheek back against the cool stone floor. The old man gave a final kick to the cell bars and disappeared down the hallway.

Good riddance. It wasn’t Jotaro’s fault the gag broke under his jaw. With his mouth was free, what else was he to do but bite down as hard as he could? Jotaro had a sensitive gag reflex. If anything he was doing his ex-buyer a favor by not puking on him. He rolled onto his back and stared at the uneven stones in the ceiling. This wasn’t how he wanted to spend this portion of his life. The base of his horns began to throb, and he forced himself not to curl up in pain. Closing his eyes, he breathed through his mouth. The pain medication they gave him never lasted long enough.

His only respite was that he would always pass out from the pain instead of it keeping him up at night. Jotaro began to feel himself slip away when a spray of water hit him in the crotch. He groaned and rolled over when the water didn’t stop. He was drenched in minutes. His hair stuck to his face blinding him.

“Sorry. Forgot to announce bath night.” A guard’s voice came from outside the cell.

What a load of bullshit. Jotaro knew that particular guard’s voice, and he never announced bath night. The runes along the cell walls glowed orange and Jotaro sighed at the warmth. The only pleasant part about being trapped against your will was the half an hour of warmth after getting soaked. Once he was dry, the cell would slowly turn cold again. Every minute of the temperature dropping was its own torture. He hoped his new owner was dumb enough to kill him or smart enough to let him go since he sure as hell wasn’t going through another night like this.

 

 

Jotaro wasn’t fully awake when he was gagged, blindfolded, and taken from his cell to be thrown into a carriage. That meant he’d slept through the whole exchange between his new owner and his now ex-keeper. Well, either that or the old bastard was desperate to sell Jotaro so he skipped out on the whole thing in fear of waking him up. Jotaro had scared away previous buyers with just a look on multiple occasions. His stomach twisted at the sudden surge of magic that pulsed over him.

The carriage came to a stop. The tapping of horse hooves stopped when someone made a clicking sound. Jotaro’s blindfold was illuminated once the door opened.

“Oh my goodness. You’re so malnourished,” said the voice.

Jotaro noted that they sounded young. Much younger than he thought they’d be. Jotaro gagged when magic swirled around him, and he was levitated from the carriage.

“I’m sorry I have to carry you this way. I’m not strong enough physically to do so.”

This person was acting awfully concerned for their new sex slave. Was this some kind of trick? Maybe they were trying to lure Jotaro into a false sense of security. It’d happened before, from which he learned to bite the hand that fed him on a regular basis.

He was surprised when his body met a very soft surface. His new owner arranged him on the bed so that he sat on his calves. The blindfold was removed and Jotaro did his best to school his features into a bored look even if he was shocked. This person was the youngest buyer he’d ever had. The person’s hair was red and cut so that a long bang hung along the side of their face. Violet eyes. Freckles covered their face from the nose up and curved around to stop at the corners of their eyes. They wore dark green fabrics that were loose enough to move in freely, but didn’t hang off of them awkwardly.

“I got a whole list of instructions on how to handle you. Don’t release the ankle bonds if I release the wrist bonds and vice versa. The chains on around your chest and legs have the same instructions. Heavy pain medication for your growing horns. Blah blah blah.”

Jotaro narrowed his eyes. “You know what happened to the last few people that owned me?”

“Yes.”

“So you know what’ll happen to you even if you follow all those instructions.”

“You’re going to kill me, right?”

“I won’t hesitate.”

The person hummed and tapped his finger against the chains around Jotaro’s chest. They fell off of him in a heap and vanished. “How do you plan to kill me?”

“Depends on what you try to do.”

“Ah, I see.” The person leaned down and tapped against the restraints against Jotaro’s ankles making them vanish. “Well then, please kill me slowly.”

“I’ll make it quick just because you’re telling me what to do.”

Jotaro’s owner removed the collar around his neck. “Then please kill me quickly.”

What the hell was this person doing? Were they really wanting Jotaro to kill them? He didn’t remember the last time he could breathe this freely. His bones felt heavy, and the bed under his legs turned warm and welcoming. No, he needed to stay focused. This person was an idiot. All Jotaro needed to do was play along until the last restraint was off of him. Then he could kill the person, and go to sleep.

“I’ll kill you however I want.”

The person hummed again before making the chains around Jotaro’s legs disappear. Almost there. Almost. Their hands hovered over Jotaro’s wrists. “What’s your name?”

His name? Why the hell did they want his name? Fuck it. They were going to be dead in a minute anyway. “Jotaro.”

“It’s very nice to meet you Jotaro. I’m Noriaki Kakyoin.”

“Good to know. I’ll put it on your gravestone.”

“Thank you. I would appreciate that.” Kakyoin tapped their finger against Jotaro’s cuffs making them vanish.

Jotaro groaned at the familiar surge of magic that spread over his skin. It’d been so long since he felt like this. He looked down at Kakyoin and felt the corners of his mouth tug up. Kakyoin just made the biggest mistake of their life. Didn’t matter how unnerved they looked. Jotaro struck his fist out and found himself on his back on the bed. What the fuck just happened?

Kakyoin sat on the edge of the bed with their hands folded over their lap. Jotaro expected a binding magic around his limbs, but found that he could sit up easily. What the fuck just happened? His face must’ve shown his confusion because Kakyoin let out a small laugh.

“I’m sorry. I just remembered there’s this sale going down at the market tomorrow, and I reacted. Could you perhaps kill me after the sale? I think the least I could do is buy you some new clothes if you plan to live here for a bit.”

It didn’t take long for things to click into place. Kakyoin was a sorcerer. Of course they were a fucking sorcerer. None of his other owners could get any of his bindings off without help. This wasn’t good. Now Jotaro knew he was being played with.

“What are you going to do to me?” Jotaro wasn’t scared. Just annoyed. He needed to know what he was in for during his stay.

Kakyoin looked confused. Said look involved their eyes slightly widening, their brow furrowing, and their lips forming a small pout. Good grief.

“Your old pets all went crazy right? What do you plan to do to me?”

“Oh! That’s what you meant. I’d explain that whole mess to you, but I can tell you’re very tired.” Kakyoin took a small package from one of the pockets of their jacket, placing it on the bedside table next to a tall glass of cool water. “That’s your pain medication. I examined the formula they were giving you and tossed it. This one should actually work for you full time. One dose a day.”

Jotaro figured it couldn’t be poison. No one would spend the kind of money Kakyoin must have just to kill him the same day. Kakyoin waited until he took the medicine before nodding.

They stood from the bed and pretended to wipe any dust from their lap. “Okay. I’ll have something nice for you to eat when you wake up. My room is two doors down the left in this hall. In case I’m not in there, then the kitchen is on the first floor past the sitting room. You can’t miss it. All right?”

Jotaro nodded again. Kakyoin smiled at him and left the room. He was surprised he didn’t hear a lock click in place. This person must have some really strong magic working in their place if they didn’t even bother locking Jotaro inside. That or Jotaro was much weaker than he thought he was. The sun was shining through the windows. When was the last time he looked at the sun? He snorted and got under the blankets before adjusting the pillows around his head. Jotaro knew this would be the only peaceful day he’d get here but found himself hoping for everyday to be this simple.

Chapter Text

The sun was still high in the sky when Jotaro woke up. Checking his internal clock, he knew it was around two or three in the afternoon. Just how early did Kakyoin come to take him away? Sitting up in bed, he stretched until his spine made a cracking sound. He felt around the base of his horns and was surprised at the lack of pain. Actually, they weren’t hurting at all. With his old medication they ached constantly, and now… His stomach growled. Food. Kakyoin had promised him food when he woke up. He poked his foot out from under the blanket only to pull it back under. It was much warmer under the blankets. When was the last time he could curl up in blankets and be cozy? Jotaro did just that before his stomach growled again.

Battle plan. He’d go downstairs to eat before coming back up and lying around in bed. As far as he was concerned, the only thing Kakyoin was in charge of was when they’d die. Jotaro got out of bed and ignored the goosebumps spreading over his skin. He needed to figure out how to regulate his body heat again. Having his magic bound for so long really messed him up. He opened the door and was taken back by what he saw.

The house was clean. An assortment of dark woods covered the walls and floors. Patterned rugs stretched along the hallway floors and down the stair case. Lamps that sat on chandelier fastenings held bright flames which brightened up the dark spots that the sunlight couldn’t reach. The railings on the banister of the staircase looked like stained glass, but when Jotaro went to touch it he only felt the grain of smooth wood. Either this guy was loaded, or he was very good at casting glamours.

Jotaro followed the directions he was given and found Kakyoin in the kitchen cutting a slab of cooked meat into slices. He cleared his throat making them jump and nearly drop the knife. When they turned around, Jotaro took note of the frilly pink apron they wore.

“You’re awake. Good afternoon. I know incubi live on high protein diets, so I made a pork roast for lunch.”

“You call eating human flesh a high protein diet?”

Kakyoin made that stupid confused face again. “My books said that most incubi eat semen since human meat wasn’t as effective. You don’t eat humans do you?”

“What if I told you I did?” Jotaro scratched his chest.

“Then I’d have to apologize since I can’t provide either.”

“Good grief.”

Kakyoin looked down at his feet before their eyes widened. “Oh! Oh my goodness. I forgot to let you borrow some clothes.”

“I don’t need-.”

In a flash, Jotaro found himself wearing a loose pair of pants and a thick short-sleeved shirt. Was this going to be a regular thing with this person because if it was Jotaro was going to go nuts. Kakyoin must be really powerful to not have to say a spell before casting. Jotaro watched as they set the table in the kitchen for two and waited until Kakyoin sat before sitting down himself. There was a lot of food to pick from. Was Kakyoin going to poof away anything he tried to grab? Jotaro reached for the potatos and when he deemed it all right, grabbed the bowl. It didn’t poof. He scooped a heavy amount onto his plate. He continued this, picking things from dinner rolls to the vegetables until his plate was full. Maybe his utensils were cursed and as soon as he tried to eat anything, the food would return to his plate.

He lifted a spoonful of soup to his lips, eyeing Kakyoin before he slurped it. Immediately he groaned and slammed his fist against the table. It was so fucking good. Looking up, he caught Kakyoin smiling at him and glared in response.

“Is it good?”

Jotaro grunted and took a huge bite out of his dinner roll. “‘ell me abou’ ‘e pe’ hing.”

“Oh yes.” Kakyoin clapped their hands together. “For starter’s it isn’t true. None of it. I just have my old pets talk about me like that in public, so I can buy new ones without being suspected.”

Jotaro raised an eyebrow.

“My pets, ugh, listen I don’t like using that term. My friends I mean, spread bad rumours about me so that people who work in the trafficking business don’t know my real intentions when I purchase their “products.” What I really do is rehabilitate victims before letting them go under the guise of them running away or worse.” Kakyoin scooped a large heap of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

“Is this a joke?”

“Nope, no joke. You’re the last person I was able to buy in this district. After you run away, I’ll have to move and start up the process again somewhere else.”

“So you’re telling me I can leave whenever I want, and you won’t stop me?”

Kakyoin swallowed and shook his head. “Kind of? I am going to have to restrain you here for a little while. You’re very malnourished, and your horns aren’t done growing in yet-.”

“You’re trapping me here.”

“No! Well, not exactly. Listen, I can tell by how many ridges you have, it’ll only take a month before your horns are done growing. By then, you’ll be healthy and your magic will be fully grown. This way you won’t get captured again. There’s a reason why incubus slaves are so young. Full grown incubi are impossible to subdue, no less capture.”

Jotaro heard this kind of speech before. The kind where he was basically being told that certain things were for his own good. What irritated him about it was that Kakyoin was right. They were right and there was nothing Jotaro could do to prove him wrong. If he tried leaving early, Kakyoin’s magic would keep him there whether he wanted to or not. That and Kakyoin probably had things in place in the event they were separated. He realized that his cell was switched out for this gilded cage. The only comfort he could take in it was the fact of the temporary lock.

If Kakyoin was lying about how long Jotaro would be staying there, by the time the month was over there was no possible way for them to keep him here. They said so themself. Jotaro would be too powerful. He’d have to take the good with the bad. One of the good things being he could eat this delicious food for the next thirty days. Another good thing was that he had his own bed with blankets and pillows. Along with that, he had effective medication and no restraints. Now that he thought about it, this was the best living situation he’d ever found himself in as a sex slave. Kakyoin was going to let him do whatever he wanted once the month ended. This included leaving and never seeing them again.

Kakyoin stood up causing Jotaro to look up at them. They’d finished eating. Jotaro didn’t realize he’d hissed when Kakyoin began picking up the dishes until they apologized.

“You’re still hungry right? Just put the leftovers in the ice box when you’re done. After that, feel free to look around the house.”

Jotaro nodded and watched Kakyoin walk towards the kitchen entrance.

“Wait, one more thing.”

Jotaro had a slice of pork hanging from his fork. “What.”

“There’s a bathroom upstairs, two doors down the right from your room. It has a wash tub that spits out hot and cold water. Next to the toilet there’s a crotched basket. Put your clothes in there, and they’ll be clean when you take them out. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah.” Jotaro shoved the whole slice into his mouth.

Kakyoin gave him another smile before leaving the kitchen.

New battle plan. Jotaro would finish eating, take a long bath, and then lay in bed until tomorrow. If Kakyoin was serious about him having his own freedoms, then he was going to take advantage of it.

Chapter Text

“Jojo, what are you doing!”

Jotaro stopped before he could step through the transparent wall. Immediately, he was scooped up into his mother’s arms.

Holly pressed his head against her chest. “What did I tell you about crossing the barrier?”

Jotaro didn’t say anything, choosing to look down at his shirt. He wasn’t supposed to get caught until he came back.

“It’s dangerous out there. Wouldn’t you rather stay here and play with mommy?”

His eyes were then drawn to a rabbit that hoped through the wall and disappeared into a series of bushes.

Holly sighed and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Come on, let’s go play somewhere else.”

Jotaro opened his eyes and puked. Thank god he was already on his side. Lunch didn’t taste as good coming up as it did going down. He’d eaten too much too fast. He got out of bed sluggishly and puked onto the rug. God. How much more was going to come up? He stepped around the mess and went into the hallway. He needed the toilet, then he needed to find Kakyoin to clean up his mess. Jotaro opened the bathroom door to a half-dressed Kakyoin. Who the hell put on their clothes shirt first?

“Jotaro? You look sick.”

Instead of a clear response, Jotaro went to the sink and puked. Maybe he didn’t eat too much. What if Kakyoin had lied to him and poisoned his food? That must be the case, because he was sure he didn’t eat that much. He flinched when he felt a hand on his back. He reached over to push Kakyoin away as he tried to catch his breath. He didn’t want to puke anymore.

The rustling of fabric accompanied Jotaro’s gasps for breath. Something clinked against the counter by his head. Looking over, he saw it was a glass of water. His arms shook as he pushed himself to stand up straight.

“I’m sorry.” Kakyoin rubbed the back of their neck.

So, they did poison him. He should kill them for that. Kakyoin’s striped pajamas did nothing to hide their guilt.

“I should’ve known it was too early to let you eat anything so heavy. Don’t worry, I’ll make light dishes for you, and we can work your way up.”

Were they serious? They didn’t poison him? Kakyoin gestured to the water which Jotaro took. He put the rim to his lips when Kakyoin stopped his arm.

“You should sip it. You don’t want to puke again.”

Jotaro snorted and shook their arm off before filling his cheeks with water. He then spit it out and took a few sips. He knew how to take care of himself. He set the half-empty glass down, gave Kakyoin another look, and turned to leave the bathroom. There were a few clicks and the creak of the door shutting, then a set of footsteps followed him to his room. His room. That was right. He still needed Kakyoin to clean up his mess.

“Will you be okay going to bed like this? I could get you something to soothe your stomach.” Kakyoin fiddled with one of their buttons.

“I can’t sleep in my bed.”

“What? Why? What’s wrong with it?”

Jotaro opened his door and Kakyoin gasped. He waited for Kakyoin to say something. There was a lot of vomit. The spot where it was on his bed had turned long streaks of fabric damp. A few of his pillows were covered with it. The mattress must’ve been ruined. It even spread through the rug on the floor.

“I won’t be able to clean this up tonight.” Kakyoin waved their hand making a blue glow cover where the mess was and closed the door. “Come with me.”

“What time is it?”

“About three in the morning. You missed dinner. Probably for the best though, right?” Kakyoin let out small laugh.

Jotaro glared at them, but followed them down the hall. Kakyoin didn’t lead him far, and when they opened the door, he was taken back by the sight. This room was the complete opposite of his last one. Instead of the various coffee tones, this room was covered in vibrant shades of blue and purple. The wood paneling was dark enough to look black, letting the nearly white patterned rugs contrast brightly. The bed wasn’t as long, but it was wider with the same amount of pillows and more blankets.

“I’m sorry about this. I didn’t want to room you next to me because I figured you’d want space. It’s all right though. You’ll be back in your old room by tomorrow afternoon.”

“No.”

“Huh? No? Do you not like this room?”

“Shut up, already. I’m fine with staying here until the month is over.”

A grin spread on Kakyoin’s face. “You like this room better, Jotaro?”

He went inside and slammed the door causing something to roll off the bedside table.

“Goodnight.” Kakyoin’s voice was muffled through the wood.

 

Who the hell stays up until three in the morning? Jotaro finished his rice porridge and watched Kakyoin bustle around the kitchen cleaning up. Why had Kakyoin been up so late last night? Were they working? Did Kakyoin work, or did they swindle their money doing parlor tricks? Actually, whatever Kakyoin did for a living must pay a lot. It wasn’t possible for them to keep buying slaves without a source of income.

“Do you have a job?”

Kakyoin stopped drying off a dish mid-wipe and turned to look at him. “…yes. I do commission work. I’m an expensive person that’s difficult to get a hold of, so everyone wants me to make something. It’s very convenient.”

“So you waste money buying people and letting them go. What do you get out of it? You trying to pay back some kind of debt?” Jotaro pushed his bowl aside.

“Maybe I’m just a nice person?”

Jotaro slammed his fist against the table startling them. “Bullshit!”

Kakyoin set the plate and towel aside.

“There isn’t a person in this world who isn’t out to get something. You don’t waste millions of dollars just because you’re a nice person. People don’t do that. Mortals don’t do that. All of you cheat and lie and steal what isn’t yours.”

“What would you like my answer to be?” Kakyoin walked to the kitchen table.

“That you killed someone, maybe a lot of people, and you’re trying to make up for it.”

“In a sense, you’re not wrong. I did kill someone. I was too young to know that I did it, but my caretaker reminded me every day until I was taken in as a sorcerer’s apprentice. I’m not trying to atone for their death though. Is that the answer you were looking for?” They picked up Jotaro’s bowl.

“There’s more to this story.”

“Yes, but not much.” Kakyoin took his bowl to the sink. “I think you’ve pushed me around enough for today. I was going to ask if you wanted to go to the market with me, but I’ve changed my mind.”

Jotaro leaned back in his chair. “Isn’t fresh air supposed to help rehabilitation? You really are keeping me trapped here.”

The temperature in the room dropped from comfortable to cold. Not good. Kakyoin gripped the edge of the counter and took a slow breath. Shit, Jotaro must’ve pushed them too far. A few sparks of static whirled around them. Jotaro pushed them way too far. He leaned forward until all four legs of his chair were back onto the floor. Kakyoin took a few more deep breaths before the static vanished and the temperature was back to normal.

“Listen, Jotaro.”

“Yeah?”

“I don’t like holding my power over people. I know you don’t want to be here, I know you don’t like me, but the least you could do is treat me like I have feelings.” Kakyoin went back to cleaning dishes.

Jotaro scratched his jaw. What kind of game were they playing at? People with power didn’t have feelings. In his experience, the more power someone had the less feelings they had. He made the wrong assumption about Kakyoin, but that’s because they kept smiling and being disgustingly dotting with him. Jotaro didn’t have time for those types. All they did was get attached before getting sick and dying. He didn’t have the patience to deal with that kind of emotional baggage. Give him a fight any day.

The clinking of dishes came to a halt. Kakyoin took off their frilly pink apron revealing their loose black button-up and brown buckle work pants. They walked past Jotaro, and he listened to the sound of their footsteps on the stairs. The month would be much easier if Kakyoin just ignored him like this. He didn’t need their goading him into conversation. He didn’t need their annoying smiles and concerned atmosphere. Jotaro left the kitchen and stood at the bottom of the stairs.

Kakyoin came down wearing a dark green shawl over their shoulders and a satchel hung by their hip. They took a few steps past Jotaro before he cleared his throat. After a beat they turned around, tapping a metal toed boot against the floor.

“Do you want help carrying things?” Jotaro ran a hand over one of his horns.

“Not really.”

Jotaro sighed and glared at nothing in particular. “Can I help you carry things?”

“I’ve carried my satchel just fine on my own before.”

He looked up and saw that Kakyoin was smiling. That asshole. They were doing this on purpose. Jotaro groaned and forced himself not to rip his hair out. Grinding his teeth he said, “May I go to the market with you?”

Kakyoin let out a small breath of relief. “Of course. Oh, one second.” Kakyoin dug into their satchel and pulled out a small coin purse. “This is your allowance. I took some out because you were being rude to me, but you’ll have enough to buy yourself some new clothes. Okay?”

“Yeah, sure.” Jotaro took the bag and slipped it into his pocket.

Kakyoin smiled at him. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Jotaro went downstairs to an empty kitchen. Everything was still in place from the night before, but nothing sat on the table for breakfast, which was odd. Kakyoin practically lived in the kitchen since Jotaro got there. Then again they said they did commission work, so they couldn’t be in here all the time. He crossed his arms. That was beside the point. What was he supposed to do? Cook for himself? He didn’t know how to do that. He knew if he tried then the results wouldn’t be pleasant.

He walked back down the hall and took in his surroundings. Once again, he found himself having to go look for Kakyoin. He didn’t like thinking of them as his caretaker, but he did prefer it over the idea of them being his master. The ceiling got lower with the floor dipping along with it after he bypassed the staircase. There were a lot of doors in this house. Were sorcerer’s obsessed with doors or something? And what was behind them? Storage rooms? Kitchens? More bedrooms? He fixed the high collar of his shirt and pushed forward. The air felt thinner the further he progressed. Which didn't make sense, because if that was the case he’d be going up, not down. Feeling like he walked far enough, he jingled one of the door knobs.

He tried again with the door next to it to no avail. Three more attempts later, and finally one of them opened to nothing. Jotaro did a double take and tried to focus his sight on the contents of the room. There was nothing. There wasn’t even a room. It was all black space. Did Kakyoin really paint a wall black and put a door over it because that’s what it looked like. Jotaro lifted his hand up and reached out to touch it.

“JOTARO.”

He pulled his hand away and turned to see an exhausted Kakyoin. Before he could get a word in edge-wise, Kakyoin had already shut the door. A lock clicked in place.

A beat passed as Kakyoin caught their breath. “I’m sorry. I know I said you can explore the house, but I should’ve told you about the dangerous areas first.”

In that moment, Jotaro took in their appearance. Orange stains dotted their shirt, and the edges of their rolled up sleeves were singed. There were dark circles under their eyes, smears of dirt stood out against their freckled face, and their bang had been pinned back. So they had been working on something. He wondered what it was to keep them up all night. He should ask what kind of sorcerer Kakyoin was. Jotaro’s stomach growled.

“What time is it?” Kakyoin rubbed their thumb against their palm. “Oh, it’s breakfast. Were you looking for me? Let me get cleaned up first, and I’ll-.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Sure, he was starving. He also didn’t need to play nice just because Kakyoin looked tired. However, there was something about the slump in their posture that made Jotaro realize them cooking would be a bad idea.

Kakyoin tilted his head. “What do you mean?”

“I’ll cook.”

Well, his train of thought was being awfully impulsive today. There must have been a severe disconnect between what his brain was thinking and what his mouth was saying because that was a load of bulllshit. He blamed it on his hunger.

“…okay. I’ll be in the kitchen in a minute then. Can you get back on your own?”

Jotaro grunted and walked past them. All he had to do was go back the way he came. Instead of the dipping hallway, he was met with several paths. He turned back around and tilted his head towards the paths. Kakyoin gave him a small smile before leading the way. He hoped this was the only hallway in the house that pulled such tricks. He was faced with another problem once Kakyoin left him in the kitchen.

How the hell was he going to bullshit a meal?

He knew how to peel fruit. Kakyoin had a variety of peel-able fruits around the kitchen. He’d start there and figure it out. He grabbed several plums, a peach, a couple pears and set them on the counter. Jotaro pulled open several draws before finding a knife. It was small enough to work. In his search for a knife, he also found a bowl which he placed next to the fruit. Kakyoin came into the kitchen later. They looked tired, but clean and watched from the table as Jotaro finished cutting the last pear into slices.

Great. Now he had an audience. Jotaro moved the cast iron pan to the stovetop and fiddled with the knob. He could pretend to know what he was doing. He’d die before admitting he couldn’t cook after lying.  The fire under the pan came to life in an instant. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to his bowl. The fruit would stick to the pan and burn if he just tossed it in.

Kakyoin’s voice piped up from behind him. “Are you looking for the butter?”

“Yes.” He lied.

A butter dish floated over and sat next to his fruit bowl. Jotaro cut off a large hunk and tossed it into the pan making it sizzle. He was missing something. He knew he was. The butter would make the fruit less sweet. Sugar! He could fake this yet. He opened and shut multiple cabinets.

“May I help you find what you’re looking for?”

Jotaro peered over his shoulder. “Sugar.”

“It’s in the very next cabinet on your right.”

So it was. He grabbed a handful from the bag, throwing it into the bowl. He ignored the small gasp from Kakyoin and stirred the fruit with the knife. He didn’t feel like looking for a spoon. He looked into the pan and cringed. The butter was brown. He’d already burned the butter. Hopefully the sugar would cover that up. He poured the fruit in and the results hissed and popped. Jotaro was going to set this whole place on fire. To his shock, Kakyoin didn’t even rush over. The hissing died down to a sizzling sound.

A wooden spoon danced out of its drawer right to him. He couldn’t describe the back and forth swaying motion it did as anything other than dancing. He turned to glare at Kakyoin who only smiled back at him. Jotaro must be doing a really good job at this fake cooking attempt. He just hoped the results would be mediocre enough to get by.

Over time, the fruit concoction began bubbling and giving off steam. When all the little sugar rocks had dissolved, he figured must’ve been done. He turned off the stove after fiddling with the knobs and stirred the fruit again. When he turned around, the table had been set with enough dishware for two, and a loaf of some kind of damp looking bread sat in the center. He came over with the pan and set it on the towel by the table’s edge.

“I didn’t think we’d be having dessert for breakfast, but I’m happy you made this. It looks delicious.”

It did? He looked at the pans contents. It looked kind of good, but how something looked and how it tasted were different things. Kakyoin dished out equal servings of the fruit and bread, then filled Jotaro’s glass before filling their own. Jotaro drank his water and waited for Kakyoin to try a bite first. If it tasted like crap, he wasn’t going to find out by testing it.

Kakyoin took a bite and hummed. They put a hand over their mouth as they said, “It’s really good!”

Jotaro ate a spoonful himself and was surprised. It was good. Either he got really lucky, or Kakyoin’s stove made anything taste edible. He was pinning it on the latter as he ate. He took a bite of the some of the weird bread stuff and paused to look at his slice. What is this stuff? It wasn’t bread.

Kakyoin noticed his confusion and set their glass down. “What’s wrong?”

“What is this?”

“It’s pound cake.”

“Cake?” Jotaro furrowed his brow.

“Wow, you’ve never had cake before.”

“Why is it shaped like bread if it isn’t bread?”

“Well, I guess cake is a type of bread. It’s really just bread with more sugar and fat if that helps get the concept across. Would you like me to bake some different kinds for you over the month?” Kakyoin finished their last bit of fruit.

Jotaro grunted and ate another bite. He could get used to eating cake.

“By the way, what do you call this?” They pointed to the pan.

What did he call it? He wasn’t good with names. What did Kakyoin call it? “Uh…dessert for breakfast.”

Kakyoin smiled. “I love it. If I’d known you were such a good cook, I’d have asked for some tips. Let me know when you want to cook for yourself, so I don’t get carried away by accident. All right?”

“Yeah.” Like hell he was going to cook again. “What were you working on last night?”

“Hm?” Kakyoin’s arm shook for a moment when he cut off a hunk of cake. “Oh, I was working on a commission. Did I wake you up?”

“No, but I can tell you didn’t sleep.”

“Are you worried about me, Jotaro?” Kakyoin gave him that obnoxious easy-going smile like they always did.

He wanted to kill them when they did that. It was the same smile they had for him when they were taking off his shackles. It was too smug. To knowing. Jotaro hated it. Hated how weird it made him feel. He wasn’t very hungry anymore. The base around his horns started to throb. He knew he forgot to do something that morning. It would take a bit for his medicine to kick in when he took it, which meant it was time to lie in bed for an hour and figure out what he planned to do for the next few weeks. Jotaro groaned, grabbing his forehead as he stood.

“Jotaro? Are you okay? Is your medicine not working?”

He noticed Kakyoin’s hand reaching out to him and slapped it away. “Stop dealing with me like I’m some child.”

Jotaro’s eyes widened when thin strips of blood formed on the back of Kakyoin’s hand. Kakyoin covered it up before any began trialing down their wrist. They were still smiling at him. Which only made Jotaro confused and then angry.

“Sorry. It’s not my place to mother you.” Kakyoin removed their hand and a few thin scars lighter than his skin laid where the blood used to be.

Good grief. He’d woken up a couple of hours ago and already felt emotionally drained. Jotaro didn’t have to apologize. He wasn’t going to either. He needed to establish boundaries now and stick by them. He refused to let Kakyoin get any closer than this. Kakyoin could just deal with it.

“I’ll be in my lab. Call my name if you need anything.” Everything on the table was covered in a blue sheen before Kakyoin left the kitchen.

This was clearly Kakyoin’s fault. They were the one who tried touching Jotaro without his permission. Only serves them right. He should go to their lab, wherever it was, and yell at them some more. Tell them that he wasn’t going to let anyone touch him without his permission ever again. He made his way out of the kitchen and up the staircase. Closing his bedroom door, Jotaro ignored the rumbling of his stomach.

Chapter Text

Every muscle in Jotaro’s legs burned with the strain of trying to stay on his toes. The sex toy sat welded onto the chair, the tip only a few inches from his ass. If he faltered in the slightest, it wouldn’t be an easy glide down into the seat. Kira tugged on his leash, making Jotaro stumble before he regained his footing.

The tip of the toy pressed against his hole and Jotaro fought to catch his breath. He never won games like this. Kira’s patience stretched longer than Jotaro’s strength could hold out. Kira grabbed Jotaro by his chin and turned his face from one side to the other.

Jotaro wanted to spit in his face, but Kira got off to that kind of thing. Kira got off to all sorts of weird shit.

Kira pressed a hand above Jotaro’s cock against where his bladder was. He wouldn’t. Kira was a lot of things, but he didn’t cheat. And if he did, Jotaro was never aware of it.

Kira pushed the butt of his palm harder against Jotaro’s bladder. No. No no no no. Jotaro felt his thighs shuddering, about to give out.

He couldn’t hold it in any longer.

Jotaro couldn’t breathe.

His bladder failed him a moment before his legs followed.

Jotaro’s eyes snapped open. The curtains kept any moonlight from seeping into his room, so it was too dark to see much in front of his face. He shifted and closed his eyes tightly. His pants were wet. His sheets were wet too. He took a few breaths to calm down and got out of bed. He grabbed the blanket and the sheets from the bed before marching out of the room. The lights in the hallway lit as he walked close to them and dimmed the further he got away. Once in the bathroom, he stripped and stuffed everything into the clothes bin, closing the lid over it.

He hoped it would clean the bed sheets and not just his pants. Jotaro stopped himself from running a hand through his hair and started a bath. His mattress was probably a mess. He didn’t want to move rooms again. He liked that room. Jotaro looked around the bathroom and spotted the few towels hanging from the racks. He could clean up the spot himself. He didn’t feel like talking to Kakyoin.

Kakyoin…

Jotaro glared at the curls of steam on the water’s surface. He turned off the water and settled into the tub. He didn’t want to deal with Kakyoin. Jotaro’s had to respond to so many things living as a slave, but kindness was the one thing he always needed to be wary of. People weren’t nice for free. He grabbed the bar of soap lying in the dish and started washing himself. The fact that Kakyoin was paying to be nice was dubious.

The story Kakyoin told him about buying other slaves and setting them free. Their reasons. Something was missing. Something very big was missing. Jotaro picked the dirt from his toenails. He should’ve gotten socks while he was at the market. Next time he promised himself, but back to Kakyoin. They were really wary about Jotaro going into that room earlier. What was so dangerous about a room that led nowhere? Nothing is what. Kakyoin must be hiding something in there.

He should investigate. There was still a chance that Kakyoin was waiting for Jotaro to let his guard down before showing his true self. The question is, how would he get back? If the house pulled the same trick as last time, Jotaro would be wandering the halls until Kakyoin found him. He could leave a trail behind him. Would it stay though? What if the house messed it up? Jotaro didn’t take the opportunity to explore much of the house like he was free to. Catching up on sleep and eating regularly became a priority. It’s still a priority.

Standing up from the tub, he used his toes to pull the plug from the drain. One thing at a time. First he needed to get a possible piss stain out of his bed. Jotaro dried himself off and grabbed his load from the bin. Whatever magic Kakyoin used was amazing, because everything was stain free, dry, and smelled like fresh cotton. He got dressed, added a couple towels to his bundle, and left the bathroom.

The soft glow of the lamps made his shadow flicker over the rugs. Jotaro yawned. He hadn’t dreamt about Kira in years. He dropped the sheets onto the desk and took the towels placing them onto the mattress. The wet spot wasn’t very big and wasn’t very wet. Just damp. He could get away with this. He just needed to find a quick cleaning spell of his own. In the morning of course. Right now, he had an investigation to do. Jotaro grabbed the blanket from the desk and wrapped it around himself like a cloak.

He stepped out of his room and walked towards the staircase. The lights didn’t turn on, but he could see just fine without them. As he reached the last stair, a lantern floated out of the kitchen.

“Jotaro?” Kakyoin’s tired voice waved towards him.

He grunted in response. Damn it! How did Kakyoin see him? Kakyoin was holding a cup of something in their opposite hand when they approached him. Jotaro glared at them when they moved the lantern away and then back to where it was.

Kakyoin could tell he was getting irritated and stopped. “Sorry. I’ve just never seen an incubi’s night vision before. But glowing eyes seems like it would hinder stealth.”

“My eyes don’t glow.” Jotaro adjusted his blanket.

The lantern went out leaving them in the dark. A few moments passed until Jotaro could see again. This time he saw his own reflection. His eyes were a bright purple and small wisps of that light flowed from the corners of his lids. Jotaro blinked and the mirror was gone, the lantern coming back to life in its place. This stealth mission had gone all wrong.

“I’m guessing you couldn’t sleep?” Kakyoin took a sip from their cup.

“Yeah.”

“Neither could I. Would you like some company?”

“No.”

Kakyoin’s smile faltered, and they nodded. “All right. Don’t stay up too late.”

Jotaro hm’ed and walked by them.

“Jotaro, wait.”

He stopped, and turned to look back at Kakyoin.

“I’m very sorry about trying to touch you this morning. I forgot myself, but it’s no excuse. I promise to be more courteous of your personal space from now on.”

Jotaro didn’t say anything in response. He wasn’t sure what Kakyoin took his silence for, but they nodded and bid him goodnight before disappearing up the staircase. Jotaro looked to his left. He could go down the hallway and find that room that Kakyoin locked. The door knob was old and would only take a little fiddling until the lock popped open. He could also just grab a sip of water before going back to bed. His stomach growled.

He groaned and went to the kitchen. Tomorrow. He would find that room tomorrow and figure out Kakyoin’s secret. A kettle sat on the stove covered in a blue sheen of magic. Kakyoin must’ve been really irritated if they didn’t bother cleaning up after themselves. Jotaro lifted the lid off the kettle and sighed at the smell of vanilla and cinnamon. He poured himself a cup, happy that whatever the concoction was was still warm. He sipped it and realized it was sweetened cream.

This was heavy stuff. Jotaro would be out like a light when he finished it. Adjusting the blanket, he pressed the cup close to his chest and went back to his room. It didn’t click that Kakyoin apologized to him until he shut the door.

 

 

Jotaro pushed his food around his plate during breakfast the next morning. His eyes wouldn’t stop wandering to the lighter stripes of skin on the back of Kakyoin’s hand. He huffed and shoved a forkful of eggs into his mouth. Kakyoin didn’t see a change in his behavior, so they didn’t comment. Which was for the best. Jotaro would’ve said something stupid or worse. He might’ve apologized for scratching them. He waited for Kakyoin to start a conversation so he could rebuff them. The familiar footing would make him feel better. However, the only sound in the kitchen was of utensils hitting plates.

Occasionaly, Kakyoin would hum at a bite of food or tap their fingers against the table. What was up with them? Jotaro dropped his fork and crossed his arms over his chest.

Kakyoin noticed this and put their slice of toast down. “Is something wrong?”

He couldn’t say he was waiting for Kakyoin to talk to him. It would be petty. Petty and immature. He made an effort to avoid conversation with them. If Jotaro told them he wanted to talk, they’d take it as a change of heart which wasn’t the case. He wanted to know why Kakyoin apologized. He wanted to know why Kakyoin was so- so Kakyoin.

But he couldn’t say something like that.

He mumbled. “I can’t cook.”

“What?”

Jotaro felt his face growing warm. “I said I can’t cook. I don’t know how I didn’t burn down the kitchen when I made breakfast yesterday, because I don’t know how to cook. Anything.”

“Is that what’s been bugging you this morning?”

“Yeah.”

“I see.” Kakyoin wiped their hands on their napkin. They bit their lip and furrowed their brow which was close to their stupid confused face but not quite. Coming to a conclusion, they gave Jotaro a smile. “Would you want me to teach you how to cook? It’ll be something for you to do in case you get bored.”

“That’s fine.” Jotaro uncrossed his arms feeling lighter than a few moments ago.

 “Okay. Let me know when you want to start your first lesson.”

He nodded and picked his fork up, shoveling another hunk of eggs into his mouth.

Chapter Text

Kakyoin left after breakfast because they needed to drop off a commission to their client in person. This meant that Jotaro had the house to himself. He wasn’t going to waste this opportunity, as he already figured out how to get back to the staircase when he was done investigating the dark room. Tying a bunch of sheets together into a long rope, and using the rope to lead from the staircase to the door he was headed to was the perfect plan. The house couldn’t mess up the path like if he were to leave stones or fire marks. As long as the rope was long enough, he would be fine.

Unfortunately, Jotaro misjudged the distance between the dark room and the staircase. After several tries, with the addition of the sheets from his old room and every towel from the bathroom, he could finally make the distance. He tied the end of the makeshift rope to one of the wall lamps and tried the door. It opened easily, which was odd considering he remembered Kakyoin locking it. Either he imagined the action, or the house really had a mind of its own.

The inside of the room looked no different from last time. Meaning that there wasn’t a room at all. Jotaro took a deep breath before stepping inside. First he thought he couldn’t see anything. That wasn’t the case because when he held his hands up and looked down, he was perfectly visible. Was this a void? He turned around see the door entrance and the hallway to the house brightly lit. How was this place dangerous? He ventured further into the darkness. Each time he looked back, the door leading back to the hallway grew smaller and smaller. At least he could get back.

Three doors appeared in front of him. Two were unfamiliar, but the third one looked just like the wide front doors to the house. Would that take him outside? He should avoid that one. Jotaro picked the one to the far right which was a small round topped door with chipping yellow paint and an iron handled door knob. Jotaro found himself in a dirty kitchen. The shelves and cabinets had grease stains. An old wood stove sat against a wall with ashes outlining the doors. Only one window was in the room, and it only had a small clean circle in it placed in the lowest corner near the frame.

Jotaro froze when a child entered the room holding a broom too tall for them. What kind of place is this? Is this why Kakyoin didn’t want him to go in here? Because they were harboring children?

“Hey. What are you doing here? What is this place?” Jotaro scratched his jaw.

The child ignored him and began sweeping the kitchen. Their hair was long and matted with grease, keeping their face from view. The child’s clothes looked old and fit them awkwardly as they shuffled around the kitchen. Could they not see Jotaro? Was he invisible? The child moved a rug so they could sweep under it just as a towering man stepped inside. His clothes were much cleaner, and his red hair was clipped short. He didn’t make it two steps past the child before tripping over the rug and banging his head against table on the way down. The child gasped and nearly dropped their broom.

The man groaned and pulled himself up from the floor. His eyes landed on the child and Jotaro felt his heart drop into his feet. He knew that look.

“You did that didn’t you? Think you’re funny?” The man made a beeline towards the child who was shaking their head.

Jotaro tried grabbing the child but found himself on the floor. What the fuck? The man grabbed the child by their arm, making them drop the broom, and dragged them out of the kitchen.

Jotaro was left alone.

The room swayed and vanished. The three doors appeared again. Jotaro stood up and ran a hand through his hair. This wasn’t just empty space. This room was a memory chamber. Kakyoin was right about this place being dangerous. He needed to leave.

The blue center door creaked open an inch.

Jotaro looked at the small light from door which led back into the house then back to the center door. Its frame made the top of the door curve into a heart shape, and the paint was vibrant. He should leave.

The door opened another inch.

He should really leave. He didn’t know when Kakyoin would be back, and it wouldn’t do well for him to get caught looking at their memories. Jotaro took one step and then another. The door knob was warm under his fingers as he opened it fully and went inside.

The setting was completely different from the last memory. This room was a lab with all sorts of tables, loose papers, book stacks, and lab equipment that had so many glass containers Jotaro couldn’t keep track. A teenager, who Jotaro recognized as the child from before sat in a stool watching a sorcerer pour something into a cauldron. The teen’s clothes were clean and simple with short sleeves and long loose pants. Their hair was bright red, and their bangs were long enough to stop just above the tip of their nose obscuring their face.

The sorcerer looked ridiculous in comparison. They had long white hair that stood in a column. No eyebrows. The clothes they wore were flashy with printed runes along bands where each of their joints met. Seriously? Who could take them seriously being dressed like that?

“Noriaki, are you taking notes?” The sorcerer waved their hand over the reaction.

Noriaki fumbled with their note pad before scribbling something down.

The sorcerer sighed and placed their hand on their hip. “Okay, what’s wrong?”

“What? Nothing’s wrong.”

“Vraiment? Usually you’re so full of questions when I show you my experiments. Now you’re quieter than a…” The sorcerer paused before snapping their fingers. “Than a church mouse.”

Noriaki looked at the floor and clutched their notepad to their chest.

“Noriaki.”

Their voice was quiet. “What if he doesn’t come back?”

“Eh?”

“I know you told me this is only temporary, but it’s been two months. What if I messed everything up? What if hierophant doesn’t come back? How am I supposed to keep doing magic? How am I going to be your apprentice if I don’t have my companion anymore? How am I supposed to keep doing this and pretending things are all right when my best friend is gone and I might never see him again?” Noriaki’s whole body racked with their sobs.

The socerer must’ve been afraid they’d fall of their chair, because they held Noriaki against their chest.

“I don’t want to be alone again. I can’t. I can’t do it anymore. I want him to come home. I don’t care if he doesn’t have my magic, I just want him to come home.”

“It’s all right. Ne t'inquiètes pas, Noriaki.” The sorcerer pressed a kiss against Noriaki’s hair and rubbed their back.

Noriaki’s sobbing died down and they were able to pull away while wiping the tears from their face. The sorcerer let out a small sigh, waving their hand to put out the fire and cast a blue sheen over the cauldron.

“Let’s take a break for today.”

“No, Polnareff, I can finish the lesson. I can at least-.”

“Non non non. Break for the day. Come with me to the kitchen. You need some comfort food, and I know a bowl of stew that would love to be that for you.”

Noriaki gave Polnareff a small smile and hopped from the stool.

The room swayed and phased out leaving Jotaro in front of the three doors again. The yellow one shook and rattled, there was a pained noise coming from the center door, and the one on the far left was eerily quiet. Jotaro was unsure of whether to continue prying through these memories or not. He wanted answers. He wanted to know what it was that drove Kakyoin to doing what they do. However, the more he looked the more he felt guilty. Kakyoin didn’t know him, but on some level they did trust Jotaro. If he got caught doing this…

Jotaro felt a tug on his shirt and turned around. The hallway light from the door was getting smaller. That wasn’t good. In a few moments, he was sprinting towards the door. The light got smaller and smaller the closer he got until it was only a sliver in the darkness. Jotaro stopped a foot away when he heard Kakyoin’s voice from the other side.

“Heirophant, what did I tell you about leaving this door open? I have a guest here for the month.” Kakyoin paused as if they were listening for something. “Don’t try to change the subject. Keep this door locked.”

Something wrapped around his wrist keeping him there when the door closed. Jotaro’s breath caught when the lock clicked into place. He should be panicking. He was locked in the memory chamber with some creature he couldn’t even see. The thing around his wrist tugged him in the other direction. When he tried pulling away, there were two hands on his back pushing him forward. Jotaro kept walking. The only comfort he had being that memory chambers weren’t infinite. They just looked that way.

He passed by the three doors and watched them vanish as he got further away. Where was this thing taking him? Another door appeared and a thin trail of light was visible from under the door. Whatever is was on his wrist pulled his hand forward until his fingers touched a cold metal. It was a door knob. Jotaro opened the door and found himself in his room. The makeshift rope he created sat on a pile on his mattress. When he turned around the door he came in through was gone.

“Jotaro!” Kakyoin’s voice sounded from the hallway.

He looked from the door to his rope and leaped onto the bed, pushing it off, and shoving it under the bed frame. The door opened just as Jotaro sat up.

“Sorry, did I interrupt your nap?”

“No.” Jotaro’s shoulders sagged. All the guilt he was ignoring earlier returned in full force seeing Kakyoin’s face. “What is it?”

Kakyoin crossed their arms. “All the bathroom towels are gone.”

“…I made a mess in the hallway, and when it was all cleaned up, I heard you coming upstairs.”

“Oh Jotaro, it’s okay. Really it is. Just fit what you can in the bin in the bathroom then come downstairs. I have something I want to show you.”

“All right.”

Kakyoin gave him a big smile and shut the door behind themselves. He just managed to escape getting caught while parading through Kakyoin’s private memories, and the sorcerer had a gift for him. Jotaro put his face in his hands, feeling smaller than he had in a long time.

Chapter Text

Jotaro felt uneasy descending the staircase. He’d already put away the towels and rearranged his bed as if nothing happened, but knowing that he got away with it didn’t make him feel better in the slightest. He looked down the hallway to his left and noticed that the color scheme was different. Instead of the dark red rugs and lampposts on the wall, the wood paneling on the floor was covered with deep purple rugs and round orbs of light sat between the doors. That wasn’t the same hallway he went into earlier. Did Kakyoin redecorate?

He continued to the kitchen where he spotted a smiling Kakyoin with their hands behind their back. Jotaro kept his distance, a whole kitchen table away. His eyes scanned the kitchen for anything out of the ordinary and, when spotting none, turned his gaze back to Kakyoin.

“Close your eyes.” Kakyoin bounced on the heels of their feet.

Jotaro raised an eyebrow and stared at them.

“…or not.” Kakyoin pulled a long, thin box from behind their back.

The box was patterned with rows and rows of painted diamonds and topped with a bow. Jotaro stepped closer so that he could take the box out of their hands. Jotaro felt that this was uncalled for. Kakyoin already gave him his freedom essentially, a place to sleep for free, food whenever he wanted, and his own god damned space. Now they were giving Jotaro gifts? He looked at Kakyoin who had their hands crossed over their lap. The image of a much smaller version of them dirtied and beaten flashed through Jotaro’s mind. He shook his head. He shouldn’t have gone into that stupid memory chamber.

“Jotaro?”

He sighed and opened the box at Kakyoin’s prompting. Jotaro’s breath caught. Inside the gift was dark blue, nearly black fabric. Dozens of stars swirled along the print with wisps of pinks and purples following their movements. Jotaro lifted the fabric out realizing that it was an apron. Upon closer inspection, he saw that the stars moved.

His face grew dark. “Why did you get me this?”

“For our cooking lessons. I thought you wouldn’t want to wear my apron, and my customer was a seamstress, so I figured I’d grab this for you. Do you like it?”

“Why?”

“Huh?”

“Why would you get this for me? Haven’t you done enough?” Jotaro’s hands shook.

“You don’t like it? I can take it back and get a different one. Or we could go to the market again and find-” Kakyoin fiddled with their hands.

“Shut up, I don’t need your pity!”

“It’s not pity.”

“WHAT IS IT THEN?”

Jotaro gritted his teeth and glared at Kakyoin, but they weren’t looking at him. Kakyoin’s face was turned to look at the small dining table. Their apron sat on one of the chairs. His gaze went to under the table were several bags sat just out of sight. They planned on teaching him to cook something? A bag of flour and a few leaves peaked out from one of the bags. What was he doing? What were they doing? Jotaro felt his anger melt away bit by bit the longer they stood there. He let the apron fall back into the box.

“Jotaro, I want to help, that’s all. Do you want me to take the apron back?”

“I don’t-.” Jotaro bit his lip and watched the constellations move over the fabric. “I...”

Kakyoin stood there with their hands folded over their lap. Kakyoin who didn’t know that he was messing around in their memories earlier. Kakyoin who would turn on him in a flash if he let his guard down. Kakyoin who was keeping Jotaro trapped here. Kakyoin who wanted to teach Jotaro how to cook for himself. Kakyoin who trusted him even when Jotaro gave them no reason to. Kakyoin who made a fool of him when he first got there. Kakyoin who made sure Jotaro was okay when he became sick. Kakyoin who went out of their way to get something nice for Jotaro. Kakyoin who continued to be patient with him. Even when Jotaro yelled at them and scratched them. Even now.

“I’m sorry.” Jotaro put the lid over the box.

Kakyoin tilted his head.

“I still don’t know what to think of you.”

“It’s all right. I’m a very complex person.”

Jotaro’s lips curled into a sneer. “This isn’t the time to brag about yourself.”

Kakyoin laughed which only made Jotaro want to punch them. How the hell did they shift the mood so quickly? He rubbed the lid of the box a few times. Jotaro should tell them what he did. It would be better than accidentally spilling the information later, or worse, Kakyoin finding out own their own. He didn’t know what kind of spells the house used. Kakyoin could have one that mapped all of Jotaro’s footprints for all he knew.

“I should get started on lunch.” Kakyoin clapped their hands together and their apron floated off the chair to slip over their head.

“Wait.”

“Yes?”

He needed to tell them what he did. “You said I could look around the house right?”

“Of course.”

“After that hallway thing last time, I think I might get lost.” Jotaro needed to build up to the explanation. “Could you show me around?”

Kakyoin’s eyes lit up. “Absolutely.”

The bags from under the table flew out onto the counters and their contents began putting themselves in the appropriate spots of the kitchen. Kakyoin floated their apron back onto its hook. Great. They were excited. He hoped they wouldn’t take this as Jotaro opening up or becoming comfortable with them.  He sighed and followed Kakyoin out of the kitchen. Didn’t matter anyway. If Kakyoin were having those kinds of ideas, they were going to be crushed when Jotaro told them the truth. What if they kicked Jotaro out?

Kakyoin stopped at the hallway by the staircase. The hallway that looked completely different earlier. Jotaro waited for them to do something with his gift tucked under his arm.

“This hallway has 2 settings. Daytime and nighttime. I’ve been leaving it on nighttime lately, and you should never go in there during that time. You’ll know because the rugs will be red. I, uh, um. Well, normally I keep all the doors locked to the nighttime hallway, but the house has a mind of its own.”

Kakyoin must’ve been talking about that “Hierophant”.

“Why’s it dangerous?”

“My labs are in there, storage rooms, lots of experiments, some are alive. Unfortunately, alive doesn’t necessarily mean nice. That and the hallway changes whenever you turn around, but you know that. I made the mistake of leaving a door open once.” Kakyoin’s eyes glazed over. “Only once though.”

“What happened?”

“Hm? Oh, nothing that’ll happen a second time. Nothing to worry about. This hallway though, the daytime one, most of the doors are open. Save for a few storage rooms. Would you like to see the library?”

Jotaro nodded. Kakyoin talked a lot. He ignored what they said whenever they’d stop for a moment to point at a door and explain its contents. What if Kakyoin kicked them out? Did Jotaro even know how to get back home? Home. He hadn’t been there in so long. Did anyone still live where he remembered? Was his family looking for him? Did that stupid doctor hold up his end of the deal? He bumped into Kakyoin’s back almost toppling them over. Kakyoin righted themselves and raised an eyebrow at Jotaro, who coughed into his fist and stared at the wall.

“This is the library.” Kakyoin put their hand on the doorknob.

Jotaro looked at the door and his eyes widened. The frame of it made the top bend into a heart shape similar to the one in the memory chamber. He opened his mouth to say something just as Kakyoin opened the door. The library was gigantic. The ceiling stretched higher than the second floor and the house. Bookshelves reached almost as high overflowing with books, scrolls, and oddly shaped boxes. In between some shelves were fabric bags with small divots in them. Balls of light flew above the shelves and on the sides of the few ladders that Jotaro could spot.

“Why is this place so huge?”

“I’ve been building it for a couple of decades. I think about only 10 percent of them I got from my mentor. The rest I found, bought, or was paid with.”

“Decades? How old are you?” Jotaro scrutinized Kakyoin. He would’ve taken them as 20 if Kakyoin hadn’t made a reputation for themselves buying slaves.

“I’m 38.”

He squinted his eyes at Kakyoin. They were lying. He knew magic extended life spans, but there was no way Kakyoin was older than 25.

“I know, I know. I don’t act like it at all, but that’s only because I’m comfortable at home. I’m much more mature in public.”

“Right.”

“Would you like to look around the house more, or do you want to explore the library?” Kakyoin brushed their bang back behind their ear.

Well, it was now or never. Jotaro gripped the box under his arm a little tighter. He was going to do it. He was going to confess. Kakyoin smiled at him, waiting for his answer.

“I’ll stick around here for a while.”

Coward.

He was a coward. He forced himself to keep his expression blank.

“Okay. I should probably start on lunch then. Don’t worry about getting lost in here. The lights work as guides, so if you want to get back here, grab one and tell it where you want to go.”

He nodded. He didn’t trust himself to speak. Kakyoin gave him a wave before disappearing down the hallway. He let the box drop to the floor, causing the lid to bounce off and the apron to pool onto the soft carpet. His breath caught at the sight of a shooting star going from the apron pocket to the strap of the neck. Jotaro didn’t deserve it.

Chapter Text

Jotaro was surprised when he stepped out of his room that morning to end up outside. He did a double take, looking around the empty yard, and even opened and closed his door a few more times to make sure. What the hell was going on? He spotted Kakyoin bringing a horse-sized bird from a shed. Its legs were longer than its body, and it’s neck half that length. The bird’s feathers were a dark blue that faded into grey at the tips and its beak was just as black as its eyes. It huffed, flapping its short wings before letting Kakyoin put the saddle onto its back. Once everything was adjusted, Kakyoin shrunk the shed to the size of small rock and placed it into their satchel. Well, that explains what happened to the house.

“Kakyoin.”

“Hm?” Kakyoin turned around and a smile fell onto their face when they saw Jotaro. “Good morning, Jotaro. I’m happy you’re already dressed; we’ve got a long ride ahead of us.”

Jotaro moved out of the way when Kakyoin came over to him and shut his door. They shrank his room into a small box and slipped it into one of the drawstring bags hanging from their satchel.

“What are you talking about?”

“I’ll explain on the way. Let’s go.”

Jotaro crossed his arms. As far as he was concerned, there wasn’t a house he was trapped in at this moment. He didn’t have to do anything Kakyoin told him too.

Kakyoin sighed. “What I can tell you in short is that you weren’t wrong about people not dishing out millions to buy pets just to let them go. I don’t. I’m sure you know what happens to people and their pets when the seller doesn’t get their money.”

Jotaro nodded, and they both walked over to the large bird who was peering around oddly. Kakyoin pulled themselves up first and adjusted the reins before holding a hand out to Jotaro. He ignored the offer, pulling himself up and failing to not make body contact.

“I know you don’t like touching, so just hold onto the handles on the back.” Kakyoin gave the bird a few pets on the thicker bunch of feathers around the bottom of its neck.

Jotaro complied, and with a whistle, they were speeding down a rocky path away from the yard. At some point, a piece of dirt flew into his eye making him close them, but he didn’t rub them in fear of falling off. Wind slapped his face leaving his cheeks cold. He even felt the beginnings of his nose acting against him. He sniffled a few times trying to keep snot from falling out. He heard Kakyoin make a clicking noise and had to grip the handles of the saddle tighter as the wind pressed hard against his chest. He jumped out of his skin when he felt two tendrils wrap around his waist keeping him seated.

He opened one eye just in time to watch as they made a sharp turn on the path. The mass of trees had grown thick around them, and the trodden pathway was narrow and paved with rocks. Kakyoin was leaning forward, their head positioned so that they could see around the bird’s neck. They made another sharp turn to the right, straight into the trees.

The lower branches of the trees bent out of their way when they sped past them. Shots rang out in the distance behind them. Jotaro was finally able to open the other eye after a while. A few tears gathered around the edge of his lids because of the wind, but he watched the trees thin out as they blurred past. He looked down at his waist seeing nothing but the indentation of something holding him to the saddle.

When they broke through the last line of trees, Jotaro noticed the very visible edge of a cliff. The gap was too large to jump to the other side, but they didn’t turn or slow down.

“Kakyoin?”

Kakyoin glanced back at them before looking forward again. “You’re holding on tight right?”

The tendrils around Jotaro’s waist gave him a reassuring squeeze. The action didn’t help him feel better at all. The edge of the cliff grew closer.

“We aren’t going to make that jump.” Jotaro gripped the saddles handles.

There was still time to stop, to turn away from the cliff’s mouth and ride along the edge of it.

“Of course we aren’t. That wasn’t the point of going this way.”

“KAKYOIN.”

Their ride already made the leap before Jotaro could scold them any further. For a few moments, it was amazing. Jotaro felt like he was frozen in time. The wind around them turned into a caress over his limbs. His eyes were wide in awe at the sight of the skyline. The sun was still low on the horizon partially hidden by clouds. There was a feeling of nostalgia. Of home. It was almost like he’d done this before. Then, all at once, the moment was gone as they plummeted down the chasm. Jotaro’s stomach flew into his throat. The grip around his waist held tight.

The wind buffeted him on the way down, and Jotaro closed his eyes. He breathed quickly through his nose. This was it. This was how he was going to die. Jotaro peaked his eyes open and bit the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming. The ground was getting closer. He gave a frantic look to the back of Kakyoin’s head. Their hair was flying all about. Could they even see?

Their descent began to slow the lower they got.

It wasn’t until they were at least halfway down that they stopped falling.

The bird was walking on air like nothing was out of place.

“Good job, Nonon.” Kakyoin gave the bird a few pats around its neck tuft. The bird trilled and kept a leisure pace. Kakyoin turned their head to look at him. “Jotaro, are you okay?”

“If I had any idea where I was, I would push you off this bird right now.”

“Noted.”

The tendrils around Jotaro’s waist let him go, startling him, because he forgot they were there. The bird, Nonon, bobbed up and down as it walked making him a little queasy. He was waiting for Kakyoin to say something. He still hadn’t gotten his explanation. What did they mean they didn’t pay for him?

Nonon made a gradual pace on an imaginary decline as they got lower and lower to the ground. Jotaro looked at the tall rock walls on either side of them which were jagged and covered with clay deposits. It was actually nice. Once Nonon’s talons touched the ground, it broke into a light trot.

“It’s not that I don’t have a lot of money. I’m very well off for a sorcerer my age.” Kakyoin let the reins hang loose around their wrists.

This sounded like the start of a whole spiel, and Jotaro did not want their life story.

“After I started doing this, I realized that once I paid the merchant, it didn’t matter what I did with their pets. They already got their money. They no longer cared. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the idea of someone profiting off of me trying to help their victims.” Kakyoin paused for a moment.

They followed the path from the chasm into the woods. A few squirrels scattered around Nonon’s feet trying not to get trampled.

“So I made a series of very complex spells and put it over my checks. The money never gets to them. Normally there’s a queue in front of my transactions, so I have at least a month before the sellers notice I haven’t actually paid them. Although, there have been occasions like this one where the seller tries to cash my money in first.”

Jotaro would’ve rubbed his temples if he weren’t afraid of falling off. “By that logic you shouldn’t be able to buy anyone. Word of mouth gets around fast with that business.”

“I have a failsafe in place for that too. After I’m out of town, once my payments are tossed out, anyone who’s come in contact with me during the transaction forgets about me. It’s very specific. Took me a while constructing the right memory charms, but I’ve been able to go back and trick the same people on many occasions.”

Jotaro grunted in response. He couldn’t tell if Kakyoin was stupidly clever or incredibly annoying. He settled for the former and did his best not to lean back too far. His stomach growled making Kakyoin look back at him. They shouldn’t give Jotaro that questioning stare. They were the one that didn’t let him eat breakfast before having them both run off.

“Sorry, I forgot about food. One moment.” Kakyoin dug through their satchel. They pulled out a large wrapped bun and handed it to him. “Here you go.”

“What is it?”

“It’s anpan.”

That didn’t explain anything. He also didn’t know where they were going, but he’d listened to Kakyoin talk enough for today, especially if they’d have to interact regularly for who knew how long. Jotaro took a bite and shrugged. The filling was very sweet. Not something he wanted first thing in the morning after jumping off of a cliff, but it would do. Nonon’s head swiveled around as it walked and it eyed Jotaro’s food.

“No Nonon.” Kakyoin pushed against its cheek until it took the hint and turned its head forward.

They traveled for a while only stopping to use the bathroom or give Nonon a rest and some water. It wasn’t until the sun had gotten low in the sky that they stopped to set up camp. The line of trees on either side of them didn’t thin out once during the hours of their ride. Kakyoin grabbed one of the drawstring bags off the strap of their satchel and pulled out a triangle of fabric. Jotaro stayed seated on Nonon because he failed to realize his shoes were still in his room until they made their first stop. The bird didn’t seem to mind, as she turned her head around and rested her chin atop Jotaro’s head.

Jotaro shoved her head away making her squawk and nudge her beak against his chest in retaliation. A small battle followed where he would push her away, and she would make a trilling sound in her throat, then try to groom his hair or press her beak under his shirt. The fight ended with Jotaro on the ground with Nonon’s neck wrapped around his torso, and her pressing her cheek against his face. He hated this bird. He was hungry because as good as the bread Kakyoin gave him was, he still felt drained. He needed meat. He also needed a bath and sleep.

Kakyoin finished setting up a small dome tent and turned around only to cover their smiling lips with their hand. A few laughs slipped out making Jotaro glare at them. “I’m glad she likes you.”

“Get her off me.”

Kakyoin whistled, and she let go of Jotaro bouncing up and down on her feet to dash over to Kakyoin. Jotaro ignored the display of her rubbing her beak in Kakyoin’s hair and went inside the tent. The inside was huge. He knew at some point he’d lose the capacity for being surpised by anything Kakyoin made, but unfortunately he wasn’t there yet. The place was an open floor plan. The kitchen sat next to the library with a short wall dividing them. On the opposite side were three doors, one Jotaro recognized as his door and the others were the bathroom door, and Kakyoin’s door. Even though everything looked organized, he could tell rooms were hastily put together to make the arrangement what it was.

Kakyoin came in behind him. “Sorry, it’s a bit small.”

“I don’t want to see what you call big.” Jotaro went to his door.

“Is there anything specific you want for dinner? I know you’re tired of bread.”

He waved them off and went inside his room. There wasn’t anything Kakyoin made that Jotaro wouldn’t eat, so he wasn’t going to start giving them orders now. The present Kakyoin gave him sat on the dresser untouched since yesterday. His shoes peeked out from under his bed. He had too many questions. Where were they going? How long until they got there? Was his old seller still chasing after them? How long would he look for Jotaro? The biggest question he saved for himself. When was he going to tell Kakyoin what he did?

Jotaro ran his hands over his horns feeling along every ridge and remembering when each one came in. He would tell Kakyoin the truth first thing in the morning. He was too tired to deal with the backlash tonight. He knew it was an excuse, but he also knew he wasn’t lying to himself this time.

Chapter Text

Spit dribbled out from the gag in Jotaro’s mouth. The vibrating against his prostate became painful at this point as he sat on his knees in a small pool of semen. Two hands grabbed his horns jerking his head forward, and he couldn’t breathe with a cock being shoved down his throat. Every time Diavolo pulled out, Jotaro was able to take a small breath from his nostrils before Diavolo pushed back past his tongue and teeth effectively choking him.

The familiar feeling of Jotaro’s balls tightening made tears run down his cheeks. He couldn’t cum again. He didn’t want to. He shifted his thighs trying to get the toy out since he was too weak to do much else.

“Is it that good, Jotaro?”

Jotaro grunted as Diavolo continued the assault on his throat. He couldn’t stop Diavolo. He stopped thrusting and held Jotaro still keeping his nose buried in pubic hair. Thick globs of semen filled Jotaro’s mouth and Diavolo pinched Jotaro’s nose leaving him fighting his gag reflex and fighting for air.

A moment passed before Jotaro swallowed the rancid load. Diavolo pulled out still holding Jotaro’s head up by his horns as Jotaro’s body shook.

Diavolo tilted his head looking down at Jotaro’s ruddy, tear-stained cheeks. “You know if I keep that thing in you long enough I hear you’ll shit yourself.”

Jotaro glared at him. Diavolo pressed his foot hard against Jotaro’s cock making him cum dry. Jotaro’s eyes widened, and he stiffened before going lax in Diavolo‘s hold. He wanted to puke. Diavolo let go of Jotaro’s horns letting him fall to the floor.

“Just for looking at me like that, I should let you shit yourself.” Diavolo watched as Jotaro curled in on himself, shaking, and trying to catch his breath. “Don’t forget who you belong to.”

He turned on his heel and went to the door. Jotaro made a desperate whining sound, the gag in his mouth keeping him from forming words.

Diavolo paused. “What? Do you want me to take it out?”

Jotaro breathed heavily through his nose. Diavolo was looking at him with an odd smile on his face. The room was cold, and his cum began to dry against his legs and stomach becoming itchy and uncomfortable. The vibrating in his ass was maddening. His face was covered with mucus, tears and semen, and he just wanted to lay down anywhere else. He was so tired. He made another pleading noise.

“I’m sure you can hold it for a few more hours.”

His blood ran cold.

“Bye for now.”

Jotaro watched as the door slowly closed shrinking the light from the hallway until he was alone. In the dark.

 

Jotaro woke with a start and frantically looked around the room he was in. Dark wood floors with white rugs covering them, the lack of heavy metal chains against his skin, and the dark blue blankets brought him back to the present. He wasn’t with Diavolo anymore. He wasn’t trapped. He put a hand on his face and gritted his teeth when he found his cheeks were wet with tears.

He threw one of the first things he could grab, which was the blanket, and it landed in a heap on the floor. Getting up from the bed, he paced the floor, running his hands through his hair. Jotaro was torn between dragging his feet along the floor and keeping a fast pace going between the motions interchangeably. Diavolo was gone. He was fine. He was fine. He was safe.

Jotaro was safe. No one would ever touch him again. No one would pinch him until he bled, or make him cum until it burned, or choke him, or stretch him out so much that he puked, or leave him alone in dark in a pool of his own fluids.

No one would ever touch him again.

No one.

No one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one, no one.

He would kill anyone that did.

The rug having taken enough of his abuse, tripped him up, sending him to the floor. Jotaro caught himself on the side of the bed and sat partially hunched over the edge on his knees. A sob escaped his lips, and he bit his tongue. He would kill anyone who ever tried to hurt him. Jotaro would break their bones and skin them alive.

Another sob burst from his mouth, and he gripped the sheets on the bed. Jotaro squinted his eyes against his tears trying to keep them at bay. He’d kill all of them.

His body shook as he tried to hold everything together. Snot began building in his nose, and he sniffled. Opening his mouth, he took a gasping breath and a small cry from his lips followed. That only opened the flood gates because then he was outright sobbing. Tears flowed freely down his face staining the bed. It wasn’t his fault. None of it was his fault.

He didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t deserve any of that. He wanted his horns to stop hurting. He wanted the memories to go away. He wanted to stop hurting. He curled in on himself more, sobbing hard against the bed, and grinding his teeth to keep from screaming. Jotaro wanted to go home.

After a while, the tears stopped coming out. Jotaro sniffled again, the familiar numbness returning as he pushed himself away from the bed. He wiped the water from his face and looked around his room. He was tired but not enough to go to sleep. He needed something boring to put him back to sleep. Snatching the thinner blanket from the bed and the thicker one from the floor, he wrapped himself in both and left his room.

The bookshelves of the library stood tall around him. Small balls of light floated along the books giving the covers an eerie glow. A few zipped past Jotaro as if they were searching for something. Was the house still sentient being in pieces like this? Did hierophant know he was awake? A book dropped from one of the high shelves startling him. Walking over to the book, he snatched it up. A light bobbed over to him, stopping at his shoulder, so he could read the title. The only problem was the hard cover was blank.

The light by his shoulder moved to hover over the cover of the book to make sure before zooming back where Jotaro came from. He followed it for a little while until it stopped at a small circle of couches and zoomed up towards the top of a different bookshelf. Jotaro took the hint and sat on one of the couches.

“Jotaro?”

Jotaro looked over to see Kakyoin in their striped pajamas, holding a steaming mug and several balls of light haloed around their head. He snorted at the sight and looked down at the book in his hands. It was probably technically the morning already.

“What’s wrong? You look terrible.” Kakyoin walked over until they stood in front of him.

When they didn’t get a response, they settled onto the floor with their back against the couch. Kakyoin held the mug out towards Jotaro until it almost sat on the book cover. Jotaro thought they weren’t very subtle as he took the mug. The scent of vanilla and sugar from the steam made him relax. It was that sweet cream drink from the other night.

“You look like you need it more than me.” They ran a hand through their hair.

“What is it?”

“It’s this custard drink my mentor used to make when I couldn’t sleep. My training wasn’t the easiest, and I had a lot of nightmares because of anxiety. The drink helped.”

Jotaro set the book on his lap and took a sip from the mug. Sweet, but good, and very warm. Just like the last time he snuck some. “Did you have a nightmare?”

“No. Just remembering things.”

“…me too.”

The conversation winded down. The only sounds in the room was of their breathing and the wind outside beating against the walls of the tent.  Jotaro wondered how the magic worked on the fabric. He didn’t get to watch Kakyoin set up because of Nonon, but he wanted to know. How did something so small manage to hold everything inside? Why did Kakyoin bother with putting their house together and taking it apart when they moved?

“Sometimes.” Kakyoin rubbed their arms with their hands.

Jotaro took another sip from the mug.

“My memories can be overwhelming when I dream about them. Things get really intense. I know my mind over exaggerates some of the aspects of them, and having magic doesn’t help. They feel real. It’s terrifying. I’m always happier when I wake up knowing I am where I am.”

“I’m not.”

Kakyoin didn’t look up from where they were staring. “I’m sorry.”

“I want to go home.”

“I know.”

“I’m not sure where home is anymore.” Jotaro pulled his legs up onto the couch squishing the book between his stomach and thighs.

“Why’s that?”

“We were nomadic, and we only stayed in a place for a couple of years before moving again. I’ve been gone for-.” Jotaro bit the inside of his cheek. Time blurred for him as soon as he’d gotten captured. He reached up feeling the ridges of one of his horns. When he got to the tip, he felt a little relieved. Some memories were still blurry, but they were there. “I think I’ve been gone for 6, maybe 7 years. It feels like longer than that.”

“Nomadic tribes usually travel the same paths. I have a lot of maps in here, we could figure out where they might be.”

“You don’t want to help me.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Kakyoin’s eyes were closed when they laid their head on the couch seat.

“Because I.” Jotaro swallowed the spit in his mouth. “I went into your memory chamber.”

Kakyoin went silent. Jotaro watched several streams of steam roll off the top of his drink. He did it. He finally told Kakyoin the truth. This information was given probably at the worst moment, but at least he didn’t have to hide it any longer. He glanced over trying to gauge Kakyoin’s expression. Their eyes were still closed, but their eyebrows were furrowed. They chewed on their bottom lip like they were trying to think. Jotaro looked away when they opened their eyes.

“Okay. I’m still going to help you, though.”

“Okay? What do you mean okay? Aren’t you angry?” Jotaro was glaring at the mug now.

“I’m angry, but not entirely at you. I’ve been living in a house with a mind of its own for 15 years, and I’ve been freeing pets for 8. This isn’t the first time this has happened. However, I am going to burn that door as soon as I’ve finished reassembling the house.”

Jotaro stood from his seat, making the blankets and book fall to the floor. “What is wrong with you?”

“Huh?”

“I went looking for that door because I wanted to know what was in it, and when I figured it out, instead of leaving, I looked through your memories. I even got away with it. Your house helped me get away with it, and you gave me a gift right after I broke your trust and stomped all over your privacy. And all you can say is fucking ‘okay’!

This time Kakyoin did glare at him. Jotaro shut up, but didn’t break his stare.

“You’re right. It’s clear that I’ll have to punish you for this.” Kakyoin looked at something by Jotaro’s feet. “Sit back down. Now.”

Jotaro sat on the couch. The blankets floated from the ground and wrapped themselves around his shoulders. Kakyoin picked up the book from the ground and flipped through a few pages. After they found what they were looking for, they turned to Jotaro and gave them a mean look.

“Your punishment is that you have to stay awake until I finish reading this entire story. If you fall asleep, I’ll have to give you a new punishment in the morning.”

“That isn’t a punishment at all.”

Sparks flew around Kakyoin’s body making Jotaro look away. He wasn’t intimidated. He was tired, and those sparks were brighter than the lights in the library.

Kakyoin calmed down and and took a slow breath before they started. “There was once a young man named Edward. He was a respectable young man who grew up in the loving hands of his father. His mother had passed away while bringing him into this world, and even though his father was alone he took the task of being a parent with pride. Raising a child, however, is more difficult than one would assume…”

Jotaro listened as Kakyoin read, not noticing as the lights in the library dimmed over time. It was only when Kakyoin got to reading something about a dragon, that he fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Jotaro watched as Kakyoin finished packing up their tent. Nonon stood beside him to rest her head on Jotaro’s shoulder. There were a few hand motions Kakyoin did that looked like he was waving. Small trails of green light left his fingers, and the tent was shrunk small enough to fit back into his satchel.

Turning around, Kakyoin gave them both a smile. “All right, we can go now.”

“Where are we going?”

“A city called Hadao. Strangers come and go through there all the time, so no one will notice our sudden appearance. On top of that, a lot of information passes through, which means I’ll be able to keep an ear out about any migrating incubi for you while I research.”

Nonon moved her head so that Kakyoin could rub her fat feathery cheeks before they went to adjust the saddle on her back.

“Will you buy another pet when we get there?”

“No. I can’t help two people at once and balance my commission work. Everyone’s needs are different, people think I’m picking favorites, it’s a mess, and I lose enough sleep with my experiments alone.”

“Bad experience?”

“Two of them, but those are both very long stories.” Kakyoin pulled themselves onto Nonon.

Jotaro followed suit gripping the handles on the back of the saddle. “How long until we get there?”

“At least two more days with rest.”

“Then we have time.”

“You know what I’ve learned about you Jotaro?”

“What?”

“I’ve learned that I have to be extremely straightforward with you about everything.” Kakyoin tapped Nonon’s side with their foot and she was started on the trail at a brisk trot. “When I said those are both very long stories, I meant that I don’t want to talk about them. Stop prodding, or I’ll punish you like this morning.”

“Cutting potatoes isn’t a punishment.”

Kakyoin clicked their tongue, and Nonon sped up making Jotaro having to grip the saddle tightly with his thighs. Soon she was going fast enough that trees blurred by them, and Kakyoin had to lean forward to keep the wind from blowing hair into their face.

“KAKYOIN.”

Kakyoin ignored him. Jotaro wondered if all his punishments were going to be small petty things like this.

 

They didn’t pass by anything out of place in a forest. Jotaro saw rows and rows of trees and varying plant life. The animals stayed out of their way since most of them were small, and Nonon was not. At least his stomach was full this time as they traversed down the beaten path. Occasionally, Kakyoin would pull Nonon to a stop and draw something on the palm of their hand before steering her down a different collection of trees. Were they lost?

Jotaro’s legs were beginning to ache as they had yet to take a rest. The hard slapping of heavy boots against dirt caught Jotaro’s ear. Which was odd considering there was no one within sight. He turned his head trying to figure out where the sound was coming from since he didn’t spot anyone hiding in the trees. It was loud,so Kakyoin must hear it too. He tried seeing if there was any distinct change in their posture, or if they were going to say anything. They didn’t. Kakyoin kept Nonon going at her brisk trot. He must’ve been hearing things. Jotaro didn’t know this forest. Those sounds were probably common.

He dug out any earwax in his ear and tried ignoring the noise. The problem was that it was getting closer and louder as time progressed. He was beginning to get a headache. A headache? Shit.

“Kakyoin.”

“Hm? What’s wrong?”

“We need to stop. I forgot to take my medicine.”

“What!” Kakyoin pulled Nonon to a stop. “I thought I set it on your side table.”

Jotaro ignored the comment as they began searching through their satchel. He’d been sleeping a lot, or at least trying to. The nightmares didn't help, and his memories made things worse. Although the medicine became routine, sometimes he’d wake up forgetting whether or not he took it and settled with only waiting for it to appear. Today just happened to be one of those mornings where he'd forgotten. It probably was still on the side table in his room, but he was in a rush to get dressed when he heard Kakyoin packing up the library. Kakyoin pulled out a thin packet and a small water-pouch from their bag and waited for Jotaro to take his medicine before returning the items to their satchel.

“I’m going to have to change the time I give it to you now. The side effects for doing otherwise aren’t bad, but the pain would be worse if you went without for too long. Until your horns have grown in, I mean.”

Jotaro nodded. The sound wasn’t getting any quieter, but Kakyoin’s disposition changed in a moment. They made an O with their fingers and pressed it over their eye as they looked behind Jotaro. Warm waves of magic pressed over him while Kakyoin looked in the distance. So the sound was real. What were they seeing? Kakyoin sighed and moved their hand from their eye. Jotaro waited for them to say something. Instead Kakyoin turned back around and whistled.  The reins hung loose from their wrists, and Jotaro figured it must not be a threat if Kakyoin wasn’t hurrying.

All at once, the grinding of wheels against rocks and avid conversation complimented the thudding of boots and horse hooves beating against the ground. Jotaro looked back again to see a large caravan with carts on wheels and others that floated above them covered with elaborately patterned fabrics. Some carts were pulled by horses, other by bird creatures similar to Nonon but with in a rainbow assortment of colors. He didn’t know what to make of the people directing the animals. Jotaro had never seen people dress as they did, with layers upon layers of fabric over their bodies. It didn’t look gaudy or heavy, as the pieces were long rectangles woven in complex patterns. How were they not sweltering in all those clothes? Their skin was various shades of brown all darker than Jotaro’s.

One of them lifted their hood back revealing a face with wide brimmed nose and twin scars flowing down their eyes. Their black coily hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail that bounced with the motion. Then they smiled at Jotaro and waved. Jotaro didn’t wave back. Why did Kakyoin sigh earlier? Annoyance? Relief? The group didn’t look threatening besides their numbers, but he wasn't goint to rely on appearances now. He'd heard of forest bandits. The man who waved was riding a dark red bird with a beak that was a bright yellow. When they whistled, the bird sped up, and Nonon turned her head around because the whistle was unfamiliar. At the sight of the other bird, she ignored Kakyoin’s tugging and turned the rest of the way around to meet with it.

The man laughed and came to a stop once Nonon met him the rest of the way and she immediately began chirping at the other bird who returned the conversation.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think she would react like that.” The man patted his bird along the large tuft of feathers around its neck.

“It’s all right. She’s very lively around other morobouros. I saw your caravan from the distance, but I assumed you were going a different direction.”

That sounded like a lie. He looked at Nonon and the other bird as they took turns tapping their beaks together. Jotaro didn’t know they were called mourboros, or did Kakyoin say mororoboros?

“Well, our direction is Hadao. I caught up with you to ask if you knew the way. One of the children got a hold of a map and decided it was the perfect canvas for their family drawing. We’ve been playing by ear since the incident, but it was a lovely picture nonetheless.”

“Oh, Jotaro and I are heading there too. We wouldn’t mind travelling with you there.” Kakyoin tugged on the reins when Nonon began wrapping her neck around the other mabororo’s neck.

Jotaro would mind very much travelling with these strangers. It didn’t matter if they were nice, there were children which meant there were also women and many more men. It was hard enough dealing with Kakyoin; he didn’t want to add more people to the list of somewhat regular interaction. Maybe he’d bother if it was one day, but not the whole trip. He should say something.

“That would be wonderful- oh. I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask for you name.”

“My name is Noriaki Kakyoin, and it’s nice to meet you-?” Kakyoin held their hand out.

“Mohammed Avdol. It’s very nice to meet you as well Noriaki.” Avdol took it and gave them a sincere smile.

Jotaro watched closely when he spotted the tips of Kakyoin’s ears turn pink. Are they blushing? What is happening right now. Something like distress flared in the pit of his stomach, but he wasn’t sure why. They broke the handshake, and Jotaro noticed the caravan was almost directly behind Avdol at this point. Advol turned to them all, said something in a language Jotaro couldn’t follow, and turned back to nod at Kakyoin. Kakyoin caught the nonverbal cue and turned Nonon around so that she walked right beside Avdol’s moreboro as they continued down the trail. He hoped their trip would be just the chatter of the people in the caravan until they set up for camp that night, but Avdol seemed determined to talk to them both.

“So Jotaro was it?”

“Piss off.”

“Jotaro!” Kakyoin’s cheeks were bright red from embarrassment. “I’m so sorry, Avdol. He isn’t really a people person.”

Jotaro thought that was a severe understatement.

“No, it’s understandable. I know incubi are very protective of their mates.”

“They’re not my mate. Also, fuck you.” Jotaro had almost forgotten how freeing it was to curse at strangers without the threat of torture. It was liberating.

Kakyoin put their face into their hands. Avdol let out a nervous laugh and it was thankfully quiet for a few minutes. When Kakyoin pulled their face from their hands, they let out a huff of breath and looked at their palm again. A small glowing emitted from their palm as they approached another fork in the path and went left. Everyone in the caravan followed, and Jotaro focused on watching an insect or animal scurry by. Of course it wouldn’t stay that quiet for long.

Avdol spoke up again. “I figured from your clothing you were a sorcerer, but I wasn’t sure since you’re so young.”

“I get that a lot. May I ask why you're all heading to Hadao?”

“Same as you. The Tursiops Aduncus Gathering will be happening the day we arrive. Several of our travelers are sorcerers, and a few of us will be performing with other groups.”

“I thought the ball was next month. My invite clearly says September.” Kakyoin scratched their cheek.

“There were complications, so the council moved it to this month. Performers received the new information first, but all guests should’ve gotten the updated invite the day before yesterday.”

“Oh. I packed up my lab first. That’s probably why I didn’t get it. It’s a very good thing we ran into you then. My mentor would have a fit if I didn’t show up.”

God, would they ever stop talking. What was this ball anyway? Jotaro hoped he didn’t have to go. Actually, he didn’t have to hope. He just wouldn’t go. Kakyoin hadn’t forced him out of the house unless it was for something important, like him getting new clothes or running away from his old owners. He was sure this ball would have nothing to do with him, and he could just eat and fall asleep in the library at some point. That sounded like the perfect night after having to deal with all these people for the next couple of days. Jotaro turned it into a goal for when they got to Hadao.

He didn’t expect a dark purple marboro to pull up right beside them while Kakyoin and Avdol were still talking. The riders were two women in clothing similar to Avdol’s but with different color palettes. The one holding the reins had her hood high enough to show her face, the woman sitting behind her had a transparent sheet of fabric over her face. Jotaro didn’t like how the second woman was eyeing him, so he used his usual trick to keep people from staring. He magiked his teeth to look large and sharp and snarled at her. Instead of the normal reaction of fear, her eyes lit up, and she grinned revealing a mouthful of white shark teeth.

Jotaro reeled back and lost his grip on the saddle. The pressing of invisible hands against his side and back kept him upright and on Nonon.

The woman with the hood gave him a smug smile. “You know you won’t fall off if you hold onto the driver.”

The shark tooth woman nodded and gave the other woman a light squeeze around her waist as if to show by example.

It was going to be a long 48 hours.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jotaro was cutting up carrots and stalks of celery when Kakyoin came into the kitchen holding a set of nice looking clothes. They must’ve purchased them from one of the merchants in the caravan for the formal. Personally, he thought Kakyoin had enough fancy clothes, but sorcerers were an odd bunch. At least, that’s what his grandfather always told him.

Kakyoin’s voice piped up from behind him. “Would you like to pause so you can try these on?”

“What?”

“It’s your outfit for the formal. I figured you’d want to try them on before we hit the road again tomorrow. It would be embarrassing if we were getting ready only to find out nothing fit you.”

“I’m not going to your shitty formal.” Jotaro scraped all the chopped vegetables from the counter into a bowl. “Don’t decide things for me.”

“I’m sorry, but you have to go to the formal with me.”

“What is this? Some new punishment you’re trying to deal?”

“No. I know you’d rather not have to deal with more people after today, but the house has a very specific set of spells it has to stabilize before I can just leave you there.” Kakyoin stopped themselves from putting the clothes onto the counter.

“It’s not like the house will fall apart if I’m in it.”

“No, it won’t. But if you’re in the house while these spells are settling then you’ll be bound to the walls and will never be able to leave.”

“…oh.”

Kakyoin sighed. “We’ll only stay for a few hours. After that, I can drop you off back at the house, and I’ll be out of your hair for the rest of the night.”

Jotaro looked from the bowl, to Kakyoin, to the knife in his hand, and back to Kakyoin again. He didn’t want to spend tomorrow night surrounded by a bunch of powerful sorcerers while his own magic hadn’t come into fruition yet. He wasn’t sure if he could completely trust Kakyoin either, but they were still a better option than nothing. Not only that, but he was still concerned. There was a chance that him and Kakyoin could get separated. Even if the time during the separation was temporary, Jotaro already knew that many bad things could happen in a moment. What was he supposed to do if he found himself cornered? What if Kakyoin didn’t notice? This all sounded like a recipe for disaster. He needed a fail-safe.

“Can I take the knife?”

“Why would you want to take the knife?” Kakyoin made their confused face which Jotaro was starting to get used to.

“In case I need to stab someone.”

“No. No, you can’t take the knife. That’s part of a set.” Kakyoin paused and bit the inside of their cheek in thought. After something clicked they said, “How about I give you an enchanted sword to carry?”

“Deal.”

He set the knife down and wiped his hands onto his apron. All the prep work was finished, but Kakyoin was still holding the clothes against their chest. Oh. Right. He was supposed to try them on. He didn’t see anything wrong with the wardrobe he already picked, but he also didn’t feel like arguing. Actually, now would be a good time to bargain since Kakyoin had an idea about how he felt about the situation. Well, Jotaro assumed that they did.

“Are the clothes enchanted too?” Jotaro held out his arms so Kakyoin could rest the bundle in them.

“I mean they’re fireproof.”

“Can’t you make them like armor?”

“I can make the corset like armor.” Kakyoin smiled and pulled the dark purple corset out from under the shirt.

“Corset? I’m not wearing a corset.”

“Do you want armor?”

Jotaro squinted his eyes, his lip curling back into a sneer. Kakyoin’s expression remained unchanged as they waited for Jotaro’s answer. Hesitantly, he nodded and rush of black magic flowed over the corset, seeping into the swirled gold embroidery on the fabric before vanishing. Okay, bargaining time was over. He felt like if he asked for anything else, he’d be put in a pair of heels, and heels were uncomfortable.

He went to the bathroom to change and only had an issue when it came to putting on the corset. On second thought, he had issues with the entire ensemble. The shirt’s collars are sleeves were too puffy as they were layered with frills. The pants felt more like tights the way they clung to his legs, and his belt wasn’t even that. It was just a large buckle of chains to drape against the side of his hip. Who the hell made this outfit and thought it was a good idea?

“Are you doing okay in there?” Kakyoin’s voice flooded from the other side of the door.

“I’m not wearing this.”

There was a pause before Kakyoin spoke. “Could you open the door so I can see?”

Jotaro did so, and they covered their mouth trying to hold back a laugh. This was another tactic being used to humiliate him. He was going to kill Kakyoin. After holding back a laughing fit, they muttered something about it looking better on the mannequin and held their hands out above Jotaro’s chest.

“I’ll make some adjustments, but can we see how the corset looks with it first? That might make it better.”

He handed Kakyoin said corset and watched as they loosened the ribbon in the back and unclipped the latches on the front. Something lifted the other open end so that Kakyoin didn’t have to reach around Jotaro to put it on his waist, and they began hooking the clasps together.

Looking down at the top of Kakyoin’s head, he remembered a question for them that he shelved for later. “Kakyoin.”

“Yes?”

“When I got here, you told me that you rehabilitate pets.”

“Yes, I did.”

“How do you expect to fix me in less than thirty days?”

“I don’t. I can’t fix people.”

Once the last clasp was in place, they moved to Jotaro’s back and started tightening the laces. Jotaro made sure to keep an eye on them waiting for them to say more. Anything. Why bother keeping Jotaro here if they didn’t plan on fixing him? If that were the case it would make more sense to just find Jotaro’s family and leave him there until his horns grew in. Jotaro knew he was messed up. He didn't like thinking about it, but with all this time to himself he no longer had a choice. Every problem he thought could be solved only led to twelve more, and he wasn't sure what to do besides forget himself by doing anything else. He wouldn't tell Kakyoin that though. He was already showing enough weaknesses.

Kakyoin sighed and pushed his bang behind their ear before going back to adjusting the ribbon. “All the pets I’ve bought before have been young like you, but they were only in the trade for a couple of years. I also had several months to help them get back on their feet. Honestly, when you told me how long you’d been trapped there I thought about extending your stay, but I knew you wouldn’t want that.”

No, he wouldn’t want that.

“So instead, I decided to just do what I can to make sure you’re comfortable until your horns have grown in. Like I told you before, adult incubi are impossible to subdue. I can’t teach you how to use your magic, but once it’s all there you’ll only need to rely on instinct and emotion. Happiness, fear, anger, your magic will know you better than anyone else, and it’ll know what you need. I’m keeping you here until then because if you ever get into a situation where you can’t rely on anyone, I want you to be able to rely on yourself for your safety. I want you to leave knowing you’ll be safe. It’s the most I can do in such a short period.” A few more tugs followed before Kakyoin took a step back and set their hands on their hips.

At first Jotaro was subdued by the confession. Then after a moment, what they said sunk in. For some reason or another, they cared about Jotaro. Although, he wasn’t sure why or what he did to earn their concern. They still did their best to make sure he was okay. Kakyoin really was something else, and he wanted to know what. Jotaro turned around and looked down at the outfit. Just like these clothes were something else, but he knew they were ridiculous. Kakyoin seemed to be thinking the same thing because they rested their chin in the palm of their hand, tapping their fingers against their cheek. After a beat, they let out a small oh and snapped their fingers. With a rush of light, the plain blue looking tights had turned into darker pinstriped pants. The ruffles of the shirt flattened to look more natural, and a jacket that matched the corset’s patterns covered his torso with its two tails trailing over his backside.

“How’s this?”

Jotaro turned to look at himself in the mirror above the sink. This wasn’t as bad. Still not Jotaro’s tastes, but an improvement nonetheless. There was something else that was bugging him though, and that something rode a giant red muroboro for travel.

“So I just have to follow you and Avdol around for three hours in this?”

“Avdol? What are you talking about?”

He thought Kakyoin knew exactly what Jotaro was talking about and shucked off his jacket. “You were talking to each other the whole day. You were blushing.”

Kakyoin's cheeks turned a dark red, and they looked offended. “I’m not going with Avdol to the gathering.”

“Why not?”

“He’s nice, but I don’t like him romantically.” Kakyoin took the jacket and folded it before setting it onto the counter. Their movements were hurried and flustered. “Even if I did, he travels too much for anything serious to develop. There are some places I like staying for a few years in before up and moving somewhere else. Like Torroco. Their beaches are beautiful during winter time. I should plan on heading there next; I haven’t been in such a long time. I think Nonon was experiencing her first molt when I went there last.”

So Kakyoin wasn’t interested in Avdol? Jotaro’s shoulders sagged while he ignored Kakyoin’s talking. He could hear them slowly calming down as they spoke, so that was good. However, Jotaro wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or irritated at the revelation. His earlier feeling of apprehension of the chance of a relationship developing between the two weaved itself out of his mind. He wasn’t distressed because Kakyoin could’ve found someone. Jotaro just didn’t want to deal with the result of watching two people he didn’t like be affectionate in front of him. Kissing and touching each other as if the world were going to end while Jotaro had no choice but to watch. The images were disgusting. Why did he think of things like this? His stomach growled loudly putting a dent in Kakyoin’s monologue.

“Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Wait, why am I the one apologizing?" Kakyoin crossed their arms over their chest.

Jotaro looked away from Kakyoin choosing to focus on flattening the buttons of his shirt. He wasn't going to apologize.

They huffed. "I’ll leave you in here to change back while I start dinner.”

Jotaro let Kakyoin zip past him to get back to the kitchen. They'd get over it. Turning back to the mirror, he gave himself one last look over. A pulse of magic went from the base of his horns down to his toes making the whites of his eyes flash black for a moment in his reflection. That probably wasn’t good.

Chapter Text

Kakyoin was wearing a dress. It was very nice with its long sleeves and round cut train that flowed along the ground when they walked to the carriage. The fabric was a dark emerald with splashes of grey runes along the edges of their high collar and around the cups of the sleeves. Even more runes covered the train, and the was a small triangle of fabric cut out just above their chest. Jotaro looked away before they caught his eye and focused on the sword in his lap. He thought Kakyoin was humoring him when he asked for a sword, but there it was under his palms with glowing symbols on the handle and everything.

“So, there are a few things I should tell you about the event before we get there.” Kakyoin pulled the fur trim of their coat closer to their neck. Jotaro didn’t think it was that cold.

“You and Avdol were talking about it all day. I think I know everything.”

“You were listening in on our conversation?”

Jotaro felt his cheeks start to grow warm and looked out the curtained window. “Not like I wanted to. You’re both loud.”

Kakyoin and Avdol weren’t loud. Jotaro had to listen very closely to catch anything they were saying when they spoke in the sitting room, but Kakyoin didn’t need to know that.

“Oh, I’m sorry then. You won’t have to worry about our noise pollution after the ball. Avdol and his group are back on the road first thing in the morning.”

“Good.”

“But I still need to tell you about one thing, and I also have a few rules to establish.”

“Great.” Jotaro stopped himself from sliding down the seat and onto the floor of the carriage. He had more dignity than that.

“Sorcerers are very nosey by default, so at these events we go by aliases. This way strangers can’t look up your history and use it against you while there. You’re going to have to think of a name to call yourself during the event. I wouldn’t want anyone doing a search on you. Things would become very difficult if that happens.”

“Got it.”

“Next are the rules.”

“Don’t need them. I’ll just stay in the corner far away from everyone and glare at people who try to approach me. Problem solved.”

“I said sorcerers were nosey. That’ll only make things worse for you.”

Jotaro turned and bared his teeth before huffing. Staying outside on the ground with Nonon until the house spells were done sounded more comfortable than dealing with this. “Fine. What are the rules?”

“The first one is to stay close to me. There are a lot of shady characters at these events, and I know you don’t want to be anywhere near types like that. The second is no cursing at people like you did with Avdol. Actually, don’t curse at all.”

“So say nothing? I can do that.”

“The final rule is that you need to be polite.”

Jotaro snorted.

“I’m serious.”

“So am I.”

The carriage came to a slow stop. Something knocked on Kakyoin’s window, but they ignored it to keep staring at Jotaro. “It’ll only be a few hours. I promise. I know I’ve already asked a lot of you, but this will be the last thing I ask for.”

Why did they have to word it like that? Kakyoin didn’t really ask him for anything. Would the whole thing even be that dangerous? Kakyoin seemed to do their best when it came to babying-, keeping him safe. Looking down at the sword on his lap, Jotaro sighed. This is the last thing he’d let himself do for Kakyoin. After this, he wasn’t going to do shit.

“I’ll go by Joseph.”

“Joseph?” Kakyoin pulled their bang away from their face and ran their hands down their hair making it a few inches longer. “Okay, I’ll remember that. Kakyoin isn’t really popular in the community, so I go by Tenmei at these events. All right?”

“Okay.”

Jotaro watched as Kakyoin opened the door and stepped down the short stairs. Taking another breath, he gripped his sword a little tighter and followed them out. Unfortunately, Jotaro’s curiosity was peaked again. What did Kakyoin mean by not being popular with other sorcerers? He put the sword in the holster at his hip and followed Kakyoin down to the tall front gate. The iron doors were white and covered with rows of blue and cream colored roses. Not to mention, the building behind the gates was gigantic. Two stories tall but three times as wide as the market Kakyoin had taken him to. If this place was anything like Kakyoin’s on the inside, Jotaro needed to stay close or he’d never make it out.

He followed Kakyoin through the gates and down the dirt path that was framed with tall rose bushes. Whoever owned the house really liked that flower, because he didn’t see any other kind. When they approached the tall marble doors, someone in dark grey attire similar to Jotaro’s let them inside. The sword at his hip vibrated when they walked in. They were walking close enough together that their arms were only a few inches apart. Kakyoin smiled and nodded at people who waved at them never seeming to stick around for long. They must be looking for someone. Jotaro was able to remain silent only having to give a nod here and there as they walked from room to room.

As soon as they entered the ballroom, a familiar looking sorcerer spotted them and made a beeline for Kakyoin. Kakyoin seemed to have spotted them to, but it was too late and there was a blur of blue fabric when they were lifted off their feet by the white-haired sorcerer.

“MEIMEI.” The man squeezed around Kakyoin’s waist as they struggled in their grasp.

“Polnareff, I told you not to call me that!”

Polnareff? Oh shit. Jotaro gripped his sword handle tightly. This was Kakyoin’s mentor. Wait a minute. Why did they call Polnareff by their name? Did Kakyoin lie about the alias thing or was it a concept that only applied to them? They did say that they weren’t popular with other sorcerers. Was it because of the pet thing? Maybe Kakyoin had other secrets. Jotaro knew this line of questions would just lead to a million others, so he kept quiet. Polnareff put down Kakyoin who dusted their dress off and straightened their hair out. Then Polnareff looked at him, then back at Kakyoin, then back and forth from him to Kakyoin before stopping at Kakyoin and getting a big smile on their face.

“No.” Kakyoin crossed their arms.

Polnareff looked insulted and then gestured to Jotaro and back to Kakyoin.

“No Polnareff. We’re not.”

Jotaro was sure he was only hearing the end pieces of a conversation.

“This is the first person you’ve ever brought to this event and you’re not-?”

“We are not. He’s only here because the spells on the house have to settle.”

“HE LIVES WITH YOU?”

Kakyoin pulled out a small bag and whacked Polnareff on the face with it. Jotaro bit the inside of his cheek. He wouldn’t laugh. If he laughed that meant he’d smile, and he wasn’t about to do that for anyone. Before Polnareff could yell, Kakyoin pulled them down to their level and whispered something in a harsh tone. That seemed to click with Polnareff when Kakyoin let go of their collar.

Polnareff rubbed their cheek and pouted. “You’re so mean, Meimei.”

“Stop calling me that. I barely hit you.” Kakyoin put their bag away and turned to Jotaro with a smile. “I’m sorry about that. Joseph, this is my old teacher, Polnareff. They’re much too famous to go by an alias like everyone else.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Joseph. I hope we can talk more after this event. These things are always too stuffy. Now when I hosted the ball, everyone had a good time. Of course I had to limit the alcohol available. Meimei was still too small to be up late and the last thing I wanted was a stray spell to go the wrong way with them in the house.”

“Polnareff.” Kakyoin was glaring now.

“Oh! I have pictures. I always, always carry them with me. Would you like to see?” Polnareff was already searching their pockets for their purse.

“Polnareff.”

“Did you know I found them when they were almost 5? Astounding magic at such a young age.”

“POLNAREFF.”

Polnareff had their purse in their hand and paused to look at Kakyoin whose face was entirely red from embarrassment. “Oh mon dieu. No need to get embarrassed. You were adorable.”

“We can talk about that some other time. Right Joseph?” Kakyoin brushed their bang behind their ear.

Oh wow. The first time Jotaro had the chance to get a word in since they walked inside. He could agree with Kakyoin and switch topics. They probably wanted to talk to Polnareff about something important, maybe even something pertaining to Jotaro’s situation. However, a small petty part of him remembered the entire journey there with jumping off of cliffs and being driven at high speeds on a giant bird whenever he snapped at Kakyoin. Knowing which side of his thinking was right, and which was wrong, he made his decision.

Jotaro looked directly at Kakyoin as he said, “Show me the baby pictures.”

Kakyoin closed their eyes and put a hand over their face while Polnareff made a squealing noise and pulled out an accordion transparent insert full of pictures. Kakyoin looked like they were about to argue, but Jotaro pointed at the picture of tiny Kakyoin who was grinning while holding a chicken sized Nonon in their arms.

“Oohh that one! Yes, this was right after Nonon hatched. Meimei wasn’t sure what to name her, so they kept calling her bird until she was almost as big as they were.”

Kakyoin groaned and turned their back on them both. The corner of Jotaro’s mouth twitched knowing that they couldn’t leave him alone.

Polnareff continued, “You know she got her name in a very silly way. We were trying to think up names, and I kept turning down their suggestions because they were completely ridiculous. Meimei wouldn’t stop bouncing on their feet and saying Non non non to mock me when all of a sudden she started doing the same thing! Well, she was chirping not talking, but the name Nonon ended up sticking.”

“Is that why she dances?” Jotaro rested his hand back on his sword hilt.

“You’ve seen her dance? Yes, that’s exactly why.” Polnareff gasped and flapped his hands and turned to Kakyoin. “Meimei, I like him. He’s a respectable young man.”

“Wonderful. Now that you’ve shown him the pictures let’s talk about something else.”

“What? He hasn’t even gotten to look at them all yet.”

Jotaro nodded. “Yeah. I’ve only seen two. I want to hear more stories.”

Kakyoin raised a finger and opened their mouth to yell at them when the sound of a glass being tapped quieted the conversation on the floor.

A transparent image of a man appeared from the top balcony. Jotaro figured it must’ve been a spell so that everyone could see him from every room. Who knew how scattered the guests were at this point. The man was very big, almost as big as his great great grandfather with blonde tousled hair and a smug look on his face. For some reason, Jotaro wanted to punch this guy in his white and yellow ensemble.

“Greetings sorcerers, witches, and wizards alike. Welcome to the 612th event of our kin most properly named The Tursiops Aduncus Gathering by The Council.” The man’s voice was clear and deep.

There were small spouts of laughter through the room at the comment. What the hell did Turisops Aduncs mean anyway? Normally, Jotaro would be able to tune out other people as he thought, but this man’s voice was very assertive. He didn’t like it at all.

“I’m sorry to have brought you all here so early, but due to complications it was a decision out of my control. I can only hope there’s enough food and drink to satisfy you while the festivities are going on, and if not. Who cares? We have the magic for it anyway.” The man chuckled.

Several louder bouts of laughter followed. Kakyoin and Polnareff looked like they were waiting for the man to shut up. Jotaro felt better knowing they were all on the same page with that mindset.

“However, these spiels get tiring, especially with some of our veterans in the audience. We know why we gather here every year, and a lot of us already have our night planned out to the final minute, so I’ll cut the welcome speech short and meet with you all in person. I, Dio, your host, wish you the best night tonight.” Dio’s image faded from the staircase.

“Do you know him, Polnareff?” Kakyoin seemed to have calmed down despite their earlier embarrassment.

“I know of him. Just because I’m a big name, doesn’t mean I mess with the other ones. They’re nothing but trouble with their gossip and back talk.” Polnareff crossed their arms over their chest.

Kakyoin scoffed. “As if you don’t do the same thing.”

“Rude! Are they this rude to you Joseph?” Polnareff paused and lowered their arms to their sides.

Jotaro was still looking at the balcony where Dio’s image had vanished. His sword was vibrating against his hip and he furrowed his brows waiting for…for what? He didn’t know.

“Joseph?” It was Kakyoin’s voice this time.

Jotaro snapped out of his thoughts and looked back at them. Shaking his head, he pointed at the baby pictures again exciting Polnareff and making Kakyoin flustered with the action. There was something squirreling around the back of his mind. Who was that Dio guy, and why did he give Jotaro such a bad feeling?

Chapter Text

Jotaro sat at one of the dining tables forcing himself to eat slowly. Stuffing his face wasn’t “polite” and he swore if he got one more of those admonishing looks from Kakyoin he’d break a chair. Polnareff was ignoring Kakyoin’s glaring as they talked with their mouthful of food. A beat passed when the soft music of the room was touched with the sound of someone singing. Jotaro looked over and spotted the shark toothed girl from the caravan in a yellow tight-fitting dress singing on the banister. His eyes widened when he saw that her hair was pulled away from her face showing a pair of nubby horns on her head. No wonder she was eyeing him before. Maybe she had information.

“Joseph?” Kakyoin’s voice came from his side.

Jotaro looked at Kakyoin and saw the odd look on their face like they were trying to hold back a smile. “What.”

“Your- you were making this noise in your throat.”

“That girl singing is an incubus. She was in Avdol’s caravan.”

“Yes, that’s Mid- eh, well I know who you’re talking about. That’s her partner behind her playing the uh…the um.” Kakyoin snapped their fingers trying to find the word.

“The qanun.” Avdol’s voice flooded from behind them.

Jotaro already had a grimace on his face before he even turned around. Kakyoin seemed to light up. Whether it was from getting the answer they were looking for or the fact Avdol stood beside them, Jotaro didn’t know. He also didn’t want to know. Avdol wore a long-sleeved shirt that hugged his torso and looked like large rectangles of fabric were layered over each other. His pants were dark grey and trimmed with shining silver coils that moved over the fabric. His jacket had a flat rounded collar, and was also dark grey.

“You made it!” Kakyoin grinned and scooted their chair back.

“No need to get up my friend. I’m happy I was able to spot you in this crowd. If it wasn’t for his horns, I don’t think I would’ve been able to find you.” Avdol pulled out a seat between Polnareff and Kakyoin. If he sat there this would put him directly across from Jotaro.

Kakyoin touched their own chest. “Tenmei.” They then pointed to Jotaro. “Joseph.” Finally, they gestured to Polnareff. “And this was my caretaker…”

“Jean Pierre Polnareff! Comment vous appelez-vous?” Polnareff took Avdol’s hand and pressed a kiss against the back of his palm before the man could sit down. God, they even winked.

Avdol had a smug smile on his face. “Vous êtes très gentil. Je m'appelle Abdul.”

“Pourriez-vous répéter?”

“Abdul.” Avdol said it slower this time as if it were something intimate.

“Well, Abdul, Voudriez-vous danser avec moi?”

“Oui.”

Polnareff hopped up from their seat with a grin on their face and waved to Kakyoin before walking off with Avdol. Jotaro wondered what the hell just happened. He looked over to see Kakyoin’s cheeks and ears as red as their hair, and they looked really irritated. So they did like Avdol! He knew it. Jotaro should mock him for it. For lying in the first place, but any feelings of vitrol he had on the way here seemed to have left him when his stomach got full.

Jotaro put his fork down. “Hey.”

“What?”

“You’ll be all right. You already said he’s not your type.”

“I told you I don’t like him, and it’s not even that. It’s just Polnareff was my mentor. It’s like if you watched your mother flirt with other people. It’s weird.”

“Polnareff was like your mom?”

Kakyoin paused for a moment. “You know what, yes. Yes they are. Don’t tell them I said that.”

“I will.” Jotaro took a sip of his juice only to spit it out when the chair next to him pulled itself out.

Kakyoin’s hackles were up as well as a glass a wine appeared, followed by a hand, then an arm covered with a white jacket sleeve, and soon the rest of the person appeared.

It was that Dio guy. Jotaro knew he looked stupid sneering at the guy while juice dripped down his chin. Kakyoin must’ve agreed because they handed him a napkin without breaking eye contact from Dio.

“Sorry if I’ve interrupted your conversation. I have a nasty habit of wanting to make an entrance.” Dio took a sip from his glass.

Kakyoin put a smile on their face. “No, it’s all right. This is a very lovely party, Sir Dio.”

“Well, a party is only as beautiful as it’s guests.” Dio winked at them. “Are you all enjoying tonight’s festivities?”

Jotaro was going to be sick. His sword was buzzing against his leg, and that was concerning in itself. He kept staring at his plate. What else was he supposed to do? He knew that if he tried to say anything to this man it would come out as an insult. He crossed his arms leaning back in his chair. He hoped Kakyoin would make this conversation quick.

“Oh yes. The dancing was amazing. Actually, Joseph and I were just about to look at the observatory.”

Wait, they were going to do what? When was that a thing?

“Joseph, was it?” Dio turned to him. “That’s a very nice name, but I feel like it doesn’t quite fit you.”

Fuck this guy? Fuck Dio. Jotaro knew what would fit him. A sword up his ass. He should make it happen. He would make it happen. The sword was buzzing so much that it clunked to the floor at his feet. Fortunately, it happened at the same time as one of the band members hit a cymbal, so the sound went unnoticed. Dio was saying something else, but Jotaro was too busy imagining different ways to kick the guy’s ass to listen. However, after imagining punching the guy so hard that he exploded, his mind wandered to other things.

Why did Kakyoin take him here? Why did this guy host the event? He could only assume whoever was in charge was scraping the bottom of the barrel. He looked back at the shark-tooth woman on stage. He needed to talk to her before they left, so he supposed that was a plus to being here. He did wonder why he was unable to sense her back in the caravan. Too much magic around, or maybe it was something else. His horns were nearly grown in, so it could have something to do with that. There was also that weird thing that made his eyes turned black a couple days ago. What was that? That never happened to him before. He’d have to look into it once the house was set up. Kakyoin knew somethings about incubi, so they should have a few books in the library.

He sighed leaning further back in his seat. He wished he had gotten the talk before everything happened. What was his mother even doing wanting to wait to tell him about how things worked? Was she scared? Jotaro’s shoulders sagged at the thought. What was his mother doing? Was she okay? He could feel a pressure at the back of his head and he righted himself in his chair immediately. No. None of that here. He was in public with people he didn’t know and didn’t like. Suck it up, Jotaro. He needed to arrange his priorities. First he needed to talk to incubus woman and get information, then after leaving he needed to find books about incubi in the library at home. Next, he needed to…

Kakyoin’s voice cut his train of thought. “Joseph!”

“What. What is it.”

“Sir Dio asked you if you’d be interested in a tour.” Kakyoin’s smile was forced.

“No thank you.” Jotaro didn’t hold back his glare. Anything more would open up more conversation. He’d be asked well why not, or hes sure he would love the tour, and the useless convincing followed by whining would make this drag for longer than it needed to be. Dio seemed like the type to pull that kind of bullshit.

“How disappointing. Well, I suppose this ends our conversation.” Dio stood from his seat and set his empty wine glass on the table.

Holy shit, he was leaving? A straight no actually worked?

“It was very nice talking to you Sir Dio.”

Dio looked at Jotaro as he adjusted his jacket. “Oh, don’t sound so upset Tenmei. We still have all night to chat more, but for now I must attend to the other guests. Have a good evening.”

“We wish the same to you as well.” Kakyoin waved.

They both watched him vanish as he walked away from their table. Good riddance. Kakyoin cleared their throat garnering his attention. Jotaro hesitated before he looked up at the admonishing look on their face. What did he do now? He was polite. Disgustingly so even.

“It’s moments like these that remind me how old you are. What was that? You were leaning in your chair and sighing and glaring at the table like a child.”

“I’m older than you by a couple decades, and I was polite. I followed all of your damn rules.”

“Well, good job being so polite. Now he’s interested in you. Let’s just go to the observatory and leave.” Kakyoin rubbed their temples.

“Not before I talk to that woman.”

“Do you think you might be related?”

“Not all incubi are related you ass-“

The singing stopped but the music continued. Jotaro spotted the incubus woman stepping from the stage, and he stood up in response. Kakyoin jumped up after him just as he started pushing his way through the crowd. He felt a something slip onto his ankle, but since it didn’t hinder him, he ignored it. All at once the amount of people standing became more concentrated. A new singer came onto the stage and guests were gathering around. Jotaro could barely move the space was so tight. Any speck of yellow in the mass of people vanished. Where did she go?

In his effort to spot her, the realization of where he was came upon him. He was touching people. People were touching him. Jotaro flinched away when someone touched his arm only to have his back bump into someone else. He reached for his sword only for his hand to pat his hip. Where did he put it? Did he leave it? Where was Kakyoin?

He was trapped, he was trapped and he didn’t have his sword and he left Kakyoin at the dining table, and he was alone. Every hair on the back of his neck stood up. He was alone and this place was gigantic. People were touching him. Why wouldn’t they stop touching him. Why did everyone want to keep touching him. Something tightened around his ankle. Now, he was chained again. No no not again. Not again.

“Jotaro” Kakyoin whispered from beside him.

He looked down at Kakyoin from the corner of his eye. They were there.

“I’m sorry, but I’ll need you to hold my hand so I can get you out of this crowd.”

Jotaro grabbed it squeezing so tight that for a moment he thought he’d break their hand.

Instead of any protests, Kakyoin nodded and walked them through the mass of people. The further they got, the more the people began to thin out. The tether around his ankle slipped off once they were out of the crowd. Jotaro’s breathing was fast. Too fast. He could barely keep air in his lungs long enough before he was taking another breath. He yanked his hand away as soon as Kakyoin’s grip went slack. Trying to calm his breathing, he kept staring at the floor. His head hurt. He knew it wasn’t his horns, because Kakyoin made sure he took his medicine today. He wanted to go home and curl up in bed.

Kakyoin pulled out the sword from a pocket in their jacket and held it out for him. Jotaro took it, his hands shaking as he put it in the holster against his hip. He wasn’t taking it off again. Kakyoin gave him a reassuring smile which did nothing to calm him down and started walking. Jotaro followed after them staying close enough that their arms nearly touched. Just in case. Just in case.

They went through a hallway with bare white walls, and tiny vases that seemed to sprout from the seams where they met the ceiling and the floor. It grew darker the further they got until a circle of moonlight illuminated the rest of their path. The marble tiles faded to stone ones with clumps of grass that wedged between them. The entered a circular room full of varying plant life, much of which nearly touched the dome glass ceiling. The sound of water falling brought his attention to one of the fountains in the room. It was like a water fall that flowed into the pond. Benches covered with moss or thin strips of vines sat beside it.

“Would you like to sit down?” Kakyoin motioned to one of the benches.

Jotaro nodded and did so. Okay, he’ll admit what he did was pretty stupid. Really stupid, but he didn’t want to hear Kakyoin scold him again. Kakyoin didn’t sit by him. They walked along the edge of the pond letting the train of their dress glide over the ground. An orange and white fish burst from the water’s surface to eat a bug before falling back down. Weren’t they going to say something? Looking over at Kakyoin, Jotaro kept his eyes at their waist. What was the point of bringing him here? Jotaro felt like he was waiting for something else. He wasn’t sure what, but he managed to tear his eyes away from Kakyoin to stare at the water. Taking a breath, he closed his eyes and listened to the water flow over the stones. A few crickets chirped from their hiding spots. If he focused, he might be able to hear everything in the garden.

The sound of a frog croaking echoed from under damp heavy leaves. The air was cool around him, but even with shoes on he could tell the ground was warm. Pulses of warmth, magic maybe, thrummed through his horns, and with that he felt his throat loosen up. His clothes were no longer tight around his chest or his arms. Opening his eyes, Jotaro saw the reflection of the crescent moon rippling over the pond surface.

Rubbing his hands over one another on his lap, he still felt the ghosts of those people rubbing against him. “I’m taking a bath when we get back.”

“That’s fine.” Kakyoin stopped walking when they stood by the other end of Jotaro’s bench. “Just another hour here. I promise.”

“I believe you.” Jotaro surprised himself by how easy the phrase came out. Taking a few seconds to himself, he realized he meant it.

Kakyoin opened his mouth as if they were about to say something, but closed it. The scent of lemon and mint made Jotaro scrunch up his nose.

A woman’s voice came from behind him. “Are we interrupting anything?”

Jotaro turned his head and stopped himself from jumping off his seat when he saw the incubus woman and the hooded witch from before. He looked at Kakyoin who was already walking to the hooded witch. Except, she didn’t have her hood. She was wearing a sparkling purple dress with a slit cut into the side.

“No, you’re just in time. Would you walk with me for a bit while they talk?” Kakyoin held out their arm.

“Of course. Don’t get too frisky Mimi.” The witch winked at her and took Kakyoin’s arm.

The incubus woman stuck out her tongue making the witch laugh as she walked off with Kakyoin. She turned to Jotaro, who pushed himself out of his seat. God, what should he ask first?

“I’m Middler by the way. Sorry I didn’t talk to you when I saw you last. I was just so surprised to see a couple like us.”

Jotaro was lost. “Couple like us?”

“Yeah, you and Noriaki. Me and Mariah. Incubi tend to avoid relationships with humans, but magic users…well, they live a lot longer, so it’s easier you know?” Middler smiled.

“Kakyoin and I aren’t together.”

“Oh! Oh wow. I’m sorry. You both just looked like you were. Wow.”

“Listen. I just need to ask you a question.”

“All right, but only if I get to ask one in return after answering yours.”

Jotaro rolled his eyes. “Fine.”

Middler settled herself into Jotaro’s spot on the bench and folded her hands over her lap. Something about this woman was weird. She motioned for him to sit next to her. He didn’t. He sat on the bench right next to it. His sword clanged against the rock startling the fish from the pond’s edge.

“Ask away.”

“Do you know anything about the Joestars?”

“Joestars?”

“Yes.”

“The name sounds familiar, but probably because I’ve just heard the stories. Some guy named John Joestar got into it with a big time vampire. The fight was epic and lasted for a hundred years before the John guy won.”

She must be talking about Jonathan. Jotaro didn’t know his great great grandfather was famous. “Do you know anything else?”

“I’m afraid not. Why do you want to know?”

Jotaro stood up from the bench and wiped off the back of his pants. She didn’t know anything. No. That was wrong. She did know about the Joestars, but it wasn’t the information he was looking for. Now that he thought about it, at this kind of place with so many people he could ask around and find out exactly where his family was. However, that took too many risks. People would ask him why he wanted to know. Demand to know who he was. Who he was with. How he ended up there.

No.

Too many risks.

“Just asking. Thanks.”

“Don’t thank me yet. You still have to answer my question.”

“Technically I don’t.”

If Jotaro was feeling smug when he said that, he feeling was cut off when the ground rumbled beneath his feet. The water from the pond rose out of its hole, fish and all, and hovered above his head. Looking at Middler, her eyes were shining yellow, and she had a placid smile on her face.

“I wasn’t being serious when I said that.”

“Of course you weren’t.” She motioned her head to the left and the water returned to the pond. “Now you have to answer two questions of mine.”

“Okay.” He hoped they wouldn’t be invasive. Kakyoin warned him that these types were nosy.

“First is, how old are you?”

“64.”

Middler snorted and covered her mouth. Jotaro watched as her cheeks turned pink and snickers slipped through her fingers. Soon she couldn’t hold it anymore, and she was laughing loudly. Snorting occasionally while she tried to catch her breath. Jotaro kicked a pebble into the pond. He didn’t have to deal with this. Except that he did. He wasn’t sure how Kakyoin would react to him being soaking wet when they returned.

Jotaro looked back to her when her laughter died down. “What’s your second question.”

“I’m not sorry I laughed, it’s just, I can’t believe that. That’d mean you’re still a kid.”

“Just ask your second question.”

“Wait, you’re 64?” Middler’s posture was ramrod straight. The look on her face was concerned.

Jotaro didn’t like it. “Is that your second question?”

“Oh my god. What are you doing away from your mo-“

Jotaro slammed his hands against the bench. The stone chipped under his fingers. Middler didn’t flinch. His jaw trembled, so he clenched it. “Please, just ask your other question.”

“What is, god, what is Noriaki to you? That was my second question. I have a bunch more now, but I don’t think you’d be up for answering them.”

“You’re right.”

A cricket came out from its hiding place by the rocks of the fountain. Jotaro watched its antennae twitch before it made a mad dash for the opposite side of the pond. He looked Middler from the corner of his eye. She was rubbing her arm and mouthing words. She should feel bad. He knew prying into other people’s business only made things worse for everyone involved. The breaking of twigs signaled Kakyoin’s return.

He could even hear the murmurs of their conversation as they walked down the path towards them.

“Kakyoin is helping me get back home. That’s all they are to me.”

“Are you sure?”

Jotaro righted himself. His hands were scraped, so he shoved them into his pockets. He needed to make sure Kakyoin didn’t notice the change. The garden must not be as big as he thought, for Kakyoin to have made it back so fast. The witch slipped her arm from of Kakyoin’s and hiked her skirt up to dash for Middler. Jotaro moved out of the way just as she tackled her to the ground.

“MARIAH.” Middler had caught the witch but glared at her.

The witch, Mariah, was laughing.

“We should leave them alone. We need to find Polnareff. They’ll be upset if they don’t get to talk to you more before I drop you off at the house.” Kakyoin walked past them back towards where they came.

Jotaro followed after him.

The stone path turned back into dull marble tiles. The smell of grass and lemon turned dry and vanished. Jotaro heard their steps echo down the hall to mingle with the growing noise of the crowds in the mansion. Something Middler said made him curious though.

“Hey. Kakyoin.”

“Yes?”

“How long do you all live?”

Kakyoin scratched their cheek. “The average lifespan for sorcerers tends to be 300 to 400 years. Polnareff is 159 this November.”

“I see.”

“May I ask how long incubi live?”

“One thousand years usually. My grandpa was around 600 last time I saw him.”

“Wow, that’s a really long time. To think, one day you’ll get old enough where you won’t even remember coming here.”

“You’re saying that like you will.”

“Of course I will. I remember everyone who stays with me. Magic isn’t a tool, it’s a living essence. Everyone leaves their mark with it, and they’re easy to spot in my house.” Kakyoin adjusted the fur of their jacket. They really couldn’t stop fiddling with it for some reason.

Jotaro hm’ed. The night was almost over, so that was a plus.

Chapter Text

Exiting the hallway, they were back in the dance hall. Jotaro was feeling uncomfortable watching the mass of people in front of the stage. They were now separated into pairs dancing under dim lights, so they weren’t as close together, but it still made him cringe. He rubbed his arm and focused on his shine of his shoes. A few smudges of dirt lined his laces. For some reason, he was already missing the sound of running water.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t my favorite sorceress, Tenmei. Fancy to see you here. Figured events like this weren’t your style anymore.” A voice spoke up from Kakyoin’s side.

Looking over, Jotaro spotted some guy wearing a gold pinstripe suit and a weird look on his face. He looked down at Kakyoin who had a painful expression on their face. Jotaro knew that wasn’t good.

“Hol Horse. Sorry, I can’t stay to chat. We were just leaving.” The thin fur trim of Kakyoin’s coat grew thick enough to shield most of their face.

This guy called himself Hol Horse? Was he serious? Jotaro snorted and shook his head. There really were all kinds of characters here.

Hol Horse put his arm around Kakyoin’s shoulders. “Now now darling, no need to leave so soon. I won’t take but a few minutes of your time.”

Kakyoin’s eye twitched.

“Now the last time I saw you at the ball, you promised me a dance I never got. Just up and vanished like it was nothing. That really hurt my feelings.”

Jotaro watched a line of sparks travel along Kakyoin’s jaw and down their neck.

“I was hoping it’d hurt more than that.” Kakyoin’s eyes were narrowed to slits. “I’m not dancing with you.”

“If it’s cause of your date there, I’m sure he won’t mind. Unless he’s insecure of course.”

“He’s not my date, and even if he was I wouldn’t need that excuse. I just don’t want to dance with you.” Kakyoin flicked Hol’s hand off of their shoulder.

Hol Horse grabbed their hand. “Come on now. One dance won’t hinder you too much.”

Jotaro barely caught the murderous look that passed over Kakyoin’s face. They took a practiced breath, and wiggled their hand free of Hol Horse’s grasp. Kakyoin then clapped their hands together and turned to Jotaro with a smile. “I’m sorry, Joseph. I just remembered you never even got to try your sword out.”

Jotaro raised his eyebrow. Were they saying what he thought they were saying?

Kakyoin gestured their hand towards Hol Horse.

Oh hell yes.

Jotaro had the sword halfway out of its sheath before it refused to budge another inch. What the fuck? The steel glinted in the light and with that Jotaro saw tendrils of red smoke that formed invisible chains around the handle of his sword and the edge of the sheath. As soon as he let go, the sword snapped back into place. Kakyoin looked just as confused, with their brows furrowed and their lips formed a pout.

Avdol’s voice came from behind Jotaro. “Perhaps there should be a less violent way to settle the conflict.

“Abdul?” Kakyoin leaned over so they could see Avdol. “I thought you were fucking Polnareff.”

Avdol and Jotaro’s eyes widened at that. Kakyoin quickly covered their mouth. Jotaro figured a while back that Kakyoin considered themselves proper and somewhat uppity, so this was a surprise. A pleasant one. He was learning a lot about Kakyoin lately.

“You’ll be glad to know that I was doing no such thing.” Avdol adjusted his tie in an attempt to hide his embarrassment.

“Where are they by the way? I want to tell them goodbye before calling it a night.” Kakyoin walked over so the three of them stood in a small triangle.

“We split up earlier so that we could find you. I’m just happy I did before someone was killed.”

“Joseph wouldn’t kill him.” Kakyoin brushed their bang back behind their ear.

“Yeah I would.”

“I would’ve made sure Joseph didn’t kill him.”

Avdol rolled his eyes. “Right. Let’s go find Polnareff, so that you both can be off.”

“Hey, you’re not just gonna leave before I get my dance are you?” Hol Horse sounded offended.

“Oh, that’s right.” Kakyoin snapped their fingers. Hiking up the skirt of their dress, they shuffled over to Hol Horse, kicked him in the crotch and shuffled back over to Jotaro’s side. “All right. Now let’s go.”

Jotaro flattened his lips and focused on walking. He couldn’t laugh. Even when he looked behind to watch Hol Horse curl up on the floor holding his privates. Don’t laugh. The man’s face was red and scrunched up. How could he not though? He coughed to hide a laugh that burst forth when he heard Hol Horse whimpering in the background.

Polnareff spotted them when they passed by the main stairway. For the second time that night, Polnareff made a beeline for Kakyoin with a determined look on their face. Jotaro watched Kakyoin brace themselves before being lifted into the air by their waist, spun in a circle, and set back onto their feet. Kakyoin was laughing, their cheeks pink with glee. Polnareff kissed their forehead and started speaking quickly in that language Jotaro couldn’t follow. Jotaro felt a twinge in his stomach. What was that? Polnareff finally took their eyes off of Kakyoin and spotted both Avdol and Jotaro and switched to English.

“I thought you’d left! You always want to do those mysterious exits when you’re here, it’s annoying.” Polnareff was trying to look angry, but the grin on their face ruined the effort.

Kakyoin was smiling just as hard. “You’re so dramatic. I do not do mysterious exits.”

“Yes you do. Even when you were no higher than my knee you always had your blanket around your shoulders like some cape, but it’s okay. You get your flair from me after all.”

“Makes sense. They did say you were their mom.” Jotaro dug his hands into his pockets and looked away.

Kakyoin hissed, “Joseph.”

Polnareff’s eyes got really wide and began to look wet. “Really?”

“That’s not. It’s! Listen, I just wanted to tell you goodbye before we head home for the night.” Kakyoin’s cheeks were now as red as their hair.

“What? So soon?”

“Yes, it’s late. People are starting to get intoxicated, and I’d rather not have Joseph deal with the mess that’ll turn into.”

“Je comprends, and here I was hoping we could’ve danced at least once tonight.”

“Polnareff don’t do this.” Kakyoin crossed their arms.

“What? I’m not doing anything. I just thought that maybe, before the night was over, I could have at least one dance with my beautiful, talented-.” Polnareff pressed their fist against their mouth and sniffled. “and wonderful child.”

Kakyoin looked like they didn’t want to fall for the act, but Polnareff was really hamming it up. They even put an arm over their eyes and let out a low whine.

“Okay! One dance. Then we really have to go.”

Polnareff moved their arm and with bright eyes nodded in agreement.

“Abdul, could you please stay with Joseph until I get back?”

Jotaro looked from Avdol back to Kakyoin. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

“I’ll be gone for 4, 5 minutes at the most, and after the previous incident I’d feel better if you were with someone who I can trust. The time will fly by, and then we’ll be leaving. All right?”

Jotaro gripped the handle of the sword tightly. “Fine. Just get it over with.”

Kakyoin gave him a soft smile before letting Polnareff lead them to the other side of the room where pairs of people were dancing slowly to the wafting music. Avdol better not try to talk to him. Jotaro’s had enough excitement for the night. The crowds were obnoxious, the food was mediocre, he didn’t touch the alcohol, but if he did he’d be on the floor like the poor sap he spotted crawling along one of the empty buffet tables. Polnareff was actually kind of nice. They reminded Jotaro of his mom with how loud and excited they were about little things. They even talked a lot. God, there was so much talking that had gone on tonight.

Jotaro was tired of listening to people. The house was always so quiet that he’d grown used to the silence. The music in this room was light and plucky, so it was more tolerable than the loud blaring music in the other room. How did the music not intermingle anyway? Was that also another form of magic? Jotaro glanced at Avdol from the corner of his eye. Avdol was…okay, he guessed. The man hadn’t said anything that pissed him off tonight.

He watched Polnareff twirl Kakyoin around the dancefloor. What was that twitching in his stomach? Indigestion? He hoped the food wasn’t bad. He glanced at Avdol again. Actually, now might be a good opportunity to ask him some questions. Middler apparently heard about his great great grandfather, maybe Avdol ran into one of his relatives while travelling. Who knew? As much as he didn’t want to talk to Avdol, he would take any information getting home over his discomfort this time.

“Abdul.”

“Hmm? Yes?”

Jotaro pointedly looked the other way. “Do you know anything about the Joestars?”

“Joestars? Oh yes! It’s funny actually that you came under the name Joseph. I believe I met a Joseph Joestar a couple years ago.”

“What. When, where?” Jotaro didn’t realize how close he was until Avdol put his hands up in surrender. Feeling his cheeks grow warm, he took a couple steps back. “Sor-…what can you tell me about them?”

“Well, they were travelling north from Tarnje. I’m not sure where they were travelling, but Joseph was very loud and happy, or I believe he was trying to be. His daughter was very reserved.”

“How was she? His daughter.” Jotaro felt something tighten in his chest. She was okay. She was alive. That shitty doctor actually did what he was going to say.

“She smiled, but there was something sad about it. She also didn’t speak very much unless she was spoken to directly. May I ask why you’re so curious about them?”

They were heading north from Tarnje. He needed to remember that so he could tell Kakyoin. “How far away from they from Tarnje when you met him?”

“They had just left, so I’d say only a few hours. You seem really intent about them.”

He needed to tell Kakyoin. Jotaro spotted them dancing with Polnareff at the very edge of the crowd. They made eye contact just as Jotaro took a step forward and fell through the floor. He didn’t think falling up was a real thing until his feet planted themselves onto soft carpet. He turned around just in time to see the circle reflection of Avdol vanish leaving only carpet behind.

“I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything Joseph.” Dio appeared from the shadows beside him.

Jotaro jumped back, tightening the grip on his sword handle. He tried pulling it out, but looked down to see the same chains from before still holding the weapon in its sheath. Fucking Avdol! He was trapped.

“Now now, you won’t be needing that. I just want to talk.” A hand emerged from the darkness and waved making the sword fly from Jotaro’s waist into one of the shadows of the room.

Trapped.

Jotaro felt like a rock was sitting in his stomach. He knew something like this would happen. He knew it. Why did he ever trust Kakyoin? Why did he trick himself into thinking he could rely on anyone? Swirling around the circle of light under his feet were wisps of black tendrils. He was going to be sick. Jotaro could feel his stomach rearing up and heard the bubbling under his own breathing.

Alone.

“So, Joseph, how exactly did you come to know Kakyoin? Someone as lovely as you shouldn’t be around toads such as them. They probably told you nothing about themselves. At least, that’s the only reason I could figure out as to why you’re in their company.” Dio’s face appeared along with the rest of him.

Jotaro took a step back, but gasped when a tendril swirled around his ankle and moved his foot forward again. With both hands, he clutched at the center of his chest trying to breathe. He couldn’t breathe. This couldn’t be real. This couldn’t be happening to him again.

In the dark.

“Maybe we could start with your real name, hmm?” Dio’s warm breath hit Jotaro’s ear.

Jotaro moved his hands to cover his ears and closed his eyes. This was dream. This was a nightmare. He couldn’t do this. He just couldn’t. He’s in bed, in his room, and Kakyoin is in the kitchen making that cream drink again, and he’d wake up in a cold sweat before going downstairs to help himself to a mug. He was going to open his eyes and see the ceiling of his bedroom. He was. He really was. Jotaro was going to open his eyes and wake up.

Powerless.

He opened his eyes to find Dio’s face less than a few inches from his.

“Don’t be afraid Joseph. Let’s be friends.” Dio smiled.

Jotaro slashed his hand forward as hard as he could. Someone screeched. He was dunked in a vat full of something that felt similar to water before he fell through the pool and slammed against marble tile. Pushing himself up from the ground, Jotaro froze at the sight of his hands. They were black with sharp nails, and his right hand was stained with blood. He puked. Sweat made his shirt and jacket stick to him. Jotaro’s arms shook, but he forced himself to sit up on his knees so that he wouldn’t fall into the pool of vomit.

Where was he?

He looked over to see the main staircase lit with fire and spreading to the banisters on the second floor. People were gathered against the wall in front of him looking terrified at him. No, not at him. They were still looking up. Jotaro turned around and saw a circle of wizards on the opposite side. A glowing white circle floated above them, but was cracking with green magic. Polnareff and Avdol were nowhere in sight.

What the hell happened?

Still shaking, Jotaro got onto his feet. A hand pushed out of the tight circle of wizards just as the white circle above them shattered. What the hell was that wrying sound? He looked to his left and saw Dio clutching his partially bloodied face.

Shit.

Shit shit shit.

He looked at his hands. They were still black, but the blood was gone. Did he absorb it? Maybe he could do something? Maybe he could do something. He focused on his hands. Nothing changed. Come on! Seriously! Dio started towards him.

Jotaro stepped back right into his vomit and cringed. Waves of black and gold smoke poured out of Dio’s body so much that every step he took put a small crater into the ground.

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

Ignoring the mess on the bottom of his shoes, he kept stepping back trying to focus on his hands. Trying to keep an eye on Dio before he got too close. Trying to figure out what to do.

Someone screamed, “GET OFF OF ME.”

Both Dio and Jotaro looked over to see the circle of wizards spread out. In the center, Kakyoin stood holding one of them over their head. Jotaro noticed that instead of the red he’d grown used to their hair was bright blue. Their dress now stopped at their knees and was singed along the edges. Jotaro made eye contact with Kakyoin whose eyes widened. Jotaro’s eyes went back to Dio who was focused on him again. Fuck! He was really close now.

A blur of black knocked Dio from where he stood causing him to slid against the floor and hit the wall. Jotaro saw Kakyoin’s hands were now empty. They vanished and reappeared next to him startling him.

“We should go.” Kakyoin held out their burned coat for him to grab. Which he did.

“KAKYOIN.” Dio had shoved the wizard off of him and was snarling at both of them.

Kakyoin’s eyes narrowed and a sly grin formed on their face. They mouthed several words with sparks flying off of their lips. The wall behind Dio disintegrated hiding him in a cloud of dust.

Jotaro was ready to vomit again when he felt thick tentacles cover his body and spin him around. They let go of him just a few feet from the grassy ground. Still gripping Kakyoin’s coat sleeve, he floated gently to the ground. Kakyoin’s hair was its normal red again. The house stood in front of them, the roof covered with the overlaying branches from other trees. The chirping of crickets, and the wind blowing the leaves were the only sounds Jotaro could hear now. Slowly, he let go of Kakyoin’s sleeve and tried and failed to collect his thoughts.

“Well, that went much better than last year.” Kakyoin folded their coat over their arm.

“I am never going anywhere with you again.”

“That’s fair.”

Chapter Text

Holly was humming and swinging her hips to the tune as she pressed her fist into a ball of dough on the counter. Jotaro watched her for a few moments from the entryway before stepping into the kitchen and clearing his throat. She turned her head so she could give him a smile before looking back at her progress. Covering his mouth with his hand, Jotaro yawned and scratched against the fabric on his chest. It was too early in the morning for anyone to be this cheerful.

“Good morning, Jojo. Did you sleep well?”

He grumbled and took the pitcher from the ice box then walked back to the small table in the kitchen. He had to move the few jars of jelly and seasoning to make room for the pitcher. Holly continued humming along as she slapped the dough against the wood.

Jotaro yawned again. God, why was he so tired? He sat in his seat which was starting to become too small for him and poured himself a glass of milk. “Why are you up so early?”

“Ooh Jojo, I was just so restless last night. Your grandpas and grandma are coming over today, and I remembered that we didn’t have any more bread left. Of course I had to make more. Papa Caesar gets so cranky with everyone when he doesn’t have his toast.” Holly finished kneading the dough and set it in the bowl, placing a damp towel over the rim.

“Oh yeah, they are coming today.”

“Mmhm!” Holly nodded and walked over to him to press a kiss against his temple.

He waved her off ,and she went back to the stove, humming that familiar tune. His mom always hummed it or sang a few words to it whenever he needed to get to sleep, but Jotaro never asked her where she heard it from. Now wouldn’t be a bad time to ask would it? It was still early, so he could blame any rudeness on exhaustion.

“That song you always hum.” Jotaro scratched behind his ear.

Holly stopped stirring and turned back to face him. “Hm?”

“What’s it from?”

“Well…” Holly’s cheeks turned pink and she got a dreamy look in her eyes. “That was the song your father sang to me when he first confessed, and he always sang it when we danced. It was so long ago, but then not that long ago.”

Jotaro rested his chin in his hand. Maybe if the bastard had given his mom the affection she deserved a few decades earlier, Jotaro might’ve remembered what his dad looked like.

“But that’s just how life goes. Not much time to dance now.” Holly winked at him and continued stirring.

“I’ll dance with you.” The words already flew out of his mouth before he could stop them.

Holly’s eyes lit up ,and she quickly set the bowl aside. “Let me wash my hands. Don’t want to get flour on you.”

Jotaro managed to chug down half of the glass of milk before Holly was tugging him out of his seat. They took the starting position, Jotaro holding her left hand, and her right hand on his shoulder while his opposite hand was on her waist. She hummed and he watched his feet so that he wouldn’t step on hers. After listening to certain notes repeat, Jotaro eventually got the tune down and hummed with her. His bare feet tapped against the cool tile at the same beat as her slippers. The smell of warm bread began to fill the air, and his mother’s laughter trickled over his ears.

 

Jotaro jerked awake when he heard a loud banging from downstairs. Reaching up to rub a hand over his face, he stopped midway and stared at his skin. He was hoping the change would’ve vanished over night, but this might be something permanent. From the tips of his fingers up to his elbows, and from his toes to his knees, his skin had turned black before fading into the regular brown that was the rest of his skin at his joints. The black skin was softer than the rest of him, all of the callouses he once had on the pads of his fingers were gone with the change.

The loud banging persisted knocking him from his train of thought. Kakyoin needed to hurry up and answer the door. Jotaro peeked his toes out from the blanket before folding them back under the warm fabric. What the hell? Why was the house so cold? Wrapping the blanket around himself, Jotaro got out of bed. The banging from downstairs didn’t stop when he left his room. He looked at Kakyoin’s door. Maybe he should see if they were all right. He still didn’t know what happened while he was trapped with Dio. The burning staircase, that ring of wizards, Polnareff and Avdol nowhere in sight, he had a million questions.

He got down to the bottom stair and looked at the door. The knocking stopped. Jotaro snorted and went to the kitchen to see everything still in place. No Kakyoin. His feet were freezing now as he stepped over the wood paneling to get to the ice box. He hoped there was some juice left. Jotaro got to watch Kakyoin make it the day before with cranberries and apples. It was really good surprisingly. The knocking returned twice as loud just as Jotaro reached down to grab the pitcher. Frustrated he slammed the lid to the ice box closed and stomped out of the kitchen. Fine. He’d answer the door.

When he entered the hallway, the knocking stopped again. Instead, the door knob slowly turned right and then slammed to the left. Whoever was on the other side of the door was now furiously jangling the door knob. Okay, this person didn’t seem impatient anymore. Now they just seemed like the violent type. Jotaro went back up the staircase, making his steps careful so as not to creak the floorboards. The rattling door knob stopped when he was a few steps from the top. His heart froze in his chest when he heard the creaking of the door opening. He bolted into the room of the first door he could get his hands on and closed the door gently to not give away his location.

The first thing Jotaro noticed about the room was how dark it was. The second thing he noticed was how warm it was. He could feel his eyes adjusting and saw the cases of books that lined the walls with dozens of plants and vines growing from pots and off of shelves. Trinkets of varying sizes hung from the ceiling and against the back wall of the room was a large round bed covered with heavy blankets and multiple pillows. The room was colored with dark greens, browns, and cream whites in its detail. This was not his bedroom. Jotaro pressed a hand against the wall looking for a switch of some kind. It was too dark.

“Where are the lights?” Jotaro huffed.

The room was illuminated and he had to shield his eyes for a moment. Holy hell, that did not help his night vision. A low moaning was heard from the bed making Jotaro crouch on the floor. Using the blanket, he bundled himself up and waited. The blankets on the bed moved and a hand waved in the air.

Kakyoin’s voice came from the mass of fabric. “Lights.”

The room was dark again.

Seriously? That’s all he had to do? “Lights.”

The room was just as bright again.

“Lights.” Kakyoin grumbled and a pillow fell off the bed. The blankets moved again before going still.

Jotaro stood from the floor. “Lights!”

The room was much brighter now. A blanket was thrown up and Kakyoin squinted at the culprit of their early rising from their bed. Jotaro’s eyes widened at the sight of them. Kakyoin quickly pulled the blanket up to cover themselves. Their hair faded from blue back to red and the long transparent wings on their back rolled up and out of Jotaro’s sight.

“Wh-what are you doing in here?”

A hundred questions rolled through Jotaro’s mind, but he stopped himself before asking any of them. Because Kakyoin genuinely looked scared, and he’d never seen them like that before.

“Someone broke into the house downstairs.” He adjusted the blanket around his shoulders.

Kakyoin went from looking scared to looking irritated and, in a flurry of blankets flying in the air, hopped out of bed fully dressed. Jotaro moved out of the way of the door and watched from the entryway as they went down the staircase. He couldn’t see the telltale bump of wings under Kakyoin’s shirt as they walked away. Jotaro leaned further out of the doorway and heard the mumblings of conversation.

“Jotaro, you can come downstairs. It’s safe.” Kakyoin’s voice came from the downstairs hallway.

He waited a beat and stepped out of the room, the door closing behind him. When he got halfway down the staircase, he saw Polnareff with their arms crossed over their chest glaring down at Kakyoin. Jotaro didn’t want to know.

“You shouldn’t go breaking into people’s houses. You scared Jotaro.”

Jotaro walked past Kakyoin going towards the kitchen. “I wasn’t scared.”

“I wasn’t breaking in. My key stopped working, so I jingled the lock a bit.” Polnareff blew a blade of hair out of their face.

“That’s exactly what breaking in is!”

Jotaro didn’t sign up for this. He just wanted a glass of juice. The tile floor was no longer cold, warming his bare feet, and he thanked the house for small mercies. Maybe Hierophant only worked when Kakyoin was awake? Who knew. The argument from the hallway followed Jotaro into the kitchen and maybe he should just go back to bed after finishing his glass. He sipped his drink and went to sit at the table, listening to the arguing start to intermingle with the sound of dishes and pans.

“Jotaro.”

He glanced over seeing Kakyoin with a spoon in their hand. “Hm?”

“What would you like for breakfast?”

“Is there any pudding sausage left?”

“Black pudding? Yes, there’s some left. I’ll cook it up for you.”

Polnareff shuddered. “Eugh! How can you eat that stuff? It’s blood in intestine skins left to ferment until you can cut it.”

“You broke into this house at who the fuck knows when in the morning, and now you’re shitting on what I want for breakfast?”

Kakyoin snorted. Polnareff’s cheeks turned pink and they scratched their jaw. Jotaro shook his head and yawned and took another sip of his juice. Serves them right.

“Oh by the way, Jotaro, will you keep your claws out regularly now or will you go back to hiding them? I don’t mind either way. I just want to know if it’s a personal space thing or not.”

“I haven’t been hiding them. This happened for the first time last night.”

Kakyoin dropped the knife they were holding onto the counter. “What?”

“You heard what I said.”

“Wait, wait, wait a minute. You’re telling me you didn’t get your claws until last night?” Polnareff put their hands on their hips, looking skeptical.

“I don’t know why you keep calling my hands that, but yes. The black skin is new.”

“Surely you’ve been hiding your wings then?” Kakyoin walked over to the table with steepled fingers.

Jotaro hesitated and shook his head. Wings? Since when was he supposed to have wings? His mom didn’t have wings. Actually, he couldn’t recall a single family member of his having wings or solid black hands.

Kakyoin looked worried now. “You already have your night vision, but what about your markings, y-your pheromone saliva, your retractable teeth? Do you have any of that?”

“I don’t know what two of those things are, but I can make my teeth look bigger. Figured it was just a cheap trick to scare off people.”

“No Jotaro, they aren’t changing sizes. You use the tips of your teeth for regular eating and you extend them for…tougher prey. Do you know anything about what happens when your horns grow in?”

Jotaro slammed his glass down startling them both. “Apparently not.”

“I don’t understand, whether or not your conditions your body should’ve still gone through these stages. Maybe it has something to do with your diet during the growing period, or maybe with all the? Oh, oh no. Hold on, hold on. Polnareff, please keep making breakfast. I need to go check something.” Kakyoin was out of the kitchen before Polnareff could protest.

Polnareff shook their head and went to the sink to wash their hands. Jotaro tapped his fingers against the table. There were a lot of things he didn’t know about himself, but it was his own fault. The blanket on his shoulders slipped down to his elbows. He closed his eyes. In his mind, the image of his mom smiling at him from the other side of the table appeared. He opened his eyes. The other seat opposite him was empty. Jotaro sighed. At least he knew she was okay. Wait a minute. Avdol told him where he saw them last. He still needed to tell Kakyoin.

Kakyoin came back into the room with a heavy book in their arms. The table shook when they set it down. “Okay so, I looked into it, and I think I figured out what’s going on with your body’s late blooming.”

“That was fast.” Jotaro look at the words on the book. There were some words he recognized, and he’d probably be able to read it if he wasn’t looking at it upside down.

“The simplest way I can describe this phenomenon is that your body is now relying on your energy to finish your transition to an adult.”

Polnareff pushed the blood sausage aside with a spoon. “All right, now go into more detail, because even I don’t understand that.”

“Jotaro, these past few years your body hasn’t been able to harness its own magic for things like your wings or body markings. Instead it’s been stagnating because you’ve been getting energy from…the acts that were put on you. Since you’re no longer doing those things, your body is reacting as such. The bad thing about it is, your horns are almost grown in so either the process is going to be rushed putting you in a lot of pain, or there will be somethings you just don’t develop.”

“So right now my body is deciding whether to put me through unimaginable pain or make me a freak among my own kind. Great.” Jotaro pulled the blanket back up to cover his shoulders. “Let’s not talk about this anymore. I need to tell you what Avdol told me.”

“Oh my god I forgot about Avdol. Polnareff, is he oka-.”

“No, no, no. Don’t change the subject.” Jotaro was hissing now. He knew it was immature, but he also knew once Kakyoin started talking they didn’t shut up. Polnareff had proven to be no better last night.

Kakyoin clasped their hands and pressed their lips together.

“Two years ago Avdol ran into my grandfather and my mother. They were heading north from Tarnje, and were only a few hours out.”

“Oh my goodness. That’s good. That’s great! Do you remember how long your family stayed in one place before you moved again?”

“About 4 years I think.”

“Okay. Okay. Great, no it’s wonderful! I have some maps of the continent. Hmm, I need to grab more to make sure they’re up to date. With some city names and descriptions, hmmm, migration patterns should remain consistent depending on how long they’ve been travelling, ah, oh, uhhhh, okay okay I have it. We can work with this. I’ll need your help, but by the end of the week we should have an idea of where they are.”

Jotaro let out a small breath he was holding. “Thank you.”

“Wha? For what? I haven’t done anything yet.”

Jotaro took a sip of his juice and ignored the statement. He wasn’t about to explain himself.

Polnareff’s voice came from behind him sounding panicked. “Hey, so uh, slight subject change. I think I may have burned the blood sausage.”

“Oh my god the pan IS ON FIRE.” Kakyoin dashed past Jotaro as the kitchen began to fill with smoke.

Jotaro got up from his seat with his juice and headed towards the sitting room. Those two were a mess.

Chapter Text

Rolls and rolls of maps laid over the combined tables and down a few chairs in the library. Kakyoin had a compass, some pencils, and their bang was pinned back away from their face. Jotaro stood a few feet away to make sure they didn’t bump into each other. On top of the maps were small blank pieces of paper over certain spots. Polnareff had taken refuge at the opposite side of the table waving a dark brown stick back and forth making the balls of light dance above their head. Why were they still here? Breakfast was over, and they knew Kakyoin was fine. Was there something he was missing?

“I know I said I’d get more maps tomorrow, but I figured we could glance at things today and update it if needed. Now Tarnje is right here.” Kakyoin flipped over one of the blank squares of paper to reveal a myriad of scenery in the picture. “This is what it looks like. Familiar?”

Jotaro leaned closer. The picture morphed from a sea of trees to a town full of people talking and interacting. Small, round roofed shops lined the streets with circle windows and thin narrow doors on their walls. It was nice, but it wasn’t familiar at all. “No. I don’t remember this place.”

“Did your family stay in the towns, or did they make their own places in the forest?” Kakyoin turned the paper back over and moved it to a different dot.

“I-I think we made places in the forest.”

“I was afraid of that. This’ll make things a little more difficult. Are there any types of trees you remember specifically from when you moved around?”

Jotaro narrowed his eyes and bit the inside of his cheek. All of the trees he remembered usually looked the same. The animals were different though. Maybe that would help? “The only different place I remember about trees is there was this one place, every spring all the trees would have nothing but pink flower petals.”

“Oh!” Kakyoin flailed for a moment before flipping over a paper down one of the far corners of the map. A picture of bright pink trees with petals swirling on the ground appeared on the square.

“Yeah, those. Those were the ones.”

“This is good. This is very good. Any specifics will help.”

“I don’t really know much more about trees. I know one place had a field of sunflowers.”

Polnareff chimed in. “Just about every wizard has one of those. Not me though. Allergies.”

Kakyoin waved their hand over the map and all the balls of light around them shrunk and flew to different dots on different trails.

Jotaro tilted his head. What did that do?

“That’s all the sunflower fields between Tarnje and Kilurun. Kilurun is the place with all the sakura trees. This will help us narrow a path. Anything else?”

“Hm.” Jotaro touched the edge of the table. “I remember a lot of the animals I saw.”

“What did they look like and when did you see them? Migration patterns will help a lot.”

“I remember seeing white horned rabbits when it was snowing out.”

The lights above the map rearranged themselves, their area becoming less spread out.

“Wolves too, but only when it was raining.”

Kakyoin moved the compass over the map, the river paths shifting with the motion.

“And there was this weird thing I always saw no matter where we went.”

“Weird thing?” Polnareff’s hands which were poised above the map dropped to their sides. “What did it look like?”

“I can’t really explain it.”

“Could you draw it?” Kakyoin held out a pencil and one of the small squares of paper.

“I can try.” Jotaro took the pencil and placed the paper on the desk. He wasn’t ever very good at drawing, and the result turned out to be some malformed snake thing with stubby legs, whiskers, and misshapen triangles sticking out of its back.

Polnareff gasped, and Kakyoin covered their mouth when he showed them. Okay, his drawing was bad but it wasn’t that bad.

“Jotaro.”

“What?”

“Jotaro, that’s-. Okay, did it look like this?” The pages all flew off the map floating in the air forming a three block train. The image of the creature Jotaro was thinking of appeared with its ever changing scale colors and white feathered fur flowing over its back. The mouth was snapped shut, but large teeth peeked from its thin dried lips. It’s large yellow eyes flashed at him.

“Yeah, that’s the thing.”

“Holy shit, you saw a celestial dragon!” Polnareff had the biggest grin on their face and their hands were shaking from what he assumed to be excitement.

The papers all fell back to the map and the lights arranged themselves into a single path.

“I saw a what?”

“A celestial dragon. You saw one on a regular basis. They’re easy to track, but nearly impossible to see and absolutely impossible to capture. Which means.” Kakyoin gestured to the single lit path on the map. “Finding your family is going to be much much easier than I thought.”

The squares arranged themselves to land by certain cities and pictures appeared on them showing what they looked like.

“Can you… can you show me my family with these?” Jotaro touched one of the sheets.

“I’m sorry, I can’t. These can only show me the town center and a little of the forest before the entrance.”

“Oh.”

“But I’ll leave them up here like this. Maybe you can catch someone in a market square?” Kakyoin clasped their hands together and gave him a soft smile.

Jotaro hm’ed in response. This was still a better turnout than what he expected even if he was disappointed. He looked at the star on the map showing where they were in Hadao. Following the trail with his eyes he saw they weren’t too far from Tarnje. At least he thought they weren’t. He was never very good at reading maps. That could’ve been a five-month journey for all he knew. It also still wasn't a solid fact of his family being there or having migrated from there when they ran into Avdol. Maybe home wasn’t as close as he thought it would be.

Even after his horns grew in, what was he supposed to do? Kakyoin said they’d let him leave, but he had no idea how to travel by himself. He could barely cook, and he didn’t have any money. Would Kakyoin make him leave at the end of the month?

Kakyoin took a step towards him. “Jotaro?”

“I’m fine.”

“I know. I just want to let you know that you’re stuck with me until we find your family, so you may be sticking around longer than a month, if that’s all right?”

“Will I be able to leave whenever after my horns grow in?”

“If you want to, I won’t stop you.”

Although he was happy for the reassurance, Jotaro wanted to know how they knew what he was thinking. What if he wasn’t being as discreet with his emotions as he thought he was? Nah, that couldn’t be it.

“By the way Polnareff, I’m not trying to rush you out or anything, but you usually don’t stick around for this long when I have a house guest. What’s going on?” Kakyoin turned to Polnareff.

“I’m here for damage control.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

Polnareff sighed and scratched their widow’s peak. “I know by all means you had the legal rights to react like you did, but you caused a lot of damage last night, Nori. Scared a lot of people. I’m about eighty percent sure they’re going to send a representative of the council here today.”

“So you’re telling me you’re here to babysit me because you don’t think I can handle it?”

Jotaro felt something shift in the room and the little balls of light began flying off to hide.

“Oh no, I know you can handle it. I just don’t trust them being professional about it. I’d rather be here to prevent anyone from getting killed.”

“You think I would kill someone?” Kakyoin walked over to the other side of the table until they stood a foot away from Polnareff. “Is that really what you think of me?”

“I don’t think you’d do it on purpose.”

“Jean. Do you really think I’d kill someone?”

Polnareff looked like they were struggling with something and shoved the stick into their pocket. “Right now, Avdol is very hurt. I’m even monitoring him from here to make sure everything’s stable. Sure he’ll be fine by later this afternoon, but last night was too much.”

“That was-.”

“An accident! I know, Noriaki. It’s always an accident.” Polnareff placed their hands on Kakyoin’s shoulders who shrunk somewhat from the action. “I want you to come back home. I need to teach you so much more, but I can’t force you to do anything. You have so much magic in you, but your discipline…” Polnareff sighed again.

“Je suis désolé.” Kakyoin’s eyes were downcast.

Polnareff placed a hand on Kakyoin’s cheek. “Oh Nori, this is nothing to apologize for.”

Jotaro had never felt more out of place since he got there. They started speaking in that language he couldn’t follow and the indigestion in his stomach came back. Wait, hold on, he needed to stop getting that confused with jealously. The lights from earlier slowly came back from under the table relighting the path again. Were those things alive?

Banging on the front door loud enough to fall throughout the house cut the conversation short. Kakyoin took a breath, squared their shoulders, and pulled away from Polnareff. Jotaro looked away when he made eye contact with them. He was still curious about what happened last night, but now wouldn’t be the right time to ask. It would, however, be the right time to snoop. Polnareff followed behind Kakyoin as they left the library. Jotaro waited a beat to do the same. A tendril hooked around his wrist before he got out the door. He froze and the invisible appendage loosened itself for him to slip his hand free before propping itself onto his shoulder.

“Hierophant?”

The tendril tapped his shoulder again in affirmation. It then wrapped around his wrist tugging him to a small square door that wasn’t there earlier. What now? Jotaro squatted to the floor and looked at the framed wood with its thin curved handle. It was too small for him to fit through. What did hierophant expect him to do with this? Opening the door, he sucked in his lips at what he saw. Kakyoin was outside and the top of Polnareff’s tall hair peaked out of the tall door frame. Several people stood outside, the one in front wearing less than the rest. Their long, purple hair hung loose around their giant shoulders, and Jotaro didn’t like how they were standing in front of Kakyoin.

The problem was he couldn’t hear anything they were saying.

“Hierophant, why can’t I hear anything?”

Two tendrils tapped his shoulders. Okay. That didn’t answer his question.

Jotaro saw that they were talking. Actually, he assumed they were talking. He couldn’t see much; it was really like he was looking through a window from the second floor down at them. The purple haired man suddenly raised his arm in the air and a crater exploded in the ground beside Kakyoin. Kakyoin did something with their hand as they spoke continuing to stand there unfazed. Damn it this was really inconvenient. He should’ve just hid in the hallway and listened. Now he’d never understand what’s going on.

“Hierophant this is really useless.”

He must’ve pissed it off because a large tendril gripped his shoulder and shoved him down so his head went through the opening.

“You can’t keep playing the legal system because of your lineage.” The purple haired man spoke.

Oh. This was much better.

“I’m not playing any legal systems. You’re the ones who don’t want my name on your roster. I’m not paying a single cent.” Kakyoin’s voice was clear as they spoke.

“It is just like your kind to cause problems and ignore the repercussions.” He sniffed.

“Well, it’s just like your kind to send their fuckbuddies to handle their problems for them.”

Polnareff started laughing from the doorway.

The larger man stood close enough to Kakyoin that he was towering over them. “You will pay the reparations.”

“The only condition in which I would give Dio a single glimpse of my money is if he came here himself, and begged my house guest for their forgiveness for re-inducing trauma by trapping him. And even then, it would only be a fraction of the price if my house guest gave his forgiveness. So.”

A ray of magic burst from Kakyoin’s feet causing the other wizards except for the purple haired one to stumble backwards.

“Perhaps you should consider removing yourselves from my property.”

Another ray of magic made them to fall on their asses.

“And perhaps Dio should start learning how to plead before sending his lackeys to do his dirty work again.”

The purple haired man remained standing looking down on Kakyoin. Jotaro could cut the tension in the air with the back of a spoon it was so thick.

“You believe throwing your magic around will make people bend to your whims. Yet you fail to understand that just because you have a lot of it doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Keep thinking like you are now and you’ll kill someone without even meaning to.” His tone was smug even though his face was a blank slate.

“I already have two people on that list, and I won’t be making it any longer. However, I can make a purposefully murdered one right now. There’s even enough of you to make it my lucky number. Four.” Sparks flew over their shoulders as they titled their head.

The purple haired man opened his mouth to retort until one of the wizards stood from the ground and spoke his name. “Vanilla. There’s nothing we can do. We’ll simply have to bring this back to the council.”

“You’re wrong. There is something I can do, and this child needs to be put in their place.”

Polnareff walked over. “Too bad you’re not going to do that. You’re going to do exactly what she said and take this back to the council.”

“Polnareff.” Vanilla said their name like it was something vile.

“Vanilla. We’re leaving.” The wizards voice was more firm this time when she spoke.

Vanilla turned on his heel nearly hitting Kakyoin in the face with his hair and all four wizards left in a swirl of mist.

Now he was really wondering what happened last night.

“And this is why I stayed. Were you trying to pick a fight with him?” Polnareff sounded frantic.

“He put a crater in my lawn.”

“You did call him a heheheh a hahahaha I can’t- I can’t even say it oh my god.”

Kakyoin was giggling too, and they put a hand over their mouth to hide their smile.

“Non, non non heheh no no hold on. Hold on, let’s be serious. Noriaki you really need to not hahahaha do that again. Please.” Polnareff was holding their chest in an attempt to keep their laughter at bay.

“Only if he doesn’t start it.” Kakyoin looked up at the house and paused. “Jotaro? How are you doing that!”

Shit.

Jotaro pulled his head out of the doorway and quickly shut the small square door. “Hierophant this would be a nice time to make another door to my room.”

There was no tapping of tendrils on his shoulders or even one wrapping around his hand.

“Hierophant?”

No response.

Jotaro took a mental note to not rely on hierophant for anything but keeping the house warm because apparently they were secretly an asshole.

Chapter Text

Jotaro carried a bag of sparkling round pebbles into the backyard. Could it even be called a backyard? It wasn’t actually outside; it was more of a green house. A backyard is what Kakyoin insisted on calling it when he sent Jotaro down the hallway with the bag of food. He didn’t expect a door carved with vines would lead to an actual open roofed area in the house. The room was full of life. Flower bushes of various colors dotted the ground with bees the size of apples going from bulb to bulb. One giant tree sat in the middle of the area providing shade to all the wildlife under it. Surrounding the edge of its trunk was a circular creek that branched off in thin veins along the ground. Vines protruding from its roots lead to smaller trees only a foot or so taller than Jotaro himself.

A black beetle the size of his dinner plate scurried around his feet rolling a ball of dirt that only grew as they progressed. Jotaro hoped that was dirt. He looked around trying to spot a blot of blue that wasn’t flowers to no avail. A bee landed on his shoulder and he froze for a moment. Was it going to sting him? The bee flopped onto his shoulder and didn’t move. Was it dead? He stood there unsure of what to do. If he nudged it off the bee may sting him, but he also couldn’t stand there until it decided what it wanted to do. Luckily he didn’t have to decide because Nonon’s black beak appeared next to him and swallowed the bee in one bite.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to be eating those.”

Nonon chirped at him and bent her neck down trying to nose into the bag.

“These are for you so…here. I guess.” Jotaro held the bag open.

Nonon blinked and tilted her head back and forth before straightening her neck and staring at him. What the hell? Kakyoin said she would know what to do with them. Nonon bounced from foot to foot. What was he supposed to do? He showed her what was inside the bag. Wasn’t this her food? He sighed tying the bag closed again. Nonon walked forward a few steps and looked back at Jotaro. He took a few steps until he was next to her. She did the same thing, and Jotaro got the hint walking with her where ever they were going.

“So you know what I have to do with these?”

Nonon trilled and fluffed up her feathers.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

The dirt under Jotaro’s bare feet was smooth and cool except for the spots where the sun hit the ground directly. Those spots were warm. They walked into the thick of a range of white flower bushes. The flower buds hung low with their petals curved inward. Nonon stopped at one of the veins of the creek and looked at Jotaro.

“What?”

She bent down and nudged the bag with her beak then straightened up.

“Oh.”

He untied the bag and dropped one of the small pebbles in. The water shimmered and a soft glow covered the flowers before vanishing. He was about to start walking again when Nonon squawked at him. She stomped her foot at the creek and snapped her beak. What the hell? She pointed at the creek vein with her beak and stomped her foot a few more times. Taking a guess, Jotaro took a small handful out of the bag and tossed them into the water. The same shimmering happened, but this time the flowers all around him came into full bloom. Their white petals curved out and the buds stretched towards the sunlight. The green leaves were brighter and looked translucent with water. Did Kakyoin really send him out here to feed the wildlife? Nonon nuzzled her cheek against his cheek before pulling away. He walked beside her again, the flowers around him, some pink, or green or red in hue blooming as he walked by them.

“Does Kakyoin always do this with you?”

Nonon kept her walk steady but turned her head to stare at him.

“I guess so. I don’t know why they’d ask me to do it though.”

He also didn’t know why he decided to start talking to a bird who couldn’t respond to him, but it was better than nothing. Nonon seemed to understand what he was saying. Actually the fact that anything he said here would be unable to be repeated comforted him. Besides, it wasn’t like he had anything else to do while they walked.

“I don’t understand them. Kakyoin, I mean. They’re nice and then they’re annoying, but they’re also patient with me? I don’t want to admit they were right about themselves being complex, but I don’t know. I don’t know.”

A lady bug roughly the size of his fist flew by his face which Nonon ate in a flash.

“I used to be able to trust people. To just take them by their word, but… The more I learn about them the less I know. Yesterday, I caught them with wings on their back, but they keep walking around like they’re a regular human wizard. What is that? An identity crisis? Why won’t they tell me?”

Nonon stopped at another vein of the creek that flowed into a small circular pond. Lily pads floated on the top, and on one of the lilypads sat a frog with a dozen or so boils on its back. In those boils were small round bulbs each with a tail swimming in the fluid. A few dragonflies hovered back and forth from the reeds surrounding the edge of the pond. He dropped a handful of the pebbles into the pond making the water shimmer. All the boils from the frog’s back rolled off into the water and the black bulbs opened their eyes before dispersing in the pond. They swam deep enough where Jotaro couldn’t see them anymore.

Nonon nuzzled his cheek again as if it were a reward for doing a good job.

“Are you going to do that every time?”

She trilled.

Jotaro sighed, and they started walking further north. The shade from the tree was heavier here. His toes were getting cold.

“I think.” Jotaro bit the inside of his cheek. “I feel like I’m not asking enough questions, but then I feel like I’m asking too many. Kakyoin never asks anything about me. Are they waiting for me to start talking about myself before they tell me anything? If that’s the case, then it doesn’t put me on a fair playing field. I have every right to be-. I’ve gone into too many situations not knowing what I was dealing with. I shouldn’t have to put myself on the table to get answers.”

They stopped at the entrance of a cave. In front of the cave was a field of clovers and some small yellow flowers. On the ground disrupting the clovers were a straight line of mole holes, and the creek vein weaved between them like a braid. Jotaro bent down sprinkling the pebbles through the water until his hand was empty. A pair of yellow eyes blinked at him from one of the holes. A black nose peaked out of the hole first, and then a brown muzzle. Soon it’s whole head popped out. It was a weasel. Jotaro watched it scuttle out of the whole. Its body was longer than his arm. Nonon didn’t eat it. Instead they both watched it go into the cave. Standing back up, he looked at Nonon and let her nuzzle his cheek. Their trek continued out of the field of clovers into territory with grass that stopped at his knees.

“Sometimes I think they care about me, and I don’t know how to feel about it. Polnareff told me what happened after Dio snatched me. Kakyoin freaked out. Avdol tried to calm things down first and that didn’t turn out well. He’s fine now. He’s kind of okay for not holding a grudge.”

Jotaro moved a low hanging branch out of the way.

“Kakyoin destroyed half a building when they thought I was in trouble. They already make sure I eat, and try to keep me comfortable, but that’s a lot to do for someone you’re only taking care of for a short period of time. I’m skeptical about it, about them.”

Jotaro turned to not see Nonon at his side. Looking back, he saw her standing ten feet away snapping her beak. He jogged back over to her and looked at the stream that parted one side of the grass field from the other. He tossed another handful of pebbles into the creek. A gust of air swirled around them sending hundreds of black and brown butterflies from the grass into the tree tops. He checked his feet to make sure he hadn’t stepped on any by accident. Nope. They were just covered with a light dusting of dirt. Nonon used her beak to push some of his hair into some kind of way and started trotting to their next stop. Jotaro walked beside her.

“I can barely look at myself in the mirror, and I just found out I might not even get all the things an incubus has when they’re an adult. When I go home, I’ll be somewhere familiar, where the care I get is familiar, but I’m not home right now. I haven’t been home for a long time. Now I’ve got all this space to breathe, and I think I’m going to suffocate. Doesn’t make any sense.”

The sun blared down on them as the grass leveled out to small shrubs on thinned out on the ground. Nonon crouched on the ground and jerked her head back and forth. Jotaro watched her as she scurried low to the ground trying to find something. She seemed to have spotted it because she dashed over to the object and snatched it up with her beak. The end of a snake stuck out from her mouth, and she knocked her head back so she could swallow it all.

“Did I catch you during lunch time?”

Nonon circled Jotaro once and headed towards the base of the giant tree. Jotaro followed her. The roots of the tree dipped and curved making makeshift seats. Nonon sat in one of the crooks and Jotaro sat next to her. She nudged the bag on his lap. Oh yeah. He dropped a handful of pebbles into the creek. Nothing really happened that time.

“What’s worse about getting out is that I don’t know what to do with myself. I have an idea, but what am I going to do when I get home? What happens after that? Everything I’ve dealt with isn’t going to go away. I won’t stop thinking about-.” Jotaro took a shaky breath.

Nonon nudged the bag again prompting him to dump the rest of its contents into the creek. Gold bands of light flowed from the water into the roots of the tree, going into the trunk and the leaves and ebbing out through the rest of the backyard.

“I am happy. In the sense that what I did did help my mother. She’s alive. I’ll get to see her again soon. Sooner than I thought I would. For a long time, I thought I’d die there. I accepted that one of them would kill me for fighting back. I think that’s why I was fighting more and more.” He pulled his knees up to his chest.

Nonon rested her head on top of his.

“They said something to me today, and I’ve had this weird feeling in my chest since then. The only reason I agreed to do this was because I thought being outside might help, but it’s still there. It’s not empty, but it’s not that weird thing that happens with my stomach.”

 

Kakyoin let Jotaro into their lab. He partially wished that they didn’t because if something wasn’t spouting off smoke it was bubbling into a tube or shaking violently on a table. Blue balls of light similar to the ones in the library flew around the ceiling carrying beakers and small objects to place and pour into other reactions. Those things must be alive. There was no other explanation for it. Kakyoin was talking about something. Jotaro wasn’t really paying attention. Passing by tables and counters full of dangerous reactions kept his attention in one spot.

One of the glass boxes on the counter next to him filled with smoke and made a crackling noise. It popped making him jump and walk a little faster to catch up with Kakyoin. He felt something wet splatter onto his head and froze. What the fuck. All at once everything got bigger including his clothes.

“Kakyoin!”

Kakyoin turned around and gasped. “Oh wow. You’re adorable.”

Jotaro glared at them.

“Sorry, sorry. One second.” Kakyoin took a brush from the table and use it to wipe some of the goop from his cheek. Kakyoin then tasted it and shrunk.

They looked nine. Wait a minute. Was he nine again? Jotaro better not be fucking nine years old.

“Okay. I know what to do.” A step stool appeared and Kakyoin used to get back to the counter. Taking two flasks, they poured the liquids back and forth from one to the other. They then took a round bottomed flask filled with smoke and put a few drops of the mix into it. Putting a flat piece of paper over the top of the beaker, Kakyoin started shaking it as hard as they could. “This will explode when I throw it on the ground.”

“WHAT.”

Kakyoin flung it onto the floor blinding him with a burst of sugary scented smoke. Jotaro lowered his arms from his face to find everything was the right size again.

“See? Fixed. I’ll try to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Now where was I? Oh yes, you see people honestly think it’s impossible but…”

There they were going off on another tangent. He should probably be listening. Probably being the key word there. He’d been listening to people talk nonstop these past few days, and he was tired. He was tired of interacting with people. He was tired of other people’s emotions in his face. He was tired of talking, and being talked to and being talked at. He was really tired. Rubbing a hand over his face, Jotaro almost bumped into Kakyoin’s back when they stopped in front of a boiler.

“So does that make sense?” Kakyoin clasped their hands together and smiled at him.

“No.”

Their face fell, but they quickly recovered. “Sorry, it was complicated. Let me simplify it. Hierophant likes you, and he hasn’t interacted with any of my house guests like he has with you. So I’d like to do an experiment to make our travelling easier. It’s a method where I’ll no longer have to shrink every single room in this house to move. Would you be interested in helping me with it?”

“What would I have to do?”

“I just need something of yours to put into the boiler. That’s all.”

“That would work if I was actually a house guest and not someone you bought recently.” Jotaro shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Okay. I’ll admit I deserved that.”

He grunted.

“Maybe some hair then? I’m not sure how long you keep it.”

His hair was getting pretty long. Jotaro had been having to push it out of his face more and more since he got there, but did he really want to trust someone cutting his hair with a sharp object? Not for a while. He could try cutting it himself, but that sounded like it’d be a bigger hassle if things came out uneven.

“Give me a few days to think about it.”

“Thank you.”

“Why are you thanking me? I didn’t say I’d do it.”

Kakyoin smiled. “I know, but you’re taking time and energy to think about it. So, thank you,”

Something pressed against Jotaro’s chest, but he wasn’t sure what it was. Looking down, he only saw his plain black shirt and no indentation of tendrils, so it couldn’t have been Hierophant. What was wrong with him? He balled his fists inside his pockets and shrugged.

 

Nonon had rearranged herself so many times that Jotaro settled for resting his side against hers. She was warm, and the methodical way she preened his hair was making him drowsy. He yawned. He had no idea what Kakyoin meant by what they said. Why did they bother thanking him for something he might not do? Why did Kakyoin bother at all? They tried so hard to care about Jotaro it was irritating. No. Irritating wasn’t the word. More like frustrating. Kakyoin themselves wasn’t frustrating. Well, they were, but not in the kind of way that made Jotaro want to hurt them. Kakyoin was frustrating in a different way. A way that Jotaro couldn’t figure out.

“I’m scared but I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I just have all these alarms in my head yelling at me to run or panic when there’s nothing to run from, and nothing to panic about. Some part of me is telling me I’m safe, but everything else is so loud.”

Nonon chirped softly.

He was really hoping this stupid errand would clear his head, but now it’s worse than before. Nonon unfolded her wing so she could drape it over him like a blanket. He focused on the sound of water flowing and the leaves rustling in the air. Maybe he should just sleep on it for a while.

Chapter Text

Kakyoin had given him several books about incubi and their biology so that he could learn more about himself. Jotaro appreciated it more than he let them know. Reading was a preferred method than receiving some big “talk” that would make him want to cover his ears at the more embarrassing parts. A tray of sandwiches with a pitcher of water sat on a table beside him in the small corner of the library. His legs were pulled up onto the brown circle couch, and a thin blanket laid over his legs from the knee down to keep his feet from growing cold. Jotaro grabbed a sandwich from the tray and bit into it. Hopefully, all the books said the same thing so he could skim through the other two.

“Welcome to the wonderful world of Incubi. The content in this book has been provided by magical creatures who have encountered-..“

Boring.

He flipped about ten or so pages past the introduction.

“Incubi may seem like solitary creatures, but the reality is very different. Although their offspring is impossible to spot, it’s been proven that incubi travel in large groups for their children’s safety and proper development-.”

He knew this already. Jotaro finished the rest of his sandwich and flipped some more pages. This book needed to get to the point.

“An incubus is born with very small horns that look more like nubs. These nubs are hollow and grow into their own unique curvatures and sizes depending on the incubi’s personal magical signature. This growth causes the young incubus no pain, and often is used by elders to determine the best care that is to be given to the child. The last few generations of parents no longer follow those limited binaries when it comes to raising their children, but some of the older incubi still find such methods useful.”

That did explain why great granma Lisa was how she was. Didn’t explain grandpa Joseph though. He skimmed down a few paragraphs.

“Starting around their late fifties, young incubi experience what many adult incubi call the official horn growing. Before this point, although their horns are nearly complete on the outside, the inside is still hollow and requires a filament baring the properties of cartilage and bone to keep them from being broken during rough interaction. This filament, which we will call dormstrum, acts as both a release and a sealant for the incubi’s magical power.”

A release and a sealant? That’s not. That didn’t make any sense. There was a footnote to the side of the paragraph.

“The release of the dormstrum is the incubi’s full magical energy becoming accessible, while the sealant is of the dormstrum binding with the horn itself.”

Oh. Okay, that made more sense.

“As the dormstrum builds internally, other features common to incubi but differing in appearance including body markings, wings, and body growths that we cover separately in the next three chapters…”

No. No he couldn’t do this anymore.

Jotaro tossed the book aside and grabbed one of the other two. The cover was blue and had nothing written on the outside binding. Opening it up, all that was inside was illustrations with unreadable footnotes at the bottom of each one. He closed it again when the pictures began to get more intimate with details. He guessed he was supposed to go through the first two at the same time, since it would make sense, but the writer of the first one made him feel like he was getting talked at. The last book found a way into his hands, and the worn leather covering made him realize it was a journal.

Pulling the blanket up to his waist, Jotaro figured he’d try and settle for whatever this book told him.

“If you’re reading this book, I’m either dead or you stole it from me. If it’s the latter, then, well, you’ll be missing a lot of information because it’s probably not finished.”

Good start.

“My subjects for this journal are a group of incubi. Their clan name will remain confidential, and all names have been changed because I truly care for them and their well-being. It’s better if I were to just stick to the facts, and all the things I’ve learned while being here, but I’m sorry in advance if I ramble.

Firstly, my friend Jacob, who I met through a bizarre set of circumstances decided to introduce me to his family. I had no idea the insignificant things I did for him would bring me into the comforting and growing den of incubi, but that’s where I am tonight. Young incubi are both very small, and very big. The aging process here is significantly different. Especially after meeting Gregory, who’s a decade older than me, but who’s head only comes up to my hip. Of course, some grow faster than others, but that can be said about anyone’s children really. Jacob knows I enjoy researching different types of magical beings. I assume that’s why he allowed me here. It’s a very thoughtful present to give a young wizard.”

Jotaro leaned back further into the cushions of the couch. He didn’t think everything he needed to know could be contained in one journal, but this person seemed to do their best. He continued reading, his breath catching at some sections. Some of it seemed to revolve around the wizard’s intricate relationship between Jacob and his spouse Erica, while other parts focused on Gregory and his development.

“I asked Jacob if it was normal for a young incubus to get their markings after someone shows interest in them during this transition, and Jacob politely corrected me on the topic. The markings appear only when an incubus feels themselves ready for them, he says. Of course, it has to happen before their horns grow in whether or not the individual feels worthy of them, but the shape and detail of them show that as well. Some incubi only have markings on their chest and back, while others carry it on their arms or legs. Jacob told me he’s seen many incubi who only have them on their neck and shoulders, and others who are covered in them from their shoulders to the tips of the fingers and toes. This of course, has no relation to an incubi’s claw markings. The darkening of the skin around there can stop from the tips of the fingers and even go all the way up to their shoulders. The markings incubi gain work around the claw markings.”

Jotaro looked down at his arms seeing where the black skin ended at his elbows, and then thought about the one’s on his legs. Were the ones on his legs also his claws or were those his markings? He grabbed a sandwich from the tray, ignoring how the bread was a little crunchy, and shoved it into his mouth. As he read on, he noticed the wizard slip out of a professional tone into a more relaxed tone the deeper their relationship became with Jacob and Erica. He was basically a third parent to Gregory. A panicked, worried, dotting, third parent.

“Gregory grew his wings in last night, and Erica tried assuring me that he was fine. However, I found myself restless during the whole shift. He looked like he was in pain during those few hours, although he continued to say the pain was moderate. He even tried telling me he’d felt worse after sparring with Esther, and that the bones and feathers pulling out of his back was nothing in comparison. There wasn’t any blood, but rather this greenish substance that came from his back instead where they’d sprout. Erica told me that’s a sign of what color their wings would be, and the feathers of Gregory’s were a dark green with yellow highlights. A small homage to his mother’s wings which were just as gold as her hair.

Esther was surprised to see him the next day, and played it off like she wasn’t impressed. I’d think Gregory’s obliviousness was comical, if his father didn’t carry the same trait. Instead, I could only understand Esther’s irritation with him sometimes, as I always try to give them space when she visits.”

Jotaro looked over just in time to see the pitcher refill itself with water. Was that Hierophant or Kakyoin doing that? He shrugged and adjusted his sitting position only for his bladder to protest with the movement. He sighed. Time for a bathroom break. Marking his spot in the journal with tassel in the binding, he got up to go do just that.

When he returned, next to the plate of sandwiches was a smaller plate with two dark brown blocks of bread next to a glass of milk. What was that? Some new cake Kakyoin made? Jotaro took a bite of one and was overwhelmed by the sweet taste of chocolate. It was even better because the dessert was warm and soft. What was this stuff? It was amazing, kind of like fudge but more like cake. He finished the chocolate dessert and arranged himself into a new sitting position. He then downed half the glass of milk before opening the journal where he left off.

The wizard talked about how eventually Gregory either figured out Esther’s feelings or developed feelings for her himself, but he started courting her. It was very old fashioned, so Jotaro could tell this all happened a long time ago because incubi didn’t do that anymore. When he flipped the page, Jotaro noticed that a bunch of pages had been torn out. He rubbed a finger over the worn bits of paper that were left in the binding from the torn out pages. How many were missing? 5? 8? He couldn’t tell. The next page started with several lines scribbled over that Jotaro barely managed to make out.

I’m sorry to say

To my deepest apologies

Somethings have occurred that prevent me from

As you can probably see, I’ve torn several pages out of this journal due to certain events. I am unable to say what those events were that transpired, because I feel as though my documentation of them would be insensitive and inappropriate. Recently, a man who has grown very close to me this past century got hurt severely. Jacob is”

It looked like small drops of water smudged the ink of the next few sentences.

“Jacob is healing, and he says there’s nothing I can do to fix it. That they’d grow back eventually, but I feel as though I should’ve fought harder against our enemy. Never have I felt so useless to the people that to my family. Both Erica and Gregory have spoken to me, worried about me. I suppose I haven’t been feigning positivity as well I thought I’ve been, especially if Esther has even pulled me aside to reassure me. I know I’m the cause of this happening. The wizard community, no, humans in general are too invasive for me to continue this lifestyle without the ones I love getting hurt. Tomorrow, I’ll tell them of my decision. I hope that they don’t convince me to stay, since I know my presence will only bring more grief onto this household.

As such, this will be my last entry into this journal. I hope my experiences with incubi have not only enlightened you to how they are as magical beings, but to who they are as people as well. To any human reading this, magical or otherwise, I must implore you to understand that you can enter a space only when you are welcomed into it, and that you can enter that space without destroying it or claiming it for yourselves. Listen to your hosts, learn from them, leave as better people. Us prying into their lives will only make them more reclusive, more secretive, until we make it impossible for ourselves and the generations ahead of us to even know they exist.

I doubt that I’ll be able to produce copies of this journal in its entirety without an event being remembered incorrectly, or editing being done to the knowledge I’ve presented, so I’ll pass this journal along to a friend, and hope it continues going from library to library teaching those who wish to learn for the betterment of themselves as people.

Signed,

Robert E. O. Speedwagon”

Speedwagon? Speedwagon? Why did that sound so familiar? Jotaro set the book in his lap and tried to focus on where he might’ve heard that name before. Wait. Didn’t it say at the beginning that their names were changed? Jacob and Erica….Esther and Gregory…no those. Jotaro got up from his seat, the blanket falling to the floor with the action. Speedwagon did Jacob a favor. Jacob let him live with them for a while. A hundred years is a long time. Why? Why did that name sound so familiar?

Jacob got hurt so Speedwagon left. He told Speedwagon they’d grow back eventually. What would? Jotaro reached up to scratch his head, his fingers meeting the base of one of his horns.

Broken horns.

His great great grandfather broke his horns before. Jonathan talked to him about it when Jotaro asked decades ago. He’d lost them in a fight, and lost someone very important to him the very next day. It was Speedwagon. Jacob was Jonathan. Erica was Erina, Esther was great grandma Elizabeth. Gregory was George. Jotaro looked down at the journal in his hands with growing trepidation. What the hell was this?

How did Kakyoin get this book? Where did they get it from? Who gave it to them? Did they know? Jotaro only asked Avdol and Midler about the Joestars. He didn’t say the name once to Kakyoin since he got there. Gripping the journal tightly, Jotaro marched out of the library down the hall. What did this mean? Did Kakyoin know who he was? Is that why they bought him? No. That couldn’t be it. That wouldn’t make sense. They would’ve had to done so much research to find Jotaro, and much more to make the connection unless…Unless Kakyoin overheard him? Could they have been eavesdropping on his conversation with Midler? No, that didn’t make sense either. Kakyoin would’ve had to know his connected to the Joestar’s before they bought him. What was the deal? He stopped at a dark grey door when he heard Kakyoin’s voice from the other side.

“Of course not. You know their kind can’t tell the difference. It’s for the best really. I’d rather not have any trouble start.”

Jotaro pressed his ear against the door.

“…No I-, he’s getting better with time…. Not yet…What? What does that have to do with anything? I always get you what you ask for don’t I?”

Were they talking about Jotaro?

“You know how it goes. I have to get him to trust me first before I can get anything. That’s why I bought him.”

Jotaro felt something pull tight in his chest. Kakyoin really was using him.

“No, it’ll be easy. You’ve read the books. It’s in their nature to be gullible.”

Whatever that feeling was in his chest turned into something familiar when he heard that statement.

Anger.

No, fuck that. He wasn’t just angry. He was pissed, at Kakyoin and at himself. Why did he ever think Kakyoin would want to help him for nothing? Human or not, Kakyoin was just like the rest of them. Liars. Thieves. Just another person who wanted to hurt him. He’d pulled away from the door, the journal in his hand forgotten, letting his anger boil in his stomach. He didn’t hear the conversation Kakyoin was having come to an end, nor did he hear the door open.

“Oh, Jotaro! Did those books help any?” Kakyoin smiled at him like they always did.

They looked completely relaxed. How dare they. How dare they look at him like they cared. Jotaro didn’t even know he’d moved until he felt Kakyoin’s hands gripping his wrists. He’d pinned Kakyoin against the wall holding them by their throat as their face turned red.

“You lied to me. You lied to me. You weren’t going to help me at all. You were using me.”

Kakyoin’s grip on Jotaro’s wrist increased as their face slowly turned from red to a grotesque purple.

“Why did I ever trust you? Why did I think I could- why did I think you would ever-!” Jotaro felt tears running down his face.

Kakyoin closed their eyes and let go of his wrists so their arms dropped to their sides. Their face turning blue, and their features scrunching up in pain.

Jotaro’s eyes widened and his grip loosened slightly.

“NORIAKI.”

Jotaro was thrown to the ground and cried out at the heavy magic that chained over his torso. Great.

This again.

He felt like his skin was peeling away and gritted his teeth. This pain was new, which meant it probably wasn’t good. Struggling against the chains, he could barely hear Polnareff talking behind him in the hallway. What were they saying? His stomach turned to knots, and his heart beat so fast he could feel his veins pumping blood through his arms. Pressing his forehead against the floor, Jotaro yelled when he felt fire claw at his neck. God, he couldn’t breathe.

The chains vanished in a heap leaving Jotaro gasping for breath on the floorboards. His vision blurred. He thought he heard sobbing before something like ringing was all he could hear. Black creeped at the edges of his vision. Was he dying? A warm liquid pooled around his cheek and glowing green strings floated in the air. Who knew dying would be so painful. What was that smell? Citrus? The darkness in his vision grew more and more until the last thing he saw was a hand reaching for his face.

 

 

When Jotaro woke up, he was in bed, and every part of his body ached. He closed his eyes and clenched his teeth groaning at the thought of moving.

Kakyoin’s worried voice popped up from his bedside. “Jotaro! Are you all right? Tell me what hurts so I can apply some salve.”

The first thing Jotaro noticed about them were the bandages wrapped around their neck. The second thing they noticed were the dark circles under their eyes and their haphazardly donned on clothes. What was wrong with them? Jotaro nearly killed them, and they were still trying to take care of him?

Even though every muscle in his body was screaming at him Jotaro forced himself to speak. “What’s wrong with you.”

“Huh?”

“I tried to kill you. Why are you still-.” Jotaro paused to take a shaking breath. “Taking care of me.”

“Polnareff’s magic forced your markings to appear. You were bleeding out.”

“I heard what you said. I’m not falling for anything you say. I’m not gullible. I don’t trust you.”

Kakyoin watched Jotaro struggle with his words and with his breathing before furrowing their brow. “What are you-? Oh. Oh dear.”

He gritted his teeth ready to say something when Kakyoin set a small jar onto the side table.

“I bought a bull horned frog recently, and you have to earn their trust before they allow you to collect the slime from their back. The secretions are extremely valuable, and hard to get ahold of since most wizards have no patience to go through the dependence rituals. Most of them skip it all and force it out by killing them, but you can get four times as much if they let you collect the slime. I wasn’t talking about you.”

Jotaro was floored by the explanation, but he couldn’t let any guilt for his actions fester. His eyes went to the jar under Kakyoin’s hand and he felt bile rise to his throat. “Touching me. You were touching me.”

“No. Hierophant was. I know how you are about physical touch.”

Something invisible tapped Jotaro’s shoulder twice and pulled away. Yeah, that was Hierophant.

“You would’ve let” Jotaro swallowed the saliva pooling in his mouth. “me kill you.”

Kakyoin’s lips went flat.

“You could’ve knocked me out. Anything. You didn’t.”

The lights in the room dimmed to nothing. “I think it’s time you went back to sleep, Jotaro.”

“Did you want to die? Do you?” He didn’t know why he asked. He couldn’t see Kakyoin in the room anymore. The windows were curtained so that not even the smallest glimpse of the sun passed through them. His eyes didn’t adjust like they normally did, but that was due to his body’s latest addition. Which he couldn’t bother seeing before Kakyoin vanished.

He was an idiot. He couldn’t move. He could’ve killed Kakyoin. He almost did kill them for a stupid misunderstanding. Jotaro didn’t know how Kakyoin got Speedwagon’s journal. It could’ve been a random circumstance like everything else. Hell, it probably was. Speedwagon said he passed it to a friend, and after hundreds of years it could’ve ended up here or anywhere else. Polnareff’s library would be a likely culprit since they were older. God, he forgot about them. Polnareff had seen him choking the life out of who they considered their only child. Jotaro hoped they’d gone home. He didn’t want to face Polnareff after this. He didn’t want to face anyone after this. He was so tired. His eyelids began to droop against his will. Kakyoin could’ve stopped Jotaro at any time during that attack, but they didn’t. They didn’t stop him, and he was somewhat terrified of what that meant.

A coughing fit racked through Jotaro’s body making tears gather in his eyes as it died down. He closed his eyes completely, feeling the throbbing of his blood pumping through his arms. Jotaro was alive. He’d nearly killed Kakyoin, and he was alive. He’d broken whatever dynamics he was forming, and he was alive. He turned his head to the side so the cool fabric of the pillow rested against his cheek. Maybe if he fell asleep right now, he’d sleep long enough for his body to heal and when he woke up his family would be found and he’d never have to speak to anyone ever again. Something adjusted the blanket over his body pulling it up to rest at his shoulders, and patted his cheek. Well, at least Hierophant had forgiven him.

Chapter Text

 

Jotaro woke up when he was thrown onto the cool ground. A rock dug hard into his shoulder as he tried rolling over onto his back. It was too bright outside, and his mouth was dry. A hand lifted him from the ground until he was settled onto his knees. When his eyes adjusted to the light, Jotaro finally saw the person in front of him. It was a man with short, white hair wearing some kind of robe that hugged close to his chest but loose around his legs almost like a skirt.

“Are you all right?”

He looked around not spotting any of the people that snatched him. Actually, Jotaro didn’t recognize the place at all. The buildings were tall and white with arching windows he’d never seen in town.

The man spoke again. “Can you speak?”

“Where am I?”

“You’re at Moon’s Crossing. Did those men steal you from your home?”

“I-, he said I had to pay him, and I had the money, and then-.” Jotaro was frantic, looking back and forth for any sign of trees or bushes to no avail. Everything in this place was set in stone.

“Shhhh, it’s all right. Do you want to go back home?”

“Please.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll help you, but I do have one question for you before we can get started.”

“That’s fine.”

“Well, I was wondering if you believed in gravity?” He smiled keeping a tight grip on Jotaro’s shoulder.

 

Jerking awake, Jotaro took a moment to look at the familiar door in front of him before gripping his arms and curling forward into a ball. Thankfully, the bandages around his body were wound so that he still had some movement around his joints. His lips wouldn’t stop trembling. His hair stuck to his forehead thick with sweat. How could something that happened so long ago still be so vivid in his mind. Just the thought of that man made Jotaro want to die. He wasn’t sure if he was going to vomit since he didn’t know if he’d been eating, but he was nauseous.

Lifting his head from his knees, he looked around his bedroom. Kakyoin sat in a chair at the other side of the room with their head propped against the wall.

They were sleeping.

At least they had to be because their hair was bright blue like last time. Two long, narrow wings stuck out from their shirt pressed awkwardly between their back and the cushion of the chair.

Although, this was a prime opportunity to investigate further, Jotaro found himself getting out of bed to go to the restroom. He could look in a minute. His legs shook as he went out into the hallway. Damn it why was everything so far away in this shitty house. Placing a hand against the wall, he kept his pace steady until he stood in front of the bathroom door. His stomach churned at the displacement, and his bladder joined in with the bodily protest. How long had he been lying down? Jotaro didn’t even get to sit on the toilet seat when he remembered the bandages covering his entire body from the neck down.

“Fuck.”

Jotaro felt along the edges of one of the bandages at his hip line until he could dig his finger behind the fabric. So far so good. He pulled it away to see another layer of bandages under the first. Was Kakyoin fucking serious with this? How was he supposed to pee if he couldn’t take off the bandages? Wait a minute. Why was he complaining? He had claws or something.

He looked down at his wrapped hands and focused. They should be able to tear right through the bandages. All he needed to do was focus and they’d come out.

Yeah.

Just focus.

Anytime now.

His claws would tear right through the bandages.

The increasing pressure in his bladder would be relieved when his claws tore through his bandages around his hands, and he’d use them to tear off the ones around his waist so he could piss.

Any minute now.

Jotaro was squinting at his fingers waiting for something to happen.

Actually fuck it. He didn’t have time for this.

He magiked his teeth bigger and dug them into the bandages of his arm. Except his teeth didn’t shred through the fabric like he expected. Instead he met with resistance. What kind of bandages were these? How was he supposed to get them off? His frustration set in before he thought of anything else as he furiously chewed against the wrappings on his arm.

Jotaro hated sorcerers, he hated magic, he hated bandages and needing to pee and his stupid shitty not working powers and his fucking SHITTY NOT WORKING TEETH.

The door opened and Jotaro turned to look at the intruder with his arm still in his mouth and drool having soaked through the bandages. He was panting from having jumped around so much, and he felt more exhausted than when he woke up earlier. He needed a break.

Polnareff looked back at him with concern clear on their face. “Uhm.”

He should say something.

He didn’t.

He just kept staring at Polnareff with his arm in his mouth like an idiot. What was he supposed to say? Sorry for nearly killing Kakyoin? Ask for help with the bandages? Ask them how stupid he looked right now? He didn’t know.

Polnareff cleared their throat and gently shut the door. Honestly, that was probably the best course of action. A light tinkling by the sink counter caught his attention. Sitting next to the bowl were a shiny pair of scissors. Did Polnareff put them there or was it Hierophant. Either way they better be magic scissors because now Jotaro felt close to peeing through his bandages.

The scissors made quick work of the fabric and sitting on the toilet for who knows how long managed to relieve the nausea he had earlier. Now that he was out of the bathroom, and trudging back down the hallway, he hoped Kakyoin was still asleep. This might be his last opportunity to see the sorcerer with their guard down since he didn’t plan on sneaking into Kakyoin’s room ever again. Too many gross ideas could be tagged onto the action.

Kakyoin was still asleep in the chair when Jotaro went back into his room.

Great.

They were in their striped pajamas which looked messy with one sleeve rolled up and the pants legs low enough to cover their toes. Jotaro stood several feet away figuring it was a good distance to see everything without disturbing them. If Kakyoin woke up, Jotaro wouldn’t have time to figure out what they were before they were fussing over him. The bandages around Kakyoin’s neck made him wince. That also didn’t make any sense when he thought about it. Jotaro tried to kill Kakyoin. He actually almost did it but Kakyoin was still taking care of him. What did that mean?

Movement caught his eye, and he stared at the fluttering tips of Kakyoin’s wings. They had wings. They couldn’t be a human sorcerer. He looked at their ears to see them rounded instead of pointed. Not a fairy. They were also too big to be a pixie. Lots of mythical creatures could take human like forms, so this knowledge didn’t narrow Jotaro’s list down. Looking more at the wings, he noticed they were no longer translucent but a more solid color. Was that red, or was it purple?

Jotaro felt something cold grip his chest and looked back at Kakyoin’s face. Their eyes were half lidded, and the whites of them were a stark yellow. He swallowed against the dryness of his throat. Well, that was different. The irises of their eyes were pink and glowing. It hurt to look at them. No, it actually hurt to look at them. He felt his eyes adjusting so that the growing burning feeling vanished.

Kakyoin gave him a lazy smile revealing short, sharp teeth. “So young.”

Why did their voice sound so far away? Jotaro tilted his head. This was Kakyoin right?

The smile fell from Kakyoin’s face and their eyes closed. Jotaro watched them waiting for some sign they were still awake.

Nothing.

What the hell was that?

Kakyoin jerked awake making Jotaro step back and clutch his chest. They looked around frantically, their hair turning red and their wings vanishing in a puff of smoke before their eyes landed on him. They looked Jotaro up and down before getting out of their seat. “What happened to your bandages?”

Jotaro opened his mouth to say something but closed it. He realized how strange things looked now. Jotaro only bothered cutting away the bandages around his hands and hips so he could use the bathroom. He was planning on going back to bed before Kakyoin woke up, but it was too late to do that now.

“I had to use the bathroom.”

“I-…okay. Well, it’s good to know you’re well enough to walk again. We should take off the rest so that your skin can breathe.” Kakyoin yawned and rubbed a hand over their face.

“How long have I been asleep?”

“Huh?”

Jotaro’s shoulders slumped. “How long have I been asleep?”

“I haven’t been keeping the day’s time. Polnareff’ll answer soon. Could you hand me the scissors you used earlier?”

“…how did you know I used scissors?”

“There’s only one pair of scissors that can cut through those bandages. Hierophant moves them so much.” Kakyoin held their hand out. Their eyes were closed like they were too tired to be here. The scissors landed in Kakyoin’s palm with the metal side down and gestured to the chair. “Thank you. Sit down please.”

“I can cut the rest off myself.”

Kakyoin opened their eyes which were back to their normal colors. They looked at Jotaro, really looked at him, and gestured to the seat again. Jotaro sighed and sat down. Kakyoin nodded and stood there for a few seconds, their brow furrowing at the scissors in their hand. Something must have made sense because they rolled up one of their sleeves. Why did this atmosphere feel so awkward?

“Oh right. Do you feel any pain?”

“No.”

“Are you tired?” Kakyoin brushed their hair out of their face.

“Exhausted.”

“Wonderful. Okay, that’s all. Hold on your appendage.”

“What?”

“Your arm hold, hold it like” Kakyoin waved their arm. “This? This.”

Jotaro held his arm out and felt something thin holding it up in place. Definitely Hierophant. With one hand hovering besides Jotaro’s, Kakyoin used the scissors to glide through the bandages on his arm. The cool metal barely grazed his skin before the bandages fell onto the floor in a heap.

“Yeah that’s a,hmmm, there it is goes.” Kakyoin shuffled over to Jotaro’s other arm giving it the same treatment.

“…Kakyoin.” Jotaro rubbed his arm once the bandages fell off.

“Hmm?”

“What are you?”

“I like to think of myself as ‘n entrepreneur.” Kakyoin held out the scissors handle first towards him. “You gotta soup the rest.”

Jotaro stared at Kakyoin as one of their sleeves rolled back down to their wrist. “Uhh.”

Kakyoin squinted their eyes and shook the scissors. “You have to, you soup it ,you just-.”

Jotaro took the scissors and set them on his lap causing Kakyoin to smile at him. Kakyoin put a hand on their cheek and turned to start walking to the door.

“Kakyoin?”

“Okay s’night. Bye.” The door shut behind them.

What the fuck was that? Jotaro started cutting away the bandages at his chest. Kakyoin was more tired than he thought. How long had he been sleeping? With each line of wrappings Jotaro cut away, fresh skin covered with thick black lines were revealed. Oh right. His markings. He could finally look at them. The bandages fell off into piles around his feet, until his torso was free and he started working at the ones covering his legs. Jotaro yawned for the third or fourth time since he woke up. He noticed his claws were no longer there as he got one leg of bandages removed. His skin was the normal brown from his elbows and knees down to his fingers and toes. Once the last bit of wrappings fell to the floor, Jotaro shoved the pile aside with his foot.

Time to see the damage.

Jotaro looked down on himself to see the thick lines of black flowing in gentle curves over his stomach and legs. He looked up just as a tall mirror was placed in front of him.

“Hierophant?”

Something tapped his shoulder twice.

“Thank you.”

 

So. This was it.

Looking at his reflection, Jotaro touched the markings along his sides following the lines that nearly traveled across his stomach. He must’ve lost a lot of blood if the lines were this thick. For some reason everything looked, muddled?  Were they supposed to be uneven on his skin like this? Screw it. He was too tired to think about it. At least they were there. Now all he had to worry about were the wings, and he think that's all. Maybe he should borrow those books again and actually read through the boring one. There might be something that Kakyoin didn’t mention.

What was wrong with Kakyoin anyway? Jotaro went over to his bed and grabbed one of the shirts hanging from the drawer of his side dresser. His eyelids were drooping as he tossed the shirt on before climbing under the blankets. Ignoring the small bits of light that came from behind the curtains, he closed his eyes. It had been a very eventful 40 minutes, and another nap without the bandages this time might do him good. Perhaps, when he woke up, Kakyoin would be back to their normal self, and they could have a real conversation.

Chapter Text

Itchy.

Itchy.

Everything was so fucking itchy.

Jotaro was sure he was scratching in his sleep because his skin looked red and irritated around his markings when he moved the blanket aside. Why was his skin so itchy? Scratching at his neck, he got out of bed on steadier feet and with more energy than the first time. His stomach rumbled. His bladder was uncomfortably full, and he was tired. Mentally. He was mentally tired. Grabbing a pair of loose pants from the dresser he slipped them on, so he could make his trek to the bathroom.

One thing at a time.

The trip to the bathroom was quick. He only stumbled two times, but that was better than having to rely on the wall to walk. He soon had a new problem he realized upon scratching his stomach.

Stairs.

Taking a breath, he gripped the hand railing and took one step down. So far, so good. Another step down made his head a little woozy, but he was going to ignore it. Two more steps down, and he closed his eyes before sitting on the soft rug that bled into the staircase. This was fine. He could do this. Once his head stopped spinning, Jotaro used his legs to slide down to the next step.

Oh?

That felt pretty nice.

It was also much easier to just slide down the steps like that. It wasn’t until he got to the last step that he stopped himself from getting up. He leaned his head against one of the railing bars in his hands, wiggling his hips so the rug scratched all the best places on his butt. If this is how nice it felt on his butt, Jotaro wondered how good it’d feel on his back. His stomach rumbled again before he could put the action in motion. Honestly, that was probably for the best. The edges of the stairs would probably make it awkward. He eased himself off of the stair back onto his feet and shuffled his way to the kitchen.

Something in there was sizzling and the smell of cinnamon hit his nose when he got close to the doorway. Peering inside, he saw Polnareff at the stove and Kakyoin was sitting at table with their head buried in their arms. They were asleep again. Which meant, if Jotaro went in there now he’d have to face Polnareff alone.

No thanks.

He took a step back.

Polnareff’s voice was louder than whatever they were cooking. “Come in, Jotaro.”

Shit.

Jotaro shuffled over so he was visible in the doorway. Running was no longer an option. He waited for Polnareff to acknowledge him again. His heart making a slow trek towards his throat.

“You can sit down. I’m almost done.”

Jotaro took one of the empty seats at the table. He looked over at Kakyoin, their long bang laying over one of their arms as they slept. Kakyoin was here, sort of. Jotaro could handle this. He just had to be honest. Polnareff came over to the table and set the pan of hot, er-, something on a small towel in the middle of the table. They took off Kakyoin’s apron and oven mitt setting it on the back of the third chair. The fact that they were wearing Kakyoin’s apron irked Jotaro, but he wasn’t sure why.

Sitting down, Polnareff lifted the pitcher of juice and filled Jotaro’s glass. “I will admit that I’m curious as to what would make you try to murder Kakyoin.”

Polnareff didn’t hesitate to get right to the point making Jotaro wish he’d ignored them earlier and gone back up to his room.

He glanced over at Kakyoin, out of habit now only noticing a thin sheen of something that glimmered around them. Polnareff noticed and snapped their fingers by Kakyoin’s face.

“Sound proof bubble. I don’t want them to wake up before I’m finished talking to you.”

Jotaro kept his hands in his lap gripping his fists as he sat there. He wasn’t scared just apprehensive. He focused on keeping his breathing steady and made eye contact with Polnareff. He regretted it. Looking away, he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from saying anything. Polnareff looked at him like-. Jotaro left out a rushed breath through his lips and turned his eyes to look at his plate. He was fine. This was nothing.

“Kakyoin told me what you said when you woke up the first time, but I can’t understand. They’ve done a lot for you. Why would you think that of them? Why would you try to…” Polnareff trailed off.

It’s not like Kakyoin tried to stop him.

Jotaro didn’t say it, but he wanted to. Maybe it’d tell Polnareff that Jotaro wasn’t the only messed up one right now. He felt bile rise in his throat when he dared to look back at Polnareff’s face. They were furious. That much was obvious. Jotaro didn’t like having that anger centered on him.

“You saw more than I did at Dio’s party, and you saw them when we dealt with those brutes from the council. They put up a big show, but Kakyoin doesn’t enjoy hurting people.”

He thought about how Kakyoin kicked that horse guy in the crotch, and he was pretty sure Kakyoin threw a guy at Dio. Or after that how Dio was surrounded by dust having never heard a stone fall to confirm if Kakyoin injured him or not. How when Jotaro was watching from the window Kakyoin knocked those wizards off their feet, but nothing else. How not a single spark flowed over their jaw as Vanilla glared them down and insulted them. Sparks only flew over their jaw when Kakyoin was really irritated. Wait. Why did he remember something like that? More importantly, why did he notice something like that enough to remember it.

Jotaro shook his head to try and refocus his train of thought, but Polnareff misread the action.

“They don’t like hurting people. If anything they’d rather avoid it. Hence why I was the one that had to get you off of them.”

Jotaro thought about how Kakyoin looked at him when he was choking them. They were scared and then…resigned? It terrified him. No one should be that calm when getting killed. It made no sense. Kakyoin’s pink and yellow eyes from earlier flashed in his head.

“So young.”

The voice was chilling to say the least. Nostalgic almost in the way those words spoken. What was Kakyoin? Jotaro stole a glance at his sleeping caretaker? Companion? Acquaintance was probably the best word. Kakyoin wasn’t a friend. Someone cleared their throat, and by someone he knew it was Polnareff. The expression on Polnareff’s face was no longer furious but annoyed. It was the same look his grandpa Caesar gave him when he knew he wasn’t listening, but was willing to play it off like he was. The homesickness he felt must be getting worse if he was starting to think of other relatives.

Polnareff rubbed their temples. “Jotaro, do you believe in gravity?”

Jotaro felt his blood run cold. His hands were still in his lap, so Polnareff didn’t see them start to tremble.

“My mentor, Esidisi, although very eccentric and thankfully moved on, taught all their students that gravity is not only a force that applies to objects but also to the effects that the actions of people produce. Everything comes down to earth so to speak. I hope you two at least find the time to talk this out, and you can apologize.”

Despite the slow reaction his body was making as his panic grew, Jotaro had enough nerve to reply to them. “Don’t treat me like a child.”

The room grew exceedingly warm, the air thick with moisture making it more difficult for Jotaro to breathe.

“You don’t want me to treat you like an adult.” Polnareff’s eyes were a sharp, cold shade of blue. The temperature of the room returned to normal with the statement.

The thin bubble around Kakyoin vanished, and as soon as Polnareff clinked the glass against the table Kakyoin jerked their head up from the table. “What! What’s going on?”

“You almost missed breakfast.” Polnareff gave them a sympathetic smile.

Jotaro was no longer hungry. His stomach rumbled in protest as he pushed his chair away from the table. He couldn’t be in here. He needed to be away. By himself. Right now.

“Jotaro?” Kakyoin was still tired, but knew something was wrong. “You haven’t touched a thing on your plate. You need to eat so that your magic can-.”

“I don’t need, don’t talk just.” Fuck, he could already feel the pressure in his head behind his eyes. He wasn’t going to cry. Standing up, he kept his pace brisk as he left the kitchen.

This was a mistake. He’d just made it out of the system room when his body protested against anymore rushed movements. No, no, no, no. He pressed the butts of his palms against his closed eyes and failed at breathing steadily through his nose. His breathing came out more like panting. Pulling his hands away, he looked up at the stair case. That wasn’t going to happen. The garden then. Nonon would be there. He started down the hallway when a sliver of red was in the corner of his vision.

“Don’t follow me.” He snarled.

Kakyoin had that concerned look on their face and their hands were clasped together in front of their chest. “You never skip meals.”

“Don’t. Follow. Me.” Ignoring his body’s protests, he gathered enough strength to get back into a brisk walk. He wanted to run, but that wasn’t going to happen with how his lower back and legs were screaming at him already.

Jotaro was too close to crashing. He wished he’d taken the stairs. Or called Hierophant. Fuck, why didn’t he do that first? He felt tears started to prickle against the corners of his eyes and furiously blinked them away. He wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of Kakyoin. Not in front of anyone ever again. Why was this hallway so long?

He felt bits of relief that crashed into nothing when he saw the door to the garden only for his legs to give out. He managed to swing his weight mostly towards the wall so he slid down the wallpaper covered paneling until he was kneeling on the floor. Jotaro felt water sliding down his cheeks, and he wiped them away as fast as he could.

“Looks like you didn’t make it.” Kira’s voice rang in his head.

Stop it.

Diavolo’s followed. “Time for your punishment.”

Stop it.

“A pity. I’ll have to train you better.” Pucci’s voice was right by his ear.

“STOP IT.” The words came out like a strangled sob. He’d closed his eyes, pressing the palms of his hands against them trying to force the tears to stop.

He couldn’t stop sobbing, and he hated himself for it. They were gone. He was never going to see any of those people again. They couldn’t hurt him anymore. This shouldn’t hurt like it did. He shouldn’t hurt like he was. Why couldn’t he just stop feeling this-?

“Jotaro.” Kakyoin’s voice was very soft.

He lashed his arm out hitting nothing but air. His voice was hollow and wispy as he tried to gather his breath and keep from sobbing. “I told you not to follow me.”

“I-”

“Is this what you wanted to see? Does it make you feel better seeing me like this?”

“Jotaro.” Kakyoin was kneeling on the ground staying out of arms reach. The action was more for Jotaro than for themselves.

Jotaro kept his hands pressed against his face trying to stop-what? Crying? Feeling? He’d stop breathing if it meant the disgusting whimpers and choked sounds coming from his throat would stop. He hated this. He hated feeling like this.

“When I was younger, two weeks before Polnareff found me, I killed my father.” Kakyoin’s lips trembled over the last few words.

Jotaro’s tears didn’t stop flowing, but he pressed his lips together trying to keep any more sounds from escaping.

“I was too young to understand what happened. My magic was, it was dormant and and it just,” Kakyoin took a breath, “He was yelling at me. He was always yelling at me, but that time was, it had felt, it was overwhelming. I was curled into ball on the floor, and all I wanted was for him to go away. I wanted him to disappear. I wanted to stop hurting. I wanted it all to go away.”

Jotaro’s hands slid down from his face to land in his lap.

“He started screaming. I looked up from my arms, and he was screaming as his fingers turned into dust and fell to the ground. Of course, that only scared me more so the process sped up. I- I was- he was a pile of dust in clothes a few minutes after the screaming stopped. I’d used a disintegration spell on him without even knowing what I was doing.”

His head felt heavy as he leaned it against the cool wall. Kakyoin was looking at their trembling hands in their lap. Why were they telling him this?

“I stayed in that spot too scared to move. Hierophant appeared before me a couple days later. The first time I saw him, he was bringing me a glass of water from the kitchen. I would’ve let myself die there if he hadn’t appeared. I-,” Kakyoin fumbled with their hands in their lap and looked like they were struggling with something.

“Why?”

Kakyoin looked up at Jotaro with wide eyes. “What? Why what?”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“You told me not to follow you. I was too worried to not and right now you’re vulnerable. You didn’t want me to see you like this. It’s only fair that I share a vulnerability of my own with you. I realize that not being very forthcoming about myself has…your view of me is limited.”

That was an understatement.

“Trust is,” Kakyoin reached up to touch the bandages around their throat, “Trust is very important to you. I want to do whatever I can to earn yours.”

Jotaro snorted and closed his eyes. He was close to falling asleep, but he couldn’t here. He needed to get back to his room. Maybe have Hierophant sneak him some food. Kakyoin stayed more than arm’s length away from him kneeling on the floor like Jotaro was. When he made eye contact with them, there was a determined look on their face.

“You’re an idiot.” Jotaro sneered at them, but no further insults were forthcoming. He was too tired for this shit.

Kakyoin must’ve taken the comment for a step in the right direction and smiled at him.

Chapter Text

The first thing Jotaro noticed about the stranger who was currently prostrated over the dining room table was their weird, spiky, green headgear. The second thing he noticed was the lack of Kakyoin and Polnareff in the same room. He wasn’t sure whether to be wary or not. The stranger had wide, white, almost transparent wings that fluttered as they situated themselves to sit on the edge of the table. Their hair laid perfectly coifed, and they wore very dark lipstick that made the paleness of their skin stand out. Their clothes were white and flowed over their body like the wind carried the fabric.

Fairy.

Jotaro knew only fairies were this particular about their appearances.

“Hello.” The stranger blinked and Jotaro noticed that their eyelashes were impossibly long. Their voice was somewhat masculine.

Jotaro didn’t say anything. Pressing his lips together, he took a step back out of the kitchen entryway.

“Leaving so soon?”

“…yes.” The truth hasn’t killed him yet.

“Don’t you live here? You should be able to walk around as you please.”

Actually there were a lot of restrictions to living here, like all the locked doors in the house, but Jotaro was trying to process if the person in front of him was a threat or not, so he raised an eyebrow in question.

“Your Noriaki’s new pet aren’t you?”

Okay, that was enough conversation for today. “Bye.” Jotaro turned around and jumped back when he saw the fairy floating in front of him.

“Don’t run yet. I’m not done looking. You’re an incubus.”

“Could you tell from the horns or the fact that I want to sock you in the jaw.” Jotaro lips curled into a sneer.

“It’s your lust.”

All the color drained from Jotaro’s face. God, not another one of these types. He was going to be sick.

The fairy smiled revealing a mouthful of sharp teeth. “It’s not sexual. Your lust for knowledge is coming off in waves. Noriaki has told you nothing, but I can tell you everything.”

Jotaro felt like this conversation had taken him on a long enough emotional rollercoaster, but he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t curious.

“For a price.”

Of course.

Jotaro huffed. “I don’t own anything.”

“Ask all you want now, and I’ll collect later. I’m just that generous.” The fairy batted their eyelashes and small dots of color fell from them.

Jotaro opened his mouth and snapped it shut when he saw a hand land on the fairy’s shoulder. He looked over to see Kakyoin push their glasses back onto their face with a smile.

“Rohan, undiry taquj vashyen?” The words fell from Kakyoin’s lips like a song.

“Quitruk.” The fairy responded in a similar tone.

Taking one more glance at Jotaro, the fairy, Rohan he assumed, floated out of the sitting room with Kakyoin following close behind. Jotaro’s stomach growled. He was actually pretty offended with what just happened. What about breakfast? The sound of ceramic clinking on the table caught his attention, and he turned to see the leftovers from last night being pulled from the ice box.

“Thank you, Hierophant.”

Something tapped his shoulder and Jotaro started like he was going to reach up to pat it, but kept his hand at his side. He didn’t exactly know what Hierophant was yet either. The fire on the stove lit up and a pot of last night’s rice dish went over it. Two tendrils tapped his shoulders impatiently, and Jotaro looked over to see the random indentations being made on his shirt sleeve. What was that about? He was turned around by the invisible appendages and hustled out of the kitchen. He had an idea about where this was going, but he needed to be sure.

Jotaro pressed his hands against the framing of the entryway to the sitting room to stop from being pushed. “You want me to eavesdrop?”

Tendrils tapped his shoulders in a rapid pace that Jotaro took for excitement.

“Not happening if you’re going to ditch me like last time.”

Hierophant flicked his too long hair forward and Jotaro ran his hands through it trying to put it back in place. Did Hierophant just huff at him? He didn’t know. Besides, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to eavesdrop, and in their own way Kakyoin did promise to be more honest with him. Then again, Hierophant was the house or Kakyoin’s…thing. From this point of view, Jotaro had Kakyoin’s roundabout permission to listen in. Kind of. His stomach grumbled. He couldn’t follow them and listen if his stomach kept making these sort of noises. Hierophant must’ve thought the same thing because one of the sweet breads Kakyoin always carried was floating in front of his face.

Jotaro snagged it, took a couple big bites so his stomach would stop yelling at him and let Hierophant guide him to where he needed to be. It was okay as long as they didn’t get caught, and they weren’t going to get caught. He finished the crème filled bread by the time Hierophant pushed him into a small room that looked like an office. There was a long wooden desk with a comfy chair under it. A couple of bookshelves with drawered cabinets beside them. The walls and floor had wood paneling, but whereas the floor was covered with a thick rug that was soft under Jotaro’s toes, the walls had swirls of carvings in each panel making a skyline picture. The bookshelves and cabinets were short enough that it didn’t cover the picture.

The chair was lifted from under the desk so the legs didn’t drag and set gently in front of one of the bookshelves. There was a little push against his back, and Jotaro took the hint crawling under the desk and spotting one of the slivers of light wide enough for him to peek through. The crevice widened a little more, and Jotaro could see Kakyoin and Rohan in the other room. Rohan had draped themselves over one of the taller tables in the room while Kakyoin stood across from them with their arms crossed.

“Bekuritgh?” Rohan spoke with a bored look on their face.

Kakyoin narrowed their eyes. “Miert vagng juilt cakue.”

Jotaro rolled his eyes and kept himself from groaning. There was no point in listening if he couldn’t understand a word they were saying. There was a tingling over his ears and Jotaro rubbed at them.

“Just tell me what you came here for.” Kakyoin’s voice made him open his eyes again.

Did they switch back to global speech?

Rohan stood in front of Kakyoin know and placed a hand on Kakyoin’s chest. “You interrupted me earlier. I could feel your jealousy.”

“Remember the last time you got jealousy and anger confused, Rohan? Don’t try making deals in my home.”

Rohan reached up and took Kakyoin’s glasses off to toss them aside. “So protective.”

“Why are you here? I don’t have it in me to ask a third time.”

“You know whenever you do something bad the wizard council comes knocking on our doors. You should be telling me why I’m here.”

Kakyoin closed their eyes and their eyebrows drew down making them look upset. Rohan leaned closer so their noses barely touched. Kakyoin’s eyes opened and narrowed. “Is it too late to say it has nothing to do with me?”

“Couldn’t be later. They managed to waste the queen’s time with this nonsense. She wants to speak with you.”

“Give me the scroll.”

“Not yet.”

Kakyoin uncrossed their arms. A line of sparks traveled along their jaw. “Excuse me?”

“There was a third party involved. She wanted to speak with them too. Your pet.”

“He’s not my pet. Give me the scroll.”

“Noriaki. Where are your manners.” Rohan had wrapped their hands in Kakyoin’s hair and was gripping the strands tightly.

“In a shallow grave. Maybe you’d like to join them.”

“You do not belong with humans. You can barely control yourself like this. What about your magic? Your form? Ancient.” Rohan pulled Kakyoin’s head back by their hair.

Kakyoin’s eyes were closed again

“Unyeilding. Powerful.” Rohan leaned forward so their mouth almost touched Kakyoin’s ear and a smile graced their lips like they were a child that found a new toy. “Hilva-“

Rohan was thrown to the ground. Kakyoin straddled their waist with a hand wrapped tightly around their throat. Kakyoin’s head tilted to the side, and Jotaro felt his blood freeze at the sight of their eyes. The irises pink and the whites of their eyes a stark yellow. Their lashes had turned white.

“Rohan.” Their voice sounded distant and heavy as puffs of frost came from their lips.

Jotaro felt the weight and found he could only move his eyes. Icicles were beginning to form along the wood of the desk he was under and he looked at his hands to see black skin.

Kakyoin’s head tilted again. “You may do as you wish, but do not speak that name.”

Rohan’s hands were gripping Kakyoin’s wrist, but they made no other movement.

“If you continue to play with me…” Kakyoin opened their mouth to show a longer set of sharp teeth as if preparing to say something else. Their mouth shut, and they stood from the floor with Rohan still laying there between their feet.

Stepping away from them, Kakyoin unfurled the scroll that was in the hand which wasn’t just around Rohan’s neck. When did they get that? The frost in the room vanished, and their eyes returned to normal. Rohan pulled themselves up from the floor and licked a trail of pink liquid away from the corner of his lips. Blood, maybe. Jotaro sat back on his haunches and held in a gasp when he found that he could move again. His claws were still out, and he didn’t know how to take it. His heart beat rapidly in his chest.

What was that?

Taking a few more slow breaths, he leaned forward to peer back through the hole. The scroll was floating and from it stood the large image of a woman. At least he assumed so. He couldn’t tell considering the image only showed her from the nose down. She was sitting in a lavish chair-throne thing.

“Noriaki. Why can’t I ever speak with you under nice circumstances?” Her voice was melodic.

Jotaro felt himself beginning to fall asleep at the sound of it. Hierophant pressed continuously at his face to keep from him doing so, which he thanked it for.

Kakyoin moved their long bang behind their ear. “You say that like I’m opposed to house calls.”

“Well, considering my messengers always come back traumatized from your home.” She rested her chin in her hand.

“The natural curiosity of fairies isn’t my fault. My house has a mind of its own.”

“Of course it does.” She let a small laugh slip from her lips.

Hierophant tugged hard on Jotaro’s ears making him grit his teeth. He was very close to falling asleep. What kind of woman was this? What was she the queen of? It couldn’t be just fairies because Kakyoin wasn’t a fairy.

“Down to business.”

“Of course.” Kakyoin sighed.

“Show me what has brought the wizard council to my doorstep.” She held out her hand.

The image of it grew as if she were leaning down from her throne, and holy shit this woman must be gigantic because her hand was larger than Kakyoin. Kakyoin hovered their own hand over the image of one of her fingers. Several balls of light with string flowed down to touch the image, blooming into flowers and vines along her fingers and up to the center of her palm.

“An incubus. That’s different. He is under your care?” She pulled her hand away, the flowers wilting and their petals falling from the image.

“He’s still learning about what he can do. I’m only watching him for a period.”

“He’s a child.”

Kakyoin rubbed the back of their neck.

“Like you.” Her lips turned up into a sincere smile.

Kakyoin’s cheeks turned red. “Like me.”

“I will tell the council what I think of this. It’s their problem to handle. Not mine. Which means if they come barreling down your door.” She stopped there as if she didn’t need to say anything else.

“I understand.”

“However, for the grievance they’ve caused me, if they encroach on your territory without an invitation you’ve my permission to do as you see fit.” Her hands were pressed together with her fingers interlaced. “Rohan. Return to me.”

Rohan pulled themselves from the floor and floated past Kakyoin to merge into the sight. Jotaro could see them flying and they looked like an ant floating above the woman’s arm in the image.

“Tell your guest that I wish them well.”

The image vanished before Kakyoin could respond. The scroll, which remained floating when the image vanished, burned to ashes in an instant. Jotaro figured that was his cue to leave, but he needed to sit there and process things. At least that’s what he told himself. He actually didn’t want to move because it was now very quiet, and if Kakyoin heard shuffling in the other room he’d be caught. It was best to wait for when Kakyoin was gone. He looked through the peephole one last time.

Kakyoin was gone.

“It’s rude to eavesdrop.” Kakyoin’s voice said making Jotaro jump and hit head on the bottom of the desk.

Jotaro clenched his head and curled into a ball from his spot on the floor. “FUCK.”

“Don’t think that I don’t know Hierophant put you up to this. He’s the only one that would know about peepholes. Especially any under my desk. I’m going to punish both of you.” Kakyoin stood up from where they were crouching and took a few steps back.

Jotaro crawled out from under the desk with one hand on his head. Kakyoin stood with their arms crossed trying to look stern, but failed due to the worry that showed on their face.

“I’ll make you an ice pack in the kitchen. Right after breakfast though, you and Hierophant are going to dust the library.” Kakyoin turned on their heel and left the room.

Jotaro started to follow them out, but then stopped at the doorway. Wait a minute. Did Kakyoin mean the entire library?

Chapter Text

After breakfast, Kakyoin looked a little panicked and left the kitchen to go off somewhere. Therefore, they didn’t follow through with the library threat until the next day. Which brought them to this morning, with Jotaro holding a feather duster and at least 10 dusters floating around him. He could only assume Hierophant was holding them all. Kakyoin was sitting on one of the many couches in the library, far away enough to not be seen but not so far that their voice was distant. Jotaro heard them mumbling as they flipped through pages of notes, but it wasn’t anything he could make sense of.

He also found out something new today. Apparently, the lights around the library were pixies from someplace called Norfland. They were polite, and offered to read the more boring book about incubi to him as he worked. So, as irritating as the book was, Jotaro accepted the offer and listened to the one named Reimi read off the long sentences. He did need to know more about himself, even if the idea of watching a tree grow was more interesting than hearing about the chemical properties of his own saliva. Besides, until he returned home, this was one of the only resources he could use.

Jotaro was just finishing the second bookshelf when a surprised noise came from Reimi. He looked over to see her tiny face graced with a smile.

“That explains why you’re able to understand me now.”

Jotaro raised an eyebrow in question.

She huffed. “You weren’t listening were you?”

He bit the inside of his cheek and looked away feeling guilty. She didn’t have to do this for him. “Could you-...could you read it again, please?”

“Mmhm. It says here, that during development an incubi’s magic warps its body for what the incubi think they need. The more common results of this is advanced sight, night vision, increased sixth sense-“

“Which part is the part where our talking makes sense?” He had already zoned out when she read the list the first time, he wasn’t about to do it again.

“We’ve been talking to you every time you visited, but you never responded so we thought you didn’t like us very much. It says here, that multifaceted hearing is also one of the results from an incubi’s magic development.”

Jotaro didn’t know what that meant.

Reimi saw his facial expression and took pity on him, while allowing a small smile to grace her face. “It means you have super hearing, sort of. Pixies are small, so are our voices, so only people who have the magic to listen closely can do so. Not only that, but our language is only spoken not written. Not easy to transfer into global language. That’s why we stick close to fae folk. They’re very nosy.”

His eyes widened a fraction. Wait a minute. Did that mean he could-.

The sound of table legs scraping across the floor stopped his train of thought. Footsteps hitting the wood followed afterwards, and Jotaro looked up just in time to see Kakyoin at the other end of the bookcase.

“How much did you hear?”

Kakyoin looked like they were going to do something and Jotaro wasn’t sure what. He took a step back, gripping the feather duster a little tighter.

“Jotaro. Please.” Kakyoin didn’t move, but they let their shoulders fall.

Okay, that was slightly less threatening.

Instead of answering their question another set of words fell from his lips, “What are you?”

“That’s the second time you’ve asked me that. You’re not going to be staying here much longer, so what difference does it make?”

Second time? Oh. Even in their weird state, Kakyoin did remember when he asked them the first time. So, was the first time they answered a dodge to the question or were they too tired to react like this? He squared his shoulders. “I’ll tell you what I heard, if you tell me what you are.”

“That’s not a fair trade.”

“I have to tell you everything I heard, and all you have to give me is a title. How is that not fair?”

Kakyoin ran a hand through their hair. “Because you don’t know what you’re asking me.”

One part of Jotaro’s mind said to leave it alone. He’d eavesdropped enough on Kakyoin. If he wanted, later, maybe they would tell him the truth. The louder part of his brain told him to push the topic. He was tired of being in the dark about things. Why should this be any different? Shouldn’t he know what he’s dealing with?

“Rohan said that you can’t control yourself in that form.”

“Yes, I can.” Kakyoin gritted their teeth.

“Ancient? Powerful? What did they mean by that?”

“That’s none of your business.”

Jotaro knew that he was stoking the fires, but he couldn’t stop. “People keep telling me that you’re hiding things. Telling me I don’t know anything about you from the fact that I’m around you. What was Rohan going to call you? Hilva-“

“DO NOT EVEN UTTER ONE SYLLABLE OF THAT NAME.”

All of the feather dusters Hierophant held fell in a clutter around Jotaro’s feet. He blinked and Kakyoin was very close to him. Closer than they usually got. The shelves of the bookcase pressed into Jotaro’s back and his heart beat rapidly in his chest. Kakyoin had him trapped against the bookshelf with their arms either side of him.

“How dare you.” Kakyoin’s eyelashes had turned white, but their eyes remained the same.

Jotaro could feel himself starting to hyperventilate. Kakyoin’s voice was muddled with hundreds of whispers following their words.

“I’ve given you everything in my ability. You keep pushing me. Asking for answers I cannot give and invading my space like you own it. Yet what have you given me? Nothing. Whipping at me with your questions. Your anger.”

 Jotaro was shaking against the wall. He couldn’t move.

“Do you like it? Peeling away at me until you find exactly how I tick?”

His tongue sat thick against the roof of his mouth.

“You-.” Kakyoin’s eyes widened and they stumbled back away from him. Pressing a hand against their face, their features scrunched up before settling to look forlornly at the carpet. “I overstepped.”

Jotaro’s hands found purchase against the shelf to keep from sliding to the floor. His legs shook under him, and he fought to catch his breath. The pixies had long gone. Where? He didn't know. The book about incubi sitting bent next to his foot. When his breathing calmed, he saw Kakyoin’s back as they started to turn down the aisle. He couldn't leave the conversation to end like that. Kakyoin was...important to him? Maybe. He didn't know. There was no time to dwell further on it because Kakyoin was almost out of sight. What could he say?

“The first person that…” Jotaro found strength he didn’t know he had to keep standing.

Kakyoin stopped and turned their head slightly towards him, their face still shadowed.

Good? Not good?

Jotaro licked his chapped lips. “The first person that bought me was a wizard.”

Kakyoin looked over at him completely, their eyelashes were back to normal and their gaze concerned.

He didn't know what to make of that look.

“He promised me that he’d help me get back home. He did all the things you’re doing.” He felt his throat getting tight, but he pushed himself to keep talking. “He gave me a room, and clothes, and food. He waited until I trusted him, and then,” Jotaro set the feather duster down.

Kakyoin pressed their hand against the side of the book case.

“The seventh day.” His voice cracked. “The seventh day when I was sleeping-.”

“I left Polnareff’s tutoring because I didn’t trust myself anymore.”

Jotaro looked at them with wide eyes. Were they not going to let him finish? Why? This was what they wanted right? They wanted Jotaro to give them something.

Right?

Kakyoin looked like they swallowed something vile. “I was 17, and we were arguing. I don’t even remember what it was about because of what I did next. I was yelling back, but I felt like their voice was louder than mine. So loud.”

Jotaro watched them reach their hands up to cup over their ears as they closed their eyes.

“I wanted them to go away.” Kakyoin’s hands fell to rest at the bandages on their neck. “Polnareff’s right hand was halfway gone by the time I realized what I was doing and stopped it. They fixed it of course. Told me it was all right. That accidents happen like that all the time with sorcerer’s and their apprentices. Told me that they’ve seen worse injuries, but I couldn’t see it like that.”

Kakyoin’s eyes opened again and Jotaro kept eye contact. It was all he could do.

“The spell that I used on the one person who ever loved me as one of their own was the same spell I used on the man who’d sooner beat me within an inch of my life than raise me. To this day, I still haven’t hated anyone more than myself in that moment.”

Their father.

Jotaro bit the inside of his cheek. The things Polnareff had said, and the way they behaved became more layered in their purpose. Kakyoin left home long before they were ready to.

“I didn’t trust myself anymore. I left a month later. It would’ve been sooner had Polnareff not been so intent to make sure I could take care of myself according to their standards. They still worry. I don’t like that I put that stress on them, but I’d rather it be that than a repeat of events. Besides, I’ve gotten used to this lifestyle now.” Kakyoin’s hands dropped to their sides.

“Why didn’t you let me finish?”

“I think you have enough salt in your wounds, don’t you?” Kakyoin gave him a small smile. “When they’ve healed, and the scars have faded, then you can tell me about them. It’ll hurt less.”

He nodded. Reliving the past probably wasn’t the best course of action since Jotaro’s hadn’t even walked out the back door of his mind yet.

“It’s break time, I suppose. Would you want to get a mug of warm custard with me?”

“Yeah.” Jotaro wasn’t going to remind them that he fell asleep after drinking that stuff. Honestly, a nap sounded great right now, and he could continue dusting the library later.

Chapter Text

“Mama!”

Jotaro was 14 years old, pushing the butt of his palms against his eyes as tears streamed down his cheeks.

His voice came out choked and high pitched.

“Mama!”

His vision was too blurry to recognize the people walking by him. More tears fell down his face and snot dripped from his nose to meet the bow of his lips.

He was lost.

His mom would never come back.

Even more sobs slipped from his lips as he hugged himself looking from one side of the small walkway to the other trying to spot the edges of a pink apron or the white, tightly woven basket that she always carried.

Nothing.

A hand gripped Jotaro’s shoulder and a splash of pink hair dotted with black slid into the corner of his vision. Cold metal touched the back of his neck, and he bolted before the collar could clamp closed.

The dark soil under his bare feet turned to stone. A piece of glass stabbed into the sole of his foot and he was on the ground. Pebbles scattered around his feet while dozens of tiny golden crosses broke through the cracks of granite. Pushing himself up from the ground, he could ignore the glass in his foot. People walked by them, their faces more recognizable but blurred and melting away.

Black tendrils grabbed his horns, snatching him into an alleyway. Jotaro knew if he opened his mouth that something foul would pour out of it. He knew Kira walked by the brick buildings without looking into the alcove. Diavolo had jumped from one roof to the next passing him by. The tendril around his horns let go and his face was pressed against someone’s chest.

“I’m sure you have time to talk now.”

Jotaro’s blood ran cold.

“Isn’t that right, Jojo?” Half of Dio’s face morphed into that of the greasy old man who sold him from the start.

Jotaro’s arm moved slicing through fabric.

Heart racing as he fell off the tower. Wind whipping his clothes and hair in every direction. He closed his eyes and opened his mouth waiting for the foul thing to flow from his throat.

The wind stopped.

Something squawked at him making him opening his eyes.

“Nonon?” His voice was raspy like he’d been sick for years.

Nonon trilled at him and nuzzled his neck getting him to sit up in the grass. Jotaro knew the name of every flower in the field and said them as he stood up. Branches from the tree he stood next to bent down to adjust flowers and place bee pods in the X’s on the ground marked by ants. Stream water flowed over his toes humming a song that reminded him of good food and warm company.

Someone was sitting on one of the thicker branches holding onto a pillow full of water.

The person looked away from the spider crawling on bark and smiled at him, their red hair matching the autumn leaves sticking out one side of the trunk beside their legs.

“Welcome home, Jotaro.”

Jotaro’s eyes snapped open. Struggling to get the blankets off of him, Jotaro ignored his too loose shirt sticking to his sweaty skin and frantically looked around the room he was in. Blue, purple, and white furniture? Check. White rug pushed to the side of the room because he kept tripping over it? Check. Apron sitting on the rung at the foot of his bed? Check. The tenseness in his shoulders simmered down until he was leaning back against the headboard.

He was in his room.

He was fine.

That was the first time in ages that he’d had an actual dream instead of reliving a memory. He wasn’t going to be thankful for it considering the first part wasn’t pleasant, but he wondered if this was what progress felt like. Was he actually getting better?

Taking that afternoon nap was a mistake. He wouldn’t be falling back asleep anytime soon.

Jotaro rubbed a hand over his face. A mix of horrible memories with not horrible memories into whatever amalgamation that was shouldn’t be putting even a bit of hope into him. How was Jotaro even supposed to take it apart to make sense? He swung his legs over the bed and gently placed his feet onto the wooden paneling. He didn’t know the first time, but the rug was only partially there for decoration. The other reason the rug was there was to keep the floorboards from creaking whenever he stepped on them. The wood was warm under his feet as he made his way to the door when he heard something roll across the floor behind him.

Looking behind himself, he spotted a glass orb smaller than his palm sitting in front of the bedside dresser table. The orb filled with smoke that changed from grey to pink and back again.

Well, that was weird.

Hopefully, it’d be gone by the time he came back.

Stepping into the hallway, Jotaro noticed just how dark it was. It must’ve been around 2 in the morning according to his internal clock. Maybe he should check on Nonon while he was up. He hadn’t seen her in a while. What if she was lonely? Animals get lonely, right? And Nonon seemed a lot smarter than she came off to be. It seemed like she was living around her food in the back yard, and having dinner for company didn't sound like much fun. He still felt weird about calling the giant garden such a title. He was also curious as to what everything looked like at night. Were there lightening bugs? Did that family of tadpoles he saw grow up? How was that giant weasel doing? Yeah, he should go there…right after checking the pictures on the map in the library.

The magic around his eyes was easier to control as the hallway and its contents became visible. Actually, a lot of his magic was easier to handle now. He could almost get his claws out without thinking twice about it. He had to think four or five times about it to get his fingertips black, but that was legitimate progress. Progress with tangible results unlike his stupid, messed up dream that he was going to stop thinking about right now.

Looking up, Jotaro realized he was already in front of the library doors.

When did that happen?

“Hierophant? Are you awake?” He looked from one end of the hallway to the other.

The door knob jingled before the tall door opened several inches.

That must’ve been a yes.

Jotaro shrugged and pushed the door open enough for him to slip inside. A bushel of pixies flew to him lighting his way to the table strewn with maps and papers that served as views for each marked location.

“Jotaro? You’re up late.” Reimi’s voice came from beside his ear.

If that were anyone else’s voice it would’ve startled him, but for some reason Reimi had a calming aura about her, so he only grunted and leaned against the edge of the table. Starting from the most upper left point of the path, his eyes went from city to city trying to catch the sight of someone with horns.

Reimi floated so she stayed just in the corner of his vision. “So, I read a little bit ahead in the book about incubi.”

He hummed in acknowledgement. In a place called Rignalio it was snowing and people were just starting to set up tables and booths for the marketplace. The city following that was somewhere underground maybe? The lamps the lit the town of Jasper hung from walls of thick, brown dirt. He didn’t remember ever living underground. Was he too young, or did they live in the forest above the city? He didn’t know.

“I’m not sure how you’ll take this but, there was something important about magic in there that I think you might want to know.”

The next town was partially submerged in a lake which was either starting to freeze over or beginning to melt. Buildings with bulbs for rooftops stood out low in the lake and grew taller the further inland they got. The town after that bore square, flat roofed buildings while flower petals from hundreds of trees bombarded citizens whenever the wind so much as twitched the branches. Was that Kilurun? It looked like it.

“Jotaro?”

Jotaro watched the sun rise and set as his eyes went from picture to picture. There was a town that was too dark to see in, so he assumed it was close to where he and Kakyoin currently were. Placing a finger on the star that marked Hadao, Jotaro traced it along the map until it stopped at the darkened city. A small speck of light made its way across the picture drawing Jotaro’s eye. Who was walking around there at this time of night? The light got smaller the further it got away until Jotaro thought it was about to vanish from his sight. Instead two more lights, equally as small joined it just as it reached the edge of the picture. What was that? A meeting?

The three specks of light stood still for a while. Then one began shifting wildly before jostling to the ground. Another lantern flew into the air, while the remaining one twirled and jerked back and forth. Finally, the lantern that was in the air stopped halfway before hitting the ground, and they floated side by side growing in vibrancy the closer they came to the town’s entrance. With two lanterns now, the figure holding them became much more visible, and Jotaro choked on nothing.

A round face with bloodied lips that used to kiss his cheeks every morning. An equally round button nose which mirrored his own sat on this person’s face. Honeyed eyes with dark circles under them stood out to him more than the thin, elegant black horns which peaked out from light brown hair to curl around the person’s ears.

“Mama.” The word came from his mouth small and broken.

Holly looked around once more before pulling a hood back over her head and walking out of the picture’s line of sight.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there staring at the darkened street before turning to Reimi. “Stay right here. Stay right above this picture. Please.”

Reimi nodded and moved to sit by the picture, several of her friends followed suit.

“Kakyoin. I-I need-,” Jotaro’s hands were shaking as he numbly turned on his heel.

When his eyes landed on the library doors, he bolted. Jotaro didn’t care that he tripped on the rug as soon as his foot hit the hallway. He ignored the warm liquid dripping down his chin as he pushed himself up from the floor and darted to the staircase. Blood rushed to his ears. His feet thudded hard against the wood. The front of his toes hit the bottom of the top stair sending him to the ground again, and he laid their panting.

She was alive.

Alive, alive, alive.

Living. Breathing. Just like him, and he knew this from what Avdol told him, but it was so different to see her. To see her so close and so, so tired. His mom was alive and okay.

Still shaking, he dugs his fingers into the rug before forcing himself up. He needed to tell Kakyoin. Jotaro got back onto his feet and managed to keep his pace steady. He placed a hand on Kakyoin’s door knob finding it warm.

That wasn’t normal.

Opening the door, Jotaro saw all the same things as last time. A room full of dark woods with green trimmings. Knick knacks and odd objects hung from the ceiling along with bookshelves packed tightly by each other against the walls covered with growing plant life. In the middle of the room against the back wall stood the round imposing bed. The odd thing about it was all the pillows Jotaro remembered seeing were gone.

“Kakyoin?”

The edge of the blanket near the floor moved before the top of red hair popped out. Kakyoin looked at Jotaro confused, and Jotaro returned the look. Why the hell were they under the bed.

“More nightmares?” Kakyoin pulled themselves out from under the bed after showing some exertion to get free.

All at once, Jotaro remembered why he was in there.

“My mom. I saw her, I know where they are.”

“Oh? Oh! OH.” Kakyoin scrambled towards him with their hands slightly raised. “We should. Library, Let’s go, let’s-. Oh my god, what happened to your nose.”

“There’s no time for that.” Jotaro turned away and walked back out the door.

Kakyoin followed after him, but they huffed as they did it. Their trip back to the library wasn’t as hazardous as when Jotaro left it earlier. Pixies sat in a giggling bundle around the picture on the map, and Kakyoin shooed them away. Kakyoin then pulled out a strip of tape and measured the distance from Hadeo to a town called Morioh. The town where his family was. The town his mother was in. Taking out a tool Jotaro didn’t recognize, they counted on their fingers as it ticked and made a tsk sound when they set it aside. Finally, Kakyoin grabbed a metal clasp with a large hoop and circled the distance several times before their shoulders slumped.

“What? What is it?” Jotaro looked at the map.

“It’s a bit further than I thought it’d be.” The odd hoop tool beeped in their hands.

“How far?”

“If we were to ride Nonon the whole way there without stopping it’d be 28 days maybe.”

“…we can’t do that.”

“No, we can’t. Which means it’d be twice that long. Two months at least, and that’s only if we don’t run into any trouble on the way.” Kakyoin brushed their bang behind their ear.

Two months? That wasn’t close enough. What if his family was planning on leaving soon? Then what would Jotaro do? They could probably follow them to the next destination, but who knows how long that’d take.

“That thing you were talking about in your lab.”

Kakyoin opened their mouth, then closed it and put their hand against their chin. “That wouldn’t work, but I could modify it to…no- no. That’s crazy. It couldn’t work. Then again. What if I were to-,” Kakyoin drew randomly on their palm, “If I could…wait. Maybe, maybe it could. There’s possibility of splinching, but nothing I couldn’t get back. Right. Right, okay.”

Jotaro waited until Kakyoin stopped rambling.

“I’ll need something of yours though in order for it to work.”

“I don’t hav-,“ Something flipped Jotaro’s bangs out of his face.

Oh.

“Will some of my hair work?”

“Yes! That’ll be perfect.” They took a hair tie from their wrist and handed it to him. “Put this on, and ill snip off the excess. We’ll even the rest out after we get there.”

Jotaro took the string pulling as much of his hair back as he could before tying it into a small ponytail. A quick snip snapped against the back of his neck, and Jotaro watched as the clump of hair along with the tie floated over into Kakyoin’s hand.

“Come with me.” Kakyoin was heading out of the library.

Jotaro followed close behind. He realized a little too late that they were going straight to Kakyoin’s lab. A wet cloth was pressed against the tip of his nose.

Hierophant.

Jotaro muttered a thank you before he took it from the air using it to wipe the dried blood from his face and pressing a cleaner area against the underside of his nose. He was too busy watching where Kakyoin’s feet went to notice the small trilling noises that now came from the other side of the lab door. Jotaro stopped when they did, and looked up in time to see Nonon bumble out of the doors and wrap her neck around him. She trilled running her beak through his awkwardly cut hair and Kakyoin chuckled as they squeezed by them to get inside.

“When you two are done with your reunion, feel free to come inside.”

Jotaro was torn between holding the cloth to his face and struggling out of Nonon’s grasp. “Nonon, you’re strangling me.”

That was only a slight exaggeration.

Luckily, just as he was about to drop the bloodied cloth, she detangled herself from him and nudged him into the lab.

“Baton down the hatches, Hierophant. I don’t want a single room not tied down.” Kakyoin opened a small furnace and tossed the clump of hair into it.

The flames turned from orange to purple when the strands hit them and Kakyoin clamped the furnace closed drawing something over the latch with their finger. Then after donning a thick, leather apron over their striped pajamas, they made several symbols appear in the air.

“Kakyoin.”

“Hm? Yes? What?”

Jotaro pushed Nonon’s head away as she tried to fix his hair. “What are you doing?”

Kakyoin titled their head and gave him a smile. “Something.”

Jotaro was going to strangle them.

The symbols Kakyoin had drawn flew through the air, phasing through the walls to who knows where. However, that wasn’t the thing Jotaro found strange. He also didn’t think the walls starting to glow and a low humming sound flitting through the air was that odd either. On the other hand, he did become concerned when the floor began to shake.

“Kakyoin.”

“The tables are bolted down, so you might want to hold onto something.” Kakyoin was using a bellows to pump more air into the furnace making purple fire flow out from the holes in the grate.

When the hell did they get that?

The fire climbed along the thick metal pipe the more Kakyoin pumped.

“Kakyoin?”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. Nothing to worry about.”

Suddenly, anything that wasn’t bolted down to the ground flew towards the ceiling. This included Jotaro and Nonon. Kakyoin on the other hand somehow remained on the wooden floor still pumping the bellows.

One moment they were in the air, Jotaro watched a tapered flask float by, the next they were back on the hard wood floor while the room shook as if it were a snow globe in the hands of a child. Jotaro grabbed the nearest table leg trying to find purchase against the grain. He snuck a glance back at Kakyoin, but couldn’t see them due to the purple flames being thick enough to hide the furnace and its pipe.

“KAKYOIN.”

Kakyoin’s head peered out of the flames. “Yes? Are you all right?”

“WHAT IS HAPPENING.”

“Travel made easy. Oh! I’ll talk in a minute. I really need to keep this fire going.” Their head dipped back behind the shield of flames.

Vials and bottles and jars and flasks and stoppers and scrolls and books tumbled to the floor, rolling across the wood or sliding down shelves leaving papers and odd liquids in their path. Nonon scurried along the shuddering floor knocking things around with her beak or tasting things that Jotaro thought he should stop her from getting near. He would’ve if he could get his feet steady.

Speaking of his feet, when did the flames get close to him? Jotaro swung himself under the table just as one tried flicking the skin of his toes. Nonon paid no mind to the danger, her talons digging into the wood whenever she was about to be knocked off her feet.

Jotaro blinked and the flames were an inch from his nose. He gasped while the flames passed over him like he was nothing. He looked down at his shirt to see nothing singed or burning. What kind of fire was this? Kakyoin had a grin on their face that was almost manic as they worked the bellows in the furnace. Sparks flew down their neck, over their shoulders and down their arms all the way to their fingertips. They turned their head to look at him and grinned revealing those same short sharp teeth he never saw unless their eyes were pink. Jotaro felt his face heat, but he didn’t know why. Actually, it was probably because of all the fire. Because seriously what the fuck was going on right now.

Kakyoin was back to looking at the furnace. Thick green tendrils flowed from their shoulders following the motion of purple flames. Their lips were moving and the tendrils smacked against the floor.

The house stopped moving. Jotaro felt like someone just filled his mouth with water. The bellows in Kakyoin’s hands dropped to the floor. Their eyes were closed and a soft smile sat on their face. They then pursed their lips and a thin bubble grew from the space between them. Was that a spit bubble? Jotaro was about to ask them what they were doing when the bubble popped and he knew he was starting to fly towards the ceiling for the second time that night. The difference this time was that his hands were gripped around the table legs.

The room and presumably the house fell hard against the ground. Jotaro’s face plant didn’t hurt as much since he was closer to the ground this time. The flames in the room vanished. The tendrils that sprawled from Kakyoin’s shoulders suffered the same fate.

Speaking of Kakyoin, they were lying on their back on the floor with the map from the library floating above them.

“Kakyoin.”

“I can’t believe it worked.”

Jotaro paused in his movement to stand up. The wonder in their voice wasn’t familiar to him in the slightest. “What was all that?”

Kakyoin rolled over onto their stomach. Their teeth were back to their blunt flat edges as they spoke. “I moved the house. Well, we moved the house. According to the map, we’re a week away from Morioh on bird back.”

Nonon pattered over to squawk in Kakyoin’s ear.

“Sorry. One week away by the lovely Nonon transportation service I mean.”

She seemed pleased with the answer bending down to adjust their long hair bang.

“How did you do that? How’d you move the whole house so close?”

“Well, there’s a very simple explanation for tha-,” Kakyoin’s eyes closed and their head thudded against the floor.

“KAKYOIN.”

Jotaro rushed over and leaned down on his hands getting close enough without touching them. Did they die? Did that kill them? They couldn’t die. Could they? Could Kakyoin die after doing something like this? No no no. This didn’t make sense. Was it the magic they used?

Damn it.

He should’ve listened when Kakyoin explained the magic to him the first time he was in this place.

“Kakyoin?”

No response.

“Kakyoin, please don’t be dead.”

They weren’t even moving.

“Noriaki?”

His hand trembled as he reached over, and just when his fingers were about to touch the top of Kakyoin’s head, a loud snore came from their mouth.

Jotaro let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, letting himself slide back onto the floor. They were only asleep, huh? Jotaro glared at Kakyoin’s sleeping face. He was going to kill them when they woke up.

Chapter Text

Hierophant carried Kakyoin back up to their room which Jotaro thanked it for. However, it wasn’t until he was in front of his door that he realized he still had a problem. There was that orb from earlier. Would it still be there?

Jotaro opened the door to find the glass orb missing.

Oh thank god.

He’d had enough adventure for the night.

Shucking his pants off, he slid into bed and wrapped the blankets tightly around himself.

Tomorrow, they’d travel on Nonon to Morioh.

His exhaustion from earlier’s excitement along with his tiredness from being up so late managed to knock him out.

 

Jotaro felt like only minutes had passed before he woke up to see a pink skyline over him.

A vibrant pink skyline with purple clouds. Sitting up, he looked down at the soft feeling under his fingers to spot one of those same clouds under him.

This was a dream.

Reaching up, Jotaro dragged his blunt nails against the side of his neck.

Not a dream.

Not a dream, not a dream, this wasn’t a dream.

“This isn’t my room.”

“I would think not.” A woman’s voice came from above him.

Jotaro closed his eyes, took several breaths, and looked up.

The woman was gigantic.

Was this the queen Kakyoin spoke to? It would make sense. She was just as large as her image depicted her with the conversation they had.

She crouched down so that Jotaro could see her face, and he’d never felt smaller in that moment. Her nose was as long as he was tall. Her hair was in a high bun with two short bangs which framed her forehead, and her eyes were large and a bright hazel in color.

“Hello Jotaro Kujo, descendent of Jonathan Joestar. Welcome to my domain.”

“Uh.” He gripped his shirt and let go of it to look down at his attire. He was covered in drapes of white fabric that hung on him snugly. “Uhm.”

“You have questions.” She smiled at him.

He nodded. His tongue swimming down his throat.

“I have questions as well. Walk with me.” With those words her form shrunk to where she was only 300 centimeters tall. The white robes she wore still hugged her and flowed loose around her feet.

This was a much better improvement in Jotaro’s opinion.

They walked together and the further along the path they traveled the more the landscape opened up to Jotaro’s eyes. Large stalks with piles of fluff sitting on top of them spanned across the horizon. Below the stocks were what he assumed to be houses. He wasn’t sure. They were shaped like varying sized bulbs sitting on top of each other and door shaped holes sat on random parts. Foot-trodden paths lined with light that popped and sprouting flowers weaved between the houses and stalks.

“Let us do a question for a question. Be sure to remain honest in your answers, or I’ll know.” Her voice was fluttery.

“Why am I here?” He wondered why he wasn’t falling asleep to her voice like last time. Was it his magic at work? Was it because he was on her land? He didn’t know.

“Because I wanted to speak with you. You ignored my earlier invitation, so I decided to bring you here.”

Jotaro scratched his jaw. Earlier invitation? Could she mean that orb? How was he supposed to know he was being invited anywhere. All it did was fill with smoke and look menacing sitting on the floor. He wasn’t about touch something like that.

“My turn.”

He bit the inside of his cheek.

“Why did you ignore my invitation? You didn’t pick it up or anything.” She rested her cheek in her palm feigning hurt.

“I’d never seen something like that before.”

“I see. Well, no wonder you didn’t touch it. It must’ve been frightening.”

Jotaro glared at the path they followed. “I wasn’t scared.”

“Of course not. Your turn.”

He opened his mouth to say something when a strong gust of wind buffeted him. Using his arms to shield his face, Jotaro closed his eyes tightly at the dust that flew past him. Small pellets snapped at his arms and head making him wonder just what the hell was going on. A large hand was placed on top of his head causing him to jerk his arms up in an attempt to get it off.

The wind stopped and the hand was removed.

“What the fuck was that?” Jotaro patted himself trying to find any wounds or dirt only to find not a spot out of place.

“Just a simple sage cleansing.”

Jotaro turned his glare towards her and the smug smile on her face. His eyes widened a fraction when he realized that he wasted his question. She did that on purpose! What kind of queen was this?

“My turn,” she picked a yellowing large flower from one of the white stalks they walked by, “How did you end up in the slave trade?”

He didn’t have to answer that, right? All she said was that he had to be honest, and he honestly didn’t want to explain how that happened. “My mom became sick.”

His eyes widened and he grabbed his throat. Wha-?

“She became sick and we didn’t know what it was,” the words came flowing from his lips and he slapped a hand over his mouth, but they continued from his fingers barely muffled, “There was a doctor in town and he wouldn’t treat her. We didn’t know why. My grandparents are very rich and were willing to pay him anything, but he ignored them,” he closed his eyes tight with tears threatening to slip out and just why couldn’t he stop talking, “I was angry and I left her. I was going to knock some sense into the guy, when he saw me he was willing to take less money to treat her. He gave her the medicine and told me to pay him at some location in secret-“ Jotaro was hitting the butt of his fists against his forhead at this point with his knees dug firmly in the dirt.

The words stopped.

Panting, he realized he was trembling. His cheeks were stained with tear tracks, and his head hurt from hitting it so hard.

“I see.” Her voice sounded distant.

Jotaro felt like someone dumped cold water over his head with those words. He dug his long blackened nails into the dirt. “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you doing this to me what do you want what do you want from mewhatdididowhatdididoidontwanttobeherewhyareyoumakingmedothesethings!”

She remained un-phased. “I’m sorry, dear. I didn’t quite hear your question. Ask me again.”

It could’ve been a minute that passed. It could’ve been an hour. Maybe even a day that Jotaro sat there staring at the dirt and every odd shaped pebble that sat between his fingers until the black faded from his skin. He waited for another buffet a wind like the first one. Instead of that something grabbed the back of his shirt pulling him onto his feet.

“Am I trapped here?” Jotaro’s gaze was distant.

“No, do you want to be?”

“No.”

“Mmhm. Next question.”

“When can I go back?”

The queen tapped a finger against her chin. “Well, that depends on what you mean by back?”

“What?”

The ground shook around his feet at the same moment she vanished from his sight. He fell on his ass before the dirt around him trailed into nothing forming a thin circle. When the dirt fell away, the area under him turning into soft satin-like pillows, and it was when he started getting further from the ground that he realized he was now on one of the giant stalks he saw in this world. The pillows became more distinct forming into leaves as long and his legs and wider than cushions. Their veining turned from white to blue to purple overlapping each other in swirls and wiry lines. Plumes of sparkling dust burst from flowers which sprouted alongside the growing leaves. He coughed and waved at the dust to get it to disperse. Once the stalk stopped growing Jotaro bounced a few centimeters from the new leaf he was sitting on to slide down onto another.

Jotaro gripped what he could of the smooth surface so he wouldn’t go any further. He was sitting in the center at the top of the giant stalk. Other stalks leaves brushed the edges of his sitting taller or shorter than his own stalk.

Two large hands parted the leaves and the queen’s face stared at him with wonder in her eyes. “Do you understand?”

He shook his head. As far as he knew she left him to fend for himself as some giant tree thing threw him into the air.

“You grew this,” She pressed a finger against the leaf Jotaro sat on.

“I didn’t do anything.”

She smiled, this time her expression fond. “You did. With your tears.”

“Wha-?”

“It’s so very easy to be cruel. The fae do it well, but humans do their best to match the efforts of my children. I have no problem being cruel as I did to you earlier. You were hurting. You’re hurting now, and yet even while you hurt and the pain seems unbearable you were able to grow something.”

Jotaro was at a loss for words. He wasn’t sure how to make sense of her words. He wasn’t even sure if he could.

“It’s admirable. Your kind though with extended lives compared to humans, but still so mortal. You hurt and hurt and hurt and yet you’re able to grow.”

It wasn’t that she was saying wasn’t all well and good, but Jotaro’s capacity for dealing with this creature had come to an end. He just wanted to go home. He didn’t want to be here listening to her wax on about things like this. Jotaro was forced to say things he didn’t want to talk about, handled like a doll and thrown around just to be taught some shitty lesson about growth. He was tired, and he was done.

“Did they tell you what they are? No, of course not. It’s a difficult question it is.” She pulled back and the plant life of the stalks all fell back into place obscuring whatever view Jotaro would have of her.

He felt himself being lifted again and he struggled, kicking his legs and flailing his arms before he landed face first in the palm of her hand.

“Do you know what will happen to you once your horns have grown in? What you have to do?”

From up here, Jotaro could almost feel the weight of her steps. He swallowed any spit left in his mouth. She could tip her palm just so and that’d be it. How the hell did he end up in these situations. “I didn’t think I’d have to do anything.”

“I’m not sure what the latest terms are, but you must proof your magic.”

Proof his magic? He was sure she didn’t mean prove, because if she did she would’ve said so. Vaguely he remembered Kakyoin telling him he had to soup the scissors with his bandages. That was….weird.

She brought him up so he wasn’t far from her face. “You must commit an act similar or the same act you would do in order to gain or maintain your magic. For fairies, they must play a trick on another being. With wizards, they must use their familiar to gather magic from nature. What do you think an incubus must do?”

A beat passed.

He didn’t need any more explanation. Did Kakyoin know? Is that why they told him he had to stay until his horns grew in?

“Why did you try to kill Noriaki? Not that there hasn’t been attempts on their life before, but you’re the first to go for such a personal killing. How was it? How did it feel looking into their eyes as their life began to drain away?”

Stop it.”

She laughed and her voice was no longer tinkling and fluttery but sharp.

What was her game?

“Come now, child. Tell me why you tried to kill them. I asked nicely.”

“I thought they lied to me. Lik-,“ Jotaro bit his bottom lip. He stopped himself from saying "Like everyone else".

“Of course Noriaki has lied to you.”

One of her fingers prodded Jotaro in the back prompting him to stand up. He did. His bare feet were uncomfortable with the warm feeling of skin under them. Goosebumps spread over his legs and arms.

Kakyoin lied to them.

“What did they lie about?” His nails, though blunt, dug into his palms deep enough to leave marks from how tight he was clenching his fists. He tried to keep his face neutral, but from the sinister look in her eyes he didn’t think he was doing well.

“I can’t tell you that, but I can help you hurt them. You said you wanted to go back? Where is back for you? What place is it? Back in that tidy little room in Noriaki’s home? Or is it with your poor mother?”

“Leave her out of this.”

Two fingers pressed against Jotaro’s back and chest. It wouldn’t take but the slightest pressure to squish him like a bug. His breath caught in his throat.

“I think I’ve let you command me enough. You were so aware of where you were when I brought you here. I won’t hesitate to remind you who has the power in this situation. Is your name Aya Ruler of the Fae? No. Hush now, child.” She let her fingers drop and jostled him so that he fell on his hands and knees.

Jotaro placed a hand over his stomach.

He almost died.

“I’m giving you a choice.” She rolled her hand to the side so he fell onto a cloud.

Two circles which provided a window view appeared before him. One window was a view of Kakyoin sleeping with dark circles under their eyes. The blankets were pulled up to their neck and pillows lied in bunches around their head. In the other window was his mother, and his heart caught in his throat. She was sleeping with a pillow clutched tightly against her chest. Dark circles were also under her eyes and her hair was a mess. The blankets had at some point been kicked away, and a picture of both him and his mother sat near the edge of the bed.

“You can go to her, right now. Just disappear from Noriaki’s home without a trace of how you left. Or, you can go back to your room in Noriaki's quaint little home, and let your poor mother suffer for however long it will take you to return.”

He could go home?

Holly turned and her lips moved, but Jotaro couldn’t read what she was saying. She looked as tired as he felt. He reached out to touch the image but his only marred the colors of the picture like paint and water. It didn’t return to the regular image until he pulled his fingers away.

This would be Kakyoin’s goal anyway right? It wasn’t much longer until his horns would grow in. Just a few more days maybe? At best? He’d lost track of time with all the things that have happened since Kakyoin bought him. Stole him really. According to the queen of the fae, they lied to him too. How many times did they lie to Jotaro? What did they lie about? Why were they so insistent about Jotaro staying until his horns grew in? Did they know? Did they know Jotaro would have to- to touch someone to get his magic? Did Kakyoin want it to be them?

Is that why Kakyoin was so determined to earn Jotaro’s trust?

Was that whole speech about wanting Jotaro to be safe and able rely on himself a lie?

Cruelty is easy she said. Kakyoin isn’t human, but they pretend to be and both humans and fae are capable of cruel things. Polnareff told him that Kakyoin didn’t enjoy hurting people, but could he really take their word for it? Kakyoin had left after nearly killing Polnareff in the same way they killed their father. Kakyoin said they couldn’t trust themselves. If they couldn’t even trust themselves why else would they be so desperate to gain Jotaro’s trust?

That spectacle they caused with Dio was too big to make if Kakyoin didn’t see some kind of investment in Jotaro.

It’d be easier to go home.

He didn’t know how he’d explain things to his mother, but she was always safer than people he barely knew.

She’d listen. They’d find some way around the proof thing he had to do when his horns grew in.

The more he thought about it the more he realized it was the only option he had.

“Have you made your decision?” Aya’s voice was just as sharp her patience having run out.

“Yes.” Jotaro sat on his calves still staring at the image of Holly as she rolled onto her other side.

“Wonderful. This will be quick.”

Aya scooped him into her palm and closed her opposite hand over him cupping him inside.

It was darker than black.

And then it wasn’t.

Jotaro sat up in bed and took in his surroundings.

Everything in his room was in place. It was almost like he’d never left. The sun shined in through the window turning everything a pale yellow. He was sure he’d been up all night, but for some reason Jotaro felt refreshed as if he’d slept. Getting out of bed, he did a once over himself before walking out of the room.

Kakyoin was slumped against the banister in their striped pajamas that looked too long for them. A sliver a drool slide down the side of their mouth and Jotaro made a face at that.

“Heirophant.”

At once Kakyoin jostled awake. “WHAT?” They turned to look at Jotaro. “Oh. Good morning.”

Jotaro didn’t respond.

They rubbed their eyes and yawned. “What do you want for breakfast?”

“Surprise me.”

“Omelettes it is!” Kakyoin gave him a goofy smile.

He watched Kakyoin descend the staircase stumbling a few times before following after them. Jotaro had a lot of questions that he would get answers for, and if Kakyoin could make something out of nothing so could he.

Chapter Text

Kakyoin noticed that Jotaro was being a different kind of quiet that morning. It was as if someone had stuffed ants down his pants with how he fidgeted in his seat. They were tempted to ask what was wrong, but held their tongue. Jotaro has already proven to them that if he wants to talk about something he would, no need for them to pry and make him upset.

“Kakyoin.”

They looked up with a mouthful of egg bulged in their cheek. “Hm?”

“Is some of my hair really all you needed to move the house.”

“It didn’t do just- hrmph, sorry,” they finished chewing and swallowed around their mouthful, “It didn’t do just that. I also no longer have to pack up each room to move. I can just move the whole house.”

“Are you going to move the house to the town where my family is?” Jotaro was scooting his eggs around his plate.

“Well I can’t really do that. This transport took a lot of energy out of me. We’re going there on Nonon, remember?”

Jotaro’s brow furrowed as he stared at his plate, and Kakyoin kept from sighing. They told him the truth, he’d just have to accept it. Kakyoin wished they could, they really did, but even they had their limits before other things bubbled to the surface.

“Are we leaving today then?”

“Yes, right after I run into the town nearby to stock up. Would you like to go with me?”

Jotaro perked up the furrow in his brow relaxing and stealing a glance at Kakyoin before his eyes returned to his plate. “Sure.”

Kakyoin couldn’t stop the small smile growing on their face if they wanted to. They were happy to be making progress with Jotaro, and every little bit counted. They were somewhat worried about how he’d adjust once he got back home. Would he remain hesitant about being touched? Would he lash out to his family out of reflex? Would Jotaro feel like he didn’t belong? The smile fell from their face. They’d just have to hope for the best. Keeping Jotaro around longer than he wanted to be there would make Kakyoin an enemy to him, and they didn’t want that.

They asked Hierophant to wash dishes when they were done eating and went upstairs to get dressed. Jotaro followed behind them more closely than Kakyoin ever remembered him doing. They felt a tap on their shoulder when they go to the top stair and jumped turning around to face him. Jotaro had never done that before.

“Y-yes?” Kakyoin had to hold their breath at the sight. Dark purple magic in the vague shape of a person pressed its hands against the barrier Kakyoin had it in. Jotaro had the glare back on his face as his magic pushed against the barrier, and Kakyoin swallowed the little spit in their mouth. “Is something wrong, Jotaro?”

“I’ll talk to you about it when we get to town.” Jotaro stepped aside and went into his room.

Kakyoin watched him go before heading into their own room. The vines from his venus begonia’s were trailing across the room again, and they snipped one of their leaves off making the vines retract. The flowers hated being trimmed. They grabbed a loose short sleeved shirt and a pair of dark cotton pants to toss on. They then adorned their navy blue cloak with gray trim and slipped on their socks and work boots. Not wanting to stain the carpet, Kakyoin magiked themselves to the front door.

Jotaro came down the stairs dressed in his gray mid-sleeve shirt and the heavy twill pants Kakyoin got for a deal with their new gloves. Maybe they should’ve worn them today, would be nice to show them off. He stooped down next to Kakyoin to put on his loafers, and just like that they were out the door. Kakyoin went through the passing in the trees looking back a few times to make sure Jotaro didn’t lose his footing or go off the path. They noticed Jotaro’s magic had reformed vaguely into a person again, but instead of pushing the thin sheen of the barrier as it always did, it simply rested its hands on Jotaro’s shoulders. Kakyoin turned their head when what looked to be a smile formed on its face and moved the branches out of the way so they could get through. They ignored the thin sheet of sweat on the back of their neck. Must’ve been a trick of the eyes from the shadows. Nothing more.

It wasn’t until they were in the throes of the market place did Jotaro speak again, and what he said made Kakyoin’s blood run cold.

“What have you been lying to me about?”

Kakyoin with their eyes focused on the stitching of a silk scarf they held kept their voice light. “What makes you think I’m lying to you about something?”

Yes, avoid the question.

That’ll get him to stop, because that method has worked so many times before.

“The queen of the fae dragged me to her realm and told me.”

Frost tickled the back of their throat, but Kakyoin forced it back. Damn that woman. They could admit her timing was impeccable for stirring the pot just when Jotaro stopped seeing them in such a hostile manner. Behind Kakyoin’s anger was concern, and they let their worry overwhelm the irritation. Was Jotaro okay? Aya always pushed people past their boundaries out of her own enjoyment. What did she do to him? What did she make him do? Their hands were shaking as they nervously folded the scarf to set it back on the counter.

Kakyoin looked Jotaro over to make sure nothing was out of place as if he’d vanished and returned from the fae realm in that instant. “Are you all right? What did she do? Why didn’t you tell me this morning over breakfast? Are you hurt anywhere? Did she hurt you? Did anyone hurt you?”

Jotaro's eyes widened and he bit the inside of his cheek. It was like he didn’t expect Kakyoin to be fearful for his well-being. Those kind of looks made Kakyoin wonder what Jotaro really thought of them, but they couldn’t ask that. Not now.

“If I wasn’t fine you would’ve noticed this morning. Don’t change the subject.” The fire was back in Jotaro’s eyes. He was determined.

His determination knocked Kakyoin off their mental footing more than they liked. This conversation would be more suited for the house. Inside the house to be precise. If Kakyoin could talk in circles long enough, Jotaro would get irritated and leave the subject alone. If they could do that, and then hit the road the topic would never come up again. The problem was, Kakyoin still had to actually buy things in the market before returning there. Jotaro must’ve planned it out that way, or else he wouldn’t have tagged along in the first place.

Damn it.

“What did she say about me?” Kakyoin handed a few coins to a merchant in exchange for a cloth tied bag of potatoes.

The merchant paid them no mind turning to the next customer as the duo went to another stall.

“She said you lied to me about something. She didn’t say what.”

Jotaro’s magic personified was still hovering with its hands on his shoulders. Kakyoin couldn’t mistake it for a trick of the light now. It was definitely smiling. Maybe even laughing? They were going to continue ignoring it. The magic couldn’t get out the barrier unless Kakyoin let go of the binding.

“Well, from your tone, you seem to have an idea of what I might be lying about. What are your thoughts?”

“The only thing I can think of is you lied about me wanting to leave when able to protect myself,” Jotaro paused so Kakyoin could purchase fruits, “and only trying to gain my trust so you can proof my magic.”

He said the last words like they were something foul, but the statement made Kakyoin confused. Jotaro made a face at him, the same face he only made when Kakyoin was confused. They should really ask him why he did that. “Proof your magic? What? What are you talking about?”

“She said I have to do what an incubus does to keep my magic as soon as my horns grow in.”

“That can’t be true…it can’t be.” Is that what Aya said? That couldn’t be true. Jotaro had enough put upon him to where he shouldn’t have to do anything.

Right?

“No I- you shouldn’t have to do anything. I thought that because of your previous predicament you wouldn’t have to do anything.”

Jotaro was cringing. “There’s a but there, isn’t it?”

“Aya’s a very powerful being who’s lived longer than anything on this earth. If she says you have to then I- I don’t know. I didn’t know you’d have to do anything.” Kakyoin stopped near the statue of some famous person near the center of the square.

Jotaro stopped a foot to the side of them. “What do you know then.”

Kakyoin would wring their hands together if one of them weren’t carrying bags. The bald humanoid figure that was Jotaro’s magic was laughing at them with vigor, clawing at the barrier, and now Kakyoin could see the sharp teeth in its maw. Should they tell Jotaro about the muffler? With all these people around it would be a large risk letting the barrier drop, and who knows how Jotaro would be affected. And then there was the guilt. Kakyoin had no idea how to help Jotaro with the proofing. He wouldn’t want to lie with anyone, and Kakyoin wouldn’t want Jotaro to suffer for it afterwards. Did Aya tell him that because of the binding? If they removed the barrier would Jotaro’s magic do the proofing on its own? Kakyoin needed answers, but they couldn’t just leave Jotaro alone. There wasn’t much more time until his horns grew in, and he needed his medicine.

His medicine! They almost forgot about it.

“Let’s get a few more things and get back home. We’ll figure it out. I’ll find a way around this for you, I promise.”

Jotaro stepped away from Kakyoin as if he’d been burned. “You can’t even tell me what you’ve lied to me about. I can never tell if you want my trust or just for me to do what you want me to do.”

“I’d love it if you trusted me, but I have no right asking for something I haven’t earned,” they adjusted the collar of their cloak, “I’ll tell you the truth as soon as we get back. You can hold me to it.”

Instead of saying anything, Jotaro held his hands out gesturing to the bags Kakyoin was becoming overloaded with.  They couldn’t help smiling again as they held out the bag of potatoes for him to take.

A splatter of liquid hit Kakyoin’s face at the same time the thud of potatoes hit the ground. Jotaro sounded like he was choking on something, and they looked down to see their arm from shoulder to finger tips still clutching the cloth bag now lying on the ground. Their eyes began to glaze over as shock numbed any pain.

“Insulting my kind messenger was a mistake on your part, but don’t worry. I’ll make another cut, collect my dues, and be on my way.”

Dio.

Kakyoin’s mind was screaming, but not a mumble slipped from their lips. Their vision grayed at the edges. No. No! What about Jotaro! They felt cool dirt against their cheek before their vision went black.

When their vision returned Kakyoin was in a place they were all too familiar with. Floating on their back was another them. Another version of them? Their magic? Kakyoin was never sure, but all that annoyed them was that the person looked exactly like Kakyoin only with white hair and those pink and yellow eyes they hated.

“Twice in 24 hours? You must be slipping.”

Kakyoin rolled their eyes. “I need to wake up. Now.”

“You’re the one losing limbs. It’d be much easier if you’d…hm? Seems like we’re on a time limit.” Their other self took Kakyoin’s face into their hands and tilted Kakyoin’s head.

They pressed against Kakyoin until they felt like they couldn’t breathe.

 

Kakyoin coughed, a mix of spit and blood coming from his open mouth.  Magic rolled over in waves, and along with copper he tasted cold wind and frost on their tongue. A cloud formed under them shooting them into the sky. Pushing themselves up onto one arm was a challenge, but they managed and saw Jotaro in a fetal position clutching his arms. Thick whips of purple twined over him.

Oh god the barrier fell while they were unconscious.

A shout made Kakyoin peer through the cloud. Their breath caught in their throat at the sight. Dio was a manic bloody mess. They really didn’t want to deal with him. A whisper of words they didn’t quite catch flew over Kakyoin’s ears, and they nodded. They didn’t know how long they were out. The pain in the stump on their torso where their arm was started to pulse. The blood dripping from the wound leaving a growing stain on their torn shirt and cloak.

Kakyoin’s heart stopped for a beat making an eclipse form under Dio.

On the second beat it missed, the man was sucked into the hole.

On the third beat, the eclipse closed.

After missing the fourth beat, Kakyoin grew worried it wouldn’t start up again. But he could breathe again when it didn’t miss the fifth beat, or the sixth, or anymore after that.

That was one problem taken care of. They fell on their face again and panted. Kakyoin needed to get them both home. “Jotaro.”

“Jotaro.” They turned their head to the side and licked the blood from their bottom lip.

Jotaro had stopped shaking. How long had they been gone? How long had they been gone?

“Jotaro, please. Please say something.”

Kakyoin blinked. Less than a second and they were on their back with a hand on their throat. Jotaro’s eyes had gone completely black. His teeth were larger than they’d ever seen them, sharp and bulging from his lips.

Oh, that’s right.

Incubi also eat people.

Jotaro’s magic pressed hard against their sides and they shouted when one of the rays hit their wound. Tears slid down Kakyoin’s face from the pain. They were getting very low on options. They were too weak to try and wrestle Jotaro off of them. They could set the cloud down and maybe the shift in magic would confuse Jotaro enough for Kakyoin to talk some sense into him. Jotaro’s face was close to Kakyoin’s, their noses almost touching. Kakyoin could also let Jotaro drop through the cloud and hope his landing wasn’t too bad.

Jotaro opened his mouth with trembling lips and his warm breath hit Kakyoin’s face. It smelled like vanilla?

NOPE.

NO NO NO NO NO.

There was going to be no use of aphrodisiacs here. Using the fear in their heart for strength, they head-butted Jotaro as hard as they could. Jotaro let go of their neck, clasping at his face giving Kakyoin leverage to push a gust of wind against his side knocking him over.

“Jotaro! Get a hold of yourself!”

Yelling probably wouldn’t do anything, but Kakyoin could hope. Jotaro groaned and growled in his throat. His focus was back on Kakyoin as he wiped the blood from his forehead down his face. His magic formed the silhouette of a person again only several eyes opened up to look at them. Kakyoin thought the image was more terrifying than it had any right to be. Another barrier wouldn’t work. They didn’t have the magic to maintain it and keep them on the cloud. Kakyoin groaned. They really only had one option at this point.

“Hierophant.” The green tendrils Kakyoin knew by every vein pulled out of their shoulders and wrapped like ropes around Jotaro’s torso immobilizing him.

Using Hierophant’s arm as their own, they pushed themselves up from the ground and leapt at Jotaro knocking him onto his back. Kakyoin pressed their hand against Jotaro’s mouth as he struggled in Hierophant’s grasp. Shocks of electricity traveled over their shoulders and frost flowed from their lips.

“Sleep.” The other Kakyoin’s voice came from their mouth.

Jotaro’s eyes closed, his body going limp like a ragdoll. Kakyoin sighed, exhausted. Their arm was brought to them by another tendril as well as their groceries.

“I’d give anything for a dull day again.”

Hierophant gurgled at them with sympathy.

Chapter Text

Jotaro woke up with a start. He felt different. His skin was tingly. The most he could remember was seeing Kakyion’s arm hacked off, and Dio.

DIO.

Where was he? What happened?

A pained scream came from the wall beside him, and Jotaro bolted from the couch into the other room.

Sitting on a pile of towels on the floor was Kakyoin, they were drenched in sweat and their shirt bared a large blood spot that took up the entire seam. Their face was covered with tears, and snot and spit dripped down their lips and chin. Thin short vines of skin were working between the stump on their torso and the shoulder of their arm.

Were they reattaching it?

Could they do that?

Kakyoin shook on the floor clenching their bicep with their hand until the last bit of skin settled leaving behind a thin scar of white skin around the cut.

What were they?

A choked sob came from Kakyoin’s throat startling him. Their eyes were shut tight and they were whimpering. Jotaro never thought he’d see Kakyoin like this. It scared him.

“Kakyoin?”

Kakyoin’s eyes snapped open and a face towel was thrown over their face. When the towel fell Kakyoin’s face was clean as if they hadn’t been sobbing on the carpet. “Jotaro, you’re awake.” Their voice still sounded raw. “Are you all right?”

Were they seriously asking him that? Kakyoin had their arm chopped off and they were asking if Jotaro was okay? He didn’t know if he wanted to scream or punch them. Did they really care so little about themselves? “You tell me. What happened?”

“From my point of view? I had my arm chopped off, blacked out, woke up, and sent Dio through a portal. You should be telling me what happened. He was manic and covered in blood. Couldn’t have been yours. There wasn’t a scratch on you when I woke up.”

“I-.” Jotaro stopped himself. What did happen? Kakyoin did fall to the ground and go unconscious. Then he felt something push against his chest. Dio said something. Something that made his blood boil. He remembered the colors of the world changing to various shades of blue, and then he remembered feeling excited? Thrilled even. That was concerning.

Jotaro pressed a hand against his face in thought. Why was he excited? Closing his eyes, he focused catching glimpses from his memory. Dio’s slashed face. That was good. New bloodied wounds matching the scars of the ones Jotaro left last time. Also good. So much purple. Not sure what that meant. Feeling like he was finally free of something. He wasn’t sure where that feeling came from. Clouds? Another weird image. Kakyoin laying down and breathing heavily. Okay. A clawed hand around Kakyoin’s throat.

No.

Kakyoin’s face so close he could see their freckles.

No no.

Kakyoin’s eyes widening in fear and the feeling of pain against his forehead.

What did he do?

A glint of green. What was that? Something muffling his mouth. What did he do? Then blackness. “Noriaki.” He didn’t remember his voice ever sounding so small.

Kakyoin had changed shirts at some point and was leaning against the front of the couch with sweat still strung across their brow. The worry on their face was evident. “What? What’s wrong?”

“What did I do to you.”

“You didn’t do anything, Jotaro.”

Why were they lying to him? Jotaro knew the exact face Kakyoin made. It was the same face he made when- “Why are you lying to me? Do you think that’ll make me feel better? Do you think I won’t remember everything later? If I do what will lying do now? Why do you keep lying to me!”

“You didn’t do anything,” Kakyoin leaned their head back so it rested on the couch cushion, “I thought you were going to eat me alive, but that’s it.”

“…that’s it?”

“Yes. Your magic got out of control and overwhelmed you. That was my fault.”

“How is that your fault?”

Kakyoin patted a spot next to them. Jotaro’s shoulders sagged. Ignoring the gesutre, he sat on the opposite end of the couch.

“After you got here I’ve been working off all the binding spells that had been put on you with the medicine for your horn pain. There were a lot of them, interlaced with tracing spells and memory charms. Honestly, I think that was the primary reason for your headaches, but I didn’t want to experiment on you to find out. That wouldn’t be polite.”

“No it wouldn’t be.”

Kakyoin brushed their bang behind their ear. “But then your magic started acting strangely. I couldn’t put words to it. I just knew it would be bad for you if it grew like that, so after I got the last binding off I put a temporary muffler on your magic.”

“You WHAT.”

“It was only before we went to the ball, and it was just a barrier around you so you could keep your powers in check.” Kakyoin held a hand up in surrender.

“What the hell makes you think you’re so different from everyone else who’s muffled me.” Jotaro was snarling.

How dare they. How dare they. Kakyoin had no right limit his magic like that. He barely knew how to use it, and Kakyoin had been preventing him from working with it at all. Is this what Aya meant when she told him they lied? It better be. Jotaro wasn’t sure if he could even stay with Kakyoin for the rest of the journey if there was anything else. He could always feel when spells were put on him, and the fact that Kakyoin placed one on him without him noticing worried him. Should he have just gone home when Aya offered it to him?

“In your eyes, I’m no different at all, but with the knowledge that you’ll have to proof your magic. It explains a lot of things. The only times where I couldn’t keep the muffler on you was the incident at the ball, the other incident with Polnareff, and today.”

“At the ball? You mean when my claws came out, and again with my markings. That shitty barrier of yours was keeping me from getting what I’m supposed to get.” Jotaro dug his nails into the cushion, the fabric tearing under the pressure.

“I didn’t know.”

“That doesn’t matter!”

“I know.” Kakyoin dragged a hand their face. “I know.”

For a while they sat in silence. Jotaro was fuming, and he pulled his legs up onto the couch because the floor was cold and his toes were a little numb. “She gave me the option to go home.”

“What?” Kakyoin rolled their head to the side and were eye to sole with Jotaro’s foot.

“Aya let me pick between going back home without you knowing or staying here.”

“Why didn’t you go home?”

“I wanted answers.”

Kakyoin snorted. “And here I am telling everything you don’t want to hear.”

“You wouldn’t even know where I’d gone. She said she’d make sure I’d leave without you having any idea how or where I’d gone, and I came back here. I came back here because I didn’t want to believe you were lying to me, because I wanted to trust you. But then you were acting all shifty after breakfast, and you avoided answering any of my questions in the market place-“

“I said I’d tell you the truth when we got back, and here we are, and I’ve told you the truth.”

“Because I had to know what was going on first. Because I had to drag the answers out of you. Kakyoin.”

Kakyoin slid down to the floor, the towels under them bunching up awkwardly.

“Kakyoin, would you have told me about muffling my magic if Aya didn’t tell me you were lying to me about something?”

“I would’ve dropped the binding before your horns grew in.” They didn’t even look at him as they said it.

Jotaro grabbed the first thing he could, which was a pillow, and chucked it at Kakyoin’s head. It hit them with a resounding whap, but didn’t make him feel any better. He almost fell off the couch when the same pillow whacked him in the face. He looked over to see Kakyoin standing with a glare on their face. The pillow had gotten back into his hand somehow, and Jotaro was off the couch pummeling Kakyoin with the pillow. Or at least attempting too. Every so often Jotaro would be buffeted with pillows at the side of his body or his face.

Kakyoin wasn’t missing out on the attacks since every time they dodged one of Jotaro’s swings a smaller pillow would come out of nowhere and smack them in the cheek or the arm.

The onslaught stopped by the time Jotaro had Kakyoin pinned against the wall with a pillow being held against their chest. Both were panting, and Kakyoin made no move to free themselves.

“The first time I did it, for the ball, was a precaution. Your magic was trying to attract someone. If it picked anyone, they’d realize you were still young and try something. I didn’t want you to get hurt. I didn’t know why your magic was acting like that until you told me what Aya told you. The second time, it was messing with Hierophant. I think it was irritated from the first muffling since I did it after getting all those original binding spells off of you, and then Polnareff used their magic on you, and you were bleeding out. I thought if I didn’t keep the muffler there you might die. I didn’t know it was stifling you, making things worse. I’m sorry. It was wrong of me to do it at all. I should’ve just found some other way. I’m so sorry, Jotaro.”

“Are you muffling me right now?” Jotaro narrowed his eyes at them.

“I barely had the energy to get us back here, and after that pillow fight I don’t think I could stand long enough to make dinner. You’re the only thing keeping me off the floor at the moment.”

“Right.” He pulled away and true to their word Kakyoin slid down the wall until they were sitting on the floor. “Anything else you’re lying to me about?”

“All I can think of is that time where I had you cook the fish for the gratin and said it was delicious. It wasn’t. You overcooked it.”

“I will hit you again.”

“You might as well. I should’ve known you’d gone somewhere else as soon as I saw your hair this morning. It’s cut evenly. Did you notice?”

Jotaro couldn’t get the question out before a mirror was placed in front of him. They were right. When did that happen? He bit the inside of his cheek, dropping the pillow to the floor. The mirror was moved and put away.  He muttered, “sage cleansing my ass.” Was there anything else that woman did to him?

“Either we’ll be able to leave late tonight, or early tomorrow morning. We aren’t going anywhere now.” Kakyoin’s head lolled against their shoulder like they couldn’t hold it up.

Something like pity rested in Jotaro’s stomach. “Hierophant, can you take Kakyoin to their room?”

Two tendrils tapped his shoulders showing he’d gotten their attention.

“Hierophant don’t you da-ah! Ah!” Kakyoin’s struggle came from their words as they were lifted from the floor.

Jotaro followed after them to the door frame, and watched as Kakyoin was carried up the stairs and into their room. After the door clicked shut, Jotaro shook his head. He turned on his heel and went into the kitchen. His apron floated from the hook to his hand. Looks like he’d be cooking dinner by himself. “Gimme a break. I’d give anything for a dull day.”

Hierophant tapped his shoulders in what he assumed was sympathy.

Chapter Text

Kira had a specific set of rules that Jotaro was beginning to memorize. His hands were chained behind his back as he lied in bed. The mattress and blankets were soft, softer than the stone floor he was used to in his old cell. No unannounced shower nights that left him shivering long after the warming spell was gone. Food that was better than edible even if he wasn’t allowed to eat anything but broth on certain nights. An actual bed to sleep in.

The magic from the runes binding him rolled over his skin in tremors.

A reminder.

Kira pressed against his back still clothed. Jotaro had never seen the man naked. The most Jotaro ever saw was when Kira’s pants were stopped above his knees. Kira’s hands pressed against Jotaro’s sides, rubbing from his chest down to his hips and back up again.

“St-stop.” Jotaro said it just above a whisper. A plea. Any louder and it would’ve been a command. Kira didn’t take commands well.

Like clockwork Kira’s hands stopped giving Jotaro some reprieve. After that was when the real challenge began. Depending on Kira’s mood, and how Jotaro pushed and pulled, sometimes Kira would leave without doing anything. The next time Kira came to Jotaro would be worse because of the first denial, but any night without torture was a blessing.

Kira’s hands traveled down Jotaro’s chest to his navel. Jotaro swallowed any spit in his mouth to fight the dryness in his throat. Kira’s fingers tangled in Jotaro’ pubic hair taking time to play with the curls. Jotaro’s cock remained flaccid against his thigh. Jotaro didn’t want to. He didn’t want to, he didn’t want to, he didn’t want to. Kira took a hold of Jotaro’s cock making him freeze.

“Please. Please don’t.” Jotaro kept his eyes forward. Don’t look down. Don’t look at his hands. If he looked at Kira’s hands he’d have to watch.

Kira kept Jotaro’s cock in his hand. “Jotaro.”

Oh god.

“Jotaro, do you like me?”

Jotaro bit his lip. He’d never been asked that before. What was he supposed to say? Yes? No? Kira only spoke in absolutes. If he said, “I’m not sure” or “Maybe” that wouldn’t bode well. What answer did Kira want?

“Are you unsure?” Kira held Jotaro’s cock loosely.

He took too long. Jotaro needed to answer now. “I know how I feel about you.”

Jotaro hated him.

“How do you feel about me?” Kira’s breath was warm on the back of Jotaro’s head.

He hated Kira.

“I feel strongly for you.”

Jotaro hated him. He hated him. He hated him. He didn’t deserve this.

“Would you like me to continue?” Kira gave a single stroke to Jotaro’s cock.

A loaded question. Kira only asked him that once before, and when Jotaro said no things got worse.

Looking out of the corner of his eye at his pillow, Jotaro couldn’t keep his lips from trembling. “Y-yes.”

Jotaro stared at the white wall on the other side of the room as Kira felt him up with one hand and jerked him off with the other. He couldn’t close his eyes. If he closed his eyes, Kira would do more thinking he liked it. Don’t look down. Don’t look at his hands.

Jotaro woke up shaking in bed. He’d moved his leg under the blankets only to realize he was hard. Why? He didn’t have to use the restroom. It was the middle of the night, and he believed his magic wasn’t the cause. Sitting up in bed, the chill of the room was ignored, he tried to register what he was feeling. Numb? Without much thought, Jotaro grabbed the pillow he was resting on and hugged it so his face was pressed into the cushion. Horrified. Disgusted with himself. Confused.

Maybe Pucci was right about him.

Something like fabric ripped. Jotaro pulled his face away from the pillow. His claws had come out, and feathers were peaking from the holes they’d torn into the pillow. He let the pillow drop against his legs so he could wipe the tear tracks from his cheeks.

Maybe Pucci was right about Jotaro.

The doorknob to his room jiggled before his door opened.

Hierophant?

Singing similar to the siren’s his mother took him to see came from the hallway.

Who was that?

His erection flagged while he was hugging the pillow. A small mercy. Getting out of bed, Jotaro walked into the hallway. The top of blue hair had just gone down the stairs.

Kakyoin?

Should he follow them? How were they awake? They kept dozing off the entire time they were eating dinner. The singing continued. Jotaro was caught between a rock and a hard place. Kakyoin didn’t want him to eavesdrop anymore, but he also wasn’t sure if Kakyoin decided to stop lying to him. He didn’t want to go back into his room. Falling asleep was currently an impossible feat. He could go to the library. That seemed like the safest option. Hell, he could even see how the garden looked at night and spend time with Nonon.

Maybe Kakyoin was wide awake from having to sleep most of the day. Maybe they were going to the kitchen to make more of that sweet custard drink? Jotaro found himself going down the stairs at that thought. He went into the kitchen to see no signs of life. No warm custard tonight. Turning around, Jotaro followed the singing to the hallway. The color scheme was red instead of the purple that Jotaro had grown used to seeing. The nighttime hallway.

Jotaro didn’t know if he could get to the garden or the library in this hallway. He should ask Kakyoin. Or maybe…

“Hierophant?”

Jotaro waited for a response, but the usual tapping against his shoulders never came. Did Hierophant sleep or was Jotaro being ignored? He hoped it was the former because he was about to get lost in this hallway. He didn’t have time to make a rope of towels and sheets again. The question was, which room would Kakyoin be in?

He tried the knob on the first door on the left. Locked. He then tried the door across from it. That one was also locked. Jotaro continued down the hallway repeating this process the further he walked. Locked door, locked door, storage room, locked door, writhing mass of slime, locked door, locked door, storage room, storage room, storage room, bookshelf-wait. Bookshelf? He opened the door again to see a single 3-tiered bookshelf sitting in the middle of an empty room. That looked ominous. Better to leave it alone.

He tried four more doors that were locked before approaching a door with a familiar aged handle for a knob.

The memory chamber.

Jotaro tried it to find the door opened easily. So much for getting rid of the room. The inside was just as black as ever. He shouldn’t go in there.

But he could find out what really happened yesterday at the market with Kakyoin.

No.

Jotaro shut the door. No eavesdropping. Jotaro tried the door across from it. Another storage room. How much stuff did Kakyoin have? Did they even use any of it?

The singing started up again making Jotaro close the door to follow the eerie notes. He didn’t even know Kakyoin could sing. Sure there was the fairy language they spoke, but as melodic as it was, technically it wasn’t singing. At least not like this.

He came to the end of the hallway. In front of him stood a tall double door, it’s wood had a greyish tint and was gnarled with vines. The doors looked to stand taller than the house, but after seeing the library for the first time Jotaro knew this building’s proportions were bullshit. The singing stopped. Stepping closer, Jotaro noticed one of the doors were five or so centimeters open. He hoped Kakyoin was in there. He pushed all his weight against the door to get it to budge enough for him to slip through.

The inside was like a whole different building. Everything was wood grain. The tables and desks sprouted from the floor with moss in nooks and crannies. Bookcases protruded from the walls with thick vines laced together for the shelves. From the vines were leaves, some of which were big enough to work as separators between series and tomes. The room smelled like nutmeg. Jotaro looked to the right to see a staircase lined against the wall curving upwards. Was he inside a tree? Cause that’s what it felt like. Jotaro went to the stairs. Each step was covered in a thick layer of moss which was wet and cold under his bare feet. Cringing, he endured the squish under his toes and kept one hand to the wall the further he went up.

The higher he went the more rooms he passed. No sign of Kakyoin. It wasn’t until the staircase ended that Jotaro realized there was only a door in front of him. This door looked out of place from the rest of the place he saw. It was covered in fabric like bandages with each strip of fabric covered in sigils. At his touch, the door opened without making a sound.

Creepy.

Jotaro stepped into a room similar to Kakyoin’s lab, but instead of metal and glass the room and it’s equipment was made entirely from plant life. He heard Kakyoin’s laughter come from one of the doors in the room. There were a lot more doors than he thought there should be. One between each bookcase totaling five. Jotaro went to the first one, a green door, and placed his ear against it. Something inside was bubbling. That wasn’t it. He went to the second one, a purple door with a large rune carved in the center. It was muffled, but someone was talking. Must be Kakyoin.

He opened his mouth to call out only for something wrap around his face muffling him. Jotaro reached up to pull it off and felt frantic tapping at his shoulders. There was Hierophant. Jotaro kept his hands on the tendrils over his mouth, but nodded. He needed to be quiet. At least that was his guess. The tendrils loosened and dropped to his shoulders in a heap. Looking back at the door, Jotaro could see a window that wasn’t there before.

He wasn’t there to eavesdrop. Maybe he should go back to his room and try to sleep. He tried to step back, but a tendril wrapped around his calf.

Okay, so he couldn’t leave either. Great.

Inside the room was Kakyoin wearing flowing robes lined with a gold trim. The fabric wrapped over them in a way that if they moved wrong, all the fabric would fall to the floor. Their hair was just as blue only paler in tone. Their eyes were that haunting yellow with pink irises. Not a wing was in sight, but they still looked like Rohan or Aya with their demeanor. In the middle of the room sat a man who was wearing nothing but a blindfold and Jotaro kept his eyes on Kakyoin.

They had a knife in their hand now making Jotaro tense. What were they going to do? Jotaro blinked and Kakyoin was on their knees in front of the man, their hand with the knife between them. The man jerked just as Kakyoin’s arm moved forward in a quick motion.

Jotaro needed to leave. Now. He made a fumble backwards, but Hierophants tendrils were faster binding his limbs and muffling his mouth again. Jotaro closed his eyes. He couldn’t watch anymore. Pulses of magic flowed along the floor below his feet making the skin tingle. He stood there, heart beating rapidly in his chest, and breathing becoming erratic. This couldn’t be happening. This could not be happening. He felt himself being lifted and moved. Oh god what now? The door opened when Jotaro was set onto his feet.

“This will work right?” A stranger’s voice asked.

Jotaro opened his eyes to see the man from earlier now with pants and putting on a coat.

Kakyoin still in the layers of thin fabric leaned against the door frame with their arms crossed. “Of course. If you’re still impotent after this, I can be sure it’s a curse. A very personal one at that. Professional curses have their own signature, but amateurs make so many mistakes it’s hard to place.”

The man nodded and started down the stairs. “Thank you. I’ll send the payment the usual way.”

“Good luck.”

Kakyoin and Jotaro watched the man until he was out of sight. Kakyoin then pulled a bloodied rooster from behind his back and Jotaro flinched.

“For the ritual. A cock above a cock. It’s juvenile, but so effective…Tomorrow for breakfast do you wa-.”

“I’m not eating that.”

“I’ll give it to Nonon then.” Kakyoin placed the chicken into a grass woven bowl. “Sorry about Hierophant. I didn’t think you’d follow me all the way up here. Lots of rooms in this building.”

“You’re not Kakyoin.”

Kakyoin turned around to lean their back against the side of the table. “Yes, no. We’ve met before. Several times. Do you remember?”

Jotaro nodded. That was when Kakyoin called him young. A shiver ran down his back at the memory. He didn’t remember meeting this one any other time though.

“You do! Good. No need to explain myself again. What do you want?”

God this Kakyoin was an asshole.

“Can I talk to Kakyoin.” Jotaro glared at them.

“You are.” Kakyoin had a smug smile on their face.

“Can I talk to Noriaki.”

“Oh no, he’s resting. You’re stuck with me until tomorrow morning. Now, what is it? Is it a secret? A confession?”

Jotaro rolled his eyes. “Who are you.”

Kakyoin rubbed a hand over their face and sighed loudly. “Not the interrogation.” They clasped their hands together and pointed at Jotaro with them. “You’re still a child, so I’ll be nice. You have three questions that I’ll answer honestly. Rank them from least to most and important, and be specific. Anything vague will be twisted to not give you the answer you want.”

“What’s the catch?”

“No catch. I’d simply like to continue my work without interruption.”

“And if I don’t want any information?”

“Ha!” Kakyoin covered their smile with their hand. “I’m sure you have questions about what really happened yesterday. What you did.”

Jotaro’s breath caught under his adam’s apple.

“Then there’s if I can help you keep your magic without having to proof it, or if you’ll get the other incubi attributes. You also want to know what I am, or why I’m doing this. Why Noriaki is doing this, or why they didn’t tell you about me, us? Hm.”

“Okay, enough.”

For the first time since Jotaro walked in, Kakyoin shut their trap. He could ask anything he wanted as long as he was specific, and he didn’t have to pay for the answers. Jotaro could figure out what or who Kakyoin was, but considering how he was about to leave and never see them again that information didn’t seem to matter. He was desperate to know at first. Still desperate to know now, but not with the same urgency and fear as before. Now he knew he was dealing with a chaos bringer with a conscience, and if they were trying to do something to him they would’ve done it by now. He may have to waste two questions for the same answer. Or maybe not?

All right, he could do this.

“Have you and Noriaki figured out an actual solution that will be used before I get home to keep me from having to proof my magic or have sex with other people so I can keep my magic?”

Kakyoin’s eyes widened a fraction, and Jotaro felt smug at the reaction. One for Jotaro.

“The answer to that question is yes. Very good. I didn’t think that’d be the least important. Next question.”

Jotaro pushed several strands of hair away from his forehead. He could do this. “Can you show or help me remember what happened at the marketplace yesterday from the time Dio attacked after you had your arm cut off up until the time I fell unconscious?”

“I’m ancient, of course I can. But I won’t.” Kakyoin’s grin was all sharp teeth, each one longer than Jotaro remembered seeing them.

Damn it. He fucked that one up. Jotaro needed to make this last one count. Right now the most important thing to him was the condition of his mother, but she looked to be doing all right for herself from what he saw. She was sad, but that was going to be fixed soon. When he was home. He could just ask why Kakyoin buys pets, or who this other Kakyoin is but he couldn’t think of wording specific enough for them not to weasel out of. Now that Jotaro knew about the switch in the hallway, there was no issue about learning more from Kakyoin’s memories. He wouldn’t do it, but he had the ability to which was enough in his opinion. So, what was the most important question he had?

Oh.

“Kakyoin, uh you, have kept doing your best to take care of me while I’m here no matter what I do. I’m pretty sure you’ve done the same for a lot of people you buy.” Jotaro crossed his arms under his chest. How could he word this?

“That’s true.” Kakyoin was playing with one of the strips of fabric draped over their arm.

“So why does Noriaki Kakyoin want to die?”

The fabric in their fingers flopped back against their wrist. “They don’t want to die. We don’t want to die. If we did, if I did I would’ve done it already.”

“I almost killed them, and they didn’t stop me. You didn’t do anything.”

“I didn’t need to. Jotaro, you’re about as dangerous as a kitten dunked into a bathtub.”

Jotaro felt something in him lash out. Kakyoin swatted their hand as if to flick it away. They looked up at Jotaro, furrowing their brow and biting the inside of their cheek. They really didn’t see Jotaro as a threat. Then again maybe they didn’t see a lot of people as threats. Kakyoin had faced down several groups of wizards without flinching from what Jotaro could recall.

“Question time is over. I have some more work I need to get done tonight. Off with you now.” Kakyoin waved him off.

He thought he wanted to punch the original Kakyoin, but this one was asking for it. “How.”

“Pull the lamp against the wall at the beginning of the hallway to shift to daytime. I’m sure Noriaki would’ve told you sooner if you didn’t enjoy snooping through people’s memories so much. Did you take another peak while looking for me? I won’t tell.” Kakyoin pressed a finger against their lips and winked at him.

“I was trying to get to the library, and the hallway changes whenever I try to go back. You know this.”

“The library? Oooh, poor baby. Did you have a bad dream? Want your hot custard and your blanket?”

Jotaro very much would like those things, but they were being patronizing for no reason so he refused to respond. Kakyoin pulled away from the table to saunter past Jotaro and open a door that wasn’t there when he walked in. On the other side was the library, and Kakyoin gestured their hand towards it. Jotaro walked to the door and paused in front of it when Hierophant’s tendril tapped his shoulder. His eye was drawn to the feeling just for Kakyoin to flick his forehead with a spark of magic. He pressed a hand against his forehead in shock. What the hell?

“Sorry. I almost forgot to do that.”

Do not punch Kakyoin. Don’t do that. No matter how tempting it is.

“You really piss me off.” Jotaro walked past Kakyoin into the library to find that he was on the second floor.

“Not the first time I’ve heard that.”

Irritated, Jotaro stepped further into the library mumbling, “I like my Kakyoin more.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say your Kakyoin?”

Jotaro froze. He glanced back to see Kakyoin with a big smile on their face. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll pretend you never said it.” Kakyoin closed the door with something like concern in their gaze.

Jotaro huffed heading towards the staircase. He asked Reimi to hold onto a dragon story he was reading. Approaching the top of the stairs, Jotaro felt a sudden spasm in his shoulder blade. That wasn’t right. The spasm happened a second time, stronger than the first forcing him to lean against the railing. Not good. What was happening? Another spasm had spread to his other shoulder blade sending Jotaro to his knees. He gripped the bars of the railings hard enough that he was sure to break them. The spasms turned into a constant rippling of muscles and skin on his back. Something was trying to break out of his back.

That spark. What did Kakyoin do to him?

Pain burned his back so severely that Jotaro saw spots. A scream tore from his throat. The weight on his back grew heavier and heavier as the waistline of his pants grew from damp to soaked. His hands fell from the railing to hang limp at his sides, the wooden bars the one thing keeping him propped up. Where was Hierophant? Where was Kakyoin? His vision blurred. Everything turning into spots of color, then into spots of black and white.

There were a lot of times where Jotaro thought he would die. He remembered wanting it so bad with Pucci, with Diavolo, when he was in his cell, with Kira, when the guards broke the lock on his door in the middle of the night so many times. So many times he’d wished someone would grip his throat for a little too long. Let the blood drip down his legs without closing the wound soon enough. Waiting for days upon weeks upon months for his organs to give out and call it a day. For his body to stop working while he slept because it had endured enough. And now, just when he was so close to seeing his mother again. Had a taste of some freedom after so long. Years! This was going to be where it ended. Alone. In the dark. Literally going blind from pain.

If that wasn’t the biggest spit in the face he’d ever gotten since the first time he’d been spit in the face, he’d be overwhelmed with shock. Instead, along with the pain, and the fear, he felt a strong apathy. A light appeared in the corner of his eye that he failed to focus on. Several more lights followed the first. This must be it. The end.

“Jotaro! Jotaro, can you hear me!”

That was Reimi’s voice.

Sure would be useful if he could move in some way. Warm liquid dripped from his mouth. That was as good as he was going to get for movement. Was that blood or spit? His tongue was too numb to tell.

His eyelids drooped closed as Reimi grew frantic yelling out words he didn’t understand. Jotaro wished he had enough energy to say how fucking bullshit this all was.

Chapter Text

When Jotaro came to there were a few things he noticed. The first thing that his face was pressed against something warm but firmer than his pillow. The second thing was that he was bobbing slightly up and down as if he was in motion and not in his bed. The final thing he realized were the shallow streams light breaking into the darkness that surrounded him. His first instinct told him to panic until a familiar cooing hit his ear allowing him to put the pieces together.

“Stupid and reckless. How did he even get up to the second floor? I removed all the stairs Nonon. All of them. That area is off limits.” Kakyoin’s voice was tense.

Nonon trilled at them in response.

“He could’ve-…what would I have done then? I couldn’t handle it happening again. I-I-I don’t know what I would’ve. Nonon, nonon, nonon.” Kakyoin leaned forward causing Jotaro to lean forward as well. “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been this, so- ugh I can’t even put a word to it.”

Jotaro, realizing where he was, pushed away from Kakyoin’s body.

Big mistake.

He’d fallen to the ground in a heavy mass of limbs and feathers. Feathers? No time to think too much about that. Jotaro’s stomach gurgled in protest as he pushed himself up from his side onto his hands and knees. Nonon was squawking. The sound of her heavy feet thumped around Jotaro in a circle when he felt a hand on his back pressing between his shoulder blades. The heavy ache that began to creep up in that very spot faded with the touch, but Jotaro shook his back knocking the hand away.

“Jotaro.” Kakyoin’s tone was soft and filled with concern.

He hated it.

Jotaro dug his fingers into the dirt focusing on getting his legs steady so he could stand. The incessant flapping noises from his wings was pissing him off. He was relieved by the fact that the wings were there. One less thing he had to worry about when it came to the transformation, but he didn’t appreciate how they made their appearance. He wasn't trying to fly. He doubted he knew how. His stomach churned as he managed to get to his feet with Kakyoin hovering beside him.

“Don’t touch me.” Jotaro tried waving them off but nearly hit them in the face. He opened his mouth to ask where they were, but vomit came out instead of words.

The bottom of Kakyoin’s pants and shoes received the worst of it. He heard Kakyoin sigh, and then he vomited. Again. Kakyoin wasn’t smart enough to have taken a step back in time, but Jotaro did hear a whine come from their throat when they took a few steps back.

“I’m going to set the house down.” Kakyoin said it slow as if talking to a child. They didn’t sound angry, so either this wasn’t the first time they’ve been puked on, or they were tired.

Jotaro’s stomach continued to gurgle, and the taste of bile was rancid in his mouth. He wanted some water and to lie down long enough until he knew he wouldn’t puke again. The wings on his back had stopped flapping now resting folded against his back. Kakyon was saying something, but his brain didn’t register Kakyoin’s words until he saw the house being lowered from probably five meters now. What the fuck? What the fuck? How was the house floating now? Since when could it do that?

The trees under the house shifted tearing up the earth and plant life to move out of the way for the house to land. Once the building was settled, the door opened, and Nonon pressed her head against Jotaro’s cheek. She held her neck out for support which he held onto with relief. He didn’t think he could walk too well at the moment. Jotaro waited until he was inside to lean against the wall of the foyer. Kakyoin was halfway up the staircase with a sour expression on their face.

“Wait.” Jotaro ignored Nonon fussing with his hair.

Kakyoin hummed in response, their expression turning neutral as they looked at Jotaro.

“You told me last night that you knew a way to stop the magic proofing. Do you?”

“I said what?” Kakyoin’s gaze grew distant for a second. When their eyes cleared, they bit the inside of their cheek. “Oh. Yes, but how about I tell you when we’re both more stable.”

“Tell me. Now.”

“Jotaro, I’m covered in vomit.”

“I puked this morning and almost died last night. This isn’t a,” Jotaro felt as though he was going to throw up again just managing to hold it back and gasp in a lungful of air, “This isn’t a competition you’d win right now.”

“You’re right. However, considering your current state and my own means you’re not really in any position to be threatening. I’ll see you after I’ve cleaned up.”

Was this his Kakyoin or the other Kakyoin? Jotaro couldn’t tell. Both Kakyoin’s made Jotaro want to sock them in the jaw on different occasions, and as much as he hated it, they were right. Jotaro needed to sit down and drink some water to get the thick taste out of his mouth before anything else in his stomach made a reappearance. Nonon helped him to the sitting room. The door frame spread out to accommodate her size, and she clucked at Jotaro once he sat down. Laying her head in his lap, her clucking turned to trilling, and then silence when she closed her eyes.

Dealing with Nonon was much easier than dealing with people. Jotaro sighed leaning back into the cushions of the sofa. He couldn’t feel his wings, so he guessed they were fine? A glass of water floated towards him until he didn’t have to reach too far to grab it. Hierophant was easier to deal with too in his own way even if the entity was an ass somedays. He gulped down a few mouthfuls of water to get the taste out of his mouth and took sips from the glass afterwards. Jotaro’s throat still felt thick with mucus, and his mouth tasted salty.

Nonon’s cheek feathers were soft against the inside of his arms. They didn’t have as much of a distinct form like the ones on her torso but resembled something more similar to fur. Jotaro took another sip of his water trying not to jostle her. His stomach growled and bubbled causing Nonon’s eyes to snap open at the sound. She blinked a few times, her long lashes making wisps of air push the fabric of his shirt. His stomach gurgled again, and she reacted by pressing her beak against his stomach before pulling away and making a cooing sound. Jotaro didn’t think bird was a language incubi could follow since it consisted more of body language than sounds, but it'd be nice to know what she was saying.

Kakyoin walked into the sitting room glaring at their feet as they did so. Jotaro watched them sit down in one of the fancy looking chairs close to the kitchen entrance. Letting out a huff, they closed their eyes with their hands clasped together in their lap. Kakyoin would talk on their own without Jotaro prompting them. They always did.

So, Jotaro waited.

And waited.

And waited.

His glass was a quarter full when Kakyoin opened their eyes seeming to stare at nothing.

Okay. They were being weirder than usual. Maybe he needed to give them some more time.

He focused on something else.

The weight of Nonon’s head in his lap kept his legs warm. Her eyes were closed, so he assumed she was sleeping. Jotaro had a lot of questions that were close to coming out. How long had he been passed out? Had his horns grown in already? The amount of ridges felt the same as yesterday, and he was told he would know when they were done, but did that require the proofing? What was the other Kakyoin? An alter ego? The real Kakyoin? What did he do to Kakyoin when Dio attacked last time that the other Kakyoin was so smug about? He took another sip of water. He was in his regular clothes instead of his pajamas from last night. Which meant Kakyoin changed his clothes after they found him? How bad was he bleeding out? Was it even last night when it happened? Kakyoin didn’t bother to correct him when he said so.

Kakyoin’s voice cut through his thoughts. “There’s only one way I found that would prevent you from having to proof your incubus magic.”

He nodded.

What was it? What did he have to do?

“It’s a ritual. A really, really old one. Do you know that the older the ritual the more that’s required to achieve the effect intended?” Kakyoin’s eyes were wide as they spoke. “People don’t even use this ritual anymore because the conditions needed are fulfilled for the newer version before having to go through the process, but you’re different.”

Jotaro shrunk in his seat. He didn't understand the latter of what Kakyoin said, but he didn't like the sound of it. Nonon trilled low in her throat, and he put a hand against the softness of her cheek. Kakyoin seemed out of it too.

Kakyoin’s hands were shaking in their lap. “This ritual allows you to speak to the giver of magic. In order to do so, you must give up where you get your own magic. For a triclops they’d have to remove their third eye. A werewolf would have to declaw themselves to the bone of their knuckles while in wolf form, or a sorcerer would have to take the magic core from their center. Then that material would be grinded up with herbs and other dead things to make the circle and it’s runes for the ritual. Do you know what I’d have to take from you Jotaro?”

“How does the ritual go?” Jotaro couldn’t look at Kakyoin. The glass in his hand was empty.

“…After making the circle, you have to sit in the middle of it. All you have to do is keep your eyes closed and breathe. There are some incantations I must say, but it’s your job to remain as still as possible and not say a word. Once I’m done speaking, your consciousness will leave your body so that you can meet with the giver of magic. Accounts of meeting with her are limited. The only thing that remained consistent is that she asks you what you’d like to give up. Once you come back, your magic should be coming from something other than sex. I don’t know anything more than that.”

“Does the other Kakyoin know?”

Kakyoin went quiet.

“They seemed to know a lot more than you.”

“You weren’t supposed to see that.”

You weren’t supposed to see me was what Jotaro understood from the finality of the statement.

Jotaro glared at the top of Nonon’s head. “But I did.”

“But you did.”

“Am I just supposed to pretend that part of you doesn’t exist?”

“That depends. Do you actually care or are you just annoyed with the amount of secrets I have?” Kakyoin’s hands stopped shaking as they pressed their palms against their thighs.

That was a good question. Did he care? Should he? He wasn’t supposed to be getting this attached to Kakyoin in the first place. A few more days, and he’d be home, never to see the sorcerer again. Jotaro was annoyed with how secretive Kakyoin was being, but they told him they wanted him to trust them. He wanted to trust them. Jotaro let the empty glass sit against the back of the seat, so he could put both of his hands into Nonon’s cheek feathers. He could admit that a small part of him did care about Kakyoin. At least, he thought he did. He was terrified when Kakyoin passed out after that transportation spell. Scared for them again when Dio cut off their arm, and they passed out. Was Jotaro actually scared for Kakyoin, or was he scared for what would happen to him?

Jotaro knew that without Kakyoin he wouldn’t be able to get home by himself. He didn’t know how to use his magic that well, and his horns weren’t grown in yet. He’d have to proof his magic before he could make progress on his own without the sorcerer. Sure, he’d read a lot while in the library but reading and doing magic were two different things. Besides, Kakyoin frustrated him. Jotaro knew he was attached at the hip for whoever purchased him until he was tossed out, but Kakyoin was unpredictable. Dangerous in a way that Jotaro never knew what was going to happen next. There was always some sickening routine with his old owners.

But Kakyoin wasn’t his owner.

They said they weren’t. They were planning on letting Jotaro go right after they pretended to buy him. Jotaro hated how many secrets Kakyoin kept. The muffler being placed on his magic was the straw that broke the carrier’s back. Nonon trilled low in her throat again as Jotaro hunched over to press his forehead against the top of her head. Did he really care about Kakyoin, or was he just a kid out of his depth afraid of the unknown?

“Do you want to go through with the ritual?”

“What would you have to take from me?” Jotaro’s voice was just above a whisper.

“You know what I’d have to do.”

“I want you to say it.” Jotaro lifted his head up to look Kakyoin in the eyes. “I want you to say it to my face.”

Kakyoin’s lips trembled for a moment.

He wondered if this Kakyoin was afraid of him.

“I’d have to cut off your horns. I’d need to take a saw as close to the base as possible, and then I’d have to grind them into dust to make the circle.”

Incubi horns took centuries to grow back if they were broken. Powerful magic was needed to break the material they were made from and even then the break was usually in the middle or a little below that. Jotaro had no idea how long it would take for his horns to grow back if they were hacked off at the base. Not to mention they weren’t even grown in completely. Maybe it’d take five hundred years at best which was only half his lifespan. Would they even grow back? He could spend hundreds of years with horns while forcing himself to touch people, or just go without.

The answer was obvious.

“I’ll do it.”

Kakyoin stood from their seat. “I’ll get the materials ready then.”

“Now?”

“Yes now. Your wings sprouted last night, and I don’t think there’s anything else your body has to do before the proofing is required.” Kakyoin brushed their long bang behind their ear. “You can feel it can’t you? Something being off? Those are signs that the proofing is needed. If you put it off longer than your magic deems necessary your instincts will overpower your sense of rational thought, and you’ll go through with it whether you want to or not.”

The distant look on Kakyoin’s face made something click.

Was that it?

Jotaro pressed his fingers against his lips. “Is that what happened?”

“What?”

“Why I can’t remember that well? Because my instincts took over? I remember the look on your face when you were under me. You were scared.”

“I’m not afraid of you.” Kakyoin’s eyes were wide, but they didn’t look nervous.

“You’re afraid of what I could do.” Jotaro was disgusted with himself.

“No, but I know you are.”

Jotaro sneered. “Fuck off.”

Kakyoin walked over to him. The loose pants they changed into were so brown they looked black, and their white shirt was stained with who knows what. Reaching up, they kept their hands hovered by Jotaro’s face as if their palms were going to press against his cheeks. He didn’t move. His sneer turned into a grimace, and he clenched his eyes shut. Jotaro could feel the weight of Kakyoin’s hands without them touching him. From the corner of his eye, he watched Kakyoin’s fingers twitch. Why were they so nervous? On the surface, between the lines of the skin on their fingertips looked like handwriting too small to read. Did they want him to see this?

Nonon cooed and rubbed her cheeks against his palms.

He'd be okay.

Eventually.

Probably.

The tension that built up in his shoulders eased as Jotaro rubbed his thumbs over Nonon's fat cheeks. “The other Kakyoin is an asshole.”

The hands hovering by his face jerked away and a snort followed. Jotaro dragged his gaze up to see Kakyoin smiling with a hand barely covering their mouth. He didn’t question why he felt a little more grounded. If Kakyoin could still smile at him then maybe things hadn’t gotten too terrible.

Chapter Text

Jotaro looked down at the long wooden table with built in restraints. “Is this necessary?”

“Your horns are almost done growing in, but your magic is wild at this stage. When I start sawing through, I’ll be perceived as a threat, and your magic will react as such.” Kakyoin was unbuckling the leather bands as they spoke.

Jotaro bit the inside of his cheeks.

He didn’t like this.

“As soon as I start sawing, I won’t be able to stop. It’d be too dangerous for both of us otherwise, so if you have a change of heart let me know anytime beforehand.” Kakyoin bustled about once the buckles were undone to start grabbing labeled jars and bottles.

He didn’t think he’d find himself back in the weird tree place from where he met the asshole Kakyoin, but Jotaro wasn’t surprised to know that it was the inside of the giant tree from Kakyoin’s garden. He wondered if Kakyoin would ever make doorways that made sense instead of all this abstract bullshit. Was that kind of magic how sorcerers worked or was Kakyoin just eccentric? Jotaro watched them struggle with an armful of glass containers when a table was moved in front of them. Instead of setting the containers down, Kakyoin’s pelvis hit the table first making the jars tumble out of their arms. Some falling to the floor with a loud clink and others being caught in midair by nothing. Well, by Hierophant.

Scratch his earlier thought. Kakyoin was just weird.

 “You can look around if you like.” Kakyoin was pouring things from jars into small wooden bowls almost methodically.

Jotaro grunted in response. The lines in the wood panels along the floor moved when he focused on them. He squatted to get a closer look. It looked like the lettering on Kakyoin’s fingertips. The more he focused on trying to read the words, the faster they moved within the grain. Reaching down, he pressed his fingers against the wood only to jerk his hand back.

It was freezing cold.

The wood under his bare feet was warm in contrast. The lettering in the grain stopped before it began to flow just as fast in the opposite direction it was going. Jotaro followed the letters with his eyes to his feet to see them going around his toes.

“Kakyoin.”

They hummed in question.

“What are these letters in the wood for?” Jotaro stood and watched them scurry around his feet when he walked.

“Typesetting.”

“What?”

“The best I can explain is that it keeps my spells from crashing into each other.” Kakyoin pushed the table of low wooden bowls, jars, and bottles over to the table. “We’re ready to start.”

Jotaro eyed the metal contraption sitting among the rest of the plants and herbs. The handle looked worn, it’s polish having long faded. There was a curved piece of metal coming from the top forming a rectangle with the piece of metal lined with sharp teethlike triangles. Jotaro swallowed the lump in his throat as he sat on the table.

“Have you done this before?”

“If you’re asking me have I ever sawn off the horns of an incubus, I can tell you I don’t have any such experience. I’ve sawn off other types of horns, and bones, and the occasional bad tooth.” Kakyoin pinned their bang out of the way.

Jotaro laid back on the table, his wings choosing to spread out so they weren’t crushed flat between the hard table and his back. He tensed when leather straps weaved over his ankles. The speed of his breathing increased when the straps around his wrist snapped closed. He was at the point of hyperventilating when a wide strap clapped over his neck. Kakyoin’s hands were freezing cold as they pressed against his cheeks holding his head steady.

“I’m going to cut them off at the same time, all right?”

Jotaro closed his eyes and gave a limited nod. It wasn’t until he heard the clicking of bowls against the table and opened his eyes to see a glint of metal that what Kakyoin said registered in his head.

“Wait. How?”

Kakyoin’s face appeared above him with a smile. “Nothing to worry about. After that previous incident, I figured out that I’m ambidextrous.”

Oh god Jotaro was going to die.

Jotaro felt a heavy weight against the base of his horns and hissed.

“Last chance to back out.” Kakyoin sounded sure of themselves.

If there was any hesitation in their voice, Jotaro would’ve started struggling. “Go ahead.”

Jotaro heard grinding and closed his eyes again. Something sharp pulsed along the edge of his skull. The grinding grew louder and louder the longer it went on. He was expecting to feel something else besides some discomfort. So, of course, after having that thought, nausea bubbled in his stomach. Pins and needles spiked over his fingers and up his arms.

“I’m gonna throw up.” Jotaro tasted bile lurking at the back of his throat.

“Please don’t. You might choke on it since I can’t stop to turn your head.”

Jotaro’s hands were balled into fists when a cloud of purple flew over him. More clouds followed blending together in shades of yellow or green spanning into circles then into oblong shapes. “I can’t see.”

“That’s probably not a good thing.”

Jotaro retched, his whole body shaking with the action. Invisible tendrils pressed against the sides of his face keeping his head still.

“Dangerous. I’m sawing as fast as I can. Better not move.”

Heat raced down his neck and abdomen making something that felt like fire twist around his legs. A loud clatter rung through the air. The oblong shapes in his vision fell in drops changing to pinks and oranges. His wrists and ankles were raw, and he knew that as some point he’d started struggling but he couldn’t recall when or even if he still was.

“Halfway through now.” Kakyoin’s voice was distant.

“I’m going to die.”

“Not to discourage-.”

Jotaro’s chest heaved as he retched again.

“Okay, that is concerning me.”

 There was a long pull on his horns that went down to his stomach. He groaned closing his eyes at the feeling of a thousand prying fingers thumbing their way through his abdomen. Jotaro focused on the drops of color, ignoring the black clawing at the edges of his vision.

Twin clinks thrummed over his ears as his vision cleared.

The leather straps that held him in place were released allowing him to roll off the table and crumple to the ground. The scratching of table legs along the floor was the next thing that registered in his brain while Jotaro was being pushed and prodded into a sitting position. His head felt woozy and unbalanced.

“Your trip…don’t prolong…answer once…a misnomer really...”

Jotaro opened his mouth to speak only for an odd hissing sound to come out. What was Kakyoin saying? His vision began to flood with strange bubbles of color once more. His head was righted and a thick cream that smelled like mint was smeared onto his nose. He happened to take a breath at the same time dust was thrown into his face sending him into a coughing fit.

Jotaro covered his mouth still coughing, his eyes darting around in an effort to spot Kakyoin.

A hand grabbed onto his ankle making him freeze.

A second pair of hands cinched onto his waist. The ground under him began to melt as more and more hands latched onto him. His hair. His fingers. His ankles. His elbows. He wasn’t supposed to move. Couldn’t look down and see what was going on.  He wanted it off. He wanted to stop. More hands latched onto his wings, finding the where bone met his back and pulled. Jotaro’s body was jerked down into the muck as the thick fluid filled his mouth and nostrils. Fear gripped him tighter than anything else as he began to thrash any limb he could to free himself.

The hand that fitted itself snugly against his throat released him.

After struggling, each hand began prying itself off him leaving him to drift in the thick of it. Whatever it was. Cold skin wrapped around his body pulling him up from the muck. When Jotaro broke the surface, he opened his eyes finding his himself on his side with head propped onto something.

The first thing he noticed was how green everything was. Various shades that seemed familiar. He’d been here before, but when?

A hand ran through his hair jerking him out of his stupor and forcing him to sit up. He’d been lying on someone’s lap. When he saw who it was his eyes widened as all the color drained from his face.

His mother looked at him with a small smile. “Hail fellow well met.”

“M-mom?” Jotaro’s voice cracked as he blinked away tears.

“Is that how I appear to you?”

This wasn’t his mother.

He furiously rubbed at his face with his hands. This couldn’t be his mom.

“One of your kind hasn’t graced this realm in a while. What shall you give me?”

His mom wouldn’t be so, so however this was. He balled his hands into fists to try and keep his arms from shaking. “Who are you? Why do you look like her?”

Her eyes widened a fraction as she tilted her head, a few strands of hair falling over her shoulder. “It’s dangerous to stay here for long.”

“I-.” Jotaro bit his trembling bottom lip.

He couldn’t lose it now, but he couldn’t remember what he came here for. What was Kakyoin saying to him before the ritual? During the ritual? He needed to give something else? What did he have? What was he trying to get rid of? The smiling face of his mother looked at him not in a mocking manner, but it might as well have been. So close. Not her. It wasn’t her.

Jotaro clasped his hands together and while still shaking placed them together as if in prayer. “I don’t want…” He cupped his hands as if he were about to drink water from them, “I don’t want this.”

She was silent, her face shadowed as she looked at his hands.

Did she understand?

Would he have to be more specific because whatever words he tried to form in a coherent version wouldn’t click in his mind.

 “I see. Descendant of Lilu, you return this power to me, so I shall take it. Your entire being is reliant on magic for you are not human.”

When she said nothing else, Jotaro nodded.

She placed a hand onto his cheek making him flinch. “Do not return here, child.”

Wind rushed around him before he was being shoved back into the muck. He tried keeping his lips sealed shut and holding his breath just for the thick fluid to push past his lips and force its way down his throat.

Jotaro’s eyes snapped open when his head was doused in cold water. Things registered one by one in his mind. He was sitting on the ground, cross-legged. His fists were balled up resting on his knees as his whole body trembled under his soaked clothing. His wet hair stuck to his forehead and the back of his neck. Kakyoin sat on their calves in front of him, their hands hovering in front of his shoulders.

“Jota-.”

Jotaro puked black slime onto Kakyoin’s knees before they could finish his name.

Closing their eyes, Kakyoin counted backwards from five under their breath and tried again. “Jo-.”

He puked again this time getting the front of Kakyoin’s lap as he leaned forward on trembling hands.

There was a slapping sound, so he assumed Kakyoin hit something.

Jotaro raised his head to see a growing red mark on their forehead. Yeah, they did. The black sludge seeped into Kakyoin’s pants making them grimace as they scooted away to stand up. There was some shuffling and the dripping of the sludge from Kakyoin’s pants while they walked around him.

“I’m going to have to touch you. Please tell me if this hurts.”

Jotaro grunted. He was in no condition to say much. More of the black fluid dribbled from his nose onto his lips. The liquid didn’t taste like anything, but his body wanted the stuff out, and Jotaro was in full agreement.

“WHAT THE FUCK.” Jotaro fell to his forearms, shaking with pain that riddled the middle of his back.

“Yes, those are definitely gone. At least the cut is clean. Can you stand?”

“What’s gone? What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. I am going to clean up this blood and wrap you in some bandages now that your wings are gone. I’ll be careful about taking off your shirt.”

“I can do it myself.” Jotaro wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand.

Kakyoin didn’t say anything else, but Jotaro knew they were hovering by with medical supplies. Jotaro could too play the silent game as he grabbed the hem of his wet shirt, pulling it over his head and shuddering as the fabric caught on what must’ve been the stumps on his back where his wings were. For an appendage he couldn’t feel earlier, they sure where causing him pain now. He must’ve been a sight. Hornless and wingless. What would his family think?

A thick, cold cream was rubbed over the stumps in his back, and Jotaro gritted his teeth.

“I’m not touching you, it’s Hierophant.”

The reassurance was appreciated, but did nothing to lessen the pain.

“Can’t you just chop the rest of that off?” Jotaro winced.

“This part is more bone than cartilage, so no. I think I’ve done enough hacking body parts off you today with the horns. Why did you give the giver your wings?”

“The who?”

“The- the giver of magic? We talked about this. Your wings and horns would still be here if we didn’t talk about this. You should’ve seen them just earlier. I’m surprised you’re still conscious.”

“I’m surprised you-,” Something green slid by his leg catching hi eye, “I’m.”

Kakyoin leaned over waiting for his response.

Jotaro furrowed his brow as more and more tendrils began to appear. They were sparse but long, and some were thicker than others. What the FUCK were those things? Reaching a hand out, Jotaro touched one with his finger. The tendril was so cold that it felt wet. He didn’t see Kakyoin’s eyes widen as he grabbed onto the tendril causing a high-pitched squeal to sound over the room. Jotaro scrambled backwards knocking Kakyoin back with the motion. There was a scrambling of limbs and pained noises with some kicking before the two were separated with Jotaro backed against the table and Kakyoin clutching their stomach on the floor.

A humanoid figure pulled themselves up from the floorboards to hover over Kakyoin, rubbing their shoulders with concern. It was the same green as the tendrils, but with intricate silver boning over its head and body. It also didn’t have a mouth so much as a weird mask over where a nose and lips would be. Jotaro took a few seconds to process just what the thing might be before tendrils and the thing’s concern for Kakyoin registered.

“Hierophant?” Jotaro loosened his grip on the table leg.

The creature looked up and their eyes squinted as they nodded.

Holy shit.

 Holy shit.

Hierophant helped Kakyoin back onto their feet.

“Okay, there’s a new rule for the last few days we’re together. No more hitting me. No more. None. Please.”

Jotaro swallowed the spit that built up in his mouth and said nothing. He was hyper aware of the blue veins that were suddenly visible under Kakyoin’s skin. They probably didn’t notice.

“Hierophant will finish treating you, if you’re not adverse to that since I don’t want you getting an infection. The spinal cord is a dangerous place to have bacteria and viruses running along.” Kakyoin still hadn’t cleaned the black sludge from their pants and were instead wringing their hands together.

Two tendrils wrapped around Jotaro’s arms bringing him onto his shaky legs. Hierophant gave Kakyoin another look before ushering Jotaro out of the room.

 

Jotaro didn’t see Kakyoin for the rest of the day after that.

 

Waking up the next morning was its own chore. Sometime during the night Jotaro had woken up, unable to sleep for several hours before fading back into unconsciousness. Sleeping on his back wasn’t possible, so turning from side to side was his best bet. The thick blankets he curled into were the perfect temperature, and he debated if getting up at that very moment was important.

“Ora.”

Jotaro’s eyes snapped open.

Floating above him was a purple child wearing shoulder pads that were too big and a loin cloth. Their wild black hair floated perfectly behind the crown on their head.

Jotaro closed his eyes. A hallucination? A dream? He didn’t remember meeting any weird kids anytime he left the house. Maybe it was a fairy? A really big fairy.

“Ora!”

No. Not dreaming.

Jotaro eased himself up from the bed, careful not to graze his back against anything. The child stared at him the whole time he did this.

“Are you another of Kakyoin’s “friends”?”

“Ora?” The child tilted their head.

“Is all you can say ora? What does that mean?”

“Ora.”

“Right.” Jotaro clutched the end of the blanket and surveyed his surroundings.

He was still in his room, so he hadn’t be transported to an unknown location. He reached up to scratch his head and ran his fingers over the ridges of his horns.

His horns?

Tossing the blankets off, Jotaro jumped out of bed and bolted for the bathroom. He slipped on the rug in the hallway, but caught himself against the wall, his frantic pace only halted for a moment until he got to the bathroom door. The door was already open, and he moved to stand in front of the mirror with his hands flat on the counter.

His horns were there! They were back!

They were different.

They were the same size, and curved the same way they did before, but Jotaro could see small veins spiraled around them like vines. The color hadn’t changed and, when he reached up, the texture remained the same as the rest of his horns. He leaned further over the sink to see tiny leaves of the same material placed randomly as if they had come out of the vines.

He could deal with this.

“Ora.”

Jotaro jumped away from the mirror.

The child had followed him into the bathroom, floating beside him and giving his horns the same staring treatment Jotaro had done.

Okay, that was a little too close and personal. Time to get this kid where ever they were supposed to be. Hopefully away from him. Jotaro shoo’d the floating child out of the bathroom so he could piss in privacy, then left the bathroom in favor of heading towards the kitchen. The child continued to hover around him and other objects they seemed to find interesting. The child especially liked the green tendrils that seemed to grow in number as the closer the two got to the kitchen.

Once in the doorway, Jotaro spotted Kakyoin at the stove with Hierophant beside them holding all sorts of ingredients and spice bottles, organizing the table and messing with cookware.

That was how everything floated around them? Jotaro’s first impression of Kakyoin was all wrong.

“Kakyoin.”

Kakyoin hummed, not turning around.

Jotaro rolled his eyes. “Kakyoin, you have a guest.”

Kakyoin turned around this time, spatula in hand. There was a patch of gauze over their right eye, and their lip looked busted.

Jotaro didn’t ask what happened to them since he was scared to find out. Kakyoin was a specific kind of weird last night. The unknown kind where Jotaro couldn’t get a gauge on their emotions to know whether to push or back off.

“Oh my god he’s adorable.” Kakyoin blinked a few times, the smile on their face growing.

“Ora.” The child puffed out their cheeks in a pout.

“He? So you do know him.”

“No, it’s my first time meeting your new familiar.”

Jotaro and the child eyed each other before Jotaro turned his confused look back to Kakyoin. “My what?”

“Your familiar. It’s also good to see your horns- oh shit the eggs.” Kakyoin turned back to the stove, their arm with the spatula jerking. “It’s good to see your horns are back. That is your familiar, like Hierophant is mine. I’ll explain when the food is done. If I haven’t burned it.”

Jotaro nodded and went to sit at the table. The child floated in the chair next to him, poking and prodding at silverware while they waited.

Sometimes they would hold up one and ora. Jotaro, not sure what to say, only named the item he was holding. The child would ora again, in understanding Jotaro guessed, before doing the same with a different object.

“Ora.”

“That’s a butter knife.”

“Ora?”

“That’s also a butter knife.”

“Ora.”

“That’s a cup.”

“Ora.”

“That’s a plate.”

“Ora?”

“That’s just a smaller plate. No, don’t pick up the knife again. It’s still a butter knife”

Hierophant floated over and gurgled at the floating child. The child Ora’d in response, and they went back and forth like that communicating in a way Jotaro couldn’t follow even with his fancy hearing. Did he still have that after the ritual?

Kakyoin brought breakfast over, blood sausages, eggs that looked kind of burned, toast, and juice for Jotaro. He’d never seen Kakyoin drink any, but they always brought some to the table.

Things seemed normal.

Kakyoin waited for Jotaro to serve himself before they spoke, “The ritual last night used to be the original ritual for becoming a sorcerer. Wizards, witches, and sorcerers alike would go to the giver of magic, exchange something precious to them, and gain a semi-corporeal conduit of their inner magic. Their familiar. Creatures born with magic cores, fae folk, daemons, ogres, mermaids, and so on have much heavier sacrifices since they don’t face the same challenges as a non-magical human would have. However, magic has evolved since those times and now familiars appear to some humans on their own either during childhood or when needed the most. No one is quite sure how or why.”

“Magical creatures just stopped becoming wizards? Is that what you’re telling me?”

“I would think not. I’m not the giver of magic, and I don’t have a census over the world population of sorcerers. I just think since the cost is so heavy that magical creatures didn’t see the point of it.”

“So, what does this mean for me? Did it work?” Jotaro plopped some eggs and jam onto his toast.

“Your horns are back fully grown-in, you’re not dead, and you have a familiar. I would think it worked, but we could test it if you’d like.”

“Wait. What do you mean I’m not dead?”

“I would think not being dead is confirmed by the fact you’re breathing, and we’re having a conversation at this moment, so-.”

“Could I have died last night?”

“If your consciousness stayed in that world for too long your body would’ve refused your return, but how about I explain how a familiar works.”

Jotaro shoved as much of the toast into his mouth as he could to keep from yelling. He could’ve fucking died, and Kakyoin didn’t bother telling him. The child, Jotaro’s familiar, floated over to Kakyoin glaring at them with raised fists.

“Uh. Hello?” Kakyoin had their hands raised in surrender.

“ORA.”

“You’re angry at me which means Jotaro is angry at me.”

Jotaro darted his eyes back towards his food. His familiar floated away from Kakyoin, fists still poised to fight and the glare never leaving their face. Great. Now he was even easier to read than before.

“Your familiar is a reflection of your soul, and a conduit for your magic, like a wand, but they have their own personalities. They also reflect our emotional states bending our magic as needed to accomplish the tasks the user has in mind. Only people with familiars can see familiars, so you’ll know another magic user when you see one. The real question is, where you’re gathering your magic input from now since it shouldn’t be sexual energy anymore.”

A pot with soil floated over without the help of Hierophant to Jotaro’s familiar. Now Kakyoin was showing off.

“I just need your familiar to hold onto that pot for the rest of breakfast. Whatever comes from the soil will determine your new source.” Kakyoin took a sip from their mug.

“Ora?”

Jotaro finished his toast almost choking on it with how dry his throat was. He sipped his juice at a more moderate pace to get the lump out of his throat. Hierophant hovered beside Jotaro’s familiar, both looking at the clay pot intently. Hierophant gurgled prompted Jotaro’s familiar to “ora” as if hushing them.

“How come mine looks like a child?”

Kakyoin raised an eyebrow. “…Jotaro, you are a child.”

“According to Polnareff so are you.”

“I’m different. I’ve had Hierophant since I was below knee height, you just got your familiar, and you should think of a name for him. It’s only polite.”

Jotaro looked at his familiar who had his nose pressed into the soil of the pot. “Purple child?”

“No. No, please don’t call him that.”

“Ora?” The pot in his familiar’s hands shook.

Hierophant noted the impending danger, ducking under the table before a burst of water flowed out of the pot. The water that gathered was enough to soak the table and everything on it. Jotaro and Kakyoin weren’t spared from the water either, the two drenched.

Moving their wet bangs out of their face, Kakyoin spat out a cheek full of water.

“Water boy?” Jotaro pushed his soaked blood sausage away.

Kakyoin narrowed their eyes at him which might’ve been intimidating if they weren’t dripping with water.

“Okay, not that one either.”

Chapter Text

Nonon chirped along with the robin that perched itself atop her head. Hierophant and Jotaro’s familiar floated alongside them talking in a manner that Jotaro assumed was intense. Hierophant kept gesturing his hands wildly as he gurgled with Jotaro’s familiar nodding along, covering his mouth, or shaking his head. Kakyoin would glance over at them with a fond smile before looking back towards the path, while checking their arm whenever they got to a fork in the dirt road.

“What about Flying Sid?” Jotaro watched his familiar’s legs turn between a puff of smoke and visual legs.

“I feel like you’re making these terrible names to antagonize me. If you are, it’s working.”

“What’s wrong with Flying Sid?”

Kakyoin turned back to give Jotaro a bored look, “No one will take you seriously if that’s the name you call out when you’re in a fight with someone.”

“Who says I’ll get into fights?”

Both were silent for a few moments.

Jotaro adjusted himself on the saddle and bit the inside of his cheek.

“Once you pick a name, it stays. You can’t change it. Do you want some suggestions, or maybe a few pushes in the right direction to think of a name on your own?”

Feeling insulted, he shook his head. The problem wasn’t that he couldn’t think of a good name. The problem was that he’d never had to name anything before. At least nothing serious. It’s not like he’d ever had a pet, or friends who would nickname each other.

Kakyoin had turned back, keeping their gaze on the road.

Staring at his familiar, Jotaro asked, “Is he going to look like a child forever?”

“No. He’ll grow as your own magical abilities do. Hierophant used to be small like that too.”

“Hmmm,” Jotaro scratched his jaw, “Violet Harriet.”

“Jotaro, you are actively killing me.”

Jotaro groaned lolling his head to his shoulder. “Yours is named Hierophant Green. Green.”

“The tale of the Hierophant was one of the only stories that kept me going as a child, just as Hierophant has for years. Your familiar is a reflection of you. You need to give it a name that shows the same respect you have for yourself. What’s important to you?”

The question of Jotaro having self-respect was a mental path he didn’t want to go down until he was safe at home and by himself. What was important to him? His mom was important to him, as was the rest of his family even if some of them annoyed him to hell and back. His mom’s cooking was important. His books at home were important too. The sewing kit his mom got him for Christmas must’ve been in worse for wear by now. Blood sausage was good too. So were those brownies and sweet cakes that Kakyoin made. Jotaro furrowed his brow. Now that he thought about it, Jotaro didn’t have many object or people things that were important to him. Maybe he should try thinking in another direction.

What did he like?

He liked-.

A loud squawk made him pause as he watched Nonon say goodbye to the small robin.

He liked Nonon. Reaching behind himself, he gave the feathers under the saddle a few pats earning a trilling noise in response. He liked waking up and the covers on his bed being the perfect temperature for him to curl into. He liked cooking. Maybe he could show his mom how fast he could peel potatoes. He liked reading and warm custard at night. He liked star gazing.

Jotaro remembered the nights when he’d sit outside with his notebook and put as many dots to match the bigger stars as he could onto the pages. He always showed his mom when she called him inside, and they’d make up constellations together before bath time.

He looked at his familiar, and his eyes grew wet. The familiar’s skin was still purple, but the shades of his body where the color was darker were sprinkled with bright sparkling dots.

Like stars.

The brighter ones forming lines of crudely drawn pictures before vanishing to form something else.

Jotaro wiped his eyes before any tears could fall. Man, he hoped that thing wasn’t doing that with all his memories. He looked at the back of Kakyoin’s head and didn’t see a change in their demeanor. Either Jotaro’s familiar didn’t do that so Kakyoin could see, or they pretended not to notice.

“What about Star?” Jotaro froze as a cold shock poked his shoulder. His familiar was beside him, looking at him with wonder in his wide eyes. “…Star?”

“Ora!” Star grinned. The skin on his body colored with constellations before returning to the normal hues of purple.

“Ah. Just the reaction I was waiting for to a name.” Kakyoin was looking at them with a smile. Hierophant hung in bands over their shoulders, gurgling and nodding his head.

“If you tell me my familiar already knows the name I’m supposed to pick for them, I’m going to hit you.”

Kakyoin jerked their head back towards the front.

“That’s what you were about to tell me, wasn’t it.”

“Maybe it’s time to, uh, pick a second part of his name. Yes. Take as much time to think about it without becoming violent.”

Star said a quiet “ora”, looking annoyed as he crossed his arms. Jotaro would have to figure out the rest of Star’s name, but for now he didn’t have to call Star “the floating child” or “weird boy” anymore. Heirophant bounced over Kakyoin’s shoulders, it’s head vanishing somewhere.

“Once we find a relative of yours in Morioh, I’ll take my leave.”

“Huh?”

Kakyoin sounded pleased while they said, “That was our deal, right? I help you get home to your family, and you never have to see me again.”

“…yeah.”

He was looking forward to leaving. Kakyoin was a menace. Buying him funny clothes, dragging him to balls, getting him involved with all sorts of terrible people and magical creatures who wanted nothing more than to pry into Jotaro’s personal life. Muffling his magic in some faux show of protection. Treating him like a child by making him snacks while he read and checking up on him and his condition all the damn time. Always trying to make sure he ate well and that he had enough space to deal with his “feelings”. And GOD the secrets! All the secrets. Everything in that mad house Kakyoin called a home had a messed up secret sitting behind a door.

Star was floating next to Jotaro cross legged with his arms crossed and a pout on his lips as he glared at the back of Kakyoin’s head. Fidgeting with the wide collar of his blue shirt, Jotaro cleared his throat which snapped Star’s attention to him. He didn’t need Star visibly showing his emotions. How was Jotaro supposed make him stop that?

He could ask Kakyoin, but he’d asked Kakyoin for enough. Actually, he hadn’t asked Kakyoin for enough, but Jotaro didn’t want another cryptic not real answer he was supposed to figure out on his own since he was a sorcerer now. Or was he a wizard? They never clarified.

Night had fallen when Jotaro gave up and wanted to bug Kakyoin with more questions about his familiar. He wanted to ask them, and he was going to, but his legs were tired and sleep sounded much nicer. Kakyoin tended to a crackling campfire while Jotaro tried to keep his eyes open with Nonon curled around him. Now that he thought about it, Nonon had been taking every opportunity to curl up around him today. Maybe she could tell her time with him was limited. Jotaro rested his head at the bottom of her neck where the feathers were the softest and fell asleep.


 

Jotaro woke up the next morning to see Kakyoin throwing a purple cloak over themselves. They kept the hood down and buckled the lapels at the neck with precision. Turning his head, he saw Nonon’s neck was craned straight up. She bobbed her head left and right watching Kakyoin’s movements, but not making any noises. She probably thought he was still asleep. Then Jotaro yawned and Nonon’s gaze zeroed in on him. He was being squawked at and pushed up into a sitting position so Nonon could arrange his hair into something she deemed presentable.

Kakyoin smiled at the display. “Normally imprinting works from child to parent.”

“Why does she do this?”

“I’m not sure. Since we grew up together, she always saw me as a funny looking sibling, so she doesn’t arrange my hair that much.”

Jotaro grunted while Nonon pushed her head against his back to get him standing up. The blanket fell from his shoulders to be caught by Star before landing on the dewy grass. The area where their campfire sat last night had been cleaned leaving no sight of the rock circle which held the blaze.

“Shall we get going?” asked Kakyoin while strapping the last buckles of the saddle onto Nonon’s back.

“Breakfast?”

“Check your pockets.”

Curious, Jotaro stuck his hands in his pockets to feel nothing. His pockets were empty. He raised an eyebrow at Kakyoin. “Was there supposed to be something in my pockets?”

“No, but what were you thinking would be in there?”

“ORA.” Star threw Jotaro’s blanket at Kakyoin’s face.

Kakyoin stumbled back laughing while Jotaro debated if he Nonon would let him ride without them for a bit. The image of Kakyoin running after Jotaro and Nonon frantically trying to catch up made him bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. After they mounted Nonon, Kakyoin passed a round, lumpy looking bun in a wrapper to him. Another sweet bun? He took a bite, and his eyes lit up. There was stew in the bread. Stew with meat and vegetables and potatoes.

“I’m guessing you like it.”

Jotaro could’ve sworn he could hear them smiling. “I didn’t say that.”

“You don’t have to. Star is glowing.”

To his horror, Kakyoin was telling the truth. Star was floating with his eyes closed in bliss and with both hands on his cheeks. Little beams of light surrounded Star’s torso as he floated along with a content smile on his round face.

“How do I make him stop?”

“Right now? You can’t. Star has to experience all of your emotions at least once first. After that, you or him decide whether to reveal your feelings like this or not. Only other wizards, witches, and sorcerers can see familiars. They’re good for identifying feelings if you’re feeling something and you’re not sure what. Before you ask, yes Hierophant did things like this too. Polnareff could read me with or without him though.”

Jotaro snorted and took another bite of his meat bun. Did Kakyoin eat before they woke up? The smell of wet leaves and tree sap filled the air the narrower the path became. The trees that were spread out grew thicker, more in number, and much closer. Jotaro finished his food in a few large bites when he saw bugs coming from their homes to fly through branches or crawl along any surface their legs touched. He didn't want one to land on his bun and end up in his mouth. Star took the time to look at each bug. The first one he picked up was a long fly like creature with four wings. He let out a small ora and showed it to Nonon who promptly ate the bug. Star looked at her in shock. He gave the same look to Kakyoin who gave him a sympathetic smile.

Could Nonon see Star? If not, that would explain why she ate it. The bug probably looked like it was floating in front of her waiting to be eaten. If she could see Star then it was a tasty offering to her.

“If we don’t get sidetracked, we should be coming upon a hot spring when we set up camp tonight.”

Hot spring? Spring was hot sometimes, but what did that have to do with anything? Would the weather change where they were going? Star returned to picking up bugs making sure to keep them away from Nonon and showing them to Hierophant instead. Each one he picked up brought a few minutes of conversation that consisted of ora’s and gurgling between them. They were comfortable. Did that mean Jotaro was comfortable with Kakyoin? Comfortable was the wrong word to use. Jotaro was used to Kakyoin, but Jotaro got used to everyone. He was used to being coddled, and he was used to be hurt and lied to and abused. He was used to being scared. He was used to not smiling or laughing as much as he did before everything. He had to get used to everything and everyone because if he didn’t adapt he was in more trouble than if he went along with things.

“Jotaro.”

“Yeah?”

“Do you remember when we first met, and you threatened to kill me?”

Jotaro felt his cheeks grow warm. He really thought he was tough shit that day. It was embarrassing to remember. “What about it?”

“When you threatened me like that, I was afraid the whole time we spent together would be full of murder attempts.”

“Have you had that experience before?”

“Only with three of the people I’ve ever saved. Looking back on things now, it was pretty funny.” Kakyoin swept their bang behind their ear.

“That’s because you can’t die.”

Kakyoin’s shoulders stiffened. Jotaro watched their back as their breathing slowed. The conversation between Hierophant and Star faded to be replaced by the plop and stomp of Nonon’s feet over wet ground.

“I can die.” Kakyoin’s voice was tight.

“But not like a human.”

“I am human.”

Jotaro wanted to say “No you’re not”, but he didn’t. He wasn’t sure who Kakyoin wanted to convince more of their humanity, Jotaro or themselves. Jotaro wasn’t buying it. Humans didn’t have wings and color changing features without a glamour. Human’s didn’t reattach their limbs with weird flesh vine magic. Humans didn’t function at all hours of the day by using a separate person inside them who was also them, but not them while the other took a rest. This was what annoyed Jotaro the most about Kakyoin. It wasn’t just the secrets. It was this secret. The Secret.

He gripped the handles on the back of the saddle and yawned. The leaves overhead thickened allowing a few spots of light to slip through the heavy branches onto their path or foliage. He could doze off for a bit. Just a quick nap. Star would keep him from falling off the saddle, and if he failed Hierophant would pick up the slack. Probably. Dropping his chin to his chest, Jotaro closed his eyes.

Holly placed a hand over his mouth holding Jotaro close to her body. He was told not to make a sound. He could do that. He always beat his mom at the quiet game. The leaves on the branches were making his legs itchy. He tried squirming, but she only held him tighter. Through the gaps in the branches of the bush, Jotaro could see a pair of muddy boots.

A man muttered, “They should be around here.”

The boots padded out of sight. His legs were growing itchier the more the leaves touched his skin, but he couldn’t tell his mom. If he said anything, he lost the game. Holly pressed a kiss against the top of his head. The light from the setting sun fading to leave them in darkness once the thud of footsteps was too far off to hear. Jotaro’s legs were burning.

She carried Jotaro in her arms whispering an apology. He didn’t understand why she was apologizing, but his legs burned from his ankles to his knees. The skin was reddened and covered in small bumps.

“It hurts.” Jotaro’s voice was muffled into her shoulder.

“I’m sorry Jojo. Mama’s sorry.”

He clung to her shirt while tears fell over his ruddy cheeks. “It hurts.”

She kept apologizing, but he wasn’t sure for what.

Jotaro woke up to find his head resting in the juncture between Kakyoin’s shoulder blades. A stain of drool stood out on Kakyoin’s cloak, and he sat up to avoid further contact. Wiping his mouth, Jotaro looked around. The trees were denser than before not revealing the time of day it was. How long had he been out?

Arriving at the hot spring that night, Jotaro found out it was just a glorified bath inside a shack-like building. Thankfully, he didn’t have to share the bath with strangers, or with Kakyoin. Plus, the beds the owners offered for overnight visitors were nice. Maybe he'd have time to bug Kakyoin with questions about this wizard sorcerer thing.


 

The following afternoon, Jotaro remembered why he didn’t care for Kakyoin’s antics. They were back on the road, making good time according to Kakyoin. They told him their trip might be two more days instead of three if they kept the pace and didn’t get lost or sidetracked. Except they did get sidetracked. Kakyoin specifically got side tracked. Where their group was on the map was an area of forest not often sorted through by other sorcerers. Some of the plant life was difficult to find due to the conditions they needed to survive. Kakyoin being the weird person they were could create those conditions, isolating the exact climate the plant samples they took required.

This resulted in slowing them down significantly.

“Why can’t you get these on the way back?” Jotaro watched Kakyoin scrape luminescent moss from a tree trunk.

“It might not be here on my way back.”

“Will it walk off?”

“No, but a stray beam of sunlight or a strong gust of wind will easily kill plants like this. It’s safer for me to gather them now.”

Jotaro slid off the saddle, his thighs aching from the ride so far and sat on the ground. Nonon sat beside him, both of them watching Kakyoin, pull, scrape and cut bits of wildlife before placing them into jars that they’d put into a hip satchel. Occasionally, a green tendril from Hierophant would appear to latch onto something out of Kakyoin’s reach. Star appeared beside Jotaro floating cross legged in the air.

“Ora ora?”

“Uh, no. I don’t know what they’re collecting.”

“Ora.”

Kakyoin stole a glance at Star and said, “Perhaps now would be a good time for you to test the abilities of your familiar.”

“How do I do that?”

“There are three simple tests you can do now, shit. Hold on,” Kakyoin pressed their thumb against something that squirmed until it stopped moving before continuing on, “A strength test, a distance test, and a speed test. For distance, see how far Star can go off by himself before returning to you on his own, for speed find something fast and see how well Star keeps up with it or how quick he catches it, and for strength just have him hit something sturdy. Like one of the these trees. See what happens. Make your own judgements.”

Jotaro was glad to have gotten a straight forward answer with simple tests he could do on his own. Star uncrossed his legs, hovering by. He looked eager, and if his feet were visible, he’d be bouncing on his heels. Which test to do first?

A rustling in the bushes caught Nonon’s, Jotaro’s, and Star’s attention. The leaves and branches on one of the wider bushes shook enough to scatter a few ladybugs and send bits of leaves flying into the air. Whatever was in there was getting ready to pop or pounce or something. Crossing his hands over in his lap, Jotaro looked at Star and tilted his head towards the bush. A speed test would be first. Star nodded understanding what Jotaro meant and was slow to approach the bush.

Whatever the creature was, the first running jump it took out of the bushes didn’t allow it to go fast enough to avoid Star’s finger which sliced through the front paw furthest away from its body. Jotaro jumped up from his spot on the ground and walked bo-legged over to the animal. It was a rabbit. A big rabbit. The rabbit was lying on its side with its eyes wide in terror. The blood from its paw began to spread on the grass and into its brown fur as it trembled. Holy shit.

“…Kakyoin. Could you come here?”

Kakyoin hummed, corked another small bottle and walked over to stand between them. “Oh dear.”

“Ora?” Star’s eyes were wide with worry while he looked at the rabbit. “Ora!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll fix her right up.”

Jotaro felt bad for the thing, and Star seemed to feel that and more from his expression. Wide eyes, trembling lips, and hands clasped together as Star watched Kakyoin work. At least he knew how fast Star could be. Kakyoin whipped out a jar of smelly paste that made Jotaro pinch his nostrils shut and the rabbit sweep her ears down low to her head. They spread some onto her paw, and with a flourish the rabbit was up and speeding into the nearest covering of plants without a second look back. Kakyoin returned to their sample gathering leaving Star and Jotaro to stare at the tiny pool of blood between blades of grass and bits of soil.

“Ora.”

“Sorry.”

Star placed his hands on his cheeks and closed his eyes. Was he thinking? Could Star get lost in thought? Kicking up some dirt to cover the drying blood, Jotaro wondered how he could do the other tests without hurting something that would upset Star. Perhaps the distance test would be best since it didn’t require Star to hurt anything. Jotaro scanned the lines of trees for something far away that Star could go get. A low trilling rung through the air as he took a few steps through the bushes where the rabbit had burst through.  He managed maybe ten more steps before a fluffy weight rested on his head.

“Nonon?”

She chirped, leaning her head down to his shoulder. Right. Maybe now wasn’t the time for him to wander off on his own. Star stayed put where he was appearing unsure if he was supposed to follow or not, so his familiar was a bright purple light he and Nonon walked back to. He did another survey of the surroundings when he spotted a tree with small bulbs hanging from it in the distance. How far away was that?

“Star.”

“Ora?”

“Do you see that fruit tree back there?”

Star followed the direction of where Jotaro was pointing and nodded. Star floated past the first couple rows of trees without any problems.  Arriving at the third row, he faltered looking back at Jotaro for reassurance. Jotaro nodded at him, so Star squared his jaw making it past the third row of trees. He was, perhaps, a quarter of the way there before he stopped and returned to Jotaro as fast as he could float. Jotaro noted that his reflexes were much, much faster than his floating. Or maybe it’s because he was scared? Star looked panicked as he moved past Jotaro to hover behind him.

“Was there something out there?”

A pitiful ora was heard as Star pressed his face into Jotaro’s back. Was that a yes or a no?

“All done. We can hit the road again.” Kakyoin popped the last of their tiny jars into their satchel.

Nonon perked up bouncing from one leg to the other and Hierophant bounced along with her. Except not on legs, but it was more of a motion where he rocked his shoulders. They didn’t get to try out the strength test, but if Star was as strong as he was fast, Jotaro would feel bad killing an old tree just to check. Star calmed down, floating alongside Kakyoin and flicking their long bang whenever the urge was too strong to resist. The rest of the day and night proceeding in an uneventful manner.


 

The next day it was raining. When was the last time he had seen rain? Jotaro didn’t recall any weather changes since Kakyoin bought him, stole him really. Too bad for them, Nonon refused to travel in the rain. Kakyoin put up a shield around them to stop the rain from falling on her, but she refused take one step further prompting the group to take shelter under one of the large trees in the forest. Jotaro’s back rested against one of the thick roots of the trunk, and Kakyoin sat beside him poking at the fire with a stick. They’d forgone their cloak, and the humidity made their hair poofier than Jotaro had ever seen it which wasn’t weird. What was weird was how Hierophant decided to shrink down and rest on their hair like a pseudo-nest. Jotaro looked away to keep from laughing when a tiny green tendril flowed from Kakyoin’s long hair bang to throw a wood chunk into the fire.

“I’m sorry, Jotaro.”

A cold wind sent goosebumps over his arms prompting Jotaro to uncross his legs so his feet were closer to the fire. “For what?”

“If someone hadn’t got stiff feathers, we’d be in Morioh by now.”

Nonon raised her head from where she was nestled in a ball and gave Kakyoin a stern caw before curling back up. Kakyoin stuck their tongue out at her letting their stick fall into the flames.

“It’s fine.”

Kakyoin turned to look at him with wide eyes. “It is?”

Heirophant popped his head out of Kakyoin’s hair giving Jotaro the same look. Star even appeared beside Kakyoin and tilted his head.

“Yes. Stop looking at me like that.”

Sucking in their bottom lip, Kakyoin put their attention back on the fire. Hierophant hid himself within Kakyoin’s hair, and Star went back to observing the sprouted tree roots. Sighing, Jotaro scooted a little closer to the fire and put his hands near the flames. Tomorrow he’d be back home.

The smell of burning wood wasn’t dense as he expected it to be. Tomorrow. Another shiver from Jotaro had Kakyoin throwing their arm in an arc, and a sheer dome enveloped their encampment. Tomorrow tomorrow. Any smoke from the fire trailed up from the flames before swooping down to bury their wisps in the dirt. Tomorrow! The heat from the fire spread making Jotaro feel warm as he crossed his legs again.

Jotaro pulled his hands from the fire and dug his fingers into the slowly warming dirt beside his legs. “I’m going home tomorrow.”

Kakyoin hummed in affirmation. Their eyes were closed, and their lips were slightly parted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow, he was going home. Tomorrow they’d be in Morioh, and they’d run into an incubus, and he’d go home and see his mom and his family, and he’d be home. Home. His arms trembled as his fingers dug deeper into the soil bypassing pebbles and squishy materials he hoped weren’t now dead worms.

Was that okay?

He eyed Kakyoin.

Was he okay enough to go home?

He let his palms rest in the holes of dirt he made.

Would he be allowed to go home?

Jotaro knew Kakyoin was taking him back, but what if his family didn’t want him to come back? He pulled his hands out of the dirt and began picking bits of soil out of his nails. He was an adult now. He was almost an adult when he broke his mom’s rule about leaving the barrier. Not to mention, his magic got all messed up. And so many people. So many people had-. He gripped the front of his shirt, wringing the faded purple fabric under his fingers. He didn’t have wings, and his horns were weird. They’d been broken. Sawed off.

One of his hands went from his shirt to press hard against his cheek. What if his mom didn’t want him back? What if she looked at him and sent him away? What if she hated him for leaving? The dirt between his fingers smeared against his cheek as he dragged his hand down the side of his face. He’d never thought about getting this far only to be turned away. What would he do if they didn’t want him back? Where would he go? He couldn’t go back with Kakyoin. They were probably figuring out where else to buy more pets to release them. He didn’t know anyone else.

Jotaro let his hands drop into the gap between his legs. The dome around them shimmered making him look up as Nonon uncurled her neck, and with a squawk, got up to walk closer to the fire. She was on the opposite side of the flames as she shook her tail feathers sending a spray of water onto the fire. Kakyoin’s eyes snapped open, and they waved their stick, a new thinner one, at her in what Jotaro assumed was a menacing manner, but she trilled and sat back down curling into a ball.

The dome shimmered again catching Star’s attention as he floated to the nearest wall to dip his fingers into it. When nothing happened, he pouted and tried again with both hands. Jotaro watched, letting the tight feeling in his chest grow numb.

He remembered doing the same thing. When he was smaller, Jotaro always thought that when he was allowed out the barrier that he’d do amazing things. He’d imagined himself riding horses and fighting monsters, and taking down a corrupt system of power or two. He didn’t imagine himself with a lot of friends, but a few trustworthy companions that’d lie down their lives for them as he would for them. He thought with them he’d be sword fighting and discovering ancient tombs and meeting all sorts of people who wanted good in the world. His gaze dropped back to his hands. Sure, when he got taller, he only thought of himself exploring the unknown, but there was still a level of mystical wonder to his daydreaming.

He really was an idiot.

Kakyoin’s voice wavered. “Star?”

Jotaro clasped his hands together and glanced at them. Star was floating by Kakyoin with one hand gripped in their sleeve.

“Jotaro.”

“What if I-,” Jotaro pressed his hands against one of his ankles “-what if I can’t go home?”

What if he was too messed up? What if he was too broken? What if they didn’t want him?

“It’s your decision in the end, you’re free to stay with me as long as you need. But I really don’t think that will be the case.”

“How do you know? I haven’t told you anything about my family.”

Kakyoin stood up and formed a triangle with their hands to hold in front of their eye. “Because if someone as hurt as you can show concern to me and have something as sweet as Star come from them, then I’m sure at least one person who raised you is going to welcome you back with open arms.”

Hierophant grew back to his regular size, curling his fingers in and pressing his wrists together as he threw his arms out. Shiny, green rocks flew from them into the darkness behind Nonon followed by a whining scream and a thud.

“I haven’t cooked venison for us, have I?”

“Ora!” Star looked at Kakyoin in horror.

“Uhm...it was already dying before I hit it.”

The tickling of tiny legs crawling along Jotaro’s thigh caught his attention. A ladybug with yellow and green dots on its back made its way down to his knee. Jotaro wished someone would tell him what good things to think. Just as he was about to touch the ladybug it’d decided to fly towards the fire. He didn’t see the bug turn to ashes, but he did see the bottom half of a bare deer carcass being hung over the flames. Looking up, he made eye contact with Kakyoin who now wore a few splatters of blood on their cheeks. They gave him a smile and a thumbs-up that he didn’t return. Jotaro uncrossed his legs to pull his knees up to his chest. Tomorrow he’d be home.

He’d be home away from Kakyoin’s shenanigans, and away from Hierophant. He’d probably never see Reimi or her friends again. He wouldn’t run into that asshole Dio, or that odd Rohan, or any disgusting slave traders. No more Midler or queen of the fae trying to butt into his personal business. No more Nonon. No more sitting in the library going through book after book until he found something he really liked. No more cramped legs in the seats and the different snacks Kakyoin would make for him.

He hummed resting his chin on his knees. He didn’t have any adventures like he thought he would when he was smaller, but staying with Kakyoin was exciting. No. Exciting was the wrong word for the feeling. Jotaro was always on his toes waiting for something else to hit the fan, but not always in a way that would harm him. If something bad happened it tended to blow up in both of their faces, or they shared the blame somehow whether it was from Kakyoin withholding information or Jotaro reacting to the situation more intensely than he’d have liked. The image of Kakyoin’s purpled face flashed through his mind making Jotaro bite the inside of his cheek.

Before he could change his mind, he said, “Noriaki.”

Maybe it was the unfamiliarity of them hearing their first name from him, or the tone Jotaro used, but Kakyoin dropped whatever they were holding into the fire when he said it. Hierophant fished the tiny bottles out while Kakyoin stared at Jotaro with an odd look in their eyes.

“Yes, Jotaro?”

He waited a beat. The odd look in Kakyoin’s eyes faded to the warm, violet color he was used to seeing. This would really be his last opportunity to ask a few more questions, and there were somethings the other Kakyoin said that still bugged him.

“Do you really not find me intimidating?”

Kakyoin’s features scrunched up immediately like they’d eaten something sour with their brow furrowed and their lips puckered. Their features relaxed one by one from brow to chin, and they turned their gaze back to the deer. Was that a shutdown? Hierophant placed the tiny glass bottles, seasonings, into their palms. Kakyoin rotated the deer and set the bottles back into one of his pockets while he waited.

A few more minutes passed until Kakyoin said, “I’d say there are a lot of things about you that continue to shock me.”

“But I’m not intimidating?”

“That depends on perspective, and who you’re trying to intimidate-“

“I don’t intimidate you.”

“No,” Kakyoin sighed. “No, you don’t. Why is this so important?”

Jotaro tilted his head to press his cheek against his knee. “I think I need to apologize to Polnareff.”

“Oh.”

Neither of them said anything more. Jotaro knew he didn’t have to, and Kakyoin had begun messing with the deer again. Polnareff’s friendly demeanor towards him vanished after the strangling incident. Which made sense. Kakyoin was their kid, and Jotaro didn’t think his mom would be nice to the person who sold him into slavery. Hence why, he felt the least he could do was apologize. While he sat there, he remembered a few more loose ends with the people he’d met. He wasn’t going to apologize to Avdol, but he did owe the sorcerer a thank you for sending him on the right track to find his family. Jotaro also didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Reimi. She was always really nice and patient with him no matter when he chose to look through the library. He glanced at Star and snorted. He wouldn’t mind trying out the strength test with his familiar on Dio. He hoped the piece of shit was rotting far away.

Kakyoin let Hierophant take over rotating the deer and crouched down near the flames speaking low, “Would you like to write a letter for me to give them, or would you like to do a firecall?”

“Firecall?”

“Mm. Wizard spell. I write a charm and Polnareff’s home symbol on some paper, throw it into a fire, and if they’re home they should appear in the flames for us to talk to.”

Jotaro was looking at Kakyoin’s back with concern. Were they suggesting putting Polnareff in a fire for him to talk to because even with all the shit that’s happened already, this was pushing it.

“Should I take your silence as curiosity or confusion?”

Jotaro unbent his legs and shuffled over to sit beside Kakyoin. Maybe he’d need to know this method. He was a wizard now. An incubus wizard. Or did incubus sorcerer sound better? What would his mom think when he told her?

“Curiosity it is. Watch closely.” Kakyoin unfurled a piece of paper no bigger than their palm over their fingers. Licking their thumb, they dipped the pad into some of the fire’s ashes and wrote two swirling symbols onto the paper. “If you ever see someone using blood to do this, they’re summoning a demon, and I don’t mean like you. Running is your best option in those cases.”

“Would you run?”

“Depends on the demon.” Kakyoin rolled up the paper and tossed it into the fire. “Myrrhtarnal.”

The flames blazed blue, then white with silver sparks until it returned to its orange and yellow tones. An image in the fire flickered, and Jotaro rubbed a hand over his eyes when the smoke started to irritate him. The image became clearer and clearer until a blurry bust of a figure became visible in the flames.

“Noriaki! It’s good to see you, again.” Avdol’s image was clear as day.

Kakyoin’s entire face turned red. “Avdol. I- we didn’t exactly part on the best terms last time.”

“It’s all right. Accidents happen.”

What was Avdol doing in what was supposed to be a firecall with Polnareff? Jotaro furrowed his brow and glanced at Kakyoin. Did they put down the wrong symbol? How specific did those markings have to be?

“No. It’s not all right. I should have more control over myself.” The redness in Kakyoin’s cheeks faded. “I’m glad to see you’re doing well. I’m truly sorry for what happened at the ball.”

“No, really, it’s water under the bridge. Jean explained everything to me.”

Who was Jean? There was a third person Jotaro didn’t know about?

“Still…I’m very sorry. It won’t happen again,” Kakyoin brushed their long bang behind their ear.

“I’m sure it won’t. You’re a bit clumsy, but a skilled sorcerer nonetheless.”

“As are you. Not the clumsy part I mean, but the rest. I’ve never seen anyone throw out fully-enchanted spells without so much as blinking. I mean the way that you-.“

Jotaro cleared his throat. He didn’t have time to waste watching Kakyoin and Avdol gush over each other. He’d done enough eavesdropping on that when the two first met.

“Oh, that’s right,” Kakyoin pressed their hands together, “We actually called for Polnareff since I wrote down the symbol for their house, which makes your appearance very suspicious. And by suspicious, I mean enlightening.”

“Hm?” Avdol blinked a few times in succession. A beat passed before Avdol’s face grew darker with a blush as he held his hands up waving them back and forth. “I can assure you this isn’t what you think.”

Jotaro rubbed a hand down his face saying, “I don’t care.”

“Momo, are you making dinner or am I?” Polnareff’s voice rang out in the background clear as day.

Kakyoin laughed, “Momo? Really?”

“Is that my Nori’s voice?” Polnareff’s image appeared beside an embarrassed Avdol. “Nori!”

“Hello Polnareff.”

“I see you’re out in the forest. Again. I know it isn’t your backyard. What in the world are you up to?”

“I’m going to let you two talk,” Avdol said as he slipped out of the image in the fire.

“Jotaro wanted to talk to you actually,” Kakyoin said. They leaned back until they were sitting.

Polnareff nodded and looked at Jotaro. Which meant it was time for Jotaro to talk, and say words, and apologize like he wanted to do earlier. Only he wasn’t sure what to say. Sorry for nearly choking your kid to death? Sorry for trying to murder your child because I thought they were using me, and I didn’t find out I was wrong until afterwards? Both of those sounded terrible. Accurate. But terrible.

“I-I’m…About what happened with Kakyoin,” Jotaro paused to swallow the spit that built in his mouth, “I’m sorry. I didn’t. I didn’t understand, and I over-reacted. I’m sorry you had to endure watching that, and that it happened at all.”

There. He was done. He didn’t feel better, but he was done.

“Did you apologize to Nori?”

Hell no he wasn’t apologizing to Kakyoin. Jotaro bit his bottom lip and dropped his chin to his chest. Polnareff didn’t know about the magic sealing, and he wasn’t sure whether to lie or how much of the truth to tell.

“Yes, he did apologize to me. As Avdol said, it’s all water under the bridge. Or should I call him Momo?”

Polnareff shook their head, “You stay out of my adult business.”

“Picking who’s making dinner? Yes, very adult business. Goodnight, Polnareff.”

“Goodnight Nori, drop by when you can,” Polnareff turned to Jotaro, “Goodnight to you too Jotaro. I know Nori will get you back safe, but stay safe on your own as well.” They winked and waved at him.

Jotaro gave a quick wave back before Polnareff’s image in the fire vanished. Kakyoin whipped out a knife and a couple plates from one of their pouches as they stood and started taking slices out of the cooked deer’s torso. Why did they lie? What was the point? Was this another one of their weird ways of trying to protect Jotaro or were they keeping all the other shitty things they did a secret on purpose? Oh god, it was back to the secrets. Polnareff’s reaction to Jotaro at the ball made more sense now. Polnareff didn’t know anything Kakyoin was doing unless they were told what was happening. If Kakyoin can’t talk to their guardian about their general life problems, how many secrets did they have? How deep did the rabbit hole go?

“Sorry I don’t have any sides to go with this.” Kakyoin held out the plate to Jotaro.

Staring at the plate, he frowned. “Why are you like this?”

Why did Kakyoin have to lie about everything? Why was everything a secret? How much were they hiding from the people that cared about them? Why did they hide themselves from the people that cared about them? What was so terrible about Kakyoin that things had to be kept under wraps even when they’re helping other people?

“I don’t know, but not everything has an answer,” they said.

Jotaro took the plate off their hands, wiping as much dirt free of their fingers before shoving a piece of meat into his mouth. Sure, not everything has an answer, but it’d be nice if Kakyoin could give him one answer he wanted.

Chapter Text

Morioh was brighter than he thought it would be. The entrance to the main square of the town looked nicer in the daytime. His breath caught in his throat remembering his mother being by this same gate at night. The lanterns she held lighting up her sour expression before she vanished in the darkness. He’s so close. Nonon stopped before they passed under the high gate, and Kakyoin gave her an affectionate pat.

“It’s better if we walk and look around from here,” Kakyoin said.

Jotaro nodded, swinging his leg over and sliding down Nonon’s side to land on his feet. His thighs cramped, and his back hurt from the trek there. Kakyoin warned him that morning that the last leg of any journey tended to be the longest, and they weren’t wrong. Nonon looked un-phased by the journey, bobbing her head while Kakyoin gave her a few treats. Hierophant on the other hand was draped over Nonon’s back. His tendrils were stacked in coils on the ground, and Star laid in one of the coiled piles with an exhausted look on his face.

“Why do they look so tired?” Jotaro tilted his head.

“They feel what we feel, but I know Hierophant is being overdramatic, and it appears that Star is taking after him.”

“Star.”

Star sat up, looking at Jotaro with wide eyes. “Ora?”

“Come on.”

Getting up, Star floated over to Jotaro, and hovered by his arm. Kakyoin had taken Nonon’s reins in their hand and was leading her along as they went under the gate. The buildings were a mix of surfaces. Some had wood paneling on the outside, while others were brick or clay. There wasn’t a single straw roof in sight, but the tiled rooves weren’t what made this place off. It was the triangle rooftops that looked like they had feathers on their railings. Only three buildings stood higher than 6 floors, but the rest varied between one and four. The other thing the buildings had in common was their coloring. Everything was pastel shades and cream white.

“I think I hate this place.” Kakyoin’s brow was furrowed while their lips were pressed tight against each other.

“We just got here?”

“I know, but those roofs with the feathers. They look like morobouro feathers.”

Jotaro couldn’t tell from this distance, but Nonon didn’t appear upset. “Maybe they’re the ones that fall off?”

“Morobouros molt their feathers once every two years, and their feathers en masse are hard to preserve. In order for them to do this they’d,” Kakyoin paused and wiped the concern from their face, “On second thought, let’s just start our search for your family.”

Giving them a hard look, Jotaro let out a harsh snuff through his nostrils. Star did the same while crossing his arms over his chest.

“What?”

“You’re extremely dangerous, so if something concerns you then there might be a problem, and if there is one, I don’t want to be caught in it.”

Kakyoin placed a hand over their chest. “I’m extremely dangerous? I mean I understand your point of view on things considering how this month has gone, but I promise you all those things don’t even happen that often when it’s just me. I’m responsible.”

Don’t happen that often? How often did they happen? This kind of truths were one of a hundred other reasons Jotaro was glad to be leaving. Star shook his head in disbelief and floated back towards Hierophant’s side. Jotaro wasn’t in the mood to argue with them since it was still early and his back was starting to ache as much as his legs. He didn’t get to have his wings for long, but where they were once connected on his back throbbed and the pain spread over the expanse of his back making him feel like there was a weight on his spine. Kakyoin assured him the pain would go away in a few months time, but how would they know? They never had wings sliced off. At least not that Jotaro knew of.

“Perhaps we should part ways when we enter the marketplace.”

“Are you serious.” Jotaro glanced over to see them pulling their hair back into a stubby ponytail.

“I mean to cover more ground. I’m not going to abandon you before you’re safe at home with your family, so stop that dangerous train of thought please and thank you.”

Too late. The train of thought was already flying off the rails, but Jotaro swallowed the panic that built in the back of his throat and stood by Kakyoin, waiting.

“I don’t know what your family looks like, so I’ll look for anyone with horns. Hierophant while slip a tendril around Star’s hand so that even if you do get lost, Star can give Hierophant a tug and we’ll come running. The same method goes for if you find one of your family, and if I find one of your relatives I’ll have Hierophant lead you and Star back to me. Is that okay?”

In theory, that sounded like a solid plan but knowing Kakyoin now, he wasn’t sure. A soft ora came from Star as he patted Jotaro’s arm. He wasn’t going to be with Kakyoin much longer, so splitting up for a little while shouldn’t be too terrible. Yeah? Yeah. He’d be fine.

“Yeah, I’ll go left,” Jotaro jutted a thumb behind him.

“Then I’ll go right. Give Hierophant a tug if you want to re-group, or if you need something.”

Kakyoin led Nonon away with Hierophant floating over her saddle. Nonon looked back at him a few times until a few large carts went by blocking his view. There was something about watching Kakyoin’s back vanish into the crowd that made his chest hurt. No idea why though. Maybe it was heart burn from breakfast.

“Ora.”

“Yeah…you see these Star?” He pointed to his horns.

Star nodded.

“If you see anyone with horns, let me know.”

Star nodded again as they walked into the crowd. Arriving to the market late meant the crowd wasn’t as thick, so Jotaro didn’t have to worry about anyone touching him as he walked along the cobbled streets. What would his mom think when she saw him? Weird horns, no wings and holding onto trauma as big as this town close to his chest. He hoped she wouldn’t cry. He hoped his grandparents weren’t there. He hoped they didn’t try to ask him where he’s been or what happened to him because Jotaro wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep it together in front of them. He could barely keep things together when he was by himself. Plus, he’d already broken down in front of Kakyoin which was humiliating enough.

“Ora.”

Jotaro jerked his head in the direction Star was pointing only to see a kid with fake cat ears bolt down the road. “No. Those are ears. You need to look for horns.”

“Ora.”

“Yes, there is a difference.”

Star looked skeptical and crossed his arms.

“I can’t bend my horns.”

“Oraa.” Star did a spiral motion with his fingers on the sides of his head.

“My horns curve like this on their own, and they’re not made of skin. Ears and horns are different.”

A graying woman in a shawl gave him a weird look as she walked past making Jotaro drop his hands to his sides. Now was probably a good time to remember that no one else could see Star unless they were a sorcerer. This search managed to also let Jotaro realize how much Star didn’t know from the number of false alerts of an incubus his familiar pointed out. So far, Jotaro had seen two more people wearing fake animal ears, an actual kitsune in disguise doing her shopping, a child with a pointy looking paper hat, a grown man with a regular hat with bumps that sat higher than the dip in the middle, and a stand seller with big forks in his bandana around his head.

This wasn’t going to work. All Jotaro could remember from being home is how isolated he was from the outside world and the people in it. The adults in his life left to markets for food or clothes and traveled places that Jotaro heard in stories from his grandparents, but he wasn’t sure how social his species, as a whole, tended to be. After being in the world, he wanted to return to that isolation knowing now more than he ever wanted to of what people expected of incubi. And maybe he was supposed to be like that. Maybe he would’ve become that if he hadn’t experienced what he had. Would everything have been better that way if he just stayed at home and did nothing as his mother grew worse? Could he have ignored it learning about his kind from his grandparents and growing his horns and wings and markings easier? Could he have done all that and be normal like that while wearing the probable weight of his mother’s death on his shoulders pondering if he could’ve done anything to stop it?

There was also the possibility that his family was nowhere near this town, and that his mom was here on a trip by herself. Maybe it wasn’t even her in the picture, and he was projecting. He was tired, and it was late. They might be wasting their time here, which meant Jotaro could put off seeing the look of disappointment and sadness on the faces of his family when they saw how mangled he was.

Getting far away enough from the stalls, Jotaro found a bench to rest at. His brain always went to the worst-case scenario, but he no longer had it in him for optimism. Hierophant’s tendril sat still and loose around Star’s wrist making him wonder how long Hierophant could reach out. Star floated a bit further out with his hands around his eyes like binoculars doing his best to pick out someone with horns, and Jotaro gave him credit for his determination. Or was that his own determination shining through Star? Star dropped his hands with a sigh only to let out a panicked sound as he was jerked to the right by Hierophant. Jotaro jumped from his seat startling a few kids passing by. The people here sure were jumpy. Star was now being lead by the tendril letting out a few more panicked noises looking back at Jotaro so often to make sure he was following. Jotaro was following, and his heart thudded fast against his ribcage.

This was it. Or maybe it wasn’t. He shouldn’t get his hopes up. A few words of comfort fell from his mouth as he followed Star through the thickening crowd. This might be a false alarm. What if Kakyoin only wanted to re-group? Star calmed down, his expression turning from concern back to something calmer as he was led a bit faster by Hierophant, and just like that Jotaro was running. He wasn’t following behind Star anymore, but running along where he could see Hierophant’s tendril leading back to Kakyoin. Leading back to someone he might know. Leading back to home. He almost ran into someone’s food cart they left sitting in the middle of the road, and a few stall owners called out to him asking if he wanted anything to buy. Star was being tugged at a rate that matched Jotaro’s running speed until they were out of the marketplace and heading towards an area of Morioh that appeared more settled.

He made eye contact with Nonon first who zeroed in on him with a squawk before his eyes moved over to Kakyoin who was looking uncomfortable in a man’s arms. They spotted Jotaro subtly waving their arms and pointing to the man’s head, but he didn’t need to see those white straight horns to recognize the face. The stupid blonde handlebar mustache, the purple dots on his cheeks, and the smile lines creased around the man’s eyes gave it all away. One part of Jotaro wanted to turn on his heel and run back. Run as far away as he could, and never look back. He swallowed that part of him forcing himself to take a few steps closer while Kakyoin tried to subtly worm themselves out of the man’s grasp. Out of the Zeppeli’s arms. To get away from-

“Peepaw.”

Then, for Jotaro, it was as if time had slowed to a crawl as Caesar dropped his arms from Kakyoin’s waist and turned to face him. Jotaro could see his grandfather’s eyes widen with many things. Shock. Disbelief. And such a deep sorrow that Jotaro believed his own knees would buckle from the weight of emotion from them. Jotaro wasn’t sure if he could do this. If this is what he was going to see from his grandfather’s face how much worse would it be when he saw the look on his mother’s. He didn’t have time to ponder into it further as Caesar said his name.

“Jotaro?” His grandfather’s voice was breathless, barely a whisper, but there was so much pain in the tone. So much it made Jotaro want to turn tail and run. He didn’t know to where, but his toes curled in his shoes as if trying to dig them into the ground.

Another moment. Another breath, and Jotaro didn’t have time to blink before he was pulled into his grandfather’s arms in a hug too tight to be casual. Almost too tight for him to breath, which was a lucky break since he was sure he was about to start hyperventilating. He wasn’t supposed to be afraid of being hugged by his own grandfather. The touch wasn’t supposed to make him shake and want to push his family away. What was wrong with him? Why couldn’t he just have this without the sick feeling flooding from his stomach up to his throat.

“Jotaro.” Caesar’s voice was stronger as he said it this time bared with relief and so much weight that Jotaro couldn’t figure out the tone.

He felt bad. No, bad wouldn’t even begin to cover it. Jotaro felt horrible. He did this. He was responsible for doing this to his family.

“I’m sorry,” the words came out muttered against Caesar’s shoulder.

Caesar jerked back with tears in his eyes, pulling Jotaro from the hug and dropping his hands to Jotaro’s shoulders. “Don’t you ever say that. You did nothing wrong. You did nothing wrong.” He paused moving his hands up to cradle Jotaro’s face, “None of this is your fault, do you understand me? None of it, Jotaro.”

Jotaro was doing a shit job of blinking away his own tears as he nodded. He didn’t believe his grandpa’s words, but he could pretend to, for the moment. He sniffed the snot that was threatening to spill from his nostrils as Caesar slowly dropped his hands from Jotaro’s face. A low cooing came from beside him before Nonon gently pushed her cheek against Jotaro’s in comfort. Caesar let out a huff of laughter giving Nonon a pat on her beak.

“Is this your friend?” Caesar said with a sad smile.

“Actually, she’s mine.” Kakyoin’s voice poked a hole through the mood as they made their presence known, taking a hold of Nonon’s reins. “Jotaro’s as well since she’s so fond of him.”

Caesar looked at Kakyoin then back at Jotaro as his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “You know each other.”

“Yes, I was helping him get back to his family, and I see that you’re the real deal.” Kakyoin turned to Jotaro, the smile on their face revealing no emotion as they said, “This is where we part ways, yes? I’m happy you’re back with your family, Jotaro.”

Oh.

Oh right.

He nodded in response. Kakyoin promised to stick by him until he was back with his family, and they’d done their job. There wasn’t any other reason for them to stay longer unless they had business of their own. Jotaro’s mouth fought for words to say, but his mind came up short. He should be saying goodbye. He wanted to be rid of Kakyoin. They were stupidly dangerous, and the faster he cut their connection the better off he’d be. This was what he wanted since Kakyoin told him he wouldn’t be allowed to leave after buying him, but…

But why did Star have to grab Kakyoin’s arm just as they turned their back to leave.

Caesar had thrown his arm around Jotaro’s shoulders, talking to him with words he was too shocked to process. The casual gesture, something he’d been so used to before now felt like it was burning through his clothes, through his skin, through his very bones, and his hands began to tremble. He shoved them into his pockets. He still couldn’t believe he’d be in his house soon, and at the questioning gaze Kakyoin gave him, Jotaro knew he wasn’t ready to face his family by himself. Not right now. Not when what a touch of comfort from someone who would have traded places with him in a second made him want to take his skin off. How would it feel when his grandma hugged him? Or grandpa Joseph? Or his mom. That weird dream sequence with that thing wearing her face, he was too dazed and scared to think of that touch, but what if he threw up on his own mother when she embraced him because he knew she would. Jotaro wouldn’t be able to explain what was wrong with him. He could barely voice his fears and what happened to him to Kakyoin. How was he supposed to tell his own family he was messed up and broken without the words eating away at him first?

Kakyoin understood the fear in his gaze and gave him the most comforting smile they could. “Uhm, actually.”

“Yes?” Caesar had turned back to Kakyoin, the question in his eyes as much as his voice.

“Jotaro’s been such a good companion. I’d worry if any of his, uh, enemies were in town. Would it be all right if I tagged along with you, at least until you’re both back within your territory?” Kakyoin allowed themselves to be tugged little by little by Star back towards the pair.

“Oh?” Caesar looked from Jotaro back to Kakyoin a few times, his gaze becoming more focused before lighting up with the knowledge of something. “Oh! Oh, of course. In fact, just to be safe, it’d be better if you accompanied us all the way to the house. I’m sure you’re exhausted from the trip, and the rest of the family would love to meet the young person who brought Jotaro back home.”

Caesar’s arm fell from Jotaro’s shoulders and he could feel himself breathe a little better although his hands continued to shake in his pockets. Kakyoin walked on one side of Jotaro and Caesar on the other as they left the village into the narrow break of trees that led to the forest. Nonon’s reins was looped around Kakyoin’s forearm while they listened avidly to Caesar’s version of catching Jotaro up. After Jotaro’s disappearance, his grandparents had moved in with Holly to keep the house from being so quiet. She always had the space for them when they visited, so it wasn’t a big deal. Holly was doing all right. Suzie said she was pretending a lot of the time, while Joseph was sure their presence was helping. Caesar remained neutral when either wanted him to take a side. Jotaro had a new uncle, Josuke, only a few years old. He wasn’t sure he’d be holding babies anytime soon, but a new family member was celebrated with big fanfare with the Joestar family.

The group of incubi recently settled here a couple months ago, so they wouldn’t be leaving for a few years. That was good to know. Jotaro could actually take some time to get settled at home without traveling for a while. Nonon would bend her neck around Kakyoin to give Jotaro’s cheek an affectionate nuzzle when the shading of the trees made the path they were taking too dark. He appreciated it. Really he did. The anticipation mixed with fear and anxiety had his breath caught in his throat once he stood in front of the barrier that used to keep so many people out unless they were incubi or they were welcomed by incubi. It had the same shimmer go along the curve, and on the inside it looked like another section of forest cut off.

“Is this okay?” Kakyoin appeared a bit intimidated themselves. “I mean, for me to enter here? I’d understand if you turned me away.” They looked at Jotaro and gave them a small smile. “Sources tell me I’m extremely dangerous.”

“You’re no more dangerous that Joseph’s cooking. Besides, in a small place full of adult incubi I doubt you’ll pose a threat, right Jojo?” Caesar gave Jotaro’s shoulder a gentle nudge with his elbow in jest.

Jotaro was looking at Kakyoin, the touch barely registering, but the remnant of the feeling stored in his head. “It’s.” Jotaro sucked his lips into his mouth, his brow furrowing before letting out a slow breath to say, “It’s okay.”

Jotaro realized a part of him really thought it was okay. That Kakyoin could be here. That Kakyoin could just be, and Jotaro wouldn’t mind it. That maybe there was a part of him actually liking the touch of excitement Kakyoin brought with them. Or that was the dependency that stemmed from being with Kakyoin, and the sorcerer doing their best to take care of him. He’d sort it out after they were gone because right now Kakyoin was beaming at him with the most genuine smile he’d ever seen, and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to feel about that.

The barrier shimmered again and all three were able to step through the barrier without trouble. Nonon was an animal, which the barrier wasn’t meant to block, so she got in easily as well. His village was exactly as he remembered it, and that jarred him. Flat triangle rooftops on buildings, houses wider than they were tall, fresh lawn with dirt paths paved with footprints over time, and every house had a garden of some kind whether it was perched on window sills, by the front door, on said rooftops, or near the edges of the house. There were wells strategically placed, and aqueducts being finished up. The smell of cedar and pollen flowed over the soft, cool breeze that ruffled the hem of his pants. He couldn’t believe it. He was home. Was this a dream? Would be wake up in his bed in Kakyoin’s house with a headache and unfinished horns? Or worse, was he dead? Did he die in that cell and this was some deity’s way of making up for it?

“Your mother went out for groceries, so I’m not sure if she’s home yet or not. Do you remember how to get there? The path is the same.” Caesar’s voice break the reverie his brain had begun to rotate on.

“I- yeah. Yes.” Jotaro remembered the path. Halfway towards the village center, from the edge of the barrier, veer right or left depending on if he was entering from the north or south, and following the narrow pathway lined with shiny rocks and shells his mother collected over the years. “I remember, which, is this the south entrance?”

“Mmhm, we always have the town we frequent for leisure towards the south, and the one we go for business towards the north.” Caesar was smiling at Jotaro and watched him start down the path. He gestured for Kakyoin to follow after with a hand and a curt bow.

Kakyoin nodded at him, keeping quiet. Better to let Jotaro get back into doing this. Jotaro didn’t seem lost even for a moment while he followed the path on autopilot, his eyes wandering to familiar little shops like the one his mother would take him to to get his shoes fixed, or for a new pair of clothes. The barber who cut his hair waved at him and then did a double take when he walked by. Jotaro would talk to the people who recognized him later. He was still reeling over the fact that all the adults had wings now. Why couldn’t he see them when he was a kid? Were children unable to see them, or was there some rite of passage he managed to go through that he didn’t know about? He should’ve paid more attention to that boring book Reimi was nice enough to read to him.

Much too soon, their group had arrived at his house. His home. He might break down before opening the door, but he steeled himself. Was the inside the same as the outside? What changed? Caesar reached in front of him and opened the door. There were several pairs of shoes on the inside above the step and a few pairs of slippers for house residents and guests. Jotaro bit the inside of his cheek when he saw his slippers, his first name embroided in the right shoe and forced himself from dropping to his knees. Oh god  *he was home*. Kakyoin was in awe when they stepped inside after Jotaro. The place was the same size on the inside as it was on the outside. They went back outside to tie Nonon’s reins to something since they weren’t sure she’d be able to go through the house.

“Suzie, I’m home! Aannd I brought someone.” Caesar partially sang as he took his shoes off.

Jotaro had slipped his shoes off and put his feet into his slippers when Caesar had called out behind him. Standing in the foyer he kept his eyes on the hall wondering which direction his grandma would come from as her footsteps grew closer. He held back another choking noise when he heard her voice first.

“Caesar would you keep it down. You know the baby is asle-.” Suzie froze in the hallway having come from a guest room when she spotted Jotaro.

Her hair was still just as blonde, but cut into more of a bob. She still favored green in her wardrobe, her gloved hands shaking as she brought them to her wibbling lips. Her wide eyes filling with tears until they over flowed and spilled down her cheeks.

Jotaro hunched over under her gaze, his voice just above a whisper as he said, “Meemaw.”

Suzie wailed, running towards him down the hall to wrap her arms around his waist and lift him bodily from the floor. “Joootaarrooo!” She cried into the fabric of his shirt. Tears stained his shirt and she only tightened her grip when he hiccupped.

Fear clenched his heart when he was lifted up. Don’t drag him back. Don’t put him in the cell. His hands found purchase on her shoulders and he closed his eyes as he listened to her crying in an attempt to ground himself mentally. He wasn’t there anymore. He was home and she was glad to see him and she wouldn’t hurt him. She gently set him back in the ground touching his cheeks, his jaw, his neck making the idea real to herself that he was there. That he was alive and standing right in front of her. Jotaro’s hands had dropped from her shoulders after his feet touched the ground, and he bit his bottom lip when tears threatened to spill over the corners of his eyes. He was surprised at himself for managing this long not to cry.

Suzie moved some of the curls of his hair, tucking them behind his ears, as she continued to cry, “I’m so glad. I’m so glad you came home.”

“Has Holly made it back yet, Suzie?” Caesar watched for Kakyoin to come back inside and closed the door behind them.

“N-not yet. She, oh give me a moment.” She sniffled while she got her bearings. “Jojo, what happened? Where did you go?”

Jotaro had been physically backed into corners before, but this was the first time he’d been put in one verbally. And so fast too. What should he tell her? What could he tell her? He knew this was going to come up, but now?

“Perhaps we should save that for after Holly gets back. We all want to know, and it’s better if Jotaro doesn’t have to repeat himself a dozen times.” Caesar saved him whilst helping Kakyoin into a pair of slippers.

“They’re so soft. Where did you get these?” Kakyoin wiggled their toes, their cloak having been hung up on the rack.

Oh yeah, Kakyoin was there. Amazing how quickly they’d become an afterthought. Jotaro’s panic rose, but not as fast as it had been a few moments prior. He would have to tell them eventually. If not all of them, at least his mom. She deserved to know since all the grief and pain his family endured with his absence was his fault.

“You’d have to ask Holly. I’m sure she’ll have a hundred and one questions when she gets here. Come now, let’s get settled in the living room.”

Suzie had stopped touching his face, her own confirmation of him being there, and shooed them off. “I’ll make some snacks, and be right there.”

Jotaro nodded at her, letting out the breath he was holding when he followed Caesar into the living room. Not much about it had changed. There was a new sofa, more pictures of him when he was younger had been hung up along with new family pictures of his grandparents and his mother. He took his usual spot on the left end of the couch, the stiff pillows he remembered now pliant and soft against the small of his back after years of use.

The silence thickened the air in the room with the three of them. Jotaro not wanting to speak, Kakyoin not sure how welcome they were, and Caesar not sure what to say himself. Suzie came into the room with a tray that held a stack of tiny plates, a tea pot, and enough cups for more than a few people. A bowl of square and circle shaped cookies cooked with sugar sprinkles sat next to the teapot.

“Who’s your friend?” Suzie glanced over at Kakyoin who gave her a smile.

“Not mine, Jotaro’s. This young sorcerer helped Jotaro get back to us.” Caesar was relieved when she started the conversation, prepping a cup of tea for himself.

“Oh! Oh my goodness, and I’m being so rude. I’m Suzie Joestar, you’ve already met Caesar. Holly is my daughter, and my other husband Joseph is with her. They should be on their way back soon. You are?”

“Kakyoin Noriaki, it’s very nice to meet you miss. I’m glad to see that Jotaro has such a loving family.” Kakyoin waited until Caesar and Suzie had made their own cups before starting to prep their own. “I’ll try not to overstay my welcome, I know you all want to reconnect your family as soon as possible without a stranger nearby.”

“Nonsense, any friend of Jotaro’s is a friend of the family. I’m just happy he’s met someone who’s so polite.” Suzie took the seat next Caesar, her cup cradled in one hand and the saucer with a couple cookies being held in the other.

Jotaro shifted in his seat. Kakyoin polite? That’s one word for them. He thought hazardous was a more suitable description.

“Thank you, Mrs. Joestar.”

“Please, call me Suzie.” Her eyes were still pink from her shed tears, but she had enough energy to smile at them.

“Thank you, Mrs.Suzie.”

The conversation died off for the second time since they entered the living room, but the silence was filled with the occasional sip of tea and the crunch of a bitten cookie. There was still a questioning Jotaro would have to go through. Where did he go? How did he and Kakyoin meet? What happened to his horns and wings? The thought of the conversation exhausted him, and he wanted to go lie down. Just settle in his room and reacquaint himself with his belongings and his bed. At least then he’d be more well prepared to see his mother in person, walking and speaking again unlike when he’d left her last. Unlike through images and dreams and illusions.

“Jotaro,” Caesar’s voice broke through his train of thought.

Jotaro glanced up still not believing he was sitting in his own living room with his grandparents again. “Yes?”

“Do you have any questions for us? Like what we’ve been up to, or if anything else has changed?” Caesar was giving him a warm smile, but he spoke in a soft tone like he was afraid to startle Jotaro.

“The,” Jotaro paused to gesture towards his own back and then to Caesar’s light pink wings, “Those. Why can I only see them now?”

Suzie and Caesar shared concern looks, but Suzie looked away first as she fiddled with her gloves. Caesar adjusted the collar of his shirt and leaned forward with his elbows resting on his thighs. This was the pose he took whenever he wanted to explain something to Jotaro that he wouldn’t like. An attempt to look friendly and relaxed, but still with the appearance of a guardian. Jotaro shifted in his seat not sure if he wanted the answer anymore just from that pose.

“Well, Jotaro, most children aren’t able to see the wings until they get their own set. It keeps them from tugging and climbing on them since we hide them in public. Incubi are…coveted for many reasons, and some children are early bloomers when it’s their time to develop them. The last thing we want is younger incubi with newly sprouting wings appearing as if they’re climbing on nothing on our backs since the wing information is very hush hush and treated more like a theory. And, uh,” Caesar sat up to nudge Suzie with his elbow.

She bounced with an oh and gave Jotaro the same comforting smile, “Late bloomers happen too, where they gain the ability to see them before they develop them. It’s completely normal, since your developing horns sort of pick and choose which traits come first. Your mother wanted to tell you about all this sooner, but for some reason you were a, uh, very late bloomer? Your grandpa was too, so it’s no big deal, it runs in the family. Every other Joestar deals with it.”

The stubby remains of his wings were hidden under the jacket he’d yet to wear until today. Jotaro’s hand gripped his knee. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to tell me about it, so that when it happened I’d be mentally prepared for it.”

It wasn’t a question. The harsh undertone of Jotaro’s words brought silence back into the room. Caesar was still looking at Jotaro with the same comforting smile, but the lines dotting the corners of his eyes looked more prominent. Suzie didn’t look at Jotaro, biting her lip and holding a fisted, gloved hand against her chest with guilt.

Kakyoin looked at the three and said, “I think she had the best intentions at heart.”

“Yeah,” Jotaro didn’t bother looking at them, his eyes still trained on his grandfather looking tired and hurt, “You’d know all about having the best intentions with terrible results, wouldn’t you Kakyoin?”

Kakyoin shut up at that. Jotaro had dealt with a lot before Kakyoin, and a lot with Kakyoin. The baggage he was carrying between being taken from his home and meeting the sorcerer still weighed heavier on him than anything Kakyoin did. He shouldn’t take it out on his grandparents, but rational thought was losing against the fight of emotion. The ache. The knowledge that he was messed up, a freak among his own kind, and would never just fade to the background like anyone else. That he never did before he got taken because of his late development. Maybe having a little bit of knowledge of what he was going to get and what he was going to be before he was ever stolen would’ve kept him from making any rash decisions. Maybe he would’ve found another way to do things. It was a nice thought. A really nice thought, but that’s all it was. A might, or a maybe, or a what if, and Jotaro learned the hard way never to rely on those.

The sliding creak of the front door and Joseph’s booming voice announcing they were home made Jotaro’s blood run cold. No, not now. Not right now. It was too early. He couldn’t do this. His grandpa’s foot steps made him stand from his seat. He needed to run. He didn’t know where to, but he needed to get out. Now. His mother’s soft voice followed admonishing Joseph and reminding him to take off his outside shoes. Shit no. No no no. He couldn’t do this. He needed to go back. Needed a little more time to look like, to think about, to do something! He crossed his arms hugging himself as he began to hyperventilate. Kakyoin had stood up, their tea forgotten on the side table by the arm chair, torn between wanting to comfort Jotaro without being rebuffed and trying to reassure his grandparents that this was a small episode.

“Mama, Papa, we’re ho-.” Holly stopped in the doorway of the living room, the bag of groceries in her hand dropping to the floor with a thud.

The paper bag tore sending oranges rolling across the wooden floor, and Holly let out a tight choking noise from her throat. Jotaro’s heart stopped in his chest, his eyes widening with fear, his lips trembling, her voice being the final nail in the coffin for where he was. He needed to turn around. He couldn’t do this. Turn around. He couldn’t do this. She’s right there. He couldn’t do this. She’s right there. He let out a choked sob of his own. He couldn’t do this. Turn around turn around turn around turn around! He couldn’t do this, he didn’t deserve it, he couldn’t do this. His feet worked on auto-pilot, working one step to the side, the fabric of the rug catching to the bottom of his slipper. Another step, and his breathing sped up. Another and he was three quarters there, until he could see his mother in the doorway with the last step.

Holly looked closed to collapsing from how hard her knees hit each other, but she forced herself to stand. Her eyes were already brimmed with tears ready to spill over. She looked like she did in the image from the library except in this light, he could see her better. Dark circles sat under her eyes, her hair once shiny and soft was pulled away from her face in a tight ponytail, giving a stricter appearance. A scar he’d never seen before went from the corner of her right ear down to the tip of her chin. Other than the dark yellow wings and the rest, she looked exactly the same. Jotaro let out a few shaking breaths trying to form words with his lips.

His jaw managed to stop stuttering enough for him to say, “Mom.”

Holly fell to the door frame with a wail, and had to cover her mouth with both hands, tears flowing down her face like rivers. Joseph was by her side in a second, running from the main door to the living room doorway. He froze at the sight of Jotaro, but held back whatever emotion swam in his eyes to help Holly stay on her feet. Jotaro was frozen in place as she took each step closer. First through the doorway, then towards the couch, next around the couch, each step bringing more tears flowing down her cheeks and over her hands that covered her mouth. Then she was in front of him, with Joseph beside her and there was snot and tears running down Jotaro’s face.

Taking her hands from her mouth, she reached up and so slowly cradled Jotaro’s cheeks in her hands making him flinch. Holly let out another sob, her eyes nearly clenching shut. Jotaro took one of his own shaking hands from hugging himself to place a hand over hers making her stumble over words she couldn’t form well. He had so much to say earlier, but now the words vanished. The part of him that was terrified took a backseat to the part of him that was relieved. Relieved to see her again, alive, okay. Relieved to be home. Relieved to be alive himself.

“I-I’m so sorry,” she cried.

She was what? Why was she apologizing? This wasn’t her fault. This was Jotaro’s.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t protect you, I couldn’t do anything for you, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, Jojo.” She pulled Jotaro forward and touched her forehead to his like she did when he wasn’t so big.

Jotaro wanted to say so many things in response to that. Don’t apologize. This wasn’t your fault. He was the one too dumb to listen to her. He was being stubborn. This was his fault. All of it was his fault. He shouldn’t even be here right now. He shouldn’t have caused her to hurt so much. He was responsible for all of this. The only thing that left his lips was a sob as he choked over words he couldn’t voice. Out all the things he wanted to do right now, apologize to her, explain what happened to his family, where he’d been, or how he’d even managed to get home, all he could do was cry. He cried for the lost time. He cried for the experiences he never wanted, and the pain he endured. He sobbed as his mother cradled his face in her hands thankful she was alive but hating himself for what he’d endured. He sobbed and wailed, at one point dropping to his knees, his mother still holding him as she fell down with him. She pressed his face into her shoulder as he trembled and shook with how hard he cried that he couldn’t remember feeling this small since he’d figured out how to run for the first time only to trip.

His forehead touched her shoulder as Holly rubbed his hair, her opposite hand on his shoulder as he cried. There wasn’t much pressure in her touch, but Jotaro felt the weight of her hands and knowing they were hers continued to cry. Holly continued to mutter apologies just barely above a whisper, but they were mixed with other sentiments. “I love you so much,” or “I’m so happy you’re home,” and “You’ve gotten so big, I’ve missed you.” Whether it was seconds or minutes or hours, Jotaro didn’t know when he’d lifted his head from Holly’s shoulder. She was smiling at him, her face stained with as much tear and snot as the shoulder of her pullover, and Jotaro likely looked worse. No, Jotaro knew he looked worse. He sniffled, and Holly wiped the tears from her face using the sleeve of her pullover.

“My baby boy, back home. I’m so happy you’re home.” Holly’s lips still trembled as she said it, but the smile didn’t leave her face. Remembering herself, she pulled a handkerchief from her front pocket and held it out for him. “I didn’t change a thing about your room. Just kept it clean, like you like.”

Jotaro’s fingers twitched as he took the handkerchief. He finished wiping his face, and blew his nose before helping his mom and himself back onto their feet. “You didn’t have to…”

“I knew you’d come back.” As soon as Holly said it, she had to look down. Her hair had come undone, her bangs giving the top half of her face a shadowed look. Jotaro knew she only did that when she wasn’t sure of something or was lying, but he only nodded.

She didn’t know. She’d been looking for him. That’s probably how she got the scars on her face because it couldn’t have been from a simple kitchen accident. Jotaro knew knife wounds when he saw them.

“Well, don’t hog him all to yourself Holly.” Joseph went in to hug Jotaro.” It’s so good you’re home again Jo-.”

“Don’t touch me old man.”

Caesar snorted before bursting into laughter while Joseph clutched a hand to his chest. Holly had to cover her mouth to muffle her own giggling.

Suzie let out a few giggles of her own, “Some things don’t change do they Joseph?”

“Hmph, hasn’t seen his own grandfather in years and he still acts like this.” Joseph threw an arm over his face and made a whining noise. “My own grandson hates me!”

“You must be tired from your journey, I’ll get started on dinner while you rest, okay?” Holly ignored her father making Joseph balk and mumble under his breath.

“I suppose I should be heading home as well, now that Jotaro’s back safe.” Kakyoin’s voice was soft, but so was the smile on their face at the display.

Jotaro saw a bit of longing in their eyes, but he wasn’t sure for what.

“Oh, oh I’m so sorry. I didn’t even notice you were there, are you Jotaro’s friend?” Holly reluctantly let go of Jotaro and walked over to Kakyoin to hold her hand out.

Kakyoin looked at her hand, his eyes widening slightly before reaching out and giving her hand a firm shake. “Ah, you could say that. I was really just travelling with him to get him back to you all, but now that that’s out of the way, I can return myself.”

Oh. Right. Star was wrapped up in Hierophant’s tendrils as a silent protest. Jotaro knew this part was coming, and he had a lot of fears settled just from the treatment he’d received after walking in the door. They still wanted him. He didn’t want to explain everything that happened to him alone, but he didn’t have to do that now. Hell, if he wanted he was sure his family would let him keep it bottled up for as long as he wanted.

“I’ll walk you out.” Jotaro kind of wanted to show Kakyoin his room, but the less around his house Kakyoin was the easier it’d be to forget them.

Kakyoin nodded. “Thank you all so much for inviting me along. I won’t say a word about this place.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay for dinner, Noriaki? We’d love it if you joined us.” Caesar offered once more.

“I would love to, but Nonon and I have a long journey back. Lots of things to do,” Kakyoin adjusted the cloak on their shoulders and walked to the doorway of the living room behind Jotaro. “It was nice meeting you all. I’m so happy to know Jotaro has such a loving family.”

The Joestars all smiled at them, and Jotaro walked down the hall with Kakyoin close behind. Rolling his eyes, Jotaro snorted as they arrived back at the step. Star let out a pitiful ora as Heirophant unwound himself. Kakyoin slipped the slippers off and stepped down to put their shoes back on.

“I’ll let you get all settled here,” they stood up and pulled a bag out of their pocket. “Here.”

“What’s this?” Jotaro didn’t take it.

“Your things. Clothes, apron, a few books you left in your room, and I slipped in a few of my recipes that you seemed to like the most.” Kakyoin held it in front of Jotaro and let it slip from their fingers.

Jotaro grabbed it before it fell and gripped the fabric. “All shrunken in here? How do I unshrink it?”

“First sorcerer lesson. I’d start with the recipes first since they’re on single pieces of paper.” Kakyoin grinned.

“Asshole.”

Kakyoin didn’t stop grinning as they turned around to open the door. Nonon bursted in knocking them to the side to wrap her neck around Jotaro almost barreling him over. Looks like she’d fought to get loose and succeeded. She cooed and croned not wanting to let him go.

“Nonon, you’re suffocating me.” Jotaro struggled to get free, but she pressed the front of her beak against his cheek and nuzzled his face.

Kakyoin tried tugging her away, “Come on, Nonon, we have to leave.”

 She turned her head enough to squawk at them and returned to nuzzling Jotaro’s face. Jotaro looked at Kakyoin and nodded his head towards the doorway. Kakyoin got the hint opening it as wide as possible. Jotaro kicked off his slippers and went down a step to put on his grandpa’s shoes. Working slowly, he walked Nonon outside with her still wrapped around him. When the trio were in the open air and not the cramped doorway, Kakyoin managed to get a better grip on Nonon’s reins and whistled loudly. She let out another sad cooing noise and unwound herself from Jotaro.

“I’ll miss you too, Nonon.” Jotaro gave her fat cheek feathers a few pats making her let out a “brrpt” noise.

Kakyoin patted the feathers around the base of her neck, “I was joking about the imprinting thing, but I guess she really did on you.”

“Yeah.”

The two stood there, the atmosphere awkward. Jotaro wanted to say more. Good riddance? Good luck? Thanks for the added trauma, wasn’t as bad as the original stuff, but I still didn’t want it? Get home safe? Kakyoin cleared their throat, and gave Jotaro a small wave. As they were turning to go, Jotaro found his body reacting again before his brain as he grabbed onto the edge of Kakyoin’s sleeve. Kakyoin stopped mid-turn, and raised an eyebrow.

“I-,” no, that wasn’t right. “You’re-.” Jotaro stopped himself again. They were what? Jotaro knew this might be the last time he’d be seeing Kakyoin. The sorcerer traveled a lot, consistently put themselves in dangerous situations, and made theft from thieves a side hobby. He didn’t have the words to say to Kakyoin now, but later…Later he might. “Letters, to write you. Later.”

“Oh? Oh! Of course.” Kakyoin pressed against Nonon’s side and swept their fingers through her feathers. “Aha.” They tugged a loose feather from Nonon’s plumage and held it out to Jotaro. “Just use this to write a letter to me. Sign my name on the front of the envelope and toss it out the window using your familiar. It’ll get to me.”

Jotaro took the feather, it was longer than his hand and soft. “How are you not bombarded with them?”

“Filter system. Only the magic of people who’ve been in my house are allowed immediate letter entry in my office.” Kakyoin fiddled with Nonon’s reins. “I always write back, my letters come a little late but,” they pushed their bang behind their ear to keep the wind from blowing it in their face.

“Yeah.” Jotaro didn’t need them to finish. Instead he gave them a small wave with the feather in their hands.

Kakyoin nodded hopping onto Nonon this time, once they were settled they looked down at Jotaro to say, “And before I forget, welcome home, Jotaro.”

Jotaro’s stomach riddled itself in knots at the sentiment. The truth in it finally settling in his chest as something he could manage. “Thank you, Noriaki.”

Smiling at him one last time, Kakyoin turned Nonon around and whistled setting her in a light trot down the road. Jotaro watched them go, rubbing the feather between his forefinger and thumb until they turned the corner and were out of sight. That was it. He was home. Jotaro turned around in time to see the last of his relatives scrambling out of the doorway and into the living room. He was going to be questioned on what that was all about when he got inside, but some weird part of him looked forward to it.

“Ora?” Star pointed inside.

“Yeah. Come on, I’ll introduce you properly.” Jotaro walked over the footprints in the dirt Nonon left and went inside the house.

He was home.