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Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

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Chapter 1

 

 

"This is all your fault! It's because of you that we live like this! It's because of you that Mom died!" shouted Dio. He wasn't thinking. He was seeing red, could even taste copper in his mouth.

This wasn't going according to plan. He was supposed to be curled up in bed, what the hell happened? Dio shot. Once. Twice. He paused momentarily, watching as the man staggered backward, bottle falling from his hands and crashing on the floor as he clutched his chest. He stared back at his fingers in horror, slowly registering that the murky crimson staining them was his own blood. Dio shot once more, this bullet getting lodged in the man's throat. He fell on his knees, blood springing from the hole. He fell forward with a splat, in a puddle of cheap liquor, shards of glass and blood. It kept pooling, until it reached Diego's feet who jumped back to avoid getting his socks wet.

Dio was panting but he wasn't shaking. He lowered his arms and looked at the corpse with cold eyes, lips pressed into a thin line. This was definitely messier than he had anticipated but successful, in the end. He tended to be reckless when he lost his temper. Luckily, this neighborhood was used to the sounds of gunfire. No one would suspect him. But he still needed to act quickly.

"Help me get him into the car," he said.

"What about all this blood?" Diego was looking at the corpse with wide eyes, half expecting it to rise and start drinking again.

"We'll get him in the car first and then we'll take care of this. Go get some sheets and blankets from upstairs. Some rope, too." The younger nodded and headed to fetch the items.

Dio nudged the corpse with the edge of his foot, irritated that he had to touch something as filthy with his shiny Prada shoes. No response. He wasn't alive, was he? No, he had been poisoned, all of his internal organs were slowly failing and he had been shot three times. Whatever, it wouldn't matter in a while anyway.

Diego returned and the two brothers got busy trying to bundle up the corpse, covering it with the blankets and tightly securing it with the rope. Satisfied with the result, Dio instructed Diego to grab the corpse by the head while he handled the legs. They moved carefully until they had safely deposited the body into the trunk.

"He won't fit."

"Ugh. Should I cut his head off?"

"Yeah. Otherwise, we'll have to put him in the backseat."

Dio looked around. Cutting the head off would take too much time. He pushed the body further inside, taking advantage of its fading flexibility. A sharp crack was heard and he stumbled forward, successfully shoving the corpse inside. He shut the trunk and wiped the sweat off his forehead.

Cleaning up the blood was easy, especially because they didn't have a carpet. He poured the filthy water down the drain and cleaned the sink. As he was about to leave, he noticed the gun. He took it with him, just to be safe.

"I think we're good to go," commented Diego, observing the scene. Nothing seemed out of place in this cramped hole they called home. In fact, it seemed more orderly, more tranquil.

The car was a black Citroen C3 he had stolen from a would-be one-night-stand. It was nowhere near the Lamborghini Dio was dreaming of but at least it was enough to help him move around. The streets were almost empty, quiet. He estimated it would take perhaps an hour to get to their destination. Diego was sitting in the passenger's seat, humming softly as he was looking out the window.

"What are you thinking?" Dio asked. Despite not being the most affectionate person, keeping his brother safe was his duty. His mother had made him swear that when she was about to die. All he did, he did it for her.

"We just killed our Father."

"Does that bother you?"

"It bothers me that we didn't do it sooner." Dio couldn't help but grin. So what if their little poisoning ploy had been found out? Everything had worked out in the end. No one would miss Dario, no one would look for him.

Dio saw the red and blue lights before he heard the siren's screech. He cursed loudly. Diego turned around and looked at the approaching police car. They weren't going over the speed limit, so what was the problem? Dio pulled over, not wanting to raise any suspicions.

"Ah, fuck. Do you have a driver's license?"

"I had Diavolo make one for me." Dio straightened himself as he rolled down the window. He looked calm, a little sweaty but otherwise calm. He had managed to keep his excitement in check, surprising even himself. All he wanted to do was scream, scream and laugh until he was crying. Finally he was free, finally, he had gotten rid of the only obstacle in his course. Soon, he would be able to get high from joy. It wasn't time for celebrations yet.

He glanced at Diego. He was slightly fidgeting. Diego had always been more easily excitable than Dio. He noticed the way his brother was squinting at the approaching policeman. He needed to get him to the doctor, his eyesight was getting worse day by day.

"Take this," he quickly said and handed Diego the gun. "If things go south, shoot." The younger boy nodded and hid the weapon underneath his sweater.

"Good evening, boys."

"Good evening, officer," Dio greeted with his best smile. The man leaned against the window and eyed the pair. "What seems to be the problem?”

“Oh, there's no problem. Just wondering what two young men like yourselves are doing out so late.”

“Just heading home for the night, sir. Nothing special,” Dio said through gritted teeth.

The man hummed. It wasn't that late to be considered suspicious. “Do you have a driver's license?”

“Yes, sir.” Dio handed it to him. He looked at it carefully. The work was perfect, there was no chance the policeman would find the slightest fault. “Anything wrong, sir?”

“No...” He handed the card back to Dio. He took a step back to look at the car. He lazily scratched his chin. “You boys can go but you better be careful. There's a serial killer on the loose.”

“We will. Good night, sir.”

Fucking pig, Dio bitterly thought as he was driving away. How eager he was to do his job, show what a true professional he was over pointless shit like that. Where were they when his mother would wake the whole neighborhood with her screaming? Useless, useless, absolutely useless.

Diego was about to fall asleep when they reached the shed. It was still standing alone in the middle of the clearing, surrounded by tall trees. The night was so still, had it not been for the cool breeze, Dio might have thought that time had stopped. The moonlight was shining upon him, cool and silver, baptizing him, blessing his new beginning. Was this an evil act? Probably. Was it absolutely necessary? Definitely.

Dio helped Diego take the body out of the trunk. They moved inside the shed and the moment the creaky door opened, a dozen starving and infuriated dogs started barking. Dio shot just once and all of them shut up, choosing instead to whimper and look at him with their lustrous, soulless eyes. Controlling these mindless beasts certainly gave Dio a sense of superiority, though not as much as playing with people did. With little difficulty, the brothers undid the knots and let the corpse roll on the floor with a loud thud. Dio kicked the head, making it look the other way. The less he looked at that face, the better. Even if he was dead, simply looking at those eyes made Dio's blood boil and want nothing more than to stab him to his heart's content.

“How do we get them to eat?” Good question, for the dogs didn't seem particularly interested in consuming the man. Dio walked to the lifeless body and after tearing the sleeve from its filthy shirt, made a deep cut with his knife. Upon seeing blood, one of the canines' ears perked up and it cautiously approached the offering, sniffing the air. It gave the new wound a long lick, soon finding the others. Two more joined him, all trying to lick the blood. Soon, they were sinking their teeth into the dead flesh, tearing away large chunks of meat.

The brothers didn't move until they saw that most of the body had been consumed. When the little pack finally dissolved, satisfied with the meal, they saw that the only remains were the shaggy clothes, the bones, and the upper half of his head. Dio chuckled. Not even the dogs wanted to eat his brain. They walked out and blocked the door. All of the windows had been secured too. There was no way this place could be brought down.

Dio lit a match and gracefully threw it at the shed's wooden door. The fire spread almost immediately, the sparks growing larger and stronger with each piece of dry wood it consumed. The flames danced to the sky like hot tongues, the wails on the animals echoing around the dark woods. The wailing grew stronger, the flames became larger. Yet no one would notice a thing. Dio truly believed he had been blessed.

The fire didn't spread. In the morning, only ash remained. No one would ever know what had happened there. Only them.

 


 


Living in a house with only one full bathroom for three men very particular about their appearance was certainly not an easy task. And since all three of them were insanely strong-headed and would rather burn to death than step down from anything, mornings were rather eventful, to say the least. Dio wasn't surprised when he found a note saying 'DEATH IS COMING' pinned on the door with a dagger. He picked it up and slid it under Diavolo's door as he strode past it while going upstairs to his room.

Co-existence had certainly not been his first option but it was cheaper than renting a house alone. Instead of living in a petty rat-hole, his house was much better than most university students'. The house had two floors, with Diavolo's bedroom, the living room, kitchen and smaller bathroom being on the ground floor and his, Kira's and the large bathroom being on the top floor. There was even a small backyard, surrounded by brick walls and the neighbors' trees. It was nothing like the multi-million dollar mansion he wanted but it was nice. Of course, he could have always chosen to live with Diego and his friends but he'd rather die. Pucci had offered to house him but Dio wasn't comfortable with hauling his bisexual ass into a strict Catholic household.

His roommates...he wouldn't actually call them friends, though that was exactly what they were. Dio viewed them as necessary allies, the only people he could ever agree with. Despite their differences, they the same ruthlessness and peerless ambitiousness. Out of all his 'friends', Dio treasured Pucci the most, and that came as a surprise to even him. When he broke into a church just to fuck around with Diavolo and Kars all those years ago, he wasn't expecting that the only witness to that crime would one day become his second favorite person in the world. But well, here they were.

Even though his first meeting with Pucci was rather eventful, he met the others in a relatively normal way. He had already known Diavolo since high school, more than often assisting him in his cons, for a price of course. Then he met Kira on his freshman year of college. Quiet, dull, as bland as a boiled potato, with the only interesting characteristic of his being his resemblance to David Bowie. Yet somehow, Kira had fit just right with the rest of them, particularly with Diavolo. Those two used to share a dorm room right across the one Dio had with Valentine and bonded over their common desire for a life in the background. Even four years later, Diavolo insisted that there was more to Kira than met the eye.

As for Kars...Dio and Diavolo had been watching his makeup videos on YouTube religiously since their high school days and after threatening and stabbing a few other fans, managed to meet the man himself during a palette launch in New York. Kars, impressed by both their looks, even offered the two the chance to model for his company. Diavolo had of course declined, but Dio took the opportunity. More money, more fame, more glory. Just what he was after. Besides, he could always use a break from fucking old morons out of their bank accounts.

Like always, Dio spent the best part of an hour planning a spectacular outfit, not neglecting to take the necessary amount of selfies and then deciding which ones to post. Then, another forty minutes to do his makeup and twenty minutes after that to do his hair. He cast a last glance towards the mirror as he exited the room, flashing himself a wink. He looked impeccable, as always, as it was greatly important that on this day he looked his very best. He had to make sure that he dazzled those spineless rich kids, establish himself on the center of attention. He was going to excel, as always. Surely most of them had been pushed into here because of family tradition. Most had names to back up their fuck-ups, as well as vast wealth. But they were dull, shallow. Disgusting.

He came down the stairs and walked into the kitchen to find the other two men that inhabited the house already there. Diavolo was sitting on the breakfast bar, mindlessly stirring his soggy cereal and Kira was in the middle of cooking his breakfast. His mischievous sphinx cat was meowing at his feet, her large eyes trying to find anything to break. Dio didn't like animals but Killer Queen got a pass. Even if he killed her, Kira would probably skewer him. He sipped on his black coffee, enjoying the silence of the perfect domestic scene. Diavolo's phone, the one out of many, buzzed his a message.

“For fuck's sake,” he mumbled.

“What?” Dio asked with piqued interest, leaning over his phone to look at the screen. He snorted when he saw the colorful assortment of emojis that was supposed to mean something. Four years later, and Valentine was still texting like that. “What is that supposed to mean?” They all received texts like that and no one knew how to decipher them. Even if they replied with words, all Valentine sent was emojis. Any rare words were always accompanied by quotation marks, making the entire situation even more confusing. Only Scarlet could tell what the hell Valentine meant, and she got the skill after spending her entire life with him.

Kira sat down next to Diavolo, getting ready to enjoy some eggs with bacon. Kira was the one that cooked since only he knew how to. He looked at Diavolo's screen as well, squinting at the cryptic message. “I can't even tell if it's important. Call him.”

Diavolo grumbled something in Italian and tossed his phone on the counter. “If it's so fucking important then he should call me.”

“You two make a big deal out of everything,” Kira said with an exasperated head shake. “Can you go get groceries later?” Diavolo simply looked at Kira. “You can't avoid this forever.”

“I'll order it.”

“It costs extra.”

“I'll pay for it.”

“Fine. What do you want for dinner?”

“I'd say something light,” Dio said and the other two agreed with nods. Dio did everything to maintain his fit and shapely physique, though the occasional night in with pizza was a treat he secretly enjoyed. “I'll leave it up to you.” He checked the time and stood up, carrying his mug to the sink. “Have a nice day, gentlemen. Cat.”

The early September days were quite warm, albeit a bit humid. Dio had his hairspray to thank for keeping his hair smooth and sleek all day. Since he wasn't a pleb like Kira or a creep like Diavolo, he drove his car to the campus. It was an Audi R8, the fruit of a horse race gone extremely well and fulfilling a CEO's darkest fantasies. The car certainly helped him stand out. Even though those people had wealth, they didn't know how to flaunt it. Dio smiled smugly as he magnetized every pair of eyes as he made his way with pride and haughtiness from the parking lot and into the classroom.

He was pleasantly surprised to find a familiar blond sitting on the front row. Unlike the colorless crowd of mindless husks behind him, Valentine was highly intelligent, on a level that Dio greatly appreciated. His presence meant that Dio was going to enjoy some intellectual competition. That was all he was useful for. They were friends, more like friendly acquaintances, the kind of friends that never hung out together unless someone else was there. Valentine was rich, privileged and spoiled, the kind Dio passionately hated. Effortlessly cultured, never had to worry about anything, with a baffling integrity and a complex code of honor Dio found both entertaining and insanely infuriating. Had it not been for those qualities, Dio might have considered seducing Valentine and not only for his money. He was beautiful, too beautiful, with perfect golden curls, the prettiest pink mouth, dreamy blue eyes and expensive cheekbones. But alas, straight, in a committed relationship and oblivious to any romantic advances, if Diego's numerous failed attempts were anything to go by.

“I thought you were going for Political Sciences,” Dio commented as he took the seat next to Valentine. “When did you even take the LSAT?”

“Oh, I immediately left for Europe after I did. Scarlet and I spent half the summer there.” Yes, yes. Dio had seen Valentine's Instagram. Just because they wanted, the couple had been able to roam through the world's most expensive resorts, something Dio could only achieve by renting himself to some rich fuck. Diavolo was still salty about it. This had been the first summer they had spent apart.

Looking back, Dio couldn't exactly pinpoint the moment when Diavolo and Valentine had become such good friends, with the perfect roast to support ratio.

“How was your summer?”

“I went to Florida with Enrico and spent a few weeks at Kars' vacation home.”

Valentine nodded. “Is Diavolo still mad at me? He hasn't replied to any of my messages.”

“A little bit because you missed his birthday.” Valentine pulled a face. “Come by later, you still haven't seen the house, have you?”

By the time they were done for the day, the sky was noticeably darker, obscured by gray clouds, the occasional distant booming of thunder reaching their ears. They headed to the parking lot to take Dio's car since Valentine came with Scarlet. While passing through a grassy courtyard, hurrying as the first few heavy rain droplets were falling from the sky, a rugby ball cut through the air and landed right in front of Dio's leather Gucci shoes. The impact caused some mud to fly on the expensive material, halting Dio on his tracks to gawk at the damage in horror.

“Sorry about that!” a male voice called and Dio snapped up, ready to rip the disgusting animal's throat out.

However, when the culprit came to view, Dio's eloquence was thrown out the window and his jaw hit the ground. Galloping towards him was a man, a sublime specimen, an Adonis, a demigod. The unknown man stopped in front of Dio and the view was even better. Two meters of raw, hard, sun-kissed muscle, barely contained in too-tight sweats, with the perfect sculpted waist and the roundest ass. The perfection of his body was rivaled by the beauty of his face; a square jaw, sharp cheekbones, sweet, plump, smiling lips, pearly white teeth and glimmering ocean-blue eyes, surrounded by long, dark lashes. To top it all off, a luscious mop of chocolate brown curls was on his head, slicked back with sweat.

Dio placed a perfectly-manicured hand over his chest, holding back a small gasp. Was this God?

“Jonathan!” Valentine suddenly exclaimed. The two men exchanged a hearty handshake, both sporting matching grins.

“It's so good to see you again, Funny!” Jonathan said, sounding genuine. “What are you doing here?”

“I'm in Law. You're in Archeology?”

“Yes!” Jonathan excitedly replied. How dull. What wasn't dull was the way he grasped the nape of his neck, his impossible bicep bulging. “That's all I ever wanted to do.”

Once Dio had calmed from the shock of meeting such a gorgeous piece of ass, he made out a slight accent in Jonathan's voice. British? Definitely sounded the part. Dio straightened himself and cleared his throat.

Valentine placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled. “Jonathan, this is my good friend and coursemate, Dio Brando. Dio, this is Jonathan Joestar, a very good family friend.”

Jonathan's blue eyes gleamed when he saw Dio, lips pulled into an amused smile. Dio grinned smugly, raising his chin and offering a hand which Jonathan shook fervently, with the strength of a 100 men. Dio felt all blood go south at the thought of what those hands could do to him.

“Nice to meet you! Oh, and please, call me Jojo.” he excitedly said. Okay, his excitement about life was a tad tiring but Dio didn't mind yet. Jonathan paused. “Have we met before?”

“Trust me, Jojo. If we had, you would've remembered it.”

Jonathan chuckled, a careless, boyish laugh that resonated within Dio's chest. He bent down and pick up the forgotten rugby ball, offering Dio a perfect view of his godly back muscles. “Really sorry about that. I can have them cleaned.”

“It's fine,” Dio said, surprising himself. “It's just a pair of shoes.” Words he never thought would leave his mouth. Seeing just what his 'good boy facade' was capable of doing was certainly something.

Jonathan smiled at that, relieved. “Jojo! We're leaving!” called another man, a blond, from a little further away.

“I'm coming!” Jonathan yelled back. “I hope I see you two around again. Dio, it was nice meeting you.”

“You too, Jojo.”

The way Dio said his nickname seemed to greatly amuse Jonathan, who backstepped clumsily, smiling lips forming the word as his eyes remained locked into Dio's own amber ones. Dio sat in the light drizzle, watching Jonathan's quickly disappearing form, still feeling the sweet sting of the handshake, heat concentrating on his pale cheeks.

He turned to look at Valentine, who was already in the car. “Who the hell is that?” he demanded once he was inside.

“Jonathan Joestar,” Valentine stated matter-of-factly. He rolled his eyes at the look Dio gave him. “Why? Are you interested in him?”

“Speak, Barbie.”

Valentine sighed. “Alright. Start the car.” Dio did. “Doesn't the name 'Joestar' ring a bell?”

Truth be told, it did. Now that Dio wasn't overwhelmed by Jonathan's presence, his mind became clear once more. The name was vaguely familiar but Dio couldn't quite put his finger on it. “It kind of does.”

“That's because he's the cousin of Diego's best friend.” He took a calming breath. “Johnny.”

Johnny. Dio knew Johnny. Well, he knew he existed and shared an apartment with his brother. Had Valentine not have told him anything, Dio would have never assumed these two were family.

“That's probably why he said he knows you. Because he knows Diego.”

“Yes, but who IS he?” Dio asked, impatient. His patience was already getting thinner. Traffic was even worse during rainy days.

“Jonathan Joestar is the eldest son of George Joestar.” Very helpful. As if Dio gave a shit about the guy's lineage. “CEO of the biggest and richest shipping company in the UK.” Oh.

As soon as the words settled in his head, Dio couldn't help a grin from spreading on his lips. Not only was Jonathan otherworldly but also filthy, stinking, unnecessarily rich. Usually, Dio would target old fools that were more than willing to spend their fortunes on him and go for attractive but less well-off young men and women for sheer pleasure. Jonathan was the whole package and already, Dio's mind was working, devising a plan. They had a shared contact, something Dio could use to his advantage.

“And...how close are you and this Jojo?” he nonchalantly asked, trying to sound indifferent.

“Eh, not really. Close enough to be invited to his place for the holidays, but we never hang out. He's a good guy but we don't have much in common.”

“I see.”

“Dio,” Valentine started and Dio knew where this was heading. This was the voice Valentine used whenever he wanted to talk them out of doing something stupid and/or illegal. The Voice™ was usually aimed at Diavolo and Dio finally saw why he found it so annoying. “I know what you're thinking and I want you to stop.”

“What are you talking about?” Dio snorted.

Valentine folded his arms over his chest. Attack of the reluctant mom friend. “Jonathan is a good guy. A really good guy. He's not for your teeth.”

There he was, speaking as if he was morally superior. It was a good thing Pucci had helped Dio calm his temper a bit otherwise he would have thrown Valentine out of the car.

“Mind your own business,” snapped Dio. There was no way he was backing down from this. Once home, he was going to initiate phase #1 of his plan; social media stalking.

“He's not stupid and he's straight. There's nothing you can do.”

“After years of knowing me, how can you say this?” Dio scoffed. No one could stay immune to the charm or best the intelligence of him, Dio.

 


 

 

By the time reached Dio's house, rain was generously pouring from the black sky. The change in temperature was greatly appreciated by the slightly shivering duo, as was the smell of food being cooked. Per Kira's request, they both took their shoes off and ventured into the house. Killer Queen stepped out of the kitchen curiously and meowed at the sight of a familiar face.

“Hello,” Valentine cooed in the special voice he used for animals. He picked the hairless feline in his arms and scratched underneath her chin, making her flatten her ears and purr, settling against his warm chest.

“Well, look who it is.”

“Evening, Yoshikage.” Valentine sat down on the kitchen table and Killer Queen jumped off his arms, after having had enough cuddles. For now. “It's good to see you again.” Kira hummed in response, agreeing, as he was wholeheartedly concentrated on cutting vegetables for the salad he was preparing.

“Will you stay for dinner?”

“Judging by the weather, I'll probably stay for the night.” He could always call an Uber, but he kinda wanted to stay and catch up with his boys. “Is Diavolo here?”

“Of course.”

“Which is his room?”

“The one at the end of the hall.”

“Okay. Hey, can you call us when food is ready?”

“Sure.”

Valentine quietly walked to the door Kira had pointed out, gently pushing it open. Upon doing so, he was hit by a wave of musky cologne. He peered inside, the thin sliver of light allowing him to make out the shape of the furniture. He shut the door behind him and blindly reached for what he assumed what was the bed. He crawled on top, feeling around for the covers and pillows when his hand grabbed something soft and fleshy.

“Fucking hell, Funny!”

“Sorry,” he whispered as he clumsily climbed underneath the covers. He made himself more comfortable, letting his body relax on the springy mattress. It was so nice and warm inside the room. He could already feel his eyelids getting heavier. “How did you know it was me?”

“I know your smell,” Diavolo replied as if his answer was perfectly normal. To them, it was. Their group of friends, however dastardly and foul, still held a closeness others misinterpreted as romantic attraction. But they didn't care. They slept on the same bed and changed clothes and sat on each other's knees during car rides. And it felt good.

Valentine hummed. “How was your first day?” Diavolo groaned. “That bad?”

“It started just fine, until this absolutely insufferable French fuck showed up,” he growled, voice half-full of sleep, half-full of anger. Knowing Diavolo, who tended to get furious at everything, the 'French fuck' was probably a normal person. “Out of all the damn seats, he took the one next to mine.”

That, in Diavolo's book, was a grave sin. “Show him to me,” Valentine requested, nudging him.

“You're so fucking annoying,” Diavolo muttered but still reached for his phone. The light momentarily blinded the two men. “There,” he said after finding the guy's Instagram.

On the screen was a picture of a ridiculously muscular man, with an even more ridiculous column of silver hair atop his head and a big, bright and happy grin. In that picture, he was holding probably the most annoyed-looking dog Valentine had ever seen, a small Boston terrier, looking at the camera with murderous intent in his little Christmas outfit. Valentine scrolled further down, looking at random pictures, until he found something fairly interesting.

“He's a friend of Jonathan's.”

“Joestar's?” And indeed he was, posing in a picture with several people, including Jonathan Joestar. “So?”

“Dio and I met him before coming here.”

Valentine didn't need to say anything more. Diavolo only sighed and shook his head. Whatever Dio was planning to do, Diavolo wouldn't tolerate him bringing Jonathan here to have sex. The last thing he wanted was a closer look at Dio's rather troubling sex life.

After putting his phone aside, Diavolo laid down on the pillows once more. Valentine was already dozing off and he did too, snuggling closer to the sweet-smelling blond.

While the two were calmly napping, Kira walked into the room. He flicked the lights on but that didn't disturb them. The lighting in Diavolo's room was limited, barely enough to illuminate the entire space. The walls of his room had been painted black, a selection of pictures Diavolo had taken over the years forming a colorful collage on the one facing the door. The only window, offering a view to their little backyard, had been blocked with light-canceling curtains. Staying true to his aesthetic, Diavolo had decorated the room with elegant pieces of furniture, all made from dark mahogany, with fine, carved details. His most impressive belonging had to be the set of matching drawers and bookcase, filled with his favorite gothic novels. That was probably the only sign of tidiness in the entire room. Frowning disdainfully, Kira plucked a pair of purple pants from the floor and folded it neatly, stacking it on an overflowing chair.

He approached the sleeping pair and nudged Diavolo. “Wake up.” A groan. “Wake up,” he insisted, shaking harder.

“What!” Diavolo snapped, opening his eyes but closing them quickly, hissing at the light. “What time is it?”

“Almost eight. Dinner's ready.”

Diavolo nodded. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Valentine had moved even closer, snuggling against Diavolo's chest. “Wake up.” He had forgotten how Valentine slept like a log. “Wake up, bitch. Food's ready.” No response. “Funny.”

Light chuckling. “Fine, fine. I'm awake.”

Reluctantly, the two men left their soft cocoon of warmth. Valentine stretched and yawned, one hand going to scratch his head. He looked down at his clothes, scowling at his now wrinkled shirt.

“I should have taken this off,” he muttered. “Hey, can I borrow a top? I'll return it tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

Valentine opened Diavolo's closet and suddenly, at least a dozen cellphones fell at his feet. Slowly, with exasperated blue eyes, he looked at Diavolo, who stopped while trying to put his pants on. “Really?” he asked, voice cold, an eyebrow raised.

Diavolo looked at him in confusion, clearly not realizing what he was doing wrong. “Are you going to lecture me again?” he scoffed. He appreciated Valentine caring about him but it was annoying at times. Most of the time. Like now.

Valentine chose a purple hoodie and put it on, flipping his hair out of it. “Yes. You're going to end up in trouble at this rate,” he chided.

“You're jinxing it.”

“I'm not. I'm simply stating the obvious.”

“I'm just living life.”

Diavolo's idea of 'living life' was to seduce numerous women and men, give them all fake names and phone numbers and never see them again. It had caused quite some drama in the past, but Diavolo shrugged it off. His main goal was to remain perfectly anonymous but he still couldn't help but indulge himself every now and again. This was the only way, whether Valentine liked it or not.

“You have no idea what you're missing out on,” he teased as they walked out, bringing his smirking face close to Valentine's only to be pushed back.

“Ah, yes. The thrill brought by the constant threat of catching a cocktail of STDs. What life is all about.”

“You Americans think you know everything.” They took their seats on the table while Kira started serving the food. “There's more to life than returning home to the same boring face.”

“There's nothing more fulfilling than stability, knowing that you're finally where you want to be.”

“I wholeheartedly agree,” Kira chimed in. Diavolo rolled his eyes. His two best friends were such stiffs, thinking that having a nice, cozy family was the dream. “But you're still young. You'll play around but one day you'll settle down.”

“You'll find true love,” Valentine added, batting his eyelashes and flipping his hair.

“You guys talk like old men,” he sourly commented. He glared at Valentine with narrowed eyes. “And you speak of true love so easily, Funny, yet you went around Europe, visited the most romantic places on the planet, you missed your best friend's birthday-”

“I'll make it up to you, dearest.”

“-and still no ring.”

“I was kinda expecting you guys would get engaged on this trip, too.”

Valentine lifted his hands, akin to Pontius Pilatus. “It's too soon for that.”

“You guys have been dating for five years.”

“Six,” Valentine corrected. “I don't know. I want to marry Scarlet, I just don't think I should propose yet. I want to wait until we're not depending on our parents anymore.”

“That's how people should be living their lives,” Kira sang, placing a plate in front of Diavolo.

“Stop lecturing me like I'm a fucking child!” Diavolo barked, annoyed at the two meddling idiots while putting his feet on the table, only to have them kicked off by Kira.

“Dio!” Kira called. “Are you coming for dinner?”

Dio walked into the kitchen, nose buried in his gaudy golden iPhone, blindly reaching for his chair and sitting down. Good thing Jonathan's Instagram wasn't private. Dio wanted to stalk him but he didn't want to follow him yet. That would make him look thirsty and clingy (he was both of these things.). Most of the pictures on his account featured several people, including two other young men that bore a striking resemblance to him. Lots of friends, lots of smiles and Dio wondered if any of them were lovers. Well, didn't matter. None could resist the charms of him, Dio. He spotted his own brother, in a picture with Jonathan and Johnny. Dio was almost entirely sure Diego hadn't told Dio about Jonathan out of pure spite and greediness. He was going to show that little lizard, though after he used him for his plan.

“Are we expecting anyone?” asked Kira once the doorbell rung.

“I called Enrico,” Dio nonchalantly replied. He sprung up to answer the door, letting Pucci inside. Not even allowing him a word, Dio impatiently grabbed him by the hand and dragged him into the living room. “We'll be with you in a minute!”

“What's going on?” asked Pucci as Dio pushed him to sit down on the couch.

Dio couldn't say much over the phone, his excitement was far too great. With a grin fit for a giddy child holding a mischievous secret, he showed Pucci his phone, a picture of Jonathan displayed on the screen. Satisfaction spread over his face as Pucci's eyes widened, half-full of surprise and wonder at the impossible man being shown to him.

“Very nice,” he mused, taking hold of Dio's phone to look at the picture more closely. Based on sexual orientation alone, Pucci would be able to provide an insightful evaluation of Jonathan. “Who is he?”

“Jonathan Joestar. Smoking hot AND filthy rich.” Pucci looked at him with a proud smile. “Funny tells me he's straight but I don't think that'd be much of a problem. What do you think?”

Pucci leaned back on the couch, thoughtfully scratching his chin, eyes lost deep in thought. “Tell me a little about his background.”

“Old money, probably conservative.” Pucci hummed. Dio was closely observing his reactions, waiting for the verdict. “He's a family friend of the Valentines', so I don't think he's from a progressive family.”

“It will be hard,” Pucci decided, handing Dio his phone, “but not impossible. When are you thinking of making the first move?”

“As soon as possible. A cousin of his is friends with Diego. I can use that to get the two of us close.”

“I'm sure you will be successful,” Pucci reassured him. Pucci never told Dio what he wanted to hear. He only gave him the truth, acting as his most trustworthy advisor and practically his impulse control. When Pucci told Dio that he was sure of his success, he meant it, because he believed in Dio's abilities, believed wholeheartedly that there was nothing this magnificent man couldn't achieve.

Dio's brain shifted into gear. He started putting bits and pieces of his plan together, crafting his grand scheme. First, he would have Jonathan's heart. Then, he'd have his money. Easy as pie.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 2

 

 

 

Diego didn't get visits from his older brother very often. It wasn't that they hated one another, they were just very different. Dio had decided early on that the profile Diego had constructed for himself didn't fit in the lifestyle Dio had chosen. In time, he had successfully pushed Diego out of his life, maintaining just a typical relationship. He called him every now and again to make sure he was alive and out of trouble. Diego understood that and stayed as far away from Dio as possible. It's not like he wanted to be all mushy with his brother, anyway.

The only times Dio ever visited Diego were whenever he had done something incredibly stupid and harmful to the name of Dio Brando. Even though he was a grown ass man, Diego felt an inexplicable anxiety when he saw Dio, heading towards him with the cold expression of a man that was trying, but failing, to control his temper. The same dread filled his lungs while at work, when he suddenly lifted his head and saw his older brother coming through the door, Givenchy coat swaying behind him, Gucci shades obscuring his harsh gaze. He gulped and froze in place as Dio walked from the front door to the counter.

Dio had never hurt him, never ever. If anything, Dio had only ever helped him, even if it was because of an oath to their dead mother. So why was Diego absolutely terrified, completely immobilized like a little kid waiting for the first strike of a cheap leather belt?

“Good morning, brother dear,” Dio greeted in his usual lightly accented baritone. “It's good to see you again.”

“What do you want?” Diego quickly demanded.

Dio seemed surprised, not a hint of anger on his person. Rare. “No need to be so agitated, Diego. I'm just here to talk.” He glanced over to the other side of the counter, where a young blonde girl was tidying up cakes and sandwiches in a display. “Alone.”

“Lucy, can you please give us two minutes?”

Lucy looked up at the two men. “Sure,” she finally said, going to the back of the store to clean up some tables.

“Thanks.” Diego leaned in closer, his face mere inches away from Dio's. “What do you want?” Instead of a response, Dio showed Diego his phone, where a picture of Jonathan playing with a bunch of puppies was displayed. Diego looked quizzically at the screen, then at Dio. “What...is that supposed to mean?”

“You know damn well what that means.” If there was one thing the two Brandos had in common, that was their thirst for money and peerless ambition. Diego knew exactly what was going on, he had practiced the same 'art' as Dio numerous times, with his last attempt ending in a rather unsavory way. “I met him yesterday. I know you know him and I want you to arrange a meeting.”

“I can't just walk up to him and tell him to come to meet you. We don't even talk that much!”

“That's not what I meant, you idiot,” Dio said with a roll of his eyes.

“Careful how you speak to me. I'm the only one who can get you to meet him.”

Dio leaned back, scanning his brother's face with an odd look of pride. “Right... I apologize.” Diego nodded. “How often does Jonathan see your friend, Johnny?”

“Almost every day.”

“Great. What you can do is casually suggest you all go out together to where I will be. I'll give you the details when you arrange the meeting.”

Sounded like a pretty solid plan. “What's in it for me?”

Dio couldn't help but grin. Of course Diego would ask something in return, even from his own flesh and blood. “I'll pay back what you owe Valentine.”

“That's a lot of money.”

“Does it matter?”

Diego paused for just a second. He shrugged. “No,” he said. “Not really.”

“Good. Call me when you're ready.”

“Will that be all?”

“Actually no. I'd like a Cinnamon Dolce Latte for Enrico and a Latte Caramel Macchiato for me.” He slipped a crisp hundred-dollar bill in the tip jar and flashed Diego a wry grin.

Pucci arrived just as the drinks were done. He took the seat across from Dio and crossed one knee over the other. He looked solemn, perplexed, lost in thought, probably the reason why he had asked to meet Dio.

“I'm sorry I made you leave your house,” Pucci started. “I know your studies are important but I desperately needed some fresh air.”

“Enrico, you know I'm here for you.” Dio reached for one of Pucci's hands and squeezed it comfortingly, managing to make the younger man smile a little. “Tell me. What's troubling you?”

Pucci took a sip of his beverage and put it back down on the table with a sigh. He looked out, to the busy street and the coming rain. “My parents found my brother.”

“Oh,” Dio gasped. “When?”

“This morning. They got a call from a private investigator and he told them that their other son is alive and well in Florida.”

“That's where you were born.” Pucci nodded. “And?”

“They were over the moon with joy, Perla too. But I have really bad feeling about this whole thing, Dio. I really do.”

“Just relax, nothing bad's going to happen. Not yet, anyway. And hey, if things go south, you can always come live with me.” That made Pucci laugh. Dio smiled, still holding his hand, caressing it softly. “When will you meet him?”

“My parents are flying there next weekend.”

“Well, for now, we can only wait and see.”

 

 


 

 


Diego called Dio three days later, to tell him that Jonathan had agreed to go out with him, without knowing about 'stumbling upon' Dio, of course. As fortunate as this development was, Jonathan would, unfortunately, be accompanied by his three best friends. So four people, along with Diego and his roommates made seven, adding Dio and his flock of hens made...twelve. Oh, it was going to be crowded. Very crowded. Whatever. Dio would surely be able to woo Jonathan no matter who was present.

Dio had chosen 'The Emperor', a local bar owned by an overly friendly acquaintance of his. All members of the staff knew and adored him, making this the perfect spot for the second stage of Dio's masterplan. He and his friends were the first ones to arrive, as planned.

“Well, howdy do, Mr. Dio?” greeted Hol Horse, the owner/ bartender of the place. “I see you've brought some frie-Oh.”

Hol Horse had a policy. All women, no matter their age (still had to be over 21, though) or appearance got free stuff, be it food or drinks. And while Hol Horse loved and respected all women, he had a soft spot for pretty girls, especially blondes, with blue eyes and a genuine appreciation for all things American.

Slowly, eyes blown wide in shock, he removed his cowboy hat, as if to pay respects to the ethereal creature that had entered after Pucci. “Well, I'll be damned, Mr. Dio. Where have you been hiding your friend all this time?”

“My...friend?” Dio knew how infuriatingly straight Hol Horse was, and him being so dazed by one of his male friends was very unlikely. Unless he was missing something. “Oh my God...Hol Horse, this is my very good friend, Funny Valentine. Funny, this is Hol Horse.”

Valentine looked at the man in confusion, arrogantly quirking an eyebrow. “Pleasure...?”

“Pleasure's all mine, doll.” Hol Horse straightened himself and cleared his throat. “I reserved you your booth, just as you asked.”

The five men all moved to sit on the booth, located on the left side of the bar, right across the door. Midler, one of the two waitresses, came to clean up the table, sharing some light-hearted banter with Dio and Pucci.

“He thinks I'm a woman!”

“Shh!” Diavolo shushed him while chuckling.

“Look at the poor man, he's smitten.”

Valentine glared at the bar and Hol Horse waved back cheerfully. “This is fucking surreal. And here I thought I'd like this guy.” Of course Valentine would say that. One look around the place was enough to show Hol Horse's character; booths with cherry-red cushions, an antique bar fit for a cowboy movie, an imposing jukebox that was playing cheesy country songs over and over again, various memorabilia from Superbowls and above all a huge American flag, covering nearly half of an empty wall.

The other waitress, Mariah, approached the table, carrying a very impressive cheese platter that she laid down on the center. “For you,” she told Valentine, “from him.” Hol Horse was anxiously looking over to the table, wondering how his gift had been received.

“He gives all girls he likes food. Problem is, he likes every girl that comes in here. At this rate, we'll be bankrupt within a year.”

“I'm not a girl!”

“You shut up!” Diavolo scolded him. “We got all this cheese and it's only the first time. Who knows what else he'll bring us?” He reached for a gruyere stick and took a bite. “It's very good.”

“Very gouda,” added Kira and the two laughed.

“What will you be having?” asked the mildly irritated waitress. “Enrico, I can't get you any alcohol.”

“That's fine. I'll have a lemonade.”

“A glass of red wine, dear.”

“Whiskey, neat.”

“Beer.”

“Make that two.”

Mariah scribbled down the order and left. “Fuck, look at him,” growled Valentine, ducking as low as he could but still not escaping Hol Horse's awestruck gaze.

“Dude, who gives a shit if he thinks you're a woman? Stop being so fucking salty about it. Just shut up and eat ya cheese, goddamn.”

Valentine glared at Diavolo with narrowed eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. “Nice. I whore myself for cheese and this is the thanks I get.” He sighed. Those bastards were all treating this like a jest but Valentine knew that if anyone got on their nerves, the poor thing would be dead in an instant. Thank God he was the patient one.

“I don't get it,” he continued while twirling a lock of soft, blonde hair around his agile finger, “why am I the only one getting this treatment? I'm not the only one with long hair.”

“You honestly think that's the problem?”

“Funny, you have to let loose a little bit,” Dio advised. “You shouldn't care too much about these things.”

Valentine opened his mouth to speak but Hol Horse arrived with their drinks and a broad smile. “Lemonade for Enrico, wine for Mr. Dio, whiskey is for...uh...my good friend with the nice, pink hair here-”

“I'm not your friend.”

“-beers are for Mr. Bowie and you, doll.”

Valentine inhaled sharply through his nostrils, blue eyes spewing flames. “I'm in a relationship.”

Hol Horse seemed unbothered. His smile only got broader, a light chuckle leaving his lips. “You don't need to own art to appreciate it.”

“Ooh, smooth.”

“A bit cheesy.” The other four all burst out laughing.

“Fuck off,” Valentine grumbled while sipping on his bear with a bitter scowl. “All of you.”

Time passed. The five of them talked and laughed, a couple more people came in, they had another round and some more cheese. But as much fun as Dio was having being with them, he still couldn't suppress the ugly feeling that had settled in his gut. He was anxious, for the first time in quite a while, nervously looking up to the door every now and again. He didn't trust Diego one bit and the more minutes passed, the more he regretted putting his faith in his brother. Had he been outsmarted by that little idiot?

“Hey,” Pucci called gently, cupping his hand. “Have faith in yourself, okay?”

“I have faith in myself. I just don't have faith in Diego.”

Relief only came when Jonathan arrived, accompanied by a rather big group, as anticipated. The faces around him blurred, dulled by his overwhelming presence. He looked good, divine, dressed in tight jeans that clung on his perfectly round ass, a white T-shirt that did close to nothing to contain his pectorals and a black leather jacket that his biceps were just begging to break free from. He was smiling as he talked, that gorgeous smile of his that was all soft lips and white teeth and Dio licked his lips as he scanned his face.

“Fuck, he's even better up close.”

“Look at those hands, though.”

“He's a fucking hunk.”

“You didn't tell me fucking Johnny was gonna be with him!”

“Shut up!” Dio whispered. He stood up and smoothed down his clothes. Chest out, stomach in, ass out, he made his way to Jonathan's table, oozing confidence. He briefly glanced at Jonathan's friends; a loud blond, a guy with an obnoxious laugh and a thin mustache and a quite smaller man, with long, luscious black hair and scheming black eyes. Judging by their body language, Dio safely assumed that none of them were lovers.

“Diego!” he greeted, maybe a bit too loudly. “Fancy seeing you here.”

Diego pursed his lips. “Yes, fancy that.”

“Dio? Dio Brando?” said Jonathan and Dio had to practice all his self-control to not order him to keep calling his name. “We met the other day, remember?”

“Oh, I do,” he nonchalantly replied, a casual smile spreading on his lips. “Jonathan Joestar, wasn't it?”

“You can call me Jojo,” Jonathan reminded him and Dio nodded. “You should come join us! You and your friends.”

Dio looked back at his table. Valentine was glaring daggers at him. “We'd love to! Let me go ask them for a sec, okay?”

“Jonathan, what the fuck?” mumbled Johnny. “You didn't tell me Valentine was gonna be with him!”

“Why? What's wrong with him?”

“I could go on all night telling you why, baby,” sighed Gyro, eyes on the cheese platter on Dio's table.

“Is this the Dio person you told me about the other day?” asked Speedwagon, leaning closer to Jonathan.

“Yes!” Jonathan responded excitedly.

That was it, that was their whole relationship; Jonathan being excited about life and Speedwagon being suspicious about everything. Jonathan was by no means stupid, just very sweet and soft and naive at times, traits that had landed him in unfortunate situations more than once. His friends had agreed early on that this ray of sunshine needed to be protected in this bleak world no matter what. So when seeing a snake-looking guy hanging out with a bunch of shady people approach Jonathan with undoubtedly dubious intentions, Speedwagon's protective senses kicked in. He looked at William. William looked at Straizo. Straizo shrugged.

“He looks fine to me.”

“Of course he does,” said Speedwagon with a roll of his eyes.

Meanwhile, Dio and his friends were having another argument. Dio was standing in front of the table with his hands on his hips. “You guys are being unreasonable.”

“When you said we're going out, you never said that we're gonna be dealing with a dozen guys,” grumbled Diavolo.

“He's right.”

“Why don't you go to his table by yourself? Maybe I'll come in a minute,” suggested Pucci.

“Absolutely not. If I go there all by myself, he'll think I'm thirsty!”

“But you ARE thirsty!”

“He doesn't need to know though!”

“Let's compromise,” proposed Valentine, ever the diplomat. “I know you'll keep whining until you get what you want and I'm too sober for your bullshit-”

“Go and fuck yourself.”

“-have them come over to our table. That way you get what you want and we don't have to leave our table.”

Dio huffed. It seemed like a solid idea. After talking for a short moment, Jonathan's group decided to join Dio's booth. The space, while able to accommodate five people quite generously, was perhaps a bit too small for twelve people, three of them being relatively big guys and one being super-sized. They dragged a few more chairs and tables, somehow managing to fit everyone. Diavolo ended up getting squashed against the wall, with Kira practically sitting on his knees. Valentine had snuggled next to Pucci, so to avoid biting Gyro's hand. Right as Speedwagon moved to sit next to Jonathan, Dio snatched the chair, staring deep into his soul and sat next to his target.

“I knew I heard the name from somewhere but I would never have thought that you and Diego are brothers!”

“Yes, Diego is my sweet little baby brother.”

“I have brothers,” said Jonathan. “Two.”

“Fascinating.” Not really. “Tell me more about yourself.”

Jonathan looked up from the menu. The faintest rosy blush had spread on his cheeks. He wasn't fucking straight, just good at hiding it. Dio's smile turned predatory, reveling in how he was making Jonathan stutter “Well...I play rugby...”

One of Dio's perfectly manicured hands slithered up to Jonathan's bicep, softly squeezing. Jonathan blushed even harder. “So it would seem. Funny told me you're British.”

“O-oh, yes!” Midler came to take their orders. Beer and wine for everyone, a cheeseburger with fries for Jonathan. “I'm from Liverpool.”

“Well, that's one thing we have in common, amongst many others.”

“You're from there, too?”

“No, I'm from London. I meant that we're both British, Jojo.”

“Ah.” Jonathan cleared his throat. “I miss home, sometimes. I miss my dog.” He fished out his phone and showed Dio the picture of a dog, a very large dog, around half of Jonathan's size. Needless to say, Dio didn't give two shits about the dog. “That's Danny. He's such a good boy,” he sighed, looking sadly at the picture.

Interesting how he had mentioned his family in passing yet focused so much on the mutt. Was he not perhaps close with his other family members aside from his cousin? Did his old-fashioned Father shun him for liking men? Or could it possibly be...daddy issues? Dio hated dealing with people's emotional baggage, no matter how kinky. If Jonathan had indeed been disowned by his Father, then tough shit. Dio had to make sure what was the truth.

“Don't you miss your family?” he asked. Ever so discreetly, he crossed one knee over the other, dragging the tip of his shoe up the length of Jonathan's rock hard calf.

“Can't miss them when we're all living together!” Jonathan laughed. “I live in the same apartment building as my younger brothers and I see Johnny almost every day. I miss my Dad from time to time but I call him whenever I have time.”

Okay, so not disowned. While that was definitely a good thing, strong family ties could be a hindrance. Dio had to approach this carefully, earn the trust of both Jonathan and his family members before striking. Two younger brothers. How much younger? Oh, well. Nothing Dio couldn't get rid of.

“Do you have family back home?”

The question caught Dio off-guard. All those years of working on his temper, yet one mention of his family was enough to make a vein pop within his skull. His fingers clawed around his wrist, green smile wavering for a just a moment, barely enough for Jonathan to catch. (But more than enough for Speedwagon, who was observing the entire exchange closely and suspiciously.)

“No, I only have Diego, actually.”

“Oh, God!” gasped Jonathan. “I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to-”

“No, no,” Dio quickly reassured him, flashing him a confident smile. “It's fine.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Keep talking, tell me all about yourself.”

Jonathan gave him a concerned look but continued after Dio prompted him. Dio knew how to handle him, knew the right questions to ask to make Jonathan talk more and more, feel heard and understood and interesting, when in reality he was none of these things. And Dio used his well-practiced smile, looking up at Jonathan with vivid curiosity. The more they talked, the closer he got and Dio got to work, brushing his hand against Jonathan's thigh, touching his hard abdomen, leaning into his arms. Jonathan's face was aflame, words mixing in his mouth. He kept going on and on and Dio's eyes remained focused on his sweet, plump lips, shuddering at the thought of them around his cock.

He cast a brief glance at Pucci. “Will you please excuse me, Jojo? I need to go powder my nose.”

“O-of course!” Jonathan stammered. Even though he could go out the other way, Dio slid over Jonathan's strong thighs, rubbing his ass against Jonathan's crotch just enough for it to be considered a happy accident. He departed with a feral grin, swaying his hips in the most tantalizing manner all the way to the bathroom.

He leaned against the wall, arms crossed. The door opened a few seconds later and Pucci walked in. “I couldn't listen to what you two were saying over the noise,” he said. “How's it going?”

“Splendid,” chuckled Dio. “I'm sure of it. By the time this night ends, he'll be head over heels for me. If he already isn't.”

“That's great to hear.” Pucci looked at him with what only could be described as pride. But as a true and loyal friend, he managed to catch the underlying hints of worry on Dio's face. “But?”

“Oh, it's nothing too serious. It just seems he and his family are pretty close and I don't know if they'll be an obstacle in my course.”

Pucci nodded, understanding. “That is indeed something we need to take into consideration. But for now, you should care about making him lose his mind over you.”

“I want to get to know more about his family soon but I don't want to involve Diego. Or Funny.”

“Yes, I was going to advise you against that as well. I will assist you with everything you need, of course.” Dio smiled comfortingly, pulling Pucci into a tight embrace. There was truly no one more valuable to Dio than him. After his own self, of course.

 

 


 

 

 

Seeing that he had couldn't escape any other way, Diavolo jumped over the back of the booth, clumsily standing on his feet. “Where are you going?” Kira asked, fear and anxiety shining in his eyes.

“I'm getting the fuck out of here,” he murmured, heading for the door and storming out without looking back. He didn't have any plans, he just wanted to get the hell out of that place. Nothing bad about the establishment itself; service was great, his friends were fun, alcohol was always good to have. Diavolo just couldn't stand being around so many people for such a long time. He didn't feel anxiety or anything, just pure anger, that very easily progressed into violence given the tiniest reason.

Not even half a block away and he heard the door open. “Hey, wait!” Valentine called, jogging up to him.

Diavolo sighed in annoyance but stopped. “What?”

Valentine halted in front of him, giving him that perfect smile of his. “Don't be like that.” They were standing in the middle of the almost empty sidewalk, under a light post. The light drizzle was falling on them, thunder rolling over their heads. “I just wanted to give you something.”

“What?” Diavolo furrowed his brows. Valentine reached inside the pocket of his Prada jacket and brought out a small package, a little bigger than hand-size, covered in navy blue wrapping paper and decorated with a fancy bow.

“Happy birthday!” Valentine snickered. “I'm sorry I missed it but I didn't forget about it. Hope you like this belated gift.”

A fucking book. He was expecting to be granted forgiveness by giving him a damn book. Diavolo tore the wrapping paper viciously, sourly frowning as he did so. However, when the book was fully revealed, his eyes widened in surprise. The little tome in his hand was completely black, with elegant silver engravings and a deep crimson bookmark. The Pit and The Pendulum and Other Stories, by Edgar Allan Poe, read the book, in fine, Italian calligraphy. Diavolo opened it, skimming over the pages, admiring their withered yellow color and heavy letter font. It smelled old, a legitimate remnant to the days Diavolo reminisced with untold fondness, the days long before he or even his grandparents were born.

“I found this at an auction in Italy,” Valentine explained. “I immediately thought of you. I know it's not much but I hope you like it.”

“Alright,” mumbled Diavolo, shoving the book in his pocket. “You've redeemed yourself.”

Valentine laughed heartily at that and Diavolo's black lips twitched. “I'm glad you like it.”

“I do. You know too much about me, Funny. Maybe I'll have to get rid of you.”

“Just tell me when.” He reached for his pack of cigarettes and took one out, placing it between his lips and lighting it. “I'm gonna go back.”

“Yes, go back to your boyfriend.”

“Hey, fuck off. I just want to piss off Johnny while I can.” Diavolo loved hearing that devious chuckle. “And you?”

“And I, what?”

“Where are you going?”

“I don't know,” he shrugged. “Probably for another drink. In my own terms.”

“I see.” Valentine exhaled, the ghastly plumes of smoking spiraling into the atmosphere. He was enjoying this maybe a little too much. Scarlet didn't let him smoke in the house, said it killed all their houseplants. “Be good, okay?”

“Don't fucking tell me what to do.”

“I'm not patronizing you, idiot. I care for you.” Another drag. He held the smoke in his mouth and blew it out through his nose. “You're playing a dangerous game and I want you to be careful.”

“I'm not a child, Funny.”

“I know. That's why I'm telling you this. Be an adult. Stay out of trouble.”

“Oh, fuck off,” was the last thing he said before walking away.

Whatever Valentine said, he was patronizing people even without realizing it. It was expected of him, he supposed, to maintain balance within the group. In a group of several slightly unhinged and sometimes villainous individuals, someone had to act as the voice of reason. Surprisingly, he and Diavolo were the closest, along with Kira. Even they couldn't explain how it had happened, though Diavolo assumed it was the 'opposites attract' principal. Valentine was orderly, polite, kind, brought up in wealth, with a bright future ahead of him, utterly selfless and with his life in check while Diavolo was...Diavolo. He had gotten into grad school simply because he had nothing better to do. Even though his position within the mafia wasn't yet enviable, he was working his way to the top, slowly but surely. So he had that going on for him. And he was more than fine, actually. Sure, he had his fair share of moments of doubt, where he laid in bed at night, thinking about his own mortality and for how much longer he was going to be doing this, but he was otherwise very sure of his every move.

His feet brought him in front of a bar owned by the gang, much more private and secluded than 'The Emperor'. Only a few members of the gang were admitted, and he got in no problem. He headed straight for the bar. It wasn't a night for business and socializing with executives. He just wanted a drink all by himself, to cool down after hanging out with so many people at once. The bartender gave him his usual and Diavolo drank in silence, the sounds around him reaching him as if from another dimension. The taste of whiskey still burning in his throat, he absentmindedly reached for the book, examining it in the dim light. He traced the letters, pressing down on the corners, twirling the book marker. It was strangely comforting, in a way he would never admit and never understand. Someone was thinking about him, someone cared enough to scold him and lecture him on his carelessness.

Fuck that.

He snapped up when he felt a gentle tapping on his shoulder. He looked at the offender with narrowed, hostile eyes. It was a girl, probably around his age, with large indigo eyes and a little black satin dress. She smiled sweetly at him and Diavolo could actually feel some of his anger dissipating. She was pretty enough to spend a few hours with.

“You one of those guys that carry a book wherever they go?” she asked him with a sly smile. Diavolo caught an accent in her voice. Italian. He smiled.

“If that makes you like me more,” he rasped, voice as smooth as dark blue velvet. She giggled, taking the seat next to him. “Can I buy you a drink...um...?”

“Solido Naso,” he blurted the first thing that came into his mind. Thank fuck he had a free phone number he could give her.

“Donatella Una. You're Italian?”

“Yes.”

She nodded. “I'm from Calabria.”

“Milan.” He stood up and put the book inside his poket. “Listen, about that drink...wouldn't it be better if we had it by ourselves?”

Her eyes widened momentarily. She scanned him from head to toe, obviously impressed by his physique. “Okay,” she murmured. “My place is near.”

Diavolo followed her with a satisfied grin. Fuck what Valentine said.

Chapter Text


Chapter 3

 

Kira was restless. From the moment he woke up to the moment he gave himself to sleep, only one thing remained in his mind; hands. Images of beautiful hands, with slim, agile fingers, well-trimmed clean nails or long, sharp, blood-red talon-like nails spun around his head and tortured his mind. He'd wake up in cold sweat, gasping for air and with a tent in his pants. The more he suppressed his urges, the worse his situation got. He became rude, quick-tempered and clumsy, more than often attracting unwanted attention because of his evident nervousness. He'd come back from the grocery store with twenty bottles of bleach and a broccoli head, all because his mind was all over the place. The more time passed, the worse he got. It was like a sickness he just couldn't get rid of.

Thankfully, he knew the cure.

On a fine Friday afternoon, he decided to fuck everything, grab his jacket and head out. He brought along only a cleaver, artfully tucking it in the lining of his Valentino suit jacket, as well as some very durable string. He devised a plan while on his way to the bus station. An ideal location for the murder would be somewhere quiet, yet with a steady flow of people. The park would do, the one where he, Pucci and Valentine went jogging at the weekends. It wasn't secluded but it definitely had some great blind spots Kira knew exactly how to take advantage of.

The ride was around thirty minutes long. When Kira arrived, the sun was setting, slowly disappearing beyond the horizon. He scanned the area. Perfectly serene, dyed in a splendid gold, with a couple friends strolling and a few people jogging. Seemingly relaxed and unassuming, Kira shoved his hands down his pockets and started walking down the path, idly looking at the nature around him. His hands were furiously clenching and unclenching, twitching and cracking inside his pockets but he tried his best to keep his expression neutral, bored even.

He looked around him, observing the hands. Most people were out in pairs and the majority of the joggers were men. He spotted a couple women running alone but none fit him. One was obviously biting her nails, another had chipped nail polish, another had hangnails. Almost half an hour passed and he was honestly kind of disappointed. He was contemplating boarding the next bus and going home (never safe to be walking around with a cleaver for too long) when he saw her from the corner of his eye. He only saw her back, slightly hourglass figure, with jet-black straight hair pulled in a heavy ponytail, wearing a red tank top and yoga pants. But he didn't care about that. While she was running, he saw her hands; pale, unblemished, with gorgeous fingers. He only caught the glimpse of her little and ring fingers but that was more than enough to get him to move. Her nails were perfect in size and length, glossy, fiery red. Excellent.

Luck had sided with Yoshikage Kira yet again as his target strayed off the path that was bathed in sunlight and delved further into the park. It was definitely cooler in the shade, but also more quiet, less crowded. Kira followed her from a safe distance, thankful that she was wearing headphones. He followed her in perfect silence, waiting for the right opportunity. After running for a few minutes, she suddenly stopped to change the song playing on her phone. Kira could hear her mumbling under her breath as she kept searching for something she wanted. He moved quickly, reaching for the string inside his jacket, tightly holding it in both his curled fists. It was far from his usual method but for once, he could settle for what he had.

Kira threw the string around her throat and pulled her back viciously, effectively cutting her airways. She trashed and grabbed at his arms, trying to pry him off but he was far stronger. Guess finally hitting the gym had worked miracles. She twitched and spun like a fish, desperately trying to break free but Kira wasn't letting go. But he had underestimated her as one of her fists headed for his groin, punching hard. Kira saw white, head buzzing, a dull, steadily growing stronger, pain spreading across his body like wildfire. He gagged as he fell on the ground, wheezing and wincing in pain. This was it. This was the end of this career as a serial killer.

“Jesus Christ, Yoshikage!” Scarlet hollered at him. Due to the immense pain, Kira didn't instantly realize just who was talking to him. When his head cleared a bit, he looked up, freezing completely at the sight of the agitated woman. “You scared the shit out of me!”

“I'm so fucking sorry...” he mumbled. He looked down at her hands. Her manicure was same as always, with her index and middle fingers on each hand being shorter than the rest. Disturbingly asymmetrical.

“Is that all you have to say?” she hissed. Rubbing her neck, Scarlet sat down on the bench. Kira joined her. “Did it leave a mark?”

“...kinda.”

“Thanks a lot. How am I supposed to explain it to Funny?”

A grave mistake. But not a lethal one. His hands were shaking, a rare occurrence. Not only was this the first time he had ever been caught, but he had also almost killed his best friend's girlfriend.

“I'm sorry,” he said again. There was a thin red line across her neck, rather angry-looking and hard to hide.

She sighed. She was still visibly shaken, shivering ever so slightly, fingers rubbing her neck. Her charcoal eyes locked with his blue eyes, sending him a cold, harsh glare, but also strangely motherly. “You need to do something about this.”

“I was going to,” he laughed. It came out as a mirthless huff, an attempt to lighten the mood.

“You're lucky it was me. And out in the open like this...what the hell were you thinking?”

“I couldn't take it anymore!”

Scarlet shook her head. “Will my life be in danger again?” she asked with that bitter sarcasm that was so common for her, arched eyebrows raised, lips curled.

“No! I can at least promise you that.”

“Good.” After glancing at her watch, Scarlet stood up. Despite everything, she gave him a tight smile. “Go. Do what needs to be done. I won't say anything.”

“Thank you,” he said and meant it. It was kind of odd that Scarlet knew about Kira's peculiar hobby and not Valentine but it was for the best. If Valentine knew, he would tell the police the moment he found out, no doubt about it.

After the fiasco of an assault (that had still ended on a positive note), Kira chose to go to the university instead of back home. He had a hunch that he had to there. And so he did. By the time he arrived at the Business School building, the sun had long set, its last few rays shining in the distance. It was quiet inside the building, mostly empty at this hour and day. He walked down the hall, looking out for his target. Those that encountered him paid him no mind, only a few heads turned at his presence. Perhaps if he dyed his hair a dull, muted brown and used contact lenses, no one would care enough to look at him. Definitely something worth thinking about.

He continued with his rounds, eventually ending up in the library. Only a few people were still inside, just like the rest of the building. Kira sat down on one of the study tables with the first book he grabbed in his hands and began reading, or, to be more exact, glancing at the entire room over his book.

Suddenly, there was a gentle tapping on his shoulder. Looking up he saw five dainty fingers with dusty pink nails, glimmering prettily under the soft light. On each hand. Impeccable, symmetrical, flawless. A shiver ran down his spine, sending a delicious numbness across his entire body, pleasure coiling deep in his gut. He smiled politely.

“Yes?”

“I'm really sorry for interrupting but that book you're reading isn't that well-written. This,” she said and offered him another tome, “is definitely better. It's easier to understand, more descriptive and more pleasant.”

“Thank you for the suggestion,” he smiled. She seemed transfixed in his clear eyes and high cheekbones, smiling back absentmindedly.

“No problem.” She dragged the chair across from him. “Do you mind if I sit here for a little bit?”

“By all means.”

They sat in silence for a little while. Between glancing at her beautiful hands and staring at the same sentence for ten minutes, he had to turn the page every now and again, so to appear more natural. Minutes passed and the few students around them eventually got up and left, wanting to enjoy as much of a Friday night as possible. The girl looked around. She then looked at Kira, probably thinking that he wasn't going to be moving until closing time.

“I should get going,” she hesitantly started, slowly standing up and tidying her belongings into her backpack. She reached for her car keys.

Kira shut his book and pushed it to the side. “Do you want me to walk you to your car?” he offered. “It's pretty late, dark...It's not too safe for anyone to be walking around alone, even at a place like this.”

She processed his suggestion, bottom lip caught between her teeth. Her face was charming, sweet but with an underlying sourness, the kind of expression almost everyone here had. “Sure,” she finally accepted and the two left the library.

Once outside, she led him to her car, parked on the far side of the lot, next to some dumpsters. Kira's mind raced furiously, devising a plan. He'd hack her head off with the cleaver, load her in the car, drive her to the hills, a safe distance from the city. There, he'd be able to cut her hand with no interruptions and get rid of all the evidence by driving the entire car in the water. He should try going to another state for that last part. Maybe New Hampshire, it wasn't that far off.

“Thanks for walking me out,” she told him as she unlocked the car and tried getting in. Kira slammed his hand on the door, breathing heavily, sweat rolling from his temples. “W-what around doing?”

Instead of a response, Kira brought out the cleaver. At the sight of the weapon, the girl shrieked and tried slipping away. Kira was faster. He grabbed her by the wrist and spun her around. The cleaver hit her neck, landing a clean, straight cut, one that nearly hacked her entire head off. Blood sprung from the deep wound, wetting Kira's slacks. He scrunched his nose at the sight. Another pair ruined. He crouched down to inspect her body. She was still twitching like a leaf in the wind even with the pool of blood spreading under her. Kira brought the cleaver down once more. He had to use more force. The bone cracked as he cut through with some difficulty. The skin was almost rubbery. He had to press it down on the asphalt hard, though there was still some annoyingly durable skin connecting the head to the neck. Frustrated, Kira discarded his weapon and used his own hands, something he never did. He tugged on the skin hard, managing to snap it like an elastic band. Finally. He looked at his bloody hands with a frown. He wiped them on her skirt, cringing at the feeling on uncleanliness that still clung to his skin. There was blood and skin under his nails. Unacceptable.

With how this murder had turned out, Kira had to rethink his plan. The crime scene was messy, definitely to cause a ruckus in the morning. He'd have to think this carefully, plan every detail meticulously. First things first, getting the fuck away from the state as quickly as humanly possible. Secondly, getting rid of the body. Burning it seemed like his best option. Thirdly, getting rid of the car. Perhaps Diavolo would help with this one. All in all, it seemed like a solid plan, one he could definitely carry out without fucking up.

“Is everything alright back there?” In the darkness and tranquility of the empty parking lot, the man's voice rang loud and clear. Kira snapped his neck to the side to look at the intruder. His ears were buzzing, his heart was threatening to beat its way out of his chest, hands knotting around the cleaver. All he saw was red, growing stronger with every step the man took to his direction.

“I-I heard screaming,” he continued. Had he not seen a horror movie ever in his life? All Kira could make out was his dark silhouette, becoming clearer the nearer he got. “I just wanted to make sure everything was...fine...”

His voice trailed off, his feet stopped altogether. He just stood there, perfectly still, eyes almost falling from his sockets as the sight of the beheaded corpse and the aspiring butcher came to view. He fell on his feet, crawling back in pure panic as Kira ran up to him like a feral beast. No sounds were coming from his open mouth, just some pathetic wails. He struggled aimlessly, a fly caught in a spider's web.

“P-Please!” he cried. His hands hit wherever they found and he tried to push Kira off, fighting like a cornered animal. “I h-have a son! A baby! Please let me go! I swear I won-”

Kira buried the cleaver in the middle of his skull. It split bone and brain with a crack that echoed around the empty lot. Once he was sure the man was dead, he pulled his Excaliber free. He looked around, breathlessly listening to every sound, picking up even a cat's nails skittering across the ground. When he was sure no one would disrupt them, he quickly dragged the man to the car and loaded him into the backseat, straddling him like a starving jungle cat. He searched inside his pockets, his pants, even his shoes, looking for any sort of identification. He had to know who this man was. Kira never killed more than necessary, but he always took care of any side losses. This man had mentioned a son and unless he was bluffing, there had to be a mother. Kira needed to know who this man was. If his family decided to follow the path of revenge, Kira had to take care of them before they got to him. As if they ever could.

He found the man's wallet in the pocket of his jacket. A couple of dollar bills inside, more than would fit his youthful face. Credit cards, various notes, a photograph, that of a young, redheaded woman, laying on a hospital bed, cradling a bundle of blankets, from which two tiny hands poked. Kira rummaged inside a bit more until he found the man's driver's license and student ID. 3rd-year student at Harvard Business School.

Kosaku Kawajiri.

 

 


 

 

 

Enrico: couldn't sneak out :( tomorrow is church day and I need to sleep early give Kars my best

You: no worries, dearest
You: I'll get you a pr package ;)

Enrico: my hero


Getting into a car with Dio as the driver was not for the faint of heart. He never let anyone else drive, claiming that he was superior, as was the case with everything else. And while Dio was a god-awful driver when he was calm and neutral (sounds fake but ok), he was truly frightening when he was agitated. Those past few days had been really testing the limits of his patience. He kept initiating conversations with Jonathan but all his attempts to give them a more suggestive tone ended up with Jonathan cheerfully talking about his dog, his family or archeology. He wasn't as stupid as Dio had originally thought and hoped, just very dense. Even the clearest signs went over his head. At first, Dio thought Jonathan was just fucking with him but the more time passed, the more he realized that the guy seriously had no clue. Then the worst possible thing happened; Jonathan called him 'friend' on multiple occasions. So yeah, Dio, who was used to seeing his targets turn into putty in his hands within mere days, had more than one reasons to be pissed.

“Can you keep your eyes on the fucking road!” yelled Diavolo after a particularly harsh turn sent him rolling over Kira, having them both smashing against the window.

“Don't fucking tell me how to drive!” Dio screamed back. And the traffic wasn't even that bad.

The only thought that prevented Diavolo from going apeshit was the fact that the party wasn't too far off. Surely, nothing bad would happen. But alas, Dio Brando was a man full of surprises. He ignored his roommates' screams at him to slow down and watch out in the most outlandish way; shouting at a red light, just about to go over the sidewalk, hollering at other drivers he deemed 'useless, useless, useless'. But the worst part was when he decided that he knew better than the traffic lights and ran off without paying attention to his surroundings. Thankfully, he listened to what they both yelled at him and just in time managed to slam on the brake before hitting an innocent pedestrian.

“Watch where you're fucking going!” Dio honked viciously, releasing a long string of curses at the fool that dared stand in his way.

The man pulled down the brim of his hat and muttered something to himself. Had Dio been a bit more sensible, he would've known better than to pick a fight with a guy like that. The man was even bigger than him, around a head taller and much more muscular, with the fashion sense of a Matrix movie.

“You ran off with a red light,” said the man, voice booming clear and authoritative. “I should be the one screaming at you.”

“Ignore him,” advised Kira, “or we're gonna be late.”

Dio didn't listen. “How dare you speak to me like that when you're not looking where you're throwing your damn feet!”

The man pinned him with his frigid blue stare. He took a step closer to the car and pressed his foot on the bumper. “If you wanna fight, then quit being a pussy and come out here.”

At that, Dio's eyes widened. His knuckles turned white around the steering wheel, teeth grinding down hard. Before he could storm out and tear the guy's throat into shreds, a smaller redhead jumped out of nowhere.

“Hey!” he called, desperately trying to drag his friend from the car. “Just let it slide!”

“Yeah, that's right!” Dio chimed in, poking his head out of the window. “Maybe that'll teach you to stay out of other people's business.” Dio could be as cocky as he please as the man he had almost run over was holding back because of the redhead.

Smiling triumphantly, he drove off, showing off his middle finger to the enraged drivers lining up behind him.


“Finally!” exclaimed Valentine when the other three arrived. He and Scarlet were waiting at the hotel's foyer. They made for quite a dazzling pair; Valentine was wearing a pristine, white, satin suit with pale blue designer loafers, a shirt of the same color with thin, golden pinstripes. He had even braided two locks of hair and tied them behind his head, forming a loose halo. Scarlet was dressed a bit too light for the weather, in only a miniscule velvet red dress that let her entire back exposed, fishnets and black Louboutin heels. Once again, the five of them had dressed to impress, with Dio blinding everyone near him with his golden sequined suit and dark green shirt. Kira was dressed simply yet elegantly, in a relaxed light lilac suit with a black shirt and one of his favorite silk ties. Diavolo had chosen a dark purple suit, complete with a magenta shirt, red shoes, and golden jewelry.

“We've been waiting for twenty minutes.”

“Stop whining,” Diavolo said with a roll of his eyes as they got into the elevator.

“I'm not whining,” whined Valentine. “I'm just worried, okay? There's a serial killer on the loose, third strike in two months, this time with collateral damage.”

“It's insane that the police are letting a monster like that run around freely,” Scarlet mused. Her voice, even though calm and polite as always, was maybe a bit too saccharine, with an overdose of poison underlying. Kira's hands fisted in his pockets but he didn't look at her. "I heard the crime scene was a proper bloodbath."

The elevator ride was short. They finally arrived at the roof garden and were greeted by a truly impressive scene; the roof garden was decorated in heavy purples, dreamy blues, and some sparkling pinks, tied together in a canopy hanging overhead, forming a dizzying galaxy. Antique tables and the finest marble statues (probably legitimate, knowing Kars) decorated every inch, along with the rarest orchids, thriving ferns and all sorts of exotic flowers that spilled across the place. Jasmine slithered along the walls and rosebushes in dark, cold colors sent their sweet, intoxicating scent all over the room. The further in they went, the more awed they became, enthralled by their surroundings. By far the most impressive piece of decoration was a replica of the solar system dancing above their heads, glimmering, godly, humbling. The light was dim, giving the entire place a strange aura of divinity as if stepping in a god's domain. Men and women covered in gold were walking around carrying trays for the selected guests. The supposed star of the show, the new makeup line, was displayed in various ways all around the party, mostly at designated bars, where the attendees could even try some of the products. But as impressive as everything was, it was overshadowed by the host and instigator of the project, who stood in the middle of the room, scantily dressed, showing off his gloriously muscular body and flowing purple hair.

“I'm so thrilled you all came!” Kars greeted, putting down his champagne to move more freely.

Kars was old, older than their parents, probably older than all their ages added together, per Valentine's, an avid conspiracy theorist's, speculation. No one questioned his age or generally the circumstances of his existence. He had an air of someone eternal, someone carrying the collective wisdom of the world on his shoulders. He was wise, acting like a mentor to them all, especially to Dio and Diavolo, that were longtime fans of his. Even the stubbornly proud Dio listened to Kars. There was a great deal to learn from a man who had a happy marriage, two sons and a makeup company that dominated the scene.

“Congratulations on the new release,” Valentine smiled, tipping his glass of peach champagne to Kars.

“Says the only one that doesn't wear makeup,” said Diavolo with a roll of his eyes.

“That doesn't mean I won't congratulate my friend on his success. My parents didn't raise an animal.”

“The fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“Someone's extra salty today,” remarked Kars. “It's a shame Enrico couldn't come.”

“Yes, well, you know his parents.”

An eerie stiffness settled over those that knew, like dust in the room of someone departed. Scarlet was the one who spoke first. “Baby, will you please go and get me something to drink? I can't find the waitress.”

“Sure. Any preference?”

“I'll leave it up to you.” The moment Valentine left, her smile dropped. She turned to look at her fellow conspirators, especially the evidently miserable Kira. “I told you to be careful.”

“Wait, you knew he was gonna kill?”

“First-hand.” She leaned her head backward, revealing the muted, albeit still evident line on her skin. Joining the dots was easy. “I'm not mad at you trying to kill me, we both know you would have never been able to. How could you be so careless?!”

“She's right,” Kars cut in. “The hell were you thinking? The crime scene was a total mess.” He snatched a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter. “How did you get rid of the evidence?”

“We burned the bodies in a funeral house owned by Passione and gave the car to some capo.”

“What was the girl's name?”

“I don't know. The guy was a Kosaku Kawajiri., has a wife and a kid.”

“What will you do?”

“I don't know yet, okay?” Kira snapped, fingers twitching around his glass of bubbly. “Can we not talk about this for one fucking second? I need to relax for just one night.”

“Don't relax too much,” Dio sternly said. Oddly, that was the first time he had spoken since they started this conversation. “You need to take action fast, if you're going to.”

“Take action about what?” Despite knowing him for years, they all still yelped in surprise when Valentine silently rolled up behind them. He handed Scarlet her drink, a vibrant Aperol Spritz, and looked at them all quizzically, an eyebrow arched.

They all blinked at him, trying to figure out some sort of excuse. “Have you forgotten what the date is?” Scarlet sweetly admonished him.

“The date...? Oh!” He smiled a little boyish, sweet smile, that made dimples appear on his cheeks. Despite how bizarre it was seeing a guy as serious as that smile like a child, it strangely suit him. “I'll pretend I didn't hear anything.”

"While we're on the topic of your birthday, I won't be able to attend," Kars informed them.

"What? But why?"

"I have to fly to Rome on the 21st, in the early morning. I wish you a happy 22nd, even if it's a week early."

The party went along smoothly, everyone was having fun and catching up. Everyone except for Dio. He was leaning against the window, his fingers tracing the rim of his glass of whiskey mechanically, amber eyes fixed on city lights below. He scanned the city, the skyscrapers and impressive architecture, the glamour of the upscale downtown, and all he could think about was Jonathan. Where did he live? Surely, a pampered young gentleman like him was living in a lovely home. What was he doing? Who was he with? Was he thinking about him? Did he even care about Dio past sending him daily dog videos?

His unusual silence caught Kars' attention. The older man walked up to Dio. For him to turn his back on such a lavish party meant he was deeply troubled. “Enjoying the view?”

“Mhmm.”

“Are you thinking about him?” he asked and Dio furrowed his brows. Kars smirked. “Joestar?”

“I see Enrico wasted no time telling you,” he huffed. Couldn't really be mad, they were both looking out for his best interest. Well, one more than the other.

“And I'm glad he did.” Kars' expression turned serious. He sat down closer to Dio, crossing one knee over the other. “Out of all the people in the world, did you really have to go after Jonathan fucking Joestar?”

“What's wrong with him?” Was his dick small? Did he have a weird kink? Could he only get hard in his fursuit? Was he actually...straight?

“Jonathan himself is pretty okay. I can actually see why anyone would go after him. The problem lies with his family.”

“Can you stop using riddles and just tell me already?”

“Trust me, you don't wanna start with this family. They only bring trouble, I'm speaking from experience.”

“But what does that mean?!” Dio pressed on, impatient.

“What else do you want me to say!? They're not worth the effort, you HAVE to believe me! There's plenty of other fish in the sea, rich fish. Richer, if you know where to look.”

Dio sat down next to Kars. The warning about Jonathan's family was actually quite troubling to hear. After all, Dio needed to tackle them in order to have a piece (or maybe the entirety) of the Joestar fortune. And true, there was plenty of fish in the sea. But he wanted Jonathan the more he remained oblivious to his advances. If he truly was that dense and pure, then Dio wanted to ruin him thoroughly, drag his ethos across the dirt before sucking him dry on every aspect.

“I'm not backing down,” he declared. “I saw him, I want him, and I'll get him. Him and his money.”

Kars fell silent for a second, studying Dio's face. As if dealing with one of his sons, he finally sighed, bringing his glass to his smiling lips. “I knew my warning would fall on deaf ears.”

“Then why bother warning me?”

“I don't know, to be honest,” he shrugged. “Hope dies last.”

“So it does.”

“A word of advice, then. Since you're after not only Jonathan but also his fortune, you must prepare better than you have ever before. You have to have a completely clean slate.” Kind of an impossible achievement for a man who fed his father to some dogs, murdered on several occasions and did all kinds of illegal activities. “You have to work extra hard on your 'accomplished law student' profile, make sure you excel academically and if you use any shady means to achieve success, hide them well.” Dio didn't really need Kars' prompting to do that. “Also. No more sugar babying.”

“What!”

“You heard me. You can't possibly aspire to enter the Joestars' world with an occupation like that!”

“There's no way they know!”

“Is it really that impossible for any of their filthy rich, old friends to have sucked your dick in exchange for a few hundred dollars at some point?” Come to think of it, the probability of that wasn't that unlikely. Most of Dio's clients (?) belonged in that world and even though Dio covered his tracks very well, the chances of stumbling upon them while with Jonathan were high. “You're gonna have to find a decent job.”

“You know I can't do that! I can't...actually work. That's for plebs.”

Kars looked across the room. Dio realized he was staring at Valentine, as he leaned against the bar, playing with a lock of Scarlet's hair. “Maybe you can model for me, since I can't get that idiot to do it.”

“Am I your second choice?”

“Not at all. I merely thought you didn't need the extra money. Guess I was wrong.”

Working as a model didn't pay as well but it was definitely more dignified and enjoyable than faking orgasms for a Fendi coat. “I'll think about it.”

Kars nodded. “You also needed to delete your Grindr profile.”

“...you're joking, right?”

“Not one bit.” Kars gulped down the rest of his drink, setting the empty glass on a nearby table. “You have to appear completely clean. George, Jonathan's Father, will surely run a background check on you when he sees how close you are to his son.” A full-on background check, a peek into Dio's rich history. Was he in danger of the truth about his origin surfacing? This was going to be a lot more work than he originally anticipated. But it was necessary.

“Which brings me to the next topic,” Kars continued. “Even if you and Jonathan end up dating at some point, you have to appear only as a friend to his Father. He's a pretty conservative old cunt. I suggest killing him.”

“That's what I was thinking.”

“As for the rest of the family...” His voice turned sour. His face, half-hidden in the shadows, filled with inexplicable anger. “You need to be wary of his brothers. Can't kill them, would be too suspicious if you did. Joseph...is a fucking idiot, he could actually die in an accident though you should proceed with caution. As for Jotaro...the guys is basically a hound. Too serious, too suspicious, too protective, too nosey. He's the biggest obstacle in your course. You have to earn his trust as best as you can, show that you truly care for Jonathan. Oh, and under no circumstances have any sort of fight with any of Jonathan's friends. He's very protective of them and he's actually quite fearsome when angered. Trust me on this, you do not want to fuck with any of them. He'd never turn to look at you again.”

“So. I have to be careful of his brothers, try and get on this Jotaro's good side and don't hurt his friends in any way.” Sounded pretty easy. He could do that, he had confidence in himself.

“Exactly. And no fuck-ups. If you want to have one night stands, you need to take care of every damn detail.”

“Okay, okay! No fuck-ups, I get it. It's not like I'm planning on suddenly showing up with a bastard kid out of fucking nowhere.”

“Hey, don't jinx it.”

Dio let out a hushed laugh. He needed to assess all this information, figure out a plan. Though Kars didn't suggest it, he should try getting closer to Diego. Surely, being close to his baby brother would appeal to someone like Jonathan.

Absorbed in his thoughts, he mindlessly ventured into the bathroom. He didn't really have a purpose being there. He walked in front of the mirror, straightening his dazzling golden suit, making sure his green lipstick hadn't budged. With the corner of his eyes, right above his reflection's right shoulder, he spotted the figure of a woman leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. A petite, lithe body, glossy brown curls, and soft chestnut eyes glinting with uncanny meanness, smirking red lips and a tight-fitting maroon dress.

“Lookin' good,” she chimed, making one bold step closer to him.

Dio turned around. Kars said no fucking around but Dio hadn't had any sex in nearly two months. Besides, there was no way this girl was looking for a serious relationship.

“You approve?” he grinned, making a little turn.

She hummed. She walked towards the stalls, halfway into one. “Are you...?”

“I'm not the one to fuck strangers. A name first.” In case she gave him an STD so he could track the bitch down and butcher her.

“Haruka Shiobana.”

“Dio Brando.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Dio. A friend of Kars'?”

“Yes. You?”

“Photographer. Just started.”

“Congratulations on your new beginning.”

They both walked inside the empty stall and she closed the door. Before Dio could make any move, she was kneeling on the floor. She closed the toilet's lid and fished a tiny clear ziplock from her little purse. She shook the bag for Dio to see, his eyes widening with want at the contents. All of Kars' warnings and words of advice didn't even matter.

She opened the bag and spilled the contents on the lid, separating the powder carefully with a crumpled business card. Dio allowed her to go first. She snorted two of the lines, inhaling sharply and tipping her head back. She prompted Dio to do the same with an excited grin as she wiped the underside of her nose. After snorting the powder, Dio felt a familiar burn in his nasal canal, a well-known numbness spreading over the back of his throat and the top of his mouth. The energy burst was subtle but it was definitely there. The adrenaline in his blood increased the more lines he did. He eventually stopped but only when a dull throb buzzed in his skull. She did a few more lines than him, obviously more experienced.

Hungry mouths and grabby hands collided soon after, clothes harshly being pushed to the side. Under the clear light of the stall, Dio observed her closely for the first time. Her pretty face was alarmingly boney, as was the rest of her body. Sharp cheekbones, hollow eyes, flimsy wrists, protruding hips. He used to see a lot of them in the 90s, the so-called 'Heroin Beauties'. Disturbing on more than one levels, but in that state, Dio didn't have the mind to express his clear disgust. He needed some sort of break, somewhere to vent his want for Jonathan.

He went a little hard on her, but she didn't seem to mind. Her body was squashed against the stall's wall and his body, dwarfed by Dio's hulking frame. She moaned and gasped and made all sorts of sounds that ticked Dio's nerves. He kept his eyes and mouth shut, only sporadically grunting. He couldn't even tell if she came, didn't care much for it. At some point, he felt her body arch and twitch under his, a series of deep groans resonating in her throat. He followed suit seconds later, hips going still, sweaty forehead pressed against the wall. Thank God for setting spray.

“We should do that again,” she suggested afterward, while trying to fix her appearance a bit.

“If the chance presents itself, sure.” Not the best sex, not the worst, but thankfully available. Since he couldn't fuck around his usual circle anymore, he had to make do with whatever scraps he could find while pursuing Jonathan.

 


 

 

It was just a few minutes past midnight, and the five people present were all sitting on Valentine and Scarlet's bed, assaulting a black forest cake with plastic spoons. Valentine, being the birthday boy, was allowed to have most of it. He was still kind of shaken after being harshly woken by airhorns and kazoos in his face but the sweet and tangy cake took care of everything.

“You should have told me you were planning on going out! Now you have to wait for me to get ready. I have to do my hair and get dressed and stuff.”

“Your hair's fine!” said Scarlet, shoving a spoonful of cake in his mouth. “I don't want to wait an hour for you to do it.”

“She's right,” said Diavolo. “Besides, if we're late, we'll have more trouble getting in.”

“Getting where?”

“A big, crowded, very popular and very hectic club owned by Passione that I managed to gain us access to.”

“You don't have to come, you know. I won't mind.”

“No, I'm coming. I want to show what true fucking friends do.”

“Speaking of true friends,” said Kira and stood from the bed. “I have a little surprise for you.” He walked out of the bedroom and headed downstairs to fetch something.

He came back a short moment later, carrying a tiny corgi pup. Valentine's cobalt blue eyes widened, jaw falling open. His awe-struck expression didn't change as Kira lowered the pup between his knees. She got on her tiny feet and looked around. Intrigued by her new owner's perpetually warm body and sweet fruity scent, she nestled closer to him. She looked like a stuffed toy as Valentine carefully picked her up, handling her with care as if not to break her.

“She's beautiful,” he gasped. He turned to look at Scarlet. “You knew about this?”

“Yup.”

“The place where I got Killer Queen from was giving out some corgi pups and you're always complaining about missing your dogs so I got you one.”

Valentine wasn't listening. He was absolutely absorbed in his puppy, tickling her tummy and scratching her behind the ears. She pounced up and down the blanket, letting out tiny barks that Valentine wholeheartedly praised.

“Guys, I'm gonna stay behind.”

“Don't you fucking dare,” hissed Dio, narrowing his eyes at him. “We came all the way here just for you and now you wanna bail because of some stupid dog.”

Scandalized, Valentine covered the corgi's ears. “Don't talk to her like this!” It really looked like he was going to be cuddling with her in bed all night. “I honestly don't know what to say, Yoshikage. 'Thank you' is just not enough.” Everything the dog did, Valentine was completely amazed by. She took a step on her stubby legs and fell down, he cheered for her. She snuggled closer for warmth, he looked like he was about to cry. He wasn't the biggest guy in town, but it was quite endearing to watch him cuddle a soft, teacup sized puppy. “I can't leave her alone.”

After discussing it for a while, they decided to drop the dog (lovingly named Sugar) off at Kars' house, who wasn't going with them anyway. He was always more than thrilled to take care of puppies. With the dog's safety ensured, the five of them headed for the nightclub. The line of impatient people stretched across the entire square. Following Diavolo, they ventured into an alley to the side where stood a heavy metal door, guarded by a man the size of a wardrobe. After exchanging knowing glances and no words with Diavolo, they were let in.

Inside the club it was hot and humid, all because of the sweaty bodies colliding, their breaths mixing along with the sour scent of alcohol and that of cheap perfume. It was dark save for a few rapidly flashing colorful lights. The booming music resonated within their chests, rumbling under their feet as they made their way to their booth, shoving everyone around them to the side.

“I don't get why this place is so popular!” Kira yelled in Diavolo's ear. “It's pretty basic!”

“The good stuff's in the back!” he hollered back.

“What!”

“I said the good stuff's in the back!”

They finally reached their booth, easily the best in the entire place. It was close to both the bar and the dance floor, offering them a clear view of the crowd. Dio boredly glanced at the dazed faces all around him. His roommates had pressured him into coming, fearing that he'd explode if left home alone. Jonathan's ignorance of his every move had put him in a foul mood. He decided to ask him out, even as a friend, and all Jonathan had to say was 'sure! I'll tell the others :)'. Dio was in a justified shit mood, almost disheartened. Almost. At least he had that photographer -Shiobana or something- to help him with his frustration.

“Hey,” Valentine called, making Dio look at him. “We're going to the VIP room, you coming?”

“In a little while. I just want to drink some more.”

Valentine looked at him as if he was insane. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes, Funny, I'm sure. Now run along, enjoy your birthday.”

Valentine didn't press on. After all, the two of them weren't exactly close so he didn't mind not having Dio around for his birthday. Still, being the most rational within their group, he was concerned about Dio's odd behavior.

“Don't do anything stupid.”

“You're not my mother, Funny.”

The other four left, leaving Dio on his own. He headed for the bar, ordering another vodka for himself. Mindlessly, he fished his phone, looking into his last conversation with Jonathan, having taken place just a few hours ago. According to Jonathan himself, he was single and not looking for a relationship. He wanted to devote himself to his studies to make a good start. But he was more than interested in romance when the chance presented itself. He was the sentimental type, as expected, giving his future partner his all. When Dio was told that, his yearning grew stronger, as well as his overall anger. To have Jonathan at his every beck and call, the earth below his feet, ready to fulfill his every desire... Dio could hardly wait, filled with infuriating anticipation, much like a fidgeting child.

He drank two more vodkas. The other four were nowhere to be seen. Dio wasn't sure if he wanted to join them yet, or at all. He kept on drinking, balance a little off and vision a bit hazy by the fourth glass. On his fifth, he decided to get on his feet. He supported himself on the bar, managing two steps forward and three backward. Somehow, he managed to throw himself on the floor. Being a head taller than most, he searched for the place the others had gone to. With blurry, unfocused eyes, he located a set of double doors, guarded by a duo of humongous men dressed in black. Did they make those guys at a factory or something?

Shoving and kicking and pushing and occasionally biting, he came out of the sea of people alive, stumbling drunkenly to the nearest wall. He saw a girl standing right next to him, one dressed in a simple blue dress and holding her drink, looking at the dance floor as if waiting for someone. Dio studied her form, refreshingly serene in the middle of this hurricane. She was blonde, petite, with large blue eyes and soft-looking lips, wrapped around a straw. With a grin on his face, his smoothed back his hair and walked up to her, bearing the charm of a drunk, disoriented man.

“Alone on such a wonderful night?” he slurred, leaning next to her.

She looked at him from head to toe, doing nothing to conceal her disdain. A woman of her stature, even in a crowded room, felt threatened when approached by a big, drunk, strange man. She looked around with slight panic, probably looking for her savior. Dio guided her by the chin to look at him, bringing his face closer to hers, nasty breath fanning her face.

“It's rude to look elsewhere when someone in talking to you,” he pouted, coming even closer, almost framing her between his arms. His thumb went to her lips, painted in a color that was difficult to distinguish in the darkness of the club. “Why are you so tight-lipped, darling? Am I not worth your time?” He dragged his thumb across her lips, smearing her lipstick.

Her reaction was immediate. The contents of her drink were all over Dio's face and torso, soaking into one of his favorite Chanel shirts. His mood changed in a heartbeat. He looked down at the mess with wide, enraged eyes, before turning back at her. “The fuck do you think you're doing?” he hissed.

In his drunk mind, it seemed like a great idea. Following his own instructions, he grabbed her by the back of her neck like a vice, crashing their lips together. She trashed against him and hit him with her fists, legs kicking furiously, but Dio didn't budge. He held her pinned in place, not even kissing her properly. The woman dug her fingernails on the sides of his neck and he jumped back with a yelp. Her hand fell hard across his face, delivering a slap so sharp that it made his entire skull sting.

“Jonathan!” she yelled.

Dio felt like the world around him was spinning. He didn't remember being spun around. Reality only kicked in after Dio realized he was on the floor, feeling a pain much worse than the girl's slap. It slowly spread across his face, his entire skull, centering at his left cheek. His entire jaw was buzzing with sharp, needle-like pain, the taste of blood was filling his mouth, white noise flooded his ears. With teary and blurry eyes, he slowly looked up. There stood the girl and a man who was obviously comforting her. The force of the punch had thrown the drunk out of Dio's system.

“Are you alright?” the newcomer asked his friend, holding her by the shoulders.

Dio looked at the man who had the nerve to punch him across the face. His eyes trailed along the length of his strong, shapely legs, the lovely curve of his ass, his impossible biceps and pectorals and lastly, his face. He gulped hard, freezing in place.

Jonathan turned to face the one that had offended his friend in such a way, eyes widening in surprise when he saw the familiar face of Dio Brando, gawking at him in pure shock.

“Dio?” he asked in disbelief.

Dio's tongue was tied on the back of his throat, unable to form words. Even after the warnings and preparation, he had fucked up. So horribly.

 

Chapter Text

 


Chapter 4

 

 

 

Jonathan was sitting in the kitchen, switching between several open textbooks and lecture notes. For the first time in his life, he was doing something he genuinely enjoyed and so he threw himself right in, loving even the most mundane aspects of homework. What's more, busying himself with work helped him forget about the more disappointing sides of life. Jonathan was so utterly absorbed in his work that he didn't notice Speedwagon casually strolling in, holding a spoon and what seemed to be a jar of pudding. Speedwagon sat down on a chair next to his best friend and roommate and smiled at him.

"You've been at it for hours. Why don't you take a break?" he suggested.

"Ugh, I guess." Jonathan checked the time. He didn't even realize how many hours had passed. He stretched his arms over his head, making his spine pop and crack. "What's that you're eating?"

"Oh...some pudding I found laying around. Tastes a bit funny though, must have gone bad."

"Robert!" Jonathan scolded him. "You shouldn't eat stuff you just happened upon!...give me some." Jonathan opened his mouth to take the spoonful of the rich, white cream Speedwagon was offering him. It smelled very sweet but the taste was awful. Scrunching his nose, he spat it all out in the sink. "Gross."

"I kind of like it." Speedwagon took another spoonful. "Hey, uh, did that Dio guy message you?"

Jonathan shook his head, expression darkening. "No," he said. "And I don't want him to ever again. It's just...it's very disappointing, you know? I actually liked him a lot but now I can't think of talking to him ever again. It's been, what?, ten days? He still hasn't made amends."

"That's because he's an asshole that had no intention of apologizing in the first place." Speedwagon sighed. He absolutely hated the sorrowful expression on Jonathan's face, blue eyes filled with sadness, lips pouting, as if it was his fault. "Jojo, you have to be more careful. Because of who you are, a lot of shady bastards will approach you with bad intentions. This Dio was one of them."

"You think so?"

"I know it. I can smell snakes from a distance. And that guy reeked worse than vomit. Trust me, you do not want anything to do with a guy like that."

Jonathan had no option but to trust Speedwagon. His best friend had no reason to lie to him and well, Jonathan knew he tended to get a bit excited. Thankfully, his loving friends were always looking out for him. His big, golden heart was both a blessing and a curse. It tended to fool him, let him put too much faith in people, despite not being stupid.

“I'm just a little disappointed, that's all,” he said, eyes cast downwards, thumbs twirling awkwardly. “Will everyone I ever meet just want me for my money?”

“Jonathan!” shouted Speedwagon, bolting up. “You are the sweetest, purest, kindest, most absolutely perfect man in existence!”

“I-I think you should take it down a notch, Rob.”

“And whoever doesn't see that is a damn fool!” he declared, raising his spoon in the air. “They don't deserve you and you shouldn't feel bad about yourself!”

Jonathan managed a small smile. Speedwagon was a bit overwhelming about his declarations at times, maybe a bit too passionate. But Jonathan wouldn't change him for the world. He wouldn't change any of them, and he was eternally grateful for their caring for him.

He heard feet going down the stairs. After living with these guys for so long, he could tell them apart by the sounds they made when they walked. Speedwagon walked loudly and fast, just how he was as a person. Will was either relaxed or skipping, there was no in-between. Straizo made almost no sound, carrying himself with his back straight and head high as if walking on air. It was him who came to the kitchen, curiously looking around.

“Guys, have you seen my-” He stopped talking when he noticed Speedwagon. His eyes widened when he saw the cup of pudding the man was holding. “Robert!” he yelled. “Why are you eating my clay mask!?”

“Your what now?”

“My clay mask! That thing you're eating isn't a damn pudding, it's a face mask!”

Right on cue, Speedwagon threw away the thousand-dollar mask with a yelp, clutching at his throat. Jonathan jumped up, running to his choking friend.

“Will!” yelled Straizo. “I think Robert's about to die!”

“Good!”

“No, I mean he's actually about to bite the dust!”

(“Hey! Don't fucking sneeze on me!” hissed Valentine, jumping away from Kira with his new pup in his embrace.

“Sorry,” said Kira, wiping his nose on a napkin. “I don't know where that came from.”)

William ran down the stairs, bursting through the kitchen door within seconds. “Are you okay? What the hell happened?”

“He ate my face mask!”

“Is he seriously going to die!?” panicked Jonathan, cradling Speedwagon in his arms.

Straizo picked the discarded jar up and studied it with narrow eyes. “It says here that in case of consumption, coconut milk prevents poisoning.”

William threw the fridge's door open, rummaging through the various items. He reached for a carton of milk, shaking it to see if there was any left. “We got regular milk.”

“What if it doesn't work?”

“And just let him die!?”

Jonathan dashed to the window, yanked it open and poked his head out. “Jotaro!” he yelled. “Jotaro!”

A few seconds later, Jotaro's head appeared from the floor below, looking at Jonathan in confusion. “Yeah?”

“Jotaro, do you have any coconut milk? We need some right now!”

“Emergency coconut milk?”

Jonathan turned to look at Speedwagon who was still sitting on the floor, wheezing and coughing and turning into every shade of blue. “Yes!” he cried.

Jotaro, even though still very confused, disappeared into his apartment. The doorbell rang a few agonizing seconds later and William rushed to answer it. He walked back into the kitchen with Jotaro, who was carrying a carton of coconut milk. He glanced at Speedwagon who was dying on the floor, even more confused than before. The blond snatched the carton from his hands and gulped it all down. His three roommates all sighed in relief, though Speedwagon still looked like a corpse.

“What happened?” he asked.

“Robert ate something he shouldn't have,” was the answer Jonathan gave. After drinking even the last drop of coconut milk, Speedwagon ran to the sink. He doubled over the edge and emptied his guts in the basin. “Is that normal?”

“The instructions say yes,” shrugged Straizo.

“This is very painful...” groaned Speedwagon. He gagged violently and puked out everything he had eaten.

“Good. You deserve pain for eating my clay mask.”

“Thank you for coming, Jotaro. I really appreciate it.”

“It's okay,” the younger man mumbled. He turned to leave but froze in the last second. “I...uh...” he hesitantly started, eyes fixed on his feet. “We just came back from the doctor's.” At those words, all four men looked at him. “Everything's okay,” he quickly reassured them, seeing how worried they all looked. “She's a very healthy girl.”

“A girl!” Jonathan exclaimed. He pulled his little brother into his pillowy embrace, squeezing him tight enough to make his bones crack. They all congratulated him, but Jonathan did so with excessive fervor, a few tears falling down to his smiling mouth. “Oh, Jotaro! I'm so happy for you!”

“Thanks...” Jotaro said with the smallest, rarest smile. “I'll make sure to give you a picture.”

“I'd love to!”

“I gotta go now,” he said and Jonathan escorted him to the door. He watched his little brother descend the stairs with pride welling in his eyes. Jotaro had jumped from being a rude and sometimes distant young man to a responsible adult the moment his ex-girlfriend announced her pregnancy. Even though he still was way gruffer than the rest of his family, he made sure to provide her with everything. He was determined to be a part of this child's life, though Jonathan suspected Kakyoin had something to do with it.

“I have to buy clothes for my niece!” he beamed as he walked back into the kitchen. “And toys! And little furniture! And-”

In the midst of his excitement, his phone buzzed with a message. Since Jonathan was the type of person to respond to messages the moment he received them no matter the hour, he instantly reached for his phone and checked the new message. His smile froze when he saw who it was from. Seeing how his friends silently questioned the shift in his mood, he looked at them and gulped dryly.

“It's from Dio.”

They all sucked in the same breath. “Ignore him,” William suggested and Speedwagon nodded eagerly.

“I can't do that!” gasped Jonathan, scandalized. “It's rude!”

Whatever they did or told him, Jonathan would never ignore a message, even if it was from someone like Dio. “At least tell us what he wrote,” Speedwagon told him, at least trying to compromise.

Jonathan sighed and unlocked his phone. He was a little nervous, now knowing why. “It says; Jojo, I want you to know how truly sorry I am. But while I could apologize to you through a text or a phone call, I want it to be genuine and personal. Will you please meet me? You can choose the place and time ofc.”

Speedwagon started sniffing the air. “You guys smell that? Smells like a little snake bitch.”

“Robert's right.” That was probably the first time Straizo was agreeing with Speedwagon ever since they had met. “He should apologize to Erina, first. She's the one he hurt.”

“The fact that he wants to apologize to you and not Erina is proof enough that he doesn't care for honesty or justice but you. In a very carnal and...wrong way.”

Jonathan listened to his friends' warnings with a persistent frown. On one hand, he wanted to follow their advice because he realized that they are actually right. But on the other, he believed in giving people a second chance. He wasn't sure if he could ever see Dio under the same light anymore, but he thought he should at least give Dio the chance to explain his side of the story. Not that it was gonna change anything.

“I'll think about it later,” he decided with a shake of his head. “I have to go to the university. See you guys for lunch?”

“Sure thing, buddy.” The moment Jonathan left, William turned to his other two roommates. Without saying a single word, he headed for one of the cabinets under the sink and brought forth a bottle of wine, uncorked it with his teeth. “He's not gonna listen to us, is he?”

“What do you think?” It once again came down to this, to Jonathan feeling empathetic towards someone that didn't deserve it. And once again, they had to protect him. “We have to make sure Jojo and that snake don't meet alone.”

“I say we let him handle it.” Speedwagon pursed his lips in a thin line. “What? He's not a baby, Robert! And he's definitely not stupid.”

“I'm not saying he's stupid! Jojo is very smart and talented and beautiful! And trusting! And I'm 100% sure that snake will only bring him sadness.”

It was Straizo's turn to roll his eyes. “You're overreacting. How bad can this Dio guy be?”

“Let's just say this,” William cut in. “We'll let Jojo decide for himself. But if we can prevent them from meeting alone, we'll do it.”

“I promise!”

“You guys are a little overdramatic but fine.”

 

 


 

 

 


Upon hearing the signature sound his phone made when it received a text, Dio lunged for it, tumbling over the couch and on the floor. “It's from Jojo!” he yelled.

Jojo: If you're that desperate about us meeting, fine.

“He called me desperate!”

“You are!” Pucci yelled back.

Jojo: I'll be at the university so feel free to drop by.

“He wants to meet me at the university!” Dio didn't like that idea. He wanted to meet with Jonathan in private, where he could apologize without anyone else seeing. He had already made an ass of himself sending that text under his friends' insistence. If they met alone, he could be as apologetic as he wanted and even get to suck his dick.

Right. Baby steps. Maybe a kiss, then.

He walked back into the kitchen, thumbs hovering over his phone's screen. After the humongous fuck up the night of the 20th, Dio had gone through some tough times, namely foaming from the mouth and drilling his nails into his beautiful skull. He could still feel the sharp pain caused from Jonathan's punch, manifesting in the form of a blooming purple bruise that marred almost half of his jaw. But it wasn't the punch itself that hurt him. Wasn't the first time he'd been punched, and there was nothing his concealer couldn't cover. Dio was mostly frustrated about how the progress (?) he had made with Jonathan had gone to the flames. Back to square zero, and even below that.

“Can't blame him,” Kars shrugged. “He probably doesn't want to meet you alone after what you did to his friend. I still can't believe you did literally everything I told you not to.”

Dio chose not to respond to that. “So, what are you gonna do?” asked Pucci.

Dio looked at the text with furrowed brows. Jonathan sounded pissed. Well, the way he texted felt angry. He usually sent Dio smiling faces and dogs. Dio was surprised that Jonathan was angry, even though he had every right to be. Never before in his life as a blood-sucking gold-digger had Dio ever had to make amends with any of his targets. He was contemplating abandoning the idea and go for someone else, make a fresh, drama-free start.

“I feel like it's not worth the effort, but at the same time I think that if I give up because of a fuck up-”

“A pretty big one.”

“-I'll be admitting defeat. I mean...I already apologized and he doesn't seem any better!”

Pucci sighed deeply. “I think it would be extremely idiotic if you gave up. Jonathan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You shouldn't abandon the plan, but apologize properly and start again from the bottom.”

Dio narrowed his eyes at him. Pucci was the only person he let talk to him like that. “I know you don't want to apologize, but it's the only way. If you ever want to have a second chance, you must beg for forgiveness,” Pucci continued.

“I, Dio, would never beg.”

“Then you, Dio, will get neither his dick nor his cash.”

The bathroom's door was thrown open and Valentine ran inside the kitchen. His shirt's sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, hair tied in a messy but very aesthetically pleasing bun. His dark blue jeans were splashed with water and his hands were covered in pink hair dye. At least he was wearing rubber gloves.

“Yoshikage, do you have any celery.”

“Celery?”

“Yeah. We need it. Now.”

Kira chose not to voice any of his questions. He stood to the fridge and brought out some celery. “You want me to cut it for you?”

“Yeah. Thanks.” Valentine leaned against the wall to catch his breath. “What's up?”

“Hurry up!” Diavolo screamed from inside the bathroom.

“I'm coming!”

“I'm telling Dio that if he wants to have another chance with Joestar, he has to apologize.”

“He's right, you know.” Dio rolled his eyes. “There's no other way.”

“As if you'd ever beg for forgiveness,” he snorted.

“I wouldn't,” he smiled. “I wasn't born poor.”

“Funny!”

“I'm coming, shut up!” Kira handed him the celery stalk and he rushed back inside the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

“Asshole,” Dio mumbled as Valentine walked away. He turned to look at the other three. “So you're saying that I-”

“-should go to Jonathan and apologize, yes,” they all said in perfect sync. “That will teach you a lesson,” Kars added. “If you never want to apologize again, then don't fuck up.”

“Simple as that.”

Dio groaned. Assholes, all of them. But they were right. Experience had taught Dio that he should listen to advice. He had already suffered the consequences of not listening to an older, more experienced man's advice way too soon.

He looked back at his phone. He really didn't want to meet Jonathan in the university but at the time being, he had no other choice. He had to show that he was truly feeling sorry, get Jonathan to warm up to him once more and restart his conquest.

You: omw

After retouching his eyeliner, Dio jumped into his car and rode to the university. He wasn't familiar with the Archeology Department building so he ended up wandering aimlessly for a few minutes. After checking every available room, he decided to ask around for Jonathan. Surely, he had to be popular among his classmates. He was informed that Jonathan was in the library and he headed there. Once he reached it, he halted at the door, breath hitched and heart beating rapidly. There Jonathan was, sitting at a table, surrounded by notes, entirely devoted to his work. Light from outside filled the room, bathing his gorgeous form. The way his plump lips moved as he mumbled to himself magnetized Dio. He was beautiful, almost painfully so.

Gathering all his courage and acting talent, Dio puffed out his chest, straightened his posture and sauntered inside. He probably should appear more humble but he had made enough allowances already.

“Jojo,” he sang as he approached the table.

“It's Jonathan,” Jonathan corrected him and Dio felt the temperature drop. Jonathan's expression was one of stone, lips pressed tightly together, yet his eyes still shone with rare kindness and sadness. Endlessly blue, clear, lustrous. Dio could spend hours just staring into those eyes.

“As you wish, Jonathan,” he smiled. His knuckles turned white around the chair's back, as he pulled it away and sat down. Oh, he was going to have his revenge. Once Jonathan was his to devour, he'd tie the bastard on the bed, whip him and cover him in wax until he was brought to tears and- Okay, he was getting hard. Dio quickly sat down across from Jonathan, folding his hands on the table, giving him a deceivingly innocent smile.

Jonathan studied his face for a second before going back to his work. They sat in silence, Dio waiting for Jonathan to speak to him while Jonathan busied himself with scribbling notes and making diagrams. Dio wasn't a patient man and he had already breached the limits of his patience the moment he decided to stoop so low as to apologize to another human being. Without realizing it, he started tapping his talon-like nails on the table, producing a steady beat that was near deafening in a silent library. Jonathan kept his head down but lifted his gaze and stared at Dio unnervingly. Felt like one of those glares rich people used to send him when he was a child. He hated it. He hated it so much that he considered grabbing the paper cutter and jamming it into Jonathan's throat.

“Forgive me, I just thought that you called me here to talk.”

“I never called you here. You came on your own. I just told you I'd be here.”

Fair enough. Dio was hating the interaction with each passing second. He made a mental note to bite Pucci on the ass when he got back home.

“I think we need to talk.”

At that, Jonathan raised his head. “Dio...” he started but his voice trailed off. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, sighing deeply. “I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, but I really can't talk right now. It's not like I don't ever want to speak to you, I just can't right now.”

What a fucking brat. Honestly. Dio wanted to bring out his phone, show him the text and just rub it in his angelic face, show him that he had practically sent Dio an invitation. But he didn't. Instead, he kept smiling politely, looking at Jonathan with burning, hateful eyes.

“I understand. Can you plea-”

Dio was rudely cut off by Jonathan's phone. After excusing himself, the man picked it up. He was talking with someone named Robert. If Dio remembered correctly, that was one of his best friends and one of his roommates. He was with him that night at the club, and so were the others. The guy was featured in almost every picture Jonathan had on his Instagram. Dio obviously had to get rid of him too.

Jonathan stood up abruptly. “I'm so sorry, Dio, but I have to leave.”

“Oh, yes, yes. Of course.” While Jonathan was messily throwing everything he owned into his backpack, Dio reached forward and snatched his phone, quickly shoving it into his jacket's pocket. He didn't even know what he was going to do with it. Read his DMs? Get into his bank account? Find his nudes? Jonathan probably didn't have nudes.

He held his breath until Jonathan finished tidying up, hoping he'd think that he had already taken his phone. And he did. “We'll talk,” said Jonathan and Dio nodded. He waited until Jonathan was out of sight and took out his phone. He pressed the home button and as expected, there was a password. His background was a picture of him with his dog. Danny, the biggest mutt Dio had ever seen. In one of the case's pockets, Dio discovered a little piece of paper with the words 'entrance key' and some numbers scribbled on it.

While walking back to his car, Dio held the phone into his hand and examined it, thinking how it could be useful. He could give it to Diavolo to open it up for him but he didn't want the others to be involved in this story. He looked at the black screen, seeing his own scowling reflection. Was there really any point into him doing this? While he contemplated his options, Dio was struck with an idea. He quickly dialed Kars' number, who was probably still in his house.

“Did you talk to him?”

“Yes. It's a little complicated, though...Listen, do you by any chance have his address?”

“His address?”

“Yes, Kars, his address.”

Kars paused to think for a second. “Wamuu has it. I think,” he grumbled, voice turning unbelievably sour. “I'll text you back in a sec.”

Dio waited for what seemed like an eternity. His heart nearly jumped from his mouth when he heard his phone ring again. A grin split his face at the sight of Jonathan's address. With the new information in hand, Dio dived into his car and drove off. A hundred meters out of the parking lot, he knocked a mailbox down.

 

 


 

 

 

Diavolo sat down on the edge of his bed and started patting his hair dry with the towel. Kira scurried in, coming to lean against the dresser. Diavolo knew that look. Ever since his last murder, Kira looked like he wanted to tell him something. But with Dio's drama and Valentine being around constantly, he didn't really get the chance too. He fearfully glanced at the door, listening to the sounds of Valentine cleaning up the mess in the bathroom.

“I wanted to talk with you about something.”

“Go on.” Kira took a deep breath. He reached in his back pocket and retrieved a brown leather wallet, not his own. He handed it to Diavolo, who opened it hesitantly, shocked to see that it belonged to the man he had killed two weeks ago, Kosaku Kawajiri. “Why do have this?” he hissed. Kira was a very careful murderer and doing something so unnecessarily risky was unlike him. This story was off to a bad start.

“I think I'll go and kill his family tonight.”

“That still doesn't explain why you have his wallet, Yoshikage!”

Kira shushed him anxiously. “I have a plan,” he said. “Having this will give me an excuse to drop by his place. I'll say that I came to drop it off, console the devastated widow and kill her. If her hands are pretty, that's extra cookie points. Two birds with one stone.”

Diavolo listened to Kira's plan carefully, taking every detail into consideration. “Won't she be under police surveillance?”

“I checked and she's not. The serial killer has never killed the victims' families and they think there's no point in guarding her, especially since she lives in a very upscale neighborhood,” he smirked smugly.

“Fair enough. Sounds like a good plan.”

Kira nodded. “I want your help with a little something. For a price, of course,” he quickly added.

“What?”

“If I kill the mother, the child will be left all alone. The only other Kawajiris I found are distant relatives in Japan they've never met before. The baby will probably be left all alone and I don't wanna kill it.”

“So?”

“I was wondering if you could give it to Passione. You guys have an adoption network, right?”

“Oh, yeah! We do, yeah.” Diavolo sat back, impressed. “That's very fucking smart, Yoshikage. I'm honestly very impressed.”

“By what?” asked Valentine, making both men jump up, shrieking.

“Don't fucking do that!” Diavolo chucked a pillow at him but he dodged it. “Just...our stuff.”

“Yeah.”

Valentine pouted. He dropped the blow dryer and brush on the bed and knelt behind Diavolo. “Are you guys keeping secrets from me?”

“It's nothing important, Funny,” Kira dismissed with a wave of his hand.

“Fine. I don't care that much, anyway.”

“My steampod's in that drawer.”

“I don't need that. I'll give you a blowout.”

Diavolo glared at him. “No way. You always make my hair too puffy!”

“What's wrong with puffy hair? C'mon, it looks better! If you don't like it, I'll do it again.”

“Ugh, fine.”

Valentine started by combing Diavolo's hair. Despite complaining, Diavolo loved it when Valentine did his hair. Valentine was the only one he trusted with it. He moved so gently, the soft caresses of his fingers on his scalp lulling him to sleep, the light message of the brush gliding down his freshly-dyed hair sending shivers down his spine.

“This is too wet,” Valentine mumbled to himself. Diavolo cracked an eye open and caught the blond in the middle of removing his Armani shirt, carefully placing it behind him. “You got anything I could wear?”

“Sure. That sweater you like is somewhere near.”

“Okay, thanks.” Valentine went to retrieve said sweater. While he remained half-dressed, Diavolo couldn't help but admire his physique. Valentine was ripped, covered in lean muscle, yet still very delicate and finely curvy. His eyes traveled to the curve of Valentine's waist, so deliciously perfect, making just the right dip before ending up in the slope of his bubble butt. His beauty didn't just stay on his ass. Guy had a face so pretty, it actually confused people, the softest hair and the most kissable mouth. His demeanor was a bit annoying and snobbish sometimes, but he was definitely a lot easier to handle than all their other friends.

Was it normal for people to think of their best friends like that?

 


 

 


As expected, Jonathan lived in a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood. A neoclassic, European-inspired, six-story building, with decorated arches, windows and balconies, filled with beautiful details reminiscent of the homeland. If this was the place Jonathan stayed as a student, then Dio couldn't even imagine what his actual house looked like. The house looked like it was privately owned by the Joestar family. As open-hearted and social Jonathan was, his father probably still didn't want him hanging around plebs. He approached the imposing entrance and walked through after inputting the code he found in Jonathan's phone case. Upon entering, Dio realized that he didn't know what floor Jonathan lived in. He decided to go up the stairs, to hopefully find anything that could indicate where Jonathan lived.

On the first floor, Dio found a very stylish art deco door. He walked to the doorbell, squinting his eyes at the names written under it. J. Joestar, C.A. Zeppeli, S. Brown, R. von Stroheim. J. Joestar... was this Jonathan? No, it was probably his brother, Joseph, since none of these names belonged to any of Jonathan's friends Dio knew of. As he walked to the second floor, he just realized how ridiculous it was that all four Joestar boys, including their cousin, had the same initials.

“What's up with the fucking Jardashians...” he muttered to himself as he walked to the second floor's apartment's door. Simpler than the last one, with a large number of shoes stacked outside, along with some worn dog toys. He read the names. J. Kujo, N. Kakyoin, J.P. Polnareff, M. Avdol, and Iggy. Iggy wasn't most likely human.

“Kujo?” he wondered aloud. Curious. That was probably Jonathan's brother, Jotaro, the one Dio had to charm. Why did he have a different last name than the rest? Smelled like good tea. But not the time for it yet.

“This has to be it.” He had reached the top floor and even though there were no names here, there weren't any other options, too. He knocked on the door and waited patiently.

“Robert,” said a voice from inside, “I swear to God if you forgot your keys again-Oh.”

The door wasn't opened by Jonathan but by one of his roommates. Dio remembered seeing him on plenty of Jonathan's Instagram photos. Pale, moderately tall, lean yet adequately muscular, with impressive, silken, flowing black hair, reaching past his backside. His expression was rather cold and aloof, something Dio related to on a great level.

He put on his most civil smile. “Hello. Is Jonathan Joestar here?”

“You must be Dio,” remarked Straizo, scanning the man in front of him from head to toe.

What little color Dio had drained from his face at the other's words. His smile wavered, hands curling tightly inside his pockets. Of course they had talked about him and judging by the man's tone, they didn't hold him in high esteem.

“Come on in,” said Straizo, stepping to the side and letting Dio inside. Dio stared blankly at him for a moment before snapping out of it and moving his feet.

He crossed the threshold of Jonathan's house and instantly got to taking in his surroundings. While his own house wasn't bad at all, this was more his style. Spacious, airy, with a wonderful view of the city all the way to the harbor. It was obvious each tenant had put his personal touch to the shared rooms. The living room was an assortment of different furniture, though it all tied together. It also smelled very nice, like pumpkin spice candles burning close to a window.

“Have a seat,” Straizo prompted him and Dio sat down on a very comfortable navy blue couch. “Jojo is out, he'll probably be back for lunch in about half an hour.” So far, Straizo hadn't asked him why he had come despite clearly knowing who he was and what he had done. Come to think of it, he probably was at the club with everyone else. “Can I offer you anything? Tea? Coffee? A soda? Juice? Perrier? A drink?”

“I'll take that Perrier.” Nasty stuff only snobs like Valentine genuinely enjoyed. “Thanks.”

“I'm not gonna kick you out if that's what you're wondering.”

Dio hummed. He leaned back, more comfortable. He was liking this guy, particularly his well-taken care of hair and glass skin. He even had a manicure. “Thank you for that.”

The minutes passed before Dio even realized it, absorbed as he was in a discussion about beauty products, fashion and workout routines. They also shared an admiration for Kars, both agreeing on what an absolute genius that guy was. Dio's ears perked up when he heard keys on the door. After that, he heard laughter and talking. Three men walked inside the house, halting in their tracks, utterly dumbfounded at the sight of him chilling on the couch like he owned the place.

“Dio...?” mumbled Jonathan, looking at him in confusion.

“Hello. You forgot your cell phone at the library and I returned it to you.”

Jonathan looked at his phone with narrowed eyes. “How did you know where I live?”

“You told me that night on the Emperor.” Jonathan thought about it for a second and decided that Dio was telling the truth.

“Why didn't you just leave it and go, then?” asked Speedwagon.

“I wanted to seize this opportunity and talk with Jonathan...if he also wants too, of course.”

Jonathan opened his mouth but quickly closed it. “...sure,” he decided, despite the looks his two friends sent him. Dio tried hard not to smile at that. “Follow me, please.”

Jonathan led Dio up the stairs, walking in front of him, offering him a lovely view of his ass. They walked down a hall and into Jonathan's bedroom, closing the door behind them. Once he heard the door close, Speedwagon threw everything he could get his hands on at Straizo.

“You goddamn snake!” he hissed through gritted teeth.

Jonathan's room was a bit messy, with a few shirts carelessly thrown around and open books laying on the desk. A king-sized bed with light blue covers stood in the corner, with a lovely antique desk next to it. A large wardrobe covered almost half the wall across. A picture window offered the room plenty of light as well as a great view to some of the city's most beautiful parks.

At Jonathan's invitation, Dio sat on the bed. He was disappointed when Jonathan sat down on the chair, a few meters away. Awkward silence filled the room, both men looking around, trying to find a way to clear this mess. Dio bit the inside of his cheek. He knew he was the one that had to start but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He screwed his eye shut so tightly, he saw white behind his lids. He thought about a mountain of money and Jonathan's dick.

“I'm sorry,” he began and actually tasted vomit. “I-I didn't know what got into me! I would never do that to anyone, ever! Oh, only if I could show you who I truly am, Jonathan!”

“Why are you apologizing?”

“What...do you mean?”

“Are you sorry because you hurt an innocent person or because you pissed me off?”

That was a good observation. So Jonathan was smarter than Dio had thought. Whatever. Nothing, he, Dio, couldn't overcome. “I'm sorry because I hurt a woman I don't even know, I'm sorry because I hurt someone who didn't deserve it. I am truly sorry, Jonathan, that because of my actions, I caused a scene and made someone uncomfortable. I'm also sorry because...because my stupidity caused you to be disgusted by me. I didn't do myself justice!” he cried. “What you saw isn't who I really am, Jonathan! And I intend to make it up both you and your friend, whom I hurt for no reason!”

At the end of this tear-jerking and Oscar-worthy performance, Jonathan was at a loss for words. There were tears streaming down Dio's face, painted black from the mascara and he was panting, hands clutching at his chest. Jonathan hated seeing others cry. He rushed to Dio's side, wrapping his muscular arms around his shoulders in an attempt to comfort him.

“It's alright, Dio, I understand. You just made a mistake.”

“A grave one!” he sobbed.

“If you're truly sorry-”

“Oh, I am!”

“-then everything will be fine! It's alright,” he said again, rubbing small circles at Dio's back. He smiled at him as best as he could given his confusion. “I believe you.” His smile shone brighter than the sun.

Dio almost tripped down the stairs as he fled from the house as quickly as he could, cringing at the shame Jonathan had forced him to go through. Oh, he was going to pay dearly, that much was undeniable. Dio was already thinking about all the ways he could punish him. He'd started with simple bedroom torture and then one day chop his damn head off.

Dio froze a few steps away from the first floor. Just a couple of steps below him stood the man he had almost run over a few days ago. Same hat, same ridiculous coat, same hostility in his turquoise eyes. His strangely familiar turquoise eyes, strong jaw, impossible build...His jaw almost hit the ground at the realization.

“The fuck are you doing here?” demanded Jotaro.

“I should be asking you that.” Maybe it wasn't who he dreaded it was.

“Mind your own fucking business.” Jotaro power walked past him, shoving him to the wall with his shoulders. Dio saw red, shoving back with ten times the force.

“Don't you dare lay your fucking paws on me, fucker,” he hissed.

Jotaro said nothing. He gave Dio one final frigid look and opened the door to his apartment, slamming it shut with enough force to make the windows rattle.

“Smells like a little snake bitch to me...” Speedwagon mumbled to himself while standing on the balcony, watching the street below, eyes fixed on Dio as he quickly headed for his car. The stench filled his nostrils.

“Fucking hell...” groaned Dio, repeatedly hitting his forehead on the steering wheel. He had already texted that photographer. He needed to fuck his frustration into someone.

 

 


 

 


A few squares away from where Dio was, Kira had just arrived at the Kawajiri residence. A modern townhouse, stylish and comfortable. He walked up the stairs with numb legs, stopping at the doorstep. He read the names at the mailbox. Kosaku, Shinobu, Hayato Kawajiri. He took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. No response. Light was pouring from the windows so someone had to be inside. He rang again.

“Ugh, just a minute!” a woman called from inside. Just a moment later, the door was opened just a crack and Kira saw Kawajiri's wife, Shinobu, staring at him like a finicky cat. “Who're you?” she demanded quite rudely.

“I...uhh...I'm one of Kosaku's coursemates. I wanted to bring you this and offer my condolences,” Kira recited the lines he had practiced so many times.

“I've never seen your face before.” She looked down at the wallet Kira was holding. Realizing that it was indeed her deceased husband's, she pushed the door open. Slim, pale, clearly not paying attention to her appearance, but still quite beautiful. Kira's eyes hungrily searched for her hands. The disappointment pierced his heart like an arrow. Uneven skin tone, short nails, obviously continuously assaulted by teeth, surrounded by cuticles.

“We weren't that close. We started talking just recently.”

Shinobu eyed him suspiciously. “Where did you get this?”

“After the police examined it, I asked them to give it to me so I could hand it to you, since none of Kosaku's other friends wanted to.” He offered her the wallet, putting on his most sympathetic expression. “I...I don't even know how to begin. I'm truly sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?” sighed Shinobu, sounding more annoyed rather than sad. “It's not like it's your fault.”

She stepped to the side, letting Kira in. She looked at him with vivid interest, studying his high cheekbones and pale blue eyes. The guy had style, though the weird tie he was wearing resembled one of Kosaku's. While Shinobu was thinking about Kira's good looks, Kira was thinking of how he should kill her. Clearly, taking a knife from the kitchen and slit her throat was his best option. Diavolo was going to help him with the corpse and kid.

“Come in, come in!” she prompted. “Don't just stand there!” Shinobu took his jacket, feeling the crisp fabric under her fingertips, and hang it on the back of a chair. “Unfortunately, I'm quite busy at the moment, don't have much time to sit and chat.”

“Is there anything I can help you with?” Kira offered.

“How kind of you,” smiled Shinobu. “Do you mind helping me with the dishes?”

“No, of course not.”

Kira followed Shinobu to the kitchen. He rarely ever got a glimpse of his victims' lives and looking around what used to be Kosaku's life made him feel uneasy. On the surface, the guy had everything Kira wanted, the perfect quiet life he lusted after. But the way Shinobu acted, nothing but exasperation in her voice, annoyance in her eyes, made Kira feel that she wasn't at all sad about Kosaku's death. Or maybe it was just the overactive imagination of a serial killer.

“I hate that I'm having you do this but it turns out running a household all by myself is much more trouble than I ever thought.” She tried keeping her voice as chipper as she could though Kira could still detect the underlying bitterness.

“I really don't mind. Please tell me if there's anything more I can do for you.”

“Thank you, Yoshikage.” She looked at Kira with wide eyes. She walked to the table and practically collapsed on a chair, burying her face in her hands. “I have no family left other than Hayato and now I have to do everything all on my own. Oh, I shouldn't be telling you this. You're just a stranger.”

“No, no. It's fine.”

Any other woman might have even slapped Kira because of his infuriating robotic replies but Shinobu found solace in them. Such was her despair, that it made her look up to him with dreamy, tear-filled eyes. “You're the first company I've had in weeks and I...” She sniffed her nose, wiping her tears with the back of her hand. “I don't know how to thank you for this.”

“You don't have to. I just thought you'd be in need of some help. I can't just leave you alone and I'm disappointed I didn't do it sooner.”

“Oh, Yoshikage...” She started sobbing again, only this time she was laughing. Were all social interactions supposed to be like this or was it just this one? Kira leaned against the counters awkwardly, not knowing what to do. That would be a perfect moment to kill her. While Shinobu rambled about things Kira cared little about, he scanned the kitchen for a good, sharp knife. Most of this stuff looked new, the house looked barely lived-in, as if they had only recently moved in.

He noticed a clean bread knife and as silently as possible, reached for it, slowly wrapping his fingers around the handle.

“Look who it is!” Shinobu exclaimed, scaring the shit out of Kira. The knife fell from his hand and into the sink with a loud rattle. And all because of a fat, gray cat that had just strolled in. The admittedly beautiful animal purred loudly as it rubbed its body around Kira's legs, peering at him with large, golden eyes.

“He likes you!” Shinobu reached down to pick up her cat, who seemed rather displeased with this development. “He doesn't like anyone, not even me sometimes,” she laughed.

A piercing cry was heard from the living room, a baby's agitated wailing. Shinobu put the cat back down on the floor. She smiled apologetically at Kira. “I'm really sorry, but I have to breastfeed Hayato. He gets cranky even when I'm a minute late.”

“I'll leave you to it, then,” he mumbled, completely awestruck. For some reason, he couldn't bring himself to kill a woman who was about to feed her son. Besides, unless she was an excellent actress, Shinobu didn't seem like she wanted to avenge her husband's killer. There was no point in murdering her, no hand to gain from it.

“Thank you so much for coming. It means so much. It really does. Feel free to drop by whenever you want!” Her small, ugly hands wrapped around one of Kira's, squeezing it lovingly. It felt...warm. Not sweaty warm but good warm. Weird warm.

In utter loss he stood, standing on the empty sidewalk, looking at the lit up windows of the Kawajiri household, wondering what to do about them.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 


By the end of the first week of October, any lingering sunlight and warmth had completely vanished, overthrown by overcast skies, rain, and cold wind, steadily growing colder. During one of those typical rainy afternoons, Dio had just finished with his studying and decided to join the others downstairs. Despite their limited resources, Dio was quite proud of how they had decorated the place. It was all thanks to him, of course, and his immaculate taste. Had he left the task up to Diavolo, the place would've ended up looking like the inside of Edgar Allan Poe's head. Kira wasn't any better. One look at his bedroom was enough to confirm that the guy only cared about his bands.

(Dio, of course, being the megalomaniac he was and without a shred of self-knowledge, thought himself to be some aesthetic genius, when in reality, he wanted everything to be gilded in gold and looking like a Victorian whorehouse. Had it not been for Kars, Valentine and Pucci's intervention, there would be BDSM equipment hanging from the walls.)

To avoid conflict, the three roommates decided to paint the walls a stylish, effortlessly chic off-white. A fuzzy black carpet was carelessly yet thoughtfully thrown on the wooden floor. The suede red couch had its back turned to the entrance archway, with two armchairs by it, a high-back dark yellow one and a royal blue one. In front of the couch stood a simple antique coffee table, with magazines, TV remotes, succulents and a jade ashtray on it. The TV stood in the corner, perched on top of a smaller table, with Diavolo's game consoles stacked below. One aspect they had all agreed on was the lighting; during the daytime, the house was illuminated by the light that generously poured from the windows. As the day progressed, the living room was lit up by two strategically placed floor lamps, one standing behind the couch and one between the bookcase and surprisingly thriving ficus.

When Dio walked in (stopping by the kitchen first to pour himself a glass of red wine for the nerves) he found Valentine and Diavolo sitting on the floor in front of the TV, on the big embroidered pillows Kars had brought them as a housewarming gift from Mexico, utterly absorbed in their fierce game of Mario Kart. Kira was sitting on the couch, trying to get Killer Queen to share her toys with Valentine's new puppy. Kars was sitting on the yellow armchair, scrolling through his phone with furrowed brows and a small frown, obviously deep in thought. Dio sat on the couch next to Kira, scooting as far away from the animals as possible. He hated having the dog on the same couch he sat on, but Valentine insisted on carrying her everywhere. The other two occupants didn't mind. As if Diavolo would ever deny Valentine anything.

“That's cheating!” yelled Diavolo, scaring both cat and dog. Sugar whimpered and sought shelter in Kira's arms.

“It's not, calm down,” chuckled Valentine. “I can show you how to do it.”

“I don't want your advice,” Diavolo scoffed and haughtily stood up, grumbling all the way to the armchair.

“You're a sore loser,” chimed Valentine.

“I know.”

“So,” started Kars, putting his phone down, “what are you gonna do?”

They all turned to look at Dio who just groaned deeply. He downed his wine in one gulp, sorrowfully looking at the glass, expecting it to refill itself. Even though that was a shitty coping mechanism, he needed more alcohol to deal with his stress. Because, for once in his life, Dio was faced with the threat of failure. His schemes had always been successful and this whole Jonathan business was driving him insane. He knew from the beginning that this would be his most complex and demanding scheme yet but he never thought it'd actually take so so long. A little over a month and still nothing, not even a damn peck on the cheek. But it wasn't only the unexpectedly lengthy and extremely tiring procedure that was fiddling with Dio's nerves, no. Already, his 'relationship' with Jonathan was tumultuous and all because of Dio's faults, namely his assault on one of his best friends and attempt on Jonathan's little brother's life. He could tell that the man was avoiding him, as discretely as he could. Dio hated that politeness, made him want to jump on Jonathan and tear his throat out with his teeth. Butcher him and his stupid friends. Every damn time Dio accidentally passed from one of the places Jonathan frequented at, the meddling Speedwagon was always miraculously there! Jonathan was unapproachable, the only way to access him being via the texts he responded with less and less enthusiasm. So yeah, Dio was stressed and when he couldn't fuck the anxiety out of his head, he drank.

“I don't think Jotaro's told him about the whole car situation yet. I actually don't think he knows who I am.”

“Yeah, but he will find out if you continue chasing Jonathan,” Kars pointed out. Dio couldn't even bear to look him in the eye anymore. All that fatherly advice and he had done the exact opposite. At least he didn't know about the photographer. Yet.

“Will you?”

“Oh, of course, I will!” Dio called from the kitchen while pouring himself a second glass of wine. He downed it all at once, too. A third one wouldn't hurt. He walked back into the living room, now heavy with the scent of cigarette smoke, coming from Diavolo and Valentine. At least they had opened up a window so that the little animals wouldn't breathe in anything toxic. “I'm not letting him go.”

It was childish, almost, how he so stubbornly clung to Jonathan even after fucking up so many times. It wasn't about getting the money anymore (not really). Dio wanted Jonathan and by God he was gonna have him, piece by piece, drop by drop. It was a bet against himself, to have his cake and eat it too; Jonathan, with his godly body and vast wealth, on one hand, endless nights of debauchery with people he met at bars on the other. He wasn't willing to compromise anything, and he didn't have to. Only if he was smart, less flamboyant about his life's choices. Less hot-headed.

“He already made me go to that stupid whore and apologize to her,” he snarled. “She bought it, there's no way she wouldn't. Now, as for this Jotaro guy...I can probably brush it off.”

“Probably.”

“I'll just say that it was just an accident.”

“That's one too many accidents, Dio,” Valentine pointed out and Dio's expression soured. “Don't you ought to be more careful?”

“...shut up.”

Seeing that Dio wouldn't listen to anything they told him, they all went back to what they were doing before. At some point, the doorbell rang, signaling Pucci's arrival. The young man stormed into the house, sighing in exasperation as he barged inside the living room. Confused and ready to scalp whoever had brought his friend to this agitated state, Dio followed him further inside the house, where he sat down on the couch, ready to listen to him. All eyes fell on Pucci, who was dramatically standing in the middle of the carpet.

“You all know how I've had this awful feeling about my twin, right?” They all nodded. “I've had this hunch ever since I saw him. Like...he didn't even have to speak to me. I knew there was something wrong.” He took off his leather jacket and tossed it on the now empty pillows. “I spent some time snooping around, just asking about him and stuff, see what I could find.” Dramatic pause. A deep breath, making sure everyone was listening to him. “Yesterday-”

“Oh, fuck,” groaned Valentine, wincing as Diavolo sat on his knees. “You're heavy.”

“Stop whining.”

“I'm not whining,” whined Valentine. “Oh, I'm sorry, Enrico. You were saying?”

“Right. Yes. So yesterday I got the juiciest piece of information.”

“Which is?” Kira asked, impatiently.

Pucci took a deep, calming breath. “He's dating a stripper.”

“A stripper?” repeated Kars, an eyebrow arched. He was old, he had heard shit a million times worse. He had done it, too.

“Yes! A male, gay, stripper.”

“Your brother's gay?”

“Yup.”

They all sat back, exchanged impressed glances. Pucci, like Valentine, was the only cacophony in their group of self-made assholes with fortunes that couldn't be explained by legal means. He was coming from old money, his family had been tied with the mysteries and sumptuousness of the Vatican for generations. A scandal as juicy as that would surely cause their spotless reputation to crumble. Needless to say, they all knew what Pucci was thinking.

“When are we going?”Diavolo asked bluntly.

“The sooner, the better.” He sat on the floor, snatching Dio's fourth glass of wine and throwing it down his throat. He brought his knees to his chest, leaning against Kars' legs. “I just want him out of my fucking family.”

“Diavolo, could you please move? My legs are numb!”

“You can take it.”

“I'm lighter than you!”

“Oh, how the times have changed.”

“I'm serious, Diavolo! Move!”

“I thought you were funny.”

With that, Valentine pushed him off, landing him on the floor with a loud thud and chucking one of the smaller pillows at him.

They settled for a quiet evening in, ordering some pizza and putting on Jurassic Park. The lights were off and they had almost drifted off to sleep, being so perfectly comfortable. They all had blankets thrown over them, some pillows in between. Dio was sitting on the blue armchair, legs stretched on the coffee table. Kars was sitting on the other one, a large bowl of popcorn balanced on his crossed knees. Kira and Pucci were sitting on the floor in a swath of blankets and pillows, with the two animals sleeping soundly between them. Diavolo was laying on the couch and Valentine was sprawled on top of him, laying his head on the middle of his chest, half-drifted to sleep.

It looked like they were in for another sleepover; Valentine was fully asleep on top of Diavolo, Kira and Pucci were snoring lightly, cuddling the pets and each other. They'd only move to go to the bedrooms. The tranquility of the scene was shattered to pieces when the doorbell rang. Kira snapped awake, looking around the room curiously.

“Who could it be at this goddamn hour?” growled Diavolo.

Dio shrugged. “Ignore them. It's probably a drunk.”

The stranger persisted. Pucci slowly blinked awake, yawning lazily. “What's wrong?”

“Someone's at the door.”

“Ugh, go and tell them to fuck off. I wanna sleep.”

Valentine shifted in his sleep, making Diavolo groan uncomfortably. He looked up blearily, pushing flaxen curls away from his face. “Go answer it.”

Dio shot up angrily, threw the covers off of him and stomped to the door. Whoever it was, they were in for a royal ass beating. Dio yanked the door open and readied his lungs to scream at a random person's face. What he saw was Diego, standing at his doorstep, drenched to the bone, shivering in his little green sweater. Dio stared blankly at his little brother, unable to express his confusion.

“Hey.”

“Hey? At 2AM? What the hell are you doing here?”

“Dio, I really need your help.”

For Diego to show up at Dio's house in the middle of the night in the pouring rain meant that something was very very wrong. Dio couldn't find any logical explanation as to why his brother had come to him instead of his dumb roommates.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Ignoring him completely, Diego looked to the side. “You can come out now.”

A woman stepped out of the alley next to the house, but not just any woman. A nun, dressed in her typical garb, with Diego's green bomber jacket thrown over her shoulders. It didn't look like she was wearing a costume. Everything, from her stern expression to the way she linked her fingers over her stomach was genuinely pious. Dio could only gawk in shock as Diego ushered the woman inside the house.

“What the fuck!” he yelled. The other men present all peeked from the living room, curious at the unexpected intrusion.

“Please stop screaming and listen to me!” The nun remained silent, lips pressed to a thin line. She, like Diego, was drenched to the bone, her robes sticking to her body. Under the light of the hallway, Dio could see clearly that the nun was at least a head taller than Diego as well as way more muscular.

“Hey, what's going on?” Kira stepped out of the living room, sheepishly dragging his feet. His eyes almost fell from their sockets when he saw the newcomers, switching between them and his roommate. “Dio?”

Diego grabbed the nun by the hand and dragged her into the living room, where he came face to face with the person he least wanted to see. Valentine froze completely, slice of pizza dangling from his mouth. He blinked at Diego slowly, every hint of sleep leaving his person. “What the hell...” he mumbled. “I thought we were gonna watch movies, you guys. Is this like a sex party or something? Cuz I got a girl.”

“I'm a real nun, you heathen.”

“Oh, my apologies, sister. I'm quite pious.” He chewed on his pizza lazily. He laughed weakly, dazedly. “What the fuck?”

“Can you all please let me explain? Sit down, babe.”

“Babe!?” Dio shrieked. All the blood rushed to his head. A stroke was approaching. The nun went to sit down on the vacant armchair. She carefully removed her headcover, making sure to take off all the bobby pins she had tucked into her shoulder-length hot-pink hair. That was unexpected.

“Diego, you fucked a nun?” Pucci coughed out. It was obvious why he was the most shocked of them all.

Diego was shaking. He looked at the nun who merely nodded, encouraging him to go on with whatever he wanted to say. He took a calming breath. “It's not just that. Hot Pants and I-”

“We ran away together,” Hot Pants blurted out. Her voice was like the rest of her; deep, serious, authoritative.

The men present exchanged glances. Dio kept opening and closing his mouth, unable to form a coherent sentence. Out of all the things Diego had ever done, from assisting him in patricide to creating a gambling ring in high school, this was by far the weirdest. Diego didn't even know what a church looked like yet he had somehow acquainted himself with a nun. He knew her well enough to call her 'babe' and steal her away from the convent she was in. And for some reason, she decided to follow him.

Silence settled over the room like a thick veil. The previously dark room was now well lit, and everyone present was wide awake.

“This explains fucking nothing,” hissed Dio. He flailed his arms, eventually settling for a discarded glass of wine.

“Is this what you're up to these days?” inquired Valentine, eyeing Diego with a small smirk. “This is...surreal.”

“Tell us what's going on,” prompted Kars. He and Diavolo were the calmest ones, the latter being quite the miracle.

Diego stood up in front of the TV. Seeing how he turned his back to his favorite movie of all time, they all knew just how serious and maybe a bit terrified he was. Even though he was freezing a few minutes ago, sweat started rolling down the sides of his head, salty droplets glistening on the tip of his nose. He wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. His clothes, wet and heavy, clinging on his thin body like dead weights.

“H-Hot Pants and I met a while ago-”

“How.”

“It's a long story.” Dio sighed deeply, sliding further down the couch. “We met a while ago and we decided to run away together.”

“Just like that?” asked Valentine. Diego pursed his lips in a thin line. “Man...you're dumber than I thought.”

“Mind your own fucking business,” barked Diego. Valentine merely chuckled. After waking up from a bomb-ass nap and with a belly full of pizza, he couldn't see this as anything but entertaining.

“It wasn't 'just like that',” the youngest Brando continued. “There's just no point in explaining that.”

“Do you understand the gravity of the situation?” Pucci spoke, a hand gently massaging his head.

“Yes,” Hot Pants answered surely.

Pucci shifted his gaze on her. “And yet you still chose to follow him?”

“I did.”

He fell back in his seat, speechless. “People are gonna come after you, you're gonna end up in jail, Diego!”

“Wait, what.”

“Yes! He's gonna end up in jail for kidnapping her.”

“But she willingly followed him.”

“So what? You think the church would ever let a nun be involved in such a scandal? When they find you -and they will, trust me on that- they'll do anything in their power to make sure to prove that you were the only one at fault here, guilty of kidnapping a nun. The church has a lot more power than what you think and believe me, Diego, they'll make sure you spend your golden years behind bars.”

The more Pucci talked, the more Dio wanted to throw up. A case like that would go public and spread like wildfire. Even though Diego was under the age of 21, Dio was sure that his name would somehow leak. Within weeks or even days, the name Diego Brando would be connected to a criminal, a heretic, a heathen. The most conservative Christians would most likely lose their shit, and by estimation, the Joestar family would, too. And alas! With the news of how vile the Brando family was, Dio's hopes of wooing Jonathan would be carried away like ashes in the wind. The future he had imagined for himself, living in an opulent mansion in the middle of foggy, vampiric forest, unnecessarily rich and perpetually adorned by the finest clothes and jewelry, fucking and reading to his heart's content was gone forever. And all because his stupid little brother had a nun kink.

Probably.

“Well...” Diego started shyly, nervously glancing back at Hot Pants. “If they find us.”

If. Right. Dio liked the sound of that. If was great. Diego would only be thrown in jail and Dio would only face great shame only if they caught him.

“Is this why you're here, then?” he asked. “To ask me to help you hide?”

“Not me, just Hot Pants. For a couple of days.”

“Absolutely not,” said Diavolo before anyone had the time to process the situation. “This isn't just Dio's house. And there's no way in hell I'm letting a stranger in here.”

“He's right. Besides, we can't fit four people in this house,” added Kira.

It was two against one and Dio knew he couldn't convince those secretive assholes otherwise. Valentine had a big house with only two people and a dog in it, but he'd rather die than be nice to Diego for even a second. Pucci's place was out of the question.

Kars sighed deeply. “I'll hide you.”

At the sound of that, Diego's entire face lit up. “Y-You will?”

“If it's for a couple of days it won't be a problem.”

Out of fear that the authorities were already after them, Kars and the unlikely couple left a few minutes before 3 AM. Dio, still a bit stunted from the situation, couldn't do much but observe Hot Pants. She had stayed mostly quiet during the talk, looking serious but Dio picked up the little signs, evidence of how shaken she was. Hours after they had left, he still couldn't get them out of his mind. Just how on Earth had these two met? Why did she follow Diego? Didn't she know what a walking disaster he was? Why a nun, of all people? So many questions and no answers at all.

Dio pushed himself to sleep, though his dream world wasn't in a much better state. All he saw was Jonathan, spreading him open with his large powerful hands and fucking him like an animal. It was difficult for him to stay asleep and not snap awake, heat coiling in the pits of his stomach.

 


 

 

 

There wasn't anything inherently wrong with having an expensive taste. Dio liked being lavished in opulence, and he was thankful that his friends also had the same unnecessarily expensive tastes as he did. The problem was that his money was slowly running out after the end of his career as a sugar baby. (Quite a stretch, really. The term didn't really apply to his case, since he never stuck with just one old millionaire that could quench his thirst for all things worth more than a human liver. The term 'escort' would be more suitable, albeit a bit too crude for his tastes.) So, in order to continue getting his necessary dose of Gucci, he took up Kars' offer. He already knew that working as a model would made him a lot less money but it was definitely a dignified profession, one that would give him the recognition he so desperately wanted (and deserved). Besides, his source of income would no longer seem suspicious in Jonathan's eyes.

He showed up for his first official photoshoot at 11 AM on Saturday, as promised. Kars was waiting for him at the studio, along with several other members of the staff. Dio was up for anything but nudes. He still had to appear as modest as possible in Jonathan's eyes.

He had done a few shots in the past, he knew what needed to be done and in what order. First things first, he was escorted to the dressing room to have his outfits picked. Three in total, one for every two shots. Bright colors, vibrant turtlenecks, and silken slacks, complete with high-end slides. Once he had slipped into the first outfit, he went to admire himself on the mirror. Definitely a bit more conservative than what he normally wore but he could see himself rocking this look around Jonathan.

After that, he sat down to have his makeup done. He was left alone in the room with Kars, completely relaxed to the man's expert moves. “So. The nun.”

Kars chuckled. “The nun. She's a good girl, a bit too serious, though.” Odd. Usually, Diego attracted idiots.

“Did she tell you how they met or why she ran away with him?”

“No, she didn't. I didn't ask, to tell you the truth. She seemed determined to never return.” And spend the rest of her life outside of the circle she had known, with Diego, no less? Dio suspected that this woman wasn't right in the head. She hadn't told Kars, leaving Dio with only one option; to go by Diego's workplace and ask his brother personally for some answers.

Dio walked into the studio and was faced with a surprise. Definitely not the good kind. The photographer he was going to be working with was his occasional fucking partner, readying her equipment, looking up with a surprised and mischievous smile.

“Hello Dio,” she purred and Dio gritted his teeth down hard.

“You know one another?”

“We met during the launch party, yes,” was the brief answer Dio gave. He didn't have to look up to see the scolding glare Kars was sending him. After being friends for so many years, of course he knew.

The photoshoot was uneventful. Turns out Haruka was surprisingly professional. Dio picked up trivia about her the more they went on. 27 years old and a rising star on the field. Was originally going to do modeling but photography won her over in the end. Kars was supervising the entire procedure that lasted a few good hours, with a twenty-minute break once they hit the two-hour mark. Dio was a bit disappointed when it ended. There was nothing he loved more than walking around with expensive clothes, being the center of attention. He didn't bother checking his shots, he knew they were all perfect.

He checked the time. Almost 5 PM. Was Diego at work? Dio thought about calling but he didn't want to ruin the surprise. Even if he wasn't at work, he'd drop by the dump he called home. He walked into the dressing room. A few seconds later, Kars followed, glaring at Dio with a disapproving frown.

“What are you doing with her?”

“Nothing,” shrugged Dio. “Nothing of importance.”

“Didn't I tell you to stop being shady?”

“We're just having fun!”

Kars inhaled sharply. “If Jonathan finds you've been 'just having fun' with a goddamn junkie, he'll never want to look at you again.”

“I'm not flaunting her in public,” Dio hissed.

“Secrets get revealed all the time. Be smart. End this before it's too late.”

“I know what I'm doing,” Dio retorted. There was no point in further discussing it with him. For some reason, some inexplicable reason, he clung to this meaningless, carnal relationship. As if to prove a point to others and himself, that he could both appear clean in front of Jonathan yet still do as he pleased.

“Dio,” Haruka playfully called for him when he stepped out of the dressing room, having changed back to his own clothes.

His jaw went numb from clenching it too hard. He still managed to put a well-practiced relaxed smile on his face as he approached her, fists curled viciously inside his jacket's pockets. He leaned against the wall next to her, looking at her through half-lidded eyes.

“Yes?”

She grinned and took a step closer. Even so scraggly and gaunt, downright unhealthy, she was still charming in an odd, harsh way. Her eyes gleamed mean as she ran her twig-like fingers along the details of Dio's Versace jacket. But perhaps he had encouraged her a bit too much.

“We haven't spoken in days,” she pouted, demurely glancing up from her heavy lashes.

Dio grinned, reaching to tuck a lock of brown, wavy hair behind her ear. “Why don't we go somewhere a bit more private then, where I can repay you?”

She very much liked the sound of that. Strutting ahead of him, Haruka led him to the back of the studio and into the bathroom. The moment he shut the door behind them, he spun her around and wrapped his right hand around her flimsy neck. The desire in her eyes was quickly replaced by confusion, melting into pure fear within the blink of an eye as she was lifted off the floor, pressed against the cool, tile wall. She clawed at his hand with shaky fingers but he tightened his grip, making her eyes bulge.

“Aren't you a bit too friendly with me?” he breathed close to her neck, teeth grazing against the goosebump-riddled flesh. “Did you honestly think that someone like you would ever fit my profile?”

The skin around his hand turned bluer with each second, her body becoming weaker the more he held her. She tried speaking but no coherent sound came out. Gagging and wheezing, feet dangling uselessly. He squeezed harder than ever before and let her fall on the door like a piece of cloth. She tried supporting herself on her shaky arms, coughing her lungs out.

“Get in,” he demanded. When she didn't comply due to her shock and physical weakness, he grabbed her by the arm and threw her into the stall, once again slamming her against the wall.

After his assault, she looked even smaller, even frailer. She backed to the wall in fear, trying to stutter out something. He didn't need to push her too hard. She jumped in his arms as if nothing had happened, gluing her lips on his. His hands started roaming across her body, the pace of his hips becoming more aggressive with each second. She liked it, she liked it a lot, but for Dio it was a way of venting. He didn't look at her. It was as if he was mad at her for being the way she was. Small, frail, filthy and obsessed. She wasn't like Jonathan, wasn't large, beautiful, pure and sublime. And that was her fault. He avoided her gaze, sinking his teeth deep into her shoulder, letting blood trickle down her blouse. He turned his anger into frenzied, uncoordinated thrusts. He screwed his eyes, hoping that by some miracle, she'd turn into Jonathan. But she didn't. So he fucked harder, took deeper.

 


 

 


The place where Diego worked was a short drive away. When Dio arrived, he saw Diego's coworker behind the counter, showing another woman how to use the espresso machine. It was the nun. Dio approached them quickly, furrowing his brows at the sight. Lucy glanced up and instantly froze when she noticed Dio. Hot Pants leaned against the counter, scanning Dio with an arched brow. She had done away with her uniform and her impressive physique was easily distinguishable. She probably had an eight-pack underneath her sweater. Were nuns supposed to be so ripped? Or have magenta hair? Somehow, it fit her.

“I'll go check on the muffins,” whispered Lucy and Hot Pants nodded, not tearing her gaze from Dio.

He made himself comfortable on one of the stools. He kept his eyes glued on her, trying to decipher her. She gave away nothing. She looked well-rested. As expected. Kars was a great host.

“I see you've blended into life outside of the convent very quickly.” Too quickly.

“I'm just a trainee,” she shrugged. Her voice had a slight Italian accent Dio was able to pick up after spending so much time around Diavolo.

“I'm not going to tell you anything,” she said before he could speak. “Not until I know you're trustworthy.”

Dio snorted loudly. Whatever. He couldn't afford to lose his temper with every insect he found along his way, especially Diego's weird friends. “When are you leaving Kars' house?”

“Tomorrow. The coast is finally clear.” Dio nodded. “Can I get you anything?”

“A Latte Caramel Macchiato, if you please.” He studied her as she went to prepare his drink. As if his own troubles weren't enough... He should have guessed something bad would have happened. This was probably the longest Diego had gone without being a pain in the ass.

“Here you go,” Hot Pants said and handed him his drink.

Dio took a sip, immediately slamming it on the counter. “This is black coffee.”

“I don't know how to make anything else. If you want, come back next week when I've finished my training.”

He chuckled at that. Serious, sarcastic people had always been entertaining. The coffee wasn't half bad. Dio reached for his phone. His mind flew to Jonathan and he contemplated messaging him. No, it was too soon. Not until he responded to his messages. Maybe Pucci was up for a walk? Oh shit, right. He had to go to Valentine's for their upcoming assignment.

After drinking half of his coffee, he stood up and got ready to leave. Since life worked in truly mysterious ways, Dio's eyes fell to the other end of the counter, where Lucy was having a lively conversation with Erina. Dio squinted his eyes at the younger girl. It was the first time he noticed her and seeing the two women side by side, he realized how much they looked alike. Erina, sensing the pair of sharp eyes stabbing her on the back, looked up, her blue eyes finding Dio's amber ones. She froze, in surprise rather than fear. Dio turned his back and exited the store. He dived into the nearest alley and stood with his back against the wall. A moment later, Erina approached him, her expression stony and harsh. A shame this place was crowded. He'd have no trouble slicing her throat otherwise.

“You may have fooled Jonathan but I didn't buy any of your bullshit,” she hissed at him, taking him by surprise. “And I'm not going to.”

The feral need to draw blood, take her life, slowly surfaced. But he suppressed it. His knuckles turned white around the cup. “What are you saying? I have no ill intentions.”

“Stay away from Jonathan, before bad things happen to you.”

Bad things. Dio was untouchable, undefeatable, his aura was oozing with regality and power yet this nobody had threatened him right in his face. He watched her disappearing form with blazing eyes. Nothing he could do about her for now. He'd deal with her once she had witnessed Jonathan in his arms. And that was going to happen soon.

Enough beating around the bush. He was sick and tired of approaching Jonathan as a friend. He was going to deal with this the old-fashioned way; full-on attack, making his intentions clear. Starting now.

Hello?” Jonathan asked once he picked up the phone.

“Hello, Jonathan. I hope I'm not disturbing.”

“Oh, no. You're not. I'm at the gym.” Ooh, hot. Strong muscles flexing, sweat rolling down his godly body. Right. Dio needed to focus. “How are you?”

“I'm fine, Jonathan. Thank you.” He paused to clear his throat. He leaned against the brick wall, awkwardly playing with his jacket's zipper. “This may sound like a weird question but...Jonathan, do you believe in fate?”

“...what? I-I'm sorry...but what?”

“Just answer me if you please, Jonathan. Do you?”

Jonathan paused. Dio could feel his confusion over the phone. “I do, yes.”

“There's no point in denying that you've been avoiding me. Things between us have been awkward.”

“A lot has happened, yes. But I still don't understand your question.”

“What if everything has been a test of fate?” He felt stupid saying that but it was necessary. “What if all the mishaps and unfortunate incidents have been sent to us by a higher power to see if we can make it? Because Jojo...oh, I would love for us to come closer once more, even closer than before.”

Jonathan chuckled awkwardly, breath buzzing in the receiver. “I guess you could interpret it that way... But in the end, it's up to us if we want to come closer.”

“Are you up for the challenge?” he grinned.

“Only if you are.”

“It's a date.”

Jonathan laughed again, that sweet, sweet laugh that made Dio hold his breath. He had honestly missed his handsome face. “Are you free tonight?”

“Unfortunately, I'm not.” As if he wouldn't ditch those other assholes at his earliest convenience. Yes, yes, play hard to get, pretend that he didn't only think about Jonathan, his money, and his body. “I'll give you a call sometime next week, alright?”

“Sure thing. Good night.”

And with that, he hung up, leaving Dio with a smile on his face.

 


 

 


Despite Valentine's earlier unwillingness, the Emperor eventually became their usual hangout spot. It was their favorite place to relax, unwind with some drinks and free snacks. Hol Horse had recently installed a brand new karaoke machine. Dio was sitting in the booth with the others, while Kira and Valentine had taken to some Queen.

“Maybe this place isn't half bad after all,” Valentine admitted once he returned to his booth. He took a grateful sip from his chilled beer.

“I don't know,” Diavolo grumbled, glaring around. “It's too crowded.”

“Everywhere is too crowded for you,” Kira said with a roll of his eyes. Valentine snickered as he slid onto the booth, reaching for a cheese-stuffed onion ring. For free, good, American food, Valentine was willing to overlook Hol Horse's...confusion. Besides, where else would his precious little pup be allowed to roam freely?

“Assholes,” Diavolo muttered while heading towards the bathroom.

All signs pointed to a slow but enjoyable night. Dio kinda wished Pucci was with them but he never went out on Saturdays. He still enjoyed himself greatly, messing around and trying to hook Valentine and Hol Horse up. He was on his second glass of wine when the door opened and Jotaro walked in, followed by his three roommates. What's more, Johnny and Gyro entered after them. Dio met Jotaro's eyes and it felt like lightning struck across the room. The temperature dropped below 0 when amber met turquoise. No words. Just pure dislike, boiling hatred.

“Oh, shit,” gasped Valentine. “Oh, fuck.”

“What's wrong?”

“You better not pick a damn fight with those two or I swear to God,” Dio threatened.

“I'm hardly the problem!” He glanced over the back of his booth. He quickly ducked back down. “See that guy? The one with the big hair?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Diavolo knows him. It's that French guy he's always whining about.”

“Polnareff?”

“Yes! If he sees him here, he's gonna go apeshit.”

That was indeed a problem. Dio had no problem not expressing his dislike for Jotaro and Valentine didn't have any difficulty with his temper unless provoked. But Diavolo was a whole different story. An ugly, ugly story. They thought about ways of holding him back. They could use the back door, avoid the other group and by extension, unnecessary conflict.

But it was too late.

Diavolo stood outside the bathroom, utterly disgusted, as Polnareff waved cheerfully at him. “The fuck is he doing here?”

“It was unexpected,” Valentine tried to rationalize. “It's not like he'll come up to y-”

“Hey there, friend!” Polnareff greeted warmly, rolling up to their table. “It's so good to see you outside of the classroom!”

Diavolo glared at him like an old, angry mutt. “He's feeling a bit under the weather,” Valentine said with a nervous chuckle.

“Oh, I'm feeling great!”

“Hey, calm down. No need to cause a scene, he's just being friendly,” Valentine mumbled in his ear but Diavolo ignored him.

He stood up, standing as tall as Polnareff, lips curled in disgust. “I'm not gonna let dumb cunts like yourself ruin my night for me.”

Polnareff's smile dropped in an instant. “No need to be so rude, man. I just wanted to say hello...since we know each other.”

“Well, I don't want your hello!” Diavolo yelled. “And I regret knowing you! You fucking idiot! Who the fuck do you think you are? Actually coming to talk to me?”

“Hey, now. Don't assume I'll just sit and take this just because I'm friendly.”

“Oh, yeah? What are you gonna do, asshole?” Diavolo looked at Polnareff from head to toe. Buff as hell, but he still scoffed. “What can you do? Huh?”

“Would you like to find out?”

Diavolo grabbed Valentine's half-empty beer bottle, smashed it against the edge of the table and turned it to Polnareff. Behind Polnareff, his friends got on their feet, ready to jump on him.

“Hey, hey!” Hol Horse cut in. “If you have business to take care of, do it outside! I don't want you scaring the girls.”

“I assure you everything is under control, Hol Horse,” Valentine tried laughing the commotion off.

“I-If you say so, doll.”

“Why is the bartender calling you 'doll'?” Johnny snorted.

“Mind your own goddamn business.”

“Let's take this outside,” Kakyoin urged them all, trying to prevail as the voice of reason.

“There's no need for that,” Polnareff grunted. “This will be quick and easy.”

“I'll show you quick and easy, motherfucker.”

Before Polnareff had the chance to react, Diavolo had jumped on him like a rabid animal. His clenched fists found Polnareff's face over and over again, punching everywhere he could. Dio grabbed Diavolo by the arms, dragging him off of Polnareff. With a hysteric scream, Polnareff was all over Diavolo, a sharp elbow landing harshly on Diavolo's nose. The crack could be heard even over the surrounding ruckus. Diavolo scrambled back, a hand thrown over his face. When he lowered it, dark blood could be seen dripping down his chin, dirtying the collar of his purple shirt.

“Now you've done it,” he growled. “Now you've fucking done it.”

“Diavolo, stop!” Valentine, even though quite strong, was no match for Diavolo when he was like that. Both sides tried yanking the two men off of one another but to no avail. Chaos broke out in the bar, with the more sensible customers fleeing the scene, a few more daring ones staying to monitor the fight.

“Jotaro, do something!” Kakyoin pleaded.

“Stop already, goddammit!” Jotaro barked. Finally, he was able to hold Polnareff back, all the while everyone else was trying to block Diavolo off. “Can't you see the guy's insane?”

“Who're you calling insane, shitface?” Diavolo snarled. “You want a piece of me, huh? Is that what you fucking want?”

“Calm down, for fuck's sake!” yelled Dio. Not Jotaro. Anyone but Jotaro. If one of his friends attacked Jonathan's younger brother...oh, that would be disastrous.

“Oh, fuck off!” Diavolo yelled back. “Just because you wanna fuck Jonathan, doesn't mean I'm gonna hold back!”

“You're the one that's been chasing after Jonathan!?” Johnny exclaimed. “Is that why Diego's been acting shady lately?”

Diavolo lunged for Polnareff once more, managing to land a rugged cut on his abdomen. Polnareff stumbled back, hissing in pain, palming the blood that was pouring from the wound. Diavolo let out an unhinged laugh as he charged forward once more. All the men tangled in a heap of limbs, screaming, cursing and blood. Dio found himself smothered inside the pile of bodies. He was suddenly yanked backward, thrown on the floor by Jotaro, who swiftly climbed on top of him, landing a solid punch on Dio's face.

“You stay away from Jonathan, you hear me?” the younger man panted.

Adrenaline burst through his veins, clouding his thoughts and reason. He reached inside his pocket for his keys, clenched his fist around one and jammed it into Jotaro's side, easily sinking it in the soft flesh. Jotaro gritted his teeth, looking down at his wound. That momentary slip gave Dio the opening he needed to change their positions, toppling Jotaro over and climbing on top of him. Jotaro put up quite the fight, managing to block out Dio's attacks, even landing a few of his own. They rolled on the floor like beasts, their blood spilling on one other's face.

The brawl came to an abrupt halt. Dio and Jotaro were the last ones to realize it. They kept grunting and landing their fists wherever they could find, only slowing down when they noticed how everyone else around them had stopped. The reason for this sudden halt was Gyro, laying on the floor unconscious, the remains of a broken chair around him. Valentine was standing in front of him, fingers tightly wrapped around one of the shattered chair's legs. He was panting, face flushed, blood trickling from his busted lip.

“You killed him!” Johnny accused, his voice tearing the veil of stupefied silence. “Call the cops!”

Valentine looked around at the immobilized people. In a brilliant moment of logical thinking, he grabbed his dog, grabbed Diavolo and stormed out of the bar, dragging the bleeding man behind him. His feet caught on fire, running like the wind, pushing pedestrians out of the way while Johnny's voice reached him distantly. Diavolo managed to stabilize himself, running alongside Valentine. The energy wasted from the fight resulted in them both losing their breaths quickly. A burning ache spread from their legs and up their spines, finding its way in a knot around their hearts. Valentine only looked over his shoulder once, making sure no one had followed them. It was obvious they were heading for his home. Walking into an upper-class neighborhood all beaten and bloody was definitely odd and possibly harmful for Valentine's impeccable reputation.

He opened the door with unsteady, shaky hands, trying to keep his frightened pup from falling. They both almost fell into the dark, empty foyer, backs against the wall. In the dead silence of the house, their rugged breaths sounded like a train's engine. Diavolo pressed two fingers against his chest, feeling his thunderous heartbeat. After calming down, Valentine stood up and walked around the house, turning the lights on. Supporting himself on the door, Diavolo got on his feet, casually wandering around the place. Most would say it was definitely over-the-top for two university students, a young couple in their 20s. A two-storey townhouse, located in probably the best neighborhood in the entire city. The foyer was simple, a carved, circular, wooden table standing in the middle of it, a finely decorated china vase placed on top, filled with white roses. Valentine's favorites. A wooden staircase led to the upper floor, where the bedrooms were. Diavolo ventured into the living room. Giant picture windows offered plenty of light during the daytime, as well as a lovely view of the busy street below. The furniture was mostly in white and gold, pristine and elegant. A white, plush L-shaped couch, matching high-back armchairs, were all placed symmetrically around an ebony coffee table, decorated by a small, indigo vase – clearly Greek- with light pink peonies in it. A marble fireplace stood below the ridiculously large TV, right next to the grand piano. It was obvious that Valentine had chosen the furniture but Scarlet had picked the decorations, carpet and drapes, all in different yet complementary shades of red. Priceless paintings and works of up and coming artists were hanging from the walls, depicting dreamy landscapes and more abstract concepts. Red, white and blue. That sneaky bastard always had his way.

Diavolo heard noise from the kitchen and walked out to the hall. He found Valentine in the kitchen, rummaging inside the first-aid kit. Diavolo glanced around. Spacious, airy, homey. The counters were all white wood with granite countertops, matching the white hardwood floor. All the appliances were state-of-the-art, clean, cold gray metal, meticulously cleaned and looking not even a day old. Flowers, of course, blue orchids set in a little black vase next to the sink. Several pictures were held up the fridge with decorative magnets, following Scarlet and Valentine's shared adventures over the years. Diavolo reached for one, that of a glorious, coral sunset, unlike anything he had ever seen.

“Where is this?” he asked.

Valentine looked up. “Santorini. Lovely island, romantic and so, so beautiful.”

Diavolo leaned against the doorframe, eyes roaming all over Valentine's form. Somehow, he still managed to look as if nothing had happened. Diavolo bet he looked like a trainwreck.

“Hey, where's the bathroom?”

“At the end of the hall,” Valentine replied and Diavolo exited the kitchen.

Valentine's house had three full bathrooms, one for the guests and two en-suite. A rich kid, through and through, shrouded in unnecessary opulence. A shower that looked every bit like a time machine, a marble bathtub the size of a small pool and a very fancy toilet. Everything was clean, too clean, from the marble floor to the fluffy, high-end towels.

Diavolo placed his arms on the sides of the sink and stared at his horrid reflection. His lipstick had been smudged, spreading over most of his chin, mixing with the scale-like, black blood. That asshole had done quite the number on him, he hated to admit it. His nose was barely visible. He tried touching it but he immediately retracted his fingers after feeling the tip burning and throbbing. He spat on the sink, quickly rinsing off the gob of blood and saliva. At least his teeth were all in place. Not knowing what else to do, he washed his hands and left.

Valentine was sitting in the living room, waiting for Diavolo with his first-aid kit. He pat the spot next to him. Diavolo begrudgingly complied, sitting down with a groan. Wasting no time, Valentine lightly pressed a wet cloth around Diavolo's nose, gently cleaning the blood off. His touch was feathery, careful not to injure him any further.

“You should learn how to control your temper.”

“For how long will you keep saying that?”

“For as long as it takes for you to do it. Learn to pick your battles.”

“You're the one to talk,” he snorted. “The fuck was that back there? With the Zeppeli?”

Valentine's eyes widened momentarily, as if he had no idea what Diavolo was talking about, before a sly smile spread on his lips. “Yeah...I kinda, kinda lost my temper back there.”

“Did you kill him?”

“I hope so. I fucking hate that guy, Diavolo. I really do.”

At that, Diavolo let out a loud guffaw. It was during moments like these that he remembered why he liked Valentine. They were, on all accounts, polar opposites, yet together they maintained a perfect balance. Even the scolding was because he cared, because he genuinely gave a shit whether Diavolo lived or died. He was odd, way more than one would expect someone like Valentine to be. Complex, with a baffling integrity and a mean streak that was always wonderful to see.

“Won't the cops come after you?”

“They can't touch me,” Valentine said. He lowered the now filthy cloth, eyes meeting Diavolo's. There they were, two angelic blue eyes twinkling with the slightest hint of deviousness. Diavolo felt his lips curl reflexively. “I'm a general's son. I'll walk free even after committing the most heinous crimes.”

“But you won't.”

“But I won't. I don't need to.” He reached inside the kit and handed Diavolo an ice pack. “Hold this for a while, for the swelling. And this,” he offered Diavolo a small pill, “is just a painkiller.”

Diavolo swallowed the pill with some water. The ice pack was already effective, Diavolo sighed in relief when the blazing heat spread across his face started subsiding.

“It doesn't appear to be broken,” Valentine noted, bringing his face maybe a bit too close to Diavolo. Even with a nose in shambles, Diavolo could still somehow catch the faintest, sweetest scent of raspberries and coconut. Trust Valentine to smell like a pastry. “You should still have a doctor look at it, though.”

“I will. I know a guy.” A scumbag, working in some dump near the harbor. But a damn good doctor, the best Passione had.

He moved to stand up but Valentine pushed him down with a hand against his thigh. A shiver ran down Diavolo's spine. He looked down to see Valentine's soft, pale, perfectly-manicured hand innocently pressed a little too close to his crotch. He gulped.

“I'm not letting you go out like that.”

“Oh, relax.”

“It's just for a night. You can sleep here and you leave in the morning. We have a spare room.”

Diavolo processed the offer. He was getting a bit tired and walking back home meant that he would have to walk past the Emperor, where, undoubtedly, Polnareff and his buddies would be waiting for him. “Okay,” he decided.

He followed Valentine upstairs to the guest room. He rolled his eyes. A king-sized bed with the finest, most expensive crème covers on it, an abundance of fluffy pillows that were practically calling his name. A cherry-colored dresser was perched against the wall across the bed and Valentine moved towards it.

“Bathroom's over there. The toothbrush and towels are all brand new, there's always hot water if you want to take a bath...If you wanna smoke, open the window. Scarlet hates the smell.”

Diavolo nodded. “Where is she?”

Valentine paused, taken aback by the question. “Out with friends. She'll be back soon.” He handed Diavolo a pair of clean, blue satin pajamas. “You can use these. I washed them yesterday.”

Diavolo rubbed his fingertips along the smooth satin. He smiled unconsciously, not knowing why. “Hey, Funny,” he called as Valentine turned to leave. He froze for a second. It suddenly felt like he didn't have control over his lips or brain. Or cock.

“Thanks.”

Valentine smiled. The small wound on his plump bottom lip cracked open, a glossy drop of scarlet blood glistening on it. It was blood, disgusting and coppery, but Diavolo wanted to lunge forward and drink it.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 6

 

 


"So...Yolene?"

Jotaro, for the 100th time that day, groaned deeply. "No, Polnareff. Jolene with a y."

"So, Yolene."

"No." Not knowing what else to do, Jotaro grabbed a nearby napkin and scribbled a few letters on it. He passed it to Polnareff.

"How do you pronounce that?"

"Jolene."

"But it's written with a y." The Frenchman squinted his eyes. "Jolayne?"

A little vein popped on the side of Jotaro's neck. Gone were the days of him being a bad-tempered piece of shit. But during moments like that, he really wanted to beat Polnareff to shit. Right when he had almost recovered.

"Look, it's Jolene, right? Like the song."

"What song?"

"The song by Dolly Parton. C'mon, Hol Horse plays it all the damn time!"

Polnareff grinned playfully. "Sing it for me."

Jotaro looked at him, trying to see if he was serious. Polnareff was expecting his song. "...I'm not gonna do that."

"Come on, Jotaro! Just a few lines, for your best buddy!"

Jotaro's eyes were empty. He sighed deeply, feeling his lungs sting. He released all the air, making the flowers inside the small vase flutter. He looked over his shoulder, glancing at the door, seeing if there would be any other witnesses to this embarrassing moment. He cleared his throat, closing his eyes to avoid the shame.

"Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene..." he sang, voice barely holding any emotion. Singing most definitely wasn't his forte. "I'm begging of you please don't take my man..." Polnareff was sitting on the counter, swaying his legs and bobbing his head to the rhythm. "Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene...Please don't take him even though you can..." Ooh, voice crack. Right there at the end. He stopped abruptly, looking down to hide his blush. "Like that," he grumbled.

"Bravo!" exclaimed Polnareff, clapping warmly. He leaned to the side, looking over Jotaro's shoulder. "You got that?"

"Yup," grinned Kakyoin. "All of it." Murdered by his two best friends. Jotaro glared daggers at Kakyoin as he walked in, awfully pleased with himself. "What are you guys doing?"

"We're looking at baby names. Jotaro picked a few."

"Ooh, fun." He nudged Jotaro with his elbow. "Show me." Jotaro cursed under his breath but still showed Kakyoin his list, the name he liked the most written at the top. Kakyoin hesitated. "Jo...layne?"

"Oh, come on!" Frustrated, Jotaro shut his laptop and tossed his notes on the table.

"I'm just teasing you, Jojo," laughed Kakyoin, reaching to pinch Jotaro's cheek. "I think it's very cute. What if Carla doesn't like it, though?"

"She will. She has good taste and the name is beautiful."

Kakyoin shrugged. "Fair enough."

"Is it like a family tradition?" asked Polnareff.

"What is?"

"Having names that all begin with J."

"It just hap-"

"You guys are like the Duggars!" said Kakyoin and they both started laughing. "They got some killer J names."

"Jim-Bob Kujo."

"Jinger Kujo."

"Jedidiah Kujo."

"Why is this conversation happening?" pondered Jotaro, sinking into his chair while the two others continued with their nonsense.

The door opened a few moments later and Avdol walked in, carrying the groceries. Iggy was unleashed the moment they stepped into the apartment, his little nails scratching the floor as he haughtily strutted into the kitchen, throwing himself into his meal. Polnareff leaned to stroke his fur but the little dog snarled at him. In many ways, Iggy was more like a very, very finicky cat.

"Hey, gang!" Joseph greeted cheerfully, his familiar smiling face appearing through the doorway.

Avdol entered next, dropping all the bags on the counter with a sigh. Polnareff rushed to his side, to help him store everything away.

"To what do we owe the surprise visit?" asked Kakyoin.

"Caesar's making us clean the apartment but I bailed." Joseph opened the fridge and picked up one of Jotaro's coconut La Croix. Even though Jotaro's steel gaze burned his skin, Joseph only smiled back. "What are you guys up to?"

"Choosing baby names."

Intrigued, Joseph peered over Jotaro's shoulder. "Joleynee? Sounds cute."

"I quit," sighed Jotaro, leaning back in his chair, looking at the ceiling.

Avdol turned to face with friends, arms folded over his chest. "Now that Joseph is here, I think we should address the elephant in the room."

"Which is?" Kakyoin asked with a quirked brow.

"Is Jonathan dating that Dio guy?"

Joseph spat out his La Croix. His shock was perfectly understandable. Joseph knew his family quite well knew how conservative and uptight they were and knew that Jonathan would never do something to provoke them out of the blue. "Jonathan is doing what? Why am I just hearing about this? Who is this Dio guy?"

"It's just a speculation," Kakyoin said. "But we know for sure that Dio has been pursuing Jonathan. He's Diego's older brother. I'm assuming that's how they got close."

"Dio Brando?" Joseph mumbled. He fished for his phone and typed the name in the Instagram search bar. "He's a Law student...boujee as fuck...hangs out with Valentine a lot...oh-"

"What?"

Joseph's green eyes widened, almost rolling off their sockets. All color drained from his face. He brought the can to his lips, taking a nervous sip. "He's friends with Kars," he whispered in a barely audible voice.

"Kars?" Jotaro furrowed his brows. Joseph looked at him, still shocked, and nodded slowly. Jotaro pulled a face, bordering on disgust.

"Isn't that-" Polnareff started.

"Yes," Joseph cut in dryly. His expression shifted, face serious and deep in thought. "What about his other friends? Did you guys meet them?"

The other four all exchanged bitter, knowing glances. Polnareff reflexively rubbed a hand over his healing torso. "We did. One of his friends, a Diavolo guy that's in my class, glassed me and Valentine almost broke Gyro's neck."

"Are you serious?"

"Yup."

"It's a shady bunch," Avdol pointed out. "We can only assume that he's way worse."

Joseph laughed mirthlessly. True, someone's friends said a lot about who they were as a person. He crushed the can in his hand and tossed it in the bin. "Jonathan doesn't deserve this," he said. "Another gold-digger coming after him...God! Why didn't you guys tell me about this sooner?"

"What were you gonna do? Go and threaten Dio at his door? He'd probably go to Jonathan and tell him that his brother harassed him."

Jotaro was right. There was really nothing Joseph could have done on his own and knowing his impulsive nature, any action he might have taken would have had tragic results. "He's certainly very charming," he remarked, scrolling down Dio's profile. "Jonathan's gonna fall for him, isn't he? Oh, I bet he's already planning out cute dates."

 

 


 

 

 

Joseph was right. On a cold and rainy October Saturday morning, Jonathan had planned a date with Dio. The date was going to take place in a cute bookstore/cafe Jonathan was especially fond of. There, they could also enjoy some beverages or food while also being able to talk about their favorite books, as they both were avid bookworms.

Speedwagon was the second to arrive at the cafe. He looked around suspiciously and scurried to the table Erina was sitting at. The cafe area was on the second floor, surrounded by bookcases and having a great view of the harbor. It was a rather busy day, with several customers bustling around them, chatting and enjoying their novels. He took the seat across Erina. He leaned in, lips pressed into a thin line.

"When are they coming?" he asked.

Erina checked her watch. "In about ten minutes."

"I'm sorry if I stood you up."

"No, it's fine. I had to come early, make sure this table was empty." Speedwagon nodded. The table they were sitting at had a clear view of Jonathan's favorite table while also remaining half-concealed behind a large bookcase. Erina nervously fumbled with the menu. "You think they'll find us out?"

"Not if we keep our distance. I don't think we'll be in any danger if we just sit and watch silently."

"You're right," Erina sighed. "I'm going to be completely honest with you, Robert. When you first proposed this, I had my doubts."

"What do you mean?"

"I feel like we're disrespecting his personal life and we have no right to be doing so." She turned her gaze to him, eyes shining with conviction and worry. "But then I realized that it's the only way! We can't let him be alone with Dio for even a second!"

"You are absolutely right!" Speedwagon shouted, earning some angry glares from the other customers. He lowered his head in shame. "I guess I'll refrain from speaking."

Roughly ten minutes after Speedwagon arrived, Jonathan walked through the door, cheerfully walking to the table. It was obvious he had paid extra attention to his appearance. He was wearing simple black ankle boots and blue jeans, a light blue coat with fur trimming along the hood and a cozy red sweater. His soft brown curls were as unruly as ever and he nervously tried smoothing them down. He smiled in relief when he saw that his favorite table was empty. He took a seat facing the entrance and grabbed the menu. Anticipation was written all over his handsome face, blue eyes hungrily gazing at the entrance. He told the waitress to come in a few minutes as he was expecting company.

"Dio!" he called excitedly, standing up to wave at the other man, making the whole table rattle.

Dio offered him a relaxed smile as he haughtily strutted to the table, leaving a trail of heavy perfume behind him, of sandalwood and cloves. "I hope you didn't wait for long," he said with a smile.

"Oh, no. I just arrived five minutes ago." Dio took off his Givenchy trench coat and carefully draped it over the back of an empty chair. He sat down across from Jonathan, crossing his legs and neatly placing his hands on the table.

Jonathan's eyes gleamed as he observed Dio's mannerisms and appearance, how charming and delicate he was. His muscular arms were easily distinguishable under the honey-colored cashmere sweater he was wearing. The color complimented his golden hair and amber eyes beautifully. Jonathan loved looking into Dio's eyes. While he had always been a sucker for blondes, he had never seen anything like that deep, sharp, amber gaze. They stood out like two small sunsets on a field of snow.

"Did you have any difficulty finding this place?"

"I didn't," Dio said and looked around. He looked comfortable and Jonathan was relieved to see that. "I'm always looking for places like this and I've had it in my sights for quite a while. Thank you for offering me the chance to visit."

"Thank you for accepting my invitation," Jonathan smiled.

However beautiful and mesmerizing Dio was, Jonathan knew he had to be careful. In the short period they had known one another, Dio had caused a lot of unexpected drama. He knew that he liked Dio and that Dio liked him back but he had to be wary. Plenty of opportunists had approached him in the past, all looking for either one-night stands or a way of getting to his fortune. Jonathan had to keep an eye open for them, be hostile even, but he couldn't always keep his enthusiasm in check. He was a fool for love, for romance. Whenever someone approached him with even the tiniest intentions of any romantic engagement, Jonathan couldn't help but picture long walks on the beach, napping peacefully in a summer afternoon, taking road trips to the countryside and running around a beautiful garden with a couple of kids.

A waiter approached them to take their order. “You should get the caramel hot cocoa,” Jonathan said. “It's the best thing in the world.”

Dio seemed skeptical. “I don't know, Jojo. I prefer savory food over sweets and dark chocolate over any other kind.”

“We have a homemade cocoa recipe that I'm sure you'll like,” suggested the waiter. “It's dark cocoa with cherry liqueur and cream on top.”

“Sounds nice,” Dio decided and the waiter walked away. “Is it?” Dio suddenly asked.

“What is?”

“Is this place's hot cocoa the best thing in the world?” Dio's eyes lit up with mirth as he leaned forward, chin resting on the smooth surface of his palm.

Jonathan paused for a second before breaking out in a soft chuckle. “Of course not. That was an exaggeration.”

“Hmm. Then what is the best thing in the world for you, Jojo? What do you love doing the most?”

“Well...I love being surrounded by family and friends. No greater joy than that, is there?” He smiled. They had talked a lot in the past few weeks and he already more or less knew Dio's hobbies. But he had to keep the conversation rolling. “What do you enjoy doing the most?”

“Oh, me? Well, I, Dio, enjoy reading books, for one. I also enjoy taking walks around parks. I do adore nature.” He, Dio, despised nature with a burning passion but in order for him, Dio, to get to Jonathan, who loved running around in forests like he was in a goddamn Hozier video clip, he had to state otherwise. “I love travelling.”

“Oh! What's your favorite destination?”

“I would say Greece but it tends to get kind of hectic. While it certainly is the most beautiful country I've ever visited, the people there are too hot-headed. So I'm going to go with Italy.”

“I love them both, but I think I like Greece more than I like Italy. I'm actually planning to go there in the summer but it's nothing solid yet. I never stayed for more than ten days, and it's a shame because every little corner of that country is filled with history.”

“That's your inner archeologist speaking, isn't it?” Dio asked and Jonathan grinned, nodding his head while a rosy blush spread across his face. “You've never told me what prompted you to pursue this career path, Jojo. Most, including me, would assume that a man like yourself would go for economics or something related to running a company.”

“Yes, well, I had to go against my father's will. He still believes that I'll one day see that my future lies with the family business and that this is just a hobby.”

Dio's hands clenched tightly together, though the gesture went unnoticed by Jonathan. It took a whole other kind of rich cunt to see paying 80,000 dollars a year a hobby.

“But I don't think I ever will. Archeology is my passion, I love discovering history more than anything.” He sighed. “How did you choose to pursue law? Did your parents pressure you?”

Something Jonathan noticed was quite odd was the way Dio never mentioned his family. He had a little brother that lived in the same city and Jonathan knew quite well but he never talked about him. He only ever asked Jonathan about his family. He never even mentioned his own in passing, not even by accident. Actually, Dio never did anything by accident. All of his responses were perfect, even though his behavior and social circle were anything but. Maybe it was just a hunch but Jonathan would sometimes get the feeling that every line Dio spoke was rehearsed. He didn't discuss his doubts with his friends so he brushed them all off, saying that it was just his insecurities after so many failed attempts at romance.

“I chose it myself.” A short answer, suddenly very reclusive. Before Jonathan could dig even deeper like most of them loved to do, Dio spoke once more. “Got any historical figures you admire?”

“Just so many! I love ancient Greek historical figures the most, especially Alcibiades. But I'm also very interested in Mesoamerican culture and history.” Dio hummed. “You got any...uh...favorite...lawyers?”

Dio laughed at that. “I don't think I do, I'm afraid.” The waiter brought over their drinks. Dio merely wrapped his fingers around the hot mug, inhaling the fragrant steam while Jonathan childishly took a sip, burning his tongue.

“Ouch!” he exclaimed, throwing a hand over his mouth. “Ow...that hurt.” He pushed the tip of his pink tongue out of his mouth, frowning at the slightly darker spot.

"Are you alright?”

“No need to worry about me. It happens all the time. I'm impatient, especially when it comes to sweets. I always went for the cookies right as they'd come out of the oven.”

Dio grabbed hold of his mug and slowly raised it, bringing it to his lips. He puckered his mouth, gently blowing some air to cool it down. Jonathan's jaw went a little slack as he observed Dio, eyes fixated on his finely sculpted lips. Dio pinned him with his burning gaze once more, looking at him over the rim of his cup. He did the same with his own drink, albeit blowing air with much more vigor. Once it had sufficiently cooled down, he took a grateful sip, feeling the sweet burn of the liquid roll down his throat, warming his insides.

“Would you like a sip?” he offered.

“I don't see why not.” Dio rose from his chair and leaned across the table. Jonathan offered him the cup and Dio took a small sip. “It's sweet,” he said as he sat back down. He lifted the tip of his foot and dragged it along the length of Jonathan's calf. He grinned as Jonathan's cheeks turned an even brighter shade of pink. “Like you.”

“What do you think they're talking about?” Speedwagon whispered.

“I don't know but it seems to be going rather well. They're having fun...”

“Jojo's blushing a lot.”

“Of course he is. He's on a date with a cute guy.” Erina sat back on her chair, an index finger thoughtfully tracing the rim of her mug. “What if we were wrong about him, Robert?”

“Erina!” Speedwagon gasped, maybe a bit too loudly, earning another round of angry glares. “I can't believe you're trusting this snake!”

“I'm not!” Erina quickly defended herself. “And would you please keep quiet, Robert!” She brought her chair closer. “I'm not saying that I trust him. I'm just saying that we should at least stop stalking him. Let him learn from his mistakes.”

Speedwagon scowled deeply. “I don't want him ending up making any fatal ones.”

“Come on, Rob. Jojo is very smart! A bit naive, but smart. Look, we should let this relationship be and interfere when we see clear danger.”

“Don't you think that guy throwing himself at you screams danger?”

“While I definitely don't trust him, I don't think we should judge him solely because of that. We'll let them be,” she said, “while protecting Jojo from getting hurt as discretely as we can.”

Once they finished their drinks, Jonathan suggested they ventured into the library section to pick out some books. “I think showing people the books or music you like is very intimate, like sharing bits and pieces of your soul.”

“That's very beautifully put, Jojo,” Dio murmured, idly running his fingers along the back of different books. “What do you enjoy reading?”

“I don't have a specific preference, I suppose. I just read whatever falls in my hands. If it's good, great. If it's bad, not great but still nothing to lose my head over.” Jonathan walked a few steps ahead of Dio and swiftly removed a tome from a shelf. “I like this a lot.”

“Edgar Allan Poe?” Dio asked as he took the book in his hands. “A friend of mine likes him a lot.” He opened the book, skimming through the pages. “I can't say I'm familiar with him.” Oddly enough. Dio knew Poe's stories would appeal to him but he refrained from reading them. He didn't like the idea of him enjoying something written by a deadbeat, a nobody, a lost and tortured soul.

“I think his poems are so romantic,” Jonathan sighed. “So sweet. My favorite is this one,” he said and pointed to a poem.

“Annabel Lee?”

Jonathan hummed affirmatively. “But our love it was stronger by far than the love of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in Heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee...This part is heavenly. I can't imagine being said those words, can you? Such words of true love...”

It was pure nausea. Jonathan was lost in the sentiment but Dio just wanted a way out. While the date itself wasn't the worse he had ever had, he knew that Jonathan was trying to peek into his personal life. And it was driving him insane.

“Ooh, you'll like this one!” Going further down the corridor, Jonathan reached for another book, this one much bulkier than the Poe one. “Since we mentioned Greece earlier, I thought I'd show you, my favorite Greek writer.”

Dio squinted his eyes at the name. “Nikos Ka...zantza...kis?”

“Yes! And this book is Captain Michalis. It speaks of the adventures of a Cretan fighter during the country's four-century long occupation by the Ottoman Empire.” One of those large hands of his went to the back of his neck, to rub awkwardly. “I know I'm not the best at presenting books but I think he's definitely worth the shot. It's easily one of my favorite books of all time. He really has some great ones, like Zorba the Greek. A very famous one...”

“I'll give him a go,” Dio said and Jonathan beamed.

“You know,” Jonathan started and leaned against a bookcase. “You've never clearly expressed an opinion.”

Dio sent him a confused glance, furrowing his brows. “What do you mean?”

“Every time we talk, you only ever agree with me. You only make a comment but other than that...you've never expressed an opinion. You only agree with my own.

Dio narrowed his eyes. What the hell was that insect insinuating?

“It only makes me think,” Jonathan continued. “Is there real chemistry between us or are you being dishonest?”

Dio froze, knuckles turning white around the books, nails almost digging into the leather cover. Jonathan was looking at him with clear blue eyes, waiting for an answer. In the end, he was smarter than what Dio thought. Not that he had made such a tremendous mistake, he just couldn't believe that he had once again messed up. Why was this so difficult? Why had Jonathan thrown him off balance? Why wasn't he the type of sweet idiot to just grovel on Dio's feet? Could it be that all the time Dio had spent wooing old men with barely two functioning brain cells had dulled his senses?

“Forgive me, I...I guess I tend to be a little defensive around you, a little...shy, even,” Dio managed through gritted teeth, giving Jonathan his best humble smile.

Jonathan blinked at him, surprised. “Shy? You? I'm sorry, it's just...you're oozing confidence.”

Dio chuckled, combing his hair backward with one hand, glancing up at Jonathan through dark, heavy lashes. “I guess I'm doing a great job at hiding it. I never told you this but I actually just ended a very...ugly relationship. My former partner and I just couldn't agree on anything and things got bad very quickly. And when I found you, saw what good chemistry we have, I didn't want to...displease you in any way.”

“Dio!” Jonathan exclaimed. His large, beautiful hands grasped Dio by the shoulders, eyes twinkling with kindness and a little bit of guilt. Good. “Please forgive me! I never felt this way!”

“It's fine, Jojo. I guess I should have told you from the beginning.” He sighed. “I promise I will be more open from now on.”

Jonathan straightened himself with a smile. He huffed. “I can't believe you said that, Dio! 'Displeased me'. There's no way you could ever displease me.”

Dio saw a chance and he took it. He leaned closer to Jonathan, pressing his palms flat against the chest he longed to see bare. “I could think of a million ways to please you, though...”

Jonathan's reaction was priceless. His mouth was open, face flushed up to the tips of his ears. He moved his jaw a couple of times, no sounds coming out. A sudden thud came to ruin their moment, startling them both. Jonathan snapped around, to see a familiar man hurriedly putting the books he had knocked down back in their shelves.

“Robert?” he gasped in disbelief.

Speedwagon froze in place. He looked back at his table, finding it empty. He gritted his teeth. At least she had paid the bill.

“J-Jojo!” he cheerfully exclaimed. He glared coldly at Dio.

“What are you doing here, Robert?” Jonathan inquired, folding his arms over his chest.

“I...uh...I came here to pick you up!”

“Pick me up?”

“Yeah! To go to the Halloween place, remember?”

No, Jonathan didn't remember. He knew exactly what was going on here. But he wouldn't cause a scene. He never would. “It must have slipped my mind,” he mumbled.

“It's okay!” Speedwagon said. “I'm really sorry to be cutting your date short but it needs to be done. Urgently.”

“I'm really sorry, Dio. I honestly don't know what to say.”

“Don't worry about it, Jonathan.” Speedwagon was in for a very painful death. “I hope you have a wonderful Halloween!”

Jonathan paused before turning around. “Do you have any plans for Halloween?”

 

 


 

 

 

Humidity was a little shit bitch but luckily, Valentine was prepared so that his hair wouldn't frizz even in the slightest. He checked himself in the mirror once again, fluffing his locks, twirling one around a finger, making a curl even bouncier. Satisfied with his appearance, he left the bedroom and walked down the stairs to the living room. His beloved little pup trod up to him, the little bell in her custom Gucci collar jiggling. He bent down to scratch her behind the ears. Good thing he had put that collar on her. She was so tiny, he sometimes lost track of her. Satisfied with pets (for now), Sugar ran to play with her toys. Valentine knelt in front of the couch, where Scarlet was laying in a swath of blankets, breathing heavily. Tissues, a bucket, stomach medicine and some of her favorite snacks were all around her.

“You sure you'll be okay?”

“Yeah,” she croaked. A pale hand slithered out of the blanket cocoon and grasped his. Sick or not, her nails were always perfectly done. “You don't have to worry about me. Just go and have fun.”

“Okay.” He stood up and sighed deeply. “I can't believe I'm actually doing this.”

“Aw, don't be grumpy,” she smiled. “It'll be a boys' night.”

“It'll most likely be me and Yoshikage trying to keep Diavolo sober while Dio chases after Jonathan's dick.” He reached for his light blue coat from the hanger and put it on, flipping his hair out of it.

“Are you gonna take your car?”

“No, I'll walk to theirs. We'll take an Uber.” Scarlet nodded. He leaned down and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. Affectionate but still caring about germs. He'd most likely be spending the night in the guest room. “Call me immediately if something happens.”

“It's just a stomach ache, Funny. I'll survive.” He was still looking at her sternly. It warmed up her chest, a soft, fuzzy feeling that bloomed around her heart whenever he acted that way. Sharp but warm with those close to him, be it his girlfriend or stupid friends. Wouldn't have him any other way.

“You'll take care of her, okay?” he whispered at his little dog and she yipped back, wagging her tail excitedly. Valentine waved at Scarlet and left the house, locking the door behind him.

The walk to his friends' place was around thirty minutes long and only because he walked fast. It was an enjoyable little stroll, walking around the city center, enjoying the gentle breeze that washed his face, looking at the large groups of people getting ready for Halloween. The air was buzzing with anticipation of the night to come. Valentine was thankful that his neighborhood was quiet. His neighbors had reassured him that there would be no hooligans rampaging around at night. A pleasant change from his childhood home. Growing up in an upscale neighborhood in Connecticut meant that every year on Halloween, kids would pour in, safe under their disguises and fuck with the rich. For the adults, it was an annoying problem but for a child that didn't quite comprehend some people's frustration with the bourgeois, it was a nightmare.

Upon arriving, Valentine found Dio, Diavolo, and Kira standing outside their house, waiting for the car. No one was wearing a costume but Dio had still managed to go full out, with glittery dark blue lipstick and probably the most dramatic eyeliner Valentine had ever seen him wear. He instantly walked to Diavolo, took a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, placed it between his lips and lit it. Dio glared at him.

“I'll be done before the Uber comes,” Valentine chimed and took a long drag. He let the smoke come out of his nose. “What's this place we're going to, again?”

“A haunted house exhibit,” Dio replied. He glanced at his watch. That damn car was taking ages. Had he called for a fucking plane?

“So like an escape room?”

“Kinda but it's a bit different. You'll see when we get there.”

“Ah, shit,” Kira suddenly exclaimed. The others all looked at him quizzically. “I just forgot something,” he explained. “Be right back.”

He came out of the house a few seconds later, this time carrying a little plastic bag. He showed the contents to Diavolo and Valentine since Dio didn't want to go for a costume. “I got bunny ears for Funny, devil horns for you and this little hat for me.”

“That's great, Yoshikage. Thanks.” Valentine took the item, a simple headband with two fuzzy, white and pink bunny ears on top. He stabilized it on his head, artfully tucking it under his locks. “How do I look?,” he asked, turning to Diavolo.

Diavolo, after putting on the little red horns looked at Valentine. With his pretty face, cigarette hanging from his lips and bunny ears on top of his head, he looked like a stray Playboy model. It was kinda cute, especially with how happy he was about it. Okay, it was very cute.

“Same as always,” Diavolo shrugged, lingering a moment to catch the blond smile.

The car arrived the moment Valentine tossed the cigarette butt in the nearest bin. They boarded the black Chevrolet. Diavolo, Valentine, and Kira sat in the back and Dio sat on the front, anxiously looking outside the window. He looked relaxed and beautiful as always but he was on edge. He had to get something from Jonathan. It was almost two months since meeting him and they had only exchanged handshakes and fleeting hugs. After the pleasant outcome but unsavory conclusion of their latest date, Dio was optimistic, though there was something bugging him. Jotaro hadn't told Jonathan about their encounters. Was he planning something? Why was he holding back such information? There was no way he didn't know that his brother was hanging out with Dio. What were his motives?

Lost in thought as he was, Dio didn't even realize when they had arrived. He paid for the Uber and joined the others outside, where Jonathan and his friends were waiting. They were all standing outside a moderately big colonial townhouse, located in the edge of the city. It was in perfect shape, with not ever a single window broken. Shadows played in the windows, though the atmosphere was anything but eerie with all the Halloween ruckus and jolly voices coming from behind them.

“Happy Halloween everyone!” Jonathan greeted warmly.

“Happy Halloween!” Dio said back. He looked at the house. “Should we get inside?”

“What is this place?” Diavolo asked, narrowing his eyes at the house.

“I'll tell you everything you need to know once we get inside.”

Once the eight men crossed the threshold, the door behind them slammed shut with an inexplicably loud thud. Dio rolled his eyes. Typical. It was dark in the house, lit only by a few scarcely placed sconces. He made out several doors leading to different rooms and many pieces of furniture, all covered by white cotton sheets. To their left stood a rather narrow wooden staircase.

“Is there a specific path we have to follow?”

“Not really though the owner said that the really spooky stuff is on the second floor.”

“Define 'spooky'.”

“Aw, are you scared Funjamin?” Diavolo teased

“Shut up. I just want to know if there's gonna be people throwing gross liquids at us. My entire outfit costs more than a human liver.”

Jonathan paused at that. Honestly, Dio's friends were a clear mismatch from his own. “No, Funny. There won't be any gross liquids.”

“Can you imagine though? Some dude pouring a whole bucket of cum on you?” Diavolo snorted. The others didn't share his amusement. “That would be a riot.”

Deciding to overlook that comment, Jonathan led the group upstairs. Dio quickly got behind him, looking straight into Speedwagon's eyes as he did so. Speedwagon followed, scowling. William and Straizo followed behind him, with Dio's boys coming last. Kira didn't really like being rearguard, he could feel a persistent chill at the nape of his neck.

The staircase let out a shrill, sigh-like creak with every step they took. Wind was howling from outside and the sounds of the trick or treaters were steadily becoming more distant. The second floor was dipped in absolute darkness, so thick and heavy with moisture, one could actually cut it with a knife. They formed a circle, listening to each other's breath. Jonathan fished out his phone, the screen's light illuminating their faces.

“I already told Dio about it but this isn't an escape room. It's a haunted house,” Jonathan informed them. “That means that the house has a strong spiritual energy.”

“Which means?”

“Which means that while walking through the house we have to follow certain rules so to appease the spirits that live in this house.” It sounded like Jonathan was dead serious. Dio certainly never expected him to be superstitious.

“Such as?”

“The owner emphasized that we're under no circumstances to look back. No turning back, no looking over our shoulders, nothing. Even if you hear a sound or a friend's voice, you mustn't turn around.”

Kira scoffed. American exaggerations. Like everywhere in the world, they had their urban myths back home in Japan but Kira was never the one to believe such bullshit. “Why?” he asked, opening his arms wide and turning around. “What is the worst that could happen?”

Suddenly, Jonathan's phone turned off and the ground disappeared under their feet. Shrieking, mindless grabbing and cursing echoed all around the house. It felt like falling through space and time, like cutting through the fabric of existence. A deafening thud resonated around the walls. The scent of moisture, mold and the dusty air became heavier. The darkness grew thicker, drilling into their mouths, slithering down their throats like black treacle.

 


 

 


“Diavolo?” Valentine asked in a hushed voice. He was on the ground on his hands and knees, touching around. He could smell Diavolo's cologne but he couldn't see where he was. He sniffed the air, following his nose's instincts like a dog.

“I'm over here!”

“Where?” Diavolo grumbled something. It sounded like Diavolo was behind him but there was no way in hell he would turn around. He carefully backtracked, feeling sweat rolling down his temples. “Diavolo, where are you?”

“I don't fucking know!”

“I can't see you!”

“That makes two of us!”

Good thing they couldn't see themselves. Two grown men, crawling on the floor like babies, just mere feet away from one another. Diavolo was flailing his left arm in front of him, hoping to grasp something solid. His fingers brushed against something warm and covered in some sort of cloth. Startled, his instincts kicked in and he slapped the mysterious object hard. It was pleasantly soft, squishy. Intrigued, Diavolo grabbed a fistful of it, kneading it gently.

“Diavolo?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you please stop groping my ass?”

Diavolo retracted his hand. He wasn't disgusted, just embarrassed. And his lack of disgust amplified his embarrassment. Valentine got next to him. “I-I d-d-didn't k-know what-”

“It's fine, dude. Just warn me next time.”

“Okay...”

Valentine stood up. Even if it was dark and quiet, they could feel that the room was empty. It was also safe to assume that it was just the two of them there. “We need to find a light switch.”

Diavolo took his phone out of his pocket and pressed the home button. It lit up, though he didn't have any reception. Valentine did the exact same thing, heading for the opposite direction in search of a light switch. He trailed his fingers along the cold, bare wall, finally finding a switch after a few minutes of searching. A light bulb was hanging from the ceiling and it buzzed to life, sending its yellow light around the room. As expected, their surroundings were strangely empty. Concrete walls and floor, low ceiling and only one heavy-looking metal door without a handle.

“It looks too sturdy to bring down.” Valentine looked around. He turned his gaze to the wooden ceiling. The planks all looked the same, almost dizzying to look at. After staring for a few seconds, he noticed the outline of a hatch, as well as a cleverly hidden handle. “There,” he said, pointing at the hatch. “That's our way out.”

"We open it and leave?”

“I don't think so. We were on the second floor and this looks like a basement. The fall must have been great and climbing inside the walls will take too long. We'll also get lost, most likely, or get electrocuted. There's clearly electricity running and getting behind the walls with all these wires would be a suicide mission. This is an old house, I bet it has all sorts of malfunctions waiting to trap us.”

Valentine was smart. Not that Diavolo was stupid, Valentine just sounded smart, too. He had the right words, the right mannerisms, the right tone of voice. He was always calm, always chill, always ready to hold him back when his temper got the better of him. Which was quite often, to be honest, and Diavolo sometimes tended to overlook that. He was, in more ways that one, admirable

“I think what we have to do is pull the handle off and use it on the door.” He reached up and wrapped his fingers around the hatch, pulling harshly. “Tougher than it looks...Come help me.”

Diavolo walked to him, awkwardly standing behind him. Despite being only half a head taller than him, Diavolo felt like Valentine was a delicate creature. Blonde and pale, with perpetually rosy lips and cheeks flushed from the struggle, he was a clear contrast to his own dark, rugged charm. Diavolo gulped. In the flickering light of this secluded dungeon, he felt like he was seeing Valentine for the first time.

“What should I do?”

“Hold me and we'll pull together.”

“Hold...you?”

“Yeah. Just wrap your hands around my waist and pull.”

Diavolo took a deep breath. There was nothing weird about helping a friend find their way out of this creepy place. Absolutely nothing. As instructed, he wrapped his arms around Valentine's nipped-in waist and pulled his body close to his own, face buried in Valentine's thick, silky hair. Valentine groaned as he pulled on the handle, toned biceps flexing. His back rubbed against Diavolo's chest and Diavolo inhaled sharply, hoping to clear his head. However, he played himself, as the singular scent of Valentine's mane of flaxen curls drilled into his brain. Warm, lithe, perfect. His hands were itching to roam all over Valentine's chest, slither under his sweater and explore the velvety skin. He closed his eyes, giving himself to the sweet scent and the sound of Valentine's annoyed grunts. He became lightheaded, foolishly blaming it on the lack of oxygen.

“Gotcha!” Valentine exclaimed as they both rolled on the floor on top of one another. Valentine hurried to the door, trying the handle. It opened with a creak. “Finally! C'mon, man. Let's go.”

The two men ventured out of the dungeon and into a long, nightmarish corridor. It was lit by several bulbs dangling from the ceiling but that didn't make it any better. Mold crept up the walls as well as all sorts of bugs and a few rats that Valentine cringed away from. Water was dripping from somewhere, drop by drop. Diavolo's footsteps echoed around the hall.

He glanced at Valentine's feet. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“This,” he took a step on his tip-toes though he still produced sound, “thing.”

Valentine looked down. He shrugged and continued walking, silently. “I never questioned it. It's not like a superpower or anything. It's just bits of magic we all have.”

Diavolo huffed, the closest thing he could do to a genuine laugh. “Bits of magic?”

“Yeah. Random little talents we all have. Like Dio, who can grow his nails without breaking them. Or Kars, who still looks 30 even though he's probably 80 or something.”

“What's my bit of magic, then?” Diavolo asked with a little smirk that Valentine ignored.

“You never miss a target.”

“What?”

“Yeah. I've never seen you miss a target at anything. You never miss, be it darts or random crap, I've never seen you miss.”

Diavolo had never considered that. He thought his 'bit of magic' was his dick and how well he used it. And oh, how well he could use it on Val-

“Wait, what?”

“I said you never miss your target.”

“Yeah...” he breathed. He stopped, letting the blond walk ahead of him. “You did...”

“Scarlet finds it hot,” Valentine continued. “When I walk like that, I mean.”

Diavolo sighed in relief. Scarlet. Right. Valentine's girlfriend whom he adored despite roasting her whenever he had the chance. “How come she didn't tag along?”

“Oh, she's a bit sick.” His face suddenly darkened, the bright cobalt of his eyes bordering on indigo. “I never told this to anyone,” he said, bringing his voice to an anxious whisper, “but I fear it might be an STD.”

“What?” Diavolo looked him up and down. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just worried about Scarlet. She sometimes chooses her one-night stands very impulsively.”

“Wait, what?” A new record. He really needed to stop saying that. But really, though. How else to express his shock and bewilderment? His buddy, Funny Valentine, whom he had known for four years, who had been raised in a very strict but loving Christian military household and whose eyes lit up like the 4th of July sky whenever he talked about kids and marriage was a damn slut. A tiny drop of hope dripped into his heart. Hope for what? Escape from this damn place, of course. “You guys are in an open relationship?”

“Ah, no,” Valentine corrected. “Scarlet does it. Regularly, in fact. I think I'm more of a stable guy.”

“So you let her sleep around?”

“She doesn't need to ask for my permission, Diavolo. She's an adult.” Diavolo shook his head. Valentine was surprisingly laid back. “As long as she doesn't jeopardize our future careers, she can do as she pleases.” And cold.

“Sounds like a loss for you.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yeah! You don't get to try things.”

“I'm not curious. I have everything I need, everything I want.” He sighed, nudging Diavolo. “Sounds weird to a guy like you, huh?”

“Yeah, it does. I can't imagine a life without new experiences, without thrills. What's more important than that?”

“Love,” said Valentine, looking at him dead in the eye before stepping into another corridor, “and stability.”

The new corridor was the same as the one they had come from except for one little detail. There, right in the middle of it, was Kira, sitting down with his phone in hand. He looked up when he sensed a presence and cracked a relieved smile.

“Oh, hey guys. Took you long enough.”

“Are you fucking kidding me!?” Diavolo yelled at him, charging to grab him by the lapels of his jacket. He gave him a violent shake. “This is all your fault!”

“Yes, well, I didn't expect all this ghost mumbo-jumbo to be real!”

“It's not,” Valentine blurted and the two others looked at him. He spun around, facing the wall that was formerly behind him. Nothing happened. “Here's my theory; the owners of this place created this 'warning' because they knew there's always an idiot that turns around out of spite or by accident. What I'm saying is that by breaking this 'rule' they set, we were all thrown down here, which is -in my opinion- the real exhibit. Because what fun is there in just walking around an old house?”

“That makes sense.”

“The main event was triggered when Yoshikage turned around and now we wall have to find a way out, rather than up.”

“Yes, but how? We can't make it directly outside of the house from the basement. We have to get inside, first.”

“No, we actually don't. Judging by the house's architecture and state we're in, there should be a cellar door connecting this place to the garden.”

Diavolo put Kira down. “That's really smart of you, Funny.”

“Oh, please. It's fairly simple if you think about it.”

 

 


 

 


Speedwagon was alone in the dark and very, very afraid. His hands shook violently as he held his phone in front of him like a beacon. He was shivering, more because of his anxiety and less because of the cold. Here he was, thrown into some forgotten corner of this place while Jonathan was nowhere to be seen. Speedwagon, like all men raised like him, had the awful feeling that Jonathan was with that damn snake, alone, open to his attacks. He had to find them quickly, see if he could prevent this impending disaster.

A little part of him, the little part of his soul that had been taught kindness by Jonathan had planted the seed of doubt in his mind. Maybe, just maybe, this Dio guy wasn't as bad as he looked. He tried telling himself that, especially after seeing how happy that rat made his friend. Jonathan, who was usually disappointed by romance, was gleaming with joy whenever he talked with Dio. Speedwagon tried convincing himself that Dio wasn't as bad as he looked but no. No matter what he told himself, he couldn't shake off the feeling that something was off about Dio. A strange fire burned in his eyes, dark determination. His smiles were never warm enough to melt the ice in his eyes. Everything about him felt forced, fake, the guise of yet another predator lusting after Jonathan.

“Robert...” a voice called for him. Speedwagon looked up and around him, trying to shed some light on his surroundings.

“Are you looking for me?” the voice asked, cold, distant but playful. It sounded close to his ear, icy puffs of breath tickling his neck. Two hands wrapped around his body, feeling the side of his throat. Speedwagon fearfully glanced down, seeing pale, long, spider-like fingers crawling up his skin, bearing knife-like nails. “Because I was looking everywhere for you.”

Speedwagon gulped dryly. He looked to the side, just barely catching the glimpse of sharp fangs glimmering in the little light. The form snickered, inhaling the scent of his skin deeply. Speedwagon just stood there, paralyzed by fear, body limp in the hands of the creature.

The lights turned on and Speedwagon saw William standing by the light switch. Behind him, Straizo burst out in thunderous, howling laughter and William followed suit immediately. They both rolled on the floor, clutching their stomachs as they laughed away, tears streaming from their eyes.

“It's not funny,” Speedwagon hissed, looking at them with contempt.

“Oh, you should have seen your face,” Straizo wheezed.

“Have a little fun, Rob,” William smirked, reaching for his flask of wine. “You've been so uptight recently.”

“I have every reason to be so!”

“Are you still worried about Dio? Why not give the guy some time, see if he can prove himself. If he can't...well, Jojo is perfectly capable of taking care of himself without our intervention.”

Fools, absolute fools, the both them. They couldn't Dio's act, couldn't see what snake oil he was trying to sell them. He stubbornly turned around, moving to leave the room. He had to get to Jonathan. And fast,

 


 

 


Alone with Jonathan. Truly, a concept Dio had been dreaming of ever since he first saw the guy. He imagined that they would be all alone in some opulent suite, laying on a bed with satin covers and champagne. What Dio got instead was alone time with Jonathan in some forgotten corner of the earth. He could overlook how dinghy and offputting their surroundings were, he was always up for some dirty sex on the floor. Alas, Jonathan wouldn't turn to look at him. For the past twenty or so minutes, he had been ramming at the metal door. And while his strength was impressive, the door hadn't budged yet. Dio could only sit against the wall, sighing every now and again. He really wished he had his flask with him.

Another hit, this one stronger than the rest. Jonathan fell back, wiping the sweat from his forehead, panting heavily. “I don't think I can do this, Dio.”

“So it would seem.”

“Oh, this is all my fault!” he lamented. “I insisted on coming here! Now everyone's having a horrible Halloween because of me!”

Dio was never the one to offer emotional support but he said the truth when he saw it. “It's not your fault, Jojo. It's Yoshikage's fault.” Dio had to find a way to punish that guy. Diavolo would certainly help.

He sighed heavily and approached the door. Even though his phone didn't work, Dio had more than one ways to save himself. He knelt in front of the lock and examined it. Old, rusty, very straightforward. Had definitely cracked tougher ones. Without wasting any time, he reached inside his jacket and brought out his tumbler and a bent tweezer. He didn't struggle for long, not even a full minute, before hearing the liberating click. The door opened with a creak and Dio turned to look at Jonathan with a wry grin. At first, Jonathan looked scandalized. But then, he seemed impressed.

They wordlessly exited the room, stepping out to the long, drafty corridor. There was only one way they could go. They began walking, side by side, exchanging no words at first.

“Bending the straight side of a bobby pin works much better,” Jonathan idly commented, eyes on his feet. “It's much thinner, can reach further.”

His voice trailed off by the end of the sentence and a very faint blush had spread over the apples of his cheeks. Dio glanced at him curiously, still not sure if he had uttered those words. “Never thought you'd be the one to pick locks,” he mumbled.

Jonathan chuckled. “Yeah...well, I lived in a very old, very big house back in England. Had a lot of secrets to uncover so I had a lot of locks to pick,” he shrugged.

Dio hummed. This was why he didn't like hanging out with his targets for too long without fucking them. They started having dimension, character. They evolved from sentient wallets to human beings. It made Dio uncomfortable. Suddenly, Jonathan had complexity, something that didn't really fit with the role Dio needed him for.

He quickly shook his head, getting next to Jonathan with two strides. “You?” Jonathan asked him. “Why'd you learn to pick locks?”

“It's a useful skill, especially since I forget my keys quite often,” was the answer Dio gave and Jonathan nodded, accepting it.

“I still can't believe our evening turned out this way,” Jonathan said, glancing around. “I kinda wish there was some legitimate supernatural activity here, to tell you the truth.”

“You like that kind of stuff?”

“Oh, yeah. Though I'm more invested in the occult rather than urban legends. I actually have a few good documentaries about that. We can watch them together if you want.”

“Sure,” Dio answered in a heartbeat, secretly hoping that this would be a proper Netflix and Chill date.

At the end of the hall, they found a little staircase leading to a wooden hatch. They could hear familiar voices from outside, the sounds of traffic and some distant firecrackers. Relieved that he was seconds away from fresh air, Dio moved to open the hatch but Jonathan held him down. He pressed his soft, plump lips on Dio's cold cheek, instantly lighting it on fire.

“Thank you for staying throughout this ordeal,” he whispered.

Dio's fingers mindlessly drifted on his cheek. It was just a peck, as tender and sweet as a mother would give it. It meant nothing but at the same time, it felt so important. A small victory, Dio decided, a step closer to the final reward.

 

PART 1

-end-

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 


"And what did you say?"

"I accepted." Everyone around the table groaned. Diavolo reached into his pocket and gave Kira twenty bucks. “What!” Dio snapped, annoyed at the reaction.

“You can't just sign us up for stuff without asking us first, Dio!” Pucci scolded him.

Dio frowned. “It's not such a big problem.”

“Dio,” Valentine started and Dio's expression soured even more, “you can't expect us to show up on a yoga class at 6 AM on a Saturday just because you don't want Jonathan to think you're thirsty!”

“Fine then,” Dio hissed. “Fine. You don't have to show up.”

“I wasn't gonna. I got more important things to do.”

“Like what?”

“Like sleep. It's November. I wanna stay home with my blankets and drink cocoa and snuggle all day.” He rested his head on Scarlet's shoulder and she stroked his golden hair fondly.

“He's got the right idea,” Kira said. “You can't force us to do something we don't want to.”

“I'm gonna have to pass, too.”

“Why can't you come?”

“I just don't like hanging around people,” Diavolo shrugged.

Dio huffed in annoyance and folded his arms over his chest. “Some friends you are. I just asked for some damn help!”

“I wanna come,” said Kars and Dio's face lit up. He looked at the man with shining, relieved eyes. “This Hamon thing sounds interesting.”

“Thanks, Kars. You're a real friend,” Dio emphasized with venom leaking from his tongue. Pucci rolled his eyes.

Mariah approached their table to give them their drinks and jumbo plate of hot wings for Valentine. “And this,” she said and reached into her tube top, producing a little piece of paper, then handing it to Scarlet, “for you.”

Scarlet looked at the scribbled number with gleaming eyes. “Thanks,” she told Mariah and flashed her a smile.

The waitress nodded. “You guys are lucky Hol Horse likes you a lot. He doesn't usually let people that fight here in ever again.”

“Guess we're special,” Valentine chimed and bit into one hot wing. It took some bribing, but he eventually became indifferent towards Hol Horse's foolish crush on him. After he was given some mozzarella stuffed onion rings, he decided to play along. Despite his integrity, he was the kind of person to be bought with food.

“What was that about?” asked Dio, whose irritation diminished in the blink of an eye.

Scarlet shrugged, a sly little smirk playing on her red lips. “A little...a little...something.”

“Something?”

She simply smiled at him, flashing him a wink. She turned to Valentine. “Baby, the dog can't eat that. It's too hot for her.”

Valentine lowered the hot wing he was going to give his pup in disappointment. “Oh...” Kira checked his watch. He glanced at Diavolo and the other man nodded. They both stood up. “Hey, where are you going?”

The two men exchanged glances. “We got a thing,” Kira blurted.

“A thing?” Valentine questioned. He usually was the first one to know about their bullshit.

“A house thing,” Diavolo added. That seemed to satisfy his friend.

“Did you break something?” Dio asked suspiciously.

“Mind your own damn business!” Diavolo barked as he walked out of the bar with Kira in tow.

Once outside, the two men shivered at the sudden change in temperature. Inside the bar was warm and colorful and outside the streets were cold, dark, the howling wind blowing through the alleys. Diavolo shoved his hands in his pockets and started walking beside Kira. He liked this kind of weather, felt it was a prelude to winter. And it was, in more than one ways. Soon, the rain would give its place to snow and dry, unforgiving cold, the kind of cold that stung one's skin and froze their very bones. The cold wind blew on his face as he walked and he enjoyed the sensation. His ears picked up the first Christmas discussions.

“You okay?” Kira asked him.

“What do you mean?”

“You've been kinda weird lately.” Weirder than usual, was exactly what Kira wanted to say but he wouldn't do it so not to provoke Diavolo's temper.

Diavolo gave him a confused look. “You think so?”

“Maybe I'm overthinking,” he shrugged. “I've been kinda tense myself lately.”

Diavolo huffed. “I think you might be right.”

“So what's troubling you?”

What was troubling him? Diavolo thought about it while they walked, as if he looking for the answer for the first time. Assuming that his mind was a pit of sand, Diavolo insisted on looking for the reason why he had been a bit weird lately on the top layer only. He didn't dig past that, afraid of what he would find. But perhaps, he was confused. And it was expected, really, Diavolo was never the one to organize his thoughts. His mind was an incoherent mess and in times of trouble, he tried not digging around, knowing that it would explode.

“I've been fucking around with this girl for a while now and I wanna break it off.”

“So do it.”

“Yeah. But it's always a pain breaking the news to them, you know?”

Kira didn't but he nodded regardless. They continued the rest of their walk in silence, only disrupted when Diavolo decided to light a cigarette. By the time he had finished it, they had arrived at the Kawajiri household. As expected, the house was lit up. Shinobu was obviously in there and by the sound of it, with only the company of her son.

“This is it,” Kira sighed, presenting Diavolo the house.

“I'll be waiting somewhere nearby. Might get a snack or something.”

They exchanged nods. Diavolo walked to the end of the block to get a calzone and Kira climbed the stairs leading to the front door. He cleared his throat and knocked sharply three times. He noticed that the curtains in the window next to him fluttered. Shinobu's face appeared briefly in the crack, though long enough for Kira to catch her expression. Alarmed at first, confused upon seeing him. She opened the door a few seconds later. Her hair was freely running on her shoulders in long, straight locks. She was wearing a plain dark blue dress and slippers. Goosebumps appeared on her skin, the fine hairs on her arms standing. She was freezing.

“Kira!” she exclaimed

“Good evening,” Kira greeted politely. “I hope I'm not disturbing.”

“You're not. I just...I wasn't expecting anyone,” she mumbled and nervously moved her hair over her right shoulder. She had a lovely neck. Long, pale, unblemished.

“I apologize. I should have notified you beforehand. I just wanted to check up on you, see if you need anything.”

Shinobu's jaw opened slightly. She scanned the handsome and sharp-dressed man in front of her with wide eyes, a rosy blush creeping on her cheeks. Her initial confusion melted into something indescribable, something warm.

“That's so thoughtful!”

“Please. I'm just doing what any friend would.” He smiled shyly, tilting his head to the side. “I can consider myself a friend, right?”

Shinobu paused. She quickly shook her head. “Of course! Do you want to come in?”

“If you'll have me...”

She giggled at that. She had a pretty laugh, fresh and bubbly. Cute, but weird on a newly widowed woman. Shinobu stepped to the side, allowing Kira into her home. She took his coat and hang it on the hanger, marveling at the fine fabric and style of it. She absentmindedly ran her thumb over one button before joining Kira.

They walked into the living room and Kira came face to face with a rather weird image. The formerly luxurious and perhaps a bit overbearing living room was almost devoid of all pieces of furniture, save for a few essentials like a couch and a small coffee table. It was significantly colder there, too. There wasn't even a carpet on the floor.

“Are you moving?” he asked.

Shinobu glanced around briefly, as if not sure what he was talking about. “Oh, no...I just did some...some decluttering.” Before Kira could offer her a response, Shinobu fell on the couch, sobbing loudly. Kira stood there awkwardly, having no idea what to do. “I had to sell everything and soon enough I'm gonna have to sell this house!” She hiccuped a few times. Moving with the flexibility of a rusty robot, Kira sat down next to her and numbly pet her hair. Shinobu cried out and buried her face in his chest. “I'm going to be homeless all because he was a fucking liar!”

“Wh-What do you mean?” Why was he suddenly so invested in this?

Shinobu looked up and Kira's throat went dry. She was pretty, looking dignified even when her whole face was wet with tears. So close to him she was, that Kira could smell her peachy scent, could see the faint lines on her plumps lips, clumps of tears on her eyelashes. He gulped.

Shinobu sat up straight with an irritated huff and wiped her nose on the back of her hand. Okay, that was high-key disgusting. “Apparently, my dear husband had a lot of debt that I had no idea about. It seems quite logical to me, now that I think about it in retrospect. How else would an orphaned university student be able to afford a place like this? Now that he's dead, all sorts of shady people have been showing up at my door to collect the money he owes them. Loan sharks, bank people...You name it.” She laughed mirthlessly, gesturing to the room around her. “I had to sell everything to get some money but it's not enough. They're going to take the house and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.”

She clasped a hand over her mouth and broke out in louder, more violent sobs. “And they'll take my Hayato, too! He's the only one I have left, the only good to ever come out of that worthless piece of trash!” She started crying, covering her face with her hands.

Kira sat there in baffled silence. He had completely forgotten why he had come here. Right. Kill the woman and give the baby to Diavolo. But he was as still as Killer Queen when Queer Eye was on. Objectively, this murder was supposed to be child's play! It was late, his target was alone and vulnerable, assistance was right outside. But despite all that, Kira was unable to take any action.

“Don't you have any family members that could help you?” he asked her.

Shinobu shook her head. “No. Well, I have my parents in Chicago but they're going through some tough times, too. They can't take care of two more people. Any other relatives are all in Japan but we haven't spoken in years.” She wiped her tears away with shaky fingers and sighed deeply. “I'm so sorry for this outburst but I have no one else that I can turn to. All my friends, all of his friends, have turned their backs on us. It's as if we suddenly don't exist. But I guess that's how rich people are, only care about the fun times and bail when things get rough and you need a little support.”

“That sounds like something a friend of mine would say,” Kira commented.

“Really? You're lucky to have friends.”

“Wait till you meet them. They're a real hassle, the lot of them.”

Shinobu laughed and Kira's heart stopped momentarily. “Does that mean you'll introduce me to them?” Noticing his obvious awkwardness, she laughed again, nudging him playfully. “I'm just teasing you, Kira.”

“You can call me Yoshikage.”

At that, her eyes lit up, her sorrow and frustration melting away into joy. “Yoshikage,” she said and smiled. “I love your name. Your eyes, too.”

Kira opened and closed his mouth like a fish. “Thank you?”

A piercing cry was heard from upstairs and Shinobu bolted up. “Shit, it's time for him to eat. I'll be right back, okay Yoshikage?”

“Sure.” The moment Shinobu left the room, Kira ran to the window and yanked the curtains to the side. He saw Diavolo's familiar head standing a few meters below. When he tried prying the window open, he saw that it had been nailed down, all of them actually. Made sense, Shinobu had to protect herself somehow. He slammed his fists on the thick glass, trying to get Diavolo's attention but soon realized that the man was gently swaying his head to the rhythm of the music he was listening too.

Shinobu returned, this time holding a baby in her arms. Kira was sitting on the couch when mother and son entered. Hayato looked like his mother a lot, something Shinobu was probably happy about. Kira couldn't remember Kosaku Kawajiri's face but he only saw Shinobu in that baby. Same light auburn hair, same big brown eyes, same pouty lips, and nose. He was dressed in an orange onesie and a white bib was tied around his neck.

“How old is he?”

“He's eight months old.” Kira reached for the baby but he turned away with a little whine, pressing his little body closer to his mother's.

Shinobu sat down with her son, gently cradling him in her arms. “Could you please help me with my dress?”

“Help you?”

“Unzip it for me,” she said. “I have to feed him.”

“Oh...Oh!” Kira blinked a few times. He could feel heat spreading on his face, a strange and foreign kind of heat that he hadn't felt ever since he first saw the Mona Lisa.

He went around Shinobu and each step felt like walking in a pair of shoes made from pinpricks. Kira's unsteady hands hovered above the zipper. Sweat was running down from the sides of his head. He pulled it down, revealing the top of her smooth, clean back and the burgundy lace of her bra.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. He remained silent, still frozen.

When Shinobu started pulling down her dress, Kira hurried to the entrance hall. “I should get going,” he mumbled as he put on his coat.

“You don't have to!”

“No...I uh...I have work to do at home.”

“I understand." She sounded disappointed. "Please drop by whenever you want. Your presence brings me so much joy.”

“Can I leave you my phone number?” he offered.

“Of course! There's a notepad on the table.” Kira nodded and wrote down his number.

As he turned to leave, his eyes fell on Shinobu, still sitting on the couch. Hayato was latching on her breast with his chubby little hands and she was coddling him gently, stroking his hair. He was a chubby, healthy baby and seeing him so close to Shinobu, Kira realized how pale and sickly she was in comparison. She suddenly looked up, catching him mid-breath. She smiled and he flinched back, almost afraid.

“Please come over again.” Now, Kira wasn't great with people's emotions but he could taste the bitterness in Shinobu's voice. She was sad, lonely and in danger. And for some reason, Kira was feeling anxious about her and her peach-smelling hair.

Diavolo looked up when Kira walked out of the house. He was holding a half-eaten, steamy calzone in hand, with mozzarella dripping from the edges. “Did you get her?” he asked.

“No,” Kira answered. “I didn't.”

Diavolo's eyes widened in confusion. “What?”

“I didn't kill her.”

Diavolo checked the house. “She got company?”

“No.”

“So what's the problem?”

“I just couldn't do it.”

Diavolo furrowed his brows. “What are you talking about?”

“I just couldn't do it, okay?” Kira snapped. He sighed. He walked away from the door, fearing that Shinobu would hear him.

Diavolo took a big bite of his calzone and chewed slowly. He swallowed. “You want me to go kill her for you?”

“No!” Diavolo protested a bit too loudly. Diavolo looked at him as if he was insane. Kira straightened himself. “There's no need to kill her.”

“Are you sure about that?” Diavolo asked him slowly, as one would a child.

Kira nodded awkwardly before replying. “Yeah,” he mumbled and walked away to the opposite direction he had come from. He didn't know where he was going. He just wanted to run away from that house as fast as possible.

“The house is in the other direction!” Diavolo shouted. Seeing that Kira didn's slow down, he jogged up to him. “Where are you going?”

Kira halted abruptly when he reached the end of the block. He looked around. The streets seemed vaguely familiar. “Wanna go to Funny's?”

Diavolo froze mid-bite, choked, almost. “Sure,” he said after a moment.

 

 


 

 

 

“Why am I doing this to myself?” Dio asked himself as he glued his lashes on at five in the fucking morning. No matter how hard he tried, he would never understand the people that got up to see the sunrise. Valentine did bullshit like that.

He walked out of his room in too tight, light gray yoga pants, a pair of red trainers and a casual Nike hoodie he had chosen after an hour of freaking out. He walked down the stairs of the dark house while checking his phone. His roommates had slept at Valentine's, according to the countless stories Scarlet had posted on her Instagram. Haruka had left him a few messages that Dio ignored. Sooner or later, he was going to have to deal with her. He estimated that time would come around Christmas. By then, he would have fully seduced Jonathan.

Probably.

He wasn't doubting himself, no sir. He, Dio, was perfectly confident in his extraordinary abilities. But Jonathan was a dense, brick wall. Judging by that uncalled-for peck on the cheek, he also liked taking things on his own pace. Absolutely wonderful. All of Dio's innuendos went right over his head. The only consolation Dio found was Jonathan's excitement over physical contact. A brush of a thigh, a gentle touch, a fleeting kiss. Those definitely worked better on him than words ever could.

Dio locked the door behind him and went to his car. As he traversed the city, he noticed how different the world looked so early in the morning. Life around him was at a standstill, as if time had stopped. The sun was shyly peeking at the horizon, the clouds in the far distance turning from deep lilac to the sweetest pink. The dew stuck everywhere, the crisp air was blowing through the leaves. Everything around him was quiet. He drove past the harbor and while waiting at a red light, he caught a glimpse of the golden light dancing over the sea. It was beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful.

When was the last time he had appreciated nature? Never, really. Diego had always been the one to like rolling around in parks more. He faintly recalled sitting on his mother's knees while a ladybug crawled on their linked fingers. He watched the bug in awe and she whispered sweet things into his ear, pressed her lips on his golden hair. Dio stepped on the gas with enough vigor to break it. A memory so distant and ghastly, it felt more like a dream. Just thinking about her terrified him. He was so close to forgetting her face. The pain she had endured remained vivid. In time, it had turned into fuel, his motivation. He was going to go there, do whatever it took, get that moronic rich kid for himself, kill him off and take all his money, so he could at least live the life his mother deserved.

At what point did the line blur? Asked by that annoying little voice that dwelled into the dark depths of his psyche; small, pale, sickly. It asked that question over and over again because at some point, and even though Dio didn't want to acknowledge it, the line had blurred. All his mother had ever desired was for her sons to be kind. Even when she was lying on the floor with blood pouring from her cracked skull, she'd tell them that.

“No need to be perfect. Only be good and kind.”

“Foolish,” Dio snarled. Foolish AND weak. That's why she had died like a damn animal. He had never even seen her grave.

Dio arrived at Kars' house at around 5:30 AM. Kars was waiting on the porch, obviously very awake, chatting with a very, very tired Esidisi. Dio walked out of the car and into the front yard. He liked coming to Kars' house. A beautiful, lavish mansion, very fitting for its owners. And Dio was allowed over anytime.

“Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yes.” He gently tapped Esidisi on the head and he moved away with a small groan. “I'm gonna go now, okay baby?”

“Okay,” Esidisi whispered back, eyes still closed. “Don't kill anyone.”

“We won't.”

The two men boarded Dio's car and headed for the grove where this whole Hamon business was going to be taking place. It was around half an hour away so Dio was right on schedule.

“I love the sunrise,” Kars smiled as the fresh light hit his face. “Hamon sounds exciting.”

“It's just some breathing yoga bullshit.”

“You're really invested in this,” Kars commented after a moment of silence. “In pursuing Jonathan, I mean.”

“Of course I am. I, Dio, never back down from a challenge.”

“Your conviction is admirable but you have to be more careful.”

“Are you going to lecture me about the photographer again?”

“Yes,” Kars sternly replied. “People like her tend to be clingy and demanding. You have to break it off now before you suffer the consequences.”

“You sound like you're speaking from experience,” Dio smirked.

“Maybe I am. I have experienced quite a lot, you know. But luckily, my adventures are over and now I have a loving family.”

Kars mentioning his favorite boys wasn't a rarity. But at that moment, the dots connected in Dio's brain and he slammed on the break, making them both spring forward violently. “Your son was fucking Joseph Joestar!”

Kars frowned deeply at that. “Wamuu wasn't fucking Jojo, he was invested in their relationship. He wanted to give him his all but of course, that ungrateful, cheating, insatiable fuck wasn't satisfied with my Wamuu alone. Though, I hardly see how this is relevant.

Dio started driving again. “If you got beef with the Joestars, that means you have beef with Jonathan.”

“Not necessarily. Jonathan is a sweet kid, very lovely to be around. He's not the one to blame for his brother's misdeeds.” Dio sighed in relief. The last thing he wanted was more drama to get in his way. “I won't ruin this for you,” Kars reassured him.

They arrived at the location Jonathan had pointed out right on time. It was a very scenic clearing in the forest, right by a small river, overlooking a tranquil pond. The trees surrounding them were working on their annual transformation. Vivid green was turning into sharp yellow and orange. A few leaves spiraled towards the damp ground every now and again. Dio could hear birds chirping all around him, barely awake. A waterfall could be heard in the distance. The only signs of human interference were a little kiosk and some old gym instruments, as well as Jonathan's car. One would expect such a rich guy to have a fancier ride but it was perfect for Jonathan. Upon seeing that he was all alone, Dio sprang out of his car with excitement.

But then, Dio realized he had made a grave mistake. He was severely underdressed for the weather conditions. One would be easily fooled by the sun but the reality was harsh. The moment he stepped out of his car, cold started seeping into Dio's skin, piercing right through the elastic fabric of his pants. His pale hands started shivering and the fine hairs on the back of his neck came to a stand. Even though he could practically feel his balls seek shelter inside his body, Dio put on a brave facade and approached Jonathan with a proud stride, Kars walking next to him.

Jonathan's initially cheerful expression changed into surprise when he noticed the older man. “Good morning,” he greeted politely. “I...I didn't know you two were friends.”

“There's no need to be nervous around me, Jonathan. I have nothing against you.”

Jonathan nodded. “I apologize.”

“What for?”

“Joseph's behavior.”

“That wasn't your fault.”

“I know. But it's still the polite thing to do.”

Kars smiled. “I'm going to take a few pictures, have a look around. I'll be back in a few minutes.”

With Kars' departure, Dio was left alone with Jonathan in the secluded clearing. They walked further in, away from their stationed cars. Jonathan obviously had done this several times before as he was dressed appropriately. He shoved his hands into his pockets as they walked. He looked perfectly in peace with the nature around him, blissfully absorbing the colors and sounds it produced.

“Aren't your friends going to be joining us?” Dio asked.

“They'll be here shortly.” Of course. “I just like coming earlier. I like being alone with my thoughts in a place like this.”

To Dio's great astonishment, Jonathan reached inside one of the pockets of his warm jacket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes along with a lighter. He took one out, holding it between his index and middle finger. He tapped three times on the pack, rhythmically slowly, before placing it between his soft lips. He lit it, shielding it from the light breeze with his free hand and took the first drag. He exhaled.

“You never struck me as the type to smoke,” Dio commented, unable to hide his genuine surprise.

Jonathan laughed, casting his gaze on the ground. “Yeah...It's a stupid habit, really. I don't know why I'm still doing it.” He took another drag, this time releasing the smoke from his nostrils. “Started when I used to sneak in my Dad's office to steal his expensive cigars. Got the scolding of my life of it,” he said and smiled fondly at the memories. “I didn't smoke while I was in England, of course. I restarted here. I guess independence has its pros and cons.”

Dio studied the other man's form with a mask of frigid neutrality. To his great displeasure, Jonathan was slowly changing right before his eyes and he had stupidly allowed this to happen. He was beginning to gain shape again. Jonathan Joestar, a man starving for physical contact, loved the occult and romantic poetry, former rascal that used to sneak into Sir Joestar's office to smoke his imported cigars. He was slowly becoming human. And Dio hated it.

Within a few minutes, another car arrived and two men got out of it, chatting casually as they joined the rest of them. To Dio's great joy, he saw that Speedwagon wasn't with them. Not that the others weren't wary of him. He knew this Straizo guy was a shady asshole and he had so far benefited from that. He couldn't decipher the Zeppeli, though. He always looked aloof, caught up in a world that a few people understood. Friends or enemies, he looked at them all with the same inquisitive eyes. Except for Jonathan, of course, whom he stared at as if he was a blooming rose on a summer day.

“Good morning, gents!” William greeted. Perhaps he could have Diavolo find some information about this guy... “Ready to start?”

“Only if our guests are.”

“Absolutely,” said Kars. “I'm always up for anything that involves nature. I'm honestly surprised I haven't heard of Hamon before.”

“You'll love it,” Jonathan smiled at him.

Apparently, William was the more experienced one in the group so the newcomers were instructed to follow his lead. First, they got into position. They moved to the end of the clearing, right by the serene pond. Across the small, murky lake, the sun had risen above the yellowed treeline. As a result, the rays were hitting them all directly in the face. Dio was about to demand a change in positions but apparently, this was exactly what was supposed to happen. He was planning on being patient for once and keeping his mouth shut when he noticed that the others had begun taking their shoes off. He looked at Kars, who was unquestioningly doing the same.

“Wait,” he blurted, “are we going to take our shoes off?”

“But of course,” William explained, confused that Dio had even asked such a question.

“No need to push him so hard, Will,” Jonathan said sympathetically. “You can keep your shoes on if you're feeling cold.”

“I, Dio, do not feel cold!” he barked before he could control himself. Just the slightest sense of pity aiming at him was enough to make him see red. Dio angrily took off his shoes and socks. His eyes widened and he winced when the soles of his bare feet came in contact with the frozen soil below.

As Dio had anticipated, this whole 'breathing yoga, to connect with nature and unlock your hidden potential' was a load of bullcrap. He did exactly what William and the others were doing but he couldn't feel what they were apparently feeling. They all looked so relaxed and in perfect harmony with their surroundings while Dio was having a staring contest with the fat frog that stood on the big rock next to him. They remained silent for the entirety of the exercise, focusing solely on doing relatively easy poses and 'absorbing the sun's energy'. All Dio had absorbed by the end was the worst cold ever since skinny dipping at the Bahamas during his freshman year of college. Minutes became hours and Dio couldn't decide what was worse; the sun shining right in his face or that he had stuck on the ground?

“That was so good,” Jonathan sighed at the end, stretching his gorgeous limbs way above his head. He jogged over to Dio, who was putting on his shoes as quickly as possible. “What did you think?”

“Oh, that was fantastic! I really felt that connection, you know? I think I have sunlight flowing through my veins right now.”

Jonathan snorted and burst out laughing. “There's no need to lie, Dio. It's fine. Hamon is difficult and it definitely not for everyone.”

Dio snapped up, glaring at Jonathan with furrowed brows. “I, Dio, don't find difficulty in anything! As you have noticed, I excel at whatever I do, however mundane it is.”

“There's no need to be perfect,” Jonathan told him. “You should only be yourself and be nice to others.”

“That's foolish of you, Jojo!” he yelled after the other man. A very familiar kind of foolishness, too.

“You think kindness is foolish?”

“If you're nice and sweet and mellow like chocolate then someone's gonna come and take a big bite out of you.”

“I don't think you know what kindness means, Dio,” Jonathan noted and a little vein popped on the side of Dio's skull. There it was again, that feeling that he was being looked down upon, being pitied. That well-bred oaf was taking him for an idiot, explaining everything to him like he had two brain cells.

“I do, thank you very much. And what I also know is that people with your attitude die young.”

There was a pause following Dio's words. He looked up suddenly, just then realizing what he had said. Jonathan didn't seem offended. Just baffled. “I suppose that's one way of thinking about this.”

Kars walked to the car and climbed in. He looked happy and refreshed. “Jonathan, I left Will my phone number and I'm expecting an invitation for next week.”

“That's amazing!” Jonathan exclaimed. “I'm thrilled you will be joining us!” He turned his attention to Dio once more, who was still sitting on the driver's seat with his feet on the ground. Just like their first and only kiss, Jonathan leaned down abruptly, strong fingers tilting Dio's chin up as he planted a sweet kiss on the corner of his mouth. Even if it was chaste, there was underlying passion in that kiss, warmth that flooded Dio's veins and momentarily buzzed through his body like electricity. It was satisfying, in a puzzling way.

“Please stop being so defensive,” he whispered in Dio's ear and that hot, heavy voice of his went directly to Dio's groin. The fact that it was unintentional made it even better. Oh, he couldn't wait to teach him to dirty talk.

“I'm not defensive,” Dio grumbled bitterly as Jonathan walked to join his friends.

“Should we go for breakfast?”

“I don't care anymore. I just want to get the hell out of here.”

 


 

 

 

Diavolo quickly stood up and turned off his Wii, much to Valentine's amusement. He stomped into the kitchen, grumbling the entire way while Valentine followed him with light steps.

“It's not cheating,” Valentine chimed as he gracefully sat down on a stool, crossing one knee over the other. “I can show you how to do it.”

“I don't wanna end up a cheater like yourself,” he said and Valentine chuckled. He opened the fridge, inspecting the items with a concentrated frown. “You wanna eat anything?”

“Ugh, I'm too bored to cook. Wanna order pizza?”

“Pizza,” Diavolo scoffed. “That thing you Americans eat isn't pizza.”

“What is it, then?”

“Deep fried grease with cheese on top.”

“Fair enough,” Valentine laughed. “I'm really in the mood for pizza though.”

“If you want to, you can order for yourself. But I'm not eating this garbage.”

Valentine sighed. “If you're superior, why don't you bake one?”

“So you assume all Italian people are always prepared to make pizza?”

“You're not?”

Diavolo sighed deeply. He rolled up the sleeves of his purple sweater to the elbows. Valentine clapped cheerfully and looked on with wide, curious eyes. Diavolo snorted. He was so childish sometimes, being excited at random things, always curious and waiting for an answer. It was inexplicably cute.

“The key to a good pizza is the dough. You gotta make sure your dough is there but it's not stealing the show, you know?”

“Uh-huh.”

Diavolo searched around the cabinets, carefully choosing the necessary ingredients for the base. Flour, warm water, yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil. He put each ingredient on the counter. Before diving into work, he tied his hair in a low ponytail.

“You gotta add the salt to the flour and not the yeast mixture because you want it to slow down the effect the yeast will have on the dough.”

“Alright.”

Diavolo poured the liquid into the bowl with the flour and using a large spoon, started mixing it carefully, trying to hydrate as much of the flour as possible. Once he was satisfied, he removed the mixture from the bowl and rolled it on the table, on top of a layer of flour. He didn't forget to sprinkle some additional flour on the dough as well.

“Now that you have this thing, you want to start kneading it. Get it all smooth and ball-shaped. And you have to do it for ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes?!” Valentine gasped. “Are you sure you don't want Domino's.”

“Shush! It's time you had some real pizza.”

Valentine was absorbed in the procedure. Watching Diavolo's hands work was mesmerizing. His strong fingers were digging into the soft dough, bending it to their will and his muscular biceps flexed as he pushed down. Rough, precise motions that sent a shiver down Valentine's spine. He lost himself thinking what receiving a message from these hands would feel like. And his back had been killing him recently.

Diavolo was fully focused on his task. Valentine quite liked this side of him, the calmer, creative side. A shame he was so secretive. Valentine loved it whenever his friend would talk to him about the things he was passionate about, describe his hometown, the food he used to eat and how the air used to smell. Whenever Diavolo let go of his paranoia, he spoke beautifully about the things he loved, voice turning into a smooth, velvety flow of water instead of an angry snarl. On one night, while they were laying on some beach in California, Valentine had told him to maybe write his thoughts down, if he wasn't willing to share them with a person. He had caught Diavolo scribbling on a notebook a couple of times though he didn't ask him about it, not wanting to anger him.

“You have wonderful hands,” he mused aloud.

The compliment caught Diavolo off guard. He stopped kneading for a moment and looked at Valentine through his lashes. “Thanks, Yoshikage.” They both laughed at that. Diavolo presented Valentine with a smooth, round dough. “Now, we're gonna leave it to rise for an hour and then come back to it.”

“Wanna play another round?”

“Yeah. But no cheating this time.”

By the time they had finished playing, the dough had risen significantly. But much to Valentine's disappointment, it wasn't pizza time yet. Diavolo rolled it around some more, bringing it back to that smooth, round shape. He covered it with a towel and set the timer for another hour. Bored as they were, the two men walked out to the backyard to smoke.

Night came fast in November. It was barely 6 PM yet the sky stretching over their heads was a wonderful royal blue, with a few clouds scattered across the horizon. It was chilly, as one would expect, and they both put on their jackets before stepping outside. They leaned against the railing, smoking in silence. The brick walls surrounding them didn't allow a view to the other buildings and the streets. Reality felt slightly altered, as if only the two of them existed on that porch. Diavolo looked up. Taller buildings towered above his head and he saw light pouring from several square windows. He could hear voices, smell food, feel the proof of life all around him.

Valentine reached for his phone. Its cold light illuminated his face and Diavolo was instantly magnetized. His eyes fell on Valentine's lips. He had a wonderful pair of lips. He brought the cigarette between them and they closed around it perfectly. His fingers were beautiful, too. Long and finely sculpted, trained from all the years he had been playing music.

Diavolo quickly shook his head, making his brain rattle. “Is Scarlet okay?”

Valentine looked up. “Yeah, I guess. I didn't get the chance to talk to her about my concerns. She started looking better, I can assume it was just the seasonal flu?”

“Might have been. She should go to a doctor, though.”

“She regularly visits her gynecologist. I think she'll be fine at the end.”

Diavolo nodded. He tapped off some of the ashes and watched as they drifted along with the wind. “I still don't get the whole deal you two got going on.”

“It's rather simple,” Valentine started. “Scarlet just wants to have more experiences but she doesn't want to break up with me.”

“I feel like you're being cheated.”

“Really? I think it's heartwarming that even after everyone she's been with, she still chooses me.” He smiled, stopping Diavolo right as he was about to speak. “And don't say it's just for the money. Her family's richer than mine.”

“Why don't you do it too?”

“Do what?”

“Have sex with whoever you want.”

“I don't think I'm strong enough for an open relationship,” he admitted. “This is going to sound kinda dumb and old-fashioned but I think sex is something intimate and sweet. For me to let someone see me in such a...vulnurable state means that I trust them completely. To give someone my body, I must first give them my soul. That bond takes time to be created and I don't think it's something you can have with a lot of people.”

“That's not old-fashioned,” Diavolo said. “It's sweet.” In a way he couldn't understand. But he told Valentine so regardless, because seeing him smile made him feel...warm. In a way he couldn't understand.

They walked back into the kitchen and found that the ever-curious Killer Queen was pawing at the pile of dough resting on the counter. Valentine gently lifted the feline and dropped her on his lap where she sat quietly, purring softly as he rubbed her behind the ears.

“Now it's time to stretch this. There are several ways to do this. You can just pull it with your fingers, just whatever you find convenient.”

“Can you do that tossing thing?” Valentine asked excitedly.

“Sure,” Diavolo shrugged. “I've done it a couple of times, got the hang of it. The trick is to keep your hands fisted and create a spinning motion.”

He effortlessly tossed the stretched dough in the air, watching it rise as high as the ceiling light. It began descending and Diavolo prepared to catch it. As he lowered his gaze, he found Valentine's eyes. Perfect bright cobalt, small pieces of the sky, following the falling dough with the excitement of a child, gleaming as a smile appeared on those full lips of his. It was no more than a split second, yet Diavolo's entire body went limp. The dough fell on the counter with a graphic splat, making flour fly everywhere. Killer Queen jumped up and ran away meowing. Valentine coughed, dusting his clothes off. Diavolo looked down, just then realizing what had happened.

“That's what we get for going the fancy way,” Valentine laughed. “Is it pizza time yet?”

The pizza ended up tasting amazing. A classic recipe, with some good tomato sauce, a big amount of fresh mozzarella and pepperoni sprinkled on top. They sat in the living room to eat while watching Big Brother, with frozen coke on the side. Diavolo insisted that it was uncultured and too American but he had to admit, they mixed pretty well. Kira walked in a few minutes later and the three of them got to devouring the pizza before Dio arrived.

Diavolo's phone buzzed with a message. He checked it with furrowed brows, standing up immediately after.

“Something wrong?” Kira inquired.

“I just got a thing.”

“A thing? What sort of thing?”

“Mind your damn business,” Diavolo whispered and leaned down to take a bite from Valentine's slice.

“I'm not asking because I'm nosy, I'm asking because I care about you!” Valentine shouted after him as he left. He groaned. “He's so stupid.”

“There's nothing you can do about it.”

“I haven't tried everything,” Valentine sighed. “Yoshikage, I'm worried about him.”

“He'll be fine on his own.” It wasn't that Kira didn't care about Diavolo. He just had problems of his own. And he'd never care as much as Valentine.

“Will he? He's walking down a dangerous path.”

“Have you talked to him about it?”

“Not seriously. Every time I try to start this conversation, he runs away or gets angry.”

“There's nothing you can do about it now. Just sit back and enjoy the pizza. You can talk to him when he gets back.”

Valentine followed Kira's instructions. Soon enough, he was able to push his thoughts to the back of his brain, reduce them to a mild buzz. He spent too much time worrying about Diavolo but it was only natural. The guy needed someone to worry about him, someone to look out for him. Someone to care.

There was a sharp knock on the door, some ten minutes after Diavolo left. Thinking that it was Diavolo who had once again forgotten his keys, Kira stood up to answer the door and lecture him for being neglectful. Much to his surprise, it wasn't Diavolo at the door. Kira saw a woman, drowning in her tears, shivering in the cold wind.

“Yes?” Had to be one of Dio's hookups.

“Is this Solido Naso's house?” she asked through her hiccups.

Kira furrowed his brows. “I'm afraid not. Try somewhere else.”

“Please, wait!” she cried as he moved to close the door. “I-I just saw him leave a few minutes ago.”

Curious, Valentine walked to the door. “What's wrong?” he asked.

“Is this Solido Naso's house?”

“Solido Naso? I don't think I know anyone by that name.”

“You do!” she insisted. “He left this house a few minutes ago. He...he has pink hair and always wears eyeliner. And he's tall, six foot four.”

The two men exchanged glances. The description matched Diavolo perfectly. This was most likely another of the people he had lied to, only this was the first time one had managed to find his house.

Light nausea began stirring in Valentine's gut. “That's him.” Kira nudged him. It was never a good idea to be involved in Diavolo's business. Valentine had other plans. He couldn't ignore someone in such a bad state.

“If you wanted to talk to him, why did you wait until he left?”

“I didn't want to talk to him,” she said. “I wanted to talk to you.”

“To us?”

“To you. Specifically. You're Funny Valentine, right? He talks about you a lot when he's drunk or high.”

Valentine blinked, confused. “And how can I help you, exactly?”

At that, she broke out in louder sobs. Her entire body shook violently as she cried. “I was too scared to tell him,” she choked out.

“Tell him what?” Kira pressed on.

“I'm pregnant,” she sobbed and her crying got uncontrollable, tying each one of her breaths into a knot.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


Chapter 2

 


The two men stood at the doorstep completely immobile, frozen with shock, watching with wide eyes as the woman before them continued crying. They both were numb to the reality around them, even to the cold wind whipping their faces, while trying to comprehend what they had just been told. Valentine was the first to snap out of it. He quickly descended the stairs and pulled her up, placing one arm around her shoulders and another around her waist.

"Come on," he coaxed her gently," let's get you inside."

"What are you doing?" Kira asked in a low voice.

"I'm trying to find what the fuck's going on." Valentine pushed Kira to the side and made his way inside the house. He carried the woman into the kitchen and let her sit on one of the chairs. He quickly exited the kitchen and joined Kira in the hallway.

"This isn't your house!"

"I know!" Valentine hissed. "But we have to see what's going on! This is serious, Yoshikage!"

"How do we know she's even telling the truth?"

"What reason does she have to lie? Any man who lives with two other guys and still listens to MCR unironically doesn't have a significant fortune!" He placed a strong hand on Kira's shoulder. "You can sit and watch. I'll do the talking."

"We must call Diavolo! This is his problem!"

"Do you honestly think that he can handle this? You know very well how quickly he turns to violence and we are dealing with a potentially pregnant woman. We can't let him handle it."

Kira pressed his lips in a thin, displeased line. "Fair enough," Kira agreed and followed Valentine into the kitchen. He could hear the gears inside Valentine's head turn. In this situation, Kira managed to find some amusement. Valentine had been telling Diavolo for ages that all his mess would one day caught up with him and finally, it had.

The two men walked inside the kitchen and sat across the still crying woman. "You said you already know my name. This is Yoshikage Kira. What's your name?"

"Donatella," she sniffed. She had calmed down somewhat, soothed by the angelic man speaking to her. "Donatella Una."

"Donatella," Valentine repeated, smiling a little. "You have a beautiful name."

"Thank you."

"Now, I have to apologize for doing this, for asking you to do it in your distress but we see many things nowadays. Many people usually lie to get what they want and you just don't know who to trust. Even though I want to believe you, I'm still going to need some proof."

"I understand."

"Would taking a pregnancy test be too much of a problem? If you feel uncomfortable, I can book you an appointment with a doctor first thing in the morning."

"No, I'll do the test," she said. "I should have brought my own but I...I can't think straight right now."

"Naturally. You are very upset." Valentine turned to Kira. "Go buy a pregnancy test."

"Wait, what?" snapped the other man, furrowing his brows. "Why me?"

"Because I want to stay here and talk with her. She specifically requested me, Yoshikage."

Kira glared at Donatella and Valentine. "Fine," he begrudgingly accepted and stood up, storming out of the house within seconds.

After Kira's departure, silence set over the house like fine dust. Valentine drummed his fingers on the table a few times before standing up. "Can I offer you anything?" he asked. "Some water, juice, hot cocoa...?"

"Hot cocoa sounds nice," Donatella accepted in a low voice.

While Valentine was preparing the beverage, Killer Queen strolled inside the kitchen. She stared at Donatella curiously, tilting her head to the side. She walked further in, purring as she circled around Valentine's feet. He chuckled as he looked down at her. The feline laid on her back, exposing her large tummy, and pawed at his shoe, meowing demandingly.

"She's always acting like that when she sees someone in the kitchen."

"I've never seen a sphinx before."

"Oh, she's an absolute sweetie. A bit of a rascal, continuously eats and breaks everything the guys own. One time, we were out to the movies and when we came back, we found that this little miss had eaten all of Dio's false lashes."

Donatella snorted, throwing a hand over her mouth. "For real?"

"Yup. Coughed up everything at the vet but it was too late. Dio wanted to bake her after that."

Valentine poured the cocoa into two mugs and handed the one to Donatella, keeping the other for himself. "You should wait a bit before you drink it," he advised. "You don't want to burn your tongue." She nodded. Valentine cleared his throat. "Now tell me. For how long have you been in this relationship?"

"Two months now," she replied. "We met in September. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be just casual sex and I was fine with it. I had just come out of a long relationship and wanted something less serious." Unable to resist the sweet scent of the chocolate and whipped cream on top, Donatella took a sip. It was maybe a bit too hot but she liked the way it warmed her even to her toes. It soothed her nerves. "Still, I think that even in relationships like that, people need to communicate. And I always found it kind of weird that we never did. He never talked about his life and he got very defensive and angry whenever I asked him about it. He has a really bad temper. Uncontrollable. He gets into fights a lot." Fresh tears glimmered at the corners of her eyes and she quickly wiped them off. "That's mainly the reason why I came to you first and not him."

Valentine's eyes turned grim, polite smile dropping to a dark frown. His fingers tightened around the hot mug. "Did he hit you?" he inquired in a low, predatory voice, anger slowly bubbling in the pits of his stomach.

"No!" Donatella quickly reassured him. "No, he didn't hit me."

"Don't lie to me. I want to help you."

"He didn't hit me," Donatella insisted. Valentine took a sip, his sharp eyes still focused on her. "But I was afraid he would. I don't know him that well and I didn't know what to expect."

"You shouldn't have relationships with people you don't trust."

"I know. I just...I got excited. He's so charming, so dark and mysterious, you know? He looks like something straight out of a novel."

Valentine furrowed his brows. Diavolo was attractive, in his very own, distinctive way. He was tall, quite taller than what he seemed given that his back was always hunched, very muscular and had magnetizing eyes. His voice was very charming, too. Thick, raspy and velvety smooth, with a little bit of a melody to it. Valentine could easily see Donatella's way of thinking but that was hardly the point to focus on.

"When did you find out you were pregnant?"

"A week ago, on the 1st. Around that time, he completely disappeared. I could sense his boredom but I expected him to at least have some dignity and actually tell me we were breaking up."

"He gave you a fake phone number, didn't he?"

"He did. He spoke little but when he talked, he never told me the truth." She huffed, a desperate sound that resembled a vacant laugh. "What's his real name?"

"I don't know, " Valentine candidly replied. "He never told me." Donatella nodded. That seemed about right. "Tell me, though. If you knew nothing about him, how did you manage to find his house?"

"Through you. He kept mentioning your name when he was...out of it. I didn't think much of it at first, thought that it was just a quirk or something, but then I thought that maybe Funny was a name."

"But you said he either lied to you or you had sex with him."

"Yeah."

"...How did my name come up, then?" Valentine pondered. He looked down and around for a solid minute before bringing his mug to his lips. "It's not important. Just tell me what you did."

"Well, after I figured 'Funny' was a name, I started looking for you. It was a rather easy search, you're the only person named Funny in the States." She suddenly raised her head, eyes wide. "I didn't mean to stalk you or anything! I just needed-"

"I understand. You needed a way to get to him without seeing him directly. I would've done the same thing."

"I checked your Instagram for places you frequent at and found that you guys hang out at a place called The Emperor. So I went there and waited."

"Then you followed us home and waited till he left so you could come in?"

"Not quite. I followed you two more times but every time he dropped you off at your house and continued on his own. I was too scared to follow him, thought he might realize I was tailing him."

"You did the right thing," Valentine sighed. This story would sound absurd to anyone else but to those close to Diavolo, it was very plausible. The paranoia of it all, Donatella's desperation...She had no reason to lie.

"What now?"

At that, Donatella took a deep breath. "I want to keep the baby," she declared. "But I can't raise it."

Valentine worried his bottom lip between his teeth. "He can't raise a child. If that's what you expected, then you'll be disappointed because that man is unfit to raise a child." He looked at her, seemed like it was the first time he was doing so. She was pretty but riddled with sorrow. Her clothes looked lavish at first but upon closer examination, Valentine saw that she was wearing a plastic fur coat, the kind one found at dusty thrift stores. "What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a waitress. I barely make enough to support myself, I could never support a baby."

"Don't you have any relatives you can turn to?"

"My parents live in Italy but they are strict Catholics. I could never show up to their doorstep like that, they'd kill me." Valentine didn't need to question that. As someone who had also grown in a deeply religious environment, he had similar experiences.

"Have you thought about having an abortion? I know a trustworthy clinic, they can help you. And you don't need to worry about the money. I'll pay for everything."

The offer was tempting, too good to be true, but Donatella refused it with a stubborn shake of her head. "I've always been very frail and sickly, ever since I was a kid. My parents were always fussing over me because of it to a point I couldn't stand it anymore."

"So you ran away from home."

She nodded. "I already had an abortion two years ago and the doctor did a botched job. It all happened in a hurry. He was scared, way more than I was. It was a matter of life and death for both of us. Protesters could come in at any point during the operation so everything had to be done very quickly. I still haven't healed completely, let alone all the infections I got out of it."

"Where was that?"

"Texas."

"You had an abortion in Texas?" he asked with wide eyes, his voice a mix of surprise and fear. She nodded again. "You want more of that?"

Donatella laughed. "Yes, please." He stood up to make her some more. "I'm too scared to have another. I'm too scared to do anything."

Valentine took her cup and filled it with the hot beverage, along with some whipped cream and sprinkles at the top. He poured one for himself, though his body was itching for a smoke. "I don't want to disappoint you, Donatella, but I have to tell you the truth. And the truth is that he could never take care of a child. Even if he wanted to, I'd make sure he'd never actually do it. He is violent, unstable and dangerous."

"Why are you his friend, then?" He remained silent. A flash washed over his blue eyes, and for a single moment, they looked like ice cubes. "I'm sorry."

"The only solution is for you to give birth to the baby and give it away."

"I don't want to do that! I don't know what sort of people will end up being her parents! What if she ends up in some orphanage where they'll beat her up a-and-"

"Then give her to me."

She paused. "What?"

"Give her to me. I'm rich, my girlfriend is rich. We intend on getting married anyway, a child will only add to our happiness."

"You want me to sell you my baby?"

"No. I want you to give me your baby and leave the country." Donatella looked at him as if he was insane. He felt like it. His suggestion wasn't well thought-out. Scarlet would freak out, his parents would too. But between a baby being dropped off at an orphanage, sold like a pet dog or raised by Diavolo, he really couldn't decide what was worse.

"Leave the country?"

"Listen to me for just a minute, okay?" Their conversation had gone well so far. Donatella felt comforted in his presence. His voice calmed her, his entire appearance enveloped her in a warmth she desperately needed. "Diavolo-"

"Is that his name?"

"...It's what he calls himself."

She huffed. "Fitting."

"Donatella, when Diavolo finds out you are pregnant, he will hunt you down and could possibly kill you."

"K-Kill me?"

"Yes." Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. But Valentine needed to scare her, make her see the worst that could happen so she could make the best choice. Or at least the safest. "I will make arrangements for you to stay somewhere safe, with trustworthy people."

"Where? Are you going to lock me up in an asylum?"

"Absolutely not. Please listen to me, okay? A family friend has a center for abused women in Chicago. You could stay there until you give birth. After that, I'll take your baby and you must leave the country." He rose from his chair and walked over to the visibly shaken woman, kneeling in front of her. "Donatella," he called to her. "If you want to live, you have to listen to me. I know him better than you and I know what he's capable of. Go where I'm telling you, leave once the baby has grown enough and I'll take care of it. I promise you that whenever you want, I will fly all the way to Europe for you to see your baby." He cupped her hands, squeezing softly. "You can't raise this child, you said so yourself. But you still wish for it to have a comfortable life. What better choice do you have?"

Donatella's dark blue eyes gazed deeply into Valentine's lighter ones, trying to decipher him, make sure he wasn't just a lunatic. If he was, he was very convincing. For her, a woman alone, scared and drowning in panic, he seemed like an angel, offering her the solution she wanted, even more than that.

"I'll do it," she finally breathed and Valentine's eyes widened. "I'll go to Chicago, I'll give you the baby and go back to my family."

"That's the right thing to do," he smiled softly. "Both for you and for your child."

She managed to crack a little smile, letting her tears run down her face freely. "Thank you," she said quietly.

"My pleasure. Just promise me you'll run a background check on your future boyfriends, okay?"

"I promise," she laughed. Valentine stood up and walked to the sink to wash the mugs. "You know how you said I was a horrible judge of character?"

"I never recall stating it so blatantly but I did insinuate it."

"I think I did a good job with you."

Kira returned home, rushing to the kitchen with the pregnancy test. Valentine was leaning against the counter, holding a mug full of coffee and Donatella was still sitting on her chair.

"Just to be extra sure," Valentine shrugged.

She nodded. "Where's the bathroom?"

"Last door before the stairs."

Donatella made her way to the bathroom, leaving the two men alone. "What did you say to say to her?" Kira asked impatiently.

Valentine took a long sip and slowly let it slide down his throat. He wrapped one hand around the mug, the other flat on the counter behind him. He peered into the caffeine abyss, humming softly. "I asked her to give me her baby once she gives birth."

It took Kira a while to set his brain into motion. "What?"

"Yes."

"You want to raise Diavolo's child?"

Valentine took a deep breath. His eyes shifted from the coffee to Kira's gaze. "I didn't share every detail of my plan with her because I knew she'd never accept. What I want to do, Yoshikage, is take Diavolo off the path he's walking."

"What."

"Yes!" Valentine put the empty mug down, maybe a bit too enthusiastically. "I know he's a walking dumpster fire but I want him to live past 25! I know you do, too!"

"Well...yeah," Kira mumbled. Sure, he'd like for his friend to stick around some more but he'd never actually devise an entire plan on how to do that. Whatever happens, happens. Fate. "But what does the baby have to do with this?"

"Donatella doesn't have the resources to raise a child. I do. I'll take the baby, send her back to Italy and little by little, I'll bring Diavolo closer to it. He can't do anything to me! But he wouldn't hesitate to even kill that woman, Yoshikage! I want the baby to grow up in a healthy environment and I want to show Diavolo what's truly important in life."

Kira kept staring at Valentine's determined face, clearly at a loss for words. He sighed deeply, running a hand through his hair. "When will you tell him about the pregnancy?"

"Tonight. When he comes back."

"What if he comes home tomorrow morning?"

"Then I'll wait for him.

Donatella walked back into the kitchen, holding the pregnancy test. She showed it to Valentine. "Plus sign means I'm pregnant."

Valentine nodded. "Now that we've confirmed that, you're gonna have to leave. Go to your house, gather all the things you need and go to this address." He reached for a piece of paper from the notepad and scribbled a street name and number on it.

Donatella examined it. "Is that your house?"

"No, it's sort of like an office of the shelter. When you get there, tell them I sent you. Oh, and this is my phone number," he said as he handed her another piece of paper. "Please call me tomorrow so we can make the arrangements."

"Thank you," she said once more. "I really don't have anything else to say."

"You don't need to." He escorted her to the front door. "Just be safe. Text me once you've reached the office."

Valentine stood at the threshold, watching as Donatella's form shrunk into the distance. Once she had completely disappeared from his view, he walked back inside the house and shut the door. He found Kira sitting in the living room with his cat, gently petting her while deep in thought. Valentine sat next to him, elbows on his knees, blonde hair framing his face.

"You don't need to do or say anything," Valentine told him. "This was my idea and therefore it is my responsibility."

Kira nodded. No objections to that. "He'll kill you."

"He might punch me but other than that, he won't do anything to me." Sighing deeply, Valentine sat back on the couch. "We should play it cool, otherwise he'll know something's wrong."

They ended up watching a movie, a B-rated chick flick, and ate some more snacks until they heard keys in the lock and heard Diavolo's annoyed grumbling as he stepped inside.

 

 


 

 

 

Pucci had never been to a strip club before. Due to his parents' conservative nature, Pucci wasn't allowed to do many things, even those some would deem normal for a man his age. So, of course he had never been in a strip club. Being a very curious kid with a vivid imagination, Pucci couldn't help but wonder just what exactly was going on behind those heavily guarded doors, what all these people were there to do. Of course, he had seen it on TV and read about it several times, but he wasn't satisfied. He wanted to see the truth directly from the source.

When he finally got the chance to do so, he was nervous. He had been nervous the entire week that had led up to that day, clumsy and unfocused, sometimes rude without wanting. He was worried his parents might have discovered anything, but he brushed it all off, saying it was anxiety because of school. During the ride to the strip club, he was stiff, anxiously drumming his fingers on his thighs. A million what-ifs danced around his head. Even though he had successfully snuck out of his house numerous times in the past, he was still worried. More than his parents discovering his absence, Pucci was worried that his brother would hear him. The guy was shady as hell, the last thing Pucci wanted was to be blackmailed by him. He just didn't know what to expect from the guy, had no way of understanding his thoughts. He rarely spoke and when he did, his voice was barely above a whisper. But Pucci had seen a glint pass from his seemingly vacant blue eyes every now and again, just for a split second, though long enough for him to catch it.

They arrived at the strip club and Pucci gawked at it, numbly walking behind Dio. The building was slightly bigger than a large townhouse, with interesting architecture that made it stand out from the neighboring establishments. Its walls were made from purple bricks and a gigantic neon pink sign was hanging from the roof. 'The Mansion' it read, and it was bright enough to be seen from the distance. There was a thick red carpet, though stained from the footsteps, leading to the set of black double doors. Two of the biggest men Pucci had seen in his life were standing on each side of the door, motionless and bearing no expression.

Dio marched forward confidently but Pucci stopped him. "I don't have a strategy!" he whispered anxiously. "I didn't think past the coming here part!"

Dio turned around, navy blue lips smirking charmingly. "Oh, Enrico. Don't you trust me?"

"How is that relevant right now?"

Dio didn't say anything. He merely grabbed Pucci by the hand and dragged him all the way to the door. "Hello boys," he chirped.

He got no response. Pucci watched in horror as the men's nostrils flared. Expecting the worst, he closed his eyes. Then, one opened the door and let them both in. Pucci blinked, looking at Dio in confusion. His smugly grinning face was the last thing he saw before they stepped inside the strip club.

Once inside, everything was different. It was loud, corny songs booming from the speakers, thumping around the room. It was warmer and darker, the only lights being those from the various stages, flashing in green, blue, pink, red and purple. It was too crowded to make out the seats and lounges but Pucci could see the bar, stretching from one end of the wall to the other, illuminated by hundreds of bright, colorful lights and fully stocked, with a scantily clad bartender behind. Dio cut through the crowd in front of the bar as if it was butter, leaning against the bartop and flashing the bartender his best grin.

"Dan!" he called, immediately attracting the other man's attention.

The bartended widened his eyes in surprise before grinning slyly. He sauntered to them, leaning on one arm. "Well, well, Dio Brando himself. It's been a long time since we've seen you around these places."

Pucci couldn't help but notice how close they were, how their eyes were glued to one another's lips. Dan was very attractive, his handsome face made even sultrier by the violet light that was falling on him, toned pectorals and caramel-tinted skin peeking from his open shirt. Pucci assumed he was one of Dio's 'breaks', one of the beautiful people he fucked only because they were beautiful.

"I'm rather busy these days, I'm afraid."

"It's good to have you back," Dan purred, leaning closer to Dio. His glimmering eyes moved to Pucci, scanning him with a lascivious grin.

Using a long index finger, Dio tipped Dan's chin back to him. "He's off limits."

Dan gave Pucci another long, hungry look. "Shame," he huffed. "How can I help you?"

"Is Vanilla Ice here tonight?"

"Yeah, he's somewhere in the back. Go sit on a table and I'll send him over."

They walked away and found a round table with plush magenta chairs that offered a great view of the main stage. It looked like it was the man stage. It was bigger than the others, with more lights and excitement buzzing within the crowd below it. Pucci gazed around the strip club, at the strippers and the customers and the little details, like the glitter on the purple velvet walls. Everywhere he looked he saw gorgeous people wearing close to nothing, taunting all the hungry customers that were practically crawling at their feet. The strip club was trying to imitate a kitsch palace and they were the rulers, having absolute power over everything. Pucci drank in the sights, oblivious to everything else. It looked good. He could only assume it felt the same way.

While lost in his thoughts, he faintly heard Dio addressing someone. Pucci turned around and immediately froze, shocked by the man that was standing in front of him. He was wearing only a golden glittery leotard that let his impossibly muscular legs fully exposed, as well as stuck to the rest of his masterfully carved body in the most tantalizing way. Long, cinnamon-colored hair was spilling over his shoulders, framing his handsome but icy face. A sharp, defined jaw, cheekbones that could cut a bitch in half, but distant, cruel eyes. Vanilla Ice looked like the type to kick dogs and jump on people out of nowhere in badly lit rooms.

"Enrico," Dio started, "this is my very good friend Vanilla Ice. Ice, this is Enrico Pucci." Typical of Dio to know a man only with his stage name. They didn't shake hands. They nodded sharply, sparing a brief glance on one another.

"To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?" Vanilla Ice asked.

"We are here for one of your new recruits," Dio replied. "What was his name again, Enrico?"

"Oh...I don't know his name." Vanilla Ice's frown deepened. "But I know he's from Florida."

The two looked at Vanilla Ice. "Yeah, we got a new kid from Florida couple of months ago," Vanilla Ice said after a moment of thought. "He's young," he added. "Barely legal."

Dio hummed, intrigued. "How can we see him? We wanna meet him, right Enrico?" Pucci nodded. "Yes."

"I'll go see. Give me a minute." Vanilla Ice walked away, and Pucci found himself unable to take his eyes off from probably the most toned ass he had ever seen.

"Why didn't you tell me you had connections at this place?" Pucci inquired with a small pout. "It would've made things so much easier for me."

Dio offered him one of his irresistible smiles. "That would have made things too easy. I deliberately hid the truth from you because I wanted to drag you out here." Pucci narrowed his eyes. "I want you to live, Enrico!"

"At what cost?"

"The price is irrelevant."

"To you," he sourly mumbled, though the music drowned his voice.

Vanilla Ice returned a short moment later. This time, he sat down on the spare chair and leaned close to the table. "You're in luck. He's coming up on the main stage in five minutes. After he's done, I can take you to the back."

"Excellent!" Dio exclaimed and the faintest glimmer of joy shone in Vanilla Ice's face. Brief, but it was there. "Once again you have proven yourself to be a most valuable ally."

"I don't deserve your praise, Dio." More sexual undertones, intensified by Dio's hand that not-so-subtly slithered towards Vanilla Ice's crotch. Pucci rolled his eyes.

Like Vanilla Ice said, within a few minutes all other performers had wrapped up their acts and all attention was focused on the main stage that was suddenly flooded with fog. An announcer walked on the stage, probably the most heavily dressed person in the entire strip club. He had a thick mustache and beads of sweat rolling down the sides of his face. His orderly three piece attire would look much better in a casino.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he announced with a smile. "I know what you're all here for and it is finally time! He may be only eighteen, but he won over your hearts in the blink of an eye!" The crowd below was sizzling in anticipation over a half-naked teenager. Pucci was both disgusted and intrigued. "Give it up for Diver Down!" hollered the announcer and stepped off the stage, making way for Diavolo's stripper counterpart.

The young man's appearance on the stage made everyone below him lose their shit, screaming and tossing handfuls of dollar bills. And maybe their reaction was justifiable, he was quite attractive. His long, silky, fuschia hair was spilling down his back, perfectly matching the lipstick on his juicy lips. He was wearing a white mesh bodysuit that changed into thigh-high, high-heeled boots. His attire was completed with the shortest skirt Pucci had ever seen, one that barely covered anything as Diver Down twirled around the pole, holding onto it with one hand. He was slender but toned, like almost all of them, with a round ass peeking from under his miniscule skirt. Pucci was immediately drawn to the performance, wonder how the fuck had someone like his brother landed a guy like that.

Diver Down walked to the edge of the stage, slowly getting on his knees and leaning forward, supporting his body on his four limbs. He bent his spine as far as he could, getting on his elbows and lifting his hips so that his ass was over his head. His sharp shoulder blades, the dip of his spine and snarl of his lips made him look like a famished jungle cat, preparing to lunge forward and dig his teeth in his prey. He thrust his hips forward once, twice, before getting back on his knees, letting his hands roam over his chest. He stood up and grinned, a smile filthy and full of promises he had no intention of keeping. He then proceeded to kick a dude in the face though no one seemed to mind.

"He has a knack for violence," Vanilla Ice shrugged.

Diver Down walked back to the pole, circling it like a starving vulture before he grabbed it with steady hands. He lifted his entire body, looping one leg around the pole, stretching the other to a full split as he leaned backward, the tiptoes of his stretched leg almost touching the floor. One woman tried touching his lips but Diver Down bit her fingers. Nobody minded that, either. His muscles flexed as he started spinning around the pole, effortlessly changing his position. He squatted on the floor in front of the pole, hands reaching for it behind him. With a sly smile on his lips, he rocked his hips three times before springing up on his legs, bringing them all the way behind him to latch onto the pole. Dio whistled.

"He's flexible," he mumbled, sounding amused.

Diver Down liked toying with the audience. He haughtily sauntered from one end of the stage to the other, occasionally bending over in front of a lucky few to slap their sweaty faces and stuff their money into those peculiar footprints on his outfit that apparently served as pockets. He leaned close enough to let them touch him, only to fall back a moment too soon. His hands did what the audience couldn't do, exploring his body and tugging on his flimsy garments. He groped his thighs, digging his fingers so harshly until he drew blood, dragging them across his torso, all the while his hips kept rocking ceaselessly, looking down on everyone through heavy lids.

For the finale of his act, Diver Down laid on his back in front of the pole and lifted his body in a way that made it seem as if he was pulled by an invisible chain. He crawled to the pole once more, slowly slithering up to it, standing flush against the metal. He twirled around it two times and then hooked his legs around it, hanging upside down. He let his body drop but before hitting the floor, he rolled on his knees, looking at his worshippers condescendingly over his shoulder.

"Bravo!" Dio 'three margaritas later' Brando applauded. "When can we go see him?"

"In five minutes."

Within a few minutes, the strip club had returned to relative normality. Different performers climbed on the other stages and the crowd in front of the main stage dissolved, gone in search for new excitement. Pucci noticed how some customers were led to the back, to savor some exclusive luxuries. That was where Vanilla Ice took them, leading them through the crowd to the back. It was hectic, with strippers running around and yelling, some having their breaks, chatting while doing their hair and makeup. They followed Vanilla Ice down a narrow and barely lit hallway. They stopped in front of a door and Vanilla Ice stormed in, not bothering knocking.

"Jesus!" hissed the young man, throwing a hand over his heart. "Don't you know how to fucking knock?!"

"You have visitors," Vanilla Ice dryly said before leaving.

Pucci glanced around the dressing room. It was exactly as he had seen in the movies, with just a vanity unit and a shady couch, as well as countless Disney memorabilia. Obviously the owner's personal touch.

"I don't know what they told you guys but I'm not an escort," he said dismissively. Regardless of his statement, Pucci reached inside his satchel and brought out several stacks of hundred-dollar bills. Diver Down narrowed his eyes. "Don't you have ears?"

"I'm not giving you this money because I want to fuck you."

"Then?"

"Take it. It's twenty grand, more than enough for you to leave my brother and fuck off wherever you want."

Diver Down's eyes widened, pink false lashes fluttering as his lips smirked with amusement. "You're Enrico," he stated. He scanned Pucci and leaned back in his chair. "Weather told me you'd do something like that."

Pucci's grip around the money tightened. "Then you'll have no questions. Take the money and leave."

Diver Down scoffed. "Why? Because you asked me to?"

"What's holding you here?" Pucci snapped. "Are you after my family's money? If money's the issue, I can give you more than this."

"I don't want your money. I know you're only giving it to me because if I leave, there won't be a scandal in your family."

"What do you want then?"

"Nothing. I just love throwing families into disarray." He crossed one knee over the other. "When I was fifteen, I married this guy I met at a bar. Didn't sleep with him or anything, just wanted to see his wife leave him."

Pucci looked at him in disbelief. "You're fucked in the head," he said.

"Take your money and get the hell out of here," the stripper merely offered him. "Or I'll shove it up your ass."

"I'll shove it up your ass if you don't apologize to him immediately," Dio demanded.

Diver Down snorted. "I'd like to see you try, cunt."

At that, Dio lunged for the stripper before Pucci could blink. They tumbled on the floor, limbs tangled, hands buried into one another's hair. The stripper got on top, landing a clean punch right across Dio's jaw, splitting his lips. Dio responded with a sharp elbow right into his nose, making the bone crack as he buried it deeper. The younger man curled over, feeling the blood that was gushing from his nose. He looked at Dio with predatory eyes and jumped at him, stabbing one of his hair clips into Dio's thighs. Dio reached up and wrapped his hands around the other man's neck, squeezing him viciously, eyes spitting flames. And Pucci looked on in utter shock, holding twenty thousand dollars in his hand, not sure what to do.

 

 


 

 

 


"There you guys are," Diavolo exclaimed when he walked in his house and found his two friends sitting on the couch.

"Didn't take you long enough," Valentine murmured, staring right into his eyes.

"Guess not." Diavolo yawned lazily. "Do we got any beer left?"

"Check the fridge."

Diavolo nodded and headed for the kitchen. Valentine waited silently to hear him open the fridge and reach for a beer. He waited until Diavolo cracked the can open and started drinking.

“Donatella Una came by today,” he announced and the beer flew out of Diavolo's nose and mouth. He moved to the sink to cough violently, as if he was trying to cough out his intestines. Then, rapid footsteps, growing nearer and in a matter of seconds, there Diavolo was, standing right in front of Valentine, eyes wide in shock, panting, with beer dripping from his chin. “You know her, right?” Valentine asked innocently.

“What the fuck?” Diavolo wheezed.

“I'll tell you what the fuck.” Valentine unfolded his endless legs in one fluid motion and stood up, standing blonde and bright next to Diavolo's darkness. “After you disappeared without a trace, she tailed you here.”

Diavolo stilled his disbelieving gaze on Valentine, scoffing. “Cut the shit,” he grumbled.

Diavolo thought that Valentine was joking but one look at the blond's stony face was enough to make him inexplicably nervous. “I'm serious, Diavolo,” Valentine said, voice sharp and clear, commanding Diavolo's full attention. “She looked for you everywhere and when she finally find your house, she said she'd rather talk to me, as she was afraid of your reaction.”

“What? My reaction about what?”

“She's pregnant, Diavolo,” Kira cut in, nervously staring at Diavolo from his seat on the couch. Diavolo's gaze shifted at him and Kira flinched. He wasn't scared of him, everything had fallen on Valentine. But the slow realization of the words made Diavolo's eyes glimmer with ferocity and Kira could hear a hundred million paranoid thoughts speeding through is mind.

“Did you hear that?” Valentine asked, voice lacking mirth or tenderness. It only held severity, and so did his tightly knitted brows. “She's pregnant with your child.”

Diavolo took a step back, still not sure of what was going on. A part of his brain still believed this was nothing more than a really bad joke, one of Valentine's most terrible ones. Or most successful, depending on the outcome. But little by little, his friends' silence and the ice in Valentine's eyes confirmed his worst fear. He had known ever since Valentine mentioned Donatella's name, he just kept childishly clinging to the last bit of hope he had.

“I understand your shock,” Valentine continued and his voice reached Diavolo distantly, “but we really need to talk about this.”

“Where is she?” he rasped.

Valentine paused. “Why?”

“I wanna speak with her,” Diavolo replied in a voice far too calm for Valentine's liking. He could taste the underlying anger in it, could see the tell-tale signs of a storm growing in the pits of Diavolo's stomach.

“I know you,” Valentine stated. “You want to kill her, don't you?”

There was no point in answering that. Valentine knew what Diavolo wanted to do, could smell his intentions in that beastly look he gave him. “This is my own problem,” Diavolo told him, voice getting angrier with each word.

“And so far you've handled it beautifully!” Valentine exclaimed in annoyance. He had crossed the limits of his patience, had spent it all on Donatella. At the end of the day, it was his fault for putting so much faith in Diavolo. More than he deserved, anyway. “You got a woman pregnant, do you realize what that even means?!”

“What's it to you, huh?!” Diavolo barked back. Kira stood up, not yet intervening but standing by, ready to do so. “Why do you care?!”

“Why do I care!” Valentine parroted. “If not me, then who? You're out all night doing God-knows-what, you give a woman a fake identity and disappear two months later and you also manage to get her pregnant! Do you even realize what you've done?” Valentine didn't wait for a response. Frustrated, he started pacing up and down the room. “I always -always- knew your stupid little games would come and bite you in the ass but never in this way. Did you know?” he asked. “Of course, you did. You kept fucking her without a single care in the world, knowing full well that you could disappear whenever you pleased!”

Diavolo watched as Valentine kept walking up and down the room, monologuing about how he had told him so a million times. One by one, the nerves in Diavolo's head started popping. His left eye was twitching, face getting hotter with each passing second. Grabbing the coffee table by the legs, he flipped it over, shattering everything on it. Killer Queen fled the scene in distress and Kira jumped back. Valentine stopped, looking at Diavolo with a quirked eyebrow.

“When Donatella came to me,” Valentine started, “she told me she had done so because she was scared you'd turn violent. She was right.”

“Fuck you!” Diavolo hollered. “You don't have the right to tell me how to live my life!”

“This is just about your life anymore, Diavolo! It's about the life of an innocent child that will come into this world with you for a father!”

“I don't want her fucking baby! I don't care what she does with it!”

“That's a damn lie and we both know it!” Valentine walked up to Diavolo, standing almost a head shorter. “I know that the moment I walk through this door, you're gonna go look for her and kill her!”

“So what! This has nothing to do with you! Mind your own fucking business!”

“You just told me you'll kill a pregnant woman and you think I'm gonna let you?! Where is this going, Diavolo? What are you doing with your life?”

“Why do you fucking care?!”

“Because I'm your friend! And I'm probably the only person on this Earth that gives a shit about you!”

“I never asked you to! I never asked any of you!”

“Diavolo-”

“No. I don't need your advice, I don't need anything from you!”

Valentine didn't let him finish his sentence. “You think you don't but you obviously do!” His eyes softened, glancing at Diavolo through thick lashes. “Let me help you.”

“I don't need help! Yours or anyone else's!”

“What's going on?” asked Dio, who had just arrived in the middle of a shouting match, undetected. With a wrapped up thigh and fucked up makeup, he looked like he had a story to tell, though his could wait for a bit.

The other three all fell silent. Valentine looked at Diavolo who was still standing right in front of him, practically foaming from the mouth. “Aren't you gonna tell him?”

“Shut the fuck up already! Do you have a hero complex? Why do you always feel the need to set people on 'the right track'?”

“He got a woman pregnant,” Valentine said, ignoring Diavolo.

Dio's jaw dropped, eyes widening. “Are you serious?”

“Yup! And his solution to this crisis is to murder her!”

Astonished, Dio walked over to Kira, merely a bystander at this brewing catfight. He was too tired to participate in another fight so, like Kira, he got ready to intervene if anything happened.

“I don't need you to tell me what to do, Funny!” Diavolo screamed, enraged. “I don't need you in my life! I can handle my own problems!”

For a second, it seemed like Valentine was about to speak. But he didn't. He laughed mirthlessly, shaking his head in disbelief. He walked to his coat, picking it up and slipping it on.

“You're gonna die alone, Diavolo,” Valentine said before walking out the door, voice bearing the slightest hint of sadness. That was his weakness, his inability to cancel out his emotions, his humanity.

“That's the fucking plan.”

Valentine spared him a final glance before leaving, closing the door behind him. Diavolo clenched his fist around his phone and tossed it at the door, watching as it fell on the floor in a million little pieces. But Valentine was gone, too far to hear any more of Diavolo's meltdown. Only his scent lingered, as well as his words, a thorn in Diavolo's heart.

 

Chapter Text

 


Chapter 3

 


It was cold as balls and the asphalt was slippery from all the rain, but Diavolo kept going, kept running towards Donatella's apartment. Stationed cars and buildings passed by him in a blur, became nothing in his furious eyes. He was seeing red and like a bull, he was beelining towards it. He was acting purely on instinct. He didn't have a plan, an ounce of logic or any idea on what the hell was going on. Whenever his brain stopped working, his body jolted awake. And so there he was, running as if chased by hellhounds -or rather, as if he was a hellhound himself- fists clenched tightly.

His far more orderly and pristine neighborhood soon shifted to modest rows of homes, shops that had run out of business and buildings with neglected exteriors. With the corner of his eye, Diavolo saw the apartment building Donatella lived in and immediately headed for it, barging through the flimsy door and breaking it in the process. He stomped up the stairs, making the entire staircase rattle. When he reached her floor, his vision blurred, canceling out everything around him but Donatella's door. Diavolo blew hot steam from his nostrils and charged for the door, slamming his fists on the tarnished wood. The frame rattled, they could even hear him yelling from the street below but he was getting no response. He stepped back a little bit and rammed the door down with his entire body, effectively breaking it off its hinges and landing it on the floor.

The small apartment was completely dark and quiet, the only light being that from the corridor. Diavolo punched some switches on and started running inside the different rooms. He turned over the kitchen table and tore apart the shower curtain, flipped the bed and pushed the empty closet down. Diavolo stood in the middle of the messed up room, breathing heavily. Her clothes were all gone, it was obvious she had gone somewhere. But where? She had no family here, had only a few friends... Diavolo walked to the window and poked his head out, exposing half of his sweaty self to the cold November air. Even at 3 AM, some parts of the city were lively. He gazed out to the street below, all sorts of people walking up and down in flocks or alone. Faceless, rectangular buildings with a hundred yellow glowing eyes stood in the distance, becoming more refined and taller the further in they went. The sky above the city was pitch black and lacking any stars. Somewhere in the far distance, it merged with the black abyss of the sea.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" hollered an old, stout man, standing at the hallway with his hands on his hips and his robe hanging open, revealing his baggy underwear. "Coming in here in the dead of the night and breaking my shit! Who do you expect to pay for all this?!"

Just as his voice was dying out, Diavolo pulled out his gun and with steady hands, shot the man in the knee. Neverminding his screams and gush of blood, he grabbed him by the head and brought his head against the wall several times, until his body went limp like a ragdoll, a small pool of wine-like blood pouring from his cracked skull. Before there could be any witnesses to his actions, Diavolo hurriedly walked down the stairs. Once outside, he lit a cigarette and took the first drag, letting its bitterness fill his mouth before puffing all the smoke out. He started walking, heading to the fancier parts of the city. This time, his stride was far calmer, back a bit hunched as was always the case with him.

Valentine's street was far quieter than the other parts of the city. Respectable, upper-class families lived there, and they were all supposed to be sleeping, preparing for another day of working and being model Americans. Diavolo leaned on the brick wall across Valentine's house, observing the dark windows. Were they in there? Maybe they had gone somewhere, perhaps out for the night. Or maybe Scarlet had gone out for the night and Valentine was patiently waiting for her. Or maybe, just maybe, they were making love. Diavolo licked his lips as he exhaled. Come to think of it, he knew nothing about Valentine's sex life. He only knew he had only ever been with one person. Valentine looked like a very serious, no-nonsense guy but maybe he was into things. Most of those perfect guys were. What sort of things? What did he like? Bondage? Oh, he'd look absolutely sublime tied down and fucked into dizziness, until his sweet mouth was drooling. Hell, he'd look divine in a nice corset, complete with stocking and heels. Oh, Diavolo shuddered at the thought of the blond strutting around in nothing but high heels.

Or maybe they were sleeping.

After finishing his cigarette, Diavolo crushed it under his foot and slowly made his way to Valentine's house. Specifically, Diavolo halted in front of his car. One of them, anyway. Fucking rich kid had a Porsche – for convenience, he said – and a brand new Bugatti, a birthday gift from his parents. Diavolo stopped in front of the stationed Porsche. A baseball bat would've been great but oh well.

First things first, Diavolo kicked the right mirror, kicking it some more until it was dangling pathetically, barely hold onto the rest of the car. He did the same thing to the other one and the destruction of the mirrors triggered the alarm but Diavolo stayed indifferent. He jumped on the hood, stomping angrily until there was a dent on the pristine, shiny, white metal. He yanked the windshield cleaners and managed to break one of, tossing it on the pavement next to him. Then, he started kicking the windshield. Sturdy thing, as expected, but not unyielding. He kicked and kicked until the first crack appeared, all the while the residents around him were slowly waking up and were watching from their windows, too baffled to do anything. Diavolo's foot broke through the glass, making tiny shards fly all over the dashboard and leather seats.

"Funny!" That was Scarlet's voice. "Diavolo's wrecking your car!"

"I'll wreck his fucking face!" Diavolo hollered.

He looked up. A few seconds later, Valentine's head poked through the window. Despite the deep scowl on his face, he still looked very sleepy. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Where is she?" Diavolo demanded.

"Where is who?"

"Don't act fucking dumb!"

"Go home, Diavolo. It's too late for your bullshit," was all he said before going back in and shutting the window.

"Hey!" Diavolo jumped off the messed up car and started banging on Valentine's door. He rammed against it a few times but it didn't even budge. He pushed harder, trying to kick the lock in but to no avail. Enraged, he grabbed one of the broken mirrors and threw it at one window. It bounced right off, having accomplished nothing.

"Get back here!" he yelled. Silence. All his attempts at 'luring' Valentine out there were unsuccessful. He should have known there was no way Valentine would ever actually come.

"This isn't over yet!" he promised before walking away, to go home and figure out a way of making his promise a reality.

 

 

 


 

 

 


"Diavolo is the type of guy who breaks things."

"Literally?"

"And metaphorically." Valentine shook his head in exasperation. He furrowed his brows, still gently massaging Scarlet's legs and feet. "I don't mind that he trashed my car and I don't mind that he's taking his frustration on me. But I know he won't calm down before he finds her."

Scarlet got more comfortable on the couch, laying with a sleeping puppy on her stomach. At almost three months, Sugar still looked like a tiny stuffed toy. "And what are you going to do?"

"Anything to avert his attention from her to me. I want him to chase after me, not her because I can deal with him." Scarlet hummed. She had a lot to say on the matter but she was defeated by a very persistent wave of nausea, a splitting headache, and incredibly sore limbs. At least he was taking good care of her, with blankets and soups and massages.

"Please forgive me," he sighed, "for dragging you into this mess when you're feeling unwell."

"I don't mind it," she said softly. "I know you'll make sure we're okay." He gave her a small smile. "Though to tell you the truth, I'm still a bit annoyed about this whole situation."

"What do you mean?"

"How you decided to adopt a child without consulting me."

"Oh..." Valentine cleared his throat. "It was all I could think of at the moment. I know I messed up."

His long lashes fluttered as he waited for a response. Scarlet sighed. She shifted slightly, groaning at the sharp pain in her lower abdomen. "We'll find a way." Again, her tiredness didn't let her give him a proper response. Had the circumstances been different, she would've kicked his ass for doing something like that.

"See it as training, for when we have a family of our own," he said in a much chipper tone.

"Can't wait," Scarlet groaned with a roll of her eyes.

Valentine chuckled. "Did you go to the doctor's?"

"Not yet." He lifted his head, pinning her with his crystal clear gaze. She smiled apologetically. "He left for a summit or something in France. I have an appointment for the end of the month."

"The end of the month?!" he exclaimed, making his puppy jump awake. He scratched her behind the ears, lulling her into sleep. "Why don't you go to a different one? You can't wait that long!"

"She's the only one I trust, Funny. I can be patient for a little while." He didn't like the sound of that. He scowled deeply and she grinned, trying to tickle him with her toes. "I'm going to be okay, baby. It's probably nothing."

"I don't like probably."

"I'll be fine!" she insisted. "I can only get better with you fussing over me like I'm a newborn!"

Valentine sighed deeply. He kept rubbing her feet, gently pressing down on her soles and tugging on her toes. He remained silent, opting to say nothing more but having one more thing to worry about.

 

 


 

 

 

Needless to say, Diavolo's fuck up had deeply distressed Dio. Diavolo was brash, careless and despite his intelligence, he often acted purely on instinct, purely on rage and desire. Dio liked to believe he was calmer (he wasn't) and more capable of rational thinking (no). There were times where he indulged himself and so far there had been no unfortunate mistakes, but Diavolo's own very unfortunate mistake had given Dio the wake-up call he needed in order to terminate his unorthodox but not uncommon relationship with Haruka. The chances to do so presented themselves often, since they saw one another often during the photoshoots, but Dio decided to do it somewhere more private, so that any potential tantrums could be easily handled.

"Tonight," he told Kars over the phone. "I'll tell Jojo to drop me off near her house when we're done. I'll take care of her then."

"Finally. I was wondering how long it would take you."

"Aren't you worried about drama among your employees?"

"Not at all," the older man replied. "I was going to fire her, anyway. I don't condone habits like hers in my company."

"Fair enough. Oh, shit. Here he comes."

"Good luck."

"Thanks."

Dio shoved his phone in his pocket right as Jonathan walked up to him, wearing another heart-warming smile. Even in his lackluster outfit, he radiated a gentle, soothing glow. Although, Dio's experienced eye caught Jonathan's subtle efforts to impress him. Jonathan was dressed simply, like always, in a tan-colored coat, bright red fuzzy turtleneck and simple black pants, complete with black ankle boots. His face was flushed, sweet pink dusting his cheeks, and so were his knuckles. The weather was rapidly getting colder, and it was obvious Jonathan had underestimated it.

"Hello," he greeted warmly.

"Good evening."

"Thanks for waiting."

"Oh, it's nothing." Jonathan nodded. "So what's the plan?"

They started walking along the sidewalk, passing by well-lit shops, some of which had bravely and defiantly put on their Christmas gear. "Like I told you on the phone, I'm the worst at choosing gifts, especially for birthdays. And who better to help me than you, a man with such amazing taste!"

Dio couldn't help but smirk smugly, puffing out his chest like a peacock. It was obvious that Jonathan had little to no taste but fortunately for him, he had enough common sense to ask for Dio's assistance. "You flatter me, Jojo," he purred as he looped one arm around one of Jonathan's own, pulling his body close against the hard but sadly clothed muscle.

Jonathan gave him a smile, small, sweet, childish, that reached his bright eyes. "I'm just stating the facts."

Dio hummed. The fact that Jonathan was so sweetly, almost innocently, flirting with him without realizing it made him even more delicious. At that moment, he felt like an empty canvas at the mercy of Dio's inspiration. It would honestly be wonderful debauching that sweet boy after sucking him dry, leaving him but a shadow of what he used to be.

"What does your friend like?"

"He likes expensive things. Clothes, books, wine, perfume...I'm sure his skincare costs more than my liver!"Jonathan laughed at that but Dio was honestly impressed. Always pleasant seeing a man dedicated to his skincare routine. "But he hates his birthday."

Dio gave him a weird look. "Then why are you buying him a present?"

"I just hope I'll change his mind!" He sighed. "Every year it's the same thing. Whenever his birthday approaches he gets colder than usual, rude, and downright hostile. And during his birthday he stays locked in his room, screaming about how death is imminent, how he is growing old at a rapid pace and how he's going to look like a raisin by the time he wakes up."

Dio let out a little chuckle. "Which friend is that?"

"Straizo."

"Ah. I remember him." His memory was definitely more pleasant than that of Will Zeppeli's or Robert fucking Speedwagon's. Dio chose to forget about that horrible Erina altogether. "Seems a bit colder than the rest of you."

"He is," Jonathan told Dio while the stopped to inspect a shoe store, "but aren't all friend groups diverse?"

That much was true. One look at Dio's own group of friends was enough to verify that. Were they still friends though? Had those latest developments broken them apart? Would he have to take a side? Damn Valentine and his annoying sense of justice. And damn Diavolo and his inability to control his dick.

"I can't think of anything appropriate," Jonathan complained, breaking Dio out of his contemplation.

"Why don't you buy him chocolates?" Dio suggested. Jonathan looked at him quizzically. "They can help fix his mood and they won't last long enough to remind him of his birthday."

At Dio's suggestion, Jonathan's eyes lit up like the shops around them. Dio blinked, surprised. It was a pretty sight.

"Dio, that's a wonderful idea!" he exclaimed. Jonathan was obviously very generous with his compliments and affection. A man yearning for a loving touch, perhaps? "Come on," he prompted, grabbing Dio by the hand and clumsily dragging him down the stream of people, "I know just the place."

Dio wasn't much of a sweet tooth but even he couldn't help but be impressed at the chocolaterie Jonathan led him to. Even from a block away, he could smell the intoxicating aroma of the chocolate, which only became richer and more refined once he stepped inside. Surrounding him were rows of shelves and displays, showcasing the most fascinating chocolates, most of which he had never seen before, had never even imagined existed. All the customers appeared entranced by their surroundings, exclaiming enthusiastically at the endless types of chocolate. Dio stopped in front of a display, looking at some very lovely chocolate bites with a caramel core and pink salt sprinkled on top.

"You like these?" Jonathan asked.

"Not sure. I tend to prefer savory things."

Jonathan reached inside the display, picking one chocolate piece from the offered silver platter. "No harm in trying," he smiled.

Dio opened his mouth ever so slightly, allowing Jonathan to slip the sweet past his dark green lips. The moment his sharp teeth crushed the defenseless sweet, overwhelming flavor filled every corner of his mouth, the smooth sweetness of the combined chocolate and caramel combated by the coarse salt. Before he could retract his hand, Dio managed to brush the tip of his tongue over Jonathan's fingers. Dio grinned at the reaction, at the almost feverish blush that was covering Jonathan's cheeks.

"How's that?" Jonathan asked in a very low voice.

"Sweet like yourself." An old and perhaps corny line, but certainly very effective. Jonathan coughed awkwardly, trying to hide his blush.

Dio sauntered away laughing, enjoying the taste of the chocolate and his success. Jonathan followed, apologizing profusely as he made his way through the other customers, all the while trying not to knock something over.

"What's your favorite?" Dio wanted to know.

"Any kind. Except for dark chocolate. It's too bitter for me."

"Are you sure?" Dio teased, holding a small chocolate ball, filled with rich cream millimeters away from Jonathan's face. As the other man opened his mouth to answer, Dio shoved the chocolate inside his it, shutting his jaw and thus prompting him to chew.

"This one gets a pass," Jonathan remarked with the seriousness of a scholar, mouth still a bit full. He looked around him with wide eyes, filled with equal parts desire and exasperation. "Oh, dear...We better choose a gift soon, otherwise, I might end up eating this entire place!"

They ended up asking for assistance, saying that the gift was intended for someone dark and mysterious, the type of man that always had a secret. Jonathan, ever the gentleman, bought Dio a box of chocolates the blond chose. They left the shop right as it was about to close, holding the chosen items in golden paper bags, each decorated with a fancy bow. The city had gone quieter though it wasn't asleep just yet. The wind had gotten colder, forcing the two men to swaddle themselves in their coats and come closer for warmth. Without discussing it, they let their feet carry them to 'The Emperor', where they could get warm and entertain themselves while watching Hol Horse's attempts at romance.

"Dio?"

The voice came from behind him, small and feeble, barely audible over the traffic and howling wind. Dio turned around to see the owner and froze in place, weather conditions unrelated. There, leaning against a wall just a few meters away from him stood Haruka, trying to not fall down miserably. To a completely sober Dio, she looked like a living, breathing abomination. She was pale under the flickering street light, paler than usual. There was blood trickling from her nose and she tried wiping it off with the back of her shaking hand. She took a step forward but her heels weren't enough to support her. Before she could fall on the sidewalk, Dio lunged forward and held her up.

"I wanted to speak with you," she smiled, voice oozing with drunken glee.

"Will you excuse me for a minute, Jojo?" Dio said, jaw clenched so hard that his head hurt, teeth grinding together.

"...sure," Jonathan answered numbly.

Dio sprang up, digging his hand inside Haruka's skinny arm, holding her as tight as a vice. He dragged her inside the near alley and slammed her body against the brick wall, his forearm pressed hard against the throat. She trashed weakly under him, trying to pry his arm off. Dio could kill her right there, just a little more pressure and she'd be dead. Or maybe he could burn her with the fire dripping from his eyes. Pure, black wrath took over every cell in his body.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he hissed, voice low, threatening, poisonous.

He let Haruka fall on the dirty floor coughing, grabbing at her throat. "I-I just...I had to see you, D-Dio! I h-had-"

Dio didn't wait for whatever moronic answer she was going to give him. He grabbed the skeletal woman with enough force to break her bones and threw her at the dumpster. Haruka crashed against the filthy metal and collapsed on the ground, groaning at the blood that was gushing from her nose, even more than before. Dio reached for his wallet and emptied its contents all over the very dizzy and disoriented Haruka.

"Here," he glowered. "Take this and fuck off. If you ever approach me again, I will kill you."

He exited the alley, not bothering looking back. If he was lucky, some other deadbeat would find her, steal her money and kill her. Or maybe she had died already. She definitely looked the part. Dio rejoined Jonathan who was visibly very confused, eyeing his date with furrowed brows.

"Is everything alright?" he inquired.

"It's fine," Dio sighed with a shake of his head. Jonathan didn't seem convinced. "I'm sorry, Jojo, but could you take me home? I'll explain everything on the way."

It took a while to reach Jonathan's car and they walked the entire distance in silence, not looking at each other. Or rather, Dio spent the entire trip looking at his feet, trying to look calm while figuring out a lie to cover this strange encounter and Jonathan was glancing at him, honestly confused and unable to think of anything to ask. Jonathan opened the door for Dio before climbing in himself and they took off, heading to Dio's house.

"Wait," Dio suddenly said as they were passing by a dark, desolate park. Jonathan obliged. He parked the car by the park's entrance, scanning the eerily empty area in front of him. "I...That woman you saw, that junkie, she's a photographer from work and lately, she's been chasing me. She even showed up at my house at night and started yelling."

"What does she want?"

"Me," Dio laughed mirthlessly.

"Why haven't you spoken to the police about her?"

"I don't want to do this to her. You saw the state she's in. She'll die so much faster if they throw her in some jail."

Jonathan fell silent for a few seconds. In the limited light, Dio couldn't read his expression. "You're a good man, Dio," Jonathan decided, one of his strong, calloused hands reaching for Dio's slender pale ones.

Dio lunged forward, his lips latching on Jonathan's own. One hand flew at Jonathan's jaw, holding him in place firmly but also gently, so as not to scare him. The kiss itself was chaste, only open lips pressed against each other, lacking the borderline vulgarity Dio adored and craved. Jonathan's lips were incredibly soft, feeling like plush cushions against Dio's mouth. Dio could only get a slight taste of chocolate that had mischievously stuck on Jonathan's lips. He slowly opened his eyes after a few seconds, curiously studying Jonathan's face. They parted very reluctantly, their faces mere millimeters away from one another. Jonathan grabbed both sides of Dio's head crashed their mouths together with more vigor. Dio let out a pleased moan at the sudden change of atmosphere. Despite his coyness and gentleness, Jonathan very eagerly parted his lips, letting his tongue slide along Dio's own, pulling them even closer. His lips bit down on Dio's lips softly and he sucked on his bottom lip playfully, releasing it before diving in once more.

They parted again, indigo eyes staring into hazy amber, lids heavy and thick with lust. Dio rose from the passenger's seat as much as the small space allowed him and moved to straddle Jonathan. The position was awkward, his feet were crammed on the sides of the driver's seat and the wheel was digging painfully in his lower back. But the view was worth it. There Jonathan was, beneath him, blushing and panting, lips glistening. Jonathan reached up to press his lips on Dio's neck, softly at first, before his touches got overcome with hunger. His arms circled around Dio's waist, holding him in place. Dio grabbed the back of Jonathan's head, pressing him even harder against his neck. Jonathan's mouth was free to explore every bit of alabaster flesh, feel the beat of Dio's heart under his tongue as he peppered kisses across his jawline. His curious lips found Dio's spotted earlobe and he sucked on it wetly, eliciting a sweet, wanton moan from the blond. Dio arched his neck, allowing Jonathan more movement, while also grinding his hips against Jonathan's crotch. His free hand crept down in Jonathan's groin and he smiled as he felt his half-hard cock under his fingertips. Jonathan gasped against his neck, jerking his hips into Dio's grasp.

Dio leaned down, lips grazing Jonathan's ear, hot breath setting his sweat on fire. "All we did was kiss a little and you're already this hard for me..." he purred, dexterous fingers massaging the inside of Jonathan's thigh.

He could feel him getting harder by the minute but he wasn't in a much better state himself. Even through thick denim, he could feel how big Jonathan was. Lust, curiosity and animalistic desire filled his veins, telling him that he needed nothing more than to have that wonderful cock inside him as soon as possible. Oh, the pain would be sublime. Dio could already feel his own member twitching with need.

"Wa-wait!" Jonathan suddenly said, taking Dio's hands into his own to pause his ministrations. Dio looked at him with both confusion and annoyance.

"Is something wrong?"

"No! God no...nothing's wrong! It's just that...I want to take things slow, Dio. Let things progress naturally with time."

Dio frowned. It still baffled him how Jonathan could go from the most delicious thing to an annoying bastard so quickly. "This is natural," he said, voice a bit too cold for his liking. "We didn't need to push anything."

"I know. But I would feel so much better if we waited a bit before getting too serious." The lust in his eyes washed away, replaced by sincere worry. "I've only known you for two months and I don't want to rush things." He gave Dio an apologetic half-smile. "Please try to understand."

Dio huffed. He could force Jonathan's inhibitions out of his mind with the risk of scaring him or be patient. It wasn't that Jonathan had been reluctant with his advances, quite the opposite actually. The attraction was there and that much was obvious. He would just have to wait a little for Jonathan's desire to ripen.

“Don't worry, Jojo,” Dio muttered. “I understand.”

Jonathan gave him a relieved smile. Dio climbed off and got back in his seat. Jonathan started the car, this time heading straight to Dio's house.

 

 


 

 

 

Even though Dio didn't care at all about people's opinions on him (a lie), there was a certain burst of prideful glee from the looks he got whenever he walked inside the lecture hall. Every pair of eyes looked up hungrily as if nothing would interest them more than to see what he was wearing. Every head searched for him and his otherworldly beauty, wondering how to approach him or if he was even real.

Well, almost every head.

“It's been two weeks since Diavolo trashed your car and you still haven't taken any actions against him.”

“Oh, I'm not the vengeful type.” Valentine most certainly wasn't. But he was sneaky and very unassuming. Dio couldn't help but be suspicious of his crooked little smile and twinkling cobalt eyes. “But I do love justice.”

Dio nodded slowly. Valentine always said things like that and honestly, it was weird. Foreign. “What do you mean?”

“I'll just give Diavolo what he deserves,” Valentine simply shrugged, twirling an enviable lock of hair around a dainty finger.

“And what's that?”

“I was thinking the other day that maybe there's more people out there that are looking for him and can't find him. More people he's caused problems to.” His relaxed smile dropped, replaced by a mask of neutrality with the slightest sliver of anger hidden in the back of his throat, barely distinguishable. “It's time he stopped treating people like sex dolls.”

“You know he'll keep getting away with this, right?” Dio scoffed.

“Not on my watch,” was all Valentine said and Dio could taste the determination in his voice, the anger and bit of sadness, carefully tucked in between. Valentine's eyes had gone dark, jaw clenched, and it seemed as if he was talking to some greater audience rather than Dio. As if he was making a promise to Diavolo's unborn child.

 


 

 

Diavolo didn't even know why he was bothering with grad school anymore. What the hell was he going to do with a degree, anyway? He had no need for that, he was just passing time. For him, university was more of a hobby, though he was thinking of dropping, as day to day interactions with hundreds of others filled him with dread and disgust.

He exited the main building, relieved that another day was over and started making his way to the subway station. He held his head low, back slightly hunched, feet quick, deaf and blind to the world around him. Winter at Boston was cruel and unforgiving and Diavolo cursed under his breath for wearing nothing more than a leather jacket and a black shirt. He could feel the cold creep inside his pants. His damn toes had gotten numb. He made his way to the station as quickly as he could, all the while thunder rolled in the distance behind him.

Before going down on the station, he took out a cigarette and placed it between his lips. He shielded it from the cold, moist atmosphere and tried lighting in, grumbling angrily as all his attempts weren't fruitful. The moment the flame finally latched on the cigarette, he heard snickering, that sly, mocking kind. He paid it no mind at first but then it got louder, with murmuring adding to the mix. He looked up, annoyed gaze falling on a group of college students standing just a few meters away from him. They quickly looked away, though still laughing.

“What the fuck's so funny?” he demanded, taking a hostile step towards them.

One, obviously the bravest, looked up and Diavolo followed her gaze. Standing upright, freshly done and proud upon a tall building was a billboard, one that featured a very rare picture of Diavolo, taken at The Emperor, with the caption 'Have You Seen This Man? He Owes $2.000.000 In Child Support', followed by some contact information. The sheer horror coursing through Diavolo's system caused the cigarette to fall on the ground, instantaneously putting itself out.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 4

 

 

Being patient wasn't one of Diavolo's redeeming qualities but just this once, he was willing to wait. The world around him was revolving around university courses but he stayed indifferent to it all. He spent the morning leaning on the brick wall across Valentine's house, smoking cigarette after cigarette, ignoring his rumbling stomach. It took a while, took pulling some favors from the mafia but by 5 PM, he had the key to Valentine's house. With that in hand, he unlocked the door and stepped into the empty house, to carry on with his plan.

Diavolo almost had a heart attack when he heard noise upon entering but after some closer examination, he determined that it was Sugar. When she saw him, the little Corgi excitedly galloped towards him, the golden bell in her diamond encrusted pink Givenchy collar jiggling. She barked her tiny barks and Diavolo couldn't help petting her. She still sounded like a squeaky toy. She was so happy to see him, wondering why he had disappeared for so long.

After petting her for a while, Diavolo let go of the small dog and headed upstairs, to Valentine's bedroom. He scoffed at the sight that awaited him. The master bedroom was clean and orderly, as one would expect of Valentine. It was mainly white and red, with a white duvet and cozy blanket atop the imposing four-poster bed, along with several pillows in varying shades of red. A fuzzy white rug was thrown at the floor and a wine-colored armchair stood at the corner, between the full-body mirror and dresser. Diavolo approached their nightstands. Hairpins, red nail polish and crime novels on Scarlet's, hairpins, clear nail polish and crime novels on Valentine's. Diavolo tripped over something, Valentine's slippers. Of course, he had slippers. He had everything. In fact, he had a matching pair of slippers for every pair of PJs he owned. What an absolute asshole.

Seeing that he still had time, Diavolo ventured into their walk-in closet. Scarlet loved red and it showed. Almost all her clothes were red, with some black thrown into the mix every now and again. She was a passionate bag collector, with her designer and limited edition purses and backbags being displayed as if in a museum. Going over to Valentine's side, Diavolo saw mainly pink, in varying shades, from blush pink to deep magenta. Valentine also liked white and overall seemed to like minimalistic clothing, with only some of his jackets and jeans having flowers and exotic birds embroidered on them. Diavolo didn't dare touch his pristine glove collection. Although, on second thought, wouldn't it be grand if he shredded everything?

No, he eventually decided. That would be too extreme and he still wanted Valentine back at some point. He just needed Valentine to learn his lesson, which he clearly hadn't, and come to him begging for forgiveness. After all, it was his fault for taking away the woman and child he didn't even want away from him!

He walked into the bathroom, finding it in the same clean and tidy state as the bedroom. The couple showed their wealth in every way possible. Marble floors and sinks, gigantic bathtub, state-of-the-art shower, designer towels and bathrobes, the most expensive toiletries... Diavolo couldn't resist the temptation and opened a bottle of body lotion. He assumed the pink things were Valentine's. The lotion smelled amazing, although a bit too strong. It was a fruity and slightly flowery scent, very sweet, like peach cobbler. It smelled nice. He smelled nice, always clean and fresh and beautiful.

Diavolo caught his reflection in the mirror. Yeah, he didn't look that good. He was very upset so it was expected. He tended to neglect his personal hygiene anyways. His hair was sticking like little horns with the power of grease, leftover mascara and eyeliner were staining his lids and swollen bags, his lips were dry and stained purple. His nail polish was chipped and his nails were jagged, showcasing the fact that he had been biting them, much to Kira's disdain.

God, it had taken half a day to take the damn billboard down and even with that, the damage had already been done. Valentine had kindly given away the number to five of Diavolo's cellphone to the general public. And of course, a few bored ones had called them. Diavolo responded by having all his phones except for one thrown at the sea. Only his friends knew his current number and he sure as hell wasn't planning on giving out any new ones anytime soon. To be honest, the fact that he had impregnated a woman had ruined sex for him, at least for a long time. The simple thought that he had a relative out there – a child, of all things – terrified him. Just what was Valentine planning? Knowing him, he wanted Donatella to give birth, then have her come back with the baby and force Diavolo into starting a happy little family with them, finish his studies, get a job and live the rest of his life as a bald man with an affinity for deck building and strippers, three decades younger than him.

After exploring every nook and cranny of the bathroom, Diavolo finally completed his mission. Satisfied, he turned to leave, but the moment he stepped out of the bathroom, he heard the door open and close. Heels clicking on the floor. Scarlet?

"Aww! I missed you, too!" Valentine.

"Shit!" Diavolo hissed and looked around him in panic. He considered the window. No, they'd surely notice it if a 193 cm man with hot pink hair fell out of nowhere into their backyard. Under the bed? Escape would be impossible in there. The bathroom, then? It had no hiding spots.

Panic surged through his veins. He could hear Scarlet walking around downstairs but he had no clue where Valentine was. Sweat started rolling down the sides of his head. He was standing in the middle of the room, petrified, expecting the worst. The door handle rattled and Diavolo's mind went blank.

"What?" Valentine asked.

"I said your phone's ringing!"

Valentine walked away, murmuring. Diavolo let out the air he had been holding for two minutes. Without giving it much thought, he beelined for the closet and hid behind a row of Valentine's clothes. He was very efficiently hidden behind the sea of Prada, sitting in the corner with his hood up, knees to his chest.

The lights in the room turned on. Scarlet was in the bathroom, mumbling something to herself. Diavolo heard water running, along with the tell-tale sound of teeth getting brushed. Once done with her skincare routine, Scarlet walked into the bedroom and got on the bed, humming softly as she opened a book.

Diavolo sat in absolute silence, just listening to Scarlet turn page every now and again. He didn't know how much time had passed but Valentine was still downstairs. Diavolo could faintly make out the sounds of the TV and tiny barks. His heart leaped to his chest and he almost screamed when the door suddenly opened. How Scarlet managed to stay sane while living with a man who walked around like a ghost was a mystery. It was one of those weird little things Valentine did that freaked Diavolo out.

"How are you feeling?" he asked her.

"Sleepy," Scarlet yawned.

"Want me to get you anything? I made some chamomile for myself."

"No, I don't think I can drink even water right now." A small thud. Scarlet set her book aside. "I just want to sleep."

"Did you call the doctor I told you about?"

"Not yet." Silence. "Don't give me that look, I said not yet."

"Scarlet, I'm worried about you. You've been like this for almost a month now and you haven't done anything about it. That's very irresponsible." The lights in the closet turned on and Valentine walked inside. Diavolo pressed himself even closer against the wall. "Promise me you'll do it tomorrow." Nothing. "Scarlet."

"Fine," she finally huffed. The mattress sprung as she got comfortable. "Only because you won't stop complaining about it."

"I care about you. I want you to be happy and healthy. And alive."

"I think we would've noticed by now if it was lethal."

He sighed. "I wish you'd take things more seriously..."

He stepped further inside the closet and approached a set of drawers. Diavolo was observing the slopes of his shapely legs through the clothes, slightly leaning forward to catch more of his form. Valentine started stripping, first taking off his cashmere sweater and tossing it in the laundry basket. He quickly removed his pants, also throwing them in the laundry bin. Diavolo watched with mesmerized, hungry eyes as Valentine tugged on the elastic of his underwear, bending over as he pulled it down, standing completely naked and unaware of the awed spectator lurking behind his coats.

Diavolo could only see the back side but he couldn't be happier. His eyes trailed over Valentine's pale back, down to his lovely waist, the curve of his spine and plump ass, drinking the spectacle in. He looked good. Oh, he looked amazing. His skin was smooth, peachy and begging Diavolo to just sink his teeth in it, the fine, blonde hairs were prettily catching the light. Even though the sight was quickly covered by a pair of gray boxers and blue satin pajamas, the memory remained burned in Diavolo's brain.

Valentine walked out of the closet and back into his bedroom. After exchanging goodnights, the young couple fell asleep, drowning the house in silence and darkness. Diavolo was breathing as quietly as he could, careful not to move. He had to stay completely still until they had fallen completely asleep. Valentine slept like a log at all times but Scarlet was a very light sleeper. So Diavolo waited some more.

The house was quite warm and he almost fell asleep, comfortable as he was among layers of clothes. He was tired, too, but he needed to stay awake. He reached for his phone, thinking about fucking around on Tumblr for a while. But he couldn't do it. His hands were fidgeting, shaking slightly and sweating. He gulped.

"What am I, fucking fourteen?" he hissed as he angrily put his phone aside and carefully undid his zipper. He palmed his crotch, frowning. All it took was seeing a great ass.

But it was a very good ass. His right hand skimmed lower, palming his half-hard cock under the thin fabric of his underwear. He started slow, teasing himself, working his member into full hardness. He shut his eyes and leaned against the wall. Images started flying around his head. He saw a pair of crystal clear cobalt blue eyes, with feather-like eyelashes, as bright and deep as the sea back in Italy. Donatella? No, it wasn't her. Diavolo saw lips, perfect pink lips, juicy and plump, calling him to bite and suck on them to his heart's content. Valentine, that was Valentine's mouth. Such a gorgeous mouth he had, it would look absolutely divine wrapped around a cock, preferably Diavolo's.

Given the tight space, Diavolo had some difficulty with taking down his boxers enough to reveal his hard cock. He cracked an eye open and looked down at his length. He circled the tip with his thumb, hissing at the sensitivity. He started giving himself slow strokes, dragging his closed fist all over himself. He closed his eyes once more, craving more of that wonderful body that was dancing around his mind. Without stopping the movements of his hand, Diavolo went from Valentine's mouth to his waist, his pretty, nipped-in waist. He traveled lower, to his smooth, plump thighs, milky white and always jiggling slightly when Valentine walked. He picked up the pace, stroking faster, letting precum ooze from the tip, as he pictured Valentine's legs. Endless and shapely, he'd throw them over his shoulders and fuck Valentine deeply. He gasped, stopping for a moment. He held his breath, fearing that someone had noticed him. Silence. He continued jerking himself, all the while imagining his best friend underneath him, writhing and trashing against the sheets and begging for more. And Diavolo would so gladly give it to him, would gladly fuck him until he couldn't remember who he was anymore. His hips started moving, thrusting into his fist, steadily getting more desperate. He needed to cum before this vision faded.

From what he knew, Valentine had never been with a guy. Diavolo never cared about being someone's first before but this time it was different. He wanted to make love to Valentine before teaching him everything, showing him a whole other world of endless possibilities, of new ways of pleasuring himself like never before. He wanted to see those bright blue eyes get lost in rapture, pink mouth letting out sweet sounds. Was he a screamer? He was very restrained but Diavolo wanted to change that. Unlike Dio, he didn't want to simply debauch the man and dump him. He wanted to take his time showing Valentine everything because it really was a crime to keep someone that gorgeous only for a little while.

He screwed his eyes shut even tighter, not wanting even a glimpse of the reality that awaited past his lids. Namely, that of him fucking into his fist and not into Valentine's supple, tight ass. He needed him, he wanted him, in every way a man could want another. The movements of his hand grew erratic and his imagination grew bolder. He was fucking Valentine on a bed covered in black satin, taking him deeply and roughly, making all sorts of sweet sounds spill from his lips. He gasped softly with a little whine, throwing his head to the side. Valentine's legs squeezed around his waist, urging him to go deeper, faster. His nails dugs into Diavolo's shoulders, pulling him closer. He arched his beautiful neck as he came, calling out Diavolo's name.

Diavolo gasped loudly as he came, spilling his seed all over his clenched fist and thighs. He practically melted against the wooden wall, feeling his spirit leave his body. He let a few seconds pass, trying to overcome his dizziness in the darkness. He was feeling disoriented, confused, not sure what had happened. His eyes opened slowly and even in the absolute darkness of the room, the truth wasn't that hard to find. He rubbed his fingers together, feeling his cum between his fingertips, sticky and thick. He was still sitting in Valentine's closet while Valentine himself was sleeping just a few meters away. Diavolo wiped his fingers on his hoodie and shakily stood up, trying to support himself by the clothes and hangers. He was still panting, chest heaving, as he tucked his limp cock back inside his underwear and pants. After so many hours, he finally exited his hideout.

The bedroom was illuminated by the dim street lights. Valentine was lying on his side, chest pressed against Scarlet's back. His arms were circling her waist and she was holding his hands in her own. Cute, Diavolo thought. Like otters. Valentine stirred in his sleep and Diavolo jumped. Best leave before they sensed his presence. And that's what he did. He tiptoed down the stairs, stopped to kiss the puppy and went outside, to the cold Boston air.

 

 


 

 


The first thing Valentine did when he woke up was stretch his limbs. He bent his spine like a lazy cat, making his shoulders pop, cracking all his joints with great satisfaction. He reveled in the feeling for a few seconds, just letting the dull, pleasurable ache wake him up. He rolled over to the side and kissed Scarlet behind the ear. She groaned and rolled over to bury her face in his warm chest. Valentine chuckled, running a strong hand over his girlfriend's shoulders. He leaned to kiss her again, this time on the crown of her black hair.

"I'm going to take a shower, okay?" he murmured, voice still heavy with sleep. She acknowledged that with a tiny nod.

Valentine got off from the bed and headed to the bathroom. After undressing himself and neatly folding his pajamas, he turned on the water and after finding the right temperature, climbed underneath. He sighed blissfully as the lukewarm water rained down on his body, washing over every inch of pale skin, making his golden mane stick to his neck and back. One of the perks of being filthy rich was just sitting under the stream of water for a few seconds more, letting it fill him with energy.

While Valentine was enjoying a long shower, Scarlet was still in bed, awake but in denial. She was laying under the heap of blankets with her eyes closed, fists curled around her pillow. There it was again, that strong feeling of nausea, accompanied by sharp, twinging pain in her gut. She played it cool and nonchalant in front of her boyfriend but in reality, she was terrified. She was too scared to look into it, too scared to see what she would find. Maybe those midnight encounters with strangers in dimly-lit nightclubs weren't a great idea. Valentine was probably thinking the same thing though he'd never say it, never make her uncomfortable.

She let the sounds of the water flowing and Valentine's soft humming gently lull her to sleep, make her forget the way her body was punishing her. It seemed like it was hours later but at some point, Scarlet jumped awake, feeling her heart about to leap from her chest. Forgetting the pain in her lower abdomen, she charged inside the bathroom, to the source of the blood-curdling shriek. She stood at the doorway with wide eyes in her fuzzy red pajamas, hair looking all kinds of fucked up. When the steam cleared up, she saw a petrified Valentine, standing naked in front of the mirror and holding his hair.

His long, magenta hair.

Her eyes widened so much that they almost rolled out of the sockets. Valentine stared back at her with pure horror, shaking slightly. In the six years of their relationship and the twenty-two of their acquaintance, this was the first time she was seeing him so distraught. He frequently said that he didn't care much about his appearance but the hair... Oh, the hair was sacred.

“Bend over there,” she instructed while rolling up her sleeves. Both were very awake and ready for action, in order to keep this crisis in check while they still could.

Valentine nodded and did so, leaning over the edge of the bathtub and gripping the rim hard. Scarlet sat next to him and reached for the showerhead, turning the water to hot. With her free hand, she started scrubbing, scratching the sensitive skin of his scalp with her sharp nails. The water running from his hair was mostly clear, with only a light pink tint to it. It wasn't enough.

“Funny, give me my shampoo.”

Valentine reached for the bottle blindly, knocking over everything else. Scarlet snatched it from his grasp and emptied the contents over his hair. She tossed the empty bottle inside the bathtub and started scrubbing with both hands. Foam started spreading, covering every inch of his hair. Scarlet's arms were covered in pink foam up to the elbows. She continued scrubbing harshly, watching the foam getting more, getting darker.

“Is-is it working?” he anxiously inquired.

“I think so, yeah.” She quickly reached for the showerhead and rinsed the shampoo off. Once the foam was cleared off, fuchsia hair was revealed from underneath. Scarlet swore from her breath. She took a deep breath, wiping her sweaty forehead with her soaked forearm. “I need more shampoo.”

“Look under the sink!”

She jumped on her feet and knelt in front of the sink, throwing the cabinet open. She rummaged around, tossing cleaning supplies out of her way until she found an unused bottle of her shampoo. She returned to him in a flash, already pouring the fragrant substance over his head. He started scrubbing his scalp while she rubbed the curly ends between her palms. Her hands were so wet that it hurt, feeling pruny and sensitive.

Scarlet rinsed the shampoo off yet again, now watching darker residue flow down the drain. “Did it work?” Valentine pressed on.

“I...I don't think we can do much else.” The end result was much better than what she had initially seen. The dark magenta had melted down to strawberry pink but it was obvious they couldn't revert it back to its original flaxen so easily.

With a sudden snap of his head, Valentine flipped his hair, producing a wet, slapping sound as it stuck to his back. He walked to the mirror, gawking in shock at the pink tresses. He leaned against the porcelain countertop, inspecting his reflection closer. Be it the pink or the shock, he was pale, paler than usual, looking almost like a corpse. Washed down pink was dripping from his recovering curls to the floor and down his body like veins.

He met Scarlet's gaze through the mirror. “Thank you,” he mumbled and she nodded slightly.

Scarlet reached for his bottle of shampoo and poured some on the tub, frowning at the hot pink substance that poured out. Though very faint, a scent of ammonia was coming from the bottle. She squirted some on her fingers and it immediately stained her skin.

“It's hair dye,” she concluded.

“Not just any hair dye.” He clenched his jaw, the cobalt in his eyes darkening. He pressed his lips together and turned around, unable to look at his reflection any longer. “Diavolo's.”

There was no point in denying that. “When did he do it? He was here almost a month ago, couldn't have done it then...”

Valentine shook his head. “I think he broke in.”

“Into our home?” Scarlet asked. Come to think of it, it wasn't that unbelievable. Diavolo was low key insane and his feud with Valentine had pushed him to his limit. But how had he done it? “He must have gotten keys,” she mumbled, answering her own question.

“I can't think of anything else,” he agreed. He twirled a pink lock around his finger. No point in losing his temper. Like in all situations, Valentine was going to keep his cool. Was there really anything to gain from repaying Diavolo? It would only lengthen this stupid fight and that was the opposite of what Valentine wanted.

“What are we gonna do?”

“We should change the locks before we do anything. He might come back.” Scarlet agreed to that idea. “Then...maybe we should head to the hairdresser. There's no way I'm going to the university looking like a goddamn anime girl.”

“Very well,” she smiled. “What are you gonna do?”

“What do you mean?”

“About Diavolo.”

Valentine furrowed his brows. He was getting a little chilly and so he reached for his fluffy bathrobe, casually throwing it on. “I thought I could help him get his life in order. I really want to see him live past 25, Scarlet. I really do.” He sighed. He wasn't thinking anything, just letting his bitterness and disappointment move his lips for him. “But he doesn't want help. He can't see that he needs it. And I can't force him to do it. I don't have the skill or energy. I'm not his mother, I won't waste my youth trying to get Diavolo to clean up his act.”

“This is the right thing to do,” she nodded. She extended an arm, urging him to hold her hand. He did, smoothing his thumb over her pinkish skin.

“I'll have to let him go. It's always sad when you have to let go of a friend but I don't see another option. I'll just avoid him until we forget about each other.”

 

 


 

 

 

Dio was standing in the middle of the hallway, arms crossed and eyes narrow, foot tapping impatiently against the wooden floor. Caught between his slender fingers was the electricity bill. Kira stepped out of the kitchen, holding his ever-curious cat in his embrace. He sighed deeply, joining Dio in staring at Diavolo's bedroom door. The last they had seen him was around three days ago, when he had come home right when they were about to leave for the day, nose bloody and lips split, clothes torn in various places. He proceeded to lock himself in his room and refused to communicate with them in any way. He never came out while they were at home and even if he did while they were out, Kira never found any food missing. He didn't touch any of the food Kira put outside his door, either.

“What if he's dead?” he asked. It didn't seem that impossible. But why would he? Had the whole incident with Donatella distressed him so much?

“I don't care if he's dead,” Dio declared. “I just want him to pay this goddamn bill!” He angrily waved the sheet of paper at Diavolo's direction.

“Lemme try again.” Killer Queen meowed softly as Kira put her down. The feline skittered into the living room and Kira headed for Diavolo's room. He knocked on the door sharply, sticking his ear to the wood, see if he could make out any sounds.

“Diavolo?” he called. No response, as expected.

He wrapped his hand around the handle and pulled it down. To his surprise, the door opened with no resistance, revealing nothing but darkness. The room was dipped in eerie silence, disturbed only by Kira's breath. He carefully stepped inside, sniffing around. The smell was nauseating, exactly the kind of smell a tight place that had been closed for long would have. There was also a strong scent of sweat and tobacco. Kira attempted to navigate through the darkness. He bumped into several pieces of furniture and tripped over many articles of clothing but he finally found his way to the window. With hasty hands, he pushed it open, letting the cool night air flood the room. Kira turned the lights on, revealing the state the room was in.

Almost every piece of furniture Diavolo owned was thrown on the floor or broken. Diavolo's clothes were scattered around the room. Ashtrays overflowing with stale ashes and cigarettes were placed on several flat surfaces. Kira had the urge to vomit but then he noticed something on top of the mess. There, laying on top of his nuked bed was Diavolo, eyes lifeless and open like those of a fish, staring at the ceiling, hair spilling all around him, limbs looking frozen. He looked dead.

“Diavolo?” he asked in a hushed voice.

It took a few seconds but Diavolo opened his dry mouth for the first time in days. “Yeah?” he rasped. His voice was deeper than usual, hoarser, sounding as if it was coming from some forgotten corner of Tartarus, from the abyss where the worst sinners were being punished in.

Kira sighed in relief. At least he was alive. He would be at least sad if his only other friend that shared his desire for a life in the background fucking died. Scrunching his nose in mild disgust, Kira walked over the discarded clothes and sat on the edge of the bed. Turns out, Diavolo smelled even worse than the rest of the room.

“When was the last time you showered?” he gagged.

“Does it matter?”

“Kinda does, yeah.”

Diavolo took a deep breath. He was still staring at the ceiling, eyes unblinking. “Yoshikage, I am never coming out of this room again.”

“Should I bring you a potty, then?” Kira knew Diavolo was trying to be edgy but he couldn't help asking. Diavolo gave him the side-eye. “What happened?”

“My life and privacy are in danger,” was the answer.

“What did you do?”

Diavolo sat up with a groan, back against the headboard. He gave his armpits a sniff and cringed. Maybe it was time for a shower. “I got the keys to his house, got inside and replaced all his shampoos with my hair dye.”

Kira nodded slowly. Throughout this feud he had remained neutral, indifferent, knowing that neither of his friends would put their egos aside. But as Deputy Calm and Rational Friend in their group, maybe it was time to intervene.

“And what are you doing now?” he asked.

“I am shielding myself from an impending attack.”

“Funny isn't vengeful. He won't do anything to you.”

“Funny isn't vengeful...” Diavolo scoffed. “Then why'd he put me through all this shit, huh? Why does he care who I fuck and what happens in my personal life?”

“Well...why don't you ask him?”

Diavolo narrowed his eyes at him. “He should come to me! He should be the one begging for forgiveness! Not me! I didn't do shit! He suddenly decided to be my parent or something!”

Kira opened his mouth, ready to try and rationalize with Diavolo, when the doorbell rang. Knowing that Dio would rather die than answer it, Kira excused himself out of the room and went to the door. It was probably Pucci or Kars, though neither of them went out this late. Instead, he came face to face with a bright red figure, standing like a drop of blood on the dirty sidewalk.

“Good evening Yoshikage,” Scarlet greeted. Expecting no invitation, she let herself inside the house, the heels of her black boots clicking on the floor. Curiously, Dio poked his head to the hall. She cracked a ruby smile. “Hello, Dio.”

“Hey,” he said. He scanned her. She looked good, she always looked good. Always looked like old money. She was wearing a long, heavy coat, wine red in color, tight at the waist, with red fur around her neck. She was wearing matching leather gloves and was carrying a burgundy purse, while also wearing rubies on her ears. Her jet-black hair was loose for once, framing her sharp face. She was wearing more makeup than usual, in an attempt to hide how sickly she looked.

Though both the roommates knew why she was here, Dio couldn't help but ask. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”

“Is Diavolo here?” Her voice was lacking the mirth that was common to it.

“He's in his room,” Kira replied. He paused. “I don't think you should talk to him-”

It was too late. Scarlet was already beelining for the door at the end of the hall, the sharp, clicking sound of her heels echoing around the quiet house. She threw the door open, furrowing her brows at the disarray of the room. Diavolo, who was still sitting on his bed with no intention of moving, froze completely when he saw her, standing at the doorway like a kinkier, richer Red Riding Hood.

“What...the hell?”

“How dare you break into our house?” she accused, completely ignoring him. “How dare you do this to him when all he did was look out for your best interest?”

“My best fucking interest?” Diavolo sneered. He rose from the bed slowly, menacingly, every creak of the mattress sounding like thunder in the small room. He was tall, filthy and absolutely nightmarish with his smudged makeup, bloody knuckles, and fragmented eyes, completely different from the polite blondie Scarlet was used to. But she didn't flinch, not even when Diavolo was standing directly in front of her, blowing steam from his nostrils like a bull. Being so close to her, Diavolo noticed for the first time how her eyes weren't black but gray, the deepest, darkest shade of gray he had ever seen.

“Nobody told him to do that!”

“But he did! And your response was to trash his car and dye his hair pink instead of talking to him like a fucking adult!” she yelled in his face. “I don't care how immature you are,” she continued, ticking Diavolo off even further, “or how insane. I had a bad feeling about you ever since he met you.” Scarlet looked at him from head to toe, with the disgusted gaze of a woman that was taught to always express her disdain for those she deemed inferior.

“If you even think of coming near me or Funny ever again, I'm gonna have you killed.”

Diavolo lost it. He lost it so easily, his temper seemed to be even more sensitive these days. He shoved his logic in a corner and let instinct and anger take the helm, command his hand to grab Scarlet's slender throat. Her gloved fingers grabbed his large, gruff hand, trying to pry it off but he only tightened his grip. She choked, mouth hanging open, eyes widening. But she wasn't afraid. Not yet.

He said nothing, only peered deeply into he0r eyes, unblinking, lifting her body from the neck. He was deaf to the world around him, focused only on sucking the soul out of this audacious insect. He wasn't going to teach her a lesson. He was going to kill her, then dump her body in a bush for the dogs to eat. It was the only fate that befitted some who so openly threatened him, especially without having any reason to do so.

“Hey! Hey!”

Scarlet wasn't strong enough to push him off but Dio most certainly was. Diavolo didn't even realize when he had come inside the room. Dio tore him off and pushed him away, letting Scarlet take a big, gluttonous breath. She massaged her sore throat, gasping hungrily, one arm supporting her on the wall.

“There's nothing I wouldn't do,” she breathed, slowly regaining her composure, “to protect him from a man like you.” She stood up, expression stony and dignified, straightened her designer coat and plucked her purse from the floor. “I suggest you keep your dog restrained, Dio, unless you want to see him dead.”

And with that, she left, not even sparing him a second glance. He eventually fell on his bed, though sleep didn't find him until dawn. There was no room in his head for it, crowded as it was by a hundred million ways of killing her and dumping her body at the sea, never to be found again.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 


Saturday mornings were especially busy. People were occupying every available bit of sitting space, filling the air with their chatter. The characteristically heavy scent of pumpkin spice in drinks and pastries filled the room, adding more warmth to combat the harsh cold from outside. Fragile, too-wet to last, snowflakes danced in whenever someone hurried through the door. Light music was playing from the speakers, Lucy's playlist. She was busy tidying the baked goods and sandwiches in the display. Hot Pants was sitting at the register and Diego was sitting on a stool behind the counter, scrolling through his Facebook. He lifted his gaze whenever another customer walked in. With the corner of his eye, he caught the entrance of a very large man, tall and muscular, wearing a dark trenchcoat, a matching hat and a deep scowl on his handsome face. He looked deep in thought.

Diego froze as Jotaro approached him. He sure as hell wasn't there to get coffee. Starbucks was more Kakyoin's style. He dragged one of the stools and sat on it, linking his fingers on the counter. Moisture was glimmering on the brim of his hat and large, dark lashes.

“Hey,” he greeted gruffly. There was something about Jotaro, something that differentiated him from the other Joestar boys. Not only because he was emotionally constipated and capable of two expressions, but because of that light in his turquoise eyes. Even though Diego knew he hadn't done something wrong, he felt bare, guilty and small in front of those eyes.

“Hey,” he said back, locking his phone and sitting up straight. Not even by normal standards was Diego considered tall, and in front of Jotaro he was feeling like a fuzzy little Pomeranian puppy. He straightened his back and cleared his throat, trying to make himself look as menacing as possible. “Can I get you anything?” he asked in his best professional voice, even though he knew Jotaro wasn't there for that.

Jotaro seemed surprised by the question. The crease between his thick eyebrows deepened. “One coffee. Black.” He spoke after a few seconds, as if thinking about his answer for quite a while.

Diego nodded and moved to fetch his drink. This was no different than serving any other customer, yet Diego was incredibly nervous. Jotaro was there for Dio, undoubtedly. Diego knew from day one that this whole business would end up being a mess. Why, out of all the rich people in the world, did Dio have to go for Jonathan? And why was he suddenly dragged into Dio's affairs? Well...it wasn't suddenly. He had willingly arranged for Dio to meet Jonathan so of course, Batman Jotaro would come to him. In Jotaro's steel, cold, inquisitive eyes, Diego was the source of all this.

But wait. What had Dio done, anyway?

Once Diego finished the drink, he passed Jotaro the cheap, white cup. “It's on the house,” he shrugged, nonchalantly refusing payment.

“Thanks, anyway,” Jotaro muttered and slid a fifty-dollar bill inside the tip jar.

Diego nodded. He leaned against the counter, foot tapping nervously on the floor. His palms were sweating more than usual. He could feel warmth emitting from Jotaro's humongous body. He took his time before meeting Jotaro's gaze, idly brushing invisible crumbs off the counter, tidying the tidy cups, folding the folded napkins. He gulped and lifted his gaze, light blue eyes meeting Jotaro's darker ones.

“You're not here for coffee, are you?” he half-smiled, trying to sound as casual as possible.

“No.” Jotaro took a sip. He lowered the cup, sighing with some gratitude. “That's good coffee.”

“Thanks.”

Jotaro grumbled. Seemed to be his only way of communication these days. Diego huffed a laugh, imagining a conversation between Jotaro and Diavolo. He wrapped his strong fingers around the cup, letting the warmth seep into his system. It was cold outside, his pink knuckles and cracked lips said so.

“Diego, I want to know if your brother is a man of trust.” Straight to the point, no point in beating around the bush. That was Jotaro. “I'm not insinuating anything about your family,” he quickly added, “it's just that I've seen him hanging around...shady guys.” He took another sip, swallowed and then resumed talking. “He's been getting in fights, really bad ones. I don't want to judge him because of that, I understand how annoying that can be. I just want to know if what I'm seeing is what Jonathan's getting. You understand?”

“Uh-huh.”

“All I've seen your brother do – and I mean no offense – is talk shit and break people's bones. Apparently, he's been showing Jonathan a different face, but Jonathan is sometimes very gullible, Diego. I wanna know the truth. What is Dio's truth?”

Diego blinked. What Jotaro was asking was fairly simple; was Dio really a violent asshole or not? But the answer was not as simple. Complex or not, Diego had to give Jotaro an answer. He could tell Jotaro that Dio was a fine, upstanding citizen, had a bit of a temper problem – sure – but all in all, Dio was a great guy, made from 100% pure boyfriend material. Or, Diego could tell Jotaro the truth, tell him what an opportunistic, sociopathic asshole his brother was anδ that Jonathan was in danger being near him and worse, being infatuated with him. However, if Diego confessed the truth, Dio would go ballistic and wouldn't rest until he discovered who ratted him out. Plus, if his brother got with a multi-millionaire, Diego could very well threaten a couple hundred million dollars from him.

With a deep breath, Diego decided. “He's not doing himself justice,” Diego sighed in the most solemn voice he could muster. “With all that shit he does, of course, you're gonna think lowly of him.” He was sweating but hopefully, Jotaro would pay it no mind, thinking that it was probably because of the temperature from the kitchen behind. His voice and hands were steady, gaze burning but not flinching. “He's a good guy.” Oof. Pure arsenic, murky, foul poison climbed up his esophagus and laid on his tongue. The horrible, bitter taste expanded in his mouth, filling every cavern and cavity. (Maybe he should get those checked.) It wasn't the first time he was lying and it definitely wasn't the worst lie he had ever told, but it was the hardest.

Jotaro's expression was unreadable. He brought his cup to his lips, taking a sip with his eyes pinned on Diego. He was scanning him thoroughly, trying to decipher the deepest secrets of his psyche. “He's a bit of an asshole sometimes, but he's not bad.”

“You're telling me the truth, right Diego?”

“Of course I am!” Diego declared, sounding irritated at how Jotaro was questioning his integrity. He leaned in closer, licking his dry lips. “Look, my brother took care of me when we had no one else. He fucking raised me and asked for nothing in return, when it was clear I was extra weight holding him down. You think a villain would do that?”

Jotaro's scowl deepened, if that was possible. He eyed Diego closely for several agonizingly long seconds, not uttering a single word. Diego's gaze shifted momentarily from Jotaro's eyes to his hand, resting on the counter. It could easily wrap around his throat and snap his neck like a toothpick. He gulped.

“Alright,” Jotaro decided and sat back up. He drained the last of his coffee. “I choose to believe you, Diego.” He dug his rough hands in the pockets of his trenchcoat. He looked at his slightly muddy shoes with great displeasure. Diego could hear the gears in Jotaro's brain spin, trying to process the new information, trying to realize the truth.

“Thanks,” was all Diego said. Jotaro nodded and gave him one final long look before leaving the way he had entered, brooding and magnetizing the gaze of every customer.

Diego remained still on the same position until Jotaro's hulking frame was but a dot in the horizon. He inhaled, releasing all the air from his lungs. That was inexplicably stressful but like all obstacles in his life, Diego had overcome this as well.

He turned around, wanting to return to his job and forget about this little incident. His smug little face was instantly buried in a very muscular chest. Diego looked up in alarm, meeting a pair of judgemental maroon eyes. Jotaro's gaze was nothing compared to those soul-crushing eyes.

“You slippery snake,” Hot Pants hissed.

Diego took a step back. He narrowed his eyes and folded his arms. “What are you talking about?”

Hot Pants whipped him with the towel she was holding. Grabbing Diego by the collar of his teal sweater, she dragged him off to the side, behind another cupboard. “You lied to that man without batting an eyelash!” She pursed her lips, eyeing Diego with disappointment. “I thought you were honest!”

“The fuck gave you that idea?” he scoffed and tried moving away but Hot Pants, taller by a head and way stronger than him, slammed Diego against the cupboard, securing him against the wooden surface with an iron grip. “What!”

“You're better than this,” she told him. “You want everyone to think you're some cold-blooded creature but that's far from the truth.”

“I-”

“Shut up! Do you want to push everyone away? End up alone like Dio?”

“Dio has friends,” Diego mumbled, avoiding Hot Pant's stare.

“Bold of you to assume Dio's friends like him.” She relaxed her grip, eyes becoming softer. Or maybe it was tricks of the dim light. Still, Diego hid from her in shame, like a mischievous toddler. “I love you,” she reminded him, “and I want you to be the man you deserve to be.”

“How about becoming the man I want to be?”

“A deceitful cunt? Is that it?”

“You know what I mean,” he growled.

“No, I don't. And I don't want to. The Joestars have shown you nothing but kindness and you lied to his face! Jonathan could be in actual danger, Diego, and you could have saved him!”

“You speak as if he's dead!”

“Not yet, he's not! We both know what Dio is planning!” Hot Pants took a deep breath. “You're probably thinking that after Dio has secured the Joestar fortune, he'll cut you a piece of the pie, right?” No answer. “Is money more important than an entire family falling apart? Dio is going to kill Jonathan or at least keep him for his entertainment. He is going to kill his father and brothers and everyone involved. He'll kill Johnny, Diego and all because you couldn't tell the truth to Jotaro.” More silence, guilty and heavy as lead. Hot Pants moved away, stepping into the light. Diego was finally able to see her stern face, painted as it was with several hues of disappointment and anger. He bit the inside of his cheek. “If you think the possibility of pocketing some money is worth more than the family that welcomed you and asked for nothing in return, go and clean the tables, move along with your life. But if not... Johnny has his number.”

Hot Pants left Diego in the dark corner, going to help Lucy at the front. Diego clenched his fists, his nails leaving small crescents on his pink, sweaty skin. He slammed his head against the cupboard enough times to feel dull pain stinging in the back of his skull.

“Dammit,” he mumbled. There was a knot in his stomach, settled deep in the pits of his gut. “Dammit!”

He didn't look back when he left the store, carrying only his coat and phone. He stormed out to the bleak morning, hastily shielding himself from the cold behind a brick wall. He quickly dialed Johnny's number.

Yeah?”

“Hey. It's me.”

“I know. What do you want?”

“I want Jotaro's number.”

A pause. “What?”

“I said I wanted Jotaro's number,” Diego said through gritted teeth.

Johnny's evident confusion was understandable. As was his suspicion. “Why the fuck do you want Jotaro's number?

“Urgent business.”

Urgent business, my ass,” Johnny sneered. “It's about your brother, isn't it?”

Diego didn't have time for this. He hung up on Johnny and started walking as fast as his short, little legs could go. He vaguely remembered where Jotaro lived, wasn't that far off from their place.

 

 


 

 

 

The door was answered by Kakyoin, who eyed Diego with polite interest. The youngest Brando was awkwardly shifting from one foot to the other, thumbs twiddling.

“Diego, right? Hello, how are you?”

“I'm good, thanks.” Diego cleared his throat. “Is...uh...is Jotaro here? I wanted to speak with him.”

Kakyoin was a genuinely intelligent man. Diego figured he knew the purpose of his visit. But Kakyoin was also very polite. He cracked a wide smile and opened the door enough to let Diego inside. “He's not here yet,” he said as he led Diego into the living room. Diego sat down on a navy blue couch, standing right across the TV.

“Will he take long?”

“No, I don't think so. He just went to get some photocopies. Shouldn't take more than ten minutes.”

That was relieving to hear. Diego leaned back on the cushions, getting more comfortable. The living room was rather simple, with various miscellaneous items scattered around. It would seem that someone was an avid video game player, judging by the large selection of games neatly stacked in an oak bookcase. The tenants kept several houseplants around, from ferns to colorful cacti. And they were all in good condition, too. As he was looking around, Diego noticed a small little dog, a Boston Terrier, sitting on a cushion in front of the balcony door, chewing on a pair of heart-shaped earrings.

“Hey, there buddy,” he said, trying to attract the dog's attention. He got an angry snarl and suspicious eyes in response.

“Iggy isn't your buddy,” Kakyoin explained as he strolled inside the living room. “He isn't anyone's buddy.” He leaned down to pet Iggy and the dog accepted it, albeit still eyeing Kakyoin with mild hostility. “He's his own man.” He smiled. “Can I get you anything?”

“Ah, no. Thanks.”

“Alright. I have some work to do in the kitchen, do you mind sitting alone for a while?”

“No, not at all.”

It felt as if it was night outside or at least early evening. The sky was dark, gray and gloomy. By the looks of it, they were in for another storm. Cold wind was blowing from the sea, making it impossible for anyone to stay at the boardwalk for longer than a few minutes. Winter was going to be harsh and Christmas was most likely going to be white.

True to Kakyoin's estimation, the door opened a few minutes later and Jotaro walked in. He froze when he noticed Diego sitting on the couch, nervously glancing at him. He took off his coat and hat and hang them on the coat hanger. It was probably the first time Diego was seeing him do so. Underneath, Jotaro was wearing simple black slacks held up by a purple belt and a dark gray turtleneck, that clung to his muscular torso, defining his jaw-dropping anatomy. He slicked back his jet-black hair but a stray lock managed to fall on the side of his handsome face. He was wearing simple purple earrings on both his ears and an expensive watch around his wrist. The resemblance to the other Joestars was obvious but they were all unique. Jotaro stood out as the darkest, most serious one. Even with his stern facade, he was beautiful, rough and tender at the same time.

“Changed your mind?” he asked, and Diego didn't miss the light joking tone in his voice.

“Yeah.”

“Kakyoin, we'll be in my room!”

“Okay!”

Diego stood up and followed Jotaro upstairs to his room. The bleak light entering through the window was barely enough to illuminate their faces. Diego sat down on the bed per Jotaro's invitation and looked around. Simple furniture, a large closet, stacks of books on his desk. Jotaro's only belonging that stood out was his fish tank, accommodating fish of strange shapes and colors, swimming serenely between the carefully constructed landscape.

Jotaro didn't sit down, opting instead to lean against his desk. “And?”

Diego didn't reply instantly. He needed to handle this delicately. Hot Pants had spoken about gratitude and sure enough, Diego didn't want to be ungrateful to the Joestars. But he also didn't want to be ungrateful to the man that liberated him from his father and cared for him after his mother's gruesome death.

“I just want to start by saying that my brother isn't evil. Sure, he has a bad temper and he's quick to turn violent. But he's not a monster. With that being said, Dio can be a bit...materialistic.”

“He wants Jonathan for the money. Is that what you're trying to say?” Diego nodded. Jotaro frowned. Agitated fingers sought to release the tension on some crumbled notes. “I'll try my best to keep Jonathan away from him but it be won't enough. I'm gonna need you to keep your brother away from mine, too, Diego.”

“I don't think I can do that. We're not that close.”

His frown deepened, full lips disappearing into his mask of displeasure. “Isn't there anyone who can convince him?”

“I doubt it.” Diego stood up, seeking a quick escape from that awfully awkward encounter. “I have to go back to work.”

“Yeah. Thanks for telling me all that.”

Diego left, no more words exchanged, leaving Jotaro alone in the silence of his room. He sighed deeply, eyes stuck on the blue carpet. He walked to his bed and fell backward on it, arms open wide. He needed to find a way to handle this situation so as not to offend Jonathan. Dio was just screaming danger, and not just the way gold-diggers did. Jotaro didn't know much about the Brando brothers but from what Johnny had told him, they were born very poor and never mentioned their family. That, added to the fact that Dio drove a fancy car, wore fancy clothes and hung around fancy people (see; Kars and Funny Valentine, famous snobs) set off alarms in Jotaro's brain. There was no way a rookie model would make so much. Diego may have told Jotaro Dio's motives but there was definitely more to it. There had to be. And Jotaro was going to find out everything, discover who Dio Brando truly was.

The door opened abruptly, scaring the shit out of him. He calmed down when he noticed Kakyoin. The redhead walked to the bed and laid down next to Jotaro with a satisfied sigh. They were laying close together, not for the first time, and Jotaro's anxiety skyrocketed, not for the first time. Kakyoin smelled incredible, his sweet scent drilling into Jotaro's brain. They were so close, Jotaro could feel the warmth radiating from Kakyoin's body. He wanted to wrap his arms around that warmth, feel it right against his skin, bury his nose in Kakyoin's fiery hair and kiss him. The desire to kiss his thin, wide lips was overwhelming, it had been overwhelming for so long, it was almost unbearable.

“What did Diego want?” Kakyoin asked.

“To tell me that his brother is a worthless gold digger that uses people.”

“Is that what he really told you.”

“...no. But he did tell me that Dio is a gold digger.”

Kakyoin hummed. “And what are you planning on doing?”

“Warning Jonathan.”

“He doesn't like it when you treat him like an idiot, Jojo.”

“I'm not treating him like an idiot,” Jotaro snapped. “I know him. And I know he's gullible and sometimes makes dumb choices and ends up getting hurt. He doesn't deserve getting hurt.”

“I know.”

“He's the only genuinely good person I've ever met.”

“I know.”

Jotaro sighed. “And it's not just that.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don't feel like this Dio guy is just a gold-digger. The money he has, the mystery surrounding his family... It's just too shady.”

“Maybe he just doesn't want to talk about them.”

“I don't think it's that simple. I want to look into it. Look into him.”

“What are you hoping to find, exactly? What if he's just a secretive guy?”

“I thought you were smarter.”

“What if he is?” Kakyoin pressed on.

“Whatever the case is, I'm not letting him use my brother.”

“Remember, you can only do so much. Jonathan has the last word.” Kakyoin nudged him and Jotaro could feel the smile in his voice. “And who knows? Maybe Dio will have a change of heart and actually fall in love with Jonathan.”

Jotaro doubted that very much but he wasn't in the mood to argue. He needed to think of a plan and fast, before Dio's relationship with Jonathan developed any further. First things first, he had to tell Jonathan about the fights.

“Show me her picture,” Kakyoin requested, breaking the veil of silence.

Jotaro reached for his phone and looked for the picture Kakyoin wanted to see. It was definitely one of the ugliest pictures Jotaro had ever taken, blue and black markings that made no sense without a doctor's explanations. In the middle of the sonogram was the shadow of a baby, shriveled and curled up still in the womb. The head was distinguishable as well as several other appendages. As confusing and perhaps eerie as it was, it obviously was a little human being.

“She has your eyes, Jojo,” Kakyoin grinned, voice sweet enough to send Jotaro's heart doing somersaults.

 

 


 

 

 

With a satisfied grin on his face, Jonathan exited the store, carrying several jumbo-sized bags filled with baby clothes and other accessories. William followed behind him, also holding a number of boxes, containing outfits, linens, and towels for the baby. The two men walked down the street in a chipper mood, having a lively conversation that stood out bright in the midst of the wintery morning.

“Do you want to go to that pub later?” William suggested. “I found it quite charming despite its gaudiness.”

“Oh, thank you, Will! I was actually planning on taking Dio on a surprise date. He's been really busy with work and studying recently and I wanted to cheer him up.”

William lifted his brows in surprise, smile faltering for a second. “I see that your relationship with him is flourishing.”

“Yes!” Jonathan chirped excitedly. His boyish laugh warmed William's heart. “He's just so interesting and charming... I like him a lot, Will.”

“I'm happy for you, Jonathan. You deserve some romance in your life.”

“Aren't you going to tell me how I ought to be careful?” Jonathan flashed him a cheeky grin.

“You're fully capable of caring for yourself. But I'm still looking out for you, like any friend would.”

“Thank you, Will. I'm looking out for you, too.” The two friends exchanged bright smiles. “And thank you for not babying me. Everyone else seems to believe I'm making the worst mistake of my life.”

“I'm gonna be real with you, Jojo. You may be optimistic and hopeful about this relationship but that doesn't mean it won't possibly end up in a break-up.”

“I know that,” Jonathan sighed. “But I try not to think about it too much, otherwise it'll ruin what I'm trying to build. You can't keep moving forward if you're afraid of what's ahead!”

“Sometimes I think you're an old man trapped in a young one's body, Jojo,” William laughed.

Still in high spirits, the two men walked to their house, heading to Jotaro's apartment. Stuck on the door they found a note, reading 'We're at Joseph's'. The eldest Joestar and Zeppeli walked back down and knocked on the door.

“Hello!” Joseph greeted, ushering them inside. Polnareff and Kakyoin were bickering on the couch, Avdol was watering the houseplants and Jotaro was sipping on some coffee. Johnny was sitting on the breakfast bar, feeding Gyro Cheeze-Its from a distance.

“My boys were all out and I wanted some company,” Joseph explained, moving to sit directly between Kakyoin and Polnareff.

“What's all this?” Johnny inquired, peeking inside a bag twice his size.

“No peeking!” Jonathan softly admonished him. “These are all for Jotaro!” Jotaro looked at him curiously. “Well, not Jotaro himself, but for Jolyne! Have a little look,” he urged.

Jotaro slowly put his mug on the coffee table and took hold of one bag. He pried it open and pulled out a miniscule onesie, adorned with colorful butterflies. He fished another outfit, a little blue sweater, and a green tutu, accompanied by the smallest pair of shoes he had ever seen.

“Cute,” he muttered, holding them at arm's length. His lips twitched with what was probably a smile. “Thanks.”

Unfortunately, the cheery atmosphere had to be demolished. Jotaro cleared his throat, signaling everyone else in the room to shut the hell up. Jonathan sensed the change in the mood and glanced around his friends and relatives suspiciously. He sat down on an armchair and crossed one knee over the other, strong fingers drumming against the armrest.

“Is this an intervention?” he questioned.

“Low key,” Johnny shrugged. He jumped off the counter and onto his chair, effortlessly wheeling into the living room.

“About what?”

“You already know,” Jotaro sternly replied. Kakyoin was sending him warning glances, telling him to be careful. Jotaro chose to ignore him. “Dio's brother, Diego, came to me yesterday, to warn me.”

“Warn you?” Jonathan quirked an eyebrow. “About what?”

“About the fact that Dio is a gold digger.”

“Again with this...” Jonathan mumbled, looking away from his brother's eyes.

“And it's not just that,” Jotaro continued. He started counting on his fingers. “You don't know anything about him, he never mentions his family and he has a fortune that I have no explanation for!”

“So what!” Jonathan snapped. “I know nothing about him but I'll get to know him in time! And maybe he has a good reason for not mentioning his family! Who are we to snoop around a man's past?”

“What about the money?” Jotaro demanded. “Do you have an explanation for that, too?”

“How is that even a problem? Is he suddenly a criminal for having an expensive taste?”

“Jonathan,” Gyro spoke, voice too serious to be his own. “There's also the matter of his friends.”

“What about them?”

Gyro and Jotaro exchanged glances. “We keep getting into fights with them,” Gyro explained as calmly as he could. “Just a few weeks ago, Valentine broke my fucking neck for no reason and that Diavolo guy glassed Polnareff in the gut!”

“Are you serious?” William gasped.

“It's true!” Polnareff confirmed.

Jonathan pressed his lips tightly together. He would never doubt his family, under any circumstances. He vaguely remembered Diavolo as a darkly brooding man. He knew Valentine, though apparently, not well enough. His mind flew back to that strange encounter Dio had with that obviously intoxicated woman. Somewhere in the far corners of his mind, Jonathan saw several pieces laying on his feet but he refused to stitch them together.

“We're not telling you all this because we want you to be miserable, Jonathan,” Jotaro said in the softest, kindest voice he could. “We just want to protect you.”

“Protect me from what?” Jonathan demanded. “I'm not a baby, Jotaro! And it's not like heartbreak is going to kill me! I want to make mistakes! Like isn't all joy! And I want to live!”

Silence settled over the room like aged dust, the tension becoming so thick, one could easily cut it into pieces. Heavy and bitter, Jonathan and Jotaro folded their arms and looked away, stubbornly avoiding one another's eyes. Jonathan always appreciated having a family that cared for him deeply but recently, they've all been obsessed with his relationship with Dio. Jotaro especially was restless. Jonathan doubted Diego had just come to him out of the blue. Knowing Jotaro, he was most likely the one that had approached the young Brando. They all acted as if Dio was a terrifying riddle, and they were all racing to solve it. Jotaro was persistent but so was Jonathan. And the more Jotaro insisted that Dio was bad news, the more stubborn Jonathan wanted to become. Hints, clues, bits, and pieces, alluding to Dio's real face. He wanted to see for himself, without having anyone holding him on a leash.

The phone rang, startling everyone out of their contemplation. Kakyoin, sitting closer to the device, picked it up. After answering it, he handed it to Joseph. “For you,” he said.

“Who is it?” Joseph asked. Odd. No one called the house number, it really had no reason being there.

“A woman named Tomoko.”

“Tomoko?” Joseph repeated. He reached for the receiver. “I don't know an-Oh, yeah!” He cleared his throat. “Hey,” he grinned and Jotaro rolled his eyes. “What's up?”

The scene was a bit awkward, about ten people sitting and listening to Joseph's end of the conversation. He wasn't saying much. Tomoko's voice was barely audible, though she sounded upset about something and was speaking fast. Joseph kept nodding his head, giving one-worded replies whenever he could. He suddenly froze, eyes blown wide.

“Uh-huh,” he mouthed. “Tomorrow, then? Great. I'll be there on time.” He hung up.

“Is everything alright?” Jonathan asked, voice filled with concern.

Joseph stood up. He was pale as a sheet of paper, no color on his face save for his terrified green eyes. With a shaky hand, he pushed his spiky hair back and gave a tight-lipped smile. “Yeah,” he breathed. “Everything's fine! Great! Gucci!”

Without saying another word and under everyone's confused gaze, Joseph walked in front of the window and opened it. He took a big gulp of the crisp cold air, filling his lungs to the brim. He released it all slowly and leaped outside the window, landing on the thick bushes below where he proceeded to scream at the sky above his head with all his might.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 


Chapter 6

 

 

 


Kira woke up in an ice-cold sweat, his entire body drenched, cotton pajamas clinging on him like second skin. He was panting, breath coming out in foggy puffs in the cold, dark room. He brought a trembling hand up to his forehead, wiping the sweaty strands away. He tried focusing his vision somewhere in the room but everything was bathed in darkness, only Killer Queen's soft, bald body was illuminated by the city lights. Slowly, Kira pushed the duvet off, exposing his inexplicably hot body to the chilly air. One after the other, he lowered his bare feet on the hardwood floor, hands gripping the edge of the bed to stop him from toppling over. He was feeling feverish; nauseous and burning, head stinging with a white, blurring pain. His ears were buzzing and his tongue felt heavy in his mouth. With one sharp move that made his entire body cry, Kira switched the lights on. Killer Quen remained blissfully oblivious to the change, still sleeping on her comfortable bed. Shakily, Kira stood up and moved to his dresser. He retrieved a clean towel, a pair of underwear and clean pajamas. Holding the items in his arms, Kira turned off the lights and stepped out of the room.

The rest of the house was quiet and dark, enveloped in the serenity of the night. Across the hall, Dio's room was giving away nothing. No sounds were coming from downstairs, either. Diavolo was most likely in his room, as he had been every day these few weeks, either sleeping or brooding. Crossing the hallway, Kira walked inside the bathroom and locked the door behind him. Like the rest of their house, their largest bathroom was modest and stylish. Aquamarine and white tiles covered the walls and floor, complimenting the cyan sink and toilet. Kira left his belongings on the white stool by the tub and quickly got rid of his sweaty garments, carelessly tossing them in the corner. He climbed inside the tub, getting under the showerhead. He turned on the water, making the temperature as hot as it could possibly get, letting the scalding water burn his skin, set his sweat on fire. Rivulets of lava slithered down his body, making him feel empty and dizzy.

Kira never stayed in the shower for too long. He hated wasting water. But this time he remained under the rain of blistering water for several minutes, head hanging low, eyes closed. His lids slowly fluttered open and the first thing he saw was his hand against the tile wall. He blinked. His nails, transparent from the heat and water, were long, the longest they'd been in a while. Numb and shocked by the sight, Kira brought them to his eyes, observing them closely for the first time in weeks. Reaching behind blindly, he turned the water off, standing in a cloud of steam. Still raptured by the sight, Kira didn't even notice when he started getting cold. Droplets of water were dripping from his hair, his body, the shower head on the wet floor, the sound reaching Kira distantly. His gaze remained fixed on his long fingers for several minutes, completely magnetized.

He was suffocating.

The urge to throw himself out in the crowd is killing him slowly, rotting his flesh like a virus. Every time he walked in a room that was filled with hands, gorgeous, well-manicured hands, he felt like dying a thousand times. It's pure torture. But the worst part was Shinobu. Shinobu, who had recently started taking care of her nails and painted blush pink or soft orange. When he laid in bed at night, Kira's mind would become flooded with images of Shinobu Kawajiri, her dainty hands and long, pale neck. Kira could so easily wrap his hands around that wonderful throat and choke her. She'd dig her pretty little nails on his fingers, violently trashing against him, denying that fate that had befallen her. And Kira would watch as life left her eyes, as it melted away, draining all the color from her face in its passing. Kira would continue choking her until her jaw was slack and tongue was rolling out of her mouth, limp and lifeless. And then... His skin became riddled with goosebumps at the next part. He'd cut off one of her hands – the prettiest one – and suck on her soft fingers and hard nails like candy, softly chew on the skin. He'd wrap the cold fingers around his cock and guide them along his dribbling erection, pump his dick to the brink of orgasm. He'd stop, only to take those fingers inside him, make himself full literally and metaphorically. The missing piece was Shinobu. She would lead him to perfection and completion, quench his ever-roaring thirst.

Kira opened his eyes suddenly, gasping, just in time to catch his cock spilling all over his thighs, semen splattering on the up until recently spotless tiles. Kira stood breathless, watching his cum become sticky on his skin and on the wall. He closed his eyes and hesitantly moved his hand, forcing himself to think it was Shinobu's. Using his thumb, he wiped the cum from his thigh and brought it to his lips, pressing down on his tongue, tasting the bitter fluid, imagining that Shinobu was the one feeding it to him.

Kira quickly grabbed the showerhead and washed himself once again, seeing the cum flow down the drain. He stepped out of the shower and dutifully dried himself before putting on clean clothes. He cracked the window open just enough to let the steam and excessive moisture out, so to prevent mold from appearing. Before leaving, he stopped in front of the mirror to observe his reflection. When he was the hungriest he was also the prettiest. His cheekbones were sharper, all the harsh lines of his face more prominent. His eyes, always bright and baby blue, were darker, filled with lust and primal desire. The desire to hunt and succumb to his nature, do what he was supposed to be doing on this Earth.

When he exited the bathroom, Kira found the house as dark and still as he had left it. He walked down the stairs, heading for the kitchen. Sleep had left him altogether but he still needed it. Hopefully, a glass of warm milk would help, with honey and cinnamon, the way Valentine made it. As he was preparing the beverage, he heard footsteps from behind, heavy and bitter. Diavolo's. Diavolo walked into the kitchen and Kira turned around to greet him. He wasn't surprised by the sight he found; greasy pink hair laying flat like a solid mass on the top of Diavolo's head, smudged makeup, clumped eyelashes, purple eyebags, chipped nail polish, filthy clothes, deep scowl.

“What are you doing up so late?” Diavolo inquired. Rather inelegantly, but in a way that was all him, he dragged a chair on the floor, not flinching at the way the feet screeched against the planks and dropped down like a dead weight.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.” Kira grabbed his cup and sat down next to Diavolo. He took a sip and burned his tongue, but it was still pleasurable. The drink was warm and sweet, rolling down his insides.

“I asked you first.”

“Couldn't sleep,” was the answer Kira gave and it was true. Diavolo knew how restless Kira could get without a kill in so long. He didn't question it any further, instead settled for a nod and fixed his gaze on the orchids in the middle of the table.

But Kira's curiosity hadn't been satisfied. Diavolo looked really awful, the worst he had ever looked in all the years Kira had known him. This time, there was no Valentine to urge him to go shower. Diavolo tore his gaze from the flowers and looked at Kira's drink with malice. Was he really in such a bad mood because of a fight? Was Valentine that precious to him? Imagining Diavolo forming a special bond with anyone was beyond weird. Would he react this way if he had a fallout with Kira? Kira wasn't jealous, just curious.

“Why don't you try talking to him?” He shouldn't have said that. Under normal circumstances, Kira wouldn't have uttered those words. Perhaps the milk was working, he was getting sleepier.

Diavolo looked at him with what could only be described as hostility. No, Kira knew him well enough to know. Diavolo wasn't just angry. He was confused, he was bitter and he was sad. A whirlwind of emotions was tormenting his already feeble mind.

“Mind your own business,” he snarled, sinking further into the pits of his puzzlement and sorrow.

Kira didn't press the matter any further. He had problems of his own, didn't really have the time to start digging around in Diavolo's clusterfuck of a brain. Diavolo and Valentine were both grown adults, though one was more rational than the other. This storm, like every storm, was harsh and heavy at first but it would subside in time. Then, they could work this out between them, hopefully, figure out a solution that wouldn't completely tear their friend group apart. Quite unexpectedly, Kira enjoyed having allies.

The door to Dio's bedroom opened and closed rather inelegantly, the annoyed slapping of his slippers against the floor signaling his arrival. He seemed surprised to find his other two roommates sitting in the kitchen. Phone in hand, frown on his lips, Dio marched into the kitchen and sat down on a chair, huffing in annoyance.

“Can't sleep?” Kira asked tiredly.

Dio furrowed his brows. He cast his phone one final glance before tossing it on the table and folding his arms over his chest. “Yes,” he spat out. “And all because of him.” Kira nodded. Diavolo remained indifferent, eyes gazing out to the distance, fidgeting ever so slightly. Dio shot them venomous glares. “Aren't you going to ask me what's wrong?”

Kira sighed deeply. “What's wrong, Dio?”

“Jojo!” Dio exclaimed. His irritation was like a dynamite, making him jump up from his chair as if on fire and start pacing up and down. “He's been ignoring me lately, giving me one-worded responses or not responding at all! Jonathan! Who used to barrage me with 'good morning' texts! Not to mention how he has been avoiding meeting with me!” Dio stopped and leaned against the counter, lips pouting, arms crossed. “So much for being a fucking gentleman...”

“Maybe he has other problems,” Kira offered. He decided to humor Dio. Perhaps Dio's troubles could make Kira forget his own.

“Nothing is more important than I, Dio!”

“Dio, this man has given you nothing but trouble. Do you really think it's worth your time?”

“Yes,” was Dio's adamant response, coming in a hiss, through gritted fucking teeth. To Dio, it wasn't a matter of getting the stupid rich boy's money anymore, no. It was a damn war against everyone. He had set eyes on Jonathan, had marked him as his prey and once this was done, there was no escape. Dio would hunt, tire himself out more than he usually did, go to lengths he had never gone before but he was going to win this. Jonathan was his for the taking.

“The more he hesitates, the more I want him,” he mumbled. “It'll be easier now that I've gotten rid of that dumb bitch.” He raised his head haughtily, smirking smugly as he eyed Diavolo with superiority. The desperation of a man wanting to bring others down to lift himself up. “At least I know how to tie my loose ends before it's too late.”

“The fuck's that supposed to mean, huh?!” Diavolo barked, jumping straight up and throwing his chair on the floor.

Due to Valentine's absence, it was Kira's job to intervene, though he wasn't as righteous as the other, and he definitely didn't care as much. Still, he stood up and put himself between his two roommates, feeling dwarfed by the two significantly larger men.

“Go to your room, Dio,” he requested.

Surprisingly, Dio listened to him. He detached himself from the counter and sauntered away, out and upstairs. Diavolo's body was rigid, seething with anger, wanting to lash out at anything or anyone. Kira placed his hands on Diavolo's strong shoulders and looked into his eyes, trying his best to imitate Valentine, so to prevent destruction.

“Don't let him bait you,” he scolded, trying to push Diavolo out of the kitchen. “You know how he is.”

Diavolo only spared him an infuriated glare. He shook Kira's hands off and marched out of the kitchen and into his bedroom. He slammed the door shut with enough force to make the entire house rattle. Kira sighed. Since his mind was buzzing with upsetting thoughts, Kira at least wanted his house to be calm and quiet. And it was obvious that his roommates would make that impossible. Dio was Pucci's jurisdiction. There was something Kira could do about Diavolo, try at least.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


“Thank you for agreeing to meet me.”

At that, Valentine chuckled. He had a handsome laugh, dignified and clear. Even with the pale pink hair surrounding his face, he commanded respect to those around him. Kira observed him silently for a second and he found that the pink suit him. It definitely was his color, it complimented his cloudless eyes and porcelain complexion. But of course, he wasn't going to keep it.

“You speak as if we're a divorced couple, Yoshikage,” Valentine commented. “We're still friends, you know that, don't you?”

“Of course.” Kira cleared his throat. He opened his mouth to speak but at that same moment, Hol Horse arrived with their order; whiskey for Kira and a beer for Valentine, along with some strawberries and whipped cream.

“Thought I'd bring ya a lil' somethin' to go with ya hair,” the smitten bartender said.

Valentine plucked one strawberry from the plate and dipped it into the whipped cream, covering it with a very generous amount. His pearly teeth sliced right through the pink flesh, plump lips closing around the fruit and cream. He hummed. He seemed tired.

“Thank you, Hol Horse,” he said and the man bowed his head before going back to his position. “Well. What was it that you wanted to discuss with me? You sounded very serious on the phone.”

“Right.” Kira took a sip of his drink. “It's about Diavolo.”

Valentine's reaction was predictable. He rolled his eyes and sat back, arms folded over his chest. “Of course, it is,” he sighed. He inhaled through his nose and averted his gaze from the bar around him, bringing it back to his friend. “What did he do this time?”

“He's a mess.”

“I know.”

“No, you don't. He's a mess without you,” Kira emphasized.

“I'm not his mother, Yoshikage!” Valentine snapped. “I can't keep cleaning after him. He's got a dense skull, doesn't understand any of the advice I ever gave him!”

He wasn't wrong. Diavolo only ever listened to himself and that resulted in catastrophe, more than often. Valentine had every right to be mad, had every right to refuse to spend the promising days of his youth looking after Diavolo. Kira knew he wasn't going to accomplish much with this meeting but a part of him still hoped that Valentine would perhaps give in first, be the bigger man and go talk to him.

“He's not doing well, Funny.”

“Why the hell should I care?”

A horrible liar. Well, not in general, Valentine was a wonderful liar. But at that particular moment, he was obviously lying. He cared about Diavolo and they all knew it.

“I thought you wanted to stop him from ruining his life.”

“I tried talking to him. And as always, he didn't listen. Is there really any point in trying anymore?” Valentine took a sip from his glass, downing half of the beer. “I'm tired, Yoshikage. And I can't bear seeing him ruin his life. So I decided to cut myself from it.”

“Is it really that simple?”

“Sure. I got my hands full. I got a stable relationship, a social life, an academic career, and a loving family. What does he have?”

“Only you.”

Valentine's eyes fluttered wide. For such a blonde guy, he had really dark lashes, very thick, too, feather-like. His surprise lasted for a short second before melting away into a well-practiced mask of mirth. He was smiling with boredom, as if exasperated at the dumb joke he had just heard.

“That's awfully cruel of you, Yoshikage. Don't you care about our friend?”

“Not as much as you do.” Kira watched as slender, deft fingers reached for another strawberry and dipped it into the fluffy whipped cream. Valentine had beautiful hands. Had Kira's thoughts not been overflowing with Shinobu, Valentine's life might have been in danger. “Are you really saying that you'll never speak to him again?”

“I won't approach him first, if that's what you're asking.” Valentine reached for another strawberry. “Unless he wants to be the bigger man and apologize for his childish behavior, we'll never speak again.”

Fair enough. Valentine was being reasonable, as always. Diavolo had started this feud when he trashed Valentine's car. It was only natural for Valentine to expect an apology, one Diavolo would rather die than give.

“What are you going to do with the baby?” Kira asked after a short moment of silence.

“I'll give her for adoption.”

Kira nodded. That was most likely a lie, too. Valentine would never go through all this trouble just to end up giving the baby to a bunch of strangers. He knew Diavolo could do the same much quicker and much more efficiently. Kira chose to say nothing more. No point in doing so, anyway.

“Her? A girl, then?”

“Yes. It's still too early to know but we ran a few tests a week ago – for diseases and stuff – and we're 90% sure it's a baby girl.”

“Does she have a name?”

“She does,” Valentine said. “Trish. Trish Una.”

Kira wrapped his fingers around his almost empty glass. “To Trish.”

“To Trish.”

A toast to Diavolo's unborn, unwanted daughter. A toast to her, who made Valentine's eyes gleam with hope and joy, the kind he'd never admit he was capable of experiencing. Even in the midst of this chaos, between Diavolo's insanity and whatever was eating Scarlet from the inside out, Kira didn't miss the way those precious cobalt eyes twinkled when Valentine mentioned Trish.

“I have to go,” Kira murmured as he finished his drink. He stood up, wrapping himself in his dark blue coat and scarf.

“Sure you don't wanna wait 'till I finish my drink? I could drive you.”

“No, it's fine.”

“You sure? It's snowing.”

“I'll be fine,” Kira smiled. “Good night, Funny.”

“Goodnight.”

He made his way out of the bar, stepping out to the cold night. There was still life around him, passing cars and open stores. Kira leaned against the brick exterior of 'The Emperor' and reached for his gloves inside his pocket. He meticulously straightened them and carefully slipped them on, making sure they fit perfectly.

Right before he took his first step forward, he was slammed back against the wall hard. All air left his lungs in a loud exhale. His skull crashed against the cold wall and Kira's vision blurred, sharp, twinging pain spreading all over his head. He looked up in alarm, searching for the attacker. He saw a large, claw-like hand with black nails wrapped around his throat and was met with two electrifying black eyes.

“Meeting with the enemy?” Diavolo hissed.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Kira coughed out. Diavolo wasn't holding him hard enough to stop his breathing, using only the necessary force to keep him pinned and uncomfortable.

“Don't play fucking dumb!” Diavolo's fingers flexed, face coming closer. Even though the feeling of such a strong hand wrapped around his throat was tantalizing, Kira couldn't enjoy it. Diavolo smelled like a stray dog, his breath emitting the same odor as a forgotten ashtray. “The fuck were you doing with him in there?!”

“It's none of your damn business!” Kira hollered and pushed him away. He wasn't as big but he still managed to make Diavolo stagger back, glaring at him with angry eyes. “I don't have to answer to you about the people I meet!”

“You're choosing him over me?” Diavolo questioned, ignoring Kira. “Him?”

“Wha- No one ever said that!” Kira raised his arms and shook his head. Deciding that he was dealing with an unstable man that would never listen to him, he moved away. Diavolo stopped him. “Move.”

“Like hell I am. You wanted to talk to him about me, right? Wanted to tell him how much help I need?”

Kira didn't reply immediately. He fixed his gaze over Diavolo's leather-clad shoulder, crossing his arms over his chest. “Ask him,” he said before walking away, to the direction of the subway station.

Diavolo turned around, not surprised to find Valentine standing in front of the entrance, slipping his too-expensive gloves over his lovely hands. The sight annoyed him like no else, pure anger coursed through his veins, feeding his pumping heart. The world around him blurred and only Valentine remained, dressed in well-tailored pink coat and slacks, matching his long hair. His expression was colder than the air around them, blue eyes looking like a pair of ice cubes. He had such a punchable face.

“Nice hair, asshole.”

“Yes,” Valentine said, opening his arms wide. “I'm a walking gender-reveal party. Congratulations on the daughter, by the way. Would you like to see her picture?”

It took Diavolo two steps to get right in front of Valentine's face. But at the last second, he slipped on the wet sidewalk, giving Valentine the opening he needed to jam his elbow right into Diavolo's face, twisting it viciously, hearing the graphic cracking of his nose. Diavolo fell back with an anguished scream and Valentine quickly took off, not sparing him a second glance. Diavolo sat on the ground, feeling the blood run from his broken nose to his mouth, painting his jaw crimson. Pursuing Valentine would be stupid but he was on the verge of doing it. He sat on the ground, oblivious to the cold, pain and dizziness, watching with the narrowed eyes of a vengeful animal as Valentine climbed inside his new Bugatti and drove off, becoming nothing more than a speckle of dust in the horizon.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Dio was great. In all aspects. Except maybe his patience. But Dio was so great that this little flaw was overshadowed by his overall perfection. Or maybe not. Okay, it wasn't. He just couldn't see it. Being hot-headed was definitely a liability, it had been a liability through his entire life. He was calculating and smart, sure, but when he grew impatient, all that went down the drain. And he grew impatient so quickly. Especially after being such a successful 'dumb rich fuck' hunter, the reality of Jonathan resisting him so valiantly was even more shocking. Though, Jonathan wasn't really resisting him. He was just being himself. And Dio absolutely hated it. He wasn't used to such a tiring hunt, he had never encountered a person that managed to stay immune to his baffling charm. But there Jonathan was, with his coy speeches about morals and waiting and bonding and trust. He wanted Dio, probably as much as Dio wanted him, but he kept his distance. These past few days he had even started ignoring Dio altogether, going from one-worded, curt replies to not responding at all. A silly game? The realization of something greater? New, more exciting and fitting love? Whatever it was, it was driving Dio insane.

He barged through the library like a man in hot pursuit and scanned the room full of students. Most didn't notice him, thoroughly absorbed as they were in their intense studying. Dio spotted Jonathan sitting on a large table by the window alone, head buried in his countless notes. He'd make for a rather charming image – the sweet scholar with the body of the gods he studied – had it not been for Dio's exasperation with his idiotic and completely uncalled-for antiques. He marched to the table, bypassing any fool that stood in his way and slammed his hands down on the wood hard, making Jonathan jump near to a heart attack.

“Dio!” Jonathan exclaimed, throwing a hand over his racing heart. “Jesus... You scared the hell out of me!”

“I demand an explanation for your behavior!” Straight to the point, no use in discussing it any further. Jonathan kept looking at him with confusion in his sweetly innocent blue eyes. Dio cursed his hot-headedness. The facade he had so carefully constructed, the one that was supposed to bewitch Jonathan, the mask of the eloquent, charming, knowledgeable and oh, so shameless Dio Brando was torn down like a tower of paper cards, all because of a few enraged syllables.

“What are you talking about?” Jonathan asked in a hushed voice. He looked around, glaring at any intrusive eyes.

Dio sat down on the chair across from Jonathan and sat down. “You have been ignoring me lately.”

“What?”

“Don't give me that!” Dio hissed. “All my calls, my messages... You haven't responded to anything! Have I done something to offend you?” Jonathan opened his mouth to speak but Dio didn't allow him this luxury. Not yet, anyway. “You gave me the idea that you are a gentleman, Jojo! Gentlemen don't treat others this way! Especially those that are romantically involved with them!”

After Dio's little monologue was finished, Jonathan leaned back in his chair. He looked tired, bags appearing under his eyes, rough, prickly hair ghosting over his cheeks and jaw. He ran a hand through his thick locks and sighed deeply, letting the air through his nose.

“I can explain,” he finally said, very quietly. “Just not here. Let's go somewhere private.”

Jonathan started putting his notes away, shoving them in his backpack carelessly. He stood up and stretched, his godly back muscles flexing. He put on his coat and walked out of the library with Dio in tow. They made their way out to the hallway.

“Jonathan?” a voice called from behind them.

It was Joseph, awkwardly standing a few steps behind, shifting his weight between his legs. His thumbs were twiddling awkwardly, eyes riddled with guilt. Up close he was even better looking. Dio observed him with interest. Joseph was a very pretty thing. All hard muscle, childish, mischievous charm and vibrant green eyes. Dio knew for a fact that he wasn't as uptight as Jonathan. Perhaps he had bet on the wrong Joestar... Oh, well. Too late to back down now.

“Not now, Joseph,” Jonathan grumbled and turned around to leave, urging Dio to do the same.

“I just wanna talk!” Joseph hastily said, taking a step closer.

“I said not now!” Jonathan snapped. Joseph stepped back, blinking. Dio looked up at Jonathan, his anger having melted into confusion. Now that was a tone of voice he never expected Jonathan to have. It was... unpleasant. Once again, Jonathan looked humane, and not just a pouch full of coins. Dio didn't like that.

Jonathan sighed. He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “We'll talk when I get home, okay?”

For the first time, Joseph looked at Dio, bearing disappointment and puzzlement in his eyes. “Sure,” he mumbled and walked away to the opposite direction.

Dio followed Jonathan out of the building. There were a few people littering around the campus, a few brave ones that weren't afraid of the cold. Jonathan was walking in silence and Dio was curiously observing him. Jonathan's brows were furrowed, he obviously was deep in thought. Dio doubted anything he'd say to him at that moment could break him out of his concentration. Eventually, Jonathan led Dio to a seaside park, where they sat down on a bench looking out to the ocean. It was still very cold but at least the cruel wind was somewhat blocked by the surrounding trees. Jonathan sat down and Dio did so next to him, crossing one knee over the other and keeping his gloved hands in his pockets.

“Well?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.

“I'm sorry, Dio,” Jonathan candidly said. “I really am. I never ignore people, especially the ones I like.”

“Then what happened?”

Jonathan sighed heavily. He leaned back, craning his neck to gaze up at the crystal clear dome. All this wind had chased the clouds away. “Please promise me you won't tell anyone.”

“Of course, Jojo.” Kars would be the first one to find out, as he had a history with the Joestars.

Another deep breath. In the fresh daylight, Jonathan looked even more tired, a bit sad and just not in great shape. He was pale and obviously very nervous.

“My...uh...My brother, Joseph...he got a girl pregnant.”

Dio raised his brows almost to his hairline. Was there an epidemic? This was the second guy in less than a month!

“Oh,” was all Dio said.

“Yeah.”

He cleared his throat. “If it makes you feel any better, a friend of mine is becoming a father without having planned it, too.”

Jonathan gave him an empty, mirthless laugh. “It really doesn't,” he said quietly. “But thanks anyway.” Before Dio could offer him anything else, Jonathan doubled over with a groan. “This is bad, Dio. It's really bad. I love babies, okay? I cried when Jotaro told me he was having one!”

“Jotaro's multiplying?” Dio mumbled in disbelief, and thankfully Jonathan didn't catch it.

“I love kids, Joseph loves kids...”

“Then what's the problem?”

“The timing. He's twenty-one, still in college and doesn't have a single clue how the world works. We grew up in a very protected environment and he was constantly being pampered due to being the middle child. He still acts like a kid sometimes...and now he's having a kid of his own.” Another deep lungful of crisp air. “We have the money and energy to give this baby a loving home and family. But our social class is all about appearances. Can you imagine the uproar the news of Joseph Joestar having an illegitimate child will cause? Our Father...” Jonathan buried his face in his hands. “He's not going to take it well. Not at all.”

“But you said Jotaro is having a kid, too.” Jonathan nodded. “How is this different?”

“Jotaro's married,” Jonathan replied. “It's white marriage, sure. They'll divorce soon after little Jolyne is born, they just got married so not to cause any problems with their families.”

“So make Joseph marry the mother of his child.”

“He can't do that. Caesar is very Catholic. If Joseph marries Tomoko they won't be able to get married.”

Tough shit. Dio sat back and folded his arms over his chest. He gazed out to the distance, to the barely visible forms of the ships. Advice and sympathy weren't really his specialty but just this once, he was willing to lend Jonathan his shoulder. Probably the last body part of his he expected to give Jonathan but it was still better than nothing.

“It's a mess,” Jonathan huffed. “But we'll figure something out, we have to.” He straightened his back, bringing one hand to rub his neck. They sat in silence for a little while, just looking out to the wide expanse of the Atlantic.

“By the way,” Jonathan started, “which friend of your is becoming a father?”

“Diavolo.”

Jonathan nodded. “Diavolo... I tend to see the goodness in people, believe that there's some good in everyone but I don't really think guys like him should reproduce.”

Dio snorted. Yeah, Jonathan was right about that.

Wait.

Why was Jonathan right about that? He had only seen Diavolo twice and both times Diavolo was brooding, sulking, barely talking and glaring at everyone. Based on these interactions, Jonathan's opinion of Diavolo had to be that of an antisocial, edgy, emo loser. And surely, someone as sweet and noble as Jonathan wouldn't deem a man unfit to have children simply because he disliked socialization. Unless of course, a little birdie had recounted the tale of Diavolo glassing Polnareff without a second thought. Or rather, a little dolphin.

“Why would you say that?”

“Because I know what you and your friends did to mine, Dio!” Jonathan snapped in the same tone of voice he had used with Joseph. “And I was hoping you'd tell me first, not act like it's a dirty secret! I don't mind that it happened, everyone can be a bit annoying sometimes. I just don't like the way you handled it, Dio.”

“I didn't want it to be a source of a fallout!” Dio blurted the first excuse that came into his ever-working mind.

“Is that it? Or did you just want to appeal to me more by hiding your misdeeds? Admit it, you didn't want to tell me about you and Jotaro, Funny and Gyro, Diavolo and Jean Pierre because you thought I wouldn't like you anymore. Is that how much you trust me? Is that the idea I've given you? That I delete people from my life because of a bar brawl?”

“Then why are you judging me because of a bar brawl right now?”

“I'm not judging you because of that, I'm judging you because you don't trust me! And I'm not even judging you!” Jonathan stood up abruptly and grabbed his things. “I thought we were in this together, that we were trying to build something beautiful.” Jonathan opened his mouth to add a few more words but quickly regretted it, stitching his lips and shaking his head. “There's a lot I need to think about, a lot of new information to process. Please forgive me if I don't respond to your calls and texts for a little while.”

With that, Jonathan started walking away, his back hunched a little, hands shoved into his pockets. Dio observed his departing hulking frame, trying to burn holes into his blue coat. He shot up straight like an arrow, hands balled into tight fists on his sides. Even through the thick leather and rich fox fur, his carefully manicured talons were still trying to break his skin. His jaw was clenched hard enough to make his teeth grind down together. Jonathan had accused him, stated his disappointment in him and had turned his back on him. Dio was seeing red, was hearing nothing. He summoned every ounce of logic he could find, commanding it to chain him down, prevent him from lashing at Jonathan and choking him to death.

“I'm not to blame for your family's failures, Jojo!” he yelled, voice booming across the park.

Jonathan stopped. He slowly turned around and Dio's anger skyrocketed. He was looking at him with genuine puzzlement, surprise, and pity. “After everything I just told you, this is what you focus on?”

“No one walks away from me.”

Based on Jonathan's weirded-out reaction, Dio shouldn't have said that. Too late now. “Have a good day, Dio. Looks like you need to do some thinking of your own.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


Chapter 7

 

 

 

Diavolo brought his coffee mug to his frowning lips, grumbling at the cold, bitter liquid. Why was his coffee cold? He had just taken it out of the pot. He glanced at the clock. Oh. He had poured himself a cup around twenty minutes ago and after that, he had completely zoned out, entirely absorbed in the black depths. He poured the coffee into the sink unceremoniously and put the mug in the dishwasher. Never bothered learning how to operate the damn thing, that was Kira's thing. Speaking of Kira, where was he? Neither he or Dio were at home, having left while Diavolo was in his room. It was what he did these days. It was Saturday so Dio was probably at the studio with Kars. Kira went shopping on Saturdays. Diavolo stayed in his room on Saturdays.

"Do it," one part of his brain egged him on. "You want him, go talk to him! It's not that hard! Settle your differences like functioning adults! It's been months and all you've done is play stupid, childish pranks on one another. Just explain to him why you reacted the way you did using arguments and give him the chance to present his own version of the story. Sure, it's the worst fallout you've had ever since becoming friends but it's nothing you can't overcome! Funny is nice to have around. He knows things, knows people, can do magic tricks, can cook, has a nice sense of humor, like animals, loves classic rock and is the only person that gives two shits about you! AND he's hot. Gorgeous. Stunning."

"Oh, he is, alright..." Diavolo mumbled.

"Don't listen to this bullshit!" the other part of his brain shrieked. "You're gonna beg for forgiveness? HE wronged you! HE should be the one dying to be forgiven! HE should come to you first! Fuck this friendship shit! You don't need it! All the bastard ever did was try controlling you! Quit Passione, be a father... Fuck him! You don't need friends! In fact, you should burn this fucking house to the ground, kill Dio, say goodbye to Yoshikage and go back to Italy! Save the cat, though."

"Think of it this way," his dick chimed in. "If you continue avoiding this confrontation, not only you will lose the best and most unproblematic friend you've ever had but you'll also never get the chance of laying a single finger on him. You don't have to beg for forgiveness, just go over there and have a normal, civil conversation, sort out your differences and be done with it. If you go to him now, you'll forget about this fight by Christmas, New Year's at most."

"You're not wrong..." Diavolo sighed. He leaned against the counter, humming thoughtfully while gazing out of the window, to the terrifying Boston weather. And winter hadn't even peaked yet.

Diavolo weighed his options. If he stuck with this approach, chances were Valentine would never speak to him again and move along with his life. If he went to talk with Valentine, they'd probably resolve this feud within a day. Plus, he'd also have chances at one day fucking him.

Was he wrong for thinking of his friend that way? Most likely. It seemed that ever since their fight broke out, his mind had been flooded with thoughts of his friend in the most wanton of situations. He wanted him, he wanted him bad. It was as if his vision had cleared up. Valentine had been in front of him for a long time and he had suddenly been painted a new color. All of Diavolo's friends were ridiculously attractive, but their charms didn't affect him the way Valentine's did. It wasn't just the divinely sculpted body, golden hair and bright eyes that set Diavolo's sweat on fire whenever Valentine was near, but also the way he treated him. Some would call it tenderness, cleverly disguised behind a mask of nonchalant worry. It warmed Diavolo in a pleasant but foreign way. Feelings had never been his forte and he had no idea what to call what he was experiencing. He baptized it 'lust'. That wasn't it. Lust was too bland, too pale, too simple. What Diavolo felt was purer, brighter. Stronger.

Even though it was the middle of the day, the cold was harsh, the sun was trying to pierce through the dome of gray clouds. Diavolo dressed in a warm, glittery, black turtleneck and black jeans decorated with studs. On his feet, he wore a pair of combat boots lined with fur, waterproof and just perfect for this weather. He covered himself with his warmest mulberry coat and wrapped a long scarf around his neck, the same material as his sweater though in a deep plum color. Lastly, Diavolo slipped on a pair of black leather gloves and headed out.

Despite his ensemble, the clever cold still found a way of sneaking past the seams and layers, stinging his skin. Diavolo defied the discomfort and quickly made his way to the subway station. He didn't like how crowded it was but at least he got to his destination within ten minutes. He climbed the steps to Valentine's house carefully, making sure he didn't slip. Weird. Valentine shoveled the snow seconds after it fell. Diavolo rang the doorbell and waited, low key wishing no one answered. And it seemed that his wish worked as no one answered the door. Reluctantly, he rang the doorbell once more, this time persisting a few seconds more. His ears caught the faint sound of tiny barking. The dog was inside. Alone? No way Valentine would ever let his sweet fluffball alone on a Saturday. Diavolo considered calling him but he quickly rejected the idea. He wanted to have the element of surprise, didn't want to allow Valentine the time window he needed to fabricate his arguments and think of an approach. But after several minutes of waiting – that seemed unbearable eternities in the damn snow – Diavolo realized that no one was home.

"Are you looking for Funny and Scarlet?" Diavolo looked up, looking for the source of the voice. It was one of Valentine's neighbors, speaking to Diavolo from the second floor of her stylish maisonette.

"Yes."

"They're at the hospital! They've been there since last night!"

Last night? Valentine had spent the entire night at the hospital and no one knew about it? Was he alright? Last time Diavolo had seen him, he had been just fine, as annoying and cocky as ever. In fact, during their last encounter, Diavolo had been the one in dire need of medical attention.

Apparently, Valentine had gone to some fancy clinic. Diavolo hopped into the first cab he found and angrily demanded he was taken there. The ride was a bit longer than anticipated because of the weather and the wait only prolonged Diavolo's suffering. A hundred thousand thoughts swirled around his mind, picking on his brain like famished vultures. He could barely sit still, twitching nervously and digging his fingers into the faux leather cushions.

Once there, Diavolo leaped out of the taxi and sprinted inside. He didn't look very out of place, a lot of distraught people barged through the doors of hospitals every day. Diavolo headed straight for the front desk.

“I'm looking for a man named Funny Valentine,” he barked.

The young woman sitting behind the front desk scanned him before turning her gaze to her computer monitor. “When was he admitted?”

“Last night.”

Diavolo kept drumming his fingers against the sleek wooden surface while waiting, observing his surroundings. An expensive private clinic differed greatly from your everyday hospital. The halls were sparkling clean and decorated with plants and pieces of art, the members of the staff were all wearing pristine uniforms, light music was playing from the speakers, and a very pleasant, non-chemical scent was coming from the cafeteria.

“We have no one with that name, sir.”

Diavolo felt his entire body relax with one big sigh. So Valentine was alright. That meant Scarlet was the sick one. Valentine had mentioned how she had been feeling unwell these past few weeks. It seemed that the situation escalated. Diavolo thought about it for a second. What he wanted was to go home and maybe have a nap, he didn't give two shits about the bitch that had dared threaten him. But he gave an infinite number of shits about Valentine. Whatever it was they were going through, Valentine needed a shoulder to cry on, an embrace to fall into, a dick to sit on.

Diavolo opened his mouth but quickly shut it. Shit, what was Scarlet's last name? Her parents had an oil company, it was a pretty famous last name. But he couldn't remember it no matter how hard he tried. It was probably written on her social media accounts.

“Diavolo?”

The soft voice coming from behind brought Diavolo out of his contemplation. Turning around, he saw Valentine standing in front of the cafeteria, carrying a cup of coffee. The two men remained completely still, eyes locked.

“Come with me,” Valentine said after an unbelievably long second.

Diavolo followed the man into the halls without a second thought, walking right beside him. They got inside the elevator and Valentine pressed the button tagged 'Maternity Ward'. Diavolo blinked stupidly. What the hell was going on? More confused than ever before, Diavolo followed Valentine past happy rooms and incubators, stubbornly shutting his eyes to it all, blocking the sounds of newborns ringing in his ears. Valentine led him to the far back of the wing, where it was admittedly colder. This place was a harsh sterile smell that was just cruel on Diavolo's broken nose, unlike the rest of the warm and sweet wing. A pair of pale blue double doors stood at the end of the hall, with a sign that read 'Operating' above them. Valentine sat down on a chair and motioned at Diavolo to do the same.

For the first time in weeks, they were sitting side by side, not uttering a single word. Instantaneously, Valentine's presence filled Diavolo's insides with relief. No collision, no arguing, no cold shoulder. Sitting so close to him gave Diavolo the opportunity to observe Valentine and he found a lot of strange things on his friend's appearance. Aside from the strawberry blonde hair, Valentine's cashmere sweater was wrinkled and had a small coffee stain on the sleeve, his socks didn't match and his shoes were sprinkled with mud. What was more, his skin was sickly pale, yellow and concerning and his hands were shaking. His eyes had dark circles under them and they were puffy and red, lashes heavy with moisture. He had been crying. What a weird concept to imagine.

“How'd you find out?” Valentine rasped, coughing to somewhat bring his voice to normal. It didn't help much. Diavolo could taste the sadness in it.

“Your neighbor told me.”

“You went by the house?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to speak with you.” Valentine nodded. He brought the paper cup to his lips and took a sip. He didn't care much for the taste, he just wanted something to busy himself with. “What happened?”

Valentine took a deep breath. His thumbs were awkwardly tracing the plastic lid, blunt nails digging into the engraved numbers. He hesitated, stalling just a few seconds. Diavolo saw his quivering lip. Valentine was tiring to calm himself but he distress was showing.

“Scarlet had a miscarriage.”

Third guy in less than a month. Had to be something in the air or the water, there was no other explanation for it. Diavolo felt a twinge of superiority, of fulfillment. There Valentine was, making the same mistakes he had shunned Diavolo for making. But truth be told, judging by his forlorn expression, his painfully sad eyes, pale cheeks and shaking fingers, it wasn't quite the same. Valentine was in mourning. He wanted a family, didn't care how soon it arrived.

“The doctors said this could have been avoided if she had gone to the gynecologist when she first started feeling unwell,” Valentine continued. “An abortion would have solved this problem, but now...”

“What happened?”

“I don't know! We just went to bed and the next thing I knew she was screaming, bleeding as if she had been stabbed to death.” Valentine groaned, bring one hand to cover his face. “I told her to take better care of herself, to be more careful. She didn't listen to me. I guess she was afraid of what she would find out.”

“What's gonna happen to her now?”

“She's still in surgery. I don't understand most of what they're saying but it's bad. Nothing they've never seen before but it's still bad. They're trying to avoid a hysterectomy. She's only twenty two, they feel kinda bad for her.” Reluctantly, Valentine took a sip of his coffee. “I'm such an idiot... How did I not notice? I should have pushed her more.”

“Don't blame yourself,” Diavolo said as softly as Diavolo could, moving to cup one of Valentine's unbelievably cold hands. He squeezed comfortingly. In turn, his friend looked up at him, with glistening eyes. Diavolo stupidly let his desire control his body and reached to stroke that velvety skin, wipe a leftover tear with his thumb. How soft and sweet he seemed, compared to how stern and cold he usually was. Diavolo glanced at his dark pink lips, just begging him to kiss them.

“All you've ever done was care for her.” And she decided to ignore you, he didn't say. For now, he was going to subtly praise Valentine while painting Scarlet the villain, thinking that this strategy would be successful.

“I still do. I want her to be safe, that's all. I just want this to be over with so I can take her back home and live the rest of my days with her.”

Right in the gut. Diavolo tried masking his surprise and disgust though his grip on Valentine's cheek tightened only for a second. “Do you really love her that much?”

“I do,” Valentine replied with candor. “I may not show it but I really do. And I hope she knows it.”

“She does.” Valentine's lips twitched with the faintest smile. It was what he wanted to hear.

Suddenly, Valentine lunged forward, wrapping his arms around Diavolo's rigid body. Diavolo remained unresponsive for a split second before slowly, in disbelief, wrapping his arms around Valentine. He circled Valentine's cinched waist, resting his palms flat against the small of his back, caressing the expensive material of his sweater. As discretely as he could, he buried his face into the golden mane and breathed the scent. It was intoxicating. The sweet smell filled his nostrils, fogging his brain. Juicy peaches, vanilla cream and flowers, all clouding his vision and making him go limp. The body against his own was warm and inviting, and how perfectly did it feel enveloped in his arms! His anticipation grew and so did his desire, bubbling in the pits of his gut.

“Thank you for coming.” Valentine's voice was smooth and sincere in Diavolo's ear and he just melted to it. Sadly, Valentine leaned back, smiling a little, leaving Diavolo to cope with the emptiness. Once he had a small taste, he wanted it all, wanted to savor the man sitting in front of him drop by drop. “And sorry about the nose. Does it hurt?”

“At first but not anymore. It's been broken a couple of times before.”

Valentine nodded. “Listen, I really want to speak with you but I'm afraid it's not the right time. Or place. Our parents will be coming soon and...you know...”

“Yeah, I get it.” Right. Valentine had a family that rushed to his aid when he needed them. Diavolo stood up, awkwardly straightening his clothes.

“I'll give you a call.”

“Sure. I'll be waiting.” He turned around to leave but was halted by Valentine's voice.

“Diavolo?” he softly called. Diavolo turned around to face him. Some color had returned to his cheeks. This strawberry blonde really suit him, made him sweeter. “You should take care of yourself, too.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

Kira looked around nervously, mumbling under his breath. Despite his rather warm attire, his ears were stinging from the cold. Dammit, where was that nice pair of earmuffs he had? He hadn't seen it in almost a year. Kira never lost things, always kept them tidy and organized. He must have misplaced it somewhere. Where had he gone for winter holiday last year? Oh, yeah. Russia with the boys. Quite a rowdy vacation that one had been. His earmuffs were probably in possession of some lucky Russian or doomed to a life of solitude into the frozen depths of the Volga.

Within a mere second, all of Kira's memories were deleted, his brain shutting down altogether, mind replaced by static and white noise. And the cause for that was Shinobu, strutting up to him with a smile on her lips. She was wearing a yellow coat, black skinny jeans and brown ankle boots. Long strands of auburn hair cascaded down her shoulders, framing her flushed face. Her cheeks were dyed in the sweetest pink color and her smiling lips, swollen from the cold, peeked from beneath her orange scarf. Kira was still motionless and brainless when she halted in front of him, face radiating.

“Hello!” she greeted. “Hope you didn't wait for long.”

It was hard to describe what exactly Kira was feeling. An odd mix of shock and horror. He quickly brushed it off, mind shifting into gear. He gave Shinobu a relaxed smile, trying to appear as if his blood wasn't fucking boiling.

“Not at all,” he said, even though he had been standing out in the cold like a dumbass for nearly a quarter of the hour. “I just came here.”

“Oh, good. Come on in, then! I don't want to freeze!”

Kira followed Shinobu into the cafe, holding the door open for her. It was a cute place, the kind one saw all over Instagram. Ambient music was playing through the speakers, serving as the ideal background for the chatter. The brick walls were decorated with indie artworks, handmade rugs and stylish bookshelves, heavy with several tomes. A small succulent in a bright pot was placed on every table and booth. Shinobu walked to a cozy corner table, right by the window and sat down, back facing the wall. Kira hesitated. The chairs, despite being fine and expensive antiques, were mismatched. Reluctantly, he took his coat off and sat down, carefully removing his gloves and placing them into his pocket.

“What about Hayato?” Kira questioned.

“I left him with a friend. He's gonna be fine without me for a few hours.”

Kira nodded. The waiter came and took their orders. Vienois chocolate with hazelnut syrup for Shinobu and a latte caramel macchiato for Kira. And after that...silence. Heavy like lead, as still as a summer day, only the sounds surrounding them penetrating its defenses. Kira kept his lips pressed together, fingers drumming on the table's wooden surface. Why was he there again? Right. Shinobu had called him after weeks of texting and had requested a meeting – a date, to be more exact. Kira had accepted. Why had he done that, again? Well, for one, Shinobu was very persistent and assertive. And well, Kira was still hoping to get what he wanted from her one day. One day soon, preferably, as he was shivering with sheer want after glancing at her dainty fingers just once.

“What did you want to talk about?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing in particular,” Shinobu smiled and Kira froze. She had a very sly smile. Kira could hardly believe that the same woman sitting right across was the terrified widow he had met a couple of months ago. Shinobu had changed, specifically after meeting him. It was as if she had regained her confidence, had found a new goal to focus on.

“I just wanted to see you.”

The waiter brought them their drinks along with some cakes. Shinobu reached for a slice of lemon cake and bit down softly. Crumbs stuck on the dewy surface of her lips and she poked out her tongue, licking them off, all the while maintaining eye contact. Fuck.

“I hope you don't feel cheated,” she quickly said.

“No, not at all. Truth be told, I enjoy spending time with you without any specific reason, too.”

Crap. Was he supposed to say that? Shinobu beamed and Kira's heart sank. It was obvious Shinobu wanted him, just not in the way Kira wanted her.

“Why didn't you ask me out, then?” she teased, the tip of her boot creeping underneath the table to press on the inside of Kira's thigh. Kira jumped, making Shinobu laugh.

“I-I did it out of respect for your husband.” At that, Shinobu's face dropped. “You've only recently become a widow and I didn't want to be disrespectful. You're still in mourning.”

Shinobu let her head hang low. She turned her gaze outside the window, the bleak light illuminating her face, giving it a harsh, almost metallic glow. “This may sound heartless or cruel but... I'm not really mourning, Yoshikage. If anything, I'm relieved Kosaku's dead.”

That was actually quite shocking. Kira stared at Shinobu with intrigued eyes, examining her. Every time he met this woman, he discovered something new about her, each new piece of information being more interesting than the other.

“I don't mean to be intrusive but may I ask why?”

Shinobu sighed. She ran a hand through her hair, bringing it all on one side. “Kosaku and I married when I find out I was pregnant with Hayato. Our marriage was an unhappy one from the beginning to the end. It's not like he beat me or we fought all the time. We just had no communication, no chemistry. He only married me to keep up appearances. He dreamed of a career in economics, the kind every asshole that wears loafers and polo shirts dreams of. And you can't be respected if you have bastard children left and right. So he married me.”

“Why'd you marry him?”

“I wanted to impress,” she simply explained. “All my friends' boyfriends went to community college but mine was at Harvard. It's not really as impressive as it sounds but when I met him, everyone was dazzled. When we married, I decided that I liked the idea of being the wife of an important executive, maybe a CEO, even if it meant living with a man as interesting as watching the grass grow.” Shinobu took another bite of her cake and washed it down with some of her chocolate. “It was only after Hayato was born that I realized that Kosaku was an ambitious idiot. And that's a very dangerous combination, Yoshikage. Deadly. That's why he got into trouble with the mafia in the first place, because he had no brains.” Shinobu sighed deeply, sitting up straight to face Kira. “I wanted to divorce him, I was seriously considering it but then I realized what a shitty idea it was. Alone, penniless, with no other family and a little baby, no college degree... I clung to him like a leech, a passive-aggressive leech.”

“And what did he do?”

“I could tell he wasn't happy with the situation, either. I knew he was cheating on me but I didn't really care. I cheated on him a couple of times, too. We lived with that knowledge, two strangers in the same house, yet we did nothing to change our lives.” So far, Shinobu's voice had been clear – distant, even – eyes holding no particular emotion. Then she lowered her head, attempting to hide the guilt welling in her eyes. She reached for Kira's hand, cupping it with her own. Kira felt himself astral project into an alternate dimension. “I'm only telling you this because I feel you close to me, Yoshikage! I want someone to share this burden with!”

“Burden? You didn't do anything.”

“I didn't do anything directly,” Shinobu corrected. She leaned closer to the table, chocolatey breath fanning Kira's face. “Countless times I wished for something to happen, for some foreign deity to intervene and change our lives, my life and Hayato's. I hoped for...I don't know! Sometimes I prayed he'd just wake up one day and leave me, or that I'd stumble upon a treasure chest and finally file for a divorce.”

Kira didn't respond. It's not that he was astonished by the revelation. He had heard (and done) worse things in his life, Shinobu not liking her husband wasn't that much of a deal. A few seconds passed with either of them saying nothing. Shinobu was looking at him nervously, as if she was expecting his opinion. Kira gave her a charming but coy smile.

“It may sound cynic but you are now free, Shinobu. Free to turn your life around and finally do as you please.”

Shinobu leaned back, laughing. Her smile illuminated her lovely face. She had dimples, Kira just noticed, wondering if Kawajiri had ever made her smile genuinely. “Oh, I'm so relieved to hear that, Yoshikage!” she breathed. “I finally got that out of my chest! I feared all my friends would judge me but for some reason, I was certain you wouldn't.” There it was again. Shinobu reached for his hand, squeezing, before retracting it. Kira's breath hitched in his throat. He leaned into the touch, feeling his blood turn into venom in his veins when the brief moment of contact was over.

“And yes,” Shinobu resumed, “I can finally do as I please, no one's holding me back. I already sold the house and furniture, that money's gonna be enough to help me make a new start.”

“Where are you staying?”

“At a little bed and breakfast outside of town. It's cheaper than renting an apartment.”

Kira nodded. Good. Nice. Secluded, perfect for what he wanted to do. “And what are your plans for the future?”

“Well...I need to find a job first. I'm not looking for anything flashy, just to support myself and Hayato.” She sighed, smiling bitterly. “But it's tougher than I anticipated. No one really wants to hire a single mom with no qualifications.”

Kira's heart sunk, that stupid thing. For one moment, for one inexplicably sweet and fulfilling moment, he was hanging from the edge of Shinobu's lips, listening to her excitement about the future, and the next, she was disappointed by the difficulties of life.

“I have a couple of friends with connections,” Kira started hesitantly, careful so not to offend her. Shinobu was a proud woman and even if she needed help, she wouldn't ask for it. “I can ask them if there's an opening. People as smart and charming as you are a rarity these days. I can put in a good word if you'd like.”

Shinobu's eyes were blown wide. “You'd do that for me?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, thank you, Yoshikage! From the bottom of my heart!”

“It's fine. No big deal. Please tell me if there's anything more I can do for you.”

“Oh, I'm sure you have more important things to care about than my life...”

“Please. Just tell me.”

Shinobu considered the offer. She bit her lip. “Well...ever since I was little, I always dreamed of becoming a writer. I had to abandon everything when Hayato was born, only thing I've written ever since were shopping lists. I was hoping that once I've secured some money and stability that I could start again, go to seminars, sign up for online courses...”

“I understand. I have a friend who writes, maybe I can ask for his advice.”

Shinobu covered her mouth with one hand and gasped softly. Tears appeared in the corners of her eyes and she blinked, making them roll down her rosy cheeks. Before Kira even realized it, Shinobu grasped both of his hands and brought them to her lips, pressing chaste kisses on his well-moisturized knuckles. She looked at him through heavy, wet lids and all of Kira's blood went south.

“You're godsend,” she whispered.

They spent the rest of their date discussing trivial matters, their plans for the holidays and stuff. Shinobu was going to stay at home with Hayato. There really wasn't much a single, broke mother could do other than stay warm and safe. Kira shrugged. He honestly had no idea what he was going to do for the holidays. He considered going to his parents but the trip seemed even longer during winter. He usually spent the winter holidays with his friends, visiting some luxurious destination. Hopefully, Diavolo and Valentine would reconcile before Christmas.

They paid and left the cafe. The storm had subsided somewhat, though dark clouds were looming overhead, posing an ever-present threat. Kira offered walking Shinobu to the train station and she gladly accepted. All around them, people walked in a hurried pace, wanting to shield themselves from the awful Boston weather. Inside this sea of hasty fish, Kira and Shinobu walked slowly, leisurely, close to one another. Kira managed to relax, push back the thoughts of Shinobu's skin between his teeth in the dark pits of his mind, suppress his urges until he reached home. For a successful serial killer, Kira relaxed maybe a bit too much, giving Shinobu the opening she needed to haul him inside an alley and slam his body against the wall. Before Kira could even get confused, Shinobu was pressing her lips on his own, cold noses touching. Kira's eyes almost rolled out of their sockets. He watched in utter shock as Shinobu kissed him, eyes shut, both gloved hands cupping his face. Her touch was warm and so was her breath, her tongue shyly poking out of her mouth to lick Kira's lips. He remained frozen, unresponsive, numb.

Shinobu opened her eyes, questioning his hesitation. She got off her tiptoes, eyeing him with raised brows. “Oh my God,” she breathed. “I'm sorry! I just thought...I just...I...thought-”

“No, it's fine. It's fine. I just wasn't expecting that.”

“Oh,” she mouthed and chuckled. Her voice was very smooth, a bit husky. “Were you pleasantly surprised, at least?”

“Yes,” Kira said before he could stop himself. This wasn't him speaking but someone else. A very puzzling individual.

Shinobu grinned from ear to ear. She reached to plant a chaste kiss on the edge of Kira's mouth. He could feel her smile against his skin and his entire body melted like wax. “Thank you for everything, Yoshikage. You truly are my guardian angel.”

Kira blushed. He blushed so hard that Shinobu started laughing, teasing him about his shyness. He had an allergic reaction to this woman, there was no other explanation. When he was around her his face grew hot and red, his tongue got all swollen and started spouting bullshit, his heart started skipping beats, cold sweat slicked his body and his hands were shaking. Yeah, that was it. He was allergic to Shinobu.

“Can we hold hands?” he asked in the quiet voice of a young boy just finding out what the Mona Lisa was.

“Of course,” she smiled and slipped her hand into his. Their fingers locked perfectly, their grasp unbreakable. They exited the alley and continued the walk to the train station, this time walking slower, to savor the moment.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Meanwhile, in another cafe in one of the fanciest seaside neighborhoods of the city, Diavolo walked through the door, grateful for the change in temperature. He stood out like a dead fly in a glass of milk, though no one seemed to pay him any mind. Upon taking the first step in, Diavolo's face was washed with a wave of pleasant warmth and various hypnotizing scents, those of baked goods, fresh coffee and milk tea. The place was wonderfully picturesque, so tidy and classy that for one moment, Diavolo thought he had walked into a movie set. Intricate, elegant paneling covered the walls, save for a few arch-like windows, allowing a gorgeous view of the Atlantic past layers upon layers of red and gold drapes. Rounds tables with grandiose velvet armchairs were placed on various spots around the cafe, each with a little table light to provide extra light. However beautiful the impressive chandelier was, its light wasn't enough. The members of the staff walked past by him like shadows, wearing matching uniforms. A piano stood in the corner, right below one window. Music was playing from the speakers, some classic composition he knew nothing about.

He spotted Valentine sitting in the corner to his right, admittedly the best spot in the house. Diavolo approached hesitantly, feeling the weight of Valentine's bright blue eyes on him. He looked better, it was obvious his mother had intervened. His hair was even paler than the day before, the pink being more evident on the curled ends. His grayish-blue sweater complimented his eyes. Diavolo noticed a pair of white leather gloves neatly folded right next to him. How many pairs did he have? He probably really loved the design.

“Glad you came,” Valentine said. “Did you have any difficulty finding the place?”

“Not at all,” Diavolo replied. He sat down and looked around once more. This place fit Valentine perfectly.

“It's one of my favorite cafes in town. Their Earl Grey is just fantastic.”

Diavolo didn't know shit about tea, so when the waitress came to take their order, he ordered the same thing as Valentine. In just a few short minutes, a teapot was presented to them along with two teacups, white porcelain with golden marble-like swirls, together with matching saucers and a tiered tray filled with cakes and finger sandwiches. Diavolo noticed how delicately Valentine grasped his teacup. Everything, from his stretched little finger to his smooth, always polite but somewhat distant voice showed that he was a young man raised in riches, a person that had enjoyed the finest things in life.

“Before we say anything,” Valentine said and reached inside his coat, “I wanted to give you this.”

He presented Diavolo with a notebook, covered in black leather and bearing just the faintest golden glint. Diavolo ran his hands over the smooth cover, enjoying the rich material under his fingertips. Inside, the blank pages were slightly heavier and with a yellowish tint, unlike ordinary paper.

“It's a token of good faith,” Valentine explained while sipping on his tea.

“I didn't bring you anything.”

“You didn't have to. I just saw it an immediately thought of you. Thought buying it would be nice, since you like writing and all.”

Diavolo nodded. He pocketed the notebook and turned to face Valentine. Why was it that he suddenly realized how charming the other man was? You never know you miss something until you lose it, a little voice inside him chirped but Diavolo smothered it under the sole of his foot. The last thing he wanted was to understand that his relationship with Valentine was deeper. How had he allowed something like this to happen? Without even realizing it, he latched onto the aura of responsibility Valentine emitted, he became careless, thinking that there would always be someone to look after him. Diavolo couldn't stabilize himself very easily, couldn't limit himself, so he let Valentine become his brakes. And the moment he was gone, Diavolo let his temper run wild, unrestrained.

“How are things at home?” Diavolo asked, giving his mind something else to tamper with.

“Fine. Better. Our parents are here, Scarlet's still at the hospital.”

“Is she okay?”

“Yeah. She's still very weak but she's getting better fast. They'll probably let her come home next week.” Valentine took his time wiping the non-existent crumbs from his fingers. “I still can't believe it. We were always so careful!”

“All it takes is a little slip-up.”

“And you know all about slip-ups, right?” Valentine teased. Seeing how Diavolo's face soured, he started laughing. “Forgive me, I didn't mean to rub salt on your wounds.”

All this time, Diavolo had remained mostly silent, sipping on his tea while studying Valentine's face. He had a small beauty mark underneath his right eye, right where the shadow of his long lashes was falling. Diavolo cleared his throat.

“What will you do with the child?”

“Nothing. Her mother will decide. I have no say in it.”

Diavolo chose to accept the answer for the sake of everyone but above all, for the sake of his sanity. He was honestly tired of fighting, and fighting with Valentine had proven to be so much more exhausting than he had anticipated. Valentine turned his gaze to the moody sea outside, idly watching the waves crash against the rocky shore, trying to make out the shape of another continent so far away. Diavolo studied his profile, le this eyes skim over his sharp jawline and expensive cheekbones, pouty lips and vibrant blue eyes. He knew people in the mafia that would pay millions to have a pretty thing like that just for a few hours. But perhaps, trying to buy Valentine wouldn't end well, Diavolo thought as his eyes traveled lower, to Valentine's toned biceps. He was richer than them all, anyway.

“You know what?” Valentine said. “I say we just say we're sorry on the count of three and get on with our lives.”

“...sure.”

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three!”

Silence.

Valentine chuckled and the sound went straight in Diavolo's gut, swelling up his insides. “Now, I'm just disappointed in the both of us,” he scolded, though his smile didn't waver. He sighed. “I'm sorry,” he said, “for trying to tell you how to live your life.”

“And I'm sorry for doing a bunch of immature shit.”

Valentine gave him a small nod. “You know,” he started, “this side of you is my favorite. The side that knows how to converse and be patient. I wish more people knew about it.”

“People see what you show them.”

“Am I special then? For being able to see every bit of you?”

“Yes,” Diavolo breathed before Valentine's voice could even die out. “You're very special.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

As the doorbell's echo died out, Dio shot up from his seat. He straightened his clothes and casually walked to open the door. He was greeted by Jonathan's sweet smiling face behind a bouquet of red roses and a bottle of wine. Dio stepped to the side, allowing Jonathan inside. Jonathan's hulking frame blocked out the entirety of the entrance but his radiant smile made up for his terrifying physique.

“Hello,” he said, smiling. “These are for you. I don't know what type of flowers you like so I went for the safest choice.”

“These are actually my favorite, Jojo,” Dio remarked and Jonathan beamed. He looked at the bottle with satisfaction. Finally. Some expensive, antique wine was a welcome change from whatever grape juice Hol Horse was giving him. “Come on in, make yourself at home.”

Dio walked into the kitchen to put the flowers in a vase, letting Jonathan venture into his house. When he walked into the living room, Jonathan saw a wonderful little creature staring at him with wide, curious eyes. He gasped, instantly dropping on his knees at a safe distance from the bald kitty.

“Hello,” he cooed, inching closer. Killer Queen eyed the sweet giant curiously. “Aren't you a little sweetie?” The animal remained unresponsive, showing neither acceptance nor hostility. Jonathan scooted closer as gently as he could, carefully extending one arm. He cupped Killer Queen's little head with his big hand and gasped. He started petting the cat, rubbing her just right. Under the chin, behind her ears... Intrigued by this warm person, Killer Queen walked closer, meowing at Jonathan to pick her up. And so he did, carrying the feline goblin all the way to the couch like a baby.

Dio returned, finding Jonathan sitting on the couch with a proud smile and a cat in his arms. “You didn't tell me you had a kitty!” he exclaimed, his attention focused solely on the animal.

Dio rolled his eyes. He wasn't going to get laid today either, was he? It was honestly baffling how Jonathan had the vitality and sex drive of a young bull yet behaved like a damn sheep. The minute Dio saw Jonathan cuddling Killer Queen he knew this wasn't going to be his lucky night either. He sighed and decided to accept it. He knew full well that if he forced himself on Jonathan, if he overwhelmed him and pushed him to surrender to his lust, he'd scare him off.

“She's not mine,” Dio said as he moved to sit next to Jonathan. “She's Yoshikage's.”

“That's your friend that looks like David Bowie, right?”

“Yup. Can I get you anything? How about we open the bottle you brought?”

“Sounds great.”

Dio went to fetch their drinks. Unfortunately, Killer Queen was satisfied with the cuddles for the time being and jumped down from Jonathan's lap, going to her own adventures. Dio returned moments later, carrying two glasses with red wine.

“Cheers,” he smiled.

Jonathan took a sip and looked around the living room. His eyes fell on a group photograph inside a simple wooden frame sitting atop a small table. He looked at the picture with fondness, smiling.

“That's you with your friends, right?”

Dio turned to look at the photograph. “Yeah,” he replied. Was this what they were going to be doing all night? He could tell that Jonathan wanted to dig around his past and he had reached his limits. He was unable to hide his displeasure anymore. In order to avoid another fight, Dio went straight to the point. “I did some thinking, just like you asked,” he couldn't help but add, voice laced with bitterness.

Jonathan quirked a brow. “You only did something because I suggested you do it? What if I hadn't told you anything? Would you have ever realized your mistakes?”

“What mistakes?” Dio snapped. There it was. The rage train, coming at full speed, completely shattering every filter Dio's mind had. Just the simple insinuation that he had flaws was enough to make his blood boil, and coming from a stupid son of a bitch like Jonathan.

“You honestly think you've done nothing wrong?” Jonathan questioned, genuinely surprised.

“I merely defended myself,” Dio retorted. “But I get it. Someone like you can't even have an argument properly. You just take offense in everything and run away clutching your pearls.”

“Someone like me?” Jonathan repeated. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“What do you think it means, Jojo? You and I have a very different way of thinking! You were raised in a very protected environment, you don't give a shit about people's sensitivities!”

“People's sensitivities- Are you even listening to yourself right now? Have I ever offended you in any way? Have I given you the impression that I look down on people with less money? Have you ever bothered knowing me at all?”

Well, this went straight to shit faster than Dio had anticipated. Bravo, he outdid himself. In the deep, dark corners of his mind, Dio knew that Jonathan was right. He didn't care about money, didn't flaunt it or show other people he had it, not even on accident. The mature thing to do would be to recognize that, apologize, move on and maybe get some dick. But Dio wasn't mature.

“I know you rich people!” he hissed, fully ignoring the fact that his best friend was also born in riches. Such was his bitterness, that Dio forgot his goal. Venom poured into his veins, clouding his mind, taking control of his body. “You always wear masks! Hide your pity! But I know better...I can see right through you and your stupid schtick.”

Jonathan fell silent. It would've have been so much better if he continued this fight, if he yelled back at Dio. But instead, he let him slowly sink into the silence, let the echo of his words seep through the seams of his existence. Dio froze completely once he realized that he had once again fucked up royally. Jonathan pressed his lips in a tight line, in an attempt to hide his quivering. His eyes were glistening with moisture. He was about to cry.

“Wow,” he hoarsely said. “You really are an asshole.”

Leaving Dio to defrost, Jonathan stood up with a sigh. He was still about to cry but he held it all in, valiantly puffing out his chest and placing the barely touched glass of wine on the coffee table.

“Goodbye, Dio.”

He walked right past Dio without a single ounce of hesitation, as if he wasn't even there. Dio didn't face the other way. His grip around his glass tightened, shattering the glass as if it was nothing. Jonathan stopped to look at it but said nothing. Dio couldn't tell what Jonathan was doing behind his back. Only the sound of his footsteps reached him distantly, vaguely, as if coming from another dimension where things were hopefully better.

It climbed like bile in his throat, digging its nails into the soft walls of Dio's esophagus. As Jonathan's presence in the house grew dimmer, Dio swallowed the truth back. He closed his eyes, inhaling sharply through his nose.

“Wait,” he called, voice cruel and cold, bearing no emotion. It was the voice of a tired man.

Jonathan didn't stop. “Jojo!” Dio demanded, turning around to face the other man. They stood together in the empty living room, staring into each other's eyes, expecting something.

This was it, then? Nothing gained if nothing's surrendered... Dio shuddered. His lips – in their natural pale pink color for once – opened and closed. No sound came out. “I'm sorry,” he sighed. He was apologizing to himself, for being this stupid, this dumb, this idiotic. After all those years of progress, he had jumped right back into being that little boy who had too much faith in the world, making mistake after mistake. It was disgusting.

He heard Jonathan's sigh from somewhere in the corner of this mortal realm. “I'll go get paper towels.”

Dio sat on the couch, suddenly very exhausted. Jonathan returned with a bunch of paper towels and carefully cleaned up the mess, making sure to pick up every tiny shard of glass. “Good thing none made it to the carpet,” he commented. “Red wine is a pain to clean.”

He went back into the kitchen to throw away the used towels. He sat down next to Dio. It was honestly impressive how a man of his size was capable of such tenderness. Those hands of his could crush someone's skull in seconds if they wished. Instead, they reached for Dio's hand softly, carefully inspecting the damage.

“Just a little cut,” he mumbled. He stood up but Dio held him down.

“Don't bother. It'll heal in time.” Jonathan nodded.

Silence again. Jonathan looked outside the window. Snow was falling once again. Winter was enchantingly strange. It was barely 7 PM but the sky outside was dark. As in all snowy days, the celestial dome was deep crimson, concealing the stars and moon.

“Talk to me, Dio,” Jonathan pleaded, voice soft like wool. “What's troubling you?”

Dio didn't feel guilty about exploiting Jonathan. He had done worse. But the way Jonathan so selflessly offered him a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen to him, a man that wouldn't judge him but instead try to help him and make him feel better was making Dio feel...uncomfortable. For once, Dio was truly baffled. How was it possible for this man to be untouched by the evils of this world? Just an apology and there he was again, ready to listen to Dio's problems. Jonathan was warm, in more than one ways and Dio was confused, in more ways than one.

He leaned over, hands grasping Jonathan's thigh, lips gently pressing against Jonathan's own. The kiss lasted only for a few seconds. It wasn't even a proper kiss, the type fourteen-year-olds that were too shy to do anything else gave. Dio needed to touch Jonathan somehow, make sure that he was there and that he was real, feel some of that warmth sink into his perpetually cold body.

“In time,” he merely said before sitting back down.

Jonathan nodded, understanding. “I won't pressure you,” Jonathan told him, “never. I just want you to know that I'm here for you. I want you in my life, Dio.”

“Why?” Dio blurted before he could hold himself back. “All I've ever done was fight with you and your family.”

Jonathan smiled one of those unbelievably soft smiles of his. “You're the most charming person I have ever met,” he confessed. “And I think there's more to you than meets the eye.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Jonathan leaned closer, pressing his lips against Dio's forehead. “You're not doing yourself justice,” he said, voice hushed a warm against Dio's skin. “Someone as charismatic as you shouldn't be so easily consumed by anger.”

“Are you telling me to be patient?”

“Yes.”

“Nothing good ever came from patience.”

“Is that what you think? I think a bit of anticipation always heightens the pleasure.”

Dio snorted before bursting out in cleansing laughter. It wasn't even that funny.

After everything was said and done, they cuddled close to one another to watch trashy TV, all the while a pair of brown eyes was watching through the window.

 

PART 2

-end-

Chapter Text

 

Dear friends/readers,

 

As you may have guessed, this isn't a story chapter. This is me, the writer, talking to you. The reason I'm writing this is because I want to sincerely apologize to you. A little while ago, I promised I'd upload the first chapter of part 3 on the 24th of September but unfortunately, I won't be able to keep that promise. And the reason for that is...well, life. 

As I've said before, I'm currently moving out for university and those past weeks have been unbelievably tiring. Turns out, moving to the other side of the country and starting life again there is far more exhausting than I thought! Because of that, I was unable to sit and write properly, as well as proofread. The chapter I wrote was sloppy and not up to my standards. And I want to always try my best for you guys! 

I hope that you can forgive me and understand my situation! THIS FIC ISN'T ABANDONED. I hope that by next week, I'll be able to get back on writing my beloved stories that you guys enjoy so much :D

Until then, please be patient while I set the foundations for my new life! I promise it won't take long! I can assure you that you'll enjoy the next chapter so I hope you look forward to it :D

Thank you in advance!

Love,

mollydewinter

Chapter Text

 

 


Chapter 1

 

 

 

Friday nights at the Emperor were busy. People from all over the city had poured in to enjoy drinks and high quality deep fried goods among memorabilia from the great American wilderness. The further in winter they got, the more popular the bar got, as it was dry and warm and relaxing, unlike the harsh snowstorm raging outside. Dio and his friends were all inside the bar, enjoying the warm and slightly tacky - in a very American way – atmosphere.

Hol Horse approached their booth and Pucci nudged Valentine. It seemed that every time they visited the bar, Hol Horse looked even better, or tried to. He had already quit smoking and had begun taking better care of his skin, choosing fancier clothes and dousing himself with an overwhelming amount of cologne. Sporting his best smile, the smitten bartender put the tray on the table and started handing out the drinks.

"We got a glass of wine for Mr. Dio, a dry martini for Diavolo, strawberry lemonade for Enrico, a rum and cola with cherry coke for Scarlet and a glass of white wine...for you." He cleared his throat. "Pink looked good on ya but yer gorgeous with the blonde hair. Real pretty."

Valentine twirled a blonde lock around a slender finger. He glanced at Diavolo, though his friend was looking elsewhere. "Thank you, Hol Horse. I'm flattered."

Bearing a delighted smile, Hol Horse tipped his cowboy hat at both Valentine and Scarlet and departed, leaving the five friends alone. Before Scarlet could reach for her glass, Valentine had it in his grasp and chugged it down. Scarlet watched in absolute shock as her boyfriend downed the drink – her drink – at once. Valentine slammed the empty glass on the table and shuddered.

"What the fuck?"

"You're taking antibiotics. Alcohol is prohibited."

"He's right," Pucci added before Scarlet could get even angrier. "You're still recovering."

"When the hell is Yoshikage coming?" Diavolo suddenly complained, glaring around the room.

The door opened, carrying some of the night chill inside, as well as Kars. The man was wrapped in a black trenchcoat, same material as his wide-brimmed hat. After removing his hat, the glorious purple mane cascaded down his back, framing his handsome face and sharp eyes. Kars placed his order and headed for the booth.

"He didn't come yet, did he?"

"No, but he's coming soon," Dio replied. He scooted closer to Diavolo, making room for Kars. His drink arrived a short moment later, along with a delicious platter of deli meats, on the shop.

"I'm honestly curious to see Yoshikage's girlfriend," Pucci mused aloud. He glanced at Dio who glanced at Diavolo who glanced at Kars who glanced at Scarlet. The same thought passed through their minds. Diavolo sighed in exasperation. He knew more than the others and was astonished at how horribly Kira had fucked up. Shinobu was the widow of the man he had butchered and for some reason, Kira couldn't bring himself to kill her, or at least distance himself from her.

"Yeah, same," Valentine blurted, sweetly oblivious to the whole scheme. Scarlet smiled fondly at him, at how naive he could be even with all his cunning, and tucked a silky strand of blonde hair behind his ear. Diavolo scrunched his nose in disgust, concealing his frown behind a slice of smoked turkey.

Time passed with idle chit-chat, complaints about the weather and plans of going to galleries and expensive nightclubs. Their curiosity was finally quenched when Kira walked into the bar. He stood at the doorway for a moment, surveying the area. His cheeks were flushed, both from the cold and the embarrassment. He took off his gloves and neatly tucked them into the pockets of his pale red Valentino coat. Shinobu entered after him, wearing a coat as pink and vivid as her soft cheeks.

"How the fuck did he get a redhead?" Scarlet hissed through gritted teeth.

Fingers linked, the young couple approached the table. Kira didn't miss the way his friends exchanged glances. "Hey," he greeted breathlessly. "Guys, this is Shinobu. Shinobu, those are...the guys."

Shinobu glanced around the table, smiling excitedly. She didn't have the slightest clue, did she? "Hello, everybody," she said. "It's good to finally meet you! Yoshikage's told me so much about you!"

"Has he, now?" Dio asked, arching a brow.

"Well, he's told me enough to know who is who."

"I'm so glad you're here, Shinobu," Scarlet chirped before anyone else could speak. "Now I won't be the only girl in the group!"

"It's good to meet you, too." Still smiling, Shinobu turned to look at Kira. "But unfortunately, I won't be able to stay. I left Hayato at a friend and I have to go pick him up soon."

"Oh, that's right," Valentine exclaimed. "You have a baby."

"I do, yes! I have a sweet little boy that I'd love you all to meet someday!" Shinobu got on her tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on the corner of Kira's mouth. "Goodnight, everyone!"

"Call me when you get home," Kira called after her. He could feel their eyes on him like those of hungry owls as he sat down next to Dio. He looked around the table. His gaze fell on Scarlet. "Back off."

"Don't you mean 'hands off'?"

"Oh, yeah," Pucci said after a long sip of lemonade. "You guys were holding hands. That's like 8th base for you, right?"

"Hysterical." Kira never expected he'd reach this point in life but here he was. He didn't know what he was supposed to do or say or feel. He just went with his instinct. And his instinct was to seek approval from those bastards, for some reason. "What do you guys think?"

"She's alright," Dio shrugged and most agreed with him. Like the others, with the exception of Valentine, Dio was astonished by the fact that Kira had somehow gotten a girlfriend. Still, he chose to ignore the elephant in the room.

"I don't know, Yoshikage," Valentine mumbled, brows knitted, one thumb grazing his plump bottom lip. "This woman was recently widowed, has a kid to care for, the police are still investigating her husband's brutal murder and she has the mind to date you? Like, no offense, but it seems suspicious. It's been, what, a month? Two months? And she's already made a full recovery? What if she's a dangerous psychopath? Have you thought of that?"

"Don't say that!" Kars scolded him. Diavolo hid his face. Pucci sighed, not being able to withstand the irony. "Be happy with your friend's happiness."

"I am happy with my friend's happiness. I just ought to-" Valentine was cut mid-sentence by a tiny bark. Instantaneously, his face went aflame. "-protect him."

"Honey, please don't tell me you brought the dog here."

The table went silent. Valentine reached for his bag and carefully pulled out his puppy. He gently placed her on his lap, hugging her protectively. "She is too young to stay home alone."

"You better keep that beast at bay or else." The tiny corgi barked at Dio and he scrunched his nose in disgust.

"You might wanna consider being nicer to me, Dio."

"The hell's that supposed to mean?"

Valentine cleared his throat. He collected his darling pup in his embrace and looked at his friends with a very serious, if a bit smug, expression. "As you know, winter break is almost upon us. This year, my family and I have been invited to spend the holidays in England."

"And why should any of us care about that?" Despite his polished appearance and immaculate behavior, Valentine was a vain asshole.

"With the Joestars."

The words settled in slowly. Dio was the last one to realize what exactly Valentine had said. His eyes widened, purple glittery lips parting to let in a sharp breath. His talon-like fingers curled on the table, onyx nails grazing the wooden surface. Valentine smiled, awfully pleased with himself.

"I asked my parents if any of my friends could come with us and of course, they said yes."

Dio drank some wine to bring back some of the moisture in his dry mouth. "Let me get this straight," he started. "We're going to England-"

"Yes."

"-in Jonathan's house-"

"Yes."

"-for two weeks?"

"Yes. And you're welcome."

Dio didn't have the mind to thank Valentine now. Or ever. The world around him had suddenly blanked. Luck had blessed him, had finally offered him her gracious hand and had pulled him out of this damn swamp he had thrown himself in. It was always a step forward and one backward with Jonathan, just marching on the same spot over and over again. Fighting, then making up, making no real progress. But now... Dio had been given the fantastic opportunity to not only spend time with his target during the most romantic season but he could also woo Jonathan's Dad, entrance the man with his charisma, put him under his spell. The Joestar boys weren't exactly the sons a member of the British social elite would desire, and Dio was almost sure their relationship with Sir George Joestar wasn't ideal. Jonathan spoke of his family with love and admiration, but there was always some underlying bitterness whenever he spoke about his Father, whether he realized it or not. Someone like Dio, someone talented, charismatic, intelligent and cultured would definitely appeal to Sir Joestar. He'd push his sweet but unruly son to seek Dio's friendship, his guidance, his time and attention. And before he knew it, Dio would have fully integrated into the family and into Sir Joestar's bloodstream.

Dio's lips curled in a victorious smile. He could taste Jonathan's sweat under his tongue. Two weeks with no responsibilities, filled only with fancy tea parties and disgusting elitist bastards. Dio could already picture it in his brain, him sneaking out of his room in the centuries-old chateau in nothing but a silk robe, seeking Jonathan's room, his embrace, his lips, his body. Yeah, he was going there.

To England.

Home.

He froze. His mind became incapable of thought, good or bad. The world around him vanished, became a blank canvas, a blur. His friends reacted excitedly but he remained silent and cold, indifferent. Cold sweat slicked his body, drenched him from head to toe. Dio was inelegantly pulled from the distant cave he had wandered in when Valentine called his name.

“Say something!” he urged. “Aren't you excited?”

Dio gulped. He smiled shakily. He glanced around the table. “Yeah, I am.”

“Ugh, I'm jealous of you guys,” Pucci huffed.

“Aren't you coming?” Dio asked, relieved that he found something to distract his mind.

“No,” the young man replied bitterly. “My parents are taking us to our home in Aspen, to spend our first Christmas with Wes. What a fucking joke.”

“Did you find anything concerning about him in the end?”

“You mean besides the fact he's dating a barely legal stripper? Nope. I want to find that guy's name. Vanilla told me his employment form was filled using fake information. But I will get to the bottom of this.”

“Try and enjoy the vacation,” Kira suggested. “At least you'll be someplace nice. What are you gonna do, Kars?”

“Oh, we already decided we're going to our little chateau in Switzerland, in Saint Moritz. I honestly love that place.”

Dio checked his watch. “It's late,” he mumbled. No, it wasn't. Wait. What time it was? He didn't know. “I have to go home.”

They offered no protests. Except for Pucci. He covered Dio's hand, gazing at him full of concern. “You alright?” he asked in a low voice.

“Yeah,” Dio answered in a heartbeat, throat dry. “I'm fine. You guys should come home soon, too. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night because you're being loud.”

“Stop complaining for once,” Kira rolled his eyes.

Dio stood up and left. He wrapped himself in his golden coat and stepped out of the pub. He slipped on his gloves, soft leather and warm fur, burgundy in color, from that place Valentine had recommended. Guy knew his gloves. Dio growled in irritation when he heard the door behind him open and close.

“Are you sure you're alright?” Kars asked.

Dio sighed, trying to hold back his annoyance. Bizarrely, Kars was the closest thing to a Father-figure he had ever had. He was old, no one knew how old exactly, successful and wise. He had given Dio a well-paying job and advice countless times. Kars always knew their problems and the answers to them. But as much as Dio cherished Kars' presence in his life, he didn't need anything at the moment.

“Yes.”

Kars leaned on the wall. He was standing in the cold in nothing but a pair of dress pants and a silk blouse without flinching. “I think you're overworking yourself about Jonathan. You can have richer guys with much less effort.”

“It's not about the money anymore!” Dio snapped. “It's about dignity, ego. I made a promise to myself that I'll get him and I'll keep it.”

“What about the promises you made to others?”

Dio blinked, surprised. He couldn't even take offense in that, he could only grow more irritated. Saying nothing more, he turned around and started walking to the opposite direction, hands shoved deep in his pockets, brows arched above his nose, jaw so tightly shut that his cheeks got numb.

Promises, promises... He had never promised anyone anything, anyone but himself. To excel. To shine. To reach the top. To be who he was destined to be.

“I don't care what you do in your life as long as you are happy and good, sweetheart.”

He paused and looked around. People walking alone or with others, shops wearing their holiday gear, passing cars, snow falling from the sky like fine sand.

“Promise me you'll take care of your brother.”

He had a car there somewhere. Where was it? He looked around when he reached the end of the block. Dio found his car stationed outside the bar. He yanked the door open and climbed inside.

“Promise me, my Dio.”

“Fucking hell,” Dio groaned and let his body fall on the steering wheel like a sack of flour, lifelessly.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Diavolo was standing by the jukebox, glaring at the songs with enough wrath to burn them. None appealed to his tastes but the jukebox was away from his booth, just like Diavolo wanted. He could have gone to the bathroom, taken a few deep breaths and a calming piss before returning. But instead, he chose to stand to the side, completely immobile.

“You alright?”

Diavolo jumped. Yeah, Valentine had a very light step, non-existent almost. It was excessively graceful, like everything about him. Waiting for no invitation, Valentine came to halt right next to him, laying his arms on the jukebox. Diavolo was hunching over, like always, and he slowly lifted his gaze, observing the man next to him with fear in his eyes. He felt like a child at church, too scared to face the tragically beautiful statues of martyrs and demons. Long, pale fingers, trained and deft, toned arms clad in fine, saffron yellow cashmere, lean torso, long neck, delicious lips, and blue eyes. It was always the eyes. They looked fake. How could anyone have eyes so vividly blue? True cobalt, with no other hues thrown in the mix. They looked like lakes, and Diavolo was drowning in them.

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat, fixing his posture somewhat. “Why?”

“You've been awfully quiet this night.” He smiled, cheekily nudging Diavolo. “You're not still mad at me, are you?”

“Of course not. I just have a lot to think about.”

“Oh? And what are you thinking about?”

“You,” Diavolo didn't say. Instead, he swallowed his words and let them turn into bile in his guts, poison him from within.

“Just stuff.”

Valentine nodded. The explanation was shitty but he knew better than to push Diavolo. “You're coming on the trip, right? Don't make me beg!”

“No, I'm coming.”

Valentine smiled. It was a smile of contentment. He was happy, and Diavolo liked that for some reason. Valentine sighed and looked at the selection of songs. While Diavolo was busy looking at him, observing his flawless skin, Valentine picked a song. It started slowly, a sad tune and a sorrowful voice.

“I've always liked Sinatra's version more,” Valentine commented. “But Chet Baker is also great. Just for a different setting.” Diavolo was hearing words, unintelligible sounds that held no meaning.

“Do you think I'm unphotographable, Diavolo?”

What an evil thing to ask. How could he ask Diavolo this when he knew- Nothing. Valentine had no idea. Diavolo had no idea either. Diavolo considered giving an answer but the way Valentine was looking at him made it difficult. Extremely so.

“I think you're...” Stunning. Gorgeous. Divine. Sublime. Perfect. “...not.”

Valentine grinned and gave Diavolo a little punch on the arm. “Thanks for the compliment,” he said and sauntered back to the booth. Diavolo watched him go, eyes traveling over each slope and curve of his body. His sweater was baggy but his pants were tight, hugging his shapely legs and tight behind. His hair had gotten longer, falling past his waist like a golden waterfall.

He was staring maybe a bit too much. Valentine didn't realize a thing but Scarlet did, staring right back with black, unblinking eyes and raised brows.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 


Chapter 2

 

 

 


For once, Dio's house was silent. The occupants were in their rooms, packing for the long and exciting vacation ahead. First stop, Greenwich, Connecticut, to meet with Valentine's parents. They would be spending two nights there, before departing for England. According to Valentine, they would be landing in London but Sir Joestar had made arrangements for them to be safely and comfortably transported to his estate in Manchester. Dio didn't see the point in doing something like that but he wasn't complaining. George Joestar was the kind of fool to lavish his esteemed guests in luxury, sometimes unnecessary.

The house's tranquility was disturbed when the doorbell rang. Diavolo, whose room was on the ground floor, lifted his head as he was folding glittery Balenciaga sweaters and leather pants. He heard no reaction from his housemates. He checked the time. At this hour it was either Kars or Valentine. Hoping that it was the latter, Diavolo fixed his fucked up posture before walking out of the room.

"Good evening," Jonathan greeted, wearing his beautiful trademark smile. "I hope I'm not disturbing."

Diavolo looked at the man from head to toe. Jonathan was even bigger than he remembered. Oddly enough, Diavolo couldn't be mad at the guy. Jonathan had the uncanny ability to make others feel calm and safe in his presence. He was a bright sun that radiated serenity and safety. And he was hot. He was hella hot. But thankfully, not Diavolo's cup of tea.

"Dio's upstairs in his room," Diavolo merely offered as he made his way back to his room. "First door to your left."

"Thanks."

Jonathan shut the door behind him and walked upstairs. He had seen Dio's house before but he had never gone in the man's room. Another proof that Dio was reluctant to show him his personal life? Perhaps. Even though Jonathan felt uncomfortable that Dio was keeping him at arm's length, he decided to give the man some time. Dio was a delicate creature, even though he appeared tough. Proud and easily offended, always aggressively defensive, he needed to be handled gently. And who better than Jonathan?

The second floor of the house was quite simple. There was a full bathroom, a door leading to the balcony, some decor hanging from the walls and two other doors. Jonathan took a deep breath. He pat the pocket of his jacket anxiously, making sure that the small box was still there. He knocked. From the other side of the door, he heard mumbling and the sound of slippers sliding on the floor. When the door opened, Jonathan's eyebrows raise in bemusement, a small chuckle escaping his lips before he could help it.

Dio was mortified. His eyes were blown wide in shock and...well...that was pretty much all he could do. The bright green clay face mask he was wearing was tight against his skin, not letting him even flinch without feeling a slight burn. He was wearing bright yellow fleece pajamas and a matching crimson robe. Jonathan was pleasantly surprised by this image and his feelings were hard to hide. As were Dio's.

"Hello," Jonathan greeted with a smile. "May I come in?"

"Jojo...?" Dio mouthed slowly. There was no denying that it was Jonathan standing right in front of him. "What... are you doing here?"

"I wanted to give you your Christmas present. I'm leaving for England tomorrow and I wanted to give it to you before the 25th." Jonathan peeked inside Dio's room. "May I come in?" he asked again.

Dio cleared his throat. He lifted his head haughtily. He could feel his mask cracking, tugging on his skin viciously but he couldn't care less. "No," he replied and moved to close the door.

Had Jonathan not gone through the ordeal that was Dio Brando ever before, he would have been disheartened. He jammed his foot between the frame and the door, still smiling. "Are you mad because this is the first I've seen you in pajamas?"

"I'm not mad!" Dio barked. "I'm merely...annoyed and perplexed at how a self-proclaimed gentleman could show up at another man's house at this hour, unannounced."

Jonathan's smile wavered. Dio always had the words that could stick just like thorns in Jonathan's heart. "Forgive me," he said.

Dio inhaled sharply through his nose. "And not only do you show up unannounced but you managed to completely shatter the image you have of me. Coming here, while I'm in the middle of my very important routine... It's called demyfistication, as I am sure you know."

At that, some amusement returned to Jonathan's lips. "I don't mind that," he smiled. "I like this version of you. I finally get glimpses of you, the entire 'you'." Dio huffed. Trust Jonathan to say something as cheesy as this. "Since you won't let me into your world willingly, I decided to use the back door."

"How crude! Is this how the heir of the Joestar empire speaks to his love interest?"

Jonathan grinned cheekily, a sweetly innocent blush creeping on his cheeks. "I meant no offense," he said. "It's just...you interest me so, Dio, and the fact that you're keeping me at arm's length is driving me insane."

"Then perhaps you have don't have the patience required to deal with I, Dio."

"I do."

"And how did you reach that conclusion?"

"I haven't left yet."

That much was undeniable. Even after the tantrums and all the mysteries surrounding Dio, Jonathan was still there, still battling for his affections. It was almost endearing, the kind of sympathetic endearment one showed a child's innocent hopes and endeavors. Dio shook his head, forcing his logic to smother his pride, his sometimes lethal pride. If he kept shooing Jonathan away, he would only make him leave for good. Some flirtatious playing around was always welcome but even that had its limits. No, Dio let his logic get hold of his pride and his emotions. He wouldn't push Jonathan away or allow himself to feel even the tiniest bit of sympathy for him.

(Ah, but sympathy was a vile, sly thing. Sympathy was Zeus, donning the guise of golden rain that poured down on Danae's prison and slithered through the cracks, seeking her. Sympathy was small and airy, barely within the realm of existence. But it was there somewhere, a seed growing roots in a crack on the asphalt.)

Dio stepped to the side, allowing Jonathan into his room. Jonathan stepped inside the bedroom and started looking around. Dio's expensive tastes were evident in every corner Jonathan's gaze fell on. Emerald satin sheets on his king-sized bed, designer suits, and shoes displayed inside his imposing closet, mahogany bookcases, and leather-bound books. Of course, Jonathan didn't miss the half-full suitcase on laid out on the bed.

"Are you going somewhere for the holidays?" Jonathan inquired.

Dio grinned arrogantly, managing to hide his smile behind a nonchalant shrug. He was planning on surprising Jonathan, offering himself as a Christmas gift. "Just a little trip with my friends, nothing special."

Jonathan nodded. He sat down on the bed next to the folded clothes. "Do you ever visit home?"

"No."

"Don't you miss it?"

"Sometimes. But I was very young when I left. I'm afraid my memories of London aren't very vivid." And Dio lied.

He remembered every little detail, every nook, and cranny of that godforsaken corner of the Earth he once called home. He remembered the sounds, the colors, the smells...

Jonathan reached inside his jacket and fished out a small blue velvet box. Intrigued by the sight, Dio approached the bed. "This is for you," Jonathan smiled as he handed Dio the box.

Dio weighed the box in his hand. Felt heavy. The velvet was smooth, rich. Dio opened it slowly. Inside, he found two-clean cut diamond earrings, effortlessly catching the light in the room. The design was the simplest there was. The earrings had no other decorations save for the singular gems. Dio's amber eyes widened at the sight. Genuine, flawless diamonds. He had received diamonds before but they had been smaller, or white sapphires disguised as the overrated precious stones. After so many years of stealing and receiving luxurious gifts from old men, Dio's experienced eye could tell the difference.

"Jojo..." His voice trailed off, black nails grazing over the diamonds. He lost his focus in the gift, material goods and wealth proving once again to be his weaknesses. Dio removed the earrings and took them in front of the mirror. He didn't put them on. Wearing such a precious thing with this ensemble would be a blasphemy. For the time being, Dio only imagined what they would look like on his ears.

"Diamonds already?" he joked. "And what will you buy me next year? A house?"

"Next year?" Jonathan repeated. Dio's gaze, suddenly alarmed, met Jonathan's through the mirror. "Have you planned that far ahead already?"

"It was merely a slip of the tongue."

Jonathan was still grinning, a smile full of childish glee and anticipation. Dio cleared his throat and lifted his head with excessive pride. He tossed the velvet box into his open suitcase carelessly, pretending as if it was nothing. He needed to feel superior in any way he could. Jonathan had ambushed him, made him lose his words and stutter... Dio needed a victory, and he found it in the form of a dirty little secret.

"Thank you for your present, Jojo. I will surely wear them at the New Year's party."

Jonathan glanced at the piles of folded clothes and stacked boxes of shoes, as if just then noticing them. "Going on a trip?"

"Oh, yes. Kars has a little chateau in Switzerland and he was kind enough to invite us to spend the holidays with them. That place looks fantastic at this time of year."

Jonathan scratched his cheek. "I really hope you enjoy your holidays, Dio. Although I will miss you..."

"We'll still talk, Jojo," Dio laughed. "I'll send you pictures." His smile, full of subtly filthy promises brought a warm rosiness to Jonathan's cheeks. Good. He deserved to be flustered, uncomfortable.

"But now you have to go!" he announced, bolting up and heading for the door, holding it open for Jonathan.

Jonathan, who had more or less grown used to Dio's flamboyant mannerisms, held back everything he wanted to say, even the smallest little sigh of disappointment. He stood up and gave Dio a tight smile. "I hope you have fun on your holidays, Dio."

Dio let Jonathan lean down and plant a kiss atop the cracked face mask. He was decent enough to walk the man down the stairs and out of the house. Even with all the money in the world, Jonathan used public transport. The sight of him happily getting on the bus brought Dio's blood to a boil. He stormed back inside his room, back to packing his suitcases with more vigor, anger even. As he was shoving cashmere sweaters on top of long coats, his gaze fell on the box of earrings. His fingers curled around a Versace turtleneck, tugging at the seams too viciously. Not only had Jonathan ambushed Dio when he was most vulnerable, had exposed him in this state, but he had also brought him an expensive gift to rub Dio's poverty in his face.

"Oh, don't worry," he hissed as he tossed a box of shoes into the suitcase. "I will."

 

 

 


 

 

 


Dawn broke, bleak rays of sunlight somehow reaching the ground through a dome of gray clouds. Diavolo, who had slept through all of his alarms, shot up like a man returned from the dead, almost jumping off his bed.

"Shit!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.

He rolled on the floor with a thud, muffled profanities absorbed by the carpet. In the total darkness of his messy room, the disoriented Italian touched and grabbed his way to a stand. He turned the lights on, immediately regretting it. When the blindness faded, he grabbed the outfit he had chosen the night before. Namely, a pair of crimson jeans, a chunky emerald sweater, a simple black coat, a purple scarf and a pair of black leather boots. Simple but stylish, perfect for traveling.

Still not knowing what time it was but fully aware that he was hella late and probably abandoned – judging by the house's silence – Diavolo stormed out of his room, struggling to put his boots on. Shit. The halls and rooms were eerily quiet. They had all gone and left him behind, to rot around the house throughout the entire vacation. Lost in the world and not knowing why he existed, Diavolo stumbled down the hall, somehow managing to get into the kitchen.

"Good morning."

Valentine looked at him with a faint, amused smile from his spot on the counter, sipping on what Diavolo assumed was caramel flavored coffee. Diavolo halted at the doorway for a moment, mouth hanging open, taken aback by the sight. How was it that Valentine looked so gorgeous first thing in the morning while Diavolo looked like he had been face-fucked and then fed bad clams? There he was, sitting on the counter like some household deity, one long leg crossed over the other. He was dressed in white, form-hugging slacks and leather heeled boots, a white turtleneck, a vinyl trenchcoat snuggly tied around his slim waist, decorated with large black buttons and of course, white gloves. Aphrodite engulfed in sea foam, just then born on the coast of Cyprus. Graceful, divine. Flawless.

"Where are the others?" Diavolo questioned, straightening his perpetually hunched back and making his gruff voice sound as disinterested as ever. He reached for the coffee machine but Valentine pushed a mug towards him.

"They left almost half an hour ago," Valentine explained. "I told them to wait for you but you know Dio. Always in a hurry."

"Why didn't you wake me up?"

"You never responded whenever I tried waking you. So I decided to stay behind and wait. We were gonna split into two groups, anyway."

After they finished their coffee, the two men made their way to Valentine's car. Diavolo's suitcase had to be put in the already crowded trunk with Valentine's own as the backseat had been taken over by Sugar. Valentine had set up his precious pup nicely with blankets and snacks and toys, making sure she'd enjoy her first road trip. Connecticut wasn't that far away but with this weather, Valentine would be driving a lot slower.

"It'll take us about four hours to get there," Valentine said once they had made it out of Boston. "So get comfortable."

Diavolo nodded. The easy solution was to take out his headphones and isolate himself in a fortress of edgy music. As he was about to do so, Diavolo hesitated. Luck favored him. Fate favored him. And Fate had blessed him with four hours of being alone with his...best friend? Did Valentine count as his best friend even though Diavolo spent most of his waking and all of his sleeping time thinking about the blond under him, above him, next to him, in his arms, on his cock? Was he a crush? Crushes were supposed to be fleeting and superficial, though, right? The first shy little step into the world of love? But what was love exactly? How could one define it clearly? Was it just the lyrics of a song or something deeper? If love was just carnal desire, then Diavolo was disappointed. Love couldn't possibly be his body's reaction to any attractive person. Valentine couldn't fall into the same category as all of Diavolo's past hookups. One look at the man was enough to take his breath away. He was...expensive, unapproachable, strangely holy yet uncannily sly at the same time. What was he?

"Diavolo? Are you listening to me?"

Diavolo jumped out of his train of thought harshly. How much time had passed? The scenery had changed drastically. From the sporadically habituated outskirts of Boston to the snowy American countryside. Cars moved all around them with extra caution, their windshield cleaners brushing off the falling snowflakes. Diavolo saw pine trees covered in snow and that same picture stretched for miles ahead. He must have zoned out.

Diavolo stretched lazily in an attempt to look tired. He leaned on the seat, back against the door and as far away from Valentine as possible. "I must have dozed off."

"Oh. I can stop and get a blanket from the trunk if you'd like."

"No, it's fine. What were you saying?"

"There's a McDonald's near here and I was asking if you want to stop. I'm fine either way, and there's food at home."

"I'd like some coffee."

Valentine snorted. "Already? You had a cup two hours ago."

The familiar golden arches appeared on the horizon a few minutes later. Diavolo had never been a fan of American fast food but he really needed a smoke and a coffee. If that murky, watery thing could even be called coffee. Regardless, he drank it in the parking lot, sitting on the passenger seat with his legs on the asphalt. Valentine was leaning on the side of the car, looking out for his little pup that was making her first steps to the outside world.

"Scarlet wants me to quit," Valentine mumbled as he tapped the ashes off his cigarette.

Diavolo could see why. The lit cigarette looked alien, almost blasphemous, dangling from his sweet mouth. "It's not good for your health."

"Why are you doing it then?" Valentine scoffed.

"I do all sorts of bad things," Diavolo said after a moment of consideration.

Valentine started laughing out loud, catching Diavolo off guard. Diavolo had only recently started noticing Valentine's laugh. It was crystal clear and velvety smooth. Beautiful, as was the rest of him.

"I do all sorts of bad things," Valentine grinned. "Look at me! I'm edgy!"

"Shut up."

"You shut up." A playful punch on the forearm. Bottom lip caught under his teeth. Cheeks flushed from the cold. Eyes glimmering like lakes in the midst of the ivory canvas of his face.

Come to think of it, Diavolo didn't know all that much about the man that had somehow become his best friend. He knew Valentine well enough to sometimes predict his reactions, but he didn't know much about his background. He knew his father had died long ago and that his mother had re-married. Perhaps his own disdain towards the past had subconsciously pushed him to not care about Valentine's background. Visiting his hometown would be a great way of getting to know him better.

They arrived shortly after 4 PM. Diavolo caught a glimpse of the Valentine house as Valentine pulled over in the garage. Big, ol' American house, fit for a retired military man. There was a white picket fence surrounding the front yard and a tall, stone wall all around the estate. The snow made it difficult to distinguish any details but Diavolo made out the shapes of hedges and light-up Santas.

They entered the house through the garage and Diavolo found himself stepping into another world. The Valentine household had been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with red and gold tinsel decorating the grand staircase, a heavily decorated joyful Christmas tree standing in the foyer and so many more holiday items hanging from every corner.

The moment Valentine stepped into the living room, he was tackled by a small group of excited corgis, prowling and barking around him gleefully. The little dogs licked his face and he laughed, surprisingly, trying to protect his newest pup from the assault. Another corgi, chubbier and older, rose from her spot near the fireplace and slowly approached Valentine. He sat down on the carpet and let her lay her head on his folded knees. His crystal clear blue eyes were shining with childish glee, voice sounding genuinely happy as he introduced the tiny puppy to the horde.

"Listen," he started as he rose, satisfied that his boys had accepted the new addition, "I'll go see if anyone's home. You make yourself comfortable, okay?"

"Yeah."

Valentine flashed him a small smile as he exited the living room and Diavolo tried returning it. He was left alone in the living room, quietly observing his surroundings while the chubby little dogs were playing near his feet. The living room was warm, homely, luxurious but very cozy. The décor was in honeyed, gold and beige tones, with some bright reds and greens from the Christmas items. There were fluffy pillows on the couch, magazines and TV remotes on the pine coffee table, a grandiose marble fireplace right across him and a smaller Christmas tree standing next to it. Diavolo rose from his seat and looked around. His eyes instantly fell on the grand piano in the corner. Valentine knew how to play it, and he was phenomenal at it. Diavolo observed the several framed pictures on the mantlepiece, cupboards and accent tables. Most depicted a young, soft Valentine, flashing the camera a bright grin, chubby cheeks flushed. In those pictures, he was doing what a child was expected to be doing. Diavolo saw him standing next to his newborn puppies, eyes shining with happiness. There he was again, tiny hands wrapped around a fishing pole, sitting to some tall, smiling man with black curls. The same man was seen several times next to his young son, showing him the world with genuine excitement. Diavolo's eyes fell on a picture of the pair, of the same man holding a chubby infant dressed in pink and with a head full of glossy blonde curls.

The pictures skipped a few years. The next Diavolo saw Valentine he was older, around ten or eleven years old, lankier and with a more reserved smile. A new family stood around him, posing together in front of landmarks and during holidays. Diavolo saw Christmas dinners and bigger houses, vacation homes and European landmarks. Not only the scenery had changed but something in Valentine's eyes as well.

Next, Diavolo saw medals hanging from displays on the wall and the portraits of two men dressed in their military uniforms, saluting the Star Spangled Banner. They were a very accomplished family, it would seem. Diavolo saw trophies with Valentine's mother's name engraved on them. She had been a gymnast back in her day apparently. Valentine had received several distinctions for being a musical prodigy. Perfect, at all he did.

“Having a look around?”

Diavolo jumped. He would never get used to that. He turned around and saw Valentine leaning against the doorway, eyeing him with a relaxed smile. “Yeah,” he replied. “This is your dad, right?”

Valentine approached him, halting right next to him. “Yes,” he said with some melancholy. He reached for a picture of him and his dad and caressed the man's face. He leaned forward, softly pressing his lips against the glass. “I miss him every single day,” he admitted, voice soft and sad.

He quickly shook his head. “It's just us and the gardener here, my parents have gone to a visit.” Diavolo nodded. “Do you wanna go upstairs and take a nap? I'm really tired. Or do you wanna eat something? I can make something real quick.”

“Nah, I'm good. Taking a nap sounds nice.”

The two of them headed upstairs, into Valentine's room. Valentine sighed happily as he kicked his shoes off and climbed under the duvet. He got comfortable on the pillows, moaning at the pleasant warmth. Diavolo looked around awkwardly, observing the tidy room.

“Something wrong?”

“Where am I going to sleep?”

Valentine rolled his eyes. “Over here, silly. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

Diavolo swallowed thickly. He took off his boots and smelly socks and hesitantly climbed on the bed next to Valentine. Right next to him. It wasn't uncommon for them to sleep next to one another, on the same bed, but something had changed. Valentine quirked a brow, studying Diavolo's tense expression.

“You're not avoiding me, are you?”

“No, of course not. Why would I?”

“I admit that this recent drama has put our relationship through a test but I think we passed it. Don't you?”

“I do,” Diavolo answered dryly. “I do, yeah.”

Valentine smiled and Diavolo's heart jumped to his mouth. A delicate hand moved to cup the side of his face and he froze, surprised and suddenly very anxious. “You're very handsome, Diavolo. I hope you hear it frequently.”

That was the last thing Valentine said before dozing off to sleep, but Diavolo didn't miss the gleam in his eyes. Curiosity, perhaps. Or just the vivid imagination of a man desperate for a green light? A confirmation. A way of showing his feelings? Every moment he spent on this earth, his head was filled with pictures of him making love to Valentine, laying with him while reading books, washing dishes, being together. It was a sickness that was eating him up from within. A terrible, confusing disease.

He managed to get a few minutes of sleep before snapping awake as if pulled by an invisible thread. He panicked, nervous because of the unfamiliar surroundings. His gaze fell on the sleeping form laying next to him. In the dim light filtered through the crème curtains, Diavolo studied the soft details of Valentine's face. His plump lips, opened ever so slightly to let out hushed breaths, long lashes casting shadows over his smooth pale skin, his sharp, straight nose. Diavolo's heart started racing, rain whipping against a window. Valentine slept like a log, almost nothing could wake him. Diavolo could risk it. He should.

He leaned down slowly, painfully slowly, barely moving at all. And then he did it. He went straight for it. He let his lips touch Valentine's, feel their softness and warmth. He leaned into it more, opening his mouth just enough to gently such on Valentine's sweet lips. Just that. Nothing more. He retracted almost immediately, scared to death. The kiss lasted mere seconds, even less than that, and had it not been for the lingering feeling on silk against his mouth or the scent of cherry chapstick, Diavolo would have believed he was dreaming.

Valentine woke up partly because of the faint glow from Diavolo's phone. He blinked blearily, rubbing the sleepiness off his eyes. He rolled on his stomach and smiled sheepishly. “Slept well?” he asked.

“Yeah.” Diavolo avoided looking at him.

Valentine nodded. He half-climbed on top of Diavolo and grabbed his phone. His parents were probably back home and he would have to go downstairs and greet them at some point. Upon unlocking his phone, Valentine saw he had twelve missed calls from Scarlet. He instantly snapped up, suddenly very awake.

“Scarlet?!”

Fucking finally!” Scarlet hollered. “What the hell took you so long?!

“I...I was sleeping. Nevermind that, where the hell are you guys?”

Tell him!” she screamed. “Tell him where the fuck we are!

I, Dio, am not the one to blame! American roads are confusing!” Dio screamed back.

Who the hell taught you how to drive?!” Kira yelled.

“We're in Albany!”

Valentine's jaw dropped a little. “How did you-”

“Ask him!”

“It's not my fault!”

“And whose fucking fault is it, then?! You drove us here, Dio!”

“What do you mean 'drove'? He wasn't driving, he was fucking sliding on the asphalt! Seriously, do you have a driver's license?”

Scarlet groaned against her phone. “I'll get back to you once I figure this out.

“Are you guys alright? You're not caught in a storm, are you?”

“No, we're fine.”

“You? How are you?”

“I'm fine,” she sighed.

“Scarlet.”

“I'm fine, baby, really. I took my pills on time and I took a little nap. Maybe that's why we ended up here...”

Valentine sighed. He ran a hand through his hair, fingers skimming through the messy locks. “Okay,” he said. “Stay safe and call me when you get here. I'll be waiting.”

“Okay. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Valentine dumped his phone on the mattress and fell back next to Diavolo. He lifted his gaze to look at his friend, who was still looking at his phone, the screen's cold glow illuminating his face. Diavolo was harshly beautiful, in a singular way. Aside from his physique, Valentine liked his smooth, deep voice, colored by a slight, sing-song accent. It was a shame he was so distant.

“You sure you're not avoiding me?” he asked, scooting closer.

Diavolo's lips twitched slightly at the contact beneath the covers. “No,” he mumbled though Valentine felt him move away slightly. Couldn't get a word out of this guy.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Weekend at Valentine's went well. It was the first time Dio had experienced the typical, too-perfect, American family dinner. They ate merrily around a lavish table, joked and chatted and then ate apple pie in front of the TV. It was foreign but pleasant. Still, as he sat in the lounge, eating peach cobbler, Dio couldn't help but listen to a little voice in the deep dark depths of his psyche. It was him and this voice alone in the world, it would seem, and he was powerless against it. All the progress, all the effort and all the time spent, all it took was a few words to bring it crashing down like a paper tower. Bring him crashing down. He looked at Valentine and his blood went boiling. His father adored him, doted on the boy as if he meant the world. He wasn't even his own son, rather some ready-made kid he found when he delivered some news. He looked around the house, seeing happy pictures of families. Unity. He instantly became a child again, a boy no older than twelve years, not able to understand the finality of death and the injustice in the world. He saw himself in those pictures by not being portrayed at all. Why wasn't that his reality? Why wasn't he the kid smiling with his dad while showing off his trout? Why was he the one that had to roam the streets looking for someone sick in the head, someone demented and deranged enough to exchange a child's company for a few pounds?

Didn't matter. In a few months he'd be swimming in money and this little kid would be dead under a bridge.

Sir George Joestar spared no expense for their safe transportation to England, showering them in all sorts of unnecessary luxury. Not only was the First Class departure lounge truly flawless, but the flight itself was one of the most incredible experiences Dio had ever had. Those ten hours of flight didn't feel like ten hours of flight at all, as Dio spent the entirety in his comfortable pod with a fine selection of movies, unlimited alcohol, and a three-course meal. The display of wealth and generosity continued after their arrival in London. Sir Joestar had arranged for three cars to safely transport them to Machester; one for their luggage, one for Mr. and Mrs. Valentine and one for the kids. Dio's annoyance over the unnecessary road trip diminished once he was inside the car, able to relax some more and enjoy the ride.

“I don't like Britain.” There was a collective eye-roll from the car. “It rains too much. And the vocabulary is wrong. I went to buy some goddamn chips and the dude there gave me crisps and called me a 'bird'! Is my hair really that bad?”

“Stop whining for once in your life,” Kira yawned, not looking up from his phone. He had just informed Shinobu that he had landed safely and she had responded with a picture of his precious cat. Shinobu had gladly agreed to care for the animal while Kira would be away, provided he brought her back a gift. He had really gotten himself a girlfriend, huh?

“I'm not whining,” Valentine whined and snuggled closer to Scarlet. The long flight and the absence of his little pup had put him in a foul mood. Perhaps a nap would help. He brought a hot pink fleece blanket out of his bag and threw it over himself. He got more comfortable, laying his head on Scarlet's chest and stretching his legs on Diavolo's knees, letting the rocking of the car lull him to sleep.

Having nothing else to do, Dio casted his gaze outside the window. At first it was just buildings, humongous, rectangular, plain skyscrapers, towering over him. As the car moved away from the airport, Dio started seeing more and more of it, until it was revealed before him bare. London. Home. Bustling streets, hundreds of millions of people walking around under a perpetually gray sky. Dio's face turned into a mask of stone. Disgusting place, he could feel roots coming from the ground to pull him back down there with them. In the darkness. He saw lovely architecture, gardens, and parks, landmarks and limousines but he didn't see himself. He was in the back, far away from all this foolish joy, hidden like some dark secret. Most of these things, these landmarks, he had seen in pictures, his kind were never allowed to approach. He saw policemen patrolling the streets and his gut recoiled in disgust. Arrest the child bent over in an alley but not the man forcing it to. Nausea started brewing in the pits of his stomach, painting his pale skin a shade of yellow. He could smell the scent of sewer water and dried cum even through the closed windows. His hometown was calling out to him but Dio turned deaf to her begging. Or at least tried to.

Where was she? He didn't really remember where he had buried her. He only remembered a small lot, a swamp surrounded by a rotting wooden fence. He remembered a coffin made out of planks. He had made it himself. Was there a gravestone, one that could maybe indicate that a young woman full of life, a mother of two children, a martyr, was resting beneath the soil? Was there a picture? Was her age written? Her name? What was her name anyway?

The scenery changed quickly, thank fuck, and soon Dio found himself gazing out to the mundane British countryside. The further up north they got, the darker the sky grew. By the time they were nearing Manchester, thick raindrops were falling on the windshield and the hood of the car. The storm grew fierce quickly, clearly showing why Sir Joestar had insisted for them to be transported to his estate by car.

Said estate was located in the suburbs and no description could do it justice. Once past the gates of the Joestar estate, Dio thought he had gone back in time. Despite the heavy rain, he could still make out the exterior of the house, though faintly. A fountain stood in front of the main entrance, surrounded by hedges cut in complex shapes alongside naked trees. Dio saw towers, sharp and gothic, stretching up to reach the sky. The estate's exterior was a mix of traditional local architecture and Greco-Roman. Sculptures of divine forms occupied every bit of available space, cleverly placed as columns between the gigantic picture windows. Once inside, Dio couldn't help but gasp in awe as he hungrily drank his surroundings. Under his feet was a checkered floor made out of the finest marble, with a deep crimson plush rug placed on top. A grandiose staircase stretched in front of him, leading to the upper floors of the mansion. Crystal chandeliers were hanging over his head, casting their light gloriously all over the ostentatious foyer. There were heavy, velvet, burgundy drapes over the windows, complimenting the comfortable furniture. Pieces of art such as vases, paintings and all sorts of priceless objects were proudly showcased on the walls or on elegant accent tables. As the season would have it, the foyer was flowing with Christmas items; garland and tinsel were wrapped around the staircase's railing, colorful lights and hanging ornaments were pinned on the drapes, presents were stacked under a floor-to-ceiling fir, wrapped in bright paper. But the most impressive piece of décor in the foyer was admittedly the statue of a woman, an unknown goddess, eternally frozen right by the staircase.

Dio was still looking around when their ever generous host came down to greet his guests. George Joestar was a middle-aged man though his somewhat anachronistic attire and bushy mustache made him look way older. Looking at the man's face, Dio could see a lot of Jonathan. It was obvious the eldest son had gotten a lot from George, like his deep blue eyes and dark brown hair. And just like Jonathan, George's expression bore the good-willed naivete of a man born into a position of power.

“And this young man is...?” George inquired, eyeing Dio with a polite smile. Smart of Dio to put on one of his more toned down outfits.

“Dio Brando, sir,” he smiled, offering a hand with bare nails, “it's an honor to finally meet you. Jonathan has told me so much about you!”

“You know my son, Mr. Brando?”

“Oh, I do. Exceptional man, you raised him well. Those around him are truly blessed.”

George laughed at that and retracted his hand. “Yes, Jojo is a good boy. Are you a coursemate of his?”

“No, sir. I'm in Law school. We just happened to meet thanks to Funny.”

“Law school, my boy? Very impressive!”

“Why thank you, sir. Being an advocate for those less lucky than I, Dio, has always been a dream of mine.”

“It's rare to meet a young man with morals these days, Mr. Brando.”

“Please, sir. Just Dio will do. After all, I consider the families of my dear friends my families, in a way.”

“Well then, Dio, make yourself at home and turn to me for anything you might need!”

“Thank you, sir. I am sure you will try your hardest as a host to make my stay here memorable”

“Dio!?”

Jonathan had just come out of the kitchen, wearing his Batman pajamas and bunny slippers, holding a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. The young man froze completely as his shocked gaze fell on Dio, still chatting with his father.

“Jojo!” George scolded. “Is this how you present yourself before our guests? Don't you care what the people will say? You should be the one welcoming our guests in the first place, not me!”

Jonathan blinked a few times. “Right,” he mumbled, dragging his feet along the floor, eyes still glued on Dio's. “I'll just...go.”

Dio watched with a small grin as Jonathan walked up the stairs. George sighed in disappointment, shaking his head. “I apologize for his behavior. I sometimes don't understand this boy! He couldn't even come to greet his friend!”

“Oh, don't worry about it, sir. Jojo was just shocked by my presence. I didn't tell him I would be spending the holidays here because I wanted to surprise him.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. I'll go talk to him myself. Please don't worry about it too much.”

Dio hurriedly walked up the stairs, following Jonathan back in his room. He managed to catch up to the other man right as he was about to walk inside his bedroom. Jonathan gasped in alarm, spilling his cereal on the carpet as Dio came at him from behind.

“Merry Christmas, Jojo,” he grinned. “I thought you'd be happy to see me.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 


The surprised – almost terrified – look on Jonathan's face clashed with Dio's wide grin. Dio got closer, pushing Jonathan against the wall, not caring that his priceless shoes were stepping into a puddle of milk and soggy cereal.

"Surprise!" he chimed. "You weren't expecting me, were you?"

"Dio..." Jonathan croaked and it sounded as if it was the first thing to come out of his mouth in a long while. He shook his head suddenly very aware of the situation. He looked down and hissed, cringing at the feeling of the wet fabric against his bare leg. He needed to clean this mess quickly, but first, "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Wha- I fly all the way from Boston just to see you and this is how you welcome me?"

"How did you even get here?!"

"With a plane, Jojo. I literally just told you."

"No! I mean-"

"I know what you mean," Dio smiled. He looked around. As much as he wanted to jump on Jonathan, he had to be careful of his surroundings. After all, this was a house filled with conservative millionaires. One wrong move and the once brilliant Dio Brando would forever be branded as a disgusting sodomite, a parasite that had tainted Sir Joestar's pure son. As for Jonathan, he would be no use to Dio, as his father would surely disown him.

Dio shoved Jonathan inside his room and shut the door behind them. He pushed the other man against the wall, pressing his body as close as he could. His hands reached for those gorgeous biceps, feeling the tight muscle under the warm, tanned skin.

"The Valentines were invited to spend the holidays here and your father so graciously allowed Funny's friends to tag along. So, here I am!"

"Um..."

The sound came from behind. Dio turned around to find Speedwagon laying on Jonathan's bed, knees crossed, reading a book. He looked as confused as Jonathan, and definitely more terrified. Dio had predicted this. He knew all of Jonathan's friends and family would be present and had prepared accordingly. Regardless of his feelings, he put on his best smile.

"Ah! Hello! It's good to see you again...ah..." Robert. The name was Robert Edward Orville Speedwagon and Dio was well aware of that fact. "Terrence, was it?"

"It's Robert," Speedwagon corrected. "But it has been a while, Leonard. I don't blame you for forgetting my name."

Really. Dio didn't let himself be peeved at this silly gimmick, though he was caught a bit off guard by how quickly Speedwagon was able to pay him back with the same coin. Dio's eyes narrowed slightly. He had always believed Speedwagon to be nothing but a boring young man. Perhaps he should be wary of him.

"It's Dio."

"Oh, Dio! Right! My apologies! It's so good to see you again! And totally unexpected!"

"Yes, yes. I, Dio, am a man full of surprises."

"Full of shit, too."

Dio paused. "What was that, Robert?"

"I said 'shit, you're right'! Haha!"

"Haha!" Dio gave Jonathan a friendly pat on the shoulder and turned to leave. That's right, he only ever gave Jonathan small doses of himself, just so he could get hooked without realizing it. One taste never felt satisfying enough. "I'll see you around, Jojo. Vincent."

"Likewise, William."

After Dio left, Jonathan's bedroom sunk in total silence. Speedwagon went back to the bed and reached for his book, while Jonathan awkwardly sat near his feet. "You knew about this?" Speedwagon inquired, eyes not moving from the book's pages. Jonathan knew that tone. Speedwagon was irritated.

"No. I-I had no idea." He laid back, finally relaxing a bit after that ambush. "Isn't he sweet? He came all the way here just to see me!"

"No, he came all the way here to evaluate your fortune!" Irritated, Speedwagon threw his book to the side. "Can't you see what he's doing to you, Jojo?! He only wants to use you so he can have your money!"

"Why are you so bitter?" Jonathan cried. "Why does it have to be this way? Am I not worthy of love?"

Speedwagon blinked, surprised. If there was one person in the world that was worthy of love, that was Jonathan, sweet, sweet Jonathan, whose kindness couldn't even be comprehended. "O-Of course you're worthy of love-"

"Then why do you assume that Dio only wants me for my money? What if he wants me because I'm me?"

"Wait, Jonathan-"

"Why does it always have to be about the damn money?! Is that all people see me as? A bank?" Jonathan stopped, breath heavy, eyes stinging. "Is that all you see me as, Robert?"

The tension inside the room was thick enough to be cut with a knife. Speedwagon was looking at Jonathan's bright, teary eyes with guilt, not daring to even blink. His mind raced to find something to say, anything that would make this just a bit better. Luckily for him, yelling came from the hall and caught both his and Jonathan's attention and cutting their fight short, the two men walked outside.

"You're not welcome here, Valentine!"

"Johnny!" his father hollered at him. "Apologize immediately!"

"What are you doing here, you bastard? Why can't you leave me the fuck alone?!"

"Johnny! If you don't stop immediately, I'll...I'll-!"

"Please, don't be mad at him, Mr. Joestar," Valentine said, sporting that soft, polite smile that older adults adored. "Johnny and I have had our differences, his anger is justifiable."

"Shut up!"

"And you had such a long trip, too. Exhaustion can make even the most patient of us agitated."

"Thank God you're such a responsible young man, Funny. Your parents must be very proud of you!"

"Isn't every parent proud of their own child?" Mr. Joestar grumbled something under his breath. Next to him, Johnny was still glaring daggers at Valentine. "I'll see you all later!"

The moment Valentine was gone, Mr. Joestar turned to look at his younger son, eyes spewing flames. "Look at him," he hissed. "He's achieved more than you ever will in your life and he's barely 22! You have been blessed enough to know him and instead of trying your hardest to gain his friendship, you bark at him for no damn reason!"

Before Johnny could speak, Jonathan approached with rapid footsteps, Speedwagon following a breath away. "I think Funny was right, uncle," he smiled. "Johnny must be a bit tired from the trip. Let's go to your room, buddy."

Johnny offered no resistance. He folded his arms over his chest and looked down, refusing to let his eyes run. Jonathan's heart broke a little at the sight of his little cousin shaking with sorrow and bitter anger. Jonathan was ashamed for feeling this way but he disliked his uncle. Ever since they were little, he had always favored Nick over Johnny and he showed it every chance he could. As both boys grew older, Nick started voicing his objections about the situation but his father wouldn't listen. He either humiliated Johnny or downright ignored him. He even blamed the accident on him.

"Is Valentine really that bad?" Jonathan asked softly when they reached Johnny's room.

"Yes! He's horrible! All of Dio's friends are! And I can't believe we'll be spending the holidays with those assholes..."

"They're all here?"

"Yup. All of them." Johnny groaned and got inside his room, murmuring about how he needed a nap.

Jonathan looked at Speedwagon. "I'm sorry for snapping at you."

"No, the blame is on me! I shouldn't have said that!"

"I get what you meant, Robert. It's not like gold diggers haven't approached me. It's thanks to you they haven't ripped me apart yet!"

"Maybe Dio isn't like that and I've been too harsh." Speedwagon didn't believe that in the slightest but at that moment, it was what Jonathan needed to hear.

Jonathan wrapped one strong arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer. "Johnny has beef with Valentine, Jean Pierre has beef with this Diavolo character and from what I understand, Jotaro doesn't get along with Dio that well, either. My! These holidays are going to be eventful!"

 

 

 


 

 

 


The esteemed guests that had arrived from every corner of the world took one day to rest and recharge for the grandiose celebration that would be taking place on Christma's Eve. Dio thrived in the grandeur, lived for the unnecessary opulence. Everywhere he looked were diamonds, velvets, polite laughter, money. He descended the stairs with his head held high, feeling more than a billion dollars in his golden brocade suit. They all looked at him in awe, wondering just who exactly he was.

Sir Joestar had taken care of everything. There was a small orchestra playing a merry tune near the colorful tree, a sea of aristocrats all gathered in small groups, chatting while enjoying the champagne offered in crystal glasses. There was a lavish buffet laid out and Dio found Kira standing by it, along with Diavolo who was half-obscured by the curtain.

"What do you guys think?"

"Food's good," Kira shrugged.

Dio nodded. He knew Kira wouldn't do anything stupid that would potentially jeopardize Dio's reputation. He was a smart man and a smart serial killer, focused solely on having a good time and attracting no one's attention. His gaze fell on Diavolo, who was glaring daggers at Polnareff, lip curled in disgust. Valentine was normally in charge of Diavolo's well-behaving. Still, an extra warning wouldn't hurt.

"You better behave yourself," Dio whistled in Diavolo's ear. "I can't have you running around, acting like a dog."

Diavolo looked at him, eyes narrow and hostile. He straightened his back, pushing Dio back with his chest. "What gave you the idea you can tell me what the fuck to do?"

With that, Diavolo disappeared behind the drapes and out to the garden. "He's been weird lately," Kira noted.

"Lately?" Dio snorted as he sipped on his champagne. Nice, but not enough.

He scanned the crowd for potential targets and to his great delight, spotted Sir Joestar standing in the middle of the hall, chatting with his various guests. Next to him were Joseph and Jonathan, also socializing with the attendees. Dio sauntered over, sporting a bright grin, knowing just what to say.

"And here I thought you couldn't be more hospitable."

"Ah, Dio, my boy!" George embraced Dio warmly, smiling brightly at him. "Are you enjoying the party?"

"Absolutely!"

"Good, good... Joseph! Have you greeted Dio?"

The second of the Joestar boys froze momentarily, that idiotic grin that seemed to perpetually stick to his admittedly handsome face dropping for once. He opened and closed his mouth like a goldfish, not managing to find what to say for the first time in his life.

"It's good to see you again, Joseph," Dio smiled, offering him a hand.

Joseph's reactions were quicker than Jonathan's. He managed to shoo away his surprise and shock before his father could catch a hint of it. He shook Dio's hand eagerly, managing to offer him a reserved smile. "You too. Hope you like everything, Dad put a lot of effort into it."

Oh, surely he did. Hiring all those hordes of waiting staff, cooks, and musicians that had to serve the guests and entertain them like monkeys in a cage was certainly exhausting. Having nothing more to say to Joseph, Dio returned his attention to Jonathan and George.

"And Jotaro?" he inquired. "Haven't seen him ever since I got here."

Like any practiced high-class socialite, George was able to shield his annoyance behind a hearty chuckle. "Jotaro has always been a bit shy." Shy was a polite way of saying anti-social but Dio couldn't blame George on this one. "He's been stressed lately, the poor thing. He's only a month away from becoming a father!"

Right. Jotaro was multiplying. "And you from becoming a grandfather!"

"It's a dream come true for many, including me."

"I agree with you on this one, sir. I believe starting a family is a man's purpose in life. There's nothing as beautiful, rewarding and important as that."

George smiled, pleased. "Yes, the arrival of a child is a truly wonderful thing." A child. George had said 'a child' which could mean two things; one, that he had no idea about Joseph's little accident or two, he didn't know that Dio knew and wanted to keep it a secret. Dio hoped it was the former, as it was the perfect chance to plant the seed of discord among the Joestars, throwing the family in disarray and becoming the son this old fool wished he had.

"Yes! With all my heart yes!"

Puzzled and annoyed that his limelight had so unceremoniously been snatched, Dio turned to find the source of the sound. In a matter of a few seconds, the entire hall was drowning in cheers and clapping. Dio pushed and shoved his way into the center of the circle where he found Valentine and Scarlet holding each other in a tight embrace. Valentine swept her off her feet and started spinning her around, his smiling face buried in her shoulder. When he finally put her down, she proudly showed everyone the diamond ring on her finger.

"Dio!" she called for him after finding her way out of Mrs. Valentine's embrace. "Look at this!"

Dio took hold of her shaking hand and inspected the ring. It truly was a magnificent piece of art. The design was fairly simple yet overflowing with elegance. Placed atop a platinum band was a gorgeous diamond, brilliant and cut in a square shape. Blood red sapphires were placed next to each corner, adding a splash of color to the pure gem.

"You guys got engaged?" That was Kira, just then realizing what the hell was going on.

"Yes!" Valentine exclaimed. "Just now!"

Dio had never seen Scarlet express genuine happiness. Her cheeks must have hurt from that big smile, eyes were sparkling with tears of joy. She was laughing and beaming with excitement, all the while doting on the man who had his arms around her.

"You little bastard," Scarlet teased, reaching up to kiss her fiance. "You surprised me!"

Valentine hugged her even tighter and pressed his lips against her jet-black hair. They weren't the most affectionate couple, not with how reserved Valentine was. But they had their moments, and on that specific moment, Valentine's face was lit up brighter than the Christmas tree. He looked like a kid, a twenty-two-year-old kid, excited about life and absolutely in love.

"You didn't even tell me a single thing," Kira complained.

"I wanted it to be a surprise to everyone. Even my own parents."

"What the fuck's going on?"

Diavolo stepped back into the room, after finishing his smoke. Valentine urged him to come closer, come to be a part of his joy. "I proposed to Scarlet!"

"And I said yes!"

Diavolo froze. His gaze was shifting between the two, eyes blinking furiously. "Proposal?" he muttered. "As in...marriage?"

"Yes!"

"You're getting married?"

"Yes! Why are you so shocked? You know this was my dream!" Valentine embraced Diavolo, pressing his body against Diavolo's own. "Aren't you happy for me?"

"Of course I am... Yeah, I am." Diavolo had always been bad at hiding the few emotions he could feel. in his bliss, Valentine couldn't see that Diavolo's face was as flexible as hard plastic, painted his betrayal and hurt.

Kira was right. Diavolo was being weird, weirder than usual. It was as if something had happened, something had changed inside him. And it was only with Valentine. He was still normal with everyone else. He never shared his feelings and thoughts with anyone so it was pretty hard to find out just what was going on. Whatever it was, Dio hoped it wouldn't ruin their little group of friends. However horrible his friends were, they were still his friends.

Holding his fifth glass of champagne, Dio waltzed over to Jonathan, who was watching over the scene with a gentle smile on his pretty face. He sighed dreamily, wiping the tears from his eyes. "Bless them," he said. Oh, that sweet thing had no idea who he was talking about.

"You like marriage proposals, Jojo?"

"Marriage in general. I like the idea of getting married and starting a family."

"You want to have kids?"

"As many as possible! But I'd be happy with just one, to be honest."

Dio nodded. Talking about families and that picture-perfect happily ever after was making him nauseous. He turned his back to the crowd, pressing his palm against Jonathan's broad chest, feeling him shudder. He got on his tiptoes, breath grazing Jonathan's ear. "In case you haven't noticed," he whispered, "I'm wearing your Christmas gift tonight."

"O-oh, you a-are! They look good on you, Dio!"

"Yes, yes. And since I, Dio, am ever generous and polite, I think it's time for me to give your gift. Don't you think?"

"It's fine! You didn't need to get me anything!"

"Please," Dio half moaned, locking eyes with Jonathan. "I insist." Jonathan gulped. He looked every bit like a rabbit, cornered by a snake. Dio cocked his head to the side, batting his eyelashes. "May I come by your room tonight to give it to you?"

Dio knew there was no way Jonathan would turn down this offer. He could smell his sweat, feel his arousal through the fabric of both their pants. Jonathan was easily excitable. The blood in his veins was boiling, sizzling with the urge to make love, but he was too reserved, too proper. Dio squeezed his bicep and Jonathan winced.

"Sure," he gulped. His head was foggy, aching with Dio's scent drilling his brain.

"Good. Don't fall asleep!" Dio chimed as he sauntered away, going to get ready for the night ahead.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Except for Dio who poked his head out to the hallway at approximately 2 AM and scanned the area for any unexpected sleepwalkers. Kira and Diavolo were sleeping soundly and Dio could hear faint giggling coming from Valentine and Scarlet's room. He shut the door and stepped out to the empty hallway. Thankfully, the sound of his stilettos clicking on the floor was muffled by the thick, burgundy carpet. He walked quickly, passing doors and portraits, ignoring the scornful glares the Joestar ancestors were sending him as he was on his way to get dicked down by their great-great-great-grandson.

When he reached Jonathan's door, he knocked thrice and waited, hoping that the echo hadn't woken anyone up. Right as he was beginning to worry, the door opened just a crack and Jonathan's worried face came to view.

"Hi," he breathed. He scanned Dio from head to toe and his eyes widened.

"Good evening. May I come in?"

Jonathan gulped and nodded before hesitantly opening the door. Dio walked inside and observed his surroundings. A lackluster room, the only way Jonathan would have it. There was a small lounging area, a marble fireplace, a four-poster bed, and a large closet. Plain, boring, and very Victorian.

"So," Jonathan started, "what was it that you wanted to give me?"

Dio grinned. He tugged on the knot of his trenchcoat's belt and let it fall to his feet in one, swift motion. The look on Jonathan's face was priceless. Eyes wide, jaw hanging slack. Perhaps appearing with a trenchcoat and almost nothing underneath was an old trick, but it was a very effective one. Underneath the coat, Dio was wearing a luxurious lingerie set he had bought specifically for this reason. The royal blue corset was tight around his waist, emphasizing his hourglass-shaped form. Delicate garters were holding up black, silky stockings that enveloped Dio's lovely legs beautifully. The outfit was complete with a pair of patent leather black heels and a pair of panties that left little to the imagination. And of course, ruby red lipstick.

"I wanted to give you this, if you'll take it." Jonathan was still at a loss for words, not even blinking. Dio approached him, his voluptuous form swaying seductively. He cupped Jonathan's face and stroked his cheeks lovingly. He reached for Jonathan's hands and guided them over his ass, making them grasp the plump cheeks firmly. "I know you want to."

Jonathan came out of his trance abruptly. He crashed his mouth on Dio's surprising him with a kiss that felt almost alien. He was starving and finally driven on edge. His lips sucked on Dio's hungrily, tongue reaching for every bit of Dio's mouth it could. He kissed Dio deeply and Dio kissed back fervently. Finally. Finally! Dio's hand strayed from Jonathan's chest and moved to his crotch, firmly cupping the half-hard cock hidden under layers of fabric. Jonathan gasped and tried to move away but Dio held him in place.

"Don't tell me you're gonna back down now? Don't you want me?" Good God. Dio could feel Jonathan's heart pumping like a train engine in his chest.

"Of course I want you," Jonathan muttered, face aflame.

"Then take me."

Overwhelmed by Dio's confidence and sensuality, Jonathan gave in. He'd be lying if he said he hadn't thought of having sex with Dio before. He was a stunning man and Jonathan felt truly blessed to be the one that had attracted his attention. But he wished the circumstances were different, that he and Dio were closer.

His body's needs and the lust he rarely felt pushed away his emotions and logic and Jonathan guided Dio to the bed. His weight on top of Dio's felt sublime. Jonathan got on his knees between Dio's parted thighs and smiled.

"May I unwrap my present?"

"Oh, you may."

With the eagerness of a small child, Jonathan got to unhooking the stocking from the garters, not caring in the slightest that the materials cost as much as person's kidney. The stockings rolled down Dio's smooth legs effortlessly, revealing more of that flawless, ivory flesh. Dio parted his thighs even further and slightly thrust his hips upwards.

"Go on," he urged, sensing Jonathan's hesitation.

Jonathan hooked his thick fingers on the hem of Dio's underwear and pulled them down, letting Dio's cock spring free. He inhaled sharply, unable to take his eyes from the sight. Dio chuckled darkly, amber eyes gleaming dangerously in the dim light. Jonathan's shyness was delicious.

"You're overdressed," he pointed out, pressing his toes in the middle of Jonathan's chest.

The strip show could have been more artfully done but Dio was glad enough to finally see Jonathan naked. First, his torso came to view, all bulging, rippling abs, and wonderfully chiseled arms. He pulled his pajama pants down along with his underwear and it was Dio's turn to be shocked to the point of stupidity. Standing almost flat against his sculpted stomach was Jonathan's cock, his long, thick cock, right between his strong thighs. Dio felt his mouth water at the sight. That had to be the most incredible dick he had ever seen in his entire life. And Dio had seen his fair share of dicks. It was exactly as he imagined it. If Jonathan didn't know how to use that gorgeous thing, Dio could just put him down and ride him until he was satisfied. As much as he wanted to have Jonathan fuck him raw until he lost his voice, the addition of lube was necessary.

"I have lube in my pocket," he said dryly.

Jonathan nodded and went to fetch the lube. "Condoms?"

"Jojo, I want you to fill my entire body with your cum."

Jonathan paused. His face grew even redder, even hotter. He walked back to the bed, awkwardly stumbling over his own feet. It seemed like Dio had to take control of the situation. Not that he was complaining.

"Get on your back," he instructed.

It took Jonathan a moment to process the order but he eventually complied and laid back with his back against the headboard. Dio climbed on top of him on all fours, back arched and shoulders moving with the fluidity of a jungle cat's. A panther looming over a sweet rabbit. Or whatever the fuck it was panthers ate. Dio planted a surprisingly soft kiss on Jonathan's soft, plump lips and moved further down, trailing sucking kisses on his throat. Jonathan's breath hitched as Dio sucked on his earlobe. He arched his neck, allowing Dio to leave a bigger trail of lipstick and saliva. Further down he went, marking the tanned flesh any way he could. His lips found one of Jonathan's nipples and he grazed it with his teeth. He started rolling the other nub between his index and middle fingers and Jonathan gasped softly, arching his body closer to Dio's. Dio's hands traveled lower, looking every bit like spiders made out of marble against the warm, caramel skin. His mouth was hanging inches above the tip of Jonathan's cock, his breath tickling the sensitive member. He locked eyes with Jonathan as he opened his lips to take the tip inside his mouth, tongue collecting the drops of precum shining on the tip. Jonathan squirmed but a strong hand on his thick thigh held him down. Dio dipped his head lower and even when the tip of Jonathan's cock was grazing the back of his throat, there was still more left. Dio felt his eyes water but he didn't give up. He opened his throat as much as he could and wrapped his hand around the remaining length.

"D-Dio," Jonathan gasped and bucked his hips upward, making Dio gag quietly.

Dio started moving his head, slowly swirling his tongue around the stiff member, all the while his hand jerked furiously. He made for a wonderful view, ass high in the air, lips stretched uncomfortably to accommodate Jonathan's girth, eyes still staring into Jonathan's own. He lifted his head until only the tip was inside his mouth and he sucked on it vigorously, forcing all sorts of sweet sounds out of Jonathan. His lips planted kisses on the underside of Jonathan's cock, tongue pressing against the bulging vein. He paused when he reached Jonathan's sack and then trailed his tongue all over the length once more, stopping only to swirl it around the head.

"Ah, Dio!"

Jonathan's thighs were shaking. He was close to his limit. Who knew when he had last had sex? Dio let go of his cock with a slick pop, instantly getting right back up. Jonathan had never looked so beautiful. He was panting, chest heaving, cheeks red, eyes glassy, skin marked with lipstick and imprints of Dio's teeth, cock slick with saliva and unbelievably hard, twitching with anticipation. Without a hint of hesitation, he reached for the lube and cracked it open, coating his fingers with some of the slick substance. Dio would grant Jonathan the privilege of looking at him as they fucked. It felt like the kind of thing Jonathan would want, anyway.

He got on his back and spread his legs, inviting Jonathan to touch him. Claim him. Give him the impression of ownership. His limbs were bent in the most inviting ways, back arched and thighs rubbing together. He looked like a fallen god, the way the orange light painted him gold.

"You're beautiful," Jonathan murmured in awe, eyes, and voice dripping with affection as his fingers reached between Dio's asscheeks. "You're the most beautiful person I have ever seen."

He sounded absolutely smitten. Dio shuddered at the praise but he didn't let it show. This was another hookup, aiming for a higher purpose. He got ready to say something in turn when one of Jonathan's large fingers breached the first ring of muscle. The stretch was comfortable so far, Dio was used to it. Jonathan added a second finger and started scissoring the two digits, carefully preparing his lover. He moved them slowly, gently, as if afraid to hurt Dio. He added a third one and Dio let out a whine, fingers curling around the sheets.

"We're getting somewhere," he mumbled.

Jonathan, encouraged by Dio's responses, started moving his fingers more boldly, slowly thrusting them in and out of the tight hole. One deep push in and his fingertips brushed against Dio's sweet spot, making the blond cry out for the first time that night.

"Here?"

"God, yes," Dio gasped, voice heavy.

Jonathan stopped trying to stretch Dio so much and started massaging his prostate in gentle, circular motions. He gasped softly every time Dio made a little sound, every time he pulled his body closer to Jonathan's. His smooth, pale skin was rosy in places, his slender cock was twitching with hunger, leaking precum on his stomach. Jonathan pulled his fingers out, producing a filthy, wet sound. Dio opened his eyes slowly, trying to steady his breath. Jonathan poured a generous amount of lube on his cock and Dio watched in silent admiration as he stroked his hard member. He got comfortable on his back and hooked his legs around Jonathan's waist, pulling him close. Jonathan crawled over Dio, supporting himself on his arms.

“Nervous?” Dio asked.

“A little bit.”

Dio really wanted to ask him when was the last time he had gotten laid but in the end, did it really matter? Who could ever compare to him?

Slowly, carefully, Jonathan brought his hips closer, pressing just the tip of his cock into Dio's entrance. It felt as if Dio was trying to suck him in and even with all the preparation, he was still tight, wonderfully so. Inch by inch, Jonathan pushed himself inside too slowly for Dio's liking, until he was fully sheathed. Dio's eyes were staring at the ceiling, completely unfocused. He could feel his insides stretch to accommodate Jonathan's length, he could feel that hot thing pulsate and twitch inside him. It was the first time in his life he was so unbelievably full, body heating up with lust even before Jonathan started moving. The stretch was incredible, the pain mixing with the overwhelming pleasure, leaving no room for thought.

“Move,” Dio croaked and Jonathan complied eagerly. He pulled his hips back, dragging every bit of his cock until only the tip remained inside. “I can take it rough,” Dio hissed. He threw his arms around Jonathan's back, feeling the strong, sweaty muscles move with each breath.

Encouraged by Dio's anticipation, and motivated by his own lust for that man, Jonathan slammed back inside, hitting Dio's prostate ever so perfectly. Dio's eyes fluttered shut and he cried out, arching his neck. Jonathan clasped a hand over his mouth and Dio opened his eyes just to glare at him.

“Please be quiet,” he begged. “Someone might wake up.”

Wouldn't that be scandalous? Someone – even Sir Joestar – could hear them and all hell would break loose outside the door. But they wouldn't care. Not while Jonathan was still buried inside Dio, anyway. But he was right. Dio had to keep quiet.

Dio couldn't remember the last time he had actually moaned. There was no need to fake his pleasure. Jonathan's strong hands were steady on his hips, digging into the soft flesh hard enough to bruise, hips slamming back and forth, each thrust sending Dio's mind into the plains of haziness. This didn't just feel good. Dio's skin was riddled with goosebumps, his mouth was hanging open his mind was blank.

“Jojo,” he keened. The corset was unbearably tight around his flaming torso. Dio dug his nails into Jonathan's back, drawing out little droplets of blood. He let his head hang backward, all the while Jonathan was still thrusting in and out of him.

It wasn't exactly the vigorous fucking Dio preferred but in time, they would get there. The scent of sex and flesh hitting against flesh filled the steamy room. Jonathan brought one of Dio's legs over his shoulder, getting even deeper and making Dio cry out. So much for being quiet. The new angle made Dio see stars. With each thrust, Jonathan's cock found Dio's sweet spot, ruthlessly slamming against it, bringing him closer to the edge.

“You feel so good, Dio,” Jonathan whispered in his ear, as if confessing a dirty secret. His voice was deep, raw, husky with desire. “You're perfect.” Dio moaned wetly, holding Jonathan even tighter. “You like it when I tell you how good you are?” He didn't wait for Dio to answer. He pulled his hips back once again, before slamming back inside with all his force. One of his clammy hands reached to skin over Dio's taut stomach, moving to pinch one of his pert nipples. “Do you, my Dio?”

“Yes!” Dio cried out.

Those warm hands on his body, that wanton voice in his ears, the feeling of fullness... It didn't take Dio long to lose control, to completely let go of himself. His body spasmed as he climaxed, cock spurting ropes of cum over his navel. Jonathan stopped to admire Dio, drinking in the image of him while utterly lost in the purest form of ecstasy. His eyes were screwed shut and his brows were furrowed, lips open and swollen from the kissing, all sorts of sweet sounds coming from his throat.

After the waves of his orgasm had completely washed him anew, Dio cracked an eye open to see Jonathan still kneeling between his knees, muscular chest heaving. His skin glistened with sweat, his features were glossy and hazy, eyes dark with want. He pulled out, cock stiff and begging for release. He flipped Dio on his stomach without giving him a second to process the situation. Not caring about the costly fabric, Jonathan tore the corset's satin ribbons as if they were nothing, tossing the destroyed garment off of Dio's body. His honey-colored hands looked perfect against the marble-like surface of Dio's back. He slipped back inside his lover effortlessly, sighing blissfully at the now familiar warmth that enveloped his cock. He leaned over Dio's body, hands exploring the pale skin, lips kissing and teeth nipping everywhere they could. His hips bucked fervently, frantically, with a mind of their own. Jonathan breathed heavily while he chased his orgasm, showering Dio with words of adoration. With one final thrust, he went completely still, filling Dio to the brim. He saw white as he climaxed, teeth biting into Dio's shoulder so not to cry out.

The sweat between their bodies cooled down, making them stick together. For once in his life, Dio was so overwhelmed by the divine pleasure that he didn't mind the filth. He adored it. He moaned as Jonathan laid him with his head against the pillows, still feeling Jonathan's cum inside him. His taste, his smell... He rolled to his side, gazing up at Jonathan through heavy lids. He remembered hearing some words but he didn't understand them, not while exhaustion and satisfaction led him to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

 


Dio opened his eyes slowly, the blurry reality of Jonathan's bedroom becoming more vivid. He rubbed the sleep off his eyes and stretched, feeling the sweet numbness of sex between his legs. He was sticky and filthy, the kind of filth he adored. He had actually passed out last night and all because of the guy sleeping next to him. Dio rolled to his side to see Jonathan sleeping soundly, as sweetly as an angel. He was beautiful, too beautiful, perfectly serene. His chocolate locks were unruly and fell over his dark lashes. His plump lips were opened slightly, letting little breaths out. Dio's eyes roamed over the man's exposed torso, the marks of his nails, his teeth, his lipstick. Dio didn't know the state he was in but he could still feel Jonathan's hands on his hips, his lips on his neck, his cock inside him, his voice in his ear. Yes, Jonathan was an incredible fuck. So incredible, that Dio had let himself loose more than he did, letting his little weaknesses show.

Dio stumbled out of bed and cursed as he rolled on the floor. His legs took a few seconds to become fully stable and he could feel a dull pain at the base of his spine. Carrying his phone, his tiptoed inside the bathroom and put on the first bathrobe he found. Careful not to wake Jonathan, Dio walked out to the balcony. The morning was freezing, dew and chilly mist dancing in the heavy atmosphere. The air smelled of burning wood and the sky was dark, only a few yellow rays peeking shyly on the horizon. Dio let the cold air stick to his body, make him shudder and feel alive.

"Hello?"

Dio smiled. Pucci always picked up immediately. "Hey. It's me."

"I know it's you. What's up? How's the vacation?"

"Funny's getting married."

"I know, I saw it on Instagram. I'll call him later." Dio hummed. "Anything else?"

"I had sex with Jonathan last night."

There was a small pause. Dio heard Pucci stand up and exit the room he was in. Judging by the sounds of distant traffic, he had gone to the balcony as well. "How was it?" he asked in a hushed, excited voice.

"He may look sweet but he fucked me until I literally passed out, Enrico."

"That good?”

“He was...amazing.” Dio sighed blissfully. One of his nails had snapped but that was trivial at the moment. “I think I'll keep him around some more.”

“Are you sure it's just the sex, Dio?”

“What do you mean?”

Well...Jonathan is a very sweet man and while I have no issue with you exploiting him, I'm only saying that you could invest in a deeper emotional bond with him. Falling in love isn't that bad.”

Dio glared at the snowy ground, grip around his phone tightening. Pucci was his friend, not a lackey that needed to suck up to him. Pucci only ever told Dio the truth and his thoughts, even though Dio sometimes wished he didn't.

“What do you know?” he hissed. Trust Dio to turn his frustration into raw aggression. “You've never fallen in love.”

“Coaches don't play. And look, before you get angry, I just want to say that you shouldn't feel bad if you end up falling in love with him. Jonathan is a great man.”

“I won't fall in love with him.”

“It's only human!”

“You either change the subject right now, Enrico Pucci, or I hang up and never speak to you again!”

Fair enough,” Pucci sighed. “Things have been quiet here. Wes keeps to himself and speaks only when spoken to. I have nothing on the stripper and Vanilla Ice only knows that he's from Florida.”

“Not even his name?”

“Nope. Nothing. That's even more suspicious, you know. What the hell does he have to hide?”

As a man with a lot to hide, Dio's mind went to every possible explanation. “Tell me if there's anything I can help you with.”

Thank you for the offer.” Pucci groaned. What time was it in Aspen? “At least my brother is like a fucking zombie. Is yours causing you any problems?”

Dio snorted. “If Diego found a way to pester me over the Atlantic, I'd congratulate him.”

Dio,” Pucci started slowly, sounding confused. “Don't you know Diego is there?

“There? Where?”

England. The Joestar house. He's there.” Another pause, longer. “You knew this, right?

Come to think of it, Dio had no idea what his little brother was going to be doing for the holidays. They had last spoken several weeks ago, not bothering to check up on one another. Diego was free to live with the nun – of all people, a nun! - and Dio continued pursuing the Joestar fortune. Yes, Diego spending the holidays at the Joestar house was expected. After all, he was close friends with those two fools and that little Pendleton girl, Erina's cousin. Oh yes, she was there too.

He took a deep breath. He would never let anything or anyone, especially someone as insignificant as his little brother ruin his mood after a night of getting fucked to the point of unconsciousness. “I had no idea. But you know what, my dear? I don't give a shit. Diego may not be smart but he is a cunning little fuck. He knows better than to embarrass himself in front of such important people. And even if he does, I assure you that I will be there to discipline him before he even blinks.”

He's not that horrible, you know,” Pucci said and Dio felt the veins on his forehead pop. “If you go through the trouble of sitting down and speaking to him, you'll find out that he's not as immature as you think.”

“I would prefer not to.”

“Whatever you say,” Pucci finally said. “Who am I to criticize your decisions?

“Are you being sarcastic with me, Enrico?”

“Take it as you will. While we're on the subject of Diego I suggest you actually try to get closer with him or at least pretend to. The Joestars value family ties and seeing how apart you and your brother are won't sit well with them. You can pay him to pretend to like you.”

Pucci was right. The Joestars were all about family values and whatnot and if Dio wanted to see his ingenious plan bear fruit, he had to be thorough, take care of every detail.

“I'll take that into consideration. I'll talk to you later, okay?”

“Yes. Have a good day.”

“You too.”

And with that, Dio hang up. He stared at the screen for a couple of seconds, looking at Pucci's contact picture. Despite his youth, Pucci was mature and logical, providing Dio with the balance he needed. Though he'd never admit it, Dio valued Pucci's presence in his life more than even he realized. Pucci was there to advise him, to offer him validation and to also hit him with some cold, hard facts.

“You can pay him to pretend to like you.”

What was Diego? A money-lusting, power-hungry little bastard with not nearly as many talents as he thought himself to have? Perhaps. But he was also Dio's flesh and blood, the last tie he had to a past spent in basements and in loansharks' arms, to sleepless nights and bloody mornings. He was nothing and everything. Dio looked up and one star seemed to shine brighter than the rest. That was the northern star, he knew that much. Instead of a little spot of light in the velvet expanse of the night sky, Dio saw a pair of melancholic eyes, looking at him with endless sorrow. Had she been there, her boys would have been friends. Had she been there, Dio wouldn't be thinking about her from his target's balcony. Had she been there, things would have been better. Poorer, but better. Sweeter. Brighter. But she wasn't.

“Dio?”

The soft voice that called out of him made Dio jump. He felt moisture trickle down his cheeks and he hesitantly wiped the salty drops. He looked over his shoulders to find Jonathan standing on the doorway, wearing his fleece robe over his pajama pants. He dropped another, warmer robe on Dio's shoulders and hugged him from behind, chin resting on top of Dio's head. Dio ran his fingers down the soft fabric, letting Jonathan wrap it around him. It was hard to tell if the warmth of the robe or that of Jonathan's body was melting the ice on Dio's skin. Jonathan's strong, muscular arms wrapped around Dio's body, pulling him against his broad chest.

“You'll catch a cold.”

“I have you to keep me warm.”

Jonathan laughed, a sweet, boyish laugh that tickled the back of Dio's neck. “What are you even doing out here at this hour?”

“I wanted to call Enrico. I haven't spoken to him at all since I arrived here.”

“You two are really close.”

“Yes.” Dio sighed. Before Jonathan could say anything more, Dio got on his tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on Jonathan's lips. He grinned, cold fingers reaching up to brush soft locks of hair out of Jonathan's face. “We have a few more hours to kill until breakfast. Shall we go back inside?”

 

 

 


 

 

 


Kakyoin liked starting his day early. Sometimes earlier than intended. Even if he was exhausted, his eyes would snap open at 7 AM, mind instantly clear and ready for the day ahead. He peered over the edge of the bed, to where Jotaro was sleeping on a futon, brows creased even in the deepest, darkest corners of unconsciousness. The sight was enough to put a soft smile on Kakyoin's face. Jotaro looked so unbelievably gentle when he was sleeping. And he actually was a very gentle soul, even though it sounded hard to believe. Why else would he give Kakyoin his bed for two whole weeks? Yes, Jotaro was a good friend, a fact that filled Kakyoin with equal parts joy and sadness. Jotaro was only a friend.

Moving quietly, carefully so not to make any sound, Kakyoin raised from the bed and put on his slippers. Phone in hand, he got out of the bedroom. The hall outside was quiet, still deep in slumber, its darkness disturbed only by the shy morning light peeking through the curtains. Kakyoin walked down the hall, inspecting the imposing portraits of Joestar ancestors, pictures going back to a time forgotten by history itself. The Joestar estate was like a treasure trove of knowledge, waiting to show Kakyoin so many things. He decided he would be heading for the library, spend some time there until the house woke up. He estimated it would take some time. After all, the guests were exhausted from the previous night's party.

Kakyoin halted in his tracks when he noticed another presence in the hall. It took him a few seconds to realize that the other form belonged to Dio, sloppily wrapped in a black trenchcoat and holding a pair of stilettos in hand. Dio froze when he noticed the other man. A few seconds passed. Neither of them spoke or moved. Dio decided to take the first step forward, putting on his distinctively haughty smirk and strutting by, not forgetting to slam his shoulder on Kakyoin with as much force as he could.

Kakyoin waited until Dio had gone downstairs. He bolted down the hall, barging inside his and Jotaro's room like a man on fire. Without hesitation, he starting shaking Jotaro, violently waking him up. Two groggy blue eyes glared up at him through a mop of disheveled black hair.

“What,” Jotaro croaked, voice heavy with sleep, huskier than usual.

“I just saw Dio come out of Jonathan's room half-naked.”

Once the words sunk in, Jotaro's eyes widened. He sat up straight, staring at Kakyoin with horror. “What?”

“Yeah. Just now!”

Jotaro wasn't stupid. Of course, he had no problem with his brother getting laid. Au contraire, Jonathan deserved it. But not with him. Not with Dio. Not with another blood-sucking, gold-digging cunt that viewed him only as a wallet with legs. No... Dio was more than that, he felt like more than that. Jotaro wished he was just another gold-digger. Those were easy to fight back. They just took the money and left. Dio reeked malice. The way he so politely chatted with George made Jotaro's blood boil. Dio was in it for the long haul but Jotaro wouldn't have it.

“Do you think it's too late?”

“No. Their relationship just started, there's still time.”

Jotaro nodded. He didn't know if Kakyoin was telling that to make him feel better. “I have to start investigating him.” A thought that had been dancing around his head for long now. He hadn't acted upon it, much to his great frustration and shame. “Today if I can.”

“How will you do that?”

“He's from here. And Brando isn't a very common name, I could find something!” A sloppy plan but a plan nevertheless. Jotaro fell back on the futon, eyes on the ceiling. “He's arrogant. And arrogant people make slip-ups. I could wait for him to give me something.”

“What if he doesn't? What if he's careful?”

Jotaro paused. “I could try bribing Diego.”

“Will he keep his mouth shut?”

“I'll make him.”

Kakyoin snorted. “You know, you always speak like a brute but I've never actually seen you beat up anyone!”

 

 

 


 

 

 


Midday after lunch. Diavolo was out of the house, having lost himself in the endless maze that was the gardens. He walked and walked, passing by artfully trimmed hedges and gravestones with little interest. He found a pond surrounded by naked trees and piles of fallen leaves. He sat down on the frozen ground, letting the cold seep in through the fabric of his jeans. His head fell against the trunk with a dull thud, eyes lost in the far distance, above the ghastly treeline, to the bleak, gray sky.

Engagement. Marriage. Abandonment. Valentine was getting married and Diavolo couldn't do anything about it. Why did he need to do something about that anyway? Why should he care in the first place? If anything, he should be happy for his friend, happy that he'd wake up every morning next to a person he loved, spend every day with her, cook and laugh and watch dumb movies and drag all the actors. He would sit under the parasol during their vacation, reading some book and avoiding the sun, occasionally going for a dip. In Italy. Diavolo could take him there, show him the place, the food, the beauty of it all, and bring the world to his feet if he so desired it. The two of them would live a blissful life. The two of them? Yes, Valentine and Scarlet. His fiancee, his future wife, his soulmate. Not Diavolo.

“It's just a crush.”

It wasn't. Not when he thought about the man – that man – day and night, felt his hands shake and throat tighten at every little chuckle, at the smell of his hair and that look on his face. His sweet, sweet face. He looked like an angel, like something out of the world, something innocent and secretly evil. Perfectly neutral. But perfect still.

“He's an asshole.”

True. But he cared. He was the only one that ever cared for Diavolo's fuck ups. His countless fuck ups. He cared about the drugs, the parade of one-night stands, the horde of gangsters, the untimely demise Diavolo was heading towards. And he was so gentle when they laid side by side, talking about nothing and everything all at once. His embrace seemed warm, comforting. Diavolo remembered Valentine's sweet-smelling weight laying on top of him. He should have appreciated those little moments back then. Now, every time Valentine even came close to him, Diavolo's heart quickened and his head became heavy with want, lust, desire, something deeper, darker. L-

Short little legs dashed down the muddy ground, heading straight for him. A black and white Boston Terrier, an ugly little thing, looked up at him, panting and wheezing. The curious animal sniffed him a bit and decided he was good enough to lie on. Diavolo didn't mind animals, he had always been rather neutral about them. The dog hopped on his lap and Diavolo just let it lay there, continuing with his bitter contemplation.

“Ah, sorry about that!” a voice yelled from behind and the Kill Bill sirens went off inside Diavolo's head. Seconds later, Polnareff came to view, cheeks flushed and breaths coming out fast. “Iggy likes w-”

He froze mid-sentence once he realized who he was talking to. This was bound to happen, after all, they both knew they were at the same place, at the same time. Polnareff didn't expect to see Diavolo while alone. He feared this encounter, not because Diavolo was stronger but because he was more violent, unstable, unpredictable. One wrong look and he was ready to attack.

Diavolo stood up, standing at the same height as Polnareff with his hunched back. He clenched his fists, staring right into Polnareff's eyes. The two of them stood completely still, trying to figure out what the other was going to do. Suddenly, Diavolo reached for Iggy and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck while the little dog trashed and snarled. Polnareff lunged forward and Diavolo tightened his grip on the animal, making him wail in pain.

“Just let the dog go, man! He's done nothing to you!”

“I don't like you, Polnareff.”

“Okay, okay! The dog has nothing to do with this!”

“I don't like you being so close to me, I don't like you looking at me...”

“I get it! It's not like I'm doing it on purpose! Just let my dog go!” Diavolo moved his arm to hover over the pond's freezing, swampy water. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”

“You have a sister, too, don't you, Polnareff?”

Polnareff blinked, surprised. “Sherry? How the fuck do you know about her?”

Diavolo threw Iggy at Polnareff's feet. The little dog, no matter how feisty, winced in pain and hid behind his owner. “You ever fucking come close to me again, I'll make sure she pays for it.”

All it took Polnareff to get fired up was the right button. And most of the time, that button was Sherry. He took a step forward and his large hands were on the collar of Diavolo's shirt, nearly lifting the other man off the ground. His blue, blazing eyes stared right into Diavolo's fractured ones, seeing the violence and insanity oozing from within.

“I'll kill you,” Polnareff hissed. “If you lay a hand on her, I'll kill you.”

“Not if I get to her first.”

“Hey!”

Two gloved hands yanked Diavolo from Polanreff's grip. Valentine got between the two men, looking at his friend with furrowed brows and concerned eyes. “What the hell's going on here?”

“Mind your own damn business, you fucking traitor!”

As he stormed away, Diavolo harshly pushed Valentine on the ground. Valentine was too confused to say anything. He could only watch Diavolo's form grow smaller and smaller. Polnareff offered him a hand and he took it, stood up straight and fixed his clothes.

“Are you alright?”

“I should be asking you this.”

“Oh, I'm fine. I'm used to it. To him.”

Polnareff opened his mouth to ask Valentine just how he was friends with someone like Diavolo but he held himself back. Valentine wasn't that much better than Diavolo, however misleading his appearance was. And for Diavolo to trust him so meant that they had a lot more in common.

“Congratulations on your engagement,” Polnareff said as Valentine walked away.

“Thank you!”

Dio was strolling around the estate, losing himself in the mindless luxury. Kira was doing...whatever it was that Kira did when he was alone. Diavolo was probably in his room, brooding. Valentine stopped outside the door, fist raised. No. This time, he wasn't going to be running after that moody asshole like a concerned mother. He just wanted to enjoy a moment of peace, without his head being plagued by Diavolo's misadventures, his unborn child, his horror upon learning that Valentine had gotten engaged... Why was he so shocked? Was he not expecting it? Valentine bit his lip. Maybe Diavolo was more protective than he thought. Maybe after Valentine spoke to him about the peculiarities of his relationship, Diavolo thought that his friend was being used and Scarlet was just a gold-digger. Why call him a traitor, then? For getting married and leaving their little pack of douchebags? For taking care of his child? Had Yoshikage told him about this?

Valentine shook his head. Just a few moments of peace and quiet, with a good book and some cheap, American beer he had bribed a horde of TSA agents to get past the borders. The house – like all unnecessarily large houses – was eerily quiet, as all the guests and inhabitants were spread across the various rooms and floors. Valentine found himself a nice little lounge somewhere on the east wing, where he could gaze out to the gardens while sitting by the fire. Upon stepping inside the room, he noticed another presence. More specifically, he noticed the back of a familiar blonde-haired head and a wheelchair with more stickers than a soccer mom's 'cool' mini-van. Johnny kept on doing whatever he had been doing, not realizing Valentine had entered. No one ever did, not with how light Valentine's step was. Valentine considered escaping, going to another room and avoiding the petty fight that would ensue but no. He wouldn't let a little pest like Johnny ruin his day. He haughtily marched inside the room, head held high, back straight and sat down on the couch.

“Um...” Ignoring any sounds Johnny made, Valentine opened his book - a really intriguing mystery novel with a speckle of angsty romance – and got to reading. “What are you doing?”

Valentine sighed. “I'm trying to read a book, Johnny.

“I can see that, asshole. Why here?”

“Because I happened upon this room and decided to sit here.”

“Bullshit.”

“If my presence distresses you so, then leave.”

“I came here first! You leave!”

“I'm not going anywhere.”

“Well...neither am I!”

Johnny was stubborn, he had always been stubborn. He turned his attention to his phone, ignoring Valentine with his brows furrowed and lips scowling. Or at least he tried to. Gyro was amazing, really, he was a blessing in Johnny's life. But every once in a while, Johnny found himself thinking what it would be like to be with a guy like Valentine. No, not Valentine himself, of-fucking-course not. Definitely not a cunt like that. But in terms of looks, Johnny liked the idea of hooking up with someone refined, even for just a night. Though he'd never admit it, he studied the infuriating man sitting on the other side of the couch. His handsome face was a mask of pure serenity, deep blue eyes fully focused on the book held in his hand. His clothes were always elegant and he smelled nice. He brushed a lock of golden hair behind his ear and Johnny wondered how he kept it so soft. Johnny's gaze fell on Valentine's hands, or more specifically, on the can of beer he was holding.

“Is that...” he started, voice trembling, throat dry. “Is that...Pabst Blue Ribbon?”

Valentine looked down at the can, as if just then realizing he was holding it. “Yes.”

“Where'd you find it?”

“A magician never reveals his secrets,” Valentine smirked. He looked up and quirked a brow at Johnny, who was practically drooling. “Do you want some?”

“I'd pay you. I haven't seen anything American in days. This place is hell.”

“Ugh, you tell me! They told me we were having 'biscuits with tea' and I expected biscuits with gravy. Instead, I got hard-ass-”

“Cookies!”

“Yes!” Valentine leaned back, eyeing Johnny with interest. Maybe he could make an allowance, just this once. “Where are you from?”

“Kentucky.”

“Ah. Thought so.”

Johnny snorted. “Where are you from?”

“Connecticut.”

“The truth, Valentine.”

“West Virginia.”

“Mountain momma.”

“Take me home.”

“Country roads.”

The two men shared a short look before bursting in laughter. “You want me to go get you one?”

“You have a six pack?”

“Sixpack? I brought a whole damn suitcase!”

 

 


 

 

 

 

“Is no one going to ask me where I was last night?”

“No.”

“Nope.”

“You guys are the worst.” Dio huffed in annoyance. “I had sex with Jonathan.”

“Cool.”

“Tight.”

Dio glanced at the two men sitting in front of them. “Are you guys okay? You seem kinda dead.”

“We're fine, Dio. Just tired.”

“Tired? From what? You weren't out last night murdering people, were you?”

Kira shot him a glare, a piercing look filled with fire. Seemed odd on a man like himself, who claimed was as interesting as watching grass grow. “Will you shut up?”

Dio snickered. No, Kira would never. He was a very smart serial killer, hence why he hadn't been caught in almost six years. His gaze shifted on Diavolo, sulking in the corner, pretending to read. “Heard you had another fight with Polnareff.”

“Fuck off.”

Dio turned his back and moved to the window. It was almost time for dinner and Jonathan was still sleeping, that poor thing. With Jonathan momentarily out of the picture, Dio could approach George and bury his venomous teeth into the man's heart. There still remained the matter of Jotaro but it was nothing Dio couldn't handle. He had faced worse; enraged wives and offended mistresses, all out for blood. Another spoiled, edgy little brat was child's play.

“Dio!”

It was Diego. That actually was the first time the two brothers were seeing each other in the Joestar house. They locked eyes, confused by one another's existence.

“What do you want?”

“We have an issue with Valentine.”

“Issue?” Diavolo inquired. He hissed, regretting his little slip. “What issue?”

“I need someone to pick him up and take him to his room.”

“I'm coming,” Diavolo announced without much hesitation and followed Diego out of the room.

They found Valentine laying on a couch on top of Johnny, having his hair played with. There were empty cans of beer all around them, some with vicious holes stabbed on them, and two bottles of wine, both empty.

“Dude...that is the cutest fucking dog I've ever seen.”

“She's my daughter and I love her so much.” Valentine wiped his happy tears and kissed the screen. “Look at her short little leggies.”

“Dude, I love your hair.”

“Thank you. I like your thighs.”

“I just walked in on them like this,” Diego explained. “It's a Christmas miracle.”

Diavolo walked up to the drunk men, effectively attracting Valentine's attention. The blond smiled up at him, his smile being almost child-like.

“It's my buddy,” he said. “My best bud in the whole wide world!”

“Come on,” Diavolo coaxed. “Let's get you to your room.”

Valentine was heavier than he looked and while drunk, he found great entertainment in dragging Diavolo back down every time he tried holding him up. Eventually, Diavolo managed to carry him in his arms and out of the lounge. As his luck would have it, the halls were mostly empty, with the majority of the guests having gone to dinner. Upon reaching Valentine's door, Diavolo paused. What if Scarlet was in there? How would she react if she saw her fiance being carried like that? She already suspected Diavolo of...what exactly? There was nothing going on, nothing.

Diavolo knocked on the door, receiving silence in turn. He opened the door awkwardly and crossed the threshold. He headed straight for the bed, Valentine still blubbering nonsense in his arms. As he leaned down to deposit the drunken man on his bed, Valentine's fingers curled around his sweater, pulling him down, noses almost touching.

“I was right,” he purred. “You have been avoiding me.”

They were laying in bed on top of one another, not for the first time. Diavolo should have gotten used to it by now. Why feel any different? Why let those foggy blues eyes and messy hair, golden strands caught in wet, pink lips, bother him? Why let the flawless, pale skin and long neck get to him? Why let those fingers skimming down his arms become thorns in his heart? Why be driven to insanity by that warm, tangy breath that fanned his face?

He was weak. He gave in.

His lips crashed on Valentine's open mouth in an instant, tongue sliding in with no invitation. Valentine started writhing but Diavolo kept him pinned in place while his mouth took, claimed and kissed with hunger. He was starving, dying, and at that moment, those lips were giving him the kiss of life. He pulled away, gazing down at the other man.

“You're killing me,” he rasped. Fuck the consequences. What strength did a million deaths have in front of a moment of glory? A moment of satisfaction, no matter how brief? Diavolo's hands traveled further down, over Valentine's shirt. The flimsy garment gave in easily, the buttons spilling everywhere like hail. “God, I want you so fucking much,” he mumbled in awe, eyes roaming over the toned chest revealed before him.

He went for the neck first, kissing and sinking his teeth every chance he got. The fragile skin gave in easily, allowing Diavolo to leave his signature on that divine body. Valentine's little gasps were more than just encouraging, his disoriented, dizzy limbs were unable to push the larger man off. Diavolo ran his tongue along Valentine's throat, planting sucking kisses on every inch of skin he found. Somewhere in the pits of his mind, a part of himself, a more logical one, was screaming at him to stop while he had the time. He crushed the bastard under his foot and carried on, kissing lower, hips giving out little jerks. Valentine gasped softly and Diavolo's blood reached a boiling point. He was utterly enchanted by how good the ivory skin looked marred by his black lips.

He didn't have time to react when the door was thrown open and slammed against the wall. He froze completely, like a panther interrupted while getting ready to devour his prey. A shadow lingered at the doorstep, the dim light from the hall falling on lilac suit pants and well-combed blonde hair. Diavolo gulped. Could've been worse. More proof that fate favored him.

“I knew something was wrong,” Kira mumbled, voice flat and cold. “Come with me.”

Diavolo contemplated staying but really, what was there to be gained? He slowly rose from the bed. As he followed Kira, he cast a glance back, to where Valentine was already dozing off, ready to sleep as if nothing had happened. Good. Memories of that time needed to be deleted.

The moment the door was closed, Kira slammed Diavolo against the wall. He was the last person in the world with the right to be mad. There was nothing he, a serial killer, could accuse Diavolo of without having done it himself first. But of course, Kira knew that.

“Have you lost your mind?” he hissed. “What if Scarlet had walked in on you?”

“She didn't,” Diavolo bit back firmly. “The past doesn't matter.”

“Do you realize what were you about to do back there?”

“Yes. I want him, Yoshikage.” A confession. Diavolo never shared his feelings. More proof of how utterly desperate he was. Yes, fate was on his side. Fate made Kira open that door.

“He's your friend!”

“I know! But I want him!”

“What do you mean 'you want him'?”

“I mean that every time he opens his mouth, I want to stick my dick in it!”

“Wh-”

“I mean I want to take him to Sardegna and feed him grapes on the beach!” Diavolo stomped away, face in his hands, screaming. He took a deep breath and turned around. “You're going to help me.”

“What.”

“Yeah. You'll help me get Funny.”

Kira glanced at Diavolo from head to toe, clearly convinced that he was totally insane. That had to be the most absurd thing Diavolo had ever said in all the years of their unorthodox friendship. “Why are you including me?”

“Because I've been helping you with your little hobby for years now and it's time I asked for something in turn!”

That much was true. It was partially thanks to Diavolo's extensive knowledge of police investigation methods and the workings of the underworld that Kira was still at large. To be honest, he really had no issue with helping out a friend, just for dignity's sake. But this was outrageous. And unfortunately, Diavolo couldn't see why. “Funny's never going to be with you. He just got engaged, if you haven't noticed.”

“Couples break up.”

“Still. You two are polar opposites. You can't give him any of the things he wants.”

What did Diavolo have that Valentine didn't, that Diavolo could give to him? Money? Time? Youth? Surely, carnal desire and experience with sex weren't enough to lure the other man.

The idea came slowly, like the morning sun breaking free from the dark horizon. Family. Diavolo had the thing Valentine wanted the most. He had the kid, that ungodly little mistake. That would be his ticket to his heart's desire. Diavolo had the family Valentine wanted, the family he could no longer have. He never spoke of it, not wanting to upset his fiancee, though out of the two, he seemed to be the one having more trouble accepting it. Diavolo had the solution, an offer Valentine simply couldn't refuse. He was going to take that little mistake and raise it with probably the only person that wanted it alive.

“Oh, I think I do.”

Lure him in with the child, a child not his by blood but by spirit, a child he loved even before it was born. Why not love the father, too? The father that had matured so much, that was capable of such tenderness, that had saved him from a manipulator that cheated on him with no restraints? It was now clearer than ever that fate really did favor him. Luck had chosen him as the victor in a game against his own self, a game where he made the rules and chose the prize. And what a prize it was...

 

Chapter Text

Dear readers,

 

I want to begin this update by saying that the fic IS NOT ABANDONED. Now that we got that out of the way, I want to individually thank each and every one of you sweeties for showing my work so much love this year. Your support made my 2018 very special and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you all so so much.

 

Unfortunately, I have to go on a hiatus because my midterms begin on the 21st and I want to focus on my studies for the time being. There won't be any updates until after the first two weeks of February. I'm sincerely sorry and I hope you understand. Please be patient!

 

Lastly, I want to wish you all a lovely 2019! I hope this year is your best one yet and gives you the chance to do everything you already haven't. 

 

I will see you soon, 

Mollydewinter 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 

 

Diavolo gasped as his eyes shot open, seeing nothing but the dark ceiling. He was sure he had died for a moment there; he lay on the bed utterly motionless, eyes and mouth gaping, breath non-existent. The only sign of life was the sheen of sweat coating his entire body. Slowly, he closed his dry mouth and blinked, getting used to the darkness. Moonlight was pouring from the window, casting its silver rays on the carpeted floor. The night was still and silent. He was at night's core, right at its heart. 3 AM. He was supposed to be in deep sleep at this hour, not wide awake and scared of falling into the arms of Morpheus, afraid of what awaited him there. Or rather who.

Dio wasn't there. He was probably at Jonathan's room, getting his brains fucked out. Kira wasn't there, either, something very strange as the man was adamant about getting eight full hours of sleep no matter what. This disturbance in his precious routine just went to show just how frustrated he was. Diavolo could interpret his friends' absence as an allowance from fate to give in his desire or as just a mere coincidence. There were no coincidences in Diavolo's world. Only what he thought of as victory.

He sat up on the bed, pushing the covers off of his sweaty body. The soft and overly comfortable duvet was suffocating him, coiling around his buzzing body like a snake. He looked down at his boxers, staring right at his throbbing cock. The dark red fabric was already stained with precum, indicating Diavolo's overwhelming desire. Huffing, he laid back, now completely bare and exposed to the cool air of the room. He shut his eyes, trying to go back to his earlier fantasy. Continuing a dream while awake was so frustrating yet Diavolo pushed himself to do it. Those dreams were all he had.

In that dream, he was at home, wherever that was. It was the middle of the day, right when the golden light poured from the open windows, bathing the two exhausted bodies on the bed. The curtains swayed in the jasmine-scented wind, and the cicadas chirped away the song of a lazy, hot summer day. The body next to Diavolo's shifted and he saw blue eyes, crystal clear and deep. He saw a pair of smiling lips, sweet and red from all his kisses. His hungry gaze traveled lower, skimming over the marks left from their previous rounds of lovemaking. A kiss was laid on his lips and soft hands reached for him, gently pressed on his shoulders. Valentine straddled him, gazing down at him with a lazy smile as he rubbed Diavolo's twitching cock between his cheeks.

"Claim me," he commanded and who was Diavolo to deny the order?

Suddenly, his eyes snapped open. He looked down at his tight fist, clutched around his cock, jerking furiously. No, it wasn't enough, not even close. Nothing could satisfy him like a taste of the real thing, even a tiny crumb, like that kiss the other day. Diavolo removed his hand as if it was burning. He sat up and looked for something, anything, that could help him. Filled with unfamiliar desperation, he reached for one of the pillows and shakily got on his knees. He placed it between his thighs and supported himself on the headboard. For now, this would do.

In his dream, Diavolo planted his hands on Valentine's hips, softly guiding him on his cock. Valentine moaned as he was entered, filled to the brim and stretched. Diavolo helped him move, gently setting a slow, sweet pace that his lover could follow. Valentine gyrated his hips on Diavolo's cock, feeling him move inside him, feel the leaking head snuggly pressed against his sweet spot. He keened wonderfully as Diavolo started giving small thrusts, going deeper than ever before. His body was arched and painted gold, all sorts of sweet sounds flying from his mouth. His hands moved from Diavolo's shoulders to his chest, resting right above his heartbeat.

Outside that dream, Diavolo was desperately humping the pillow. He pistoned his hips ceaselessly, moved frantically, rubbed his leaking cock on the fabric. He made no effort to hold back his moans. Pleasure had taken over his entire body, as well as his ability to think. His hands gripped on the headboard viciously as his hips continued moving in a frenzy, pretending it was Valentine he was thrusting into. He arched his neck towards the dark ceiling, crying out in pleasure.

Valentine was laying on top of him, his wet lips hovering over Diavolo's own. They exchanged breaths and kept their eyes locked as they made love. Diavolo's hands grabbed Valentine's ass, spreading him even more. Valentine grinned and whispered something. The words became crumbled, a wanton mumble that got lost in his drooling mouth.

Diavolo's lids fluttered opened, pushed by that tiny bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, he would gaze into his favorite pale of blue eyes. Instead, Diavolo saw only how far his despair had gotten. The mattress creaked under his weight, the headboard slammed against the wall. He rolled his neck, moaning breathlessly. He came with Valentine's name on his lips, releasing his load all over the wrinkled pillowcase. The gratification was only carnal. Nothing, absolutely nothing could satisfy him.

Absolutely drained, Diavolo rolled on his back, chest heaving, gulping for air hungrily. One thing was clear; Diavolo wouldn't survive for much longer. He was parched, dragging his dry and worthless dying body along the desert, unable to get even a sip of the water that was just within reach. One way or another, he was going to have Valentine.

Blindly, he reached for his phone, growling at the screen's brightness.

You: you awake?

Breath held and eyes wide, afraid to miss it, Diavolo waited. He saw three magic dots appear on the screen.

Funny: Yes.
Funny: Is something wrong?

You: no, i just wanted to speak to you
You: it's kinda important

Funny: Go downstairs and wait for me.
Funny: I'll meet you in a few minutes.

Diavolo jumped up. Life was surging through his veins once again. He cleaned himself up as quickly as he could. As he stood in front of the mirror and washed his hands, Diavolo narrowed his eyes at his reflection. Diavolo's strategy at winning Valentine's heart was by presenting himself as a reformed, matured, responsible version of himself. But it was clear that if he wanted to double his chances, he would have to work on his appearance. Nothing too radical, just an effort at wearing clean clothes and showering more than twice a week.

As promised, Valentine was waiting for him at the main sitting room. At this hour of the night, the grande Joestar estate was sunk in eerie silence, giving off the vibe of something almost haunted. The padding of Diavolo's feet against the floor echoed around the empty halls. He peered into the sitting room, finding Valentine kneeling by the fireplace, feeding logs into the fire he had just started. He looked up and smiled, and Diavolo couldn't help but offer a tight smile back.

"Hi," Valentine greeted.

"Hey."

The blond sat on an armchair by the fire and Diavolo sat right across, admiring the way the orange glow caressed Valentine's face. "What are you doing up this late?"

Thinking about you, as always, Diavolo didn't say. "Been thinking about stuff," he shrugged. Valentine nodded. "What are you doing up so late?"

At that, Valentine looked up, surprised. He smiled awkwardly, trying to hide his expression with a small cough. "Been busy." Diavolo's heart sank a bit. "Never mind about me. What did you wanna talk about? You said it was important."

"Right." Diavolo cleared his throat. He clenched and unclenched his fists on top of his clothed thighs. He could feel Valentine's concerned gaze on him. How could he say this? How could he find the right words? The flames danced next to him and in their glowing curves, Diavolo saw Valentine, calling him to come closer, burn for him. He took a deep breath and lifted his eyes. "I want to raise the child. My child," he added, and the words clogged his throat like bile.

Valentine's reaction came but a second later. His eyebrows raised and his eyes opened wide. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. His entire face shifted into a mask of surprise and it stayed in that state for a few moments.

"What?" he finally managed to utter.

"I want to raise my kid. Dio is with Jonathan, Yoshikage found Shinobu and you...you're getting married. Everyone's moving on with their lives, changing, growing. Except for me." Another deep breath. His hands were shaking with excitement. "This is my chance to change my life, to become a better, stronger person. To finally clean up my act and live life as it's meant to be lived."

Valentine was at a loss for words. He blinked a few times, eyeing Diavolo in disbelief. "...are you serious?"

"Absolutely. It's not like I don't have the money or time for it."

Valentine cleared his throat. He shook his head, trying to bring his expression back to neutral. "You do realize that this is big. Very, very big. This isn't a hobby, it's a child, a human being you will raise. Have you thought about everything this means for you?"

Diavolo nodded. Soon enough, the little pest would have two dads. This little happy family schtick would go on for a while, enough for Valentine to witness Diavolo's growth. Then, the child would die in an accident, like those all infants had. Inconsolable by his one and only child's death, Valentine would seek support in Diavolo's arms where he would remain forever.

"I've been thinking about it for a while now and yes, I'm sure. I want to do it."

Valentine furrowed his brows. Diavolo could see a hundred million thoughts race behind his eyes. If only he could read them...

He felt two warm, soft hands cup both his own and squeeze comfortingly. The urge to pepper them with kisses was too strong. "Whatever you or the baby might need," Valentine started, voice full of sentiment and quiet admiration for his friend, "know that I am by your side. Always."

Smiling softly, Diavolo pressed Valentine's knuckles against his lips. "Thank you," he whispered.

The crackling of the fire, the darkness of the room, the closeness of their bodies, the sentimentality of the scene; this was the ideal setting for their first (proper) kiss. But it wasn't the right time. Diavolo watched Valentine go, return to his fiancee, one of the last times he would be doing so.

Back in his room, Valentine shut the door as quietly as possible and went back to the bed. He climbed on the mattress and closed his eyes, though sleep wouldn't be coming back. His head was buzzing with countless thoughts. He was desperately trying to comprehend what had just happened. He heard the rustling of fabric behind him when two arms snaked around his waist, a gentle breath licked his ear.

"Where were you?" Scarlet asked, voice barely above a hazy murmur.

"Downstairs. Diavolo wanted to speak to me."

Scarlet paused momentarily. "Did he, now?" Valentine detected the bitterness behind the nonchalance of her voice immediately. "About what?"

"He says he wants to raise his baby."

"What?"

"Yeah." Valentine rolled over, now facing Scarlet in the pitch black darkness of their bedroom. "Said he wants to change his life, clean up his act."

"And you believed him?"

"I don't know," he sighed. "I want to believe him. I want to see him change his life. If he continues living like this, he'll die before he's thirty. Maybe...maybe this really is his chance at turning his life around."

There was silence for a few seconds. Scarlet huffed a low laugh. For all his cunning and sharp wit, Valentine could be naive at times. It was endearing, how he believed that worthless degenerate could ever evolve past being a total waste of space. Scarlet knew exactly what Diavolo was playing at. At first, there had only been some shy glances and awkward silences, but returning to their room to find her fiance drunk out of his mind, half-naked on the bed, and marked by black lipstick stains confirmed her suspicions.

Slowly, she crawled on top of Valentine and straddled his hips. She took him by the wrists and pinned his hands over his head. He had the strength to protest the move but he complied, just like he always did. Grinning, she leaned down to peck his plump lips.

"I think we're too busy to worry about our friends this much, yes?"

Valentine hesitated. "Yes," he finally said.

"We are engaged to be married, Funny. Unless you changed your mind."

"No!" Valentine fervently reassured her. "I'm excited for the future with you."

Scarlet hummed, pleased with his response. Her hands traveled lower, lazily peeling off her fiance's cashmere sweater. He gasped at the feeling of her freezing fingertips against his skin, with goosebumps appeared on his abdomen. She dipped lower, lips hovering over his ear, breath clouding his thoughts, hair tickling his face.

"I, too, am excited to spend my life with you, sweetheart. Though we might need to make some improvements."

"What do you mean?" Valentine questioned.

"Well...I think our sex life is a bit...boring."

"Boring?"

"Wouldn't you agree?"

Valentine set her back on the bed and sat up. Even in the darkness of the room, Scarlet could see his little scowl. "You have something on your mind."

"I do."

"Say it, then."

Scarlet coughed to shield her small chuckle. How could she say this so not to shock her poor darling, who was such a prim and proper young man, more vanilla than the entire ice cream section at Wal-Mart? Better be blunt and quick, like removing a band-aid.

"Funny, I want to peg you."

There was a pause, just as Scarlet had anticipated. "Huh?" Valentine exclaimed.

"You heard me."

More silence. "...are you serious?"

"Yes. It's something I've been wanting to try with you for long and I don't see a reason why we shouldn't try it out."

Scarlet saw the outline of Valentine's jaw move. He opened his mouth but remained silent. "Tonight?"

"No, of course not. Think about it for as long as you like." That last bit was perhaps a lie. No way Scarlet would continue living with that bubble butt going around the house without pounding it into oblivion for much longer.

Valentine nodded. He got on his feet a bit clumsily and fumbled with his cigarettes and lighter. "I'll go for a smoke," he mumbled as he left.

Scarlet couldn't help the smile that formed on her lips. How prude he was, how unbelievably sweet...

 

 

 


 

 

 


"Gentlemen," Jotaro started, arms linked behind his back and pacing up and down in front of his friends. "We are facing a crisis."

"Hardly."

"You're just being dramatic, Jojo."

Jotaro halted. He turned around to glare at Kakyoin, who just offered him a wide smile. He sighed. "Dio has found a way to sink his claws into Jonathan and I will not have it."

"The only thing you have against him is a hunch," Avdol pointed out and Kakyoin nodded. "I'm not saying the guy doesn't give off bad vibes or that he's not shady as fuck," he quickly added, "but so are you."

"Jotaro isn't nearly as shady as Dio!" Polnareff protested. "Look at that guy's friends! Look at all the money he has with no explanation! Think about Diego's warning!"

"Thank you, Polnareff," Jotaro mumbled. "This is his homeland. If there's a place where I can find information about him, it's here. And that's exactly what I'm going to do."

"And what are you gonna do, pray tell? Run around asking questions about a obnoxiously dressed white male with green lipstick? That's half of London!"

"I know where to start my investigation, asshole," Jotaro barked and Kakyoin scowled.

The redhead sighed. He pushed his glasses up his nose and curled up even more on the couch. He sank back into his book and flip the page awfully loudly. "Do as you please," he said. "I don't want to be a part of this."

Jotaro clenched his fists and opened his mouth to speak but quickly changed his mind. He was but a few weeks away from becoming a father. He had vowed that the days of him snapping at everyone and everything were long gone. He swallowed his words and cringed at their bitter taste. Kakyoin was stubbornly looking away. It always seemed to be one step forward and two backward with this guy.

"I'll have to pass, too, Jojo," Avdol added apologetically, and much more softly than Kakyoin. "Besides, if we all leave the same day he does, he's surely going to notice. It's actually better if some of us stay back."

"You're not wrong..." Jotaro looked at Polnareff, his only ally in this unorthodox war. "We'll wait until he leaves for London, and we follow him."

"Just be careful in this mundane crusade of yours," Kakyoin sighed. "Though I wouldn't mourn your untimely death, Polnareff."

Jotaro got his wish rather quickly. Jonathan, who so innocently shared information with anyone that requested it, informed him that Dio would be heading to London, "to do some shopping", he had said. Out of fear of being discovered, Jotaro didn't ask what time Dio would be leaving at. Accompanied by Polnareff, Jotaro arrived at the train station at 6 AM and waited patiently for Dio's arrival.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Another cold, rainy morning. Dio had forgotten how used England was to them. Not that Boston was any warmer, it's just that there's something very...unique about British bad weather. Pastures of snowy green and square little towns were mercilessly whipped by the rapidly falling rain. A lightning bolt ripped through the dark gray sky every now and again, startling the kid sitting a few rows behind him. The bleak light flooded the cabin, making Dio's face look even paler than it was, and the scent of the wet ground filled his nose and brain. Petrichor, that's what they call it. Smells, sounds, sights. Memories, a puzzle, with each piece being a stab to Dio's heart (who would've guessed), splitting his skull open and forcing its way in. It was disgusting, how a generic London street and that so well-televised buzzing of the capital made him feel. A pigeon flew by him and he could swear he had once caught that bastard to impress Diego.

Parks, bridges, buildings, and people seemingly speaking in a language Dio had never known. His own accent had faded long ago for the cause of fitting in. Nowadays, it was mellow, just enough to make old people at parties marvel at his heritage. Diego was much more stubborn. He clung to his roots like a baby koala, with the result being him speaking in a manner fit to Mick Jagger and Queen Elizabeth's lovechild.

Dio passed by everything stubbornly, step stiff and fast, head held high and jaw clenched hard enough to make his head hurt. This reality was nothing but the set of a well-produced play. He saw joy and carelessness, and underneath it all he saw himself, standing at a little over four feet, lurking at the corner, taking in the sights with his wide amber eyes, wanting nothing more but to be included. This was a lie, a cruel lie and all these people were evil to their cores.

His feet seemed to work on their own, carrying him past blocks and paths, picturesque cobbled streets and busy high-end neighborhoods, until he reached his destination. The exterior of the city was ever-changing, coming and going with the flow, only a few elements remaining, those deemed 'historically priceless'. The back, however, what remained hidden behind the colors, never shifted. It was always still, perpetually the same, as if stuck in a swamp. That's what it was; a swamp. Dark, wet, filthy, crawling with all sorts of petty creatures, with not a ray of light finding its way through the cracks. Dio traveled through the buildings and he could feel them about to collapse on him, bury him in this cesspool. He couldn't imagine a worse fate even if he tried.

(Bad as it was, it was fitting, though Dio would never realize that.)

He halted abruptly, his senses suddenly returning to him. Now that he was out of auto-pilot, Dio turned around suddenly, feeling the air heavy with another presence. His sharp eyes scanned his meager, decomposing surroundings. His fists clenched around the bouquet of flowers, ready to replace it with a dagger any moment now. He lingered for several minutes, trying to figure out if there was someone tailing him or not. Whatever. It could be one of those desperate kids, blessing God for sending this well-dressed man their way for them to rob. They could try. Dio knew how to get rid of a body.

Finally, he stopped. A small graveyard stretched out in front of him, located in a clearing between downtrodden buildings. There wasn't even a fence, only remaining metal rods sticking out from the ground, rusty and altered from the harsh weather. Dio's Chanel wellies squelched as they sunk into the wet, swampy ground. He made his way through rows of gravestones, with most lacking names, photographs, or any evidence that people had been buried under there. His eyes found the occasional dry flower, apologies of people too scared of ghosts to let go.

Clutching his own apology in hand, Dio halted in front of a grave. It looked the same as every other, yet for some reason, it stood out. For the first time in years and for no goddamn reason, Dio lowered his gaze, feeling his cheeks heat up. There was no beating around the bush, no trying to explain what he felt. It was shame, shame, and guilt. Saying nothing, he placed the flowers on the grave, right next to the faded photograph of a young woman with flowing blonde hair and her two babies in her arms. He lingered for a moment, tracing his thumb over her face in awe, jaw agape. He quickly shook his head and stood back up and walked to the foot of the grave, linked his gloved fingers and straightened himself.

She'd be proud of him. She'd walk to him, looking as sweet and delicate as she always did, cup his face and smile, marveling at how much her boy had grown. She'd comment on his nice clothes and maybe laugh at his gaudy lipstick. But she'd be proud.

She would not, Dio came to realize. How could the woman that had spent her short, miserable life evangelizing how kindness and generosity were the only ways to lead life be proud that her son was a lustful, violent, monster? But look at them. She was but food for worms and he was so close to being a billionaire.

"Your memory makes me weak," he said, with a voice that seemed to come out of a gutter, all hoarse and dry. "I only come here because I'm afraid you'll haunt me."

What was there to say with a dead person? Dio could very easily recount his life's very interesting tale. After all, it has been so long since he'd last seen her. He probably was the first person to visit her since they left England. He used to visit her every day, bring her fresh flowers and vow that he was going to live the life she deserved. That other bastard used to always beat him up for coming to the grave, furious that his boy believed this bullshit. He hadn't visited her grave once, not even during the funeral. He had even made arrangements for the gravestone to bear her maiden name, so he wouldn't be charged with the funeral's expenses. A lot of eyebrows were raised at how a young kid could afford his mother's funeral but eventually, no one said anything.

Suddenly, he turned around, sure this time that there was someone behind him. And he was right. There Diego was, standing just a few meters away, wide-eyed and surprised, holding a bouquet of tulips in the same yellow as Dio's. He walked past his brother silently, jaw clenched and eyes looking away, and gently place the flowers next to Dio's.

"She always loved this color," Diego commented. "Do you remember how she used to dress us in all yellow when we were kids? We looked like bananas..."

Dio didn't share Diego's light mood or desire to take a trip down memory lane. "Why are you here?" he asked, voice colder than the air around them.

Diego's gaze flickered up to him. He had their mother's baby blue, inquisitive eyes. "Why?" he mouthed, not as much of a question as it was an expression of pure confusion. "I should be asking you that..."

"The fuck do you mean?"

"I mean it's surprising how you're visiting mum when you cut out your remaining family."

"I have no use for you," Dio snorted. "You're a waste of my time."

"Does being a ginormous cunt bring you joy?"

"Yes."

"You're very successful at it."

"I, Dio, do not require reassurance from someone like you!" Dio barked.

"Can you tell me what I've done for you to hate me so fucking much!?" Diego demanded. Silly little man, always quick to irritate, and with a pride as sensitive as Dio's own.

"You're a disgrace. And I will not let you become an obstacle in my way."

"In your way of what?"

"In my way of getting what I deserve."

"What you deserve," Diego parroted. He stood up and even though he stood a lot shorter than his older brother, Diego's eyes were fearless. "You know, your life can be so much better if you let Jonathan teach you how to be a decent human being instead of leeching off of him."

"Who taught you all this? The nun?" Dio scoffed.

"Yes," Diego answered without a moment. "She's making me a better person."

"She's making you weak," Dio hissed. "Not that you were ever much more than pathetic little drip-"

Diego wanted, just this once, to be the bigger man. He failed, for Dio had the uncanny ability to bring out the worst of people. Diego landed his tight fist on his brother's face hard, knocking the air out of his lungs. Dio reacted quickly, not wasting a single moment fussing over the damage. He grabbed his little brother by the nape of his neck and pulled him down, slamming his thin body on the marble grave. His tight, leather-clad fists, fell on Diego's face like rain, rapid and merciless, filling his mouth with blood. Diego went limp, unable to defend himself from the barrage of punches. He forced himself to focus and brought his knee down hard on Dio's crotch. The older Brando screamed out in pain and Diego seized the opportunity to stand up and start kicking him in the gut. His nose and lips were busted, and he could feel his right eye swell with heat. This was the perfect chance to get the fuck out but Diego chose to viciously kick his brother, dig his shoe in Dio's ribs harder and harder each time. One of Dio's hands slithered to Diego's ankles. He wrapped his fist around it and yanked the younger man off his feet, swiftly getting on top of him. He landed another punch, clean and sharp, shattering Diego's nose to pieces. He stopped, panting, chest heaving. Diego was wincing in pain but his eyes still shone unyieldingly. Time to take care of that, too. Dio wrapped his large hands around Diego's neck, almost covering the entire surface, and squeezed hard. Diego clawed at Dio's hands but Dio didn't budge. He pressed his knees on Diego's chest, knocking the little air out of his lungs. Diego had a lot of fight in him, more than Dio ever anticipated. Perhaps his little brother wasn't as pathetic as Dio deemed him to be. But it was too late. Diego's moves were getting slower, drunk, his face was turning blue and the light in his eyes was fading. His eyes, his baby blue eyes, twinkling with cunning and the mirthful mischievousness of a child. Through those eyes, their own mother's eyes were crying up to Dio.

He stopped, breaths coming out in a wheeze. Diego rolled over, falling from the grave and coughing his lungs out on the murky grass. Dio pulled away, eyes wide, face paler than ever before. He looked down at Diego, who had just been seconds away from dying on their mother's grave. By Dio's own hand. Dio felt sweat roll down from his blonde hair and into his Armani turtleneck, wetting his entire body. He looked down at his hands, his so seldom-shaking hands.

"Not even I went so far," a voice whispered in his ear, a voice whose owner Dio could only assume was Cain.

He took off as if chased by hellhounds, not looking back for even a second, passing by people and buildings in a frenzy, passing by Jotaro, who had been watching for a while now.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Polnareff took another sip of his overpriced, holiday, salted caramel brownie fudge hot chocolate and continued flipping through the newspaper currently in hand. Endless piles of newspapers stretched out in front of him, along with some bulky tomes on local family trees. His head perked up when he heard the unmistakable sound of Jotaro's proud stride, just in time to see the man himself, as gloomy and brooding as ever, head for his table.

"What did you find?" Jotaro asked gruffly before Polnareff even had the chance to say anything. It was obvious that Jotaro's mood was even worse than it usually was, meaning Polnareff had to give him exactly what he asked for, no questions asked.

Polnareff motioned to the sea of papers around him and handed Jotaro his notes. "We're lucky the name 'Brando' isn't a very common one. First thing I found was the announcement for Dio's parents' wedding," Polnareff explained as Jotaro skimmed through the notes with furrowed brows. "Dario Brando, aged 34, married 18-year-old Alexandra Stewart on June 21st, 1994, most likely to hide the fact that Alexandra was pregnant with her first child, Dio, who was born on March 15th of the following year. Their second son, Diego, was born three years after Dio, on May 22nd. I did some digging around the mother's history and found out that had she not married Brando, she would have most likely been married to a prince by now."

"How so?"

"Alexandra was the firstborn daughter and third child of Matthew Stewart, Earl of a place I cannot pronounce, and his wife, Countess Marcella Hamilton. From what I've pieced together, they were devoted Catholics, making sure all their seven children received a formal, Christian education, as well as learning languages and instruments. You know, rich people stuff."

"I know," Jotaro grumbled with the stiffness of a boy dragged to piano lessons at 8 AM on a Saturday.

"Alexandra and her sisters attended Catholic boarding school and apparently, Alexandra was ready to devote her life to God."

"When she met Brando?"

"I can only assume," Polnareff shrugged. "All information on her is about the first eighteen years of her life. This is only a theory, but I don't think I'm far from the truth; Alexandra was a good Catholic girl who met a guy she fell in love with and got pregnant. Now her deeply Christian parents could never opt for an abortion or to have their daughter bear and raise a bastard child, so they told everyone she became a nun and disowned her, condemning her to a life of misery and poverty." Polnareff handed Jotaro another batch of notes. "Which brings me to the next subject, Dario Brando. This guy's already creepy as fuck for marrying a young girl at age 34, but it doesn't end here. I took a look into old police files and this guy has a book on him."

"They let you look at old police files?"

"I showed them my student ID, told them I'm from Harvard for some research," Polnareff shrugged and Jotaro huffed, corners of his lips curled up with the ghost of a smile. "Anyway, back to our guy."

"Yes."

"Started early, usual stuff; speeding tickets, disturbance of peace, destruction of public property... After that, he graduated to drinking and driving, running illegal gambling rings, small-time smuggling artifacts, and trying to start several businesses that ended up with him in jail for money-related crimes and debts. Seems like he was the type of guy that always tried to get his life together but ended up drinking everything away." Polnareff hesitated for a moment, eyes skimming over the papers in his hands. "Then...there's this other thing."

"What is it?"

"There were several instances where the neighbors reported Dario to the authorities for domestic abuse. He beat his wife a lot, the kids, too."

Jotaro's frown deepened. A bad childhood didn't make up for being an evil adult. While not sympathizing with Dio's apparently difficult childhood, he couldn't help feeling bad for Diego.

"They stopped after a while. I guess they stopped caring or got so used to it all that they just wouldn't bother anymore."

"It's possible."

"After Alexandra died, the remaining members of the family moved to New York. After that...nothing."

"We'll have to check there, too."

"Aren't you wasting too much time and energy into this?" Polnareff asked, voice well-meaning and soft, vastly different from Kakyoin's snappy, inquisitive tone.

Jotaro's eyes softened. Hesitantly, his hand moved to cup Polnareff's. "Thanks for your concern but it's fine. I'm fine. I'm having fun, actually." Polnareff scrunched his nose at Jotaro's idea of fun. "I think going around Dio's neighborhood and asking a few questions is a good idea."

"Oh, it is alright." Polnareff nudged Jotaro playfully. "You can be very convincing, Jojo." Jotaro huffed again, a faint chuckle coming out of his plump lips. "What did you find?"

"Right," Jotaro sighed. He straightened himself. "I followed Dio from the train station like I told you."

"Right."

"I thought he'd be here to do some shady shit. Turns out, he just visited his mother's grave."

"Oh." Polnareff leaned forward, fingers linked, sky blue eyes shining with sympathy.

"Where he proceeded to beat the living shit out of his brother," Jotaro continued and the sweetness in Polnareff's eyes melted into confusion.

"What?"

"Yup." In order to provide evidence, Jotaro brought out his phone and proceeded to show Polnareff a quite clear video of Dio indeed beating Diego to shit on their mother's grave. "He almost choked the poor bastard to death."

"On their mother's grave?" Jotaro nodded. "That guy's nuts." With each loop of the video, Dio radiated even more violence. Polnareff shuddered at the sheer vulgarity of it all, at the baffling lack of respect. "Are you going to show this Jonathan?"

"I'll show this to Kakyoin, first. Shut him up for good." Polnareff shook his head. "No, I don't think I can break his heart like this." Damn bastard. In such a short time, Dio had managed to poison Jonathan. "I'll use it as blackmail material."

"I think it's the best course of action."

Jotaro did think so, too, though it would be so satisfying to singlehandedly destroy everything Dio had struggled to build. Patience, he reminded himself. It would all be worth the wait. At least he had solid evidence that Dio was, in fact, a scumbag.

"We should go," Polnareff suggested. "There's nothing more for us to find here."

"Yeah. You know where his neighborhood is?"

"Yes. It's not far from here."

 

 


 

 

 


It was still raining when Dio got back. The sky was tar black at 5 PM, melting into indigo at the far distance. He didn't take a cab, not wanting to be seen by anything in the state he was. His blood had come to a boil and the cold rain would do him good. Maybe he'd get pneumonia and die, be buried next to his mother. Hopefully.

He marched through the gates like a man chased by all the forces of Hell. He barged inside the mansion, more than thankful to find it very quiet. He could hear faint chatter coming from the grande lounge, the unmistakable sound of polite laughter, clicking of fine china and Valentine's constant rambling about things. Dio ignored it all, running up the stairs, wanting nothing more than to go to his room, fill the tub with hot water and boil himself alive.

"Dio?"

He was hard to miss, a man of nearly two meters, dripping wet and face fucked almost to the point of no recognition. He froze in his tracks, seconds away from the sweet refuge of his room. He turned around to find Jonathan standing a few meters away, looking at him with that soft concern in his sweet eyes. It was nauseating.

"Jesus," he softly gasped. "What happened to you?"

Dio seemed to be incapable of thought at that moment. He closed the gap between them with two long strides, taking Jonathan's lips into his own. Jonathan remained unresponsive, frozen in place, allowing Dio to shove him into the wall and dig his nails into his pert ass.

"Wait-"

"I need your help," Dio breathed. He nibbled on Jonathan's bottom lip, tugging maybe a bit too roughly. "Jojo, I need you to help me forget."

"Do you want to talk-"

"No," Dio hissed. His irritation grew and so did his want for that godly body. He channeled all his frustration there, once again seeking to solve his problems by means of fucking. "I just want your cock so far up my ass that I can feel it poking my fucking throat."

"Christ," Jonathan inhaled sharply. He pulled away to gaze into Dio's dark eyes, his own pupils dilated with carnal desire. Dio knew him enough to know he was inwardly protesting this. His hands snaked under Jonathan's shirt and tweaked his nipples, making him gasp softly. Dio's grin grew feral and Jonathan had no other choice but to take him by the hand and lead him upstairs to his room, to help him forget.

 

Chapter Text

 

 


Chapter 6

 

 

 

Jonathan was a young man full of life, and even though he was a perfect gentleman, he couldn't fight back the need to make love. It was especially hard when a pretty thing like Dio was smothering him against the wall, kissing his lips hungrily. Dio's wet body made Jonathan shudder. With just one touch, he was able to make Jonathan lose all control. Dio's dexterous fingers found their way into Jonathan's pants, snaking around his half-hard cock. He tugged maybe a bit too roughly and Jonathan keened, letting the other man sink his teeth into the soft skin of his neck.

But as much as he wanted this, Jonathan felt that it was wrong. Dio had returned looking chased and beat up, with a bruised face and fucked makeup, and jumped right on Jonathan the moment he saw him. Jonathan loved the connection, loved the attention he received from someone as gorgeous as that, but relationships were more than sex.

"W-Wait," Jonathan stammered between the kisses. Dio shot him an annoyed glare and leaned in to kiss Jonathan once more. Jonathan pulled away, putting on an apologetic smile. "Please wait," he whispered, hands steady and tender on Dio's shoulders. "You come back looking like this," he started, running his thumbs over Dio's swollen cheeks, "and you expect me not to ask about it?"

Dio flinched away, swatting Jonathan's hand with excessive annoyance. "Nosy little thing, aren't you?" he inquired, bitterness unable to be concealed behind forced playfulness.

"Dio, please. I'm your boyfriend." Dio snorted and Jonathan frowned. "What?"

"I never liked the word," he dismissed with a wave of his hand. "Too silly."

"But that's what I am! We're a couple," he pointed out and Dio felt his guts turn, "and couples are supposed to do more than...this."

Dio huffed. Trust Jonathan to kill the mood like this. He swept the wet strands off his face and folded his arms. He had to play his cards right. He couldn't be too moody with this puppy of a human being, unless he wanted to lose everything he had gained up until this point. Jonathan wanted talks and walks and all sorts of cheesy bullshit, stuff Dio simply couldn't do. He usually managed to pretend successfully enough to convince Jonathan, but on some days, he just couldn't bring himself to it.

He reached up, holding Jonathan's face in his still leather-clad hands and laid a too-sweet kiss on his lips. "We are more than this," he whispered. Jonathan inhaled sharply. "I just want you to fuck me as hard as you can right now, Jojo."

"Dio-"

"Fuck my brains out of my head, I'm begging you."

"Wait," Jonathan repeated, more firmly this time. He pushed Dio down and could see the irritation grow in the glimmering pools of his amber eyes. "You can't...uh...screw your way out of this one."

"Who's stopping me?"

"I am."

"Okay, what is your deal!? You're hard as a rock, you know you want me and yet you won't take me!"

"My deal is that I care about you. More than you care about me...or yourself, apparently."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dio asked, voice low, barely above a hostile hiss, eyes narrow.

Jonathan sighed. For all his toughness and bravado, Dio was a very delicate creature. "Please don't be mad. I didn't mean to offend you."

"Oh, fuck off!" Dio cried and moved away. He sat down on the bed and shifted his gaze outside the window. It was too dark for him to make out anything, though even this darkness was more welcoming than the pathetic and infuriating sight of Jonathan eyeing him like a kicked puppy. "We all have our coping mechanisms. Mine just happens to be sex."

Dio screwed his eyes shut. As if from a great distance he heard Jonathan's footsteps on the plush rug before coming to a halt in front of him. Jonathan knelt on the floor, hands resting on Dio's knees. "Dio," he called softly, "you gotta start talking about your problems at some point."

"I will be the one to decide when, Jojo!" Dio snapped, turning around to glare at Jonathan. Right in his big, bright, soulful eyes.

"Very well."

Jonathan reached up to press his lips on the corner of Dio's mouth. The kiss was chaste, slow and sweet, almost childish. Too shy for Dio's liking but what would have otherwise annoyed him, excited him in this case. There was something undeniably erotic and sinful about Jonathan's innocence. This guy, this Greek God with the most sublime cock Dio had ever seen, approached romance with the vivid curiosity of a timid teenager. It was almost endearing, what a sweet, sweet thing he was.

Dio let himself be pushed down on the bed as Jonathan removed his clothes, dumping them on the floor without a care in the world. Dio pouted and Jonathan grinned. He removed his own clothes without ceremony, clumsily, tossing them all over the room. Still sporting that giddy grin, he crawled on top of Dio, caging him between his strong arms.

"What?"

Jonathan scanned Dio's face with overwhelming affection, planting little kisses on every detail. "You're beautiful," he sighed, running his fingers through Dio's smooth hair.

"Thank you." Jonathan hummed. He leaned to claim Dio's lips once more but pulled away too quickly for Dio's liking. "Never took you for a tease..."

"Never too late to start," Jonathan beamed but Dio kept scowling.

"Would you mind taking things a bit faster?" he demanded. "Otherwise I'm leaving."

Jonathan's entire expression shifted, becoming that of a child denied his rightfully deserved ice cream. "Very well," he said in that pitiful, forlorn voice that just ticked the edges of Dio's nerves.

Wasting no time, he reached in his nightstand for lube and condoms. The sight of him handling such items was quite interesting, as he did so with excessive gentleness, same way he did with all things. Dio watched as Jonathan rolled the condom over his cock and used some lube to coat his fingers. Wordlessly, Dio rolled over, getting on his knees and offering Jonathan his pale, round, pert ass. Jonathan ran his hands over the smooth skin, taking in soft breaths. He got on his knees behind Dio and gently reached between his cheeks, for his tight hole. Dio's fingers curled around the covers, breath hitched in anticipation of what was to come. Jonathan was a great lover with lots of potential. Dio was more than willing to tutor him, teach him everything necessary in order for him to evolve into his perfect little plaything. Oh, he'd be so good if he became a bit rough, not afraid to fuck with the ferocity of an animal or spank Dio until he bled. He'd look even better tied up in bed, blindfolded and so scared, naked and ready for Dio to use him as he pleased. That last scenario would take some time, Dio still needed to earn the other man's-

"Fuck!"

His train of thought was cut off rather abruptly when a brush of Jonathan's fingertips against Dio's prostate made the blond cry out rather inelegantly. Dio bunched up the sheets and shoved them in his mouth, so to prevent another embarrassment.

"Here, sweetheart?" Jonathan questioned, laying his torso almost flat against Dio's curved back. Dio groaned out a muffled reply. Jonathan pressed against Dio's sweet spot harder, massaging it slowly, making him keen, curl his fingers even tighter around the crumpled sheet. "Maybe here?"

Dio spat the sheet from his mouth, now ruined his lipstick and saliva. "Yes," he panted before he could control himself. His cock was dripping with precum, twitching impatiently every time Jonathan hit that sweet, sweet spot. Two thick fingers were stretching him, scissoring inside him, then three, thrusting in and out, making Dio drool. By the time Jonathan had pulled them out, Dio's thighs were shaking, his breaths coming out hasty and uneven, mind too slow for his liking.

He felt Jonathan's hands reach for his hips, warm against his frozen skin. Jonathan kept him steady, his hold firm and reassuring. He moved slowly, pushing his lubed cock inside Dio inch by inch, at an almost cruel pace. Dio moaned as he was filled to the brim, stretched impossibly so, feeling Jonathan's warmth inside him. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, Jonathan pulled out almost entirely and pushed in again, slamming against Dio's sweet spot, making him growl into the duvet.

"Are you alright?" Jonathan asked, genuinely worried.

"Yes," Dio gasped. "Yes, keep moving."

Jonathan did exactly that, wanting nothing more than to please his lover. He grunted each time he thrust into Dio, chest heaving with the force of his breaths. He leaned over Dio's body, snaking one arm around his torso to tweak one of his nipples, earning a soft little noise from the other man. He was deep inside Dio, barely moving, yet the pressure, the feeling of the wonderful fullness tied Dio's tongue in a knot.

"I wish I could see you, sweetheart," Jonathan breathed into Dio's ear, leaning to nimble on the spotted lobe. "You're so beautiful, my Dio."

"Keep moving," Dio urged, voice going frantic, trying to block out Jonathan's praise.

"Anything for you," Jonathan mumbled and Dio sighed in relief when he fell silent, going back to grunts and moans.

Jonathan was standing on his knees behind Dio, grasping his hips firmly, pulling them back to meet his thrusts halfway. The headboard was slamming rhythmically against the wall with the force of their lovemaking. Dio was still muffling his cries by shoving his face into the covers, holding onto the duvet for dear life. This was too good, like last time. Perhaps the position and the technique were a bit bland for Dio's tastes but the size and overall sensation of it all made up for the lack of knowledge. It wasn't awful. Jonathan just needed some training.

“Jojo,” Dio moaned. “F-Faster, Jojo!”

Jonathan obliged, of course, gripping Dio harder and fucking faster, making Dio's body go limp under his tender touch. With each thrust, Dio was closer to the brink, the edges of his mind already becoming dull, hazy, mushy. His thoughts were overwhelmed by Jonathan, Jonathan inside him, Jonathan fucking him deeply, impossibly deeply, hitting just the right spot, filling him until his mind went blank.

Dio's entire body shuddered as he reached his orgasm, gasping for air into the pillow, eyes blown wide, every inch of his body overtaken by a sweet, familiar numbness. His limbs relaxed instantly, sweet fatigue making his lids heavy. He didn't offer much protest as Jonathan chased his own release, panting as his lover kept moving inside him, though a bit frantically. Jonathan came with Dio's name on his lips, repeating it like a prayer, almost not believing that it was true.

He laid down next to Dio, breath coming out in puffs. He made no move to cuddle or even touch Dio. He merely kept that ugly, annoying sorrowful expression on his face and shut his eyes, trying to get some sleep. When he woke up hours later, the sky was dark and Dio was nowhere to be seen. Some childish part of Jonathan clung to the hope that maybe he was in the bathroom, though that was not the case. Dio was gone, only his perfume and a few blonde hairs sticking to the crumpled pillowcase.

Jonathan took a shower, trying to piece his thoughts together. Dio wasn't just distant, he was downright hostile. Jonathan thought he knew how to handle these kinds of people, after all, Jotaro wasn't too different. But apparently, his kindness wasn't enough. No matter what he did, Dio would always go away hissing, clawing at his welcoming hands. He had problems, that much was undeniable and Jonathan had no issue with him not sharing them. But what made him so aggressive, so secretive? Jonathan was at a loss.

He stepped out of the shower and got dressed, quickly getting out of the door. He didn't have an appetite for supper so he ignored the smell creeping from downstairs, instead heading to his friends' room. Will was sitting on the bed, reading a book and Speedwagon was banging on the bathroom door, shouting.

“Hurry up!”

“I told you, five more minutes!”

“You've been in there for two hours, Straizo!”

“What's your deal? This house had like a hundred bathrooms!”

“All my things are in there!”

The door opened and an assortment of bottles and towels was tossed at Speedwagon's feet. “Asshole,” he mumbled as he collected his belongings.

“Hey, Will,” Jonathan started. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”

The man looked up, curious. Before he could answer, Speedwagon turned to Jonathan. “Are you alright, Jojo?”

“Yes,” Jonathan reassured him. “I just need to talk to Will for a sec.” Speedwagon still seemed unconvinced, brows furrowed and eyes serious. “It's nothing,” Jonathan smiled. “Don't worry about me so much, Rob.”

Accompanied by Will, Jonathan headed out. It was too dark and too cold to go to the garden so they went to one of the smaller sitting rooms. It was currently occupied by one of the guests that Jonathan didn't recognize. They sat on a pair of armchairs by the fireplace, facing one another. Will, who wasn't that much older but definitely was wiser, linked his fingers on his knee and looked at Jonathan with a scholarly expression.

“What's wrong, Jojo?”

“It's...Dio,” Jonathan said and Will sighed. “I know. I've been saying that a lot lately.”

“If he causes you so many problems this early in your relationship, have you thought that maybe he's not right for you?”

“It's not that he causes me problems!” Jonathan quickly protested. He lowered his voice, wary of the other guest. “He has problems and I want to help him with them but he doesn't want me to.”

“Then don't.”

Frustrated, Jonathan scooted closer. “Just a few hours ago, he returned home, drenched to the bone and with a beat up face. When I asked him about it, he yelled at me to either leave him alone or...uh...or have sex with him.”

“I see,” Will mumbled thoughtfully.

“I told him that this isn't all that couples do, that I'm his boyfriend and even though he doesn't know me that well, he should trust me, even a little. He didn't react well to that.” Jonathan twiddled his thumbs, sad, teary eyes fixed on the carpet under his feet. “Do you think,” he started, voice barely above a whisper, “that he only wants me for sex?”

“No, I don't,” Will replied and he meant it. “He fought to get you, that must mean he saw something in you. Something deeper. No, I don't think Dio sees you only as a sexual partner. I think he just has horrible communication issues. Do you know anything about his past relationships?”

“No. I don't know much about him, to be honest with you...”

“Then ask his friends. Ask Valentine, he seems more normal than those other two.”

“But this is wrong!” Jonathan gasped. “I can't snoop around, it's rude!”

Will laughed, reaching to ruffle Jonathan's thick hair. “Only you could ever think that,” he smiled. “In love and war, everything is permitted!”

“But-”

“All you need to do is ask a few simple questions. Ask about his exes. Maybe he had a really bad experience and that's why he's like that. That way, you'll know more about him and have a better understanding of his character.”

“I wanted him to tell me these things...” Jonathan mumbled, voice trailing off. He sighed. He should be patient. Getting Dio to trust him was going to be extremely difficult and for the time being, all Jonathan could do was wait.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Anger was a terrifying, vile disease Dio had been plagued with his entire life. To say that he just saw red and jumped right in without a second thought would be an awful cliché but it was true. As he squeezed Diego's life out of him, as he watched the light from his eyes fade into dull blue, Dio didn't think. He didn't think that maybe someone was watching, that maybe someone had followed him, that maybe someone had gotten evidence of his nasty temper and was going to use it as blackmail material. He didn't even think that underneath his brother's dying body lay their mother, long gone but more alive than he ever was. Her presence was strong, like the claws of some vulture digging in the nape of his neck. When Dio was numb with fury, he didn't think for even a second.

Sex with Jonathan had helped him calm down, though not as much as he hoped it would. If Dio had full control of Jonathan's body, he'd tape his mouth tie and blindfold him, so he couldn't try and reach out to him anymore. This was expected behavior from someone like him, someone who had been raised to believe that the whole world owed him an explanation. Dio managed to find some joy in this, thinking how annoyed and confused Jonathan was that for once in his life, someone was denying him his wish. He felt a sense of superiority over that stupid man, more than he usually did. He had something Jonathan never would; the truth. No matter how well he fucked or how many diamond earrings he offered, Dio wouldn't give Jonathan what he wanted. Surprising as it may sound, that one part of him was not for sale. In a brief moment of weakness, Dio thought about telling Jonathan the tragic tale of his childhood, only to end up even more furious. The day he uttered that cursed man's name again would be the day he died. He didn't owe his father a single, damn thing, and he wished things to remain that way.

His blood was boiling, the bubbling filling his head. He needed a break.

He headed for his room, not surprised to see both his roommates holed up in there. Kira was filing his nails and Diavolo had his nose buried in his phone, frowning. Oh, how Dio wished Pucci was there.

“Did you bring any with you?” he asked attracting Diavolo's attention.

“Yes. It's not free, you know.”

“I never said I wasn't going to pay you, asshole.”

Diavolo briefly narrowed his eyes at Dio. He eventually crawled out of his heap of blankets. Dio scrunched his nose. There was no telling if this guy ever showered. As Diavolo went to his suitcase, the sour smell of old sweat and nicotine made Dio's stomach turn. Diavolo retrieved a small ziplock bag and sat down on the couch. Carefully, he laid out the coke in front of him and separated the dust in perfect lines using a bookmark. He thinly rolled two five-dollar-bills and offered one to Dio. Before doing the first line, he turned to Kira.

“Do you want some?”

“No, thank you,” Kira said, who could excuse murder but drew the line at drugs. “I'm not interested.”

“More for me then,” Dio chimed.

Shutting his one nostril, Dio shoved the rolled-up bill in his other and snorted the first line, making sure to get even the last speckle. He moved to the second in the blink of an eye, then moving to the third, then the fourth, before falling back on the couch, pinching his nose. He could feel blood flooding his veins, heart drumming rapidly, his pulse ringing in his ears. The colors around him became more vivid, his entire body buzzed with electricity. He looked to the side. Diavolo had also finished his lines and was loudly sniffing his nose, already back on his phone. Dio nudged him, a playful grin plastered on his green lips.

“How come you get the good stuff? Been friendly with your dealer?”

Diavolo snorted. “Just doing my job well.”

“Are you sure that's all?”

“Yup. Volpe is like a corpse, I don't think I would ever wanna fuck someone like that.”

“Besides,” Kira chimed in, still idly filing his nails, “he's aiming higher.”

“Oh?” Dio wondered and Diavolo's face paled. “Are you going to fuck the boss, Dia?”

“Nope. Just Funny.”

“Yoshikage, shut up!”

“Funny?” Dio parroted. “Funny Valentine?”

There was a short-lived moment of silence. Diavolo sprang up, clutching his phone like a deadly weapon. Eyes narrowed and teeth bared, he walked toward Kira, who looked at him with mild annoyance. He didn't flinch when Diavolo grabbed him by the shirt, pulling up to his eyes.

“I told you to shut up about this!”

“And what? Let you fuck up his whole life because your dick said so?”

“Since when do you have morals?”

“Since I want to avoid unnecessary drama in my group of friends.” Kira yanked Diavolo's hands off. “Funny, of all fucking people...”

“It's none of your fucking business!” Diavolo hollered. “Neither is it yours!”

“I never said anything.” Dio raised his hands. This was a very entertaining revelation, spicy enough to distract him from his own problems. “Though you do realize that you're gonna get your ass handed to yourself when he marries his fiancee is a few months.”

Diavolo's gaze shifted between the two others. Grumbling, he grabbed his coat and stormed out, shutting the door so loudly that the windows rattled.

 

 


 

 

 


Diego wrapped his hands around his cup, letting the warmth seep through his fingertips. The scalding liquid heated up the cheap porcelain easily and Diego felt his skin burn after a while. He kept holding it, blue eyes staring right into the green depths. The scent of chamomile swirled up his nose, enriched by honey. Herbal tea, to soothe his throat a bit. He heard a voice, faint and disturbed by white noise, and lifted his head, meeting Jotaro's steely gaze.

“I'm sorry, did you say something?”

“I asked you if you're okay.”

“Oh...”

Diego didn't know for how long he had been lying on the ground, barely conscious, when Jotaro found him. Disoriented and in more than one type of pain as he was, Diego allowed Jotaro to take him to the nearest hospital, where Diego received first aid treatment. Most of his injuries were bruises and insignificant cuts, but he had broken two of his fingers and he needed stitches on his left eyebrow. Breathing was gradually becoming easier, though the memory of leather claws trying to squeeze out his oxygen wouldn't be fading any time soon.

After they had finished from the hospital, Diego had reluctantly allowed Jotaro to take him to a nearby cafe. However, by the time they had sat down, Diego was completely unwilling to engage in any sort of conversation. All he wanted to do was go home, take a bath and sleep next to Hot Pants. It was obvious that he wouldn't be getting his wish any time soon.

“I'm fine. Better,” he quickly corrected. This really felt like he was being interrogated and Jotaro hadn't even uttered a single word yet.

“What the hell was that back there?” Jotaro asked.

“That...” Diego frowned. He didn't owe Jotaro an explanation. This didn't involve him. If he was going to share this with anyone, that would be Hot Pants. “Do I really need to explain to you what you saw?”

“Yes.”

Diego huffed. He wasn't an angry little kid, he reminded himself, not anymore. “That's between me and my brother.”

“The reason I want to know what's going on is because I want your brother away from mine.” Jotaro leaned in, the crease of his brow seeming deeper. “I didn't ask you about your life's story and to be honest, I don't care about it. All I want to know if what the fuck is up with Dio.”

That was a very reasonable request. Jotaro had just witnessed his brother's boyfriend beat his only living relative to a pulp. A man so violent that lost his common sense in his fury had no business being near Jonathan, or anyone in that matter. Jonathan's safety was at stake here and the last thing Diego could do was help out the man that had offered him nothing but kindness.

“I already told you,” he shrugged, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible. “Dio can be violent.”

“Obviously. That's not what I want to know,” Jotaro pressed on impatiently. “Does he have a history of violence? Is there any way this has just been a tough couple of months?”

Diego snorted. He couldn't tell if Jotaro was grasping at straws or was dumber than Diego remembered. There was no way Jotaro believed that Dio was just 'going through a phase'. Maybe he uttered that lie because he, too, desired to see his brother not used for once.

“No,” came Diego's definite reply. Jotaro leaned back on his chair, weirdly more relaxed. “He's a violent monster. Always has been one, always will be.”

Jotaro moved to light a cigarette put quickly changed his mind. Diego studied him in their moment of silence. Almost always dressed in black, always frowning, trying to kill people with his glaring. There was no telling what was going on in Jotaro's mind. He was regarded by many as a one-dimensional man, a human-shaped rectangle, if that made any sense. He was young, rich, loved, academically accomplished, very attractive and on his way to becoming a father. He had it all but it wasn't enough. What more was there to desire? There had to be something, judging by how damn unhappy he looked.

“Thanks for telling me all this,” Jotaro mumbled. He paid for their drinks and when Diego protested, Jotaro offered him a small, blink-and-you-miss-it, tight smile. “My treat, for helping me and my brother.”

And with that, Jotaro left, once again becoming a dark, gloomy figure on the street. Even though they were going to the same place, Diego didn't even think about asking to go home with him. He rode the train alone, sitting frozen and numb to the world around him. The sounds, the sights, it all became a faint, almost non-existent buzz in his ears. The landscape changed, rain switched to snow back to rain again but Diego didn't register it. He didn't even realize the cold that was seeping through his clothes, freezing his blood, cracking his skin. He walked into the mansion, footsteps heavy and mechanical.

All this time, he felt like he was holding something in the back of his throat, trying to prevent it from bubbling up. When he walked into the room he shared with Hot Pants, he stood with his back against the door and let go. Violent sobs choked him, throwing him in a coughing fit. Thin and short as he was, he was able to curl into a little ball and weep into his knees, trying to muffle the sounds he made. Fear took over his every cell, the kind of fear he hadn't felt ever since he was little and used to hide under the bed and close his eyes as the sound of a belt being unbuckled grew nearer.

“Diego!” He looked up suddenly, just then remembering where he was. Vision still blurry, Diego made out Hot Pants' concerned face just inches away from his. Her brows were furrowed, lips scowling. “Diego, what's wrong?”

It had taken Diego a while to tell apart nosiness from genuine concern. Hot Pants wanted to hear his troubles not because she wanted to spread gossip but because she loved him. But how could Diego explain this to her? Where to start and where to finish? How to even begin? How to explain to her the dread that filled his veins at the thought of those hands squeezing the life out of him, the terror that immobilized him as he gazed into the eyes of the predator?

“Who did this to you?”

He gulped, the saliva traveling down his injured throat with difficulty. Hot Pants wiped his tears with her thumbs and goosebumps riddled his skin at her faintest touch. “Dio,” he replied, voice weak and unrecognizable. She muttered something, quiet, angry words under her breath. He threw his hands over her own, eyes wide with fear. “Don't go to him!” he pleaded.

The look in Hot Pants' eyes softened. “I won't,” she reassured him. She sealed the deal with a soft kiss on his forehead. He closed his eyes, letting himself be small and fragile and loved in her arms.

“Let's get you warmed up.”

Hot Pants effortlessly picked him in her arms and carried him into the bathroom. She let him down on the rim of the tub and started the bath, testing the water until the temperature was to her liking. Diego helped her as she removed his clothes by lifting his arms and stretching his legs. Hot Pants lowered him into the pleasantly hot, soapy water and Diego relaxed with a sigh. The warmth relieved his aching muscles, the sweet scent of lavender almost lulling him to sleep. Two strong arms lifted him slightly. Hot Pants let him nestle against her chest, her fingers idly caressing his hair.

“I won't push you to tell me what happened,” she started, voice mellow and soothing in his ears, “but just so you know, I will always be here for you.”

Diego huffed, a mirthless smile appearing on his lips. Where were you when my brother beat me to a stain on our mother's grave, then, he didn't ask. He swallowed the bitter poison, letting silence take over in its place.

“Don't fear Dio,” Hot Pants added. “And don't envy him. A monster like that is incapable of anything remotely humane. You have something he never will.”

“And what's that?”

“Love. The kind money can't buy, the kind he'll never be able to have for as long as he lives.”

“Love...” Diego repeated the word. Its echo traveled around the foggy room. His eyelids had gotten heavy, sleep was dulling his senses. He let his body go limp on Hot Pants' chest, her faint but steady heartbeat drumming inside his head. She was there for him, a small God just for him, the manifestation of everything good and right and beautiful. She was love incarnate and his protection against everything, including poor Dio, who hadn't even realized what he was doing to himself.

Sleep found him way easier than anticipated and in that he dreamed, he hoped and envisioned that somewhere out there, something or someone could perhaps pull Dio out of the swamp he had cannonballed into. Anyone but Diego.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

 

Jotaro waited, fingers linked, chin resting on top, lips scowling. Next to him, Kakyoin was curled up on the couch, pretending to be reading a book. Speedwagon and Joseph were holding Jotaro's cellphone, watching intently the now immortalized scene of Dio beating his brother to a pulp. The room was entirely silent save for the faint sounds coming out of the video, Joseph's occasional gasp and Kakyoin's too-obvious page-turning. Once the video was over, Speedwagon handed the phone back to Jotaro and both he and Joseph kept staring at him with wide, disbelieving eyes.

"Right as I thought I'd seen everything from this bastard," Speedwagon hissed. "I want to say that I can't believe he'd do something like this but he's capable of everything."

"He's more insane than we initially thought. And violent, too. If he did that to his brother, there's no telling what he'll do to a stranger."

"You did the right thing showing this to us first, Jotaro. If Jonathan saw this, he'd surely got straight to Dio and then that snake would come up with an excuse and fool him again." Speedwagon groaned and fell back on the couch, face in his hands. "How did he get caught up in this mess?"

"But he needs to know!" Joseph protested. "Jotaro, if you show him this video, he'll know what a maniac his boyfriend is!"

"No, he won't," Jotaro grumbled. "It's as Robert said. Jonathan will only be saved if he experiences Dio's insanity first-hand."

"And how will that happen?"

"We need to be close to him, as close as possible. Talk to his friends, or at least Valentine, I'll go talk to Diego..."

"Or not." Kakyoin spoke for the first time that afternoon, voice a bit hoarse and cold, eyes glaring at Jotaro's back through his glasses.

Sensing the brewing fight, Speedwagon and Joseph excused themselves and made a quick escape. Once the two were out of the room, Jotaro turned to Kakyoin, who turned his gaze to the book, making a show out of ignoring him.

"What's with you?" Jotaro asked, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible. He failed, he always failed when it came to Kakyoin. Keeping his emotions under control was a real feat whenever Kakyoin was involved.

The redhead sighed. He shut his book and waved it in front of Jotaro's face threateningly. “Jonathan is old enough to protect himself! You have no business messing with Dio!”

“Jonathan is too good to deal with this! I'm trying to help him!”

“And who's going to help you, huh? You saw what this guy can do and we all know he can do way worse. Probably has done already.” Kakyoin moved closer. “Your child will be born in less than a month. You won't be there to see it if you keep-”

“How dare you bring her up?” Jotaro snarled, eyes narrow and filled with burning hostility. “How dare you try and manipulate me-”

“Manipulate you?! I'm trying to help you see that if you don't stop, you're going to get yourself killed.”

Jotaro bolted up, once again running away from another confrontation and his own emotions. Kakyoin was right, yelled a tiny little voice inside his head that Jotaro grabbed by the neck and choked to death. Was it the realization that Dio was, in fact, a dangerous monster and that he was in serious trouble that terrified him? Or the fact that he would become a Dad at the tender age of 20, tasked with caring and responsibly raising another human being? Jotaro raced out of the room as if he was being chased. Kakyoin made no motion to follow him. He remained on the couch, reading the same page over and over again, scowling.

“Jotaro?”

Jotaro snapped out of his thoughts, just then noticing the hand around his wrist. Polnareff was the one that had stopped him and was staring at him with concern. Jotaro relaxed somewhat, thankful that it was Polnareff that had heard the fight.

“What's going on? I could hear you guys from the stairs.”

Jotaro quickly pulled Polnareff in an empty room. He was the perfect man at the perfect moment, though Jotaro himself perhaps wasn't ready to face, and more importantly voice, his emotions. He sighed deeply, removing his hat and running his fingers through the thick black strands.

“Kakyoin wants me to drop the whole Dio thing. Says it's too dangerous for me.”

“It is.”

“I know it fucking is,” Jotaro hissed. “I just got no other option.” He groaned, feeling his frustration bubble up inside him. “I hate how...how we fight all the damn time. Just when I thought I'd made some progress with him, shit like that happens. God...It's like one step forward and two backward with this guy.”

Polnareff smiled sympathetically, softly squeezing Jotaro's hands. “Have you tried opening up to him?” he offered gently. Jotaro looked up in alarm and Polnareff smiled. “I'm good at picking up clues. Look, trying to help Jonathan is very good but you should prioritize yourself from time to time, Jojo.”

At that, Jotaro huffed. His lips twitched with a small smile. “I'm fine,” he said. “I'll manage.”

 

 


 

 

 


Dio stopped in front of the mirror to check his reflection for one last time. If any of his acquaintances back at Boston were to see him, they wouldn't recognize him. There he was, with a bare-looking face, his features only accented by some subtle makeup. Gone were his claws, replaced by short, filed nails, painted with clear polish. He was wearing a golden cashmere sweater vest, with a white shirt and Louis Vuitton printed foulard. His attire was complete with green suede pants and black ankle boots.

He stepped into the kitchen to grab some coffee, and find the soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Valentine sitting on the breakfast bar, chatting. They both looked at him when he entered, clearly confused with the ensemble.

“Who're you trynna fool, Mr. Brando?” Scarlet snickered.

Dio gasped, bringing a well-manicured hand over his heart. “I, Dio, have no ulterior motives! I'm merely meeting with my future father-in-law and I thought I'd make myself look appropriate. Only that!”

“Sure,” Valentine mumbled. Dio reached for some piping hot espresso and leaned against the counter. “Whatever you do, be quick. We have a plane to catch in a few hours.”

“Will do, Mom.”

Dio cast his gaze outside the window. Another grim, rainy day. The mist was so thick, Dio could barely see past the house's fence. And so, their trip had come to an end. It was an altogether very pleasant experience, filled with great memories. From finally having Jonathan to what he was about to do, Dio was entirely satisfied and a few steps closer to his goal. Jonathan had long fallen under his charm, his father was about to, and Dio was preparing to throw the Joestar family into chaos. Perhaps the only dark spot on an otherwise perfect vacation was the presence of his brother, though Dio had a feeling he wouldn't be hearing from him anytime soon. Or ever again, hopefully.

He put his empty cup down and stretched. Unable to contain his excitement, he planted a loud, smacking kiss on Scarlet's cheek. “Well! Off I go!” he announced and left the room.

Valentine exhaled, downing the rest of his now cold coffee. “I don't know how to feel about this,” he sighed.

“You worry too much.”

“Someone has to. I really hope Dio sticks to gold-digging and doesn't actually harm them. The Joestars are good people. They don't deserve this.”

He shook his head in disappointment. He, who was so morally correct, stood up and walked to the sink. He rinsed his cup idly, gazing out to the gloomy sky. Far too rainy, far too wet for his liking. As much as he liked traveling, he wanted to go back home, back to his sweet little dog that had grown so much, back to everything familiar and comfortable.

He absently heard the clicking of Scarlet's heels on the marble floor come to a halt right behind him. He cracked a smile as her forever curious hands circled around his waist, pulling him closer. “Yes?” he questioned.

“I think,” Scarlet whispered in his ear, voice hot, humid, breath heavy with the scent of coffee and peppermint, “that you should relax and not think about your friends' problems so much.”

“Got any way to help with that?”

“I have a few ideas.” Scarlet's hands rubbed down to her fiance's prominent hipbones, skimming lower, grabbing fistfuls of his ass, squeezing hard and making him gasp. “Have you thought about my proposal, sweetheart?”

“What?” Valentine mumbled. Scarlet squeezed harder, thrusting her hips into his behind. His mind suddenly clicked into place and a blush climbed on his cheeks. “I...not really.”

“Oh, you should. You really should, baby boy.” She pressed her smiling lips against his temple, giving him a small lick that sent shivers down his spine. “I'm sure you'll love it.”

Valentine gasped. Still blushing as red as Scarlet's lipstick, he turned around, his hands steady on her shoulders. “Not here,” he pleaded, anxiously glancing at the door. “Someone could come in at any moment.”

Scarlet looked at the door. “You're right,” she decided, though she didn't stop. Shoving him against the counter, Scarlet crashed her lips onto his, hoisting him up on the counter and getting between his spread thighs. “I don't want anyone else to ever see you.”

“Yes,” he swallowed, shutting his eyes as she trailed sucking kisses down his neck.

Suddenly, Scarlet pulled away, leaving him relieved but also wanting more at the same time. “Please think about it,” she said. “I promise you'll love it.”

 

 


 

 

 


Dio whistled merrily as he made his way to Sir Joestar's private study, scanning the lush halls of the manor that would soon be his. He stopped in front of a pair of imposing double doors and knocked, waiting for a reply.

“Come in,” George called from within the room and Dio pushed the doors open.

George's study was as pointlessly luxurious as every other room in the house, yet tastefully so. Wooden designs were artfully carved into the walls and lavish furniture. Floor-to-ceiling windows were flooding the room with bleak light, falling on the crystal vases on the lounging area, right on the amber bottles of whiskey, painting them gold. Dio's eyes skimmed hungrily over the overfilled bookcases, holding precious tomes, leatherbound, with expensive covers and satin bookmarkers. His mother used to own a few books like these, remains of a former, better life. Those, too, had been sold to pay off debt, along with everything she had ever owned.

“Ah, Dio, my boy!” the older man smiled as soon as Dio stepped inside. “Please, sit down!” Dio sat on a plush armchair across the other, smiling politely, with his hands linked on his thigh. “May I offer you anything? Some tea? Coffee?”

“No, thank you, sir. You've already done more than enough for me.”

“I've only done what any host would do.”

“Oh, you've done way more than that. You and your wonderful family treated your guests with respect, making sure we never missed anything. And I can only guess how difficult that must have been for a man as busy as yourself. You really made us all feel like family, Mr. Joestar.”

George seemed more than pleased with this little monologue. He chuckled heartily, leaning back on his chair. “Thank you for your kind words, my boy. I'm glad to see that my Jonathan has become friends with someone as polite as yourself.”

Dio smiled. He reached inside his pocket and pulled out a small box, offering it to George. “A small token of my appreciation,” Dio explained. “For being an excellent host.”

Inside the box was a pair of cufflinks, white gold and adorned with small rubies, all genuine of course, as Dio didn't mind spending a few hundred pounds if it meant being favored by George. The gift seemed to greatly surprise but also please George.

“I can't take this,” he said.

“Please. Will you really deny my gift?”

George smiled. “That would simply be impolite, wouldn't it?” Dio nodded. “Thank you, Dio. You really are an exceptional young man. I wish Jonathan learns from you.”

“But Jonathan is already very remarkable in his own way.” Specifically his dick and those ridiculous abs of his.

“Yes, he is,” George sighed, somewhat bitterly. “I just wish he was more...assertive.”

“Assertive?”

“That boy is way too kind to take on the family business and way too shy to form a long-lasting romantic relationship. This may sound old-fashioned but I fear for my legacy. I wish for Jonathan to marry and continue the Joestar line, then the other two will follow. I was already married when I was his age, you know. His mother was an amazing woman, kind, smart, curious and a fighter to the very end.” Another sigh, sadder. “Too bad she passed so quickly.” He shook his head, smiling again. “Enough about me. Tell me, Dio. What about your family?”

Dio wasn't surprised in the slightest. In fact, he had been expecting this question for long. His expression shifted to one of demure sorrow, amber eyes filled with sadness as his lips quivered with a gentle smile. “My mother died when I was twelve,” he said and George gasped softly, “and my father followed her shortly after we moved to America.” He crossed himself. “God rest their souls.”

“I'm so sorry,” George mumbled. “I didn't mean to-”

“No, no!” Dio cut in. “It's been years since then, I'm okay with talking about it now.” No, he wasn't. He doubted he ever would be. But that was a story for another time, perhaps a story for another story.

George still seemed very concerned, the same guilt that often colored Jonathan's eyes now lingering on his. “Any other living relatives?” Dio shook his head. “That means you raised Diego all by yourself...”

“Basically,” Dio replied nonchalantly. “I tried doing my best for my brother with what little we had. It wasn't easy, on the contrary... But I'm proud of him.” George was smiling brightly at him, tears glimmering in the corners of his eyes. This was it. The perfect moment. “May I...confess something, Mr. Joestar?”

“Of course, Dio,” George encouraged him with wide, kind eyes. “Tell me.”

“One of the reasons why I was drawn to Jonathan was because of how close he is to his family, how close you all are. It reminded me of my own family and I sought that familiarity. Such devoted and loving families are a rarity and I was thrilled to find it again. Even if it is through a friend.”

“Dio.” George reached over to him, squeezing his hand. “You will always have a family as long as I live and breathe.”

Dio smiled before bursting into a light, reserved chuckle. “And what a big family it is! Growing even bigger!”

“Yes, yes! The birth of a child is always a blessing.”

“You must be thrilled. Two grandchildren born just a few months apart!”

At that, George paused, genuinely perplexed. “Two?” he questioned.

“Well...Jotaro's baby is going to be born in a few weeks and Joseph's around...April? Or am I doing my math wrong?”

“Joseph's?” the older man mumbled. “What are you talking about?”

Dio waited just a few seconds before gasping and bringing his hands up to his mouth. “Oh no,” he murmured, eyes blown wide in shock. “I didn't...Oh no...”

George stood up shakily. He grabbed Dio by the shoulders, panic filling his eyes. “Tell me. What is my son hiding from me?”

“Mr. Joe-”

“Tell me, Dio!” George demanded, face as white as a sheet of paper.

Arrogant prick, daring to demand things from others. Dio was more than to oblige this time, despite wearing the facade of an utterly distraught outsider, that had foolishly thought that this family shared everything.

“I don't want to betray Jonathan's trust in me...”

“Jonathan knew about this?”

Dio bit his lip, obviously having a war inside his head. “You deserve to know,” he decided. “You are their father.”

“Thank you.”

“Joseph got a girl pregnant. Some Japanese college student.”

“How do you know of this?”

“Jonathan told me. I guess he needed to vent...Mr. Joestar, I'm really sorry to be the one to break this to you.”

The older man crumbled down on an armchair, elbows on his knees, fingers knotted in his hair. Dio quickly fetched him a glass of water. He knelt by him, closely observing him. George was growing paler with each second. He drank the water, spilling most of it on his mustache. Sighing deeply, he made a move to stand up. Dio was right by his side, ready to catch him if he fell. George made a few steps on his own, walking on his wobbly legs as he stepped forward. One, two, before his knees buckled, one hand clutching at his chest. He fell on the antique coffee table, shattering it, twitching on the floor.

This was the perfect chance for Dio to deal with this guy once and for all. Once George was dead, the path to taking all he wanted would be a bit clearer. With him out of the picture, the only man capable of managing the Joestar empire would be no more. Jonathan, sad and vulnerable, would seek Dio's embrace, only to perish, too.

But no.

Dio wasn't an amateur and he stubbornly drowned that little impatient angry voice inside him that kept screaming at him to get rid of all the rich bastards as soon as possible. The scene was simply too suspicious, there was no way Dio would come out unscathed. Sure, George would tell their sons what had caused him such distress and Jonathan would surely demand an explanation from Dio, but that wasn't anything Dio couldn't tackle. Jonathan was easy to manipulate, after all, he was pure plasticine.

He waited for one moment, towering over the other man. Oh, what a picture! He, the child people like the noble Sir Joestar used to scrunch their noses at, in charge of his life. It filled him with a sense of pride unlike anything, a sort of pleasure no drugs or sex or amount of money could ever give him.

“Help!” he hollered. He yanked the door open and ran out to the hall. Most of the guests had left. “Help!” he screamed. “Jonathan! Help!”

One of the maids arrived first, immediately bolting out to call the others. Jonathan was inside the room within seconds, freezing at the sight of his father fallen on the floor and unconscious, completely unresponsive. He reached for him, holding his body up, shaking him firmly.

“Dad?!” he shouted, pure panic lacing his voice.

“You have to get a doctor!” Dio shouted at the bystanding household staff. “Now!”

“Dio! Dio, what is this?”

“We were talking and...” Dio brought a hand on his cheek. “I-I wanted to thank him and- Oh, God, Jojo! This is my fault!”

Jonathan paid him no mind. When the maids notified him that the doctor would be arriving shortly, he carried his father into his room, Dio in tow. Jonathan carefully deposited George on his bed and covered him with his blankets. Dio waited at a distance. Jonathan was also informed that his brothers had learned about the incident and would be arriving in a few hours, as they were in London. When the doctor finally arrived, he politely asked to be left alone with the patient and Dio and Jonathan stepped out to the hallway.

“Dio, what happened?” Jonathan inquired, a lot calmer now that his father was in good hands.

Dio was facing the window, arms folded over his chest. “We were just talking,” he replied, voice one octave away from being considered a sob.

“What were you talking about?”

“I don't remember!” Dio cried, turning around to face Jonathan, tears trickling down his pale cheeks. “This is my fault, Jojo! I'm the one to blame!”

“Don't say that,” Jonathan pleaded him. Despite the softness of his face, Dio could still see doubts swimming in his eyes. “This wasn't your fault.”

“Yes, it was! Your father was so kind to me and I...Oh, God...”

“Hey.” Jonathan tipped Dio's chin upward, making their gazes meet. “You've done nothing wrong.”

Dio smiled a little. He took Jonathan large hands and kissed them. He ran a hand through Jonathan's hair tenderly. “This isn't how I imagined our last day together.”

“I'll see you again back in Boston, yes?”

“Mhmm. I suppose you'll stay a few more days, right?”

“Yes, I have to make sure Dad is well.”

“You do that. Your father's health is of vital importance. I wish him a speedy recovery.” Dio reached up to plant a soft, chaste kiss on Jonathan's lips. “And I wish you find your way back to me very soon.”

 

 


 

 

 


Killer Queen meowed demandingly. Swiveling her naked butt, the ever-curious feline jumped on the couch, landing soundlessly. She narrowed her bulbous eyes and sniffed at the very excited corgi pup, trying really hard to decide if she liked her or not. When she realized that the verdict was too much work, Killer Queen started meowing again, pawing at Valentine's thigh to get his attention.

“Well, hello, President Putin,” Valentine cooed in his special for-animals-only voice. He scooped the little goblin up in his embrace and placed her on his lap, right next to his very vocal puppy. Satisfied, Killer Queen nestled close to the man's perpetually warm chest, purring as he kept petting her.

“Why does my cat like you more than me?” Kira questioned.

“Because I don't yell at her for pushing stuff off the table. Isn't that right, Miss Chicken Breast?” Killer Queen meowed. Valentine grinned.

“Because he's a goddamn Disney prince,” Diavolo grumbled. He poked the cat on the tummy and she looked at him with hostility. “What was Shinobu feeding her?”

“Everything probably. Maybe I need to put her on a diet.”

“Nonsense!” Valentine protested. He held the kitty up, looking her in the eye. “She's better this way. Chonk.” Valentine started waving the little cat around, making her dance to his song. “I like em big, I like em chunky. I like em big, with something-something!”

“Thick.”

“Diavolo, if you call my cat thick again I will feed you your toes.”

“Gentlemen, please. Don't fight in front of the children!” Valentine froze. “Speaking of which,” he started and Diavolo felt his stomach fall to his feet, “where are you going to put the crib?”

“Huh?”

“The crib. For the baby?”

“Uh...” Diavolo looked around. Right. That. Even though the inside of his head was burning, he had to appear calm and collected in front of Valentine. “The living room? I thought that having it in my room wouldn't be good because I smoke a lot. And that's bad for babies.” Valentine nodded. Kira kept sending him that look that made Diavolo that he was the dumbest bastard in the universe. “I'll be honest; I haven't given the details much thought. I just jumped into the idea, thinking it's a chance to turn my life around.”

“Don't worry,” Valentine reassured him. “We'll be here to support you and help you learn. Yes?”

Kira shrugged his shoulders. He obviously hated being part of this equation. “We can try.”

“We will succeed,” Valentine insisted. “I have faith in you.” Diavolo felt his stomach sink like lead, as the guilt he rarely felt choked him. “It's not like it's Dio we're dealing with!”

“Can you imagine this guy as a Dad?” Diavolo asked, trying desperately to change the subject.

Kira snorted. “You gotta feel sorry for the poor thing. That man is too vain to raise anything, let alone a whole child.”

“Do you think it will happen one day? Him settling down and starting a family?”

“Absolutely not,” Diavolo replied. “This guy won't give up his freedom for anything.”

Valentine opened his mouth to speak but the doorbell was faster. One look around the room was enough to see that his friends weren't going to get up under any circumstances. He sighed and got on his feet. “I just like to think people change with time,” he mumbled as he walked to the door.

Once he opened it, he saw a young woman standing outside, wearing layers upon layers of clothes to protect herself from the cold. Her cheeks were flushed and her skin was pale and sickly, eyes sunk too deep into their sockets. Still, her natural beauty shone through, namely in her pretty brown eyes and pink lips.

“Yes?” Valentine asked, knowing full-well who that was.

“Hi, is Dio Brando here?”

“He is.” Valentine stepped to the side, letting Haruka in. She glanced around the house, smiling at the two curious heads poking through the doorway. “Should I go get him?”

“No, I'll go to him. Which is his room?”

“First door to your left.”

“Thank you.”

The three men all remained silent as the woman ascended the stairs, watching her form be swallowed by the upstairs darkness. “She's the photographer,” Valentine whispered right into Diavolo's ear, making him shiver. “The one that used to work for Kars.”

“I thought they had broken up. What is she doing here?”

“Probably wants some break-up sex,” Diavolo shrugged. “It's always better.”

He and Kira walked back to the living room. Kira halted, turning around to look at Valentine, who was still standing at the foot of the stairs with his arms crossed, gaze not shifting from the direction Haruka had gone to.

“You okay?”

“I have a bad feeling about this,” was the reply Valentine gave him.

Kira huffed. He paid him no mind, Valentine had a tendency to overthink things, after all.

 

 


 

 

 


“Come in,” Dio called upon hearing the knock on his door, although reluctantly, as he hated being disturbed while doing his nighttime skincare routine.

He expected one of his annoying roommates to come barging in, definitely not her. Haruka entered the room swiftly, smiling softly and Dio's blood froze in his veins. Their eyes met through his vanity's mirror and he felt as though she was a ghost from a sinful past, coming back to haunt him. He turned around, looking at her with wide eyes.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, voice low and filled with unspoken threats.

“I just wanted to see you,” she explained. She stepped closer, her features becoming clearer. Despite her perpetually sickly appearance, she still had that spark of wickedness in her eyes, the one that had attracted Dio to her in the first place. “I felt like our last meeting wasn't exactly ideal. I'm fine with never seeing you again,” she quickly added, “but I think it'd be better if we parted on good terms. What do you think?”

Dio relaxed somewhat, though still suspicious of her. He had to admit that their last encounter had been... unpleasant. He didn't really care what she thought of him and his manners but he had to admit that the prospect of sleeping with her for one last time was rather tempting. He had missed the kind of sex he couldn't have with Jonathan, not yet, anyway.

“You're overdressed,” he grinned and she smiled. Seriously. Not just for the occasion, she was wearing way too many clothes.

Dio walked to his bed and sat down on the edge as Haruka stopped in front of him, slowly taking off each garment. Coat and jackets were off in a matter of seconds, becoming a pool on the floor next to her boots. Then, her skirt and tights, revealing her shapely legs. She removed one chunky sweater and threw it on the floor, then tugging on a hoodie she was wearing underneath. As Haruka's form became clearer, Dio's initial eagerness melted into confusion. Her form was still slim, ridiculously so, but something had changed. Her ankles and breasts seemed to be swollen, while her belly was rounder, not too much but still round and taut, firm and heavy with...something.

One by one, she undid the buttons of her shirt, and so the last piece of clothing joined the others. She stood there, expression trying hard to be neutral though arrogance clearly shone through. Dio found himself unable to take his eyes off her belly.

He was horrified.

“I'm pregnant,” she announced and that much was clear, “in case you haven't noticed, and it's yours, Dio. I hope you're excited about becoming a Dad.”

 

Part 3

-THE END-

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 


There had to be only a few things as uncomfortable as sleeping on an armchair. Not that Jonathan had been able to get much sleep, anyway. He waited, motionless and quiet, snapping up at the faintest sound coming from the house. His brothers had urged him to go get some proper rest but Jonathan wouldn't listen. He remained by his father's side, refusing to leave.

At last, sometime in the deepest points of the night, Jonathan heard George stir. His movements were restricted, slow and groggy, yet enough to wake his ever watchful son. Jonathan, eyes wide and breath still, knelt next to his father, gently helping him sit up.

"Dad," he spoke softly, carefully observing the man's face. "How are you feeling?"

George blinked slowly, adjusting to the dim light. His breathing was shallow and quiet. The lines of his face seemed deeper, his lips quivering. He looked at Jonathan and the younger Joestar felt tears sting into the corners of his eyes. George's shaky, frozen hand reached for Jonathan's. Jonathan cupped his father's hand with both his own. His mouth moved ever so slightly, forming words that were difficult to be understood. Jonathan leaned in.

"Jojo," his father whispered, his voice sickly and weak.

"Don't exhaust yourself like this! I'll go get the doctor!"

As Jonathan moved to stand up, George's grip on his hand tightened momentarily. It seemed to take a toll on him, as he turned paler than before. "Jojo, listen to me." Jonathan pushed back his tears and scooted closer to his father. "My sweet son...You have always told me the truth."

"Always," Jonathan whispered.

"How could you lie to me like this?" George half-sobbed, a lone tear running down his waxy cheek.

Jonathan blinked, confused. "What do you mean?"

"About Joseph's child."

The words rolled out of George's mouth like heavy beads of amber, rolling on the hardwood floor, cracking the flawless surface. Jonathan's eyes widened and his mouth went a little agape. George's gaze remained trained on him, bearing the calm sorrow of a man at the limit of his power. Jonathan's entire body went numb, ice-cold sweat running down his back. His lips moved weakly but no sound came out. Not even a breath.

"How could you hide this from me, Jojo?"

Jonathan bit his tongue. Tears fogged his vision at the sound of his father's weak, hurt voice. Making excuses was simply pointless. Apologizing seemed to be an impossible task. It also held no meaning. Of course he was sorry, though stating the obvious wouldn't really help anyone, would it?

"How did you find out?" Jonathan asked and already, that ugly feeling of dread started bubbling in his belly.

"Dio told me."

At that moment, Jonathan was sure his heart stopped. That faint little drum inside his ribcage ceased altogether in a split second and he was left frozen, motionless, dead.

Dio. Once again, Dio. Dio, who seemed to be Pandora, holding a box in his hands he kept opening, unleashing all sorts of evils into the world. The box kept giving and giving more bits of hell, and he kept opening it. Was he aware of the consequences? Or was he perhaps dumber than he looked?

(Jonathan knew that somewhere in the depths of that hellish box, underneath every layer of pain, was hope, waiting to also be let free. He knew that much but at that moment, he completely forgot.)

"Well, he didn't actually tell me. It was more of a slip of the tongue." George sighed. "Not only did you lie to me but you also told a stranger before you ever told me?"

"Fath-"

George raised his hand abruptly, silencing his son. "I don't have the energy to discuss this any further but know that you, your brothers and I will have a long chat once I feel better."

Jonathan nodded slowly, his cheeks burning red with shame. Before standing up, he kissed George's hand. The older man sighed again, shaking his head. Jonathan exited the room silently. His feet were heavy, falling like logs on the soft carpet. His head hung low, eyes wide but not seeing. A million thoughts passed through his mind and they dulled into a sharp buzz, like a swarm of bees. So fast they were, he was unable to concentrate on one, just one.

He suddenly looked up, seeing a door. When had he come here? His fingers curled around the handle and he gulped. He was pale as a ghost and sweating like he had been left out in the desert. Even an idiot would be able to see that there was something wrong.

“Jonathan?”

Joseph's concerned voice was the first thing he heard upon entering the room. His eyes darted up in alarm, once again finding himself unable to move a muscle. This was his fault. If Dio was the one to tell George, then he had only learned that by Jonathan. Jonathan, who was so dizzy from his heartache and so eager to impress his new lover that he let his big mouth grow even bigger. A little voice inside his head tried making excuses.

“You only wanted to make him trust you!”

It wasn't enough. Because of his impatience and childish approach to relationships, Jonathan had fucked up. Royally this time

“How's Dad? Did he wake up?”

Jonathan stepped into the room and shut the door. He gave a little nod that made Joseph sigh in relief and sat back down, smiling. “Thank God. The old man scared the shit out of me.”

“What's wrong?”

Jonathan saw Jotaro standing by the window. His bushy brows were knit and his face was illuminated by the moonlight, appearing older, far more serious.

“It's...father.”

“What about him?”

“He knows.”

“About what?”

Jonathan bit his quivering lip hard enough to draw blood. His head sunk even lower. He couldn't bring himself to look at them. “About Joseph. And the baby.”

There was silence for a few seconds. Jonathan lifted his head, thinking that his brother's hadn't heard him. Reality was much worse, however. They had heard him and stood absolutely mortified. Joseph was utterly shocked, staring back with what could only be described as horror. Even Jotaro, who was so good at hiding his emotions, looked blown away by the revelation. Jonathan could hear the inside of Jotaro's head working furiously. The kid had always been smart.

“But how-” Joseph stammered.

“The only ones who knew about this were us three and our closest friends.” Jotaro's eyes narrowed. He took a step forward. “I know very damn well that I didn't say a fucking thing and neither did Joseph. Did you let anyone in on our little secret, Jonathan?”

Jotaro knew. Of course, he knew. He had always known and always tried to warn Jonathan. He just needed to hear the name and have his suspicions confirmed.

“Dio,” Jonathan breathed out in shame, tears rolling down his cheeks. “I told Dio.”

Silence again. The scene was perfectly still, could have even been a painting had it not been for the dust dancing in the beams of lamplight. Jonathan looked at his brothers again. Their initial horror and confusion had melted into anger. They both stared at him with disbelief; Joseph couldn't believe that his brother would betray him like that and Jotaro couldn't believe Jonathan would actually go that far.

“Goddammit, Jonathan!” Joseph cried.

“Why did you tell him? How could you do this to us?”

“I didn't think he'd tell father! It slipped!”

“Slipped?!” Jotaro took a step forward. For a man that was so often so angry, he truly looked terrifying when he was mad. “Are you fucking serious? All this mess because of a slip of the tongue?!”

“It wasn't his fault!” Jonathan argued and that seemed to tick Jotaro even further. “He didn't know we didn't tell father!”

“Is that what he told or what you want to believe?” Jonathan had no idea what the truth was. He desperately wanted to believe that Dio had just let it slip, though he was having a hard time convincing himself. Deep down, he knew. It was his fear that wouldn't let that thought take shape and poison him.

“From day one,” Jotaro resumed, voice seething with anger, “I told you that this damn snake was going to tear this family apart. You didn't listen to me. It had to come to this for you to see that he's a disease. And we need to cut him off before he kills us all.”

“It's not like that.”

“And how is it? How is it, Jonathan? Are you seriously that much of a fucking idiot not to see that all he wants is to break the family apart, isolate you from the rest of us and take your money! He's a violent, backstabbing cunt and you've let him into our family despite what everyone's told you!”

“That's enough!”

“You're defending him,” Jotaro mumbled. “Even now, you're still defending him.”

“Jotaro-”

“Don't.” Jotaro marched past him and headed for the door, opening it and slamming it shut, the echo of his thunderous footsteps growing more distant.

“How could you do this to me?” Joseph questioned, sounding more hurt and betrayed than angry. His green eyes were sad, lacking their usual vivid brightness.

Jonathan took a step toward his brother but he, too, stood up and left the room, leaving Jonathan completely alone for the first time.

 

 


 

 

 

At first, there was nothing, total emptiness, the way the world was before God decided to create it. Emptiness floating around more emptiness, without a direction or purpose. Completely blank. And it wasn't just short-circuiting, either. Oh, no. For the first time in his entire life, Dio's head was completely empty, unable to think, feel, even follow his instincts. For the time being, he simply existed, breathed, incapable of doing anything else, much less form words and even worse, voice them.

Little by little, sparks started appearing in the abyss of his head. One after another, like fireworks without any kick, they lit up his brain, setting it to motion. Logic surged into his veins and he straightened his back, closed his mouth and vision returned in his eyes. Haruka was still standing in front of him, half naked. Her face was arrogant, the way cowards often decided to hide their fear by putting on a pitiful mask of self-assurance. Her flimsy hand was stroking her belly, round and full and heavy with a child. His child.

Yeah, right.

Dio snorted before bursting out in laughter. Haruka's expression didn't falter. If anything, she seemed more determined. Dio laughed for a good, full minute, before melting into a soft chuckle, wiping the tears from his long lashes and looking at the woman with mocking pity. Actually, he did pity her. He pitied her desperation, her lack of imagination and complete stupidity.

“Oh, you actually expect me to believe that,” he cooed, still giving out small chuckles. “The oldest trick in the book? You can do better than that.”

“I didn't actually expect you to believe that. Your reaction was what I expected. But that doesn't change the truth.”

“The truth?” he sneered, growing irritated. There was nothing he hated more than classless idiots that wouldn't just fuck off. “You expect me to believe that out of all the people you let fuck you, I got you pregnant? That out of all the cocks that have been inside that worthless cunt of yours, mine did the trick?”

“I already told you, I didn't expect you to believe me. But it's true. And it can easily be proven once the baby is born.” Her hand stopped. “If you really think I came here simply because I need a father for my child, you're an idiot. I couldn't care less about it. What I want and what I came for is money. Yours, your friend's, I don't care. I want four million dollars in cash otherwise Jonathan Joestar will know what you are just another deadbeat father.”

At the sound of the name, Dio's head perked up, his smile dropping. She knew. Of course she knew. One by one, his mistakes started flooding inside his head. He had really fucked her without any protection. And he had threatened her in front of Jonathan. He remembered her telling him she had something important but he had brushed her off. This was probably it. But he had ignored her, foolishly so.

“You will get an abortion,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm. Anger was bubbling in his gut, slowly climbing up, filling his bloodstream.

He was going to explode.

“Like hell I am! If there's no baby, there's no money.” Haruka moved around the room, collecting her discarded clothes and putting them back on. “I don't care that you left me. A gold-digging piece of shit like you would never seriously stay with me. I care that you left me with this. I don't want it.”

“Then abort it.”

“You really are an idiot. I told you I want the money. And if there's no baby, there is no money. If you don't give me the money, Jonathan will know what you've been doing behind his back.” A small smile spread on her pink lips. “It's a bit of personal revenge for me and the way you threw me away, now that I think of it.”

Dio's gaze fixed on her. What he was feeling inside couldn't be described with words. It wasn't anger, it ran deeper, darker, stronger. Was he mad at this pathetic human being for wanting money? No, of course not. He had been at her position countless times, he would have done the same, if not worse. No, he wasn't angry at Haruka for being poor and taking advantage of the only weapon she had. He was mad at himself for making such a foolish mistake.

(Entirely expected, too, a little voice inside his head chirped. He had been careless, too drunk on his success to view himself as a mere mortal. He was the embodiment of good fortune.)

Walking slowly, Dio reached for a paper cutter laying among his desk supplies. He half-concealed it between his deft fingers, his amber gaze trained on the woman in front of him. Only one hit, maybe two, that's all he needed to finish her off. He raised his arm, fingers curling around the small blade. The weapon whistled as it sliced the air. Haruka jumped back with a yelp, falling on the floor.

“What-”

Dio brought the cutter down once again, this time plunging it in the floorboard next to her head. He climbed on top of Haruka, one arm trying to pry the knife free, the other holding her by the neck. She screamed, violently trashing underneath him, trying to throw him off.

“Help me!” she yelled.

Dio slapped her across the face, splitting her lip. “You thought you could just come in my house and threaten me?” he hissed, still trying to immobilize the struggling woman. He could feel her bump against his backside, moving furiously as she did. Both his hands wrapped around her pale white throat, choking the breath out of her. She gasped, digging her nails into his fingers, coughing out mangled words. She kicked the floor, wiggling with all the power she had left. In the dim light of the room, Dio's eyes were glowing red. His blood had reached a boiling point. With each second that her pulse weakened, he could feel his becoming stronger, more vivid. Her eyes fogged, turning glassy. Her moves slowed down, melting into disoriented attempts to free herself.

Strong hands grabbed Dio by the shoulders throwing him off. It took him a few seconds to snap back into reality, still thinking he held Haruka's neck between his hands. She back against the wall, as far as she could go, coughing and wheezing and crying. But alive.

Dio searched for the intruder, not surprised to see a pair of clear, dark blue eyes staring at him from amongst blonde curls. He was panting, teeth bare, fingers clawed. Valentine remained motionless before he took a step back. A deer in headlights. He was terrified, eyes wide open, arms bent in front of him.

“Dio-”

He never finished his sentence. He grabbed the other man by the throat and slammed him against the wall. Valentine kicked and scratched but Dio's grip only tightened. He lifted Valentine off his feet, putting all his strength into cutting off his air. Valentine choked out something but it all melted into a pathetic whimper as he died slowly in Dio's hands.

Someone bigger, stronger, pushed him off his feet, throwing him down. Valentine's body fell on the floor with a thud, heavy and limp, nothing more than a sack of flesh. Dio looked up, seeing Diavolo tower over him, Kira behind him, ushering Haruka to leave the house.

“You have five months, Dio!” she cried.

Dio moved to chase after her but Diavolo kept him pinned down with his foot on Dio's chest. His hair fell all around him, obscuring his face, every bit but his eyes. They were there, gleaming darkly, hating him.

“I'm going to kill you,” he mumbled, the promise evident in his voice. His sharp, wheezing breaths cut through the air, becoming faster with each second.

Kira quickly returned in the room, yanking Diavolo away. It was a mildly difficult task, given how much bigger Diavolo was and how much angrier. His eyes remained locked on Dio's, moving away only when he heard feeble coughing coming from the corner of the room. He knelt by Valentine, studying his face. His hands, tender and soft, helped the other man sit up properly, asking him simple questions that could be answered with just a nod.

“What the hell was that?” Kira demanded.

Dio looked up, just then realizing what was going on. He glanced around the room. Nothing had changed, save for the paper cutter still stabbed on the floorboards. His heart rate returned to normal, his breath calmed down. Haruka's cheap perfume lingered behind, its overwhelmingly sweet scent nauseating Dio.

“Dio!”

Kira's voice was distant. It remained only for a second, like an unremarkable sight during a road trip. Dio bolted up. His blood was on fire, his body felt stiff, numb, his head was airy, dizzy. He shoved his roommate out of the way and stumbled down the stairs, throwing the door open and disappearing into the dark night.

 

 


 

 

 

“Thank you.”

Clove and cinnamon tea with honey, able to cure any sore throat. Its mesmerizing fragrance filled the room. Valentine blew on it gently, holding the cup closer, letting the warmth seep into his skin. He took the first sip, burning the tip of his tongue, feeling the liquid travel down his throat, the honey soften his insides. Satisfied and definitely more relaxed, he scooted against the headboard, stretching his legs in front of him.

“How are you feeling?”

Valentine shrugged. “Better. Not that it matters, anyway. There are things far more serious than my well-being.” Valentine put the cup down and moved closer to Diavolo. “You saw her,” he said.

Diavolo swallowed. He had been so stuck up in the euphoria of having his crush laying on his bed, that he had forgotten about the half-dead, heavily pregnant woman they had rescued out of Dio's room. “I did.”

“Do you have any idea what this means?” Valentine asked in that low, hushed, anxious tone he always had when he was called to act as their squad's common sense. “If that baby is really his, then that means that Dio, Dio fucking Brando, will be someone's parent!”

“It is his,” Diavolo said. “I'm surprised it's the first.”

Valentine stood and started pacing up and down the room. “We must do something,” he announced. “With a mother and a father like that, the child will wallow in misery for the rest of its life. We must convince her to have an abortion or maybe give the baby away. But what if he kills her? What if he gets to her first? Do you think he's capable of that?”

“Of course he's capable of murdering someone! He almost killed you!” Diavolo stood up, stopping in front of his friend. He held Valentine by the shoulders, looking down at him as softly as he could. “You tried stopping him once and look what happened. What if we're not there the next time?”

“I'm stronger than I look!” Valentine bit back, visibly offended. He walked away, going to stand by the window. The closer spring crept, the longer the days became. “It is our duty to intervene.”

“Why do you care so much?”

“What do you mean 'why'?” Valentine snapped. “There are innocent lives on the line here! Don't you care about them at all?”

I don't, Diavolo didn't say. The only person he cared about stood right in front of him. The only thing that mattered to him was Valentine's happiness and safety, and when he looked at those purple bruises on his pale neck – proof that he was unable to provide either – his blood boiled.

“I do,” he said. “I do, yes. I...I'm just scared.”

“Of what?”

“Of losing you.”

He spoke the words with an exhale, deep and long. He looked up, face flushed, heart beating twice as fast, to meet a pair of confused blue eyes and two quirked brows.

“Losing me?” Valentine mumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.

Groaning, Diavolo went to sit on the bed, trying to hide his embarrassment with awkward hand gestures. “I...You're my closest friend, the only person that ever cared for me. I can't bear the idea of you not being in my life anymore.”

Oh, how easily could words of love be spoken at the wrong moment... The confession came out of him as smoothly as butter simply because it was hidden under the guise of friendship. His heart nearly combusted when Valentine came to sit next to him. A hand found Diavolo's own. A violinist's hand, with beautiful long fingers and perfect nails.

“I won't leave you,” Valentine reassured him. “I'm here for you.”

“Thank you,” Diavolo breathed.

They embraced. Diavolo swallowed his desire, his want, his hopes. He smothered it all down until it came back up to smother him. To remind him that the person held in his arms wasn't his. Valentine smelled like fruit and fabric softener. He was warm and soft and sweet and just the right fit in Diavolo's arms. Diavolo closed his eyes and buried his face in that silky blonde mane, wanting nothing more than to hold him for all eternity.