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One and the Same

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    "Four tickets to Egypt, please." Joseph says to the woman at the front desk. "Don't worry about the price, guys. Money is no object. Not now, at least."


    Jotaro nods in response as Kakyoin looks a bit embarrassed.


    "Next flight's in 2 hours." The woman adds.


    "Yup." Joseph takes the tickets from the counter and distributes them. They had found information on upcoming flights beforehand, so this was no shocker. "Do you two have anything you need to get?" He asks Kakyoin. He, Jotaro, and Avdol were staying at Holly's so it was easy enough to pack.


    "No...I was in a bit of a rush when I left." Kakyoin responds. "I didn't bring much with me."


    Avdol hums. "Yes, I suppose most other thoughts had left your mind at the time."


    "Alright then!" Joseph rubs his hands together. "How about some brunch then? That is a thing in Japan, right?"



    
    For a few minutes after they had gotten to the small cafe, it almost seemed normal. Like a normal day out with friends and a grandfather.


    They had ordered some random sweets and drinks, and were lounging at a window table they had dragged another chair to.


    The cafe was almost sickeningly cutesy. There were chibified foods stuck against a bunch of the windows, and everything was written in bubble text in chalk. Apparently half of the walls were chalkboards.


    And so much of it was pink. It made each of them individually wonder why they were here.


    "The..." Kakyoin, the one who had suggested the place cuts into their thoughts as more pedestrians pass by, one or two glancing over at them. "The food makes up for it, I swear."


    A few soft dings sound through the cafe, each of the servers shouting a greeting as the man with a small pomp walks up to the counter excitedly.


    "The differences between Japanese and Egyptian cultures is so much more pronounced now that I'm here in person." Avdol says in an attempt to make conversation.


    "Yes, It's a bit shocking, really." Joseph answers as the server brings them their order. "The first time I left home...well, there were many more unpleasant experiences than we've seen so far." He laughs perhaps a bit too loud, drawing the attention of the man with the pomp who was now carrying an incredibly bright drink with a cat drawn in foam on the top.


    "Hey."  He says, the dark shadows under his eyes giving him a menacing look as he walks towards them. "Can I speak with you for a moment?" He places a hand heavily onto Joseph's shoulder. "Outside?"


    Immediately, the alarm bells ring in all of their heads. They all share a glance, then look back at the stranger. He was a bit shorter than all of them, with the exception of Kakyoin. He was wearing an unbuttoned leather jacket with dull pink highlights, a tank top, and some sort of tight pants. There was a strained smile on his face.


    "No..." Joseph answers. "I don't think so."


    The strangers face darkens. "I didn't want to mess up the cute decorations in here."


    "What?" Avdol asks. The stranger punctuates it with a single punch to the Egyptian man's face, then quickly turns and sweeps the chair from under Jotaro's feet before turning and running to the door, pausing to ensure the group was following him before continuing his flight.


    "Who in the hell is that?!" Joseph shouts when they make it to the street.


    "I didn't think they would send someone again so soon." Avdol adds on, spitting a bit of blood onto the sidewalk.


    "There." Jotaro says, ignoring the conversation between the two older men for chasing the stranger into the large alleyway he had gone into.


    He's met with a kick to the shins from his side, the stranger laughing boisterously above him after he falls. "So, Jotaro."


    Jotaro glares up at him silently.


    "What'd you do ta piss of people in such high places, hmm?" He puts his hands on his shoulders and leaning down with a twisted glare on his face. "Y'know, punks like you really piss me off."


    "Ora!" Jotaro announces the punch his stand makes, shoving the strange back against the wall he was so close to with enough force that some blood dripped from his mouth.


    "How-?!" He starts, but finds himself restrained by ropes made from fire, a wide mouthed look of surprise on his face as Joseph, Avdol, and Kakyoin join them in the alley, Magician's Red standing with it's arms crossed behind Avdol. "How're you using your personas?!"


    "What?" Jotaro answers. "What're you talking about?"


    He turns to Avdol and Joseph for an explanation. "Maybe they call stands that in his culture?"


    "He's obviously Japanese." Jotaro answers as he crosses his arms.


    "Well it don't matter!" The stranger yells, struggling against his bindings and burning himself a bit. "If nothing else, I'm good at takin' a hit!"


    But nothing comes of it. He just continues writhing in Magician's Red's grasp. "Summon your stand!" Jotaro yells, quickly growing tired of this.


    "Wait." Joseph says, tapping his grandson's broad chest as he walks up to the stranger who tries again to throw a punch at him, only for Joseph to catch it with ease.


    And then he does nothing more than muss up the stranger's pomp, earning an outraged cry. But it seems he finds what he's looking for. Snapping his straight palm against the stranger's neck, he quickly falls limp in his bindings, Avdol quickly releasing them and letting him fall to the ground.


    "This guy's being mind controlled." He shoves a bit of the hair up, revealing a pulsing lump of flesh previously hidden in the stranger's widow's peak.


    "But why?" Kakyoin asks. "From what we saw, it doesn't seem like he has a stand."


    "What, you just think there was a problem in Dio's HR department." Jotaro mutters sarcastically as he walks over to the stranger, looking none too pleased with having to remove another person from Dio's control.


    It went a lot quicker this time. The flesh hardly had time to pierce his hand before Star Platinum threw it towards Magician's Red, who quickly burnt it to cinders.


    "If my hot chocolate got cold, I'll kill him." Jotaro says without a trace of irony.




    The next time Kanji woke, it was to a brightly colored ceiling, and a red haired man gently handling his burnt wrists.


    "WHAT THE HELL?!" He literally screams when he saw the Japanese writing on the walls. "Who are you?!" He continues in the direction of the red haired man who had recoiled quite a bit.


    And then a very hard hand lands on his shoulder, an absolutely huge teen glaring down at him. "Shut up."


    "Look, punk-" Kanji starts, but is stopped when the older man interrupts them from across the table.


    "Alright, calm down, you two." The bearded man says. "First off, I'm Joseph. What's your name, kid?"


    Kanji stands quickly from his seat. "I ain't tellin' you my name! Where are we?!"


    "Calm. Down." Joseph repeats, motioning to where the cutesy dressed staff were watching in alarm. Thankfully, that seems to bring Kanji out of his rage a little bit, and he sits back down.


    "...Ma name's Kanji Tatsumi." He mutters. "Where are we?"


    "We're in Japan." Joseph answers. "Where do you remember being last?"


    "I..." Kanji starts, stops for a moment, then starts again. "I was in Egypt. I was studying there fer my degree. Was there for 4 months then..."


    "Then?"


    "I dunno. Some guy came and started asking me to 'show him my power'." He says with air quotes. "Dunno how he expected me to do that, but I told him to get bent, and now I'm here."


    "So you don't have a stand?" Kakyoin cuts in, still the most interested in that point.


    "The hell's a stand?" Kanji answers.


    "That answers that question." Jotaro murmurs under his breath.


    "When you were being mind controlled-" Avdol begins


    "I was mind controlled?!" Kanji yells, jumping up from his seat once more to the ire of the employees.


    "By Dio." Avdol answers with a nod. "We don't know his exact motives, but he's gathering stand users, presumably to gain control of the world."


    "So why'd he get me?" Kanji slowly sits down again.


    "Well, when you were mind controlled, you mentioned something about a persona?" Avdol re-states his previous question. "What exactly is that?"


    Kanji glances between them all for a moment before sighing. "A persona is the manifestation of your true self. Normally you can only summon it in the TV world but..."


    "But?"


    "...Can I see one of these stand things you guys keep talking about?"


    Immediately, Star Platinum is standing behind Jotaro, Kanji looking up at it open mouthed. By all accounts, it looks exactly like a persona would.


    "Hey." Joseph adds in. "You have one of these persona things, right? Why not just try summoning it?"


    Kanji pauses. Why didn't he just do that to begin with? "Yeah...good idea."


    So he holds his hand out in front of him, concentrating in a way that he hadn't done in years. And to his and everyone else's shock, a very familiar card flutters down into his hand.


    "I've...never heard of one summoned this way." Avdol says softly.


    "T-Takemikazuchi!" Kanji says, perhaps a bit too loudly and excitedly, crushing the card as the same rush of blue light and feeling of power rushes over him, Tekemikazuchi rising behind him quickly, his large lightning bolt smacking a hanging light a bit as it's head rises to almost hit the ceiling.


    "Oh my god!" Joseph yells, looking up in awe. "It's huge!"


    "I...I didn't think that that'd work." Kanji says, looking up at his persona, a sense of familiarity hitting him right in the gut.


    Thankfully, the staff had gone into the back, so none of them noticed the lights flickering a bit when Takemikazuchi drew near them.


    "So what was that TV world that you mentioned?" Joseph asks.



    
    "Wait!" Kanji yells, a large gym bag on his shoulder and plane ticket in hand as he rushes to catch up with them. "You guys're goin to Egypt right? I gotta go back to school there anyway, so I wanna come with you!"


    "...Why?" Jotaro asks.


    Kanji gives him a confused look. "Cause whoever this Dio guy is, if he went after me, then all my friends are in danger. I ain't gonna sit on my ass when I could be helpin' save them. 'Sides. You guys basically saved my life. I owe ya this much." He finishes, blushing a bit and turning his face down, the dark circles under his eyes looking even more so now.


    The other three glance at Jotaro, apparently expecting him to make that decision. "Gimme a break." He turns to Kanji. "Whatever. But don't get in my way."


    "Hell yeah!" Kanji fist pumps the air with a look of triumph on his face. "You won't regret this, I promise."