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And We Stand Tall

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Jotaro had noticed a lot of similarities between himself and his brother, Star. That should be a given, considering they were, y’know, brothers, but it was strange since they were adopted brothers. The quirks weren’t necessarily in appearance or anything like that either, though they were both frighteningly tall for their age at the time of only about eight, but rather in little habits they both shared. Jotaro noticed Star had a tendency to fumble with his hands, or fiddle with this scarf he’s had since… Since well before he could remember. He had to be doing something with his hands at almost all times, combing fingers through his own tangled mess of hair, fiddling with the frayed and discolored scarf, fiddling with his fingers or lacing and unlacing his hands together. He’s been doing this for just about as long as Jotaro could remember, and there were a lot of other habits that he shared too. That scarf, for example, that’s he had for a really long time, was a lot like Jotaro was with his dad’s hat. He was almost constantly wearing that scarf, no matter how hot it was, and was only without that scarf when they went someplace like the beach. And when that scarf started to frayed and eventually ripped in half due to age? Jotaro can’t remember seeing Star cry that hard in his entire life. Thankfully, Holly was good with a needle and thread, and she had the scarf fixed within an hour. That scarf was mostly held together on stitches and hope now, but it didn’t change Star’s love for the article of clothing.

Jotaro could relate, though, since he’d attached to his hat in a similar way as soon as he’d found it in their dad’s closet. He didn’t take the hat off unless he was forced to, and was constantly readjusting it on his head. ‘I just like the feeling’ was Jotaro’s only response when asked about his love for the hat, before usually running off to go back to where Star or Holly was. There were other things, too, like Star being almost entirely mute. It just happened randomly one day, he just stopped talking entirely and started talking through notes. At first, everybody was alarmed, but especially Holly and Jotaro, before it continued and everybody just got used to it. The only times Star talks anymore is very few and far, and only to Holly and Jotaro himself, from what he could tell. (He never talks to their dad, Jotaro noted to himself, which he found strange, since they used to be very close.) Alongside the sudden mutism from Star when he was about six, he also started to zone out super often, spacing out and looking distant, and barely listening. It had gotten to the point, which was now, that sometimes you had to call his name a few times before he even realized you were talking to him, and then you’d have to repeat whatever you’d been saying since he would’ve missed just about all of it.

Jotaro got used to this quickly, however, and didn’t really mind having to help Star with anything he’d miss in class, though he felt his blood boil whenever he’d zone out in class and the teachers would snap at him, especially when he’d pout and immediately start playing with his scarf again, staring everywhere but the teacher. That was another thing, eye contact or just generally having to look people in the face. Even during the check out when they both got diagnosed, Star wasn’t looking at the doctor who was apparently inspecting them, nervously pressed against Jotaro’s side the entire time and staring at the ground while twitching. The doctor had Star take his scarf off and it was resting on the counter, easily in view, but he was twitching nervously and fumbling with his hands, shaking a little as he rocked from side to side a little bit. Jotaro didn’t mind too much when Star bumped against him from his gentle rocking, only looking up in blank confusion as he watched Star’s reactions. Finally, after jotting something down on a clipboard, he turned and picked up the scarf, with Star pausing with wide eyes and leaning forwards with grabby hands, before he let out a low whimpering sound when the doctor instead looked at him with a quirked brow and put the scarf back down. Holly herself had watched with crossed arms and a small frown, her frown only growing when Star whined at the loss of his scarf as she turned towards the doctor.

“Can’t she have her scarf back? She’s so anxious without it…” She asked as Star began to rock a little more, making quiet, whimpering noises as he squeezed his hands together tightly. Jotaro scowled when he saw Star begin to tear up a little, turning towards the scarf and eyeing a stool that was nearby to the counter, while the doctor shook his head.

“This will be good for her, if she really does have autism. She’s been far too attached to this item, and separation will do her some good in the future!” He paused, glancing over to Jotaro before looking down at his notes again. “I’m inclined to think they both have autism at this point, from what I’ve seen.” He murmured, turning towards Holly while Jotaro took this chance to quickly get down from the bench bed they were on, sneaking his way over to the counter while Star turned towards him curiously. Holly opened her mouth to respond, looking furious at the implications behind what he said, before both her and the doctor paused, turning towards Jotaro at the quiet scraping of the stool being sloppily pulled towards the counter before he scrambled up and grabbed the scarf. They both watched quietly as Jotaro quickly made his way back towards his brother, hopping back up on the bed and handing the scarf to a delighted looking Star. Jotaro sat down closely besides his brother, glaring at the doctor while Star readjusted his scarf on himself with a smile. He seemed interested by this, before he made his way back over to the two of them. Star immediately cringed away, reaching up to grab his scarf and bury his face behind the fabric again while Jotaro scooted closer.

“Leave them be, Daiki isn’t doing any harm.” Holly spoke up with an irritated sigh, tapping her fingers against her arm angrily as the doctor paused, before nodding and stepping away from them again, writing something down before he continued.

“I do seriously think they both have autism, from what I’ve seen… I do apologize-” He was cut off by an angry scoff from Holly, who made her way over to the two of them and wrapped an arm protectively around her kids.

“Apologize? What for, they’re still the same kids they were before!” Holly snapped, with Jotaro looking up in confusion while Star whimpered quietly and buried his face into her arm, wrapping his arms around Holly out of fear. Jotaro doesn’t remember much else from the visit, other than his mother being extremely cross with the doctor and insisting that she still loved them both with all of her heart. Star doesn’t remember the visit at all, but that’s probably for the best considering how it wasn’t the best day for him. Presently, Star and Jotaro were dealing with the fun experience that was High School, and being two friendless bastards because of widely different reasons. Jotaro was just cross with everybody, and decided that punches would serve as a good warning that he was pissed, which labelled him a delinquent, as well as generally being outcast for being one of the kids with autism. Star, unfortunately, was only known for being trans and having autism, and was immediately singled out by everybody else in the school. That was part of why Jotaro got the bad reputation he presently had, because Star, despite being a solid wall of muscle much like his brother, absolutely refused to fight back, even when things got physical. That was probably part of why the bullying was so bad, because he wouldn’t even retaliate verbally, he’d just sit there and cower away.

Star was sitting on Jotaro’s bed, still fiddling with his scarf as always while Holly patched up a cut he got on his arm from a particularly rough asshole today, and Jotaro had already bandaged up with bruised and bloody knuckles for the day. She was frowning visibly, glancing between Jotaro and then up at Star with clear worry, before she finally finished bandaging his arm with a small sigh.

“You should be good now. I’m sorry I can’t make them stop, Star.” She murmured with downcast eyes, with Star himself frowning too and reaching out to pull her in for a gentle hug. Jotaro hated seeing them both like this, with Star fucked up because people at the school couldn’t stand the thought of someone being different, and, though he’ll never say it out loud, he hated seeing his mother like this. It didn’t help that their shithole of a father had left them completely for his fucking music career, leaving the three of them on their fucking own to deal with the assholes filling up the school. Eventually, Star pulled away from the hug and, after giving him and Jotaro a quick kiss on the head, she left, leaving them both alone while Star reached up to fiddle with his scarf.

“What started the fight?” Star looked up in confusion, almost unsure if Jotaro had actually said something, be he slowly started to speak.

“...They asked about my… My uh…” He paused, trailing off before he awkwardly gestured to his unbound chest, flushing up as he glanced away anxiously. Jotaro growled, grinding his cigarette between his teeth and feeling himself start to seethe. It must’ve shown on his face because Star frowned and made his way over, very hesitantly and gently reaching up to carefully adjust his hat like he did often times. “It’s fine, Jotaro. It happens.” He murmured quietly, sounding mildly dejected which only served to piss Jotaro off more as he suddenly stood up, growling quietly.

“No it fucking isn’t Star! You don’t deserve to be treated like this! I swear, I’m going to- I’m going-” He snarled as he started to pace, grinding the cigarette between his teeth before he was being pulled into a hug from Star and lifted off the ground slightly, effectively stopping his pacing as he let out a rough breath through his nose. “...It’s not fair, you’ve never done anything wrong, Star. You never even retaliate when they yell at you, or hit you.” Jotaro huffed as Star squeezed him gently in his arms, putting him back down as Jotaro sighed and leaned against him. “I’m sorry you have to deal with this bullshit, Star.” He frowned, squeezing Jotaro again in his arms before laying his head on top of Jotaro’s with a small sigh of defeat.

“It’s just how things are.”