New York traffic was, objectively, the worst. Kujo Jotaro had driven in unpaved mountain roads in Pakistan, the crowded streets in Singapore, Calcutta, and Cairo, but New York City at 7 in the morning still took the cake.
What made it even worse was his sulking 10-year-old daughter in the passenger seat. Jolyne hugged her butterfly covered pillow tightly and frowned out the window. She wasn’t happy about having to had wake up at 2 that morning to make a 4 AM flight. He didn’t blame her, he wasn’t excited about it either.
With a long suffering sigh he rolled down his window and pulled out the pack of cigarettes he picked up on the way out of the airport.
Jolyne glanced over at him with a sneer. “ Mom doesn’t like it when you do that.”
“I know.” He told her, lighting up at the traffic light they still had yet to pass through. He immediately held it out of the window so the smoke would stay outside of the car. “But I’m gonna need it to stay sane around this family.”
“Why are we even going, then?” Jolyne asked, throwing her head back against the seat. “And why did we need to be here so early? It’s Thanksgiving dinner for fuck’s sake!”
“Hey!” He snapped, tossing a quick glare at his daughter. “Who taught you that?”
“You did.” She snapped right back, not even bothering with a look in his direction.
Jotaro closed his eyes and sighed. She was right. He brought the cigarette back to his mouth and took a long drag.
“We’re here early because your grandmother asked me to. She wants me to be the one to pick up your uncles from the airport because I’m the only one who’s met them both.” He told her.
“ I’ve met Uncle Josuke.” She said, looking at him from the corner of her eye.
“Do you want to come with?”
Jolyne tightened her grip on the pillow. “Maybe.”
“You can.” He offered, glancing at her. She didn’t say anything more so he kept talking. “Grandma wants to get everyone together, especially after finding out we have two more family members that we didn’t know about. Plus it'll be Shizuka's first time seeing everyone. She said we haven’t had a decent Joestar reunion in years and she wanted it to happen. It’s Thanksgiving, American tradition means we all get together. So here we are.”
Jolyne only grunted in response. It sounded so much like himself that Jotaro almost ran into the car in front of them. 10 years and he still wasn't used to having a mini him running around in the world.
“Listen, just do it for Grandma Holly, okay? Be a grump any time, just not around her.”
Jolyne pursed her lips together as she thought. “She is my favorite grandma.” She reasoned with herself.
“Damn right she is.” Jotaro muttered just loud enough for his daughter to hear.
Jolyne's head snapped over, the look on her face full of smug satisfaction as she caught her father swearing after he’d chided her for the same thing. Jotaro managed not to smile, but he did raise an eyebrow at her. It would be their secret.
The rest of the drive to Joseph's home was more pleasant as the two poked fun at their elderly grandfather. Despite Joseph and Suzie's ages, they were still living in a highrise apartment close to where Joestar Realty was headquartered. The position of CEO had been handed off years ago, but the proximity kept Joseph happy. And the apartment would be big enough for everyone anyway.
Though it was 8 in the morning, the apartment had a buzzing energy to it that was apparent the moment they walked in. The family’s butler, Roses, greeted them at the door, taking their bags to one of the spare rooms they would be staying in.
Jotaro went directly towards the kitchen, Jolyne trailing behind him shyly. Joseph was sat with Shizuka on his lap in the living room. His face brightened as they walked past.
“There's my favorite grandbabies!” He said with a dazzling smile, much to Jotaro's chagrin. “Welcome back to New York.”
“Hi grandpa!” Jolyne said, scooting closer to her father as they made their way to the kitchen. “Hi Shizuka.” The two girls waved at each other.
“Oi, come give me a hug!” Joseph complained as they walked right passed.
“No. I'm seeing mom first.” Jotaro deadpanned.
He ignored Joseph's grumbling as they entered the kitchen. Suzie was seated at the small breakfast table and smiled brightly at the two of them. Holly was at the stove stirring at a large simmering pot.
“Smells great, mom.” Jotaro said as a way of greeting.
Holly whirled around, smile splitting her face in two. “Jolyne!” She shrilled, energetic as ever.
“Grandma!” Jolyne called back, running past her father to jump into Holly's arms.
“Good grief,” Jotaro muttered under his breath, fighting off a smile. At least his mother's loving energy was reciprocated in his daughter. He walked over when Holly looked up at him over Jolyne's head. He kissed the top of her head once she stood back up, though she threw her arms around his shoulders anyway.
“It's good to see you, Jotaro.” She said, humming as she hugged him.
“You, too, mom.” He said, patting her back. He let her put a hand to his cheek as she leaned back to smile at him. “When are the boys landing, again?”
“They should both be here around 11.” She told him, turning back to the stove as Jolyne scampered over to Suzie. “I tried to buy tickets for them so they'd land together. I wanted to make it easy for you.”
“You bought their-? Mom.”
“This was my idea. I'm the one who wants everyone to be here from all over the world. Of course I'll buy their tickets!” Holly said, pleasantly defiant. “I know Giorno might be been able to buy one himself, but if I didn't how could I be sure he'd come to see us? I want the whole family here. And you know Josuke couldn’t afford his. Took me long enough to even convince him to take it.” She shook her head, probably remembering the fight her half-brother put up.
Jotaro shook his head, too, and looked at what she was preparing. “That doesn't look like Thanksgiving food.”
“I'm making things for everyone, Thanksgiving food included. Now shoo, unless you're going to help. Your grandfather’s been talking non-stop about seeing you again since yesterday.” Holly told him, waving her hands in the direction of the living room.
Jotaro greeted Suzie with an awkward hug. “You really okay with all of this?” He asked her quietly so his mother wouldn’t hear. He still vividly remembered her righteous anger when they had found out Josuke even existed.
Suzie just shrugged, though there was a smile on her old face. “Jotaro, do you think I could tell my daughter no once she had this idea in her head?”
He just huffed out a laugh. There was hardly a soul on this Earth that could say no to Holly Kujo. “Fair enough.”
He nodded to Jolyne to follow him back into the living room and she slid down from her great-grandmother’s lap to walk behind him. They sat in the living room, Jolyne on the floor playing with Shizuka while Jotaro caught up with his grandfather. He was glad to see Shizuka finally getting a hold of her Stand ability enough to not be constantly invisible. He’d never say it outloud, but the whole baby covered in makeup and sunglasses thing had always creeped him out.
As the time to go back to the airport approached, Jotaro asked once more if Jolyne wanted to ride along. She agreed readily this time and the two headed out to pick up their uncles.
In a much better mood now, Jolyne asked endless questions about Giorno as they drove. Jotaro did his best to answer what he could, but he'd only met the kid once and that was almost strictly to discuss Stand powers, the black market, and relations with the Speedwagon Foundation. Even though he was only 16, Giorno was already a powerful ally. His juxtaposition next to 19-year-old Josuke who was just trying to make it through university was whiplash inducing. But they were family and that's what mattered.
They arrived back at JFK with half an hour to spare, and Jotaro told Jolyne to go to a shop and find candy everyone might like in the candy shop right next to the arrival boards so Star Platinum could keep an eye on her while he watched the times. Josuke was due to land first, though Giorno was scheduled to land hardly 20 minutes later. Jotaro had to hand it to his mother, she could plan for anything.
The two waited next to customs, candy in hand, as Josuke's flight landed. When he finally made his way through all the lines, Jolyne ran up to him and leapt into his arms as well. The smile on both of their faces made the sting in Jotaro's heart worth it, though. The last he'd heard, the two were writing emails to each other for Josuke to practice English and Jolyne to practice Japanese.
Josuke carried Jolyne over to where Jotaro was waiting, a frown growing on his face as he caught Jotaro fighting back a laugh.
“Say a single word and I will punch you.” Josuke promised as he approached. The younger man's normal hairstyle had been forgone for a bun that sat high on his head. “13 hour flights and pompadours do not mix.”
“I'm not saying anything.” Jotaro surrendered, holding up a hand.
“I think it looks nice,” Jolyne managed in Japanese. “You should try more hairstyles, uncle.”
Josuke just smiled at her, praising her for her skills. “Yeah, I'll think about it.” He let her slide back down to the floor and pulled Jotaro into a hug. “Good to see my little nephew again!” He joked, hammering a fist into Jotaro's back.
“You, too,” Jotaro choked out, patting Josuke back as well. He had missed his uncle. Despite all the drama in the family and the whole taking down a serial killer together, Josuke was a good kid with a kind heart and positive energy. He was always nice to be around.
“So when's the new uncle landing?” Josuke asked, scratching at the back of his head. “Is he weird?”
“Well, he's one of us, so of course he is.” Jotaro said. He pulled a sleeve back to check his watch. “His flight should have landed 10 minutes ago. He's probably going through customs now.”
“You guys are talking too fast.” Jolyne complained in English, tugging on Josuke's hand.
“In 30 minutes, I'll be saying the same thing.” Josuke promised her, speaking more deliberately this time.
As they waited, Jotaro asked about Josuke's flight and the two of them commented on how airport security had changed over the last year. The three of them were so caught up in their conversation that they didn't see two men approaching them.
“Wow. I haven't heard Japanese in years.” Came an accented voice from the direction of the customs lines.
The three looked over to see Giorno Giovanna standing there with another man right behind him, holding a pathetic bouquet, who looked wholly confused.
It didn't matter that Giorno had been cleared as safe and an ally. His golden eyes and blond hair still made a sliver of panic run through Jotaro's chest. But he shoved it down as Josuke turned to Giorno.
“Heeyy! New uncle!” He chimed, giving the two newcomers a once over before holding out a hand to shake. “You speak Japanese?”
“Not much anymore, but my mother is Japanese and we lived in Japan until I was 4.” Giorno told him with a good natured smile.
His gaze turned up and Jotaro had to swallow hard to keep himself even. “Hello. It's good to see you again after speaking so much on the phone, Mr. Kujo.” He said with a slight bow.
Jotaro shook his head as he reached out a hand for Giorno to take. “Just call me Jotaro, everyone else does. Besides, you’re the great-granduncle.” He said in English, which is what the two of them normally spoke in on the phone. That at least got a smirk out of the boy as they shook. “And this is...Mista? Correct?”
“Yes,” Giorno confirmed, glancing back at the other boy. “My bodyguard. You met him last winter.”
“Why do you need a bodyguard with you to meet family?” Jolyne asked, butting into the conversation from behind her father. “Are we that scary?”
“Jolyne, have you met us?” Josuke said with a roll of his eyes.
Giorno looked down at her and reached out his hand to shake hers as well. “To be honest with you, Miss Jolyne, I don’t have many good experiences with family, so I am a bit nervous.” He leaned down to kiss each cheek of hers the way Jotaro had seen others do in Italy.
The kid was an enigma. He spent all of his time meeting with the most powerful and dangerous people in Italy, but the thought of meeting family scared him.
Jolyne released Giorno’s hand and pressed her own to her cheek. “Enough to bring a bodyguard, though?”
“No,” Giorno laughed. “I brought Mista so he wouldn’t break anything while I was gone.”
“Hey!” Mista barked, looking offended. “I don’t break things.” His accent was thicker than everyone else’s and Jotaro saw Josuke’s eyes widen at the idea of having to understand him all weekend long.
Giorno just gave him an incredulous look borne of experience and Jotaro could practically feel the connection between them. It had been the same with him and the guys he went to Egypt with. A common enemy and trauma upon trauma could really make a bond unbreakable. He knew Josuke felt it with his friends as well.
“Do the flowers need water?” Jotaro asked, changing the subject staring hard at the single rose surrounded by 6 baby’s-breath. “I’m sure we could find a vase in one of these shops.”
“Oh, no.” Giorno said. He glanced around then switched to Japanese again. “That’s Mista’s gun. It houses his Stand. There was no way we would get it on the plane, so I turned it and the bullets into flowers for safe travels.”
Both Jotaro and Josuke nodded in understanding, but Jolyne tugged at his arm.
“What did he say, dad?”
“It’s an adult topic, Jolyne.” He said dismissively.
“She doesn’t know?” Giorno asked quickly. Jotaro gave a curt shake of his head. “My apologies.”
“It’s fine,” Jotaro said and then nodded towards baggage claim. “We’ve been standing here too long, let’s get out of here.”
It took nearly half an hour to get everyone’s bags rounded up, but they were finally back on the road to the Joestar apartment. Once they were in the car, Giorno pulled out a Blackberry to make a call to his men back in Italy, while Jolyne and Josuke watched him excitedly and listened to his smooth Italian speech. While Josuke and Jolyne distracted each other, Giorno released his Stand and the flowers turned back into Mista’s gun. Jotaro asked after Polnareff while they drove and how things in Italy were going since they’d last spoken. He tried to ask Josuke about his studies, but they younger man was caught up in looking at the buildings along the street and asking Giorno and Mista about the latest Italian fashions and if they could hook him up with new Ferragamo shoes.
Holly was waiting with Roses at the door this time, 1000 watt smile at the ready. She pulled Josuke into an embrace while Roses took all of their bags.
Josuke tensed in her hold. “Hey Ms. Holly.” He said, voice ten times politer than he’d been so far. “Good to see you again. It’s been a while.”
“Little brother, I told you to call me Holly.” She teased, patting his head just because she could with it down.
“Right. Holly.” Josuke laughed, his awkwardness making Jotaro roll his eyes. “How’s, uh, dad been?”
“Better with Shizuka here.” Holly told him. “She helps him so much. He’s in the living room if you want to see him. And don’t worry, Suzie’s promised not to bite your head off.” She gave Josuke another quick hug before she turned to Giorno.
“You must be Giorno. Oh, dear, I’ve heard so much about you! I’m so happy to finally meet you.”
The kid looked like a deer in headlights as Holly stepped towards him with open arms. He went stiff as a board when she hugged him tightly. But Holly’s kindness seeped through and the boy melted in her arms. Jotaro couldn’t help his smile as he saw Giorno’s shaking hands come up to embrace his mother in return.
“There’s a good boy.” She said quietly, leaning away from him to hold him at arm’s length. “Look at you! What a handsome face! You’re a Joestar alright. And oh-you brought a friend?” She paused, finally seeing Mista.
“Right. Ms. Holly, this is my closest friend Guido Mista.” Giorno told her, bashfully.
“Oh, dear, I’m sorry we only have the one room for both of you.” Holly said, looking concerned.
“That’s perfect, really.” Giorno assured her, Mista nodding emphatically behind him. “Honestly, we both already appreciate the hospitality as it is.”
“If you’re sure?” Holly asked once more.
“Okay.” Holly nodded, squeezing Giorno’s shoulder once more before going over to hug Mista as well.
Finished with her introduction, Holly corralled them all into the living room where Joseph, Suzie, and Shizuka were all waiting.
“Holy shit, the kid looks just like him!” Joseph said by way of introduction. He was still in the same spot they’d left him, Shizuka sitting to his side this time. He eyed Giorno suspiciously. “Jotaro, are you sure he checks out?”
“For fuck’s sake, grandpa.” Jotaro sighed, putting a hand to his forehead.
“Ha!” Jolyne screeched, pointing an accusing finger at her father. “I told you I learned it from you!”
“Jotaro!” Several scandalized voices chimed in unison.
Jotaro just glared at the room. “Can we put the focus back on the fact that grandpa just accused our new uncle of being a murderous sociopath or am I the only one who thought that was weird?” He looked over to Giorno and held out a hand to Joseph. “Your grandnephew. Welcome to the family.”
With another sigh, Jotaro threw himself into the leather loveseat while Mista clapped a hand over his own mouth to keep from laughing.
“He’s right, papa.” Holly said, turning her glare to her father. “Of course, Giorno isn’t a murderer! Be nice, he just got here!”
Both Giorno and Mista gave noncommittal shrugs.
“Ah, we’ve all been there!” Joseph said, waving a hand. “Who doesn’t have a few kills under their belt? C’mon in kid, let me get a better look at you.”
Mista whispered something in Italian to Giorno that, to Jotaro, certainly sounded like “dude what the fuck”. But Suzie caught it and immediately perked up. She said something to them in Italian as well and relief washed over both of the boys. Giorno went to talk with Joseph and Mista sat next to Suzie, Italian flying from both of their lips.
At least Suzie had those two to reminisce about Italy to, instead of being exceedingly awkward with Josuke all weekend.
Finally, all the introductions were made, tensions resolved, and they all settled comfortably into the seats in the Joestar living room while Holly went back to the kitchen to continue cooking. Roses brought around glasses of wine, which Jotaro snatched and downed quickly. Not long after, Mista took Suzie’s arm and the two followed Holly as well to see if they could help.
“Sorry about earlier, Gio.” Joseph said eventually as he watched him, Josuke and Jolyne play an exceptionally tense game of Go Fish. Shizuka was sat next to them with her own deck of cards, holding as many as her little hands could fit. “I shouldn’t have assumed. You get hit with a memory and sometimes it’s hard to shake, y’know?”
“Of course.” Giorno said, polite as ever as he eyed his fellow players. “You did know my father better than I ever will.”
“That part’s my fault.” Jotaro chimed in, nursing a second glass of red. “Not sorry, though.”
Giorno simply chuckled. “From what I’ve heard from Polnareff, he wouldn’t have been around much, anyway. So it’s not as if my situation would have improved if he had still been alive.”
Josuke raised a hand from where he was lying stomach down on the floor, leaning so awkwardly his cards were almost revealed. “Shitty dad squad, dude.”
Both Jolyne and Giorno smacked his hand in a solidarity high-5.
“Hey!” Joseph started to protest.
“No, that’s fair on all of them.” Jotaro said, cutting his grandfather off.
Joseph glowered down at the kids as Holly came in from the dining room. “Dinner’s ready, everyone!”
Josuke hopped up immediately, throwing his losing cards into the reject pile on the carpet. “You guys win!”
“I’m gonna get to the table first!” Jolyne shouted, her cards practically fluttering behind her as she chased after Josuke to the dining room. Shizuka followed suit, screeching a few unintelligible sentences as she followed.
Giorno laughed as he watched them run through the apartment.
“They’re a handful, to say the least.” Jotaro said, standing and walking over to the larger couch to help Joseph up.
“They just remind me of a few of my friends is all,” Giorno admitted as he pushed himself up off of the floor.
“They sound like we have three young Polnareffs in the house.” Joseph quipped, earning a laugh from the other two.
“Aw, no way, sis! You made gyutan ?” Josuke was asking as he looked at the spread of food on the Joestar’s large cherrywood dining table. “You didn’t do that just for me, did you?”
“Well, sure I did!” Holly laughed. “I wanted everyone to have something special. And Jotaro likes it, too.”
“What is it?” Jolyne asked, peering at the dish with her lip curled.
“Try it first, then I’ll tell you.” Jotaro promised her as he helped Joseph into his seat at the head of the table.
“Gio!” Mista called, pointing at another dish. “Look! She made parmigiana , too!”
Jotaro nudged a shocked Giorno with his elbow as he walked past him, again. “Welcome to the family.” He said quietly.
Besides the two special dishes, Holly had made a full spread of Thanksgiving staples, too. A turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a heaping plate of stuffing. They all took their seats at the table, Roses joining them, too, and dug in.
Jotaro made sure to try every single thing on the table as they passed each dish around. Nothing in the world could beat his mom’s cooking. The dining room was filled with the clinking of silverware on plates as they all focused completely on enjoying Holly’s food. The chatter started back up again, though, with Joseph asking more about Giorno and Mista’s lives. Josuke finally talked about his studies at university, Jolyne informed everyone about the holiday pageant that she was acting in in two weeks, they all even pretended to be interested when Jotaro told them about the latest grant he was applying to for his research.
Arguably the best part was when Jolyne finally found out what gyutan was and everyone had a good laugh at her reaction.
Despite the early morning and the speedbumps along the way, Jotaro was happy with how the evening was playing out. Giorno, Mista, and Josuke were no match for the serving sizes the meal came with, the three of them nearly calling defeat when Holly brought out the pies for dessert.
Holly brought her parents and Shizuka back to the living room as the younger members of the family all pitched in to clean up. Josuke, Jolyne, and Giorno somehow managed to get the dishes cleaned between soap bubble fights. Jotaro and Mista were tasked with boxing up what was left over to go in the fridge.
“Jotaro,” Mista said quietly, halfway through their job. “I want to say thank you.”
Jotaro paused what he was doing as Mista bit his lip trying to gather all the necessary English words.
“Gio...he deserves happiness. And a family that loves him outside of being the Don. Really. Thank you.”
Jotaro gave him a small smile. “I hope you thanked my mom, too. She’s the one who did all of this.”
“I did!” Mista told him. “But, you’re helping. So you get a thank you, too.”
The end of the night was when things finally quieted down. It was late into the evening when Jotaro found himself sitting with his mother, a glass of wine in both their hands. They watched their odd family all dead asleep in the living room. Suzie and Joseph were dozing with Shizuka cuddled between them. Giorno was passed out, curled into Mista’s side while the older boy’s head was thrown over the back of the couch. Josuke and Jolyne had fallen asleep shoulder to shoulder, Josuke’s head resting on top of his niece’s as they both snored softly.
Holly leaned into her son’s shoulder and wiped at her eyes as she watched them all.
“You okay, mom?” Jotaro whispered to her.
“More than okay.” She promised him. “I’m just so happy they’re all here. I know we aren’t perfect, but I’m glad we have Josuke here. And I’m happy we’re giving Giorno a chance to be a teenager. I can’t imagine what that boy goes through on a daily basis. And even Mista. I’m declaring it, right now, Mista is our newest cousin.”
Jotaro smiled as a wave of affection for his mother washed over him. “Whatever you say. I’m sure there won’t be any complaints from them.”
“I’m glad you and Jolyne could make it, too, sweetheart.” She told him softly. “I know it’s been so hard for you two lately. I just hope this helps.”
Jotaro took a deep drink from his wine glass before he answered. “Me, too.” They sat and watched the others for another few silent moments. “But hey, give yourself some credit. You got everybody here, you fed them all, gave them time to really become a family.” He turned and kissed the top of Holly’s head. “So thanks.”
Holly smiled up at him gently before she snuck her arms around his and went back to watching the family she had worked so hard to create sleep peacefully, together.