Chapter 1 - Salvation
Santa Maria Hospital, Florence, Italy, 19 December 1990
It was supposed to be a short series of apprenticeships, to observe and help in hospitals and orphanages while writing my seminary thesis. But I never imagine it will turn out like this...
"Son? Are you awake?" said Sister Eda to a young boy, who lies weakly on top of the hospital bed. "Don't worry, you are safe now..."
Said young boy's hand went toward his temple, grazing on the bandage, and winced.
"You could understand us, right?" said sister Eda while softly tussling the boy's soft, unkempt golden hair. He looks up toward us for a moment, and we could see his turquoise eyes. Thank God, his pupils seem normal, and they did follow sister Eda's hands, so we could rule out any sort of serious brain injuries from that accident.
"Y... Yes..." said the shivering boy in a soft, almost unheard whisper. Of course, considering that he just barely escape from a car accident that could easily claim his life, it was an understandable situation.
"I am sister Eda, and this is brother Pucci, you are at Santa Maria Hospital, Florence..." said sister Eda to the boy, who could only look at us in confusion. "What is your name, son?"
Said boy did not answer immediately, keeping his silence as he looks down for a minute before any words coming out.
"Haru... No... Giorno Giovanna..." said the boy with a broken accent, and we immediately understood that Italian is not his first language.
"Don't worry about us, son, you are safe now..." said sister Eda while once again, softly caressing the boy's golden hair while looking at the photo of the supposed boy who lies inside the folder. "Brother Pucci, could you accompany the boy while I look at the records?"
"Of course, sister," I said while raising my eyebrows. In my curiosity, I gently take hold of the boy's golden locks and look toward the root...
Those are real blonde hair... Not something you could get from hair dyes. Which is intriguing since Giorno Giovanna, the very boy sitting in front of me was supposed to be black haired in the photo.
The boy's gaze slowly rises toward mine, and for a while, his turquoise eyes did seem so... Familiar... As if those are HIS eyes...
"What happened..." whispered the boy, and for a moment, I am at loss of what should I say to him. Telling five years old that his parents are dead is never an easy thing at the first place.
"Do you remember what happened before you wake up here?" I tried to gauge his reaction. If he remembers about the accident, it would still be a heart-wrenching task, but at least he might have a good grasp on where things will be going. Of course, we are here to comfort him, but this does not make our task easier.
"Mama... She drinks too much... Papa Lorenzo told her to just shut up, but she tries to take the steering wheel," said the boy with a quivering voice. "Where... Where is Mama?"
"Don't worry about them, my son... Our Lord in Heaven will take good care for them," I said while noticing that the golden apparition at his side just becomes more and more pronounced.
Could it be...? A stand?
"Wha... What is..." said the young boy, apparently also confused by the apparition at his side, that now turned to be a gold-colored lean humanoid with a round golden helmet on top of his head, glowing pink-purple eyes, as well as several purple brooches in the form of ladybugs.
Wanting to test my theory that this boy is indeed a stand user, I summoned Whitesnake at my side, expecting a scream over his executioner-like appearance, yet at the same time, all I got from him is a merely confused look, even if Whitesnake now standing in front of him.
"Is this yours, and this mine?" said the little boy, who points out toward Whitesnake and his own gold colored stand. It seems that he is indeed smart enough to realize that his stand is the projection of his very soul.
"Yes my son, those are called stands... God only blessed a few people to have them."
"God? Are you a priest? What should I call you? Father?"
"Well, it is complicated, but yes... You should not call me father yet, for I am not ordained yet. You could call me brother Pucci."
"Could the sister from before sees them too?"
"I think she can't, not everyone could see stands, my son. Only another stand users could see a stand, and maybe it is for the best if you never mention them to others unless they could see them at the first place."
"Mama is dead, isn't she? Last time I see her, she was crushed under the truck..." said the boy with a surprisingly less sad voice that I expect coming from a boy his age.
I could only place my hand at his shoulder and told him what I know...
"God will take care of them, my son..."
After convincing the little boy to sleep, I end up sitting at the table with not only sister Eda, but also my current superior, father Julius, some social service workers, and a pair of policemen.
"Giorno Giovanna, born as Haruno Shiobana in Japan, 16 April 1985. Son of Mrs. Haruhi Giovanna nee Shiobana, biological father is unknown, but he was legally taken as a stepson by Mr. Lorenzo Giovanna," said a social service worker, reading from the document present on the table. "What is interesting is how his hair color suddenly changed after the accident that claims the lives of his parents."
I remember the golden stand shown at his side before he went to sleep, and as far as I know, I am the only stand user present here, so it would be safe to assume nobody else knows about the boy being a newly awakened stand user.
"Cursory examination of his parents' belongings leave nothing unusual, but something in his mother's purse intrigues us the most," said a policeman while showing us a photo of a blonde, shirtless, muscular man with scars around his neck and five-pointed star-shaped birthmark at the back of his left shoulder.
I did not need the word DIO written on top of the said photo to recognize... HIM.
Could he be... HIS SON?
"We found some quite interesting things upon the poor child," said sister Eda as she reports our findings after we bathe the little boy. "His body is full of scars, likely from belts, and he actively avoids eye contact, those are often signs that he was abused at his home."
I sighed while trying to rein my emotions, sure, those people who abused HIS SON were already dead, but it sure pained me in my heart to hear about it... I also see his five-pointed star-shaped birthmark, and naturally, understand its significance.
"Indeed, we have found pieces of evidence that Mrs. Haruhi Shiobana used to work as... An escort... And she ends up as Mr. Lorenzo Giovanna's trophy wife," said the other social service worker. "Not the best family if you asked me..."
"Yet everyone has an equal chance to receive God's love, we shall not judge them for what are we before God?" said father Julius, putting his hand together in front of his chest and touched the rosary. "What matters most now is not only to heal little Giorno but also ensure he has a good home.
"The Giovanna family refuses to take custody of the child," said father Julius when we are back at the church office. "They are not his blood relatives, so it was understandable. But the problem is, we also contacted his mother's family in Japan, and they refuse to take responsibility for little Giorno's custody as well."
"... 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71..."
"Brother Pucci?" said sister Eda, which reminds me that this matter is not just about HIM and HIS legacy, but also the Italian social services and all that entails.
"Forgive me..." I said while looking to my superior, who only raised his eyebrows at how I suddenly count the indivisible numbers. "But then, who will take care of little Giorno?"
"We will put him temporarily in an orphanage, looking if anyone wants to adopt and raise him, but failing that, it falls on the Church to raise him."
I asked myself, what is God's will that I end up meeting HIS SON today? Is this Gravity? Is this Fate? What will HE do in my place?
Could I risk HIS SON to be raised by strangers, when Fate put us together here, today? But what about the plan to attain Heaven and taking revenge on the Joestars?
HIS SON already manifested his stand at such a young age, probably due to the shock of the accident, but with the Speedwagon Foundation trying to investigate worldwide stand users...
Yes, I could simply take his stand disc away, but he is HIS SON, and is that within my rights to take away his heritage?
"Father Julius... I am sorry to say this... But I think I've found my true calling today..."
Santo Joseph Orphanage, Naples, Italy, 23 December 1990
Today, the hospital released little Giorno from their care, and after finishing the paperwork required, we finally arrive at what is hopefully our home for some years to come.
It wasn't hard to convince Father Julius to place me at the same orphanage where Giorno would be placed. It was an old orphanage, located roughly at the outskirt of Naples. Perhaps it was fate, but the orphanage manager, Father Alexander, happened to be an old priest who is currently looking for a successor. I could see that he is genuinely happy when I come and said my intention to learn everything I could from him, and hopefully, being a guide to the poor children I swear to raise and care in my life.
Yes, the name is rather unfortunate I know, but it wasn't Santo Joseph's fault to have name identical with the old fart who somehow survived the fight against DIO.
Of course, my real aim is to raise Giorno according to the road to Heaven, so he could finally fulfill his purpose in life, to succeed his FATHER and bring salvation to mankind. But for now, all I need is to lay down and train him, so he could properly use his stand.
"Brother Pucci, what is your stand is called?" questioned Giorno as we tidy up his bed and locker. Sure, he will sleep here together with several other children, but for now, the room is empty as the children attended their compulsory Sunday School, so I deem this time as safe for us to speak about our stands.
"Mine is called Whitesnake..."
"Isn't the snake synonym of the serpent? A symbol of the Devil?"
"Have you heard the story of Moses, the prophet of God who led the Israelites during their Exodus from Egypt?"
"Moses and Aaron once cast their rods in front of the Pharaoh and those turned to snakes. Moses also once created a bronze snake to deliver the Israelites from the plague of fiery serpents, when God sent venomous snakes to hunt the unbelievers. Anyone who repents and saw the bronze snake would be healed from the venomous bites. While the snake symbolism is often used for the devil, it also meant as a symbol of renewal and how everything depends on God's mysteries, who determined our Fate."
"Oh... So that's how you named him... But brother Pucci, what should I call my stand?"
"Well... Your name is Giorno Giovanna, that means a day when God has shown his favor... Your hair turned golden when HE saves you, and your stand has a beautiful gold coloration..." I said while remembering HIS stand, THE WORLD, who has almost identical coloration outside of the pink-purple spots. "You experienced a change, and it shall make you closer to Heaven, my son..."
"Gold... Experience... I personally think that your stand shall be called as Gold Experience."
"Yay! Thank you, brother Pucci!" said little Giorno while hugging my waist, and I could only smile while slowly tussling his mop of golden hair.
This is Gravity. This is Fate.
The Salvation has come.