Chapter 1: Batch One
Bruno/Giorno - Peace
“Drowning,” Bruno answers, when asked how he would least like to die—the inevitable topic of an idle day's conversation between bored young men who live a step ahead of their own ends with every waking breath. “It's too quiet,” he adds, and the others had liked that answer, the blaze-of-glory hounds agreeing enthusiastically so.
Bruno is not Narancia or Mista, so Giorno finds it odd he mentions quiet over slowness, over pain. That night, Giorno sleeps at Bruno's back, same as always, listening to his blood rush beneath his skin—ocean white noise with little punctuation, no beginning and no end.
In understanding, Giorno twines his arms tighter around Bruno's waist—were drowning as peaceful as it sounded, he fears he would not want to fight it either.
Bruno/Abbacchio - Grief
Bruno dragged him home one night, through rainy streets and up steps his tangled feet could not navigate, and Leone did not get why until he found his face still wet despite changing clothes and drying off. In the morning he'd offered a stilted apology for the spectacle, even though a bare whisper was too loud for his headache.
“I do it too,” Bruno had told him, matter-of-fact, and set a plate of something that smelled like eggs in front of him.
Do you, he'd thought then, and still thinks when he's staining the rocks and sand under his back; will you do that for me? He had not thought so, until he sees blood trail down the corner of Bruno's mouth from high above, and abruptly realizes that Bruno's tears are red.
Kakyoin/Rohan - Judgement
They warn him before he climbs the mountain that its god is a spiteful, mean-spirited thing, prone to scarring trespassers with quills that sting like needles when they hit. Years ago the story had been nearly the same, with only one important difference—Kakyoin has been gone for a while.
The occupant of the tiny temple on the ridge whirls around when he slams the doors open, a handful of quills at the ready, and stops mid-throw when he sees who darkens the door. His eyes go wide and he stutters, “Wait, I thought I—”
“Hello, Rohan,” Kakyoin interrupts pleasantly, once the strangling vines that spring from the floorboards have bound the luckless pretender eyes to ankles. “Get out of my house.”
Kakyoin/Avdol - Stands
“What did you think of him when he first appeared?” Kakyoin's question carries a vulnerable edge, a hesitancy akin to peeking through a door left slightly ajar, and he is not tired enough yet to not mind it.
Jotaro, Mr. Joestar—their Stands had come for them recently; they couldn't know.
Avdol smiles, but it does not mock Kakyoin, and that's how he knows he's found what he's been looking for. “He certainly startled me at first,” says Avdol, leaning back to watch the stars appear, “but really, I was much more grateful for the warmth.”
Giorno/Trish - Royalty
The rumors say Sardinia's princess is a rare beauty, bold and filled with fire. Giorno's first meeting with her is the day after his coronation, time enough to have hidden the blood on his hands but not enough for his father's crown to sit comfortably atop his head. She corners him in the busy festivities with a gleam in her eye and whispers, “Tell me how you killed him.”
“What would you get out of knowing?” he asks, intrigued.
She shows him the dagger grin of a person who has little to lose and a lot to gain and growls, “My freedom.” Giorno likes her immediately.
Johnny/Hot Pants - Sacrifice
“You still have a long road ahead of you,” Hot Pants tells him, wringing out her sodden habit—hands steady, eyes on the ground so she can't see the ghosts of her past. “Unless you turn back, there's no telling if either of you will make it through.”
“I can't turn back,” says Johnny, and she looks up to find him different—red-eyed but steely. “No matter what, I can't. I have to know.”
She thinks of her brother, and of Zeppeli close by, and says, “It always seems acceptable to give them up in the moment but you'll never forgive yourself when you do.” Johnny glares at her sharp enough to wound.
Chapter 2: Batch Two
Jonathan/Dio - Words
Just on sight, the skull could have belonged to anybody—same shape, same orifices, no flesh to differentiate its face from what lay beneath every other human's. Under moonlight its features are even less distinct, empty eye sockets turned to yawning, endless pits.
Dio speaks to it as though it lives regardless. What a foolish longing, he thinks to himself, mouth pressed to its flensed jaw. Even so he whispers the dead man's name into its mouth, in hopes that he will one day hear an echo of his own.
Kakyoin/Polnareff - Sports
“Maybe if you were to listen to me, you wouldn't end up destroying your knees like this,” Kakyoin snipes, winding a length of compression bandage around one of Polnareff's. “I have my hands full enough reminding Joestar he's a center and not a forward, I don't need you complicating matters making reckless plays and getting yourself permanently benched.”
“Sucks to be the playmaker, huh?” Polnareff gives him a breezy laugh and Kakyoin would smack him if making sure the wrapping was done properly wasn't taking all of the coordination he had left over from practice.
A hand lands on the top of his head and before Kakyoin can snap, Polnareff says, “I got it, I'll watch myself—so you'll stop making that mopey face.” Kakyoin doesn't quite believe him, but Polnareff's contrite tone is enough to gentle him—a little.
Jolyne/Hermes - Sky
It becomes their nighttime ritual—Hermes squirrels away some of the luxuries the prison provides, snacks and smokes and occasionally booze, and Jolyne picks both their locks out of sight of the patrols so they can enjoy them. They've found a place out in the yard, where the prison's walls don't taint the sky as much, so the stars glitter unobstructed.
“Wouldn't it be cool to fly?” Jolyne asks, when the snacks and smokes and booze are gone and they've turned to cuddling for their next rebellious pleasure.
Under a sky like this, with liquor in her belly and Jolyne in her arms, Hermes can't help but feel like she already is.
Johnny/Gyro - Challenge
It does not take Johnny very long at all to learn that Gyro can be bought with bets. Every other word out of him during the interminable tracts of the race that are a whole lot of nothing is in challenge: bet you half a dollar I can scream the birds out of those trees, he'll say, bet you you won't beat me to the next town.
“Bet you you've never kissed a man,” Johnny says one night, saddle-sore and hungry and more just wanting to see if this is the one he'd turn down.
“Huh, I haven't,” Gyro muses, and walks around the campfire to crouch down by Johnny's side and kiss him full on the lips. “I have now though,” he says when he pulls back, grinning, “so who wins?”
I do, Johnny thinks, because he can't quite find the breath to speak.
Giorno/Mista - Showoff
Giorno has a way of making the mundane seem unsurpassably artful. In his late night dozing he is radiant, the soft lamplight limning him in gold and turning his unbound hair into a halo.
Mista has known him for long enough now that he knows the way each of his long limbs fall, the precise angle of his body, is anything but effortless. “Showoff,” he teases as he takes his spot beside him, winding both arms around him. Giorno smiles into the kiss he presses to his mouth.
Narancia/Fugo - Lost
Fugo has never felt with quite so much certainty that he was going to die, but that's the only outcome he can see here when he's lost in the woods with a pair of glowing eyes staring him down through the underbrush. He had been warned not to tread here by everybody he'd heard of the place from and the dirk in his hand is no comfort, no comfort at all.
He doesn't die though—when the beast lunges he swings high, misestimating its size, and he gets knocked over and pinned by the smallest werewolf he's ever seen.
“What the hell, asshole, it's just me!” it gripes, and Fugo's blood runs cold because he hasn't heard that voice in years, not since its owner up and ran off after an argument he's regretted ever since.
Chapter 3: Batch Three
and suddenly, when you least expect it, fire emblem. i'll never change.
these are different from the previous ones because they're stuff i threw together while talking with friends and with no challenge, prompt, or constraint involved.
“Why are you so intent on stopping me from doing what needs to be done?”
“What I'm stopping is you, from self-destructing.” Ferdinand lifts his chin in that challenging way he's had since his youth, when he was trying on a noble bearing for size and thought that it fit him just right. “Hubert, how long has it been since you slept? Ate something?”
He can answer—he has seen two sunrises since the last time he closed his eyes for longer than a blink, and technically he is eating something now. Drinking it, rather. Aside from coffee, the last thing solid was a fish, half a day ago, spiced and fried and run through with sticks—which, if he's being honest is about how he feels right now. He could tell him that, but he refuses to.
Unfortunately, Ferdinand is not a total idiot. He can hear the things Hubert doesn't say. He uncrosses his arms and steps in, closes a hand around one of Hubert's. “You're shaking,” he says, like Hubert doesn't know, can't feel the strung-out tremor in the tips of his own fingers. It skews the letters when he writes, thinks Hubert dismally, sends the quill dancing in ways it shouldn't.
He protests when Ferdinand guides him to bed, but only because Ferdinand would expect him to, and because something fundamental inside him rebels at the idea of resting when he's this awake still. But that wakefulness proves to be nothing more than mechanical inertia; when Ferdinand gathers him close to his chest, the fingers that run through his hair in metronome sway switch him finally, blessedly, off.
Sylvain hates his Crest. Talks always with a grin, so they can't see where it's manifested on him: a perfect crown of thorns adorning the flat of his tongue. At least, it has the benefit of being easily hidden, nothing glows except his eyes when emotion takes him, as long as his jaw is clenched.
The only time he can say he might like that Crest is when Felix pries his mouth open with his own, strokes his tongue along that cursed brand, and swallows his pleas for more more more. Felix has a particular smirk in reserve for when he makes Sylvain's eyes glow, soft and self-assured and full of 'you can trust me'. It's his favorite expression in the world.
Well. Second favorite. The one Sylvain likes the most is the screwed up, shy one he gets when he runs his hands along Felix's own curse, small and weighty right between his shoulderblades. He shivers then, and Sylvain is allowed to pretend that Felix is smaller and weaker than he truly is, is allowed to pretend that Felix needs protecting.
The simple fact is, Dimitri is too much for anybody else to handle, and maybe even too much for Felix. You can't attack a creature as wild as a boar without putting yourself at risk of being gored.
Frankly, this suits Felix fine.
“You're a fool if you think this will stop me,” Dimitri always tells him, glaring out of the one eye left to him, cold as the barren wastes of the land they once called home.
“Then I'm a fool who won't have a sword sticking out of him shortly,” Felix spits, scornful. “Come at me like you mean to kill me or I'll gut you first.”
He's more a fool for baiting him, than for anything else. But it doesn't matter. For nine long years, it has not mattered whether Dimitri killed him in these mockeries of training sessions and sent him to join a brother whose loss still feels like an amputation. Or if he killed Dimitri and sent him to join the rest of the family haunting him, put him out of his unhinged grief for good.
But they always seem to stop just short. It's such a clumsy dance of hatred and sorrow and awful, genuine worry. But clumsy in a way they're both in step with.
Felix ends this bout with a fist to the jaw, sending the prince reeling, fingers slackening on his halberd's haft, and Felix knocks it out of his hand with a quick twist of the sword and swings for his throat.
And stops. As he never can't. He breathes heavily and stares into that resentful blue eye and wonders why he wants to cry. Even just the petty victory is unsatisfying. Dimitri can't even taste the blood in his mouth so he knows when he's beaten. Maybe that's why he goes on those rampages—he gluts himself on carnage but he never can tire of the taste.
Felix drops his blade, sweeps the prince's legs out from under him, and grabs him by the neck of his cape before he hits the ground. Leans in, Kisses a statue, for all that Dimitri reacts to him pressing their mouths together. He hopes, as always, that his own heat will melt the ice that's grown over his heart but Dimitri is consistent, at least, in disappointing him.
The second week, Hubert thinks that his sense of smell is failing him; the breeze from the crenellations falls flat on him when he stalks the monastery walls in the dead of night, tasteless and dull. The hollow feels too located in his flesh, like an abscess, something that will no doubt fester if he allows it to be unguarded for too long.
The first day after the second week, he realizes what is actually missing is Ferdinand's scent, which may as well be interchangeable for a vital organ at this point in time; that bright, sharp spice that lingers around him.
As the door to Ferdinand's room creaks open and that scent intrudes again, two weeks after two weeks, he has had ample time to prepare for the teasing that he'll get. Hubert merely draws the soft comforter tighter around his shoulders and stoically accepts the gentle, musical laughter that follows the click of the latch. “Did you really miss me that much?” Ferdinand sounds inordinately pleased with himself, but he's always sounded like that. It's infuriatingly comforting.
“I do not have to answer that.”
“But I think you just did.” The bed dents down to accommodate Ferdinand's weight, rolling Hubert a minuscule amount over towards the younger man. When he leans over to try and see Hubert's face, his long red-gold hair hangs in his face, but even it can't obscure the smile he's wearing.
Hubert only stares him down, because if he did otherwise, Ferdinand would worry for real, and reassurance is not something he is adept at, nor something that he would like to trouble himself with now. “You are free to think what you like.”
“What I think is that I would like to hold you, love.”
Awful. Awful, irrepressibly extravagant, dramatic- Hubert closes his eyes and rolls onto his back with his arms unfolded, which is all the permission Ferdinand needs to work his way into his chest and fill that tender hollow in him. A space, coincidentally, just big enough to hold him.