She heard the voices through the thick wooden double doors, a shouting match between an irritated Brit and a boorish Texan. Each word reached her, but as she sat on the bench and stared at the slowly rotating ceiling fan above her, and the stray dust particles passing through the gaps of the blades, the words felt a million miles away.
"You posturing little bastard! The young miss has lost her father, and now you presume to pressure her on-"
"Look Pennybags, it's a real simple matter. Joestar's empire was goddamn huge. All that property, all them investments, that all belongs to her now. An' you're trying to tell me that all that can be trusted to a sixteen year old?"
The discussion of the will had gone well, all things considered. Holly had no interest in big business, and seemed to be fine with getting a sum of money in her inheritance. Same for Josuke, who had no ambitions to be a mogul and contend with those responsibilities. And so that left all that real estate to Joseph's youngest child.
The grieving was over, the funeral just under a fortnight ago, but already the vultures were circling.
"I want to disappear," Shizuka whispered to herself, in a voice that didn't feel like her own.
The air to her left distorted almost imperceptibly, a figure coming into existence beside her that was invisible to the human eye. Her Stand, that had been with her since she was a baby. It had grown and evolved over the years, becoming a golden humanoid figure with a pointed head, a furry white feather boa, chitinous plates on the arms and legs, and bright pink compound eyes. A belt of padlocks were positioned on the waistline. The solid gold breasts made it clear that the thing was every bit as female as Shizuka was.
"No, not like that..." She waved her Stand off, and it vanished back into her subconscious. She really needed to name the thing... 'Achtung Baby' might have worked when she was still in transparent diapers, but it didn't really work now.
Once more she focused on the shouting match coming through the door. The Limey spoke first. "As it stands 'Sir'," he sneered in that sharp way only a posh Brit could manage "Miss Joestar's new holdings will be maintained by the company until such time as she comes of age. And I will most certainly not give you the opportunity to take it out from under her. You vulture."
"Hmph." The Texan seemed undeterred. "We'll see. An industry like this, it can't be trusted to some punk kid like her. Market needs good, capable hands of guiding it. And I'll make sure those hands are mine."
"Yeah?" Shizuka asked herself. "Just try it, shithead. See how far you get."
She thought back on that day with some regret. She should have stormed the room, and given that loudmouth a taste of her fist. It's what Jotaro or her big bro would have done, right? But, on the other hand, that probably would have just proved his point. But right about now that felt like the only option she had.
Shizuka Joestar was, after all, a kid. At sixteen she wasn't really articulate enough to defend herself, and yeah the property market was a mystery to her. But she could learn, right? Couldn't have been that hard if her Dad had made it big, and he had been a total goofball.
She looked to her reflection in the subway window, the darkness of the tunnel. A somewhat short and athletic figure, her raven locks reaching around her shoulders. Her green eyes were hidden behind the dark lenses of her heart-shaped sunglasses, her dark school uniform partially hidden under her varsity jacket. A red vest with snow white sleeves, the back emblazoned with solid gold letters: J✪ ~ J✪. Joestar Fashion was a rather popular label these past few years- got even more popular when they got Rohan to join up from Gucci.
Yeah, Shizuka was a slip of a girl alright. And something about her, some vibe, did make her seem like a bit of a punk. And she had gotten into some fights in her time. Wasn't her fault. Amber Wright goaded Shizuka into it, and it wasn't like it was Shizuka's fault that the dumb blonde bitch couldn't take a punch.
At any rate, the troubles stateside led to her guardian suggesting they moved away for a year or two. And Japanese, being Shizuka's second language, made it the best choice in her mind. Going to Morioh was a bad idea though- Josuke's existence was well known by her father's business rivals, for how big a scandal it had been when he was discovered, and those same men would know to look there. She'd go hang out with her big bro at some point, but for now she needed to stay somewhere crowded where she could blend in. So, why not Tokyo?
The crowded train came to a slow halt, and immediately crowds of people started pouring out and in with record swiftness. It was shocking, even to a girl who had spent plenty of time on grimy New York trains. But she recognised the name on the platform and weaved in through the crowd gracefully until she was off the train an on the tiled platform.
"Okay, so..." Shizuka reached into her pocket and clicked her phone on. It took her a moment to find the note she had taken for the directions, but once she had then the young woman adjusted her sunglasses and made her way out of the underground.
Shujin Academy... apparently it had quite a good reputation, according to Simmons, and they had churned out some big wigs from their alumni. Even a former Olympian, much to his surprise and excitement Originally they had no vacancies, but the prospect of Joestar money had won the principal over in a heartbeat, and that 180 led to a rather sudden opening being 'discovered.'
Nothing she wasn't used to. People had been looking at her like a floating bag of money for as long as she could remember anyway. And really it was either go along with that, or waste time hunting down another school.
As it turned out, she didn't really need to check directions on her phone. The crowds of students, with the distinct prison-print legwear of the Shujin uniform, made for a pretty good signpost to follow. Before she knew it she was nearing an ornate black iron gate, her eyes roaming up to take in the sheer scale of the school. "Geez." The boxy structure, stark walls, all available space used efficiently... looked like every high school from every anime Shizuka had ever seen.
Now that she thought about it, she had seen photos of Josuke and Jotaro's high schools, interiors and exteriors, and they looked about the same... and that had been twenty and thirty-something years ago!
Shizuka shook her head and made her way through the gates. A few eyes were on her in passing, but she ignored them. And equally ignored the urge to vanish before their very eyes.
"Miss Kawakami. Got it," she murmured under her breath.
"So this girl... Joestar's daughter. Seems like she could be a challenge to take on, even for me."
"What do you mean? You're supposed to be the best that money can buy. You got a flawless record on your side, and she's only some... punk kid."
"All those things are true, but... well look, sir, you don't follow the same 'world' that I do. You're only human, after all. And the rumors that have flown around Joestar family members in my social circles... Hmph."
"Be more specific."
"Shizuka's 'nephew.' Her brother. Their friends. They're all rather dangerous people to be on the bad side of. So if I trip up, things will end very badly for me... and even worse for you. You don't even want to know half the stories I've heard about them."
"I don't give a crap about urban legends. All I need you to do is find Shizuka and 'persuade' her to give up her inheritance. Don't. Kill her. That'll just make things more difficult."
"Fine fine. It'll be a while before I have any updates for you though. I'll call again when I have something... Haven't even left for Japan yet. You just go about your business, and I'll go about mine."
"... And that's your map of the school, and your timetable. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask." Kawakami forced a smile. Clearly she didn't want to be making this spiel, but the principal did like the sound of Joestar-brand yen.
"Sorry for the imposition," Shizuka nonchalantly replied.
"Oh it's no trouble." She was trying, god bless her, but she really wasn't that good at lying.
The door noisily rolled open behind her, and Shizuka slowly turned to see another Shujin student. A brunette who looked abnormally prim and proper, her shoulder length hair having a delightful silky flow. At a glance Shizuka could tell the white sweater and brown boots she was wearing were of expensive brands.
"Ah, this is Makoto Niijima, the student council president," Kawakami hastily said, gesturing to the young brunette. Shizuka bowed quickly, a gesture that made Makoto cough into her fist.
"There's... no need to be so formal, Joestar-san," Makoto said.
"Sorry. Been a while since I was in Japan, so some of the cultural norms are rusty on my end." She made a quick mental note to ditch bowing. Her usual experiences for coming here involved Josuke and his friends, and that wasn't exactly a formal crowd. "But ah, you can ditch the honorifics too. I really don't need 'em." Still, 'Joestar-san' did sound rather nice. Almost nostalgic in a way she couldn't grasp.
Makoto nodded, quick to brush the matter aside. "At any rate, the pri-... I decided to come here to offer my services. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to come to me for them and I'll do all I can to resolve the issues."
Student council president too? They were really gonna work hard to get her on the schools side. "I'll keep that in mind, but you really don't gotta go far on my behalf," Shizuka said in return, managing her own awkward and forced smile. Man this was weird. Nobody had made any leaps for her back in America. Then again, most everyone in that school had been in and around her family's level of wealth.
"Well... please keep the offer in mind," Makoto said, smiling. Hers was a little more earnest than the teacher's. Perhaps she hadn't been expecting any politeness from Shizuka? She was a rich foreigner after all.
But, well, old as Suzy Q and Joseph Joestar had been when they raised her, they sure as hell didn't suffer disrespect under their roof. She knew to have some manners.
It was at that point that Kawakami stood up behind Shizuka, moving away from her paper-strewn desk. "Well, ah... It's almost time for class. Come on, I'll lead the way." Nodding, Shizuka followed suit. They left the faculty office, and once out the door Shizuka removed her sunglasses and pocketed them. Just as the door was closing, she caught a final glimpse of Makoto. In that moment there was some lingering aura of sadness hanging around the student council president... and once the door shut, it was gone.
The trip to 2-D was a quick one, and before she knew it Shizuka was standing before a whole class room. Some eyes were admiring the raven haired girls, while others seemed more curious or apprehensive. A few barely even glanced her ways.
"Alright everyone, settle down," Miss Kawakami said, sounding markedly more frazzled, The few people in the class still murmuring quieted down. "This is Shizuka Joestar, our new transfer student. I know two transfers in one year, especially so close together, is a little weird... but these are some extra weird times after all."
Shizuka made a very quick mental note to not bow and, forcing something that could vaguely be considered a smile, said "It's very nice to meet all of you."
"Very good. You can take that seat in the left hand corner."
Wasting no more time, she headed down to the empty desk. But, as she walked, Shizuka briefly met the gaze of a young man in the right hand corner. A bespectacled boy with frizzled dark hair, Harry Potter without the scar. There was something about him, something that felt... extra-normal. Something that Shizuka couldn't quite put her finger on. But, the young Joestar knew that he had felt it too...