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This is my fault, how?

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Jotaro looked around him. They were in Egypt, closer to Dio than ever before. But that didn't mean anything. They still had to find and defeat Dio only in a few days. Yare yare daze. It wasn't going to be easy. But he had to save his mom, no matter what. 

 

"This city is huge!" Polnareff screamed. "How are we supposed to find Dio?" 

 

"The best way of doing it is to ask people about the photo" Kakyoin replied. "Someone must have seen this mansion". 

 

"It's a long shot" Avdol said.

 

"But the only one we have" Joseph said. "So we better get started". 

 

And that's how they spent the last hours, asking everyone in Cairo if they had seen the mansion. Unfortunately, everyone shook their heads and apologized. Jotaro maintained his stoic expression, but internally he was worried. What if they didn't find the mansion in time? Things were not looking good. The group decided to meet again in the market. No one had any luck. 

 

"This is impossible" Polnareff said. "We can't ask everyone in Cairo for the photo in time". 

 

"It is true it is a dubious method. But we don't have any other option" Avdol said. 

 

"Hey! Look at that" Kakyoin said, pointing at the center of the market.

 

A figure had gotten out of one of the alleys. That wasn't weird. But the bloody trail he was leaving behind was. The man was limping and holding one of his shoulders with his other bloodied hand. 

 

"Do you think it's an enemy Stand?" Jotaro asked. 

 

"Maybe it's just an average brawl. I guess those happen in Cairo too" Joseph replied. 

 

At that moment, the man collapsed on the street though everyone around him chose to ignore him. 

 

"I can't believe this. People could be a bit more considerate!" Polnareff said outraged. 

 

"I'm going to get closer" Kakyoin said. 

 

"It's not our problem". 

 

"Maybe it is, Jotaro. You never know". 

 

Reluctantly, Jotaro followed Kakyoin and the rest of the group went behind. When they were beside the man, they realized he wasn't a man at all, but a boy. He probably was the same age as Jotaro and Kakyoin though he wasn't as buff as them. He had a blue, pompadour hairstyle that was rather eccentric and more importantly...

 

"Is that a Japanese school uniform?" Polnareff said.

 

Jotaro frowned. The possibilities of another Japanese student appearing in Cairo and not having any relation to the group were minimal. Which only left one question: who the hell was this guy? 


Morioh was a quiet town. That didn't mean it was normal by any means. A third of its inhabitants had Stands. Weird things were bound to happen. But things had been quiet for a long time. And Josuke Higashikata appreciated peace and quiet. Don't get him wrong, he loved getting into fights. But he preferred, you know, normal fights. With the occasional bully and preferably, without him getting impaled twice.

 

Okuyasu thought it was boring. But honestly, Josuke didn't have time to be bored thanks to the most stupid idea he had ever had. So, his train of thought had started like this: he had a Stand that allowed him to heal anything and anyone, as long as they weren't dead. But if they were even two seconds away from drawing their last breath, it was fair game. Josuke knew he was very lucky to have that Stand, and he wanted to use it to help people. He knew he could make a difference in the lives of so many people. Like a kid losing his grandpa. 

 

Of course it wasn't like he was going to find many people in trouble walking down the street. He had to go where hurt people were: hospitals. In the end, modern medicine could only go so far.  There was only one problem: to become a doctor you had to study a shit ton. And not only in the degree itself, but you needed to get a really good score in the exams to get into the university, which was why Josuke was buried in books right now.

 

Ok, maybe he wasn't buried, but it certainly felt like it. And the fact that he had never paid attention in high school didn't help. He always got a 5 or a 6. It wasn't that he was stupid and didn't understand things. It's just that high school had never interested him, so he always made the minimum possible effort. Just enough to pass. Now he was suffering the consequences.

 

His friends had been helping him, though. Koichi gave him a hand with maths and chemistry. Even Jotaro had decided to join. Since Josuke was a disaster who couldn't utter two sentences in English to save his life, everytime Jotaro called him he spoke to him only in English, which made Josuke feel both infuriated and grateful at the same time. And Okuyasu... Well, he couldn't help much, but he was there for moral support.

 

He would be a nervous wreck until June, when the exams took place, but no matter what would happen, at least he knew he had some awesome friends and family. That's what really mattered.

 

He sighed, put the books aside and looked at the time. 18.30... 18.30?! Oh no, he had met with Okuyasu and Koichi in five minutes! He was so late! He jumped out of his bed, ran down the stairs and got his shoes as fast as he could. His mom was watching him from the kitchen with an amused expression.

 

"You're late, right?"

 

"Why do you ask things you already know?"

 

He opened the door without even saying goodbye (she would yell at him for that later, he was sure) and ran to the square. If he hurried, he could make it in 10 minutes. He dodged people like a ninja, but it was a Saturday afternoon. The street was packed and Josuke thought it would be faster if he used the alleyways. They were a bit of a labyrinth, but not for Josuke who knew them since he was a little brat.

 

He was currently in one of the alleys, specifically the one behind the main street (he knew that because there was a small restaurant there) when he heard a rumble. Josuke automatically stopped because rumbles were never a good sign. He looked around, but the street was empty. Of course that didn't mean anything. It could be an invisible stand. Or maybe he was being paranoid. But he had a right to be, if he was being honest.

 

The rumble didn't stop, just continued to get louder and louder until Josuke had to put his hands over his ears.

 

"Fuck it, I'm getting out of here".

 

But before he could take one step forward, the floor opened below him. Literally. It was as if someone had opened a door. A door to complete darkness. Josuke jumped and a strong wind came out of the breach, trying to suck him in.

 

"Crazy Diamond!“

 

"Dora, dora, dora, dora, doooora!“

 

Crazy Diamond destroyed the wall beside Josuke and reformed it over the breach in less than two seconds, covering it up. He had been training his speed. Josuke fell on the barrier, but he didn't have time to relax. The wall was already falling apart by the pressure. For security's sake, he made Crazy Diamond destroy the other wall and put it over the breach too. Then he ran towards the mouth of the alley, trying to escape.

 

However, the wind suddenly stopped. Josuke turned around. Everything looked quiet and if not for the debris laying around, it would have been impossible to say something had happened. Carefully, Crazy Diamond lifted the walls used as barriers. The hole had disappeared, like it had never been there.

 

Josuke sighed. It seemed like the peace was over.  At least Okuyasu would be happy.

Chapter Text

"So it just disappeared?" 

 

Josuke nodded. When he met Koichi and Okuyasu, they were pretty annoyed. But their expression quickly changed when they saw Josuke closely. His hair was disheveled, and Josuke's hair was never disheveled. Something was obviously wrong. And after Josuke told them the story, they got really worried.

 

"It has to be some kind of Stand, but who?" Koichi wondered. 

 

"Yeah" Okuyasu nodded in agreement. "I thought there were no more crazy people with Stands after... You know". 

 

Yoshikage Kira. The psycho that had been killing people in Morioh for years. He had been defeated by Josuke and Jotaro, but a year later they still didn't say his name aloud, as if only by pronouncing it they could invoke him again. Josuke understood them. Sometimes he woke up in the middle of the night thinking he was still in that house, fighting for his life with a chunk of wood sticking out of his stomach. 

 

"Maybe the user can't control their Stand. They could be doing it subconsciously".

 

"Nice sentiment, Koichi" Josuke said. "But I'd rather be a little suspicious for the moment".

 

Josuke felt something was fundamentally wrong with that black hole. It was a feeling deep in his guts. But he didn't want to say anything yet. Maybe he was just overreacting.

 

Days passed and there were no more incidents. Still, Josuke couldn't shake that feeling and it was  turning him crazy. He couldn't even focus on the damned books. But he decided to ignore it as well as he could. Neither Okuyasu nor Koichi felt like this, so surely it must be his imagination?

 

Oh boy, how wrong he was. Days later, Josuke thought that if only he had listened to his gut back then...

 

That day he had met with his friends again at the square. It was their usual meeting point before going to somewhere else. In this case, the movie theatre. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and the street was completely empty. It was a bit creepy, but Josuke supposed it was normal. Most people were resting or working. 

 

"This movie is gonna be awesome. I read great things about it!" 

 

Okuyasu was really excited. He had been nagging at them to go watch the movie until they had agreed. 

 

"It better be" Josuke replied. "You've sold it like it's the next Alien or something".

 

"Dude! John Travolta and spaceships. You can't go wrong with that".

 

Josuke smiled at his friend's antics. He was about to urge them to go, but then the air ripped. No rumble this time, just a sound like someone opening a zipper and the sky became a black hole. It was so sudden that no one had time to react.

 

Koichi was a few steps away. Quiet, discreet Koichi always behind them. The one closer to the breach. It just swallowed him up. One moment he was there and the next he was gone. Josuke was petrified. 

 

Luckily for him, Okuyasu was with him. Many people called Okuyasu dumb because he didn't get good grades, but he was actually a quick thinker when it came to battles. He used the Hand to erase some of the space and put distance between them and the breach.

 

That made Josuke react. They were farther from the breach, but it wasn't enough. The suction was too strong. Josuke used Crazy Diamond to grab onto a street light. The wind coming out of the hole lifted him up and left him hanging with one hand. Okuyasu was right behind him, but he didn't have anything to hold onto. He was about to fly straight into the hole, but Josuke managed to grab him with his Crazy Diamond's free hand.

 

The weight, combined with the suction, was too much for Josuke. He felt like his arms were being ripped off him. Something popped out in his shoulder and he let out a scream.

 

"Josuke" Okuyasu said. "Let go". 

 

"What?" Josuke managed to turn his head and look at his friend. 

 

"You can't keep this up. We'll both get sucked in". 

 

"Have you lost your mind? I'm not doing that. Have a little bit of faith in Crazy Diamond, idiot". 

 

But even as he said those words, he could feel Crazy Diamond's grip slipping. But you know what? Fuck it. If they were going down, they were going down together. 

 

"I know you won't, Josuke" Okuyasu gave him a sad smile. "You're a good friend. Thanks". 

 

"No! Okuyasu, don't you dare! You hear me?" 

 

Okuyasu opened the hand he was using to hold onto Crazy Diamond, and he let go. Before Josuke could react, his friend was sucked into the breach. 

 

And then the hole suddenly closed. The wind stopped and the square returned to normal, as if nothing had happened. As if his two only friends had not vanished.

 

Josuke sat on the floor, staring at the point where the breach had been. They couldn't be dead, right? They just couldn't. No. They weren't. Those two assholes were too stubborn to be killed that easily. Get up and start thinking about how to get them back, Josuke told himself.

 

With a dangerous glint shining in his eyes, he stood up. He was going to find his friends. And then he was going to beat the shit out of whoever had caused this.

 

"Afraid, Josuke Higashikata?" 

 

The high schooler turned around as fast as he could. But there was nothing, except that annoying voice. Where was it coming from? Josuke was sure the Stand user had to be close. 

 

"Yes, hide! You better not show up your face because when I'm finished with you, even your mom is not gonna recognize you!" 

 

"You're always saying empty threats, right? Trying to pretend you're braver than what you really are"

 

Great, the ones who tried to analyze you are always the most boring ones, Josuke thought. 

 

"Where are my friends?" 

 

"Far away". 

 

"So they're alive?" 

 

"Ah, of course you were worried about that. Yes, they're alive. But you should be worried". 

 

"Why would you want to kill me? I haven't done anything to you. Right?" 

 

The reason Josuke was a bit hesitant was because he knew he was a bit short-tempered. Fine, really short-tempered, actually. He tended to get into brawls and sometimes he didn't even remember who he had fought. It was a trait he had been trying to correct lately, but that didn't erase the damage done in previous years. Still, this was a bit radical for just a petty fight. 

 

"You could say you have, Josuke. You and your family, playing with the rules".

 

Josuke frowned. Obviously, this asshole wasn't referring to his maternal family which was pretty normal, but to his paternal one where they all were Stands users. Well, maybe not everyone. Jolyne hadn't developed a Stand, but she was still a little kid. Josuke used to tell Jotaro that it was only a matter of time (always on the phone when Jotaro couldn't ora him to hell, of course). 

 

"What fucking rules are you talking about? Can't you say things clearly? And where the fuck are my friends, where did you send them?" 

 

"Those are not my creation. I suffer everytime I see one. And you Joestars are the only cause for them".

 

"My surname is Higashikata, not Joestar. And that's some next level bullshit, you're pulling". 

 

"Do you really think playing with time wouldn't have consequences?" 

 

"Play… I'm not the one who can stop time, in case you haven't noticed. Wrong country!" 

 

"But you did fight a Stand user with time abilities. Everyone in your family attracts time, one way or the other". 

 

"I... I didn't cause this!"

 

"Not intentionally. But your family started it. There were no time Stands before you. Dio, Jotaro, Kira... Everything's about the Joestars. And if I don't stop you before everything starts, it will only keep getting worse". 

 

"Everything... What do you mean by that?" 

 

But the voice was gone, and only the sound of wind answered him. Josuke thought it over. So this guy, if he was telling the truth, was out for his family. But more importantly, he had no control over the breaches, which meant that, even if Josuke defeated him, he couldn't bring his friends back. Shit. 

Chapter Text

Josuke looked at the wall of the supermarket. He could even consider it a recent hobby of his, looking at walls. This morning, his mother had ordered him to go buy food. Maybe because she wanted him to do something normal. And there he was. Staring at a wall. Koichi's picture was looking right back at him with a heading that said: Have you seen me? Josuke ripped the pamphlet off the wall. 

 

One month had passed. 30 days without news of his friends. Koichi's parents had gone to the police the day after the disappearance. They had interrogated people close to him, including Josuke. But it wasn't like he could tell them the truth.

 

Okuyasu didn't have a family who could look for him, only his disabled dad. After noticing his son wasn't home, and that he probably wouldn't be soon, he had locked himself in his room and no one had been able to get him out. Josuke brought him food everyday. Sometimes, he heard his muffled cries through the door.

 

Of course Josuke didn't just sit down and gave up during this month. The first thing he did after the breach was organizing a meeting with all the Stand users in Morioh (at least the ones he knew). Rohan and Yukako were especially distraught by Koichi's disappearance and promised to help in every way they could. However, they all came to the same conclusion: they had no leads except for the Stand user who had mysteriously vanished.

 

Josuke also told them what the Stand user had said about his family. He was a bit afraid of their reaction, to be honest. He had been thinking about the words of the user over and over, and what if he was right? It was true everyone in his family was involved with time related Stands, including him. What if he was responsible for his friends' disappearance? He couldn't really blame the others if they hated him now. 

 

"Josuke Higashikata, you are many things: a liar, a cheater, impulsive, as immature as a five-year old..."

 

"Oi, Rohan...!"

 

"...But this is bullshit. You didn't cause that breach or Koichi and Okuyasu's disappearance and yes, you did fight a user with time related abilities. And who knows how many people Kira would have killed if you hadn't. You saved a lot of people, Josuke, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise".

 

At this point, Josuke was staring at Rohan open-mouthed because this was the greatest compliment the mangaka had ever given him. The rest of Morioh Stand users nodded in agreement and Josuke felt about to cry. Only his dignity and the fact that Rohan would never let him live it down stopped him. 

 

"Thanks, guys".

 

"If you want to thank us, start by finding the user. I want my Koichi back, and then I'm gonna kill whoever caused this". 

 

Josuke totally believed Yukako. The woman was crazy. He didn't know how Koichi was brave enough to date her. 

 

"Maybe I can help" Yuya said. "Highway Star might track Koichi and Okuyasu. It's a long shot, but it could be possible". 

 

So Yuya and Josuke had returned to the square. However, Yuya couldn't find any trace of Koichi and Okuyasu even though he spent hours searching for them, not only in the square but in the entire city. Yuya had apologized for the lack of results, even though Josuke had told him it wasn't his fault.

 

At first, Josuke thought there would be a solution. Surely another breach would appear, right? But days passed, then weeks, nothing happened and Josuke felt more and more hopeless. How was he supposed to find them?

 

During this month he had been looking for them without rest. He had a lot of arguments with his mom because he had been skipping high school, just when he needed it more. But right now, he couldn't care less about the exams or his future. 

 

After another day of searching the woods and the entire town, Josuke came back home. The house was empty and Josuke was glad for it. He didn't have the energy to argue with his mom again. It always left him with a sour taste in his mouth. 

 

He sat down on the couch trying to come up with something, anything. Then, the phone rang. Josuke huffed. He really hoped it wasn't one of his mom's annoying friends.

 

"What?" he answered in a voice that made clear he wasn't in the mood for chit chat.

 

"Hello, Josuke. We have to talk". 

 

"Jotaro? Have you found anything?" 

 

Josuke had called Jotaro the same day his friends had been sucked into the breach. It turned out Jotaro had been hearing rumors about the portals for months. The fact that Jotaro hadn't told him had infuriated Josuke to the point he had hanged up on his nephew after a lot of yelling.

 

It wasn't only the breach thing, actually. That was only the detonator for a lot of things Josuke had been keeping inside for a long time. And they all had come out during that call.

 

The situation had cooled down eventually because Josuke knew this was the worst time to be angry. Still, now he felt awkward every time he talked to Jotaro, like there was  an invisible wall between them. And he hated it. 

 

"I have been able to recover more information" Jotaro said. "These breaches open in one place and then they disappear almost immediately. As far as I know, they have never stayed open long enough to suck a person in and they never appear in the same city twice".

 

"So are you saying the breaches in Morioh are special?" 

 

"They are an anomaly, certainly. Maybe it's for the high number of Stands. And I am worried about what will happen if more breaches appear and their strength increases". 

 

Josuke's eyes widened when he realized what that meant. What if these things appeared in a normal place, with no Stand users who could defend themselves? How many people would disappear? 

 

"How can we stop them? I've been trying to find the Stand user..." 

 

"He's not the cause of this. No Stand could have a such long range. But you're right, he obviously knows something. I really think I can't find anything else, so I'm coming to Morioh, Josuke". 

 

Josuke internally sighed with relief. Jotaro was more experienced than him and much scarier. Maybe he could terrify the shit out of the Stand user and make him confess what he knew. 

 

"Ok, that's good. Thanks, Jotaro". 

 

"And we'll have a talk too, ok?" 

 

"You don't…"

 

"Yes, I do. You're right about what you said, Josuke. I'm already in one of the jets of the Speedwagon Foundation, so I should be there in a couple of hours". 

 

"Ok, see you then". 

 

Josuke hanged up. A couple of hours… Hopefully nothing would happen until then. 

 

He got out of the house to get some fresh air. Yeah, earlier he had said he felt tired. But at the same time he got restless if he stayed too much time at home. As if he was wasting valuable time or he wasn't doing enough to find Koichi and Okuyasu. That feeling was constantly with him now. He had almost gotten used to it.

 

"Hello, Josuke". 

 

That voice... It couldn't be. Suddenly, a bright light blinded him, and Josuke was sent flying, hitting the ground hard. He felt agony in his shoulder, the most intense pain he had ever experienced, and he let out a scream. 

 

"Long time no see. Though I guess it's been longer for you". 

 

Josuke turned his head, his heart beating so fast he thought it was going to burst out of his chest. 

 

"Kira?" 

Chapter Text

There he was. Yoshikage Kira. Morioh's resident serial killer and Josuke's worst nightmare. He was perfectly fine, as if he had never been ran over by an ambulance and, well, died. Get up, you idiot , his internal voice (which sounded suspiciously like Jotaro) said. You'll have time to be in shock later. 

 

Too late. Killer Queen was already throwing one of his explosive bubbles at him, and Josuke chose an old but effective trick: having Crazy Diamond destroy the floor and remake it in front of him. Josuke took a few steps back before the improvised wall was blown up, but he was still too close. 

 

The debris went flying with the speed of proyectiles. Crazy Diamond deflected most of it, but some pieces pierced him as if they were knives. One large block of stone hit him in the chest, and the force of it made him fall to the ground, breathless. 

 

"You have been such a pain, Josuke. If it wasn't for you… Oh, well. I'm going to be so glad when you're gone". 

 

"You're dead. I saw you". 

 

"I guess that makes sense for you. I remember I was on the verge of dying. Everything is a bit blurry, but I think there was something coming at me. And then, a black hole appeared in the sky, and I woke up in the middle of the street. I had some money on me, so I rented a room in a hotel and took some time to recover. That's when I realized I was one year into the future. I don't know what happened, and I don't really care actually. I'm definitely not going to reject a second chance. But to live a quiet life, first I have to get rid of my greatest obstacle". 

 

Those breaches were fucking with him. First, they took his friends and now this? Seriously? Josuke coughed. He looked at the floor and saw droplets of blood. Well, this wasn't good. 

 

Kira threw another bubble at him, but Josuke dodged it while he ran. He wasn't escaping from Kira, but trying to get to a safe place to fight. He had a plan in mind. It was desperate, but maybe it could work. 

 

He ended up crouched behind a dumpster. Where others saw trash, he saw ammunition. Disgusting ammunition, but he couldn't be picky right now. Josuke grabbed a large piece of wood. Whatever mess had happened on his shoulder didn't let him move his left arm without feeling extreme pain, but he managed to get the wood stick with his free hand. He put a bit of his blood on it and threw it at Kira's back. The psycho turned around and caught it with Killer Queen. 

 

"Do you really think the same trick is going to work on me twice? That I'm that stupid?"

 

"Actually, I do". 

 

At that moment a rock raced towards Kira and he couldn't stop it in time. It stabbed him in his back. Josuke had thrown the rock just one second after the piece of wood, knowing that Kira would be so busy enjoying his moment of glory that he wouldn't even notice. 

 

While Kira was too distracted by the pain, Josuke got out of his hideout and ran towards the psycho. Now or never. 

 

Crazy Diamond went to throw a punch, but Killer Queen blocked it just in time. Kira would never be as fast as Josuke, though. With a pained yell, Josuke used his left arm to punch Kira in the face. The man went flying and crashed against a wall. 

 

Josuke expected to see defeat or frustration in Kira's expression, but instead he wiped the blood from his mouth with a smug smile. 

 

"I told you the same trick wouldn't work on me twice".

 

Suddenly, the floor exploded. This time Josuke was the one who went flying and fell to the ground. Hard. Everything hurt, he couldn't move. His ears were ringing so much he could barely hear Kira's muffled voice:

 

"While you were hiding, I turned the ground behind me into a bomb. I know you would send me flying with your Crazy Diamond, so I wouldn't touch the floor. You're awfully predictable, Josuke".

 

Oh yes. He was. He had fallen right into the trap. In his defence, he hadn't expected to fight his resurrected enemy today. Josuke knew he couldn't win, not with his injuries. Hell, he could barely stay conscious. His own blood was blinding him, coming out of his head like a fucking fountain. 

 

"What? No witty retort? Cat got your tongue, Josuke?"

 

Kira was right beside him forming a new bubble on his hand. Then he gasped and looked down. A knife was stuck in his foot, pinning it to the floor. 

 

"There are very interesting things in the trash" Josuke said with a devilish smile. 

 

Then he ran. And this time he was definitely escaping. His last move should have bought him some time, since Kira wouldn't be able to walk properly. But Josuke knew he wouldn't get very far with his injuries. Everything was blurry and he could barely walk straight. If only Okuyasu was here, like last time... 

 

And suddenly he saw it. As if the heavens had opened for him. A motorbike, not much different than the one he had used to get away from Highway Star. He hopped onto it and used Crazy Diamond to start it. He rode as fast as he could. The bike wobbled every now and then because his couldn't hold it well with his useless left arm. He almost fell off it a couple of times, actually. That's why he didn't go to the main streets even though it would be much faster. He didn't want to cause an accident. After riding for what seemed like an eternity, the bike stopped. Josuke looked at the fuel gauge. Empty. Of course. 

 

Josuke got off and his knees immediately gave out. He collapsed facedown on the street, without strength to move. Everything hurt so much, and breathing was such an effort... But he had to get up. He had to tell someone that Kira was back. 

 

The truth is Josuke had always felt some satisfaction about defeating Kira. Like at least his life had been worth it for taking that psycho off the streets. But now he was back. And that meant the sacrifices not only him, but so many others, like Reimi had done, had been in vain. So much death for nothing. Josuke clenched his fists. Slowly, he got on his knees. He started to stand up when everything went black for a moment and he found himself on the floor again. Shit, he thought, tears of frustration starting to form in his eyes. 

 

Then, he heard a distant ringing. After a while, he realized it was his phone. His mom had gotten him one of those new portatil phones because she wanted him to be safe and call her if he was in any trouble. Oh, the irony. He almost had a heart attack when she told him she had used the money he had earned in the lottery with Shige... 

 

He got the phone out of his pocket. 

 

"Josuke, I'm already in Morioh. Meet me at the hotel".

 

"Jo..." when had his voice become so hoarse? "Jotaro". 

 

"What happened? Where are you?" 

 

"Kira... He's back. You have to stop him". 

 

"Fucking hell. Josuke, just tell me where you are". 

 

"He is at the Unisha street. He must still be around..." he had to stop to cough another glob of blood. "around there". 

 

"That's not the priority right now".

 

"Of course it is! He'll kill more... more people". 

 

Couldn't Jotaro just see it? If he came to help him, Kira would be gone. Again.

 

"Eventually, yes. But he won't act right now". 

 

"You can't know that". 

 

"I'll take the risk". 

 

"You never take risks". 

 

"I will, in this case. And the more you delay this, the more chances Kira has of escaping".

 

Josuke laughed. 

 

"You can be really annoying sometimes, Jotaro". 

 

"I can hear the sea. Are you at the piers?" 

 

Josuke looked around. He hadn't even realized where he was. But now that Jotaro mentioned it, he saw he was surrounded by containers and the sea was close. He could see a glimpse of it from his position. 

 

"Yeah, I think". 

 

A loud sound of engines was heard over the line. 

 

"So, how is Kira back exactly?" 

 

Josuke smiled. They could have differences and arguments, but Jotaro always believed his stories no matter how outlandish they were. Any other person would have said, or at least suggested, that maybe Josuke had confused another person with Kira. Hell, it would have been normal for him to have a bit of PTSD. 

 

But not Jotaro. He just took it in stride and interrogated him about the encounter. It was nice and...

 

"Josuke!" 

 

The highschooler flinched. When had he fallen asleep?

 

"I'm here. Don't shout". 

 

"I'm almost there. Just keep talking". 

 

"I bet that's something you never thought you would say". 

 

"Yare yare daze. What a moment to joke".

 

Suddenly, the wind started to blow. Just before him, a breach appeared. Josuke wasn't even surprised at this point. 

 

"What's that?" Jotaro asked. 

 

"What do you think?"

 

"Shit. Try to hold onto something! I'm almost there". 

 

"Jotaro, I don't have… enough strength. I barely held on when I was fine. Also, nothing to actually hold onto here". 

 

"Goddamnit". 

 

"You know… don't… don't get me wrong this su… sucks, but it could be good". 

 

"What?" 

 

"Maybe this takes me where Koichi and Okuyasu are". 

 

"That's a stupid idea".

 

"Well, I've never had smart ones anyway". 

 

"Don't do it". 

 

"Tell my mom I'm sorry". 

 

"Josuke!" 

 

And then the phone slipped out of Josuke's hand into the void that was closer and closer with each second. He hadn't lied to Jotaro. The containers were the only thing he could hold onto, but they were too far away. 

 

But maybe he wouldn't do it even if he could and had enough strength. It was a crazy plan, but if there was an opportunity of finding his friends he would take it, no matter how small it was. Wasn't this the chance he had been waiting for the last month?

 

"Afraid, Josuke Higashikata?" 

 

"You could show yourself, you know? It's not like I can do anything to you now. And are you always gonna greet me with the same sentence?" 

 

"Anyone would be scared in your place". 

 

He was no different in that regard. He had no idea where he would end up, after all. But he was also determined to get his friends, no matter what.

 

"Where am I going?"

 

"Oh, you'll see". 

 

"You are a really annoying person". 

 

"Who said I'm a person?" 

 

"What?" 

 

But the vortex was already sucking him in. The last thing he heard was:

 

"A cycle, Josuke. Everything is a cycle". 

Chapter Text

Josuke fell to the floor, right on his injured shoulder. He let out a cry of pain. He was so cold suddenly. Maybe it was the blood loss. When he opened his eyes (when had he closed them?) he realized. He was lying down in the middle of a forest. The grass was frozen, covered with a thick layer of snow. Josuke couldn't stop trembling. At least the stars were shining above him, it was a beautiful sight. And a weird one taking into account that he had been in a bright spring day just a until a few moments ago. 

He looked around to take stock of his surroundings, and then he saw it. A brown old car (A Honda, Josuke remembered. It was a Honda) half buried in the snow. A woman in the front seat, crying and pushing the steering wheel. A sweating kid in the seat next to her, panting and almost unconscious.

Everything is a cycle, huh? That motherfucker definitely had a twisted sense of humor

Josuke slowly stood up, and it was the hardest thing he had done in his life. Trying not to trip, he stood behind the car. 

"What do you want? Go away!" 

Something twisted inside Josuke when he heard the fear in her voice. 

"Your kid is sick, right?" he said. "I'll push your car for you".

She looked at him, tracking all his movements,but he ignored her. He didn't even look at her. He just couldn't. 

"Hurry up and step on the gas", he said.

She was looking at him bewildered like she didn't believe a man had come out of nowhere to save them. Josuke understood her. He still didn't quite believe it either.

"Once you get moving, don't stop. Just keep going, or your tires will get stuck in the snow again". 

Just saying that sentence without any pause left him breathless. But he couldn't show weakness. She would want to help him if she saw he was hurt. He got his jacket off to move better. 

He put both hands on the car and Crazy Diamond pushed. Josuke growled and bit his lip until he could taste blood, but he didn't scream. The car got out of the snow and drove off, just like he knew it would. 

"Thank you!" she yelled, waving a hand out of the window.

The car disappeared into the fog. 

"Love you, mom". 

Josuke collapsed on the floor, too tired to move. Would that be the last time he saw his mom? His last conversation with her had been an argument. He had yelled at her so much lately… What an idiot he was. 

Then he realized he was just in the middle of the road and a car could run him over. Not that he thought many would pass by this place, but still. Josuke rolled over and dragged himself to the edge of the road. Every movement was torture, but goddamn it, he wasn't going to die ran over like a rat. 

After what seemed like an eternity, he got to the edge of the road, panting. At least he was as safe as he could be. If only he could get to the city... But his stupid body wouldn't move an inch. He had also dragged his jacket with him, and he covered himself with it, like a blanket. He wanted to curl up, but he preferred not to jostle his body anymore. So he stayed still, trembling all over and watching the snowflakes fall while he got colder and colder. Eventually, the shivering stopped until he couldn't feel the pain anymore.

Then he heard the sound of a car engine. It was the first car that passed by this place after mo... No, not thinking about that right now. Were those sirens? Now that the car was getting closer, Josuke realized it was a police car. Shit, he definitely needed to stop it. 

"Crazy Diamond". 

He made his Stand pick some of the snow and turn it into a ball. It wasn't easy. He hadn't done that since he was a kid (and he couldn't actually feel his fingers), but the ball was half decent. The car was only a few meters away when Crazy Diamond threw the ball. 

Bullseye. Right in the windshield. The car immediately stopped and the door opened. A person wearing a police uniform got out. Josuke was half buried in the snow at this point and he knew it was highly possible that the officer wouldn't even see him. 

"Hey!" 

But his voice was so low that it got lost on the blizzard. Then the officer got a flashlight out of his pocket and turned it on, revealing a face Josuke never thought he would see again. 

"Grandpa?" 

His mom had probably called him about the strange man alone in the forest. Josuke almost wished she hadn't. 

"There is no Stand that can bring back dead people", Jotaro had told him. But maybe Josuke could warn him now? Maybe he could save him. Or maybe this had already happened and nothing would change. But he had to try. This was the chance to fix his worst mistake.

He made Crazy Diamond pick up another snowball and throw it. The ball fell short, but it was enough for his grandad to notice. 

"Who's there?" 

"He… Here" his cracked voice was barely audible, but his granddad noticed. 

He turned around and walked towards Josuke. God, he looked so young... And in that moment, Josuke felt how the ground opened.

"No, no, please. Not now. Please!" 

But no matter how much he begged, no one listened to him.

The soft grass changed to hrd concrete. And the cold night was replaced by a merciless sun. Josuke felt a pressure on his chest that had nothing to do with the pain. 

The noise got him out of his thoughts. Lots of people talking, some laughs. When was the last time he laughed? Then, Josuke looked around. He was in an alley, and the noise was coming down the street. If he got there, he could get help. The thought was enough to fuel him up. He used the wall to support him, and he got... Well, not all the way up, but it was enough. Each step was an odyssey to him, but he made it to the main street. And he instantly realized he wasn't in Japan anymore. People were wearing strange clothes (ok, maybe he wasn't one to talk in that aspect) and the language was completely unfamiliar to him. 

Whatever, he didn't even care at that point. He Just collapsed on the street. He saw a group of men walking towards him and the last thing he thought was: That hat looks familiar. And then, everything went finally black.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure the kid doesn't have an ID or something on him?" Polnareff asked.

"For the hundredth time, Polnareff" Avdol replied. "No".

"Nothing, except 500 yen" Kakyoin added.

After finding the stranger, the Crusaders decided that bringing him to the hotel they were staying at was the best solution. They would have taken him to the hospital, but they preferred not to be seen in such a vulnerable place. If an enemy attacked, he could hurt a lot of innocent people. And it was obvious the kid had been beaten up. Whoever had done it didn't hold back and they might still be looking for him. In that case, the hospital would be the first place they would go. 

So once in the hotel, they had called a private (and not too legal) doctor to see him. Before he even arrived though, Avdol had noticed the boy's lips were slightly blue. The Egyptian had touched his forehead and immediately taken his hand off. The guy had been as cold as a block of ice. 

"We're in the middle of the fucking desert!" Polnareff had remarked. "That's not normal". 

"Thanks for the input" Joseph had said sarcastically to which Polnareff had answered giving him the finger. 

Thankfully, one of the members of their group had a very handy fire Stand (and was more mature than some). Avdol just had sat  down beside the stranger warming him up with Magician's Red. Of course after loudly proclaiming that this was an exception, and didn't mean the others could use him as a heater from now on. When the doctor had finally arrived, at least the kid had been normal as he could be. The Crusaders were not in the mood to give an explanation of how someone could get hypothermia in Egypt.

The main problem was that the kid had lost a lot of blood, mainly from a wound on his head and a especially gruesome one on his shoulder. It looked like it had been burned and most of the gang grimaced when they saw it. The rest of his body was covered with smaller wounds, as if several things had pierced him. The doctor had also told them that he had some bruised, possibly even broken, ribs. 

"I don't know how he managed to even walk two steps, honestly" the doctor had said. "He should be fine with rest though the broken ribs and the shoulder will need time to heal". 

Almost one day later (which wasn't that surprising, given the extent of his injuries) there they were, waiting for the mysterious teenager to wake up.

"What the hell was he doing with nothing but 500 yen in the middle of Cairo?" Joseph wondered. "This is so weird".

"It's still not our problem. We are losing time with this".

"Not really, Jotaro" Avdol said. "We haven't found any clues about the mansion and, at this point, I think it's better to investigate any strange occurrences. If this is a totally normal kid doing tourism, then we'll just take him to the nearest hospital and leave it at that. But if it's something else..."

They all hoped it wasn't something else. They had gone through enough weird things for a lifetime. 

"Hey, he's waking up!" Polnareff said. 


 

Josuke opened his eyes to see a white, old ceiling. The fan above him was going round and round, but it wasn't doing much to lessen the heat. It was like an damned oven.

The pain brought him back to reality. He felt a dull throb all over his body. What had he been doing? 

Oh right. The memories came back and hit him like a truck. The last thing he remembered was passing out on a strange street. God knows where or, better, when he was. 

Trying to figure it out, he looked down and saw that his torso was completely covered with bandages and, more importantly, that his jacket was gone. Damn it, as if the day couldn't go any worse. 

"Hey, kid". 

Josuke looked to the right. A guy with red hair was standing there. He looked like he was the same age as Josuke (why the hell was he calling him kid, then?). He was also wearing a green Japanese uniform. Maybe he was in Japan after all and he had imagined everything earlier? He had heard somewhere that blood loss could produce hallucinations, and ooooh... 

He definitely hoped to be hallucinating. Because right behind the red haired guy, wearing a black uniform and giving off a menacing vibe, was Jotaro. But he looked ten years younger at least. Fuck. 

He took a deep breath, and tried to calm down. A freak out wasn't going to help at all. So a younger Jotaro, right? He could deal with that. No problem. 

"Kid? Are you listening?" 

Oh, right. He had zoned out. Well, it was normal considering the circumstances. 

"Don't call me kid". 

"Ok, sorry" the redhead said with a smile. "My name is Kakyoin. And yours?" 

"Josuke". 

He figured he could tell them their real name. It wasn't like he was the only person named Josuke in Japan. 

"Do you have a surname, Josuke?" 

"Hi..." 

And then he turned his head to the other side, and saw him. He almost didn't recognize him at first. The Joseph Joestar he knew was a senile, fragile old man, barely similar to the one who stood in front of him. Josuke couldn't identify the feeling it caused him. He just knew it was complicated and this? Oh, this he couldn't deal with. Not right now amd maybe not ever. 

"Hirana. Josuke Hirana". 

He thought (or at least he wanted to believe) that Joseph would recognize the surname Higashikata. Or maybe he was just that kind of asshole, and he wouldn't even realize, who knows? Anyway, Josuke didn't want to take the risk. 

"What or who caused you those injuries?" A guy with silver hair asked him. 

"I was mugged".

"And what are you doing in Cairo?" 

Oh, Cairo. That explained the heat.

"Tourism. I've always wanted to visit the pyramids". 

Josuke considered himself a wonderful liar. Thanks to that ability, he had managed to get himself out of quite a few problems and also earn some gambling money. And he was totally proud of it.

So he thought that if he sold the mugging story convincingly, the group would trust him. Because there was no way any of them would believe that he was from the future. And yes, he knew they were all people who basically used spiritual beings to fight. But still, everyone looked really on edge. Josuke could tell based on their tense postures. Even Kakyoin (that was his name, right?) who was the most friendly, looked ready to fight at any moment. They were clearly testing him, deciding whether he was friend or foe. 

So Josuke didn't want to know what would happen if he told a story so outlandish like time travel. Hell, this must be how Mikitaka always feels when he says he's an alien. He wasn't going to doubt the guy ever again.

"What do you know about Dio?" 

Jotaro's question left him speechless. Dio... The man responsible for the arrows that gave him so much trouble. And also the guy who caused the high fever that almost killed him as a kid. Jotaro had defeated him and that saved Josuke (even though he didn't know at the time) and Holly Joestar.

And that was all he knew about him, really. Jotaro wasn't the sharing type exactly. At the time, Josuke had been able to tell that it was a touchy subject, so he hadn't asked anything even though he was dying of curiosity. Somehow it felt like crossing a line. But then again, so many things felt like crossing a line with Jotaro.  

"I don't know who you're talking about" Josuke said, but he knew it was too late. 

"Star Platinum!" 

Oh, great. Just what he needed. In normal circumstances he was sure he could stop Star Platinum. But he was still weak from the fight against Kira, so he just jumped out of the bed... and landed on his ass. Really graceful. Way to make an impression, Josuke.

"You saw Star Platinum" a guy who looked like some kind of weird guru said. "That means you're a Stand user and you're obviously lying to us". 

Right away, everyone got their Stands out and it was a terrifying sight (was that a freaking silver knight, really?). So yeah, maybe Josuke would take the risk and tell the truth. Ok, not the whole truth, but the at least the basics. 

"Ok, fine! My name is Josuke, not lying about that, and yes I'm a Stand user. The truth is I'm here to find my friends". 

"Your friends?"

"Yes. Their names are Okuyasu and Koichi. They're both Japanese too and they're probably wearing high school uniforms like me. I guess you haven't seen them?" 

Everyone shook their heads, to Josuke's disappointment. 

"Are your friends Stand users too?" Kakyoin asked with a worried expression. 

"Yes, and really strong. But they disappeared suddenly. No one has seen them for a month". 

"And you are in Cairo, of all places, to look for them?" Jotaro said with disbelief. 

Oh, right. He hadn't thought about how to justify that. 

"Maybe Dio took them for his army" Polnareff said. 

"Right, exactly!" Josuke was going to seize the opportunity. "That's the only logical theory I have. And that's why I'm here". 

"And how do you even know Dio is here?" Avdol said.

"Rumors" Josuke shrugged casually, with the expertise of an Oscar winning actor. "There are a lot of Stand users around and many have heard about Dio". 

The group fell silent while they all looked at each other, uncertainty written on their faces. Meanwhile, Josuke felt as if his heart was going to stop at any moment. 

"Well, it sounds plausible" Polnareff said. 

"It sounds like an enemy" Jotaro said. 

Josuke almost flinched when he heard the lack of trust in Jotaro's voice. Of course it was normal. For this Jotaro, he was a stranger. Thinking about it, maybe Jotaro was a stranger to him too. Sure, his nephew (still weird to say) had told him about Dio. But he had never told him it happened in Cairo or that he had other people helping him. Hell, he hadn't even mentioned Joseph had been involved. What the hell?

Sure, Josuke knew he was a reserved and secretive guy, but they were supposed to be family. Families told each other secrets. It was true Josuke hadn't even known his paternal family until last year. If he was to be honest, he had always felt like a bit of an impostor. As if he didn't belong. The bastard son.

Maybe it wasn't the best moment to let those feelings come to light, though.

"It sounds like a solid story" Avdol said. "But it's true we can't let our guard down". 

At that moment, Josuke's vision got blurred. He was about to fall down when Joseph's hand supported him. Josuke got frozen to the spot.

"Liar or not" Joseph said, "it seems this kid needs rest and some food. I don't think he is gonna attack us now".

"You are being too optimistic, old man" Jotaro said. 

"I'll stay to watch over him, then" Kakyoin suggested. "You go find some clues about the mansion". 

Jotaro was about to open his mouth, but Kakyoin continued. 

"It'll be fine. I can restrain him easily with Emerald Splash if anything happens. And honestly, something tells me he's not an enemy". 

Jotaro clearly wasn't very happy with the arrangement, but he left the room. The rest of the group followed him. 

Josuke, meanwhile, was in awe. No one interrupted Jotaro. It was like a written rule for everyone who knew him. And this Kakyoin just did it so casually. And more importantly, Jotaro didn't even care. 

It was obvious they were close. Which still left the question of why Jotaro had never told him about Kakyoin. Josuke had a very bad feeling about this. He would have thought more about it, but he fell asleep as soon as he closed his eyes. 

Chapter Text

Josuke woke up. After a second of thinking that there was something wrong with his room, the memories of what had happened came back. He really needed to stop waking up like this. 

"Are you feeling better?"

It was the redhead from earlier. Kakyoin. 

"A bit, yes". 

Kakyoin just nodded. He got up, walked towards a wardrobe in the corner and got out something Josuke thought he would never see again. 

"My jacket!" 

"Yes, it looks pretty cool. I sent it to the local tailor. It turns out it could be saved after all". 

"Wow, thanks!" 

Josuke sat up quickly. Too quickly because he felt a sudden pain on his back and he winced. 

"Careful" Kakyoin said, putting the jacket on Josuke's lap. "Your shoulder is not healed yet. That's some beating you got". 

"Yeah, I know". 

Kakyoin noticed the sudden change in Josuke's voice. 

"Sorry. It's ok if you don't want to talk about it". 

"You are a lot more understanding than the others". 

"You have to put yourself in their shoes. Since we started this trip, we haven't done anything but being attacked by Stand users, one after the other".

Josuke hummed in agreement. I guess he could see why they would be so on edge. 

"By the way" Kakyoin said, "I realize you don't know any of their names. We were a bit rude and forgot to introduce ourselves". 

"You mean they were". 

The redhead laughed.

"Yeah, that's true. Anyway, the Frenchman is Jean Pierre Polnareff".

"Oh, the one with the cool Stand".

"Please, don't tell him that. He has enough of a ego. The Egyptian is Mohammed Avdol, without him we would be completely lost in this city. The others are Joseph Joestar and his grandson, Jotaro Kujo". 

Not that Josuke needed that last bit of information, of course. 

"What are you doing here, in Cairo? You mentioned Dio". 

Of course Josuke already knew the basics, but he was after the details. 

"Yes, we have come to defeat him. And you could be a valuable ally". 

"I don't think the others trust me enough for that. Especially Jotaro". 

"That's because you lied to them at first. You should have just told them the truth". 

Oh, yeah, that would have gone well, Josuke thought. 

"So does that mean Jotaro will not throw me out of the window when he sees I'm still here?" 

Kakyoin burst out laughing.

"Great, glad my problems are amusing you" Josuke said, but without any heat behind it. 

"Very much" Kakyoin replied, still laughing. "Don't worry. Jotaro will warm up to you... With time". 

"Wow, sounds promising". 

"So, are you staying with us?" 

Josuke thought it over. He didn't know where his friends were or how to find another portal. Maybe if he explored Cairo with this weird group, he would find answers. He didn't believe it was a coincidence that he had ended up here of all places and times. 

And he would lie if he didn't admit he was curious (and worried) about what had happened between this strange group and Dio. 

"Yes, I think I will" Josuke finally answered.

"Great!" Kakyoin said, and he sounded truly happy about the idea to Josuke's surprise. "The others are taking a while to come back, but that's normal at this point". 

Josuke frowned. He knew no matter what that Jotaro and his father would be okay because he had already met them in… the future? His past? He was starting to hate time travel. It made everything so confusing. 

What if he had already changed things? Maybe he had held them back when they found him and brought him to the hotel. And that would have consequences. It was like Back to the Future, when the main character left in the past a book with all the sports results and everything had changed when he came back.

Josuke knew he shouldn't be basing his theories in a movie from the 80's, but it's not like he had much to go on. Right now his strategy was to shut up and reveal as little as possible.

"So, what's your Stand?" Kakyoin's question got him out of his thoughts.

"My Stand? Oh, yeah. Well, the thing is I can see Stands, but mine has not made an appearance yet. I've tried, but no luck".

Maybe he should try an acting career instead of medicine because Kakyoin seemed to buy it. There was a very good reason why Josuke didn't want to reveal Crazy Diamond. Many people had pointed it out at him, and he had tried to deny it for a long time. But the truth was that Crazy Diamond looked like Star Platinum.

Both were humanoid Stands with similar buff bodies. And their battle cries were practically the same. Maybe Kakyoin wouldn't take into account Crazy Diamond's physical appearance, but the moment his Stand yelled Dora! the redhead would connect the dots (at least he would be suspicious). And let's be honest, Crazy Diamond couldn't be one minute without saying the damned thing.

At that moment, the door opened and the Crusaders came through the door. Everyone looked upset, but Jotaro looked especially pissed. 

"What happened?" Kakyoin asked. 

"We came across a Stand user" Avdol said. "A very curious one". 

"His name was Darba" Joseph added.

"D'arby! It's French".

"I don't speak French, Polnareff".

"It's not that hard. How can you learn Japanese and not being..."

"So how are you, Josuke? Better?" Avdol asked while Joseph and Polnareff kept arguing.

"Yes, thanks".

"Mmm... So you didn't notice anything strange? Any of you?"

"No, why do you ask?" Kakyoin asked.

"I bet your souls".

The way Jotaro said it, as if it was the most normal thing ever, made Josuke want to punch him. 

"You bet our what?" Kakyoin repeated with a perplexed expression. 

So Avdol explained the entire story while Jotaro nodded at some parts. When he finished, the betting your souls made more sense. 

"You could have asked us if we were okay with it, you know?" Josuke said. 

"It's not as if I could leave and find a telephone booth to call you". 

Oh, right. Josuke had forgotten mobile phones were not a thing in 1989.

"And" Jotaro continued, "since you are travelling with us now, you better start to pull your weight. Our journey is dangerous and things like these happen daily. If you can't deal with it, you can go".

"How do you know I'm travelling with you?"

"Because Kakyoin loves to pick stray cats".

"Hey! That's not true".

Jotaro's deadpan stare made Josuke burst out laughing while Kakyoin looked flustered. It was the first time he had laughed in a long time. 

Polnareff and Joseph stopped arguing in the background when they heard the ruckus.

 "Hey, what's happening here?" Joseph asked.

Josuke looked at him. Seeing him so young still weirded him out.

"Did you already stop behaving like a child?" Jotaro said.

"Excuse me, I'll let you know I'm a very mature person".

Josuke huffed. And everyone looked at him. Shit, he should really try to control his reactions if he was going to spend time with these people.

"See?" Jotaro said. "Even the new guy who just  met you agrees".

"Whatever. That's no way of talking to your grandpa!" 

Jotaro kept his deadpan look (he didn't look to have much range besides that). 

"Did the guy tell you anything about Dio's mansion?" Kakyoin asked, probably to diffuse the tension.

"Not really" Joseph said. "Jotaro left him in such a state that we couldn't get anything out of him". 

"Yeah, thanks a lot, Jotaro!" Polnareff yelled sarcastically.

"Yare yare daze. The next time I'll just let you all die".

"Well, I don't know about you, but this whole business has left me exhausted and starving" Avdol said. "Does someone want to come to the restaurant?" 

"Now you're talking!" Joseph said with enthusiasm. "Are you coming, Josuke? You need to restore your strength". 

The last thing Josuke wanted to do was spending time with the young version of his father. It would be so awkward he couldn't bear it. 

"I'm not very hungry, but thanks". 

Then, his treacherous stomach decided to rumble. Betrayed by his own body, oh the irony. 

"Ok, now you're definitely coming" Joseph said laughing. "Don't worry, the food is really good."

Josuke sighed internally, but there was no escaping now. He preferred to fight against a hundred Stand users than spending time with Joseph Joestar. 

Well, Josuke thought, it's only lunch. What's the worse that can happen? 

Hours later, Josuke would make the solemn promise of never asking that question ever again

Chapter Text

Kakyoin had offered to get Josuke a wheelchair, but he adamantly refused. He needed to keep some of his dignity. Also, he really needed to stretch his legs. He assured everyone he would be fine, but he needed a moment alone. 

And it was true. He really needed to breathe and take into account everything that had happened. He had time travelled. Josuke still couldn't believe it. And he had ended up in one of the worst possible times. 

He got out of the bed and he soon realized refusing Kakyoin's offer had been a mistake. Everything got upside down, and he fell to the floor. Josuke closed his eyes and just stayed there with his back against the foot of the bed. He breathed in and out slowly, just like his mom had taught him when she had gone through that phase of being obsessed with yoga. 

Shit, thinking about his mom was a really bad idea. He tried to push those thoughts from his head, but it was too late. He could only think about her because what if he never came back and oh god his mom didn't even know what had happened to him. And Kira was still on the loose, what if...

"Hey, are you ok?" 

Josuke opened his eyes to find a worried Joseph looking at him. 

"Yes, I'm fine" even Josuke realized his trembling voice wasn't very convincing. 

"You don't look fine. You should listen to Kakyoin and get the wheelchair". 

"Why are you here anyway?" Josuke asked, annoyed. 

"Because I recognize a stubborn idiot when I see one. Now I live surrounded by them, so I have practice" Joseph grinned. 

"You don't seem much better than them". 

"Never said I was. And I was even worse at their age. Come on, let me help you up". 

Joseph offered him his hand, not unlike how Josuke had done the first time they met. 

"I can get up by myself". 

"As you wish. Come on, let's get some food into you. You'll feel much better when you've eaten". 

Josuke and Joseph got out of the room and walked to the lift. 

"I can use the stairs" Josuke said. 

"Nonsense. And the lift is faster".

Josuke really didn't want to be trapped with Joseph trying to start an awkward conversation, but he couldn't find any good excuse. So they got into the lift. They were in the last floor, so going down would take a while. Josuke looked at the walls, the ceiling, and basically everything except for Joseph. Unfortunately, the old man had never been able to keep his mouth shut for long.

"You can look at me, kid. I don't bite". 

Josuke rolled his eyes. 

"Again, my name is Josuke, not kid". 

"Ha ha, sorry about that. It's just that you look young enough to be my grandson!" 

Or your son, idiot, Josuke thought. 

"How old are you anyway?" Joseph asked. 

"Seventeen". 

"Just like Jotaro, then. You're too young to be travelling alone, especially trying to take Dio down by yourself". 

"You don't know anything about me". 

Wow, that came out more bitter than he intended. But it seemed Joseph didn't notice it or maybe he just didn't care. 

"That's what I'm trying to change. So, what about your family? Do they know you're here?" 

"My mom has no idea I'm here". 

"And your dad?"

"He's never been around". 

"Oh, sorry to hear that". 

If he said one more word, Josuke was pretty sure he would punch him in the face. When was this fucking lift reaching the ground floor?

As if someone had heard him, there was a sudden jerk and the lift stopped. Only the doors didn't open and the lights went out. 

"I guess we're not on the ground floor" Josuke said. 

"No, the ride usually takes longer". 

"Great". The sarcasm oozed out of his voice. "Now what?" 

"Hermit Purple!" 

Joseph summoned his Stand and used it to open the doors. Just as they had guessed, they were between floors. A narrow crack let access to one of the floors. It wasn't very big, but it was enough for one person to crawl to the other way. 

Crawl. With broken ribs. This was going to be fun.

"I'll go first". 

After that, Joseph climbed to the spot and got through without many problems. The same could not be said for Josuke. He also climbed, but an intense pain came from his ribs, and he hissed. 

"Do you need help?" Joseph offered. 

"No, I'm fine. I can do it myself". 

"I guessed you would say that". 

"Why do you ask, then?" 

"Someday you might say something different" Joseph said with a grin. 

He's unbelievable, Josuke thought. After some more hissing and huffing, he managed to get out of the lift. He sat down on the floor, panting.

"Damn, you're a stubborn kid" Joseph said. "It's ok to ask for help, you know?"

Josuke clenched his fists to keep them from punching Joseph. Help? Seriously? Where were you when I was growing up? He wanted to scream. When I really needed help? When kids made fun of me for not having a dad? You only appeared when you were too old for me to even be angry at you

"This must be the third floor" Joseph added, "since all the door numbers start with 3. At least we're not very far from the ground floor. We just have to use the stairs at the other end of the halfway". 

"Oh, you mean the long, dark and not at all suspicious halfway?" Josuke said. 

"Come on, don't be dramatic. We just have to turn the lights on. Problem solved. Didn't you want to use the stairs before? Wish granted". 

Joseph went to the switch that was just beside the lift. He moved it up and down, but no light turned on. 

"So it doesn't work" Joseph said. 

"You don't say". 

"Well, it's only like ten meters. What's the worst that could happen?" 

"An enemy Stand?" 

"Maybe it's just a random power cut. Let's hope it is, at least". 

Josuke seriously doubted it, but he had to agree with Joseph for once. He wasn't in any condition to fight and he wasn't on the mood either. They walked down the halfway slowly and looking at all the doors. But nothing or no one came out. 

Josuke let out a sigh of relief. He was about to reach the stairs when he heard one of the floorboards crack. Both him and Joseph turned around quickly and Josuke got frozen on the spot. 

"Koichi?" 

There he was, so close Josuke could touch him. He looked exactly like in Morioh. He was even wearing the same high school clothes. But his… 

Josuke shook his head. It was like a miracle. He had finally found one of his friends, something that seemed so far away just a few moments ago. Maybe this nightmare would finally come to an end. He took a step forward.

"Josuke, stop".

Joseph was staring at Koichi threateningly, and Josuke realized what he was thinking. 

"He's not an enemy" he explained hurriedly. "He's my friend. Don't hurt him". 

"Echoes Act 3!"

Josuke immediately pushed Joseph out of the way. Before he realized it he was glued to the floor. He tried to get up, but a heavy weight was pushing him down, suffocating him and he couldn't breath. 

"Koichi!" he yelled. 

Koichi's eyes were different. Empty. Josuke had noticed the moment he saw his friend, but he had just ignored it, he had told himself it was his imagination because he was so afraid of what it might mean. 

"Koichi, this is not you" Even speaking was a huge effort, but Josuke had to get to him. "I don't know what's happened, but if you kill me, you'll regret it someday. Because you're the most generous and kind person I've ever met. You won't be able to live with yourself" The tears he had repressed for so long came to his eyes. "Please, just wake up. Let's go home, Koichi. Please".

But Koichi kept looking at him with those lifeless eyes. 

"Hermit Purple!" 

"No, don't!" Josuke yelled. 

But Joseph didn't listen to him. Hermit Purple shot out towards Koichi who immediately took a step back, but not before the vines made a cut on Echoes' cheek. Koichi hissed and made a run for the lift. 

"Koichi!" 

As soon as Echoes' power disappeared, Josuke got up. He was about to go after Koichi when he felt a pull that almost made him trip. Joseph was grabbing him by the collar of the jacket, stopping him. 

"It's dangerous. His Stand is powerful and you're still weak". 

"I don't care!" Josuke said. "I'm not abandoning him. He would never do it to me". 

Josuke shook Joseph's grip and ran to the lift. The doors were open, but there was no one inside. The emergency hatch on the roof was open, so Koichi had probably used it to escape. He was gone. Somehow the second time hurt even more.

"I'm sorry, Josuke" Joseph said. "We'll find him again". 

"Shut up. I don't wanna hear it". 

"Josuke..." 

"No! I told you not to attack him. I could've made him listen". 

"You couldn't have. Dio put a flesh bud inside of him. It's not just simple mind control".

"A flesh bud? Can it be taken out?" He didn't know what he would do if Joseph said no. 

"It's hard, but Jotaro can. He did it with Kakyoin and Polnareff" He then put both hands on Josuke's shoulders. "We'll save your friends, I promise". 

Josuke just nodded, afraid he would break down completely if he tried to speak. He was just so relieved. This meant there was hope. Koichi was still inside that lifeless facade, and he could go back to being the friend Josuke had always known. He had been so, so afraid thinking he had lost Koichi forever. Then, he saw Joseph was turning towards the stairs.  

"Joseph?" 

"What?"

"Thank you".

"Anytime, Josuke". 

Joseph grinned and for the first time, Josuke smiled back. 

Chapter Text

"So your friends are under Dio's influence?" 

While Joseph and Josuke had their encounter with Koichi, the others had been in the restaurant of the hotel. The fight had been really short, so they didn't even realize something might have happened to the duo until they appeared in the restaurant with Josuke looking like he had seen a ghost.

"I didn't see Okuyasu, but the same thing probably happened to him".

And yeah, Josuke didn't really want to think about how terrifying that idea was. The Hand was a really powerful Stand, and used by a mind controlled Okuyasu...

"How strong are their Stands?" 

Apparently, Avdol had the same idea. 

"I already told you about Koichi". 

"And the other one?" 

"We don't know if he has been brainwashed yet". 

Josuke was actually reluctant to tell them about the Hand. This group didn't know Okuyasu. They didn't know he had a heart of gold, and he would sacrifice everything for their friends. How he always cheered Josuke up when he had a bad day or how they spent endless summer evenings at Tonio's restaurant, or trying to sneak into the pachinko parlors.

No, all they would see is an enemy. And that scared Josuke.

"What's his Stand?" Avdol repeated. 

"I don't have to..."

But he was interrupted by Jotaro. 

"We're not gonna kill him. I can't promise you he won't be hurt, but we will not kill him". 

"Don't make empty promises, Jotaro" Avdol said. "Maybe the fight will get tough". 

"What if the fight had gotten tough with Kakyoin?" Polnareff interrupted. "Or me? What if you had killed me when we fought?" 

Avdol and Polnareff stared at each other. Sometimes, a look was worth a thousand words. 

"Fine" Avdol finally admitted with a sigh. "You're right, Jean Pierre. But fights are unpredictable, and I don't want to get his hopes up". 

"If we start killing people indiscriminately we're no better than Dio" Jotaro said. 

Josuke could practically feel Jotaro's determination. It was one that he had seen many times before. And it was the best assurance Josuke could have. 

"Thanks, Jotaro". 

Jotaro looked at him (Josuke could have sworn he looked mildly surprised). 

"I'm only using common sense". 

"Yeah, with Polnareff we don't have much left" Joseph, who had been silent until that moment, added. 

"What the hell, old man?! Who do you think you are..." 

Joseph and Polnareff got into another argument. Josuke rolled his eyes and kept eating. He was getting used to these kinds of scenes. 

 "Hey, Josuke". 

Avdol had quietly moved to the chair beside Josuke. 

"I didn't mean to offend you" the Egyptian explained. "I just..."

"Don't want to give me false hope. I know. I know a thousand things could happen, but... But they're not only my friends. For me, they're also my family. They have saved my life countless times. Now it's my turn to save theirs". 

"Yes, I know the feeling" Avdol said, looking at the rest of the table with a fond smile. Then, he focused his attention on Josuke again. "I promise you I will do everything I can to save your friends". 

Josuke nodded. And then Kakyoin entered the room. He had left to get lunch in another place. Josuke couldn't blame him. These guys were noisy. He would probably want a moment alone if he had been travelling with them for weeks. 

"Joseph, Polnareff, we have important things to do". 

Kakyoin's words cut the discussion immediately.

"Right" Joseph said. "We have to find the mansion today or it might be too late". 

"There are some zones we have not explored yet" Avdol remarked. "Especially the south of the city. We could ask more people there". 

"Let's go, then" Jotaro said. "Time is running out". 

They all nodded seriously, remembering the harsh situation they were in, and stood up. 

"I don't think you should be moving so soon, Josuke" Kakyoin said. 

"Yes, he's right" Joseph added. "The doctor said you  could have broken ribs, and you lost a lot of blood". 

"I feel better now that I have eaten, I'm fine". 

He didn't know why, but Joseph's concern towards him annoyed him. Some of that must have filtered in his voice because Joseph shrugged and raised his hands. 

"Ok, it was just a suggestion. Stubborn as always. So, why don't we split up and keep searching for clues?" 

"And if a Stand user attacks us?" Avdol asked. 

"I know it's dangerous, but we can't afford to lose  any time". 

They all agreed and so, they went their separate ways. 


Three hours later, Josuke was feeling like a roasted chicken while he asked people about the mansion, Koichi and Okuyasu. Of course his questions had been useless. Everyone either shook their heads apologetically or just ignored him. 

And Josuke had started to feel tired half an hour ago. He supposed it was a sign that he wasn't at 100 percent yet. As much as he would like to go on, he needed a break. 

He sat on the floor with his back against the wall, enjoying the shadow the canopies offered him. Josuke didn't understand how people could live with this heat. He hadn't been long in Cairo, but he already hated the weather. 

A moan got him out of his thoughts. Josuke turned his head towards the sound saw a dog coming out from the alley. He was practically dragging himself through the floor, leaving a bloody trail behind him. Josuke was raging. What kind of person could do that to a dog? 

Josuke got up with a grunt and walked towards the dog. The animal looked at him suspiciously and took a step back. Josuke frowned. For being a dog, he looked oddly smart. 

"I'm not gonna hurt you, I promise". 

The dog still didn't look very convinced, but he stopped moving. Then, Josuke knelt before him and touched his flank with Crazy Diamond. The dog started to growl as soon as the Stand appeared. He tried to get away, but Crazy Diamond's firm hands stopped him. Josuke was really surprised. Obviously the dog had seen his Stand, or at least he had sensed it. He had never seen any kind of animal do that. 

And it confirmed his suspicions that this wasn't normal dog. In a few seconds, all the dog's wounds were healed. The first thing he did was jump and look at himself, and then at Josuke, with a perplexed expression.

"See? That wasn't so bad, was it?" Josuke said with a smile.

The dog huffed, but nodded which Josuke took as a thanks.

"Iggy!"

Josuke turned around. Polnareff was running towards them.

"My name is not Iggy, idiot!" Josuke said.

"I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to the dog".

"The dog?"

Iggy was looking at Polnareff with such an annoyed expression that Josuke had to make an effort not to laugh. 

"Oh, so is he with you?" Josuke asked. "I didn't think you were a dog person".

"Of course I am, I love dogs. But this is not a dog, this is just a pain in the ass that keeps making my life impossible" then he added to Iggy. "We're only keeping you because of your Stand". 

"No way! You have a Stand?" Iggy nodded. "Coolest dog ever!"

"Yeah, make him have an even bigger ego. Just what we need".

Iggy smiled devilishly and jumped at Polnareff's head. And then, to Josuke's disbelief, he peed. Right into his face. Josuke was rolling on the floor laughing while Polnareff cursed the dog. After he was done, Iggy jumped back to the ground. Josuke put his hand up in the air for a high five, and Iggy slapped it with his paw.

"Oh, now you two are best buddies. Great" Polnareff said. "And where were you anyway, you Hellhound?" 

Iggy's eyes widened as if he had just remembered something. He started to bark and point frantically towards the end of the alley. 

"What does that mean? I don't speak dog!" 

"I think he wants us to follow him" Josuke said. 

"I got that. What I'm wondering is why". 

Iggy growled, exasperated, and then ran towards one of the market stands. He came back with a stick between his teeth which he used to draw three letters on the sandy floor. 

"Dio?! You found the mansion?" Polnareff yelled. 

Iggy nodded and then started to run. 

"Iggy, wait!" Polnareff said. "We need to find the others first. I'm not fighting Dio alone. I'm not that stupid". 

Iggy stopped and, after considering it for a moment, he turned around towards Polnareff and Josuke. 

"So that's it?" Josuke asked. "We find the others, go to the mansion and fight Dio?" 

"Nothing else we can do" Polnareff said, shrugging. "And we're running out of time". 

Josuke gulped. Jotaro had not told him much (big surprise there), but Dio seemed really powerful. Yes, Jotaro had defeated him, but at what cost? Josuke had been thinking, and as secretive as his nephew was, there was no way he would leave people that were so important to him like Kakyoin out of the story. Unless it hurt too much. Josuke knew he wouldn't like to talk about Okuyasu and Koichi if they were both dead. 

Knowing something so awful  was going to happen made Josuke even more tense. He promised to himself that consequences be damned, he wouldn't let anyone die if he could avoid it. Who knows? Maybe Jotaro will be happier when Josuke comes back to his time. If he manages to find a way to do it. 

Well, whatever. He'll cross that bridge when he comes to it. 

"Oh, putain , come on!" 

Josuke didn't need to speak French to know that didn't mean anything good. When he walked around the corner, he saw what had upset Polnareff so much. The street was closed.

"What do we do now?" Josuke asked.

"We'll have to take the longer way. What a mess. Just be on your guard, ok?"

Josuke nodded. They walked in a comfortable silence for a while, looking around in case an enemy appeared. But if there was one thing Josuke shared with Joseph was that he couldn't stay quiet for long. 

"Hey, Polnareff. How did you join this fight? Why do you want to fight Dio?"

Polnareff stared at him for a few seconds and Josuke was afraid he had screwed up. But then the Frenchman smiled.

"It was pure coincidence, at first. Dio managed to control me with one of his buds. I attacked Avdol and after a really disputed fight, don't listen to what he tells you, he barely managed to defeat me. That's the only version of it".

"Are you sure?" Josuke teased him.

"Yes, I am! I'm a much better fighter than that pompous Egyptian. He just caught me with my guard down and I was brainwashed. It wasn't a fair fight".

"Ok, ok. I believe you".

"Anyway, then I joined them because..." Polnareff's joyous expression suddenly vanished. "A Stand user killed my sister a few months ago".

Josuke stayed silent. He really didn't know what to say.

"I was obsessed with getting revenge. Eventually, I found him. He was one of Dio's lackeys. I even ditched the group without thinking twice, you know?" Josuke's didn't like Polnareff's self deprecating smile at all. "Things got really bad, and I thought I had fucked up for good. Eventually I killed that motherfucker, but I realized there are more important things than revenge. Revenge is not gonna bring my sister back. That's what these friends have taught me and why I'm with them now. Dio is evil and must be stopped. They're gonna do it with or without me, so I prefer to be with them. I owe them that much".

"That's quite a story". 

"I guess so". 

"I'm sorry about your sister". 

"It's ok. Sometimes, I feel like she's watching over me. I know it might sound stupid". 

"Nah, it's not. I actually kinda know how you feel. A Stand user killed my grandpa" Josuke said. "It was my fault. I knew he was dangerous, you know? But he had such a shitty Stand that I got cocky. And… and when I realized he was…"

Then he felt a hand upon his shoulder. Polnareff was looking at him with an understanding expression. 

"Josuke, it's not your fault. The only one who's at blame here is the one who killed him. And I'm pretty sure your grandpa wouldn't want you to blame yourself like that".

Josuke realized he had talked way too much. 

"Oh, my god! I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have dumped this on you. I don't know where that came from. It happened a year ago". 

"It doesn't matter how much time it passes. That thing about time healing everything is bullshit. Talking about though might help a bit".

It did, actually. Josuke felt more free now, like he had gotten rid of a weight he hadn't realized he had in the first place. 

He didn't know why he had chosen Polnareff of all people. Maybe because he knew he could understand him, having experienced a similar loss and, most importantly, guilt about it. Okuyasu was the only one he knew who had gone through something similar, but it had never felt right to talk to him about this. His brother's death was still a raw wound for Okuyasu, and Josuke didn't want to stir bad memories.

"Thanks, Polnareff".

"Anytime".

Suddenly, Iggy bit him in the ankle and made him take a step back.

"Oi, Iggy, what the hell?"

At that moment, a pile of rocks fell from one of the roofs directly when he had just been. Josuke had time to avoid them, but... 

"Polnareff!"

Chapter Text

More rocks were falling, but Josuke got between Polnareff and the avalanche. Crazy Diamond deflected all the stones without any problems. They were too slow for Josuke. Then, he crouched beside Polnareff and checked his breathing. It was regular, just like his heartbeat. Even though he was unconscious, it seemed like the only damage was a gash on his head. Thank god , Josuke thought. I'm doing a really crappy job protecting these people . Josuke let out of a relieved sigh, which was short lived because almost immediately Iggy barked again. 

He turned around and saw a bullet flying towards him. He stopped it just a few centimetres off his face. His heart was beating like crazy. If Iggy had not warned him, he would be dead. 

"Where's the Stand user, Iggy?" 

The dog pointed at the end of the street. A man with the most ridiculous cowboy outfit Josuke had ever seen got out from behind the corner.

"You weren't supposed to be here! Damn Boingo and his faulty predictions!"

Josuke didn't know who Boingo was. What he did know was that the man in front of him was really upset and was quite literally the type of shooting first, asking later. In normal circumstances, Josuke wouldn't even get worried about a gun, but something about this guy was setting him off.

"And who are you, exactly?" Josuke asked.

"I'm Hol Horse, and this" he said raising his gun, "is my Stand, Emperor". 

"Okay". 

"You don't look surprised". 

"Should I be?" 

"Well, my Stand is a gun. That's pretty unusual". 

"I once met a guy whose Stand was a transmission tower. Sorry if I don't look mindblown".

Hol Horse looked at him, obviously annoyed. 

"Ok, whatever. My point is that I only have a beef with the French guy. You can leave for all I care, Mr. Smug".

"I'm not leaving you alone with him".

Hol Horse shrugged with a sardonic smile.

"Don't say I didn't warn you".

Then he shot and Josuke ran directly towards the bullet. He had figured out that this guy had a short range. Otherwise, he would have never taken the risk to be seen, especially since his Stand was a gun and could shoot from anywhere. Unfortunately, Crazy Diamond was also a short ranged Stand, so there was no other way of solving this than the old fashioned way. Josuke raised his right  arm, ready to punch the bullet. 

But at that last moment, the bullet dodged him. So that is his Stand ability , Josuke realized, he can change the directions of his bullets . Josuke turned around, and before the bullet could hit him from behind, he destroyed the floor and formed it as a barrier in front of him. The bullet crashed against the wall, and the teen kept running towards Hol Horse. The cowboy was about to shoot again, and Josuke let out a curse. He was too close to avoid the bullet, but maybe he could angle his body in a way that it wouldn't hit any important organs. It was still going to hurt like hell, though.

Suddenly Hol Horse screamed and let the gun go.  Iggy had bitten him in the hand while he was distracted Josuke. Hol Horse tried to run away, but it was too late. Josuke was already right in front of him. 

"Dora, dora, dora, doooora!" 

Crazy Diamond punched Hol Horse again and again until he was unconscious. The guy had tried to kill them after all, so Josuke wasn't letting him off easily. When he was sure Hol Horse wouldn't stand up, he turned around. Iggy was looking at him with curiosity.

"What?" Josuke asked.

Iggy pointed at Crazy Diamond. Josuke had forgotten to hide him.

"Oh, right. About that. I didn't have the chance to tell you earlier. The others don't know I have a Stand. Could you please not say anything?"

Iggy's curiosity turned into suspicion. 

"Don't look at me like that. It's complicated".

Iggy raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, come on! I wouldn't have cured you if I was a bad guy!"

Josuke was doomed. Iggy didn't trust him anymore, and Josuke knew he wouldn't believe the truth. Honestly, in his place Josuke wouldn't believe his own story either unless he had physical proof. 

And, as if a higher power had heard his plea, the sky ripped again just behind them.

"Iggy!" Josuke yelled. 

But he already knew it was useless. Iggy and he would be sucked into the portal. Polnareff was behind it, so the wind didn't affect him. At least, someone would be safe

Then, Iggy got out his Stand, the Fool (which was ugly as hell if someone was to ask Josuke). It had a pair of wings on his back and it started to fly. Literally. Josuke had never seen a Stand that could do that and it only reinforced his opinion about Iggy being the best dog ever. 

Iggy offered his paw to Josuke who gladly took it. They flew upwards, but the wind kept trying to drag them down. Iggy was having problems now that he had Josuke's extra weight, and they kept going down. At this rate, both of them would be swallowed by the portal. Josuke was having a deja vu about the situation. 

"Iggy, you should just let..." 

But the dog's barking cut him off and he held Josuke with more force. Meanwhile, Hol Horse was dragged and sucked into the portal. Shit, I totally forgot about him ! Josuke thought. Iggy looked like he couldn't care less. Then, as usual, the portal closed and everything went back to normal. Iggy got them down on the floor gently, and a silence passed between them. 

"So, yeah" Josuke said. "That's why I said it's complicated". 

Iggy stared at him with a deadpan look. 

"Ok, I'll explain, but keep an open mind. The thing you just saw is a time portal. I told you to keep an open mind!" Josuke added when Iggy huffed. 

The dog nodded. Josuke took it as permission to continue. 

"Look, I don't know if it's a Stand user or something else" he decided not to tell about how his family might be involved for the sake of keeping things simple. "But these started to appear in my town and my friends got sucked into them. I'm just trying to find them. I'm sorry I lied, but I didn't think you guys would believe me." 

Iggy nodded. He understood. If he had not seen the portal with his own eyes, he definitely wouldn't have believed this new guy with the ridiculous hairdo. Wait... 

Iggy pointed at where the portal had been and then at Josuke.

"What do you mean?" Josuke said. "If I came from one of those?" 

Iggy nodded. 

"Well, yeah. It was early 2000 in my town".

Iggy let that sink in. Then he sighed and turned around. 

"Wait... Does that mean you believe me?" 

The dog nodded. Unfortunately this wasn't the weirdest thing he had seen, though it was definitely in the top five. Then he bit Polnareff in the leg. The French immediately woke up with a howl. 

"What the hell is wrong with you, hellhound?" 

Iggy shrugged, and kept walking. 

"Ugh, whatever. Did I miss something, Josuke?" 

"Well, do you know a guy who looks like a discount Clint Eastwood...?" 


 

"That fucking Hol Horse! Someday I'll get my hands on him and...!" 

Josuke gulped. Polnareff had been pretty pissed since he mentioned the cowboy (by the way, what kind of name was Hol Horse anyway?). Josuke had avoided telling him about the portal, and Iggy had not said anything either. Josuke appreciated the strange bond he had formed with the dog. It was nice to have someone who knew at least part of the truth. 

"Hey, Jotaro! I finally find you!" Polnareff yelled. 

"What happened?" Jotaro, as usual, didn't seem to be in a good mood.

"Iggy found where the mansion is". 

Jotaro stayed quiet for a few seconds. Josuke had learned long ago that it was his peculiar way of showing surprise. He finally looked at Iggy.

"Is that true?"

The dog nodded enthusiastically. 

"Let's find the others then, Polnareff". 

"Great! Maybe it's better if we go in pairs so we can find them faster. Iggy and I will go one way. You and Josuke can go in the other direction". 

Did the rocks hit Polnareff too hard? Josuke thought. Jotaro hated him! At least this version of him. But before he could object, Polnareff was already walking away. When he was a good distance away, he turned around and winked. Oh, it couldn't be. 

"He did this on purpose, right?" Josuke said. 

"Yare yare daze. Of course he did. Come on". 

They walked together in silence. Josuke was used to the quiet around Jotaro. Maybe a little too much. Josuke couldn't help but being angry at his Jotaro. If only he had told him more about this time of his life instead of pushing him away, like he always did. 

"Where did Hol Horse go?" 

Jotaro's question brought him back to reality. But to be honest, Josuke often found himself with an urge to punch this 80's Jotaro. He looked even more stoic and expressionless than his adult version. It was really irritating. Josuke just wanted to grab him by his collar, shake him and tell him that it was not worth it. That he needed to stop pushing people away. That he needed to stop pushing him away. 

"How am I supposed to know what happened to Hol Horse?" Josuke said instead. "I went to see if Polnareff was ok and when I turned around he was gone". 

It wasn't the most convincing excuse ever, but what other thing could he say? Jotaro looked at him in silence. That fucking silence. Something snapped inside Josuke.

"You don't like me at all, do you?" 

"It's not that. I don't have any reasons to like you or hate you, Josuke. It's just that I don't trust you".

"Why? Why is it so difficult?"

Josuke had to keep his voice from breaking. It's not your Jotaro, he kept reminding himself. 

"Of course it is" Jotaro said, and Josuke wished, for once, that he would just shut up. "You're hiding something. I don't know what exactly, but there's something you're not telling us. Until you do, I can't trust you. And I'll consider you my enemy, even if the others won't".

Then Josuke realized.

"You're just trying to protect them, huh?" 

Jotaro stared at him. Then he huffed and kept walking. Josuke remembered this Jotaro was the same age as him. In his defence, Jotaro had the body of a Roman gladiator and it was easy to forget he was 17. Still, he had been tasked with such a huge responsibility... Killing a practically immortal man or losing his own mother. What would Josuke have done in his place? How would he have behaved? Maybe he would have also wanted to protect himself from the losses that would inevitably come. 

"Jotaro, Josuke!" 

Kakyoin walked towards them, waving a hand. His slight smile was a relief from the tension between Jotaro and Josuke. 

"Finally I found you" Jotaro said with a grunt.

"What happened?" Kakyoin asked, his relaxed demeanor disappearing completely.

"Iggy found Dio's mansion". 

Kakyoin's eyes widened, but he soon returned to his normal expression. 

"I see".

"I have to go. It's my mother's life". 

"Ok". 

"And the old man also has to go". 

Kakyoin chuckled. 

"I'm already here, Jotaro, and I'm not running away. Never again". 

Jotaro frowned, and stared at Kakyoin. His eyes betrayed his calm appearance. Josuke realized that he didn't want Kakyoin to go to the mansion. Jotaro was afraid. 

"Well, let's go" Kakyoin said, starting to walk. "No time to lose". 

The cold pit in Josuke's stomach grew stronger. What happened in that cursed house? Could he even stop it from happening again, or was their destiny already set in stone?

They met with the others at the market. Polnareff and Iggy had found Avdol and Joseph. A tense silence fell over the group while they stood in the middle of the square. 

"So" Joseph said. "This is the end of the journey". 

"Well, thanks for trip, guys" Polnareff said. " I would have said it's been great, but that chance passed two ship sinkings ago". 

The Crusaders smiled, remembering how hazardous the journey to get here had been. But still, they would not change it one inch. 

"We should go". 

Avdol's words brought everyone back to reality, smiles gone. They followed Iggy to the outskirts of the city. While they were walking, the air seemed to be heavier. Josuke couldn't quite explain it, but he started to feel fear. He knew it was completely irrational because they were in the middle of the street and everything looked normal. But at the same time it was as if a darkness was looming over him and was going to  him at any moment. He looked around, feeling like when he was a kid checking for monsters under his bed. 

"This is Dio" Avdol said. "The effect of his presence reaches even here". 

There it was, just a few meters ahead. The mansion, even more imposing and darker than they thought.

"What do we do now?" Josuke asked. 

Jotaro was the one to answer. 

"We get in".

Chapter Text

The inside of the house was as dark as carbon. Josuke had a bad feeling about this.

"You could stay and wait here for us, Josuke. This is not your fight, you can back down".

Kakyoin had said it in a really low voice, so the others wouldn't hear him. Josuke smiled at his concern.

"My friends could be in there, so this is my fight".

And I will protect you all, he thought but didn't say. Kakyoin just nodded and started walking behind Jotaro and Joseph. But they all suddenly stopped. 

"Something's coming!" Joseph said. 

A guy was flying towards him. Literally. As if he was a ghost.

"I dunno who the hell that is, but it's no ordinary human!" 

"Polnareff!" Josuke warned him, already knowing his hot headed behavior. But it was too late. 

"But I don't give a shit! I'll kill him!" 

Josuke sighed, as Silver Chariot appeared. The mysterious man just smiled and threw something. It was so fast that no one could see it. But Polnareff was even faster. The guy had actually amazing reflexes and cut the thing in half with his Stand. Jotaro took it. 

"A playing card?"

"Welcome, Master Joestar" the new guy (and possibly enemy) said. "We have been waiting for your arrival. I am the butler of this mansion, D'Arby".

"D'Arby?" they all yelled at the same time.

It was impossible, they all thought. Jotaro had defeated D'Arby and this man looked nothing like him

"Yes, I'm D'arby the Younger" he added. "The younger brother of D'arby the Elder, whom you have defeated beyond recovery". 

Josuke gulped when he heard the anger behind  Young D'Arby's voice. He understood it really. The others had told him how Jotaro had driven D'Arby crazy. It was a especially cruel fate, not that Josuke felt sorry for him with all the souls he had taken. 

"So are you here to avenge your brother?" Avdol asked

"Not at all" Young D'Arby replied with a sardonic smile. "Didn't my brother tell you that the one who is fooled and loses the battle is at fault?" 

"I believe that to be true as well. It's my brother's fault for losing. I don't bear a grudge at all. My brother is my brother, and I am myself. We are different people. I am ten years younger than my brother. I did respect my brother to a certain degree, but we are from different generations. My brother is old fashioned. He had to cheat and swindle to win. He could only defeat those old fashioned or amateurs. I believe Lord Dio also recognised this and that's why he chose me as his butler". 

"Finally. I thought he was never going to shut up" Josuke mumbled. He heard Kakyoin laughing behind him. 

Apparently, Young D'Arby was so egocentric and focused bragging that he didn't realize they were not taking him very seriously.

"If you'd like to fight me, please come into the mansion".

"Don't rush in carelessly" Avdol warned them. 

"We don't have much time" Jotaro said, completely ignoring what Avdol had just said. "Hurry up and take us to Dio". 

"Jotaro, be careful! Something's coming out!" Joseph shouted. 

A soft light enveloped Young D'Arby and a figure came out from behind him. It had a very humanoid form though it was much thinner than Star Platinum, for example.  

"So he brought out his Stand. That's rare these days" Joseph observed. 

"It's been a while since we faced someone who uses their Stand out in the open" Avdol said. He didn't look happy about it. 

"Who shall be my first opponent?" D'Arby asked, opening out his arms. 

He looked completely unafraid, and no one liked that one bit. They were pretty sure this guy knew everyone's Stands. After all, he was close to Dio and he had surely heard the reports of their battles. And still, he was extremely confident, as if he was facing a typical bar brawl instead of a fight to the death.

"He's so annoying" Polnareff growled. "Jotaro, beat the crap out of him!" 

Josuke raised an eyebrow. If Polnareff was so upset, why didn't he fight himself? But he supposed it made more sense to use Jotaro for this. They had to finish the fight as quickly as possible since they were running out of time and Star Platinum was the most powerful Stand. 

Still, Young D'Arby didn't look even a bit worried as he saw Jotaro with Star Platinum walking towards him. With a grin, he said.

"Let us make a wager. The first blow Star Platinum uses against me will be a left hand punch".

Everyone was surprised. What was this? Was this D'Arby's plan? To use inverse psychology? Maybe he was trying to avenge his brother after all, by using the same trick Jotaro had pulled on the Elder D'Arby. But Jotaro wasn't D'Arby. It this was all this guy has, the fight is going to be over fast Josuke thought. 

"Whatever. It's all the same if you hit him with everything you have!" Polnareff obviously had the same opinion as Josuke. "Come on and hit him!" 

Jotaro didn't have to be told twice. Star Platinum threw a punch with his right arm, but the unthinkable happened: D'Arby dodged it. Josuke's eyes widened. To dodge Star Platinum you had to be unbelievably fast. 

"Too bad" D'Arby grabbed Jotaro's arm. "It seems I have lost the wager. Just like my brother, I love gambling. But I'm not very good at it. But as a reward, I will take you to an amazing world". 

Suddenly, a black portal opened below them. Another breach? No, Josuke thought. This was  different. There was no oppressive feeling, and he could actually see some light in the center of the portal, like it was leading somewhere. Before he could realize, Jotaro was already waist deep inside the vortex. Josuke had been so shocked by the portal that he had not reacted in time. 

Joseph and Kakyoin used his Stands to grab Jotaro's arms and try to pull him out. But then, D'Arby appeared in front of them, seemingly out of nowhere.

"Well, I guess you can come too". 

And he pushed them inside. Josuke finally felt like he could move and ran to the portal. He wouldn't be able to reach them in time to get them out. But then he would jump after them. He wasn't going to leave them alone. He wasn't going to let anyone else be lost to the darkness. 

Then, he felt a couple of arms around him, stopping him. 

"Josuke, don't! It's too dangerous!"

Josuke vaguely recognized as Avdol's voice. He just didn't care. He wasn't Avdol in that moment, he was no one, just an obstacle stopping him from saving them, from saving Oku… 

"Avdol!" Joseph yelled. "If you don't hear from us in ten minutes, set the mansion on fire!"

His hand was the only visible part, and then that disappeared too. The portal closed and everything fell into silence. Avdol then let Josuke go, but he didn't do anything. He just stood there, looking at the floor, numb. He didn't even feel like punching Avdol. He had expected things to go wrong, but not so quickly. What had happened? Then he felt a hand on his shoulder. 

"Josuke, I also wanted to go after them, but Avdol's right. It was dangerous. And they'll be fine" he added lightly. "They're stubborn assholes, especially Jotaro".

That made Josuke chuckle a bit. 

"Yeah, that's true".

Still, Polnareff must have seen the worry in his face.

"Look, we can't worry about them right now. There's nothing we can do, and we need to be focused if we want to survive".

"I agree with Polnareff" Avdol said. "In fact, I want to tell you something. If someone is in trouble, I'm leaving him behind". 

"Oi, you asshole!" 

Josuke was furious. How dared he? Had not Avdol been with the others since the beginning? What kind of person was he?

"I know it sounds cold. But our main goal is killing Dio. If we get distracted saving each other, no one will survive".

"That's a cheap ex..." 

"Josuke, wait" Polnareff interrupted, putting a hand on his chest to stop him from punching the Egyptian for real. "He's right".

"No, he's not! If we just look for ourselves, we'll be lost. Just like all those users you guys have defeated".

"I know where you're coming from, Josuke" Avdol said. "But imagine what will happen if we don't stop Dio. We have to prioritize that above all".

Josuke knew very well what would happen, at least to him. Death. The Crusaders thought they were here to save only Holly Joestar, but no one knew a five year old kid was on the verge of dying on the other opposite point of Japan. Not even his own father knew. 

Josuke had no idea if he would keep existing or he would disappear along with his child self. Honestly, he preferred not to think about it. It gave him a headache. 

"I promise not to save anyone if something happens too" Polnareff said. "We have to focus on the mission". 

Iggy let out a bark that was understood as agreement. Three pair of eyes looked at Josuke who just crossed his arms over his chest. 

"If it makes you so happy, fine". 

Josuke didn't have any intention of respecting that stupid strategy, but he didn't want to lose any more time. 

They stepped into the mansion and walked through the hallway. The darkness around them was even more oppressive inside, and everyone was looking at all directions, knowing something (or someone) could jump out of the shadows at any time. 

A door at the end of the hallway gave way to an enormous and ruinous hall. Josuke felt it was even worse than the halfway. They could be easily attacked there. Too many open spots.

"Magician's Red!" 

Avdol's Stand created a floating chandelier. 

"Since when can you do that?" Josuke asked. 

"Since always, but I've never had to use this ability until now. These flames can detect any living being. Each flame represents a cardinal point and the directions up and down". 

"Oh, so it has everything covered. Cool". 

Suddenly, the flames went crazy. 

"They have detected something! The enemy is on our left". 

Iggy let his Stand out. The Fool slashed one of the pillars along with a man hidden inside, who dropped dead immediately. Josuke grimaced. He understood the situation was dangerous, but he still wasn't comfortable with the Crusaders' methods. Beating the shit out of them? Sure, no problem. He had done it plenty of times. Killing? That was another story. 

But he didn't have time to think about these matters. Suddenly, the ruins melted and in its place, there was a much modern hall, with bright red walls. 

"What the hell?" Polnareff yelled, surprise written on his face.

"So this man's Stand was creating illusions" Avdol said. "A shame Iggy killed him so quickly. He could have given us information". 

Josuke relaxed a little bit. At least they had solved one problem. Maybe no one else would attack them. Avdol turned his flames off, and they all walked towards the stairs. Suddenly Josuke felt a push that made him fall to the floor. 

"Run!" 

Everything happened so quickly that no one had time to react. One moment Avdol was right behind them, and then he had been swallowed by a horrifying monster. A pair of arms fell to the floor with a sickening thud. Josuke would never forget that sound. 

He knew logically that the being before him was a Stand, but it looked like a nightmare come true. His face was pure agony, and his mouth was a black hole. And then a head came out of it, the Stand user, with a smug smile in his face. 

"Where is Avdol, motherfucker?" Polnareff asked, tears in eyes. 

Josuke looked at the arms. He wanted to throw up. Was this how it happened? Would he have to watch the rest die? He clenched his fists. Why was he even here if he couldn't change anything? 

"I don't know where people who are eaten by my Stand, Cream, go. I just know it's a dimension of darkness, far away". 

Josuke's eyes widened. 

"So he's alive". 

"Maybe. And you will join him soon. No one can defeat me, Vanilla Ice" the Stand user said. 

"Fils de pute! I'm gonna kill you!" Polnareff yelled, running towards Vanilla Ice. 

Josuke wanted to stop Polnareff before he got himself killed, but he had no time to lose. 

"Iggy, distract Vanilla Ice. Get him away from here" Josuke said. 

Iggy looked at him and nodded, not a shadow of doubt in his face. He had learned to trust Josuke.He let the Fool out and ran towards Vanilla Ice who was avoiding Polnareff's attacks. The enemy dodged them both quickly, but Josuke couldn't focus on that. His main goal was getting Vanilla Ice away from the arms before he could eat them too. There would be no hope then. But then, Vanilla Ice suddenly disappeared. 

"What the fuck?" Polnareff said. "We can't see him! Is he invisible too?" 

Josuke was pretty surprised himself, but he shook his head. He couldn't stop now. He grabbed Avdol's arms and touched them with Crazy Diamond. He had only done this once, while tracking Kira, and the circumstances were totally different now. But he had to try. 

He immediately felt a pull from the arms. They were trying to go towards the left. Vanilla Ice had to be there. Josuke just held the arms with more force. He couldn't let them get swallowed by Vanilla Ice. He could also feel a pull from somewhere around the left, near to the second pillar. 

But along with the pull, Josuke also felt an unbelievable force trying to retain whatever was inside the vortex, well, inside. Josuke had never felt someone fighting against his ability with so much ímpetu. It took everything he had not to let the arms go. He was panting, as if he was playing the hardest game ever of tug of war. Closer, just a bit closer...

Vanilla Ice and his Stand reappeared without warning. Cream had his mouth wide open, and Vanilla Ice wasn't smiling anymore. He even looked scared. The mouth turned into the vortex and from it, Avdol came out flying. He fell to the ground right next to Josuke. Then he got up, and stared at his arms, reattached to his body perfectly, as if nothing had happened. 

"How?" 

Then he looked at Josuke. His nose was bleeding and he looked exhausted, but he was smiling. 

"Welcome back, Avdol". 

"What happened?"

Josuke shrugged.

"Who knows? Maybe his Stand was faulty". 

"I see" Avdol said, with a smile of his own. 

"Die, putain!" 

Despite Avdol's comeback, Polnareff was pretty angry. He thought he had lost Avdol. Again. He wasn't sure if he could have gone through that a second time. And he was going to make that asshole pay for scaring him like that. 

He stabbed Vanilla Ice in the head with Silver Chariot. Dio's follower was so shocked by everything that had happened that he didn't have time to react. He collapsed on the floor. 

"Thank god you're ok, Avdol. What the fuck happened?" Polnareff asked. 

"I don't know. All I remember is being sucked in. I was dark and cold, and then I was spit out. It was like something was pulling me from the other side". 

Both Polnareff and Avdol looked confused, while Iggy was staring at Josuke. The dog smiled, and Josuke grinned back. But Iggy's expression suddenly changed. It was warning enough for Josuke. 

"Watch out!" he yelled to the others.

Polnareff and Avdol moved to the left while Iggy and Josuke did the same to the left. And just in time, because when just when a deep track appeared and a ball sized hole appeared on the wall.

"What the hell?" Polnareff said, getting Silver Chariot out.

They all looked at the spot where Vanilla Ice had been. Emphasis in 'had been' because he was no longer there.

Well shit.

Chapter Text

They all looked around, panicked, but Vanilla Ice was nowhere to be seen. 

"Polnareff, didn't you kill him?" Josuke asked.

"That's what I thought. I stabbed him in the head!"

"What if he's vampire like Dio?" Avdol said.

"Excuse me, Dio is a what?" Josuke interrupted, though no one listened to him. 

"Shit, we're fucked" Polnareff said. 

"Not at all" Avdol replied with an enigmatic smile. "Let's wait until he comes out again".

"What are you trying to do?"

A deep track appeared again on the floor. Avdol got Magician's Red who shot a whirlwind of flames in the direction of the track. Suddenly, a piercing scream was heard and Vanilla was visible again, engulfed by fire. Josuke grimaced. He could actually see his skin melting. It was disgusting. Not that he felt sorry for the guy.

When the fire died down, there was only a blackened body. It stood there for a moment, a poor imitation of a human being, then it turned into ashes and was blown away. Polnareff laughed.

"Oh, how the mighty have fallen, eh?" 

The Frenchman kicked the ashes, scattering them around the room. Iggy joined him, using his paws. 

"You two, have some respect" Avdol reprimanded them. 

"Respect? I'm not respecting that guy. Who knows where you would have ended up with his portal?" 

The Egyptian walked towards Polnareff and put a hand on his shoulder. 

"I'm here, and that's what matters. Let's not think about what could have been". 

Josuke gulped. He had saved Avdol, but... there was a time when something else had happened. When he hadn't been there. He felt sick.

"Hey. And that face?" Polnareff asked him. 

"Oh, it's nothing. Glad you're ok, Avdol". 

Avdol looked at him with so much intensity that Josuke felt the need to squirm. But then he just smiled at him and said:

"Thank you, Josuke". 

"Come on, let's go! We have a motherfucker to kill" Polnareff said. 

Right, Josuke reminded himself. This was only the first step. They still had a long way to go to defeat Dio. He decided to forget about alternative realities and focus on the present. In this place, a moment of distraction might get him killed. Also, he had just remembered something. 

"You broke your promise, Avdol" he said. "You said you weren't protecting anyone, but you did save us". 

"I said it was better if we didn't protect each other. I never promised anything" 

"Ha! I knew you weren't a bad guy! 

Avdol burst out laughing, and Josuke grinned. Even Iggy looked happy by the way he was wagging his tail.

And then Polnareff opened a door in front of them. 

They were at the beginning of a flight of stairs. The oppressive feeling that had been surrounding them since they got into the mansion became even worse, and they all knew. Dio was at the end of these stairs. 

"This is it, guys" Polnareff said.

The rest nodded, a glint of determination shining in their eyes. Josuke released a sigh. He was going to fight against Dio, after all. Everyone who had met him spoke about him with feelings that went from awe to paralyzing fear. In his own time, Dio had become a sort of boogeyman, a tale to scare other Stand users. You think you're powerful? Dio was more. You think you're evil? Dio was worse. And now Josuke was going to be face to face with the monster. 

He knew the fight would be hard. Kira looked like child's play compared to Dio. Did they even have a chance? Could Josuke really make a difference against such a fearsome enemy?

Suddenly the door at the end of the stairs opened, and a wave of fog came out. A figure appeared under the threshold. He was tall with broad shoulders that seemed to occupy the entire door. However, for all his muscles, he still looked lean and elegant. Josuke was reminded the ancient sculptures he had learned about in high school. Except for the fact that sculptures didn't give such a menacing vibe. The man then clapped slowly, mockingly. 

"Congratulations. You all have made it here and even defeated Vanilla Ice". 

"If you want to give us a prize" Polnareff said, "how about you give us your life?" 

Dio chuckled. Josuke had never heard such a lifeless laugh. 

"I'll give you a last chance. Climb down two steps and I'll let you join me. However, if you'd rather die go up these stairs". 

The group looked at each other and they all took a step up at the same time. They were not going to be intimidated at this point. Dio just smiled more.

"The World!"

Josuke felt there was something different. Wasn't Dio closer just a moment ago?

"We are in the same step than before" Avdol said.

"What the fuck?" 

Polnareff took a step up again and then he was back beside them.

"What's happening?" Polnareff said.

Meanwhile, Josuke was petrified. What if Dio could...?

Suddenly, the wall behind them was blown up. Framed by the light of the sunset, Joseph, Jotaro and Kakyoin got into the room.

"Dio, your time has come!" Joseph yelled. 

Before anyone could react though, Dio was running away. Josuke's bad feeling only grew. Why would he escape? Sure, he was outnumbered, but he looked so sure of himself… Something was wrong. Josuke just prayed his suspicions were not true. 

Kakyoin threw a bag to the ground and it whimpered? Suddenly a short man got out of the bag. He was trembling with fear. Josuke wondered what the others had done to him. He was pretty sure the guy deserved it anyway, like most of Dio's lackeys. 

"Why are you keeping a guy in your bag?" Polnareff asked. 

"Nukesaku here tried to pretend to be one of Dio's victims to attack us" Kakyoin explained. 

"That's a very honorless tactic" Avdol said, looking threateningly at Nukesaku who started to shiver even more. 

"Please! Have… have mercy! Di.. Dio forced me to do it". 

"Yes, I'm sure that's true" Jotaro replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Where did Dio go? And you better not tell me you don't know". 

"He... He must be in the tower. He spends the day there". 

"Is there any other way to go besides the stairs?" Kakyoin asked. 

Nukesaku shook his head. 

"Ok, lead the way" Joseph said. 

"Guys, wait!" Josuke yelled. 

But it was too late. Everyone was going up the stairs, and they weren't listening to him. Being so close to their goal had that effect on them. The only thing Josuke could do was following them. 

Well, that was a lie. The other thing Josuke could do was run. He knew nothing good awaited them. It made so much sense now... The group finding Dio with no idea about what his Stand was. It must have been a massacre.

Still, Josuke took a step forward. Maybe he was a fool, and he wouldn't change anything. But he had to try. He would never forgive himself if he didn't.

They climbed the stairs until they ended up in a big oval room. There was a coffin in the middle of it. Jotaro used Star Platinum to destroy part of the wall, letting the light of the sunset in. Dio's only weakness. 

"Master, I brought them to you because I completely trust your power" Nukesaku said. "Kill them now, please!" 

"You little rat…" Polnareff said. 

Suddenly, the scene completely changed. The coffin was open and Nukesaku inside, dead. 

"Was… was he there the whole time?" Avdol asked. 

"What the hell?" Polnareff yelled. "What is this?" 

Josuke was looking at the coffin with wide eyes. He had no doubts about Dio's Stand anymore. God, they were in deep shit.

"We have to leave" Kakyoin said. "We're not safe here".

"Yes, run!" Joseph shouted.

Everyone jumped out of the window. Kakyoin and Joseph used their Stands to catch the rest of the group and land safely on the floor. They were far away from the mansion now, but the oppressive feeling had only intensified. Especially for Josuke.

"What was that?" Joseph wondered. "It felt like my entire body was telling me to run away". 

"Same here" Avdol said. "The World is different from any other Stand we have ever encountered". 

"Maybe we should regroup, and form a new plan" Kakyoin suggested, but was quickly interrupted by Polnareff.

"Are you crazy? We have to kill Dio right now! God knows what will happen if we don't". 

"I agree with Polnareff" Avdol said. "We have come too far to go back now". 

"I'm not saying we go back" Kakyoin explained, putting his hands up. Josuke noticed he always did that when he wanted to quell the frequent fights between the group. "But Dio is obviously more powerful than we thought". 

"I don't care!" Polnareff yelled. "If we don't face Dio now when he's not prepared, it will be impossible later! We have to take advantage of the last minutes of sunlight. And if you're not with us, you're against us".

"Polnareff, don't be stupid" Joseph said. "I have more interest in killing Dio than anyone. But we can't rush in". 

But the Frenchman just shook his head, ready to leave. 

"Wait!" Josuke shouted. "I think I know Dio's Stand". 

Welp. That definitely caught everyone's attention. He had never felt so many eyes staring at him all at once. Josuke sighed. Now or never. 

"What if Dio can stop time?"

"Stop time?" Joseph repeated, perplexed. 

"I mean, it would make sense" Josuke explained.  "It's not superspeed, so what else can it be?" 

"We have never known a Stand user who can manipulate time" Avdol said. "I'm not even sure it's possible". 

What if Josuke told them the truth? Would they believe him or would they think he's crazy? He thought they had known him for long enough to at least think it over. The risk was big, but if it would make them reconsider it, he had to try. And then, Kakyoin spoke:

"I think Josuke's guess is a very real possibility. We should test it out further". 

"Guys, this is not a theory. I've actually met other Stand users who could manipulate time". 

It wasn't a lie, and it was plausible enough to be believed. Still, Josuke expected to see mistrust or doubt in their faces, but surprisingly everyone looked convinced. 

"How did you defeat them, Josuke?" Avdol asked. 

"The ones I knew weren't enemies". 

And that was also true. He had never even thought about a way of defeating Jotaro. Why would he? No matter how many arguments they had, Josuke knew Jotaro wouldn't hurt him. Jotaro was a threat to many people, but never to him. 

"This is pointless" Polnareff said, and he turned away again. 

"Where are you going, Polnareff?" Kakyoin asked.

"To kill Dio since you are too scared to do it!" 

"Did you just hear what Josuke said?" Joseph said. 

"So what if Dio can stop time?" the Frenchman yelled. "Staying here while we decide what to do is not going to solve anything. The only way of defeating such a powerful Stand is confronting him directly. I know you don't agree with me, but you can't stop me". 

Polnareff turned around and Avdol followed him. Iggy ran towards them, barking. He bit Avdol's coat with so much force that he ripped it. The Egyptian looked at him with a sad smile. 

"I'm sorry, Iggy. But this is the decision we've taken". 

Iggy let go of the coat and huffed, walking back to the rest of the group. 

"Yare yare daze. What a couple of idiots". 

"Well, Jotaro, could you please go with that couple of idiots and make sure they don't get themselves killed?" Kakyoin asked. 

"What about you?" 

"We need to know more about Dio's Stand. He can stop time, but for how long? And what about his fighting ability? Is the World close or long ranged?" 

"Kakyoin is right" Joseph added. "Until we don't find out more, we will not be prepared to fight such a powerful enemy". 

"And how are you going to do that?" 

"I have a plan" Kakyoin said with a confident smile. 

Jotaro didn't look convinced at all, though.  

"Don't worry, we'll be fine" Kakyoin reassured him. 

"You can't promise that, you know?" 

"We'll try to be fine, then". 

Still, Jotaro was obviously not happy with whatever plan Kakyoin had in mind. 

"I hope you will not be an idiot. Any of you. I don't want to clean up your mess". 

Kakyoin chuckled. 

"Don't worry, we won't". 

Jotaro just grunted, and turned around to follow Polnareff and Avdol. 

"Jotaro, wait!" Josuke yelled, running up to him. "I think... And this is gonna sound really weird but I have no time to explain". 

"Just say it". 

"Star Platinum can also stop time". 

Jotaro frowned which in Jotarish language, as Josuke liked to call it, meant that he was surprised. Then, he said the last thing Josuke expected to hear.

"Fine".

"Fine?" Josuke repeated, dumbfounded. Maybe Jotaro was under an enemy Stand's influence. 

"You saved Polnareff, Avdol and Iggy so I'll trust you on this. But you will have to tell me what you're hiding when I come back. It's not a choice".

This sounded more like him.

"It will sound really weird". 

Jotaro just shrugged. 

"I'm used to weirdness. I'll see you later, Josuke". 

"Oh, ok. See ya".

Josuke smiled while he watched Jotaro walking away. Knowing he had earned his trust felt rewarding. If this Jotaro, who didn't know him at all, trusted him, maybe it meant that the reason why his Jotaro trusted him wasn't only because they were family. Maybe there was something else. 

"Come on" Kakyoin's voice startled him out of his thoughts. "There is no time to lose". 

"Was that a pun?" Josuke asked.

"Maybe". 

"Good one!" 

"This is no moment to be childish" Joseph reprimanded them. "But you're right. It was a good one".

"So what's your plan, Kakyoin?" 

"First, we have to find out Dio's fighting abilities and for how long he can stop time. Josuke, you said you've known other time related Stand users. How long could they stop time?" 

"Five seconds". 

"A lot of damage can be done in five seconds" Joseph remarked. "Especially if the Stand is as strong as the World".

"I have an idea for that" Kakyoin said. "Listen… "

Josuke was surprised by how much sense Kakyoin's plan made. But then again, he shouldn't have been. Kakyoin was really smart. Josuke smiled. Maybe they had a chance at beating Dio, after all.

Chapter Text

Dio Brando felt great. Not only great, he felt invincible. No one had a Stand as powerful as the World. He was the chosen one. Jonathan had been wrong. Him, and his nobility. Where had that gotten him? To being a head rotting in the bottom of the sea.

 

He, Dio, was the one who had survived, as he always had. Jonathan had only been a spoiled child who didn't know how hard life could be. That's why he could afford to have such stupid moral rules. Dio had never been given that chance.

 

Oh, well, nevermind. Tonight he would eradicate the entire Joestar bloodline. The pest that had been following him for a century would finally be over. He would leave his past behind, once and for all.

 

Joseph would be easy. From what he had heard, he was a good fighter when he was young. But now he was just an old man with a useless Stand. Jotaro, however, could be more problematic. He was sure Star Platinum rivaled the World in speed and strength.

 

But Dio wasn't worried at all. Star Platinum still didn't stand a chance against him. He would make a good sparring partner, but just brute force wasn't enough to defeat the World. Nothing, in fact, was enough.

 

But just in case, it would be better to get rid of Jotaro's little merry band. The less problems, the better. Plus, he was going to enjoy the look on Jotaro's face when he would find all his dear friends were dead.

 

And said and done, a few meters ahead was that red haired brat, Noriaki Kakyoin. The highschooler saw him coming, but didn't run. Dio knew Kakyoin probably had some sort of "smart" plan. He was the strategist of the group, after all.

 

Not that Dio cared. No matter how intelligent he was, he couldn't have taken into account the true power of the World. Dio had hidden it even from his closest allies to keep his enemies in the dark.

 

"You can still run, Kakyoin. Or maybe even better, why don't you join me again?"

 

Of course he knew Kakyoin would refuse, but he liked to see him riled up. And just as he had thought, the anger showed in the high schooler's eyes. How predictable.

 

"This is the last time you underestimate me, Dio. I'm not that scared kid anymore".

 

"Are you sure about that?"

 

"Emerald Splash!"

 

Dozens of green proyectiles shot out of Kakyoin's Stand. For Dio they were like toys. The World deflected them easily and, even if for some miracle one slipped past him, Dio was a vampire. An immortal creature. A little needle wasn't going to hurt him.

 

"Now, Hierophant Green!"

 

Dio's eyes widened. He had been so focused on deflecting the attack that he had not realized Kakyoin was forming a barrier around him until it was too late. Dozens of green strands surrounded him, leaving him with no space to move. Dio smiled. Kakyoin was indeed a clever guy. This would probably mean certain death for any other person. But not for him.

 

"This is my perfect barrier of 40 meters, Dio. Let's see how you escape from this".

 

"You think you have me cornered? The World!"

Time stopped and Dio laughed. Poor naive child. He moved forward destroying the strands of the barrier. Unfortunately, the barrier was too large and it took his entire five seconds of stopped time to rip it. It was as if he had planned…

Dio shook his head. That was impossible. It had been just pure luck. Not that it mattered anyway. By the time he had finished destroying the barrier, he was right in front of Kakyoin. He could even see those tiny scars in his eyes. The World lifted his arm, ready to kill, and time resumed.

 

"Die, Kakyoin!"

 

Kakyoin's eyes widened. Dio was even more imposing from up close. His legs were trembling, but he refused to back down. He wouldn't run away from Dio again. He would show this monster that he had changed. And more importantly, he would prove it to himself.

 

So Kakyoin stood his ground while he saw Dio's hand coming to him. Then, just as he had planned, Hermit Purple appeared from behind a corner and shot out towards Dio. Unlike other times, the vines were emitting a golden glow. The World caught them with one hand and immediately let them go with a cry of pain. His hand was completely burned, even smoke was coming out of it.

 

"Hamon" Dio growled, his eyes widened.

 

"And I have a lot more of where that came from" Joseph yelled, at the other side of the road.

 

Kakyoin frowned. His plan had been making a barrier complicated enough that it would take Dio whole five seconds to break. It had been risky because if Josuke's guess was wrong and Dio could stop time for more than five seconds, they all would be dead by now.

 

Luckily, it seemed Josuke had been right. Kakyoin had also realized that the World was a short ranged Stand since Dio had to break the barrier and get close to him in order to attack him.

 

The second part of the plan had been for Joseph to use his Hamon and attack Dio. During their journey, Joseph had tried to get them to develop Hamon. It would be a really useful ability since it was the only weapon that could kill vampires. But no matter how hard they practiced, no one could summon even a strand of Hamon. Not even Jotaro who was a Joestar. So Joseph was the only hope to weaken Dio.

 

However, Kakyoin had hoped that Joseph would be able to at least hurt Dio seriously. But the vampire had been faster. Now their surprise factor was gone, but they were still 4 against 1. Iggy and Josuke were already running towards them from the other side of the street, where they had been hiding. Kakyoin didn't know what Josuke intended to do since he didn't have a Stand yet, but there was no talking him out of it. The guy was really stubborn. Josuke had told him he had a plan, and Kakyoin had learned to trust him.

 

"I will destroy your entire bloodline!"

 

Dio was enraged, and Kakyoin decided to distract him with Emerald Splash so he wouldn't go after Joseph. Hierophant Green created the green shards and threw them at the vampire.

 

"The World!"

 

What? It hadn't been even one minute! Kakyoin thought. All Stands need a cool off after using their powers! Especially such a powerful one.

 

The next thing he knew, he was flying and he crashed against a wall. An indescribable pain his stomach. He couldn't move, each breath made him want to scream. He looked down and saw a large hole pouring blood where his stomach used to be.

 

Oh. So this was it.

 

"Kakyoin!"

 

He didn't know who was calling his name, everything sounded muffled. There was no hope for him. He knew there was a high chance of Dio killing him, but he didn't regret it. At least he had helped the others find out more about Dio's powers. He just wished he could have done more. He hoped they could survive.

 

He did have something he regretted. His parents wouldn't even know what had happened to him. He had told them he was going on a school trip. They were so happy because they thought he was finally making friends... When would they realize that their son would never come back? They would always wonder why he had lied. I'm sorry dad, mom… And then he closed his eyes.

 

"Kakyoin!" Josuke yelled.

 

Oh, god. How had everything gone so wrong? What kind of being was Dio that didn't need to rest after using such a powerful Stand? He had never seen Jotaro use Star Platinum's time stop twice in a row and, since he was idiot, he had guessed Dio would be the same. This was all his fault. He should have been more careful. He shouldn't have taken anything for granted.

 

He had been ready to jump on Dio with Crazy Diamond. If Dio was the same type of Stand as Star Platinum, it meant that his fighting abilities were matched with Crazy Diamond. Between him and Joseph's Hamon, they should be able to take him down.

 

But Dio had stopped time again. Before he realized, Kakyoin had crashed against the wall and he... Josuke felt sick.

 

"Now it's only you and me, Joseph" Dio said with a smile. Then, he looked to the right directly to Iggy and Josuke. "You should stay out of this. Unless you want to finish like your friend over there".

 

Josuke took a step forward without even thinking.

 

"Motherf..."

 

"Josuke!" Joseph shouted. "He's right! Don't even try".

 

Joseph quickly used Hermit Purple to climb a building and ran away using the vines. Dio just laughed and flew after him.

 

"Shit!" Josuke swore.

 

He wanted to go after Joseph, but he couldn't leave Kakyoin there.

 

"Iggy..."

 

Before he could finish the sentence, Iggy nodded and ran after Dio and Joseph. Maybe Iggy could help a little bit. Or maybe both of them would get killed. He just hoped they could hold for a while. He had to fix this, he needed to.

 

Josuke ran towards Kakyoin, and he crouched beside him. The redhead had his eyes closed and he was so still... Please god, don't tell me I'm too late. He thought. Not again, not like grandpa.

 

He touched Kakyoin's neck and felt a pulse. It was weak and almost unnoticeable, but it meant he was alive. Josuke felt so relieved he wanted to laugh.

 

"Kakyoin".

 

The redhead opened his eyes. They were unfocused, but he managed to recognize Josuke.

 

"You, you have to run. Dio will..."

 

"Dio left. He is chasing Joseph".

 

"What?"

 

"Yeah, I would have gone with him, but I couldn't leave you here".

 

"Josuke, I'm already dead. There's... There's nothing you can do. You will be more useful with them. You know? I'm... glad I met you".

 

Josuke smiled.

 

"I'm also very glad I met you, but you're not dying today, Kakyoin".

 

Crazy Diamond appeared and the huge wound healed in seconds. Kakyoin sat up, and touched what a few moments ago had been a hole in his body. Now the only proof left was his ripped clothes.

 

"How?"

 

He was perplexed. He had already accepted his life was finished. And now he was fine. It couldn't be. People just weren't this lucky. He had never been this lucky.

 

Josuke was right in front of him, looking so relieved... Did he really care so much for him? He had no reason to, right? Kakyoin still didn't know how relationships worked. It had always been an alien concept to him. He thought he had gotten better at it though, since meeting the Crusaders. He thought he finally understood what people meant by friendship. 

 

He stared at the pink figure behind Josuke. He didn't know why, but it reminded him of Star Platinum. He then realized Josuke not only looked relieved, but also nervous. It was the same look Kakyoin had many times, when he thought what would happen if someone found out about his Stand.

 

"What's his name?"

 

"Crazy Diamond".

 

"Nice one. That means you already knew your Stand when we met".

 

Josuke looked at the ground as if it was the most interesting thing on Earth.

 

"I'm sorry I lied. I swear I had good reasons".

 

"I believe you".

 

"Huh?"

 

"I believe you hid it because it seemed the best thing you could at the time. You didn't know us, and we didn't know you either. I can't blame you for being careful. But don't you think the time for that has passed, Josuke?"

 

"You're going to think I'm crazy".

 

"I promise you I won't".

 

Kakyoin was looking at him with an open expression. Josuke really felt like he could tell him the truth and, more importantly, that he would believe him. Wait, was that…?

 

"Move!"

 

Josuke pushed Kakyoin to the ground and covered him with his body. He heard a ripping sound above him. For a brief moment a green flash covered his vision. The voice that followed just confirmed what he had seen.

 

"Oi, Josuke!"

Chapter Text

Josuke had been lucky to see Okuyasu jumping from the shadows or he and Kakyoin would have been nothing more than dust.

"Your other friend?" Kakyoin asked.

Josuke nodded. Okuyasu was looking at him with the same empty eyes of Koichi But somehow it looked even worse in him. Not matter how angry or upset he was, Okuyasu was always full of energy and passion. He never did anything halfway. That apathetic expression was so wrong that Josuke couldn't stand it. 

"Why don't you join me, Josuke?" Okuyasu said with that lifeless voice. "We could be fighting together, just like the good old times". 

Josuke didn't even bother to answer. There was no point in it. Unlike the time of his fight against Koichi, now he knew the only way of freeing Okuyasu was removing the fleshbud. He could actually see it from his position. A brown lump on his forehead. 

"I'll help you" Kakyoin said, standing up. 

Josuke shook his head. 

"No. You need to go with the others. They'll need all the help they can get against Dio". 

"Josuke..." 

"I can take care of myself. Don't worry". 

Kakyoin definitely didn't look happy with the idea, but he gave in. 

"Ok, and Josuke?"

"Yeah?" 

"Thanks. I'll never be able to repay what you've done for me". 

Josuke huffed. 

"Don't be stupid. If you try to repay me, I'll punch you! Now go!" 

Kakyoin nodded and turned away. Okuyasu used the Hand to teleport himself and catch Kakyoin, but Josuke was faster than him. He predicted where Okuyasu would appear and then he punched him with Crazy Diamond. Okuyasu went flying and crashed against the ground.

Josuke ran towards him. Both of their Stands had a short range, so there was no point in prolonging the inevitable. They would need to get close to each other sooner or later. 

Crazy Diamond charged towards Okuyasu with his arm raised, ready to punch him. But Okuyasu rolled over and dodged him, so Crazy Diamond ended up hitting a car, destroying completely. 

"It's a shame you don't wanna join me, Josuke" Okuyasu said. "We could be undefeatable together". 

"You've never cared about that. You're not like your brother". 

"Maybe I should start to be like him. I'm tired of people laughing at my back. Oh, how dumb Okuyasu is. He doesn't know how to do anything". 

"What are you saying? No one has ever laughed at you!" 

Josuke knew he shouldn't be so upset since Okuyasu wasn't himself. But what if this how he really felt, deep down? It's true Josuke had called him an idiot many times, but he had never meant it. He always thought Okuyasu had never taken it seriously, but now Josuke realized he might have made a mistake. 

His friend just looked at him with a mocking smile and swapped the air with the Hand. Now or never, Josuke thought. If he let Okuyasu get close to him, this time he wouldn't just punch him. He would actually kill him. God, what a terrifying Stand he had. Josuke sometimes forgot because Okuyasu had such a good heart that he would never kill anyone. But if that Stand fell into the wrong hands, it could be a weapon of mass destruction.

Okuyasu teleported erasing the space with the Hand, and was suddenly right in front of him. But Josuke was already prepared. He opened his clenched fist, and threw a piece of the broken car he had been holding at Okuyasu. He used it to attract all the other parts of the car he had destroyed.

"I won't fall for the same trick twice!" Okuyasu yelled. 

As he had predicted, Okuyasu swapped the large pieces easily with the Hand. And the force of his movement was so strong that it sent Josuke flying towards him. Okuyasu's eyes widened when he realized what he had done, but it was too late. Crazy Diamond punched him repeatedly until he fell unconscious. 

"I'm sorry, Okuyasu" Josuke said, sitting down beside him to catch his breath. He was exhausted.

Then he looked at the fleshbud on his friend's forehead. He had two options right now. Leave it there, which meant letting Okuyasu escape, or taking it out. And Josuke was done with losing people he loved. 

With a determined glint in his eyes, he used Crazy Diamond to catch the fleshbud. He pulled it out quickly and without hesitating. He heard ripping sounds inside Okuyasu. You'll heal it later Josuke repeated to himself, over and over. If he stopped now, Okuyasu would definitely end up dead. 

The monstrous bug tried to hold onto Okuyasu with its tentacles (it was one of the most disgusting things Josuke had ever seen), but Crazy Diamond was stronger. Josuke threw the bud onto the ground and squashed it with his foot. Even the sound that made when it exploded was sickening. 

He knew the fleshbud had made some serious damage to Okuyasu, but Josuke quickly healed it with Crazy Diamond. Still, he had long since learned that might mean nothing. 

"Come on, Okuyasu. Open your eyes. Please". 

What if he had screwed up? Josuke had already seen him die once, and it almost broke him. He couldn't go through that again. Okuyasu was more than a friend to him. He was family. He knew it sounded weird because they didn't know each other for that long, but it's how he felt. Then, Okuyasu's eyes fluttered and opened. He looked around, confused, until he saw him.

"Josuke?"

Something snapped inside of him, and Josuke broke down in tears. He knew it was pathetic, crying like a little kid. But he couldn't stop. Okuyasu was right here, and he was fine. All the tension of sleepless nights wondering if he was dead or if removing the bud wasn't enough came out. Suddenly, he felt a pair of arms pulling him into a hug, and Okuyasu's quiet voice beside him. 

"I'm sorry for worrying you so much, Josuke".

"Never apologize for that" Josuke let go and wiped his tears. "Just listen to me and don't let go next time, ok?"

"Deal" Okuyasu replied, laughing. "We're in a good mess, huh?"

"You could say that. We're in 1989".

"Oh, damn. I know we were in another time, but... Anyway, I'm curious. You're with Jotaro, right? How's it going? Is he a lovestruck teenager? Some embarrassing moment we can blackmail him with?"

"He is even scarier".

Okuyasu looked properly appalled by the idea.

"How is that possible?!"

"I know, right?"

They looked at each other, and burst out laughing. Not even one minute together and Okuyasu was already cheering him up.

"I missed you, man".

"Me too, Josuke! Now we just have to get Koichi and the Morioh gang will be complete once again".

"I told you not to call us that..." But Josuke stopped abruptly. "Wait, do you know where Koichi is?!"

"Well, yeah. We were working together when I was brainwashed to trap everyone in Jotaro's group. You know, gotta catch' em all!

"It's amazing how you try to sneak a Pokemon reference in every conversation".

"It's a really good show!"

"That's not the point here! You should have started with telling me you knew Koichi's whereabouts!"

"Well, you know me. I'm not pretty smart" Okuyasu said, laughing.

Josuke immediately hit Okuyasu in the head. 

"If you ever say that again, I'll kick your ass. You're not an idiot, Okuyasu. I wouldn't have you fighting by my side if you were". 

Okuyasu looked at him with widened eyes. Then he smiled and nodded. 

"Got it". 

"Great! Now, where's Koichi?"

"In an abandoned warehouse in the north of the city. He wanted to use some members of Jotaro's group as bait. In fact, the original plan was that you would start chasing me and I would get you to the warehouse". 

"What do you mean with some of the group? Did Koichi hurt someone?" 

"He kidnapped that European guy and the other one with the weird hair". 

"Oh, fuck" Josuke swore. "Those are Polnareff and Avdol. They were supposed to help Jotaro defeat Dio, not go get themselves kidnapped!" 

"They're ok physically. Koichi just used Echoes to leave them unconscious". 

That really wasn't of any comfort to Josuke. Polnareff and Avdol had been kidnapped and Jotaro probably didn't know what had happened to them. Which left only him to deal with the mess. Another friend he had to fight. Great.

"Let's go, then" Josuke said, standing up. 

"Yes! Let's kick some ass!" Okuyasu yelled, grinning. 

Josuke smiled. Oh, he had missed this. Both him and Okuyasu walked to the warehouse. It wasn't very far, just ten minutes away. Some people gave him weird looks when they passed by, but Josuke had already gotten used to it. Their clothes and physical aspect attracted attention. Anyway, Josuke had never been one to worry about those things. 

However, as they approached the place, less and less people were around until only him and Okuyasu were the only ones on the street. Which was normal since the area looked completely abandoned with ruinous buildings and sidewalks thst had not been cleaned in years.

"Oi, Josuke, I know this is a stu… sorry, useless question. But, is there any way of defeating Dio that's not, you know, killing him?" 

"Why would you… Oh". 

Josuke stopped. How could he have forgotten? Okuyasu's dad had turned into a monster because of Dio's death, after he sold his soul to him. Okuyasu was staring at the floor wringing his hands. 

"Okuyasu, I.."

"Forget I said anything. It's just that… sometimes I wonder how our life would have been if my dad had not changed. Maybe Keicho would have been normal, you know? And we would do things normal brothers do".

Josuke wanted to help Okuyasu so badly. He had seen first hand the tragedy he had gone through. He wanted Okuyasu to have a second chance. To have the family he deserved. There must be something that could be done, right? 

"Maybe..." 

"Josuke, it's impossible" Okuyasu said. "I shouldn't have said anything". 

"You don't know that. I mean, yes, it's 99 percent impossible, but maybe if I talk to the others they can figure out something. The Speedwagon Foundation is helping them, after all. Those guys are supposed to be smart. And come on, Dio is a vampire. There has to be some trick". 

"What if it's a risk they don't want to take? They're not gonna put everything in danger for one guy". 

"To be honest, Okuyasu, I don't think your dad was the only one. Who knows how many people Dio cheated? Jotaro and the others don't know the consequences of his death. Maybe it will make them think it over and find another way". 

"I'm not gonna get my hopes up". 

"Good. Don't" Josuke replied, because he didn't want Okuyasu to have his heart broken. "It's super difficult this will work. But that doesn't mean we cannot try, right?" 

Okuyasu nodded and Josuke grinned. 

"Well, now let's kick Koichi's ass and bring him back to normal". 

He started walking again, but Okuyasu didn't move yet. 

"Hey, Josuke?" 

"Tell me". 

"I owe you a big one". 

"You don't owe me anything, man. But" he added with a sly smile, "if you want to repay me,you can invite me to a lunch at Tonio's when we come back". 

"Said and done! Oh, that's the warehouse". 

Okuyasu was pointing at a grey building. It wasn't much different from the others except for the fact that hanging on the gate there were a pink earring and a white scarf. Josuke took them and put them in his pocket. He would give them to Polnareff and Avdol when he rescued them. Then, he looked at the building and let Crazy Diamond out. Okuyasu did the same with the Hand. 

"Here we go" Josuke said. 

Chapter Text

"Let us go, fils de pute! 

No matter how much Polnareff yelled, nothing changed. The pressure was still there, keeping him rooted to the spot. 

"Little bastard" he grumbled. "Hey, Avdol, do you think Josuke will be very mad if I kill this guy?" 

Avdol, who was sitting (or, better said, forced to sit) beside Polnareff, sighed with exasperation. 

"What do you think?" 

"Fine, I won't kill him" Polnareff huffed. "I hope Josuke thanks me later". 

"I'm sure he will appreciate your incredible self restraint". 

"Is that sarcasm?" 

"Not at all".

"Sometimes you're insufferable". 

"Right back at you". 

"Would you two shut up?" Koichi interrupted. "And I thought Okuyasu talked too much". 

"Does it bother you?" Polnareff asked with a mischievous smile. "Then let us go and we'll be out of your hair". 

"As if I'm going to believe that" Koichi chuckled. 

"You're using us as bait to lure Josuke in, right?" Avdol said. 

"Well, aren't you the clever one? Of course I am. We'll get Josuke to join us". 

"If you hurt him..." Polnareff began, but Koichi cut him off when he burst out laughing.

"Hurt him? That's funny. Maybe when he was still weak, I could have beaten him up. That's why I attacked him in the hotel. But now I won't be able to even get close to him. I'm not a fool. I know Josuke is much more powerful than me". 

"Powerful? Josuke? But he doesn't even know what his Stand is!" 

"Did you really buy that?" Koichi said. "Oh well, Josuke has always been a very good liar".

"So if you can't defeat him, what's your plan?" Avdol asked. 

"Threatening to kill you, of course. I know Josuke. He would do anything to save people in danger. He has a bit of a hero complex". 

Then Koichi turned around. He couldn't leave very far if he wanted his Stand to keep his effect. That's why he had put a small television nearby. The screen showed a black and white footage. It was the outside of the warehouse where Josuke and Okuyasu were currently standing. Koichi grimaced.

"Shit. It seems Okuyasu lost. That dumbass can't do anything right". 

Polnareff breathed a sigh of relief. But he could feel something was wrong. Things couldn't actually be that easy. He stared at Avdol who looked strangely calm with the situation.

"Why are you so zen, eh? You should be a little surprised about Josuke having a fully formed Stand at least". 

"I already knew".

"What!?" Polnareff yelled. "He told you and not me? If he rescues us, I'm gonna kill that brat later". 

"He didn't tell me anything, Jean Pierre. But what do you think happened when Vanilla Ice took me? I didn't do anything and Vanilla Ice didn't suddenly forgot how to use his Stand".

"Which only leaves..." 

"Yes, Josuke. He was the one who saved me. I don't understand how or what ability his Stand has, but he managed to override Vanilla Ice". 

"Oh. But then... why did he lie to us?" 

"That's a good question. Hopefully he will answer it in a few minutes". 

"Or maybe he won't" Koichi interrupted. "I have prepared a surprise". 

Josuke opened the door of the warehouse. Everything was eerily silent. It looked like an old garage judging by all the parked cars, if you could even call them that. They were mostly rusted pieces of crap. 

A flight of stairs at the back gave way to a large platform that acted as a second floor. On it, Polnareff and Avdol were sitting while Koichi stood triumphantly. 

"Welcome" he announced, with his arms open. 

"Koichi, stop being an idiot" Okuyasu replied. 

"Funny coming from you".

"Watch it, Koichi" Josuke warned him. 

"How sweet. You're protecting him. Well, nevermind. I have a surprise for you. I didn't expect to have Okuyasu on your side, but I guess it will still work".

The headlights of all the cars suddenly switched on. The brightness blinded Josuke and Okuyasu  for a moment. And then they heard the engines. 

"Did you know about this, Okuyasu?" Josuke asked. 

"Of course not!" 

"I didn't tell anything to Okuyasu, just in case" Koichi explained. "And it seems like it was a good idea". 

One of the cars ran straight towards them and Okuyasu used the Hand to get them away from it. It wasn't very effective though, because another one ran up from behind them. Josuke put himself between Okuyasu and the approaching car. It hit Crazy Diamond who had his arms crossed over his chest, trying to dilute the impact. The front of the car was crushed and the entire vehicle went flying over their heads. 

"Are you ok?" Okuyasu asked, checking him over for injuries. 

Josuke nodded even though his arms and chest were throbbing. He didn't think he could take another hit like that. 

"We have to find the Stand user who's doing this" Josuke said. "He must be hiding around here". 

"What if he has a long ranged Stand and he's not here?" 

"Then we're fucked. But I don't think he's out of the building. The power of Stands is proportional to how short their range is. And as much as it pains me to admit it, this guy is strong". 

"No, he's not! It's a guy called ZZ, he attacked us before!" Polnareff yelled. "He has the ability of possessing cars! Kick his ass, Josuke!" 

Koichi punched the Frenchman in the face before he could say anything else, but it was enough information for Josuke. 

"Thanks, Polnareff. Will do!" 

Two cars ran at full speed towards Josuke and Okuyasu at the same time. With only one look, they knew what to do. They stood back to back to each other, each facing a different car. Okuyasu used the Hand to erase the middle of one car, and the sides flew past them both. On the other side, Josuke went on the offensive. Crazy Diamond threw a barrage of punches at the car while he yelled Dora repeatedly. The vehicle was reduced to scraps that skidded to the opposite of the warehouse. Meanwhile, Polnareff and Avdol were staring with their mouths open. 

"Yeah, no wonder he managed to save you, Avdol". 

Avdol nodded, speechless. Josuke's Stand had an amazing speed and strength, and he could guess that wasn't even his main ability. And there was another thing...

"Was he also yelling 'Ora' like Star Platinum?" 

"Are you deaf?" Polnareff said. "It was Dora with a D". 

"It's the same thing" 

"No, it isn't!" 

"Will you two keep quiet?!" Koichi yelled. "I should just kill you and be done with it". 

Josuke and Okuyasu surveyed the area while they dodged and deflected the constant attacks of cars which were getting more frequent and vicious, with several cars attacking at the same time. They didn't know how long they could keep it up. They were both panting and sweating, unused to using their Stands so many times in a row. 

"There!" 

Okuyasu was pointing at the corner where a group of boxes were piled. A mass of black hair was sticking up from them. 

"I see it" Josuke said with a sly smile. Finally they got the motherfucker. "Cover me, I'll go for him". 

"Sure thing!" 

Josuke ran towards the corner, and the enemy finally got out of his hideout. It was a terrified short man with black hair. Josuke had expected it. Only cowards hid behind their Stands. The man was against the wall without anywhere to escape. 

"I'm not done!" he yelled. "My Stand, Wheel of Fortune, can control any cars and this place is my heaven". 

A row of different vehicles lined up in front of the enemy, facing Josuke. There were vehicles of all sizes and models, even a giant truck. 

"Not even you can avoid all this" ZZ said, laughing. "You're dead!" 

"Here's the thing" Josuke said, calmer than he probably should be. "Koichi didn't tell you because you wouldn't want to face me then. My Stand, Crazy Diamond, has a curious ability. He can heal anyone or restore anything: a vase, a table… the cars you were throwing at me". 

Comprehension dawned on ZZ's face, but it was too late. The pieces of all the destroyed cars started to assemble in the air, and Josuke sent them directly to the enemy. None of the chunks pierced his body or did serious damage (Josuke was against killing people after all), but they pinned him to the wall making it impossible for him to move. The force of the impact had knocked him unconscious, so all the vehicles stopped moving at the same time. Josuke let out a relieved sigh. It was going to be a long time before he stepped foot in a car again. Suddenly Koichi's voice interrupted his thoughts. 

"If you don't join me, I'll kill these two!" he said, pointing at Polnareff and Avdol. 

"Oh my god, evil you is so annoying" Josuke replied. 

"Hey, show a little concern, brat!" Polnareff yelled.

"I'm very concerned, asshole!"

"Well, it doesn't look like it". 

"That's because I have a plan" Josuke said, grinning.

Okuyasu erased the space with the Hand so quickly that Koichi didn't even see him coming. Before he could react, Okuyasu had already his arms around Koichi immobilising him.

"Not so smart anymore, eh?" Okuyasu asked with a smug smile.

"I'll use Echoes!"

"Yeah, sure. Make me super heavy while I'm hugging you. I bet that's going to end up so well for you".

"And you can only focus on one target at the same time" added Josuke, who had climbed the stairs to the second floor. "It's time to give up, Koichi".

"I will never give up, Dio is my..."

Josuke punched him in the face before he could say anything else, knocking him unconscious. 

"He's going to be so embarrassed later" Okuyasu said.

Josuke nodded while he laid Koichi on the floor.

"Finally, I can move!" Polnareff yelled throwing his arms into the air. "Oh, sweet freedom!"

Avdol chuckled beside him, standing up much less flamboyantly. 

"That's a really powerful Stand you have, Josuke".

"Yeah, man" Polnareff agreed. "I'm glad we didn't end up fighting when we met. It would have been a good problem". 

"You're overreacting" Josuke said, blushing. He wasn't used to such compliments.

"So what did you do exactly against Vanilla Ice?" Avdol asked. 

Josuke looked at Avdol, surprised he had reached that conclusion. 

"I don't exactly know, honestly. I had never used my Stand like that. I can put things together, but I wasn't sure if it applied to another dimension". 

"It seems like it did. Thanks".

"Anytime" Josuke replied, grinning. 

"So, what do we do with your friend, the dick?" Polnareff said. 

"Hey, careful! I'm the only one who can call him dick!" 

"And you are?" 

"Okuyasu Nijimura. And if you insult my friend again, I'll kick your ass!"

"Oh, yeah? Why don't you come here and...?" 

A silver gleam started to form around Polnareff and Josuke decided to quickly intervene. 

"Why don't we calm down? Polnareff, please understand that Koichi is our friend. He's not a dick at all when he's normal".

"Fine, you have a point" Polnareff said, reluctantly. 

"At least you could say you're sorry".

"Okuyasu..." Josuke warned him, but he was interrupted by Polnareff's laughter. 

"That's okay. I get it. I like people who have the guts to defend their loved ones. Okuyasu, sorry for having offended you and your friend". 

"Apologies accepted" Okuyasu replied, smiling again

Josuke released a sigh of relief. He had not counted with what would happen when these two knuckleheads got together. 

"I don't want to interrupt your moment of reconciliation, but he's waking up" Avdol said. 

Just as he had said, Koichi's eyes were fluttering. 

"Shit!" Josuke swore. "Everyone hold him, I'm going to take the bug out". 

Polnareff and Avdol took an arm each while Okuyasu grabbed his legs. Josuke knelt beside Koichi and repeated the same process he had done with Okuyasu. After crushing the bug, Koichi opened his eyes and looked around, confused. 

"Josuke? Okuyasu?" 

"Welcome back" Josuke said.

Suddenly Koichi's eyes widened and he sat up abruptly. 

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry! I almost killed you! And you too" he added, looking at Polnareff and Avdol. "I'm really sorry, please forgive me". 

Polnareff and Avdol, who weren't used to the Japanese traditions, watched the scene of Koichi bowing over and over with amusement and a bit of bafflement. 

"You were right, Okuyasu" Polnareff said. "He's not a dick". 

"It's fine, Koichi" Avdol assured him. "You don't need to apologise. We knew you weren't in control of your actions". 

"Yeah, no hard feelings man" Polnareff added. 

Koichi looked very relieved when he heard the duo's words. 

"Thanks! I will still try to compensate you". 

"There's no need seriously!" Polnareff said. 

Josuke watched the scene with a fond smile. He almost couldn't believe it. His friends were right here and they were fine. He felt happier than he had in months. Now they just had to defeat an immortal vampire and find a way back to their home and time.

Well, shit. 

Chapter Text

Jotaro growled. He wasn't having a good day. He had caught up with Avdol and Polnareff and explained the plan to them before the couple of stubborn dumbasses did something they regretted. Like getting killed by Dio. After a couple of arguments and Star Platinum yelling ora threateningly, they went in the direction Kakyoin was supposed to be. But halfway through it, Polnareff and Avdol disappeared. One moment they were there, and the next one Jotaro turned around and they were gone.

He had backtracked, trying to find them, but it had been in vain. There was no sign of them. Jotaro was worried, but he also knew there was nothing he could do. He just hoped they were okay. When he started this quest, he promised himself that he wouldn't get too attached to these people. This journey was full of dangers and their enemy was practically undefeatable, a true monster. 

It was only logical that there would be casualties, so Jotaro didn't really see the point of befriending or even getting to know this strange group. At first it wasn't really hard: they all seemed like a bunch of assholes. Avdol was an uptight prick, Polnareff only thought about revenge, Iggy kept ditching them as soon as he could and Kakyoin was nice all the fucking time (yes, for some reason that also annoyed Jotaro).

He had tried (god, he had) to keep his distance, giving the vibe of a cold and distant person. It was the technique he used in high school where he didn't want to be annoyed. Which meant 90 percent of the time as Jotaro didn't feel comfortable around people in general. He never had actually. They kept talking about things he wasn't even remotely interested in, like girls, games or how unfair life was because their parents didn't let them go to a party. Jotaro just couldn't bring himself to care, so he stopped trying a long time ago. Sometimes he wondered if there was something wrong with him. 

But the group was persistent and kept pestering him. Telling him about their lives even though he pretended not to listen, inviting him to lunch even though he pretended not to be hungry, fighting side by side even though he pretended not to need help. 

Maybe it was because they all had Stands or because they just seemed different from all the people Jotaro had ever met. But, for the first time in his life, he found himself not... well, extremely annoyed by the presence of others. He even liked to spend time with them. He thought he finally understood what people meant by friendship. 

So here he was. Worried about the bunch of assholes in question even if he had tried his best not to care. Jotaro just knew he was going to lose someone this day. 

Knowing it didn't make it any easier. 

Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks. Joseph was at the other side of the road. He looked so afraid… Jotaro had never seen him like that. And wasn't Kakyoin supposed to be with him? Why wasn't he there? He took a step towards Joseph. 

"What happened? Where's Kakyoin? And Josuke?" 

Joseph's face crumpled and Jotaro knew. Before he said anything, he knew. 

"We set a trap for Dio, but it didn't go as planned. Kakyoin is dead, Jotaro. Josuke stayed with him". 

"That was stupid. He could have offered more support here". 

"Jotaro, I think he just didn't want to leave him..."

"Well, he is not coming back, isn't he?!" 

His cheeks were wet. Was he crying? What was the last time it happened? He didn't remember. He guessed this meant he could feel things after all. He wished he couldn't. He wished he couldn't feel anything at all. 

"I'm sorry, Jotaro. I knew you were friends" Joseph said, raising his hand to put it over his shoulder.

Jotaro just flinched away, going back to his unreadable expression. He didn't want to hear apologies and excuses, they just made everything worse. He stood up, with only one goal in his mind: killing Dio. He could only focus on that. 

If he stopped, he would fall apart.

"I have to tell you something else" Joseph said. "There was something we didn't know about the World..."

Then, out of nowhere, Dio appeared. Jotaro blinked and suddenly he saw Dio behind Joseph, about to stab him in the throat. Jotaro went cold. 

"Grandpa" he whispered so low no one would be able to hear him.

Suddenly, Iggy jumped out from behind Dio. The Fool punched him in the face, though it had no effect. Jotaro blinked again and he saw Iggy squashed against the floor. Still, it had been enough time for Joseph to get away from Dio and run to Jotaro's side.

"Jotaro, Dio can..."

"I know".

Jotaro had realized when Dio attacked Iggy. The vampire could stop time several times, almost without pause. He didn't have the cooldown the other Stand users needed. Shit.

He wondered how he could defeat someone like that. Josuke had mentioned Star Platinum could stop time. Jotaro was sure he hadn't been lying. Josuke had looked too confident. Jotaro just wished the guy would tell him what the hell he was hiding. He though Josuke wasn't a bad person, but until he told Jotaro the whole truth, he wouldn't be able to fully trust him. He put his frustrations about Josuke aside. It wasn't neither the time or the place.

"Stay out of this, old man" Jotaro said.

"As if I'm leaving you alone with that monster. You attack him, and I'll immobilize him with the Hamon".

"It sounds like a too simple plan".

"It's not like we have another one. Plus, my vast experience tells me that simple plans are the best".

Joseph grinned and Jotaro couldn't help but smile a bit too.

"For Holly" Joseph said, his smile gone. 

Jotaro nodded.

"For Holly".

"Oh, you two are really cute" Dio interrupted, laughing. "I'm so happy to have two Joestars from which to get blood".

"Blood?" Joseph repeated.

Dio pulled the collar of his jacket down, revealing a thick scar around his neck.

"Fusing two bodies is not an easy process. I'm still not 100 percent recuperated. But you're gonna help me change that".

"You're sick" Joseph said with disgust. 

"And you're weak. The World!"

Everything stopped. It was like Jotaro was watching a broken VHS. Dio was coming towards them with a knowing smile. Jotaro tried to react,  but, as in the nightmares he  used to have as a kid, he couldn't move at all no matter how hard he tried. Dio passed by him, so close he could smell him, and stopped in front of Joseph with a knife in his raised hand. Jotaro willed his body to do something, anything at all. He only got his fingers to twitch. 

But that was enough. In that world of quiet, Dio noticed the movement immediately. His eyes widened and Jotaro saw fear in his face. Maybe he had a chance, after all. Time started again, and Dio backed down a few meters.

"First, you already know I stop time, and now this!" Dio yelled, his face distorted in anger. "How did it happen? Those bloody time portals, it's all their fault!" 

"What time portals?" Jotaro asked, confused. What was this madman talking about? 

Dio shut up suddenly, like realising he had talked too much. But then, his eyes narrowed. 

"So you haven't seen them?" he asked Jotaro. 

"I have no idea, and frankly I don't care". 

"Oh, Jotaro. You really know nothing".

"I know that I'm gonna kick your ass".

Jotaro walked towards his enemy. Dio just burst out laughing.

"So you're approaching me? Great. I'm not going to back down only because you know the power of the World".

They got so close they could feel each other's breath. Jotaro just wanted to wipe out that smug smile off Dio's face.

He got Star Platinum out and Dio made the World appear. The last fight. Only one of them would survive. They both raised their arms at the same time.

And then there was a ripping sound. Jotaro felt a strong wind blowing on his face, and his cap flew away. Jotaro turned around, and his eyes widened. A black hole had ripped the sky, sucking everything in his way. It was a bit far, but Jotaro still felt himself pulled in its direction. He looked around and saw Joseph was having the same problem. He was being dragged even faster as Jotaro. The teen grabbed onto the wall of a restaurant. It was the sturdiest thing he could find, though he could already feel the bricks coming loose. Joseph also used his Hermit Purple to attach himself to another building.

"What is happening?" Joseph asked, yelling to make himself heard over the wind.

"No fucking idea. Grab Iggy!"

The dog was literally flying straight to the portal. He was barking and writhing all the way, but he was too small and lightweight to escape. Joseph was too far away to catch him. 

Iggy was just a few meters away from the portal when a group green vines caught him and threw him away directly to Jotaro who took him with his free hand without thinking. 

Because all his attention was focused on Kakyoin. He was there, alive. His clothes were slashed, but otherwise he didn't have a scratch on him. Was this how miracles felt like? 

"Hey, guys!" he shouted over the wind, smiling. 

"How?" Joseph asked. Jotaro was wondering the same thing, but he was still speechless. 

"It turns out that Josuke has a very interesting ability. Argh!" 

That scream brought Jotaro back to reality. Kakyoin was holding onto a building, but the ropes of Hierophant Green were slipping. Fast. 

"You're too close to that thing!" Jotaro said. 

"Yeah, I know. But I couldn't let Iggy get sucked in, right?" 

"You idiot…" Jotaro said, because he knew what was going to happen and there was nothing he could do to stop it. 

He couldn't go with him. He had to defeat Dio. He had to save his mom. 

"I'll be fine, Jotaro".

Hierophant Green couldn't hold anymore and the vines disappeared. Kakyoin was sucked into the darkness, smiling at Jotaro. 

Then the portal closed, and everything turned back to normal. Jotaro fell on the floor, with widened eyes. He had gotten Kakyoin back only to lose him again a few moments later. It seemed like a bad joke. And he was the butt of it. He clenched his fists. 

"Where's Dio?"

"He ran away" Joseph explained. "When the portal appeared, he stopped time to escape from it".

Jotaro frowned. That meant that even Dio wasn't strong enough whatever that thing had been. Time portals, Dio had called them. But surely that was impossible? However, Jotaro wanted to believe it. Because that meant Kakyoin was alive, and he could bring him back. 

A Stand that could stop time was supposed to be impossible too, but look where he was. Maybe even he could stop time. He was certainly able to do something against him. Josuke had been right, and that might have saved his life. But how? How did he know? Jotaro looked at the spot where the portal had been. Could it be...? 

"Jotaro". 

He turned his head to find Joseph looking at him, worried. 

"Come on, we have to go and find Dio. If we don't stop him soon..." 

"I know. You don't need to tell me". 

He didn't want to think about his mom's state. He just couldn't. All the times he had yelled at her or called her things because she got on his nerves... What an idiot he had been, acting like a moody teenager. The guilt had been eating him alive since she got sick. He didn't know what he would do if he didn't get the chance to fix things. To let her know she wasn't an annoyance to him. 

He stood up, with his fists clenched. He would defeat Dio, and then he would bring Kakyoin back. Even if it cost him his life.


Dio entered the room and closed the door behind him. He had bought this abandoned house in case of an emergenc, but he hated it. It wasn't anything like the luxurious mansion he had been living. The fact that it resembled his childhood home didn't help, of course. 

"Cornered like a rat..." he grumbled. "Bloody portals!" 

"They also have some advantages". 

Dio turned around to see the silver haired man who had appeared just a few hours ago. He had just showed up at his mansion moments before the Crusaders came in, saying he was from the future. Dio had then learned that the breaches were actually time portals. 

"I don't really see those advantages". 

"Well, you have me. And if you had listened to me instead of running off after the Joestars, things could have played differently". 

"Careful, Kira" Dio said, walking towards the psychopath. "Remember who you are talking to". 

"You're more powerful than me, I know that. And I wouldn't want to anger you, we're allies after all.I just wish to go back to my time, and live a quiet life. But for that, I have to destroy the Joestars. All of them". 

"Joseph is easy. But I have to be careful with Jotaro. He seems partly immune to the World". 

Kira raised his eyebrows. 

"Only partly immune? Interesting".

"What do you mean?" 

"Jotaro can stop time. At least he could when I met him. I guess here he is still developing that ability". 

Suddenly, Kira found himself being choked by an enraged Dio. 

"That's impossible! The World is the most powerful Stand ever, no one can replicate its power!" 

Even fighting for breath, Kira showed a mocking smile.

"No one except for Jotaro". 

Dio let go of Kira who crumpled to the floor, panting. The vampire roamed the room, and finally let out an impotent scream of fury. How was this possible? He had thought the World had a unique ability. But as always, a Joestar came to take everything from him. 

"There may be a solution" Kira interrupting his thoughts. 

"Which one?" 

"I told you I wanted to get rid of all the Joestars. But there's one in special. One even you don't even about and I bet Jotaro's little group doesn't either". 

"What are you talking about?" 

"You noticed the new guy traveling with them?" 

"The one with the eccentric hair? Yes, it's a stray they picked up". 

"Oh, he's so much more that" Kira replied, chuckling. 

"I don't have time for your stupid riddles".

"Sorry, I'm just enjoying this so much. See, his name is Josuke Higashikata, and he's Joseph Joestar's bastard son". 

Dio raised one eyebrow, surprised. And after 100 years, there were not many things that could surprise Dio Brando. And then, he smiled viciously. Oh, this was an interesting development indeed. Maybe his problems were solved after all. 

 

Chapter Text

Hol Horse opened his eyes. The last thing he remembered was being punched by that brat with the weird hair. He sighed. At least the guy hadn't killed him. He had taken this as a suicide mission. He had no back up except for Boingo, who was just a kid, and fighting alone wasn't his strong suit. He was only useful as number two. But it was either getting killed by the Crusaders or by Dio. He thought the Crusaders might be more merciful. 

He sat up and looked around. He expected the busy (and annoying) sounds of the streets in Cairo, but everything was quiet. He could hear some cars in the distance, but nothing else. Also, the weather was different. Sure, it was hot but it wasn't the scorching heat he had to endure for months. He walked towards the direction of the sounds and ended up in a wide street. 

Yep. Definitely not Cairo.

In the first place, people didn't look Egyptian at all. Not to be racist, but he had never seen an Egyptian with Asian features. He looked at the signs of the shops. Contrary to what people believed, Hol Horse wasn't an idiot. At least not completely. He had travelled a lot and, even though he didn't speak the language, he could recognize Japanese when he saw it. Which begged the question of how exactly he had ended up in the other point of the fucking world.

He took a walk around, trying to pinpoint where he was exactly inside of Japan. It looked like a small city so he could discard Tokyo or Kyoto. The problem is that was his extent of Japanese geography. He had always wanted to visit the country and expand his knowledge, but definitely not like this.

He thought his looks would attract a lot of attention. After all he was an almost 2 meter tall guy with blond hair and blue eyes. Not what you would call inconspicuous in Japan. However, even though he did get a few stares, most people didn't even look at him. Weird. It was like this wasn't the strangest thing they had seen.

After a while roaming around, Hol Horse also realized some people were holding devices to their ears while they talked aloud. And no one seemed bothered or uncomfortable by it. He frowned. This definitely wasn't a normal place. He saw a newspaper laying on a bench, and he didn't think it twice. He did know the basic Japanese kanji so maybe he could decipher the name of the town and figure out finally where the fuck he was. He started with the headline, way too complicated for him to understand, and then kept reading. Ha! Date and place. This was what interested him. The newspaper said: Morioh. So that is the name of the town, Hol Horse thought. It didn't sound familiar at all. Then there was the date, 25 of August of...

Hol Horse stopped reading. He double checked to see if maybe it was some kind of prank newspaper, but all the stories seemed real. But it couldn't be, right? He got up from where he had been sitting on the bank and ran to a store where many different tvs were announcing the news. At the bottom of the screens was the same date he had just seen. The one he couldn't or didn't want to believe. 25 of August of 2000.

It was impossible! Time travel was a myth that even Stands couldn't achieve. Was he going crazy? He wouldn't be surprised with everything that had happened to him in the last months. But the date on the TVs wasn't changing. And thinking about it, that would explain the devices and the strange clothes (not that he was one to give lessons about that). Maybe he was really in the future.

Or maybe he had just lost his mind. Hol Horse sighed. Wondering about it was pointless. He had always tried to adapt to any circumstances and this time was no different. He thought about the first step he had to take. He was in an unknown town (and time) without a cent. Unless Egyptian pounds counted as currency here, which he doubted a lot. So he had to get money and fast. 

There was an easy solution for that: stealing. Hol Horse smiled. He was an expert robber and quite good at it. No matter the city or country, his method never failed. He would just wait in a dark alley for some idiot to go through it. And that's what he did. He crouched behind a dumpster and waited. A long time passed and his legs were starting to cramp. 

It took some time, but finally a guy appeared. And after all, it was his lucky day. Judging by the eccentric and pompous clothes he was wearing, he had to be rich. Hol Horse also didn't like his expression one bit. He looked too arrogant. Well, time to teach him a lesson he thought with a smile. He got out from behind the dumpster, gun raised. 

"Give me all your money, right now!" 

He had expected for the man to drop his bag and start to tremble. Maybe even cry and beg for his life. Some people did that. But the guy just raised an eyebrow and released a long sigh.

"Look, I've had a very bad couple of months. So move or I'll make you move. Oh, and the cowboy look went out of fashion a long time ago".

"What the...? I'm pointing a gun at you! 

"Yes, I can see that. I'm not blind".

"You should be more afraid".

"Are you going to put the gun down?" the guy looked utterly unimpressed with Hol Horse's act. "I'm not asking twice".

Hol Horse had robbed a lot of people in his life, but he had never encountered such a situation. What should he do? Maybe the guy was suicidal. He felt a little bad for shooting a disarmed person. Well, why not? Since the guy didn't seem to mind... 

Before he had even touched the trigger though, the man yelled:

"Heaven's Door!"

A silver figure appeared in front of him. What the hell? From all the people that he could rob, he had to choose a Stand user. Just his luck. He tried to shoot the Stand, but it was too fast. He did something in his face and suddenly he couldn't move. The guy approached him with the same slightly annoyed expression he had during their whole encounter. As if Hol Horse was only a bug he had to swat away

"Hol Horse. Born in Arizona, in 1956?" he looked at the cowboy for a few seconds, but then shrugged. "I guess you have aged well. You'll have to give me your skincare routine. Oh, you have a Stand too... Wait, this doesn't make sense".

The guy looked puzzled and got closer to Hol Horse's face. It was as if he was reading something on his face.

"You are from 1989, and suddenly you appeared here while... Are you kidding me?!" His eyes widened. "Hey, the guy you fought just before you ended up here, how did he look like?" 

"I'm telling you nothing". 

"Answer Rohan's question, Hol Horse". 

That voice... Hol Horse started to tremble, recognizing instantly who it belonged to. How could he forget? He turned around, hoping so hard to be wrong. He had a different outfit, and he looked older with the beginning of wrinkles starting to show. But there was no doubt. It was Jotaro Kujo. 

"He looked Japanese, and he had a weird pompadour haircut. He was with that bitchy dog" he answered immediately. 

"What about his Stand?" 

"Pink buff guy. I think he called it something Diamond. Please, Jotaro, that's everything I know. Don't kill me".

"Yes, about that… I never liked you at all, Hol Horse".

The moment he saw Star Platinum, he knew what was coming. He tried to brace himself, but the barrage of fists of Star Platinum was merciless, and he lost consciousness after the second punch.

"From what I could gather while I was reading him, you have fought this guy before, right?" Rohan said. 

"Yes. In Cairo, 1989. That's where Josuke is".

"Of course the breaches are time portals. I guess time travel is thing now, why the hell not?" Rohan suddenly stopped his rant. "Mmm, Jotaro?"

"What?"

"You look... well, worried".

"And?"

"It's unnerving. You are never worried".

Jotaro clenched his fists. Of all the fucking times and places in the fucking world... Some nights he still dreamt of Cairo. Sometimes he replayed the battle against Dio, the impotence of losing everyone he cared about. Other times he imagined everyone had survived. Avdol stayed in Egypt, Polnareff and Iggy went back to France, and Kakyoin and him graduated high school together. Somehow, those were even worse.

His only comfort was that he had managed to kill that monster, but now he was back in his life. Maybe he never left at all. Maybe he was destined to lose everything at Dio's hands. Included Josuke. 

Jotaro had gotten attached to the kid. It was impossible not to. He was kind and open, always seeing the bright side of things. The complete opposite of Jotaro. He had wanted Josuke to have the chance Jotaro never had. To keep his innocence and optimism intact, and live the normal life of a teenager. Angelo and Kira had almost ruined that, but Josuke had seemed mostly unscathed. That's why Jotaro had not told him about the portals, he didn't want to get him involved. Unfortunately, he never thought they would appear in Morioh. Josuke had never been angrier with him than that day.


Josuke had called him, on the verge of a panic attack, because Okuyasu and Koichi had disappeared. He had started to tell him about the portals, but Jotaro had cut him off. 

"I already know about the portals".

"You know?" Josuke repeated.

"Yes. The Speedwagon Foundation received reports of several breaches appearing in different points of the planet, mostly in Italy and the USA. I've been investigating them".

There had been silence over the line for some moments. Jotaro had known then that it was a bad sign. Josuke wasn't the type to be silent for very long. Finally he spoke.

"And of course you didn't tell me, why would you? You never say anything anyway" Josuke's voice had been raising gradually until in his next words he was shouting. "Maybe if you had told me this, I would have known how to fucking react when that thing appeared! I could have planned something, and Okuyasu and Koichi would be here!" 

Jotaro remained silent. What could he say? Josuke was right. He wasn't as stubborn as to not recognise that.

"I'm so done trying to win your trust. It's obvious I'll never get it. I don't think anyone can".

Jotaro had frowned. Did Josuke really think that he didn't trust him?  

"Josuke, that's not..."

"That's not what?! True? It's not like it matters anyway. Maybe it's just like you are, but... But I can't stand it anymore, Jotaro".


And then he hung up. Josuke had sounded like he had lost all hope. It hurt more than the anger. It also seemed like a pattern in Jotaro's life. He just kept disappointing people because he couldn't open to anyone. He didn't know how. He had never been a naturally expressive person, but he admitted that he wasn't a complete fuck up in that aspect when he was younger.

But after Cairo something just... changed. Everytime he got attached to someone, he was overcome with thoughts of losing that person. Maybe an enemy would use them to get to him, or they would get caught up in one of his fights. Those were the barriers that refrained him from taking the last step that for other people, like Josuke, felt so normal.

It wasn't like Josuke knew all this because Jotaro had never told him anything about Cairo, like so many other things. And now he was totally unprepared in another time because of it. He would never forgive himself if Josuke died.

His only hope was that Josuke would manage to stay out of the whole mess, but he knew it was almost impossible. He had already fought Hol Horse and Iggy had been with him. That meant he was headed directly to the fight against Dio. 

"What are you going to do with him?" Rohan's voice startled him out of his thoughts. 

Jotaro realized he was referring to the unconscious Hol Horse. He didn't have time to deal with the idiot. 

"I have an idea" he said. 

He got out of the pocket of his jacket a piece of paper and a pen. After writing "if you hurt someone, I'll kill you", he tucked it in Hol Horse's hat. That should be enough. The sorry excuse of a cowboy was scared shitless of him. And with good reason. 

Rohan remained silent for a few moments. That in itself wasn't weird, Rohan was a quiet person. But he was unconsciously playing with one of his pencils, a habit he had when he was nervous. Jotaro just waited for him to gather the courage to ask what he wanted to. After a while, the mangaka finally asked:

"Is it that bad? Where Josuke is?" 

"Yes, it is. Can you get the others and have them meet them at my hotel?" 

Rohan nodded. The mangaka looked uncharacteristically upset. For all his tough talk, he appreciated Josuke. They were very different and there were many things where they didn't see eye to eye. His loud and obnoxious behavior got on Rohan's nerves more often than not, so he could only handle him in small doses (if ever). But Josuke was a brave kid who had risked his life for Morioh and even for Rohan himself. He didn't deserve what was happening to him, just like Koichi and Okuyasu didn't either.

"What do you think will happen if these portals never stop?" 

"I don't know" Jotaro replied. "I haven't been able to figure out why they appeared in the first place". 

"Someone told Josuke it was because of your family. Too much time manipulating. It makes a lot of sense now". 

"Maybe. But I can't change what's been already done. No one can". 

Rohan chuckled. 

"Time portals are appearing all over the world and you say nothing can't be changed. Sometimes you are a fun guy, Jotaro. I'll go get those idiots". 

Jotaro watched the mangaka turn the corner and leave. It was a nice idea, thinking that past tragedies could vanish like fog. And a dangerous false hope. 

"Jotaro?" A voice said behind him. 

He dropped his bag. Slowly he turned around, almost ready to attack because this had to be an enemy Stand user. There was no way... 

But he was there, looking the same. Same red hair, same pink earrings, same infuriatingly kind expression. 

"Kakyoin?" 

Chapter Text

He looked so real it hurt, but Jotaro didn't want to believe it. He didn't dare.

"I never thought I would see you all dressed in white. It's quite a change". 

Jotaro still didn't say anything. Kakyoin walked closer to him, until they could almost touch. 

"You've always been quiet, but this is weird. Even for you". 

"How are you here?" 

"And he speaks. I don't know, really. We were fighting Dio and a black hole appeared suddenly. Next thing I know, I'm here. I suppose this is not Cairo". 

"No, it's a Japanese town called Morioh. You're in the year 2000".

Kakyoin raised his eyebrows. He stayed silent for a few moments, digesting the fact that he was in the future. But he guessed it made sense (in a weird way) that the black hole was actually a time portal. And also... 

"You look different" he said to Jotaro. 

"I'm 29". 

"I wasn't talking about the age".

"You still have not answered my question". 

"Straight to the point as always, right?" Kakyoin said with a smile. "We were fighting Dio. I laid a trap for him, but it didn't go well. Things were looking pretty gray for a moment".

Kakyoin pointed at his jacket and Jotaro noticed it for the first time. His clothes were ripped in the middle. He almost expected to see blood pouring from it. 

"How…?" Jotaro said without thinking. 

"I mean Dio stabbed me, but then Josuke healed me". 

"Josuke?" 

It was Kakyoin's turn to be surprised. 

"You know him?" 

Jotaro frowned. This confirmed his worst fears.

"Jotaro, what's wrong?"

He wanted to scream at the question. Everything was wrong. Josuke was in the last place Jotaro wanted him to be. And now his best friend was back, and it was too good to be true. Jotaro was convinced he was going to disappear at any moment because who knows how time travel, which is a thing now, works? But it wasn't the time to freak out. He had to keep a cool head. He had to save Josuke. 

"Just to clarify" Jotaro said while he got something out of his pocket, "is this the man you met?" 

He gave Kakyoin a photo of him and Josuke. It was from Jotaro's last trip to Morioh, around Christmas. Josuke had wanted to take a picture because they didn't have any together. Jotaro had told him it was stupid. 

Maybe he was the stupid one after all. 

"Yeah, this is him" Kakyoin said. "So he comes from this time?" 

"Yes. These portals started to appear a few months ago. It's a long story, but they basically sucked in two guys called Okuyasu and Koichi". 

"Oh, yes. Josuke's friends. They're also in Cairo, but brainwashed by Dio".

Kakyoin decided to omit the fact that the last time he saw Josuke he was fighting against Okuyasu because, honestly, Jotaro looked worried enough. And it wasn't like any of them could do something from here. 

"So Josuke knows you, how exactly?" 

"I will tell you on the way. First, we have to go somewhere". 

"Ok, after you". 

Along the way, Kakyoin was trying really, really hard not to call any attention. But he still couldn't help looking around with wide eyes. There were just so many differences! Starting by the portable telephones everyone had. But even more importantly, he had seen in some shops game consoles that looked so much better than the ones he had. Kakyoin was a big fan of video games, it was his favorite hobby.

"You're starting to drool" Jotaro said.

"Ha, am I that obvious?"

Jotaro smiled slightly which made Kakyoin feel even more excited. Getting Jotaro to smile was  really hard. One day, Polnareff and him had made a bet about it, cracking jokes the entire day to see who could make him laugh first. But there was no luck, not even a grin.

"It's just that there are so many new video games..."

"Yes, Josuke is also a fan of them. He has a large collection". 

"Really?" 

"Yes. Maybe you can see them, if we can get in". 

Kakyoin frowned, confused, but then he took account of his surroundings. They had left the main street and now they were in a residential area. All the houses looked the same: two floors and one garden. Included the one they were in front of. He saw the name of the letterbox in the garden: Higashikata family. 

"Why are we here?" he asked Jotaro. 

Suddenly the front door opened. A woman with blue hair was standing under the threshold. There was something about her that Kakyoin considered familiar, but he couldn't pinpoint it. She definitely didn't look happy to see them. He also noticed she had a vase in her hands, but surely she wouldn't...? 

Oh, yes. She would. The vase was flying straight at them. Next thing he knew the vase was on the floor, untouched. 

"What...?" Kakyoin said, confused. 

"I can also stop time" Jotaro explained.

Before Kakyoin had time to explore the bomb that Jotaro had suddenly dropped on him, the woman yelled:

"Get out of my house, Jotaro!" 

"Tomoko, I didn't come here to bother you. This is my friend, Kakyoin. He has news about your son". 

So this was Josuke's mom. It explained why she looked familiar. It was obvious where Josuke had gotten his temperament. However, all her anger vanished when she heard Jotaro. She looked at Kakyoin and he felt the need to squirm under her anxious gaze. Tomoko sighed and let the door open as she went inside which the two men took it as an invitation. They crossed the garden and came into the house. After a small foyer, there was a wide living room. 

Just like Jotaro had said, beside the TV there was a pile of games. It seemed Josuke liked race and alien games just like Kakyoin. He imagined Josuke sitting on the sofa or the floor, playing while his mom scolded him for being too focused on the screen. He felt a pit on his stomach.

There was also a photo hanging on the wall. Kakyoin got closer to inspect it. It had been taken at the front door of the house. There was an old man and at each side of him, Josuke and his mom. They were all smiling.

"That was my dad" Tomoko had come into the room and was now standing beside Kakyoin. "He raised Josuke as his own son. I recently discovered he was killed by a Stand user even though everyone told me it was a heart attack".

The fury appeared in her eyes again while she looked at Jotaro who was on the other side of the room. As far away from her as possible, Kakyoin noticed. He was pretty sure it wasn't because he was afraid of her (though everyone who wasn't a Stand user should be), but because he didn't want to cause any more distress.

"I'm sorry about that" Kakyoin said sincerely.

The redhead was really impressed with Josuke. He had gone through a lot, even before the portals appeared. But he still managed to stay optimistic and cheerful, despite everything. Kakyoin wasn't sure he could have done that in his place. 

Tomoko relaxed a little, as she realized Kakyoin's words weren't empty.

"Thanks. If only Josuke wasn't involved in all this mess... You said you had news about him? Have you seen him? Is he okay?"

"Yes, he's fine. But it's hard to explain".

Kakyoin gave Jotaro a quick look because surely he wasn't expecting him to explain everything by himself? But Jotaro just shook his head. Everything he said would only enrage Tomoko even more. She was just too angry at him.

Jotaro had arrived at Morioh just a few hours after Josuke's last call. He had gone straight to the docks only to find an abandoned bike and a trail of too much blood that disappeared abruptly.

Needless to say, Josuke didn't come back and his mom showed up that same night at the hotel he was staying at, demanding to know everything. Jotaro had already expected it. Tomoko was a smart woman and she could put two and two together.

Jotaro had thought about lying (Josuke had never wanted to involve his mom in the Stand world after all), but there was no excuse that could sound convincing enough. And if he said he didn't know anything he was sure Tomoko would punch him. And with good reason. 

So he decided to tell her everything. After a demonstration of Star Platinum, Tomoko believed him. And she proceeded to curse him, Joseph and all the Joestars, which he supposed it was a fair reaction. Josuke was living a normal life until Jotaro showed up talking about dangerous presences. Maybe he would have continued without being involved in all this. Maybe the Joestars were actually cursed.

So he let Kakyoin do the talking. He had always been better at these things than him anyway. And so, Kakyoin told her everything. About when he came from, how he had met Josuke and the situation he was in. He did mention they were fighting an enemy in Cairo, but he didn't exactly say how terrifying Dio was. Kakyoin didn't think it was worth it to worry her even more.

"I know this is not of any comfort, but Josuke is one of the kindest and bravest people I have ever met. He saved my life and I'll always be in his debt for that".

Tomoko's eyes were shining with tears.

"Thanks for your words, Kakyoin. They mean a lot. I just wish Josuke wasn't involved in all this. I know that's impossible, he just can't stand by while others suffer, but..." she sighed. "Maybe if I had never met that man".

Kakyoin didn't know what man he was referring to, but then Jotaro interrupted them:

"Tomoko, can we go to Josuke's room? I want to show something to Kakyoin".

She nodded, and Jotaro made a gesture to follow him. Kakyoin felt a little bad leaving Tomoko, but there was nothing else he could do for her. They went up the stairs and Jotaro opened one of the door in the halfway. 

There were posters of Prince hanging on the walls, and some books of medicine spread on the bed. Kakyoin thought it made a lot of sense, especially with Josuke's healing ability. There was also a board with a few pictures pinned in it. 

One of them was similar to the one in the living room. Another one was Josuke, Okuyasu and a shorter silver haired guy. He supposed that was Koichi. Based on the background it seemed like it was taken during a festival. They were all smiling with cotton candies in their hands. 

"Oh..." 

He had just seen another photo. In this one, Josuke was also smiling, but it looked a bit awkward and forced. Right next to him there was an old man. He was wearing a large red coat and he was slightly hunched, as most old men. But no matter the age, Kakyoin would always recognize that face. 

"Age comes to everyone" Jotaro said from behind. "Including Joseph. He's already 80". 

"It still feels weird to see him like that".

"Yes, I know". 

"How does Josuke know you both? What's your relation to him?" 

"He's Joseph's son". 

Oh. Kakyoin was speechless. It didn't happen often to him, but hey, out of all the possible things, he had not been expecting this. Now he understood why Jotaro had brought him here. He would have a hard time believing it if he had not seen the photo.

"Wait... Josuke is 17, right?" 

Jotaro nodded. 

"That means he was born before our trip to Cairo, but Joseph never mentioned him". 

"He had an affair with Tomoko, but then he went back with grandma. He didn't discover he had a son until Josuke was 16".

Ouch. That makes so much sense.

"What?" Jotaro asked, and Kakyoin realized he had said it out loud. 

"Well, in Cairo, Josuke is always so tense around Joseph. I had always wondered about that. He also tries to actively avoid you, but I had just assumed it was because he was scared of you".

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of an asshole was I with him?" Jotaro asked, cursing his young self internally.

Kakyoin chuckled. God, Jotaro had missed that laugh.

"I would say a 7.5, but things are getting better between you two".

"Well, that's a change" Jotaro muttered.

Kakyoin looked at him. The guilt was clearly written all over Jotaro's face.

"You really care a lot about him, don't you?"

"Yes, I do".

"And you have changed. The Jotaro I know would have never admitted that outloud".

Jotaro shrugged. 

"I've come to realize that if you wait too long, it might be late. Come on, we should get out of here before Tomoko kicks us out". 

They both got out of the house. Kakyoin wanted to say goodbye to Tomoko, but she was nowhere to be seen. He couldn't really blame her. He couldn't understand the amount of despair it would cause to have your child in danger while you couldn't do anything.

They both walked to another destination in a comfortable silence. Kakyoin was almost sorry to break it. 

"Hey, Jotaro, I have a question". 

"Is something wrong?" 

Kakyoin smiled at the concern in Jotaro's voice. The moody teenager he knew would have only said what? or not even that. The concern would still be there, but hidden under layers of feigned indifference. 

"What happened to me, in your fight against Dio?"

Jotaro stopped walking. 

"How did you figure it out?" 

"It wasn't that hard. You looked too surprised to see me, like you didn't want to believe it". 

Jotaro chuckled 

"You've been obnoxiously perceptive". 

"One of my gifts" Kakyoin replied with a smile. "And you're avoiding my question". 

Should he tell him? Jotaro wondered. What if he changes things too much, and somehow screwed everything more? What if this was a mistake? 

On second thought, fuck it. Look at where being careful had gotten him. 

"Something similar to what you told me. You laid a trap for Dio, and it went wrong. Only Josuke wasn't there". 

"Oh, I see. I'm sorry, Jotaro". 

"What are you apologizing for?" Jotaro asked with a frown. 

"For you having to go through that. Honestly, I never planned it to make it alive from the fight against Dio. But I didn't think how that might affect others". 

"Are you kidding?" For the first time since their encounter, Jotaro looked angry. "You don't have to apologize! I should have never let you go on with that plan of yours. It was too dangerous and I knew it. I should have protected you!"

Jotaro felt like something that he had kept under wraps since Cairo was finally breaking. How many times he had dreamt of saying this to Kakyoin, and Avdol and Iggy? How long had he lived with the regret and the guilt? He was too obsessed with killing Dio and he didn't think about the consequences. Until it was too late. Until he couldn't change what he had done. 

"Jotaro, it's not your fault" Kakyoin said with a soft smile. "It was my decision, no else's. I knew the choice I was making. And I would do it a thousand times if that meant saving you and the rest. You couldn't have stopped me". 

"I still could have done more, like not being such an asshole the entire fucking time". 

"First: everyone saw through that. You're a very good liar, Jotaro, but not that good. And second: We all make mistakes" Kakyoin said, shrugging. "I'm here now and alive. Maybe this is a second chance to do things better. For all of us. Maybe it means we should leave the past behind".

Jotaro was tempted to shrug it off, to tell him he was being stupid. Because he was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the moment when shit would hit the fan, as it usually did in his life. But for once, he decided to be honest with himself and with Kakyoin. He owed him that much. 

"I hope you're right. Really" Jotaro said. 

He still wasn't sure about this situation and what would happen to them both. He still couldn't believe Kakyoin was here. But hearing his words had given Jotaro the peace of mind he had not enjoyed for a decade. The guilt would always stay there though. Some things couldn't be erased that easily.

"Hey! Jotaro! Are you coming or not, we have been since forever!" 

Without realizing, they had ended up in front of another house, this one looked more expensive than the other ones of the neighborhood. A small group was sitting on the porch. They didn't appear to have anything in common: two high schoolers, a chef, a woman with long dark hair and a man wearing more eccentric clothes. 

"These are most of the Stand users of Morioh" Jotaro explained. It was time to get into business.  

"They're quite a lot for such a small town" Kakyoin observed. 

"Yes, most of them got their powers because of one of Dio's arrows. It's a long story" Jotaro added when Kakyoin made a surprised face. 

"I have already told them everything, Jotaro" the man with the weird clothes said. 

"Thanks, Rohan. This is Noriaki Kakyoin. He comes from 1989 and he's been with Josuke". 

Suddenly all eyes were on him. Some of them were not very friendly and, taking into account they were all Stand users, Kakyoin immediately tensed up. 

"Have you also seen Koichi and Okuyasu?" The blond high schooler asked. 

"Yes, they're all ok more or less. I'm not gonna lie, the time and place they are is dangerous. I wish I could give you a better assurance". 

A heavy silence fell over the group. Until the woman punched one of the walls. 

"1989? How are we supposed to get them from there?" she yelled, and wasn't her hair moving a little bit strangely? 

"Yukako, calm down" said one of the highschoolers, the one with dark hair . 

"It's not like we can do anything" The chef said. "Unfortunately, we're powerless". 

Suddenly a new voice spoke behind the group.

"I, Giorno Giovanna, might be able to help". 

Chapter Text

Giorno Giovanna was living the life. He had managed to take control of the Italian mafia and stop selling drugs to kids. Some of his new subordinates had tried to keep the... old methods. But after Giorno set a couple of examples of what could happen if someone disobeyed him, the organization was running pretty smoothly. 

However, the losses he had suffered to achieve his dream were a deep wound that he wasn't sure would ever heal. Some days he woke up and thought he had to go downstairs and have breakfast with Buccellati, Narancia and Abbacchio. 

And then he remembered. 

The only survivors of the group had been Mista who was now his loyal friend and bodyguard and Trish who was travelling around the world since she had decided not to get involved in the mafia life. Giorno was happy for her. She deserved it. 

The road to get where he was had not been easy, but he had made it. Which was why he was really pissed when a black hole appeared in the middle of the city and sucked him in. He had ended up in a small Japanese town called Morioh in the year 2000. He almost didn't believe it when he found out because one thing was fighting against Stand users with time manipulating abilities and another one was travelling yourself. He had decided to be quiet and not call attention until he knew what was going on. His first thought was that this was the plan of an enemy Stand user. 

So after stealing some money, he rented a room in a hotel. He wasn't sure if the receptionist would understand him because his Japanese was very rusty. He hadn't spoken the language since he was a kid, after all. It wasn't that he couldn't. There were a lot of Japanese tourists in Naples to practice. But speaking Japanese always left him with a bad taste. 

But there was no escaping now. After roaming the town, he had discovered there were three people who had mysteriously disappeared. They were high schoolers just one year older than him. Also, these weren't the first disappearances. Morioh had an extremely high rate for such a small town. And he soon realized it also had an extremely high rate of Stand users. Among them Jotaro Kujo, the man who had murdered his biological father. He had started to think that ending up here wasn't a coincidence or the work of any enemy.

So here he was, about to explain his crazy idea to this bunch of people and hoping very hard that things wouldn't get out of hand. It would be really bad if that happened. For them, of course. 

"And who the hell are you?" Rohan asked. 

"I told you. Giorno Giovanna". 

"Sounds fake" Yuya said.

It did sound fake, even for Italian standards. But in his defence, Giorno had decided to change names when he was 12. Also, he liked it. 

"Maybe I can know his intentions" Rohan said with a smug smile, showing Heaven's Door. 

"I wouldn't suggest using your Stand on me" Giorno warned him. 

"Dammit" the mangaka cursed. "I had hoped you were a normal guy". 

"No one's normal in this town" Yuya said, sounding resigned. 

"Could you let Mr. Giovanna talk?" Mikitana interrupted. "You are so rude".

"It's ok, I don't mind" he said. 

And Giorno was being honest. The constant bickering reminded him of happier times. 

"So what do you want, Giorno Giovanna?" Kakyoin asked.

"I also come from another time. I was sent here from 2002".

"Whaat? You come from the future?" Yuya yelled. "Are there flying cars?" 

"Idiot! It's only two years ahead of us!" Rohan reprimanded him. 

Giorno smiled.

"No flying cars, unfortunately. A portal appeared in Italy, where I'm from, and I ended up here". 

"Why here of all places?" Jotaro asked, suspicion written all over his face. 

"Who knows?" Giorno shrugged. 

He definitely wasn't going to tell Jotaro that they shared the same blood. Giorno didn't hold any grudges against him. From what he had heard, his father was a monster and he deserved to die.

But sometimes he couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if he had met Dio Brando. Would he have treated him as a pawn like everyone else? Or was the monster capable of feeling something else? He guessed some questions would never have an answer. 

Jotaro kept looking at him suspiciously. He obviously wasn't buying it (Giorno didn't expect anything else given his reputation). But Jotaro also couldn't prove there was something wrong with him, so they were at a stalemate. 

"How could you help me to come back to my time?" Kakyoin asked. He was the one who looked more receptive. 

Giorno let his Stand out. 

"This is Golden Experience Requiem. I just call it GER to shorten it. Basically it can take the effect out of an action". 

"That sounds really complicated" Yuya said, and everyone nodded in agreement. 

Not even Giorno knew how it worked exactly, not that he was going to admit it to these people he just met. To be honest, he sometimes worried about his own Stand. Since the incident with the requiem arrow, it had turned into something… foreign. Almost as if it had its own identity. He didn't quite remember the entire fight against Diavolo, for example. There were a few moments that were in blank. Giorno wondered what would happen if the next time he used the Requiem ability, he couldn't control his Stand.

He decided to push those thoughts aside for the moment. 

"It's an unusual Stand" Giorno shrugged, showing more confidence than he felt, and then added with a mysterious smile. "That doesn't mean I can't do a few tricks with it".

The gang looked at each other. No one trusted this stranger, but they were out of options. And this Giorno guy gave off a strangely appealing feeling. He didn't have an imposing figure like Jotaro or Josuke, but he had an equally commanding aura. He looked like a man it was better not to cross and who knew what he was doing. 

"Ok, tell us your plan" Jotaro said, sighing. 

It wasn't like they had any better ideas. 


Two days had passed since Kakyoin's disappearance. They had looked through all the city, but there had been no clues about him or Dio. And none of the portals had appeared again. They were stuck. 

Jotaro was angrier than ever. He would snap at everyone and would spend the entire day out. Josuke could recognize the behavior. He had acted the same way when Okuyasu and Koichi had disappeared. All the Crusaders had accepted the theory of the time portals as true. It was the craziest thing they had ever heard, but it also made strangely sense. They were dealing with a Stand that could stop time, after all. 

That morning, they were all in the restaurant if the hotel, having breakfast in silence. The silence had become part of the routine now, and Josuke hated it. That is, until Josuke had gathered the courage to ask what it had been on his mind for the past two days. 

"Are you crazy?!" 

"Just hear me out, Polnareff..."

"Hear you out? You just told me to let Dio go! Did ZZ hit you too hard on the head? Or maybe" Polnareff added, narrowing his eyes, "the three of you are being controlled by that bastard and the fight in the warehouse was just an act!"

"I don't think that's it" Avdol said more calmly. "Tell me, Josuke, why wouldn't you want to defeat Dio?"

"I haven't said that, of course I want Dio gone. I just suggested we didn't have to kill him".

"We can't win otherwise" Avdol explained. "I know you're against killing, Josuke. I admire that of you. It takes self restraint, especially with the abilities we have. But there's no other option here".

"It's not that either" Josuke said, exasperated. How would he make them understand?

"My dad sold his soul to Dio" Okuyasu blurted out. "It was a stupid decision and a part of me will be forever angry with him for it. But he was desperate. And my brother needs to have a dad".

"Will something happen to your father if Dio dies?" Avdol asked.

"Yes. Something horrible".

"How are you so sure?" Polnareff said, a tinge of desperation in his voice. Like he was looking for any reason why that couldn't be true.

Okuyasu opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He couldn't think of a plausible explanation.

"Dio told us" Koichi said. "When we were brainwashed".

Okuyasu sighed with relief. He was glad Koichi and his quick thinking were back to normal. The Crusaders looked at each other with grim expressions. They had not anticipated this. Dio's death was supposed to help everyone under his influence. What should they do now?

They had two options: kill Dio and dealing with the knowledge they had ruined countless lives or trying to find a way around and take the risk of Dio escaping in the future. Besides, could Holly Joestar be saved if they didn't kill Dio?

"Ah, putain!" Polnareff grumbled. "This makes things so much harder".

"I'm sorry" Okuyasu said.

"You don't need to apologize" Avdol quickly replied. "Now we know all the facts and we can take a decision based on them".

"No" 

Everyone looked at Jotaro, who had been silent until then.

 "I'm killing Dio. I'm not taking any chances of that motherfucker coming back". 

"Maybe we can find a way of keeping him alive without coming back" Josuke said. "Maybe killing him is just the easy solution for you". 

"And what if it is? He deserves it".

"Will you just listen to me for once…?" 

"Look who's talking!" 

"Ok, you two stop. Now it's not the time for fights" Joseph said, and then he added. "I'm sorry about your dad, Okuyasu. But I can't put at risk the life of my daughter". 

"I understand" Okuyasu replied. "I don't want to put anyone else's life in danger". 

He threw a quick look at Josuke at that last part. Josuke knew what he meant since his child self was in the same situation as Holly, even though that was something only his friends knew. Okuyasu wasn't going to risk Josuke's life. That was just not an option for him. Josuke smiled and nodded in thanks. He would still try to do everything in his hand to save Okuyasu's dad. 

After that, the group separated to find any clues about Kakyoin or Dio. It had become a routine at this point, but it was the only thing they could do. Josuke decided to go with Koichi and Okuyasu. He definitely wasn't in the mood to spend any time with Jotaro and it was also much more comfortable to be with friends who knew everything about him. While he was with Okuyasu and Koichi, he did have to hide anything. 

He had almost forgotten how it felt. 

"Hey, Josuke, ain't you gonna tell them?" 

Okuyasu's sudden question caught Josuke by surprise. 

"Tell who what?" 

"The rest of the group, that we are from you know...?" 

"We can't tell them we're from the future" Koichi explained. "They would never believe us". 

"They would" Josuke said. 

When he had first met them, he had not been sure. But after everything they had gone through together, he knew the Crusaders trusted him enough to believe him if he told them. 

"Then, what's the problem?" Okuyasu asked. 

Josuke had been thinking about that for a long time. Once he had decided to be honest with himself, the answer had been clear.

"They have seen my Stand" Josuke began. "They will connect the dots, these guys are very smart even if it doesn't look like it sometimes" 

He said this with a fond chuckle, remembering how temperamental they could be. Then, he sighed and the smile was wiped out off his face.

"I just don't want to face them. When I come back, things will be the same. Joseph will still be too old. He can never come visit me, the trip is too hard for him. And Jotaro will still talk to me only when necessary and never about important things".

"I know if this Jotaro and Joseph find out, they will try to talk to me, or whatever. Joseph has already been trying. And I..." his voice cracked, and he had to clear it before going on. "I just can't stand it". 

"It will hurt even more when you come back" Koichi realized, and Josuke nodded.

"But we don't know if everything will remain the same" Okuyasu said. "Maybe we have already changed things". 

"What if we haven't?" Josuke asked. 

He really expected he had. Not for him, but for the Crusaders. He hoped they all would be alive, and that Jotaro didn't have to drag that guilt through his life, changing him forever.

"We could be creating just an alternate timeline" Koichi said. "We don't really know how this works, unfortunately". 

"What about the guy who talked to you, Josuke?" Okuyasu asked. "You told me it happened after the first portal closed, right?" 

"Yes. It also happened when I was sucked in by a portal. He told me life is a cycle, so he probably already knew where I would end up".

"You haven't heard from him again, right?" Koichi asked. 

Josuke shook his head. Not a peep since that time. Not even when that portal had appeared when he was Iggy.

"This is only my opinion, Josuke" Koichi said. "But maybe it would be worth it to tell them. Even if nothing changes when we come back, you could have the moments you never enjoyed with you dad".

Josuke nodded. Maybe Koichi was right, but he couldn't bring himself to take that step yet. Suddenly, they found Avdol, Polnareff and Iggy at the end of the street. 

"Well, it seems we have ended up at the same spot" Avdol said. 

"Yeah, what a coincidence!" Koichi replied. 

"It's not a coincidence, kid" Polnareff said. "This search is useless. We are just wasting our time". 

"Well, well. How about I make it more interesting?"

They all froze on the spot. The voice came from behind them. They turned around slowly, praying that it was someone, anyone else. 

Dio was standing on the roof of the building in front of them, a smug smile on his face. 

Chapter Text

Dio's expression looked like a bear staring at a group of ants. It infuriated Josuke, mainly because he was right. Compared to Dio, they were insects with no hope of defeating him. But they were not going to give up. They all let their Stands out, and Dio just laughed again.

"You're definitely stubborn. You just don't want to admit you're doomed, huh?"

"We will defeat you" Polnareff said.

"See? I have another problem right now, so I would like to finish you quickly".

"Another problem?" Avdol repeated.

"Yeah. The time portals that have been appearing everywhere. That problem. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a group of three year olds".

"We know about the time portals" Polnareff said. 

"Yeah, I guess high schoolers 1, 2 and 3 over there" Dio said, pointing at Josuke, Okuyasu and Koichi, "told you about it, since they came from one of them". 

Josuke felt a pit in his stomach. How did Dio know? He looked at both of his friends, but they shook their heads. They had not told Dio while they were brainwashed. Meanwhile, Polnareff and Avdol were staring at them, amazed looks on their faces.

"Is that true?" Avdol asked.

Well, there was no sense in hiding it any longer.

"Yes, it's true" Josuke answered. "We're from the year 2000". 

"But how many fucking things have you lied about?!" Polnareff yelled. 

"Hey, it wasn't like this was our fault. One day a fucking black hole appears in the middle of the town, and puf" Okuyasu added the sound to illustrate his point better. "Here we are".

"If someone hadn't decided to let go..." Josuke said.

"I was being heroic!" Okuyasu argued. "I didn't know you would go after us". 

"Of course I was gonna go after you, you oblivious morons!"

"Didn't you say you were not gonna call me an idiot anymore?"

"I'm insulting you both. It's different". 

"Why me? I didn't do anything!" Koichi said.

"Sorry to cut this stupid conversation" Dio interruped. "I'm still here".

"Yes, why haven't you attacked us yet?" Polnareff asked.

"Don't encourage him!" Koichi yelled.

"I want to make a bargain. I'm feeling generous today" Dio's reassuring words were betrayed by his malicious expression. "I will let you all go, except the blue haired brat".

Josuke's dread only grew. Usually he loved calling attention. That's part of why he wore eccentric clothes and a strange haircut. He wanted to stand out, to tell people he was different. That he wouldn't hide before anyone. In this case, however, the last thing he wanted to do was get this monster's attention. Why him?

"What do you want with me?" Josuke asked. 

He realized this was the first time he had directly spoken to Dio. It was terrifying. The vampire just smiled and bent forward. 

"Your blood. It might sound cliche, but yours is especially important to me". 

"I thought you only wanted a Joestar's blood" Avdol said.

"Exactly!"

Josuke's eyes widened. He felt like he couldn't breathe, and his heart was beating so fast it would get out of his chest at any moment. He knew. Dio knew. How? How did this happen? Meanwhile, Avdol and Polnareff were looking at him with confused expressions. Josuke could almost see how they were putting the pieces together, realizing what Dio had said meant. 

"Josuke…" Polnareff said. 

"Joseph is my father" Josuke blurted out, no sense in hiding it any longer. 

He wished he could say he felt relieved, like a weight was off his chest. But it would be a lie. He just felt paralyzed. Because he knew everything would change from now on. 

"That's why you lied about your Stand" Avdol realized. "I knew it looked similar to Star Platinum, but..."

Josuke just shrugged, and gave him a sad smile. 

"Genetics, I guess. Funny thing is I've always hated it when people tell me that. It's very obvious, though". 

"So your surname is not Hirana" Polnareff said. "But Joestar. Josuke Joestar". 

"It's actually Higashikata, right?" Dio interrupted. "Joseph's little bastard". 

Josuke clenched his fists. He wanted to scream and break something (preferably Dio) because how dared this guy to mock him? This person who didn't know anything about his life? 

"Oh, don't be angry" Dio said. "It makes no difference to me. Your blood is the same".

"Over our dead body you'll get his blood" Polnareff yelled, getting between Josuke and Dio.

"Polnareff..."

"Run, Josuke" Avdol ordered, also taking a step forward. 

"No! Are you crazy?"

"Hey, kid" Polnareff said, turning to look at him. "If Dio gets his hands on you, who knows how much powerful he'll get? Also, we won't let him do that to you".

"You're part of our team." Avdol added. "You've always been, Joestar or not. And we don't abandon our own, remember?".

"But you're asking me to do exactly that" Josuke replied.

"We're asking you to survive and look for help" Polnareff said. "Find Jotaro and bring him here".

"They're right, let us protect you for once" Koichi added, and Okuyasu nodded beside him. 

"Come on" Dio said with a deadpan expression. "You can't seriously think you can stop me right?" 

"We can try, asshole!" Okuyasu shouted. "Plus, I have not forgotten how you brainwashed me". 

Josuke bit his lip, there was nothing he could do. He knew they were right, but he couldn't leave them there. He had to, though. Even if it was the last thing he wanted to do. If Dio got his hands on him, he would be invincible, and all their efforts would have been in vain. He ran away on the other direction, praying he would find Jotaro soon. At that moment, Josuke wished he had a different Stand, one that could face the World and defeat him.

He knew Jotaro and Joseph had gone to the center of the city, so he went in that direction. They had all agreed to a specific radius to look for Dio, so he had an idea of where to find them. But he still had never felt more desperate.


"Hey, Jotaro". 

"I still think this plan is horrible" Jotaro replied, without turning around to look at Kakyoin. 

"Feel free to suggest something better". 

Jotaro just grunted and kept smoking. He had tried to quit, but he still went back to the habit when he was very stressed. And god, was he stressed now. 

"You just don't trust the new guy" Kakyoin said, sitting beside Jotaro. 

"Oh, you mean the blond weirdo with the creepy Stand? No, I don't trust him". 

"You're horrible when you're grumpy". 

"Don't call me grumpy". 

"Don't behave as one, then". 

"Did you come here to get on my nerves?" 

"I came to say goodbye. If Giorno's plan works, I won't have time". 

Jotaro just frowned, and for the first time since the conversation started, he looked at Kakyoin. 

"You could stay here. You don't have to come back". 

"You know I can't do that. I can't leave the rest of them alone against Dio. And I owe Josuke to bring him back to his family". 

"I could go with you, then. Consequences be damned".

"No, you can't. We don't know what could happen with two versions of you at the same time". 

Jotaro threw the cigarette to the floor and stubbed it out with his foot. 

"What am I supposed to do, then?" 

"You'll just have to trust me,". 

"Kakyoin, that didn't go well last time". 

"But I already told you. This is a second chance, right?" 

"Then why does it feel like I'm doing the same thing over over again?" Jotaro yelled. "Letting you and everyone run off to danger while I'm stuck here?" 

Kakyoin sighed. 

"I don't know what's gonna happen, Jotaro. But I believe things will change this time for the better. I think there's a reason why all this is happening. Like me getting to talk to you, and to meeting this version of you. If anything, I will always be grateful to the portals for it". 

Kakyoin smiled, and Jotaro felt like his heart was going to break into pieces. He knew this moment would come, he knew it couldn't last forever. But that didn't mean he was prepared. Somehow, saying goodbye for a second time hurt more. 

"Are you ready?" They both turned around. 

Giorno was looking at them, from the middle of the street where he was standing. 

"Are you?" Jotaro asked. "Things will get ugly if you screw up". 

Giorno just shrugged, ignoring Jotaro's hostility. 

"As ready as I'm ever going to be". 

Kakyoin and Jotaro exchanged a quick look. Giorno looked at them with a slight frown, knowing Kakyoin had been killed by Dio in the original timeline. Jotaro obviously didn't want him the redhead to go, and Giorno understood. He would have the same reaction if Bruno suddenly appeared before him. But he guessed second chances were not for everyone. Maybe his sins were too great. 

Giorno cast those thoughts aside closed his eyes, and let Gold Experience Requiem out. He focused on the portal that sucked him and willed it to appear in front of him. Giorno suddenly felt someone pulling, putting resistance. It was like opening a closed jar. He put all his force into it. And suddenly he heard a voice on his head:

"What do you think you're doing, Haruno Shiobana?"

Ah, that must be the being that Josuke guy heard. It sounded like an asshole. Luckily, Giorno had plenty of experience dealing with assholes. 

"I'm fixing the mess you have created". 

"Your father was the one who caused this". 

"I'm not him". 

Giorno's body was trembling, and his nose was bleeding by this point. But he could feel the wind rising around him and the voice became louder. 

"No, you just have an abomination of a Stand! You're a murderer, Haruno, you're no better than Dio!" 

"Oh, shut up. All this talk bores me". 

The voice vanished as soon as the portal opened. 

"I don't know how long it's going to last" Giorno said, panting. 

Kakyoin looked at Jotaro for one last time. 

"Remember. Things will be different". 

Jotaro nodded, and Kakyoin stepped into the portal with Giorno beside him. The last thing Jotaro heard was:

"I'll see you again!" 

And then the portal closed and Jotaro was left staring at the empty street. 

"Fuck". 

Chapter Text

Now what?" Okuyasu asked. 

They all looked at the vampire staring at them mockingly. This was a suicide mission. They would be lucky if only one of them managed to survive. Still, they all were willing to make the sacrifice. 

"Echoes act 3!" Koichi yelled, making the Stand appeared right beside him. 

"Let's kill the blond bitch!" 

"What did that thing say?" Dio yelled, taking a step forward, only to be immediately brought down by Echoes. The vampire fell to the floor, fighting against his own gravity.

"Well done, kid!" Polnareff said, clapping Koichi on the shoulder. "You're a genius!" 

"Magician's Red!" Avdol shouted and a wall of flames flew towards Dio who just smiled, and said the two cursed words:

"The World". 

The flames stopped just a few centimetres off his face. Dio stood up, the effect of Echoes gone, and saw the frozen, scared faces of his opponents. Oh, he loved this feeling. How others recognized how superior he was.

But it would be better to stop wasting time. He couldn't finish all of them in only five seconds, but he could get rid of the most problematic people. He got close to Koichi. He had been a great asset when he was under his influence, but now he was only a nuisance.

Dio got one of the knives he always kept with him, and stabbed the teenager in the neck. Or so he thought. Because suddenly his arm was down and the knife was back in his pocket. Dio stood there for a moment, looking at his empty hand and wondering what the hell was going on. 

He got the knife out again and proceeded to stab Koichi for a second time. And the same thing happened. He looked around, guessing this was also an aftereffect of the portals. But all he found was a boy standing behind him.

"Are you finished?"

He might be very young (Dio guessed he was the same age as Josuke and his friends), but his voice definitely didn't match his age. It was cold and calm. And there was something about him that was...

"Who do you think you are to get into my business?" Dio growled.

"Giorno Giovanna. And I won't let you kill that man. No matter how many times you try, the effect will be gone before it even happens".

Dio's eyes widened. For the first time in a hundred years, he started to feel uncomfortable.

"Where did you come from anyway? Are you another of Jotaro's friends?"

"I came from the future through one of the portals".

"So you must be related to the Joestars somehow..."

All the pieces started to fall into place. He approached Giorno. The boy followed his movements closely, but he didn't even flinch. However, Dio noticed the tense position that betrayed his calm attitude. He finally got so close they could touch. Dio pulled the collar of Giorno's jacket down, revealing the familiar star on his shoulder. 

"Mmm... I see. So you are my son". 

Giorno's eyes widened. He didn't expect for Dio to find out so quickly. He didn't know what he had been expecting, to be honest. Was this how he imagined his father as a kid? He had never fantasized with it too much, but he used to do it when the beatings got really bad. And then he learned about Dio, about his death, and he stopped dreaming about something that would never happen. However, now this man was right here, looking at him with a slightly amused expression. 

"Yes" Giorno simply answered. What else could he say? 

"It was easy to guess. From the future, that mark, but mostly this blond hair" Dio said touching Giorno's braid. He looked at it closely, almost inspecting it. "It's just like mine, no matter how much you try to change it". 

Giorno took a step back. What was he even doing, letting this stranger (because that's what he was, he repeated to himself) lay a hand on him? 

"Don't get too familiar. We may share the same blood, but you don't know me at all". 

"Oh, but I would like to. Why don't you join me? You have a very interesting Stand. Together we would be invincible". 

"I'm not interested in ruling the world". 

"Who said anything about the world?" Dio chuckled. "I'm talking about time". 

"Time? You want to rule over time?" 

"How do you think we are going to get rid of those bloody portals? This is not only about me, I bet your home has also been affected, right?" 

Obviously Giorno wasn't going to tell him anything. But it was true many portals were appearing in Naples, causing serious damage. Some people had even lost their homes though Giorno had quickly provided them with other ones. 

But even for Giorno, who practically controlled the city, it was getting harder to cover up these strange phenomena. The portals were also growing more and more, and Giorno was afraid there would be casualties soon. Since one of those same portals had sucked him in, he didn't know what the situation was right now. He could only hope Mista was taking care of it the best he could. 

"What do you say, Giorno?" Dio said with a sly smile. "Join the winning team". 

"I'm sorry, but no". 

Dio frowned. He was frustrated because he sensed this was an opponent he couldn't defeat, even with the World. Giorno had nullified his Stand without breaking a sweat. As befitting of his son, of course. He didn't expect anything else of someone carrying his blood. 

He wasn't surprised about having a son, really. He had been with many women since his awakening, so he had always guessed there would be consequences. But he didn't predict one of them would come back to bite him in the ass. He was strangely proud of this blond haired brat though. He had the courage to face him and tell him no, and he wasn't letting his emotions cloud his judgement. In short, Giorno was smart and Dio could appreciate that. 

"You know I'm not gonna stop until I kill all the Joestars, right?" 

"Why?" Giorno asked, confused. "Why do you have to kill them all?" 

Dio just shrugged.

"I hate them". 

"Have they ever done anything to you?"

"Jonathan Joestar did. Because of him, I spent a century locked in a coffin". 

"Jonathan is dead. You killed him and took his body, if what I've heard is true". 

"It's still not enough. Do you think the Joestars will ever let me finish my plan? For them, I'm evil incarnate". 

"You've never given them a reason to think otherwise". 

"And what about you, Giorno? Do you consider yourself a good person? Because your eyes are those of a killer".

"Never said I was".

"Maybe you and I are most similar than you think, then".

Giorno wasn't used to experiencing indecision, and he definitely didn't like the feeling. He had his own plan to fix the portals, but if it failed maybe it would be good to have Dio as a plan B. He had to be connected to them anyway since he could stop time.

Also he wasn't sure about killing him. Not yet, at least. All he had heard about Dio were rumors. Giorno knew he wasn't a good person, but just like Dio had said, neither was Giorno. He had killed plenty of people to achieve his goals. So was he in any position to judge him?

"Think it over, Giorno. I will be waiting for your answer".

With that said, Dio turned around and left, knowing Giorno wouldn't stop him. He had seen the doubt in his face, if only briefly. Maybe he could take advantage of the bond that united them to get him on his side. He didn't know what could happen if he didn't.  He knew what he felt earlier when he saw Giorno's Stand. Something he had almost forgotten. Fear. 

And to be honest, he was a bit reluctant to kill Giorno even if he could (which he doubted). Don't get him wrong, he would get rid of anyone who got in his plans. But he didn't think he would enjoy it in this case. 

Time resumed, and everyone saw Dio was gone, and a new blond haired teen was in his place. 

"And who the fuck are you?" Okuyasu asked. 

Giorno sighed. Time to face his second problem. The famous Crusaders. Were they the heroes everyone said or was there something else to them? Was the tale black and white or were there gray parts?

"My name is Giorno Giovanna. I'm originally from Italy, year 2001. But one of the portals made me end up in a Japanese town called Morioh".

"What?" Koichi interrupted. "Is everyone alright? The town is safe?"

"Yes, the town is safe for the moment, though these breaches keep threatening everyone". 

"So you came from Italy, then Japan and you ended up here?" Avdol asked. "It's too much coincidence". 

"It's no coincidence. I was sent here to take you two" he said pointing at Okuyasu and Koichi "and Josuke Higashikata home". 

"Sent by who?" Polnareff said. 

"Jotaro Kujo" Giorno answered. "I came with Noriaki Kakyoin". 

"What?" 

Polnareff got close to Giorno and grabbed him by the lapels of the jacket. Giorno decided to allow it this time since it was obvious the Frenchman was worried about his friend. 

"Where is he?" Polnareff asked. "If you did something to him…" 

"I didn't do anything" Giorno said. "We decided to separate to find you all. He went the other way and I assured him I could deal with Dio by myself". 

"That's why Dio is gone?" Avdol asked, shock in his voice. "Did you scare him away?" 

Polnareff let go of Giorno immediately, as if he had been burned. 

"What… What kind of Stand do you have?" 

Giorno frowned. This didn't look like a good start at all. 

Chapter Text

Jotaro sighed and rubbed his eyes. He was so fucking tired. He had not slept for the past two nights, and his days were reduced to walking around the city. He really hated Cairo at this point. He was never setting foot on the city again. Scratch that, he was never setting foot anywhere on the continent. 

But no matter how exhausted he was, he couldn't stop. Not until he found Kakyoin. Even if his only hope at this point was to find another portal and see the redhead magically coming out of it. It was an impossible dream, he knew that much. But he still couldn't let it go. 

And now he was in a busy street of this cursed city, looking at a phone as if it was his worst enemy. He didn't want to pick it up, he didn't want to call, he didn't want more bad news. That's why he was waiting out of the booth while Joseph did the dirty work. Maybe it meant he was a coward. He didn't care at this point. 

Joseph opened the door of the booth, looking pale and ten years older. Jotaro clenched his fists. Were they too late?

"Holly wants to talk to you" Joseph giving him the phone.

Jotaro still looked at it like it was a poisonous snake, but he picked it up. 

"Mom?" 

 "Hi, Jotaro". 

She sounded so weak… Her voice was low, like a whisper, so different from the woman who would wake him up each morning so he wouldn't be late to school. 

"How are you?" Jotaro asked even though he dreaded the answer. 

"Oh, I'm down with a strong cold. But I will be better soon". 

Just like her, trying not to worry him. She had been lying the entire time, and Jotaro had gone with it. But he was tired of lies. He needed to have at least one honest conversation with her. 

"I know that's not true".

There was silence over the line for a few moments, and Holly sighed. 

"I know this is not a cold. And that it's related to why you are in the other side of the world". 

"We are trying to find a solution. You will get better". 

"Jotaro, I don't care about getting better. For me, the most important is that you are careful. I know what you are doing is dangerous". 

"I'm fine". 

"Promise me you will be careful, Jotaro. Plea…"

Holly was interrupted by a coughing fit. Each cough was like a stab for Jotaro. 

"I promise. I'll be careful". 

There it was. Another lie. 

"Thanks" Holly said, though she didn't sound very convinced. Jotaro was pretty sure she sensed he wasn't telling her the truth. She was the only one who had always been able to do it.

"Jotaro, I need to hang up. The doctors have told me I shouldn't talk too much". 

"Of course. I understand". 

"I love you, Jotaro".

"Me too, mom". 

"I know".

"I'll call you soon". 

He didn't know why he said that. He had never done it before. Maybe because his mom had always been there when he came back home. He never had any need. He had always taken her for granted. 

"I look forward to it" Holly said, and Jotaro could almost see her smile through the phone. 

He hung up and got out of the cabin. 

"The doctor doesn't think she will last very long. A couple of days at most" Joseph said with a blank look. 

Jotaro didn't reply. What could he say to that? 

"Did you even hear me!?" Joseph yelled. "Holly might die and you're just... Don't you even care?"

The next thing Joseph knew, he was on the floor, and his cheek was throbbing. His grandson was towering over him, more enraged than he had ever seen him. Joseph sighed and sat up, realizing his mistake. 

He was naturally loud and boisterous. A bit too much according to some people. But Jotaro was the complete opposite from him. They couldn't be more different despite sharing the same blood. Joseph had always problems understanding his grandson. Before this journey, he used to believe the cause of Jotaro's inexpressiveness was because he was a moody teenager who thought he was better than everyone. After spending the last weeks with him, Joseph knew better. He had learned that some people didn't need to shout how they felt. And that was also fine.

But here he was, committing the same stupid mistakes. 

"I'm sorry, Jotaro. I wasn't thinking straight".

Jotaro just looked away to avoid punching Joseph again. He was so fucking tired of everyone thinking they knew him better than he knew himself. He guessed it was what he deserved though. He had never wanted people to think otherwise, and now he had to deal with it. 

"Jotaro!" 

He turned around, recognizing that voice instantly. Kakyoin was running towards him, a smile on his face. He stopped right in front of Jotaro, panting. 

"Thank god I found you!" 

"Where the fuck have you been?" 

Jotaro didn't mean to sound so angry. It's just that he didn't know how to process this. It was too good to be true, he was never this lucky. He thought Kakyoin was lost, maybe forever. And suddenly he was right here, completely fine. As if nothing had happened. If it wasn't for Joseph's equally shocked look, he would have thought it was a hallucination. 

"In the future!" the redhead said, ignoring his friend's hostility. 

"In the future?" Jotaro repeated. 

"Yes. In the year 2000. And I know, it sounds crazy to me too". 

"How did you come back?" 

Are you ok? It's what Jotaro really wanted to say. 

"I had help from a guy. He came with me, but we went in different directions to look for you". 

"No more new people. We have enough with Josuke and his friends. And I already don't trust them". 

Kakyoin frowned. It was almost imperceptible, but Jotaro could notice it. What did he know? 

"Why are you on the floor, Joseph?" Kakyoin asked.

A clear tactic to change the conversation, Jotaro realized.  

"It's nothing" Joseph assured him, standing up. "But now that you're here, we can focus on finding Dio before it's too late". 

"I'm actually surprised he has not appeared yet" Jotaro said, "since he was so desperate to get a Joestar's blood". 

"Joestar's blood?" Kakyoin repeated, confused. 

"Yes. He needs it to cure himself. That's why I have been searching the city with the old man. We're both easy bait, but Dio still has not made a move to attack us". 

Suddenly a loud boom was heard. It sounded like it wasn't too far away from where they were. 

"Was that an explosion?" Joseph asked. 

But Jotaro didn't listen to him. He was staring at Kakyoin. The redhead had his eyes widened and he was as pale as a ghost.

"What is it?" Jotaro asked. 

That seemed to snap Kakyoin out of it. A glint of determination shined in his eyes. Oh, Josuke was going to kill him for this. But if his suppositions were true, he was in an even bigger risk if he didn't say anything. 

"Dio is not after you two because you're not the only Joestar here".

"What?" Joseph asked, utterly confused. 

Kakyoin sighed. 

"Josuke is a Joestar".

"What?" Joseph repeated, even more confused than before. "That's impossible!" 

"He's from the future, isn't he?" Jotaro interrupted. 

He had been having that suspicion since he learned about the time portals. It explained Josuke's suddenly appearance. He had been hypothermic when they found him which they all assumed it had been the work of an enemy Stand. But what if the reason was that he had been in a completely different place just one minute ago? 

Jotaro thought that Josuke would come clean now that everyone knew about the portals. But he had not said anything and it had frustrated Jotaro to no end. He started to doubt himself. Maybe he was wrong and Josuke's secret was a different one. 

Sometimes he hated to be right. 

"Yes, I was in his hometown in Japan" Kakyoin replied, bringing him back to the conversation. "That's where the portal led me".

"But how is he related to us then?" Joseph said. "2000 is way too close to be a descendant of Jotaro for example". 

Kakyoin threw an annoyed look at Joseph, which was very weird in itself. He wasn't the type to be truly bothered by someone. 

"Does, and I really hope it does because I won't have a very good opinion of you otherwise, the name of Tomoko Higashikata sound familiar to you?" 

Joseph's blood drained from his face. Tomoko… He hadn't heard that name in years. That didn't mean he had ever forgotten it. How could he? She was the only woman that had made him have doubts about his marriage. 

They had met during one of his trips to Japan. He was coming back from visiting Holly when his car had broken down and he had to walk to the nearest town, Morioh. In the way, a car stopped and he met her: Tomoko. At the time, she was a university student, but she was there to spend the summer holidays with her family. She had offered to give him a ride to the police station since his dad was the chief. 

The car would need a few days to be fixed, so Joseph rented a room in a hotel and waited. With Tomoko. There had been something about her that attracted him. Maybe it was her constant happiness and vitality. She had showed him all the town, always with a smile, and she didn't stop until Joseph, exhausted, had begged her to do it. She had made him feel young again. 

When he realized, he had postponed his departure, even though the car was ready. He just needed to be with her. He didn't know how much time it passed and he hadn't cared. And then, one day, he had received a call from Suzie Q. They were going through a rough patch in their marriage. Too many years living together, too many grudges. 

When he had heard Suzie crying through the phone, it was like Joseph woke up from a dream. He had realized that if he kept this up, there would be no going back. He loved Tomoko, he really did. But he also loved Suzie Q. She was the mother of his kid, and his longest companion. The one who had helped him through his hardest times, through the loss of his best friend and of his mom. She had been the only one who could lift him up and make him look forward.

He couldn't do this to her. They had problems, but they would work through them like they always did. He had decided to go back to the USA and leave Tomoko before there would be bigger consequences. Like the idiot he was.

"Old man" Jotaro asked. "Who is that woman?" 

"I had an affair with her" Joseph said. "But she never told me anything".

"Did you even leave her any means to contact you?" Kakyoin asked, sounding even more annoyed than before. 

Joseph shook his head. 

"Fuck" Jotaro said. 

Joseph still couldn't believe it. The dates were correct though. Josuke would have been born five years ago, so he would be 17 by the year 2000.

It was crazy, but it also explained other things. Like Josuke's constant rejection. He seemed to be forthcoming and kind with everyone except for him. Joseph had noticed it since they first met. How the teenager avoided him and cut every conversation short with him. It had puzzled him because people usually didn't dislike him at first sight. 

Of course now it had an explanation. If Joseph had never been around for him... Joseph knew what it was like to grow up without a father. The hole it left. And apparently he had done the same thing to Josuke. He felt sick. 

Joseph realized now he had many things to fix with Josuke. Maybe it was too late, maybe Josuke would never forgive him. And he would deserve it anyway. 

"We have to find Josuke right now" Jotaro's voice snapped him out of his thoughts. 

"Yes." Kakyoin agreed. "Probably Dio knows about all this and that's why he didn't attack any of you". 

Another explosion made the ground rumble. 

"The explosions seem like a safe bet" Jotaro suggested.

"What if you're wrong?" Joseph refuted.

"Feel free to suggest something better, Casanova" Jotaro said. 

Jotaro turned around and ran into that direction. He wondered what the hell was happening now. Because last time he checked, explosions were not a part of Dio's fucking Stand. 

Chapter Text

Josuke had never ran so fast in his life. If he didn't hurry up, Dio would kill everyone and it would be his fault. Everything he had done would be for nothing and he would lose everyone. 

Suddenly he found himself on the floor. His ears were ringing and his vision was a blurry. The floating debris made the air look like fog. Josuke had enough previous experiences to know what had happened. An explosion. He sat up slowly and looked around. 

"Hello, Josuke".

"Hey, Kira".

He wasn't surprised. He had known it was Kira since the moment he heard the loud sound. That didn't mean he wasn't terrified, though.

"How did you even get here?" Josuke asked, standing up. 

"I followed you to the docks after our little fight. It was easy, I just attached Sheer Heart Attack to your bike". 

"Why didn't you blow it up, then?" 

"I wanted to make you suffer" Kira said, shrugging. "I never thought another portal would appear". 

"You just what? Jumped into the portal after me?" Josuke asked, dumbfounded. Kira could have lived his perfect life in Morioh, his final goal. 

"Exactly" Kira said, smiling. "You're my main problem, and I will do anything to destroy you, Josuke". 

Oh, that's why. Kira considered him the obstacle between his dream. And he was damn right. Josuke would never let him kill anyone else. Even if it cost him his life. His friends were near, fighting against Dio. Josuke had to get him away from them. He didn't want to imagine what would happen if Dio and Kira fought together. 

"If you want to defeat me so badly, you will have to catch me". 

Then Josuke turned around and ran. He looked over his shoulder and, just how he had predicted, Kira was following him. He threw one of his explosive bubbles, but he miscalculated and the bubble exploded just in front of Josuke. The teen turned right to avoid the blast. Another bomb exploded to his right and Josuke dove into the alley at the left side. It opened to a bridge that crossed the river Nile. Josuke knew this limited his options a lot, but he had no other choice. At least the bridge was deserted, which meant Kira couldn't hurt innocent people. 

"So you have decided to stop running away?" Kira said, smiling. 

"Since you insist so much on having a fight, I'll humor you. This ends today, Kira". 

"We definitely can agree on that" Killer Queen appeared beside the psycho. 

Josuke ran towards him and Killer Queen threw an explosive bubble. Josuke just broke down the floor and reformed them in front of him. He climbed to the top of the improvised barrier and without any pause he jumped towards Kira, only a second before the wall was blown up.

He was so fast that Kira didn't have time to react. Crazy Diamond threw a barrage of fists at Kira who fell to the floor, bleeding profusely from his face.

This man had terrorised Josuke's town, killing countless people, including close friends. And he would continue to do so. He didn't have the strength to change nor did he want to. There was no redemption for him and no prison could hold him down. He wasn't even sure that an extreme method (like he had done with Angelo) would be enough. 

Which left Josuke with only one possible option, the one he had never wanted to take: killing him. There was no other choice, no matter how much he thought of it. It was the lesser evil, he told himself. But isn't that what everyone says the first time? What if he once he started, he couldn't stop? What if he found it was an easier way of finishing fights?

"I can see your doubts" Kira's voice was slow and raspy, but it was still audible. "The first time is always hard".

"Shut the fuck up" Josuke said, putting all his weight on Kira, who groaned. But he was still smiling. 

"Come on, Josuke. You know you want to do it. If I can't have the life I want, at least I can ruin yours. Also you should look behind you".

As an idiot, he did what Kira said. Sheer Heart Attack was right beside him. Josuke didn't even have time to react. The tank exploded and the force of it sent him flying. His back crashed against something hard and then he only felt the air. 

Shit, that was the handrail of the bridge! Josuke thought panicked. He was falling and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Would he survive? It would definitely hurt if he came out alive. Maybe this was his destiny. Being killed by his worst enemy. He wished he could at least have defeated Kira. To change something, to be useful. 

Then, he stopped so suddenly that he bounced and his back screamed in pain. He looked around and saw green and purple threads holding him. They lifted him up until he was back at the bridge, eye to eye with Joseph, Kakyoin and Jotaro. 

"Hi, Josuke Higashikata" Kakyoin said, "we need to have a talk". 

"Kakyoin, you're alright!" 

Before he knew what he was doing, he was hugging the redhead who just laughed. And then, Josuke realized something and immediately pulled apart. 

"Did you just call me Higashikata?" 

"Yes". 

"Fuck". 

"Fuck indeed" Jotaro replied. "And who's that fucker over there?" 

Kira was seething with rage. He had been so close to killing Josuke… And out of all people, him. Him again! Just seeing him with that stupid hat and coat made him tremble with anger. 

"Jotaro Kujo, you're the bane of my existence!" 

"I don't know who you are". 

Jotaro's indifference only infuriated Kira more. 

"He has a slight grudge with you" Josuke explained. "Or the adult version of you". 

"So he's also from the future?" Jotaro said. 

"According to the information I gathered in my short trip to Morioh" Kakyoin said, "he's a psychopath responsible for the death of 84 people. Is that correct, Josuke?" 

"Yes. Were you in Morioh?" 

"I'll tell you all about it later". 

"Watch out!" Joseph yelled. 

Sheer Heart Attack was in front of them. 

"You'll have to decide to let me escape or being blown up" Kira said, turning around and running away. 

"Fuck, Kira!" Josuke screamed. 

"I'll just punch it with Star Platinum" Jotaro said, taking a step forward. 

"Don't!" Josuke grabbed his arm (risky move, but these were extreme circumstances). "It won't work!" 

"And how do…" But Jotaro stopped himself. "Oh, right".

Hierophant Green appeared suddenly. Its emerald ropes grabbed the small tank and threw it over the bridge. It exploded before it even reached the water. 

"Problem solved" Kakyoin said with a smug smile. 

"Kakyoin, that was dangerous" Josuke said. "What if it had exploded when you touched it?" 

"But it didn't". 

Jotaro grunted in disapproval. He didn't want to have more close calls with Kakyoin.

"We have to go back!" Josuke yelled suddenly. "The others stayed fighting Dio!" 

"What?!" Jotaro said. 

"It's ok, that's probably been taken care of" Kakyoin explained. 

"What do you mean?" Joseph asked.

"The person that came back with me can probably also defeat Dio".

There was a moment of silence. Who could have a Stand so powerful to defeat Dio? Was that even possible? Even Jotaro wasn't sure of being able to win in a fight against him. But Kakyoin wasn't the type to throw such important accusations easily.

"Let's go back, then" Jotaro said. 

Josuke looked at Jotaro and Joseph, who were also looking back at him.. He felt a moment of panic because they knew who he was. They finally knew. His worst nightmare come true. 

 

Chapter Text

The group of the Joestars and Kakyoin came back the way they had come with Josuke guiding them. There was an uncomfortable silence as everyone avoided to address the elephant in the room. Joseph was too overwhelmed by guilt to even talk to the teenager. His son. Even though he didn't know if he could call himself a father. 

As for Jotaro, he had also been thinking about Josuke's attitude towards him. Even though everyone had thought Josuke was afraid of him and that's why he stayed away, Jotaro knew it wasn't so. Josuke had defied him too many times for a scared person.

The mystery of what Josuke was hiding had been solved, but the one of why he seemed to resent Jotaro, not so much. Jotaro supposed something had happened between them in the future, but what? 

Amid these thoughs, they reached the rest of the Crusaders. Everyone was safe and sound,  but the tension could be cut with a knife. They all were looking distrustfully at a teenager with blond hair who didn't look too bothered by the obvious hostility.

"Oh, hi guys" Kakyoin greeted with an amicable smile and trying to defuse the tension. "I'm glad you're okay".

"Kakyoin! You're here" Polnareff said with amazement. "So he was telling the truth".

"I have no reason not to" Giorno replied, shrugging.

"Well, we can't know that, can we?" Okuyasu said.

"Okay, let's stop one minute" Kakyoin got between the two groups. "This is Giorno. He helped me get back here. And he's here to help us close the portals and defeat Dio".

"Oh, is that so?" Polnareff asked sarcastically. "Because Giorno here let Dio go".

"Well, maybe he can't defeat him single handedly" Koichi suggested.

"Ha!" Polnareff said. "Dio ran away. Ran. Away. And Dio thinks he's invincible, so this guy is even more dangerous".

"You're agreeing with us, then" Avdol said. "You're even more dangerous than Dio, but you still let him escape. Why?"

Giorno tilted his head and then he sighed.

"I had a moment of doubt".

"So you're against killing?" Avdol asked.

"No. I have killed plenty of people".

"What a reassuring comment" Polnareff said.

"If this is not your first time" Jotaro cut off. "Why did you hesitate?"

"I don't know you, just as I don't know Dio. I have heard many rumors about what happened here in Cairo. But I won't know who to believe until I see it for myself. You're not the only distrustful people".

"Are you kidding?" Joseph yelled. "Dio is a monster! He has proven it a lot of times". 

"Like I said, I don't know him". 

"And why the interest in knowing him?" Jotaro said.

"It's more like curiosity. He's my biological father after all". 

The silence that followed was deafening. Everyone was looking at Giorno with amazement and disgust at the same time. Because this was a possibility that no one had thought about. 

In the first place, most of the folklore said that vampires couldn't procreate. It was such an obvious fact that no one had second guessed it. And they had never even supposed that Dio saw women as anything but food. Come on, just thinking about it was revolting.

"Star Platinum!"

Jotaro didn't have to think it twice. Any person carrying Dio's blood was dangerous, and he had learned the hard way that it was better to be sorry than ask for permission. He wasn't going to risk his mom's life over anything.

Giorno let GER out. He knew this was a possible outcome of revealing his identity though he would have wished to avoid it. He didn't want to kill the Crusaders, it could have unexpected consequences on the timeline. 

He especially couldn't kill Jotaro since he had such an important role in this. And who knows the consequences killing Polnareff would have for him? Giorno didn't think he could have defeated Diavolo without his help. 

And he was also one of the only good friends Giorno had left. It was weird seeing how the Frenchman looked at him with so much distrust and hate when in Italy he had trusted him with his own life. But had that Polnareff even known that he was Dio's son? Maybe he would have also looked at him with disgust then. 

He decided to push those thoughts aside. It wasn't the time and he needed to focus on the fight right now. Giorno could easily stop everyone  and no one had to be hurt. Star Platinum raised his fist and Giorno prepared himself to use GER.

But someone got between them.

"Oi, oi. Wait a fucking minute, Jotaro!"

Jacket with a ridiculous amount of jewelry (that's how Rohan had described him anyway), and a pompadour haircut. This must be Josuke Higashikata, Giorno thought.

"Get out of my way, Josuke" Jotaro growled.

Josuke crossed his arms over his chest.

"No".

"He's Dio's son!"

"So what? Maybe he's good or maybe he's bad, but that's not related to who his father is".

"Bullshit" Jotaro said. "I'm serious, move".

"Or what? Gonna hit me?"

"If you keep being a stubborn asshole, yes".

"I'd like to see you try, Jotaro" Josuke said with a vicious smile.

A few meters away, both Okuyasu and Koichi gulped. Oh, they knew that look. That was the look of Josuke itching to get into a fight. They weren't really surprised. This situation was stressful for all of them, but even more for Josuke. It was a matter of time until he exploded. And after how they left things, Jotaro was the perfect target. 

"Maybe... We should try to stop him?" Koichi asked unconvincingly.

"I'm not getting between them, man. I don't have a death wish" Okuyasu replied.

Star Platinum threw a punch at Josuke, planning to leave him unconscious with one hit. What he didn't expect, however, was Josuke blocking the punch with his arm and not moving an inch. 

He had never seen Josuke's Stand before. Humanoid, tall and muscular. He shared some characteristics with Star Platinum, that was undeniable. Before he realized Josuke was raising his other arm. Jotaro moved to the side quickly and dodged him. Not only was Josuke's Stand strong enough to resist his hits, but it was also fast. He wasn't used to fighting someone who matched him in strength and speed. This was a new experience for him. 

Jotaro planned on staying still and evaluate Josuke's movements, but it was impossible. Josuke turned in his direction and threw a punch at his face. Jotaro caught it with his hand, and kicked Josuke on the stomach. The force of it made him double over. The perfect chance for Jotaro to hit him in the face. Josuke must have realized it too because he quickly moved to the left, avoiding him. Jotaro wasn't expecting him to have those fast reflexes. And then he felt like a ton of bricks had hit him when Josuke punched him in the face. He spit the blood of his open lip. Was this how his enemies felt?

Jotaro had thought Josuke would be an easy opponent and then he could focus on his true objective. But now he was starting to get really pissed off. Josuke, however, was euphoric. Punching Jotaro was so much easier now that he had not learned how to stop time yet! There was something inside him awakening, months of frustration were unraveling at once. He looked at Jotaro, bleeding from his lip and he just felt the urge to punch him again. He took a step forward, but suddenly he was two meters back. 

"Oi, Josuke, that's enough!" 

He turned around. Okuyasu was looking at him with a serious expression. 

"You're going off the rails" Koichi said beside Okuyasu. "Nothing good happens when you let your temperament get the better of you". 

"And this fight is useless" Avdol added. "The boy is already gone". 

"What?" Jotaro yelled. 

It was true. The spot where he had been was empty. 

"Happy now?" Jotaro turned to Josuke.

"What do you think?!" 

"That you are a fucking liar, that's what I think!" 

"Oh, you want to know why lied? Because you're an asshole now just like you're also an asshole in the future!" 

"Maybe you're the one with the problem!"

Josuke clenched his fists, ready to punch Jotaro again. But then, what was the point? What would that change? Maybe some people just didn't change and that was the point. Suddenly he didn't want to fight anymore. He was just so fucking tired. 

"Whatever" he said, sighing, and turned away. 

"Josuke, wait" Joseph was grabbing him by the arm. "We need to talk". 

Josuke stared at Joseph's imploring eyes. Was it guilt? Josuke couldn't bring himself to feel any satisfaction about it. If anything, he just felt worse.

"I know. But not now, please". 

Joseph let go of his arm, and saw how Josuke walked away. 

"Do you think it's wise to leave him alone?" Avdol said. 

"Dio will be more careful with Giorno around" Kakyoin suggested. "He won't attack Josuke until he knows no one will interrupt him".

"Are you sure?" Avdol asked.

"He won't come back when he's like that anyway" Okuyasu said, shrugging. "It's better to let him cool off". 

"By the way, are we going to talk about the fact that Jo..?" Polnareff asked and promptly shut up when Avdol elbowed in the ribs. 

"Let's just go back to the hotel" Kakyoin said. "We'll be able to rest and think better about things". 

They all felt extremely depressed about this situation. The last thing they needed was breaking apart even more as a group. How could they defeat Dio if they were busier fighting amomgst themselves? 

Chapter Text

Jotaro was lying on his bed, looking at the ceiling. He had been staring at it for hours. The others were sleeping since now they rested during the day and went out at night. It was much more convenient for taking down a century old vampire. But the change of habits wasn't the reason why Jotaro couldn't sleep. Sometimes he wished he could disconnect his brain. Suddenly there was a knock on the door, and he immediately let Star Platinum out. 

"It's Kakyoin. Can I come in?" 

"Ok". 

If it was any other person, he would have told them off. But not to Kakyoin. He was back and unhurt, but Jotaro still didn't feel at ease. Like the next time they talked could be the last one. 

"So you can't sleep, right?" Kakyoin said, sitting on chair beside the bed. 

"I could say the same about you" Jotaro countered. 

"I guess it's hard to rest when there's so much so going on" the redhead shrugged. "Especially after last night". 

Jotaro grunted. 

"We shouldn't have let that blond brat go". 

"And that's your only regret of the night?" 

"Yes".

"Jotaro..."

"Kakyoin". 

The warning tone in Jotaro's voice could have sent anyone running for the hills. Not that Kakyoin had ever cared about that, of course. 

"You know, I met you in the future. And that Jotaro told me why Josuke was so angry at you". 

Kakyoin didn't miss the sudden change in Jotaro's expression, as subtle as it was. Ah, so that's what had been nagging at him. 

"As if I care" Jotaro replied.

"Well, I wouldn't tell you anyway. It's Josuke's story, not mine".

"Did he tell you something about the fight against Dio? How to win?" 

"He told me how you defeated him. You stopped time and that was your greatest advantage. Dio didn't expect it, and he didn't know how to react". 

"I can't stop time". 

"Not yet. Apparently the ability came to you on the adrenaline of the battle". 

"Great. And what else are you not telling me?" 

Kakyoin stayed silent for a few seconds, a slightly surprised expression on his face. But then he chuckled. 

"Oh well, I was trying to hide it, but I guess you're too perceptive". 

"What is it? What did really happen?" 

"Exactly what I said. I just avoided to mention Dio killed me". 

Jotaro felt like his heart stopped. In a way, he had been expecting. It was impossible to win against such a powerful enemy without casualties. Wasn't he preparing for this during all the journey? 

Not enough, apparently. 

"It was when I set Dio's trap" Kakyoin explained, "but Josuke wasn't there. Just as he wasn't to save Avdol and Iggy from Vanilla Ice". 

So they also died, Jotaro realized. Could this even be considered winning? With all of his friends dead? Was he really unable to protect anyone?

"What about Polnareff?" 

"Alive, like Joseph. The good news is that those moments have already passed, so we don't know what will happen now".

"That's not very reassuring". 

"It's better than nothing".

Jotaro sighed and clenched his fists. 

"Kakyoin, we can't lose more time. I have to defeat Dio or my mom will die soon. But... I also don't want to rush in and get you all killed". 

The redhead's eyebrows rose. He already knew Jotaro's feelings (his friend wasn't as impenetrable as he thought), but Kakyoin wasn't expecting Jotaro to confess it. Something had changed. 

"Then, let's start with taking decisions as a team and trusting each other more". 

"It might already be too late with Giorno around". 

"You sound a bit paranoid". 

"He's a threat and you know". 

The truth was Kakyoin was conflicted about Giorno. He didn't seem like a bad person, and he had helped Kakyoin get back to his time. But he also didn't mention his origins at any moment before getting here which was very suspicious. There was the possibility of him hiding this fact so he could get here and join Dio. 

"I'm not denying that" Kakyoin finally admitted. 

"Josuke shouldn't have let him go. There are lives at risk". 

"You mean your mom". 

"Yes. Maybe he doesn't care or think about it. But that's the reason for the entire journey". 

Kakyoin sighed. There was something else that the older Jotaro had told him. However, Kakyoin wanted to talk to Josuke before saying something to Jotaro. He felt he had already revealed too many of his secrets. 

"He wants his friend to have a better life" Kakyoin said instead. "You can't really blame him for it. Isn't that the same you want for me?" 

"I want you to not die. What you do with your life after that is your business". 

"We still go to the same high school. We'll see each other". 

Jotaro had not thought about that. He had tried to avoid imagining his life after the nightmare was finished. He didn't even know if he would come out alive of it so what was the point? 

But Kakyoin was right. Jotaro had always assumed everyone would be separated since they were from different parts of the world. But he and Kakyoin would go to the same high school. Maybe they would even share classes. Still... 

"I guess we would see each other even though we will have our own lives". 

"Actually I've always been kind of a loner" Kakyoin clarified, chuckling. "It's not easy to have a two meter tall companion that no one can see. It will be nice to have a friend in high school for once". 

Kakyoin would have shut up on other occasion. But he wasn't going to be deterred by Jotaro's self destructive habits anymore. Sometimes you had to take the initiative. 

Jotaro tried not to show his surprise (thought the way he slightly raised his eyebrows always gave him away). He looked away from Kakyoin and nodded. 

"I guess high school won't be so insufferable if there's someone intelligent in it". 

Kakyoin smiled. If he had known all it would take to take Jotaro's mask off was being more straightforward, he would have done it ages ago. Oh well, the more you know.


Giorno wondered what he could do now. If he came back to the Crusaders, the situation would escalate and who knows what could happen. He didn't want to kill them, but fights were unpredictable and it was clear that he couldn't dialogue with them. Not for now, at least. 

So he was stuck in a time and place completely strange to him. He had a clear goal, but no idea how to reach it. He was, essentially, screwed. 

"So they kicked you out". 

He shouldn't really be surprised to see Dio standing beside a wall, looking smug as hell. 

"Were you watching the whole thing?" Giorno asked him. 

"No, but I can imagine what happened. They are awfully predictable, those Joestars". 

Not all of them had the same attitude though, Giorno thought. Josuke was the only one who had tried to help him. Giorno wondered why. 

"So you're here to gloat?" 

"I'd rather say I told you so. You're the son of a monster, and that automatically turns you into another monster to them". 

"They had a logical reaction. I wouldn't trust myself if I were them".

"Aren't you the reasonable one?" Dio replied mockingly. "Why would you wish to join people who don't want you? Do you want to kill me that badly? Is this some kind of grudge?" 

"I'm here to stop the portals. I'm not interested in your little war". 

Dio huffed. 

"They couldn't care less about the portals. Their only objective is killing me. They're obnoxiously stubborn in that regard". 

"Apparently they want to kill you because Holly Joestar is about to die". 

"And how is that my fault? I got a Stand and that woman can't take it. Not my problem if she's weak". 

"Did you know what would happen when you were pierced with the arrow?" 

"That all my historical enemies would get Stands so they could keep pestering me? No, I didn't know".

"Did you know you could have descendants?" 

"I never stopped to think about it. Who was your mom, by the way?" 

"Shizuka Shiobana. Ring a bell?"

"No. I have been with many women". 

Giorno felt a pang in his heart. He had expected to know more about his mom. If she had been any different in her younger days. Better. 

"I guess Giorno Giovanna is a made up name" Dio said. 

"It's my name now. The only one that matters". 

"Fine by me. So, have you taken a decision?" 

"I don't know you. All I have heard about you are rumors and none are good". 

"You don't know me because you don't want to. You can't really blame me for not being around since I was dead". 

"How...?" 

"Oh, please. I can put two and two together. Especially since Jotaro can also stop time. Maybe the time portals are a blessing after all. They have allowed me to escape disaster". 

"Would you have been there? If you knew I existed".

It was what Giorno had been dying to ask since he met Dio. Was there any chance of having grown up in a normal family? Or was he condemned from the beginning? 

"Oh, no" Dio replied, laughing. "I never had any desire to form a family. Plus, I hate children". 

Well, question answered Giorno thought bitterly. At least Dio was honest. 

"But you're not a child anymore" Dio added, looking at him thoughtfully. 

"So now I'm tolerable? That's what you're saying?" 

"Yes. And I don't find many people tolerable".

Shit. Was Dio telling the truth? Did he care about him or was it an act? He knew it was very possible it was the second option. But a small part of his mind kept telling him, what if it's the first one? 

"Don't take too long to decide, Giorno, or it might be too late". 

With that said, Dio left in the blink of an eye. Giorno was alone again. And even more confused than before. 

Chapter Text

"You've been touching your arm a lot". 

Josuke jumped, startled by Giorno's sudden appearance. The blond had suddenly appeared on the terrace where Josuke had been chilling and trying to relax after his fight with Jotaro. He wasn't being very successful. 

"Star Platinum punches very hard. I'm just glad it wasn't on my bad shoulder. He would have ended up right back on bed. 

"Which one is your bad shoulder?" 

"The left one. It's from a previous fight. My ribs are also healing and now they hurt like fucking hell". 

Giorno let GER out. Josuke looked at him with curiosity, but didn't say anything. GER put one hand on Josuke's shoulder and another one on his torso.

Suddenly Josuke started to feel much better. The constant dull pain he had grown used to disappeared. He had never felt so relieved and free. 

"Wow, this is awesome! What did you do?" 

"I replaced the broken tissues and bones with new ones". 

"You can do that?!" 

"Yes. My original ability was creating life, putting it in simple terms". 

"That's so cool, man. I can also heal, but I don't have any idea how it works. Thank you so much". 

"Consider it repayment for defending me in front of your teammates". 

Josuke shrugged. 

"It was no problem".

"Why did you do it?" Giorno asled, genuinely curious. "You don't know me, and I am Dio's son after all". 

"It's no fair judging someone by who his father is". 

"Are you talking about me or you now?" 

"Both?" 

Giorno chuckled and sat down. Josuke counted it as a win. 

"You should come with me" Josuke suggested. 

"Sure, so your... excuse me what is Jotaro to you exactly?" 

"My nephew" Josuke laughed when he saw Giorno's raised eyebrow. "Hey, if you think that's weird, imagine meeting him when he's 12 years older than you". 

"Well, my father is a 100 hundred years old vampire. I'm not judging". 

"How was the first meeting?" 

"He tried to convince me to join him".

"Were you tempted?" 

Giorno looked at Josuke. Should he tell him? Well, he had nothing to lose. 

"Yes". 

Giorno expected to see caution or mistrust in Josuke's eyes, but the teen just nodded. 

"I can understand. I would feel the same way if Joseph had told me that when I met him".  

"When did you meet him? I don't mean now in Cairo". 

"A year ago. He didn't know I existed before that". 

Well, they there were. The two losers without fathers. At least they had that in common, Giorno thought ironically. 

"I can't complain, though" Josuke continued. "I had an amazing mom and... and an awesome grandpa too who raised me as his own son". 

Giorno wondered what would have happened if he had that. His childhood was less than ideal. He still remembered the freezing nights he spent alone. While his mom had fun, he was starving and terrified. Sometimes he still woke up feeling that chill, like it was permanently engraved in his bones. 

When they moved to Italy he thought things would change. And they did change... For the worse. Giorno doesn't think he could ever forgive his mom, turning a blind eye while he received daily beatings from her husband. 

His mom had long disappeared from his life, and to be honest, he didn't care. He didn't want to see her ever again and the simply act of thinking about her revealed a variety of feelings he prefered to ignore. 

"Are you okay?" Josuke asked. "You spaced out for a bit". 

"It's nothing. Just thinking". 

"About coming back with me?" 

"Porca pu... You're really persistent". 

"I have a friend who always tells me I'm the most annoying person he has ever met". 

"You shouldn't sound so proud". 

Josuke laughed. 

"I will come with you, though" Giorno accepted. 

"I managed to convince you, yeah!" Josuke threw his arms in the air.

"Lucky you". 

"Hey, allow me to feel proud. You seem a very stubborn person".

Josuke suddenly avoided Giorno's eyes, and the blond tilted his head, wondering what he was about to ask. 

"Is it true you can influence the portals?" 

"Yes. It's hard, but I can do it". 

"So you could open a portal to Morioh?" 

"I think so. Though again, anything could happen. Do you want me to do it?" 

"No". 

"Why? You could be back in your home. Is not what you want?" 

"To be honest, when I came here my main objective was escaping from here. But now… I can't leave them alone".

"They're not your responsibility. And in the original timeline, they fought against Dio without you". 

"And half of them died! What if something even worse happens now? At least I can help them for the moment and change the future". 

"What exactly do you want to change?" 

"Everything. I want a fucking happy ending for once. I want everyone to survive". 

"That might be really naive". 

"Maybe" Josuke shrugged, and then he grinned. "You never know if you don't try". 

Giorno smiled slightly.

"You're a curious guy, Josuke Higashikata". 

"Same, man".


"Be careful. Don't make any noise". 

Giorno watched with an amused expression how Josuke opened the door of the living room with a ridiculous amount of subtlety. 

"Didn't you say that nothing would happen to us?" 

"Yeah, man. But I'm tired, and I don't want to give explanations. I can deal with them tomorrow morning". 

"Sure. It will be real fun to see their faces when they find me here". 

"You're a sarcastic little shit, you knew that?" 

Giorno just smiled and then straight up laughed when Josuke knocked a vase standing on the table. There goes the subtlety. In less than a minute, the group of Crusaders was surrounding Giorno and extremely flustered Josuke. 

"What the hell is this?" Polnareff asked. 

"I'm sorry! We were trying to be discreet, so I didn't turn the lights on and I crashed against the lamp". 

"And your plan was... What?" Polnareff asked. "Hiding him inside your room like in a cheesy movie?"

"While I thought of a plan so you wouldn't get angry".

"I don't intend to be hidden anywhere" Giorno interrupted. 

"You're not making it better" Josuke hissed, but the blond teen just shrugged. 

"Josuke" Jotaro called him. 

Josuke turned to face him, obviously uncomfortable, and refusing to look him in the eye. But then again, Jotaro also felt the same way. 

"If something happens, it will be your responsibility since you're the only one who trusts him". 

Josuke's eyes widened. He had been definitely expecting for Jotaro to put up more resistance, maybe even provoke a fight again. That's why he had tried to hide Giorno. By their confused looks, the others had been expecting the same thing.

"Ok" Josuke replied, still a bit dumbfounded. 

Jotaro just turned around and went back to his room. He didn't want to fight Josuke. He still didn't trust Giorno at all, but the only option to stop Josuke was by force. And he was tired of fighting. 

"So, decision taken I guess" Koichi said. 

"We don't have any spare rooms, but you can stay  with Josuke" Avdol added, completely on purpose. 

"You're all unbelievable" Josuke said. 

"Good luck, man" Okuyasu said, going back to his room, as did everyone. They all had been sleeping until Josuke came in. 

But Josuke noticed one person was still in the room. Even though he had been doing everything he could to ignore him.

"Josuke, you cannot keep avoiding me forever" Joseph said.

Josuke sighed. 

"Maybe you don't like what I have to say". 

"I'll take it". 

He guessed Joseph was right. As much as tried to postpone it, the moment had come.

"Ok. Let's talk".

Chapter Text

Joseph opened the minibar of the living room and rummaged through the bottles.

"Do you want something?" he asked Josuke.

"Whisky".

Joseph immediately turned his head.

"I'm joking".

Great, Josuke thought. He had only managed to do things even more awkward. Joseph took a beer for himself and handed Josuke a glass of coke.

"Thanks". 

Joseph was looking at his glass as if it contained all the answers in the world. He stayed like that for a few seconds, and Josuke waited. He wasn't going to start that conversation. Joseph was the one who had to take the first step because Josuke was tired of doing it all the time. Joseph finally sighed and said:

"Josuke, I'm sorry. I know it doesn't make up for anything, but I'm so sorry". 

Had Joseph apologized when Josuke met him in Morioh? No, he had been too old for that, so Josuke had let it slide. He realized now how much he had needed to hear those words. More than he thought. 

"If I had known I would have been there for you. I can promise that". 

Oh, there it was. The excuse. 

"I know" Josuke said, trying to remain calm. Shouting would get them nowhere. "Otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you right now. But it still doesn't excuse the fact that you were not. Also you not knowing is your own fault. If you had not abandoned my mom in the middle of the fucking night and left her even a number, she could have called you and I could have met you before… "

"Before what? Before I die? You can tell me, Josuke. I mean, what's the worst that could happen at this point?" Joseph said letting out a bitter laugh. 

"You're not dead" Josuke sighed. "But you're old. So much that I thought you might not be around for too long, so I couldn't waste my time being angry at you". 

Even though he was already 60, Joseph had never given it much thought about his own mortality. Why should he? He had lived an exciting life, and experienced lots of adventures with no regrets. No mistakes he had to fix. Until now, that is. Looking at this angry teenager, he felt the guilt would suffocate him. He had missed all his growth. 17 years that Joseph could have spent teaching him how to ride a bike, helping him with his studies or even to flirt when he was a bit older. 

For the first time in his life, Joseph felt he had completely wasted precious time that he would never get back. He wished he had a time Stand that let him go back.

"That's why you were so distant with me?" Joseph asked. "You're not angry at him, but you're angry at me".

"Of course I am. And I hate it, I want it to stop. But ever since I saw you here, looking so young and fine, I've had this feeling of frustration because…" 

"Because I wasn't with you until it was too late". 

Josuke sat down and sighed. Joseph could be incredibly intuitive when he wanted to. 

"The thing is when I was a kid, I always wondered why others had dads and not me. I thought that maybe it was my fault. That I had done something that scared him away. And eventually I just learned to accept that's just how things were. I also pretended not to care because I realized I was hurting my mom. And it was cool. I had an awesome grandad who raised me as his own son. And then he died".

"I'm sorry. What happened?" 

"A Stand user killed him. I could have avoided it if I had not been so reckless. But at the time, I thought my Stand made me invincible. I've learned better since". 

"I also grew up without a father. He died when I was a baby. And I know how it feels, seeing other kids with their fathers and feeling jealous of them". 

"I didn't know that" Josuke said, surprised. 

"I think there are a lot of things we don't know from each other" Joseph replied sadly.

"Not my fault". 

"I know, Josuke. I'm just trying to make you see that I would have never done that to you, growing up without a father on purpose. I didn't think about the consequences of my actions".

"That's what I am to you? A consequence?" 

The hurt in Josuke's voice made him want to kick himself in the head. It seemed like he kept saying the wrong things. 

"Of course not" Joseph said, decisively. "Josuke, you're an amazing kid, and I couldn't be any prouder of you. Even if I don't have any right to be". 

"But I've made everything more complicated for you at the worst time". 

"Is that what you think?" Joseph asked. "Josuke, do you have any idea how much you've helped us? Half of the group would be dead without you". 

"I know. I didn't mean that". 

"Josuke, having a son at my age didn't enter in my plans. And yes, it makes things more complicated because we're in a very dangerous situation and now I'm scared as hell that something will happen to you". 

"Oh" Josuke said. "Only that?" 

"It's no small thing having a son fight against an omnipotent maniac" Joseph said, chuckling. "So you could say that it's 'only that'. But I feel very lucky that I was able to meet you now, Josuke. You are in no way a burden for me. Don't ever think that please". 

All this time, Josuke couldn't help but think that he was destroying Joseph's life. In the end, he was an unwanted child. Joseph was probably trying to get along with him because it was the right thing to do. But Joseph sounded so honest… Josuke wanted to believe him. He desperately wanted to. 

"I would like to get to know you more, Josuke" Joseph added. "To tell me your story. I understand if you don't want me to".

"I do want to. I'm tired of being angry… Joseph". 

Josuke couldn't call him something else. Not yet at least. But he found himself hoping to be there in the future. For the first time, he didn't want to run away. Maybe he even things to get better, to have a real relationship. 

"I'm glad to hear that" Joseph replied with a smile. "You can take all the time you need. One step at a time". 

Josuke nodded and mirrored his smile. 

"One step at a time". 

Hey, maybe this conversation wasn't such a bad idea after all, Josuke thought. 


Josuke was going back to his room. Well, it was actually him and Giorno's room. Ugh, he had never shared a room before. He hoped Giorno was clean at least. He was mentally and physically exhausted. He couldn't put up with a dirty roommate on top of that. 

"Hey, Josuke" Kakyoin was walking up to him. "How was your talk with Joseph?" 

"It was actually not bad". 

"Glad to hear it. I wanted to apologize for telling your secret to Jotaro and Joseph. I didn't find any other way". 

"Oh, it's okay, I understand. It was impossible to keep it any longer with Dio chasing me". 

Kakyoin let out a sigh, looking actually relieved because Josuke wasn't upset at him. 

"I meant to ask you earlier, but how is everyone in Morioh?" Josuke asked.

"They're fine. More portals have appeared, but so far they have not caused any serious catastrophe. Your friends stayed behind to control the situation. By the way, there are a lot of Stand users in your town". 

"Yeah... There was a Stand arrow like the one Dio has". 

Kakyoin grimaced. 

"I can imagine the chaos it caused".

Josuke nodded. Internally he was steeling himself to ask the question that had been killing him since Kakyoin had come back. 

"Did you meet my mom?" 

Kakyoin nodded, and Josuke felt his heart could have stopped right there. 

"She's also fine, but of course she's very worried about you. I told her everything and she seemed to calm a little". 

"Oh... Wait, everything? And she believed it?!" 

"Yes, she knows about the Stands and she didn't look very happy about it. When I went to her house, she threw a vase at Jotaro! You definitely inherited her temperament!" Kakyoin said, laughing. 

"That's what people use to say". 

Kakyoin put a hand on his shoulder sensing Josuke's sadness. 

"She's a strong woman. She'll be fine". 

"It's just... My granddad died not too long ago. I don't want her to go through that again". 

"Well, then you will need to survive this. And a very good way of doing it, it's not wandering off on your own like an edgy teenager". 

Josuke chuckled. 

"Ok, got it". 

"Another great way would be to stop suggesting not to kill Dio when your life is on the line".

Josuke's eyes widened. What did Kakyoin mean? He didn't know about the fever also affecting him, did he? But Kakyoin's serious expression meant another thing. Josuke sighed. Of course he knew. Jotaro probably told him. In the past, Josuke would have gotten angry at him. But he had learned enough about his nephew during this trip to know he had done it because he was worried. It was strangely touching, actually. 

"I know what I'm doing, Kakyoin". 

"It doesn't look like it".

"Are you gonna tell the others?" 

"It's not my place. But don't you think there have been enough secrets?" 

"And how would saying this help? They'll only be pressured if they find out. And pressure leads to mistakes". 

Kakyoin sighed. Josuke was raising a good point. Everyone was already on edge, and this would make it worse. Especially for Joseph and Jotaro. They might rush in and commit a fatal error. 

"Do you know how long you have?" 

Josuke shook his head. 

"I only know that one day I was suddenly cured and I had Crazy Diamond with me. I don't know the exact date". 

"You know this changes things, right? I'm not supporting you with your plan of not killing Dio anymore". 

"But…" 

"No" Kakyoin said, and the determination in his voice made Josuke shut up. He had never seen the redhead so serious. "I'm not risking your life over that maniac". 

"It's my life, shouldn't I have a saying in it?" 

"Not when you don't value it enough. Someone must do it for you".

Kakyoin walked past Josuke, going to his room. It had been a long day. 

"You should think about your mom. She would be devastated if she lost you". 

Josuke chuckled. 

"That's a dirty move". 

"But it works, right? Good night, Josuke". 

"Good night, Kakyoin". 

Chapter Text

Days passed, and there was no sight of Dio. They had almost gotten used to this dynamic. They would have a fight against the vampire and then they wouldn't see him for days. But they were running out of time. Jotaro was more tense with each day it passed. And the fact that ever since Josuke came back with Giorno, he had been avoiding Jotaro didn't fucking help at all. He was always close to his friends or hell, even Joseph. Jotaro had sometimes caught them talking until late in the night. He was secretly glad for them, to be honest. 

And if he was also being honest with himself, Jotaro had not made things easy. He had also avoided Josuke like the plague. But enough was enough. He was the one who screwed up, so he had to take the first step. Like the functional adult he was trying to be. That's why he was standing in front of Josuke's room in the middle of the night. He felt ridiculous, why was he hesitating so much for something so silly? Releasing a sigh, he knocked on the door which opened immediately, revealing a very surprised Josuke. 

"Can I come in?" Jotaro asked. 

"Ehm…. Sure" Josuke stuttered, stepping aside.

Jotaro entered and Josuke closed the door behind him. He was looking at Jotaro as if he was an alien. He had not expected for Jotaro to drop by. Jotaro didn't just 'drop by'. Why was he here? Maybe he wanted to fix things, which is what Josuke had been thinking about these last few days. But he had been too much of a coward to come up to Jotaro and tell him. Oh well, now he had the perfect chance. 

"I'm sorry for punching you, I shouldn't have done that". 

Jotaro shrugged. 

"I've fought with all the group at some point. You're not an exception". 

He sounds way too proud, Josuke thought. 

"I know" he said instead, "but I wasn't being mind controlled or anything. I just..."

"Wanted to hit me?" 

"Yes". 

Jotaro frowned, and Josuke couldn't help but squirm a little bit. Should Josuke tell him  everything? And was Jotaro even interested in hearing it? He still remembered how Jotaro told him that he was the one with the problem. Maybe it was true, but it still hurt. 

"Wait a minute" Jotaro said suddenly. 

Josuke looked confused while he saw how Jotaro walked towards the door and opened it. Okuyasu, Koichi and Polnareff stumbled inside the room and almost fell down. Josuke stated at them for a few seconds, processing the situation, and then exploded:

"Were you eavesdropping?!" 

"No, we were not" Okuyasu replied with a straight face. 

"Really?! And what were you doing behind the door?" Josuke asked, pushing down the feeling of wanting to murder them all in that instant. 

"They roped me into this" Koichi said, pointing at the other two. "I didn't want to do it". 

"Liar!" Polnareff shouted. "You didn't oppose at all". 

"Everyone out of here! You have no shame, you bunch of assholes!"

The trio ran as if the floor was lava. They were back in their rooms in seconds. 

"I swear I can't believe them" Josuke mumbled.

Jotaro, however, was watching the scene mildly amused by the situation. 

"It's not funny, don't make that face" Josuke reprimanded him. 

"I'm not making faces" Jotaro said. 

"What did you want to ask me anyway?" Josuke said, starting to feel very annoyed. He just wanted to be left alone. 

"What did I do to you in the future?" 

"Why do you care?" 

"Why do you think I don't?" Jotaro said, raising an eyebrow and showing the futility of the path they had taken. 

Josuke sighed again. Well, if he really wanted to know… 

"It's not like you have done anything to me" he explained. "It's just... That the you in my time is so hermetic. He never tells me anything. And I'm not talking about calling me everyday or something like that. I'm not that sensitive".

"I never called you sensitive" Jotaro said. 

"No, but you were thinking about it" Josuke counterattacked.

Jotaro's silence was answer enough. 

"Right. Anyway, I meant that you" Josuke remarked the last word "never tell me anything important. I don't know anything about your life or who you really are. You are almost like a stranger to me, even if we spent months in the same town". 

"You did?" Jotaro asked, trying the best he could to hide the curiosity he felt.

"Yes. Basically you came to Morioh to tell me who my father was, and because Joseph had seen a great danger when he tried to look for information about me with his Stand".

"And what was the danger?" 

"Well, it depends. There were more than one. First, it was Angelo, a con who received a Stand thanks to Dio's arrow. He killed my grandpa". 

"I'm sorry about that". 

Josuke gave him a sad smile. 

"Thanks. The thing is you were there for me when it happened. You helped me avenge his death and move forward. That's why I'm so frustrated. You didn't tell me about Dio, which knowing how it ended up I can understand, but even with the portals you waited until it was too late. But I also know you're not the same person, technically. I was just taking out on you earlier. Again, I'm sorry".

Jotaro sighed. He was both relieved and disappointed. Relieved because it could have been worse and disappointed because he thought he would get better at these emotional business when he grew up. He obviously didn't. He was starting to think he was truly hopeless. Or maybe it was a sign that if he didn't take the step now, he never would. 

"You're right. We're ten years apart, so he has lived a lot of things I have not" Jotaro said. "But I think he was trying to protect you. He probably wouldn't want to involve you in such a dangerous situation. It's what I would do for someone I give two shits about".

Josuke looked at him, puzzled.

"You have changed" he said. 

"I'm trying". 

Josuke grinned. It was the first genuine smile he had directed at Jotaro in a long time. 

"I'm glad to hear it. Jotaro, don't keep pushing people away. It's not gonna do any good. And you know how this originally ended". 

"How it might end, you mean" Jotaro cut him off. "We haven't defeated Dio yet". 

"That's true. But you need to stop letting your fear of losing people dominate your life".

Jotaro's eyes widened. How did he...?

"I've known you for quite a while" Josuke chuckled. "I never knew what was wrong, why you were so distant, until I came here. You look happy with them, happier than I've ever seen you anyway. I don't know what's gonna happen, but why don't you try to pass all the time you can with them?" 

Jotaro clenched his fists. He wasn't going to talk about something so personal with this brat. Who did he think he was? A psychologist? 

Wait. Wasn't that what his adult self did? He stared at Josuke, waiting for an answer and still not expecting to receive it. He looked used to it, resignation written on his face. He sensed he had denied Josuke a lot of questions in the past (or future). Maybe he owed him one truthful answer for once. Maybe Josuke and he could have a different story than with his adult self. Maybe once he opened up to someone, anyone, it would get easier.

"Because it will make it more difficult" he spat out. "Even with you".

"Me?" Josuke asked, wondering how he had become the focus of the discussion now. 

"Yes, you will run off on your own or do something crazy and dangerous".

"And are you worried about that?" Josuke said hesitantly. 

Jotaro frowned. Why did Josuke look so fucking surprised?! Of course he wasn't going to let him die unnecessarily. They were family which was pretty weird in itself because he had always thought his only family was his mom and grandparents. No siblings, no cousins and definitely no uncles. But now he had one, and he was starting to find out that he didn't dislike it. There were a lot of worse people to be related to than Josuke Higashikata. 

"Yes, I am" Jotaro answered. "Stop doing stupid things". 

"Well then, you stop holding back. All this situation will always be difficult, and you'll regret many things you could have done. But at least spending time with the people you care about won't be one of them".

Jotaro stayed silent, considering those words. Deep down, he knew Josuke was right. He was behaving like a coward. He always had when it came to anything that didn't involve punching. He would rather fight against one hundred Stand users than having a real talk. 

"So do we have a deal?" Josuke asked. 

"Which deal?" 

"I stop being reckless and you stop being quiet". 

Josuke extended his hand while smiling. Jotaro stared at it, but finally he shook it. Why not? 

"Deal". 

"Ha! Victory at last!" 

"You're an idiot".

"I still won" Josuke shrugged, still smiling. 

"I also want to ask you one more thing" Jotaro said. 

"Sure". 

"You're gonna help me how to use Star Platinum ability". 

"What?!"

Chapter Text

"This is ridiculous" Josuke said for what he felt like the hundredth time. 

They were in the backyard of the hotel where no could see them. Jotaro had let Star Platinum out and he was clearly not listening to Josuke's complaints. 

"You've seen me use this before". 

"Well yes, but actually no. Because when you stop time, you stop everything, me included".

Jotaro grunted. 

"Did I do anything special to activate it?" 

Josuke frowned, recalling all the times he had seen Jotaro's ability. 

"Not really. You only yelled Star Platinum: the World". 

Jotaro let out a loud huff at that. 

"Why the fuck would I choose that name?" he asked, and his outrageous expression had Josuke refraining from laughing. 

"Hey, don't ask me" he said instead, putting his hands up. "Come on, try to say it. Maybe it works". 

Jotaro glared at the other teen who just shrugged. He hated the idea, but he would do anything to defeat Dio at this point. 

Even becoming him. 

"Star Platinum: the World".

He expected something, anything to happen. But nope. Star Platinum was still standing beside him (and Jotaro could swear he looked disappointed). 

"You told me earlier that you saw time stopping when you fought Dio?" Josuke asked. 

"Yes, but that's not the same as stopping it myself". 

"But it's a start!" Josuke was trying to be optimistic because honestly, someone had to be out of the both of them. "I can't teach you how to use your Stand, Jotaro. In my time it was more about you teaching me than the other way around. We were 12 years apart, after all".

"Now we're the same age". 

"I know. It's weird".

Jotaro sighed.

"I guess none of the things my future self taught you are gonna help me defeat Dio, right?" 

"Not really" Josuke said, sounding apologetic, but then his eyes widened. "Oh, you actually taught me a super cool trick. Wait here!" 

Jotaro saw with a confused look how Josuke ran inside the hotel and came back with a bunch of soda cans. He then lined them up at the other side of the backyard and came back to Jotaro's position. 

"Watch this" Josuke said, holding a pebble in his hand. 

He balanced the small rock between his index and thumb, or better said between Crazy Diamond's index and thumb and then he threw it. The pebble flew like a bullet and hit one of the cans right in the centre, spilling the liquid all over the floor. Jotaro had to admit he was impressed. 

"That could actually be useful". 

"You don't know how to do it?" Josuke asked, surprised. 

"Not yet, at least".

Josuke visibly beamed at that.

"I can teach you, this is gonna be great! Grab a stone". 

Jotaro did as Josuke said. He stood in front of the cans and imitated Josuke's hand movements, but the other teenager quickly corrected him. 

"You should have your thumb further up to support the rock. See, like this" Josuke said and proceeded to imitate the movement. 

Jotaro followed the instructions and focused on the can in the centre. It would be an easy target for his first time. 

"Now try to throw it with your Stand, but keep your your hand steady or it will throw the rock off balance" Josuke advised. 

Jotaro let Star Platinum out and focused on doing what Josuke told him. He launched the pebble but with too much force, so instead of hitting the centre of the can, it crashed against one side and the can fell over. Jotaro grunted in frustration. 

"Don't be like that! It was super fine for your first try!" Josuke cheered him. "And those cans were much further away than when I first tried".

"Why would I teach you this anyway?" Jotaro asked. 

"There was this rat with a Stand..." 

"A rat?" 

"Yeah". 

"You're making it sound very normal".

"To be honest, it's not the weirdest thing that happened in Morioh. Dio's arrow caused a lot of strange Stands". 

"Isn't that dangerous?" 

"It was at first. But most Stand users were people of my age who were just confused. Usually, a good talk, sometimes beating them up a bit, was enough. Many of them are now my friends actually". 

Somehow he could totally see Josuke lecturing their opponents after kicking the shit out of them. Josuke's path seemed pretty different from his. That was probably why they had such different views about setting fights with their enemies. At the beginning Jotaro had thought Josuke was a fool for being so idealistic, but now he realized there was something more to it. Maybe Josuke's method wasn't so nuts after all.

"This doesn't seem like a very productive way of learning how to control your Stand". 

Jotaro turned around and glared at Giorno who had appeared from apparently out of nowhere and was looking at them with an amused expression. 

"What are you doing here?" Jotaro asked, not precisely kindly. 

"I could help with your current problem". 

"I don't need your help" Jotaro spat out.

"If you don't want it, fine. But I know what it's like to have no idea how your Stand works".

"Maybe you should listen to him" Josuke suggested. 

"I had forgotten you are friends now". 

"Jotaro, don't get defensive" Josuke said. "Do you have any better ideas?"

"Why would you want to help me?" Jotaro asked, ignoring Josuke's infuriatingly patronizing tone. "You should hate me. I killed your father in your timeline". 

Giorno shrugged.

"I understand your reason. You want to save your mom. That's very noble of you". 

"And don't you want to save your father?" Jotaro's voice was laced with scepticism.

"He's a stranger for me. I don't have any more reason to trust him than I have to trust you". 

Even if I'd like to , Giorno thought but didn't say. Deep down, he was looking for anything that might tell him that Dio Brando wasn't a complete monster. Right now he didn't know what to think. Jotaro wanted to save his mother, and the only way of doing that was killing Dio. He could understand why the vampire wanted to defend himself by any means, though. Giorno would do the same thing in his place. 

So why was he helping Jotaro in the first place? Mainly because if things turned ugly, if Dio turned out to be a monster, it would be better to have a strong ally. 

"I'll leave you alone" Josuke said, clapping his hands. "Don't kill each other". 

"What? Where are you going?" Jotaro wasn't happy with the idea of being left alone with the devil's seed. 

"Oh, you know. Things to do, people to see…" Josuke was already backing down. 

"That doesn't make sense". 

"Bye!" 

Josuke ran away so fast that Jotaro would have thought his Crazy Diamond's ability was really superspeed. Damn asshole, I'm gonna kill him later, Jotaro thought. Giorno was still looking at him, so Jotaro had no other option than acknowledging his presence.

"So, what's your big plan?" he asked dryly. 

"You mean generally or about your Stand?" 

"Both". 

Giorno smiled. He expected nothing less from Jotaro. 

"Let's start with your Stand, then. You need to let go". 

"Let go?" Jotaro repeated with disbelief. 

"Yes. You're too tight. You want to have everything under control including your own Stand".

"Of course I want to" Jotaro said. 

"That's your mistake. Stands are not our pets, we can't always control them. That's what I've learned anyway". 

"That you can't control your Stand doesn't mean I have to do the same with mine". 

"Well, you can't stop time right?" 

Jotaro just stared at Giorno and grunted. What would happen if he punched him? That would surely awaken Star Platinum. 

But the fucking blond was right and he knew it. Maybe, just maybe, it would be worth to take his advice. It's not like he could try anything else. There was only one problem. 

"I can't relax if you're here". 

Giorno chuckled. At least Jotaro was honest. Everyone else was trying his best to be polite and welcoming, but he could easily see how tense they really were everytime he walked in a room. He had seen that attitude with his subordinates many times. Though they had good reasons.

"I don't want you to relax" he explained to Jotaro. "Don't get me wrong, that's what I do when I want to use my Stand. I try to leave my mind blank. But I don't think that would actually work on you". 

Jotaro sighed, again Giorno was right. And it pissed him off. He was always thinking about possible plans, strategies or simply his own worries. He probably thought too much, if he was honest with himself. 

"So what do you think I should do?" 

Giorno put himself in front of Jotaro. 

"Imagine I'm Dio". 

"You're too skinny". 

Jotaro took satisfaction on how Giorno looked a bit irritated by the comment. 

"I prefer that than not being able to enter through doors. And that's not the point here. Instead of thinking about one million things at the same time, focus all your energy in one". 

"And that would be Dio?" 

"You're preparing to fight against him, so it would be better to make him the trigger of your Stand". 

Jotaro huffed. Damn smug asshole... As much as he hated it, he knew his advice was useful. And that frustrated him even more. Whose side was he on? He was Dio's son, but he was staying with them. He even seemed close to Josuke (not that he was surprised, that kid had a gift for making the worst friends ever). 

He decided to push all these troublesome thoughts aside for the moment. It wasn't the time. He tried to imagine the blond man in front of him was Dio. It wasn't easy taking into account he had to look down to stare at Giorno. But the more he looked, the more he started noticing some similarities between him and his father. They had the exact same hair. Same color and even same length. No matter how much Giorno tried to hide it with his hairstyle.

From there, he thought about all the times he had been about to lose someone because of Dio. Giorno saw the change in his expression, the pure rage. Those cold eyes could have sent anyone running for the hills. He was starting to understand why Jotaro was so feared among Stand users. 

Oh well. Giorno wasn't "anyone". He smiled and teased him, knowing Jotaro was ready to explode. 

"What are you waiting for?"

Jotaro screamed and threw a punch at Giorno. And suddenly the blond was gone. 

"Interesting". 

Giomo stood behind him, and Jotaro turned around quick as a cobra. Right now he was in fight or fight mode. 

"Look around" Giorno said.

Jotaro did what he was told and realized everything had… stopped. It was hard to tell at first sight, but his doubts dissipated when he saw a butterfly frozen in midair. He raised his hand to touch it and then, in a blink, everything went back to normal. Life went on without realizing the disruption Jotaro had caused. 

Because he could stop time. Until now, Jotaro had not quite believed it. Maybe Josuke was mistaken, maybe his older self had lied to him about it too for some reason he couldn't fathom. But it was all true. His Stand had this amazing ability that could make him almost invincible. He could defeat Dio. He was the only one who could do, in fact. He felt like the pressure was going to crush him. 

"Are you okay?"

Jotaro was surprised by the understanding in Giorno's voice. 

"I'm fine" he answered shortly. 

"Don't let it get to you". 

"What?" 

"The responsibility. It will only make it worse. No matter what you think, winning or losing doesn't depend solely on you". 

"I'm the only one who can defeat Dio". 

"There are many other factors that can come into play. Take the portals, for example. An unpredictable event that has changed everything. You might be essential or completely irrelevant. The truth is no one can't know". 

Okay, now Jotaro was going to explode if he didn't let it out. 

"Why are you giving me this good advice. It doesn't make sense".

"I already told you. I'm here to listen to both sides of the story". 

"So you think we're the bad guys". 

"No" Giorno replied decisively. "But I don't know if you're good either. You're better than Dio, that's for sure". 

"And you still don't want to kill him".

"Is that so wrong? Not wanting to kill him after meeting him for two seconds?"

"I get it, but that's why I think you are a liability" Jotaro explained. "You're confused and you don't know which side to pick. The difference is that in a battle, a moment of hesitation can cost lives". 

"Trust me, when battles come, I won't hesitate" Giorno said with a threatening expression. 

"And who will you attack, I wonder?" 

Giorno just smiled. 

"I'll leave you alone with your training". 

"Giorno". 

"What?" the blond turned around, hoping Jotaro had not changed his mind about fighting. He wasn't in the mood to have a battle. But Jotaro's words were the last thing he was expecting. 

"Thanks for the help".

Giorno nodded and walked towards the hotel. Maybe he could find a place here after all. 

Chapter Text

"What are you doing?" 

Josuke didn't know what he had been expecting when he opened the door to his room, but Okuyasu, Koichi and Giorno playing video games was not it. 

"Hi, Josuke!" 

"Okuyasu, please tell me you didn't steal that console" Josuke pleaded because the last thing they needed were the cops knocking on their door. 

"Nah, it was on the reception of the hotel, but no one used it".

"We asked for permission before taking it" Koichi added to Josuke's peace of mind. 

"It's an Atari 2600, Josuke. Can you believe it?" Okuyasu asked, bouncing like an eager puppy. 

That sparked Josuke's interest, and he looked at it more closely. 

"Holy shit, you're right" Josuke's attitude now mirrored Okuyasu. "They don't sell these anymore". 

"They do, but they cost a fortune" Koichi said.

"Man, we're really in the 80's". 

Despite time traveling, Josuke had never paid much attention to the different clothes and old cars he saw in the street. He was in another country, so everything seemed exotic to him and it kind if blended together. But little details like these made it sink. It still seemed surreal. 

"That's why I came looking for you" Okuyasu continued excitedly, "but you weren't here so I convinced Giorno to play!"

Josuke had almost forgotten the Italian was there since he had not opened his mouth during the entire conversation. He even looked a bit awkward. 

"Didn't know you liked video games, Giorno" Josuke smiled, trying to make it clear that the blond was more than welcome here. 

"I've never played before, so I was curious". 

"What?" the trio yelled at the same time because what kind of teenager had never played a video game?

"Are games extinguished in your time because there's something so much cooler?" Okuyasu asked. 

"He's only two years into the future compared to us" Koichi reminded him. 

"I just never had the time" Giorno said, shrugging. 

"You totally kicked my ass for a newbie" Okuyasu complained.

"Maybe the game was too easy" Giorno said. 

"Oi, are you calling me bad player?" 

"More like a sore loser" Josuke replied, laughing. "Hey, Giorno, do you want to play against me? I'm harder to defeat". 

"Actually, I should go. I was supposed to train with Jotaro". 

"You two are spending a lot of time together" Josuke said. "How is it going?" 

"Fine. He can already stop time easily". 

"Woo!" Okuyasu cheered. "With this, we'll kick D… Ouch!"

Okuyasu yelled when Josuke's kicked him in the leg, but Giorno just chuckled at the scene. And at the same time he felt a pang in his heart. He once had this, but then he lost it all. Because he was reckless. Because he didn't realize some things were more important than his dream. 

"Hey, Giorno" Josuke's voice pulled him out of his thoughts. "You're escaping now, but you owe me a game".

The blond smiled. Maybe life was giving him a second chance now that he he had learned from his mistakes. He wasn't sure if he deserved it, but this time he could actually do things the right way. 

"It's a deal" Giorno said, closing the door behind him. 

"You know?" Okuyasu said. "He always looks bit sad".

Josuke nodded. Even when Giorno smiled, there was a layer of grief around him. Josuke had decided to do his best to change that. Even though he didn't know how exactly. He sighed and flopped on the bed, closing his eyes.

"Hey, Josuke are you okay?" Okuyasu asked.

"Yeah, just tired".

"Are you sure it's only that?" Koichi said. 

Josuke smiled at the worry of his friends. He didn't know what he would do if they weren't with him. 

"Yeah, I'm fine".

"So how are things going with Joseph?" Okuyasu asked.

"They're going, I guess. He apologized". 

"He better or I would have kicked his ass otherwise" Okuyasu said.

"You won't need to" Josuke chuckled. "He's trying. It's only fair that I also try".

"I'm glad to hear that" Koichi said.

Josuke was still afraid of going back to his time and everything being the same. But he didn't have any other option. For good or for evil, he couldn't avoid his father any longer, nor did he want to. Even if his heart broke after it.

Suddenly a boom echoed out from downstairs. The three of them got up immediately and ran towards the sound, their Stands following them and ready to fight as they opened the door to the living room. 

The place was completely destroyed, all the furniture in pieces. The wreckage made Josuke almost miss Joseph lying on the floor. Josuke crouched by his side. His father was unconscious, but that had an easy solution. Crazy Diamond touched Joseph's chest.

"Come on, wake up old man". 

But Joseph's didn't move and his eyes remained closed. That had only happened to him once before. 

"If this is a joke, it's not funny at all". 

But Joseph still wasn't moving. 

"Please wake up".

This couldn't be happening again. It was a mistake, his Stand wasn't working properly. He shook Joseph again and again and again. But nothing changed.  

"Don't leave me". 

His cheeks were wet, and he distantly realized he was crying. Josuke clinged to him, his forehead over his father's chest, desperately trying to feel anything at all. But there was nothing. 

"Dad, please". 

 "Josuke".

Koichi was pulling at his arm, trying to get him to look away, but he couldn't. His father was dead. He had lost him forever. He was never going to talk to him again, he couldn't even say goodbye. 

He couldn't tell him he loved him. Why had he not told him? 

"Josuke" Okuyasu said, putting a hand on his shoulder, on the brink of tears. "I'm so sorry, you don't deserve this. But we need to leave. Staying here is dangerous". 

"Yes, he… he wasn't the only one" Koichi added so low Josuke almost didn't hear him. 

For the first time, he looked around. There, buried in the rubble there were two familiar shapes. Silver hair and dark skin. 

"Oh" Josuke said, because what else could he say? He was always late. Late to save his grandad, late to save Shigechi and late to save them. All his efforts had been for nothing. He was useless. 

"We need to warn everyone else before Kira attacks again" Koichi said. 

Kira. The name sparked a flame deep within Josuke. A pure, bottomless rage. In the commotion, he had almost forgotten who had done this. The monster who kept taking everything away from him. Josuke stood up, fists clenched. 

Yoshikage Kira would die tonight. 

"Josuke, watch out!"

He fell to the floor, pushed away by Okuyasu. He fell to the floor, confused, and saw him. Dio was standing in front of his friends, victorious and invincible. And he had every right to be. 

"Echoes, Act 3!" Koichi yelled, letting his Stand out. 

"Oh, that won't work a second time". 

In a blink, Koichi and Okuyasu were lying on the floor, holes in their chests. Their empty eyes seemed to stare at Josuke.

"Very sad" he heard Dio's voice behind him. It seemed far away to him, like swimming with your head underwater. "This wouldn't have happened if you had listened to me". 

Josuke felt a sudden pain in his chest and knew he was bleeding out. He didn't even bother to look down. Everything was turning black, but he didn't care anymore. 


Giorno sighed. This time he and Jotaro had decided to go a different part of the city. Their training had become more intense lately, and they soon realized they could attract unwanted attention from the hotel guests. They had chosen the riverbank. Of course they didn't count the fact that when you train beside a river you had a good chance of getting wet. Giorno huffed while he tried to wring out his jacket. 

"This wasn't the best idea" he commented. 

"Agreed" Jotaro replied. His clothes, usually heavy, looked really uncomfortable now that they were damp, though Jotaro didn't look bothered by them. 

"We'll find a more suitable place next time" he added. 

"I'm not even sure you need training anymore" Giorno said. "You have gotten quite good with your Stand". 

"Maybe you're the one who needs training". 

"Why?" Giorno was genuinely curious about Jotaro's suggestion. 

"Don't play dumb with me" Jotaro huffed. "I've seen you in action enough times now to know you're always holding back". 

See, Giorno liked to talk. But only when he was in control of the conversation. And he didn't like this sudden turn at all. 

"GER is very powerful. That's why I hold back". 

"Are you sure it's only that?" 

"Yes". 

"You're a liar, Giorno". 

Giorno stopped in his tracks. He turned to look up (Giorno sometimes hated his height) at Jotaro who stared back, impassive. 

"I lie when I have to. I'm sure you have done the same many times". 

"You're right. But I you want me to trust you…" 

"I don't". 

"Well, I would like to trust you. And I don't care about what you want. So why won't you use your full Stand?" 

This was Jotaro's way of showing concern, Giorno realized. He didn't plead or ask. Instead, he was like a bulldozer that didn't stop until he got what he wanted.

Giorno had seen it other times, with Josuke or Kakyoin or Joseph. People that mattered to him. He just never thought Jotaro would show it with him. 

"Because I don't know what will happen" Giorno confessed. "I only used GER's full extent once, but I don't remember anything".

He had always considered Gold Experience his very soul. He still did, but now there was the Requiem part to think about. What if it acted out again, like it did with Diavolo? What if this time was someone he cared about? The truth was there was a part of him he couldn't control. And it was terrifying. 

"You're not in control of your Stand" Jotaro summed up. 

"Basically, yes". 

"That changes, beginning tomorrow" Jotaro claimed like it had been set on stone.

And for all Giorno knew, it had. Jotaro was like that. He guessed it was his time to be trained. 

Giorno sighed. Whatever. He just wanted to get to the hotel and get a hot bath. And then playing the video game with Josuke. He realized it sounded like the normal night of any teenager. Giorno had forgotten what it was like. 

They turned around the corner when they saw the flames and the smoke coming from the hotel. From their floor. They didn't even have to talk. With one look, they rushed to the hotel. They pushed through the people running to the outside in panic and went up the stairs to the door of the room. 

"You take the front, I take the back". 

Giorno nodded, agreeing with Jotaro's indications. He opened and turned left while Jotaro turned right. The thick wall of smoke surrounded him and made him feel like he was suffocating, but he still took moved forward. He needed to know what happened. 

And then he wished he had not. 

First it was Polnareff, Avdol and Joseph in the living room. He ran to the halfway and he saw the walls splattered in red. Josuke and his two friends had suffered a more gruesome death.

He kept going back to the conversation he had that morning. He had felt like he belonged. Like he wasn't going to lose everyone for once. He had looked forward to playing with Josuke. 

Giorno realized he was trembling. Deep down he knew it was the shock. But he had seen plenty of deaths and he had never reacted like that. Maybe that was the problem. Too many deaths. 

He needed to get out. He needed to get away from the stench of death that always followed. And maybe he could warn Jotaro. Maybe he could save at least one person. 

But Dio was already blocking the entrance. Surrounded by the red glow of flames, he looked like the devil incarnate.

"I can't let you go" Dio said.

"So you're also gonna kill me?" Giorno asked. He didn't even feel anything at the thought.

"I could, and then I would  just start over".

"What?" Giorno asked, and for the first time, he took a step back. He was starting to see how much he had underestimated Dio. Giorno had thought he was superior. He had been so foolish. 

"I have an ally who can create timeloops" Dio explained with an aura of self sufficiency around him. "He's nowhere near, of course. I'm not an idiot".

"This has happened before".

"10 times, to be exact".

"Did you have fun?" 

"Oh, drop the judging tone. It doesn't suit you. This is actually the first time I have gone this far" Dio looked around and a smile started to form. "But you always refuse me, so I thought it would be better to take stronger measures".

Suddenly Giorno didn't want anything else than getting away from Dio. His mere presence repulsed him. How could he ever think that there was something good in him? This is all there was. His father had no heart, and it was time to accept it. 

He just wished it had not taken this. 

"What do you want from me?" Giorno asked, because at least he needed to know that. That there was some point to this destruction. That the bloodshed had not only been for Dio's amusement. 

"I want you to open a portal, like you did to get here".

"To escape?"

"On the contrary, to become stronger". 

"So that's why you wanted me by your side".

"Yes" Dio simply said, no hint of apology or remorse. Not that Giorno had expected anything else. He had finally discovered his father's (if he could even be called that) true nature.

"What if I refuse?" Giorno said. He would rather die than helping Dio. He would be throwing these lives to the garbage. He would be betraying them even in death.

"Then I will start over and over and over until you accept. I don't mind killing them a couple of times more. It's very therapeutic".

Giorno realised what this meant. The timeloop could be broken. They all would be alive again, like this nightmare had never happened. Giorno had a chance he had never enjoyed before. He couldn't fix this. For once, his friends didn't have to die for him. 

Otherwise, they would keep dying over and over. One never ending nightmare. Giorno clenched his fists. 

"Fine" he agreed, and for the first time in his life, he knew what defeat felt like. "You win. But first, undo the timeloop". 

"Of course. This is for the best, Giorno" Dio said, his tone trying to be warm and enticing. Giorno felt sick. "Everything will be so much easier for both of us once I achieve it". 

"Achieve what?" 

"Heaven". 

Chapter Text

Josuke woke up with a start, panting. He felt like he just had a nightmare, but he couldn't remember what it was about. He shrugged off the cold he felt. You're not 12 anymore , he chastised himself.

He got out of the bed and looked around. The couch where Giorno slept was empty. Josuke frowned. Giorno usually took a shower in the mornings, so the creaking old pipes of the hotel woke Josuke up every. fucking. morning. Maybe he is training with Jotaro, he thought ignoring the feeling in his gut. 

Josuke entered the living room where everyone was having breakfast, including Jotaro. Giorno wasn't there. The awful dread in the pit of his stomach only grew. 

"Hey, guys" Josuke greeted, trying to pretend normalcy. Judging by the odd looks he received, he wasn't very successful. "Have you seen Giorno this morning?"

He hated to see how the entire group paused, wariness on their faces. Josuke sighed. He didn't mean to stress them out even more. And he also didn't want everyone to turn against Giorno again. Things had been improving lately between him and the group. Josuke now honestly thought the blond had a good heart. Once you got past his apparently cold attitude, it was as clear as day. 

"We thought he would be with you" Avdol said.

"No. My room was empty when I woke up".

Everyone looked at each other, confused and Josuke had to accept what had been on his mind since he saw the empty couch: Giorno was gone. Josuke was sure there was a reason why he had disappeared. Because Giorno had disappeared of his own volition, he repeated himself. 

He was too afraid of thinking about the alternative. 

"So the fucking brat finally changed bands" Polnareff spat. "That didn't take long".

"Maybe he just went for a walk?" Koichi suggested. "He could be back at any minute".

"Let's hope it's that" Joseph said. "I don't want to think about the consequences of him and Dio working together".

"Giorno could have been working with Dio since the beginning and lying to us the whole time" Avdol explained.

"I don't think so". 

Everyone turned their heads towards Jotaro. 

"Did you hit your head too hard?" Polnareff yelled. "You were completely against him since the beginning!" 

"I know. But every time I talked to him, he was confused. He didn't know which side to choose. So what could have prompted him to decide so quickly?" 

And, even though Jotaro wouldn't say it aloud, he liked Giorno. He had gotten to know the blond better after training together so often. Despite Jotaro's obvious social shortcomings, he was a very good judge of character. He had never been wrong once he decided if someone was friend or foe. And in Giorno's case, it was clear. 

"Who cares?" Polnareff said dismissively. "He's an enemy now". 

"Maybe we're jumping the gun on this" Kakyoin replied. "Josuke, do you know where he might be?" 

Josuke lighted up at that. It was a long shot, but.. 

"Just wait here, guys! I'll be right back!"

"Wait, Josuke. Don't go by yourself!" Joseph yelled.

But Josuke had already closed the door behind him.

"That kid..." Joseph mumbled, flopping on his chair.

"Reminds me of someone I know" Avdol said with a smirk.

"I was never that reckless at his age!" Joseph yelled.

"That's not what grandma Suzie told me" Jotaro replied. Everyone laughed and, for just one seconds, forgot about their horrible situation for a moment.


Josuke arrived at the riverbank where Giorno and he had properly met, but there was no one there. It looked eerily desolated, the seagulls above him the only living beings in the area. Josuke sat down on the grass. he knew there had been almost zero chances of Giorno being there, that it was a ridiculous hope, but he was still disappointed.

"I hope you're happy, moron".

That voice... the voice of the portal! Josuke quickly turned around, not surprised when he didn't find anyone to go along with the sound, just like the other times.

"Show yourself, asshole!" Josuke yelled. 

"No, thanks. And shut up, I'm angry enough at you".

"At me?" Josuke kept shouting, indignantly. "You made my life a living hell. What kind of twisted sense of humor you have to send me here? I hope you had fun!"

"I couldn't care less about your cheap telenovela problems" the voice said dismissively. "I sent you here so you could kill Dio before the worst could happen. And guess what? It happened!"

"That was your great plan? Why not telling me from the beginning?"

"You seemed too obsessed with getting the fuckups you call friends back, which was a mistake by the way. Only you were supposed to go through the portal".

"And what about Kira? Was he supposed to come along too?" 

Sarcasm had never been Josuke's strong suit, but somehow he always managed to become a master in it when he talked to this… whatever this was. The voice, however, didn't even seem to notice. 

"That wasn't my doing". 

Did it sound a bit apologetic? No, it surely must be his imagination. And he didn't care anyway, he was done with excuses. He was done with this being who had one day decided to put his life upside down. 

"You control the portals, you incompetent fuck!"

"No, I don't. I can open some of them with great effort. The portals are an anomaly, a force of their own. No one can quite control them". 

"Why did they even appear in the first place?" Josuke asked, trying to understand. "It's… It's really because of us?"

Had the voice been telling the truth since the beginning? He had never wanted to believe it, but was this mess caused by him? 

"An aberration happens in the future. You're not the direct responsible for it, Josuke" The voice sounded a bit softer when it pronounced his name, like he was trying take the guilt off his shoulders. "In fact, you are the one with the less involvement. But the roots go all the way back to your bloodline which you are a part of".

"When does this aberration happen?" 

"22 years from now". 

"22..." Josuke stayed silent for a few seconds. "2011?"

"You didn't have to think that hard about it. It's not advanced maths, you know". 

"Oh, shut up! And couldn't you send me to that time instead, then?"

"It was too dangerous. Something horrible happens there, Josuke. Worse than anything you could imagine. If you got caught up in it, it could cause even a greater anomaly and the consequences would be completely unpredictable"

Josuke gulped. Hearing the raw fear in that voice he had thought omnipotent was scary as fuck.

"My plan was to stop Dio from reaching that place and time" the voice explained. "But I never counted on one of you damned Joestars being able to open portals!"

"You mean Giorno? What happened to him?"

"Dio blackmailed him to get him to that time. He put you all in a timeloop".

"Kira..."

"Yeah, but that's not the important thing right now Dio is about to reach Heaven".

"Heaven?" Josuke repeated because he wasn't understanding anything. Was Dio going to ascend to literally Heaven? Wait, did that mean Heaven was real?! He was starting to freak out. 

"Made in Heaven is a Stand that will make him the most powerful person in reality".

Josuke surprisingly released a sigh of relief. Ok, so it was a Stand problem. He could solve those, he just hoped it wouldn't be too hard. And then, he felt cold when he understood why the voice had decided to show up today. 

"You want me to travel to 2011?"

"Yes".

"Why me?"

"Well, you see. There's a Joestar with a unique insight into Made in Heaven. But she's also incredibly distrustful and won't come with anyone. Especially in the state she's in".

"Oh". 

"You already know, right?"

Of course he knew. From the moment it said "she". There was only one "she". It made so much sense, but somehow he had never counted her in. Because she was a kid in his time. A happy, innocent kid. He thought at least one member of this cursed bloodline could grow up to have a normal life, without crazy powers and fights. Oh, how foolish he had been.  

"So are you going, Josuke?" the voice asked. 

"Of course I'm going. Open the fucking portal already".

For once, Josuke stepped into the black hole without any hesitation.

Chapter Text

Josuke fell down when the unexpected force of the waves hit him, drenching him. He looked around. He was in a beach, waist deep into the ocean. The wind was so strong that made his eyes sting and the palm trees seemed like they were going to fall off at any minute. They were moving so fast... Everything was moving too fast, Josuke realized. The waves, the trees, even the clouds. It reminded him of a broken VHS video. 

And then he saw her. She was standing with her back to him, but it was enough. Josuke would recognize that green hair anywhere. It had not changed one bit. 

"Jolyne". 

She turned around, and Josuke realized how much she had grown up. Her expression was tougher, and her eyes looked sadder than ever.

"Josuke?" she asked, surprise written on her face. She looked like she had just seen a ghost. Not that Josuke couldn't blame her. Maybe he was dead in her time. 

"Hi. Sorry to interrupt whatever is happening" he said awkwardly because what was he supposed to say in this situation?

"Whatever is...? What are you doing here?! And why do you look like you're still in high school?!"

"Because I am. It's complicated, it involves time travel and a large etcetera. But you need to come with me".

"I can't" Jolyne said, with a finality in her voice Josuke hated. "Who's gonna stop this?" 

"Can you even stop this thing? Because it looks pretty out of control already". 

"I can't. I have to defeat Pucci. He's destroying the fucking world, and… " she stopped, clenching her fists. 

"Jolyne, if you go after that guy you will die". 

"Who cares? It would be worth it". 

Josuke stayed silent for a few seconds, completely taken aback by Jolyne's words. And then he got angry. 

"I care" he said. 

"What?" she repeated, as if she had never expected an answer to her question. 

"I care" Josuke reaffirmed, more serious than ever. "I give more than two shits if you die, Jolyne. We're family". 

"It's been a decade for me, if you're even really from the past. You don't know everything" Jolyne said, her voice filled with rage as she got closer to Josuke. "What if we fell apart? What if I haven't seen you since I was a kid? We're not family anymore, Josuke. So go the way you came from".

"I don't believe you".

"Why?"

"Because I would never leave you alone, Jolyne. Not now or not ever. Even if you turn out to be an asshole". 

And because it seemed like all Kujos had the same strategy of protecting people they cared about by shouting at them. Been there, done that, Josuke thought. He wasn't going to fall into the same trap again. This time, he was going to help this Kujo even no matter how much she cursed at him

Meanwhile, Jolyne just stared at him. And Josuke saw how her facade fell a little bit, and she looked at him desperately. 

"Fuck, Josuke". 

Josuke put his hands on her shoulders.

"Jolyne, listen to me. Don't sacrifice yourself in a war you didn't start. I doubt that's what anyone who loves you wants".

"So what, then? I just let him win?"

"You live to fight another day. I promise we can fix this, but this is not the way".

Jolyne sighed. Maybe Josuke was right. He had always given her good advice (that she never took). If she had listened more to what people told her…

"Neither of you are escaping from this" Pucci's voice interrupted them. The priest was behind them, showing a sardonic smile. 

"You have an awful lot of friends, Jolyne" he said. "How many more people will have to die for you?" 

Jolyne didn't think it twice. She let Stone Free out and tried to stab Pucci with her threads. Pucci just dodged them and proceeded to punch Jolyne, but Crazy Diamond stopped him, grabbing his fist and kicking him in the ankle.

And then he felt a pull. Jolyne was grabbing him by the arm, looking at him with a determined glint in her eyes.

"Let's go".

She ran, dragging him by the arm before he could object. Jolyne Kujo was done. The world was ending because she was the shittiest heroine ever, but she swore that she wasn't going to lose anyone else. And if there was just one chance, one minimal chance of reversing this, of getting everyone back, she was going to take it. She didn't dare letting her hopes up because it usually exploded in her face. But Josuke had never lied to her before. 

They got out of the ocean and entered the forest where the trees were withering away in seconds and grass was turning brown. In front of them there was a black hole, oblivious to the apocalypse happening around it.

"Is that it?" Jolyne asked.

"Yes. We have to go through" Josuke said. "Ready?" 

She nodded. She would go into Hell itself if it meant stopping this. Side by side, they walked towards the portal and let its blackness swallow them. 


Giorno looked at the unnaturally fast clouds, wondering in what fresh Hell had Dio gotten him. The vampire was also staring at the sky and he looked… sad? Was this monster even capable of this feeling? Giorno wondered. And more importantly, out of all the things, this was what caused it? 

"Why did you bring me here?" the teen asked.

He realized then that he was panting. Opening this portal had taken a toll on him. It had been harder than all the other times together, as if reality itself wanted this place to be forgotten. 

"I told you. I was here to achieve Heaven. But I'm too late". 

"Good" Giorno said viciously. 

For the first time, he saw the anger Dio reserved for his enemies directed at him. Giorno smiled, glad he was getting the vampire to show his true colors. 

"Don't push it". 

"Or what? There's nothing you can do to me anymore, Dio. All I ever was to you was a pawn in your game". 

Dio frowned, as if he felt uncomfortable. Why, Giorno didn't know or care. He just kept taking, letti letting the cold rage take over himm

"Or instead you will kill me like you tried with the others?" 

"Is that what you think?" Dio asked. 

"I think you know you can't defeat me because I'm more powerful. That's why you tried to convince me to take your side and didn't use more direct methods". 

"So, what are you gonna do about it, Giorno?" Dio replied, grinning. "Are you gonna kill me?" 

And wasn't that the million dollar question? Will Giorno be able to do it? He now knew Dio's true nature, that he wasn't capable of loving anyone. Including him. But at the same time killing his own father was a sin he could never come back from. 

A disturbance pulled him out of his thoughts. A force that shocked him to his core, to that hidden part of him that was the keeper of GER's full power. Giorno immediately knew the power was the cause of the strange phenomena around them. An energy more powerful even than GER. Giorno backed away from the silver haired man wearing priest's clothes. The newcomer didn't even notice him. He was staring at Dio in pure shock. His mouth was open, but no sound came out. Dio showed him a friendly smile, that looked almost even genuine.

"Pucci, my old friend". 

The priest turned around. Was his new Stand playing tricks with him? It couldn't be possible. And still, Dio was standing right in front of him. The man who had been his greatest inspiration, his role model. The only one he would call his superior. For a moment, he forgot about Heaven, about his purpose and the sea calmed down until it looked like a lagoon. 

"How is this possible?" he asked, confusion and awe in his voice. 

"Disruptions in the fabric of time. And now I see why" Dio said, looking around. "You have created something beautiful, Pucci. I always knew you were special, but this is another level". 

"Thanks, Dio. I couldn't have done it without you".

Giorno took advantage of the moment to run away.  He had thought about all his options carefully, and he had come to the conclusion that he couldn't win against both Dio and this man together. But he could still warn the others. Maybe it was too late, but he had to try. He would make it up to them. He felt the enemy beginning to unleash his Stand, but Dio stopped him putting a hand on his chest. 

"Let him go" he ordered. "We have more pressing matters".

Dio saw how Giorno got lost between the trees. It made him have a feeling he didn't know how to describe. And so, he ignored it. 

"So you achieved Heaven after all" he said to Pucci.

"At least that's what I think". 

"Can I see it?" 

"Of course" Pucci replied, letting Made in Heaven out without hesitation. 

Dio got close to the Stand and caressed it. It was perfect, magnificent. He couldn't help but feel a pang in his chest when he thought that Pucci had achieved it instead of him. He had stolen his life dream, and Dio wasn't even powerful enough to defeat him now.

He had always considered Pucci like a fun entertainment. Dio had felt attracted to him because the priest had interesting ideas and he was smart. And he couldn't say that for most of his allies. Yes, they were powerful and loyal, but everytime Dio tried to tell them about his true ambition, they looked at him as if he was a madman. But Pucci had understood immediately. Dio finally had someone to share his secrets, and after a century it felt refreshing. 

He never thought it would backfire on him, though. It was so foolish. He should have known better at this point. This always happened when he trusted someone. 

"I imagine you had to go through a lot" Dio commented. 

"Yes, I had to make a lot of sacrifices, but they were worth it".

"Who was the girl you were yelling at?" 

"Jolyne Kujo".

Dio raised his eyebrow in surprise. Another Kujo...   It seemed history tended to repeat itself. 

"Is she Jotaro's daughter?" 

"Yes. She's been...  an unexpected problem, but it doesn't matter anymore. Everyone close to her is dead, including her dear father". 

Dio turned around to see what Pucci was pointing at. There were bodies floating in the water, rotting away. But Dio recognized that coat and that hat. They were different and at the same time, so similar. 

"How?" I couldn't, Dio wanted to say. 

"A daughter is a blessing, but also a weakness. No matter how much he tried to hide it, it was always plain as day". 

So that is the key, Dio thought. He should have taken a greater advantage of the bond between Jotaro and his friends, used it against them. But Dio had never been very good at manipulating emotions. Maybe because he had never understood them himself. 

"It might not matter now that time has blended" Dio said and he secretly enjoyed how Pucci's face changed from joy to despair. 

"It doesn't matter which version of Jotaro I have to defeat. I will kill them all". 

"We'll see. Maybe Heaven doesn't work so well against a Jotaro in his prime". 

Pucci's eyes widened, as he realized the solution of all his problems. 

"Then why don't you take it?" 

"What?" 

"Made in Heaven is not a normal Stand because it's not received by normal means either. It can be transferred". 

"And you would be willing to give it up for me?" Dio asked, scepticism heavy in his voice. 

"Of course I would". 

The lack of hesitation, as if it was the most natural thing, amazed Dio. He didn't know if Pucci was an idiot or a very loyal, giving up such a powerful Stand like that. No one had ever done such a thing for him before. 

"Are you ready?" Pucci asked him, his hand extended towards him.

Dio stared at the hand for a few seconds and took it. 

"Yes. I'm ready".

Chapter Text

"Ouch". 

Josuke hated these portals so much. And apparently the feeling was mutual because this time he was spat out onto the street with enough force to hurt. He sat up, rubbing his side. 

"Where are we?" Jolyne asked. She was already standing.

"Cairo. 1989" Josuke replied automatically. 

"It looks like fucking Japan to me". 

"What?" 

Josuke looked around. Jolyne was right, the houses screamed Japan. Not only that, but he had passed by this street countess time on his way to high school.

"We're in Morioh". 

"You sound incredibly disappointed taking into account that you’re back home" Jolyne remarked. 

"I’m not where help is needed. Dio is gonna attack in Cairo and with that Pucci guy beside him he will be unstoppable".

Jolyne's eyes widened in understanding. She turned towards the portal, but it had already disappeared. 

"Can you call it back?" Jolyne said desperately.. 

"I don't control it".

"And how did you get to me?"

"The guy… or thing…  who can control it helped me, but I have no way of contacting him. We're stuck here".

"No, we're not. There must be some way to reach them. Maybe we can go around the town and see if we find another portal".

"Jolyne..." 

"Right now it's our best option".

Josuke stood up and sighed. Jolyne was right, but walking around the town meant he would easily find someone he knew. Morioh was small, after all. And it would only hurt more when he would have to leave again. It already did because he wanted nothing more than to stay in Morioh and forget about everything, about time portals, about destiny, about Dio. But he wasn’t that lucky.

"Ok, let's try" he agreed. 

He turned the corner and crashed against Jotaro Kujo. They stared at each other for a few seconds in silence. Jotaro, for once, was the first one to react. 

"What the hell?" he managed to say, shock coloring his voice. 

"So… I'm back". 

"I can see that. How?" 

"Time portal, you know" Josuke said as it was a common event. And to be honest, at this point it kind of was. He stayed still as a statue while Jotaro looked him up and down.  

"Are you okay?" Jotaro finally asked. 

"Yes, no injuries". 

"I didn't mean that". 

"Oh". He had not expected Jotaro ask about it. “Not really". 

Jotaro nodded in understanding. Josuke looked different, sadder. He wondered what had happened to him in Cairo. Nothing good, that's for sure.

And then, he saw her. She was so grown up... She looked like a different person, mature and determined. But at the same time, he could also see the little girl he had seen four months ago, saying goodbye in tears. A sense of dread washed over him upon realizing that she had been dragged into this. This couldn’t be happening, he had protected her from this.

"What are you doing here?" a tinge of desperation in his voice. 

"Hi, dad" she replied awkwardly. 

"You're not supposed to be here". 

"Jotaro!" Josuke scolded him and Jotaro realized how cold he must have sounded.

Jolyne looked unperturbed by his words, though, and Jotaro's stomach churned.

"I think a lot of things that are not supposed to happen, happened" she said, shrugging. 

"But you don't even have a Stand" Jotaro replied. "This is too dangerous for you". 

A blue figure appeared besides Jolyne. 

"Now I do". 

"Your Stand has sunglasses?" Josuke said. "I didn't notice before. That's so cool!" 

Jolyne smiled slightly while Jotaro stared at him as if he was three years old.

"Sorry, not the time" Josuke apologized.

"Why didn't you stay in your time?" Jotaro asked. "Did something happen?" 

Jolyne laughed, but it wasn't the good kind. It was bitter, angry, and Jotaro hated it.

"That's the euphemism of the century" she said.

"Her time is actually the detonant of the portals" Josuke added. 

"Why?" 

"There was this guy, Pucci, who got a very dangerous Stand" Jolyne explained. "He can accelerate time". 

"How long? Seconds, minutes?" 

"As long as he wants to. Enough to rewrite reality". 

Jotaro cursed. A Stand like that seemed incredibly dangerous. More than any he had ever encountered, and that included Dio. And Jolyne, her damned daughter, had to face such a threat. It was his worst nightmare come true. He had always tried to keep her away from this world. Jotaro had been so relieved when he saw that Jolyne didn't have a Stand... It meant she could have a normal life, with normal worries. No crazy fights and no risking her life to save her the world. 

But Jotaro had gained a lot of enemies throughout the years, and he knew it was too dangerous for him to hang around Jolyne. Anyone could take her as leverage against him, so he had distanced himself from her. Everyone needed to think he didn’t care about Jolyne, including herself.It was the hardest decision he had ever taken, and it was ripping him apart everyday. But he told himself it was the right thing to do, the only way of keeping Jolyne safe. 

Even in that he had failed miserably. 

"Is this Pucci still in your time?" he asked.

Jolyne and Josuke exchanged a quick look. Jotaro recognized it. It was the kind of internal communication he used to have with Kakyoin, no words needed to get the message across. He was glad the two of them were close. They would need to support each other to survive this. 

"Yes, Pucci is in his time. With Dio" Josuke said. 

"What?" Jotaro asked sharply. 

"They're probably allies now". 

Jotaro cursed. 

"We want to warn everyone in Cairo, but we have no idea about how to open a portal" Josuke admitted.

"Yeah, we have not figured that out either" Jotaro said.

He noticed the bags under Josuke's eyes and the dried blood on Jolyne's clothes. They both looked like they had not slept for weeks. Which was what probably had happened.

"Let's go to the hotel" Jotaro ordered, his tone of voice not leaving room for discussion. "We can talk better there".

They were truly fucked and with no idea what to do, Jotaro thought. They might as well get some rest in the meantime. Jolyne walked past him. She had not looked him in the eyes even once.


Giorno ran as fast as he could. He had never felt so tired in his life. Calling the portals was harder each time, as if they resisted more and more to his meddling. Like they were getting stronger. His nose was bleeding and he had a splitting headache, but he couldn't stop. He had to warn them before it was too late. He could already see the hotel at the corner. He hoped everyone was there and nothing horrible had happened while he was gone because that was the trend for him lately.

Wait, wasn't the hotel a bit closer suddenly? And why did his body feel so heavy? Giorno looked down at the knife protruding from his stomach. Oh, that must be it, he thought. The pain hit him like a truck and he dropped to his knees, panting. Inhaling deeply, he ripped the knife out and screamed so loud he thought his voice would break. But otherwise, he wouldn't be able to heal himself with GER. 

Nothing happened. The wound wasn't healing. Why? There was nothing that... No, that wasn’t true. But it couldn’t be.

No, Giorno couldn't think about that. If he did, he would lose it. He had an objective and it was only a few meters away from him. Ignoring the fire on his belly, he stood up again. He took a trembling a step and then another one, focusing on the goal. 

"You're a stubborn one, Giorno Giovanna. Anyone would have already crumbled to the floor". 

Somehow, Giorno wasn’t surprised to hear the voice. He had been expecting it since he saw the knife. And it only confirmed his worst fears.

"What did you do, Diavolo?" 

Diavolo gave him a sadistic smile. 

"Wondering where I got that poison that won't let you heal? Are you afraid?" 

Of course he was, but not for himself. Fugo, that’s how Diavolo had this poison. This wasn't the first time Giorno experimented the agony of Purple Haze. What had Diavolo done to get it? Letting out a cry (of impotence or anger or both, he didn't know), plant vines surged out of the floor to stab Diavolo, but he was no longer there. 

"You're so weak you can't use your reality trick, right?" 

The voice sounded behind Giorno's back. He turned around blanding the knife. But again, Diavolo wasn't there. 

"Die slowly, Giorno, like I did a million times". 

Another burst of fire, this time of his back. Giorno fell to the floor. Diavolo towered over him, another knife in his hand. 

"You can thank your father for this". 

He didn't care. He cared about Mista, about Trish, about Fugo. He wanted to nothing more than being back in Naples, to see them all and make sure they were fine. That he had not failed to protect the people he loved again.  His vision blurred and went dark. Giorno felt relieved. He didn't have to worry anymore.