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Golden Redemption

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In the summer of the year 2011, a man named Enrico Pucci found himself launched out of the normal flow of time and space into a nightmare realm of infinite possibility - and infinite endings. He was not the first unfortunate soul to be sent to this place. He was the second. One of the stipulations of this world, however, was that it could only be occupied by one person from its parent universe at a time. 

And so, the first inhabitant of that realm found himself falling out of the sky into the Tiber. 

At first, Diavolo didn’t realize anything was different. This just seemed like another one of his deaths. He fought the water, of course. Who wanted to drown? But all of his actions carried with them a heavy fatalism. He knew he couldn’t escape the cycle. He knew he would eventually sink below the surface and his lungs would fill with water and he’d choke, only to burst into existence bright and painful at the next time of death. 

Then his hand collided with the railing of a stone ramp that led down to the river. 

Hope shivered to life within him. He held onto the iron fence with everything he had. He was almost too weak to drag himself onto the ramp and crawl to dry land, and when he finally managed it, he could only lie on his side and try to breathe. 

He wondered, in absentia of a watery grave, what would be the thing to kill him this time around. 

He did not expect to see the face of Narancia Ghirga looming above him. 

“Holy shit,” said the kid, summoning Aerosmith. Diavolo reached for King Crimson, anticipating the awful emptiness he’d felt in place of it ever since the death loop started, but instead there it was, curled up within him like it had never left. He was much too weak to call it forward, but at least he’d been reunited with it, the root of his strength, for at least a moment. Maybe it would be present in the next cycle, or perhaps this was his final trip. Maybe he would finally truly cease to exist. 

You will never reach the truth, said Golden Experience Requiem’s horrible voice. The words echoed in his head as they had since their conception. He didn’t want the truth anymore. All he wanted was to rest. 

So, he rolled onto his back to look up at the bright blue sky and relaxed into the cobblestones, facing whatever came with as much dignity as he could muster. 

“Oh man,” he heard Narancia say over Aerosmith’s anxious buzzing. He felt a foot prod his ribs much more gently than expected. “Uh. Diavolo?” 

It had been so long since he’d spoken to another person, and now that he could, he had nothing to say. 

“Just kill me,” he rasped. 

“Oh man,” said Narancia again. Diavolo didn’t care. He was drifting out of consciousness. How long had it been since he’d slept? This seemed as good a time as any. He closed his eyes. 

Distantly, he heard the sound of a phone being dialed. It sounded different than a normal phone, but he couldn’t quite place why. 




When he woke, he couldn’t see anything. 

Either he’d gone blind, or it was pitch black. The floor underneath him was concrete, hard and cold. The air was temperate, but a little on the colder side. He shivered. Waved a hand in front of his face. His brain told him it was there, but he was pretty sure his eyes couldn’t see it. 

Strangely enough, he felt refreshed. He wondered if Narancia had killed him and he was in the next loop, or if he was still in the same one and had actually managed to get some sleep. It certainly felt like the latter, although he didn’t dare to hope. 

Rolling over, he found himself still much too weak to do anything. His hips dug into the concrete. The hard surface made every part of him that had been in contact with it bruised and sore. Diavolo was a large man, in both strength and stature; his weight alone was enough to burst his own capillaries on the floor. He sat up with a groan and went about exploring his new space. 

It was humiliating, having to crawl. It left the heels of his hands and his knees bruised.

Once upon a time, he had been the Boss. He was untouchable. No one could kill him. No one could put him in a room like this. It reminded him of-

No. 

No, he wouldn’t think about that. 

The room didn’t seem large, but without his sight, he couldn’t really tell. There was ample space for him to stretch out along all of the walls. If he had to guess, he’d say it was around the size of an average guest bedroom. As far as he could measure it was square. He found a hole in the floor too small to fit any of his limbs through. Spitting into it made a splash, and blindly groping around revealed a lever he could pull that… flushed it. Ah, a toilet. There was one door, sealed around the edges with some sort of rubber, presumably to block light, with a hatch in the very bottom about the size of unit in a communal mailbox, which he tried to open but could not. The door did not have a knob on his side or any way to turn the latch. 

That was funny, in a dark sort of way. The door might not have even been locked. Diavolo was helpless to leave either way. 

So this was to be another scenario in which he starved to death. 

Or dehydrated. That seemed more likely. Lack of water would kill him before lack of food did. 

Alright. Fine. At least this way he could sleep. He settled against the wall furthest from the door and shut his eyes. 

In the dark, it was difficult to tell the difference between dreams and waking. For that reason, he wasn’t sure if he was startled awake or simply startled when something was pushed through the flap in the door. 

He approached it warily, feeling for it. His fingers bumped against it. It was smooth and hard. He touched it again. It seemed to be a wooden bowl. There was something in it. Whatever it was had the consistency of watery porridge and the smell of absolutely nothing tinged with the faintest hint of cardboard. 

Lovely. 

Sticking his finger in the substance, he brought it up to his mouth and had a sample. It also tasted like nothing with a smattering of cardboard, but seemed to be composed of highly processed grain. He was struck with the thought that maybe it was, indeed, watery porridge. If so, it was a porridge of the lowest caliber. Even his father hadn’t managed to make it so tasteless. 

He did not want to eat it. He did not. But he was so hungry and his mouth was so dry, and it was lukewarm but it would feel lovely and cool against his cottony tongue, and before he knew it he’d drained the bowl. 

Afterwards, there was nothing to do but sleep, so he went back to his chosen wall and leaned against it, closing his eyes again. 

He woke. 

There was another bowl of porridge. He had no idea where the last one went - probably removed via Stand or something out the flap while he slept - but he didn’t really care. Just as well it wouldn’t be left to rot with him. He frowned a little. The delivery seemed too soon; he could still feel himself digesting the last one. Perhaps they knew he was starving. He shrugged and took the bowl. He could always use more fuel for his strength. 

King Crimson was still there, nestled in the back of his mind. Soon he would be able to call it, and they would regret ever having done this to him. 

Which raised an interesting question. Who was they? In the death loop, it didn’t necessarily have to make sense. Sometimes it was ‘Passione,’ and sometimes it was some random unaffiliated crime group. Come to think of it, Diavolo had yet to see anyone he actually knew. The ‘Passione’ members who killed him never seemed to know who he was, and he’d never seen them or heard of them before, either. It was almost like they were human placeholder text - there to serve the singular purpose of tormenting him. 

But this time around, he distinctly remembered having seen Narancia’s face. He knew Narancia, of course. He always paid very special attention to traitors. It didn’t make sense, unless Narancia was in the infinite death loop as well. But that didn’t make sense either, because why would that little upstart Giorno Giovanna put one of his friends through that? If he recalled correctly, Narancia was presumably still alive. Giovanna had saved his life back in Rome. 

So. 

Taking that into account, and with the reappearance of King Crimson...

There was a chance Diavolo was back in the real world, after all. 

He grinned. 

Too bad Doppio was dead. He would’ve been so delighted to be the Underboss of Passione again. 




Time passed. Diavolo wasn’t sure how long, but he made an estimate based on the bowls of porridge and guessed three days. He spent them mostly sleeping, recovering for what was to come. The next time porridge was delivered, he summoned King Crimson, and was relieved to see his stand shimmer into existence before him. He only wished its glow was real light that could illuminate his surroundings. Some stands could, like Giovanna’s Golden Experience, but Diavolo’s had always been a power that worked from the dark. 

He engaged Epitaph. It was unclear if was just that the immediate future was as pitch black as everything currently was, or if his power wasn’t working, but he felt the energy being drained from his body, so he guessed it was the former. His timeskip took a massive toll on his newly-regained strength. He wanted to punch the walls and test his stand’s fighting power, but he was afraid of alerting someone to its resurgence before he felt ready to be in a skirmish. 

So, he bided his time, eating and resting, and when he felt ready, he unleashed the might of his stand on the door. 

He unleashed the might of his stand on the door. 

He unleashed the might of his stand on the door. 

He unleashed- 

“What?” he snarled, confused. The sound of his own voice made him jump. It was awful and rough, nothing like his internal image of himself. He supposed it only made sense, because of how long he’d gone without making any noise other than screaming, but it was… jarring. 

He sent King Crimson to attack the door one more time and found himself yet again exactly where he’d started, his body tensed in exactly the same way, as if nothing had changed. 

A chill ran down his spine. 

Had he… truly not…

No. This must’ve been the work of an enemy stand. Probably one of that damn brat Giovanna’s powers. He would’ve made such a good bodyguard if only he hadn’t been a traitor, what with his seeming tendency to sprout yet another powerful stand ability every few hours or so. 

It must’ve been, because there was no possible way King Crimson would be… disobeying him. 

He banished the stand and put his head in his hands. 




Over the course of the next few days, or however long it was, he tried again and again to deploy his stand. It summoned just fine, but it wouldn’t attack anything. Concerningly, Epitaph wasn’t working. One time he heard the flap opening and tried to erase time to when the bowl was in the room, but he had no idea if it worked or not because whoever was pushing it through did not react in a way he could perceive. He couldn’t erase time for himself, just other people. 

That was the other thing that vexed him. Where was he, and who was bringing him his meals? 

It had already been so long since his last death that he’d concluded that he was, in fact, back in the real world. After he decided this, he had to spend a few hours working through the sheer sense of relief that enveloped him. But then, he began to doubt himself. In all the time that he’d been here, wherever here was, he hadn’t seen a single other human being. Except for Narancia on the bank of the Tiber, who was seeming more and more like a hallucination. 

Had he ever really been there in the first place? He couldn’t remember his first day in this awful dark room very well, but he was sure he had been dry. That didn’t track. If he’d crawled out of the river, then shouldn’t he have been wet? Unless he’d been asleep long enough for all the water to evaporate… 

It didn’t make sense. Nothing made sense. Why was he here? If this was Giovanna’s Passione, why hadn’t they killed him? If Narancia had really been there, why hadn’t he killed him? Who was bringing him meals? What did they need him alive for? Why hadn’t anyone been to speak with him yet? 

Surely there was some reason they wanted him alive. 

It couldn’t have been his assets. They’d probably already taken those, and they didn’t need him breathing to get to whatever they didn’t already have. Maybe there were still some things they couldn’t decrypt and they needed his passwords. If that was it, why had no one asked him for them yet? 

Shit, did he even remember those passwords? How long had he been in the infinite death loop? What year was it right now? Was he on earth, or was he still there? 

Oh god, was he meant to stay here until he died of madness? 

Time felt like a thick jelly. He lost the will to eat for the next two bowls and they were removed without comment. The third one seemed to take forever to arrive and by the time it did he was so thirsty he gave into the urge and inhaled it. After that they seemed to come far too quickly, one after the other. One time he could’ve sworn a new one was shoved in right after he finished the last one. Another time he tried to grab whatever it was that shunted them through the flap and suddenly found himself back across the room, just starting into his crawl to the door. Like it had never happened. 

The dark confused and disoriented him. He came to the conclusion that he was being fed in uneven intervals, and therefore the porridge was an unreliable way to mark time. Which left him with absolutely nothing. 

He wondered if they’d ever been even, and they’d just now started coming at weird times, or if the deliveries had been uneven all along. He wondered how he would know. 

How long had he been here? 

How long was he going to stay? 

He tried to kill himself, just to see what happened, not minding at all if he succeeded and didn’t come back from it. Each time, he found himself exactly the way he’d been just before the start of the attempt.

Consciousness left him for a while. He began to drift through time and space, absently eating the porridge when it was offered, otherwise thinking nothing about it. He dreamed of the past, thinking of Doppio and the rest of Unita Speciale, wondering if that husband pair whose names he couldn’t remember were dead or if they’d betrayed him too and run off somewhere. Once, his dreams became so vivid that he forgot they weren’t real, which shocked him brutally when the arrival of food tore him out of it and back into his present reality. 

Then something disturbing began happening. He started becoming very hungry in between deliveries of porridge. 

He couldn’t figure out if it was because the food was coming less often or if he was expending more energy somehow, or if something had stimulated his appetite, or whatever else it could be. He just knew he was growing hungrier and hungrier between each bowl, like it was getting longer and longer between when they remembered to feed him. 

When they remembered. 

Remembered… 

Father, please. You’ll forget about me. 

Nonsense. Don’t worry about such things. Now be a good boy and be quiet, and this will all be over soon. You did a bad thing, so I have to punish you. Understand? 

Shivering, Diavolo beat his head against the concrete wall to banish the memory.

Where was everyone? Why was he all alone? Surely they wanted him for something. There had to be a reason he was here. Someone wanted something from him, enough to stop him from killing himself… Or had he ever really tried that outside of his dreams? They were feeding him… but it had been so long, and he was so hungry now… Were they still doing it? 

Had they forgotten about him? 

The thought was so distressing that it made him inadvertently summon his stand. King Crimson floated up to him, visible even in the darkness but somehow not stinging his eyes. It had always been an ugly, terrifying thing, like his own soul. Perhaps that’s what it was. 

“Go away,” he croaked. 

It floated closer. 

Diavolo jerked back. “Go away!” 

King Crimson didn’t listen to him. Instead, it backed him up against the wall and draped itself over him like the world’s most horrifying cat. Diavolo didn’t want it anywhere near him. Especially not like this, when he was so weak, not able to bear being seen, not even by his own soul. 

“Begone,” he hissed, drawing on every scrap of strength he had left to banish his stand and force it down into the deepest recesses of himself, from where it would hopefully never return. 

What had it ever been to him besides a curse? Without it, he never would’ve been plunged into this world of horrifying supernatural power. He would’ve died a natural death. He never would’ve built up an empire, only to have it so cruelly taken away. 

Alone in the dark, Diavolo began to cry. 




The next bowl of porridge came when he was sleeping. By then the hunger had faded out into numbness. He eyed it speculatively, wondering if it would be worth the effort to eat. Wondering what would happen if he just… didn’t. 

He was ready, he thought. Either he would die or something new would happen, and both options seemed so much better than letting this shell of an existence drag on into eternity. 

The bowl sat in front of the door. Diavolo didn’t move. 

Nothing changed for a long while. Time slowly flowed by, or it passed quickly and he simply waited a long while. He had no way of telling. 

Then something miraculous happened. 

The door opened. 

He almost didn’t know what it was. He just thought it was some strange sound he was hearing for some reason. When he realized, Diavolo looked up quickly, even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to see anything. The door closed again with a soft click. 

There was another presence in the room. He could feel them. Hear them, even, the rustle of their clothes and the faint sound of their breathing. He liked to imagine he could even hear their pulse as the blood rushed through their veins. 

“Hello?” he said uncertainly, hating the way his voice faltered.

A soft chuckle in a soft voice. He got the sense he should recognize it, but he couldn’t put his finger on who it belonged to. 

“Hello, Diavolo,” it said. This was a man, but he must’ve been a young man, because his voice was sweet and very gentle. Even so, it was almost too harsh for Diavolo’s ears. It was like the first bite of solid food after being starved for days, how it tasted so good but hurt so badly going down. He gasped softly, feeling moisture pool in his eyes. 

Drawing in a breath, he found the courage to ask, “Who are you?” 

That soft laugh again. 

“I suppose it’s been a while,” said the sweet voice. “But I’m sure you’ll remember me. My name is Giorno Giovanna. I am the new Don of Passione.” 

Diavolo reeled. 

So this was the traitor who’d defeated him in the final battle; the one with the truly invincible stand. He actually had no idea what Giovanna’s stand power was without the Requiem arrow, but that seemed like such a senseless, unimportant detail at the moment. Giovanna had already disposed of him. So why was he back on earth? What was he being kept for? How long had it been? Giovanna sounded older. Had he just been very young during their confrontation or had a lot of time passed since then?

“Where am I?” he managed around the sudden lump in his throat. 

Giovanna hummed. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that. You’ve returned to the bounds of reality, if that’s what you’re asking.” 

So he was out of the death loop. 

He breathed out. It was shaky. A few blobs of wetness slid down his cheeks. “Why?” 

“On accident, mostly,” Giovanna admitted. “I had to banish someone else, unfortunately, and out you came. Narancia,” so he had been real, “tells me you fell right into the Tiber, where you disappeared during our fight.” He sighed nostalgically. “Ah, what a day that was. Mostly good. Though only for me, I suspect. You simply must tell me where you’ve been. I’ve been curious ever since it happened.”

Three things. Giovanna had not really answered his question, somehow he didn’t know about the death loop, and also, so many words after such a long silence was too much for Diavolo. He sniffled pathetically, trying to reach into that woundedness and pull out a snarl, but finding instead more tears. 

Giovanna tsk’d at him. “Oh, you poor thing. Here I am, asking you so many questions, and you haven’t even eaten yet!” He was getting closer. His shoes clicked on the floor. Diavolo felt the air depress as he crouched down beside him, and wondered how on earth Giovanna knew where he was. It was pitch black in here. Unless it wasn’t, and he was just blind.

The thought sent him over the edge. He began to cry. 

Giovanna laughed. Then there was a hand on his head ruffling his hair softly, and human touch was too much. Diavolo had already been missing it long before he even received King Crimson. He jerked away from the hand like it had burned him and turned into the wall to muffle his miserable sobs. 

“Oh, don’t cry,” said Giovanna, like that was supposed to mean anything. On his end, Diavolo couldn’t believe himself. What the hell was he doing? Why couldn’t he stop? 

Giovanna’s hand was back on his head again, gently petting down his greasy hair. He must’ve been disgusting. How could Giovanna stand it? He could barely take it himself. He wanted a shower. He wanted to stop crying. He was hungry again, the mention of eating having woken up his stomach, and he wondered if the porridge was still good. If he’d eat it even if it had gone sour. 

The hand left his head. Something pressed to his lips. 

It was warm, and seemingly wooden, and wet. He poked his tongue out and tasted… 

Sugar. 

He opened his mouth to gasp and nearly choked as the thing he now could tell was a spoon pushed in over his tongue. “There you go. Open up,” Giovanna was saying. Bite by bite, he fed Diavolo a new bowl of porridge, who was so enamoured with the feeling of warmth and the taste of sweetness that he couldn’t bring himself to stop it. 

He cried harder. It was too much for him. Everything was too much. He thought for a second that he wanted to be alone again, but the moment that thought crossed his mind, his soul reacted with a visceral refusal that made him sob and grasp blindly in front of him for Giovanna. One of his hands landed on the edge of the window in his suit - that was right, he wore a suit with an open chest - and he clutched at it desperately. All the while his body shook as his breath stuttered as he cried, feeling an abject unhappiness he’d thought he left behind in childhood. He couldn’t stop himself from trying to curl into Giovanna, missing warmth, missing touch. 

Giovanna cooed at him. “Oh, you poor, sweet thing. See? It doesn’t have to be hard. You did well. Do you want a reward?” 

A reward?

He didn’t know. 

What would a reward be? Rewards were good, right? So maybe he didn’t have to be afraid. Giovanna said it didn’t have to be hard. What would happen if he refused? Would Giovanna leave? He didn’t want Giovanna to leave. 

So he nodded. 

“Use your words, dear,” Giovanna prodded him. 

Oh. So he couldn’t see Diavolo. That was useful information he filed away for later. But right now, he felt too pathetic to think or do anything, so he wet his lips and murmured, “Yes.” It came out sounding utterly defeated. 

Giovanna’s laugh was just a soft puff of air. His hands were gentle as he took Diavolo’s shoulders and pushed them back, back, so that he lay belly-up on the concrete floor, fingers still hooked in Giovanna’s suit. Giovanna let himself be dragged down, leaning over him. He braced a forearm on Diavolo’s chest and lifted the other hand to cup his face, stroking a thumb over his cheekbone. Diavolo melted into the contact. 

His skin. His skin was hungry. That gentle touch wasn’t nearly enough to soothe it. Instead, it woke the sleeping need within his body, kept coiled up so tight that when prodded like this, it sprang out and consumed him. He was supposed to hate Giovanna, for doing this to him, for killing him so many thousands of times, for locking him in this room… but he was so lonely and Giovanna’s hands were so soft as they smoothed down his chest to hold him around the waist. His skin burned at every point of contact, Giovanna’s touch leaving bright fizzling trails across everywhere it had been, so much after so long of nothing that it was like being scorched. 

Then Giovanna’s hands crept lower, lower, until they were unfastening his pants - Diavolo flinched away, terrified, except he didn’t, just like all those times before when he was returned right back to the start. He could do nothing but lie still as Giovanna tugged down his zipper and reached into his underwear to retrieve his cock. 

His breath hitched. He could feel himself stiffening, embarrassingly quickly. Giovanna was half lying on him, one hand steadied on his hip while the other gently pumped him, breath puffing hot over Diavolo’s neck. Diavolo hung onto his suit for dear life as he was slowly dragged towards release, breathing hard, trying not to moan. 

It felt so good. How long had it been since he’d been touched like this? Years and years, and in the death loop, there was no time for anything other than pain. He shut his eyes tight, even though it didn’t change anything, and bit down on his lip to stifle a whine. 

Giovanna brought him to orgasm. He came panting and gasping, spurting all over his own belly. It felt so, so good. Giovanna stroked him through it into hypersensitivity, wringing sobs out of him with each pump of his hand. He focused in on the head of Diavolo’s cock, playing with the slit, and Diavolo heaved for breath and barely kept himself from crying out for mercy. 

“Let’s go again,” Giovanna murmured to him. 

Diavolo shook his head frantically. “No. I can’t.”

“Yes you can,” Giovanna told him, amused. He twisted his palm on the upstroke and rubbed over the nerves under the sensitive tip, and Diavolo finally lost control and keened high and breathy, and then it was building within him again and he couldn’t stop himself from moaning as he got closer and closer. When he came the second time, it produced very little, and he sobbed through every shock until finally Giovanna let him go. 

He felt devastated, burnt up and ruined. Too miserable to control it, he lay there and cried. Giovanna laughed at him and wiped his tears away, and Diavolo didn’t know if he hated it or if he was grateful. 

Exhaustion folded in around the edges of his vision, red veins against the unrelenting black. He still felt so warm and full from the meal, and he could still taste the sweetness on his tongue. Giovanna was pulling away from him and his fingers slipped from the window of Giovanna’s suit, too weak to hang on. Some noise burst out of him, pathetic and wanting, at which Giovanna laughed again and brushed some hair out of his face. The touch of those soft fingers across his forehead was bliss, gently guiding him down into sleep. 




The next time he opened his eyes, he found himself still lying on his back, put away and pants fastened, but sore between his legs. He rested a hand on his thigh for a moment and squeezed it, closing his eyes at the memory of Giovanna’s soft, cruel fingers. All the come had been wiped away, but he was still disgusting. He wanted a shower. 

It was still dark in the room, and Giovanna’s presence was gone. He started to tear up, some wound under his ribs distressed and aching. There was no sugar on his teeth anymore, but the memory of it remained. 

Everything felt hollow. Giovanna had been here, but now he was gone. Diavolo didn’t even know what they wanted with him. 

With nothing else to do to pass the time, and too wrung out to cry, he closed his eyes and let himself drift. 




He woke. 

There was food. 

He ate it. 

There was nothing. 




Woke. 

Food. 

Nothing. 




Again. 




Again. 




Again. 




Agai-




The door opened. Diavolo scrambled to sit up, tears already streaming down his cheeks. He opened his mouth to call out, but he didn’t know what words to say. 

“Hello,” called Giovanna. The door shut. “Did you miss me?”

The words were spoken so innocently, but they were so cruel. Giovanna had to know what he was doing to Diavolo. Had to know the effect all this was having. 

Diavolo couldn’t speak. 

“Careful, if you don’t answer me, I’ll start thinking you don’t want to see me anymore,” Giovanna chided gently. 

No. Nononono. 

“Yes,” said Diavolo, voice hoarse. “Yes. I missed you.”

Giovanna chuckled. “There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” He set something down on the floor. Diavolo heard sloshing. Was that… water?

Oh no. Diavolo had drowned enough times to know he should fear water. 

“Come here,” Giovanna called. 

He didn’t want to. What was Giovanna going to do to him? He didn’t want to find out. 

“It’s alright,” Giovanna was saying. “It doesn’t have to be hard.”

Diavolo shuddered. 

He really did not want to know what Giovanna was about to do to him. But he didn’t have a choice. Either Giovanna would make him, or worse, Giovanna would leave, and he’d be all alone again in the dark with nothing.

So he swallowed hard and crawled towards the sound of Giovanna’s voice, calling to him so softly. 

A hand landed in his hair and began to pet him. Diavolo shivered with pleasure. “Good boy,” purred Giovanna. “You’re so good for me, aren’t you? See, it doesn’t have to be hard. Now, take off your clothes and sit.”

He did as he was told, dread mounting. Moments later, Giovanna took hold of his chin and tipped his head back. Diavolo shut his eyes tight and held his breath, expecting to be waterboarded, but instead water was sluiced through his hair. 

He opened his eyes, blinking. What-

It happened again, thoroughly wetting his greasy mane. Then he heard the sound of a bottle being squeezed, and a sweet-smelling lather was worked onto his scalp by careful fingers. Giovanna was very mindful not to pull or pinch. The touch was so soothing. A sigh escaped him unconsciously, and his eyes fluttered shut. 

When the shampoo had thoroughly saturated his hair, Giovanna began rinsing it out with the warm water, leaving Diavolo feeling better than he had in ages. It was so good to get all the grime out of his hair. Letting it dry would be a long, cold affair, but it was worth it. 

Giovanna didn’t stop there. He coaxed Diavolo into holding his head at a more comfortable angle, and suddenly there was a sponge on his chest, warm and soapy wet. Giovanna cleaned his whole body. No spot was left untouched. By the end, Diavolo was squirming on his back, half-hard from the gentle tease between his legs. Next was a thick, fluffy towel so soft it hurt. That, too, was pressed to him all over, soaking up every drop of moisture from his skin and most of the water from his hair. It did not help with his little problem.

He hoped the lack of light meant Giovanna wouldn’t notice, but he seemed almost omniscient.

“Naughty,” Giovanna laughed. “But you were a good boy for me today. Do you want a reward?”

Anything to make him stay longer. “Yes,” gasped Diavolo. 

A pleased hum. A cap flipped open; a spurting noise. The cap clicked shut. A cold touch at his entrance. Diavolo shivered. 

“I thought you would want something nice, so I brought this just for you,” Giovanna explained, circling his opening with a finger before easing in. 

Diavolo tensed. He’d never been fucked before. 

A kiss at his temple, so soft he had to choke back a sob. “Relax,” whispered Giovanna. “It’ll feel good when you do. Breathe slowly.”

He did as he was told. In, out. In, out. With each breath, he tried to dissipate some of the tension in him, and it seemed to work. Giovanna’s finger slid in further. 

Oh god, he was sensitive on the inside. It felt good. 

He modulated his breathing, trying not to tighten up too much. Giovanna prodded at his walls, rubbing each sensitive spot he found. Diavolo’s breathing turned harsh and he found his chest heaving. Then Giovanna slipped another finger into him and he whimpered, legs inching further apart. 

“So pretty,” Giovanna sighed happily. Diavolo wondered how he could see to know. 

His thought was cut short by the addition of a third finger, and then all his thoughts were put on hold when Giovanna brushed up against something within him that made his nerves sing. He jolted and tightened, gasping out, bringing his knees together on reflex. 

Giovanna didn’t let him, wedging his own body between Diavolo’s legs, forcing him open. He traced a speculative hand up Diavolo’s cock, nearly dragging a moan out of him if he hadn’t bitten his lip just in time. Slowly, Diavolo was fingered open, made ready to be fucked. 

“You’re so tight,” murmured Giovanna. Hands slid underneath him. Diavolo debated saying this was his first time doing it like this, because maybe that way Giovanna would go easier on him, but all the words left him when Giovanna pressed his cock to Diavolo’s entrance and let the head pop in. 

Bit by bit, he was penetrated, moaning at the drag of the bulbous tip against his insides. It didn’t hurt, not exactly, but the pressure was so strong… he didn’t know if he could take this. He was made to, held still by Giovanna’s hands under his hips, as that cock split him open inch by throbbing inch.

Finally, it was all in. Diavolo moaned raggedly, feeling stuffed to the brim.  

Giovanna bent over him with a sigh. “Oh, you feel wonderful,” he murmured. He gave an experimental roll of his hips and Diavolo released a noise he had never heard himself make, all needy and wanting. 

He clapped a hand over his mouth as Giovanna began to move so he could muffle any more of those that decided to come out. Giovanna went slow, rocking into him carefully so he could adjust to the new feeling, and Diavolo wondered if he was this careful with everyone he fucked or if he somehow knew Diavolo was somewhat a virgin. 

It wasn’t so bad. The heat and the feel of him, his hands on Diavolo’s hips, the warmth of his body so close… Diavolo was biting through his lip trying to stifle noises. Giovanna laid kisses down his chest and then he was pushing into that spot, the one that made Diavolo cry out and arch up, made his cock throb and his hands come up to grab Giovanna’s shoulders, hanging on for dear life. 

“Aww, do you like that?” Giovanna asked him, angling himself into those sparking nerves so he could grind himself into them. 

Diavolo cried out in response, thighs quivering, desperately wanting to touch his cock but fearing what would happen to him if he let go of Giovanna. He clung tight and locked his ankles over Giovanna’s waist, offering himself up for Giovanna to slide even deeper, fuck him harder, take him and claim him.

He felt so strange. The part of him that drove him to fight hated every second of it, but that part was so still and quiet after all the long days of waiting and wondering that it hardly mattered to him at all. Instead he found himself drowning in it, in the pleasure, in Giovanna’s presence all around him, filling him up, making him feel so good.

A hand wrapped around his cock and he sobbed, thrusting into it, then immediately grinding back onto Giovanna’s cock, lurching back and forth between the two different kinds of stimulation, each one profound in its own way. The drag of such a sensitive thing through Giovanna’s tight, soft fingers was too much. Giovanna fucking him was too much. 

He came, moaning and writhing, trying to bury his face in Giovanna’s neck. 

“Good boy. Well done,” Giovanna whispered into his ear. Diavolo shivered. He felt raw and naked in a way that went beyond the physical, like his skin was open and his ribs were brushed aside, all his vital things exposed. When Giovanna stroked down his belly and came inside him, it felt like he was gripping Diavolo’s heart.  

Wetness oozed out of him as Giovanna pulled out, taking his warmth with him as he went. Diavolo whined as Giovanna sat up out of reach, arms stretching after him for a second before limply dropping to the floor. The concrete was just as cold and hard as ever. He missed Giovanna already, even though he was still in the room. 

“Please,” he whispered into the blackness. 

A hand on his cheek, thumb playing with his lip. “What do you need, dear?”

He didn’t know. He was so tired and confused. It was something important, but he couldn’t think of what. His mind drifted away, and Giovanna left him to the dark. 

Drifting, drifting, losing track of his body, losing time, if it was even possible to lose what he never had to begin with. Time, it flowed like water, like sand, all around him, impossible to perceive. Was he dreaming, or was he awake? Without light, it was all the same. All the same, every minute blurring together, no difference whether his eyes were closed or open. He couldn’t see a single thing either way. 

Once, while he floated, he realized that he didn’t remember his own face. 

He had plenty of time now to think about the past, time he hadn’t ever had before. In a way, Golden Experience Requiem’s death loop wasn’t so different from his old life. Diavolo had always been afraid: Of discovery, of treachery, of death… Going to a nightmare realm where these things happened to him over and over again was only a little worse than what he used to do to himself all on his own, imagining the worst case scenario repeating in his head like a broken record, never able to sleep at night, even when Doppio was snoring away. 

Oh, Doppio. Sweet, lovely Doppio. His better half, his first half, his progenitor. The mind from which he’d split so long ago. The good one, the innocent one, the one who cried. The one he was supposed to protect. 

In the beginning, there had only been one, a soul too gentle for the life it was born into. Boxed away in the dark, cries and screams fallen upon deaf ears, heart given freely only to be put away in a drawer and left to gather dust. Beaten and caged, time and time again, never understanding why, until finally, splintering. 

And so Diavolo was born: Fierce, ruthless, strong. A shield, a scapegoat, a savior. A cloak to hide behind, always meant to be kept, and never to subsume. Never to take mastery over their body as he had done. Doppio never knew the truth about them, only that sometimes, in his most frightful hour, something else rose up from the depths of his mind and took his place. Only that once upon a time, many long years ago, a stranger with a strange voice called his phone and asked him if he wanted the world. 

King Crimson was Diavolo’s stand, but Doppio’s stand had always been Diavolo himself.

At least, that was the theory. 

What was he supposed to do now that Doppio was dead? His other half, his purpose… just…  gone. He hadn’t even said goodbye. 

It was his fault. 

It was all his fault. 

For all the effort he’d spent, all the blood he spilt, never had either of them so much as imagined the far-off glimmer of peace - the very thing Diavolo had been brought into this world to provide. For all the horrible things he had done, in the end, he had gotten nothing. 

Now here he was, back in the dark, the same place from which he had begun, forgotten and utterly alone.  

Sing a song of sorrow in a world where time has vanished. 

Diavolo screamed.