Chapter 1: Hyacinthe Midler
Jotoka meets up with someone who can help with her "evil spirit" problem.
Headcanon that Midler's full name is Rose Midler. Hyacinthe is a type of flower.
Also, I'm imagining him with an outfit similar to the one in the video games.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hey, are you Midler?” Hyacinthe raised his head, looking at his interlocutor. A japanese teenager, probably around 16, with wavy black hair and bright blue eyes. She was wearing a long skirt with combat boots underneath, a white button-up and a black cap that casted a shadow over her eyes. If she was any older, she would have been his type.
She looked strong, what’s with her forearms wrapped in bandages, her hands adorned with fingerless leather gloves and something else that told Hyacinthe the girl must be a recently awakened Stand User. One who didn’t have a hold of her powers yet.
Must be the one who contacted us . “Yeah. I am. You’re... Jojo, right?” It’s how the person who had contacted them had asked to be called. To be honest, when Lord Dea had asked him to go to Japan to investigate that ‘Jojo’, Lord Dea had asked him to go investigate in Japan to meet that "Jojo",he didn’t really know what to expect, but he knew it was something exactly like this: someone who was having a Stand problem.
“Okay, good.” The teenager said, sitting down and fixing Midler with a hard stare. The man must admit, the girl had guts, staring at a Stand User as if she was assessing him, looking at him as if she could easily crush him. And it was actually scaring him a little bit. “Is there a reason you’re dressed like a stripper?”
What? “What? Oh!” Hyacinthe chuckled, confusing the teenager. “I’ll have you know there isn’t a single Stand user who dresses, or look, like a normal person, and you’re no exception.” That girl looked somewhere between “Hello, I am a regular schoolgirl, just trying to live my life” and “I’m going to beat you to death if you so much as look at me wrong”. With a leaning toward the “beat you to death” part, seeing as that glare seemed sculpted into her face.
“What the fuck is a Stand?!”
Well, that confirmed his suspicions that she didn’t know what she was dealing with. Hyacinthe sighed. "A Stand is basically a manifestation of your fighting spirit. A ghostly ripple of yourself."
‘Jojo’ blinked in confusion, or at least Hyacinthe assumed it was in confusion. Hard to tell with that apparently constant frown. "Okay, that's nice. Except that you're supposed to help me with an evil spirit that's haunting me."
What was up with this kid? "Yeah. The "evil spirit" that’s following you around is your Stand. I have one too-"
Two long purple arms shot out of Jojo's shoulders, visibly aiming for him, but they had faded as fast as they had appeared. The girl, who looked ready to attack him one second ago, had now curled into herself, face completely hidden by the bill of her hat as she muttered "go away" over and over. Hyacinthe watched her, waiting for the very intense energy of the Stand to subside, and realizing that for someone who probably only has seen glimpses of her Stand, ‘Jojo’ already had a pretty good grip on it.
“I don’t care. I don’t give a shit whether or not you have a fighting spirit or I do or some shit.” ‘Jojo’ started, voice shaky. “The reason why I asked for help is because I have no control over that... thing. I want to get rid of it.” The teenager explained, slowly uncurling.
Hyacinthe stared at her, confusion on his face before realizing with horror that she had no idea of what she was doing- “No, kid. Trust me, you do not want to get rid of your Stand-”
“How would you know?” ‘Jojo’ asked, eyes narrowing.
“Because I have one! It’s a part of yourself! The reason why you think you can’t control is it because you just awakened to it!” Hyacinthe snapped, slamming his hands on the table and getting up, pushing his chair back and glaring and the teenage girl.
The teenage girl returned the glare tenfold. “I’ve lived my entire life without it. And I want to get rid of it. Tell me how I do that.”
“I don’t- why would you-” Hyacinthe started, before sitting back down, rubbing his temple and sending a bewildered look at the teenage girl as he sat back down. She was still staring holes into him. “I don’t know how.” He finally admitted, the girl’s eyes widening in… panic? “Most people don’t want to be rid of their Stands. They give you power, and become a constant in your life. A friend that only you can see.” He explained, trying to calm her down as she started breathing becoming heavy and short.
‘Jojo’ was curling into herself again, her hands flying up to her hat, clutching it tight to her head and knees rising so she could hide her face in them. Her shoulders were shaking with what was either panic or sobbing. Judging what was either panic or sobs. Judging by the very fast-paced japanese muttering, probably panic.
Hyacinthe sighed for what was probably the hundredth time that evening, before executing his Lord's plan. "But I know someone that might." One blue eye peaked up at him. "Her name is Dea. She's the one who sent me there."
"We met because of the Craigslist ad I put up."
"She told me about it. The matter is, Dea is not just a simple Stand user… she knows things that are beyond us." He started, tone taking a dreamy quality as he remembered the blonde woman, not noticing that the teenager became slightly creeped out. "She came into this world one day, and started gathering Stand users like you and I… saving us from our solitude, she-"
"SHUT UP! I don't care about your crush! I don't care if she's a living goddess or whatever, what I want to know is if she can help me with this stand shit!" 'Jojo' yelled, slamming her fists on the table and snapping Hyacinthe out of his day-dreaming. Her face was contorted in anger, and the muscles in her hands were visibly clenching and unclenching. She then took a deep breath, burying her face in her hands. “Can she?”
Jotoka took a deep breath, locking the door behind her as she stepped out of her house. She adjusted the messenger bag on her shoulder, which contained the essentials for a short travel: her wallet, spare underwear, a pack of cigarettes and lighter (she only smoked when she was feeling stressed), a swiss knife, her phone with headphones and charger, a few books (both about marine life and a bunch of superhero comics), a spare pair of shoes, a toothbrush, deodorant, a dolphin squishy toy for more stressful situations, first aid kit because she knew she was eventually going to get into a fight, and a childhood picture of her with her parents.
Her dad had went to sleep about thirty minutes ago, and she had written a short letter explaining the situation as best as she could.
We’re being haunted.
I’m going to go meet someone who can help us.
Don’t worry about me, I know what I’m doing.
Don’t try to follow me.
I love you.
While the evil spirit -Stand?- was the main reason why she had posted the ad in the first place, she normally would have found ways to deal with it on her own, only checking the ad if it came to it. But the sight of those ghostly vines growing out of her father’s back as his health was slowly drained made her realize that whatever the thing following her was, it wasn’t the biggest problem.
The biggest problem was her father dying.
If that Dea lady could get rid of the evil spirit, then she could easily get rid of whatever was plaguing her father.
The teenager followed the road, before ending up in front of the liquor store where her and Midler had agreed to meet. The not-stripper (seriously, what was up with that outfit? A starfish-shaped bra? Did he not know that starfishes were alive!?) was waiting for her. He lifted his head in acknowledgement as she came near him. “Ready to go?”
“Alright. Then let’s go.”
I'm probably going to make this into a series, with one of the works mainly showcasing the art I did for this thing.
Chapter 2: N'Diole
Jotoka arrives in Egypt.
I hesitated for a while about changing N'Doul's name since it's based on a family name, but went through with it in the end.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
At the exit of the Cairo airport, a woman sat on one of the surrounding fences, a foot dangling over it and her cane resting on it. The tip of her boot touched the ground, and if one watched closely, they could see water bubbling up around it. She was obviously waiting for someone, if the quiet look of anticipation on her face was anything to go by.
She raised her head as she felt the arrival of the two other Stand Users. Yes, this was definitely High Priestess’ metallic edge she felt, accompanying Midler. And the other one was… unknown, but familiar at the same time. It reminded her of Lord Dea, of all people. There was a major difference, however. Instead of proudly accepting it and using it like a master puppeteer, the restless energy was hopelessly repressed and chained, just waiting to be let loose.
She jumped down from the fence, her stand following after her as she took a hold of her cane, refusing to disperse as she walked toward the two new arrivals. The tension in the one following Midler skyrocketed as they spotted her, so maybe the precaution of keeping Geb out wasn’t a bad idea.
“Hello, Midler.” She offered, extending her hand.
Midler shook it back, his tone neutral. “Hello, N’Diole. I see Lord Dea is already aware that we’re here.”
The woman, N’Diole, chuckled. “Indeed. So,” she said, turning toward the other presence, which tensed even further when she opened her eyes just slightly. “I suppose this is Jojo?”
“Yeah.” Midler answered. “Don’t bother trying to get answers out of her, she went mute half-way through the plane trip.” N’Diole hummed in understanding. So Jojo was a girl. That was good to know.
With all that tension emanating from her, it would be better to keep her distance, so she didn't bother extending her hand, instead leaning on her cane. Geb also started manifesting more fully at her feet, ready to attack. “My name is N’Diole. It’s nice to meet another Stand user.” She said. She felt the tension… well, not leave, but it was definitely less intense.
“You’ve got one of those things too?” Ah, so she was a teenager. Probably Japanese, judging by the somewhat familiar accent that N'Diole remembered from a few months ago, even if the voice back then had been far, far less determined to hide it's distress. Kakyoin would probably be happy not to be the only teenager around anymore.
"Yes, I do. Come on you two, we have places to be." N'Diole said, turning around and letting Geb mostly fade away, the treat of 'Jojo' attacking being far less likely now, but still on the lookout for potential enemies as she started walking. Her hearing let her knew she was being followed, if Midler's soft step and 'Jojo''s harsh ones were anything to go by. The tension from earlier had returned.
That teenager was going to be a problematic one, wasn't she?
Okay, so that N'Diole lady was pretty quiet, which was a plus. What was not a plus was the way she seemingly knew exactly where Jotoka was with her eyes closed. She had heard that blind people had ways of knowing that kind of shit, and she probably was blind, if the cane she regularly raked across the ground and the milky white of her eyes were anything to go by.
But hearing about something and actually experiencing it where two very different things. And she saw that clawed hand rising out of the seemingly constant puddle at the woman's feet. Goddammit, she was already on her guards enough at home, this trip was making her go insane with apprehension of a fight!
It was especially bad since the whatever-the-fuck spirit was restless since the plane flight. She had been reading one of her books on marine biology, temporarily forgetting that the reason why she was on this stupid trip Egypt in the first place was to get rid of said whatever-the-fuck spirit and a way to help her father with whatever was plaguing.
(She didn't realize it, but as she was reading her book, the Stand had also calmed down. During that moment, Jotoka was at peace, so there was no need for it to try and protect her.)
But then, the ice cold sensation of being watched had made its way down her spine, putting her on edge and making the spirit tug on whatever restraint Jotoka had over it with even more force than before. It's the reason why she went non-verbal, or "mute" as Midler had put it. She was always quieter when feeling on edge.
"Jotoka, is everything alright? You're unusually quiet tonight."
"Don't worry dad, I just… have a lot on my mind."
The teenager lowered her hat over her eyes, blinking her tears away at the memory of the dinner she had with her father before leaving. I need to remember. I'm doing this for him. This is why I'm so far away from home right now.
I'll be back before dad can even wonder where I went.
Jotoka cares a whole lot for her dad.
Chapter 3: Mariano
Jotoka learns a little more about Stands.
Changing Mariah's name to Mario was too easy, so I went with Mariano instead. Fits him better, too.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Well, look at who the cat dragged in.” Mariano said, crushing the stub of his cigarette under his heel and raising his sunglasses to his forehead.
N’Dione had just stepped into one of the fanciest part of town, which was very, very strange of her, seeing as she preferred the simple things in life, which Mariano could get. Lord Dea's life style could get overwhelming very fast. Behind her were Hyacinthe, who he would probably talk to later, and some weird teenager with a messenger bag and holy shit . He actually flinched back slightly, staring at the teenager with wide eyes. Whatever was going on with her Stand, it was a going to end in a shit-show for everyone involved.
“Hello to you to, Mariano.” N’Dione greeted, stopping the dark-skinned man from continuing his train of thought on the teenager. “Where is Alessa?”
Mariano shrugged, before remembering that the woman he was talking to was blind. “Fuck if I know, I think she has some business to deal with in Rosetta, so she won’t be around for a while.” He then leaned in slightly, taking a better look at the teenage girl behind N’Dione. The teenager girl tensed back, and the energy accompanying her became even more erratic. “So, the kid behind you is Jojo?”
“Yes. As you can probably guess, she has no idea of what to do with her Stand, so she just represses it. While I go inform Lord Dea of this development, can you take care of her?”
“Of course, I’m gonna take them to Daniella’s favorite bar, that ought to keep her occupied.” Mariano snorted. At the flat look N’Dione gave her (or at least giving her the closest thing to to a flat look she could do), he sighed. “Don’t worry, I won’t let Daniella gamble with her. And I won’t get her drunk.”
“Very good.” N’Dione bowed her head in acknowledgement, and then left as Mariano approached Hyacinthe and ‘Jojo’. He stared at the two for a while, before stepping toward the other man, opening his arms for a hug.
The dancer returned it, tightening his arms around Mariano. The two had similar powers, after all, and were some of the only men’s in Dea’s employment. They usually stuck close together, at least when they were in the same country. “Hey, how you doing?” The pale-haired man asked.
Hyacinthe broke the hug, putting his hands on Mariano’s shoulder with a smile on his face. “I’m great! Lord Dea was right, Jojo’s got a pretty powerful Stand, but uh…”
“I don’t want it.” Mariano jumped in surprise, caught off-guard by the girl’s sudden intervention. “It’s why I’m here. I don’t want that fucking thing.”
Well, there was that, and the whole “my dad is dying” thing, but strange people she just met didn’t need to know that. She stared back at the surprised dark-skinned dude and Midler. The not-stripper was looking at her with that look again, the “you don’t want that” look (how would he know what she wants?!) and the other one was staring at her with… she didn’t know. She thinks it was confusion.
Then, the dark-skinned dude snorted, shaking his head disapprovingly before getting a cigarette out and lighting it. “No, you really don’t.” He finally said, taking out a drag.
God, that trip to Egypt is weird , Jotoka thought. Apparently, having a whatever-the-fuck spirit following you around and breaking stuff was a good thing according to these people.
It fucking wasn’t, and she had enough of people telling her it was. “How would you know?” She snarled, visibly catching the other men off-guard.
“Don’t bother explaining, she won’t listen.” Midler told his friend, shaking his head. The other dude hummed in acknowledgement, before leaning in way too close. She scowled.
“My name’s Mariano. My Stand is Bastet. Cool to see a new face around.” He said, before extending his hand. Jotoka answered by slapping it away and taking a few steps back.
“Don’t fucking touch me.” She snarled. The spirit had gotten very agitated when he had stepped toward her, and she refused to lose control over something so stupid as someone getting into her personal space. Even if, back home, she wouldn't hesitate to snap in a far more impressive manner.
Luckily for everyone, Mariano simply nodded in acknowledgement before turning around. "Alright. Follow me, hot shot." Was all he said, and he started walking forward, an arm around Midler's shoulder and Jotoka following a few steps behind. The two were talking in hushed tones.
Unknown to them, she was listening. She was a lot more perceptive than people gave her credit for. Whether it was because she was a teenager or because of her violent nature depended on the person.
"See? I told you, that kid won't listen. She wants to be rid of her Stand! She even thinks it's an evil spirit after I explained it to her."
"Alright, so she doesn’t know what she’s doing." I know perfectly well what I'm doing, you fuck. "Do you know if her Stand belongs to any order?"
"I'm not sure, but her having one of the major Tarot arcanas seems likely. High Priestess didn't sense an immediate treat in her until she almost lost control, but N'Dione's Geb seemed on edge when we met up with her at the airport."
"Probably sensed the shit-show that's going to happen when she does lose control, if Bastet's agitation is anything to go by. Her Stand's a powerful one, and she restrains it as if it would kill her to actually see what it looks like."
"I know! Also, I think it might be linked to her emotions-"
"Hey, shitheads!" Both men jumped in surprise at the sudden interruption, before turning toward the teenager. "You know I can hear you, right?" Midler's reaction was to groan in both frustration and embarrassment, but Mariano’s was to chuckle. "What?"
"Quick question: when your… evil spirit comes out, what emotion do you usually feel?" The dark-skinned man asked, catching Jotoka off-guard.
Because she knew that, each time the whatever-the-fuck spirit had appeared, she was feeling distressed. From simply getting overstimulated to getting cornered in a fight, even when it manifested during her meeting with Midler, there was always that ball that formed in throat and mind-blowing fury directed at the source of her stress before two purple arms shot out to destroy the source of whatever was bothering her.
Fuck, she was being distressed right now. She lowered her hat over her eyes, hiding her expression and tightening her grip on the spirit. "That's none of your business."
Mariano chuckled again. "You teenagers, you truly have no idea how this world works, do you?" He then turned back around, sending her a side-look. "If you're distressed, your Stand will come out. I don't recommend fighting against it. Anyway, we're here."
He then opened the door, and the trio entered the bar.
Don't worry, Joot gets some actual help in the next chapter.
Chapter 4: Daniella J D'arby
Jotoka learns how to control her Stand a bit better.
Daniel's name was pretty easy to find, I just had to choose a feminine counterpart of Daniel.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hey, Daniella.” The older woman turned toward her interlocutor. It was Mariano, a cigarette still smoking from his mouth.
Daniella bowed her head in acknowledgement. “Hello to you too, Mariano. Fancy a game?”
The pale-haired man snorted. “Well, I guess it has been a while since you conned every sucker in this bar while I watch, but actually, I’m here for another reason.” The older woman hummed in acknowledgement. “Remember the whole Jojo thing?”
Daniella nodded. While she hadn’t personally be there, Lord Dea’s freak out about someone named 'Jojo' had been epic enough that Thelessa had felt the need to tell her about it. And Vanilla. And Halle. Point was, it had been epic. And terrifying. And it was the reason why Daniella decided to stay away from the mansion for a bit. “It’s hard not to remember.” Was all she offered.
Mariano hummed in agreement. “Well, see the teenager awkwardly standing at the entrance?” Daniella turned toward the entrance, and spotted her at the same time as Osiris got agitated from the raw energy emanating from her. Poor girl had no control over her Stand, did she? “That’s her. She’s got no idea whatsoever on how Stands work. And she’s repressing hers. Can you… talk her out of it? And not get her to gamble her soul while you’re at it?”
Daniella hummed in agreement. There was no fun in stealing some poor teenager’s soul, after all. Also, Lord Dea wanted her alive, and getting on the bad end of her wrath was the last thing she wanted. "Don't worry, I'm not addicted to gambling yet."
"We both know that's a lie. Anyway, have fun babysitting, Midler and I are going to be at the second floor getting wasteeeeeed." He drawled, before turning around and leaving the third floor, leaving the teenager still standing a few feets away and eyes cast down.
The older woman got up from her table, and walked toward the teenager, who visibly tensed up when she saw her. Daniella simply offered a practiced friendly smile, and extended her hand. “Hello, I am Daniella J D’arby, one of the Nine Egypt Glory Gods. It’s nice to meet you?...”
The teenager just stared at her hand for a moment, before her pupils shifted to look at her face. “I’m Jojo. I thought Mariano told you that?” She asked, lifting an eyebrow.
Daniella nodded, before withdrawing her hand. “Yes, she did. I just wanted to make sure. Do you want anything to drink?” The younger girl nodded. “Alright. Go sit at the table over here, and I’ll come back with some drinks.”
Jotoka decided she liked this Daniella woman. Beside the weird markings on her face that looked like metal plates, she seemed like a mostly normal person, her voice wasn’t that high pitched, she respected her personal space and she didn’t try to make conversation as the two of them drank their drink. A margarita for Daniella, and a peach-flavored cooler with a straw for Jotoka.
But something she had said earlier was bothering her… “Hey.” The older woman raised her head. “You said something about Egyptian gods earlier? What’s that about?”
“Oh! Well, I do I explain…” Daniella started, before reaching for her pack of cards. She always remembered things better when she was mixing with them. “There are quite a few categories in which Stands can be classified. Long-range, short-range, automatic, humanoid, and the sort. The Nine Egyptian Glory Gods are passed down from generation to generation, with the exception of Anubis, who is trapped in a sword and possesses whoever wields it. I am part of this group. Another similar category I can think of are the Major tarot Arcanas.”
“Yeah, I overheard Midler and Mariano talk about it on the way here. Apparently, my whatever-the-fuck spirit is part of that.” Jotoka said, taking a sip from her bottle and watching how the cards moved in Daniella’s hands. It was better than having to listen than the increasingly loud noise a few tables away. Someone apparently wasn’t satisfied with the service.
“Whatever the...? Is that how you’ve been referring to your Stand?” Daniella asked, tilting her head to the side. Jotoka nodded. “Well, I suppose it is a pretty new phenomenon for you… I think the only Arcana still unused is the Star. If I remember well, the Star is associated with hope, faith, purpose, renewal and spirituality…” The older woman started, before putting her pack of cards down. “So your Stand is probably associated to the Star.”
“Okay.” Jotoka said. “Except that I feel none of those things.”
Daniella hummed, before getting a phone out of her pocket. “Let me check something…” was all she offered as she took a sip of her margarita. Jotoka did the same, and then she noticed the older woman nodding to herself and putting her phone down. “I have a question for you, if you’re willing to answer.” The teenager nodded. “When reversed, the Star represents a lack of hope, distrust in oneself and a general disconnection to everything. Have you felt any of these things lately.”
Well, that hit the nail on the head , Jotoka thought. She averted her eyes, looking at her bottle instead and fiddling with the straw. Until she learnt about that Dea lady, she was overwhelmed with desperation to get that fucking thing under control, she didn’t trust herself to keep it in check, and to be honest? She just felt disconnected from everything on a daily basis. Which, now that she thought about it, was probably one of the reason why she felt desperate enough to post an ad on Craigslist instead of simply telling her dad about it. He would have called her grandmother, and things would probably have went in a much simpler manner than “run away to Egypt to ask help from a stranger”.
“...Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt ever since it started appearing.” She confessed. She heard Daniella hum.
“Well, maybe I can help you learn how to control it better.” The older woman proposed. Jotoka shook her head.
“That’s not necessary, I’m just gonna ask that Dea lady to get rid of it, and I’ll go back home after.” She heard Daniella suck air in through her teeth, and raised her head to glare at her. “What.”
The older woman flinched back. Good . “Well, I suppose you’re probably tired of hearing it by now, but getting rid of your Stand is a very bad idea.” She started, and Jotoka groaned. Indeed, she had heard this exact fucking thing from every single person who was aware of her spirit ever since she came to this stupid country! “And also, I’m not telling you to use it. Just… help you control it a bit better. If you learn how to properly control it, I’m already telling you, it will be easier to restrain it.” … Okay, that was a good idea.
Jotoka turned toward the other woman, and after realizing that Daniella was waiting for an answer, nodded in agreement. Thankfully, it was enough, and she put down her pack of cards down on the table. The teenager frowned. What was she supposed to do?
“Alright, you’re going to have to follow my instructions: first, let your Stand manifest. It doesn’t have to be in full, just an arm would be enough.”
She took a deep breath, and loosened her grip on the whatever-the-fuck spirit. Immediately, the two, somewhat familiar, long purple arms rose out of her shoulders. Now that she wasn’t desperately trying to contain it anymore, she realized the spirit had muscled arms, leather gloves similar to her own, and some sort of golden band twisting around her arms.
“Alright, so your Stand seems to be an humanoid one… now, will one of the arms to pick up the pack of cards.”
That was it? Jotoka was expecting something harder, to be honest. But to be fair, she hadn’t mentioned the incredible precision the spirit seemed to possess. You heard the lady, pick them up. To her amazement, one of the arms carefully bent down to pick up the pack, but her concentration was broken when she felt something touch the tip of her fingers. At the same time, the hand that had touched the pack of card flinched away from it.
The teenager turned toward Daniella, who nodded to herself. “That was a phantom sensation. Don’t worry, it’s fairly normal. In fact, it would be more worrying if you didn’t have it.” A short silence, and Jotoka made the arm reach out again, expecting the feel of the package this time.
The arm slowly lift it up, careful in it’s handling, before Jotoka allowed herself to let go a little. To her surprise, the arm proceeded to hand back the package to Daniella, who took it gingerly, before it took a hold of the cooler she had left on the table. The teenager took it back, taking a sip an ordering the spirit to go away once again.
It took much less effort this time.
“I did it.” She breathed out. The older woman nodded with a smile. Jotoka flinched from the noise a few tables away, before turned toward Daniella. “Say, could you do that thing with the cards again? The one you were doing earlier.”
“That’s simple mixing.” The older woman said, but it didn’t stop her from reaching for the pack again. “I can do much more impressive things with them.” Daniella whispered to the teenager, a smile on her face. She then proceeded to lay them down in a circle, before flicking one of them up. All of the cards proceeded to follow that one, before they all lightly flopped down to form triangle shapes.
Jotoka looked at the exploit for a moment. “... If you don’t teach me how to do that, I’m going to beat the shit out of you.”
“I don’t doubt you can.” Daniella admitted, collecting her cards back. “Let me just finish my drink first.”
“Okay, take your time.” Jotoka said as she got up from her chair. “I’ve got something else to do to, too.” She then walked up to the person who had been causing a ruckus, put her hand on the back of their head, and slammed it down on the table, startling everyone. “Will you shut up?” She hissed, leaning down to meet the other person eye to eye. “You’re being annoying.”
*Points to next chapter* BIG FIGHT BIG FIGHT BIG FIGHT
Also, for those wondering, the ones aware of Dea's second Stand think it's the only Hermit Purple around.
Chapter 5: Steely Dana
Jotoka let loose.
I refuse to believe that Steely Dan's name isn't a code name, so I just changed the "Dan" part.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Will you shut up? You’re being annoying.”
Dana groaned, lifting her head up slightly to meet blue eyes and a frown that wouldn't look out of place on Vanilla's face. She got up from her seat, the hand on the back of her skull leaving as she did so. She took a closer look at whoever just slammed her head in her plate. Just some teenager with a scary face and a Stand she could barely control. “And who might you be?” She asked, sending her a venomous look as she ordered Lovers to calm down.
The girl simply ignored her, turning away and walking back to her table with… Daniella D’Arby? Dana walked up to their table, before slamming her arm down on it. “Hello, Steely Dana.” Was all the gambler offered as she took a pause from sipping her drink.
“Hey, Daniella.” She greeted back, before jamming a finger in the teenager’s direction, ignoring the angry expression she sent her way. “Who’s this loser? Another “lost soul” with eithdr too much confidence or not enough of it that Lord Dea collected?”
The older woman took a deep breath, massaging her temples as if she felt an headache coming in. “That’s Jojo. You know, the person Lord Dea freaked out about at the beginning of the week?’
Oh. “And she’s already here because?”
“Stop talking about me as if I’m not here, jackass.” ‘Jojo’, suddenly piped up, startling the two women. Fuck, that kid was quiet as hell. “And I heard Dea could help me get rid of the Stand I’m stuck with, so I’m here now.”
Dana burst into laughter at that, not noticing the expression on the teenager’s face becoming more enraged. “You wanna get rid of your Stand?! Are you crazy or something?”
“I know what I’m doing.” The teenager… growled out? Was she trying to be intimidating?
Dana snickered at her general direction. “Like hell you do. Your Stand’s supposed to be a part of yourse-”
“I already knew that.” The teenager hissed, getting up from her seat and grabbing Dana by the collar. How dare she?
“Hey, hey, careful there. I’m sure you don’t want anyone to get hurt.” The mercenary said, before sending out Lovers to possess someone. The teenager simply raised an eyebrow, lifting her fist.
“No, Jojo, listen to her.” Daniella suddenly said, putting her drink down and walking closer to the two women. 'Jojo' actually seemed to listen to her, as her attention shifted to her and her fist unclenched, even if it was still up. “If you hurt Dana, someone else in this room is going to suffer the exact same wounds.” And ah shit . She decided to let Osiris out. “Dana, I am ready to bet that you sent your Stand out to possess someone in this room. Correct?”
“Yes, I did.” She groaned out, before turning toward the older woman. “And what are you betting anyway?”
“Irrelevant. Did you send it in me or Jojo?”
“I know better than to piss of Dea, so no.” Really. Their boss had made it extremely clear that ‘Jojo’ was to be brought here unharmed, and Daniella was one of Dea’s favorite underlings, so she couldn’t send Lovers inside either of their brains. Everyone else in the room, however, was fair game. She turned back toward the teenager, whose face was hidden by the bill of her hat. “Since you’re fairly new to this: my Stand makes it that, if you hurt me, someone else in this room will get hurt.” She said, putting a hand on ‘Jojo’’s wrist. “So I suggest you let me go before you accidentally hurt someone.”
And that’s when she heard it. A low, breathy sound, and seeing as ‘Jojo’’s shoulders started shaking, Dana thought she had won this fight before it even began, the teenager so overwhelmed by stress that she started sobbing. But then, the fist at her collar tightened, the fist that was up joined it, brought her closer to the teenager, and she raised her head.
It wasn’t the face of someone who was sobbing.
It was the face of someone laughing as she was on the brink of losing it.
“You really think I care about any of these people?” ‘Jojo’ asked, as she carried her over to the balcony. And then, she threw Dana over it, catching one of her legs at the last second and taking a hold of the other, before dangling her over the edge.
She did. She cared a lot about whether or not innocents would get hurt. Fuck, it was the reason why she wanted to be rid of the Stand so much! But, she was also on the verge of actually losing her shit due to:
1) all the stress she was under (just because she had a better grip on the Stand didn’t mean that she didn’t want to get rid of it or that her dad was not sick anymore),
2) that fucking bitch told her what she had been told by everyone yet, but unlike Midler who seemed well-intentioned, N’Dione keeping quiet on the subject, Mariano at least offering some advice and Daniella actually helping her, she was being all arrogant about it, as if she was mocking a toddler,
and 3) That fucking sensation of being watched, the same one she had felt on the plane, had manifested again.
Jotoka grit her teeth, and hoped that all of her pent-up frustration would allow her to hide the very real concern that she would hurt someone innocent if her lie of not caring was spotted. “Because I don’t. Now, I suggest that you stop acting all high and mighty, and make it that hurting you won’t hurt anyone else before we both find out just how little I care about hurting bystanders.”
Thankfully, it worked. “Alright! Alright!” The (formelly) smug bitch said. “Okay, it’s out. Now put me down!” The teenager turned toward Daniella, who nodded in confirmation that the other woman's Stand had left it's victim. She slowly lifted the other woman back up, taking a hold of her collar as she did so. “Aren’t you going to let me go now?”
“No.” She then threw at the other end of the room, and god was the sound of her crashing into a table cathartic. The smile on her face dropped, however, when she got back up, a knife in hand.
“What was that for, you brat?!”
“Being an arrogant bitch. And also, I need some stress relief, so square up.” Jotoka answered, slowly circling the table she and Daniella had been sitting to earlier as she let herself fall into the mindset she always had when fighting: punch it until it stops moving. She felt the Stand tug on it’s restraints again, eager to help in the on-coming fight seeing as the bitch got a knife out.
Alright, you can come out, but we’re doing this my way. Immediately, her arms were surrounded by something that could essentially be described as stardust, before they were essentially replaced with smaller, more proportionate to her body versions of the two arms the Stand usually manifested as. She raised them up, flexing her fingers to get a good feel. It felt like wearing a second skin. She rolled her shoulders, hearing them pop, and made a 'come here' gesture to the other woman.
She jumped toward her, Jotoka dodged the first three slices, the fourth one made a small cut on her cheek, she took a hold of her opponent's arm, twisted it, made her let go of the knife, and simultaneously headbutted and punched her in the stomach with her other arm, making her take a few step back. The teenager straightened her back, putting the sole of her boot on the dropped knife and making it slide behind her and out of the reach of her opponent.
The bitch’s face was curled into a snarl. "What is it? Scared I'm going to kill you?" She asked, flipping another blade out. Where did they keep coming?
"Scared you can't hurt me without one of your fancy little blades?" Jotoka retorted, wiping the blood that was slowly trickling down her face from the wound. Thank god, it was just a flesh wound, it hadn't actually pierced her cheek.
The older woman proceeded to start charging at her, but before anything could happen: "Steely Dana, as your superior, I order you to stop!" Daniella suddenly said, getting up from the table.
"Or what?" Dana asked, gesturing to the older woman with her knife, Jotoka putting herself between the two. "You can't take my soul unless we're gambling, and anyone who knows you also knows not to do that. Plus," she added as turned back toward Jotoka "someone needs to teach this brat a lesson-"
"You heard Daniella." A fourth, deeper voice suddenly said, startling all three woman toward the entrance. Another woman, with an impassive face, impressive musculature and ah fuck she was dressed like a stripper too , had entered the room. "Stand down."
The bitch, who was apparently named Steely Dana, dropped her knife with an expression of pure fear. Jotoka put the Stand back away, and turned toward the other woman with a raised eyebrow. Said woman turned toward her. "Are you Jojo?"
"Yeah, I am."
"Follow me. Lord Dea wants to see you."
I feel like I'm improving my fight scenes slowly, but surely.
Also, since I didn't post anything yesterday, I'm posting two chapter today.
Chapter 6: Vanilla Ice
Jotoka is (finally) brought to Dea's mansion.
I... didn't know what to do for Vanilla's name, so I just left it the same.
I am, however, applying the theory that he used to be a stripper for this fic.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Vanilla did not like this… 'Jojo'.
It was most certainly a code-name, and a childish one at that, even if Vanilla Ice was distantly aware that being known by every single one of her… let's call them colleagues, by her former stripper name that she accidentally happened to share with a white rapper wasn't that much better.
Oh well, she was in too deep now.
She still disliked the teenager, in part due to the fact that it was obvious that she had very little control over her Stand. A novice is always the biggest threat to an expert, after all, and that especially applied to Stand Users. Of course, if the need came to rise, it would pose no problem for Lord Dea (or herself, as matters as insignificant as a rogue Stand user were too worthless for her Lord to worry herself about them) to deal with it.
Another reason was the sheer rage her master had shown when Dea had learnt that a Stand User named Jojo was running around. Half of the mansion's furniture had been destroyed in the resulting rampage. She had then calmed down and ordered the child to be brought safely here, and often used Hermit Purple, has Enya had baptised the second Stand, to keep track to keep track of 'Jojo'. Vanilla decided that she would not question the order, and had even volunteered to bring her to the mansion.
So Lord Dea would be able to prepare herself for the new arrival however, 'Jojo' being brought here had to be done in multiple steps. Midler was to bring her in Egypt, N'Dione was to make sure they arrived safely, and Mariano was to bring her somewhere safe where Vanilla would be able to pick her up.
As the teenager picked up a messenger bag (probably her own) at Daniella’s table, a seemingly forgotten drink and said goodbye to the gambler, Vanilla decided to give the benefit of the doubt to Mariano and assume that the reason why 'Jojo' had a cut on her face (and the room being such a mess) was due to Steely Dana being a shit instead of white-haired man half-assing the "bring her somewhere safe" part of the job.
"I'm ready to go." The teenager said, snapping Vanilla out of her thinking.
"Very well, let's go." The muscular woman said, and the two left the establishment. Vanilla kept a close look over the teenager, using Cream to make sure she wouldn't use her Stand. Her own Stand was very agitated by the presence of the teenager, in part due to the bare bones control she exercised over the Stand, she loath to admit it, felt very similar to Lord Dea's own.
To put it simply, Jotoka had questions about a lot of things, and she was going to ask them now.
"Where are you taking me?" Pretty basic question, and reasonable.
"Lord Dea’s mansion." Which took her to the second question...
"Dea's a lady, right? I'm just confused because I think lord is supposed to be masculine, but you all keep referring to her with feminine pronouns." English, after all, wasn't her first language.
"Dea is a woman, but she insists we refer to her as Lord." Okay, so that Dea either has a god complex or was somehow born during the victorian era and used Lord to denote her importance as someone who owned land, or something.
(Unknown yet to Jotoka, it was both.)
"What's your name?" According to a lot of people, it was basic politeness and Jotoka was trying to not seem like she couldn't care less right now. In this case, a good first impression might actually help.
"... are you a stripper." So much for a good first impression.
"I used to be, yes. The club I used to work at is actually were I met Dea." WHAT.
"... okay… Dea can help me, right?" The other woman stopped in her tracks. "With my problem. I want to be rid of the Stand following me." The other woman turned toward her with a raised eyebrow. Great. Here comes the judgement from yet another stranger.
"Why… would you want that?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Because I don't want it." She answered simply before taking a sip from the bottle Daniella had bought her earlier. "Say, aren't you supposed to be bringing me somewhere?"
"Yes." Vanilla stoically said, turning back around and resuming her walk. "But I will have to inform Lord Dea of this... development. She was hoping to make you an offer."
Jotoka simply shrugged, taking another sip of her cooler and following the older woman. The two continued walking, the teenager occasionally asking mundane questions to Vanilla, who answered then in a straightforward way, which Jotoka appreciated.
Finally, they arrived in front of an impressive looking mansion. A sharp cry snapped Jotoka out of her her thinking for the next question. She turned toward the source. It was a bird with a scarf and a helmet who was staring straight at her. "Pet Shop." Said Vanilla Ice, and the bird shifted its attention to the other woman. "Don't hurt her. She's with me, and Lord Dea wants to see her." The bird continued staring at them, boring holes into the teenager with them.
Jotoka shuddered, but continued following Vanilla inside. The woman opened one of the door, which lead to a downward staircase. “Go down there, and open the door. If someone is there, introduce yourself and tell them I’m the one who sent you. If they ask if you want to play a video game, refuse. I will fetch you when Lord Dea will be ready to receive you.”
The woman then closed the door, and left Jotoka alone in the dark.
Dea takes the whole next chapter to get prepared. She wants her introduction to Jotoka to be *flawless*.
Chapter 7: Thelesa T D'arby
Jotoka waits for her meeting with Dea.
I found a feminine version of Terence and switched the r for a l for Thelesa.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Uh, excuse me?” Thelesa paused her game, turning toward the door with a hmph. Her frown turned into a smile when she saw a new face. Tanned skin, wavy black hair, blue eyes, apparently good health… she would make a very pretty puppet, even if the cut on her face and the constant frown weren’t very appealing.
The barely restrained, so much more powerful Stand wasn’t either, but it was nothing making her into a puppet wouldn’t fix.
“Well, hello there.” She greeted, getting up from her seat and walking up to the new arrival. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. Enchanted away by Dea, I suppose?”
“Yeah, I guess…” The girl said, leaning away from her. “I’m Jojo. Vanilla Ice told me to wait here until Dea was ready to see me.” Oh . Well, that took out all of the fun.
“I’m Thelesa T D’arby, Lord Dea’s butler.” She introduced herself, before walking back to her game console. “Fancy a game?” Just because she couldn't turn her into a puppet didn't mean she couldn't use a second player.
“I suck at video games, so no.” ‘Jojo’ said before taking a seat and putting an almost empty bottle on the table. She rummaged through her bag, getting out a small first aid kit out of it. She opened it, staring into the embedded mirror before she started treating the wound on her cheek.
“So, did Pet Shop fuck you up at the entrance, or did something else happen on the way here?” Thelessa asked as ‘Jojo’ finished the process of disinfecting the cut. “Because if all Pet Shop succeeded in doing was that scratch, then you’re a fucking boss.”
“Pet Shop, that’s the weird-ass bird at the entrance, right?” Thelesa nodded in confirmation. “It wasn’t Pet Shop then, even if I feel like it would have given me more of a fight than like, over half of the assholes I have to deal with at home. Definitely more than that bitch at the restaurant.”
Thelesa whistled lowly. “You’re gonna have to be more precise, there’s a lot of bitches around these parts.”
“Some lady with shitty eyebrows. I think her name was Dana?”
“Oh yeah. Pet Shop would definitely have given you a better fight. And would have probably fucked your face up.” The gamer confirmed as ‘Jojo’ finished patching herself up, a square bandage now covering the wound.
“Okay.” There was a short pause were ‘Jojo’ finished the drink she had brought here, and then. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to be related to Daniela?” Thelesa groaned.
“She’s my older sister. Is it that obvious we’re related?”
“You’ve got the same facial plate thing going on. And you both have the D’arby name.” Oh.
“Don’t talk about us being related as if it’s a good thing, my sister’s a chronic gambler.” She groaned out, putting her game on pause. She needed to get a good read on this girl. She sneakily let Atum out, the Stand hiding under her bean bag chair. All it got was stress static, which wasn't very helpful.
"You're literally playing video games in a basement, so shut the hell up." 'Jojo' hissed out before getting a comic book out of her bag, flipping it open. Thelesa continued staring at her for a while, before realizing that the teenager had no intention of making conversation. She went back to her video game, and there was a short silence before she heard the other girl take a deep breath.
"What's wrong?" She asked, turning toward the teenager.
'Jojo' turned toward her, somewhat startled, before turning her gaze to the little experiment Thelesa was currently running. "Could you put the doll away? It's freaking me out."
"The doll-" Thelesa turned her head toward were 'Jojo' was looking. "Oh! First thing: it's a puppet." The gamer said before pausing her game and walking to the table, taking the puppet in hand. "Second: be a little more polite, she can hear you."
Thelesa was almost tempted to bring Atum back out, the unmoving expression and flat tone just telling her that the teenager was restraining herself. " What. "
"Jojo, meet Noriko Kakyoin, the soul currently inhabiting this puppet. Noriko, why don't you say hi?" And the puppet straightened up in her hand, and waved at the other teenager, making a small noise as a greeting.
What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the FUCK- was an acceptable way to describe what was currently going through Jotoka’s head. Puppets weren't supposed to move, weren't supposed to make noise, and certainly weren't supposed to have a probably human soul inhabiting them. That was stuff you only saw in a shitty horror movie, not real life!
She was currently extremely glad that her facial expressions were apparently hard to read, because there was no way in hell she was letting that bitch know how much the puppet was upsetting her. "And, uh…" Fuck, come on, say something- "... how did you… make that?" She asked, pointing at the puppet still in Thelesa's hand that was still looking at her.
"Oh, it's not the first puppet I make, even if her hair was a pain to get right-"
"No, I mean, the soul thing." Jotoka wanted to hit herself. Why couldn't she be more eloquent? Of course, she wasn't exactly realizing right now that her English wasn't half-bad, and that anyone would be freaked out in her situation.
"Oh, well, Noriko is kind of a special situation, but my Stand allows me to take the souls of people who, in their heart, admitted defeat to me." Thelesa said as she put the puppet back on the table, which stood up and took a few steps toward the teenager. Jotoka with drew back in her seat and continued looking at the gamer, desperately trying to ignore the puppet's stare on her. "I have an entire collection of them."
Oh god what did I do why didn't I keep my mouth shut she's gonna make me into a puppet I should have stayed in the staircase- "What do you mean by 'special situation'?" IS THAT REALLY THE BEST YOU COULD COME UP WITH YOU FUCKING IDIOT-
"She volunteered to join my collection. I was curious what would happen if I kept the loosest control over one of my puppets, and she was curious about what being a puppet felt like." Thelesa explained, shrugging as she sat back down. "Apparently, she can move just fine and make small noises, but can't use her Stand and-"
Jotoka didn't hear the rest of the sentence due to hearing a small noise of distress. She turned back toward the puppet, who was falling off the table oh god oh fuck - and in what could only have been a split-second, her Stand's arms had manifested again to take a hold of the puppet.
If Noriko seemed a little small in Thelesa's hand, then she seemed minuscule in the Stand's, it's entire fist probably able to close around the puppet. Jotoka snapped out of her thoughts when she heard the confused noise from the puppet. Okay, bring her gently over there, Jotoka thought. The Stand probably had enough strength to kill, so she insisted upon being careful.
The Stand gently put the puppet into the teenager's outstretched hands before fading away. Jotoka gently cradled it to her chest, the puppet making itself comfortable on her forearms. "You okay?" She let out a sigh of relief when the puppet nodded, before turning toward Thelesa with a glare.
The gamer simply looked back at her, her chin resting in her palm. "I can hear Vanilla coming down the steps, so how about I make you an offer? Keep Noriko for the week! God knows you'll need a guide in this goddamn maze."
"I'm not planning on staying here." Jotoka answered as she shoved her comic book and the first aid kit back in her bag, Noriko making a small noise and winding her arms around her neck. No need to explain (and get judged) now, her goal was almost in her hands.
"I insist you take her with you. I mean, you either leave and I find out if I have a range before the souls snap back to their body, or you're stuck here and you get a guide." Thelesa said, shrugging and going back to her video game.
Jotoka glared at the gamer, before diverting her attention to the puppet, who nodded quite enthusiastically. She opened her bag, the puppet slid in, and she closed it and turned around just as Vanilla slammed the door opened.
"Lord Dea will be ready to see you, now."
I put Noriko in earlier than expected because I have no self-control.
Chapter 8: Enya
Jotoka meets Dea.
I... didn't know what to do for Enya, so I just left her like in canon.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
There was nothing but silence in Lord Dea’s room. The blonde woman was lounging in her bed, one of the numerous brainwashed lover laying with her. Not far away, Enya was there, mixing her cards and awaiting ‘Jojo’’s arrival. Her Lord seemed to have calmed down since she heard of this… ‘Jojo’.
How dare this brat drive her Lord to madness? First, the blind, unstoppable rage, and now this insistence that she be brought here with no harm done to her? “Lord Dea?” She awaited the permission to speak.
“Yes, Enya?” The vampire asked, still unmoving in her bed.
“May I ask why you insist on meeting this Jojo? After all the… anger she brought you?” ‘Grief’ wasn’t the word for it. Enya’s answer was a sigh from the blonde woman, and some shuffling from her, the person she was laying with sitting up to look at the vampire, admiration in their eyes. Dea looked straight at the old woman, her amber eyes glowing in the darkness.
“What is the… feeling… you humans have when you remember something, from a long time ago, so far ago that you know you can never go back to it, and it brings you both sadness and happiness?” The blonde vampire asked, a hand running along the scar on her neck.
“This Jojo brings you nostalgia?” The old woman asked, slightly bewildered. The vampire’s reaction when she had learnt of ‘Jojo’ hadn’t been one of nostalgia, it had been one of pure, unstoppable rage.
“Ah yes, nostalgia. I need to… I need to see Jojo in person.” The vampire admitted, laying back into the bed. “I suppose my first reaction was due to the shock of seeing that name after so long.” Enya hummed in understanding.
From some of the glimpses of her former life that Lord Dea had given her, ‘Jojo’ used to be the nickname of someone very close to her. Seeing it again after so long, worm by a complete stranger, would enrage anyone.
“Lord Dea.” Vanilla suddenly said, walking into the room. The old woman turned toward the unflinching servant. “She’s here.”
“Let her in.” The vampire said. Vanilla nodded, and opened the door a little more, letting what seemed like a simple teenager in before leaving. Seemed like, because this girl had one of the most powerful Stand Enya had ever felt. And barely restrained.
‘Jojo’ took a step forward. “Hi. I’m here to-”
“Don’t be so impudent, child!” The old croone yelled, waving her staff in ‘Jojo’’s direction and stopping her dead in her tracks. "You are in the presence of Lord Dea, so show some respect!"
"Okay! Okay!" The teenager retorted, taking a few steps back and putting her hands in the air. She then turned to the vampire still lounging in bed, who was now looking at her, the glowing eyes the only source of light in the dark room. She bowed down slightly. "My name is Jojo. I am here to require assistance to get rid of the Stand following me and the curse that has claimed my father."
Get rid of her Stand!? How ridiculous could she be? The old woman turned toward Dea, trying to get a confirmation that this child was being ridiculous, but all the blonde woman did was stare some more at the teenager, who was still bowing, before sitting up, cradling the chin of her current lover. "You can stand up. I will consider your request. Enya," the old woman eyes widened at her name. "Please do read her fortune. I want to know what will be awaiting our new friend here."
The old woman grumbled, but said nothing as she walked up to the teenager, who crouched down to be at eye level with her. "Hi." 'Jojo' offered, trying to be polite. Enya decided that it was better than over half of the mansion's inhabitants, so she would indulge her.
"... Hello, young woman. My name is Enya." The old woman offered. The teenager nodded, adjusting the strap of the bag on her shoulder as she sat down properly on her knees.
"How are you going to read my fortune?" She asked as Enya got her pack of tarot cards out. The old woman offered a toothless smile as she mixed the cards before offering them to 'Jojo'.
"Let's do this simply: pick five cards, one for you, one for the past, one for the present, and two for the future." Enya said, and 'Jojo' put her hand on the pack of cards at the precise moment where the distinctive sound of Lord Dea sinking her fingers in someone's throat startled the teenager.
Jotoka was staring. Jotoka knew she was staring, and that she should turn her head away, but that woman- was she Dea? Was it Dea??? -had her finger buried in some dude's throat- or some lady's, it was dark as hell in here -and before she knew it, the other person dropped like a lead weight and their unmoving body was shoved off the bed as the blonde woman started licking her fingers.
She then turned her glowing eyes to Jotoka, and the teenager averted her gaze back to the cards as she heard shuffling from the bed. The old woman, Enya, was staring at her. She lifted a bunch of the card, picked the first five under those, and put the cards back to their place, handing the five picked cards to Enya.
"Alright, let's see…" Enya turned all five card, nodding to herself. "Very interesting…"
"What?" Jotoka asked, the old woman lifting her head to look at her. Right now, the teenager was trying to avoid looking at the blonde woman who was standing naked without a care in the world in front of the closet. "What's interesting?"
"Well, for starter, the card that represent you is the Star. Justice, my Stand, feels some sort of kinship with yours, which confirms your Stand is part of the Tarot arcanas order, so we'll name it after the Star."
Okay. "Daniella told me about the Star's meaning earlier. Do all Tarot cards have meaning?"
"Yes, they all have two actually, one for when it's upright and one for when it's reversed. The card for your past is… the reversed Hermit."
"I'm gonna take after guess and say its meaning is isolation." As the old woman mumbled something under her breath about respecting elders, Jotoka returned her gaze to the blonde woman, who now had some kind of gold spirit- a Stand? -wearing what was between an armor and a diver suit assisting her with a dress, bathing her in a soft golden glow as she did so. The spirit turned its gaze to the teenager, and she averted her eyes, embarrassed at having been caught.
"Yes, you would be right." Enya said, bringing the teenager’s gaze back to her. "I don't know why I expected anything else, nearly everyone who comes here has the reversed Hermit representing their past. Anyway, the card for your present is the Tower, which is one of the rare cards that barely has any positive meaning beside the rebirth of one's self."
Well, fuck. "Is that proof I should get rid of the Stand?"
"Stop trying to get rid of your Stand, you stupid child!" The old woman suddenly snapped before trying to hit Jotoka with her cane. Trying, because the Stand's arm came out to take a hold of it. Don't break it… Jotoka thought as she stared at the old woman's fearful expression as she tried to no available to wrestling her cane free. She's just angry, and she's frail and old. She needs the walking stick. You don't need to beat her. I'm in no danger.
The hand let go, and Enya pulled the stick close to her, sending a weird look to Jotoka, who was watching the blond woman again. The golden Stand was still there, and as she was now sitting in front a mirror, it was brushing her hair, her own hands busy with applying makeup. The teenager returned her attention to the old woman, the Stand's coming to rest on her lap. "What about the two cards for the future?"
"Right. Almost forgot about that." Enya muttered before looking down. "Death, which just means that big changes are coming your way and it can be both positive and negative, and… the World."
"Limitless potential." Both Jotoka and Enya turned toward the third woman, startled. Her hair was neatly brushed and kept out of the way with a green headband, she had dark makeup on her eyes and lips, and she wore a tight black dress with a golden jacket. "It means that literally anything could happen to you. Get up." Jotoka found herself obeying. "Enya, thank you very much, but your services aren't needed for the next part." The old woman nodded before leaving the room. "Now, I already know your name, and I suppose I don't need an introduction either."
Jotoka nodded in agreement. "You're the reason why I came here." She admitted. "You're Dea."
Fun bit: During this chapter, Dea was basically trying to decide between "show Jojo she's such a non-threat to me I can change my clothes in her presence" and "I cannot let my guard down around Jojo for one second", which is why she had The World assist her with dressing herself up.
Chapter 9: DEA
Jotoka and Dea finally talk
Dio means god in Italian, Dea means goddess, it was obvious.
Also, long chapter and the second one today. The word just... flew out.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You’re the reason why I came here. You’re Dea.”
Dea, smiled, liking how it sounded. Not only was Joanna’s descendant here, of her own free will and with barely any work on her own part, but she was the reason it had been so easy to lure her in? She almost wanted to laugh at the absurdity. The child even let her guard down around her, the arm of the Stand disappearing! Ah, the grief it would have caused Joanna if she knew...
Of course, there wasn’t much chances of that happening now. And there was a chance that the girl had been sent by the Speedwagon foundation. Even dead and buried, Roberta seemed hellbent on trying to stop her in her tracks, wasn’t she?
Dea circled the girl, taking a strand of hair and twisting it around her finger. ‘Jojo’, because she still hadn’t given her real name, looked a lot like her ancestor. The facial shape was generally the same, if a little longer with less residual baby fat, both her nose and lips were also the same general shape, her eyelashes framed her eyes in the same way, her eyebrows were as thick and her physical frame was the same as Joanna’s when she was fourteen, minus a layer of chub. Apparently, looking like a giant if you were a woman was something that just ran in the Joestar blood. Her hair also had a very similar texture.
The rest, however, looked nothing like her. Instead of being round and sky blue, her eyes were shaped like almonds and reminded Dea of sea water, her hair was pitch black instead of the strange blue hue, her skin was tanned from being outside so much, and according to the bandages on her forearms and face, scarred. Instead of gentleness softening her face, it was hardened with a frown. Her ears were also lined with little gold studs, compared to the simple small pearls that Joanna favored.
So similar, yet so different. It helped a little, seeing that this wasn’t her Jojo, but that she didn’t look like a complete stranger either. But it made the inkling of doubt that the Speedwagon foundation sent her stronger. The two were just a little too similar.
“Why, I’m flattered, Jojo. You came all the way just to see me?” She asked, letting go of the curl to put her finely manicured nails under ‘Jojo’’s chin, lifting it slightly to lock eyes with her. Even if she applauded the fact that her facial expression didn’t change, she heard her pulse quicken in panic. She did see her drinking the other’s fool blood. “For… an unwanted Stand, and a curse on your father, correct?”
“Y-yeah.” She stuttered. She was nervous. She should be. Even if Dea didn’t consider the girl to be a threat, her Stand, which had a ridiculous amount of raw energy, was a whole other matter, which was the main reason why she still hadn’t put the World away. If it tried anything, her own Stand would stop time and she would slit ‘Jojo’’s throat.
She wouldn’t mind ending the Joestar bloodline like that, but it would be fairly anti-climatic.
“Please, do tell me… more of these… situations.” Dea purred, taking one of Jojo’s hand in her own and leading her to sit on the bed. The teenager was visibly uncomfortable with the slowly cooling corpse on the ground, but she would have to deal with it. Dea sat down, patting the space next to her. “So…” She started, taking the girl’s hat off to both see her face better, and in an attempt to make her break her stoic facade as she tucked one of the strand of hair framing her face behind her ear, smiling from ear to ear. Time to see if she’s a spy. “What do you want to tell me first, Joestar ?”
Dea was expecting a reaction of confused fear from her that she knew her last time, or panic that she knew she was a spy, but not simply confusion, her face scrunching up in it, and being answered “My name is Kujo.” with the blankest tone of voice possible.
Jotoka continued staring at the blonde woman. She was frozen in place, her eyes wide and smile stretching her face, which was difficult to describe. The best way to describe it was ‘sadistic glee suddenly dying as your brain works to process it, leaving you face frozen’. The teenager used the opportunity to get her hat back, snatching it from the blonde woman who had fucking vampire fangs and adjusting it back on her head.
“Wait.” Dea suddenly snapped back to reality. “Your name is Kujo.”
“Yeah.” Confirmed Jotoka, before muttering “I don’t see why you thought I had my grandma’s name…”
“Since when as your name been Kujo!? ” Dea seemed really distressed at the idea.
“Since the beginning.” Jotoka answered. “My name’s Kujo Jot- wait. In english, the family name comes after the… Jotoka Kujo. My name’s Jotoka Kujo.”
The blonde’s expression twisted in anger as she rose from the bed. “No, you useless fool! I meant since when as the family’s name changed to Kujo? As in, when did Joestar shift to Kujo?”
Oh. “My dad married. In my family, the husband usually takes the wife’s name-”
“I know that.” Dea hissed, pacing with her hands clutched behind her back. Jotoka waited a little while, putting her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands as the blonde let out a strange sound. ‘Wry’? “Are you related to the Joestar, yes or no?”
“Yeah. My grandmother’s one.”
“Have you ever heard of ‘Joanna Joestar’?”
“In passing. I think she’s my great-great-grandmother.”
“Is your father the Joestar descendant?”
“Yeah. My mom hasn’t spoken to her parents since she started playing music, so the only grandparents I know are on my dad’s side.”
“Okay…” Dea took a deep breath, before sitting next to the teenager again. “You want to get rid of your Stand, correct?” Jotoka nodded. “I can’t do this part myself, since you’ve awakened to it. I’ll need to call someone over, she should be here within the week. However, I can do something for your father now, but I have a price for it.”
“Okay, how much do I have to pay?” The teenager asked without hesitation, startling Dea before she let out a low chuckle.
“What, that’s it? No hesitation?” She asked. Jotoka shrugged, opening her messenger bag to get her wallet out. Or had it handed to her by the little puppet who was sitting on it.
“I’m ready to do a lot of things to keep my father safe. Now, how much do you want-”
“Oh no. I’m not talking about money here, darling.” The blonde woman said, sitting back next to the teenager and putting her hand on her wrist. “I actually have two prices, since you are asking me for two things. One is in exchange for your father’s health: as long as you have your Stand, you need to stay here. Work for me, if you will.” She started explaining, the teenager nodding. “Of course, you’re still young and learning, so it would be more along the lines of simply staying here, training with your Stand, and if intruders somehow bypass Pet Shop, take care. You’ll be given a room, of course.”
“Okay, yeah. I can do that.” Jotoka said, confirming that fact to herself as the blonde let go of her wrist. “And the second price?”
“If- or when- I get rid of your Stand, and I cannot stress this part enough…” the blonde woman started, before standing up straight, glowering at the teen. “The bloodline… the Joestar bloodline… ends with you .”
“Okay.” The teenager answered, shrugging and leaving Dea confused.
“... Excuse me, what?”
“I’m fine with this. I mean, I wasn’t planning on having kids or anything. Like ever.” The teenager explained, getting up from the bed
Dea nodded to herself, chuckling. “I see. Well, that’s reassuring to hear that our… partnership is getting on such a good foot.” The vampire purred before getting off the bed, escorting Jotoka to the door. “Vanilla will be waiting for you outside to take you to your bedroom.”
Jotoka nodded, before opening the door and leaving. Indeed, Vanilla was there, waiting for the teenager to come out. The muscular woman escorted her to a bedroom, which was sparsely furnished with only a large bed- king sized, like her mattress at home -with large pillows and comfy looking blankets in the middle of the room, a drawer in a corner, and a mirror hanging on the inside of the door. There was also a small sliding panel opposite of the door, and a small lock on said door.
The teenager locked the door and went to sit on her bed, before opening her bag, getting Noriko out. “You okay there?” The puppet made a small, affirmative noise, bobbing it’s wooden head up and down. “Okay cool. Make yourself comfortable, I’m gonna unpack.”
She then started unpacking, putting the spare pair of underwear she brought in the drawer (and was surprised to see a bunch more of clothes) and the rest on the top of it in neat little piles: the comics and marine books next to each others, her phone charging on the opposite end of the drawer with her headphones’ cord wrapped around it, her bag resting on the side with her wallet, cigarettes, lighter, swiss knife and hygiene stuff in it, and the picture of her with her parents resting on the dolphin toy in the middle of the drawer. She hoped her father wasn’t worrying too much about her.
(He was, but it wasn’t the first time Jotoka disappeared like that. He decided to wait for two more days before calling help from the authorities.)
She then untied her boots, putting them neatly at the side of the door with the spare pair she brought. She then went to check the sliding door, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a bathroom. She then walked back to the drawer, pulling her hygiene stuff out of her bag, before pausing and opening the drawers once again. She pulled out one of the spare panties and what seemed life a very soft nightgown, taking off her hat, putting it on the drawer on top of her phone and going to the bathroom.
She took a quick shower, generally just trying to get rid of the sand that stuck to her skin and hair and letting the hot water scald her. She then dried off, brushed her teeth, put the nightgown on, walked back inside the bedroom, put the pillow Noriko had claimed as a mattress on the ground, went back into the bathroom, came back out with two small soft towels, folded one, used them as a pillow and blanket for the puppet, went into the bed, and let herself be pulled into the land of dreams, haunted by a pair of glowing amber eyes.
It's doesn't seem that bad now, but Dea has big plans coming for Joot.
Chapter 10: Halle Horse
Jotoka begins a new part of her life.
Hol Horse = Whole Horse. Halle Horse = All Horses. That's all I'm able to say for her name.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Halle Horse whistled a small tune to herself, moving between the different pans of bacon, eggs and pancakes. She had arrived at the mansion earlier this morning, with an accomplished assignment, and was now waiting for the next one. The others in the room were N'Dione, calmly sipping tea and planning on leaving again tonight, Vanilla, eating a bowl of cereals with a cup of coffee on the side, and Thelesa, leaning back in her chair with the satisfaction that she wasn’t cooking breakfast today, seeing as the cowgirl had volunteered.
"Alright!" Halle exclaimed, turning the stove off and putting the food in separate plates before turning around. "Who's ready for an ol' style, nice breakfast?"
"I'll have some eggs, please." Said N'Dione as Geb came out, holding up a plate to Halle, who put a decent amount on it with a 'Alright, here you go'. The blind woman was generally polite, so she'll be polite back. Vanilla simply shrugged, content with her frugal breakfast, and Thelesa requested a ridiculous amount of pancakes, which she then proceeded to drown in maple syrup.
"So, I heard there was a new kid around?" Halle asked, sitting down with her own plate.
Surprisingly, Vanilla was the one who answered, throwing back a cup of coffee as she did so. "It's Jojo." She sneered.
"As in, the reason why Dea flipped out last week?"
"It's Lord Dea," Vanilla hissed "and yes. I don't see why she insists to keep this stupid child around, especially since she has no idea of what's she's doing. And Enya agrees with me!" Halle stared perplexed at the other woman as she took another gulp of coffee.
"What d'ya mean by that? The stupid thing, I mean." She asked, looking at the two other women in the room. “And also, don’t drag Enya into this. I’m pretty sure she’s still recovering from her son, ya know, dying two months ago.”
"Jojo wants to get rid of her Stand." Thelesa explained between two bites, surprising the cowgirl.
"According to Midler, she thinks it's an evil spirit." N'Dione added after taking another sip of her tea. "But seeing as she barely has any control over it, I don’t blame her. If I had no control over Geb, I would also be inclined to think it's an evil spirit."
"Shit, when you put it like that, it makes more sense." Admitted Thelesa, Vanilla nodding in agreement.
"Oh, come on, how dangerous can it be?" Asked Halle, only to get stared at (or the closest thing N'Dione could do) by the three other women in the room. There was an awkward pause, and then Halle remembered that, unlike Emperor that was basically just a gun and needed her to trigger its power, most Stands had a small degree of independence from their users. Also, Geb could control water, Cream was a walking void and Atum could steal souls. Any of these three losing control could mean very bad news. "Oh. That bad?"
"I mean, it's not one of the Nine Egypt Glory Gods, but it's got a lot of raw power." Thelesa explained, waving a hand in the air before taking another bite out of her pancakes.
"'A lot of raw power' is one way to put it, yes." N'Dione muttered. "When I first met her, I thought her Stand was very similar to The World." She admitted, gaining a surprised 'Eeeeeh?!' From Halle, a wide-eyed look from Vanilla, and a spit-take from Thelesa.
"H-hold on a minute," the cowgirl started. "You can feel what Stands feel like?!"
"Yes. Since I'm blind, my other senses are much, much more developed, and it included my ability to feel other Stand Users." The blind woman explained before taking a bite from her eggs. "And her Stand, however it's called, felt similar to Lord Dea's."
"Does it mean they're from the same order?" Right. With how often Vanilla was around, Halle often forgot she was one of the rare Stand User serving Dea who didn't belongs to an order.
"I hope she is." Halle admitted. "I mean, there's so many of us, it'd be cool if I knew what they all looked like." All the Egypt Glory Gods knew what the others looked like, and most were on friendly terms, so the cowgirl's wish was understandable. "I just hope that she ain't a jackass. Or crazy as hell."
This got her a snort from Thelesa. "Really now, criticizing your own order?"
"Well, you have to admit most of them are either very mean-spirited, completely insane, or both." N'Dione said. "Personally, I applaud Halle's self-awareness."
"Hey, I'll have you know that I'm the nicest woman in the world !" The cowgirl declared, getting snorts from the other women at the table. "It's true!"
"You have a shit ton of boyfriends." Vanilla deadpanned.
"It's a proof that I'm the nicest: I have boyfriends all over the world."
"I'm pretty sure you're the woman country songs that sing about how the love of their life got away talk about." Snarked Thelesa.
"It's because I'm so nice."
"No it isn't-wait." N'Dione said, suddenly alert. "Jojo is coming." The three other women stopped talking, all of them going silent and watching the door, the ones who had already met 'Jojo' on high alerte, and Halle with mild curiosioty. Time to see what the big deal was about.
Jotoka stopped in front of the door, waiting for the loud voices to subside before turning to look at the puppet hanging on her shoulder. "And that's the kitchen?" The wooden head bowed up and down, an affirmative noise accompanying the motion. "Okay. I'm gonna grab something to eat, and you’ll finish showing around later." She opened the door, and was greeted with the smell of bacon and four women staring at her. She recognized M'Dione, Thelesa and Vanilla from yesterday, but the fourth woman, who was wearing a goddamn cowboy hat , was a complete stranger. "Uh… hi?"
"Hello, Jojo." Greeted M'Dione. "I can feel that your Stand is still there. Did you change your mind for any reason?"
"Nah, Dea just can't get rid of it herself, so she's gonna call someone else to do it for her." Jotoka admitted, ignoring the hiss of ' Lord Dea' from Vanilla. She didn't use honorifics at home, she sure as hell would not use them for a complete stranger that gave her the creeps. "Say, can I take some bacon, or…?"
"Sure! Serve yourself." The fourth woman loudly exclaimed, leaning back in her chair. Jotoka winced, but nodded, walking to the counter and, with some help from Noriko for finding one, took a plate and filled it with bacon and eggs, hesitating before also taking one of the pancakes. They weren’t as thick as the one she was used to. She sat down at the table, next to N’Dione, and put the puppet on the table.
“So, everything going alright with Noriko?” Thelesa asked. Jotoka just glared at her as she ate, not having fully recovered from the panic the gamer had given her yesterday, but the small puppet made an affirmative noise. “Good to know.”
“So…” Jotoka looked up from her plate, the blonde woman talking to her. “Ye’re Jojo?”
“Right, I haven’t… actually, my name is Jotoka? I was just careful and using a nickname since I didn’t want to compromise myself.” She was still being careful. Yesterday with Dea, telling her about her family name had been a necessity since she seemed, for some reason, to have an irrational hatred of Joestars. These strangers didn’t need to know her family name.
“Understandable, I’m Halle Horse.”
“Her name is Halle Horse.” Vanilla stated. Normally, Jotoka would make a remark on how the other woman wasn’t well-placed to judge, seeing as her name was literally Vanilla Ice, but seeing as she was a former stripper, there was a chance that was stage name. Which meant…
“Is her name actually Halle Horse? Or is it like you and it’s an old nickname that stuck around?” The teenager asked Vanilla. Said woman shrugged before going back to her cereals, but N’Dione gave her her answer with a chuckle.
“It’s her actual name.” WHAT.
“Oh my god. Oh my god…” Wheezed Jotoka, slapping one hand over her mouth to stop herself from laughing too badly. The cowgirl just looked at her, frustrated.
“Yeah, yeah. Laugh all you want.” Halle groaned. “I just wanted to say hi…”
“Sorry, it’s just…” Jotoka started explaining, still giggling. “Yesterday was really stressful, and I wasn’t expecting your name, so…” She took a deep breath to calm herself. “Sorry about that.”
Halle smiled calmly. “Don’t worry about it, kid. Say,” she started, changing the subject. “you want me to show you around Cairo later? Since you’re gonna be living her for a while, and everything.”
Jotoka blinked at the proposal, before nodding. She wasn’t expecting the cowgirl to be... nice . “Sure, sounds nice.”
This chapter and the next two are kind of 'breather episode' thing? It's just gonna be Joot learning more about Stands as she explores Cairo with Halle. Especially since the angst really starts after.
Chapter 11: Maryam Avdol
Jotoka goes shopping.
Muhammad is a common Muslim name, yes, but it's also religious in origins, being the name of the founder of Islam. One of the only named woman in Islam happens to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is acknowledged to be a prophet. I changed the name up slightly to sound more similar to Muhammad, and boom. Maryam.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Today is a slow day, thought Maryam as she leaned slightly onto the counter. She was the owner of a shop that had a slight leaning for the occult, which also offered fortune readings. And while she had to deal with the occasional Stand User looking for other ones, either for a fight or the desperate need to know that they weren't alone , business was generally good. Enough to keep her afloat, at least.
But the Stand User thing had slowed down in the past six months or so, and they weren't lot of tourists visiting today, which was understandable as they were in early April. Not exactly tourist season. Maryam sighed out of boredom. Maybe I could close the shop early and go eat out today? I've been meaning to try out that new bakery…
The sound of the door opening and the accompanying chime from the bells hanging at the entrance snapped the muslim woman out of her train of thoughts. She raised her head, and watched from her corner of the shop as a teenager entered, a good amount of energy that could only belong to a very powerful Stand rolling off of her. But she seemed somewhat relaxed as she opened the bag slung over her shoulder and leaned into it, talking to something that Maryam could not see from where she was.
She silently left the counter, sneaking up behind the young woman who was speaking a language she didn't know. Japanese, maybe? "Excuse me?" She jumped, startled, toward Maryam, hastily closing her bag and the arms if her Stand coming out of her shoulders to take a hold of the other woman's shirt, lifting her slightly.
The teenage stared at her for a few seconds, before her stance relaxing and the arms disappeared, dropping Maryam back on the ground as the other one turned fully toward her, averting her gaze to the ground. "Sorry." She mumbled.
Maryam just smiled. Maybe I should try to help her with that. "No, I should apologize. I didn't mean to startle you." The teenager raised her head slightly, her blue eyes meeting Maryam's own. "If you need help with anything, tell me. I'll be at the counter." She then turned away, letting the teenager explore her store, even if she was wary. Normally, the ones who would try to steal from her were teenagers, foreigners unhappy with her prices, and other Stand users, and her current customers currently filled 2 and a half of these criteria.
But she was just walking around, occasionally picking up something, twisting it in her fingers before putting it back on the shelf, even if she did pick up a few things. After a good ten minutes of her just wandering around, she then headed to the front counter, delicately placing the items she picked out on it. A few gemstones, a notebook with a black leather for cover, a purple pen with delicate carvings in the wood, a black pentacle carved out of wood, a skull pin that Maryam distinctly remembered to be made out of platinum, a colorful seashell necklace and a pack of tarot cards.
Maryam hummed, calculating in her head the whole and realizing that it was all very expensive as the teenager added a pack of gum from the limited selection of candies on a try that Maryam kept for business reasons. "Will that be all?"
"... Do you have things to perfume a room?" The teenager asked, rubbing the back of her neck. Maryam nodded, before leading her to the aisle of aromas, which were kept in clear, strangely shaped crystal bottles either in the form of powers or liquids.
"To aromatize, all you have to do is unscrew the caps and put them somewhere where they will be out of the way." Maryam explained, the young woman nodding. "I must warn you now: do not ingest any of it. Are you searching for something in particular?"
"Sandalwood and lavender. And something similar to the ocean, if possible." Maryam nodded, before withdrawing three bottles from the shelves before heading back to the counter, adding the three bottles to the items already here.
She then decided to offer her help. "Do you also need assistance with your Stand?"
Jotoka stared at the shopkeeper, surprised. She was a Stand User too? She slowly nodded, narrowing her eyes. The other woman smiled, something between them sparkling. "Very well, what do you need assistance with?"
"For starter, how do I recognize other Stand users? Because everyone seems to know I'm one, but I can’t really… recognize them? Like, at all?”
The shopkeeper nodded in understanding. “Well, for starters, you probably can’t sense other Stand Users because your own Stand is so powerful. It makes it so that it doesn’t sense threats from others until they’re out in the open.” Jotoka nodded. I guess that makes sense. “But the second most reliable advice I can give you?” Continued the woman “Literally no Stand user on Earth dresses like a normal person, me included. If you see someone wearing a weird attire, they’re probably a Stand User.”
That also makes a lot of sense , the teenager thought, even if the shopkeeper didn’t look that bad beside the bright golden jewelry adorning the scarf on her head and the multiple belts at her hips. But, it was still better than Midler and Vanilla’s strippers outfits, Mariano’s short as hell shorts with stockings, both of the D’arby faceplates (with Thelesa deserving a special mention for her hairstyle), Dana’s shitty eyebrows, Dea’s whatever-the-fuck-was-going-on, and Halle was literally dressed like a cowboy.
Fuck if she knew, the only person who looked like a person Jotoka had met since she came to this fucking place was N’Dione. And Enya got a free pass due to being a super old woman. If you asked the teenagers, old women were always the weirdest. To be fair, the only other old woman Jotoka knew was her grandmother, who wasn’t exactly an example of normalcy.
“Do you have other questions?” Jotoka snapped back to reality, turning toward the Egyptian woman.
“Uh… most Stands I’ve seen manifest as like, a vaguely humanoid thing, but mine only acts like a pair of arms. Is that normal?”
“Every Stand is unique.” Started the shopkeeper. “Some are humanoid, others aren’t. Some are practically different entities from their users, others don’t even have a will of their own. Some can even manifest as multiple entities. Maybe your stand just gives you multiple limbs, but you seem to have awakened to it recently. It’s possible you simply need to grow into it.”
Jotoka sighed. “Alright. Thanks for the advice…?”
“Oh! My name is Maryam Avdol.”
“Nice. I’m Jotoka Kujo.” It seemed like she could trust Avdol, the older woman’s calm advice strangely reminding of her father during her more… vulnerable moments.
I should probably call him.
“Hey, uh, how much do I owe you? For this stuff, I mean.” Jotoka asked.
“Hold on…” Maryam said as she started counting the amount of money the teenager owed her. “About 2200 pounds.” OH SHIT
“That much, uh?” The teenager groaned. She quickly ran calculations in her head. It was about 15 000 yens, and even in dollars, it was just a little under a 140. Ah, the contradiction of simultaneously being a cheapstake and having expensive tastes. Maryam just looked at her, unimpressed.
“Those gemstones you picked are real agate, amethyst, emerald and opal. The pin is made out of platinum. The pentacle was carved out of ebony. The notebook cover is made of real leather. The pen’s paneling is from purple heart wood. The pearls on the necklace are real ones. The tarot cards are from a limited edition that is no longer sold anywhere else. And making those scents extracts and the bottles they’re in take a lot of time. I’m actually making you a friendly price.” Oh god.
“Okay, I’ll pay. Can I have a bag with that?” The teenager asked as she opened her bag again, thanking Noriko in a low tone when the puppet handed her her wallet. She withdrew the bills, handing them Avdol as she did so. The egyptian woman nodded, smiling and putting Jotoka’s purchases in a bag. “Thank you.”
It was at this moment that another person entered the shop. She slowly walked up to Jotoka and Maryam, her icy blue eyes focused straight in front of her with what the teenager recognized as barely satisfied killer intent. This combined with her pale skin and long silver hair gave her the appearance of a ghost.
She slowly walked up to the two woman, before standing straight, her eyes staring straight through them. “Does either of you work for Dea?”
SO much fucking research went into that chapter.
Also, Jotoka think she's one to talk because she's fourteen. Beside the insistence to wear her hat everywhere, she does dress like a normal person. And the hat still looks like a normal hat instead of like, being fused to her hair.
Chapter 12: Jeanne-Pietra Polnareff
Jotoka gets into her first real fight with a Stand user.
Jeanne, obviously, was easy to find, what's with it being the feminine version of Jean. Pietra was less so, so I went and checked feminine versions of Pierre, and decided to settle on Pietra.
Also, content warning: This chapter contains some heavy stuff due to, ya know, Polnareff's past. Nothing in explicit details, but it is mentioned.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The last three months had not been kind to Jeanne-Pietra Polnareff.
She had been stalked, her brother was put in a coma trying to protect his girlfriend from being raped, she was stalked some more, only understood that her stalker was a Stand User when she was talking to her brother after he woke up and he was telling her about the man that had attacked them when she noticed (far too late) the thing in the mirror, somehow met up with it’s user, and after a grueling battle, skewered him onto the end of Silver Chariot’s sword.
She then dumped his body in a lake, and proceeded to start a trip to Egypt, the only thing slowing her down being avoiding the authorities and fighting other Stand Users. During her met up with that monster, he had mentioned that the reason why he had been stalking her was because she had caught the eye of someone called ‘Dea’.
Which meant that, beside G. Jeil, she knew exactly who to blame for Shelton’s death.
She was now standing in front of two other Stand Users, both of them clearly ready to unleash their own. The shopkeeper simply seemed confused but on edge, but the teenager looked too tense, the power of her Stand bubbling to the surface as if egging Chariot out for a fight. And all Jeane had to do was ask a question!
“My name is Jeanne-Pietra Polnareff.” She started. “Three months ago, Dea sent someone to recruit me to whatever the fuck her cause is. That someone ended up killing my brother.” The frenchwoman saw the teenager’s eyes widen. “And now, so my brother can rest with the peace that nothing of the sort will happen again, I need to kill her.”
The shopkeeper sighed. “Look, I get that you’re trying to avenge your brother, but neither of us know this ‘Dea’ is. So, if you could please get out of my shop-”
“I do.” The teenager blurted out. “But I can’t tell you where she is.”
Jeanne turned her head toward the teenager, who tensed further. “Why’s that?”
“I just can’t.” Was all she said, taking a step back and taking a hold of the bag on the counter. She then opened her messenger bag, and put it in there, Jeanne swearing that she saw a smaller pair of hands take a hold of it to pull it inside.
And then, the power of the younger girl’s Stand came out, her legs were wrapped in stardust, and she attempted to escape, moving much faster than Jeanne expected. ‘Attempted’, because Jeanne made Silver Chariot manifest at just the right moment, slashing the girl’s legs. She tripped, rolling several times on the ground with one hand clutching her bag close to her chest while the other rested on her hat.
The purple of Stand faded, the two cuts on her legs bleeding by a small amount. Jeanne had decided to hold back, not wanting to hurt the teenager too badly. Just scare into telling her about Dea. But the teenager just turned toward her, glaring, before opening her bag. She got a small first-aid kit out of it, and started bandaging her wounds as the shopkeeper got out from behind her counter to check if the teenager was alright, before turning toward Jeanne with a glare as the temperature started rising.
“If you two are to fight, do it outside of my shop.” Was all she said, taking a step toward Jeanne and pointing a finger in her direction menacingly. The white-haired woman put her hands in the air.
“Alright, do you know a place where we can fight? Without endangering anyone’s lives?” She asked. The last thing she wanted was for innocent people to get involved. The shopkeeper nodded, helping the teenager back to her feet.
“I’m sorry, but it seems like you’re already going to get in your first fight.” The shopkeeper told the teenager, who shook her head.
“Don’t worry about it, Avdol. I’m used to having to throw down.”
The three women left the shop, Avdol (the shopkeeper) switching the sign to ‘closed’ and locking the door on the way out. They walked for a while, before they arrived to an area with lush, green grass and palm trees. “We are currently in one of Cairo’s parks, or ‘green lung’.” Started explaining Avdol, gesturing to the landscape in front of them. “While you will still be visible to normal people, your Stand shouldn’t be. Now, I will be sitting over here,” she said as she gestured to a tree not too far away “and I will only intervene if it looks like one is about to die.”
“Could you keep an eye on my bag?” The teenager asked, unhooking her bag from around her shoulder when the egyptian woman nodded to hand it to her. She then turned toward jeanne, eyebrows narrowing and both her arms and legs turning purple in a flurry of stardust. Jeanne answered by letting Silver Chariot out.
“Before we fight, may I ask what your name and your Stand’s is? I have not mentioned it before, but my Stand is Silver Chariot.” Jeanne asked, Chariot raising it’s sword. The girl just glared at her further, as a strange calm seemed to overtake her.
“I’m Jotoka Kujo. And while I don’t know it’s name yet, my Stand is associated with the Star.”
“The card that symbolizes hope, right?” Jeanne asked, and was answered with a nod. “How fitting that the youngest Stand user I’ve met has this card. Too bad I will have to snuff it out. Now, en garde!” And Chariot charged forward.
While Jotoka had gotten into a fight with another Stand User before, Steely Dana hadn’t used hers, it had ended in a few minutes, and it was the kind of fight that Jotoka was used to: her and her fists against some ass who thought a knife would help.
This was on a whole different level, probably because all she had were her fists against some kind of floating… magical… knight? Oh, what the fuck, what was important was that her opponent knew what it was doing and the person she actually needed to beat the shit out of wasn’t her opponent.
She was just really, really glad the Stand she was stuck with was allowing her to move so fast (and also that she figured out it also applied to her legs), because she was pretty sure that she would have ended up getting skewered onto the end of the other Stand’s - Silver Chariot? - sword if it wasn’t for it. She was just dodging right now, taking a step back at every move, just waiting for an opening and trying to not look into the Stand’s eyes .
Bright blue on yellow with dark circles around them, peeking from behind the helmet with an empty gaze, lit aflame only by righteous fury.
Silver Chariot arm moved a little too far to the left, and Jotoka took her opportunity, punching it in the lower torso and making it double over, Jeanne mirroring the action and taking a hold of her stomach. This was the opportunity the teenager waited for: a sweep to the ankles, a knee to the stomach, twisting it’s arm painfully (even if it didn’t make it let go of it’s sword) and a punch to the stomach sent the Stand sprawling away from her, even if it recovered quickly, landing in a low crouch.
Polnareff clapped her hands slowly, expression neutral. Jotoka turned her head toward her, giving her her best glare. It worked, as the white-haired woman visibly recoiled. “What?” The teenager asked.
“I wasn’t expecting a beginner to be so good with her Stand already!” Polnareff commented, before snapping her fingers. Silver Chariot’s armor was then ejected off in a puff of smoke, before it stood up again, raising it’s sword and it’s movements much faster. “But I had Chariot since I was a little kid. So you’re gonna have to do better than that. ”
The next five minutes were a blur of dodging and cuts for Jotoka, and there were now apparently multiple Silver Chariot. As for the Stand, the still-unnamed one, it was now tugging on binds Jotoka didn’t even knew where there, and the strain the teenager had to exercise to keep it from coming out more than she intended was intense. But she couldn’t afford to lose this fight, she just couldn’t-
The sound of a gunshot sounded off, a gush of blood coming from the back of Polnareff’s shoulder as she knelt, Silver Chariot abandoning to fight to go check on it’s master. Halle Horse was standing behind her, a gun smoking in her hand. Avdol then rose up, putting herself between the two women. “Do not intervene in their fight. It is a question of honor.” She said. The cowgirl just ‘tsk’.
“Look, ma’am.” Halle started, visibly annoyed. “Dea’s gon’ be pissed if the kid dies, so if you could get out of the way-”
“MAGICIAN’S RED!” Avdol bellowed, and a huge flaming bird woman thing rose out, before sending a bunch of flames in the cowgirl’s general direction, who proceeded to start yelling and running around with the egyptian woman running after her, her own Stand following not too far behind until the two were out of sight.
Jotoka turned toward the tree were Avdol had been resting against a few minutes ago, and sighed out of relief when she saw her bag, Noriko peeking out of it and waving at her, before she felt the cold tip of Silver Chariot’s sword under her chin.
“You. Know. Dea.” Coldly stated Polnareff, fixing the teenager with a cold glare that made her skin crawl in fear, finally knowing how people on the other end of her wrath felt like before she unleashed it.
[Let me out]
“I didn’t know about your brother.” Jotoka breathed out. “The reason why I’m working for her is my father.”
“And you think she’ll spare him?” Polnareff asked, her tone shifting to something truly hurt since the teenager first saw her. “You think she actually gives a shit about you?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Jotoka asked, trying to blink away the panicked tears in her eyes.
[LET ME PROTECT]
“Do you know how I learned about Dea?” Polnareff asked, only to be answered by Jotoka slowly shaking her head. “It’s because he told me. The man who killed my little brother.” The teenager’s eyes widened at that. “He told me that he was following me . That my little brother and his girlfriend were collateral damage in trying to get to me. ” Silver Chariot eyes were widening in rage.
“How the fuck was I supposed to know?!” Jotoka said, cursing herself inwardly when she felt tears streaming down her face. “I’ve only been here for a day!”
“Maybe,” Polnareff growled out, “but it doesn’t change the fact that my brother got hurt because of her. And if you think she’s not ready to hurt your father if she thinks he'll get in the way of your loyalty to her, you’re wrong.”
And the point of Silver Chariot sword made a small cut under Jotoka’s chin, drawing a drop of blood.
It was as if something broke, suddenly. As if all the tension that had surrounded Jotoka ever since the Stand first started manifesting snapped in a flurry of purple and golden stardust as it rose out of her body, huge and powerful and unmistakably hers. Her long black braid trailing, floating behind her as if it was underwater as cold, blue eyes focused on Polnareff, in a fury that could only be interpreted as how dare you hurt my master .
Polnareff and her Stand quickly withdrew as Jotoka collapsed, staring in bewilderment as the- no, her- Stand started fighting Silver Chariot with no problem, their speed nearly equal but their distance in strength and precision visible as each of the punch it gave resulted in the french woman doubling over in pain while the teenager didn't feel a scratch on herself.
It only stopped when the french woman cried out in pain after a particularly hard punch and Chariot faded, the purple Stand turning toward Jotoka with an expression of concern on its face. It floated toward her, gently wiping her tears with it’s thumb, and it took the teenager a moment before she realized it was imitating her father. She batted it’s hand away, standing up again. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine”
The Stand looked at her, before nodding and closing its eye, fading into nothingness. Snapping back to reality, the teenager ran toward her bag, slinging it over her shoulder and staring at the french woman, who was recovering from getting punched in the stomach. She slowly walked toward her, before bending down. “Once again, I can’t tell you were Dea is. But I can deliver her the message you want.”
Polnareff looked at the teenager, before sighing. “Tell her that Jeanne-Pietra Polnareff is not interested in her offer. And that she is the one who offed the Hanged Man.” Jotoka nodded, deciding to ignore the small noise of surprise from Noriko. It was at that moment that Halle Horse came back, being carried over the shoulder of Avdol.
“Has the problem been solved?” The egyptian woman asked, being answered by a nod from Jotoka. “Very good. Then you can bring her,” she dumped the cowgirl on the ground. “back to wherever the both of you came from.”
“Alright. Thanks for the help, by the way.” Jotoka said, helping the cowgirl back to her feet as Avdol bent down to talk , before stopping and turning around. “Oh, by the way? How does Star Platinum sound? For a Stand name, I mean.”
All three women stared at her, before Polnareff, of all people, grinned, flashing a thumbs up as she did so. “Sounds great, kid.”
The teenager nodded, heading back off to Dea’s mansion, unaware that she had sealed her fate.
After the facts:
Jotoka: Yo some lady named Polnareff hates you and also killed some dude called the Hanged Man for killing her little brother???
Dea: Why did I trust Enya about sending her son for this job again.
(Also sorry for not posting anything yesterday.)
Chapter 13: Enrica Pucci
Jotoka finally gets her Stand removed, only to discover that everyone else was right.
Enrica is just the feminine version of Enrico.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Finally, I'm in Cairo , thought Enrica as she stepped out of the airport, sighing in relief. Now, I just need to spot the weirdest person in the vicinity. As a newly awakened Stand User, she still couldn't feel other ones, so she did the next best thing: look around for weird people and hope she was right. She was mildly aware she was no exception to that rule, but she was a nun, and had no control over how her eyebrows were fused with her hairline. She could trim them, but she saw enough pictures of eyebrows fail to never put a razor near them.
And weirdo spotted. She made her way to the black limousine a few meters away, were a muscled woman wearing nothing but a leotard and some kind of coat stood, the whole with a subtle heart motif, was standing. The woman turned toward her, narrowing her eyes. "Who are you?"
"I'm Enrica Pucci. I'm supposed to meet a certain Lord Dea?" It was strange referring to her by her title, but the woman's eye widened by a fraction in recognition. She opened the back door of the limo without a word, and Enrica entered while thanking her.
And here was Dea, sitting cross-legged with a glass of something red, her blond hair looking like spun gold and wearing a black, tight fitting dress. "Enrica!" She exclaimed, holding her arms out for an embrace, which the nun eagerly returned. "It's been so long since I last saw you, how are you doing?"
"I'm… I'm okay, right now." She was about to say that she was doing great, but Dea would have brought up her brother, and she didn't want to think about that mess, right now. The blonde woman just hummed in understanding. "And how are you? Whle I'm glad to finally be in Cairo, you were rambling about gravity when you called me. Well, more than you normally do." She teased.
At Dea's exaggerated gasp as the two parted, she knew that the other woman hadn't taken it personally. "Why, Enrica! The implication that I would ever ramble is outrageous! I always know what I'm talking about." She declared as she flipped some of her blonde hair behind her. She then let one of her hands rest on the small of the nun's back. "Even if I suppose that I was rather… excited when I called you~"
"Excuse me?" Enrica jumped in surprise, turning abruptly toward the third person in the limo she hadn't noticed. She looked to be around her age, with a scary frown, black hair and bright blue eyes. Her bandaged arms were crossed, and a messenger bag was resting next to her, a little wooden doll peeking out of it. "But what the actual fuck is going on?"
"Right." Said Dea as she straightened up once again, Enrica going to sit next to her, leaning on one of her arms. "Jotoka, meet sister Pucci. Enrica, meet Jotoka Kujo, or Jojo."
"Oh! It's… nice… to meet you?" At the beginning of the week, she had to calm down Dea from going on a murderous rampage due to this girl. Two days ago, she learned over a phone call asking her to come as fast as possible that the same girl apparently came to Dea's house to ask her something that apparently made everything easier for the blond woman. She tentatively extended her hand, only to be glared at further.
"I thought nun's weren't supposed to be in relationships?" The teenager finally asked, raising an eyebrow and looking at her in the eyes- no, wait. It was her eyebrows. She was staring at her eyebrows. The nun withdrew her hand, frowning.
"I am not."
"So Dea nearly making out with everyone she meet is a normal thing, then?"
"What- we- I didn't-" Enrica struggled to explain, before taking a deep breath, counting prime numbers in her head before addressing the other teenager. "We're not in a relationship."
"Are you sure about that?" Jotoka asked, leaning back in her seat.
"Yes. I am." Enrica hissed, before sighing. "You're the one who wants to get rid of her Stand, right?" The teenager perked up at that, nodding as the intensity of her glare softened by a fraction. "I'm the one Dea called. My Stand Power allows me to remove stuff from other people, and memories and, well, Stands. I can also give them, but that's not important right now."
"Okay, so you can help me?" Jotoka asked, looking both hopeful and at the end of her rope. “Because if you can, hurry up. I told my dad I would be back before the end of the week, I’ve been gone since Sunday, and we’re already Wednesday..” Enrica nodded, preparing herself to letting Whitesnake out, before remembering something.
"By the way, I'm going through some rough stuff right now, so if Whitesnake calls you a bitch, don't take it personally."
"What-" And with that, she let out her Stand, who immediately let out a streaming of profanities at Jotoka. To her credit, the teenager didn't even react beside an sharp intake in breath, Dea watching on with an amused smile.
"Whitesnake!" Enrica reprimanded, the Stand sharply turning around to face her. The nun, however, knew better than to be intimidated by the manifestation of her soul's torments. "This isn't why I brought you out, and Dea is watching. So behave." It did the trick, and Whitesnake calmed down almost immediately.
"Why, Enrica. Using me to rein in your Stand when it starts to misbehave?" Dea teased, sending a sly look to the nun. Enrica just sighed as Jotoka raised her eyebrow yet again.
"I swear we're not in a relationship." She told the other teenager, who just nodded in a way that showed she clearly didn't believe it. The nun sighed, exasperated. “Just close your eyes, and I’ll take care of it.”
The teenager stared at Enrica for a moment, before nodding, taking a slow, deep breath as she closed her eyes. Enrica nodded to Whitesnake, who reached it’s hand out. The tip of it’s fingers lightly grazed Jotoka’s chest. The effect was immediate: two discs came out, the teenager’s eyes opening wide as her breathing stuttered and body tensed during the process, before slumping once the discs were out.
Enrica held them out for Dea to see, the blonde woman nodding. “So, one of them is her memories, and the other one is her Stand, correct?”
“Indeed. So, what are we supposed to do with them?”
“First, I want to see her memories.” Dea stated. “This way, I will know whether or not she’s a Speedwagon agent who’s just really good at pretending.” She leaned toward Jotoka, taking her hat off and raising her face, which looked relaxed compared to before. Enrica briefly wondered what had happened to her, making someone so young so angry all the time.
[You’re not a model of happiness either.] Enrica turned toward her Stand, glaring before making it vaish. She then came close to Dea, inserting the memory disc in her and seeing the vampire’s amber eyes close as Jotoka’s memories started playing in her mind.
Enrica waited for fourteen minutes before Dea opened her eyes again, the disc leaving her as the nun took a hold of it again, placing it back with it’s twin. “She was being honest.” The vampire whispered as she turned toward the still unconscious Jotoka. “She really is Joanna’s descendant. And she really is doing all that for her father.”
“Joanna. It was your sister’s name before you ascended, right?” During the time Dea had stayed with her in her home, she had mentioned this Joanna.
“Yes, I suppose that we were sisters, weren’t we?” Dea chuckled, her eyes still focused on the other teenager. “So similar, yet so different…”
“May I ask you a question?” Enrica was answered by a nod from the blond. “Why is she so… distant? Did something happen to her in the past?”
“Oh, nothing major. A mean remark here, a mom away from home there, basic stuff really.” Dea said boredly. “Honestly, what’s interesting is that she simultaneously does understand why she was being picked on and doesn’t. And that she’s been a fighting beast since she was eight.”
The nun hummed. “Remind me of the plan, again?”
“It’s genius, really: You give her back her memory disc, and we wait for her reaction to missing her Stand disc. If she’s alright with not having it, then she leaves back for the airport and we never have to worry about the Joestars again. She does have an aunt that’s younger than her, but the chances of her getting involved with the Speedwagon foundation is minimal, and there is plenty of time to get rid of her if they do. Before you ask how I know she will never have children, it’s the condition I gave her to take her Stand away.”
The nun hummed in understanding. “And if she wants her Stand back?”
Dea’s face split into a grin, and Enrica had to remind herself that even God had his moments of cruelty to avoid freaking out. “Then, the Joestar bloodline will belong to me. Wake her up, will you?”
The first thing Jotoka realized when she woke up was that her body felt not quite right, heavy, even. Her senses even felt slightly more muted, and her ears were ringing for some reason.
The second thing she realized was that she felt complete and utter emptiness. It was as if a big, gaping hole now rested in her chest. No anger, no drive to protect her family, no nothing. Just the crushing feeling of having lost all of her drive, settling low into her gut.
And it fucking terrified her.
“What… what?” She just said, curling in on herself as she tried invoking anything in her head, trying to feel something. From the most negative memories she had of her childhood to the safety being in her home felt like, it was as if all of her passion had been ripped out. “Why can’t I-”
“It’s a side-effect of taking away your Stand.” Jotoka raised her head toward Pucci, who had her hands raised in an attempt to calm her down. She barely registered Dea watching in morbid fascination. “It… it also takes away the part of your personality it manifested from. I don’t know whether or not it’ll come back, but… that’s a price to pay for getting rid of your Stand.” The nun explained sadly as she watched the teenager start crying.
All of her motivation to hide herself was gone, after all.
“Please, give it back.” Jotoka started asking, reaching out and grabbing Enrica by the wrist. “Please, I- I can’t go on like this-”
“You’re begging the wrong person.” Dea suddenly cut in, putting her arm between the nun and the teenager, fixing the second one with an unforgiving stare and a satisfied smirk. “Enrica obeys my orders, after all.”
Jotoka turned toward Dea, eyes wide with desperation. “Please, I- I need my Stand back I can’t- I can’t do anything without it-” her voice broke on the second to last word, before she was shushed by Dea. She didn’t realize it in her panic, but the blonde woman was getting a sick pleasure out of it.
“How about this? Enrica will give you your Stand back when you get on your knees, and acknowledge me as your new Lord.” Dea stated, her grin stretching wider when the teenager proceeded to do just that, even if with her head bowed low and sobbing, it was hard to make out. But she heard ‘Lord Dea’ and ‘please’, so she tipped Jotoka’s head up, her cheeks streaked with tears and eyes wide with panic, gently shushing her as she put the hat she was wearing earlier back on her head.. “Very well~ I’m a woman of my word. Enrica.” She said as she turned toward the third woman in the limo. “You know what to do.”
The nun nodded before taking the other disc, inserting it back into Jotoka. The teenager immediately took an intake in breath, her senses sharpening back to their normal state as she got her feelings back under control, the presence of Star Platinum settling back into her subconscious.
[Is Jotoka alright?] it asked inside of her head. The girl just nodded, sitting back on the seat and adjusting her hat to cover her eyes.
“Well,” Dea started, clapping her hands. “It appears that you will be staying with us a little longer. If you ever change your mind again…” she gestured to Pucci, who offered her a sad smile. Jotoka just averted her eyes, embarrassed by her earlier outburst. “You know who to call.”
Jotoka just grunted in answer, refusing the make eye-contact with either woman as the limo finally started moving, this time toward the mansion. She didn’t say a word, just waiting to be back to the mansion to lock herself into her room. As the limo came to a stop in front of the mansion, she was the first to get out, not letting Vanilla the time to pull out of the driver’s seat to open the door.
She made her way back to the room as fast as she could, locking herself into it before sliding down the door. She sighed, tired and feeling her hopes of seeing her father again shatter before she was taken out of her head by something tugging on her arm. It was Noriko, out of the bag and looking up at her. Jotoka just reacted by picking it up, cradling the little puppet close to her chest, focusing on all the small details before falling unconscious against the door.
For those wondering: It would not have caused such a big problem if Joot had the same level of control over Starplat as she did at the start of the story.
Chapter 14: Kakyoin Noriko
Noriko wakes up and shares some info with Jotoka.
Noriko is a japanese given name that sounds vaguely like Noriaki.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Noriko Kakyoin blinked, trying to situate herself. "Welcome back to the world of the living, Noriko." She turned toward the voice, and after a moment, recognized Thelesa. "How do you feel?"
"I've been better." The redhead admitted, sitting up. She felt one of Hierophant Green's tentacles slither up her arm, and she gently clutched it, feeling the familiar coolness wrap itself around her arm in an imitation of holding it. It felt good to have her oldest friend back to her side.
"So, being a puppet, what did it feel like?" The gamer asked, pulling herself a chair to sit down next to Noriko's bed.
Right. The experiment.
"Well, for starters, all of my senses got downgraded." Started the redhead as more of her Stand's tentacles started slithering up her limbs, both to see if it hadn't weakened while it was out-of-service and to help Noriko, who wasn't quite used to a body of flesh anymore, move. "My hearing was like if I was a few places away, my vision was kind of blurry, my sense of touch felt muted, and I simply couldn't smell or taste. I also didn't feel the urge to eat, but I did feel sleepy at times. My motor skill were also limited." A pause, and then "By the way, you're a shitty puppet caretaker."
Thelesa looked at her, unimpressed. "And you're saying that because?"
"Well, for starters, you left me out on the table for everyone to see while the newbie made me a makeshift bed, so that's already a minus for you." Noriko snarked, earning herself an eye roll from the older woman. "After that, the souls you keep captive. Locked in a dark closet all year with nothing to stimulate their already fucked up senses? No wonder they start crying when you let them out."
"...That is a possibility, yes." Thelesa admitted. "I just thought they wanted to go back to their bodies."
"It's because they do , you freaking sociopath!" Noriko exclaimed before throwing a pillow in Thelesa's direction, who simply took a step to the left to avoid it, still looking at Noriko as she slowly moved her limbs, letting all sensations return to her body while she, ironically, let her Stand puppet her around. "Still, thanks for holding your word. I thought I was supposed to be released on Friday, though? It's only Thursday."
"Yeah, well…" Started Thelesa as she looked off to the side. "Remember Jotoka?"
"I've spent the last three days or so in her bag, so yes."
"She… threatened me into putting you back in your body." The gamer admitted, pulling a surprised snort from the redhead. "Hey, I can't read her soul properly, okay? It's constantly covered by stress static. And she caught me off-guard!"
"What did she even threaten you with? Breaking your Playstation?"
"To get her Stand to rip off my arms and beat me to death with them herself." Oh.
"Dear god…" muttered the redhead. "She wanted me back in my body that much? Why? Does she want to talk to me?" The redhead wasn't exactly used to being wanted.
The gamer just shrugged. "Meh, I don't care about her reasons. But you do have some responsibilities to fulfill around here, since, ya know, you're the only one beside Lord Dea to be able to get close to Haruko without the kid bursting into tears, for some reason." Noriko nodded, remembering the newborn.
"Alright, I'm gonna go check on Haruko later. But before that, can you let Jotoka in? And leave, too. I want to talk to her alone." Noriko asked. Thelesa groaned, but acquiesced, leaving the room. After a moment, the other teenager came in, and nothing, not her first sight of the girl through blurry puppet eyes or her wildest dreams back when she wanted a friend before everything else, did her justice.
Puppet Noriko did not do Human Noriko justice, Jotoka distantly thought. Beside the fact the fact that her eyes were a shade of purple and not two white dots on an endless void for a sclera, her hair looked softer, the freckles were much more subtle, the angles of her face weren’t as prominent, her miko uniform (if we forgot the fact that it was green and black instead of red and white) looked authentic and not like something out of a cheap halloween store, and it wasn’t set in the expression of despair the doll constantly had. Proof: the redhead was currently looking at her with an expression that wasn’t despair.
Fuck if Jotoka knew what emotion it was, but it wasn’t despair. Her purple eyes were wide and focused on the teenager, her mouth was slightly opened and her thin eyebrows were slightly raised, but not in the way someone would do if they were surprised. There was no wrinkle in her forehead.
Jotoka turned her head, avoiding the purple gaze. “Hi.” She offered to the redhead, who closed her mouth. There was a short period of awkward silence.
“Hello.” Noriko answered. “I think you already know, but I’m Kakyoin Noriko. It’s nice to see I’m not the only japanese teenager in this flying circus anymore.”
“Yeah, I guess it is.” Jotoka said as she turned toward the teenager, before deciding that fuck it, she didn’t want to speak english right now. “I’m Kujo Jotoka.” She said in japanese.
“It’s nice to officially meet you.” Noriko answered, also in japanese and with a smile. She then gestured to the chair on the side of her bed. “Why don’t you sit down?”
Jotoka nodded, sitting in the chair and keeping her eyes tracked on Noriko’s face, which had a faint smile on it. “I, uh…” what do people say for compliments. “I like your hair.” That’s a compliment, right? And her hair is pretty, so it’s not like I’m lying...
Noriko’s smile faltered for a second. “...Thanks. It used to be longer, though. Someone… someone forcibly cut it before I came here.” Shit, I'm really bad at this.
Jotoka averted her gaze, feeling embarrassment creep up her spine before she sighed. “I’m sorry about that. Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure.” Noriko said, nodding her head slightly. Jotoka nodded back, before pointing to the strange green and white and moving bracelets poking from under one of Noriko’s ample sleeve. "What's that ."
Noriko giggled a little, catching the taller girl off-guard. “That’s my Stand, Hierophant Green. I’ve had it since childhood, and… it’s powers are a little hard to explain…” she admitted, rubbing the back of her head. Jotoka scooted closer, and she sighed, resolving herself to explain it. “My Stand is a long rage one, which means I can control it from afar. While it can take an humanoid form, Hierophant’s real form is a bunch of strings I can control without problems. It also constantly produces a liquid, that I can harden at will to create emeralds. We’re working on making that into an attack.” She said as she brought one of her hands up, smiling as her Stand started coiling up in her hand. Her expression then dropped. “It can also possess people, but uh… I don’t like using that power that much…”
Jotoka nodded. “Does it have, like… a personality?”
“It does, actually.” Noriko acquiesced. “It prefers dark, small spaces to large, open ones, and likes ripping things apart. I know where the first part comes from- I’m slightly agoraphobic -but I’m scared of knowing where the second part comes from…”
“I dunno.” Jotoka said with a shrug. “Maybe you just got some issues to work through.”
“That’s… a possibility…” admitted the redhead as her hand came under her chin, thinking. “But enough about me. What about your Stand?”
"It punches people." Jotoka said with a shrug, because it was true. But Noriko was staring at her with an expectant gaze, the one people gave Jotoka when they expected her to say more, and for once, she found herself being okay with it. "It, uh… it doesn’t go too far away from me, so I guess it's… close-range?" The redhead nodded, edging her on. "It, uh, it either manifests out of my body or like, over it? My arms get replaced by it's, I mean."
"I get what you're talking about." Noriko stated with a nod. "What about it's strenght and speed?"
"It's really strong, and really fast. I don't really have the best control over it, tho. Sometimes, it just… comes out." Jotoka admitted. Noriko looked at her with a tilted head, as if she expected her to say more. "Uh… the first time it came out, I was being cornered." She started. "It wasn't the first time I fought these guys, but it was the first time they brought knives." One of her hand reached for her leather gloves, pulling them off before she started unwrapping the bandages that wound around her forearms and a good part of her hands, leaving her fingers the only thing exposed. "And they… they actually did some damage with them. There was a lot of them- I pissed off a lot of people -and normally I would have seen it coming, but some fuck tried slashing at me from the back. I turned in time to avoid it, but… he still got me." And with that, she raised her forearms, showing the redhead the gasped on each arm.
Noriko gasped. Jotoka expected that reaction, but not for her to reach out for one of her hand to pull it toward her, lightly brushing her fingers against the still-bruised knuckles. God, the first time the spirit came out really fucked up her hands, didn't it? "Your Stand did this to you?"
"Yeah… at first, I thought I was possessed by an evil spirit. I know better know. It's just trying to protect me." Jotoka said with a shrug, remembering her complete breakdown from yesterday. She then remembered the reason why she came to speak to the redhead. "Hey, you're a teenager too, right?"
"Yeah." Noriko confirmed, giving her hand back to Jotoka. "I'm actually 14."
"Cool. Me too. Yeah, yeah, I know. I look like I'm already an adult." Jotoka said dismissively at Noriko’s surprised expression. "But uh… do your parents… know?"
The redhead expression fell down, eyes downcast on the bed with the long curl of her bangs hiding her face. "They don't. It was… it was too dangerous for me to stay with them due to a bunch of things, so I ran away. I lived in the streets or a while, and I came here thanks to another Stand user that was visiting Japan at the time. She doesn't work with Dea, tho."
"Who was it?"
"I don't know, some weird italian pink-haired woman. She told me there were other Stand users in Egypt, and even bought me a plane ticket so I could come here." Noriko was clearly omitting something, but Jotoka decided not to pry.
"So… your parents don't know you here?" The taller girl asked.
Noriko’s answer was to smile sadly as tears started to corner in her eyes. "They probably think I'm dead . I came to Egypt using a fake name the lady who told me about this place gave me. So I'm not seeing them again anytime soon."
Jotoka lowered the bill of her hat, hiding her eyes from view. “Sorry. I didn’t want to pry. It’s just… I need advice on something.”
Noriko wiped the tears from her eyes, before nodding. “It’s fine.” She then got up from the bed, stumbling a bit. Jotoka raised from her chair to help her stand up properly. “Do you mind if we continue this chat in another room? I have something to attend to.”
I'm setting up some ground-work for the future series in this chapter.
Also I hope for you guys that you like Jotakak because. Yeah.