Chapter 1: Chapter 1
[ 2 3 6 5 ]
“The light makes my skin burn… Is this what I must pay for… my fate?
The radiation affects my movements, this technology is still not in reach of the human race, the best is to keep it closed, to keep it secret. We cannot handle what a [ s t a n d ] is… we cannot fight this battle this way.
With this last moments, I entrust my feelings to the ones fighting… The evil will be back for sure, the lock I used with the last strength I had will not stop this situation for long… I eager for the human race to rush on finding a solution, I am sure that in at least 98 years he will be back… Until then… find a solution.
I will watch upon you in a better place I hope.”
[ 2 4 6 3 – Epilogue ]
In an organized queue several recruits stand, some gulp, others are actually happy, but deep down they can not avoid to be nervous about their situation. Afterall it wasn’t everyday that a fleet would pick young candidates to ride the world renowned STAND’s, larger scale robotic human made machines. A STAND is the ultimate weapon for a fragile humanity against the fight of the aggressive ARROW’s, unknown creatures that pursue human resources destroying them from it’s core. An ARROW can also asexually reproduce itself in a smaller version called an USER. An USER will act like a wild animal that will pursue humans in order to fed themselves upon their flesh.
It isn’t necessary to say that it was a scary time to be alive when things were put that way.
But Joseph didn’t care. Being an important soldier from the STAND training committee, he had started low, he had drove his own Stand near his Mecanic partner Ceasar Zeppeli. Both males came from the earth colony, the most ancient and the cradle of the human race. A third generation of Stand pilots, the pilot of Hermit Purple, he had seen it all: blood, birth, wounds and death… Specially the death of his dearest Stand partner. Now, a man on his 79, he held to his pride of having killed several Arrows and ensure the longevity of earth. In that time he had retired from being a pilot, due to old age, and trained the cadettes that came every year. Youngsters hand picked with special abilities, he was there to keep an eye and choose the ones that would be able to fight the Arrows.
“Dear children, I must warn you, you are here to fight for the peace and our colonies. With the increasing years the Arrows have been multiplying and attacking the several outer earth possessions that the human race battled to have. You are the ones that will protect these places… Feel proud about it.” he hold on his cane while talking. He felt that his students needed a hard wake up for their first time aboard the big training spaceship of the Speedwagon facilities.
The Speedwagon facilities managed the training and served as the household of all people dedicated to fight the Arrows and assuring the well being of the Stands.
Walking slowly, the old Joseph kept talking almost feeling his voice break from repeating the same speech over and over again: “Some of you will not make it. The harsh reality of being pilots is accepting that not all of you will be a Stand pilot, most of you will fail before getting to even see a Stand, in this class of 80… I see that only 3 or 4 will be standing at the end. But don’t let that demotivate you, you are the hope of humanity.” The old man ended up smiling warmly to the teenagers that rushed to yell at the same time: “yes sir!”
Briefly they were dismissed and showed their bedrooms, they were appointed numbers in order to facilitate the process of putting some order in such a numerous class. The class also knew that they would be in double rooms with another class: the mechanical class.
The mechanical class was just like the pilot class, they were aiming to protect humanity from the Arrows, but they would give assistance in all that could be wrong with a Stand, they were basically the mechanics of a Stand. The rules were simple: a Pilot would be paired with a Mechanic. This duo must work together in one Stand, they must also share facilities.
Letting his bag fall on the floor infront of the closed bedroom door. Candidate 1047 Josuke Higashikata was ready to start his new life as a trainee to one day pilot a Stand, since he was small he had his eye on the pink Crazy Diamond, it was currently inactive waiting for a new pilot, and he was ready to take on the role. Living in an earth colony in the north part of Jupiter, he once had a close encounter with an Arrow and several Users, thinking he was about to die, he saw it, the amazing Crazy Diamond in all it’s glory… The Stand entered on Jupiter’s man made atmosphere and annihilated, with the help of his other fellow Stands, the Arrow. He was still being chased by an User along his mother Tomoko, the woman ran as much as she could in order to flee from such a vile creature while pulling the little Josuke with her by his arm. As Josuke ended up tripping on his own feet, the User crawled on him and urged to look for a place to bite on the young infant, but his plans were foiled when a ray of energy pierced the User in pieces in a gushing mess. It was disgusting to be splattered in User’s blood… But it was even better when he opened his eyes and saw the big Crazy Diamond infront of him.
Tenderly, the big Stand held him and a voice resonated in his head: “You are a lucky one.”
In awe, the small Josuke only nodded. He was returned to his mother’s arms that that was a sobbing mess due to worry. “Thank you! You saved my baby!!”
The cockpit that was found in the chest of the 15 meters tall mecha opened. A slim body took a step out of the cockpit. A man with a pompadour waved back to Tomoko and Josuke: “...Stay safe.” he only said as the other Stands united in order to leave the now safe colony.
Those memories had stick with Josuke all his life, he even had shaped his hairstyle in honor of his unnamed savior. He would give all to know his name, but all Stand pilot information was strictly confidential… He was just happy with knowing that with dedication and hard work he could follow the footsteps of his mysterious hero.
He entered the bedroom after scaning his finger prints and upon steping inside he saw another person. A green haired teenager like him stood on the desk reading several books. It was not hard to guess the fact that the guy infront of him was actually the Mechanic that was appointed to him as a Pilot.
“Hello! I am Josuke Higashikata, pleased to met you.”
The other boy lifted his head and looked from top to bottom to Josuke. “Rohan Kishibe. I hope you are good at piloting.” he dove his head back into the pile of engineering books that laid next to him. Well… that was one rough start… but Josuke was committed not to let the Mechanic intimidate him, he knew that a healthy relationship between a Pilot and it’s Mechanic was the key to success.
“Let’s work hard to get into the advanced program and ride a Stand.” he replied with a smile and he opened the closet looking for a corner to hang his uniform.
“Just do as I say and don’t get in my way.” the Mechanic replied in an almost mocking tone. Even if Josuke wanted all to go by pleasantly, he had to admit that it would be quite hard to swallow just an arrogant personality.
“I wish you the same. let’s not get in eachother’s way and just achieve what we are here for.” he tried in a passive way forcing himself not to get angry over the situation, he never had much patience, but he was ready to endure it just to be a Pilot. The only reply he got was a “tsk” sound that made him shut his own eyes to get the strength to ignore it.
In the room next to his, Giorno Giovanna, trainee 1048 was also accomodating all his clothes, he was the one feeling a bit annoyed over the go lucky attitude of his Mechanic. A guy that used a bright orange hat, even if such clothes were against the rules of the Speedwagon facilities. He decided to shrug it off. As he grew in a warm colony of Venus, he always heard his mom telling him tales about his father that bravely piloted the Stand The World, the legendary Stand that people do not even believe in. But he knew his mother told him the truth, because when small he recollected the warm embrace of his father before leaving them: “I will be waiting in The World for you.”
He did not had any other memories of his father, but the fact he was a Stand pilot only made the choice of himself try to aim to be a pilot as well a natural thing.
“I am Mista Guido! I was excited to met my partner!” The orange hat guy beamed a warm smile at Giorno. He tried to reciprocate that smile ending in a half assed attempt of a shaky grin. “Same. Call me Giorno. Let’s aim to have our own Stand.”
As the Speedwagon facilities spaceship completed another orbit to the sun, the hard tests would start on the newbies that were attempting to aim for their dreams and aspirations.
In another side of the galaxy, far away from the Milky Way, the pilot and Mechanic on the Stand Star Platinum made their way home from their first mission: Pilot Jotaro Kujo and Mechanic Kakyoin Noriaki were successful stopping the Arrow that was near the solar system entry to enter humanity’s domain. Jotaro Kujo rushed to the Speedwagon facilities as his Mechanic had suffered injuries from the hard battle.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Kakyoin and Jotaro take a break. Josuke and Rohan go investigate a mysterious voice.
“Don’t leave me hanging dammit!” Jotaro, the pilot of Star Platinum held the hand of his partner as he rushed next to the stretcher where he had been laid down. Kakyoin smiled in pain while looking at his partner’s face. He was unable to talk since the pain prevented him from doing so.
The mechanic also ride the Stand to battle, but he would ride in a head cockpit where he would control the impulses and minimizes all errors so the Pilot could use a Stand to its full power. In this case, Kakyoin was unlucky. The Arrow they were battling were straight for the head of Star Platinum and injured the Mechanic’s stomach almost impaling him. Jotaro could only fight in horror hearing the screams of his partner from the upper part of their Stand. He managed to win the fight against the aggressive Arrow, knowing he had to rush as fast as he could to give his Mechanic proper treatment.
“Don’t even try to talk.” he let out an angry and worried glare. Not that he was angry at his partner, he was angry at himself for not protecting him… He was allowed to enter the operating room where the medical staff of the Speedwagon facilities rushed to patch the big injury and save Noriaki’s life.
In another section of the spaceship, the trainees went under physical training. That basically meant to run without stopping for a hour, every 10 minutes the velocity of the mechanical mat they were running in would increase. It wasn’t easy, many failed. The ones that failed a test would have a strike, accumulating 3 strikes would made the trainee be removed from the program and sent back home.
“That is good for this test.” Joseph’s raspy voice ended the test.
Josuke almost fell on the floor panting. He looked up seeing Rohan taking notes on his test, he ended up asking: “Can you get me some water?” Rohan rolled his eyes ans he kept writing: “What if you get it yourself? I have a physics test next class.” Josuke pouted annoyed, being a Pilot meant more physical restrain on him, true that a mechanic had more of a mental restraint, but it was just a goddamn water bottle! He looked next to him where his classmate Giorno Giovanna was being pampered with a big water bottle and several towels from his Mechanic Mista.
“You are literally the only mechanic not helping his Pilot!” Josuke almost grawled. Rohan paused his note taking for a bit: “Well mister Higashikata, I am sorry for not being your maid! Now if you have the strength to complain, you can also get your little ass up and get yourself a water bottle!” he replied almost in a hiss. Josuke glared at him getting up, he didn’t pick a fight because that would be a strike… And he couldn’t afford random strikes. He got the water bottle and glared: “Here Mr. Kishibe, thanks for nothing.” he took a sip. Rohan rolled his eyes and went back to writing.
“You have a physics exam?” Giorno asked.
“Yeah. I studied quite a bit, I shall be okay.” Mista said and he took a bite on his number 3 pencil. He was carefree, way too carefree for Giorno’s liking, he never failed and never got a strike, but he only got average grades, it was as he didn’t care about doing his best, that worried Giorno, because he didn’t want the chance to get paired with a worst Mechanic if Mista ended up being scrapped from the program. “Study harder.” he cleaned his sweaty face against the towel.
Mista ended up grining and winking: “Are you worried partner?” he asked almost as teasing the blond pilot.
“Yes.” he bluntly answered. Mista felt his cheek lighten a bit in a pink color… That was actually a straight forward and cute answer.
“I will do my best!” He almost smashed his pencil from holding it tight. Giorno only nodded and went for the showers. Well… that was awkward but maybe it will help with motivation…
In the operation room the doctor finally put his needle down after patching up Kakyoin’s stomach. He looked at Jotaro and commented: “He will be okay, but he should refrain from doing efforts for the next days.”
Jotaro, gazing upon his Mechanic’s sleeping face, just nodded. He knew that would be a problem, he couldn’t pilot Star Platinum all alone… Kakyoin was his partner and a piece of the equation to successed in their mission to secure the human race. His fingers stroked Noriaki’s cheek, his skin was like silk… He didn’t even wanted to feel the skin on his stomach… It would be rough and hard to touch… Not to say that would for sure hurt his partner. He waited and went after his Mechanic as he was transferred to the resting wing of the facilities.
He sit next his bed, he held his hand strongly waiting for him to wake up. After a while the silence was broken by a loud voice with a pronounced french accent:
“Mon dieu! Kakyoin! Jotaro!” the frenchman bursted into the resting wing looking for his comrades, after him a silent wise man, his mechanic, followed.
“Keep your voice down Polnareff.” Jotaro said in a commanding tone. That made Polnareff rush to cover his mouth and bow several times as an excuse sign. His partner, the kind Avdol pet Polnareff’s back and replied in his name: “Forgive him, we were just worried after we heard what happened to Kakyoin.” The frenchman nodded agreeing. Jotaro understood, he knew that was the idea all along, he just wanted a quiet place for his partner to rest.
“A rough battle?” Avdol asked.
“Yeah… The Arrows are getting smarter… it’s like they knew were to aim to injure the crew of the Stand…” His finger stroked Noriaki’s hand tenderly, he was eager for him to wake up. “I can’t protect the outside milky way sector now.” He said in a more professional remark.
Polnareff ended up crossing his arms and grining: “Mon ami! We will take care of that. We already put on the papers to deal with that sector with our Silver Chariot.” Avdol ended up nodding at Jotaro approving of his Pilot’s words. Jotaro looked up at his two friends, he felt grateful that he could count on them, but deep down he wasn’t looking forward to send them outside the milky way, were the danger of the Arrows was always increasing. “It will be just until Noriaki gets better.” he said.
“Do not worry my friend, let Kakyoin take his time to recover.” Avdol said with a nod and a smile.
“Avdol, tu est fantastic!” Polnareff grinned hitting his back hardly. “Très reliable!” Avdol only rolled his eyes smiling: “And you need more english classes.” Those words only made the Silver Chariot’s Pilot roll his eyes, and Jotaro let out one single smile over the situation.
After lights had shut down, all trainees are supposed to be asleep, even if that rule wasn’t followed by everyone. Many of the trainees used some of the facilities to train during the night, it wasn’t recognized by the Speedwagon Foundation, it was more like a rule that was not supposed to be talked about. With a week of training, half of the trainees had already gave up or gotten enough strikes to be sent home.
Josuke was still hanging, he would do extra training in the gym during lights out. Rohan would do equations while he waited for Josuke to end up training. He would never admit that he was there to keep an eye on his Pilot to be sure he wouldn’t overdo himself. As the clock rang midnight, Rohan closed his book and annouced: “It’s enough Higashikata. It’s time to go rest.” and as usual, he got Josuke’s response: “Five more minutes Rohan!” Rohan ignored his plea as he usually did, he got up and walked to the door: “Let’s go Higashikata. Tomorrow we must get up at 7 am.” his reply was short and straight to the point.
Josuke, panting, hold on a towel and had as a suggestion: “What if instead of going straight to bed, we go explore a bit?” he ended up grinning enjoying a lot the suggestion he had just made. Rohan ended up raising an eyebrow, sure, it did sound interesting, but what could they go explore? The kitchen? The bathroom? Deep down there was nothing interesting enough that they could go around watching.
“Don’t make that uninterested face, we should try to go see… a Stand~?” now things had gotten more interesting in Rohan’s mind.
“And how will you find where the Stands are in this spaceship?” he asked to be sure that Josuke had a plan to his suggestion. Josuke ended up grinning, as he was eager that Rohan would finally ask him that: “Can you keep a secret Rohan?” he asked not even answering for the reply and answered himself right after: “I can hear the Stand’s voices calling for me.”
Rohan raised an eyebrow, he had never head such a ridiculous thing in his life. A Stand was a robot, a Stand did not have a voice, and even if a Stand somehow could have a way to call someone, why would it call someone like Josuke: “You are a liar.”
“I am not a liar!” Josuke said and he started walking outside the room. “And I will show you if you follow me!” He sticked his tongue to Rohan and made his way to the lower deck. True that the Mechanic didn’t believe this idiotic story, but it was not like he had nothing to lose. Or he would actually see a Stand or he would have a free pass to make fun of Josuke until the end of times.
They kept doing down to another lower deck until they got to a door protected by a code. Rohan ended up looking at him: “And now smartass? Tell you Stand to give you the code if you are actually telling the truth.” he ended up smirking still doubting the claims his partner had done.
Josuke glared a bit and ended up grinning: “Joke’s on you Kishibe, the Stand did told me the code.” he quickly placed the code in the panel that made the door unlock and the two males enter. Rohan had to admit that he was a bit impressed, but he would not declare defeat until he actually had seen a Stand with his own eyes.
Some levels below Rohan’s eyes widen seeing a Stand, he almost gagged and whispered gazing a big purple Stand that was infront of both boys: “S-Star Platinum… I-it’s the Stand Star Platinum!!” He could almost gag seeing such an amazing human made construction. Josuke glanced at it and kept walking: “No, it isn’t that one” The mechanic gagged a second time: “It’s fucking Star Platinum! What do you mean that it’s not the one?!” He glared and went after Josuke, he was crazy for all that he knew right now. They ended up passing another door with another code and entered a room called the ‘Waiting Room’, it was an enigmatic place. Several Stands waited, there was hundreds of them, even Rohan, that felt he had a broad knowledge about Stands, didn’t know some of them. After a few minutes Josuke finally stopped infront of a Stand, he grinned: “Here it is! Crazy Diamond!” he let his eyes feast upon the tall pink Stand that he had only seen in his childhood. “It called for me Rohan, it wanted to see me again!”
Rohan found that impossible, but what happened next proved to be even more unlikely, the cockpit on Crazy Diamond’s chest opened responding to Josuke’s presence.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Josuke finds... himself?
“No fucking way, the hell did you just do!?” A rushed tone of mixed worry and anger flooded on Rohan’s voice. It was simply impossible for a Stand to open up like that. Josuke wasn’t ready, he didn’t had any prior piloting training, he had never even tried syncing in a lower Stand before going for a big one like Crazy Diamond. The Pilot only smiled at the tall pink Stand, for him it was like seeing an old friend, he touched the cold metal surface.
“I only came because I was called.” He simply replied.
His hand slid down and his eyes met the open door of the cockpit, he still couldn’t believe that the Stand that once saved him in his childhood was now open to receive him. If this wasn’t fate, then he didn’t know what fate was. He ended up confessing to his mechanic: “I wanna go inside.”
Rohan pulled him back harshly by his arm: “Now wait a second! You need to do sync exams and training in order to pilot one of these! You know you can get in a coma or even die if you aren’t fully prepared, so stop thinking what you are thinking you buffon!” harsh as always, the Mechanic never took his words back or made them sweet.
“How many times have you heard about Pilots that were called by Stands?! Isn’t this enough proof that we are in sync?!” the pompadoured teen struggled the grasp of his partner, he didn’t know why he couldn’t understand that the bond Crazy Diamond and he shared was special.
“As far as I am concerned, you can be hallucinating Higashikata!” A cold glare met Josuke’s blue eyes and tighten the grip, the blue eye’d teen spit a hiss and glared back: “I can hear it telling me to find it! You don’t fucking get it Rohan!”
Josuke strongly took his arm back finally, unfortunely, as he did so, he lost his footing being taken back several steps and falling inside the cockpit. As soon as the Stand felt a presence inside it, it closed it’s cockpit door.
- - - - -
“Mista, are you still awake?” the blond teen waited for an answer of his partner, a still quite awake voice replied after being called for: “Yeah, can’t sleep because of all the pizza I ate for dinner.” Mista was a bit simple minded, not that Giorno cared about that, at least he was easy to get along it.
“Why did you decide to become a Mechanic?”
“Hum.. Well, I guess I always found them cool. I remember watching them at my colony on the hologram screens and they looked cool and smart… My guardian also told me to follow my dream and go for it if it was what I wanted to do.” he talked with some nostalgia on his voice. Giorno listened to it without interrupting and only looked at the ceiling giving some gestures of agreeing with his head. “And you?” he asked, “What made you want to be a pilot?”
That question was emblematic, he couldn’t quite put his finger on it… He just simply knew he had to…? It was afterall the only memory that led him to his father. Giorno only replied back: “A gut feeling, I guess it’s here I belong.”
Mista found that motive awkward but he decided not to elaborate on it, he just ended up smiling: “I guess that is a valid reason.” he like talking with his partner, he felt at easy doing so, he had to trust him little by little, to pilot a Stand it was necessary.
A voice suddenly rang on Giorno’s ears making him get up. “You heard that?” Mista raised an eyebrow and looked at his partner, he was sure he had not heard a single thing… But Giorno once again insisted: “Someone asked for help.” he got his boots on and walked towards the door.
Mista ended up getting up confused. No alarm had ringed, he had heard no voice, there was no way it could be an Arrow, they were detected if they were near enough the Speedwagon Spaceship. He ended also slipping his boots on his feet and followed Giorno.
“I… Didn’t heard anything.”
Giorno walked outside following the faint cry for help that echoed on his ears, he knew he had heard it and he would find it.
- - - - - - - -
“Josuke!!” Rohan slammed his fists in the now closed cockpit door, he had no reply of action from Crazy Diamond, he was starting to freak out, this was in none of his books or documents, such an anomaly was unheard of! He rushed to the small emergency control panel in front of the Stand and plugged in the program hoping to get it to eject the pilot, to his dismay, the Stand remained inresponsive.
“Josuke I have missed you...”
Josuke opened his eyes being engulfed in a strange liquid, he had heard that this liquid was a special breathing aid for other space temperatures and pressures… But he did not expect to feel it so soon…
“We meet again my Pilot...”
The voice echoed around him, every movement he did hurt. Breathing hurt. Opening his eyes hurt. His heart beating fast.
“I missed you… Let’s ride once again.”
Josuke gathered his strength to talk: “N-no… You are mistaken… I never… piloted you...” it hurt to speak… he looked to the cockpit door where he had fallen, it was shut close… He just wanted to get out. The fact that he had never done synchronization tests with any kind or Stand, not even training Stands, he was unable to endure the power that was being brought upon him, he knew he was in serious trouble and he hoped that Rohan could somehow take him out of that place and fast.
“I have been calling you… You heard it.”
“I am not ready!!” A shock overwhelmed him suddenly, he covered his mouth in pain, he had no idea of what was going on?! Why would a stand call him just to make him suffer?
- - - - - - - -
“I am not going crazy, I swear I heard it!” Now Giorno has walking with the elder Joseph Joestar.
Mista kept following, Joseph was almost bothered by being woke up so late in the night, he kept going after the boy. His history sounded weird but he needed to be sure that there was no danger aboard the Speedwagon ship. He walked a bit slowly due to his old age, Giorno understood and complied taking his time to go to the opened door of where the stands rested.
“This… Shouldn’t be open...” he looked frowning and trying to accelerate his pace. Mista and Giorno followed in awe while staring at the stands, they could easily recognize Silver Chariot and Star Platinum, the most well known Stands, they kept walking until they heard a now almost crying voice yelling in despair.
“Josuke!! Josuke!!” Rohan slammed his hands again and again against the door.
Old Joseph saw him and rushed near the boy:
“This is a restricted area! What are you doing here?!”
Mista’s eyes widen seeing his classmate Rohan Kishibe, he was also confused about how he managed to enter in such a highly secured place in which only a few knew the codes to.
“Josuke is inside! The cockpit closed! That idiot said he was called!”
Giorno almost froze when he heard that… Could it be possible that he was hearing the same thing? He tried to look calm and collected while asking Rohan if he could find a way to overwrite the cockpit closure protocol.
Rohan for sure looked uneasy and unsure… He barely had real life experience, he just knew things from book. Mista meanwhile rushed to the computer screen that could let them see some information about Crazy Diamond.
“I will try to find a pulse inside the stand, Rohan, use the emergency shock keys to try to force the cockpit open.” It was like Mista was suddenly a different person, focused and serious, even his partner couldn’t believe it. Rohan rubbed his worried eyes and rushed to get the keys and lay them against the entry.
Joseph nooded agreeing with what was happening, he also rushed to phone a superior to join them as soon as possible. Then only thing that was left was for Josuke to come out.
“We are one Josuke...”
The voice kept repeating that, Josuke held his ears shut while hyperventilating due to the pain.
“N-No! I was never here!”
His eyes were shut, his heart was palpitating, his body jerked due to the pain, he felt dizzy, he felt cold, he wanted it to be over.
“We are one Josuke, open your eyes...”
Josuke did so, not that he was keen to oblige to the request, just to try to make all end faster to this awful experience.
And then he saw home.
He saw his mother running with him.
He saw Users rushing after him.
He saw himself being attacked and Crazy Diamond rushing for him.
The memories that had stayed for so long on his head, nothing new, only the will to fight to come back to him, the will to fulfill his dream the right way, by syncing, by bonding, not by pain as this accident had showed him.
His eyes were wide open when he saw something new.
The face of the pilot that saved him… It was no other than himself.
He gasped in panic for air, the Stand started to overide the liquid’s temperature, Josuke yelled in pain while rubbing his arms, he had enough, there was no way that his savior was… himself!
“Rohan take me out of here!” He yelled in despair, the inside of the cockpit went dark to the exception of a light that Josuke rushed too, he managed to touch it with his hand and it was pulled finally outside the cockpit on the arms of his mechanic.
“Josuke!!” Rohan held him strongly against himself, by a miracle the cockpit door had suddenly open and spilled Josuke out. Mista and him probably had managed to overwrite the damned lock system and got Josuke out of Crazy Diamond.
His hair was a mess, he wasn’t waking up, but his heart was beating.