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Watch the Queens Conquer

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 "Four different women. Four completely different circumstances. Four different times. Yet all share one thing. Power."

 


 

I’m very sorry ma’am, Jorge Joestar has been reported missing in action.

Those words flitted through Erina’s head over and over until the very thought of them made her nauseous. She sat in the darkness of an empty guest room, not bothering to curl up in her marriage bed. Too many people, too many concerned gazes following her every move. Jonathan and Dio hadn’t taken the news well either, one turning to puffing on his father’s pipes while the other relied on the vintages stored in their cellar.

But her? She was… tired. That was her vice.

In her dreams she could see her son, could imagine her happy family reunited. She had felt this dread in the pit of her stomach since the day he shipped off to service. Felt it worse when he spoke of flying newer airplane models. It was 1919, but sometimes… those flying contraptions still felt like dangerous and scary new inventions.

Alone in this room in the manor she called home, Erina could pretend… she would be fine. Her family wouldn’t look upon her with worry. Those looks that caused twists and turns in the pit of her stomach because they felt like pity. This would work, wouldn’t it?

That’s what she’d thought until she saw it.

She first caught a glimpse of color when looking in the mirror. It was so quick she had thought it was a mere trick of the eye. Perhaps a bird flying by the window?

But, the flashes of color kept coming. Glowing gold, moments of brilliant ruby red and verdant green… light like that of a church’s stained glass windows reflecting upon her floor. Erina worried that she had isolated herself in her new quarters for far too long. That she hadn’t seen another living being, except for meals, in some time now.

The solution? Open a window. Let out the musty air that gathered over time… fresh air was always good for clearing one’s thoughts. She had squinted at the afternoon sun as it filtered through the window pane and even further when she lifted the sash.

What she hadn’t expected to find was a bird’s nest perched in the corner of the window sill. Though, to her heartbreak… within she found the bird itself. It was not breathing, not moving. The poor sparrow seemed very young, unable to escape the unforgiving chill of winter. Her heart ached. A part of her felt like that abandoned, forever sleeping sparrow.

Gently, Erina reached over to pick the poor thing up, cradling its corpse in her hands with tenderness. She closed her eyes and gave a quiet prayer… May this little bird find a welcoming home and warmer breezes in the afterlife.

As the words filtered through her mind, Jorge’s face came into focus. Him as a young man, telling her with glee that Elizabeth was to have his baby. A sterner memory, her son requesting his family’s immediate departure to the States as war brewed in Europe. As a gangly teenager, on his back and tinkering with his newly acquired motorcycle, giving her the biggest smile with oil stains streaked across his face. As a young boy, crying over bullies. As a baby in her arms, the first time she’d held him…

She felt tears spill down her cheeks. Her baby boy… what she wouldn’t give to have him living once more. To have him return to her. It was unfair. Parents weren’t supposed to bury their children… especially in empty caskets. Her despair felt bottomless.

A tweet and flutter in her palm made her open her eyes. She gasped in shock at the bird, now singing and preening in her palm. Yet… over her skin, she noticed something. A faint glow of orange-gold, like a dim gaslamp, in the shape of a hand over hers. Erina turned toward the large mirror in the room, as if to make sense of what she was seeing.

She saw it clearly then, for almost a split second. The image of a glowing golden woman visible for a moment before retreating as soon as she was spotted. The main evidence of her presence being large wings emerging from her back, patterns of stained glass emblazoned on each in the pattern of feathers. Light from the window bled through them, casting a kaleidoscope of colors into the room.

It was breathtaking and terrifying all at once.

“Lady Joestar, I’ve brought lunch,” a maid called from the other side of the door, knocking and walking in. She carried her midday meal to the table without any fanfare. “Please, I hope you eat more this time around. The lords are worried about you. Not to mention the children… perhaps you can set them at ease with an appearance?”

Erina glanced from the maid to the mirror and back, feeling all the breath leave her body. Could it be… was she the only one who could see this?

“...P..perhaps I will. D-Do you-- Do you not see this, though? This… incredible thing!”

“Well yes, my lady. That bird is rather cute. Will that be all?”

Erina gave a shaky nod and swallowed hard as the maid turned on her heel. She was… going insane now? Was that it? Perhaps locking herself away was the wrong course of action… Perhaps she did need human contact. This was alarming, to say the least.

She couldn’t tell them. She couldn’t tell anyone about what was happening to her.

For the first time in decades, Erina Joestar felt alone once more.

 


 

The first rule entrusted to her by Straizo upon gaining him as a mentor, and foster father, was a fairly simple one: ‘Do not make light of the power bestowed onto you. Hamon is taught with a purpose, not to be used as a parlor trick for unsuspecting bystanders… it’s all fun and games until you cause accidental injury to someone, Elizabeth.’ This was something she recited to herself daily, even when training was the furthest thing on her mind. Hamon wasn’t a toy, a plaything, a game… it was part of her identity, an invisible limb that sometimes aided her better than her existing ones. A genuine blessing from the Sun itself, used to do away with potential blights and dangers gracing their world.

But specifically? It was a way to protect those who could not fend for themselves.

So, it only seemed fair to keep those words to heart, no?

“What do you three think you’re doing here?” Her tone was sharp, cutting through the air like a knife as she arrived on the scene. There was little time for the older boys she was addressing to make light of their current situation, having been caught cornering someone half their size. Elizabeth didn’t have to crane her neck to know that it was Jorge at the center of this, her suspicions being piqued the moment he was nowhere to be found at their usual meeting spot. It wasn’t like Jorgie to be late, and whenever he was it would only be about five minutes after the set time.

Today, Elizabeth Straits was left sitting on a tree swing for close to twenty minutes which was not only uncharacteristic of her good friend, but troubling to the brunette.

Thankfully it didn’t take her long to find him, as well as the ones interrupting their playtime. This week was the only chance she’d have to spend time with him before she was whisked off to Air Supplena for a few months, they wouldn't be ruining this for her.

“I won’t repeat myself again,” A hand placed at her hip, Elizabeth stepped closer to the group of four. While they chose to remain silent, she took this time to examine the state of her friend. His trousers were dirty, roughed up around the calves and knees as if he’d been shoved in the mud. The state of his shirt was another story, wrinkled in a manner quite unlike when he accidentally fell asleep in his outside clothes. It would seem that the leader had loosened his grip on Jorge upon her arrival. Perhaps they weren’t complete dunderheads after all. “What are you doing with Jorgie?”

One of the boys, a redhead she didn’t recognize--he must be new--found her request humorous, and took it as an excuse to laugh.

At her face of all things.

He sauntered his way over to where she was standing, reaching down to pat the top of her head in a rather condescending manner. Trying to assert his authority, his height, and supposed dominance over her. Ah yes, he was definitely new around these parts.

“I gotta say, it’s real cute that you’re tryin’ to protect your boyfriend here, girlie,” the older boy jeered, gesturing back to Jorge whose cheeks burned red to the tips of his ears. His reaction was enough to send the bully into another round of chortled laughter. “A damn shame he has to rely on a gal even smaller than him to fight his battles, but I’m sure it goes without saying that you two are in over your head here.” The fact that his companions hadn’t yet backed him up should have been the giveaway, but Elizabeth felt it was only good sportsmanship to give this newcomer a chance to say his piece. “Besides… Jorgie here was playin’ around by himself, so we decided to come join him out of the kindness of our hearts. Lacking friends is detrimental to a kid, yanno?” The blatant jeer was more than enough to make her scowl. Did she look like an idiot?

He must have thought she was, because the very next moment he was trying to turn her on her heels. Away from Jorge and back down the road. “So! If you’ll excuse us…”

It was in this obvious gesture to get her away, that Elizabeth finally took advantage of the irritation welling up in her gut. Deep, careful breaths… she reminded herself as the familiar charge of power began rippling through her veins. From the top of her head, to the tips of her toes, she did her part to focus in on channeling that energy to a specific point. The very fingers curling in on themselves to form a fist.

“Ah yes,” her voice had softened from earlier, gone was that initial edge and in its place was something more tender. Unsuspecting. Enough to warrant a person’s guard dropping. “...My apologies for being so disrespectful, I suppose!” With that, she reared her fist up, knuckles meeting the redhead’s chin with a loud crack. The force of her blow was enough to send him stumbling back, body seized by the initial shocks of energy.

A rather weak charge she’d say, but enough to get her point across.

The remaining two had already stepped away from Jorge, well aware that misfortune would befall them if they kept up with their lousy games. They hesitated with retrieving their companion however, rearing their hands back every time it seemed as if whatever was surging through him would pass onto them. Elizabeth left them there, humming to herself as she scurried over to Jorge. She was more than prepared to help him up from the ground, but he beat her to the punch, smiling her way a bit sheepishly. “M’sorry you have to keep helping me out like this, Liz…”

She shook her head then, gently taking his hand with her own and giving it a reassuring squeeze. He had nothing to feel sorry about. “You don’t have to apologize for anything, Jorgie… I’m a Hamon Master in training for a reason, don’t you know?”

“Well, y-yeah! You’ll be among the greatest out there in no time…!”

Among the greatest out there, huh?

There was still a long way to go, a lot for her to learn if she was ever to obtain mastery of the technique like her foster father, but she intended to thoroughly succeed.

For Jorge’s sake, for Miss Erina’s sake, and… well, for her own sake.

 


 

What did it mean to be beautiful? That was a question she’s asked herself since grade school.

For some reason… it always felt as if her peers had the unspoken answers, but never felt the need to share them with her. At the time, Yukako couldn’t blame them. She wasn’t the most approachable girl growing up, especially back then. Her classmates tended to keep their distance, only addressing her when necessary or when teachers recommended a group project. If they weren’t forced to be around her, they made themselves scarce. Whether it be during lunch time or field trips, they got their point across clearly. But again, who would want to spend their days with such an unsightly girl? A girl whose eye was prone to twitching when her nerves got the best of her. Who had a bad habit of startling others because she walked too quietly for their liking. Whose hair was frequently associated with the likes of Sadako, to a point that a group of older girls from her second year of middle school decided to do something about it. Yukako wouldn’t want to.

So, it was easy to empathize. To understand why so many people kept their distance. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t aware of her lack of beauty. To be truthful… this was something she had long since been sure of. Grade school left her well aware of how she stood out compared to others, and middle school only worsened the blows. She was far too severe looking, too frightening to have a face considered ‘cute’. It was why she was tasked with being part of the haunted house every time their class did one for the cultural festival.

Yamagishi Yukako was scary, and she knew it. She had accepted it long before.

But, it still hurt.

It hurt to wake up everyday knowing that she would never be desirable, that she would never be acknowledged, never be loved. That reality left a gaping hole in the place where her heart was meant to be, and it only grew in size with the passing days.

She struggled to find her place in this world. Hell, she struggled to figure out her purpose within this sleepy town she called home. Morioh wasn’t anything to brag about, so she supposed it was fitting. An unforgettable town for an unforgettable girl. It was almost laughable when she dwelled on it, but at the same time? She yearned for something exciting. Something new to happen. Something that would hopefully shake up this small world as she knew it. Anything to get her mind off of the everyday mundane around her.

Maybe she should have been a bit more specific.

Being laid out in an alleyway in the dead of night, with an arrow lodged deep in her chest was not what she had hoped for… but, perhaps this was to be expected for someone like herself. To think, after all the time she spent mulling over the negatives in her life, she’d be struck down like a wild animal in her attempt to bring a more positive outlook to her life. High school would be starting in a few months, it was meant to be a new beginning. A means of trying to figure out an answer to the questions she's had for so long. To uncover her own definition of being beautiful.

Was that really so hard to ask for?

It must be, was all she could think to herself as her spotty vision caught sight of a massive figure looming over her. The mysterious individual said nothing as they reached down and ripped the arrow from her body. A scream tried bubbling it’s way from her parted lips, but was muffled by a wet gurgle of blood. Oh, she was bleeding. A lot.

Barely conscious, Yukako turned her attention instead to the fact that her hair was cushioning her from being completely on the wet ground beneath her. As odd as it was, she couldn’t help but feel… happy at that realization. Perhaps it was the shock, or maybe just the blood loss, but to see how long her hair had grown out again since that particular incident years back was nice. It was even going as far to soak up the blood she was losing around her. “...T-this is going to be such a pain to get out later…” She finally spoke up, voice raspy as her vision continued to fade.

She was dying, and yet couldn’t help herself to crack a quiet joke. The thought of how much shampoo and conditioner it would take to regain her current volume brought a laugh to her lips. It was the only thing she could think of doing at this time.

Her hair was her saving grace, something to work towards.

Something to be proud of when there was so little she liked about herself

So maybe, just maybe… that was the reason it kept her alive?

Why it gained sentience in a bizarre glow of light that not only did away with the gaping wound in the center of her chest, but brought her back to consciousness with two unfamiliar words at the tip of her tongue upon waking up.

“...Love Deluxe…”

 


 

Cream Starter was always something Hot Pants had considered a blessing.

As she sat in the rough hewn pews of the small church in her even smaller town, she remembered to always thank God for the gift she had been given. Her mama had always said that every day was a blessing, every breath in the morning was a gift. While those were all good gifts, she thought she probably had the best one.

They lived a simple life. It was hard work living on their farm and more often than not food was scarce. For her education in literature she read scripture by candlelight and learned numbers from her mother’s books on farm expenses. There wasn’t much in the way of entertainment beyond playing with ragdolls made from old dresses.

But Hot Pants? She was a creative sort… and with her blessing, there was never a dull moment.

She would spend hours in the small room she shared with her brother whispering funny things to the younger boy. With Cream Starter she would change her face to resemble that of their mother or the woman who always seemed to sweat profusely in church. Sometimes, she was their father demanding why the goats hadn’t been fed.

Each little impression or amazing trick done with her body left her brother in stitches. He was the only one who knew. The keeper of her secret. While they fought like cats and dogs in the day, once the sun set they flocked to each other to chase boredom away.

It wasn’t until that fateful day, however, lost amongst the trees and a basket of wild nuts forgotten, that Hot Pants thought of her blessing as a curse.

They had stumbled upon a bear. Perhaps they had wandered too close to it’s den or there were cubs nearby, but there was no hesitation in its attack. They ran. She remembered breathing hard. Looking for something, anything, that could protect them.

That was when she spotted the small fissure in the rock. It was tiny, but her blessing could help her become nearly boneless. She could squeeze between rocks like she’d heard an octopus could… this could’ve been her only chance.

She veered right with the bear just at their heels before using her power. She felt her bones become nearly gelatinous as she slipped between the small nook in the rock.

Her brother followed, panting hard and panicking as the roar of the grizzly echoed behind them. “H-Help me!” she’d heard him cry, trying desperately to fit himself as well. Cream Starter was jammed between the rocks and as he tried to squeeze in she yelped in pain. He was hurting her as he struggled to jam himself in her hiding spot as well, to receive the comfort of safety that his sister found. She couldn’t use her blessing now.

Get off of me!” she remembered yelling as she shoved him away, afraid that he might take off her finger, or worse her hand, accidentally in his hysteria. She remembered the tears glistening on his face as the bear didn’t hesitate as he stumbled back. Every agonized cry as the animal fought and ripped and bit into him haunted her memories.

She let him die. So much for a blessing. It couldn’t help him.

No Hail Marys could absolve her of the guilt.

For a short while, she had thought sisterhood could do something to aid her plight. It would be like earning her brother’s forgiveness, as well as her power… but it never did feel like it was enough. Now, on a ship to America, Hot Pants felt the weight of Cream Starter not just in the palm of her hand, but firmly on her shoulders.

She had to retrieve the parts of the Holy Corpse for the Vatican. Maybe then… when she’d fulfilled a sacred duty… the Lord Above would lighten the heavy guilt she had heaped on her back.

Chapter Text

"Sometimes, all you need is a little liquid courage... and an unlikely trio to back you up."

 


 

 

Morioh was not a town exactly known for its nightlife. Excitement was usually found a train ride away in S-City but… for a sleepy little place, the residents weren’t completely out of luck. There were ways to have a good time.

Kanpai!” Holly shouted with vigor as she leaned back, swallowing large mouthfuls of beer, making her companion laugh.

“Damn, Holly. You can certainly put it back,” Tomoko replied with a snicker over the rim of her glass.

“I’ll have you know, I have quite the tolerance for alcohol. Don’t go lettin’ this sweet face of mine fool you, okaaay~?” Holly told her with a wink and grin, though the red flush on her cheeks said otherwise. Tomoko felt a little fuzzy herself and though she’d tried to count the empty glasses on the counter, she couldn’t tell who had drank from which.

“Mhmm sure, suuuuuure.”

“Hey, it’s true!”

Tomoko stood then, feeling the bar floor shift beneath her feet before the world settled once more. She glanced at her drinking buddy for a moment, suppressing a laugh at the mustache of foam that seemed to have formed above Holly’s lip before speaking again. “Hey, I gotta pee or whatever. Hold onto my drink, okay? So no-- no creeps try to get their hands on it or-- wait, no. Better yet. Order another round? I’ll be back soon.”

Holly offered an odd mix of a wave and thumbs up before the younger woman hurried off to the bathroom, hoping to take care of what she needed to. And fast.

That many beers really was too much on the bladder and she quietly scolded herself as she shuffled to the sink. Yet, as she ran her hands under the water, she looked in the mirror at her pink face and had to fucking catalog just how she got here of all places.

As far as evenings went… this may have been one of the weirder ones. Higashikata Tomoko was used to weird. Hell, this whole town was one big beacon of weird, wasn’t it? What she hadn’t expected however, was for things get like this. The daughter of an old… flame (sixteen years later, and she was still working on trying to move on from Joseph Joestar. It wasn’t exactly easy, to say the least...) showed up at her doorstep earlier in the week, twenty years her senior and asking to get to know her.

Could she say no? She probably should have, this whole ordeal was strange and incredibly awkward. But, as far as visits had gone... she discovered that Kujo Holly was sweet, thoughtful, and probably didn’t have a mean bone in her body. All things taken into account, although it was a rocky start, there was no way Tomoko couldn’t like Holly. She was just… too lovely an individual to hate. Let alone dislike.

So, when Holly mentioned she’d never actually had a girl’s night out since settling in Japan? Tomoko suggested they hang out before she could even think about it!

But that’s how they ended up here, drinking like it was the end of the world.

Tomoko sighed and dried her hands. Maybe this really was… weird. Maybe it wasn’t something she should do. But Holly reached out to her without malice and with a genuine desire to get to know her. She had gone sightseeing with her and shopping and out for coffee. She showered Josuke with expensive presents, which he sure as shit didn’t deserve considered how his grades in math had been slipping lately. But she allowed it… because deep down, she noticed something in Holly she had noticed in herself all these years.

Loneliness.

That woman needed a friend. And honestly? So did Tomoko, so why the fuck not? She’d be more than happy to call Kujo Holly her friend if she wanted it.

With that set in her drunken mind, she stumbled out of the bathroom. However, what she hadn’t expected was to see Holly excitedly chatting up an equally drunk redhead who Tomoko was certain she had seen around town before. Same for the bored looking blonde who seemed to sigh near breathlessly at every opportunity.

Wasn’t that… Tsuji Aya? The beautician that ran Cinderella?

“Oh! Tomoko, there you are!” Holly called, reaching out for her while simultaneously going for another swig of beer. It took her a moment to swallow before she licked her lips and continued. “This is Shinobu and this is Aya! Shinobu told me I had a beer mustache and Aya helped me clean it off. Wasn’t that nice of them? Shinobu, Aya, this is Tomoko!”

“Ah… yeah. Hi there,” Tomoko replied awkwardly as she took her seat.

“Hey.”
“...Hello.”

The chorus of greetings between an almost cynical looking woman and the dreamy sighs of this other were an interesting combo to say the least. But as beer flowed and conversation followed, Tomoko found herself growing lax with these newcomers too.

“...And my husband literally hasn’t fucking come home in months,” Shinobu said finally, wrapping up the sort of oddly personal tale that never failed to come out when one was drinking with girlfriends. “I don’t know what I did…” She spoke the initial story with all the fury of a scorned woman, mother and wife... but in her last words, Shinobu sounded as lost and vulnerable as a kitten. Maybe it triggered Tomoko just a bit.

“Men are fucking dogs, okay?” Tomoko shouted then, slamming her glass on the table. “Your husband is nothing but a deadbeat if he just walked out like that! You know what I think, Shinobu? You dodged a damn bullet since that loser decided to leave!”

Aya gave a little sigh. “Here, here~”

Shinobu let out a little sniffle and smiled as she lifted her glass up to pour the last dregs of alcohol into her mouth. “Th-Thanks,” she mumbled as she wiped at her mouth with her arm. “Y’know what? He was a loser… s-so, yeah! I… totally dodged a bullet.”

It sounded like she was trying to convince herself of that but… hey. That was the first step, wasn’t it?

“Well, it’s not totally fair to say something like that, don’t you think?” Holly piped up then and all three pairs of eyes settled on her. She shifted a little nervously under the piercing gaze of the other three women but pushed on. “To paint all men with that brush… my Jotaro, he’s always been a sweet boy. He’s isn’t a dog…”

“Your son doesn’t count,” Tomoko replied quickly.

“Oh definitely not,” Shinobu added. “My Hayato, he’s wonderful too. He’s been doing his best to take care of me since Kosaku stepped out of our lives.”

Holly nodded slowly. “Well, I suppose so. I mean… my Sadao? My husband? He isn’t… he isn’t around most of the time Always off touring and making money but he-- he takes care of me just fine, especially now that Jotaro’s left the house. Our house is always paid for, he always provides from so far away… Just because he’s home maybe a month of the year it doesn’t mean that-- it doesn’t mean he’s a dog.”

“No. It just means he’s a shitty partner is all,” Tomoko hissed, suddenly extremely angry on Holly’s behalf. “He isn’t there for you! Really, you deserve better.”

“Mhmm, mhmm,” Shinobu nodded in agreement. “He sounds like a loser.”

“He’s a world class jazz musician! He’s touring most of the year!”

“Still a loser,” Shinobu insisted. “He would make time, wouldn’t he? Not just make up excuses. He needs to try harder if you’re in that big house all by yourself.”

“I… don’t know what to do,” Holly looked down then, hands wringing in her lap and a lost look in her green eyes that made Tomoko’s heart wrench tightly. She was sure the entire table shared the sentiment.

Aya sighed loudly then and the other three turned to look at her. Her mouth was turned up into the most indulgent and almost mischievous smirk ever spotted on a woman as she methodically ran her finger around the rim of the glass.

“Ladies please, isn’t the answer obvious?”

When they all exchanged looks of confusion, Aya let out a light laugh before sighing once more.

“I am incredibly available and quite good at multitasking~ Who needs men at all?”

Chapter Text

"Idle Rumors can only go far... that is, until you discover some truth to them."


 

“Hey… have you heard about Trattoria Zeppeli?”

Shinohara Suzuki watched as her friend and upperclassman Reiri turned her head in confusion. She was so prim and proper it almost made her confusion look funny. “...Isn’t that that new Italian restaurant that opened up? Keiji’s grandpa owns it right?”

School had let out and the two girls were walking home. A series of bizarre adventures surrounding their mutual friends had caused them to become very close as of late. It was even more surprising that despite living in Morioh their whole lives, the two had no idea that they basically lived around the block from one another! That however, meant that walks home were no longer lonely affairs.

“Why yes, yes it is~” Suzuki replied with a huge smile, twirling a lock of bottle blonde hair around her fingers. “But…” she paused, leaning in conspiratorially, “have you heard… what happens there? Keiji’s grandpa is apparently kinda creepy and weird.”

Reiri rolled her eyes. “You know it isn’t nice to gossip right?”

“It isn’t gossip if it’s true!” She yelled indignantly.

Reiri crossed her arms then over her crisp uniform, she was every inch a stately beauty, Himura Reiri, renown ice queen of their high school with perfect grades and aspirations to become a doctor. Brown hair blowing in the wind, though honestly her underclassman felt she would make a gorgeous blonde... school rules be damned! Sometimes Suzuki wondered if the only reason Reiri wasn’t constantly getting confessions left and right was because she could be extremely terrifying when the moment called for it.

She felt a chill run down her spine when Reiri’s blue eyes pinned hers, looking for answers to her earlier words. Wow, yeah, terrifying was right .

“Who told you these… truths, then? And what did they say?”

Suzuki pouted. “Jojo did… He told me a few things!”

“Like…?”

“Th-That the old man can jump ten feet in the air and land perfectly in his chair!” she huffed with as much dignity she could muster, which was admittedly not a lot.

Reiri looked unimpressed. “While that does sound far-fetched, he could just be athletic.”

“How many athletic old men do you know?” Suzuki fired right back, trying to be defiant.

“There are plenty of healthy and active old men. So… did Joshiro tell you anything else about him, or is that everything you’ve got for your rumor mill, hm?” Reiri pushed. Suzuki was not a girl to be beaten in a test of wills and she would do her very best to convince her friend of this place’s dangers! She trusted Jojo’s judgement after all!

Even if he was kind of an asshole on occasions. A cute one, at least.

“Hmph, you can be so rude sometimes!” Suzuki finally replied, turning her nose daintily in the air. “But well, he also said Mr. Zeppeli spits wine through his teeth at customers! And that Daikoku gets all his freaky blood and guts for those weird rituals from him.”

“You’re kidding me, right? If he did that he wouldn’t have any customers. His business would fail immediately. Also all the stuff Daikoku spouts is bullshit and you know it.”

“Must you always be so rational?” Suzuki felt her win slipping through her fingers as her cheeks puffed out in a pout. Daikoku really was just kind of delusional, wasn’t he? Even she doubted that he did any sort of demonic summoning rituals to gain ‘unspeakable power from the Seven Gates of Hell’, as he liked to put it. He just wanted to be cool. Even though that was more dorky than anything.

Reiri readjusted her grip on her school bag before shrugging. “Someone has to among our lot. This is totally slander you know… Plus, Jojo told me that he’s a nice man!”

“Well, your Jojo and my Jojo are very different people…”

That was the ticket. Suzuki watched in delight as Reiri’s face turned a deep pink and her eyebrows furrowed in obvious embarrassment. Her friend had such a thing for the older Toujou brother that it was almost laughable. Honestly, how she didn’t notice Joichiro following her around and obviously just as besotted was a real mystery.

“H-He’s not my Jojo!” Reiri lied through her teeth, attempting to will her blush away. “You-- You really shouldn’t be s-saying things like that without thinking!”

“Well, I’m not wrong…” The indignant noise that left her friend was music to her ears as Suzuki continued without missing a beat, “Okay, fine... maybe those rumors don’t have any grains of truth to them... But! How do you explain the cemetery thing? Huh?”

“Cemetery thing?” The older girl tilted her head, eyes shining with curiosity.

“Yeah! The restaurant is located like right next to the cemetery! Who in their right mind decides to rent out an old building next to a cemetery of all places, Ririchi?! Mourners aren’t looking to eat rich Italian cuisine after paying their respects!”

Suzuki placed her hands on her hips and practically dared Reiri to question her. That was a totally weird thing! Not to mention the rest of what Jojo had passed on to her.

“Come on Suzuki, next you’re going to say that he apparently steals cremated ashes and puts them into the meals he makes.”

The younger girl got very quiet then, looking away from her companion. Did that really seem so far fetched? After Joshiro told her the cemetery thing, the idea that Keiji’s grandfather took advantage of its close quarters to his restaurant sounded plausible. She spent a moment admiring her artfully folded white oversized socks over her loafers.

That is, until Reiri’s surprised shout cut through the silence like a knife.

“J-JOSHIRO DIDN’T ACTUALLY TELL YOU THAT, DID HE?!”

Suzuki opened her mouth to speak, but Reiri didn’t give her the chance. The older girl grabbed her hand instead, eyes ablaze with determination. Oh boy. What kind of Pandora’s Box did she just open? “Alright, that’s it! I can’t let your Jojo just say anything he wants. Especially if it’s tarnishing a man’s good reputation. We’re going to eat at Trattoria Zeppeli and I’m going to show you just how normal that restaurant is!”

She squirmed at the idea, trying to wriggle her way out of her friend’s grasp as she began to pull her in the direction of the cemetery. “Noooooo! I don’t wanna eat ashes!”

Reiri paused for a moment, almost as if she felt bad for pulling Suzuki around like a ragdoll. In an attempt to get out of this situation, Suzuki pulled her best puppy dog eyes. There was no way this could fail, they’ve never let her down before! “I promise you, if I actually think human ashes are in his food we’ll put the breaks on it. Okay?”

Alright. It wasn’t a total win… but she’d take it. Reiri could be the worst kind of bullheaded sometimes. But she wouldn’t let her simply get away with this. Not without guilt. So Suzuki gave her best fake sniffle as well, practically reveling in the look of apprehension that flitted through her friend’s gaze.

Good. She deserved that. Now they could go eat maybe-ashes and she could hold Reiri responsible.

O-Okay.”

Chapter Text

"Nothing could have prepared her for this, but well... she didn't have time to dwell on the 'What ifs' that came with Motherhood."

 


 

Mariana Kujo always thought of herself as normal.

Well, as normal as a woman could get when she was Florida-born and raised. Between the occasional occurrence of having an alligator or two in your backyard, and having to choose which Disney themed poncho would look best during hurricane season, it went without saying that her environment growing up was a rather… colorful one.

Not that it was something to scoff about. Mariana very well enjoyed her time in the Sunshine State, for more reasons than she could ever possibly count on her fingers. Those memories played a major role in shaping her goals and aspirations for the future, to a point where she found herself nose deep in textbooks about the local marine life. From there, it was unsurprisingly easy pickings for where this interest would lead her in due time. The ocean was basically second nature her. Hell, it was close enough to being a namesake that she’d jokingly consider it her birthright from time to time. She always felt a closeness to the sea, a sort of kinship that could never properly be conveyed with words. Call it an unspoken companionship, one that lasted through the ages and never failed to welcome her back with open arms the very moment she stepped foot on the beach. It was almost like returning home after a long trip.

...A feeling she was more than certain her husband was familiar with.

Jotaro. Just saying his name left Mariana feeling as if she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He was a rather interesting case in her supposed normalcy. At first glance, one would be fearful to approach… thinking him nothing more of a stoic statue of a man. In actuality? Underneath it all was someone who struggled to express himself as easily as those around him, something Mariana thankfully managed to pick up on after the second or third date. Go figure. But, there was something else.

Something she could never rightly explain, but paid the repercussions every time he excused himself from their household for weeks on end.

Sometimes months.

Once, close to a full year.

She didn’t like mentioning that period of time too much, knowing she’d end up with more questions than answers… but Jolyne definitely took no prisoners when interrogating her father once an opportunity called for it. Like clockwork, their little girl would sit there waiting in the too-big-for-an-eight-year-old recliner she dubbed ‘Daddy’s Work Chair’, with her arms crossed and lips in a scowl until Jotaro’s cab from the airport turned down the corner to their street. Mariana always watched with a somewhat amused smile as he took Jojo’s complaints with stride, accepting her soft handed kicks and punches to his calves all the while scooping her up in an exhausted embrace. This had become rather common exchange in their home, but perhaps… it shouldn’t have been.

Perhaps, Mariana thought this more often than not, she should have done more to shield Jolyne from the reality of their somewhat… messy situation. Or, at the very least, get a clear understanding of this coming-and-going that shaped a significant portion of their time together. When it was just the two of them, not yet bound by marriage vows and ‘Til Death Do We Part’, his absences didn’t have as much of a lasting impact.

They were both doing their own separate thing, all the while slowly but surely coming together in an unexpected, but comfortable relationship.

But things were different now.

They had a daughter, they were meant to be a family.

No longer was she Mariana, the one who sat behind a hulking giant in Oceanography and spent a good portion of that semester having to stand over him to get a good look at the blackboard. Nor was she Mariana Kujo, the one who had successfully managed to get Jotaro Kujo off the bachelor’s market and had the engagement ring to prove it.

She was a mother first and foremost, to a little girl who needed it in ways she wasn’t certain Jotaro fully understood. Call it motherly instinct, a term that has yet to lose it’s comforting familiarity on her tongue, but if there is one thing she was certain of in this so-called ‘everyday mundane’ that was her married life? Jolyne was not only her top priority, but the very reason she needed to keep herself afloat in the midst of all this.

She didn’t have an exact name for it yet… only that it was apparently keeping them safe in the long run, as it was only something he could do. That, she understood completely and wouldn’t hold certain things against him. Their protection was his top priority, and she had to commemorate him for that. Even with his lack of expression, and tendency of coming across as rather… dismissive to those around him, he was thinking of them.

Did that excuse him completely? Of course not.

At the end of the day, Mariana knew one thing...  she had to keep her head above the rushing water for Jolyne’s sake, she’d be a fool to let anything stop her from doing so.

Jotaro, be damned.

Chapter Text

"With metal shears held high, Trish Una decided to dispose of an unwanted birthright."

 


 

Diavolo. A name left unspoken lest you wished to be visited by the Prince of Darkness himself. He lived in inky black shadows and thrived on the death and misfortune of others. His empire was vast and demons bowed to him.

He was their king. Their ruler.

Trish, looking in the mirror, wished for nothing more than to be a nobody now.

She was the devil’s spawn. Viewed as a valuable bargaining chip by her father’s enemies and acknowledged as nothing more than a liability by her father. There was no winning. Her life in her father’s shadow was joyless and full of fear.

That is why she left. Her father’s legion of lesser demons had planned a revolt. There had been unrest. Multiple warring factions continued to question his power. Good for them . Normally she wouldn’t have trusted her wellbeing to anyone … and she still didn’t. Not fully anyway.

But when Bruno Buccellati extended his hand and asked her to escape from the battles within her father’s subterranean castle with him. To join up with his group of demons who wished to be rid of the King of Fiends? How could she say no?

So she followed them, that strange group, out of the catacombs of her father’s kingdom and up into the cities of modern man. She knew she had been born there, but to see the bustle of the overworld was something completely different. Once above ground their group acquired a hotel room to hide out in for the night.

That is how she ended up here, staring herself down in a shitty bathroom. The fixtures stained and the mirror cracked. She crushed a bug on the yellowed porcelain of the sink and flicked it into the drain.

In her reflection, she saw more signs of the man that she called father than she ever wished to see. Back in the palace, in her prison, her hair grew long and pink. She saw now, the dark spots that peppered her lower curls.

Its similarity to him made her stomach turn in the worst way.

She heard a muffled roar of laughter through the bathroom door. Her traveling companions had no trouble keeping their sense of humor through these trying times. She wanted to be like that. She wanted to make a change. For herself .

Trish glanced down at the metal scissors Giorno had passed to her before she entered the bathroom.

“In case you want a trim,” he had said with an implication in his voice.

She knew what he wanted of her, but until this moment she didn’t realize just how badly she wanted to do it as well. With her eyes trained on the black spots covering the bottom of her hair, Trish grabbed the scissors and hacked away without hesitation.

Any spot of black was cut through, shorn in half. She watched with delight as every clipping fell into the sink, covering the discarded roach’s corpse in a snow of black and pink. Even after the unsightly spots were removed, she kept on cutting away.

He wore his hair long too. Trish couldn’t have that.

So, she cut and cut. With every snip of the scissors, she imagined a wrong. An attack. Being taken from her human mother, wherever she was now. All the pain and hurt, the isolation and the fear that Diavolo had actively sent her way as a frightening reminder. Chunks of hair fell and fell until she felt the shears at the base of her neck.

When her vision seemed to regain focus, she realized then… just how short she’d cut it. Each piece of her long, wavy hair was trimmed exceptionally and curling up in a variety of lengths. She paused for a moment, actually taking time to admire how nice it felt to have her neck exposed for once. It wasn’t a bad look either. This style… suited her.

With her hair gone, she felt a weight she hadn’t recognized lift off her shoulders. She stood straighter, looked brighter and sweeter. Yes. this is how she was meant to look.

“Heeeeey, Trish! C’mon out already! I’ve gotta take a shit! What are you doin’ in there?!” Narancia’s loud voice cut through the silence that had filled the small bathroom, save for the hum of fluorescent lights. He knocked loudly on the door as she opened it, his fist faltering and swinging through the air as the wood swung from his reach.

She felt the eyes of everyone in the room on her and for once, felt like preening at the attention instead of shying away.

“So?” She asked, jutting her hip out and resting her fist firmly on it. A girl could only be confident for so long and their lack of feedback was starting to make her palms sweat.

It was Bruno who finally broke the silence.

“That style suits you.”

He sounded so genuine in his statement, so kind, that she almost didn’t know how to handle it. And once Bruno spoke? The entire motel room spoke it’s encouraging words.

“Short’s really cute on you!”

“We can see your whole face!”

“Wow, think you can cut mine?!”

“It’s a very elegant cut.”

“Hmph, a little messy but not bad…”

It was almost a little overwhelming to hear five voices speaking up in unison. As much as she was loathe to admit it… she kind of enjoyed this. Enjoyed having people who wanted to speak to her and praise her if she deserved it. It had been so long.

“Thanks, maybe I’ll give haircuts to anyone who wants~” She replied, trying to find her footing again somewhat.

Narancia shouldered past her after that. “H-Hey okay now that that’s done-- I-I’ve really gotta go!” And without further fanfare, he slammed the door behind him. Trish let out her most unladylike snort.

“So,” came a voice from the other side of the room. Leone Abbacchio kept his eyes trained right on her. “I’m going to have to acquire… documentation for you. Get you a legitimate identity on the surface. I have connections but I’ll need a last name for you…”

Trish nodded and thought for a moment. Naso was the last name her father had used in the world of humans, but she didn’t want to be associated with anything of his. It was then that she remembered a woman, short black hair and with a smile so warm she didn’t need anything else for comfort. Donatella Una… a hole in her life she could never ever replace.

“Una. Call me… Trish Una.”

Fugo smirked at that. “One, huh? That works, a little symbolic. I think it’s appropriate.”

“Better than four,” Mista added with a solemn nod.

Trish felt a grin pulling at the corners of her lips. Here in this motel room, surrounded by friends and not enemies for the first time in a long time, she felt that warmth once again. Emanating from all of her companions all at once. This was the most at home she’d felt in forever.

Suddenly, a choked scream sounded from the bathroom.

"WH-WHO THE FUCK LEFT A DEAD ROACH IN THE SINK?!”

Trish couldn’t help the laughter that spilled from her lips.

Chapter Text

"Midler could have spent her last night before battle with anyone else... but Mariah was not-so-secretly glad she was spending it with her."


 

 

“Remind me what you’re looking out for again?” Midler’s voice broke lilting buzz of the balmy Egyptian evening.

Mariah, leaning over the edge of the building with her binoculars, laughed. “We’re supposed to be keeping an eye on the Speedwagon Foundation. I thought you of all people would remember what Lord Dio says to us.”

There really wasn’t much going on there. The Speedwagon Foundation was merely attempting to set up a base of operations somewhere in Cairo but really, they were too far from the mansion to do any sort of damage. Supposedly, the real damage was happening abroad as the Joestars grew ever closer. Mariah had an inkling of that when Hol Horse returned from India alone, making up some sort of excuse.

The fact that he had lost not only J. Geil, but also Nena in such a short time? It meant that the Joestars were far more formidable than they’d thought. It was only a matter of time before they were all conscripted to fight on their Lord’s behalf.

For Midler, it seemed, that was sooner rather than later.

“Well, forgive me if I thought our Lord would think to celebrate my last day in Cairo before I intercept the Joestars with a bit of a bang, if you catch my drift.” Her voice was loud and full of suggestion. Mariah couldn’t blame her. Everyone was chomping at the bit to be with Lord Dio intimately. She certainly felt the same. Midler continued on. “Yet, here I am. Laying on a roof, wishing that Speedwagon guy was never born so his foundation would be less of a pain in my ass.”

She had a point, they weren’t really doing anything. The Speedwagon Foundation members were just milling about. Smoking cigarettes, talking, doing fuck all that was important. So, making an executive decision she tossed the binoculars aside and turned to her companion with all the grace of a feral cat.

Bastet was her stand after all.

“What? You don’t want to spend your last night with me, Midler? You don’t want to enjoy a little date night~?”

She had to admit, Midler really was beautiful. She was propped up against an air conditioning unit and sprawled artfully over the roof tiles of the building they were on. The young woman always felt better against metal, perhaps a consequence of her stand’s power. Never leaving herself vulnerable. In the moonlight her skin practically glowed and as Mariah advanced on her, she opened her arms. Welcoming. Happy.

Lord Dio was the only man she would ever devote herself to, but in his absence Mariah sometimes felt like devoting herself to Midler. Their goals and aspirations were the same, their shared adoration for their Lord was also unmatched, and in that she felt like she’d found a kindred spirit. Someone who thoroughly understood her. In ways she had never been able to properly convey with words and actions, alone...

Without missing a beat, she slipped into Midler’s waiting arms and felt an indescribable urge to purr. Her skin was cool compared to the warm night air, a welcome change to simply being surrounded by the evening breeze. Better than the heat of the day, at least.

Midler sighed contently once they were settled. Curled together on a rooftop of all things. “Mm... I can definitely get behind the idea of a date night. I hadn’t intended on it but well, I’d rather spend tonight with you than… anyone else really.”

Mariah snorted. “There’s really slim pickings back at the mansion nowadays, huh?”

“Ugh, honestly. If I have to see Alessi’s disgusting face one more time--”

“Hey,” Mariah called out, cutting her off. “This is your last day and we won’t be talking about that scumbag, okay?”

“Okay…”

They fell into a companionable silence then, enjoying the sounds of the passing city and each other’s comforting presence. That is, until Midler nudged her and pointed to the sky with one long, illuminated arm. “Hey… check out the stars tonight, you can actually see all of them. Wish I knew a damn thing about constellations, though …”

“I don’t care about any of them except Leo~”

“Pfft, cat freak.”

They both giggled softly after that, both of them staring appreciatively at the sky above. When she finally tore her gaze away, Mariah let them focus instead on Midler’s relaxed form. Between that beautiful long neck, strong profile and that hair which cascaded in waves down her back, she wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen her so pretty. There was something else that lingered in the pit of her stomach too. A worry that she’d be hurt.

They were Stand users, though. It came with the job.

Who knew what was in the cards for her future, even?

Suddenly Midler raised one arm, as if attempting to reach out for the most prominent star in the sky that evening. Mariah realized why soon enough… she could practically see the star itself glowing at the nape of Lord Dio’s shoulder. A symbol of his power.

“Do you think… when we come back, that Lord Dio will reward us?”

Mariah was quiet for a moment. Taking stock of the feeling of Midler’s skin against hers, the night breeze, the glow of the stars overhead and the feeling of impending misfortune that sat heavy in her gut. With that in mind, she decided to give the most honest answer she could muster.

“His favor is the only thing we can hope for.” She let those words hang in the air and settle around them before continuing, not willing to leave it on that note. “Who knows, maybe he’ll even want to join us on our next date. What do you think about that, huh?”

“Now you’ve got the right idea~”

Chapter Text

"To think, after all this time? She actually had someone she could call a friend."

 


 

Yukako’s feet pounded the pavement under her as she ran. Her hair, her pride and joy, streamed behind her, carried on the wind created by her forward motion. She had no time to lose.

Okuyasu had called her. This was not an unusual occurrence as the two recently had gotten closer. The same could be said about Josuke, but there was something about Nijimura Okuyasu that felt like he understood her in a way that Josuke couldn’t… no matter how hard he might’ve tried if she were willing to share. So, when she heard his voice on the other end of her phone line, she hadn’t really thought anything of it.

You know. Until he started yelling over the receiver in a panic.

“YUKAKO! Y’GOTTA COME OVER LIKE RIGHT FUCKIN’ NOW OKAY?! NO TIME TO EXPLAIN! JUST SHOW UP!!”

Then the line went dead.

If she was the first person he was calling in a crisis? Something serious must be happening and she knew he needed her there as soon as possible, so she ran as fast as her legs could carry her. When a lowly office worker was blocking her path and walking too slow for her liking, she elbowed him violently and kept going. This was an emergency and she wasn’t going to allow some vile asshole to put her friend in danger.

As she ran past Josuke’s house, she considered getting back up for a moment. But no. No. She didn’t need any help and Okuyasu didn’t call Josuke. He called her . And with that, she bolted past the Higashikata home and around the corner to the Nijimura household.

The place wasn’t as big of an eyesore as it had been earlier in the year. Their group of friends, Rohan included to everyone’s surprise, had shown up and helped Okuyasu patch up holes and repaint rooms. Seeing him live in a broken down home with his father had left a bad taste in their mouths. They all wanted to do something about it and they had, leaving Okuyasu crying and thanking everyone from the bottom of his heart.

Now though, his gate was open and his front door was ajar. Had someone broken in thinking this massive place actually had something worth stealing?! Without hesitating, Yukako barged in, anger filling every vein in her body. If they wanted to try anything funny, she’d make any uncouth intruder pay .

Poised to attack with Love Deluxe at the ready, she walked into what would be the living room. It was then that Yukako caught sight of a figure and ordered her Stand to charge first, wrapping around the figure and lifting it in the air. “What have you done with Okuyasu?!” She shouted before her voice trailed away.

There, wrapped up in her hair, was her friend in question.

“H-Hey Yukako! I-I’m me! ‘M right here, you don’t gotta worry! Put me down though… o-okay?”

Immediately, she let Love Deluxe carefully place him back down on his feet but her sharp gaze remained firm. “If you’re fine, why the hell did you call me in such a panic?! I thought you were being attacked by someone. Were you… pranking me?”

Okuyasu blinked for a moment, as if trying to understand why the call earlier may have freaked her out. She could practically see the moment the proverbial light bulb went off in his head. “What? No, no no! Sorry if my uh… call was all weird and shit! I just wanted you to get here quick. I did a kind of impulsive thing, but I thought you might like it…”

“...Huh?”

“Ta-daaaah!” Okuyasu called, sweeping his arm down to a low table they had arranged in his living room earlier in the month. On the surface, it was laden with cooked dishes. Some were Italian plates obviously picked up from Tonio while the others were traditional Japanese fare that she recognized. Each dish was steaming and honestly looked delicious, even by her own exacting standards. Next to it, was also a steaming pot of tea and two cushions artfully arranged on either side.

“What-- What is all this?” She asked, finally looking up from the impeccable looking food and tea to Okuyasu’s proud beaming face.

The smile on his face never faltered, it only got bigger. “Well, Tonio’s been teachin’ me some really great things! So I decided to make you some carbonara and tomato crostinis and this awesome risotto recipe. But… then I wasn’t sure if you were gonna like that kind of stuff, so I made okonomiyaki and some mild curry. Y’know… normal shit you’d be familiar with. Also some rice balls if you wanna take ‘em home.”

Yukako took a moment, surveying all the plates on the table as he introduced them but also…still confused. “Okuyasu… I meant why did you make all this stuff?”

“O-OH!” he replied, his cheeks flushing pink in obvious embarrassment. “I didn’t realize. I just-- I was thinkin’ about you! And how you’ve been helping me a lot these days! I mean… everyone really has done their part and I dunno if I deserve all that attention? It’s so much trouble for a guy like me who hardly fuckin’ contributes anything!”

“You’re absolutely deserving of our help. I told you, you need to stop putting yourself down so much! Didn’t I say already that--”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Okuyasu answered, cutting her off with an almost self-deprecating smile. “You wouldn’t have busted your ass if you thought I didn’t deserve it.”

“Exactly,” Yukako huffed. “I don’t do anything without purpose.”

He nodded. “Well either way, I wanted to do something special for you in particular. You’ve become a really good friend to me lately… tutorin’ me and helpin’ around the house. I wanted to do a little celebration of just… you. You’re one of the strongest people I know! You turned over a new leaf, you try to be a better person every day and I really admire that, y’know? So, I had this dumb idea to make a little dinner in your honor but uh… I guess I botched that fuckin’ phone call earlier. I’m sorry about that.”

Yukako’s hand flew to her mouth. It was very difficult for her to hold her emotions back. She knew Koichi loved and appreciated her, every day. He’d said many things about how much he admired her self-growth. But, there was also something special about being told that by a friend . She’d never really had any… not ones who found her worthy of admiration and respect like this, and the thought made tears spring to her eyes.

Okuyasu was a genuine person too. She could hear his earnestness in every word and saw the nervousness in his face clear as day as he gestured to the food. He wanted her to be impressed. To like this. He wasn’t a liar by any stretch of the imagination, and he couldn’t hide any of his own feelings right now.

When she felt the tears roll down her face, his expression turned to concern.

“H-Holy shit! I-Is everything okay? Did I fuck something up?!”

Yukako didn’t hesitate to pull her friend, possibly her best friend , into a hug. What a nice thought that was… to have a genuine best friend to call her very own..

“N-No way. Everything is perfect. Thank you, Okuyasu… For saying that. For all of this food.”

She felt a big hand pat her on the back and a smile in his voice when he spoke again. “Nah… thank you for everything, okay? And hell… if this made you cry? I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna do when you see the fuckin’ parfait I’ve got waiting in the fridge!”

Chapter Text

"Being a leader is always hard, you have to be a source of strength and direction for everyone depending on you. The defacto leader of the Luminous on the other hand, always found that her teammates were the ones who constantly inspired her to act..."


  

The Lunar Eclipse was upon them.

Almost instantaneously, the evening sky shifted in tandem with the Blood Moon. Overhead, the stars that dotted the night with various clusters and constellations only moments prior bled away into nothingness as spots of crimson bloomed in their stead, painting a rather unsettling visual for all to witness. A unfamiliar and frightening energy flow followed shortly thereafter, spreading throughout the city in an infectious manner. It was almost as if this strange power... was in desperate search of someone, anyone to allow it opportunity to manifest properly. Rippling in waves at breakneck pace, breaking apart and coming back together in phases of pure, untamed light, the energy struck down bystanders as if they were nothing more than mere insects.

Left and right, bodies collapsed under the weight of a power that did not deem them worthy. Some lasted longer than others, embracing this apparent gift from the Blood Moon with reckless abandon… but their ‘fun’ was quickly silenced by the familiar, monstrous shrieks of awakening Shadow Beasts. Their inky black, fog-like forms detaching themselves from the darkest depths to rise up to the surface.

This was their time to prosper, their night to reign. Flourish… consume.

With wide, rightfully terrified eyes… Erina Pendleton took stock of the city crumbling around her. This was her hometown, her birth place, the home she had sworn to protect the moment she took the duties of the Luminous upon her all those months back. And yet, things were falling apart at the seams and she could not properly fathom it. They were supposed to have more time on their hands, or at the very least… a better understanding of what potential dangers the Total Lunar Eclipse would bring.

But it would seem they were just as clueless as when the eclipse was first brought up to them as a warning. This wasn’t good, and it didn’t look as if things were going to be getting better any time soon. The world as she knew it was suddenly in shambles, and she was at the center of it. Still standing amidst fallen neighbors and companions.

Thankfully, she wasn’t alone.

“Ririiiiii!” As if on cue, Suzi’s familiar voice rang out in the distance. Unlike her usual sing-song, there was a panic in her tone that both frightened and reassured Erina. It was good to know she wasn’t alone in realizing just how unprepared their team was in this unraveling mess, but at the same time? To see the upbeat, cheerful and steadfast Lily Luminous look as if there was next to nothing that could be done to rectify what was happening around them? Yeah, that didn’t sit too well with her stomach. But Erina was leader for a reason, and keeping her fears internalized were a specialty of hers.

How good that would help her? Well, she’d just have to wait and see.

“Suzi! I’m so glad you managed to find me… you’re okay, right?” She couldn’t help how concerned she might have sound, nor stop her hands from reaching out to examine every inch of Suzi Q she could. Once she finally settled on her underclassman’s soft face, the sigh that escaped her was one filled with relief. “You have no idea how good it is to see you… here I thought we would’ve been able to meet up before all this.”

“T-that’s the thing, Riri… Caesar said something about how unexpectedly abrupt all this is. Not him, or Joseph felt the onset of the Blood Moon like they anticipated!”

“What? But… that, that doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s what he told me, and said to find you and HP immediately.” Suzi Q gave a nervous gulp afterwards, which seemed to second as an excuse to swallow anything else she might have wanted to say. “So… here I am, but I haven’t seen hide or hair of Hazel.”

The rock settled in the pit of Erina’s stomach only sunk further.

In no time, she was taking Suzi’s hand with her own and pulling her forward as she started up a hurried sprint. There was only so much area they’d be able to cover before the Shadow Beasts submerged the streets in a blackened mist, so they had to be fast. They had to be quick. But, they also had to remain undetected. Transforming now would basically be putting a target on their backs, and neither she or Suzi had the right resources to deal with such a massive swarm. So, for now they’d have to rely on normal speed alone to hopefully stumble across the final member of their Luminous Trio.

Wherever Hazel was right now, Erina could only pray that she managed to get out unscathed. And her younger brother too, for that matter. Wait, the blonde paused, all thoughts coming to an abrupt halt in less than a second. Weren’t the two of them together the last we spoke a few hours earlier? Were her facts straight? She wasn’t sure, but something about that felt right. But, what if it was all just a hunch? Something that just crossed her mind in the midst of panic? ...It wouldn’t be the first time--

“ERINA!” It was then that she was shoved out of her rapid fire mindscape, and back into the reality at hand. Her face met the pavement harshly, Suzi no longer beside her but instead shielding her like an overgrown security blanket. What was happening?

Suddenly, a burst of light exploded behind them, and with it came the defeated wails of a particularly large Beast. From the dispersing smoke, stood another familiar face with her ribboned whip still drawn, a hybrid of ever-shimmering fabric and braided leather. Velvet Luminous looked upon her fellow teammates with a hardened gaze, but did not hesitate to embrace them the moment she knew they weren’t injured.

“What have I said about getting distracted in the height of battle?” Velvet asked quietly, always remaining the voice of reason even at times like this. Erina almost wanted to laugh, but it came out more like a choked sob than anything. Not her finest moment, but she’d take this with stride to the best of her ability.

“I… I didn’t even realize what was happening around me before it was too late,” she mumbled, choosing instead to look down at the ground than face Hazel or Suzi. “if not for you two… Gods, who knows what would’ve just happened.”

Suzi piped in, gently squeezing Erina’s hand in reassurance. “Let’s not think about that, okay? What’s important is that the three of us are safe and sound! Together!”

It was just like Suzi to try and turn a negative into something positive. Despite the odds, despite her own fears that might be festering, she always did her best to keep things a bit lighthearted, a bit kinder. All part of what made the Luminous of Florae so charming.

Together, Lily and Velvet were a sight to behold… a force to be reckoned with, if Erina was being honest. A fine combination of compassion, care, patience, and grace.

And she, Ange Luminous, was their leader.

It was time for her to start acting like one, wasn’t it?

“You’re right, Suzi.” Erina spoke up then, trying her best to emulate the cool composure she was accustomed to time and time before. It was a no-brainer the first time Jonathan tasked her with this mission to bridge the three realms, but back then… she was fighting on her own, against a possessed being that took nothing more than a quick purification spell to stop. This was a different monster altogether. Bigger, and a lot more dangerous than what was happening in the early days of Ange Luminous’ appearance on the scene. But unlike then, she was no longer alone. Unlike then, she now had the support and strength of two formidable allies… two of the best friends she could have ever asked for. “We’re together. Far stronger than we’d ever be if we were separated. So… we’re gonna do what we do best and remind Enyaba and her cronies just who they’re dealing with!"

“Now that’s what I like to hear.”
“They won’t know what hit ‘em til it’s too late!!!”

Unable to fight the grin itching to cross her face, Erina gave a celebratory cheer as she reached down to remove the glowing winged amulet from around her neck. Beside her, Suzi followed suit but with the rose shaped earrings she always wore.

There was no need to chant the incantation needed to transform as the two were enveloped in a warm, protective light. Becoming their other selves was basically second nature to them now… as silly as that might have sounded in the long run.

They were Luminous through and through, Guardians of the Earth blessed by the powers of the Sun Kingdom’s Five Star Royal Family.

And nothing was going to stop them from keeping their home safe.

They would make certain of that.

Chapter Text

"Adrift in the wake of her husband's death Erina dreams of better times in other lives..."


 

The inside of the coffin was suffocatingly dark. Erina would have thought she was being buried alive had it not been for the sway of the waves, rocking the elaborate casket back and forth. This was beyond unpleasant but the sunlight in the Atlantic was too strong at this time of day and she feared burns for the baby as well as for herself.

When the sun was at its highest point she decided to take her and her new charge, a baby girl she had begun to call Elizabeth in her mind, inside the coffin for some needed rest. After the horrible, horrible evening she had just endured, Erina Joestar felt raw and exhausted and frayed in ways she never had before.

That didn’t even cover the ache that she felt deep in her chest. The one that made her want to cry every moment she realized Jonathan was lost to her. He was her husband for only a few short days. They’d hardly had a week together, let alone a lifetime. The days they’d spent together were ones she’d cherished, but she didn’t properly get to appreciate in the moment. Not when she thought she’d have hundreds, thousands of days with him in the future.

She could never have predicted how wrong that was.

Instead, she was left alone with a legacy. A legacy that maybe only one other person knew or understood. The story of Jonathan Joestar and the sacrifices he made to save the world would perhaps fall into obscurity, but it was her job now to make sure it would never fully disappear from memory.

As she laid there in the coffin meant for Dio, the burden of that responsibility felt like a lead weight on her chest. It choked her and brought tears to her eyes. She wasn’t sure she had the strength to carry out what was necessary. Not now. She was not a weak woman, not by any stretch, but life had come and stabbed and beaten her.

The rock of the waves left her eyelids drooping in exhaustion. The loss of Jonathan... It was not as if she was no longer whole without him beside her. No. Erina was always her own person, able to stand on her own two feet more often than not. But it was like her she had lost a limb. She could continue on, could live her whole life, but that something so integral to her was gone and living without it would be a learning curve forever.

Things would become normal eventually. With time… it’d be routine. That is, if she didn’t die drifting in the middle of the ocean. But right now, as Erina’s eyes finally closed and she drifted to sleep, she only thought one thing.

She wished to forget this pain and be anyone else right now….

 


 

The world around her felt foggy and awkward, like there were things that were off. But… she was right where she was supposed to be, or at least that was what she thought. What… on earth was going on here?

Thoughts invaded her mind in a voice that was her own and yet… not. A young girl.

A teenager perhaps?

Her gaze turned to the wall of a finely furnished drawing room, finding a looking glass perched at the perfect angle for her to see herself. She was a thin girl of about twelve or thirteen. This was her face, but it also wasn’t. Her nose was too sharp, hair too short and not quite as yellow as she remembered. But there was something in the youthful shape of her face and the blue of her eyes that rang true…

“Miss Lucy… Are you really going to be late to your own anniversary dinner? After all, it was your idea!”

Right. She was Lucy Steel and today was her first anniversary.

She adjusted her appearance in the mirror. The dusty rose dress that was finer than anything she had ever worn before and the mass she’d gained since joining Steven’s household. No longer was she the skinny waif being sold to the mafia… Had it really been a year?

Every day since her “wedding”, which was less of a genuine ceremony and really more of them signing a bunch of documents, she had been happy. Steven was more than a little nervous, just about all the time. From worrying about his plans for the in-the-works cross country horse race, to fretting over her level of comfort in her new home… but she’d never really had anyone fret like that. Not over her.

This was not a traditional marriage. He was her husband, but he was also… not. But what was important was that he took care of her, never made her feel scared or lonely or insignificant. Steven listened to her, was intrigued by her opinions, took her seriously.

He was her husband in name but most importantly he was her friend and guardian in practice. Every day since leaving home, she’d thanked her lucky stars for bringing him into her life. He would anxiously tell her she was giving him far too much credit, if she ever so much as wanted a divorce it would be granted without hesitation and with his blessing. He even encouraged her to continue doing things she enjoyed!

She hoped one day though, he’d learn she enjoyed spending her days with him.

Just as she had surprised him with the idea to marry, tonight’s anniversary dinner would be a surprise as well. She had asked one of the maids to help her not only serve but to make dinner as well. Lucy had spent hours with the cook working to put something together that her husband would definitely enjoy.

This was… beyond important to her. Every day with Steven was a gift and she hoped that he would enjoy this gift of her time and of her hard work. This was a time to celebrate after all. Exactly one year ago her life had changed for the better and it was something she would remember forever…

“Yes, yes, don’t worry about me I’m coming!”

 


 

The world seemed to tilt and shift once more as scenery melted into something completely alien. The western furnishings of the home around her seemed to warp and change into something considerably more… eastern. Japanese, her mind supplied.

Instead of the short dress she was in before her clothes now were longer and heavier. Also foreign. Kimono, the small voice in the back of her head shared once more. This was… Japan and judging by the look of the area around her, it seemed to be a sort of police station.

She could see her reflection in the window to her right and nearly balked. This was not her but once again, she knew that it was… neatly styled black hair and beautiful dark eyes. Despite the physical differences, she still found familiarity in the roundness of her face, the down turn of her eyes, the shape of her nose.

Different and yet the same.

“Higashikata Rina… or should I say Joestar?” An officer asked as he approached the table she was seated at.

Her answer was like second nature. “Joestar.”

“Well, Joestar-san, after much investigation… your name has been cleared. The death of your husband it seems was at the hands of a freak accident. Therefore, we are letting you go. We are very sorry for any sort of trouble this may have caused and… we are sorry for your loss,” the officer spoke gently before giving a nod and turning on his heel.

Right. Her Johnny was dead.

It would almost be unbelievable, if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes. The disease. The falling rock. Everything he had done to save her and to save their little George.

The tears would come as they had for days. But she would not cry here, not in front of the men who so callously thought she had it in her to kill her husband. He loved her, cherished her, adored her.

He carried sadness on his back, leaving him slumping inwards and withdrawn but every time he saw her she watched him lighten. Watched him stand up straight with a smile just for her and her heart would swell and swell.

Heaven was a ranch in America. Yes, a good deal of those who lived in town had viewed her as a novelty. Johnny Joestar’s strange Japanese wife. But even with the odd stares or the questions she would ignore, every day spent waking up next to him was utter happiness. He was warm and loving and always so soft with her.

She remembered his joy at the idea of her pregnancy, his excitement, his fear. They had stumbled through that together the best they could. Still, when Johnny held their son in his arms she knew there was no other person better suited for the job.

And now, she would be alone with their son. She wasn’t sure she could ever return to their ranch, not to live anyway. A place that was so defined by him, that Rina was sure she would come across his lingering spirit just about everywhere, a ghost of a time when she had been so happy and content.

Despite the howling emptiness inside of her now, she wouldn’t trade those dreamy days when she thought nothing could touch her. No, she held them even dearer now.

She was lucky. She had years and years to draw from.

 


 

Erina woke with a start in the coffin, gasping loudly for breath. Tears just kept coming and coming as she tried to reconcile what she saw before the memories left her hands like sand passing through her fingers.

Lucy and Rina…

She had never seen them before in her life. She had no idea who they were. It felt like they were… her and yet…

They couldn’t possibly be.

Lucy’s anniversary dinner… Rina in the police station. They had husbands. Had especially being relevant in Rina’s case. But more importantly, they’d had time with them. Time to make memories, to be happy, to draw upon something.

Erina felt the ache in her chest again and a fuzziness in her head. Her sobbing wouldn’t stop and she was still all alone.

What was the point of showing her this?! If they were her in some… ridiculous cosmic way, this still wasn’t fair. In a way she was happy for them, happy for their happiness whether it be past or present. But she still selfishly cried, still selfishly wished things had been different for her.

Why was she the only one who was denied years? Denied time?

It wasn’t fair.

Chapter Text

"Gather one, gather all... as we come together to sing praises of our Madonna's ascension to True Godhood..."

 


 

 

Goddesses throughout history had been birthed from the seas and the thighs of their progenitors… but the goddess born from an arrow of gold was so much more than that.

Erina Pendleton was born into the world in the arms of parents who loved her, but stepped away from her far too often. Isolation wrapped around her like a cocoon and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had never been anything special, nor would she ever be someone most looked back on with fond memories. However, one didn’t need to be special to be good… and she was content with being just that.

Just Erina.

It wasn’t until she had finally seen the sun for the first time, her Jonathan Joestar, that perhaps she was meant for something special. Love was special, wasn’t it? He certainly made her feel loved. Even as they weaved in and out of each others’ lives, the first step in her metamorphosis had happened on the happiest day of her life.

On that day, Erina Pendleton became Erina Joestar and she would never want to go back. Not until he slipped through her fingers at least.

Wife to widow was a terrible transition.

Upon losing the love of her life, she had his son to continue on with and she loved him with all her might. When she held Jorge Joestar in her arms, gazing at the tuft of brown hair she felt her heart swell and break all at once. The next step, the next change.

From widow to mother.

But nothing stayed, not for the future goddess. Her son grew, lived and loved. He settled down and took a beautiful wife. Erina Joestar watched with warmth as his own son arrived screaming into the world just as he had and crying as she had when she found out her grandson’s father would never return home. She feared she would never recover from this, would never be able to swim out from under the crushing undertow of grief until Elizabeth disappeared one fateful evening… never to return.

Mother to grandmother.

Despite her devastating losses, she found solace in what little family she had left. Joseph was her world, her everything. But, as with all things, time moved on. Her grandson grew stronger and bigger and faced enemies of his own. He triumphed, he loved, had a lovely daughter as well. Erina on the other hand grew frailer, weaker. Her body was failing, as expected with advanced age. Her days were numbered.

Yet, something happened shortly thereafter. Her husband’s final resting place was dredged up and an old enemy spotted. Dio. Her husband’s murderer, the one now in possession of his body had levelled an offer her way. One she couldn’t deny. He offered her eternity, but more importantly he offered her Jonathan. How could she ever say no?

With Dio... many changes occurred at once.

A frail old woman turned to youthful maid once more. Maid turned to monster with her first sip of human blood and every sip thereafter. As Dio and her traveled on, monster remained but she found herself a leader. A trusted council. A queen among mortals.

Dio rather liked that turn of phrase. After all, every human was a peon beneath him. She was an equal in his eyes, something she had never expected to hear... especially from a man who always looked at humanity as dirt under his boots. She had always thought the only exception to that rule was her husband. Never her.

Despite all her changes though, she was still just Erina.

She stood then, decades later, in Cairo. Blonde hair tumbling down her shoulders in glossy waves, eyes glimmering like rubies in the low lamplight. Every surface surrounding them covered in luxurious fabrics and precious stones. They had lived like king and queen among their pantheon of two, after all.

Their court was gathered to see the festivities. Enya the hag and her horrid son, those with powers of every known sort. Powers she was to be granted. The young boy, the priest in training, that Erina had worried about in every exchange he had with Dio.

Dio held the arrow out for all to see before he poised it at her breast, sharp tip grazing soft skin. His voice came out like a purr. Was she ready ? She wasn’t sure if she would ever be, but with a rush of breath she said yes. With an even bigger rush of courage she placed her hands over Dio’s, guiding the shaft into her chest before he even could.

There was a moment where the world spun and went black. Pain and nothingness… merely static, white noise like no other. Until there was an unfamiliar searing pain, the awful rip of her spirit being pulled out of her body. When she opened her eyes again, Erina’s head was reeling as the entire room fell to their knees, heads bowed.

There she stood before them. The manifestation of her will was a woman of orange gold with bright hair that swirled back like starlight. She bore two sets of arms, one of which sported a pair of bright, colorful wings like panes in a stained glass window. The thing… the Stand... chirped like that of a bird and immediately flew inside of her body. The only visible reminder of her presence were the wings that emerged from her back.

She was no longer just Erina.

On that day the Golden Goddess was born.

Bearer of Aeon.