Josuke stared at the wall of the strange room he’d entered, leaning against the one opposite. There was a constant yet manageable sway as the younger Jotaro from 1987 walked around, which was only to be expected. He was the one carrying the turtle after all. All it meant was that the current inhabitants had to take on a steady position, so to not lose their balance and go tumbling into somebody else.
That would be beyond embarrassing.
Josuke shot a sneaky glance across the room, studying the complete strangers that surrounded him. The only three people he recognised were Koichi, Rohan and Joseph, the latter still looking like a stranger despite having his identity explained. The Joseph he knew was a decrepit old man who could hardly fend for himself, while this one was still fully capable of fighting. Younger, though not exactly *young* either, to be precise.
He was only four in the era Joseph had come from. Four, and suffering from an unknown illness that nearly killed him. That was weird to think about, and having his lack of a proper father figure brought back to the surface did nothing to soften the jagged situation they were all in.
He let out a sigh, closing his eyes and relaxing into the sway of the movement.
... he wished that somebody would say something.
It was awkward, just standing there, listening to nothing but the muffled sounds from outside, an occasional cough or sniffle, heavy breathing, light breathing... it all worsened the tense atmosphere.
Josuke considered speaking, and starting up a conversation, but couldn’t bring himself to. It was as if his throat had tied itself into a knot, silencing him until talked to first.
It was a shame. A lot of the people around looked to be around his age, and very interesting folks at that. Colourful, with vastly different senses of style. Who knew what year they’d come from. The future? The past? Anybody tangled up in this mess must have had a unique life story to tell.
Josuke opened his eyes again, nervously biting his lip. The situation was bizarre beyond belief, and it was getting to him. Time anomalies weren’t something that a sixteen year old would ever imagine dealing with, especially not anomalies that messed with a strange family bloodline... or anomalies that put his friends in danger.
Back in Morioh Town, when he was forced to fight Okuyasu... a sinking feeling had appeared in his chest, that had refused to go away ever since. It was the first time he’d felt properly scared since, well... since he’d fought against Kira.
He wasn’t scared for his life, or for Koichi’s. Giving Rohan a good pummelling was actually somewhat refreshing, however, the energy he felt coming from Okuyasu was so utterly foreign. There was no sense of recognition in his former best friend’s eyes as they sent their stands after each other.
Josuke knew that, if given the chance, he would have killed him in the blink of an eye. Erased, with no regret, guilt, or hesitation.
That knowledge chilled him to the core.
Somebody he wholeheartedly trusted had been hijacked and stolen away, and Josuke was fully prepared to go wherever this group went - no matter the location, or the era - if it meant getting Okuyasu back.
A loud noise dragged Josuke out of his thoughts, and back into reality.
The source of the sound was immediately found out, as every member of the turtle turned to stare.
It appeared that one of the chairs had broken, while an unfortunate individual was sat right on top of it. They’d slammed into the ground, and were spewing out very loud, angry Italian.
It was one of the boys who were already there when Josuke arrived, sporting a pretty strange getup, and a messy head of black hair, adorned by a bright orange headband. His fashion sense was very... interesting, and his way of dealing with his broken chair even more so.
One of his friends - a girl with hot pink hair - tried to calm him down, to no avail.
“Ehi, Narancia! Calmati! È solo una sedia!”
“Come dovrei calmarmi quando questa stupida cosa si è rotta sotto di me!”
Yet another of them chimed in, visibly irritated at his friends antics.
“Trish ha ragione, le persone ci fissano, smetti di essere così rumoroso...”
Josuke wished that he could understand what they were saying. He had no problem understanding Jotaro, as his Japanese was perfect - having grown up there and all - and understanding Joseph wasn’t too hard either. He’d always gotten decent grades in English class, and while he wasn’t perfect, it was enough to understand the basics.
Italian though? Not a single word made sense to him.
The boy who’s chair broke had calmed down a little now, and was staring disappointedly at the piece of furniture. Josuke craned his neck, and managed to see the damage. One of the legs had splintered and nearly snapped off, leaving the chair completely useless.
There wasn’t anywhere else to sit either, the sofa being taken up by Joseph - and the other two who’d come with him - and the armchairs were all full as well.
He pouted, then kicked the broken chair, sliding down the wall and sitting on the floor, arms crossed, and clearly feeling sour about it.
Josuke let out a small smile. True, the damage to the leg would be hard for most people to properly fix, though it was a walk in the park for Crazy Diamond.
After a few moments of consideration, Josuke walked the few paces over to the boy, who looked up at him, saying nothing.
Josuke raised his hand in greeting.
He cocked his head slightly, giving him a weird look. Ah, he clearly didn’t know Japanese. Josuke mentally kicked himself for not considering that possibility.
Instead of dragging out the awkward greeting, he got onto one knee and summoned his stand, fixing the chair in a flash of light, near instantaneously, with a single punch.
It took a second for the boy to register what had happened, and then, his eyes lit up. His previously cynical and judgemental expression changed into a beaming grin,
“Woahhhhh! Grazie!” he spluttered, grabbing the chair and staring at the leg, to verify Josuke’s quick work.
Josuke didn’t know what ‘grazie’ meant, but it definitely sounded like some kind of thanks.
He didn’t want to lose this opportunity to keep some sort of interaction going, so in spite of the prevalent language barrier, he decided to try his best to chat along. Anything was better than standing around, doing nothing other than waiting for another attack.
“... Josuke.” he pointed at himself.
“... ah! Narancia!” the boy replied, pointing at himself as well. He then turned to look at his friends, pointing at them each in turn.
“... Mista, Trish, e Giorno!”
They each gave a little wave when their name was mentioned, and Josuke waved back to each of them.
Great, now they knew each other’s names, but, where could they go from here? There was only a certain amount that pointing at things could communicate.
“... ugh, kuso baka.” a familiar voice swore, dripping with contempt.
Josuke turned to see Rohan standing next to them, an unpleasant surprise to receive anywhere, let alone in the middle of a conversation attempt, but all his annoyance was replaced with shock and anger in the next seconds.
Narancia’s face flew open like the pages of a book, leaving him in a state of paralytic shock. Josuke summoned Crazy Diamond, ready to beat Rohan within an inch of his life, but stopped when the mangaka rolled his eyes, crouching down and writing something in Narancia’s pages, then deactivating Heavens Door, leaving him as if nothing had happened.
The rest of the room was ready to fight as well, suspecting that Rohan was in fact an enemy, and when it became clear that no damage had been done, all the anger and adrenaline turned to paralytic shock.
Rohan had a strange way of getting things done.
Narancia stated in complete and utter confusion, then furrowed his brows, struggling to his feet.
“Hey! What’s your fucking problem?! You trying to pick a fight, ‘cause I’ll go right now!”
Josuke let out a sharp exhale, not understanding how... fluent, Japanese, was now flowing out of Narancia’s mouth.
“Calm down. I simply made it so that you could speak Japanese. Watching you two fail to talk was pissing me off.” Rohan returned, sneering as he went.
Narancia did a double take, realising that he was right. All of a sudden, he had two languages at his disposal, after only speaking one his entire life.
Rohan circled around the room after Narancia dropped his anger, using his stand to make sure that everybody could speak fluent Japanese. Communication was vital in the situation they were in.
Josuke grimaced. As much as he disliked Rohan, his stand was certainly nothing to joke about.
He turned his attention back to Narancia, who was babbling uncontrollably in a strange mix of Japanese and Italian, still completely at a loss of understanding.
“... you good?” Josuke asked, and he turned back around, nodding numbly.
“... I... uh, I think so.”
Narancia turned back to look at him properly.
“Dude... your friend is weird.”
Josuke almost laughed out loud, and substituted doing so with a snort and a chuckle, shaking his head. He sat down, leaning against the wall, then answered him.
“Rohan and I are *definitely* not friends.”
“Ohhhhh, makes sense.”
Narancia looked at the newly repaired chair, then at Josuke sitting on the floor next to it.
“... hey, Mista, do you want the chair?” He called out, turning to face his friend, who practically kept out of his position against a wall and grabbed it.
“I don’t know why you even asked!” Mista replied, setting it down next to Giorno and Trish, the latter of which was already in a comfy armchair.
Narancia then slid down the wall, coming to sit next to Josuke, but not too close. They were still total strangers.
“It would be really weird to be looking down at you, so I hope you don’t mind much.”
“Not at all. Honestly, I’m just glad somebody broke the silence in here.”
Narancia laughed, stretching out his arms.
“Right? I hate sitting in quiet spaces! It’s always so forced and stressful!” he returned, in a very sudden cheery manner.
“... soooo, Josuke, what year are you from again?”
“Really? That’s only two years behind us, we’re from 2001. How old are you now, then?”
Narancia’s jaw dropped.
“... you’re kidding.”
“I’m serious, I was born in 1983.”
“... I’m seventeen! Dude, I thought you were at least like, twenty!”
Josuke couldn’t help but laugh. Narancia certainly had a lot of energy.
“Jeez, so, the you in 2001 would be... eighteen! So even though I’m older than you now, back in my time, you’d be older than me! This is so confusing... I’ve never been that good at math.”
“Don’t worry, all this time travel is confusing me too.”
“Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one. God I’m asking so many questions, but, why’d you decide to tag along?” Narancia asked again, cocking his head in a manner reminiscent of a dog, eagerly waiting for an answer.
Josuke felt the unease in his chest rise up into his throat, almost painfully.
“... I, well, this ‘Holy One’ or whatever seems to be a real danger, I couldn’t just stay home when I knew I could help out.”
“... that’s all?”
Josuke could tell that Narancia didn’t quite believe him. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something about his expression and tone of voice made it clear that he wasn’t buying it.
“... you sure it’s not something to do with that guy you fought? You know, back in... what was it called... Morioh? The one with the money signs all over his clothes.”
Ah. Whatever Narancia lacked in academic intelligence, he made up for by being perceptive and instinctive, that was clear.
Josuke still didn’t answer him, not because he didn’t want to, more because, he didn’t know how to. It hadn’t been very long since Okuyasu had been taken over by, whatever that dark energy was, and he was worried to bits, sick to the stomach with concern. He had not yet attempted to talk about how he felt to anyone, and thought that if he had opened up at all, it would be to Koichi. Not a complete stranger.
His throat filled with the same choking feeling as before, and all he could really do was shrug, biting his lip.
Narancia patted his shoulder.
“I get it, you know? My friend Fugo is all possessed like that too, and, I won’t hide it, I’m worried about him. I haven’t seen him for ages now and, suddenly, I see him again but he’s all... weird. Not him at all. Well, he still has the temper but, he attacked us! He definitely isn’t him right now and I dunno how to deal with it, hah, I’ve never been much good at knowing what to do. I’ve always just, followed orders and done my own thing alongside them, but the guy I usually get orders from is also like Fugo right now.” he chatted, right in his element, blabbering away to anybody who would listen.
A voice from across the room interrupted his monologue.
“Hey, Narancia, don’t you think you’re giving away a bit too much?” his friend Mista snapped - jokingly yet serious at the same time - and Narancia threw a rude hand gesture at him.
“Oh shut upppp! He’s from Japannnnn! Why would he care about stuff going on in Italy anyway, and I hardly said anything! I didn’t even say Bucciarati’s name!”
“... you literally just did! Oh my...”
“You’re just mad that I’M making new friends while you AREN’T, huh Mista?!”
“...Giorno, what do you think?” Mista turned to the blonde next to him, who looked relatively unfazed, the only difference in expression being the upturned corners of his mouth.
“Narancia has a point. I don’t see why he would care, and, he really isn’t giving away that much.”
Narancia stuck his tongue out in victory, then went right back to talking.
“So, anyway, what I’m trying to say is, if you’re all worried about your bud, quit trying to hide it because its pretty obvious, and, it’s ok you know! I’m super worried about Fugo! I’m pretty sure they’re all worried too.” he continued, once again pointing to his friends.
Josuke couldn’t help but smile.
“Yeah, I know, I just... I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, or if he’s ok, or if... he’ll ever go back to normal. That’s a scary prospect. I don’t like thinking about it.”
Narancia looked him up and down again.
“Your stand... fixes things, right? Well, if you can fix a chair, you can probably fix your friend.”
Josuke didn’t bother to point out how terrible that comparison was, it was the thought that counted.
“What’s your friend called?” Narancia asked.
“Oh! He’s called Okuyasu.”
“... wow, Japanese names are weeeeird. I’ve never heard of anybody called Okuyasu before, or Josuke. Are they common in your country?”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I don’t spend much time outside my town after all.”
Narancia leaned a little bit closer to him.
“... can you tell me what your other friends are called? Well, you know, friends and that weird guy with the zig zag headband.”
Josuke chuckled at that remark.
“He’s called Rohan. The really short guy over there is called Koichi, and the big guy carrying us right now is called Jotaro, except I know him when he’s much older.”
“Somebody should tell him to be more gentle with the turtle, he started running earlier and the sway almost knocked me off my feet!”
Josuke shivered at ‘turtle’. He didn’t like to be reminded that he was in fact inside a reptile’s stand, however the very un-turtle-like appearance of the room helped him deal with it.
“Definitely, but I feel like he wouldn’t care much. Jotaro doesn’t like being told what to do, that’s, one of his key flaws I think. He’s still a great guy though.”
“How old is he?”
“... you won’t believe this, but, he’s seventeen.”
Narancia’s jaw dropped, and it might as well have hit the floor.
“... he’s... he... he’s my age?” He stuttered, in complete amazement.
“I think a lot of people probably react like that when they find out.”
“... ok, ok, one last question, I’ve never seen a stand like yours before. It... it’s huge! Like, my friends have some really powerful stands but, none of them look like that! That guy Jotaro’s stand is also fucking massive. Is it genetic or something? Wait, you two are related, right?”
“Oh yeah we’re related... but... it’s complicated, let’s just say.”
“Oh? How so?”
Josuke sniggered slightly.
“I... I’m technically his uncle.”
He could practically see Narancia’s mind being blown.
“... but, you, you said he’s 17, and, from 1987, so...”
“You see that old guy over there on the sofa?”
“... what about him?”
“He’s calles Joseph, and, uhm... he’s my dad. Except... I didn’t meet him till a couple weeks ago. Not even that version of him. An older version. He’s also Jotaro’s grandad, so, I’m Jotaro’s uncle, even though he’s twice my age.”
Narancia blinked rapidly and tried to work it out in his head, with limited success.
“... Josuke, your family tree is a fucking mess.”
“Indeed it is.”
The room rocked violently for a few seconds, then came to a stop for the first time in a while.
A rough, gravely voice then cut though the ceiling and filled their ears, making a few people jump, and making even more people alert and listening.
“We’re stopping here for a bit so if you want fresh air do it now, we aren’t taking pits stops for anybody.”
Jotaro was as blunt as usual, and the members of the turtle started filtering out into the open one by one.
“Hey, what time period do you think we’re in now? My guess is... 1950” Josuke wondered, nudging Narancia’s shoulder to grab his attention.
“Hmm... I wanna bet... 1920!”
“Let’s go see then. Whoever’s less close has to... uh-“
“Whoever’s less close has to trip up that Rohan guy!” Narancia finished, which made Josuke grin like an idiot.
“Oh come on, losing is supposed to be a bad thing!”
Neither Josuke or Narancia had guessed their new year well, as the group had stepped out into the grand and exquisite entrance hall of the Joestar Mansion. They had all very quickly rushed back inside, however, when a fight broke out almost instantly with a number of individuals already in the building.
After a handful of more fights and general trouble faced by Jotaro and whoever he demanded to come out and help him, the mansion was finally safe to enter and explore.
Koichi was instantly mesmerised by the architecture, mouth gaping open at the foreign surroundings. He turned to grab Josuke’s attention - planning to suggest that they take a walk around the halls, since this was such a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity - however, decided not to.
Josuke was already happily chatting to somebody else. The loud and rambunctious Italian boy he has started talking to inside the turtle, Koichi heard his name to be Narancia.
He smiled, and turned away, instead jogging after Rohan, who was already on his way into the rooms of the mansion. He was muttering something about being tripped up.
“Rohan-Sensei! You shouldn’t be wandering off on your own, it’s dangerous!”
He turned around and gave him a sour look.
“I don’t care. Anything to get away from that idiot Josuke and his unbearable new friend.”
Koichi couldn’t help but chuckle.
He walked along with him, leaving Josuke and the others behind in the main hall. The mansion from the 1800s was a unique opportunity indeed, but new friendships from entirely different times? Even more so.
Josuke watched the two of them disappear down a corridor, infinitely glad that Rohan was now nowhere near him. He had tripped him up as he climbed out of the turtle, and had somehow made it seem like a mistake, though Rohan was extremely suspicious. The two of them knew otherwise, and had to suppress giggles until he was out of earshot.
“... he... he’s gone.” Josuke snickered, and the omen the confirmed it, Narancia snorted out loud and doubled over with laughter.
“His face! His stupid smug face was all creased up!”
It seemed that Narancia laughed a little bit too hard, and ended up choking. Josuke patted him on the back until his airways were clear.
“I think so! Jeez, I didn’t know you could choke on your own tongue...”
They finally took a good look around the entrance hall.
“Woah. Whoever lives here must have a loooot of money. There are some fancy old buildings in Italy, but, none of them look quite like this.”
“Yeah, we definitely aren’t in Japan either.”
Josuke turned expectantly to Joseph, who elbowed a man named Speedwagon. He cleared his throat, then cleared it again to grab the attention of those who hadn’t gone off exploring.
“My apologies, I should have explained sooner. We are currently inside of a building known as the Joestar Mansion, in the year 1880, located in Liverpool, England. I understand that these times are rather confusing and overwhelmingly bizzare, so if anybody has any questions, I will be happy to answer them.”
There were some general murmurings as people agreed to his statement.
“This is all super weird, but I recon I’m kinda getting the hang of it. What about you, Josuke?” Narancia mumbled.
“I think I understand most of it.”
“... what about you guys?”
Mista and Trish shrugged nonchalantly, either uninterested or too confused to care, Josuke didn’t bother to dive deeper into it. However, the third of Narancia’s friends - Giorno - looked to be a little more preoccupied.
“... Giorno? Are you alright?”
He hesitated, blinked a few times, then gathered himself, fixing his posture.
“... Mr. Speedwagon... there is something I would like to ask.”
He pulled a wallet out of his back pocket, pulling an old and tattered photo out of a fold, and he spoke as he smoothed it out.
“... I never met my father. The only item I have to confirm he ever existed is this photo, I’ve had it ever since I could remember.”
Giorno held it out, as visibly as he could, and there were a number of horrified gasps as certain people in the group realised who inhabited the photograph.
“... the man that was here earlier, the one who Mr. Kujo fought. I believe he called himself Dio. I can’t help but think that his appearance was somewhat simular to my supposed father.”
There was abject silence for a few seconds, as Joseph and a few others rushed forward to confirm.
“... that... I can’t believe it, that’s Dio. That... that’s definitely Dio!”
Josuke groaned, nudging Narancia and motioning towards the staircase leading upstairs. The atmosphere was getting more awkward by the second, and he felt as if he was intruding on something pretty personal.
“... do you wanna leave them to it?”
“Yeahhhhh, family issues definitely aren’t my thing.”
They snuck off as indiscriminately as they could, climbing the stairs to the higher floors. Josuke looked back to the group, seeing that some of the others had followed their lead, exiting the main hall, leaving Giorno and whoever else knew who this Dio was to their business.
“... Jotaro mentioned Dio a few times to me back in Morioh. He never went into much detail. I got the feeling that he didn’t like talking about it, but, what I did get from it, wasn’t ever good. I hope your friend deals with it all ok.” Josuke signed, and Narancia shrugged.
“Giorno? Nah, he’ll be fine. It’s as if he’s never bothered by anything to be honest.”
“Ahh, I’m glad to hear it. Good for him. I mean, finding out that Mr. Joestar was my father was... strange. Not bad, or hard, but, it felt off even if I didn’t let it show.”
“... you don’t call him dad?”
“Noooo, that would be super strange, I’ve known him for less than a month, and I don’t know the one who’s here with us at all. I can’t really call him, dad, yakno? He hasn’t been much of a dad yet.”
“... yeah... I get that. I don’t call my old man dad either. I... haven’t seen him for years. He’s probably forgotten that I exist.”
Josuke bit his lip, not knowing what to say or do to comfort him, but before he could make a decision, the smile was back on Narancia’s face and he was excitedly gazing around, childish as ever.
“Christ, that... oh god what’s it called, the massive hanging thing in the middle of the ceiling... chandelier! The chandelier! It’s huge! Your family used to have craaaazy money Josuke, have you inherited any of it?”
“I fucking wish! I’m broke as all hell!”
They came to a stop somewhere along the large balcony that overlooked the hall, and Narancia leaned on the edge of it, seeing that the group downstairs had moved to a more private location.
“... I wonder where we’re all be going next. Wanna make another bet?”
“Sure, but there’s not much we can offer as a prize or a punishment depending on the turnout.”
Narancia sent him a cheeky grin.
“Oh really? Well, what about this. If I guess closer, you gotta show me your stand, and if you guess closer, I’ll show you mine. Deal?” He proposed, offering his hand to shake, and Josuke crossed his arms, considering.
“Ohhh, but you’ve already seen my stand!” He teased.
“For a couple seconds! Come onnn Josuke, you aren’t scared are you?” Narancia teased right back.
“I’m screwing with you dude. Deal! I guess... 1960 this time!”
“I’ll guess 2020! We haven’t gone properly into the future yet, so my bets are on that!”
There was no indication that they’d be moving time zones anytime soon, so Josuke assumed that they’d have at least a little while longer in the mansion to do as they pleased.
“... hey. Let’s go and find Rohan. I bet we can mess with him for a little bit.” He suggested, much to Narancia’s joy, “... and as we look for him, uhm, why don’t you tell me about your friend?”
Narancia’s expression went blank for a second, before he furrowed his eyebrows, slightly at a loss.
“... which one? Giorno...? Oh... oh! You mean Fugo!”
His face lit up again, and it became clear that Josuke had landed on one of Narancia’s many topics that he could blab about for hours if left to his own devices.
“Fugo, well, Pannacotta, but nobody calls him that - Weird name right? Imagine being named after a pudding! I’m not surprised that he gets mad when people use his first name. He gets mad about a lot of things - but anyway, Fugo... he’s the one who introduced me to Bucciarati, who, you haven’t met yet, he’s in the weird state where he keeps attacking us, but, he’s incredible really. I was in a really bad place, and he found me and for some reason took me to see him, and that saved my life. I guess you could say I owe Fugo a lot, huh.”
Josuke nodded along, listening intently as Narancia happily talked on and on about Fugo and Mista and Bucciarati and another man called Abbacchio, but mostly Fugo. How they’d met, the first impressions and resulting friendships, the week of bizarre adventures they’d gone on, leaving out details he thought he shouldn’t say here and there.
The language he used suggested that this odd bunch were work colleagues, simply doing their jobs as best they could, however, his tone of voice and the way his eyes lit up said much more than words ever could. His acquaintances were much more like family to him. A strange little family, caught up in a lot of action.
Josuke promised himself to return the favour sometime, with some stories from home, of his own questionable experiences.
The search for Rohan was quickly forgotten.