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A Crazy Noisy Love that's Bizarre

Chapter Text

"Yo~! Josuke!" Okuyasu slapped his good friend on the shoulder as they walked their familiar shared route to high school.

"Osu!" Josuke greeted giving Okuyasu a playful shove in return.

Morioh bustled happily around them. Seemingly finally at peace after all the events of their first year of high school.

"Can't believe we're already gonna be second years man!"

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck. "Seriously, I don't even want to think about it, where did the time go..." without warning his mind flashed to a gruesome memory of Kira Yoshikage. But before he could let the frown show on his face Okuyasu interrupted.

"I know right! I hope I can find a cute girl to call me senpai~!" Okuyasu looked overhead seemingly seeing hearts in the clouds above.

Josuke grinned at his simple minded friend gratefully, giving Okuyasu another playful shove as they turned the corner to their school.

---

Lunch couldn't have come soon enough the boys both thought simultaneously while they unwrapped their sandwiches and huddled up on their new second year seats.

"Damn the homework this year already looks tough..." Okuyasu grumbled through his bread.

"Tell me about it, it's the first day of school man, can't they cut us some slack?"

"No they can't Higashikata-san," Yukako Yamagishi appeared suddenly beside their desks. "In order to prepare us for our promising higher educations they have to be hard on us."

Josuke sighed through his nose. "Geeze, you came out of nowhere...oh yeah, hey, where's your boy toy at?" Wherever Yukako was Koichi never was far behind these days.

Yukako became a strange cross of flustered and furious at Josuke's words.

"Hey guys! How's your first day going?" Koichi appeared helpfully just in time to diffuse the situation.

"Koichi!" His delinquent friends cheered at him. Okuyasu even going as far as getting up to give him a noogie.

Josuke grinned at his friends. "You've gotten taller man," he bumped Koichi's offered fist.

Koichi instantly became bashful, proving at once to Josuke that although he was changing he really was still the tender hearted awkward first year he had come to know.

"I honestly think it's all of Yukako's cooking," he scratched the back of his head with a nervous smile.

The fierce girl beside him blushed at the mention of her homemade super high protein meals.

Okuyasu blinked at him. "Really? You don't think the growth spurt is cause Yukako-san has finally made you a man?"

Yukako and Koichi blanched at Okuyasu's vulgarity.

Josuke spit out his drink from laughing too hard at Okuyasu's dead serious expression.

"W-what--I mean--we h-haven't-ah-um--!" Koichi blushed scarlet.

Yukako saved Koichi the trouble of getting out his sentence. With the ferocity of a wild animal she grabbed hold Okuyasu and suplexed him into a desk.

"Yuka-chan!" Koichi yelled as he grabbed a hold of his red seething girlfriend trying to thwart her next attack.

Okuyasu yowled in pain.

Josuke smiled as he got up to rescue Okuyasu once again with Crazy Diamond's help. "Okuyasu, can't you stay out of trouble for like five minutes man geeze..."

(Morioh~cho~radiooo~ "looks like It's going to be partly cloudy weather with a high of 75 today folks, time to get outside and enjoy this while it lasts! Another exciting school year is in session! I swear you won't want to miss this one folks!")

Chapter Text

A week into the new school semester Okuyasu had some news.

The two were ditching their afternoon classes in favor of getting some ice cream with some of the left over coupons Josuke had saved from last year.

"Oi Shigechi~!" Okuyasu screamed at up at the sky. "This ones on you buddy~!"

Josuke smiled to himself. He raised up his own ice cream sandwich in thanks, sending his good vibes to wherever that strange boy had ended up. Crazy to think that it'd been a year already since they had both met and lost that little guy.

Once Okuyasu was finally done screaming he sat down on the bench beside him and eagerly wolfed down his chocolate and vanilla soft serve. "Hey, guess what~!" he spoke with his mouth still full of cold ice cream. "I got a call last night from my aunt--" he abruptly swallowed and held his head in pain from the brain freeze.

Josuke shook his at his crazy friends usual antics. "Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth dude."

Okuyasu blinked at Josuke through the pain but followed his directions anyway. "Woah~! Thanks man! That actually worked~!"

Josuke shrugged. "My mom always used to tell me that would help."

"Damn your mom's smart, and hot to--!"

Josuke interjected before he'd have to sit uncomfortably through another discussion over just how 'hot' Okuyasu thought his mom was. "Weren't you saying something before? About your Aunt calling or something?"

"Oh yeah~! My cousins coming to stay with me and pops!"

Josuke blinked. Well that was pretty casual.

"I haven't seen her since we were kids~!" Okuyasu laughed nervously and scratched the back of his neck. "For the year I think, but I'm not too sure.."

Josuke calmly took in Okuyasu's conflicted expression wishing there was something he could say to put his friend at ease.

"Don't get me wrong Josuke, I'm happy she's coming! But I just don't know how I'm gonna tell her about pops ya know~!" He laughed awkwardly at the subject.

Josuke nudged Okuyasu's shoulder, sad to see his normally overly energized friend so conflicted. "Don't sweat it man, I'm sure it'll be alright, just tell her it's a disease or something, I mean cause it technically is right?"

Okuyasu nodded in agreement, "Yeah--Yeah~! It'll be just fine! I mean hmm--" he paused in thought, his left leg bouncing nervously. "Maybe I'm not so nervous about that actually..."

Josuke looked at him from the sides of his eyes in interest. "Well then what is it dude?"

Okuyasu weirdly started blushing. "M-My cousin is pretty cute if I remember correctly~!"

Josuke could do nothing but face palm at his friends ridiculousness.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~ "It's a beautiful forecast this week~! Lots of perfect weather for all you guys and gals out there~! Be sure you don't get stuck inside playing video games all week you won't want to miss this weather~!")

Chapter Text

That next week Josuke met Keiko Nijimura.

"Oi~! Josuke~!" Okuyasu called out in greeting as he entered their home room.

Josuke looked over to Okuyasu in interest since he hadn't yet seen him today. Saying something about Josuke going on ahead since he needed to take care of some stuff with his cousin on the way to school. But nothing could prepare him for the dark shiner he spotted around his best friends eye. "Okuyasu! What the hell! You alright man?!" He quickly jumped over his desk, mentally preparing himself for the appearance of an enemy stand.

"Woah~! I'm fine! I'm fine~!" He smiled widely showing off a few missing teeth.

Josuke immediately called out to Crazy Diamond but just as he was about to clean up his friend The Hand suddenly appeared and stopped his stand mid-touch. "Okuyasu! What the hell!"

"You can't fix me up this time bro~! She doesn't know about stands and even an idiot like me knows she'll think it's weird if I'm all healed up already!"

Josuke glared at his friend in confusion. "She? What the hell Okuyasu! Who did this to you?!"

Okuyasu smiled in good humor despite his damaged face. "Well~! Turns out my cute cousin is kind of a scary yankee now~!"

Josuke blinked at Okuyasu in disbelief, "Whaaa--!" Before he could ask anymore questions a small angry voice interrupted him.

"Yasu-chin! You forgot your bike keys you friggin' idiot!" The jingling keys flew the air and smacked Okuyasu right in the face before falling into his open confused hands.

"Oh~! Thank you Keiko-chan~!" His busted face smiled brightly at his assailant.

The small girl promptly elbowed Okuyasu in the side and knocked him to the floor of the classroom. "What--the-- fuck --did --I-- tell--you --about --calling --me --Keiko-chan!" She punctuated each word with a stomp to his back.

Josuke's eyes widened at the scene before him. Was this Okuyasu's cousin? He looked around the classroom and realized the scene was attracting a sizable crowd. He supposed he better break this up before a teacher wandered in. "Hey," he addressed the angry stomping grumbling girl.

Okuyasu looked up at him fearfully from the ground, "Jo-su-ke d-don't---!" He tried to warn his friend from beneath Keiko's shoe.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Keiko immediately snarled, outraged that someone would interrupt her punishing Okuyasu.

Josuke backed up a bit at her ferocity and put his hands up in defense. He felt almost as if he was dealing with a wild animal, "Oi oi, no need to get so pissed, I'm a friend of Okuyasu, just thought maybe you should let him go before a teacher--"

She interrupted him before he could finish his no doubt reasonable argument, "Who the fuck asked you and your shitty ass hair!"

The room fell completely silent.

Okuyasu scrambled out from under Keiko's foot like a cockroach as he tried to stop the inevitable insanity that was about to ensue.

Josuke's eyes shadowed over and turned to steel before he whipped his head up to face the girl. "...What...the fuck did you just say to my hair you fucking bitch!"

"Oh~my~god~!" Okuyasu screamed in distress immediately trying to put himself between them. Waving his arms around frantically to try and break the heavy tension that had settled in so quickly.

Keiko was completely unfazed by the boys total flip in attitude. She strode forward unaffected by the tension and leaned toward Josuke's face. "I said--your hair--looks--like--SHIT!"

Before Josuke could even react Okuyasu propelled himself between them and grabbed Keiko in a headlock.

"What the fuck Okuyasu!" Keiko thrashed in his hold as he drug her out his classroom door.

"---Imma punch you in the dick if you don't let me go!---"The whole class heard the girls muffled cries as she was pulled further and further away from the scene.

After a while, the hype finally died down and the students in 2-4 began going about their own business again.

Everyone aside from Josuke, who was still distracting himself from his rage by breaking and fixing the same tile on the classroom floor so that he wouldn't completely lose his cool entirely.

It was going to be one hell of a year.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~ "Another sweltering hot day in Morioh today~! Highs of 95~! yes ma'am it's a scorcher out there folks~! I recommend all you lads and ladies stop in Silkys to get yourself a nice cold ice cream~! Cool yourself down for the day~! You'll need it~!")

Chapter Text

After their initial meeting Okuyasu went to great lengths to keep Josuke and Keiko apart. Even going as far as enlisting Yukako and Koichi to help keep them far away from each other. He didn't know who would win in a face down between them and he honestly didn't want to find out. His cousin was stubborn and volatile and Josuke, when provoked (which Josuke very much was at this point) was prone to blind rages. Even an idiot like him knew it would be extremely bad news for them to come into contact.

"Okuyasu! Oi~!"

Okuyasu jumped at the hand waving in front of his face. "Huh? What~?"

Josuke sighed. "You were spacing out again man." He reclined back in his seat. Okuyasu looked exhausted lately, and he looked even worse still sporting that black eye from that psycho cousin of his. "I still can't believe you won't let Crazy D heal your face up, shit looks pretty painful..."

Okuyasu was touched by his friends concern. "I've had worse, really it's nothing bro~! Kei-chan is already worrying enough over my Pop, I don't need her freaking out about crazy healing abilities too..."

Josuke grimaced at the topic of Keiko Nijimura, trying to keep his temper down just at the memory of what had happened a full week ago now. By some miracle, or by Okuyasu's meddling he hadn't seen her since, and for that, he was grateful. "How's...that going by the way?" He forced himself to ask, out of politeness for his friend.

Okuyasu blinked at Josuke in surprise. Shocked he would even ask, maybe Josuke was over that initial fight by now? His friend was a pretty cool guy now that he thought about it! Huh! Okuyasu allowed himself to relax for the first time since this all began. "Shits been pretty bizarre, Kei-chan didn't even need any explanation for Pop's appearance she just dove right in and started taking care of him and everything, which I thought was pretty cool since she hadn't seen him in over 10 years ya know?" Okuyasu blushed and touched his bruised eyelid, "I know she came off kinda harsh last week but she means well man, seeing her care for my old man makes me see that she still really is my same cute little cousin after all..."

Josuke tried to take all that information in carefully. He hardly could imagine that same foul mouthed nuisance of a girl caring for anyone, let alone Okuyasu's father. But then again he'd only technically met her for 5 minutes so what did he really know anyway, he'd definitely seen stranger things in his life. He supposed he could give her another chance, just for Okuyasu's sake. He owed his friend that much.

 

---

The next time they met was over lunch period.

Okuyasu was stuffing his face with some chocolate croissants he had stolen from the schools vending machine. "Can you believe my luck man~! These were just sitting out waiting for me to come along~!"

Josuke chuckled at his friends antics. "Heh, that was pretty lucky dude." Okuyasu had practically ran at the sight of the vending machine service man leaving the vending machine window open and unattended.

Josuke had just popped the lid on his Cherry coke when he heard her voice again.

"Oi Yasu-chin," the petite girl poked her cousin on his unbruised cheek.

Josuke's eyes widened a bit at her sudden appearance, he didn't even realize she had come into the classroom.

"Kei-ch--!!" He stoppped himself from adding the honorific at his cousins steely glare. Choosing instead to swallow his croissant. "I-I mean Kei, what's wrong? Did you need something~?"

Keiko chose to ignore his babying tone. "No, I just wanted to let you know I probably won't be home right after school for a while so I didn't want your dumbass to worry that I wasn't there to walk home with you or some shit..."

Josuke noted that Keiko seemed a bit more reasonable during this exchange. Her language was still foul though.

"Whaaaa~?! Okuyasu sat up from his seat and gazed at her in dismay. "You don't wanna walk home with me anymore~!"

Keiko ignored Okuyasu's puppy eyes but she'd be lying if she said wasn't a bit affected by her cousins pleading face. "Damn it Yasu-chin! I've just got some personal stuff to take care of after school for a while, it's nothing so don't worry you friggin' jackass..."

Okuyasu took in his cousins averted gaze and slightly blushing face, and came to a grisly conclusion. "Did someone confess to you already~?!" He waved his arms manically. "You haven't even been here a week and some asshole is already trying to take you away from me~! I'll friggin' kill him!!!"

Keiko smacked Okuyasu in the back of the head to try and get him to calm down. Sighing audibly at Okuyasu's over excitable personality, she supposed that they really were related after all.

The few students still gathered in the class of 2-4 looked to see who was causing a ruckus but immediately averted their eyes at the sight of the Nijimura's. Word had spread quick from last week about the cousins and their apparent craziness. It was common knowledge at this point.

"No you dumbass! I told you not to worry about it," she sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. "...I've just got some things to do is all, I'll be home in time to make dinner for you and Uncle like normal so..."

Okuyasu continued to plead at her silently with his expression, still not believing her about this not being about a boy. "But Kei---"

Keiko face began to twitch in irritation.

Josuke seeing this as an opportunity to fix some of the immediate bad blood between them intervened, "Let it go man, she clearly can take care of herself, and she told you not to worry so--"

Okuyasu turned his pleading eyes to Josuke in misunderstanding, "Josuke~! How could you~! It's you isn't it~!"

Josuke held his hands out frantically in his defense. "What the hell man! No! I just think you should trust your cousin more dude!"

Okuyasu and Keiko blinked at Josuke in surprise.

"I mean--Nijimura's are good on their word ya'know, or something like that..." he nervously scratched the back of his head at both of their piercing looks.

Okuyasu abruptly turned his watery eyes to Keiko and gave her his strongest head nod of approval. "Hmph~! I trust you Kei~! Do what you gotta do~!"

Keiko was floored by her cousins friendship. She'd never seen Okuyasu listen so well to another human being apart from his brother before. Those two had a stronger bond than she had previously realized. She leaned forward to ruffle Okuyasu's hair and tried to offer Josuke a small smile grateful smile, but when she turned back to look at Okuyasu he was blinking teary eyed at her. "What the hell is wrong now Yasu-chin?"

Okuyasu blew his nose noisily into a napkin. "That's the first time I've seen you smile since you came here Kei-cha--" he coughed loudly to correct himself at the sudden harsh look on her face.

In spite of herself Keiko's cheeks glowed pink at her cousins observation and she grumbled an angry, "Whatever..." before finally turning to leave the boys to their lunch. But just before she left the two a sudden thought struck her. She called out to Okuyasu, "Oh yeah! Yasu-chin! Where the hell is Kei-cho-cho! I haven't seen him yet and I miss his stupid face!"

Okuyasu's teary eyes shadowed over with despair. He hadn't even realized that he'd have to tell his cousin about his brothers death, I mean he should have, but he wasn't that smart remember.

Luckily Josuke was the best friend a guy could have and abruptly broke his coke bottle onto his hand to give pause to the impending conversation.

Okuyasu leapt back in surprise at his friends bleeding hand and apologized to his cousin as he hurriedly escorted Josuke to the infirmary.

"Holy crap Josuke! How in the hell did that even happen dude~?! Hurry up and use Crazy Diamond~! That looks super painful man~!"

Josuke shook his head at his forgetful friend and kept a firm pressure on his bleeding hand. "I can't do that remember..."

Okuyasu looked at Josuke with panic. "Oh man I'm so stupid~! I totally forgot~! That sucks dude~!" He hastened their pace to the infirmary.

Josuke grimaced in pain. "It's cool man, I did it on purpose."

Okuyasu stopped suddenly in the empty hallway, "What the fuck Josuke~!"

Josuke kept walking but turned back to look at his best friend, "Relax Okuyasu, I did it so you wouldn't have to tell your cousin about Keicho at school..."

Okuyasu fell teary eyed for the final time that day as he realized once again how awesome his best friend really was.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~ "The weekly forecast shows slight showers through the afternoon and thunderstorms through the weekend~! This is not the week to leave your umbrellas at home folks~! Stay dry and stay tuned for the best station in Morioh~!")

Chapter Text

"I'm worried about her Josuke," Okuyasu confided that next morning as they walked their familiar school route together. "I told her about Keicho...and she just kinda... went about making dinner like normal..." Okuyasu kicked a rock in his path. "Like, I know she's a tough girl and all, but that's too much don't you think..."

Josuke stared up at the grey clouds overhead. It was supposed to rain but so far it'd only been overcast. "It's alright man, sometimes women have to deal with that kind of stuff in their own way..." he immediately thought of his mother after his grandfathers murder. If a person didn't want to deal with reality, that was up to them.

Okuyasu's face scrunched up in thought. "I guess you're right about that..." He caught up to Josuke and punched him the shoulder. "You're so smart Josuke~! Just like your hot mom~!"

Josuke shook his head at Okuyasu's nonsense. "Yeah, yeah..."

---

Sooner or later though, you do have to start feeling again.

Okuyasu and Josuke had both simultaneously decided to dip out of school early that Friday. Start the weekend off right ya know?

Okuyasu had gone on ahead of Josuke, saying something about needing some bathroom time after apparently having a bad reaction to the sandwich he had wolfed down for lunch.

So instead of going to class like an actual student, Josuke was stuck loafing around the grounds until Okuyasu was done desecrating the school toilets. He was just finishing up some touch ups on his pompadour using the schools hallway window as a mirror when he noticed something odd.

A girl running hurriedly back and forth through the trees in the front school yard.

He narrowed his eyes in focus. Short bleached blonde hair and sweat pants under her skirt? No way...

Those signature features could only belong to one ornery student in particular!

"What the hell..." Josuke grumbled in confusion at the scene. What on Earth was she doing? He knew she was related to Okuyasu but this shit was just ridiculous.

Bored and honestly pretty curious Josuke decided to test his luck and see what that deranged girl was up to.

---

"Whatcha up to down there?" Josuke drawled causally from over Keiko's crouched back.

"--Holy shit!!! Ahh--!" The surprised girl reared back at him and shocked Josuke with her fast reflexes.

"--Woah!" He had just barely managed to jump out of the way of the kick that would have swept his legs out from under him. Who the fuck was this girl?!

"Sorry sorry!"

Josuke stared at her in shock, not expecting the apology.

"But you shouldn't sneak up on people like that! What the hell is wrong with you?!"

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck. There she was.

The small girl puffed out her cheeks at him angrily, satisfied with his lack of a retort and went back to crouching on the ground.

Josuke glanced over her shoulder curiously. "Huh?...A birds nest?"

Three small blue eggs were nested in the twine of sticks and leaves cradled tenderly in Keiko's hands.

Keiko turned a shocking shade of scarlet as she moved to face Josuke. "...Y-Yeah, this is my project, the one I've taken up instead of coming home right away with Y-Yasu-chin..."

Josuke stared at Keiko in confusion, still not really understanding the situation but somehow still finding her expression extremely endearing.

She tried to swallow some of her embarrassment before explaining, "...With all the construction happening in the school yard, tearing down trees and stuff, I noticed lots of baby birds and birds nests turning up around here..." she mumbled cutely. "...So everyday I've been skipping out of class early to help these little guys find new homes before it gets to dark for me to see..." She looked down at the nest in her hands and smiled gently.

Josuke felt an unfamiliar surge of affection for the tiny brute of a girl. Maybe this is the side of her Okuyasu had been trying to tell him about, he definitely wouldn't have believed him at all if he wasn't experiencing it right now for himself.

"...Thanks for sticking up for me to Yasu-chin by the way..." she grumbled at him with her eyes downcast. "You didn't have a reason to, but I really appreciated it..."

Josuke smiled easily at that. "It was no trouble, really...I just kind of thought this would be easier if we could all get along ya know?"

Keiko's face flushed a bit more in color. "...You're right, I tend to let my temper get the best of me most of the time...I--I know I need to work on that..."

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck. She really is cute damnit! "It's alright really! The fault wasn't all yours, I can get kinda hot headed myself obviously..."

Keiko's shoulders appeared to sag in relief at his words.

"Just out of curiosity though, why can't you tell Okuyasu about your project here?" He crouched down to join her on the ground and gestured at the nest.

Keiko seemed a bit more relaxed with his presence and rocked back and forth on her heels as she answered him. "A few reasons to be honest, I just don't want him to think I'm wasting my time, or give him any more reason to tease me for 'being cute' or some other stupid shit like that..." she trailed off grumbling angrily to herself.

Josuke tried to keep his smile to himself worried that even that much would set her off again. "I don't think he'd think he'd say it's a waste of time..." Josuke blinked thoughtfully at the clouds overhead. "I've known Okuyasu for a while now, and he's definitely the honorable type, I think he'd find what you're doing pretty cool, he might even want to help out..."

Keiko was silent.

Josuke turned his eyes back to her curiously when the silence stretched on and he didn't get a response.

Large tears were falling from Keiko's eyes and her tiny face was scrunched up in an effort to quiet what were definitely sobs. She had even placed the birds nest back on the ground so she could cover both her hands over her mouth.

Josuke proceeded to freak the fuck out. "Woah! Woah! Hey now! What's wrong?! I didn't make you cry did I? Pease tell me I didn't make you cry???" Okuyasu was going to kill him for making his cute cousin cry!

Keiko slowly managed to shake her head at him. She even reached up a hand to tug at his pants to get him to crouch back down with her since he had sprung up during his outburst. "No, no--!" Her voice was hoarse already from her tears.

Josuke was terrible at handling crying girls. Really truly terrible. He had once even agreed to date a girl that had cried after he rejected her confession because crying girls freaked him out so much. Which honestly ended up being even more terrible, so really, he was screwed.

"--It's not that--I-I just--" she sniffled pathetically. "--I'm glad Okuyasu has such a--good friend is all--!"

Josuke blinked at her in shock.

"--He told me ya k-know--" she cleared her throat,"h-he told me how you've saved his l-life many times--he told me you--!" A fresh wave of tears appeared to emerge as she tried to get out the words. "--he told me you tried to help my uncle--he told me you--t-tried to help K-Keicho---!!!"

Josuke understood now. As he watched the secret bleeding heart of Keiko Nijimura unfurl for a moment. She needed this. A proud girl like her couldn't cry in front of her family. He understood her a bit more than maybe she realized. He kept watch over her until her sobs died down and she seemed to come back to herself a bit.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry you had to see that geeze..." she rubbed her runny nose on her sleeve.

Josuke smiled at her warmly and offered her his handkerchief.

Keiko blinked at the offered cloth as if offended. "Oh man, I can't take that really, I'll just get it all fucking gross...I've done enough to you already don't you think?"

Josuke persisted, "I promise I don't mind, plus this originally belonged to my father and I don't really care for him much actually," Josuke said in good humor.

Keiko shook her head at the boy, finally accepting his generosity and blowing her nose into the satin cloth noisily.

"Plus, I'm sure he wouldn't mind a cute girl like you using it anyway," he flirted off handedly.

Keiko glared at him weakly, exhausted from her tears but still finding it in herself to feel offended, and smacked his leg gently. "I know you've just been super kind to me but call me cute again and I'll rip your fucking face off dude..."

Josuke chuckled nervously at the threat. So that's what seemed to set her off. He'd have to be careful and keep himself in check. His mind flashed back to their initial meeting and recalled what she had done to Okuyasu simply because he had added '-chan' to the end of her name. He shivered, was it weird that he thought that made her even cuter? "I got it! I got it!" He voiced his understanding.

Keiko's glare finally lessened and she relaxed her defenses once more at his compliance. "I guess I should--!"

Her words got cut off as the grey sky finally opened up and released the downpour that had been hovering over Morioh ominously for the past week. Thunder rumbled overhead as Josuke and Keiko hurried to make it under a roof before they both got completely drenched.

Keiko cradled the birds nest under her school shirt to try and keep it dry as her and Josuke ran beneath the schools overhang.

"Damn that moved in fast huh!"

Keiko nodded in agreement. "Guess I'm not gonna be able to find a spot for these guys today after all..." she gazed down at the eggs sadly.

Josuke's heart leapt sadly at her expression. Sad to see her looking so forlorn again so soon. There had to be somewhere nearby they could put them. He paused in thought.

"I got it!"

Keiko looked to Josuke in surprise as he gestured for her follow him inside. She hid the nest inside her shirt as he took her up staircase after staircase, dodging random teachers in the hallway all the while since classes were technically still in session, until he led her to the schools rooftop.

He bounced on his feet excitedly as he showed her a protected spot to the side of the roof, still technically covered from the rain, it was a wooden grate with holes in it. It was still near enough to the school yard where she had first found the nest so she immediately felt that the mama bird would have no trouble finding her eggs. She beamed at Josuke happily. "This is perfect! You're a life saver! Thanks a lot uh--!"

Josuke soaked in the praise like a happy sponge, grinning like an idiot. He opened his eyes at her pause.

"I guess we never did properly meet did we?" Keiko admitted with an embarrassed chuckle. "My name's Keiko, but you can call me just Kei okay?"

Josuke felt his cheeks flush a bit in his own embarrassment. "The names Josuke, but you already knew that from Okuyasu I'm sure..."

Keiko smiled at him warmly after carefully settling the nest into its new home. "It's nice to finally meet you Josuke!"

Before Josuke could spontaneously combust at Keiko's cuteness a loud crashing noise interrupted the moment.

Okuyasu burst through the door, barreled across the ground, missing the awning completely and rolled into the rain. "Josu-ke~!!! You ARE trying to steal my cousin~!"

Josuke and Keiko both groaned at Okuyasu's accusation.

"I trusted you man~! I go to the John for an hour and this is what it's come to~!"

Keiko sighed loudly and began to stretch and crack her knuckles.

Josuke could only watch in a bit of fear and amazement as she wrestled Okuyasu to the ground and knocked the wind out of him to cease his squawking.

"Shut the hell up Yasu-chin! I was just apologizing to your friend you jackass! Stop making up weird shit you idiot!"

Okuyasu blinked at Keiko and allowed the words to sink in. "Oh~! That's great Kei-chan~!"

Keiko's eyes shadowed over instantly at the honorific.

Josuke winced at the impending beat down he was about to witness.

It really was going to be an interesting school year.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! "The storm has hit folks~! Expect some relief later tonight when we drop to some 50 degree lows~! Lots of funky new waves rolling in~! You heard it here first~!")

Chapter Text

Okuyasu now had two black eyes thanks to Keiko.

"You look like a panda Okuyasu! Are you sure you're okay?" Koichi asked his friend, his gentle voice filled with concern.

"Yeah~! Yeah~! It honestly hurts less cause I know it was Kei-chan who gave them to me~!" He smiled, proudly showing off the teeth she had also knocked out.

Josuke shook his head at his friend. He couldn't believe Okuyasu was still calling her that after everything. Then again his best friend was completely ridiculous, so he actually could very easily believe that.

"Ya~ho~!"

All three boys turned their heads at the cheerful greeting. Speaking of, Keiko slipped through the classroom door and maneuvered through their classmates with ease.

"Kei~!"

There was hope for Okuyasu yet it seemed. Josuke spared her a glance, "Yo~!"

Koichi gave the small girl a wave, "Good morning Keiko-san!"

Keiko smiled at the trio and presented what business had brought her to their classroom so early in the day. "Sorry to bug you so early, but I made these for you and I wasn't gonna have time to stop by during lunchtime..." she pulled her bag from off her shoulder and set down a wrapped bento box on Okuyasu's and Josuke's respective desks.

The boys both blushed and looked at her in confusion.

She shuffled anxiously at their looks. "H-Hey! I just wanted to do something nice for you Yasu-chin, for letting me stay with you and Uncle..." she swallowed nervously. "A-And Josuke gets one too as an apology..."

Josuke watched her shift around nervously and immediately understood what she was really trying to say. 'For yesterday' she wanted to say, but definitely wouldn't in the company of others.

Koichi looked at the cutely wrapped bentos enviously. "Those look so nice..."

"Cut it out Koichi~! You get bentos all the time from Yukako~! So don't even pout man~!"

Koichi sighed wistfully at Okuyasu's words. While that was true, he wouldn't really say that Yukako's bento were anything normal, they were protein packed for his growing diet she liked to say, so that didn't mean they were always tasty.

Keiko shuffled nervously in place before deciding it was time to go. "W-Well, that's all~! I'll see you guys later! I hope you like them!"

And with that she was gone. Josuke blinked down at the blue star printed cloth his bento was wrapped in and grinned eagerly in anticipation.

---

Josuke couldn't contain his excitement come lunchtime. He hadn't had a bento box since he was in elementary school when his mother would make them. These days he was lucky if Tomoko would so much as make him a sandwich.

Okuyasu seemed to be experiencing similar emotions. "Ahhhh~! She cut these hotdogs to look like octopus~!" He popped one into his mouth. "And they're freakin' delicious~!"

Josuke opened his own carefully and was treated to a carefully prepared feast of omurice with a side of sweet curry. There were even cute little animal faces carefully crafted out of rice on the side of his box and his name had even been carefully drawn out in sauce atop the omurice. Josuke covered his mouth, "...I'm gonna cry man~! This is incredible!"

Okuyasu nodded heartily in agreement. He had finally managed to carefully begin eating one of the heart shaped onigiri in his own box. "Smoked salmon~! I'm gonna die~! She's the best~! Ahhh~!" He wiggled around in place as he savored the deliciousness of Keiko's bento.

Josuke could hardly believe how amazing his meal was. "Hey...Okuyasu? Is this real life?"

Okuyasu belched beside him and rubbed his belly in contentment. "Nah man, it's gotta be a dream right?"

Josuke smiled at his friend and groaned as he sat up with his full belly. "Where'd she learn to cook like that?"

"Not from my side of the family that's for sure~!"

The boys shared a laugh at that.

"Oi~! Josuke, I wanna show you something real quick~!"

Josuke rested his hand on his face and regarded Okuyasu curiously. "Yeah?"

Okuyasu dug lazily through his messy bag for a while before seeming to find what he was looking for. "Since you don't seem to mind Kei-chan so much now, I wanted you to see this~!"

Josuke stared down at the photo Okuyasu offered to him with interest. It was a portrait of three children posing for a photo in front of a swing set. The smallest boy kneeling on the ground giving peace signs was clearly Okuyasu, while the older more subdued boy must have been Keicho. Josuke squinted at the tiny girl beside him with long black hair. It was pulled back into two braids and she was grinning mischievously. No way! "---! Is that Keiko!?"

Okuyasu nodded eagerly in affirmation. "Super cute huh~?"

Josuke blinked at the photograph in disbelief. The only way he'd been able to recognize her was by her smile. The little girl in the photograph seemed so carefree and vibrant compared to fierce and guarded girl he had come to know her as now. A large part of him felt saddened and confused by this. "What...?" He tried to choose his words carefully. "...What happened to her?"

Okuyasu's smile fell a bit at the question. "...I'm not really sure yet Josuke...like I said, we haven't seen each other in 10 years~! Lots of stuff happens in that amount of time ya know?"

Josuke nodded in agreement. Staring down at the cuteness of little Keiko with even more concern.

"She really won't tell me much of anything actually, which worries me a lot...sometimes I wonder if it's obvious but I'm just too stupid to figure it out..."

Josuke gave his friend a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "Don't be so down man, she's here now right? You've got plenty of time to figure things out~!"

Okuyasu grinned at his friend gratefully. "Yeah~! It's not like she's completely changed after all~! She's still super cute now too~!"

Josuke crossed him arms over his chest and nodded his agreement.

"--A little scary~! But still cute all the same~!" Okuyasu raised his fist in the air excitedly.

"Yeah~!" Josuke cheered Okuyasu on happily.

"She even made us bento for lunch~! What an angel--!" Okuyasu would have continued his shouting had the class president not walked in at that exact moment and given him a truly frigid glare. He sat back down hurriedly at the look, having already spent enough time in the principals office for the school year.

Josuke snickered with Okuyasu as they both sat back down in their seats properly.

---

For the next few weeks Keiko continued to make bento boxes for both Josuke and Okuyasu. After Okuyasu had showered her with his exuberant praise over her cooking that first day she found joy in continuing to share her cooking with the two. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement, but what they didn't account for was the feelings of the girls in Josuke's fan club...

"Who does she think she is?! Making Josuke-kun bento everyday like that!"

"She's crazy if she thinks she can do such a thing without any consequences!"

"What a tramp!"

The troupe of girls gathered together and riled each other up for battle.

"Lets confront her today!"

"Yeah! We can't let this go on any longer!"

---

They waited eagerly for Keiko by the staircase to the roof of the school. Reika, a small polite girl with glasses in Keiko's 1st year class had informed the girls that she'd seen Keiko frequent the rooftop almost everyday since she'd started classes.

The girls jumped her the moment they saw her bleached blonde hair emerge from the top of the staircase.

"Keiko Nijimura! You are hereby forbidden to interact with Josuke Higashikata any further!"

Keiko blinked at the group of girls in surprise. "That's what this is about? Jesus, that's a relief..."

The girls looked to each other nervously at her complete lack of a response. She didn't seem to show any surprise at all to their ambush.

Keiko climbed the staircase grumbling to herself. "Don't scare me like that geeze, I thought I'd fucked up and actually done something wrong--!"

The head of the group Riho Takanaka, enraged by Keiko's attitude, took it upon herself to reach out and shove Keiko so that she'd fall down the stairs.

Keiko's eyes widened in surprise, but luckily her fast reflexes allowed her to turn her body so the fall wouldn't hurt quite as badly as it was supposed to. Her body still took the impact of falling down a flight of stairs though and as her body tumbled she couldn't help but feel annoyance for her situation.

The girls gasped at Riho, the majority finding her actions too much. "Riho! You went too far! What if she's really hurt?!"

Keiko stood back up on her feet shakily. Wincing at the cut she somehow aquirred on her forehead, she could feel the blood dripping down the side of her face. She looked down at herself and noticed it had gotten on her brand new shirt. Fucking hell! Now she was pissed.

Riho's previously smug face fell at the sight of Keiko's expression.

"I'll fucking kill you bitch! I just got this shirt dry cleaned! How dare you!" She jumped the stairs two at a time. Before anyone could even get a word in Keiko had socked Riho right in the face.

Riho recoiled in pain, tears beading at the corners of her eyes. "Y-You're crazy!" She choked out at her, and then started screaming when she felt the blood dripping out of her nose.

"I suggest you all get the hell out of here and take that bitch to the infirmary, otherwise her nose probably won't set back properly..."

The girls all looked fearfully to Keiko before scrambling away with Riho to follow her suggestion.

Keiko waited patiently as they all scurried away before limping out onto the roof to check on her birds nest.

---

As usual Josuke was wondering aimlessly in the hallways of Morioh High, this time waiting for Okuyasu to get out of detention. He'd already tried busting his best friend out but to no avail. He looked at the clock. Damn, another 20 minutes. What was he supposed to do for another 20 freakin' minutes? Before he could contemplate that fully he heard the sound of rushing foot steps. He ducked into an empty classroom and watched as about 10 girls, (most looked familiar, they were probably in his grade) were rushing an injured girl to the infirmary?

---"I can't believe she punched you! That Keiko Nijimura is out of control!"---

---"I-I thought it was kind of cool!"--

---"Shut up Reika! She's crazy! No it wasn't!"---

Josuke couldn't believe what he had just heard! I mean, he could, Keiko definitely was the violent type, but still! What the hell Keiko?!That seemed strange for her to beat up on random girls right?! He had really only ever seen her get physically violent with Okuyasu, but he figured at this point that it was cause they were family. Maybe he'd also gotten so used to the cute Keiko who made him bento everyday that this situation felt even more out of the ordinary. It was certainly troubling. He went in search of her hoping to shed some light onto the situation.

---

Josuke sighed in relief. She was on the roof after all. Keiko was crouched down on her knees in front of the birds nest he had helped her place weeks ago. She seemed to frequent it since then, checking the eggs for cracks and keeping the nest well protected for the mama bird. He could hardly imagine Keiko instigating a fight after seeing this side of her.

"Oi~!" He greeted at last, coming to crouch down beside her.

"Oh... Josuke, hey..."

Josuke jumped in concern at the sight of dried blood in streams down Keiko's face. "Holy shit! Are you okay?! What the hell happened?!"

Keiko shook her head at him. "It's fine don't worry, it probably looks worse than it actually is..."

"What the hell Keiko?!"

She smiled a bit at his concern. "Seriously, don't worry, you should see the other girl."

Josuke did see the other girl, but refrained from saying so. "You got in a fight? What happened?"

"Nothing really, the bitch pushed me down the stairs, so I broke her nose..." her tone sounded bored.

Josuke didn't know what to say. She seemed completely unfazed by the event. "...Why would she do that?"

"It doesn't matter, really Josuke," she turned to face him. "Don't worry about it."

Josuke wasn't going to back down. Keiko was proud and stubborn, just like her cousin. "Hey, I am going to worry about it alright! Why would she do that to you?"

Keiko glared at him, annoyed at his insistence. "Just drop it! Geeze..."

Josuke glared right back. "I won't! Tell me what happened!"

Keiko abruptly leaned forward and got into his face.

He refused to be intimidated. He tried a different approach."Keiko..." he pleaded gently.

She backed down a bit at the change in his demeanor. She watched him wearily for a moment before finally sighing, "...They wanted me to stay away from you..."

Josuke blinked in confusion. "Huh?"

Keiko smirked at his baffled expression. Idiot didn't even know. "Apparently you're a pretty popular guy..."

Josuke blushed, feeling blindsided and embarrassed. "What the hell though!?" He came back to himself quickly when he realized what Keiko had been saying. "This girl--wait you said they--!"

Keiko grimaced in affirmation.

"---These girls! They pushed you down the stairs?! Because they wanted you to leave me alone?!"

Keiko shrugged nonchalantly. "Pretty stupid right?"

Josuke was beyond appalled.

"I mean, you can't own a person, just cause you like them doesn't mean you can dictate who they spend their time with...people like that are the worst..."

Josuke nodded in agreement, taking note of the haunted look on the girls face. Maybe she was thinking about someone other than just those girls when she said those words.

"Anyway, I could care less about that stupid bullshit, if anything I'm such a brat this happening makes me want to spend more time with you, just to spite them..."

Josuke chuckled at that. "You're such a strange girl," he said fondly.

Keiko blinked at him, trying to decipher what he had meant. "...In any case," she let it go. "I better get some first aid, I think my ankle might be sprained~!"

"What the hell?! Don't say that so casually!" Josuke yelled at her in irritation. That was serious damnit! She might need crutches or something! "We've been talking here all this time! Maybe you could have mentioned that earlier?! Good grief..."

Keiko smiled at his genuine concern.

Before Josuke could really think about it (using Crazy Diamond really was second nature to him at this point) he reached out to her with a glowing pink hand. Just to take the edge of her injuries he told himself.

But what Josuke couldn't have anticipated was the dark purple hand that reached out and grabbed hold of Crazy Diamond before he could touch her.

Josuke jumped in surprise and stared at Keiko in shock.

Keiko was glaring fiercely at him, and had somehow put quite a bit of distance between them despite her ankle. "What the fuck!?" she snarled at him. "You trying to kill me with that thing?!"

Josuke paled at the accusation. "What--! No!!! Of course not-!"

Keiko Nijimura had a stand. Of course she did. He stared into the eyes of her purple Valkyrie of a stand.

Holy shit. It was going to be one hell of a school year.

(Morioh~cho~radiooo~! "It's a beautiful sunny afternoon in Morioh~! Lots of sunshine and good times ahead~! Be sure to get outside and enjoy it while it lasts folks~! Next up is our commercial free music hour~! Be sure to crank those tunes and get down to the funky beat~!")

Chapter Text

"So it's called a stand huh?"

Josuke nodded.

"And you've got one that both breaks and fixes things?"

Josuke nodded again.

"...huh..."

Josuke couldn't really tell how Keiko was taking this news, she was a hard person to read.

"...and Okuyasu, Koichi and Yukako have one too..."

"...Right..."

She rubbed her temples at all this new information.

Josuke watched her in silence, worried that he might overwhelm her.

The sun shone down on them from overhead, but the breeze on the schools rooftop kept the pair from getting too warm.

"...Well this sucks..." she finally spoke.

Josuke turned to her in concern. "Why would you say that?"

Keiko tapped her foot agitated. "I honestly came to stay with Yasu-chin to get away from all this crap..."

"---!"

Keiko continued. "I was hoping to live a more normal and peaceful life here in Morioh..."

"You still can Keiko," Josuke said easily. "I don't know what kind of stand users you've met before, but I promise you're among friends here," Josuke tried to give her a reassuring smile.

She looked conflicted for a moment, before nodding at his words. "...I guess you're right..." she didn't sound convinced but it seemed like she was willing to still give Morioh a chance.

"I promise it's not so bad...after the events of last year, the towns been pretty quiet...this is the first time I've thought to use Crazy Diamond in a while."

"What the fuck? Crazy Diamond? Like the Pink Floyd song?"

Josuke grinned and scratched the back of his neck, "Yeah...I think that song's pretty cool so...I named my stand after it..." Josuke looked embarrassed for a moment. "...is that lame?"

Keiko shook her head quickly. "--No! No! I think it's pretty awesome actually~! I kinda want to name my stand now..."

Josuke blushed at the off handed compliment. He coughed to try and cover up his excitement from getting any kind of positive reaction from the tough and tender girl. "You totally should~! I mean... I didn't even ask--! What kind of abilities does your stand have?" He was genuinely curious, with a personality like Keiko's it could be anything!

She shrunk a bit at the question, deciding how she should answer. "Well... I'm not completely sure actually, but what I do know is that it stops other users from using their abilities on me..."

Josuke was intrigued. "Wow~! So like, can you freeze others users abilities?"

Keiko shook her head. "No, not really, it's more like they just don't work on me...my stand stops any other stand from affecting just me," she scratched her head. "And that's all I really know about it...it's kind of a strange ability now that I'm talking about it..."

So it was a defensive stand. Josuke really hadn't been expecting that. How interesting.

"...It's kinda sucky right now though, you couldn't heal these injuries of mine with Crazy Diamond even if I wanted you to," she rubbed at some of the dried blood on her face. "It doesn't seem to care if another stand is trying to help me or not, it just prevents any ability from interacting with me..."

She sounded like she was speaking from experience. Josuke frowned. Before he could ask anymore questions the inevitable happened.

Okuyasu happened.

"Josuke~!!!" He leapt into the scene, seemingly from out of nowhere. "You and Kei~! Alone on the roof together~! While I was suffering in detention~?! Just what an I supposed to think~?!"

Keiko stood up to begin her usual back and forth with Okuyasu but winced and had to sit back down at the sharp pain in her ankle.

Okuyasu zeroed in on her immediately, "Kei!" His tone changed dramatically at the sight of blood on her face. "What the fuck happened?!"

Keiko looked exhausted. Really not wanting to have to go through and explain herself again.

Josuke helpfully intervened. "It's alright Okuyasu, I was trying to help, but she's stubborn ya know~! You see, Keiko slipped and fell down the stairs..."

Keiko's face twitched in irritation. She wasn't that clumsy! What the fuck?!

Josuke shot her a meaningful look.

Oh! He was lying for her! Hell yes! Keiko grinned at Okuyasu, "Clumsy me~!"

Okuyasu looked between the two suspiciously. He found their mutual grins a bit off putting, but his brain really didn't know why. So, as usual, he went along with it. "That's dangerous Kei~! You really ought to be more careful~!"

Keiko's shoulders drooped in relief. Goddamnit she loved her adorable dumb cousin. She tried to walk to him without thinking and ended up stumbling.

Okuyasu caught her easily, his eyes tearing up. "Kei~! I'm not missing out on this opportunity~!"

"--Wha!!--"

Okuyasu scooped the small girl up into his arms with ease. "To the infirmary~!"

Josuke watched with amusement as Keiko struggled in his hold.

"--Fuck you! Put me down goddamnit!--!"

Okuyasu happily ignored her curses as he carried her down the the very same staircase that had put her into this predicament in the first place.

"Nope~! Not gonna happen~!"

Keiko smacked him in the ear.

Somehow, Okuyasu didn't drop her.

---

A few days passed, uneventfully.

Keiko had asked Josuke not to tell Okuyasu about her stand. He had tried to argue with her at first but ultimately gave in when she confided that she really just wanted things to be normal for her for once, no crazy super powers. He didn't understand, but he respected her decision all the same.

He really wanted an opportunity to talk more with her about it though, but private time with her was limited with Okuyasu's ever watchful eye. She had needed crutches after all.

He was switching out his school slippers for his expensive purple loafers when he saw her next. Or collided with her actually.

He had no time to react as little arms wrapped around his neck from behind and a small body suddenly mounted him. The only clue he had to identify the culprit was the pair of crutches that dropped down on either side of him.

"--?! Keiko?!"

"Hey Honey~!" She greeted in his ear intimately, her tone sickeningly sweet and suspicious.

Josuke blushed a deep scarlet. He knew she probably had an agenda, but he couldn't help the rush of adrenaline as his mind annoyingly provided a detailed image of Keiko in an apron, greeting him as he came home from work...in an alternate reality where they were married or something!? "W-What the hell Keiko--?!"

Keiko forced a loud fake sounding laugh.

Josuke was instantly creeped out. What the hell was even happening right now?!

"Jesus Josuke, grab my legs before I fall off, you friggin' asshole, I'm crippled thanks to you after all!"

Josuke instantly complied, albeit reluctantly. His face still burning scarlet. "I thought you told me not to worry about it? Also, here's a question I'd like an answer to...what the hell is going on?!"

Keiko laughed genuinely this time. "Relax~! Relax~! I'm just having a bit of revenge is all~!"

Josuke hoisted Keiko a little more securely on his back. His face honestly hurting from the blush still glowing on it. "--What?" He turned his head and saw a group of girls practically seething at them in the hallway. Oh. That would explain it.

Riho almost tore her backpack apart with the rage of her emotions. How dare she---! "The nerve of that girl--!"

Reika looked at Riho quietly and then looked back at the pair. At first, she'd felt upset too, but the longer she watched Josuke and Keiko banter, the lighter she weirdly felt. "...I think they're kinda cute together actually..."

Riho turned furious eyes on the small girl. "Excuse me--?!"

Reika cleared her threat and made a bold declaration. "I-I ship it~!"

Several girls in the group gasped at the scandalous words.

"---H-Hear me out though guys!" She blushed under the scrutiny of the group. "I've never seen Josuke-kun blush like that before..." she pushed her fingers together nervously. "It's really cute...d-don't you think he'll make even more cute expression like at school if he starts dating someone?"

The group was silent.

"I want to see what kind of expressions Josuke-kun makes when he's in love...don't you?"

The girls squealed excitedly in agreement. But Riho still grit her teeth, unable to accept a reality where she wasn't the one receiving Josuke's affections. Reika had a point though, maybe this way she could observe what Josuke-kun was looking for in a relationship. She held her bandaged nose in thought. Then she could swoop in and win his heart after their relationship inevitably failed! It was the perfect plan. Also that way, maybe she wouldn't get her nose broken again...

---

"Okuyasu's not gonna suddenly pop out of the ground and kill me for giving you a piggy back ride is he?"

Keiko laughed. "I don't think so, but you can never be too sure..."

Josuke grinned and lowered Keiko onto a bench. He had carried not only Keiko but also her crutches precariously under his armpit for the length of their journey to the park and his arms honestly felt a little sore.

"Thanks for playing along~!" She winked at him.

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck. "It's the least I can do after you got attacked because of me..."

"Hey!" Keiko chided. "I was just kidding earlier! I won't hold it over your head or anything, that shitty behavior is on them for acting like that..."

Josuke smiled at her words and joined her on the bench.

"That doesn't mean I don't enjoy teasing you about it though~!"

Josuke smiled up at the clouds. "That seems fair I guess..."

They settled into a comfortable silence and listened to the sounds of Morioh's largest park. From the birds chirping, to the rowdy kids laughing loudly on the playground.

"...I decided to call her Heart of Glass..."

Josuke looked at Keiko with interest.

"My stand...I think that's what I'm gonna call her..."

Josuke smirked. "Like the Blondie song?"

Keiko shared his smirk. "What can I say? I was inspired..."

Josuke laughed. He hadn't expected that. But it fit perfectly somehow.

"Don't even think about making a comment about my hair~!" She jested.

"Oh I wouldn't~! I'd be the last person to do that honestly..."

Keiko smiled thinking back on their initial meeting. She'd since learned that Josuke's hair was special to him and messing with him about it was a sure way to get a one way ticket to the hospital. She was honestly shocked he'd apparently let her off the hook for her comments that first day. Okuyasu said it was an actual real life miracle. "...We've got a bit of time before I've gotta be home and Okuyasu's done taking Uncle to the doc...and I can tell you've got some stand questions you wanna ask me sooo," she gestured with her hands. "Go ahead, shoot."

Josuke stared down at his shoes. She was a pretty perceptive person, he had to give her that much. She definitely didn't get that from Okuyasu. "Well, yeah, to be totally honest. I mean, I just don't want to make you uncomfortable by asking about it though..."

"...That's really kind of you, I mean extra brownie points for being considerate, damn, no wonder the girls here think you're such a catch~!" She lifted her sprained bandaged ankle and wiggled it around at him goofily. Reminding him once again of the apparent physical proof of their devotion.

"...oh my god..." Josuke held his head in his hands and tried to ignore her.

Several strangers were even stopping their park festivities to marvel at Keiko's strange movements and Josuke's blushing face.

"...Jesus, when are you gonna be done teasing me about this?"

Keiko grinned mischievously. Josuke was struck momentarily by how much the smile made her look like the cute baby Keiko he saw in that photo.

"When you stop reacting like this, so probably never?"

Josuke groaned and tried to will his blush away for what felt like the millionth time.

"But let's get back on track, what'd you wanna ask me?"

Josuke collected his thoughts before asking. "Have you always had a stand...or?" He really wanted to know if Keicho had shot her with that bow, but bringing up her deceased cousin definitely felt insensitive if he really hadn't had anything to do with Keiko's abilities. Plus she probably still didn't know the details of her cousins death. Couple that with her apparent dislike of using stands, this felt like a tricky situation.

Luckily Keiko answered him before he had any more time to ruminate. "...No?... I mean..." she seemed to stop and struggle for a moment. "Let's just say, it came in a moment when I needed it the most..." she crossed her arms over her stomach. "...That's all I can really say without being too psychologically revealing...sorry if that's not the answer you wanted..."

"No! No! I promise that's just fine!" He practically blurted out at the sight of her crestfallen expression. "I mean the same is true for me so, yeah, don't feel bad, I really don't want you to force yourself to tell me anything okay?"

Keiko smiled warmly at that. Thinking to herself that Josuke really lived up to Okuyasu's high praises of him. Instead of telling him that she simply said, "Alright." I mean, she had already made the poor boy blush enough for one day. All her teasing aside though, he really was a genuinely cool guy. Definitely the honorable type, well, to an extent. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't developing a bit of a crush on him...It was just, the more she learned about him, the more she liked. It was even more infinitely endearing to her that he seemed oblivious to the full extent of his own charm. Damn she was in trouble. "If you want to keep asking me stuff, that's okay, I'll just set boundaries as we go along."

Josuke nodded. So Keicho wasn't responsible for her stand. Interesting. "Have you ever fought with it? I mean, like is your stand only defensive?"

Keiko shifted her sprained ankle, her foot was falling asleep. "Yes and yes, it only nullifies other stands so I have to do all the hard hitting myself, I learned pretty early on that while it's a shock to other users at first, they can still just hurt me the old fashioned way...that's why I work out so much actually, so that I'm never completely defenseless..."

Josuke grit his teeth angrily just at the thought of someone hurting Keiko, but calmed when he fully took in her words and noticed truly for the first time just how ripped the small girl was. It wasn't something you could notice right off the bat, but her muscle definition in her arms and legs was real. Her small stature hid this fact well, damn, no wonder she'd been able to give Okuyasu such a beating on the daily.

Keiko unfortunately noticed his staring. "Pretty noice right~?" She flexed her small toned arm at him.

Josuke hid his face in his hands and laughed at her.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! Slap on that sunscreen and get thee to a beach folks~! The temperature keeps rising as we'll undoubtably be looking at a very hot summer this year folks~! Stay cool~! And all my students out there~! Good luck on those exams~!")

Chapter Text

After that day, Josuke and Keiko made a point to hang out with each other more often. Most often with Okuyasu, but sometimes it was just the two of them.

Keiko felt a comfortable unspoken trust settle between them. Josuke never divulged the secret of her stand to Okuyasu and for that, she couldn't be more grateful. That was a massive secret to keep to himself and he had proved himself truly trustworthy, which meant a metric shit ton to Keiko to be honest. Annoyingly this also meant that her crush on him was magnifying. Every time they hung out she couldn't help but find new things to admire about him.

Today it was his lips.

He was talking animatedly to her about some video game he wanted them to play together or some shit and she tried to listen to him. She really did. But her eyes kept getting caught on the sheer fullness of his lips. Like damn son, it should be illegal to have that much pout in one mouth.

Josuke trailed off at the strange transfixed expression on Keiko's face. "Hey...do I have something on my mouth?!" He wiped those beautiful lips furiously. A blush also settled across his cheeks. "Damnit Keiko, that's embarrassing! Just tell me next time geeze!"

And then he launched right back into his in depth summary of this supposed groundbreaking game.

Keiko sighed at the boy. Goddamnit he was dense. In Josuke's defense, it wasn't like she was really dropping any hints at him. Just her usual surly attitude and aggressive teasing. Sometimes she felt like he might like her too, but Josuke was pretty hard to read in that sense. Yes, she could embarrass him easily enough, but that seemed to be the only reaction she could get out of him so far. She hated having a goddamn crush.

It was the fucking worst.

---

Josuke watched as Keiko practically annihilated Okuyasu at basketball.

Every time Okuyasu thought he had the upper hand she'd slip next to him out of nowhere and steal the ball for yet another 3 pointer. "---You're ---a demon--!" He wheezed at her, completely out of breathe. Keiko's stamina was ridiculous.

But Josuke could see the beads of sweat gathering at her hairline. The rivulets glistening as they dripped down the side of her neck.

Josuke swallowed uncomfortably. It seemed more and more he'd been noticing little things like that when they hung out together. It made him feel a bit giddy. But also cautious, since this was Keiko he was dealing with here! Okuyasu's blood relative...and also apparently a complete demon at basketball! Josuke swallowed again at the sight of Keiko raising her shirt over her stomach to wipe the sweat off her face, her toned belly flashing at him for an instant.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Sure he'd seen his fair share of ladies, but Keiko was special. It wasn't just physical attraction here, he could never be that simple minded after all. Their relationship was unique. She trusted him at this point, that much he was sure of. He just hoped his growing feelings for her didn't ruin that somehow.

Oh yeah, and Okuyasu was going to kill him if he ever found out.

Goddamnit, crushes were the absolute freakin' worst.

---

Luckily and unluckily for Josuke and Keiko, they didn't have to stay in suspense with their feelings for too long.

It was the first exam week of the semester, so tensions being high, the trio had gathered at the strip mall to mess around in the arcade.

They really should have been studying but it was just too late at this point. They all figured they might as well have some fun before their grades tanked tomorrow.

"Read it and weep Josuke~!! The highest score~!" Okuyasu cheered at his friend, rubbing his victory in his face.

Josuke watched with horror as Okuyasu typed 'YASU' over his previous victory. 'DORA' dropping down to second place. "Fuck no~! Move bro~! I gotta fix this right now!!"

Keiko laughed as Josuke pushed Okuyasu out of the way and tried to set the record straight on Space Invaders.

Hours flew by as the trio had their fun with each game. It was a great night, until they got to Pong...

Josuke and Okuyasu were going head to head as the tiny pixelated ball buoyed from one digital paddle to the other. Keiko was even surprisingly into the intensity of the match. The boys were tied 10 - 10, and the next point would decide the winner.

"Damn this game is so classic..." Josuke grumbled in the hype, feeling super motivated and nostalgic.

Okuyasu was sweating as the ball bounced off his paddle and then back again.

"Why the fuck is this so entertaining?" Keiko mumbled to herself, her eyes unwilling to look away from the screen.

Just as Josuke was about to claim his victory a random kid bumped into him and made him lose his focus, making the ball slip past his digital paddle and into oblivion. "What the fuck man?!" He turned to the stranger furious.

The boy turned to Josuke with his arms up in surrender. "Sorry, sorry! I wasn't paying any attention to my surroundings again, I'm so sorry!"

Josuke appeared to reign in his anger at the boy's river of apologies. "It's alright dude, just watch where you're goin' next time..." Josuke turned back to the game.

"Wait! Wait! Let me make it up to you somehow! I've got lots of credits here! If you beat me at Pong you can have em'!"

Josuke turned back to the boy at the strange offer. What a weird kid.

Keiko instantly felt suspicious of the child. But that wasn't really fair because at the end of the day everyone looked suspicious to Keiko.

"Hey, hey, really I insist we play!"

Josuke felt a bit uncomfortable at the boys persistence, before he could decline Okuyasu intervened.

"One game couldn't hurt man, look at him, it'll make his night..."

Josuke's resolve cracked at the boys pleading expression. "Alright, alright, just one game...and I get your credits if I win right?"

Keiko snickered. Finding it funny that while Josuke was an honorable guy, he wasn't above taking game credits from a kid. Goddamnit she had it bad for this idiot.

"That's right..." the little boy's hat shadowed over his eyes as he set up to take over Okuyasu's player one joystick.

Josuke couldn't shake the off feeling he had about the kid, so he tried to watch him closely as best he could while they played.

A few minutes into playing the score was already 1 - 8 with Josuke winning. The kid was actually a total beginner it seemed and he felt a bit more relaxed at that. So much for the strange feeling he thought as he scored two more points, bringing the score to 1 - 10! One more point and those credits were as good as his.

Just as he was about to finalize his victory the game glitched out and went fuzzy for a second. "What the hell!"

Before Josuke could go ballistic over his second lost victory today the game came back. But this time the score was 10 - 1. The scores had somehow switched when the game glitched. "Hey, this isn't right! Those are my points on your side!"

The boy looked at him with sympathy. "What are you taking about mister? Those are clearly my points, I've been winning this whole time..."

"The hell you were--!"

"Josuke! What's your problem dude?! This kid has been beating your ass? Why are you mad? I honestly thought you were letting him win or something..." Okuyasu trailed off at the baffled expression on Josuke's face.

Keiko had watched the entire game closely, and it was just as Okuyasu said. But she thought she knew Josuke pretty well at this point, and she'd honestly been shocked when he'd let the boy take the upper hand. Josuke wouldn't throw a game like that, not unless he really liked the person or something. This situation reeked of foul play, and she had a feeling she knew where this situation was headed...

"Since I won, and I said I'd give you my credits if you won, what are you going to give me in return..." the boy appeared to think for a moment. "I know~! How about all the money in your wallet?!"

Josuke was livid.

Before he could fly off the handle completely Keiko touched his shoulder. "I got this Josuke," she mumbled to him, just loud enough for only him to hear.

"Hey kid."

The smug boy turned his eyes on Keiko for the first time. He blinked at her in disinterest. "What are you doing here lady? Girls aren't allowed to play video games---!"

She grabbed him by the front of his shirt, immediately enraged by his ridiculous words. "Here's how this is going to work you little shitstain, we're going to play Pong and I'm going to beat you," she pointed a finger in the kids face. "You're going to give Josuke your credits and apologize for being a shitty little brat," she lowered the terrified boy back onto the floor, "and then you're going to leave before I have a chance to change my mind about letting you off easy..."

The boy was pale and shaking as he got back up to his joystick, but he still managed to stutter, "B-but w-what if I w-win?"

Keiko didn't even look at him as the game began. "You won't."

The kid looked horrified before he hurriedly defended with his paddle.

On the sidelines Okuyasu was completely pale. "Keiko can be so scary sometimes...man, she's gonna be a terrifying mom someday..."

"Yeah..." Josuke agreed halfheartedly. He felt like he was in a daze. Yeah Keiko was fucking scary when she wanted to be, but she was basically doing it on his behalf this time. She was protecting him in a way, and that feeling made him feel warm all over. He wasn't used to that...I mean yeah it was from a shitty little kid, but still, it counted right? Damn that was so lame, but still, Keiko was cool as hell. Fuck. He wanted to date her so bad. Okuyasu was literally was going to kill him.

The game escalated rapidly as Keiko racked up points, not even giving the kid an opportunity to score. Just as she was about to score her last victory point something strange happened. The screen began to fuzz. Her eyes narrowed. "I knew it..."

Before the kids stand had an opportunity to screw with her game Heart of Glass appeared behind the arcade console and pulled the culprit out of the machine.

The Boys were clueless and awestruck as Keiko scored a flawless victory 0 - 11!

Okuyasu jumped up behind her and cheered teary eyed. "You've made me so proud today Keiko~!"

Keiko smirked at the silent child. "Pay up brat."

He was seething. "I-In your dreams you bitch!!!!"

In an instant everything changed.

Keiko's eyes widened in horrified shock as the kid pulled a gun on her. Over a goddamned video game. What in the actual hell?! Who was this kid?!

Before anyone even had a moment to react the boy shot the gun. The barrel smoking as the kid immediately took off running, bumping into to people as he retreated hastily from the now crime scene.

Time felt like it moved in slow motion as Josuke and Okuyasu watched in horror as Keiko fell to the ground, the front of her shirt already staining with blood.

"Keiko!!!" Okuyasu screamed.

Josuke was frozen as Keiko lay still and bleeding on the floor of the arcade. Games still lighting up and being played all around them.

Okuyasu managed to recover from his shock enough to break Josuke's horrified trance.

"Josuke! Heal her with Crazy Diamond! I'm gonna go take care of this asshole!!!" And with that Okuyasu took off after the culprit.

Josuke felt like he was underwater as he watched Okuyasu's back disappear out the arcade. He crouched down beside Keiko.

"Agghhh--!"

The world rushed back in around him at the sounds of her pained gasps. "Fuck--! Keiko--!"

Keiko grimaced up at him, gritting her teeth, trying desperately to slow her breathing to control the bleeding. "J-J-Josuke--! Ahh--! Shit--! T-This hurts--!"

"H-hey, don't talk! Just relax okay, you're gonna be alright! I'm gonna--!"

She weakly reached up and grasped his hand. "J-Josuke--!" There was so much blood, she was losing it fast, that brat must have hit a major artery. "Y-you can't--"

Josuke felt all the air leave his lungs. In the chaos he had forgotten. Her stand wasn't going to allow him to heal her. This is what she had meant. He sprung into action at the realization, dread coiling in his gut.

A crowd of terrified onlookers had gathered around them after Okuyasu had left to catch the kid who was responsible.

"Are you all just going to stand there?! Call an ambulance!"

A few in the crowd hurried to do just that at Josuke's frantic command.

Josuke was desperately trying to keep his cool in the face of this tragedy. At this rate Keiko was going to-- She wasn't going to-- She might not--! He didn't even want to finish the thought.

Her face had gone pale, and she seemed to be fading fast. "J-Josu-ke--?"

He grasped her bloody hand tightly. "Shh, don't speak Keiko, keep your strength, help is on the way..."

She shook her head weakly, her other hand still pressed tightly to her wound. "N-no, I--" she swallowed some of the blood in her mouth. "I think--t-this is it--"

Josuke felt tears well up in his eyes. "Shut the hell up Keiko! No it's not--!"

She smiled through her pain. "W-what a stupid--" she gasped. "Way to die--!" She groaned. How absurd. "O-over a game of f-fucking-- Pong--!"

Josuke laughed through his own tears.

Keiko gave his hand a weak squeeze. "F-Fuck--! I thought we'd--get to make out---at least once before I-- k-kicked the bucket---!"

Josuke's heart clenched painfully.

"I--! I always t-thought your h-hair--was cool ya know--? F-from the first--moment--I-I saw it--"

Josuke cried openly at that. "Keiko--!" He felt so useless, Crazy Diamond had been his infallible ally for so long, he wasn't used to feeling this way. Even knowing first hand that Heart of Glass would stop him he called on Crazy Diamond anyway. He couldn't accept this.

Just as Keiko warned him about her stand, a bloodied Heart of Glass appeared to stop him. The purple stand was stoic as blood dripped down its face and kept Crazy Diamond at length.

His desperation peaked. He screamed at it, "What the hell--! So you're just going to let her die?!"

The group of bystanders around them gasped as they witnessed, without the ability to see stands, the young man screaming at nothing.

Heart of Glass was unyielding. She didn't react in the slightest to his yelling. But she was becoming translucent.

Oh no! That meant--!

"Keiko--!!!!"

Just before the girl slipped from consciousness and Heart of Glass disappeared, the stand looked to Crazy Diamond and pointed an elegant finger at Keiko just before she dissolved. Communicating wordlessly with him.

Josuke was clutching what he thought to be Keiko's corpse when Crazy Diamond knelt beside him and gently laid a glittering pink hand over Keiko's arm.

Josuke misunderstood at first, thinking that Keiko must have truly been dead if Crazy Diamond was touching her. But he gasped in surprise as familiar magic flourished around her, her wounds disappearing as if they'd never even been there.

Of course it was at this moment that the ambulance finally arrived.

(Morioh~cho~radiooo~! "It's going to be clear skies tonight folks, mild weather with a chance of rain tomor--! ....This just in folks! It appears there's been a shooting at Penzy's arcade--! Details are still flowing in~! But I'll be your best source tonight on keeping you informed~! Everyone stay safe out there tonight and report any suspicious characters to the authorities immediately~!")

Chapter Text

The Paramedics had rushed in and taken Keiko's unconscious body out of Josuke's arms before he even had a chance to realize there would be something very wrong with that.

Keiko was still covered in her own blood despite her injuries being healed. So it was no surprise that the medics thought she was still very much in critical condition. It was only after checking her vitals that they realized she was completely fine. One paramedic even opened her shirt to find the supposed bullet wound and found nothing but dried blood on the young woman's chest.

"This can't be right Hiromi," they spoke amongst one another. "Are you sure this emergency call was for a shooting? Other than the blood...there's no trace of that kind of injury ever happening..."

Josuke was hovering nervously outside of the ambulance, eavesdropping on their conversation. The emotional fog of his mind had cleared when they had rushed Keiko out to the truck.

"Well, we should ask for some witness accounts, something just isn't adding up here..."

Josuke watched as three paramedics left the truck.

"Hiromi, you stay with the girl in case she wakes up!"

"Yes sir!"

Josuke waited patiently for them to enter the arcade before attempting to slip into the back of the ambulance. He hoped he could convince this paramedic to release Keiko to him, otherwise things might have to get a little more crazy. He really hoped it wouldn't come to that though, this day's been long enough as it is. As he entered the back of the truck, he was struck by an oddly familiar face.

The paramedic herself also looked surprised to see him.

The last time he had seen this woman---!? Memories of Kira Yoshikage's death flashed through his mind, his brain helpfully pinpointing her face as the last woman that awful man had ever touched before he was ironically killed by an ambulance, probably this very same one actually. How freaky was that?!

"You?!" She exclaimed in shock. "Are you the one responsible for this?!"

Josuke held his hands up in his defense. "Hey now, no need to yell alright..."

The woman appeared to pause in thought. "Is this the work of your strange abilities? ...Did you save this girl's life?"

Josuke didn't know how to respond to that, since he really wasn't sure how much information this paramedic apparently had on him. She must have been pretty observant to pick up on that much from the Yoshikage Kira case. "If I say yes, will you let me take Keiko back home?"

The woman watched him carefully, seeming to decide whether or not she could trust him.

"Please," he pleaded. "I'm just here to help her..."

Hiromi wouldn't have believed this boy if she hadn't already seen him heal his friends with her own eyes once before, she looked down at the unconscious girl next to her coming to a decision. "Alright..." This boy clearly meant no harm, and this girl, Keiko, wasn't injured any longer, really he'd be saving this poor girl on unnecessary medical bills if she allowed him to take her.

Josuke almost choked in disbelief. "Alright?! Really???" He couldn't believe his luck. That was unexpectedly easy!

Hiromi sighed. "...Yes, now hurry! Before I change my mind..." She hurried to unhook the IV needle out of Keiko's arm and moved out of the way so that Josuke could gather Keiko up into his arms before the rest of her team got back.

He gazed down at her tenderly, enjoying the way her head fit right against the side of his neck. "Thank you..." he gave Hiromi a genuine smile and then he was gone.

Hiromi let out the breath she was holding at Josuke's departure. She honestly thought she'd never see that boy again, but there he was, just as mysterious as she'd remembered.

"Hiromi, where's the girl?"

She scrambled to attention and stuttered out a quick lie. "--! S-She just woke up and ran away sir--!"

"What--!?"

"Hiromi?! Why didn't you alert us immediately?!"

---

Josuke took as many back roads as he could to try and get Keiko home unseen. It was a struggle, but so far he'd managed to get pretty lucky.

Keiko winced as she came to. "J-Josuke..?" She squinted up at him, clearly very out of it. "Shit. Are you dead too...?"

Josuke smiled down at her. "We're both very much alive actually~!"

Keiko could do nothing but blink at him in a daze. "Then was that all a dream or something...?...Am I dreaming right now...? Whaa--"

Josuke stopped for a moment and cradled her head gently to his chest. Letting some of his emotions out for the first time since he'd left the arcade. "You scared the shit outta me you punk," he leaned down and kissed her forehead before he could stop himself. "Crazy D saved you...Keiko...you almost--!"

Keiko's mind tried desperately to catch up. So all that crazy shit did happen at the arcade. That fucking kid pulled a gun on her! She got shot and almost died. And... Oh no! Even worse she'd said all that weird stuff to Josuke. Her face flushed at the memory, but she supposed if he was carrying her around right now and kissing her forehead they were still cool. Shit wait...kissing her forehead?! They might be better than cool at this point then? Damn, she wished she wasn't so exhausted right now, otherwise she might have been able to do something with that...

Josuke's heart sped up as Keiko nestled sleepily into his neck.

"...What happened?...To that fucked up kid?..."

Josuke forced his brain to focus on Keiko's question and not on how good it felt to hold her and how happy he was that she was alive. "Okuyasu went after him, i'm sure he must have caught him or something..."

"--!" Keiko felt concern for her cousin well up within her. "...Josuke, that kid was a stand user! Are you sure Okuyasu's alright?!"

Josuke paled at that information. "Shit! I should have known! Goddamnit!--!" He quickened his pace as they turned the corner that would take then back to their shared neighborhood. Before he could beat himself up over missing such an obvious detail Keiko spotted Okuyasu.

He was sitting on the sidewalk outside of their shared home.

"Yasu-chin!" Josuke carefully lowered Keiko down onto her feet, reluctant to let her go, as she called to Okuyasu.

"Keiko!!!" Okuyasu practically tripped over himself as he got up and ran to embrace his cousin. "Are you okay?! Josuke helped you out with his awesome ability right?!"

Keiko felt happy relieved tears gather in her eyes as she nodded to his barrage of questions. Leaning heavily into his hug, "Yeah, I'm okay now I think..." she still didn't really know how that had happened still actually. Did Heart of Glass react to her almost death? Or was it something else entirely? It didn't make any sense...I mean, she wasn't going to question her good fortune, but still, that was strange. She definitely wasn't going to mention her almost death, and she hoped Josuke wouldn't either, Okuyasu worried about her enough as it is...

"Okuyasu..." Josuke got his friends attention. "Where's the kid?"

Okuyasu held Keiko tighter to his chest. "He got away..." his fist clenched angrily in Keiko's still bloody blouse. "He had some weird kind of illusion ability, every time I thought I had him with the Hand, it was something else entirely man..."

Josuke glared at the ground. That wasn't good.

Keiko was troubled by that news as well. He's probably a part of something much bigger, a young kid like that with a stand and a firearm. Before she could get too lost in her worst case scenarios Okuyasu interjected.

"Sooo~! Kei~! Whatcha think of Josuke's ability~? Pretty cool right~?"

Keiko didn't know whether to laugh or cry at Okuyasu's attempt at lightening the mood. She settled on the former.

With all the stress of the past few hours weighing on her (also the thought of having to explain her stand to Okuyasu) and the thought of a possible new threat on her shoulders she just lost it.

Okuyasu and Josuke exchanged concerned looks with each other as Keiko laughed hysterically to herself.

"A-And we still have exams tomorrow~! Fucking shit~!" She held her stomach as crazed laughter continued to flow out of her.

---

Needless to say, they all tanked. They did enough to pass, but that was about it. Definitely nothing to write home about, speaking of which...

"Tomoko's gonna kill me--!" Josuke had scored a 12% on his English test.

"Woah dude~! And you're supposed to be the one with a foreign old man huh~!" Okuyasu exclaimed in awe of Josuke's bad score.

Josuke laid his head down on his desk, ready to surrender (careful to turn his head to the side, lest he mess up his pompadour).

"Ya know what~? I heard there's a girl in Keiko's class, Reika's her name I think, and she's supposed to be like super good at English, I think she even does tutoring or somethin'~?"

Josuke groaned.

"I can ask Keiko about it if you want~?"

Josuke didn't want to talk about Keiko right now so he just shrugged at Okuyasu noncommittally. She'd been avoiding him since the entire arcade incident. He didn't know what the hell that was supposed to mean since she'd all but confessed to him when she thought she'd been dying. Josuke still blushed red at the memory of her words.

"Hey...Hey~? Josuke~?!"

Josuke abruptly sat up. "What the hell Okuyasu?!"

"Sorry bro, you weren't responding~! What're you thinkin' so hard about dude?"

Josuke really couldn't tell Okuyasu he was having girl troubles centered around Keiko. Fuck, this whole situation sucked, he could really use his best bro right about now too...

"You're not worried about Keiko are you~?"

Josuke froze his face carefully at those words. Was Okuyasu smarter than he'd given him credit for?!

"I mean, cause she's doing fine dude~! You saved her life~! I seriously can't thank you and Crazy D enough~!" Okuyasu pat his friend gratefully on the shoulder. "I still can't believe she had a stand this whole time too~! How crazy is that~?!"

Josuke dropped his shoulders in relief.

"Man, I can't wait to see what her stand can do ya know~?"

Keiko had lied quickly to cover up the truth of her almost death, and told Okuyasu she didn't know what her stands abilities were. She'd also pretended to be surprised to know of Josuke and Okuyasu's abilities as well. Josuke wondered why she felt the need to shoulder so much on her own. Why she felt like she needed to lie to protect Okuyasu from the pain of her almost death. It was probably the same reason she was avoiding him now, she probably felt like she'd placed some kind of burden on him too somehow.

How stupid.

---

He found her after school on the roof.

She was in her usual place, crouched down by her birds nest with her back to him.

Josuke hadn't meant to linger behind her creepily, but he'd honestly just been at a loss for words once he'd finally cornered her.

Luckily for him, Keiko knew he'd been there the whole time. "Josuke~!" She turned to face him excitedly. "C'mere~!" She gestured wildly for him to squat down next to her.

Josuke blinked, confused for a minute before finally following her instruction.

Three little baby birds were chirping up at him from the birds nest he had helped Keiko save. They were small and still pretty featherless but they looked alive and healthy.

"Woah~!"

"I know right~!" Keiko smiled happily down at the nest. "It's crazy to think they were just eggs when I first came to this school..."

Josuke smiled down at the chirping chicks. These birds wouldn't have even gotten a chance to hatch in the first place had Keiko not come to Morioh. "Keiko..." the feelings welling up in Josuke at that thought made him feel bold. He put his hand over hers but kept his gaze on the tiny chicks.

She blushed scarlet but kept her gaze on the baby birds as well. She let his hand cover hers. "...Sorry I've been so distant...I've just had a lot to work out ya know?" She cleared her throat. "I uh---it's hard to really--!"

Josuke squeezed her hand and met Keiko's eyes for the first time since they started this conversation. Her brown eyes were watching him nervously. "Keiko...how about we just cut the bullshit and," he took a breath. "...y-you just let me take you out already?" Well, there it is. He can't take it back now!

Keiko grinned at him, her cheeks rosy. ".......Sure, why not..." her fingers played with his a bit. "Damn Josuke, who knew you could be such a steam roller geeze..." she teased to try and cover up her embarrassment.

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck. Secretly proud of himself for relatively managing to be so damn smooth. Score! "Well, you know me--! Haha! Seriously though Keiko, no one can steam roll you into doing anything, let's be real here."

Keiko laughed genuinely at that.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! "This just in folks~! The search for the supposed shooter at Penzy's from last week has been called off...sources are saying a lack of facts have led to this decision, while others are still diligent that this shooter is still at large~! But get this Morioh~! Some eye wittinesses are saying the victim of the shooting was healed before paramedics arrived on the scene~! How groovy is that folks~? A real live miracle here in Morioh~? Is it real? Is it fake? Call in and let's find out together on the best radio station in Morioh~!")

Chapter Text

And here Keiko had been prepping herself for rejection...

Okuyasu had regaled her with nothing but tales of Josuke and Crazy Diamond after the arcade fiasco. Which was great and all but for whatever reason Okuyasu felt the need to emphasize on points of Josuke's generosity and how he must really think of her as a 'little sister' to have taken such a liking to her. So needless to say, the confidence she once had in her Josuke crush coming to fruition had been completely shot. This of course had led to her avoiding him, thus bringing her up to speed with present wonderful current events.

Josuke had just asked her out! Holy shit. Was there a downside to this?

Keiko searched her logical brain for anything other than the obvious, it'll be awkward if it doesn't work out, but she was coming up empty. Seriously, she'd already let her guard down enough to like the guy, why not have a little fun? She deserved at least that much after everything she'd been through...

She shook her head to ward off bad memories. No. Josuke was an amazing guy, a total catch on all counts. Kind hearted. Good sense of humor. A quick thinker. And oh yeah, he was also pretty goddamn gorgeous. Keiko would be crazy not to take him up on this date. She watched the sunset from the roof of the school. Josuke had left a while ago to go catch up with Okuyasu after exchanging numbers with her. He had been blushing and fumbling in the wrong numbers in his excitement, it had taken forever. He was so fucking adorable (and she didn't even believe in that word).

---

They texted each other religiously every night after that, at first it had been to set up secret plans for their date (since Okuyasu definitely wasn't supposed to know about it) but it soon became second nature to them to just see what the other was up to.

- Kkkkkeeeeiiikooooooo -

- wut? -

- Woah?! U actually replied on the 1st try?! -

- so? I'm doing my hwk -

- Hawk? -

- homework! jesus josuke... -

- Oh! Well that's boringgggg! -

Keiko groaned at her phone. Freaking idiot, he was so distracting, she really should tell him to buzz off tonight since she had an essay due in biology tomorrow but she really couldn't find it in her to stop. She loved talking to him, he annoyed the shit out of her sometimes, but she secretly loved that too...

- yeah well we can't all just sit around and play video games like you :p -

- Don't stick your tongue out at me! :p :p :p!!!! -

- :P!!! -

- >:P!!!!!!! -

- lmao! you are such a kid sometimes geez xD! -

- Haha! I can't help it, you bring out that side of me ;P! -

- wow! should I feel bad about that xD? -

- Nah, it's a good thing >:D! -

Josuke grinned down at his phone. Flirting with Keiko over text was seriously becoming one of his favorite things ever.

"Josuke! Geez! Who on earth are you texting over there?" Tomoko was getting a bit fed up with Josuke's constant texts over dinner. She couldn't even have a goddamn conversation with the boy because he'd stop talking mid sentence to look down and start replying to whoever the hell was on the other side of the phone.

Josuke immediately stopped and looked up at Tomoko like a deer in headlights.

That was weird. Uh oh. Tomoko knew that look.

Josuke averted his eyes and quickly ate his dinner, a blush burning on his cheeks. Beyond embarrassed that Tomoko had interrupted his flirting.

Tomoko sat back from her food and crossed her arms at her son. "Josuke~!"

He looked up from his curry worriedly at her suspicious tone.

"That's not a girl is it~?"

Josuke instantly flushed and drank some water. "N-No! W-What the hell Tomoko no! S-Stop asking weird stuff alright?!" He pushed his half eaten food away and quickly retreated back up to his room before she could get anything else out of him. He really wasn't trying to talk about Keiko with his mom just yet. Hell no.

She eyed her son knowingly as he quickly grabbed his phone off the counter before heading to his room. Yep. Definitely a girl. And Josuke definitely liked her lot if he's this flustered and defensive. Tomoko sighed and picked up their dinner plates. Her mind instantly wondering to Joseph Joestar. Love sure was a funny thing. She smiled at the memories of her own adventures.

---

- sooooo we ever goin on this epic date u promised me? ;3 -

Josuke smiled at the text, his face still flushed from his mom's comment over dinner. He stretched out on his bed and replied.

- Hell yesss!! You ever going to tell me when Okuyasu's gonna be distracted all day so we don't get interrupted >:3? -

- ha! im werkin on it, its hard cuz I jus dont want him to see us, he'll be sad we didnt ask him to hang with us or somethin he wouldnt get it/we wouldnt want him to xD! -

- Lol!! Very true! I love how well you know Okuyasu haha! That's exactly what would happen! -

- ikr? I jus luv him a lot tbh he's kinda a great dude ya know, that would hurt his feelings fo sho ;(! -

Josuke smiled warmly at Keiko's text. There was just something so sweet (hilarious) about their relationship. It was also cool to think his best friend and potential girlfriend could be so close. Wow...potential girlfriend. Damn. Josuke felt his face flush again at the thought. Fuck. He bit his lip and stared up at his ceiling. He was scared this wouldn't end well, since all his other attempts at dating had proved to be one sided disasters. But that fear only proved to him just how much he liked Keiko. That definitely had to be a good thing right? Shit, he needed to lock this down and quick, his heart couldn't take much more of this. Before he could sulk for much longer he felt his phone buzz again in his hand.

- actually I just found out uncle has another dr. appt this sat yasu usually takes him sooooo sat then ;)? -

Josuke's could hear his heart beat in his ears as he replied.

- Hell yes!!!! It's a date ;D!!! -

---

It was Thursday when Josuke really started panicking. He belatedly realized (since he had been so excited and nervous) he had no idea what they were gonna do on their date! Oh no!

His initial thought was to go to the arcade but that really wasn't somewhere either one of them wanted to go again anytime soon. Sooo what then? He searched his brain but just ended up more frazzled. He really wanted her to have a great time damnit! He also had no doubt that if Keiko wasn't having a good time she'd probably let him know immediately! Shit! There had to be someone he could ask about this crap...

Before he could bang his head dejectedly on his desk he heard Koichi greet Okuyasu as he entered home room.

"Koichi~!!!" Josuke clotheslined his friend with his arm before he could even fully enter the room. He quickly dragged him out into the hallway before classes started.

Okuyasu blinked curiously from his desk as he watched his friends disappear. Weird. Okuyasu scratched his head, trying to decide whether or not he should join them. Maybe Koichi owed Josuke money or something? Should he check things out? Nah, better leave them be. It was too early in the morning anyway for that kind of stuff. He yawned and decided to stay put.

---

"---Josuke--! What's going on?!" Koichi scrambled around in his hold worried there was danger afoot.

"Woah dude, chill chill!" Josuke patted his back. "It's alright, I've just got some important stuff I want to grill you on~!"

Koichi was still confused.

Josuke looked at him pointedly. "...You and Yukako are going pretty steady right?"

Koichi immediately blushed and got embarrassed at the direct question. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Y-Yeah, I mean--sure! Just, wait--w-why do you want to know?" Josuke had never seemed to show much interest in his relationship before, so Koichi felt pretty blindsided.

"W-well, you see..." Josuke's cheeks reddened. "--You can't tell Okuyasu--!" He interrupted himself suddenly to threaten Koichi with a pointed finger.

Koichi gave him a puzzled look.

Josuke sighed. "You're killing me here man, c'mon..." he cringed at the words about to leave his mouth. "...imtryingtotakekeikoonadateandokuyasucantknowcausehe'llkillmeandstuffandidontknowwhattodocauseiwantkeikotohaveagoodtimeand---!"
Koichi quickly clamped a hand over the waterfall of words leaving Josuke's mouth and dragged him into the boys bathroom. He'd heard some keywords and had gotten the gist. Josuke and Keiko huh? He really hadn't been paying much attention to the two but he kind of wished he had, they would definitely be cute together. But first!

"What the hell Josuke?! Okuyasu doesn't know?!"

Josuke cringed. "Yeah...I mean, we kinda wanted to figure things out between us before we told him or anything, ya know, in case things don't--"

Koichi cut him off with a snicker. "I think you two will be just fine honestly."

Josuke blinked in surprise. "Heh...thanks for the vote of confidence I guess?"

Koichi smiled knowingly. "Seriously Josuke, I don't think you have anything to worry about, I mean you guys have been pretty good friends for a while now right?"

Josuke nodded in thought.

"Yeah, so, going on a date is gonna really just be like hanging out like normal, except better...because you two know you like each other." He winked. "So don't worry so much about what you end up doing, it's all about getting to know each other better ya know?"

Josuke let Koichi's advice sink in. He was still nervous but his friend's wise words definitely took some of the edge off. "Damn Koichi, when did you get so damn cool dude~!"

Koichi laughed with Josuke as they made their way back to class.

---

Keiko breathed through her teeth as she evaluated her options. She was supposed to meet Josuke in the park in an hour and she still couldn't figure out if she should dress up a little or be totally casual. Shit. She really didn't want to waste time thinking about this, it didn't matter right? Right?! Fuck. She picked up her hoodie again and looked down at the nice blouse laid out on the bed. Before she could pull her hair out in complete frustration she felt her phone buzz with a text.

- Ummm...are you freaking out about what to wear too @...@?-

Keiko instantly relaxed. Freaking dumbass, making her feel better. She laughed a bit in relief before replying.

- yes -_____-!!! -

- Lol! Thank god! I'm really struggling here xD! I was worried I was the only one! -

- no im just as lost lol -

Josuke smiled down at Keiko's text. He was currently trapped in front of his mirror with both hands carefully sifting through his hair so that it was 'just right' for their date. He'd been obsessing over it for the past few hours and he'd honestly completely forgotten that he also needed to worry about clothes. He wiped his hands clean of his hair product and replied.

- That's such a relief! Haha! But seriously tho--- (his thumbs paused as he prepared himself to be a bit sappy)--- I've been really looking forward to today Keiko ;) <3! -

Josuke bit his lip and pressed send. Well that was embarrassing, he smiled as he completed the finishing touches on his pompadour, his cheeks warm from the large grin on his face.

---

Keiko almost turned and left at the sight of Josuke waiting for her in the park, looking so freaking stupidly handsome. He was wearing the yellow undershirt she had only really glimpsed at in school (since she'd never really seen him without his ridiculous blazer) and it was definitely accentuating some muscle definition she had never seen before. I mean yeah, she figured Josuke was pretty fit, but seeing that he was not quite as lean as she'd been led to believe did things to her. She couldn't even acknowledge how good he looked in his blue jeans. With his goddamn fine little ass. She felt suddenly self conscious with her choice of just a simple hoodie and leggings.

Before she could escape, Josuke had spotted her.

"Keiko~!" He waved excitedly to her and jogged up to meet her.

Shit. Josuke grinned widely to cover up his reddening face. He'd never seen her outside of her school uniform before. He honestly didn't even recognize her when she first walked up.

Keiko was practically engulfed in her light pink hoodie. Her height really looking even more small and exaggerated with the enormous garment around her, and her legs which were normally covered up by sweat pants at school were sporting tight black leggings. Showing off the muscle tone in her small but powerful legs.

She was---! He rubbed the back of his neck furiously to get his emotions under control. ---ADORABLE---!!! He knew Keiko would kill him instantly if even let that thought slip out even a little. He wanted this date to last a little longer than one minute at the very least.

She hid her face in her hoodie and looked away from him. "Sorry I'm so awkward, I just---you look so nice and put together--I wasn't sure if---if I should go back home and change or something...?"

Josuke blushed. "Oh no~! Seriously! You look great~! I mean--! I'm glad you think I look nice--! Uh--!" He laughed nervously. "Really Keiko," he put his hand on her shoulder. "We're not gonna do anything fancy I promise~!"

She watched him wearily. Taking in his mirthful smile, full of fun and promises for the evening ahead.

---

"Bowling?!"

Josuke laughed heartily as he procured them both bowling shoes. He slid into the seat next to her and handed her a truly outrageously colored pair of shoes. "Bad idea~?"

Keiko joined him in laughter and shook her head. "No--! No~! I was just surprised is all! I'm seriously terrible at bowling though Josuke!" She grinned at her shoes as she secured the Velcro on.

Josuke smiled at that. "Oh~? This should be interesting then..."

---

Keiko was terrible at bowling. It was really kind of incredible actually. She was honestly so bad that the pair had just been laughing together about it so much that they'd both managed to get over their first date nerves.

"When you said you were bad--!" Josuke was hysterical. "I didn't know you meant--!" He tried to catch his breath. "Keiko--!"

Keiko was bowed over in laughter beside him. "I know!--I know--!"

The strangers in the lanes beside them shook theirs heads at the couple.

Gutter ball after gutter ball. The score was literally 98 - 4! Keiko had only managed to knock down 4 pins throughout their game so far. How was that even possible?! Josuke couldn't stop laughing. He'd never seen anything like it.

"Keiko..." he eased into the seat beside her and without overthinking it, slipped his arm around her shoulders.

She was hiding her face from him, still laughing into her hands. "Don't look at me Josuke---! Here I was trying to be cool on our date---"

Josuke smiled as he bumped her shoulder with his. "Keiko...you kick ass at everything, honestly it's really refreshing to see you so bad at something~!"

Keiko peeked at him through her fingers. "Oh gee, that really makes me feel better..."

"Come on~!" He squeezed her into his side. "It's not so bad, c'mere--!" He sat up and urged Keiko to her feet. "I'll show you some tips~!"

Keiko laughed with him as he pulled her out to front of the lane. Goddamnit, she was sucking so much, but fuck if she wasn't having a blast with Josuke! She knew if it had been anyone else she'd have felt self conscious, but Josuke was such a goofy fun loving guy, she honestly just felt so comfortable with him.

Josuke was having similar thoughts as he wrapped his arms around Keiko in an attempt to help her bowl. Really it was more of a ploy to hold her in his arms again, but she either didn't notice or didn't care as she let him.

"Alright," he spoke into her ear. "You've gotta---!"

---"We're no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy"---

Keiko slipped out of his arms onto the ground laughing so hard tears were gathering in her eyes. "Holy shit--!"

Josuke gaped at her in disbelief.

---"Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down"---

"Did we just get rick rolled?!--?!"

Josuke laughed and helped Keiko to her feet. "Damn if this isn't the best date ever~!"

Keiko smiled genuinely at that. Leaning on the tips of her toes as she kissed Josuke's cheek before continuing to bowl like a moron.

Josuke blushed maroon.

---"We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it"---

Chapter Text

After losing epically to Josuke in their bowling match, the couple was chilling out by walking around Morioh. The entire bowling alley had sighed in exasperated relief at the boisterous couples departure. Keiko wanted to feel bad for making such a ruckus, but she really couldn't. She was just having so much fun with Josuke.

The sun had started to set and was bathing Morioh in pleasant orange and pink hues. Josuke and Keiko were just kind of wandering around familiar neighborhoods at this point talking about random nonsense.

"So are those zippers on your shirt real or~?"

Josuke turned his head to Keiko in confusion. He stopped walking to give it a try. He was honestly curious.

He pulled and tugged at the little yellow zippers but they wouldn't budge. "Guess not~! Just decorative~!" He laughed. "I've had this shirt a long time and never even thought about that~!"

Keiko laughed with him. "That's probably a good thing though! You might accidentally flash someone your nipples or something!"

Josuke blinked at her before exploding with laughter. He was instantly reminded of Okuyasu. That really had sounded like some of the ridiculous stuff his best friend would think of. Well, they were related after all! "I seriously never thought of that--! Wow Keiko..." He snickered and dropped an arm easily over her shoulders. "Is that where your minds at already~?" He teased in good humor.

Keiko burned scarlet at his tone, trying desperately to fight her embarrassment. "G-Geez! N-No! I just kinda said it without thinking! Ahhh~!" She ducked her face down into her hoodie to hide her glowing cheeks.

Fuck. She was so cute, holy shit. Josuke repressed the urge to tell her so and instead pulled her closer to him for an affectionate squeeze. "Haha~ I was just teasing...seriously though Keiko, that was so random..." he continued to laugh.

Keiko smiled, her cheeks forever reddened from Josuke's proximity. "I knooow~! Sorry, that is one thing that me and Yasu-chin have in common..."

Josuke looked at her curiously, a smile on his lips.

"Saying totally random inappropriate stupid shit!" She held her face in her hands. "I mean...I'm usually better about it though..."

Josuke squeezed her again. Happy she was feeling comfortable enough around him to drop her guard.

Keiko's face flushed further at his affectionate advances. She liked to think she knew a thing or two about relationships at this point (mostly about how shitty they can be) but Josuke was throwing her for a loop. The time she had spent with him tonight only amplified her feelings for him. He was even more thoughtful and attentive than she had previously given him credit for. "You know..." she shrugged out of his comfortable hold and walked ahead of him backwards, her arms behind her head, trying her damnedest to be casual.

Josuke smiled at her sudden playfulness. "...What~?" He played along.

Keiko cleared her throat and focused her eyes on Josuke's weird nipple zipper shirt. Afraid to look him in his beautiful eyes and lose her nerve. "....I uh--" she swallowed before continuing. "I really like you a lot Josuke..."

Josuke's face easily fell into a grin, his cheeks hurting from the strength of his smile. He scratched his nose to abate some of his embarrassment as he answered her. "I like you a lot too Keiko..."

Keiko grinned and stopped walking to smoosh her red cheeks together, trying to will away the constant flush. "We're such saps! Holy shit--!"

Josuke laughed and watched her cutely rub her face. "Yeah...it's great..."

Keiko smiled down at the concrete. "...yeah."

Before Josuke could think of any more cute shit to say to prolong the moment they were having, he took stock of their surroundings and realized something. "Woah~!"

Keiko looked up at Josuke's exclamation. He was rubbing his hands on this weirdly shaped rock they had apparently stopped in front of. Huh? The rock kind of even had a face! What the fuck?! "Ummm---! Quick question? Does this rock look like it has a face to you? Cause it's kinda freaky looking now that I'm paying attention to it!" She'd passed this rock on her way to school dozens of times now and never really noticed it before. But somehow, now, with Josuke, the rock looked like it had an angry face or something?! Fuck! Did it always look like that?! Cause that's creepy as hell!

Josuke's hand stilled as he mumbled to himself, "...Looks like you're growing moss now Angelo..." he jumped a bit as he suddenly remembered himself and answered Keiko. "Sorry~! I kinda spaced out there for a minute!" He turned to Keiko, a tense smile on his lips. "This is Angelo!"

Keiko's eyebrows creased in confusion. "This creepy rock has a fucking name?!"

Josuke laughed a bit at that, his face still guarded. "Well...he wasn't always a rock..."

Keiko struggled to understand what that meant. "...What? He used to be a tree or something?...What the hell is that supposed to mean Josuke?"

Josuke struggled for a moment, deciding whether or not to tell Keiko the truth. He really didn't know how she would take this. Maybe she would think he was cruel? He still really didn't know her that well yet, and didn't want to mess up this awesome date they were having! But then again, if he lied and Keiko found out the truth from someone else, that would surely break the tentative trust they'd established. Fuck, he really didn't want to mess this up, but there was no backing out now! Josuke turned to face Keiko. "Well...he used to be human, a stand user actually..."

Keiko eyes widened in horror. What the fuck?!

Josuke tried not to take her horrified expression too personally. He continued. "He was a human named Angelo, and he murdered my Grandfather with his stand Aqua Necklace..." he turned his eyes back to Angelo's distorted rock face, unable to hold Keiko's eyes out of fear of what he might see in them. "He was a killer...I tried to let him off easy at first, but he refused to stop...so I--I did this..." he paused. "I know you really don't like stands, and I can definitely understand why... I mean, I kind of tried to stay out of things too until this crap happened..." he swallowed. "My Grandfather protected Morioh with his life, so I--I wanted to do the same after he died, I swore I'd protect this town for him, so...." he coughed awkwardly. "...That's all that crap I guess..." Josuke refused to turn back to Keiko, afraid he had revealed too much about himself and scared her away. He was happily surprised when he felt her tiny but strong arms surround his middle from behind. After he got over the initial surprise of Keiko's hug he rested his arms over hers and enjoyed the closeness she had initiated.

Keiko stayed silent for a while, trying to process everything she has just heard. That was some heavy shit Josuke had shared with her, and she honestly had been scared at first. I mean, serial killers were supposed to be charming and shit, and she was a paranoid person to begin with. So hearing that Josuke had used his stand to transform someone into a living rock, really made her feel uneasy. But putting things into perspective, if she had been in Josuke's shoes, she probably would've just killed the bastard. Like seriously, this man killed his fucking grandpa! Who even does that?! Josuke must have some seriously high morals or something. That, or he was super forgiving. She squeezed his middle tighter and nuzzled her face into is back. "...you're like...the coolest guy I've ever met..." she finally lamely mumbled into his back.

Josuke's breath stuttered in relief. He blushed red and maneuvered in her arms so that they were facing each other. "That's a relief..." he sighed. "I was worried you'd think I was a monster or something..."

Keiko eyed him sympathetically. "Sounds to me, like you let him off easy..."

The Angelo rock appeared to glare at Keiko for her comment.

Josuke snickered. "What can I say...I try hard to be a semi-decent guy~!"

Keiko smiled. "Heh, I noticed..."

Josuke felt his shoulders relax in relief. She didn't hate him, if anything, he honestly felt closer to her now. Wow! Telling the truth actually worked out for him for once! Sweet! "Have you~? What else have you noticed~?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her suggestively, beyond happy to be back to the easy going playful flirting they'd been up to earlier.

Keiko blushed prettily and crossed her arms at him. "Wouldn't you like to know~!"

Josuke grinned. "I really would actually---!"

Before they could get much farther, the wrist watch beeper Keiko had set to tell her it was time to head home before Okuyasu sounded. The loud beeps rudely interrupting their newest round of flirting.

Josuke immediately pouted. Honestly sad that they had already run out of time.

"Damnit!" Keiko cursed, also upset to leave Josuke so soon after such an intense revealing conversation. She pouted with him.

Josuke smiled down at her before sighing and wrapping an arm over Keiko's shoulders. It was time to take her home.

---

"I meant it when I said I really like you Josuke..."

Josuke's heart stuttered at Keiko's parting words. He had needed to hear that after the whole accidental Angelo conversation. He pulled her her into him for another long hug.

She wrapped her arms around him in return, her fingers reaching up to play with the carefully styled hair bits at the back of his neck.

Josuke shivered at the contact. Not even bothered that she was going to mess up his hard work. It was worth it. When she pulled back from the hug, he thought she was just going to leave, which really would have been just fine, the date had been amazing after all, but she lingered for just a moment. Her lips caught his bottom lip as she tried to reach up on her tip toes for a surprise kiss.

Josuke reared back in surprise, completely caught off guard. His cheeks flaring red when he realized his mistake.

Keiko huffed at him. "Oh! I see how it is!" She tried to turn away teasingly out of his arms, laughing heartily as he lunged to forward to keep her in his hold.

"Damnit Keiko~! You can't just do that! I didn't even think a kiss was legal on the first date~! C'mere you little minx~!"

Keiko turned her nose up at him. "Nope~! You missed your chance~! You'll just have to wait for it on the second date now~!"

Josuke grumbled before lighting up at her words. "Oh~! A second date huh~?" His cheeks burned scarlet. "Alright~!"

Keiko blushed too. "Oh come on you freakin' lovable idiot~!" She grew impatient. "You're such a goddamn gentleman, Jezus~!" And with that Keiko grabbed a handful of his shirt and yanked his head down so their lips could properly meet.

Josuke breathed out of his nose in surprise, before quickly turning his mouth to properly slot against Keiko's.

They kissed for a long moment before slowly separating.

"Mn--!" Josuke pulled away at last, desperate for air. His eyes greedily taking in the sight of Keiko's flushed face and recently kissed lips.

She smiled warmly at him before kicking his shin and walking away. "See ya tomorrow~!"

"Ow!" Josuke laughed as he watched her petite form disappear into the mansion he had first met his best friend at two years ago.

Josuke couldn't keep the goofy lovesick grin off his face as he walked the rest of the way home.

---

"Yo~! Josuke~!" Okuyasu greeted him in homeroom that following Monday.

Josuke was sulking on his desk, face down. After his date with Keiko date he'd been on a high, and he couldn't wait to take her out again! But yesterday she'd texted him it would probably be a while until they got another chance for some solid secret time together. He was bummed out to say the least. So far the only thing that took the edge off was pouting on his desk and replaying their kiss over and over again in his head. He was currently so lost in his day dream he didn't even hear Okuyasu come up beside him.

"Dude~! Are you making out with your desk~?!"

Josuke sat up abruptly and wiped his mouth. Shit! He had totally just been kissing his desk. Damnit Keiko!

"Whose the lucky girl bro~?" Okuyasu elbowed him before straddling the chair in front of him.

"Che! Nobody! Definitely nobody you know--!" Real smooth Josuke. Real smooth.

Okuyasu blinked at him curiously before shrugging.

Josuke laughed uncomfortably and blessed the stars for giving him such a simple minded best bro.

"Anyways~!" Okuyasu's gruff voice continued. "Check it out~!" He pulled two beautifully wrapped bento out of his bag. "Keiko made these for us~! She's the freakin' best dude~!" He placed the blue checkered bento onto Josuke's desk before turning to place the red checkered one onto his own.

Josuke blinked down at the box thoughtfully. Keiko hadn't made them bento in a long time, not since the arcade accident weeks ago. He unwrapped the box as as if it were made of glass and then delicately peeked into the lid.

Josuke almost combusted on the spot!

Could it be---!!!??!!?

Was this---?!? Bento for a boyfriend---?!?!

Josuke face was redder than red as he took in the sight of intricately made sushi and carefully shaped star onigiri.

Oh. My. God.

Right there. On top of the main dish was his name spelt out in delicious unagi sauce, except it didn't say Josuke! Oh no! She was really pulling out all the stops here! It said 'JOJO' complete with a little sauce '<3' beside it!

Fuck!!!

"Dude!!! Are alright?! Why the hell is your face all red?!"

Josuke hurriedly snapped the bento closed and wrapped his arms over his treasure. Okuyasu did NOT need to see that! He cursed Keiko for teasing him like this! What if Okuyasu had opened the wrong bento?! Shit. He didn't want to think about it.

"Oi! Dude! You've been acting real weird today! You sure everything's alright man?"

Josuke forced a grin at his friends concern. "D-Dude~! Seriously I promise~! It's all good! No worries~!"

Okuyasu eyed his best bro suspiciously for a while, taking in Josuke's flushed face and nervously twitching hands. "Huh, something weird is goin' on bro, hopefully it's not another enemy stand..." he grumbled to himself and turned to sit in his seat properly.

Josuke exhaled in relief. For now. At this rate, Okuyasu was definitely gonna find out! He just hoped his best bro wasn't gonna completely freak. He knew Okuyasu pretty well at this point, but even still, he'd never faced a situation with him like this before. He gazed at Okuyasu's back sadly, honestly wishing this whole thing wasn't so goddamn roundabout. Before he could wallow over it anymore he decided to peek at his special boyfriend bento once more to brighten his mood. He moved back in his seat and popped open the lid.

Oh no!

Josuke almost shed tears at the rummaged box, what was once a perfectly neat and intricately decorated bento was now destroyed. Everything must have gotten jostled when he tried to hide it from Okuyasu. Josuke deflated at the thought of all of Keiko's hard and loving work going to waste. Before he could get too depressed however, the shimmering signature of Crazy Diamond appeared and before he could so much as blink his stand had reached in and fixed his bento. He almost shrieked with joy but held back at the last minute, trying to keep a low profile as Crazy Diamond disappeared just as quickly as he came.

The order of the food that Keiko initially arranged was different, but that was to be expected, but thankfully (and most importantly) the 'JOJO <3' was just the same as before. Josuke quickly snuck a picture of it with his phone in case the bento came to anymore harm before lunchtime.

"Josuke~?"

Josuke once again scrambled to close the lid on his bento and shoved it into his bag. "W-What's up bro~?"

"Am I crazy or something? Was Crazy D just here cause I thought I--!"

"Nope~! Uh-uh~! No Crazy D's here dude~!"

Okuyasu looked troubled as he turned back in his seat and grumbled. "Man, what in the hell is going on around here..."

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! "Good afternoon Morioh~! Lots of good weather ahead for the rest of this week, so get outside and get jiggy with it~! I recommend a stop at Fozzie's for a quality BLT folks, you really can't go wrong any of their delicious sandwiches~!")

Chapter Text

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! Good morning folks~! Looks like today's gonna be another scorcher~! Get thee to a beach cause it doesn't look like it's gonna cooling down anytime soon~!)

"Oi, Josuke..."

Josuke looked over at his uncharacteristically serious best bro. He had been pretty silent so far on their walk to school and Josuke had been worried about him. "What's up dude?"

Okuyasu frowned in thought. "I think...Keiko-chan is seeing somebody..."

Josuke immediately started sweating, and did his best to control his expression. "Oh y-yeah? Why do you say that~?"

Okuyasu looked pensive as he answered. "I dunno...I've been noticing stuff for a while, but last night! She giggled at her phone over dinner---! She 'giggled' Josuke! Gigg-led--! Keiko doesn't giggle!" Okuyasu's arms wiggled around manically. "Which made me think! Who the hell texted her--?!" Okuyasu's face darkened at the possibilities.

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck, beyond uncomfortable. Shit. He and Keiko were always texting each other stupid cute shit these days, especially since they'd still never managed to set up some time for a second date. And while the thought of Keiko giggling over his stupid nonsense texts made him smile, Okuyasu's fury was still definitely not something he was trying to evoke. "Y-You sure you're not just overreacting?"

Okuyasu scratched his head at that. "No dude! I'm really sure about this! It's gotta be some stupid low down punk or somethin'! She's always had real bad taste in guys from what I've heard from my aunt!"

Josuke stored that information away in his brain and tried really hard not to be offended. "R-Really?"

"Yeah!" Okuyasu pounded his fists together angrily. "Keiko's had a real rough time from what I do know and I'm not gonna stand for some dude swoopin' in and not treatin' her right and not takin' her seriously!"

What he wanted to say to that was, 'I do take Keiko seriously--!!! What the hell Okuyasu--!' Josuke covered his mouth momentarily so that he wouldn't accidentally blurt out their secret. Goddamnit Okuyasu. "What makes you think this guy isn't treatin' her right man? All you know is that she's been texting someone..."

Okuyasu glared up at the sky. "That's true...but dude--! Why are takin' her mystery boyfriends side?! I thought we were bros--!"

Josuke immediately held his arms up and tried to pacify Okuyasu. "We are man--! We are--! Honest! I just think you should do a little more ground work here, I'm pretty sure Keiko will kick your ass if you meddle in this without any proof y-ya know!"

Okuyasu slowly nodded at that, a frown still on his face. "I guess you're right...but--!" Okuyasu's face twisted in fury. "I swear! When I catch this guy--! First imma rip his dick off and then imma light him on fire--! And then--!"

Oh. My. God.

Okuyasu why?!

Josuke tried not to listen to the rest. His face had gone pale. He was so screwed!

---

-Keiiiiiiikoooooooooooo-

Josuke texted with his phone held precautionary balanced on his lap. His English textbook was pushed to the edge of his desk to try and cover up his illegal phone activity since he was still in class. He gulped at the little chirp his phone made as it sent the text but he managed to muffle the sound with his thighs before it alerted anyone.

His teacher looked suspiciously over the rim of his glasses at his students before finding nothing out of the ordinary and eventually went back to grading essays.

Josuke breathed a sigh of relief and carefully turned his phone to vibrate. I'm a freakin' idiot jezuz that was a close one!

-wuts up jojo?-

Josuke eyes lit up at the quick reply and his smile turned dopey at the nickname. Before he could get too lost in his lovesickness he refocused his brain.

-Keiko, we really gotta tell Okuyasu, he's seriously been grilling me lately! He knows something's up!-

-?!? sersly?? no way dude he'd flip his lid! -

-I know I know, realllllly I know but he's freaking me out! He's been making crazy death threats at me and he doesn't even know he's doing it! It's terrifying +_+!-

Josuke just managed to press send on his text when a paper ball hit him square on the shoulder. He scowled and turned to see who the hell had thrown it when he spied his teacher apparently making rounds at the front of the classroom. Shit! He quickly pocketed his phone and pretended to focus intently on his textbook.

He could practically feel his teachers intense gaze drilling into the back of his head as his phone vibrated in his pocket with a new Keiko text.

But thankfully Mr. Takanaka didn't seem to notice as he continued making his way around the room and sighed before once more taking his ominous place behind the podium at the front of the classroom.

Josuke gave it a minute before chancing a look at his phone.

-pfft! he's got no proof! give him a day jojo, he'll forget all about it!-

Josuke frowned down at the text.

-Damnit Keiko! He's really persistent, and I mean, I also just wanna tell him cause well---

His thumbs hovered over his phone's keyboard, thinking hard about how to articulate his feelings.

-I really wanna date you for real and I just think he should know -

Josuke anxiously awaited a response after he hit send and he was unfortunately so absorbed he didn't notice the shadow of Mr. Takanaka hovering over his desk.

"Mister Higashikata! Cellphones are not allowed during class time! You can either give me that phone right now or spend the rest of this week in after school detention!"

Josuke grit his teeth angrily at his rotten luck and begrudgingly handed over the phone but of course the moment he was passing it to Mr. Takanaka the phone buzzed to life with Keiko's reply. He eagerly tried to peek at the screen to see what she had said but Mr. Takanaka was just too fast.

His teacher glanced at him with annoyance before adjusting his glasses so he could read just what nonsense had been distracting Josuke all class period.

Josuke watched in bewilderment as Mr. Takanaka's went from shocked to a little pink with embarrassment as he apparently read Keiko's most recent text message.

What the hell had she said?! He was in enough trouble as it was but he was seriously contemplating wrestling his phone back just to see what she had written to get such a response from his teacher.

Mr. Takanaka grumbled to himself and refused to even look at Josuke for the rest of the class period.

---

Josuke practically leapt out of his seat at the first sound of the bell. He was dying here! What had Keiko said?! He waited impatiently as his classmates filed out of the classroom and his teacher studiously ignored him in favor of grading his papers.

Josuke was really about to lose his composure when his teacher finally acknowledged him by sliding his phone out from a drawer and dropped it in front of him.

Mr. Takanaka didn't even look up at him once, he just kept grading papers.

Josuke anxiously looked down at his phone to finally read this goddamn text.

-josukeeee~! ur the sweetest, I no this doesn't rlly solve anythin but u should come to the rooftop at lunch so we can finally make out ;) <3! -

Josuke flushed with color immediately.

Mr. Takanaka chose that exact moment to finally address Josuke.

He looked at the boy over his glasses. "Making out better be all you're doing up there young man."

OH.MY.GOD.

"Y-Yessir!" Josuke almost choked on his words in his embarrassment as he fled from the classroom.

---

Keiko snorted with laughter as Josuke relayed his classroom debacle.

"Aww man~!" Keiko wiped a tear from her eye in her hysterics. "You've gotta admit, that's pretty funny!"

Josuke pouted at her, but a smile was still creeping at the side of his mouth. "Yeah yeah, it kinda killed the mood though huh?"

They both tried to look at each other seriously from the sides of their eyes, searching for those premium make out vibes, but they both just ended up bursting into laughter.

"Damnit Mr. Takanaka~! Such a mood killer~!"

Josuke clutched his stomach as they both continued to laugh like idiots.

"Well damn," Keiko finally managed to catch her breath. "I'm not gonna be able to show my face in your classroom ever again~!"

Josuke smirked. "I wouldn't worry too much about that..."

Keiko eyed him suspiciously. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Oh I dunno~!" Josuke leaned back looking smug. "Maybe your name...isn't your name in my phone~!"

Keiko blinked. "Goddamnit Josuke what the hell is it then?!" She lunged at him.

"Hey! Watch the hair~!" He laughed as she struggled to wrestle his phone out of his pocket and they wound up sprawled out on the concrete with Keiko confidently straddling his hips.

Their lunches lay forgotten and uneaten beside them.

"Aha~!" Keiko cheered as she fished Josuke's phone out his grip.

He struggled helplessly beneath her, not really even trying at this point.

Keiko blinked in surprise. "Aww...my Bento is your background..." She lightly elbowed him in the stomach at his freakin cuteness.

"Oof!" Josuke rubbed his now tender ribs. Keiko really didn't know her own strength but he was way to embarrassed and happy right now to remind her of that.

".....Sugar Sugar....?" Keiko looked curiously down at Josuke's red face as he had tried to turn away from her. She laughed boisterously, feeling equally parts embarrassed and happy somehow. "You are such a sugary sap Josuke jezuz~! I never would have known oh my god~!"

Josuke pouted at her. "Hey now, it's creative though right~? You've gotta give me some credit here..."

Keiko smirked down at him, finally taking stock of their compromising position. "Sure sure..." she leaned down and took his face between her hands, careful not to disturb his pompadour. "What was it we weren't supposed to be doing up here again~? I forget~!"

Josuke gulped at Keiko's tone and proximity. They'd only kissed the one time and hell yeah he wanted to do it again but the way Keiko was looking at him made him feel really unprepared. I mean, yeah he'd kissed other girls before, but that really was where his experience ended. He hoped Keiko wouldn't be disappointed. Unconsciously he bit his lip at that thought.

And it was coincidently that very same motion that made Keiko spring into action.

"Mmf--!"

Keiko started out by giving Josuke short but sure little pecks on his full lips. She was careful to slant her head to the side so his precious hair wasn't compromised in the process of her trying to memorize the softness of that pout against her mouth.

Josuke slowly began to lean into her kisses as he woke up to situation and tried to calm the erratic nervous beating in his chest.

Keiko smiled against his mouth. Her other hand was over his heart (his real heart, not the gaudy gold one on his jacket) and she could feel the poor boy's blood pressure sky rocketing. She pulled back from him with a giggle. "You alright there Jojo~?"

Josuke took in a few hurried breaths of air, his ears not really even taking in her question. He was too distracted by the sight of Keiko's flushed cheeks and freshly kissed lips.

"Woah~!"

He pulled her back down to him as a response and with an instinctual confidence pushed their lips together and opened his mouth.

Keiko groaned at the opportunity to finally taste him. She leaned more of her weight onto him and adjusted her position on his lap as she fully acquainted herself with his tongue. It was then that she grew bolder and propped her hand down on the concrete next to his head so she could get better leverage and aggressively deepen the kiss even further.

---The rhythmic chime of the school's PA system abruptly brought them back to their senses. Lunch was almost over---

"Ah-h-! Fuck-!" Josuke reluctantly forced himself to sever the contact. This shit had to stop before they really were desecrating school property. One look at Keiko's wrecked expression and he knew she was feeling it too. Josuke tried not to let his smugness show.

Keiko noticed anyway of course. She smirked, "Look at you~! You're making me think I should rename you The Make-Out King in my phone or somethin'~!"

Josuke grinned at her earnestly and offered her his hand to help her stand up. "What can I say~! It's nice to be appreciated by my subjects~!"

"Pft! Shut up you goof~!" Keiko laughed at him in good humor, the blush reddening on her cheeks as she took his hand so he could lead them back to class.

Josuke could feel the blush in his ears as they opened the door to the stairwell. That kiss was not PG-13, things had escalated pretty quickly out there. Yikes! He had a feeling he was going to have to come clean to Keiko with a very embarrassing conversation about his actual manly purity pretty soon. The thought made his blush even more pronounced. He glanced over at Keiko feeling her eyes him.

Her smile was predatory. "You look like a blushing bride~!"

Josuke tightened his grip on her hand and grit his teeth as he tried to hide his face in the collar of his jacket. He almost got them all the way back to class before he remembered. "You little jerk! Was all that kissing a distraction?! We were supposed to talk about telling Okuyasu!"

"Telling me what Josuke~?" Okuyasu asked genuinely as he emerged from the hallway bathroom behind them.

"Fuck!" Keiko dropped his hand like it was on fire and before anyone could even get a word in the girl had sprinted down the hallway and disappeared down the stairs leaving the two boys to stare after her in shock.

Well, she just ran the hell away.

Okuyasu eyed his best friend suspiciously. "Dude~! Are we playing tag~?! Damn~! I haven't done that since elementary school~!"

Josuke nearly face palmed. Bless his fucking heart. His best bro was so sweet and pure.

Okuyasu didn't even wait for a response from Josuke, apparently so excited by the prospect of tag he took off down the hallway after Keiko.

Josuke shook his head and could do nothing but smile to himself.

He swore, those Nijimura's were another breed entirely.

Chapter Text

The bath tub facet gurgled as water steadily made its way down the drain. The porcelain of the tub at the Nijimuras was streaked with yellow from years of use and no proper cleaning but Keiko was unbothered as she carefully washed her short locks clean of the bleach she had just used on her hair. She’d decided to bleach it again cause she’d been starting to feel like a potted plant lately with how dark her hair was growing back in.

Plus she was supposed to be seeing Josuke tonight and despite how she usually felt about her appearance she really wanted to look nice. She really wanted to look like someone who actually deserved to be with him and not like well...herself.

Keiko sighed as she carefully washed her hair under the facet, bring extra mindful to try not to get any bleach on her face or in her eyes. Damn. She was usually pretty good about keeping that shitty inner voice of hers quiet but lately it’d been getting harder and harder. It was like, the more she was discovering just what an incredible guy Josuke Higashitaka really was, the more her opinion of herself would drop. Which is saying a lot cause it was already pretty freakin’ low if her explosive defensiveness was anything to go by.

Keiko got up from kneeling down beside the tub and turned the water off. She stared intently at herself as she toweled off her hair in the grimy mirror above the sink. She so badly wanted to believe that she deserved Josuke, that she deserved to be happy with literally the best guy out there but there was doubt. Doubt she knew had been planted inside of her by the actual worst dude ever.

That Fuckhead.

Slash.

 

——

Josuke had been trapped in front of his mirror for the last hour. He knew he was over grooming his pompadour but he just couldn’t stop. He already struggled on the daily to stop his constant preening but it had gotten significantly worse since he started dating Keiko.

Dating Keiko.

He was seriously dating Keiko Nijimura.

It was wonderful and surreal and terrifying all at the same time.

He smiled to himself as he put his purple earrings back in. Just the thought of going steady with her made his heart beat faster and his palms sweaty. He hoped after tonight they could make this thing official. No more sneaking around, and most importantly no more hiding from his best friend!! Okuyasu deserved better than that and Keiko knew it too. Which made it all the more real how much he adored her. She was a good person whether she thought so or not, Josuke could see it clearly, Keiko genuinely cared for her cousin, and he knew at this point that it didn’t end there, she cared a lot about so many things (the sweet fluffy chicks on the rooftop immediately came to mind).

Josuke sighed through his nose and put the lid back on his jar of hair product. He had some serious feelings here.

He just hoped Keiko was experiencing them too.

—-

Okuyasu was catching the hell out of some Pokémon™️ on his game boy color. Pokémon Silver had become his reason for living over the past week and his mind had just been officially blown by the big Kanto island reveal back at the start of the game.

“I thought this freakin’ game was over?! Kei-Chan I’m losin’ my shit over here it’s incredible!”

Okuyasu furiously helped his Laprus along up the waterfall.

“...”

It took a while for the Pokémon hype to die down but before long Okuyasu finally realized he was alone on the living room floor with Keiko nowhere in sight.

“Huh? That’s weird, I swore she was just here...” Okuyasu grumbled to himself and reluctantly stood up from the floor to find out where she had gone off to, his eyes darting between the screen of his game and his home while he searched.

—-

“Oi~! Kei! I’ve been lookin’ all over for ya! Woah~! Why are you dressed so cu—!”

Keiko elbowed Okuyasu in stomach before he could finish that sentence. “Yasu-chin I told you a million times this week, Josuke is coming over to have dinner with us tonight.”

Okuyasu tried very hard to digest that information, his eyes continuing to dart between Kei and his beloved Typhlosion.

Keiko saw when it all finally seemed to process for him.

“Huuuuh????!!!” His eyes finally focused on her and stayed there for the first time all week. “Whatdya mean?! I didn’t invite him over~! What the hell~!”

Keiko rolled her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose in irritation. “Yasu-chin you did invite him over.”

“Whaaaa~!” Okuyasu scratched his head in confusion. “I don’t rememb—-!”

“You did Yusu-chin.” Keiko interrupted, clearly irritated at his sudden Pokémon induced memory loss.

“Huh~!” Okuyasu shrugged. “That freeloader~! What’re we havin’~?”

Keiko wanted to smack her head into the wall. She watched warily as Okuyasu returned his attention back to Pokémon and nearly fell down the stairs as he returned to the living room. Jesus fucking Christ. She just hoped it would be that easy when he finally got the news that she and Josuke were dating tonight.

Dating.

Dating Josuke Higashitaka.

She was definitely one lucky bitch.

—-

 

“Knock knock~!”

Keiko opened the front door to find a very polished Josuke. He was still in his school uniform of course (the boy never seemed to go anywhere without it). But he looked more put together somehow, Keiko couldn’t quite put her finger on why, it didn’t seem like he had done anything different than usual. She studied him for a moment, her brown eyes taking in the sleek navy blue and the gold heart pins that adorned the collar of his blazer. She smiled to herself. He was so freakin’ extra. With one final look at the cheesy grin on Josuke’s face she decided she liked that about him.

Keiko playfully rolled her eyes. “Well come on in~! Stop standing out there like a loser~!”

Josuke grinned at her as he made his way inside. Goddamn did Keiko look cute tonight. It had to be freakin illegal to look that cute in just blue jeans and a t-shirt. He caught another eye full of her when she turned to close the door behind him. She must have just done her hair again cause she looked just as blonde and adorably fluffy as her baby chicks on the rooftop.

“What the hell are you so freakin’ happy about with that goofy smile?” Keiko sounded surly but there was a undeniable smirk at the corner of her mouth.

Josuke chuckled. “What~? I’m not allowed to be happy we’re finally doing this tonight~?”

“Heh~! Oh really~? I thought you’d be nervous as hell with all those threats you’d been hearin’ from him...”

Josuke shook his head still smiling. “Yeaaaah, those have only been getting worse—but!! Seriously tho Keiko now is our perfect chance! I lent him my Pokémon Silver game—!”

Keiko interrupted him with a perfect kick to the shin. “That was you!?” She glared at him, her cute mouth turning down into a frown. “He’s been absolutely obsessed with that damn thing! He won’t listen to a thing I say—!” Keiko blinked suddenly at what she was saying. “Oh~!”

Josuke grinned at her as he rubbed his shin. Damn was Keiko a hard hitter, his girl seriously didn’t know her own strength! Hah! For some reason he really liked that about her! “Trust me Kei~! With the help and power of Pokémon Okuyasu is going to be totally chill when he finds out that we’re dating~!”

“YOU’RE WHATTTTTTT?!?????”
A loud crash sounded from the hallway from what only could have been Okuyasu dropping all his cherished Pokémon into oblivion.

Keiko put her hand over her face.

Josuke looked completely horrified by what he had just done.

Okuyasu had entered a blind rage.

Well that could have gone better.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! “Gooood evening Morioh~!! It’s gonna be a humid night tonight with lots of traffic on the east ramp~! So I recommend staying in and sippin’ on something ice cold and refreshing while we wait on that weather to steady itself on out~! Remember~! Stay cool out there folks!”)

Chapter Text

Okuyasu was on a rampage.

It was Josuke! Josuke had been the one all along! He was going to kill him for so much as thinking about his cousin like that! Okuyasu’s brain almost short circuited at the realization that he’d probably been doing more than just thinking about his sweet Keiko.

Before Okuyasu’s semi-rational brain could stop him he had already summoned the Hand and was coming in hot for Josuke.

The Hand glittered to life in the Nijimura’s living room, it’s Yen and Dollar signs practically sparkling in the light from the hallway.

Keiko blinked in awe of her cousins Stand. It was honestly one of the raddest Stands she’d ever seen! All blue and white with a sleek muscled form. But before she could get a closer look...more mayhem happened.

“Fuck!” Josuke cursed. He had just barely managed to dodge an almost direct hit from that right hand. “Fuck man! You really are trying to kill me~!”

Okuyasu was caught in such an emotional rage he couldn’t seem to see any sense. The Hand lashed out at a portrait that had been hanging in the hallway.

That’s when Keiko belatedly realized what his Stand was doing, and that’s when she also began to lose all sense and reason.

That portrait had been one of the only remaining of her, Keicho and Okuyasu. Now the downsized photo had become one of just her and Okuyasu; Keicho had been swiped out of existence yet again.

Keiko grit her teeth as she stared at the smaller golden frame now adorning the photo. She was deaf to all the noise of Okuyasu and Josuke shouting and fighting around her, she could only hear her heart beating in her ears. She was going to fucking kill him for this.

“Okuyasu you FUCKING IDIOT!” Keiko screamed as she threw a vase of flowers at his head and then vaulted herself over the coffee table to throw Okuyasu to the ground. He struggled but she still managed to easily pin him to the floor.

Broken glass, water and flower petals littered the carpet Okuyasu was pinned against.

Josuke, who had been trapped defending himself behind the couch (well...now it was a loveseat, oops!) watched in shock and amazement as Keiko’s Stand emerged.

Just as the Hand was about the strike again, glittering purple hands reached out and intercepted the attack. Heart of Glass stared impassively at the Hand as he glittered back out of existence, and with one look back at Keiko, she was gone again too.

Josuke thought that was a probably a good time to get Crazy D out of the living room too. It had gotten pretty crowded in there all of the sudden. He sighed in relief, this night was far from over, but at the very least he knew he could trust Keiko and her Stand to keep things under some kind of control.

—-

Needless to say dinner was tense.

Okuyasu was nursing a busted lip with a pack of frozen peas Keiko had fetched for him from the freezer. His face had gotten pretty cut up from their scuffle but otherwise he was completely fine. His eyes were fixed on Josuke though. A menacing stare that only a Nijimura could produce.

Josuke was finding it hard not to shiver under its weight. Keiko had sternly told him to just ignore Okuyasu for now, but Josuke was finding that harder and harder as the night was going on. “Jesus man can you cut that shit out~! You’re giving me the creeps here~!”

Okuyasu growled at his best friend like an angry dog. “I’m giving you the creeps huh~?! What about me man~?! You’ve been defiling my sweet cousin behind my back this whole time~! I’m pretty fuckin’ creeped out too~!!!” Okuyasu barely stopped himself from lunging across the table. “To think I actually believed you two hated each other at first—-!”

Keiko slapped Okuyasu on the side of his face with the bag of peas. “Stop that, we really didn’t get along in the beginning...” Keiko spared a glance at Josuke before giving Okuyasu the truth. “We’ve only been like this for about a month now...”

“A MONTH?!?!” Okuyasu looked like he was going to have an aneurysm.

Before Keiko could try to calm down her sweet idiot of a cousin the unmistakable sound of her uncle’s warbling voice interrupted her.

Josuke hadn’t seen Okuyasu’s father in a long time, so the sudden appearance of his green bubbled epidermis made him jump in his seat a bit. It looked awfully painful to live in that skin.

“Waaaa~! Wahaaraaa~! Wrrrreee~!” He seemed to grumble animatedly at Okuyasu.

“Huuh??” Okuyasu looked on in complete confusion at what his father was trying to convey to him.

Mr Nijimura seemed to get frustrated at his sons lack of understanding and his grumbling took on a more aggressive tone. “Waaahh!! Wryyyy!!!”

Keiko intercepted the exchange before both of her family members could get too frustrated in their own confusion. Nijimura’s seemed to get mad by default if they didn’t understand something, she knew this well from personal experience. “Hey now Uncle, it’s okay,” she gave him a reassuring pat on the head as if she was speaking gently to a child.

He seemed to warble and coo happily at Keiko’s attention.

When she felt sure enough that she had his full attention Keiko retreated into the kitchen and came back with a blank pad of paper and a marker.

Okuyasu watched dumbfounded as his father poured all his energy, with Keiko’s guidance, into sloppily drawing something onto the paper. Tears welled up in his eyes before he even saw what his father had made. Before now he didn’t even know his Pops was capable of communicating this way.

Josuke felt himself getting a little emotional as well. This was just even more proof that his Keiko, while quite gruff on the outside, was truly the bleeding heart he had been suspecting she was.

The kitchen was quiet for a while and no one dared to break the silence as Mr Nijimura poured his all into creating an image.

Keiko smiled warmly at her Uncle when he finished his work. She gave him a loving pat on his head as she took the picture he offered out to her.

Tears beaded at the corners of her eyes when she saw that her Uncle had even pushed himself to scribble in some Kanji. The characters were barely legible and looked to be written by a first grader but Keiko had no trouble reading them. She knew it had taken a tremendous effort for her Uncle to produce this and she was beyond words in her gratitude. If this didn’t sway her cousin she didn’t know what would

Keiko presented the image flat down on the kitchen table for all to see.

On the paper was two stick figure silhouettes. One with short messy hair and one with a strange circle on his head (it had to Josuke’s precious pompadour everyone simultaneously realized) both had big smiles and their stick arms were connected where they were holding hands. A big messy heart was drawn between them and above that was two fractured sentences: “Keiko smile more.” “Josuke make Keiko happy.”

Okuyasu’s eyes immediately exploded into tears. Everything was different now. This was LOVE! He cried big giant tears that fell onto the table and stained his father’s picture. He hadn’t cried this much since the whites of his eyes had literally melted out of his sockets at Tonio’s. “Pops~! What the hell old man?!” Okuyasu wailed. “If he blesses your love who I am to stand in the way~?!”

Keiko smacked him upside the head at that comment, her face burning red with a blush. “Stop saying weird shit you idiot...” she grumbled angrily. Her scary tone failing to frighten anyone in the room.

Josuke couldn’t stop his own blush from creeping onto his cheeks at the comment. It wasn’t time for all that yet but he still couldn’t put a cap on the hope that bubbled up in his chest at seeing Keiko’s blushing face.

Okuyasu’s happy crying ceased in a sudden moment of crystalline clarity. His child-like mind already jumping ahead ten steps. “Kei~! This means if you marry my best bro we’ll be best bro related—!”

Keiko dealt a swift blow to Okuyasu’s face. “What fuck did I just say about saying weird shit?!?!” She shrieked, her face completely stained with color.

Josuke rubbed the back of his neck and grinned. He better rescue his best bro before he got seriously hurt once again by his girl.

His girl.

His smile turned dopey at the thought. They could be proper about this now and he seriously couldn’t wait.

“Jo-su—-ke—help——me—!!!!”

Josuke rushed to assist his friend, apologizing profusely for spacing out like a weirdo while his bro had been pummeled into jelly on the floor.

Mr Nijimura gurgled and clapped happily in the midst of the mayhem. Celebrating the new happy couple in his own way.

 

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! Stay groovy Morioh~! I just got wind that we’ve got a bit of a chill sweeping in later next week~! It’ll give you fine folks a chance to vacation from this heat ~! Expect lots of stormy weather and don’t forget that umbrella~!)

Chapter Text

Keiko couldn’t remember a time when she was this happy.

Maybe a few childhood highlights here and there but nothing like this. Okuyasu hadn’t killed Josuke, well, he had tried technically speaking but no irreparable damage was done. The boy’s had a strong friendship with one another and she was overjoyed that she hadn’t affected that. She’d been really freakin worried about doing that to be honest and it was such a relief to see them together and seemingly back to normal after that fateful dinner a few nights prior.

The two were even playing some new shitty game at Josuke’s right now. Keiko had declined saying she had some homework to do, but in reality she just wanted to give the two some space and time together after everything.

Damn, she was such a good girlfriend.

She grinned toothily to herself before taking a huge bite out of her chocolate croissant. All of her other thoughts took a pause as she savored the sweet crispy delight.

St. Gentleman’s sure knew what the hell they were doing! Chocolate smeared at the corners of her mouth as she messily consumed her baked good.

“Fuck~!” She exclaimed happily as stuffed the remains down.

A passing mother with her child shot Keiko a nasty look at the expletive as they passed her on the sidewalk.

Keiko was oblivious to this of course as she continued on her way to the convenience store.

Yeah, things were sure looking up for her right now. This was nothing like her situation back home. Keiko allowed herself a moment to really appreciate where she was now compared to who and where she was last year. She was just so happy with life right now she honestly was even considering calling her mom up for an update! She never called her mom! She hated that woman! But somehow her joy right now just transcended that, it felt infectious, it made her feel like she wanted the important people in her life to know that she was good, that she was going to be alright.

Keiko pulled her cellphone out staring down at it for a long while really contemplating making that call. The last time they had talked hadn’t been pretty. It was right after she had first gotten to Morioh, months ago now, and her mother had reminded her of things she really wanted to forget, things she had purposefully left behind.

Her mind flashed with an unwanted image.

She shivered at the memory of dark green freckled eyes. She stopped walking immediately and closed her eyes to will him away.

No. You’re not welcome here.

She took a deep breath.

Then, she challenged herself to picture new eyes instead.

It took a while but they came.

Beautiful baby blue ones.

Keiko immediately smiled at the thought of them.

Kind beautiful blue eyes. She’d really never seen eyes quite like his before, maybe they were from that foreign father of his. Somehow just looking at them made her feel like things were going to turn out okay, and so far, things had been so much better than okay.

Damnit. I can’t go an hour without thinking about him, I’m really in trouble here!

Keiko jumped out of her thoughts at the ‘ping!’ of a new text message. It was from the object of her thoughts of course.

-Keiiiiiiiikooooo <3 i know its lame but I miss you X_X!-

Keiko’s cheeks hurt from smiling at that. It really had been a minute since they’d been alone together. Come to think of it the two hadn’t had a moment to themselves since that wild dinner.

Just as she was about to type out a sassy and sweet response a shrill sound in the alleyway she was passing gave her pause.

It sounded like a muffled shriek. Keiko was immediately on high alert.

What the fuck?! As she rounded the alley corner she happened upon a trio of older men surrounding a young girl. The girl looked terrified out of her mind and her long skirt was torn at the side.

Keiko didn’t need to see anymore or wait any longer to know what these scum were up to. Keiko was incensed. Of course she got involved.

“C’mere you sick motherfuckers!” Keiko immediately went for the man that was holding the girl against the wall. He was a pretty burly dude but through sheer force of will and adrenaline, and probably the element of surprise, Keiko managed to tear the man away from her.

The man yelled in surprise at the force that had suddenly hit him and had toppled him over onto his back. “What the shit—-!?”

Keiko was seeing red and paid no mind to the two other men involved as she proceeded to beat the living hell out of the man that she had just knocked to the ground. Just as her foot connected with another quick painful rib cracking ‘snap’ one of the other men woke up from the shock of the situation.

“You bitch!!!” He cried as he lunged at Keiko his fist connecting painfully with her stomach.

Keiko doubled over in pain but quickly righted herself just in time as the second man came at her with a knife.

“Imma cut you up you crazy bitch! You shoulda just let us be!” He cried as he clumsily sliced at her.

Keiko grit her teeth as she tried her best to dodge the man’s erratic and hurried slicing at her, he had left several gashes on her arms from where she had been trying to deflect more critical areas of her body. But that was a small necessarily price to pay for the alternative if he had really managed to stab her anywhere more vital.

The man quickly became tired of her defending his blows and called out to his friend. “Hey Mido, grab this bitch will ya?!”

Mido had been checking in on their fallen comrade with the broken ribs. “Gladly!”

Keiko yelled as they both came at her full force. “Fucking hell—!” She managed to roll away from their first combined charge at her but she wasn’t so lucky the second time.

Mido had grabbed a hold of her short blonde hair and with a very painful yank at her scalp he had also managed to pin her arms behind her back. Just when it couldn’t get any worse the man with the knife was charging at her again.

This time he hit his mark.

Keiko could barely contain the shriek that left her body when the man stabbed her in the stomach. The pain was immense and the blood was even worse. It splayed across the ground in a wide array.

The sight was enough to jostle the poor girl these men had attacked back into reality. She’d been frozen watching the scene unfold in horror this whole time, trying desperately to grasp what was happening to her and this girl that had come to her rescue. The sight of this slight but powerful girl’s blood all over the ground had woken her up. She opened her mouth and screamed.

The scream took the men by surprise. They had already forgotten about her.

But Keiko hadn’t. That scream was just what she needed to loosen Mido’s grip on her enough to lunge forward, inadvertently pushing the knife further into her, but getting her into to a close enough range to deliver a knock out punch to the knife wielding assailant. The man immediately went down unconscious after the blow.

The man Mido had enough wits in him to look a little intimated as Keiko turned her fiery gaze on him.

He held his ground though as she propelled herself forward to finish him off.

He probably would have defended himself if he hadn’t of zeroed in on the sight of the bloody knife protruding from her still gushing wound. Who the fuck was this girl?!? Was she a demon or something?!

One moment of hesitation did him in.

She kicked and swept his legs out from under him and in one more quick motion she had knocked him out with a kick to the head.

Silence reigned in the alley after it was all done. Only crickets spoke as they chirped happily in the patches of grass between the pavement.

Keiko breathed out shakily. Her rage was subsiding, but in its place excruciating pain was beginning to follow. With a grimace she risked a glance down at the knife still embedded in her belly. “Fuckfuckfuckfuck—!” She winced at the sight. Somehow looking at it only made it worse. She tried to cover her stomach with her arms and that’s when she realized. “My goddamn arm too—! Damn you bitches did a number on me!” She wheezed out a crazed laugh at the three unconscious men at her feet. Her fucking arm was broken. Of course it was.

“H-hello?”

Keiko turned abruptly at the voice.

Tears welled up in the rescued girl’s eyes. “Miss, I-I don’t know w-what to say—!” She covered her mouth with both her hands. “Thank you so—!”

“Yoshie!!!” An unfamiliar male voice and the loud engine of a motorbike joined the alley. The engine was quickly cut as the rider dismounted and ran over to the girl.

Keiko coughed at the engine smoke and tried to make her escape before she received anymore attention from the rescued girl. She was always really awkward with receiving any kind of thanks so she was just trying to be on her way out of the alleyway when she suddenly doubled over in pain. It was also just her luck she was right next to this dudes motorcycle when a wave of nausea hit her and she had no choice but to vomit all over the leather seat of the bike.

Fuck. She was dizzy.

“My bike!!!” The man yelled mortified. He ran his way over to her. “I’m gonna have’ta get this reupholstered! How dare you?!”

Keiko blinked blearily at the man before registering his anger with her. “Well excuse the fuck out of me man—“ Keiko had to stop mid tirade as another wave of nausea hit her. “Shit!” Her vision was going in and out.

“Yuya-kun~!!!” The rescued girl was back and she was talking to the jerk.

Keiko could barely make out what they were saying but she assumed the girl was getting Yuya up to speed on what had gone down in this alley.

His demeanor shifted dramatically as Yoshie accounted to Yuya all that Keiko had done to protect her and at what cost.

Yuya cast stunned and concerned eyes onto the young girl, his nose just now registering the overpowering iron smell in the air of the blood pouring out of the wound in this girl’s stomach.

“Holy shit!” He held his hand over his mouth and his sensitive nose at the very real sight of the knife still painfully wedged in the girl’s gut.

“We’ve got to get her to the hospital Yoshie!” He threw his phone to her. “You call the other girls and update them!”

Yoshie caught the phone easily and steadied herself. It was her turn to return the favor to her savior. Already she was feeling more like herself with Yuya back by her side.

Keiko groaned as Yuya scooped the nearly unconscious girl up into his arms.

Yuya steeled himself for the ride to the hospital. With a flourish he tore his favorite long bow tie apart, and cleaned what he could of the vomit off of his prized motorbike. He settled Keiko in front of him securely about to book it for the hospital. Before he departed he turned to Yoshie.

“Yoshie~! Me and the girls we were really worried for you ya’know~!” He grinned warmly at her before revving his bike and taking away at unparalleled speed.

Yoshie blushed at that and glanced down at the crumpled up bow tie now on the ground, the words ‘Speed King’ now soiled with blood and other nastiness.

Yuya really was the coolest.

She knew her rescuer was going to be just fine with Yuya on the case.

On the other hand, Yoshie turned a harsh glare to her assailants still knocked out on the ground. She kicked the head of the man closest to her.

It was now time to call the goddamn police on these fools.

 

—-

 

‘Fate sure was a funny thing,’Yuya mused as the girl he brought into the hospital was set up in the very same room he had once occupied.

The smell of antiseptic was so strong it was stinging his nostrils. The poor girl had really suffered a lot at the hands of those slime. He only wished he had arrived sooner so he could have had a chance at draining all the life and vitality out of those vermin. His eyes softened when he fully took in the form of the young girl who had saved his Yoshie.

She was so young. She couldn’t have been more than age of a high school student. Now that he was really paying attention he even recognized which school she was going to by observing the tattered bloodied remains of her school uniform. Before he could observe anymore details her eyes finally fluttered back open.

“Jesus fuck...” she slowly sat up and ran a shaky hand through her short bloody hair. “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck...”

Yuya snickered at her gruff way of speaking.

Keiko’s dark brown eyes shot over to the other occupant in the room. She didn’t realize she had company. Her eyes squinted at him as her foggy mind started to recall the details.

Her eyes focused in on a very peculiar chin tattoo.

Oh. That guy.

Keiko grimaced as she vividly recalled vomiting all over this man’s nice bike. “Sorry about your bike, dude...”

Yuya blinked in surprise at the apology. He hadn’t been expecting an apology, if anyone should be the one apologizing it should be him. “Don’t sweat it honey, I shoulda been thanking you for helping my girl out like that~!”

Keiko grumbled to herself angrily about being called honey. ‘I swear, this dude is so fuckin lucky I’m bedridden right now.’ But she held herself in check and just nodded at him for the thanks.

Yuya misreading her temper for shyness approached her bedside and tried to work some of his charm on her. “Ya’know, a cute powerful girl like you would be a wonderful addition to my harem~!” He waved his arms at her in enthusiasm, already excited at the prospect of Keiko joining the ranks of one of his precious girls. “Seriously it’s my honor to invite you in, it’s the least I can do after all you’ve done for us~!”

Keiko’s already tired mind could barely process this insanity. She just stared at him in a dead silence for a full minute before erupting with uncontrollable laughter.

Yuya misread the situation again and began laughing with her. “Yes-! Get excited~! I’m excited too~!”

Keiko’s bandaged abdomen colored with fresh blood at the jostling her laughter had caused.

Fuck that hurt. She doubled over for a moment in silence listening to the lunatic beside her still laughing in glee.

“Fuck no you psycho! What the hell kind of thanks is that?!”

Yuya immediately bristled at the comment. He tried a different approach. “I know I know this is sudden and you don’t even know my name~!” He gestured coolly to himself. “The name’s Yuya Fungami, and you are~?”

“None of your fucking business ya creep.” Keiko deadpanned at him.

Yuya choked. This girl was stubborn. But he was determined. He strode over to the end of her hospital bed. Ahaaa, they must have gotten her ID from her wallet or something. Keiko Nijimura.

Nijimura? Why did that name sound so familiar?

“Cut it out you creepy jackass!” Keiko threw one of her hospital pillows at his head with her good arm.

It hit the mark and Yuya nearly stumbled from the strength behind that throw. What the fuck was she?! He needed this girl in his fan club!!

“Keikooooo~! You seriously need to join us~!”

“No means no you crazy fucker!”

Before the situation could escalate any further the pair were joined by three more occupants.

“Yuya-kunnn~!” They all squealed happily in unison.

Keiko rolled her eyes. The day just kept getting better and better. Keiko had half a mind to haul ass and hoist her broken body out the hospital window but before she could she paused that line of thinking when she noticed that one of the girls in the trio was awfully familiar.

Yoshie broke away from the pack and approached Keiko while the others continued to banter and fawn over Yuya.

“H-hello again,” she greeted shyly.

“Hey there,” Keiko awkwardly greeted back.

“You were incredible, I really can’t thank you enough for helping me, seriously I don’t what would have happened if—!” Her eyes flooded with tears at all the dark possibilities.

“Don’t worry about it,” Keiko rubbed her nose and looked away. “I’m just happy I happened to be there to help you.”

Yoshie smiled warmly at that, tears still beading in her eyes. “Thank you.”

“Yeah.” Keiko nodded at her. Still genuinely confused as to how to properly accept gratitude.

Yoshie was suddenly struck with a thought. “I know! You should join us in Yuya’s fan club!”

Keiko facepalmed at that. She tried her damnedest to be polite to this sweet girl. “Thanks but no thanks, I’ve already got a one and a million guy I’m crazy about.”

Yoshie took that answer easily. “Oh I see, well that’s wonderful~!” It was hard for her to imagine anyone being more incredible than Yuya though. “If he ever screws up and you need someone absolutely perfect, remember us okay?”

Keiko snickered at that. Persistent. She made it sound as if Yuya was a purchase she had decided against at the store.

Yoshie was serious. She pulled her phone out ready to give Keiko her number for when she thought that day would arrive. “Here’s my number, you can call me for anything any time okay~?”

Keiko did genuinely smile at that kind gesture. She reached down for her own phone, it was a little awkward with the cast on her right arm but she somehow managed to get the small black device out of her bloodstained pocket. Jesus she was a mess. What the fuck were they doing at this hospital, she didn’t even warrant a gown after all she’d just been through? What the actual hell!

“Shit!”

She quickly shelved her criticism of the hospital though when she opened her cellphone to find 8 missed calls from Okuyasu and a wall of texts from Josuke.

- <3! -

- Sorry if that really is lame, I just can’t wait to finally spend time with you without all the sneaking around <3 -

- <3!!! -

- <3? -

- :(? You usually text back pretty fast, am I just being weird? -

- I’m sorry if I’m being weird ;__;-

- Okuyasu just tried to call you several times to see if you’d bring us soda, he’s worried, he said you always answer him right away -

- Keiko are you okay @.@???-

- We’re really worried now -

- I’m really worried -

- X______X!!!-

4 of the 8 missed calls were from Josuke. He had even left her voicemails. Oh she was so going to listen to those later. But first she needed to let her boys know she was okay.

“Is everything okay?” Yoshie asked gently after Keiko had urgently read over her missed messages.

She smiled weakly at the girl. “It’ll be fine, I just gotta give a few idiots a call.” She was really not looking forward to explaining herself.

Yoshie smiled back at her. “Well, I’ll let you get on that, we’ll probably head home soon ourselves,” she gestured to Yuya and the other girls, somehow still caught up worshipping Yuya the whole time the two had been talking. “Remember what I said~!” Yoshie winked at Keiko as she rounded everyone up and ushered them out the door.

“You’ll join us someday Keiko I just know it~!” Yuya yelled at her before the door shut behind him.

Her heart monitor beeped in the silence that followed that declaration.

‘Not a chance in hell,’ Keiko thought with a crooked smile to herself.

Goddamnit though, that lunatic really did make her miss Josuke.

She breathed deeply before finally making that call.

——

“Keikooooo!!” Okuyasu and Josuke chimed in unison as they both abruptly arrived at her hospital bed. Both boys looking absolutely disheveled after rushing like hell to her.

Josuke could hardly believe his ears earlier when Keiko had causally told him she was in the hospital. “You’re what?!?!? In the hospital?!?!” She could hear Okuyasu in the background shrieking like a banshee at the news as Josuke relayed it to him.

“Che, it’s not so bad, I’ll be good again in no time—!” But neither boy had even heard her speak, the line had already been cut and all she could do was anticipate the arrival of her crazy boys.

And here they were. Out of breath and gazing at her in concern.

“Kei~!!!!” Okuyasu flailed at her wildly big ridiculous tears streaming from his eyes. “I was so worried! What the hell happened to you~?!”

Keiko grimaced at the question. What the hell was she even going to tell them? “Well, these dudes were picking on this girl right?” She tried hard to gloss over the details. “And they weren’t leaving her alone...soooo yeah, here we are~!” She did her best to wiggle her cast goofily at them.

Okuyasu frowned disapprovingly at her simple explanation but ultimately seemed to accept her answer.

Josuke was another matter entirely. He knew first hand Keiko’s habit of making really bad situations out to be more general than she made them appear. He was immediately suspicious.

Keiko purposefully avoided eye contact with him too, knowing full well he was going to grill her to death the second they had some time alone.

Okuyasu was oblivious to this tension of course and immediately prattled on to Keiko about his day with Josuke and all the alien scum the two had bested in Space Invaders.

Josuke did his best to keep his cool and contribute to the conversation with Okuyasu but all the while his mind was racing with thoughts of how to get more information out of Keiko without completely pissing her off.

His chance finally arrived an hour later when Okuyasu belatedly realized it was way past dinner time and pops was probably ravenous without someone at home to help him prepare a meal. “Kei~! I gotta go feed Pops, will you really be alright at this freakin’ place for the night?”

“Yeah yeah, they just want to keep me a little longer to check on some shit, I’ll be fine, I’ll probably be back home tomorrow!” Keiko gave Okuyasu a grin and a thumbs up to help assuage his guilt for leaving her so soon.

“If you say so~!” He reached over and ruffled her hair affectionately before turning to Josuke. “You keep an eye on her for me man~!”

Josuke nodded at that. “I got her, don’t you worry bro.”

Satisfied with that answer Okuyasu departed.

And then there was two.

Keiko cleared her throat awkwardly still not really sure what all she wanted to say to him.

“Sooooo—!”

“Are you really—!”

They both spoke up at the same time. Then they made eye contact and started laughing.

“Gone on, you first,” she urged Josuke and then she wiggled around in her hospital bed to get more comfortable.

Josuke gazed at her warmly before pulling up one of the hospital room guest chairs so he could sit right beside her.

Keiko couldn’t help but roll her eyes at him as he straddled the chair and leaned even closer to her. “Stop it, you’re gonna end up with a broken arm too if you screw around like that.”

Josuke smiled at that, ignoring her and rested his head on his hand. “Say, speaking of, how’d you really end up with that ole thing?”

Keiko glared at him in annoyance. Here we go.

“Oh I don’t know, maybe some bitches pushed me down the stairs again, I forgot.” She deadpanned at him.

Josuke gulped and backtracked. Yikes. That might not have been the best approach. “I-well—“ before Josuke could try his next doomed tactic a nurse interrupted him and entered the room.

“How’s it going in here Miss Nijimura~?” She immediately looked over and noticed Josuke at the loud sound of the chair legs hitting the ground. “Oh~! A another visitor, my, you sure are a popular girl~! Who is this handsome young man here so late~? Could this be your boyfriend~?”

Josuke blushed hotly at that acknowledgment. “Y-Yeah, actually...” he risked a glance over at Keiko.

She had turned her head away, but Josuke could see she was blushing too.

This was the first time this crazy cool thing between them had been said out loud.

The nurse let out a delighted squeal. “What a cute pair you two make~!”

A big cheesy grin lit up Josuke’s face as he rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. “Thanks.” He answered for them.

Keiko grumbled cutely to herself, Josuke couldn’t make out what she had said but he was sure it was probably some of her usual angry and foul language. The nurse had inadvertently called her cute after all.

The nurse smiled at the adorable pair and took the clip board attached to the end of Keiko’s bed off for review. “Let’s see here Miss Nijimura, the drugs we gave you for that stab wound in your stomach, those are working alright for you~?”

The cheesy grin immediately left Josuke’s face. Stab wound?! Keiko had been stabbed in the stomach?!?! He stood up from his chair. “Holy crap Keiko is that true?!”

She really contemplated being stubborn but after an exasperated sigh, Keiko nodded in affirmation.

Josuke could hardly process the situation. He thought she had just broken her arm, just what in the hell had happened to his girl?!

The nurse looked extremely surprised at Josuke’s reaction. “Oh goodness you don’t know? Your little girlfriend here is a hero~!” She gazed at the young girl fondly. “She fought three thugs off a young girl being assaulted in an alleyway! I spoke with the young lady she rescued, she was in tears she was so grateful that Miss Nijimura had just been happening to pass by when she discovered her.”

The nurse looked down her glasses at Josuke. “A lot of people wouldn’t of stopped ya know, you’ve got a real dynamite gal you know that?”

Josuke was overcome with so many different emotions. He could hardly believe that this had all happened earlier today while he’d been playing useless freakin’ video games. She could been dead and he wouldn’t have even known. Josuke blinked back tears and met the nurse’s eyes. “Oh trust me, I know.”

The nurse smiled at him. Such passion, she loved it. These two were going to last, she just knew it. “Well Miss Nijimura if your medication’s all right I have nothing more to bother you with~! I’ll be back in a few hours to redress your bandages ~!”

Keiko just looked to the side and ignored the nice nurse.

She paused before leaving the couple. “Oh and young man~?”

Josuke barely managed to tear his eyes away from Keiko to see what she wanted.

“Visiting hours end in 30minutes~! No funny business in here either, this isn’t the place for it and Miss Nijimura is no shape for anything like that right now~!”

Keiko and Josuke almost combusted on the spot from that insinuation.

“Have a nice visit~!” And with that she was finally gone.

Keiko broke the silence this time. “That pervy old hag is always saying weird shit...” Keiko shook her head, her cheeks and ears still blazing red from the comment.

Josuke cleared his throat to try to ward off some of his own embarrassment. After a moment of clearing his head he approached Keiko and refocused on what was more important right now.

“Is all of that true Keiko?” He asked her gently.

Keiko felt disarmed by his tone. She had been expecting him to try to pry her for more details or something. She wasn’t prepared for his tender tone and compassionate eyes. Her defenses were obliterated. Without warning her eyes filled with tears. “Y-Yeah,” She managed to finally choke out after fighting with her emotions for a long moment. Her throat tightened and her eyes burned as she tried to stuff her emotions down.

Josuke usually didn’t know how to handle this kind of stuff, but with Keiko, somehow in this moment, he knew just what she needed. She needed support. She needed him.

He took his jacket off and laid it down over the chair before carefully climbing into to hospital bed with Keiko.

“W-What the fuck are you d-doing?!” Keiko cried in alarm as Josuke crawled in beside her.

He ignored her outburst and wrapped his arms securely around her and he nestled her easily against him. “You don’t have to talk about if you don’t want to Keiko,” Josuke tenderly cradled her face in his hands and wiped a stray tear from her angry confused eyes. “I’m just glad you’re alright.” He kissed her forehead with care.

Keiko stared at him wide eyed before completely losing her cool around him for the second time since they’d met. She could no longer hold back the loud sobs that raked her body.

She had suddenly realized that she hadn’t allowed herself any feelings about the whole thing. The whole day she’d been this tough and strong warrior, but truthfully she’d been scared. She’d been terrified that those three scum bags were going to end her life. The whole situation had happened so fast she hadn’t had time to really even think about it. What she could have lost today. She held onto to Josuke for dear life as her sobbing intensified. She might not have ever seen him again. This incredible boy that had come into her life, it could have been over before it really even started.

Josuke’s heart clenched painfully at Keiko’s sobs. He wished he had been there for her earlier, but he was so glad he could at least be here for her now. His heart heavy and full all at once he grabbed hold of her tear stained face and impulsively kissed her.

Keiko responded immediately suddenly desperate to be even closer to him. She opened her mouth for him.

Josuke groaned at that. He shifted so that his body was hovering over hers, he was careful not to put any weight on her bandages. “Fuckin’ hell Keiko...” he leaned back down to meet her lips again. This time things got even more heated as Keiko slipped her hand underneath his shirt, she briefly lamented she couldn’t touch him with the other since it was trapped in a cast but one look at Josuke’s flushed face and she knew that one hand was probably all this poor boy could handle right now.

She ran her hand up Josuke’s abs, truly surprised and honestly a little turned on by the muscle definition she could feel. Hello there, she hadn’t been expecting that. She knew he was in good shape but this was another thing entirely. The boy was sculpted. It’s a crime and a shame he had to hide these goods under a freakin shirt all day. How was anyone supposed to appreciate them under there?!

Josuke inhaled sharply at her caresses. She was irreverent, and the hot facial expressions she was making as she touched him weren’t helping.

The door opened to Keiko’s hospital room.

“Well now, I thought I was pretty clear earlier when I said no funny business~!”

Josuke leapt out of Keiko’s bed as if he’d been burnt.

They were both mortified.

The nurse chuckled at them. “Come on young man, it’s time to go, they’ll be plenty of time for all that once she gets discharged~!”

Josuke nodded hurriedly trying so very hard not to make eye contact with the nurse. He leaned over and quickly kissed Keiko’s forehead. She was trying hard to hide her tomato red face in the crook of her arm. “Goodnight Keiko~! S-See you tomorrow~!”

She grumbled goodnight back at him as he dashed out of the room.

The nurse stayed behind for one final comment. “He really is a very handsome boy, I don’t blame you one bit, I’d be all over him too if I was you~!”

Keiko groaned. If she didn’t die from these wounds this nurse was surely going to kill her from embarrassment.

(Morioh~cho~radioooo~! Breaking news Morioh~! Three wanted men have been taken into police custody this evening~! Sources report a young girl bringing these three men to justice~! Oh yeah~! Girl power~! *inserts a short radio edit of “Ain’t nuthin’ but a She thing” by Salt-n-Pepa* I love stories like this folks~! That’s all I’ve got for you tonight~! Keep it cool out there and remember~! This ain’t a man’s world~! No more sugar and spice~!)