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This Is Not Your Legacy



In which Dr. Jotaro Kujo helps Don Giorno Giovanna learn about the Joestar family tree, and Don Giorno Giovanna helps Dr. Jotaro Kujo learn about himself. A post-Vento Aureo, post-Purple Haze Feedback giftfic for wasabu!

In the end, they discover that a single sheet of looseleaf paper isn't anywhere near big enough to contain the complexity necessary for a proper frame of reference, so they end up sending Mista for a portable white board instead.

"Okay," the foreigner who'd sent Koichi Hirose after him several months ago says, as he adds more dashes and Arabic numerals to the diagram springing forth in squeaking red lines from the end of his dry erase pen. "So these are the Joestars — I think. Might still be missing a few; it seems like there are more and more of them all the time."

It's a touch of dry humor that he's under no obligation to offer, and so Giorno offers him a bright, polite laugh in return as he turns his attention to the board. The smattering of names and dates makes an oddly-shaped tree, not least of which because the flow of descendancy from top to bottom seems to come with other factors, odd offshoots and dotted lines that his guest has simply put question marks next to, as though even he himself is baffled by why he's included them.

The first two names, however, are easy. "Jonathan Joestar," he reads, an English name that he deliberately lets his accent bend into Italian vowels, and for a second he almost thinks that he feels the birthmark on his shoulder twinge as it fills the air. "This is the man who...I suppose we could say, 'started everything'."

"Oh. His dad's name was George," his guest replies instead, almost absentmindedly, and crams in the name where he can in the tiny remains of space above Jonathan's. "That's why the son is George II, I guess. Jonathan's dad was George I."

"Like kings," Giorno agrees. Old English kings from ancient history, they and their politics that the future generations still learn about today. "Jonathan married Erina — ah. You don't have her maiden name?"

"She lived over a hundred years ago," his guest says with a shrug. "Sorry I don't remember off the top of my head. I think it started with a P — Parsons or...Patterson...? If you really want to know, the Speedwagon Foundation will have it. You can look her up."

"I'll remember that." Giorno decides not to mention that he's also already long since had Mista look into the Speedwagon Foundation itself on the side, now that he sits in control of Passione and has all of its resources at his own immediate disposal. He never would've agreed to deal with them in the first place without those obvious precautions; only a fool would begin striking deals with people whose motives he neither knows nor can guess at, and he will never keep control of an organization like Passione if he ever once allows himself to behave like a fool. Thus he knows, among other things, that the Foundation came into existence shortly after the time period that they're currently discussing, and that the man for whom it was named lived in this one, probably at the same time as "Jonathan Joestar (1880s)". He knows that they are connected; he knows that it's no coincidence that a descendant of Jonathan Joestar would be working for that Foundation now.

It's interesting, observing firsthand the way that his guest's idle commentary reveals things about his own relationship with the Speedwagon Foundation in oblique and sometimes probably unintended ways. Either he's a consummate actor who knows exactly what sort of impression he's giving off, or he's simply a straightforward, no-nonsense man attached to them because — well, because it's as though it's the natural state of existence, that the sun rises in the east and objects fall to earth at a rate of nine-point-eight meters per second squared, and the life of a man with Joestar blood should be interwoven with that of the Speedwagon Foundation.

He doesn't seem to enjoy it. Truth be told, it doesn't seem as though his guest enjoys very much of anything, really.

The moment is right to move them forward, however, and so Giorno does, with the same bright inflection he's been using to appear disarming this whole time. "So Jonathan and Erina marry, and their son is George — II, you said, George the second, where Jonathan's father was also George, the first." He pauses, leaning forward and frowning slightly at the connection drawn to him. "Excuse me — you have his wife as two names? Elizabeth and Lisa. He was married twice...?"

"Oh. No, she just — it's complicated," his guest answers, blinking like he's startled to have had this fact pointed out in the first place. "Her I know more about. She lived under an assumed name during the war. Born Elizabeth, I think married Elizabeth, but then afterward she was Lisa Lisa. I think she got used to leaving 'Elizabeth' behind her; even when I met her, I met her as Nonna Lisa."

Giorno's eyebrows go up. "That's Italian."

"She owned Air Supplena Island, near Venice. Maybe still does, hell if I know." His guest begins to look dryly amused again, with his green eyes bright where they're almost concealed beneath the brim of his hat. "You've probably heard of it."

He owns Italy. Of course he is familiar with this. It's more good information, however, and a new spark of interest in an offshore rock near a city filled with terrible memories. He'll have to remember to have Mista look into that, as well — or maybe, to have Mista delegate it to someone else. Fugo, perhaps. Fugo is as likely to be wounded by Venice as the rest of them, but Fugo will find a way to relish the pain as penance in a way that the rest of them could not.

Elizabeth Joestar. A woman who changed her name, left an old one behind her, went into hiding. He wonders what it was that made her abandon her old name. He wonders if she still sometimes looked at herself in the mirror and saw Elizabeth, the way he still on rare occasions forgets and spends a second seeing Haruno before he remembers himself. He wonders how much of Elizabeth she still carried with her, and how much she tried to kill and bury. He wonders if she rose to greatness, the way that Giorno Giovanna has.

"I have heard of it," he says at last, aware that his silence is conspicuous. "Perhaps I'll restore it to her, whether she still owns it or not. You used present tense — I presume she is still alive?"

"She's like a hundred and ten by now and I still think she'd get up out of her chair and kick somebody's ass if they pissed her off enough," his guest replies, which instantly makes Giorno imagine the woman as looking like an aged, greying Trish. "She doesn't take anybody's shit. Least of all his."

And here, as he taps the next descendant down on the list, his guest's face twists up into a dark-eyed grimace of exasperation so automatic that it must be a reaction born of years and years of repetition. "Jonathan's grandson, George's son. Joseph Joestar."

Amused and curious, Giorno decides to press the point and see what happens. "You don't like him," he observes, with what seems to be the beginnings of a laugh simmering beneath his tone.

Sure enough, he's correct, and his guest releases an exasperated sigh that fills the room, as though he's been holding it in for generations. "That damn old man. If it's true that every family has one guy in it who's the crazy relative, then he's it." As if to add emphasis to his declaration, he uncaps his marker and draws another thick circle around the one that already exists. "Don't ever get on a plane with him."

"That's an unusually specific warning," Giorno observes again, lips pursed elegantly to punctuate his unspoken question.

"It's an unusually specific problem. He's crashed at least three or four of them, sooner or later his luck's going to run out."

"Ah," Giorno muses, and briskly shoves aside thoughts of the Stand called Notorious B.I.G. in favor of keeping his attention on the family tree in front of him, where the formerly straightforward and even lines of relation abruptly spiderweb out in a variety of directions around Joseph Joestar's name. "Very well. It seems as though things get...somewhat more complicated, at this point?"

"That's an understatement," his guest grumbles, and begins to point at the names as he mentions them one by one, with a crisp businesslike tone that betrays how little he enjoys describing this particular part of his family tree. "Joseph Joestar. Marries Suzie Quatro, has a daughter named Holly. Fortysome years later, has an affair with a Japanese woman, which produces a son. Sixteen years after that, the old man finds and adopts an abandoned baby, giving him another daughter."

"Josuke, age eighteen, and Shizuka, age two — with a question mark," Giorno reads calmly. Then, after a second, he pauses and frowns in thought for a moment as something occurs to him. "...You're over a decade older than your uncle, and almost three older than your aunt."

"Don't remind me," his guest huffs.

"Now I see why you said, 'more and more all the time'," Giorno remarks pleasantly, and opts to simply finish off the family tree for himself; there are only two other names to read on it, anyway. "Holly married a Japanese man named Sadao Kujo, resulting in you. Jotaro Kujo. Jonathan's legitimate great-great-grandson."

"Right," his guest — acclaimed marine biologist and Speedwagon Foundation member Dr. Jotaro Kujo — confirms.

For a moment, there's simply silence. They look at each other, and the picture that Jotaro has drawn, and Giorno takes a second to wonder if it's bittersweet for the man to look at something like this: a neat depiction of the way that his family was supposed to be, had history and destiny simply left them alone. He finds himself wondering what it must be like, to have a family lineage filled with great men and powerful women and stories to tell about every one, and proud deeds to recite at every level.

He will never be a part of this family, the one laid out in tiers on the board. He is grafted-on, an invasive species. None of his names have ever been "Joestar", and they never will be.

"Finish it, please," he says, before the moment has a chance to drag on too long.

Jotaro nods, and quietly sets aside the red marker he's been using in favor of picking up the green one. It's a softer, cooler color, the opposite of the savage boldness of red. Giorno wonders if that was a deliberate choice on his guest's part, to give red to the legitimate family and green to the invaders instead of the other way around, as some sort of implicit psychological concession toward peace. It would've been a deliberate choice on his own part, if their roles right now were reversed, but everything he does is deliberate, and Dr. Kujo doesn't strike him as that sort of man.

Green lines bloom from beneath the tip of the pen as his guest resumes drawing, adding a branch at the top that pulls off of the name Jonathan Joestar, and Giorno is both surprised and darkly pleased to see that his hand never falters even as he writes out the name of a man he surely must hate above all else.

"Dio Brando," Jotaro says in a too-flat tone, "was Jonathan's adopted brother. There's a file I have access to in the Speedwagon Foundation, the papers of the guy who started the foundation to begin with. He wrote a lot about what happened between Jonathan and Dio — at least, the parts that he saw. He was there on the night when Dio turned himself into a vampire."

Jotaro doesn't elaborate, but Giorno is more than capable of filling in the wide blanks that he leaves. The Speedwagon Foundation had been emphatic about the necessity of destroying the Stone Mask recovered from the cathedral in Syracuse; without that show of good faith, he feels certain that this meeting would never be taking place to begin with. He suspects that if he had failed to deliver on his word in that matter, his first meeting with Dr. Jotaro Kujo would have been a confrontation, not a conference, and the only exchanges made would have been delivered at Mach speed by the fists of his fabled Star Platinum.

He wonders which of them would win. Understandably, there are a multitude of reasons why he possesses absolutely no desire to find out — but still, he wonders.

"Anyway. A lot of shit happened, I'm not going to repeat it all. The relevant part is that Jonathan and Erina decided to honeymoon in America. They took a ship heading overseas from England," Jotaro continues, still in that same drawn-taut tone. "Dio, who they thought was dead, managed to get himself on that ship. Their fight destroyed it. It sank. Erina escaped, but Jonathan went down with the ship. He took Dio with him."

He seems to hesitate then, so Giorno takes it upon himself to supply the conclusion that Jotaro appears reluctant to add. "But Dio did not die, as was thought."

"No, he didn't die," Jotaro confirms, and silently Giorno thinks to himself, my father, the survivor.

He knows full well the ramifications it would bring, to voice that thought aloud. He refrains, but keeps the jealous satisfaction of thinking it anyway.

"He stole Jonathan Joestar's body," Jotaro continues, as he's entertaining that thought, and as he resumes giving Jotaro his full attention he notices that his guest's words have changed again; this part of his story sounds the most storylike of all, as though these aren't his words but someone else's, and he's simply repeating them back in the same form that he first heard them himself. He wonders who it was, and lets his eyes drift to the red lines of the Joestar family tree. The crazy old man, he ultimately decides, is the likeliest suspect. Perhaps these are Joseph Joestar's words. He wonders whose anger is laced throughout them.

"A ship dug him up from the bottom of the ocean in the early eighties," Jotaro says, drawing an ambling green line from Dio Brando's name down through the family tree to where his own lies waiting below, depicting a singular existence that runs parallel to generations and generations of Joestars. "He came back and Jiji — Joseph — started looking for him. I guess sometime in there is where he..."

A beat of silence passes.

"I was born on April 16, 1985," Giorno finishes for him, the declaration strong and proud. He thinks, often, about how unlucky the date of his birth is by Mista's reckoning — the fourth month, the four-times-fourth day. Mista says it's just proof of how lucky he really is, that even with so much bad luck attached to the date he came into existence, he's still had more than enough left over to cancel out the bad and bring him to where he is now. "Sometime in this period he conceived a child with a Japanese woman, resulting in a son, Giorno Giovanna."

"...Right," Jotaro says softly. Suddenly now, more than ever, his voice presents itself as the thin, exhausted contrast it is to the one Giorno speaks in; this is the part of the story, Giorno realizes, that comes altogether too personal to his guest. "Sometime in there is also when he was shot with the Stone Arrow and began developing his Stand. It was called The World. And because of how he'd stolen Jonathan's body — I remember him saying that he had control of it, but it wasn't complete. It wasn't entirely his. There was still some part of Jonathan left; I guess that's how the Stand ability ended up running into the whole Joestar bloodline."

He pauses, picking up a yellow marker, and begins drawing check marks next to each of the names as he recites them for emphasis. "Dio Brando, in Jonathan Joestar's body. Gained a Stand called The World. George II, already deceased, no Stand. Elizabeth, no shared bloodline, no Stand. Joseph Joestar — gained a Stand, Hermit Purple." A yellow check blooms at the tip of his pen. "Suzie, no shared bloodline, no Stand. Holly Joestar..."

Giorno watches as Jotaro's fingers tighten around the pen, as the check mark comes out a little too aggressive and mangles the tip of the marker against the material of the board. "Gained a Stand. No one ever named it."

He's not going to finish, Giorno can tell immediately. He could; he could continue on and say how Holly Kujo née Joestar had a son named Jotaro Kujo, who also developed a Stand as the result of Dio Brando's actions, and that it was named Star Platinum. But it's apparent that he's not going to, so preoccupied as he is with whatever thoughts of his mother and her Stand are haunting him.

He decides to press, which he knows is both unkind and necessary. "It lacked a name because...?"

"Because it was a parasite," Jotaro snaps with unfeigned bitterness. "It started killing her as soon as it manifested. They gave her fifty days to live. Fifty days for us to do something about it."

And that, of all things, catches Giorno mildly by surprise. Surely, with a legacy like this and a list of offenses like the ones that have been listed, any Joestar would have more than enough reason to hate Dio Brando and seek his death. Up until now, the story has seemed as though it were going in a familiar direction, that of gang wars and age-old feuds, with hatred carried on through generations for offenses long past, and animosity fostered as simply yet another family tradition.

He hadn't thought that there would be this. Dr. Jotaro Kujo, the man who killed his father, is furious because of the threat that his father had posed to a close, presumably loved member of his family.

For a second, he imagines Diavolo. Diavolo, who killed Narancia and Abbacchio, Diavolo who condemned Bruno to a death that he himself had inadvertently made long and slow and agonizing. He remembers what he did to Diavolo for these offenses, how even to this day he still dies and dies and dies, and no matter how many times he has died by now it will still never be enough to be satisfactory.

It makes Dr. Jotaro Kujo unsettlingly relatable, to hear that his own battles may have been fueled by a similar sentiment — an unwillingness to let his mother be taken away, and perhaps a vengeance upon the man who had caused her to be in peril at all.

"And you did do something about it," he says quietly, so that Jotaro will not have to. "You confronted and killed Dio Brando in Cairo, in January of 1988."

"That was the fiftieth day," Jotaro answers, which doesn't contradict the statement and therefore by extension confirms it.

Giorno lets that linger a minute, before pressing again. "Your mother. She recovered?"

"She's fine," comes the answer again, brittle and terse.

"The death of Dio Brando neutralized the parasitic effects of her Stand," Giorno continues, still seeking to ease more information out of him, albeit on a different tack as before, and at a more plying pace. "Was she then able to master it? Or — you have been saying 'was' when referring to it; do you mean she lost her Stand entirely?"

"We don't know. It just went away. That just fixed it, I don't know," Jotaro answers, his eyes fixed on the red name of his mother on the whiteboard. "She's fine. She lived."

Jotaro's responses are coming shorter and shorter now, more succinct and closed-off, more controlled with every word. Simple declarative sentences; he is using these as a shield, Giorno can see, as a means of maintaining his composure while touching on a subject that threatens to shatter it.

He thinks of Bruno and Narancia and Abbacchio, and how right now in this moment Dr. Jotaro Kujo looks painfully similar to the way that his consigliere, Jean-Pierre Polnareff, always does when he speaks of the same series of events. He wonders if, ten years from now, he and Mista and Trish will look the same way that these men do when they speak themselves of the events that prompted and followed Bruno Buccellati's rebellion, concluding in Diavolo's defeat at the Colosseum in Rome. He wonders if, ten years from now, they will even speak of them at all.

Impulsively, and moved by a sudden shot of emotion he finds it difficult to explain, he picks up the abandoned green marker and writes in his own name where it belongs: Giorno Giovanna, son of Dio Brando and a Japanese woman whose name he left buried along with Haruno Shiobana's.

But he refuses to stop there. The instant his name is inscribed on the board, more offshoot lines follow it, radiating out from him in a firework of relation — to make space for his family, forged not of a bloodline but of the blood that they shed together.

"Bruno Buccellati. The son of a fisherman, originally from a small village on the coast. The user of the Stand Sticky Fingers. A capo in the Italian crime syndicate Passione. My capo. Deceased."

"Guido Mista. An expert marksman. The user of the Stand Sex Pistols. Third in command of the Italian crime syndicate Passione — by title only. Second in everything else. My right arm."

"Trish Una. Daughter of the former boss of the Italian crime syndicate Passione. The user of the Stand Spice Girl. Free to do whatever she chooses, however she chooses it, for the rest of her life, with my blessing. My Trish."

One after another, he names them. Narancia and his Aerosmith; Abbacchio with his Moody Blues, whose capabilities he'd refused to share for so long. Fugo, the prodigal son, who once was lost and now is found. He deliberates for only a moment before adding a name that he feels certain will cause Jotaro to react, and it does: Jean-Pierre Polnareff, the former user of the Stand Silver Chariot, later Silver Chariot Requiem, and now Mr. President.

He finishes his impassioned speech, finishes paying tribute to these people who once became and still are the family he holds in his heart, and sets down the marker deliberately before fixing his guest with a pointed, prompting look.

For what seems like an agonizingly long time, there is nothing. Only tension. Only silence.

Then, at last, Jotaro surrenders his yellow marker and takes up the blue one instead. With slower, more reserved strokes, he makes a web of offshoot lines around his own name, just as Giorno had, and stares at their empty dead stems like he's fighting a profound inner turmoil before finally reaching to begin making them blossom with names.

"Noriaki Kakyoin," he begins in a very soft voice. "A Japanese student. Seventeen years old. The user of the Stand Hierophant Green. Died January 16, 1988."

He pauses.

"My best friend," he adds in a whisper.

And to Giorno's mild surprise, that's a status that ends up repeated, once Jotaro has worked through Muhammad Abdul (user of the Stand Magician's Red; a fortune-teller; the only one of us with a single damn bit of sense, sometimes; died January 16th, 1988) and a dog named Iggy (user of the Stand The Fool; liked coffee-flavored chewing gum; that fucking dog, he almost ruined my favorite hat this one time in the desert; died January 16th, 1988). At the end, he simply draws a weaving connecting line of blue like a river through the forest of other names already on the board, and attaches himself to where Polnareff's name is waiting for him on Giorno's side, rather than rewriting it for himself.

Jean-Pierre Polnareff. Dr. Jotaro Kujo's best, living, friend.

It's impressive, Giorno thinks. This whole exercise has been an attempt to help inform Giorno about the history of the Joestar family, the connections and players and diverse network of people who have been touched by the legacy of the blood that began over a hundred years ago with a single man named Jonathan Joestar — and yet it'd started as almost a joke, a passing little quip over clasped extended hands that wondered on how exactly he and his guest, Dr. Kujo, were related, anyway.

It's apparent, now, from the diagram. The term they'd been looking for in that moment of clasped hands is "cousins three times removed"; regardless of the complications introduced by what his father had done to Jonathan's body, even prior to that, the two were brothers. He is the cousin of George II, the cousin-in-law of Elizabeth who later called herself Lisa. Joseph Joestar, the crazy one, is his cousin once removed; Holly, who nearly died because of his father, is his cousin twice removed. Dr. Jotaro Kujo is her son, his cousin three times removed.

That is a relationship that means next to nothing, in light of the green line that shifts to weaving blue, the continuous connection that joins him to Jotaro Kujo through Polnareff. That line is how they are related. Their experiences, not their family tree, have made them into who they are in this moment.

"I meant to ask you something, Dr. Kujo," he says, folding his hands over his knee as he sits back in his chair, as he looks up with a steady gaze to meet the wounded yet curious green eyes waiting for him. "I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm aware of the capabilities of your Star Platinum. You are capable of stopping time for a period of one second."

"Did Polnareff tell you that?" Jotaro asks, eyebrows raised, but it's clear that the question is not a denial of the fact.

"I have sources," Giorno answers instead, with a professional smile that gradually relaxes into a softer one. "What Polnareff did tell me, however, is that my father's The World also possessed the same capability. He explained to me that because of my father's vampiric physiology, his capacity for stopping time extended to several seconds — I believe nearly ten, at its height."

"What's your point?" Jotaro demands in a too-flat tone, which endears him to Giorno just a touch further still. The rumors of Jotaro Kujo's stoic demeanor are widespread; he's been pleased to discover, from meeting him in person, the man's myriad of other facets that lie beneath that exterior. This is a practical man before him, both educated and clever, quick on the uptake, no-nonsense, possessed of caring and honor and determination, scarred by his experiences yet still functioning beyond them.

It's for those reasons, he has decided, that he will offer this man a gift — one that, perhaps, only he himself is truly situated to give.

"I'm asking how you managed to kill Dio Brando with only one second of ability to move in stopped time, when he had ten at his disposal to use against you." He pauses, and regards his guest with a searching, critical look before continuing. "You used to be stronger, didn't you?"

Another heavy moment passes; Jotaro says nothing. And at last, what Giorno sees before him is not the shadowy specter who sent Koichi Hirose after him from far away, not the most renowned Stand user in the world as they know it; not even, surprisingly, the murderer of his father.

He sees a young man who took up the burden of a destiny he never chose for himself, who grew up too fast in order to carry its weight, and who has been allowing himself to be slowly crushed beneath it since the instant that he realized that his soul, the intimate essence of his personal spirit, was the twin of the very man who had brought so much suffering onto his bloodline in the first place.

He marvels at how exactly opposite they are. He has no vast and vaunted bloodline, yet his dreams and ambitions have always been his own. Jotaro Kujo has everything that once he might've thought he could ever want, and these ties of blood are like manacles around his body.

"I am the son of Dio Brando," Giorno tells him then, in the voice that he uses to command and inspire — the voice that brought Fugo back to him, that Mista heeds, that Trish allows to resonate within her. "There are traits that I am aware I share with him; Polnareff has told me so on several occasions. But I am not my father. The traits I share with him are mine. And I alone am the master of how I use them — they are my advantages to wield, and my responsibilities to bear."

He fixes Jotaro with a steady look, unwavering, and says the words that he believes that the man before him has unknowingly been waiting to hear for over a decade, since that night that scarred him so in Cairo.

"Time Stop is not my father's power," he says firmly. "It is yours. So master it, Dr. Kujo; don't simply allow it to atrophy and fade from neglect. To waste your potential in such a manner — it's useless, useless, useless!"

He watches as his guest goes rigid; a second passes, and he realizes with a critical eye that nothing has changed, save for the fact that the markers they left scattered on the table have been knocked slightly askew — as though someone had accidentally knocked them thus during an interval of time that he himself did not perceive, which leads him to suspect that Dr. Jotaro Kujo is now in this moment one second older than him than he'd been previously.

His Gold Experience Requiem hums like the buzzing of bees beneath his skin. He had expected that something like this might happen at some point during his meeting with his guest, but even in full awareness of that fact, his own instincts are still raw and chafed when it comes to matters of disrupted time. Star Platinum's The World has now gotten the drop on him once. He knows with full certainty, from the alarm and the alert coursing through the link between himself and his own Stand, that it's not something that will be repeated — ever.

But what breaks the tension in the end, of all things, is a ragged half-laugh from Jotaro — rough and gravelly, as though he hasn't used his throat in such a manner for so long that he's all but forgotten how.

"That's the first time I've ever heard that from someone trying to encourage me," his rattled guest says, pushing up the brim of his hat just enough to pinch the bridge of his nose, between his eyes. "Consider it...noted, Don Giovanna."

"Giorno. Please," he says briskly, and rises from his chair. "This has been a productive discussion, Dr. Kujo. I hope we can have others, during your stay here — but for the moment, I think we would do well to set business aside. I would not care to monopolize your time, and I know for a fact that our friend Polnareff is eager to see you."

It's the right choice, he sees after a moment, as relief blooms behind his guest's eyes and a fraction of the tension eases out of his shoulders at the sound of his best friend's name. He's pushed Jotaro Kujo far with his actions, he knows, and yet — if he's judged the man accurately, then the fact of the matter is that the man is so used to being pushed to the brink of his limits that the only way to get through to him is when he's already near them to begin with.

Polnareff had asked him, before this conversation, to try to get through to his best friend, Dr. Jotaro Kujo, if he could. For his own good, he needs it, Polnareff had insisted.

The man's experiences have forged him into a certain shape; that much is apparent simply from looking at him. But even steel can be reforged, Giorno knows, through patience and time, heat and pressure and care. Between himself and Polnareff, the pressure and the release, they may yet help free this man from the shackles that have held his limbs since the infamous day when a vampire named Dio Brando died.

He rings for Mista, who appears through a side door a few seconds later carrying the turtle that now houses Polnareff from day to day; his consigliere is already halfway out of the turtle in anticipation, and it seems impossible that a shout so loud could burst from a mouth so small, but his cry of delight at the sight of their guest fills the whole room — and brings a faint glisten of moisture to Dr. Jotaro Kujo's eyes.

"Jotaro! Do you know what kind of turtle I am?" Polnareff bellows, and time never stops but Dr. Kujo is still across the room in what seems like an instant, rushing to take Mista's precious cargo away from him and eagerly abandoning himself to thoughts of nothing but catching up with his oldest living friend, and trying to get a word in edgewise as Polnareff bursts forth with a thousand upon thousand things to tell him all at once.

As they lose themselves in each other, Mista comes sidling over, dutiful as always, though perhaps slightly closer in proximity than a bodyguard should be, if a bodyguard were really all he was — which he's not.

"So how'd it go, Boss?" he asks, glancing from their guest back to him with a lazy lovely grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.

And Giorno takes a moment before answering, letting his gaze drift to the multicolored smattering of names and dates and lines that have marred the face of the white board that had been clean and fresh when Mista had seen it last — the people, the connections, the history, the family in all its forms and permutations depicted there.

"I think it was educational for everyone," he says at last, and the smile he beams at Mista is rare, and genuine, and brimming with satisfaction.

(But there's still one nagging question left unanswered by the time that Jotaro is leaving a week later, and so as they're saying their goodbyes at the door he clasps Jotaro's hand and uses it as a tether instead, keeping him in place so he cannot get away until that last matter is resolved.

"You listed yourself as the last legitimate member of the Joestar line," he points out, and resists the urge to glance at Polnareff in favor of simply holding Jotaro's gaze instead.

There'd been difficulty, Mista had reported, for even their best sources in procuring the two names that he knows Jotaro had deliberately left off of their shared family tree. They've transcended the definition of "difficult" and risen to the level of "nigh-impossible" to find.

He assumes that's exactly the way that Jotaro would want it.

Even so, "nigh-impossible" is not "impossible" — and if he was able to find them at all, then he is certain that he will not be the only one to someday do so. That dark eventuality will be something he plans for now, quietly, on his own time and on his own terms.

Jolyne Cujoh, age nine, is his family. He will personally ensure that there is nothing but regret waiting for anyone who is so foolish as to dare seek to harm her.

But Jotaro's response is different, and understated, much like the man himself; he reaches into his pocket and produces his plane ticket, and turns it around to show them that the destination reads Florida, in America, instead of a return flight to Japan.

"When I'm someone's dad, you'll hear about it," he answers, and Giorno translates that sentence by silently adding in the omitted word that makes the whole world of difference, because what of course his cousin means is that he and Mista and Polnareff will be made party to the good news, when Jotaro has taken the steps necessary to be that someone's father again.)

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