Friday, July 31th
Outside S City, Japan
It took a minute or two for them to figure out how to lower the plane’s staircase. Once they did, however, Josuke came sprinting on. He looked around, eyes darting as he searched for his family. Then, he saw them.
“Shizuka! Jotaro! Oh my gosh! You guys!” He shouted, sprinting over to them. He gave Shizuka a big hug, lifting her into the air. “A plane crash? I know I haven’t seen you in a while, but there are better ways to get my attention.” He joked in a thick accent, speaking somewhat limited English.
She laughed, feeling Crazy Diamond’s power fixing her bruises and scrapes. Josuke had a literal healing presence. It was hard to feel down with him in the room. It helped ease her after the intensity of the past few days. Josuke looked over to Jotaro, smiling. “You look like shit.” He snickered in their native tongue, a huge grin on his face as he extended a hand.
Jotaro grinned. “Thanks.” Is all he said, firmly gripping the man’s hand and shaking it.
“Speaking of getting people’s attention, where the hell have you been? I tried to call. Holy wanted to have the family over for Ocean Day. You didn’t answer any of our calls. We would’ve loved to see Jolyne and Maura.” Josuke frowned a bit, getting a feeling that something was off with Jotaro’s homelife.
Shizuka wasn’t following the conversation very well due to the flipping of languages mid-sentence. Jotaro’s English was perfect after decades in the United States, but Josuke only knew what he learned in school, and what he gathered on the phone with her. He didn’t practice it often. She looked a little lost, and Josuke noticed.
“Agh, I wish Rohan would just give me the ability to speak English. I can barely talk to my sister.” He grunted to Jotaro.
Jotaro shrugged. “Maybe he’d teach her Japanese? She plans on doing some investigation anyway. It’d be easier that way.”
Josuke lit up. “Yeah! And he probably wouldn’t threaten to kill her if she asked more than once.”
Jotaro smirked, looking out of the cockpit and into the cabin. “We’ve got a lot of confused people on this plane, Josuke. Do you have enough energy to heal them all?”
The shorter man rubbed his chin, looking around. “What happened?”
“We’re not sure. That woman right there had a memory stand. I’m pretty sure she tortured us the entire flight.” Shizuka explained.
“A memory stand? Great. How’d you figure it out?” He looked to Jotaro curiously.
Jotaro shrugged. “I didn’t. Shizuka defeated her.”
Josuke’s eyes widened. “ WHAAAT? You saved all of these people? I mean, I knew you were a tough kid, but wow!” He pulled her into a one-armed hug, rubbing his knuckles against her scalp.
She smiled, always enjoying the brief times with her brother. In fact, they were more and more fleeting as the years went by. She never went to him once. He’d always fly to New York. And once he got out of university, he was too busy. Their family reunion was cut short by the man from earlier as he slowly walked into the cockpit.
“Excuse me, but what in the hell is going on here? I kept my mouth shut during the emergency, but now I demand some damn answers!” He spat, growling at he looked at the Jojo’s.
Josuke lifted his head in shock. “Who’s this guy?” He mumbled, noticing his injuries.
“I’m Alec Wayne, And I’m the one asking the questions. Who are you people? Who do you work for?” He demanded.
Josuke just smiled a bit, manifesting Crazy Diamond and extending its hand to Alec. The man had no idea why he suddenly felt so much better, but it was instant relief. “We’re help. That’s all. I’m Sergeant Higashikata with the Morioh Police Department. This is my half sister Shizuka Joestar, and our nephew, Jotaro Kujo.”
“Are they government agents? Police?” Alec questioned.
Shizuka wrinkled her nose, raising a brow. “I’m ten.” She mumbled.
“Don’t play coy with me. You were ready to fight that woman before I stepped in, and you had total confidence in doing so. Not only that, but you didn’t bat an eye when I shot her in the head. You’re not a normal kid.” He pointed at her, then looked back to Josuke. “And you, am I supposed to believe this is official business of the Morioh Police Department?”
Josuke laughed a bit. “No, it’s not. I’d really appreciate if you didn’t call this in. I have no idea what I’d say to the inspector.”
Then, Alec’s eyes moved to Jotaro. “Kujo, was it? You’re the sketchiest one here. How’d you make that man’s head explode? It happened instantly, and I didn’t even see a weapon on you.”
Jotaro sighed, placing a cigarette between his lips. “There are things you don’t understand in this world. Just be happy everyone on the flight survived.”
“Listen, I was put on this plane to babysit a man named Neil Archer. I figured it was nothing, just a skittish billionaire who was worried about his travels. But this? I’ve never seen anything like it. How am I supposed to explain any of this?” He questioned.
“The pilot had a heart attack. You had to land the plane in this field. That’s all you need to share. You’re a hero. None of the passengers remember anything.” Jotaro explained, turning to Josuke. “Josuke, if you repair the pilot’s body, I’ll call the Speedwagon Foundation to pick up the dead Stand Users. We can get this cleaned up in an hour or so. Then Alec can call local law enforcement.”
Alec was nearly at a loss for words. Nearly. “What am I supposed to think about today? I get the impression that I have no choice but to play along. But.. are you three magic?” He whispered, going pale. “I feel absurd even asking.. But the way you’re talking..”
Jotaro sighed. “Shizuka, while we handle this, go outside and talk to Alec. You like putting people at ease.” He mumbled, getting his phone out and calling the foundation.
Shizuka nodded, patting the man’s arm as she walked toward the exit. Needless to say, it was a bit of a messy homecoming, but she was finally in Japan. Finally, she was miles away from Morioh. She made it.
Friday, July 31st
Morioh Grand Hotel
Shizuka couldn’t believe her eyes as she stepped out of the taxi. There it was, the Morioh Grand Hotel. She just stared at it, like she wasn’t even there. It was like she was observing someone else arriving. She just couldn’t believe that after everything, she was finally at the end of her journey. Jotaro and Josuke got out, carrying what little luggage they had.
“After we get checked in, I really need to stop by a store to pick up some essentials.” Jotaro mumbled, stretching after the long flight.
“I’ll take you. The town’s really gotten bigger since you last visited. I think the first order of business is getting Shizuka to Rohan.” Josuke mumbled, checking his watch. “I really should get back to work. My lunch break was over an hour ago. You know Rohan’s address. If you feel like going before I get off work, that’s fine.” He began to walk away, but stopped in place. Then, he turned around and gave Shizuka a big hug. “I’m glad you made it safe. Next time you plan on doing something insane, call one of us, okay? I’d rather help you than have you do it alone.” And with that, he got back in the cab.
Shizuka looked at the large hotel with a smile. Jotaro lit his cigarette, watching her. “So.. What now? You never actually explained why you needed to come here.”
“Hermit Purple directed me here when we asked about my biological parents. I don’t know for sure, but it’s gotta be here.” She said confidently.
Jotaro puffed out some smoke, tired bags under his eyes. “Yare Yare… Last time Hermit Purple brought me to Morioh, I spent four months here.”
“Well let’s hope it goes faster this time. C’mon, you’ve gotta check us in.” She began walking toward the hotel, ready for whatever came next.
After taking a nice nap and looking around for a while, Shizuka was on the front steps of Rohan Kishibe’s porch. Jotaro approached from behind, knocking on the door. Then, there was silence. They stood there awkwardly for about thirty seconds before Jotaro politely knocked again.
“Try the doorbell.” Shizuka mumbled, biting her lip.
After a moment, he tried the doorbell. Once again, this was useless. Jotaro sighed, shaking his head. “His car is right there. He’s probably working…” He mumbled, knocking harder.
Eventually a voice could be heard in the distance, but Shizuka couldn’t understand them. “Alright, alright. I’m coming. But I swear, if it’s-” He opened the door and stopped in his tracks. “ Jotaro? Jotaro Kujo? What’re you doing in Morioh?” He questioned, peering around and seeing Shizuka. “And is this Colleen?”
Jotaro looked behind him for a moment. “Jolyne is seventeen years old. This is Shizuka Joestar.”
Rohan seemed to ponder the words for a moment. Then, it hit him. “Ah! Shizuka! The baby Mr.Joestar found all those years ago? My word, look at you! You’ve grown. And I can see you!” He chuckled, looking down at her with a smile.
Shizuka just stared up at him in utter confusion. The entire conversation had been in Japanese. She was quite lost. Jotaro noticed this, speaking up. “We’re in town for a bit. I’ll explain why if you want. But I’m actually here for a favor. Would you use Heaven’s Door on Shizuka so she can speak Japanese? The old man didn’t raise her speaking it.” He explained.
Rohan raised a brow. “Then why’s her name Shizuka? Why not.. Susan.. Or whatever Americans name their kids?”
“He started raising a baby in his late seventies. Give the man a break.” Jotaro shrugged, looking inside. “Can we come in?”
“Oh, yes, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had you in my home, Jotaro. Please, come in.” He smiled, allowing them to walk inside. He looked at Shizuka, speaking perfect English. “I can write the ability to speak Japanese on you in a few seconds. But it will feel strange, maybe even a bit painful.” He warned.
“Wait, you speak English?” She questioned.
“I speak three-hundred languages. Let me know if you can think of any I’m missing. Anyway, are you ready?” He rubbed his hands together.
“So this is your power? Granting knowledge?” She tilted her head.
“Not exactly. Heaven’s Door can open your body up and present your essence as a book for me to read. Everything in the book is true. You can’t lie to me with it. So, if I write something in myself, it becomes true as well.” He explained.
Shizuka’s eyes widened. “Wait.. so you can read about me? What kind of stuff?”
He chuckled. “Don’t worry, I promise not to read anything. Privacy is privacy. I only read people who want me to.”
“No.” She said, her tone changing to one of urgency. “Could you read about my past? Like… way back? Before my dad found me?” She questioned.
“Shizuka is looking for her biological parents. That’s why we’re in Morioh.” Jotaro explained in a low tone.
Rohan thought to himself for a moment. “Well… I’ve never actually tried to read that far back. Infancy? That would be interesting. The book is written by your own mind, so it can’t be too detailed. But maybe there’s something? We could try it.”
Shizuka couldn’t even believe it. Would their search end so soon? Maybe Hermit Purple wasn’t the right Stand for the job. It seemed Heaven’s Door would crack this wide open.
“Please, sir, read it. I need to know.” She sat down, ready.
He nodded, rubbing his chin as he examined her. “ Heaven’s Door!” He shouted as his Stand emerged, lunging forward and turning Shizuka’s left cheek into a page.
She stared at it in a mix of horror and fascination, not saying a word as Rohan approached, peeling the paper more and reading.
“I’ve never read someone this young. This will be easier than I thought… You don’t have much written.” He mumbled to himself. “This may take a few minutes… And I may see things you don’t want me to. Is that alright?” He asked.
Shizuka just nodded, feeling like if she spoke, her lips would turn to paper too. It was such an odd feeling, being unraveled like that. Jotaro didn’t seem concerned, though, so she kept her calm. After a minute or so, she began to shift awkwardly in her seat as she waited for him to get to the younger years.
“My goodness… You’ve gotten into more fights than me… You’re quite the handful…” He mumbled, squinting his eyes. “What’s this…?” He mumbled.
Jotaro approached curiously. “What do you mean?”
Rohan raised a brow. “I’ve never seen this… It’s a… Warning?” He mumbled.
“Warning? Could Shizuka’s subconscious not want these memories to come out?” Jotaro asked softly.
“I don’t care. Read it anyway, please. Ignore it.” She groaned, digging her nails into the sofa.
“Of course…” He peeled the page, reading further. “Six months old… Danger…” He read outloud. “Danger… Danger… Danger. Must be safe. Need to be safe now. Unsafe.” He mumbled, turning the page. “Have to escape.. Need to be safe from bad.” He continued.
“What’s bad? Was I attacked? Were my parents attacked?” Shizuka interrupted.
“I’m going back further. It seems like-” Rohan was interrupted by a large hand reaching out of the page and punching at him. “ WHAT? ” He shouted as the fist connected with his face. Another reached out, pummeling him in the face.
Rohan knew this wasn’t Shizuka. He read about her Stand, Achtung Baby. It was small, and primarily white. These hands were dark purple, and the arms were like voids. But they were coming out of her body? Was she being possessed? Or had an enemy latched onto her, like Cheap Trick did to him years ago? Either way, he needed to stop the attack. “Heaven’s Door!” He shouted, writing on Shizuka’s book.
Shizuka is five meters away from me.
In an instant, she was whipped across the living room and landed in the hallway. Jotaro’s eyes widened. “What are you doing, Kishibe!?” He grunted, but Rohan extended an arm.
“There’s a stand within Shizuka… One that isn’t hers.” He said grimly.
Shizuka was busy recovering on the floor, writhing in pain from the sudden jerking and landing. She whined, rolling onto her back. “Can I speak Japanese?” She groaned, resting her hands on her stomach.
Rohan sighed. “Right when I was about to read what happened, it attacked… What’s the meaning of this?”
Jotaro narrowed his eyes. “We could be under attack right now. Are you positive it’s in Shizuka?”
“Absolutely… It came from inside the book, like it was a part of her. This isn’t making any sense.” Rohan mumbled.
“We need a better look at it. Do you have a pen and paper?” Jotaro questioned.
Rohan spat, looking nearly insulted. “Yes, of course. Here.” He reached over to the coffee table and handed it to Jotaro. “Why? Are you going to draw it?”
“Lure the Stand out, and I’ll freeze time. Star Platinum’s eyesight and speed will get us a good picture of what we’re dealing with.” He mumbled.
Rohan sighed, stepping closer to Shizuka. “Great, I’ll just get attacked again…” He mumbled.
Shizuka sat up, looking at the men in confusion. “What happened? We’re under attack?” She demanded, backing away from him.
“Just be still, Shizuka. We’ll take care of it. I just need to read more…” Rohan mumbled, sending Heaven’s Door out. The moment it got within range, an arm extended from Shizuka’s face and swatted at Rohan’s Stand.
Jotaro shouted, “I got it. Back up!”
They both stumbled back, looking at the drawing. It was clear as day. Two dark, large arms extended from the book on Shizuka’s face and attacked Rohan. They only came from the page, though, not from any other part of Shizuka. Almost like it was trying to protect the information.
“You drew this in two seconds?” Rohan asked, raising a brow.
Jotaro grunted. “If everyone only gets one Stand, why does Shizuka have two?” He thought aloud.
“It’s possible that someone’s Stand has attached itself to her. I’ve seen that happen. That would explain why she’s not in control of it.” Rohan panted, his face still aching from the attack.
Shizuka was just holding her split face in confusion, feeling her heart beat faster and faster. “Jotaro, Rohan, what’s happening? I couldn’t see what hit you…. I don’t.. I don’t…” Her eyelids felt heavy, and her body couldn’t sit up right. She fell onto her back, hitting her head roughly against the wood floor. It didn’t matter, because she was already unconscious.
Shizuka’s eyes opened in a strange, yet familiar place. It was hard to pinpoint at first, but she slowly began to recognize the strange surroundings… It was just like her dream at the hotel. And just like before, the soothing woman’s voice began to sing.
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons… Skated over ten clear frozen streams… Words like, “When you’re older” most appease him.. And promises of “someday” make his dreams…
Her head started to reel, and tears streamed down her cheeks just like before. What was happening? She was in Rohan’s house, and then it all went black… She couldn’t even remember the specifics of when she passed out. Then she was here, yet again… Why was this song playing? Why did it make her cry? Where was she? The music continued.
And the seasons… They go round and round. And the painted ponies go up and down. We’re captive on a carousel of time… We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came… And go round and round and round in the circle game…
Shizuka knew what came next. The world around her shifted, revealing some building complex. It looked strange... She couldn’t quite figure out why though. The buildings just seemed built differently than she was used to. She quickly found herself inside. There seemed to be nearly a hundred young girls sitting at long tables. She’d heard about this in school. They were all working at sewing machines. Some of them were tearing up… Some of them had dead expressions. Many just seemed bored as they worked along the seams… Why was Shizuka being shown this? Last time, it was 19th century England. This seemed like it was in the twenties or thirties…
She felt the room move around her, placing her right next to an unassuming girl. The young girl had shoulder-length blonde hair, and was very small. In fact, she looked starved. An older woman’s heels clicked against the cold concrete floor, approaching the little blonde. She swatted at the girl’s hands with a ruler, scoffing.
“Debbie, you’re not producing fast enough. All of the other girls in this department can keep up. What’s your issue?” The woman demanded.
Shizuka could see tired black bags under Debbie’s eyes. It broke her heart, picturing a girl not much younger than herself working in such conditions. She just watched, hoping for some insight on why she was seeing this in the first place.
Debbie just frowned, eyes always looking down at her work. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. I’ll get back to work.” She said obediently.
The woman seemed satisfied enough with that answer, walking away with a huff. The room shifted yet again. Then, Shizuka found herself in some apartment. It was nothing like the luxurious penthouse suite she grew up in. No, it was ragged, messy, and seemed like the floor even dipped in several places. She watched Debbie walk in through the door. The young girl was yawning, looking around. She sighed with relief upon seeing her father unconscious on the couch. He was surrounded by empty containers of alcohol. Finally, some respite.
While the apartment seemed lackluster, the location was nice. In fact, Shizuka recognized the view. They were in New York City. She had no choice but to follow Debbie, being dragged into a bedroom. There, Shizuka saw a sickly ill woman cradling a baby. Debbie smiled for the first time of the entire vision, approaching the bed.
“Hi, Mom. Hi Vera.” She rubbed the baby’s head for a moment.
The mother coughed softly. “Debbie, dear, please take Vera… I need to sleep.” She groaned.
“Of course.” The young girl smiled, cradling her little sister in her arms.
Then, a large man’s voice could be heard in the distance. “Sophie? You’re still awake… Good…” He slurred his words, stumbling into the doorway. It seemed to be the girl’s father. “Debbie, get out.. Take Vera to your room.” Is all he said.
Debbie bit her lip, not moving one inch. “Dad, Mom’s really tired, and she’s sick. Don’t bother her.” She said firmly.
The man just slapped Debbie, nearly sending the tiny girl to the ground in an instant. Shizuka gritted her teeth, unable to help. This had already happened… There was nothing to do but watch.
“ Get out, NOW. ” The father commanded, shoving his daughters toward the door.
As Debbie left the room, Shizuka was banished from it as well. However, through the closed door, she could hear some very… Adult things happening on the other side. A bedframe creaking, a man groaning, and a woman speaking softly. She recognized some of these things from movies, right before her Mom could skip to the next scene. Suzie Q wasn’t holding the remote this time, though. Some entity was deciding what Shizuka saw…
She found herself in Debbie’s bedroom. The girl cradled her sister, placing her down in a crib with a kiss on the forehead. “It’s okay, Vera… It’s all gonna be okay.” She cooed, placing a blanket over the child. “He’ll never hit you like that… If he tries, I’ll kill him.” She said in a dead-serious tone.
Shizuka could tell the girl meant it too… She rarely heard such a tone come from a child. Well, except from herself, of course. In fact, Debbie reminded Shizuka of herself in a lot of ways. The way she stood, her eyes, her frame… Why was she seeing this? Why show her some domestic life from the 20’s? Well, she didn’t get an answer. No, she merely had questions as the music began again. Soon, the world would flash, and she woke up on Rohan’s couch.
She stared up at the lovely ceiling with a blank expression, tilting her head to see if anyone was in the room. It seemed she was alone… She just sighed, resting her eyes once more. None of it made sense. She just wanted answers… Why was she only being given more and more questions? This mystery was beginning to seem to complex. Would she ever learn the identity of her biological parents? That was a question for later… For now, she merely rested her mind and fell back asleep.