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Together

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When Jotaro looks back on the events leading up to Dio's demise, he can't shake the feeling that they could have gone so wrong so easily.

He thanks every god he can think of for the absolute trembling sense of dread he felt - the agonizing cry of all of his cells in unison - that he obeys unquestioningly. It means that, when the suggestion is first raised that they all split up to look for Dio, that he won’t stand for it. No, his entire being seizes up at even the thought, and that is that. 

Even if it is a fool's errand to be out in Egypt to fight the body of his ancestor attached to the head of some bastard, it is his fool's errand, and the men he who had tagged along with him have simply agreed with his refusal to be without them. 

Die all, die merrily. 

They almost do, too; with the Speedwagon Foundation's help, every single one of them somehow bounces back from injuries that seem too grievous to otherwise survive. Even the damned dog is hooked up to some ridiculous level of intubation for his body size and given blood transfusions. Jotaro, for his part, can’t believe the extent to which the Foundation went for every single one of them. In a matter of days, nearly all of them are parting ways and saying their reluctant goodbyes.

Kakyoin Noriaki, on the other hand (and Jotaro by extension), stays back. 

The redhead has had nearly all of his organs replaced after being gutted by Dio's attack and a substantial section of his spine reworked by cybernetic implants. While it had revealed to them precisely how the scourge upon humanity managed to fight, it also left the already more sickly-seeming boy fighting for his life. When he wakes up from the medically induced coma, it is to Jotaro leaning out of the window and smoking, fiddling with his hat with his free hand. 

(If he was asked later why he had even bothered to do that, why he decided to smoke in Kakyoin’s room at all if he was going to be mostly exposed to the elements, he would've mumbled something about oxygen tanks and given the asker a look that said he had no further comment.)

Jotaro turns around then as if he knows, flicking the remaining stub of his cigarette out the window, and catches Kakyoin's eye with a tired expression and a smile previously unseen. 

From that point on, the two are inseparable. 

Whether it is the ensuing time period where Kakyoin re-learns how to walk, the return to Japan and their respective families, or the most stressful trimester of school they have ever faced, the longest they go apart are the few nights a week where Kakyoin’s parents more or less demand to have physical proof that their daughter (son, Holly-san insists on the phone with them on his behalf) is even in the country.

That same burning need to keep his allies close when fighting against his family's long-standing enemy kept him going through the following weeks, months, years - and by the time they had spent their first year of college together in America, no one bothered to question any longer the inevitable future they would share together.

Kakyoin would never tell anyone, to save Jotaro's pride primarily, but after that first night they shared a bed and each other's bodies, the much larger boy didn't pull away, didn't let go of Noriaki's hand, didn't let him out of his sight. He was glued, it seemed, and the fixation he had on his partner continues still.

Even when Noriaki insists on Jotaro working on his fieldwork without him, explains for the thousandth time that he will manage to take his immunosuppressants and his pain medication and — Jotaro manages to find a research partner that will accommodate both Noriaki’s crutches for his good days and wheelchair for his bad days.

(At some point, a few months into studying of the behaviors of the sea life just off of Florida’s coast, Noriaki rummages around in some of Jotaro’s clothes looking for the anxiety medication Jotaro sent him off to retrieve for him. In one of the pockets is a small, velveteen black box with a simple gold band inside. He has to sit down, then, and only after an interval long enough for Jotaro to assume that Noriaki’s day has made mobility more difficult does he find his fiancé staring off into space with a crooked grin.)

After Jotaro finishes his graduate program and Noriaki begins the online classes for his own, the two of them get wind that Joseph has some loose ends to tie up that he has neglected to. Namely, one Higashikata Josuke, a teenager whose star-shaped birthmark gives Jotaro a hernia to even consider.

For the first time in years, the two of them are apart for more than a day at a time.

(Even when Jolyne was born, Jotaro stubbornly refused to leave his husband’s side and damn the Speedwagons if they wouldn’t let him.)

It feels beyond foreign to Jotaro; even when he checks into the hotel in Morioh, the city Joseph’s unmentioned mistake and his mother Higashikata Tomoko-san live in, Jotaro requests a room on the ground floor for mobility’s sake.

When he pulls his single rolling bag of luggage into the room and remembers that he can walk perfectly well up and down stairs and that he is the only one to be occupying the double bed he intentionally booked a room with, he feels foolish.

Noriaki absolutely cackles at him on the phone that night (the previous morning, for the redhead) and somehow, hearing both his husband and his young daughter make fun of him for growing into an old sap doesn’t bother him.

“I love you, Kujo,” Noriaki smiles into the receiver of the phone.

Jotaro can’t help it when his own mouth twists up at the corners. “I love you too, Kujo.”