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Diamond In The Rough

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    "Josuke!" Tomoko shouts, smacking the thankfully clean spatula in her hand on top of Josuke's head from where he was carefully resting it on the table so it wouldn't muss his sculpted hair. "Jotaro will be here any minute, wake up!"

    Josuke responds with his own indignant shout, standing back up and rushing to the bathroom.

    Tomoko turns back to the stove where eggs were slowly coagulating in their pan. She had only found out a few months ago that Josuke was what people generally referred to as a witch.

    A man named Jotaro had shown up on her doorstep one day, and Tomoko had almost confused him for the man she fell in love with 16 years ago. But after a brief moment of awkwardness, he explained that the Joestars were known for being a very powerful family in the witch community. So even though they had not known about Josuke until a few weeks ago, they still felt like he should have proper training.

    Normally Tomoko would be much more wary about things like this, but ever since he was born, Josuke had had strange happenings following him about. Small objects randomly levitating, being enamoured with certain objects as a child that, whenever Tomoko asked, he would just call them magical. So she agreed to let Jotaro train Josuke over the next couple of months.

    She had never seen Josuke so excited to spend time learning anything. Every day they spent an hour outside doing whatever it was that they did, sometimes coming in soaked or bruised. But Josuke always had a smile on his face.

    Then Jotaro came in one day to explain that Josuke would have to spend a year alone. That was it. He had nothing left to say, and it was what it was. In order for him to be considered a full-fledged witch, he had to prove he could survive on his own.

    Josuke seemed all for it, already planning what he would have to pack and where he would go. Tomoko was less enthusiastic, and even snapped at the two of them in the beginning. But she came around a bit more quickly than she had thought she would, after Josuke came to her the next day and spoke so excitedly about wanting to live somewhere with a beach, and how Joseph had offered to give him a monthly stipend.

    So she begrudgingly gave him permission to plan out his leaving.

    Jotaro and Josuke then decided that it would be better if he left after the end of this school year, and so continued his training until the latter end of July.

    Then the day came so quickly Tomoko almost forgot about it, and now Josuke was running back down from the bathroom with his two bags and his cat trying to balance on his shoulder, dressed in the dark purple coat and pants that he had gotten from Jotaro, and proceeded to sew several little accents and trinkets on.

    "Got everything you need?" Tomoko asks, stirring the eggs about once more before splitting them onto the three plates on the counter and going to the rice maker that was flashing the green button that meant it had finished.

    "Pretty sure." Josuke answers. "Even packed some of Crazy D's cat food."

    "Good." She answers as she sets the plates on the table. "And you have any idea on where you're going to be going?"

    "Yeah." He says between shoveling rice into his mouth. "That place, Koriko. We went to their beach once with Grandpa. It's only like, 2 hours away by car, so it should be fine."

    "That's a pretty big city." Tomoko trails off, the sound of Jotaro letting himself in the front door in the background. "You sure you'll be okay?"

    Josuke waves off her concerns and continues with his breakfast.

    "Good morning, Josuke, Ms. Higashikata." Jotaro greets them as he sits down. "Are you ready?"

    "You better believe it!" Josuke responds with a large smile.


 

    Josuke was almost shaking with his excitement as he stood in the driveway where a bunch of girls from school had somehow figured out what day he was leaving and showed up a few minutes ago. And Joseph's fancy shmancy car was pulled into the driveway alongside his grandfather's, where he was sitting in the backseat slowly amping himself up to get out and talk to the woman he had had an affair with 16 years ago.

    "You sure about this?" Crazy D asks from his shoulder, the siamese cat blinking once lazily and watching the girls point and giggle at both Josuke and Jotaro.

    "Absolutely." Josuke answers his companion. "We got this, man. Been training for months now."

    "Well." The cat responds. "Normally a witch would be some years into their training at this point."

    Josuke purposefully shrugs his shoulders to try and dislodge Crazy D. "You worry too much, man. Mom goes away on the weekends sometimes. We were fine then."

    "Don't forget, now you need to find a place to stay, make money to support yourself, if what Mr. Joestar is giving you isn't enough, sign yourself up for classes in September..."

    The teen ignores him. He's a 'Worry about those bridges when you come to them' kind of guy.

    "Josuke." Jotaro says, walking over from where Joseph, Tomoko and his grandfather were awkwardly conversing. "The old man wanted me to make sure you got this." He says and hands Josuke a debit card and a few papers. "He opened up a line for you into his bank account. Says you can spend whatever you need."

    Josuke blinks once, then snatches the items from Jotaro's hands, holding them up to the sky and smiling widely. "Sweet, dude!"

    Jotaro rolls his eyes and shares a look with his great dane, Star Platinum who had followed him and sat by his side.

    "Be sure to thank him." Crazy D cuts in.

    "Yeah, yeah."

    "Are you ready?" Jotaro asks.

    "Should be." Josuke answers, reaffirming his grip on his broomstick and picks up his two bags from the ground.

    Jotaro makes a dissaproving look, and crosses his arms, looking pointedly at the second bag on Josuke's shoulder.. "Do you really need all that?"

    "Yeah, man!" Josuke responds with his own indignant look. "That's got my gameboy, my sewing stuff and all my makeup."

    His nephew doesn't look too convinced with his answer. "You can buy more when you get there."

    Josuke ignores him and goes towards his mom and dad. "We about ready to get this done?"

    Joseph nods back with a huge dumb smile on his face. "Whenever you're comfortable, Josuke."

    The young witch nods, takes a few steps away from them, and slings a leg over his broom. The girls standing on the end of his driveway watch with wide eyes. There weren't a whole lot of witch families around here, so even if he were not all of their crushes, they would have been intrigued.

    Tomoko sits up straighter on the stairs to her porch, and watches proudly as the wind picks up a bit around her son who was turning around to wave at her.

    She waves back, and he takes off so quickly she almost has a heart attack, but he avoids the trees and bushes that lined their driveway, and was soon only a small dot on the horizon.

    She stays silent and softly wrings her hands together as her father places a hand on her shoulder. "He'll be fine."

    Jotaro nods. "He's almost as good of a flyer as I am. I'm sure everything will be fine."

Chapter Text

    He'd just set out a few hours ago, and Josuke had already learned something. That being that the ocean was leagues and leagues bigger than he had remembered. The city he had set off for was only about 2 hours drive from his home, and he had been there a few times before in previous summers. But he'd always been driven there, this time he was flying across the brief stretch of ocean that caused the road to curve around the coast.

    It was so freaking cool. The ocean was stretching so far that to horizon was nothing but water. There was a boat that passed by every now and then, and every time, Josuke would lean over his broom and watch whatever it was they were doing, almost losing Crazy D once or twice when he flipped a bit too quickly.

    "Sorry." The teen shouts over the wind in his ears. Ever since he had first flown, Josuke had been scolded for flying too fast. Didn't matter now, because no one was here to scold him. Course, now it ind of felt like his hair was mussing up. But the city was so close now that he could almost see the people on the roads, so that wasn't going to happen.

    Crazy D scoffed. He was used to things like this by now, having been with the boy for several years now. But he still didn't like it at all. The way he seemed to gravitate towards danger. "When are we going to land?" He grits out from where his claws are firmly latched onto Josuke's shoulders.

    Finally, they slow and pause in midair, finally above a few houses. "Hmmm..." Josuke hums, scratching a hand on his chin.

    "Hands on the broom, please." Crazy D grits out.

    The witch laughs and replaces his hand on the broom. "I'm kind of hungry. How about we stop at a bank and try out this card. We can walk around while we're eating and find a hotel or something."

    "We're not going to be able to just stay in a hotel for a year." Crazy D interrupts, quickly jumping off of Josuke's shoulder onto a nearby fence as the boy lands. "You know how much that would cost?"

    "S'not my money." Josuke responds, kneeling on the ground to pick up his bags and slip them off the broom, wishing now that he had taken Jotaro's advice and packed less.

    "And what would you have done if Mr. Joestar hadn't given you that card?" Josuke just doesn't answer, turning away and walking to the street with his nose in the air. The cat quickly starts following, his little paws frantically moving along the fence. "Josuke."

    "Whaaaaaaat?" Josuke turns and speaks to him once more, earning a weird look from a short boy who was turning on his bike into the park.

    "Where are we going?"

    "I don't know!" He throws his hands in the air while turning back to the cat. "I just got here too."

    "Um..." The boy from before says, his hand slightly raised and leaning around Josuke to stare at the cat he was having a conversation with. "Are...you lost?"

    Crazy D jumps back onto Josuke's shoulder and meows. "Uhhh. Yeah, kind of." The witch answers.

    The boy straightens a bit. "You need help? I live around here, so I can probably show you to where you're going."

    "Oh, thanks." Josuke chuckles a bit. "But I'm not really looking for anything in particular. I just got here, so I was just gonna grab lunch and find a place to stay."

    At that, the boy cocks his head to one side, examining Josuke for a brief moment. Josuke knew he looked old for his age, so it was probably a little confusing. "Oh, okay." The boy reaffirms his grip on his bike. "I know a really good bakery around here, maybe we can start there?"

    Josuke blinks for a moment, glances at Crazy D who shrugged, then started after him. "Cool. I'm Josuke Higashikata." He thrusts his only free hand out to the boy.

    The boy takes it happily. "Koichi Hirose."

    A few minutes later, which mostly consisted of Josuke asking the names of stores and so on, Koichi asked "So are you moving here?"

    "Yeah." Briefly, Josuke paused. This Koichi didn't look like he knew anything about witches, with how he had been looking at Crazy D. It'd just be a pain to try and explain the whole training thing to a stranger. "Just for a year though."

    "Really?" Koichi starts looking really confused now. "So are your parents here?"

    Oh great, looks like he had to explain it anyway. "Alright, so, I'm a witch, y'see." Josuke turns and points to himself. "And-"

    "Oh, I know about witches!" The boy beside him shouts a bit loudly. "My Mom says that one used to live around here."

    "Huh..."

    "Is that why you were talking to your cat earlier?" At the mention of the cat, Crazy D smiles a bit, and Koichi's eyes light up. "What's his name?!"

    Well, that was unexpected. He had mostly gotten stories from Jotaro about how people were really wary of witches. Or maybe it was just him. The man had a habit of not looking very friendly. "He's Crazy D." The boy smiles and reaches up to offer Crazy D his hand.

    The cat makes a show of sniffing his hand for a moment before suddenly jumping from Josuke's shoulder to Koichi's. Josuke huffs. "Traitor."

    Crazy D meows.

    "So why are you here then?" Koichi continues as they begin walking up a long incline.     

    Josuke shrugs. "Dunno. I just sort of like this city, figured it'd be a good place."

    "A good place for what?"

    Oh, okay, so he didn't know a whole bunch about witches. "When a witch turns 13, they have to go away from home and complete their training."

    "You're..." Koichi points at him. "You're...13?"

    Josuke groans. Why did things have to be so complicated. "No, I'm 16. I didn't know until a year ago, but my father's side of the family is a real long line of witches. I'm kind of late to the party since, but they said it would be fine."

    "Oh, okay." A weirdly comfortable silence ensues until they come to the top of a hill, where a street sat with a bakery on the far end of the street. "That's it. I was supposed to come up here and get some bread for dinner anyway."

    It was very cozy looking. Kind of like it was a house instead of a business. And judging from the second story that just had a bunch of shades drawn over the windows, it probably was.

    There was no one else in the store when they walked in. Crazy D jumped back onto Josuke's shoulder as Koichi walked up to the counter, greeting the two adults behind the counter. Josuke goes over to one of the displays and looks at the various baked goods, scratching his chin with his hand.

    "So who's your friend?" The lady asks as she packs up a few loaves from behind her.

    "That's Josuke." Koichi answers while fumbling a bit with his wallet. "I just met him today in the park. And get this, he says he's a witch, just like the girl Mom told me about. He even has a broom and everything."

    The lady smiles. There was a little bit of deja vu about this. A kid dressed in black (although his had a lot more pins and accents on it) with a cat on his shoulder, bags on one arm and a broom in the other. "Oh, really?"

    Koichi nods, that big goofy smile on his face as Josuke walks over with a small loaf and a bag of cookies. "Mm-hmm. And when I first saw him, he was even talking to his cat."

    The other boy sets his items on the counter and leans a bit to look Koichi in the eyes. "You spreading rumours about me?"

    At that, Koichi switches to shaking his head almost frantically. Somewhere along the line, his eyes catch the clock on the wall to their left and he gasps. "Oh jeez, it's already 6? Sorry Mrs. Osono, I've gotta go or I'll miss dinner completely." He turns back once he reaches the door. "Bye, Josuke."

    Josuke waves back, then turns and takes out his wallet from his bag. "So." Osono begins, the man behind her giving Josuke an almost too knowing look. "You're here for your training, huh?"

    "Yeah." Josuke answers. "You know a lot about this stuff?"

    "A little bit. About 10 years ago, I ran into a young girl right out there." She points outside of the storefront where a fence sat over a balcony. "She was here for her training too, and wound up living with us here for the time she spent training."

    Josuke quirks a finely crafted brow, and shares a look with Crazy D. "So what, you rented out a room or something?"

    "Something like that." Osono answers. "She worked down here in the storefront to make it up. I was pregnant at the time, so it was really good to have the help. Course, now with my age starting to catch up with me, I've been thinking maybe I should look into hiring someone to help out."

    "So what..." Josuke starts and points to himself, then her, then himself again. Crazy D rolls his eyes from his spot on his shoulder. "You would do that again maybe?"

    Osono laughs, drawing the man's eye from where he was stepping out of the back room with another tray of bread. "Well, I'm sure we could work something out.