The next morning, while preparing to face their ultimate foes in final climactic battle, Joseph decided to run his big fat mouth and said something careless and vile and offensive. Caesar was hurt, sure, but mostly he was furious. He knew deep down that the other man hadn’t really meant to insult his family and was just big damn idiot, but that certainly didn’t help in the moment. It also didn’t stop the blonde from screaming and hitting him and storming off. I can take them all myself, who needs that stupid bastardo? If he really cared, he’d follow me. He didn’t look back to check.
Challenging Wammu one-on-one had been a spectacularly bad idea. He’d been confident at first, or at least blinded enough by rage that he didn’t see the mistake he’d made. It seemed to be going well enough, but his miscalculation with the shadow turned out to be a fatal error. Caesar knew that his short temper was dangerous, but it looked like this was about to be the last fight he ever picked. Lying broken and bleeding out on the ground, the blonde felt his limbs going numb and heavy as his vision blurred. I can still help JoJo. Caesar shifted painfully to his knees. It’s not completely his fault. I should never have run off alone.
Striking out, the blonde managed to steal Wammu’s lip ring, containing the antidote that would save Joseph’s life. I can make a bubble. I can give him the last of my Hamon and he’ll have a fighting chance. He felt hot tears welling up behind his eyes. I’m sorry, JoJo. Just as Caesar was about to begin his swan song, he heard a shout from behind. Suddenly he was in Joseph’s lap, head cradled by a big hand, as the brunette screamed indistinctly from somewhere above. The blonde felt himself slipping away, but he could vaguely make out Joseph’s tear-stained face as the other man laid him gently on the ground.
“Don’t you dare die on me, Caesar!” he heard hysterical yelling as if from far away. “I’m going to kill these bastards, and it’s going to be you and me!”
You and me.
Caesar awoke to blinding, dazzling white. His head was fuzzy, his limbs felt weak, and he was exhausted. As his blurry vision began to clear he could make out that his surroundings were a bright hospital room, and that he was lying on a narrow bed and covered with bandages. To his left was the unmistakable silhouette of Lisa Lisa. Her eyes weren’t visible behind the ever-present sunglasses, but the gentle rise and fall of her breathing told him she was asleep.
“Maestra?” he croaked. His throat was dry, tongue thick and numb in his mouth. She heard him all the same, awaking with a start and rushing over to the side of the bed.
“Caesar?” she gasped, before gesturing and screaming over her shoulder. “Nurse! Get in here, he’s awake!” Lisa Lisa put a cool hand on the blonde’s cheek and looked down at him with relief. “Caesar, I’m so glad you pulled through.” She bit her lip. “They told us you weren’t going to make it.”
Two nurses came rushing in, speaking in rapid German. They took Caesar’s temperature and blood pressure and then poked and prodded him, asking in broken English if he could feel this or move that. It was a relief when they finally left, even speaking was tiring. He turned, worn-out, to Lisa Lisa and croaked. “What happened, Maestra?”
She looked down at him, mouth set in a firm line. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
He thought for a moment. “At Saint Moritz, I argued with JoJo and left to fight Wammu alone.” He shuddered. “I thought he killed me, the last thing I remember is taking a Divine Sandstorm full in the face.”
Lisa Lisa nodded. “We thought he’d killed you too. The doctors warned us you weren’t likely to live. If JoJo and I hadn’t shown up, you would have certainly died.”
With a pang, Caesar was able to vaguely recall an angry Joseph, screaming above him through a haze of pain. “I remember,” he murmured, eyes prickling. He followed me after all.
“Yes,” she replied, crossing her legs and leaning back. “JoJo was furious, I’d never seen him like that before. He challenged Wammu to single combat, put on your bandanna and wore the ring you stole, and said some fairly sentimental things.”
Caesar tried to sound casual. “What sentimental things?”
“Mostly that the wedding ring was now a promise to you, to kill Wammu and avenge your death. That and an awful lot of screaming and crying.”
Aww that's sweet goddammit. “Well, did he avenge my death?”
Lisa Lisa recounted the wild story of Joseph’s chariot match with Wammu, of her own struggle against Kars and his vampire army, of Speedwagon and the Nazis arriving to save the day. “Kars got the Super Asia and put on the mask. He became the Ultimate Being.” She shivered. “It was terrifying, I thought we were all going to die.”
“What did JoJo do?” asked Caesar, making no attempt to hide his curiosity and concern.
“He turned tail and ran away.”
The blonde rolled his eyes. “Classic.”
Lisa Lisa shook her head seriously. “No Caesar, it was to keep Kars away from the rest of us. Now this part only Stroheim saw so take it with a grain of salt; but he claims that JoJo jumped off a cliff and got into a plane, and then rammed it into Kars and flew into a volcano.”
Caesar sighed wistfully. “What a man."
Lisa Lisa raised a perfectly shaped brow for just a moment, and then continued. “Stroheim told us that still wasn’t enough to kill Kars, and JoJo used Hamon to make the volcano erupt and launched the both of them into space. Kars broke atmosphere, he will never be able to return to Earth.”
“That’s incredible!” Caesar smirked. “I knew that crazy bastardo could do it.” He glanced around the room and then turned back to Lisa Lisa. “Where is he? Too busy being a hero to visit his best friend in the hospital?”
Her face grew solemn and she looked away. Caesar’s blood ran cold. “Maestra,” he insisted, “where’s JoJo?”
She put a hand over her face. “He didn’t survive the eruption,” she said stiffly.
The blonde was unbelieving at first. “What do you mean? He must have survived. This is JoJo we’re talking about, the man is nigh-indestructible.”
“He was shot out of a volcano. He was clever, but he was just a man. No man, no matter how powerful or how lucky, could survive something like that.”
Caesar felt tears streaming down his face. “How can you be so cold Maestra?” he cried. “JoJo is dead, and you’re talking about it like the weather. You were his teacher!”
“Because,” she snapped, taking off her sunglasses to reveal red-rimmed eyes, “I’ve been mourning him for nearly two weeks already. I wasn’t just his teacher, Caesar.” She looked away. “I was his mother.”
The blonde blinked. “That sounds like a long story.” He furrowed his brow. “I’ll have you know that growing up without parents gave that man some strange coping mechanisms.”
“It is a long story, I’ll tell you later.” She sighed. “I don’t know where he got that personality from. It wasn’t his father and it certainly wasn’t from me.”
Caesar was quiet for a long moment. “Now what?”
“They never found a body. There’s going to be a funeral with an empty coffin in New York.”
“I want to attend,” said Caesar immediately. “He saved my life.”
“He saved us all. He died saving the entire world. You should be proud of him.”
“I am,” he muttered hollowly.
Later that day after taking his first few hesitant steps out of bed, Caesar went to the bathroom and took a long hard look in the mirror. He had survived the fight with Wammu but was left forever changed, flesh marred with pink scars that would fade to silver in time. His face looked even paler than usual, his cheeks were thinner, and his hair was a mess. Only his eyes remained completely unchanged, as clear green as ever. I wonder if JoJo would even recognize me. I hardly recognize myself. He braced his hands on the sink basin and bowed his head, as hot tears ran down his cheeks. I knew it was a mistake to fall for him. He ended up leaving me too.
New York was an interesting place. Now I know why JoJo talked about it so much, this is his kind of town. The calm and even pace of life in Italy felt like a distant memory amid the hustle and bustle of the city. All the people around him raced frantically, always in a hurry, vibrant and full of life, and Caesar felt like an outsider. He felt like he didn’t even belong among the living, let alone in the pulsing heart of the big city.
If Caesar thought he felt awkward in Joseph’s city, he felt a thousand times more awkward in his home. It was an entire floor of a fancy apartment building on the upper East side, furnished like an English nobleman’s manor house. Joseph’s grandmother Erina was a stately old woman with kind eyes and a fake smile.
“You must be Caesar,” she said warmly, shaking his hand. “Speedwagon has told me all about you. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Piacere mio, Signora Joestar,” replied Caesar, leaning down to kiss her cheeks. “JoJo spoke of you often, it is clear you are a someone he respected and adored.”
The old woman looked thoughtfully up at the blonde. “I’m so glad he had a friend like you. I hope you kept him out of trouble.”
Caesar smirked despite himself. “Not to disappoint Signora, but we both know that was an impossible task.” Erina smile was momentarily genuine, and she turned around.
“Let me show you where you’ll be staying. It’s just Smokey and myself here, so there’s plenty of room.” The old woman walked from the splendid entrance down a long hallway, stopping in front of a door halfway down.
“This is-” Erina paused and looked down, “was his room,” she whispered. Caesar looked away as tears glimmered in her eyes.
At dinner, Caesar felt painfully out of place. Erina and Speedwagon reminisced about the past while Lisa Lisa offered commentary, and he just sat in silence. This is his family. I was just his sparring partner. What the hell am I doing here? The blonde tuned out the conversation and pictured Joseph eating at this table.
The brunette had always eaten like he was starving, and could put away a frankly terrifying amount of food. Joseph was sloppy, absolutely no table manners, and would always get crumbs on his shirt and sauce all over his plump lips. I wonder if here at home he ate like a person and not like an animal. All this fancy food, waited on by servants, in front of his own grandmother, would even JoJo be a slob? Caesar shook his head. What am I thinking, of course he would. The man had no shame.
“Are you alright Caesar? You’ve hardly touched your food.” He was stirred out of his daydream by the concerned voice of Erina Joestar.
The blonde smiled tightly at the old woman, picking up his fork. “Yes Signora, I’m fine. I don’t mean to worry you,” he replied as he took a bite. The expensive steak was just as bland and tasteless as the food at the hospital, like all food had been since he’d woken up.
It was another week until the funeral. A whole week of awkwardly living in Joseph’s house, with his grieving family, constantly reminded of his dead companion. Caesar felt like he was losing his mind. He found himself staring at the family photos on the mantelpiece. JoJo was a really cute kid. He wasn’t always so big, it looks like he hit a serious growth spurt around fourteen. He shook his head. Mama mia, I have to get out of this house.
Caesar knew a surefire way to numb himself was through the art of man-whoring, and had spent every evening out in bars and dinner clubs looking for a partner. It was easy to slip back into his suave ladykiller persona, and the women in New York threw themselves at him. Maybe it was his accent, or his scars, or his utter detachment and indifference. Regardless the blonde went home with a different lucky lady each night, gave her the time of her life, and then left immediately after. It was difficult to find any real pleasure in the act, and usually felt far more like he was going through the motions. Pretty faces were blank and vapid, kisses turned to ashes in his mouth, and he found himself adding faceless bodies to his ever-increasing list of forgettable encounters. The entire goal of this venture had been to get over Joseph, but it appeared to be doing just the opposite. Inevitably Caesar ended up comparing whoever he happened to bed each night to that big beautiful idiot. Now that he knew what it felt like to connect with a lover, sleeping with all of these dull women seemed pointless.
Tonight, Caesar was currently sawing disinterestedly in and out of an exquisite little redhead he’d picked up at a fancy cocktail lounge. The woman was as truly lovely as she was staggeringly boring in bed, and the blonde suppressed a yawn as she gasped, unmoving, underneath him. What’s wrong with me? Get it together, you like this, it's supposed to feel good!
In an attempt to improve the situation he let his mind wander to whatever would actually feel exciting. Despite his efforts to ignore these thoughts Caesar wondered idly what it would’ve been like to have Joseph in this position. It was a delightful image: the brunette laid out on his back with his long legs wrapped around the blonde’s waist, throwing cutting remarks in between shameless moans. An even more delightful image came unbidden, of the same positions but their roles reversed. Caesar imagined himself sliding down that huge cock to sit flush against the other man’s hips, wonderfully deep and filled to the brim. The blonde was big and heavy, and he'd never had a partner who was strong enough to ride. Joseph would’ve been able to handle him easily, lift him effortlessly, spend all night beneath or on top of him without getting tired. He'd be holding Caesar's waist with those big warm hands, rolling his hips in time with his rise and fall. The blonde would have his own hands all over the other man’s broad chest, fondling him and feeling his breath hitch as they both groaned and gasped. He wanted to cum all over that chest even as Joseph kept moving beneath him, leaving him overstimulated and shaking and crying out.
Unconsciously Caesar had started to move more energetically outside of his fantasy. The woman beneath him wailed in pleasure, a sound the blonde failed to hear over the blood roaring in his ears and the dead man moaning in his mind.
“JoJo,” he muttered as he thrust hard once, then twice, then finished. Caesar rolled off her as soon as he came and laid on his back for a moment to catch his breath. He pulled off the condom, tied it off and flung it into the trash.
“Jenny,” piped up a high-pitched voice from the bed beside him. Still breathing hard and coming down from the high, the blonde turned to see the redheaded woman from the bar. He wasn’t expecting to actually see Joseph, but it was oddly disappointing nonetheless.
“What was that, Signorina?” he puffed.
“That was great Caesar,” she looked at him with stars in her eyes and the blonde did his best to appear engaged. “But my name is Jenny. Who’s JoJo?” She giggled. “An ex-girlfriend you’re trying to get over?”
Caesar sat up and sighed, running a hand through his hair. He lit a cigarette and watched the smoke rise. “Something like that.” He glanced at his wristwatch and moved to get his pants. “Sorry Signorina, but I need to get going.”