Stranger in Morioh @antirepurp
And Words, Man, We Made 'Em Up!

As Kakyoin woke up the next morning he was quite possibly feeling worse than when he got his guts ripped out by a vampire that one time. He refused to open his eyes for the longest time, knowing the sunlight would be storming in from the windows bright as ever, ready to make his head pound even harder than it currently did. His shoulders and back were aching, too, and he concluded he must’ve slept in a terrible position. Amazing. He would never drink again, and maybe he’d stick to that promise this time around, he just might’ve felt horrible enough to seriously consider that.

The sound of running water echoed in the room. Kakyoin cranked his eyelids open the tiniest bit.

This wasn’t his room.

The horror of the realization and the college-related memories it brought with itself were enough for Kakyoin to force himself to sit up, despite the fact his head was absolutely killing him, and take a proper look around. Okay, no need for panic, this was Jotaro’s room. Kakyoin had slept on the couch, which explained his back pain. Jotaro must’ve been in the shower. Everything was fine. Kakyoin exhaled and rubbed his eyes, trying to recall what he could from the previous night.

He remembered getting a bit carried away with the drinks. Nothing he couldn’t handle, but definitely more than he had had recently. He had bought some drinks for Jotaro, too. Had been talking about some college bullshit or other pointless dribble like it. They had left the bar, Jotaro had been... helping him walk up the stairs, which was embarrassing as hell actually. He had said something to him, what had he-

Oh.

Kakyoin remembered.

He sure as shit wished he still lived in ignorance, though.

He listened to the muffled sound of the water, staring at the other end of the couch, thinking as furiously as his hangover allowed him. Would Jotaro remember what happened? If he didn’t there would be no reason to bring any of it up again, but if he did, which was very possible... God. Fuck. Kakyoin had no idea what he would say. Play it off as a joke? Claim it was just the alcohol talking? There had to be something he could do to salvage this situation. He could take the next train out of Morioh, jump out at S City, forge a new ID, start a new life- no, no, there wasn’t enough time, he had to be constructive. He could lie, he was good at that. He could pretend he didn’t remember anything, keep that up until they caught the killer, and then rush out of Morioh as fast as he could and never look back. Would he be able to do that, though? He didn’t know how long it would take. And Jotaro would see through him, he wasn’t that oblivious in all honesty. The headache shot through Kakyoin’s skull again, and his face dropped into his hands as he winced. Everything he thought about was shit, he needed SOLUTIONS goddammit, anything that wouldn’t make Jotaro hate him, anything.

The water stopped running, signaling to Kakyoin he was out of time. He rubbed his face, sighed, tried to put on his people face. And he sat there, staring at the wall on the other side of the room, his head void of thoughts with only the aching remaining. Waiting for Jotaro and the inevitable.

The anticipation of it made him want to break something.

The bathroom door creaked open, but Kakyoin’s eyes didn’t leave the wall. From the edge of his vision he saw Jotaro’s form stand by the bathroom door for a moment, then slowly walking over and sitting down on one of the chairs next to the coffee table. The air was firm like stone, pressing down on Kakyoin as if it was trying to force him to talk. But Kakyoin didn’t want to.

“Hey,” Jotaro said. “You feeling okay?”

Kakyoin exhaled. He realized he had, sort of forgotten to breathe there for a second. Great.

“Sure,” he said. “Hangover’s bad.”

“Figured as much.”

They sat in silence, the same kind of uncomfortable, pressuring silence that had surrounded their table at Deux Magots on the day Kakyoin had arrived. Except this time Kakyoin didn’t have the strength to break it, nor a script he could follow to ease the atmosphere. All that remained were his assumptions of the worst, the ones that drew the little ‘cut here’ lines on his heart in advance so when it was torn to shreds it would hurt a little less.

Jotaro had lit a cigarette. Kakyoin wasn’t sure when, but he saw the smoke slither around the room and out the open balcony doors. He hadn’t seen Jotaro smoke this whole time, and much like everything else about the man, it reminded Kakyoin of Egypt, and Jotaro lighting a cigarette the first thing in the morning, at first in bed but then having the courtesy to get up and smoke on the balconies or near the windows instead. Kakyoin wished this was Egypt, where there had been no words. He didn’t want to talk, and risk ruining everything after he had just started to fix things up.

“You remember last night,” Jotaro spoke, his voice uncharacteristically soft. It wasn’t as much a question as it was a statement. Kakyoin didn’t respond, his gaze still stuck to the wall.

“Maybe so,” he said, doing everything he could to stay composed.

Jotaro nodded, acknowledging the response, but not gracing it with more words.

Kakyoin’s heart was racing, and he glanced at Jotaro from the corner of his eye. He looked better than Kakyoin, probably, but the shower and fresh clothes only helped so much, and definitely didn’t hide the strange frown on his face that seemed like a flavor of worry. He clearly didn’t want to have this conversation, either.

“I...” he started, pausing for a moment. “...you’re a great person, Kakyoin.”

He wasn’t. But saying it out loud would’ve only made things worse, so Kakyoin shut up.

Jotaro fell quiet again, and he ruffled his hair with his free hand in what Kakyoin could only assume was a desperate attempt to arrange his thoughts. He took a final drag of his cigarette that had burned through much faster than Kakyoin thought it would have, and put it out in the ashtray.

“I dunno how to word any of this shit,” he finally sighed, rubbing his eyes. “But I... I know that I missed you, and I’m so fucking glad that you’re here.”

Kakyoin carefully turned his head, finally properly looking at Jotaro. Jotaro looked back, their eyes locking for god know how manieth time by now. There was something sad about Jotaro’s eyes, something desperate, that made Kakyoin feel something complicated again. He knew what it was, but he was so, so afraid of addressing it. He finally spoke, his voice on the verge of cracking and tumbling down, held together only by his determination to not break down in front of Jotaro:

“You don’t hate me?”

Jotaro blinked. The corner of his mouth twitched, and aside from his eyes it was the only indication of emotion on his face.

“I could never hate you,” he said. He opened his mouth to continue saying something, but the words never came out, and he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Kakyoin’s eyes wandered on the carpet again. He felt so tired, so so tired, and he wanted nothing more than to go absolutely apeshit right now. Scream about how much he cared about Jotaro and how much he meant to him, actually break something already (maybe the coffee table,) jump out the balcony, run into the sea, breathe in the water and become the salt that flavored it. Something poetic like that, you know. Go out with a bang and become a legend. Have the local kids talk about it for years to come, how this weird freaky redhead trashed the Morioh Grand Hotel and jumped off a cliff. But instead he was stuck on the couch, paralyzed by his own fear that the alcohol had blurred out for one fateful night, and he was sick of it. He was so fucking sick of it.

“I meant it,” the words escaped from Kakyoin. “I don’t... I... I meant it. You mean a lot to me.”

His voice started to waver ever so slightly, finally slipping out of his control.

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t,” Jotaro said. “I...”

Jotaro Kujo wasn’t a man of words. He never had been, still wasn’t, and he wasn’t quite ready to start today either.

So he got up from his chair and took the few steps he needed to reach the couch, immediately encasing Kakyoin in a hug as he wrapped his arms around the man. And Kakyoin didn’t know what to think, or what to say, but somehow it was okay, and he didn’t feel like he had to say anything right now. His arms wrapped around Jotaro’s body, returning the gesture, and his heart raced so fast and he felt so safe, and he felt Egypt and the trains and the jeeps and that cold night in Cairo, and he felt the warmth of the Kujo residence, and the wind that carried away cigarette smoke every night. He felt like he was home again, the home he belonged to, and he felt the world on his shoulders, and that made him feel so fucking afraid, but somehow it didn’t matter. The world he had feared so much, that he had tried to blend into with no good results, where people used their made-up words to describe their lives and thoughts and feelings because they had no other way of understanding one another - it didn’t matter. None of it mattered.

Maybe it didn’t have to matter ever again.

And just like that Kakyoin’s control over himself slid out of his hands, and he broke down in laughter and tears, burying his face to Jotaro’s neck, finally allowing himself to drop every last bit of facade and barriers he had left, because there was no more need for them, not right now. He could feel Jotaro’s low laughter, equally messy as Kakyoin’s, accompanied by the very same relieved tears. Everything had been so much. It had always been so much. But they were here, they were here now, and they had each other, and things were actually going well, for real, for once. And it felt so good and Kakyoin wasn’t ready for it, and neither was Jotaro.

“I’m never letting you go again,” Kakyoin chuckled, his face soaked in tears and his arms squeezing Jotaro as hard as he could.

“Jolyne’s gonna get jealous,” Jotaro smiled, letting go of Kakyoin for just a moment to wipe his eyes. Both of them took deep breaths, finally trying to calm down, still void of words but understanding one another nonetheless. It was love, and they knew it, and they didn’t need it to be the kind of loud love that screamed from the rooftops and filled the room when it came in. It was between them, like it had always been, and they were content in that, because the rest of the world could never even dream of understanding them. It never had, so why would it have started now?

“Jojo,” Kakyoin said as he exhaled, steadying his breath.

“Yeah?”

“I hate to break the moment,” he smirked, somewhat. “But I wasn’t kidding about the hangover. And all this, it’s... I think I’m gonna puke.”

Jotaro snorted, reluctantly letting go of Kakyoin, who felt such a burning urge to kiss the other’s cheek. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it, not right now, only partially because of the wave of sickness washing over him at the moment. Everything was still just a bit too much.

But he was no longer afraid.

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