Stranger in Morioh @antirepurp
Night Light

He was back at Deux Magots, at their table, the sketchbook in front of him. Two coffee cups. His papers were gone. For some reason it didn’t bother him.

Kakyoin and Kishibe were standing on the road, staring each other down. He could see the skin and flesh on Kakyoin’s arms folding up, turning into what looked like pages of a book. The arms became fully paper, but instead of words they were filled with pictures. Drawings, from the sketchbook, from Egypt, bleeding onto the concrete and spilling memories everywhere. Memories he couldn’t remember. They crawled around pathetically, gasping for air, grabbing onto one another and merging together and becoming illegible and nonsensical, encompassing only the vague feelings they were made of. Something he was much too familiar with.

The paper on Kakyoin’s arms changed, turning green and lively, pulsating, white flesh growing around the pages and making them into tendrils. And those tendrils lunged towards Kishibe, taking hold of the man, forcing themselves inside. Kishibe screamed in agony, but no sound ever came out, a deafening silence encompassing the area instead. And yet it was so loud it hurt to listen to. The tendrils never ended, there were always more, pulsating, writhing, taking over the fragile body they were gifted. The moment stretched on to a forever. Like he had stopped time without thinking. He tried to undo it, but there was nothing to undo.

And Kishibe’s body started tearing apart, the skin and bones cracking into pieces. Blood spilled out from everywhere it had the opportunity to, and Kishibe kept screaming in silence, without lungs, as those were torn to shreds almost immediately like the rest of the organs in the body. The blood colored the concrete, and like the tendrils it never ended, its red form flooding the road and the sidewalk and the cafe. He tried to move, but his body refused to listen to him. So he sat there, allowing the liquid rise, watching as it slowly crawled up to his neck.

He looked at Kakyoin, whose face lacked expression, but whose eyes gleamed in hunger. A relentless, ravenous hunger that couldn’t be satisfied. The lavender shifted to a familiar red. A red that had stared back at him before in frozen time.

The blood kept rising, and the sketchbook slid off the table and drowned in the red. The polaroids it held inside spilled out and sunk into the depths, then rose up to the surface again, all of them black, the words and dates written on them an illegible mess. Nothing tied them to times and places anymore. They were just Things again. Meaningless Things that had nothing to give him anymore.

The buildings sank into the blood, as did the trees and the clouds and the rest of the town, until nothing but an endless sea of blood remained. And above it stood Kakyoin, wearing a white scarf, staring directly at him.

The eyes were still hungry. Insatiable.

Jotaro’s eyes flared open, and before anything else his hands reached up to his chest, instinctively and immediately. His heart was still beating. He was alive.

He sat up rapidly and ran his hands down his face, breathing heavily as he tried to gather himself and his mangled thoughts. It was just a dream. He was in bed in his hotel room, in Morioh, wearing his stupid starfish pajamas. Just another nightmare, it was nothing new. Well, sort of. They were usually about Egypt and Jotaro rarely remembered much of them afterwards. But this scene was still crystal-clear in his head, and the detail was gruesome to think about. Kishibe’s body being... yeah. No. Jotaro wasn’t going back there. Not right now.

He hadn’t thought seeing Kakyoin pull out the Hierophant’s old tricks again would’ve been so upsetting to him. Fuck, Jotaro had been chuckling at it earlier, not like he hadn’t seen much worse, much more disturbing shit in his life. Kakyoin had gone easy on the guy, there was no reason Jotaro should’ve been seeing some shitty nightmares over something like that. If he was to sleep terribly it should’ve at least been about the several dozen times he himself nearly died or something.

Jotaro looked at the alarm clock on the bedside table. 2:17am.

He wasn’t getting up in a timely fashion now, was he.

***

“You look like shit.”

“Uh-huh,” Jotaro replied, rubbing his eye with his palm and largely ignoring the breakfast sitting in front of him. He had promised to eat breakfast at the hotel with Kakyoin this morning to make it a more enjoyable experience for the both of them. Nothing about the current situation was enjoyable to Jotaro, however.

“Bad night?” Kakyoin asked, shoving more cereal to his mouth. He didn’t look like waking up at the ass-crack of dawn - also known as 8:30am - was his favorite thing in the world either, but if he looked bad, Jotaro was a living trashbag. With rings under his eyes. Rings darker than his eyeliner.

“Yeah,” Jotaro finally replied. “Kept waking up to fucking nightmares.”

Kakyoin raised an eyebrow.

“You still have them?”

“Not really for... a few years now,” he said, and sipped his coffee. “But I had about seven of them last night to compensate for that, so that’s cool.”

“Wow,” was all Kakyoin could think to say. The two of them sat in silence for a moment, as much of a silence they could’ve had in the hotel’s bustling dining room.

“Do you like. Want to talk about it?” Kakyoin asked. Jotaro looked at him, and was quickly reminded of his expressionless face from the dreams. His sight darted back to his plate.

“Not really,” he said. Kakyoin nodded, understanding as ever.

“I guess you don’t remember them anyway,” he said. Jotaro frowned.

“They weren’t about Egypt.”

Kakyoin’s spoonful of cheerios came to a halt above the bowl.

“You see other kinds of nightmares?” he asked. “Can I say I’m jealous or would that be rude?”

Jotaro snorted.

“It’s usually Egypt. Last night was different.”

“Huh.”

Kakyoin fell silent again. Jotaro definitely didn’t mind. He didn’t really have the energy to keep a conversation going right now.

***

Three days. It had been three days and every single night Jotaro saw the same nightmare over and over again. Always the same dream, anywhere from three to nine times each night, and every single time it woke him up in cold sweat that pissed him off more than anything. He couldn’t get any sleep and kept dozing off during the day. And he looked miserable. Not even the tiny smiling starfishes on his pajamas helped brighten the aura the man gave off.

Kakyoin frowned as he watched Jotaro lie on the couch in his room, curled up and facing the back, trying to not look at Kakyoin. He had been doing this for a while now, avoiding his friend somewhat, and combined with his general lack of communication it was driving Kakyoin up the walls. He was sat in one of the chairs around the coffee table, bouncing his leg with crossed arms.

“Have you considered it might be a stand?” he asked. Jotaro grunted something in response.

“Okay, have you tried looking for it or the user?”

“Yeah,” Jotaro groaned. “They’re... not in this room.”

“That’s a start.”

“Maybe they’re in the fucking hotel, I don’t know, do I look like I can figure this out right now?”

“Chill, there’s no need to get angry.”

“Fuck off,” Jotaro grunted and curled up further. Kakyoin inhaled through his teeth.

“I can’t help you if you don’t fucking tell me what exactly is going on,” he said. Jotaro didn’t respond.

“Tell me about the dreams.”

“No.”

“Jotaro.”

“I don’t want to talk about them.”

“Okay, tell me then, how are you going to resolve this shit? I’m all ears.”

Jotaro was silent. But Kakyoin’s patience was stronger than Jotaro’s groggy stubbornness. Minutes passed by, but eventually the other man slowly rolled over, now laying on his back and staring at the ceiling. The way his eyes looked made Kakyoin’s own hurt. Jotaro closed his eyes, his face turning to a frown as he exhaled.

“We’re at the cafe.”

“We?”

“It’s when we met Kishibe,” Jotaro explained. Kakyoin nodded, grabbing some paper from the coffee table to take notes in.

“And you’re doing the, the fight or whatever.”

“Cool, cool.”

“Not cool.”

“Not cool, got it.”

“Your arms become... fucked up,” Jotaro went on. “They look like the Hierophant.”

Kakyoin raised an eyebrow.

“And you, fucking... Kishibe fucking dies.”

Kakyoin’s heart suddenly sank.

“Oh,” he said.

“You tear him apart.”

“...Right.”

Jotaro went quiet. Kakyoin let him.

They sat in the silence for a moment. Jotaro broke it with an audible sigh.

“You don’t have cigarettes on you, do you?”

“I don’t smoke,” Kakyoin responded somewhat monotonously. Jotaro groaned again.

“Can you get me some?”

“They’ll make you feel worse.”

“Please.”

Kakyoin didn’t respond.

It took a while for Jotaro to continue, but he did, eventually.

“There’s blood.”

Kakyoin wrote it down.

“It... floods the town. And the photos are just Things again. And you’re standing there. Looking at me.”

Kakyoin’s pencil stopped mid-word.

“Then it ends.”

Silence fell into the room again. Kakyoin’s head was racing, but the thoughts weren’t clear and he wasn’t sure what he was feeling. They were just dreams, maybe stand-induced ones, but that only made them less real. They weren’t real. Nothing about them was real. His grip on the pencil tightened.

“Is that why...”

Kakyoin’s words trailed out. Jotaro sighed.

“What?”

“Forget it,” Kakyoin dismissed himself, and got up from the chair.

“Oh, bye,” Jotaro grunted, and turned on his side again.

“I’m getting you the cigarettes,” Kakyoin said, and walked out of the room, the door slamming shut behind him.

It was an excuse, but he didn’t really want to be around Jotaro right now.

***

“...so, any ideas on stand users that deal with dreams?”

The three teens were quiet, their sundaes slowly melting in front of them while the radio in the ice cream bar played what might’ve been Cher. Kakyoin wasn’t sure why Josuke, Okuyasu, and Koichi would’ve known how to help in this situation, but he couldn’t really deal with this alone right now. Polnareff and Avdol were in France, and Joseph wasn’t exactly at his prime anymore, and that largely concluded all of Kakyoin’s friends who knew about stands. It was a good excuse to get some ice cream and hang out with the kids, though.

“I don’t think we’ve encountered anyone who has like. Dream powers,” Josuke said, and sucked off some of the whipped cream from the top of his ice cream.

“Yeah, that’s a new one,” Okuyasu echoed, poking the cherry that decorated his portion. “Is this thing edible?”

“Yes, and I can take it if you don’t want it,” Kakyoin offered, but Okuyasu had already bitten into the thing. Oh well.

“Jotaro’s really been seeing nightmares for three days?” Koichi asked. “That would explain why we haven’t seen him around, but...”

“He’s... not himself right now,” Kakyoin muttered. “You know how sleep deprivation is.”

“And he’s never seen the user?”

“Not that he told me.”

“Could be a long-range stand,” Josuke suggested. “Or, longer-range than Crazy Diamond.”

“Maybe it’s a hotel guest!” Okuyasu said. Kakyoin nodded.

“I’ve considered both cases. I just don’t know how to go about catching the guy, it’s not like I can exactly screen everyone at the hotel just like that.”

“Well,” Koichi started, swatting Josuke’s slowly approaching spoon away from his ice cream. “If Jotaro is the only one affected, the stand has to be near him when he’s asleep, right? And the user can’t be too far away, or else the effect would grow weaker. At least that’s how it works with Echoes: the closer both it and I are to the target the more powerful and accurate it becomes. And if he keeps seeing nightmares, then the user probably visits him on the regular too.”

Kakyoin crossed his arms and nodded, leaning back in his chair. He made a mental note of Koichi being the brains behind the group - well, no, maybe ‘the voice of reason’ was a better descriptor. Josuke was the one who had planned their ice cream heist earlier, after all, and Kakyoin had to admit, it had sounded like a pretty clean operation despite everything.

“We should try and ambush them,” Josuke suggested, his mouth turned to an enthusiastic grin. “All we have to do is not fall asleep, and their stand shouldn’t be able to affect us. Easy as pie!”

Kakyoin’s expression soured for a moment as the memory of Death 13 breezed across his consciousness. Dear god, what if this was another ‘baby stand’ thing?

“Kakyoin?”

“Sorry,” he apologized, brushing off the thought of the disgusting clown. “But yes, it probably would be easier to catch them in the act than spy on a full hotel for days.”

“Hell yeah! We could do it tonight!” Josuke’s eyes sparked at the excitement of planning mildly criminal activities. “Okay, hear me out, Koichi can keep an eye on the hotel grounds with Echoes, while Okuyasu and I...”

Josuke went on, but Kakyoin silently tuned out of the conversation. His head was clearer than at the hotel, and while he didn’t necessarily want to think, he was finally able to do so.

Jotaro’s nightmares were about him. And somehow that... hurt. Harder than it should have.

Kakyoin knew he was, an interesting, person, when he wasn’t deliberately trying to be appealing. He knew he was capable of being intimidating, as Rohan had pointed out just the other day. And he knew his stand, which was an extension of his spirit, and how it operated. He knew Hierophant Green was capable of killing people with ease if Kakyoin commanded it to, and he knew it would take some level of pleasure in such acts of gruesome violence. Or maybe it was Kakyoin who did. Maybe the line was blurrier than he wanted to think it was.

He didn’t really remember much of his time under the influence of DIO’s flesh bud, and it only got harder as the years went by. But from what Jotaro had told him back in the day Kakyoin had been acting... freakishly, was perhaps an adequate word for it. It hadn’t ever stopped bothering him, not really, not after they had met Polnareff, whose true self was able to shine through from under DIO’s control. How much of Kakyoin had Jotaro seen when they first met? Was any of it actually him?

Kakyoin had never bothered with what people thought of him, not beyond assuming they held a general dislike towards him for whatever reason. But the idea that Jotaro would consider him a disgusting threat made his stomach turn. Kakyoin was fond of him, he had honestly missed him, and the last thing he wanted was to lose Jotaro again because some piece of shit stand user was manipulating his dreams and changing his opinion of him, or something to that effect. Kakyoin didn’t want a repeat of the past ten-or-whatever years. He didn’t want to wake up at his shitty studio apartment again and stare at the ceiling and think about how he was wasting his life in search of a shitty safe office job that paid a shitty wage and had him deal with shitty ordinary people who knew nothing of stands or Egypt or DIO, who would’ve never understood him like his friends did. Ordinary people who knew nothing of the world of stand users, where people were so much more free, and didn’t give a shit, and sought out for thrills and adrenaline shots with their lives at stake. Who knew nothing of Jotaro Kujo and his lovely curved nose, his compassionate eyes, his-

“Kakyoin? Hey, Kakyoin, you okay?”

Okuyasu’s words snapped him out of the train of thought that was actively on its way off a figurative cliff and into a figurative ditch of self-deprecation. Kakyoin blinked a few times. The kids were all staring at him, their ice creams gone already. Kakyoin sighed, and rubbed his eyes.

“I’m sorry, I guess I’m kinda out of it today,” he chuckled with a tired laugh. Okuyasu and Koichi shared a look, and Josuke scratched the back of his head.

“Uh, I know we’re not like, super close or anything,” Josuke said. “But, um, if you wanna talk about something, with us, we’ll listen. And stuff.”

The corner of Kakyoin’s mouth twitched.

“Thanks,” he said. “But I don’t really know how to put it to words myself, either.”

The atmosphere was souring, and Kakyoin wasn’t having it - he wasn’t going to ruin the teens’ days with his own unreasonable thoughts. He straightened his posture and glasses, and put on a bit of a smile.

“Mind recapping the plan you had? I’ll buy us another round of sundaes.”

***

The spring after Egypt had been nothing short of a personal hell in terms of sleep; Jotaro hadn’t gotten any. Any time he had tried there had been nightmares, or he had woken up simply from a looming sense of dread reminiscent of an enemy stand user. So instead he had napped during the day, which hadn’t been that helpful in all honesty, because the same problems plagued him even when the sun was up. The few hours he was able to gather were usually thanks to Holly being in the room with him, or sitting next to him, both experiences that left him thoroughly embarrassed at the time (though he had been much too tired and desperate to address it.) After Kakyoin had come over, sleeping had become a bit easier, maybe thanks to the knowledge that his friend was alive after all and concretely in Jotaro’s presence, not in some hospital room somewhere. Eventually the nightmares became a more uncommon occurrence, and Jotaro had been able to sleep after seeing one, and his sleep schedule normalized somewhat. He had been nothing short of euphoric about it back in the day.

And he couldn’t believe he was back in that ditch again, barely daring to sleep in his hotel room in the middle of the afternoon. Except it was somehow worse this time, because Jotaro was no longer a teenager who was able to fight death solely with the power of adrenaline and determination alone. No, he was a 28-year-old single-father-of-one in university. He couldn’t pull off all-nighters and other activities involving sleep-deprivation like that anymore.

He heard the door open. It was probably Kakyoin. Jotaro sighed heavily, continuing to face the couch’s back. He still didn’t want to look at his friend.

He felt something hit his back.

“Your cigarettes,” he heard Kakyoin say. “And I brought guests.”

Jotaro carefully turned around to grab the packet of nicotine and take a look at the people now in the room. Josuke, Okuyasu, and Koichi stared back at him, their somewhat shocked faces revealing just how bad Jotaro looked.

“Oh, um. Nice PJs,” Josuke attempted a compliment, his forced grin awkward as ever. Koichi and Okuyasu comped him with thumbs ups in spite of a better reaction. Jotaro groaned and resorted to staring at the ceiling as Kakyoin sat down on a chair, and the teens flocked around the coffee table, squatting on the floor like pigeons.

“Why are they here?” Jotaro asked as nicely as he could.

“We’re going to try and catch the stand user tonight,” Kakyoin explained. “Josuke made a plan.”

“Okay, okay, here’s what I have,” Josuke started, a spark in his eye that reminded Jotaro of the old man. “Tonight, while you sleep, we’re going to keep an eye on your room and ambush the stand user. Koichi will keep track of the hotel grounds since he’s got the most range, and Kakyoin will set up that... web thing, around the room, so if anyone comes here he’ll notice. And Okuyasu and I will patrol inside the hotel and catch any weird people we find. Once one of us finds the stand user we’ll kick their ass and you can sleep again!”

“Cool,” Jotaro grunted. “Not like I tried doing that before.”

“You’ve barely slept at all for three days, you’re far from being in your prime,” Kakyoin took a jab at him. Jotaro didn’t have the energy to respond and he didn’t want to start funny banter, let alone an argument.

“Don’t worry, Jotaro, we’ll get that guy for you!” Koichi tried to cheer him up.

“Yeah, I can’t imagine how much it would suck to not be able to sleep,” Okuyasu sympathized. “Oh, hey, maybe you could go to Tonio’s and-!”

“No,” Jotaro interrupted him.

“But-”

“No.”

Okuyasu’s face drooped in defeat. Josuke placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him, shaking his head at Jotaro dismissively.

“Um, what time do you usually have the nightmares?” Koichi asked ever so carefully. Jotaro sighed. The thought that he was being an asshole to the kids made him feel like shit. He just didn’t have the energy to put in the extra effort right now.

“After midnight, I think,” he grunted. Kakyoin looked at his watch.

“So we have... still five more hours to go,” he confirmed, and turned to look at the teens. “Do your parents know you’re here?”

“I told mom we’re having a sleepover at Josuke’s place,” Koichi said. “I just hope she won’t try calling me...”

“My dad’s cool with anything, so I’m good,” Okuyasu grinned and threw his hands behind his head. Josuke, meanwhile, bit his lip and avoided eye-contact.

“Josuke, you did give your mother some excuse, right?” Kakyoin sighed.

“W-well,” the teen laughed nervously. “I, uh, I’ll explain it to her tomorrow, it’ll be fine! I-”

Before Josuke could say another word Kakyoin had practically shoved his cellphone to the kid’s hand.

“Call your mom, now.”

“B-but-!”

“She doesn’t know me and if we don’t succeed tonight Jotaro’s not going to be able to bail you out of this one either. Call. Your. Mom.”

Josuke groaned and reluctantly started punching in his home number. Jotaro was looking past Kakyoin, as the man’s face still made him uncomfortable, but he found himself... envious, of how well Kakyoin worked with the teens. His thoughts trailed off to Jolyne, and how he loved her with all his heart, but with the way he remembered his teenage years being... Jotaro was dreading her growing up, just a bit. Jolyne had attitude with a capital A, she was defiant, and Jotaro wasn’t quite like Holly, who had been so, so patient with him and his bullshit when he had been younger.

Jotaro wished he was more like Kakyoin. Patient and cool and on the same wavelength with people. Like an actual human being.

“Okay, happy now?” Josuke sighed after finishing his rather intense call, and gave the cellphone back to Kakyoin.

“Very,” the man smiled. “Right, we’ll start preparing everything at 11pm, so we have some time to burn. Would take out and movies sound good?”

The teens cheered in agreement. Jotaro sighed, audibly.

“We’ll be in my room, jackass,” Kakyoin said to Jotaro, reading his obvious frustration. “I’ll bring you the food when it arrives.”

“Thanks,” Jotaro mumbled, and turned to face the couch’s back again. Maybe he’d be able to catch some sleep before midnight. Please.

***

Kakyoin was sat in the hallway, outside Jotaro’s hotel room, right by the door. Midnight had come and gone, and everything had been ready for a while now. Koichi was in Kakyoin’s room on the balcony, observing the nearby area with Echoes from a safe location. Josuke and Okuyasu were wandering around the hotel, occasionally making some sound that carried over to Kakyoin’s ears. He was worried that the two of them would wind up in some trouble, maybe by running into staff or other guests, but from what Kakyoin understood they had been through things much worse than... mild trespassing. They’d figure a way out of it.

Jotaro had already been sleeping by the time Kakyoin had gone to set up the Hierophant’s strings. The sight of him laying in the middle of the double-bed on his back, limbs spread out like the tendrils of the starfishes he studied, had been somewhat humorous. He had crashed hard. Kakyoin hoped he’d be able to sleep better tonight.

He held one of Hierophant Green’s strings in his fingers, feeling everything in the room his stand was touching. Whether it’d be a person or another stand, Kakyoin would immediately know if someone had entered the room, while the intruder would have no idea they had been discovered. It was a shame he never got the opportunity to properly use his webs against DIO. Or fight alongside Jotaro, back in the day. Instead Kakyoin had decided to die (almost) because of course he’d do something like that just when things had been about to get interesting. He didn’t even get to know how DIO had eventually been defeated; everyone else had been unconscious by then, and Jotaro had never been able to remember anything specific from that night. At least that slut of a vampire was gone, however he may have died.

Oh well. If nothing else Kakyoin had been the first one to figure out DIO could stop time - it was something to brag about at get-togethers. His amused expression faded out fairly quickly as he returned to present, to Morioh. The town that was plagued by a heartless serial killer. The guy might not have been a semi-immortal vampire, and the teens weren’t on a dangerous journey across half the globe, but... Kakyoin couldn’t shake the awful feeling about the situation.

He sincerely hoped none of the kids would have to face the guy by themselves. He’d throw himself at that danger before letting any more teens get hurt and acquire trauma.

The string in his hand twitched, breaking Kakyoin back to the hotel. Someone was in Jotaro’s room.

He quickly got up from the floor and pressed his ear against the door. He couldn’t hear a sound, there was just... a breeze? And cold air slid out from underneath the door. A window must’ve been open. How this person got past Koichi was beyond Kakyoin. The horror scenario of a stand user attacking Koichi ran through his head, but he quickly shook it off. No, his room was in the same hallway, not that far away from where he was sitting - he definitely would’ve been able to hear an ongoing fight, especially with how loud Koichi had a tendency to be. The stand being stealthy or having incredible range were much more likely outcomes. There was only one way to find out about that.

Kakyoin opened the door, careful to not make a sound, and slipped into the room. The doors to the balcony were open, and there was someone standing at the foot of Jotaro’s bed, looking at the sleeping man. A... child. A young girl, to be exact.

Using one of the Hierophant’s tendrils, Kakyoin closed the door, deliberately ensuring it made a sound, thus alerting the kid and startling her badly. She turned around instantly, her eyes locking with Kakyoin’s.

“Who are you?” he asked, observing the girl. The moonlight trickling in from the balcony illuminated her features. Shoulder-length black hair, red hoodie and old jeans, sneakers. Some freckles on her cheeks, possibly (it was hard to tell from the distance.) Probably in elementary school, or a fresh middle-schooler. She didn’t look like a stand user, but neither did Kakyoin these days. The girl didn’t answer his question, and Kakyoin took a step closer. She took one back.

“Y-you!” she yelped, her expression intense, defiant even, though she was clearly nervous. Kakyoin frowned. Did she know him from somewhere? How?

“My name is Noriaki Kakyoin,” he said, trying to stay polite for the time being. “Who are you?”

“It doesn’t matter who I am,” she replied. “Don’t... don’t come any closer, or I’ll... I’ll...!”

Despite the unfinished threat Kakyoin took another step. It was enough for the kid to bring out her stand, one that situated itself between her and Kakyoin, looking fierce as ever. It was a curious one, quite small like the girl, its head reminiscent of a sheep or a ram, and colored mostly in a pale white with some earthy tones as compliments. Its shape reminded Kakyoin of Magician’s Red, though unlike the phoenix-man this one had the proportions of a child, akin to its user. It could’ve been a close-range stand, and didn’t appear quite powerful. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. But Kakyoin had learned to not make assumptions about stand users, especially of those who were children.

He summoned Hierophant Green to his side, startling the girl even more.

“N-Night Light!” she cried out, and sure enough the stand dashed towards Kakyoin, horns ready to strike. Kakyoin didn’t feel like getting his stomach penetrated again though, not tonight, and he swiftly dodged out of the way while the Hierophant grabbed the small stand’s horns, attempting to stop it on its tracks. The little thing was strong, but Hierophant Green was stronger, and it was able to halt the assault and bring Night Light to a standstill. Kakyoin looked at the girl, who was shocked by what she was seeing. With trembling hands she reached for the pocket of her hoodie, and pulled out a switchblade, holding it with both hands and pointing it at Kakyoin. She said nothing, and backed up a few steps. Kakyoin’s eyes narrowed. Perhaps there was no need for a fight this time. But that knife would have to go.

One of Hierophant Green’s tendrils slid across the floor to the girl, up her body and her arms, and gently twisted the knife out of her hands as she watched the show unfold in terror, unable to fight back the stand’s force. The Hierophant then brought the blade to Kakyoin, dropping it to the man’s feet. He figured that might have been vaguely less hostile than taking it to his hands, and he was trying to keep things under control for as long as he could. The girl was still clearly upset by the situation, her eyes filled with a mixture of fear, her confidence trickling down even more now that she was unarmed. Fine, fine. This wasn’t exactly a ‘baby stand’ kind of thing - maybe she could explain herself.

“Why are you here?” Kakyoin asked, figuring that she wouldn’t disclose her identity to him no matter how many times he’d ask. The girl had backed herself against the wall near Jotaro’s bed, her hands shaking.

“Are you going to hurt me?” she asked, her voice soft like a whisper. It stung something in Kakyoin, causing his expression to twitch briefly.

“I have no reason to hurt you,” he replied. Not yet, anyway.

She was silent, weighing her options. Kakyoin saw her glancing at the balcony doors, but they were much too far away. The Hierophant could’ve stopped an escape like that in no time, and even so her stand was being held in place firmly, preventing her from leaving its range. She knew this, and started to realize there were no more tricks she could try, her escape route thoroughly blocked.

She swallowed.

“You’re the man he keeps dreaming about,” she said with a trembling voice. Kakyoin raised an eyebrow. That must’ve been why she knew of him.

“Perhaps I am,” Kakyoin said. She fell silent again, but the night wasn’t going to end anytime soon. Kakyoin had all the time in the world to wait for her.

She sat down on the floor, pulling her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around them.

“I was told to come here,” she whispered. “And make his dreams different.”

“Who did?”

“A funny man in a picture.”

Ah. The killer’s father, also a stand user. Jotaro had mentioned he was going around, creating new stands to protect his son’s identity - and the girl must’ve fallen victim to him, too.

“Why did you listen to him?” Kakyoin asked. The girl glanced at him.

“He said there was a bad man living here,” she explained quietly. “And... And only I could stop him.”

Kakyoin didn’t respond.

“He gave me a power so I... I changed his dreams,” she went on, looking over to her stand, who was still trying to get to Hierophant Green with futile results. Kakyoin found the scene intriguing. Stands were a manifestation of a person’s spirit, specifically their fighting spirit and desire to survive. The girl was probably having the worst night of her week, having to face the music like this, but her stand was lively as ever despite it being at an obvious disadvantage. Kakyoin took it as a sign he shouldn’t be letting his guard down, no matter how vulnerable the girl appeared to be.

“You gave him nightmares,” he filled in the gaps. “To prevent him from resting. And to isolate him from others, is that right?”

She nodded. Kakyoin’s gaze pierced through her. She didn’t seem like an enemy, per say, or have much of an idea how her stand worked beyond its most basic ability. Either that, or she was one hell of an actor, which he found a bit unlikely. Everything pointed at her being a new stand user with very little fighting experience, and her stand’s abilities were likely limited to manipulating dreams, with minor offensive strength to back it up.

Would it have been safer to kill her, in case she was faking it? Probably. Especially if this was Egypt. Would it have brought Kakyoin some level of resolve, knowing the stand user that plagued the life of someone he cared about was permanently out of the picture? It was possible.

But no. This was Morioh. A little town bustling with stand users, most of whom were children themselves. If the circumstances were different, most of them wouldn’t even know who Jotaro and the teens were, instead spending their days living mostly ordinary lives and bonding with others with abilities similar to their own. They didn’t deserve fates like those of DIO’s servants. And despite having been ready to fight the person behind Jotaro’s recent behavior and agony, Kakyoin knew better to keep his feelings in check and not lash out on a defenseless kid. He knew the kind of person he didn’t want to be.

Slowly, the Hierophant started easing its grip on Night Light’s horns. As it did, the ram stopped pushing against it, its body language indicating some confusion. The moment it was let go it rushed back to the girl, taking on a defensive pose as it stood between Kakyoin and her.

“Don’t come back here,” Kakyoin said. “My friend has had enough nightmares for one lifetime.”

The girl stared at him, her eyes more determined now that her stand was with her. She didn’t move. Kakyoin sighed silently.

“I don’t know what the man in the picture told you,” he said. “But I don’t think you should trust him, if you know what’s good for you.”

He was quiet for a moment.

“Of course, you only have my word for that,” he sighed. “It’s up to you who you choose to believe. But if you come back, I can’t let you get away again, understand?”

She didn’t respond, just stared at Kakyoin with firm determination, her fighting spirit burning brighter than before and her stand’s appearance reflecting this. Kakyoin looked at the knife on the floor, the moonlight reflecting off of its blade and shining into his eyes. He kicked it towards the girl. She snapped out of her defiance and immediately scrambled for it, shoving it back into her pocket, and stood up. She didn’t move, and neither did Kakyoin. Their stands loomed behind them, Hierophant Green more relaxed than Night Light, but both were alert and ready to defend their vessels at any cost.

“Go,” Kakyoin said, finally recalling the Hierophant. And the girl, after hesitating for a brief moment, recalled her stand and ran out to the balcony, hopped on the railing, and started climbing down. Kakyoin waited for a few seconds before walking over, taking his time. When he arrived to the railing the girl had already made it to the ground, and was running away from the hotel. Ah - the fire escape ladder. Convenient that it was right next to Jotaro’s room. He checked his watch - it was already almost 3am. A yawn escaped from Kakyoin as he stepped back inside, closing the balcony doors after him. He looked over to Jotaro, still asleep, hopefully in peace this time. He certainly looked it, having curled on his side, snoring slightly. The sight of a man of Jotaro’s build sleeping in any position other than flat on his back, all while wearing starfish-themed pajamas, still forced a chuckle out of Kakyoin. It was kind of cute, in all honesty. He walked over to the couch and sat down, leaning back.

He’d stay a little while longer. To make sure nothing else would come up. He’d keep Jotaro safe this one night.

***

The sunlight gauged its way through the windows and their covers, illuminating Jotaro’s bed, and before long the warmth got to him, heating him up and pulling him out of his slumber. He exhaled deeply, slowly opening his eyes, but instantly having to squint as the brightness invaded his vision. He shut his eyes again.

Fucking. Finally. A full night’s sleep.

Jotaro lied still for a moment longer, stalling the inevitable, before slowly cranking himself up to a sitting position. The alarm clock flashed at 9:54am. Jotaro wasn’t sure if he felt like he had overslept or not, but it didn’t really matter. It was probably Sunday, anyway, people were allowed to sleep in on Sundays. God he hoped it was Sunday.

His gaze scanned the room, looking for any obvious signs of a fight having taken place, but he came to a halt as he noticed Kakyoin sleeping on the couch. Jotaro blinked. He no longer had the deep sense of unnerve and discomfort while looking at the man. He tried recalling the nightmare to see if it would’ve invoked anything: the paper arms, the blood, the empty photos and the sea. He felt nothing, if not a mild sense of embarrassment over something so stupidly edgy having upset him so much. The stand’s effect must’ve been undone.

Jotaro kept looking at Kakyoin. He was a disaster: half of him was about to slide off of the couch, his other arm already having done so. His bang had tangled up into a bit of a mess, and his glasses had fallen off of his face at some point, now resting on the floor. The scene would’ve been kind of funny, had Kakyoin’s mouth not been slightly open, with some drool dripping down his cheek. Gross. Had he done that as a teen, or was it a recent sleeping habit?

But even so, there was something divine about the man that Jotaro couldn’t quite put it to words. Maybe the last few days and not being able to as much as glance at Kakyoin had taken a toll on him, but he couldn’t stop staring at the man on the couch, sleeping like a gremlin. Kakyoin was always so composed, and careful about his looks. He wasn’t vain, but he put in the effort to actually look like a person most of the time, and tried to make a good impression. Jotaro had always been quite the opposite, only having started giving some resemblance of a shit about things like that in the recent years. But now, here, in his hotel room, slept Noriaki Kakyoin, looking like a complete and utter mess of a man. A beautiful mess that surpassed Jotaro even on his better days.

A smile crept on Jotaro’s lips. He was so lucky to know Kakyoin. He put up with Jotaro’s shit way more than he should have, even after everything. And he deserved much better than Jotaro.

He exhaled, and got up from bed, dragging himself towards the bathroom.

Kakyoin could sleep a little longer.

---

Night Light

Power - D

Speed - B

Range - C

Persistence - A

Precision - C

Development Potential - A

Capable of altering its victim's dreams according to the user's intentions. The user is able to observe these dreams, before and after alterations.

1. Oh, God 1141 0 1 2. Mutual Distaste of Breakfast, as a Concept 2785 0 3 3. The Elusive Hedgehog Ice Cream 2851 0 1 4. Legacy of Egypt, 1989 2319 0 1 5. Thus Rohan Kishibe Had a Terrible Day 3468 1 1 6. Where's the Joy in Life Drawing, Actually? 1764 0 1 7. Night Light 7009 1 1 8. The Glass Prisons Were Constructed to Connect Us 2504 1 1 9. The Many Flavors of Love (Not Unlike the Taste of Soda) 1188 1 1 10. Behold! The Strength of Intoxication 2651 0 1 11. And Words, Man, We Made 'Em Up! 2053 1 1 12. Cadaver Sniffing Dog 5952 0 1 13. July 15th and the Comets that Live on the Seafloor 3625 1 1 14. Diamond-Cut Emeralds 9198 1 1 15. Oh, Home, the Place Where You Belong 1031 0 1