Once again, Kumari and Noshi had decided to meet at Café Deux Magots to discuss their job findings. Though, with the noise the afternoon crowd of school kids brought, the two began reconsidering their meeting location.
"The city hall is willing to pay three thousand yen an hour if we pick up litter," continued Kumari.
Noshi drummed their fingers across their temple as they murmured rough calculations. "Three thousand...Isn't that only around twenty thousand rupees?" they asked, "That sounds cheap."
"Yeah, and we're staying at an even cheaper hotel," retorted Kumari.
"But remember that we have to save some of the money for food."
"In that case, let's invest in some clothes first." Kumari tugged at her wrinkled sleeve. "We're not gonna get any better jobs looking like the broke foreigners we are," she said.
Noshi glanced at the school girls that passed by them, eagerly discussing which items from the cafe's menu that they would try. The one male companion that was with them wore a uniform that looked familiar to Noshi.
"Hey," they said, "Do you remember what Josuke was wearing when we first met him?"
"Come on, guys, the test is Friday," whined Koichi.
The other two males had proposed a study break over an hour ago, which kept getting extended by declarations of, "Best two out of three!" and, "Just one more level to break the tie."
The freedom of being able to play video games without Tomoko's watchful eye had gotten to Josuke's head, so much so that neither he nor Okuyasu moved to answer the doorbell when it rang.
Koichi sighed, and sat up from the coffee table upon hearing the third chime, guessing that it could have been Jotaro.
That's why he was slightly surprised when he saw Noshi and Kumari at the door, instead. Though, the two were even more surprised to see Koichi, both because of his stature and unfamiliar face.
"Oh, you must be Jyoti Joestar," he said, looking up at Kumari while also shying at her provocative attire, "Jotaro told me about you."
"Actually, I'm Kumari. She's Jyoti, well, she changed her name to Noshi," Kumari rambled, "It's a long story. Anyway, is Josuke here?"
After being so quickly denied to ask any questions about the confusing names, Koichi stuttered, "Oh, uh, yeah, he's a little busy, but he's here."
He then stepped aside to let the duo inside.
All the while, Noshi thought, "He's wearing the same uniform as Josuke, but isn't he a child? No, maybe he has-what do they call it? Dwarfism? Like Old Man had?"
Their suspicion that Koichi was a classmate was confirmed when they saw Okuyasu adorning the same uniform. Though, neither he nor Josuke were aware of their new guests.
"Whoa, so that's how a TV works?" Kumari marveled, "You actually get to control the story that plays out?"
"Huh, so that's why they call those things "remote controls"," rationalized Noshi as they walked up to Kumari's level, "Josuke, could you pause the story for a minute?"
Having raised their voice above a murmur, Josuke was able to hear them and respond, "We're almost done, Koichi. Just sit tight."
Noshi clicked their tongue, annoyed that their androgynous voice had been confused for the short male's. But Kumari proclaimed, "Yo dude, we've got a favor to ask," before Noshi could correct him.
Her accent and feminine voice caught both males' attentions, Okuyasu peeking over his shoulder in surprise and Josuke pausing the game.
"Oh hey," casually greeted Josuke, "Did you guys change your minds about moving in?"
"No no, we just wanted to ask about your school uniforms," answered Noshi, "More specifically, where to get them."
"And also use your address for job applications," added Kumari.
"Huh? We never talked about that."
"I know, but it just came to mind. Don't worry, Mr. Oceanman won't find out."
While Kumari and Noshi shared this brief exchange, Okuyasu quickly whispered to Josuke, "Hey, is this the hot cousin you were talking about?" to which the other responded, "I didn't say "hot"," with mild irritation.
"Does he have to tell me every time he thinks my family member is attractive?"
Koichi found his opening to join in the conversation with a, "Wait, so you two are enrolling into the school?"
"No, we just need to blend in better," said Noshi, "Right now, we're not getting very good attention from anyone in these outfits, especially any employers."
"Hold on, you're gonna pose as teens?" asked Okuyasu, "How old are you guys?"
"Seventeen," answered Noshi.
"Eighteen," answered Kumari.
Okuyasu sputtered, "You're kidding me!"
"I thought I told you already," absent-mindedly said Josuke, who then stood up and stretched, "Anyway, we can get some uniforms at the mall down the street. I want to stop there, too, and get some new pins I saw the other day."
"Oh! And we gotta check out the arcade for the new game they're setting up!" piped Okuyasu.
"Guys, we still have all this work to do," sighed Koichi, "I mean, we can get the uniforms for Kumari and Noshi, but we can't spend the whole day there."
Josuke held his hand up to his ear. "Okuyasu, do you hear something?"
The other mirrored his actions. "Must be the wind."
Noshi and Kumari walked alongside Koichi, following Okuyasu and Josuke's figures as they spoke animatedly about the ever-expanding list of things they planned to do at the mall.
Kumari gave a dry chuckle. "Looks like our little favor flipped a switch," she said.
"Sorry about getting you dragged out here," Noshi said to Koichi.
"It's not your fault," he responded with a meek smile, "They probably would have stayed inside playing their video game until midnight if you didn't come."
"What's the subject you guys were working on before we showed up?" asked Noshi, "I might be able to help."
Noshi smiled. "Perfect."
The teens gave out a unanimous groan the resonated around the debilitated library.
"You serious, Old Man? How could he not see that coming?" griped the brash boy known as Vineet.
"That blind cat by the sandy lot is smarter than this guy!" insulted his girlfriend, Saryu.
Jyoti, Kumari, and Krishna sat between them in an arc formation in front of their reader, Waazir. Though, he had adopted the title of "Old Man" by them after their first few visits.
The small elderly man gave a wheezing laugh upon hearing his audience's response, smacking his calloused hand against the yellowed book page as he coughed.
"You're damn right he is!" he guffawed, "I would've been disappointed in you brats if you didn't react this way!"
"Well who wouldn't?" challenged Kumari, "He was way too trusting of that lady. Even if she didn't do anything obvious, her whole energy was off."
"Her energy, huh?" huffed the elderly man, "That's rich coming from someone who saw this dwarf of an old man living alone in this run-down library and thought, "What a perfect place to hang out and get high!"."
"Well duh, it was five kids against one crotchety old dude," Vineet bragged, "We coulda chased you outta here."
Waazir motioned for Vineet to pass him the blunt her holding between his fingers. "Shit, you think a couple of baby-faced street rats could scare me?" He took a long drag before finishing with an even deeper voice. "You brats are just lucky you had a decent brand."
"You don't have to pay me back, seriously," declined Josuke with a wave of his hands.
Noshi scoffed, "Of course I will. It might take me a little bit of time, but I'll be sure to do it. You really helped us a lot today."
"Just by getting you uniforms?" asked Josuke, "I mean, you could still move in with…"
He trailed off as Jyoti was already subtly shaking their head. "I appreciate it, but I'm really not in a good position to," they said, "Moving in would mean accepting Jotaro's offer, and that would defeat the purpose of moving to Morioh."
"You said you moved here to avoid getting in danger, right?" asked Josuke.
"Right," said Noshi.
Josuke thought to object, but then he caught sight of Okuyasu across the store, who seemed completely enraptured in whatever Kumari had to say to him. Josuke thought about how close he was to losing him that day he fought Kira. Some days, he would even have nightmares of holding his best friend's cold body.
Josuke swallowed hard. "I get it," he said.
"By the way, Josuke," started Noshi, "Does the rest of your-uh, our family know I'm here?"
Snapped out of his gloomy haze, the male answered, "No, just Jotaro."
Noshi's eyes widened at Josuke. "You were going to have Kumari and I move in without your parents knowing?"
Josuke fumbled for an excuse, giving a weak, "Well, I thought about telling my mom, but…"
"Come on, I know you want to be hospitable, but don't be so hasty. That's how you start unnecessary conflict."
The way Noshi huffed and crossed their arms as they said this once again reminded Josuke of an elder's discipline, which greatly clashed with the high school uniform they were now wearing.
"Fine, I'll tell her you guys are in town when she gets home tonight," he gave in, "But don't expect me to tell her about Kumari's Stand."
"Is your mom not a Stand user?" asked Noshi, to which Josuke shook his head.
"We'll talk about our family lines, later," he said, "Right now, I think Okuyasu's ready to check the arcade."
The man in question, accompanied by Koichi and Kumari, was walking towards Josuke with an eager grin.
"Hey Josuke, Kumari says they've seen video games before back where they lived. We gotta show them the arcade!"
"Huh? Are you serious?!" Josuke gasped, looking between his friend and cousin for confirmation.
In return, Noshi spared a confused glance as they murmured "Vi...deo...what?"
Kumari held up a small translation dictionary with a thumb between the pages. "Yeah I looked it up and I still don't get it."
"Koichi, now you see why it's so important that we go to the arcade, right?!" fervently asked Okuyasu.
"But guys-!" began the silver-haired boy.
"It's a cultural experience and quality family time," interrupted Josuke as he began to usher Noshi out of the store, "You wouldn't wanna deprive Noshi and Kumari from that, would you?"
Despite Koichi's protests, Kumari and Noshi allowed themselves, again, to be led by the two excited boys, settling their apprehensions with a simple exchange.
"I still have no idea what they're going on about."
"Yeah, but I don't wanna spoil their fun. Let's just go with it."
In one hand of the albino man was a white cane catching any changes in the concrete beneath his feet.
In the other hand was a leash being pulled by a gruff canine whose gold collar tag had "GABRIEL" embedded into its surface.
As opposed to his cheerily humming owner, Gabriel's brow was set in a no-nonsense fashion as he sniffed around him. His expression only grew even more determined as he began to veer off into a grassy slope.
A mild, "Whoa there," slipped past the owner's lips as he followed his dog, checking the new terrain more actively than before with his cane.
Below, a large pipe leading to the sewers was flowing into a stream. Thankfully for both the dog and the man, the water had been filtered by this point and did not turn away either with an insufferable odor.
Once reaching the edge of the stream, Gabriel pawed at a shiny object just below the surface and reached for it with his teeth.
He then turned and dropped in on his owner's shoe.
The man could hear the clink and well as feel the tap as it bounced off of the leather. It was a coin, he knew.
A Stand coin.
The man stooped down, folding over one of the bags he had intended to use to pick up his dog's filth over his hand, and picked up the coin.
"Now that's interesting," he mused, "A Stand that can leave its user behind?"
He turned it between his fingers. "No, it's still connected to them. It's just meant to be taken far distances."
A grin stretched across his pale face. "I'm sure they won't mind, then, if I pay them a visit."
Oh no, a dog in the JJBA world.