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Capitolo Primo: Giovinezza (2)
JoJo was much worse that I had expected him to be.
Of course I was referring in terms of manner as, despite considering himself a young gentleman, his early instance of informality when I first met him was… just the tip of a massive and troublesome iceberg.
Albeit trying his best as usual, the issue behind his current state of misery wasn't actually connected to an active intervention of mine against him… but his own father trying his best to create some competition between me and his son.
While he sounded to mean well and I was fairly sure he was trying to be a proper father, his model of 'proper' was antiquate to what it should have been as it was flawed by the ideals imposed by the Victorian Age.
Productivity born from discipline, refined by stern words and actions so that it could led to the 'modern Englishman'.
It was something that had become clear the moment the two of us were trying our first session together for home-schooling.
There was no elementary school, or not a private one considering the wealth the Joestar family was known to have and… that was both a good thing and a terrible one.
Both for me and JoJo.
Textbooks were easy to understand and to complete in little time because of my advanced education and my excellent knowledge of 'future details of the subjects'.
I was quick, too much quick as I noticed while completing the first set of exercises and… I almost caught up with Jojo.
Simple Math problems, I was expecting some easy tasks from this but to actually shrug off three to four pages in less than an hour was… overkill.
I was glad that George didn't think much of it, I was still behind to the topics Jonathan was currently dealing with and, knowing how the competition would rise from that instance, I decided to forcefully hinder my own pace for the sake of avoiding some unpleasant use of the whip the older Joestar had brought for the occasion.
Corporal punishment wasn't certainly somesight I wished to be granted as of now, knowing full well that the least I was turned into the 'cause' of JoJo's suffering, the less I would have to deal with a suspicious and non-trusting young man in the near future.
Instead of denigrating the dark-haired boy, I decided to act on the opposite spectrum and actually give him tips over some of the problems that were keeping him stuck.
It was all done subtly, either when his father excused himself for some urgent meeting, some paperwork that required his attention or mere bathroom breaks.
At first he was skeptical of my advice, rightfully so as I was still 'far behind' his current level of education, but the reckoning of my intervention would happen mere moments after.
The moment he tried to apply those few instructions on paper and then patiently decided to wait for George's correction, Jonathan quickly realized from the man's praise over some of the simplified answers to the exercises assigned were more than a proof of my genuine capacity in doing this kind of homework.
An inquiry ensued after two days of constant helping, about why I was giving him just suggestions and not complete solutions to the exercise.
I snorted calmly at that blunt questioning, my mind so quick to remind me that I was still dealing with a naive young man that was still as pampered and spoiled as any rich boys in Great Britain.
"You are meant to learn from those exercises," I replied with a polite tone. "While I can give you some help, the rest is up to you. Do you wish to grow into a properly-educated man or just rely on everyone without growing out of your current state of mind?"
I could have spared him some mercy over the complicated terms used, but I was gladly confirmed by the following days that he had indeed understood the message I wanted to send through.
Innocent as he was, JoJo was still smart enough to catch up with any important details about his life and, by mentioning 'a properly-educated man', his mind took it as a rightful step to become a 'true gentleman'.
Something that offered me just an insight over his ideal future, his wishes for his adulthood, and I couldn't help but mirthfully consider how he would certainly become one all because of me.
In fact, his interest in keeping an attentive look over any suggestions of mine grew immensely by the time my second lunch here at the Joestar Mansion unfolded, my eyes constantly darting from the boy to his father… before repeating this loop in a more subtle and careful manner.
The first experience was dreadful to look at for multiple reasons.
When I said that JoJo didn't have manners, I wasn't trying to exaggerate or sound overly-pompous. I was trying to curtly summarize the little habit he had during eating, his attempt to rush the food without any care of the world…
Which subsequently got his father to chide him multiple times because of the new circumstances.
Albeit I was considered a 'member of the Joestar Family', my presence here on the first few days was seen more as a guest than that.
I was a fresh spectator which knew about the intricate rules about being mindful by the table, to not act like a complete slob and keep a semi-formal and polite attitude around those times.
Jonathan seemingly missed the memo, or at least he looked like that from the surprised look born from those lectures coming from George.
After that very instance, I decided to give him a simple support in the form of curt instructions.
"JoJo," I muttered while we were retreating by our rooms, the young man that had been looking fairly distressed by the event but was still willing to look up at me. "Next time, I wish for you to follow these little directions. If you do this… your father will not chide you."
The dinner that came to conclude that first day at the mansion proved to be less annoying as the only irritating bits were the mere bantering between father and son.
For being someone that was trying his best to promote friendship and some 'equality', the older Joestar sure knew how to make some poor boy feel even poorer by lightly musing over the 'sad thoughts' he had over the men living in the Rookeries.
Little slums that were a thing in London, nasty places where sanitation didn't exist and… where young boys were forced to accept back-breaking jobs to support their own families, the fiscal weight being far beyond what a miser wage could sustain alone.
What was really infuriating about this was the blatant connection between this topic and me, the way he was so subtly trying to hide the fact that I was here to give him a reason to say around the other nobles about his 'genuine' support for the needy.
And even though I was aware that the reason that got him to accept me in his 'humble home' was actually a legitimate sense of justice for Dio's father saving him and his son, that didn't exactly mean he was also restrained from flaunting such development to the elite.
I didn't blame him, the era I was currently living on promoting the 'survival of the fittest' and every detail or opportunity had to be exploited to the maximum effort.
But to actually not mind it? That was a completely different thought.
I could see why Dio disliked George, why he would be quite inclined to kill him the quickest time possible and why his anger was so intense against JoJo.
By seeing how the father behaved around with people with his half-snobbish behavior, the blond couldn't help but seek retribution by targeting aggressively his son and thus, by proxy, attacking George right where his wealth and clout couldn't cover.
His faulty capacity to deal with his own family.
By having him admonish his own son, the old Joestar would find a constant enemy at one, someone that nothing couldn't stop but his own thoughts.
Himself and his grave duties as a British nobleman in 19th century draining out much-needed time to groom his heir in a fine and proper gentleman.
But with me now replacing Dio, I was granted the chance of trying a completely different approach, something that wasn't born out of spite and actually would serve well in my future plans.
With Jonathan starting to latch onto me for help, for him slowly realize that I had answers to questions he didn't know to have, I was trying my best to not only create a possible powerful ally to have here in London, but also someone that wouldn't definitively hunt me if I decided to try the Stone Mask.
If he doesn't suffer a tragic event, like the murder of his father, his chances of developing Hamon would be nigh-impossible.
Yes, the Hamon, or the Ripple, was still a frightening concept that gave me some issues over the contingencies I could adopt against it.
I knew the weaknesses, I also had an inkling of his true extent… but I was unsure what to do about it.
Training would be interesting, but I was presented with a simple dilemma that could have seriously tampered with any attempt.
While young Dio did have the 'tragic event' in the form of his mother's death that ended up 'refining his willpower' into becoming the greatest possible, I wasn't someone with such predisposition.
Would I still have a chance of practicing the mystical art?
It was something I couldn't certainly try without harming myself, the skill requiring a proper mental and physical preparation to keep up a certain degree of breathing which was best known to be acquired through meditation.
Yet I decided to go with an unorthodox but seemingly better method, especially with the opportunity granted me by JoJo himself.
When he first referenced the small section of river near the mansion, I had thought of it as an excellent place where to read any important tome alone and in relative peace, but then I ended up thinking of an interesting idea over the river itself.
By the third day of my stay at the mansion, I finally decided to take his offer to visit the local river and… play around.
As a young Dio Brando, my body was incredibly slim, if not frail compared to the healthy appearance of Jonathan's, something that was best highlighted when we decided to go for a swim.
The swimwear was actually pretty awkward, the little half-sleeved suit proving to be incredibly uncomfortable to use around and it offered little defense against the cold but peaceful stream of this small river.
JoJo was elated when I offered him some swimming lessons, something else to do instead of waddling around with Danny and maybe learn something important that could help him in any accident.
The 'drowning' episode seemingly urging him to try and master swimming to the fullest, thus making my offer the most enticing possible for this desire of his.
The first day was… interesting.
Since he knew how to stay afloat and knew the basis behind the Front Crawl, I decided to give him some minor clues how to perfect his current capacity with the freestyle before giving him the first instructions to try Backstroke.
It was a mirthful experience that was augmented by the presence of the Great Dane, Danny joining those sessions without being too much of a pest.
The playful pup keeping himself from interrupting the boy as he went through some important tasks, but would jump in action to try and get some attention from the two of us when we were done with our respective training.
Of course these sessions were supposed to happen under my supervision and there was no budging from that very position.
I had to pester the Joestar intensively over this very detail as I certainly didn't want to be responsible for killing the heir of a wealthy nobleman because I was too reckless over the safety for this simple swimming lessons.
The river itself, even though calm most of the time, has already been known to have turned dangerous during rainy days and I didn't want for Jonathan to stupidly walk into his early grave.
Funny to consider that I, Dio, would have to keep a careful watch over the dark-haired boy to avoid his premature death.
Kind of ironic.
Still, despite the little progress accomplished with JoJo, I was more than relieved when my own body responded well to three days of swimming in that cold river.
I was still shivering, but I could start to grow more accustomed to the size of my limbs and my weaker stamina, this last bit slowly increasing each sessions as I focused more and more about it.
My lungs were starting to improve under the careful strain, but my journey to even start to aspire for some Hamon ability was sure a far one considering the high requirements imposed by such a helpful skill.
It was also curious that, while I would always make sure that we were alone during those moments, I could distinctly feel like if someone was spying on us.
I couldn't perceive any malicious intent and… yet the intense staring was starting to get me on edge at how repetitive this occurrence was.
By the second session I had also given a thorough look of the surroundings of the area we were using for the swimming training, but the mysterious figure either disappeared much before or didn't even exist to begin with.
Confusing, suspicious and incredibly annoying as I didn't want to deal with any of the little bullies lingering around that were stealing from those few individuals wandering by the nearby bridge.
Still, I finally managed to get some much-needed rest by the fifth day as we weren't allowed to leave the warm walls of the mansion.
When morning struck there was a loud and foggy rain persevering over these lands and George, albeit interested in this new hobby taken by both his son and me, was rightfully concerned over the possibility of seeing one of us, or both, fall ill if we even decided to spend wandering under this rainy day.
So we were both forced to spend the day indoors, with JoJo deciding to spend most of the day after lunch continuing to train with Math problems and Literature constructs from Shakespeare on his own, and thus leaving me to do whatever I wanted for the rest of the day… until dinner.
This little window of opportunity was important for my current thoughts as I finally decided to consider what I could do to improve my current fighting capacity.
I needed to have a proper mean to defend myself, especially if one of my first objectives once we were allowed to leave for London was to explore Ogre Street and see what Wang Chan was selling in his shop other than rare poisons.
For some reason, I felt like the content of that emporium, ignoring the cursed and dangerous trinkets lying there for unfortunate clients to buy, still had some interesting objects that I could use in my little rise to the greatest pedestal.
Lying on my new bed, my sore back enjoying the pleasant sensation offered by the comfy mattress and pillows, I started to think endlessly over what I was really trying to accomplish here with my mission.
Conquering the world? That was a must considering the opportunities granted by the circumstance… but why was I truly trying to attain something this high?
Why not stop to a lower step-
No, I couldn't even think of besmirching the essential chances of dominating the politics, the minds of this reckless world.
Was it a dormant desire of this body? Was I influenced by the fact I was now Dio Brando?
No, it was more. It had to be more.
Beyond my JoJo's knowledge, I was also aware of the world as a whole, about the World Wars, about the horrible war crimes committed by corrupt or insane dictators and politicians; the dreadful deaths caused by the greedy desires of fools deigned with some unfair clout over some major landmasses.
Was I dreaming about world-peace?
Can I stomach the costs of such horrible burden, to become the monster for some and the God for others?
The question itself proved to be without answers- no, it was the very query which I had the answer but for some reason not even in my thoughts I could grant.
I felt numb as I quietly stared at the ceiling of this room of mine, but not tired enough to contemplate any possible rest as things were right now.
I was restless and… bored.
I needed to do something instead of losing my minds in those thoughts, to aspire to something a little more important and unquestionable.
I needed something simple but… essential.
Standing up from the mattress, my back already aching a little at being moved out of the pleasant texture of the pure white sheets, my orange-eyed stare was soon fixed on the lone pen put there on my little wooden desk.
I blinked, thinking about the chances of writing something or maybe even draw something out of my currently-dull mind
To what sense and to what purpose?
I felt clueless over any possible activities and then… I had the little pen on my fingers.
It was clean, no ink loaded in it as I slowly twisted and turned the tiny object around… and around.
For some reason the mindless act was mesmerizing, something that caught my attention in that endless spinning and-
I blinked, something curious finally clicking in my mind and I stopped the pen just for a moment, my eyes widening as I started to swiftly elaborate what I could try to accomplish with this little suggestion born from curiosity and intrigue.
Would it work? This trick was, after all, conceived by Araki as a replacement to Hamon, a reference to it and… what if?
I hummed quietly, my eyes scanning over the surface of the elaborate pen and… I had my fingers over a spherical detail on its design.
Detaching it proved to be fairly easy and I was granted a little specimen to try and use for this little experiment of mine, something that could easily fail but… technically I had no reason to not give it a try.
But before I give it a first try, I decided to give myself a little advantage by trying to get the representation of what I was trying to achieve down on paper.
Drawing something that required that much precision with just a piece of paper and old ink pen, without rulers or other precision tools, took me almost an hour of constant failing to ultimately obtain and… this wasn't even the real first step.
With a calm breath, I slowly began spinning the sphere on my palm and… nothing was happening during the first two hours of constant trying.
I wasn't actively pursuing anything out of it, the Spin being something that was far more confusing and complicated to obtain during the first few times.
It wasn't Hamon, it wasn't born out of something truly mystical, but by the rules of science applied in a bizarre method of capacity.
The Spin was the creation of energy through rotation to a degree close to the Golden Rectangle, the culmination being the Golden Spin.
The complex nature of mastering such ability was… actually worth of facing against as the results it would yield would immensely improve my chances of success.
The Golden Spin not only granted the ability of using the infinite energy gained from the perfect rotation, but it also materialized the user's stands, if not evolving it if there was one already within the user.
So, despite the multiple failures registered until dinner, this little activity became an interesting one to try out during the next two days, the rain lasting for that much and… it finally happened.
By the seventh day spent here at the Joestar Mansion, I, Dio, managed to finally gain my own mean to defend myself against any foe that wished for my demise.
The little steel sphere I had recovered from the pen was spinning and… emitting some little light.
Like a barrier, it was coating the proximity of it, portraying the might held within such a simple activity while the object kept with its rotation.
I slowly moved out of the chair, the Spin energy maintaining its hovering state over my open palms as I made my way by the window and I carefully pried open the little piece of glass.
The rain had softened its banging just now, only a few drops of water continuing with its natural fall but the sight was clear as I glanced at the three growing just outside my room.
The steel ball seemed unfazed by my maneuvering and it properly slipped away from my palms and onto my right index and middle fingers as I took aim at one of the numerous tree branches onto said tree.
There was no one around to see this scene and I carefully glanced at the target with accuracy and-
Before I could finish with the preparations, I felt the sphere blast away from my fingertips, causing a little cut on my index finger, flying straight towards the tree.
I had taken too much time admiring the complex nature of such phenomenon to actually consider the need of stabilizing its form with more spinning, but my surprise turned in dreadful shock when I noticed where it was directed towards.
It wasn't the branch I was aiming for, no, it was the little section of the three from which the branches were coming from.
The powerful attack slammed onto the upper area of the trunk, wooden splinters exploding from the impact as a brief smokeless explosion tore onto two of the branches' connection, forcing them to come down to the cold and muddy ground below.
My jaws dropped at the sight, my mind going blank for just a moment as I realized that… the steel ball had been a small one.
It's diameter was more or less 2mm and… that was the damage I had achieved with such a tiny sphere?!
I closed the window, my stunned expression persisting even after I had calmly returned to lie onto my bed and… I blinked twice.
What I just saw was… powerful- no, overpoweredconsidering the current degree of danger I was now facing.
There were no Zombies, no Vampires and no Stands just yet, I was facing mere humans.
I… I think I made a positive mistake, a mistake for… the best.
Was it even possible? To make a good mistake?
My lips twitched, a mirthful noise groaning in my throat and I quickly had my hand pressing on my lips.
It was a fruitless effort, my lips parting as a muffled chuckle started to turn in a full-blown laugh.
I- I managed to do something that immense and… so little.
I, Dio, was now capable of defending myself!
This realization kept me amused for some few more minutes and then my mind decided to ruin my fun by reminding me of two distinct issues:
1) I could have exploded if I hadn't the ball by my fingertips, the sphere would have propelled upwards and… into my face if I hadn't moved quickly;
2) My aim had been completely off my a large margin, the section damage way too far from where I was trying to hit.
Even with these rightful thoughts that were pointing out the flaws of my first 'successful' attempt, I had also to consider that I was way behind Johnny when he achieved the Spin for the first time.
He had spent just a day to get it going and… mastering it was going to take much more than just a handful of days.
I didn't have a Stand that worked with this specific kind of powers, nor I expected ｢The World｣ to be able to achieve such a degree of compatibility with the Spin.
But despite that, a certain content smile managed to almost appear even during dinner, my concentration over my current expressions faltering for a moment at the mere mentioning in my brain over what had just happened.
JoJo noticed the smile, I could see some surprise in his face, while his father merely nodded at himself, smiling as he went through his own share of the food.
A week has passed since Dio has arrived to the Joestar Mansion, his role now of a guide than an invader, of a guardian than a mockingbird.
But tomorrow is a new day and George Joestar has planned to visit London for that very morning, unaware that his son and Dio will have to face quite the interesting encounters…
With good people and terrible enemies.
-To be continued…
I've promised a second chapter if the feedback ended up positive and… here it is!
Dio grows accustomed in his first week at the Joestar Mansion, his main objective of gaining strength, wealth and influence by actually keeping himself 'away from suspicion'.
But the danger is around the corner and… sometimes the series never mentioned some details over the obstacles for Dio to destroy to become top-dog in these first few years in the series.
Beware of the unknown… and of the known.
Lastly, the spin. No, Dio has not achieved the level of control to use it during a fight, the level of concentration he currently requires to make use of it being far too fragile to hold against the pressure of a battle. So no, we ain't overpowering him just yet and… he is just euphoric up above with his thoughts.
Ultimately, I have to say this as I think it will be cool…
Do you believe in Gravity, my dear readers? Also, what about Cake?
P a treon . com (slash) socialistbukharin
k o-fi . com (slash) justbukharin
The Lazy Dragon: I said 'early on'. Expect lots of Mudas and WRYs after this first arc. 'Giovinezza' is translated as 'Youth' afterall.
LukeSky001: Because the current owner of the stone is a Ripple User (presumably Tonpetty) and it would be awkward to 'get it' without facing the rest of the group.