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The following is a fan-based

FICTION

All Parts of the JJBA are all owned by Hirohiko Araki.

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Capitolo Secondo: Ambizione (27)


Palm Springs, we were really close to Los Angeles now.

The previous day had been particularly calm. After Valentine's defeat, the only two left were Vins and Santana, and I could already see how these two were going down without a fight. Even as we all had grown from this trip, I could tell that the moment we were facing an Ultimate Santana, things were not going to be easy on us. It was something that really worried me as it meant fighting a Pillar Man that wouldn't have to worry about the sunlight and be able to exert his full potential without any major worry. At this point, it was clear that Vins got the Aja Stone and had done it, and we got confirmation of this when we saw a lone figure standing over the upper section of the station, the sun bathing Santana's form without the Pillar Man experiencing any form of debilitation because of it. All the people around, the Palm Springs' locals were… completely unconscious. At first I thought they had been killed, but as Kate rushed up and checked on the closest one, a young girl, she sighed in relief.

"They are alive."

And without a sign of vampirism. They were just unconscious. Santana had just-

"I merely disabled them. For now. I didn't wish for witnesses to distract us from this fight," The Pillar Man admitted as he jumped off from his perch, landing right in front of us. "You have all improved in such a small amount of time. I'm surprised… but disappointed."

I frowned. "What are you talking about, Santana? And why did you just render these people unconscious?"

"The people here. They are hostages to me. You could try to evade this fight due to the great gap of skills and natural abilities between us, which is why I want you to know I shall not allow you to leave," Santana explained dully. "My Master demanded me to fight until my death, or at least until you and your group perished under my hand."

It was an absurd thought. Even though he was powerful and fast, such a feat would require time that could be used to run and hide from him. It looked as if these people had all been struck all at once, with no chance of getting away from Santana and avoiding any confrontation. Something was wrong, and it wasn't the Aja stone's work in this case. Still, the challenging tone made it evident that dialogue wasn't possible and we all took a fighting stance and stared right at him with angry looks.

"Then I think it's clear how this will turn into."

He didn't show any sign of addressing my words, preferring to jump into action as soon as I was done talking. I was stunned as I saw him blur even faster than my Divine Hamon senses could pick up, my eyes widening as I could just draw ACT 3's arms up and tank the first punch in… followed by a second and third. Santana's speed was… absurd. It was way higher compared to when we first fight and his strength had me bruising on my right wrist even though I blocked the punch with ACT 3. Even my Stand's endurance faltered against that kind of power, which was plain absurd. Just as I kept on guarding, the calm-looking man didn't seem interested in letting me off as he tried to break through my defenses as quickly as possible. Derek tried to push it away with Emperor, but the Hamon-enhanced bullets didn't seem to gain any pressure off from me. It was only as Speedwagon's Spinning balls and Kate striking with her sword that the titan stopped its assault in an effort to lessen the counter-assault against him.

"Nuisances!"

He turned around, using the rotation to land a strong kick on Kate's. Her orange eyes widened in shock and pain as the attack sent her away from our proximity and right into a nearby wall. Bhediya moved to push away Speedwagon as Santana tried to throw some broken piece of concrete from the floor at him. Both dodged the attack, but were unable to back away further as the Pillar Man rushed once more towards them. Before he could struck them with a kick, Bloody managed to reach out for them, taking hold of both men's upper clothes before using Heaven's Stairwayto rend himself and them intangible and impossible to hit.

Santana looked surprised by this move, having not expected that kind of move from the way he reacted to this… and definitely looking unprepared as I was already moving towards him, unleashing the power of ACT 3to stop time and try to land a deadly blow on him. I rushed fast, zeroing the gap between us, but as I moved to cut through the rear connection between his spinal cord and his head, I… I saw him turn around. Suddenly, fast and particularly unforgiving- yet the time was still stopped. Instead of attacking me himself, I saw a familiar humanoid, sharing the same frame and appearance as ACT 3 but green and gray colored, rush out towards us and deliver a sudden blow at at me. I tried to block it, but the attack actually passed swiftly through ACT 3's guard and struck my jaw. The pain was immediate and stunned me for a moment, just enough for Santana to grab me and throw me against the train. The metal groaned as my back impacted on it, and some of the glass by the windows cracked and broke at the force behind my landing.

I blinked in shock and flinched in pain as I pulled myself out of that unpleasant spot. My upper back was hurting a lot and… Santana was back to handle the others, showing incredible precision and vigor as he picked them one by one. He focused on Kate as the blonde was the first to recover, her attacks supported by Speedwagon and Derek. Her sword didn't seem to cut through at first, but soon Santana allowed it to pass through his skin, so he could get an opening out of this move. He grasped her by her throat and threw her right at the two men. The force put behind that throw was enough to have them all trip. Bhediya and Bloody rushed towards him together, using a fairly unusual tactic that saw the werewolf taking care of inflicting damage, or trying to as the Pillar Man moved faster than he could, while Bloody would use Heaven's Stairwayto turn them both intangible at any attack coming their way. It frustrated the tall being, and soon he decided to switch his own attention right on Bloody. The boy tried to keep the pressure off from himself by trying to lean onto Bhediya for support, a wrong move as Santana merely got a precise kick before he could turn them both intangible. The hit voided any effort to dodge the attack and had the intended effect of seeing them both slam on the ground together.

The Pillar Man sighed at the result of his hard work, provoking me with a bored look.

"I think it's time to make things… clear," Santana hummed, his injuries healing at an absurd degree. "The World: Ultimate."

"ACT 3!"

I felt the usual pressure exerted by the time-stop, but instead of being able to move in it, I could feel my body going… stiff, and rigid. I could still see and think but… I couldn't move. I was stuck in this realm of frozen time.

"As expected. Even though you have incredible control over time, your Stand is still inferior to the Ultimate version I created. This is it… the limit of humanity and the transcendence of my people." Santana calmly proclaimed, his attention switching elsewhere as I saw his attention turn to the others.

First towards Kate, Derek, Robert and Zephy. He struck specific sections of their head, soon becoming evident he was actually 'disabling' him like he did with the people in there. Same for Bhediya and Bloody. I tried to move, my body just shivering in the struggle, but I wasn't able to push through this full block. His gaze was now focused on me.

"Dio Joestar. Even now you are showing dedication by surprising me… you shouldn't have been able to move at all and… this proves something," He muttered, stopping to walk right as he stood in front of me. "You're hiding your power. Again. Or maybe you just need the right incentive to get your inner strength out."

He slammed a punch through my stomach, blood exploding at the sudden attack, but he decided to go beyond and slam his leck onto my chest, shifting my ribcage with the power put behind the hit. The time-stop ended, and as everyone fell on the ground devoid of consciousness, I found myself struggling to keep awake and alive. The blood… The wound wasn't healing. Whatever Santana did, I couldn't feel my Hamon. The punch… no, the other hit, the kick, it had struck my sternum, it definitely slammed my rib cage onto my lungs. I couldn't breathe properly and… and I couldn't heal because of it. I lied on the ground, my sight getting blurry as I felt my head going light. Santana approached and stared over me.

"Show me what strength you are hiding, Dio Joestar."

W-What?

I tried to stand up but… I couldn't. Too weak, my sight got darker and darker. Soon, I couldn't see or think, only trying to breathe as I drew the last one.

The world around me ceased, defining the end of my existence… or so I thought.


The world fractured, my thoughts fragmented, my life split and… memories of old manifested with lucid credibility.

Another fruitless day.

A twelve years-old Dio should have learned by now that no good thing could come out of scamming the same people for too long but… the situation was pretty tight on him. With Dario's pathetic work giving him just enough to allow the bastard to go through his drinking spree, the rest of the situation back home had to be stabilized through unreliable sources of income. Most of which were relegated to him as he tricked people, stole their money, gambled where he knew he could win and… do everything to keep his mother alive. Dario was worthless, he always has been, but that didn't mean he wanted to leave his mother to perish.

As he returned from the umpteenth failure to score a major move to get even more money than usual, the blond quietly walked through the entrance of the house, the door having long been broken down by that idiot that was his father during one of his drunken bouts of anger as he was returning from the bar. Dio didn't have any penny to waste on it, not when he knew nobody would ever dare to venture through the disgusting halls of his home. Everyone knew that this was Dario's 'world' so to speak, and they knew how poor the bastard really was. Differently from usual, he noticed, was that his mother's voice couldn't be heard. It was extremely rare for the frail woman to be quiet at this hour, either singing, humming or weeping.

Nothing- the house felt deader than usual. A strong worry gripped his chest as he hoped, desperately so, that the woman had just taken his advice and taken a few hours of rest. He hoped – no, he prayed – that this was the case. But as he looked around the kitchen area and the small cupboard his mother had turned in her bedroom, Dio found her nowhere. Instead, the more he lingered around the deeper corner of the room, he spotted a strange smell coming from… Dario's room. It was the largest room in the house, and yet it was meant to smell like this. Not when he was the one keeping it clean as his father demanded. The stench of rot and decay intensified with each step, his body tense, his gaze wide-eyed and his heartbeat growing numb as he finally arrived at his destination

"Watcha looking *hic* at brat?" Dario's thunderous question shook Dio from his state of distress.

"W-why- where is mother?"

The drunkard blinked, taking a glance at his bottle and drinking greedily from it.

"That wench? You would do better to forget her for the time being."

"What happened!?" The blond pressed angrily, his outburst catching the man by surprise. "She was fine earlier this morning. What did you do?"

"Heh. I did nothing," The shit-eating grin on his face told another story. "In fact, I absolutely did nothing when she went through a problem with her heart. She started to have trouble breathing just as she was bringing me a new bottle… of course she would die before giving me the bottle."

"W-Why didn't you help her?"

"Because… it would have been stupid. And *hic* tiring," Dario answered flatly, showing how little he cared for his now late wife. "That woman *hic* she might have been your little confidant *hic*, but she stopped being useful the moment she had trouble handling simple chores. A burden, that's what she became."

"You-"

"But don't worry, I left you a gift so that you can remember her easily. While also… knowing that I'm not someone you can scream at, you brat."

What was he… talking about. A sudden sharp pain enveloped Dio's soul as he felt the need to check. The rotting smell, he could tell it wasn't originating from within this room. It was nearby, but not in there. A shiver, he ignored his drunk father as he rushed back to his room. The smell worsened, and it got so bad that his nostrils were burning at the hideous stench that came from within his bedroom. The door was half open and Dio peeked inside to see that the chest where he would usually put his clothes and other items had been forced open, the lock and key he had stolen laying on the ground in front of it. It was partially open, an arm slumping limply by the floor. Dio froze, his attention drawn by a familiar ring. It was the same one his mother would wear, and yet the skin was paler. Dead. Dio took silent steps toward the chest, dropping on his knees as he stood before it. His orange eyes were unable to look away as his hands reached for the edges of the box and… pulled up, revealing what was inside.

After many years of thinking he had seen the worst of Dario, that there was nothing that could have beaten the cruelty he was subjected to for so long, and yet now Dio knew that this wasn't true. That man, that… monster, he had done the unthinkable. And no matter how the words of a weakly-smiling angel, her mother, tried to comfort him in that moment, only sorrow and tears left his body. No sounds, no screaming, nothing- he felt hollow inside at the notion he was now really alone. No one to hug, no one to comfort him at the injuries he suffered, no one to talk about insecurities and weaknesses. Dio was now forever alone… and had a corpse to bury. It was the least he could do, the humblest honor, for his mother. The woman that cared for him the most, the one that blessed him with a feeble hope that no longer existed. Only despair reigned. Despair and… anger.

I blinked. I was no longer within that scene. I was...

"This… this is what you were hiding. In that box." My voice cracked through the numbing silence, my gaze fixed on the untold story. I was right, Dio… Dio wasn't nurtured just to the basis of evil, he was broken by it. A young man that was turned into true cruelty and maliciousness. His humanity was already lacking even back then, and it was all because of this. Because of what Dario Brando did. Someone like him wasn't just evil. He was… worse. And that example stuck forever with Dio, breeding a form of hatred for life itself that was way worse than anything that I could have imagined. This was an explanation… but not a redeeming one.

The child weakly held onto the now open box, with nothing else held within it. An empty coffin, I grimly expected, one that was perhaps meant for me. Yet, the boy sighed and pushed himself off the ground.

"This is… it," The blond muttered, looking back at me. "Now you know."

"Why now?" I inquired weakly. "Why when I'm going to-"

"You're not dead. And you're not going to die," Dio hummed quietly. "When one dies, a soul has to go. And I think it's… my turn."

"What? Why-"

"You have people that care for… Dio Joestar. Not Dio Brando," The boy explained flatly. "I lost my mother, I lost the only one that cared and… I don't deserve this. I can't hold to you the same value you have with them."

"There has to be another way," I argued nervously. "Nobody needs to-"

He stood up, calmly walking up to me. "There is not. I tried to find one but there is none."

"So… you wish to-"

"It's the only way and..." He paused, his gaze aimed at the floor. "Do you… Do you think I will see my mother?"

He looked back up and I was invested by endless emotions as I stared right at my eyes, tears flowing out in the greatest look of defeat I have ever seen.

"D-Do you… think I will see her again? That I deserve to-"

He didn't finish. I didn't allow him to finish as I pulled him in a hug. He accepted his fate and wanted to hear nothing else.

"You will see her. For you, Dio, have done something that not many in your position would go for. You took a selfless act not because I asked you, but because you felt called to make that choice."

He gripped hard, tightening the embrace, his crying intensifying as I stroked his hair.

"Thank you, and I know you will be blessed for the kindness that was abused by that horrible man. You shall be redeemed."

A burning light enveloped my whole body, it wasn't either pleasant or unpleasant- I felt everything Dio felt before my insertion, the anger, the injustice, the pain, the brief moments of happiness and… fullness of self in terms of soul. I felt something change, a lock snapping off as the truth was revealed to me.

And this was now… different. Better. Right.


I blinked, my body still in a terrible condition as I had left it but… I felt reinvigorated. It was like adrenaline but stronger.

Santana noticed, he looked surprised but- he was soon stunned by the sudden punch slamming onto his face and forcing him to back off in a little flight away from me. Growling at the unexpected move, he was quickly rushing back to where I was still supposed to be lying, expecting to find me there but… he stopped, his eyes widening in confusion. He looked around, but he just couldn't find me anywhere. At first, he definitely wondered if I had used a form of time-stop that was beyond his, but his own certainty on the abilities shown by The World: Ultimatereduced that possibility. The truth was that I had 'moved' away to retrieve something important from the train. I wasn't sure exactly how it worked considering the previous abilities obtained through my Stand's evolution but… I could say that ACT 4 had taken a different turn when it comes to the 'final ability'. The Stand's upper mask was removed to reveal full orange eyes while broken golden chains appeared by its wrists and feet.

"You know… you shouldn't give your back to your enemy, Santana," I muttered flatly as I stood behind the bastard. The Pillar Man jumped away, panicking over the sudden fright.

"How did you move this fast?!"

I smiled. "Oh? You can tell I 'moved' without stopping time?"

"I would have felt it if it was a time-based move," He rebuked fiercely. "What did you do?"

"Not much. Just… 'moving' around. And picking this up," I said while showing him the Arrow. "Do you know why Kars cared so much about trying to turn this into a tool of power but… couldn't?"

"...no."

"Well, the meteor was originally sentient. The capacity of the Arrow to know who to strike, who is worthy and who is not isn't something driven by random factors. It's a perpetual state of limited judgment that can be unleashed with precise requirements that he didn't have, hence why he failed. And, while this isn't a Requiem Arrow, it still holds the potential all Arrows can but can use it only if unbound."

"What are you talking about?" He snarled. "Kars would have found a way to use it even if-"

"A Stand and Hamon. That's how you unleash a potential beyond the Requiem. But… I discovered I couldn't. You see, this Superior Form was so intense for my current level that it required even greater requirements for me to fulfill," I answered readily. "And… I have them."

The World was now fully mature, and I had unlocked the Divine Hamon. As soon as the energy coursed into the Arrow, my studies on the item proved mostly correct. Something was being unleashed by the object as tendrils rushed onto me and stabbed onto my chest. Santana rushed fast towards me, trying to use The World: Ultimateto prevent what I was trying to accomplish but…

It was too late.

The ground started to shake, reality itself grew more distorted and… the world beckoned its newest ruler. I could feel it, the change, the improvement, the rightful conquest of what I had been espousing for many years now. The heavens… listened. And soon Santana had a sense of dread filling his soul, especially when I instantly bolted towards him 'phased' through him but managed to grab his Stand.

"W-What?"

He turned to look at me as my Stand, once again different as his frame was coated in a thin nebulous color that reminded of space itself, easily shattered The World: Ultimate.

"While ACT 4would have been able to put an effort against you, I knew I would have lost. Hence why I accept the need to step this up to a whole new level," I proclaimed flatly, glancing at him dully. "This is The World: Absolute, the peak of ambition for anyone that has the capacities to achieve it. Not only humans or Pillar Man. Anything can attain this with the right steps. Rejoice… this is your defeat."

"You may have taken the copy of your Stand, but I can still-"

He didn't finish that sentence, not when he felt a brief hint of power from The World: Absolutein the form of a punch slamming him on the ground. Normally, he would have stood up, he would have stood up but… the behemoth had picked up an issue with the damage he just suffered. That kind of pain should have healed, that kind of broken nose should have been fixed up quickly… and yet the pain and the damage lingered.

"You… How did you-"

"I had to make some concessions. I can't explain which ones or why but… I will give you an ultimatum. I want the truth out of you Santana, or I will make sure to shred you to dust with this power. And trust me, no amount of insane healing factor will fix you up once I'm done with you," I expressed with a frustrated tone. "I know your kind, I had the unpleasant chance of knowing the truth about it but, as far as I know, you aren't as bad as the others. You act on others' behalf, like a dog. Hence why I am willing to accept you as my slave if you are willing to give me the truth as to why you just didn't kill the citizens of Palm Spring?"

"...I don't like Vins."

I blinked. "And how does this connect to the question I have just asked you, Santana?"

"She ordered me to kill everyone. I refused that order."

"Why? Perhaps you are planning to change master already? Are you so disloyal to switch allegiances at the first hint of someone stronger than your current master?"

"No."

I frowned. "Then talk!"

"...Vins was my master because she freed me from my prison and gave me purpose. But her plans, her ambitions… they are distasteful and disappointing," Santana explained more. "I already saw hints of your potential during our first meeting. And here, now, I can finally say out loud… you- you beat Kars."

"I did," I agreed, but he wasn't done.

"Not just in terms of power. The way you wield it, it's beyond impressive compared to the reasons Kars had about when we destroyed the other Pillar Men. You… You didn't need to exterminate your people to prove your might."

…I guess that barbaric choice wasn't seen as completely favorable by everyone.

"So, you are really interested in submitting to me, but never consider changing loyalty to anyone else."

"Until you retain this soul of yours? I shall be your servant, Dio."

I smiled. "Then, I believe we have a deal."

A nod, he slowly stood up and… looked surprised when I approached him with an eased posture. I stretched my hands at him and smiled as my The World: Absolutevanished from sight.

"We shake hands on deals."

Another nod and he returned the gesture, giving a fascinated look at it as he tried to understand the point of it while I glanced around and realized that mostly everyone had woken up and that most of the group had seen the handshake.

Yep, that was going to be tough to explain…


AN

And Ambizione is turning to a closure. Three more chapters, with the next one seeing Vins' demise and the end of the adventure, while the next two shall be about Dio being back in London and going through a long overdue promise, and the final one shall be an introduction to the next part. Like with Giovinezza, there will be a three-part mini story that will focus on Kate and the world's future. Let's just say that many questions will be answered, some of which will confirm Dio's power after a long time has gone since their first adventure together.


Omake 42: Meanwhile at the MiH HQ (3)


"Boss, isn't this… too much?"

"Nope! Never!" Hannah exclaimed excitedly, going through the numerous hard works of getting everything set and ready for when Dio arrived back home. She had studied the maps they had of the US, the trajectory she had been establishing through her beloved soon-to-be-husband's letter, and grown particularly impatient of waiting for too long to get all preparations set for Dio's return!

Erina sighed as she stared at the scene as a passive spectator. She had been asked to check on her close friend to make sure the fellow woman didn't go too overboard with the preparation and, truth be told, this was way more tame than she expected things to go.

In fact, the blonde was surprised that Hannah hadn't just decided to turn this celebration as a pre-wedding feast rather than one to welcome her returning lover. What really got her intrigued and somewhat amused was the notion that Dio was definitely going to confess and ask Hannah to become his bride.

While many had seen the young man hesitate before in this kind of matter, he didn't look ready to back down from the big step. Especially since he knew how important it was not only to Hannah but for himself too. Jonathan might have failed to pick it up, but she sure got a grasp of how to know when someone was really into another, just like her brother-in-law had said when he admitted he had planned to foster her and Jojo's love for one another until a lovely marriage they both were happy about. And for that Erina felt a duty towards Dio in terms of returning the favor.

Either that or she wanted to come back at him for having planned their dates for them. It sounded so embarrassing now that she looked back at it as now they knew how easy it was to go out together without anyone giving them advice.

Very embarrassing, but she was still thankful for how things had gone for them. And just as Hannah was done getting all material needed to be put up for the day Dio came back, Sarah finally returned from her errands and brought more material with other workers.

"We're back with more, Hannah!" The young lady chirpily announced, gaining a wider grin from the busy brunette.

"Got it! And you all, return to work!"

A few workers had just taken a pause to stare at that unusually inhuman effort that was unfolding in the office, and they were quick to bolt back to their post as soon as they heard Hannah's order. Erina couldn't fault them for the curiosity, this was actually one of the craziest and yet funniest things she had the chance to be part of. To make things even more interesting, her beloved husband was there too and… he looked as adorable as she expected him to be in these circumstances.

"A-Are you sure this is fine, Erina? Shouldn't we… you know, tell her to calm down a tiny bit?"

"If I was going out for a trip for a month or two, would you be excited to find me coming back home?"

"Of course!" He replied earnestly, but she wasn't done just yet.

"And you would make sure I got a lovely 'welcome back' feast, right?"

Another strong nod. "Yes, why wouldn't I… Oh."

Erina giggled, almost envisioning that mental image Dio had given her in the form of Jojo having dog-like ears and wagging when he was excited for a reason or another. Like a cute puppy. Her cute puppy hubby. If only she could muster the courage to buy a dog collar and have Jonathan put it on while they were cuddling in bed…

But for now, everything is alright on my watch-

"Incoming!"

Something exploded, there were a few people on fire that were saved by fellow workers.

Oh well, mostly alright.


AN

A bit of a short one, I know. But I'm preparing for the mini story that is upcoming once Ambizione is over. Three more chapters!

Still, let's be honest. Erina is top.