Author's Note: Technically one-sided Dio/Jonathan, though a much better pairing under the circumstances would be Dio/restraining order. Or perhaps just Dio/restraints.
Warnings: Domestic abuse, child abuse, and sociopathy.
The only genuine relationship was ownership.
That had been the one thing his father had bothered to teach him.
When his mother had broken down and sobbed mutely into her hands, her face a swollen mass and handprint-shaped bruises standing out starkly against her pale limbs, his father had proudly slung his arm around Dio's shoulders and told him that was how he needed to treat a woman to keep her, nice and proper. It didn't matter whether the boy had looked away and down at the floor, fists clenched by his sides and head filled with a silent scream.
After all, the scream stayed silent because it was the truth.
(She only left him in a coffin, and if all his screaming and beating on the lid could have brought her back from the dead, she would have come back to him then too.)
When he took a beating without a sound, looking up at his father as though will alone could kill him, the man had only laughed at him and told him that he would never leave. He dared never leave. He was a broken dog who knew his master, and would always come yapping back to kiss the hand that beat him.
And then that hand, those fingers still spattered with his blood, would come down to pat his golden curls, smoothing them down like the hair on a dog, and that damnable, fatherly voice would assure him he was just teaching him to be a man, the same way his father had taught him, and he would do the same to ensure obedience in his children when he was a man grown.
And hadn't his father been right? Even as he'd poisoned him, he hadn't dared to run away. He'd stayed by his side to the end, chained by fear to a post that withered by the day, and never raised a hand to him even as the man struggled for every breath. Standing beside a dying man, his boyhood fantasies of growing big and strong enough to turn on his father were revealed to be just that: puerile fantasies. Even if he had been the strongest man in all the world, some sick paralysis would have held him back from breaking apart his tormentor.
His mother would have said it was goodness, or sentiment, or some seed of childish love, and praised him for it. His mother was a stupid bitch who was dead. Her goodness and sentiment and love had killed her, draining away her life as surely as the poison drained the life away from his father - and she'd tried to fill him with it too. What sort of mother did that? What sort of beast, dying of some horrible wasting illness, would try to drag its whelp with it to the grave? If that love she professed to feel for him had meant anything at all, she would never have done that. Never. So love meant nothing, and the only vestige of it was this: a child sitting by his ogre's bedside, filled with loathing and yet unable to strike a single blow in repayment, as broken and pitiful and feeble as the beast always said he would be.
That was what love meant, then: one the owner and one the owned, one desiring to have and one too fearful to leave.
So he submitted himself to his new master, and if there came no beatings, it was only because he appeared such an obedient dog that it would be a needless expenditure of effort to administer any further discipline at all. He was sure of it. George Joestar could mouth all the pieties that had once come from his mother's mouth, but that man had power and that woman had a coffin. The difference in the outward reality revealed the difference in the inward reality, and all the false words in the world could never change that.
From filthy dog to well-groomed dog, he persisted for the sake of the day that he would be a man, and never be a dog again.
The path was clear. There was but one irritant.
Jonathan Joestar: a bright-eyed, fair-faced, well-formed boy. A pampered and groomed lapdog who had never known any misfortune in his life. His smile was sweet and his eyes were clear, and one might even think his pious words were sincere.
He sickened Dio in some deep-seated, perverse way, from the crown of his head to the tips of his toes. His presence blinded, like the sun: in the same way that it was natural to shield one's sight from the sun, it was natural to want Jonathan Joestar blotted out, to forget his existence, to erase from one's sanity the knowledge of anything that could block out the world with a sideways glance, an earnest look, a smile.
He reminded Dio of his mother. That was the most concrete statement he could make of why he hated him.
And yet the sickness carried with it a desire to possess, the self-destructive lust of a moth to a flame. Some vestigial part of Dio not concerned with the accumulation of power wanted to lock Jonathan away in a secret room, like a rare and prized piece of statuary, and spend days at a time doing nothing but looking upon him, sinking ever deeper into a burning chasm of loathing. Sometimes he would lie in bed, his whole being stripped of all thought and reason so that it might be transfigured into a vessel for detestation of Jonathan Joestar, and he thought this might be the feeling men called "sublime".
So he would have him. He would have him the only way anyone ever did. He would break him like a horse, a hawk, a hound, he would teach him to kneel before the boot that kicked him, to kiss the fist that beat him, to cower before the man who crushed him, he would extinguish the brightness in his eyes, he would rip the straightness from his spine, he would drain the lifeblood from his veins - and when the last ember had burned out, when the life had died away, when even fear had fled and only resignation remained - then, then, then he would own him, then and forevermore.
And if that killed all that made him worth possessing in the first place, what of it? That was the way of things. There were only the owners and the owned, and when Dio was a man grown, he would never, never be the owned again.
No matter who paid the cost.