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In death and in regret

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Satoru had always been firm on never regretting any of his actions and choices. “Jujutsu sorcerers never die without regret,” was what Yaga-sensei had taught him on his first day - as if he hadn’t grown up in a family that sustained itself through the flesh of grief and regret, as if he hadn’t been surrounded by curses since birth - and maybe he had taken that as a personal challenge.

He had seen many people die gruesome deaths, comrades and strangers alike. He had killed many more – curses and humans alike. But he had never allowed himself to linger on any of those and buried all the failures with his regrets underneath smiles so sugary his own teeth ached constantly in resonance.

Yet, kneeling here in a pool of Suguru’s blood, his forehead pressed against Suguru’s still chest, his bloodied fingers twisted painfully into the tattered remains of Suguru’s clothes – his grip on his own shaky resolve slipped. 

In every aching flicker of his soul resonated a regret so deep that it shattered any sense of pride, will, strength. 

He wished, selfishly, egotistically-

 


 

01.

Gojō-san came home three days later than he was supposed to.

Not that Megumi had been worried, of course. Ridiculous. That man could take care of himself just fine and if something were to happen to him, which was very unlikely, someone would inform Megumi. So, no, he hadn’t been worried. But he couldn’t deny the spark of curiosity that had settled into the pit of his stomach. For all his annoying flaws, Gojō-san didn’t disappear on him without a word and he never went this long without calling at least once.

When he finally returned, something was off.

Megumi couldn’t put his finger on what exactly it was, though.

There was warm food waiting for him when Megumi came back from school that evening. Gojō-san didn’t particularly enjoy cooking, but he did like to try out things every so often. His baking was infinitely better than his cooking though, and only because his disgusting sweet tooth forced him to put extra effort into that.

As soon as Megumi walked over the threshold, Gojō-san’s incessant chatter spilled into the apartment, filling up every corner. Nagging him about his days, school, marks, friends, the usual. It was such a jarring feeling how lively everything suddenly seemed after days spent in dead silence. Not just because another person was talking to him, it was simply Gojō-san’s presence: loud, buzzing, annoyingly lively, too large to fit between these four walls. Megumi doubted that there existed a place that was big enough to accommodate it.

For all intents and purposes, Gojō-san was his normal, flamboyant self.

And yet.

The air around him was chilling. Megumi’s arms had broken out into goosebumps the moment he had entered the apartment. They still hadn’t subsided, and the closer he was to Gojō-san, the frostier it got. When he walked past Gojō-san’s chair to reach his own and accidentally brushed against the man’s shoulder, a shock of freezing cold erupted in his whole left side, almost sending him hurtling away. He gasped, startled, and hurriedly stumbled toward his own seat, clutching his arm tightly to his side, teeth chattering.

If Gojō-san saw, then he didn’t comment on it.

Dinner was a tense affair with Gojō-san talking one-sidedly and Megumi struggling to swallow food past his tightened throat.

Unease was settling deeper into his bones the longer they were sitting in close proximity. His muscles were aching from how stiff he had been since stepping into the kitchen. Yet, he remained where he was and waited to see whether Gojō-san would say anything beyond his meaningless, grating prattle – surely, if something was wrong, he would – but the man had either not noticed the atmosphere cloaking them or was ignoring it.

Eventually unable to take it anymore, Megumi finally asked just as Gojō-san was putting away the last plate, back turned toward him, “Did something happen?” 

Gojō-san paused mid-motion while toweling off his hands. He inclined his chin in Megumi’s direction without looking at him, lips pursed in surprise. “Why?”

Megumi crossed his arms over his chest and leaned as far back in his chair as possible without toppling over. He frowned, trying to find the right words. The last thing he needed was inflating Gojō-san’s ego by making him believe that Megumi had been – ugh – worried. But perhaps, that was unavoidable. 

“Just… you’ve never been this late before is all.”

Gojō-san whirled around in an exaggerated flourish, throwing the drying cloth over his left shoulder in the same movement. He leaned sideways into the sink with a small, teasing smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. Tonight, he wasn’t wearing those obnoxious bandages of his, but he also hadn’t taken off his glasses and Megumi was grateful that he was spared the smug look from his stupid eyes. “Aw, were you worried, Me-gu-mi?”

Megumi bristled. “As if.”

That only elicited an amused chuckle from Gojō-san. Thankfully, he didn’t press the matter – although, that raised another flag in the back of Megumi’s head because Gojō Satoru never dropped a topic that would embarrass Megumi. And yet, here he was, smile dimming as he lowered his chin and pinched his eyebrows together. He brushed through strands of white hair in a rare display of exhaustion. “Ah, I guess. Well. Just some unexpected trouble at school.”

Megumi regarded him more closely. There were definitely no injuries he could make out but then again, he had never seen Gojō-san injured before. And if there had been any wounds, Ieiri-san would have already taken care of them. What kind of trouble?

“You know, Megumi?” Even through the glasses, he could feel Gojō-san’s gaze scorching through his skin. He couldn’t help but sit straighter at the attention. “If you…” he trailed off, paused for a split second as if unsure how to word whatever he wanted to say before sighing in resignation and waving his hand dismissively, “Ah, forget it.”

For a split second, Megumi was tempted to protest. He couldn’t start like that and then, not say anything and expect Megumi not to be curious. But Megumi wasn’t one to push needlessly, no matter how much he wanted to, so he dropped it reluctantly.

Later, in the middle of the night, when he had gotten up for a glass of water, he found Gojō-san fast asleep on the couch in the living room instead of his self-assigned bedroom. The lights of the lamps that were lined on the streets outside was basking the room in a warm orange hue – a stark contrast to the downright freezing temperature in here. When he exhaled shakily, his breath came out in the form of a small white cloud.

But what really halted him in his steps and froze the blood in his veins…

There were wisps of something dark – they looked like unnaturally long, spindly fingers, dozens of them, casting even longer shadows on the wall behind the couch – brushing over Gojō-san’s face.

Megumi stared, heart in his throat, palms sweaty and slippery around his glass despite the coldness.

What. The. Fuck.

Was that a curse? It had to be, obviously, stupid. But how…

He took an instinctive step inside and in that very moment, those things stopped moving. They didn’t disappear nor did they attack him, but they rose, shaky and unsteady, to turn into his direction. Megumi stilled, stiff until his joints hurt. He felt like prey that was being assessed.

If this was a curse then surely, Gojō-san was well aware of its presence? Nothing escaped his notice, after all. Yet, he was sleeping peacefully with this thing hovering around him. What did that mean? That this curse wasn’t a threat? Was it not? Megumi was hard pressed to believe that. Just looking at this thing made his stomach churn with dread.

But Gojō-san wasn’t hurt from what Megumi could see. He also hadn’t stirred yet. There was no way that a curse could get this close to him without his consent. Right?

Uncertainly, Megumi stepped out and watched the wisps return toward Gojō-san to continue mapping out his relaxed face. The action seemed almost reverent… Megumi turned away from the scene, his chest suddenly too tight, and hurried toward his own room.

 


 

02.

Maki glared at the staff, usually long with its three sections but folded into one right now, laid out on the table between her and Gojō-sensei. Sleep was still lingering in her limbs, her temples were throbbing painfully and her cup of coffee had long since stopped steaming. No one else seemed to be up judging from the tranquil silence hanging over the dormitories. And yet, here she was, dragged out of bed for this.

She would rather swallow her glasses than touch this weapon.

But Gojō-sense was so. Bloody. Annoying.

“You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Just keep it with you!”

She was tired of his voice. How long had he been trying to convince her? It felt like hours. If that was how he had approached the main family over giving him Playful Cloud, then she fully understood why those hard heads had eventually relented. Pride meant nothing once Gojō Satoru fixated on you.

Irritated, she massaged the bridge of her nose. At the other end of the table, Gojō-sensei smiled in mock innocence, probably already knowing that he had won. She hated inflating his already enormous ego. Who didn’t? Still, there were a few things that simply didn’t add up and she needed clarification first.

“Why me?”

“Well, I, obviously, don’t fight with weapons,” he said without missing a beat. “Plus, the Zen’in insist that it be kept in the family.”

“And why do you want” she waved at the staff, nose scrunched up in disgust, “this so badly?”

It didn’t make any sense. Gojō-sensei hated to deal with any sort of clan matters, especially if they involved the big families. Yet, he went through the pains with the Zen’in for something that was, essentially, worthless to him. And Maki wasn’t foolish enough to believe that he did it for her – she didn’t need it, either.

Besides, knowing that that man had wielded this before her… made her skin crawl.

Gojō-sensei threw his right arm over his chair and leaned back, turning his head away from her right into the rays of sunlight that were tentatively falling in through the window and basking his hair and skin in a reddish glow. His smile dimmed into something more real. Something that had her throat feel too tight for comfort, suddenly. Perhaps, the too bright, too grating smiles suited him better. 

“Ah. Sentimentality, I guess,” he eventually sighed.

Maki blinked, caught off-guard. Sentimentality? The notion itself that Gojō-sensei could do feelings was bizarre on its own but even more so was the fact that he would actually admit it. And what did that even mean? Getō Suguru had stolen Playful Cloud, as far as she was aware. But no one had told her whom it had previously belonged to and she wasn’t inclined to ask any of those jackasses in the main house.

She leaned forward on her forearms and asked curiously, “You knew whoever had this before? The Zen’in, I mean.”

Gojō-sensei grimaced, only for a second but long enough for her to catch a glimpse of contempt. “Unfortunately.”

“But this isn’t about him, huh?” she surmised thoughtfully.

So… Getō? Really? The guy had tried to kill Okkotsu! He had attacked them! Sure, Maki had caught on to the fact that Gojō-sensei and he had seemed to know each other somehow, but had they been closer than mere acquaintances?

“Look.” When Gojō-sensei turned his upper body back toward her, he crossed his arms over his chest and sighed. “It doesn’t matter. But Playful Cloud is a great weapon for you. It will help you deal with even Special Grade Curses, if used correctly.”

Well, she had seen it in action and couldn’t argue that point. It did seem different from her own arsenal of weapons, much more powerful…

“Alright,” Maki conceded, albeit reluctantly. Ignoring how he instantly brightened up as if she had just hung the moon for him, she reached for the staff – and frowned. What - She pulled once, twice, tried to shake it but it didn’t move. At all.

Gojō-sensei pursed his lips in confusion. “I didn’t think it was heavy?”

The fact that the overbearing idiot definitely used his Limitless to cheat when lifting anything aside, it wasn’t heavy. Rather it felt like it was stuck, as if glued on which was ridiculous. She had seen Gojō-sensei put it down, after all. 

Maki pushed her chair back and stood up, grabbed the staff with both hands and pulled– and almost fell over backward when it came off without any resistance.

What in the world…

Maki stared at it and considered chucking it out of the nearest window.

“Are-”

“Don’t,” she cut off Gojō-sensei without looking up, voice sharp with warning. “Say. A. Word.”

Unnervingly enough, he didn’t. Not that Maki wanted him to, but it was just so unlike him that it bothered her. When she was leaving the office with his silence still hanging over them, she risked a glance over her shoulder. Which was a mistake because she barely caught herself before she could stumble over her own feet in shock.

Gojō-sensei had once again turned his face to the side, staring out of the window, eyes hidden behind his blindfold. There was something coming off his shoulders - like wisps of smoke, but not quite, it was too dark to be smoke. She might have missed it if it had been any darker in here. Carefully, she removed her glasses and sure enough, whatever this was disappeared. And reappeared as soon as she put them back on – but it had stopped moving, completely still and its curved ends poised in her direction.

A shiver ran down her back at the sight.

Definitely a curse. Gojō-sensei wasn’t acknowledging it at all, though. Why? Surely, he would have if a curse were attacking him? Although, it wasn’t attacking him, was it? She squinted, uncertain whether she was seeing correctly or not. Maybe the lack of caffeine was catching up to her…

Yet, even long after leaving, she was unable to shake off the ice that had settled into her veins.

 


 

03.

Sometimes, Gojō-sensei had two shadows.

The first time that Yūji noticed this oddity was after he had been dragged along to Gojō-sensei’s fight against that Mt. Fuji curse. Inside the curse’s domain, when he had been taking in the rocks and lava and his gaze had swept past Gojō-sensei’s stretched shadow right next to him, something in there – in that dark silhouette – had moved .

It had happened too fast for him to get a clear image, but he could have sworn that there had been a hand detaching from the shadow’s hip and reaching for Gojō-sensei. It was gone within the blink of an eye.

Gojō-sensei hadn’t reacted to it at that moment, nor mentioned it afterward and, so Yūji had chalked it up to his imagination. Sensei was too perceptive to let anything slip past his attention, after all. Maybe the plumes had just gotten to his head, right?

But then, it happened again.

During the baseball game against the Kyoto school, Tōdō and Fushiguro had gotten into a quarrel – Yūji had slinked away earlier for a quick water break and didn’t catch what they were arguing over or why Maki-san and Nobara were getting involved. But Utahime-sensei was yelling for someone to fetch the ball, pointing wildly into Gojō-sensei’s direction, and as Yūji walked up the pitch to look for it, he saw.

Gojō-sensei’s back was turned to him while he was observing the commotion with his hands on his hips and cap almost falling off his head. The sun was casting his shadow right into Yūji’s path; he had a clear view.

Long hair was falling over the shadow’s shoulders – what should have been sensei’s shadow, but Gojō-sensei did not have hair that long. And the arm that was stretched a little away from the body was definitely not Gojō-sensei’s, either. For one, it seemed to be clad in wide, long sleeves, and for another, it didn’t match sensei’s stance. Its left hand was moving up and down, casually catching something – something round – and throwing it back up in the air. Again, and again and again.

Yūji came to a stumbling halt and stared, eyes wide, heartbeat spiking. The hairs on his neck stood up as a discomfiting chill slowly crawled through his bones.

Somewhere in the back of his consciousness, Sukuna’s voice rumbled through his stilled thoughts, scattering them back into rapid motion, “Would you look at that, huh.

Yūji flinched in surprise at the suddenness of it all.

He let his gaze roam over the field, trying to see if anyone else had noticed – of course, no one would from their current positions – before refocusing his attention on the shadow. Gojō-sensei hadn’t turned around even once. No acknowledgement of whatever this was. But he couldn’t be unaware of its presence, could he? Was that possible?

Just as Yūji was about to draw closer, the shadow’s movements stilled as if it had sensed his intention. A ripple went through it before it started to split from the head and shoulders as the not-sensei-shadow bent backward - a little like when a gymnast was about to go into the bridge position - and turned its head toward Yūji, long hair spilling to the side.

Yūji’s breath hitched in surprise. Was that thing looking at him? He took an unconscious step back, limbs slow and stiff with the cracking ice that had spread through his body. Ever since entering Jujutsu Tech, he had seen many a disturbing sight; comparably, this wasn’t anything to speak about. Yet, just looking into the mass of darkness put him on edge and had his instincts screech gratingly - and he didn’t understand why.

Then, without warning, the thing flicked its wrist and Yūji barely managed to jerk his hands in front of his face, catching something mid-air. He hissed as his palms burnt under the residual rotation of – a ball?

What. The. Heck.

When he risked a glance back, it was gone. Gojō-sensei was leisurely moving to the field and his shadow looked like it belonged to him.

Yūji tried to swallow around the lump of nerves that had grown in his lungs.

“-ori! Itadori !”

A sharp tug to his left arm snapped him out of his daze. He blinked as Fushiguro’s blurry face, hovering too close to his own, slowly came into focus. Fushiguro let go of his arm instantly and eyed him critically, lips pursed in what Yūji had come to realize was worry. “What’s wrong with you?”

Oh . For how long had he Fushiguro been here? “Nothing! I just…” he trailed off, uncertain how to word his question. A little helplessly, he gesticulated behind Fushiguro to where everyone had gathered into a cluster, voices loud and sharp and talking over one another. “Ne, Fushiguro? What’s up with Gojō-sensei’s shadow?”

Fushiguro frowned at him. “What?”

Yūji leaned in closer to him despite no one being in earshot and whispered, “I think he has two? Or is that a curse?”

Fushiguro’s forehead smoothed out as comprehension settled into his features. He turned half away to look at Gojō-sensei who was right in the middle of the arguing mass, the movements stilted. Curiously, Yūji peered more closely at Fushiguro, taking note of the unease the other boy wasn’t able to fully conceal.

Eventually, Fushiguro let out a long, exhausted sigh and shook his head. “It’s nothing. I think.”

“You… think?” That didn’t sound reassuring at all.

Fushigurou shrugged. “Yeah. Don’t worry and just ignore it.”

A wave of apprehension welled up inside of Yūji at the mere thought of ignoring this. “What if it’s dangerous?”

“It’s been around for a while,” Fushiguro admitted. He avoided his gaze as he did as if ashamed of his confession. “But it has never done anything. No harm. Nothing. And I mean, if Gojō-sensei lets it stick around, it should be fine.”

Well, that did make sense. That thing hadn’t done anything and wasn’t harming Gojō-sensei. And it had returned the ball to him, somehow. Maybe this was fine.

Despite trying to convince himself, he couldn’t shake off the chill that had nestled itself into his bones, nor the unease that was constantly slinking underneath his skin when he was in sensei’s proximity.

 


 

04.

“Why would you wear that?!”

“It doesn’t look that bad!”

Nobara glared heatedly at Gojō-sensei, hoping he and this godawful, ruined, illegally expensive shirt would go up in flames through her sheer will. What was wrong with this man? Even if he wasn’t upset that she had spilled coffee on his shirt, why would he wear that thing in public just like that? It had to be spite!

“No, really! I think it looks fine,” he was saying as he looked himself up and down in his full-body mirror – why did he even have that in his room in the bloody school dormitories? Rich snob. “The stains are like a creative design; they make this so much livelier!”

She felt like ripping her hair out. “It’s clothes! They’re not even alive to be ‘livelier ’!”

He glanced over his shoulder at her and she didn’t need to see his stupid eyes to know that he was judging her. “I don’t know why it even matters.”

Nobara took one deep breath, held it in long enough to dampen her flaring irritation and released it in a loud, aggravated puff. She walked deeper into the ridiculously spacious room – theirs were huge, too, but this was something else – and steered toward the closet that covered the whole wall on the left-hand side. Absolutely ridiculous. Without asking for permission, she started to go through articles of clothing, trying very hard not to peak at potential price tags or to be distracted by how the fabric felt. She could smell the rich on each one of them and it made her sick.

“If we’re going out,” she said, voice muffled, “then I’m not going to be seen with someone in dirty clothes!”

“It was washed,” sensei grumbled. “The stains just won’t go out and that’s fine!”

No, it was not.

Something flashed at the edge of her vision causing her to halt in her search in surprise. In a far corner, stacked under a heap of folded kimonos, there was a pink patch sticking out like a sore thumb among all the black and white. It looked so out of place in here. Neither did it feel as disgustingly expensive against her skin as everything else when she touched it; but it was still pretty soft. Comfortable. She pulled it out more out of curiosity than anything else. 

A hoodie. ‘Satoru’ was written in bold, purple letters on the front and a little, white furball – a cat? – depicted in the middle of the ‘o’. Holy… How cute!

Nobara whirled around, excited, and held up her finding with a bright grin. “Fine, you can keep that ugly thing on but wear this over it!”

Gojō-sensei’s mouth twitched, the corners pulling down ever so slightly. Nobara had expected him to argue over this, complain or tease her about her choice, to ask how that was a more appropriate outfit to be seen in. Instead, she received silence. He didn’t say anything for so long that Nobara started to fidget anxiously, wondering if she had made a mistake of some sort.

When he spoke up, there was an odd undertone in his voice; one she couldn’t put her finger on, but it left a foul taste on her own tongue. “I’m surprised you found that. It’s very old.”

Nobara stared more closely at the hoodie. “Then you must have been taking good care of it.”

Gojō-sensei sighed. “Look, I’ll wear another shirt, alright? Just. Put that away.”

Huh? Nobara frowned. Technically, she got what she wanted, right? Yet… Gojō-sensei giving in so fast simply because of this? It didn’t make any sense. He had been too adamant on that coffee-stained monstrosity to just cave that easily.

“I think this would look great on you, sensei,” she said, willfully ignoring the compromise he was laying out.

Gojō-sensei leaned back into the mirror and crossed his arms over his chest. He smiled a smile partly tinged in amusement and partly in bitterness. “Oh? How come?”

“I think the color brings out your eyes nicely,” she said without missing a beat.

He tilted his chin to the side and snorted. “Honestly. That’s what he said, too.” Before Nobara could ask – who was ‘he’? – Gojō-sensei pointed at his blindfold. “No one’s gonna see my eyes, anyway.”

“The thought counts?” she tried innocently. Besides, he could always take off the blindfold. Why did he even wear that thing? If Nobara had eyes like him, she would flaunt them shamelessly every chance she got.

“You’re really persistent about this,” he huffed.

She shrugged. “I really think it would look good on you. And I mean, this is so different from your usual stuff!”

“It was a gift,” he admitted quietly.

And ugh, she was curious, dammit! But any question she might have had got stuck in her throat when she noticed something dark flickering in the mirror where Gojō-sensei’s right shoulder was touching the glass. It almost looked like the tips of fingers reaching for sensei’s shoulder though, their image so wobbly and shaky that it kept flickering in and out of focus. 

What… She squinted, unsure if she was imagining this.

“If I wear that,” sensei said, snapping her back to attention. He had moved closer, still talking, “you’ll also let me go out in this, the next time.”

“Fine, fine,” Nobara relented distractedly. “I still don’t know why you want to rub it in that I ruined your expensive shirt.”

Gojō-sensei paused on his way toward her and cocked his head to the side in confusion. “First of all, money really isn’t an issue for me.” Obviously. “And secondly, I wasn’t trying to rub it in. The opposite, actually!”

With a last, doubtful look at the mirror, Nobara focused fully on him, both eyebrows raised sceptically. “Yeah? Well, I’m just feeling worse about it. So, here, to compensate for making me feel guilty!”

She pressed the hoodie against his chest – and immediately let go when a shock of ice shot through her fingers upon contact. If Gojō-sensei noticed, then he didn’t comment on it and instead, shooed her out before she could have fully processed what had just happened. Her hands were trembling with the residuals of cold long after his door had fallen shut behind her.

Later, while sitting at a sushi restaurant, squished between Itadori and Fushiguro and opposite of Gojō-sensei, she couldn’t help but stare. The pink of his hoodie seemed… darker, somehow. Starker. And maybe it was a trick of the light, but she could have sworn that dark smoke was coming off his shoulders and arms and hovering over his exposed long, white eyelashes.

But no one else said anything, so she kept her mouth shut too. Whatever was going on, it clearly wasn’t dangerous enough for Gojō-sensei to worry about. She just wished she could get rid of this unnerving chill that clung to her like a second skin.

 


 

05.

Trying to seal Gojō Satoru within Prison Realm had been an immensely risky plan from the start. Hinging said plan fully on Gojō Satoru’s weakness for Getō Suguru had been even riskier.

But it was a risk that he had been willing to take. Anything to get that menace – whose memories had spread from Getō Suguru’s body through his own brain like a parasite trying to devour him – out of the way. It was a worthy cause and considering the depths of both of their affections for each other, his success should have been guaranteed.

And yet.

Prison Realm didn’t even have the time to activate before it was swallowed by the ground.

Everything came to an abrupt halt and the silence that settled over them was as deafening as it was oppressive. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Jōgo hastily jerk away, creating a useless distance between himself and Satoru – and when had he started to refer to this man by his given name even in his own mind? The curse threw a heated glare in his direction that he ignored.

“Who…” Satoru stood up straight, bangs of white hair falling over his blazing eyes like a translucent veil. “…are you?”

He barely heard the question. His attention was drawn to the elongated shadow behind Satoru that was slowly rising off the ground in wisps of black smoke. Twitching and flickering, growing larger and larger until it formed a distinguished, floating mass. Long hair pooling over broad shoulders, a messy knot at the back of its head, visible skin tinted greyish, clothes mimicking the ones he was wearing but bereft of any color.

Two sets of glowing eyes, one red, one yellow, cut through him.

Despite Jōgo’s presence, a shocking wave of coldness swept through the whole station. His breath came out in thick white clouds when he huffed, mildly amused, mostly disbelieving. Ah, he hadn’t felt dread in such a long time that he had almost forgotten what it reeked of: rot, bile, a bitterness too strong to bear.

“What is going on here?!”

He glanced at Jōgo’s infuriated visage, only briefly, then let his gaze wander over the rest – Mahito who had wisely backed up as well, Chōsō whose stoic demeanor had the slightest of chinks, he caught a glimpse of Getō Suguru’s twins in the mass of humans around them, gaping. He didn’t allow himself to linger on any of them though, knowing fully well that the smallest moment of distraction might cost him.

Gojō Satoru hadn’t moved an inch but the hands at his sides were trembling, most likely with self-restraint. It was jarring, really, how the black smoke and dark shadows floating around him, reverent where they lapped at skin, made Satoru’s everything - clear eyes, snow-hair, pale complexion, blazing pupils - stand out brighter. Glowing. Dangerous.

“It seems,” he said, the admission foul on his tongue, “that I miscalculated.”

But how could he have predicted this? His plan had hinged on Gojō Satoru’s feelings for his one and only. It had been a good plan.

Good until Getō Suguru chose to rise from the dead like a vengeful god - for he was reminiscent of nothing less than one with a gaze intent on destroying him for his transgressions and a presence so strong and crackling that he could taste it in each breath. Until Getō Suguru chose to rise and close the only vulnerable patch Satoru's otherwise flawless armor had ever shown.

He chuckled humorlessly. “You two truly are something else, huh?”

There was nothing he could do here but face his own shortcomings.

 


 

Suguru had never once regretted his decisions. Leaving behind his life as a legitimate sorcerer, killing non-jujutsu people, wanting to completely rid the world of those ignorant fools and doing anything necessary to accomplish that goal – it hadn’t been wrong, in his eyes. Jujutsu sorcerers deserved to live in a world wherein their lives weren’t considered cheap and disposable because of the weak.

But when at death’s door, staring into the burning blues of Satoru’s infamous eyes that were glistening with tears Satoru refused to shed, something thick and foul welled up in his throat, making it even harder to breathe than it already was.

He forced his lips into a soft smile meant to reassure. Yet, it scorched through his own heart, turning it painfully tender and bare.

If there was one thing he would forever mourn, then it was leaving Satoru behind. Back then and now.

He wished-