nobara has a set schedule for each week. monday’s, wednesday’s, and friday’s are missions; tuesday’s, and thursdays are training; the weekend is free.
there’s a schedule for the weekend, too - saturdays are grocery and movie nights with megumi and yuuji, and sundays are spent with maki. it’s fitting - one day for her best friends and the other for her girlfriend,
“i mean, i’m glad we’re girlfriends, but we still haven’t kissed,” nobara says, trying very hard not to whine. “she kissed me twice on the forehead this morning, but she won’t kiss-kiss me.”
yuuji tilts his head in consideration. “she might just be taking it slow, y’know. not everyone’s comfortable with kissing immediately, and that’s okay!”
“maki-senpai doesn’t seem like she’d want to take it slow,” megumi repeats dubiously.
nobara snaps her fingers. “my thoughts exactly!” she slumps back into megumi’s shoulder with a frown. the movie in front of them is pretty much forgotten in the face of nobara’s woes; yuuji is slumped into megumi’s chest on his left, and nobara pressed along his right side. they’d tried making a blanket fort, but gave up and settled for a mess of blankets, pillows, and snack bowls.
nobara bites the tip of her thumb in thought. “i’m totally okay with taking it slow, but it’s been, like, a month. maki-san doesn’t seem like the waiting-for-a-month-to-kiss-on-the-lips type of person.”
“i guess not,” yuuji agrees.
“i mean, you guys kissed like - two hours after you confessed?” she continues.
yuuji hides his face in his hands while megumi replies, unphased, “yup.”
“i mean, girlfriends kiss! she didn’t mind kissing okkotsu-senpai when they played spin the bottle. and they’re both gay.”
“when did you two decide you’re girlfriends?” yuuji asks, frowning at her.
there’s… there’s really no set date. shit, they need to find the exact date so they can celebrate their yearly anniversary for the next seventy years together. “i don’t know, it just happened.”
“it just happened?” megumi repeats skeptically.
“yes - okay, it sounds stupid, but it did,” she insists, shoving his arm.
“did it, though?” yuuji asks. his head’s entirely in megumi’s lap now, so he tilts his head backwards to squint at her.
“yes it did!” she throws a pretzel at his face. sukuna’s mouth pops out and eats it when it lands on his forehead. nobara flicks it until it disappears, then rubs yuuji’s forehead in apology.
“i love maki-senpai, but she’s kind of-“ he swivels around, like he’s checking if she’s near - “dense.”
“you’re terrified of her,” megumi deadpans. “he’s right, though. she’s a bit oblivious to things like this.”
“so you’re saying she doesn’t know i wanna kiss her?” nobara says with a frown.
“that, or…” yuuji trails off. “y’know.”
“or she doesn’t know you’re dating.” megumi shrugs. “i wouldn’t put it past her.”
“what?” nobara laughs. “she’s dense, but not blind.”
“she has glasses,” yuuji points out.
“to help her see curses. she can see fine without them. that’s not the point!”
“who knows. she might just be taking it slow,” megumi says, shrugging. the movement makes her head bob along with his shoulder.
“you’re unhelpful,” she mutters.
“at least i can tell my boyfriend i want to kiss him,” megumi replies placidly. “that’s more than you can say.”
“you never tell me when you want a kiss. you just hover around like a creep,” yuuji says.
megumi frowns. “what? no i don’t.”
“you do. it’s okay though!” he pats megumi’s cheek. “it’s cute.”
“you just said it was creepy,” nobara says.
yuuji considers this. “it’s both.”
“so you think i need to talk to her?” she asks, frowning.
“yeah, just to clear things up,” yuuji says with a nod, sitting up and tugging the blanket along with him.
“make sure you’re on the same page,” megumi adds. he pulls back the blanket and spreads it out over them, draping it over nobara’s lap and around yuuji.
nobara nods decisively. “okay. i’m gonna talk to her.”
nobara does not talk to her.
talking is not her strong suit. this is a well-known fact, to yuuji’s perpetual dismay, because he insists good relationships and friendships are built on solid communication. he’s not wrong, but she’d have to have a gun to her head to admit he’s right about anything. case in point.
actions speak louder than words, right? she doesn’t need to talk to communicate.
megumi nudges her as they walk down the hall to the joint dining hall. “what’s on your mind?” he asks quietly. yuuji leans over to listen, head tilted in curiosity like a puppy. they’re warm and it’s a cold morning, so she presses closer until megumi’s sandwiched between them. it’s sort of uncomfortable and definitely not ideal for walking, but no one complains.
“maki-san,” she admits. “i still haven’t talked to her.”
“of course you haven’t,” megumi says flatly. she smacks his arm.
“what’s the worst that can happen?” yuuji reasons.
nobara lifts her fingers up and starts listing: “we break up, she hates me, i die, the turtles die.”
megumi blinks. “why would the turtles die because of you?”
“because i recycle, and you don’t.” she pushes open the door of their joint dining hall, and they shuffle through together. yuuta and inumaki are already there, chatting with the first years, and getou is already flitting around in the kitchen.
“megumi hasn’t been recycling?” gojo asks from out of nowhere.
“megumi, you’re not recycling?” getou echoes with a frown.
“what? i recycle,” he protests, scowling at nobara when she snickers.
“you better be, or else the turtles are all gonna die,” mimiko says. she waves at nobara with a bright grin that nobara returns; between the three first-years, she’s probably nobara’s favorite. nanako and junpei are sweet, but a bit too quiet for nobara to click with them.
“can’t we save the turtles through sorcery, or something?” yuuji asks.
gojo and getou glance at each other like they’re genuinely thinking about it. “bonito flakes,” inumaki offers.
yuuji nods. “you’re right. probably not.”
“food’s ready,” getou announces, sending yuuji and megumi scrambling towards the counter, yuuta and junpei following after with more composure. maki and panda finally walk in, panda as placid as ever and maki looking like she’s half-way to homicide.
“good morning,” nobara greets happily and presses up onto her tiptoes. maki leans down and kisses her cheek, then cuts the line to shove megumi out of the way to get to the scrambled eggs.
junpei winces. “she’s kinda terrifying,” she hears them whisper to yuuta.
“maki, play nice,” gojo calls across the room.
“I had a dream megumi forgot my birthday, so i’m mad,” she explains, then takes her plate and sits down by the kotatsu.
“that was your dream, though?” yuuji says.
“i’d do the same,” nobara says, and sits next to maki. the kotatsu is warm in itself, but she huddles into the other girl’s body heat all the same. maki makes no move to pull away, just adjusts her elbows so they aren’t bothering nobara as she eats.
slowly, everyone gathers around the table until it’s crowded and noisy. yuuji and megumi are on nobara’s other side, yuuji telling getou and gojo about some new crepe place they need to visit.
next to megumi are the first years, heads bowed together over a ds as they very seriously discuss what move to use next in the gym battle. panda is asleep on the couch, and inumaki and yuuta are leaning on him like a pillow. it’s awfully domestic, and the haze of the cloudy morning light makes it feel like something out of a dream.
nobara tips her head to the side to watch as maki eats. her hair’s in half-up, half-down style, her glasses shoved onto the top of her head. the sharpness of her jawline is especially enticing like this, when nobara’s sleepy and smitten.
“just use one close combat, and it's over with,” she tells the first years.
“that’s actually a stupid idea,” nobara replies, leaning into her shoulder.
maki opens her mouth to argue. nobara kisses her cheek. maki closes her mouth, ears red.
“i hate you,” she groans, then lays her head on top of nobara’s, the weight of it comforting and warm. nobara smiles. yeah, she’s good with this. there’s nothing they need to talk about.
“you really need to talk to her,” megumi says. he scrunches his nose as he carefully paints her nails white. “this is probably just a miscommunication.”
“how can a miscommunication last for three weeks?” nobara complains. “i still haven’t gotten a kiss.”
yuuji unwraps a kitkat and breaks off the bars, then feeds one each to her and megumi, their hands too occupied to eat it themselves. she blows him a kiss through a mouthful of kitkat.
“i saw her kiss your nose, like, yesterday,” yuuji says, chewing thoughtfully. “you guys are so cute.”
“we are, aren’t we?” she preens. “wait, that’s not the point!”
“oh my god, at this point, i might just knock at her door and tell her myself,” megumi groans, overly dramatic.
“you’re so annoying,” she tells him. he inspects her nails carefully, then deems them done and gingerly sets her hand onto her own knee to dry. yuuji eyes the freshly painted nails by his head, resting on nobara’s thigh, and shifts away from them. “oh, they look nice. thanks.”
“why won’t you let me do yours?” yuuji whines.
“you spilled all of it last time!”
“that was once !”
“one time too many,” she says, unphased. “plus, megumi has three sisters, so he’s experienced.”
megumi hums. “that’s true. if i had a single yen for every time nanako begged me to paint her nails, i’d be a millionaire.” he shakes the bottle, then takes yuuji’s hand. “i’ll paint yours.”
“whipped,” nobara coughs. megumi elbows her.
it goes quiet around them for a minute or two. yuuji’s scrolling through twitter, megumi focused on yuuji’s nails, and nobara stewing in thought. she finally says, “i really don’t want to talk to maki-san.”
yuuji sits up in worry. “why? did she do something?”
“what? no, i meant about the - kissing thing.” she snorts, rubbing at his hair affectionately. “you’re adorable.”
“i mean it. i’ll tell her myself if i need to,” megumi says. he blows over yuuji’s nails and continues, “if she even knows you’re dating.”
“stop saying that,” she groans.
“I mean,” yuuji starts slowly, “the way she looks at you, sometimes…” he trails off, eyes focused on his hand in megumi’s.
“the way she looks at me?” nobara echoes.
“sad, kinda,” he says. “like. like you know, the gay-pining-kind of sad.”
“like megumi before you guys got together?” nobara asks. megumi scowls at her.
before either of them can reply, there’s a knock at the door, followed by hurried whispering. they glance at each other in amusement. finally, someone pipes up, “senpais, you’re getting assigned a mission.”
megumi gets up and opens the door to the twins, mimiko with her phone in hand and nanako with her plushie hanging off her bracelet. nanako catches sight of the nail polish bottle in his hand and brightens up. “megumi, where’d you get nail polish from? can you paint mine?”
“it’s nobara’s. ask her.”
“i don’t mind if you use it,” nobara offers. lending them nail polish is a small price to pay for getting to have other girls around - besides maki. “i have other colors, too.”
“thank you so much,” nanako says with a shy smile. nobara pinches her cheek - she’s adorable. they all shuffle out of the room, and she closes the door behind them.
“suguru said he’s going with you guys,” mimiko says, skipping as they walk outside together.
“at least he’ll probably take us for dessert after,” nobara sighs.
“my nails haven’t finished drying,” yuuji says mournfully.
“they’ll dry in the car,” megumi says. he nods at where their teachers and the third years are doing hand-to-hand combat training on the field. maki throws yuuta to the ground and getou cheers in the back.
“you didn’t have to do it so hard,” yuuta whines, rubbing the back of his head.
maki stretches her arms upwards, the muscles of her triceps and back straining under her workout shirt. “nah, i had to.”
nobara bounces over to where maki is. “for feminism,” she adds, pressing a kiss to her sweaty jawline.
maki grins. “exactly. you going with suguru?”
“yup. i think it’s a first-grade.” nobara tips her head up. “kiss for good luck?”
kiss me, she thinks, eyes darting down to maki’s lips and back up to her green eyes, glinting in mirth. kiss me. kiss me kiss me -
maki tilts nobara’s head up with a finger under her chin and kisses the space between her eyes.
“good luck,” she murmurs, and pulls away to talk to yuuta. nobara hopes the disappointment doesn’t show on her face, then feels abruptly, terribly guilty for even feeling disappointed.
“kugisaki-kun, let’s head out,” getou calls, already with megumi and yuuji.
to console herself, she grabs maki’s windbreaker from where it’s laying on the grass nearby and shrugs it on. it’s loose around her shoulders and a bit too long, and therefore perfect.
maki’s gaze follows her the entire time. when nobara glances through the window, she catches the look on her face - something quiet and bittersweet.
she remembers what yuuji had said: the way she looks at you, sometimes .
“nobara?” yuuji asks quietly. both of their gazes are trained on her in quiet concern. “you okay?”
nobara buries her face into maki’s windbreaker. the way she looks at you. you should really talk to her.
“i think you two might have a point.”
so, nobara really has no idea how to go about this. she isn’t good at talking, not at all; yuuji had come back from the dead and her first instinct was to drop kick him, then yell at him.
she isn’t good with words, but they need to talk.
it’s been on her mind all day, since their mission yesterday. it was relatively easy, between the three of them and getou’s assistance - which was good, she didn’t want to get sweaty, but also meant it didn’t serve as much of a distraction. her mood was apparently very obvious, because megumi and yuuji had shown up at her room later to drop snacks off because they thought she was having period cramps. she wasn’t, but she laughed so hard her stomach really did start cramping.
today’s saturday: a free day. nowhere to be and nothing to do. it’s also grocery day, but she had gone with mimiko and nanako last week, so now it’s yuuji and junpei’s turn.
“junpei and i are going for a movie today,” yuuji says, puppy eyes on full blast. “please, nobara?”
she clamps a hand over her eyes. “i went with the twins last week! i’m not going.”
“nobara,” he whines, tugging at her hands. “pleaaaase?”
“get the groceries while on your movie date,” she grouses.
“what? no! that’ll kill the vibe. please?”
she sighs and removes her hand. “who would i even go with? no one’s free.”
“he’s visiting tsumiki at her dorm.”
“nanako’s not feeling well.”
“you’re an independent woman! you can go by yourself!” he says cheerfully.
“i’m going to strangle you,” she hisses and lunges at him, only to be tugged back by a hand at the back of her hood. “kids, play nice,” getou says mildly, holding her up by the scruff.
she scowls. “yuuji’s trying to slack off grocery duties.”
“yuuji-kun, that’s no good,” gojo titters, appearing at getou’s side.
“junpei and i are seeing a movie tonight, though.”
“oh, understandable,” getou replies, nodding sagely. “kugisaki-kun, you can go, right?”
she kicks at him, and is only stopped by gojo’s infinity around the both of them. “no! it’s my free day!”
“yuuji-kun has a date, come on,” gojo needles.
she glares at them both. “who would i even go with? megumi’s with tsumiki, and the twins aren’t feeling well.”
there’s one very obvious answer.
“maki’s free,” they say in unison.
“it’s so creepy when you guys do that,” yuuji comments. he glances at his phone and freezes. “the movie starts in twenty! i’ve got to go.” he looks back up at nobara, puppy eyes at full power. “nobara, please?”
she sighs. “just go,” she tells him, waving him off. he kisses her cheek and runs off, calling, “i owe you, i swear!”
getou finally sets her down on the floor. she turns to them and crosses her arms. they’re both dressed comfortably; in sweats and t-shirts, gojo without his stupid blindfold and getou with his hair down. she says decisively, “i’m not going with maki-san.”
“trouble in paradise?” they ask simultaneously, matching grins and all.
“no, we’re good, just…” it isn’t maki, it’s nobara, but that feels insincere. she frowns. “it’s stupid.”
“it’s not stupid if it bothers you,” getou recites immediately, like he’s reading from a book. at least he’s internalizing his therapy. gojo lowers his voice and asks worriedly, “is everything okay? did she do something? or say something?”
“everything’s okay,” nobara assures them, waving her hands.
“we can go with you, instead,” getou offers.
“nanako’s not feeling well. you were on your way to sit with her, weren’t you?” she asks pointedly. she’s pretty sure she’s right - the only thing down this way are the dorms, and everyone’s in the loft or off-campus besides the twins.
he grimaces. checkmate. damn, she’s so smart.
“i’ll go,” gojo says. “and we can talk about your girl troubles and get milkshakes. oh, and do groceries, i guess.”
she snorts despite herself. “absolutely not. i’ll go with her. i should talk to her, anyway.”
“if you say so,” gojo relents, pulling back.
“grocery list is on the fridge,” getou tells her. “call if you need anything.”
“shouldn’t i be the one saying that?”
“just in case something comes up. we’re the strongest, after all,” gojo says matter-of-factly. she shoves him away.
“whatever. go check on your kids, father-at-fifteen.”
“eighteen!” gojo yells as they walk backwards down the hall.
“same thing!” she yells back.
“can you get tylenol for nanako?” getou asks loudly. she gives them a thumbs up, and they disappear down the hall.
she takes a deep breath. she can do this.
the loft is loud when nobara walks in - it’s just the third-years, but it sounds like a goddamn circus. she glances at the tv, where there’s a smash bros tournament being held, and understands. she waits until maki’s character dies (sheik, because she very vehemently believes they’re genderfluid, or something) to poke at her shoulder. “maki-san?”
maki tilts her head backwards to look at nobara. “nobara?”
the angle is sort of shitty, but nobara finds it adorable anyway. they’re inside, so maki doesn’t have her glasses on - her hair is down, falling down her shoulders and over her collarbones. her eyes are a bright, pretty green in the afternoon light spilling through the windows, and they crinkle when they meet nobara’s. “hi,” she says with a grin.
nobara smiles despite herself. “hi.”
they keep like that for a moment before inumaki says, “kelp?”
“oh, right. maki-san and i have to go get groceries.”
“cod roe,” inumaki protests.
“i know, but yuuji and yoshino are going for a movie, so i offered to go.” not really offered, but whatever. she pokes maki. “you coming?”
“yeah, let’s go.” maki stretches her arms a bit, peering outside the window. “make sure to grab a jacket. it looks a little chilly.”
nobara immediately zeroes in on maki’s jacket, folded clumsily on the couch. maki follows her line of sight and snorts. “go ahead,” she says, and nobara immediately grabs it and puts it on.
the others echo back goodbyes and see-you-later’s as her and maki take their leave. it isn’t too cold; just the faint, lingering chill of a winter just warmed over. the nearest convenience store is just a ten minute walk, which isn’t a lot of time when spent with one of nobara’s favorite people.
even with nobara’s mind working a mile a minute, it’s still nice. maki’s easy to be around, and nobara never feels the need to act like someone she isn’t around her. maki would see through it immediately, anyways. she’s fun to talk to and be with.
their hands swing between them, casually interlocked, while maki’s other hand holds the basket and nobara’s their grocery list. the weight of maki’s hand in hers makes her inexplicably giddy, even with the swirl of anxiety in her gut. it’s a weird combination.
maki leans over her shoulder to peer at the grocery list. “okay, let’s go for the milk and butter first,” she decides, pulling nobara along to the fridges.
“what makes milk organic, anyway?” nobara muses. “like what, they got it straight from the cow titty to the carton?”
“i’m pretty sure it means the cow was organic,” maki replies. she lets go of nobara’s hand to put the milk carton in the basket, then interlocks their hands again.
“a cow can’t be organic,” nobara says.
“that’s rude,” maki says.
“is it because i’m lesbian? is that why you hate me?”
“yes,” nobara deadpans, biting down a stupid grin. maki elbows her gently.
“what’s next?” maki asks.
she glances at the list, covered in everyone’s colorful handwriting. gojo insists on keeping a notepad on the fridge, along with a basket of colorful pens, for grocery lists. nobara can admit it has its own charm; it’s awfully domestic, seeing everyone’s little notes in their handwriting. junpei has his items in a speech bubble, connected to a little doodle of a cat that’s talking.
“eggs and… cheese?” nobara squints. “or chess.”
maki looks over. “panda’s handwriting fucking sucks.”
“he’s a panda.”
“yeah, it’s hard to miss.”
“you’re the worst.”
“sure,” maki says placatingly.
they pause in front of the shelf of eggs. maki sets the basket down to pick up different cartons of eggs, weighing them consideringly.
nobara watches the purse and pout of her lips and wants, so desperately and overwhelmingly guiltily.
suddenly, everything she’s been desperately trying not to say comes spilling out -
“maki-san, why won’t you kiss me?”
dread curdles in nobara’s gut. she wants to pull her hand away, but maki’s is already going limp, slipping through her own. someone makes to walk in the aisle, then sees them and decides to leave.
“um,” maki croaks, placing the egg carton down, “what?”
nobara feels light-headed. she’s starting to understand, and she doesn’t like it. “why won’t you kiss me?” she asks again.
“i… i do kiss you,” she says, blinking. shock is a funny-cute look on her, but nobara’s too preoccupied to really enjoy it.
“not-” nobara feels herself going red, but powers through- “not actual kissing.”
“nobara,” maki says faintly, “why would we kiss?”
“because we’re dating?” nobara says, voice barely audible over the whir of the fridges. something terrible and hot and sticky burns in her throat and behind her eyes.
maki’s voice is quiet and shaky when she says, “we’re… dating?”
megumi was right.
“oh my god,” nobara says, burying her face in her hands. “i’m so - oh my god.”
“wait, when did we-” maki sets the basket down to wave her hands around frantically. “wait, you like me? wh- since when?”
“maki-san, i kiss you good morning everyday. i’m wearing your jacket right now,” nobara answers, sort of hysterical right now. she blinks back the tears and says, “of course i like you. i thought - i thought you knew.”
the i thought you liked me back goes unsaid.
she stares down at the white tiles of the floor. the basket sits on the floor, handles hanging on the sides sadly. the eggs look awfully fragile next to her feet. she briefly entertains the idea of kicking over the basket just to hear them crack and see them spill all over the clean white floor.
“oh.” maki swallows, face red. “i didn’t know.”
nobara laughs shakily. “well. now you do.”
“wait, wait, wait-” maki suddenly grabs nobara’s face, cupping her cheeks. “nobara, you know i like you too, right?”
“you - what?”
“i mean, that’s - that’s why you thought we were dating, right? because i was so obvious.” she swallows nervously.
her hands are cold and shaky against nobara’s face, and so are nobara’s palms when she grips maki’s wrists. “i like you so much. i’m so whipped for you it’s stupid.”
her smile is shaky and nervous and gorgeous, the nervous bob of her throat endearing. and she likes nobara!
maki’s hands on her face feel like a balm to her aching, sensitive nerves; nerves that make her fingers tremble and her skin clammy, nerves that she really shouldn’t be feeling now that she’s assured in her feelings - but nobara’s only a sixteen year old girl faced with possibly the most overwhelming, exciting, terrifying situation in her life.
maki likes her. it’s stupid to fixate on, when nobara has literally spent the last few weeks believing - knowing? - her feelings were requited, but in the context of the emotional roller coaster that the last five minutes have been, it feels like relief, like climbing off the ride with wobbly legs and smiles.
“gayass,” nobara chokes. “you’re so gay, holy shit.”
“sorry i didn’t realize we were dating earlier. i probably scared you,” maki says sheepishly. nobara shakes her head.
“i should’ve asked you properly, anyway.” she scrubs her eyes.
“wait, does everyone think we’re dating?” maki asks, realization dawning on her face.
“well, everyone besides you,” nobara says, half-laughing. “megumi was pretty sure you didn’t know we were dating. well, weren’t. well-“
“i mean, we basically were.” maki buries her face in her hands. “wow, i was stupid.”
“i was stupid for not asking you out properly,” nobara admits. “i can’t believe this.”
“we’re both stupid,” maki relents. “but, uh, we can be stupid together? stupid girlfriends?”
“that was so bad,” nobara laughs, giddy. she takes maki’s hands off of her face, and tangles their fingers. “i’ll think about it.”
“well, think faster,” maki says. her eyes are bright and happy, her cheeks red under her wide smile. there’s no way in hell nobara’d say no, and they both know it.
“okay, fine. but! i have three conditions.”
“three conditions,” maki repeats, mock-serious.
“yup. one: i get to wear this jacket.”
“you do that already.”
“ two. don’t ever tell megumi or yuuji that they were right.” she’ll probably end up telling them anyways, but whatever.
maki nods. “understandable.”
“three: you kiss me,” nobara finishes.
“girlfriend jacket, no snitching, kisses,” maki sums up. nobara nods. “i can do that. in fact, can i do that right now?”
“yes,” nobara replies immediately. she’s been waiting for weeks, sue her. “yeah, you can - you can totally kiss me.”
“you’re so cute,” maki laughs, then leans in and finally kisses her.
it’s soft and sweet, just a press of their closed mouths. their hands stay connected and hang between them. maki’s lips are soft with her favorite strawberry chapstick and a little cold from the outside chill. nobara leans onto her tiptoes to kiss her properly, light-headed with the realization that she’s kissing maki zenin.
she falls back onto her heels after a few seconds, smiling like an idiot. maki isn’t any better - she just looks dumbstruck.
“you’re so cute,” nobara tells her, pressing a kiss to her cheek.
“gayass.” her cheeks are red, especially easy to see under the bright lights of the store.
“kiss me again?” nobara asks, and feels no guilt in it, just giddy anticipation.
“one more kiss,” maki agrees, and ducks down to press their lips together. nobara can’t help but smile into the kiss.
well. maki wasn’t taking it slow, after all.