Three years ago, Megumi said “I love you,” during sex. That day, after dropping Megumi off at his apartment, Sukuna lingered outside a storefront waiting for his younger brother to show up.
Ten minutes later, Yuuji gets off a bus and walks down the street while staring at the text message detailing an address. Wednesday classes are short and he usually spends the afternoon with some of the other guys in his program. Todo and Choso always try to drag him around to stores, movies, and different restaurants. Since his program started, they took him under their wings, and over time, the anger lessened.
The anger at his brother.
Years of his brother working shit jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food in the fridge, making sure he always completed his homework, obnoxiously hovering over him when he reached the end of high school and was filling out papers to attempt college, the eventual blow-up between them when he told Sukuna he was going to drop out, and the unspoken resolution when he explained he wanted to become a firefighter, all slowly chipped at his frustration.
It didn’t mean he could always stand him, but the corners were smoothed out. The sound of him coming home early in the morning didn’t make him kick frustrated at his bedsheets anymore. He awoke, grumbled, and slid back into sleep eventually.
Yuuji turns down one block and spots his older brother’s menacing silhouette in the distance.
“So where’s the fire?” Yuuji asks, stuffing his phone into his pocket as he ambles to Sukuna who’s leaning against his motorcycle parked by the sidewalk.
“I need a second opinion,”
Sukuna stands straight and motions toward the jewelry store he’s been waiting in front of for the past twenty minutes.
“Why are we here?” Yuuji asks, his usually bright voice apprehensive. He watches Sukuna walk straight toward the door.
"I'm buying a ring,"
Yuuji follows him inside and he quickly starts to realize what’s happening, but he needs to hear it out of his mouth.
“...is it his birthday?”
“I’m gonna marry him.”
“Didn’t you just start dating him like… a couple months ago,”
“You’re out of your fucking mind,”
The woman behind the glass desk greets them politely and Sukuna asks to see their rings. Yuuji doesn’t interfere because he knows it’ll end up in a fight. Once Sukuna decides on something, getting him to change his mind is like pushing a boulder up a steep cliff. Not impossible, but damn difficult.
Yuuji examines the wedding bands on display with him, not really looking because they’re all sparkly and expensive looking and he’s not really into things like this anyway. He honestly still can’t believe he’s in a jewelry store with his brother and his brother is picking out a fucking wedding ring, but he’s trying his best to go with the flow.
“What kind of ring do you think he’d like?” Yuuji asks, glancing at his brother’s expression.
He hears him, but he doesn’t hear him.
“I don’t think he’d want a diamond, he’d probably be annoyed if there was a diamond on it,” Sukuna mutters to himself. “He likes high quality things but nothing over the top.”
The clerk motions him to the wedding bands and explains the most subtle designs, from twists to infinite symbols to engraved to smooth. There are quite a few choices and Sukuna peers at them all, clearly overwhelmed by the selection, and Yuuji, despite the way it makes his chest tight with anxiety, points to a couple of rings in the corner. The clerk explains that they are white gold, though they tend to look silver to the naked eye, and these are the most subtle kind that they carry.
“Well you said he wouldn’t like a flashy one,” Yuuji says.
“Right, so something like this, he’d probably like this,”
He sees the look on Sukuna’s face, there’s a besotted glint in his eye almost reflecting the shine on the small white-gold ring. Yep, there’s no stopping him now, but Yuuji has to give it one more try.
“Are you sure about this?”
Sukuna looks at him like he’s offended, like asking him multiple times is doubting the strength of his love and Yuuji knows he’s not understanding why he keeps asking anyway.
"Okay, fine, buy it, but just…" Yuuji knows it won't matter what he says but he hopes the worry in his voice will reach him. "Wait for it."
Sukuna stares at him, for a long few seconds.
"Hold onto it. He already knows you're an asshole and he still likes you so that's good but wait until, you know, something happens, or just, you've seen his bad sides too."
He still doesn’t get it. So Yuuji keeps going, it’s all he can do.
"I'm not saying don't ever do it, I honestly think…" Yuuji looks away, his hand rising to rub the back of his neck. "I think he's really good for you. And he seems like a good person. I just think doing that now could mess it up."
It’s taken years to get to this point, but as much as they’ve butted heads throughout their lives, seeing Sukuna jump headfirst into the black ocean eager to swim, only to watch him drown, would kill him. So he has to throw him a life preserver or two, he just hopes he’ll grab on.
“Cuz what happens if he’s not ready? Getting rejected can really mess with your head about your feelings, right? And it’ll definitely mess with his.” It finally looks like Sukuna is listening, the glow of his excitement is still there, but he’s considering it all, thinking ahead, for once stopping the impulse, stopping himself from doing whatever he wants to not ruin something so good.
"Give it some time, and when the moment is right, I'm sure you'll know."
Wait for it.
It’s a slap and shake Sukuna needs.
Over the next three years, it happens. An enormous black wave breaches, crashes down on a long worn sandbar, grips handfuls of its fragile, moving granules, and drags it all back into its unforgiving current. But as quick as it comes, it’s silent. The moonlight glitters over the gently rippling tides.
When a wave comes they crash together, they scream, they claw, and in the whisper of the receding tide, Sukuna hugs Megumi to his chest and they remember to breathe in the ocean air. For Megumi, every time he comes and apologizes first, he’s soothed into calmer waters, grateful to have someone so willing to struggle, to fight, to keep him.
What Megumi doesn’t know is every time through those three years of ups and downs, when Sukuna was ready to walk out the door, he’d stand at the threshold and stick his hand in his pocket, hold onto the moment he knew it couldn’t be anyone else, then turn around to find him and hug him.
Wait for it.
Wait for the tides to come, to scrape at their sandy shores, drag handfuls of them away into its churning black. But no matter how violent the waves or how much is washed away in the torrent, the sand returns, layer upon layer, gently built back up by the very same water, ever resilient, never-reaching the furthest virgin stretches of the soft sandy beach.
Wait for it, just wait for it.
So he did.