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Kento returns to the jujutsu world with the grim determination of someone who's made the right decision despite not being pleased with it. Weights were measured; conclusions were achieved; a phone call was made, and that was it. At first glance, Jujutsu Tech is deceptively familiar, but the differences are felt in the absences.

One wouldn't think anything too tragic happened looking at Gojo—Gojo-sensei, as he's called now—with the way he jokes around with his students, provokes his superiors and acts more carelessly than ever, as if he never had a worry in life. It's a good act, Kento will give him that. But for someone who knew him before, who watched firsthand the passage from confidence to disillusion, the attitude seems off-kilter at times, depending on the angle and the light. Getou Suguru's ghost still clings to him, manifesting in harsh words, the occasional cruel jibe and the frustration with their world that threatens to spill out into action.

They better all hope it never does, or Gojo will do way more damage than his former lover.

Kento knows something of ghosts. He lost a friend, yet doesn't think his grief was any less powerful for that—and there was something there, a feeling that could have grown and developed into something more, given time. But they don’t have the luxury of time in this profession, and he's long since to cut that kind of musing in the bud. It's a waste of time and energy, useless emotion. He doesn't let the memories occupy his thoughts as he walks through the familiar halls again, firmly anchoring himself in the present. The new faces help him separate the two periods in his mind, and as much as Gojo connects the two, his attitude—grating as it might be—also helps set the tone. He understands the need for dissimulation, for if grief was felt externally, neither might do what needs to be done.

Kento’s here because he can help people and it’s his responsibility to do so. That's all there is to it.

So he braces himself for dismemberment and an eventual gruesome death, never considering for a second that there could be any real surprises in his future. 

*

“What are you doing here?”

He tries to sound as disapproving as possible, not that he expects it to deter the man in his front door. Gojo’s wearing his dark shades and a casual outfit. He carries a large paper bag in one hand and a bottle of wine in the order, and crowns it all with a shameless grin.

They were not the best of friends in school. Sure, they knew each other as much as any two people in an extremely small environment will—Gojo teased, Kento talked back and they were used to being around each another. But each had their own friends and didn’t spend much one-on-one time together. Now, however, without their own partners in crime, and with Shoko apparently fed up with him, Gojo seems to figure they’re all each other has. This is not the first time he shows up at Kento’s apartment (the fourth, in fact) and certainly not the first Kento regrets ever giving his address.

Curt responses don’t stop him; displays of annoyance only fuel his determination. Kento has learned it’s better to accept than to fight him every step of the way, so he takes the bottle from his hand and examines it.

“This is unnecessarily expensive,” he chides.

“Only the best for Nanamin!” says Gojo happily, walking past him and making himself at home.

With a sigh, Kento follows. Gojo goes straight for the kitchen, taking out the contents of the bag. The smell of soba wafts out from it, and he resigns himself to setting the table.

Gojo is a terrible cook, catastrophic in the kitchen in the way a grown man really shouldn’t be, and all Kento allows him to do now—after an incident that almost burned down his apartment—is opening containers or heating up things in the microwave.

As he moves, Gojo prattles about his day, his students, and the place he bought the dinner from, this new place in Shinjuku.  

“I took Megumi there the other day, then we went for a walk!” He pulls out his phone and finds a photo—an unflattering image of the boy halfway through eating his noodles. Gojo swipes it to the next one, showing a disgruntled Megumi inside some shop wearing a tiara with cat ears. Gojo chuckles. “He really needs to cheer up.”

“Perhaps,” Nanami suggests, “he objects to the company.”

“Weird, since I’m such excellent company,” retorts Gojo without missing a beat. “You should know. What should we watch tonight?”

“No more romance movies,” he replies tiredly as they sit at his table for two, which until recently had been occupied exclusively by one.  

“You’re a cold, cold man,” Gojo protests.

“You just like mocking the characters! Pick something in which no one kisses in the rain. In fact, since it’s my house and my TV, I will pick the movie.”

“Agh, Nanami,” whines Gojo. “You’ll pick something boring no one’s ever heard about and I’ll fall asleep.”

“Good, then you’ll be quiet.”

“Mean! How about an action movie?”

“Too noisy.”

“Well, then, you leave me no other option. It’s time we began your instruction in the noble art form of horror movies. For research purposes. It’s kind of our business, after all. Think they can make something up uglier than an actual curse?”

Gojo spends almost half an hour going through the options in his streaming service, debating the pros and cons and giving Kento several spoilers in the process which only make him sure he’s about to have a terrible time.

“You’ve clearly seen most of these already, why must I go through this?”

“And this the thanks I get for sharing valuable knowledge,” Gojo huffs, sprawled on his couch while Kento has taken the easy chair. “Oooh, this one is great! The protagonist turns into a mosquito. You’re going to hate it.”

Even for their standards, it’s particularly bad. Gojo is delighted and takes special pleasure in pointing at terrible special terrible effects and telling him that “they’re not real mutants, Nanami.” As these evenings usually go, they spend most of the time bickering about what’s on the screen, which is only marginally better than actually having to pay attention to it.

As the credits roll, Gojo delineates the plot of similar masterpieces, previewing a future of similar nights to Kento that makes him groan and throw his head back against the chair.

“Can I have no peace? And don’t even dream about putting another one tonight.”

“Fine, but then you have to entertain me some other way.”

“Or you could go home,” he points out, eyes still closed, body becoming pleasantly loose.

“But it’s so early,” complains Gojo. “You’re a terrible host.”

“You’re the one who barged in here. Why don’t you entertain me?”

There is a moment of silence in which Kento recognizes his mistake. He feels a spike of concern at the storm his words are about to call down, but before he can take them back Gojo hums quietly. “Entertain, huh? Fair is fair.”

“No.” Kento opens his eyes and looks at the man cross-legged on the couch. “I waive my right to be entertained.”

“No, no,” Gojo says generously. “I aim to please. I know!” he chirps, in that way that could be spontaneous, but has a hint of predetermined intention Kento has come to associate with a bad idea. “Let me suck your dick.”

Even expecting something outrageous, he’s blindsided. His brain whirs and halts. His face feels frozen. He just stares, expecting Gojo to laugh maniacally, tell him got you, anything to show that was a joke of questionable taste and not a genuine suggestion. But Gojo's expression is patient and curious, and there is expectation in the way he’s leaning forward. Kento becomes aware of the terrible fact that this isn’t, in fact, a joke.

“Why?” he asks.

“I'm bored and horny.”

“Go be both somewhere else,” he says. Then: “Why are you aroused?”

“That scene at the end was pretty steamy.”

“There were a giant bug–you know what, never mind.”

“Anyway, I’m here, you're here, and you look bored too though that’s your resting face so one can never be too sure, and the other thing we can work through it,” continues Gojo. He grins. “Trust me, I'm good.”

“I'll take your word for it.”

“Take my mouth. I’m giving you a free trial.”

“You know what a paid trial is called, correct?”

“Na-na-mi,” he singsongs. “You’re stalling. What do you say?”  

The desire to extricate himself from this conversation is overpowering. It’s difficult since this is, in fact, his apartment. He also knows that he must proceed carefully, without showing discomfort, if he wants to avoid a lifetime of teasing.

It’s not that he’s a prude or inexperienced—the opposite, in fact. Sex has always been an itch to be scratched, usually pleasurable, occasionally inconvenient, but he’s always made sure to keep the encounters brief and impersonal. Even one-night stands with colleagues at the firm occasionally risked getting complicated, and he’s had a few awkward situations where he’s had to explain to someone they shouldn’t get attached. There are apps that have allowed him to get the kind of experience he needed and come to know his own preferences, and it’s enough. He hasn’t even met anyone in months, not since he resumed work as sorcerer.  

And he’s never done anything similar with one of them. Their world is too small and it feels like everyone knows everyone else's business already.

“You can't be serious,” he argues, still hoping to be told it was a joke. Maybe that’s Gojo’s plan? To make him cede even a millimeter, then tease him about it for ten years? But there’s no mistaking the interest in Gojo’s impossible blue eyes behind the slightly lowered pitch-black glasses. He’s uncrossed his legs, sat up a little straighter against the back of couch, every line in his body alert.

“Do you not like men?” Gojo asks, as if it’s only just occurred to him.

“That’s not the issue.”

The other man grins. “That’s more personal information than you’ve ever shared with me.”

“And I already regret it,” he sighs. “Presuming you’re serious, this is an awful idea. We work together.”

“Barely,” Gojo points out. Fair enough. It’s not like they’re constantly on mission together, or even see each other at school all the time. “And we’re both adults, I think we can handle a friendly blowjob.”

“Even if it’s shit?”

“Hey, now!” Gojo protests, with genuine indignation. “I’ll have you know my blowjobs have received excellent reviews.”

“Well, in that case.”

Gojo just waits, a grin still playing in his lips. This is the quietest he’s been all night. It’s an offer, and a dare—he wants Kento to speak. Won’t let him get away with less than a personal, direct refusal.

To say he’s never looked at Gojo Satoru would be a lie. It’s hard not to notice him—his overwhelming presence, the kind of features that makes girls sigh, those eyes that draw you in, and that infuriating charm that can be equally aggravating and appealing. He’s never given this any real though, however, despite recognizing that Gojo is, undeniably, an attractive man. But that’s not what’s kept him from refusing the offer for the past few minutes. It’s Gojo’s arrogance—and the idea of this man, who delights in parading his power and invincibility, on his knees…

Damn him. Kento bites the inside of his cheeks, cursing himself for a fool, and grips the arms of the chair. “Do what you want.”

A slow grin grows in Gojo’s face, and Kento suspects he had considered, for once, the idea of being denied. If Kento had seriously asked him to stop or to leave, he imagines he would have. But Kento has never done so, which is something he’s only just realizing now.

Gojo rises slowly, with none of the agitation with which he flitted around the house, ridiculously tall in his dark pants and dark, loose shirt. Kento can see his collarbones. He imagines what they’ll look like from above.

He doesn’t move an inch as Gojo approaches and drops in front of the chair, fitting himself between Kento’s legs and licking his lips.

“Take your glasses off,” he says.

“I won’t miss, promise.” But he does it anyway, closing them and fitting them in his pants’ pocket. “Are you going to look bored the whole way through?”

“Probably,” he answers, “unless you do something worthwhile.”

The challenge is met with a glint of blue and an upturned lip. “So demanding,” murmurs Gojo. He runs his hands back and forth over Kento’s thighs, warming them up with the friction. Gojo’s hand have gone up to his stomach, raising his shirt to feel his skin beneath. They’re warm, long fingers pressing down on muscles, coming close to his waistband.

They’re still looking at each other. He’s not going to back down. Now that he’s accepted it, he might as well enjoy it. Treat it as any other sexual encounter.

And if this was one of his other partners, he knows how he would proceed. He likes having control, leading the dance. Usually there would be a discussion beforehand, but if Gojo objects he can always get up and leave—there’s hardly a power imbalance here when one of them is literally the most powerful person in the world. Part of him hopes Gojo will turn away in a huff.

“If tell you something,” Kento says gruffly, “you do it. Understood?”

Gojo stops, stares, licks his lips again. Then he nods. “No problem.” His fingers stop over his zipper. “Can I?”

He nods. He’s not hard, but suspects it won’t take long to get him there.

“Ah, fuck, nice,” says Gojo when he frees his cock, with such sincerity that Kento feels a flush spread across his face.

One hand grips his base as the other feels the length of him, eyes occasionally flicking to his face, registering every twitch and reaction. The slide is uncomfortable without lube, but after a few tugs Gojo decides he’s observed enough and puts his mouth to work—starting at the base, tasting him all the way up, covering his cock in spit. His lips circle the head and he bobs up and down a couple of times, not going too deep. Still tasting. Still testing.

Kento breathes in deeply. The sight is more appealing than he figured it would be. He’s determined to remain aloof, but his interest is all too obvious.

Gojo looks up, lower lip still brushing the sensitive skin. “Good?”

It’s not often the man sounds this quiet or this invested in an answer.

“Adequate,” he says.

Gojo huffs out a laugh. “Alright, then. Let’s get serious.”

And he means it. He slides his knees even closer, rearranges the position of his arms, one hand on his dick and the other beneath his shirt, and straightens his back. And when he next goes down on Kento, it’s all the way down, enveloping him in tight heat until Kento hits the back of his throat.

It’s like a sucker-punch; his head sinks into the back of the chair. He pulls air into his lungs only by a conscious effort, while one of his hands moves against his will to fist Gojo’s hair. A hum around his cock tells him the action is appreciated, and he bites his lower lip, swallowing a moan and thanking the fact Gojo is too busy to notice. Gojo pulls back and then goes down again, establishing a competent rhythm. He’s good—technically speaking, if Kento can judge it objectively, and he’ll try to for his own sake—he must have experience. He wonders for a second whose dick Gojo has been sucking before it becomes difficult to settle on a thought and it’s all he can do to smother his reactions.

Kento forces the hand to open and threads his fingers more softly through his hair, encouraging. He turns Gojo’s head this way and that with soft murmurs of approval. Gojo lets himself be maneuvered, chasing each noise with the slick slide of his tongue.

Then his right hand disappears beneath Kento’s line of sight and he stops it with his foot before it reaches its destination, pushing it out of the way.

“Did I tell you to touch yourself?”

Gojo pulls off with a pop, both hands stilling. “No?”

“Then don't do it.”

He waits for a response. He expects Gojo to whine, like he does when there’s even a minute resistance to his plans, but there’s nothing except a slow, tight nod. The hand returns to where he can see it, clutching around his shirt. “Yes, sir,” Gojo breathes, with no defiance whatsoever, and gets back to what he was doing.

Kento can’t keep a low groan from escaping this time. He’ll never live this down. Even if Gojo is too occupied to notice, he will always know. He inhales deep and steadies his breathing, looking away. Gojo’s hand moves convulsively over his chest, closing and opening. He looks down again. Something hot swirls in his belly.  

“All that bravado and look at you now,” he murmurs, trying to keep his voice firm. “Desperate, on your knees.” By the way Gojo hums around him, eyes pressed shut, he thinks he hit a right spot. “You know, I think I could like you like this, with your mouth to full to speak. What if I just kicked you out after?”

Gojo pulls at his shirt while voicing an unintelligible complaint around his cock.

This isn’t going to last, as much as Kento wants it to. And that is another thing for him to know for the rest of his life.

“Gojo,” he warns finally, hand moving to the man’s cheek.

Gojo raises his eyes, stilling his hand, and pulls his mouth off only enough to be able to look at him. A trickle of spit connects it to Kento’s dick. Gojo stares up, waiting, tongue peeking out of red lips, and Kento realizes he's waiting for instructions. He knows, suddenly, Gojo will do whatever he says. Later, he'll try to convince himself this was a calculated move, that he made a conscious decision, but the truth is he's barely aware of his own actions as he grips Gojo’s hair again, pushes him back down and says, voice rough and trembling with desire, “Swallow.”

There's no objection. Gojo goes all the way down and that's it—the pressure that's been building reaches its climax and his eyes close as heat explodes between his legs. With a sigh in his lips, teeth biting them to keep from making too much noise, he spills and spills into Gojo’s hot mouth, feeling his throat working through it expertly.

Kento closes his eyes for a few seconds, head thrown back, mouth open and throat dry. When he comes back to himself, he dreads the sight he’ll meet.

Gojo looks completely obscene, fucked out despite not being fucked at all, hard in his half-opened pants, pupils blown and cum dripping down his lips. The image is not one that will leave him alone for a while. Possibly never.

“You can get off now,” he allows quietly.

Gojo drops his forehead on his thigh with a moan, and with an unsteady hand opens his pants and starts jerking himself off fast and hard. Kento can feel his gasps across the fabric of his pants, and runs his hands through his hair, his shoulders and back, until Gojo starts getting louder. It doesn’t take long.

Then he says mildly, “If you come on my carpet, you’re licking it off.”

Gojo bites him through his pants. Kento pulls hard at his hair. And with a half groan, half laugh, Gojo raises his head and leans back on his heels before coming over his hand and his own shirt. Those eyes—that ridiculous, piercing blue eyes—stare right at him all along, unabashed and unashamed, until they flutter close almost unconsciously and a long moan escapes his lips. Kento traces them with a finger, cleaning his own cum off them.

As Gojo’s breathing returns to normal, Kento pulls his hand back over the chair arm.

There’s a moment of deep, overwhelming silence that fills up whole room.

Then Gojo smiles and claps his hands once. “Waaay to go, me! Wasn’t it a good idea?”

Kento sighs, regrets piling up all at once as he quickly buttons his pants again. Gojo’s cheerful attitude is somewhat ruined by his general state of disarray—his mouth is still indecent as he tucks himself in. Kento feels the awkwardness start to creep in but has no time to wallow in it because Gojo rises, stretches, swirls around and moves toward the door.

“See you tomorrow!” he calls out with a wave, putting on his glasses like nothing strange happened.

“Tomorrow?” Kento asks dazedly, brain still catching up.

Gojo turns around with a grin. “Yaga-sensei wants to see you at the school about a mission. That’s what I came to tell you. Bye-bye!”

And then he leaves.

*

He doesn’t manage to evade Gojo as he hoped after the meeting with director Yaga. The man practically leaps from behind a pillar and falls in step with him.

“Let’s have lunch,” he says.

Kento sighs. Considers refusing or trying to make an excuse. Says, “Fine.”

Gojo takes him to this new teppanyaki place, quite elegant and subdued and that emanates outrageous prices. He tells Kento he’ll pay, which Kento predictably refuses. If there’s one thing his years at a salaryman have earned him, it’s the possibility to indulge every once in a while.

Still, he’s surprised. “This doesn’t seem the kind of place you’d usually go to,” he says as they sit down at a long counter.

“Gotta make sure you have a proper send-off,” Gojo says easily, scanning the menu. “You’re going away, aren’t you?”

“Yaga-sensei told you?” The mission is delicate, though all their missions are. Everyone is on a need-to-know basis and there is no need for Gojo to know.

“After some convincing.”

“So you pestered him into revealing confidential information.” He takes a sip of water and lets Gojo order them an expensive wine. He’s dressed more elegantly than usual, in a nice shirt and uncreased pants—so he intended to come here. Was the intention always to bring Kento? Had he also planned what happened last night?

The murmur of conversation surrounds them as the place fills up, a comfortable background noise. Kento won’t admit it, but it is a nice restaurant, one he might have picked it himself.

“I’m just curious about where he was sending my kouhai off to,” Gojo says, without a hint of shame.

“Why don’t I believe that?”

Gojo tips his head forward, staring him dead straight over the rims of his black glasses. “Because you’re too paranoid, Kento.” He controls his expression, but Gojo still catches the shadow of a grimace and laughs. “I was trying it out. What do you think? I believe we’ve reached first-name rights.”

“I didn't know that was a rule,” Kento replies carefully.

“Oh, yes,” Gojo says. “You can call me Satoru.”

“What an unparalleled gift,” he deadpans, but the tone is either lost or—more likely—ignored by Gojo, who grins at him. At least this hasn't changed, he thinks. He was worried some awkwardness might follow them around, but the banter is familiar and he doesn’t feel like running away or fleeing his own skin. This is Gojo, infuriating, charming, compelling as ever, and if Kento now knows what he looks like with his—

But no. That’s not something for him to think about now.

“Gojo-san, I don’t see any need to change the terms of our re—association.”

“Very well,” concedes Gojo. “Should we do it again?”

He nearly chokes.

“What?”

“Would you like a repeat performance? Or maybe something more?” He’s talking as if he’s asking what he’d prefer from the menu. Kento also doesn't miss the fact he's not being as forceful as last time. This isn't, he figures out quickly, a courtesy in any way, simply a way to make Kento refuse him directly. And it should be easy. He should be able to say, No, thank you, yet the word seems glued to his tongue. His hesitation is not missed. “Ah, so you also think we should!”

"We should not," he finally manages to say, clamping down on whatever bitter taste the words leave.

“Why not?”

“Because...”

“Was it bad?”

He sighs, giving a pointed glance, confident his expression will be telling enough. By Gojo's smirk, he's right. No, it wasn't bad, not at all, and Gojo knows this perfectly well.

“I thought it was pretty good too—way better than I imagined, to be honest.”

“I’m glad to exceed expectations,” he mutters.

“So why not do it again? If you think about it—"

“I’m trying not to.”

“—it’s reasonable that we would keep doing it. We're both adults in a high-stress job and this would allow us let off steam, which would only improve our work performances, which in turn will result in saving civilians and helping the world.”

Hyperbolic as usual. He doesn't point out that his blowjobs, while proficient, are unlikely to affect the state of the world, but there is one distinction that he needs to clarify.

“First it was do it again, now it's keep doing it?”

“Have you never heard of such arrangements between friends?” Gojo asks casually. “Give me one good reason why we shouldn't.”

“It might damage our professional relationship.”

“We seem to be doing fine, despite the fact you held my head down and told me to swallow.”

Kento inhales sharply, but the room thankfully doesn’t fall silent at the words and the rest of the diners continue to enjoy their lunch. He can feel his soul trying to abandon his body, but if he berates Gojo who knows what the man will do. And that is a good argument against doing this—he knows any more nights like the last will only embolden Gojo. Kento would be consigning himself to a lifetime of similar comments. Whatever happens, he needs to set some things straight right away.  

“If you don't behave, Gojo-san, I'm afraid I'll put an end to this right now.” If his voice gets low, like it had last night, it’s only half intentional.

One of Gojo’s eyebrows shoot up above the glasses. “Ah,” he says simply, taking a sip of his drink. Recovered, he continues: “My apologies! I wouldn’t want you to have to punish me.”

“Gojo-san…”

“But the offer still stands. Nanami, I’m serious.” He shrugs, casual and not provoking for once. Kento can see just a hint of azure eyes sparkling behind the glasses. “I had a good time. I would like to keep having a good time. That’s all there is to it.”

He shouldn’t. There are so many ways this can go wrong.

But… the words other things keep running through his mind. Maybe last night was a fluke—maybe he was caught by surprise and it made the whole thing more appealing, maybe he’d just been deprived of touch for so long that Gojo seemed better than he actually is, maybe it was just the high of having briefly have held the upper hand in this weird rapport of theirs. But how will he know for sure—how will he convince himself to stop remembering what Gojo looked like in front of him—if he doesn’t try again?

Is he really doing this?

I’m just testing a theory, he tells himself. Maybe the second time will be awful, and even Gojo will feel embarrassed enough to never mention it again. 

“If it’s not… mutually enjoyable,” he says carefully, “then we stop and forget this ever happened.”

Another one of those slow smiles, unfurling like a flower. “Deal,” says Gojo, and changes the subject.

*

Despite the decision, there’s no time to put it to the test. Kento leaves that same day for a mission, and while he’s away at Sendai keeps receiving messages from Yaga or other sorcerers in the region in need of help.

Gojo texts him in his absence. At first he dreads opening the messages, fully bracing himself for indecent photos, but Gojo is remarkably contained. He sends pictures of the students. Screenshots of more terrible movies he’s watching (all alone, without my Nanamin to provide commentary!). A series of short videos detailing his adventures in the kitchen (the last one ending in a high-pitched screech and a cloud of smoke). Found a new student, he says one day, following it blithely with: He’s Sukuna’s vessel!

Kento replies he’d like more information when they meet.

He occasionally sends something back. A shop window with silly masks he thinks Gojo will like. Shots of wherever it is he is at the moment, knowing Gojo probably has the information anyway. A cat that followed him around on the street.

I apologize if my messages are not so engaging, he says.

I like your boring pictures!, comes the answer, typically contradictory.  

Out there, he can almost pretend that night was a dream, and the conversation at the restaurant a hallucination. It’s not until a Saturday night, almost midnight, as he’s lying on a hotel bed with the TV as a low hum in the background, that a shorter message comes.

What you doing?

He could ignore it. Pretend he didn’t see it until morning.

I was about to go to sleep, he writes.

The phone rings.

“Nanami!” The familiar voice makes his lips twitch in a smile. The man goes straight to the point. “Didn’t pick anyone up?”

“It might surprise you, but slaughtering curses all day doesn’t leave me full of energy at night.”

“Nonsense, I have complete faith in your stamina.”

“Gojo-san, why did you call?”

He holds his breath the moment before the answer comes. “Well, I was going to send you a dick pic, but then I thought you might not like it.”

“How… strangely considerate of you.”

“Isn’t it?” Gojo agrees happily. “But I thought, oh well, we do have an agreement, even if we haven’t been able to do anything about it, so how about I give him a call?”

It’s only then that he realizes how winded Gojo sounds. “Are you touching yourself?”

“Hmm,” hums Gojo. “Yes.”

Kento’s not an idiot. He knew where a midnight call might lead and still answered. He hears Gojo’s breathing line and imagines what he must look like, whether his hair is disheveled and his cheeks flushed. Having a memory to come back to is a curse in itself.

“I… don’t have much experience with this sort of thing,” he admits. He’s never had the kind of relationship that allowed for it.

“No worries. Just hearing your voice is… ah… enough. Tell me about your day.”

“You want to get off while I describe the corpses I found?”

“My desires are… unconventional.” There’s a pause. “That’s a meme, Nanami! Don’t make that face I know you’re making. I meant it, I just want to hear you. You must have done something that wasn’t awful.”

“I took a walk around town. It’s a small place, picturesque.” He describes the place for a minute, painfully aware of every change in breathing on the other side of the line. Not seeing anything is driving him crazy. For a second, he considers asking Gojo for a picture after all, but quickly stifles that thought. “Gojo-san,” he says instead. “Tell me what you’re doing,”

There is a pause on the other side of the line.

“Hmm, just, you know.” Gojo stops and laughs at himself. “This is harder than I thought—pun intended. To be honest, I haven’t thought this through.”

“I’m shocked.”

“I guess I’m just… on my bed. Windows open, but no one’s peeking. Their loss. I’m wearing my usual nightly get-up, which is nothing. You can’t see but I’m wagging my eyebrows.”

“Thank you for the description.”

“And I was trying to sleep, but then I remembered how you sounded when you came.”

Kento inhales sharply.

“You tried holding back, but it just made it even hotter,” Gojo continues, lowering his voice to a whisper. Kento’s hand trembles where it presses the phone against his ear. His other hand is forcibly still, arm thrown behind his head. “It was—ah—so nice when you pulled my hair, even if I thought I was going to gag. To be honest, when I suggested the whole thing, I thought you were going to be flushed and revulsed like a nun.”

“I assumed.”

“But then you weren’t, so I thought, now that’s interesting, and then you started—ahh—saying things and looking at me that way. And I got all bothered.”

“That’s what you deserve for being a little shit,” hisses Kento.

“Ah, Nanami, but you like me like that. I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to do. Next time you’ll fuck me, won’t you?”

“Aren’t you a little presumptuous?”

There’s a low moan on the other end of the line. “What if I’m really good?”

“You wouldn’t know how to start being good, Gojo-san,” he says, closing his eyes, letting the sounds making create a picture in his mind. If Gojo was in the room with him—his mind skips from one image to the next, too fast for him to fix on one, filthy and enticing. “But maybe I’ll give you what you want.”

“Yeah?” pants Gojo. “I’ve been doing it myself but it’s going to be so much better when it’s you instead of a toy.”

The image punches the air out of him. “I’m sure it will be,” he says mildly.

Gojo’s not holding back on his noises at all. Of course, last time he had his mouth pressed against my leg. His throat is dry. Gojo’s moans becomes increasingly high-pitched. Kento shudders, but refuses to move until he hangs up, willing his body to calm down.

“Come on, I don’t have all night,” he says, hearing the rasp in his voice. “You abuse my generosity.”

“Fuck, I know, but I’m close, hmm—keep talking—”

Kento’s barely conscious of the words leaving his mouth; the hotel room, his weariness, the moans so distant yet so close conspiring to create a dream-like atmosphere. “Listen to yourself,” he murmurs. “Do your neighbors need to know what you’re doing? If you’re that loud when I’m inside you, I’ll need to find a way to keep you quiet.”  

A loud gasp and a cut-off word is followed by a long keening. Kento bites his lip as he waits for the sounds to crest and fall, until all that’s left is deep, even breathing. He holds the phone on shaky fingers and lets the air out through his mouth.

“Hmm,” Gojo murmurs. He speaks in a lazy, satisfied drawl. “Thanks, Nanami… feel so much better… can’t wait to see you again.”

“Gojo-san,” he says. “Why didn’t you pick anyone up?”

The question only now occurs to him. Gojo never has any trouble finding willing partners; he could’ve gone to a bar, opened any app or simply walked outside. Yet he’s at home, alone, jerking off on the phone to someone who’s never had phone sex in his life.

That seems to confuse Ghimojo for a moment. “Mmm. Good question. We could say I’ve been saving myself for you!”

Goodnight, Gojo-san.”

Gojo’s laughter hovers around him after closing the call, the same way his moans linger in Kento’s memory as he chases his pleasure in frantic, hopeless movements.  

*

One day, he’s sent to Hokkaido. The case is distasteful, to say the least, involving a website offering resurrection services for babies—which is probably run by a curse user doing something he won’t like to see. A second surprise comes in the shape of Gojo, who appears out of nowhere, having obtained his whereabouts from Ijichi.

Gojo makes him eat sweet potatoes and explain the whole case to him. Their back and forth feels normal, Gojo full of quips as usual, yet there’s an edge to him. Even his jokes hold a hint of impatience, and not like a good kind of anticipation; when they find one of the victims of the scam, a poor mother desperate enough to take a cursed doll as her deceased child, Gojo is far from tactful in dealing with her.

They find and defeat the perpetrator. The cursed man doesn’t stand a chance, of course, but the whole thing is as unpleasant as Kento imagined. Gojo is quieter than usual, not his ebullient self. Perhaps the case got to him, but Kento supposes he’ll figure it out as Gojo to his hotel—making no mention of having arrangements of his own—and leads them to the bar.

Once they’re sitting, Gojo says, “Yuji died.”

That’s his new student—Sukuna’s vessel. Kento’s heard rumors and suspected it might have something to do with his mood, but he’s surprised at his tone. Gojo is hardly heartbroken, or at least hides it really well.

“No worries!” Gojo adds with a smile that seems a bit forced, as if he followed his thoughts. “He came back to life. Seems to be a theme these days.”

Kento sighs and orders a cocktail. He supposes the conversation will require it.

“You’re a compassionate man, aren’t you?” Gojo asks a while later, after recounting the first years’ ordeal, due to the higher up’s disapproval of Yuji, and the miraculous—and worrisome—resurrection of his pupil. Kento listens, slightly shocked, to a surprisingly insightful speech about the dangers awaiting his students.

It’s not often Gojo displays this kind of concern over others. Not that Kento ever doubted he cared, but he never imagined the man put this much thought into it. Perhaps he’s been unfair to Gojo; he’s had his share of suffering, and at a young age too. It makes sense he wants his pupils to have a better time of it. It’s a fair, just impulse to have; and his surprise softens into something close to admiration.

“People like us know how to deal with the poisons of the profession,” Gojo is saying. “But young people… the poison could destroy their hearts.”

“That’s where the adults come in,” he points out. “Shouldn’t a teacher like you know that better than me?”

“I know. That’s why I came to talk to you.”

And here’s the catch. He wants Kento to watch over Sukuna’s vessel—or rather, Itadori Yuji, as Gojo makes sure to specify. He’s a good kid, apparently, brave and honest and decisive, and listening to Gojo talk he knows, with a deep-seethed tiredness, the man’s heart will break when the boy meets his inevitable fate.

“I want to leave him in the care of an adult who understands people’s pain. Someone like you.”

Kento leans back. For all that he spends most of his time around Gojo figuring out whether the man is joking or not, he knows without a question he’s being earnest now. This is clearly important to him. And although he doesn’t have many friends, or colleagues, to ask such a thing of, the fact he chose Kento makes something twist in his chest. He’s not pleased. He doesn’t anticipate he’ll enjoy the task. But he also knows he’ll say yes.

Gojo beams when he agrees, the dark cloud surrounding him vanishing. “You’re going to like him! He has a great taste in movies.”

“Why does not inspire me with confidence?” he murmurs, eyeing Gojo’s glass. “You’re really not going to drink any alcohol?”

Gojo smiles thinly. “I thought I’d stay sober tonight.”

And the mood subtly changes. Kento sighs, drinking the rest of his cocktail in one go, and looks at the man in front of him appraisingly. “I don’t suppose you made any arrangements to book a room.”

“Are you not going to invite me upstairs?”

Kento invites him upstairs.

*

The second time has Gojo on his knees as soon as they cross the threshold of his room; Kento's still closing the door behind them, fumbling with the card, as the world's most powerful sorcerer opens his zipper with a focus and dedication that he's never shown any paperwork in his life. Kento’s head hits the door; the card falls to the ground and the lights remain off. It doesn’t matter. He's had to fight off Gojo's hands in the elevator all the way up thirteen floors, and he’s relieved to finally be able to give in and touch.

He didn’t think he was this eager, but finds himself caressing Gojo’s head, the back of his neck, his shoulders, feeling the wonderful physicality of him while his cock hardens in Gojo’s mouth. Slopping noises fill the still darkened room, Gojo’s nails sink into his thighs, and Kento considers not moving until he comes.

But he has other plans for tonight.

“Wait,” he breathes, pulling Gojo away. “Bed.”

He pushes him backward, only a few steps, until the room proper, trying to recover his wits. Gojo’s vibrating with impatience, so Kento makes a point of sitting on the edge of the bed and slowly taking off his shoes then undoing his tie. The other groans loudly, eyes inscrutable behind his glasses in the moonlit room.

“Undress,” Kento tells him.

He doesn’t need to be told twice. In the time that Kento takes to roll up his tie and uncuff his sleeves, the glasses are off, shirt and pants are gone, and his cock is freed from underwear with the same careless abandon, with no self-consciousness. And why should he be self-conscious?, he thinks. Gojo might not have the muscled body of a more disciplined man, but his lithe figure is strong, proportioned, inviting. He’s stunning.

Kento watches, taking his fill.

“Nanami,” Gojo whines.

“Come here,” he says, hands resting on his knees.

Gojo approaches like a wary animal, one, two steps until he’s in front of him, dick so close he could lean in and taste. Instead, Kento grabs his waist and twists him, throwing him on the bed on his back. Gojo lets out an Oof as he goes down.

“Why are you still wearing clothes?” he asks. Kento is lying on his side, slightly hovering over him, hand propped next to his waist.  

“Gojo-san,” he says calmly. “I accepted your proposal, but we’re doing it my way. And I like taking my time.”

Gojo lets out a whine and tries tugging his shirt, but Kento slaps his hand away and leans forward to nip the spot where his neck meets his shoulder.  

“Ah,” Gojo breathes out. “Am I going to be bitten every time I misbehave?”

“That was a reward for undressing so fast,” Kento whisper into his ear. Gojo shivers.

Kento sucks at the skin above his collarbone, cataloguing the small noises he draws out. One of Gojo’s hand is fisting his hair, the other still touching his waist, though the touch is just grounding and no longer trying to undress him. Kento raises himself so he’s properly on top of him, but doesn’t let their bodies touch. Just moves lower until he has his mouth on a nipple. Gojo arches his back and hisses.

He tries his best to not let the responses rush him. He’s had a hell of a day, a hell of a talk, and has been waiting for this—with equal dread and anticipation—for weeks. He meant it when he said he’s taking it slow.

Gojo’s stomach swoops down when he moves lower, his whimpers interspersed with complaints, small words of encouragement or just his name, and Kento soaks them in. it’s so much better than from the other side of a phone. He feels heady, brimming with anticipation.

Gojo’s cock lies heavy over his stomach, hard and slick. Kento bypasses it completely and tastes the skin of his inner thigh, lifting it off the bed and biting a bruise there.

“Evil,” Gojo mutters above him, gripping wherever he can reach. “Don't stop though!”

He tastes and licks and runs his teeth to his heart’s content, then raises his body to look at Gojo, who tilts his head so their eyes can meet. “You’ve been accommodating… to a certain point.”

Gojo makes an expression so indignant he has to bite his cheeks not to smile. “I’ve been so patient! The most patient, Nanami, I don’t deserve this.”

“Alright, then. Don’t move,” he instructs, then leans down and takes his cock into his mouth.

Gojo lets out a yelp and grips the sheets, but, to his credit, doesn’t squirm too much. Kento starts at the base, licking a slow strip to the head and back then again, teasing him at the slit before enveloping the head in his lips. Gojo’s longer than he; he knows he won’t be able to deepthroat him, but, going by the noises, he’s doing well enough. He palms his balls with a hand, using the other to work what he can’t reach. Soon a hand shoots down to stop him.

“Wait—I won’t—give me a minute.”

“Alright.”

“No, don’t go away!”

“I need to get the lube.”

“My pants.” He points to the a mound of clothes on the floor. 

Kento sits back on his heels. “You have lube on your pants?”

“You brought lube on your luggage? We both came prepared, it seems.”

He’s not going to blush. He wasn’t planning on using it on anyone else, but he doesn’t want to discuss the alternative either. So he just moves off the bed while Gojo breathes deeply and calms himself down, feeling a shiver of satisfaction in his spine.

“There’s a condom too,” Goje informs helpfully.

He takes both and turns back, stopping at the foot of the bed for a moment. Gojo’s a sight like this, and they’re not even close to their endpoint yet. He crawls on the bed and parts his legs wider.

“You look good like this, Gojo-san,” he says.

“Will you stop calling me Gojo-san when we’re having sex? It’s going to start to affect my waking hours, I swear I’ll get a boner next we meet at the school’s and—oh.” Kento touches a lube-slicked finger in his hole, cutting him off. His body arches off the mattress. “Yes, yes, yes. Finally.”

But he’s not going to be rushed. One finger breaches the ring and by the time another joins him, he’s already being called all sorts of things—though that’s nothing compared to the protest that leave the man’s mouth when he straightens up again.

Gojo’s objection dies in his mouth when Kento starts unbuttoning his shirt. Slowly, methodically, he folds it and sets it on a dresser. His pants come off next. Gojo’s eyes follow him hungrily when the final piece falls. That gaze is almost too much to bear.

“Turn around,” he says, his voice rough.  

Gojo obeys.

Kento likes sex like this, when he can take his pleasure but retain control. It's always given him a rush of excitement to be the one running the show, and he'd be lying if he said doing it with Gojo Satoru—all-powerful brat that he is—doesn't take that rush to its maximum height. A part of him knows, with terrible certainty, he'll never get over these experiences, even if they never do anything again. There is simply no other Gojo—no one else that could destroy him, this room, this city, with a flick of his hand, and yet is bent deliciously in front of him, whining, desperate, waiting to be stuffed full.

He needs to take a few moments, and if the pause makes Gojo even more frenzied—good.

He puts on the condom, runs his hand over Gojo’s back, the immaculate skin slick with sweat, and then teases him with the tip over his lube-slicked hole.

Gojo lets out a deep, frustrated groan. “Aaah, come on, Nanami, I'll do whatever you want but for the love of everything, will you just—”

He pushes in, slowly but steadily. The burn is delicious; pulls the air from his lungs in one long exhale. Gojo’s pleading becomes a choked-off whimper.

“There you go,” he breathes out, calmly, after a few moments' har d breathing. “Satisfied?” Gojo's dropped his head on the bed, fingers grasping the sheets, muttering something that's lost to the mattress. Kento's gripping his hips to keep steady, so hard that he knows it must be hurting. “What? No more commentary?”

There comes a muffled laugh. Gojo’s face twists to that Kento sees one bright blue eye looking up at him from behind a lock of hair. “Are you going to move?”

“I'm thinking about it.”

Another whine. “You're so—if only I knew—fuck!”

“You wouldn’t have begged?” he scoffs. “Ask nicely.”

Please fuck me, Nanami, use me, do whatever you want, let me feel you—"

He can’t resist him like this, pliant and pleading. He pulls out and thrusts back in, and now even if Gojo mouths off he knows he won't stop. He builds up to a rhythm, as controlled as he can, establishing a hard, punishing pace. He needn't have worried—Gojo is beyond provocations, beyond words, the only sounds leaving his lips little open-mouthed gasps in between Kento's own noises—noises he can't control any longer, low grunts as the pleasure builds.

He wants to forget the day’s ugliness and future miseries. Changing the angle, he pulls and pushes Gojo's body anyway he wants, meeting no resistance, learning which ways will make the man groan deep and which will draw a high-pitched cry. Gojo's cock lies untouched and leaking precum over his sheets, and for some reason it's the hottest thing that's ever happened to Kento. The sight makes something twist in his guts.

He pulls Gojo back and up. His body comes easily, with an exhale of surprise, sweaty back leaning against Kento's chest as Kento reaches a hand forward to grip his cock and jerk him fast and hard. It’s a little rough; he raises his hand to Gojo's mouth and pushes three fingers inside. They're taken greedily, sucked with enthusiasm, and a moment later he grips his length again.

Gojo drops his head back to fit against his shoulder. Kento bites his neck.

"Fuck, yeah—perfect—ah, you feel so good—” Gojo's just spewing nonsense now, saying anything and everything, until his words become a string of unintelligible sounds.

“Come on, come on,” Kento urges. He holds his own climax back until Gojo spills in his hand, walls tightening around him, as a full body shiver overtakes him. Kento sucks his shoulder again—this one will definitely leave a mark—and gives a few more short thrusts, finally letting go with a noise he muffles on skin.

He falls further back on heels almost unconsciously, taking Gojo with him. Apologetic, he licks the spot where he stuck his teeth earlier. Not that Gojo seems to mind; he’s making content little noises, and a droopy smile has taken over his face, visible in the low light coming from the open windows. Kento hadn’t noticed they face another building, and can’t bring himself to care. He runs a sticky hand over his stomach, and Gojo huffs a laugh.

“Come on,” Kento says after a few moments of breathing, gently pushing himself away. Gojo flops on the bed stomach-first. “Go take a shower.”

Gojo turns his head, one corner of his mouth lifted. “We’re not going again?”

Kento doubts his strength to change the sheets, let alone go again, though his body responds to the suggestion despite its exhaustion. “Tomorrow,” he concedes. “Now go. Shower.”

“Come with me.”

“That will only take longer.”

“That’s the point.”

“Gojo-san.”

“Agh, fine!” Gojo lifts himself with a herculean effort. Naked and sticky, he moves toward the room’s phone.

“What are you doing?”

“Calling reception. I left my things down there.”

Kento gives him a pointed look. “You left your suitcase on my hotel?”

He gets a smirk back. “Call me a hopeful man.”

Later, after showers have been taken and sheets changed, Kento is somewhat surprised to find there is no awkwardness between them. Gojo is quietly contented, even acquiesces to wearing something to sleep in, and lies neatly on one side of the bed.

Kento hasn’t spend a night in bed with another person in years. He manages to settle at a comfortable distance and can almost trick himself into thinking he’s just sharing a room with a colleague after a mission.

The lights are turned off, and darkness envelops them again. Only their soft breathing breaks the silence.

“So,” whispers Gojo sleepily, but with an inordinate amount of self-satisfaction. “Mutually enjoyable, I’d say?”

Goodnight, Gojo-san.”

As he falls asleep, it occurs to him that they haven’t kissed even once.

*

Except for the curses, Hokkaido seems almost like a vacation, a bubble outside normal life. When Kento is finally allowed to return to Tokyo, things become more hectic. He gets to meet Itadori Yuji, comes across a new special-grade curse and gets himself almost killed, then almost killed again.

Gojo gets word of this—probably bullied it out of Ijichi, as soon as he arrived from wherever mission he was on—and shows up at his place that night, all in a flurry. He demands a complete account of the affairs and lifts Kento’s T-shirt to see the injury, tut-tutting at the bandages.

“I’m hardly dying, Gojo-san,” he says, curtly.

“You’re withering,” Gojo accuses. “Barely standing.” Right in front of him, Kento becomes aware of how much taller he is as he has to look up to his blindfold. Gojo’s lips twist in a smile. “But don’t worry, I’m here now.”

“That’s more reason to worry.”

“I’ll make sure you’re alright.”

“Gojo-san,” he says carefully. “Although I am fine, I’m afraid I’m not fit for strenuous activity.”

“Of course not! That’s why I brought food!”

“I wasn’t talking about cooking—” But he’s already being ignored as Gojo moves towards the kitchen, where he insists Kento sits down while he serves them, and doesn’t let him drink alcohol because he’s on pain medication, and says it was terribly clever of him to almost kill the special-grade curse.

But Kento only sighs. He knows he fell short. His inability to put an end to the curse weighs heavily on his mind, as well as everything else that occurred in the past few days.

“If it wasn’t for Yuji, I’d be dead,” he says simply. Gojo’s smile dies on his lips, his features rigid. “I was in his Domain. I didn’t have any other way of fighting.”

“Then let’s be glad Yuji was there,” Gojo says mildly.

Kento’s always known his abilities and never had reason to wish for more or feel inadequate in any way—but his close brush with death and the fact it would’ve left Yuji alone served to highlight what he hasn’t reached. Another annoying thought crosses his mind—about the abyss between him and Gojo—and he feels inexplicably exhausted, all of a sudden.  

Compared with Gojo and his students, who are always willing to go beyond what is expected, to push and sacrifice themselves, he’s as conventional as a sorcerer can be. He’s never had a problem with that until now.

“Alright, we’re moving this very subdued party to couch,” Gojo is saying. “Slowly, Nanami, don’t open your wounds! I thought long and hard about what we should watch tonight, and although I was looking forward to introducing you to the Sharkado series—”

“The what?”

“There are tornadoes with sharks in them! A quality premise. Yuji loved it!”

“I wouldn’t take Itadori-kun’s taste as a guide when choosing entertainment.”

But he’s already bracing himself to suffer through two hours of yet another brain-consuming absurdity. Except that Gojo continues, “As I was saying, just this once, you pick the movie.”

He stops halfway there. Did he hear right? When he realizes Gojo is serious, he’s almost suspicious.

“You can pick something old, in black and white, or in French or in Italian,” concedes Gojo. “I promise to stay awake. Or to sleep very quietly.”

What does he want to watch? He’s tired, and hurting and preoccupied with everything that happened. He hates that Gojo guessed he would go for a classic, but looks forward to the warm, comfortable feeling he gets when rewatching an old favorite.

“Very well.” He hesitates, then settles on a Casablanca. It’s melancholy, but he’s in a melancholy mood. “Where are you going?”

“I forgot to make tea! How do you like yours?”

“You’re acting strangely.”

“Me? I’m just trying—” Gojo cuts himself off, his back turned to Kento. “I just wanted to do something nice for you.”

It occurs to him then Gojo is sincerely trying to take care of him, and that it’s likely he never had to take care of anyone before. Even his students are mostly left to their own devices—he's more like a crazy brother to them than anything else, one of the gang, and not the most mature by half. This is Gojo trying to figure out how to be helpful. It’s endearing. And, if Gojo's not used to caring for someone, he's not used to being taken care of. Kento can't remember the last time someone doted on him—it must have been some nebulous time in his childhood. It certainly never happened with any of his lovers, if he can even call them as such.

Something melts in his chest, unwinding a knot he’s been carrying all night, and warmth spreads to his limbs. For someone who was sought for his emotional stability and wisdom, he’s not the best at deciphering his own emotions. But he wasn’t so expert in hiding it, because a few minutes into the movie, Gojo turns to him.

“Are you mad at me?” he asks suddenly. He sounds curious, looking at Kento as if trying to peel back all his layers of protection.

He rewards sincerity in the same currency. “Maybe.”

“Why?”

“I’m not sure.”

Gojo laughs. “That’s okay. I’m sure I deserve it.”

You do, he thinks. You made me know this boy, who’s going to be sacrificed due to no fault of his own, and before I had to be around to see him lose his innocence, get his hands bloody and his heart broken.

But none of that is Gojo’s fault, except for the part where he trusted Kento with something precious.

He sighs. “That was unfair of me.”

“I’m sorry you got hurt,” Gojo murmurs, looking smaller as he pulls his legs close to his chest. He’s looking at the screen, though Kento doubts he sees anything that’s happening there.

“That’s on me and me alone,” he replies after a few moments. Silence descends again, broken by the character’s lines, but it’s almost comfortable now.

Despite what he told Gojo at his arrival, his eyes keep sliding sideways and the itch to touch is there again. He could reach out and feel the curve of his shoulder, his chest, slide a hand underneath his blouse, find a way to turn him—it would be uncomfortable, it would probably hurt, but Kento thinks with a dark intensity it would be worth it.

Gojo’s face turns suddenly and he’s greeted by a blinding smile, caught in the glow of the TV.

“Gojo-san,” he murmurs.

“Don’t worry,” Gojo says, sweetly, a hand on his chin. “I got you.”

A few minutes later he’s lowering himself around Kento’s cock, arms braced on the back of the couch. With Gojo’s forehead touching his, their breaths intermingled, everything seems magnified. He’s taken off the blindfold and there’s nothing for Kento to do except look into his eyes while he helps his legs along their steady, vigorous movements.

He doesn’t know who closes the space first, but their mouths meet in a hot, breathless kiss. It’s messy and uncoordinated and enthusiastic; he doesn’t realize how much he’s been wanting to do it until he finds himself unwilling to break apart. He bites Gojo's lower lip and tries to capture every little sound he makes, hissing when he leans too far forward and bumps his nose against Gojo’s cheek.

“Oy, easy there,” Gojo breathes into his mouth, amused. He readjusts his position, pulling a low moan from Kento, and finds a rhythm that drives him slowly, deliciously insane, all the while running his tongue across his lips and teeth.

He comes over Kento’s shirt, gasping into his mouth, then whispers nonsense in his ear while pulling an orgasm out of him.

Unlike in Hokkaido, he leaves after, because there is no need for sharing a bed—and if Kento takes longer to fall asleep, no one else needs to know.  

*

It’s disturbing how quickly Gojo becomes a part of his routine, how fast his nights feel too quiet when there’s not a bustling presence taking up space in his apartment. It’s not that Gojo’s antics don’t drive him mad anymore—they do—but their arrangement, as it is, has revealed a different side to the man. Or sides, would be more accurate to say; there’s the pliant, obedient Gojo that melts under his hands and words; there’s the softer, caring Gojo that will try to spoil him without really knowing how; and there’s the quiet, subdued Gojo that he sometimes catches glancing at him from the corner of his eye, only to quickly submerge again, replaced by a grin.

Kento has started a mental catalogue of them, but he’s no closer to figuring out the man himself. Mercurial, effervescent, impossible to pin down—so material one moment, hot skin under his hands, and so ethereal the next. He should be more concerned by the space the man occupies in his mind, by the memories of their nighttime activities that will show up unbidden and force him to take a deep breath in the middle of a busy street or clear his mind halfway through a mission. Kento is aware he’s never been this distracted by someone, and wonders if it’s the natural result of having a recurring partner, whose reactions and habits he can learn and track. Perhaps it’s nothing to be alarmed by, he tells himself, even if the lightness he feels in his chest whenever Gojo enters his house—without knocking, with a key he somehow procured when Kento wasn’t looking—leaves him feeling shaken and vulnerable.

Like now, as the door is unceremoniously unlocked and he’s faced with a furious-looking Gojo wearing his school uniform.

“I hate the higher ups,” he says instead of good afternoon. “Stuffy, arrogant fools! Nanami, can I kill them all?”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

“You would say that,” Gojo mutters darkly, taking his shoes off, and comes towards the couch.

Kento sighs. “I’m reading,” he says, unnecessarily, as he’s holding a newspaper. Gojo doesn’t argue, just straddles his lap, kisses him for a while—Kento indulges him—then lays his head on his shoulder, hugging his waist.

He’s not exactly light or small, all 1,90 meter of him, but Kento doesn’t protest. He just sinks back further into the couch until Gojo can find a somewhat comfortable position and keeps reading his newspaper—waiting for the man to break and start talking, at which point he’ll put it away and concede to his demands for attention.

But the moment doesn’t come. Instead, after a few minutes, he feels Gojo's body relax against him, his breathing evening out and warming his neck in small puffs.

He comes to the end of his reading and sits in the darkening room. He could wake Gojo, move them to the bedroom, but instead remains still, feeling the man’s chest rise and fall against his, holding him loosely in place with an arm, while his thoughts fly out of control.

Gojo must’ve been tired. They haven’t seen each other in a few of days, but he’s heard the news of the attack on the school from the director. He texted Gojo about it and received nothing but reassurances. But now he wonders. He knows the real consequences of the attack on the school, and although the students are thankfully fine, there’s no question that the curses achieved much more than they should have—one of those things being incapacitating Gojo, even if only for a few minutes.

Kento finds himself unseemly worried about the man in his arms, then calls himself a fool for it. Gojo is the strongest sorcerer in the world, and nothing and nobody has come close to harming him for at least ten years. But, a part of his brain whispers, for that exact reason no one thinks he can be touched. And yet there are wounds that can’t be seen and hurts that can be felt deeply even by those who could burn the world to the ground.

Who worries about Gojo Satoru? Shouldn’t someone?

Why do you think it should be you? This is just an arrangement for convenience, he reminds himself once again. Only because he gets to see parts of Gojo most people don’t, it doesn’t mean he sees all. That Gojo wants him to see all.

And would he even want to know the depths of this man?

He drops the question before he can find an answer.

The orange-purple sky has turned black and the living room became dark by the time the mass on top of him stirs with a low murmur.

“Welcome back,” he says quietly.

Gojo lifts his head and blinks. “What.”

“You fell asleep.”

He takes in the surroundings. “And you just stayed here?” There is genuine surprise in his voice. “How are your legs?”

He hesitates. “Dead for the last half hour.”

Gojo barks out a laugh and hides his face in Kento's neck again. His voice is a hot breath against his neck, his tone carrying a hint of familiar mischief. “You're so nice to me.”

“I could be meaner,” offers Kento generously, left hand climbing up Gojo's back to thread itself in his hair.

“Hmm,” muses Gojo, vibrating against his skin, “tempting. But I like when you're nice.”

“I'd do it more often if you deserved it,” Kento replies seriously.

It doesn't fool Gojo, who only laughs again. Kento caresses his back with the hand around his waist—loosely enough to let the other know he doesn't make a point out of keeping him there, but still pulling him closer. Gojo makes no move to extricate himself from this embrace, even if he can't be too comfortable at this point either. He's already engaged in the act of nibbling at Kento's neck and ear, dropping soft kisses.

It's strange; completely different from their routine of banter followed by heated sex. Kento feels this difference with a whole-body shiver, a stuttering in his chest. He knows it's the difference between sex and intimacy, a line he never meant to cross. He wasn’t even sure where the line was drawn, as he always backed away before he could approach it and made sure no one came too close to it. The most he ever had sex with the same person was twice, and even that seemed to skirt dangerous territory. At some point, though, he opened his door to Gojo Satoru, and now here they are.

Even as he considers this and how much he avoided it before this moment, his mouth is trailing kisses, teeth biting into the skin of Gojo’s neck and shoulders, climbing up his face and shifting his blindfold to reach the skin beneath. He's glad he can't see Gojo's eyes, but even the sighs that escape him are enough to make him ache with an unnamable pain. He is uncomfortable, but he doesn't want to move for anything in the world, nor dislodge the body that fits against his so nicely. That’s grounding, for all that Satoru's untouchable and unreachable.

Kento’s always thought he'd be terrible at things like this; never had a chance to test it out or particularly cared to. Either it's easier than he thought, or it's just easier with Gojo. He doesn't want to explore the idea too much.

“If you can't move,” Gojo whispers, “I can fuck you here.”

“You're almost asleep,” he states. “We're not having sex.”

“Who says that's a dealbreaker?”

Kento stores that one to consider at a later date. He tries his best to keep his face impassive and instead pushes Gojo firmly aside and rises with complaining muscles. Gojo whines and stays on the couch, sprawled, limbs all twisted.

“Get up,” Kento says.

“Or what?”

“I'll leave you there all night.”

“But then I'll drool on your expensive couch.” And to illustrate, he licks a strip of leather.

Kento's face crunches up in agony—over the couch, the lack of hygiene or the fact he somehow, in spite of reason, lets this man put his mouth on him.

“Why?” he asks rhetorically.

“Nanamin.” Gojo raises his arms and throws them against the arm of the couch, stretching in all his ridiculous height. "Do what you must to move me from this couch."

“You're such a hassle,” Kento says. “Do not close your eyes.”

“I'm just settling in for the ni—ahhh!”

The bitten-off yell mixes with a delighted laugh as Kento braces one arm under his knees, circles his waist with the other, and employs all those hours lifting weights to lift him. Even so he almost tumbles over. Gojo's arms immediately circle his neck and tighten to the point of asphyxiation, and he's now laughing maniacally as Kento moves them towards the bedroom.

“Don't drop me.”

“Maybe that was my plan all along,” grunts Kento.

“You would never!”

“How quickly can you turn on your infinity?”

“Quickly enou—”

He loosens his grip momentarily before tensing up his muscles again. He's rewarded by an alarmed gasp and long arms flailing, and bites back a grin despite the fact he nearly makes both of them fall again. To compensate, he rearranges Gojo, throwing his head over his shoulder like a sack. 

“I can't believe this,” Gojo screeches, securely held. 

Kento finally crosses the few steps to his room, where he unceremoniously drops Gojo in bed. The man lays there like a rumpled cat, hair sticking out in every direction.

“I'm not sleepy anymore. The adrenaline woke me up.”

“Too bad,” says Kento, already turning around and changing into his pajamas. “I'm going to bed. Change before you sleep.”

Gojo hugs the pillow. “Into what?”

Kento sighs and rummages in the drawer he sort of, but not really, set aside for the things Gojo leaves around the place. He takes a pair of pajamas and places it on the bed next to him. 

But Gojo’s already dozing off again. “What’s this?” There’s a second of hesitation. “Did you buy me pajamas?”

“You insist on sleeping naked in my bed,” Kento says as sternly and naturally as possible.

“Nanami!” he says delightedly, but just pulls the clothes closer and hugs them with the pillow.

Kento sighs again and crawls on the bed. He starts with the pants; Gojo gives a twist of the hips when he pulls them down that’s too sleepy to be seductive. “Raise your arms,” he says, and Gojo acquiesces, then lies there like a doll while he pulls his shirt off and puts the top part of the pajamas on him. Finally, he removes the blindfold, and blinking, sleepy eyes stare up at him. Kento pushes his hair back, lets his hand linger. “You look comfortable.”

A soft smile and a glint of blue. “Thanks, Nanami. Lie down with me.”

He turns off the lights and settles close, on his side. Gojo's fingers find his face in the dark, trailing his chin, running through shoulder and arm. Kento envelops them and pulls slightly. It's all the encouragement Gojo needs to come closer, intertwining their legs, hugging his waist, placing his head back in the curve of Kento's neck. He almost wishes he'd break the moment with a quip or a teasing remark, but, whether due to exhaustion or some other reason, Gojo is staying quiet for now. Kento wonders what he's thinking about, if he even is thinking anything. His own heart has established a confused rhythm, half relaxed, half alarmed.

This doesn’t mean anything, he tells himself. It’s normal to grow comfortable with someone you have a physical relationship with. It’s normal to feel at ease, and to want that contact. And, when that isn’t enough, he reminds himself that Gojo Satoru was deeply, violently in love with a man he had to kill, a man diametrically opposed from Kento in every way, and that whatever comfort they find in one another is unlikely to change that.

He closes his eyes and grows accustomed to the weight around him until he drifts away.

*

A few nights later, he’s taken to a new, trendy and offensively expensive restaurant, that he’s pretty sure needs to be booked weeks in advance. Gojo seems to have put some effort into looking even more appealing than usual; he has one finger hooked into his jacket and carries it behind his shoulder, in a gesture only he could make look cool and casual. His pants hug his legs closely; his shirt molds itself around his torso. More than one person misses a step staring at him. This has always been true, but only recently has Kento started to be bothered by it.

As far as he’s concerned, he looks the same as always, though he picked a suit without blood stains on it as Gojo said he was “treating” him for dinner.

“Gojo-san,” he says when they arrive, kindly reproaching.

“I don’t want to hear, Nanami,” he says, wagging a finger as he holds the door for him. “This one is on me.”

They indeed have a reservation. They sit down at a sort of booth, where Kento feels relieved knowing at least whatever part of their sex life will be discussed won’t reach many years.

Gojo pulls an envelope out of his jacket pocket. “Ta-da!” he chirps, presenting it like a gift.

Wary, Kento opens it. It contains a single sheet of paper, with the name of a clinic on the top, and what appears to be the test results to every possible STI.

“I've got nothing!” Gojo announces.

Kento gives him a look. “Did you just take me dinner to inform me you’re not diseased? You already assured me you weren’t.”

“That was a long time ago. You know what this means?”

He thinks he knows where Gojo's going with this, and the thought is enough to make him swallow. Gojo has an evil glint in his eyes.

“I haven’t been seeing anyone else,” Gojo says then, quieter. The admission makes something warm unfold in Kento’s chest. “Have you?”

“No,” he says quietly.

“Great! So, I was thinking that tonight…”

“You can stop there,” Kento says, feeling a blush climb up his neck. “We’ll discuss it later.”

Gojo grins. “Very well.”

“Don’t look so pleased with yourself.”

Gojo sticks a tongue out and stares at him fixedly until they make their orders. “Are you ever annoyed that we're so compatible?” he asks then.

“It was... unexpected,” he admits with a sigh, then hesitates and points to the envelope. “Don’t you want a similar guarantee if we’re doing this?”

Gojo waves this away as if it's not even worth discussing. “I trust you.”

That’s how Kento finds himself, a couple of hours later, fucking him without a condom, Gojo’s leg raised over his shoulder with admirable flexibility as Kento pounds into him with a vigor he hopes will compensate for the fact he’s not going to last long. Gojo’s chest is full of bruises and he supposes, given the way he’s sunk his nails into his hips and legs, they will also leave a mark. The thought makes him darkly pleased.

Gojo’s cock is pressed against his chest; his nails scratches Kento’s back, leaving burning trails, then sinks into his ass to pull him further in. Kento leans even lower, bending closer to kiss him. Gojo opens his mouth eagerly, sucking his tongue like he wants to devour him even as he can’t maintain contact and breaks into whimpers. The heat of his mouth is so good; the pleasure building with each thrust is maddening; the sweat of their skin burns with the friction of their bodies—Kento feels heady, untethered, every thought fading into the background. He never gets lost in his own mind when he’s with Gojo—the man doesn’t leave space for anything else. For someone constantly trapped in his own terrible logic, it’s a wonderful respite.

And oh, how Kento adores him like this, aroused to the point of frenzy, beyond teasing or provocation, an animal craving release. Needy in a way that makes his head spin; he would let—has said it before—Kento do whatever he wished with him; and that clever mouth of his is only capable of gasping a litany of yes, baby, so good, like that, moremoremore.  

He always tries to make sure Gojo finds his release first, but this time he’s slipping, arms shaking with the effort of holding himself up, the heat building between his legs. He knows he’s never been so loud before, but can’t seem to stop himself.

Gojo cradles his face, gives sloppy kisses wherever he can reach. “Come on, baby,” he whispers adoringly, “it’s alright.”

“Satoru,” he gasps. Gojo fists a chunk of his hair.  

Afterwards, he lets himself be dragged into the shower and drops to his knees just to hear praises in that velvet voice.

A considerable amount of time and wasted water later, feeling looser than he ever remembers being, he leans back on his bed and sips the tea that Gojo’s made. It’s the one thing they discovered he can make without blowing up the kitchen, and he makes a point of preparing it just how Kento prefers it.

Now he sits next to Kento, head propped on his arm against the headboard, just watching. Kento turns his face and they just share a look. He remembers when these moments were still unsettling and thinks how quickly they became a gentle part of his routine.

Gojo leans over to kiss him gently—a kiss that isn’t leading anywhere, a kiss that’s just a kiss, something that should be out of bounds of this arrangement and yet that they’ve started doing more and more often. He enjoys desperate Gojo, but it’s a different kind of pleasure to see him relaxed and content, to know Kento left him so.

This reminds him of how he was—how he sounded—just a few moments before, and he feels his face heat up with embarrassment. He half expects Gojo to tease him about it, to brag about managing to unravel him, but Gojo just says, “Did you have a nice evening?”

“Don’t ask stupid questions,” Kento chides gently.

He smiles thinly. “Maybe I just want to hear you say it.” Then: “You can keep calling me that, you know. I wouldn’t mind hearing it.” And he slides down the bed, stretching, not waiting for Kento to reply.  

He puts the mug on the bedside table and turns off the lights, sliding down as well. Gojo trails idle fingers over his chest, occasionally tickling him and getting his hand swathed away. Kento can sense he’s going to say something. His sleeping habits are a mess; he’ll either fall asleep in one second or stay up until three in the morning, but either way he’s always his energetic self in the morning.

“I was proud of them,” Gojo whispers. “They did well against the curses. Yuji grew a lot.”

“He seems better now that he’s back with his friends,” Kento says.

“How do you know?”

“Itadori-kun texted me about it.”

“Look at you, texting with the youth!”

“I assume the others were happy with the news.”

“More shocked, I’d say,” laughs Gojo.

“If you’d had a little more tact in your presentation…”

“There’s no way to tactfully reintroduce a corpse into a friend group.”

Fair enough. “It must’ve felt miraculous to get back someone they lost.”

They fall silent. Kento feels a shiver go down his spine, the words hovering heavily around them. They don’t talk about him. They don’t talk about the dead. A ghost appears in his mind’s eye, a boy with a sunny smile that once, a million years ago, stirred soft feelings in him. A boy gone too soon.

“At least someone got that chance,” Gojo says. He huffs. “You should’ve seen Megumi’s face. I thought he was going to pass out. He reminds me of you, at that age. So serious. So put together. Though he’s just acting like it.”

“I was also just acting like it,” he admits.

“Ha! Could’ve fooled me. You always seemed to know the right thing to do. So did he, but—” The sentence is cut off like a head under a swordman’s blade. The hand of his chest stills. “But only one of you was right.”

“I wouldn’t say I knew either,” he concedes. “Everything is clear in retrospect. In the moment, less so.”

“You know, I'm not a good person,” Gojo says suddenly. A non-sequitur, at first glance, but Kento has grown used to following his leaping logic.  

“There are worse,” he says after a moment.

Gojo barks out a laugh. “This is why I like you; you'd never lie to make me feel even marginally better.”

“Is it a big deal? I'm not either.”

What are you talking about?" Kento can almost see him roll his eyes in the darkness. “Of course you're a good man. One of the best.” He says it so casually, as if it's a given, that it pulls at something in Kento’s chest. The idea Gojo thinks he’s good, even though the concept itself seems simplistic and childish, is astounding to him. He left the jujutsu world. How many people died while he played salaryman, because he refused his duty? “But me,” continues Gojo, “I would’ve forgiven unforgivable things, if forgiveness was asked. You would’ve done justice regardless.”

Kento’s heart clenches with the depth of feeling that pours from the words.

“That’s just being human,” he breathes out. “Not a flaw.”

“How generous you are to me. It’s good that you talk with Yuji,” Gojo veers the conversation again, like a car swerving at the last second. “He’s still grieving and trying to take it out the best way he can. Too bad Yuji’s too good; it’d be easier if he wasn’t. But then again, he’s young,” he muses, voice becoming softer, distant like he’s talking to himself. “When you're young, you think it's all or nothing, that misery will last forever. That you’ll never get over losses, that you'll never be happy again. That you’ll never l—” Whatever opposing conclusion Gojo might have been reaching is left to hover around them, heavy and ambiguous, sweet and painful. He smiles, the back of his fingers reaching out to touch Kento's cheek, light as a feather. His voice fades into nothing. “Never mind.”

The abyss—here it is, that terrible vertigo that twists his stomach. It’s not that, he tries to tell himself. It can’t be. But what else could it be, this terrible, overwhelming surge of emotion? He feels too old to put it in words. All the ones that usually describe such situations and feelings seem juvenile. Although he’s objectively young, in jujutsu sorcerer terms he feels he's already outlived his welcome. Every morning he wakes up with the knowledge he might not make it through the day, and every night that ends like this feels too good to be true, a temporary condition at best. The precarity of life, always on a knife’s edge, makes him all too aware of every good moment.

He’s not sure whether he’d call moments with Gojo good, exactly, with the way they leave him shaken and wanting, but they stick to his memory like precious gems to be taken out and admired at a later date.

That he can feel this way, and about Gojo Satoru of all people, is a surprise every time it hits him.

“Goodnight, Satoru,” he whispers in the dark.

*

One day, a call comes about an attack in Shibuya—and then it all goes wrong, faster than he can think. One moment he’s hearing Gojo has somehow been sealed away, the other he’s fighting curses and seeing comrades fall. He fights, he bleeds, he burns.

He walks like a dead man. He is a dead man.

For someone who has been certain of a violent death in his future, it’s still strange to think about when it happens. He doesn’t feel pain. He doesn’t feel anything. It’s good—it’s the adrenaline, and he’ll collapse before he can feel the full impact of what the curses did. They won’t stop coming, the curses, and it’s useless, he thinks, they can’t fight this much senseless hatred, they never had a chance. He’s never going to get that house in Malaysia, after all. He’s never going to get a lot of things.

And then a familiar curse appears, with its patchwork face, and Kento thinks it’s only fitting that it should end here. Why did he even fight so hard?

Why am I doing this?

An old friend reminds him. Kento turns and sees Yuji, the boy’s face horrified, and so, so afraid. The young ones will have to pick up after them.

For all that they fought, it was for nothing.

It shouldn’t be like that. He shouldn’t have fallen. He was invincible. He let Kento believe he’d never have to lose him, and now—

The awareness that he’ll never see Satoru again overwhelms him with grief. It fills him with up to brim, it pours out of him in waves, it brings him back to the present for one clarity-filled moment.  

The curse seems confused.

Might as well, Kento thinks. If I can win Yuji even one more second…

He blacks out.

*

He’s not dead. Death is supposed to be oblivion, and all he feels is pain, searing the side of his body, clawing at his face—pain unlike any he’s ever known. His body shuts down again and again, saying: not yet. Time is meaningless in this state. He’s suspended outside of reality.

One time he opens his eyes and sees Yuji looking down at him, concern and weariness etched in a face that looks so much older.

“I shouldn’t be here,” the boy whispers. “I’m sort of a wanted man. But it’s okay. I just wanted to see you. You did a Domain Expansion. Do you remember? The start of one, at least. It gave me time to attack. You saved us both.”

“Itadori-kun,” he whispers. The boy’s words swim in his mind, hard to comprehend. There’s so much he should ask about—the aftermath of the attack, this being a wanted man business, the wellbeing of the other students, but only a word comes out. “Gojo?”

“Don’t worry,” Yuji says with a cheerful grin that tries to instill confidence in him. “We got it covered. Just get better, alright? We need you, Nanamin.”

His eyes close on his own. He slips in and out of consciousness in intervals that could be hours, days or weeks. Every moment of awareness is filled with aches and unbearable worry, a grief that seizes him preemptively. He doesn’t know where things stand, but news can’t be good, despite Yuji’s attempt at optimism. There are no good news in their world, no mercy.

Another time, he opens his eyes and sees Satoru. He’s leaning over him, sky-blue eyes wide and swirling. But it can’t be, because he’s locked inside a cursed object.

“Baby's first domain expansion,” the illusion whispers. If he had the strength, he'd swat him away, but all he can is close his eyes. His world reduces to the fingers threading softly through his hair, a watchful presence hanging over him. The question is soft as befits a dream. “What changed?”

The scene comes back to him, in all its terrible clarity. It’s simple, really—he had let go.

“You,” he says.

Sleep claims him back, and if he feels the hand freeze abruptly or someone inhale sharply, he’s too far gone to think about it.

*

He blinks awake.  

His body is sore and heavy, but there’s no pain. He breathes in and out, in and out, slowly and carefully, and discovers that nothing hurts. For the first time in a long time—he thinks it’s been a long time—he knows he’s alive, awake, that this is real. He’s in a strange room that he identifies as the school’s infirmary.

Someone’s sleeping on a chair next to his bed.

His eyes latch desperately onto the figure as if he can turn into smoke any moment. He’s wearing a rumpled white blouse and no blindfold. Even sleeping he looks drained, with dark shadows beneath his eyes. Too small for a man who usually occupies so much space.

Kento works his mouth wordlessly, feeling his lips parched and cracked as he swipes his tongue over them. His face feels stiff, but he can’t stand another second of not knowing.

“Satoru.”

The man wakes with a shudder, leaning forward into the chair, eyes alighting on his. His face crumples like a sheet of paper. He raises a hand and stops a hair’s breadth from his skin, retreating. Touch me, Kento wants to say. He swallows the dryness in his throat. He’s here. He’s here. He’s alive. “Are you alright?”

A noise halfway between a sob and a laugh is ripped from Satoru’s throat.

“Idiot,” he whispers, shakily. “I’m going to take care of you now, and I’ll do it properly. Even if you hate me. You should hate me. Nanami, it’s my fault. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”  

His mind struggles to understand why Satoru is apologizing. He wants to tell him it’s not his fault, that being alive is the best thing he could’ve done for Kento, but that’s too many words at the moment. He’ll leave it for later. Later, he thinks. What a beautiful word.

He contracts the muscles in his arms, working hard to lift a hand. Satoru latches onto it with both of his, touch soft and tentative, eyes wondering, hopeful and swimming in infinite blue.

“Use my name,” Kento says.