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late night

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“I’m hungry,” Satoru announces.

Shoko and Suguru turn to look at Gojo in the doorway from where they’re standing on the balcony, smoking, even though they had both gotten yelled at earlier that day. Getou laughs a little—Gojo’s hair flat on one side and stuck up on the other, his white t-shirt fluttering in the night breeze, sunglasses crooked. It’s a little past midnight.

“Damn, sounds like a you problem,” Shoko says and turns back around, tapping her cigarette on the balcony railing. Suguru smiles at that, too.

Gojo frowns. “Shoko, I could die suddenly and tragically on my next mission—”

“You don’t know how to cook?” Suguru interjects, eyebrows raised. His cheekbones look sharper in the low lighting.

Satoru frowns. “When have I ever had to cook?”

“I don’t know, like—” Suguru’s mind draws a blank. Gojo’s grown up different than the rest of them, after all. “—do you not even know how to cook like, the shit that comes in packages? Instant curry?”

Gojo stares at him in response.

Suguru rolls his eyes and takes one last inhale before dropping his cigarette, crushing the flame with the heel of his boot. “Fine. Just this once, because I'm nice and feel bad. Shoko, you coming?”

Shoko’s still leaning on her elbows on the balcony railing, looking at the wide expanse of forest that stretches out below them, the night air rushing through her hair—but she turns and shrugs.

“Why not.”






They discover that the kitchen on their floor has two cupboards which have almost nothing (a box of extra-hot Golden Curry, the remnants of a bag of expired shrimp chips, and cans of Pokka milk coffee), and a refrigerator which also has almost nothing (2 stalks of celery, a wrinkled tomato, potatoes beginning to sprout). There’s a rice cooker with yellowed plastic labels, and they discover an unopened bag of rice in the floor cabinet next to the sink. Oddly enough, the silverware drawer is well-stocked—there’s a decent assortment of sleek metal knives (that doesn’t seem legal, Getou says, we literally try to kill each other for practice, Satoru responds) and porcelain chopsticks and soup spoons.

“I guess we could make like, rice, and—” Getou looks into the cupboards again. The cans of Pokka coffee look back at him. “—I guess we could use the curry.” He turns to Satoru and Shoko, who have already taken the liberty of sitting down at the circular table in the center of the kitchen, Shoko trying to even out Satoru’s hair, unsuccessfully.

Satoru looks up at him and smiles brightly. “Whatever you want, Suguru.”

“I’m not the one who’s fucking hungry.” Suguru takes the celery out of the refrigerator, anyway.






Shoko somehow finds a bottle of sake wedged in the space between the refrigerator and the sink, and even though the label’s faded and it tastes sweet in the off way, they end up passing the bottle around while the rice and vegetables cook. Suguru’s face flushes pink three drinks in, and Satoru and Shoko tease him for it. The three of them haven’t been together in a while, their training sessions becoming increasingly specialized and intense—they’re all in their normal clothes now, no high, stiff black collars, and they’re laughing about something Yaga-sensei said, and it feels like they’re almost normal teenagers for the night. They’ve all missed it, even though none of them will say it.

The rice cooker beeps, and Getou gets up (wavers a bit, sure you won’t fall into the stove and die? Shoko asks, but he steadies) and yanks the plug from the socket. He reaches into the cupboard and takes the box of curry, before pausing.

“Oops,” he says, and Satoru and Shoko turn to look at him.

“What?” Satoru asks.

Getou turns around to show them the box.

“It’s empty?”

“It’s empty.”

“Damn.”

The three of them look at the cardboard box, then the pot with pieces of celery and potato floating in the water, and then the cardboard box again.

“I bet it was Haibara,” Gojo offers.

Getou snorts as he turns the stove flame off, and tosses the box in the trash. “It was probably you, honestly. Stop pinning things on the underclassmen.”

“You know that I don’t know how to cook—”

Shoko laughs.

“Haibara’s too nice for you, Satoru.”

Suguru sits back down at the table and shakes his head at Satoru, and then turns to Shoko.

“Speaking of, did you see Haibara and Nanami during training today?”

“Nanami definitely has a crush, he just won’t admit it.”

Gojo tilts his head to the side.

“Nanami and Haibara? Really?”

“For someone who has six eyes, you can’t see shit.”

“Fuck off, Shoko.”

The three of them pause and look at each other, and then their sad pan of vegetables and water.

“What are we gonna do with the rest of it?” Getou asks.

“Leave it outside Yaga’s door,” Shoko suggests.

“I’d give it to Meimei. Or Utahime. As a gift or something,” Gojo says.

Getou wrinkles his nose.

“I don’t want to get killed.”

“Boo,” Gojo says.

"Coward," Shoko adds.

Getou sighs. “I guess we can pour it down the sink or something. It’s not like anyone was going to eat what was in the refrigerator, anyway.”

“I guess you’re just going to eat plain rice, Gojo.” Shoko takes another drink from the sake bottle.

“Honestly? That’s what you deserve for not knowing how to cook.” Suguru leans into the hard back of the kitchen chair and tilts his head backward, staring directly at the ceiling light.

“Fine.”

Gojo gets up. “What the fuck,” he says.

“What.”

“There aren’t bowls.”

“Eat out of the rice cooker pot, dumbfuck.”

The sake’s made him hungrier, so he does—he takes the pot back to the dinner table, and the three of them laugh, even though there’s nothing that funny about it all.






It’s almost two when the alcohol begins to wear off and the tiredness from the day begins to hit them, Shoko’s eyes becoming heavy lidded and Suguru’s smile thinning at the edges. They clean the kitchen to the best of their abilities, but it’s a shitty kitchen anyway so they don’t try that hard. They leave the kitchen, Satoru flicking the lights off—Shoko’s room is on the left, so she leaves first.

 

“You’re a funny drunk person,” she says to Satoru, and then she smiles, wide enough to reach her eyes, and then waves, and she disappears into her room.

Geto and Gojo’s room is a bit farther down the hallway, and the two of them pause for a moment—it’s almost full moon, and the hallway on their side of the dormitory has big, glass windows, and pieces of the floor look almost luminescent, pearl-colored.

“Pretty,” Gojo says.

“Yeah.”

They continue walking until they reach Gojo’s room.

Satoru reaches for the doorknob, but turns to smile at Suguru first.

“Thanks, by the way.”

Suguru laughs, quietly. “I didn’t do anything.”

Gojo hums. “You should teach us how to actually cook sometime. I don’t think Shoko knows what she’s doing, either.”

“Yeah, she really did not know how to cut the celery.” (Shoko, that’s a butter knife.)

(Okay, it’s a knife, right?)

“You noticed that?”

Gojo snorts. “Of course I did.”

They both pause for a second, Gojo hovering awkwardly in his doorway, Getou leaned against the window.

“Goodnight, Suguru.”

He smiles.

“Goodnight.”