There’s a little jar in Megumi’s bedroom overflowing with flowers of the softest and palest blue, tucked and hidden inside his table drawer, and every time he looks at it Megumi wonders.
Who are you, he thinks, as he adds new petals to his collection. Who are you who are you who are you.
They are fragile, so he tries his best not to touch them too often, but they look lovely under the dim and pale light, and Megumi is still unbelieving that these are for him, that there’s someone who would like him enough to plant a small garden inside of his body.
I am loved, he thinks of his father’s broad and scarred back, always out of his reach, and frowns. Someone saw my chewed-on nails and the holes in my socks and then decided that they love me enough to leave a reminder.
Papa never would’ve done that for him, that bastard, and this idea (“I’m gonna leave now,” Toji told him one day, and Megumi will muse bitterly if this is what being flowerless will do to a person, that they will take all the soft parts and harden them so completely a garden never gets to regrow and come back to you) will stay with him in his youth and all the way to his teenage years. Megumi has always been a small boy/an alone boy/a boy who has only his sister left for company, along with that stranger who makes him cough blue flowers on a daily basis.
He stares at the glass jar, curious, before he hastily shoves it back inside his table drawer.
It’s so pretty and blue, and the shade of it reminds him a bit about Gojo.
(A coincidence, Megumi thinks irritably, a little bit fondly, and leaves his room to begin preparing their dinner.)
Maybe there’s room for a third person inside his safety bubble.
One glass jar soon becomes three, four – a whole multitude of delicate bottles that decorate his shelf and table and almost the entirety of his drawers.
(“You can’t go in,” he insists, slightly chubby arms spread wide to prevent Gojo from entering his bedroom. He can’t exactly hide the flowers anymore, and he’s been hoarding them since day one and it’s, well, a little bit embarrassing.
“And why is that exactly?” Gojo raises his eyebrows at him, confused, until his eyes widen in realisation.
“Oh,” he gasps, and Megumi tenses, thinks this is it and I should’ve hidden them better and please don’t throw the flowers away I don’t know if anyone else is willing to love me the way I am.
“Satoru-san,” the boy protests, wobbles.
“Megumi, don’t tell me that you...” the man begins, his face serious, before it immediately transforms into a shit-eating grin. “Awww, guess you’re at that age where people begin to hide their porn huh-”
“Fuck off,” he screeches, and Gojo just ruffles his hair and laughs.
The morning after Megumi wakes up to an entire bouquet lovingly placed between his larynx and trachea.
He forgoes the jar entirely and gets a goddamned vase from the kitchen.)
The flowers bloom rarely now, in his last year of middle school. Megumi prods at his stomach and frowns.
His garden has been slowly wilting, viridian leaves decaying into a sickly brownish colour. There are thorns now, he vaguely marvels, and every time he breathes the bushes and vines in his lungs prick his skin and it hurts.
(“Megumi,” Gojo knocks on his door two weeks later, a dark silhouette that could chase and out-scare other demons away. “I killed someone close to me today.”
“Are you happy?”
Megumi shuffles his way towards him, the sound hollow as it echoes inside their skeletal frames. “I’m not afraid of you.”
Gojo’s eyes are bright. “I am not perfect, Megumi.”
“Yeah,” the boy agrees with him, “I know.”
“And you still want me to stay?” The strongest man looks vulnerable for once, and when he hugs Megumi his hold is unbearably tender. He could easily crush him, decimate him into complete nothingness – but Gojo chooses to be weak, weaker, and the teenager just sighs and says, “Yes please, stay.”
So he does. For the next day, the next week, to wherever and whenever.)
Months later Yuuta kisses him full of narcissus, please stay as sweet as you are. A thick smattering of hollies from Maki-san, for his defence and domestic happiness.
Even white camellias, from Inumaki. You’re adorable!
Megumi’s garden grows it just grows and grows and grows.
But it is different, though, with Itadori.
“Fushiguro,” the teenager waves at him, his smile warm, and there is a sudden tender feeling of summer that greets his small garden. A sunflower, Megumi will realise later, as he stares at bright yellow petals on his outstretched hand in the comforts of his dorm room.
Adoration, when Itadori turns to him, always to him, before he drags Megumi to a mall or to a gaming centre. Loyalty, when he defends him against Todo, all strained grins and clenched fists and the quiet whisper of don’t ever say that about Fushiguro ever again. And finally longevity, which Megumi hopes gods he hopes that it stays true, that they will live long, and laugh longer, until there are entire forests and oceans nestled near their heartbeats.
“Itadori,” Megumi replies back, and hands him a cool drink recently purchased from the nearby vending machine. There is a sunflower carefully tucked behind his right ear, freshly grown, and the boy in front of him beams.
“Did you like my gift?” Sukuna asks him, and Megumi is unsure if the other man is angry, or if he’s overjoyed, or if he’s capable of feeling anything beyond the thick miasma of battlelust. The millennia-old curse was built upon so many layers of condensed muscle and sheer incomprehensible history, and the idea that he would plant and leave well-cared for marigolds in-between his rows and rows of sunflowers is still a shocking idea for him.
Golden marigolds, for joy and contentment. The slightly darker ones, which Sukuna desperately tries to hide behind Itadori’s, for grief and jealousy.
“You confuse me,” is all he tells him, honest. “I don’t know how to act around you.”
Sukuna curls his lips at him, and somehow the gesture feels oddly intimate. “But did you like it?” He presses the issue once again, and Megumi shifts so that he can better hide the cola bottle he used as a vase.
But hardly anything escapes the eye of this powerful entity. Sukuna takes one good look at his flowers, which are tucked inside the recycled glass bottle, and chortles.
“Fushiguro Megumi,” he barks, and the sound is so, so surprisingly warm, “what am I going to do with you?”
The afternoon air makes the blue curtains flutter, prompting his autumn-shaped marigolds (to encourage someone to reach their full potential, Megumi will learn this later) to sway softly with the breeze.
One day Megumi forgets to bottle up his flowers, and he coughs up soft blue right on Ieiri-sensei’s lap. Her gaze sharpens at the sight, but the small smile she gives him is genuine and real.
“You know who, right?” She asks him, long and deft fingers twirling the flower with amusement. Ieiri-sensei still has that slightly critical look on her face, but the tired slump and the kind smile softens her, somehow.
Megumi hesitates for a bit, mortified, before he nods his head at her. “Yeah,” he says at last, and if his voice wobbles then that’s their secret, meant for their ears only. “Blue salvia, means I am thinking of you.”
Ieiri-sensei throws her head back and laughs, the sound unexpectedly deep for her slender frame. “Kinda creepy if you think about it,” the doctor snickers at him. “Nine years is a long time to pine after someone.”
“Noted,” the teenager drily responds, and takes the proffered stalk of salvia gratefully. He tucks it inside his breast pocket, near his heart, and zips the material close again. It tickles, and the stem digs painfully into his skin, but this shade of blue has been his lifeline for so, so long that Megumi finds himself unwilling to part with it.
“Wait,” she says, wiping a stray tear from the corner of her eye, still chuckling. “Before you go.”
She casually takes out a cigarette from her desk, and Megumi patiently waits for her to finish.
“Back then,” Ieiri-sensei begins, “when Suguru died, I had this whole speech ready for Satoru. You will learn to love again, or maybe you should cultivate the garden Suguru and I gave you because so long as they’re there you will live and that’s good enough for me.”
She takes another long, slow drag, and blows the smoke gently all over Megumi’s face. “I’m glad I didn’t have to tell him those things, though, that Satoru never once stopped loving ever since he met you.”
The kind smile is back. “Thank you, Megumi.”
(Later that evening he digs up an old and battered book, its cover lovingly worn down from the times he dragged his thumb all over its surface, his finger a ballet dancer swaying to a familiar song – to routine.
He flips open to a dog-eared page, with some of the words smudged due to how often he revisits it. Megumi already knows the words written there by heart though, but this is nice, too, having a physical reminder.
Blue or purple salvia, means ‘I think of you’.
...sometimes these plants die back to the ground to return the next summer.
I think of you.
I think of you.
I think of you.
youyouyou it’s kinda funny how it’s always been you –)
Because the thing is, Megumi is, he was –
Megumi was barren soil before, but now he’s – he’s a garden. People have taken root inside of him, laid and built down a foundation that stretches from his forehead and all the way down to his forearms, his kneecaps, the tender skin near his toes. There are vines and carefully-cultivated flowers creeping around his bones, and this is the kind of weight that Megumi carries, this heavy warmth, this comfortable itch at the back of his throat.
Itadori. Megumi thinks, touching his clavicle. Kugisaki. Nanami. Maki. Ijichi. Kamo.
His hands lightly caress his sides. Inumaki. Okkotsu-senpai. Panda.
His recent bruise, hesitantly. Todo. Sukuna.
And right over his heart, his fingers splayed helplessly. Gojo-sensei.
My love my love my love –
Some days the white-haired man is less flower and more weed, but all the same Megumi sets aside his gardening tools and lets him grow wild and unrestrained. He’s here to stay, the teenager digs his fingers deeper. The valleys and canyons shake, and Megumi thinks, I’d let him consume that, too.
His garden, his bottles – his everything.
(I have hollowed out a space in my chest, Megumi tells the hundreds of bottles inside his personal bedroom, and it is constantly filled with thoughts about you.)
Outside that very room Gojo delicately unfurls the fist from his mouth to reveal a tiny pink bulb, petals spread-out to greet their first spring, and smiles.