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Phantom Pains

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The clock on his nightstand reads 10:48. It’s not like Megumi to sleep in this late, but he figures today he deserves it. 

He wills himself to at least sit up in bed, even though as he swings his legs over they feel like lead. On the opposite side of the room, Megumi can see tufts of his wild hair in the vanity mirror past the little clutter left on the table. 

---

“You put makeup on? We’re heading out in like,” Yuuji glances down at his phone in hand, “10 minutes.” Nobara is sitting at the vanity illuminated by the light fixture with a makeup brush in hand, adding a blush to her cheeks.

“I’m doing this for myself,” she scoffs. Leaning against the doorframe of their bedroom, Megumi watches her movements and the way the wand glides over her lips as she applies a sweet pink lip gloss. “Besides, I like looking cute while I kick ass,” she adds, shooting both of her boyfriends an aggressive wink.

Next to him, Yuuji hugs Megumi’s arm, sighing and fainting dramatically. “Nobara’s as beautiful as always, isn’t she?” Megumi entertains him with a hum in agreement, enjoying the warmth of Yuuji close to his side. 

Abruptly, she stops putting away her brushes and stands. “Ha, you think I don’t know that already,” she turns and points accusingly at them with the fluffy end of one of her bigger brushes. “I don’t need your validation.” Nobara is wearing a smug grin, staring them down like she’s taking on a curse.

“Guess we don’t have to tell her again,” Megumi shrugs and starts turning away to leave their apartment. Yuuji makes a face at her before following close behind. 

“Well…” Megumi and Yuuji stop in their tracks to face her. She’s pouting, and both men can tell she’s avoiding eye contact. “Maybe I don’t need it, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear it every once in a while,” she tacks on with a devilishly cute smile. “Just a reminder.”

Megumi smiles. “Noted.”

---

He stands and only takes a couple steps to get closer to the mirror, just enough to be able to see himself in the center. He doesn’t have much use for the vanity, in fact he’d like to make it a desk space, but Megumi doesn’t have the heart to get rid of it. 

Pictures from high school and somewhat more recent ones of them hang from the frame and stick around the edges of the mirror. Megumi can tell most of them were taken by Yuuji since he’s absent in so many of them. 

There’s some at the beach, around campus, candids that Megumi and Nobara never noticed he took. There are others where it’s all three of them, like at the carnival, their graduation, when they bought their first apartment together. Those few are the ones Megumi considers his favorites. 

Some days their young, smiling, and blissfully unaware faces are hard to look at, other days it feels like he could spend the entire day staring, hoping it will take him back to the day it was taken.

---

“YUUJI STOP SHAKING THE GONDOLA.” He can hear the first years laughing at them from the gondola currently below them. Nobara has one arm clutching onto the railing of their seat while the other has a tight grip on Megumi’s arm. He’s half convinced he might start losing circulation any second now. 

“Are you afraid of heights Nobara?” Yuuji asks with a lilt of his voice and a waggle of his eyebrows. He was sitting across from them, swinging his legs which in turn made the gondola sway. “You don’t trust Megumi to catch us if we fall?”

He was trying hard, really hard , to enjoy their day off. Someone (Nobara) had proposed that they do something fun and someone (Yuuji) proposed that they go to a carnival or fair. Meanwhile, someone else (Gojo-sensei) suggested (which really means forced) that since they’re 3rd years, they should chaperone the underclassmen. It started to feel as if the underclassmen were chaperoning them

“I’ll catch Nobara. You’re on your own.” Yuuji sputters at the threat as Nobara cozies into Megumi’s side, resting her head on his shoulder and her hand on his thigh. Barely audible over the wind and Yuuji’s complaining, Megumi only catches the tailend of Nobara whispering “I don’t like ferris wheels.” In response and to Nobara’s surprise at having heard her, Megumi turns his hand over for Nobara to hold, and holds it tightly when she takes it. 

This pulls Yuuji out of his rant that neither were paying much attention to. “How come you don’t hold my hand like that Megumi?” He knows very well that he does hold Yuuji’s hand like that, Yuuji’s just asking for attention. 

“Because Nobara doesn’t shake entire ferris wheels.” Nobara snorts at that and again Megumi can hear the nosy first years howling from the gondola now above them. Nobara taunts him while all Yuuji does in response is stare at them and pout. 

“You both look so cute like this though.” Yuuji holds up his hands like he’s putting them in a frame and makes a ‘click’ sound. 

“Take a real picture, it’ll last longer,” Nobara says, mock posing.

“Ooh, you’ve got a point.” 

“Yuuji I don’t think-” Immediately Yuuji gets up and quickly makes his way over to their side, squishing himself next to Nobara and pushing Megumi closer to the door of the gondola. The other two feel the sway of the aging gondola and how it was leaning with so much of their weight on one side. With deft hands, Yuuji pulled out his phone and readied himself for a picture.

“Say ‘Cheese!’” He couldn’t have snapped the picture at a better time. Megumi wasn’t paying much attention to the ride, but Yuuji was still able to get so much of the blue sky despite them being on the descent. It looked nice, with Nobara blowing a kiss at the camera over Yuuji’s shoulder, Yuuji leaning in her direction, and Megumi showing one of his fleeting and rare soft smiles.

Yuuji begins to move to go back to his seat across from them when Nobara captures his wrist in a vice-like grip. “You know what, how about you just stay on this side?” Playfully she adds, “Megumi will catch us anyways.”

He rolls his eyes at them and turns his head away so as to not show them the small smile they brought on. Megumi figures that today isn’t all that awful anyway. 

---

Today he lingers around, eyes quickly moving from picture to picture on the mirror before coming back around to look at himself. 

His hair is an even spikier mess than usual that he would usually fix in the bathroom, but he’s already here. There used to be somebody to fix his hair right before they rush out of the apartment, or to run their fingers through his hair just as he’s waking up from a good long rest, only barely taming it before it has a chance to get wilder. Now there are tired eyes staring back at tired eyes and a disheveled mess right above it. 

After changing out of his sleep clothes, Megumi makes his way to the kitchen. The clock on the stove reads 11:04 now. He settles for just an apple for breakfast so that he isn’t too hungry before reaching actual lunch, even though being late or early won’t make much of a difference. 

Megumi rummages through the fridge, grabbing ingredients and leaving them on the counter in preparation. He starts boiling broth and quietly goes through the motions of shaping meatballs into perfect little spheres before cutting up green onions. The sound of the knife slicing through the green onions and hitting the cutting board is the only sound besides the tick-tock of the clock keeping him focused. 

---

The grocery store was busy that day, but it was due more to the fact that they came right when the work day ended rather than people suddenly needing to fill their fridge. That was what the trio was there for though; to buy food to fill their very new fridge inside their very new apartment. Hunched over the cart, Megumi pushed it along while Yuuji and Nobara picked up food from opposite sides of the produce stalls. 

Before she puts a plastic bag full of green onions into the cart, Nobara picks out one and holds it up like a baton. “Follow me, boys!” she declares, and both do, with Yuuji walking with a spring in his step and Megumi lined up right behind him.

Megumi is thinking about dinner and how he’s slowly getting hungrier when Yuuji suddenly stops and goes over to look at some melons. Just as he starts going around him, Yuuji stops him in his tracks. 

“Hey Megumi?”

“Hm?” He turns to his boyfriend, who’s holding one melon in each hand and still looking them over.

Yuuji turns back to look at him, holding up the melons as if he were comparing them to one another. “How big do you think your boobs would be if you were a girl?” He pauses to think. “I don’t know about this.”

Megumi quickly realizes he’s not comparing the melons to each other, but to him. “You spend too much time around Todo.”

A couple of heads had turned at their exchange, and Megumi is sure other people were polite enough to not stare despite their eavesdropping. He has half a mind to not kill Yuuji right then and there, but Megumi mostly just wants to curl up and die of embarrassment. Or possibly have the ground swallow him whole. Maybe he can call Nue to fly him away and have Nobara pay for the groceries since she’s trying so hard not to laugh at him.

“I think his pecs are fine as they are now,” she teases. He narrows his eyes at her, judging Nobara for bringing that up because now all he can imagine are two pairs of hands roaming over his bare chest, pushing and pulling, tender and rough and-

It’s a train of thought that Megumi really doesn’t want to think about at a grocery store right now and can feel his face growing hotter each passing second. He tries to walk away from the melons as quickly as possible, but Nobara stops him from going any farther. She was the line leader after all.

“Both of you-”

“Very true,” Yuuji interrupts. He puts one of the melons back and places the other one in his cart before making his way to Nobara. “I don’t know how I would be able to appreciate the finer things in life without you Nobara,” he says, wrapping an arm around her waist and staring shamelessly at Megumi’s chest.

“I know,” Nobara winks at them with a mischievous glare. 

“I hate you both.” Megumi is trying his best to cover his face with his hands and the collar of his shirt, to little success.

“Love you too.” They chant in unison.

"Shamelessly," he thinks, smiling in spite of himself.

---

After he dumps the green onions into the soup, Megumi continues heating it up while he searches for a container. Just as he pushes all the plastic ones aside and  finally finds a glass one with an air-tight lid, his phone starts ringing. He checks his phone, and he’s not sure how he’s supposed to feel about it.

It’s Gojo. 

Megumi answers the phone and puts it on speaker. Gojo’s voice is heard loud and clear immediately. 

“Megumi-chan~” The loud cooing and startling wind noise almost makes Megumi spill soup on his hand as he spoons it into the dish. 

“What?” He doesn’t mean to sound so terse, but Gojo makes it easy. 

“Are you busy today?” He’s considering saying no on the off chance that his former teacher actually needs help with a curse, although it’s not like he ever needs it. But today is important, and he’s certainly not going to miss it even during a world-ending event. 

“Yes.” He doesn’t explain because he knows Gojo is going to pry one way or another.

“Great! I’m coming over! I’ll be there in two.” Before he can protest, his senior hangs up the phone, and now Megumi is left packed and ready to go and now needing to wait for Gojo to show up.

Looking over at the clock again, he sees it’s only 11:28.  He’s not sure he wants to wait for Gojo at all—especially if he would be there so soon—but if he didn’t wait the man would find other ways of getting to him. 

---

It is unfortunately sunny outside for the execution day of the brightest person Megumi knows. He pushes that thought away and continues down the stairs behind Nobara and Yuuji, stopping every now and then whenever Yuuji suddenly gets a migraine.

It’s not long until they find themselves standing outside the meeting room. Inside, other sorcerers are having a last minute discussion, but not one that they can hear from outside, and certainly not one that will reverse their verdict on Yuuji’s continued existence. The trio is dressed in their work clothes because technically Nobara and Megumi are supposed to be inside, but instead they’re outside buying time. Megumi wishes none of them were there at all. He would much rather be at home, lounging on the couch and reading a book while Nobara comes in and out of their room modeling different outfits for them to praise and Yuuji taste tests new recipes. He wants to hold on to the closest thing to normal with this life he lives.

He would much rather be home than here. Home is where they would be able to hide away, even for a little while more. A place to stall, to pretend that nothing is going to happen and fall asleep and knowing they’ll all be there the next morning.

The tension is thick in their silence, which is only interrupted by Yuuji groaning over another migraine. He rubs his eyes and his temples, but it isn’t the kind of ache he can get rid of with painkillers. When Yuuji removes his hands from his face, his once pale skin has the same marks as Sukuna’s before slowly fading.

“He’s so loud,” Yuuji sighs, meaning he was able to suppress the curse for a little bit. “And so mean,” he adds with a pout that Megumi — as inappropriate as it can be for their situation—can’t describe as anything other than cute.

It had been like that for a while though. Once Yuuji had gotten to the 15th finger, he started getting headaches. The night after swallowing the 16th, Nobara almost had a heart attack seeing what looked like a sleeping Sukuna snuggled up to Megumi before he quickly faded away. Even as Yuuji’s raw power grew with each finger, Megumi and Nobara could tell that everything seemed to hurt more to control.

Megumi puts a hand at the base of Yuuji’s skull, massaging it and trying his best to be comforting while Nobara looks on with a soft gaze. Knowing it didn’t make much of a difference, Yuuji still had a pleased and grateful look on his face. 

They’re momentarily interrupted by the rattling of the door sliding open just enough for Gojo to stick his head out. He looked grim and apologetic despite the situation no longer being in his hands alone. Megumi refuses to acknowledge that it looked a little sad, otherwise that makes everything that was about to happen too real and he really wishes it wasn’t. 

“I tried my best to push for more time. I’m sorry,” he says. Before closing the door, Gojo holds up two fingers, letting Megumi know that they have two minutes.

“You two will be alright without me?” Especially now, Yuuji’s concern is like a blow to the gut. It makes Megumi dizzy and anxious so he lets go of Yuuji, his arms slowly falling back to his side. He spent so much time thinking about this very day that he forgot what the days after are going to look like. Just him and Nobara. No more-

“Of course we’ll be okay,” Nobara butts in, pulling Megumi out of his spiraling thoughts. Both of her boyfriends know she’s putting on a brave front, and Yuuji just rolls with it.

“Ha! I expected nothing less from the strongest people I know,” Yuuji beams with sincere pride. He pulls them into a suffocating hug that makes them both wheeze. With a bit of squirming and wiggling in Yuuji’s tight hold, Megumi adjusts his arm to hold Nobara’s waist and Nobara sees this as the perfect opportunity to adjust herself and tuck her head in between their chests. A perfectly comfortable fit in each other's arms.

Yuuji begins to loosen his hold on them before holding onto their hands. Apart from a short lived grimace of another migraine, he doesn’t even look sad that he’ll be dying in a few minutes. In fact, Yuuji looks at them with the most starstruck gaze Megumi has ever seen on him. Letting go of her hand, Yuuji caresses Nobara’s cheek and tilts her head to press his lips to her own in a chaste and gentle kiss. He does the same with Megumi but cradles the back of his head instead, meeting him with just as much tenderness as he did with Nobara. It doesn’t feel like a goodbye kiss, Megumi thinks. It felt like a “someday.” An “I’ll meet you again, someday” kiss.

“You two behave.” Yuuji pauses before looking up at them with a smile that embodied the purest form of sunshine. “Take care of each other and live long lives,” he shines at them with a thumbs up. They both nod as Yuuji slides open the door and enters the dark room. Without any want for subtlety, Megumi reaches for Nobara’s hand, who takes it and squeezes his right back, and follows right after him.

And that’s how Itadori Yuuji left at the ripe old age of 20.

---

It’s dark, and quiet, and cold in their apartment. Usually in the summer they would have the air conditioning on to cool them off in the middle of the night, the faint rumbling acting as a lullaby. Even if it was sweltering earlier, it’s cold where Megumi and Nobara lay. 

It’s well past midnight, but Megumi just can’t fall asleep. He knows that the woman curled up in his arms isn’t asleep either, and he also knows that neither are going to talk about it right now. Being vulnerable has never been his forte, and even though he has gotten better at it, Yuuji’s absence is a wound that is too raw, too fresh. 

It’s strange, Megumi thinks, how Yuuji just about upended their lives for the next five years after eating a piece of a curse. He never expected Yuuji to dig himself a little spot in Megumi’s heart and to drag Nobara into it too. But now Megumi realizes just how big that hole in his heart is, and he’s not sure how he and Nobara can help patch each other up. Megumi’s not sure either of them know how to make it hurt a little less. With time, he figures, but there’s never enough time for very mortal people like themselves. 

Lost in thought, Megumi almost doesn’t notice the slight dampness he feels on the front of his shirt, right where Nobara has her head buried in his chest. He doesn’t say anything when he holds her tighter against their already tangled bodies, just like she doesn’t say anything about his chest slowly beginning to heave. The loss they feel isn’t something that either are going to deny that night, no matter how strong they want to pretend to be for Yuuji.

---

Megumi decides that one minute of waiting around is enough and gets up to leave the apartment, bag of food in hand. If Gojo didn’t reach him by the time he got to his car, the older man probably shouldn’t have bothered him when Megumi said he was busy in the first place. 

Making his way down the stairs of the apartment complex, Megumi can see Gojo waiting in the parking lot, leaning against the car door on the driver’s side. He doesn’t know what Gojo has planned, but figures he has to go along with it anyway. 

“What do you need me for?” he asks, stopping before the white-haired man and waiting for him to move out of the way for him to get in the car. 

“I’m coming with you!” he beams. Megumi stands there, still waiting for him to go over to the other side and get in the passenger seat. “I’m driving you! Give me your keys.” Gojo is never not confusing to him. 

Reluctantly complying, Megumi fishes out his keys from his pockets. “You don’t know where I’m going,” he states matter-of-factly, placing the keys on the top of the compact car.

“You can tell me how to get there.” Gojo unlocks the car and ducks his head in.

“We’ll be gone for a while.” It’s a last ditch effort at trying to go alone before conceding by getting into the passenger seat.

“You’re not getting rid of me,” is the muffled response Megumi can hear from outside the car.

I haven’t been able to before,” he mutters, as he finally puts his seatbelt on and they pull away from the apartments. 

Apart from the directions Megumi gives him, the ride is spent in relative silence. The food sits between his legs on the floor, and the smooth drive tempts him into taking a nap in the car. He doesn’t, mostly because he doesn’t want his driver missing any exits by accident, even though the next one isn’t for another several miles. 

He’s also suspicious with how quiet the man next to him is being. It had been a while since either had seen each other in person, and the last time they did meet Gojo was talking Megumi’s ear off, although the latter already knew how to tune him out. The silence is broken when his driver tries to strike up a conversation. 

“So, how has your day been?” He has never had a conversation with Gojo start like this before, and Megumi decides he doesn’t ever want another conversation with Gojo to start like this again. It’s weird.

“You’re not one known for small talk.”

“I’m trying out this thing called tact, Megumi-chan.” For once, Megumi recognizes that he’s genuinely asking, and tosses Gojo a bone. 

“I’ve had better days,” he says, trying to not think too hard about those better days. 

---

It had snowed the night before, making the crunch beneath their shoes crisp. It was the kind of day that Megumi would have preferred to spend doing leisurely things—or as Nobara likes to call it, old people hobbies—instead of exorcising curses. Not to say he doesn’t like his job, but there are some days where the tasks at hand weigh heavy on his shoulders and the feeling sometimes slows him down.

The thing about feelings however, is that they also made you rash. Too hasty. Impulsive. Megumi knows he isn't like that, but it still made him soft. He knows they make you want to do something you might not be able to come back from. Which is exactly what Yuuji did when he first ate the finger, and it's exactly what Nobara did protecting Megumi for the last time.

A different curse from the one they were currently fighting caught both of them by surprise, especially for being in a clearing. With his back to it, Megumi never saw it coming and barely felt it in time to see the curse’s jaws clamped around Nobara’s midriff. She took the last of her nails and hammered it into the curse’s head, but by then it was too late. As the curse fell limp to the ground, clumps of Nobara’s flesh were torn off with its teeth, and from what Megumi could tell, the wound was beyond saving, even if they reached Ieiri in time. 

Wanting to reach her sooner, Megumi made quick work of the higher level curse they were originally there for. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as Nobara tried her best to gently lay herself on the cold ground. As he finished and rushed over to kneel next to her, taking her free hand in his own. Even when he was off at a distance, he could tell just how much blood had colored her work clothes. Up close, it looked like she was practically soaking in it.

“Megumi, do you think,” she falters for a bit, shivering and trying to take in more air. “Do you think… Yuuji was scared-” He can tell it’s getting harder for her too, even with just the thought of it. “When he-”

“No.” Nobara’s gaze shifts from the graying sky and into Megumi’s own deep dark eyes, almost hopefully. “I can’t remember a time when he looked any braver.”

She lets out a bitter laugh and winces at the pain it brings on until her breathing goes back to the steady heaving it was earlier. “I’ll let him know… you said that… when I see him,” she says slowly.

For a moment, it’s like the world has carved out a little pocket of time just for them. Everything is still except for the rise and fall of Nobara’s chest and Megumi’s thumb holding her other free hand, stroking her calloused knuckles. At his side, Megumi’s fist clenched and unclenched, trying to hold on but knowing that he was inevitably going to lose. 

“Megumi, you know I…” Nobara closes her eyes like one would just before falling into a deep sleep. “I,” she says again, barely above a whisper. Brushing her hair out of her face, Megumi fixes her with a tender gaze that he knows she won’t see again. Leaning over, he gently placed a kiss to her forehead to let her know she didn’t need to finish her sentence. 

With a shaky voice that threatens to get stuck in this throat, he says “I love you too” right back at her. Nobara takes two more gasps for air before her breathing stops altogether. The clouds have conveniently started to roll around, but it won't give Megumi the satisfaction of raining to try and wash away all the hurt. 

And Megumi sits there, wondering if he’ll always be the one that needs saving.

---

“So what’s the occasion?” Megumi doesn’t answer him, even though at this point Gojo has picked up exactly where they’re going. He’s not too sure of who else visits often—if they visit at all—but at least now Megumi can put a face to the other person leaving flowers when he comes by to clean the place up.

“Turn here.” Gojo makes a turn off of the poorly paved road and onto a barely worn dirt path. “It’s our anniversary,” Megumi mumbles. The older doesn’t say anything, but rather lets out a noncommittal hum in acknowledgement. It isn’t long before Megumi asks him to stop at a small clearing. Gojo cuts the engine and both men climb out of the car and make their way to the two memorial stones standing proudly side by side.

 

Itadori Yuuji

20 March 20XX - 30 July 20XX

“The embodiment of hope.”

 

Kugisaki Nobara

7 August 20XX - 16 December 20XX

“A fighter until the very end.”

 

Megumi gets to work by settling on the ground and opening the container filled to the brim with food that isn’t as warm as it once was. He sets three paper bowls aside and plates soup into two of them, asking Gojo if he wants any before serving himself. He politely declines, which gives Megumi the go ahead to put the other two bowls in front of Nobara and Yuuji’s memorials. 

“Wow, I can’t believe you brought us a warm meal, Megumi.” The sound of Yuuji’s voice startles him into looking up from the bowl in his hand. “When did you ever learn how to cook?” And there he is, sitting cross legged right in front of Megumi, like absolutely everything is okay. 

“He picked it up from you a long time ago, you dork,” Nobara cuts in, shooting a wink at Megumi. She leans back on her stone, a small smile on her face as she basks in the light. “A picnic anniversary is pretty nice, don’t you think?” 

If Gojo notices Megumi’s mouth is gaping open and closed like a fish, he doesn’t say anything. 

Yuuji sighs wistfully, closing his eyes to enjoy the soft spring breeze like his girlfriend was. “Sure is.” It was hard for Megumi to take in that they were right there. Right there, in front of him. Shaking him out of his reverie, Yuuji clapped his hands together and shouted, “Now let's dig in! Itadakimasu!”

Before digging in, Nobara makes a pout that Megumi can’t describe as anything less than cute. Still, he can’t wrap his head around them even being there.

“You have more than I do Yuuji,” she stares between her bowl and Yuuji’s before squinting suspiciously at Megumi. “You’re not playing favorites are you, Megumi?” Everything is taking Megumi a moment to process, still staring at them with wide eyes.

Before he can even answer her, Yuuji starts laughing, honest to God laughing , and it makes Megumi’s heart hurt a little more just from hearing it again. Barely registering that he does it at all, Yuuji puts two of his own meatballs onto Nobara’s plate and starts teasing her. 

“Well if I’m Megumi’s favorite, then you’re my favorite,” Yuuji says, pinching Nobara’s cheeks which earns him a jab to the gut. 

He retaliates by putting their plates aside and tackling Nobara, which sends them both into a giggling fit. They’ve quickly forgotten their petty argument and instead settle for a cuddle war consisting of Nobara playfully trying to push Yuuji off of her and the latter smothering her in a tight embrace. There’s another tight tug at his heart, one that actually has Megumi clutching at his chest. Nobara is the first to notice and Yuuji’s eyes slowly follow her stare.  

“Ah, Megumi?” Even as his eyes gradually begin to water, they’re both the clearest things he can see. Nobara is wearing an outfit that he remembers to be one of her favorites: a white print tee with a black long sleeved shirt underneath, accompanied by a pleated black skirt that reaches just above her knees. She’s sitting in Yuuji’s lap, who’s sporting well fitting gray sweatpants and his iconic yellow sweater. His arms are wrapped around her waist, his head resting comfortably on her shoulder. It’s a vision.

“Are you okay?” Suddenly it becomes hard to breathe. He wants to say something, but how does he answer? Because they’re right there and they look happy, and he misses them so much and- 

He never noticed Gojo getting closer, but the hand on top of his head is a comforting and grounding weight. Megumi blinks rapidly, the image of Yuuji and Nobara quickly becoming a blur as the movement causes the few tears that formed to fall.

He blinks again. And they’re both gone.

---

He can do it. He can do it. He can do it. 

He’s about to walk through the door to the common room, and promptly decides that no, he can not do it. Megumi doesn’t know how exactly he’s going to confess to two of his friends—if it’s even a good idea—and frankly, the internet wasn’t of much help. He doesn’t have a plan, and he’s not sure what he’s going to do in the face of certain rejection.

Megumi feels like a fool trying to peek through the doorway, but he can’t help it. Nobara is sitting at the table reading a magazine while Yuuji is laying across the couch, staring at the TV. What Megumi failed to notice was that Yuuji has been staring at a blank screen and Nobara hasn’t flipped a page for the past 10 minutes.  

The only idea he does have isn’t exactly subtle, but it’s better than facing everything head on. He scribbles on a sticky note and as quietly as he possibly can, summons Demon Dog. Gently sticking the note over the triangle shape on his dog, he gently nudges it inside the common room and the response is immediate. He stays at the doorway to gauge their reactions, which so far has consisted of Nobara kneeling onto the floor to pet Demon Dog and Yuuji scrambling over the top of the couch to join her. 

Megumi suddenly decides that no, this was a bad idea too, and tries to make his way to Demon Dog before either of them reads the note. But Nobara has already gently peeled the note off and started reading it. He freezes in place. 

He’s fucked.

He’s not exactly sure what she thinks of the note, since she schooled her face to be as neutral as possible, but turning around and walking right back out of the room sounds like an appealing idea. 

Nobara tugs on Yuuji’s sleeve and gestures to the note. Much to both Megumi and Nobara’s chagrin, he starts reading it out loud. 

 

“Kugisaki and Itadori, 

I wasn’t sure how else to tell you this, but I like both of you. Like like both of you. I understand if you don’t reciprocate. 

Thanks,

Fushiguro.”

 

His voice trails off at the end, processing what exactly he just read while Nobara looks about five seconds away from choke holding him, her own face going a little red and avoiding eye contact with both of them. 

Now actually having heard it outloud, Megumi realizes he probably should have proofread it first. Or maybe he shouldn’t have written a note in the first place. He had been grappling with his feelings for a couple months at this point, and something was just itching at him to do something about it. 

Megumi first noticed it during training. They both had this drive, this determination, these ambitions that seemed so simple but pushed them to be the strongest they could be. Back then, all he could do was admire them for it.

Even when they weren’t out and about killing curses, he realized he didn’t mind spending time with them. Nobara could talk endlessly about anything and he would attentively listen, like every word that came out of her mouth was more important than the last. Yuuji could poke and prod him all day trying to bother him, and he would willingly endure it knowing Yuuji would give him a thousand apologies later. He could sit in silence, reading on the common room couch and both of them would place themselves on either side of him, and Megumi wouldn’t shrug them away. If anything, he thinks it is something he would seek out. 

And now, when the end of the day would roll around, they managed to squeeze themselves into his last waking thoughts. Megumi would fall asleep with the faintest of smiles, and those nights he wouldn’t have nightmares. Of course, he wasn’t about to confess to any of that out loud, but the idea of not saying anything ever made his heart drop, just a little. 

His feet suddenly seem to function again, and to avoid being in the awkward atmosphere that has settled, Megumi slowly starts shuffling away until Yuuji’s words make him stop. 

“I like,” he pauses, the only indication of his confidence wavering. “Like you both. But why did you end your note with ‘Thanks’?” When Nobara snorts out a laugh, that’s when Megumi fully turns around to look at them. 

“I ‘like’ like both of you,” rolling her eyes at the silly confession. “I was actually thinking about…” she waves her hand vaguely. “Just now, before you came in,” she adds sheepishly. 

“What were you thinking?” Megumi prompts, joining them on the floor and stroking Demon Dog’s back. The action makes Demon Dog’s tail wag more, which in turn makes Yuuji coo. 

“Wondering how it would work.” She pauses, adding with some hesitancy, “if we would work.”

“I don’t see why we can’t,” Yuuji claims boldly. “I think we can,” he adds, a little bit softer and looking them both in the eyes. It makes Megumi and Nobara want to shyly turn away, but they don’t. 

Because it’s just them. It’s him, Nobara, and Yuuji. They’ll figure it out. They’ll be okay.