Suguru sips on his cup filled with black, tasteless coffee; he’s holding a cigarette with the same hand and Gojo thinks he’s going to get his bangs on fire if he’s not careful, yet Suguru proves him wrong every time.
“You need to chill,” Suguru breathes smoke out as he speaks. “It’s not a big deal, and you have been talking to him for a while.”
“Catfish, Geto, catfish.” Gojo reminds his roommate, pulling on his turtleneck again. “He’s too good to be true.”
Suguru places his cup on the counter and smiles, that damned smile that makes Gojo want to commit crimes, “He’s not me.”
“Rude,” Suguru presses the butt of his cigarette on the ashtray he casually—and much to Gojo’s dismay—keeps on their kitchen island. “But hey, I offered you to make a full investigation on the guy and you declined. Don’t come bitching now about your own mistakes.”
“Shut up and make sure that you have my location on so if I send the word ‘potatoes’ you know where to find my corpse.” Gojo pushes his glasses up his nose and declares himself ready.
“I see no reason for me to want your corpse but okay,” Suguru waves him off. “Have a nice date!”
And just like that, Gojo is off to his first Tinder date ever.
It all started with a handful of failed dates with acquaintances introduced to him by his friends—they all started nice and interesting, just to end up wanting Gojo's money more than his being. It sucked big time and his trust issues were acting up, so he decided to try the good old Tinder and either find a good person or convince himself he's just not suitable for dating, contrary to popular belief. Somehow, he won a (wo)manizer reputation around campus after he started his master's degree. Not at all accurate, but welcomed into the grand façade he took a while to put up.
His phone rings when he’s about to get out of his car after arriving at his destination, revealing a message from Shoko.
shakerrrr 15:19: good luck, u have a nice ass, u got this
shakerrrr 15:19: [picture attached]
The picture is Shoko and her girlfriend, Utahime, blowing a kiss to the camera. Gojo shuts off his phone and breathes, before making his way to the coffee shop.
It should be easy. He's been texting back and forth with the guy for a few weeks now so they both felt ready to take the next step and finally meet up. It almost doesn't happen, since the moment Gojo found his profile—all but rich with information about the man—Suguru had tried to swipe left and leave Gojo with just a glimpse of the man's stoic face. Nanami, it said, 24. Under his information, there wasn’t much to work with. ‘Teacher, not fond of children, coffee enthusiast, not fond of small mugs’ and that was about it.
What caused Gojo to swipe left were definitely the pictures—Nanami was handsome in an elegant, composed way; from the way his hair was slicked back in the first picture, to the way some blond strands fell on his forehead in the second picture. He looked well put together in the first one: a candid shot of him picking up a coffee cup, dressed in a black suit that hugged his body in all the right ways; his jawline was well defined and his nose upright. Yet on the second one, he was wearing a white dress shirt, rolled up to his elbows, running his hand through his hair and pulling on the red tie adorning his neck. A whole treat to the world and Gojo’s eyes for sure.
Gojo doesn’t remember a time he messaged someone that fast, but he’s happy he did. Now, he’s about to have a date with the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid his scared eyes on, and he sure hopes he’s not going to ruin the whole thing.
When he enters the shop, he's not sure whether he should order or wait for Nanami so while he makes up his mind, he shoots Suguru a text telling him that he's arrived, to which Suguru answers to a low-quality meme. He's pocketing his phone when he hears someone clear their throat behind him, so he turns around and his brain decides to shut down.
There he is, Nanami Kento in all his rough, composed glory. The way his dark jacket fits him should be illegal, as well as the beige sweater underneath. He's just slightly shorter than Gojo, but he holds himself with a presence that makes Gojo want to kneel—no second intentions included. Gojo can't do anything but stare, and it is embarrassing because he's not just some dumb high-schooler who's having his first date—he's one year older than Nanami, for crying out loud—yet the words refuse to make their way out of his mouth, only air that doesn't form a coherent reaction from him. Nanami seems to be concerned about Gojo's silence, or he either expected Gojo to introduce himself first, but he fills in the silence while Gojo is mid gay panic.
"Hello, I'm pleased to finally meet you in person, Gojo," Nanami says, and his voice is even better than anything Gojo ever imagined—sharp, deep, and calm. Gojo starts to think that's everything Nanami is.
But he’s standing like a fool in front of the man of his dreams in the middle of a random coffee shop, he has no time to dwell into it.
Well, that can’t be good.
That seems to surprisingly elicit a small smile from Nanami, one that is completely different from Suguru’s smirks full of mischief, or Shoko’s lopsided smiles reserved only for birthdays and her girlfriend.
“I’m going to respectfully decline that offer, but I believe we agreed to have a coffee, so I’d say we should start with that.” He replies softly, in such a polite manner it reminds Gojo that Nanami is a teacher.
Gojo sheepishly nods and it’s his turn to clear his throat, “Sorry… Well, no, I’m not sorry, you should marry me, but I’ll take this date as a chance to convince you.”
“I appreciate the sentiment,” Nanami narrows his eyes. “I wonder how that will go.”
“Outstanding, I’m sure.” Gojo is better off throwing cheeky smiles for all he’s worth, so he does exactly that as they start walking towards the cashier.
They make their order in peaceful conversation, borderline on small talk—which Gojo is surprisingly awful at, he usually just jumps into complete nuisance whenever he tries to meet new people—but it's not uncomfortable or unpleasant. When they reach their table, smoothie full of cavities for Gojo. Coffee with no sugar and just hazelnut cream for Nanami, the reality of where and who he is with hits Gojo like a truck as if Nanami's mere existence didn't do that just a few minutes before.
"You said you're studying for your master's degree, but you didn't say what it was." Nanami starts, careful and refined.
"Ah, Mathematical Finance. I have a degree in Computer Science and I currently work under a company to develop programs in the marketing area, but I want to do something more and start investing in something that actually helps people that need it and not just rich people that want to become richer." Gojo explains, using more words than he intends to; he's used to leaving everything about himself vague and safe.
Nanami eyes at him curiously, one of his fingers running on the edge of the coffee collar hugging his cup, “That sounds quite nice of you. And a handful.”
“What can I say, I’m a genius,” Gojo battles the compliment away. “What about you, though? Are you planning on being a teacher forever?”
“Not forever, I have to retire at some point.” Nanami’s answer is amusing as it is stupid.
Gojo takes the bait anyway, “Okay, smartass, are you planning on being a teacher until you have to retire?”
Nanami’s eyes glint with something Gojo can’t comprehend, “Yeah, for now. As annoying as it is to deal with students, I don’t see myself doing anything else. Of course, this might change someday.”
Gojo sips from his smoothie before answering, “I hope not, those suits of yours sure are a delight.”
Nanami’s cheeks turn a slight pink, but Gojo thinks he’s dreaming because the blush disappears as fast as it comes. “Do you wear a uniform at work?”
“Nah, they are tired of trying to make me wear it. They love me too much to let me go, so who cares if I wear a tie or a thong.”
“I hope you don’t, for the sake of the sanity of your coworkers.” Nanami ends up saying, with a hint of malice that Gojo finds unexpected and endearing all the same.
“Wear a tie? Never.” The smirk that accompanies Gojo’s words makes Nanami smile in return.
It’s kind of nice to fall into a conversation that doesn’t waver or it’s not as forced as Gojo’s assignments being shoved down his throat. It feels natural for Gojo to talk about certain things he once would’ve never even considered saying on a first date—a small bit of his past/present with Suguru, the truth about his glasses, Megumi—and Nanami receives his all with open arms and sarcastic remarks that make Gojo’s toes curl.
Nanami is more reserved but reciprocates Gojo's honesty to the best of his abilities, and it feels nice that he's trying, meaning he's as interested as Gojo is in him, only bringing up the sudden proposal from before as a backfire whenever Gojo starts getting too smooth. He shares some stories about his life as a teacher and expresses the discomfort he felt the first year he started as an educator. He talks about his best friend and the one who kind of forced him to make a Tinder profile in the first place; Nanami doesn't say it, but Gojo can tell he wasn't reluctant on the idea for a start. He also notices that Nanami isn't very fond of talking about himself, luring the conversation towards topics in which he's not the main participant.
By the end of the date, they’ve gone through two beverages each and so many smiles that Gojo’s cheeks feel strained when Nanami excuses himself to the bathroom and he can finally relax his face.
He sends Suguru a text asking him to be his best man. Suguru blocks him. However, he couldn’t care less, for he’s leaving the coffee shop hand in hand with Nanami, whose hands are as warm and slightly calloused as he thought, yet perfect and fitting into Gojo’s own. When they reach Gojo’s car, throwing comments here and there about the commute and the weather—not surprising, since they’re both working adults and such topics are a common thing—Nanami lets go of his hand.
"I think we part ways here," he observes. Gojo feels something warm in his chest when Nanami's eyes don't linger on his car as everyone else did before. He feels, too, a certain ache that he knows all too well.
“Or not. Did you drive here?” Gojo asks, silently begging the gods to let him drive Nanami back to his place.
“I took the train, I’m not very fond of driving.” Nanami reminds him, for he’s mentioned it before in one of their text conversations.
Gojo’s features light up in hope, “Then let me drive you.”
Nanami’s eyes widen, and Gojo vaguely hopes he's not overstepping any boundaries. “Is that okay with you? I wouldn’t want you to go out of your way for me.”
Such a foreign idea, in Gojo’s opinion. “Get in the car, Nanamin.”
The drive is pleasant, and Gojo has to give Nanami some points for his music taste since he filled the car with very good oldie rock music that Gojo didn't know he needed until that moment. Nanami instructs him a few times on which way to go until he's parked outside Nanami's house, turning the engine off.
“What is your favorite song?” Gojo suddenly asks, feeling a need to hear Nanami’s voice some more.
"I don't think I have one," Nanami replies. "But I suppose I can play one I enjoy listening to, is that okay?"
“Please do, I’m very excited.” Gojo takes off his belt and shifts to rest against the door, facing directly at Nanami now.
He connects his phone to the car and selects the song he wants from it, filling the car with the melody. Gojo starts moving his head to the rhythm softly, liking the tune first-hand. The corner of Nanami’s mouth lifts, clearly endeared by Gojo’s gesture. They listen to the song for a moment until Nanami turns the volume down.
“Is it of your liking?”
Gojo claps once, "I'm enjoying it. It's very Nanamin."
Nanami shakes his head with a sigh, “My students think I listen to Beethoven. As a hobby, no less.”
“The only Beethoven I can listen to is Union J’s.”
Gojo’s comment makes Nanami wince.
“I’m not gonna come up with some sappy shit right now, but my marriage offer still stands.”
Nanami laughs, freely and adorable—and god forgives Gojo, but the sound is just magical—proving not only to Gojo but himself that he’s undoubtedly charmed.
He makes it seem as if he's seriously contemplating Gojo's words, but is quick to kill his high hopes, "I'm going to decline again, but I can agree to a second date."
“Only if you wear a suit. I want you to take me to a fancy restaurant.”
Nanami sighs, exhausted. “I will think about it.”
“Well then, Nanamin,” Gojo smiles. “Thank you for the best date I’ve had in years.”
“Thank you for not wearing a tie,” Nanami counters, and Gojo is done for.
When he makes sure Nanami is safe in the comfort of his home, Gojo checks his phone.
getOoOoO 20:34: it all sucks.
Indeed it does, because despite that Gojo just had the best time he's had in years—he was being honest before, surprisingly so—he needs to go back home and face the truth, one that Suguru and he keep sweeping under the carpet.
Gojo sighs, mirroring Nanami, but thinks that under the promise of a second date with Nanami, he can face anything else that is thrown at him in the meantime, even if that something is his best friend