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Nobara had fallen in love. That much, she was sure of. 

The fluttering feeling that she got in her chest when her name lit up her phone’s screen with a new message, the smile that teased her lips when she read through, for what must’ve been the millionth time, their confession to one another. 

nkugisaki: (21:03)

wbniuefgue PLSS STOP SENDING ME THSI SHIT ILL CRY

makimakimaki: (23:56)

You still awake? (´∩。• ᵕ •。∩`) 

nkugisaki: (23:56)

ofc, I dont think ive ever been asleep at this time ybf

makimakimaki: (23:57)

I want to talk with youuuu (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ

nkugisaki: (23:57)

im all urs~ 

brings u to our dms so late at night

makimakimaki: (23:57)

Isn’t this early for you? (^~^;)ゞ

nkugisaki: (23:57)

asidfuse ur getting too personal 

makimakimaki: (23:57)

I think you’re just being sensitive u.u

nkugisaki: (23:58)

no i think ur just rood. Smh

makimakimaki: (23:59)

I think I like you. 

In exactly the way you’re thinking, too. Romantically.

Nobara remembered staring at her phone with her jaw almost hitting her mattress. 

nkugisaki: (23:59)

u playin rn?

makimakimaki: (23:59)

I’m not playing rn. (・–・;)ゞ

nkugisaki: (00:00)

that mean ur asking me out rn? 

if u are you couldve at least done it over call :<

makimakimaki started a video call. (00:00)

Call ended. (04:34) 

nkugisaki: (04:34)

sleep well, girlfriend :P <3

makimakimaki: (04:34) 

You as well. Get some rest. (/^-^(^ ^*)/

makimakimaki: (04:47)

<3

Sorry for the ping, forgot the <3 and didn’t wanna set you off tomorrow. 

Nobara had fallen in love with a girl who texted with immaculate (or thereabouts) grammar and silly text faces, who mocked and teased her as if it were her job to do so, the one willing to turn her phone on even after she went to sleep to make sure she sent a heart after her text. The considerate nature that shone through the denseness of her sarcastic countenance - the time Maki had turned her lights off for her when she fell asleep, voice activated, of course, over their video call - the gift packages she received almost every other week. 

It was a shame that they couldn’t kiss, or hug, or hold hands. 

It was hard to love someone who lived hundreds of miles away. 

But they made it work, by some miraculous stunt.

The phone call that they had made that first night - Nobara was almost certain that if she hadn’t done so, they wouldn’t have made it. Maki has this power to smooth other worries, she seemed to have a solution to most everything: all of her anxieties, this one girl, somehow, had the resolution to each and every one of them in the palm of her hand. 

Her friend, Nobara would find out, was more apprehensive about this than she was. 

“Her name’s Maki.” Kugisaki had explained to Itadori, who had taken it upon himself to sprawl across her bed, tilting her phone screen to show him the picture. It had been almost four months since the confession, at that point. She wonders what caused her to be so cautious about it, usually she’d be one to boast and brag almost immediately about her relationship: to scream and shout to the world the announcement of her lover, to show her off. But - something was just irking her about telling everyone. “She’s a year older than us.”

“Don’t those pics look a little catfish-esque?” He speculates in return, cocking an eyebrow in a look of something near disapproval. ”Looks like some sorta model.”

“I’ve been on the phone with her, so I can confirm it’s not.”

“Video?”

“Video.”

“You do know that dating online is a lot different from dating in real life, right?”

“Isn’t that a given?” Nobara runs a hand through her hair, aimlessly swiping through her camera roll, most notably the pictures of her girlfriend that she’d screenshotted over ther past week or so, whether it be from her feed or the images she’d sent directly to her. “Oh, she’s a twin too.”

She moves to show him another picture, one of Maki, and her twin sister Mai, when they were really young. Both dressed in matching and quite possibly the most disgustingly designed summer dresses you could feasibly imagine, and of course, the same discouraged and pouty face, the same one if all of the pictures of Maki in her youth. She hated having her picture taken, apparently, so there are subsequently near to no images of her where she doesn’t look like she’s spends her free time drawing her scheme for your murder in crayon.

“How can you tell which is which?” Itadori narrows his eyes as he stares at the image, taking the bottom of her phone into his own hand to hold it steady so he could see better. “The-”

“Maki wears glasses.” Her matter-of-fact look paired with the smug look that crossed her features made a flash of recognition flicker in his eyes. 

“I was about to say that!” He breaks into a grin that matches Nobara’s, eyes noting back to the picture, observing the image that was still being presented to him. Maybe he saw in Nobara the same thing he felt when he’s around Fushiguro. The unconventional need to brag, though, not that he could to Nobara, considering that they were in the same friend group - or that they were even together yet, for that matter. “I don’t mean to be a wet blanket but are you sure you’re cut out for long distance? From what I can tell it’s really draining.”

“What do you mean by that?” Even though she narrowed her eyes threateningly, she was genuinely looking for his answer, his doubts, maybe to reassure her own if she could find the solution to his.

“You have to have a lot of mutual trust in each other since you’d have no real way of knowing if they’re cheating or not. From what I could guess, you look to be the jealous type.”

Nobara hums in contemplation, features softening after she beats his leg with a balled fist for the comment at the end. “I had thought of that but… I don’t think she’s that kind of person. We may only have been going out for a little while but I’ve known her as a friend for a good eight months now- or something like that at least.”

Her friend settles further against her pillows, shaking his head lightly. 

“In which case, I got nothin’ else to say. You seem happy - if you are, I am.” He says almost sweetly, and then adds: “Pussy-whipped?”

“I am not, if anything, she’s more pussy-whipped than I am!” She defends, punching him in the leg as hard (again) as she could. “No need to be bitchy about it just because I get more ass than you do.” 

“Now that - that was a low blow, Kugisaki, even for you - but I’m working on it.” Itadori pauses. “Bitch.”

Smack.

“Okay- I get it, I get it, have mercy-!”

Much after the conversation with Itadori has passed, she realises just how much his approval had actually meant for her. It was a confirmation of sorts, she’d suppose. As much as she hated with a burning passion to admit, Itadori hadn’t just occupied one of those limited seats of people she cared about, he had pulled up his own chair and then had the gall to ask her why it was so empty. Now that Maki had been placed on what seemed to be a throne, the acceptance of one of the only other occupants meant endlessly more than she’d ever say aloud. 

By the time she had realised he was even there, he’d already set up his own tent and portable microwave-oven; it was too late to kick him out. She considers her complacency a symptom of her romances, though even if her lover hadn’t stepped into the open place, she’s not sure she’d have the heart to send him out to the streets. 

Nobara stands in her kitchen, her phone set up leaning against the tiles of the back wall as she waits for the kettle to boil. She leans her elbows forward onto the counter, resting her chin in her palms and observing herself in the black screen, briskly pulling at the skin on her cheeks. 

Her phone display lights up with a text. 

makimakimaki: (17:32)

I’m sorry, I’ve been so busy for the past day, I ha…

She swipes at the notification and scans her index finger to unlock the screen, picking up her phone with one hand. 

makimakimaki: (17:32)

I’m sorry, I’ve been so busy for the past day, I haven’t gotten chance to talk with you much. (っ˘̩╭╮˘̩)っ

Let’s facetime soon. ( ◜‿◝ )♡

And cook yourself an actual dinner, Nobara, it’s not good for you to only eat cup noodles. (-_-メ)

She finds herself grinning down at the screen, thumbing out a response. 

nkugisaki: (17:32)

how did u know?? u in my house or sum??

makimakimaki: (17:33)

How did <you> know? ;0 

And are you free, right now? :>

nkugisaki has started a video call. (17:33)

“Maki!” Nobara calls as the screen turns from her girlfriend’s profile picture to her face, though it was still loading: she draws out the last ‘i’ in her name for her own amusement.

“Nobara.” She hears in return, and though the picture hadn’t fully loaded, her girlfriend currently sat behold the screen, albeit depicted in an admittedly pathetic amount of pixels, she can hear the smile that creeps into her voice. “It’s been too long since we last called.”

“It has,” She whines in return, watching the image clear as she places her phone back against the tiles. “I humbly welcome you to La Cuisine de Kugisaki .”

“Your french accent is horrible,” Maki fights off a biting comment. “What are you making?" 

“Nothin’ interesting.” 

“Is that so?” A hum comes in affirmation and they call to silence, Nobara standing from her counter to scavenge for something to actually make that wouldn’t make her girlfriend question her physical dietary health. Though, when she finally decides on pulling a can of soup out of her cupboard, she looks back down at her phone to find Maki staring right back with a content smile.                  

Realising she was caught, however, she flusters and looks at something off-screen, shifting her hair off to one side with a loose hand before picking up her pen again and drawling seemingly aimlessly across the page. Her eyes flutter back to the screen, where Nobara is intently watching her. 

Amused, Kugisaki pulls out a drawer and gets the can opener, attempting to latch it onto the lip of the can. It was a life skill that she hadn’t yet mastered, and her many multitudes of attempts left the edge of the can unbelievably sharp, and the tiniest hole  where the soup could drip out. She looks at it hopelessly before trying one more time, opening it up and lining it up against a different undamaged part of the tin; with a satisfying click, it finally pops into place. 

She looks at her hands in pure celebration before winding the opener to cut open the top of the soup. 

“I’ve never in my life seen one woman so happy to open a cheap tin of soup.”

“Well you better get used to it because that shit’s hard work.” She says triumphantly, and reaches to a cabinet below her to pull out a while ceramic bowl, to which she pours in the contents of the freshly opened can. The comfy silence happens upon them again as Nobara steps out of frame to place the bowl in the microwave, setting the timer for a few minutes.

“Nobara?”

“Hm?” She steps back to her phone, so that she sees herself on the call. Maki, despite calling for her, isn’t looking as she’d expect her to be: she’s staring down at whatever's in front of her on her desk, lips pursed in contemplation. 

“I missed you.” 

“I missed you too.” Something deep in Maki’s stomach begins to resent the girl when she continues, though. “I, Nobara Kugisaki , have the honour of being missed by the Maki Zenin? God - I don’t even look the part.”

She starts rapidly running her fingers through her hair to smooth out the knots,  shaking it to add volume and adjusting herself to look as she usually would, if she was talking to anyone other than Maki. 

“I will not hesitate to hang up on you.” Her lover deadpans, palming her own cheeks to massage the redness away to no avail. 

“If you really wanted to, you would’ve already.” Nobara reminds her, and it’s even more frustrating that she’s right. “You remember the first time we called and you actually hung up on me because you thought I was too annoying?”

“There’s a difference between you being annoying and yelling through the phone ‘n’ trying to make me laugh at half four in the morning and almost getting me caught by my dorm supervisor.” Maki shoots back, this time getting the stomach to look disapprovingly at the orange-haired girl. “A pretty big one, actually. You know how strict my school was.”

God , I’m so glad you left that shithole. It was so bad for you there.” She lists, drumming her fingers against the countertop as she listens to the microwave hum. “Plus, this way we get to stay up late talking.”

“Moving into my own accommodation was for the better, too. You kept getting jealous of the fact that I had to use a shared bathroom facility.” Maki recalls and looks over at her, beguiled. 

“I don’t think you’d be too happy either if I told you that I’d indefinitely be showering with other women.” She tests in remark. 

“Well, not exactly but-”

“My point! My point exactly.” Nobara speaks over her, so she never really hears her justification, and when she receives no further argument, she smiles smugly. 

“It’s not like I had a choice at the time.” She disputes after some time, and rolls her eyes, drawing little stars (or are they hearts?) on her paper, around their names in cursive that she’d doodled in the near top left of her page. “Plus, you know that the only person I’d willingly take a shower with is you.”

“What are you implying?” The orange-haired girl breaks into a stolen cheesy grin, most clearly teasing as she cocks a suspicious eyebrow. “Because if you’re saying what I’m thinking you’re saying, then-”

“You say another word, Nobara.” Maki threatens, sending her a pointed look as she stares directly into the camera, though it’s not as effective as it usually is, before waiting a moment, eyes softening and saying more. “I’ll think about it.”

She pauses once more (Nobara thinks the audio cut off, she took so long) before adding: “For when we live together.”

And the smile that blossoms, no longer in mockery, is sweet and almost tranquil.

“I look forward to that,” Nobara grins wistfully, and the most beautiful constellations of memories that they were to make in their future fashion her eyes into stars, with that far off look. “I can’t wait for the day I have enough money and time to travel to see you.”

“It should be soon, right?” Maki contemplates, suddenly more serious than she intended to be, bottom lip tugging beneath her teeth in thought. She rubs a hand across her eyes rapidly, though it’s clear to Nobara that it’s not out of stress. “If you cut back on shopping like I told you to-”

“And I did .”

“Well if that’s as true as you say it is, it should be soon, a couple months from what I remember cost-wise. If you haven't already, you can take the hotel costs off, now, since I’m living alone now.” She continues, leaning her chin to her palm, rocking her head slowly. “So soon, hopefully. I’ll travel to you, next time. I take all of my relaxed classes next semester, so I should have time for a part-time work- job, even.”

“You’re really into this, huh?” Nobara tilts her head, combing her finger through her hair when she paces idly, bringing it to the base of her neck and pulling a bobble off of her wrist to form a ponytail. It was tiny though, and all of the hair around her face fell out naturally. Her lips curl into a tease. “You wanna see me that bad?”

“Well, yeah. You know how hard it is to say I’ve been dating someone for how many months now? Four? Almost five?” The older woman says incredulously, raising her head to shake it, fingers grabbing at the ballpoint to tap it. “And I haven’t even held her hand.”

“Weren’t lesbians supposed to move fast? Isn’t that the stereotype?”

“As much as I’d want to say that neither of us were the ones for stereotypes, we did just mention moving in together after four months of dating.” She stifles a yawn, shrugging with a small smile.

Nobara breaks into a short laugh. “ God, imagine if the first time we ever saw each other in real life was the day I moved in.”

“I wouldn’t like to imagine it, if I’m honest.” Maki rubs her eyes languidly , she wonders how long she’s been awake, and then combs out her fringe, fidgeting with the hair until it feels as though it's sitting right, despite enver bothering to check if it was. “That sounds horrible.”

“Are you tired?” Nobara screws her features in concern. “You look it and sound it for that matter, you’re not putting up as much of a fight today. Take a nap.”

“But we just got the chance to talk - I don’t wanna waste it - it comes rarer and rarer these days.”

“So, what? Take a nap.” She shrugs, and realizes that the microwave has been pinging for a while now, and pops the door open. “Just keep the call open, I’ll be right here when you wake up, s’not like I’m going anywhere tonight. Fuck it, I’ll even read you a bedtime story.

Maki seems to consider this for a moment, sitting up from where she had been slouching, something very uncharacteristic of the usual Maki, and stretching her arms in front of her. 

“Are you sure that’s okay, though? Keeping the call on, I mean: you are pretty high maintenance, low attention span.” If you’re trying to make a dig at me for distraction, Nobara thinks, it’s not gonna work.

“I’m certain. You need to prioritise yourself over anyone else, but I don’t really need to tell you that.” 

She smiles with her words, half grateful and half something that the other couldn't quite catch in such a short window of time, and sits back in her chair briefly, and then standing, though not before picking up her phone to bring her girlfriend with her. 

Nobara is grateful that she broke past the bounds of friendship with Maki. Even if there wasn’t much that changed between them, as much couldn't  over the phone, she feels as though she knows Maki more than anyone else does, and she does, for that matter. She was the one that Maki texted when she woke up, that she sends things that she finds cool to, the one who receives her rare affections. 

They’re selfish thoughts, she agrees, but there was something about Maki to where she couldn’t help herself . She truly feels special. 

Nobara knows all of her tells, her habits, and often wonders if anyone else knows them too. That she rubs her upper arms if she’s nervous, or that she bites her lip when she’s thinking about something, or that she draws full circles over her ‘i’s instead of dots when she’s bored. 

Or that she only gets sentimental when she’s tired. 

They engage in meagre idle chatter as Maki washes her face and brushes her teeth, and Nobara eats her soup, of course. 

Nap. Nobara had said, though, by the looks of it, she was just getting ready to completely turn in for the night, which is probably for the better, she decides. 

She watches with a gentle gaze as her girlfriend finds her way into bed. She wonders if anyone else knows how many blankets Maki sleeps with on her bed, it’s four, for the record, and most of them are strewn around her rather than on her. But without them, her bed would feel too empty, she’d say, in a low voice to make sure no one else heard, not that there was anyone to. 

Catching Maki’s yawn, she watches as she takes her glasses and folds them on her bedside table, just outside of the frame; sees her pull the blankets up to her chin and bury her cheek into her pillow. 

“Was your soup good? I never asked.”

Nobara smiles. She had moved to her own bedroom, too, though she was still sitting at her desk in front of the illuminated screen of her laptop, lamp glowing and casting yellowish shadows across her face. “It was, thanks. ‘Always forget how good soup is until I have it for the first time in a while.”

Her girlfriend hums in response. 

“I’ll mute myself so I don’t bother you.” She continues, eyes peeling away to the laptop screen, where she had Netflix open (Nobara is almost certain that she’d binged just about everything there is, but it’s Itadori’s account, so it’s not like she’s paying for it or anything and she insists on making him get his money’s worth). “Get some sleep, Maki.”

She hums once again, shifting in her blankets. 

“I love you, I think.” Maki confesses, and almost forces her girlfriend to crack a cheesy grin, facing towards the camera, sweetly. 

Maki is only sentimental when she’s tired

“I love you too.” She admits in return,  and nods to her neatly. Maybe it wouldn’t mean a lot to Maki but, it meant infinite reasons and salutations to Nobara. She wasn’t sure if what she was feeling really was love, the deepest and truest kind, but she decides from the tightness that pulls in her chest that this must certainly be close. “Goodnight.”

“‘Night.”

nkugisaki is now muted. 

Nobara is exactly where she promised as Maki awakens, as she always would be, even if she was asleep, herself. 

Nobara had fallen in love. That much, she was sure of. 

And now, with their first profession finally spoken, lips curled into saccharine smiles and stomachs twisting and unfurling from their nervous knots, it was even more so clear. 

She still thought about it, even the next morning, about Maki’s voice, drunken with the haze of tiredness that seemed to overwhelm her, as if she were caught in a riptide offshore. Though she hated to admit it, she got giddy every time she thought about the way her words were formed, and she’d perhaps repeated the phrase so much internally that she’d forgotten what she originally sounded like, that she begun to doubt if she even said it at all, or if it was but a mirage created by her own restlessness.

Even if it was, she decides as she’s brushing the taste of sleep from her tongue, it was a palpably sweet one. 

The more time that passed, the more she was inclined to believe it to be so, since she never heard the phrase of promise again, no matter how much she hinted or suggested or insinuated. Perhaps it really was but an illusion of the mind, who was to say?


nkugisaki: (13:44)

maki 

tell me if im dumb or sum but

Nobara sends her a picture of the piece of paper she’d been writing on, making notes of numbers and her calculations. 

nkugisaki: (13:45)

dont i have enough to see you????? pls if i do i8m deadsss gonna cry i stg

makimakimaki: (13:46)

Holy shit. 

Yeah. 

I think that’s enough. I can buy everything for you while you’re here, you don’t need that much spending money. 

Wow. 

Fuck. 

Usually, at this point, Nobara would be making some backhanded comment about how Maki was a perfect sugar mummy, but she was too busy slamming her phone onto her desk, eyes almost as wide as their dinner plates. She pushes herself out of her seat and walks to one of the mirrors across her bedroom, staring haphazardly into her own reflection.

“I… I get to see Maki.” Her words push past her teeth before she can even register herself forming them. Nobara’s hands slam across her cheeks with a sickening slapping noise that reverberates in the silence of the rest of her bedroom. Holy shit.

If her calculations are off, and all of this excitement is a waste, what a sick twist of fate it so seems to be. 

In fact, if she were to wake up bathed in her sheets, as she had done many times before, she might just cry. This time, it just felt so real, so vivid, too vivid to be a concept of her wildest imaginations.   

makimakimaki: (13:47)

Nobara? Are you still there? ಠಿ_ಠ

nkugisaki: (13:47)

i think imn dreaming rn etf

maki

i can ocme se3e you 

come see yopu

you 

ohymfosd

makimakimaki: (13:50)

I’m really happy right now, Nobara. ♪~(´ε` )

I’m on the train but I can’t stop smiling. (*´ω`*)

nkugisaki: (13:50) 

fiajohweuioguwerhtg!!!!! 

neithger omg 

idk what to do woth myself oml 

makimakimaki: (13:50)

Pack a bag, maybe? :P

Nobara never woke up from her dream, because she was never asleep to begin with.

Needless to say, it was quite a monumental process of Nobara not only packing her bag, but preparing herself to meet her lover of just over half an annum, both mentally and physically. 

She, for once, went to a salon to get her haircut and re-dyed (both of which she’d usually do at home using box dye and some cheap scissors that she’d picked up almost a year ago, now), got her nails treated and cared for, though they were still kept short, as a precaution, more than anything, she had to be prepared for any and all situations, if one may so happen to arise, had her eyebrows plucked and lashes lifted she even went as far as to wax her legs. 

Of course, the budget for this had come out of a separate fund, one that would have usually been being used for food that month but since she wasn’t exactly there, and that it was most likely going to be split bills with Maki, she presumed she’d be find with the money that remained after buying her coach ticket (since there weren’t any convenient or direct trains, she had to make at least three switches, she’d figured, and that wasn’t something she was mentally prepared for, yet. Maybe next time. And plus, going on coach was considerably less expensive, even if it did entail sitting uncomfortably on a cramped bus for way too many hours)

When she got there, though, she found that the coach wasn’t actually as small as she had anticipated it to be. With her suitcase in the back storage and her carry-on bag hanging off of the seat in front of her, it was almost nice. She even had a lot of legroom and a vacant place beside her, so there was no need to push herself against the window. 

nkugisaki: (03:37) 

jsur got on the coach, should be setting off soon=!! 

im so excited!!!!!

Of course, she didn’t expect Maki to be awake to respond to her message right at the ass-crack of dawn, but it still felt like a special enough time to send her a message, just to at least let her know . She had also sent her a picture of the clothes that she was wearing before she left the house, so she knew what to expect when she came to pick her up. 

Coming to pick her up.  

It still almost felt as if it were a dream that this was at all happening. Seeing Maki, or rather the concept of seeing Maki since she wasn’t quite there just yet. At any second, Nobara was expecting to either wake up at home, or have the coach catch fire, or something completely unorthodox and have to be sent trekking home and have her money only half refunded, abandoned to have to save up again.

Unhesitatingly, she finds herself pulling down the greyish food-tray and placing her phone onto it, with her earphones plugged in, listening to the playlist of songs that she had made that reminded her so dearly of her Maki. At times, she even found herself dozing in and out of a hazy sleep as the blurred landscapes escaped past the tinted window. Highways and fields of farmland and flowers, and skies and endless horizons that passed by in just milliseconds. 

makimakimaki: (06:31)

Good morning! I’m glad to know you’ve set off well. ( ◜‿◝ )♡

What time are you expected to get here, did you say? Around 8? 

nkugisaki: (06:32)

makiiiiiiiiiiiiiii <3

yea 8 it said but we’re stopping off again for a bit soon so maybe closer to nine

idk if they incuided the stop in the journey time :/

i can’t wait to see you <333

wait a sec whyh are you awake so early maki, get more sleep 

makimakimaki: (06:32)

Nope, I have to leave myself enough time to get dressed and Nobara-proof my entire flat so you don’t destroy anything u.u

nkugisaki: (06:32)

oi 

makimakimaki: (06:32)

I’m kidding :P 

This is my normal alarm - I’m just getting up to work out. Plus, I don’t think I could go back to sleep, even if I wanted to. (/^-^(^ ^*)/

nkugisaki: (06:33)

Okiedikie, im gonna try get some sleep, bcuz im not geting off at the service station and im btired asffff

makimakimaki: (06:33)

Get some sleep, darling. I’ll see you when I come get you. (。・ω ・。)ノ♡

I looked it up, there's a fast-food place just outside the station, go and sit in there and wait for me, I might be a bit late. We can get some food before we go back to my house. (~ ̄³ ̄)~

nkugisaki: (06:33)

okiedokie, see ya in a few hoiurs!

When the text bubbles to indicate Maki was typing cease, Nobara increases the volume of her music by two notches, and then back down one when she realises that there’s no way in hell she’d be able to get any rest with it blasting in her ears. 

She pulls one of her knees up, adjusting the seat belt so that she can bury her shoulder in the seat, cheek, too, pressed against it. For a few minutes, Nobara takes the moments to stare out the window at the foggy statures of the passing countryscapes, the fiery hues of dawn preluding the beams of a glorious day to come. 

Pulling a blanket over her shoulder, despite her discomfort, her eyes close, and it doesn’t take long for her to drift away into the bumps and hills of the road, the mindless chatter enveloping her like a duvet of lullaby to pull her to a brisk sleep. 

When she wakes up, the blanket has fallen into her lap and her neck and back are achingly sore from her poor posture in slumber. Nobara lets out a yawn and lifts her head, running her nails across her scalp to subconsciously smooth out her hair, which she just knows has to be a mess. 

It takes her a few minutes to adjust to the coach, given that they were still moving, but it was much brighter outside than when she’d first fallen asleep. Though, it was most fascinating to see that they were in the middle of a city, and a seemingly busy one at that. Pulled up to stop at traffic lights, she gets the chance to gaze upon the bystanders: busy workers in office wear and the latter bustling about their day. 

Maki lived here? All the time? 

Each person walked with the confidence that she did in her tiny town back home, the one she’d grown up in, the one of which she knew every detail like it was the back of her very own hand. Could they be as familiar with this concrete maze as she had been back home? Would Maki walk with the same familiarity? Could she, eventually? 

And better yet, how dare she ever say that there was nothing to do, here. If Nobara had to guess at all, she could say that there were hundreds upon hundreds of shopping outlets and stores. Though, she did realise that that wasn’t exactly her girlfriend’s forte, given her slightly introverted nature. 

Or, less introverted, more than she just didn’t want to concern herself with others because it caused more trouble than was originally necessary. 

She draws her attention from the street, once she begins to bore of just watching people pass, bleary eyed, though that doesn't take too long. Rubbing the remaining sleepiness from her eyes, she picks up her phone from it’s face-down position on the food tray. Her music was still playing, and the playlist hadn't been set on loop, so there were a myriad of songs she didn’t know that had been playing for a while now. Nobara sets the music to the beginning, and pulls down her notification bar, eyes lighting up when she sees Maki‘s username. 

makimakimaki: (08:03)

Okay, I’m heading out of my house now, I hope I don’t keep you waiting too long. (●´⌓`●)

That message had been sent around 15 minutes ago, she notes, eyes clocking from the time in the top left of her phone, to the one noted next to the message’s sender. She pauses momentarily, before typing out a response. 

nkugisaki: (08:18)

I just woije up !! 

were still on the coach but were in the xcity now, idk where 

but shouldnt be too long

makimakimaki: (08:18) 

I’ll be waiting at the station when you get here, I got here ahead of schedule. (人*´∀`)。*゚+

makimakimaki: (08:20)

I’m excited to see you. (*´ω`*)

nkugisaki: (08:20) 

you drunk or sum? youre nevrt this sweet <3

makimakimaki: (08:20) 

I’ll make an exception since its the first time I’m ever gonna see my girlfriend u.u

nkugisaki: (08:20) 

wowow im honoured <333

oki i think well be here soon, theres loads of signs 

makimakimaki: (08:20)

Signs? What do they say, I might know where you are? 

nkugisaki: (08:21)

idk were past them now :<

makimakimaki: (08:21)

Very helpful, love.

I’m assuming that you don’t know which entrance you’ll be coming in? It’ll be from the left so I think I look a bit weird just pacing up and down the station. ಠ﹏ಠ

nkugisaki: (08:21)

i think they told us but i didn't listen

mb :PP

makimakimaki: (08:21)

Oh my precious girlfriend, notoriously alert. 

Text me when you start pulling in. ₍₍ ◝( ゚∀ ゚ )◟ ⁾⁾

nkugisaki: (08:21)

mkay mkay, ttys <3

When Nobara looks up from her phone again, they’ve stopped at another set of traffic lights. She decides to take the time to place her front-facing camera out in front of her, pulling her carry-on bag into her lap. 

Almost routinely, she takes a brush and sorts through the knotted locks of her hair, and she was thankful that it hadn’t somehow gotten greasy over the course of her trip, even if she did wash it just before she left home. She attempts to push the puffiness out of her face with the pads of her fingertips, almost sighing in frustration when it comes to no avail. Tilting her chin to many different angles, she wonders if she’s really presentable enough, considering that she was seeing her girlfriend for the first time. 

Even if she wasn’t, it’s not like Maki would care anyway, she wasn’t one to care about stuff like that.  

That had grown to be one of the most endearing things, knowing that, wholeheartedly, Maki had almost no regard for how she looked. At least, in the terms of, she didn’t care if she was breaking out or if she was bloated, or if she’d gained weight in the past month. Everything about Nobara was perfect to Maki, no matter what it was, she knew because she’d said so, once, when she was too close to sleep to have recollection of her words the following morning. Or maybe she did and was just playing dumb, needless to say, it didn’t matter all that much. 

Nobara still smiles about that, whenever it comes into her head, as it often did when she was criticizing her own appearance too harshly. It was… a fond memory for her, and the tired grin that Maki had given her was too precious to forget. 

It was almost as if she became a whole other person when she was tired. 

Above her, a small buzzer alerts with a small ding, before the driver announces that they'd be arriving in about ten minutes, so they should begin packing up all of their things, ensuring not to leave anything behind, be it personal belongings or rubbish. 

Those last ten minutes are pure agony for Nobara. 

As if it somehow wasn’t before, her stomach had begun twisting with the nerves, tying itself into tightly laced knots. 

She was finally going to see Maki, and she wipes the incredulous smile off of her face, because if she doesn’t, she just knows that her cheeks are going to be painfully aching by the time she steps down the coach’s steep steps. That, or that her eyes would well up and she’d begin to cry out of the sheer concept. 

Nobara finds it in herself to focus on deep breathing exercises to keep her mind from wandering, and it works for two minutes or so before she gets bored and her thoughts drift back to the girl waiting for her in the station just a few minutes away. 

She picks her phone up again. 

nkugisaki: (08:32)

we got like 10 mins or sum til we get there

im so excited you dont even know

makimakimaki: (08:32) 

Alright. I can’t believe you’re in the same city as me right now. (〃゚3゚〃)

nkugisaki: (08:33)  

ikik, its asuiegbug

makimakimaki: (08:33)

Is that a gay panic message? ಠ_ಠ

nkugisaki: (08:33)

yes. 

makimakimaki: (08:33)

Wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you use a piece of punctuation correctly. (^∇^)ノ♪

Also, wow, no hesitation.

nkugisaki: (08:34) 

damn right only bad bitches dont use puctuatiuoin

makimakimaki: (08:34)

Or spell, apparently. 

nkugisaki: (08:34) 

no not spell

jkst cant type

theres a difference, sweets <3

and is that you admitting that im a bad bitch?

makimakimaki: (08:34) 

No, I’m just too lazy to dispute it. (-_-メ)

nkugisaki: (08:34) 

just admit you think im a bad bitch 

makimakimaki: (08:34)

No. I’m not rewarding you like that. (-_-;)・・・

Despite knowing the judgement that she’ll get from anyone around her on the coach, Nobara opens her camera and takes a picture of herself biting her lip and squinting, chin resting in the gap made between her thumb and index finger, ironically, of course, and sending it to Maki. 

nkugisaki has sent an attachment.

makimakimaki: (08:38)

Please stop this, I will pay you to stop. (ꏿ﹏ꏿ;)

nkugisaki has sent an attachment. 

makimakimaki: (08:38)

Nobara I swear to God, I will make you sleep on the couch, ༎ຶ‿༎ຶ

Yes, I can threaten that. You have things to lose now. ( ´◡‿ゝ◡`)

nkugisaki: (08:38) 

pls accept my apology 

makimakimaki: (08:38)

That’s what I thought. <( ̄︶ ̄)>

nkugisaki: (8:39)

are you gonna call me a good girl?

nkugisaki has sent an attachment. 

makimakimaki: (08:39) 

I fucking hate you with every fibre of my being. I hope you know that. ಥ‿ಥ

nkugisaki: (08:39)

i love u too omg <33333

okay okay i think we’re pulling in, gonna get my bag n shit and then ill come to you inside ihefWASEG

makimakimaki: (08:39)

I’ll see you soon. (*˘︶˘*).。*♡

You’re not forgiven for that comment, by the way. 

Nobara makes work of folding her blanket up and putting it into the backpack she had at her ankles, trying to take as many deep breaths as she could to calm her anxiousness.

Once she no longer had anything to occupy herself, however, she stressfully runs her fingers through hair that was already sitting in the right place- just making it worse than it had been before. 

The coach pulls to a halt.

In just a few minutes, she’d be standing face to face with her girlfriend. What would she do? What would she say? Was there something that she needed to say or do? She hadn’t watched enough ‘long distance couple meeting’ compilations recently, what was she supposed to do?  

Kiss her, maybe? Or is it too early? Better yet, what if she was a bad kisser? What if she missed? 

Then, hug her? She supposed that would do but - what if Maki was already holding something when she found her? What would she be holding? Her phone, perhaps, maybe some shopping. At half past eight in the morning, and knowing her girlfriend’s unpredictable sense of the correct timing of doing things (notably, the occasion where she had gotten at five in the morning, and hour earlier than her usual schedule, just so she could arrive at the shop for 6, so that she could be the first one in the shop to make use of the fresh stock before anyone else could. Illogical, but completely thought out), literally anything could be possible in that moment.

“Miss, you can go.” Nobara’s attention is drawn to a man who she would seem to be in (at least) his mid-thirties, looking down at her, where she had stood in preparation to walk down the aisle between the seats, and was now motioning for her to start walking. 

“Thank you.” She murmurs with a dip of her head, before she shoulders the bag and begins to walk, turning at points to make sure she could fit without hitting any of the other seats. Even if they were vacant, it would be embarrassing to get caught against one of them and have to hold up the other passengers behind her. 

Once she had been ushered out of the thin avenue of the coach, she finds herself standing outside, the wind biting against her skin espite the bright flares of the sun. They were calling out people’s names to get their luggage, and once they had been given it they were free to go. 

Now, it was but a game of waiting. 

Nobara was attempting to compose herself. 

Just greet her as they would greet each other over the phone, maybe even grab her hand as they begin to walk together to get food. It wasn't supposed to be some sort of monumental moment, she was almost certain that most of those videos were staged (despite having  no evidence for or against their plights). 

They were simply two people who were meeting for the first time, people who just happened to be madly in love with each other. 

God, Nobara is in love. 

She is deeply in love with the girl she found through her social media on a chance encounter, who she had texted once and their conversation flowed from one day into the next seamlessly until they found themselves talking daily. And then calling, and after their eight or so months of being friends, they had begun dating.

Nobara had been in love with her long before Maki’s confession though, she’d come to realise. The respect that she had had for Maki surpassed the mortal bounds of friendship in more ways than she’d like.  

Taking in a deep breath, she shifts her weight from one foot to the other, deep in consideration. 

And even despite the love, their familiarity with one another, just how was she supposed to act in a time like this? There’s no social etiquette that she knows of meeting your lover in person for the first time. Nothing online, nothing that she finds useful, at least. The only thing she has is her thoughts to gather and compile into a bouquet of beautiful blooms, which may ultimately wither and die the moment they’re brushed with Maki’s touch. 

“Nobara Kugisaki!” The deep tone of the driver calls, and she perks up at the mention of her name, straining her neck past the shoulders of the crowd to emerge through and collect her bag. Once she grabs a hold of it, and compresses the button to expand the handle, she takes her final breath to thank the driver.

She could feel the moment of truth weighing upon her shoulders, like hundreds and thousands of spindle-like fibres were being cast over her body, tying her firmly in place. Nobara has to swallow the hot ball of anxiety rising in her throat, and bites back the tears that are swelling in her eyes. 

Unmistakingly, she swears that the first footstep that she takes through the automatic glass door echoes and ripples across the vast expanse of the station for minutes after its placement. 

Her eyes draw to the largeness of the ceiling; the dangling lights that remain unlit in the hours of the morning where the sun mellowly glows through the translucency of the ceiling. Anxious, she can’t find the willpower to bring her eyes down from the roof, not at first, at least. 

Why was she making such a big deal of this? 

It was only Maki. 

Her Maki. 

Her Maki, who had come to pick her up so that they could have lunch together, for the very first time. 

Absolutely nothing to worry about.

Mind racing a mile a minute, she finally looks down, and takes a few steps forward, the burning in her throat gradually receding to mere butterflies that flutter and flounce around in her stomach. Nobara scans across a scarce crowd, looking for the shade of ivy hair that had grown so familiar over the past few months, and on her first observations, she finds null. 

Her hand reaches for her pocket, pulling out her phone and lighting up the screen. 

makimakimaki: (08:54)

You look a little lost. You need a map, over there?

Nobara’s gaze jolts up from her phone, avidly searching until she finds a sight that somehow had escaped her just moments before. 

There, only just standing out against the crowd of people, is Maki. Maki in the flesh. Maki in all of her glory, hair pulled into the same ponytail it always is, the rectangular-framed purple glasses that matched her features maybe a little too well perching regally on her nose, that same snide and oh-so-endearing smile playing on her lips. 

Nobara feels her feet moving before she can tell them to, and her hands let go of her suitcase and the backpack drops from her shoulder. She pays no mind to the collateral behind her, not the echoing yells of the suitcase banging against the floor, nor the shortness of the annoyance from those whose paths she was abruptly cutting off. 

The next time her eyes find her, her arms are engulfed around Maki’s torso, or so she supposes, and her vision is blurred with the purest tears. 

“Maki.” She says, hands grabbing fistfulls of her shirt, pushing her as close to herself as humanly possible. 

Maki’s arms enclose around her and Nobara could happily forget that the rest of the world was there, that for so many months they had spent so, so long without seeing one another, being able to touch, smell, taste. Everything came flooding in all at once, as though living in a life in depravity of colour, only to discover a canvas and unimaginable hues of every shade you could conjure. 

Nobara was sensitive, almost too sensitive, to every miniscule movement that Maki made - from adjusting her arms around her, the grip around her waist, her hips, her back, tightening just every so slightly, the muscles of her back tensing beneath her fingers. They’re pressed flush together, tears streaming down their faces with the most pressed smiles, pressed if not to suppress the sobs. 

The tears had been a second-to-none and most unexpected subsequent reaction of being able to hold someone you were so attached to. Being able to feel their skin against your own, the gentle heat that radiates from your most tender lover - Nobara has found her brand new addiction; this gentle harmony is it. 

Even the pixels that had kept them apart for so long couldn’t squeeze into the tiny space between them.

Nobara is in love, after all, that much is clear to see, too her, to Maki, to anyone who spares them a smile in the station in this monumental city. 

“You didn’t even look before you latched onto me.” Maki tries for a remark, but the confidence that usually ran fluid in her tone was dry, replaced by the wet waters of her own oxymoronic cries. “It would have been embarrassing if you hugged a stranger like this.”

“Shut up, idiot.” Nobara finds her words, swallowing deeply as the first tears leave her eyes, immediately dampening the fabric at Maki’s shoulder that she was burying herself against. 

“Hey, there’s no need to cry, I know the pictures do me too much justice but there’s no need for that reaction.” 

“You’re crying too,” She sobs, taking her face out of her shirt to pull away just enough to catch her first real glances of her lover. Her hand releases the iron grip, hands finding the smoothness of Maki’s cheeks, thumbs sliding across them to wipe away the tears that were parallel to her own. “You- You can’t say anything when you’re just as much of a mess as I am!”

The taller woman doesn’t quite answer, and instead smiles, her cheek leaning into one of Nobara’s palms. 

“I love you.”

Maki was only sentimental was she’s tired but this, Nobara thinks, her own smile gleaming out amongst her tears. this must be the only exception.