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Yuuji’s holding court on the grass when Megumi arrives.

It’s not what Yuuji himself would call it, and there’s nothing kingly about how he’s propped with his legs half-crossed on the hood of someone’s old car, but Megumi has seen this exact scene since he was seven on a playground and he’s never found another way of describing the particular way people circle Yuuji when he’s in the mood to entertain. 

To properly, deliberately entertain at that, not just in the way he has about him in conversation where he comes across as endearing and charming even when he shouldn’t. Yuuji can be dry and pouty and happy to poke on a good day, can be sarcastic and shameless and childish when forced to it, but when there are people to demand a performance out of him—half-cocked impressions, a cheerful dance to the radio, a few minutes of indulging a lunch break team that needs one more batter—he glows with the chance to deliver.

And deliver, he does, as he’s doing now, pointing at the sky then throwing both arms out on either side of him. The breeze snatches most of what he’s saying away from Megumi, but he does hear the laughter it gets from the small group around Yuuji, crawling over the grass and to him.

Above all of them, the sky is on its way to darkening in earnest, giving way to a splash of light that’s been hanging there since February, shifting from blue to green to white around all the stars that it has dampened around it. This is what everyone has gathered in this field for, the real king this court is awaiting: a long-period comet, on its way to being only fifteen million kilometers away from Earth according to this morning’s forecast, leaving a viridescent streak behind it with the crumbs of white that glimmer through its long tail. 

Because it’s March 24, 1996, the Comet Hyakutake is hours away from being brighter than a first-magnitude star, and it feels like the end of the world. 

 

 

Megumi met Yuuji on his seventh birthday. 

They’d been in the middle of moving yet again that Christmas, he and his parents, and this time it was Miyagi, was the outskirts of Sendai, was a sleepy two-story narrow house with a rusted gate and an overgrown field as a backyard. The gate would be replaced in five years’ time, the backyard cleaned up in a lot less, but what wouldn’t waver is the ten years they’ll spend here in Sendai, longer than any other place that came before it, living twelve blocks away from the subway station, six away from school, and only one away from the Itadoris. 

Yuuji hadn’t meant to find him that evening. He’d heard from his grandfather that a new family would be moving in a few houses next door, but it had been far from his child’s mind until he saw Megumi standing guard outside the moving truck while his father wrestled with getting an entire bed in through the door. 

Megumi doesn’t remember the details of how that first meeting went. Yuuji doesn’t, either. But they’ll remember all the firsts that came after it: clutching each other’s hands on the way to Megumi’s first day of school in Sendai, their first sleepover, their first fight, the first time a girl had confessed to Megumi at their middle school graduation and it sent Yuuji so far into a crisis that it gave him a fever. Their first proper apologies to each other, the first confession that came out of that, their first time holding hands knowing what it meant, their first kiss. 

Their first anniversary, and beyond that, their second, and, by the end of this year, their third. 

It’s strange, growing up with someone and falling in love with them. Because Megumi knows how Yuuji had looked as he tried not to cry over splitting a gash open on his knee at soccer, and because he also knows how Yuuji had looked as he tried not to cry the first time Megumi pulled away from a kiss to say I love you. Because that love has changed infinitely over the last decade yet has never wavered. Because it’s always been Yuuji. From the first time he’d held Megumi’s tiny hand in his tiny hand, from the first time he climbed into bed with him after Megumi woke up from a nightmare during one of their sleepovers, from the first time he’d chosen Megumi over something significant and had still meant it when he said there’s nowhere else he’d rather be. 

Thinking about that is difficult, these days. Things like somewhere else and nowhere else. Things like choosing. Things like being together in the folds of these thoughts. 

But at least they feel small, tonight, with a comet grazing the fabric of history above them. At least they feel small, on the last night. 

 

 

Yuuji stops talking altogether as soon as he sees Megumi. In moments, he’s launching himself off the hood of the car to run over, and everyone lets him go without comment because it’s what he does with Megumi. 

He keeps running up to a hug. Megumi catches him, practiced and easy, leaning right into the arms Yuuji throws around him. 

"Hi," Yuuji laughs into his ear, denim jacket squeaking where their bodies are pressed tight against each other. 

"Hi," Megumi murmurs. "Ready to go?" 

Yuuji pulls away, dropping back to the soles of his feet. His eyes are round, excited, pulsing bigger and starrier as they begin walking. Shoulders brushing, always. "Go? Go where? We’re going somewhere?" 

"Can we not?" 

"No, ‘course we can," says Yuuji. "Just us?"

His lips stretch into a smile. Soft, small, sweet. Megumi’s eyes linger on it.

"Just us."

It’s brief, equally practiced, when Yuuji sneaks a glance behind them, at the people he’d left behind. No one’s looking at them, and with a few more steps, they’ll be hidden behind a concrete wall on the side of the school; Yuuji still makes double, triple certain before he reaches over to press a quick kiss against Megumi’s mouth. 

"Okay," he says. "Let’s go." 

 

 

"Don’t you want a life, Megumi?" Yuuji had asked a summer ago, the two of them tangled on the tatami floor of the Itadoris’ living room. Megumi had wanted to keep kissing him, or to keep dozing with the buzz of the electric fan fighting off the heat coming in through the window, but Yuuji was hellbent on having this conversation and there was no stopping him when he was hellbent on anything. "No, that sounds bad—I mean—" 

"You mean," said Megumi, tilting his head so Yuuji’s hair stopped tickling his chin, "do I support you wanting to go to Tokyo with Kugisaki?"

"Do you?" 

"Obviously." 

A pause, from Yuuji.

"You could come with us." 

A pause, from Megumi.

"I like it here." 

"It likes you, too," said Yuuji. "But don’t you like—" 

He’d trailed off.

Megumi dragged a hand over the back of Yuuji’s hair, flattening it. Soothing him, soothing himself. "Don’t I like what?" 

"Don’t you like being with me more?" 

Megumi had closed his eyes, trying to summon back the drowsiness that had left him. It hadn’t worked. He pressed a kiss on Yuuji’s brow bone instead, delicate.

"That’s not fair," he said.  

"I know. Sorry," Yuuji whispered against Megumi’s collar. "Thank you for not asking it back." 

Megumi didn’t move away, staying right where he was, mouth still brushing against Yuuji’s skin. "If you feel like there’s nothing for you here in Sendai, then who am I to tell you there is?" 

"But there is. There’s you." 

"Don’t say that. You know how that will sound when you leave." 

"Oh. I didn’t—" 

"I know." 

"And you don’t say that. You’re my—You’re more than just my boyfriend. If you ask me to stay, I would." 

"I know."

A third pause. Longer. Deeper. 

And that’s that.

"You’re so mature sometimes, Megumi." 

"Only sometimes?" 

"Yeah, only sometimes." 

Megumi flicked Yuuji’s forehead, waiting for an exaggerated yelp before leaning over to kiss the exact same spot.

"It’s fine," he murmured. "Do what feels right and we’ll figure it out."

 

 

Megumi is a year too young to be driving, Yuuji two, but they both know how. Toji saw to it that they did, license be damned. He also ensured that Megumi has a car for tonight, old and rusty but driving well through the empty Sendai roads. Everyone’s on their balcony or at a field or in their own cars somewhere quiet and remote, waiting for what the radio had promised this morning. 

"His first name’s the same as mine, I heard," Yuuji’s saying, fiddling with the dial until he finds a station playing Anri. He’s drumming his knee. He’s drumming his free index finger on his drumming knee. "The guy who discovered it."

Megumi knows. He doesn’t say anything as Yuuji starts singing along to SHYNESS BOY out the open window, wind whipping his hair out of his face. At some point, he starts laughing at his own singing—even though it’s fine, even though it’s good, even though Megumi wants nothing more right now than to wrap himself around Yuuji’s back and feel the vibrations of his singing alongside the clockwork of both of their heartbeats. 

But he’s driving, and they’re on their way to watch a long-tailed star burn through the sky, and all he can do is reach out to take Yuuji’s hand. 

Nearly at once, his knee stops drumming. 

Megumi doesn’t look over, but he knows Yuuji is giving him a broad smile. The one he wears when he finds Megumi in the crowd after nabbing first at a race. The one he defaults to when he just likes to watch Megumi. The one he wears when he says I love you, far from the tears the first time he said it. 

And Megumi doesn’t smile back, still doesn’t say anything, but there’s always love in knowing each other as well as they do, for as long as they have, with how deeply they continue wanting to know each other. There’s love, in knowing someone inside out and finding tenderness for all of it, in knowing someone inside out and still wanting more. There’s love, in how many forms of love there are, in how all and none of it can be found in the crevices between saying I love you out loud and Yuuji’s smile and the hand Megumi’s holding. 

"I can’t drop you off the station tomorrow," he tells Yuuji, and has the luck of not having to watch the smile melt off. Into something stung first, he can tell, then, without fail, to understanding. 

Whatever maturity Megumi has in love, after all, is only learned from the person from whom he learned how to love, and they both know it’s not a discussion. They both know what Megumi means, what he can and can’t do in terms of goodbyes when it’s never something they’ve had to do properly. 

Yuuji tightens his hold, presses a kiss to Megumi’s knuckle. 

"Okay," he says. 

 

 

Yuuji wondered out loud once, sincerely by accident, if Megumi ever got jealous over him. But he’d been quick to recover from the ensuing embarrassment, had been quicker to give into curiosity and clarify: Does Megumi get jealous even on a shallow sense, on an irrational level? Does he ever worry about any of it?

Megumi had to think it through. 

It wasn’t that he’d never wanted more of Yuuji’s time—though the last instance that this had been a full-fledged emotion was when he was eleven, the two of them moving up to another school and seeing Yuuji’s social circle expand faster than he can keep track. But they’d fought about it, honest things said in the middle of grumbling and collar-grabbing before they were fine the next day, and the answer, to Yuuji’s question years later, had ultimately been no

Attention is all-or-nothing, with Yuuji, as with everything; either his full focus is on the one person or thing, to the point that he momentarily forgets he’s eating or holding or carrying something, or it isn’t there at all, left in search of something else to hold it. And while it’s no different around Megumi, even with what they are, what he’s learned to do as the years passed is to recognize it as one of so many things that are Yuuji being ridiculously but harmlessly Yuuji. Like pointing in public, unabashed and excited, or complaining every single time that his tea is bitter and that he should have gotten something else but never actually doing so when the next opportunity comes around. 

Even all these are exercises in acknowledging how Yuuji’s attention span works. Exercises that never fail to leave Megumi a boyish sort of tickled that he won’t admit to—because Yuuji seems to see everything else in its grandeur, but see Megumi in pieces, in details. He’ll throw his arms around to gesture at a gigantic movie poster at the local cinema but use the tip of an index finger to trace Megumi’s spine lightly and absently over his shirt. He’ll breeze through making friends with three strangers on one fifteen-minute bus ride but will spend hours into the evening on a school day telling Megumi’s mother about how he’s doing in school. He’ll have long afternoons missing in action with his other friends, but at the end of it all, he’ll be climbing in through Megumi’s window.

Because what it comes down to is that Yuuji will love the world in its entirety, in its wholeness and bigness, in its comets and Big Bangs, yet love Megumi in the tiny details like those are the things that mean the world to him. The uneven way Megumi’s eyebrows knit, he always says, or how he slouches weird when he’s too immersed in what he’s reading. Megumi’s small habits, even Megumi’s pet peeves. Details that don’t come together into any other person but Megumi, Yuuji will add as a sly declaration of love, unsubtle about pandering but ever so genuine. 

It’s worth an unbelievable much, for Megumi, to be certain that being forced into being knowable in pieces has led to love like the one Yuuji has for him. Because Yuuji has taken all these things that might have felt isolated and vulnerable behind Megumi’s control in another lifetime, and saw in them parts to a whole that he sees a forever with.

And even at seventeen, Megumi can’t see a forever with Itadori Yuuji that isn’t worth everything. 

They’ve always had each other. Megumi wants to believe they always will, no matter who or what comes along, no matter what brings them together or pulls them apart.

 

 

But it’s still difficult. 

It’s still difficult because it is the end of something to know that Yuuji is leaving for Tokyo with Kugisaki tomorrow morning. 

It’s still difficult, even though a three-hour-long train ride is nothing, even though Yuuji will never forget to call, even though he’s the only person Megumi will call back without hesitation. 

It’s still difficult when the answer isn’t no anymore, when Megumi feels jealous of an entire city sometimes, of a promise it holds for a freshly eighteen-year-old Yuuji eager to get out of Sendai with or without Megumi. Though that, really, isn’t fair or kind; Yuuji will pack him in his small suitcase if he knew Megumi would be alright with it, but Megumi isn’t. He doesn’t want to leave the only place he’s been able to call home across all the cities he was shepherded through without stillness in childhood, and he wants to remain in a city he loves and loves him back. A love he wants to keep just a bit longer. 

He isn’t looking for grandeur or excitement the way Yuuji and Kugisaki are. He’s not looking to be scouted, or to live a new urban life through his twenties. He’s not worried about his future; he’s not excited. He’s fine with the coffee he always has in the morning. The book he checks out from the library. The same people he sees walking their dogs in their neighborhood. The loving Yuuji in between. He’ll find a job after high school and be alright with it. Or he could go to university and be alright with it. 

These days, he wonders if he’ll be alright without Yuuji. 

His absence will hurt. It will be so noticeable that it will take over Megumi’s life for the first few days. Weeks. Months. It will be the same for Yuuji, he knows, but sometimes, Megumi feels like it would hurt him more. Leaving has to hurt less than being left behind. Yuuji will get to live a new life that’s never had Megumi; Megumi will have to continue on with a life that used to have both of them. 

But that isn’t kind, either. Separation hurts them both. There’s bravery in Yuuji leaving anyway, and devotion in Megumi letting him. Faith on either end. 

Yuuji will stay if Megumi asks. 

Megumi won’t ask. 

So come tomorrow morning, Yuuji will be there, and Megumi will be here, and they’ll be alright, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult being here together, tonight, as they wait. 

 

 

"I’ll miss you," Megumi finally says, for the first time, knee deep in cold water with Yuuji. 

They’re in Fukanuma Beach now, jeans rolled up their calves. The car is parked somewhere right before the sand begins, and the stars are already louder than usual as the comet continues its approach. There’s no way to not be slightly terrified of it, to not feel as if it’s not coming towards them instead of running parallel to Earth, and Yuuji takes a second to blink away from the sky and turn to him, registering, processing. 

When it settles, his bottom lip begins to quiver. To wobble. His eyes do the same as they meet Megumi’s. But there’s no dam to watch break, though Megumi can see the second that Yuuji hesitates, where he almost doubles back on a decision he was so certain of—all because of one sentence from Megumi, all because of one admission. 

What Megumi never would have known at any other age was how much power being in love with another person gives and takes away. From you, from the person you love. To you, to the person you love. Power that ebbs and shifts as you grow from children to not-yet-adults, as Megumi understands more about himself and Yuuji and, in doing so, more about love. To love someone is to want him to stay, yet to love someone is also to not ask him to. To love someone is to want a forever, yet to love someone is also to have to believe blindly that a forever is even possible.

"I’m not trying to make it difficult," says Megumi, so quiet he doesn’t know how well it’s reaching Yuuji from an arm’s length away. But he has all of Yuuji’s focus, rapt and gleam-eyed, and it’s all he can do to continue, "I want you to go. But I also want you to know I’ll miss you. Because I will." 

Yuuji’s mouth steadies. He takes a deep breath. The water hardly makes a noise when he starts walking over, stilling itself as soon as it’s disturbed. 

"I’ll miss you, too. If that hasn’t been obvious," he says, knocking their heads together. The quiet impact reverberates through Megumi’s skull, rearranges nothing that hasn’t already been rearranged at seven. "I’m not going far, Megumi." 

"I know," Megumi whispers, closing his eyes briefly when he feels Yuuji’s fingers slide through his hair. "But three-hundred-sixty-eight point five kilometers is a lot more than one hundred meters, and it will take getting used to. That’s all." 

"I know," says Yuuji, too. He tilts his head, brushes a kiss against Megumi’s mouth. "You counted?" 

"I have it marked on a map." 

Yuuji steps back to laugh, so loud and startled out of him that it surprises an echo out of the corner of Megumi’s mouth. "No, you don’t." 

"I do." 

"Megumi." 

"I’ll show it to you, if you’d like," says Megumi, serious. "I have some guidebooks as well." 

"I’m supposed to show you around when you visit." Yuuji circles back to him, laughter still in his eyes, and Megumi pulls him close against his body. 

"I want to have a visual when you call and tell me where you’ve been." 

"You don’t trust my describing skills?" 

"Not one bit." 

Yuuji stays slotted against Megumi even as his index finger finds the soft side of Megumi’s stomach. 

Megumi swats his hand away before he can poke. 

Yuuji’s laughter explodes into the sky, scattering with it bursts of light in the back of Megumi’s eyes. 

 

 

Their first kiss was in the back of a record store. 

A listening booth, hot and cramped and designed for only one person. Yuuji had been excited about a Wink cover of a Bananarama song, holding the headphones between them as if his own singing wasn’t drowning out the music. He’d been wearing a graphic t-shirt he’d had since they were twelve, woefully oversized once and tight around the shoulders now but still long enough that the bottom hem had to be tucked into his jeans. His hair had been loose and soft over his face, the usual light of his eyes made deep by the orange flickering from the ceiling of the booth, and something had tightened so badly in Megumi’s chest that he’d known there was only one way to unknot it. 

They’d been fifteen. It hadn’t been a very good kiss. It hadn’t been either of their firsts, of which neither had been very good, either. But it was a kiss between them, the first of many and the first moment in Megumi’s life that taught him how to yearn for a way to immortalize memories. 

For a way to bottle up how he had felt when he pulled away to find Yuuji stunned and pink, and for a way to bottle up how it will feel, again and again, with Yuuji. 

Yuuji with flour on his face. Yuuji asleep, Yuuji drowsy and half-awake. Yuuji dancing. Yuuji still and comfortable against Megumi. Yuuji at seven. Yuuji at seventeen. Yuuji laughing. Yuuji crying. None of them always firsts—because it’s about the repetitions when you love someone over years, over time, over change, over growth, over the fiftieth first—but worth keeping anyway like they are. 

Why do parents stop documenting beyond the first word, the first step, the first day of school? Are milestones only milestones the first time a person reaches one? Will being able to see comets and stars and the sun lose its novelty as Megumi grows older, too, or is he lucky to have Yuuji next to him, for whom the moon landings never lost their appeal, from Neil Armstrong to the Apollo 17, for whom the moon is always a beautiful thing to look at and point at and marvel at? 

Yuuji, who has Megumi believing in how equally amazing it is to continue on and on, to wake up the next day and the next, even if it isn’t as bombastic and impressive some days, even if the sky might be gray one afternoon and bursting with sunlight the next. 

It’s one thing that growing into love with someone he’s had for nearly all his life has done for Megumi. The constant newness of familiarity. The beauty in the unstoppable flow of daily life, in the mundanity of loving another person and loving life because you love another person.

And being with Yuuji has meant a lot of easy things. Things that Megumi calls easy and right when what he means is beautiful and irreplaceable. They’ve been lucky in that. But Megumi is no romantic, either. He’s not a lover of love, nor a lover of life. He’s just someone who’s lucky to call another person the love of his life, and maybe that’s the same thing, or maybe it isn’t, but there are plenty of other things much more worth debating than what Yuuji means to him. 

Loving Yuuji has been a process of a small lifetime. That’s what matters to him. Love will go on if life goes on, and missing Yuuji is but a blip in that timeline. 

 

 

"I heard someone say earlier that true love is as rare as a comet." 

Megumi doesn’t raise his head from Yuuji’s shoulder. They’re somehow balanced on the hood of the car, back to the cool glass as the water dries on their skin in the late March air, and he’s so comfortable he’d been on his way to falling asleep. 

Yuuji’s voice floats him gently back up to the surface, though all he can manage is a hum that he hopes sounds like a question. 

"I thought that sucked," Yuuji continues, confused and honest. "For her, I mean. How could you think true love is rare?"

"It is rare, though," Megumi murmurs, adjusting his head so it’s not dislodged by Yuuji’s gesturing. "Plenty of people die unloved." 

Yuuji makes a noise, pitched high in his throat. "That’s dark, Megumi." 

"That doesn’t make it untrue." 

"Yeah, but true love doesn’t have to mean like what you and I have," says Yuuji. "You can love this beach. You can love a movie. You can love a record. You can love mornings. You can love those small donuts from that one store in Izumi-ku. That doesn’t make it untrue, your love. If it’s worth living for, it’s love."  

Megumi sighs, rubbing his eyes as he sits up. "Noble of you, but I’m sure that’s not what she meant," he says. "And what do you mean? By what you and I have?" 

"I don’t know," Yuuji replies, not a second lost to a single thought. Megumi sighs again, and it’s buried at once in the laugh Yuuji sends his way. "No, I’m kidding. Or, no, I’m not kidding. I really don’t know. But here’s a comet that only comes every seventeen thousand years—" 

"Seventy." 

"What?" 

"It’s seventy thousand years." 

"But I swear I read—" 

"It’s seventy." 

Yuuji puffs out his cheeks. "Fine. Even better, then." He points at the sky, at the vague streak of bright light that will soon materialize into more bright light, without looking away from Megumi. "Here’s a comet that only comes every seventy years and I’m here waiting for it with you. Here’s a real rare thing, and the only person I wanna catch it with is you, right? That’s what I mean by what you and I have. It’s you and me and this super, super rare comet, and in this lifetime, it will always just be you and me and this super, super rare comet, no matter what." 

"No matter what," Megumi repeats, flat, though his ears are burning. "Are you trying to tell me something?" 

Yuuji groans. "Why are you like this? I’m trying to be all romantic and—" 

Megumi kisses him before he can finish, waiting for Yuuji to relax in his hold, to lean in properly and make it what it is, before he pulls away. 

He doesn’t react to Megumi’s kisses the way he used to; he’s more sure now, more eager, more learned. But his eyes still have that faint shine of awe in them, like he can’t believe it’s Megumi he’s opening his eyes back up to even though it’s only been Megumi for years, and it’s this realization that has Megumi unearthing the same urge that had him kissing Yuuji in that listening booth to say, this time: 

"I really want to marry you." 

Yuuji’s eyes blow out wide. Megumi searches himself for the need to take back what he said, but he’s never had much room in him to regret honesty.

"Like," says Yuuji, "right now?" 

" No, dummy—What?" Megumi fires back, face burning now, too. "How will we even—" 

"You’re the one who offered—"

"Don’t make it sound like a business deal." 

"Then I’ll take that as a proposal, then." 

"It was." 

Yuuji blinks. "Wait, really?" 

"Yes," says Megumi. "I’m not letting you leave without one." He averts his eyes, but Yuuji’s hand finds his chin, immediate but slow in guiding his gaze back. "I don’t know how it will happen, but I—Someday, I want to marry you." 

Don’t you want a life, Megumi? Yuuji had asked, as if life to Megumi isn’t kissing him in a listening booth, isn’t him singing out an open car window, isn’t sitting with him under the most endless the sky has looked and with the smallest their world has felt. As if there’s anything else to do with all this than to want it to the point of promise and proposal, as if I want to marry you is not the same as I do want a life, and that life is with you, beside you. 

You. 

"Wow," says Yuuji, a gasp in his voice, "you’re like stupidly in love with me."

Megumi taps a half-hearted palm against Yuuji’s forehead. "You only just noticed?" 

"No," says Yuuji, not bothering to pretend like the tap had even felt like anything, "but I didn’t know if it was a forever kind of deal. I mean, it is for me—" 

Megumi looks away, but it’s with conviction that he cuts in, "For me, too."  

He sees Yuuji’s nod, sharp, in his periphery. "Cool." 

"Yeah."

There’s silence, the push and pull of the waves reaching them like the inhale and exhale of a sleeping, silent creature. Sand scatters in the wind. The stars don’t so much as flicker. The comet, though they don’t see it, continues its approach. 

"So." Yuuji clears his throat. He’s shivering now. Slight, reined in, but shivering. "Can you, like, properly ask me so I can say yes?" 

With Yuuji, Megumi is the one to give answers, the one who has a response to any question, who has something researched just because Yuuji mentioned it once in passing. But here’s a question he’s been given permission to ask, and he has only chance to make it a first—and while that doesn’t matter, has never mattered when neither of them even vividly remember how they met, he still wants to keep it. For the sake of being able to. 

"No," he says. "I’ll save it for when we’re much older." 

Yuuji opens his mouth, about to protest—and this, too, is Yuuji being ridiculously but harmlessly Yuuji—until he snaps his mouth shut, takes another deep breath, and says, "With a ring and everything?" 

"I’ll think about it," says Megumi, shifting to hop off the hood. He glances over his shoulder as he opens the back door, makes sure to hold eye contact even from a distance as he says, "Yuuji." 

Yuuji sits up. "Yes?"

"I love you." 

There’s no fumbling, no surprise, on Yuuji’s face. Only light, only a smile, only a glow. 

"Yeah," he says. "I love you, too." 

 

 

Sitting together on the hood of a borrowed car, a blanket that Megumi had prepared and stowed in the backseat thrown over them both, they watch the Comet Hyakutake reach green-white first-magnitude radiance as it hurtles through the sky, leaving stars glitching and flickering luminescent in its wake. 

Somewhere in the Itadoris apartment, Yuuji’s train ticket sits waiting for the morning. It feels like the end of a world, knowing this tonight, but that isn’t the same as the end of the world. Isn’t the same as the end of them. 

Megumi knows that. He always has. 

So when the light of the comet begins to fade much, much later, leaving Yuuji awed looking at it and Megumi awed looking at him, it doesn’t feel like the last night of anything. 

 

 

Megumi stays over. He sticks close until the morning. And when it’s time to leave, it’s Yuuji who walks Megumi back to his house first, kissing him at the exact spot that seven-year-old Megumi was standing at a decade ago. As if waiting, as if knowing that in minutes, someone will come from the house a block away and alter the course of his life. 

When Yuuji steps back, all he says is, "I’ll call you as soon as I get in, okay?" 

 

 

And he does, from a payphone just outside the train station, Kugisaki’s voice filtering in from right behind him next to the screeching of the city. 

 

 

And he’ll call, again and again, without fail. 

And Megumi will pick up, will visit, will call himself, again and again. 

 

 

Always that, in a lifetime of loving.

Again and again.