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Warning, Do Not Resuscitate

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The world burns and there’s no stopping its collapse. Yuji stalks through the shambles of the cityscape, searching for the one responsible for all this horrid loss of life. This catastrophe. This slaughterhouse, churning with the guts of the innocent.

He's sixteen and the world as he knows it has ended.

In the center of the city, the flames burn the hottest and brightest. Inside its wrath and ruin, there’s a silhouette.

Oh.” An evil chuckle emanates from the figure, resonating like thunder in the deep. “Have you come to kill me?”

Yuji has. His fists clench and his stance widens, preparing for battle. Preparing to give his life for it.

He’s not successful.

He doesn’t win, and unlike all of his lost companions, he doesn’t die.

 


 

“You really should be more grateful.” The newly resurrected Sukuna sneers down at Yuji, afterwards. Once the city has fallen. His aura is that of murder, of the searing agony of death. He’s larger than life, with eyes like fiery pits of hellfire. He’s dangerously powerful and Yuji knows that he hides a second set of arms inside his pristine kimono. To all other eyes, he might even be human, still so similar to Yuji, though with an age no two people can decide upon. His tattoos remain, giving him a vicious edge to his character, with canines a little too sharp to be normal when he smirks. “I’ve spared your worthless human life.”

“I never asked to be spared.” Yuji says darkly from where he’s chained in the newly erected temple, Sukuna’s unholy shrine brought to life. It sits high up in the lovely green hills, overlooking the destruction of humanity far below.

The King’s voice is dark, like smoke and sin as he mocks, “Life is full of disappointments, brat.”

…and so Yuji’s nightmare begins.

Unfortunately, it’s no dream and the world continues to burn whether Yuji wants it to or not.

At least I don’t have to share my body anymore, he thinks without amusement. There’s always that.


 




Sukuna is often distracted by chaos, in the early days. And by saying distracted, Yuji means absent. The curse loves slaughter, his hands always plunged deep into the guts of some poor soul. Now that he has his own body once more, Sukuna uses it at will, excessively. Will a certain glee that only a sadist can possess, he rampages through the island, subjugating everyone and anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path.

The legions of curses begin to grow, crawling from the deep and dark places of the world, set loose and created by the misery of the humans. Set forth from their mounting agony and hopelessness. The Special Grade curses, with their intelligence, seem broken into factions of following the leader…or trying to usurp him.

Many try to kill Sukuna, to take his place. He delights in tearing his opponents apart, always entertained by a strong opponent to maim and humiliate.

So, yes. The King of Curses is distracted by life and how he wants to live it. Yuji is a minor afterthought. Which is fine. Really, it is.

Yuji uses it to his advantage by the time he’s seventeen, trying to seek out and help small factions of humans. He’s been given more freedom by this point, seeing as all his powerful allies are long dead. Sukuna doesn’t view him as a threat, so Yuji uses his lack of attention to his benefit.

There are so few humans now, reduced to hiding in small towns and villages, far from the killing grounds of the big cities. Yuji seeks them out in his endless free time, searching for more Jujutsu sorcerers to help keep people safe.

His latest find is relatively far from Sukuna’s temple. It takes him half a day to get there, but allows him just enough time to return by dusk in case…the King…decides to return to torment him with tales of cruelty and torture. It seems Yuji’s purpose in life is to be an object to break and subjugate. Sukuna finds him to be an unskilled annoyance, most of the time.

Yuji says most of the time, because there was that one time that he set Sukuna’s shrine on fire.

{In a fit of rage and rebellious clarity, Yuji torched it to the damn ground. He sat his ass outside on the green lawn and ate some potato chips, watching it smolder, waiting for the awful bastard to return and see what he had done.

When Sukuna arrived on site, he’d stared at the burning temple with a very dark look on his face. One of his lackeys, a Special Grade Curse, keeled over laughing at the visual presented. “Ohoho!!! That’s one mad dog you have there, Sukuna! He -hahaha- look what he did!”

Irritation crawled over Sukuna’s expression as he slowly turned his head to look at Yuji’s expectant face. “You,” he said very quietly, almost inaudible next to the roaring flames. “Are a wretched child.”

Thus, his many servants rebuilt the temple, but Sukuna made sure to punish Yuji for this horrid affront to his pride. Yuji still remembers the feeling of having his hands chopped off and his eyes plucked out like grapes. The pain had been excruciating, unbelievable. When he was sure that he was about to breathe his last, he felt the burning sensation of Sukuna’s power washing over him, repairing all the damage.

Piece by bloody piece.

“You are undeserving of my mercy,” Sukuna had commented when Yuji’s eyes finally regenerated.

“You call this mercy?” Yuji had croaked in reply.}

Ten out of ten, Yuji wouldn’t recommend Sukuna’s idea of mercy. Not at all.


 


Yuji doesn’t like when he’s given the illusion of being alone.

Sometimes, when he’s in the -rebuilt- temple, it’s utterly silent, like a grave. He can wander about in complete silence, almost to the point that he begins talking to himself to fill in the absolute emptiness. If he’s absolutely off his rocker with boredom, he’ll sneak into the hot spring that’s connected to Sukuna’s private chambers.

Not that he goes in Sukuna’s private chambers, that’s off limits, but the spring is outside and easy to access. Yuji likes to sink into the naturally heated water, letting the stress slide out of his muscles. If he’s truly lonely, he’ll sing to the birds that watch him from the roof.

Today, his solitude is shattered quite rudely.

“I wonder,” a deep voice drawls idly. “Is it hard to be a failure?”

Yuji’s muscles all tense up and he sinks lower into the water, as if it will save him. Sukuna emerges from the shadowed doorway that leads into his rooms. The words cut deep. Yuji’s shoulders come up defensively. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Oh, I was just pondering aloud. It must be trying for you. Everyone you care about, dead. You failed all of humanity, and yet, here you are. In my spring. Without a care. It’s downright horrid of you.” Sukuna grins unkindly. “From a human perspective, that is. I rather don’t care.”

If Sukuna is trying to kill Yuji with shame alone, it might just fucking work. In fact, Yuji wishes he would. His stomach fills with lead and his throat tightens with emotion. Yuji struggles to hide his feelings, doesn’t want to give Sukuna the satisfaction of knowing that this is bothering him. Hurting him.

The curse’s nose flares as he inhales deeply. “You smell of the trees. The old, eternal kind. What is it that you do when you’re alone, brat? Aside from defiling my springs?”

It bothers Yuji that the monster can smell him, like a predator. “The forest is absent of your stink,” Yuji mutters evasively. “Seems like a fine place to be.”

The curse’s voice dips slightly. “You wouldn’t be hiding something from me, would you? You know how I feel about you keeping secrets.”

Yuji thinks of the untrained sorcerers that he’s training in the forest, in the remote village. He’s glad Sukuna doesn’t share his mind anymore, or else he would have caught on.

“Not a damn thing,” Yuji lies.


 

 


Year two of his captivity is about to come to a close. Not that Yuji is keeping count or anything.

He feels like he’s been a slave forever already.

As if he’s some sort of generous feudal lord, Sukuna hosts a glamorous feast for his favored lackeys. He does that, sometimes. He’s a hedonist, if one must make mention.

The Special Grade Curses gather at his long table, feasting greedily on the vile spread put forth. Much of the meat is made of things that Yuji would never be able to touch. Much of it is human. Regardless, he isn’t seated at the table. He sits on the floor, on his knees. Waiting to be given a command.

He tries to pretend he doesn’t exist, at these sorts of affairs. He doesn’t like hearing their horrid conversations of slaughter and he certainly doesn’t like seeing how they torment captured human women. They do horrid things to them…horrid, nightmarish things that Yuji doesn’t want to give name to.

Tonight is no different. No different, except Yuji has done something criminal. Treasonous. He’d been asked to refill the goblets moments ago and he made sure that Sukuna’s got something a little extra. So, Yuji watches without trying to appear like he’s watching Sukuna’s every move.

Sukuna chuckles falsely at something one of his lackeys says. Yuji knows it’s a fake laugh because Sukuna’s eyes are utterly dead when he does it. When Sukuna truly laughs, his eyes glitter like rubies in starlight. Yuji scowls; he shouldn't know things like that, but what else is he supposed to pay attention to, the trees?

When the King lifts his new goblet to his lips, Yuji's thoughts go silent and he stares, sweat dripping down his spine. Drink it, you bloody bastard.

Only, Sukuna pauses, his nose flaring subtly.

Dread fills Yuji’s belly as the King of Curses places the goblet back on the table very calmly, a flat expression on his face. “All of you, get out.”

The conversation goes silent. Some of the curses look at the grotesque meal laid out before them. Brains, hearts, and bone soup. Chopped up, fried fingers. Delightful crème brulee made from who knows what. No one seems to want to leave the feast laid out before them, so one lackey nervously asks, “Um…now?”

Slowly, Sukuna cranes his head to look at the offender. “I don’t care if this is the last meal you ever see. Get. Out. Now.”

In a rush, everyone scrambles. Plates clatter and crash, chairs turn over. Bloodied wine spills to the floor. Yuji makes to stand up and leave, but Sukuna points a finger at him, without even giving Yuji a glance, hissing, “You stay where you are. I’ve not dismissed you.”

I should have known that he’d know, Yuji thinks with dismay. Resignation. Even without him in my head, he can read my face.

“Pull up a chair, brat.”

As if walking to an executioner, Yuji slowly walks to the table, to Sukuna’s left side, tipping one of the chairs upwards. He sits down, waiting for what will come next. The silence is suffocating.

The King of Curses uses two fingers to push the goblet across the table to Yuji. “You must be thirsty. Drink it,” he orders coolly.

Steeling himself for pain, Yuji slowly picks up the goblet, the one that touched Sukuna’s very lips not moments ago, and drinks deeply, making sure to maintain eye contact over the bejeweled rim. With every gulp, Yuji drinks the poison filled goblet until it’s empty.

At first, the discomfort isn’t obvious. His stomach feels odd, then it feels a bit like acid reflux. A wave of dizziness passes over him, but nothing wild, nothing too extreme. The King of Curses is watching him, his head propped lazily on one hand, elbow on the table. Waiting.

They wait for some time and Yuji does his best to show no unease. His body is fighting the poison down. Resisting. Maybe, if he’s lucky, Sukuna will assume the cup wasn’t poisoned after all.

Finally, Sukuna makes a nasty sound under his breath. He gets up from the table and slinks around the corner, only to return with a pitcher of something. Something that smells abrasive…something like what the slaves use to light the braziers when Sukuna is absent-

“Open your mouth,” Sukuna demands, eyes alight with unholiness.

Yuji has no choice. He does as he’s told.

Sukuna tips the foul-tasting liquid down his gullet and then hisses, “Resist this.”

He snaps his fingers before Yuji can close his mouth.

Fire bursts into life, catching inside his mouth, burning the fumes of whatever Sukuna made him swallow.

It’s the most excruciating feeling that Yuji has ever felt in his life and it overtakes him as fire crawls down his throat in an inferno of agony, straight into his belly. He can nearly feel his insides blacken and burn into nothing. He has only a second to scream before his lungs catch fire, suffocating him. His belly feels like it's melted like lava. 

He burns from the inside out like a human torch.


 


He wakes up in his little room, on his cot, as if nothing ever happened.

Yuji feels his stomach, clutches at his throat, can nearly remember what the abrasive oil had tasted like, can practically feel his flesh burning and rotting away from the inside out.

I died again, he realizes numbly. Why am I still breathing?

He flashes through a few stages of grief before he settles on anger.

It’s not fair.


 

When he’s sure he can risk it, he sneaks back off to the human village, hidden deep in the forest. He reports to the village elder that he’s failed in offing Sukuna with the poison they provided.

The elderly man frowns deeply. “He knows you too well. Perhaps you shouldn’t keep coming here…we can do what we must to manage on our own.”

A wave of loneliness crashes into Yuji at the idea of not being able to see people like himself. Of being told not to come back. He wants to be near humans. He wants to feel useful by helping to teach the curse users in the village how to protect themselves. “I can still help. He doesn’t know-”

The weathered man gives him a pitying look. “How do you know that he doesn’t know? Tread carefully, with your master.”

Yuji makes an ugly face, denial strong inside of him, like a whale in the depths of the ocean. “He’s not my master. I’ll come back. I’m careful.”

 


He and Sukuna don’t talk about the poison affair. Or the burning him alive thing.

They don’t talk about how Sukuna brought him back to life again either.

Yuji doesn’t want to acknowledge it. He doesn’t want to know Sukuna’s reasons for keeping him alive in this awful world that Yuji can’t seem to fix.


 

The next time Yuji returns to see the humans, the villagers shrink back from him in terror, closing their doors and windows. They cower, as if he’s the devil himself. Staring in shock and dismay, Yuji locks eyes with the only one who remains in the open, an older man whittling away at potatoes. “What…what happened here? Why are you all afraid?”

The man throws a potato in a bucket and moves on to the next. “You came a few days ago and skinned all the children alive.”

Yuji’s heart seizes and bile burns sourly in his belly. “I…what?

“Oh, I know it wasn’t you,” The old man says with a heaving cough that sounds like illness is deep in his lungs. “Your master is displeased. Perhaps you should run home, little rabbit. You should never return here. Or else he’ll come back and finish the job.”

Horror sinks into Yuji’s bones as he stares at the old man. “You’re lying. This can’t be true-”

“You don’t believe me? Go look around back, beyond the old barn. There’s a pile of skins. Just lying there. Go see for yourself, if you dare. You brought this hell down upon us.”

The words sting like lemon in an open wound and Yuji backs away from the man, heading off to the barn in question, on the outskirts of the village.

Yuji doesn’t even have to look. As he warily approaches the barn, the smell hits him. Rot and ruin, like meat left out for far too long. He doesn’t have to go behind the barn to see. He doesn’t need to see this.

Regardless, he looks and for a moment, he isn’t sure he understands what he’s looking at. Piles of pale flesh, like rubber, piled up against the side of the barn. Flies buzzing. Maggots feasting on the rot. Human. Skins. Empty of bones, muscles, and organs. Just. Skin.

His stomach rebels and his heaves out his lunch until he can’t expel anything else. His throat burns and he feels terribly sorry for himself. He collapses on the blood stained dirt, sobbing.

I caused this.

He clutches at his own head and screams until he can't scream anymore. Until his voice breaks with sorrow.

When he finally gains the strength to go ‘home’, Yuji returns, feeling empty of everything. The humans have rejected him, because he puts them in danger. That’s clear, even to him now. He shouldn’t have been so stupid, endangering them in such a way.

When he enters the temple, it’s nightfall. Sukuna is lounging in the dark on a luxurious chaise lounge, overlooking the old city. The strong scent of dragon’s blood incense reaches Yuji’s noise, mixed with amber. The old being doesn’t spare him a glance, but Yuji can feel the burn of Sukuna’s attention.

“Did you have a pleasant stroll in the forest?” Sukuna voice is flat, echoing with ugliness. Pointed.

Yuji freezes, just in the entrance, ready to disappear into his own room and wallow in shame and misery. To dwell on how he ruined the lives of all those innocent people. To drown himself in it.

Sukuna knows damn well what Yuji found. He wants to gloat, even though he’s angry with Yuji.

Gritting his teeth, resolving to give the King of Curses nothing, Yuji says not a word in response. He won’t play this game. He won’t put words to that meaningless slaughter. Without a sound, he makes a beeline towards his small room.

A sigh drifts and reaches his ears, soft and elegant. “It may not feel like it, but you should know that I indulge you far too much.”

Rage spikes like a knife in his gut, twisting and turning until he’s all ground beef inside. Yuji spins on his heel and faces the object of his torment. His voice is a hurricane when he shouts, “You indulge me? How is what you did indulging me?”

The curse seems pleased with this outburst, drinking in the strong emotion. He likes watching Yuji come undone and Yuji curses himself for giving Sukuna this display of turmoil.

“You fail to recognize that I allowed you to visit those squalid creatures. I know what you’re about, brat. I would have allowed it longer, if you hadn’t permitted them to put disloyal ideas into your head. If you hadn’t acted on them.”

The poison. He’s still pissed that I tried to kill him.

Sukuna unfurls from his chaise lounge, like a giant cat, sauntering over to where Yuji is barely holding himself together. A hand grips his chin and crimson eyes stare down at him. Only a pair, as Sukuna seems less alert tonight, his second set closed. “Tell me. Did I or did I not indulge you by refraining from skinning every last man, woman, and child in that village?”

Yuji closes his eyes tightly, mind full of blood. “You murdered those children…”

Tsk. Correction. I skinned them. Then, they died. Besides, the adults can always make more to replace what they lost. Animals do that, you know.” The words are said cruelly, without a single ounce of empathy. The hand falls away from Yuji’s face before he’s given a sharp slap. Nothing harsh, just a minor scolding.

Yuji’s cheek stings slightly and completely cowed, he stares at the floor, at the hem of Sukuna’s perfectly pure white kimono. The scent of exotic spices and amber wash over him. The King of Curses is far too close for comfort.

The unpredictable hand returns, stroking across Yuji’s heated flesh gently. In a tone like dark chocolate, Sukuna drawls, “Why do you make me do these things to you?”

“I can’t make you do anything,” Yuji whispers brokenly.

Lips press against his ear. “Make you should remember that.”

 


That night, alone on his cot, he can’t stop imaging what being skinned alive must feel like.


 

More years pass, only now, there are no free humans for Yuji to interact with. After that dreadful occurrence when he was eighteen, he’s been too afraid to put anyone else at risk. The solitude of it is like a black ink in his soul, consuming him.

Today, he’s alone, as he usually is, walking through the chilly early dawn when he’s almost assassinated by a Special Grade curse. A swift slice through the air nearly takes his head off, the power in the near blow crackling with violence.

From the ground where he ducked and threw himself, Yuji feels his blood heat. Someone just tried to kill him from behind like a friggin’ coward! He catches sight of some hideous crab-looking curse, looking at him from a few feet away, clicking its claws, summoning power to itself, readying for another strike.

“You stupid idiot!” Yuji snarls, furious. His body remembers what it’s like to fight and adrenaline courses through him rapidly. “You’ve got the wrong dude! The one you want is up on the hill, smoking hookah in his bloody shrine!”

It’s not often that he’s mistaken for Sukuna, but-

The crab-like curse laughs, clicking its massive pinchers with menace. “Oh, I think I have who I want. You still contain echoes of his power…and I want to absorb it.”

Well, fucking fine. Yuji certainly isn’t opposed to taking out one of these awful creatures. It’s like riding a bicycle, gathering his own power, leaping forward to land a hard blow to its face, satisfied when he hears its jaw crunch under the impact.

It’s almost like living again.

Much of his former strength is gone now that Sukuna isn’t inside of his body anymore, but Yuji still has his unnatural strength and speed, which aids him in beating the crap out of crab-dude. Just when he thinks that he’s actually going to win, the crab makes a comeback, hitting Yuji with a curse technique that makes him feel like he’s drowning.

The menace cackles. “That’s my specialty. Do you feel your lungs filling with fluid? Is it getting hard to breathe? You’re going to drown if you can’t kill me. I say you have only a few minutes left.”

Yuji tries to inhale, but can’t, he physically can’t! There’s water filling his lungs and he can’t inhale, there isn’t even room for air inside of him. Clutching at his chest, Yuji falls to his knees, musing on the fact that maybe it isn’t so bad, getting murdered by a stray curse.

Maybe he can move on and be with Nobara and Megumi and Gojo again. His grandpa.

The crab-dude is shambling over to him, claws clicking loudly, nasty teeth gnashing. He’s grinning with victory, coming to collect his prize.

Yuji would sigh in resignation if he had any air to bloody sigh with.

Just as all is about to be lost, a dark shadow falls over them, as if the sun has been blotted out of the sky. Perhaps it has.

An ominous miasma of evil crawls over Yuji and his attacker, breaking the concentration of the crab. The cursed technique spell on Yuji breaks, allowing him to inhale sharply, gasping like a dying man. Dammit, he was so close to passing into the afterlife!

The crab-dude is staring at an approaching figure, trembling. The curse falls to his knees, babbling as the King of Curses comes to a halt, staring down his nose at the lower grade curse. “You said you wanted to absorb my power. Well, here I am.” Sukuna holds his arms out wide, all of them, in a display of sheer strength. “Why don’t you try absorbing me?”

The Special Grade curse looks ill; it never expected Sukuna to appear, to save Yuji.

“Is that a no?” Sukuna asks in a deathly quiet tone when the curse doesn’t reply.

The crab curse is sobbing, face down on the grass now. “I’m-I’m sor-sorry…I didn’t-”

With a mocking expression, the King of Curses circles his prey, looking down at the other curse as if it’s worthless. “You didn’t – you didn’t – stop with that pathetic stuttering, you embarrassing shrimp cast-away. Are you trying to tell me you honestly didn’t know that he belongs to me? That an attack on him is an attack on me? Is that what you’re trying to claim, you sorry worm?”

The crab curse sits upward, trying to plead his case, even though it’s clearly futile. Just as he begins to calm his stuttering down, Sukuna dashes forward in a blink and shoves his hands into the creature’s belly. The crab curse’s eyes go wide in horror and shock, having two hands stuck deep in his innards.

“I just realized; I don’t care what your excuses are. It’s the brat’s birthday today, how kind of you to make a gift of yourself,” Sukuna gloats, teeth glittering in a terrifying smile. “How old are you this year, Yuji?”

Sukuna tears his hands outward and blood sprays everywhere in an inhuman wave, drenching Yuji in guts and gore. Yuji nearly gags, tasting it on his tongue. The crab curse is dying slowly, begging and crying for mercy.

The King of Curses lifts an expectant eyebrow in Yuji’s direction. “Well?”

How old am I? Yuji nearly doesn’t recall, hasn’t wanted to keep track of all the horrors and failures that have filled his life. The misery of being a captive, of being kept alive while everyone else suffers and dies. He’s alone and he always will be. “Twenty,” he utters thickly.

Sukuna chuckles and pats him on the head with a hand covered in dark blood. “Another year older and still just as stupid. Human brat.”

Then, that same hand tightens and shoves Yuji’s face into the open belly wound of the dying creature as it gurgles and shrieks. Yuji’s pretty sure that he’s shrieking too, but no need to examine that.

“Always causing me trouble. Why is that, do you think?” Sukuna is snarling nastily in his ear as Yuji tries to push himself away from the vile insides of the dying curse. He can’t contend with Sukuna’s might and so he gags and suffers in the soon-to-be corpse. “Do you enjoy angering me?”

Once Yuji is nearly a sobbing mess, Sukuna backs off and stands like a statue, gazing down at him with cold eyes. Blood covers his arms up to his elbows and yet his kimono is still pristine, as if blood can’t touch it.

“I don’t…you could have just let him kill me!” Yuji spits blood out of his mouth, blood that isn’t his. He hates the world and most of all, he hates Sukuna. “Why didn’t you just let him end it all? Huh? You can’t blame me for how his actions made you feel!”

Those haunting eyes, filled with a thousand years of knowledge, pierce straight into Yuji’s soul. There’s a horrible emotion there, something that Yuji doesn’t want to understand or acknowledge. Can’t even begin to fathom. The voice of his nightmares flatly says, “You belong to me.”

That’s not a fucking answer! Yuji wants to shout, wants to tear his own face off, take his own heart out of his chest and stomp on it.


 


 

The days that the curses come to pay tribute to Sukuna outside his shrine are horrid, vile days. Days that Yuji wishes he could forget, could wipe from his memory for all eternity.

They slaughter humans, alive. They use and abuse their corpses for entertainment. They offer up weaker curses for consumption, allowing Sukuna to eat them and steal their powers for his own. As always, Yuji is stuck at Sukuna’s feet, trying to pretend the proceedings are not happening.

He compartmentalizes his mind, tries to see into the distance, tries not to feel sorrow with every single death. There’s so much death, he can’t keep track of it all.

There’s a human shaped special grade curse looking at him, from one of the dark altars erected in honor of Sukuna’s reign. The curse is looking at Yuji, licking his lips, as if wondering what he looks like without clothes. Yuji’s stomach sinks and he tries to ignore it, tries not to notice-

Sukuna notices.

“I’ll give you two seconds before I put out your eyes and force them down your throat,” Sukuna snaps, his voice like a scourge across the gathered crowd.

As one, all the curses throw themselves onto their fronts, cowering in the face of his very sudden wrath, a one-eighty from his smirks and laughter at the ‘entertainment’ provided to him.

Yuji is still shaking when a strong hand caresses the nape of his neck gently, oh so gently, as if to provide comfort.

 


 


Like some sort of silly lass with nothing better to do with her life, Yuji takes up planting beside the temple. On the side that doesn’t have heads on spikes. Because, yeah. Those are sheer vibe killers, those are.

Anyway, he has this garden. On the nice side of the temple, yeah, the temple he burned down when he was like seventeen. Or eighteen. Nineteen? Had to be seventeen. Hm. Anyway. Time is melting and his age is getting hard to keep track of these days.

Flowers. Fruits. Peppers. Whatever strikes his fancy. It gives him something to care about, tending to the greenery, helping them grow. He names the roses after Nobara, because they are so damn fussy and hard to deal with, but rather pretty, despite the thorns.

The Asiatic lilies are gorgeous and outspoken, so he takes to speaking to them like they’re Gojo-sensei.

It’s rather depressing, the things he does to retain some semblance of humanity. In fact, he’s not even sure that he’s quite sane anymore. And who would be, after all he’s seen? After all that’s been done to him?

He’s humming something to fill the silence as he leans over to check the raspberry bush, which is literally becoming way too big, when-

“You really do have a lovely voice,” Sukuna says offhandedly as he saunters by out of nowhere, one of his fingers scratching across the nape of Yuji’s neck. He pauses, sounding irritable. “What do you say to me, brat?”

Fingers digging into the dirt, Yuji bows his head, as he’s been told he must do many many many times, and says, “Thank you, my King.” He’s a little too shocked to sound sarcastic this time around.

He’s there and gone, but even so, Yuji can still feel that touch deep in his bones.

It terrifies him.


 


In one of his mopey moods, Yuji journeys down to the jungle of a city, now overrun by curses. The wreckage remains, but now the monsters have taken over what once belonged to humanity. Many curses are still mindless beasts, but the Special Grade curses and the ones just below like to pass themselves off as intelligent and human-like.

Many even look human, aside from small little giveaways.

There’s a bar that’s been overrun. A vile place, but it serves alcohol and Yuji wants to numb his feelings and his thoughts. No one is going to bother him; everyone knows by now how violently The King reacts when someone tries to murder Yuji.

The curses look him over with interest and wariness as he sits down at the old bar, contemplating what to order. What do adults order? He wonders. He’s never had this experience before, so he feels a little lost, but who is here to judge his naïveté, his inexperience?

“Can I have a whiskey?” He asks what passes for a bartender, some lumpy looking bastard with stiches. It makes him think of Mahito.

The bartender nods. “Want some blood in it?”

Yuji makes a disgusted face. “No. Plain whiskey. PLAIN.”

What he gets is a glass with straight up amber liquid with no ice. He slurps it down, feeling the way it burns. He likes it, but it reminds him of…the time he got burned from the inside out. Yuji pushes the thought away, ordering another.

“What a cute little one you are,” a feminine voice says from behind Yuji. “And so far from…home.”

Making a face, Yuji makes a show of not looking as a curvaceous female curse slides into the seat next to him. She giggles, the sound echoing oddly. She smells of cherries, sickly sweet. “Nothing to say? Then again, I’ve heard you’re the type to play hard to get. You’re not easily impressed. You’re a ‘challenge’.”

Yuji groans, because he doesn’t know where this broad has heard all of this garbage. He glances at her, noticing her low-cut attire, the way her large breasts practically spill out over her top. Her eyes are pale and bright, smiling with a filthy sort of interest. Her waist is small and tight, her hips giving way to a shapely ass.

Fuck. He likes that.

Gritting his teeth, Yuji looks away and mutters unpleasantly, “If you’re thinking of casting one of those vulgar lust spells on me, think again.” He doesn’t like being reminded of his libido, not like this, not with some curse.

She laughs brightly, ordering herself a martini with a drop of fresh blood in it. “Oh, I wouldn’t dare. You belong to someone quite well known. Someone…powerful.”

Is she for real? Yuji almost laughs. What would Sukuna care, if he got caught up in something indecent here? “I think you’re mistaken. I’m what one might call an ‘inconvenience’ to that someone. He doesn’t care as long as some jagoff doesn’t kill me.”

With a long-painted nail, the female curse stirs her drink. It smells of vodka, overpowering. “I wouldn’t mistake distance for indifference. Your master lives his life much slower than you, lovely.”

Yuji’s confusion is clear on his face. Her eyes devour his form, undressing him. She runs a finger across his neck, causing his skin to prickle with awareness. “The passing of time doesn’t matter to a curse,” she elaborates. “He’s in no rush -clearly- and everything gets better with age.” She leans ever closer into Yuji’s space and purrs seductively at him. Her giant breasts heave and Yuji can’t help but stare.

His cock twitches with interest, a familiar hunger coiling in his belly. “Lady,” he gasps as her hands run up his thighs. “I’m not comfortable with what you’re doing.”

This earns him a laugh, her red lips wide and dangerous. Sharp teeth are in her mouth, to remind him that she’s not human. She presses her nose to the crook of his neck and inhales. Her breath bathes his skin and awareness strikes him keenly. “You’re so sweet,” she whispers. “Like candy. Pure as snow. Oh, I’d love a taste of you. I could teach you…show you…so many things…”

Somehow, she’s crawled into his lap, grinding down on his burgeoning erection. Yuji doesn’t know how this moved forward so quickly, but he’s not sure he can stop it. He’s gone lightheaded, dizzy with need. He’s not…he’s not had an intimate touch like this in so long. His face heats, because this is utterly public and totally indecent, and he might just literally cum in his pants-

Her grinding against him stops, and Yuji can’t determine if he’s disappointed or relieved.

“But no,” she says sadly, “He’d kill me.” She slides off his lap with a little pout. “You should get out of this place, sweetie. You should go home. He’ll be waiting for you.”

“He doesn’t wait for anyone,” Yuji says, trying to will his aching hard-on away. It’s not working.

The curse gives him a look like she thinks he’s being stubborn and dumb. “Remember what I said about time and maybe you’ll rethink your words. Go home, sweet, tasty boy.”

Downing the last of his alcohol, Yuji scoots off his stool with a little bit of discomfort and goes out the back door, leaving the curious stares far behind.

***
He doesn’t go home immediately.

Instead, he pauses behind an old, rusted dumpster, unzipping his jeans with quick movements. His cock is aching and for once, he wants to take care of it.

It’s a filthy alley and humanity is dead, so fuck anyone who has anything to say about some miserable twenty-one year old stroking his hard cock behind a damn dumpster. He’s been leaking precum into his pants, leaving a decent sized wet stain, so when he pulls out his erection, he has more than enough fluid to work with as he roughly strokes himself.

It’s a dirty sound, the slapping of his meat and he wanks to the thought of tits and asses, of women who are probably long gone. It doesn’t take long for him to shoot his load, his massive load, because he hasn’t touched himself in so long. There’s so much cum, painting the bricks, splattering onto his pants.

Even though he came, Yuji’s cock is still hard, still ready, still wanting.

He thinks of big, puffy nipples, putting them in his mouth, thinks of fucking into the juicy globes of some huge, floppy ass. He cums again with a whine, trying to bite off his excited noises, but he’s so horny and this is so self-indulgent that he never wants to stop.

He could stand here fucking his own hand forever.

He nearly does. And it’s delightful.

When he finally makes it up the hill, after he’s sure his face isn’t flushed and he’s wiped off any droplets from his pants, Yuji feels nearly relaxed. Sated. Maybe he should make trips down to the wild town more often.

Yuji is so relaxed that he doesn’t even think of the possible consequences. Of the female curse’s cryptic words.

Upon entering the temple, Sukuna stops him, just before he gets to his designated, tiny bedroom. “Where have you been, brat?” His voice sounds off. Tendrils of his power brush against Yuji in a grasping, invasive manner. Possessive.

“Out. In the city. That you destroyed.” Alcohol and sexual liberty seem to have loosened Yuji’s tongue. Or done away with any remaining fucks he could have given. Maybe that.

Sukuna’s eyelid twitches slightly at that, but it doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t look cool as a cucumber at the moment. His eyes are wide and there’s a strange sort of panic mounting there. He steps closer to Yuji. “Why do you smell like-” He cuts himself off sharply, looking like his tongue got caught by a cat.

Say it, you bastard, Yuji wants to say. I dare you to ask why I smell like cum. Embarrass yourself for once.

They stand there, staring into each other’s eyes, tension mounting. Like a storm, waiting to break. Sukuna’s breathing goes a little fast, his chest heaving, and Yuji really doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“Go wash yourself,” the King says finally, voice tight, like the words are razorblades in his throat.

Yuji doesn’t move.

In a strangely sloppy display, Sukuna grabs Yuji’s wrist and drags him like a naughty child through the shrine. Through his private chambers they go, giving Yuji a glimpse of the elegant, flashy furnishings and the giant bed that could probably fit an entire family.

The rooms smell of Sukuna so strongly that Yuji can almost taste him on his tongue.

When they reach the far end, Sukuna snarling under his breath, he pulls him out to the hot spring. “Take your damn clothes off,” he commands.

Yuji stares at him in shock. He’s still a little woozy from the alcohol, so his thought process is moving slow.

Apparently, he’s too slow for Sukuna, because in a flash, he’s tearing at Yuji’s clothes, even as Yuji howls in dismay. “Get off of me, you lunatic! Stop, stop! What are you looking for? Your fucking crown is not in my pants!” His squawking grows in intensity, even while Sukuna ignores him, as if overtaken by some crazed tunnel vision.

When Yuji is shivering and completely naked, embarrassed, the mad King circles around him slowly, eyes taking in everything. He tilts Yuji’s head this way and that way, looks at his legs, between them, as if looking for signs of tampering.

Finding nothing, apparently, Sukuna steps back from him and gives him a very strange look.

Trembling like a leaf, Yuji covers himself with his hands. “Can…can I get in the water now? Please?”

The curse seems willing to allow this, but just as Yuji is about to go drown himself for shame, Sukuna hauls him close once more, pressing his nose into the hollow of Yuji’s throat. He inhales, his nose traveling slowly upwards until his nose is in Yuji's hair, huffing softly.

Yuji is utterly confused and somehow afraid. He's feels like there's an unpredictable tiger beside him. 

“I thought you’d smell like someone else,” Sukuna mutters, voice drifting in the shadows, shaking Yuji’s soul. Those words, revealing a hidden fear; that Yuji had been with someone else

Yuji shouldn’t feel safe in this odd embrace. He shouldn’t, but he does. He feels strangely comforted in the grasp of these murderous, dangerous hands. Oddly wanted, in the way that the curse seems to melt at the scent of his hair.

“You may get in the water now,” Sukuna says tiredly.

Feeling completely off his rocker, Yuji timidly slips into the pool of hot water, enjoying its heat against his naked flesh. He dunks his hair under once, shaking the droplets of water out of his face. When he gets the courage to do so, he finds Sukuna’s gaze again.

The curse is steadily watching him, crimson eyes glowing in the darkness. The stars are above them, witnessing.  

“Is this…is this all because I…belong to you?” Yuji says it hesitantly, because he’s been denying it all these years. The words feel foreign on his tongue and it’s hard to say them aloud. It’s like admitting to something dirty. It somehow feels like the dirtiest thing he's ever said, but how can that be?

With an elegant hand, Sukuna undoes his kimono, right before Yuji’s eyes, allowing it to soundlessly slip down his body. He’s art, every movement he makes is done with purpose and intent. Graceful and cruel, wrapped in one. He's moonlight and shadow, mysterious and eternal.

Slowly, relaxed once more, the monster inside soothed, Sukuna sinks into the hot spring, joining Yuji. He has a striking physical form, powerful, the epitome of what a man should look like in peak form. Yuji tries to not admire him.

He’s admired enough bodies for one day and look where it got him. He can’t help it though, so he looks and looks, noticing the way that the King of Curses doesn’t mind. The beast crowds Yuji against the side of the pool, his face dangerously close.

“Yes, brat.” Sukuna says to Yuji, sounding vexed. His eyes search Yuji's face with a certain pleased calm that doesn't line up with his tone. As always, Sukuna's eyes betray his true feelings. “It is.”


 

 


Their extremely violent confrontations are beginning to taper away.

Perhaps they’ve both burned through enough hatred to last a lifetime. Then again, Sukuna hasn’t changed, which means something about Yuji has.

Maybe he’s broken. Is that what this is? The way he averts his gaze when Sukuna is near. The way he quietly sits at his feet when humans are murdered in front of them. The way his body heats up when he’s touched in a manner that is completely innocent of sexual intent?

Whatever it may be, clearly something between them is shifting. Maybe it’s because Yuji doesn’t act like an outrageous child anymore. The child inside of him died long ago, his spiritual fire becoming little more than a small flame.

Today is unusual for them.

Sukuna strips down so that he’s shirtless, facing off against Yuji on his outdoor sparring platform. He’s taken on his near-human form, absent his extra arms and the double face he occasionally adorns to scare his enemies.

But here, alone, he settles for being like Yuji. He settles for appearing human. As if it will make Yuji feel better.

“Are you any good with a blade?”

Yuji shrugs. Is he supposed to take his shirt off or no? “I mean, I can stab and-”

“That was a hypothetical question.” Sukuna interrupts. His tattoos ripple with his muscles, like living pieces of artwork. “I already know you’re subpar. Which is why we’re here.”

Dumbly, Yuji asks, “Why are we here?”

The King of Curse’s rolls his eyes, as if asking himself why he even bothers. “I’m here to teach you something, you invalid. Pay attention.”

Yuji pays close attention. Very close.

He may be thick-skulled sometimes, but even Yuji can see that this is a very deeply personal event.

Sukuna doesn’t need to spend time with him. Sukuna doesn’t need to teach Yuji a goddamn thing.

Sukuna is here because he wants to be and every gentle correction is done without menace, as if the world has fallen away.

“Hells, you have a lot to learn.” Sukuna is rubbing his brow as if mentally taxed.

Yeah, Yuji has a lot of learning to do, but he’s learning something right now and it frightens him, just as much as it empowers him. It’s opened his eyes, just as that night in the hot spring did.

This supremely powerful being, this thousand-year-old curse, has chosen him. Every horror, every punishment that Yuji has ever suffered through was leading up to this.

“We’ll continue tomorrow.” Sukuna frowns, noticing that Yuji has gone oddly silent. “You’re trembling. What’s wrong with you now, brat? I didn’t brain you, did I? You don’t have much of a brain as it is, can’t risk messing that up more…”

Yuji shakes his head, not able to meet those crimson eyes, the ones that see into his soul.

How could I have been so stupid? How could I have not seen it earlier? The King of Curses hasn’t kept him alive all these years just for the sake of torture and misery. He’s kept Yuji because he wants to keep him as a favored pet. Something for himself that he enjoys.

Now that Yuji is behaving in a manner deemed suitable, Sukuna has allowed himself to treat Yuji as a favorite.

Yuji doesn’t know how that makes him feel.

He doesn’t even know where the end of this road leads.

It can’t end anywhere good.

Because even if Sukuna is capable of moving past all the horror, Yuji can’t.

Unlike the King of Curses, he can’t just wave his hand and forget all his loved ones. He can’t forget his mile long sheet of failures. He can’t forget all the people he watched die.

No. He doesn’t want to feel.

Yuji’s heart is not for sale. It’s locked and he’s lost the fucking key and he never wants it back