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Masamichi has always been an early-to-rise educator. His students have complained about him being too stern, too strict, why do you wake us up at unholy hours of the day, sensei, what the fuck, but Masamichi believes in punctuality. In following a rigid structure, else your freedom will foster irresponsibility. That's all it is. He is not boring. He is not anal

“You're anal, sensei,” says the boy leaning carelessly against the sofa. Masamichi wants to throw him out of the office and let the dolls go wild. “You can hear the first birds chirping outside! In the trees! It's the break of dawn! It's like you consider it a character flaw to sleep.”

Satoru,” warns Masamichi. 

Maybe Masamichi has found a new way to torture himself, bringing in Gojo Satoru as a student. Fifteen years old, and this boy already has too much power in his eyes, too much razor on his tongue. 

Sensei,” says the other boy, Getou. His tone is almost pacifying. “It’s six a.m. Please excuse me to say this, but that's— pretty early, to be honest.”

It's also quite a stroke of terrible fortune that the two other students Masamichi admitted to Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School are enablers. Well— one is an enabler. The other one’s beginning to seem like a secret rascal.

“See!” says Gojo. “That— bangs, he agrees with me. What's your name again?”

“Suguru,” says Getou. Masamichi raises a brow. 

“Suguru,” says Gojo, beaming like the sunrise, “is an excellent judge of what is an infringement on the people's rights.”

“You ask your students to wake up early one time,” Masamichi says, and then briefly closes his aggrieved eyes. Retirement, he fantasizes. At least the girl, Shoko, isn't threatening to give him a migraine. She may be the only one he can rely on for the coming years, silent and sturdy as an oak, calm as water. Gojo seems like he's too hinged on — on something (though Masamichi can't quite place his finger on it yet) to be kept properly in check. And he had assumed Getou would be more of a strait-laced, prim and starchy young boy; but perhaps his character judgment had lapsed, seeing as how bent on siding with Gojo this kid is. For some inexplicable reason. 

Then Masamichi understands why, when he opens his eyes. 

Gojo isn't aware of it. Masamichi’s not even sure Shoko is aware of it. But Getou — sitting tall with his hands in his pockets, still as a statue — is looking at Gojo in a way that makes Masamichi want to hurl himself off a cliff. 

The boy's mouth is pressed into a thin line, as if he's trying really quite hard to keep it closed. His eyes are bright, sharp with some intense concentration, and there's a low, untamed sort of gleam in it. It's almost like he wants to devour Gojo whole. 

...Ah fuck, thinks Masamichi. 



_____

 

2 + 0 

 

Nanami just wants to read. 

Being in Malaysia sounds nice. Kuantuan, perhaps. One day, he'll build a house on a secluded beach and perch atop a lounger with a book in his hand. There'll be the ruffled beating of a seagull's wings, the calling of birds high in the clouds. There'll be the crashing of tidal waves, roaring quietly in the near distance. There'll be the sun, warm on his skin, beading his sweat. There'll be peace. There'll be silence. 

There isn't silence now. Nanami wants to chop someone. 

“Suguru,” Gojo calls. “Let’s buy these ice cream cones!”

“That’s,” says Getou. “Oh, that’s expensive.”

“Well, I’ve worked very, very hard,” says Gojo, tilting his head. “Suguru won’t deny me the resources I need, will he?”

Nanami feels a little wrong somehow, watching the two of them interact. They’re on a busy street in the Roppongi district; crowds are marching past them, footsteps and voices at a constant high. And here they are: right in front of a food vendor, smoke rising like clouds from the charred grills, and they’re… talking to each other in a way that makes Nanami feel like he’s sinning to watch.

“…How many?” says Getou.

“I want three of them,” says Gojo.

“One day your arteries are going to burst, you know,” says Getou.

“Impossible,” says Gojo, clapping his hands together. “Please? I can always get on my knees and beg, which nobody would want, because that’d be embarrassing for the both of us.”

“Yeah, don’t do that,” says Getou, but his eyes are crinkling at the corners.

Nanami feels an oncoming headache. It's just the three of them here, which means no one is around to save him from this hell. He'll have to forge his own way out, except that he had already promised Haibara he’d wait with them until Haibara gets here. Promises and their dangers, he sighs to himself.

They end up buying three ice cream cones, completely and unhealthily lathered with sugar. Gojo has a tiny skip in his steps as they walk away from the vendor, feet bouncing giddily over the pavement.

…Which means the ice cream is dripping. Onto his fingers.

Nanami sees it. Registers it, and hastily hopes that nobody will notice, but—

“Satoru,” says Getou, “you have ice cream on your finger.”

“Oh?” says Gojo.

“Here, let me,” says Getou.

Nanami has approximately two seconds to brace himself before Getou grabs Gojo by the wrist, pulls it to his chin, and puts Gojo’s finger into his mouth.

Gojo doesn’t make any noise, but he seems to have frozen over, unmoving. Nanami has a split second to think about how genuinely displeasing that sensation must be, your fingers enclosed in the warm, wet heat of someone else's mouth. Then, before he has the chance to inwardly question his karmic existence and mournfully think, why am I seeing this, he notices Gojo’s expression.

Nanami blinks.

His brain short-circuits for a moment.

Huh. Gojo’s face is taking on an uncharacteristic shade of pink. Through the pitch-black tint of his glasses, Nanami can see that his eyes are wide, the sharp edges giving way. His mouth is slightly open.

Oh.

Oh, Nanami thinks, realization dawning, oh, that’s—

Then Getou does something obscene with his tongue. He must have, because — faintly, but obvious to anyone who’s paying attention — Gojo’s body jerks a little.

Burn my eyes, Nanami thinks.

 


_____

 

 

3 + 0 

 

Utahime is okay with accepting help. 

The refusal to admit one's uselessness, she thinks, is one of the greatest faults a person can have. There is no merit to it except for a delayed grasp on your dignity. It’s stupid. It’s ridiculous. She is able to step down from her pride a little, and accept help when she knows she needs it.

However, she will not accept help from Gojo Satoru.  

“How tragic,” Gojo is saying. “Utahime's so weak that she doesn’t even realize it.”

No, fuck off,” yells Utahime.

“Please,” says Gojo, grinning his obnoxious grin. He rips the last of the heads of curses off and throws it carelessly to the ground. It rolls, sadly, in a spill of blood. “Aren't you grateful that I'm here?”

“I am not!” she says. “You can’t just come in and blow up cultural heritage sites like this!”

“Sure, okay, if you want to die,” says Gojo. 

“Come on, Gojo, play nice,” says Mei Mei, sauntering her way towards them. She has on an incredibly placated smile, calm and amused between her parted hair. Utahime doesn’t understand how one’s blood doesn’t simply boil at the sight of Gojo, especially when he pulls shit like this.

“I’m being perfectly nice,” says Gojo innocently. “Suguru and I came to aide you both, and isn’t that the epitome of kindness?”

“This temple has been standing for hundreds of years,” says Utahime. “We were going to lure the curses elsewhere!”

“Lots of monetary compensation,” agrees Mei Mei.

“Right,” Gojo huffs. “Okay, fine.”

“Although we do appreciate the sentiment,” says Mei Mei.

“See,” says Gojo. “Utahime should know that gratitude is a virtue.”

“Why, you little,” Utahime snarls, and can’t even finish her sentence. Calm down, she thinks. Keep cool. Keep cool. You have more class than this. God, she wonders if Shoko has some kind of instruction manual on how to deal with this boy, because Utahime’s threadbare patience is coming very close to snapping now.

“Where’s Suguru?” says Gojo, thankfully distracted. “Suguru? Suguru! Oh, there he is. Suguru, hey—”

His voice cuts off.

Utahime lifts her eyes up at him, a low rise of alarm spiking in her chest. Something seems to have blindsided Gojo. The words have died in his throat. His arms hang loose at his sides, his stance stock still. Utahime follows his gaze, and—

Getou is standing there, hair fallen into strands over his shoulders. She doesn't think she's ever seen him with his hair down before; there's a rougher, more jagged look to it. 

And, for some inexplicable reason, his shirt is off. 

Utahime squints. The black shirt is dangling from his forearm, and even from this distance, she can tell that it's been gashed open, a deep cut from somewhere by his shoulders down to his side. When she looks closer at him, sure enough, it's there: a slice, red with dried blood (and oh, not deep at all, barely scratching the skin surface) from his collarbone to his waist. Utahime raises an eyebrow. He looks— quite good, in all honesty, with all his muscles toned under the sun and whatnot. 

Gojo, on the other hand.  

“Ah, sorry,” Getou says, smiling apologetically at them. “One of the curses managed to cut my hair tie and my shirt, so.” He gestures vaguely over himself.

“Oh, yeah, no problem,” says Gojo, voice a little high.

Utahime stares at Gojo. Then whips over to look at Mei Mei, who appears to be trying very hard not to laugh. Then back again at Gojo.

This guy. He's really looking like he needs water. There's a faint but evident blush on his cheeks, a desperate effort in the way he swallows. Utahime recognizes that kind of look anywhere. 

Ah, but, she then realizes with a sudden twinge of sympathy, there’s something else there. His eyes are dazed. Soft and gentle, strangely tender. Warm with only the sort of warmth that comes with being in lo— 

“Even his pining offends my eyes,” says Utahime.

“There, there,” says Mei Mei.

 

 

_____

 

 

4 + 0 

 

Shoko has been friends with Getou and Gojo for over a year now. Which means that she knows, undeniably, irrevocably, that they are horny for each other. 

It didn’t take long for her to realize, keen and observant as she always is. She had understood that they were drawn to each other one week into their first meeting, and shortly after had acknowledged that they both wanted to bone. Frankly, it was none of her business. She left them alone. They were smart boys, she’d thought. They’d be able to figure it out.

They have not figured it out.

It has been over a year.

The thing about the thing with Shoko is this: she likes to stay in her own lane. She won’t meddle with anyone as long as they don’t meddle with her. She will not tell anyone what to do, and expects no one to police her in turn. It’s too troublesome sometimes, this whole deal with human interaction. Too much work and too much effort. Nothing can faze you if you just chill out, light a cig, and stay in your lane.

But my god, they have not figured it out.

It’s not that she cares, particularly. It’s just that it somewhat astonishes her, how two of the most brilliant people she knows can be this dense. They’ve been tip-toeing around each other, rather unsubtly, as if the ground underneath them were landmines for months. She doesn’t get it. It’s just sex.

So Shoko thinks of saying something.

She waits for an opportune time.

 

 

They sit, now, on the wooden stairs outside of the school’s tea house.

A garden is before them, grasses and the undergrowth lush green. Shoko can hear the birds’ trill high in the trees, their shadows darting through the canting sunlight. A mosquito lands on her thigh. She slaps it dead.

“Poor mosquito,” says Getou.

“Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same,” she says.

She’s sitting an arm’s length away from Getou a perfect distance for Gojo to seat himself in between, but Gojo merely stands with his hands in his pockets, swaying back and forth restlessly. He's been this way for the past half hour. 

(Restless with what, Shoko doesn't know. But the prickly corners of her intuition can guess.) 

“Satoru, you don’t want to sit?” says Getou.

“No,” says Gojo.

“What’s wrong?” says Getou. “Is it because of the last mission? It’s fine that you haven’t perfected that technique yet, you know.”

“Not that,” says Gojo. And then: “Can I sit on your lap.”

Oh hell, Shoko thinks in delight.

“What,” says Getou.

“Can I,” says Gojo, and there’s a waver in his voice that Shoko would’ve completely missed, if she weren’t looking for it, “sit on your lap.”

“Oh,” says Getou, rather dumbly. “But there’s,” and he gestures to the empty space between them, a little frantic.

“Oh,” says Gojo. “Okay.”

This sneaky little shit, Shoko thinks, trying her best to refrain from grinning. Instead of looking annoyed, he looks outright disappointed. Chin turned down, head drooping slightly, which means—

“Fine,” Getou mumbles. “Fine. All right.”

Gojo’s smile is wide and bright, when he pounces over and nestles himself into Getou’s lap, his back leaned snugly against Getou’s front. Jeez, she muses, it’s like I’m not even here. Shoko would like to think that they’ve been friends with her for so long, been used to her infallible presence one too many times, that it doesn’t really matter to them. Shoko supposes it’s a good thing.

She also supposes that they don’t realize how obvious this is.

Gojo is blabbering on, now, about something involving Yaga-sensei’s vicious dolls and a gallon of whiskey. She doesn’t follow. What she does follow, though, is the way he’s moving in Getou’s lap.

Gojo’s gesticulating wildly, expression animated, voice high in energy. Which only means that he’s shifting quite a lot. His ass is way too near Getou’s groin, one leg draped over Getou’s knee. And Getou’s sitting cross-legged, hands braced against the wooden floorboards, his expression tight. They're only separated by their uniforms. Shoko watches, and heeds, and that’s how she notices the moment when Getou gets turned on.

She doesn’t see it, of course. She wouldn’t look for it. But Shoko notices it simply by the way Getou’s eyes narrow in panic, his entire body going rigid.

“Satoru,” he chokes out, and ah, yes, the panic is definitely there. “Can you, um. Off?”

Gojo blinks.

“Can I off?” he echoes. “Why?”

“My leg is numb,” says Getou. Liar.

“Oh,” says Gojo.

He climbs off of Getou's lap, and Getou immediately moves to the edge of the floorboards and rests his elbows on his knees, casually hunched over. He flashes Gojo an apologetic smile, a little strained with the effort. Gojo only frowns back.

“You gotta work on your thigh strength, Suguru,” he mutters, before turning away to kick a pebble into the shrubs.

“Sorry, sorry,” says Getou. “Finish your story?”

Shoko opens her mouth — prepared to tell Gojo that he’s lusting after you too, idiot, ready to finally end their song and dance, because seriously, how is sexual attraction this difficult to wade against — when she feels a foot nudge roughly against hers.

She glances over at Getou, nearly irked—

—and is completely surprised.

Getou's staring back at her with a finger to his lips. The smile he wears is helpless, guilty, almost subservient; but what reels Shoko back is the fear she finds there.

He’s scared, she realizes. He’s scared, and that’s not the emotion you find in someone looking for a mere hookup. That’s not what you expect from people with little to lose. And it’s in the wake of this awareness that Shoko understands: all those gazes, all those touches, all those laughs. Getou always looks at Gojo with a quiet fondness in his eyes. Getou always looks at Gojo like a blinding, brittle thing; like glass and gold, like the thrumming of his own pulse, reserved for him and no one else.

Shoko stares.

All right then, she thinks, after a moment. That’s hilarious.