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Yuuji is staring. 

He doesn’t intend to, he’d glanced up out of habit when the little bell above the door jingled cheerily for another customer coming in and he hasn’t been able to look away since. He tries, obviously, because he’s not an idiot and knows staring is incredibly rude. But every time he jerks his head away to focus on something else, his gaze inevitably drags itself back across the shop to the new customer as if drawn by some invisible magnet. 

The man is tall and well dressed, wearing charcoal slacks and a black turtleneck that fits his frame so nicely it’s clear both have been tailored especially for him. His dark leather shoes and silver watch appear just as lavish and are probably worth more than Yuuji’s entire apartment. 

Which in hindsight probably isn’t an accurate comparison since his apartment is actually affiliate housing for the University and cheap, so it’s probably more appropriate to imagine the man’s shoes could likely pay for half of Yuuji’s accumulated student debt.  

He’d walked across the café with a slow and steady grace, and Yuuji couldn’t help feeling a little put out as he watched him. Prone to clumsiness, Yuuji usually finds himself stumbling around like a newborn colt, tripping over his own feet and bumping into things as if it’s his sole objective in life to break his own neck. The handsome stranger has clearly never had the awkward experience of stepping on his own shoelaces and crashing to the ground in front of a crowd of people. 

Yuuji’s grandad used to say it builds character. 

Yuuji thinks his grandad was full of shit.

Also, despite the customer’s shock of white hair (swept into a purposefully carless style), he looks surprisingly young. Maybe older than Yuuji, but no more than by a handful of years at most. There’s an obvious sense of maturity about him that makes it seem as if he’s much older, though.

Yuuji had watched him take a seat by the window on the far side of the dining area away from the rest of the customers, and it wasn’t until then that he finally realized the cane and thick, nondescript sunglasses the man is wearing aren’t fashion accessories.

He hasn’t been able to look away since, catching himself every few seconds glancing over as the man fiddles with the menu and places an order with Nobara. Yuuji studies him from the corner of his eye as he stacks the pastry plates, both surprised and shamefully curious to see him turning his head this way and that as if observing the other customers. 

Maybe Yuuji’s guess was wrong and he isn’t actually blind?

“Wow, that is really rude,” Nobara points out, hands on her hips and giving Yuuji a thoroughly unimpressed look as he twists around to face her.

“I wasn’t trying to be,” he explains quickly, guilt clear on his face at getting caught. 

“What, blind people don’t exist in the boonies or something?” 

He frowns and answers her slowly, “Um. Yes?”

She rolls her eyes. “You can’t stare at people like that, Yuuji. If I caught someone doing that to me I’d dropkick them through a wall.”

He believes her. He’s only worked at the shop a couple of weeks and just a few of those shifts with Nobara, but he learned early on not to mess with her; she has a disturbing fascination with violence. 

“I wasn’t staring because he’s blind,” he insists, feeling himself blush a bit. 

“Then what were you doing?” 

He gestures both hands between them in some wild dance that vaguely translates into a general sense of ‘I don’t know’, face reddening even further. Now would be a good time for the floor to open up and swallow him whole, he thinks.  

Nobara gives him a blank look in response and then suddenly snorts, lips lifting with a smirk. “Oh, you are too adorable.”

“Wait, what?” He blinks, startled at the sudden change as she shakes her head and turns away to pick something up from the counter.

“Here, go take him his coffee for me, will you? You need the practice. I’m going to take a smoke break.” She declares, handing him a saucer with a steaming cappuccino sitting on it. “See you in fifteen.”

“But you don’t smoke,” he says, baffled. 

“Nope,” she agrees, laughing and already taking off her apron as she heads for the back door through the kitchen.

Yuuji gives the cup in his hands a bewildered look and wonders if she would dropkick him if he didn’t do as she says, to which he decides the answer is emphatically yes and he’d rather avoid having to pay for an ER visit just now if he can help it.

He looks over to where the man is sitting and takes in his profile, feeling his pulse jump slightly as he does. He sends up a silent prayer in the hopes that some mystical entity will keep him from making a fool of himself. Sighing through his nose, he carefully makes his way from behind the counter and across the shop, paying close attention to his feet and trying not to spill a single drop as he goes.

He hesitates when he reaches the table, struck again by the man’s handsome features, which are much more obvious up close. He looks as if he’s just stepped off the cover of GQ.

He must sense Yuuji standing there because he tips his head to the side with a small friendly smile. “Something for me?” he teases, and Yuuji nearly bites through his tongue. Voices like that should be illegal.

He clears his throat and sets the saucer down, sliding it across the table until it touches the man’s (long, elegant) fingers. “Y-Yes,” he stammers. “Cappuccino?”

The man hums in the affirmative. “Thank you,” he says, sliding the tips of his fingers along the side of his cup, seeking the handle. “What happened to the other server?”

“She, uh, took a smoke break,” Yuuji stammers. Jesus, why is it so hard to talk suddenly? He feels as if his throat is starting to close up. 

“She didn’t smell like a smoker.”

“Oh she isn’t,” Yuuji confirms, unable to stop himself from staring at the man’s jawline and feeling the strangest urge of wanting to bite it. Thoroughly distracted, he doesn’t elaborate further and the man’s eyebrows crawl toward his hairline.

“I hope I didn’t scare her off,” he says, gesturing toward the clunky glasses, insinuating his blindness somehow made Nobara uncomfortable enough to push him onto another coworker.

Yuuji snaps out of his daze. “No, no, it’s me,” he reassures quickly. “It’s because I need practice. Talking. With people.”

Fucking hell. The man smiles and Yuuji thinks he’s never seen anything so gorgeous. 

“Is that so?” 

“I mean as a server,” Yuuji clarifies, inwardly cringing. “I mostly work the counter but she’s been training me.”

“What’s your name?”

Yuuji startles at the unexpected question and rubs at the back of his neck, suddenly nervous. “Yuuji.”

The man nods graciously. “Yuuji.” A shiver crawls up his spine as he watches the man’s lips form the sounds of his name, absolutely riveted. “You’re doing very well,” the man continues. “Thank you for bringing my coffee.”

“You’re welcome,” Yuuji wheezes. “I’m, uh, just over there a little ways if you need anything. You can lift your hand, I’ll come over.”

“I will do that,” the man chuckles as he lifts his cup and takes a sip, smiling around the rim.

Yuuji turns and walks back to the counter as if in a trance.



Nobara divulges the man’s name is Gojo and that he’s a semi-regular. He typically comes on Thursdays, sometimes two or three times a month and usually during Megumi’s shift. She also explains that he is an absolute terror the entire time he’s here. Apparently Megumi is the only one who hasn’t lost his shit so far over the strange man’s insistent, mischievous behavior.

“Megumi has the patience of a saint, though,” Nobara shrugs, plating a scone and drizzling warm honey on top. 

Yuuji shoots the man a worried glance. “So is he super mean or something?”

“No, just super fucking annoying.”

The accusation is so at odds with the man’s outward appearance that Yuuji can’t help feeling a little skeptical at first. Besides, Nobara thinks everyone is annoying, even the old lady next door who owns the flower shop. (“She insists on the whole flower language thing too much. If I get one more sympathy card when I buy black roses I will put salt in her soil.”) It isn’t until Yuuji starts to experience the aforementioned shenanigans himself that he suspects there might be some truth to what she’s saying.

He’s just finished wiping down some tables and heading toward the back when he hears someone call his name and, when he looks over, sees Gojo waving him over. 

Gripping his damp rag a little tighter, he quickly makes his way to the table, trying (and failing) to ignore the thrill that zings down his spine as he sees Gojo’s lips curl into a roguish smile at hearing his approach.

“Did you need something?”

Gojo tilts his chin up slightly. “Ah, yes. I forgot to ask for sugar in this. Would you mind getting me a few packets?”

The request is innocent enough so Yuuji doesn’t think much of it as he agrees and leaves to fetch the sugar. He doesn’t notice Nobara snickering behind her hand, gleeful as she mans the counter. He returns shortly after and sets the packets next to Gojo’s half empty cup. 

“On your left,” he says, tapping a finger lightly against the table, and nearly swallowing his tongue when Gojo effortlessly reaches out and rests his hand on top of Yuuji’s.

“Fantastic,” he replies. “Now, would you be so kind?” His fingers slide smoothly down Yuuji’s hand to the packets. “I’d hate to leave a mess for you to clean up.”

Yuuji’s brain might have short circuited at the casual touch and it takes him a moment to come back online. “Right, sure,” he trips out, snatching up a packet. “No problem.”

“Thank you,” Gojo demurs.

He tears one open and sprinkles it into the still-warm coffee. “Just the one?”

“Two, please.”  

Yuuji dutifully pours a second packet into the cup and glances around for the stirring spoon. It’s oddly absent even though Yuuji is fairly certain it had been on the saucer earlier when he’d brought the coffee over. He frowns, confused, and crumbles the empty packets in a fist.

“Hang on, you need something to stir it,” he apologizes. “I’ll be right back.”

Gojo nods and Yuuji quickly retreats back to the counter for a clean spoon. This time he catches Nobara’s knowing look as he passes her on his way back out.

“What?” he demands.

“Oh nothing,” she giggles. “Enjoying yourself?”

He starts to confess that yes, in fact, whatever is happening right now is quite enjoyable considering he hasn’t gotten this much attention from anyone in god knows how long. But he doesn’t, since admitting something like that feels a little too desperate, even for him. 

Instead, he forces a bright grin on his face and shrugs a clueless shoulder. “What do you mean?”

Nobara waves him away, not the least bit convinced, and he makes his way back to Gojo’s table. The man has his chin propped in one hand, face angled in the direction Yuuji is coming from, and even with the glasses on he is looking far too pleased with himself. 

“Sorry about that. Here, let me,” he offers, and stirs the (likely already dissolved) sugar around the cup. He taps the spoon once against the rim and places it back on the saucer. “How’s that?”

Gojo makes a pleased sound as he takes a sip, though his lips quickly form into an endearing pout as he replaces the cup. “Well that’s what I get for letting it sit for so long, right? It’s gotten cold.”

Yuuji fights a grin of his own. “No one likes cold coffee,” he agrees. “Let me get you a fresh one.”

One of Gojo’s eyebrows quirk upright, and it’s obvious he hears the amused tone coloring Yuuji’s voice. “I’d hate to be a bother,” he deflects, though he doesn’t look the least bit sorry as he visibly fights his own amusement. 

“I don’t mind,” Yuuji answers as he picks up the plate and cup. “I’ll be right back.”

Nobara rolls her eyes so hard it’s a wonder they don’t roll backward into her skull when he bounces back up to the counter. “Seriously? You’re encouraging him, you know.”

Yuuji grins, barely able to restrain himself as he passes the dirty dishes over the counter. “Can you get me a fresh cappuccino? Two sugars.” 

She mutters vague threats under her breath as she takes the dishes. “Megumi just ignores him,” she states, deftly pouring another cappuccino and adding two pumps of sweetener. “What you’re doing is making it worse.”

Yuuji flashes her a helpless smile. “I’m an enabler,” he admits, taking the fresh coffee with a quick ‘thank you’ and immediately turning to make his way back to Gojo’s table. 

Gojo greets him before he can even say anything. “That was very nice of you.”

He sets the saucer down and angles the handle so it’s easier for the man to reach, feeling a hint of pride when Gojo does just that. 

“Happy to do it,” he says, and means it.

Gojo considers him silently for a moment, a self-deprecating smile playing on his mouth as he lifts his cup for a sip. There’s a moment – a brief, fleeting instant – in which Yuuji wonders if Gojo will either feign it isn’t sweet enough, or perhaps too sweet, or even protest it’s the wrong flavor and send him on another pointless errand to the counter. He anticipates it, actually, leaning slightly forward on his toes and watching far too closely than is strictly necessary as Gojo tips his cup.

Each of these scenarios prove to be incorrect, however, as Yuuji sees the man flinch and hiss in pain, splashing some of the hot liquid over onto the table and a bit on himself in the process as he pulls it away.

Yuuji reacts without really thinking it through. He quickly but carefully takes the mostly-full cup from Gojo’s hands and places it back on the table, and then before either of them have a chance to react, presses a napkin to the side of Gojo’s mouth where some of the coffee had splashed out and burned him.

They both freeze, Yuuji’s wide eyes fixed on Gojo’s expressionless black glasses and the man himself immovable under Yuuji’s hands. His lips are slightly parted, glistening and looking far too tempting. As Yuuji watches, a sly, pink tongue darts out to swipe against his bottom lip as Gojo gives him a subtle, devious grin.

With a shaky breath, Yuuji slowly pulls away and starts dabbing up the small spill on the table. “I’m so sorry,” he stutters, face flaming. “I didn’t mean to –”  

He cuts himself off, unsure of what excuse he was planning to give since he most definitely meant to. He was in full control of his faculties just then when he reached out to touch Gojo, and trying to pretend otherwise would just be stupid. He bites his lip, hard, and tries to think of an escape.

But then Gojo laughs. 

It’s a quiet, charming sound, muffled on an exhale of breath and meant as a delightful secret between the two of them. 

Yuuji stares at him, stunned.

“Yuuji,” Gojo positively purrs, and the coy tone of voice sends shivers down Yuuji’s spine. “Walk me to my car, will you?”

“Of course,” Yuuji replies helplessly, still a little thrown as he takes the proffered credit card and makes his way to the counter for Nobara to run it through.

“Are you high?” she asks, taking in his dumbfounded expression as she swipes the card and prints the receipt. Yuuji blinks a few times and shakes his head.

“I don’t think so?” he responds, not entirely sure himself. Is it possible to get high from someone’s presence? He isn’t really sure. “I’m going to walk him to his car.”

Nobara hands him back the card and receipt and doesn’t get a chance to tell him Gojo has not once asked for an escort back to his car before Yuuji is suddenly gone again. She watches them leave the shop together with a mixture of speechless hilarity. 

Outside, Yuuji sticks close to Gojo’s side, ready to steer him out of harm’s way if necessary and mentally trying to stave off a budding panic attack at being so close to someone so obviously out of his league. He very nearly has a heart attack when Gojo purposefully loops their arms together and walks confidently down the sidewalk away from the café.

“I like you, Yuuji,” he proclaims, voice light and dancing with amusement. He tightens his grip as Yuuji stumbles at his side, almost tripping into traffic. “Oh, careful. I got you.” 

Yuuji gapes up (and up and up, freaking hell, how tall is this man?) at Gojo like a fish out of water. “I – you what?

Gojo hums appreciatively. “Are you free tomorrow evening? I hear they are doing a Christmas light show in the park with a full orchestra. I can pick you up at seven. How’s that sound?”

Yuuji blinks dumbly, ears and cheeks flushing bright red as Gojo angles his face down expectantly. “S-Sure,” he hears himself say, stomach catapulting with nerves. “Seven is good.”

“Perfect,” Gojo declares, bringing the both of them to a sudden halt. It’s only then that Yuuji notices they are standing next to a very sleek, very expensive looking car with windows tinted so darkly there’s no possible way they are within code. “Give your address to Ichiji. He will ensure we are there on the dot. Won’t you, Ichiji?”

A thin man with glasses appears as if from nowhere and opens the car’s back door. He nods amicably at the two of them. “Of course, sir,” he agrees. 

Gojo grins, pleased with the response. He releases Yuuji’s arm and turns so they are standing toe to toe, and Yuuji has to tip his chin up so he isn’t staring at Gojo’s (very attractive) clavicles.

“I look forward to spending more time with you, Yuuji.” 

Yuuji gulps, half convinced this is some kind of dream. “So do I,” he agrees, and doesn’t flinch away when Gojo reaches up to hold his chin and presses their mouths together in a chaste kiss. 

It takes a concentrated amount of willpower not to surge up on his toes and deepen it into something more. Gojo straightens too quickly, a mischievous quirk to his lips, and brushes his fingers teasingly along Yuuji’s jaw as he pulls away.

“See you tomorrow?”

Yuuji quickly grabs him by the hand before he can retreat completely and squeezes their hands together, thrilled by the delighted grin that lights up Gojo’s face. 

“Tomorrow,” he agrees.

Chapter Text

The following evening is lively with Christmas music as they make their way leisurely through the park toward the amphitheater. Lights are strung between the trees and wrapped around installations on the grass in various decorative scenes, and Yuuji happily describes the funnier ones to Gojo as they walk through. 

“Dolphins?” Gojo shakes his head in dismay. “The sanctity of Christmas has been destroyed. Where are all the elves?”

Yuuji grins, laughing as they pass by the brightly outlined seascape. “At least they were wearing Santa hats,” he offers by way of consolation, squinting at another installation with lights blinking at intervals to imitate movement. “There are some elves at the next one, though. Oh…wait, never mind. Those are honeybees. Sorry.” 

Gojo groans. “Take me to the spiked hot chocolate before I lose all hope.”

They veer off the path a little ways to an area set up for snack vendors and Yuuji guides them to the table for ‘adult drinks’. He digs in his pockets for some cash only to be brought up short when Gojo steps in front of him slightly, anticipating where the vendor is standing without being prompted.

“Two of the hot chocolates,” he orders, and Yuuji blinks in surprise as he hands over the cash. The vendor checks both their IDs and takes the money before turning to the steaming urns full of bourbon and cocoa. Gojo smirks a little in Yuuji’s direction, as if he can feel his shock. 

“I’m not completely helpless,” he teases gently, bumping their elbows together.

Yuuji flushes with embarrassment. “I didn’t think you were,” he mumbles. “You didn’t have to pay for those, I was going to do it.”

Gojo chuckles. “I asked you out on this date, so I’m paying. You can cover the next one.”

Yuuji stares at Gojo in stunned disbelief. He’d figured it was a one-off when Gojo asked him out yesterday. When the man actually followed through and picked him up at exactly seven o’clock, Yuuji figured it was just dumb luck and decided to enjoy the evening since he probably wouldn’t get another chance like this ever again. 

(He is a 25 year old college senior with an alarming amount of debt and living in a shitty one bedroom apartment. He still eats microwaved chicken nuggets and forgets to brush his hair some days. He’s not exactly what one would consider a ‘catch’.)

Gojo hums quietly to himself and reaches up to thread his fingers through Yuuji’s hair, gently pulling him into his side. “We’re going to have to work on that,” he murmurs. 

Yuuji leans willingly into the warmth, though his heart nearly leaps into his throat and he can’t help noticing how fucking good Gojo smells. “On what?” he asks, voice trembling only a little bit.

“On that confidence,” he answers, rubbing his hair affectionately and nearly making Yuuji melt. “Why don’t you grab our drinks for us?”

Swallowing thickly as the hand in his hair slides away, Yuuji forces himself to step back and retrieve the two steaming cups from the vendor. He carefully passes one to Gojo’s expectant hand and takes a tentative sip of his own, instantly appreciating the warmth from the drink and the kick of alcohol.

Gojo makes his own pleased sound and licks his lips appreciatively, which of course has Yuuji’s undivided attention in a flash and wanting to chase the flavor across that unfairly tempting mouth. He forces his eyes away though, amazed by his own greediness, and takes another quick sip of his drink.

As they continue their walk and keep an easy conversation, Yuuji watches Gojo with growing curiosity and hopes he’s not being overtly obvious with his staring again. He can’t help it, expecting at any moment for the other shoe to drop and this entire experience to end up being some elaborate fantasy his depraved mind has conjured up all its own. Though honestly that’s giving himself too much credit; he couldn’t possibly imagine someone like Gojo into reality.

He notices Gojo moves through the sparse crowds with little to no sense of hesitation in his stride. It almost seems like he’s using his cane as more of an afterthought than out of any true need, waving it lazily over the path in front of himself in a loose, unconcerned grip, despite the occasional trip hazards along the way. The visual is so at odds with the archetype of blindness Yuuji has come to expect that he’s a little thrown by it, having only ever absorbed information regarding handicaps via movies or social media posts.

He wonders if Gojo was born blind to be able to move around like he does, or perhaps something happened when he was very young and he had to learn early how to adapt. Did he ever feel resentful? Or bitter? 

Gojo’s sudden laugh shakes Yuuji from his morbid curiosity.

“You’re thinking is so loud I can barely hear my own thoughts,” Gojo teases. 

Yuuji feels his face burn. “I’m sorry,” he says quickly, trying not to sound as guilty as he feels. “What were you saying?”

“Oh, just that I hope we can catch the after show later tonight. Last year they did a burlesque number with Santa’s Naughty Helpers interacting with the crowd. They were deliciously handsy,” he confides, canting his head at Yuuji with a suggestive leer that is still obvious despite the dark glasses covering most of his face, and finishes the last bit of his drink. 

Yuuji thinks his jaw pops with how hard it drops open. “A what ?” 

Gojo tips his head back and laughs, free and unbothered. “Kidding, this is strictly a family friendly event,” he reassures. The smirk on his face is anything but. “Though it would spice things up a bit, don’t you think?”

This startles a scoff out of Yuuji and he shakes his head. “Yeah, starting with the ticket price.”

Snickering, Gojo drops his free arm around Yuuji’s shoulders with the empty cup dangling from his fingers. 

“A sense of humor,” he croons, delighted. “I think I just went weak in the knees.” Yuuji stumbles slightly as Gojo leans heavily into him and snorts helplessly as Gojo adds, gleeful, “I guess we’re both swooning, then.”

Yuuji plucks the empty cup from Gojo’s hand and tosses it along with his own into the nearest trash bin. Unsure of what to do with his hands now, he hesitates a moment before circling one around Gojo’s back and resting it uncertainly on the opposite hip. To his relief, Gojo only smiles in response and makes a pleased sound, leaning into the touch. 

They both grow quiet as they reach the amphitheater and Yuuji picks an empty space for them on the cement benches that circle gently down toward the stage. The orchestra is already playing and Yuuji recognizes the familiar tune of “Deck the Halls” lilting up and out into the rest of the park.

There aren’t too many people sitting around. The park is small enough for most attendees to walk around enjoying the lights and listening to the music as they go rather than crowding around the orchestra. Yuuji’s glad for this since it helps make the experience feel a little more private and enjoys it that much more as a result. 

The songs are shortened versions of themselves and flow nicely from one to the other in one seamless transition of gently swaying music. Yuuji finds himself humming along to some and smiling to himself when he hears Gojo doing the same. They are already sitting close, but after a couple of songs they press closer together to share warmth. 

At some point he feels Gojo’s arm threading under his own to hold his hand and squeezing gently in question. He swallows nervously and gives a shy squeeze in return, feeling his chest grow warm as he spies Gojo grinning from the corner of his eye.

After a few familiar classics, the tempo gently slows and is replaced with a light, tinkling intro that is quickly joined by a harp’s strings softly imitating the sounds of ringing bells. The tune mellows and deepens as the rest of the brass and string sections join, steadily building with undulating waves of sound.

Yuuji likes it even if he doesn’t recognize the song and sways slightly in his seat to the soothing rhythm. Next to him, he feels Gojo move and glances over to see if he’s enjoying it too, only to freeze in place as Gojo finishes taking off his glasses and puts them on the bench by his side. 

Yuuji forgets how to breathe.

Blue. It’s all he can see. Striking, vivid blue eyes gazing sightlessly forward and gleaming softly with the stolen glow of the amphitheater’s muted lights. Yuuji is rendered speechless, taking in the vulnerability exposed there and the twist of defiance that permanently ticks up one side of Gojo’s mouth. There is something fatal about how beautiful he is, Yuuji thinks. Something tragic and altogether untouchable. 

For once, Gojo seems unaware of Yuuji’s staring, too caught up in the sound of the music swelling around them to take notice, and Yuuji goes weak with relief. If those devastating eyes get any closer than they are now he knows he will burn alive. 

He can’t bring himself to look away. He doesn’t want to. All he wants is for this image to be seared into his memory forever and to someday look back at this moment and remember what it felt like to be here.

He has only known Gojo for less than a day and already Yuuji thinks he’s falling in love with him.

With a stuttering breath, he grips Gojo’s hand a little tighter.


It’s late when the orchestra finally finishes its full set. Despite how cold it is, they had decided to stay until the end, neither wanting to call it a night until it was well and truly over. As the musicians begin packing up their instruments, he and Gojo get up to leave.

Yuuji’s right hand is stiff from the cold even inside his jacket pocket, but his left, cradled in Gojo’s hand and tucked into the pocket of the other man’s jacket, is nice and warm. He keeps it there, unwilling to break contact as they walk out of the amphitheater together and back toward the parking lot.

Gojo doesn’t put his glasses back on and Yuuji can see his cheeks and nose are flushed a pretty pink, eyes shining. He imagines himself to be in no better shape, though admittedly looking more like a frostbitten troll than an invulnerable ice king.

“Remind me to bring a scarf next time we decide it’s a good idea to do an outdoor event in the middle of winter,” Gojo complains with a very put upon sigh. Yuuji laughs softly under his breath, infatuated with how Gojo’s eyes crinkle at the sides when he grins in response.

“I’ll do that,” Yuuji promises.

It’s quiet without the music playing and their footsteps thump too loudly in the leftover silence against the packed dirt of the trail. Yuuji starts to fidget, feeling as if he should say something before things get awkward but his mind draws a complete blank. All he can think about is how he doesn’t want to wake up tomorrow because things will go back to normal if he shuts his eyes tonight. 

He tries to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth and say something – anything – when Gojo starts cheerfully humming “Jingle Bells”.

Yuuji pauses, taking in the honest look of enjoyment on Gojo’s face. “Is it only holiday music that you like?” he hears himself ask.

Gojo shrugs and finishes humming the tune. “Not necessarily. I like instrumental. The genre doesn’t matter so much.” He turns his head toward Yuuji slightly. “And you?”

A thrill shoots down his spine having that gaze directed at him, though it doesn’t quite meet his own eyes. “I don’t know,” he answers honestly. “I don’t have a preference. I enjoyed the music tonight, though.”

Gojo flashes his teeth with an indulgent smile. “No preference? Well, we will just have to convert you to symphonies then, won’t we? It has the added bonus of making you appear incredibly conceited at dinner parties.”

“Great, I’ve always wanted to be pretentious,” he jokes. 

“It’s best if you accompany someone equally pretentious, though,” Gojo advises seriously. “Better entertainment when you double the pomposity.”

“Of course,” Yuuji agrees solemnly.

 “And you would need to show a gratuitous amount of public displays of affection,” he adds. “Otherwise the entire experience is lacking. The whole purpose is to make eyes and heads roll. Even better if tongues start wagging.”

Yuuji glances up, feeling as if he’s not completely understanding something. “Okay…?”

They reach the end of the trail and step onto the parking lot. Not too far away, Yuuji recognizes the driver that had picked him up from his house earlier and brought them to the park. The man nods in greeting as they approach and opens the back door of the (oh, thank fuck) running car. Yuuji feels the heat from the vents spill out and start thawing his toes. 

“Ichiji, is this park privately owned?” Gojo asks suddenly, taking their joined hands out of his pocket but not letting go just yet, so Yuuji is forced to stand there awkwardly beside him, craving the warm embrace of the car’s interior.

“I’m not sure, sir,” Ichiji answers slowly, brow furrowed. “Would you like me to find out?”

“Yes, do that. And set up a meeting,” he says, getting into the car and tugging Yuuji in after him. “Anyone who thinks fish and insects are appropriate Christmas decorations have clearly lost touch with reality and shouldn’t be allowed to wield such power over the community. Make them an offer.”

Ichiji sighs, eyes morose as he looks pleadingly up at the sky. “To buy the park, sir?”

“Yep!” Gojo grins sharply. “We can work the logistics out later.”

“Yes, sir,” Ichiji mumbles, closing the door softly and circling around to the driver’s side. Yuuji stares at the strange man beside him in disbelief.

“You want to buy the park because you don’t like the decorations?” he asks incredulously. 

Gojo snickers, visibly amused by his reaction. “Partly,” he admits, and Yuuji’s eyebrows shoot to his hairline. “But really more for the restoration possibilities. The walking trails have exposed tree roots and rocks everywhere, and the whole path is uneven where it’s worn away in some places more than others.” 

Ichiji puts the car in drive and pulls away to get back on the road as Gojo continues, “And instead of a rest area with bathrooms they have a roped off space with tents for people to buy overpriced snacks.” Frowning, he adds as an afterthought, “And the concrete seats in the amphitheater are cheap and crumbling.”

Yuuji stares in bewildered silence as Gojo lifts their joined hands to rest on his knee, brushing a thumb over Yuuji’s knuckle.

“I hate when people neglect their responsibilities,” he says, tone serious, and Yuuji gets the distinct impression the conversation has little to do with restoring old parks. “I take care of what’s mine.”

The words hang heavy in the air between them and Yuuji makes a sound of acknowledgement in return, unsure of what to say and admittedly distracted by the way Gojo has now flipped his hand over and is slowly passing his own fingers over it like he’s trying to read Yuuji’s palm.

“Regardless I can’t forgive the bumblebee thing,” he quips, casting the strange feeling away before it can stick and taps playfully at Yuuji’s palm. “Anyway, we should talk about that dinner party.”

“Dinner party?”

“Next weekend. That’s plenty of time for you to refine your taste in music and think up some cheeky one liners.”

Yuuji squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, wondering if he’s suffering some kind of brain aneurysm. The whole night is starting to give him whiplash. “What are you talking about?” he asks, genuinely confused as he opens his eyes again. “I thought that was a joke.”

Gojo’s eyes flick dangerously close to meeting Yuuji’s and his lips curve up in a knowing, devious little smirk when Yuuji stills with a sharp inhale. 

“Ah,” he murmurs, so quiet Yuuji almost doesn’t hear him. “Close, wasn’t I?”

Yuuji sweeps his gaze down in retreat, watching as Gojo wraps a hand gently around his wrist and tickles the sensitive patch of skin underneath. Warmth spreads like a low burning current from his arm to his face and darkens the flush on his cheeks in a way that has nothing to do with feeling cold.

Gojo chuckles softly. “Next weekend,” he repeats. “If you’re free, I’d like to take you as my date.”

“To a party?” Yuuji asks, slightly breathless.

“Something like that,” he admits, tone teasing and mischievous. “More of a casual gathering of acquaintances. Over dinner.”

“I don’t…” Yuuji trails off uncertainly, having a weird sense that agreeing to go right now would be the equivalent of making a deal with the devil. 

“Open bar?”

“Maybe some other time,” he says finally, picturing the ‘casual gathering’ full of beautiful people dripping with money and knowing it would be a disaster if he tripped his way into the middle of that.

Gojo pouts. “What if I promise to help you fill up a bag from the buffet? Unlimited breadsticks.”

In spite of himself, Yuuji snorts out a laugh and Gojo seems to take this as encouragement. “Please,” he wheedles. “I’m required to attend and if you’re there it won’t feel so unbearable.”

“You barely know me,” Yuuji points out. “How do you know you’ll even want to see me in a week?”

Gojo tilts his head and seems to really consider the question. Yuuji had expected him to deflect with a joke or some kind of cheeky comment that Yuuji could force himself to laugh off, then they could put some distance between themselves when things would inevitably get awkward after that and they would both silently acknowledge the new boundaries with mutual respect and understanding.

Yuuji wouldn’t go to the party. Gojo would forget his name in a few days. And that would be it – nice and tidy without too much damage done.

Except that’s not what Gojo does.

Instead, he tightens his grip on Yuuji’s wrist and pulls him closer. With his free hand, he carefully reaches up until his fingertips brush against Yuuji’s jaw and slide along to push into his hair. Yuuji doesn’t resist when he’s guided in, not even daring to breathe when Gojo stops just before their mouths can touch. Yuuji closes his eyes because he can’t bear to lose any more of himself to those blue depths right now, too close to drowning already, and tips forward to close the short space between them himself.

He kisses softly, unsure of his welcome, and Gojo responds in kind, following his lead and letting him set the pace. Yuuji tries to restrain himself at first, shivering when Gojo tilts his head for a better angle and flicks his tongue teasingly along the seam of Yuuji’s lips, all but cracking his resolve.

Yuuji breathes heavily through his nose and reaches up to tangle his hands in Gojo’s ridiculous hair, giving in to the relentless urge that hasn’t given him a moment’s peace since Gojo came into the café. He thinks he might’ve whined just then, and the desperate sound sets his ears aflame. Gojo smiles into the kiss and Yuuji lets himself be pressed into the corner of the backseat where the door meets leather, one of Gojo’s arms winding around to cradle the back of his head protectively and the other bracing against the door panel, boxing him in.

Yuuji’s mouth falls open on its own, eager and hungry to take more, and gasps as the kiss deepens into something decidedly filthy. The hot, wet slide of tongues illicts another embarrassing sound and a flash of want sears along every nerve ending in his body. He arches into it, clinging to Gojo and forgetting for one wild moment where he is.

 It’s only when he hears a prim cough from the front seat and the distinct sound of the car’s turn signal coming on that Yuuji remembers.

With effort, he lets go of Gojo’s hair and pushes on the man’s shoulders instead, turning slightly away to break the kiss even as his body begs to keep going.

“I’m so sorry,” he pants, voice tight with embarrassment. Gojo only moves back a few inches, arms still effectively caging him in against the seat and door. “I didn’t. Um. Mean to do that. Jesus,” he stop-starts, eyes angled forcefully downward.

Gojo doesn’t respond at first, and Yuuji warily peeks up at his face – 

and has to swallow a shameless moan at the sight. Hair mussed, mouth glistening, eyes dark and burning with lust. It’s all Yuuji can do not to pull him down all over again. 

“Don’t be sorry on my account,” Gojo huffs, though it’s tinged with a slight primal edge. He leans in again, though this time he presses a gentle kiss to Yuuji’s forehead before sitting back the rest of the way. They’re both quiet as they take in the visceral responses of their own bodies. Yuuji adamantly refuses to look toward the driver’s seat. 

“To answer your question,” Gojo starts, voice now soft and lacking the bite from seconds ago. “I just do. I know I will want to see you in a week, because I already can’t stand the thought of letting you leave tonight.” He tips his head back against the seat and sighs, the smile on his face small and self-conscious. “If I thought it wouldn’t drive you away and make you hate me, I would take you home and not let you leave the bed for the entire week. Maybe not even after.”

Yuuji’s throat clicks as he swallows. “That’s very honest of you,” he manages to say, gripping his hands into fists to keep from touching. “But you’re right. Kind of. I’d want you to still respect me in the morning,” he admits, desire coursing through him in waves as the words elicit a rumble of amusement from Gojo.

“Don’t tempt me,” he warns, low and tinged with greed. Yuuji shivers and hesitantly reaches out, covering Gojo’s hand with his own as the car pulls to a stop in front of his apartment unit. He feels his chest tighten as he’s faced with having to bring this all to an end and not knowing when or if it will happen again.

“I’ll think about it,” he concedes, clarifying when Gojo frowns slightly. “About next weekend. I’ll consider going. With you.”

Gojo straightens in his seat and grins, turning his hand over so he can squeeze Yuuji’s own for emphasis. “I sincerely hope you do consider it.” 

Yuuji heaves an explosive sigh, trying to calm his jangling nerves, and can’t help but laugh a little. “Right.” He loosens his grip to get out of the car but is stopped short by Gojo suddenly tightening it again to get his attention, and pulling him into another soft, sweet kiss that only lasts a few seconds.

“I’ll come see you at the café,” Gojo promises.

Yuuji feels himself fall a little harder.

Chapter Text

It takes forever to fall asleep that night and Yuuji is all but useless the next day as he struggles through four agonizing hours of final exams. During class, he alternates between staring blankly at the ceiling in a sleep-depraved trance and madly chewing his pen cap as he races through the test questions (without reading a single one) in a desperate attempt to turn in something in the last fifteen minutes.

By the time noon rolls around, he’s convinced his soul has left his body and drags the useless husk back to his apartment for a much-needed shower.  

Afterwards he feels slightly more alert, though whether that can be attributed entirely to the shower or to the fact his shift at the café starts in an hour is up for debate. 

He spends longer than usual getting ready. Not because he’s suddenly concerned with his looks, but because he feels himself biting at the bit wanting to leave already and he has to force himself to take his time. Common sense insists he reign in his emotions; letting himself get caught up in the idea of Gojo as much as he already has is frightening enough, he should at least try to temper it from getting worse.

Last night he told Gojo he wants to be respected, and he truly means that. He wants to take things slow because Gojo is fascinating and Yuuji is hopelessly hooked, but he also wants to see if this can last, if there is something between them that might become more meaningful.

(and hope that he is a better person than the sex-depraved creature howling constantly inside his head whenever Gojo comes to mind)

Impatience drums at his skull with all the force of an enraged bull. Groaning, he shoulders his bag and still ends up leaving his apartment twenty minutes early. 

Nobara meets him at the door with a look that would send grown men running to their mothers in horror.

Yuuji freezes outside, hand resting against the push-bar for the (alarmingly fragile) plexiglass door and stares openly back at her. As she starts to throw it open, eyes ablaze with the wrath of a thousand fiery suns and looking ready to commit capital murder, Yuuji does the only sensible thing he can do to save his life.

He flings his entire body weight against the door and slams it shut again. Nobara pulls up short, momentarily stunned, only to bare her teeth in a grin-slash-snarl as she bears down and shoves from the other side again, causing Yuuji to brace and push back.

“What are you doing?” she demands, incensed as Yuuji continues trying to keep the door shut between them.

“What are you doing?” he yelps back. 

“Trying to kill you!”

Yuuji gives her an incredulous look. “But why?”

With a sudden push that packs enough force to shift tectonic plates, Nobara thrusts the door open and sends Yuuji backpedaling rapidly onto the sidewalk, hands thrown up in front of himself in a final plea of defense.

“You,” she jabs an accusing finger at him, livid. “This is your fault.”

“What’s my fault?” he squeaks, frantically waving his arms as she takes a threatening step closer. “Tell me what I did first!”

“He’s been here for hours, Yuuji!” she wails. “Hours! Do you have any idea how many times he’s sent back his order with some stupid reason to have it remade?”

Yuuji shakes his head mutely. 

“Dozens!” she snaps. Jabbing at the air in front of him again. “Because of you .”

“Who – ”

“Gojo! He’s been here since this morning.” She scowls so deeply it’s a wonder the look doesn’t become permanently etched onto her face. “I told him you weren’t working until the afternoon and he’s been hanging around ever since.” She seems to lose steam now that it appears there will be an end to her suffering. 

“I didn’t think he’d come back this soon,” he admits finally, though he’d definitely held out hope for it.

“Well he did.” She crosses her arms over her chest, still visibly angry even as she looks him up and down with a shrewd glare. “Megumi had to leave to take exams. I’ve been dealing with him on my own since then, but now it’s your turn.”

Yuuji bites the inside of his cheek to keep the stupid grin off his face as he straightens, nodding in agreement. “Okay, let me put my stuff down and I’ll take it from here.”

Suspicious of his quick acceptance, she narrows her eyes on him further. “Why is he asking for you and hanging around here like he’s got nothing else to do?”

Yuuji shrugs as he passes her and enters the café, eyes immediately drawn to the window seat where Gojo’s familiar shock of white hair is visible. 

“I have no idea,” he answers her, feeling almost giddy when he catches Gojo smirking as if he’s heard the entire exchange and finds it endlessly amusing. Which he probably did hear everything, considering Nobara was loud enough to raise the dead.

Yuuji hears her snort as she follows him, clearly not buying a word he says and unimpressed with his poor attempt at innocence.  “Whatever,” she mutters, waving him off as she returns to the counter with an audible sigh of relief. 

He dumps his stuff in the back and grabs an apron to tie around his waist. Armed with a notepad and pen (so it at least appears as if he’s doing his job), he quickly makes his way to Gojo’s table.

“What did you do to her,” he hisses under his breath as he draws close, though it lacks any true heat and he’s trying so hard not to let his excitement be heard.

Gojo’s eyebrows lift slightly behind his glasses. Yuuji is a little disappointed to see him wearing them now that he knows what’s hiding underneath.

“Nothing, of course,” Gojo protests, pretending to be hurt by the accusation. “I’m just an honest paying customer hoping for a decent cup of coffee. What’s wrong with that?”

Yuuji snorts and quickly covers his mouth with a fist, eyes dancing as he drinks in the sight of the playful tilt to Gojo’s lips. 

“You’re terrible,” he says, shaking his head.

The playfulness quickly melts into something decidedly more sly and Yuuji sees Gojo’s fingers twitch in his direction, as if he is only just stopping himself reaching out and yanking Yuuji onto his lap. The thought makes his breath catch and his face feels a little warm.

“What are you thinking about right now, Yuuji?” Gojo asks, sounding far too pleased with himself. 

At the counter, Nobara loudly stacks the porcelain pastry plates and gives Yuuji a very knowing, very pointed look when he glances over at her in question. He sighs and turns back, reminding himself to keep a level head.

“Nobara said you were waiting here a while,” he recounts, directing the conversation back into safe territory. “Why didn’t you come back later when you knew I’d be here?”

Gojo shrugs. “I wasn’t busy and I wanted to talk to you.” He reaches up to slide his glasses down his nose slightly, just enough for his striking eyes to peek out over the top and reveal the heat burning there. “It would seem I lost my head a little bit last night and forgot to ask for your number. I was hoping you’d be so kind as to give it to me now.”

Yuuji suddenly feels as if his mouth is stuffed with cotton. “S-Sure,” he agrees. Gojo pulls out a sleek smartphone from his jacket and slides it across the table. Yuuji glances over his shoulder, neck burning with the sensation of being watched, and catches Nobara quickly looking down at something on the register. Grimacing, he turns back to pick up the phone and enter his information. He hits save and slides it back, unable to resist reaching out to press his fingers against Gojo’s hand to indicate where the phone is waiting. 

“Thank you,” Gojo says, flipping his hand over and briefly squeezing Yuuji’s fingers, which Yuuji returns with a soft squeeze of his own.

“You’re welcome.” He pulls his hand away as Gojo sits back casually in his chair and pockets his phone. “Was that all you needed?”

Again, that small, naughty smirk. “For now,” Gojo affirms, chuckling as if he can feel Yuuji fidgeting next to him. “Have you thought about this weekend?”

“Not yet. I haven’t had a chance today. I had finals.” 

Gojo pouts impressively. “Not even a little?”

“I promise I’ll give you an answer,” he laughs. “Just let my brain decompress for a few hours first.”

Sighing, Gojo reluctantly agrees. “Then I’ll call you tonight. Is that okay?”

Yuuji makes a sound in the affirmative. “After ten. I’ll be home by then.”

“Then I suppose I will be pining all alone until then,” Gojo sighs, pushing away from the table and dropping more than enough money to cover the cost of all the ridiculous shenanigans he’d pulled that morning next to the napkin dispenser. As he starts to leave, he brushes closely against Yuuji and sweeps his fingers against the inside of his wrist teasingly, earning an excited shiver in response.

Yuuji blows out an uneven breath, eyes glued to Gojo’s retreating back even as Nobara shrieks an indignant “Oh now he’s leaving?” from across the café. 

His pulse doesn’t slow until he’s over halfway through with his shift.

The apartment is dark and silent when Yuuji finally makes it back home. He dumps his stuff by the door and toes off his shoes on his way to the bedroom, too tired to bother with the lights or do more than grunt when walking in the dark nearly sends him crashing to the floor. 

He’s still fully clothed when he drops heavily onto the bed, face pressed into the pillow and feet hanging off the edge. He should eat something, but he can’t seem to make his limbs work now that he’s succumbed to the embrace of the comfy blankets.

Pleasantly numb, the edge of his consciousness starts to fog with sleep. He’s floating along that blurry edge between being awake and asleep, slowly falling deeper and deeper, when the piercing tune of his phone ringing shocks him violently awake.

He wiggles around to dig it out of his front pocket, heart hammering, and bolts upright to press it against his ear.

“Gojo?” he asks, blinking owlishly into the dark of his room.

A pleased laugh tickles his ear. “What if I said no? What if this was a bill collector?”

Yuuji grins and knuckles his eyes, all feelings of exhaustion melting away in favor of a spreading warmth. “Then I’d have to change my number and leave the country.”

“We can’t have that,” Gojo objects. “Did you just get home?”

Yuuji grunts in assent and pushes up from the bed. “A few minutes ago, actually,” he confirms, flicking on the lights and padding back out into the main room toward the kitchen. “I haven’t been back long.”

“What kind of café stays open this late anyway?”

He hasn’t been grocery shopping in a while so the only things in his fridge are some condiments, an expired package of sliced cheese, and a few cans of coffee. He frowns at the meager options and sighs as he takes one of the cans. 

“The college kind,” he answers, shouldering the phone so he can pop the tab. “It’s usually busy around this time with exams going on. Which reminds me,” he starts, taking a quick swallow to stave off any grumbling from his empty stomach. “Nobara is threatening bodily harm if you try loitering like that again.”

“I never loiter , Yuuji. That makes it sound as if I’m a poor, wandering vagabond,” Gojo sniffs. “I grace businesses with my presence for extended periods of time.” 

“Right,” Yuuji rolls his eyes, smiling as he takes another sip. “I’ll be sure to let her know.”

“Speaking of which, when is your next shift?”

Humming, he switches to speaker and flips through the apps on his phone for his calendar. “Day after tomorrow, morning til noon,” he answers, skimming the schedule before switching back from speaker. He tries to ignore the flutter of expectancy he feels as he presses the phone back against his ear. “Why?”

Gojo is smiling, Yuuji can hear it in his voice. “Just curious,” he evades. 

Yuuji bites his lip and stares at the can, debating on whether he should take the initiative and ask if Gojo would like to do something together. Maybe dinner. It’s his turn anyway, right? Gojo had teased him last night about covering their next date and, counting the weekend thing, they’re standing at two for none at this point. 

Suddenly feeling self-conscious, Yuuji skirts around the opening and latches on to something a little more neutral. “A-About the park,” he begins, wincing at the nervous pitch of his own voice. “Were you serious about wanting to buy it?”

“Of course. The paperwork is already drafted.”

“That was fast.” He blinks in surprise, only to narrow them suspiciously as he’s struck by a sudden thought. “Was that your way of trying to impress me?”

There is a long pause as Gojo lets that sink in. “What makes you think that?”

“You didn’t have to tell me about it,” Yuuji reasons, taking another swallow and frowning to himself. “You could have waited until you’d taken me home before asking your driver about it.”

Gojo makes a sound to indicate he’s listening, though he doesn’t immediately agree or disagree. 

Yuuji grins. “You were showing off, weren’t you,” he gloats, suddenly positive.

“…A little bit, yeah,” Gojo admits.

“I knew it.”

“Did it work?”

Grinning, he finishes the coffee and tosses it into the bin, stretching the silence between them for a moment before answering honestly, “A little bit, yeah.”

Gojo chuckles, and Yuuji can’t help feeling a little pleased by the sound of it, but he is quick to cut the moment short, needing to establish up front that gestures like that aren’t really going to work the way Gojo is seemingly intending.

“You didn’t need to buy an entire park, though,” Yuuji maintains, taking a seat on his couch. “You don’t have to throw money around to impress me. I mean, I’m already – you know. Impressed.” 

Gojo grows quiet again, though this time the silence is thoughtful. 

“Okay?” Yuuji continues, feeling as if this should be cleared up now before it has the chance to become a bigger issue later. “I don’t expect that kind of stuff. I don’t need it. You’re impressive enough on your own without doing that kind of thing.”

Gojo hums, and Yuuji presses his lips together to keep from babbling on and embarrassing himself even further. 

“What’s so impressive?” Gojo finally muses, sounding detached in a way that makes Yuuji feel instantly wary.


He presses a little harder, and this time Yuuji hears a hint of bitterness. “What’s so impressive about a blind man?”

The intent behind the question isn’t lost on Yuuji and it hurts, really hurts, to think that Gojo believes he is nothing, less than nothing, if he isn’t associated with money. 

“Everything,” Yuuji breathes, surprising even himself as the words seem to tumble out before he can reign them back in. “Everything about you. You’re – the way you talk. How you hold yourself. Like no one can touch you.” He swallows thickly, brow furrowed as he tries to put into words what he feels when he looks at Gojo and hoping he can at least start to chip away at that false perception that self-worth can only be measured by how much money you have. “You’re thoughtful and sarcastic and interesting without even trying to be. You – you make people feel like they’re important when they’re with you. Like the rest of the world is just background noise –”


“Have dinner with me,” he asks in a rush, taking advantage when Gojo seems thrown by the sudden request. “Tomorrow night, have dinner with me.”


“I’ll set something up and give you the details tomorrow.”

“Yuuji – “ 

“Just say yes,” he wheezes, feeling his courage washing away as fast as it had appeared. “Please, Gojo.”

The man sighs, defeated, and Yuuji nearly goes weak with relief. “…All right. Yes.”

“Okay,” he agrees weakly. “Good. Great. Thank you.”

Gojo snorts, soft and amused.

“I’ll, um. Call you tomorrow with a time and place. Okay?”

“Okay,” Gojo confirms. 

Yuuji nods to himself, chewing his lip. “Then. It’s late, we should both go to bed, right? I’ll talk to you tomorrow?”

“Okay” Gojo says again, and Yuuji wishes so badly that he could see his face right now and know what he’s thinking. “Good night, Yuuji.”

“Good night,” he murmurs. 

Long after they’ve hung up, Yuuji stays sitting on the couch looking down at his phone with his heart pounding in his ears.  

“I still don’t get why you’re asking me,” Megumi frowns, wiping down the counter and display case with a damp rag. It’s still early, the café isn’t set to open for another hour or two, and other than Megumi no one else has made it in yet. 

For the second night in a row, Yuuji didn’t get much sleep. Instead, he had spent the entire night replaying the phone conversation in his head over and over again and fretting about what to do the following evening, managing to get only snatches of rest between the bouts of ever-increasing anxiety.

By the time he could see the sky lightening a dusty blue from his bedroom window, he knew it was a lost cause and threw in the towel. A quick shower and change of clothes later, and he was making his way from his apartment to the café with the beginnings of a loose idea forming for the coming evening. But he needed help.

“Because you’ve dealt with him the most,” Yuuji explains again for what feels like the hundredth time. “Nobara said you’re the only one who could really put up with his pranks. So technically you know him the best.”

Megumi quirks an eyebrow at him. “Apparently not anymore.”

“I just need ideas,” Yuuji deflects, knowing his strange behavior is giving him away. It’s not that he is embarrassed or anything about admitting he’s attracted to Gojo, he’d gladly say as much to any stranger off the street – hell, he’d do it with a megaphone. It’s just that right now he’s not entirely sure how to define what they are (or will be), and he doesn’t want to assume anything before he has that conversation with Gojo first. 

Dropping the rag in the sink, Megumi crosses his arms and considers Yuuji quietly for a moment. “He likes sweet things,” he says, shrugging. “Likes to order desserts when he comes in. That’s all I know.”

“Like sweet breads or cupcakes?”

“Both. All of it. As long as it’s sweet, he doesn’t seem to care what it is.” 

Yuuji nods seriously as he rolls this around for a moment. “I can work with that.”

“All right, then. Can you leave now so I finish opening up?”

Yuuji flashes a quick grin and takes out his wallet. “One more thing,” he says, and Megumi rolls his eyes.

Chapter Text

Yuuji spends most of the morning pacing the aisles of the grocery store picking out ingredients for a simple dinner. Options are somewhat limited on a budget, but he reasons the whole point isn’t to blow money for the sake of it. The point is to have a nice dinner together, enjoy each other’s company, and prove to Gojo that genuine human connection is possible without flinging blank checks around. He had dismissed the idea of making reservations at a restaurant and opted to cook the meal himself for that same reason – despite his questionable culinary skills.

The only true hurdle left is to convince Gojo to let him in his house.

He’d considered cooking at his own apartment and inviting Gojo over, but then he’d taken a look around the place and imagined a million and one scenarios of where he would absolutely be too much and ruin the entire evening. Yuuji possesses enough self-awareness to know he is a helper – an insistent one. If Gojo were to come to his apartment before they’ve established what Gojo is comfortable with and what his specific needs are as far as moving around (despite how well he seems to get by on his own), Yuuji would smother him.

Good intentions or not, Gojo has shown he values independence and it’s clearly a hard stop that should be respected.

Yuuji scans the shelves and scrubs a hand through his hair, agitated and perplexed at the endless options. He tries not to overthink the easability of some dishes over others and focus instead on what sounds good. After two hours, he finally leaves the store with a few necessary items the internet swears is a perfect dinner for two and hopes Gojo’s expectations won’t be too high.

Back home, he puts what needs to be kept chilled in the fridge and paces his apartment, preparing for the inevitable phone call. The conversation last night left him feeling on edge and he worries that he’s put Gojo off. What if he says no to a cooked dinner? What if Yuuji coming over is too personal?

He groans and squeezes his eyes shut, arguing with himself that stressing about it is pointless. If the answer is no then obviously Yuuji will just have to plan something else. It isn’t the end of the world.

With this in mind, he pulls out his phone and makes the call before he can talk himself out of it. The line rings three times without being accepted and every second that passes feels as if a gear is winding Yuuji’s nerves tighter and tighter.

He’s just about to end the call before it can go to voicemail when it’s finally answered.

“If you’ve picked a place that doesn’t have an excellent draft selection,” Gojo begins, flippant. “I’ll be forced to leave a very passive-aggressive comment on their social media. And I have a large following.”

Yuuji pauses, struck by how absurdly ironic the threat sounds and also oddly curious to know how large is ‘large’. He clears his throat to cover up a slightly distressed sound.

“Well, uh. That depends?” he ventures uncertainly, imagining someone like Gojo to have a fully stocked, classy bar in place of a basement. “I think it’ll be okay though?”

“Your tone doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence,” Gojo points out.

“Right, about that,” he takes a deep breath, shoulders hitched up toward his ears. “I was thinking I’d like to make dinner for us instead. If you’re okay with that.”

Gojo hums thoughtfully. “I have specific dietary needs.”

Yuuji blinks. He didn’t think about that, what if Gojo has severe food allergies? “Oh – okay,” he fumbles, imagining Gojo going into anaphylactic shock in the middle of dessert. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. “I can change something up if it’s going to…” he trails off as an amused chuckle tickles his ear.

“I’m joking, Yuuji. Anything is fine. What time should I be there?”

Little shit. He shakes his head and asks tentatively, “Actually, I wanted to have it there. At your place?”

There is a long pause as Gojo lets the request sink in. “You want to cook dinner here?”

Yuuji clenches his free hand in a tight fist and presses it against his chest to keep from anxiously picking things up and putting them down again. “Yes. If that’s all right with you.”

His entire body tenses even further as he wonders if Gojo is going to question the decision, press for why not at Yuuji’s apartment or out at a restaurant. Will he think the reasons are demeaning? Like Yuuji is coddling him or pointlessly drawing too much attention to his lack of sight?

Finally, Gojo answers slowly, “That’s fine.” His guarded tone isn’t lost on Yuuji.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, you’ll have to excuse the mess, though. I don’t usually have company over.” 

“Yeah, sure, no problem,” Yuuji assures quickly. “Does six sound okay?”

Gojo agrees, all forced casualness, and gives an address for Yuuji to type into his phone.

“You live downtown?” Yuuji asks, looking at the map.

“Does that surprise you?”

“Just unexpected,” he admits. “I thought you might live in a big mansion or something.”

Gojo snorts. “Only during the summer. I prefer to winter in the city.”

“Obviously,” Yuuji says, grateful to hear the teasing edge coming back into the other man’s voice, however slight. “So, I’ll see you in a couple of hours?”

“Looking forward to it.”

After they hang up Yuuji rests his elbows on the kitchen counter and hangs his head between his shoulders, weak with relief.

Later, he stops by the café on his way to Gojo’s and picks up dessert (freshly baked baklava boxed and ready to go thanks to Megumi) before catching the train. He feels a little awkward with the bakery box and a plastic grocery bag bulging with ice packs between his knees, but no one bothers him as he leaves the station and walks the rest of the way on foot, eyeballing his phone to make sure he’s going the right way.

It comes as no surprise to discover Gojo lives in one of the nicest row house neighborhoods Yuuji has ever seen, and honestly not unexpected after looking up the address. Still, it’s a bit jarring to see it in person and he feels a little intimidated by the balustrades leading up to the front door.

Sighing through his nose, he adjusts his grip and carefully makes his way up the steps to mash the doorbell with a thumb. A moment later, the sound of muffled footsteps can be heard approaching from the other side and Yuuji sucks in a sharp, fortifying breath as the deadbolt is flipped and the door opens.

All at once, he feels the air whoosh from his lungs as if he’s been punched.

Gojo is obviously good-looking, that goes without saying. Yuuji is (somewhat) used to the man’s otherworldly attractiveness by now – still stunned every time they meet, still confounded that someone so insanely beautiful would ever think twice about a twenty-something scruffy looking delinquent, but at least he expects to be bowled over any time Gojo walks into a room.

But this?

This is just unfair.

Before, Yuuji only ever saw Gojo dressed impeccably in slacks and tailored tops like some outrageously successful businessman or the sole heir of a world-famous corporation; confident and cocky all in one package. Now, though, Yuuji’s mouth goes dry as he takes in the soft, devastating look of the man in front of him.

Gojo is dressed down in a pair of dark jeans and navy blue henley with the sleeves pushed up his arms, snowy hair loose and sweeping across a pair of dazzling ocean eyes. He’s even barefoot, for Christ’s sake. The casual, relaxed appearance is such a striking difference from the normal cut figure that Yuuji can only stare in silence and marvel at how exposed arms have suddenly become sexy in the last few seconds. 

“Hi,” he croaks eventually, unable to articulate anything more coherent.

Gojo opens the door a little wider. “Come in, it’s freezing.”

Yuuji shuffles in, skirting under Gojo’s arm and into the foyer to toe off his slush-soaked boots. Balancing the box and the grocery bag, he somehow manages to kick them off without dropping anything and takes the opportunity to relearn how his lungs work.

“You can hang your coat up,” Gojo says, gesturing vaguely to the wall where a line of pegs are mounted.

“Okay,” Yuuji glances at the box in his hands. “I brought dessert. Where should I put it?”

Gojo wordlessly reaches forward and takes the box, and if Yuuji weren’t paying attention he would have missed how his fingers bump against it tentatively at first before sliding along the sides and pulling it from Yuuji’s hands.

Gojo smiles slightly, eyes angled down toward the box. “Smells familiar. From the café?”

He juggles the grocery bag while hanging his coat. “Megumi suggested it. He says you order it pretty often.”

Nodding, Gojo leads him through an open entryway on the left into the sitting room. The space is bisected toward the back of the room by an island to help define the kitchen area on the other side, which is where Yuuji follows as Gojo sits the box on the counter. Everything is bright and clean; white countertops and pale grey cabinets, stainless steel appliances and blonde wood flooring.

Yuuji blinks a few times as he takes it all in and finds himself deciding empathically that Gojo should never come to his apartment. It’s a death trap in comparison to the modern minimalist taste that surrounds him now.

“This place is amazing,” he comments, setting the grocery bag on the counter. “Are you sure I’m allowed to be here? My poor-people germs might leave stains.”

Gojo smirks and rests his hip against the island, crossing his arms over his chest. The movement emphasizes the muscles in his arms and Yuuji bites his lip, appreciating the view.

“I don’t mind getting a little dirty,” he teases, smirking wider as Yuuji fumbles an ice pack and nearly drops it. “So, what fine dining will we be enjoying this evening?”

“Uh,” Yuuji gulps and looks down at the frozen bag of meatballs and the box of dried pasta he’d brought. “Okay. Full disclaimer, I never said I was a top tier chef. I’m going to do my best here and my delicate feelings are on the line.”

Gojo holds his hands up innocently. “No judgement.”

“Good,” he affirms, unpacking all the things he needs for a modest spaghetti dish. “I hope you like Italian. But like the off-brand, not even really Italian version.”


“Well, yeah, but it sounds a lot more impressive if you call it Spaghetti Bolognese,” he defends. “Which this isn’t because I’m using frozen meatballs and jars of sauce. But still…”

Gojo’s mouth trembles as he fights the urge to laugh. “Sounds worthy of a Michelin star. I expect my mind to be blown.”

Yuuji taps the box of angel-hair pasta nervously and tries very hard not think of things being blown and Gojo in the same sentence. “I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you,” he deflects tightly. “Anyway. Pots and pans?”

Because Yuuji is a tornado in the kitchen, Gojo does eventually step in and help contain the chaos.

Again, Yuuji is fascinated by the way he moves so effortlessly around the room, never hesitant or seeking with his hands or bumping into things accidentally. Though admittedly this is his home and a place where one would expect him to be intimately familiar with.

Still, the way he salts and oils the boiling pasta while simmering the meatballs and sauce in a separate pan shows experience, and not the typical kind of experience learned naturally without sight over time either, but the careful, manic consideration of someone who obsessively practiced night after night with a blindfold in the kitchen. Someone who drilled object placement so desperately into their brain there could be no chance of forgetting where something was placed. Yuuji watches him add spices with a sure and confident hand and suspects such ease had been painfully earned. The only tell Yuuji catches that suggests Gojo may need any type of assistance is the braille on the spice bottles, though he never once slides his fingertips along the patterns.

That, and how every appliance (even the sink) is outfitted with voice interface technology – which is just awesome. Asking a stove to “please set burner to medium heat” is a new kink for Yuuji and he expresses this desire by routinely ordering the sink to fill three quarters of a cup with water and the fridge to read off a grocery list for the thrill of it.

When the food is finally cooked to perfection, Yuuji sets the table and has Gojo take a seat first so he can serve him. “I didn’t cook the entire thing myself so you could at least let me this,” he argues, pouring sauce and meatballs over a portion of pasta and setting the plate in front of Gojo.

“You did most of it yourself,” Gojo reassures, although the teasing quirk of his mouth suggests he’s only being nice.

“Between you and Alfred, I might as well have not even bothered,” he quips, having officially dubbed the oven ‘Alfred’ due to its accented voice responses.

Snorting, Gojo shakes his head and sips from his glass of beer – of which Yuuji had been quick to point out as being the decent quality he’d promised despite it being bought by Gojo in the first place. Yuuji grins to himself and swirls his fork around the plate as he watches Gojo do the same, taking a bite only after he does.

It’s probably the best spaghetti he’s ever had thanks to whatever magic Gojo had performed with the spices and the fresh cut mushrooms he’d added to the sauce. Yuuji groans with approval.

“Okay, I’m not resentful anymore. Thank you for making dinner.”

Gojo waves away the comment and Yuuji watches him attentively as he uses both knife and fork to navigate around the plate for cutting meatballs and taking bites of pasta. Would it have been better to serve all the meatballs on one side and pasta on the other, or verbalized where they were in relation to the plate? Would that have been proper etiquette or coddling?

He tightens his grip on his own fork and takes another bite, chewing thoughtfully as he considers asking for clarification. How can they establish boundaries with each other if he doesn’t? Are they even at a point where Yuuji is allowed to know things like that? Gojo rarely acknowledges there is any impairment at all, almost like he wants to pretend their isn’t one, so would it be crossing a line to bring it up?

Across the table, Gojo tenses as if he can sense Yuuji’s unspoken questions drilling into him. He wipes his mouth with a napkin and sits back, finishing off his beer in one deep swallow.

“You know, I can’t remember the last time I had someone over for dinner. Or for any reason, actually,” he muses, deflecting whatever questions Yuuji had been considering. “Now that I think about it, I don’t think I have. Not living here, anyway.”

Yuuji perks up, instantly curious. “How long have you lived here?”

Gojo narrows his eyes in thought, thinking back. “Eight years? Nine? Something like that.”

“You haven’t had anyone over in nine years?” he gapes.

“Nope,” he says, audibly popping the ‘p’ with a cheeky grin. “Aren’t you special?”

Yuuji flushes and looks down at his plate. “So…what happened to make you not want anyone over anymore?”

Gojo sucks his teeth.  “The wildest thing,” he reflects good-naturedly, sarcasm dripping from every word as he rests his elbows on the table and leans forward. “No one appreciated my jokes anymore. It seems if you lose your vision, everybody else loses a sense of humor around you. Can you imagine how boring that is?” he pouts. “Though to be fair, I guess the fake-tripping and spilling a drink on someone got old pretty fast.”

“I can see how that would lose it’s appeal,” he agrees weakly, sympathizing with both parties in that kind of situation, but also a little stunned to hear Gojo’s vision loss had been a slow decline rather than existing from birth.


“What about family?” he asks slowly, pushing his unfinished plate to the side.

Gojo’s smile is suddenly sharp and brittle. “Hmm?”

“You don’t have family visit you at home?”

“They tend to stay busy,” he says. “Heading a large company takes up a lot of one’s free time. And before you ask, no, you probably haven’t heard of them. Some B2B that siphons money like any other company.”

“So you are the son of a business mogul.”

Gojo flashes a smile worthy of the paparazzi. “Indeed. An arrogant one, too.”

“It doesn’t sound like you’re very close.”

A shrug. “Not especially. But enough about me,” he says dismissively, standing to pull two bottles of some obscure beer Yuuji has never heard of from the fridge and taking his seat again. “Let’s talk about you.” He twists the caps off and holds one out in offering.

Yuuji takes it and picks at the label, still curious. “Is it weird for you to have me here?”

Gojo humors him with a slight chuckle and glances up, sharp eyes coming unnervingly close to meeting Yuuji’s own before sliding away again. The look sends a pleasant shiver down his spine.

“Good question. The idea was at first,” Gojo admits. “But then I suppose you won me over.”

Yuuji feels his face get warm and grins slightly to himself, pleased. “I didn’t mean to spring it on you. I just thought it would be - you know. Nice.”

“It is nice,” Gojo assures him as he takes a sip. Yuuji is riveted by how his lips mold around the lip of the bottle, soft and pink, and when he swallows, Yuuji does too, feeling himself tense at the sight of those wet lips curving into a sly smile.

He wonders if Gojo does it on purpose, being so unapologetically seductive, and quickly decides that yes, of course he is; Gojo is perfectly aware he has such an affect on Yuuji and has exploited that fact since the beginning. Or maybe Yuuji is just easy. Though he suspects a bit of both, he’s leaning more heavily on the former.

Scratching a hand through his hair, Yuuji forces his eyes away and tries to think of something clever to say only to be brought up short when he feels Gojo press an ankle against his own beneath the table. The warmth from his skin seeps through Yuuji’s sock immediately and he feels his mouth go dry from the innocent contact.

“Yeah, I’m. I’m glad you said yes,” he stammers, quickly picking up his own beer in the hopes of quenching the sandpaper in his throat. Just as he starts to swallow, Gojo shifts and slides his foot slightly up the back of Yuuji’s calf, a slow and teasing caress, and Yuuji’s brain goes sideways.

His hand spasms and loses its grip on the bottle, dropping it to the table with a loud clatter and splashing half its contents back up onto Yuuji’s shirt. Yelping, he snatches it up with both hands to keep from making an even bigger mess on the floor.     

“Shit, sorry,” he gasps, setting it firmly away from himself. His long-sleeve shirt is soaked through and he picks at the fabric with a grimace, disappointed that his one ‘nice’ shirt now smells like hops. “Sorry. My hand slipped. Can I use your bathroom?”

They both stand and Gojo points back toward the front door. “Don’t apologize. The bathroom is out in the hall by the stairs,” he says, flapping Yuuji’s hands away from mopping up the little bit of liquid that managed to get on the table instead of his shirt.

“Thanks,” he mutters and fast-walks through the living room back to the hall. On his right is the front door and to the left, opposite the entrance, is another door that is presumably to the bathroom. He peels his shirt away from himself as he walks over and steps inside. It’s small, just a half-bath with a pedestal sink and a toilet. No mirrors.

He closes the door and braces against the sink. Staring into the white porcelain, he tries to compose himself. Why did he have to flinch? He nearly whines with frustration and considers braining himself against the sink, furious that he’d gotten spooked and ruined the moment. It’s not like he didn’t enjoy the touch because he most definitely did, it was just unexpected. If they could do it over again Yuuji knows he would probably wrap both his own legs around Gojo or yank the man bodily across the table and beg to be ravished.

Or at least he likes to think he would.

He beats himself up for another moment before shaking it off and standing up straight. It’s still early and Gojo is a physically demonstrative person – Yuuji can definitely salvage the moment at some point this evening. They haven’t even finished dinner yet. There’s still plenty of time.

With this in mind, he uses a damp hand towel to scrub the front of his shirt, unsure if doing so is actually helping anything or making it worse. His knowledge of stain removal extends as far as Tide to-go pens and no further.

“Forget it,” he sighs, tossing the towel into the sink and opening the door to leave.

Gojo is standing there, hand outstretched as if he was just about to open the door himself, and holding what looks like a clean t-shirt in his free hand. He looks momentarily startled but recovers with an apologetic smile.

“I got you something to wear,” he says, holding up the shirt. “So you don’t have to keep your wet one on.”

Yuuji instinctively takes the shirt, trying not to feel as excited as he does about the idea of wearing Gojo’s clothes. “Thank you. You sure you don’t mind?”

Gojo shakes his head slightly. “Not at all. Take yours off and I’ll put it in the wash.”

Yuuji isn’t insecure about his body and he isn’t particularly shy, so taking off his shirt in front of people has never been an issue. It isn’t even weird after spending most weekends playing basketball with Megumi and everyone on the court going bare chested within the first few minutes of the game. He’s desensitized to it by now, so he doesn’t really think about it as he strips his shirt and presses it into Gojo’s waiting hand.

It’s only when Gojo grabs his wrist instead of the shirt that he pauses and considers how stripping half naked in front of someone in their own house like that is probably rude without specific context, and maybe the normal thing would have been to change in the bathroom.

Yuuji tries to think of something not completely idiotic to say and opens his mouth to apologize, when Gojo presses him back against the wall and kisses him. The words die before they can form into anything even remotely cohesive and he breathes in sharply through his nose.

In the split second the kiss starts, Yuuji goes pathetically pliant as Gojo tips his head and slants their mouths together, swiping an impatient tongue against Yuuji’s willing mouth and smiling at the quiet groan he gets in response. There is no patience in the kiss this time, no letting Yuuji set the pace or being careful. It’s a rough, hot slide of lips and tongue that leave them both panting and eagerly pawing at the other, gripping tight and demanding more.

“If I promise to still respect you in the morning,” Gojo says, voice indistinct and husky as he breaks the kiss. “Will you let me take you upstairs?”

Yuuji feels his stomach lurch excitedly at the request. He gives a startled laugh and a jerky, fervent nod. “Okay, yeah. Let’s. Let’s do that.”

Gojo’s fingers spasm against Yuuji’s hip in surprise, like he hadn’t expected Yuuji to actually agree, before tugging him toward the stairs. Maybe it’s stupidly romantic, but Yuuji is suddenly glad they won’t have to do this all squashed up against a wall or on the sofa.

They stumble together, unable to keep their hands (or mouths) to themselves, and Yuuji is distracted enough that he only notices the stairs have rubber pads with bumps across the tops, like braille for your feet, as a passing thought quickly forgotten.

Once they reach the second floor, Gojo pauses by a door that leads (presumably) to his bedroom. Yuuji glances between him and it curiously, recalling that it’s been nine years since anyone has been inside his house. Nine. It must have been incredibly lonely, and now he’s about to let someone bust into the most intimate space there is in the entire house. It strikes Yuuji suddenly how such an obvious barrier must have prevented any hope of meaningful relationships forming, and tonight is possibly more stressful than originally anticipated.

“You’re thinking too hard,” Gojo teases, sensing his distress and easily guessing it’s source. “I want you to be here. I like having you here. It’s just…” he trails off as he opens the door. “I keep this room dark.”

Even with the lights off – or rather gone entirely seeing as how there is a gaping hole in the ceiling that’s been patched with duct tape – Yuuji can see he isn’t lying. The walls are starkly bare and painted a dark shade of grey. Against the far wall, the shape of a bed is barely visible and draped with equally dark sheets and comforter. On either side of it are windows hidden behind heavy, dark blackout curtains.

Yuuji’s eyes struggle to adjust to the lack of light as he takes a step into the room. The sparse pieces of furniture are mere shadows, their details lost in the blackness. The drastic difference from the bright, vibrant openness downstairs nearly takes his breath away.

The little bit of light that leaks in from the hallway disappears as Gojo closes the door with a soft click.

“Is this okay?”

Yuuji licks his lips. “Yes,” he breathes, and this time when he’s pulled into a kiss, he is dragged flush, Gojo groaning into his open mouth. Being rendered effectively blind only serves to heighten Yuuji’s other senses, making him almost hypersensitive to the hand circling his neck, the thumb along the fragile line of his windpipe, and the accidentally-on-purpose grind of Gojo’s cock against his that makes his hips twitch and arms tremble with anticipation.

He fumbles with the edge of Gojo’s shirt and pushes it up, tossing it to the ground along with his own jeans shortly after. Part of him yearns to see Gojo right now, to drink in the sight of his exposed skin with his eyes rather than mapping it out by touch alone. Even as he grows accustomed to the dark, Yuuji only sees the barest hint of Gojo’s hair and nothing else, though he swears those blue eyes are piercing straight through the endless void as Gojo backs him to the bed and pushes him down.

A stomach-swooping sort of panic trips a startled bleat out of him as his back hits the mattress, quickly soothed by the length of a body stretching in a sinuous rush of heat from shoulders to legs as Gojo’s weight settles on top of him. He reaches up to push his fingers into that ridiculous hair, gripping tight, and his heart pounds so loudly in his ears that he wonders if Gojo can hear it.

Judging by the amused rumbling above him, the answer is probably yes.

And then there are lips along his jawline, from chin to the fleshy softness behind his ear before skittering over his cheekbone to his temple across the ridge of his forehead before trailing back down again over his other cheek. When Gojo finally kisses him again it’s a fierce, demanding kiss that bruises Yuuji’s lips and tears muffled moans from his throat, encouraging the increasingly desperate rock of his hips against Gojo’s.

He’s not even consciously aware of when he loses his boxers, or when Gojo finally sheds the rest of his clothes either, not until he feels a hand wrap around his cock, and a rough grunt punches out of him as he arches into the touch. The sound quickly turns ragged as teeth set to marking up his neck and Yuuji bares his throat for it, shuddering and squirming as his hips buck in vain.

A quiet chuckle is pressed against his throat before he feels Gojo retreat down his body, pausing only briefly for teeth to graze one of his nipples and send shivers racing across his skin before moving on. A puff of breath is his only warning before lips wrap around his leaking arousal and suck. Yuuji jerks with a strangled shout as his hips snap up again, hands fisting into the sheets so tightly the fabric creaks with warning, and Gojo quickly pins him in place with a firm hand.

Yuuji thinks he slurs out some sort of apology and Gojo hums, a sound full of amusement as he indulges by sliding his lips down, down, down until Yuuji is quaking and he willingly lets Gojo push his legs apart until they are spread wide.

Yuuji feels his stomach concave as the wet heat of Gojo’s mouth slides up and away, and he aches to push himself back into it again. A whine, broken and desperate, bleeds from between his clenched teeth and quickly morphs into a choked off sound as two spit-slicked fingers press down there, dragging lightly and teasing in silent request with a hint of pressure that borders along a command.

He starts to speak only to have the words turn into a grateful moan as Gojo’s mouth sinks down on him again, sliding down and back up faster than before, sinful tongue tracing the underside of Yuuji’s swollen cock as a finger pushes slowly into him. Yuuji pants, heels pressing into the mattress as he squirms uncertainly between Gojo’s hand and mouth, mumbling helplessly as he is slowly and methodically worked open.

Another hoarse cry punches its way out and he writhes as two fingers are suddenly pushed in and begin working over that spot inside that lights up every nerve ending in Yuuji’s body and makes him feel as if he’s going to go mad. Unbidden, embarrassing sounds spill from his open mouth and he claws at the bedding as the pleasure builds and builds, teetering him on that final ledge. And just when he feels seconds from toppling, so close to the edge that he could scream, Gojo pulls away again.

Yuuji still can’t see obviously, but his eyes fly open anyway and he surges up as if to give chase. Gojo’s hands, so elegant in the light, feel hot and huge against Yuuji’s chest as he is pushed roughly back down again, held in place by the splayed fingers across his sternum as one of his legs is hiked over a shoulder. Between rough, gasping breaths, Gojo thrusts into him in one smooth glide and starts a languid, rocking motion, every thrust sliding over that maddening spot deep inside and sending waves of pleasure skittering across Yuuji’s already raw nerves.

“Oh god,” Yuuji pants, holding tight to Gojo’s arms and relishing in the corded muscles that twitch and shiver there.

Gojo curls forward, bringing their faces close together as his pace takes on a frantic edge. He presses his nose against Yuuji’s temple and breathes in shakily, murmuring in a low atonal push, “Yuuji.

He sounds like a man teetering, gladly, on the edge of ruin. And it’s Yuuji doing that to him. The moment feels surreal, distorted by Yuuji’s own disbelief as Gojo comes minutes later with a tiny, broken sound. Yuuji follows hot on his heels, spasming wildly from oversensitivity as he comes so hard his senses completely white out and he seizes with undulating pleasure.

Warmth fills him as he slowly comes down, tongue heavy in his mouth and limbs even heavier. Gojo’s weight is pleasant and solid against him, grounding him after feeling like he was just flung out into open space. Everything remains dark as he blinks hazily up at the ceiling, silently marveling at experiencing even this little bit of what it must be like every day for Gojo.

The world feels distant and fuzzy as Gojo slowly pulls out and maneuvers them both onto their sides, spooning Yuuji from behind and enveloping him in arms that still shiver with the occasional tremor before pulling the blankets up over their shoulders.

Lips press against the back of his neck.

Yuuji thinks he’s never been happier.

Chapter Text

He wakes slowly.

Threads of sleep cling, stubborn, trying to pull him under again, and at first the temptation to slip back into the quiet depths of whatever vaporous dreamscape he’d left behind nearly wins. Were it any other typical morning, surrender would come far too easily. Ignore the world and its pointless idiocracies in favor of the suffocating pile of pillows and blankets that cocoon him; warm, soft, and surrounded by the teasing scent of oranges.

Awareness creeps in a little stronger as the foreign scent registers and Gojo frowns faintly when sleep begins to recede, roused by the niggling certainty that he doesn’t use citrus detergent on his laundry.

He breathes in once, deeply. The sweet smell reminds him of last night and he tightens his arms around the warm, solid body still tucked so securely against his own. Yuuji doesn’t even stir.

Dazed, Gojo lies there unmoving, eyes closed and cheek pressed against Yuuji’s ticklish hair, marveling at the other’s steady presence and noting with a bit of amusement that the tantalizing scent of oranges is coming from whatever brand of shampoo he uses.

Gojo hopes it doesn’t fade from his sheets too quickly.

The night before had seemed to go on forever and pass far too quickly all at once. He hadn’t fully grasped just how touch-starved he had become over the years, how ravenous he was to be clung to and to cling in return. Such feelings had been buried so deeply they were hidden even from himself – until last night when Yuuji took him to his knees and peeled back an entire decade of carefully constructed veneer in a matter of hours.

He would laugh at himself if it weren’t so embarrassingly sad.

Gojo has made being flippant and uncaring an entire personality. His caustic attitude and sharp tongue is what kept him sane after his vision started to deteriorate, and became his crutch once his sight faded entirely. Putting on a show, complaining loudly and boisterously about things that don’t really bother him and purposely acting out for the sake of reaction – all of it was to keep the cracks from spreading, to not split open and reveal the fear trapped inside.

He knows people look at him in pity, can still remember how his mother’s painted lips used to twist with anguish when she thought his eyes were bad enough that he wouldn’t see. How his father wouldn’t look him in the face long before the blind spots had finished devouring his central vision. Family, friends, strangers, all of them suddenly so uncomfortable with him in the room, stinking of the guilt they felt for being selfishly grateful it wasn’t happening to them instead.

It had taken a great deal of effort to get where he is – where he was – and pretend those things didn’t bother him. Besides, it used to be funny in a morbid, twisted kind of way, so he made himself laugh about it behind their backs and in their faces, forced them to acknowledge how little he cared about the whole thing. Smile until his face hurt, bare his teeth in a grin that was closer to a snarl, and laugh, careless, like he’d been told the best damn joke in the world because otherwise he would scream. 

He lost his vision completely before his nineteenth birthday and he’d long since gotten over not being able to see the world around him, too arrogant to dwell on it for very long.

Or at least Gojo thought so, right up until some pure, kind hearted, silly boy responded to his habitual, annoying antics with unfiltered glee instead of the indifferent pity he’d grown accustomed to, and started scratching at the walls he’d built around himself.

He’s never wished so fervently for a miracle – for his sight to return so he could really look at Yuuji. The sounds he had made last night, the way his body felt and moved with Gojo’s was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. Of course there had been one-night stands and quick exchanges of favors in the past, but never anything that lasted longer than it took for both consenting parties to reach mutual release.

It had gone far beyond that with Yuuji, and after that first tumble Gojo had lost count of how many times they’d ended up going at each other again before they eventually fell into exhausted sleep. Hours spent mapping the other’s body with nothing but taste and blind touch, rolling over and over, swallowing every hitched breath and shivering gasp that managed to break free, entirely lost in what was found hidden there in the dark.

Gojo’s body aches this morning and he knows both of them are in desperate need of a shower (or three). Still, he doesn’t want to get up just yet, doesn’t want to let go, so he tightens his arms even more and hugs Yuuji to his chest, burying his face into his sweet smelling hair and soaking up the sleep-soft warmth that wraps around them beneath the blankets.

Yuuji snuffles sleepily and burrows deeper, pressing back against Gojo as he does and earning a grunt in response. Gojo’s morning erection had already started to soften but quickly stirs back to life with renewed interest. He feels Yuuji slowly growing alert in his arms, a subtle shift as he tenses ever so slightly at the hardness pressing against his lower back.

Gojo nuzzles into his hair, chuckling as Yuuji twitches his head to the side as if to peer at Gojo over his shoulder.

“Really?” Yuuji croaks, sleep-mussed and adorably cranky.

Gojo feels his chest flood with warmth as he blinks his eyes open to nothing, wishing there could be something. “What?” he asks, feigning innocence.

Yuuji huffs and snuggles back into his pillow. “You’re older than me and even I’m tapped out,” he mumbles. “What kind of freakish stamina do you have?”

Gojo snickers and nips at the sensitive bit of skin behind Yuuji’s ear he recalls getting a response from last night. As predicted, Yuuji shudders deliciously against him and twists around again.

“Still sore?” Gojo teases, trailing a hand from Yuuji’s chest over his stomach to rest on his hip, stroking the skin there. Not for the first time he wonders what the in world the kid does to get such a defined set of abs. If Gojo were a lesser man he might be a little jealous, but he isn’t so he just feels his mouth start to water instead.

Yuuji squirms against him. “A little,” he mutters, though he doesn’t pull away as Gojo props himself up on an elbow and gently rocks against him from behind.

Nuzzling and leaving chaste kisses down Yuuji’s neck to his shoulder, Gojo presses a challenging grin into the heat flushed skin and delights in how quickly Yuuji yields to his touch, hips twitching with equal interest. He feels Yuuji shift and reach back to wrap a tentative hand around his rapidly swelling dick, squeezing and pressing a thumb against the leaking slit. Gojo bites his shoulder in retaliation and delivers a quick, stinging slap against Yuuji’s ass, earning an affronted yelp of protest.

“Careful,” Gojo warns. “My self-restraint is tenuous at best right now.”

Yuuji’s breathing quickens and Gojo can feel his rapid heartbeat from where Yuuji’s back is pressed flush against his chest. He feels Yuuji swallow and, hesitating at first, wordlessly grind back against the stiff line of his erection.

The friction drags a guttural sound from somewhere down deep, and Gojo turns to seek Yuuji’s eagerly waiting mouth. He slides his tongue in and effortlessly takes over, stroking and exploring as Yuuji moans and surrenders to it. He smiles, devilish, into the kiss and breaks away to thoroughly wet his fingers before returning, biting and sucking on Yuuji’s bottom lip as he reaches between them to stroke over his entrance.

Yuuji judders hard when Gojo presses in first one finger and then another, easily working him open after a night spent growing thoroughly accustomed to Gojo’s size. It only takes a few minutes before he is making impatient sounds and nipping vindictively into the kiss. Gojo pulls away with a husky laugh and grips the base of his cock, guiding it forward and pushing through that tight ring of muscle with a muted hiss. Yuuji goes stiff in his arms, though he quickly relaxes and allows Gojo to slide in just a bit further.

Shifting, Gojo’s hips move in slow, shallow thrusts as Yuuji adjusts around him and starts rocking in tandem, matching the rhythm as if they’ve done this a thousand times before. The urgency from the night before is gone so Gojo takes his time, movements methodical and pushing a little harder with each thrust until he’s buried to the root. The tight, wet heat feels so good as he pushes still deeper, grinding against the soft, yielding flesh as Yuuji spasms around him when he slides back out and in again.

He can sense Yuuji’s eyes boring into him. His skin prickles with awareness from being watched in what little morning light is likely managing to creep in around the heavy curtains, so he ducks out of view and presses his face into Yuuji’s neck to leave fresh marks on top of the ones from last night. Pride prevents him from admitting being watched right now, exposed and stripped of his usual armor, makes him feel on edge and a little self-conscious. 

He twists his hips just so and is rewarded with Yuuji gasping and scrabbling to thread his fingers through Gojo’s hand still on his hip.

“Jesus,” Yuuji whispers, strained, his own undulating movements becoming agitated, abortive, as he tries in vain to speed up Gojo’s relentlessly measured pace. “Please, please move.

Gojo squeezes his eyes shut, breathing labored with the effort of trying to hold back, and feels his resolve crumble. With a low, rough growl, his hips snap forward and drive a strangled, surprised groan from Yuuji that quickly morphs to a punched out, breathless litany of “ah, ah, ah” as Gojo’s thrusts become faster, harder, driving relentlessly into him from behind.

He squeezes Yuuji’s shaking fingers once before moving to wrap around his bobbing, weeping arousal and fists him in time with the rolling, heavy thrusts. He presses his forehead into the back of Yuuji’s neck, stomach swooping with the sudden flash of intense, almost violent, swell of pleasure that spreads like molten heat from low in his belly. He is suddenly coming hard, riding out the waves of sweet pleasure as he continues moving his hips with Yuuji writhing and convulsing through his own orgasm, spilling into Gojo’s hand and staining the sheets.

They both lay there loose limbed and sated, too blissed out to say anything at first. When the post-orgasmic high begins to fade, Gojo feels the stirrings of muscle fatigue starting to kick in and throb along every inch of his spent body.

Yuuji eases carefully away, allowing Gojo to slide out of him with a faint sound of protest, before collapsing back again. “We really need to shower,” he mutters, and Gojo imagines he is wrinkling his nose in disgust. The mental picture makes him chuckle and reach up to brush his fingers across Yuuji’s face to confirm that, yes, he is indeed doing just that.

“My legs are numb, but that does sound like a good idea,” Gojo agrees, tweaking Yuuji’s nose and earning a sharp nip to his fingertips in return. “Maybe when feeling returns to my extremities we can take one together.”

“Okay, but I really can’t do this again,” Yuuji complains. “Everything hurts enough already.”

Smirking, Gojo presses an affectionate kiss against his temple. “I’m not a monster. I won’t jump you in the shower.”

Yuuji snorts, clearly not convinced, but to both their surprise it isn’t Gojo that initiates anything when they eventually do make their way to the shower. It’s Yuuji who slides his hands along Gojo’s slick torso and drops to his knees, swallowing Gojo down as if he’s been patiently waiting all morning to do just that, and Gojo can only lean helplessly back against the shower wall, legs braced as Yuuji’s throat flutters around his length, riding it out.

He eventually pushes both hands into Yuuji’s hair, trying and failing to keep himself grounded, as Yuuji chokes and gags around him, throat contracting painfully in protest around Gojo’s cock with fingers digging into Gojo’s thighs for purchase even as he refuses to pull away. Instead Yuuji presses forward, again and again, and it doesn’t take very long until Gojo comes with a mix of pain-pleasure that has him sliding down the wall with Yuuji still kneeling between his splayed legs, coughing and rapidly sucking in air.

Gojo curls forward and drops his head against Yuuji’s shoulder, wincing in sympathy as they both struggle to catch their breath, albeit Yuuji having a more difficult time of it.  

 “Nothing came out,” Yuuji rasps, shaking a little from oxygen deprivation, and Gojo has the strongest urge to bundle him up and take him back to bed.

Instead, he huffs a quiet, hollow laugh. “Pretty sure you sucked out my soul,” he says, still winded. “Of course nothing came out. I’ve got nothing left to give.”

Yuuji tries to laugh, though it comes out as more of a wheeze, and leans heavily into Gojo’s chest as they both take the chance to enjoy the hot water spraying down over their heads. Eventually Gojo moves just enough to knock down the soap and shampoo bottles and Yuuji turns his back so Gojo can lather up his hair and wash various body parts with the bar of soap.

The process is as ineffectual as it sounds and Gojo wastes far more shampoo than is strictly necessary goofing off. They do manage to get back on their feet, though only after Yuuji accidentally swallows conditioner and Gojo loudly complains about soap getting in his eyes (“I’m already blind, why does it need to get worse.”).

By the time they finish the shower, get dressed, and make their way back down the stairs to the kitchen, Gojo feels as if his aching, exhausted body has run a marathon and silently bids his youth goodbye.

“We didn’t put the food away,” Yuuji muses as they round the island, clattering plates together from the table. “Do you think it’s still good?”

Gojo makes his way to the stove and confirms the pot of sauce and meatballs is still covered with a lid. Shrugging, he states, “Alexa, ask Whirlpool to switch the front burner to medium-high heat.”

“Wait,” Yuuji interrupts, incredulous. “You’re going to eat that?” The stove beeps its acknowledgement and begins heating up the sauce.

Gojo flashes a grin in his general direction. “We didn’t finish our date last night,” he points out, holding out the pasta. “Splash some water on this and pop it in the microwave for a minute, will you?”

Yuuji takes the bowl reluctantly but does as he says. “Are you sure it’s safe? Will we get food poisoning?”

“Probably,” Gojo quips, stirring the meatballs. “Heat kills bacteria though, right?”

He listens as Yuuji opens the microwave and sets the bowl of pasta inside. “I’m not sure that applies to spaghetti.”

Snorting, Gojo holds his hand over the pot to test the temperature and narrows his eyes skeptically. “And just what do you major in, exactly?”

Sounding miffed, Yuuji pads back over and bumps an elbow into his ribs. “Nothing that’ll be useful when we’re dying of food poisoning.”

Gojo chuckles and reaches up to pet his hair, scratching nails over his scalp and smirking when doing so earns him a contented sigh and Yuuji stepping closer into his side. “You don’t have to eat it, but I’m starving and I need the carbs.”

He feels Yuuji shaking his head in disbelief against his shoulder. “Not going to lie, anything sounds good right now. I don’t think I’ve ever been this hungry.”

“I’d be offended if you weren’t.”

The microwave beeps cheerily and Yuuji pulls away to check the pasta while Gojo does the same with the sauce. After a few minutes both are deemed hot enough and Yuuji fixes two large bowls of spaghetti for them to take to the table while Gojo tears into the dessert box that had also been neglected the night before.

“Breakfast of champions,” he declares around a mouthful of pistachio as he takes a seat and follows the sweetness up with a forkful of salty pasta and meatball.

Yuuji’s chair scrapes along the floor as he sits down. “Does that even taste good?” he gags.

“No,” Gojo admits even as he does it again and grins when the sound of Yuuji stifling a laugh tickles his ears. Tucking into their respective bowls, they each shovel as much of the pasta as they can manage into their starving mouths, too focused on replenishing all the energy spent last night and this morning to manage a proper conversation. The silence is comfortable though, and Gojo hums happily to himself at the thought.

It feels normal. Sitting here eating together in the quiet. Yuuji makes him feel normal. And that means more to Gojo than he could ever put into words, more precious than anything he’s ever been given from anyone before. He’d thought all the bitterness and abrasive behavior he’d built up over the years was an impenetrable iron maiden, not realizing he needed rescue until this delightful boy pried it open and pulled him free.

He eats until he’s full and then sits back, lost in his own thoughts as his gaze settles on the spot where he imagines Yuuji’s face to be. The scrape of a fork on porcelain makes him raise an eyebrow in question, ticking even higher when he hears an audible hitch in Yuuji’s breathing. It takes him a moment to realize what caused the reaction, but when it does hit him it’s quickly followed by a rush of excitement that floods through to his fingertips. He knows with unshakeable certainty that he’s finally – finally – looking into Yuuji’s eyes.

It feels good, so damn good, even if he can’t truly see anything, to feel that connection solidifying between them and his face splits into a grin, elated by that one small accomplishment. Yuuji’s chair screeches against the tile again as he pushes it back and Gojo flinches when he abruptly gets an unexpected lapful of quivering solid body and his face framed by Yuuji’s firm hands angling his chin up.

His eyes jump around uncertainly, locking in place only when Yuuji murmurs “There,” and Gojo feels warm breath puff against his own mouth. Yuuji rests his forehead against Gojo’s and slowly brushes his thumbs beneath his eyes, so close their noses slot together like puzzle pieces.

“Beautiful,” Yuuji breathes, and Gojo feels his face become warm. Neither move for the longest time, silently drinking in the other, utterly oblivious to the world outside this private pocket of time. Eventually, Gojo wraps his arms around Yuuji and hugs him tightly, tucking his face into the curve of neck and shoulder to give his breathing a chance to even out again.

Later, they’re sprawled on opposite ends of the sofa with their legs tangled and the TV playing some sitcom rerun neither of them are very invested in watching – or listening to, in Gojo’s case. After such a heavy, unconventional breakfast, they are beyond useless as the meal weighs down their limbs and pins them in place.

It’s nothing but stupid luck that neither of them feel the slightest bit sick.

Gojo starts to doze a little, hovering on that barest edge of alertness, when Yuuji’s foot knocks against his own and stirs him awake some time later.

“About this weekend,” Yuuji starts, tone reserved. “Do you still want me to go to the dinner party?”

Gojo makes a sound in the affirmative, fully awake now. “I would like it very much for you to go.”

“What’s it for?”

 “Are you agreeing to go?”

“Maybe if you tell me what it’s about,” Yuuji says dryly, causing Gojo to laugh.

“Where’s the fun in that?” he chides, earning a soft kick in response. “Okay, Okay. Easy.” Sitting up a little straighter, he props one arm along the back of the couch and rests his other elbow back against the couch’s arm, considering his words. “It’s an event my father is hosting for an organization the company collaborates with, and as head of the corporate philanthropy program, I’m expected to make an appearance.”

Yuuji makes an impressed sound. “So definitely not just a ‘casual gathering of acquaintances’ then,” he drawls, parroting the words Gojo had said during their date in the park with a judging tone.

Gojo winces. “I didn’t lie about the part with the open bar. Or the buffet.”

“Right,” Yuuji snorts. “I definitely can’t go to something like that.”

“Embarrassed to be seen with me?” Gojo needles, yelping when Yuuji’s kick to his shin comes with a bit of force.

“Don’t be stupid. That’s not it.”

Gojo sits forward and rubs the sore spot with a frown. “Then what?”

“I don’t fit in. You know. With rich people.”

Gojo frowns and wraps his hands around Yuuji’s ankles, rubbing circles into the delicate skin with his thumbs. “What did I say about that self-confidence,” he chides.

“I’m serious.”

“So am I.”

Exasperated, Yuuji slumps deeper into the couch. “Why do you want me to go so badly?”

Gojo angles his head down, trying to appear nonchalant as he answers. “The collaboration is with the National Federation of the Blind,” he explains, voice carefully neutral. “The company helped fund a school for visually impaired kids this year and outfitted the building with voice automated technology that the company manufactures.”

Yuuji doesn’t respond right away, so Gojo continues.

“Since I headed up the whole thing, I was asked to show up and accept this plaque or whatever they will be mounting in the school’s main entrance.”

“That sounds…” Yuuji trails, and Gojo tries to clarify a little further hearing the uncertainty in his voice.

“They have these things every year and I never go. I’m only in charge of the program because my parents thought it would give me a sense of purpose, which seemed pointless at the time until I realized the position gave me access to the company’s funds and I could invest that money into things that actually helped people.” He pauses and rubs his forehead as if staving off a headache. Yuuji doesn’t even stir, silently urging him on. “I don’t attend the ceremonies because it’s all pomp and circumstance anyway. But I got this voicemail from a little girl who’s a student at the school,” he stops again, tight lipped. “She wanted to thank me. She’s going to be there this weekend because she was picked by her teachers to hand over the plaque. She said she can’t wait to meet me.”

Gojo runs a hand through his hair, feeling a little scrambled and silly because none of what he just said answers Yuuji’s question but he’s not sure if it’s too soon to say what he’s truly thinking. These events force him onto a pedestal representing a whole community as someone all young blind kids can aspire to be, but it’s just a power play masked in pageantry and pity.

He’s there to perform the same way a trained lion moves in choreographed leaps to the crack of a ringmaster’s whip. Pretend for all the supporters who contribute millions of dollars so they can later pat themselves on the back feeling as if they’ve done something good, and to help the visually impaired attendees think they are finally seen and heard by someone who matters and that perhaps not all hope is lost.

He wants Yuuji there because he hates how these events mess with his head. Hates how they make it seem like vision loss defines everything he is or could be, that a person should be proud to be blind. But how can anyone believe that? When every day feels like a battle he’s losing a little more and all he wants to do is lash out and scream fuck off to everyone around him as he swings wildly between a sense of relentless rage and bone shaking terror, wanting so badly to feel safe and normal but never being able to because how can anyone feel like that if they can’t fucking see?

He wants Yuuji there because he helps Gojo forget all of that, even if only for a short while. Yuuji is a presence – an undeniable, loud, bouncing presence that requires all of Gojo’s focus, so everything else just fades away. Yuuji had claimed being around Gojo made the rest of the world turn to background noise, but he had it backwards. Yuuji makes it easy to forget the rest of the world even exists.

He also wants to go because there is a little girl eagerly looking forward to meeting him and Gojo may be many things – asshole being at the top of that list – but he isn’t heartless and he doesn’t want to disappoint her, and Yuuji makes it easy to pretend everything is normal.

Sighing heavily, he gestures vaguely at the air between them as if the answer can be found there somewhere.

“Okay,” Yuuji says suddenly.

Gojo pauses, hand still raised as he tries to decipher the meaning behind such an ambiguous response. “Okay?”

“I’ll go.”

He blinks. “You’ll go?”

“Are you just going to keep repeating everything I say?” Yuuji counters. Gojo relaxes slightly, hearing the reassuring smile in the other’s voice. “I can tell it’s important to you. So. Yeah. I’ll go. But there’s something you should know first.”

He drops his hand finally and tips his head, curious about the hint of trepidation that has started to color Yuuji’s words. “Are you an undercover spy planning to steal company secrets?”

“What?” Yuuji falters. “Is that really a thing?”

“I don’t know. I’m blind.”

“What’s that got to do with…never mind. No. I’m not a spy.” Gojo feels him shift on the couch, pulling away to sit cross legged instead. “I don’t look…respectable. Taking me to a suit and tie event like that is probably going to draw a lot of attention.”

Gojo grins, slow and teasing even as his chest grows tight with relief hearing him agree to go. “Why do I feel like we are treading dangerously close to Pretty Woman tropes?”

“Did you just insinuate I’m a prostitute?”


Yuuji bursts into a short fit of snickers as Gojo tries and fails to think of a better comeback, a worried grimace pulling at the edges of his mouth.

“I have pink hair,” Yuuji clarifies once he recovers. “And tattoos on my face. I wear a lot of hoodies. I’ve seen mothers cover their kid’s eyes when I’m in the grocery store because they’re afraid just looking at me will turn them into a delinquent.”

Gojo quirks an eyebrow, trying his damndest to form an idea based off the features Yuuji describes but getting stuck on the mental image of an axolotl, which – admittedly adorable and likely to be a permanent association now.

Yuuji moves again, this time reaching out to take Gojo by the hands and press them against either side of his face. He guides Gojo’s fingers along his cheekbones, just beneath the outer edges of his eyes.

“Here,” he asserts. “Red chevrons under both my eyes.” He then pulls Gojo’s hands further back until Gojo is effectively cradling the back of his skull and can feel the distinct line where Yuuji’s hair is divided, short on the bottom and slightly longer on top. “The undercut is dark. The rest of my hair is a faded pink.”

Gojo lets his eyes slide shut as he absorbs the descriptions, piecing it together with the shape of Yuuji he’s grown familiar with in his head. He knows it will never be accurate and that pains him more than he wants to admit, but he curls his fingers gently into the soft (pink) strands and smiles regardless when Yuuji leans easily into his touch to rest his cheek against Gojo’s wrist.

“Don’t tell me you actually care about what other people think,” he teases, opening his eyes again more out of habit than any real need to see the person he’s talking to.

Yuuji snorts, shaking his head. “Not hardly. I just don’t want to embarrass you.”

Taking advantage of the hold he has, he pulls Yuuji close and maneuvers them both until Gojo is lying on his back with Yuuji sprawled on top with his chin propped on his arms crossed over Gojo’s chest.

“You can’t begin to understand what you mean to me. I don’t think something like this can even be named. Naming it makes it small,” Gojo murmurs, tracing his fingers along Yuuji’s sides beneath his shirt and earning a pleased shiver in response. “If it were up to me you would always be right here, just like this, and I’d never let you go. How could you embarrass me? I don’t want to spend another moment without you.”

The quiet between them is full of things left unspoken, but instead of feeling tense or uncomfortable it’s calm and reassuring. When Yuuji breathes the press of his chest against Gojo’s is a solid, comforting weight holding him down, keeping him still, and Yuuji tips forward that last little bit to kiss him. Gojo reaches up and pets the back of his neck with one hand, holding him in place as they’re mouths press softly, slowly opening and closing together in a now achingly familiar dance, tender with understanding.

He can’t help but think this is what it feels like to be at peace.

Later that week Ichiji drives the two of them to a few select stores to try on custom suits for the party. Gojo manhandles Yuuji into a few options, experienced enough to judge the material by touch alone, and Yuuji readily acknowledges him to be the expert on such things with minimal fuss. At least until he catches the price tags, at which point he can only be mollified by Gojo promising Yuuji can pay him back at some point. In installments. Like lots of installments.

Of course Gojo has no intention of keeping that promise, but at least Yuuji stops squawking about like a nervous chicken when he agrees.

Gojo is also certain that if he wasn’t already recognized as a frequent customer with deep pockets, the managers at a few of the places would have banned him indefinitely out of sheer frustration dealing with his and Yuuji’s shenanigans. He wouldn’t blame them. It turns out he and Yuuji excel at building off each other at the expense of everyone around them.  

By the time they finish and head home, even Ichiji seems ready to throw himself off the nearest building if he has to listen to their ridiculous antics for one more minute. Thankfully he seems to have recovered by the time he picks them up again Saturday evening for the party. He doesn’t voice any objections even when Gojo insists they detour for ice cream, and only sighs when doing so causes them to arrive at the party an hour and a half late.

“Just in time for dessert,” Gojo chimes, promptly leading the way inside.

Around him is the drone of dozens of voices accented by the Christmas music filtering in from strategically placed speakers. He hears Yuuji whistle appreciatively at the view (undoubtedly decked to the nines) and bumps against his side.

“Not the type of business to pinch pennies, huh?”

Gojo smirks, angling his face down. He’d forgone wearing his glasses for the night and his face feels oddly bare being in public without them. “They actually scaled back a lot this year. Usually there’s free camel rides.”

“Wait, really?”

“They stopped doing it after someone got caught trying to take one home, though,” he hums thoughtfully. “Shame.”


Gojo shrugs, patting Ichiji on the back approvingly when the man doesn’t make a comment about how it was actually Gojo (in a rare appearance) who was discovered trying to coax the camel into an absurdly small car as it munched happily on Ichiji’s hair.

Ichiji heaves a long-suffering sigh. “I will find us a table,” he says, leaving the two of them near the entrance.

“Let’s get a drink,” Gojo suggests after a moment, throwing an arm around Yuuji’s shoulders and turning his head left and right as if surveying the room, listening for the distinct sounds of bartending. He catches a woman’s voice asking for a martini and someone acknowledging the order somewhere off to the left, so he steers Yuuji in that direction, pulling up short when he feels Yuuji dragging his feet.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, frowning.

“Are you sure you’re okay with me being here? People are starting to stare,” Yuuji stage whispers, tone self-deprecating. “What if they think I’m Yakuza or something?”

Gojo snorts, letting his arm slip from Yuuji’s shoulders to thread their fingers together instead. “Yuuji.”

“You’re going to have a shady reputation after this, you know.”



Gojo chuckles and reaches up to cradle Yuuji’s face in his hands, pleased when Yuuji reflexively curls his own around Gojo’s wrists despite the sudden spike of tension from the public display of affection.

“Let’s get breakfast at the café tomorrow.”


Gojo leans down and presses their mouths together, smirking into the kiss when Yuuji makes a panicked sound and squirms in his hands, though he notably doesn’t pull completely away.

“I want you here,” Gojo murmurs, resting their foreheads together and emphasizing his words with another short, chaste kiss. “Without you here I’m just a blind charity case for these people to feel sorry for,” Yuuji’s grip tightens around his wrists, bothered by the words. “You make me forget. About them. About me. All of it. You make me feel normal. I need you here.”

“You are normal,” Yuuji interrupts, tone forceful. “You don’t need me for that.”

Gojo chuckles, touched, and pulls him tightly in against his chest. This wonderful, ridiculous boy will be the death of him.

“Are they still staring?” he asks after a moment, teasing, and Yuuji shakes in his arms with a quiet laugh in response.

“I don’t know. My eyes are closed.”

Ichiji finds them eventually, drinks in hand, and leads them to a free table near the front. A representative from the company brings over plates with a little bit of everything from the buffet and informs Gojo a principal from the school will give a speech and present the plaque soon.

“Also, your mother is asking for you,” the rep adds before walking away. Gojo makes a disgruntled sound and taps his fingers against the table, not too thrilled at the reminder that being here means he has to make nice with his parents.

Though, considering he’s neglected to share with them before tonight that he’s interested in men, at least the conversation will be interesting.

“What’s so funny?” Yuuji asks, poking him in the ribs. “You’ve got an evil smile on your face.”

“Oh nothing,” Gojo simpers, smirk growing wider. “Just looking forward to introducing you to my parents later.”

“Why do I get a bad feeling hearing you say that?”

Gojo only snickers and takes a sip from his drink, ignoring Yuuji’s persistent needling in favor of the growing quiet that spreads from the side of the room as someone makes their way toward the stage area. The steps are light and bouncing with barely restrained excitement. A child’s steps.

He sets his glass down and angles his face in that direction. Yuuji quiets and the rest of the room shortly follows suit, focusing on the new presence at the front of the room who is joined by a person with a heavier, thunking gait. Most likely the school principal. There is a brief burst of feedback as someone adjusts a microphone and Gojo winces in sympathy.

“Ah – guess that’s one way to command a room,” a man jokes, apologetic. “Sorry folks. It has been a wonderful evening so far and I appreciate all of you for joining us tonight. But we do have a wonderful young lady here who needs to make curfew, so if I could kindly redirect your attention and introduce you to the lovely little Ms. Emma Roden.”

Gojo tips his head as he listens to the principal, Mr. Park, give a short introductory speech and gloss over details pertaining to the ceremony and the plaque that will be erected in the school. Emma herself takes the microphone and gushes about how much she loves her new school, how it makes her feel more confident and comfortable using technology made specifically for blind people, and how she has made tons of new friends already.

He feels Yuuji’s fingers slip between his own and squeeze once, which he quickly returns, thankful for the silent support. There isn’t an obvious pause or verbal guidance that alerts him to when he should stand and accept the plaque, so he stays seated and assumes someone will give the que at some point, content to keep holding Yuuji’s hand and distract himself with thoughts of taking him home afterwards.

“But most of all,” Emma continues, an endearing lisp softening her words. “I want to thank Mr. Gojo for giving me and my friends a place to feel safe. My school is very special because it helps us understand we are not alone and that we can do anything we set our minds to, just like people who don’t have any trouble seeing.”

Someone lightly touches Gojo on the elbow and Yuuji starts to release his hand. Rather than let go, Gojo tightens his grip and pulls Yuuji up from the table with him.

“They’re ready for you. Do you want me to lead…?” the stranger whispers uncertainly, confused by Yuuji’s presence.

Gojo flashes a sharp grin and shakes his head. “Nope. I’m good. Yuuji?”

“Right – sure, this way,” Yuuji answers quickly, tugging Gojo by the hand toward the front of the room. “Is this okay?”

Emma is wrapping up her own speech as they reach the stage and Gojo pauses by the slightly raised platform. He can sense Yuuji looking at him curiously after his question, so he pulls him close and rests their foreheads together.

He can’t put his thoughts into words just yet but he wants to reassure Yuuji that of course everything is okay because like Emma, Gojo also feels safe. Accepting this recognition had felt like a sham at first and Gojo wasn’t too keen on being paraded about like a trophy, but hearing this little girl say something so profoundly simple yet incredibly personal made him reconsider – if only a little bit. There’s still too much pageantry to feel completely at ease.

The school gives its students a safe space to learn and grow within an environment that nurtures them to become the best versions of themselves. Gojo can relate to that feeling because the same can be said for how the last handful of days have felt being with Yuuji. It’s possible he’s moving too fast, but then again he’s always preferred to stick to his own prerogatives and to hell with conventions.

Mr. Park is thanking Emma when Gojo pulls away. He smirks when Yuuji makes a small sound of protest and crosses the stage feeling as if he’s floating.  

“On behalf of the student body, Emma will now present the plaque to our greatest supporter,” Mr. Park announces as Gojo takes his place at the front, sensing the warm bodies beside him. He smiles – a small, genuine thing that makes him feel giddy – and accepts the plaque. Emma takes his free hand in both of his and he can hear the excitement and gratitude in her voice when she speaks.

“Mr. Gojo – thank you so much,” she whispers, and he has to bend forward to hear her clearly over the applauding from their guests. “Thank you so much for my school.”

He squeezes her hand. “We all deserve to feel safe.”

Yuuji is waiting for him at the end of the stage and bumps their shoulders together when he joins him again, solidifying his presence. Gojo drapes an arm around his shoulders and pulls him in close, pressing a smile to his hairline.

“You know what, why wait for tomorrow? Let’s go to the café now.”

Yuuji snorts, relaxing into his side as he pulls the plaque away to admire it. “What about meeting your parents?”

“They can wait,” he says dismissively. “I can’t.”

“Lead the way,” Yuuji says, and Gojo thinks it should be impossible to fall so deeply in love with someone you can’t even see, but then Yuuji does have a habit of making anything seem possible.