beyond all hope, i prayed those timeless
days we spent might be made twice as long.
i prayed one word: i want.
in one universe it’s almost romantic.
THRALL MY INSIDES WITH THE SWEET TERROR OF BEING RECOGNISED. SOMETIMES, WE CANNOT BEAR THE THINGS WE CRAVE.
the thing with soulmates is: at best , they are inconveniences, at worst, they are death sentences. in this universe, megumi is unlucky enough for it to feel like both.
the first time his fated runs past him, megumi can’t see past it, can’t breathe past it. there is an angel’s chorus, soft, warm, heavenly light, and the promise of a goodness megumi will undoubtedly spoil with the blood on his shaky hands, and the dark he so willingly traps in his heart.
before he can even blink past it, the other boy is already gone.
the collar of the school uniform he’s disguised himself in, is still too tight in the sweltering summer heat. there is no relief from it, from the sticky way it traps the air in his throat, like a noose coiling carefully around his neck.
he is short of breath and rapidly running out of time. regardless, his heart beats traitorously hard in his chest.
this is not what love is supposed to feel like.
megumi stands outside of a hospital room, vaguely glad it’s not his fated in the bed beyond the door. he knows halls like this; is familiar with the ghosts that linger and feed in the cloying scent of disinfectant and regret. he wishes he could give yuji time , he’ll always wish that he could give yuji time, but megumi has never had any of it to spare.
did you notice? megumi wants to ask as he stands outside the door, a spectre in his own right. did you notice that we were almost made for each other? he doesn’t ask. there are more pressing things to worry about.
it’s okay anyway, lilies never really did make for good wedding flowers.
in the moment megumi is almost glad that they met like this, over an empty box, in a time of mourning. it’s a sign, and this universe dolls them out so easily. it’s a sign that the only thing they as an entity, as a pair, were made to share, was death.
their love was made for death.
did you notice? megumi wants to ask, but he gives a warning instead, tells the truth. how like his other half to not heed it; yuji follows him anyway.
there is blood crusting across megumi’s brow, gojō asks him a question and it rings uncomfortably loud in megumi’s ears. megumi delays the inevitable, but it’s not his time to give. the universe has presented her signs, but, but .
megumi stares at the limp body in his teacher's arms, if only he hadn’t noticed.
the thing, with soulmates, that no one ever wants to believe, is that at best they are inconveniences, and at worst they are a death sentence. megumi is unlucky enough that they are both.
(“i’m sorry about your grandfather,” megumi will say one evening.
“why are you sorry?” yuji asks, they both know that’s not what megumi’s sorry about, and even if it was the sincerity behind the sentiment, it is a little overdue. “it’s not your fault.”
“i know.” megumi nods “i’m still sorry,”
“don’t be,” yuji says as he pulls megumi forwards, yuji is always pulling him forwards. “don’t.”)
AND I’LL SPEND MY WHOLE LIFE LOOKING FOR MY MISSING PART. IS IT YOU? IS IT YOU? IS IT YOU?
there’s a chime on the wooden frame by the door that lets yuji know when customers walk in. there didn’t used to be one, three years ago when he’d started working here. nanami had it installed especially for yuji’s shift. it’s a reminder , he’d explained whilst watching the way the pieces twinkled in the aftermath of the door opening, closing.
nowadays, yuji likes to pretend that he’s such a pro at manning the shop he could tell when someone entered from the disturbances in the air alone. he can’t of course, but it gets a laugh out of one of their early morning regulars- an older woman with a troublesome son who looks more tired every time yuji sees her. it’s worth nobara’s scoff at the comment, nanami’s fond eye roll.
today, it’s just yuji at the counter, all alone on the dreaded six am shift. outside it’s the kind of dark where the universe seems to beg for something to happen. yuji doesn’t mind it too much, standing here and waiting. if he’s lucky and nobody wanders in, he’ll get to see the sunrise, listen inattentively to the brand of lofihiphop only café’s in twenty-twenty could get away with playing for hours on end.
the chime sings softly as the door is pushed open, spilling early winter air into the warmth of the establishment. yuji is almost lucky.
people, he thinks, are not supposed to look so radiant this early in the morning. radiant perhaps, is not quite the right word. the young man that walks in looks vaguely his age and vaguely alive, he’s got a nasty bruise blossoming across the marble of his temple, and his hair is a veritable mess.
still, there’s something in the jade of his eyes, the bridge of his nose, that yuji is inexplicably drawn to. it must be fate.
“good morning,” yuji says, his voice softer than it has any right to be to a customer, a stranger . he clears his throat once, tries to dislodge the unfounded swell of affection in his chest at the sight of the man before him, “what can i get ya today?”
his eyes seem to soften, a calming sea instead of set stone as he steps up to the counter. yuji feels euphoric under his gaze. “i’m not really a fan of sweets,” he says quietly, like he is afraid to disturb the fragile peace that existed only in bakeries and coffee shops at twilight, “what would you recommend?”
he doesn’t look it, but yuji asks anyway, “are you fond of surprises?” the man hums, consideringly and yuji likes the way it looks on his face. when he nods, it takes all the professionalism nobara insists yuji does not possess, to stop yuji from grinning.
“okay,” yuji replies, plan already in place. he watches greedily as the corners of the other man's mouth tilt slightly from their default place, “take a seat, i’ll bring it out in a few,”
it’s been a while since yuji’s done any latte art, most of their early morning patrons got their stuff on the go, or ordered drinks piled so high in cream and whip he couldn’t even attempt it. it’s not hard, to trace the memory of a rose onto the delicate steaming surface of the coffee; it’s not hard to place the ceramic, a careful eggshell blue on a tray, by a tart that looks more like it’s been embedded with gems than fruit; it’s not hard, to set the tray down onto the table by the window, where the view of the sunset is best and a stranger with a familiar smile is waiting for him.
it’s not hard to slide into the booth across from him. yuji is almost always lucky.
BUT I NEVER FORGET. I'VE ENGRAVED YOUR NAME ON THE PALM OF MY HAND.
they accidentally end up buying a love potion. well , yuji accidentally ends up buying them a love potion.
at some point they lose nobara and the rest of their friends in the crowd of the magic night market. it’s not on purpose this time, but megumi is sure it’ll lead to some grouching and suggestive smirks he could easily live without.
the old lady at the booth is a fourth generation enchantress, her family have been making potions of the highest degree for generations. megumi isn’t a big fan of the stuff, but she’s got the certificate of safety for proof, and her wares are sold in the kind of pretty bottles that wouldn’t look so out of place on their shelves, next to his herbology textbooks perhaps, or yuji’s favorite myths and legends manga.
megumi almost insists they get something more useful: an elixir of health for their dying anemones perhaps, a brew that wipes fatigue clear in one use.
yuji is drawn however to the delicate crystal of the love potion. the liquid sloshes an interesting black, filled with what megumi is almost sure are miniature stars, captured and contained. they bicker a bit, under the woman’s amused smile, before she offers them a solution: three potions for the price of two . she wraps the vials in pretty paper, as soft as sphinx fur blankets, and boxes as heavy as a minotaur’s horn, before wishing them a good evening.
just because something is safe for consumption doesn’t mean it is made to be consumed. they drink it anyway, alternate between gulps of sparkling dark liquid, and wonder what it can do to people like them, people who have already found it .
the answer is not much. it makes them a little gigglier, megumi guesses, a little clinger, a little braver, without the cover of their sheets, the barricade of their bedroom door.
nobara often complained when they got into moods such as these, especially in places where she could stumble upon them and see their welling affection. but there was a tenderness in her smile when she caught sight of their joined hands.
it was said that moles are the places past lovers kissed you most. in this life, like the next life and surely the one that came before this one, yuji will be covered in marks. the one on his cheeks, right below his eyes will never fade, megumi has kissed them enough for the softness of his lips, the tenderness of his love to stain yuji for years and years on end.
to megumi they are not the place where a devil’s eyes appear, not simply the epicentre, the roar of his magic power, but the tangible proof that yuji has always loved him enough to give up his life for him, in every iteration of themselves, from the mundane to the fated.
and so megumi will kiss them every time he has the chance, the way the disciples of christ would willingly lave at his nail wounds.
the bottle sits, half empty on their bedside. they will fall asleep under the ecstasy of the confirmation of their boundless love. the stars will escape the bottle, to return to the arms of the universe at large. she will peak through their window and sigh softly as she watches them slumber.
in one universe it’s always romantic.
someone, i tell you, will remember us,
even in another time.