Megumi Fushiguro was never taught how to love.
The come and go of people in Megumi's life led him to disbelieve in the forever of people's persistence in his life. Often times he pondered on the reasoning as to why people never stuck around for long; the possibility of a fated curse blooming within his soul urged him to not let himself get too close to others. “People come and go,” Megumi believed, unwillingly repeating a mantra inside his mind, reminding himself of the doubt in forever.
He opted to believe it stemmed from the lack of family presence he might've unknowingly desired. From a mother he never grew up to meet, a father who cared less about his name and more for the money, to a now unconscious sister who he took for granted.
A mere, “Fushiguro... Megumi, right?” was what he received in return. At the young age of six, Megumi learnt that familial love housed a label that never restricted having to share the same bloodline between two individuals.
The annoying presence that mimicked the position of a parental figure came at a nineteen year old boy who knew the world too much, too fast.
Aside from Gojo being an intolerable teacher, Megumi found him as an annoying uncle that brings you coal as a joke for Christmas. (Well, he stole that joke from Nobara, he didn't really know how what having an annoying uncle felt like. Or receiving coal for Christmas.)
Signing off a deal with the clan he'd been destined to be sold off to, Gojo not only allowed Megumi his freedom, but cared for him and Tsumiki when he, himself had doubts of trust within others. With the unfunny jokes, indescribable pestering after school, and incoherent prods at his techniques, Megumi came to a realization that this was the closest he'd ever get to a parental figure, and for that Megumi eventually learnt to cherish what family could mean to him.
“He's annoying me again,” Megumi whined, gently knocking his head against the side of the pillars.
Tsumiki chuckled before swallowing the last piece of her bread. “I wonder why,” she sang, pushing herself off the wall. Megumi groaned in exhaustion, pocketing his phone and jogging to catch up to his sister.
“He's called me three times and we're only halfway through the school day,” he complained, trailing behind Tsumiki, “I promised before we left the house I wouldn't get into a fight. I'm thirteen now, why does he need to check up on me like I'm a toddler?”
“Because he still sees you as one?” Tsumiki pointed out with an obvious tone, stopping in her place to swerve around and jab a finger onto Megumi's forehead. “A toddler that gets into trouble all the time.”
Megumi scoffed, pushing her arm away from his now odd-spotted forehead. “Doesn't mean he needs to call me every single minute of the day to make sure I'm not beating someone up!”
Tsumiki sighed as her arms crossed over her chest. “Gojo cares about you, Megumi. He wants you to stay out of trouble, the least you can do is just listen to him and he'll stop bothering you.”
“All he does is bother me, I can't stand him.”
Before Tsumiki could retort, a shout emitted from the gym, calling her over. The siblings peered over in distraction before turning back to each other. “He’s done a lot for us. Don't take things for granted, Megs, he just wants the best for you, you know that.”
“No he doesn— whatever, I'll see you back home.”
With a playful hair ruffle and an eye roll, Tsumiki chuckled and patted his cheek. “See you later, love you!”
Don't take things for granted.
Megumi wished he took her statement more seriously at the time. Shutting both her and Gojo out at a time of ignorance and annoyance, Megumi regretted the amount of venomous words that overtook thankful thoughts.
One year later, Tsumiki fell under a coma.
Confused and angry, Megumi let out his frustration towards the only person he had left in his life.
“You said you'd protect her!”
“And I did my best, you're lucky she's not dead!”
With shaky breaths and watered eyes, the young boy fell to his knees. People come and go, Megumi remembered. People come and go, and the last person he's expect to leave was Tsumiki. After a long pause of silence, Megumi felt a warm hand on his shoulder. “She's not gone,” Gojo said quietly. “I'll do whatever I can to keep her and you safe, but you need to trust me.”
With the lack of Tsumiki's reassurance and responsibility around, Megumi realized the depth of her words. It had only been him and Gojo for some time being, and with his status and strength, Megumi found himself spending his time alone more often than not. The constant ringing in his ears from the silence of his own room, he regretted viewing Gojo's way of caring as annoyance.
When Tsumiki was away, Gojo cared for him, and when Gojo was away, Tsumiki constantly checked up on him. Megumi wasn't a kid anymore sure, but he regretted taking advantage of the elder sibling presences he obtained through his childhood.
Another year down the road when Megumi faced yet another incident of loss, he allowed the lingering presence of empathy crawl it's way back.
“Megumi.” A voice echoed through the training room, letting his thoughts fade to the back of his mind. “You're distracted again.”
Running a hand over his face to knock out the exhaustion, Megumi stood up and readied himself back into stance. “Sorry, sorry won't happen again.”
Bright blue eyes peeked over it's glasses, boring into the teenager. “You said that twice already, and look what happened. I told you if you need a break—“
“Trust me, won't happen again,” Megumi huffed, arms exhausted from being held before him. He clenched and unclenched his fists in agitation, ready to end this training session and take a cold shower. How long have they been training?
Gojo sighed, letting a hand lower Megumi's stance. He crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. “We're not repeating what happened in the past, you can talk to me y'know. I know what losing a friend feels like.”
Megumi exhaled shakily at the mention. His moment of hesitation cut his contemplation of resuming practice; memories of a boy he could've saved falling before him as rain pelted down on the two bodies that couldn't feel a thing. Megumi let his arms falter to his sides in defeat. “I know,” he managed to breathe out, “I know I can, I'm sorry, it's just hard, I can't put my feelings into words.”
“As long as you know it's not your fault that Yuji—”
Gojo pursed his lips and nodded in understanding, ruffling Megumi's slightly sweaty hair. He let out a sigh and past by the latter, signalling the early dismissal of practice. Gojo tapped the door before exiting out the room, yelling out, “I'm here for you, remember that.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Megumi experienced the loving presence of a parent on a hot summer day in a foggy training room, mourning the lost of a late best friend. Gojo might've not been the ideal guidance figure to look up to (well, any figure to look up to Megumi supposes), but Megumi learnt familial love wasn't written in stone with a fine set of rules.
And for Megumi, maybe that was all he needed to understand.
With time and patience, Megumi gained the grace of having different experiences at the times of his lost.
During the occurrence of Tsumiki's curse, Megumi lacked memories of having real friends. Throughout his childhood, he solely relied on the two figures present at the time and with his stotic personality, his school life resulted as a threat to others, classmates afraid of his violent tendencies and deadpan remarks.
So when he stood in front of a judgemental girl insulting both him and boy he met two days ago, Megumi pondered on his chance of friendship.
Nobara and Yuji took every chance to lure Megumi into their plans and stupid ideas. From seeing who could hang off the tree branch the longest, to attempting to cut Sukuna's fingers into bite size pieces to place on crackers, Megumi never lived a moment of silence from the day they were introduced.
It was new.
The feeling of warmth that's been buried in his chest for ages let itself peek out of the cracks from the thought of the two people he put his trust in.
In a months time, Megumi learnt that Nobara and Yuji were polar opposite of him, yet the indescribable comfortability he's felt with the two would shock his younger self. With each passing day and night alongside the duo, the foreign feeling of this type of love didn't feel so intrusive anymore.
“Fushiguro broke the TV remote!”
Kugisaki spit out her juice, letting it spray over the glass table. Yuji burst out into laughter, dropping the TV remote on his feet, leaving Megumi with a confused eyebrow raise. Seeing the two double over in laughter, in what seems to be over Megumi himself, he couldn't help but let a smile creep on his lips. “You're both idiots,” Megumi huffed, unwillingly letting the smile gradually get bigger.
With nightly shenanigans come daily duties, and for mere moments of joy Megumi tended to forget the lives they've chosen to live.
The sight of the two friends that allowed him to feel, severely injured and at the brink of death, Megumi's head rang with worry. Just as he thought he'd finally be able to patch the ongoing missing hole of friendship he'd never opt to fix, the thread snapped.
Megumi ought to believe he was a curse himself, having to stomach the sight of the boy he put his trust into dying before him, minutes following having to witness his heart being ripped out of his chest.
People come and go. People come and go. People come and go.
Megumi whispered it to himself on the trudge home, as he brought himself to take a shower, as he stared at the ceiling in guilt, and as he held Nobara as she let out uncharacteristic tears in the infirmary.
They didn't speak on it much, nobody did really, opting to save themselves the mood following the mentions. The light in Megumi's hope for friendship simmered down each day that followed. Of course he still had Nobara, and he knew she now considered him as a friend, but they both knew it wasn't the same without Yuji. The nights filled with laughter turned into quiet, reflective nights where the two friends pondered on what they could've done, but didn't do.
The walls spoke loudly, shadows dancing across the room in a waltz of familiar figures, reminding Megumi of the ones he couldn't hold. The light emitting from the streetlights illuminated the common room he had found solace within. A month and a half following the tragedy that plagued his thoughts allowed Megumi to venture out of his taunting bedroom and into an open space.
Megumi often let the “what-if's” subside by sitting near the feet of the shared couch in the big room in silence.
The sound of the wall clock ticked away with Megumi's empty thoughts, as he leant back to rest his head on the edge of the cushions. With the knowingness of comfort he had within others, he was able to return to his daily routines without regret plaguing his every move, but some nights thoughts raced to his head before reassurance could.
He hadn't slept in days, the autopilot of his actions took course of his body to ignore the memories.
With his eyes closed and shoulders tense, he missed the sound of footsteps approaching the room.
A stern voice travelled through the silence of the air, letting Megumi peek an eye out. “Fushiguro.”
“Kugisaki,” he replied, instinctively shifting over to make room for the girl.
Without question, Nobara shuffled to the open spot, falling into the space beside Megumi. The two sat in silence, knees tucked to their chest, mere centimetres away from each other.
Megumi learnt that friendship didn't solely come with toppling over with boisterous laughter or moments of joy with cheek aching smiles; he learnt that sometimes the tranquility within the stillness of broken hearts and closed eyes filled with reminiscence were enough.
How Nobara knew he was in the living room, Megumi had no idea, but as his shoulders relaxed and ears stopped ringing, he knew he was thankful for the sixth sense she unknowingly had.
“Hey, Nobara,” Megumi whispered. Nobara, engrossed with the blank ceiling let out a hum of acknowledgment.
Nobara pried her eyes away from her distraction to face Megumi. The silence of the night calmed him as he let his gaze linger on his friend's knowing face. Care.
Megumi knew she recognized what the subliminal message meant in between the lines of his words; nights filled with tear stained shoulders and boiling tea between unexpected run-ins, quiet joint routines and staring contests with rooms that just hold too much memories. The mere two words, barely cutting short of the universal three, she let a small smile paint her lips in serenity. Nobara understood.
“We'll be okay.”
Megumi appreciated the true meaning of friendship on a quiet night filled with nothing but understanding and words of comfort left unsaid.
Sometimes Megumi's gaze would linger on Yuji's closed door. Three months after the death of the boy, the thought of what could've been a forever left him wondering about the countless outcomes of what they could've became.
With the amount of trust put in him from day one, the unknown affection turned too late to act upon, Megumi believed the worst case of the come and go ignited from Yuji Itadori.
Yuji, who he had saved because of a gut feeling, knowing he held a ticking time bomb of death hovering over his chest. Megumi ached to ride on the high of hope, putting his trust in the boy at the brink of his life.
Some nights when his bed felt a little too cold, he'd remember Yuji next to him playing with Megumi's fingers peacefully after explaining his biweekly nightmare.
“It was just so vivid, I don't know is it dumb? I probably sound stupid.”
Megumi chuckled, watching Yuji's fingers weave in and out between his. “It's not stupid, just know I'm not actually one of my frogs chasing after you or whatever.”
“Well when you put it like that it definitely sounds stupid!” Yuji groaned, burying his face into the taller boy's chest.
The latter looked down at the mop of hair with wide eyes. Warmth spread throughout his chest, finding his hand hovering over Yuji's head in hesitation.
The odd feeling of affection lingered in Megumi's jumbled thoughts, new to this feeling of closeness. He let his hand slowly run through Yuji's hair with ease, bringing him closer with an arm wrapped around his shoulders.
Megumi didn't know what he felt for Yuji, but he knew this felt right.
Alone in his bed, Megumi traced the vacant space Yuji once owned.
"Live a long life."
The four words glued to his thoughts ached with every remembrance. I could've done more, Megumi thought. I should've done more.
The missing gap in his heart he never seemed to acknowledge now let itself appear, reminding Megumi of what he could've done.
He should've seen this coming, the guilt, the fall, everything leading up to that very moment; all Megumi was left with were the memories attached to the boy who deserved more than what he was fated to receive faltering along with him.
What he didn't see coming was the day he saw the boy himself standing in a stupid cart with a stupid smile on his face, as if he wasn't dead for three months.
“What the fuck,” Megumi whispered to himself. He heard Nobara's choked gasp beside him, eyes wide with disbelief.
“You guys missed me?” The devil himself joked, tumbling out of the cart with open arms.
Megumi just stared. Stared up and down Yuji's well alive body. “You...” He trailed off. “You're alive?”
Yuji rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment almost, eyes falling to the ground. “Yeah, sorry I kept it a secret.”
Megumi's hand twitched beside him, wanting to reach out to the boy, to confirm if this wasn't just a dream. This desire cut short as he felt a heavy hand place on his shoulder. “Fushiguro?”
He was alive.
And at that very moment, every single emotion ran through Megumi's body.
“Glad you're back,” he deadpanned, giving a firm nod with his statement. With that, he left Nobara to catch up with him, ignoring the fallen smile from Yuji's lips.
Months. He's spent months crying himself to sleep over guilt, jolting awake from nightmares, avoiding rooms that reminded him of Yuji and the latter had the audacity to show up out of the blue, alive and well. Megumi knew he should be glad, but frustration anchored itself before hope could.
He brushed it off and focused on the event, cutting conversations and alone time he would've had with Yuji. He pictured himself to be paired up with Yuji, blabbering about their time beings and lives spent in the mean time, yet he couldn't face the boy and he didn't know why.
The ignorance cut short when Megumi found himself standing in the hallway, blinking at the open door next to his. Light emitted from room, illuminating a section of the dark, wooden floor, reminding him that it was occupied once again.
A shadow shuffled back and forth, seeming to be dusting the unused furniture with a light hum from his lips.
With the sense of a nearby presence, Yuji peeked his head out and caught eyes with Megumi.
“What, just gonna stand there like a creep?”
Megumi let out a breath of relief he didn't know he was holding and rolled his eyes. “Goodnight, Itadori.”
Before Megumi could turn around, Yuji was already in front of him, smile growing with each second. Along with the door that egged Megumi's longing, the light from Yuji's room was now shut, letting the moonlight pool into the hallway. The taller boy stared down at Yuji, watching his chest move with the reminder of life. “Um,” whispered Yuji, breaking the silence in their stares, “I was wondering if I could come to your room for a bit? Y'know cause it's just... been a while... and I... I don't know.”
Megumi let out a small hum before gently grabbing Yuji's hand and guiding him into his room, soft pattering of socks echoing down the empty hall.
Before they could reach his bed, Megumi felt hands snake around his waist, a body inching closer to his back. The small forehead pressed against his spine, light breaths tickling the fabric of his hoodie.
“I know you're angry at me.”
Megumi sighed, letting his head tilt back as his eyes closed. “I'm not.... angry.”
“But you're disappointed, right? That I didn’t tell you? You can be mad at me, Fushiguro, you can scold or even, I don't know, yell at me if you want, just don't,” Yuji trailed off, “Don't ignore me anymore. Please.”
He slid his fingers between Yuji's, caressing the back of his hand with his thumb. The two boys leant against each other, basking in the wordless comfort of the night.
“I spent every night thinking about you.”
A soft, relieved smile formed on Yuji’s mouth, slightly tightening his hold on the other. “Makes two of us.”
Megumi was never taught the rules of love; he couldn't tell when he had fallen, he didn't know how to express it, and he wouldn't know how long the feeling would stay.
Until Yuji Itadori.
Between the soft breaths in the quiet of the night and hands laced together with affection, Megumi understood what this feeling meant to him. The feeling of longevity, peeling away Megumi's disbelief of people's persistence.
The gaping emptiness constantly looming over Megumi slowly started to fill with the thought of the boy who taught him how to feel.
With a slow turn, Megumi wrapped his arms around Yuji's shoulders, pulling him into his chest. He let their connected beating hearts speak for themselves, embracing one another with a welcome home.
“I don't want to lose you again.”
Megumi learnt that his expression of affection never had to be forced in the three confined words he'd never been taught; his adoration came within the silence of knowing he had a chance of forever.
Megumi Fushiguro came to a realization that this too, was love.