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Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?

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The aftermath of Shibuya was a true nightmare straight out of hell. There was no denying that fact to anyone involved. 

Yuuta was tired, exhausted , and craving to see his mate again after the brutal assignment he’d been given. He hadn’t slept since he’d gotten on the plane to Japan. Of course, Yuuta had had different intentions than the higher ups who had requested he come back to Japan and kill Itadori Yuuji, Sukuna’s vessel. 

He had agreed, of course, even if his intention had never been to kill Itadori. Because Yuuta understood Itadori even if they hadn’t even met yet. Even if Rika was nothing compared to Sukuna, Yuuta understood how difficult it could be tied to something overwhelming with power, a power that was hard to control. It was something Yuuta wished on no one. Gojou had visited Yuuta a few times when he was overseas and filled him in on everything that had to do with Itadori, so it wasn’t like Yuuta was going in blind. It worked out for Gojou and Yuuta’s benefit since the higher ups were the real ones being kept in the dark, not the other way around. 

But, trying to keep his self-control when the higher ups had presented him with the so-called ‘aftermath’ of Sukuna’s doings had been… difficult. Other than Rika, Yuuta had always been great with self-control, especially since presenting as an alpha. He could keep his second gender at bay most of the time. But, when he was away, he had come into his second gender a lot more. He was bigger, tall, sturdier, and a lot more confident. There was also the fact that he hadn’t seen Toge since he’d really grown into being an alpha. He was practically salivating at the mouth at the thought of the omega. His instincts were stronger now and all he thought about was being in Toge’s presence again, considering that he’d unintentionally marked Toge before he had left. 

Now, that hadn’t been planned but Yuuta had been young, barely presented as an alpha, and in love. Before he could even pull his head out of the fog that consumed both him and Toge whenever they would kiss, cuddle, or scent each other, he was sinking his teeth into Toge’s scent glands. Being an omega, Toge had presented earlier than Yuuta and he always smelled so good, it made Yuuta’s mouth water. Neither of them regretted it even if it hadn’t been their intention. Yuuta still remembered licking over the mark, on the verge of tears as he apologized over and over again. Marking someone was forever, it was a deep connection between two people and it was only done once in life and Yuuta had done it without thinking. He’d tied Toge to him for the rest of their lives and vice versa. 

He remembered Toge cupping his face in his hands and nuzzling him back, silently telling him it was alright, that he loved Yuuta. It was sweet, even with Yuuta’s crying, it was a tender moment shared between them after everything they’d been through. Being mated was nice because Yuuta could sense Toge’s emotions and could always provide the omega with comfort if he ever needed it. They hadn’t been intimate yet but everything else had been fair game before Yuuta had left.

Leaving Toge hadn’t been easy but the higher ups had been pushing for him to go overseas. In the end, it was Gojou who convinced Yuuta to leave. Being an alpha himself, he could understand what Yuuta was feeling to an extent but it was enough to know what to say to make the younger alpha see reason. He’d told Yuuta that a weak alpha couldn’t protect anyone, much less their mate. Yuuta was someone with so much untapped potential who needed to get over the fear of using it. Gojou knew what buttons to push to get the outcome he desired. Yuuta knew he was right and he hated that. 

He wanted to be enough, strong, and reliable. He wanted to be everything and anything Toge needed and craved. Gojou meant well but sometimes his methods were unconventional. He had sent Yuuta and Toge on a mission, one they’d barely survived, and had shown Yuuta just how weak he still was in comparison to how strong he should’ve been. That night, Yuuta knew he had to go because being weak was no longer an option. He had freed Rika and although he was happy, it had lowered his rank as a sorcerer. He needed to learn to fight on his own and he could do it if he tried. 

So, Yuuta left and swallowed all the hesitation he had about being separated from Toge and went abroad. Only to be called back after the events of Shibuya, fucking Shibuya. Everything that followed that night was hell and there was no getting around that, especially for Yuuta.

He’d been forced to take on a mission he knew he would never willingly complete. But, at that moment, he had to play along and agree to it with a binding vow. He had sworn with his life because the higher ups had leverage on him. They had Toge, his mate, his dearest omega who held his entire heart. They were playing at his emotions and instincts and Yuuta was putty in their hands because of it. He’d tried to keep a level head about everything but it was hard, so damn hard. He had to keep himself under control and not reach back for his katana and cut the high ups into pieces and burn them alive. He hated how they were danging Toge over his head.

His instincts kept reminding him he was a shitty alpha and undeserving of his mate while he stood there, agreeing to the stupid binding vow so they’d let him see Toge. And as much as Yuuta wanted to deny that he was a bad alpha to his mate, it was hard. It was the same feeling he’d felt when he had left, the nagging voice in the back of his head telling him not to go. The alpha inside of him had told him to stay. It told him not to leave his mate, no matter how strong Toge was, instinct still warned him not to go.

Yuuta had written it off as feeling overprotective at first. Of course, no alpha wanted to leave their omega, that much was obvious. But he tried to think rationally, telling himself that Toge wasn’t weak. He’d proven himself time and time again. Yuuta would think back to the times when Toge had protected him on missions. Things would be fine without him and for a while, they had been.

There had been no indicator that things were going bad. 

So, to be called back to Japan out of nowhere wasn’t as alarming as it should’ve been. Gojou had visited Yuuta abroad a few times and they both knew the higher ups weren’t the biggest fans of that. So, that’s what Yuuta had written off the urgent message to return as. It was probably the higher ups wanting to meet with him and see what kind of radical ideas Gojou was putting in his head.

Even before Yuuta had landed, he knew things weren’t right. For starters, there had been no reply from Toge for almost a day and a half now. That alone set him off a bit and made it impossible to sleep. Toge loved being on his phone and they were always communicating, even about the most boring things, it didn’t matter. Yuuta tried not to think much of it but a part of him was craving the reassurance that Toge was fine. He’d texted the omega several times about his return and what time his flight landed but no reply. Rika had been lingering near him, trying to figure out why Yuuta was so nervous. She came and went now when she pleased, not like before when she was tied to Yuuta. It was nice, she kept Yuuta company but wasn’t with him all the time like when he’d been younger. 

The school had sent a driver who looked worse for wear to pick him up from the airport in a blacked-out car. That was odd but Yuuta had more pressing matters to think of. The driver was silent the whole drive and Yuuta kept eyeing them as if trying to figure out what was wrong. It could’ve just been Yuuta’s presence alone. He did look different. No longer the scrawny kid he’d left as. Now, he was six feet of broad muscle and definitely looked like an alpha, that much was obvious, not to mention all the cursed energy he radiated. 

He was excited to see what Toge would think of him. When Yuuta had left, they’d been almost the same height and were more than often, mistaken for being an omega couple. But now, Yuuta definitely looked the alpha part. The thought of their reunion brought a small smile to his lips. 

Yuuta also took note that the driver kept taking backroads that made them avoid the main part of the city. He found it odd but chose not to comment. When the car stopped at the school by the building where the higher ups met, Yuuta felt his skin prickle. It wasn’t due to curses or anything related to a threat… it was more of a scratching sensation in his throat. His instincts were flaring up again. 

“Where is everyone?” Yuuta asked the driver as they exited the car.

“They’re waiting for you,” is the only response he got as the driver gestured towards the building.

Yuuta walked into the building on his guard because the last time he’d been here hadn’t been the most ideal situation. Last time, it had been for his execution and it didn’t exactly bring back the best memories. 

When Gojou had warned Yuuta about the higher ups and how hungry for power the old bastards were, he couldn’t have been more wrong. They were just as sick and twisted as Gojou had said. They were the scum of the jujutsu world as far as Yuuta was concerned. 

“You will kill Sukuna’s vessel,” one of them demanded, didn’t even ask, just outright stated it.

“And if I refuse?” Yuuta frowned, not liking where this was going.

“You’re mated, are you not? The man asked. “I can smell the bitter stench of an alpha’s worry rolling off of you. You marked the omega from the Inumaki clan before you departed.”

Yuuta rolled his shoulders uncomfortably and adjusted his katana. “This has nothing to do with my mate.”

The man laughed and another one joined in the conversation. 

“You are foolish,” the second man pointed out. “Did you really think we would demand your return so you could do a job without leverage?”

If Yuuta’s instincts were flaring before, they were full-on raging now. 

“Show him the leverage,” the second man ordered the driver who was standing with his head bowed near the door. 

Yuuta looked back towards the driver, glaring. 

“Now, Okkotsu,” the first man began to say, voice full of taunt as if he was speaking with a child. “Remember very well the power of the talisman.”

Yuuta swallowed and followed the driver out of the building.

The driver walked in front of Yuuta with urgency as he led him down the corridor towards the building where the medical wing of the school was located. They didn’t speak and Yuuta could sense the man’s anxiety rolling off of him. 

They stopped outside of the door to the building and the driver turned to look at him.

“I’m sorry,” the man whispered, looking up at Yuuta. His eyes were sincere. 

“For what?” Yuuta asked, tone sharp because his overprotective instincts to go find Toge were filling him to the brim. 

“For how far they’re willing to do to have you comply with them,” the man answered. “Inumaki-kun is a kind student and I can’t,” he stopped himself and took a deep breath. “I can’t believe how little compassion those old men have shown after everything that’s happened.”

Yuuta nodded and pushed open the doors that allowed access to the medical wing. Shoko was waiting for him there, looking worse for wear. The dark circles under her eyes weren’t new but Yuuta had never seen them that bad before. She was clutching a tablet in her hands as she watched him approach. The anxiety and stress rolled off of her, consuming her scent. Her clothes were stained with specks of blood and Yuuta hated that Toge’s scent lingered in the air. 

“Yuuta-kun,” Shoko greeted him, leaning against the wall. She looked exhausted. 

“Shoko-sensei, where is Toge?” Yuuta cut to the chase, trying to keep himself calm while his instincts screamed at him to keep moving, to keep looking for the omega.

“He’s resting,” Shoko whispered, rubbing her face with her hand. “Before you go in there to see him…”

Yuuta’s throat went dry at the hesitation in her voice. It made him nervous. “Is he alright?”

She nodded but her eyebrows furrowed together. “It’s been a hard two days for him, I’m not going to sugarcoat it but he’s finally stable, thank Gods.”

“What happened?” Yuuta demanded. He knew he was coming off rude but the need to know what had occurred in his absence kept knawing at him. 

She took a deep breath and looked at Yuuta, meeting his tired eyes with her own. “He lost an arm during the incident in Shibuya, the left one to be precise.”

Yuuta felt his blood run cold. “What?”

“It was during the fight. I know those old fucks keep saying it was because of Itadori but I don’t believe it. And even if it was Itadori, Sukuna must’ve taken over because the kid can’t even do domain expansion on his own yet and would never hurt innocent people. It was a blood bath but we still don’t know what happened. There were a lot of injuries… and a few casualties,” Shoko told him, eyes looking utterly sad as she spoke. 

“One of the students from Kyoto found Toge under all the rubble and brought him over to where we’d set up a small medical station,” she explained, glancing towards her shoes. “If it makes you feel any better, he’d already passed out from the pain at that point. The stress and shock his body must’ve experienced probably exhausted him. We don’t know how long he was under the rubble after he got injured.”

Yuuta’s hands tightened into fists as her words shank in. “And… when he woke up?”

Shoko gave him a sad chuckle. “You’re almost eighteen, Yuuta. I’m not going to lie to you, kid. You mated him before you two could even comprehend the meaning of such a strong bond,” she said. “He cried for you, a lot, especially when he first woke up. It was probably because of the shock. Having a limb traumatically amputated is a horrible experience, especially when you don’t receive medical attention right away. He was distressed and I had to keep giving him something for the pain and to help him sleep. We had to rush him back along with the other injured students to the school. I had to remove the damaged tissue and try my best to save what I could but it was… it was a gruesome injury. It’s been a hard two days for him but after I stitched him up, he calmed down a bit. I was worried he’d go into shock again but he’s mostly just been nesting.”

Her words broke Yuuta. If he’d felt like utter shit before, he was feeling worthless now.

“Then, those old bastards came in to see him after they’d called for you to come back,” she seethed. “And they put the talisman on him. They waited until I was busy treating another student to get to him. He was still asleep after surgery.”

“To use him as my leverage,” Yuuta stated, understanding fully well what was happening now.

Shoko nodded. “They’re the scum of the Earth. I assume you wouldn’t have agreed under different circumstances. You’re a good kid, Yuuta and you’re being dealt heavy cards.”

“And the others?” Yuuta asked. “Where’s Gojou-sensei?

“The other second years took some hard hits and we don’t know where Fushiguro is at the moment. The students are recovering right now. And for Gojou, I’m not sure but there were rumors going around in Shibuya that he got trapped in the prison realm and Itadori was going after whoever did it to try and save him but we don’t know.”

“I understand,” Yuuta replied, comprehending just how fucked up the situation was. “I need to see Toge, now.”

“He’s still in distress so be gentle. I know Toge isn’t weak but he’s been through a lot in the past two days,” she informed him, pointing towards a room down the hall. “Omegas tend to hide away from the world when they’re injured and it’s what he’s doing at the moment. It’s hot in his room but he stays under the covers and clothing on the bed, in his nest. I’m only a beta but I know a lot about second gender biology, being a doctor, and all. You’re mated to him so I assumed he was unconsciously seeking you out when he woke up after we brought him back. So I went into your room and pulled all the clothing and blankets I could find. It’s not much but I’ve been doing what I can to everyone feel as comfortable as possible.”

Yuuta nodded and took off in a sprint because his instincts told him he needed to see Toge, now. He needed to see him and check on him. Being away had made him grow accustomed to not sensing Toge’s emotions or smelling his scent but the closer he got to the omega’s room, the more he began to feel them.

Finally, he could smell the omega’s distressed scent behind the door. He stopped in front of the door and slowly pushed it upon. Shoko’s words kept replaying in his mind as he went inside. He had to cautious and gentle so he didn’t accidentally scare Toge. 

The room was dark except for a small lamp on one of the bedside tables. It was a small room, meant mostly for recovery. The smell, other than Toge was nauseating. It was the smell of blood, flesh, and medical equipment. 

Yuuta’s eyes adjusted to the light and he finally saw what he’d been seeking. In the bed, curled up in the middle with Yuuta’s old clothes and bedding he’d left behind, he found Toge.

Toge was buried underneath the covers and clothing, curled into a ball in the middle of the bed. His scent was distressed, scared, and hurt. The omega was asleep but Yuuta could hear the raggedy inhales of air he took with each breath. 

Yuuta walked over to the bed, taking off his katana and shoes. He extended a shaking hand towards the omega to pull back the covers, unraveling a head of bright hair that was damp with sweat. Toge was obviously hot under all the layers, but like Shoko had said, it was omega instinct to hide away from the world while he was hurt. It was also instinct to want to hide away with their alpha so they could watch over them and protect them while they were most vulnerable. But Yuuta hadn’t been there when Toge had needed him the most. Instead, the omega had to settle for clothes Yuuta hadn’t worn in a year that smelled more like Toge and rubbing alcohol more than the alpha. 

If their reunion had been different, maybe Yuuta would’ve smiled at the sight of Toge’s hair. It was longer now, with bangs. Toge had always been such a pretty thing but he was lovely now. Yuuta remembered all the pictures they’d exchanged and how excited Yuuta had been to come back and see him in person. They would try and video chat when there was time available and it was always so sweet seeing how different Toge looked. Sometimes, it was the best part of Yuuta’s days when training was hard and sleep was difficult to find. Yuuta knew that part of the reason he had trouble sleeping was that he worried about his friends, always hoping they were safe, but most of all, he worried about Toge. They were mated and shared a deep connection. It was Yuuta’s responsibility to worry about Toge, always hoping the omega was alright. Toge wasn’t weak but he wasn’t untouchable to the evils of the world either and that fact alone made Yuuta lose sleep while he was away.

Yuuta took off his jacket and kept pulling back the covers until Toge became more visible. The sight was pitiful. Toge was only wearing a pair of pajama shorts, breathing heavy, laying on his right side with his arm wrapped around himself. He was shirtless and there were talismans covering the injury. They wrapped around his chest and went up to his arm. His skin was flushed pink from the heat and most likely, the pain. 

Yuuta gently touched Toge’s hair. “Baby, I’m here,” he whispered, not wanting to startle the omega.

Toge’s eyes fluttered open, looking alarmed at first from having his nest intruded but then he turned to look at the person who’d entered his room.

Their eyes met and Yuuta couldn’t wait any longer. He sat down on the bed and gently scooped Toge into his arms, draping his jacket over the omega. 

A small, warm hand came up to feel Yuuta’s face as if trying to make sure he was actually real and not a dream. All that made Yuuta do was carefully pull Toge in closer and bury his nose in the omega’s hair, scenting him and inhaling his scent. 

Toge’s scent began to change a little, not as distressed as it first had been. Yuuta’s presence was helping him relax. 

The sight of him made Yuuta want to burn the world to ashes. Toge looked awful, there were small bruises everywhere and a few scabbed over cuts. He was hurt and vulnerable and Yuuta hadn’t been there to protect him. The one thing he wanted most was to help those around him, especially his mate and he couldn’t even do that. 

He looked up at Toge’s face when he heard whimpering. If there was ever a sound that would break Yuuta’s heart, it was that one. Toge started crying then, the kind that shook your whole body as he clutched at Yuuta’s shirt with his hand. He was trying to snuggle closer to the alpha and bury himself. 

“I’m here,” Yuuta crooned, trying to comfort him. He pulled Toge in closer and held him while he cried. “I’m so sorry, I am so fucking sorry. You have every right to hate me. I wasn’t here, I’m sorry.”

There were so many emotions running through Yuuta. Anger, sadness, and relief. He wanted to find whoever had done this to his mate and kill them, give them a slow death until they begged. He was also angry at himself because if he hadn’t left this wouldn’t have happened, he could’ve prevented this and it made him think back to his hesitation to leave in the first place. There were so many, ‘what if’s,’ playing out in his head but it was too late now, this was reality. There was sadness because Yuuta knew what an injury like this would mean for Toge. He’d lost a fucking arm, a whole arm for crying out loud. The omega could only use a limited number of words as it was and he knew sign language, which he used to communicate a lot. Yuuta had learned sign language for Toge, so they could communicate better and the alpha could understand him more. But now, how would Toge sign with one hand? Being a one-handed sorcerer wasn’t going to be easy on the omega.

Yuuta didn’t know how Toge would adjust to life with one arm but he was strong, he could do it. Besides, Yuuta would be there to help him. He would never leave the omega again. He swore at that moment they would never let an ocean separate them. Yuuta would do whatever he could to make things alright again. If he could reach the stars and heavens and bring them down for Toge, he would and if he couldn’t, he would find a way. If he could detach his own arm and give it to Toge, he would do it in a heartbeat. 

There was also relief that was settling in his bones, to finally be in Toge’s presence again. Even if the room was too hot and Toge was still crying, it didn’t matter, they were together. Yuuta nuzzled him again, keeping Toge cuddled against him. 

“I love you so much,” Yuuta whispered, bringing a hand up to push Toge’s sweaty bangs back. 

He looked down at Toge’s purple eyes, always so vibrant and lined with beautiful lashes. They were glazed over with fresh tears and were still widened in disbelief like the omega still couldn’t believe Yuuta was real.

“Yuuta,” Toge cried, placing his hand over Yuuta’s. “Yuuta.”

“I’m here, baby, I’m right here,” Yuuta reassured him. “Shush,” he crooned. 

Toge buried his face in Yuuta’s chest, breathing in his scent and letting it calm his distress. 

“How are you feeling?” Yuuta asked him, entwining their fingers. The alpha’s hand was bigger now, practically engulfing the omega’s. If this had been a happier moment, Yuuta would’ve smiled and basked in their new size difference. He’d grown into his second gender while he was away and being bigger than Toge now was a blessing of its own. In theory, he could protect the omega now but at the moment, that thought didn’t appear to be very true.

Yuuta brought their entwined hands up to his lips to press a kiss against Toge’s fingers. “Shoko-sensei told me she gave you something for the pain earlier,” he said, trying not to look at the injury. It wasn’t that he was disgusted but looking at Toge’s wound made him angry. It made him want to go ballistic and hurt whoever had done this to his mate. Sweet Toge, someone who didn’t wish to cause harm to anyone. Toge didn’t deserve what had happened. Not after everything he’d suffered at the hands of his clan growing up. He deserved happiness and love, things Yuuta had sworn to give him. Now, he was being used as leverage against Yuuta but if the alpha played his cards right, everything would work out. It had to work out, he would make sure out of it because failure was not an option. 

Toge must’ve noticed Yuuta’s hesitation to look at the injury. The omega shifted in Yuuta’s arms uncomfortably, pulling his hand free from the alpha’s and reached around to pull the jacket tighter around him, trying to hide.

That’s when Yuuta knew he fucked up because there was a new lingering smell to Toge’s scent, shame.

“Hey, no, look at me,” Yuuta whispered, putting his fingers under Toge’s chin to tilt the omega’s face up. “I am not disgusted by you, never, baby, I could never be.” he strained his words, wanting the omega to know he was sincere. “You’ve always been beautiful and losing an arm doesn’t change that. I am not disgusted by you… looking at it just…. it makes me angry because someone almost killed you.”

Toge shook his head. “Okaka,” he whispered, voice scratchy. 'I'm fine.'

“Still,” Yuuta argued. “They could’ve killed you or hurt you worse. What would’ve happened if the students from Kyoto hadn’t found you?” The alpha hated thinking the worst but he had to wonder. His mind painted the scenario of Toge, bleeding out from the injury under all the rubble of the buildings. It made his instincts go haywire at the thought of Toge calling for him, scared and hurt, calling for an alpha who wasn’t even in the same country. “You wouldn’t have survived and I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

Toge brought his hand up to his chest, signing. ‘I missed you .’ He tried to sign the word for ‘different,’ but it was a two-hand sign still, Yuuta understood.

“Well, you don’t have to miss me anymore, I’m back now,” Yuuta tried to lighten the mood, giving Toge a sad smile. He pushed the thoughts away for the moment, not wanting to stress the omega out even more. “I do look different, my hair is longer and I’m taller.”

Forever?’ Toge signed. He looked over Yuuta before trying to sign, ‘Bigger,’ the best way he could with one hand.

“Until you tell me to leave,” Yuuta promised, leaning down to press a kiss to Toge’s warm forehead. “I am bigger.”

'Never,’ Toge signed, reaching his hand forward and threading into Yuuta’s hair and pulling the alpha down towards him. ‘Never leave,’ he signed. 

Their lips met and it was sweet. It was the first kiss after almost a year, a long year. Yuuta had missed him so much and he’d dreamt of this moment for months. He was gentle, not wanting to cause Toge more stress but still trying to convey how much he’d missed him. Toge tightened his hand in the alpha’s hair, keeping him close. He kissed Yuuta back eagerly, wanting to forever in the alpha’s arms now that he was back. The comfort that being together again brought was soothing for both of them. For Toge, who was distressed and in pain, and for Yuuta who’d been riddled with anxiety since he’d landed, it was heaven.

They pulled apart after a moment and Yuuta took the chance to press a few more kisses to Toge’s lips, making the omega laugh softly. 

“You’re so cute, I missed you,” Yuuta told him, trying and failing to hide the massive smile that spread across his face. He brought a hand up to caress Toge’s face, tracing over the cursed markings and lips. 

Toge tried to playfully bite Yuuta’s finger and brought his hand up again to sign. ‘Sexy,’ he signed, grabbing onto the alpha’s upper arm that was defined by more muscle now. 

Yuuta clicked his tongue and looked towards the ceiling, feeling his face grow warm from the bits of shyness that still lingered in him. “You’re very funny.”

Toge cuddled against him and nodded. “Shake.”

Yuuta looked down when he felt the talisman rub against him. “They put these on you,” he pointed out, tracing a finger along the talisman wrapped around Toge’s chest. He frowned, feeling disgusted at the higher ups taking advantage of a defensiveness Toge who’d just gotten out of traumatic surgery.

Toge nodded, bringing his hand up to his face. ‘Sleep,’ he signed, looking away with a bitter expression. He placed his hand on top of Yuuta’s palm to help him sign. ‘Weak.’

“You are not weak,” Yuuta dismissed the idea immediately. “They knew they couldn’t have done this to you if you’d been awake, they’re cowards.” He grabbed onto Toge’s hand, rubbing his thumb along the back of it. 

Toge looked down at their hands, thinking as he stared.

“Hey,” Yuuta tried to reassure him, gently bumping their foreheads together. “We’ll be okay. Because I will make sure we’re okay. I’m your alpha and I marked you because I love you and I want to take care of you. It’s my job to make sure you’re alright, even if I’m not exactly doing the best job at that right now.”

Toge looked up at him and pulled his hand free, trying and failing to sign ‘you’re wonderful,’ with only one hand but Yuuta got the gesture. “Tuna mayo,” Toge said, smiling.

Between them, tuna mayo was the way Toge could express his emotions towards Yuuta. They’d decided on it when they’d first started dating and between them what it meant when it came to their relationship. 

“I love you too,” Yuuta confessed. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Toge rolled his eyes playfully and tried to sign again with one hand to the best of his abilities. ‘Mushy,’ he signed.

Yuuta smiled and watched as Toge began to furrow his eyebrows in discomfort. It was getting obvious the position was beginning to take its toll on him. Yuuta motioned for him to sit up while he laid down. He pulled Toge gently on top of him and wrapped arms around the omega, letting him rest on his chest.

Toge nuzzled against him, happy that Yuuta was taking care of him and being cautious of his injury. He traced the kanji for Yuuji’s name on Yuuta’s chest with his fingers. 

“The higher ups want him executed,” Yuuta told him, running his hands up and down Toge’s back in a soothing motion, mindful of the talisman. “That much is obvious.”

The omega bristled in Yuuta’s hold and began shaking his head. “Okaka, okaka.”

“Hey, relax,” Yuuta comforted him, pulling Toge closer against his chest. “I’m not going to kill him. Don’t worry,” he reassured his mate. “But, I have to figure out a way that they believe that I have. They won’t take off your talisman until I do.”

Toge brought his hand up to sign again. ‘Don’t worry,’ he signed, pointing at himself. ‘About me.’

Yuuta huffed and leaned his face down, pressing kisses against Toge’s warm face. “Silly,” he smiled. “I’m glad you still have jokes despite everything that’s happened.”

The omega basked in the attention and brought his hand up to his face once Yuuta pulled back. ‘Serious, ’ he signed. 

“I’m serious too,” Yuuta let him know. “You’ve done your part in helping others and now I’m going to take care of you, even if you want me to or not. I will think of a solution that helps both you and Yuuji.”

Toge didn’t say anything, just looked at Yuuta, trying to let the alpha’s words sink in. 

“I love you so much,” Yuuta admitted. “I was so worried about you, especially when I didn’t hear from you for a few days. Considering you’re always on your phone.” 

“Shake?” Toge asked, a small tired smile pulling at his lips.

“I texted you when I got the news I was heading back,” Yuuta replied. “I had a feeling something had happened but you always say I overreact to things so I tried not to let my mind wander too much.”

“Shake,” Toge agreed, that yes, Yuuta was dramatic. 

“So pretty but so rude,” Yuuta teased, poking one of Toge’s cheeks. “And, here I thought you’d grown out of that.”

Toge scrunched his nose and shook his head, signing, ‘never .’

Yuuta chuckled. “That’s okay, I love you just the way you are.”

“Tuna mayo,” Toge said, shifting a bit on Yuuta’s chest as the pain began to flare up again. 

Shoko came in a few minutes later, looking at Toge and Yuuta with a sad expression. It was the first time in the last two days she’d seen Toge look a bit relaxed. Yuuta didn’t look up when she came in, instead focused on the drowsy omega in his arms who was fighting sleep. 

“It’s time for his medicine,” Shoko whispered, going over to the small metal table in the room where the Toge’s medication was. “It’s every few hours but I want him to rest a little bit before dinner.”

Yuuta nodded. “Thank you,” he told her. “For taking care of him.”

Shoko chuckled. “You don’t have to thank me for that. It’s my job.”

“Still,” Yuuta huffed. “Thank you.”

“As much as you don’t want to leave him, they’re waiting for you,” Shoko told him. “I’ll give you a moment before I come back inside to give him the medicine.” She opened the door and stepped into the hallway for a second. 

“Hey,” Yuuta whispered, tapping his fingers against Toge’s temple to wake him up a little. “It’s time.”

Toge blinked his eyes open, looking a bit conflicted. 

“I will be back, I promise,” Yuuta reassured the omega, feeling Toge’s hand tighten in his shirt. “I promise.”

Toge grabbed one of Yuuta’s hands and made it into a fist. He used the alpha’s hand to help him sign. ‘Promise ?’ 

“I swear on my life,” Yuuta vowed. “You hold my heart and if you’re asking me to come back afterward, I will come back.”

Yuuta helped Toge lay on his back on the bed. He moved back and started moving the covers and clothing in an attempt to rebuild the nest. He finished by draping his jacket over Toge who immediately hugged it to him. 

“I’ll be back before you know it and everything will be okay,” Yuuta promised, leaning down to kiss Toge’s forehead. He took the chance to nuzzle against the omega, pressing his lips to the mark. “I love you.”

Toge purred under all the attention and gave Yuuta a small smile. He looked adorable, buried under all the layers of clothing. “Tuna Mayo.”

Shoko came back into the room after a moment and gave Toge his medication, ordering him to get some rest after all the excitement. 

Yuuta gave him one last kiss before stepping back. “Sleep,” he said, using the omega’s technique against him for his own good. “You need all the rest you can get.”