Could today get any worse? Is what you thought, because nothing could’ve applied salt to the wound you received today. Turns out, it was possible to make this day worse. Just seconds ago, a selfish, unaware driver splashed you on the sidewalk. Drenching your uniform and filling your shoes with muddy puddle water. That was enough to pull your buried tears out.
You decided to run down as fast as you could down the train station stairs, shoving your way through the crowds of people, hearing mixes of murmurs of ‘Watch where you’re going!’ and scoffs filled the air. You had no care in the world, you just wanted to get home as soon as possible. Your legs sprinted to make it into your train, and you pulled yourself to a seat. The carriage was fairly empty, just a few people dotted here and there, but they were all spread out. Your face made its way to your palms and you balled your eyes, letting everything loose.
You choked on your whimpers, attempting to null the noises you were making,
Fuck everything. Fuck this world. I wish things were different. I wish everything was different.
“Need a tissue?” A male voice questioned.
You turned your body away from them in order to make a miserable attempt at hiding the fact you weren’t just cursing the world.
Your eyes slowly peeled open, stinging at the change of light. When your eyes adjusted you saw a tall boy, possibly around the same age as you holding a tissue out towards you. Your eyes focused on his face. Dusty, spiky pink hair, and bright dark eyes. His facial expressions were soft.
“Thank you.” you sniffled, reaching out to take hold of the tissue.
“Mind if I sit next to you?” He whispered, darting his eyes to the seat next to you.
You were hesitant. You looked like a mess, and your mascara had run down your sollen cheeks, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a little company.
You both sat in silence as you let the machinery sound of the train doors closing fill the air.
A few sniffles and tissues later, you broke the silence.
“I’m sorry.” You murmured, scrunching the ball of tissue in your hand.
“Don’t apologise. Do you want to talk about it?” He said in a calm manner, turning his body towards you and ducking his head down to peer at yours.
It wouldn’t hurt would it? You didn’t know him. He was a complete stranger. The man’s uniform seemed unfamiliar to you, so it’s not like he could ridicule you. You wouldn’t see him after this trip, so it would be okay. You were content with that.
“It’s a long story,” You whispered, fiddling with your fingers.
“I’m all ears.” He reassured, passing you a comforting smile.”
“I moved here a few weeks ago. I’m from the countryside, so I’m not really familiar with city life mannerisms and stuff,”
“No way! Me too. Moved here a couple of years ago.” He exclaimed. He was so easy to talk to, there was something so enticing about him.
“Yeah, and to cut the long story short, it’s easy to bully the new ones. The new ones who are still adjusting. The new ones who are still trying to find their way in a completely foreign world.” You said, biting back your tears.
You hung your head down in embarrassment for tearing up.
“Things like these are always so tough, but in the end, you’ll find that all the struggle was worth it.” He whispered, closing the very small distance between you two.
“I don’t wanna be that person, but I’m going to. Things will always be better, and sometimes you have to have a discourse. I mean, these days aren’t forever.” He said, looking outside the train windows.
You puckered up the guts to look up at him, leaning your head against the window and facing your body towards him.
“But one day, those people making your days worse will come to terms with it, and they’ll live with regret and guilt that they passed that into you.” The man with smiling eyes said as he turned towards you in response.
“I don’t know you- but somewhere, I know you deserve so much better. Be kinder to yourself, please.” As he flashed a small smile at you.
You stared at him blankly. Loss for words. How could a stranger be so unknown yet so comforting? He let you feel safe within a space of minutes, and it’s more than anyone has ever done for you. You were at loss for words, and you just rubbed your eyes from soreness.
The train came to a slow stop as the speakers announced the arriving stop.
The man brushed off his trousers and pushed himself off the seats.
“That’s my call,” he stated, passing you a smile.
“Be easy on yourself, please.” He said as his face softened.
The next few passing days were roughly the same, but they weren’t as harsh as the one before. Things felt a little easier when you thought of those man’s words. He was right- these types of days weren’t forever. You wished to see him again, even if it was just a quick passerby look. That day, you only wanted him to be a stranger...but you didn’t want it to be like that anymore.
It had been 5 days since then. You spent every night wondering what would have happened if you just pushed your luck a little and asked for his contact info. Unfortunately, you weren’t that bold, but you wished you were for that one time. Even if your day at school was pure shit, you held onto that miniscule probability of encountering him again. It was enough to get you through the day.
The rainy season had passed it’s way through, welcoming the spring to Tokyo. Everything felt much lighter, and the sun made a huge impact on how you felt. The streets on the way to your station were a little emptier, and maybe it was because you ushered an excuse to the teachers that you felt ‘sick’. Nevertheless, it was for a good reason. Your favourite bakery located a few steps away from the station entrance had started selling your beloved higashi. A dry pastry shaped in cherry blossoms, sold when spring entered. You pondered your way towards the bakery, admiring the city centre. It never got old, even if you walked past it everyday as you went to school.
You felt something light hit against your shin, and as you moved your head to look down, you took a glance and cash notes falling into the air, spilling out of someone's pockets. You frantically scrambled down to collect the coins and notes into your cupped palms and ran up to the man who dropped them.
“Excuse me-” You panted as you poked the gentleman who was still walking, completely oblivious to the money they had dropped.
Your cheeks had spread with a bright pink tint, and you felt heat flash over your body, and it wasn’t because of the weather. There weren’t a lot of people will flashy dyed colours, and you certainly knew there was only one person who had dusty pink hair
Fuck. It’s actually him. Shit.
“Oh, thank you-” He said staring at your cupped palms. As he lifted his head to look at you, he too, flushed pink.
You both just stood in silence, flustering and heating over seeing eachother again.
You broke the very awkward silence.
“You should keep your money safe.” You awkwardly chuckled, darting your eyes away from his out of embarrassment.
“Yeah,” He awkwardly laughed in response, shoving his money back into his pockets and placing his palm behind his head.
A lot of nervous sweats and laughs later, you ended up ditching the higashi and went for mochi instead. This location was a little further away from the station, but you didn’t mind, because finally- you had finally seen him after countless weeks of trying to search for him at the station. All those days you spent anxiously staring at your phone clock and frantically trying to catch the same train that was scheduled.
You pulled your phone out with your free hand since your other had been occupied with trying to balance the mochi. It was almost 4:00PM, so most students would already be out.
Given your clumsiness, the mochi had fallen right out of your fingertips, and you cursed through your teeth. You shoved your phone back into your bag and faced towards the pink haired man to apologise. You bit back your words as you saw your mochi in his hands.
He caught it?
He passed you a laugh and handed you back your mochi, in which you responded with a ‘thank you’ and sat yourself down at the bench in the Ashikaga wisteria park. Floating purple buds flowing with the gentle spring breeze. The man led you here, and you were so grateful because you had no clue how beautiful nature could be even in the city.
The realisation of how much time had actually passed had only occurred when you realised there was no more mochi to munch on.
Time felt so timeless with him. Over the many hours you shared together, you got to know each other more and caught up with him about how school was.At one point, you asked what school he was from since the uniform was unfamiliar to you, but he quickly passed it off so you didn’t budge with the topic any longer.
Although this should’ve been the first step, you did exchange names and contact info. You praised yourself for not getting flustered about it, and you were sure it was much easier because he was so relaxed himself.
Itadori Yuuji was his name. Cute name. He said his name resembled those small, white buds of flowers.
As the day was nearing its end, you both sat there, relaxing into the bench and admiring the canopies of wisteria draping over the lanterned walkways. You didn’t want the day to come to its end, but you felt comfort in knowing you finally had a way to contact him again. You didn’t have to glare at the clock and race to find him at the station anymore.
The gap between the two of you closed as you got more touchy and comfortable with each other, giving playful pushes and slight brushing between your arms as you walked. Both your energy had run low, and you could feel him tiring out on the train back home. There was no space between you on the train seats, and his head slowly fell onto your shoulder and sank into you. You felt panic rise, and your heartbeat quicken, but you stayed ever so still so he could relax for the time being. Your head tilted against the seat, and you peered outside the train windows. Illuminating city lights passed by, and cherry blossom petals fell through the wind.
You shook Itadori ever so slightly to ease him into waking up. The train doors gasped open to signify his stop. He passed you a goodbye and a gentle smile, just like before, and made his way to the platform.
Your heart warmed, and you had never felt so alleviated.
“You’re lying. There’s no way.” Nobara whined.
“No lies. I haven’t felt like this before.” Itadori stated with confidence.
“Nope nope nope. Not accepting the fact that you'll have a partner before I do.” Nobara repeated in denial.
Munching and chewing filled the air. The pizza was still warm, and the three sat in Megumi’s room cross-legged.
“This world is so cruel sometimes,” Nobara whined.
“This girl has to be delusional to see anything in you. Oh actually- speaking of this girl, what is she like?” She said out of curiosity.
There was a long pause, and Itadori felt a flush of heat come over his body.
“He’s blushing! Megumi, are you seeing this?” Nobara screeched as she nudged Megumi aggressively.
Itadori grew brighter in embarrassment. Hiding his face in his pizza slice.
Nobara’s laughs filled the air as the rest of them joined in. Such typical young love.
“I mean- is this really a good idea?” Megumi was cut off.
“I know Fushiguro. I know.” Itadori repeated as he hung his head a little low.
Silence filled the air, it was all looming over their heads. It was something they avoided so desperately.
“Be practical, Yuuji.” Megumi muttered, as he shoved the last bite into his mouth.
That night, Itadori stayed wide awake, allowing his thoughts to run loose. He knew what would come in the few months he had left, but after only knowing you for two days, he wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with you. It was unrealistic. Itadori knew that… but somehow, somewhere, he just wanted to live a normal life. A life where he could experience what everyone would be able to. Young love.
“If only things were different.” Itadori whispered as he buried himself into his blanket.
You clicked your phone open to check the time, and as soon as you took sight of it, panic rose. Your body set into an instant rush as you rambled about trying to gather your things into your small beige side bag, pushing the objects with force and making a desperate attempt and zipping it up. You pulled yourself up to your mirror, and took one last look at your outfit. The two hours you planned to spend getting ready must’ve gotten lost when you were hesitating and switching between outfits. You didn’t wanna overdress, but you also didn’t want to dress casually. After what had clearly been a long time, you opted for a sky blue ruffled midi dress. Flowy and free to allow the wind to breeze past if it was too hot, but also adjusted with sleeves if it was too windy. Perfect for any type of weather that existed in later spring. You scanned one last time across your whole appearance, slipped your cream flats on and made a dash for the door.
Fuck… First date and I’m already running late?
Yes, it was your first date. You didn’t sleep a wink last night, anxiety and excitement mixed all in one kept your mind wide awake. You lathered your hefty eyebags with concealer and you were hoping it was enough to hide the fact you slept a maximum of three hours. Your makeup was simple, eyelashes curled, eyebrows brushed and lips soft with lipgloss. Lighter makeup was more suitable for warmer days. You contemplated putting on blush, you didn’t want to go overboard, but you decided to apply a light tint of it for good luck.
Your hands clutched onto your side bag as you practically sprinted down the station stairs to find Yuuji. There he was, standing anxiously by the ticket barriers, idling at his phone.
“Yuuji!” You screamed, while repeatedly panting.
Finally, he took off that hideous uniform. He wore a black t-shirt with beige shorts that cut off a little above his knee. Itadori looked so handsome, especially with his biceps poking through the sleeves. This wasn’t the right time to compliment him though. You were about to miss your train.
“(Name)! Come on, we’re gonna miss the train!” He yelled, grabbing hold of your arm gently yet firmly and pulled you through the barriers.
You both took the biggest leap through the train doors, and immediately collapsed onto the chairs, gasping for pockets of air. You sunk into your chair, holding your bag to your chest and trying to recollect your breath quietly- it was so embarrassing.
“Sorry.” You whispered, facing your head towards the windows away from him.
“Don’t be. We made it, didn’t we?” Itadori reassured, clasping his large hands with yours.
You faced towards him and passed him a wide grin, then proceeded to rest your head into his shoulder.
This was completely Itadori’s idea. It had been a few weeks of meet ups, and things escalated very quickly. He was so comforting and enticing. Naturally, it only made you want to confide in him and trust him wholeheartedly. Itadori asked so casually. It was a humid afternoon, so you opted to get ice-cream from the grocery store. He asked if you had visited the fields located on the outskirts of the city, explaining that it was so beautiful, especially with cherry blossoms blooming. When you replied no, he shook you so hard that half your ice-cream fell to the ground. Itadori was gleaming with excitement and joy- you couldn’t say no. Well, technically he never specified that it was a ‘date’, but this is what these types of things are, right?
It was still early morning. Around 10:00AM, and it was quite a long journey. Around two hours or so from the city to the outskirts. Without realising, your body had relaxed into Yuuji, and you fell into a deep sleep for the whole journey. Itadori didn’t move a muscle, you didn’t even budge when the train made stops and turns.
Itadori stood tall, and you grasped his hand to pull yourself up.
The air was much thinner and fresher here. The breeze was cold, but the refreshing type of cold. The day was still young, and you were filled with excitement for today. No one had ever made you feel this way, and definitely not this quickly. He made your stomach churn with butterflies, and your heartbeat rise. Itadori was different.
“Is that Godzilla..?” You asked in confusion, looking at Itadori as you pointed at the massive statue before you.
Itadori chuckled as he nodded, still holding your hand tightly.
The day grew much warmer, and you were thankful for your choice of outfit. There were a lot of tourists. It was expected since the flowers that bloomed here occurred in the springtime.
Whilst walking around, you and Itadori talked about everything and anything. He mentioned that a year or two back he spent a good chunk of his time burning through movies. The odd thing was that he had no favoured genre. He watched all and enjoyed all as much as he could. It’s those types of little things that made you admire him even more.
You discovered that Itadori was very much a dog person too. Every dog that we passed, he took the time to crouch down and give each of them a good belly rub and scratches. It was adorable. He used the ‘animal-talk’ voice, and it made your heart feel so warm. Itadori was wonderful in every sense.
After trekking for a few hours, you came across the most graceful U-shaped bend of flowers. All variating in colours of burning amber, bright yellow, and pure white. You stopped in your steps to admire it, eyes practically sparkling with joy.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” Yuuji whispered as he still held your hand by your side.
Your legs took a run for it and sprang through the fields of flowers. Yuuji trailed behind you with the joyful laughs. The midi dress trailed behind as well, flowing against the wind just before Yuuji.
Itadori brought you so much joy, you couldn’t have been more grateful to have encountered him.
After a lot of breathless running, you flopped your body down onto the grassy hill, allowing yourself to sink into it and exhaled sharply.
A mellow thud reached your ears as you felt Itadori copy your movements.
Once you felt your lungs relax, you turned your body to him, only to see his face facing yours. You flushed a bright red and hid your face with your bag.
“You’re beautiful, you know that right?” Itadori whispered, taking hold of your side-bag and lowering it.
“Stop.” you muttered in embarrassment.
“Nope. Blue looks good on you.” Itadori stated, bringing your head closer to him.
He rubbed loose circles with his thumb around your scalp, and you both stayed there taking in the silence and the fresh air.
“You look pretty handsome yourself.” You muttered into the crook of his neck.
“Huh? Didn’t hear that. Can you repeat it?” Itadori questioned. He knew full well what you said, but your words made his heart flutter in a way it had never been before.
“Not repeating.” You whispered, nuzzling your head closer into his neck.
Itadori was so wholesome, but of course, he had moments where he wanted to tease you for entertainment purposes. He made you so nervous. This type of feeling was completely foreign to you, but you knew, deep down, that you were falling for him so quickly. Not everyone can make your heart raise to a million beats, and make your tummy flow with butterflies.
Hours had passed, and the fields started to grow bare with people. It was just you and him on this field, enjoying and appreciating each other. Your bellies were filled with a few onigiri, all variating with different fillings.
When both your energy had run a little dry, you laid in his arms as one hand caressed your head, and one rubbing small patterns into the back of your dress. Your head rested above his chest, listening to the rhythm of his heart. You allowed the melody to play into yours.
After a few appreciative moments, Itadori broke the silence.
“(Name), what are we?” He asked. Not moving a single muscle.
You relocated your head to his shoulder to take a proper look at him, but he was staring idly at the sky.
Your palms started to become clammy, and your heart rate was increasing. The mind was uneased between deciding on saying the honest truth of how you felt, or to play it safe and lie. Itadori wasn’t the type of person you could lie to, so you took a leap of faith out of your comfort zone and allowed your heart to speak for itself.
“Itadori. All I wanted to do was to confide in a stranger. Nothing more. I didn’t want you to become anything more than that. I then found myself timing the trains and wanting to see you so desperately. Maybe it was stupid and unrealistic, but I found you, and I haven’t regretted it one bit.” You took a deep breath, heart racing. Were you going overboard? Probably.
“You showed me that my pain wasn’t forever. You showed me how to live each day like it was my last. I’ve never felt like this. Not for anyone. I wouldn’t allow myself to… and yet, here I am. Trusting you wholeheartedly, because I have fallen for you, Itadori Yuuji.”
You closed your eyes shut, trying to accept the fact that you actually just did that.
Silence filled the empty sky. The sun had started to set into warm oranges and comforting pinks. You didn’t know if you regret spilling it out, or if you were relieved.
After a few moments, Itadori let his thoughts out.
“Forgive me, (Name). I’m sorry.”
You slowly turned your head, somehow, in the very small distance, you could feel something off. In a weak attempt of trying to brace yourself, it was too late.
“I can’t promise you anything more than what we have right now. I don’t think it should be anything more.” Itadori muttered, feeling mellow in his tone.
Your heart dropped out of your chest. It was expected after the silence he gave you, but, what was this? Was he playing around with someone broken? No- he wouldn’t do that. He wasn’t like that, but, how would you know? You’ve only known him for a month.
Your body shifted out of his in response, and you could feel the burying guilt radiate over Itadori’s body. His eyes closed in instant regret.
You had no words to say. You wouldn’t bother. All of what he said was enough. You didn’y need a further explanation.
“Let’s… just go home.” You said as you pulled yourself up, hanging your bag over your shoulder and made your way down the hill.
“(Name) please,” Itadori pleaded, trying to stop you in your tracks.
“Itadori, it’s fine.After all, we’re still strangers.” You muttered as you made your way out of the field.
The trip home was silent. The gap had furthered, and you had nothing to say to each other. Deep down you were hurting. How could you let yourself feel like that though? Why had you fallen so deeply for someone you barely knew? Was it because he was the first person to ever comfort you wholly? The only person to ever show he genuinely cared?
You could feel your tears prick through, but you bit them back so you could cry peacefully at home.
Truthfully, you didn’t mean the ‘strangers’ part. In so little time, he knew everything about you and knew you more than anyone else. Including yourself.
You said your small goodbyes and made your way home to release your emotions. Muffled greetings came from afar, but you jolted upstairs to find your comfort.
That night, you let your tears set you to sleep and swallow you whole, and questioned everything and anything.
Summer was reaching its end, and it showed when rainy days made its way back into the country. Pitter patter noises hit against the window, and the grey skies dulled everything to the max. Your fingers released the pen ever so slightly to allow a tapping motion. It drummed against the notebook beneath it. As of now, you had no care for education. Wasn’t really your main priority, and definitely wasn’t something you could give a second thought about. It was just him.
You let the last remaining summer days pass by, and wasted them by drowning in self pity, finding comfort in your own company and shows. Your parents had shown worry and concern. The sudden changes in social behaviour confused them. Then again, it was understandable. You went from spending everyday in your room to never being in your room. Always out and about...and suddenly you weren’t coming home late. You weren’t coming home with that bright smile of yours.
As much as you didn’t want to, you missed Itadori. So so much. It felt like a heavy burden on your heart. He gave you everything and more, and it felt so much emptier without him. Sometimes you catch yourself shedding a tear over it, but you smack yourself out of realisation and reality. He was nothing more than a stranger. Or was he? Is that just a lie you’re telling yourself to numb the realness of it all?
The last bell sent rings throughout the school, and you pumped up your umbrella to make your way back home. Like usual. Like life was before. Before you met him.
“Itadori?” Nobara gently questioned, peering her head behind the door.
Megumi joined and peaked his head above hers.
Nothing but whimpers and silent cries. They knew straight away. He hadn’t come out for any missions. He didn’t come out for breakfast, lunch, dinner. He didn’t even come to pester Gojo.
They didn’t bother pestering him. Both of them knew what he needed. Each of them sat around Itadori, comforting him in knowing they were there for him when he needed it.
After a few moments to let everything out, Itadori let out a whisper beneath his duvet.
“I don’t want to die.”
Their hearts dropped. Death was looming, coming at a faster speed.
“Itadori-” Megumi said, but was quickly interrupted.
“I don’t want to die. Not yet.” Itadori cried out, choking on his tears.
He continued, “I just- I want her. I only want to be with her. Please-” he whimpered through his salty tears.
At that moment, nothing could have been said. Instead, Megumi and Nobara both rested their heads on Itadori. Comfort and warmth was all he needed. Itadori needed someone to tell him that it would be okay, but it wouldn’t be. The three of them knew that. They couldn’t give him the assurance he so badly yearned for.
Itadori’s heart ached so much, and it would never stop. Not when he slept, not when he ate, not at any moment during the time he was apart from you. He knew full well that it was completely irrational to fall in love so deeply with someone he knew for a few months. He never planned for any of it. He knew the risk, yet he took it, face-to-face, knowing full well that his time was so little.
“I wish things were different.”