Chapter 1:

A Job Well Done

A Job Well Done

Almost as soon as the three of them had sat down in the backseat of Nitta’s car, they were asleep. Megumi took his usual place in the middle, Nobara on his right and Yuuji on his left, both slumped against him with their heads resting on his shoulders. All three of them breathing deep and steady. Nitta looked back at them in her rear-view mirror and smiled affectionately. They had done so brilliantly today, all three of them managing to take on and defeat a special-grade and come out virtually unscathed. They definitely deserved a rest.

Soon enough, though, they were back at Jujutsu Tech. Nitta couldn’t bring herself to wake them at first, just looking back at their relaxed faces from her seat with a smile. But then there was a light tap on the window. She turned back around to see Gojou looking in. He gave her a curious look, and she gestured to the backseat and mimed sleeping, closing her eyes and putting her hands under her head. Gojou moved so he could see, and then his face fell into a look of complete adoration.

Awwww!” she saw him say, the sound muffled through the door.

He opened the door quietly and beamed at Nitta.

“I didn’t want to wake them,” she admitted, wearing her own fond smile.

Gojou peered in to get a better look at the three sleeping teenagers, his face lit up with affection for his students.

“They did so well,” he said softly.

“Yeah,” Nitta agreed.

They both just looked at them for a few more moments. But they couldn’t just let them sleep in the car all night. So, eventually, Gojou, still smiling, went to open the back door of the car.

“Hey, guys… wake up,” he said gently. “You’re back at school. Come on… You can go sleep in your beds.”

After he gave them a little shake, the three started to stir. They blinked their eyes open, looking around all confused and groggy. Gojou’s smile just got fonder.

“Oh,” Yuuji said eventually, rubbing his eyes with one hand. “We fell asleep.”

Nobara yawned wide enough that it might have hurt. Megumi looked like he was struggling to keep his eyes open at all, blinking a lot more than he should.

Gojou chuckled. “Come on. Get yourselves to bed.”

Slowly and sluggishly, the three sleepy teenagers dragged themselves out of the car and onto their feet, swaying slightly.

Gojou smiled at them. “You guys did amazingly,” he told them. “I’m so proud of you.”

They were still half-asleep, but the praise made all three of them glow all the same.

“Thanks, Gojou-sensei,” Yuuji said, smiling tiredly.

Megumi and Nobara couldn’t manage words, but they both smiled back too.

“Now, get off to bed,” Gojou said, ruffling Yuuji’s hair. “You all deserve a good night’s sleep.”

With a little grin, he held up a hand, and they all high-fived him as they walked past, heading gratefully towards their rooms.

The three of them walked like they were in a trance. They didn’t speak, or make any sounds aside from the occasional yawn. But they didn’t need to. All they needed was each other’s company. After that night – after everything they faced – none of them wanted to leave each other’s sides. So, when they got to the nearest person’s room – Nobara’s –, without discussing it, without any kind of agreement, they didn’t separate. The three of them all went in together; they collapsed down onto the bed together, fully clothed, and all fell right back to sleep.

When Yuuji woke up in the morning, he felt amazing. He was certain he hadn’t slept so well since he’d swallowed that first finger. He felt warm, comfortable and safe. Smiling unconsciously, he just lay still to start with, enjoying the feeling.

But after a few minutes, he realised why was he was so warm and comfy. He was in bed with Megumi and Nobara. Thinking about it, he remembered the three of them trudging like zombies back through the campus and up to their bedrooms, and all just going mindlessly into Nobara’s room together and slumping onto her bed. He felt his cheeks flush a little, smiling with both amusement and embarrassment. He wondered how the others were going to react when they woke up.

He opened his eyes, getting a look at his friends. They were in the same order they’d been in the car – Nobara, then Megumi, then Yuuji. Nobara was on her side, facing the boys, and spooning Megumi from behind, with her arm resting on his waist. Megumi, in the middle, was on his side, too, but leaning toward his front, toward Yuuji. He was stretched out to lie half on top of the other boy, his arm wrapped across his chest. His head rested on Yuuji’s sternum, his hair tickling his nose. One leg lay over Yuuji’s.

Yuuji felt a little thrill go through him as he took in just how intimate of a position he and Megumi had ended up in. But it felt so nice. Megumi was so warm, his weight against Yuuji so comforting. He could stay like that for hours.

There was only one thing that would make it better. And, after a second, Yuuji decided he had to go for it. He may never get another chance. Careful not to wake either of them, he slowly reached the hand that was on Nobara’s back at the moment up to Megumi’s head. Very gently, he let it rest there, just over Megumi’s ear. And, when Megumi didn’t stir, he started to slide his fingers into his hair.

He barely kept from squealing. So soft! Pretty much since the day he’d met him, Yuuji had always imagined what Megumi’s hair would feel like. He’d practically dreamed about it. All that dark, fluffy hair that stuck up around his head like a halo… He had just known it would feel like heaven. And it did.

He tried not to get too overexcited. He didn’t want to waste this chance by moving too much and making Megumi wake up too soon. He made himself relax again, closing his eyes, breathing slow and steady as he gently ran his fingers through Megumi’s kitten-soft hair with a silent delight.

He wasn’t sure how long it was until the others finally began to stir. But eventually he heard them starting to make soft, groggy noises, and smiled fondly.

Megumi was the first to wake properly, and Yuuji nervously stilled his hand as he did, hoping Megumi wouldn’t realise he’d been awake playing with his hair on purpose. He couldn’t get mad if Yuuji had just put his hand on his head in his sleep. Right?

“Huh?” the other boy groaned. He lifted his head, and then he seemed to remember, as Yuuji had, what had happened last night. “Oh.”

He tensed up slightly, and Yuuji was worried he might get right up, breaking the peaceful comfort of the group embrace. But after a second he seemed to lose motivation, and dropped his head back down onto Yuuji’s chest.

“We were really spent last night, huh…” he mumbled.

“Yeah…” Yuuji replied, his hand still lying on Megumi’s head, fingers entwined in his hair. Megumi hadn’t done anything about it yet.

“I… I still can’t believe we actually killed three special-grades,” Megumi said.

“Me neither,” Yuuji agreed. Though he still felt bad that they had been more than cursed spirits… he couldn’t help a smile. It was a huge achievement for three first-year jujutsu sorcerers.

“We’re just that awesome,” Nobara muttered from behind Megumi.

None of them moved for another few minutes. And then Megumi seemed to return to himself a little, and he started to push himself up. Yuuji’s hand dropped out of his hair, and he couldn’t help a swell of disappointment.

“Hey – where’re you going?!” Nobara demanded, clinging to Megumi’s waist.

“To my own room,” Megumi said, in his usual disdainful voice. “I’ve had enough weird group cuddling thank y–”

He was cut off by Nobara grabbing him tighter and pulling him back down onto the bed, his face smushing into the pillow. Internally, Yuuji cheered.

“Well, I haven’t,” Nobara insisted. “I’m super comfortable right now and if you leave that just messes everything up. So you’re staying.”

“Me too – I’m super comfortable too,” Yuuji chimed in helpfully.

Megumi made a noise of deep-seated annoyance. But, after a moment, he gave in with a loud, resigned sigh.

“You’re so weird,” he grumbled.

But he didn’t try and get up again. Instead, he resumed his previous position almost exactly, lying one arm across Yuuji, his head resting in the hollow under his collarbone. Yuuji smiled warmly as the perfect comfort enveloped him once more.

The three friends lay there and drifted back into a doze. The only thing that kept Yuuji from relaxing fully was the urge to touch Megumi’s hair again. But Megumi probably wasn’t asleep again yet and he didn’t want to scare him off.

Still… he couldn’t keep it back. As slowly and nonchalantly as he could, he moved his hand back to Megumi’s head, gently resting it down. Megumi didn’t move, or protest. Yuuji started to lace his fingers through his hair. Still nothing. Yuuji smiled brightly as he started stroking that amazingly soft hair again.

“Itadori,” Megumi said after a few moments.

Yuuji froze, hand stilling instantly.

“You’re the weirdest,” Megumi murmured.

But he didn’t move. Yuuji smiled even wider, resuming the stroking once more.

After a few more minutes, Megumi seemed to be asleep again, his breathing deeper and fuller. And then he made a soft, happy noise, nuzzling his face slightly into Yuuji’s chest. Yuuji’s heart glowed.

Joe Gold
The Gang

A Job Well Done

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