To make up for all the long breaks, I made a playlist on Spotify for this fic. It's titled "Fanfic: Take Care" and my profile name is Prince Jacque. Please note that not every song represents Mikan and Nagito's relationship, but ALL dynamics in this fic, including the more distressing (Junko) ones. I'm also hoping the playlist will keep my writer's block from making comebacks.
Junko tossed aside my pill bottle.
"You don't need these."
I could hear the clatter of the pills against each other when the bottle hit the carpet. I imagined a few of them cracked against each other and broke again.
Junko traced her hand across my jawline, her fingernails almost sharp against my skin. I couldn't tell if I flinched from the sound of the pill bottle or fear that she'd scrape my chin clean off.
"I'm all you need," she said, "I'm the only one who will accept you for the filthy, disgusting girl you are."
I shook my head of the memory, finding myself standing in my bathroom with the faucet running.
My phenelzine sat scattered across the bathroom floor with the lid by the wastebasket and the bottle, itself, by the tub.
A wave of anxiety rose against my throat like bile, carrying with it awful thoughts.
I messed up.
Some of the pills are broken.
I have to pick them all up.
What if I can't pick them all up?
What if I don't find some of them?
Is it even safe to take these after they've touched the bathroom floor?
Oh god, I have to gather up the strength to call for a refill.
I don't want to have to talk to anyone over the ph-
A white sphere appeared in the corner of my vision. I had been aware of it for some time, so I wasn't surprised when I turned my head to see Monomi nearing the open bathroom door.
Her soft presence calmed my heart just enough for me to lower the volume of my rambling thoughts. Instead, I now focused on picking up the ball of fluff before she mistook any stray pills for food.
"I'm not...not usually like this," I told Monomi, knowing she couldn't understand, "But sometimes...well, sometimes a bad memory c-creeps in...and feelings from all those years ago come back."
I stepped out of the bathroom and let my feet carry me wherever, as I pet Monomi and talked. I wondered if I would have looked weird to anyone else.
"I hear that happens to normal people, too, people who don't have to go to therapy or take medicine to...to function...like me. It kinda makes me happy...happy knowing I-I have something in common with people who aren't sick."
Just by saying that aloud, a cloud of joy began to rise in my chest.
"You know, I feel like...I feel like everyday that passes, I'm getting closer to becoming normal. The p-past gets further away each day, which means I...I don't have to face it again. I'm moving on and getting better, s-so there's hope for me becoming a normal person."
"It felt like a warning from...from the universe, itself," said Mikan, "The fact that I-I had a flashback of her on that very same day that I found out about the interview."
[Nagi: Are you busy? I thought about picking up something from the American Bagel and coming over.]
"Do you think you would have felt the same way if you didn't have that flashback that morning?" asked Dr. Akio.
[You: I'd love that!]
[You: Could you get the usual for me, please?]
"I...I don't know. I wouldn't call myself sup-superstitious…And, and now that I think about it, Nagito did wait a f-few days before telling me."
Nagito wanted to get nice and cozy first to make the discussion easier, but no matter how warm the sheets were or how sweet Mikan's presence was, it could only do so much.
Still watching the television, he asked, "Say, have you heard about the new episode of Wakuni's Chair that's coming up?"
Mikan shook her head with a soft, "Mm-mm."
When Nagito didn't respond right away, Mikan added, "Why do you ask?"
Nagito felt his throat close up. The idea of Mikan's reaction clouded his mind. He could see the fear in her eyes as tears formed, her body shrinking in on itself and trembling like a leaf. He could hear her voice become an inconsolable squeak that dissolved into sobs. All because of him.
That's when he realized that his throat hadn't closed up. It was obstructed by a familiar lump.
"N-Nagi, what's the matter?"
Mikan's voice pulled Nagito back into the present, where he swallowed the sadness and returned to his neutral disposition.
"Heh, looks like the cat's out of the bag now," he joked, weakly.
Mikan was looking up at him, but Nagito could only look at her shoulder.
"I've been afraid to tell you this…" he started, "Because it's scary for the both of us."
Those last few words disquieted Mikan.
The both of us? Does he mean our relationship? Are we breaking up? Did something go wrong?
But then he said it: Junko Enoshima.
That name dropping from his lips stopped Mikan's thoughts altogether.
"W-W-What…?" she asked, her voice faint.
"They're interviewing a woman named Junko Enoshima on Wakuni's Chair," he repeated, "Mikan, I'm not upset with you or anything. It's not a bad thing to have dated someone else before me. I just wanted to..."
Mikan ran her hands through her hair, tugging anxiously as she reached the jagged ends.
"Oh god...oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh…"
Nagito rushed to take hold of Mikan's hands so that she wouldn't harm herself.
"No, no, it's okay, really. I know some people get fussy when they hear about their partner's ex, but it's not infidelity or-"
"It's not that…!" Mikan nearly yelled.
Nagito let her soothe herself by rocking back and forth for a few seconds without any exchange of words between them. Though, he'd be lying if he said just those few seconds weren't filled with frantic thoughts about what could have possibly been going through Mikan's mind.
"I-If she's on TV…" Mikan whimpered, "...it means, it means she's not in jail anymore…!"
Japan wasn't always very courteous towards couples of the same gender. If their existence wasn't being exploited for "fanservice" in anime, they were belittled or even outright scolded.
Maybe that's why Mikan ignored all of the red flags.
Junko said mean things, but who cared? Another woman returned her affections.
Junko caused in-fighting between classmates for fun, but who cared? A pretty, confident, and intelligent woman was into her.
Junko distracted her from her work and made her miss her appointments, but...who cared…?
If Mikan had the audacity to break up with the bombshell of the university, Junko would leave their relationship with all of Mikan's secrets.
Mikan knew that Junko's mind was a filing cabinet. It held organized information from the time she was born, and she could pull out a file at any moment's notice to use what was inside to her advantage.
Besides, Junko said that she loves her, and she would never lie about that, right?
Nagito's face struggled not to crumple under the weight of Mikan's truth.
Mikan had never fought back against the tears as she heard Nagito's story, so they left dried traces across her cheeks.
"What are the chances...?" Nagito asked, resting his palm on his forehead.
"She's ruined so many lives," said Mikan, her voice surprisingly sturdy, "I don't think I'm surprised."
Nagito's hand ran down his face, then found his other hand and interlocked their fingers. He bit his lip, screwing his eyes shut as he let his head fall onto the bridge his hands made.
"Dammit…" he said, his voice cracking, "I'm...why am I like this now?"
Tears dripped off of his pale hands and into his lap.
"I-I survived the cult...I survived her. I never once thought she was arrested, so why am I suddenly…"
Mikan's arms wrapped around Nagito's figure, pulling along one of the blankets over his shoulders.
"You know…" she said, "It's okay to cry sometimes, even if it doesn't make sense. Feelings are like that."
A few fresh tears sprung from her own eyes, empathy blooming in her chest.
She rested her head on Nagito's, who leaned into Mikan's body and returned her embrace.
No other words about the blonde ghost were spoken that night.