Vibes, Vibrations, Validations @cynamonowo
Chapter 1

Sakura's— that is, Futaba's room is just as cluttered as usual, Goro notes as he enters it and takes his usual spot on the spare chair (before moving a stack of magazines to the floor). Flashing him a quick smile, Futaba throws herself on her bed and fiddles with her phone. Soon enough, calm music starts to play, soft and in English. He only understands a few words at a time, but it sounds like it's about... twilights and stars? Huh. Usually, Futaba prefers random YouTube videos as background noise. Perhaps — she is not feeling well? Is that it? Goro really cannot tell for the life of him, but she... does seem alright. Maybe.

"I'm gonna play Animal Crossing," Futaba announces, her Switch console already in hand and turning on. "What about you?"

Goro shrugs, giving her a blank look. "Scroll through Twitter," he offers, pulling out his phone, "maybe watch you play too?" Shit, he sounds fucking awkward. Disgusting.

This is the second time they're hanging out in Futaba's room, and about the fifth time in general. Before today, it's been Leblanc, either the attic or downstairs. Futaba, she told Goro to call her by her "first name already, Christ," would play either Animal Crossing, or Ace Attorney, or go through her TikTok likes. Meanwhile, he would… also do whatever he wants to. Read a book, play chess online, maybe binge read some Wikipedia articles.

And it all would feel easier than Goro expected. He knows Futaba doesn't fully trust him yet, but they're still somehow closer than what felt possible at the very beginning. He hasn't told anyone about it, not even his therapist, but he's sure Akira knows because of how cocky he's been recently. Well. On the other hand, Akira is always a goddamn nuisance.

"Hell yeah," Futaba exclaims in a lively voice, pulling Goro out of his thoughts. He realizes he's been staring at his phone without doing anything — maybe dissociating a bit again, whoops — and glances at the girl beside him.

"Did something good occur?" he asks, furrowing his brows.

Futaba nods, grinning at the screen. "One of my favorite villagers wants to move in," she explains and angles the console to show him the two humanoid figures, the art style quite cartoony and cutesy, waving their arms in apparent joy. "She's called Apple, and her personality is peppy. Lit."

Goro squints. "Is that... a guinea pig?" he tries.

Futaba scrunches her nose. "Beep! Wrong answer, pancake boy. She's a hamster." She reaches out and knocks her fist on his bicep. "You are the weakest link. Goodbye!" She sticks her tongue out.

Rolling his eyes, Goro leans back on the chair to have a better view of the screen. He rests his ankle on the opposite knee and watches Futaba command her character to run through a grassy field, picking up fruits from the ground.

Ann has been talking to him about doing something relaxing, something just for fun. And Goro does have enough money (thank you, a bunch of random offshore accounts Shido made and Goro snatched up) to get a Switch of his own. Either that, or he'll have to listen to ASMR or play with clay, or some other boring shit. He'd truly rather not.

"You okay, Goro?" Futaba asks suddenly, looking up to frown at him. "You've been kinda quiet."

"Do not worry," Goro answers after a moment of hesitation. "I'm alright, just thinking."

"Well, you better not get lost in that head of yours, nerd." She smirks at him, quite mischievous. "Chill out and go troll some assholes on Twitter, or whatever you want to do."

"I don't troll— Oh, whatever." But Goro says it — lightly. He feels more relaxed. Just a bit, but still. Perhaps this is the fabled progress.

Or maybe he's projecting. But, hey, carpe diem. If Goro's alive, he may as well enjoy it sometimes. And, hey, if he does mess with people on Twitter, they sure as hell deserve it.

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