By the time Akira had finished his shift at the convenience store his mind was made up. He was going to tell Yusuke how he felt about him, and he was going to do it with as much charm and romance as he could. Invite him out to dinner, give him flowers. Treat him right.
His shift had been right after school, so there was no reason he couldn't start the woo-ing that very evening. The flower shop in the underground mall would still be open, after all.
He changed out of his work polo and waited for Morgana to jump in before slinging his bag over his shoulder.
"So, straight to bed?" asked Morgana hopefully. It was literally still light outside.
"No," he said, "I've got to pick up some flowers."
He figured it would be more romantic if he could surprise Yusuke, but he wasn’t sure where the other boy was. A quick look told him Yusuke wasn't hanging out in the station like normal, and it'd be a bit excessive (not to mention expensive) to travel to the Kosei dorms if Yusuke wasn't there either.
“Looking for Yusuke?” asked Morgana. He nodded, rummaging in his bag for his phone. “Hey, stop pushing me.”
"Stop sitting on top of my stuff," said Akira, pulling his phone out from under the cat's butt and wiping cat hair on his blazer. It was a miracle he wasn't covered in the stuff 24-7, the way Morgana sat all over everything he owned.
"Are you texting him to ask where he is?" asked Morgana, ignoring him.
"Nah," he said, opening up his chat log with Futaba instead. If Yusuke was hanging out with anyone in the group other than Akira, it’d be Futaba. Frankly, even if she didn't know where he was, she could probably find out. He knew she still tracked his GPS, it wasn't a stretch for her to be doing the same for their other friends.
> Hey, are you seeing Yusuke today?
> I need to talk to him.
Futaba could take a while to respond to messages, so he slipped his phone into his pocket and hurried to the underground mall.
Hanasaki refused to accept any payment for the flowers once she figured out they were for ‘a special someone.’ His insistence that he should pay was a little half-hearted - fresh flowers were pretty expensive - and she pushed the bouquet of white flowers into his arms with a wink. "Good luck," she said.
"I'll make it up to you," he promised, "I'll work longer shifts or something." He ignored Morgana's pointed cough from inside his bag.
"You don't have the time for longer shifts," said Morgana as he walked away, "you barely get enough sleep as it is."
"All I'm hearing are meows," he said, smirking at Morgana's indignant splutter in response.
His phone had buzzed while he was buying the flowers, and he pulled it out now to see that Futaba had messaged back.
>> what about
Knowing Futaba, she wouldn't tell him where Yusuke was until he spilled the beans on why exactly he wanted to know. But he could at least try to keep his secrets.
> It's personal.
Her next three texts came in quick succession.
>> is it about how ur in love with him bc I know all about that
>> sojiro says u learned to make curry for him
>> why don’t u make curry for me :(
His noise of surprise made Morgana claw up his blazer and onto his shoulder to peer at his phone. "You're too obvious," he said disapprovingly, "I bet everybody knows except Yusuke."
Akira shook his head. There was no way Futaba could have worked out how he felt just by the fact he asked Sojiro for his curry recipe. Sure, he'd only tried it with Yusuke so far, but he fully intended to make it for all the Phantom Thieves at some point. She had to have other sources.
> How tf did you figure me out?
Maybe it was because she had bugged LeBlanc or hacked into his phone or something. She took a while to text back, and when his phone buzzed again his stomach dropped.
>> This is Yusuke, Futaba just gave me her phone.
Morgana's cackle drew the attention of several commuters, and he jumped back into Akira’s schoolbag before anyone could ask questions about what a cat was doing in the station. This left Akira to freak out on his own.
> Please don’t read the messages.
>> Too late.
He was going to kill Futaba. What the hell was she thinking? He pushed his glasses up to press his palms against eyes and tried to think of an appropriate response. Something that conveyed he was embarrassed and sorry to be found out, but also wasn't outright denial in case Yusuke felt the same. But he couldn’t come up with anything, and didn’t want to wait too long to message back.
> Ah shit.
He leant against the wall with somewhat shaky legs. The ball was very much in Yusuke's court now. His phone buzzed.
>> I feel the same.
"Oh, thank God," he said, aloud.
"What is it?" asked Morgana from inside the bag, "did he read the messages?"
"He feels the same."
Akira's heart was fluttering. Literally fluttering. He didn't know what to do. He was still holding the flowers in the crook of his arm, trying not to crush them as he texted Yusuke.
He found himself admitting that he'd had plans to woo him.
> Woo me?
>> They were very romantic.
Was that a normal, flirtatious thing to say to a boy who'd just admitted that he liked you back via his friend's phone? Maybe. Would it be weird to ask Yusuke where he was now? If he was with Futaba, it had to be Sojiro's house or LeBlanc, unless Futaba had dragged him to the Electronics district. It didn't matter, Yusuke had texted again.
>> Where are you now?
> Shibuya station.
>> Wait there, I’ll meet you.
He tried not to flip out.
"What's going on?" asked Morgana, "what's he saying?"
Akira angled his phone towards his bag so that Morgana could read the exchange.
"Oh, jeez," said Morgana, "I'm not sticking around for this."
Morgana leapt out onto the floor, flicking his tail irritably. "You better be done before eight," he threatened, "I can't find my way back to LeBlanc by myself." With that, he disappeared into the crowds of commuters.
He texted Futaba again while he waited for Yusuke to show, assuming she had her phone back after Yusuke's "I'll be there in ten" message was sent from his own number. He told her off for letting Yusuke read his messages, but then, feeling a little bad, send a thank you message as well.
Then it was just a matter of walking to the place where he and Yusuke usually met up to people watch, and trying not to look awkward standing there with a huge bouquet.
He spotted him pretty quickly, walking towards him with an unreadable expression. He waved. Yusuke waved back.
“Are those for me?” he asked once he was in speaking range.
"Yes," he said, practically thrusting them at him. "They were part one of that whole wooing-you thing."
Yusuke took the flowers, running his fingers along one of the petals. "What was part two?"
"Er-" said Akira, willing his brain to reboot. Yusuke honestly looked too gorgeous holding those flowers. "Dinner?"
"Well," said Yusuke, smiling, “are you free right now?”
Yusuke took his hand and pulled at it, apparently intending to walk with him out of the station. Akira stayed put, using their joined hands to pull Yusuke towards him, instead.
“Look,” he said, fighting his nervousness to look Yusuke in the eyes, which were currently widened in surprise, “I know you read my texts, but I kind of have to say this out loud.”
Yusuke visibly swallowed.
“I like you,” he said, “a lot. I have for a while.”
Yusuke withdrew his hand. For one horrifying moment, Akira thought that despite everything he had still managed to read this wrong, that Yusuke wasn’t really interested him and he’d somehow completely misinterpreted the text messages and the response to the flowers.
But then Yusuke was thrusting the bouquet of flowers into his arms and rummaging around in his bag for something, pulling out his sketchbook.
He went to hand it to Akira and then, flustered, remembered that Akira’s hands were full with the flowers Yusuke had just given him to hold. He took them back and handed Akira the sketchbook again. Akira took it, deeply confused. He knew from experience that Yusuke didn’t like people looking at his rough sketches.
“Look inside,” said Yusuke, his face colouring, “I’ve been told it’s very illuminating.”
Curious, he turned to the first page. It was a sketch of Ann, looking beautiful in what appeared to be the diner they visited as a group sometimes. He looked up at Yusuke, muddled.
“A little further ahead,” was all he said, and Akira flipped forwards a few more pages.
After a couple more of Ann, there was a sketch of Mementos that he recognised, and then... him. It was a beautiful drawing, and although he’d posed for Yusuke’s sketches more than once before, he didn’t remember posing for this one. He was bent over the sink at Leblanc, washing dishes. But there was no way he’d ever looked quite so graceful doing it, or that the light could ever have fallen on him so softly in reality.
He looked up at Yusuke again, still unsure what he was trying to tell him. But Yusuke just gestured for him to continue.
He turned the page. A portrait he remembered posing for. Next page. Another candid sketch, again at LeBlanc. The page after that was full of rough drawings, but he recognised them as him as well.
Beginning to understand what Yusuke was getting at, Akira flipped through the sketchbook a little faster, and found himself on almost every page.
He looked up at Yusuke again, who now looked apologetic. “Futaba accused me of being ‘thirsty,’” he said.
That startled a laugh out of Akira, who had paused on a sketch of his own upper chest and neck, cut off just above his mouth. He was only sure it was him from the V-neck he was wearing, and from the curly hair peeking out at the top of the page. ‘Thirsty’ was definitely one word for it.
“I hope that this sketchbook is adequate as a confession,” said Yusuke, “It was seemingly enough for Futaba to inform me of my feelings.”
Yusuke nodded, taking the sketchbook from Akira’s loosening grip and pushing it back into his bag. “I had no idea how I felt about you until today. But she stole that sketchbook from me and, well… raised some valid points.”
“That perhaps there’s no platonic explanation for the number of portraits I’ve drawn of you,” said Yusuke, “and that along with being my muse, you’re also the object of my affections.”
Akira grinned. “Maybe I should have given those flowers to Futaba.”
Yusuke clutched the bouquet to his chest protectively, and Akira laughed, taking a step closer.
They had already given the travellers of Shibuya station quite a show, hashing this all out in public as they had, and Akira didn’t really see the problem with a grand finale. He stepped closer even still, looking at Yusuke significantly from under his eyelashes.
“If you’re going to kiss me,” said Yusuke, “I’d rather you got on with it. I’m hungry, and you promised me dinner.”
His tone was indignant, but his eyes were wide, and his lips remained parted after he’d finished speaking. And Akira, who’d long since found Yusuke’s eccentricities and unintentional rudeness endearing rather than annoying, did as he was told and closed the gap.
Yusuke’s kissing lacked the refinement of his sketching, but Akira was sure that it was nothing a little practise - and the help of his muse - couldn’t fix.