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Cupid's Chokehold

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“You like playin' darts?” Ryuji pauses his fidgeting with a dart as he fixes a confused stare in Akechi's direction. “Akechi Goro, mister fancy-pants-attracts-women-like-flies himself, likes something as lowbrow as darts, huh?”

“Is that so surprising, Sakamoto-kun?” Akechi settles for looking politely confused, eternal smile in place. “I do have hobbies, you know.”

(Does he really seem that untouchable? So far above the common folk that a child's game like darts would hold no interest for him? He doesn't want the answer to that, because he already knows.)

Ryuji makes a thoughtful sort of noise but it's obvious he's only pretending to think about it. “Yeah... yeah no, I'd say that's real surprisin'.”

Akechi tilts his head a little as he looks at the blonde in front of him. He'll bite, why not. “Well, I'm curious, then. What do you think I'd like?”

“I dunno, I just didn't think you'd be into this sort of thing. Darts ain't exactly what I'd think of as something Phantom Thief watchdogs had time for, y'know?” Ryuji says with a shrug, tossing some darts up in the air and fumbling a few when they come back down.

“Oh?” Clumsy idiot. That jab did not go unnoticed. Akechi's eyebrows furrow a tiny bit but his expression still remains neutrally pleasant. He plucks one of the loose darts out of Ryuji's hands, twisting it around in his fingers. Darts are just shorter arrows after all, and he's had plenty of practice shooting those recently.

“You wanna play me then?” Ryuji asks, his leg bouncing up and down rapidly. “No one else in here can throw worth a damn and I'm hella bored!”

Not that there were many people to choose from, there were maybe three others in here. Must be a slow night here in this club. It's ridiculous just how bored and yet hopeful he looks, like a shiba who thinks it's just heard the word 'walkies' uttered within a 5 foot radius.

“I don't know if I have the time for that now, Sakamoto-”

“Puhleeeeeze? It's a boring-ass Thursday night, why are you even in here!!”

“I have my reasons-”

“Oh of course, of course, you have Very Important Business and I'm sure it'd be bad for you to be seen with the likes of me in a bar in Shinjuku anyways,” Ryuji scoffs, punctuating it with an exaggerated roll of his eyes. He waves a hand in a mockingly dismissive gesture, though Akechi notes (hopes) that Ryuji's expression looks at least a tiny bit crestfallen.

“All right then, I don't wanna keep you from practicing your TV interviews about your perfect Sunday mornings or whatever.”

“Sakamoto-kun...”

“You're probably just afraid that I'll be better than you at somethin' for once, prettyboy,” Akechi can hear Ryuji muttering, and he can feel his annoyance rising. He should know better than to rise to such obvious bait, but he has been rather... pent-up these days.

If it's a fight he wants, it's a fight he'll get. Akechi smiles, lips pulled tight in mock camaraderie.

“You know what, I could do with letting off some steam after all. Care to play a game of darts, then?”

Ryuji's smile, in contrast, is gleeful and borderline malicious, and full of sharp teeth. “Hell yeah! You're on, Detective Prince!

“Don't call me that, please,” Akechi sighs, but he sets his ever-present briefcase down on the table with a clunk before squaring up. How hard could it be to beat Sakamoto Ryuji, the least competent of the Phantom Thieves, at a precision sport? He'll humour him for the time being.

“Shall we?”

“Aw hell yeah, let's do this shit!”

===

“Hah! In your FACE, Akechi!” Ryuji crows in victory, throwing his arms up in the air and letting out another whoop. Akechi stares at the dartboard in disbelief. How was this possible...? That bleached blonde idiot had the finesse of a rhino writing in cursive with a fountain pen, and yet each throw landed exactly where he aimed, sometimes scant centimetres away from where Akechi's darts landed. Almost as if Ryuji was mocking him.

This is the price he has to pay for hubris, it seems. Akechi's boiling under his skin, eyes sharpened to furious daggers in Ryuji's direction but his lips remain curved upward. He's above this, this... utterly childish waste of time, and yet...

“That was... very impressive, Sakamoto-kun,” he manages to grit out. “Good game.”

“Hell YEAH it was, your ass got totally whooped!” Ryuji hollers. He starts doing this ridiculous little victory shimmy around the other boy and dear god above he does not have the moves. “Suck it!!”

(God, Akechi wishes.) He does not need this right now. “I'm glad that this victory is what you have to show for all those hours spent upon your studies, truly an achievement,” he snipes back with sarcastic applause thrown in for good measure.

“Y'know, you're an awfully sore loser,” Ryuji snorts, but his grin is still wide and definitely malicious now. “But I gotta say, defeat looks kinda cute on you? I could get used to this...”

"Well, don't,” Akechi snaps a little too loudly. It doesn't faze Ryuji in the slightest; in fact, the asshole just barks out a laugh and his sharp teeth are glinting in the light even brighter now, that damn shark grin.

“You wanna go another round and get stomped again?” His eyebrows waggle again. “One more round? Eh?”

“Absolutely,” Akechi growls, competition punctuating every syllable. He's smiling again, sharp and jagged. “I'm just warming up.”

He's not sure if the heat rising to his cheeks is due to anger, humiliation, or the fact that Ryuji lowkey called him cute. (Definitely not that last one. No sirree.) Ryuji lets out a guffaw and goes over to pull the darts out of the board again. And Akechi's eyes definitely don't flick downwards to stare at Ryuji's ass when he bends over to pick up a dart in the corner (one of Akechi's, natch).

“...Why don't we up the stakes a bit? It's more fun if there's a risk involved, isn't it?” Akechi prompts as innocently as he can. “Winner take all, perhaps?”

“Yeah? Funny, the way the game was goin' tonight I'd half expected you to suggest that the loser takes all,” Ryuji snickers, coming back over with darts in hand. Akechi's eyes narrow at him.

“Couldn't resist, could you.”

“Nopearoonie.” Ryuji rubs the back of his neck in that nervous little way of his, though, quailing a tiny bit under that sharp gaze. “...What, uh, exactly do you mean by that? I'm flat broke, if that's where you're anglin'.”

“Please,” the detective scoffs, offended at the very notion. “No, I was thinking of something more...” He trails off, formulating what he's about to say next very carefully.

Ryuji's making a face now, where he looks suspicious but also curious against his better judgement. His interest is definitely piqued. “... I'm listenin'.”

“If I win, I get to do whatever I please with you. No no, let me finish,” Akechi admonishes, putting a hand up to stop to Ryuji's splutter. “It goes both ways, you know. If you win, well, that's up to you. I am yours for the taking, free to do with as you wish. How does that sound, Sakamoto-kun?”

He reaches over to pluck one of the darts out of Ryuji's hands again, daring him. The words had come out much more of a purr than he intended, but they're out in the open now. He's played his hand, so to speak, and now he waits with bated breath and a pounding heart.

“Man, I ain't much of a gambler, there's too much thinking involved. But you know what, what the hell, why not,” Ryuji says with a shrug, though his eyes are ablaze. Rushes right in, as per usual. “If I win, that'd give me the power to get info from you or something, yeah?”

Akechi can hardly believe his ears and tries to keep the sheer glee out of his voice. “You can think as big or as small as you like. But that's only after I beat you into the ground in this next game.”

Ryuji barks out another laugh. “Man, to give you at least a fightin' chance let's do best of 5!”

Nothing's more motivating than risking everything on a mad whim, right?

===

“Stop laughing at me!” Akechi hisses petulantly, his face reddening even further. Ryuji is absolutely helpless with laughter, clutching his stomach with streaming eyes, and has been for the last five minutes. Screw Akechi being a sore loser, Ryuji is a downright insufferable winner!

“No effin' way, man! I still can't believe it, that you're gettin' so worked up over – over this! THREE games now that you've lost an' you're pouting and about to throw a tantrum like an effin' BABY and- ”

“Shut up or I'll – I'll – !” Before he realizes it, Akechi's fists are balled up in the front of Ryuji's shirt he's yanked him close and now all of a sudden they're nose to nose, and the atmosphere between them has changed in an instant.

To Ryuji's credit, he looks as shocked as Akechi feels at this turn of events. His (warm, chocolatey, adorable) brown eyes are so wide and Akechi suddenly has no idea what to do. He certainly didn't think he'd get this far. He stammers inelegantly, completely at a loss for words. Shit.

“Or you'll what, Goro?” Ryuji asks, his voice low and dark and a direct Ziodyne down Akechi's spine. Shit. Shit shit shit. It's too late for him, his face is burning and his sharp tongue has failed him and his grip on Ryuji's shirt goes white-knuckled.

“I won. You said earlier that the winner takes all, right?” Ryuji's earlier mirth returns a little as his lips curl now into a smug, victorious, stupid little kissable smirk and -

In an instant, Akechi's lips are smashed against Ryuji's and there's nothing tender about it, all that's there is the urge to shut him up, to make him stop gloating.

(Well... that's not the only thing there.)

For a few heart-stopping moments Ryuji doesn't react.

But then he does (Akechi can breathe again) and it all hits them at once, a wrecking ball of tension that's just been dropped. It's all just lips and tongues and some teeth and heat. It's gross, almost, borderline desperate.

Akechi can't get enough of it. The way Ryuji's eyes flutter shut and his hands come up to grip Akechi's hair roughly so he can be manoeuvred to a different angle so this shows that he's not entirely opposed either. He moans against Akechi's mouth and there, at least, Akechi can glean a little bit of the victory that's been eluding him all night.