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I always knew

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"Aren't you a sight right now, Leader."

Akira strained, writhing as he tried to get himself out of the tiny space he has been – not overly gently – crammed into, legs and arms bound tightly and a gag in his mouth. He glared up at Goro, who chuckled quietly as he straightened up, looking down at his bound, gagged form.

It has been hours since Akira has seen the door of the interrogation room open before him; and watched, with the knowledge that the plan Futaba had conjured up couldn’t have worked, as the detective stepped inside, took one look at him and let his hand fall, knocking him unconscious with a single hit.

What happened afterwards was a blur; and Akira woke up to the suitcase he has been crammed uncomfortably into being unzipped and gentle light of an unknown apartment flooding his vision, making him blink and struggle against the rope that tied him up so neatly.

"The drug is starting to wear off, isn’t it? Ah, you don't have to look so scared. I've never planned to kill you in the first place, as easy as it would have made this, so that little plan you had in place with your friends was rather redundant."

Akira frowned up at him, trying to get himself to sit up, and Goro watched him try and fail in amusement, before shrugging.

"I had to tie you up, of course. I couldn’t risk you giving us away moving on the way out of that place. Now… What's with the look? Don't worry, I sent the Phantom Thieves a message. They'll know I have fulfilled my promise, and that you're safe... well, for now."

Suddenly, Goro’s arm shot up; finally pulling Akira up to the sitting position, deft, elegant fingers working quickly on taking his gag off. As Akira sputtered and grimaced, opening and closing his mouth a few times to work his jaw open, Goro leaned back, smiling a rather wicked version of his Detective Prince smile at him.

"Now... aren't you grateful? I just saved your life. Don't you think I deserve... ah... a reward for being so nice?"

"You're so full of shit." Akira growled at him; though even as he did, a little, half-concealed smile was tugging on his lips.

"That's a nice thing to say."

"You've sold us out, traitor."

"Don't get me wrong, Leader." Goro sighed and knelt, brushing his hand lightly over Akira's bruised cheek. "I quite enjoyed my time with your group of misfits... however, I will not sacrifice my own plans for you lot. Be happy I decided to spare your life, at least."

Finally, Akira let his smile bloom, leaning into the touch on his cheek.

"...I knew you'd get me out." he said quietly. "I always knew, Goro."

"If you knew, there'd be no need for that convoluted plan."

Goro was always a good actor. The first time they met – and even most of the times since, despite the little slip-up the detective had about being able to hear Morgana – Akira had actually believed most of the things he said. The ability to distinguish Goro’s lies from the rare moments of truths came with time; over many chessboards and many cups of coffee.

And when they kissed for the very first time, Akira knew this was no lie; not for either of them. Just as the actual hurt shining through Goro’s biting words was a genuine one, too.

"If I didn't trust you, I would insist on creating a plan that had an actual chance of working." Akira said quietly, not breaking eye contact.

They stared at each other for a moment; and then, Goro's eyes softened, and another mask fell off his face as he looked away; expression soft, almost vulnerable.

"I knew I had to sell you out, according to plan; and that I will need to somehow make everyone think I killed you. But… I never meant for you to get this roughed up." he murmured, and Akira shook his head, smiling.

"Want to make it up to me? Rough me up more."

“…god, you’re insufferable.”

There was laughter in Goro’s voice, and Akira smiled up at him as the detective slowly hoisted him up, untying his arms and legs and rubbing away any numbness the bounds caused Akira. They were quiet, for most of the procedure; until Akira’s hands were finally free, and he wrapped his arms around Goro’s neck, pulling him into a kiss.

“How long have you known?” Goro murmured quietly against his lips, not kissing back just yet; though he didn’t try to move away. Akira shrugged, trying to kiss him again; only for his attempt to be thwarted. He sighed in annoyance, but complied nevertheless.

“…you heard Morgana, back then. At the TV station. You didn’t see it was him talking, and when you saw us there, you commented on something only he mentioned. We all knew, ever since then.”

“…this early, huh. So I’ve been doomed to failure from the start.” Goro sighed, shaking his head. Akira smiled lightly at him, resting his forehead against the detective’s shoulder.

“How long have you known?”

“About your plan? I realized something was wrong when Sae-san insisted on showing me your phone. I could feel the shift in consciousness, and a quick check of my own phone showed the app was active. Child’s play, really. Still, I need to applaud the Phantom Thieves their ingenuity. They underestimated me, that’s all.”

“You have no idea how much of this plan could go wrong even before you realized what was happening.” Akira sighed softly. He felt Goro’s arms wrap around him gently, holding him against his chest. After everything that happened over the last two days – the beatings, the drugs, the hours and hours spent in a lonely room being interrogated… Akira needed this. More than he could tell.

“I can only imagine.”

“Everyone was so excited about this plan, too. I kept telling them we could honestly just throw you in a locker before you could tip the police off. We could finish Sae’s Palace on another day, I could go into hiding somehow. We didn’t need to risk everything like that.”

“I suppose that might have worked.” Goro laughed quietly, shaking his head. “For a while, at least.”

“Mhm. And instead, I was supposed to be gambling with my life, with a plan more holey than swiss cheese. I’m a little bit surprised by how easily everyone accepted it, actually.”

“…it’s hard to understand how important someone’s life is, if you’re not the one risking yours.” Goro said quietly, and Akira moved back to look at him. Goro was different now; his eyes unguarded and open. It almost felt like another man was staring back at him. Akira decided he liked that new man more than the ever-pleasant, eager to please detective boy he knew so far.

“…so.” Goro said quietly, his eyes narrowing slightly. “You know everything about me. Or a lot, at least.”

“A lot. Definitely not everything.” Akira nodded quietly, his fingers threading through Goro’s hair. “And you know everything about me.”

“That I always did.” Goro laughed, though there was hardly any humour in that laughter. “You’re not hard to read, Akira. But… you know who I am now. You know what I did.”

“I know you’re a killer, you mean.” Akira said quietly, and saw Goro’s jaw tighten. The raven sighed, leaning his forehead against Goro’s shoulder once more.

“I doubt Futaba and Haru will ever forgive you. I doubt the rest of the Phantom Thieves will, either.”

“I’m not asking for their forgiveness. Nor am I arrogant enough to think I deserve it.” Goro shrugged lightly, propping Akira’s chin up with his fingers, making him look up at him again. He was frowning, Akira noted; and even during the conversation they were having, Goro’s eyes kept straying to the bruises and scratches all over his face. There was real regret here – and how ridiculous. The man who killed those whose death could benefit his own plans without remorse, regretting a few scratches the man he cared for received because of him. Akira almost wanted to laugh.

“It’s your opinion of me I want to know.”

“I remember you saying I’m not hard to read, Goro.”

A bark of sharp, humourless laughter again; and Akira smiled, watching as Goro shook his head at him.

“What if I don’t believe what I’m seeing?”

“Don’t believe what you’re seeing… or just really desperate to hear me say I love you, no matter what shitty things you did.”

For a long moment, there was silence between them. Goro’s expression was unreadable for everyone who’d look at him – everyone but Akira. He could see emotion there; so many of them, in fact, it was hard to discern every single one. And then, he saw the detective withdraw once more; and before he could, Akira’s arms moved down and his hands cupped Goro’s cheeks, pulling him into a deep, hard kiss, as if he wanted to ground him, keep him there, in that open, vulnerable state.

“I’m not lying.” he growled against the other’s lips once they parted for breath, only to dive into another kiss again. He felt Goro’s hands wrap tighter around him; one of them tangling in his hair, tugging at them desperately. Akira breathed softly and bit on the corner of Goro’s lip, earning a silent hiss for his troubles.

How can you say that?”

“Wasn’t it what you hoped you’d hear?”

“That’s beside the point, I—”

“I’m not proud of myself for how I feel.” Akira said quietly. He sighed; his hands slipping lower, now resting against Goro’s chest. He could feel these crimson eyes move over his face once more; rest over his lips, pink and wet from the passionate kiss.

“I realize I shouldn’t have fallen in love with you in the first place. You started off as the detective investigating us; and then, it seemed, with every layer we uncovered, you only got worse. But I did; and it’s not like I can help it. I want to punch you for what you did; I want to beat you bloody and make you apologize. But I want to kiss you and hear you out and understand you more.”

Akira sighed, pressing his body close against Goro’s; feeling the detective’s hands tremble against his body. He could feel him take a deep breath; could feel he was about to start talking, only to hesitate and stop himself instead. Akira closed his eyes and leaned his cheek against Goro’s chest.

“…I’m not saying you need to tell me your life story and show me proof you’re a good person after all. Honestly, I don’t think you are, but… I’m not sure I care. Just tell me… that it was for some good reason. That it wasn’t just for the hell of it for you.”

“Of course there was a reason.” Goro scoffed, arms tightening around Akira. “Who do you think I—”

“Good. You can tell me all about it in the morning, then.” Akira said quietly, before leaning back; taking Goro’s hand in his and starting to walk, hearing the detective gasp in surprise as he has been led through his own apartment, towards his bedroom. It was barren and neat, like the rest of the place; and save for an old, tarnished teddy bear sitting on the neatly-made bed, there were no personal belongings in it.

“…and what do you think you’re doing?” Goro had finally found his voice, just as Akira pulled him down to sit on the bed, climbing on his lap the moment he complied. The raven smiled lightly, trying to kiss him again; only to frown when Goro moved away from the kiss once more.

“…trying to get you to fuck me?”

“Akira.” Goro sighed, and almost ended up laughing at the raven’s unimpressed expression at his tone. Akira tried to lean into a passionate kiss once more, only to be thwarted again and whining in frustration, pushing against Goro’s shoulders lightly.

What. Goro.” he said. The detective smiled, delighting in the gasp he managed to pull from the raven as he turned them around, laying Akira down on the bed and climbing over him; watching as the raven’s face turned from surprised to hopeful as he looked up at him curiously.

“You don’t need a fuck right now. Not after everything they did to you.” Goro said quietly, and Akira shuddered, grimacing up at him. Before he could protest, though, Goro finally leaned in; and pressed a soft kiss against his lips, shutting him up.

“…so I’m not going to fuck you.” the raven continued. “But… I’m not entirely opposed to making love to you. A little bit later; once I’m done making all of these…” his trembling lips moved to the side, brushing over hot, tender bruise on the raven’s cheek. “…feel better.”  

Akira blinked up at him, before smiling a little, soft smile; one that was too watery and entirely too shaky. He was really easy to read after all, wasn’t he..? Goro seemed to think that, too; as he moved slowly down, his body resting over Akira’s own, until they were pressed together from their feet to their necks, the detective’s arms wrapping around him tightly.

“I was afraid it won’t work.” he whispered quietly; Akira could hear his voice shake. “I thought I will need to kill you; or kill the guard, or someone. I was afraid that no matter what I’ll do, I’ll lose you.”

Akira closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Goro in turn, holding him ever closer.

“I know.” he whispered quietly. “I was afraid, too.”