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It's a Compliment, Really

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Akira Kurusu did not, as a rule, visit his friends often since the disbanding of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. 

It wasn’t that he disliked them, of course. He loved them all. They were more family to him than his actual parents, who had always been disappointing to say the least.  It was just a sort of… troublesome feeling beneath it all.  Like somehow, every time they got together, it was certain to lead to a giant problem.  In the space of one year they had managed to stumble onto like six different rapists, at least three murderers, more corrupt politicians than he could remember off the top of his head, and so many sociopathic bullies that he could have started a damn football league with them. 

But nor could he just stay away forever, of course. There were no greater friends to him in this world.  So, he settled for short, day-trip visits, spending time with only one or two of them at a time. No parties, nothing too public, because the more people around the more likely it was someone in the crowd would drive someone else to suicide. 

He should have known this was only a stopgap measure.  Particularly since this visit was focused on…

AKIRA.  I have DISCOVERED.” Futaba did not… quite scream, but she could put a lot of emotion into her words when something she liked caught her attention.  And right now, she was putting so much emotion into it that it made his brain hurt.

He had taken his… sorta sister sorta friend… thing to the only place that Futaba ever wanted to go, an electronics store. She could get anything she wanted online, but she’d grown to enjoy going out shopping as a way to proclaim her dominance over shyness.  She also claimed that when you went out you could find ‘surprise rare drops that online searches only had a 0.01% chance to find!’  She was a unique girl.

And sometimes, he was forcibly reminded that she wasn’t always unique in a good way.

“What did you find?” he asked, because he sometimes was deeply stupid. 

She grinned, her expression filled with so much joy that Akira felt his blood freeze in his body. When Futaba was happy, people got hurt.  “So!  I was over in the porn section…”

“… Why?”

“Because I always look at the porn section, keep up,” Futaba squealed, her eyes absolutely filled with malevolent delight. “The key is that I found the most amazing thing.  When you see it.  You will.  Explode with glee.

“… Futaba, I really don’t want to see your porn.”

“Not my porn!  Our porn!” she squealed. “Look!” 

Akira looked. And Akira wished he hadn’t. 

For starters, the man on the cover was wearing a mask that was extremely familiar, because he had worn it himself for a year. The real problem, however, came from the fact that he was not wearing much other than that.  The general idea seemed to be that where Akira’s own Phantom outfit had been red (the gloves) he was wearing black.  And where Akira’s outfit had been black (everywhere else) he was wearing a thong that appeared to have a cantaloupe stuffed into it, though that was okay because a girl who looked a bit like Ann if she was twenty years older and had spent a lot of time smoking seemed about ready to take it off with her teeth.  And above them, in hot pink letters:

PhantCum Thieves of Whores

Starring: Dikku Hādouddo, Mira Pūnisu, Sutefanī Shin, Nikkī Kokkusu, Rongudon Shirubā  

“I totally already messaged everyone.  We need to get together and watch this.  It is crucial.  Team-building exercise!  Sae should totally come too.  She still thinks she has dignity, so I want to see the look on her face when her character shows up. Not Sojiro though, he’s old.” 

Akira stared at the case. He stared for five solid minutes.  Then, he reared his arm back and threw it on the ground as hard as he could, stomping down on it as soon as it cracked against the linoleum.  He had done a lot of parkour in the last year. He had excellent leg muscles.         

Futaba grinned. “I knew you’d do that. That was just the display case, I already bought every one of the actual copies and paid to have them shipped home.”

Akira narrowed his eyes in wrath as cold and deep as the Arctic Ocean. “Did you steal my credit card information again, Futaba?”

Her grin only widened. “I prefer to think of it as our credit card, really.”


 

“Where. Is. She?” Makoto growled, sitting outside LeBlanc with the rest of the gang, her older sister sitting across the street in her car. For some reason, Akira was reminded of a lynch mob. 

“She’s at her home getting a package that she had delivered home ahead of us. You don’t want to know what it is,” Akira said.  “What did she do?”

“She sent us all a message that just said ‘LeBlanc, now.’  Then she locked us all out of our own e-mail accounts,” Ann said.  “I’m not saying I’m gonna kill her, but I might.” 

“I might help!” Ryuji said. 

“It’s not my fault you pick easy passwords!” Futaba squeaked, running up with a package in her hands and a grin so wide it practically split her face in half. 

“My password was HisXz3$$2185_ffks,” Makoto said.

“Yeah, it was super quick to crack.  But let’s focus on what matters.  Porn!” Futaba cheered, holding her prize aloft.

“… … … Is there something you’d like to tell us, Akira?” Haru asked softly, after the team had looked at the DVD case for awhile. 

“That isn’t actually me!”

“I kinda suspected. I don’t think Ann would go for that,” Ryuji said. 

That isn’t actually me either!” Ann shrieked, her voice reaching a pitch so high that every dog on the street whimpered in pain.

“Your outfit is quite well made, Ann,” Yusuke said. 

NOT ME!” Ann shrieked.  Something shattered nearby. 

“It seems that… um.  Someone may have chosen to… exploit our adventures for less that equitable profits,” Akira said delicately.

“Someone made a porno of us!  We have to watch it!”  Futaba squealed. 

“I… because… we need to see if any of the details could expose who we really are…?” Haru asked.

“So, we can find out who made it? And kill ‘em?” Ryuji asked. 

“I wonder if there’s some kind of lawsuit we could level?” Makoto murmured, though the slightly ill expression on her face suggested she wasn’t fully aware she was saying it. 

Futaba blinked.  “There has to be a… reason to watch it?  That’s dumb. You’re dumb.  We’re watching it.  To the DVD player!

“Why did you make my sister come, though?” Makoto asked.

“I’mma need you to stop asking questions.” 


 

“So why am I here?” Sae asked. 

“God, you two are so alike it’s depressing,” Futaba said, pushing the DVD into Akira’s old secondhand player as the team gathered around.  “Here, I have a reason. I won’t give any of your emails back until we’re done.  You guys are so lame.”

“How do you work with this girl?” Sae asked her sister.   

“With great difficulty.”

The screen, which was not nearly blurry enough for Akira’s taste, began to show the title credits over top of a…

Ann blinked.  “So, Akira. I didn’t realize that this was how you first met Shido.”

“He was… well, I mean…” Akira said.  “It was certainly a situation involving a woman at night in the streets.  But everyone had on more… pants.”  

“She really doesn’t seem like she needs rescuing, gotta say.”

Oh! Oh God, saaaaaave me!” the woman on screen said loudly, while shifting herself to wrap her legs around Shido’s waist so he couldn’t pull out of her.  “I’m being attaaaaaaacked!

“Oh, never mind. She’s clearly in a lot of trouble,” Makoto said dryly.

Feel the power of Japan!” Shido screamed. 

“So hey, Shido’s in character,” Ann said. “Maybe this won’t be so b-”

Stop right there!” said someone on the screen who sounded like what you might expect in a hero who clearly hadn’t been practicing his lines and also had no idea how close everyone was standing to him.  “Leave that!  Woman!  Alone!” 

“Hehehehehehehehe,” Futaba said, her eyes glittering with Satanic evil.

You are!  Assaulting that!  Woman!”  Porn!Akira shouted, because he clearly had no other tone of voice.  “I!  Will save!  … … … Line!”

“Did he just ask what his line was?” Ryuji asked, sounding very much like Akira’s death glare was the only reason he wasn’t choking on laughter. 

“Good God, what was the budget on this? A five yen note and a cheeseburger wrapper?” Sae wondered.    

Well, well, well! Look at the big man, coming to stand up for the weak!  But is he as big as me, Shmasayoshi Shshido, Vice Minister of Anal and Anal Accessories for the United Penis Party?!” Shshido asked, whipping himself around and proving that he was, in fact, a pretty big man.   

“That is a really unfortunate job title,” Haru said delicately, because she was the only person in the entire world who could have made that understatement. 

“’Shmasayoshi Shshido’?” Ryuji asked.  “Do… do they think that’s disguising his name, or…?” 

“Does it matter?” Akira asked through gritted teeth. 

“It does if they ‘disguise’ your name the same way, bro.  That would make you…”

Well, evil man!  I am!  The biggest of all!” Porn!Akira said, pulling down his pants. “The sexual liberator they call… Shakira!

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” said pretty much the whole room.   

“W-well, his hips don’t lie!” Ann squeaked in between giggles. 

“How could they when he’s wearing a thong!” Ryuji crowed.       

“L-l-leopard print!”  Makoto said, kicking her legs against the ground helplessly.

“I don’t understand.” Yusuke said. 

Patting him on the back with a smile of purest evil, Futaba said, “Don’t worry, Inari. I can explain it to you Whenever, Wherever.”  

“I’m going to kill every one of you,” Akira said.    

“Why?” Yusuke asked.

Oh ho, so you think you can best me, Shakira?” Shshido asked.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” The room said. 

Well, there’s only!  One way to!  … … … Line!” Shakira said. 

Oh-ho.  I take it you mean…” Shshido said, trailing off in a way that suggested either amusement or mild indigestion. He was a better actor than Shakira, but not by much. 

The only way that!  Two people might!  Truly compete!  Ready… your sword!” Shakira said, hurling aside the leopard-print thong and making a kind of… spinning, gyrating… motion.  Smiling with lust (or kind of hunger?) Shshido stepped forward to meet him, apparently to have the most intimate swordfight it was possible to have. 

And it was at this point that the team had their first intermission, because Akira chucked his shoe through the TV.