He’s in the middle of a breakfast consisting of half an apple and a handful of chips (which, honestly, isn’t that bad considering some days he skips it entirely) when somebody knocks at his door.
It's not a therapy day, and Sae would’ve just texted him to come outside, and she handles all the stuff with the landlord, so unless Tae somehow found his address, it can only be one person.
We knew this would happen eventually.
Yeah, but, not this soon.
It's been a month.
Still too soon!
He gets up, leaving the last of his food on the kitchen counter, and heads towards the door. It's like one that scene in every horror movie, where the dumb blonde is opening the door that the killer is behind, and the audience is screaming at them.
He looks through the peephole, and yep, it's him.
He quickly looks away, backing up from the door. Maybe if he just waits for a while, he’ll go away, and it’ll be fine. Right?
Sure, that’s totally how it works.
You can’t run and hide forever.
He knows that, just-
Akira’s voice is muffled by the door between them, but he can still hear.
“I know you’re in there, just.. Cmon. Let me just see that you’re alright, and I’ll leave. I swear.”
He can hear Akira sigh.
“Sae told me you were doing fine, but I just want to see it for myself.”
“Did I do something wrong? I’m not mad at you, if that’s what you’re worried about. I’m just.. You know. Worried about you.”
Damn it, that is what he was so worried about.
“...I’m.. sorry to bother you. I’ll just be going, then..”
Do not let him leave.
Listen to me, okay, just trust me. Don’t let him leave. Don’t make that mistake.
What do you mean-
This really isn’t the time to be questioning my reasoning. Trust me. Please.
He can practically feel the desperation in Inner Goro’s words.
Maybe that’s why he opens the door, unlocking the bolts so fast he nearly pinches his finger on them.
Akira had already turned to go, but stops when the door opens. So many emotions cross his face at once, that Akechi can’t even begin to keep track of what they all are.
God, why is this so, hard, to just, talk to him?
“Hi, Goro.” He replies, and turns back to face him. “You’re doing… good?”
This is way too awkward.
“You.. wanna come in?” He asks, and Akira looks slightly suprised.
“Only if it's alright with you.”
“Of course it's fine with me, I asked if you wanted to.”
Akechi lets him go first, and closes the door behind them. Doesn’t lock it, since.. If he does, it's almost like he’s trapped.
“So, I heard you’re going to therapy now..?”
Akechi blinks a bit in surprise. How.. did he find that out, that’s a little.. Strange.
“Oh, yeah, uh.. It's.. good. Good for me. Yeah.”
Don’t just stand there like a deer in headlights, he’s not gonna hurt you.
Right, you’re right, it's fine..
He sits down on the couch, patting the spot next to him. Akira sits down there with little hesitation.
“I’m sorry I didn’t answer any of your texts. Or your calls.” Now that he says it out loud, it seems worse than before.
“It's fine, I get it. You need space.”
“No, thats.. Not it. I just, thought you were mad, and I knew I had to respond sometime , but I just never.. could. What was I even supposed to say?”
“A simple ‘hi’ would’ve been fine.” Akira shrugs.
He snorts, shaking his head. “Just a ‘hi’ after all that time? Seems kinda cold, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, but, would’ve been fine with me.”
It seems neither of them can think of anything else to say, so they just fall into a more comfortable silence.
“Hey..” Akira starts up again quietly. “I know you probably aren’t that into, you know, touch and stuff, which I totally get, and you can say no, but can I just.. Give you a hug?”
“Uhm..” He considers it, and, honestly.. It can’t be that bad, right? “..Go for it.”
“Alright.” Akira turns to him, and gently wraps his arms around him. Not too tight, not too loose.
Shouldn’t you, you know, hug back and not just sit there like a limp noodle?
Alright, fair enough, but, rude.
With some shifting, they get a new position, where it's just a nice, mutual hug.
Not cuddling at all.
Not at all.
“Is this any better?” He asks, and Akira just shrugs.
“Not what I thought would happen when I came over here, but, yeah.”
“What, did you think I’d just kick you out straight away? I feel guilty , duh.”
“So this is just a guilt hug.”
Akira shrugs, and for some reason, grins at him. “Eh, good enough for me.”
A female voice cries out, but he can’t figure out where it's coming from. Akechi looks over and sees an actual UFO, but for some reason, it doesn’t surprise him. This is.. This is a casino, and thats..
Akira’s on the floor, he’d recognize him anywhere, though that costume is ridiculous.
Without thinking, he gathers Akira.. No, here, he’s Joker… up in his arms, supporting him, keeping him upright.
“I’ve got him, Oracle. Let us get to a safe room.”
“Right.” The girl agrees.
One of the blondes, he comes over and takes Akira from him. The scowl on his face makes the boy’s opinions of Goro obvious. They dodge grotesque monsters - Shadows, he remembers that they’re called - and make it too a room, where they all rest.
One of them, the other blonde, the girl, she does something, and Akira comes back into consciousness, stubbornly getting up.
The female voice from before now has a face, a small redhead girl. “Joker, you can’t keep going on like this.”
“You’re only partially healed. Your soul isn’t at full strength. It would be best to leave and return later.” He hears himself saying.
Akira just shrugs, that dumb smile crossing his face.
“Eh, good enough for me.”
Goro opens his eyes, not even having been aware that he had closed them. What time even is it..?
Akira’s not here anymore.. He must’ve dozed off..
Goro sits up properly, rubbing his eyes, and rubbing away the last bits of that dream. He keeps having dreams, but he can never remember them properly… pretty sure Akira was in it, though. Which would make sense.
He checks his phone, and sees a voice message. From Akira.
“Hey, Goro? I just wanted to say, uhm, sorry. I had to leave, I had work today, so.. Sorry about that. Hope you slept good. Hope I didn’t.. Wake you.”
“Thanks for opening the door. I won’t bother you again, if you want, just say the word.”
Muffled voices in the background.
“Sorry. Gotta go. Thanks again.”
And that’s it.
He leans back on the couch, staring at his ceiling.
..He'll see him again soon. He will. And they'll be able to talk like normal human beings.