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late nights, brakes lock (hear the tires squeal)

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As soon as Joker opens his window, two blurs of motion appear on his sill. After a lot of elbowing, grumbling, and swearing, all three of them are in his room, only a little scuffed. Ann sits on his bed. Ryuji moves over to fiddle with the workbench. Joker stands in the middle of the room, watching them both from behind his glasses.

When the silence goes from adjusting to awkward, Joker speaks.

“What do you want, Ann?”

She tilts her head at him. He dips his head to meet her eyes over his glasses.

“We're gonna sleep,” she says.

They're all too tired to be disappointed.

Ryuji stretches his arms over his head with very real exhaustion. Joker rolls one shoulder. The boys move to get into bed, only for Ann to stop them with a raised eyebrow.

“In your clothes?”

They both rub the backs of their necks sheepishly. Joker pulls out a pair of pajamas, and then after a moment, a spare pair for Ryuji.

“Joker got pretty beat up tonight,” Ann says, her voice almost casual if not for a breathy tremble at the end. “Don't you think he could use some help, Ryuji?”

Ryuji's eyes widen. Joker's darken.

The moment stretches, fragile and tentative. Ann could giggle and make this into a joke. Ryuji could bluster and pretend confusion. Joker could just dress himself.

Instead, they all swallow.

Ann says, quieter: “Let him take care of you.”

Ryuji's chin drops, his eyes barely meeting the other boy's. After another beat, Joker lowers his head into a nod.

They shuffle into place: Joker in front of the bed, Ryuji in front of him, Ann leaned back onto her hands with dark eyes. Ryuji reaches for Joker's school jacket with shaking hands, but not a hint of hesitation.

Ann watches button after button come undone, watches Ryuji slide fabric off Joker's shoulders. She only speaks when the jacket threatens to drop from Ryuji's fingers.

“Don't make a mess, fold them up right.”

He obeys with the clumsy motions of someone not used to taking care of their possessions, setting the now-folded jacket on the desk, and reaches for Joker's dress shirt.

Ryuji and Ann both drink in Joker's exposed skin, cheeks red but eyes hungry. He allows them their curiosity, passively moving when needed, but otherwise staying still. Ryuji folds the shirt without being told, putting it on top of the coat.

Ann hooks one ankle around the leg of Joker's desk chair, pulling it over in front of the bed. “Sit down.”

Joker sits. Ryuji kneels in front of him, stiff but eager.

One shoe comes off, then the other. Ryuji peels Joker's socks off, then rests his hands on Joker's waistband. He gets a nod, and slowly unbuttons Joker's pants.

Ryuji and Ann breathe in time, Ryuji swallowing under Joker's steady gaze. The clock above Ryuji's staircase ticks one loud second at a time.

The pants join the rest of his clothes, and Ryuji kneels in front of him again, this time with pajamas in hand. Joker rests his palms on his thighs, waiting him out. With a shaky exhale, Ryuji lifts one of Joker's legs, and starts to pull the pajama pants up his body.

Joker's completely dressed for the first brush of lips. Ryuji shakes but smiles into it, Joker huffs out a laugh, and Ann hums in satisfaction as she watches. There's a second, then a third, each a little more relaxed.

“Alright,” Ann half-laughs, “that's enough.”

Joker and Ryuji both stand, Joker sitting next to Ann on the bed. When Ryuji moves to sit, Ann stops him with a palm held flat at chest level. “Wait. In your clothes?”

Ryuji laughs uncomfortably, and opens his mouth to start the routine of lies that will get him out of this.

“We know,” Joker says quietly.

Ryuji looks from one to the other. “You…?”

They both nod. He deflates.

“Ann, you ain't into….”

She gives him a sideways smile. “Neither are you.”

But for blood spilt and contracts forged, they'll manage.

Ryuji undressed and redresses quickly, shyly, relaxing a little every time he glances over and his friends just look appreciative. They don't bat an eyelash at the mass of scars on his chest, or the ones on his leg, just wait him out.

“I only have one extra set,” Joker shoves his hands in his pockets, tilting his head apologetically at Ann.

Ann shrugs, and they all pretend she doesn't relax at the prospect. “I'll sleep in my clothes. It's fine.”

Ryuji clears his throat. “Your boots?”

Her hands twitch towards the buckles, then she catches the look in his eyes. Ryuji gets on his knees again.

Slowly, carefully, he pulls the boots off her feet. Joker rests one hand on hers, gentle. Ann gives him a sideways smile. Ryuji glances up at her through his eyelashes.

The three of them squish into Joker's bed after that, all gangly limbs and half-serious threats of bodily harm. None of them sleep deeply until the window creaks again and Morgana slithers in, boneless and warm and settling on top of their mass of bodies. As if a switch has been thrown, all four of them slip under.

(They all oversleep, and have to scramble out the window before Joker's guardian can come upstairs. He's pretty sure Sojiro catches a look at something, but thankfully it's Ryuji instead of Ann. Sojiro doesn't say a word, and Joker is perfectly happy to pretend it never happened.)