Stealing glances between the clock and Akira, you wonder if he’ll ask you out for lunch today. Last time, he had merely walked past you with an awkward smile. You wince at the thought. Maybe going out for lunch with him had only been an excuse to entertain himself and not think about the piles of work left unfinished.
Unfinished because he had only ever delegated small tasks for you to help him with his case.
You would gather the necessary materials for him quickly, and he’d looked pleasantly surprised when he found facts and testimonies he hadn’t considered, ones he wouldn't have figured out by himself. His eyes would light up, and he would give you a smile worth more than just simple pleasantries. Those exchanges were like an intoxicating reward for tasks that were akin to punishment, what with how simple they are.
You understand that you're just a paralegal, but you’re damn good at your job! Your previous partner and yourself had made a great team, reliable to all those who knew you. Every time you'd look in Akira's eyes, you could tell he knew exactly what you were capable of, but he was hesitant.
He's the youngest lawyer in the company. A rising star, and never needed a partner until work had begun to pile up steadily. It was common sense to everyone in the building that you would make the perfect partner for him. No one seemed to realize the implications of suddenly partnering with a person who has never had a partner before.
For one, Akira still doesn't trust you. He's relying on you more -- he's been giving you tasks more steadily -- but he hasn't placed enough trust in you to request a bigger investigation on his current case, one that will play a major role. One that will actually make you think.
Yet… You get it. You understand. He can't afford to let one mistake slip, he is making his way up as a lawyer with minor hiccups. He's determined, and you often see him staying late even when he doesn't necessarily have to. Even you can't deny that you admire him.
So here it is, you think, leaning on Akira’s desk with both hands. “Go out with me.”
There’s a pause between you and Akira. You both stare at each other, unsure of who will speak first. To either correct the mistake or to reach a decision, you hope it would simultaneously be neither.
For days he had thought that you grew to hate him. Glares and a biting tone of voice, he’d figure the little workload he’s given you deterred you away from him. As a paralegal, you must have thought that he was looking down on your skills, no matter how well you had worked with your previous partner.
His shoulders fall and it’s like all tension leaves him. For the first time in days he lets himself smile genuinely. You gape at him, eyes flicking away from his.
“I mean for lunch. For lunch! Not like, on a date date, but for lunch. Like we always do? Or did before? Like… For lunch.”
“...Yes. Sure,” and he laughs. Standing up, he laughs harder, leaning into you as if the force of his laughter would send him hurtling to the ground had you not been there to stabilize him.
You missed this.
You stare at Akira as he stuffs his cheeks with curry. You stretch your leg to touch the inside of his. He jumps, nearly choking on his food. You cough to settle the laughter in your throat. If he weren’t about to die, he would’ve been glaring at you.
“Akira, I’ve done all that you’ve sent me to do. And I’ve done them perfectly well, haven’t I?”
He sighs. You have, and he knows it. This isn’t the first time you’ve brought this up. He understands quite well that you’re capable of doing more than the tasks he’s given you thus far, but…
Letting the silence go on, he brings a hand to tug at his bangs, thinking.
Eyes shifting from the movement of his fingers tugging at his hair to the pout of his lips, your fingers twitch at the mess he had yet to notice.
You try to force a burst of confidence as you lean closer to him, chest touching the table, to thumb at the sauce that had clung to his lips. You make the mistake of shifting your gaze to his. He’s looking at you with a look you shouldn’t analyze -- not when you’re trying to put on a faux bravado.
Before you could do anything else, he grabs at your wrist and squeezes gently. Had you been paying attention, you would’ve seen the smile on his face.
You stutter, trying to coax the words through. “I’m capable, I really am! You know I am- wait, what?”
Akira smiles. You can feel the puff of air against your hand as he silently laughs at your gaping.
He stands, hand still connected with yours, only letting go to clean up his lunch. You do the same, though you bang your container against the table. You swear your hand is still tingling.
Akira leads you to his office, a hand placed firmly on your back. You receive a few papers from him with the utmost grace -- your hands twitch so much that you drop the papers right in front of him, scrambling to straighten the mess.
“There’s a hole in his testimony. Without the truth, we won’t be able to bring justice to the plaintiff.”
You pause and stare at him. He smiles, and his eyes are cheeky. Though with the dragging silence, his facade cracks slightly. His lip twitches. “Prove that you’ll work with me just as well as you did with your ex.” He winks at you, and maybe your admiration really was hatred in disguise.
You fight your instinct to glare, and turn around. Walking to the door, an "I'll show you I'm even better than what you think I am" falls past your lips freely, and just as you're about to open the door, you turn your head to shoot Akira a grin. Except he's already staring at you. Well, he's staring lower than that, and you can only guess his eyes are either level with your ass or your legs. Somehow you hope it's both.
You shift your weight to your other leg, and -- yes. He's staring at your ass. You clear your throat. Akira snaps his eyes to yours, grinning, that bastard.
He calls after you. “Lunch tomorrow?"
How can you say no?
You're not sure how you managed to gain enough of Akira's trust to give you a more important task, and you're equally unsure as to how you managed to piss him off all in one go. Granted, Akira has enough self-control to tame a temper that looks out of place on his face -- just the slightest curve downward of his eyebrows, and the squint in his eyes look wrong -- but it's there and you decide quickly that you hate it. Whether you hate how it was your fault, or hate that he's irritated, you can't bring yourself to answer.
Akira's eyes are trained on yours. How long had he been staring at you? How long had you been staring at him?
He breathes, shutting his eyes in an effort to calm himself. Though the way his eyebrows knit together gives away his discomfort. “Where are my papers?”
You glance around his office. “I organized everything. It’s in your drawers.” Everything in the room is neat and tidy. You often got your previous partner buying two cups of coffee, one for him and one for you, whenever you had cleaned his office. That was half the motive behind his suddenly clean office. You don’t dare think about how lovely a smile from him would have been.
“Uh, sorry. I thought it would be easier to find everything if it were… Organized and not… Everywhere.”
Akira lets out a noise at the back of his throat -- it almost sounds like a whine. “No,” he says, shoulders slumping. This is the only time he’s ever allowed you to hear him whining. It’s almost akin to a child about to stomp his feet in a tantrum. It’s almost… Endearing.
You clear your throat, watching him rest his cheek on his desk. “Sorry, I…”
You walk to his desk, opening the drawer to reveal the files. “Figured it’d be nice,” you shrug.
Akira moves his head to rest his other cheek on the desk so that he stares up at you. His bangs ghost over the frames of his glasses, and you resist the urge to run your hands through his hair. Instead, you put your papers on his desk, hoping he didn’t catch you staring.
“I finished preparing the testimonies of the witnesses.”
A spark glows in his eyes. You haven’t forgotten how intoxicating his reactions can be, though you do wish that it wouldn’t leave you scrambling to cling on to threads of your last train of thought.
“More than one?” Akira breathes, and his glasses shift. He doesn’t bother to fix them. Your fingers twitch.
“Yes,” you reply after a pause. “There was one person you didn’t consider, which led to a fabrication in his testimony that couldn’t be fixed without his accomplice’s alibi.” You look to Akira, and his eyes are radiant. A smile looks far better on him than a frown.
He sits up. His glasses were askew, but he fixes it quickly. Before you could really think about what you were about to do, you reach over and fix his tie, running a hand across his chest to smooth the collar of his button up.
Akira lets out a noise at the back of his throat. Everything pauses. You don’t dare look at him this time. You can feel your cheeks heating up, and before he could see -- although he probably already has -- you make your way past him and towards the door, shuffle all the while. He notices, of course.
“Is something the matter?” The lilt in his voice makes it obvious he’s teasing. You hate it. “Heels too high?”
You let yourself laugh at the absurdity of the situation. “No, they’re new. Just breaking them in. They’re stiffer than I had thought.”
Akira purses his lips, and you can only imagine that he’s preventing himself from making some perverted joke. “Careful. I could carry you if it gets to be too much.”
You shake your head, smiling. “Anyway,” you say, leaning on the now opened door. “You have a meeting with one of your witnesses at 9AM sharp. I’ll be proofing your court filings if you need me.”
You glance at him, and you surely don’t miss the way that his cheeks are stained with a blush.
You make sure to never touch the chaos that is his office despite the insistent urge to organize. Akira seems to appreciate this, what with the sudden influx of coffee he’s offered you over the course of a few weeks. Since then, Akira’s been loading you with more tasks and you silently thank the heavens above because his eyes had looked increasingly more sunken as the days wore on in his office. You’re not sure he’d even left the office to sleep in his own bed before he had given you half of his workload.
You’re glad that now his eyes look brighter and less sunken.
You almost feel bad when Akira had been given another client to represent in trial. Although he declined the boss' proposal to have some other lawyer represent the previous client, you still feel worried about his overworking tendencies despite his array of idiotic choices that pile up in the form of extra work and I'll go home soon, don't worry, and yet you still find him either working away at papers needing to be signed or his cheek pressed against the desk, sleeping. Glasses and all.
But from working with him, you understand that Akira's a perfectionist at heart, no matter how messy his process is.
Maybe your hatred was admiration after all, you think, placing Akira’s jacket over him. Your fingers linger on his shoulders, and your heart stops a moment before you lean into him to place a kiss on his head.
You hope he wasn’t awake.
As you sit on the couch in his office, working on several papers for him, you can feel his eyes glancing to you occasionally. Although, to be fair, you also were glancing at him.
You’re not sure if the silence, save for the shuffling of papers, is meant to be one of comfort or one to make everyone in the room feeling awkward.
Shifting to cross your legs, Akira jolts, and you wonder if he had been falling asleep.
“Are you okay?” You make to go up to him in case he’s feeling faint, but he waves you off.
Although now he makes it a point to keep his eyes off of you. His eyes flit to the clock and back to his papers.
His ears are tinged red.
Should you leave?
Surely, just as expected -- "It's getting late. You should head home soon."
Pausing, you don't even bother looking at him, choosing to favour the blurring letters of the papers in your hands. You blink slowly, stifling a yawn. "I don't think I've ever seen you leave this office. Doesn't it get lonely?"
Although you meant to convince him to let you stay, you knew you fucked up as soon as Akira let the silence go on for some time before you had to look at him to see him trying to stifle his laughter.
You groan internally. For someone who's claimed to be brilliant at his job, he looks more like a child at a candy factory. Eyes glittering from the array of candies he could definitely steal. Except for candies, it's badly placed jokes.
He allows for a small chuckle to fill the void in the room. Twice now, does he allow you to see a different side of him, and maybe it's because he hasn't slept for days and is starting to go deranged. Cute but feral? You laugh at the thought.
"Sure," he answers, but his voice is shaky. "But there's work to get done. I can handle it from here. Go home."
You sigh, but comply. You, of course, take the unfinished paperwork you've been working on with you. Akira isn't the only hardworking one.
As you tidy your mess on the small table, Akira stands, walking to the door.
You follow him, and he opens the door for you, grinning. "Good job today," he breathes, and his hand moves to rest on your lower back, before his fingers press you gently forward.
For the rest of the night, you could still feel his hand on you. You wonder how nice it’d feel for him to lace his fingers with yours.