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like you're not even trying

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Akira is a creature of perpetual motion.

Even simply standing and waiting for the coffee to steep his hands are moving, rubbing at his wrists or shaking somehow deliberately; when he pushes down on the plunger of the French press, watching the coffee drip into its cup, he’s nodding at it, as though expressing his approval, constantly adjusting his grip. Even in the state of dangerous focus that is pouring out a pattern of cream, hands carefully stilled and directed, he's chewing on his lip or the inside of his cheek, and from here Akechi can hear the toe of his shoe tapping out a staccato song on the hardwood.

He sets the saucer down first and then the cup, spins it towards Akechi, gently enough that it doesn't disturb the swan on the surface, and smiles at him, a sweeping curve of his mouth and a quirk at the edge of his lips. Akechi thinks he should be looking at the artistry of the bird but he's looking at that smile, at the way it makes space for itself on his face, how his lower eyelids curve to frame his irises.

Akechi blinks and remembers where he is, tucks hair behind his ear reflexively and glances down at the cup before he can blush. "Thank you, Kurusu-kun," he says, quiet, and looks up again against his better judgment.

He's looking at the countertop, one hand twisted in the towel in the pocket at his waist like he's thinking about wiping it down, but the other hand is at his neck, rubbing idly at his nape, the ends of his curls silhouetted against the skin of his fingers. Even just standing still Akira is speaking an entire language in movement, shoulders tilted just so, hips cocked, and nothing remains where it is for long. His hand disentangles from his towel, and he lifts his hand, thoughtful, long slender fingers outstretched and tapping on air as though he’s playing an invisible piano.

His eyes have that look to them that they do when he’s trying to latch back onto a thought that’s slipped out of his hands, but before Akechi has a chance to try and hit on what he might be thinking about that spark of memory lights up Akira’s face and he whirls around, shoulders bouncing with the force of his step, fixing his attention back on the French press to clean it.

Akechi lets himself watch for a while, the way that Akira’s spine and arms flex with his focus, how nicely the shirt he’s wearing frames his waist, how well these pants fit him. He tells himself that Akira won’t notice eyes on him, fixated on the task at hand, but of course Akira is always fixated on a thousand things at once, and - horror of horrors - Akira glances back over his shoulder, meets Akechi’s eyes and grins.

Akechi blinks at him for a moment, caught in his stare, and Akira says, “You enjoying yourself?”

Enjoying himself? Akechi’s been caught staring. He’s sure of it. He’s being teased for-- for his apparent inability to tear his eyes away from this, this beautiful boy who dances around the world he lives in as though he’s never been uncomfortable in his life. Akira knows exactly what’s wrong with him and he either thinks it’s the funniest joke he’s ever heard or there’s something just as wrong with him.

And then Akira nods at the cup in his hands, still smiling.

Akechi recovers, nearly stammers but catches himself. “I-- yes, the coffee is wonderful, thank you.” His heart is hammering in his chest, a fistful of pressure behind his ribs. He can’t find it in himself to chalk it up to the caffeine.

“Glad to hear it,” Akira says, and turns his attention back, fully - or as fully as his attention is ever attuned to just one thing - to the French press. His shoulders rise and fall with the way his hands move, cradling each piece as it is dismantled, and Akechi manages to wrench his eyes away, back to the cup in his hands, just as Akira turns to walk to the sink.

In a moment of blessed relief, Akechi remembers that he’s brought a book, and he leans to rifle through his bag.

When he sits up he catches Akira looking at him, thoughtful, steel eyes unreadable and those lovely fingers twined in a towel, drying a cup with an unbearable caution, and it’s only for a split second before Akira turns around again to step into the back room but Akechi feels as though his heart has jumped from his ribs to his throat, fluttering like a bird, so loud he feels certain every patron can hear it beat.

Akira is gone for a few minutes after that. Akechi hears water running. His hands are still in his lap, frozen pale things that don’t remember how to move like Akira’s do, if they ever did.

Akechi takes a deep breath. A long sip of the coffee. (He prefers the way it smells to the way it tastes, but it’s the best excuse he can think of to keep coming here.) Opens his book, tucking the bookmark into the space thirty-something pages down the line, a reminder of when he should probably get going before he starts looking suspicious.

He tries not to look up at Akira again for the rest of his cup, fearing some repercussion, and fails.

Akechi always fails, when it comes to him.