It occurs to Yu that maybe the Phantom Thieves are not as close as he believed them to be, one of them is constantly on edge, very much stiff most of the time and very quiet when it came down to interacting between them.
He asks himself if it is because he was new to their group, but it seems to him that even the Phantom Thieves themselves don’t put too much effort into integrating him.
He asked once, to Futaba, the youngest member of them all, but she just shrugged and said something along the lines of “I don’t mind it much, and he shares the sentiment”.
He is cautious about who to ask next, Joker seems like the perfect person to question about it, but somehow something tells him not to intrude into whatever it is that is happening, it looks like out of all them, Akechi trusts Joker the most, and it confuses him. He finds himself quite curious nonetheless, the more he thinks about it. Yu would interact sometimes with him, but it always bothers him that it is almost like a one-sided conversation, not much effort is put from Akechi when it comes down to honesty.
He ponders if the other Phantom Thieves notice that, hell, he even meditates if his own teammates have any notion of it.
Even so, he finds himself scowling when, on a particular occasion, everyone is partying, laughing, drinking, and Joker doesn’t seem to mind that Akechi is practically sitting alone, in a very unassuming corner of the room, concentrated, instead, on his friends.
Yu isn’t the type of person to talk much or intrude much when it’s not required, but he isn’t one to blatantly ignore situations like that either. Getting up from where he was seated, and excusing himself from the varying questions of “where are you going?” from his friends, he moves slowly towards the (other) Prince Detective.
The music it’s loud, but not so much, to avoid screaming fits to communicate with each other, but it’s enough to make Akechi jump we he speaks.
“I didn’t take you for someone that would drink that much” Akechi is about to drink more from the tumbler that he has in his hand, stopping the motion right before he takes a sip, the rim of the glass mere inches from his lips. Something in his eyes isn’t quite right, but he smiles anyway, confusing Yu even more.
“I wouldn’t take you for someone that would notice something of the sort” That affirmation is unassuming enough, and friendly enough, but very sharp around the edges, and sometimes he isn’t very good a reading subtext, but this time Yu can read between the lines of that affirmation.
What Akechi says it’s not true, he takes notes, he is observant, and he speaks clearly when it is needed. He is everyone’s business, he just chooses not to intervene sometimes.
“Can I join you?” not even waiting for an answer (or an excuse), he sits down beside the other boy. “... Be my guest…” Goro takes on downing the full content of the drink he has in his hand, Yu can notice a certain slur in his voice, he is not exactly drunk, e he doesn’t look like it, but he may be more inebriated than he appears.
The bottle of an unnamed alcoholic drink is in front of both of them, it is over the halfway mark already, he decides not to worry much about it, helping himself one tumbler of it too.
“So… What gives? Tell me your troubles”
“No troubles” See, that’s what keeps Yu wondering a lot, Akechi smiles, he says something like that so easily, and leaves him wondering if he should peek a little bit further. His lack of honesty somehow fascinates him, and he wants to see over that, whatever it is.
Yu sips from his drink “I thought you would be with the other Phantom Thieves” he stares at the tables where everyone else is seated, everyone is distracted, everyone is laughing. He pictures himself doing that too.
“Ah…” Yu’s attention lands on Akechi’s face again, there is something ugly deeply buried into his eyes, but it is just a moment, the second he notices it, it’s gone. “I believe I won’t be able to ever be an integrated part of their team” Goro fiddles with the small amount of liquid that remains in his glass.
Yu doesn’t know what he should say, so he keeps quiet “Not that it matters… Once our last mission is done-” his lips seal something that was going to be said, whatever it was, Yu has no idea “So I heard… Someone told me you blackmailed them?” Goro laughs, slightly, sharply, like there is a secret joke that he doesn’t get, but it is a very short-lived giggle.
“I guess I brought this upon myself, then”
“You could… Join us?” Why did he say that? That is so out of the blue that even Akechi is looking at him somewhat confused. It is not a bad look on him, to be honest.
“Ah… I don’t… You already have a detective under your hand” That is such a weird way to say no
“Do I? Naoto is great, but I don’t get I couldn’t use another teammate” Yu is serious now, he knows they can't be in the same team, because it would be very likely that once they all go back to their timelines, they would all forget what happened here. Which is a very sad notion.
Akechi is still looking at him, something swirling around that pretty head of his.
Yu smiles, sincerely, and somehow that is what breaks something.
Akechi’s eyes move to the side, giving him a very indecisive look, and Yu wonders if it’s all the alcohol that it’s making him more vulnerable. Very out of character for him.
“I…” He stutters. He looks like he is on the verge of tears, that much is clear to Yu.
Yu looks around them, everyone is quite inebriated, and still very distracted, no one is paying them any mind, so he takes Akechi by the wrist, who doesn’t protest much.
“Come with me,” he says, before dragging the other boy with him. Yu is a calm person, his heart never races, his mind is always focused, he is very capable of keeping his cool, but somehow, he feels like his own heart is beating out of his chest when he is running around with Akechi behind him. When they stop he feels like he ran a marathon, the chilly air of the outdoors crushes against his overheated face.
“That was very uncalled for, I’m sorry” he turns around, Akechi has a neutral expression, nothing much escapes this time, he probably composed himself while running.
“It’s ok, you did the right thing, I would have ended making a fool out of myself if we stayed one more second inside” Goro smiles, then moves to sit down on one of the benches, Yu follows him, sitting beside him again.
It’s quiet outside, in this weird parallel dimension winter isn’t that cold, and the moon shines unnaturally bright, it’s all very cinematic, all very fake.
He doesn’t know what to say, and Goro doesn’t look inclined to talk much himself, so he just rambles on and on about funny episodes between him and his friends, like the time the had to eat Yukiko and Chie’s terrible curry, or about the school festival… Just when he is about to tell another story, Akechi laughs, it’s a very timid sound, it almost gets drowned out by the music that seeps from inside the building, and Yu kind of falls in love with it. He doesn’t know what exactly makes his confidence wither away, what makes his heart flutter when he sees his giggling frame, he could blame it on the alcohol, or maybe on his tiredness, or on the weird light coming from the moon above them, or on how his cheeks are tinted in the prettiest shade of red, but he really wants to grab whatever it is that he is stripping away from Akechi.
“You are beautiful” it’s so cheesy he even cringes after it escapes his mouth, he manages to stop the flood of excuses that threaten to escape his lips, because even if he doesn’t like how it came out, he still means it. He finds him very difficult to ignore, and so damn intriguing to a fault, he knows there is something under the surface and he cannot stop himself from wanting to dig and dig and dig and find whatever is the core of Akechi’s true emotions.
“… Thank you” his cheeks turn into a deeper shade of red, and Yu cannot blame himself for thinking that maybe he got a little bit infatuated with him right on the spot.
“May I kiss you?” he doesn’t expect a positive answer to that, he could get a laugh, or a punch, with Akechi he’s not sure which one could it be…
He feels gloved fingers touch his cheek, before feeling Akechi’s lips on his. He foresees this to be very short, just a few seconds, when he gets surprised for the second time, the kiss becomes more intimate, more desperate, more… more…
“Goro, where are you?” Ren’s voice interrupts Yu’s thought process, making him open his eyes, surprised.
“Gor-” Goro doesn’t move from the kiss, seeming very unaware of what is happening, and for a moment Ren and Yu lock eyes, both very surprised of finding each other on the position they are right now. It’s a second, though, then Joker’s expression morphs into something more composed, something more neutral, something unreadable, and with that, he’s gone.
Yu moves away, giving both of them time to take a breath, he doesn’t get him after this, nothing changed about his perception of Akechi, but he understand that whatever Goro was upset about had more to do with Joker than the rest of his team. He should feel used, but he can’t bring himself to do so, he likes Akechi, whatever side he shows to him means getting closer to him.
Akechi sighs “Thanks… For brightening my evening” Yu smiles, honest, again “Thanks to you for the kiss”
Both stay silent for what it seems minutes, but Yu doesn’t care, and Akechi doesn’t mind, silence is something both of them appreciate right now, so for the moment, they say nothing, and enjoy the company.