He didn’t realise that he was standing outside your house until Morgana brought it up.
Just beforehand, he had been talking with the rest of the Phantom Thieves about their plans for the next month or so regarding Shido. Naturally, there wasn’t much that the Thieves could do at the moment except use their advantage of his incognito un-death. Everyone had their jobs, and his was to lay low for the time being, but still, he couldn’t help but think of you.
The first person to respond negatively to the plan in regards to you was Morgana, surprisingly. The cat-human had really warmed up to you in the past months, and was particularly vocal about your lack of knowledge.
It was undeniable that the position they all had put you in was bad, and an unfair one too. There were much better ways to protect you, and Akira just really hadn’t thought of it, probably because of how drug-addled and terrified he was when he made that decision.
So, he felt the same as Morgana, but there was something that really stopped him; if you knew, that meant you were in more danger from Shido. It was a flimsy excuse, and he sure as hell knew it, but it was an excuse nonetheless.
There were better ways, but he needed something to justify the one he chose, even if it was barely.
He focused his gaze to your family name labelled on the mailbox.
It wasn’t hard to imagine how the last couple of days had been for you – Ann had texted him about how the last couple of days have been for you, and the pit of guilt that had already been brewing in his stomach since his capture had steadily grown larger at her words.
He, in particular, felt worse hearing that you demanded answers from Maruki.
That was really something he’d expected you to do, but to actually hear it happen made him feel a lot worse than what he originally planned to.
He would fail regardless, in that part, because the original plan was that he wouldn’t feel bad at all.
He was only human, he bitterly chuckled.
“This is still a terrible idea.” Morgana huffed. He noticed that he was still upset. “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but you’re not doing him right if you decide to keep him out of the loop like this.”
Finding his voice was harder than he thought it was. Using his excuse felt even harder. “I don’t want Shido to find out.”
“That would be understandable if Akechi knew about him and reported him to that ass, but you already confirmed he knew nothing about him; doing this is just… overkill”
He had nothing to say to that. He wanted to protect you – that much was proven with his actions— but it didn’t sit right with him if he had to hurt you as well. Morgana was right in that there was no harm in you knowing, even if a part of him just wanted to keep you away from all the Phantom Thieves-related danger.
Silence was easy to lose your thoughts to, and he resonated the same ideas in his mind for a bit. Everyone in your house was sleeping, even if part of him wished you were awake so the two of you could talk. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to work up the courage for another visit, and he felt it would be creepy if he did. That didn’t matter much, he realised, because he was already here and you were already asleep.
He didn’t have a chance to begin with.
“Lady Ann is truly worried about him, you know.” Morgana broke the silence. “She said it was difficult pretending when she knows you’re alive, but she can’t tell him that.”
“That sounds like her.”
He knew that she felt split over his decision; on one hand, she understood the need for secrecy (as she always had), but she also saw that you genuinely felt grief here. As both a Phantom Thief and your friend, she was put between a rock and a hard place.
It felt like everyone was compromised these days, more so with the added flavour of your grief. He was glad that this had remained mainly with him, Ann, and Ryuji. Yusuke probably wouldn’t be pleased if he knew, and Futaba was probably keeping quiet for his sake. Haru was… well, Haru was in the same basket as Yusuke, he felt.
“I’m sure that this is fine for a little while.” He sounded unsure, even to himself. “It’s not forever.”
"Well, if you let him believe in your death for long enough, the more he's going to despise you. His feelings of grief are real, even if your death isn't."
That would be a natural course of action, wouldn’t it? Not really his desired route, that much was obvious, and he would hate to lose you. You were an undeniably personal connection to him, and this went beyond the arcana that assigned themselves to his other relationships. He wouldn’t have imagined that a single incident would have led to him standing outside your house in the dead of the night.
He faked a suicide to be here. His friendship with Akechi, although nice, was built on half-lies and loaded questions, especially after the detective revealed his pure and unbelievable hatred for him. Akira received his glove with as much adrenaline as he had when the same detective pointed a gun at his forehead. The tip of the suppressor was cold, unwelcome, and overpowering in the interrogation room.
Granted, it was difficult to concentrate on a lot of things due to the drugs they had him take. He wasn’t sure if he could ever forget the sort of terror that came with the experience, nor did he want to. It was healthy to fear those sort of things; fear bred caution.
He tried not to think about how his death would be real if he hadn’t convinced Sae, however.
The recollection of being vulnerable took him back to that one afternoon, when he was having a particularly bad session with Maruki. It wasn’t exactly the councillor’s fault; the session itself was fine, however the topics discussed were… touchy, at best.
He didn’t need a reminder that his parents didn’t want to visit him, neither did he want to dissect his relationship with them under Maruki’s eye. On top of the pressure he had felt with the Phantom Thieves business, it all sort of collapsed on him.
There was a god after all, however, confirmed by your presence. He remembered hugging you after seeing you – part of him was embarrassed, but the relief he felt was much more overpowering.
Despite it all, however, he fell in love with you when you promised forever, and fell in love with the way you looked at him like he was your sun, your everything.
Who was he kidding?
He pulled out his set of keys, the slightly scratched bunny key-chain still hanging there. He smiled fondly at it. He had loved you when you believed in him, despite the authorities, despite the rumours and the charge. There was part of him that regretted not befriending you earlier, as to have more memories with you.
You had become important to him, as much as he had become important to you; Morgana was right in saying that you didn’t deserve this.
He had heard the cat sigh. “I won’t stop you if you want to keep him in the dark – just don’t expect to be forgiven when he finds out.”
Losing you, after everything he had done, was something he didn’t want to live with.
The gate made a slight creak as he entered through it. He wasn’t sure what exactly he was planning to do at your house, but he figured he could just wait here for a little while, and leave before the sun came up.
He was a coward for only being able to make this far, he told himself.
Luckily, fate tended to have different plans for him and for you.
He glanced up. He hadn’t even noticed you open your front door.
The first thing he noticed was that you looked like shit.
Your hair was messy and unwashed, making it look like you had literally been sleeping for the last year or so. It seemed like you had quickly run outside, by the way you were outside with no shoes on, and you had quickly chucked on a coat.
Morgana had ran off somewhere, he noticed, leaving both of you alone.
He tried speaking first, but was stopped by your angry steps. You grabbed him by the collar of his pullover and pushed him against the wall the surrounded your house.
You were beyond furious. You had woken up because you heard your gate creak – your parents always nag to you make sure it’s locked, so you had figured that you forgot to close it.
Lo and behold, a supposed dead man stood in front of your house instead.
At first, you were in bewilderment (after all, he was dead), but the moment of fascination you had passed as soon as his name passed your lips.
The lava from before filled you up as you stormed across to him.
“So, you were going to tell me that you were alive this whole time, huh?” You growled at him. “Or were you just going to let me be miserable, huh?”
You noticed that he looked like he wasn’t well at all. He had left the glasses at home, you thought, and it had made his eye bags a lot more noticeable. You were tempted to worry for him, but you remembered your own state of being, and your own anger that came with it.
“Well?” You urged.
He seemed to be struggling to get his words out, as if he had no clue what to say or how to say it. He normally knew the perfect sentence that would elicit the perfect response, but now, words were failing him.
You took this as an opportunity to continue. “Do you know how hurt I was? To watch the news on TV the day after? Everything was about the ‘Local kid fucking dies’; I couldn’t even escape the news!”
“—you’re sorry?” You barked back. “Akira, I thought you died. I thought you were dead. And what? You’ve actually been parading around, alive and well, and you just decided not telling me was a fantastic idea?”
He looked away. “We had a plan and—“
“A plan you couldn’t tell me about? A plan that you’d rather make me think you were dead than for me to know?”
“The person we’re fighting is really powerful and… I was worried about you.” He looked into your eyes. “In hindsight, it wasn’t a great idea, and I’m sorry. I really didn’t know what else to do.”
There was a silence between the two of you for a bit, before you let go of his shirt. You fell into his chest, putting your arms around his waist.
“Never do that again.” You said into his shirt. “I was right when I told you I’d have no clue what to do if you’d disappear, and that I wouldn’t know if I could stop. Just… please, if you have to disappear, I’ll come with you! Just—just don’t leave me alone.”
You felt his hands tentatively stroke your back, uncertainty in his warmth. He was gauging your reaction, you figured, or contemplating to himself if he was allowed to do it.
Stupid, stupid, stupid boy. You squeezed a little tighter, only for him to wince in pain.
“Oh, I—“He froze and put his hands on your upper arms. “Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing.”
You glared at him. “Akira…”
He gulped. “It’s – well, when I was waiting for interrogation, I didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome.” You felt your fingers grab his pullover a little tighter. “… Do you mind if we talk about this later? I just don’t feel like now is a good time.”
You gritted your teeth, holding in your words. They did something to him. Something happened to him in that police station, and you felt your anger towards these faceless perpetrators rise—
—but that was probably something he wanted to avoid right now.
You sighed and hugged him, albeit it gentler this time. “Alright. I’ll wait then. But, you need to tell me, ok?”
“Ok. I promise”
You felt his fingers in your head, making your scalp tingle with his tongue. God, you missed him.
Gently, you moved out of the hug, and lent your face into his. His hands pulled up to your face and you felt a burst of affection wave through you, as you kissed. For what’s said and done, it felt immensely better to know that he was alive than to think he was dead.
“I—“you said between kisses. “—am so glad you’re alive.”
He laughed. “So am I.”
. . .
The Phantom Thieves won out in the end. They had exposed Shido, and demolished society’s heart.
After the ordeal, Akira had taken to actually letting you know what the hell had gone on throughout the year, and how exactly the Thieves actually ‘stole’ hearts.
You still were confused about the idea of personas and the Mementos, but apparently that was destroyed, so you didn’t need to worry about it too much.
You put your head on Akira’s shoulder and looked down at your interlocking fingers, giving him a small squeeze. He gave one back, making you smile a bit.
“You know,” He smiled. “I remember a really troublesome kid in my class this year.”
“Is that right?”
He chuckled. “Yeah. He had a bright green pencil case. He used to watch me make bombs in class, and didn’t say anything about it.”
“Yeah, well,” You smirked. “I remember watching some stupid transfer student make bombs in class, and then when he nearly got caught in class, I covered his ass.”
“Was it a good ass at least?”
You laughed, burying your head in his shoulder. What an absolutely, loveable dickhead. “It was a very nice ass, yeah.” You chuckled. “And, I’d know because I sat behind him.”