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“If I was a human, or... maybe if there was just a human who looked like me,” Angel paused, embarrassed by what he was about to ask him, “would you be interested in them?”

He watched Aki study him for a moment, likely trying to discern what exactly he was asking him to answer.

“Are you asking if I’d want to date you, if you were human..?”

Angel nodded. He stared down at a spot of old, dried, devil blood on his sneakers in an attempt to avoid eye contact and mentally chastised himself for asking something so unbelievably embarrassing. It was silent for a moment before he heard Aki sigh above him then make a light ‘tut’ sound and he braced himself for whatever the devil hunter had to say in response.

“Probably, yeah."

Angel went still. He didn’t know how exactly he should have felt about that, but something about it made him ache nonetheless. He looked up, though still not at Aki, and focused his attention on the uninteresting pedestrians passing them both by as they sat together on a bench. I don't really know what exactly I expected from him.

“I see... Well, I guess I should be flattered in a w-”

Aki let out a huff which then turned into a brief chuckle. Angel finally turned to look at him and Aki was staring back at him with eyes that were hopelessly fond. Angel felt his face begin to flush, though he was sure his face must have already been red from when he first asked his question.

"I wouldn’t mind dating you, as a devil, either though."

Aki’s smile was honest and soft. He sounded a bit amused at his half-hearted attempt at teasing, but he quickly shifted to look down at his hand after he spoke. Angel tried to think of the right way to respond. Not wanting to appear overly excited or relieved at what might as well be a confession, but he already felt like a metric ton of weight had just been lifted off his meek shoulders.

“That’s stupid, Aki,” is what he settles on, though he regrets it as soon as it leaves his lips.

To Angel's surprise, he laughed softly at that and Angel thinks it’s one of the most lovely sounds he’s ever heard from him. He wanted to hear it again, desperately. He wanted to hear it enough times that he could memorize the sound and hold it close to him forever.

“Yeah? Maybe.”

Aki looked back up and gave him a smile again but it was small and there was a bitterness there now. Angel realized he must get told that a lot; that he’s stupid for wanting what he wants. For wanting to take down the Gun Devil, for not wanting to take down the Gun Devil, for wanting Denji and Power to be safe and happy, for wanting him. He’s tired of it. Exhausted by it, even.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean that."

Aki’s eyes widened fractionally, not used to what appears to be Angel apologizing for what he considers his usual, pessimistic deadpan. Feeling slightly flustered by Angel's response, he waved his hand in dismissal.

“Don’t apologize, it’s fine..." He paused, collecting his thoughts together before continuing to speak. "It is stupid in a way; having feelings for someone who can kill me as easily as you can..." Aki wasn't looking at him again. He was hunched slightly forward, staring intently at something across the street. Angel followed his line of sight to see a young couple holding hands. The man and woman were completely engrossed in each other’s presence, ignorant of everyone else around them and walking as if they were in a world that was all their own. Aki leaned back against the bench and tilted his head towards Angel before speaking lowly.

"At this point, I’m okay with being stupid though."

Angel fought back against the blush spreading across his face again and sighed, feigning some brief sounds of annoyance to mask the immense relief and adoration building inside him because of the man next to him. He leaned his head against Aki’s side, thankful that devil hunter was so much taller than him so he didn't have to worry about the dangers of accidentally bumping heads. He couldn’t hold his hand, but he could do this much, although he still kept a bit of distance between both of their bodies out of a mixture of habit and fear. Aki must have noticed that hesitation and, as if to prove a point, wrapped his remaining arm gently around Angel’s back, rested his hand at his hip, then slowly pulled him closer to him anyway. Angel felt himself grinning widely, without meaning to, as he melted into the welcoming sensation of Aki’s body heat.