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Amuro is about to finish his shift and close up the café for today when the door jingles.

"I'm just here to talk,“ is the first thing Akai Shuichi says.

He considers briefly just ignoring the man, or maybe walking over and strangling him to death on the spot, but neither option seems worth the trouble. “Make it quick, then. We're closing.”

Akai shrugs and sits at a table in the corner – good view on the door and both windows, back protected by a wall, right across the mirror so he can see even what's behind him, but not too far in the corner so it doesn't seem suspicious. It almost makes Amuro smile. It's the exact same spot that he would have picked; old habits die hard, only in cases like this, they also tend to keep you alive most of the time.

“You have anything to drink?”

“Nothing but cold coffee and hard liquor.”

“I'll stick with coffee then.”

Amuro sighs. “As usual, you have no taste at all.” He pours what's left from the coffee machine into a cup. He vaguely remembers Akai taking his coffee black, back at the Organisation, so he adds milk and two sugar cubes just to piss him off.

Akai probably knows this, grimacing at the cup's content but not showing any further reaction than that.

“So? Is it about the detective kid?”

“It's about Scotch,” Akai says, diligently sipping his coffee, and just like that Amuro freezes.

He rakes a hand through his hair, pulling a little bit too hard, and walks over to the sink to get himself a glass of water. It doesn't help much, but it gives him something to do with his hands other than killing the man at the table.

After downing the water and pouring himself another one, he goes back to sit across from Akai.

“It better be important, or you're really going to make me regret not poisoning that coffee, Rye,” he rasps.

Akai gives him a wry smile. “When he died. You remember that, right?”

“You mean, when you killed him?” The numbness in his stomach threatens to spread into his fingers; he grips the glass harder. “Don't know, I might have a memory or two of that.”

“Why do you think I did it?”

“Oh, I don't know?” Suddenly, Amuro's out of his chair, fist slammed down on the table. “Because he found you out and you wanted to keep your cover? Because the boss told you to? Because you're a fucking asshole?”

Akai's eyes narrow. “Rei. Please calm down.”

“Don't.” Amuro's breath hisses through his gritted teeth. “Don't call me that.”

“He asked me to.” Akai sets his cup down. “Kill him, I mean. They found out he was from the PBS somehow, so he wanted to end it before they could get more info through him. I tried to talk him out of it, told him who I was, but he was stubborn, and well.” He smiles sardonically; the regret is heavy in his eyes. “We couldn't know it was you who would come out onto the roof that night, now could we?”

Amuro feels like he's been punched, which he wishes he was because everything would be better than this. “You're lying. He would have told me. He would have asked me to do it.”

“He didn't want to blow your cover, as well. Wanted you to stay safe.”

His legs start to feel an awful lot like jelly, so he slumps back down in his chair. A helpless laugh escapes him. “Safe? Safe? Like that was ever in the job description? God, what an idiot. What a fucking idiot.”

Akai swirls his cup around, probably trying to dissolve the gross mass of sugar that must have formed at the bottom. “So you believe me?”

“It sounds exactly like the kind of dumb thing he'd do. So yeah.” Amuro sighs, voice heavy with things he can't bear to think about right now. Like whether he should start to blame himself for it. Or how the hell he should feel about Akai now that he has no real reason to hate him anymore. “Thanks for ruining my Tuesday evening, I guess.”

Akai seems to give up the endeavour of making his drink drinkable and just knocks it back like a shot. “Always a pleasure.”

“You're still an asshole.”

He smirks. “Comes with the territory.” And then he's out of the door. Amuro notices that he's left a pretty big tip on the table, even though there's no way he would have charged him for cold coffee anyway.

 

 

 

“You know, I didn't think you'd come here again.”

Akai raises an eyebrow. “Well, since the stuff you served me last time was downright awful, I figured I should try ordering something at a time that's not five minutes before closing.”

“Twenty minutes before closing isn't necessarily much better.” Still, Amuro sighs and slips on his waiter smile. “What can I get you then, Sir?”

“Coffee. Black,” Akai adds with a glare.

“What, so late in the evening?”

“Are you required to comment every customer's choice like that?”

Amuro's smile doesn't waver at all. “Only the ones that look like they're here for conversation.”

“God, that's creepy.”

“What?”

Akai waves his hand around. “Your face. That smile. You don't smile like that.”

Hearing that, Amuro's expression turns a little more sarcastic. “How would you know? Have you ever even seen me smile?”

Akai chuckles quietly. “Right. There wasn't really much to smile about, all things considered.” He pauses for a second. “You smiled at Scotch.”

Incredibly proud of his self-control, Amuro slips back into his waiter-smile. “I'll go get you that coffee.”

 

 

 

Akai starts coming in somewhat regularly, always about half an hour before closing time when there's barely more than one or two customers left in Café Poirot, always sitting at the exact same table, and always ordering the exact same thing, except when he doesn't (clearly just to keep Amuro on his toes). Amuro doesn't really know what to make of that, especially since it's not exactly the safest thing for an FBI agent to do, but, as Akai tells him, “I'm supposed to be dead anyway so might as well have a bit of fun while I can”.

He isn't sure how sitting in a café at night and chatting with your formal fake colleague and self-declared arch-nemesis would in any way equal 'having fun' but he has a job to do, and talking to Akai isn't actually half-bad once you get used to his shitty attitude.

They mostly speak about cases, or other work-related things, and little bit about their civilian lives as if they weren't completely made-up stories. Akai stays pretty vague on what his identity is now, but he can't live too far away if he has time to visit regularly. Sometimes Amuro comes up with a riddle to solve or a funny story to tell. Sometimes it even gets a grin out of Akai.

Neither of them mention Scotch again.

 

 

 

Amuro is busy wiping down the counter and not thinking about how long it's been since he's last gotten laid when a somewhat familiar voice makes him look up.

“Amuro-san!” Sera Masumi calls, practically running across the café and hopping into one of the barstools. Her momentum nearly makes her fall off again. Amuro will never understand how someone can have that much energy.

“Ah, Masumi-san!” he greets with a polite smile. “What can I get you?”

“Two coffees with caramel syrup. To go,” she adds, and then, lowering her voice, “I'm on a date right now. We planned to go to the aquarium but your coffee simply is the best so I really have to get her one beforehand!”

The smile on his face turns into something more genuine then. Idiot brother or not, Sera Masumi is a sharp girl, and he's come to be quite fond of her. Probably because she likes pretending to be cheerier and more naïve than she really is in order to make people underestimate her; he can relate to that. “Congratulations! So, has Ran-san finally accepted to go out with you?”

Masumi blinks. “How did you – ” She breaks off mid-sentence and sighs. “Yeah, okay, I wasn't being very subtle about that, was I? Nah, she's still pining after her own detective, though I do hope she gets over that someday. For such a clever boy, Kudou sure is an idiot. No, the girl who's with me, I actually met her when – well, it's a bit complicated,” she finishes with a sheepish smile, “but her name is Akako and she's amazing, so yeah.”

Amuro nods. “Good luck then.”

“Thanks.” Masumi grins, baring her pointed tooth. “Oh, by the way. You wouldn't have happened to see my brother around lately?”

Amuro is kind of proud of himself that he doesn't pause even once in his movements, even manages to let out a long-suffering sigh. “I wouldn't know that, Masumi-san, since I can only keep telling you that I don't know your brother.”

“Yeah, and I can only keep feeling that somehow, you actually do.”

“Why would I lie about that?”

“My brother has a history of associating with shady people.”

Amuro does turn around at that, raising an amused eyebrow. “Are you saying I'm shady?”

Her grin stretches into a smirk. “I'm saying you're not what you seem to be. Then again, that seems to go for a lot of people around here, don't you think?” The smirk is gone in an instant, replaced with an innocent smile again. She's good, Amuro's got to hand it to her; he has no idea how much she really knows. “Anyway, I brought a picture with me this time. To help your memory along.”

Amuro rolls his eyes and looks at the picture, mentally cursing and wondering whether any of the other staff members could have seen Akai. Technically he's always alone on his late shift, so there shouldn't be anyone, but he distinctly remembers one evening where a particularly loud and big group of people had insisted a specific waitress stay behind to serve them, and Akai had been there to see that...

“Can't say I've seen him around,” he says eventually. “He looks pretty noticeable though. I'll keep an eye open for him, okay?”

Masumi's eyes, suddenly cold and sharp like her brother's, are searching his face for signs of a lie he knows aren't there. After a few seconds that feel far too long, she nods to herself.

“Thanks, Amuro-san.” Without further ado, she grabs the two paper cups on the counter, hands him the money and throws a wink over her shoulder, already halfway out the door to join the pretty girl waiting for her on the pavement. “See you!”

 

 

 

“Your sister was here today,” Amuro tells Akai later that day. “Asked whether I'd seen you.”

“And? Have you?”

He scoffs. “Of course not. You're dead, aren't you? I'm hallucinating, is all.” Akai rolls his eyes, but the corner of his mouth is twitching. “Still, I don't think you're being fair. No, let me rephrase that. I think you're being a total dick.”

“It's too dangerous for her to know.”

“It's even more dangerous for her to keep looking for you.”

“I don't want her to get hurt.”

“Or maybe, you don't want to admit that she can very well make sure not to get hurt herself.”

Akai raises an eyebrow, seemingly unimpressed. Amuro can tell he's angry, though. “You my psychologist now, or what?”

“Your psychologist? God, no. Wouldn't want to poke that mess of a brain with a six-foot pole.”

“Graphic.”

Amuro smoothes down the front of his uniform. “She hangs out a lot with Sleeping Kogoro's daughter, who is apparently the former best friend of high school detective Kudou Shinichi.” If that rings any bells, Akai doesn't show it; then again, that's expected. “Also that little kid who lives with them – Edogawa Conan? Seems to be good friends with Masumi-san.”

When he doesn't continue, Akai furrows his brows. “Should I wait for you to make some kind of point?”

After brief consideration, Amuro decides to throw subtlety out of the window. Mind tricks usually don't work well with Akai anyway. “You wouldn't happen to know anything about that kid, would you?”

“Edogawa Conan?” Akai repeats, thinking. “He does hang around Mouri often. Jodie and the others ran into him a few times during a case. Nothing unusual about him. Except that he's freakishly clever, of course. Why?”

Well. That was an awfully long explanation. Amuro's feeling that Akai might know more about this than he's letting on grows into certainty. “I was just wondering – as you say, he's freakishly clever, and coincidentally always present whenever a case is solved by the mysterious Sleeping Kogoro. Usually guides the police officers onto the right track, too, but they don't even notice. Took me long enough, after all.” He smirks and leans in closely, voice dropping to a conspiring whisper. “If he weren't eight years old and I didn't know better, I'd think he's one of us.”

“I don't like meddling with police affairs, so can't help you there.” Or rather, won't, Amuro thinks. “Really though, don't get too paranoid. It's not a nice feeling.”

“Too late, then!” Amuro chirps. “Oh, by the way. When she dropped by, your sister was actually in the middle of a date.”

Now Amuro's sure Akai has been keeping something from him, because the carefully neutral expression on his face instantly turns into something much more curious. “Really now. With whom?”

“Name's Akako. I didn't get to meet her since she was waiting outside, but I saw her. Lovely girl. Masumi-san has excellent taste.”

If Akai is at all surprised that his sister asked a girl out, he doesn't show it. Then again, he wouldn't really be in a position to say anything, Amuro supposes. “That's. That's great. I'm glad for her.”

Amuro thinks he recognises that tone of voice. “They do grow up so quickly, don't they?” he teases. “Especially when you're not around to see it.”

Akai glares at him. It looks more hurt than anticipated. “Watch what you're saying.”

“Will do, Shu,” Amuro grins. This really is shaping up to be fun.

 

 

 

“You should try coming here a bit earlier, you know. Happy hour's from eleven to twelve, and you're starting to burn a lot of money on that coffee.”

Akai looks at him with a quirked eyebrow. It's the neutral expression he has for him these days, a subtle mixture of tired surprise, deadpan and disapproval. “It's not the coffee that's going to make a dent in my income.”

Once again, there's nobody left in the café apart from them, and Amuro is already halfway done with wrapping everything up for the day. He lifts the cup in front of Akai to wipe the table down. “Still, you could at least visit at different times. Otherwise I'm going to have to assume you're hitting on me.”

It's only half meant as a joke, or maybe even just a quarter. Amuro sets the cup back down to continue with the other tables; a hand on his arm stills him. Akai is looking at him, eyes haunted as usual, but with a cold fire behind them that doesn't really leave any doubts.

“You're a smart man, Bourbon.” His voice is quiet. “I'll trust you to assume the right thing.”

 

 

 

Not even fifteen minutes later, they're kissing against the counter. Well, it feels less like kissing and more like Akai is trying to slowly and methodically rip Amuro's throat out with his teeth, but he appreciates it. It's straightforward and unsentimental and, paired with the flat hard wood digging into his back, physical in a nicely grounding way.

Most importantly, it's nothing like Scotch.

Still, as Akai's hands start to work on the fourth button of his shirt (or is it the fifth? Sixth, seventh? Does his shirt even have seven buttons?), reality starts to softly nudge the back of Amuro's head. He grips Akai's hands to stop him.

“My place,” he spits out roughly.

Akai blinks at him, pupils wide. Somehow, it makes him look less human. “Seriously?”

“Well, surely you're not going to tell me where you live. I don't have much to hide.” From you, Amuro doesn't say. “And before you suggest it, I'm not hooking up at my workplace.”

Seemingly convinced, Akai takes a step back so Amuro can slide off the counter. His mouth curls into a half-smile. “Wouldn't be the first time for you. Hooking up at your workplace, I mean.”

“You really think this is the time to bring that up?” Amuro says, hurrying to collect his jacket and lock the café's door behind him. Akai just raises an eyebrow at him, like you weren't thinking about him anyway, and Amuro winces because duh.

The walk to his apartment, while only a few streets away, feels like forever; the most infuriating thing is that Akai seems as calm and unaffected as ever, to the point where Amuro has to wonder whether the man pressing him down on the countertop a few minutes ago was actually a very elaborate clone, or maybe a more passionate twin or something.

“You sure you don't have any long-lost siblings?” he asks while opening the door; it takes a second longer than usual, but he's so good at door-opening and lock-picking that it makes practically no difference.

He doesn't get to hear Akai's response, either, because he's already being dragged off to the bedroom, which Akai finds on the first try. Either there are some clues about it in the hallway that Amuro is too distracted to think about right now, or there simply aren't that many options in a two-room flat anyway, and the bastard was just lucky not to land in the living room or the kitchen.

He pulls Akai into a heated kiss while simultaneously trying to get his coat off, and preferably half of his shirt with it. He's a bit more deft with his hands, but Akai seems more determined; Amuro likes to imagine it makes them evenly matched. He lets go for a moment to shrug the rest of his jacket off and get his arms out of his shirtsleeves; then he sinks down on the bed and drags Akai on top of him.

Again, reality gives him a gentle nudge. Amuro tries to clear his head and opens his mouth for some sort of question, mostly to find out if maybe he's going too fast, maybe Akai would like to slow down or at least light some candles first or something, but the insistent lips on his silence him.

Never mind then.

It feels good, having Akai's hands and teeth roam across his body, good enough that he might just lose himself in the moment if he manages not to try too hard. Definitely better than most of the random encounters he's had; he and Akai do know each other on many messed-up levels, after all. When the biting reaches his stomach, he hisses out a long breath and buries a hand in Akai's hair.

“I like it better now that it's short,” he says with a grin, surprised he even gets the words out in the right order. Akai pauses for a second to level him a gaze that's so full of fury, Amuro half-expects the walls to crash down around him and still can't bring himself to care because button-pushing is just so much fun.

When Akai sinks his teeth back onto Amuro's skin with even more fervour, nails digging into his hips, he knows the other man's not thinking about him anymore.

Which isn't a problem because Amuro isn't thinking about him, either.

 

 

 

Akai isn't there when Amuro wakes up, which surprises a grand total of nobody. He considers getting up and starting his day like he usually does, but the sheets are warm and his head is positioned on the pillow in just the right way, and it would be a shame to disturb that.

So, inevitably, without any distractions, he ends up thinking about Scotch.

He knows that there should be another name in his head for him – Scotch certainly knew his – but there isn't, and even though it's safer that way, he wishes there were. Scotch had been all about keeping each other safe (“Because who the hell else is gonna do it?”, he'd said, more than once), and while Amuro had shared his name on the second night they'd spent together, Scotch's mouth remained sealed until the end. Chances are there is no gravestone for him now. For the millionth time, Amuro wonders whether his family even knows he's dead.

Honestly, his own family probably wouldn't.

Which is a damn shame because while Amuro knows he's enough of an asshole that his death really wouldn't be such a big loss, Scotch was just... a genuinely good person. Good, both in the way that would take a bullet for you, or a hundred, if need be, but also that would help your grandmother cross the street and carry her groceries and smile every day at her on the way home. And Amuro had wondered why, had even despised him for it, at first, how someone could do this kind of job and do it well and still hold onto his goddamn integrity like it's not ripping him apart, like it's the only thing keeping him together.

“Because it is the only thing keeping me together,” Scotch had answered with a smile on his lips.

And in that moment, Amuro knew he had to learn how to look out for Scotch the way Scotch looked out for him, because his integrity may well keep him together but damn him if he let it be the only thing.

 

 

 

Amuro wouldn't have pegged Akai as a creature of habit, but apparently that's exactly what he is. It's kind of hilarious, seeing the mysterious man with more aliases than ex-lovers turn out to be so predictable that the moment he walks through the café door, Amuro knows exactly whether he'll be going home alone tonight or not. He always wakes alone without fail, of course, but recently Akai has started to leave him hot coffee in a thermos in the mornings. It makes him wonder just how early the guy gets up and how stealthy he is, but hey, effortless coffee will never be something he complains about.

Tonight is one of those nights where Amuro is sure he'll get a shitload of coffee in the morning. And maybe an engagement ring, but only if he plays his cards right. Akai has done nothing but quiver and breathe heavily for the last half hour, making one delicious noise after the other, hand carding through Amuro's hair and head tilted back in delirious pleasure, and Amuro knows that nobody in this room will doubt his tongue's abilities ever again.

He's busy mouthing along the inside of Akai's thigh while Akai comes down from the high, breath slowly evening out. Amuro doesn't really expect him to speak; when he does, it comes out raspy and a little bit too gentle.

“I never know what to call you.”

Akemi, Amuro wants to say, but it sounds tasteless even for him. Instead, he presses his cheek against Akai's thigh. “What, is Amuro not good enough for you?”

“Don't be ridiculous.”

Bourbon is out of the question. So is Furuya; sounds too much like his police academy teachers.

“Rei is fine,” he says eventually, maybe too softly.

“Your given name. You didn't want me to say it before.”

“Don't read too much into it. I barely use it anyway.”

The lazy smirk that stretches then on Akai's mouth is too wide not to make him suspicious. “What about Zer-”

Don't even go there.” If Amuro is anything, then it's quick to retaliate. “How about you? You have even more names to pick from. Or wait, tell me, what did Akemi call you?”

The smirk freezes instantly. With a sigh, Akai drops his head back onto the pillow. “Why do you keep doing this?”

“Why do you?”

“You don't get it, she – ” And suddenly, Akai sits up, almost knocking into Amuro's head. “She was everything. Life threw all those terrible things at her, including me, and she just took it all with a smile and somehow turned it into something good.” He sounds disgusted and reverent at the same time. “When I look in the mirror all I see is one lie on top of the other. I barely remember my name on the good days. But she... She just needed to look, one single look. And it was like she knew.”

Amuro knows that he should be angry at Akai for talking about Akemi now of all moments, but he can relate very much, so that's not why he's grimacing.

His voice drops to a hiss.

“What on this miserable planet makes you think I don't get it? Do you think what I had was worth any less because it was Scotch? Do you think I know who I am without him?”

Akai blinks at him. Neither of them is crying, luckily, because they've handled being double and triple agents and fighting organisations and having their loved ones die, but Amuro doesn't think they'd be able to handle that.

And then, to his great surprise, Akai drops his head forward to lean it on his shoulder.

“Shit. Rei, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. Forget what I said. I'm a selfish – ” His breath hitches, unable to continue.

Amuro doesn't believe his ears, not really.

“I get it,” he mumbles. “I don't care. So am I.”

They stay like this for far too long, Akai breathing against the side of his neck, Amuro hunched in on himself with a hand in Akai's hair. The short curls really do fit him much better.

“She called me Dai,” Akai eventually says, and it's more bitter than the coffee he likes to drink at one in the morning. “So you're good whatever you pick, anyway.”

 

 

 

Amuro is almost disappointed when one evening, it isn't Akai that comes through the door twenty minutes before closing time, but Okiya Subaru.

“I'm hurt,” he sighs, setting the usual order of black coffee down in front of him. “After going through all that trouble to throw me off the trail and keep me in the dark, you couldn't even let me figure this out by myself.”

“You did figure it out,” Akai – because of course it's Akai, when is it ever not – says in Okiya's voice. “And I'm barely using this disguise nowadays, anyway. Just another alias to add to the list.”

“Why reveal it now, then? You know I don't really care.”

Akai smiles. It looks gentler when Okiya's face does it. “Maybe the thrill of being honest?”

“Or maybe you have a thing for disguises.” Amuro opens a cupboard and stores away the mugs he's just cleaned. “I dressed up as you once, to trick people into thinking you were still alive and see their reactions.”

“I heard of that, yeah.”

“Does it turn you on?”

Akai huffs. “While I am, admittedly, much hotter than you, it's more weird than it's sexy.”

“I'll pretend I didn't hear that.” Amuro closes the cupboard and goes to dust off the liquor bottles next. “So does that mean I'm joining you in Kudou's mansion tonight?”

“If you want to. I'm not keeping on this mask though.”

“Oh. Well, your actual face is okay too, I guess.” He hesitates for a second when he sees the bottle of scotch and immediately feels stupid for it. “How did you end up living there, anyway?”

Akai sighs. “You're fishing for information again. I thought we agreed not to do that.”

“Right. Sure.”

The walk to the mansion is longer than the one to Amuro's flat, but he doesn't really mind; the night isn't too cold, and they fill the air with comfortable bickering. Distantly, he wonders how this can feel so normal, how anything involving Akai Shuichi and Furuya Rei can even begin to feel remotely close to normal.

Akai holds the door open for him, which Amuro comments with a raised eyebrow. The hallway is spacious, and so is the living room, and probably any other room in this big-ass place. A shining black piano occupies the middle of the living room; distantly, Amuro wonders whether Akai knows how to play. He's suddenly slammed in the gut with a vivid memory of Scotch, sitting cross-legged on an old mattress, guitar in hand, voice soft, playing and singing songs for him until the sun peeks over the roofs.

He's about a hundred-and-ten percent sure that Akai's not going to serenade him, ever, and he is so, so grateful for it.

“There's like, a million rooms in here,” he says, covering up his little flashback. “How can anyone even afford this?”

Akai shrugs. “Kudou Yukiko is an actress, and her husband a writer.”

Amuro raises an eyebrow. “That's pretty much the opposite of an explanation.”

“They're very famous overseas. Probably make a lot of money?” It's clear Akai doesn't particularly care. He walks over to a little nightstand with a mirror in the corner and starts to pick apart his disguise.

Quickly, Amuro looks away. That's really not something he wants to see.

“Kudou Yukiko...” he muses instead, wondering where he's heard the name before. “Wait. Oh God, Shu, I think that's her.”

“What?” Akai asks, busy removing his coloured contact lenses.

“The woman Vermouth was talking about. Oh, this is brilliant. They knew each other when they were younger, while learning the art of disguise or something, and. Like, I'm ninety-nine percent sure Vermouth still has a crush on her.”

Akai's hands still; he looks at Amuro through the mirror. “Well. That's. That's interesting.”

Interesting? It could be leverage! It could be a fucking key to – come on, Shu, a bit more enthusiasm than that!”

Akai sighs, removing the second lens. “Listen, I don't want to rain on your parade, but. Can we just have sex and leave it at that?”

 

 

 

It's different, just once. They stumble into Amuro's flat, kissing and ripping at each other's throats like usual, when Akai suddenly stills and pries Amuro's hands out of his hair.

“What,” Amuro groans. Akai doesn't meet his eyes.

“It's her birthday today.”

Of fucking course it is. Amuro hates himself for knowing exactly how he feels and what he needs because yeah, he's been there and still is. He leaves Akai standing in the hallway and goes into the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of bourbon, which, miraculously, they both like. Then he comes back to drag him into the bedroom.

“Well, in that case, let's celebrate.”

They don't kiss even once after that, just stay up for a long time, mostly silent. They do finish the whole bottle, though; Amuro resists the temptation of getting a second one. He's already drowning in memories of Scotch, and he knows Akai is drowning in memories of Akemi, but at least they're drowning together and it's almost bearable, like that. He remembers Akemi's mother Elena, who was there whenever his wounds needed mending, scrapes and cuts and bruises. He's sure she would have been there for the bullet holes later, too.

“The good ones always die early,” he observes idly. After the alcohol he's had, it almost sounds profound. Akai's shoulder is pressed to his; he can feel his dry chuckle.

“Then what does it say about us that we're still alive?”

When it's already way too late but not quite late enough to be early again, Amuro notices he's too tired to stay seated anymore. He's nearly too tired to lay down and sleep, even, but that's an effort that has to be made.

It surprises him then, in a mild, hazy sort of way, when he feels the mattress shift next to him. He looks over his shoulder. Akai has settled down at his back, an arm coming to wrap around his waist. Amuro bites back a smile and scoots back until his back hits Akai's chest.

“So sentimental,” he murmurs.

“I'm allowed to be sentimental today,” Akai mumbles into his hair.

 

 

 

When Amuro wakes in the morning, Akai is still there, sleeping.