The word loud and obnoxious seems to always be thrown around when Ryuji is involved. But they don't know about the quiet, the gravelly deep voice he uses in a hushed tone, the soft cheeky smile to match the warm air when it's just the two of them.
They don't know how quiet Ryuji can be, how he speaks with his heart through his eyes. How his nudge to the shoulder is a 'Happy to see you, man!' or the way he grabs at Akira's waist with his arm means that he's feeling protective when they're around dark alleyways or school hallways from the whispers. Between the two of them there's no need to break the silence with words. No one to impress or get the approval of because they already accept each other wholly, a peaceful air as they bask in each other's comforting presence. And Akira starts to understand, that this is what Ryuji meant on what true freedom feels like.
I love you i love you i love you.
And then sometimes there's this look. Like now. They're sitting by the bedside down the floor, reading different volumes of the same manga. And Akira tries not to think that if he scoots over a little to the left, their knees would touch. He tries to focus, to read the lines over and over and catch up so they can gush and pick at the story together. He tries. He's really trying okay.
Once the thought's out of his head and he's in the zone, he feels someone staring. So he looks. Eyes darting to the side as to not be obvious, his dark curls hopefully covering them.
And oh, he feels his heart clench at the sight.
Ryuji is smiling. It's different from all those grins but still so familiar. Sort of like the soft look he always gives him when he says something utterly, obliviously romantic and out of the blue (he still hasn't recovered from 'That makes your place next to me, huh') , but there's something else. Warmer, purer, raw and honest and just. Breathtaking.
The corner of his mouth lifts up higher than he's ever seen, but with no toothy grin. A faint blush of pink coloring his cheeks right up above it, manga completely forgotten set down on his lap. His eyes crinkle but his adorable brows are completely relaxed. If he looks any further he might lose himself in those deep brown eyes, so full of fondness for any human to take, and it's all completely directed towards him. He feels like he's on top of the world.
It occurs to Akira that he's staring at this point. Blatantly. He swallows the lump in his throat before realizing that they are both staring, way too long for this to be passed off as a bro moment. Especially not when neither is cutting the silence with a dumb quip or two. (It doesn't occur to him that he has the same look on him too as he stares back with that same longing expression).
Their knees are definitely touching now, shoulders too. And this would be the perfect moment to trail his hand from the blonde's neck up to his jaw, thumb lightly grazing over his lower lip before deciding to kiss-
No. He can't. He knows he can't.
It's completely unfair to Ryuji. He can't ruin this precious bond just because he fell (and oh did he fall hard ). It's not even because of his second thoughts on the blonde's sexuality, but just on the idea of becoming something more could easily break and change everything. Their friendship was built on blind trust and unwavering loyalty. Ryuji was and is his light among the tunnel that he was forcibly thrown into from the day they met, the same way that Akira was the weight that grounds him back to a reality, a place that could be better just as Ryuji was starting to slip away and lose himself.
They are each other's anchor. What they have is something special and irreplaceable. Akira can't ruin that. For Ryuji's sake and his.
But Akira, leader of the phantom thieves and top student who passes with flying colors out of spite, is a dumbass.
Somewhere along the way the blonde's hand is on his shoulder, subtly urging him to make a damn move. Akira snaps out of his trance and gets himself lost into his best friend's eyes once again, dropping his book altogether.
And with Ryuji, (as he always would) he obliges. Unlike his imagination he knocks their foreheads together and his glasses clinks with the former's nose, the sheer awkwardness of the motion not bothering either of them as they continue gaze into each other's eyes, completely hypnotized. He tilts his head and hovers his mouth over the other's, nose scrunching up from how close their breaths are together. He closes his eyes and presses his lips against his, and it's soft and sweet. Better than what he could have hope for their first kiss. Both of his hands reach up over his shoulders to run through the blonde's head of hair as the other embraces his waist, pulling him closer.
Ryuji moans softly as he melts against him. He parts his lips slightly and Akira takes it as an invitation to deepen it, continuing to caress the back of his hair as he darts his tongue out. He tastes like ice cream sundae and french fries, and he decides it's the best flavour of food in the world. His jaw goes slack, and he lets out a short little gasp when Akira nibbles into the upper lip.
He's so warm. And in no time at all Akira is straddling his best friend by the hips, shoving the manga over to the side. Ryuji is a shy kisser, unsure and nervous, and yet it's still so perfect. He tries to make up for it with enthusiasm as he follows his lead.
When they finally decide that they need air, he sighs into Ryuji's mouth, with him shivering back as a response. He's flushed and breathing heavily for breath, and when he looks back the blond is in no better condition.
He's tipped his head over the top of the bed, eyes closed and arms slack by his sides. Face a deep deep shade of scarlet as he gasps for air, sweat rolling down his forehead from the combined summer heat and the kiss.
Ryuji opens his heavy lids and they look at each other in complete silence.
Akira's shoulders begin to rumble, and he snorts loudly as he starts to laugh slowly. Ryuji grins big and wide, and they both erupt into laughter with increasing intensity.
After a few tentative seconds, Akira is the first to finally speak, snickering as he does. "Oh my god. Ryuji, we just-- Wow. "
The blond brings a hand to wipe a tear off his eyes, calming down from their shared laughter. "Yeah. Holy shit."
And then all of a sudden it's like a flip was switched. Chocolate brown eyes widen, and he's blushing harder if that is even possible, lips trembling. He snakes his hands over Akira's waist back again, pulls him closer and presses his face at his chest, and screams into it.
Akira tries not to let it show that what he's doing actually tickles a hell lot, instead coming up to pet his hair with one hand as the other rubs at the back of his neck soothingly.
"You okay?" He asks, very casually. As casually as he can as if he's not still sitting on his best bro's lap after a makeout session and still currently hugging.
Said best friend's voice is muffled at his shirt, hands gripping the back of it at that. God, he's completely trapped. He loves it. Ryuji’s murmurs are hard to understand though.
He continues with the patting in a form or encouragement. "Ryuji, you're gonna have to speak louder than that."
The blond moves his head to the side, still not letting go. Voice still strangled, but clearer when he says, "I.. I think I love you, man." This time the other teen has the audacity to look up with those big hopeful eyes.
And just like that the air is knocked out of his lungs. He drops everything. Akira Kurusu is officially and finally dead. Heaven feels amazing. He feels his face heat up too and it's. It's too much.
God, his smiling face probably looks so creepy right now. He should say something suave, something cool and snarky like the little shit that he is. Instead he cups the blushing boy's cheek and forces him to look up.
"I... I love you too, Ryuji." His thumb rolls in a circular motion against his cheek, mind dizzy and head in the clouds, basking in delight at the attention he is given, "So much." He kisses the tip of his nose as he finishes.
He runs his palms over Ryuji's shoulders, and down his arms until they find and intertwine their hands together. Ryuji squeezes back in return, thumbs rubbing over knuckles. It's almost perfect, like home made in person. But there's this distant look in his eyes that wasn't there before, avoidant and starting to shine with tears threatening to spill. Ryuji's hold on him grips hard, quietly trembling.
For a moment he smiles, but in seconds it passes just as quickly as it appeared. "M-Me too but.." He pauses, lets go and uses an arm to wipe at his eyes before continuing. He holds out their held hands in front, staring blankly. "Is this.. Is this going to be okay? I-I mean, you're a guy and I'm.." Ryuji's eyes start to water again with a look of regret. "Akira, I'm scared. "
And oh no, at this moment Ryuji looks so small right now. Mouth pursed and eyes downcast, the air between them is so close yet so far away, every tender moment littered with second thoughts. He's scared too, but if it's Ryuji then it's worth it.
He brings up one of his hands, planting a soft kiss on top of it.
"Do you trust me?" Akira asks.
He looks back. "Yeah dude, always."
His smile widens into a grin. "I do too," With that he holds both sides of his face, planting a soft kiss on the top of his head. Ryuji makes a soft noise of contentment as he leans closer to Akira.
"We'll be okay."
There's a dazed look on Ryuji, unfocused and small and absolutely adorable. He finally smiles from ear to ear, reaching closer to nuzzle against the crook of his neck.
"Okay," he says and that's the end of that. No other words are spoken nor needed as they enjoy the warmth of each other's embrace, accepting this precious moment as something special and completely theirs. Overwhelmed with bliss and love.