He woke up to silence, with the soft gold glow of dawn filtering through his blinds telling him that his alarm should’ve already gone off at least an hour earlier, and he sat up in a panic before realizing that it was fine, he hadn’t set an alarm, it was Sunday and he didn’t have anywhere to be anyway because he wasn’t in school anymore and didn’t have a job beyond helping Sojiro at the cafe whenever he got too bored.
He looked at his phone anyway, just to make sure, just in case he’d gotten the day wrong or forgotten that he was meant to be somewhere. It was hard to train himself out of that kind of habit, or the instinctive fear that accompanied it, the constant background noise of where do I need to be and what else do I need to be doing keeping him focused, keeping him moving. Keeping him from ever getting a true moment of rest. There was nothing, of course. It was six in the morning on a Sunday and the next thing on his calendar was meeting Sumire for lunch on Tuesday.
Akira was still asleep next to him, his glasses folded carefully on the nightstand, and he looked so soft without glasses or a mask obscuring his eyes. So soft and so young, as though nothing he’d been through had left a mark on him, almost as if he’d never been through any of it at all, unless he looked close enough to see the small lines of scars that still hadn’t faded. His hair was horribly disheveled and he was drooling slightly on Goro’s pillowcase, and he loved him so unbelievably much.
It had been difficult at first to sleep in the same bed as him at first, when this had first become a regular occurrence, and not because Akira was an especially inconvenient person to share a bed with. He usually passed out almost immediately and hardly stirred at all. He didn’t even snore. But Goro had always found it hard to relax with someone else in close proximity, and even hearing his breathing or the soft rustle of the blankets every time he moved slightly in his sleep forced Goro to wake all the way back up again to reassess that there was still no threat. Not that he was great about falling asleep even when he was alone. There was a reason he used to not even try to get more than a few hours each night, beyond just not having the time for much more.
Now, though, between how much less stressed he was in general and how much of a frequent and comforting presence Akira had become, he rarely had a problem falling asleep next to him.
Although that could’ve also been partially due to the fact that he had nicer, more comfortable sheets on his bed now, instead of the most basic set he could find when he was sixteen and didn’t know what thread count meant. Ann had been horrified, the first time she’d seen the inside of his apartment, both by how uncomfortable she thought his bed looked and by how empty and impersonal the whole place was. She was right, even if at the time he’d insisted to her that this was how he preferred it. Now though, there were posters on his walls from movies Ryuji and Ann and even Futaba had dragged him to, though usually with Akira or Sumire or both tagging along, and a few framed photographs of various combinations of his friends on his desk, tacky knick knacks from museum gift shops that Akira had given him scattered on his bookshelves, even a print from one of Yusuke’s gallery shows and a potted plant that Haru had insisted he would be able to keep alive. It looked, all in all, like a home for a real living person now, rather than something that still belonged in a real estate catalogue, which in turn made him feel more like a real living person who inhabited a space instead of haunting it.
There was a part of him that still thought he should be getting up now, but instead he shifted closer to Akira, burying his face in his chest but being careful not to touch his bare skin with his cold hands just in case that woke him up--unlikely, Akira could be remarkably hard to wake--and drifted back to sleep in the safety and warmth of his boyfriend’s arms.
The next time he woke up, with the vague impression of a pleasant dream that he couldn’t remember, the sun was higher in the sky and the bright midmorning light was reflecting off the glass of the windows of the building across the road, hurting his eyes if he looked at it too directly. Akira was gone, but the bed was still warm as Goro rolled over into the spot that had clearly been recently vacated, and he heard the familiar sounds of Akira preparing breakfast in the small kitchen area of his apartment, and he could smell food cooking that would no doubt be delicious when it was done. That was another change: since Akira had started staying over more regularly, he’d started keeping food in his cupboards beyond the pre-made meals in his fridge and a few basic staples that he never did anything with anyway. Also, Akira had insisted on buying him actual cooking appliances and utensils. It was incredible how much easier it was to make rice in a rice maker. He hardly ever burned it anymore.
Akira was humming to himself as he cooked, some song that Goro recognized but couldn’t quite place until he realized it was the Featherman opening song, and it was all so painfully domestic that he wanted to roll back over and go back to sleep until he stopped having such sappy thoughts about how he could really get used to waking up like this, and how this was what he wanted, for the rest of his life. It was a realization that felt like he was remembering something he had known for a long time: that he wanted to properly live with Akira, wanted to make a home with him, somewhere larger and more permanent than his small studio or the attic storage room of a cafe. He wanted to wake up next to him every morning, wanted Akira to make him breakfast only partially because it was the only reason he actually remembered to eat, wanted to distract him by kissing him and to do the dishes for him when he was done with the cooking, wanted to build a life that was theirs , in a space that felt like both of them belonged in it.
Eventually he shook himself free of his daydreaming and stumbled out of bed, not bothering to try to flatten his hair down because he knew that against all odds Akira loved him even at his least presentable, and joined his boyfriend by the stove, hugging him from behind and resting his head on his shoulder.
“Morning,” he said.
“Love you,” said Akira, leaning back into him, still keeping his hands deftly on whatever magic he was performing on the stove. They swayed slightly, still embracing, and Goro kissed the side of Akira’s head before releasing him so he could devote all of his focus to not burning breakfast, content in the knowledge that there would be other opportunities to be the center of his attention later.
“Love you too.”