Tensions are high during another routine game of billiards between Goro Akechi, and Akira Kurusu. The air is so thick, it could practically be sliced wide open with a knife. Goro feels intense, determined not to let his junior best him in this game just yet. And then-
“So are you dating anyone?” Kurusu asks out of the blue.
Now why would he ask something like that?
“I’m sorry? Wait? Are you trying to distract me?” Goro takes a moment to pause and step back mentally. Clever move, Joker . “I’m sorry Kurusu-Kun, that will not work on me.”
“You didn’t answer the question.” Kurusu replies, evenly, facing away as if to keep Goro from reading him like a book. To this, the detective just rolls his eyes and reminds himself it’s just one of Joker’s little tricks. One he cannot allow the other to keep nurturing.
“No.” He deadpans. “I would never have the time for a romantic relationship right now while I’m currently balancing my school work and being a detective.” Akechi shut that down immediately, his gloved hand over his face in an attempt to conceal his flustered-ness. Now, what is he getting at?
“Oh. I always thought someone like you would be taken. Being the detective prince and all, y’know?” Kurusu replies, looking at Goro with a cute little pout.
Wait a second?! No! NO! He couldn’t mean to--Oh no. To get mixed up in something frivolous like that?! Goro didn’t need...It was time to put an end to this!
“Kurusu-Kun, you mustn’t flirt with me. I would never have time for you either. Besides, you and I are just too different. It would never work out.” Goro says coldly, his words laced with poison like a snake’s fangs.
Kurusu looks down at his feet, Goro catching him biting his dumb pretty lip. The detective just sighs, his hand on the cue stick shaking, trembling. Something inside him felt all wrong. He felt sick.
“Flirting? Who’s flirting?” He finally says, playing coy. His voice was hoarse, as if he was having trouble just speaking. “I was just thinking about the girls at my high school who were talking about you this morning. There’s a lot of people who would just throw themselves at you. And anyways.“ Kurusu pauses as if to shallow a heavy lump in his throat. “I’m already in love with someone else.”
“What?! That’s-“ Goro pauses a moment.
Akira Kurusu is in love with someone else. Akira Kurusu is in love with someone other than Goro. OH! OH HOW PERFECT! Goro feels an intangible ache swarm all over the inside of his body, filling him from head to toe. Akira Kurusu was in love with someone else, so why the hell did that bother Goro Akechi so DAMN much? It hurt him. It ACTUALLY hurt him. What the hell? THis was jealousy. Goro had felt jealous before. OH, he was used to the slimy icky depths of how jealous he could get. He knew it like the palm of his hand, and YET. This was a different kind of jealousy than all kinds of jealousy which could only mean one thing, and Goro didn’t want to admit it. He couldn’t dare admit it. Not with Kurusu. Not with Akira. Anyone but Akira. It was too complicated. He was the enemy! Why the hell did Goro Akechi stupidly fall for his rival!? He felt sick all over his stomach he needed to leave, and yet he needed to stay. Who was this mystery person Akira Kurusu loved? Goro needed to know!
“He.” Kurusu corrects, sounding annoyed. “He’s amazing.” He says, tone shifting to adoring, hitting Goro like a slap across the face. “The way he gets passionate about what he loves. He’s such a gentle soul, and his life hasn’t been the easiest, but he doesn’t let that bring him down. And he finds beauty in everything, I just get so happy when I’m with him.” Akira gushes on, a starry dazed glimmer in his eyes. “I just hope he feels the same way.”
Hope suddenly rushed back into Akechi like a renewed energy invading his half dead body. If Kurusu wasn’t sure--If Akira didn’t know, then there was a CHANCE. There had to be a chance. Goro knew the other option would completely break him forever, and he’s been broken so many many times. Goro would never come back from this. Never. He needed the other man to not be interested in Kurusu. He needed Kurusu to give up on his endeavor. Because if the thing happened, the thing Goro absolutely needed to never come true, he would never recover. He was used to being unwanted, rejected, lost. But from Kurusu? He just couldn’t allow it.
“He doesn’t like you back?”
“It’s hard to tell, with him.” Akira admits, averting his gaze, seeming nervous. “He just gets so caught up in his work. He’s passionate, kinda like you. I just can’t tell if he likes me the way he likes me.”
Goro knows in his heart that the right thing he should do in that moment is to comfort Kurusu. To let him know hope’s not dead and he may have a shot with the mystery man for whom he so desperately pines. But Goro, he’s not a good person. He knows that by now. He’s not a good person because he cannot afford to lose at this point. It would kill him to lose at this point. He couldn’t. He just can’t. Akira cannot end up with this other man. Goro just can’t!
“You’re probably right.” He says harshly. “He probably doesn’t feel the same about you. You shouldn’t waste your time, hung up on a person like that.”
“How could you say something like that?” Akira raises his voice, not quite yelling, but getting there. His firm grasp on the pool cue, twitching.
“You’re my rival here, and I respect you enough to tell you the truth.” A lie. “Don’t waste your time pining for a man who won’t bat an eye at you.”
“It’s not like he ignores me!” Kurusu cries out. Nervous? Angry? Akechi quite can’t tell. His voice is like a soup of fear and anguish. “He’s just harder to read is all!”
“Oh, is that your excuse?” Akechi questions, calculatingly, hoping to goad him into further raising his voice.
“Hey! I don’t appreciate what you’re saying.” Kurusu speaks more level headedly, managing to take himself down a level, disappointing Goro in that moment. “It’s a big leap to take. Shouldn’t I at least ask him first? Just to get some closure?”
“No. It’s just a waste of your time, anyways. Focus on your schoolwork instead, not a frivolous little crush. It will lead you nowhere.” Goro sounds aloof, but he’s crossing his fingers, praying.
“I-“ Kurusu looks away. “As your junior, I appreciate you taking time to give me advice.”
“That’s what I like to hear.” Goro feels pleased. Almost as if he can breathe easy. Not yet.
“However, on the account that your advice is utter Bullshit, I will not be taking it.”
Goro’s entire world is spinning as he spits out “Kurusu?!”
“What?” Akira asks, coldly, bending over the pool table to take his shot.