Being raised as a prince had its benefits.
Living as a disgraced prince among a ragtag group of vigilantes also had its own weird benefits.
This exact moment was a prime example.
The living area above the library was lit in soft yellows, and various members of the notorious Phantom Thieves were scattered around the room, some dozing off in the rare moment of peace, others engaging in quiet activities: Haru was knitting, Futaba typing away on her computer, and Yusuke was hunched over a sketchbook. The domesticity was calming.
Ryuji was currently sat on one of the couches scattered around the area, listening idly to the soft music Yusuke liked to play when he worked and playing absentmindedly with the messy head of black hair that had situated itself on his lap with little ceremony, now half-asleep under the careful ministrations (running a hand through Akira’s hair had been the easiest way to get him to relax for a while now). He couldn’t help the amusement that curled in his chest when one of Akira’s soft black cat ears twitched in his sleep the moment he removed his hand, displaying his displeasure before the prince continued.
It stayed this way for a while, serene and soft. Without realizing it, Ryuji found himself humming along to one of the songs that had come on, before, like a lightbulb in his mind, an idea formed and he sat straight up with a grin, almost knocking Akira to the floor with a yelp at the sudden movement. Ryuji was too caught up in the elation of his idea that he hardly noticed the disgruntled glare sent his way as he stood.
“Guys! I got a great idea! Yusuke, can you turn this up?” His exclamation as met with varying degrees of confusion and annoyance, but his request was met and his grin grew.
Spinning on his heels to face Makoto, he held one hand out and was met with an unimpressed stare before something cleared in her expression and a soft laugh echoed through the air like bells. Taking the proffered hand, she gracefully pulled herself to her feet.
“Pick your partner?”
“Come on, you know how we gotta do it.”
Makoto laughed again and shook her head again, and the two separated, moving to opposite sides of the room.
Ryuji approached Haru with a beaming grin and held out his hand as he had done before. This time he was met with a matching smile as the soft-spoken girl joined him on the floor.
Behind them, Makoto was coaxing a suspicious and confused Akira, leading him hand-in-hand back to the group as his gaze flickered between the three of them. Taking in their matching smiles, some of the tension left his posture but he was still left hopelessly confused.
Makoto and Ryuji nodded at each other and let their “victims” go, trading off so Akira was dragged with Ryuji and Makoto and Haru were left smiling at each other with soft pinks decorated their cheeks.
At least they knew what was going on.
“Ryuji, are you going to explain?” Akira huffed.
“Ain’t it obvious? We’re gonna be teaching you all how to dance!”
Akira still looked uncertain, “I’ve never danced before-
“Well I did say I’d be teachin’ ya, didn’t I? ‘Sides, with how easy you move in a fight this should be nothin’, right?”
Akira nodded, but he didn’t look particularly convinced.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ryuji spotted Haru and Makoto moving in a smooth waltz around the room.
Determined not to be outdone, Ryuji placed one hand on Akira’s waist and guided the boy’s hand onto his shoulder, smile softening at the nerves still visible on his face.
“Don’t worry so much about it. We’ll take it slow, just follow my lead and I’ll talk you through it.” His assurance was met with a small determined nod and he counted it as a success for all of five seconds.
Turns out, despite all his grace on the battlefield - Akira was a terrible dancer.
Ryuji couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out of his throat as Akira fumbled behind in the movements, face burning bright red in embarrassment.
“Come on, dude! It’s not rocket science, why’re you having so much trouble?”
“It’s confusing! I’ve never done this before! I’ve fought hundreds of times! It’s not scripted like this abomination!” Akira’s protest was token at best, ruined by the bright flush on his face.
Ryuji shook his head, shoulders shaking with laughter. With a whine, Akira buried his face in Ryuji’s shoulder, “Stop making fun of me!”
“It’s so rare to see you all messed up like this. Let me enjoy it.”
Laughter echoed in the small space for the next several minutes. Eventually, the song changed, and the small dances found themselves horribly off-beat, but no one cared. Eventually, the dances slowed and stilled until they were just swaying together, long after Makoto and Haru had taken their leave, murmuring quiet nothings into the night, Akira’s face still pressed against Ryuji’s shoulder, now hiding a secret smile.