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Let Us Form A Contract

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Ryuji stares at the messy looking inmate standing in the prison he’s made for himself. He sighs before speaking. “This is the third time you’ve been here today. What could you possibly need?” He asks, his tone neutral and rather bored. If the inmate keeps coming in here, he won’t be able to forward his rehabilitation properly.

The inmate grins a teasing grin as he leans forward, the smirk on his face devilish. In a way, Ryuji thinks, his hair could act as horns, given how it’s always sticking in random directions. “Is it a crime to want to see my favorite person?”

There it is. The flirting. Ryuji doesn’t know what it is about the inmate, but no matter the time he’ll always flirt with him. It’s…flattering, but also pointless.

Still that doesn’t stop Ryuji’s cheeks from heating up and turning pink, and his stomach from getting filled with butterflies trying to find an escape. “Y-you!” He stutters out nervously, glaring at the inmate before letting out a huff, flipping through the clipboard he carries everywhere. Ryuji doesn’t know why he carries this, but his master deems it important.

“What do you want? I can assist you in fusing Personas, or getting you items and skills.” Ryuji says, staring the inmate down.

He still stands there but his confident smirk falls to a neutral face. A face Ryuji doesn’t see often. Something’s troubling the inmate. “My friends are busy, and i’m really bored. Think you can keep me company?” He asks, the inmates arms crossed over his chest as he stares at Ryuji.

Ryuji stares back before looking at his master, who merely gives him a grin and a wave of his hand before disappearing from the room entirely in a small puff of blue smoke.

Approval.

Ryuji looks back at the inmate before giving a nod. “Sure. Take a seat.” He says, watching as the inmate sits on the floor of the prison cell. Ryuji sits himself in front of the cell and stares at the inmate, holding the clipboard in his glove covered hands. Ryuji’s never really questioned things in the Velvet Room, nor has he questioned his appearance, but there’s one thing he’s always questioned.

“Do you feel there’s something missing in this room?” Ryuji asks, looking at the inmate with questions in his eyes. The inmate stares back at him with equal ammounts of confusion. “I only mean that because...well...” He says, staring down at the clipboard in his lap, flipping through the pages slowly. A nervous fidget he’s had for awhile now.

“I feel like i’m….missing someone. Someone…someone important. Like, why do I have this clipboard?” He asks, looking back at the inmate…no, Akira. With nervous confusion written on his face. “I don’t remember receiving it from my master, but I feel a strong connection to it. Why?” He asks, basically to no one. “I feel like it’s from someone important, someone i’ve forgotten…someone I shouldn’t have forgotten.” He says the last part quietly, peering over his shoulder to see if his master has returned to eavesdrop. For some reason, he doesn’t like Ryuji asking questions.

Just his luck, he's still gone from the chair, making the attendee visibly relax. Usually he reappears suddenly, spooking the poor white haired boy, but thankfully he's granted him mercy for now. He turns back to the inmate with a confused stare, like he expects him to have the answers to his questions.

He’s staring at Ryuji, making the attendee flush ever so slightly. Were his eyes always this dark? Akira scoots forward so he’s very close to the bars before reaching between them and grabbing Ryuji’s hand. Ryuji doesn’t pull away, but he does stiffen. Why must his cheeks get this red? It’s just physical contact but it sends his body into a frenzy.

“If you feel something is missing, then search for it.” Akira says, staring Ryuji dead in the eyes. “Ask questions, find evidence, look deeper then what’s written on the surface. You’re bound to find something.” He says, before giving Ryuji a promising smile. It’s small, but full of adoration, something that makes Ryuji’s stomach do back flips. “I’ll help you find what you’re looking for too. Besides.” There it is. That cocky grin. A grin that Ryuji never gets tired of for some reason. “I think it’s cute that you’re looking so hard into this. You’re passionate about this. I love it.”

Ryuji sputters and looks away, his face completely red as he pulls his hand away quickly, looking back at Akira who’s still smiling. “You’re…gonna help me find them?” He asks, gripping the clipboard tightly in his hands. At Akira’s nod, Ryuji feels something fill his body. Trust? Appreciation?…affection? Who knows. But whatever he feels, he doesn’t want it to go away. Ryuji stands up, watching as Akira does so as well, stumbling slightly at how quick he rose.

Ryuji gives Akira a grin to nearly match his own before speaking. “Then you can’t back out on this deal, inmate. You’ll be helping me search for whoever i’ve lost until your rehabilitation is up. I’ll even make a sweet little deal for you too. The more clues we find, the more i’ll cut down on your cost for buying Personas. I’ll even give you skills to help you and your friends in battle. Do we have a deal?” He finishes his sentence by holding a white gloved hand out, sticking it in between the bars and watching as Akira takes it eagerly, shaking his hand.

“It’s a deal.” He says, letting go after a bit too long for that to have been merely a friendly handshake. But it’s not like Ryuji’s complaining.

As Akira steps out of the Velvet Room one thought is clear in Ryuji’s mind.

What he felt, what his body had felt…was all three of those feelings. Trust. Appreciation. And something new he couldn't describe quite yet.

...he'll ask the inmate why his heart beats so fast when he's around the next time he returns.