When a particularly loud bird trills its head off to greet the morning sun, Goro stirs with a groan. Sunlight pours through their window, and for the billionth time, Goro wishes that they had curtains. But Akira has always loved waking up to natural sunlight, so Goro lets it slide.
Propping himself up with an elbow, Goro glances at the clock on the wall. It is already almost eight in the morning, which comes to him as a surprise. He constantly expects it to be six—curse the sunrise in Tokyo—or even five in the morning each time he wakes up. It’s funny how accustomed his body has become, feeling safe with Akira next to him.
He flops back down on the bed, unworried about waking Akira because the ridiculous idiot sleeps deeper than the dead, and considers trying to go back to sleep despite being wide awake.
But something fond in him strikes, so he turns over to watch his sleeping lover. Akira loves to make fun of Goro’s snoring to annoy Goro, but what Akira still hasn’t realised is that Goro loves how Akira snores so lightly that it’s effortless to miss. Thus far, even despite everything he and his friends have been through, Goro is still the only one who knows this.
(Because it could be that Goro is in love or that Goro is just a little bit more than obsessive, but he’s always scrutinised Akira to the point that he knows every little quirk, every little flaw, even if he doesn’t understand them.)
Goro grins to himself, reaches over to pinch Akira’s nose so that the next snore comes out in an ungraceful snort, and then lets go. Goro giggles soundlessly. He’s done this many times, just to amuse himself, and he’s always aghast by how Akira never fails to sleep through it. Most times, Akira will just turn away from Goro’s mischievous fingers, then the snoring will simply resume.
Today, Akira continues to sleep on his side, his messy hair having fallen over his face. It’s getting a little long, Goro thinks, so he must be due for a haircut soon, which would mean Akira coming back home from the salon with feather soft hair. It’s a thought that tugs Goro’s lips wider apart.
From time to time, Goro questions what magic Akira cast on him that managed to turn him into this mushy, pliable human being. He remembers the entirety of his angry teenage ages, when he had been so bitter and unrelenting, until he met Akira and then something in him changed in that engine room, too little too late, because he died anyway, but Maruki brought him back to life for a breath and a tease of the things that could have been before the world went back to normal, and then Akira literally wished upon a frigging star, and somehow, somehow, he is alive once more.
(Sometimes, he still expects to wake up from this dream or realise that this is a false reality. He remembers being in darkness, being in endless nothing, remembers people treating him as if he had never done a single thing wrong in his life, as if they needed him around like oxygen, as if they loved him. But then Akira, and the rest of the Phantom Thieves, remind him that he is in the real world and that everything is the way it should be and will be alright.)
When Akira releases a particularly loud snore and snuggles closer, eager for Goro’s warmth, Goro is made to focus his thoughts on his boyfriend. He wonders if he looks like Akira when he sleeps, so vulnerable, so prone to sabotage. He probably does, he supposes, now that he’s become so domestic.
Damn the things that love does to a person.
Goro squirms when Akira suddenly throws an arm over him and yanks him close, burying himself into Goro’s chest. For a second, Goro thinks that Akira has woken up, but the rhythmic rise and fall of Akira’s shoulder tell him otherwise. The snoring is just muffled in Goro’s chest, then.
Running a hand down Akira’s bare back, Goro stops when he meets with a long, thin scar. Akira received the scar when he was a child after swerving his bicycle away from a cat that jumped in front of him and crashing into a fence. It’s so like Akira to do something like that, but the scar also makes Goro imagine Akira cycling by the countryside when he was too young to suffer god’s indifference and society’s disgrace, when the summers must have felt longer and the laughter must have been easier, when he never questioned whether his parents loved him.
Goro traces the scar, knowing that Akira will surely shiver if he is awake. But he doesn’t, so Goro keeps following the scar, back and forth, back and forth, with just one finger.
(Unknown to anyone, Goro is afraid of the day when somebody asks him why he loves Akira so much and why he chooses to be with Akira each day. His second real chance at life is already a miracle, and he didn’t even realise that it was Akira who had brought him back, not until six long months after he’d walked by Akira who was aboard the bullet train. He learnt this from Futaba because, of course, she knows. She always knows.
Then, even more miraculously, Akira showed up at his door one day, a black glove in his hand—something that never left Akira’s pocket for a long time, according to Muhen—only to babble nonsensical fluff at Goro, until Goro became frustrated, and they ended up kissing and kissing and kissing.
Goro still doesn’t understand how what he did in the engine room was enough to repent for all the awful things he has done. But he has Akira now, and he has friends who care, so he tries not to let himself question what he has too much. It helps that Akira teaches him to take life easily, to cherish the small things they have.
Another chance at life. People who love and need him. Learning and knowing how to live.
Goro is still afraid of the day when somebody asks him why he loves Akira so much and why he chooses to be with Akira each day because he know that he can never put his emotions into words aptly enough to explain it. But these days, Goro thinks that he must be the luckiest person alive.)
Eventually, Goro stops rubbing Akira’s scar and rests his hand on Akira’s head instead. He’ll have to wake Akira soon, though Akira will make a fuss of it, as he always does—the weekends are for sleeping in, he insists—but they promised their friends that they’d go cherry blossom viewing together, so too bad for Akira.
Goro starts to card his fingers through Akira’s hair, which he belatedly realises is a horrible, horrible mistake, because he forgets that it is a no-go zone before he gets up. But it’s too late: his fingers have been caught in the hair equivalent of a Venus flytrap.
Does the world really find Goro’s suffering so amusing that he can’t even brush his lover’s hair without getting his fingers stuck?
But maybe that isn’t anyone’s fault except Akira’s. After all, Goro has never been able to understand how Akira manages to live in bliss with the nest that he calls hair. The only time Goro has ever been able to run his fingers through Akira’s hair is when he’s fresh out of the shower and his hair is still wet. As soon as it dries, well, it just somehow turns into a disaster again.
Akira’s fault then. Not the world’s. Sorry, world.
It is tempting to just tear his fingers out. It’s always been the easiest way to untangle himself from Akira’s chaotic hair. But Akira seems to be so comfortable that Goro just can’t bring himself to.
There has to be a way to wrestle his fingers out without waking Akira up, Goro desperately thinks. He glares at the traitorous hair and awkwardly shifts so that he can snake an arm under Akira’s neck to aid his other hand in its escape.
Then, Akira rubs his head against Goro’s hand and inexplicably manages to further knot his hair around Goro’s fingers. It makes Goro stifle a scream of frustration deep in his throat.
With great effort, Goro starts picking at Akira’s hair with his free hand as slowly as he can. He manages to pull off a few strands without accidentally plucking out any hair, which he considers a success. Unfortunately, having his arms in such a position is more tiring than he cares to admit. He has half the mind to just give up and rest his hand on Akira’s head until the troublesome man wakes up.
Two more unravelled strands later, Goro calls it quits. As soon as he drops his free hand away and rests his jailed hand on Akira’s head, Akira reaches up, grabs Goro’s hand, and wrenches it away from his hair.
“You fidget too much,” Akira complains into Goro’s chest. “Go back to sleep.”
Before Goro has the chance to make a snarky comment, Akira has already started snoring again, the impossible fool.
If only loving his boyfriend less is possible, Goro thinks, then he would have zero qualms about shaking him awake in revenge. Ah, well. For now, Goro is too awake to fall back asleep. But at least he’s comfortable with his arms around his lover now, so he’s more than content to just lie there, cuddling Akira.
(An hour later though, he’ll have no choice but to wake Akira and get ready to meet their friends at Inokashira Park. Besides, there is a silver band that has been hiding in his coat for over a month now, and Goro cannot think of a better occasion than the two of them being in a beautiful park while surrounded by people whom they loved and whom loved them back.)