A/N: So this is kind of crack-ish in the beginning, semi-drabble-y at random parts, and OOC all around. But I kind of like it so...
I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Liar Game and I'm glad I don't, otherwise it would not be as brilliant and awesome as it is.
Nao supposes it's the swindler in him that makes him seem so charming. After all, to be one, surely, it took a good deal of charisma to successfully pull off a con. She sighs, the memory of Akiyama taking her hand for a moment to show off his alleged signal-detecting device to the others in the qualifying round causing her to flush slightly. She imagines that if she never knew him and he attempted to con her, she would've fallen for his tricks even faster than usual, his suave manner of speaking, his handsome-
Quickly waving the thought away with a nervous laugh, she plops down on her bed, hugging a pillow to her chest and glaring at her teddy bear, which is sitting innocently against her nightstand. Akiyama is brilliant, a genius, no doubt, a master of logic and reasoning and all that good stuff, but he is painfully unaware of emotions, she muses, sure, with his masters in psychology, he can tell what his opponent is thinking but he can't even figure out other people's feelings?
Or maybe he does know, but is merely hiding the fact that he knows from her?
She rolls around on her bed with her head buried in her pillow, her thoughts going on and on as she thinks, "Throwing around words like "I'll protect you" and "you've really grown stronger" and always giving me more credit than I think I deserve and trusting me more than anyone else (though that is understandable, seeing as how I've stuck with you throughout the game - that, too, is an indicator that I might like you, Akiyama-san!), even Fukunaga is getting jealous! You know how scary Fukunaga can get!"
She remembers how shocked Akiyama was when she told him that Fukunaga has a crush on him. She chuckles quietly at the memory, his flustered face appearing before her. It never crossed my mind, he muttered. Cocking her head, she wonders why he had been so embarrassed. Three seconds later, she bolts up from her bed.
What if he likes Fukunaga too?
She laughs it off. Akiyama? Liking Fukunaga? Akiyama doesn't strike her as one who likes men-
Then again, she stops laughing, Fukunaga is pretty much a woman.
Suddenly, she feels unsure. She admits that there had been times when she was jealous of Fukunaga, of his confidence and beauty (she thinks, in the back of her mind, even when he was a man, he must've been prettier than her), of his intelligence, which could keep up Akiyama's and even help with strategy. She twiddles her thumbs, the possibility of them getting together suddenly very high to her.
She doesn't do as much as Fukunaga to help.
She tries to smile at the thought of her two nakama finding happiness with one another but it doesn't work. Her heart hurts when she thinks about it and it makes her feel guilty. It's selfish of her to want Akiyama for herself and not allow her friend to try to get him, right? After all, they're much better suited, she tells herself. He always had to carefully explain his plans to her, the straggler who couldn't quite keep up with the pace of the game like the others. She looks down at her hands. She's just a burden in the end, with her inability to deceive and lie.
She sniffs, tears inevitably coming. Despite her determination to always be honest, she can't help but hate it a bit for being such a great flaw of hers. Even now she can't lie to herself.
She doesn't have a chance.
The thought is enough to make her burst into tears at the predicament she realizes she's in. As soon as she begins to cry, however, her doorbell rings. Rubbing the tears away, she glances at the clock. It's nearly 1 AM.
"Who could that be?" She murmurs. Looking through the peephole, she squints. The hallway outside is dark so she can barely tell who it is. Her eyesight adjusts and a gasp escapes her throat. She turns and leans her back against the door, her hand on her heart as if trying to keep it from pounding out of her chest. What was Akiyama doing at her apartment this late?
Taking a deep breath and wiping her eyes once more just in case, she grasps the doorknob and turns it. "Akiyama-san, what are you doing here so late?" She doesn't bother to hide any emotion, surprise, anxiety.
"Sorry, did I wake you?" He asks, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
She shakes her hand. "No," she steps aside, "please come inside, Akiyama-san."
He complies and takes off his shoes, moving into her living room.
"Do you want something to drink?"
He looks dazed. It scares her a little. It's not like him to show...any emotion.
Blinking, he turns toward her. "What? Oh, no thank you."
Sitting down, she watches him carefully. "Are you alright?"
She can practically see the gears in his head turning, trying to find the appropriate answer, predicting her reply, probably the entire conversation. There's something he wants to say, she can feel it. That's the only reason why he would be so silent for so long.
"Is it the Liar Game?" She tries to coax an answer out of him. "You have no reason to be nervous about that, Akiyama-san." She gives him a smile. "You always find a way to get us out of whatever mess we find ourselves in."
She catches him staring at her and he begins to move toward her. Suddenly, she's feeling very nervous.
"W-what is it, Akiyama-san?" Her hands fly to her face. "Ah, did I miss a spot of facial cream?"
Looking up at him, she sees something strange, an emotion that she has seldom seen, the expression he puts on at the ends of the rounds, when he no longer has to be cunning and ruthless. It is soft and tired and sad. He is close enough for her to feel his body heat. Unconsciously, she leans toward him.
"You," his voice is hoarse, "have always believed in me. Why?"
She knows what he's thinking. "Why not?" She countered innocently.
"I'm a bad person." He mutters. Her heart drops every time she hears him say it. "I've tricked countless people, ruined their lives-"
"Didn't I say it before?" She says quietly. "Akiyama-san is warm. Even though people see you as someone to be feared, I know that you are a kind and trustworthy person. You decided to help even a person like me." She gives him a reassuring smile. "A bad person doesn't go and do that."
She knows that he doesn't believe it himself so she's made it a point to tell him at every appropriate time. "Trustworthy, huh?" He lets out a weak laugh. "I don't deserve that kind of trust."
"Akiyama-san," she pulls away and reaches up to his shoulders, forcing him down to eye level, "what's wrong?"
They both know what's wrong. They know that he is thinking that he is like Yokoya, that it's killing him on the inside every moment he thinks about it. It used to make her cry but now, it just makes her determined to make him see otherwise.
His tired owlish eyes blink at her and his lips curl into a small smile. "You've got that expression on." She changes her expression to one of confusion. "The one you get when you're about to start one of your rants about honesty and friendship."
She lets go of him and touches her face once more. "Do I really make such expressions?" She muttered to herself. She feels a hand on her cheek.
"You're one of the easiest people to read." He teases. In her head, she protests. Akiyama-san, she says to him mentally, you have no idea. She looks up at him, his hand still on her cheek.
They sit like that in silence for a while before either of them speaks.
"I have a question."
"Hm?" She notes that he has yet to remove himself from her.
"Am I…", she pauses and summons all the courage to ask him this one question, "a nuisance to you? And Fukunaga-san?"
He stares at her, hard, probing her for what's going on in her head. "What makes you say that?"
She sifts through possible answers. Her lack of intelligence and skills in deception, her overly altruistic deeds that are plunging them deeper in debt, and, she gulps the lump in her throat, the fact that Fukunaga and Akiyama make a much better duo than Akiyama and Nao.
"I-I'm just…asking." She manages to stammer out. She braces herself for his reply. Suddenly, she feels him pinch her cheek and it amazes her how he can have such a straight face while going it.
"Of course not." He replies simply as she rubs her cheek. "In fact, you're an integral part of the team."
Her heart skips a beat as she lets out a sigh of relief; she didn't even realize she was holding her breath.
"What made you ask?"
She laughs, waving her hands. "Ah, you know, what with Fukunaga-san and his crush on you," wait, did she just mention Fukunaga's crush to Akiyama, "I was just thinking that maybe," she plays with the hem of her nightshirt, her voice trailing off, "you two would be better off without me."
She makes the effort to deliberately avert her eyes from his, but she knows it's a lost cause. Amazingly, he catches on to what she meant.
"You think…", there is a hint of amusement and bewilderment in his voice, "that I like Fukunaga?" She can see him staring at her incredulously. "He's a guy!"
She becomes flustered. "W-well, he's practically a woman and he's really smart-"
"He's a cold liar." Akiyama interrupts. "I'm surprised you have such a high opinion of him." By the look on his face, she can tell that he actually isn't.
She's careful not to answer with a "he's like you" because Akiyama is not a cold liar. "Fukunaga-san doesn't need to be taken care of." Like me, she thinks.
"I don't like Fukunaga." He says bluntly, staring straight into her eyes. "You can almost say that I dislike him."
She is silent for a moment before she lets out a quiet "oh". "He'll be heartbroken."
He scoffs. "I doubt it. If what you say is true," he stops her before she can say anything, "and I will give you the benefit of the doubt, as always, he's much too proud to show any kind of weakness."
In their silence, she begins to feel relief. He watches her quietly.
"You know," he murmurs, "despite the kind of person I am, I admire honest people a lot more than deceitful ones." He moves to sit on her bed. "Which is why I said that you're important to the team."
She looks down and shakes her head. "You give me too much credit, Akiyama-san."
"Listen," she looks up, "you really are important. It is easy to bribe people with money, blackmail them and trap them psychologically, but to sway their hearts, that's a whole other entity." He leans forward. "That's what you're best at."
She cocks her head. "To sway people's hearts, huh?" She murmurs. She doesn't think about it that way. Looking back at Akiyama, she asks, "Then, did I reach your heart too?"
He is a bit taken back and it amuses her. "Ah, well…" He looks embarrassed. She smiles widely.
"Thank you, Akiyama-san, for making me feel a lot better." She laughs. "Just as I said, you really are a wonderful person."
He looks surprised and she knows why. He had diverted the conversation to avoid his own problems but she forced it back, reaffirming her belief in his kindness. A sneaky move on her part and she's quite proud of it. He realizes it too and gives her a small smile. "Thank you."
She likes to play the fool. "For what?"
He looks away before speaking. "For always being by my side." He murmurs sheepishly.
Her smile widens. "Thank you for letting me."
She hopes that, judging by the very very slight blush on his cheeks, she really does have a chance.
Thanks for reading. Reviews are appreciated.