got a thing about you (and it won't go away)
akaashi keiji x reader, 17.3k words (i'm sorry)
WARNINGS: suggestive themes (fwb to lovers), but nothing explicit :]
SUMMARY: At the beginning of each summer, when school finally let up, they would all meet up in a beach house in Hamamatsu for a week. It didn’t matter if you had a bad year. It didn’t matter what side of the country you were on. All that mattered was that the five of them promised to find their way back to each other, even if it was only for a while.
Akaashi looked forward to it every year.
Except this year, he dreaded it. And it was all because of you.
[A/N: this is officially my longest fic here; see i told you guys i could write serious fics too T_T !!!! i don't have a playlist but i listened to a mix of mitski and taylor swift while writing this so take from that what you will. hope you enjoy! <3]
“Keiji,” you murmured sleepily against his bare shoulder, the place where you’d been pressing kisses all morning.
“Y/N,” Akaashi tried to say in warning, but all that came out was a sigh, feeling the growth of your smile on his skin.
Akaashi tried to arch away, but he couldn’t move when he felt you pressing more kisses. “Y/N,” he breathed out, trying again, “we have to get ready soon or we’re going to be caught up in traffic.”
And there were other things he needed to do. Like discuss what they’re doing right now and what they will not be doing once they get to the beach house. He closed his eyes to gather all his strength, before cupping your cheek and gently pushing away. “Okay, come on,” he stressed, “we have to be responsible now.”
You only kissed his thumb in response, but allowed him to push you away slightly. “You always want to be responsible.”
Akaashi finally rose from the bed, ignoring you to put on a shirt. He felt like that was the proper thing to do before having the conversation he wants to have. He shouldn’t be naked, you know? When he turned around, he saw you cuddling his pillow.
“I have to be.” is how he started it. “And speaking of responsible, we should talk about this.”
You raised a brow, “This?”
Akaashi pointed lamely to the space between them, “You know. Us.”
You bit your lip, holding back a smile, “What about us?”
He pursed his mouth, and annoyingly enough, you copied him too, puckering your mouth like you were asking for a kiss. He glared at you, “Be serious.”
“I am serious,” you rolled your eyes, “you’re the one who can’t even say it.”
Akaashi’s known you far too long to miss the challenge in your tone. “I’m trying to be delicate. But I should have known that it’s better to be direct when it comes to you—”
“It’s only been eight years, Keiji,” you added with a smirk.
“What I’m trying to say is,” Akaashi cleared his throat, “is that considering how annoying our friends are, I think we should stop doing this. They’re going to catch on and then god knows what I’ll have to do when they start teasing us.”
You laughed, “We can be subtle.” your laugh settled into a smile. “We can keep a secret.”
“You are the opposite of subtle.” Akaashi replied, thinking about all the times they sneaked out to go for midnight walks back in high school and how terrible of a liar you were whenever your parents would catch you sneaking back in. He tried to be stern, “We need to stop.”
You groaned, turning your face to bury it into a pillow.
Akaashi focused on being understanding, instead of the other things his brain was filing for further investigation.
(Like the way his bed smelled completely of you. How right that felt. How good you looked in his bed. How much you both avoided this conversation of stopping. Why he didn’t really want to stop—)
His brain settled on what was safe, simple and true: hooking up with each other felt too good. Who would want to stop?
If not for the impending beach house trip, Akaashi wouldn’t think to put a stop to it either; so he let you have your moment, before going to you and sitting beside you on the bed.
“You’re silly,” he said, letting himself give in to impulse and pull you closer. “You like my body that much? I’m this good in bed?”
From this close, he can see you roll your eyes. “You wish. As if you could keep your hands to yourself. Why stop when we both know we can’t? Why set ourselves up?”
“It shouldn’t be that hard.” he retorted in response.
And it shouldn’t be. You’ve known each other for eight years, and have gone for almost the same amount with all of… this. Besides, you’re not even dating.
It just happened. At least, when Akaashi tried to think about how he ended up here, that was all he could find. It just happened. There was alcohol involved. Maybe mercury was in retrograde. Post-midterms stress was probably a factor. All in all, the circumstances were vague.
But a couple things were clear:
You, for one. He knew who he was falling into bed with. He wouldn’t be able to miss the familiar colour of your eyes. The feel of your hand, even in the dark.
The lack of regret was another. There was panic, of course, but no part of him had recoiled away in disgust or horror when he woke up wrapped around you tight. Instead, it felt right.
So much so that when you opened your eyes, all Akaashi did was fall back into you, against your mouth.
Both of you wanted it, that became clear when you kept falling into bed together with no discussion whatsoever of when to stop.
Until today— and Akaashi admits it was hardly a proper conversation at all. He meant to continue it in the car, he swears, but it was a long drive from Tokyo to Hamamatsu. And on the off chance that it went south, he didn’t want to be stuck in the car with you for that long. But then you fell asleep, and by the time you had woken up, they had already arrived.
Akaashi had missed his timing, and now, as they rolled in through the paved driveway of the beach house, he could only pray for mercy.
No, not from god. But from the bastards he calls his friends.
They spoke for themselves:
The windows of his car are rolled down, so he can hear them loud and clear.
“There he is!” came the teasing voice of Bokuto, “Akaaashiiiiiiii!”
Beside him, you stuck your head out of the window, “Hey, what about me? Are you guys not excited to see me?”
He saw Kuroo and Kenma immediately school their faces into something bored, “No, not at all.”
You didn’t even wait for Akaashi to put the brakes on. The car was still moving when you took off your seatbelt and stepped out of the car. You marched over with the most debilitating pout, and Kuroo and Kenma only managed to hold out for another second or two, before they both broke out into a grin.
You tackled them into a hug, “I missed you guys!”
You squeezed them hard before letting go and launching yourself at Bokuto. Akaashi didn’t know how it was possible, but Bokuto only seemed to have gotten broader over the past few months they didn’t see each other. He smiled when he saw how small you looked in his arms.
You were always going to be smaller. A constant that Akaashi loved.
He finally got out of the car too and called out, “Y/N, don’t forget to grab your bag!”
But all he got was a wave of your hand, “I’ll grab it later.”
Akaashi grabbed it now, because he already knew how the future was going to unfold. You were going to lie down on the couch, forget, and then somehow needle him into getting it for you. He shuts the trunk of his car and locks it.
As he pocketed his keys though, he immediately made eye contact with Kuroo’s shit-eating grin and already, already, he knew what was coming. “Shut up,” he said preemptively. Even swings his bag to hit Kuroo for good measure.
Kuroo just laughed, grabbing one bag from him, “You know, this is exactly why you get made fun of.”
“Shut up,” Akaashi said again and escaped him by entering the house. He took his shoes off, replacing it with one of the pairs of house slippers by the door.
A cool breeze greeted him at the door. He breathed in and some of the tension, left over from the school year, started leaking out of him.
This house and its familiar bones. Its walls and their constant shades of beige and blue. The summer house welcomed him, and something in him settled.
He was at the beach house with his old friends. All else aside, he felt at peace.
The peace obviously didn’t last long. It was expected, considering how well Akaashi knew his friends and their meddling ways (yes, like some Scooby doo villains).
The moment you stepped out of their sights to use the bathroom, Akaashi immediately got pulled into an impromptu meeting in the kitchen.
“Akaashi Keiji,” Kuroo began, voice low and eyes monitoring the bathroom door, “I see there has been no progress on the sad state of your love life. I knew this would happen. We can’t keep letting this go on. It’s pathetic.”
“Hey,” Akaashi said, insulted, “Who says my love life is sad?”
Bokuto carefully reached out to pat his hand, “Oh, Akaashi. If you were dating someone, we’d know. If you were dating our beloved friend, we would definitely know.”
“It’s getting sad, Akaashi,” Kuroo said, putting his hand on top of Bokuto’s that was still on top of Akaashi’s. Kenma, feeling a little left out, also joined in by setting his hand on top of Kuroo’s. “We’re staging an intervention. You need help.”
Akaashi took his hand out of this weird hand sandwich it ended up in, “I don’t need help.”
Kuroo sniffed, “We’re not doing this for you. We’re doing this for ourselves. I’m tired of having to see you guys act all gross and then say you’re just friends. Just kiss already. It’s sick.”
Kenma added on, “Don’t you get tired of being Y/N’s ‘yes’ man without getting benefits?”
He stopped himself from mindlessly blurting out that he was currently receiving some benefits, which wasn’t that difficult considering the annoyance that rose in him at Kuroo’s statement. “Um?” he raised a brow, “What do you mean ‘yes’ man? I am not a yes man. What does that even mean? I say no to her all the time.”
His statement was met with blank stares and raised brows.
“Akaashi, please. We’re all yes men when it comes to her,” Kuroo eventually snorts, looking right through him, “Who do you think can say no to her here?”
Akaashi took a look at his friend’s faces, Kenma’s exasperation, Kuroo’s resignation, and Bokuto’s sheepishness standing out.
“I’m sure there are people in this world who can say no to her,” Kuroo continued, “but not us. And certainly, not you.”
Akaashi’s mouth moved through a handful of words. None of them ever got a voice.
Kuroo smugly leaned back as you came back, oblivious to the smackdown he just delivered.
You patted your drying hands on your shorts and looked straight at Akaashi first, “Keiji, why do you look so stressed?”
Kenma, the only one of them with a mouth that worked as fast his brain, immediately bounded to you with a smirk, “Don’t worry, we just told him he’s cooking dinner tonight.”
You gasped and then started lecturing with a frown, “Stop making him cook every time. We had a long drive from Tokyo. Let him rest.”
Akaashi bit his lip. That was cute. It was really cute of you to say that. But whatever smile that threatened to come up died when Bokuto put his arm around his shoulders. They watched you try to smack Kuroo, but was held back by Kenma’s arm on your waist.
“Aww,” Bokuto whispered to him, “Look at her defending you. That’s good girlfriend material right there. For you. Don’t worry, Akaashi. We are not letting you come out of this vacation single. We’ll be the best wingmen ever. You’ll see.”
Akaashi meant it wholeheartedly when he said, “Bokuto-san. That is the single most terrifying thing you’ve ever told me.”
Akaashi didn’t even have to spend that much time thinking about what exactly Bokuto meant about being wingmen. He doesn’t even make it to dinner before the wingman-ning began.
You had managed to save him from being in charge of dinner, but Akaashi didn’t completely escape it.
Kuroo made a ridiculous show of looking at the fridge and then proceeded to gasp so loud, you jumped in your seat beside Akaashi. “I cannot believe we forgot tomatoes. Somebody needs to go to the store and buy them,” and then pointedly looks at Akaashi.
Akaashi’s brow furrowed as he shrugged, “I mean, sure, I can go get them. There’s still that small shop down the street, right?” He made a move to stand up and grabbed a light jacket, but before he could even leave the vicinity of the living room, Bokuto stopped him, “Woah, woah, woah, you’re going alone?”
God, Akaashi already knew what was coming. At the risk of alerting you, Akaashi played along, “Yeah?”
“Dude, it’s late. It’s dangerous out there,” Bokuto said, putting on his big watery puppy dog eyes and directed it to the person weakest to it; you. “You should go with him.”
This is some weak wingman-ning, Akaashi decides. Hamamatsu is arguably one of the safest cities. Akaashi was more likely to suffer from gifted kid burn out syndrome than getting hurt, walking alone at night.
But you clearly didn’t care that Bokuto just gave the flimsiest rationale on why you should go get tomatoes together. You only threw your head back with a laugh, before standing up with a salute, “Yeah, I’ll make sure our old man gets to and from the grocery all safe.”
As you both walked out, he was absolutely certain he could hear those gremlins giggling, behind their hands. They think they’re so slick. They’re so lucky you were oblivious. Actually, Akaashi’s the one who's lucky, because if you knew, he would never, ever, be able to live it down.
The moment you’re out on the main road, you casually slipped your arm around his and looked up with a cheeky smile. “This is okay, right?” you asked with an exaggerated shiver. The ocean breeze didn’t even reach here. “I’m just doing this because it’s a bit cold.”
“Yeah,” Akaashi said with a sigh, “It’s fine.”
“It’s not like they can see,” you reasoned, “It’s fine as long as they don’t, because we can just carry on, right?”
“Y/N.” He warned.
“It’s still a secret,” you said, pressing your cheek against his shoulder, “I don’t see why we should stop. It’s nobody’s business but ours. I don’t understand why we have to stop because of what other people might say.”
Akaashi couldn’t exactly say anything because, well… you’re not wrong. It’s just every part of him shudders at the thought of everybody knowing. Especially, their friends knowing. He hasn’t settled on the answer to why exactly that is. But he does mention what he knows you guys have been suffering through together over the years, “It’s just a hassle. You know the jokes our friends already make about us. Think of how much worse it will be when they find out what we’ve been doing.”
You don’t say anything, only making a soft vague noise. He couldn’t tell if it was made in agreement or in protest. With the weight of the day pressing down on him, he dropped the convo and opted to change the topic, “Is it just me or did Bokuto get really big?”
And that set you off, “Right! Not only that, but he’s sturdy. A little thick, you know what I’m saying?”
The phrasing made Akaashi laugh, “Never thought I’d hear that coming from your mouth. Remember back in high school?”
The conversation took them down memory lane and carried them all the way to the grocery store, where they didn't even bother getting a shopping cart. Akaashi didn’t expect you guys to be there for that long.
They get to the fresh produce section where the refrigerator blasts cold air on the color vegetables. He scans among the greens to find where the tomatoes were, when he accidentally bumps you beside him. “Sorry,” he said, touching the small of your back absentmindedly.
“It’s fine,” you said, shivering. “Let’s hurry. I’m freezing here.”
“Want my jacket?” Akaashi offered, but he’s already taking it off before you could protest.
“It’ll be big on me,” you muttered, but already halfway through putting it on. “This is why I should start going to the gym. I need to get thicker too.”
It is big on you;. it looks like you’re swimming in it, hands hidden by the sleeves. “I thought you wanted to go to get prettier,” Akaash reached over and fixed the collar of his jacket, pinching your nose in the process before he wrapped an arm around your shoulder, “Come on. You can pick which tomato we get to eat tonight.”
“I hate tomatoes!”
When they got back and you settled back on the couch, he was immediately pulled towards the kitchen.
“You need to monitor,” Kenma said as he washed the tomatoes they bought. Bokuto joined in, and Akaashi half-expected Kuroo to join in. He didn’t. His job was clearly to keep you occupied by trashing you at Wii Sports.
“So,” Bokuto started, “Give us an update I see you made a move.”
“What move?” Akaashi sighed. These gremlins have too many romcoms, it’s starting to poison their minds.
Kenma looked at him like he was stupid, “The jacket. That’s a classic boyfriend move.”
“Yeah, weren’t you wearing that jacket when you left?” Bokuto added.
Akaashi frowned, fighting the urge to look at where you were still wrapped up in his jacket, “She was cold. Was I supposed to let her freeze?”
Kenma shook his head, “You’re so hopeless. What’s annoying is you’re doing everything right without even trying. Go sit on the couch. Perform some self-reflection.”
Akaashi pouted, even as Bokuto patted him like a stray dog in the park, and stalked all the way to the living room. He walked past the television, and he ended up getting yelled at by young and Kuroo too for blocking their view. It only worsened his mood.
“Akaashi!” Kuroo complained, falling to the floor in defeat, while you cheered, “Suck it, loser.”
Akaashi settled grumpily on the couch and wished dinner would come soon. You burrowed at his side, “Are you hangry?”
He shrugged.You reached over to fiddle with a piece of hair behind his ear and murmured, “You must be.”
You took on Kuroo’s challenge for a rematch and funnily enough, Akaashi missed your presence immediately.
His frown deepened. Maybe he should self-reflect.
He performed zero self-reflection, but he did eat dinner. As always, food solved everything. Well, not everything, but he figured sleep would take care of the rest.
It’s only when he began brushing his teeth that he felt the weight of the day fully hit him. There was the four hour drive. The excitement from reuniting with his friends. And then the stress of having to deal with his friends’ matchmaking schemes.
All he wants to do now is lie down, twist to the side to hear his back crack, and maybe scroll through his sphoner until he passes out. Just like any other self-respecting young adult under late stage capitalism. No thinking. Just vibes.
It’s his main thought as he brushed his teeth.
He heard a knock on the bathroom door and when he opened it, he saw you standing there in pyjamas, a toothbrush in hand.
“Wait your turn,” he said, the words coming out garbled because of the toothbrush in his mouth.
You only smiled sheepishly, coming into the bathroom and lightly kicking the door closed. Akaashi raises a brow when he hears you lock the door.
In response, you only shrugged, “Can I borrow some toothpaste?”
Akaashi spat in the sink and washed his mouth. He gestured at the sink, “Go ahead then. Did you intentionally forget?”
“I knew at least one of you guys wouldn’t forget. If not you, then Bo would for sure have it. You boy scouts,” you shrug, grabbing the toothpaste and squeezing it out.
Akaashi knew he should leave. That he should stop standing there stupidly, watching you wet your stupid toothbrush. What was he waiting for?
He moves, but all he does is lean against the door, his hands behind him—clutching at the door knob but not turning it. What was he waiting for?
He should say goodbye, but all he said was, “It’s because he had braces too. You would never understand.”
“It’s not my fault I was born with perfect teeth,” you smirked at him through the mirror. Thrill ran through him.
Akaashi ignored it, “Perfect, my ass. I remember when you got all your wisdom teeth taken out. You were crying so much.”
You raised a brow before turning on his electric toothbrush. It buzzes noisily, as if to say, what’s your point? Akaashi shook his head. Unlike Bokuto, he felt like you would never change. There’s a certain softness in your cheeks that’s still there. A certain spark that’s never dimmed despite what life’s thrown your way.
He knew you too well, has known you for so long. A part of him, one that’s fearful and anxious at the future he’s hurtling towards, hopes that whatever happens, this never changes.
He’s too caught up in his thoughts that he didn’t even notice you’ve caught him staring. He’s startled when your mouth curls into something bright. It has him looking away, his hand coming up to rub his neck.
Akaashi heard you hum. It sounded annoyingly pleased.
A hand comes up to cup his cheek, forcing his gaze back.
“Now,” you said, suddenly a breath away, dragging his attention down to your mouth. Voice coming down to a low whisper, you ask, “It’s time to see how serious you really are. You really don’t want to sleep with me tonight?”
Akaashi bit his lip. “We shouldn’t,” he said, in a voice he hoped was firm.
You pouted. A debilitating thing that has his hand curling at your hip to push you away. But he’s not quick enough, because you go to hold his wrist. He tries again, “Y/N, we shouldn’t do—“
His voice cracked when you brushed your nose against his. Embarrassment floods him. He’s seen you through your puberty phase. You shouldn’t have this much of an effect on him.
“Baby, come on,” you whispered, guiding his hand under your shirt. Desire burned through him, especially as he felt the heat of your skin. As warm as he remembered it. As smooth as he remembered it. He’s lost, and you know it.
“Don’t baby me,” he said, cursing up a useless storm. In the end, it didn’t matter. He’s already leaning down to capture your lips with his.
You whimpered against his mouth, which only set him off further. He wrapped an arm around You’s waist, pressing him close as he kissed him hard. All thought left his brain. It was just you, you, you, consuming him.
You ended up pressed against the bathroom counter, hands tangled in his hair. When Akaashi nipped at your bottom lip, you tugged at it. He groaned, pulling away.
“Okay,” You panted, leaning back against the counter, “Baby me instead.”
“I baby you enough,” Akaashi rolled his eyes. “Some might say too much.”
You laughed, wrapping your arms around his shoulders, “Forget them. I like it when you take care of me. It’s not overbearing. You don’t do it, because I’m helpless. I don’t see the problem.”
But the more Akaashi thought about it, the more it felt like there was a problem.
“Come here,” You said, dragging him between your legs. Akaashi’s hands came to rest on the bare skin of your thighs, where your sleep shorts have ridden up.
“Y/N,” Akaashi whispered, his hand inching further up. “Are you trying to prove a point?”
You giggled, “Is it working?”
It’s working too well. Akaashi couldn’t find it in himself to mind. Here it was again. The lack of regret. Just desire hitting him over and over again.
Everything about this reminded Akaashi of the first time they ever did this. At this random party, in some stranger’s bathroom. Judgement clouded by alcohol. Lack of judgement intensifying want.
Now, under the soft yellow light of this bathroom, they are in the same position. But this time, he doesn’t have the excuse of alcohol.
He hasn’t had that excuse every time in between since then.
And he hasn’t had the time to think about that. Too distracted by your perfect mouth, perfect hands, perfect body to think about when he started thinking of his best friend like this. It should be wrong. This was you.
You with your moon face and round eyes, wide with innocence.
Something between you has changed, and it’s quite possibly irreversible.
He blinked when he felt a kiss pressed against his forehead. “You look worried. Wanna talk about it—“
A knock interrupted them. You’re already rolling your eyes, “What!”
“What do you mean what?” came an annoyed voice. It was Kuroo. “You’ve been there for ages. Some people want to get ready for bed too.”
“I’m taking a shit!” You yelled back, and Akaashi had to cover his mouth to keep himself from laughing out loud.
He heard a thump against the door. “Fine! You better fucking spray after. I don’t want to brush my teeth in that stench.”
“Yeah, yeah,” You said dismissively.
Akaashi waited until he heard footsteps recede before detangling himself from you. Reality literally knocked on the door and said, is this reason enough?
He wanted to hit his head. He was such a hypocrite. He really should’ve left the moment You stepped into the bathroom.
You pouted hard and tried to reach for him again, “We should go to bed.”
Akaashi was better at avoiding this time. “I agree,” He said, before specifying, “Separately.”
“You’re so lame.”
He woke up the next day, feeling like he didn’t sleep at all. It’s because he didn’t. He slept piss poor the whole night, a punishment he thought he didn’t deserve. Not that he thought refusing to sleep with his best friend should be rewarded, but—you know what he means.
He was so goddamn tired, he couldn’t even speak a single word during breakfast until he finished his first cup of coffee.
And to make matters worse, you looked completely okay. Refreshed even. He came trampling through the backdoor; the sand, the sun, Bokuto and Kenma following behind. The sound of your bright laughter irritated his sleep deprived brain.
“Akaashi, you’re awake!” Bokuto said, bounding up to him.
If it were anyone else, he would have grumpily responded. But it was Bokuto, who even at his most annoying was hard to be mad at. He gave him a small smile, “You guys had fun all by yourselves?”
Kenma, on his way to the bathroom, chimed in, “We tried waking you up, but you were dead to the world.”
Bokuto laughed, “You were lying face up, but your pillow wasn’t under your head. It was over. Y/N thought somebody murdered you in your sleep.”
“I was the only one concerned,” You shook your head, grabbing a pitcher of water from the fridge, “Remember that when you’re choosing which one of us is your favourite.”
Bokuto wasn’t concerned, “Do you remember when we used to pass out at his house after a party and he would somehow wake up out of his blankets, legs in the weirdest positions? I still think we should record him sleeping, just to see something.”
You visibly gulped down his water and wiped his mouth, “He just needs to be held down. He sleeps very peacefully when he’s being held.”
Akaashi wished you were joking, but he literally stopped breathing. There’s this brief moment of silence where he’s pretty sure Bokuto was wondering if he heard that right. He’s never been so grateful that two of his friends weren’t in the room. They would never let him live it down.
“Hey,” Bokuto coughed, but his smile was so cheeky Akaashi knew whatever was coming next could not be good, “How do you know this? Have you tried it? Is this first hand experience?”
Akaashi does him better and pretends he has phlegm stuck in his throat. Anything to avoid being part of this conversation. He hacked it up so good, it didn’t feel like pretend anymore. You worriedly came up to him and smacked his back, “Keiji! Drink some water.”
It’s enough to distract everyone.
And then, Kuroo unintentionally did him a solid by walking out wearing the ugliest outfit known to man. (Okay, it’s not that ugly. He just looked like he’s dressed like a middle schooler. Like, come on. A sweater vest and yellow shorts?) By then, everyone’s too concerned about missing out on delivering sick burns.
Akaashi internally cheered. Sometimes, bad bitches (masculine) won.
For now, at least.
Hours later, life tried him again.
Peace never truly lasted. Ws always eventually turned to Ls. He’s been truly put on this earth to suffer.
And of course, the loss was personally hand-delivered by those most beloved to him.
After a huge lunch, they all had food-induced comas and decided that the best way to recover from this was to spend the rest of their day watching movies. (Actually, Bokuto suggested taking a walk by the beach, but he was immediately vetoed by Kuroo, Kenma, and you—who all claimed they needed to be rolled out of the restaurant and back to the beach house.)
Here was the kicker though: after diagnosing himself with onset food coma, all his defenses were low. He went to the restroom to relieve himself a little, change into sweatpants so he didn’t feel like he couldn’t breathe, and when he came back, he found that all the seats in the living room were taken. Even the floor, where Kuroo was sprawled out like an overheated dog, had no space.
There was really only one spot open, and that was the one right next to you.
With a sinking feeling, Akaashi thought, he’s been bamboozled.
None of the rats he called friends would meet his eyes, but they all looked a shade of smug as he walked on over to his seat of honor for the day. Of course, Akaashi thought. You’d both wound up sitting together on a loveseat.
He willed himself to act natural. He can sit next to his friend, all casual. No big deal. He would not give his friends the reaction they wanted. He cleared his throat, “So what are we watching?”
“I think,” Kenma suggested, “we should watch that new show on Netflix? Alice in Borderland or something.”
Kuroo grunted from the floor, “I don’t want to watch that. Let’s watch Midsommar instead.”
At that, Akaashi protested, “I’ve already seen Midsommar. You’ve seen Midsommar.” Akaashi knew that for a fact, because he was the one who bullied Kuroo into watching it.
“Don’t be selfish,” Kuroo retorted, “Bokuto, Y/N, and Kenma haven’t seen it yet.”
“Ugh,” Kenma groaned, “I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight if we do. And if that happens, I’ll make it your problem.”
Kuroo rolled to his side, his head propped up by his hand, a stupid grin on his face, “Don’t worry, you can come sleep with me if you get scared tonight, Tae.”
“You—“ Kenma bit out, and then Akaashi got the glorious privilege of watching him turn red. He felt like he should shake Kuroo’s hand or something. Rarely does anyone get to do that to Kenma, and for Kuroo of all people—well. Akaashi was simply impressed. Just for that, Akaashi was willing to rewatch Midsommar.
Bokuto, as always, came between the two as peacemaker, “Why don’t we just vote?”
“Okay,” Kuroo raised his other hand, “Who wants to watch Midsommar?”
Akaashi raised his hand, and you casually did too, “I don’t care either way.”
Kenma snarled, “Then fucking put your hand down.” Bokuto held his hand, laughing, “It’s okay, Kenma, I’ll cover your eyes for you during the scary scenes.”
Kenma softened, “Fine.”
Kuroo cheered, pulling himself up to fit himself onto the couch beside Kenma who looked at him with wariness. “Don’t look at me like that. It’s a good movie.”
“You just like it when I’m scared,” Kenma grumbled, and then Bokuto cut in again, “Do I have to sit in between you guys?”
You snorted, “Just get it set up, guys,” and even though Kuroo started navigating to the movie on screen, the three of them continued arguing.
Akaashi heard you sigh and lean your head against the couch cushions. If they were back in his dorm, you would have leaned against Akaashi’s shoulder instead. Akaashi was glad that you finally stopped making this hard for them. He glanced towards the tangled mess that was Kenma, Bokuto, and Kuroo and frowned. How come they got to cuddle in peace? Meanwhile, if Akaashi put an arm around you, he would never hear the end of it. What kind of double standard is this? This is so…sexist? Akaashi-phobic? Whatever it is, it sucked. Cuddling can be platonic.
Some sick voice in Akaashi’s head snidely added: kissing and sleeping with someone can be platonic too. But is platonic what you feel when you do all that with your best friend?
Akaashi shook his head and got comfortable instead. He put his head on your shoulder and thought nothing of it. It’s summer; there was no room for complicated things.
“Don’t fall asleep on me,” You said, resting his head gently on Akaashi’s head.
“I won’t,” Akaashi said, though the mention of sleep made him yawn.
You hummed, “You looked pretty tired though, this morning.”
“I was,” Akaashi said and left it at that.
You didn’t say anything for a while, and Akaashi thought that was the end of it too, right as the movie opening sequence launched, You said, “I couldn’t sleep either.”
“Is that why you were so loud this morning?” Akaashi chuckled lowly.
“That was the coffee I drank this morning. I couldn’t even sleep in,” He couldn’t see it, but he could definitely hear the pout in your voice. A tiny part of him rejoiced at hearing it, the one who never got tired of teasing you. And another part of him relaxed at the thought that it wasn’t only him that couldn’t sleep well.
Good thing the movie finally started. “Be quiet,” He finally said, “You have to pay attention, so you don’t end up confused later on.”
“Mean,” You muttered, but did as he said.
There’s something fun about rewatching movies, especially with people who have never seen it before. You catch a lot of things you didn’t notice before, foreshadowing, easter eggs, plot twists. You understand things a lot better the second go around, especially for these psychological horror type movies. Even better, the scares aren’t as scary as they were the first watch.
Of course, for the first time watchers…
It’s quite fun watching their reactions. He could tell Kuroo felt the exact same way by the way he kept glancing over at Kenma’s and Bokuto’s reactions (more Kenma’s really, he’d been watching some scenes with his hands covering his eyes). Meanwhile, you just looked intrigued. Grossed out at worst.
Akaashi rubbed his face against your shoulder. “Hey,” he whispered, “What are you thinking?”
“They’re so nice to her, comforting her, telling her things she wants to hear,” You said, “Everything her boyfriend is not. She’s going to end up killing him at the end, doesn’t he?”
“Hmm,” Akaashi teased, “I don’t know, you'll just have to wait and see.”
You huffed, “That means I’m right.”
“You’re so impatient,” Akaashi laughed softly.
You sighed, like you were putting down a heavy weight. After a moment, he felt your hand on top of his. Fingers absently playing with his. “I’m more patient than you’ll ever know,” You said quietly, the words almost drowned by the movie.
He didn’t know what to say. Maybe he shouldn’t say anything. Maybe he wasn’t even meant to hear.
The movie neared its end.
On screen, there’s a pire burning. There’s a girl dressed up in flowers, a breathless content smile on her face. “Good for her,” You said, happy to get it right. “What a happy ending,” he laughed.
Akaashi has seen this all before. Had the same conclusion you uttered. And yet, this time around…he’s filled with this weird sense of dread. Something’s not right.
Everything is cathartic-induced bright. The credits played.
Everybody stretched their arms up to the sky, legs outward. Akaashi stretched too, neck to the right, to the left. Eyes out to the beautiful summer sky. It’s bright. It’s so bright.
He glanced back at you and swallowed the awful feeling.
Just a remnant of the movie.
He’s cornered again. This time, by Kuroo as the two of them washed dishes together.
“So,” Kuroo started, and Akaashi didn’t even hesitate to flick soap suds at him. Kuroo swipes his wet hand against Akaashi’s hair and he shivered in disgust. He immediately covered his head and glared, “How could you—“
“You literally started it!” Kuroo retorted. “Anyway, I saw you and a little someone cuddling on the couch earlier.”
“Oh, shut up,” Akaashi said, rolling his eyes. Bold of Kuroo to say, considering how handsy he was with both Kenma and Bokuto. Akaashi didn’t even bother calling him out. Kuroo was a different breed of shameless. “Don’t make it weird.”
Kuroo raised a brow, “I don’t need to make it weird. You guys make it weird. Like the vibes… you guys are giving off.”
Akaashi frowned, “You’re not making any sense.”
“I’m not explaining it right,” Kuroo said, drying a plate, “I mean, the vibes, right? You guys have always been closer than any of us—no, don’t give me that look. You guys have. I always chalked it up to the repressed feelings you guys have for each other. But this time, it’s different. I just can’t tell if it’s good or bad.”
Akaashi froze. It’s that noticeable? What did weirder than usual mean? Fuck, could he tell they were hooking up?
He forced himself to act cool, shrugging his shoulders, “I literally do not know what you’re talking about, dude.”
“Don’t worry,” Kuroo smirked, “I’ll point it out the next time I see it. I promise I’ll be subtle.”
Spoilers: he was not fucking subtle.
Akaashi swore there was absolutely no weird vibes when the group of them were enjoying dessert in the middle of the night. Some ice cream cake they bought to celebrate their reunion. They were laughing about something stupid. Half of them were lounging on their side on the floor, the other half was leaning against the couch. You were the only one left with the fork, taking turns to feed Bokuto, Kuroo, and yourself.
The ice cream-cake enthusiast triangulation.
You usually ate in such small bites. Maybe it was because you were feeding two big-mouthed eaters, but you actually ended up eating such large bites of the cake. Cream on the edges of your mouth while you continued talking and laughing without wiping it away.
Listen, it didn’t mean anything. You looked messy. Akaashi hated messy. Friends helped out friends. Akaashi was also a friend.
He didn’t think much of it, when he reached over and swiped the cream with his thumb. Thought nothing of how it might look when his other hand steadied your chin. “You look like a fool,” He had even laughed as he leaned back, absentmindedly sucking the cream off his thumb.
You look wide-eyed and red-cheeked in his hands.
It wasn’t until Kuroo had taken Bokuto’s chin and loudly exclaimed, “Oh, Bokuto, let me gently wipe your mouth too,” that Akaashi felt extremely self-conscious of his actions. The situation only got worse when Bokuto puckered his lips, which had Kuroo literally laughing on the floor. Kenma, thankfully, only rolled his eyes.
Akaashi couldn’t even look at you after that. He didn’t think it was weird. But now, because of everyone’s eyes, it felt weird.
You ended up standing up and putting the cake away, sounding annoyed, “I think you’ve had enough cake. Go to bed.”
Kuroo made eye contact with him and smirked, as if to say, now, do you see what I mean?
Akaashi wanted to be alone after that. He felt somewhat transparent and unreadable at the exact time. Like everybody was seeing something that he himself couldn’t see inside of him.
Well. That wasn’t completely true. He knew there was something different…he just didn’t want any of their friends to know. He wanted to figure it out himself, before they started doing what they did earlier. It made him feel weird and ashamed. Like what was going on between you two had morphed into something wrong.
Which didn’t even make sense, considering all the stupid pushing his friends were doing to ‘set them up.’
The best thing to clearly do next is to sleep it off. But as he laid in bed, he found that he couldn't sleep again. He uncomfortable in this bed, and it didn’t matter how much he twisted and turned, he couldn’t make himself feel right. But he couldn’t stay awake either, not with his head all jumbled up.
He was tempted to suffocate himself when his phone buzzed beside him. He frowned, he was so messed up over this that he didn’t even put his phone on silent.
He sighed and reached over. A text message from you.
Sleep with me tonight, the text said.
Akaashi places his phone face down on his own bed and holds back a scream. This was the last thing he needed tonight. Sense told him that he should stick to his rule. Sneaking into your bed wasn’t a good idea. Maybe if you were sharing a room, he could manage it, but they all got their own rooms. It would be hard to sneak back to his own bed without getting caught. It would be tougher to have to explain if he got caught.
His phone buzzed again and when he looked at the notification, he immediately groaned, rolling in bed so that he could bury his face in his pillow. After taking a moment to compose himself, he opened his phone to the message.
It’s a dark picture of you, blanket pulled up to your chin, pouting at the camera. It came with a simple message— I'm cold.
And then another message, I sleep better with you.
His chest ached. He bit his lip, running a hand through his hair. He shouldn’t do this. But Akaashi was struggling too. Sleep-deprived and confused, all he wanted was to rest. And the last time he slept well was when he was with you.
Akaashi sighed, slowly getting up. He never did figure out how to properly say no to you.
He carefully opened his door and crept out quietly when he saw the hallways were clear. Your room was thankfully close; he reached it with only a couple steps.
He turned the knob and saw you mid-rise. He expected some teasing and a smug smile, but there was only relief on your face.
As he climbed onto your bed, you welcomed him with open arms.
“Thank you,” you whispered against him, pulling him down. Akaashi’s face almost crashed against the headboard. “Easy, easy—”
You both adjusted to each—smooth and natural to them now—until you were comfortable. “Thought you weren’t going to come,” you said, tightening your hold around his waist. “I was going to come to you instead.”
“How are you cold?” Akaashi asked instead. His hand ran through the strands of your hair, “It’s the height of summer.”
“Always am,” You said. “Too used to sleeping with you. You’re always warm and I’m always cold…” you trailed off and into a mumble, “Even back when I slept over at your dorm.”
Akaashi hummed, “Didn’t matter if we had a pillow between us. You’d always find your way over.”
You huffed a little laugh, “You just gotta get used to it at this point. It’s the way we work.”
Akaashi snorted, “The way we work…”
You hummed sleepily, “So perfect…”
His hand paused mid-stroke in your hair. Perfect. It’s not the first time that word’s been said between you, but never like this. Usually it’s panted, thrown heatedly against skin, mid-fuck. Never quite as innocent as this. Resonating bone deep.
He didn’t know what to do with this. This feeling that sits in him, beautiful and aching, until seen by somebody else. He could hold onto this as long as nobody else knows. It’s theirs. Inexplicable, uncomplicated; it’s his.
With that he forced himself to relax. He closed his eyes.
He heard the sound of the waves, crashing against the shore. He could smell the salt in the air. Your breaths evening out, the scent of your shampoo against his nose.
He exhaled, finally letting himself relax against the soft comfort of the pillow under him. It’s the kind of sigh that felt less like giving up but giving in.
To this. To them. To whatever you can both call this.
Akaashi woke up late.
The sun woke him up, filtering through the thin curtains of the window. It was the kind of sleep most people yearn for. The type where you feel absolutely well-rested, where you wake up naturally. No alarms. No nothing. It’s beautiful, Disney princess-like.
It’s sleep he wanted to stay cocooned in forever.
And that’s when he remembered where he was. Whose body he was wrapped around. Whose scent, whose warmth had lulled him to sleep.
He pulled away—abruptly enough that it woke you up too.
“Keiji…” You mumbled, one foot still in a dream. You reached over, hand searching for the heat of his body. “What’s wrong—“
Akaashi shushed him softly. Better to let you sleep. He leaned down, brushing the hair from your forehead, “There’s nothing wrong. I’ll see you at breakfast.”
You made a noise of protest, hands tightening around Akaashi’s shirt, “Stay with me.”
Akaashi kissed your temple in apology, “I can’t. We’re going to get caught if I stay.”
He pulled your hand from his shirt and set it on the bed. This time, when he stood up, you let him go.
When he reaches the door, he’s as careful as he was the night before. Except this time, he looked back. And he lingered at the sight of you curling into the space he left.
He softly closed the door, unable to bear the sight.
He turned and nearly died from shock. “God,” He said, clutching his chest, “What are you doing here?”
“Uh,” Bokuto raised a brow, before glancing at the door Akaashi just exited. “What are you doing here?”
His eyes narrowed, and Akaashi immediately knew he was fucked. “It’s not what you think,” He said, putting a hand up.
“Oh my god,” Bokuto said, eyes widening, “Are you guys—“
“No, no,” Akaashi yell-whispered, going up to Bokuto and covering his mouth. “We can’t talk about it here.”
Akaashi looked around and was relieved to find nobody else. He dragged Bokuto towards his room, before anybody else could see.
Bokuto crossed his arms over his chest and pouted, “Okay, explain. Are you guys dating? Is this why Kuroo was saying you guys have been acting weird—“
“First of all, Kuroo does not know what he’s talking about. Let’s get one thing straight,” Akaashi clarified. His heart was pumping hard in his chest. Heat was creeping up his neck. “We’re not dating,” He said.
Bokuto’s brows furrowed, “So you guys are just…sleeping together?” Bokuto scratched his chin, shrugging, “I guess it could happen. I’ve slept in the same bed as Kenma several times, and it wasn’t weird.”
“Yeah, yeah!” Akaashi enthusiastically agreed, giving him a bright smile, “You got it—“
“It’s not like you guys are doing anything further than that,” Bokuto added, nodding. “It would only be weird if you guys were actually sleeping together,” Bokuto said, his hands gesturing quotation marks.
Akaashi’s smile froze, “Totally not.”
Bokuto paused, “Akaashi…you didn’t….”
See, Akaashi thought with pain, this was the worst part about hanging out with your old friends. They can read you, just with one look. There was never a possibility he was going to get through this vacation without getting caught. He was fucked from the moment he parked in the driveway.
“God,” Bokuto said with disgust, which has Akaashi steeling himself for the worst. He hated disappointing people in general, but disappointing someone as good as Bokuto? It made everything feel much worse. But then he said something unexpected, “I can’t believe you guys are having sex under our shared roof—“
And of all the things Akaashi could say, his stupid brain said this, “We’re all in different rooms.”
Bokuto looked at him with horror, “Dude. Not the point.”
Akaashi corrected himself, “I’m sorry, I mean, we weren’t doing that. At least…” Akaashi scratched his head, “Not here.”
“Akaashi,” Bokuto sighed, his hands going up to his temples. God, he was causing Bokuto stress. “Can we talk about this? This feels like something we should talk about. Unless you’re talking to somebody about this already? Your therapist?”
“Dude, I’m not sharing this with my therapist,” Akaashi said firmly.
“Why not?” Bokuto put his hands on his hips. It reminds Akaashi of Bokuto’s mother. “You already talk to them about the trauma of growing up with divorced parents.”
Akaashi raised his hand, “I don’t talk to them about that.”
“Then what do you talk to them about?” Bokuto said, confused. “I didn’t know you had other traumas.”
“I can’t talk to them about that,” Akaashi said, “She can only handle my perfectionism issues. Anyway, the point is I don’t want to talk about it.”
Bokuto frowned, “Listen, I know you still think I’m immature and maybe that’s why you don’t want to talk about your sex life—“ Akaashi opened his mouth to argue, but Bokuto raised his hand to stop him, “I’m not naive, okay? I know people do that kind of thing without strings attached all the time, but it’s you two.” Bokuto said it straight, “There’s too many years between the two of you. It’s too much just for casual sex.”
Akaashi sighed, his gaze falling to the ground. His hands clenched at his side, “I know exactly what’s at stake.”
“Then why this?” Bokuto asked.
“Because,” Akaashi said simply. There’s so many ways he could follow it up, all of it damning. Because I’m selfish. Because I like it. Because you want it too. “Listen, we’re handling it. It’s between us, and I’d really appreciate it, if you don’t tell the others.”
Bokuto looked like he had more things to say.
Akaashi shook his head, “Please. It’ll be okay.”
It has to be.
Bokuto thankfully kept quiet. Though their conversation that morning had him feeling on edge the whole day.
He’s been too relaxed this whole time, clearly. First, Kuroo had mentioned something. And now, Bokuto knew there was something going on between them. It was only a matter of time before Kenma descended on them, and he didn’t know if he had the strength for it.
The best thing to do, he was certain, was to lay low.
And that meant, staying away from you.
It would be easier if they stayed home that day, but it was too nice to stay holed up in their rooms, their group decided. They wanted to explore town today, despite the fact that they’ve been going here for years now.
There were only five of them. Akaashi knew it was going to be difficult to avoid you, but for the sake of your relationship, he had to try.
It wasn’t too bad in the beginning. Whenever they walked together, Kuroo, for all the length of his legs, walked the slowest, and you always ended up walking with him. So he doesn’t get lonely, Akaashi remembered you saying once. Though if you asked Akaashi, he thought it was because you couldn’t keep up with Kenma’s brisk pace. No matter what the real reason was, Akaashi was grateful.
But then, they’d stop by at places to shop around, and that proved to be a problem. You would quietly follow him around the store, saying things like, that looks good on you, when Akaashi was inspecting a shirt. Things like, do you want me to buy it for you, when Akaashi said it was too expensive. No, no, it’s okay, Akaashi said to no avail, watching as you swiped it off his hands to pay for it at the register.
He knew how it looked. Only couples did that. He avoided Bokuto’s gaze, though he couldn’t avoid Kenma and Kuroo’s whispering from pricking his ears.
He felt monitored, and he hated it. It made him absolutely irritable, sensitive to touch. The glare of the sun on his back made him worse. And unfortunately, you got the brunt of it.
It wasn’t your fault, Akaashi knew. Kuroo was right, you guys were always touchy. You had this habit of clinging onto his arm, an old habit you never outgrew. Akaashi didn’t mind it; in fact, most of the time, he liked it. Liked feeling needed. But today, all it did was make him more paranoid—that his friends would see it and come tease him about it. Every time you touched him, spoke to him, looked at him, his entire body tensed, preparing himself to be called out for it.
The first time he stiffened you gave him a confused glance. The next couple times raised concern. It got to the point where you pulled him aside, a pocket of a moment while their friends were in the restroom, and asked, Keiji, what is up with you?
But Akaashi couldn’t give you a straight answer. You pushed, Akaashi pulled. He insisted it was nothing. And eventually, you left him alone.
You didn’t try to touch him at all after that.
His mood only worsened after dinner. The day’s events had built up on him, and the only thing that he wanted to do was sleep.
His friends had other plans though, and his stomach churned when he saw Kuroo walk out of the kitchen with several bottles of sake, coke, and iced tea. Dear god, alcohol was the last thing he needed tonight.
“Kuroo,” He said, flatly.
“What,” Kuroo said, putting the drinks on the floor where everyone had begun to gather around. “You don’t have to drink if you don’t want to. But I think it would relax you.”
Kenma grabbed a bottle and started shaking it, “Somebody grab some ice too. The coke isn’t even cold.”
“I got it!” Bokuto said, standing up. He patted Kenma’s head as he went. Meanwhile, Kenma pulled Akaashi down by the hand, “Sit down. Even if you don’t want to drink, you can still help make it.”
“Fine,” Akaashi said with a sigh, “Who’s drinking?”
“Me!” Came Bokuto’s answer from the kitchen. Akaashi didn’t really have to ask Kuroo and Kenma, which really only left…you, who had quietly sat in front of him.
Akaashi busied himself with opening the tiny bottle of yakult, “You drinking, Y/N?”
“Yeah,” You said, a heaviness in your voice. When Akaashi glanced at you, he saw you fiddling with a fraying thread on his shorts, “It’s been a long day.”
The response sent waves of guilt through him.
“Don’t worry, Y/N,” Kuroo said, wrapping a comforting arm around your shoulders, “Nothing a little drink won’t solve.”
You laughed, “It worries me. You're saying that when you're planning to be someone’s boss someday.”
“Oh,” Kenma teased, “He has more pressing things to worry about. Like passing calculus.”
Akaashi tuned them out, focusing on making the drinks. Bokuto came back with the ice, and Akaashi took the ice trays, cracked the ice out of the moulds, and placed them in all the drinks.
Against his judgement, he ended up making himself a drink too. Something he was immediately grateful for whenever he felt your eyes on him. It was good to have something to do, even if it was to sip his drink to avoid your gaze.
The alcohol did its job too. He felt tension leak out of him with each sip. His thoughts became muddled too, which was the blessing he needed. All day, he prayed his brain would shut up. To stop giving a fuck for just a moment, so he could catch his breath.
On his way to tipsy, he finished his drink and decided—another one. He got teased for it too. “Look at him,” Kuroo said, highly amused, “The only person who said they weren’t drinking is the first person to get another drink.”
Akaashi snorted, but said nothing. See, he told himself. If this was an hour ago, you would have been absolutely irritated at that. Aren’t you glad you started drinking?
“Me too,” You said, cutting through his internal monologue. Akaashi turned to you and saw a glass pushed towards him, “Make me another one too.”
“Sure,” Akaashi said, taking the glass. Your fingers briefly touched, and he hurried to pull away. He swallowed, determined not to think anything of it, even though his fingers felt the heat of contact as he mixed drinks.
When he handed you the finished drink, he was careful to avoid your touch. He wasn’t as careful avoiding your gaze though, which was a mistake. Your eyes were narrowed, and Akaashi felt arrested by your gaze.
“Thanks,” You said as he finally looked away. He cleared his throat, “Should we play a drinking game? You guys are taking so long to drink.”
“Don’t worry,” Kenma said, “We’re all lightweights here. Except Bokuto. We just need to force Kuroo to take a shot or two and he’ll be there.”
Bokuto shrugged, “A game could be fun. We could watch a movie and take a shot every time somebody did or said something.”
Kenma shook his head, “I don’t want to get alcohol poisoning. And at least one of us will fall asleep halfway.”
“Hmm,” Bokuto thought out loud, “I mean, the only other games I know are Never Have I Ever, Spin the Bottle, and Truth or Dare—“
Akaashi laughed, “What kind of parties have you been going to?”
Bokuto laughed too, but Kenma defended his friend’s choices, “To be fair, those are the easiest ones to play. I’m too lazy to set up beer pong or even King’s Cup.”
“Never Have I Ever…is going to be boring,” Kuroo piped up, “We all know each other. If we did anything, we’d know it by now.”
“That’s not true,” You said, amused, “I could say, never have I ever puked in a public pool, and only you would have to drink.”
Kuroo gave you a sharp look, “That’s a traumatic memory, Y/N. I would appreciate it if you didn’t bring that up.”
You mocked him by copying his words. Kenma cut in before the conversation could devolve into outright smacking each other, “So I guess Truth or Dare, it is—“
“Wow, you’re not even going to entertain Spin the Bottle,” Kuroo said. He puckered up, “You don’t want to kiss me, Kenma?”
Akaashi watched as Kenma didn’t even act like he heard Kuroo, and immediately wished he could be as cool. Kenma smiled, turning to Bokuto who sat between him and Akaashi, “I’ll start. Bokuto, truth or dare.”
Bokuto shrugged, “Dare.”
“Excellent,” Kenma grinned, “Knew you would say that. Go out into the water and stand there for thirty seconds before going out.”
Bokuto gaped at him, “Why, you—“
Meanwhile, everybody laughed. Kenma added, “If it helps, you could go in naked—“
“Thanks for the great idea, Kenma,” Bokuto said, standing up. “I’ll remember it when it’s your turn.” To his credit, Bokuto didn’t even try to get out of it. He just put his hand on his hips and asked, “Is anyone going to time me?”
You raised his hand, “I can do it.”
The two of them went outside, while the rest of them watched from the back porch.
“You’re so evil,” Kuroo said, but he was chuckling as Bokuto bravely walked into the water. They could hear you loudly counting down from thirty. It was a bit evil, but all of them laughed when Bokuto shivered, and even more, when Bokuto immediately raced out of the water when the count ended and hugged you.
Your shriek was loud and you looked disgruntled walking back, meanwhile, Bokuto was laughing so brightly.
They let Bokuto get changed into something warm before restarting the game. “I feel so alive,” Bokuto said, good-natured. He gave Kenma a playful glare, before turning to Akaashi. “Your turn, Akaashi. Truth or dare.”
“Uh,” Akaashi scratched his head, unsure, “I’ll choose dare too.”
Bokuto smiled, “Great, go outside and stand in the water for a minute.”
“Jesus,” Akaashi said, grabbing his drink and chugging it down. When he finished, he shook his head, “I’m good.”
Kuroo coughed, saying something that suspiciously sounded like, coward. Akaashi gave him the sweetest smile, “Well, Kuroo. It’s your turn. Truth or dare.”
“Dare,” Kuroo said, taking up the challenge.
Kenma laughed, “Get into the water—“
“Unoriginal,” Kuroo said, but Akaashi didn’t care. He just wanted to see Kuroo suffer, “No, he’s right. Get into the water and stand in there for a minute and a half.”
Kuroo briefly looked at his drink, before standing up. “No big deal. Kenma, can you time me?”
Akaashi had a feeling all of them were going to end up in the cold water by the end of the night. Kuroo’s turn in the water was even funnier though. For a bastard so afraid of the water, he didn’t even complain that much going in. Though, Akaashi guessed, it wasn’t so much about fear. It was more about pride, which is something he could understand.
Kuroo stubbornly shivered in the water as Kenma counted down and just like Bokuto, he got out fast as soon as the timer was done. However, unlike Bokuto, instead of simply hugging Kenma, he grabbed the phone in Kenma’s hand and tossed it in the sand, before wrapping his arms around Kenma’s waist and carrying him to the water.
Bokuto laughed, “I can’t hear what Kenma is saying. But I can just imagine how creative the threats are.”
“What’s the point of busting his ass at the gym,” you said, “If he can’t even escape Kuroo.”
After Kuroo’s turn, they finally got more creative with dares. You were next, and true to the nature of their friend group, you chose dare too. Kuroo dared him to eat a whole tomato, to which you declined with a quick chug of your drink. Kenma, contrarian as ever, decided to break the cycle of dares and chose truth.
“Who do you think is the ugliest person in the room?” You asked, but Kenma didn’t even let a second pass before saying, “You.”
“You’re so fucking rude for that,” You grumbled, but Kenma laughed as he reached over and hugged you, “I’m just kidding. That’s what you get for asking a bad question.”
They went a couple more rounds daring each other to do more stupid shit, until Akaashi ended up choosing truth.
By this point, all of them were loose-limbed. Kenma and Kuroo were properly drunk, their faces flushed red. You were quietly holding onto your drink, though your eyes were glazed too. Even Akaashi felt the impact of the several drinks he’s had.
Bokuto was the only one that looked okay, though he couldn’t think of a good question to ask, “I don’t know. What’s something juicy?”
“I have a question!” Kenma slurred, pulling himself away from where he’d been laying his head on Bokuto’s shoulder. “Is there someone you want to kiss in the room right now?”
Kuroo tittered, crawling over to where Kenma was to extend a high five. They were too drunk to notice Bokuto’s horrified expression. And this, this was the moment where Akaashi knew he’s had a drink too many. He should have drank instead, but the voice that told him what was proper to say was silent. And so, he answered honestly for once, “Yeah.”
“Oh my god,” Bokuto covered his mouth, while Kenma and Kuroo cheered. The person Akaashi wanted to kiss, however, only snorted. Akaashi frowned, trying to catch your eyes. But the other refused to look at him.
Kuroo giggled, “Okay Y/N, it’s your turn. Truth or dare.”
You stared at the alcohol in his glass, “Dare.”
“Then…” Kuroo said, glancing around the room until his gaze landed on Akaashi. “I dare you to kiss someone in this room.”
Akaashi couldn’t breathe. His fingers tightened around his glass.
“Um,” You sighed, “I don’t want to kiss anyone who doesn’t want to be kissed.”
Kuroo, who clearly thought there was zero possibility he would be kissed, said, “I don’t mind. We’re all friends here, aren’t we?”
And it seemed like everyone had the same idea, for Bokuto and Kenma said they wouldn’t mind either. It forced Akaashi to shrug his shoulders. “I don’t mind either,” He said, not even needing to lie. God, what was he saying?
“Of course,” Bokuto added, sensing the tension in the room, “If you don’t want to kiss anyone here, you don’t have to either.”
You shook your head, “It’s fine. A dare is a dare.”
You placed your drink on the floor and Akaashi watched with bated breath as you crawled over to him. He can’t believe you’re going to do this here, in front of all their friends. He can’t believe he’s allowing this, not after how strict he’s been this whole time. But it’s been a long day of avoiding you, and this drunk, he can’t lie to himself. He wanted it. He wanted it bad.
He could already taste your kiss on his lips. His hands itched with longing for the heat of your body pressed against him.
You came to a stop and kneeled in front of him. Akaashi couldn’t help himself anymore, and he reached for you—
But you turned and said, “Bokuto, I’m going to kiss you.”
Akaashi froze. Everyone in the room did too. Nobody moved as your words registered in their minds. What the fuck?
“Um,” Bokuto blinked, and then he looked at Akaashi in panic or permission. Akaashi didn’t know. He doesn’t think his brain has processed what was happening yet.
But you wouldn’t wait until his brain caught up. You weren’t going to wait for anything it seemed. “Hey,” you said, cradling Bokuto’s cheek in your hand and forcing him to look at you, “It’s rude not to look at the person who's trying to kiss you.”
Bokuto gulped, eyes shaking as You fluttered his lashes at him. Akaashi could only watch as you brushed his nose against Bokuto’s and murmured, “I’m not your first kiss, right?”
“N-no,” Bokuto stuttered. His hand went to your waist, and Akaashi expected him to push you away, but he didn’t. Akaashi couldn’t blame him. You were so gorgeous up close. Who would? Who fucking would? Akaashi wished Bokuto would.
“Perfect,” You smiled, giving him a quick peck. A preamble of sorts, Akaashi knew. It was how you liked to start. He wondered if Bokuto felt a flutter in his stomach. Akaashi always did. If his blood rushed through him in anticipation. Akaashi’s always did.
Bokuto just looked like he couldn’t believe this was happening to him. “Perfect?” He repeated.
You nodded, giving him a sweet smile. You cupped both of Bokuto’s cheeks and said, “Let’s both enjoy it, okay?”
This time, you don’t give Bokuto time to answer, before leaning down to capture his lips.
Belatedly, Akaashi realized he’s never seen you kiss anybody. Aren’t you glad you had front seats to your first time, then? Some sick voice in his head teased.
No, Akaashi thought. He was the farthest thing from glad, and yet, he couldn’t look away. His eyes watched carefully as their mouths moved against each other. As your hand tangled in Bokuto’s hair. As you inched forward, tilting Bokuto’s head so you could kiss him deeper.
Akaashi watched all of this with a tightening feeling in his chest. Why him? Why not me?
He began to feel a little sick, nausea rising in him, when he saw you bite Bokuto’s lip. He could see Bokuto getting lost in it too, slowly forgetting where he was, with the way his hands were moving up your body.
She’s mine, Akaashi thought with wild envy. She’s mine, his entire body seemed to echo. Just the other night, it was his hands on you. This morning, it was him wrapped around you. Akaashi wanted to pull your shirt off and point to a fading mark and say, look, here. I did that. She’s mine.
His hands curled into fists, and when he saw you slip your tongue into Bokuto’s mouth, he lost it.
“Stop it,” He said, voice hard. His words jolted the two of them and finally, Bokuto seemed to remember where he was and pulled away. “That’s enough.”
Bokuto turned to him, looking absolutely sorry, but you were the one who spoke first, “It was a dare. Why are you so angry?”
Akaashi’s eyes couldn’t help but go to your swollen mouth. He gritted his teeth, “You know why.”
“No,” You raised a brow, “I actually don’t know, Akaashi. The dare said to kiss anyone in this room. I did that. Tell me what I did wrong.”
It wasn’t wrong. But it wasn’t right either.
“But did you have to kiss him like that? In front of me?” Akaashi asked, aching.
“Hey,” Kuroo’s concerned voice cut in, reminding Akaashi there were other people in the room. “It was just a dare. I’m sure it didn’t mean anything—“
His brain couldn’t keep up with his heart, and his hurt heart was running his mouth. Akaashi laughed, the sound incredibly bitter, “She’s not the type. She never kisses and doesn’t mean it—“
“Akaashi.” You raised his voice. The anger in it had everybody tensing. It was an emotion that was rarely seen on you.
It was serious enough that Kenma spoke up next. His words were careful, intended to de escalate, “I think the two of you should talk this out…by yourselves.” Kenma frowned, “There’s something here… beyond one stupid kiss. We’re sorry for the dare, we’ve all had something to drink.”
Bokuto reached out and held Akaashi’s hand. Akaashi let him. “Akaashi,” Bokuto squeezed his hand and sincerely said, “It didn’t mean anything.”
Kuroo tugged at Bokuto, “Let’s leave them be.” He pulled Bokuto up by the hand, and then gave Akaashi a pleading look, before taking both Kenma and Bokuto to a room.
And then, there were two.
Akaashi was ready for a fight.
And for a moment, he thought that he was going to get one too. But you sighed, all the fight leaving. “I don’t want to do this right now,” You said, standing up and running a hand through your hair. “Look, you’ve had a bunch to drink and I have too. We can talk about it in the morning.”
“No,” Akaashi stood his ground, “I think we should talk about this right now. I don’t know how you expect me to sleep after you literally made out with Bokuto in front of me.”
You chewed on his lip, “It didn’t mean anything to me. It was a dare.”
Akaashi scoffed, “That’s not an excuse. You could have kissed me.”
“Keiji,” You were in disbelief, “Why would I kiss you?”
Akaashi was even more bewildered, “Because?” He couldn’t believe he had to explain it to You, “Did the past two months mean nothing to you? Am I just some dick when you’re looking for a good fuck?”
“How could you ask that?” You said, pain colouring your anger. You hugged yourself, “How could you ask me that? The fucking audacity you have—“ you cut yourself off, jaw clenching as you chose the next words carefully, “I didn’t kiss you, because you’re the one hell bent on keeping this thing—whatever the fuck this is—a fucking secret. You’re the one who said we should stop this, or did you conveniently forget?”
It’s true. By god, it’s true, but no matter how he turned the words over to fit the wound, it still left him wanting more. “I don’t think that’s completely true,” Akaashi concluded. “If that was the case, then you would have given him a quick kiss on the cheek maybe. I wouldn’t be angry or hurt, if you gave him a quick kiss on the lips. But you made a show about it. You did that with intent, knowing I was watching. Why?”
You didn’t answer.
Akaashi licked his lips, choosing instead to look at the mess they left on the floor. “I know what I’ve said. I just thought we were on the same page. That there was something between us—“
“You’re being unfair,” You said. “You’re speaking like I’ve ruined it all, when at the end of the day, we’re nothing. And do you know why we’re nothing, Akaashi? It’s because every day I have to beg you for your affection. Stop acting like you’re the victim, when we both know I’m the one who wants you more.”
Akaashi immediately denied it, “That’s not—“
“Is it not?” You questioned. “Before we left to come here, you treated this like we’re just friends with benefits, and said we should stop. When we got here, you’ve been extremely sensitive about how I interacted with you. It’s confusing. I think you want me, but I can’t tell if it’s just my body you want or my heart. You let me come on to you sometimes, and other times you push me away. I know I can be so clingy sometimes, but if you properly reject me, I’ll stop. You know that, right?” You smiled at him sadly, “You can say no. It’ll hurt my feelings, but it’s better than feeling like I’m forcing myself on you, which makes my skin crawl—“
“You’re not forcing yourself on me,” Akaashi couldn’t help but cut in. The implication is horrifying. “I wanted it.”
“And is that all you want?” You asked, sounding incredibly tired.
Akaashi stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked away, “It’s not that simple. Look, we’ve got history, right? Eight long years. Why can’t we just enjoy what we had? Why do we need to complicate things?”
You looked like you wanted to tear your hair out, “But I don’t even know what it is we have. Listen, I was fine taking it at your pace, but I don’t appreciate being jerked around. And…I have things I want too.” You sighed, and in a softer, more hesitant voice, he said, “I want to be your girlfriend, but I don’t think you want me to be.”
Something in Akaashi shook. Like a fist, desperately grasping for something solid. All his heart managed to hold onto was the calcified fear in his bones. “It’s not that I don’t want to date you. I just, it’s eight years, you know? You’re too important, and I’m afraid we’d ruin us. When it’s just us, everything feels right, but when other people get involved, everything feels wrong. Like that’s what I’ve been so worried about on this stupid trip. You probably didn’t notice, but our friends have been trying to set us up—“
“I noticed,” You said, to Akaashi’s surprise. “It’s honestly why I haven’t cared that much with them finding out about us. They want us together. I want us together. Everyone except you, it seems like.”
“Why?” You demanded. Your bottom lip trembled. You looked like you were about to cry, “Are you embarrassed by me? Is that why it feels wrong when other people can see?”
“No!” Akaashi hurriedly assured, “No, no, it’s not you. It’s just suffocating, Y/N. All these expectations people have regarding our relationship. They say we should be dating already so easily, and I hate it, because it makes me feel like I’m not in control of my own life. Like I should just date you, because it’s inevitable. It’s expected.”
You turned away, looking briefly up—blinking fast, inhaling deep, steeling yourself —before looking back at Akaashi, “Then fuck them all. Forget about them. Hell, forget about me for a second. What do you want?”
Akaashi wanted entirely too much. Akaashi wanted nothing at all. He wanted this to be easy. He wanted nothing to change. He wanted to want you without feeling like he’s giving in to everybody else. Most of all, he didn’t want to hurt anyone, himself, but most importantly you.
But some things were inevitable, like going through life and getting hurt. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is choose the option that hurt the least. “I think we should just be friends,” he finally said.
Your face twisted, like you had been punched in the gut. You exhaled, shaking your head, “I hope that’s really what you want. But okay—okay.”
“I’ll stop,” You said, though Akaashi heard it for what it is, I’m done with you. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry I kissed Bokuto. I only did it, because you ignored me all day. And I wanted you to feel just once what you do to me. It felt good in the moment, but I regret that it hurt you. Okay,” you nodded to yourself, sniffling, “That’s all.”
Akaashi watched you walk away and enter your room. The door softly shut, but Akaashi wished it had slammed shut instead.
Anger was easier to bear. This just sounded like defeat. The sound made him wince, his shoulders rising to his ears, his hands rising to cover his face—like the impact of what he’d done hit him all at once and the entirety of him folded over. He ended up crouched on the ground, his head in between his knees, his heart aching against his ribs.
He’s surrounded by empty bottles, and right by his feet, sat an overturned bottle in a pool of spilled alcohol.
He fit perfectly here, sitting in his own regret.
Akaashi somehow dragged himself to his room. Got ready for bed. Tucked himself right in bed and laid there, like nothing was wrong.
He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t tired. If he stayed perfectly still, he’d continue to feel nothing. But he’d blink and his chest would ache. He would breathe and his chest would ache. Even the act of soothing it, hand rubbing his chest, worsened the pain.
It wasn’t until the sun came up that he realised that the night had passed. The shadows haunting his room evaporated in the light. It was just him and his own shadow now, lying side by side.
He was always someone that calculated each step. A planner, if you will. He was typically careful and caring, so that he’d land into a future he wouldn’t regret. But he couldn’t even think about the future right now. His brain couldn’t process anything beyond last night.
He lost you. He knew you would be kind, that you’ll say, it’s okay, we can still be friends. But Akaashi knew nothing would be the same. If he was going to tear everything up like this, he should have been responsible from the start. Shouldn’t have started anything he couldn’t finish.
He buried his face against his pillow and exhaled. He was a coward, a fool, and every stupid thing you’d call someone who had everything in the palm of his hand and lost it.
He laid there for god knows how long, lamenting, ruminating, and he thought he would have stayed there all day too, if not for the knock on his door.
He sat up in bed and was about to get out, when the door cracked open. His heart fell when he saw who it was. Bokuto.
His face must have crumpled, for the hopeful look on Bokuto’s face fell into hesitance. “Akaashi,” Bokuto tried, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Akaashi automatically said, though he was certain, he looked the opposite of fine. Bokuto’s brows furrowed, but he said nothing as he lingered at the door. Akaashi sighed, knowing he was thinking of last night too. He found that he didn’t need to lie, “I’m not mad at you.”
“You aren’t?” Bokuto said surprised. “I would be angry. I don’t like her like that, but I shouldn’t have kissed her back.”
“She shouldn’t have kissed you,” Akaashi corrected, but the fight in him was gone. He didn’t even care about the stupid kiss anymore. “It’s complicated. I don’t want to think about it anymore. I wasn’t even thinking straight last night.”
Bokuto stepped into the room, closing the door behind him. “What happened?”
“I told her I think we should just stay as friends,” Akaashi said, almost regretting it as he did. Now that the words were out, told to somebody outside of you and him, it felt final. Irrevocable.
Bokuto frowned, “Why?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Akaashi shrugged, letting his body fall back to bed. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’ve said what I said. What’s done is done. It’s for the best.”
Bokuto tilted his head and gave him a look full of pity, “Then why do you look so sad?”
“Because,” Akaashi said.
Bokuto looked at him, waiting for a follow-up that will never come. Akaashi closed his eyes and turned to his side, away from Bokuto’s eyes. “I think you should leave. Go have fun and enjoy the beach. I’ll be fine.”
Akaashi would be fine. He deserved to be alone. Just because he ruined the beach for himself, it didn’t mean it had to be ruined for his friends. He willed Bokuto to go away and waited for his footsteps to retreat and for the door to shut close behind him.
But it never came. Instead, Bokuto’s footsteps came close until he felt a weight on the bed and an arm wrapped around his waist. “No,” Bokuto said, rubbing a comforting hand on his stomach. Akaashi’s eyes watered at the gesture, “I don’t think any of us can enjoy the beach knowing you’re stuck here in bed, secretly crying your eyes out.”
“You’re too nice,” Akaashi said, voice cracking from the tenderness he was receiving.
“I’ll stay with you until you’re ready to go out,” Bokuto promised.
“You don’t have to,” Akaashi said, but it was futile. Bokuto would keep his promise, Akaashi knew. He would never leave a friend in need.
Besides, Akaashi thought as he closed his eyes, he didn’t want to be alone.
At some point, they both ended up on their backs, staring at the ceiling fan spinning above them.
“You don’t have to answer this,” Bokuto said, his hands resting on his chest, “but I don’t really get why you aren’t dating. From what I know, you guys both like each other. After last night, I think you guys both know that the feeling is mutual. You even act like a couple already. Why can’t you guys just make it official?”
“It’s not that simple,” Akaashi found himself answering anyway. “Dating…stresses me out.”
Bokuto makes a dubious noise, “Huh? But you’ve dated other people before. And you seemed fine.”
“Yeah,” Akaashi said, “Because those were pretty casual relationships. Y/N’s different. We have history. There’s expectations there. There’s a lot at stake if we dated. And I just don’t know if I could deal with potentially losing her.” He gave a bitter laugh, “Though I guess this way, I lose her anyway.”
Bokuto immediately disagreed, “You’re not going to lose her.”
“I will,” Akaashi said. “I already have. She’s going to move on and get over me—”
“Akaashi,” Bokuto said stubbornly, “She might move on, but you know she’ll always be your friend.”
“But it’s not the same,” Akaashi said.
“Why not?” Bokuto pressed. “Because she won’t be in love with you anymore?” At Akaashi’s silence, Bokuto sighed, “Akaashi, do you hear yourself?”
“I know,” Akaashi covered his eyes with his arm, “I know how stupid it sounds. Shut me up already. I hate hearing myself talk.”
Bokuto shook his head, “No, this is good. I think you should talk more. I think we should talk about what you mean by history and expectations. Like, what the hell are expectations anyway?”
“It’s like,” Akaashi struggled to expound, his hand gesturing vaguely in the air, “How you guys have been pushing us to date for the longest time. How my mom thinks I’m going to end up marrying Y/N. Like everyone is just waiting for it, and I’m supposed to just play a part. I feel pressured.”
Bokuto frowned, “So you won’t date her, because you’re rebelling against societal expectations?”
“Well, when you put it like that…”
“I think,” Bokuto started, “You’re thinking about it the wrong way. I guess, if you feel pressured, you should just go at your own pace. We want you to be happy, and if you want us to back off, we’ll back off—“
“I guess now there’s nothing to push for—“
Bokuto ignored him, “But, listen. You’re clearly cut up about this. Maybe I’m the wrong person to say this, because of all the matchmaking things we’ve been doing, but at the end of the day, mine and Kenma’s and Kuroo’s and everybody else’s opinion is irrelevant. You should follow your heart and date him. If you don’t want anyone to know the details of your relationship, that’s fine too. It’s called being private.”
“I don’t think she wants that. She didn’t like it when I pushed her away,” Akaashi mumbled, “Or that I didn’t want you guys to know what we were doing.”
“That’s different, though,” Bokuto said gently. “That’s not being private. That’s called keeping her a secret.”
“Oh,” Akaashi said, the realisation dawning on him like a blow to the head.
“Yeah,” Bokuto said. “And history… you’ll always have history. Why not continue writing it into the story you want it to be? Instead of preserving it for what it is?”
And for that, Akaashi didn’t have an answer. He didn’t know.
“I think,” He eventually said, “That I need some time to think about it.”
Bokuto beamed at him, “Okay, I’m glad you—“
Akaashi’s stomach growled loudly, the sound felt like it was magnified by his relatively empty room. He smiled sheepishly, “Maybe…I should eat first, though.”
He felt less empty after eating. And with Bokuto’s encouragement, there was enough bravado in him to even join the others on the beach.
Bokuto tried to pull him into the water, where the rest were, but Akaashi needed a little bit more time. He sat in the sand and let the sun do its job.
He tilted his face up and closed his eyes. The warmth of it cleared his brain, made it easier to think about what he should do about you.
Bokuto had said something that gave him hope. When Akaashi had thanked him over lunch for keeping him company, Bokuto had shook his head and said, no need to thank me. Then he leaned in and whispered a secret, actually, it was Y/N who told me to check on you.
Hope bloomed in him like a weed. A part of him was still afraid, and that part wanted to desperately ignore Bokuto’s words and stay on his current course. But a part of him, the one that didn’t listen to any thought but his heart, said, what if you were brave for once and asked for what you want?
When he opened his eyes, he saw someone come out of the water. It was Kenma.
“Hi,” Akaashi greeted, watching warily as Kenma sat next to him. He wondered if you spoke to him. He wondered if Kenma was disappointed in him.
But Kenma’s eyes only held concern, “You okay?”
Akaashi shrugged, turning back to the view of the ocean. “I’ve had better days.”
“Sounds like the understatement of the century,” Kenma joked. Akaashi’s mouth quirked up, “Yeah, you could say that.”
“You wanna talk about it?” Kenma asked.
Akaashi hummed, non-committal, “I bet Bokuto told you everything already.”
“Not Bokuto,” Kenma’s nose scrunched, and the confirmation made Akaashi groan. “She was really nice about it, don’t worry. Even told us to lay off on the jokes.”
The information made Akaashi feel like shit. He was the one who essentially broke your heart, and yet, here you were telling people to check up on him and treat him nicely. “Man,” Akaashi whistled, “I really don’t deserve her, huh?”
“Well,” Kenma said, dragging the word out, before smiling at Akaashi, “You’ve had better moments, let’s just leave it at that.” At Akaashi’s frown, Kenma smacked his back goodnaturedly, “Come on, enough with the self-loathing. I still have hope for you guys.”
Akaashi’s brows furrowed, “You do? After what you heard last night?”
Kenma nodded, “Yeah. Eight years, right? You forget, I watched you both grow up together. If there was anybody from our town who would make it, it would have to be you guys.”
It’s an expectation. But now, hearing it said like this, it brought zero pressure. Only comfort.
“Yeah?” Akaashi said, hope in the lilt of his voice.
“Do you know when you fell in love with Y/N?” Kenma asked all of a sudden.
The question had him spluttering. “W-what? Love? What the fuck—“
Kenma laughed, bright and loud. He covered his mouth with his hand, but his eyes were crinkled at the corners with glee, “What is that reaction? You don’t love her?”
He looked away, “I don’t know.”
Kenma patted him on the arm, “Don’t worry. Even if you’re the last person in the world to realize it, you’ll eventually figure it out.”
“Hey!” Akaashi said, insulted.
“I’m serious about the love thing. You’ve always looked at her differently. The only thing I’m curious about is how you took that first step.”
“What first step?”
“Hooking up,” Kenma clarified, “Ever since last night, that’s what I’ve been stuck on. What changed that led you to make a move?”
“Asking for advice?” Akaashi teased, which had Kenma groaning. “Okay, I won’t make fun of you. To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking. I was drunk. Which is more of a cautionary tale, actually. Do everything sober. That’s my love advice.”
Kenma glowered at him, “That’s your best love advice? You weren’t thinking? Don’t get drunk? Remind me to never ask you for relationship advice if I ever need it.”
“You never ask anyway,” Akaashi said, and he realised that there was something to consider in that. How Kenma sees him, what Kenma feels. It’s always been the hardest to take care of Kenma. He had always seemed older than he actually was and it always felt like he knew more than what Akaashi had to offer anyway. It was a little sad, now that he was thinking about it.
“I don’t know if I’ll be helpful,” Akaashi eventually said, over the crash of water on the shore. Distantly, he heard you yelling at Bokuto to put you down. “I mean, look at me. I’m a mess. You’re the one who’s always certain. For example, my thing with Y/N feels quite certain to you, but it feels absolutely fragile to me. It scares the shit out of me.”
“But I will say,” Akaashi added, not knowing if he was saying it for Kenma or his own benefit, “Some things are worth the risk.”
Some things were worth throwing caution in the wind for.
“Yeah?” Kenma said.
Kenma laughed, finally standing up. He wiped sand off his beach trunks and offered him a hand, “Be confident. Take the risk. Come on, I’ll even help you out, since you tried to give me advice for the future. You’ve pined enough from afar.”
“I was not pining!” Akaashi retorted hotly, but took his hand.
Kenma gave him a look.
“Well,” Akaashi started, dusting the sand off himself, “Bokuto and I talked. I don’t know. Maybe I do want to…” He swallows, “date her.”
Kenma stared at him, not saying a single word. It had him looking down, childishly kicking sand as he stuffed his hands in his pocket, “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
Kenma laughed out loud and punched him on the arm.
“Ow,” He winced, looking at Kenma with a glare. It hurt more than he wanted to admit. Kenma shook his head, “I thought you’d follow it up with some action plan, Akaashi. Me dragging you to the water will only get you so far.”
Akaashi sniffed, “I haven’t thought that far. Besides, I don’t know if she even wants to talk to me.”
“Maybe ask her then,” Kenma said, pointing towards the ocean. “She’s right there.” And you were there, though when Akaashi looked, your head was mid-turn. Looking away and going, like the seagulls on the horizon.
Migratory birds, a comparison that’s more of a wish than anything else. A hope that they’ll always come back.
His chest tightened the moment the water brushed against his feet and you still refused to look in his direction.
And Akaashi thought, it’s wild. The way moments in life ebb back and forth, the way waves keep meeting the shore.
The first time he met you, you didn’t even know how to swim. So many summers they spent before and somehow they’d evaded being in the same body of water for so long.
The moment he found out though, he’d dragged you to the pool. He couldn’t let his best friend live further without learning how.
You were terrified but stubbornly hiding it. Akaashi could see through it though, could tell by the fear calcifying in the clench of your jaw, by the tremors running in the shake of your fist.
But before Akaashi could even run his hands over your shoulders in comfort, you had swallowed your nerves, nodded at him, and said, I’m ready. You’ve always been the braver one..
Eventually, after months of diving headfirst, you didn’t need to be brave anymore. You were bursting from the water’s surface, swimming like you were born for it. Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke—devolving to a freestyle of shoving Akaashi into the water and laughing.
It was the summer you learned how to swim and the summer Akaashi learned to stand still, waist deep in the water, and wait for you to swim to him.
Maybe this summer, Akaashi finally learns to stop waiting and finally swim to you.
He has never understood what people meant when they said he had it so easy when it came to you. Watching you obviously avoid meeting his gaze or sitting next to him or even straight up being quiet rather than participate in a conversation he was in—he understood now.
And so, he decided to ask help from the people who’s been (lovingly) torturing him this beach trip. His friends.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, his past self would have strangled him for it. He would be agape with disbelief, but it was okay. His past self was stupid. But he won’t linger on it, he doesn’t have the time.
(Besides, growth mentality is all the rage now.)
With that, he boldly entered Kuroo’s room, where Kenma was currently chilling at the foot of his bed. “Guys,” Akaashi said, walking forward. “I’m only going to say this once. But, I need your help.”
Kuroo grinned. He looked like the shark from Finding Nemo. Terrifying. “On what?”
“I’m going to ask Y/N out.”
“Hallelujah,” Kuroo said, putting his hands together in prayer. “Finally. Our misery is ending. I will finally know peace.”
Akaashi let him have his celebration. Kenma smiled, “Alright, tell us what you need.”
It was a very simple plan.
No, Akaashi was not kidding. All the plan entailed was to have Kuroo, Kenma, and Bokuto quietly leave the beach house, so that he could get you alone.
It was very successful. Maybe too successful because one moment, Akaashi was steeling himself, and the next, everyone was gone. It was the moment of truth.
He knocked on your door and felt his heart leap out of his chest when he heard you say, “Come in!”
Akaashi took a deep breath and then opened the door. You weren't even looking at him, too busy scrolling through your phone.
“Hey,” Akaashi greeted and tried not to feel hurt, when you jumped at the sound of his voice.
“Keiji…” You said and looked at him with an expression that was wary and hesitant and so, so tired. Rarely has such a look been directed at him. Every part of him wanted that expression gone.
Akaashi swallowed, “Can we talk? Please?”
“About what?” You said, crossing your arms. “We’ve already said what needed to be said.”
He winced at the words, and something in you must have faltered over it for your next words were much softer, “Listen, I’m not mad at you, okay? I just need some space and time to get over it.”
What Akaashi means to say is, you don’t have to get over this. But what came stumbling out was, “Please. I don’t want to lose you.”
He hated how it sounded. Like a child. He’s the one who’s supposed to take control. The one who’s supposed to be leading the conversation.
You smiled, but it didn’t look right. Not like how you usually smiled at Akaashi, all bright and beaming sincerity. “You won’t,” you softly said. “We’ll be fine. Been eight years already. We’ll get through this, just like we got through graduating and going to different colleges hundreds of miles away. Just like how we’ll get through graduating this next year and moving on again.”
You said those words so easily it almost convinced Akaashi that things would fall into place. He could almost forget those months he was at college alone, the quiet moments in the middle of the night where he anxiously wondered if there would be distance between you two, if you had grown apart into different people because you were in two different places. You kind of were, until the gap was closed because you decided to follow him. That it was always you bridging the gap. Always you going to him.
You stood up, pocketing your phone, and walked over to him. No, not to him. To the door. Akaashi tried to block you, “Wait—“
But you side-stepped him and all he was left with was panic. Every word unsaid, every feeling rushed through him. It has him reaching for you, his arms wrapping around your waist, hugging you from behind. “Please wait,” He begged, burying his face against your shoulder.
He felt you stiffen in his hold, “Keiji, what—“
“I’m sorry,” Akaashi blurted out, hating the way it sounded clumsy and desperate, so unlike a true apology. He had planned to start with something a little more composed than this. A little more eloquent than the way his fingers tightened around the material of your shirt. “Y/N, I’m so sorry.”
“Why are you sorry?” You asked. “So what if you didn’t want to date me—“
“I’m a coward. I don’t know how you were so patient with my stupid ass. You could do better,” Akaashi rambled, his heart running a thousand miles per second. His mouth was running on nothing but the truth. “I’m so sorry you have to deal with me, that you always have to be the braver one. I always act like I know what’s better for us, but you’re the one who’s always stayed true to your heart. Always pushing us forward.”
He takes a shaky breath, steadying himself. “I’m sorry for so many things. Like the fact that this is probably the least romantic confession on earth, because I’ve always been better with actions over words. And because I start everything with sorry, instead of my best foot forward, which is what you deserve. I overthink things and get stuck in my own head for far too long. I miss the right timing because I’m so afraid of messing up. But I’m here now. If it’s not too late, I’m here asking for a second chance.”
In front of him, you touched the hands on your waist, slowly pushing them off. Akaashi’s heart sank, but he knew this would be a possibility. Slowly, he peeled himself off and tried hard not to get teary-eyed at the rejection.
You turned to face him, face blank. “A second chance?” you asked.
Akaashi nodded. Figuring that he had nothing else to lose, he said, “Yeah. If you still wanted,” His mouth trembled, “I was hoping you could be my girlfriend.”
Still, you showed no reaction. “Your girlfriend?”
“I’ll even take a single date, at this point,” Akaashi confessed.
“Why?” You asked.
“What do you mean, why?” Akaashi felt like he was being jerked around. (He can’t even complain, because that’s what he did to you.)
But you didn’t let up, “Because you don’t want to lose me?”
“No,” Akaashi shook his head, “I mean, of course, I don’t want to lose you. But it’s not just because of that. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have started with that. I should have started with the fact that I’m absolutely head over heels for you. But I got nervous, and I can’t think when you look at me—“
He was startled when he felt hands cup his cheek. He found himself staring into your eyes, your entire face so close; Akaashi could hardly breathe. “Stop thinking then,” you ordered, “Now, tell me why I should date you.”
Akaashi couldn’t believe his ears, “Are you giving me another chance?”
“Convince me first,” you said, but there was the beginning of a smile in the quirk of your mouth.
“I’d treat you right,” Akaashi promised. “I’d take you everywhere, on all the dates. I’d buy you anything you want, as long as I have the funds. I’ll tell everyone you’re my girlfriend. Kiss you where everybody could see. Hold your hand even though your hands get sweaty after a while—“
“They do not!” You couldn’t help interject, but Akaashi shook his head, letting himself smile as hope grew in him, “They totally do, but it’s okay, I’ll keep holding them. I’ll be the best boyfriend you’ll ever have, that’s a threat and a promise, by the way—“
You raised a brow, “How is that a threat?”
“Because I intend to ruin all men for you,” Akaashi said lowly and watched with pleasure as a beautiful red flush stained your cheeks. “In all areas, but especially in—“
You covered his mouth, “Okay. I’ve heard enough.”
Akaashi perked up, which had you narrowing your eyes, “I’m still mad at you.”
Akaashi kissed the hand covering his mouth, before taking it off, “Okay. I’m your boyfriend?”
“Yes,” You bit your lip, giving him a serious stare. “Don’t make me regret it.”
“I won’t,” Akaashi said, leaning down and closing his eyes, “I promise.”
In the end, you both walk out of the house through the back porch and onto the beach where your friends are hiding.
Akaashi’s holding your hand tight, with no intention of letting go.
You’re both greeted by their cheers.
“Is it official?” Kuroo yelled out.
You covered your face with one hand, “God, he’s insufferable—“
“It’s official!” Akaashi laughed, raising your intertwined hands in the air. You turned to him, a reprimand at the tip of your tongue but Akaashi kissed you before you could say anything. When he pulled away, you kissed his nose, giggling, “I’ll never forget this summer.”
Akaashi smiled softly, “Me too.”
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