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'round the Days

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Bokuto was skipping through the train. He was a man on a mission as he inspected every nook and corner. The dining area, the bar, the bathroom. This new experience let stars reign behind his lids and blood rush through his veins excitedly. He felt like overheating whilst his fingertips were cold as ice. His inspection lead him back to Akaashi's and his cabin.

They had been lucky to get one for only two people, Akaashi had explained him, driving by night train in economy class normally didn't mean being alone. Bokuto had hoped though, every second he had wished for this trip, he'd hoped that they would end up in the very unlikely possibility of them sharing a cabin alone.

He sat down on the bed right in front of Akaashi, who was reading a book with the faintest of smiles visible on his face. Bokuto watched him for a while, how his steel eyes scanned through the words, how he wetted the tip of his pointer finger as he flipped to the next page. He was breathing slowly and calmly, before he laid the book down beside him, still open and facing down as to not lose his page.

"Yes?" His eyes were directed at Bokuto as he waited for the response. He blinked nearly fairy tale like, eyelids closing in slow motion, his eyelashes nearly fluttering like wings. He looked like a fairy.

Bokuto wondered for a second. He considered telling Akaashi but then he shook his head and grinned sheepishly. "This train is great." He said whilst fidgeting on his seat, he couldn't keep still. "We really need to visit the food car. They have all kinds of interesting outlandish food."

"Really?" Akaashi asked, once again gripping for his book. "Tell me when you want to leave."

"Okay."

Then there was silence, for approximately five minutes before Bokuto began rummaging through the cabin. He raised the slim mattress to look underneath, when he wasn't happy with the nothingness that greeted him there, he fell to his knees and looked underneath the bed thing. Again nothing. He heaved himself up to his feet and looked around, his eyes falling onto the lights with the beautiful flowery ornament on the shade. He sighed as he flopped down on his bed again. The cabin was small, what did he hope to find anyways? His ears perked when he heard how Akaashi sighed and laid his book aside once more.

"Let's go." He then offered, his eyes soft.

There was no visible smile, but Bokuto knew that he was smiling under that soft gaze. Akaashi never showed very visible expressions, however, Bokuto had learned to determine the very subtle changes on his face. His eyes would soften or harden. His lips ever so lightly turn up or down. His shoulder relax or tense.

"Yeah!" Bokuto fist bumped into the air as he skipped out of their cabin, he was looking into the direction they would go as he waited for the sound of the door locking. There it was. Then he began walking all whilst chatting to Akaashi in a very animate way. Telling him of the weird old guy he had seen and the pretty lady that had talked to him for a while. Akaashi listened as always.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was dark when they finally returned to their cabin, they had eaten delicious pasta and later indulged themselves at the bar. Had ordered non-alcoholic cocktails. It was amazing to say the least. Bokuto was still beaming as he followed Akaashi back into their cabin. It was rare that they pampered themselves like this. So Bokuto always appreciated every second they could pass this way. These very rare moments were filled with stolen glances and hands hidden underneath tables whilst their fingers entwined. It was still very new, scary even, to be out and open about their relationship. But they were getting there. Bit by bit. Every new day they shared their happiness with the world.

"Do you want me to read out?" Akaashi took the book he had placed open and facefirst onto the bed and sat down.

Bokuto didn't answer with words, he nodded frantically as he sat down across from Akaashi, his eyes glued to his face. There was a calm phase of breathing before Akaashi actually began reading. He would close his eyes, breathe in deep and then out, finally open his eyes. His plush lips would move with every word that came out of his mouth, and his voice would pull Bokuto even more into the story’s magic.

So Bokuto closed his eyes as he laid down on the small bed and prepared to listen to Akaashi's calming voice. He would tell of stories from far off lands, where dragons fought for their right to live and princesses claimed the lives of evil souls. Bokuto could lose himself in his voice, tonight though, there was something off with him. Bokuto couldn't hear his favourite voice. He opened his eyes slightly and looked at Akaashi from under his lid. Bokuto's heart dropped Akaashi's face was contorted.

Bokuto's breath stuck in his throat as he bolted up. It didn’t take long for him to not be able to take Akaashi’s weird, expressionless doll face. He looked out of the window. Funny how he hadn't watched out of it until now. His surroundings were dark blue and green that bled into black. It was dripping. A watercolour painting disappearing into the canvas with each new drop of tear. Spreading until it turned so very light in colour that it threatened to disappear.

Bokuto swallowed, clawed the mattress beneath him.

The window too began dripping, the colour draining as it slid down the frame, onto the floor, mixed with the rest of the paint that was slowly falling from the ceiling, slipping along the walls. With huge eyes he turned to Akaashi who seemed to be unphased by all of this. His lips were moving but his usual tales of dragons and fairies were not there. There was no sounds coming from his mouth. Bokuto's heart picked up a pace as he scrambled back on the bed, until his back hit the wall and he sucked in a breath.

It was so cold all of a sudden. He gripped his arms around himself and began rocking back and forth. This couldn't be real. A shiver ran down his spine as whispers filled his ears and mind, whispers he knew too well, from the mornings in bed and evenings on the couch. Leaned close to him. Warm breaths ghosting over his cheek and honey filling his ears.

"Breathe." He whispered so sweetly.

"Breathe." It caressed his mind.

"Breathe." What a beautiful voice.

"Breathe!" It shrieked piercing its way to his very core.

Bokuto's eyes flew open, he saw Akaashi placing a bookmark into his book and wishing him goodnight before turning and lying down. Bokuto though breathed shallowly, before he could rip himself away from the bed, push the door open just to begin falling. He would've cried out if not for the sudden surge of calm and quiet that spread starting in his chest through his every limb. Bokuto sagged. He was no more.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Bokuto was skipping through the train. He was a man on a mission as he inspected every nook and corner. The dining area, the bar, the bathroom. This new experience let stars reign behind his lids and blood rush through his veins excitedly. He felt like overheating whilst his fingertips were cold as ice. His inspection lead him back to Akaashi's and his cabin.

They had been lucky to get one for only two people, Akaashi had explained him, driving by night train in economy class normally didn't mean being alone. Bokuto had hoped though, every second he had wished for this trip, he'd hoped that they would end up in the very unlikely possibility of them sharing a cabin alone.

He sat down on the bed right in front of Akaashi, who was reading a book with the faintest of smiles visible on his face. Bokuto watched him for a while, how his steel eyes scanned through the words, how he wetted the tip of his pointer finger as he flipped to the next page. He was breathing slowly and calmly, before he laid the book down beside him, still open and facing down as to not lose his page.

"Yes?" His eyes were directed at Bokuto as he waited for the response. He blinked nearly fairy tale like, eyelids closing in slow motion, his eyelashes nearly fluttering like wings. He looked like a fairy.

Bokuto wondered for a second. He considered telling Akaashi, but then he shook his head and grinned sheepishly. "This train is great." He said whilst fidgeting on his seat, he couldn't keep still. "We really need to visit the food car. They have all kinds of interesting outlandish food."

"Really?" Akaashi asked, once again gripping for his book. "Tell me when you want to leave."

"Okay."

Bokuto faltered. He looked around confused. This felt like he had lived through the same day once already. He blinked and trained his gaze at Akaashi. He was reading, with every word the shining in his eyes brightening more. Bokuto shook his head. What was happening to his brain? He normally forgot a lot of things, starting with his keys and ending with his documents for work. But something like this happened for the first time. Was this what a deja-vu felt like? He stood up from his bed and looked around after putting his hands into his trousers' pockets and swayed back and forth on his feet. He heard Akaashi sigh and lay his book aside facefirst.

"Let's go." He offered with a soft gaze.

"'Kay" Bokuto answered, squinting his eyes as he gripped for the door to slide it open. He could’ve sworn that he'd gone through all this already. He stepped a few steps ahead as he waited for Akaashi to lock the door. The sound echoed in the corridor so loud it froze Bokuto's blood.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was dark when they returned to the cabin. And by now Bokuto was pretty sure that this whole scenario had already happened that he could remember something like this. Bokuto was so deep in thoughts that he nearly didn't catch what Akaashi was saying.

"Do you want me to read out?" Akaashi took the book he had placed open and facefirst onto the bed and sat down.

"Sure." Bokuto smiled as he sat down on his own bed.

He shook his head to get rid of all the weird thoughts of the day. Akaashi would read out to him and his mind would be able to calm down again. It always helped against his headaches or when work had been unbearable again, when he was just ready to burst out of his seams with anxiety filling his limbs.

Bokuto closed his eyes after lying down and waited for the words to flow, for Akaashi to begin to read. But there was nothing. Eery silence filled the room. Bokuto cracked an eye open and then both of his eyes widened. Akaashi's face. His face...it didn't look quite right. His hair stuck down to his scalp and fingers gripping so hard around the book that his knuckles turned pale.

Bokuto swallowed when a sudden sound came from outside, and he saw the colours bleeding into one another. They blend to one, blue and green turning to brown and black. Bokuto reeled back, his back slammed against the wall behind him, he could feel the paint stick to his clothes. He pushed his palms against his ears and closed his eyes as he tried to ignore what was going on. This isn't real, his mind told him over and over, this isn't real. Murmurs grew right behind his ears, peppered him with thousands of butterfly kisses, ended on his knuckles that were sealed over his ears.

"Don't stop." He breathed against his skin.

"Don't stop." It drowned his mind.

"Don't stop." What a mesmerizing voice.

"Don't stop!" The scream rattled Bokuto's bones.

Bokuto nearly screamed as he stood up abruptly. From the corner of his eyes he saw Akaashi place a bookmark in his book and wish him goodnight. Bokuto though ripped the door their cabin open and began falling. His mind screaming uncontrollably, as his body crumbled upon itself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

This time Bokuto was sure that he was living through the same day. He returned to their cabin without further investigation.

"Yes?" Akaashi’s eyes were directed at Bokuto as he waited for the response.

"Let's visit the food car."

"Really?" Akaashi asked, once again gripping for his book. "Tell me when you want to leave."

Bokuto didn't even answer as he waited.

"Let's go." Akaashi said placing the book facefirst onto his bed.

"Yep."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was dark when they returned to their cabin. Bokuto knew that Akaashi would offer him to read out.

"Do you want me to read out?"

Bokuto swallowed against the drumming of his heart as he nodded hesitantly. This was the part that had slipped away from him though. His subconsciousness was feeling that something was off but he himself didn't remember anymore what would happen next. The whole day had felt like living along a script, no matter what he said, Akaashi said the same thing as the day before. Nothing changed.

Bokuto whimpered when he saw the paint drip and the colours drain. He bit the inside of his cheek as he closed his eyes. Akaashi's voice didn't carry over to him, it was like he was reading out into a bubble that was only designed for his ears. Bokuto didn't even hear a single sound from him. Yet a gentle voice blew against his temple.

"Don't worry." He said calmly.

"Don't worry." It clawed his mind.

"Don't worry." What nice reassurance.

"Don't worry!" A feral cry coursed through his veins.

Bokuto shot up, just to registered Akaashi putting his bookmark into the book. Then Bokuto already began falling.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Bokuto returned to their cabin and watched Akaashi.

"Yes?"

Bokuto waited, he didn't respond.

"Really?" Akaashi asked, once again gripping for his book. "Tell me when you want to leave."

Bokuto swallowed against the bile surging up his throat. Was he even real? Did Akaashi even see him? There was a silence that felt like eternities. Bokuto cast his eyes to the ground as he waited.

"Let's go." Akaashi said.

He looked like he was watching someone open the door, but the door never opened, Akaashi somehow just went through it. Following this someone. Bokuto's eyes widened as he pushed the door open and watched Akaashi go. His mind a mess.

What the hell was happening? Was he caught in some kind of limbo? Why wasn't Akaashi reacting? The most important question though, how could he go through doors like some kind of illusion? Bokuto went backwards into their cabin and sat back down onto his bed. This wasn't happening, was it?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Do you want me to read out?"

Bokuto startled when he heard Akaashi's voice, he hadn't even noticed that the other had entered their cabin. Then again, nobody was opening doors.

As soon as Akaashi took the book into his hands the whole ordeal began. Colours bleaching, paint dripping. Bokuto though only waited, his breaths shallow as he gripped his hair. He couldn't hear Akaashi. Would this be his reality now? Never being able to hear Akaashi's ever so beautiful voice when reading out? A small voice hushed past his head.

"Please don’t leave." He gurgled in desperation.

"Please don’t leave." It dug its nails into his scalp.

"Please don’t leave." What interesting tunes.

"Please don’t leave!" A sob that punched his gut.

Tears were flowing past Bokuto's lashes as he watched Akaashi wide eyed, the bookmark placed neatly between the pages as he closed the book. Bokuto turned his eyes to the ground and tried to blink his tears away but they wouldn't leave. Trailing down his cheeks and falling onto the rough carpet. He couldn't move a muscle, yet the train took it upon itself to let him go. The ground under him broke into a million pieces as he began to fall. His body turning into one of a ragdoll as he waited and endured.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The same thing began anew, he ignored the whole day, until it came to the point where Akaashi returned to read him a story. The atmosphere changed, cold creeping through every corner of the room as colour drained and life seemed to escape. There was a silent voice begging for attention.

"No, no, no, Koutarou, no." He begged with pain.

"No, no, no, Koutarou, no." It pierced needles into his mind.

"No, no, no, Koutarou, no." What desperate words.

"No, no, no, Koutarou, no!" A weeping right above him.

Bokuto pinched his eyes closed as he saw Akaashi place the bookmark into the book and close it. He waited for the fall. That too didn't let him wait for long. His body went limp.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

And again.

Night came, Akaashi returned. The book was read out loud with no tone leaving Akaashi's mouth. The room was so small and it gradually seemed to close down onto Bokuto. Faint words were breathed out in the silence.

"Look at me." He pleaded breathless.

"Look at me." It shredded his thoughts.

"Look at me." What a pained voice.

"Look at me!" A man at the end of his wits.

The bookmark disappeared in the pages just as Bokuto's consciousness as it wanted to black out of this world.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Once more.

Darkness tinted everything, the light in the cabin dim. Akaashi began to read without a voice. Yet there was someone drilling words into Bokuto's mind.

"Come on." He said with a broken voice.

"Come on." It pinched his heart.

"Come on." What a tragedy.

"Come on!" Bokuto felt air leaving his body.

The pages covered the last bit of the bookmark. Bokuto slipped away.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Enough!

Bokuto was watching the door Akaashi would walk through any given second. It was dark, the blue of the night mixed with the dark green of the surrounding treetops. Bokuto fixed his gaze onto the door. There he was. A small smile embed on his face as he sat down.

"Do you want me to read out?"

Bokuto nodded and waited. There it was again, Akaashi's lips were moving, his eyes following each line of the book but there was no sound. As if something had muted him via remote. Bokuto only glanced once at his surroundings, the paint dripping like water and the colours outside, draining, disappearing. And there was the voice again. Right at his side. Without a body.

"Please, Koutarou." He whispered miserable.

"Please, Koutarou." It left him breathless.

"Please, Koutarou." What a pathetic man.

"Please, Koutarou!" A shout burning itself into his ears.

Bokuto shot up from his sitting position, ignoring the way the shout still echoed within himself and gripped for the bookmark Akaashi was about to place into the book.

"Read more," Bokuto pleaded desperately, tears brimming his eyes. His voice broke.

Akaashi first blinked in confusion then his gaze softened until it was the only thing that kept Bokuto alive. "Thank you." Akaashi whispered so faintly Bokuto barely caught it.

Then the floor under him broke away. No! Bokuto thought for a second, he scrambled, reached out. His body for once not limp but frantic as he tried to claw his way back to Akaashi. But there was no use. He was caught in this neverending limbo.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"N-nurse! He moved!"

So many noises. Bokuto's head ached, he might've wished to slip into oblivion again but then his eyelids fluttered open and he met wonderful steel eyes. So big and beautiful, a face framed in black hair, and skin so smooth like porcelain. Bokuto heaved his still weak arm up and placed it on his cheek.

"Please..." He rasped out, tears prickling behind his lids. "Please, never stop reading."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Afterword

We never see our story displayed like a book, often enough we don’t even see that there is a story. That someone's there watching and reading through every page that we present of ourselves, making us to something real that has a meaning in this world. We don’t always see the pain that will follow after our death, don’t always see who will miss us and who not. What is truly real though is that life is a giant book with many little tales filling the millions of years the earth has been around. The only thing we have to do is wait and listen as life itself reads it out to us. Shows us what we did change in the lives of few or many.

Never stop reading.