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For the Aesthetic

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"Sei, we didn’t have to take my car, you know," Furihata mumbles, picking at the drawstrings of his jacket bashfully. It’s been three hours since he woke up and he still looks like he rolled out of bed, hair jagged in crazy directions, slight bags under his droopy eyes and little remnants of sleep encrusted on his eyelashes.

He rubs at them with a growl, recalling how awkward the departure had been.

"I don’t mind," Akashi replies, and although he’s great—fantastic—at keeping his composure, the snarl that the truck gives him when they hit a dip in the road makes him slightly wary.

School shopping.

It was Akashi’s idea to go visit the couple of Universities up north that he and Furihata had both been ogling for a while. After coming to the decision—with a lot of convincing on Furihata’s part—they would choose schools separately, but possibly near each other. Furihata already knew there was no way he could compete with any of the options Akashi had gunning for him, all elitist schools that reeked of wealth and success.

Akashi didn’t worry too much about the titles, it sort of came with his allowance, which was as fat as a middle class paycheck.

Furihata had suggested that they drive together, since he’d read somewhere that road trips were a great bonding adventure, and he was desperate to pull more reactions out of Akashi. When he agreed to the idea almost too easily, Furihata knew he would have to explicitly lay out the guidelines. No extra expenditures.

Akashi was quick to pull out his sleek black card and solve almost any issue, but Furihata wanted to rough it a bit. “Let’s just drive, huh? We can stay at a cheap hotel at the halfway mark.”

Akashi kept eyeballing the five star resort right above the initial option, but succumbed to Furihata’s irresistible frown. “Okay.”

Akashi had gone back to his friends and asked them for information about road trips. While Murasakibara and Aomine were of absolutely no help whatsoever, Kise seemed to have quite the encyclopedia on the matter. But Kise’s influence was heavily soaked in sugary sweet romance, and it included the cliche road trip stuff, with music that lovers could scream to horribly and laugh at each others voices, take a photo album’s worth of pictures that were distorted from heavy shadows and brilliant sunlight fluorescent on loose hair strands.

Akashi suckered into all of it with that signature gleam in his eye—the look that would kill anyone who made fun of him because he was actually curious, and he would do just about anything to satisfy Furihata.

And that included leaving Akashi’s precious high class vehicle at home, and snagging the keys of Furihata’s old and paint-warped truck. It looked like something chewed up and spit out of an old countryside teen romance flick, and it fit every mold of Akashi’s expectations.

"So… why did we take my car again?"

"For the aesthetic," Akashi answers honestly, reaching over to roll the window down. Furihata shivers; the morning hair is still nice and cool, not yet hot enough to choose blasting the AC throughout his car. 

"For the….aesthetic. Sei, did you talk to Kise-san?"

"He’s knowledgable about road trips," Akashi sends him one of those accomplished smiles, like he knows he did something right this time. But he never does anything wrong really, so instead of looking like he deserves a medal, he just looks like be belongs on a pedestal.

Furihata sits for a minute, wondering how, in this lifetime, in this universe, Akashi chose him.

The brunet leans down and picks up a bag of chips, ripping the top open with his tongue pressed to the corner of his lips. He’s kind of hungry, and eating is always a way to pass the time. 

Just after the thought crosses his mind he knows he’s spent too much time around Murasakibara. 

"Sei, do you want any?"

"Hmm, feed me. I don’t want to take my eyes off of the road." It’s probably more out of being flirtatious at nine in the morning, but there’s an edge of actual caution in his voice. He doesn’t trust Furihata’s vehicle enough to let the owner drive it, and looking away from the road longer than a few seconds is also out of the question.

Furihata rolls his eyes, but complies nonetheless, pressing the salty snack against the flat of Akashi’s tongue. He dusts his hand onto his jeans briefly, a chip between his teeth as he reaches for the radio knob. “I brought CD’s if you want to play them,” Akashi blindly points to the center console. 

"Seijuro…uhm…"

"Don’t worry, I didn’t put anything classical on them," Akashi assures, a gentle laugh bubbling past his lips when he thinks about how penchant he is for having classical music somewhere within arms reach of him at all times.

Furihata reaches into the console and pulls out the zipped album, revealing the silver discs that are decorated in Akashi’s beautiful penmanship, marked in numerical order. “Then what did you put on them?”

"Recommendations. Hopefully you like them. You may want to skip the second CD though," Akashi glances up at the rearview mirror briefly, "I couldn’t tell Aomine no."

Furihata smiles crookedly as he pulls out the first CD. Aomine was into anything with heavy bass, which really wasn’t that bad. Furihata could do with some of the music Aomine listened to. But he also thought about who probably helped the technologically challenged blunet, and when pink and bubbly came to mind, he feared what could be on that CD.

"You mean you couldn’t say no to Momoi-san?"

"Maybe I am too kind to her," Akashi frowns at himself. He can’t think of a time he ever told Momoi the word No. Actually, nobody ever told that girl no except for Aomine, and even that was rare.

"Well, whose the first CD from?" Furihata asks, pushing it into the small slot and adjusting the knobs to the right volume.

The music starts slow and steady, something that sounds foreign. “Ooh?” Furihata tunes more into it when he notices he can only pick up words intermittently. “Did Kagami-kun do this one?”

Akashi nods, still silent. His grip tightens on the steering wheel when the gravel beneath them sends the truck shifting, not enough to really be afraid but enough to irritate. Furihata wonders if he can convince Akashi to let him drive.

Something tells him the red head’s need for absolute control means he should forget that idea. Instead he focuses on the music, leaning over every so often to feed Akashi.

"Say, what university were you looking at up there?"

"Hmmm, the one off the water," Akashi notes, changing lanes to get around a semi. Furihata keeps his bitter comments to himself, but of course Akashi is looking at the fancy one off the water, the one where they specialize ineverything and have everything.

He puffs air from his cheek and replaces it with a chip instead. 

Akashi reaches over and smoothes a hand along the fabric of his jacket sleeve, before he rolls his palm effortlessly into Furihata’s, clasping his fingers along the bed of his knuckles. “Don’t be like that. You were the one who said we should look where we wanted, right?”

"That’s easier said than done when I’m dating you."

"Oh, I see," Akashi’s smile is sly, and it warms hints of scarlet on Furihata’s cheeks. "You’re so forward lately, Kouki."

"Huh? Don’t get used to that. Besides, I have to be. Out of all the things for you to be unconventional in, it had to be romance."

Akashi’s lips purse into a pout. “That’s not fair. I’m notthat—”

Should we revisit your attempts at wooing me?”

"Don’t lie, you were pleasantly wooed,” Akashi shakes with mild laughter, and contagiously it causes Furihata to join him.

"Sei, picking me up from school in a helicopter is not exactly normal."

"I didn’t fall in love with you because you’re normal, though."

There it is. Akashi’s blunt affection. If anybody has the easiest time saying I love you it is this guy. It’s not that he doesn’t mean it, his words are dripping with every entirety of the phrases depth and weight. But Akashi is simple in that fashion. Why get worked up over what is true? 

He said it to Furihata once, more than once, at the right times, at the wrong times. But never did he waver in saying it. It glided smooth from his lips, sweet, endearing, heavy with intensity. He always said affectionate nothings to Furihata with ease. It still turns Furihata beet red from head to toe when he remembers hearing “you’re my everything” pour into his ear as they tangled against a futon at an overnight onsen trip.

He shudders just thinking about it, instinctively tightening his hand against Akashi’s. A smile touches the corners of his lips, and he turns to look out at the open road, because if he steams too long Akashi will probably say something to fluster him even more.

"This music is interesting. It’s nice, light. I like it," Akashi says after a while, and Furihata makes a mental note to thank Kagami later. "Yeah, I figured he would have good taste in music," Furihata stretches out in his seat and glances at the clock. 

"So how much longer until we get to the hotel?"

"I do hope you aren’t bored already," his voice is even but Furihata’s been with Akashi long enough to know when he’s concerned. 

"No, I’m not bored. Jus’ wondering," he yawns. Akashi’s fingers part with his to reach into his bed hair and tousle it gently. "You can sleep if you like."

"I’m fine, Sei. Are you sure you don’t want me to drive?"

His jaw clenches beneath a tight smile. “Am I that obvious?”

"Painfully. I really don’t mind driving."

"And I really mind it. It’s—!!" they both lurch as the truck hits a hard dip in the road and sends the cabin shaking and rattling from hood to tail. Akashi pinches his expression to that of pure irritation—if this vehicle doesn’t start driving smoothly he may or may not call to have his vehicle transported out here.

Furihata puts the topic to rest. Akashi will be driving and that’s about the end of it. He rests back in his seat and resumes his chip eating, bobbing his head to the soft rhythms of guitars beneath gentle vocals echoing through gaps in wind tunnels from the windows. 

Every now and again Akashi reaches for him, pressing kisses to his knuckles intermittently between conversations about schools and reminiscing over all of their firsts. Eventually they talk about things on their bucket list—and add to Akashi’s since he just recently grasped the concept—and decide what things they should write off together.

It’s nice.

Akashi is internally grateful to Kise for the cliche tips, opting to take Furihata’s beat up truck over his fancy sports car. He’ll have to thank the blond someday, somehow, but he’ll think about that later. Right now he’s content with windows down, cruising across a sparse highway to western music linked hand in hand with the chihuahua whom he’d fallen for at first sight. Furihata always goes on an on about how amazingly lucky he is to have starting dating Akashi, but he would beg to differ.

He may not be able to use pick up lines effectively, and sometimes he’s too blunt about his feelings which totally kills the mood, but it’s really him that’s the lucky one.

He’s too proud to say it, but Furihata isn’t the only one struggling to keep a clear mind about college options. Amidst their conversation, Akashi begins planning ways to improve Furihata’s studies, and decides that he’s going to, someway, somehow end up at the same school as his bright eyed and bushy tailed partner.