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Conjunction (noun): a synonym for love

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A few months after Bokuto and Akaashi finally gave in to the gravitational forces pulling them together and starting long-distance dating, Bokuto had what he liked to call a “genius plan.”

“Keiji,” he said while they cuddled on Bokuto’s couch, too tired from the work week to do anything else, “I have a genius plan.”

“Mmm?” Keiji responded sleepily, eyes closed and halfway to dreaming. Bokuto had been running his fingers through his hair for long enough that Keiji had lost track of time, and he was currently existing in that nebulous space between sleeping and waking, fully aware he was laying on top of his boyfriend and also hovering right on the precipice of what promised to be a very boring dream about grammar.

“Osaka is really far from Tokyo.”

“It is. Don’t remind me.”

Bokuto rubbed Keiji’s back in comforting circles. Keiji buried his face in Bokuto’s chest, ignoring the way it smushed his glasses against his face. He knew long-distance dating would be hard, but hadn’t anticipated just how much harder it would be from long-distance friendship. Keiji never really understood the phrase "joined at the hip" until he attached his hip to Bokuto’s. 

“It’s not fair to make you waste half your weekend on the train,” Bokuto continued.

Keiji frowned and sat up. “Koutarou, we’ve talked about this. You’re not making me do anything.”

And they had talked about it. It had been the source of their only true fight, almost laughable compared to some of the stories they heard about their coworkers' relationships. 

Oh, you two fight about who is more willing to sacrifice 8 hours of their weekend on a train so the other can rest? I wish I was dating someone who loved me that much!

Bokuto, of course, had argued that manga editors have so little free time to begin with, and it wasn’t fair that Keiji was wasting his on Bokuto. Bokuto was more than willing to take the train, he liked trains! 

Keiji had retaliated by saying Bokuto could not remain in peak physical condition if he traveled four hours from Osaka to Tokyo and back on every day off, and besides, Keiji could get work done on the train, which killed two birds with one stone.

Bokuto reminded Keiji that he shouldn’t be killing any birds, or working on his days off. Keiji reminded Bokuto that a professional athlete’s job was to take care of his body and that included not getting burnt out and sick from travelling on his days off. Bokuto argued that manga editors had to take care of their bodies too. Keiji came back with stacks of research about how inadequate sleep affects athletic performance. 

Realizing he wouldn’t win on the physical health front, Bokuto suggested that they trade weekends, instead. One in Osaka, one in Tokyo. A fair deal. Keiji suggested that if they really wanted to cut down on travel time they should only visit each other once a month.

Neither of them liked either suggestion.

In the end, Keiji’s well researched and convincing arguments won the fight, and so for the last 4 months and 12 days of their relationship, Keiji had spent 8 hours each weekend on a train. It was worth it to see Bokuto. He’d make a journey twice that distance, if he had to. After all, Bokuto was the one who'd taught him that nothing was impossible as long as you fought for it. And their relationship was worth fighting for.

“Hear me out, Keiji,” Bokuto was now saying, “it really isn’t fair. I like seeing you every weekend, I really do, but you’re always so tired, it makes me sad.”

Keiji’s stomach churned with guilt. He didn't mean to spend half their time together sleeping, but it kept happening despite his best efforts. Bokuto must have seen the guilt in his expression, because he cupped Keiji’s face in his hands and kissed him softly.

“I know you didn’t want to trade weekends-”

“I don’t,” Keiji said firmly.

“So we won’t! But I'm not letting you sit on a train for four hours alone anymore. You know, I spend all that time just sitting here waiting for you?”

“Koutarou…”

“I don’t do it on purpose!” Bokuto said hurriedly, “I just get so excited to see you I can’t focus on anything else! It’s like, your train arrives at 9:00 on Fridays, right, so I need to be at the station by 8:45 to pick you up, which means I need to leave my apartment by 8:30, so I need to stop whatever I’m doing by 8:15 so I don’t lose track of time, which means I need to start getting ready to leave at 7:45, so that I’m ready to leave and don’t have to rush, right, which means if I get home from practice at 5:45, that’s only two hours! Which is hardly time to do anything. So I just… sit here, alone. Wishing I could be with you instead.”

Keiji pictured Bokuto sitting on the couch, vibrating with restless energy for two hours. It wasn’t hard to picture, because at that same time every Friday evening, Keiji sat on a train and tried to get work done and failed miserably because all he could think about was Bokuto. And then he tried to connect Bokuto’s Friday night routine to what he’d said about not letting Keiji sit on a train alone. It didn’t take long to realize where Bokuto’s train of thought was leading.

“Oh.”

Bokuto smiled. “Did you figure out my genius plan, Keiji?”

Keiji smiled back. “I think I did.”


Keiji pushed his way through the evening commute, neck craned over the crowd. This was the correct station, right? They’d agreed Hamamatsu was halfway, but what if one of them got it mixed up? What if-

“Hey, hey, Keiji! Hey!”

Relief flooded Keiji and he spun around, searching for the familiar voice in the crowd. Bokuto’s hair was impossible to miss. So was the way he waved his hands in the air as he made his way through the crowd toward Keiji. He was so focused on Keiji that he bumped into a young woman hard enough to knock her over and had to apologize profusely before hurrying the rest of the way to his boyfriend, smiling so wide that it made Keiji’s face hurt just to look at it. 

“Hey,” Keiji said, reaching out a hand. Bokuto took it and pulled Keiji in for a hug. Keiji sunk into Bokuto’s embrace, burying his face in the crook of his neck, endlessly grateful that he only had to wait five days and two hours this time, instead of five days and four. “I love you,” he mumbled into Bokuto’s shirt. “I love you so much. It’s very important for you to know this, Koutarou.”

Bokuto squeezed Keiji harder. “I love you more. It’s very important for you to know that. And no arguing with me!”

They stood like that in the sea of commuters, Keiji clutching Bokuto’s gold MSBY jacket like it was tethering him to shore, before an overhead announcement chimed the arrival of the next train and Bokuto pulled back.

“Come on Keiji, we need to hurry and catch our train!”

Bokuto tugged Keiji along as they ran through the station, still holding hands. They made it to the next platform just as their train to Osaka arrived, and managed to snag seats at the back of a car. Keiji fell into his seat breathlessly. Bokuto’s cheeks were pink, but he didn’t look winded at all. Perks of being a professional athlete, Keiji supposed. Or maybe Keiji really was spending too much time in the office.

Bokuto squeezed Keiji’s hand. “I think my genius plan worked perfectly, don’t you?”

Keiji laughed. “I think we could have done with some more breathing room between trains, but yes, Koutarou. Your plan was brilliant.”

Keiji leaned into Bokuto and rested his head on his shoulder. All of the exhaustion of the week slipped away as the train pulled out of the station and Bokuto wrapped his arm around Keiji’s waist, pulling their bodies closer together. Bokuto kissed the top of Keiji’s head, and warmth spread through him, his love for his boyfriend overcoming every other thought swirling in his mind and pushing them aside until all that remained was Bokuto.

It had been a brilliant plan. The kind only Bokuto could have come up with, just ridiculous and impossible sounding enough that Keiji never would have considered it.

Two hours on a train alone, two hours on a train together. Nobody was spending four hours alone on a train, and nobody was sitting alone in an empty apartment, waiting. Instead, they had two more hours to exist in each others’ presence than they did before. Two more hours to rest, lulled to sleep by the smooth rumbling of the train and the synchronized beating of their hearts.

It was a good compromise. The kind where neither side lost anything by meeting in the middle, and had everything to gain by coming together. Two twin stars blazing brighter together.

And what is love if not two souls finding each other across time and space, and deciding that the time they exist together is worth more than the time they spent apart?