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All We're Living For

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Akaashi is mad.

Bokuto knows this; can see the tension settled in his shoulders, like static electricity buzzing in the air before a storm.  He doesn't speak, doesn't breathe as he waits for the brunette to turn around and look at him. He's about to reach out for the boy, but as he raises his arm, Akaashi whips around to face him, eyes rimmed red. Before Bokuto can open his mouth to whisper an apology, Akaashi speaks. 

"Say it again."

His words are soft, as if daring Bokuto to try and explain himself. "Say it one more time and I'll leave. For real."

There's a question framed in the way Akaashi speaks, and he looks at the owlish boy like he knows the answer is sitting in Bokuto's chest, disguised as a heart stuttering out of time. Bokuto swallows thickly before frowning at the floor and whispering, "You deserve better than this."

There's a moment of silence, and then Akaashi storms past and slams the door to their bedroom open. Bokuto follows him, desperate and more scared than he's ever been in his life.

"Please Akaashi, just stop for a second, please--"

"Bokuto!" Akaashi barks, and the silver haired man folds in on himself, staring at his feet and trying not to throw up. "You do this every time. Everyfucking time. I'm tired, Bokuto. If I was looking to get fucked around like this I would have slept with Oikawa."

The words sting, and Bokuto snaps his head up to watch Akaashi as he pulls out a suitcase and starts packing-- no, slamming his clothes into it.

"You know that I'm not-- I'm not doing this to be cruel, Akaashi!"

The end of his sentence comes out as a sob, and Bokuto is mentally hitting himself for being so fucking weak. He knows. He knows he does this every time. When he looks up, he finds Akaashi staring at him with a look of incredulity.

"You don't do this to be cruel? Then what the fuck do you do it for, Bokuto? What the fuck do you do it for? Because it sure doesn't feel like you're doing this for fun and laughs."

"I just want you to be... happy." Bokuto finishes meekly, knowing it's a weak excuse, knowing the response he's about to get.

"I'm happy being with you!” Akaashi all but throws his arms up in anger, voice rough with frustration,“Why isn't that ever enough?"

There’s a pause, and then suddenly Akaashi sighs like he’s used up all his energy trying to figure out the golden-eyed puzzle standing before him. He thinks maybe he has.

He takes a moment to compose himself before scrubbing at his eyes and brushing past Bokuto, who's still standing in the bedroom, visibly trembling.

"I'm leaving, Bokuto-san." is the last thing Akaashi says as he gently closes the door behind him, the sound of wood hitting frame echoing throughout the apartment.

***

Bokuto does nothing but sleep and drink instant coffee three days.

On the fourth day he finds one of Akaashi’s shirts lying half hidden under the bed.

He realises that it must have fallen out of the suitcase Akaashi packed before he left, and stands frozen in time for a moment before his knees turn to liquid and he sinks to the floor, fighting to control the panic seeping into his veins. Bokuto picks up the shirt gingerly, holding it against his face and inhaling-- a million memories invading his brain with one faltering breath. When he drags his face away from the shirt, he realises he’s crying, dark spots staining the fabric.

He rolls back onto the soles of his feet and sits crouched as he sifts through his memories of the last week; trying to pinpoint the moment his foundations started crumbling. These are the moments that hurt; quiet moments of reflection that seize Bokuto and leave his mind hostage to tsunami waves of feeling that sweep him off his feet. They overwhelm him, frustrate him to the point of madness, taking control of his every insecurity and pinning him under an avalanche of despair. He realises that it's every time he finds himself swimming in brown eyes and softly spoken words that he's pulled out of the darkness, and the thought leaves his veins running cold, seized by panic for a moment over the idea of never seeing Akaashi again.

Bokuto is shaken out of his panic-stricken state by the incessant buzzing of his phone on the side table standing by the bed. It vibrates against the wood once, twice, three times before careening off the edge of the table and falling hard, clattering to a stop at Bokuto's feet. He sighs and lets the call ring out, burying his face in his knees and ignoring the voice in his brain that tells him he needs to stop avoiding the inevitable.

After a moment, his phone begins to vibrate again, this time due to an influx of angry messages from a Certain Someone telling him to answer his phone. After the sixth buzz he groans and picks up his phone, skimming through the messages he's ignored for three days.

>wtf did you do to Akaashi

>Oi answer ur phone we need to talk

>Bokuto

>Bokuto

>Bokuto

>Answer ur fuckin g phone or I WILL break into ur house when u sleep

>Ok so i wont but STILL

>ANSWER YOUR GODDAMN PHONE!!!!

He tosses his phone his phone onto the bed, sighing so deeply he worries for a second that his soul might escape from his body, before standing up and stretching out the cramps stiffening his legs.

He's about to drift away again before loud knocking on the door, accompanied by a “Bokuto! Open the door you self pitying sack of shit." Makes him jump to attention. He pauses for a moment, groaning once again before scrubbing at his face and shuffling to the front door, unlocking the latches that he bitterly notes are meant to keep out cretins, not let them in. He says as much when his particular cretin bounds through the door, dusting himself off and smiling at Bokuto like some sort of predator.

Bokuto stares at the figure for a second before rolling his eyes and moving to the kitchen for coffee. His hands falter over the coffee maker before he drops his hands by his sides in defeat, staring hard at the floor.

"I accidentally drove Akaashi to the edge of insanity. Again."

Kuroo sighs and plops onto a bench stool, resting his head in his hands and watching Bokuto silently beating himself up. "You know, you really are useless." He snickers, before ducking away from the spoon that comes flying his way. "Tell me what happened."

There's a beat before Bokuto turns to the dark haired male, tears brimming his eyes and lips pursed in a manner that reminds Kuroo of a five year old trying to compose themselves over dropped ice cream, or being scolded. He clicks his tongue with a sympathetic frown before getting up and moving around the bench to engulf Bokuto in a hug, stroking silver hair as the body in his arms convulses with sobs. He pulls back after a moment and holds Bokuto at arms length, taking in how hollow Bokuto's cheeks look. He sighs before ushering his friend to the couch, sitting them both down and patting the silver-haired boy's hand affectionately.

"Take your time," Kuroo murmurs to the whimpering figure by his side, letting him compose himself before asking, "How'd it happen?"

Bokuto sniffs a couple of times and croaks; "I thought I was doing the right thing this time, Kuroo. I don't know how it fucked up like this."

Kuroo hums for a moment, shuffling through his past experience in diffusing situations like this. He chews on the inside of his lip for a moment and turns to look at Bokuto.

"Did you ask Akaashi how he felt about you 'doing the right thing'?"

The look on Bokuto's face is an answer enough for Kuroo and he rubs his jaw before closing his eyes for a second. He opens them as he feels a shift of weight on the couch, leaving Bokuto lying on his side with his head against Kuroo's thigh. Kuroo looks down at him before scoffing, "You are actually like an adult baby." Carding his fingers through Bokuto's hair regardless.

"I think you should call him tomorrow." Kuroo murmurs, and he feels Bokuto squirm against his leg. "Don't wanna," Is the muffled response, earning Bokuto a smack on the shoulder. There's no malice in the act, and Kuroo reaches for the television remote, aimlessly skipping through the channels. He stops at some late night music channel, letting the steady droning of sound drag him into the realm of sleep. Half lidded eyes slide down to the figure in his lap, which is now snoring lightly, cheeks still damp with tears.

As he gently wipes away the tears resting on Bokuto's cheeks, Kuroo lets himself drift off as well, dozing off to the sound of sombre acoustics.

***

When Bokuto wakes up he freezes for a moment, caught up in the familiarity of his position. He quickly cards through his memories before realising that no, Akaashi hasn't come home and yes, he did cry on Kuroo's leg last night. He sits up and adjusts himself, scrubbing at his eyes and trying (and failing) to sort out his atrocious bed hair. He gives up after a minute and instead gets up to make the two of them tea and toast.

His hand falters as he's slotting the bread into the toaster, remembering the way Akaashi and he used to do this, dunking their toast into each other's beverages and laughing at the shitty children's shows airing on morning television. With a shake of his head and a quick scrub at his eyes, Bokuto continues making breakfast. When he moves to sit back on the couch with the food, Kuroo blinks at him, bleary eyed and disoriented.

"What time is it?" Kuroo yawns, before checking his phone and dropping his head back against the couch. "I am so sorry I crashed last night," he groans, swinging his head to look at Bokuto, who's sitting against the edge of the couch, hands wringing his wrists distractedly.

"Hey, Kuroo, do you know where Akaashi is staying?" Bokuto asks, looking at the dark haired boy anxiously. Kuroo blinks at him before deadpanning, "He's staying with Kenma and me, where do you think he'd be staying?" and then "Oh, speak of the devil." When his phone lights up with Kenma's name. He walks out onto the balcony to take the call, leaving Bokuto to sit by himself, flicking through the channels on the television half-heartedly. He stops as he gets back to the music channel they were initially listening to, now playing some sad indie song. He wants to punch himself for being reminded of Akaashi, but he finds himself thinking how much the dark haired boy would love it, the simple melody and poignant lyrics making his heart ache. Without thinking, he stands up and begins swaying to the music, imagining an exasperated Akaashi playing along, wry smile settling on his lips regardless.

Kuroo looks in on Bokuto through the balcony's glass sliding door to find him slow dancing by himself in front of the television.

"Kenma, please." He begs. "Please. Get Akaashi over here now."

***

When Akaashi walks through the door to the apartment, the last thing he expects to see is Bokuto slow dancing to Ed Sheeran in their lounge space. Kenma didn't mention anything about this, he thinks as he watches the owlish figure for a moment, trying to contain the swell in his chest. Trying (and failing) to stay angry with the boy who changes moods faster than he changes his underwear. He's about to say something, when suddenly, Bokuto turns and locks eyes with him, they watch him each other with even expressions, and then Akaashi opens his mouth to speak, arms crossed across his chest.

"What the fuck are you doing, Bokuto-san?"

The use of an honorific makes Bokuto's heart squeeze, and he stops dancing to instead maintain eye contact with the brown-eyed boy tapping his foot for an answer.

"I was... dancing. With you... " Bokuto coughs the last part out, embarrassment staining his cheeks scarlet. Akaashi's eyes flash and for a second it looks like he's steeling himself for something, before closing the space between them in two large bounds and burying himself in Bokuto's arms. Bokuto's mouth forms an 'o' shape at the sudden proximity, and then like clockwork he wraps his arms around Akaashi with a shaky sigh, trying not to cry on his companion like the 6 foot baby he is.

"Don't you ever try to be a martyr again," Akaashi murmurs into Bokuto's neck, "At least for 300 years. I forbid you."

Bokuto just closes his eyes, nodding into Akaashi's hair and replying, "You're the boss."

The two break apart after what feels like years, looking at each other and nodding definitively. A cough off to the side prompts them to turn towards the sound, finding Kuroo leaning against the doorframe leading out to the balcony, signature smirk sitting comfortably on his lips.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Akaashi mutters, but as he rolls his eyes, a smile tugs at the edges of his mouth, ears burning. When he turns to look at Bokuto, he notices his eyes sparkling the way they did when the two first met, flecks of gold and amber resembling a dancing flame.

***

That night, Bokuto lets Akaashi curl into his chest, the two breathing steadily against each other as the exhaustion of the last couple of days finally consume them. As he feels his eyelids growing heavy, he watches the way Akaashi's shoulders rise and fall with his breathing, even and constant. When he's finally dragged into sleep, Bokuto's dreams are held together by dark features and softly spoken words, promises of forever pressed into his skin.