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the better boyfriend battle

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Akaashi was the perfect boyfriend. He was calm, kind, and thoughtful. He was also intelligent, responsible, and dashingly handsome. At that moment, his beautiful, delicate features were screwed up into a monstrous scowl, lovely nose wrinkled, taut arms crossed over his chest, piercing eyes pinning down Bokuto, who sat on the ground.

“Don’t get mad, Keiji,” Bokuto told his feet. “I can explain.”

“I’m not mad.”

“Really! I can explain! It’s a funny story!”

“I said I wasn’t mad,” Akaashi said through his beautiful clenched teeth. Bokuto rubbed the back of his neck. Akaashi sat above him on the couch, unmoved by Bokuto’s pleas.

“Do you remember two nights ago when we had our anniversary? And you made dinner with all our favorite foods and we spent the night watching a movie and then made out and went to bed?” Bokuto beamed at the memory. He’d come home from a long day at practice, greeted by the warm smells of dinner and their only set of candles. Akaashi had smiled and kissed him at the doorway. The same pleasant memories apparently had little influence on Akaashi’s expression, still fixed into a deep and handsome scowl.

“I remember,” Akaashi said coldly. “I was present for that occasion.”

“Yeah! You were! Well, the thing is, I completely forgot about our anniversary. I didn’t have a present for you. So I was talking about it with Tsukishima—but don’t worry, I’m not cheating on you with him!”

“Tsukishima would be worse off with you.”

“Hey, I can hear you.”

“I know.” Akaashi stuck out his foot, kicking Bokuto’s knee. “Continue.”

“Y-yeah. Anyway, he was saying Tsukki things. You know, how it’s disgusting I check up on him, and stuff, and then he said, wouldn’t you get mad if I keep on forgetting important anniversary dates. And then I realized that you were completely a better boyfriend than I am. Like you’re a level 100 boyfriend, but I’m only 99.”

“So you decided to get… competitive.” Akaashi swept his gaze to the other end of the room.

“The first step to leveling up as a boyfriend was to get you a post-anniversary gift, right? So I was going to make you dinner.” Bokuto frowned, leaning back. “Hey, Keiji, did you know cooking was hard? Everything kept boiling over and burning.”

“And you were trying to make onigiri.”

“The rice caught on fire.”

“The rice.”

“Caught on fire.”

Bokuto didn’t look behind him, but he knew the sight well. The wall had been scorched, burn marks evident on the wallpaper, and some pots and pans had been overturned. The sooty smell had not left the apartment. A mixing bowl had been sacrificed for the greater name of cooking.

“And that’s how you got burned.” Akaashi drew his gaze to the gauze on Bokuto’s arm.

“Just a little bit. But then I thought, if dinner doesn’t work, why don’t I do something you’re always telling me to do. So I decided the clean the apartment!” Bokuto drew himself up proudly.

“How thoughtful,” Akaashi said, another crease joining his forehead. Bokuto didn’t have to look behind him to see the knocked-over trinkets and upturned cabinets. He suspected Akaashi could also see the jagged line of glue holding together the vase he’d knocked over. At least the refrigerator had been plugged back in. A futon had been sacrificed in the greater name of cleaning, slightly torn and overflowing with stuffing.

“And when I was cleaning, I found my old porn stash. I was going to throw it out! But then I thought, wouldn’t you find it way more romantic if I only had porn of guys who looked like you? Boy, there were a lot of those. That makes your heart pound, right?”

“I suppose I do want to pound something,” Akaashi said, looking faintly more murderous. Bokuto took a side-glance at where he had begun sorting through the magazines, some tied up in neat string. It wasn’t his worse idea, but upon further reflection, he could almost sense where he’d gone wrong.

“But I thought it wasn’t enough! So I thought I’d get you some flowers and chocolate, because that’s classic. But I forgot I’d be biking. And then I got lost.” Bokuto stared down at the wilted flowers in front of him, petals scattered across the apartment, and the half-eaten box of chocolates. The chocolates had been sacrificed in the greater name of surviving the neighborhood area, where he’d gotten lost for some hours.

“And you forgot to charge your cell phone.”

“Just a little bit.”

“You completely forgot to charge your cell phone.”

“Fine, I completely forgot! And I left you waiting at home for two hours! I’m sorry, Keiji! Don’t break up with me!” Bokuto clasped his hands together, hoping he’d look sufficiently handsome enough to coax his boyfriend. Akaashi pinched his nose between his fingers.

“I suppose you’re right,” Akaashi said. “I am mad at you.”

“I’m sorry, Keiji! I’m really sorry! I’ll never forget an anniversary again!”

Akaashi stood up from the couch, looming over Bokuto. Just before Bokuto could splutter out more pleas and apologies, Akaashi sank to his knees and grabbed him by the shoulders.

“I’m mad because I was worried about you and because you injured yourself.” Akaashi looked away. “You idiot.”

“I’m really, really sorry, Kei—”

“You’ve forgotten our last two anniversaries. Have I been angry for any of those?” The angry lines had disappeared from Akaashi’s face, leaving behind a worried grimace.

“I’m—”

“We’ve been together for so many years. I know, Koutarou, you can’t cook. You can’t clean. You’re forgetful and you’re an idiot. I know all these things.” Akaashi’s hands tightened on his shoulders. “Better boyfriend? I always take the inside of the bed. I’m peculiar about my nails. I hog the blankets on movie nights. Never once have you complained. You make me happy and I love you. What else would I need?”

Bokuto framed Akaashi’s face with his hands, leaning forward to kiss him. He could feel Akaashi melting into the kiss, and he grabbed him into the big hugs he knew Akaashi liked. He liked them, too.

“Keiji, you’re so cool.” Bokuto grinned, and then frowned. “Wait, that makes you a super better boyfriend than I am! Damnit!”

“Did you listen to anything I just said.” Akaashi tugged at his face, but he was smiling again.

“I’m still sorry about forgetting our anniversary.”

“I wasn’t expecting anything different,” Akaashi said dryly. “Besides, you’ll be deciding our next anniversary date. Make it a memorable one.”

“What do you mean?”

“Aren’t you going to propose to me?” Akaashi raised an eyebrow. “If you know I put away your laundry, you shouldn’t hide the ring in your sock drawer.”

“Keiji!” Bokuto felt his face flush red.

“You should prepare yourself,” Akaashi said, smiling, “because you might be a better boyfriend, but I’ll never concede the best husband title.”