Butterfly Effect (Noun)
In Chaos Theory , the Butterfly Effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.
The term, closely associated with the work of Edward Lorenz, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a tornado (the exact time of formation, the exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.
They lose at semifinals.
They lose, and Akaashi turns and looks at Bokuto - Fukurodani’s ace, his ace - and expects disappointment. He expects tears and frustration and “I could have done better!”.
That’s not what he gets, though.
Instead, Bokuto is grinning at him, fire gleaming in his eyes like it does whenever they win a match. He bows low to Akaashi and shouts, his voice like a rumble of thunder, “Thank you for taking care of my team, Akaashi-san!”
And, well, really. Akaashi’s falling in love with Bokuto was always kind of inevitable, wasn’t it?
In another universe, Bokuto pulls Akaashi aside on the day of his graduation and presents him with the second button ripped from his uniform beneath the cherry blossoms. In another universe, Bokuto gives Akaashi his heart before heading off to university, and Akaashi is only too happy to accept.
This story, however, is not a part of that universe.
In this universe, Akaashi sits and watches Bokuto gleam as he accepts his diploma, smile big and bright as the sun, and Akaashi can't help the pang in his chest. He is proud of his ace, and he will always be proud of Bokuto; the older boy has been scouted for talent to the University of Tokyo and was already begging Akaashi to come and visit him, and yet it feels like Akaashi is losing him.
Keiji Akaashi has never been good at lying to himself.
He watches Bokuto graduate and joins their team - his team, now - in congratulating their former captain, before stealing off to the gym.
It's funny; before Bokuto, Akaashi was never the type to take comfort in the gym. Now, he breathes in the smell of Air-Salonpas and lets the familiarity fill his chest as he begins to relax.
He will not cry. He refuses. Bokuto would not want that for him.
He sets up a water bottle on the line of the court and sets until he can barely feel his fingers. He is still wearing the formal uniform he wore for Bokuto, special because that's what his Ace deserves, but he can't bring himself to care. He loses himself in the repetition, in the steady beat of bump-set-drop, until-
And Bokuto is there, graduation uniform rumpled as he jumps and swings and -
The ball hits the floor with a BANG.
There’s a crazy light in Bokuto’s eyes as he turns to Akaashi, almost as if to say “did you see that? Did you see what I did there?” and Akaashi doesn’t know how to tell him that he did, of course he did, he’s spent years watching Bokuto Kotaro shine brighter than the sun.
Bokuto hands his team over to Akaashi on the last day of his captaincy, and Akaashi wants so badly to refuse it.
This team is not his. He has never been the driving force behind a team; he is strong and steady, yes, but no one can motivate Fukurodani quite like Bokuto can.
For a brief, crazy moment, Akaashi considers saying no.
He wants Bokuto to say he’s staying, that he’s not graduating and leaving Akaashi behind. He wants Bokuto to say he’ll stay, wants him to tell him he’ll be Akaashi’s ace for as long as akaashi needs him to be.
He wants to say no to the captaincy.
Akaashi can never be a captain like Bokuto is. He knows it, and the team knows it, but it doesn’t matter, because time moves on and so do people. They grow up and move on and let go of people who were once dear, and Bokuto will be off in college while Akaashi holds the team together here.
Bokuto believes in him. Bokuto believes in them. In their team. In Akaashi.
Bokuto is relying on Akaashi, and Akaashi Keiji is nothing if not reliable.
The distance between Fukurodani and the University of Tokyo is a half-hour train ride.
Akaashi knows this because Bokuto keeps reminding him of it. He knows because Bokuto constantly asks him when he’s coming to visit.
In another universe, Akaashi is there when Bokuto moves in. He is there to help Bokuto move boxes and set up his bed and refold all his clothing. In that universe, Akaashi makes the trip to Tokyo every other weekend (when he’s not too busy with work) and they eat pork buns and soba noodles on the floor of Bokuto’s dorm.
In both this universe and the other, Bokuto rooms with Kuroo Tetsuro, the Nekoma captain, and Akaashi actually finds himself liking the guy. Kuroo is a funny smart-ass with a twinkle in his eye and at least twelve different pranks planned in the back of his head at any given time, and he’s the most perfect roommate for Bokuto that anyone could have ever dreamed of.
In another universe, Akaashi knows this because of how much time he spends in said dorm. In this universe, he knows it because he can never bring himself to reject Bokuto’s skype calls, even when they make his heart hurt.
At some point - even he’s not really sure of when it happens, but at some point - he acquires the number of the new captain of Nekoma. Kenma Kozume is quiet, even quieter than Akaashi himself, and yet despite this fact, Akaashi finds himself befriending the other setter. He’d met Kenma previously, of course, and had always gotten along with the other setter at training camps and such, but it’s only after Bokuto and Kuroo move in together that Akaashi actively becomes friends with Kenma. They actually have things in common - their teams, for one, and they are taking similar classes in school - but they mainly end up speaking about their captains.
The only difference there is that Kenma and Kuroo are dating - have been since Kuroo’s second year. Akaashi could only dream of having Bokuto in the way that Kenma has Kuroo.
They never talk about it. They never talk about it, that is, until one day-
Kenma had introduced Akaashi to one of the videogames Kenma liked, a two-player puzzle-solving game, and they’re quietly playing together online when suddenly Kenma speaks.
“Do you miss him?”
Akaashi chokes, just for a moment. He knows who Kenma is referring to, of course, but this - this is new. They’ve never talked about things like this before.
“I suppose,” Akaashi answers finally. There are eons behind the two words, but Kenma only hums his understanding.
They never speak of it again.
It’s not that Akaashi intended on following Bokuto to Tokyo. He really didn’t. By the time Akaashi graduates, he’s been to visit Bokuto exactly thrice - once for Bokuto’s birthday, once for his own, and once to see the actual school - but the university has a widely renowned business school that Akaashi gets accepted to with honors and scholarship, and, well. Bokuto’s presence definitely doesn’t hurt.
Kenma ends up getting accepted as well, and it’s more convenience than anything to room with him, so they end up as roommates. Kenma is easy to live with - not too clean, not too messy, and unobtrusively quiet - and it works out. It also means that Bokuto and Kuroo are a constant presence, just as much as Akaashi and Kenma are a constant presence in the older boy’s apartment, and everything really just seems to fall into place.
Kuroo and Kenma are - well. Kuroo and Kenma are pretty much everything Akaashi wants for himself with Bokuto.
They just work so well together; they’ve known each other for so long that they just fit, whether it’s Kenma falling asleep curled into Kuroo’s body or Kuroo giving Kenma a massage when he’s stressed. They can almost read each other’s thoughts and Akaashi burns with jealousy over it, over how much he wants it for himself, that coexistence that comes from resting within someone else’s mind.
Sometimes he thinks he should try and date, try to get over Bokuto and stop pining for the other boy, but work is hard and college is harder and he really just doesn’t have the energy to try.
Anyways, he’s happy the way things are. Why would he try to change that?
So he does his work and he watches Bokuto’s games (and sets for him when Bokuto asks, when there’s too much energy crackling through Bokuto’s body and Akaashi can almost feel the intensity rolling off him in waves, because standing next to a restless Bokuto is almost like standing next to a god) and he hangs out with Kuroo and Kenma and Bokuto, but mainly Bokuto, because Bokuto has always been Akaashi’s center.
It’s Akaashi’s life. As far as lives go, he supposes it’s a good one.
Bokuto kisses him, once.
They’d gone to the bars for Kuroo’s birthday, just the four of them, and Kuroo had challenged Bokuto to a drinking contest while Kenma and Akaashi looked at each other tiredly. They hadn’t bothered trying to stop it, knowing that trying to stop the rowdier two from riling each other up was like trying to stop a tornado with a feather duster, so the two quieter boys had nursed a drink together as they waited to carry their respective idiots back home.
Kenma looked at him then, eyes contemplative as he sipped on something so fruity Akaashi couldn’t even begin to guess as to what was in it, and quietly asked Akaashi, “Are you happy?”
They’ve been friends for years now, Akaashi and Kenma, but under the quiet scrutiny, Akaashi still shifts uncomfortably.
“I don’t know,” he says, and his lack of an answer speaks volumes more than he wanted it to.
Later, as Kenma calls a cab and bundles a clingy Kuroo into the backseat, giving the driver his and Akaaashi’s address, Akaashi contemplates Bokuto and thinks about Kenma’s question. Bokuto is a sleepy, affectionate drunk, clinging to Akaashi with his arms around Akaashi’s waist and his nose buried in Akaashi’s hair, heat radiating from Bokuto’s chest into Akaashi’s back, and as he prods Bokuto into their awaiting cab, he hears Kenma’s voice in his head once again.
“Are you happy?”
He’d like to think he is, sitting there with Bokuto pressed against him, shoulder to calf. He’d like to think he’s happy. He’s got good friends, he’s doing well in school in anticipation of a good job, he’s even enjoying his classes. He should be happy.
The cab pulls up to Bokuto’s apartment and Akaashi tugs him out, tossing money at the driver before guiding Bokuto up the stairs. “Come on… there we go…”
“-Kaaaashi?” Bokuto slurs, stumbling slightly, and Akaashi feels his heart melt, just a little. How could he be unhappy around Bokuto? The alcohol was just making him contemplative.
“Right here, Bokuto-san,” He said quietly.
“Kotaro”, Bokuto slurs at him. “Wanna hear you say my naaaame….”
Bokuto’s falling over he’s so drunk, but Akaashi finds himself blushing nonetheless. “Okay, Bokuto-san, let’s get you inside-”
“Please, Keiji? For me?”
If Akaashi wasn’t blushing before, he certainly is now.
“Fine, Kotaro, let’s get you-”
He all but carries Bokuto up the stairs, cursing himself for slacking on his exercise regime, and bundles him into bed before Bokuto grabs him.
“Say it again? Please?”
Akaashi sighs. “Go to sleep, Kotaro, I’ll see you in the morning.”
He isn’t expecting it, really, which is why he’s so surprised when Bokuto physically pulls him down and plants a kiss right on Akaashi’s lips. “L’ve you… Keijiii…” he slurs, before promptly passing out.
Bokuto wakes up twelve hours later, hungover and cranky. They never speak of the kiss again.
Things should be awkward, post kiss.
They should be unbearable. Akaashi knows himself, knows his feelings for Bokuto, knows what he wants and what he’ll never have.
Knows what he’s missing, now.
(In another universe, they talk about it. Akaashi goes up to Bokuto the next morning, looks him straight in the eyes and says, “I’m in love with you.”
In that universe, Bokuto stands up so fast he knocks a chair over in his rush to get to Akaashi. In that universe, they kiss for the second time in their pajamas before Akaashi’s had his cup of coffee. Bokuto’s mouth tastes like toothpaste and stale alcohol, but he’s never been more sober than he is at that moment.
In that universe, Bokuto says “I’m in love with you, too”, and Akaashi believes him.)
All of this means he shouldn’t be able to stand Bokuto’s presence, and yet nothing changes between them. Bokuto is still overenthusiastic and touchy with Akaashi, clinging to him at any given moment like an octopus with attachment issues; Akaashi still looks at him like he holds the world.
Bokuto even tell Akaashi he loves him, once. Granted, the two of them are stoned off their asses to celebrate the end of finals, marking the end of Akaashi’s first year and Bokuto’s second, so when Bokuto turns his head and says “I love you, Keiji,” Akaashi naturally plays it off. He sometimes has a vague feeling it had only happened in a dream, but he wouldn’t risk bringing it up either way.
On the off chance it was a dream… He doesn’t want to scare Bokuto off.
It’s good. It’s them. Akaashi doesn’t want it to ever change.
But it will. Inevitably.
After all, Akaashi’s life has never gone the way he wants it to, does it?
Everything changes one day, a couple of months before Bokuto is due to finish his third year in university.
What changes is this: Bokuto gets scouted.
For the national team.
They’d known it might happen, of course; the university had been bringing in scouts to watch their team play since last year. Ushijima had been scouted at the end of the previous year; Akaashi had heard rumors that Oikawa had been scouted shortly after.
And now it was Bokuto’s turn.
Akaashi went to every game he could, of course. They didn’t always coincide well with his schedule, but when they did, he was there, cheering for Bokuto as loudly as he dared. Sometimes the coach - who had come to know Akaashi since Bokuto sometimes dragged him to practices so Akaashi could set for him - would let Akaashi stand on the sidelines with him. The team knew Akaashi, and knew he was good for Bokuto’s morale, so no one really protested.
He’s on those sidelines the day Bokuto gets word from Tokyo’s national team.
The recruiter is a lithe man with a well-kempt ponytail and a suit and tie. He approaches Bokuto, and Akaashi watches him hand Bokuto a card before bowing and walking away.
Bokuto stares at the card in his hands, mouth slack, before he jumps up and looks around wildly. “Keiji!” He calls out, and Akaashi stumbles slightly to hear his first name fall from Bokuto’s perfect lips but it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter , because Bokuto is the sun and Keiji Akaashi is stuck in orbit.
Bokuto hands him the card in his hand in stunned silence, and Akaashi studies it carefully.
Nakamura Hiraku (中村 拓)
Men’s Volleyball Tokyo
+81 (050) 363-9824
PO box 9895
“Men’s Volleyball Tokyo…” Akaashi breathes. “You did it, Bokuto-san. You did it.”
“I’m not dreaming, am I?” Bokuto asks, and Akaashi can see his eyes welling up with tears. “If this is a dream, I never want to wake up!”
“You’re not dreaming, Koutaro.” Akaashi says firmly, using Bokuto’s first name to get his attention. “You really did it.”
He can feel his eyes welling up in spite of himself, matching the tears rolling down Bokuto’s cheeks even as Akaashi fights against letting them fall. He’s never been so proud of his ace.
Bokuto throws himself at Akaashi, and they collide with an ‘oomph’ as Bokuto buries his face in Akaashi’s shirt.
“Be my manager, Keiji! I know you will take care of me!”
Akaashi looks down at him, startled.
The truth is, he could do it. He’d chosen business management as his intended course of study, and he was actually enjoying it; he’s ranked among the highest in his class. He could do it, but-
“Yeah!” Bokuto cheers, then does a double-take. “Wait, what? Why not?”
Akaashi smiles wanly. “Bokuto-san, I can’t help you get far while I’m still in school. You need a real manager.”
“But I don’t want them!” Bokuto argued. “I want you!”
“No, Bokuto-san,” Akaashi insisted. “You don’t.”
He pressed the card back into Bokuto’s hand before turning to leave. “Call him, ask for recommendations. I’ll see you later… Koutaro.”
Bokuto disappears, after that.
He doesn’t actually disappear, of course, but instead of college, he’s busy with training and meetings and photoshoots and everything else that comes from being recruited to the national team.
Akaashi misses him.
In another universe, Akaashi plucks up his courage and calls Bokuto the day after he leaves for a three-week training camp. When Bokuto picks up, Akaashi nearly cries.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I miss you.”
I love you.
Bokuto smiles at him warmly. “There’s nothing to apologize for,” he says. “I miss you too.”
I love you, too.
Akaashi graduates with honors a year early from University.
He’d purposely overloaded his courses, working triple time to get through his program as fast as possible. There had been nights where even Kenma had looked worried, but it was all worth it because he was done.
He’d done it. Graduated with a degree in business management and a minor in sports management. He hadn’t thought it was possible, but -
He’d really done it.
He stands, surrounded by his parents and Kenma and Kuroo and the other friends he’d made throughout the years he’s been here, and everything is bright and beautiful as the sakura petals blow in the breeze, except -
Bokuto’s absence hurts Akaashi like a missing limb. He knows Bokuto doesn’t mean it, of course, knows he would have liked to be with Akaashi on his graduation day, but Bokuto’s got a big game in Rio in two days and he’s busy training. He’ll probably skype Akaashi later, exhausted from long workouts and close to passing out, and Akaashi will miss Bokuto both from Tokyo to Rio and from his bed to the computer screen.
For now, he smiles for his mother’s pictures and deflects questions about his future from his father, takes silly selfies with his friends and makes plans to go out drinking later, enjoys the moment and tries not to notice the too-quiet empty space where Bokuto isn’t. Even in the clamor of voices surrounding him, it’s glaringly obvious.
Akaashi smiles and smiles and pretends that everything is fine.
The first time Akaashi watched Bokuto play a game without Akaashi setting for him, he burned with jealousy like nothing he’d ever felt before. It hadn’t lasted long - Akaashi acknowledged that he’d chosen not to continue the game, despite Bokuto nearly begging him to, as he’d wanted to concentrate on his studies as much as he could - but it had burned low and heady in his stomach until he’d felt sick.
The first time he watches Bokuto play for Team Tokyo with Kageyama Tobio as his setter, the feeling returns tenfold.
The thing about Kageyama Tobio is - they really don’t call him the king of the court for nothing. He was good in high school, with Karasuno supporting him and believing in him, and he was good in university, him and Hinata Shouyo creating an unstoppable team unwilling to admit defeat.
He was good then.
He is unstoppable now.
Kageyama’s tosses are so perfect, Akaashi misses the feeling of a ball between his fingers. They make him want to get back on the court and toss for the man who will always be his Ace, college and national teams be damned.
Kageyama tossing to his Ace makes tendrils of jealousy rise from the pit of Akaashi’s stomach until he sees green. He sits on the sidelines of practice and burns quietly, embers igniting and glowing within him.
For the first time since college, he regrets not keeping with volleyball. He could never dream of being as good as Kageyama, and he knows it, but his rationality is a bit shot at the moment, so he lets it slide.
“Hard to watch, isn’t it?”
Akaashi jumps and turns, startled by the voice behind him. Hinata Shouyo, the other half of Karasuno’s Freak Duo, stands before him, weight carefully balanced on a pair of crutches.
“Hello, Akaashi-san.” The shorter man acknowledges, turning back to the practice before him. “I know how you feel.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Akaashi murmurs. The redhead chuckles lowly and Akaashi flushes, trying not to think too hard about the implications of Hinata’s words.
“It was hard to watch him play without me, too,” Hinata says, nodding towards Kageyama thoughtfully. “Of course, I want him to go as far as he can, and I want to be with him every step of the way, but right now…”
He gestures down at the brace covering the majority of his leg.
“Torn meniscus. Severe. I have a spot out there waiting for me in a couple of weeks when this clunky thing-” he taps the brace with his knuckles, “-comes off, but until then… It never really gets easier, watching him from the sidelines.”
Akaashi hums thoughtfully and silently marvels at how much Hinata has changed since high school. The intensity he remembers is still there, burning in his eyes, but it’s more controlled. Hinata’s more sure of himself, now, less desperate to prove himself, and it shows.
“I guess that’s love though, isn’t it?” Hinata continues, and Akaashi nearly does a spit take. He’s not that obvious, is he? “Wanting to be with them always, you know? Wanting them to do their best no matter what? I guess that’s just love.”
Akaashi just stares at him, heart hammering in his chest. When had Hinata Shouyo become so observant?
“Bokuto-san and I- we’re… it’s not like that.”
“I- I mean - I just thought - I’m so sorry, Akaashi-Senpai!” Hinata nearly yells, bowing as low as he can with the crutches. “I didn’t mean to insinuate- or insult- I!”
Akaashi smiles bitterly.
“It’s okay, Hinata-Kun. You’re not wrong.”
In another universe, Akaashi uses that conversation as the push he needs. He pulls Bokuto into an empty hallway after practice finishes and reels him in without a word, kissing the breath from Bokuto’s lungs like he’s dying and Bokuto is his only source of air. In another universe, Akaashi and Bokuto leave the gym holding hands, and when they pass Hinata and Kageyama - Kageyama holding Hinata’s bag as they banter playfully back and forth over nothing - Hinata gives him a discreet thumbs-up.
In another universe, Hinata Shouyo kisses Kageyama Tobio on the cheek and watches his boyfriend of almost six years go red in the face, and he’s glad that his senpai got their acts together.
In this universe, however, Akaashi leaves practice before it ends and walks home alone.
Hinata just watches him go.
Akaashi’s application to Japan Sports Management Incorporated gets accepted three months after Hinata is put back on the team.
It’s not a big deal.
It’s not a big deal, except it is - because JSM Inc. is the team that manages Japan’s National Volleyball Team.
Which means they manage Bokuto’s team.
He calls Bokuto as soon as he gets the email, and Bokuto yells his excitement over the phone and then hangs up with instructions to “dress nicely, we’re going out to celebrate!”
Akaashi’s never one for bars, and Bokuto knows this, because they end up at a fancy restaurant instead, eating fancy meats and drinking red wine lit by the glow of a candle. It feels like a date. It feels better than a date. It feels authentically them, as Bokuto enthusiastically toasts to Akaashi’s success and they make tentative plans to transfer Bokuto’s managing responsibilities to Akaashi.
Akaashi Keiji looks over at the man he’s been in love with since high school and wonders - why didn’t he ever say anything?
Bokuto’s hazel eyes sparkle in the candlelight, and he’s speaking but Akaashi isn’t listening, too focused on the movements of Bokuto’s lips as he speaks and the flex of Bokuto’s abs as he leans forward. He looks like sin, poured into tight black jeans and a button-down so tight the buttons flex when he breathes, and Akaashi wants.
They’ve each had about a bottle of wine and Akaashi is feeling more than a little tipsy when he stands and gestures to Bokuto.
“Dance with me?”
And yeah, it’s a bad idea. They dance and Akaashi burns in the spaces between them, as the distances between their bodies decrease and decrease, until it’s no longer there and they are connected, connected in every way, flying together among the stars like they’re never going to hit the ground.
Akaashi can feel the gravity of Bokuto’s body pulling him in, reeling him in closer and closer. The energy between them is palpable, sparking and crackling, and if Akaashi wasn’t so drunk on Bokuto he thinks they would probably end up burning.
Bokuto’s hands dance on his hips. Akaashi’s hands slip beneath Bokuto’s shirt.
They shouldn’t do this. It could ruin everything.
Akaashi is teetering on the edge of a precipice he’s walked for years, so close to letting go and letting himself fall even though he knows he shouldn’t.
Bokuto’s hands slip beneath Akaashi’s waistband and he can smell the alcohol on Bokuto’s breath when he leans forward.
“How about we get a cab?”
This is a bad idea and Akaashi knows it.
Fuck it. He’s got nothing to lose.
Akaashi wakes up the next day naked and alone in Bokuto’s bed, sore in places he doesn’t want to think about, and only manages to hold himself together long enough to make it back to his apartment. He doesn’t even have to call in to work, as he doesn’t start at JSM Inc. until next week, so instead he collapses onto his bed and lets himself cry.
He’s ruined everything.
He was wrong. He had everything to lose.
Akaashi avoids Bokuto for a full week, which is one of the longest times he’s ever spent without talking to Bokuto. He keeps his phone off and his head down and hardly leaves his apartment, mentally berating himself for hours on end for being an idiot who ruins everything.
He probably would have stayed like that for longer had Kuroo and Kenma not intervened.
Akaashi and Kenma are not very good at keeping in touch. As a general rule, they’re both quiet people, and quiet people who aren’t near each other tend to talk less. That being said, Kenma is still one of Akaashi’s closest friends and confidants, which means that when Kenma knocks on Akaashi’s apartment door exactly a week after The Dinner Disaster™, Akaashi lets him in.
Kenma stares evenly at Akaashi. He isn’t judging Akaashi - Kenma’s not a judgmental person as a rule, even if Akaashi is standing before him with two days worth of stubble and in clothes he’s pretty sure he hasn’t changed since the day before that - but Akaashi still flushes with embarrassment.
“You’re an idiot, Keiji” Kenma says finally, and Akaashi cringes, looking away. Did Kenma always have to be so blunt?
“You’re both idiots. Honestly, I don’t know why Kuroo and I have put up with this for years. We should have just locked you in a closet years ago and let you guys figure this out for yourselves.”
Akaashi looks up, surprised.
“I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever heard you speak,” He teased playfully, running a hand over his stubbly chin. “Where is your crazier half, anyway?”
Kenma glares at him. “Comforting your crazier half,” he said gruffly. “Y’know, since you ran off after sleeping with him while he was making you breakfast.”
“Bokuto was… Wait, what? How do you even know about that?”
Kenma rolled his eyes, staring down at his phone, though Akaashi knew he was paying attention. “Bokuto called Kuroo crying when you didn’t come back. We would have been here sooner, but Bokuto didn’t want to pressure you. Said to give you time. But then he gave you time and you never came back, so. Here we are.”
Bokuto said to give you time.
You never came back.
“Kenma,” Akaashi says slowly, “I think I fucked up.”
Kenma blinks up at him, suddenly looking exhausted. “You think?”
“I have to fix this,” Akaashi blurts out. “I seriously messed up this time.”
“Yeah, you did,” Kenma replied. “But Keiji?”
“Maybe take a shower first? You smell like depression.”
Akaashi stands in front of Bokuto’s door frozen. He’d showered and shaved and changed into something nice, and even stopped at the florist on the way over because Bokuto deserved flowers, okay and now -
There are a million reasons he shouldn’t knock.
He doesn’t deserve you.
You made him cry.
He probably hates you, now, considering all the anguish you caused him.
Akaashi looks back over at Kenma and he can feel the anxiety rising in his chest, feels the urge to turn and flee and-
“He’s waiting for you,” Kenma says softly, as if he’s read Akaashi’s mind. “He’s not mad.”
Kenma’s words wash over him like a balm and Akaashi nods, squaring his shoulders. He raises his arm and knocks -
In another universe, Akaashi doesn’t listen to Kenma. In another universe, he turns and runs and never looks back, giving up on love forever. In another universe, he leaves, and two hearts shatter into pieces at the same time.
In this universe, however, Akaashi knocks on the door.
He chooses happiness.
A butterfly flaps its wings, and Akaashi steps forward.
It’s the beginning of a new universe, and there’s no better universe than his.