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it's tradition

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The Fukurodani Christmas party is the same every year. The managers save the day with their goodies, there are owls in Santa-hats plastered everywhere, someone goes overboard on the white elephant ((XXL condoms, candy thongs, and a suspicious round package Konoha had refused to finish opening included)). Someone falls asleep in the middle of the excitement and wakes up with a whipped-cream Santa beard, and lastly, most importantly, the captain always wins a kiss under the mistletoe.   

Bokuto can’t get this insistent thought out of his head. At first the thought is exciting. He’s going to be kissed! He’s never been kissed before, but he’s sure he’s great at it. How could he not be? He’s the captain, he’s in the top five aces in the country, and it’s going to be totally perfect and fantastic. Bokuto’s going to be kissed.

It nearly makes him buzz with excitement the whole week before the party. It blasts away every other thought. His daydreams of owls and flying are replaced with kissing, sweeping someone off their feet, with dangling mistletoe above them. Everyone was watching in Bokuto’s fantasy, and they all burst into applause and praise at Bokuto’s fantastic kissing. It fuels him with maniac energy: Bokuto has to be kissed. Bokuto is going to be kissed at the party.  

“You’re going to get sick if you keep eating that, Bokuto-san,” Akaashi warns, though his eyes are amused. Bokuto hides the batter-covered spoon behind his back.

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bokuto breezes. He has a smudge of brownie batter on his nose.

The party is tomorrow, and Bokuto had signed up to bake brownies. Akaashi says he's here for supervision, to make sure Bokuto didn’t burn his house down, but so far he’s done most of the work. Bokuto doesn’t mind much, he likes Akaashi’s face when he’s concentrating. The small furrows of focus on his brow, the slight purse of pink lips. Besides, Akaashi lets him do the stirring, which for Bokuto is the fun part.

Akaashi raises his eyebrows, unconvinced. “Really?”

“What?” Bokuto rubs his cheek with the hand holding the spook and paints a chocolatey streak across his face. “Oh, dammit--”

Akaashi muffles breathy giggles into his hand. Bokuto tries to wipe it away with his other hand and it smears. Akaashi takes the spoon from him, still smiling and pink with laughter. “You’re a disaster. Come here.”

Akaashi stills Bokuto with a hand on his cheek, tongues his thumb and starts to wipe away the smear gently.

“We’re not going to have enough batter for the party at this rate,” Akaashi lectures, but his words have no bite. Bokuto feels tender under his touch.

Akaashi’s hand is so warm. His eyes are soft and his lips are parted. Bokuto feels like he’s filled with stars and snowflakes as he looks at him. Bokuto has to be kissed tomorrow .

Akaashi sucks the batter off his fingers and hums. “It’s good.”

“Hey, hey we’re both going to be sick now,” Bokuto says.

“I only had a taste,” Akaashi says, prodding his chest. “It’s not the same.”

“It seems the same,” Bokuto counters lamely. Akaashi humors him with a small smile. He moves to grab a towel to dry Bokuto off. His strokes along Bokuto’s cheek are gentle and slow.

Akaashi’s eyes seem darker than usual. His fingers linger on Bokuto’s skin.

“Are you nervous about tomorrow?” Akaashi asks, voice low.

Bokuto blinks. “What? The party?”

“The kiss,” Akaashi clarifies.

“Oh.” Bokuto’s mouth is tingling. “The kiss.”

They’re close enough to share heartbeats and Bokuto feels each and every one. Beat, Akaashi. Beat, kissed tomorrow. Beat, chocolate covered fingers and mistletoe. Beat, Akaashi and brownies and Bokuto has to be kissed tomorrow.

“Have you thought about it at all?” Akaashi asks, voice forced and light.

Bokuto swallows. “Um, well. Kind of.”

“Do you know who?”

Who? The question catches him off guard, and then comes back to punch him in the gut. For all the time spent dreaming and anticipating his Christmas kiss, Bokuto had never once assigned a ‘who’ to the kiss. It’d been a faceless stranger in his fantasies, but now he’s suddenly very aware that the lips he was going to kiss were attached to a person. A manager, a team mate, a guest at the party, someone. But who?

Bokuto catches himself with his mouth open, staring. He clamps shut, clearing his throat.

“Oh, um, no. No, I don’t know,” Bokuto manages. “I guess just whoever’s there.”

Was that disappointment on Akaashi’s face? Akaashi takes a step back, looking away.

“Let’s finish the brownies, Bokuto-san,” Akaashi says finally. Bokuto’s gaze follows him as he goes to wash his hands.

“Right,” Bokuto says, not yet out of his haze. “Right… Akaashi.”

Bokuto has to be kissed tomorrow. He has to be kissed and suddenly he’s desperate, desperate for it to be Akaashi.

 

xxxx



The party goes as planned. The only edible goodies are the managers cupcakes, Komi ends up with what Sarukui calls “penis pasta” during white elephant, and it only takes an hour for Onaga to doze off on the couch.

There’s only one thing missing.

Bokuto frowns, scanning the doorway and ceilings. “Hey, Komi, where’s the mistletoe?”

“Huh? Oh it’s--” Komi glances to the opposite side of of his living room. “Hey, where’d the mistletoe go?”  

Komi swears he hung some, but their search turns up nothing. Komi’s mother can’t find any spare mistletoe in the linen closet either, and Bokuto’s stomach feels hard as a rock.

“I must have forgotten it.” Komi frowns, tapping his chin thoughtfully. He then shrugs. “Well, you can just do the kiss without mistletoe! I’m sure someone will do it with you, ace.”

Bokuto puts his hands on his hips, trying to look more confident than he feels. “It’s fine, Komi! Don’t mind.”

Nonetheless Bokuto can’t enjoy himself the rest of the party. Did Komi really forget? Did someone take it down because no one wanted to kiss him? He feels his guts have turned to stone. He’s constantly aware of his mouth, his lips and his bottom lip is worried red. Did they all think he’d be a terrible, rotten kisser? What had Bokuto done wrong?   

Bokuto feels awful fidgety. He laughs too loudly, jumps at small movements, and nearly shatters his personalized Christmas mug. His body is hyper-aware of Akaashi’s presence especially, attuned to every murmur of his voice and waft of his cologne as he walks by. Would Akaashi kiss him without a mistletoe? Or was Bokuto kidding himself? Akaashi’s polite laughter makes Bokuto want to vomit halfway across the room.

It’s ten minutes to midnight and Bokuto hasn’t been kissed. The managers are curled up in one corner, chatting warmly. Konoha and Komi sprawled across a still-sleeping, bearded Onaga. Sarukui and Washio are playing card games and snickering over cupcakes. Bokuto is invited to join them, but he declines in favor of staring into his mug of hot chocolate and feeling sorry for himself.

“Bokuto-san?”

Bokuto lurches, nearly splashing his hot chocolate and falling over. Akaashi steadies him with a hand on his elbow.

“Sorry,” Akaashi murmurs. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

His lips are scrunched in concern, red with frosting from eaten cupcakes, and looking absolutely kissable. Where was Bokuto’s mistletoe when he needed it?

“It’s fine!” Bokuto gives what he hopes is a reassuring smile. “Having fun, Akaashi?”

Akaashi nods. “I’m tired. Will you walk me home?”

It isn’t an unusual request. Bokuto’s been walking Akaashi home since the first year joined the club, looking slim and serious and in need of protection. Bokuto didn’t understand the tight, warm feeling then, but he does now. It urges Bokuto to kiss him, and kiss him now before he has time to regret it.

But he doesn’t. He just grins again and nods. “Alright, let me get my coat!”

It’s snowing as they walk home. Brisk white flakes catch in Akaashi’s curls and their breath is thick and billowy as it trails behind them. Akaashi’s quiet as Bokuto fills the night with his usual babble.

“Kinda weird Komi didn’t have a mistletoe,” Bokuto says, his heartbeat quickening as he says it. “It’s usually tradition.”

Akaashi squirms. “Maybe he forgot.”

“Yeah,” Bokuto says. “Maybe he did. Kinda sucks though.”

Akaashi gives a noncommittal hum and Bokuto slumps.

“I was...  I was kind of looking forward to it,” Bokuto admits. “Usually the captain gets to kiss someone.”

“Usually,” Akaashi echos. He’s looking very firmly ahead.

“But.” Bokuto shrugs. He doesn’t want to seem needy. “I guess that’s how it is.”

They’ve reached Akaashi’s home, a large expensive-looking place with a gate closed off to them. They stand on the sidewalk just outside it.  

Akaashi turns to him. He’s so lovely. Pink cheeks, dark eyes, the soft curve of his cheek graced in the warm, low lighting. Bokuto feels like all his insides are being squeezed out. Where was his mistletoe when he needed it?

“I’m sorry you didn’t get your kiss,” Akaashi says.

“It’s fine!” Bokuto gives an unconvincing grin. “I mean, it wouldn’t really be a Christmas kiss without mistletoe, right?”

Akaashi shuffles his feet. “Right...”

Bokuto frowns in confusion. “You okay, Akaashi?”

Akaashi bites down on his lower lip, giving Bokuto a fierce, determined look.

“I have something for you,” he says.

Bokuto feels his heartbeat in his chest, his wrists, his throat. “For me?”

Akaashi looks down, he pulls a bright, leafy mistletoe from his pocket. Bokuto gasps and takes it from him.

“Akaashi, you found it!” Bokuto cries. “Where was it?”

Akaashi fiddles with his fingers. “I stole it.”

Bouto drops the precious mistletoe in surprise. “You what?”

“I stole it,” Akaashi repeats, looking at him with flushed cheeks. “Yesterday, we were making brownies and you said it would be whoever was with you and I-- I didn’t want it to be whoever. So I stole it when Komi was hanging up tinsel.”

Bokuto knows he’s staring, and that his mouth is hanging open stupidly, but he can’t help it. None of this is registering. Akaashi what?

“W-why?” Bokuto stammers.

Akaashi folds his arms across his chest, looking cute all puffed up and defensive. “I told you. I didn’t want anyone else kissing you,” he says with some difficulty. 

Bokuto could sing. “Because you wanted to be kissing me.”

Akaashi nods, a strangled expression on his face. Bokuto beams.

“You want to kiss me,” Bokuto repeats. “Akaashi Keiji wants to kiss me!”

Akaashi goes red, looking firmly away in embarrassment. Bokuto whoops, punching the air. He feels like he’s sparkling, weightless, he might grow wings,  Akaashi wants to kiss him . He turns and squashes Akaashi’s cheeks in his hands.

“I want to kiss you too!” Bokuto says delightedly.

Akaashi’s smile is both exasperated and fond as he says, “Then do already.”

Bokuto’s breath catches. “Really?”

Akaashi gestures to the mistletoe at their feet. “There’s mistletoe, isn’t there?”

Bokuto doesn’t hesitate this time. He encases Akaashi’s mouth in his. Kissing soft, kissing slow. Akaashi’s pliant against him, easy to press his lips into. Akaashi winds his arms around him, tugging him closer and oh-- He’s kissing back and filling Bokuto with a heady, vibrant heat. Bokuto is being kissed. 

“You’re good at that,” Bokuto says when they break away.

Akaashi hums and smirks. “You could use some work.”

“Hey, hey, hey! That was just my first time, I’ll get better!” Bokuto says defensively.

"Don't worry," Akaashi says. He brushes their noses together, leaning in again. “We have plenty of time to practice.”