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The Glow

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Keiji didn’t expect the world to turn to chaos. Well, he knew it was inevitable but he didn’t know it was going to happen while he was still alive. Maybe in the year 2230 or 3000s--was that even a year? He definitely didn’t expect it to happen in the year 2019. Neither did he expect it to make him so untrusting of others. Though, the only reason why he was like that was because of a promise he made.

And he remembered the day he made the promise like it was yesterday.

 

“Keiji,” Keiji quickly looked over at the voice hushing his name. They were crouched behind a counter in a store they found while walking down a long road. It was the only thing for miles, and everything else around them was plains. They hadn’t expected so many of them to be around, but they were. The infected were banging on the door trying to get their hands on them to attack them. Keiji honestly didn’t know if they were going to kill them, eat them, turn them, or all of those. “Take the stuff and go.”

“Mom, what--”

“Go.” Keiji’s mother shoved her backpack filled with newly grabbed goods they raided in the store they found. He stared down at it not moving an inch. “Keiji, leave me behind.” Teary-eyed, Keiji made eye contact with his mother. He really did take after her with the dark blue eyes to the black, curly hair.

“You’ll die here.” Keiji quickly peeked over the counter. The infected were almost in. The chains on the door handle were slipping off, one end of the chains loosely hanging. “Mom, I can’t leave you here. There’s too many--” Keiji’s mother cut him off by grabbing ahold of his cheeks and pulling them to look at her.

“Keiji, listen to me. I’ll distract them. You run, and you run far. Get out of here. Get someplace safe. Promise me that you’ll get out of this town, promise me you’ll be as safe as you can given the circumstances, promise me you’ll never trust another soul again. You need to be on your own.”

“M-Mom--” The door banged from the infected, and it gave a loud echo through the store. The two of them jumped. Keiji’s mother shoved the bag further into Keiji’s arms.

“Promise me.” Keiji was standing now. His eyes moved back and forth between his mother and the door with the raving lunatics. He choked back a sob and nodded quickly, heading straight toward the back door leaving his mother behind.

His throat felt dry while running away from that store. The backpack on his back bounced up and down, and the friction of the moving bag warmed his back up a bit. He ended up finding another house on the way of that long stretch of road and hid there. 

As Keiji stayed warm by a fire while eating a can of cold food, tears rolled down his cheeks. He curled up in a blanket he found while raiding the house and had his back to a wall. The one person he could ever trust in the whole world was gone that easily. It made him realize how fragile life really was and how that, at all cost, it needed to be protected.

 

Even though that event was still fresh in his mind--the look in his mother’s eyes never left him for a second, it wasn't something that had happened a few weeks ago. That was years ago. Three years ago. Keiji had been 16 when he had to let his mother go. Through those three years, Keiji had never broken the three promises he made to his mother. Keiji got out of that town, Keiji stayed as safe as he could, Keiji didn’t trust anybody. Actually, he was pretty sure he forgot how to speak. 

Normally, you would probably forget how to speak if you hadn’t for three years. However, Keiji knew he needed to keep his sanity, so he would sing from time to time. It wasn’t just to keep him from going insane, but it also helped him so he knew he hadn’t lost his voice, memories, or knowledge of the English language. 

 

Actually, in present time, that’s exactly what Keiji was doing. He sang to himself some tune, and he couldn’t remember, but he was pretty sure it was the last thing he heard on the radio, but hell, that was five years ago. How in the world would he remember?

Keiji was walking in a small town. There were houses lined up on the street, and at the end of the street, there was a small convenience store. Most likely, probably, most definitely, it was already raided, but Keiji was always able to find something. He really was a pro scavenger at this point.

As he entered the convenience store, the smell of rotting food hit him. Great, now he really wanted to get out of there, though, if there was something here, Keiji had to find it. At this point, he needed anything he could get. He began to carefully look around making sure to look in every crack and space where there could possibly be a supply of anything.

He walked around and opened an office door. Looking in, Keiji froze. In the room to the far wall was a man crouched over a body.

Eating him.

God, Keiji would never get used to seeing that, and he was glad, honestly. It made him know for sure he was still sane. 

Keiji’s hand moved to his belt where he had his weapon of choice hanging from it. A machete. He pulled it out with a sigh. The infected backed up to the wall as if he were scared, however, Keiji knew the look in the eyes by now. Even if there was a cure, this guy was far too gone to save.

“I’m sorry for this,” Keiji said. His voice was always quiet when he apologized which he did every time he would kill an infected--only if they weren’t attacking him. Keiji stepped forward to the man, machete straight out in front of him. He didn’t know what to say, but to be honest, he never really did. Keiji bit his lip while raising the blade then quickly swung it. Decapitation was always a permanent solution. 

As Keiji was about to kneel down next to the guy, something knocked him to his feet. Keiji was knocked on his back, his machete tossed to the side. As Keiji was hitting the ground, the feeling of a sharp pain stung heavily in his shoulder. A knife piercing straight through the flesh. Keiji opened his eyes and made eye contact with the infected that was now straddling him. He gritted his teeth, his head hitting the hard floor as he hit the ground. As it attacked him, Keiji grabbed his wrists to hold him back as it moved to claw at his throat.

‘Please don’t bite me, please don’t bite me, please don’t bite me--’ 

And the machete swung, but it wasn’t Keiji’s machete. The head of the infected thankfully fell off to the side and rolled away, and Keiji pushed the body off. Quickly, he scampered up to his feet and backed up to the wall, eyes looking to whoever killed the infected that attacked him. Keiji was quick to grab another knife from his belt--a second weapon he was unable to grab while getting attacked.

“Woah, woah! I just saved you, man! What’s with the hostility?” The man asked while holding up his hands, a bloodied, rusty ax in one hand. Keiji didn’t say anything. He still held up the knife in protection. He’s been in a situation where an infected saved him from another and then attacked him right after. They’re ruthless, and some aren’t too far gone where they can still act to be human to trick you. “I’m not--” The man paused and looked at the headless body on the ground. A pool of blood started to form around it. “One of those.”

“Bokuto! Is everything alright in there?! You gotta learn to stop talking to your--” Another guy walked in the doorway, but he stopped when he met eyes with Keiji, “--self. Hello.” The guy leaned toward Keiji’s ‘hero’. “Yo, is he--” The man slowly lowered his ax.

“I dunno,” he shrugged. “He’s not talking. You think he can hear us?”

“Like a deaf--”

“I can hear you,” Keiji finally said, and his voice was a little rough since he hadn't talked this loudly in years. These people really had the guts to just stand right in front of Keiji and talk about him.

“Oh, sweet. Why not uh--” the guy turned his head and pointed to Keiji’s knife, “put that down please?” Keiji’s eyes looked between the two. The one who saved him had this crazy-ass hair. It was spiked up like two horns, and the roots of his hair were black while the rest of it was white. He was pretty tall--definitely taller than Keiji. Though, the tallest one there, by maybe an inch, was the other friend who had walked in on them. His black hair was straight up, however, bangs covered over his eyes on the right side of his face.

“No.”

“What can we do to get you to put that down?” Keiji thought for a moment. His eyes kept looking around the room. He was honestly thinking if there was any way he could grab something, push the two of them down and run. Keiji didn’t kill people, he killed infected, and out of his five years with dealing with these things, he could tell these two weren’t one of them. “That! Your shoulder! It’s bleeding.” Keiji’s eyes glanced over at his shoulder then quickly back at the other two. The knife the infected had stabbed him with was tossed to the ground with Keiji’s blood on it. His own wound was just dripping, the blood running down his arm and soaking into his shirt as it went.

Keiji shrugged.

“Damn, you’re tough.” The guy in the doorway mumbled.

“Let me patch you up!”

“What?” Keiji asked. “No. How about you let me leave and you make it out alive for however much longer you last?”

“Come on! I only want to help!” There was this smile on the guy’s face as he raised his eyebrows high. A gleam in his eyes that Keiji hadn’t seen in years. There was--Shit, was that hope? Hope? Really? After five years of this and this guy really was this hopeful.

Keiji had run out of medical equipment a while back. He went out for a trip from his base to get more stuff, and he didn’t exactly pack everything he needed. Shit, Keiji didn’t expect to get hurt so much during a simple week-long milk run.

With a sigh, Keiji lowered his knife back into the sleeve on his belt. “You have ten minutes.”

“That’s all the time I need! Promise!”

 

Keiji sat on the counter in the convenience store next to the broken, tipped-over register. The guy was right next to him, his tongue sticking out as he used a needle and thread to connect back the torn flesh of Keiji’s wound. 

His name was Koutarou Bokuto, twenty years old. He grew up in this town, and apparently, he had come back to see if there was anyone here. Yes, he was checking his hometown after five years. According to him, this day was special to his town. It was a day that everyone gathered and celebrated the birth of the town. He said that if anyone were to come back, it would be today.

Meanwhile, his friend was Tetsurou Kuroo, twenty years old as well. They knew each other when they were kids, but Tetsurou ended up moving away, however, the two stayed in contact through elementary, middle, and high school. So, when this shit started happening, Tetsurou went off to meet up with Koutarou while the phones were still working. 

Keiji felt the quick prick of pain every time Koutarou would stab through his skin, and each time, Keiji would bite his lip and look off at the ground. He hated looking into Koutarou’s eyes. What were they so damn bright and happy and cheerful and hopeful and positive for? 

“I’m almost done, Akaashi.”

“Three minutes.”

“Okay, okay!” Koutarou said quickly. He picked up a knife and cut the string. “Let me clean it or it’ll get infected.” Keiji just nodded, and with that, Koutarou was quick to grab a towel and bottled water. He poured some water on the towel and wiped it down the side of Keiji’s bare arm. Keiji let out a wince in pain and bit his tongue. “Sorry,” Koutarou mumbled. He lifted Keiji’s arm a little, and he was really careful about it. Lightly grabbing ahold of Keiji’s arm and slowly lifting it. His arm grabbed some bandages he pulled from his bag and wrapped it around his shoulder. 

“There!” Koutarou said while putting his hands up. “All done, Akaashi.”

“Thanks,” Keiji said as he jumped down from the counter. He tapped the tip of his shoe on the ground as his hand moved to touch his machete. After he made sure he had those, Keiji turned and grabbed his bag off the ground and slung that on his shoulder. “I’ll be leaving now.”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Koutarou grabbed Keiji’s arm and stopped him from making his way out the door. “Well, uh don’t you think we should stick together?” Keiji shook his head. “Man, you’re so stubborn.”

“I don’t trust people, Bokuto. It’s not you, it’s me,” Keiji said. He slipped his grip from Koutarou and started to head out again. At the door, Keiji stopped before heading out. He turned his head and looked back at Koutarou. “Promise me you won’t get infected.” They finally locked eyes for the first time--if you didn't count the time Keiji was checking his eyes to see if he had that infected look in them. “I’m sick of seeing good people turned bad.”

“Of course, ‘Kaashi! You too.” Keiji nodded and finally left the convenience store leaving the only shred of life he knew of in years behind.

Chapter Text

Keiji got by. That was like breathing for him. Surviving off of food he could find or kill even. It had gotten to the point where cooking wild animals or growing his own food was the only option. Not like that was ever an issue for him. Honestly, he liked the hobby. 

His setup, base camp, house, whatever you wanted to call it was pretty small. It was a one level house, something he found out in the open where there weren’t many other houses. The nearest house was probably a half a mile away. There was a stream nearby the house that Keiji made sure was clean. It was perfect for a water source, and if Keiji knew how to hook up the water to make it run through the house, he was sure going to do it.

Though, alas, that really just wasn’t something Keiji knew how to do. He worked with computers as a teen, not plumbing and housing. That would’ve been nice. 

There was never anything to do but fix things up around here. Honestly, the apocalypse kind of bored him. Keiji had carried home books from the library in the nearest town to read, but he had read all of them he had. So, that’s what Keiji planned on doing. Getting books. He had a medical kit in his bag with a few bottles of water, machete strapped to his belt, and Keiji headed off into town.

 

Keiji knew exactly where the library was. He honestly had the whole town memorized by now. Right away, he headed straight for it ignoring all the bodies that laid on the street. There weren’t that many, and by now, they were decomposed beside a few new freshly killed ones.

He headed right into the building, and there was a sort of warm feeling when he heard the chime of the bell. It made him feel like everything wasn’t all to shit. Though, of course, Keiji couldn’t imagine a normal life at this point.  Usually, he got nightmares about everything. The ones with infected raiding his house never really haunted him that much. It was the ones with his mother that did more a toll on him.

While he browsed through, Keiji wondered what kind of book he should get. Fiction or non fiction? Maybe he could get some book in plumbing to try and figure out if he could set up the water to run through his small, little cabin house.

As he reached for a book, something stopped him. A gunshot. He paused, eyes snapping over to the direction of the front door. Quickly, Keiji ducked down low as he made his way over to the glass door and windows. He stared outside trying to look for the source. 

There he was. That idiot—the first idiot Keiji had ever met in years was right there. He hooted out a holler and pumped his fist in the air.

“Hell yeah! Did you see that?!” Keiji couldn’t hear what the other guy responded with. 

‘What were their names again?’

Keiji went back into the back of the library. He just wanted to get his books and get out. There were more gunshots, and it just made Keiji nervous. He stuffed random books into his bag, and as he was putting that back on shoulders, Keiji heard the scream.

“Ah, fuck! Seriously!?” Keiji made his way back to the windows and peered out of it. The idiot with the bicolored hair was on his ass sitting in the middle of the road. On the other hand, his friend was holding the gun crouched beside him. Keiji cracked open the door so he could hear their conversation. 

“Shit, sorry, man.”

“You aim and then shoot not shoot and then aim.”

“I know how to work a gun, smart shit.”

“Doesn’t fucking seem like it.” He groaned while a hand clutched onto his arm. “Ugh, you bitch.”

“We didn’t pack medical shit, dude.”

“We went to shoot shit and you didn’t grab the med kit?”

“We weren’t gonna shoot each other.” The guy pointed to the infected on the ground. It was one they had just shot. “We were gonna shoot them.”

“Fuck. Okay, then we have to find something. I’ll bleed out before we can get home.” 

“Oh, yeah. For sure. You’ll die, dude,” he said while helping his friend to his feet.

“Not helping.”

Keiji pushed open the door, and both of their attention snapped over to him. The friend had raised the gun, and Keiji flinched. 

“Hey! It’s him—put that down!” He slapped the gun down with his hand that was covered in blood from holding his wound. Quickly, the guy's hand moved back, probably in an effort to stop the bleeding, however, holding the wound wouldn't do much for a gunshot. “Uh, what was his name? ‘Akaashi’?” Keiji nodded. “Sweet! I’m awesome.”

“I’m sure no one else thinks that.” The injured one swung an arm at the other.

“Rude,” he pouted once he had missed from the other one dodging his arm. He looked over at Keiji. “I’d never thought I would see you again, ‘Kaashi!” He waved a hand like an overly excited idiot. Well, to Keiji, that’s what he was. “What’s up?”

Now, Keiji hated to owe people favors. It made him feel like something was clawing at him twenty-four seven. With a sigh, Keiji waved his hand for them to follow him inside the library. The two exchanged looks until the injured one had a smile stretch on his face, and he jumped up and made his way to Keiji with his friend following suit. 

 

Keiji slid the bag off his back and placed it on the table. As he was unzipping it, the two walked into the library and looked around.

“Wait, do you stay here?” 

“What?” Keiji looked around at what the bicolored head of hair was looking at. “No, I was getting books.”

“Getting books in the apocalypse?” The other ones asked. He was staring at his gun, and finally, he clicked the safety lock on it. “I thought kids hated reading.” Keiji raised an eyebrow as he used his foot to move a chair. He pointed to it for the injured to sit, and he did, but Keiji could tell he was wondering what Keiji was going to do exactly.

“‘Kids’? I’m not a kid.” Keiji pulled the small, rusty, brown box from his bag that held his travel pack size of medical goods. 

“You’re a year younger, no?” Keiji shrugged. He flipped the latches on the box and opened it. 

“I don’t remember your ages.” Keiji pulled out a pair of gloves. “I don’t even remember your names.”

“Aw, come on!” The injured one let his head hang down in disappointment. “I remembered yours,” he mumbled quietly. Keiji shook his head with a scoff as he rolled up the other’s sleeve. He grabbed a clip and pinched together the fabric with it to hold it in place. The guy’s head shot up. “Koutarou Bokuto! Come on. You can’t remember that? It’s simple.”

“Easy for you to say,” the other one mumbled with his arms across his chest. The gun had moved to be on his back from a strap on the gun that slung over his shoulder and across his chest. “You’ve had the name going on twenty years now.”

“Shut up, Kuroo,” Koutarou snapped while glaring at him. He looked back at Keiji who had grabbed a pair of tweezers in order to begin to try and find the bullet still lodged in Koutarou’s upper arm. “And he’s Tetsurou Kuroo, professional dickhead.”

“Says the one who poured a whole bucket of water on me while I was sleeping.”

“You weren’t waking up. I thought you were infected.”

“Fuck off.”

Keiji bit his lip while he worked. “Shut up, you two,” he mumbled. Keiji felt the tweezers pinch around something, and he pulled on it, a bullet being held by a pair of tweezers coming out of Koutarou’s arm. 

“Aha!” Koutarou laughed off the pain, but Keiji could see right through it. The way the laughed seemed a little shaky; the way his hands gripped on the edge of the chair, knuckles turning ghost white; the way that his breath would sometimes speed up. It made Keiji know he really was still human.

Keiji dropped the bullet on the ground. He picked up a rag and wiped the tweezers clean before placing them back in the kit, and then he picked up a needle and thread. As Keiji worked on stitching together the fresh bullet wound in Koutarou’s shoulder, Koutarou sat up a little straighter and tried to peek into Keiji’s bag.

“Books on plumbing?” Koutarou sat back in his seat like normal, and he turned his head at Keiji. “Your water not running?”

“And yours is?”

Koutarou nodded with a hum, “Mhm. When I was growing up before--” Koutarou circled a finger in the air, “all of this shit happened, I worked with my father at his plumbing company, so I picked up things. I was able to get the water running in our base.” Keiji took his eyes off the wound for a quick second to look at Koutarou. He was staring ahead at the ground in front of him while squinting. Instead of looking at what he was looking at, Keiji continued to stitch him up. Koutarou really was a weird, interesting person, but maybe Keiji thought that because he was the only other person he had ever met before in three years-- besides Tetsurou who stood there watching.

“Hey, hey, hey, Akaashi?”

“What?”

“I could get your plumbing working for you if you wanted.” Keiji’s hand froze while stabbing the needle through the last inch of flesh. He sighed and finished pushing it through.

“I don’t know.”

“Aw, come on!” Koutarou whined. Keiji lifted his knife and cut the string short. “It’ll help the both of us.” 

“How would it benefit you?” Keiji asked while wiping Koutarou’s arm clean of blood. 

“More practice. Come on!”

“I don’t want you two knowing where I live,” Keiji replied as he pulled the gloves at the fingertips, sliding off the bloodied gloves and tossing them to the ground. 

“Then Kuroo won’t come with. It’ll just be me.” Keiji paused while wrapping up Koutarou’s upper arm in bandages. His eyes moved between Koutarou and Tetsurou, and finally, again, Keiji locked eyes with Koutarou. It was that fucking look in his eyes. Again. Keiji couldn’t stand it, but for some reason, it made him feel lighter. It was that stupid ass glow.

Even though it was something random Koutarou brought up, Tetsurou didn’t seem to have a problem with the new deal. When Keiji had made eye contact with him, Tetsurou shrugged. 

There was this part of Keiji that really didn’t want to say yes, that knew he should say no. He made a promise to his mother. Letting Koutarou in his home would be breaking that promise. Though, it was that damn look in Koutarou’s eyes. They pleaded and it wasn’t for help or a bloodlust to kill Keiji while he slept.

When was the last time Keiji had seen an honest, genuine look in someone’s eyes? 

Keiji finished with the bandages and put the rest that was left back into his small medical box. He closed it with the latch and slipped it into his bag. His eyes stared down at the books of plumbing in his bag. Honestly, he would really rather read some fiction stories. Maybe a story where the main characters beat the apocalypse.

With a sigh, Keiji pulled the books from his bag and let them hit the counter.

“Fine. Just Bokuto.” Keiji took his hands off his bag and started to head back further into the library. “I’m going to find new books.”

“Mmk, Akaashi!”

 

Koutarou turned to Tetsurou. He had this big grin on his face that Tetsurou really preferred to slap off his face.

“What? Why do you have that look on your face?” He asked.

“Dude, he is so fucking pretty,” Koutarou replied with a glance back at him over his shoulder. He pulled his shirt back over his head and started to poke at the bloody hole in his shirt. “And he fucking stitched me up without me even asking.” Tetsurou switched the foot he leaned against the counter on.

“I’m sure he was just returning the favor for when you did it for him.” Koutarou quickly looked back to where Keiji was then over at Tetsurou again. He turned his head like a confused owl.

“Huh?” Koutarou thought in silence for a second then shrugged. “I guess that makes sense.” Koutarou stood from the chair and swung his arm a little. “Ow.” Tetsurou chuckled. “You could at least apologize for shooting me.”

“Oh, did I not do that?” 

“No.”

“Good.” Koutarou rolled his eyes and picked up his own bag off the ground. He could only have the strap hanging on one shoulder since he didn’t want to put any pressure on his brand new wound--courtesy of Tetsurou. 

“Whatever, dickhead. Just go meet up with the others.” Tetsurou sighed and pushed off the counter. He made his way to the door and stopped to look back at Koutarou.

“You know, this reminds me of Daichi and Oikawa.”

“What does?” 

“Me shooting you.” Koutarou laughed. “Right?” Tetsurou asked with this grin on his face, and he let out a little chuckle himself.

“Shut up. Yes," Koutarou agreed. "Get the fuck out of here.”

“See ya, loser.”

 

Keiji came back holding a few books. He walked in and started slipping them into his bag as Tetsurou and Koutarou were finishing their conversation. When he zipped it up, it bought Koutarou’s attention, and he quickly turned to look at Keiji.

“Hey! Ready?” Keiji nodded. “Lead the way!”

Chapter Text

Keiji and Koutaoru now walked side by side to Keiji's place. They headed in silence down the long stretch of road. Well, it was a little bit of silence. Koutarou had this rock that he was kicking in front of him as they walked.

“Akaaaaashii,” Koutarou dragged out while looking over at him, though, Keiji didn’t look back. “Wanna switch bags?”

“Why, Bokuto?”

“‘Cause you have a bunch of books, and you’ve been carrying them for a while, so I thought maybe you would want a break from carrying them.” Keiji stopped walking. He looked between the strap on his shoulder, Koutarou, and then Koutarou’s bag. “Come on, Akaashi. Switch me. It’ll be a load off your shoulder.” 

“No,” Keiji replied, and he continued walking again. He was already breaking his promise by letting Koutarou know where he lives. It’ll just get even worse if he lets him carry his things. “Come on. I don’t want to be out when it’s dark.”

 

Once they reached close to the house, Keiji stopped and looked at Koutarou. Still, he was refusing to make full eye contact with him. He would give his eyes a quick scan, and when Keiji saw that glow that was still in Koutarou's eyes, that glow of hope, care, safety, Keiji pulled his eyes away. He just couldn't make eye contact with him. Fuck that look. 

“Follow exactly what I do. No screw-ups.” 

“You got it, Akaashi!” Keiji had traps set up everywhere, and he was the only one who knew where they were so Koutarou had to follow closely and carefully or he would be caught in one of them. Koutarou was actually really good at dodging the traps with Keiji. He would put his foot where Keiji would, follow exactly the same way Keiji would, even put down the same amount of foot pressure as Keiji would--as best as he could considering he was bigger than him. Keiji was actually surprised there were no casualties while getting to the front door. He opened it with a key that was in his backpack and swung it open. Keiji moved so Koutarou had room to walk through and into the house.

“Thanks, ‘Kaashi,” Koutarou said while stepping inside. As Keiji shut the door, Koutarou looked around the house. His eyes scanned the room, and he started to head into the kitchen, but Keiji stopped him.

“Hold it, Bokuto.” Koutarou stopped walking and turned to look at Keiji. An eyebrow raised. “Don’t.”

“Alright, alright,” Koutarou said while putting his hands up. “Your house, your rules.” Keiji nodded, and he headed into the hallway.

“Stay there,” he said before disappearing into a room. He was really trusting Koutarou by himself in his living room. What was Keiji doing? 

He threw his bag on his bed and slipped off the black jacket he had on. Of course, he just had another black long sleeve underneath it. As he headed back into the living room, Keiji was fixing his sleeves. He found Koutarou standing by the fireplace of the cabin looking at the shelf above it. His eyes carefully observed the pictures there.

“Hey, Akaashi?” He looked back at Keiji then back at the photos. “Who is this girl you’re with? She’s beautiful.”

“My mother.”

“Really?!” Koutarou looked over at Keiji, and his eyes scanned him up and down. “So that’s where you get it from.” Keiji didn’t respond, but his eyes stared at the same picture Koutarou was looking at before. Why did he even still have those photos? They just made him sad. 

Out of the corner of his eye, Keiji saw Koutarou turn his head, and he was about to say something. 

“Come on. You’re here to make my plumbing work, not stand and observe.”

 

Keiji brought Koutarou outside and showed him the clean water stream at the back of his house. He knelt down beside it and stared at the moving water.

“Where does this go?”

“Does it matter?” 

Koutarou shrugged, “Not really.” He stood up. “It might take me a while.”

“That’s fine, Bokuto.”

Keiji left Koutarou to doing whatever the hell was he doing. He really didn’t understand any of it, but he would hand Koutarou whatever tools he would ask for when he came running back to Keiji to ask for something. Keiji worked in the greenhouse while he left Koutarou to work. His mind told him that it really was a bad idea. This was still going against his promise. Though, his heart was telling him that Koutarou Bokuto was really harmless. 

Keiji doesn’t know why he did it, but he made food for himself and for Koutarou. He did it without thinking. Keiji just told himself he did it as a payment for Koutarou helping him (even though he didn’t think about returning the favor). It was his excuse. 

When Keiji headed outside with the food, Koutarou was doing something at the side of the house where a pipe stuck out. He walked up to him and watched him work. Koutarou was so into doing whatever the hell he was doing that he didn’t even notice Keiji there until he cleared his throat. 

Koutarou looked up and smiled. “Akaashi! Hey! What’s up? You coming to check on me?” Koutarou used the back of his hand to wipe off sweat from his forehead. It might have been dark out, the cold temperature not being shy whatsoever, but Koutarou was still sweating. Keiji shook his head, and he handed Koutarou a bowl.

“Here.” Koutarou leaned over and looked in the bowl. With a gasp, he dropped his wrench he worked with.

“Woah! Thanks!” Keiji nodded and headed over to the banks of the stream. He took a seat on the edge, the tips of his toes touching the water, and stared down at the moving water, watching it flow.

A few moments later, not even a minute maybe, Koutarou took a seat next to him. He looked up at the sky first and then down at the water like Keiji was.

“Hey, Akaashi?”

“Mhm?”

“Do you trust me?” Keiji looked over at Koutarou. He made eye contact with the eyes he hated the most. The glow. It was still there. It was hard to do, but Keiji pulled his eyes away. Quickly, he looked back at the running water in front of him.

“No.”

“Could I ever earn it?”

“My trust?”

“Yeah.” Keiji thought. Why was he thinking about it? The answer should be ‘no’. His promise to his mother told him that his answer should be ‘no’. Keiji bit his lip. There was this sliver of him that he had never felt before. It was begging Keiji to let Koutarou in. 

‘In where?’

“We’ll see, Bokuto.”

“If there’s even a slight chance I can,” Koutarou started to say as he picked up the fork and shoved some food in his mouth, “I’ll take it.”

 

 

Keiji was honestly surprised with how fast Koutarou was able to get the water running all through his house, and he was incredibly grateful. The last time Keiji took a shower with running water and great pressure? He could even remember, and he was excited to take one when Koutarou left. Though, of course, he held his excitement. 

 

“Bokuto,” Keiji called out before the human owl got a chance to start walking down the long road back to his--wherever. Koutarou stopped and turned, a smile on his face, that bright look in his eyes still. Keiji didn’t peel his eyes away though, even though he hated it. “Thanks.” 

“Of course. ‘Kaashi! If you ever need me again, I’m sure you’ll find me. I can feel it!” Keiji nodded, and with that, Koutarou was on his way. That was the last time Keiji saw Koutarou for a long while.

 

By two months passed, it was, of course, boring as hell. Keiji was doing as he always did: reading, working in the greenhouse, short trips to get more supplies, hunting in the woods. However, one thing was different. The water. Keiji had never been so happy with how his water system was set up. In the beginning, he was happy about it. He had found a nice stream next to a nice two-bedroom cabin. Though, slowly, after a year of being there, getting the water turned into a pain, and he wished the water would run through his house as it did when he was fifteen.

Now it did, and it was all thanks to Koutarou Bokuto. Keiji was in love with his new water system now, too. When the water beat down on the back of his neck, Keiji believed it to be actually heaven. Was Koutarou an angel? Maybe that was as the reason for that drawing, glowing look in his eyes. 

Then, finally, two months with running water and Keiji finally ran into the man responsible for making those pleasant showers possible in the first place.

 

He was on another hunt for more supplies, and he went further into town than he normally did into an area that slowly started to merge with another town. It was the bigger side, and when the town wasn’t to shit, people apparently called this side the ‘city side’--Keiji knew that based on newspaper articles he had found.

Keiji was in a tall, three-story building. He frantically ran up the stairs and slammed the door shut behind him. After turning the lock on the door, Keiji moved a desk in front of it. Just as he was backing away from it, Keiji heard the pounding of at least five infected on the other side. Originally, there were ten of them, and Keiji was only able and kill half before being forced to make a break for it. 

‘This really wasn’t how it was supposed to go.’ Keiji sighed and opened up his bag quickly. He had gotten so much good shit too. New medical supplies, cans of food, hygiene products—dàmn, why didn’t he come this way before? Keiji had to be honest. He was hyperventilating a little bit. Crouched behind a desk while just waiting for the inevitable to burst through the locked door? Brought back memories of his mother and him. Bad ones. His back was leaned against the desk while being curled up in a ball of surrender. He had his hands clasped over his ears so he couldn't hear anything.

Then it stopped but not before a loud bang, and Keiji could hear it through his hands over his ears. Slowly, Keiji moved his hands away from his ears. On the other side of the door, Keiji could hear familiar noises of heads dropping to the floor. After five of them, there was a chuckle and someone spoke.

“Get him, would you? I’m gonna look for more.”

“Alright.”

Keiji planted a hand on the desk and slowly rose to his feet. Seconds later, a soft knock sounded on the door though it still made him flinch. 

“Akaashi?” 

‘Bokuto.’ Quickly, Keiji moved to the door and pulled the desk out of the way. Switching the lock open, Keiji slowly peeled the door open with a hand still holding on to the machete just in case. All he needed to do was see his eyes to be sure he wasn’t an infected. 

There it was. The glow. That bright, human look in his eyes. The one that Keiji hated to look at, but for some reason, right now, at this moment, Keiji was glad he was looking into those big, yellow eyes. So glad that he wrapped his arms around Koutarou's neck and hugged him. 

“Woah!” Koutarou called out. His arms palmed Keiji’s back. It made Keiji feel so...safe? Safety. Another promise Keiji made to his mother. So, if he felt safe, did it matter if Keiji was breaking his promise of trust? Keiji pulled away, and he wiped away the warm feeling traveling down his face “Akaashi, you alright? You’re crying—“

“I’m not. Shut up, Bokuto.” Keiji looked down at the glossy look on his hand from the tear he had wiped away. He really thought he was going to die then. Like mother, like son. “Thank you.”

“It’s pretty dark out. Come to our place.”

“What?” 

“Come on! We’ve got spare rooms. Kuroo, Iwaizumi, and I found this part of the city on the outskirts where it’s a huge, nice hotel! We all have rooms—it’s like a mansion house!” Koutarou explained, and he seemed really happy about it. Should he? Should he go with? Keiji stared down at his fingers. They fumbled around each other, nails accidentally scratching the pale skin on his hands. 

“I guess,” he said with a shrug.

“Really?! Sweet! Come on, follow me!” Koutarou turned and headed down the stairs. There was a feeling in Keiji’s face. Smiling. For a split second, he smiled. Keiji bit his lip and bit it into a frown, then he followed Koutarou downstairs.

 

Koutarou and Tetsurou talked stupid shit the entire time there, and every few seconds, Koutarou’s eyes would glance a little behind him and to his left as if he was making sure Keiji was still following him. Keiji’s eyes stared at the ground in front of him as he watched where Koutarou’s feet landed last. His hands gripped on the straps on his bag. 

“Iwaizumi is gonna be pissed, dude.”

“Huh? Why?” Koutarou asked while turning his head toward Tetsurou. The bedhead looked forward as he walked as he flipped a knife in his hand. 

“He said if we didn’t bring back food then he would have to cook again because Oikawa doesn’t know how to cook what’s left. And if he had to cook then he was going to be pissed.” Tetsurou looked at Koutarou with a smirk. “He said that your ass is on the line.”

“What about your ass?” Koutarou crossed his arms. Tetsurou smirked and looked forward once again.

“What about it? I’m fine.”

“Why am I the only one who gets in trouble?!”

“Because I’ve never slept in.”

Koutarou rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you only look like you’ve slept in.”

“Hey!” Tetsurou hit Koutarou in the arm, and then he looked at Keiji. “Hey, Akaashi, I don’t look bad, do I?” Koutarou moves in front of Keiji, and he began to back peddle in front of him so they could keep moving.

“Don’t answer him. Unless you like me more. You like me more, right?” Keiji’s eyes went to Tetsurou’s. They looked nothing like Koutarou’s. No shine. No hope. No glow. Maybe more worry. Of course, the last thing was that they didn’t send any confusing feelings through Keiji. Keiji could completely read him.

Koutarou, on the other hand, had this spark that gave Keiji a psychical spark feeling inside. What was that? He felt it in his gut. 

“Bokuto." Keiji finally said.

“Me? That’s me. You like me more?” Koutarou quickly asked. Looking into his eyes, Keiji slowly nodded. Tetsurou sighed while Koutarou just laughed. “Ha! Fuck you, Kuroo.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. It’s not like I’ve bonded with him like you have.”

“That’s because I’m not a dickhead.” Tetsurou hit him on the back of the head. “OW.”

“Shut up, owl.”

 

 

Keiji looked around the room. It had a small kitchen area, bathroom, and of course, the bedroom which was the main room since it was a hotel. Actually, it was kind of nice. 

Even though it was soft, the knock on the door made Keiji jump. After his heart calmed down, Keiji walked over to the door and opened it. 

“Bokuto.”

“Akaashi! Hey, your water should be good now. You can take a shower and whatnot—here!” Koutarou handed him a soft towel. Apparently, they didn’t have the water running through rooms they weren’t using which made sense so Koutarou told him it would only be a few minutes to get it working. "And some clothes for after your shower!" Koutarou handed him a set of clothes as well.

“Thanks, Bokuto.”

“You hungry? Iwaizumi is making food. You can come down after your shower, but you might want to get there before Suga can.” Keiji nodded. “See you in a bit!” Koutarou left down the hallway. As Keiji shut the door, he thought for a moment.

‘’Suga’. ‘Iwaizumi’. How many people are here?’ Keiji headed to the bathroom. He stood in front of the mirror and stared at his tired expression before pulling his shirt up and over his head. ‘How many people are left in the world?’ Usually, Keiji didn’t even think about that often or much at all really but meeting so many people, Keiji couldn’t help but think about it. 

Keiji tried not to think about it. Instead, he hopped in the shower to clean off all the disgusting blood that was left splattered on him from decapitating so many infected. The water being so hot made it easy to get off the drying blood. God, the water was great here too. The steam that left off the hot water made him feel a hundred times better. 

Keiji wasn’t sure at first if he should get food. Maybe he could survive until morning and until he got home. However, how tired he got from fighting and the fact that he didn’t eat at all that day told him that he should do otherwise. Keiji just really didn’t want to deal with the new people. How many of them were there? Were they all like Tetsurou and Koutarou?

With a sigh, Keiji changed into a new set of clothes Koutarou had handed him. A pair of black sweatpants that seemed brand new and a baggy, dark blue t-shirt. Keiji was pretty sure it was Koutarou’s t-shirt. After changing, Keiji ran his fingers through the black, curly, messy, damp hair and headed downstairs. 

 

When he got into the kitchen/dining area of the hotel, Keiji was a bit taken back. There were a lot more people than he expected. There was Koutarou, of course, he noticed and sat next to him was Tetsurou. Next to him was this smaller guy—had to be the smallest person there. His hair was like pudding, light at the ends with dark roots. 

That was at one table. The other table had four people. One dude who looked to be the most normal person out of all of them. Simple, short, dark brown hair and a pretty good frame. Next to him was someone with silver hair, and there was a mole next to his left eye. Next to him was a guy with spiky, dark brown hair. He seemed incredibly strong with a large build. He wore a sleeveless shirt which really showed off his muscles. The last one at the table was a slimmer guy, yet he was still pretty built. He had brown hair that has his bangs swept more to one side than the other. There was a smile on his face as he laughed and bumped his shoulder into the spiky-haired guy.

“Hey! Akaashi!” Koutarou waved his arm. Everyone in the room looked over, and Keiji hated it. “Come sit over here! I’ve made you a plate.” Koutarou slid a plate of food to the empty chair beside him. Keiji stared down at the ground as he made his way over to Koutarou. He took a seat down next to him and stared down at the food. “You okay, ‘Kaashi?” Keiji looked over at him. This time, the look in his eyes was genuine. Care. How could he do that? Keiji nodded. “Mmk! I trust you, Akaashi!” Koutarou turned to Tetsurou. “Hey, give me some of that.”

“What? No, get your own, bitch.” Tetsurou slapped Koutarou’s hand from grabbing something off his plate.

“Dickhead.”

Keiji finished his food quickly and left back to his room. There were far too many people for him to comfortable. Especially considering he only knew Tetsurou and Koutarou. 

“Hey.” Keiji stopped and turned. He paused with one of his feet flat on the first step to the stairs, and he turned to look at the voice behind him. There stood the one with spiky hair with the cut off shirt. Actually, he was kind of short. “Sorry that you have to deal with Bokuto first out of us. Out of all people.”

Keiji shrugged. “It’s fine. Bokuto’s fine.”

‘’Bokuto’s fine’. I really just said that.’

“Really? He’s a handle even for me.” He chuckled and pulled one of his hands out from his jean pockets. The man held it out. “Sorry. I’m Hajime Iwaizumi.” There was hesitation but Keiji accepted Hajime’s handshake. Two reasons he did: the look in his eyes are human; Koutarou could trust him. 

“Keiji Akaashi.” Keiji remembered Koutarou and Tetsurou talking about Hajime before. “So, what, are you like the boss of the group?” A smile curved on Hajime’s face as his hand moved back to being settled in his pocket. 

“Is that what they told you?”

“It’s what they insinuated.”

“No, no, we don’t have a ‘boss’.” Hajime shook his head. “I mean, I sure keep them in a straight line—especially Sugawara—but no one is a boss. We make decisions together just trying to survive.”

“What? Until it’s all over?” Keiji mocked with the roll of his eyes.

“No, I stopped believing this shit would be over years ago.” Hajime put his back to the wall and leaned against it. He stared at the cream-colored wall in front of him. “One of these days, maybe in years, someone will kill all the infected. Or the rest of the sane will die and infected will take over.” Hajime shrugged. “Whatever happens, happens.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Keiji mumbled. “I’ve just thought that if I die, I wasn’t going to survive until the end anyhow.” Keiji’s fingers were circling around each other. “I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long on my own.”

“And you’re still gonna go on your own, aren’t you?” Keiji looked up and made eye contact with him. “Not even Bokuto could sway you to stay with us?” 

“He hasn’t asked.”

“Really? I’m surprised he hasn’t been begging you to join.”

“Why?”

“‘Cause the first time he met you, he came back and couldn’t stop talking about you.”

“What?” Keiji’s fingers were now messing with the drawstring on the sweatpants. He twirled it around his finger for a few seconds and then let it drop before picking it up again and restarting the process. 

“He said he hadn’t met someone so pretty and strong.” Hajime pushed off the wall and turned his back to Keiji. He gave a wave with the flick of his wrist before starting to walk down the hallway. “See ya, Akaashi.”

 

 

In the morning, Keiji headed home. Now, he sat at the end of his own bed back at his house, in his cabin, in his own space, not near any people. Though, there was that little human part of him that was kind of missing it. Now that he’s been around a lot of people, Keiji missed the feeling of that. 

Mostly Koutarou’s presence. Keiji didn’t know what that was about, but there was something about Koutarou that made Keiji feel--was it safe? Protected? Happy? No. Not happy. Keiji couldn’t be happy. Not after everything that he experienced, happiness was out of the question.

Though, was it? Being happy was a human feeling that sometimes you can’t get by, and it would only be natural for someone out there in the world that would be able to make you feel something. Was Koutarou his? Keiji had been sure that person had died a long time ago and they died because of him too. Just because Keiji was too weak.

Keiji knew he shouldn’t but he wanted to see Koutarou again. His promise to his mother was being broken, but at the same time, it wasn’t. Keiji felt safe with Koutarou so did his safety overrule the promise of never trusting another soul again? His mother would want him to be happy, right?

 

Before Koutarou and Keiji separated, Koutarou made a deal with him. In a week, Koutarou would be at that same library they had their second meet up at. If Keiji wanted to meet up with him and possibly go out and kill some shit or whatever, he was completely free to. 

Everytime that Keiji would use the water in the house he would think about Koutarou. After real human interaction, Keiji felt like he needed it again or he might go insane. Singing tunes to himself? It wasn’t enough anymore.

Keiji needed to see Koutarou Bokuto again.

Chapter Text

With a bag on his back with only medical supplies and a few bottles of water in it, Keiji walked down the long stretch of road. He decided, finally. It was a last-second decision. Should Keiji meet up with Koutarou at the library or not? How would it benefit him? How would it not? Would there be any harm? Keiji didn’t have anything to do. 

Keiji pulled his straps further on his shoulders a little, and he let out a huff before walking off the steps of the cabin. He headed straight to the library.

 

When Keiji was walking up, he could see Koutarou there. He stood in a white long sleeve with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a pair of black ripped jeans. Koutarou leaned over and picked up a rock. He tossed it up in the air a few times before throwing it up toward the second-floor window of the building in front of the library. 

Keiji made sure to step on some glass and break it with his boot while walking over so Koutarou knew he was there. Koutarou’s hand shot to his belt where he had an army knife holstered while he looked over. His shoulders had perked up, but once he saw Keiji, he relaxed. 

“Akaashi!”

“Hello, Bokuto.” Keiji stopped a few feet in front of Koutarou.

“You came!” Keiji nodded. “Ready to clear this place out?”

“'Clear out'? You really think we can?”

Koutarou shrugged, “It’s a small town, and if we can, Iwaizumi has military contacts. They said if we clear this place out, they’ll take over. Reconstruct here. We’d have high ranks for helping.”

“Really?”

'Then why did he seem like he had given up on everything when we talked in the hallway?'

Koutarou waved a hand and they started to walk. “Yeah! Well, that’s what they said last. Our radio broke.”

'Broken radio? That's it?'

“I—“ Keiji bit his tongue. He was going to say something like he could fix it. Keiji was good with that stuff, and he was actually working on fixing one for music. Though, he had to say something now. Koutarou was looking at him for a response. “I think I could do something.” 

“Really?!” Keiji nodded. “You’re pretty awesome, Akaashi.”

“I haven’t done anything yet.” Keiji glanced over at Koutarou. He only looked at the side of his face, and still, Keiji was refusing to look in his eyes. Though, he did look at them a lot more than he did when they first met. “If anything, you’re awesome, Bokuto. You saved me twice.”

“That was nothing! It’s what friends are for, right?” Keiji wasn’t sure. He never had a friend before. Was he ready to admit Koutarou was a friend? Was he accepting that? It felt good. Really good. A flip in his stomach. 

Keiji looked eyes with Koutarou, and he nodded. As Koutarou walked, he tossed the knife up, let it spin, and then he caught it at the handle. He flipped it multiple times, each time he would move his head with his eyes and watch the blade twirl. 

“Hey, hey, ‘Kaashi? Where do you wanna go? I was thinking about the hospital. It’s close by, and there could still be stuff there—unless you’ve gone through it already?” Keiji shook his head.

“No, I didn’t know there was a hospital. I didn’t grow up around here. I’ve taken medical supplies from a broken down ambulance and first AID kits in governmental buildings like the library and stores.”

“Where’d you grow up?”

“About a day’s walk out North.”

“We should go there!”

“What?”

“Like,” Koutarou rounded to walk in the front of him, now back peddling backward to walk, talk, and look at Keiji, “we should go there to your old house! Check it out!” Koutarou’s smile dropped, and he turned his head in question like a lost puppy. “No?” Keiji thought. Why would Koutarou want to do that for him even? Out of the kindness of his heart?

Yes. Looking in his eyes, yes. That was exactly the reason. Because for some reason, Koutarou cares for Keiji. 

“Maybe. We’ll see.”

 

 

 

This time, Keiji wasn’t alone while sprinting up the stairs. Koutarou was running at his heels with him. 

“The roof, Akaashi!”

“What?” Keiji asked while out of breath nearly.

“Trust me.”

And so Keiji did. Keiji and Koutarou broke through to the door from the roof and the staircase. Holding it open, Keiji waited for Koutarou to run through and quickly slammed the door behind him. He locked it, and when he turned, Koutarou was looking off the top of the building.

“You ready to do some jumping, Akaashi?” 

“You’re insane,” Keiji said while standing next to Koutarou. He looked down over the ledge toward the pavement stories down, and then he looked over at the building next to him. The banging on the door from the infected started.

“What did you think we were going to do?”

“Not jump to our deaths.”

“Come on! It’s not that hard.” Koutarou started to back up from the ledge backward. “Watch and learn from your Senpai, Akaashi.”

“Please don’t call yourself that.” Koutarou cracked a smile. He did a little stretch for show before he started sprinting toward the ledge. Keiji was scared. If Koutarou missed this, he was dead for sure. Though, he didn’t. Koutarou grabbed onto the ledge and swiftly boosted himself up to his feet on top of the next building. He turned and looked over at Keiji, a smile stretched on his face. 

“See?! Easy! Come on! Hurry up and jump, Akaashi!” Keiji took a deep breath, and he swore he could have swallowed his tongue. The door was about to be broken through, and Keiji knew it. He stood almost next to it. Keiji glanced back at the door. The handle was ready to pop off.

Then it did, and Keiji was frozen in fear for a few seconds. That was until Koutarou snapped him out of it.

“Akaashi!” Keiji looked at Koutarou then quickly at the infected that was going to grab his arm. He used his elbow to hit it in the face, and then Keiji took the biggest risk.

He did the same sprint Koutarou did but his run up was probably way more panicked. Definitely more panicked. Keiji caught the ledge of the next building. Just barely. Koutarou grabbed his arm and pulled him up. Keiji fell into him. There was this instinct that Keiji didn’t know he had. His arms wrapped around Koutarou, and he choked back this lump in his throat. Keiji thought he was really going to die just then either if it were from infected or falling to his death.

“You okay?” Koutarou asked. His voice was soft, and when Keiji focused on it, he couldn’t hear the sounds of the groaning infected from the building rooftop next to him. Keiji tightened his wrap around Koutarou’s neck, his face burying into his shoulder. He slowly nodded. “Good.” Koutarou was warm. Really warm, and if were to ask Keiji before how a hug had felt, he wouldn’t have had an answer. He would’ve said something like, ‘Does it matter? Who does that? I don’t need one, I don’t want one.’ Though, after feeling the warm, comforting, safe feeling with his arms wrapped around Koutarou, he’d have a different answer. Koutarou’s palm being pressed to his back didn’t help. Well, it 'didn’t help' in the way Keiji wanted it to on the surface of things. His mind was screaming at him that this wasn’t right, but his heart` didn’t want to move. 

“Akaashi?” Keiji pulled away. He quickly turned his face away and looked at the infected behind him. They stood at the edge waving their arms as if they could grab the two. 

“Yes?”

“You sure you’re alright?” Keiji nodded. “We should go. Before they figure out they can just come through this building.” He nodded once more and followed Koutarou. 

 

 

Keiji and Koutarou walked in the dark. They made sure their footsteps were soundless. 

“Akaashi, we won’t make it back in time.”

“I know.”

“Let’s find somewhere to sleep.” Keiji nodded. 

With that, the two found a building, and they searched for a nurse room since they knew it would have a few beds. Sadly, when they got there, the room only had one bed with a pile of sheets on it. 

“Are they clean?” Koutarou asked while he set his bag on one of the counters. Keiji picked up the sheets and held it out. He looked over it. With a sigh, Keiji dropped them to the floor and looked at Koutarou who Keiji was pretty sure he hadn’t taken his eyes off him. He shook his head while kicking the sheets under the bed. “Great.”

“Who is taking the floor?” 

“Do one of us have to take the floor?” Koutarou asked.

“We’re going to sleep together?” Koutarou shrugged. Keiji bit his lip while looking at the small, twin-sized bed. Would they both fit?

“Unless you don’t want to.”

“No, it’s just—“ Keiji sighed. “It’s fine. I don’t care.” He took off his own bag and moved to set it next to Koutarou’s. “Let’s eat and go to sleep.”

 

Keiji tossed and turned. He always did at night. Though, there was little room to move being in a twin bed with another person who was bigger than Keiji. 

“Akaashi.” Keiji froze with his back laid on the bed. He stared straight up at the ceiling.

“Yes, Bokuto?”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

“You sure?” Keiji looked over at Koutarou. His eyes got used to the dark, and he could see Koutarou’s eyes staring right back at him. Even in the dark, Keiji could see the yellow glow.

“I’ll survive.”

“Alright.” Koutarou sounded almost--disappointed? “Just let me know.”

 

When Keiji woke up, he almost shot awake. His head was resting on Koutarou’s rising and falling chest, arm laid across him. He must’ve moved unconsciously. It was whatever. Keiji sat up and rubbed his eyes. Since the bed was so small, Keiji’s legs had no choice but to hang off the side of the bed. Keiji sighed and stood up.

“‘Kaaaaashi.” Keiji looked back over at the bed from the counter. He had started to go through his bag. Koutarou laid sprawled out on the bed with his head hanging off the side as if he were a teenager gossiping on their cellphone. “We could sleep for longer, you know?”

“We probably could, yeah.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” Keiji zipped his bag and swung it on his shoulder, “I want to go home.” Keiji lifted Koutarou’s bag and threw it at him. “Also, I’m pretty sure the infected are slowly finding us, so we should get the hell out of here.” He leaned over and began to tie his shoes.

“Of course, they are.” Koutarou sighed. “Alright, alright, next time then.” Keiji bit his lip. His mouth had started to twitch upwards. 

“Whatever, Bokuto.”

 

“So, Akaashi,” Koutarou started to say as the two headed back. He was walking Keiji back to his house--he insisted.

“Yeah, Bokuto?”

“What do you think about heading into your hometown?” Keiji shrugged. “Come on!” Koutarou’s arm wrapped around Keiji’s shoulder, and it was probably the first time Keiji didn’t have the instinct to swat someone away. “You don’t have a childhood stuffed animal you wanna grab from your house?” Keiji tried to think back to when he was six, maybe eight or nine. There wasn’t anything he could remember. He left the house when he was sixteen when this all started. “Maybe if you saw it you would remember.”

“Maybe,” Keiji said.

“We should go!” Koutarou turned his head to look at Keiji. “Next weekend. Seven days. We can meet back up again and go.” Keiji thought for a bit. The promise he made with his mother still rattled around his mind. ‘Don’t trust anybody’. Keiji wanted to do what his mother said, he wanted to keep his promise, he really did. Though, Keiji needed someone. He realized that. Now that he knew what being around someone else felt like, Keiji needed someone. 

“Yeah,” Keiji quietly said. “Yeah, Bokuto.”

“Really?!’ Koutarou looked really excited--more excited than he did on a normal basis. “Seems like I’m gonna have to cancel my plans with Kuroo.”

“You made plans with me even though you had plans with Kuroo?”

“Yeah, Kuroo, Iwaizumi, and Sugawara, but I’d rather hang out with you than them.” Koutarou looked up at the sky as he walked. His eyes followed a fast-moving sky. The blue sky was one of the only beauties left on this destroyed ass planet. His arm slipped from Keiji's shoulder, and if Keiji was being honest, he was sad to feel it leave. Koutarou's hand moved to his pocket. “Kuroo can be a dick, Sugawara is crazy, Iwaizumi doesn’t let me have fun.” Koutarou’s head turned to Keiji. “Though, you don’t care. You’re fun, and you’re funny, and you’re kind, and you’re pretty—“

“Pretty?” Keiji raised an eyebrow. Koutarou put a hand over his mouth. 

“Did I say that one out loud?” Keiji nodded, and he held his bottom lip between his teeth, biting down to hold back an oncoming smile. “Shit. I just meant—uh,” Koutarou tried to think, but he came up with only blanks.

“It’s fine, Bokuto.” 

“Me. What about me?” 

“You?”

“What do you think of me?” Keiji moved his gaze to look in front of him. 

“I dunno.” Keiji gave a small shrug. “You’re fun to be around.”

“Really?” 

Keiji nodded, “Yeah, and you’re good at things. A good fighter, you can patch wounds, fix up a plumbing system.” He started to fumble his fingers around each other. Keiji didn’t normally get nervous, but when he did, he started messing with his fingers. “I like you, I guess. You’ve saved me a few times so you can’t really blame me.” Keiji looked over at Koutarou finally. He had this big grin on his face that really didn’t look like it was going to die anytime soon. “What’s with that?” 

“Akaashi, you just confessed to me!” Keiji felt a burning in his cheeks. Wait, what’s with that? 

“What? No, I didn’t, Bokuto.”

“You did! You said, ‘I like you’!”

“Shut up. I didn’t mean it that way.”

“Ooh,” Koutarou continued to tease, “whoever said I meant it romantically?”

“No one. Please stop talking.”

“Fine, fine, fine, I’ll let this one slide.”

Keiji bit his lip. Koutarou really was ridiculous. Keiji loved it. “Thank you, Bokuto.”

 

Koutarou stared down and tapped the top of his foot on the wooden steps. “So,” he began, “in exactly a week, we meet up at the library?” Keiji nodded. “Sweet! I’ll see you then!” 

“Bokuto,” Keiji called out as Koutarou started to walk again. The owl stopped and turned. “Be careful on your way home.”

“Of course, Akaashi! Cya!”

“Bye.” He felt weird saying it, but Keiji said it: “See you soon, Bokuto.”

Chapter Text

Keiji approached the library, and as he did, he heard arguing. He found the voices familiar except one. Keiji still continued to head into the building. 

When he opened the library doors, Keiji mentally sighed. Koutarou stood on the counter of the library while wielding a book. He had his elbow pulled back getting ready to chuck it at Tetsurou who stood by a shelf of books. Tetsurou took a step back, and he stepped into a pile of fallen textbooks.

“Shit!” He called out. Tetsurou fell on his ass, and that’s when Keiji heard a soft, amused chuckle to his right. Keiji turned and looked. It was that short one with the light ends, dark roots. He seemed to think it was funny Tetsurou fell.

“You piece of shit, Kuroo!” Koutarou yelled while chucking the book. The short one grabbed another book from the ground and handed it to Koutarou. “Thanks.”

“What the hell, Kenma?! Why are you helping him?”

“It’s funny. Also, you are a piece of shit.”

“Aw, did I scare you too?” The short one picked up a book and chucked it at Tetsurou himself. “OW. MY BEAUTIFUL FACE.”

“I hope you choke on infected dick.” Koutarou threw one last book at Tetsurou before jumping off the counter. That’s when he noticed Keiji. “Oh, hi, Akaashi. Uh,” Koutarou scratched the back of his neck, “how much of that did you see?” Keiji shrugged. “Well, I’m glad to see you here!” Koutarou smiled. His smile was always big, and it was always one of the most dominant features of his face. Obviously though, his eyes took the cake. Keiji used to hate looking into them, but now, spending days without them, Keiji was glad to be looking into them again. 

Keiji nodded. 

“So, Kenma—have you met Kenma?” He shook his head. Koutarou walked over to the small guy. His posture wasn’t very good with his slumped shoulders. Keiji really didn’t expect him to dress in something like a simple pair of sweatpants and a sweater. Apocalypse—especially out in the hell hole—wasn’t exactly pajama attire. Koutarou wrapped an arm on his shoulder. “Keiji Akaashi meet Kenma Kozume.” Kenma held out a hand, but there was a minimum amount of effort in it. 

“Sorry, I don’t hate you, I’m just very tired.” Keiji nodded and shook his hand. 

“You ready, ‘Kaashi?” Keiji looked between Kenma and Tetsurou who had gotten to his feet. He had found some broken mirror from the bathrooms and was looking at his face since one of the corners of the books hit him in the cheek. “Don’t worry. They’re not coming. Just us,” Koutarou whispered to him. That’s when Keiji nodded. “Let’s go!”

 

As Keiji and Koutarou walked, it was silent. For a bit. I mean, it was Koutarou Bokuto that Keiji was walking with. That guy was like an open book.

“So, Akaashi, do you remember where you lived?”

“Maybe. If I see it, it might come back to me.”

“Mhm!” Koutarou hummed.

The whole walk was a lot calmer, and Keiji learned a lot about Koutarou. He had a younger sister. Had. Koutarou wasn’t sure what had happened to her. He wasn’t in school with her when everything started happening. When it all began, Daichi--whoever that was out of the people Keiji saw that day he saw all of Koutaoru's friends--had pulled him out of the building and they left. That’s why Koutarou always went back to his hometown. He was mainly looking for his sister. 

Keiji told him about his family, and he told him about how he lost his mother. That it was his fault, that he couldn’t protect her, that he was weak. It felt good to get all that off his chest, honestly.

“That wasn’t your fault.”

“Huh?”

“Your mother. She told you to leave.”

“But I—“ Keiji stared down at his fingers as they walked. They tripped over each other. “I should’ve been able to protect her.”

“You were sixteen, weren’t you?” Keiji nodded. “And it was when everything started?” He nodded again. “So, how would you know what you do now?”

“Well, I couldn’t have,” Keiji quietly mumbled.

“Exactly! What matters now is protecting the people you love now in order to not make the same mistakes of the past.” Koutarou stared at the sky as he walked. “Your mother told you to escape because she was protecting you. That was on her, and that was her choice.” He looked over at Keiji. “Now, it’s your turn to protect others you love.”

“I don’t love anyone.” Keiji’s eyes moved down to watch his feet. “I mean, the closest would be you, but you don’t really need protection.” 

“I’m pretty stupid. I’m sure I’ll need your help one of these days.” Keiji found himself smiling, though he was looking down so he didn’t make an effort to hide it. “Hey, Akaashi, you really loved your mom, huh?” Keiji nodded. “Well, I promise, I won’t die on you.” Keiji stayed silent. He bit his lip

“Thank you, Bokuto.”

 

That night, a day of traveling already down, Keiji and Koutarou settled down in random building found on the way. It was the first house in a row of other houses that all looked the same. The living room was small but at the same time, it was big. The perfect size, though, it wasn't really the time to be complimenting the house's design. It wasn't as if Keiji could compliment someone on their work or criticize them.

Koutarou came from upstairs to the torn up living room with a smile and blankets he found.

“Akaashi, look! Nice, thick, warm comforter.”

“Nice find, Bokuto.” Keiji didn’t look from the photograph he had in his hand. He grabbed a picture frame from the mantle of the fireplace. Koutarou walked over. His eyes looked between the fireplace and the photo.

“Hey, Akaashi, do you think we can start a fire?” Keiji looked over the fireplace for a second then back at the photo. The room space. It was perfect, just like he had thought before. If they had a fire, in this perfect room, the heat would be sure to stay in without them overheating or getting too cold.

“I don’t see why not.”

“Nice!” Koutarou pulled a lighter from his pocket. “Found one at the convenience store we stopped at.” Keiji gave a nod, and he watched as Koutarou leaned down and picked up a piece of paper on the ground. He flicked the lighter on and set fire to the paper. Before he tossed the flame into the firepit, Koutarou picked up some broken up chunks of wood and threw them in there. Keiji looked around, and he picked up an old newspaper on the table. Though, skimming the front page, he held on to it. Instead, he grabbed a magazine and handed it to Koutarou.

“Here.”

“Thanks!” Koutarou took the newspaper from Keiji and tossed it into the fire, and then he threw the paper in there. The magazine caught fire and slowly spread to the wood. “Perfect.” He stuck his hands out to it. “Nice and cozy.” Keiji stared down at the newspaper.

“2014.”

“Huh?” Koutarou stood from his knees and wiped them clean. He moved to stand next to Keiji and looked over his shoulder. Koutarou's eyes scanned the paper as well, and he read the date. “That was right before everything," he said, and Keiji nodded. “There were already infected attacks before it all got to this.” He nodded once more.

“The government just had it under control.” Keiji turned the newspaper to the next page. “Not for long though,” he mumbled. Koutarou stayed over his shoulder, closely, as he read the paper carefully. Keiji could feel Koutarou’s breath hitting his neck. Usually, that would make Keiji feel uncomfortable, but, for some reason, it didn’t.  

“You hungry?” Koutarou suddenly asked. Keiji shook his head while keeping his eyes glued to the paper.

“Bokuto, the government knew about the infected for days--weeks even.” 

“I bet.” Koutarou had grabbed another blanket he found and laid it on the couch. “The government sucks.”

“They could’ve prevented all of this,” Keiji mumbled. He grabbed another newspaper from the table dated a few days after the first one he was looking at. “Apparently, an infected got their hands on a government official, but he was too important to just let die, so they kept him alive and nurses tried to help.” Keiji’s eyes continued to quickly scan the paper. “And a nurse got infected, and more and more infections quickly spread after that since apparently the first infected were the strongest.” Keiji tossed down the paper, and he ran his fingers through his hair. “That would make sense since everything was a lot harder years ago. Now, it seems like they don’t even want to fight back.”

“Is that hope for us to be able to solve this once and for all?” Koutarou asked with a cheeky grin. He leaned over toward Keiji a little more with the large comforter in his hands. Keiji shrugged. “Geez, you’re like Iwaizumi,” Koutarou mumbled. “Come on. Let’s sleep so we can get going right when the sun is up.” Keiji nodded.

 

 

“Get up!” Keiji shot up. He felt something that was wrapped around his neck that yanked his back a little, choking him and knocking some air out of him, but it wasn't enough to hurt him. Keiji put his hand to grab it whatever it was. It fell, and Keiji followed it with his eyes. Koutarou’s arm. “Hey!” His attention snapped up, and Keiji finally made eye contact with who was shouting at him. Some guy who was wrapped in a black cloak, and he held a gun up close to Keiji’s face. Keiji could only see his red eyes. God, they looked so evil.

“Bokuto,” Keiji mumbled quietly as he tried to shake the owl awake. Koutarou was laying on his back, and his arm had been wrapped around Keiji’s neck to keep him pulled up on the couch. It wasn’t like Keiji slept on the other side of the couch. He slept half on whatever was left on the couch and half on Koutarou. “Bokuto, wake up.” Keiji was a little scared. He could tell this guy wasn’t infected--maybe not fully infected. Maybe panic. He was probably just recently infected based on his eyes.

“Huh?” Koutarou tiredly asked. He rubbed his eyes while slowly sitting up. “Why are we--” Koutarou finally opened his eyes to the guy standing there, gun at the ready. “Oh. Hello.”

“No small talk.” The guy moved the gun closer. “Are you one of them?”

“Do we look like one of them?” Koutarou asked. “That’s harsh, man.”

“You think this is a fucking game!?” The guy shouted as he pressed the gun closer. “Where is your stuff?” Keiji looked over his shoulder to Koutarou. Were they to just give up their things? “Answer me!” Keiji was grabbed by the arm and pulled off the couch.

“Hey!” Koutarou shouted. He would’ve gotten to his feet but the guy pointed the gun toward Keiji’s head. “Dude, calm down.”

“Calm down? I’m infected! I need help!”

“There’s no cure--” Keiji began to say.

“There has to be!” He grabbed Keiji and yanked him to his feet. “I need it!”

“We don’t have one.” Keiji tried to reply calmly. On the outside, Keiji was pretty calm, however on the inside, Keiji was freaking out. Was he really going to die right here, right now?

“Someone has to! You’re going to help me find it.” Keiji’s scanned the room for something. He needed to get out of this situation. Gun to his head? Not his favorite. Looking around, there really wasn't much. The coffee table next to them? No. What was he going to do? Push him into it?

Keiji’s eyes landed on the glowing coals in the fireplace, and his mind went to a pretty dark solution to his little sticky situation he was in. He couldn’t believe he was considering this. Though he had to do something, and both Keiji and Koutarou knew that the owl couldn’t do anything or he would shoot Keiji.

He prepared for it. Keiji took a deep breath, and the guy was about to shout for something again, but Keiji cut him off. He wrapped his arms around the guy and pushed him into the fireplace causing the man to stop his firearm. Keiji almost fell in there with him if it weren’t for Koutarou grabbing him and pulling him back.

“Akaashi, let’s get,” he said. Koutarou’s arm still held Keiji’s as he grabbed his bag with his other hand. “Get your bag.” Keiji stared at the guy who was left screaming from the burns. That scream would probably ring in his ears for years. As Keiji was watching, Koutarou’s arm let go of Keiji. He put his bag on his back. 

Keiji was distracted as the guy took himself out from the firepit and reached for his dropped gun.

‘How the hell--’ And he grabbed it. Successfully, and he even fired it off. 

“Akaashi!” Koutarou pulled back Keiji as the fire got shot, ringing through the air. He grabbed Keiji’s bag for him since he had a new freehand--since he had put his own bag on his back--and dragged Keiji out of the house. 

 

They walked in a hurry like that for a while, Koutarou’s arm gripped on Keiji’s wrist as he dragged him down the street. It was until they got into another empty building was when they stopped.

“Bokuto?” Keiji quietly asked when there stood there, nothing but deep breaths in and out being heard from the two trying to catch their breath. Koutarou was staring at the ground, and that’s when it fell. A drop of blood hit the dirty carpet of the small office building they walked into. “Bokuto!” Keiji slipped his hand from Koutarou’s grip and moved in front of him. His hands reached his cheeks, and Keiji felt something wet. Looking down at it, his hand was covered in blood. Keiji looked at Koutarou’s face. A deep cut on his cheek. “Is this it? Is this the only place you got hit?” 

“Yeah, I’m fine, Akaashi.”

“Sit down. I’ll clean it.”

“Akaashi--”

“Sit.” Koutarou let out a sigh in defeat, and he looked around the room. He found a desk that was pushed against the wall and took a seat as Keiji took his bag from him. Keiji unzipped the bag while walking up to the desk Koutarou now sat at. He sat swinging his feet like a bored child.

Keiji pulled out a clean towel and poured water on it. He was doing it a lot faster than he normally would, and he was shaking a lot more than usual. Why? Koutarou was going to be fine. 

“Turn your head, Bokuto,” Keiji softly said. He reached forward and tilted his head to the side.

“Mmk.” Keiji was careful as he cleaned off Koutarou’s cheek. 

“You shouldn’t need stitches,” Keiji mumbled. As he wiped off the blood, more came from the wound. Keiji let out a small sigh and got a large bandaid ready. He swiped away the blood again and quickly and carefully put the bandaid to his face. Keiji smoothed it over and ran his thumbs along the edge of the bandaid.

“Akaashi, I’m okay.”

“I know.”

“Then why do you look so scared?” Keiji took a deep breath, and it came out shaky. Even though he really knew Koutarou was okay, he was still on edge, his heart was still beating quickly, he was still shaking. Keiji could just feel tears stinging in his eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was because he was scared or if it was because he was glad Koutarou was okay. “Akaashi?” Keiji shook his head while biting his lip as he moved his arms around Koutarou. He buried his face into Koutarou’s shoulder.  

“I’m just relieved that you're okay, Bokuto,” he whispered. 

“Yeah.” Koutarou didn’t have much of a reply which was weird for someone like him. His hands moved to his back, and Keiji felt that warm feeling he missed spread throughout him. Koutarou’s hand moved up and down, softly and slowly. It relaxed Keiji. He had never felt so safe, so protected, so loved. It was warm, and it was something Keiji was scared was going to leave him.

 

“Keiji, listen to me. I’ll distract them. You run, and you run far. Get out of here. Get someplace safe. Promise me that you’ll get out of this town, promise me you’ll be as safe as you can given the circumstances, promise me you’ll never trust another soul again. You need to be on your own.”

 

Keiji quickly pulled away. He put his back to Koutarou. 

“Akaashi?” Keiji shook his head. He remembered his mother’s words as if they were haunting him and trying to make him unhappy. Why did he have to be on his own? “Akaashi, are you alright?”

“No--yes--I’m--” Keiji sighed. He grabbed his bag and stuffed in the medical supplies back in before swinging it on his back. “Let’s go.”

 

Koutarou doesn’t question Keiji’s weird actions since it’s not like Keiji would tell him anything. Keiji was a very closeted person, and Koutarou was aware of that. Though, he really thought that he was getting somewhere with him. So, what the hell was that just now?

 

Remembering his mother’s words snapped him back to normal. Keiji Akaashi couldn’t trust anybody.

 

“This is it?” Keiji nodded. “You sure?” He nodded once more as he looked at the house up and down. Koutarou put a hand on Keiji’s back. “Alright, you ready to head inside?”

“Yeah,” Keiji mumbled. “Yeah, let’s go, Bokuto.”

Keiji’s eyes scanned around the house. Even though everything was torn up, Keiji could picture the house perfectly. How? He couldn’t even answer that. Keiji headed right to his bedroom as if it were years ago when he was returning home from school. He stood in the doorway of his bedroom and sighed. Posters torn up, blankets missing, chair left on its side. Did he do that years ago when he had first heard the warning broadcast?

Keiji stepped into the room finally. He headed to his closet and looked through all the clothes. They were all too small by now but he chuckled at the band merchandise. Keiji kneeled down and reached into the closet. He tossed up clothes looking for it. It. A box he remembered keeping in his closet. He felt it. A wooden box. Sliding it out, Keiji was quick to open it. Inside was exactly what he was hoping for. It was an expensive knife that Keiji’s father bought him when he was fourteen because of Keiji’s love for emo bands. It was a phase, okay.

“Woah,” Koutarou said while crouching down next to him to get a look. “Did you plan on grabbing that?”

“Well, no, not originally.” Keiji reached in the box and grabbed the sleeve for the knife. He carefully slid it in. “But looking in my closet, I remembered it.” He stood up while keeping his eyes peeled on the knife. “We should go.”

“Already?” Keiji nodded. “Shouldn’t we stay here for the night and leave in the morning?” Keiji bit his lip. There was a part of him that didn’t want to stay in the house. He would just get sad, he would just get attached, he would--

Keiji would pull himself more away from Koutarou if he did since he would only be reminded of his mother and her last words to him.

His mind told him that’s what he was supposed to do. That he needed to pull away because that's what his mother told him. 'Do not trust anybody'. But his heart told him otherwise.

Keiji needed Koutarou, and if staying at this house meant he would push him away, Keiji had to make a decision. 

So, with that, Keiji chose.

“Can we go to a different house?”

“Yeah, let’s go, ‘Kaashi.”

Keiji needed Koutarou, and if staying at this house meant he would push him away, then Keiji would leave.

 

Keiji stared at the fire while curled up hugging his knees. His chin rested on his knees, and Keiji let out a sigh.

“You alright, Akaashi?” Koutarou asked. Keiji looked up and watched as he took a seat next to him.

“Fine.” 

“You sure?” Keiji really couldn’t stand having Koutarou next to him. Not because he hated him. No, it was the exact opposite. It was because he liked him so much. Keiji felt comfortable enough to want to break down and cry in front of him. The idea of comfort after feeling it once before? Keiji needed it. Damn, he had heard about things being addicting like if you smoke a cigarette once, you'll be hooked forever but Keiji never knew it could lead to this constant, itching want. “Akaashi?” Keiji nodded, but slowly, he started to shake his head. 

“No.” Keiji let his head fall on Koutarou’s shoulder. “I couldn’t keep it.”

“Keep what?”

“I left something out of my story. Something my mom told me before she made me run out of that store.” Keiji started to fiddle his fingers. “I promised her I wouldn’t trust anyone again.”

“Not even friends?” Keiji shook his head. “Well, that’s not cool.” Keiji moves his chin to rest on Koutarou’s shoulder so he could look up at him. “Did she want you to suffer in loneliness?” Keiji didn’t have a response. He hadn’t thought about that, he just thought she was doing it to protect him even when she wasn’t there. 

“I—don’t know, Bokuto.”

“Maybe she meant like, she didn’t want you to be with someone who you couldn’t trust, you know? Someone sketchy.” Koutarou’s postured straightened a bit. “Ooh! Like that guy who was gonna kill us this morning.” Keiji’s stomach dropped with the way he worded that. “You wouldn’t want to trust someone like that.”

“But?”

“But,” Koutarou’s eyes moved over to Keiji, “and not to toot my own horn or anything, but you could trust someone like me.” Keiji nodded, and this time, he didn’t bite back that feeling in his face. He smiled. Keiji smiled. “Anyway, we should get to bed.”

“Yeah.”

Chapter Text

“That was successful, right? That was fun.” Keiji nodded while walking side by side with Koutarou. They were almost back at that library. “Hey! You should come back to my place! Properly meet everyone.”

“Was that everyone in the lunchroom that night I was there?”

“Yup!” 

Keiji shrugged his shoulders. “Alright, I guess.”

“Really?!” Koutarou’s eyes lit up. They really did glow of hope. Keiji nodded. If Koutarou could trust them, maybe Keiji could.

Because Keiji completely trusted Koutarou Bokuto.

 

“Now, they don’t know you’re coming, so if Sugawara jumps you, that’s not on me.” 

Keiji chuckled. “Alright, Bokuto.” Koutarou opened the door to the big, old hotel that Koutarou and his group of people fixed up.

“Bo! Is that you?” Someone shouted from the room over.

“Yeah?” He responded while kicking off his shoes. Koutarou looked over at Keiji while sticking his finger in the back of his shoe to pull it off. “You can take off your shoes, ‘Kaashi.” As Koutarou stood up straight, Tetsurou slid into the room. Right away, he moved to hide behind Koutarou.

“Dude, dude, dude, there’s a HUGE fucking spider in the kitchen.”

“And?”

“Can you please get rid of it?”

“Are you purposely the biggest pussy in the world?”

“No.” Tetsurou stood up straight and crossed his arms across his chest. “I’m just really good at it.” His eyes finally caught Keiji’s. “Oya? Hey, Akaashi.” Keiji nodded. “Anyway, please?”

“Why do I have to do it?”

“Iwaizumi and Oikawa are in a ‘meeting’—“ Tetsurou rolled his eyes while doing quotation marks with his hands, “we all know what they’re doing. Kenma is taking his afternoon nap, and Daichi and Sugawara are out.” Koutarou sighed. He handed Tetsurou his bag.

“Only if you unpack my shit for me.”

“Fine.” Tetsurou snatched the bag and headed off down the opposite hallway he came from. 

Koutarou turned to Keiji who was simply standing there while watching everything play out. He was messing with his fingers. 

“Come on, ‘Kaashi. You’re not afraid of spiders, are you?”

“Afraid of spiders? Are you kidding me?” Koutarou laughed. When he did, Keiji felt his heart flutter. It seemed so pure.

“Alright, let’s go!”

When they got into the kitchen, there was an upside-down cup on the floor.

“Is it under there?” Keiji asked while turning his head.

“Let’s find out.” Koutarou rounded around the cup so he was on the other side then Keiji was. He knelt down next to it while Keiji put his hands on his knees and leaned over a bit. Koutarou reached over with shaky hands at the cup. 

“Are you going to pick it up, Bokuto?”

“Shut up! I am!” His hand made contact with the cup, and he slowly lifted it a little. It was only a bit before he gave up. “Nope! Nope! Can’t do it! We need Daichi!” Koutarou jumped up and walked to the other side of the kitchen. Keiji couldn’t help but chuckle. He knelt down beside the cup and slowly lifted it. Underneath was a small, cute spider. Keiji made his hand a little ramp and the spider crawled up. 

“Woah, woah, woah, what the hell?” Keiji let the spider crawl up his arm, and when it would go too far up, he’d use his other hand to catch it and move it back down.

“What’s wrong?” Keiji asked. He kept his eyes on the spider as he talked.

“You’re insane.”

“It’s a spider, Bokuto.”

“Yeah, and it’s going to fucking kill you.” Keiji looked up at Koutarou. Koutarou with his hands planted on the counter behind him, backed up as far as he could be to the counter, a foot flat on the side of it, pushing himself up a little. It made Keiji laugh, and he didn’t even bother to hide it at all.

“I think I’ll be fine, Bokuto.”

“Kill it, Akaashi!”

“What?” Keiji raised an eyebrow while staring down at the spider. “Why would I do that?”

“It’s a spider!”

“Yes, Bokuto. It’s a spider meaning it can’t actually hurt you.” Keiji watched it crawl up his arm. “Not this one, particularly.”

“Why do you know about spiders?”

Keiji shrugged. “I just know which ones are harmful. It was a hobby I picked up.”

“Huh.” Koutarou let out a shaky breath. “Okay, can you like, please get rid of it now?” Keiji laughed a little, and he nodded. He headed out of the kitchen to the front door. Close but at a distance behind him was Koutarou watching. Keiji opened the door and knelt down. He moved the spider to his palm and carefully let it run off the tips of his fingers to the ground, a little ramp for the spider.

“Be safe,” he mumbled under his breath as he watched the spider scamper off. Keiji stood up and brushed off his knees. When he turned and looked at him, Koutarou had this relieved expression on his face. 

“So,” Keiji started to say as he moved back into the building and closed the door, “you and Kuroo are scared of spiders?”

“Yes, no, maybe, shut up, let’s get Iwaizumi or Oikawa to make dinner. I’m starving.”

 

Keiji and Koutarou headed up the stairs to where Koutarou said they were both roomed. Together, apparently. According to Koutarou, Tooru and Hajime weren’t just friends. 

Koutarou banged his fist on the door.

“Hey, lovebirds, open up!” Koutarou stepped back after knocking, and he shoved his hands into his pockets. As he waiting, he whistled and rocked on his heels. His eyes would meet Keiji’s a few times, and he’d give him a little smile. 

The door opened and showed that lighter brown-haired guy. He pulled down his shirt the rest of the way while leaned against the doorway. It was obvious the was trying to block what was in the room with the way he used his foot to keep the door closed.

“We’re not ‘lovebirds’.”

“Yeah, sure, and Kuroo doesn’t have bedhead.”

“Good one,” someone called from inside. The one in the doorway looked back at him.

“Shut it, Iwa.” He sighed and made eye contact with Koutarou. “What the hell do you want? I’m busy.”

“Yeah, you’re really busy.” Koutarou smirked and elbowed Keiji. 

“Shut up. What do you want?”

“Dinner.”

“Why can’t you learn how to cook?”

“So that I can bother you about it. Come on, Oikawa.” Koutarou’s hair seemed to get sad as his shoulders dropped, and he begged the other to make food.

“Fine.” He slipped out the door carefully and closed the door behind him. 

The three walked back with the new addition fixing his hair.

“What were you two doing in there, huh, Oikawa?”

“Shut up.” The tips of his ears seemed red. “Who’s your friend?”

“His name is Keiji Akaashi, and he’s awesome!” Koutarou exclaimed. “Really strong and really smart.”

“Thanks, Bokuto,” Keiji quietly mumbled. 

“Well, I’m Tooru Oikawa,” Tooru said while they headed down the stairs. “And apparently I’m the only fucking person who can cook around here.” They reached the doorway of the kitchen, and Tooru sighed at the sight. “Exhibit A. Kuroo, what are you doing?” 

Tetsurou, who was standing on the counter, blinked a few times, “Huh? Whaddya mean?” He jumped down with a glass bowl in his hand. “I was gonna make cereal.”

“Yeah, let me just run to the grocery store and get a carton of milk—oh, wait—“ Tooru crossed his arms. “There isn’t one.”

“DRY cereal, Oikawa.”

“Get out.”

“Are you making dinner?”

“Yes.”

“Ooh, finally, you fucking bitch.” Tetsurou skipped, literally, out of the room. “Bo, Bo, let’s go do the thing.”

“What thing?” Koutarou turned his head at Tetsurou while the bedhead stood in the doorway.

“The thing.”

“What thing ?” Tetsurou gave him a look, and he kept giving him the look. Koutarou raised an eyebrow, but slowly, his facial expression changed. “OH. YES. Let’s go.” Koutarou was quick to run to Tetsurou, but he stopped in the doorway and looked back at Keiji. “‘Kaashi! Come on!” Keiji didn’t know what the two were planning on doing, but he still followed along with him. Why? Because it was Koutarou, and Keiji trusted him. 

 

Tetsurou hung upside down in a tree.

“Bro, bro, how does this look?”

“You look like a fucking idiot--Hey! Bro!” Koutarou walked over to Tetsurou who was crossing his arms in a pout now. He turned his head and stared closely at Tetsurou’s face. Slowly, he reached over as if he were touching an artifact and poked Tetsurou on the cheekbone on the right side of his face. “I’ve never seen the right side of your face. Your bedhead always covers it.”

“Oh, fuck off, dude.” Tetsurou pushed him away, and the quick movement moved the tree branch he hung on, a cracking noise ringing through all their ears. Koutarou started to smirk, and he backed up to stand next to Keiji who kept his distance while watching. “Bro, you just heard it breaking. Why would your step away--HELP ME. THE BRANCH IS GONNA BREAK. I’M GONNA FALL.” Koutarou put an arm on Keiji’s shoulder. 

“I don’t know, man. I think you should get yourself out of this jam.”

“Are you FUCKING kidding me, dude?” There was some fear in Tetsurou’s voice. He knew that under his weight, the branch was sure to snap soon. “The next time you find yourself getting surrounded by infected, I’m throwing YOUR ass in the fire.”

“I’m fine with that.” Koutarou turned his head to look at Keiji. The arm laying on his shoulder reached up, and Koutarou’s finger started to poke into Keiji’s cheek. “Hey, your skin is soft.” Keiji felt a smile coming on his face. He bit it back and scoffed instead.

“Thanks, Bokuto.” Keiji didn’t look over at Koutaro, but he knew he had this look in his eyes. That fucking glow, Keiji knew it was there. He wanted to look at it, but he was too focused on watching how Tetsurou would solve his little issue.

The branch snapped a little more, and Tetsurou let out a whine. 

“Maybe we should help him,” Keiji mumbled.

“Nah, he’s got this.”

“And if he falls?” Koutarou shrugged. His finger was still drawing little circles on Keiji’s cheek. “Are you su--” Keiji wasn’t even able to finish his sentence when the branch finally snapped. Tetsurou dropped to the ground, his shoulder slamming into the ground below him instead of being able to use his hands to catch himself. He was trying to reach to the trunk of the tree when it snapped.

“FUCK.” Keiji and Koutarou didn’t move unless you count Koutarou stopping his finger from moving in the small circles. They just watched as Tetsurou rolled onto his side to the shoulder he didn’t land on. He groaned in pain. “I fucking HATE you, Bokuto.”

“Bokuto,” Keiji said and grabbed Koutarou’s hand, moving it off him. Koutarou’s arm fell to his side, and the owl seemed kind of disappointed. “We should help him.”

Koutarou sighed, “Fine.” They knelt down beside him to see what had happened. His shoulder was bleeding. To Keiji, if he was being completely honest, it looked dislocated. 

“Kuroo, can you stand?”

“Fuck, yeah, give me a second.” Keiji put a hand on Tetsurou’s back and helped him sit up. He put an arm under his good shoulder to help him stand up. Tetsurou got to his feet and let out another groan. “Bokuto, I’m gonna suffocate you while you sleep,” Tetsurou mumbled.

“Let’s get you fixed up, Kuroo.”

“Yeah, yeah, thanks, Akaashi.”

 

Keiji handed Tetsurou over to Kenma who sighed when he saw what Tetsurou had gotten himself into. He was used to having to fix Tetsurou and Koutarou’s injuries from all the stupid shit that they would get themselves into. 

Koutarou and Keiji headed into the kitchen since Koutarou wanted to see how Tooru was coming along with dinner. Once Koutarou got a foot into the kitchen, Keiji pulled him back by the shirt collar.

“Hey--”

“Sh, look.” They peered around the corner, and Koutarou let out a sigh. 

“Really? In the kitchen?” Koutarou whispered under his breath. Tooru was on the counter, his legs wrapped around Hajime’s waist. His eyes stared at the boiling water while Hajime had his face buried into his neck, his lips leaving behind light bruises. 

“Iwa, the water is boiling.” Before they could continue to eavesdrop on the couple, Keiji grabbed Koutarou’s hand and dragged him away from the kitchen. He just headed up the stairs. It was subconscious, but Keiji went to Koutarou’s room. So comfortably as if it were normal. He sat on the edge of his bed and pulled his feet up on the bed. 

“Akaashi?” Keiji looked up at Koutarou who moved to stand next to him. “You okay?” He asked while sitting down on the bed. His hand reached to Keiji’s which were fiddling in his lap. Koutarou slipped his fingers between Keiji’s, and Keiji felt this warmth through his chest.

“I’m fine. I think I’m just tired, Bokuto.”

“Let’s take a nap!” Before Keiji could respond, Koutarou fell back on the bed, his hold on Keiji’s hand pulling him forward. He fell on top of him, his chin hitting Koutarou on the chest. Koutarou didn’t say anything more. He just let his head hit the pillow and had a big closed smile on his face as he closed his eyes. Keiji was really impressed with how fast he passed out. 

Keiji sighed. He knew he wasn’t going to get out of this one. Instead, he just repositioned his hand that was locked with Koutarou’s, rested his head against Koutarou’s chest, and passed out. 

Chapter Text

“Let me come with, Iwa.”

“No. Why?”

“Because I don’t want to be left with Kuroo and Sugawara.” Koushi let out a sigh at the mention of his name as he turned his head. He sat on the kitchen table as he leaned back on the palms of his hands.

“Come on, Oikawa!” Koushi exclaimed innocently. “We’re not that bad, and it’s only for a few minutes!” Koushi reached over and ran his fingers through Tooru’s hair.

“I’m coming with.” Tooru hopped up from his chair to Hajime who sighed. He really did believe he dealt with children sometimes. 

“Fine.”

 

Hajime and Tooru headed upstairs. All they were doing was getting Keiji and Koutarou to tell them that dinner was done. That was it. All Tooru had to sit there for was to wait until Hajime came back which would be a mere few minutes, but no, he really didn’t want to be alone with those idiots. Hajime couldn’t really blame him, but he also included Tooru in that group of idiots. Sometimes.

He knocked on the door he knew was Koutarou’s.

“Get Akaashi, would you?”

“Are you sure they’re not in there together?” Tooru asked with a smirk, and Hajime raised an eyebrow in return.

“You really think?”

Tooru shrugged, “I think our little owl really has made an impression on that Akaashi.” 

“Mhm.” Tooru and Hajime stared at the door. It didn’t seem like it was opening anytime soon.

“You think they’re in Akaashi’s?” Hajime shrugged. “Knock again.” Hajime sighed and knocked again. They waited awhile once again, and Tooru was about to give up and head to Keiji’s room. That was until they heard someone fall. The two exchanged looks but waited.

Finally, the door opened, and Keiji stood in the doorway rubbing his eyes like a tired child.

“Iwaizumi, Oikawa.” Keiji yawned. “Do you need something?” Tooru was grinning like an idiot which was kind of hypocritical coming from him. Hajime elbowed him in the stomach for the smile he could spot from the corner of his eye.

“Food is done.”

“FOOD.” Koutarou seemed to show up out of nowhere. His arms hung over Keiji’s shoulders, his forehead falling and resting on the back of Keiji’s neck. “I heard food,” he mumbled.

“We’ll be down in a second. Thanks.” Keiji spoke for him. Hajime nodded and grabbed Tooru by the collar of his shirt. He just pulled him down the hallway back to the kitchen.

 

Keiji closed the door with Koutarou still leaned over him. He tried to shrug him off by moving his hand back to push him lightly in the face.

“Come on, Bokuto. We need to go eat.”

“Tired.”

“I know.”

“Sleep?” Keiji sighed, but he couldn’t stop the smile from forming on his face. He turned, his hands holding onto Koutarou’s wrists to hold him up and make him look at him. Now, Keiji could comfortably look into Koutarou’s eyes. The glow didn’t piss him off anymore from being too hopeful. Actually, it kind of pissed him off because he liked looking into his eyes so much.

“Sleep later.” Koutarou groaned, and he nodded and headed to the door. He pulled it open and started walking down the hallway. 

As he was walking, Keiji caught up to him after grabbing a sweatshirt and closed the door, Koutarou yawned. “We better get back quickly,” he said through his yawn.

Keiji and Koutarou got into the kitchen to a mess. Well, it was a mess to Keiji, but to Koutarou, it seemed completely normal. 

The gray-haired one stood on the table as he had his arms stretched up, hands planted flat on the ceiling. Tetsurou and Kenma sat at the table like normal, Kenma slowly eating his food while staring at the table in front of him while Tetsurou just watched the gray-haired one with a smirk on his face. He was clearly amused by the situation.

Hajime and Tooru were another story when it came to tolerating them. Tooru was standing in the far corner of the room as he watched with a type of disgusted look on his face, bowl of food held close to him as if to prevent someone from spilling it while Hajime stood next to him with his arms crossed.

“Suga! Bro!” Koutarou called out. 

‘He was just half awake a moment ago.’ Keiji sighed. Koutarou Bokuto really was strange.

“What are you doing on the table?”
“What are you doing bringing in someone who’s prettier than me?” The gray haired one jumped from the table and stood in front of Keiji. “Hi, Koushi Sugawara, your new rival.”

“‘New rival’?” Keiji raised an eyebrow.

“What lotion do you use?” Koushi leaned closer to his face, reaching forward to poke a finger deep into his cheek.

“I don’t use any.”

“What?” Koushi reached his other hand over. His face began to cup Keiji’s cheeks and smush them together. “How the fuck is your face so soft? Daichi, come feel this.”

“Stop touching, Suga.” The one who Keiji was guessing was Daichi walked up to Koushi and pulled his hands away from Keiji. “Sorry. I’m Daichi Sawamura. You can call me Daichi.” Daichi gave him a smile before looking at smile as he let it drop. “Sit down at the table like a normal person, Sugawara.”

“FINE.” Koushi let out a groan, and he plopped down in the chair next to Tetsurou. “Give me some of that,” he said while reaching over to Tetsurou’s food. 

“Whatever, bro.”

Keiji looked over at Koutarou who did nothing but smile at him. There was a large grin on his face like normal, and Keiji felt himself melting at the glowing look in his eyes.

“Let’s eat!”

 

Koutarou had his back on the bed, eyes stared up while he stared at the ceiling light, feet half hanging off the bed as he swung them a little. Like a child. 

“Akaashi, are you really going back?” Keiji paused with his fingers in his hair. He had stood in front of the big, cracked mirror hanging on the bathroom door, fixing his hair even though he was about to head to bed.

“Go back where, Bokuto?” Keiji asked. His fingers continued to move through his hair, but it seemed to be more like a nervous thing than continuing to fix his hair. 

“Your place.” Koutarou sat up, and his feet kicked up in the air a little. “I mean, you don’t hate it here, right? You like all the idiots, right? Oikawa, and Kenma, and Iwaizumi, and Sugawara, and Daichi, and Kuroo? Right? And me? More people, the safer it is.” Keiji’s hands dropped from his hair, and he stared down at his fingers as they twirled around each other. He didn’t even think about going back yet, he was too focused on being with Kotuarou. His mother’s promises still bothered him, still racked around in his brain. Though, being with Koutarou, they became kind of blurry. Like the glow in his eyes blinded Keiji.

“I haven’t really thought about it.”

“But you wouldn’t hate moving in, would you?”

“Why are you so keen on me moving in?” Keiji finally turned around, and Koutarou had this puppy dog look in his eyes.

“Because I want you to be safe.” Koutarou stood up. “I know, I know, you can take care of yourself and that you have been, but,” Koutarou stood in front of Keiji and stared down at the floor between them. “I just want to be sure.”

“I understand, Bokuto.” Koutarou looked up at him, and Keiji nodded. “I’ll think about it,” he added. Koutarou smiled, god his smile was big, and he wrapped his arms around Keiji. 

“Yes!” He seemed excited, and Keiji couldn’t help but smile. He hugged back, his arms wrapping themselves around Koutarou as well. Koutarou pulled away. “Sleep? We should sleep.” Keiji nodded. Of course, he could agree. He was exhausted. Dealing with so many people was actually a lot of work.

Keiji would probably have to decide tomorrow whether or not he was going to leave his own little cabin to join Koutarou’s group, and he wished his mother were here to decide for him.

Chapter Text

Koutarou walked alongside Keiji. He wasn’t taking him bet to his cabin. Not yet, maybe. They were out doing some searching for food for later tonight. 

Tonight was probably when Keiji would have to make his decision. Would he stay or would he go back to his house? He trusted Koutarou, he really did, and Keiji liked being with Koutarou. His presence was now everything to Keiji because now that he’s felt the feeling of someone else, he really didn’t want to let it go. Everything about Koutarou was warm to that glow in his eyes, his booming laugh, his wide, bright smile, his stupid jokes.

“Akaashi?” Keiji’s eyes snapped to his right, and he looked back at the yellow eyes staring back at him. He felt a hand slip into his, fingers sliding between his own, and Keiji let it happen, fingers moving to press against the back of Koutarou’s hand as his did Keiji’s. “You okay?”
“Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking, Bokuto.”

“Ooh! About what?” Keiji looked ahead of them as they walked so he didn’t trip on anything. Rocks and broken building were literally everywhere. Koutarou’s hand was warm in Keiji’s especially since Keiji’s hands were normally freezing. It was perfect.

“Whether or not I’m staying.”
“With us?”

“With you .” Keiji corrected Koutarou. If he was staying, he was staying for Koutarou, not for any of the others. He didn’t know the others or connect with them the way he did with Koutarou.

“Is that a confession? It kind of sounds like a confession.” Keiji rolled his eyes with a smile. “Is it not?!” Koutarou laughed as he moved in front of Keiji, hand slipping from Keiji’s, and he began to walk backwards as they both kept moving.

“No.”

“So you don’t like me?”

“I do like you, Bokuto.”

“See!? Confession.” Keiji chuckled a little. He twirled his fingers around his own, but his eyes stayed locked with Koutarou’s. Keiji couldn’t believe he used to hate looking into them.

“Bokuto, please.”

“‘Pleaseee’?” Koutarou dragged out. “Marry you? I will!”

“No, that’s not what I--” Koutarou wrapped an arm on Keiji’s shoulder. He walked beside him now, a finger poking into Keiji’s cheek. 

“So you wouldn’t marry me?” Keiji stayed silent as he chewed the inside of his cheek.

“I wouldn’t hate it.”

“Akaashi!” 

“Sh, Bokuto. We’re almost in an area where there are a ton of infected.” Koutarou unwrapped his arm around Keiji. He pulled out his knife tossed it in the air a few times.

“Fine,” he sighed.

 

 

Keiji walked carefully up the stairs, eyes lingering on the few skeletons that were laying on the steps. He looked at them for longer than he wanted to--longer than anyone probably wanted to. Though, he couldn’t help it. It was all just so sad. So many people lost their lives from this infected virus, so many people worked to fight, so many people just wanted to survive. Honestly? Those people should be lucky they were dead. Being alive was stressful, difficult, lonely, and confusing. 

 

Keiji reached the top of the stairs and opened the first door. He pushed it open, hearing the creak as he looked in. 

A man on the other side of the room. He was balled up with his forehead on his knees. It reminded Keiji of the first time he met Koutarou. Keiji walked into a room with a man like this one, infected and turning. He put him out of his misery just to be attacked by another one which was when Koutarou saved him. 

Keiji knew what to do. His hand gripped more onto the machete in his hand as he took a step closer. The infected looked up quickly, eyes were bloodshot, skin was pale.

“Hey,” Keiji called out. “You understand what’s happening to you, right?” The small boy slowly nodded. “I can end it quick.” The boy stared for a bit. He nodded again.

“Before I turn. Please,” he whispered. 

“Akaashi?! There’s nothing here! We should--” Koutarou stopped in the doorway as he realized what was happening. “Oh,” he mumbled. 

“One second, Bokuto.”

“Yeah.”

Keiji took a step closer. He raised the blade, and without another word, he swung it. The head cut off, rolling to the side. Keiji couldn’t help but stare. A headless corpse fallen to the floor, a pool of blood forming around it. Keiji could throw up. He’s seen it so many times, and each time he saw it, it made him sick.

Hey, at least that meant he was still human.

“Akaashi?” Keiji felt a hand on his shoulder, and he probably would’ve swatted it off or moved but hearing the voice, Keiji didn’t want to. He turned and looked at him, eyes locking with Koutarou’s.

“Yeah?”

“You okay?” Keiji slid the machete back on his belt not minding to wipe the blood off it. He reached up and grabbed the hand on his shoulder, pulling it down and locking it with his. His fingers slipped between Koutarou’s.

“I’m fine. Let’s go, Bokuto.”



 

“We found stuff. I’m surprised. Are you surprised? Hey, Akaashi--”

“Yeah,” Keiji cut him off. “I’m a little surprised as well. I thought you said you went this way before?”

“We had, yeah,” Koutarou began to say. He tilted his head while starting up at the sky. Keiji watched as his eyes bounced around from star to star in the sky. “But I brought Suga and Kuroo with me and that duo?” Koutarou glanced over at Keiji. “Very ADHD.” Koutarou’s face lit up a little. “Hey! Can I hold you hand?”

“What?” Keiji’s fingers twitched.
“Please?” Keiji looked down at his hand, eyes staring at the tips of them. They were turning a little red from how cold it was. He held out his hand, and Koutarou didn’t hesitate to grab it and slip his own fingers between. “Yes!” Keiji chuckled, and he rolled his eyes. 

“Quiet at night, Bokuto.”

“Right. Sorry.” Koutarou was still grinning at Keiji. “Thank you.” Keiji let out a hum and nodded. 

Why was he thanking him for letting him hold his hand? Keiji really didn’t know, but honestly, he wasn’t complaining that he had asked him to.

 

Tooru wasn’t pleased when they got back. He was like a disapproving mother with his hands on his hips as he stood outside by the front door. 

“What took you two so long?”

“Chill, ‘Kawa!” Koutarou said while pulling his back off his back. He handed Tooru his bag full of goods. “We got so much!” Tooru raised an eyebrow as he unzipped the bag, peeking inside of it.

“Holy shit.”

“Yeah!”

“You should take Akaashi more often,” Tooru said as he reached back to open the door. He swung it open and walked inside leaving it open for the two to follow. 

“I agree!” Koutarou smiled. Keiji bit his lip and did a small nod even though no one was looking at him. Koutarou was leaned down untying his shoes before he scampered off into the kitchen. Keiji was a little slower, and he took his time arranging the shoes so they weren’t in the doorway.

Keiji walked into the kitchen. Of course, for some reason this was normal, Koushi was leaned over the table trying to grab something from Hajime’s hands.

“Just lemme see it, dude.”

“No.” Koushi collapsed back in his chair. He crossed his arms and pouted like a child. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Your childish begging thing.”

“I don’t do that.” Hajime glared at him before he looked back down at some magazine he was leaned back and reading. “JUST LET ME SEE IT.”

“Piss off.”

“FINE.” Koushi stood up with an annoyed sigh. “I’m gonna go bother Daichi until dinner is ready.” Koushi left the room and headed to Daichi’s room, Hajime only letting out a sigh when he heard the feet running up the stairs.

“Welcome back, you two,” Hajime said as his eyes scanned the magazine. “Good haul?”

“REALLY good haul,” Koutarou said as he set his knife on the table.

“Take that disgusting, bloody knife off my table,” Tooru snapped. 

“”tAkE tHaT dIsGuStInG bLoOdY kNiFe OfF mY tAbLe.” Tooru glared at Koutarou, and the owl snickered as he picked it back up. “Come on, Akaashi! Let’s get cleaned up before dinner!”



 

Keiji softly knocked on Koutaoru’s bedroom door. Koutarou was quick to open it, smiling right away when he saw who was on the other side. 

“Akaashi!” 

“Bokuto, can I come in?”

“Of course!” Koutarou let Keiji in, and Keiji just took a seat on the edge of his bed. He stared down at his hands which sat in his lap, his fingers picking at its own. “What’s up, ‘Kaashi?”

“I’ve been thinking.”

“Aboutttt?” Koutarou sat down next to Keiji. He leaned back on his palms while turning his head toward him.

“I think I’ll stay here,” Keiji mumbled.

“Really?!” Keiji nodded. “What made you decide?” Keiji stayed silent. He held his bottom lip, pinching them between teeth.

“You.” Keiji finally looked over at Koutarou. 

“Me?” Keiji slowly nodded. “Huh!”

“What?” Keiji asked.

Koutarou grinned. “You really do like me, don’t you?” Keiji sighed. He let his head fall on Koutarou’s shoulder, and Koutarou was slow, hesitant too, as he slipped his fingers between Keiji’s. “Did I ever tell you how soft your hands are?”

“No.”

“Well, they are!” Koutarou rubbed his thumb on the back of his hand. “ Really soft.” He stared closely at his face. “Your cheeks are soft too, you know?” Koutarou’s other hand reached up and lightly drew a little circle on his cheek. It trailed over his nose to his other cheek, a few more circles, and then moved to the other side. Their faces were close, really really close . Keiji’s could feel Koutarou’s sharp breath, he swore that glow from Koutarou’s eyes was hitting against his own skin, making his own cheek yellow--besides from the redness in his face. 

“Hey, Akaashi?”

“Bokuto.”

“Can I--” Koutarou stopped himself which really wasn’t like it. He was never afraid to say anything, but now, he was. “Nevermind!” Koutarou quickly sat up, Keiji having to pick up his own head so he didn’t fall. Their hands slipped from one another. “Let’s go eat, Akaashi!” Keiji was dying to know what Koutarou was going to say. He never shut himself up. 

“Yeah, let’s.” Though he kept his mouth shut about it because Keiji had all the time in the world to get it out of him.

Chapter Text

“Bokuto, please.”-

“Why not!?”

“It’s unnecessary.” Koutarou hugged the small owl. It was a stuffed animal he found in one of the bedrooms of the houses and he Keiji were scavenging.

“Then I’ll carry it.” Keiji sighed. “PLEASE.”

“Fine, Bokuto.” Keiji turned around and left the room to find other things. Hopefully, as he left him alone, Koutarou wouldn’t find more things to emotionally attach himself to and beg Keiji to keep because Keiji was sure to say yes. Who couldn’t? That look in his eyes? It seemed like that glow won Keiji over as if it were magic.

Keiji headed into the room across the hall. He opened the closet to find some clothes that seemed to be their size, so Keiji began to throw some shirts and pants into his bag. Though, he froze when he heard something heavy hit the floor. Something shattering.

“Bokuto?!” Keiji called as he paused from stuffing another shirt in his bag. It was a few seconds but Keiji finally received an answer.

“YEAH?”

“What was that?!”

“UHH. I KNOCKED OVER SOMETHING.” Keiji sighed and dropped the shirt in before zipping the bag up. He swung it on his shoulder and headed back into the room with Koutarou. The idiot was standing on the bed while staring down at a shattered fish tank. 

“Seriously?” Was all that Keiji asked.

“Sorry.” Keiji sighed. He stepped closer to the bed and held out his hand. 

“Come on, Bokuto.” Koutarou smiled. He was quick to accept Keiji’s hand to help himself jump from the bed. Keiji pulled his hand away right after Koutarou landed on his two feet, and he began to walk away again, but Koutarou stopped him. The owl grabbed his hand and smiled at Keiji when he had looked back at him with a raised eyebrow. Keiji felt a twitch at his lips, and he had a soft smile on his face just from looking at Koutarou. “Come on.” 

 

 

 

Koutarou hummed quietly as he walked alongside Keiji. They headed--shit, somewhere. Really, they didn’t know. Maybe they should head back? Keiji didn’t feel too satisfied with the haul of goods they had yet.

“Think we can stay out the night?”

“Without asking Iwaizumi?” Koutarou asked, head turned at Keiji to answer him almost right away. He really didn’t skip a beat.

“He’s not your boss.”

“Mhm,” Koutarou hummed. “Yeah! Why?” 

Keiji shrugged. “I feel like we could find more stuff if we go further out.”

“You’re so smart, Akaashi!” Keiji smiled. “We should find somewhere to stop soon then.” Keiji looked up at the sky. It was pink already, the sun setting in the far distance, Keiji only able to see it through the alleyways of the buildings. 

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Yeah, let’s start keeping an eye out.”

 

This time, Koutarou was the one who found a nice building. Keiji could tell he really thought about what building he was looking for. The guy picked what seemed to be a five-star hotel--or what was a five-star hotel.

“I bet they have the most comfortable beds ever--ooh! And pillows! Akaashi, think about the pillows!” 

Keiji laughed, “Yeah, Bokuto, I’m sure the pillows are fantastic.” Keiji started to head inside the building. “Come on.”

 

Inside the hotel was messy which made sense since before it was such a nice hotel. This place was probably raided a million times before. There was probably no point in trying to turn the place inside out to search for stuff. 

“Are we going to be able to get inside a room?” Koutarou asked while he leaned over the counter. He turned his head left and right, looking around for whatever. 

“I’m sure the doors don’t work anymore?” Keiji guessed though it came out more like a question than anything. “Maybe there’s an open door somewhere.”

“Yeah,” Koutarou said while standing up and backing away from the counter, looking at Keiji. “Maybe we can get through to a locked room through the window!” 

Keiji nodded, “Good idea.” 

 

Keiji and Koutarou went separate ways down the hotel hallway. They tried every door handle, but the doors were too heavy to actually open them or they were locked.

“Akaashi!” Koutarou shouted from down the hall. “Come here,” he waved a hand. Keiji sighed and moved his hand off the door handle as he headed to Koutarou. 

Koutarou had a grin on his face as he pushed open a door. Inside was one of the hotel rooms turned inside out. Keiji looked at Koutarou before he stepped into the room ahead of him. He looked around, noticing the missing bedsheets then the broken television. The pillows were missing which was probably why Koutarou groaned behind him. 

“The room next to us was locked--Ooh! Keiji, do you know where the honeymoon suite is?”

“Honeymoon suite?”

“Yeah! They usually have the best rooms.” Koutarou headed over to the window and opened it. He stuck his head out the window and looked up. “I think it’s that one.”

“What makes you say that?” Keiji crossed his arms.

“Nice window. They always have the best view.” Koutarou was quick--too quick for Keiji to even have time to react to what he was doing--as he jumped up on the ledge and moved his body out the window.

“Bokuto, be careful!” Keiji ran over to the window. He swore his heart was sprinting. If Koutarou fell, Keiji wouldn’t know what he would do. 

“I’m fine! Hey, Akaashi, head up to the uhh,” Koutarou looked up carefully, “the top floor!” 

“But--” Keiji let out a sigh. He knew he wouldn’t be able to convince Koutarou to get out of the window sill, and he definitely wasn’t going to be able to stop him from climbing all the way up to the top floor. Instead, he just left out of the room to head to the staircase. 

When he got up there, none of the rooms were open, but Keiji knew which one was the honeymoon suite that Koutarou was talking about. The door had a golden plate bolted on the door, and it was labeled ‘Honeymoon Suite’ ’. 

What did Koutarou want him to do? Stand here and mess around nervously with his fingers until he waited until Koutarou opened the door? What if he fell?

It was a few minutes--five minutes longer than Keiji wanted it to be. He was pacing back and forth by this time as his fingers spun around each other quickly. Though, after waiting for what seemed like years, Keiji heard the click of the door for the honeymoon suite, and the door slowly pushed opened. Keiji’s head snapped over just in time to see Koutarou’s head pop through the crack of the door with a grin.

“Akaaaashi! You won’t believe the look of this room!” Koutarou held the door open more to get Keiji to walk inside, and he did, but not before giving Koutarou a hug. 

“I thought you fell.”

“Nah, I’m good at parkour,” Koutarou reassured as he wrapped his arms around Keiji. Keiji pulled away and looked at him, smiling once he saw Koutarou’s own smile. “Come on!”

 

Koutarou really wasn’t kidding when he said it was the best room in the hotel. It had its own living room, bedroom, and kitchen. The liquor was still in the cabinets, towels, pillows, and blankets were still folded in the closet, the bed was still perfectly made, new soaps still sealed in their containers. 

“Woah!” Koutarou came out of the bathroom holding the soaps. “You think we can still call room service?” He asked with a grin. Keiji chuckled and dropped his bag on the sofa. 

“I think room service might be a little late to returning our call.”

“Really?” Koutarou let his shoulders fall as he pretended to be upset. “Aw.” Keiji scoffed, and he began to look around the room again. He searched the drawers and cupboards, but of course, there was nothing in there since the room was empty when everything went to shit. When he got back into the main room, Keiji caught Koutarou stuffing all that he could into his bag to the bottles of alcohol to the clean towels. He zipped up the bag and tossed it on the couch before heading to the bedroom. 

Koutarou opened the double doors to the bedroom and let them hit the wall. He walked into the room and tossed himself on the bed.

“AKAASHI.” Keiji sighed and walked into the room. “This bed is so fucking soft.” He sat up and reached for Keiji’s wrist, pulling him to stand between his legs. “Come on. We’ll get the rest of the stuff in the morning.” Keiji sighed and looked around the room. He noticed the sun going down from the window, and he looked back over at Koutarou. His little grin on his face, the eagerness in his eyes. Keiji gave in.

“Fine, Bokuto.”