Work Header

Insomniac Olympics

Chapter Text

I don’t deserve this.

Bokuto stared at his sketchbook with something that, with each passing minute, got closer and closer to resembling actual hatred. The small trash can nearby was overflowing with crumpled up failures, and at this rate, he didn’t think it would change anytime soon. If nothing else, he could still churn out commissions; his work still looked decent enough to sell, and in turn, pay his bills.

But simply ‘decent’ wasn’t good enough for Bokuto Koutarou.

With a disgusted groan, he threw his sketchbook and ink pen to the floor, and reached into his pocket for his cell phone. He flipped it open as he flopped back onto his unmade bed, and began typing a new message to his best friend.

>this artblock is killer!! idk what to do about it anymore!!! everything i draw lately sucks more than usual!

As he waited for a response, he stared up at the ceiling and let out an enormous sigh. It felt like a weight had settled on his chest, his very soul; art was often frustrating for him, but it had been a while since he’d felt so lost.

A moment later, his phone vibrated with an incoming message.

>listen, i’m telling you. just go out to the countryside or something. get some fresh air
>your drawings don’t suck and you know it. don’t give me that shit, okay.

He frowned at his phone, and held it over his head as he sent his response.

>i dunno, do you think that’ll work?! what if it doesn’t??

He could almost sense his best friend rolling his eyes as he read the messages that came in a few seconds later.

>if it doesn’t work, you figure something else out. it’s worth a shot
>don’t make me book a hotel for you. you know i’ll do it

He knew that Kuroo wasn’t kidding. With a resigned sigh, he fired off one more grumpy, dejected text message, then sat up and reached for his laptop. A few minutes later, he had himself a reservation for several nights in a hotel outside the city, starting the following day.

He sat up and grabbed his messenger bag from the end of his bed, and began to pack his art supplies; he had a feeling he wouldn’t be able to draw anything for the rest of the day anyways.

He stared out of the window on the train for almost the entire ride, as though it would give him an answer to his frustration.

But seeing the landscapes didn’t bring back any spark, any sense of the confidence he so desperately wanted. Faking it was easy enough, and helped it become more of a reality -- but even pretending was nearly impossible when he put pen to paper and saw nothing but garbage.

Maybe if my eyes weren’t broken, he thought bitterly as he got off of the train. His mood brightened a little as he checked in to the rustic hotel and made his way back to his room; living in the big city was great, but taking a trip was always a little bit exciting, no matter how down he felt.

By the time he’d unpacked, taken a quick shower and managed to grab some dinner, night had already fallen. With a sigh, he grabbed his sketchbook, along with a pencil and eraser, and set off into the night.

It was thankfully pretty quiet; the area didn’t have much business around this time of year, since it was pretty cold in the beginning of December. His footsteps crunched against the earth as he made his way down a gravel path; he used his phone as a light, to make sure he didn’t trip on anything. When he finally made it down to the open field, what he saw instantly piqued his curiosity.

Dim moonlight illuminated the field; the grass was several inches high, and swayed in a gentle, cold breeze. The area was ringed with towering trees, and the sky was painted with hundreds and hundreds of softly glowing stars.

And there, in the center of it all, was a man.

A rather large, but portable telescope was in front of him, pointed towards the sky; he peered through it, silent and unmoving, for a long while before he stopped to jot down some notes on his phone.

Entranced, Bokuto sat down, and silently began to draw, using his cell phone as a light to see what he was doing. His pencil glided over the paper more easily than it had in weeks as he sketched the scene before him, over and over in different angles, with the mysterious man as the focal point of every drawing.

When his hand began to cramp from the chilled air, he glanced at his phone, and realized with a start that he’d been drawing for nearly two hours. Stubbornly, he kept drawing the other man anyways, until he could barely even hold the pencil anymore.

Reluctantly, he finally stuffed his pencil back in his pocket and closed his sketchbook as he stood up to dust off his jeans. He made his way back to his hotel room, slightly dazed and with his thoughts swirling like a hurricane.

The warmth of his room let him keep drawing, once his hands thawed out; he stayed up until it was nearly dawn, inking and filling pages and pages of paper with a field of stars and a figure whose details he still couldn’t make out clearly. What did the other man look like up close? Why was he so captivated with the stars that he could spend hours watching them alone on a winter night?

Would he be there again tomorrow?

Bokuto finally fell asleep just as the sun began to peek over the horizon, his dreams filled with planets and wild fantasies about the strange figure in the darkness.

>so how’s the trip? are you even awake yet

Bokuto glared at his phone indignantly as he finished brushing his teeth; once he finished rinsing, he sent a reply.

>i just got up ok!! i saw someone cool in the field last night and drew a lot actually! how awesome am i, right?!

He glanced over at the sketchbook; it sat on the small desk near the window, with his pencil and pen beside it. His phone buzzed again with another message, and when he saw it, he couldn’t help but smile.

>see? told you that you’ve still got it. you’re the man
>fill that sketchbook up and be proud of yourself

He whistled to himself as he got dressed and left to get lunch; as soon as he had food in his hands, he took it back to his room and practically inhaled it as he sat down at the desk and continued his work from the previous night.

Figures sitting in a giant moon, or standing on a tree looking up at the night sky, or laying in the grass and looking up at the stars -- he sketched it all and more, adding ink to the paper beneath his hands as easily as he breathed. He lost himself in the process, completely taken in by the images and ideas in his head, until his stomach rumbled in protest. He glanced at his phone, and then out the window -- dusk was already falling, and he hadn’t even noticed.

He stood up and slipped his shoes on; he was a man on a mission, determined to find something to eat as quickly as possible so that he could get back to work, and try to find the man with the telescope once night had fallen.

By the time he got back, the moon was high in the sky, dark with the oncoming night. He finished his dinner in just a few minutes, then grabbed his supplies and went right back out the door.

A spring was in his step as he made his way back to the wide open field -- and sure enough, once again, there was the same man with his telescope pointed up at the sky.

This time, Bokuto dared to sit closer; he tried to be as quiet as possible so as not to attract the other man’s attention, and was still a good seven meters away. He was near enough, though, to make out more of his features, even in the darkness; Bokuto’s vision wasn’t good with color, but it was still sharp.

Silently, he began to draw again. Just as easily as the night before, his hand moved with nothing but grace as his ideas spilled onto the paper beneath his pencil. When his hand began to cramp with cold again, he stopped; but instead of leaving, he just put his hands in his pockets, and watched.

His gaze eventually moved from the man, up to the sky itself; the stars twinkled in the darkness, bright and beautiful. As he took in all the splendor of the heavens, Bokuto felt a sense of pure awe settle over his soul.

Space is... So. Damn. Cool.

A sound drew his attention back to the man with the telescope after a while; the stranger was folding the instrument back up, as though he were about to leave. If he turned his head just slightly, he’d be able to see the artist sitting nearby. Overcome with sudden shyness, Bokuto grabbed his sketchbook, and did the only thing he could think of.

He got up, and ran away.

The next day, right on cue, Kuroo began to tease him about the previous night.

>seriously? why did you run. you should’ve said hello. got a date or something

Bokuto groaned and rolled his eyes as he typed out a reply to Kuroo.

>idk!! it might’ve been weird to turn around and see a guy just watching you?! don’t give me shit

>it’s an open field. why would that be weird
>go find him again tonight. see if he’s hot. get his phone number

Bokuto pouted at his screen.

>i don’t want his phone number!!!

>bet you 500 yen that once you talk to him, you’re gonna want his digits
>either cuz he’s good friend material or good boyfriend material
>maybe both. who knows. he got you drawing again, right? go find him or i’ll tease you forever :^)

>you’re totally gonna do that anyway tho

>...fair enough. but for real. go make a new friend. show him your drawings
>ask him why he likes looking at the stars so much or something. you’re good at small talk. use that charisma

Bokuto stared at his phone for a moment, almost like he’d had an epiphany, before he sent a response.

>yeah!! you know what, you’re right! i’m awesome. if he’s there tonight i’ll go say hi!!

He opened his sketchbook with renewed energy and optimism, and began to ink his drawings from the night before. It was just as easy as it had been the previous day, almost like he hadn’t spent the last several weeks stewing in frustration at all.

When night had finally fallen, he bundled up in his coat, got his supplies, and set off to find the man with the telescope.

There he was again.

In the center of the field, the mysterious stranger was peering up at the sky. Bokuto watched him for a moment; eventually, he sat back and began to type something on his phone. The artist took it as his chance, and with a bright smile, he jogged over and waved as the stranger heard him coming and looked up.

Their eyes met, and Bokuto’s smile very nearly faltered as he got his first good look at him -- he was gorgeous, so gorgeous it felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. But gaping like a fish out of water wasn’t cool, and Bokuto hadn’t spent all day psyching himself up for this to blow it before he even introduced himself.

“Hey hey heeey, nice telescope!” He stuck his hand out, and put on his best and brightest smile. “I’m Bokuto Koutarou! Nice to meet you!”

The man squinted, and then recognition dawned on his face. “Oh. You’re the one that’s been drawing nearby for the last couple of nights, aren’t you.” Tentatively, he shook Bokuto’s hand without getting up. “I’m Akaashi Keiji. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Bokuto-san.”

“You knew I was there the whole time?” Bokuto blurted. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

Akaashi shrugged. “I didn’t feel the need to.”

“Oh.” Maybe he’s shy?  “Hey, mind if I sit next to you?”

“...Sure, go ahead.” He peered through the lens of his telescope again, and looked over when he felt Bokuto staring. “...Are you interested in what I’m doing?” he asked quietly.

“Well, yeah! Why do you like looking at stars so much?” he asked curiously.

Idly, Akaashi fiddled with the ends of one of his sleeves. “I’m an astronomer, actually. I do it for a living... I like stars for many reasons.”

“Oh! You’re working right now? Here?” Bokuto asked, as he leaned back on his hands.

“No. I’m on a short holiday right now,” Akaashi replied. “What about you, Bokuto-san?” he asked politely.

“Huh? Oh! Kind of the same, I guess?” he said sheepishly. “I’m an artist! A really good one, if I do say so myself,” he grinned. “My best friend bullied me into coming out here for some fresh air, ‘cause I’ve had some killer art block the last few weeks. I got my streak back, though!” Without really thinking about it, he pulled his phone out. “Wanna see?”


Bokuto used his phone as a light source as he opened up his sketchbook, and scooted closer to Akaashi on the grass. “Check this out! This is the stuff I’ve been working on since I got here a couple days ago!” He watched Akaashi’s expression with a confident smile. “Pretty great, right?”

The astronomer’s look of detached interest morphed into quiet curiosity as he slowly flipped through the pages, and carefully studied each illustration briefly before moving on to the next. “Yeah,” he agreed. “You’re very skilled. You must work hard.” The barest hints of a smile curved at the corners of his lips. “You’ve drawn quite a lot of the night sky, I see.”

“Yeah! Seeing you out here has been inspiring!” A split second later, his smile vanished as he flushed a little. “Uh, I just mean, you’re interesting? I’ve never really seen anyone use a telescope before! Can I take a peek in yours, actually?”

Akaashi watched him for a moment, careful and calculating. Bokuto felt something stir within him; it felt like the other man’s dark eyes were searching his very soul for something. “Sure,” he said after a moment, “I don’t mind.”

“Awesome! You’re the best, Akaashi, thanks!” He scooted closer to the instrument, and their knees knocked together. “Do I have to do anything special?”

“No,” he replied with an amused smile. “It’s pointed at Saturn right now. You’ll see.”

Bokuto closed his left eye as he peered into the scope with his right; he was silent for a moment, and then gasped as a delighted smile spread over his face. “Holy shit! You can see the rings and everything! That’s so cool!” He sat back and grinned at Akaashi, and then threw his arm casually around the other man’s shoulders. “Thanks! Hey, let me take a picture of us together. For memories!”

Akaashi gave him a flat look. “I guess, but... it’s dark, though. Will you even be able to get a good shot?”

“Yeah, yeah! I just have to use the flash! That’s okay, right?” He brought up the camera on his phone, and Akaashi sighed.


With a grin, Bokuto leaned closer, and held the phone out in front of them. “Okay, ready? Three, two, one!” He put on his best smile; a moment later, Akaashi did his best not to cringe at the sudden flash of light from the camera. “Hey, look! Aw, the light does kind of wash us out a little... Flashes suck,” he pouted. “Hey, will you be here tomorrow?”

“Yes,” Akaashi said, with a hint of a wry smile on his lips. “Why?”

“So I can meet up with you again! And so we can get a nicer picture, too!” he laughed. “This one’s okay, but it could be better,” he said with a smile. “Right?”

“I guess so,” he conceded. “Does that mean we should meet earlier, though? Otherwise you’ll have to use your flash again, if it’s dark.”

Bokuto’s smile was dazzling. “Is that a yes?!”

Akaashi sighed. “You didn’t really give me a chance to say no, but. Yes. I guess I don’t mind. But what about the photo? It’ll turn out badly again if you try taking it at night.”

Bokuto chuckled, and scratched his chin; he was still sitting so close that Akaashi could pick up the faint scent of the shampoo he’d used earlier that afternoon. “Yeah, you’ve got a point! Hey, wanna meet here around 5:30, then? It’ll still be dusk! We can get a good picture, and you can tell me stuff about space! Awesome, right?!”

“Okay,” he agreed. “That’s a bit early, though... I’ll have to get dinner at some point.”

“That’s fine with me! Hey, I’m not bothering you, am I?”

Akaashi was quiet for a moment as he considered his answer. “...No. Not really.”

“Great!” Bokuto glanced at the telescope again, and then caught Akaashi’s gaze once more. “So like... what’s your favorite planet?” he asked with a grin. “Mine is Pluto! It’s like the underdog. Little, and far away, but still cool!”

“Pluto isn’t a planet, Bokuto-san.”

Akaashi almost felt bad at the crestfallen, confused look on Bokuto’s face. “Huh? Pluto’s totally a planet! Are you messing with me, Akaashi?”

“No, I’m serious. It hasn’t been considered one since 2006.”

Bokuto pouted. “What the hell? I totally missed that, somehow... why not?”

Akaashi was quiet again as he thought of how to respond. I don’t want to sound too much like a textbook, after all... he’s an artist, not a scientist. “It isn’t big enough compared to the other objects near it. So it’s a dwarf planet.”

Bokuto didn’t seem pleased with this answer. “That’s kind of rude! Just because it’s small?”

Akaashi squinted at him. “...It’s not sentient, Bokuto-san. It doesn’t have feelings.”

“Yeah, I guess,” he grumbled as he looked back up at the sky. “Maybe it’s just nostalgia, or whatever. Pluto’s a cool little guy, you know?”

“Nostalgia has no place in science,” Akaashi replied. He was smiling a little, though; Bokuto was oddly charming and charismatic. “And Saturn is my favorite. Its rings are beautiful. But I also like Uranus. It’s very interesting, because of its tilt.”

Bokuto cocked his head to the side a bit, curiosity clear on his face. “Tilt?”

“Yes. Its north and south poles are horizontal, instead of vertical.” He made a motion with his hands, as if to illustrate his point. “Because of one or more impacts many years ago.”

“Whoa! Seriously?! That’s incredible!” Bokuto leaned closer, and Akaashi could see the gold flecks in his bright, striking eyes. “Tell me more about it!”

Three hours later, Akaashi realized he’d talked more to this stranger than he had to anyone else in the last month put together, and that it hadn’t even been all that difficult. Bokuto kept asking him questions as he folded up his telescope, and Akaashi was all too happy to answer them.

It turned out they were staying at the same hotel; it didn't surprise Akaashi, but seemed to delight Bokuto to no end. “Let’s go back together!” he said with a smile. “Come on!”

“All right, Bokuto-san.” He carried his telescope with gentle hands. “Lead the way.”

As soon as he got back to his room, Bokuto carelessly tossed his sketchbook on the bed, flopped down beside it, and pulled his phone out of his pocket.

>ok. so first of all: he is SUPER hot. like. unreal levels of hot.
>and i totally wanna be his friend. maybe date, too, if he’s down for that?? definitely friends tho
>but i’m not giving you 500 yen!!

He didn’t have to wait long for a response; a moment later, his cell vibrated with an incoming message.

>fine by me. if you gave me 500 yen every time i was right about something, you’d be in debt forever! lol!
>anyway, gimme the details. what’s so hot about him, anyway? what’s he like? spill the beans

Another half hour passed as he swapped texts with Kuroo, all about the quiet, stunningly gorgeous astronomer that he’d had the good fortune to meet. Eventually, Kuroo told him he was going to bed, but Bokuto still wasn’t tired.

Instead, he reached for his sketchbook, and once again began to draw.

Akaashi thought about the strange artist he’d met as he took a long, hot shower.

Most people left Akaashi alone pretty quick after trying to strike up a conversation; they’d lose interest, or think he didn’t care. Often, he did want to be left alone; generally, he wasn’t all that talkative, and interacting with others, especially strangers, often made him oddly nervous and ill at ease, even if it wasn’t too obvious in the way he carried himself.

But being around Bokuto hadn’t made him all that uncomfortable. In fact, talking to him for several hours had been... surprisingly enjoyable.

And if I’m being honest with myself, I’m looking forward to meeting up with him again tomorrow. A content sigh slipped past his lips as he rinsed the conditioner from his hair. He’s interesting. Very... genuine, and charismatic... A little weird, though, he thought with a small smile.

As he finished showering, he turned the water off and toweled himself dry before brushing his teeth and putting on his pajamas. His thoughts drifted as he curled up in bed; when he finally fell asleep just before dawn, his dreams were full of bright eyes and a stunning smile.

“Hey hey heeey! Akaashi!” Bokuto waved at him and jogged to the edge of the field, where the astronomer had already been waiting for several minutes. “You haven’t been here that long, have you?”

“No,” he replied easily. “Would you like to take another picture now?”

“Yeah, yeah! This is a pretty good spot, right?” He glanced around, and nodded in satisfaction. “Yep! Okay.”

As he opened his phone, Akaashi studied his face, like he was looking for an answer, or maybe some ulterior motive -- but he couldn’t find one. Bokuto seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of taking a photo with someone he barely even knew. “Why do you want a good picture with me?” he asked quietly. “You don’t even know me very well.”

“It’s because you’re so cool!” Bokuto replied with a bright smile. “I want a picture because you’re awesome!” And because you’re super hot, he thought. He didn’t say that out loud, though; he wasn’t sure Akaashi would appreciate it.

Akaashi squinted at him. “You think I’m cool, Bokuto-san?”

“Duh? You’re obviously really cool, that’s not even a question! Here, come on.” Casual as can be, he threw an arm around Akaashi’s shoulders, and leaned in so that the sides of their heads touched as he held his phone out. “Smile!”

Despite himself, Akaashi felt the corners of his lips curve upward without him even trying; Bokuto took the picture, and then immediately checked it. “Hell yes! We look great, see?” He beamed as he turned the screen so the other man could see.

The photo was nice; the two of them were illuminated by the orange light of dusk. They looked close and happy, like two people that had known each other for years, instead of acquaintances that had just met not even twenty four hours before.

“It’s pretty good,” Akaashi agreed. “Better than the last one.”

“True,” Bokuto admitted sheepishly. “But I’ll save that one, too! Hey, do you want me to send them to you?”

“...Sure. I’ll give you my phone number, and you can text them to me, if you want.”

Bokuto seemed to radiate happiness as he opened his contacts list. “Seriously?! Awesome! Okay, what’s your number?” he asked with unabashed excitement.

Akaashi recited it, and Bokuto typed it in carefully; immediately afterwards, he sent both of the pictures to him, and Akaashi felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He checked it briefly to confirm they were from Bokuto, and smiled a little when he saw the two photos in his notifications. “Okay, I got them.”

“Great!” Bokuto beamed. His arm was still firmly around Akaashi’s shoulders, and he seemed to have no intention of moving it. “Hey, you said you’d need dinner, right? Wanna go grab something together?”

Akaashi gave him a blank look. “You want to get dinner with me?”

“Yeah, if you want to!” he grinned. “You can tell me more about space and stuff! Or we could talk about something else, if you want!”

Does he even realize that it sounds like he’s flirting with me?  Akaashi wondered. “Sure. That sounds nice.”

Bokuto’s excitement was clear in his eyes; Akaashi wondered if his face ever hurt from smiling so often. “Hell yes! Hey, there’s a little place next to the hotel that has awesome takoyaki. Wanna go there?”

“Yes, that’s fine. Their food is pretty good.”

Bokuto finally pulled his arm away, and Akaashi felt oddly cold without it. “Cool! Let’s get going, then! Follow me, Akaashi!”

The entire way there, Bokuto rambled about art, his best friend, and how a pet owl he’d had as a kid inspired him to start drawing. Akaashi didn’t say much, but he was content just walking beside him and listening to him talk. Distantly, he realized that it was the first time he’d really hung out with someone that wasn’t a coworker in several months.

As Bokuto laughed at one of his own jokes, Akaashi felt himself smile once again.

Certainly not the worst way to spend a vacation.

Bokuto watched him set up his telescope with open fascination; the astronomer finished putting the last piece into place, and sat back as Bokuto opened his sketchbook.

“Isn’t drawing at night bad for your eyes?” he asked.

Bokuto grinned sheepishly. “Uh, it’s probably not the best? I don’t do it that often, though! Well, not outside, anyway. I usually stay up pretty late working, but like, indoors.”

“Oh. Me too,” Akaashi replied. “I’m not much of a morning person, anyway.”

“Same here!” Bokuto laughed. “Well, I can wake up early if I have to, and I'm energetic, but. I can never fall asleep before like, three in the morning, at the earliest.” A thought seemed to occur to him, and he scooted closer. “So hey, when did you first get really into space? How come you like it so much?” he asked curiously.

Akaashi was quiet for a moment as he considered his answer. “It is vast and infinite. When I look at the sky, I feel small, and I can scarcely imagine the endless size and mystery of the universe beyond Earth.” He turned his head slightly to look at Bokuto, and smiled a little. “It’s beautiful.”

Bokuto felt his breath catch in his throat; the ends of Akaashi’s hair glowed in the moonlight, and his eyes gleamed with passion as he spoke. “That’s awesome,” he said quietly. “So that’s why you look at stars on your days off, too!”

“Yes. It doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend my birthday.”

Bokuto gaped at him in open shock. “It’s your birthday?”

Akaashi nodded. “Yes. I turned 25.”

“Oh, I’m a year older than you! I turned 26 in September. Also, happy birthday!!” He crossed his arms, and peered at his companion. “But, Akaashi. Why would you spend your birthday alone?!”

“I’m not spending it alone,” he replied with a flat look. “I’m here with you.”

“But you were planning on being out here by yourself!” Bokuto insisted. “Isn’t that lonely? Why not hang out with other people, or something?”

Akaashi shrugged. “Stars are easier to understand than people. It’s less stressful.”

A look of concern crossed Bokuto’s face. “Shit, I’m sorry! Am I making you uncomfortable? Kuroo always tells me I come on kinda strong--”

“You’re fine,” Akaashi reassured him. “You’re not bothering me.”

Some of Bokuto’s smile seemed to return. “Oh, good! Are you having fun?” he asked. “Do you wanna go celebrate together sometime, if you live close by?”

“...I guess,” he said after a moment. “What would we even do to celebrate? And where do you live?”

“I dunno, get dinner together or something? We don’t have to go to a bar, or whatever! That doesn’t really seem like your kind of thing, anyway,” he said sagely. “Oh! And I live in Mitaka!”

Akaashi stared at him. “...What a coincidence. So do I.” He fiddled with the ends of his sleeve. “Dinner sounds good. And you’re right. I don’t enjoy going to bars.”

“Whoa! Awesome! Akaashi, that’s great!” he beamed. “We’ll figure out something cool to do! When are you going back?”

“Tomorrow afternoon.”

Bokuto’s smile was brighter than the sun. “I go back the day after! Wanna go somewhere during the weekend?”

“Okay,” Akaashi agreed. He leaned forward to adjust the telescope. “Would you like to look into the this again? I’ll be looking at Saturn and Jupiter tonight.”

“Hell yeah! Akaashi, you’re the best!”

Akaashi was quiet as he carefully lined up the scope with the sky. Bokuto used the opportunity to take in every detail of his face; the sharp curve of his jaw, his elegant cheekbones, the way his full eyelashes fanned against his skin as he squinted into the scope. A smile curved at his lips, and he sat back, obviously pleased. “All right. I have it trained on Jupiter right now. It’s a very clear image.”

Bokuto snapped to attention; thankfully, he was pretty sure Akaashi couldn’t see his cheeks turn faintly pink in the darkness. Whoops! Don’t want him to think I was checking him out... even though I guess I totally was. “Cool!” He moved forward, and carefully peered into the scope; a moment later, he laughed, delighted and amazed. “Holy shit! That’s amazing!”

“Isn’t it?” Akaashi agreed. “A planet, eleven times larger than our own, but still close enough to see with the right instruments. It’s incredible.”

His hands moved a little as he spoke, and he smiled; the passion for the subject was clear on his face, and Bokuto felt a little thrill in his heart as the other man began to explain all the reasons why Jupiter was so interesting. He listened intently, completely captivated by everything Akaashi was saying, until the astronomer seemed to realize what he was doing.

“Ah... I’m sorry. I guess I got a little carried away, and started to ramble.” He felt his cheeks burn in the darkness. How embarrassing.

“No, no, I don’t mind!” Bokuto said quickly. “I like hearing you talk about this stuff! It’s so interesting! And it’s obvious you really like it, and it makes you happy, so even if it wasn’t interesting -- which it is! -- I wouldn’t mind,” he smiled. “No need to apologize!”

Akaashi was silent for a moment. “I don’t usually talk to people outside of work, really,” he said, a little uneasy.

Bokuto frowned. “Are you sure I’m not bothering you? I’m kind of weird, I’m--”

“You’re fine, Bokuto-san. Don’t worry about it.” He shifted a little, and fiddled with the ends of his sleeves. “I’m just not used to this, is all. But I’m enjoying it. Thank you for spending time with me.”

“Are you kidding?! I should be the one thanking you! This is so much fun!” Bokuto beamed. “It’ll be great when we hang out back home, too! I’m looking forward to it!”

The warmth in Akaashi’s smile was a contrast to the cold winter night. “I’m looking forward to it as well, Bokuto-san.” He laughed a little, and Bokuto felt his heart flutter wildly in his chest. “It’ll be fun.”

“Yeah,” Bokuto said, a little breathless as he stared into Akaashi’s eyes, “definitely.”

to be continued in chapter 2