Tsukishima stared out at the waterfall of rain pouring into the dark night outside of the supermarket. He had grumbled when his mother had told him to take their ridiculously large and rainbow-colored umbrella ‒ a strange gift from an uncle who had visited America a few summers before ‒ but it looked like her overzealousness paid off for once. He supposed he was grateful for her foresight now.
Not grateful enough for his irritation at having to go on a grocery run this late at night in the first place to fade completely, though. With Akiteru out of the house now, all the strange and miscellaneous late night errands from his mother unfortunately fell to him.
Tonight’s task had been simple, but annoying. He was supposed to get to the supermarket before they closed and buy a special spice that was on sale. According to his mother, it was exceedingly hard to find and more expensive than she was willing to shell out most of the time. At its current sales price, though, it was a steal. Why she hadn’t asked him to stop by earlier when he was on his way home from practice, he’d never know.
At least she had given him extra money to buy something for himself, too. Ice cream, even the fancy strawberry one he liked best, was just barely enough of a reward tonight, though. The late hour was one thing, but the rain was something else altogether.
The rain had only gotten heavier during the time Tsukishima had been dawdling just shy of the supermarket’s entrance. The rush of water was so steady and frequent that it nearly sounded like a running faucet instead of rain. In the distance, he thought he could hear an ominous rumble of thunder. That might have just been his overdramatic imagination, though.
So much for hoping that it was just going to be a short flash downpour. Tsukishima sighed and resigned himself to a slow and dreary trudge home. Maybe he should buy something else to make up for it. He did still have some change left over.
Just as he was girding himself to leave the dry safety of the supermarket and enter the storm, a dark-haired figure dashed into the market, soaking wet from the rain. He was barely able to step out of the way in time to avoid what probably would’ve been an unfortunate collision.
Tsukishima scowled at the back of the person who had nearly run him over, irritated. Whatever. He was willing to overlook it in favor of getting the hell out of the market. Before he could turn completely away, though, he realized that he knew the person. It was this recognition that had made Tsukishima pause, and in all honesty, probably cursed the rest of his already forsaken night.
It was Kageyama, he realized. Tsukishima had just seen him a few hours before during practice, but the stern setter who scowled so deeply at him across the net was nowhere to be seen. Right now, he just looked scraggly and half-drowned with his hair plastered flat to his forehead, and his clothes dripping steadily onto the laminate floor. As Tsukishima watched him, Kageyama sneezed, a great shuddering thing that shook his whole body like a leaf.
Tsukishima wanted to escape right then and there ‒ was planning on escaping, even. After all, he had no desire to interact with Kageyama more than he had to, and no real business with him outside of volleyball and the occasional reluctant tutoring session. But...something compelled him to stay.
Tsukishima would be one of the first to admit that he wasn’t a particularly kind person and did not take to fools lightly; he recognized his own shortcomings easily, and felt less badly about this one than most of the others. He did have a conscience, though, and an older brother whose easy kindness could be infectious every now and then. Sometimes ‒ this time ‒ those things were enough to push him into things he otherwise would have never done.
Kageyama looked so pathetic standing there, wet and blinking up at the too-bright fluorescent lights like a confused kitten. All of his usual energy and presence seemed to have drained away in the rain. Seeing this made Tsukishima settle on a decision ‒ a reluctant one, like most of the ones that he made concerning Kageyama ‒ but it wasn’t something he was going to back out of, at least.
“What are you doing here, king?” Tsukishima called as he walked over to where Kageyama was still dripping. When there was no response, he tapped the end of his umbrella against Kageyama’s hip to get his attention. “Hey. Kageyama.”
Kageyama startled, both at the unexpected touch and Tsukishima’s voice coming from behind him, and jerked away. When he saw who had come up to him, his brow furrowed, not in irritation, which was his most common expression when it came to Tsukishima, but in confusion.
“Tsukishima,” he said. This close, Tsukishima could see the paleness of his cheeks and mouth, color drained away from the coldness of the rain outside.
“What are you doing here?” Tsukishima asked again. “Did you get lost or something?”
Kageyama gave a half-hearted shrug, and then frowned at the way his clothing squelched unpleasantly at the movement. “I just needed somewhere to get out of the rain. I couldn’t see to run anymore.” He sneezed again, this time into the crook of his elbow, and wrinkled his nose in displeasure at the dampness of the fabric before looking curiously around at the store. “I didn’t mean to end up in the shopping district, though. It’s pretty far from my house.”
“Are you just going to wait here?” Tsukishima asked, feeling incredulous at the mere notion. It was past nine-thirty now, and the store closed at ten. It didn’t sound like the rain would be stopping or slowing down in that slim timeframe at all. “Are you stupid?”
Kageyama scowled at him, a familiar and more comforting sight to Tsukishima than his previous lost expression. “The rain has to stop sometime,” he said, but he didn’t sound like he had much confidence in his own words. In the not-so-far distance, and not a product of Tsukishima’s imagination, was a menacing rumble of thunder, like the growl of an angry animal. “It’s not that big of a deal,” he said, voice firmer now, like he was trying to prove himself against nature itself.
“Come to my house,” Tsukishima said, not letting himself deliberate on the decision. It probably would’ve been the same in the end in any case, only with an added uncomfortable pause. This is my good deed for the week, he thought. Maybe even the month. “You’ll be able to dry off and wait out the storm more comfortably, at least.”
Kageyama’s face cleared of his frown, and wide-eyed surprise replaced it. This was miles worse than irritation or an outright refusal, Tsukishima thought. The open expression somehow made Kageyama even more pitiable.
“The store’s closing in half an hour,” Tsukishima said, trying for cajoling and ending up more exasperated. “It’s going to take you over an hour to get home in this weather even if you run.” He didn’t understand why he was going through so much effort for Kageyama of all people. “I have yogurt at my place,” he tried at last when Kageyama still hadn’t said anything. He felt like he was trying to coax an unruly cat into following him.
Kageyama’s face lit up at the mention of yogurt, and Tsukishima barely stifled his snort. The king was so transparent sometimes. “...Okay,” Kageyama said finally, with only the barest shade of hesitation in his voice. He dipped his head towards Tsukishima. “Thank you.”
Kageyama’s phone was dead, not from the rain, but because he had forgotten to charge it the night before. Tsukishima lent him his own phone so he could call his mom and let her know where’d he be for the night.
“Yeah,” Kageyama said. “With a classmate.” Tsukishima turned his gaze to a tower of toilet paper ( half off! ) and focused on that instead of Kageyama’s conversation.
“Yeah, let me know what happens tomorrow. Sorry I won’t be home for it.” Kageyama made a wordless sound of assent at something his mother had said before nodding. “Yeah, thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Ready?” Tsukishima asked once Kageyama finished his phone call and handed him his phone back.
Kageyama nodded, and they made their way out into the pouring rain.
Tsukishima didn’t live far from the market ‒ it was barely a ten minute walk, even if you were walking at a leisurely pace ‒ but the rain, which was still relentless, coupled with a damp, quietly shivering Kageyama next to him made the trip seem much longer.
The ridiculous rainbow umbrella, although wide, was still not quite big enough for two teenage boys to share without brushing up against one another. It was useless to try to keep their distance anyway. The rain was so heavy that they had to stay close if they wanted to keep dry, or in Kageyama’s case, not get any wetter.
Tsukishima didn’t mind it, exactly, but every touch of Kageyama’s shoulder or arm against his own seemed to linger, even after Kageyama tried to move away with a murmured apology. It made him want to speed up his pace to get home, but the dark, rainy deluge kept them walking slowly to navigate around obstacles that usually would’ve been clearly visible.
Tsukishima entertained, briefly, the thought of dropping Kageyama off at Yamaguchi’s house instead and letting him deal with the king. Yamaguchi’s well of patience was deeper than Tsukishima’s after all, and he dealt with Kageyama more easily than Tsukishima ever did. The notion was quickly extinguished, though, when Tsukishima remembered that Yamaguchi wasn’t even in town right now, having left right after practice to go visit a cousin’s new baby with his parents.
After what felt like an hour, they reached Tsukishima’s house and were, for the most part, unscathed. Kageyama certainly wasn’t any wetter than he had been before they started their trek at least, and might have even been drier than he had been at the market. Tsukishima was slightly damp, especially from the knees down where the umbrella hadn’t been able to protect him from the sluicing rain, but that had probably just been inevitable.
Tsukishima gave the umbrella to Kageyama to hold as he unlocked the front door before pushing it open with his shoulder. “I’m home,” he called, stepping into the foyer and slipping off his shoes. Kageyama followed him in, closing the umbrella before he stepped into the house.
“Welcome back!” Tsukishima heard a voice call. He cursed under his breath. He’d forgotten his mother would still be up. He could hear her footsteps coming from the living room. “Were you okay out in the rain, Kei? I told you that the umbrella would come in -” She was still talking when she turned the corner into the foyer, but stopped when she realized there was someone she didn’t recognize with her son.
“Oh, hello!” she said when she caught sight of Kageyama. “Kei, who’s this?”
“Mom, this is Kageyama, my...classmate,” Tsukishima said, slightly uncomfortable. It probably would’ve been better to say “friend” or something stronger, but oh well. “He got caught in the rain, and he lives across town, so I said he could dry off and spend the night here.”
“Sorry for intruding,” Kageyama said when Tsukishima’s mother turned her gaze back to him. His bow, while polite, was ruined when he sneezed and nearly pitched forward into the floor.
“Oh, it’s no intrusion!” she said with a wave of her hand. “I can’t believe you got caught in the rain like that, you poor thing. I’m glad Kei ran across you when he did!”
She gave his soaked clothing a concerned frown. “We should get you into the bath right away to warm up, Kageyama-kun.” She turned back to Tsukishima and told him, “Kei, go find something of yours that Kageyama-kun can borrow. I’ll show him the bathroom and hang his wet clothes up to dry.”
As always, his mother was a whirlwind when she wanted to be. She barely gave Kageyama enough time to get his shoes off before she grabbed his hand and started pulling him down the hallway. Kageyama shot Tsukishima a startled glance, but he just gave him a sympathetic look in return. It was better for him to get warm now, rather than later anyway.
Once they were gone, Tsukishima brought the groceries he bought into the kitchen. The ice cream he stuffed into the back of the freezer where it would harden up faster, and the so-called special spice his mother wanted he left on the counter so she could find it more easily. Upstairs, he could hear his mother and Kageyama’s steps as they made their way to the bathroom, and the quiet murmur of voices.
Tsukishima passed his mother on the stairs as she was coming back down, Kageyama’s wet clothes bundled in her arms. “Kei,” she said, stopping him before he could get to the top of the stairs. “Drop off a towel, too, when you leave Kageyama-kun some clothes, okay?”
He grabbed a towel out of the hall closet first and tucked it under his arm as he went into his room. Opening his drawers, Tsukishima tried to find something that would fit Kageyama. He never had this problem whenever Yamaguchi spent the night, but that was probably due to the fact that he always had his own clothing to wear. Kageyama wasn’t a small guy, but Tsukishima’s clothes would still be pretty loose on him. Eventually, he just decided to pull out one of his old middle school shirts and the first pair of shorts that he could find.
As he approached the bathroom, Tsukishima could hear the showerhead running. He gave a perfunctory knock on the door. “Kageyama, I’m leaving you a towel and some clothes outside the door, okay?” He waited until there was a sound of confirmation before setting the pile on the ground.
He considered going back to his room to change his clothes, but it seemed like a waste of time if he was just going to have to do it again after his bath. Waiting another twenty minutes or so in his jeans and t-shirt wouldn’t be that bad.
When he came back downstairs, he saw that his mother had hung up Kageyama’s wet clothes on the little indoor drying rack they used when the weather was too bad to hang clothes outside. He found his mother in the kitchen, pulling down mugs from the cabinets. Behind her, the electric kettle was just starting to boil.
“Is Dad already asleep?” he asked, going to sit at one of the stools in front of the kitchen counter.
“Oh, he left for the airport right after you went to the store. There was an opening on a flight tonight, so he took that instead of going on his original one in the morning. You know how your father is about early mornings.” She pulled down some tea, a fancy brand that his dad had brought back for her the last time he went to Okinawa for a business trip.
“Sorry I didn’t tell you I was bringing someone over,” Tsukishima said. He sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. “It was a last-minute decision.”
His mother brushed his apology off with a smile and a wave of her hand. “It’s no problem, Kei. I am surprised to see someone other than Tadashi with you, though.”
Tsukishima shrugged. “We’re just classmates,” he said, and then felt a little weird about it since he had brought Kageyama home with him. “He’s in the volleyball club with me and Yamaguchi.” That was slightly better, right?
“Oh? Your brother told me that Karasuno had some really strong members this year.”
Tsukishima shrugged. Kageyama was indeed strong, probably one of the strongest players on their team, but he wasn’t going to praise his skills so readily, and especially not to his mother. She might get the wrong idea about their relationship ‒ like that they were friends or something. “He’s bossy,” he said, finally, “and gets riled up easily.”
His mother pinched his cheek in admonishment. “Don’t be mean, Kei. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice boy. I can tell you’ve been having fun in the club, too!”
Tsukishima scoffed, but didn’t rebuke her claim.
“Well, in any case, it was nice of you to invite Kageyama-kun over. He was soaked to the bone! Hopefully he doesn’t end up getting sick.” She poured him a cup of tea in his usual mug, a dark blue one with a small chip in its handle.
“Yeah,” he said absently. He pulled the mug closer to himself and blew across the top to cool it down a bit before taking a sip. “That’d be bad.”
After his bath, Kageyama came back downstairs looking significantly warmer and dressed in the clothes that Tsukishima had left outside the door for him. The shorts were a bit too long, but Tsukishima’s Amemaru Volleyball Club t-shirt fit well enough, at least. It was weird seeing Kageyama in his clothes, somehow, and something in the pit of his stomach shivered at the sight.
“Dry your hair properly,” Tsukishima groused, partly to get rid of the strange feeling, and partly just to be ornery. When Kageyama came into reaching distance, he tugged at the end of the towel around Kageyama’s neck. “I didn’t save you from drowning in the storm just so you could get sick from not drying your hair after a bath.”
Kageyama’s gaze sharpened on him, not quite a glare, but almost. It seemed like the bath had mellowed his mood enough that his usual hot-headed reaction to Tsukishima’s badgering had been dampened significantly. His mouth didn’t even deepen into his usual scowl ‒ not that Tsukishima noticed that kind of thing anyway. He did start drying his hair, though, which was good enough for Tsukishima.
“How was your bath, Kageyama-kun?” his mother asked as she began to prepare him his own mug of tea. “I bet you feel a lot better now after that cold rain.”
“It was good, thank you,” Kageyama said politely. Then he sneezed into the crook of his elbow. Tsukishima noticed that his cheeks were pink, but hopefully that was just leftover heat from the bath and not a sign of a fever.
Kageyama sat down on the stool next to Tsukishima and murmured a quiet thanks as Tsukishima’s mother handed him a steaming mug of tea.
“You can hang out in my room,” Tsukishima offered as he stood up from his stool. He only felt a slight trepidation at the thought of leaving Kageyama alone in his room. “It’s the second door past the bathroom. I need to go take a bath, but I shouldn’t be long.”
“Or you could watch a show with me while you wait for Kei if you’d like, Kageyama-kun,” Tsukishima’s mother said with a grin. “I keep trying to get him or his father to watch with me, but haven’t had any success yet, haha.”
“Mom,” Tsukishima complained with a small wince. She asked Yamaguchi the same thing every time he came over, too, and it was still embarrassing to hear, even after so many times. He probably wouldn’t mind so much if her favorite shows weren’t cheesy romances or hackneyed thrillers.
“What show is it?” Kageyama asked, much to Tsukishima’s surprise. He actually looked curious.
“It’s called Blue Sky Dream ,” his mother gushed enthusiastically. “There’s two girls, Rumi and Rinko, and they’re both competing for the lead role in a musical production. There’s also a deeper mystery into Rumi’s past since she just moved back to Japan from abroad.”
For the first time, Tsukishima saw Kageyama’s eyes brighten for something other than volleyball or food. “I was going to watch that with my mom tonight,” Kageyama said. “She told me she’d tell me what happened when I got home tomorrow, but watching it now would be even better.”
“That’s great!” Tsukishima’s mother said, clapping her hands together. “I’m glad someone in this house besides me recognizes quality entertainment.” She shot a mock scolding glance at Tsukishima, and he just rolled his eyes.
“I’ll be back in twenty minutes,” Tsukishima said, but his mom was already dragging Kageyama into the living room, chattering about plot points and love squares. He sighed. This night was getting more and more tiring by the minute.
Tsukishima sat in the bath, tucking his knees close to his body so he could fit more comfortably. The tub was cramped, but that was business as usual nowadays. He didn’t have particularly strong feelings about his height for the most part, but one regrettable thing about his rapid growth was that he couldn’t stretch out as much in the bath anymore.
He soaked quietly for a few minutes and just enjoyed the warmth of the water and the soothing steam of the bathroom. He hadn’t realized how cold he had been until he had gotten into the bathroom. Vaguely, he could hear his mother’s muffled voice from downstairs. A deeper voice followed a few seconds later, replying to whatever it was that she had said.
Kageyama was in his house now, wearing his clothes, and apparently bonding with his mother over some strange and probably terrible romantic drama. If you had told him that this would have happened a few hours ago, he probably would’ve laughed out loud at the mere notion. Tsukishima sighed and sunk a little deeper into the water. It was too late for regret, now, though. He tried to shake off the unsettling feeling sinking into his skin and turned his attention back to his bath.
The voices downstairs continued intermittently, and Tsukishima let the noise and the heat around him lull him into a state of quiet relaxation.
When Tsukishima came back downstairs, he could still hear the TV on in the living room. Kageyama and his mother were still in the middle of the show, then. He peeked into the living room on his way to the kitchen and saw that his mom was curled into her usual corner of the sofa while Kageyama was sitting on the ground in front of the coffee table. He had his chin tucked into the well of his crossed arms. They were both riveted by whatever was happening on the TV screen; he could only make out a blonde girl staring forlornly out of an open window.
In the kitchen, Tsukishima beelined to the freezer and pulled out one of the pints of ice cream that he bought at the market. It wasn’t as solid as he would’ve liked, but soft-serve consistency wasn’t bad either. Then he opened the fridge and hoped that they actually had the yogurt that he had promised Kageyama. Thankfully, they did have yogurt, three different flavors in fact. He grabbed the first one he saw and hoped that it was good enough.
Grabbing two spoons out of the drawer, he made his way back to the living room. The show was still on, but there was a different girl on the screen now, a brunette. It sounded like some guy was in the middle of confessing to her.
“Yogurt,” Tsukishima said, tapping the container on top of Kageyama’s head before setting it and a spoon down in front of him on the coffee table. He sat down on the floor next to him and opened his container of ice cream.
“Thank you,” Kageyama mumbled, still preoccupied with the TV show. He picked up the yogurt, but made no move to open it. Instead, he used it like some kind of stress ball, grip tightening whenever something tense happened on the screen.
“Kei,” his mother said, tapping him on the shoulder. “Give mom some of your ice cream.” With a sigh, he handed it and his spoon back to her.
Tsukishima watched the rest of the program with his mother and Kageyama, feeling less awkward about the whole thing than he thought he would’ve. He couldn’t follow the plot, or even really tell if there was much of one at all, but it wasn’t the worst thing he had ever seen. The blonde girl got more depressed as the episode continued, while the brunette went through a montage of sappy dates with some good looking guy. The episode ended with the two girls awkwardly running into each other in a hallway. The soundtrack and the close up shots of both girls really dramatized the moment, but Tsukishima still couldn’t really see the significance.
“Oh, how horrible,” Tsukishima’s mother said with a sniff as the credits rolled. Tsukishima actually saw her wipe a tear from her eye. “I can’t believe Rumi would even agree to go out with Makoto! This is almost as bad as the time when Terushima fell down the stairs after his disastrous audition.”
Kageyama nodded rapidly in agreement. “Rumi’s too good for him.” He had finally remembered the yogurt in his hand and blinked down at it in slight confusion. Tsukishima rolled his eyes, but handed Kageyama the spoon he placed on the table when he first came in.
“I know you usually watch Blue Sky Dream with your mother, Kageyama-kun, but if you ever want to come over and watch with me, you’re always welcome!” Tsukishima’s mother said with a laugh as she stood up from the couch.
“Oh,” Kageyama said, looking a little confused. His spoon was halfway to his mouth. “Thank you? I had fun watching it with you, too.”
“Mom,” Tsukishima said, a slight warning in his voice. She just rolled her eyes at him.
“Well, I should be off to bed, now. I know it’s Friday, but don’t stay up too late, okay?” She gave Tsukishima a kiss on the head, which he bore without any verbal complaint at least, and ruffled a surprised Kageyama’s hair. “Have fun, you two!”
With his mother gone, silence fell between the two of them. Maybe it was the late hour, or just the weariness of the long day, but it was more comfortable than Tsukishima expected. The TV was still on, but it seemed to be on some late-night news segment now. He watched a news correspondent interview a farmer about his award-winning radishes while Kageyama finished the rest of his yogurt with leisurely swipes of his spoon.
“Come on,” Tsukishima said after he saw that Kageyama had finished eating. He tilted of his head towards the kitchen. “Let’s clean up in here, and then we can go hang out in my room.”
Tsukishima tried to think about what he usually did with Yamaguchi when he came over. They mostly did homework together, to be honest. Sometimes he would play a new song from a band or album that he thought Yamaguchi would like. It was easy and comfortable being with Yamaguchi, a camaraderie borne of years of being together.
Kageyama, on the other hand, was an unknown entity all together. Prior to a half hour ago, Tsukishima would have probably bet that he didn’t have any interests outside of volleyball.
“...Are you not coming in?”
Kageyama stood in the threshold of the door, one hand curled around the frame. He looked apprehensive, like he was about to walk across a shaky, narrow bridge instead of into Tsukishima’s bedroom. “...I have a question.”
“Are you actually Tsukishima?”
Tsukishima didn’t have a response for that, could barely even comprehend the question at all, honestly. It was like trying to understand Hinata’s noises when he was trying to describe his attacks. “...Are you stupid?”
Kageyama scowled. “You’ve been weirdly...nice this whole time. What am I supposed to think?” he said with a huff.
Tsukishima tried to think of a rebuttal to that, but, really, he didn’t have much of one. He hadn’t invited Kageyama home out of kindness, not really. “Did you want me to leave you in the rain?” he asked instead. “You can go home whenever you want, too, you know.”
“...No,” Kageyama said, looking away. “I’m glad to be here.” The last part was said quietly, like he didn’t want it to be heard. It might have been a trick of the light, but Tsukishima could’ve sworn that Kageyama’s cheeks were pink.
“Now who’s the one being weird, huh?” Tsukishima said, keeping his voice purposefully light. He ignored the jolt that had gone through him at Kageyama’s uncharacteristic shyness. “And here I thought his majesty would be more demanding. Maybe it’s just on the court?”
“Stop calling me that,” Kageyama complained, but it was half-hearted at best. He finally stepped into Tsukishima’s room, though it was a tentative entrance, like he thought traps would suddenly spring out of nowhere.
Tsukishima rolled his eyes. At the rate he was going, Kageyama wouldn’t make it two steps inside until the next morning. Reaching over, Tsukishima grabbed Kageyama’s arm and yanked him forward into the room.
“Hey!” Kageyama yelped, stumbling forward. As he was trying to catch his balance, Tsukishima gave him a hard shove on the back until he tumbled right onto the bed.
“This is me being mean since apparently you like it better that way,” Tsukishima said, exasperated. “It’s just one night. Don’t hurt yourself overthinking things, king.”
Kageyama twisted around on the bed until he could turn the full force of his scowl on Tsukishima.
“Scoot over,” Tsukishima said, content in reveling in the familiarity of Kageyama’s ire. An irritated Kageyama was easy to deal with, fun to tease, and most importantly, wouldn’t lead to any awkward feelings between the two of them.
If he nudged Kageyama out of the way more gently than he usually would’ve ‒ well, there was no one around to see. He sat back on his bed next to Kageyama and tried to think of what they could do to pass the time. Music, maybe? Games? Sitting in silence until they both got tired enough for bed was probably most likely, if he was being honest.
Tsukishima was pulled out of his reverie by a soft touch on his hand. Kageyama’s fingers curled under his own and pulled them closer with a slight tug. He wasn’t sure why he didn’t just pull away.
“You have a scar here, now,” Kageyama said. His eyes were focused on the stark white stretch of skin between Tsukishima’s pinky and ring finger. The touch of his fingers was gentle against Tsukishima’s skin, the tips barely brushing against the area where it had split from Ushijima’s spike. It didn’t hurt anymore, but Kageyama’s touch, however fleeting, caused the skin to tingle.
“It’s not a big deal,” Tsukishima said, pulling his hand away quickly. He could feel the skin of his neck and cheeks flushing with heat and silently cursed his embarrassing reaction.
Kageyama didn’t comment on Tsukishima’s flustered behavior, and he didn’t try to reach for Tsukishima’s hand again, but he did lean his shoulder against Tsukishima’s. “Just be careful,” he said, quietly. “We need you to win.”
“Did that hurt to admit?” Tsukishima asked before he could stop his mouth. “Who are you, and what happened to King Kageyama, huh?”
Rather than seeing Kageyama move, Tsukishima could feel the slight shift in his body. Before he could react, a pillow came flying at him and hit him straight in the face. “I guess you prefer me mean, too,” he heard Kageyama say, and Tsukishima was very, very grateful for the pillow covering his face at the moment.
He wasn’t going to let something like that slide, though, and after a brief moment of silence where Tsukishima steeled his heart and mind against any more shocking moments for the night, he pulled the pillow off his face and returned Kageyama’s smack with twice the force.
The next half hour passed violently.
“Do you think that tactic would actually work?”
There was no response, and when Tsukishima glanced over at Kageyama, he saw that he was fast asleep, head tucked down into his own shoulder. His breathing was soft and slow, nearly imperceptible.
“Geez,” he muttered. “I don’t get how you fall asleep everywhere so easily.” A quick glance at his clock told him that it was past 1AM now. After their impromptu (and honestly embarrassing) pillow fight, they had settled down and started dissecting possible strategies they wanted to practice and implement in upcoming matches. They had been talking longer than Tsukishima would’ve thought possible for the two of them.
Kageyama asleep was nothing like Kageyama awake. The furrow etched deep in his brow smoothed out, like every worry and irritation had been swept away. He looked softer like this, more approachable. Pretty , Tsukishima thought before he could help it.
From this distance, Tsukishima could see the long, dark sweep of Kageyama’s eyelashes against his cheekbones. His mouth was pink, like the strawberry ice cream Tsukishima had eaten just a few hours before.
For a moment, he was tempted to just let Kageyama sleep the rest of the night in his bed. People shared a bed all the time, didn’t they? He had done it with Yamaguchi once or twice, and they had all slept close enough together during their training camps that it was basically the same thing, right?
A nameless feeling in Tsukishima’s stomach stirred at the thought, the same one he felt when he saw Kageyama after his bath. Wouldn’t it be nice, he thought, just to curl up into the king’s warmth?
“Kageyama,” Tsukishima said, shaking the other boy's shoulder. “Wake up.”
Kageyama blinked awake, eyes unfocused for a moment before they found Tsukishima’s gaze. “Hm?”
“It’s time for good kings to go to bed,” Tsukishima said. He maneuvered around Kageyama’s prone form and pushed himself off the bed. “Let’s go brush our teeth, and then get the futon for you.”
Kageyama followed Tsukishima to the bathroom docilely, without even a token protest at the king nickname. Tsukishima had to scrounge around the bathroom cabinet for a bit, but he did eventually find an extra toothbrush for Kageyama to use.
When they went to pull out the futon and bedding, Kageyama looked like he was on the verge of passing out while standing up, so Tsukishima hurried them along as best as he could. Kageyama yawned sleepily into the blankets and pillow clutched to his chest while Tsukishima carried the futon back to his room.
Working together, the two of them set up the futon in record time. Kageyama crawled onto the surface right as Tsukishima straightened out the last edge and flopped down with a sigh. Tsukishima looked away from Kageyama’s ungainly sprawl with a grimace. If even something like that could be attractive to him, he really was going insane.
“Tsukishima,” Kageyama said, voice low and sleepy. A shiver raced down Tsukishima’s spine at the sound of his name in the quiet of his bedroom. “Let’s try that attack we talked about in practice next time.”
“Yeah,” Tsukishima said, his mouth suddenly dry. There really was something wrong with him tonight. “Sounds good.”
When Tsukishima finally looked over at him, Kageyama was already curled up under the covers of the futon and fast asleep. Only the top of his head and the very tip of his nose were visible. It was both a comfort and a disappointment to Tsukishima that so much of him was hidden away from view.
Tsukishima clicked off the light and made his way back to his own bed. It was still warm with residual heat from where he and Kageyama had been laying on it earlier. Studiously, lest he drive himself crazy with unwanted thoughts of having the setter cuddled up with him, Tsukishima pushed it out of his mind and focused on getting comfortable instead.
He drifted off to sleep between one thought and the next with the soft sounds of Kageyama’s breathing and the still falling rain following into his dreams.
When Tsukishima woke, there was light slanting through the blinds on his window directly into his eyes. A blurry check of his alarm clock told him that it was just after seven, way too early for him to be up on a weekend. With a wordless groan, he rolled away from the window and tried to settle back into the comfort of his covers for another two to three hours of sleep.
There was a futon on his bedroom floor. For a moment, he couldn’t remember how it got there, or even why it was there in the first place. Then, the events of last night came back to him, and everything clicked into place. He had met a dripping wet Kageyama at the supermarket and brought him back home to dry off. Kageyama, who was apparently already up for the day and gone from the room.
He still wanted to sleep more ‒ who cared what the king was doing this early in the morning ‒ but part of him pushed him to go find Kageyama and at least make sure he hadn’t just left without a word. The sound of muffled laughter came from downstairs, and then there was a low murmur that followed in response.
Kageyama hadn’t left then. He was just downstairs with Tsukishima’s mother. Alone. With a groan, Tsukishima pushed himself out of bed. If he wasn’t there to hold her off, there would be no end to the embarrassing things she could tell Kageyama.
Tsukishima slowly made his way downstairs towards the kitchen where the voices were. The smell of breakfast filled the air, and his stomach growled in anticipation.
“You’re up!” said his mother when she saw him. Her voice was filled with more surprise than he thought was warranted. Tsukishima would have been offended if he weren’t still half asleep. “You know, I never see him up this early unless it’s a school day, or if he has somewhere to be.” She said this to Kageyama with a laugh. “You’re a good influence, huh?”
Kageyama was still dressed in the clothes that Tsukishima let him borrow last night. He was a little rumpled from sleep, too, and didn’t look like he was completely awake. It made Tsukishima feel better.
Kageyama was at the counter, pulling out fluffy pieces of bread out of the toaster and stacking them neatly onto a plate. “Morning,” he murmured when Tsukishima came closer. “I got hungry.”
“Kei,” his mother said, beckoning him closer. “Since you’re up, too, come help out. You can’t just make Kageyama-kun do everything, you know.” She handed him a plate full of sausages, perfectly cooked and still steaming, and shooed him over to the table.
There was already a full spread of dishes and condiments on the dining room table. It was the kind of meal that his mother usually only made when the whole family was home together. Since Akiteru was working in Sendai now, it had been a while since Tsukishima had seen his mother go all out like this.
“What’s the occasion?” Tsukishima asked, setting the plate of sausages down on the table. “Is nii-chan coming home or something?”
“Oh, well, when I was listing some possible breakfast foods for Kageyama, his stomach just kept growling louder and louder the more I talked so I decided to make a little bit of everything.” His mother said with a laugh. “It reminds me of when Akiteru was still in high school. His stomach was bottomless!”
Kageyama came over to the dining room table with his towering plate of toast, and once he set it down, breakfast was finally ready.
Tsukishima ignored the feeling that settled in his stomach at the sight of Kageyama’s softly pleased expression as he ate.
“Alright,” Tsukishima said with an exaggerated sigh as he saw Kageyama out of the front door. “It’s time for the king to get out of here and go back to his own house.” He gave a half-hearted wave and was about to retreat inside, when Kageyama grabbed his wrist and tugged him forward.
“What is it?” Tsukishima asked. He tried for irritated and could barely make it.
“Thank you,” Kageyama said, looking straight into Tsukishima’s eyes, “for letting me stay last night. You didn’t have to.”
“Stop,” Tsukishima said, breaking away from Kageyama’s gaze. Horrifyingly, he could feel the beginning heat of a blush on his cheeks. “Didn’t I tell you before that it’s weird when you’re considerate?”
Kageyama scowled. “You’re the weird one,” he said with a grumble. There was something comforting about Kageyama's usual irritability, and Tsukishima felt more at ease. He still hadn’t let go of Tsukishima’s wrist, though, which was beginning to feel more and more like a warm brand against Tsukishima’s skin.
“...You can come again,” Tsukishima said, finally, looking at a spot over Kageyama’s shoulder instead of his face. “If you want. It doesn’t even have to be raining.”
Kageyama didn’t say anything for a moment, just gazed at Tsukishima intently, before he looked away. “Yeah...okay.” He finally let go of Tsukishima’s wrist, fingers brushing against Tsukishima’s knuckles as he moved away. Tsukishima forced himself not to twitch away at the feeling.
Kageyama looked back up at Tsukishima, face clear and open. He took a step back. “I’ll see you on Monday,” he said with a nod.
“See you Monday,” Tsukishima said. He watched Kageyama walk down the street until he disappeared around the corner. Once he was sure that Kageyama was gone and wouldn’t be coming back, he sank down until he was sitting on the front steps and buried his head between his knees. Tsukishima sat there like that in the early morning sunshine for the next few minutes.
When he finally got back inside the house, Tsukishima went upstairs to his bedroom and got his phone. Lying nearly facedown on his bed, he typed out a text to Yamaguchi.
You can’t leave on the weekends anymore.
? Eh? What happened??