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Hunt and Gather

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“You. Come with me.”

A hand fell onto Daichi’s shoulder and yanked him to his feet, fingers locked tight in the fabric of his shirt. He flailed momentarily, one foot kicking the table from which he was suddenly being pulled.

“Wai—” he started, hand reaching out towards Ikejiri who made as if to rescue him, then, thinking better of it, shrugged and sat back, a smug smile curling his lips as he gave a wink and turned to Yui where she laughed on the opposite side of the table.

“Bye-bye Sawamura!” Yui cooed and fluttered her fingers.

Daichi stumbled as the hand continued to pull him backwards and he cast his so called “friends” a sinister glare.

“You’re so gonna get it when I come back,” he called, but the two seemed unimpressed by his threat.

“Hurry!”

Daichi finally turned himself and faced the stranger dragging him across the bar in the direction of the front door.

“Excuse me,” Daichi tugged on the man’s wrist. “Can you please release me?”

“Nah, you’ll escape.”

He stared at the back of the man’s head, at unruly locks of pale grey hair, and then down to a peach and green Hawaiian shirt and faded denim Bermuda shorts.

“Uhm…”

The man pulled Daichi through the door and immediately turned left down the sidewalk.

“Will you please tell me who you are and what you’re doing?” Daichi asked warily, tugging again at the man’s wrist.

“No time,” he said. He released Daichi’s shirt, but immediately caught his hand. “C’mon, hurry, if Tooru wins another then I’m totally bo— AH FUCK!” He pointed down the sidewalk to where a man in an outfit similar to his, Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, pulled a thick man with spiked white and grey hair in the direction of the stone fountain in the middle of the city square. “We gotta run!”

“Wh—” The word was cut short when the man suddenly bolted forward, yanking Daichi after him. He staggered and then got his feet under himself, matching the man’s pace.

“No, no, no,” the man panted. “We can’t lose, c’mon faster… c’mon, c’mon…”

The urgency in the man’s tone spurred Daichi forward. He had no idea what the hell was going on but apparently this was important and Daichi would be damned if he was the reason as to why this stranger lost some sort of race between the poorly dressed.

“Where?” Daichi asked.

“The fountai—”

Daichi pulled his hand from his and scooped the man up into his arms. He let out a squeak and held him around the shoulders as Daichi picked up his speed and sprinted towards the fountain, juking and darting his way through throngs of pedestrians.

The man giggled and squeezed him.

“Faster, faster! We can beat him!”

Daichi dodged a loud group of women, deciding he would just have to ask questions later, and lunged the last few meters to the fountain. As soon as he reached it, he collapsed onto the side, breathing heavily, and settled the man in his lap.

The man cheered and pumped an arm in the air and Daichi finally looked into his face.

Oh.

Oh.

Oh.

With exception to his terrible fashion sense, the man was astoundingly beautiful. His pale, unruly hair was windswept back from his forehead. His round cheeks were flushed bright pink, and he stared up at Daichi with mischievous hazel eyes framed by long black eyelashes.

Daichi’s mouth went dry.

The man turned his head and Daichi gulped, stunned that he was actually relieved to no longer be under the man’s gaze.

“Well, well, well, Keiji-kun, what a surprise to see you here,” the man said, voice honey sweet. His fingers curled in the hair at the nape of Daichi’s neck and his heart thudded painfully.

The second man approached them, dragging behind the one with the white hair, who looked equally as confused as Daichi was feeling. His large golden eyes blinked and darted around the area.

“Well played, Sugawara-san,” the man with the Hawaiian shirt said, voice flat. He had short black hair and narrow, steely blue eyes. Around his neck hung a beaded necklace with what looked like a plastic penis hanging from it. Daichi gulped when their gazes met. The man was silent for a moment before humming, “Nice.”

The one in Daichi’s lap, Sugawara, giggled and leaned his head on Daichi’s shoulder.

“Uhm,” the man with the white hair drew their attention. “What’s going on?”

“What’s going on…” a new voice sounded from behind Daichi and all four turned towards it. Daichi’s mouth fell open. A third man donned in a Hawaiian shirt and jean shorts sat in a folding chair in the middle of the fountain, sipping from a coconut, an umbrella leaning against his shoulder as water from the fountain rained down from above. He peered over a pair of pineapple shaped sunglasses, long dual toned hair falling over his forehead, and finished, “is that Sugawara is now in the lead.”

Sugawara pumped his fist again, “Yusss…”

“Which means Keiji is now in second,” the man continued.

The black haired man sighed, “I’ll take it.”

“And Tooru…”

“I’m here! I’m here!”

Everyone turned towards the newest voice and watched as a tall brunette staggered in their direction, dragging a large man with spiky black hair and an irritated expression behind him.

“… is in last place,” the man in the fountain said and clicked his tongue. “Fallen from grace.”

“It’s not my fault!” the brunette whined. “Mine was uncooperative!”

The thick man grunted and glared around at the group.

“Doesn’t matter. You’re in last place. Come get your punishment.”

The brunette walked to the edge of the fountain and the other man met him. He pulled a black strap from his pocket and gestured for the brunette to lean closer. He reached up and dragged an eyepatch over the man’s left eye and then stepped back.

“There.”

“Not fair,” the brunette moaned, adjusting the patch. “Keiji-kun only got a necklace last time…”

The one called Keiji lifted the plastic penis to his lips and blew into it, letting out a high pitched whistle.

“I want a dick whistle too!” Sugawara piped in.

“It's a punishment,” the man in the fountain sipped from his coconut. “You’re not supposed to like it.”

“I like the dick whistle,” Keiji admitted.

“Then give it back.”

“No.”

“Will someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?” the large man with spiky black hair demanded. “I was with friends when this jackass showed up and kidnapped me.”

“Rude!” Tooru pouted.

“Like you couldn’t get away?” Sugawara asked, cocking a thick grey eyebrow.

The man didn’t respond.

“I’ll explain,” the man in the fountain sighed. “My name is Kozume Kenma, this is my bachelor party.”

When he didn’t go on, Keiji finished,

“We’re doing a scavenger hunt.”

Sugawara looked up at Daichi and smirked, “And you had the good fortune to be one of the prizes for us to find.”

“What?” Daichi blinked. “What were you supposed to find?”

Sugawara and the others exchanged a look.

“Anyway,” Kenma said. “Let’s move on to the next item.”

Sugawara cheered and finally climbed out of Daichi’s lap. He and the two others huddled in front of Kenma as he reached into his pocket and produced three folded strips of paper.

“Don’t read them yet,” he commanded as they each took one.

Daichi stood and joined the white haired man, the third also walking up, thick arms crossed over his chest.

“What do we do?” the white haired man whispered.

“Should we just leave?” Daichi asked.

“Hm,” the third glared at the others.

Sugawara, Keiji, and Tooru stepped back and Kenma lifted a hand.

“This is where things get interesting.”

“Ehh…” Tooru’s shoulders slumped. “I thought you said last round was where things got interesting? I don’t think I can handle anything more interesting.”

“From now on,” Kenma’s eyes flitted over Keiji’s shoulders at the other group of men. “You have partners.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” Daichi muttered.

“For the rest of the challenges, you have to work as a team with your partner or else you are disqualified.” Kenma pushed his pineapple sunglasses up his nose.

“No!” Tooru exclaimed. “That’s not fair! Mine was nearly impossible to even get here! There’s no way he’s gonna agree to that!”

“Then I guess you should have picked someone else.”

“Are you kidding? I mean, look at him.”

All four stared at the angry man and his eyebrows pulled lower over fierce green eyes.

The men turned away.

“Good point,” Sugawara said.

“I can’t really blame you,” Keiji added.

“Nice,” Kenma said.

“Right?” Tooru adjusted his eyepatch.

“Well,” Kenma set his coconut on the side of the fountain and then lifted the hem of his Hawaiian shirt, displaying a fat fanny pack strapped at his waist. He unzipped it and dug around inside. “You’re just gonna have to do your best to convince him to play along, or get disqualified and let one of the others win.”

“Me,” Sugawara said.

“Me,” Keiji countered.

Tooru’s lip curled, “Over my dead body.

Kenma climbed out of the fountain and moved between the two groups of men.

“Here,” he said, approaching Daichi. He held out a miniature bottle of whiskey.

Daichi took it and he moved on to the others, giving them their own miniature bottle. Once everyone had alcohol, Sugawara, Keiji, and Tooru opened theirs and started drinking.

“Names?” Kenma turned back to Daichi and the two others.

“Bokuto,” the white haired one said, cracking open his bottle and giving it a sniff.

“Daichi…”

Everyone looked to the last. He scowled and opened his bottle of tequila. He downed the entire bottle in one gulp and answered in a low voice,

“Iwaizumi.”

“Nice to meet you,” Kenma fetched his coconut and sipped from it. “So. You all will be partners in the rest of the scavenger hunt. Win, and you will get a prize. Any questions?”

Bokuto lifted his hand.

“Yeah?”

“What’s the prize?”

“Surprise.”

Bokuto oohed and ahhed, turning his wide eyes to Keiji, whose lips gave an infinitesimal tick upwards.

“Uhm,” Daichi glanced down at his whiskey, and then to Kenma. “Look… uh… I was kind of drinking with some friends. I don’t really have time for this…”

“Oh please, please, please, please,” Sugawara slid up to him and pressed his hands to his chest, leaning his face close. He blinked his wide hazel eyes at him, full lips pouting. “Please Daichi! I need you! If I get disqualified, Kenma-chan gets to punish me and he’s evil! He’s evil I’m telling you!”

Daichi glanced over at Kenma, catching his smirk before he wiped it from his face. Sugawara continued to plead with him, Tooru approaching Iwaizumi to do the same.

The whole situation was ridiculous. Daichi had just wanted to go out with his friends, relax, and forget about work for a little while. How did it turn out like this? Just how did he get roped into partaking in some sort of weird bachelor party scavenger hunt? And just what were Sugawara and the others supposed to find that led them to dragging three random strangers away from their nights?

Daichi thought of Yui and Ikejiri. Neither of them had seemed to mind when he was suddenly kidnapped. If anything, they seemed thrilled to see him go.

Ah.

I was the third wheel, wasn’t I?

“Please, please, please, please, I’ll give you a reward later!” Sugawara continued to beg, arms winding around Daichi’s middle. “I’ll make it worthwhile I promise!”

“Alright.”

Sugawara froze. He straightened, staring at him wide-eyed.

“Huh?”

“Alright,” Daichi repeated. He lifted the bottle of whiskey and downed it.

“You’ll do it?”

He nodded and tossed the empty bottle in a nearby garbage can.

Sugawara bounced excitedly, mouth stretching into a grin that made Daichi have to fight not to return. His joy was infectious.

Everyone turned to Iwaizumi. He let out a deep sigh, eyeing Tooru’s get-up wearily.

“I don’t have to wear one of those, do I?” he pointed to the Hawaiian shirt.

“Not unless you deserve punishment and that’s the punishment I decide for you,” Kenma examined his fingernails.

Iwaizumi’s face slackened and he turned his gaze to Tooru again. The taller man pressed his hands together and fluttered his lashes.

Eventually he let out a deep sigh and rubbed his eyes.

“Fine,” he mumbled. He looked to Kenma, “Can I get another one of those bottles?”

“Complete a task, get more liquor,” Kenma said. “Are you all ready?”

Keiji went to Bokuto’s side and the larger man jumped up and down.

“This is going to be fun!”

Sugawara, Keiji, and Tooru held their folded strips of paper up at the ready.

Kenma eyed them quietly for a moment and then said, “At the place where Kuroo and I had our first date. Ready, set, go.”

They pried their clues open. Sugawara turned to Daichi and read in a breathless voice,

A rock painted like a cat.

Sugawara shoved the paper into his pocket and grabbed Daichi’s hand.

“C’mon!”

The two other groups exploded into action right behind them as Sugawara led Daichi down the sidewalk in the direction of the street.

“Where are we going?” Daichi asked, darting behind Sugawara to avoid colliding with a man talking on his phone.

“A little cat café downtown,” Sugawara said.

“So we need to catch a taxi?” Daichi lifted his hand to hail a cab.

“No!” Sugawara pulled his arm back down to his side. “It’s against the rules! We’re not allowed to spend any money!”

Daichi grunted, “How the hell are we supposed to get downtown without spending money? Run?”

“Watch and learn,” Sugawara chuckled and the dark sound sent shivers down Daichi’s spine.

They stopped on the curb and looked up and down the street. Sugawara hummed and then let out a sudden, “Ah!”

He released Daichi’s hand and rushed off towards a line of driverless pedicabs parked in a small rectangular lot to their left.

“Ho-hold up,” Daichi rushed after him. “You’re not… Don’t tell me you’re—”

Sugawara ignored him and immediately jumped onto the nearest vehicle. “Get in,” he ordered Daichi, placing his feet on the pedals.

“Thi-this is grand theft auto!” Daichi hissed, looking over his shoulder in fear. “You can’t just take—”

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it, we’ll return it later!” Sugawara gestured at the chariot behind him. “Sit!”

“But—”

Tooru and Iwaizumi appeared and Daichi watched in disbelief as Iwaizumi climbed into the pedicab beside Sugawara’s and stacked his hands behind his head.

“Iwa-chan, shouldn’t you be the one pedaling?” Tooru asked. “You could probably go faster—”

“Considering I’m not emotionally invested in this little game, nah. And don’t call me Iwa-chan.”

Tooru groaned and climbed onto the bicycle seat.

Sugawara reached out and grabbed Daichi’s sleeve, “Get in!”

Despite his better judgment, Daichi conceded. He sat on the padded seat and gripped the sides of the vehicle with white knuckles.

“Hold on tight,” Sugawara sang and gave the pedals a tremendous shove.

The pedicab lurched forward and Sugawara didn’t waste time steering out into the street, using the sidewalk to pass a sedan crawling by.

“Get back here!” Tooru called after them.

Sugawara’s legs pumped and he lifted off of his seat, kicking his legs down harder. The pedicab gained speed and Daichi pressed back into the seat, heart racing in his chest as he anxiously watched them fly by car after car. Sugawara maneuvered through the traffic like a madman, controlling the pedicab more like a regular bicycle. Daichi swore there were a few times they actually turned so sharp that they lifted onto two wheels, and if Daichi hadn’t thrown himself across the seat to shift the weight, they would’ve wound up on their side in the middle of the street. After a few blocks, Tooru caught up to them, huffing and puffing, sweat lining his face and neck.

“Suga-chan…” he panted. “Fuck… you…”

Sugawara laughed, “C’mon Tooru-chan, where’s your stamina?”

“My passenger is heavier than yours!”

“Hey,” Iwaizumi growled.

“Uhm…” Daichi said. “Su-Sugawara… up ahead…”

“Shit,” Sugawara and Tooru both braked suddenly, causing their passengers to nearly topple out of their seats.

Tooru sat back and flapped his arms at the wall of cars before them. “Look at this shit!” he slicked his hair back from his face. “We’ll never get downtown in this traffic jam!”

“Quit bitching, we all know you’re enjoying the rest,” Sugawara sat once more and stretched his neck from side to side. Daichi gulped and watched a drop of sweat slide down the pale skin of his nape and disappear under the collar of his Hawaiian shirt.

“This fucking eyepatch is killing my depth perception,” Oikawa muttered and lifted the patch to rub his eye. “I almost took out a pedestrian.”

“No taking it off. You earned that punishment,” Sugawara scolded.

“How come you and Keiji-chan got easy ones?”

“If I had to guess, I’d say it was because the punishments are going to get worse as the night goes by.”

“Ugh.”

“Where is Keiji, by the way?” Sugawara turned and peeked around the pedicab.

“Apparently his partner had a car.”

“No fair!”

“He’s probably in the same traffic as us.”

“Yeah but he doesn’t have to pedal and haul some fucking body builders around,” Sugawara jerked his thumb over his shoulder.

Daichi glanced at Iwaizumi, hoping that he would share in his pain at being an accessory to grand theft auto, but the other man somehow looked completely unconcerned, eyes wandering over Tooru’s back as he and Sugawara bickered.

Finally, the cars crept forward once more and without warning, Sugawara leaned over and punched Tooru in the face.

“Ah fuck!” Tooru cradled his cheek and Sugawara pulled ahead, trailing laughter.

“We’re off again! Hold tight, Daichi!” he said cheerfully and Daichi did as he was told, gulping when he swerved around a taxi, narrowly missing clipping the mirror.

I’m so going to prison tonight, Daichi thought, biting back his regret at agreeing to participate in the tomfoolery of strangers.

Another minute of dangerous travel passed and Sugawara made a sharp right turn down a one way street. They were nearly downtown, and the traffic became sparse, the cars few and far between.

Sugawara let out a breathless cheer.

“It’s pretty much… a straight shot… from here!” he panted. “We’re gonna get there… first!”

He spoke too soon, however, because just seconds later, the other pedicab gained their side, this time with Iwaizumi at the pedals, thick legs pumping.

“Ah!” Sugawara exclaimed. “Damn you Tooru!”

A sly smirk curled Iwaizumi’s lips and he sped past them. Tooru blew a kiss from the seat and then raised both of his middle fingers.

Sugawara groaned and leaned farther forward, desperately trying to pedal faster.

Daichi gulped.

And he should really just sit back and lay low, go along for the ride and don’t step too far into the life of crime.

But damn did he hate to lose.

“Sugawara!” Daichi sat forward and grabbed the hem of Sugawara’s shirt. “Switch me!”

“Eh?”

Daichi tugged. “Hurry!”

Sugawara slowed the pedicab to a stop and they hurriedly changed positions. Daichi took a deep breath. He kicked the pedals into motion and the vehicle lunged forward once more. Daichi swallowed his fear of being arrested and focused all his energy into catching up to the other pedicab.

Which they finally did at the corner. Tooru’s and Iwaizumi’s cab began to slow and Sugawara suddenly called out,

“Daichi we need to turn left!”

Daichi steered the cab to the right shoulder of Iwaizumi.

“Sugawara! Put all your weight on the left side!”

Daichi didn’t check to see that he listened to him. Because the corner was right upon them and they were careening past Iwaizumi and Tooru, not slowing.

“Hold on,” Daichi said and jerked the handlebars to the left.

Sugawara let out a shriek as the pedicab tilted onto two wheels, metal screeching as they violently rounded the corner. Daichi leaned to the left, gritting his teeth with a wince when he felt his balance shift precariously.

But then the third wheel crashed back to the asphalt and they were steady once more.

Sugawara screamed triumphant laughter and a grin found its way to Daichi’s face. Tooru was shouting abuse at them from behind but Daichi didn’t risk a look back, continuing to pump his legs until they burned.

“Up there!” Sugawara stood behind him, placing one hand on Daichi’s back and pointing over his shoulder down the dark street. “It’s the one right there!”

Daichi drove them right up to the front of the cat café and Sugawara leapt out of the pedicab. Daichi quickly followed and they ran up to the door of the café.

“Okay, it’s closed,” Sugawara noted, tugging on the door. “But we just need to get a rock painted like a cat. Do you see any lying around?”

They scoured the store front, pawing through the flower beds decorating the small areas on either side of the path leading to the front door.

“I don’t see any,” Daichi admitted, checking inside the pot of hanging geraniums to the left of the door.

“Then… the back garden. C’mon,” Sugawara led him back onto the sidewalk and then into the alley next to the building.

Iwaizumi pulled his cab up next to theirs and Tooru stumbled out of it.

Sugawara squeaked and took off in a run, “Hurry!”

Daichi gave chase. They rounded the café and Sugawara stopped at the tall metal fence blocking their way into the back garden. They peered through the links.

“There!” Daichi pointed. Nestled together underneath a marble birdbath were several rocks painted like cats of various colors and patterns.

“On it,” Sugawara started climbing the fence and Daichi looked up and down the alley anxiously.

First they steal pedicabs and next they’re breaking in to a café?

Daichi was so going to prison.

Sugawara started cursing and Daichi turned in time to see Tooru sprint up to them and immediately vault over the fence in one fluid motion, kicking Sugawara in the face in the process.

“Ah fuck!” Sugawara cringed away and clutched at his cheek.

“Revenge, Bitch,” Tooru cackled and darted across the garden. He grabbed one of the stones and bolted back to the fence.

“Daichi give me a boost!” Sugawara said and Daichi quickly grabbed his foot and forced him up and over the fence. He collapsed in a heap on the other side and then scrabbled towards the rocks.

“Later, Shithead!” Tooru leapt over the fence again and ran down the alley, passing Keiji and Bokuto along the way.

“The others are here,” Daichi informed Sugawara.

“God damn it,” Sugawara grabbed a rock and rushed to the fence. He struggled to climb over it, muttering under his breath.

Bokuto helped Keiji up and over and he landed gracefully on both feet, earning a stream of expletives from Sugawara when he finally reached the top of the fence and threw a leg over.

“Let’s go—” Sugawara started but then let out a shriek, falling forward.

Daichi lunged to catch him and Sugawara slammed into his chest, arms circling his middle.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, I’m caught,” he whined and Daichi looked up to where the metal link of the fence pierced the denim of his shorts at the thigh. “Help me get free, Daichi.”

Daichi grunted and maneuvered him in his arms so that his back pressed into his chest, and held him tight around the waist with one arm, reaching for the fabric with his other while Sugawara hung on.

Keiji returned and made it back to their side with none of the drama of Sugawara’s attempt.

“It was nice knowing you, Koushi,” Keiji said and disappeared.

Sugawara cried out in frustration and flailed, kicking his legs angrily against the fence.

“Just rip it!” he shouted.

Daichi gritted his teeth and yanked the fabric, tearing a huge hole in the shorts, displaying the pale skin of Sugawara’s thigh underneath.

He set him on the ground and they both raced to the end of the alley. After a short examination of the street, Daichi pointed at a small cluster of balloons tied to the terrace of the restaurant patio across the way.

The others were already there.

“Shit,” Sugawara kicked his heel against the pavement and they crossed the street to join the others.

Kenma sat in a folding chair, one leg crossed over the other, waiting for them.

“Look who decided to finally show up,” Tooru cooed with a smirk.

Sugawara raised his middle finger at him and handed the rock to Kenma.

“With a win for Tooru and a loss for Koushi, that puts the score back to zeros across the board,” Kenma tossed the rock to the side and stood. He gestured for Sugawara and he let out a sigh and stepped up to him.

Kenma reached into his fanny pack and brought something pink up to Sugawara’s neck. He latched it on and then fumbled in the pack once more, eventually producing a headband with black cat ears and what looked like a clip-on tail.

“Fail the Kitty challenge, become a kitty,” Kenma said and slid the ears into Sugawara’s hair. He gestured at him to turn and he did, reluctantly. Kenma lifted the hem of his shirt and clipped the long black tail to the belt loop at his back. “There.”

Sugawara moaned and reached up to scratch at the pink, belled collar around his neck. Daichi’s cheeks warmed and he coughed into his fist in attempts to erase the sudden rough feeling in the back of his throat.

Ah shit he’s cute…

“And for you.”

Daichi looked to Kenma as he held a large white t-shirt with a cartoonish woman's body printed on the front and back towards him. He stared at it for a long second.

“Seriously?”

“Would you rather also be a kitty? Because if you think I don't have more of those-”

Daichi took the shirt and pulled it on.

Kenma smirked and started distributing miniature liquor bottles amongst them. Once they were all empty, he passed Keiji, Tooru, and Sugawara strips of paper.

They held them at the ready, staring at Kenma warily.

He let out a sinister chuckle.

“At the place where Kuroo bought me Beedle. Ready, set, go.”

They ripped the clues open and read.

Your greatest fear.

“Hey, Ken-chan fuck you!” Tooru exclaimed, pointing at the other man. “Fuck you right to hell!”

Sugawara cursed under his breath and pulled Daichi back to their pedicab.

Keiji and Bokuto rushed to a red car parked a short distance away and Iwaizumi dragged Tooru from the laughing Kenma.

“Where to?” Daichi asked.

“I’ll drive. It’s a pet store a few blocks from here,” Sugawara said. “Beedle is Kenma’s tabby.”

They took their places and Sugawara kicked the cab into motion. The red car swerved around them, Bokuto behind the wheel. Soon after, the second pedicab, Iwaizumi at the helm, passed as well.

Daichi sat forward, “They’re getting ahead—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Sugawara chuckled. “I know a shortcut.”

He pedaled leisurely down the street until the car and other cab disappeared around the corner, then he hurriedly turned a sharp right into an alley.

“Hold tight!” he sang, and then they were soaring.

“Aaaahhhhhh!” Daichi gripped the sides of the cab and pressed back against his seat as the narrow road suddenly dipped down into a dangerous slope.

Sugawara lifted his legs up off of the pedals and screamed laughter, the sound snatched away by the wind blowing his hair and fake tail back.

Daichi squeezed his eyes shut and waited to die.

But instead of a crash and explosion, he felt his center of gravity shift and suddenly the cab was shooting upwards.

“Here we go!” Sugawara’s voice drew his attention.

His feet were back on the pedals and he stood, pumping like crazy as the slope curved up. Their momentum from the drop sent them right up to the very end of the alley and they exploded out onto the street. Sugawara jerked the handlebars to the right and Daichi frantically threw himself to the right side of the set to keep their wheels on the ground.

A loud beep blared in their ears and Daichi peeked over his shoulder to see Bokuto through the windshield of the red car, laying into the horn. Keiji was sitting forward in his seat, glaring with lips pursed, and behind the vehicle was Iwaizumi and Tooru, watching them in disbelief.

Sugawara laughed and drove down the center of the street, not giving the others a chance to pass them.

A short distance later, Sugawara pulled to the curb and hopped off. Daichi followed as he rushed up to the front door of a small shop. Through the windows were displayed all sorts of exotic and domestic animals. The lights were still on, the shop still open for the night, and Sugawara hurried inside.

He went to the shopkeeper standing behind a counter and Daichi followed.

“Where are your snakes?” Sugawara asked, breathless.

The man blinked at him, eyeing the ears and collar. “Uh… I’ll show you…”

The bell on the door jingled and the four others burst into the shop.

“Sir do you have any scorpions please?” Keiji asked, shoving Tooru away with a hand against his cheek.

Tooru swiped at him, “No! Tarantulas!”

“Wait your turn!” Sugawara snapped back. “I was here first!”

“Are you boys the bachelor party?” the shopkeeper asked.

“Eh… yes that’s us,” Sugawara dragged his wrist across his forehead, wiping away sweat.

The man smiled, “Right this way please.”

Sugawara looked at Daichi and they each cocked an eyebrow.

The group followed the man to the back of the store, where a table was set up with three glass tanks of various sizes atop it. Sugawara’s steps stuttered and he bumped into Daichi, letting out a low,

“Ugh…”

The shopkeeper stood on the other side of the table and faced them with a smile.

“Kozume-san said he wanted to see you boys holding a few of our friends!”

Tooru let out a choking sob and leaned heavily on Iwaizumi’s shoulder, hiding his face from view.

Holding them?” Sugawara repeated, disbelief and horror transforming his features.

“Whoaaa cool!” Bokuto walked up to the table and started closely examining the contents of each tank.

“So who would like to go first?”

Everyone turned at the sound of the new voice.

Kenma moseyed up to them, a popsicle in one hand, his folding chair in the other. He popped the chair open and sat down, crossing one leg over the other.

“Any volunteers?”

At first, no one moved. Then Daichi watched Sugawara’s hand raise slightly before he dropped it again, body shuddering.

Tooru’s sobbing grew in volume.

“I will go first,” Keiji stepped forward.

“Alright Keiji!” Bokuto cheered.

Kenma smirked and looked at the shopkeeper.

“The scorpion please.”

He opened the tank on the left end of the table and Keiji went up to it, wiping his palms on his shorts. The shopkeeper reached inside the tank and when he lifted his hand back out, a large black scorpion the length of his palm came with it.

Sugawara pressed back into Daichi’s side and Daichi grappled with the sudden urge to put his arm around him because surely that had to be the strangest intrusive thought he had ever had.

The shopkeeper approached Keiji and the man’s blue eyes widened as he watched the scorpion draw near.

“Bo-Bokuto-san,” he said. “I implore you, please hold my hand.”

“Sure!” Bokuto took his offered hand.

Keiji took a deep breath.

“Alright. I’m ready.”

Kenma lifted his phone and pointed it in his direction as the shopkeeper gently nudged the scorpion into Keiji’s free palm.

Keiji didn’t make a sound. He chewed his bottom lip, gaze locked on the creature. It moved slowly, crawling across the surface of his skin to his wrist.

Daichi eyed it warily, glancing between it and Kenma, who seemed absolutely gleeful at the display, filming the interaction with his phone as he licked his popsicle.

Finally he lowered the phone.

“That’s good enough,” he said.

The shopkeeper took the scorpion from Keiji and the man released a heavy sigh of relief and turned to Bokuto. He wrapped his arms around his neck and leaned into him, burying his face in the side of his throat.

Bokuto’s eyes widened and his mouth flapped.

“Alright that puts Keiji in the lead,” Kenma said. “Now who’s next? Keep in mind that the person who goes third will be in last place and will suffer a punishment.”

“Me,” Sugawara stepped away from Daichi’s side. “Let’s get it over with. C’mon, hurry up.”

Kenma smirked.

“Very well. Bring out the snake, please.”

The shopkeeper returned the scorpion to its tank and they all watched as walked to the end of the table to the tank on the right inside which a small yellow snake napped under a heat lamp.

Sugawara muttered something and Daichi moved closer to hear.

“It’s fine. It’s tiny. It can’t hurt me. It’s nothing. It’s fine. It’s alright.”

The shopkeeper reached for the lid.

“Wait,” Kenma said.

Everyone looked at him. His smirk widened and he gestured at a large tank behind the shopkeeper.

“You sure?” his eyebrows lifted.

“Hmhm.”

“Alrighty.” He turned away and Sugawara tensed as he opened the larger tank and leaned inside.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Sugawara chanted as the shopkeeper lifted a large python up in his arms. “No, no fucking way that’s not fair Kenma you fucking dick—”

“Is this the sound of a forfeit?” Kenma cupped his ear with one hand.

“Ohhhh my god I hate you so much,” Sugawara whined and backed into Daichi again. “I can’t! It’s huge! It’ll strangle me!”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Kenma admitted, lifting his phone and pointing it in his direction.

Sugawara whimpered and recoiled when the shopkeeper rounded the table. The bell on his collar jingled and the way he looked, cowering into Daichi’s side with those cat ears and look of terror on his face… it evoked a sudden protective urge from Daichi.

He didn’t know this guy.

Since the moment he dragged him away from his friends and into this hellish game, he had made nothing but bad impression after bad impression.

He was irresponsible, wild, possibly a criminal… cute.

But for better or for worse, he was Daichi’s partner.

Anyway, it was Daichi who had agreed to continue on with this nonsense in the first place, so it wasn’t like none of the responsibility belonged to him.

They were partners.

And Daichi ought to pull his own weight.

Daichi took Sugawara’s shoulders and turned him so that they faced one another. Sugawara stared up at him with wide eyes. His face had gone white as a ghost and he wobbled, weak in the knees.

“Hey Game Master,” Daichi said, not taking his eyes off of Sugawara’s. “We’re partners so it’s alright if I help, right?”

“So long as I get a video of Koushi wearing that snake like a scarf, I don’t care what you do,” Kenma replied.

Daichi nodded and inhaled deeply.

“Okay,” he said. “It’s gonna be fine. This is what we’re going to do.” He took Sugawara’s hips and maneuvered him back against the table. “Lean on the table so you don’t fall down. Now, I’m going to be right here,” he placed himself firmly in front of him and gestured for the shopkeeper. “It’s gonna be half on me and half on you.”

Sugawara whimpered and cowered away when the shopkeeper moved closer. “I don’t want it—”

“It’s going to be fine,” Daichi said. The shopkeeper went to him first and raised the massive reptile towards his shoulders. “What’s the thing you’re scared of most about this thing?”

Everything.

“It’s the chance that it’ll constrict, right? That’s what everyone is scared of when they see a snake this big.”

The shopkeeper draped half of the snake’s body over Daichi’s shoulders and he steeled himself. It was heavier than he expected.

“Well that too,” Sugawara squeaked, eyes growing impossibly wider.

“But since I’m here too, there’s no way that he can constrict on us.”

Why not?

“I won’t let him.”

“You really think you can stop it?” Sugawara scoffed, flinching when the shopkeeper lifted the other half towards him.

“You saying you don’t believe I could?” Daichi cocked an eyebrow. “How insulting. I’m your partner, aren’t I? You should have a little more faith in the man you chose.”

Sugawara was silent. He stared up at Daichi and the shopkeeper paused, waiting for permission to finish his task.

“Okay,” Sugawara reached out and gripped Daichi’s sides, fingers digging into the fabric of his shirts. “Let’s just get it over with.”

Daichi glanced at the ears poking out of his hair and smirked.

“Good kitty.”

Sugawara’s lips ticked up and his expression turned mischievous. “Now, now, Daichi do you want to get rough with this pussy—” The line was cut short with a squeak as the shopkeeper gently draped the body of the snake over his shoulders. His fingers squeezed Daichi’s sides, almost to the point of bruising, and Daichi placed his hands on his arms.

“It’s alright,” he said. “Look at how gentle he is.”

The python lifted his head up towards Sugawara’s face and he squeezed his eyes shut, eyebrows quivering.

Daichi gulped and slowly lifted his hand. He nudged the snake’s head and it turned its attention to him instead, stretching towards him in what he was hoping was innocent curiosity. A skinny forked tongue fluttered out of its mouth and Daichi held his breath as it coasted up to his neck and glided across, the smooth scales ticking his skin. The python’s tail curled under Daichi’s armpit and he flinched. But then his head was in his hair and Daichi couldn’t keep the smile from his lips.

“Look,” he said again. “Sugawara. We’re becoming friends.”

Sugawara hesitantly peeled his eyes open, wincing when he saw how far the snake had traveled. Daichi reached up and gently smoothed a hand over the silky scales.

“See? He’s not so bad. Feel how soft he is.”

Daichi slowly took Sugawara’s wrist and pried his fingers from his shirt.

Sugawara whimpered, but didn’t pull away. Daichi brought his hand up to the warm body and pressed it to it.

Sugawara bit his bottom lip, expression twisted, but didn’t pull away. He allowed Daichi to pet his hand over the scales slowly, eyeing it warily.

“Feels nice, doesn’t it?” Daichi asked with a smile.

Sugawara snorted, “Kinky.”

The sound of a tongue clicking drew their attention. Kenma lowered his phone.

“Boring. Okay let’s move on to the fun one.”

 Sugawara let out a breath of relief and the shopkeeper went about untangling the snake from their shoulders. Once it was gone, Sugawara slumped into Daichi’s chest.

Daichi’s heart thudded and he put his arms around him.

Relax.

Calm down.

Stupid heart.

It must just be delayed nerves from having the python on him. Not… not something else. Like… the fact that Sugawara was… really cute… and touching him.

He was practically a complete stranger.

And probably a criminal.

So Daichi was totally not currently having like… a gay crisis… or anything like that.

Definitely not.

Daichi stepped back, but Sugawara remained firmly in his personal space.

And Daichi was kind of… sort of… like… not complaining about that.

Sugawara was cute after all. And Daichi couldn’t deny that he felt… nice pressed up against him.

But he totally wasn’t having a gay crisis.

(Yet)

“Alright Tooru, your turn!” Kenma sang.

“No!” Tooru wailed. “I can’t! I won’t! You can’t make me!”

“Is that the sound of a forfeit I hear?” Kenma leaned forward. “Do we have our first official loser?”

First?” Keiji repeated.

“Hmm,” Kenma finished off his popsicle. “Didn’t I tell you? The games go on, even if someone forfeits. It just means I get to play with two losers later on.”

Sugawara finally leaned away from Daichi and glared at Tooru, “You better not fucking forfeit you goddamn pussy. We all did it so man-up and hold that spider!” he pointed at the middle tank.

Tooru choked on a sob and wiped his eyes, “But I can’t.”

“Nothing that spider can do to you will ever be as bad as the torture Kenma-kun will force you to go through,” Keiji pointed out.

Tooru was silent for a moment.

Daichi nervously eyed Kenma, who smirked.

He didn’t want to know what sort of torture the man was capable of.

Tooru continued to contemplate for long seconds, eyes bloodshot, cheeks ruddy from his crying and Daichi glanced at Iwaizumi, who watched his partner silently.

Talk about a confusing guy. Looking at him, he didn’t look like the type to willingly go along with this sort of thing. And yet there he was. He had even seemed to be having a good time when they were racing on the pedicabs.

What was his story?

What did he gain from following along with Tooru?

Another several tense seconds ticked by and finally, Iwaizumi snapped his fingers at the shopkeeper. Everyone looked at him and he commanded,

“Give it here.”

The shopkeeper opened the tank and Kenma hurriedly lifted his phone.

Tooru took a hasty step backwards but Iwaizumi grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him closer.

“No,” Tooru cried, holding his hands up in defense. “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! Just let me die!”

Iwaizumi held one hand up and the shopkeeper approached, a hairy tarantula in his palm.

“No, no, no, no,” Tooru struggled, tugging on Iwaizumi’s wrist over his shoulder. “I can’t do it, I can’t—”

The shopkeeper gently placed the large spider in Iwaizumi’s hand.

Tooru writhed and shrieked, but Iwaizumi’s grip was ironclad.

“Calm down,” Sugawara demanded. “You’re gonna just make it harder if you agitate it!”

“This is the best night of my life,” Kenma muttered, mouth stretching wide in a grin.

“You can do it, Tooru,” Keiji encouraged, though he took a step away from the creature.

Bokuto moved closer, staring with wide eyes, obviously itching to have a turn.

Daichi chewed on the inside of his cheek and waited for disaster to strike.

“Look at me,” Iwaizumi growled, and the authority in his tone drew every set of eyes in the room.

Tooru’s struggling faded momentarily as he met his partner’s gaze.

Iwaizumi released his shirt and instead grabbed the back of his head. Without saying a word, he dragged Tooru forward and crushed their mouths together.

Bokuto let out a scandalized gasp, slapping his hands over his face, peeking through his fingers.

Daichi’s eyes widened and his heart thundered.

Oh.

Jeez.

Iwaizumi slanted his lips over Tooru’s, deepening the kiss forcefully. Daichi’s cheeks warmed and he felt like maybe he should look away, but then Iwaizumi’s hand moved closer to Tooru’s shoulder and his eyes zeroed in on the motion.

Iwaizumi used his thumb and nudged the tarantula onto Tooru’s shoulder, not breaking the contact between their mouths all the while.

“Never mind,” Sugawara mumbled and Daichi glanced at him. He pouted his lips. “That’s kinky.”

Daichi couldn’t argue with that.

Iwaizumi tugged Tooru’s hair, finally ending the kiss with a wet sound. He held him still and then nodded at the spider taking up residence on his shoulder.

Tooru’s hazy, flushed expression cleared at the realization and he pressed his lips together, a muffled whine trying to break free of his throat. But he stayed as he was, not moving, even when the tarantula began to explore, creeping closer to his neck.

Eventually, Kenma showed mercy and gave the okay to end the torture.

Iwaizumi scooped the tarantula off of his shoulder and handed it back to the shopkeeper.

“Good job,” he said. “You did well.”

Tooru let out a deep breath and then shook from head to toe as if to dispel his body from the horror he just suffered.

“Iwa-chan can I have another kiss?” he moaned, latching on to his arm.

“Maybe later,” Iwaizumi said.

Daichi stared at him.

Just what is he?

“Okay, I’m satisfied with this,” Kenma said and stood. “Thank you Shopkeeper-san. You were a good sport tonight.”

“It was my pleasure,” the shopkeeper chuckled and went about cleaning up.

Kenma distributed alcohol to everyone, pausing next to Tooru in order to pass him his punishment for completing the challenge last.

“Getting last place in the Pussy challenge means you get to dress like one.”

Tooru took the pair of pink lacy underwear with a scowl.

“And what do I do with this?”

“It’d make a lovely hat, methinks,” Kenma moved on to Bokuto and Keiji, handing them miniature bottles.

Tooru grumbled and pulled the underwear on over his hair.

Iwaizumi snorted and turned his face away.

“You’re not off the hook,” Kenma returned to him and pulled a pair of joke glasses complete with a large fake nose and black mustache from his fanny pack. He handed it to Iwaizumi and the man slid them onto his face without complaint.

“The scores are now as follows,” Kenma passed new strips of paper out next. “Keiji is leading with one point. Koushi is still at zero. Tooru has dropped to the negatives again.”

Everyone drank their alcohol and Kenma smirked.

“Ready for the next round?” When no one complained, he went on, “Alright then. At the place where Kuroo proposed. Ready, set, go.”

They opened their clues and Daichi peeked over Sugawara’s shoulder.

Rubber Duck.

Everyone whirled for the door and bolted.

Out on the street, Sugawara turned suddenly and tackled Keiji to the sidewalk. They landed in a heap and Daichi and Bokuto watched in horror as they rolled, throwing punches.

“What are you doing?” Daichi demanded.

Sugawara got his arm around Keiji’s throat and squeezed, panting heavily.

“Keiji… is the only one… who knows where Kuroo proposed…”

Daichi then noticed that Tooru was also hanging by, waiting for the result of the fight.

Keiji kneed Sugawara between the legs and he released him, letting out a low groan as he rolled to the side. Keiji attempted to scrabble to his feet, but Tooru was on him next, pinning him down on his stomach.

“It’s not my fault neither of you…” Keiji said, writhing beneath him. “Bothered to ask…”

“He’s got a point.”

Daichi glanced over his shoulder where Kenma stood, sliding his pineapple glasses back onto his face. He lifted his folding chair and headed down the sidewalk.

“Be more concerned about the details of your friend’s life. See you guys when you get there.”

Daichi leaned over and pulled Sugawara to his feet, locking an arm around his waist.

“Why don’t we just follow Kenma?”

“Against the rules,” he grunted, clutching at his groin with a wince.

Bokuto sidestepped around the two wrestling on the ground, hands out like he wanted to help his partner.

“Don’t even think about it,” Iwaizumi said in a low voice, the seriousness of his tone undercut by the addition of the joke glasses.

“Okay, okay!” Keiji elbowed Tooru in the face. “Let’s make a deal!”

Tooru leaned back, knee still pressed down in the other man’s back.

“I’m listening,” he said.

“We’ll go there together. In Bokuto-san’s car. That way, everyone can rest and get there at the same time. So it’ll be a fair fight.”

Tooru and Sugawara grumbled loudly.

“Deal,” Daichi decided.

“Daichi!” Sugawara whined. “We don’t make deals with terrorists!”

“You want to keep driving that damn pedicab?” he scowled.

Sugawara was silent for a moment before sighing.

“Alright.”

After collecting themselves, all six men made their way to where Bokuto parked his car.

“Not enough seats,” Sugawara pointed out as they popped the doors open.

“You’re the smallest,” Tooru said, climbing into the back seat. “Sit on someone’s lap.”

A minute later, they were all piled inside, Sugawara happily perched on Daichi’s lap with his arms around his neck, and Daichi played his desperate claim to not be in the midst of a gay crisis on repeat in his mind, ignoring the tightness in his lower abdomen that intensified every time Sugawara shifted the tiniest bit.

Bokuto pulled the car from the curb and followed Keiji’s directions down the street.

“So is it just me, or was that last challenge kinda mean-spirited?” he asked when they were on their way.

“Ah, well,” Sugawara’s fingers played with the hair at the back of Daichi’s neck and he gritted his teeth.

I’m not having a gay crisis.

I’m not having a gay crisis.

“That was probably revenge,” Sugawara said. “For that time we took advantage of the fact that Kenma-kun is terrified of clowns and volunteered him for a trick at the circus.”

“If I would have known he would get his own revenge eventually, I wouldn’t have sat and listened to the entirety of Tetsu-chan’s lecture about that,” Tooru muttered.

“It just means we’re even now,” Keiji said, peering through the window at the passing buildings. “Clean slate means no more guilt.”

“It sounds scary when you say it, Keiji-kun,” Sugawara giggled.

“Well. I’ve got a few things in mind that I’ve been wanting to try out.”

Uwah. Scary.

“You guys…” Daichi hesitated. “Ah, you guys have an… interesting relationship.”

“You mean your friends don’t set up torturous scavenger hunts from time to time?” Sugawara asked with a grin.

Daichi chuckled, “Nah… they mostly just confide in me separately about how in love with each other they are.”

Sugawara smiled warmly.

“Well, that can be fun too. It was a riot watching Kuroo pine after Kenma back in high school.”

Tooru sputtered and then pretended to cry, blubbering, “What… do… I… do… 'kawa-chan? I… just… love… him… so… much… and… want… to… wake… up… with… him… every… morning… for… the… rest… of… my… life… boo hooooooooo!”

The car filled with laughter.

“What a disaster,” Keiji chuckled.

“Hmm…” Iwaizumi hummed. “This is all better than what I usually do with my friends.”

“Which is?” Tooru pressed.

“Suffer.”

They laughed again.

“Hey, this is suffering for us!” Sugawara said.

“Yeah but not for me,” Iwaizumi smirked.

Keiji turned to Bokuto, “What about you, Bokuto-san?”

“Eh?”

“What do you and your friends usually do?”

“Oh…” he paused. “Uh… well I haven’t lived here for very long. So I haven’t really seen my friends in a while.”

Keiji blinked at him.

“But uhh… when we lived closer, we played a lot of sports together!”

“Hmm, you haven’t made new friends here yet?” Tooru asked.

“Well…” Bokuto’s hands squeezed the steering wheel and through the rearview mirror, Daichi noticed color touch his cheeks. “I’ve been kinda busy…”

“Awww,” Sugawara reached over the seat and ruffled his spiked hair. “You can be our friend, Bokuto-chan!”

“Yeah, just hang out with us,” Tooru examined his fingernails. “You and Tetsu-chan would probably get along well.”

“O-oh! Uh… I mean… if it wouldn’t be weird…” A smile spread over his face. “I’ve been having a lot of fun tonight!”

“I’m glad someone is,” Tooru groaned.

“I’m having fun too!” Sugawara said and grinned at Daichi. “What about you, Daichi?”

He gulped.

If he was being completely honest, he was a little too confused about his own feelings to be able to tell if the time he was having that night was fun.

There was a certain thrill about it, he had to admit. It had been a long time since he had done something that got his heart racing like this. It was terrifying, and he was still concerned that he might wind up behind bars at some point that night, but it was thrilling. There was also the matter of the gay crisis he definitely wasn’t experiencing in response to the undeniable cuteness his partner radiated.

“His silence should tell you everything you need to know, Suga-chan,” Tooru said with a snort.

Sugawara pouted his lips and tightened his hold around Daichi’s neck.

“Well,” he said. “You’ll be having fun by the end of the night. I’ll make sure of it.”

Daichi didn’t like the sound of that.

(Or maybe he liked the sound of that a little too much.)

They reached their destination a minute later.

Bokuto pulled the car up to the curb and everyone peered through the windows at the massive city park beyond.

“He proposed as he was passing the pond,” Keiji informed them.

“The park?” Tooru scoffed. “Tetsu-chan is so unromantic.”

“Well he did propose on accident,” Sugawara said, straightening in Daichi’s lap and giving his self-control a run for its money.

“How do you propose on accident?” Iwaizumi grunted.

“It’s pretty easy when you’re bad at keeping secrets and forget who you’re talking too.”

Tooru grinned and mimicked again, “Oh by the way, I picked up the engagement ring on the way here and it looks so good. I can’t wait to ask you to marry me this weekend at the cabin.

“Disaster Gay,” Keiji said in a soft voice.

Silence fell over the car for a moment.

“Well,” Sugawara said. “So I guess the truce is over and it’s back to trying to kill each other?”

“May the best man win,” Keiji said.

“Thank you, Keiji-chan. I intend to,” Tooru smirked.

“Ready, set, go!” Sugawara threw the door open and he rolled out of the car.

Everyone followed shortly behind.

They were barely a meter onto the grass of the park when Keiji struck.

Daichi let out a yelp as the man slammed into Sugawara and sent him flying to the ground.

“Bokuto-san, you know the plan!” he called and then took off across the park after Tooru and Iwaizumi.

“Got it!” Bokuto quickly intercepted Sugawara when he climbed to his feet and attempted to follow the others.

“Ah! No fair!” he leapt forward and was caught around the waist by the larger man.

Daichi moved to help him but he waved his hand frantically.

“Go! Go! Follow them!”

Daichi hesitated and then ran after the others.

Up ahead, Keiji was attacking Tooru, who screamed and dodged him, forking off across the park. Iwaizumi continued in a straight line in the direction of the pond and Daichi did the same.

A small smile found its way onto Daichi’s lips as he pumped his arms and legs in chase.

He was playing a childish game with strangers late at night in the city park.

How ridiculous.

How...

Fun…

Eventually, the pond came into view, and with it, Kenma, sitting in his folding chair and sipping from another coconut. Iwaizumi and Daichi ran up to him and started hunting around.

“Rubber duck,” Daichi panted. “Where are they?”

Iwaizumi growled and stalked along the length of the pond, searching left and right. Kenma watched them with amusement, snapping photos with his cell phone.

Tooru and Keiji showed up soon and they joined the search.

“Where the fuck?” Tooru panted after they combed the area.

“They should be here,” Keiji said. “Kuroo-san proposed right around here. Unless…”

“Rubber duck…” Daichi murmured.

All at once, every set of eyes peered out across the dark pond.

Kenma’s laughter erupted behind them.

“Bingo!”

Tooru whirled towards him, “Ken-chan you bastard!”

He leaned back in his chair with a smug smile, “Anyone up for a midnight swim?”

“Are you kidding?” Iwaizumi said. “I don’t know what’s in there.”

“How deep is it?” Keiji asked. “I’m not a great swimmer.”

“That shit is deep,” Tooru said. “Tetsu-chan fell in it last summer and almost drowned.”

Daichi leaned his hands on his knees, staring at the dark water.

And he really hated to lose.

But swimming? In the city pond? In the middle of the night?

Did he hate losing that much?

“Is there a boat around?” Keiji turned in a slow circle.

“As if it’d be that easy,” Tooru said bitterly.

Kenma chuckled, “As if.”

Daichi inhaled deeply and let it out.

If he did this… Sugawara would probably be grateful.

Grateful enough to give him a reward, probably.

Not that Daichi really wanted one of those.

Even if he was a little curious as to what sort of reward he might receive if he won the round for him.

As he mulled it over, a voice rang out across the park.

“Keiji! Look out!”

Everyone faced the shout.

Sugawara sprinted across the park in their direction, wearing a determined expression.

He took note of where they were standing and understanding flicked over his face. He slowed his running enough to kick his shoes off, yanking the cat ears from his head and ripping open the front of his Hawaiian shirt.

Oh.

Daichi’s stomach grew tight and hot.

Sugawara shed his shirt and then wiggled out of his shorts. He hooked a finger in his socks and removed them next. Dressed only in a pair of tight, grey boxer briefs and the collar, he picked up his speed again and flew past the small group. He dove into the pond without a second’s hesitation, the rest staring after him in shock.

Oh.

Daichi tugged on his collar and gulped.

Hot…

Sugawara resurfaced with a loud gasp and was then immediately swimming towards the center of the pond.

Daichi watched him with mouth hanging open, in awe at the sheer intensity of the man’s powerful stroke.

I’m not having a gay crisis.

I’m not having a gay crisis.

Tooru let out a loud expletive.

Damn you, Suga-chan!” he shouted.

Bokuto joined them, panting.

“Sorry Keiji,” he moaned. “I tried to hold him back…”

“It’s alright, Bokuto-san,” he replied. “You held him back longer than I expected you to.”

Iwaizumi propped his hands on his hips and whistled.

“Shit his form is beautiful.”

“Well he used to be a lifeguard,” Tooru muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. “If Suga-chan wins this round, that puts him at one point. If I lose, I’m at negative two… ugh. Fine.” Tooru started to undress.

“I’m really not a strong swimmer,” Keiji said.

“I can’t swim,” Bokuto admitted sheepishly.

“Guess you guys are boned,” Tooru said. Once he was stripped down to his underwear, he sat on the edge of the pond and dropped into the water, letting out a high pitched whine. “Eww… it’s so slimy and cold…” He shivered and started swimming slowly in the direction Sugawara had gone. “Ahhh, something touched my foot oh my god this sucks so bad!”

Kenma chuckled.

Splashing drew Daichi’s attention in time to see Sugawara on his way back to shore. He gulped and went to meet him. He reached the land and peered up at Daichi, mouth open, breathing heavily.

Daichi offered a hand and Sugawara took it. He hauled him up out of the water and Sugawara stumbled into him and a breathy laugh.

“Suck my dick, losers,” he panted and displayed a small, yellow, rubber duck.

He staggered off in Kenma’s direction and Daichi followed, attempting but failing miserably to keep his eyes off his sleek, wet backside. The soaked fabric of his underwear clung to his form but Daichi was definitely not having a gay crisis.

Sugawara handed the rubber duck over to Kenma.

“Thank you,” he said. “Look at that… you’re back in the positives with one point.”

“Pleasure doin’ business with you,” Sugawara groaned and bent over, bracing his hands on his knees.

Oh.

Kenma caught Daichi staring at something Daichi really shouldn’t have been staring at, and he turned away to escape the smug look that filled the man’s golden eyes.

A minute later, Tooru showed up once more and Iwaizumi pulled him onto dry land.

“Ahhhh that was the worst!” Tooru stretched out on the grass, chest rising and falling quickly.

Unlike Daichi, Iwaizumi eyed his partner without a hint of shame.

“Ken-chan I’m so getting you back for this!” he whined and rolled to his knees. Iwaizumi helped him to his feet and he turned to Keiji and Bokuto. “Keiji-chan, I brought you one too,” he showed his hands, in which were two ducks. “But only because I didn’t want you to drown. And Suga-chan probably wouldn’t jump in to save you if you did.”

“Good guess,” Sugawara straightened and stretched his arms over his head.

Kenma caught Daichi staring at something else that Daichi really shouldn’t have been staring at, and he kicked himself for falling for the same trick twice.

“Oh, thank you Tooru—”

“But it ain’t for free,” Tooru interrupted when Keiji reached for the duck. “We had to get wet. So do you.”

Kenma chuckled.

Keiji’s nose twitched and he glanced at the pond.

“Just a dip,” Tooru sang.

“Can’t you give me a break and I’ll owe you one later?”

Tooru lifted the duck and pulled his arm back, aiming out over the water.

“No!” Keiji grabbed his shirt and started unbuttoning it. “Okay! Fine. Just a dip.”

Tooru grinned and walked over to Kenma to give him his duck.

Keiji sighed and undressed, unfazed by the prying eyes that watched his every move. Bokuto pressed his hands over his red face, but peeked through his fingers nonetheless.

Once he was down to his underwear, he went to the edge of the pond and looked back at Tooru, as if to give him the chance to show mercy.

“Full submersion, please,” Tooru squeezed the duck and it squeaked.

Keiji sighed again. He faced the water and plugged his nose. He took a deep breath through his mouth and jumped into the water, breaking the surface with a splash.

Tooru laughed a triumphant laugh and then cocked his arm back as if to throw the duck into the pond, but Sugawara sliced him in the ribs and he cowered away.

“I refuse to get back in that water,” Sugawara said.

“Then let him drown,” Tooru grunted.

Keiji resurfaced, splashing clumsily and Sugawara snatched the duck out of Tooru’s hand.

“Alright, come on out, Keiji,” he called, ignoring Tooru’s growl.

Bokuto helped his partner back onto dry land and Keiji shook water from his hair. Sugawara tossed the duck to them and everyone gathered in front of Kenma. Keiji passed the duck over and Kenma stood.

“There was a lot of teamwork going on this time,” he said, unzipping his fanny pack. “My heart is touched. You get two bottles of alcohol each as a reward.”

“Oh thank God,” Sugawara took his offered bottles and immediately cracked one open.

Thank God is right.

Daichi gulped down the first bottle of rum and moved instantly onto the next.

“For the loser of the Swimming challenge…” Kenma handed Keiji a bulky pair of goggles. “Maybe these will come in handy.”

Keiji sighed and pulled the goggles over his head.

“And for the loser’s partner,” Kenma gave Bokuto a strip of neon green fabric.

He stretched it out, revealing that it was a pair of booty shorts with “Nasty” written across the back in glittery pink letters.

“Do I have to wear these on my head?” he asked.

“You can wear them normally if you’d like.”

Bokuto hesitated, but then shrugged. He discarded his pants and then pulled the shorts on. They stretched and strained against his thighs and Sugawara muttered,

“Nice.”

Keiji fanned his face.

“Moving on,” Kenma passed out their next clues. “At my favorite bar. Ready, set, go.”

He turned and walked away before anyone even had their papers open.

Daichi looked to Sugawara. He stared down at the clue with a look of confusion.

“What does it say?” Daichi moved closer to his side, careful not to brush his bare skin.

“It just says, Your Best,” Sugawara showed it to him.

“Your best?” Daichi cocked an eyebrow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I have no idea…” Sugawara glanced at the others. “What does it mean?”

“Dunno,” Tooru sighed and crumpled up the paper. “He’s just fucking with us now.”

Keiji went to his pile of clothes and crouched down. “Let’s just get to the bar and figure it out there.”

“Bokuto-chan will you drive us all again?” Tooru fluttered his lashes at him.

“Uh… actually, I don’t think I should drive anymore,” he lifted the empty bottles of liquor. “These ones kinda pushed me past the okay range.”

“Shit.”

“Guess we’re walking from here,” Sugawara slicked his fingers through his hair and Daichi watched the motion, mouth dry.

The three friends got dressed and the group made its way across the park to the sidewalk once more. At the corner they faced one another.

“So we should take the road along the track to get there, right?” Tooru said.

“No,” Sugawara frowned. “That’s the long way. It’s the street past the zoo. It leads right to it.”

“I don’t think so,” Keiji crossed his arms over his chest. His voice took on a nasally tone with the goggles covering his nose. “I think it’s the one that curves around the library.”

“That one takes at least ten minutes longer than mine.”

“Those are both wrong and don’t even lead to the right place.”

“Yours always has construction on it so it’s no use even attempting it—”

“Well that one—”

“No, mine—”

Daichi cleared his throat and everyone looked at him.

“Why don’t we just split up?” he cocked an eyebrow. “It’s supposed to be a competition anyway, right?”

They were silent for a long second before Sugawara pursed his lips and nodded.

“Let’s split up. Whoever gets there first gets treated to dinner some other night.”

“You’re on,” Tooru turned and instantly headed down the sidewalk. “C’mon Iwa-chan!”

Iwaizumi sent the others a peace sign and followed after his partner.

“I guess this is goodbye then,” Keiji said to Sugawara. “It was nice knowing you.”

“Fuck off with that farewell shit,” Sugawara flipped him off. “See you in ten minutes, Shakespeare.”

They split off and headed back in the direction of downtown.

When they were alone, Sugawara bumped his shoulder against Daichi’s and he looked at him. Sugawara smirked, corners of his eyes crinkling.

“If you wanted to get me alone, you coulda just said so, Daichi.”

Daichi’s cheeks warmed and he looked away, “If that was actually my intention, then I would have.”

Sugawara giggled and bumped him again.

Daichi cleared his throat and shoved his hands into his pockets.

“You and your friends…” he began. “Seem like you have a lot of fun.”

Sugawara hummed. “Never a dull moment.”

“How long have you all known each other?”

“Well,” he scratched under his collar and the bell jingled. “Kuroo and Kenma have been friends since they could walk. Kenma met Keiji in junior high. Me and Tooru met Kuroo in high school. And then the two groups just kinda… merged. Been together ever since!” He smiled at him. “What about you Daichi? How long have you known your friends? The ones who are in love with each other?”

Daichi looked forward. “Since junior high. Lost touch with Ikejiri for a year or two in high school, but then reunited after graduation.”

“And you guys never go on wild adventures together like this one?”

Daichi smiled, “Nah, can’t say we do.”

“I get it. The others can’t keep up with you, right?”

He laughed, “They can… I’m not all that wild or anything.”

“Oh no?”

“I’m more the… reliable and safe one.”

“Hmm… Reliable, sure. Safe?” he chuckled. “Not so sure.”

Daichi glanced at him, eyebrow cocked. “What makes you say that?”

“For one thing, you agreed to hang out with me tonight,” Sugawara grinned wolfishly at him and it sent a thrill down Daichi’s spine. “But on top of that, you also willingly faced that snake with me. And your pedicab driving skills were excitingly reckless.”

“Says the guy who stole the pedicab in the first place, and dove blindly into a city pond,” Daichi teased.

“The difference between me and you, Daichi, is that I’m not pretending to be anything less than the wildly irresponsible demon that we both are.” Sugawara’s eyelids dipped low over his eyes and Daichi gulped.

“Wi-wildly irresponsible,” Daichi scoffed and scratched the back of his head. “Me? Nah.”

“Hmhm,” Sugawara nodded. “Wild and irresponsible Daichi, following strange men down dark alleys…” he wrapped his hands around his arm and tugged him to the right and into a shadowy alleyway between two buildings.

Daichi’s heart leapt and raced as Sugawara faded into the darkness ahead of him, still pulling on his arm as he sang in a haunting voice,

“Oh all the things that might happen to him…”

Daichi stared intently at the silhouette of his head, the cat ears giving him the sudden impression that he had stepped out of his reality and into another, being led by the hand by a mischievous magical creature to somewhere he couldn’t be heard as it devoured his heart.

Daichi tried to ignore the realization that he might actually willingly offer his heart up for consumption if Sugawara truly hungered for it.

“Safe men don’t trust people like me so easily, Daichi,” Sugawara murmured.

Daichi swallowed.

“May-maybe not.”

Sugawara backed himself up against the wall of the alley and pulled Daichi to him. A shaft of light from the street illuminated half of Sugawara’s face as he stared up at him under thick lashes.

Daichi pressed one hand against the brick wall over Sugawara’s shoulder and leaned close.

“Or maybe… you’re not as scary as you think you are.”

Sugawara’s eyebrow ticked up.

“Impossible.”

Daichi wet his lips.

And maybe he was having a gay crisis.

Because the urge to kiss Sugawara was so tangible that he could already taste his lips.

It was such a strange sensation. Daichi was, by almost every standard, a safe and reliable guy who did what was expected of him. He wasn’t the type that went out on sudden adventures with strangers. He wasn’t the type that helped steal pedicabs and broke numerous traffic laws just to win a game. He wasn’t the type that fearlessly wrapped a Burmese python around his shoulders. He wasn’t the type that lusted after men he knew nothing about.

And it was such a strange sensation, the want and need in his gut to close the space between them and steal a taste of this wildly irresponsible demon who had somehow managed to completely capture his heart in a single night.

And it was all because Sugawara had chosen to collect him for Kenma’s scavenger hunt.

Daichi hesitated.

“Sugawara…”

“Just Suga,” he interrupted him, reaching out and wrapping his fingers up in the front of his shirt.

“Suga…” Daichi’s brows furrowed. “What were we?”

“Hm?”

“Me, Iwaizumi, Bokuto.”

Sugawara stared silently up at him.

“What was written on the piece of paper that led you to me?”

For a long moment, he didn’t receive an answer. Sugawara’s eyes dipped down his face and he hummed.

“I’ll tell you,” he said. “If you help me win.”

Daichi gulped.

If we win.

He slowly removed his hand from the wall and took a step back.

“Then I guess we better hurry up and meet the others.”

Sugawara paused, then nodded.

“Guess so.”

“Let’s go then,” Daichi turned and headed down the alley. “We owe Kenma-kun our best.”


 

“I still have no idea what we’re supposed to do,” Keiji admitted to Sugawara when they met up at the bar.

“Me neither,” Sugawara sighed. “Our best… our best what?”

Daichi opened the door and they went inside.

“Maybe he wants you to give him your best hug!” Bokuto offered. “That’s what I would want!”

Sugawara waved a hand, “Kenma doesn’t like being touched unless you’re Kuroo.”

Daichi glanced around the bar and spotted Kenma on the opposite side, sitting in his chair and showing his cell phone to a man next to him with awful bedhead and narrow, sleepy eyes.

They walked in his direction.

“Where’s Tooru?” Sugawara asked Keiji.

“Haven’t seen him.”

“Maybe he and Iwaizumi stopped by a love hotel.”

“Lucky.”

“I know, right?”

Daichi coughed into his fist.

They walked up to Kenma and the other man and Sugawara crossed his arms over his chest.

“Alright, tell us, Kenma. What the fuck does Your Best mean?”

“Sorry, no hints,” he replied dully, crossing one leg over the other.

Keiji sighed, “But we don’t get it.”

“Keep trying.”

Sugawara growled and stomped a foot. “Kuroo! Give us a hint!”

The man with the bedhead smirked and leaned back in his chair.

“Sorry,” he drawled. “It’s Kenma’s bachelor party, so he makes the rules.”

So that’s the fiancé.

Daichi eyed Kuroo silently.

He wasn’t exactly what he was expecting. He looked too… suave. Too sexy. It didn’t match the image in Daichi’s head when he thought about the stories of the hopeless pining and accidental proposal.

Kuroo scratched his head and glanced around the busy bar.

“So…” he started. “Think I got time to take a shit before stuff goes down?”

Ah.

Never mind.

“We’re here!”

Everyone turned and watched Tooru and Iwaizumi approach. Tooru’s appearance was disheveled, the lacy underwear half hanging off of his head, the eyepatch askew. His cheeks were flushed, his lips red.

Iwaizumi, in turn, looked relaxed and smug, hands in his pockets as he walked leisurely in their direction.

Daichi didn’t need to ask why they were late.

“Alright, what the fuck are we supposed to do?” Tooru huffed. “I couldn’t think of anything—”

Sugawara reached up and flicked the side of Tooru’s throat.

“Nice hickey, Shithead.”

Fuck off.”

“’kawa-chan, what took you so long?” Kuroo sang, a shit eating smirk curling the corners of his lips.

“I was held up,” Tooru adjusted the panties on his head.

“Yeah, against a wall,” Keiji muttered.

“Lucky,” Sugawara added.

Anyway,” Tooru snapped. “What are we supposed to be doing right now?”

“Your best,” Kenma said, examining his fingernails.

“Ugh, what does that mean?”

Sugawara’s eyes wandered off across the bar and Daichi watched him. He looked back to Kenma, then followed the direction his chair was pointed.

Sugawara’s face went slack and his arms dropped to his sides.

“Of course,” he said with a sigh. He looked at Daichi and then gestured to the opposite side of the bar.

Atop a long table perched on a low stage were three watermelons.

“… watermelons?” Daichi blinked.

Sugawara rubbed his eyes and faced Kenma.

“I knew I never should have shown you those videos.”

Kenma grinned wide.

Tooru and Keiji spotted the watermelons and groaned.

“Watermelon eating contest!” Tooru wailed. “Whyyyy?”

“Ohh I love watermelon!” Bokuto exclaimed.

“Good, you’re going to be eating a lot of it,” Kuroo chuckled.

“I get to eat it too?” Bokuto’s eyes widened. “Awesome!”

Kenma stood and moved past the group.

“C’mon then,” he called. “Let’s start.”

Everyone followed him up to the stage and Kenma flagged down the bartender.

“Hey, are these our lucky contestants?” he said as he walked up, clapping his hands.

“This is them,” Kenma sat again and Kuroo sat beside him.

“Great!” the bartender clapped Bokuto on the shoulder. “How about we get right into it? You guys get on up there and pick your melons!”

Daichi and the others climbed the stage. Tooru and Iwaizumi took the melon on the far right, Sugawara and Daichi the middle, and Keiji and Bokuto the left.

The bartender hopped onto the stage and grabbed a microphone from its stand.

He immediately drew the attention of everyone in the bar and hyped them up for the challenge ahead. People surrounded the stage and cheered.

Daichi glanced at Sugawara, but the man was rolling their watermelon back and forth, eyeing it intensely.

“Is everyone excited?” the bartender asked and the bar erupted. “That’s what I like to hear!” he pumped a fist in the air and turned to the table. “Each team has a melon. When I say go, you’re in charge of breaking it open and eating as much as you can in five minutes! The team with the least amount of melon remaining at the end of the time is our winner!”

The crowd cheered again.

Kenma grinned and lifted his phone.

“Are you ready?”

“READY,” Sugawara, Keiji, and Tooru all barked in unison, tensed over their watermelons like predators about to pounce.

The bartender lifted his arm, hesitated, and then brought it down, shouting, “GO!”

Hiyah!” Sugawara lifted his fist and drove it down into the melon, splitting it in two with a single punch.

The action caught Daichi completely off guard and he let out a sputtering laugh, taking a step backwards in shock.

“Ah… Ah… Hahahahaha!” Daichi bent over, clutching his stomach.

“Daichi, quit laughing and eat!” Sugawara grabbed one half of the watermelon and dug his hands into it, ripping large chunks from it and instantly shoving them into his mouth.

Tears streamed down Daichi’s cheeks and he wheezed.

“Suga,” he squeaked. “You just… punched… a watermelon…”

Sugawara growled and shoved another fistful of fruit into his mouth, juice and pulp dripping down his chin.

“Yeah yeah,” he mumbled around his chewing, voice muffled. “Don’t let that be the thing that gets your dick hard. Eat!”

Daichi stumbled back up to the table, still crying and sputtering with laughter as he grabbed his half of the melon and dug into it. He glanced at the other teams, who were already a step behind Sugawara, having taken longer to open their fruit. Daichi attempted to cease his laughter and bit into a chunk of the melon.

He made the mistake of allowing his eyes to slide in Sugawara’s direction.

The man was already half done with his portion, hands and face covered in the pink pulp, his cheeks inflated like a chipmunk.

The ridiculous, almost savage way he consumed the fruit, paired with the collar and ears…

It was just too much for Daichi to handle.

Hahahahaha!

He leaned heavily on the table, new tears forming.

Sugawara’s gaze flickered towards him and his eyes crinkled. He sputtered, losing some of the melon from his mouth as giggles bubbled up to the surface.

“Shtahp,” he begged, pressing a sticky hand over his lips to keep his bites inside.

Daichi stuffed watermelon into his mouth, but continued to laugh, his stomach and sides beginning to ache.

And he couldn’t take his eyes off of his partner. Even though every look made him lose a little more of his control. He just couldn’t help but watch as Sugawara dug deeper into his half of the fruit and shoved fistful after fistful into his mouth, uncaring when it splattered over his chin or cheeks or dripped onto his shirt.

He was just so…

Cute.

Fun.

Daichi couldn’t take his eyes off of Sugawara or stop the laughter from shaking him to the core and he was having the time of his life.

He couldn’t remember the last time he had so much fun.

Eventually, Sugawara finished his portion and ripped off part of the rind. He hurled it past Daichi, hitting Tooru in the back of the head and earning a screech of outrage.

And Daichi fell to his knees.

Ahahaha!

Sugawara slid over to him and started tearing at his half of the melon.

“C’mon,” he said, mouth still partially full, holding back the giggles trying to break free. “Daichi you useless slut.”

Daichi tried to speak, to convey just what it was that he found so hilarious about the situation, but it came out as nothing more than a stream of blabbering, high pitched, gibberish.

Sugawara spat watermelon onto the table and shrieked out a laugh.

He fell to his knees next to Daichi and leaned heavily against him, head falling back as he cackled.

“Stop!” he whined. “We gottahahahakeep eating!”

He grabbed a handful of watermelon and shoved it into Daichi’s mouth before doing the same to himself.

They made it through the handful and fell back to laughter once more, heads accidentally cracking together when they both leaned forward at the same time, which only made them laugh harder.

“Daichiiiii,” Sugawara groaned. “We’re gonna lose…”

“No we’re not,” Daichi thrust to his feet, dragging Sugawara with him.

They each grabbed two handfuls of melon.

“Our second wind!” Daichi said. “Go!”

They both stuffed the fruit into their mouths, took two bites, and then the bartender was calling out,

“And time’s up! No more eating!”

Sugawara opened his mouth and the half chewed chunks plopped back onto the table.

Daichi nearly choked on his, turning away. He swallowed, tears gathering in the corners of his eyes, and whirled back to Sugawara.

Why did you just spit it back out?” he laughed.

Sugawara let out a pitiful squeaking laugh and backed away from the table.

“I panicked!” he said. “Ugh, I’m going to throw up.”

“Alright, great job to all our teams! Let’s see who our winner is!” The bartender approached the table and peered down at the melons, starting with Keiji’s and Bokuto’s. “Okay! You two made a good dent on here, let’s show everyone…” he lifted the two halves of melon and the bar cheered. He set them back down and skipped over Sugawara and Daichi to Tooru and Iwaizumi.

Sugawara turned to Daichi.

“He doesn’t want anything to do with us,” he whispered.

Daichi covered his face with both hands momentarily, struggling to gain control before he fell back into a fit of mania.

“Ohh, another good fight over here!”

Daichi lowered his hands and glanced over to where the bartender lifted Iwaizumi’s and Tooru’s melon up and showed off their handiwork.

He replaced it on the table.

“Now, let’s look and see how our clowns did, yeah?”

Pffft,” Sugawara pressed his wrist to his eyes.

“Wow, now look at this massacre,” the bartender hefted the two halves and the bar roared. “Did someone let a hyena loose on this baby? I think we found our winners…”

Sugawara squealed and leapt into Daichi’s chest, throwing his arms around his neck. Daichi spun him in a circle, laughing.

And he was having the god damn time of his life.


 

“Don’t be sad, Tooru,” Kenma mumbled, nuzzling the back of Kuroo’s neck sleepily. “At least you have a few days to prepare yourself for your punishment…”

I’d rather be dead!” Tooru wailed and sobbed into his hands.

“Too bad,” Kenma yawned.

Kuroo chuckled and bounced him higher up on his back. “I’m gonna get him home before he passes out.”

Keiji walked up and patted the smaller man’s back.

“Rest up,” he said. “I’m glad you had fun tonight.”

Kenma gave a drowsy smile.

“And I’m glad I won!” Sugawara announced, cupping his mouth with both hands.

“Shut up, Suga-chan!” Tooru attempted to attack the other man, but Iwaizumi caught him around the waist. “You cheated! You had to have cheated! Fight me!”

Sugawara stuck his tongue out at him.

Kuroo laughed. “Alright. See you guys later. Thanks for taking care of him tonight.”

They waved and watched as he carried his sleepy fiancé down the quiet, empty street.

When they disappeared out of view, Sugawara turned to the others and grinned.

“I can’t wait for Kuroo’s bachelor party!”

“Ooooh!” Bokuto perked. “You guys get to do Kuroo’s too?”

“Well yeah, we’re his only friends,” Keiji said with a yawn.

Ugh,” Tooru pulled the lacy underwear from his hair and tossed it at him. “Why couldn’t they have just eloped like normal people?”

Sugawara leaned towards Daichi and said, “Sounds like someone is a poor loser.”

Tooru lunged for him again, but Iwaizumi caught him and hauled him against his side.

“Let it go,” he said and pulled the fake glasses off of his nose.

“But Iwa-chan—”

“Let it go and come home with me,” Iwaizumi turned, dragging him along.

Tooru threw triumphant smile over his shoulder, wiggling his eyebrows.

Sugawara clicked his tongue, “Since he’s the loser, he shouldn’t get any sort of reward…”

Keiji yawned again and rubbed his eyes, “Well… I guess I’ll turn in for the night too…”

“Let me walk you home!” Bokuto practically shouted the eager offer.

Keiji smiled, “I’d like that.”

They said their farewells and took their leave.

And then Daichi and Sugawara were alone.

Daichi gulped and tugged on the collar of his shirt.

Now what?

Should he… should he also invite Sugawara home with him?

No, no, no, no…

Daichi wasn’t nearly bold enough to do something like that.

Sugawara suddenly turned towards him and Daichi’s spine straightened.

“So,” he said, smiling. “We won.”

“Ah…” Daichi cleared his throat. “Yeah. We did.”

Sugawara stared at him silently for long seconds. Daichi’s stomach twisted. He could barely concentrate with the thumpthumpthumpthumpthump of his heart raging in his ears.

“Uhm…” his voice was rough when he finally spoke again. “You… you said that you’d tell me, if we won. I mean… what we were. Uh… Bokuto, Iwaizumi, and me.”

“Hmm… I did say that… didn’t I?” Sugawara cocked an eyebrow.

“Yeah.”

Sugawara moved closer and Daichi did the same.

“I said something else, didn’t I?”

“Di-did you?”

“Hmhm. I believe I said something about giving you a reward?”

“Oh… yeah. I think you did say that too…” Daichi couldn’t tear his eyes from Sugawara’s lips.

It had to be pretty clear what it was he was hoping his reward would be.

“I guess I should probably keep my promise, shouldn’t I?” Sugawara’s voice lowered.

Daichi gulped again.

“Yeah… I guess you should…”

Sugawara’s lips curled.

He leaned up and Daichi met him halfway, reaching forward to cup his face in his hands. They kissed, soft, slow, without a single gram of the urgency that Daichi felt winding itself in the pit of his belly.

Oh.

Oh.

Daichi was definitely having a gay crisis.

Sugawara was in no rush to end the kiss, so Daichi prolonged it for as long as he could, savoring the sensation of Sugawara’s still slightly sticky lips pressed tenderly to his. He didn’t want the connection to ever end, even if it wasn’t the type of kiss that the throbbing in his groin wished for.

Daichi felt a touch at his right front pocket, and then Sugawara was drawing away. He wanted to drag him back, make it impossible for him to leave, but he didn’t. Instead, he dropped his hands from Sugawara’s face and opened his eyes.

Sugawara smiled, and it warmed Daichi to his core.

“I’ll see you around, Daichi,” he said, voice soft. He took one, and then a second languid step backwards before turning on his heel and walking away.

Daichi wanted to call after him. Stop him. Invite him home.

But he didn’t.

Instead, he watched him he go until he disappeared around the corner down the block.

Daichi let out a shuddering breath and rubbed his eyes.

He spent a few seconds collecting himself, and then checked his pocket.

Inside was a folded strip of paper.

Daichi’s mouth went dry and he lifted it. On the outside, Sugawara’s name was printed, followed by a phone number. Daichi smiled and unfolded it.

Scrawled in Kenma’s messy hand on the inside of the paper were the words,

Future Boyfriend

Daichi let out a laugh and pressed a hand over his eyes, reveling in the giddy excitement that filled him.

He didn’t know how long he stood there, struggling to contain the giggles that threatened to consume him once more. But eventually, he found the energy to travel down the street and hail a taxi, finally calling an end to what was hands down the best night of his young life.

(So far)

It wasn't until he was halfway home that he remembered that they never returned the pedicab.

Oh.

Chapter Text

“You know that’s not what I’m asking, Daichi.”

Daichi sighed as he moved slowly up the aisle of the train’s dining car. He glanced down at the ticket in his hand, checking the number at the top against the wooden markers resting on the tables between which he walked.

“Then what are you asking?”

“Here it is!” Yui called from ahead, waving back at Daichi and Ikejiri. She sat on one of the padded, leather, booth seats on either side of the small rectangular dining table and slid to the window.

Ikejiri elbowed his way around Daichi, nearly sending him to the floor, and then sat next to Yui, clearing his throat and staring forward nonchalantly, though his pink cheeks gave him away.

Daichi fell onto the seat across from them and scooted to the center, sure to kick Ikejiri’s shin as he did.

“Anyway,” Ikejiri folded his arms on the table. “I thought I’d be gentle about it, but since you’re being stubborn, I’ve changed my mind. Why—”

“Why haven’t you called that total cutie that kidnapped you the other night?” Yui finished for him, slapping her palms down on the table. “C’mon! I thought you said it was the best night of your life!”

Daichi groaned and rubbed his temples. “I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Why not?” Ikejiri demanded, the frown turning his lips down looking completely out of place on his soft, freckled features.

“Because.”

“Sawamura!” Yui’s voice rose. “When will you open yourself up for love? You’re such a lonely old fool, it’s so sad to look at you!”

“You’re literally the only thing holding yourself back from happiness,” Ikejiri added.

Daichi gaped at them. “I can’t believe I’m getting this lecture from you two, of all fucking people.”

“What do you mean by—” Ikejiri began, but then fell silent as his eyes slid in Yui’s direction, hers doing the same to him.

Their gazes met and then they both looked away hurriedly, faces flushing red.

Daichi crossed his arms over his chest. “Figure your own shit out first before you come attack me.”

Neither of them responded, looking embarrassed and humbled.

“Thought so,” he muttered.

Momentarily free from their harassment, he allowed his eyes to drag across the train car.

It’s not like he needed them to tell him anyway.

He knew how pathetic he was.

He had had the best night of his life, with the most exciting, adorable, and fun man he had ever met, and instead of calling him immediately to plan for another, he had stuck the strip of paper with his number written on it to his refrigerator, where it sat for the past week, taunting him.

Reminding him exactly where he fell short as a man.

“Here!”

Daichi watched a pair of women walk up the aisle in his direction. A tall woman who could very well be Ikejiri’s sister with nearly identical light brown hair pulled into a ponytail at the back of her head and freckles dusting over her cheeks and nose, stopped at the booth across from theirs and sat down.

“I found it!” she said.

“Sweet,” the second woman slid in behind her and then went about fixing her shoulder length auburn hair, half lidded eyes searching up and down the car. “Okay where’s the alcohol?”

“I don’t think they start serving until the train’s moving,” the other one said, peeking through the window next to her at the station at which the train was parked.

“Hmm,” the shorter woman glanced at Daichi. “Hey, do you know when they start bringing out the liquor?”

“Sorry,” Daichi said. “I’ve never been on one of these before so…”

“You’ve never been on a train before?”

“Not this kind.”

She hummed and drummed her fingers on the table, looking up the aisle.

“Relax, Yukie,” the other woman said and then smiled sheepishly at Daichi. “Just ignore her. She’s jetlagged.”

“And thirsty,” Yukie said, raising her voice and looking around expectantly, but no one showed up to serve her a drink and she sighed, slouching back against the seat. She glanced at Daichi. “Anyway, hey. I’m Yukie. And this is Kaori. She’s my girlfriend so keep your eyes to yourself, Big Guy.”

“Don’t worry,” Ikejiri interrupted before Daichi could say anything. “He’s gay.”

“I’m not—” Daichi glared at him, receiving a cocked eyebrow in response, daring him to argue. He scrunched his nose and looked away.

“Hi,” Ikejiri said to Yukie. “I’m Ikejiri, and this is Daichi and Yui.”

“Hello!” Yui waved to them. “Have you two ever been on something like this?”

“A train?” Yukie repeated.

Yui giggled. “This kind of train.”

“Oh, you mean the whole—”

Music cut her off, an obnoxious 8-bit version of a popular pop song, emanating from Ikejiri’s pants.

“Oops, sorry,” he said and pulled his phone out, checking the screen.

“Is it the hospital?” Yui asked, eyebrows knitting.

He hummed. “Nah, just one of the interns. He’s scared of the nurses and so always calls me to ask where shit is. I’ll be back.” He slid out of the booth and walked up the aisle, pressing the phone to his ear as he answered the call.

“Hmm?” Yukie watched him go and turned to Yui, eyebrow cocked. “Your husband is a doctor? So are you like, loaded?”

Daichi grinned as Yui’s face flushed red.

“He!” She bit her tongue and winced, waving her hands. “He’s not my husband! We uhm… we’re just friends! All three of us! Friends! That’s all!”

Yukie and Kaori looked at Daichi and he gave them a nod.

Kaori smiled warmly. “I’m sure you’ll be able to confess soon! Fighting, Yui-chan!”

Yui slapped her cheeks, leaving bright red handprints.

“Ouch, looks painful.”

All four glanced towards the new voice. Two tall, lanky men stood in the aisle next to the table adjacent to Yukie’s and Kaori’s. The one who had spoken smirked down at Yui.

“Make sure to have your doctor boyfriend check that out when he comes back.”

Yui’s eyes widened and both men started snickering. The taller of the two leaned over the first’s shoulders, petting one hand over his short pink hair.

“Thanks for letting us in on the secret,” he said sleepily, thick black brows wiggling. “Fighting, Yui-chan.”

“Oh my God,” Yui hid her face in her arms folded on the table.

“What are you guys doing? Sit down already.”

Daichi blinked at the sound of the voice, which sounded… familiar… somehow…

The two men shifted to the side to reveal Iwaizumi where he stood behind them in the aisle, glaring up at them with a scowl.

“Iwaizumi?” Daichi blurted out.

The other man’s green eyes lowered to him and he cocked an eyebrow. “Sawamura. Hey.”

The two other men turned back to Daichi.

“Oh?” the one with pink hair said as they both leaned towards him, scrutinizing him with curious eyes. “Is this him then? Your new boy toy?”

“Hmm,” the other one narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think so. He’s not exactly his type.”

They were silent for a few more seconds.

“He doesn’t look enough like a thirsty bottom,” the one with black hair said.

“He’s not slutty bottom enough,” the pinkette said at the exact same time.

Both men turned to each other, warmth and affection radiating from the looks they gave.

“I love you so much, Babe.”

“Not as much as I love you, Babe.”

“Just sit your asses down,” Iwaizumi snapped.

They ignored him and looked back to the others.

“Yo, my name is Hanamaki and this is my fiancé.” He lifted his hand and showed off the gleaming silver band around his ring finger, turning to make sure everyone got a good look.

“Matsukawa,” the other one said, lifting his hand to show his ring too. “I’m the fiancé. And so is he. My fiancé.”

“We’re getting married,” Hanamaki said.

“Future husbands,” Matsukawa said.

“Gay married husbands.”

“Happily wed, gay, married husbands.”

“Who are married.”

“And husbands.”

“Sit the fuck down.” Iwaizumi shoved Matsukawa into the booth and Hanamaki followed, both snickering.

Daichi looked back to Iwaizumi. “What are you do—”

But before he could get the question out, yet another voice interrupted.

“Sorry! I’m here now!”

Everyone turned to watch Bokuto hurry up the middle aisle, white and grey hair hanging down around his flushed face.

“The bathroom on here is super small! I had to—” he paused when he noticed the others. His large golden eyes flew wide. “Daichi! Iwaizumi! Hey, hey, hey! What’s up?”

“No way,” Yukie leaned on her elbows. “You guys all know each other?”

“Yeah!” Bokuto slid onto the seat across from her. “These are the other guys from that super fun scavenger hunt I did last week with Akaashi!” He looked at Iwaizumi and Daichi, smiling wide. “These are my friends! They flew in this weekend to visit!”

Daichi stared at him incredulously for long seconds, before glancing again at Iwaizumi, who slapped Hanamaki’s hand away from his ass.

It… couldn’t be a coincidence… right?

Ikejiri walked back up to the group.

“Sorry about that,” he said, sliding his phone back into his pocket. “What’d I miss?”

Daichi gulped and turned towards him. “Where did you get the tickets for this thing again?”

He paused, giving him an amused smirk.

Before anything else could be said, the train’s whistle blew and the entire car puttered slowly into motion. Daichi turned and peered through the window, watching as they pulled out of the station.

It couldn’t be a coincidence.

Out of the blue, Ikejiri calls him up to tell him he obtained free tickets for a dinner on a scenic train journey through the countryside, to which both Iwaizumi and Bokuto were also guests?

It couldn’t be a coincidence.

Ikejiri and Iwaizumi took their seats as the train moved along at a gentle pace. Yui oohed and ahhed as she peered through the window.

Daichi turned to Bokuto.

“Where did you get your tickets?”

He cocked his head to the side. “Kaori got them in the mail.”

“Hold on,” Iwaizumi turned in his seat and frowned. “Mattsun got ours in the mail too.”

“What… what does that mean?” Bokuto looked between them. “It’s… it’s gotta be a coincidence, right?”

Iwaizumi leveled him with a tired stare. “Do you really believe that?”

“Then… what do you think is going on?”

They fell silent and Daichi stared up the length of the aisle, expecting Sugawara and the others to burst out in a flurry of noise and alcohol and possibly bloodshed.

Suddenly a thought struck him.

“Didn’t…” he paused, the others looking at him. “Didn’t they say something about… Kuroo’s bachelor party?”

Correct!

Everyone jumped in surprise as the loud voice erupted from the speakers along the ceiling of the train car. The door up the aisle burst open and Kuroo emerged, holding a microphone up to his lips. He was wearing a ridiculous outfit fit for a prince, complete with red jacket decorated with gleaming golden epaulets and buckles and a white sash stretched across his torso. His white trousers were tucked into knee high leather boots and strapped to his waist was a shining sword. There was a gold crown sitting atop his messy black hair and then another, plastic silver one with pink fuzz circling it and the words Bride to be! written in glitter across the front balancing on top of the first.

“Welcome!” he greeted the nine dinner guests. His lips spread wide in a shit eating smirk, eyes narrow as he looked among them with glee. “I’m so glad you could all make it tonight for my very special bachelor party. As a few of you know, I’ll soon be marrying…” he hesitated, smirk wavering. “Ma-marrying my… my…” He gulped. “I’ll be marrying my be-best friend…” He turned away, waving a hand at them hurriedly.

Daichi and Bokuto exchanged a look.

Kuroo turned back to them after several moments, eyes glistening. He cleared his throat and when he spoke again, his voice was rough with emotion. “I’m going to be marrying the love of my life, Kozume Kenma…” A sob rode on the name of his fiancé and Iwaizumi leaned back in his seat and muttered,

“Oh my god…”

Kuroo powered through, big fat tears filling his eyes as he went on in a trembling voice, “I’m going to be marrying my best friend and love of my life-SOB- and so before I do that-nnn- I planned this little party to celebrate-sniffle- and invited you all to share this night with me.” He quickly wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his jacket, sniffling pathetically.

Iwaizumi looked over his shoulder, giving Daichi an eye roll.

Daichi hid his nervous grin behind his hand.

“Without further ado, let’s go ahead and begin Phase Two of Kuroo Tetsurou’s Badass Ultra Best Amazing Bachelor Party!” Kuroo unsheathed his sword and swung it in front of him, nearly slicing one of the lights attached to the wall over the table next to him. “First! Let’s give a warm welcome to our guests of honor!” He climbed onto the booth next to him and then turned towards the door through which he had appeared. “Our winner of Phase One! Drumroll please!”

Matsukawa and Hanamaki started slapping their palms down on their table in rapid succession.

Daichi held his breath.

“Akaashi Keiji!”

The door opened and Keiji walked out, dressed in a dashing knight’s costume, a gaudy crest on the chest of his tunic. A black belt was fastened at his waist, his long sleeves patterned to mimic chainmail, and his black trousers were tucked into silver boots. Around his shoulders was a cloak that fell just to the back of his knees, and he held a plastic short sword at his side. There were dark bags under his eyes and his wavy black hair was a mess, his cheeks gaunt.

If that was what the winner of Phase One (whatever that was) looked like then…

KEIJI!” Bokuto leapt to his feet, arms flying into the air over his head.

He ran up the aisle to meet him halfway and immediately wrapped him up in a hug, lifting him from the floor. Keiji put his arms around his neck and sunk against him, allowing him to turn and carry him to his table.

“Next!” Kuroo drew their attention back up the car. His eyes glinted. “Second place of Phase One!”

The door opened again and Tooru walked out, wearing a sour expression.

“Oikawa Tooru!”

Matsukawa and Hanamaki immediately started snickering and elbowing each other.

Tooru was wearing a princess dress clearly meant for someone much smaller than him. The pink, corseted dress was low cut, showing off Tooru’s broad shoulders and top of his chiseled chest. The frilled skirt was short, barely reaching mid-thigh, and ballooned out around him as if stiffened with a hoop skirt. He wore knee height heeled boots of white leather, sheer stockings peeking out from underneath. On his messy chestnut hair was a lopsided tiara with glittering pink crystals and a lacy veil hanging down at the back of his head.

He spotted Iwaizumi and stomped towards him, hands balled into fists.

“Iwa-chan,” he whined. “I’ve been tortured.”

A white grin flashed across Iwaizumi’s face and he shoved the table closer to Matsukawa and Hanamaki in order to make room for the man to collapse onto his lap. He put an arm around his waist, his other hand settling on one of his bare thighs.

“It’s a good look on you,” Iwaizumi said and kissed him on the lips.

Tooru pouted, but didn’t argue, wrapping his arms around his shoulders.

“And finally!”

Daichi gulped and straightened, looking back to Kuroo, who had that shit eating smirk on his lips once more, dancing slightly in place.

“Our loser.

There was a moment’s hesitation before the door opened again.

Sugawara stumbled into the train car, head hung low in front of him and Kenma draped lazily over his back. Daichi held his breath, mouth going dry.

Because there he was.

And he was wearing… oh.

Daichi’s face flushed hot and Ikejiri and Yui both turned to him, wearing matching grins.

He pointedly ignored them.

Sugawara wore a skintight, rainbow jester’s costume. The bottoms nothing but the tiniest spandex booty shorts Daichi had ever seen, his bare thighs and calves bulging with muscle as he struggled under Kenma’s weight. Bells attached to his striped, cloth ankle boots jingled with every step, matching the ringing from the bells dangling from the zig-zag hem of the sleeveless half shirt covering the top half of his torso, leaving his sweat slick abdomen on display. There was a sad jester’s hat covering his flat hair and when he took a few more steps into the car, he finally lifted his head and Daichi had to slap a hand over his eyes.

Kinky!” Hanamaki exclaimed and Daichi peeked reluctantly through his fingers, face on fire.

Because that was a ball gag in Sugawara’s mouth, the black leather strap stretched tight across his flushed cheeks.

“Okay that’s far enough, Loser,” Kuroo said and Sugawara stopped.

Kenma hopped off of his back and Sugawara immediately collapsed to his knees, braced forward on his hands.

“And if you’ve learned your lesson, you can take the gag out.”

Sugawara dropped his forehead down on the floor, hat slipping from his hair, and reached behind his head to wrestle the buckle off. He lifted his head again and spat the gag from his mouth, a line of saliva trailing after it.

Really kinky,” Matsukawa said and Hanamaki nodded seriously.

“What the hell was Phase One?” Ikejiri asked Keiji.

Keiji gave him a wary look, eyes lifeless, complexion pallid.

“Monopoly.”

Daichi slowly lowered his hand from his eyes and watched as Sugawara chucked the ball gag at Kuroo’s head. He dodged it, giggling maniacally.

“And what did that guy do to get the gag punishment?” Yukie asked.

“Suga-chan didn’t buy Boardwalk the first time he landed on it,” Tooru said. “And then Keiji-chan bought it after him, put two hotels each on it and Park Place, and bankrupted us in three rounds.”

“And Kuroo takes Monopoly very seriously,” Keiji said wearily. “Such a mistake was too great for him to ignore.”

“And…” Matsukawa draped an arm over his booth seat and glanced at Keiji, thick eyebrow cocked. “He just so happened to have the gag on him?”

“He’s definitely been waiting for his chance to use it on one of us,” Tooru muttered, fixing his tiara.

“Okay, alright, go find a seat, Fucker,” Kuroo’s voice drew their attention again and they watched him kick at Sugawara, who had made it to his feet and was attempting to drag him from the booth, hands wrapped tight around his sash. “Go sit down or else I’ll put the gag back in!”

Sugawara released him and turned, letting out a huff as he tugged on the zig-zag hem of his shirt, which had lifted up over his nipples in his struggle against Kuroo.

Daichi’s stomach flipped and he avoided the eyebrow waggling Yui and Ikejiri were giving him.

He didn’t need to look at them to know exactly what they were thinking.

Gay crisis go away.

Please go away.

Because shit that outfit was too much, wasn’t it?

Too small.

Too short.

Too tight.

Daichi was in hell.

Sugawara bent to grab his hat from the floor and dusted it off with a scowl, bells jingling with each smack. And then he finally turned towards the others, brown eyes drifting up the aisle and meeting Daichi’s. He paused, eyebrows lifting, eyes widening slightly.

Oh man.

I’m so screwed.

Sugawara walked up the aisle in his direction. Tooru reached out and slapped his ass as he passed but Sugawara paid him no heed as he went directly to Daichi’s table and fell onto the seat next to him. He immediately slumped over the table, resting his head on his folded arms, and let out a long sigh.

Daichi swallowed the lump in his throat and prepared to say something, some pathetic little “Hello” or “Long time no see” or “Sorry I haven’t called” or “Marry me” but before he could get a word out, Kuroo was talking again.

“Now begins Phase Two of Kuroo Tetsurou’s Badass Ultra Best Amazing Bachelor Party!”

Kenma crawled into the booth across from the one in which Kuroo was standing and stooped over a Nintendo Switch, seemingly uninterested in the display.

“Quit jabbering!” Tooru snapped. “Just tell us what it is already!”

Kuroo pouted his lips, displeased by the interruption. “It’s a secret.”

Tooru, Keiji, and Sugawara all started groaning simultaneously.

“Just say it!” Sugawara sat up and barked, flipping his friend off with both hands. “I’m sick of all this jerking around!”

“Yeah, the only kind of jerking that Koushi enjoys is the off kind,” Keiji said.

“Damn straight!” Sugawara slammed his fist down onto the table and Daichi glared at Ikejiri when his fucking eyebrows started wiggling at him again.

“You’ll find out soon so just shut the fuck up!” Kuroo flipped Sugawara off in return and hopped down to the aisle. “First, I’m hungry. So we’re going to eat dinner. Stupid ungrateful shit fucks. Unless you don’t want food? Want to just skip to the torture?”

“Kuroo-sama you’re the most merciful, handsome prince in the world,” Keiji blurted out.

“Kuroo-sama your dick is the biggest!” Tooru said.

“Kuroo-sama Kenma is the luckiest man to get to marry you!” Sugawara yelled.

“That’s what I thought, you stupid scrubs,” Kuroo opened the door and a waiter emerged into the dinner car and moved to each table to pass out menus and take drink orders.

While he was taking the bulky order from Yukie at the table next to theirs, Sugawara turned to Yui and Ikejiri.

“Hey, I’m Suga,” he said.

“Ikejiri.”

“Yui!”

He shook both of their hands. “Nice to meet you. Sorry for stealing Daichi last time.”

“Oh, it’s more than okay,” Ikejiri said, giving Daichi a look. “We’re always telling him that he should get out and actually meet people for a change.”

Daichi drummed his fingers on the table, glaring at him.

Sugawara let out a laugh. “And the people he got to meet were me and my friends, oh man now I feel really guilty.” He hesitated. “I guess that would be why he never called me.”

Daichi’s mouth went dry.

Yui and Ikejiri both gave him glares and he felt a kick against his shin under the table.

The waiter turned to them and the conversation was suspended as they made their drink orders. When the waiter left them to peruse over the menus, Sugawara made casual conversation with Ikejiri and Yui.

Daichi watched him in the corner of his eye. He seemed… reserved. Tired. Far and away different from the wild man he had met last time. Had Phase One of this bachelor party just been that exhausting or… was there something else?

Was it… Daichi?

Halfway through their meal, Daichi and Sugawara hadn’t said more than a handful of words to each other and it sucked.

Here he was… with Sugawara again finally, after thinking about him constantly for the past week, and it was like he didn’t actually want anything to do with him.

Ikejiri and Yui must have noticed it too. He kept getting encouraging taps against his shin from Yui under the table, and Ikejiri kept trying his hardest to turn the conversation in a direction that could get the two talking but…

It was no use.

He’s moved on.

Doesn’t like me anymore.

Gay crisis is now gay heartbreak.

Daichi glanced over at him, wracking his mind for something to say to capture his attention. To have him look at him the way he had last time.

Sugawara leaned on his elbow on the table, chin resting in the palm of his hand, as he watched Tooru and Iwaizumi.

Tooru was still in his lap, one arm around his neck as he ate and talked to the two across the table from them. Iwaizumi’s arm was tight around his waist and he cast him looks between bites of food, eyes roaming over his face with an expression Daichi could only describe as soft.

Daichi looked over Sugawara’s head at Keiji and Bokuto. They also sat close together, Bokuto talking animatedly at the women while Keiji leaned against his arm, a small smile on his lips.

How did they do it?

Iwaizumi was one thing… an anomaly. He had made his move on Tooru in an instant the other night. Daichi didn’t think the man was even capable of hesitating.

But Bokuto? He had also made progress in the few days since their first meeting?

Was Daichi seriously the only one who had dropped the ball here?

Maybe hanging out with Ikejiri and Yui so much had rubbed off on him.

Ikejiri’s phone went off again, the song blaring through the car and drawing everyone’s attention.

“Ohh, I love that song,” Bokuto said and hummed along to the tune as Ikejiri dug the phone from his pocket.

“Sorry,” he said and silenced it.

“You don’t need to answer it?” Yui asked.

“Nah, it’s just my brother this time.”

The sound of someone clearing their throat drew everyone’s eyes up the aisle to where Kenma stood. He gave them a dull look, then pressed his wrist to his forehead.

“Oh no,” he said, voice flat. “I suddenly feel… so faint… I think that… uuuuggghhh I am… dying.” He carefully lowered himself to the floor and closed his eyes.

Kuroo leapt out of his booth with a wail.

KEEEENMAAAAA! NOOOO! MY BEAUTIFUL FIANCE HAS COLLAPSED! IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE TRAIN?

Several eyes turned to Ikejiri.

“Uhm…” he slowly lifted his hand. “I’m a doctor…”

“PLEASE DOCTOR!” Kuroo put on a show, waving his arms dramatically. “SAVE MY DEAR SWEET KENMA!”

Ikejiri glanced at Yui and then slowly stood. He moved up the aisle and knelt down next to Kenma, pressing his fingers to the side of his throat.

“He seems fine to—”

AHEM.” Kuroo cleared his throat and gave him a pointed look.

Ikejiri hesitated, then said, voice raising. “Oh no… he has died.”

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Kuroo threw himself to the floor and crawled up to Kenma, tears streaming down his cheeks. “KEEENMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Soft, stifled sputtering vibrated from Kenma’s body, but Kuroo wasn’t discouraged by his partner’s inability to play a convincing dead body.

Ikejiri returned to his seat as Kuroo continued to sob over his “dead” fiancé, very loudly wondering how on earth such a tragic thing could have happened, and so close to their wedding day.

“Oh my god,” Sugawara muttered next to Daichi and he agreed.

Acting wasn’t Kuroo’s strong suit.

Finally, Kuroo popped back up to his feet and grabbed the microphone off of his table.

“Good people! I hire each and every one of you to solve the mystery of my dead fiancé! The winner will receive a prize!”

“No thanks,” Tooru said, spearing a piece of chicken and tossing it into his mouth.

“Uhm, yes thanks. You have to. Because if you don’t, Phase Three will involve someone getting naked and running through the street—”

“I’ll take the case!” Sugawara leapt to his feet. “Kenma! Dear Kenma! Who did this to you?” He rushed up the aisle and fell to his knees next to the man, instantly groping at his clothes.

“Hey, I wasn’t done talking,” Kuroo said. “What are you doing?”

“Getting a head start,” Sugawara said. “No way I’m running naked through the street.” He hesitated, checking Kenma’s pocket, and then muttered under his breath, “Again.”

As he squeezed and touched him, Kenma started to squirm, and finally let out a laugh when he tickled his sides.

“Ah! He’s alive! Mystery solved!” Sugawara announced.

Kenma hit him in the chin and then went limp once more.

“Never mind. He’s dead again.”

“Go back to your seat,” Kuroo demanded. “Let me finish telling the rules first.”

Sugawara sighed and stood. “Fine.” He walked back to his seat next to Daichi and sat.

“Okay so the rules,” Kuroo began.

Motion drew Daichi’s attention and he watched as Sugawara discreetly tucked what looked like a folded piece of paper under the waistband of his shorts.

“You all have until the end of the train ride to figure out who killed Kenma,” Kuroo said and Daichi turned back to him. “Hidden in this and the other cars of the train are clues for you to find. You’re not allowed to use the internet, so don’t even think about looking up any of the information you find. There are cameras in every car, which I will be monitoring, right here.” Kuroo pointed to the booth across from the one he and Kenma had been eating at. Three laptops sat on the table and the waiter slipped behind to open them for him.

“Kenma’s murderer is someone on this train. Maybe it’s a member of the staff. Maybe it’s someone in this very car.” Kuroo looked from face to face with excitement. “Trust no one.

Tooru lifted his hand.

“Yes, Tooru?”

“Is it you?”

“First of all, I’m not going to give you any hints, Fuckass. Second of all, how dare you.”

Keiji raised his hand.

“Yes, Keiji?”

“Are we on teams?”

“No! It’s every man, or woman, for him- or her- self! I mean it! Trust no one!”

Sugawara raised his hand.

“Yes, Koushi?”

“What if nobody figures it out by the end of the ride?”

“Then the murderer is the winner for not getting caught!”

Tooru raised his hand.

Kuroo sighed. “Yes, Tooru?”

“Can I just guess now?”

Kuroo glared at him. “Even if you guessed correctly, I wouldn’t accept it. The only way to really win is to be able to prove who the killer is. That means gathering up evidence or getting a confession.”

Tooru turned to the others and announced, “I will thoroughly, sexually please the murderer if they come forth and confess so I can win.”

“That’s one way to ensure your failure,” Sugawara scoffed.

“Suga-chan fight me.”

“Now if Iwaizumi offered the same thing,” Sugawara tapped his chin. “That’s another story.”

“Agreed,” Kaori said, earning a pouting glare from Yukie. She giggled and leaned against her. “I’m just kidding Babe.”

Tooru gave Sugawara a narrow glare.

“I’ll kill you.”

“Tooru’s the murderer,” Sugawara announced, pointing accusingly at him. “The proof? Killers are always looking for their next victim.”

“I don’t need to have murdered before to want to murder you now, Bitch.”

“But you have murdered before... haven’t you?”

“The only thing I’ve ever murdered is your mom’s pussy.”

Sugawara raised his hand. “Permission to be the murderer so I can kill Tooru for smearing my mommy’s good name?”

“No.”

Keiji raised his hand. “Is suicide on the table?”

“If you’re asking permission then go ahead, I don’t give a shit,” Kuroo said dully. “Can I get back to explaining the rules now?”

“There’s more?” Sugawara slapped his palms down on the table. “Oh my god! We get it! Find out who murdered Kenma and Tooru. It’s not that difficult!”

“The only thing that’s going to kill me is Iwa-chan’s dick,” Tooru snapped.

Keiji raised his hand. “Is Iwaizumi's dick the murderer?”

“I give up.” Kuroo sat down behind the laptops. “Okay, go, collect clues. And no cheating. I’ll be watching.”

Tooru scampered off of Iwaizumi’s lap and rushed over to Kenma, followed close by Keiji. Sugawara slipped out of the booth and turned the opposite direction. Daichi watched him go momentarily, conflicted.

He felt a slap against the back of the head and turned towards Ikejiri.

“Go with him!” he urged.

“Yeah!” Yui said. “Team up with him or something!”

Daichi gulped. He glanced at the others. Tooru and Keiji were searching Kenma for clues, earning squirming laughter from the poor excuse for a corpse. Hanamaki and Matsukawa crawled over the tables and bolted up the aisle past Kuroo. Bokuto stood behind Keiji, peeking around at what they were doing and Yukie and Kaori were finishing off their drinks.

“Okay,” Daichi hurried to his feet. “Wish me luck.”

“Good luck,” Ikejiri and Yui said and he ran off in the direction Sugawara had gone.

He pushed through a door and crossed into the next train car, spotting Sugawara up ahead with his back to him.

“Suga!”

Sugawara whirled towards him, shoving the piece of paper back into the waistband of his shorts. He gave Daichi a wary look.

“What do you want?”

Daichi gulped. “Ahh… uhm… let’s… let’s partner up.”

Sugawara eyed him, taking a slow step back when he moved closer.

“Kuroo said to trust no one. How do I know you’re not the murderer trying to get in my way?”

“I’m not,” Daichi promised. “I didn’t even know this was going to be happening, I swear.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Because…” Daichi paused, hunting for something to say.

The car fell silent as they stared at one another.

Finally, Sugawara looked away.

“You didn’t call.”

Daichi held his breath.

Sugawara reached up and brushed his hair away from his eyes, glancing at him.

“Why didn’t you call?”

“I’m sorry. I… I wanted to. But…”

“But?”

Daichi didn’t reply.

After several seconds, Sugawara hummed and turned away. “Later, Daichi.”

He strode down the aisle and Daichi chased.

“Wait! Suga I—” The toe of his shoe caught in the rug and he pitched to the floor, throwing his hands out to catch himself. “Ahh fuck,” he cursed with a wince, pain stinging in his knees and heels of his palms. “Stupid fucking rug…” He looked down at the bunched section he had tripped over and froze. Peeking out from under the rug was the corner of what looked like a jet black folder.

“Are you okay?” Sugawara called.

Daichi reached for the folder and pulled it out from under the rug. “I think I found something.”

Sugawara was silent for a moment. Then, “What is it?”

Daichi showed it to him and Sugawara crept towards him, still eyeing him suspiciously. Daichi sat cross legged on the floor and opened the folder. Inside were several pieces of paper. The top one showed a picture of Kenma in the top left corner. Next to the image was a detailed profile, including his name, date of birth, blood type, and medical history.

“What the fuck…”

Sugawara crouched down next to him. “What does it say?”

“It’s like… a medical file,” Daichi said, flipping through the pages. “Just has a bunch of information about his health and stuff.”

“Is there anything incriminating on there?”

Daichi turned the pages over but there was nothing. “No… just the medical stuff. Blood type, O... Date of birth, October sixteenth… family history of Type 1 diabetes… do you think this is true or just made up for the game?”

“Well some of it I know is true but I don't know about the other stu—”

The door opening drew their attention over Daichi’s shoulder.

Ikejiri and Yui walked into the car. They spotted the folder in Daichi’s lap.

“What’d you find?” Yui asked, eyes widening.

“It’s—” Daichi began, but Sugawara slapped his hand over his mouth.

“Mind your own business!” He dragged Daichi to his feet and then yanked him across the car and through the door on the opposite side. They entered the next car, which looked like some sort of lounge with comfortable, padded couches of red velvet and low tables covered in magazines and newspapers.

Sugawara turned to him, glancing over his shoulder at the door before looking into his face.

“Trust no one,” he said in a soft voice. He took the file out of Daichi’s hands and flipped through it before snapping it shut and handing it back. “Okay. I've decided. We can partner up.”

Daichi released a breath of relief. “Thank—”

Sugawara grabbed the front of his shirt, balling it up in his fist, and gave him a fierce glare. “You better not betray me.”

Daichi gulped. “I won’t.”

Sugawara hesitated, then released him. “We’ll see about that.” He moved around Daichi and peered through the window of the door at the train car they had just left. “Okay… start looking for clues.”

They both spread out and started turning the car upside down in search of clues. Daichi was just digging in the cushions of a couch when he remembered the piece of paper tucked in Sugawara’s waist band.

“By the way. What’s on the paper?”

Daichi turned towards him and then froze. Sugawara was on his knees, peeking underneath a table, ass in the air and oh Jesus Daichi was definitely gay.

“Huh? Oh…” he sat back on his heels and Daichi hurriedly looked away when he turned towards him.

Gay crisis go away.

Not right now.

Fuck… that outfit though…

Sugawara pulled the paper from his waist band and unfolded it.

“I think they’re lines from a poem?”

Daichi moved closer as he read them out loud,

Desire’s run black,

On the tip of a tack,

Too late, says the ticking clock,

Tick-tock, tick-tick-tock-tock.

Something about the words resonated… a faint memory pulling at the back of his mind, but no matter how hard he tried to grasp it, he couldn’t figure it out.

“They sound familiar…” he mumbled.

“I thought so too,” Sugawara hummed. “It was in Kenma’s hand. Too bad we can’t look it up.” He tucked it back into his waist band and started sifting through the magazines on top of the table. “Have you found anything?”

“Not yet,” he said, lifting a newspaper and checking underneath it. “I don’t even know what to look for.”

“Just grab anything that might be a clue and we will find a place to hide and look over everything.”

Daichi tucked the newspaper under his arm with Kenma’s file and went to the curtains to search them.

“Ah! I found another file!”

Daichi peeked over his shoulder to watch Sugawara pull a file out from underneath a couch. He glanced inside and closed it again, hugging it close to his chest as he moved across the car to keep searching.

“It’s your friend Yui this time,” he said. “I wonder if there’s one for all of us.”

“Maybe.” Daichi walked to the far end of the car and tried the door of a closet. It popped open and he peered inside, searching for a light switch. “If we can find ours, then we can see if they’re fake or not. Or, actually I might be able to tell by looking at Yui’s.” He reached in and found the cord to the ceiling light. "We’ve been friends forever so I kinda know the general gist of her medical history— AHH!”

The first thing he saw when the light flared to life in the closet was a skull, directly across from the door in the enclosed space.

“What’s wrong?” Sugawara rushed to his side as Daichi attempted to still his racing heart.

“Fuck,” he wheezed. “I almost had a fucking heart attack.”

Sugawara giggled and moved past him into the closet. He lifted the arm of the fake skeleton and waved it at Daichi.

“Daichi you’re so easy to scare. Too bad this isn’t a haunted house instead of a murder mystery.”

“Fuck off,” he grumbled.

“So this train has a few skeletons in its closets,” Sugawara said with a grin. “Think it’s a hint? The murderer is on the staff?”

Daichi hummed and stepped into the closet after him. “Dunno. Kuroo’s your friend. Who do you think he’d make the murderer?” He started searching through a stack of towels on a shelf. “Would he make it a staff member or would he make it one of the others, to throw us off?”

“Who knows what goes through that guy’s head?” Sugawara snorted and crouched down next to a toolbox and opened it. “I once watched him put shredded cheese on a chocolate sundae. Nothing he does make sense.”

Daichi made a face. “Was he sober?”

“God I hope not. I wasn’t when I took a bite out of it, that’s for sure.”

Daichi snorted and bent to peer into a mop bucket. “Maybe nobody is the murderer and he’s sent us out on a wild goose chase for his own entertainment.”

Sugawara was silent for a moment and Daichi glanced over at him.

“You know…” he began, turning towards him. “That actually sounds exactly like the sorta thing that bastard would—”

The closet door slammed, scaring cries out of both of them.

Shit,” Daichi breathed and grabbed the door handle. He twisted it but it didn’t budge.

Sugawara stood and banged on the door. “Who’s out there?”

Sorry Koushi. It’s nothing personal,” a voice said through the door.

Sugawara let out a shout and banged harder. “Keiji! I’ll kill you!”

Oh, so you’re the murderer?

“I’m about to be!

If it makes you feel better, I also locked Tooru in a closet on the other side of the train.

“He and Iwaizumi will just have sex and enjoy it!”

Iwaizumi isn’t in there with him.

Sugawara paused, a grin flashing across his face. “Okay, yeah that does make me feel better.”

Farewell, Koushi. I’ll be the one winning Kuroo Tetsurou’s Badass Ultra Best Amazing Bachelor Party.

“Bastard! I’ll get you back for this!”

He waited, but Keiji didn’t reply.

Keiji!” He slammed his fists into the door.

Still no reply.

Sugawara growled and turned towards Daichi. “How much trouble you think we’ll get in if we busted the door down?”

Daichi gulped. “Uhm, we’d probably at least have to pay for the repairs.”

Sugawara clicked his tongue.

“Since we’re in here,” Daichi said. “We should check Yui’s folder.”

Sugawara passed it over with a sigh and then swept his hand through his hair, pushing the hat from his head and not caring when it dropped to the floor. Daichi opened the folder and browsed over the information.

“Let’s see… Michimiya Yui… Date of birth, August first… Blood type, O… I think all this stuff is true…” He scanned down through the listed allergies and medical history. “Peanut allergy… that’s true… lactose intolerance, yeah that too… hmm wait.” Daichi frowned. “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? What is that? I’ve never heard of that.”

Sugawara moved to his side and peered down at the file. “Me neither…”

“Yui doesn’t have something by that name,” Daichi said. “At least, not that I know of.”

“So there’s a possibility that the stuff in these folders is fake,” Sugawara said. “What does that mean? Does Yui having… whatever that is, relate to Kenma’s death? Or did Kuroo just type up some random shit to confuse us?”

“I have no idea…”

Sugawara let out a groan and swept his hands through his hair again, the bells on his half shirt ringing. He eyed the newspaper under Daichi’s arm.

“Why’d you grab the newspaper?”

Daichi pulled it out and looked down at the front page. “Uh, well, it’s fake. So I thought maybe it’d have something in it.”

“Fake?” Sugawara cocked an eyebrow. “How can you tell?”

“I’m…” he looked up at him. Wait. Had he never told him? “I’m a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun. So I guess you could say I’m a little familiar with the news around here…”

Sugawara blinked. “A reporter…”

“Yeah… I guess last time we were together, we didn’t really spend much time talking about our personal lives, did we?”

“I guess not…”

Daichi gulped. “Uhm… maybe… uh… after all this bachelor party stuff is over… we can…” He paused.

Sugawara stared at him, waiting for him to continue. When he didn’t, he pressed,

“We can what?”

Daichi looked away. “Never mind.”

Sugawara didn’t reply. After a moment of silence, he turned and resumed searching the closet, lifting bottles of cleaning supplies and checking underneath rags, the bells on his shirt jingling with every movement.

Daichi scrunched his nose and rubbed his eyes.

Stupid.

Fuck.

Cowardly bastard.

Sugawara grumbled and tugged on his bells. “This is so fucking annoying.” He wrestled the shirt up and over his head and tossed it to the floor and Daichi stared at him with wide eyes, heart stampeding in his chest.

Ohhhh oh no.

Not a good time.

This is so not a good time for him to strip.

Not when we’re locked in a small closet together and my gay crisis is in full swing.

Please, oh no, not good.

Daichi gulped, eyes drifting over Sugawara’s toned shoulders and back.

Then again…

Maybe this is the perfect time.

To catch up to the others.

To make my move.

Daichi moved closer to him.

“Suga…”

“Hm?” Sugawara rose up on his toes to peek over the edge of a taller shelf, pushing a stack of sponges to the side.

“I uhm… well… I just…” Daichi chewed on his bottom lip. He reached towards him, hand hovering a few centimeters from his spine.

Just touch him.

Just…

“Hold on, what’s this?”

Daichi jerked his hand back when Sugawara spoke. He shoved his hand inside a stack of towels and then pulled it out, a large black handgun in his grip.

Daichi gaped at it.

“Ple-please tell me that’s just a prop.”

Sugawara hummed. He cocked the gun, aimed it at the skeleton, and pulled the trigger.

There was a loud snap as a plastic BB shot from the barrel and hit the center of the skeleton’s skull before bouncing off, hitting the wall, and then ricocheting into Daichi’s left ass cheek.

Ah fuck!” Daichi hissed and slapped a hand over the stinging spot.

Sugawara giggled. “Sorry.” He turned the gun around, examining it curiously. “Airsoft. Hm. I wonder if this is the murder weapon.”

Daichi rubbed his ass with a wince, eyeing the gun nervously. “Maybe don’t wave it around in such an enclosed space.”

“Why?” Sugawara swung it towards him and Daichi yelped and jumped back, shoulders connecting with the door.

Sugawara’s eyes twinkled as he looked at him, aiming the gun at the center of his chest.

“This would be the perfect time to reveal myself as the murderer, wouldn’t it?” He said in a hushed voice, taking a step closer.

Daichi’s eyes widened. “Wha-what?”

Sugawara pressed the barrel of the gun under Daichi’s ribs, shifting forward until his thighs rubbed against his, his free hand walking two fingers up the center of his chest.

“Absolutely cinematic,” he purred, fingers making their way to his throat where they stroked against his skin, touch light as a feather. “To get to see the look of betrayal in your eyes as I pull the trigger…” He leaned forward and their noses brushed. “What a beautiful twist of fate, don’t you think?”

Daichi gulped. And he thought… maybe it’d be worth getting shot if Sugawara went ahead and closed the space between their lips and sent him out with a kiss.

Just a kiss.

Daichi thought he really wouldn’t mind dying like that.

“Too bad it’s not true.”

Sugawara moved back again, removing the gun from Daichi’s ribs.

Daichi blinked, holding the disappointment back from showing on his expression.

“So,” he said, voice rough. “You’re not the murderer?”

Sugawara sighed and looked at the gun. “Nah. Kuroo would never give me the most important role. He knows I’d have way too much fun with that.”

Daichi rubbed the back of his neck, eyes drifting back down Sugawara’s naked torso as he struggled to shove his mega gay crisis down again. “That's a good point, actually," he said. "If… you were the murderer… what would you do?”

“Hmm?” Sugawara glanced at him and then pursed his lips. “I’d probably run around sabotaging everyone. Steal their clues, lock them… in closets…” His eyes went wide and he looked at Daichi. “Do you think… it’s Keiji?”

“Knocking out his competition does sound like the type of thing a murderer who didn’t want to be discovered would do.”

Sugawara moved around him and tried the door handle again, letting out a growl when it didn’t budge.

“Fuck this! Let’s just break it down! I’ll pay for the damages!”

Daichi swallowed and faced the door. “Okay. Fine. Let’s do it.”

Sugawara glanced at him. “Really?”

“Really. We’re not going to lose so soon.”

A grin flashed across Sugawara’s face. “Sweet.” He thrust the gun towards him. “Here, hide this.”

“Where?”

“I dunno. In your pants or something.” He gestured at his near naked form. “Not like I’ve got anywhere to put it.”

Daichi’s face blazed and he cleared his throat. “Right…” He tucked the gun in the waistband of his pants, underneath his shirt, and gathered up their clues.

Sugawara hopped up and down, rolling his shoulders. He looked up at Daichi. “You ready?”

Daichi nodded and they both faced off against the door.

“Okay, on three,” Sugawara said, voice hushed. “One… two… three!

They both lunged at the door, shoulders bracing for impact, but the instant before they made contact, the door suddenly swung open. Sugawara squeaked as they both pitched out of the closet. Daichi threw his arms out instinctively and caught him around the waist, pulling him to his chest as he took the brunt of the fall on his back, Sugawara on top of him.

Oomph.”

Daichi rested his head on the floor with a groan, already sick of all of the abuse his body had taken since boarding this stupid train.

“Sorry, did we interrupt something?”

Daichi peered up at Ikejiri and Yui, who stood over them, hiding their grins behind their hands.

“Well,” Sugawara said, pushing up on his arms. Daichi gritted his teeth when his body rubbed against his. “That’s one way to come out of the closet. Right, Daichi?”

He pressed a hand over his eyes. “I’m not answering that.”

Yui giggled.

Sugawara climbed off of him and stood, tugging on the hem of his shorts where they rode up his thighs. He offered his hands to Daichi and he allowed him to pull him to his feet. He dusted off the back of his pants and glanced at Ikejiri, who continued to smirk knowingly at him.

“Oh…” Daichi found Yui’s chart in the small stack of clues in his arms. “Since you’re here, Ikejiri… what is car—”

Sugawara grabbed him and dragged him around the pair.

“Nope! Nothing! Thanks for letting us out! Bye!” He yanked him across the train car and back into the second dining car. He gave Daichi a glare. “Trust no one!”

Daichi sighed. “Oh c’mon. Ikejiri is a surgeon! He could have told us what cardiomyopathy is!”

“Sure and if he was the murderer, he could lie about what cardiomyopathy is.”

Daichi snorted. “You know nothing about my friends. They’re so vanilla, there’s no way either of them could be the murderer.”

“That’s exactly the type of thinking that’s gonna get you killed by the vanilla best friends you never suspected to be stone cold murderers.”

Daichi laughed. “I really doubt that.”

Sugawara slowed to a stop near the door to their dining car and turned towards him, hand still wrapped around his wrist.

“Just…” he looked into his eyes. “You and me. Only trust me and I’ll only trust you.”

Daichi blinked, heart kicking into overdrive.

“Ye-yeah,” he whispered. “Okay. Just you and me.”

Sugawara gave him a slow nod and then pulled him into the first dining car, where they had started. Kuroo was sitting in his booth, observing the monitors while eating a slice of chocolate cake. Kenma was sitting next to him, nibbling on apple pie, but let out a groan when they appeared.

He set his pie to the side and crawled onto the floor, pretending to be dead again.

“Oh good, groping round two!” Sugawara sang and walked up.

“Just keep it in your pants,” Kenma grumbled.

“He’s alive!”

“Are you guys having fun?” Kuroo asked, smirking at them. “Your romp in the closet looked… steamy.”

I wish.

Daichi pursed his lips.

Sugawara knelt next to Kenma and started digging around in his clothes again. “God you’re such a creep. Since you’re spying on everyone, how about you tell us where Keiji is, huh?”

“No way, that’s cheating.”

“Sure.” Sugawara rolled Kenma onto his stomach and shoved his hands into the back pockets of his pants. “Wow, Kenma, your ass is so tight.”

“Hey, hey, knock that off! No touchy!” Kuroo scooted to the edge of the booth and glared at him.

Daichi pursed his lips, dragging his eyes over Kenma’s body as Sugawara rolled him to his back once more, flipping Kuroo off.

“Suga,” he said, drawing his attention over his shoulder. “Is there any sign of what killed him? A wound or something?”

Sugawara hesitated, then started searching Kenma’s skin. “Is that something there would be, Kuroo? A visible cause of death?”

Kuroo hummed and turned back to his monitors. “If the cause of death is visible to begin with, then sure.”

Sugawara hesitated. “If?”

He ate his cake and didn’t reply.

Daichi tapped his file, watching Kuroo silently. “Oh, you know what, Suga?” he said. “I heard about this one cause of death… it can only be determined by looking very closely at the victim’s dick.”

Sugawara’s eyes glinted, teeth baring in a mischievous grin.

“Oh, guess I should check for that then, huh?” Sugawara turned and grabbed the front of Kenma’s pants.

“Stooooooooop!” Kuroo yelled and slapped a palm down on the table. “No! Don’t touch! Mine! Hands off!”

“Kuroo, we’re just playing the game you set up for us,” Sugawara said, getting Kenma’s belt undone while dodging his wild slaps.

“Okay fine! I’ll tell you!”

Sugawara paused, glancing up at Kuroo. “Then get talking.”

Kuroo glared at him. “There’s no visible cause of death.”

Sugawara hummed. “Are you sure?”

“Yes I’m sure! But I’m not telling you more than that.”

Daichi pulled the gun from his waistband. “So this isn’t the murder weapon.”

Kuroo’s eyes flashed with excitement. “Nope!”

Daichi cocked the gun and pointed it at his head. “And I don’t suppose you’d tell me more if I threatened to shoot you?”

“I’ll tell you what I would do if you threatened to shoot me,” Kuroo leaned on his elbows. “I’d disqualify both of you from the game and give Suga the punishment of a lifetime.”

Daichi’s eyes narrowed. They stared each other down for long seconds before Daichi finally relented, lowering the gun to his side.

“That’s a shame.”

Sugawara stood with a sigh and stepped over Kenma’s body. “Fine. Guess we’ll keep looking for stupid ass clues then. C’mon, Daichi.”

Daichi followed him through the next door.

The next train car was the kitchen. Several members of staff glanced their way as they entered, but didn’t say a word. Sugawara paused and then took the gun from Daichi.

“Alright!” he called, pointing the gun at a man in a white chef’s uniform. “If anybody in here is the murderer, get confessing or else I’ll start shooting.”

The staff members lifted their hands in surrender.

“Well?” Sugawara demanded. “Anybody have something to confess or what?”

“The murderer…” their waiter from earlier said hesitantly. He glanced at the others and then at Sugawara. “None of the staff is the murderer. It’s one of your party.”

Sugawara sucked on the inside of his cheek, tapping the gun with his thumb. “Is that the truth?”

“Yes.”

“Honestly we don’t care enough about this game to lie,” the chef with the gun pointed at his head said with a dull stare. “So long as I don’t have too big of a mess to clean by the end of this ride, I’m just going to mind my own business.”

The other staff members all hummed and nodded their agreement.

“And I don’t suppose you know which of us is the murderer?” Daichi asked.

“Kuroo-san didn’t fill us in on the details.”

Sugawara groaned and lowered the gun. “Damn it. Okay. Well.” He turned to Daichi. “Right now, Keiji is the most incriminating but until we know for sure…”

“Trust no one,” Daichi finished for him.

Sugawara’s lips curled. “Yeah.” He turned back to the staff. They had gone back to their work, cooking and cleaning. “Do you guys know of any clues in this car?”

“The guy with the dress and the two obnoxious tall guys already picked the place clean,” the waiter said.

Fuck.” Sugawara strode through the kitchen to the other end. “Okay, c’mon Daichi.”

He followed close behind to the door and they emerged into the next car.

And froze.

Bokuto sat, tied to a chair, in the center of the staff’s lounge car into which they emerged. Standing in front of him, who turned at the sound of their arrival, were Matsukawa and Hanamaki, brandishing two large knives.

For several moments, everyone merely stared at one another.

“Help,” Bokuto finally whimpered.

Sugawara lifted the gun and aimed it at the two with knives.

“Where’s Tooru?”

Hanamaki hummed and picked at his fingernails with the point of his knife. “I saw Iwaizumi steal a bottle of olive oil from the kitchen and lock himself in the closet in the next car down.”

Sugawara gasped. “Bastard! Nobody is getting laid on my watch!” He bolted past them.

“Wait! Help me! Don’t leave!” Bokuto begged as he passed.

“Sorry Bokuto, trust no one,” Sugawara said and disappeared through the door.

After a moment’s hesitation, Daichi chased after him, giving Bokuto an apologetic look.

“Nooooo!” he wailed.

Daichi closed the door, cutting off the sound of his cries. The next car was a storage area and Daichi hesitated, glancing to a cabinet on the right. There were probably endless hiding spots for clues among the stacks of boxes and drawers and shelves. But before he could begin to poke around, on the other end of the car, Sugawara drew his attention with a shout.

He had found the closet and wrenched the door open, gun up at the ready.

“Tooru you fucking—”

Sugawara gasped and dove out of the way as BB’s exploded from the closet and ricocheted off of the wall.

“Suga!” Daichi turned towards him as he scampered back in his direction, protecting his head.

“Suga-chaaaaaan!” Tooru emerged from the closet, sweaty and breathless. “Where are you going? Let’s play!”

Iwaizumi came out behind him, casually buckling his belt.

“Fuck you!” Sugawara said, turning and shooting at them. “I can’t believe you’re over here getting dick! I’m gonna murder you!”

“Is that a confession?” Tooru ducked behind the closet door and aimed his airsoft gun around it.

“Ah!” Sugawara winced as a pellet connected with his stomach, raising an instant bright red welt.

“Fuck,” Daichi dashed up to him and swept him up in his arms. Sugawara squeaked and clutched him around his neck.

“Dai—”

“Just concentrate on shooting,” he breathed and turned for the door.

Sugawara didn’t argue. He aimed the gun over Daichi’s shoulder and shot. Daichi carried him back into the car where Matsukawa and Hanamaki held Bokuto captive.

“Out of the way!” he barked.

Matsukawa and Hanamaki moved to the side, grinning with lazy excitement as Tooru burst into the compartment after them, sending an array of plastic bullets soaring through the enclosed space. Two of them connected with Daichi’s back and he flinched, darting around Bokuto’s chair, but not before pausing and kicking it over in the aisle, blocking Tooru’s path as he chased.

“Wah! Mean!”

Daichi glanced over his shoulder in time to watch Tooru trip over a leg of the chair and crash to the floor with a gargling screech, skirt flying up and revealing his boxers underneath.

Sugawara cackled and shot him repeatedly in the ass, earning shrieking curses as Tooru flailed and attempted to gain his feet once more. He was thwarted, however, when Bokuto got his legs free of his binds and quickly wrapped them around Tooru's ankles, causing him to faceplant into the floor again.

Daichi grinned and carried Sugawara through to the kitchen. He didn’t slow as he crossed it into the first dining car, where Kuroo and Kenma sat behind the monitors, laughing over a bottle of wine.

“Way to go, Sharpshooter!” Kuroo laughed as they passed.

Daichi carried him into the next dining car, which was empty. He finally slowed, breathing heavily, and Sugawara giggled, hugging him around the neck.

“My hero,” he said and pressed a soft kiss to Daichi’s cheek.

Daichi’s mouth went dry, heart thudding painfully. He gulped, eyes darting to Sugawara’s face as he smiled tenderly at him.

And fuck Daichi really liked him.

He had so much fun when they were together.

Daichi had never had so much fun before in his life. He had never gone on such wild adventures, breaking rules and putting himself in sticky situations just to win a silly game. Hanging out with Sugawara was so fun and Daichi wanted to do this all the time.

He should have never hesitated to call.

“Suga… I—”

Sharp pain exploded in the center of Daichi’s chest and he gasped, knees going weak at the shock. He dropped to the floor and several more explosions of pain erupted, this time in his groin.

“Daichi!”

Daichi slumped forward, Sugawara slipping from his arms as he pressed his hands over his crotch. They both looked up the length of the dining car.

Keiji stood just inside, holding two airsoft Uzi’s in his hands, aimed at the pair.

God damn those are powerful.

Daichi whimpered and crumpled into a ball, cradling his stinging groin.

“Bastard!” Sugawara whipped his gun up but the Uzi’s turned his direction and he paused.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Keiji said, voice low. When Sugawara didn’t move, he lifted his chin. “Put the gun on the floor.”

Sugawara slowly lowered the weapon to the rug.

“Good. Now, slide over all the clues you’ve found.”

“Get fucked!”

Keiji shot Daichi in the arm and he cried out in pain.

God damn it!

Those are too powerful!

“Okay!” Sugawara shifted in front of Daichi. “Stop! You can have it!”

He gathered up the files and newspaper, which been dropped to the floor when Daichi collapsed.

“Suga…” Daichi choked, grimacing. “Don’t—”

But Sugawara ignored him. He slid the clues up the aisle and Keiji stopped them with his foot. He set one of his guns aside, keeping the other trained on them, and crouched to collect the evidence. He stood once more, looking between the folders and their faces.

“This is it?”

Sugawara clicked his tongue. “Well, we were locked in the closet by some shit fuck earlier.”

Keiji hummed and tucked the files into the back of his tunic. “Very well. What’s the newspaper for?”

“I dunno. Daichi just grabbed it. Thought maybe there’d be something in there.”

Keiji glanced over it idly and tossed it to the side. He grabbed his second weapon and aimed them both at them as he drew near.

“Thank you for your assistance. No hard feelings, I hope?”

“Fuck off.”

Keiji shot Daichi in the knee and he let out a hissing groan, squeezing his eyes shut and biting down on his bottom lip.

“Stop it!” Sugawara bent protectively over Daichi. “Oh man I’m gonna kick your ass later.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Daichi peeled his eyes open to watch Keiji step over them and continue on to the door. He paused and gave them one last look. “Farewell.”

And with that, he left, cloak fluttering in his wake.

... and getting caught in the door.

They watched quietly as he opened the door again, tugged the fabric out, and closed it once more.

Sugawara sat up from his protective hunch and grumbled. “God, the game has changed him.” He hummed. “We agree though, right? He’s definitely the murderer.”

Daichi gulped. He reached up and rubbed his eyes.

“Sorry…”

“Hm?” Sugawara’s hand stroked over his hair, his other rubbing his shoulder. “What are you sorry for?”

“I’m so fucking lame.”

“What do you mean?”

Daichi pursed his lips.

“Daichi?”

“You…” he began, chest tightening. “You probably would’ve done better if we didn’t team up.”

Sugawara’s fingers were gentle in his hair, soothing and calm.

“Maybe,” he murmured. “But it’s more fun this way.”

Daichi furrowed his brow.

They sat in silence for long seconds as the pain from the pellets slowly faded and Daichi was able to roll out of his crumpled position with a sigh.

“Feel better?” Sugawara asked, voice tender.

“Yeah…”

At least, physically.

Emotionally though, he didn't feel better at all.

He had hoped that maybe he could do something cool... fool Sugawara into thinking that he was actually exciting and suave and fun and...

But instead, all he got was a crotch full of gunfire and a bruised and battered ego.

Man he was so lame.

Psst!

Daichi and Sugawara glanced at each other. Daichi sat up and they looked up and down the train car.

Psst! Up here!

They looked up.

Yukie’s face hung upside down from an open skylight in the ceiling of the compartment. She grinned and jerked her head, hair swaying with the motion.

“You guys gotta come check out this sunset!”

Daichi and Sugawara exchanged a look and Sugawara smiled.

“Wanna?”

He let out a soft sigh. “Sure.”

Sugawara stood and offered him his hands. He let him pull him to his feet and they walked over to the spot under the skylight.

“Pull that table over!” Yukie pointed.

Daichi grabbed the edge of the table and dragged it to the center of the aisle. Sitting atop it was the newspaper Keiji had tossed aside and he lifted it with a small huff of disappointment.

Sugawara climbed up on the table and flapped a hand at Yukie. “Move outta my way.”

Daichi unfolded the newspaper, eyes drifting down the front page. It was a competent fake. From the headline to the graphics and title story of illegal organ harvesting… if Daichi didn’t know better, he’d believe it was real.

“Daichi c’mon!”

He looked up at the opening in the ceiling. Sugawara had made it up and peered back down at him with a warm smile.

Daichi released a small breath.

Oh well.

They may have lost the game but… that was no reason not to enjoy the time he had left to spend with this exciting and fun man.

He set the newspaper to the side and climbed up onto the table. He gripped the side of the skylight and pulled himself up with a grunt. Sugawara gripped his elbow and helped him pull the rest of his body through.

“Yay! You made it!”

They looked up towards the front of the train, where Kaori sat, waving a bottle of wine at them. Beyond her, the sun was setting on the peaceful countryside, the sky cast in fiery orange and soft purple. The clouds were painted pink and yellow, huge and fluffy overhead in a breathtaking display.

“Wow,” Daichi murmured.

“Pretty, huh?”

Daichi looked up at Sugawara. He closed his eyes and turned his glowing face towards the setting light of the sun, lips curved into a soft smile as the gentle breeze of the train’s slow pace ruffled his hair.

Daichi’s stomach flipped, his heart swelling with so much affection that it was almost painful.

“C’mon! The view is better up here!”

Sugawara opened his eyes and they both looked towards Kaori and Yukie as they gestured at them to join them.

Sugawara stood and offered Daichi his hands. He took them and he pulled him to his feet. After giving themselves a moment to get used to the height atop the moving train, they made their way up to the front.

“We’re definitely not allowed to be up here, right?” Daichi asked as they sat next to the women.

Kaori giggled and passed him the bottle of wine. “Definitely.”

“Shame.” He drank from the mouth and then handed it to Sugawara.

“So how did you guys do?” Yukie asked, leaning around Kaori to peer at them with her sleepy eyes. “Find any cool clues?”

“Uhm,” Daichi rubbed the back of his neck. “A few. But Keiji stole them from us.”

“Bummer.” Yukie reached into her pocket and pulled something out. “This is all we found before we gave up immediately and decided to come up here.” She reached across Kaori and handed Daichi a pill bottle. “Found it in the kitchen.”

Sugawara leaned close to read the label with him.

“Donnatal,” Daichi mumbled. “Phenobarbital. Never heard of it.”

“It’s used to treat seizures,” Kaori said. “My brother has epilepsy and he takes it. Oh man it’s so scary though! One time he accidentally took too many and nearly overdosed. It was the scariest day in my life. He passed out and his breathing got so slow that it looked like he was dead.” She groaned and pressed a hand to her cheek. “So terrifying.”

Daichi pursed his lips and stared down at the bottle. He ran his thumb over the label quietly, pausing when he felt a change in texture. He smoothed his thumb over the spot again, and sure enough, there was a small strip that was different. Raised and coarse in contrast to the slick surface of the rest of the label.

“Hold on,” he murmured and used his fingernail to scratch at the spot. Chips of white fell away and he scratched harder, revealing black characters beneath. When it was completely gone, he stared down at the label with wide eyes. “Ikejiri…”

“Huh?” Sugawara leaned closer, peering at the bottle.

“Right here… it says Ikejiri Hayato.”

“Like, that’s who the bottle belongs to?” Yukie asked.

“No, it’s most likely who prescribed it,” Daichi said. “Though… I don’t know why he would prescribe epilepsy medication. He’s a surgeon.”

Everyone was silent.

Then Sugawara whispered, “What kind of surgeon is he?”

“He’s… he’s a cardiac surgeon…” Daichi blinked. “Hold on... Suga! The poem… do you still have the poem?”

Sugawara’s mouth fell open and he hurriedly dug the strip of paper out from inside his shorts. He held it out to him and Daichi took it.

Desire’s run black,

On the tip of a tack,

Too late, says the ticking clock,

Tick-tock, tick-tick-tock-tock.

He looked at Sugawara, excitement making his heart race. “Suga! This isn’t a poem! It’s lyrics!”

“Huh? Lyrics?”

“Ohh, I know that song. Bo loves that song,” Yukie said.

Kaori smiled at her and they both started singing the chorus, the familiar melody making Daichi and Sugawara turn to each other with wide eyes.

“Ikejiri’s ringtone!”

“Oh my god!” Sugawara looked down at the paper. “Ikejiri is the murderer!”

“Except Kenma isn’t dead,” Daichi said. “He just looks dead because Ikejiri drugged him!”

“But why?”

Daichi paused, wracking his mind. Realization struck him. “Cardiomyopathy… it has to do with the heart. That’s the cardio part. Ikejiri is a cardiac surgeon. And… the newspaper! The front page had an article talking about illegal organ harvesting—”

“Ahhhh!” Sugawara slapped his hands to his cheeks. “Ikejiri is trying to steal Kenma’s heart and transplant it into Yui!

Daichi whirled to the women. “Can we have this evidence?” He lifted the pill bottle.

“Go for it,” Yukie said.

“Thanks.” Daichi handed the wine bottle to them and rolled to his knees.

Sugawara hopped to his feet and took a few backward steps towards the skylight. “Oh my god, yes, we figured it out oh my god. So we’ll bring the pill bottle and lyrics and the newspaper to Kuroo and tell him it was Ikejiri and eep!—”

Daichi looked up and his heart dropped.

Ikejiri stood a short distance away, one arm wrapped around Sugawara’s neck, the barrel of a gun pressed to his temple.

“Oh Daichi… you couldn’t just leave it alone, could you?” Ikejiri said, clicking his tongue in disappointment. “I came up here to check and see that you were staying in your lane and I hear you plotting against me? I’m hurt, honestly.”

Daichi slowly rose to his feet, eyes darting between Sugawara’s and Ikejiri’s face.

“You looked so nice and defeated after Keiji had gotten to you too,” he went on, shockingly committed to his evil role. He chuckled. “Was it not good enough for you? You couldn’t just accept that it was him? Why are you so damn stubborn?”

Daichi gulped. “Now, now Ikejiri… let’s talk about this.”

“What is there to talk about?” he scoffed, rolling his eyes. “I’ve won. Now… do me a favor and just toss that evidence off the side of the train.”

“Littering?” Kaori mumbled. “Not cool, Bro, the planet is dying.”

“Don’t do it, Daichi!” Sugawara said. “It’s fine! I don’t mind getting shot!”

“Is that so?” Ikejiri tightened his grip around Sugawara’s neck and pressed the barrel tighter to his temple, causing him to grimace. “Fearless, aren’t you? I guess idiots close to death can afford to be a little fearless.”

And holy shit he was committed to this role.

Daichi was kinda… really impressed. He had never seen his totally tame and vanilla friend act so… devious.

“C’mon, Ikejiri,” Daichi said. “You and I both know you won’t shoot him.”

Ikejiri let out a barking laugh. “Why wouldn’t I? I don’t give a shit about this guy!” His voice rose. “What makes you think I would hesitate to kill him on the spot?”

“Jesus,” Daichi muttered.

“This is better than a soap opera,” Yukie whispered from behind him and Kaori hummed her agreement.

“It’s okay, Daichi. It’s just a stupid airsoft gun,” Sugawara said. “I don’t care if he—”

Ikejiri pulled the barrel away from his head and aimed at his shoulder. He pulled the trigger and the pellet exploded from the chamber and ricocheted off of his skin. Sugawara let out a cry, eyes squeezing shut and knees going weak.

“Oh god fuck! Why does that hurt so bad?

Ikejiri put the barrel back to his temple. “Still don’t care?” he asked, voice low. “Because if not, I’ll go ahead and put a bullet straight through your pretty little skull.”

Jesus,” Daichi rubbed his eyes.

“Okay yeah maybe I care a little bit,” Sugawara said, squirming under the gun. “But… but still don’t do it, Daichi! Don’t let him win!”

Daichi looked down at the bottle and strip of paper in his hands. Here was his chance. He finally had a chance to do something grand, to win this game for Sugawara and not be that lame, boring guy that he was ninety-nine percent of the time.

But…

Daichi lifted his eyes to Sugawara. He winced when Ikejiri tightened his hold around him, pushed the gun closer to his head.

Daichi sucked in a shaking breath and let it out. He twisted the lid of the pill bottle, popping it off, and tucked the song lyrics inside.

“Suga,” he said as he replaced the lid. “I’m sorry.”

“Wait… Daichi, don’t do it. I—”

“I should have called you.”

Sugawara fell silent.

Daichi swallowed and met his eyes. “I wanted to. The night we met… it was the best night of my life. And… I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since. I wanted to call you as soon as I got home. But… I was too scared.”

Sugawara’s brows furrowed. “Why?”

Daichi rubbed his eyes and let out a rueful laugh. “I was scared because… I didn’t want you to find out.” He dropped his hand and gave him a sad smile. “I didn’t want you to find out that I’m not that guy.” He looked out across the countryside, which was cast now in the soft colors of twilight. “I’m not that guy you met the other night. I’m not that guy who helped you steal that pedicab and drove like a lunatic through traffic. I’m not that guy brave enough to hold a python around my shoulders. I’m not that guy who can compete on equal footing with a bunch of maniacs on a drunken scavenger hunt through the city. I’m not…” He let out a sigh. “I’m not that guy.

“Daichi…”

“I’m boring!” Daichi threw his arms out wide and met his gaze once more. “Every day of the year I’m boring! I’m not that guy that you met the other night and that’s why I didn’t call you. Because I was terrified that after spending time with the real me, you would realize… realize that you don’t like me as much as you thought you did.” He lowered his voice, “That’s why I didn’t call you.”

Sugawara stared back at him, expression soft. He opened his mouth to say something, but Daichi interrupted.

“I’m sorry. If by the end of the night tonight, you still want me to call you…” He lifted his chin. “I’ll do it. I promise.”

Sugawara’s lips pursed and then curled into a tender smile. His eyes turned glossy.

Daichi cleared his throat and looked at Ikejiri. “So, you promise you’ll let him go if I throw these off?”

“Wait, don’t—”

“You have my word,” Ikejiri said.

Daichi nodded slowly and stared down at the pill bottle.

“Daichi please…” Sugawara begged.

Daichi let out a deep breath. He hefted the pill bottle and stared off to the side of the train tracks at the grassy slope of the riverbank beside which the train was puttering.

“Sorry Suga.”

He threw the bottle.

“No!” Sugawara pulled against Ikejiri’s grip, but it was too late.

The pill bottle landed in the grass and rolled to a stop.

Ikejiri laughed and released him. “Ahh, Daichi. You made the right decision. As reliable as usual. I knew I could count on you to do what was typical—”

Daichi took two large strides towards the side of the train and then jumped.

AAAAAAHHH DAICHI WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

Ikejiri’s scream followed him as he soared through the air, wind whipping his hair back, before he crashed to the ground and rolled down the bank.

“DAICHI!” Sugawara shouted after him. “Oh my fucking god, DAICHI!”

Daichi panted, body aching, and rolled onto his stomach. He glanced towards the train as it passed, spotting Sugawara at the edge of the car, Ikejiri with his arms around his middle to prevent him from jumping after him.

“Fuck, I’m way too old for this shit.” Daichi groaned and struggled to his feet. He stumbled over to where he had thrown the pill bottle and snatched it up, shoving it into his pocket.

He sucked in a deep breath and then started running alongside the train, searching for somewhere to climb back on. The vehicle couldn’t be moving faster than 25 kph, thank god, so Daichi was able to keep up easily, despite the aches and pains that plagued his body that he would no doubt be feeling with a vengeance in the morning.

He searched up and down the side of the train to no avail. Not only was the entrance through which he had entered the first time he climbed aboard on the other side, but the old train had been completely streamlined when it had been refurbished into a recreational operation. Meaning there were no ladders, no open doorways between cars upon which he could pull himself.

Clearly, he hadn’t thought this plan through.

The longer he searched, the more he realized that if there was any hope for him to board the train again, it would be at the back.

He let out a groan and slowed his pace, allowing the train to pull ahead.

“Please have a door,” he puffed. “Please have an unlocked door.”

It didn’t take long before the train completely passed him and he leapt onto the tracks, careful not to trip over the uneven ground. He nearly burst into tears of relief when he saw the door on the tail end of the final car.

And then nearly burst into tears of frustration when he realized it was a good meter off the ground, with no platform outside. Not even a railing to grab on to.

Just how the fuck was he supposed to jump up there and get the door open?

God, he really hadn’t thought this stupid fucking plan out.

“FuuuuUUUUUCK!” he roared as he chased the train, pumping his arms and legs harder, spite fueling his strength.

He was not surrendering yet.

Not fucking yet.

Not when he had just done something grand for the infuriatingly cute guy who had ruled his mind for the past week.

No fucking way was he giving up now.

Daichi picked up speed, gritting his teeth. He would just do it. Just jump and hope that he reached the handle, was able to wrench the door open, and pull himself inside.

As he was thinking it, the door suddenly flew open wide.

Daichi released a shocked gasp and then there he was.

Sugawara stood in the doorway, gripping it with one hand and extending his other towards him.

Take my hand!” He shouted, bending his knees.

And he was like some sort of vengeful angel, showing up in the nick of time. Daichi almost burst into tears over the relief of seeing his near naked form there, beckoning for him.

Now wasn’t the time for celebrating though. He shoved his joy aside and picked up speed yet again, forcing his legs to move faster, his arms to pump harder. When he was close enough, he threw his hand out and it locked on Sugawara’s wrist. They gripped each other tight and the other man jerked backwards, throwing his weight back into the train. Daichi kicked off of the tracks and jumped into the compartment, crashing into Sugawara’s chest and sending him to the floor on his back, Daichi slamming down on top of him.

Daichi gasped for air, adrenaline coursing through his veins in jittery currents. His arms shook as he rested them on the floor next to Sugawara’s head and pushed up just enough to meet his eyes a second before he was being pulled right back down.

Sugawara crushed their lips together, quivering hands holding his head tight until Daichi was sure the touch would bruise.

Not that he cared. Because a second kiss had been on his mind for the past week and he was finally given his chance to take it and there was no way he would let it go to waste.

There was no way he’d let it end as soon as the first.

Daichi cupped Sugawara’s jaw in one hand and slanted their lips together, licking into his mouth with a frantic little breath.

Maybe it was the fact that he nearly just killed himself by jumping off of a moving train, or maybe it was because he knew he was pathetic and lame and the adrenaline now was somehow overriding all of that, but there was no fucking way that Daichi was going to stop now.

They kissed frantically for a long minute before finally pausing to catch their breath.

“You jumped off a fucking train,” Sugawara panted. “For me.”

Daichi gulped and pressed his lips to his jaw.

“Daichi… you know I gotta yell at you now.”

“Let’s just make out some more.” Daichi silenced his protest by thrusting his tongue into his mouth once more.

Sugawara let out a soft moan, head lifting off of the floor to deepen the kiss. His hands slipped down from his hair and coasted over his shoulders. He squeezed his biceps hard in his fingers before giving him a shove.

And Daichi was just exhausted and weak enough to be rolled onto his back without resistance. Sugawara climbed on top of him, straddling his hips. He cupped his face in both hands, kissed him tenderly, and then pulled back.

“Daichi,” he said softly. “You fucking lunatic.”

“Like you’re one to talk.”

Sugawara kissed him again and Daichi held his hips in his hands, fingers flexing.

When Sugawara broke away again, Daichi let out a groan of protest and tried to chase his lips. Sugawara tightened his grip on his face and pushed him away.

“First of all, Jackass,” he began, voice husky. “What makes you think I want a guy who’s wild all the time?”

Daichi blinked. “What?”

“Stupid Daichi.” Sugawara’s thumb swiped over his flushed cheeks. “Do you realize how exhausting it would be if we were both wild 24/7? You think I want to go on dumbass drunk scavenger hunts and murder mystery dates every night?”

He gulped. “I…”

“Hell no! Even I don’t have the energy for that! This stuff…” He released Daichi’s face with one hand and waved it vaguely around them. “This is fun every once in a while but I don’t want to do it every night! I don’t want a wild guy who tries too hard to make my life interesting.” He huffed and shoved his hair out of his face. “My life is already interesting enough!”

Daichi stared up at him in disbelief.

“Maybe…” Sugawara looked away, brows furrowing. “Maybe a boring, laid back guy who doesn’t take any risks on the regular, who has a good, steady job and keeps me out of trouble is exactly the type of guy I’m looking for. Stupid. Dumbass.”

“I…”

“And second of all,” Sugawara interrupted, turning a glare to him. “Idiot… you are that guy.”

Daichi’s heart flipped and he clamped his mouth shut.

“Stupid Daichi. That guy from the other night… the guy right here who just jumped off a moving train… that is you. Maybe it’s not you all the time. But it’s you.” He leaned over him and gently pushed his hair from his forehead. “You are fun. Even if you need a push from others to get to this point, it’s still you and you’re still wildly irresponsible, just like me. Whether you like it or not.”

“I like it,” Daichi whispered.

Sugawara’s eyes glinted, his lips twitched up into a small smile. “Do you?”

“Yes. I like it. I like who I am when I’m with you.” He wet his lips, eyes sliding down Sugawara’s face. He felt tingly and warm and weak as the adrenaline started to fade away and he thought maybe he wouldn’t mind just lying here for the rest of the night. “I have so much fun when we’re together.”

“Yeah…” Sugawara let out a soft sigh and kissed his lips tenderly. “Me too.”

He kissed him again before pulling back with a huff.

“Okay, I gotta know. Is that a boner or a pill bottle in your pocket?”

“I didn’t jump off of a moving fucking train to get a boner, Suga.”

“Well excuse me, here I was thinking maybe danger got you off or something.” Sugawara laughed and crawled off of him.

Daichi chuckled and then groaned as the forgotten pain was suddenly back.

“Fuck, that hurt way more than Tom Cruise made it seem like it would.”

Sugawara giggled and took the pill bottle that he dug out of his pocket and offered to him.

“You’re insane,” he said happily. “But… thank you anyway.”

Daichi opened his mouth to reply but Sugawara leaned over and planted a kiss on his lips, silencing him.

“Now, c’mon. We’ve got a murder to solve!” Sugawara hopped to his feet and offered a hand to Daichi.

“Ugh, just leave me here to die.”

“No way!” He paused, giving him a boyish half smile. “We’re partners, remember? We gotta do it together.”

Daichi sighed. He eyed the hand for a long second before grabbing it and allowing Sugawara to drag him to his feet once more. While he stood, stretching his sore and stiff muscles with whining groans, Sugawara finally closed the back door of the train car.

Daichi took the hand that was offered him again and they laced their fingers together as they made their way through the train to the dining car where others gathered.

Bokuto sat between Matsukawa and Hanamaki in a booth, eating ice cream. Kaori and Yukie had come down from the roof and both cheered when they spotted Daichi, clapping and whistling.

Ikejiri leapt to his feet from where he sat with Yui and rushed up to them.

“Daichi you fucking idiot!” he wailed, fat tears rolling down his freckled cheeks. “I thought you died! What were you thinking?”

“Stay back, Murderer!” Sugawara announced, drawing everyone’s attention. He put himself between Daichi and Ikejiri and turned to Kuroo where he and Kenma sat watching him behind the monitors. “I’ve solved it, Bitch.”

“Oh? Go ahead then.”

Sugawara cleared his throat and pointed at Ikejiri. “Ikejiri is the killer. Or is he? You have to actually kill in order to be a killer, after all…”

“Ooooo?” Hanamaki leaned forward.

“Kenma was never dead!” Sugawara lifted the pill bottle. “He was given a high dose of uhm… pheno… babara or something. And it made him look dead!”

“No way!” Bokuto exclaimed. “What a twist!”

“And why would Ikejiri do that?” Kuroo pressed, folding his hands under his chin, eyes twinkling.

“Because! He’s the one in the newspaper who is harvesting people organs! He’s a cardiac surgeon! And who just so happens to have some sort of scary sounding disease involving the heart?” Sugawara pointed at Yui. “Michimiya Yui!”

Yui blinked and pointed at herself. “I do?”

“In this universe you do, apparently,” Daichi said.

“Ohhh, fun!”

“Here.” Sugawara walked over to Kuroo’s booth and set the pill bottle down. “They have Ikejiri’s name on them. And inside is a note I found in Kenma’s hand with lyrics that match the song Ikejiri has set as his ringtone. I could get the newspaper for you too if you want.”

Kuroo hummed and tapped the bottle, eyes sliding in Ikejiri’s direction.

“Have anything to say about this accusation?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Ikejiri wiped the tears from his cheeks and slipped right back into his role.

“Alright, yeah, it was me! You figured it out, congratulations!”

Oh snap,” Bokuto whispered, pressing his hands over his mouth.

“You wouldn’t understand!” Ikejiri jabbed a finger at Sugawara. “It’s easy for you to act all high and mighty but you wouldn’t understand.

“Then explain it to us, Criminal!” Sugawara shot back.

I would do anything for the woman I love! Even murder an innocent man and rip his heart right out of his still living chest!

The train car fell silent and Daichi held his breath as everyone looked at Yui, whose eyes had blown wide.

A few seconds ticked by before Ikejiri seemed to finally understand what he just said. His face exploded with color, his evil façade dropping like a stone to the ground, and he immediately brought his arms in close to his body, mouth flapping as he stammered,

“Ahh… uhm… oh… uhh…”

Man, and Daichi thought he was lame…

Yui slowly stood. “Ikejiri?”

He flinched, biting his bottom lip.

“Is that… is what you said… also a thing just in this game’s universe?”

Ikejiri’s eyes met Daichi’s, searching for help, but Daichi merely shrugged and flapped his hands at him.

No way was he going to rescue him.

It was about damn time this happened.

Ikejiri gulped and cleared his throat. He turned to Yui, wringing his hands together.

“It’s… well… it’s kinda a thing in… both.”

Her gaze slid to Daichi and he offered the same noncommittal gesture as he gave Ikejiri.

She gulped. And then the space between them closed, her arms went around his neck, and they kissed.

Finally.

God.

Idiots.

Daichi released a huge sigh of relief and slumped into the booth across from Kuroo’s and Kenma’s.

“Wooo! Get it!” Matsukawa cheered.

Kaori and Yukie joined in with catcalls and Yui and Ikejiri broke away, faces burning crimson and avoiding making eye contact with each other, or anybody else for that matter.

“Alright, I guess that makes Koushi the winner then!” Kuroo clapped his hands.

“YES! SUCK IT!” Sugawara punched the air, jumping giddily. “FUCK YOU KEIJI AND TOORU!” He paused, looking around. “Uhm… where are Keiji and Tooru?”

“Oh.”

Everyone turned towards the voice. Iwaizumi stood in the doorway across the car, plate with a slice of pie in his hand. He chewed nonchalantly and said,

“I locked them in a closet to settle their differences.”

Everyone turned back to Kuroo. He clicked something on one of the laptops and nodded.

“Yeah, they’re dead.” He sipped from a wine glass. “Probably should have confiscated the guns.”

Iwaizumi shrugged and continued to eat.

“I guess Phase Three is forfeit then,” Kuroo sighed.

Sugawara gave him a suspicious look. “What was Phase Three?”

“Sudden death. Three enter the cage… only one comes ouuuuut—”

“Fuck you.”

Kuroo pouted. Until Kenma leaned up and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. Then tears were filling his eyes and he turned away, hiding his face in the crook of his elbow, body shuddering with choked sobs.

Sugawara fell into Daichi’s booth and scooted close to his side, cuddling against his shoulder.

Daichi’s heart slammed in his chest and he gulped, tentatively resting his hand on Sugawara’s thigh.

A hum vibrated through him and his head rolled back to stare up at him.

“Hey… Daichi.”

“Hm?”

His lips curled into a soft smile. “My answer is yes.”

Daichi cocked an eyebrow. “Answer to what?”

“Earlier…” His fingers danced over his forearm. “Before you suicide dove off the side of the train… you said if I still wanted you to call me, you would. Well…” He rubbed his chin gently against his shoulder. “Yes. I do."

Gay crisis status: Nuclear.

“Nah,” Daichi whispered.

An incredulous look wrinkled his brow. “Huh?”

“Won’t need to. Because you’re coming home with me tonight.”

Sugawara’s eyes widened and Daichi immediately backtracked.

“Yo-you know… if you want to. I won’t force you of course, uhm, but like, the offer is on the table—”

His words were silenced when Sugawara surged forward and kissed him. They prolonged the touch for long, sweet seconds before finally parting, Daichi’s heart racing out of control.

“So… I finally hunted him, huh?” Sugawara whispered.

Daichi gulped, trying to clear the heady fog that had swept through his head.

“Hm?”

Sugawara’s eyes twinkled. “My future boyfriend.”

Gay crisis status: Supersonic.

“Nah,” Daichi mumbled, brushing their lips together again. “Not future. Current.”

Sugawara grinned. “So then I’m still on the hunt for my future boyfriend, huh? Hmm, okay I’ll keep my options open then.”

Daichi growled and cupped his cheek, giving his bottom lip a light bite.

“You wild brat.”

He giggled and squirmed.

“Oh!”

They paused in their flirting to glance over at Kuroo, who was watching his monitors once more.

“They’re alive!” He paused and then hummed. “No, never mind. Still dead.”

Daichi chuckled and Sugawara cuddled closer to his side, hugging his arm to his chest.

The train car hummed with peaceful quiet for several seconds before it was broken.

“So…” Bokuto looked between Matsukawa and Hanamaki, face bright with an innocent smile. “When’s your bachelor parties?”