Kuroo was taking too long.
Tsukishima Kei was getting impatient, he’d been sitting in the Nekoma school cafeteria for half an hour now, and his lover still hasn’t come out of their team’s room. Karasuno had just finished having their practice match against Nekoma, and they were all supposed to have lunch after washing up and changing their clothes. However, it seems that Kuroo’s team had been caught up chatting with another powerhouse, the Fukorodani Gakuen.
Kuroo, in particular, was close friends with Bokuto Koutaro and Akaashi Keiji from Fukorodani. They’ve known each other way before Kei even met Kuroo on Karasuno’s first practice match against both teams. Kei had met them on multiple occasions, and could even dare say that they were friends. After all, the first time he had an interaction with Kuroo was when the three asked him to play volleyball with them on Gym 3, and he had been practicing with them every time they had practice matches since. They were also there when Kuroo asked Tsukishima out; Akaashi in particular was the one to give Kei an encouraging look when he was too choked up to find words to accept Kuroo’s confession. Needless to say, they were as precious to Kei as his teammates in Karasuno, maybe only even second to his closeness with Kuroo.
At the moment, however, Kei was feeling really off. He was a bit upset, seeing as they had been on the losing side of every match since morning, all throughout half of the day. Not a single win; and although he doesn’t want to be pessimistic, he’s not quite a positive person, either. He’s tired, and he just really wants to get a hug from his favorite person. Said favorite person was nowhere to be seen, though, so Kei has no choice but to quietly sit there and sulk.
“Something wrong, Kei?” the mother of the group, Sugawara, asks. He was sitting next to Kei who was on the edge of the bench of their table. Across from him is their captain Daichi, who spares Kei a concerned glance. Of course, Kei didn’t choose to sit at the edge so he could dash off as soon as he was done eating, and there’s no way Daichi was worried over something like that, is there.
“...not really.” Kei pouts.
“But you haven’t touched your food.”
Ah, Sugawara. Always the observant one.
“’m not particularly hungry.”
“Still, you should eat, even just a little. You spent a lot of energy jumping blocks and performing dives earlier; you should replenish some, at least.” Daichi advises.
Suga sighs. “Is it Kuroo?”
Kei glances at him, surprised. Was it that obvious?
Kei was thinking of what to say when a raucous laughter that can only come from one (1) person was suddenly heard coming from somewhere down the entrance of the cafeteria.
As expected, Kuroo was talking to Bokuto while walking inside the canteen, a hand lifted up behind his neck in a motion Kei was sure is to tug at the hairs on the back of his head. Kuroo says it calms him, and always gets Kei to do it whenever he has a chance to sleep on Kei’s lap. Beside Kuroo was his bestfriend Kenma, with whom Kei have always had a good relationship ever since Kuroo formally introduced Kei to Kenma as his boyfriend. Even Kuroo was surprised at how fast they had clicked; especially when he comes home one time to his and Kenma’s shared dorm apartment to see Tsukishima and Kenma beating each other up playing video games on the living room television. They were focusing so intensely at the monitor that they didn’t even notice Kuroo had come home. When he had cried and acted all cute in the kitchen behind them, whining to Kei how he doesn’t give his boyfriend any attention, Kei had casually turned back, slung an arm over the back of the couch, told Kuroo to ‘give him two seconds’, and beat Kenma within that timeframe. That was the first time Kuroo had ever seen Kenma lose at his own favorite game, and even Kuroo couldn’t beat him during the five years that he had been playing the exact same game with his bestfriend. Kenma had sworn to ‘beat Tsukki next time’, and he’d often invite Kei over since.
At the moment, Kenma unsurprisingly had his hands and eyes glued to his Nintendo Switch and walked ahead of the two towards Nekoma’s table. Kei waited for a few seconds and glanced around the room. Apparently, Akaashi had already sat down way ahead of Bokuto and was talking to a junior of his club. Frowning, Kei once again returned his line of sight to the two still talking at the entrance of the cafeteria and pouted, remaining oblivious to Sugawara and Daichi’s questioning looks as they followed his gaze.
At the same time, Kuroo finally looks over their table, seemingly having sensed the weight of Kei’s stare. He smiled his signature lopsided smirk at Kei for a fleeting moment that had Kei’s heart fluttering as hard as it had the first time Kuroo had directed it at him, and returned to discussing whatever topic he was so focused on talking about with Bokuto.
Not wanting to wait anymore, Kei moved to stand up, only to be held back by a concerned-looking Sugawara. “Kei, I know Kuroo taunts and teases you all the time but it’s better not to let yourself get affected by such provocations.”
Huh? Kei is confused. What did Sugawara mean ‘not get affected by such provocations...’??
“It’s okay, mama Suga! Just let Kei go!!” A smiling Yamaguchi quips from beside Sugawara.
“Huh?” Sugawara and Daichi looks at Yamaguchi questioningly.
As Kei’s bestfriend, of course Yamaguchi knows all about Kuroo and Kei’s relationship. He had been sympathetic with Kei when his bestfriend had told him that he had feelings for the older male, but ultimately had been one of the major proponents that helped Kuroo get together with Kei.
Kei didn’t want to think anymore, he doesn’t have the energy to think about what Sugawara’s question and both of his and Daichi’s confused look had meant. Seeing as Sugawara had already loosened his hold on his wrist, Kei took this chance to tug his hand free and walk towards his lover.
Of course, Kei had no clue what the whole population who didn’t know that they were dating thought of his and Kuroo’s relationship. They hardly showed any affection to each other in public, usually settling with subtle glances and encouraging smiles. Their relationship didn’t affect their plays in the slightest; rather, it even pushed them to work harder at court. For him and Kuroo, it was a given; they come from rival schools, after all. However, to other volleyball players, the occasional glances they would send each other across the court would seem to contain balls of fury due to their intensity, and the random smiles would look taunting; as if provoking the other to a fight. Of course, that was because they had no way of knowing that those meant the exact opposite.
His steps became faster the closer he got to Kuroo and he started to raise his arms to give him a hug. To others, this action of Kei looked like he was getting ready to punch Kuroo; and, coupled with Kei’s naturally poker face that was slightly grumpier than usual due to his bad mood, the whole volleyball club was inevitably overcome by a foreboding feeling. They instantly got ready to intervene: collective gasps were heard from Karasuno, students from the nearest table occupied by Fukorodani started standing up from their seats, and Nekoma players watched on with tensed bodies; that is of course, except for Yamaguchi, who was even humming while eating happily, Kenma, who was still playing with his Switch without any signs of wanting to touch his food, and Akaashi, who was quietly munching on a carrot on his fork.
At the very last moment, when Kei was just a few steps away, Kuroo and Bokuto finally notice his presence and move their heads to look at him. Kei immediately moved his hands in front of him, enveloping Kuroo in a huge hug. Kuroo, having been used to Kei’s different moods, reacted fairly quickly, his arms coming up to catch Kei and hug him back gently while softening the collision by moving his own body.
The entire cafeteria was drowned in complete silence.
It was only broken by Bokuto greeting Kei in a hearty manner.
“Hey hey hey, Tsukki! I see you’ve grown taller since I last saw you!”
“It’s been three weeks, Bo.” Kuroo snorts.
“So what? I missed our Tsukki!”
“Hey, Bo.” Kei gives him a small smile.
“Hey there, baby dinosaur. You feeling alright?” Kuroo chuckles, stroking Kei’s hair.
“You were taking too long,” Kei grumbled, hiding his face into Kuroo’s chest.
“I’m sorry, Bo here was asking me for tips on his thesis. You know we graduate this year, right?” Kuroo laughs lightly.
Kei only grunts in response.
Bokuto watches the scene play out with amused eyes, and seeing as Kei doesn’t seem to have any more to say, casually goes back to his conversation with Kuroo.
The entire cafeteria erupts in uproar.
“WHAT?!” Taketora, Tanaka and Nishinoya yells in chorus.
“I thought Tsukishima was going to punch the Nekoma captain.” Asahi breathes a sigh of relief, black lines appearing on his forehead.
“Well, I thought the same but...” Daichi trails off.
“Seems like everyone did!” Yamaguchi says happily.
Sugawara, who had his hands over his mouth while standing frozen in shock, seems to have come to his senses hearing Yamaguchi’s remark. “You knew about this, Yamaguchi?”
“Yeah~!” Yamaguchi cheerfully replies.
“So they’re dating? They’re really dating?” Konoha asks an unaffected Akaashi, who nods in response.
“B-but, that can’t be! They were always looking at each other as if they want to eat the other, or something.”
“Okay, but does that mean Tsukki’s not a virgin anymore?” Hinata speaks up, only to receive a slap on the back of the head from his boyfriend Kageyama, who was sitting beside him.
“Hinata boke! How do you even know Tsukishima’s the uke?”
(A/N: ‘Uke’ is the bottom.)
“Well, as if Kuroo-san would be?”
The whole table looks at the one still munching on his food without a care in the world.
Yamaguchi, finally noticing the stares directed at him, swallows his food.
“Oh, don’t ask me. I know nothing.” He innocently replies, holding his spoon up as if swearing an oath.
“Bullshit! You’re Kei’s bestfriend!” Nishinoya accusingly points at Yamaguchi.
“Language, Noya.” Daichi reprimands the second year.
“But how long have they been together?” Sugawara asks.
“Since the second practice match!” Yamaguchi had a big smile on his face.
“Wow, Kuroo-san sure moves fast!!” Hinata’s eyes were literally sparkling.
“Yeah, even faster than your alien quick!” Tanaka laughs.
All eyes move back to the scene at the entrance of the cafeteria, where Kuroo had removed his jacket and slung it over Kei’s shoulder, the latter still hugging him. He was absently tugging on the hair at the base of Kei’s neck, his other hand gently holding Kei by the waist.
A smile slowly makes its way across Suga’s face. “At least I know my Kei is in good hands.” He looks at Daichi, who was smiling while taking in the scene.
“Yes. Yes, he is.”