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Treasure Hunting

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“Ughhhh, are we almost there yet??” Kuroo asked for the tenth time as he was avoiding the low branches that seemed never ending. A scowl popped up on his face as the branches went from being eye level to shoulder level. Why the hell am I squatting through the woods for some miniscule village? 

Tsukishima grumped in return, as he too had to duck underneath the bare branches. “Shut up. It has only been 15 minutes since we left Shiratorizawa. If your lazy ass wasn’t straggling around so much, we could have been there already.”

“Why don’t you shut the hell up Tsukisima,” Kuroo growled. He was too distracted with Tsukishima and the branches that he overlooked the log buried underneath the red and yellow leaves. With a loud yelped, Kuroo fell forward into the pile of leaves and branches. The sound of snapping did not sound pleasant; and actually didn’t feel pleasant at all.

Tsukishima held back a snort; a condescending look appeared on his face as he looked down at Kuroo. “Maybe if you fixed that bed head of yours, you could have seen that log.”

Kuroo lifted his head from the bed of leaves, his hair littered with them, and gave Tsukishima a nasty glare. “Fuck you.”

“Damn it! Will both of you guys shut the fuck up. God.” Iwaizumi whipped his head back to where a fallen Kuroo and a pleased looking Tsukishima stood—or sprawled. The furrow between his eyebrows grew deeper with each passing second. “Hurry the hell up will ya? It’s not like I enjoy having branches whip me in my head either.”

A light chuckle was heard from the very front of the pack. Sugawara’s silvery hair slightly bounced with each chuckle. How he could deal with us. Kuroo will never understand.

“Calm down Iwaizumi. We’re almost there, so don’t get all grumpy now,” Sugawara said as he patted Iwaizumi’s shoulder. Iwaizumi turned his head to the left to meet Sugawara’s face, but was greeted by Sugawara’s index finger instead as it poked him between his eyebrows. Iwaizumi flinched in response, which elicited another chuckle from Sugawara. “Stop furrowing your eyebrows. It’s barely 9 in the morning and too early to get stressed.” Iwaizumi turned his head away from Sugawara with an upset face, but no furrowed brows.

Sugawara turned towards Tsukishima and Kuroo with a placid smile and a tilt of the head that indicated that he was waiting. Without another word, Kuroo quickly got up and scuttled alongside Tsukishima, both with flat expressions, to catch up to where Sugawara and Iwaizumi were standing. Once all 4 members were together, Sugawara flashed a brief, but genuine smile before turning around to resume their walk to the village. The other 3 were rooted in their spot as they stared at Sugawara walking ahead.

“We’re totally whipped,” Kuroo said aloud to no one in particular, although they all knew what he was talking about.

Sugawara paused and looked over his right shoulder, the smile still on his face. The sun was perfectly behind him, highlighting his hair to create an ethereal combination of silver and gold. The 3 boys had to squint now that the sunrays were reflecting off of Sugawara’s perfectly white teeth.

“Well, are you guys coming or what?” Sugawara said in a light tone. He faced forward once more, disappearing into the light.

“Extremely whipped,” whispered Iwaizumi as he followed Sugawara.

“How?” sighed a nonplussed Tsukishima as he trailed right after Iwaizumi.

Kuroo suddenly became haggard as he went after Tsukishima. I don’t think I can every win against Suga.

 

 _________________________________________________________________

 

Kuroo ran a hand through his hair to get rid of all the leaves. After the last leaf, he moved his hair back into its original position before the embarrassing fall. He liked his ‘bed hair’ or whatever Tsukishima wanted to call it. A smirk appeared on his face. Regardless of anything, Kuroo knew he was still hot.

Kuroo’s gaze jumped from one member to another as he stared at their face. Sugawara’s short, silvery hair complimented his pale skin. The fluffiness was an added bonus. His skin itself basically reflected light, so he always looked like he was glowing. Aside from Tsukishima’s douchebag attitude, he was (regrettably) an attractive man. His short blond hair was a bit boyish for a guy his height, but somehow the contrast with his hair and resting bitch face worked well. And Kuroo’s smirk turned a bit lecherous when he focused at the last guy in their pack, Iwaizumi. That dense block of lean meat didn’t realize how much attention he garnered from everyone in city. His short black hair was a bit rough, but no one could deny the fact that it matched the perpetual serious look he harbored on his face all day. The intensity of his stare was frightening, yet captivating at the same time.

Actually, everyone in this troop is pretty hot if I say so myself.

Kuroo’s smirk became more lopsided as he thought about the perspective of cute, innocent village girls. “Hey, hey, hey,” he said in an inquisitive tone. The three men ahead of him looked back with a look of anticipation. “Do you think I could score a chick in that village?”

Tsukishima’s face contorted in disgust, “With your bed head—no. And how the hell did you get there? We’re trying to find some treasure: gold, silver, and whatnots; not a place for you to stick your dick in.”

Kuroo laughed out loud, patting Tsukishima’s shoulder as air escaped his lungs. He didn’t notice the glare Tsukishima was giving him since laughing made his eye close. After a substantial amount of time, Kuroo opened his eyes, a glint present. He spoke with an inconspicuous seduction, “Oh, this hair definitely gets me some action in bed.” He ended his sentence with a wink and walked past Tsukishima to Iwaizumi and Sugawara.

Tsukishima looked forward and muttered, “I can’t deal with you,” and regretfully dragged his feet to where Sugawara was.

Still looking ahead at the sun, Kuroo’s grin become thinner and wider. “I’m a 20 year old male. Let me and my horniness rage on.” Kuroo almost skipped the rest of the way to Iwaizumi and Sugawara.

Sugawara shook his head is disapproval, but not without a slight tug on his mouth, “Enough Kuroo. We can talk about your sex life at another time. We’re supposed to meet Kageyama at the outskirts of the village by 9am.” He looked up at the sun, raising his right hand to shield his eyes. “It’s already a quarter past nine.”

“Oh crap,” Iwaizumi said with the faintest sign of surprise on his face,” I forgot about Kageyama.”

Kuroo head tilted to the side, a quizzical look appeared on his face. “Why did Kageyama go so early?”

Suga answered without looking back or stopping, “Apparently, he’s been scoping that area and village for the past few months.” His voice lowered to a barely audible whisper, “I think he got a bit attached, although he’ll never admit that. He’s probably preparing himself for today.”

The sound of crickets and birds filled in for the silence that enveloped them. The sun shone brightly, not aware of the sins they were about to commit.

Kuroo released his sigh up, causing his bangs to flutter in the air. “We’ve been doing this for 2 years now; he shouldn’t let this get to him.”

Iwaizumi muttered from the front, “It happens.”

Kuroo felt anxious and fiddled with the hilt of the sword hanging off his right hip. He brought his shorter and duller blade on purpose. He might be robbing them, but he definitely had no intention of hurting them. He knew no one in his troop wanted that to happen.

The next 10 minutes of the walk was also in silent, but a heavy air of understanding surrounded them.

“Found him,” Iwaizumi said calmly, arm extended.

Kuroo followed Iwaizumi’s index finger, and his eyes landed on Kageyama sitting on a tree stump overlooking the hill. His medium length raven hair billowed from the slight breeze. He looked over the edge of the hill with a disturbed scowl, not his usual neutral and infamous scowl.

“Ayo Kageyama,” Kuroo shouted.

Kageyama turned his head back to stare at the source of sound. 2 years together made it easy to recognize one another’s voice. His face softened into his usual scowl as he tersely nodded his head in acknowledgment. “Hey, took you long enough.”

Tsukishima quickly replied, “Kuroo’s as slow as a turtle, so blame him.”

Ignoring Tsukishima’s comment, Kuroo cheerily replied to Kageyama with a soft grin, “So how are you faring?” It only took as few strides for Kuroo to reach Kageyama. He slammed a hand on his left shoulder. His sly and expecting grin indicated that he wanted an honest answer.

Kageyama glared into Kuroo’s dark eyes, not wanting to answer. Seconds passed before a second, gentler hand found its way onto Kageyama’s right shoulder. His glare automatically faltered as he met Sugawara’s honey brown eyes. He pursed his lips; his conviction wavered. It wasn’t until Sugawara gave him a light squeeze and a smile as warm as the sun did he acquiesced.

Kageyama close his eyes and released a sigh as large as his pride. Kuroo gave Sugawara a quick wink, causing Sugawara to giggle a bit. Even Kageyama is whipped.

Kageyama opened his eyes, his face naturally adopting a scowl. “I’m alright,” he muttered. “But whatever. This has to get done or else Ushijima will have our heads.”

“Oh ho ho, no honorifics I see,” commented Kuroo.

“Oh shut up Kuroo,” Kageyama seethed.

Ah, that’s more like it. An amused smile appeared on Kuroo’s face.

“What the hell are you smiling about?” Annoyance was obvious on Kageyama’s face.

“Oh nothing~” The devious smile on Kuroo was now directed at Sugawara who returned the smile.

Iwaizumi stomped towards them, snapping the branches under his feet. He folded his arms over his puffed out chest, head slightly tilted up. “So lets get to the point here. How is this going to work Kageyama?” His right eyebrow rose a bit towards the end.

Kageyama focused his attention towards Iwaizumi. “Do you mean the raid or the people?”

“Both,” everyone said in unison.

“Well, it seems that everyone had some kind of goods in their homes. Either silver, ore, jewels, the basics. I don’t think they have the golden ore. Actually, I’m positive they don’t. They aren’t materialistic like that, so the golden ore would mean nothing to them.” A sigh escaped Kageyama’s mouth, his eyes turned a bit solemn. His next words came out a little louder than a whisper. “The people of Karasuno Village are good people. Not like the other assholes of villages we raided. I didn’t give a shit about them, but this one isn’t going to be easy.”

Tsukishima looked at him straight in the eye. “There’s something else.”

Kuroo blurted it out, exasperated with hands flailing everywhere, “You’re attached to someone didn’t you.”

An amused smirk appeared on Tsukishima’s face.

Kageyama pursed his lips and looked down, placing an abnormal amount of attention on a beetle rolling in the leaves. The tinge of pink on his cheek said it all.

“WOO! Kageyama got himself a girl? What?!” Kuroo’s grin would have taken up half of his face if it were humanly possible. He took a more dominant stance, feet shoulder width apart with his tan muscular arms crossed over his chest, “You gonna introduce us to her?”

Kageyama snorted. “Yeah right. ‘By the way, here are the people who are about to raid your village. We’re complete assholes, especially the blond one and one with bed-head, but we’re not that asshole-y.” He ended his tirade with him drawing an imaginary rainbow.

Iwaizumi raised his eyebrows, a smirk accompanying him, “So does that mean there is someone?”

Tsukishima chipped in, “Knowing Kageyama, he probably scared her into a relationship.”

Kuroo and Sugawara chuckled. Kageyama gave a terse “Shut up,” and then whispered, “We’re not dating.”

Sugawara gave Kageyama a warm smile, the one that didn’t show teeth. “Sorry Kageyama, but who knows—maybe this can be something.”

The faint pink on Kageyama’s cheek turned full on pink.

Kuroo dropped the topic for now, but boy was he determined to find the girl who could make the stoic genius Kageyama flustered. He clapped his hand loudly and cheerfully, “Okay ladies, are we ready to go?”

Tsukishima sucked his teeth. “Can we just get this over already. Why are we prolonging the inevitable?”

“Shall we Kuroo-chan?” giggle Sugawara.

Iwaizumi huffed; the wrinkles reappeared between his eyebrows. “Whatever, lets go. And don’t get carried away.” He said that every time they were going to invade a place.

“No need to tell us twice,” hummed Kuroo. It went silent once again as everyone descended the hill. The quaint little village was now in sight.

It was an unspoken rule that lingered in the air—a secret that dictated them. As indifferent as they seemed, reflected Kuroo, they all hated this. This ‘business’ or whatever it is. Kuroo’s face unintentionally turned sour.

Once we have the golden ore, we’re home free.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

“KENMA! Kenma Kenma Ken—“

“What is it Shouyou?” sighed an exasperated Kenma. He faced away from the map he was recreating. His empty, gold eyes met Hinata’s warm brown eyes. They were in the committee house, centered in the middle of the village. Barely enough light made its way through the windows, but Kenma wasn’t complaining. Even with the dim light, it was easy to make out the excitement on Hinata’s perpetual smiling face.

“Look at what I caught!” Hinata proudly held up a large bass that measured at least 3 feet. His smile grew even larger to the point his eyes were closed.

Kenma turned back towards the map he was making and said with blatant indifference, “Nice job Shouyou.”

Hinata smile turned into a pout, but the excitement in his eyes lingered. “Aww, Kenma! Come onnnnn~ You could have been a bit more excited for me. Look at it! It’s like wahh!” At the ‘wahh,’ Hinata jumped up and landed with legs spread apart, squatting a bit. He used his right hand and moved it in a manner as if he was presenting Kenma with a life long supply of apple pies instead of a regular fish in his right hand.

Kenma released a sigh. It’s the same thing everyday. “It’s the same thing everyday,” Kenma said with his back still facing Hinata.

“No it’s not! Yesterday, I caught a rabbit. The day before, I trapped a deer. And now it’s a fish!” Hinata moved towards Kenma and peered over Kenma’s left shoulder to stare at his face.

Kenma slightly tilted his face to lock eyes with Hinata, who broke out into a large smile at the eye contact. “Please don’t get the fish near me. I showered this morning,” Kenma said, mouth in a straight line.

Hinata jumped back and looked around the room, searching for a place to keep the fish. He looked oddly serious for a miniscule task such as that. His furrow eyes grew large, and he ran over to the corner of the 1-room house to then toss the fish in a bucket of water in the corner.

Kenma’s eyes followed his actions the entire time to only sigh again once he saw where Hinata put the fish. “Shouyou, Yamaguchi was going to use that water for the stew tonight.”

Hinata only smiled to Kenma’s comment. “Well, now he can make a fish stew!”

Despite shaking his head, a tiny grin grew on his face. “Fair enough.” Kenma then turned back to his map, again, and stared at it intently.

Hinata skipped back to his previous position before finding the bucket of water. His fluffy bundle of orange hair slightly tickled Kenma, who flinched at the touch. “Whoops, sorry Kenma.” At the apology, Hinata made no effort to move, which elicited another sigh from Kenma.

After a few seconds of silence, Hinata finally asked a question. “Is this another map of the area?”

Kenma shook his head. “Yeah…” A good minute passed before Kenma continued speaking. “This is the fifth I’m making. It covers a 25 mile radius of the area surrounding the village.” Kenma pointed to his right, not removing his eyes from the map in front of him. Hinata followed his hand to find the other four completed maps rolled up on top of another table.

Hinata quickly shook his head before asking another question. “Why are you making another one?”

“Because there are five committee members.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Hinata giggled.

At that time, the other committee members filed into the room/house for the meeting at 9am. Laughter filled the room as Yamaguchi, Oikawa, and Sawamura naturally settled down at their respective spots at the medium sized round table Kenma was using in the room. Kenma rolled up the map and placed it on the adjacent table with the other maps. Almost done. I just have to mark everything at the 24 and 25 miles radius.

The laughter subsided and Sawamura turned his attention towards Kenma and Hinata, giving them a comfortable smile. “Hey Kenma. Hey Hinata. How are things going this morning?

Hinata hopped a few times as he was answering, “I caught a bass fish thiiiissss long,” and proceeded to approximate the length with his hands.

“I was just finishing up the pocket size maps I told you about. It only covers a 25 mile radius, but I think that’s good enough,” Kenma said nonchalantly.

“Oh nice Hinata!” Yamaguchi replied cheerfully, the grin on his face large and genuine. The freckles on his face made him seem only more innocent. “I can use it for the stew tonight.”

“See. I told you it would be fine Kenma,” said a too prideful Hinata as he nudged Kenma’s waist.

Kenma let out a squeak and quickly covered his mouth in embarrassment. He glared up at Hinata and hissed, “Don’t do that again.”

Hinata giggled and put up his hands, “Sorry, forgot you were ticklish.”

Oikawa giggled along with Hinata and annoyingly said, “Oh Kenma. If you still want to keep up this apathetic attitude, you’re going to need to fix your ticklishness. You’re really cute when you giggle or squeal or whatever you do, and it totally contradicts your image and ours.” Oikawa ended his speech with a hair flick and leaned forward on the table to rest his chin in his propped up right hand.

Kenma quietly directed his glare to Oikawa, “First, I’m not cute. Second, since when did we have an image?”

Oikawa straightened his back, and he slammed both his hands on the table with a loud smack. The hyperbolic look of surprise on Oikawa’s face made Kenma even more annoyed, “Don’t tell me you don’t know about our ‘image?’ Come onn~ Sawamura here is the bossy, but respectable and dependable Head of the village. He’s in charge of wooing the men of the village. They sure have some weird taste, but hey, everyone has their kinks.”

Sawamura kicked Oikawa’s leg underneath the table with an offended face, but Oikawa showed no sign of pain and continued. “Yamaguchi’s the awkward and lanky 18-year-old treasurer whom people, more specifically, the older women, find endearing. Hinata’s our stupid and hyperactive coordinator who attracts every kid in the village. You, my friend, are the indifferent and mysterious one of the group. You’re the one everyone talks about on down low. And I, the love interest of every single female in this village, am your beautiful, talented, smart, gorgeous, charismatic, amaz—“

“Geez, we get your point already Oikawa,” said Hinata with a pout.

“—ing Assistant Head of the Village.” Oikawa finished his explanation with a smirk and his satisfied look still focused on Kenma.

“Oh—kay. Gee, thanks Oikawa for that… explanation I guess,” Sawamura said hesitantly.

“Oh! No problem Sawamura~”

Hinata found his seat to the left of Kenma, and locked eyes with Yamaguchi on his left. Both parties shrugged their shoulders, and Kenma just sighed.

“Now moving on. Lets get this meeting started,” Sawamura sternly advised. “Oh, and thanks for the pocket maps Kenma. They’re going to be really helpful when we spread out for reconnaissance.”

“Mhm, it’s fine. Just don’t forget to mark down new spots you find, so I can add it to the master map,” Kenma calmly said.

Yamaguchi softly and Hinata loudly said, “We promise!”

“Says the two people who forgot to do it the last two times,” Oikawa retorted with a smirk.

Yamaguchi blushed a bit and looked down while Hinata stood up in all his 162cm glory. “Hey! We just forgot! I’ll do it next time,” Hinata defended.

“Yeah, you will,” Sawamura said. He continued, “And it’s because you guys won’t be paired up next time. Oikawa will go by himself as usual, and you Hinata will go with Kenma. I’m taking Yamaguchi.”

“Aww, how come I can’t get paired with Yamaguchi,” complained Hinata with an obvious pout on his face.

Yamaguchi finally spoke up after sighing, “Hinata. Going with you is fine and stuff, but admit it. We never get anything done together.”

Kenma shook his head. “It’s because Yamaguchi easily agrees to do whatever you want, which is never a good idea.”

Hinata sat back down with a loud thud. He crossed his arm in defense, but said nothing back.

Sawamura smiled a bit before speaking. “Okay, lets do a quick recap of the week.”

Kenma quickly recapped, “I made the maps, the itinerary for this weeks harvest and planting, and kept inventory of all our supplies—weapons included.”

Oikawa spoke next, “I’ve been mostly hunting this week. Oh, I went to the ugly shed to—“

“You mean our weaponry?” Sawamura tried to correct.

Oikawa shook his head in acknowledgement. “So the ugly shed. I went there to test out all the weapons. They all came out pretty nice. Especially the ones Yachi made. Oooo!” Oikawa straightened his back, and his eyes grew with excitement. “There’s this sea-green bow and arrow she made, and I have to get it.”

Hinata complained, “But you always get the new weapons. That’s no fair.”

Oikawa scoffed, “What are you talking about. I’m testing them out. I’m definitely taking that bow and arrow.”

Hinata’s eyes started glowing, “So does that mean the new sword you took last week is up for grabs?!”

“Yup. It’s all yours shrimp, but it might be a bit too long for you,” Oikawa said with an amused smile.

“HEY!”

“BE QUIET,” Sawamura firmly yelled. He glared at Hinata, who sat down immediately, and then to Oikawa, who only shrugged his shoulders. “Oikawa, can you just choose one already? And Hinata, you can take the sword, but you better practice with it.”

Both offenders were satisfied with the outcome and didn’t fight for the rest of the meeting.

Yamaguchi spoke next, “I went out to Shiratorizawa to trade our harvest. We made a lot this time since winter’s coming up in the next few weeks. I took inventory with Kenma, and now I’m making a plan of our spending for the next month.”

Sawamura nodded his head in approval. “Nice job Yamaguchi. Now Hinata.”

“Me next!!” Hinata waved his right arm in the air. “Some other villagers and I went to the mine to gather coal. Right now, we have enough coal for the first half of winter!” His grin turned wide in anticipation for his next words. “And Kageyama is brought me tamago kake gohan the other day.”

Kenma lifted his left eyebrow up. Something’s up with that Kageyama guy, Kenma thought.

“Hey Hinata,” Yamaguchi started, “I know you’ve been getting along with him for the past few months, but do you have clue as to who he is? Like honestly.”

“Of course I do!” replied Hinata indignantly. “He said he a traveling fighter, and he likes pork buns.”

Kenma spoke up this time, “If he’s a traveller, why does he keep coming back here?”

“Hinata, you know he’s not a traveller, so please be more wary of him,” admonished Sawamura.

Hinata became even more indignant. “You guys don’t even put in any effort to talk to him, so how would you know?”

Oikawa leaned back in his chair, “You guys already know that Hinata’s not going to listen right? I mean, I wouldn’t either if people were suspicious of my boyfriend.” He ended his sentence with an all-knowing grin.

Hinata immediately turned pink and screeched, “He is not my boyfriend! And I’m not into guys!” He ended up whining a bit at the end, which didn’t help his defense at all.

Oikawa flipped his hair once again. “It’s fine to be into guys. I had a few guys into me before,” he said with a wink.

Everyone else at the table harbored a dubious look before Kenma spoke up. “Being gay isn’t a problem. It’s just not common here since there aren’t many males in the village Shouyou.”

Hinata grew an even darker shade of pink and then he started rubbing his hair. “Ughh, I don’t even know. I’ve always thought girls were cute, but I didn’t expect to get turned on by a guy.” Hinata slammed his forehead on the table before mumbling, “Are you gay Oikawa?”

Oikawa scoffed with indignation, “I would like to say my sexuality is attractive people.

Oikawa’s response made Hinata giggle into the table. He lifted his head up with a newfound glint in his eyes.

Oh no.

“Hey, what about you guys?!” Hinata looked around to all the other committee members.

Kenma looked a bit too knowingly at Sawamura, his eyes a bit too intense. Sawamura stared back, but his determination was no match for Kenma, and he sighed in defeat. He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly before looking at Hinata’s expecting eyes. “Well, I’ve dated a few girls in the village.” Hinata’s eyes grew large at the confession. “But I didn’t really feel anything, so I don’t know? I was never attracted to females, but I have yet to be attracted to a guy either, so I really don’t know.”

Hinata snapped his head to Oikawa’s direction. Oikawa chuckled as he put both his hands up in a defensive manner. “Hey, I already spilled. I’ve been with both genders, but I was never in a serious relationship. Sex was great regardless, so it didn’t matter to me.”

Everyone besides Hinata turned pink. Hinata seemed too fascinated at the word ‘sex.’ He nodded his head as if he understood. Oh god. Why the hell did Shouyou have to ask.

Oikawa’s grin turned sly, “Hey Sawamura, why are you blushing. You’re probably the only other person here who could testify how great sex is.”

Sawamura turned into a mess. “I, did-dn’t, well. Umm.”

Kenma sighed and began speaking, the pink still hasn’t left his cheeks, “Sawamura did it once, but he didn’t really enjoy it, so yeah.” Kenma adverted his gaze from everyone at the table by looking down at his feet.

Hinata was puzzled. “How did—“

Sawamura spoke again, this time without any trouble, “Kenma noticed I did it the day after, so I kinda just told him. How he knew, I have no idea.”

Oikawa grumbled, “No fair. I want to know too.”

“Hey,” Sawamura said in defense, “it’s not like I wanted him to know in the beginning. Kenma’s way too perceptive. And you shouldn’t be complaining Oikawa; you’re almost as perceptive as him.”

Hinata smiled largely at the exchange. “Wow, this is so interesting. I didn’t know you guys would have a love life.”

“More like sex life,” Kenma interjected quietly.

Sawamura groaned, “Ughh, can you not call it that. It makes us seem like we’re only interested in sex.”

“Speak for yourself Sawamura. I think that’s a very accurate description for me,” Oikawa commented.

Kenma looked at Oikawa dumbfounded. Oikawa winked back at him and turned his head towards Yamaguchi. “So, Yamaguchi, you got any stories you want to share with us.” He cocked his head at an angle and took on a devious smile.

Yamaguchi awkwardly smile, “Umm, not any I want to share…”

Hinata booed, like, verbally booed. “No fair Yamaguchi. Everyone talked about their experience already.” Hinata’s knees were now on the chair, and his hands were flat against the table.

Everyone besides Kenma could have bored holes in Yamaguchi with the intensity of their stares. Tough luck for Yamaguchi, but it was going to be found out eventually. Kenma locked eyes with Yamaguchi and shook his head, to which Yamaguchi responded by also shaking his head.

“Fine, but once I say it, no comments,” were Yamaguchi’s words.

Hinata rapidly shook his head, and even Oikawa and Sawamura looked on with curiosity.

Yamaguchi played his hair a bit, the pink if his cheeks spread out to his ears. He cleared his throat, but his gaze never left the table. “So, um, yeah. I might have had a thing with a knight in Shiratorizawa.”

“Whatt!?!” exclaimed both Hinata and Oikawa. “How di—“

“No comments Shouyou,” Kenma reiterated.

“But—“

“No.”

“But Kenmaaaa.”

“Shouyou, Yamaguchi said no comments already.”

Hinata looked at Yamaguchi with puppy eyes and fake quivering lips.

Yamaguchi tilted his head up in time to see Hinata’s desperate attempt to get more information out. He giggled at the sight and relented. “We met in Shiratorizawa a year and a half back as I was trading in our goods. He kept coming back to my stand every week to buy our strawberries. He wouldn’t say much, so I did a lot of the talking; but surprisingly, he was the one to ask for a date. Nothing much happened. He took me around the kingdom and bought me some food.” Yamaguchi smiled at the memories, and even Kenma was smiling at the happy Yamaguchi.

“So what did you do after that?” Curiosity got the better of Sawamura as he leaned in to hear the answer.

Yamaguchi smile turned a bit solemn. “Well, nothing to be honest. He wanted to meet up again afterwards, but then I said, ‘Sorry, but I can’t do this with a knight from Shiratorizawa.’ I left and have been avoiding him ever since.”

The other committee members’ mouths were agape.

“What?!” shouted Oikawa.

“Why?!” screamed Hinata.

Yamaguchi looked shock. “But. Umm. Well.” His voice lowered to a whisper. “He’s from Shiratorizawa.”

“But, but but,” Oikawa was trying to say something. “Ughh!” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, both hands cupping his cheeks. “Ughh,” he said again. “Fine, but at least tell me you gave him a romantic fleeting kiss on the lips at least.”

“Does the cheek work?” asked Yamaguchi.

“Yes,” Oikawa stated as he stared directly at Yamaguchi’s eyes. “Yes it does. Good job leading him on. You should have gone farther though to get some money from him.”

Kenma sucked his teeth. “Oikawa, that’s horrible.” Oikawa only shrugged at that statement.

Kenma turned his head towards Yamaguchi. “How have you been avoiding him if you still go to Shiratorizawa?”

“Oh, that’s easy!” smiled Yamaguchi. “I get someone else to man the stand I usually use. I go to the shady areas in the kingdom.”

Sawamura had on a worried look. “Don’t you think that’s a bit dangerous?”

Yamaguchi, looking a bit sheepish, shrugged his shoulders. “It’s alright I guess. I’m scared, but being tall helps since everyone else gets scared of you first.”

Sawamura still had a disapproving look on his face, but said nothing else.

Then it was Hinata’s turn. “Yamaguchiiii. Who cares if it’s Shiratorizawa. If you liked him, you should have gone for him.”

Yamaguchi shook his head with his lips in a tight line. “No way. Shiratorizawa? Don’t you remember what they did two years ago? They burned the village and took everything we had. Oikawa and Sawamura were doing reconnaissance at the time, so our fighting power was limited. We were lucky they didn’t kidnap anyone. I don’t want to be involved with that Hinata. I didn’t tell him where I was from, so don’t worry Sawamura.” Yamaguchi saw the distressed look on his face when he began speaking.

Hinata visibly deflated at the explanation. Oikawa peeked over at Kenma to observe his reaction, but as usually, his face gave away no feelings. “Hey Kenma, are you fine with us talking about Shiratorizawa?”

Yamaguchi turned pink and flustered at the realization. “Oh no Kenma! I’m so sorry! I forgot like, I’m so sorry. Oh my gosh.” His hands started flailing around in the air.

Kenma didn’t say anything for a few minutes, and the air turned into an awkward silence. His heart began pumping faster, and he started sweating a bit, well, a lot, more. Darn it. This shouldn’t bother me anymore. An annoyed look appeared on his face, and he didn’t know what to do.

Without looking at Kenma, Oikawa quietly said, “You know. You don’t have to force yourself to get over it. It was a big deal, so why treat it as if it was small.”

Kenma visibly relaxed at Oikawa’s words. He then looked at Oikawa, who was now staring at him. “Thanks,” he muttered.

Oikawa returned to his flamboyant self and gave Kenma a peace sign and a wink. “No problemo.”

Sawamura chipped in, “We’re here as friends for a reason Kenma, so I hope you don’t feel uncomfortable with us. If anything, we actually want you to tell us everything.” He ended with a soft smile.

Kenma felt a bit overwhelmed at the support and didn’t know how to respond aside from nodding his head. He looked over at Yamaguchi, who was still pink from being embarrassed earlier. “I’m fine Yamaguchi. To be honest, I can’t stand Shiratorizawa, so I’m actually really glad you stopped anything from happening. Sorry if you really liked him, I just—I really do not like them, but don’t stop talking because of me please.” Kenma tried his best to keep his face devoid of any feelings. It worked because no one pressed the issue anymore.

When Hinata began asking more questions about the knight, Kenma released a sigh he didn’t know he was holding. What am I going to do if I see Shiratorizawa knights again? I can’t even handle thinking about them. Shaking his head side to side, Kenma pushed these thoughts away to listen to the conversation.

“—blond.” Yamaguchi was now describing the knight. “He wears glasses and is really handsome; and he’s tall, even taller than Oikawa.” That comment elicited a surprise and unhappy look from Oikawa. He really hates losing. Kenma smirked a little at Oikawa for being so competitive.

Yamaguchi continued, “He looks really mean and is really sarcastic, but he’s really nice. Apparently, he’s a part of the top troop in the Kingdom, and his specialty is the spear.”

Tall and a spear? That’s a really effective combination.

Everyone at the table was thinking the same thing as the simultaneously nodded their head as if they were saying, ‘Good choice.’ Since every member of the committee was a fighter themselves, they were well aware of potential enemies.

They spoke about random topics for the next ten minutes before wrapping up the meeting.

“Okay guys,” Sawamura was saying, “we’re going to have another meeting four days from now, so Friday at the same time, 9am.” As everyone got up, ready to leave, screams from the other villagers stopped everyone in their movements. They stared at one another with a serious glint in their eyes.

“Don’t kill them, but don’t let them escape either. You got that?” Sawamura commanded. Everyone shook their heads in agreement and drew their weapons. Someone else screamed and at that sound, they all rushed out the room, ready for a large invasion from some annoying village. They definitely weren’t expecting just five extremely attractive males dashing in and out of the houses in Karasuno. But they were not prepared at all to see the crown in the middle of their burgundy capes—the emblem of Shiratorizawa.

Chapter Text

Oh shit. As Kuroo was walking down the hill, he slipped a bit on some wet leaves and couldn’t stop himself. With no other choice, he began running down the hill at a frightening pace. The wind slicked back his hair and rattled his sword. At the base of the hill, Kuroo made an attempt to stop his run. He placed pressure on his feet in attempt to root them to the ground. He successfully kept his feet planted on the ground among the colorful leaves, but the momentum kept his upper body moving forward. With his arms flailing in circles, Kuroo face planted—once again—into the ground. He heard the rustle of leaves behind him, indicating that the others arrived, and prepared for the inevitable teasing.

“Did your hair get in the way of your vision again Kuroo?” Tsukishima asked sarcastically.

Kageyama spoke immediately afterwards, tone as derisive as Tsukishima’s, “You know, for a top knight, you’re very clumsy. It’s a miracle that you haven’t died from falling off a cliff or something.”

Kuroo popped back up on his feet quickly and tried speaking normally with confidence, but the lack of breath and his disheveled hair littered with leaves did little to support his words. “Oh shut up. Anyone would have fell after a run like that. And what the hell Kageyama; it’s not like I’m that stupid enough to fall of a cliff.” Kuroo flicked his bangs and made no attempt to reply back to Tsukishima. Calm down Kuroo. The more aggravated you are, the more Tsukishima wins.

Kageyama’s mouth lifted up a bit on the left, “I never said you were stupid, stupid.”

Kuroo mouth twitched along with his eyes when he realized his mistake.

Tsukishima spoke up next, his sarcastic tone never once faltered, “Do you feel accomplished yet Kuroo? You just got called stupid by the dumbest person in our troop. You should feel honored.” He ended his sentence with a patronizing look.

Kuroo and Kageyama’s faces grew murderous, their eyes more fierce. Before insults could be thrown, Sugawara cleared his throat. He smiled at the troublesome triplet and said, “I think it’s time to begin our raid.” He innocently tilted his head at an angle that said Well, are we doing it or not?

All three men adverted their eyes away from Sugawara before he continued.

Sugawara quickly scanned the village. The houses were in a circle formation with a small opening. The inner circle had about five to eight houses while the next layer had about ten houses. At the center of the circle was a small house that looked like there was only one room in it.

Sugawara looked back to where Kuroo and the others were standing. “The center house must be the meeting spot for the committee members of the village, so we don’t need to go there. Kageyama was telling me as we were walking that there are a good amount of kids here, so we have to be extra careful today.”

“Damn it,” Iwaizumi said with a frown. “I can’t raid well with kids in the way. I always end up hurting them by accident.”

“I’m glad you’re finally admitting how much of a brute you are,” snickered Kuroo.

Iwaizumi directed his frown back at Kuroo, “Shut the hell up. At least I don’t break people’s arms.”

It was Kuroo’s turn to frown. “Hey, that was just one time, and it was his fault too,” Kuroo sharply said. “He should have snuck up on me and it was a reflex, so suck that.” Kuroo ended his reasoning with him sneering at Iwaizumi.

“Okay I get it,” Tsukishima butted in, “You’re both equivalent to wild animal. Now that that’s discussion over, how about we start the invasion.” Tsukishima looked too smug and content for Kuroo liking, but before he got to retort back, Sugawara spoke once again with a slight chuckle.

“Enough guys. We’ll go in solo since it’ll be quicker that way, but I’m going with Iwaizumi. He might need… some help,” Sugawara chuckle turned into giggles, which elicited smiles from everyone. Even Iwaizumi himself donned a smile.

Kuroo looked proudly at Sugawara. Thank God we have Suga. Panic showed on Kuroo’s face as he started envisioning of how it would be if Sugawara wasn’t here. He quickly flicked his bangs to dispel the thought. “Thank God for Suga,” he said with a sigh.

The other three men nodded their heads in accordance. A light blush pervaded Sugawara’s cheek as he flipped his right hand in attempt to brush off the odd compliment. “Kuroooo. Please don’t say that.”

“Why not?” inquired Iwaizumi. “We would have probably killed each other by now without you.”

Kageyama hummed in thought before adding in. “So that basically means you saved people’s lives.”

“Oh my,” whispered a pink Sugawara.

Kuroo only laughed at Sugawara’s response. “Okay okay, let’s get going.” Kuroo twisted his waist in order to face the village. The entrance was within a hundred feet from where they were standing. He looked back at the others who already unsheathed their weapon.

They all brought a sword similar to Kuroo’s, leaving their main weapon back at the Kingdom. They all made eye contact with each other before silently and slightly bobbing their head once.

Kuroo was envisioning potential outcomes for the raid. The best option is to get in and out quickly and have them forever hate him. He made a mental note to steal a decent amount this time. Last time, his dearth of gold didn’t make the cut for Ushijima, and that landed him a job as grunt in the kitchen for a month. Kuroo made a slight groan.

Ughh, Hanamaki and Matsukawa are the worst bosses. As soon as Kuroo was demoted as their aid, he was forced to kill and clean all the fishes and chicken, which “coincidently” were the main dishes for the entire month. It didn’t help that there were at least one hundred people living in the castle.

Before Kuroo could finish his mental complaints, they arrived right at the entrance—or should Kuroo say opening—of the village. He expelled out a large sigh, and soon everyone else followed suit. “Lets cut the chit chat and go.”

Instead of verbally responding, they proceeded to spread out. Kuroo sprinted to the houses farthest back. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sugawara and Iwaizumi take the houses on the right and Kageyama on the left. Trusting his comrades, he speed up even more to then shoulder the door of a house open. Shrieks and shrills occupied his ears. The houses here were typical. The structure was created with wooden frames and filled with makeshift cement of clay, mud and grass; although the houses were much more sturdier and cleaner here, not that Kuroo had time to appreciate.

In this house, two women were on the couch to Kuroo’s right holding on to each other, their wide eyes unresponsive. Kuroo did the most intimidating glare he could produce and hissed, “If you dare move, I will not hesitate to kill you.” He perfected his ice-cold tone and finished up his threatening act by stabbing the sword into the armrest of the coach. This elicited more shrieks from the girls. Kuroo didn’t give them a chance to respond as he removed his sword to run straight to the enclosed room in the corner, jumping over the table that was in his path.

At the front of the door, he raised his right leg up to burst open the door with a crack. He hastily stepped inside and did a quick 360. In the middle of the room was a bed big enough for two. So it’s just these two. Perfect, women always have some jewelry on them. A minute of him rummaging through the numerous drawers in the room passed before he found anything worth stealing. In the nightstand to the right of the bed contained an embellished box with grooves and minuscule jewels protruding from the top to make an elegant design of swirls. Kuroo careful unlocked the box to reveal a plethora of necklaces. Kuroo held up a few in his hands near the window and saw a wide array of purples and greens radiating from the amethyst and peridot. Fuck yes.

He quickly returned the necklaces he was admiring seconds ago back into the rustic box. That’s enough for this house. Kuroo fled the room and home as quickly as he entered, leaving the two women cowering in fear on the coach. He made eye contact with one of the females, her brown eyes filled with the common combination of fear and animosity, before stepping out to meet the blinding light from the sun.

Kuroo did another quick glance around the village to keep tab on the others. He didn’t hear any noise indicative of fearful villages, so Kuroo quickly became tense at the suspicious peace. Are the villagers out now? Kuroo shook that notion from his head. There was excessive screaming when Kuroo and the others barged in, so why did it stop? Before Kuroo had time to further contemplate the situation, a large ruckus erupted near the entrance of the village. Clanks of metal rang clearly through the air along with the sound of falling objects. Shit, the others are near the front.

Abandoning the other houses he needed to raid, Kuroo ran towards the front of the village. The sounds of clashing metal grew louder as Kuroo approached the place he had last seen Iwaizumi and Sugawara. Within seconds, he found them engaged in a fight right in front of the meetinghouse. Sugawara and Iwaizumi stood side by side, panting heavily. At a closer look, Kuroo noticed the red slashes that travelled up Iwaizumi’s arms. Sugawara donned the same on his arms too.

Panic made its way up Kuroo’s spine and stopped him dead in his track as he took in what he saw. Kuroo couldn’t do anything at all besides sweat profusely as his mouth hanged open. Sugawara wasn’t the best fighter, but he was far from being shit. Out of the group, he had to be the best at reading opponents. What he lacked in power, he made up for in skills. He knew how to work a sword and combined with his lithe body, he was able to dodge and block nearly any move that came towards him. It would be inhumane to leave a fight with no scratch, but to see Sugawara so beat up was too shocking. Iwaizumi, being the reckless brute he was, incessantly came back with a shit load of scars and wounds, but those lacerations usually indicated that the other party member was beaten to a pulp—not two perfectly fine men.

Kuroo moved his gaze away from Iwaizumi and Sugawara to the two men who were able to stand their ground against them. One was only slightly taller than Sugawara with black hair even shorter than Iwaizumi’s. He had a slim shield that was only an inch longer than the width of his body in his left hand. In his right was blade much longer than the ones anyone on the troop brought, probably around two feet long. Well damn, look at his legs. Kuroo almost whistled, but then he remembered his situation and thought better of that.

Next to him stood—Oh what the hell? Kuroo’s right eyebrow involuntarily raised up and he looked at the orange haired midget wielding a thinner, but longer sword. With both hands, he pointed the sword up. His head was slightly tilted down, but his eyes were focused up at Sugawara. The two members of the village were in a similar state to that of Iwaizumi and Sugawara. It was a completely even match.

Sugawara moved his head to the right and finally made eye contact with Kuroo. His shoulders sagged downwards as a sigh of relief escaped his mouth, his mouth slightly upturned at the sight. Kuroo took a step towards Sugawara, but Sugawara’s slight smile straightened in an instant. He turned stiff as his eyes grew large, similar to how it would look if someone punched his gut.

“KUROO!” Sugawara screeched. Kuroo heard Iwaizumi mumble a curse before he whipped his head back in time to see someone come from above.

Kuroo himself let out a curse and he held up his sword with both hands as an attempt to defend. The falling man landed on the sword Kuroo held up to his face, and the force made Kuroo stumble back a few steps, but he was able to maintain his ground. The unknown man came face to face with Kuroo while he was squatting on the sword. At this distance, along with the tufts of brown hair, Kuroo saw a murderous glint in his brown eyes. Using all his might and a grunt, Kuroo propelled his sword up, forcing the man to backflip off his sword and land gently of the ground.

All the while the man was landing, Kuroo lunged at him and swung his sword. The man landed just in time to push his sword down to block against Kuroo’s upward swing. The man quickly hopped back, which caused Kuroo to slip a bit from the momentum of his swing. The man lowered his body closer to the ground and shouldered Kuroo’s stomach. Kuroo let out a cough as he swiftly sidestepped the sword that was aiming for his legs.

Not letting Kuroo go, the other man dropped down to the ground and swung his leg around to clip Kuroo by his foot. His leg made contact, and Kuroo begin falling backwards; but he deftly twisted his waist and plunged his sword into the ground to stymie his fall. When the sword impacted the ground, Kuroo finished twisting his body and brought his leg out to kick at the man who was still crouched on the ground.

The man’s brown eyes grew larger, but he dodged the kick by falling on his back. As Kuroo completed his spin, the man adroitly flipped himself back up on his feet. Now both men were staring into one another’s eyes at a somewhat safe distance. Kuroo took a quick peek back at Sugawara and Iwaizumi to see that they were once again engaged in battle with the same two men.

As soon as Kuroo removed his gaze from the brown haired man, the said man dashed forward and jumped up whiled he brought his blade down. Kuroo only made it in time to place his sword in front of face to stop the swing, but the momentum this time pushed Kuroo down to the ground, and he landed with a loud thud, with the wind knocked out of him.

Kuroo racked his brain for ideas, but none came to mind as the man straddling his waist was pressing the sword down with tremendous strength. Kuroo’s hands were quivering at the force, but he wasn’t losing in this battle of strength. Both parties locked their eyes together, neither wavering. A newfound glint in straddling man’s brown eyes caused Kuroo to tense up even more. Before Kuroo could make another move, the other man speedily brought his hand down to his thigh to pull out a dagger the size of his palm.

Oh fuck. Kuroo braced himself as the smaller knife was brought down towards his face.

“OIKAWA!”

At the scream, the brown haired man stopped the dagger an inch away from his face. A scowl appeared on his, and he whispered, “You’re one lucky bastard.”

Kuroo almost shivered at the words of the man he assumed was Oikawa.

Oikawa whipped his head back to the source who called his name, “WHAT THE FUCK YAMAGUCHI. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?!”

Yamaguchi, a tall lanky kid with freckles and greenish-brown hair, flinched at the shout. He took on an awkward stance and visibly withdrew himself. His gaze flickered to the ground, and he began stuttering, “Umm, w-we should, umm, pr-probably st-stop. He, um, Ka-Kage-ge—.”

Oikawa released a loud sigh as he close his eyes and pinched his nose. His next words were of a forced calmness, an undertone of anger still visible, “Please Yamaguchi. Please just speak—I’m begging you here.”

Yamaguchi stood up straight and shut his eyes as he loudly and stiffly said, “They’re with Kageyama!” Oikawa and the other members of the troop froze at his words, especially the orange haired one. Yamaguchi opened his eyes and dragged out Kageyama, who was hiding behind the meetinghouse. Kageyama reluctantly moved next to Yamaguchi. A guilty scowl adorned his face along with a bright blush on his cheeks.

Oikawa hissed, “You fu—“

Oikawa was interrupted by the orange haired, “Kageyama!” Kageyama refused to meet eyes with the boy that called his name. His scowl only grew deeper. “Kageyama,” the shorty said more softly; there was more hurt in his voice this time. Kageyama finally looked up; he was biting his lips. As the villagers stayed silent and serious while the other knights were all in a similar state of confusion.

Kageyama opened his mouth as if he was about to speak, but then Tsukishima came from behind and kicked Yamaguchi squarely in his back. Using his arms as cushions, he fell with a yelp. Tsukishima aimed his sword to the back of Yamaguchi’s head to prevent him from escaping.

Kageyama whipped his head to face Tsukishima. “What the heck Tsukishima. Yamaguchi just stopped Oikawa from killing Kuroo and this is what you do?!” he yelled incredulously.

Tsukishima began speaking, “Who fucking cares? We have one job and its to—“ He paused mid sentence, and he finally processed what Kageyama said. He squinted in concentration that had a hint of confusion. He looked down at the man he was about to kill and asked in awe, “Yamaguchi?”

Yamaguchi slowly rotated his head around, trying to avoid the blade that was still aimed at him. Once he was able to look at Tsukishima, his eye grew large in an odd mixture of delight and fear. “Tsukki?”

At that name, Tsukishima turned pink and hissed in reply, “I said you weren’t allowed to say that name out in the open.”

Wait. Oh my god, did he just say ‘Tsukki?’ Without warning, Kuroo burst out laughing, the tremor running through his body caused Oikawa to flinch in surprise. Within seconds, Iwaizumi and Sugawara followed suit and laughed at Tsukishima’s ridiculous nickname. Even Kageyama had a small smile on his face.

Kuroo, through his tears, said loudly, “Oh shit Tsukishima. I thought I was gonna die by pretty boy here.” At the words ‘pretty boy,’ Kuroo pointed up at Oikawa, who happened to look smug with himself. “But now I’m positive that the cause of my death will be of pure laughter.”

The knights calmed down a bit and soon, the laughter became a memory. Tsukishima, still pink, tucked his sword away and helped Yamaguchi stand up. Despite only standing next to one another, it was horribly awkward and funny that Kuroo almost began laughing again. The black haired villager with shield and sword placed his hands on his hips, sighing in disbelief. A small smile was present on his face, “Well, there goes the mood.”

Kuroo decided to add to the new mood and said with a cheeky grin, “Actually, I don’t want to die of laughter.” He raised his finger and pointed towards the man who just spoke. “I want to die of suffocation by that guy’s thighs.”

At Kuroo’s statement, the said man grew a terrible said of pink and only bit his lips in response. It was the villagers’ turn to laugh as they all chortled loudly. The shorty turned towards the man to surprise him by giving his thigh a loud smack.

“HINATA,” thigh man shouted loudly.

Hinata doubled over in laughter “Calm down Sawamura. It’s actually a compliment ya know? And besides, we always talk about your thighs, so you should honestly be used to it by now.”

Sawamura mumbled something, looking a bit petulant.

Oikawa looked down at Kuroo before slowly standing up. Once he was fully off the ground, he stared at Kuroo with a raised eyebrow to ask, “So are you going to get up or what?”

Kuroo rose to his feet and brushed off the dirt that accumulated on his butt. He quickly peeked to look at Oikawa and found that he was staring intently at Kuroo. He gave Oikawa a smirk and said, “I know my ass is great and all, but I don’t appreciate the stare.”

Oikawa sucked his teeth in effort to show his annoyance, but the smile said otherwise. “Damn it. If only you weren’t funny.”

Kuroo gave him a quick smile before scanning the area. Everyone stood about awkwardly in attempt to be nonchalant, trying to ignore the fact they were near killing each other only moments earlier. Sawamura cleared his throat, and everyone focused his attention towards him. Before he got a chance to speak, an arrow from god knows where shot out from the sky and landed at his feet.

“Darn it Kozume.” Sawamura stared at a tree quite a distance away and accusingly pointed his index finger at it. “Come down here right this minute. I know you don’t like them, but I need you here.”

After a minute, rustles of leaves could be heard, and Sawamura sighed in relief. Within seconds, a short boy with his blond hair and dark roots was climbing down the tree adroitly. With the bow and arrow still in his hands, he shuffled to join Sawamura. Kozume directly his gaze at Kuroo, and Kuroo unknowingly held his breath. Kuroo felt like he was naked in front of those golden eyes and quickly wrapped his arm around his body to cover himself, even though he was fully clothed.

Sawamura spoke up again, “Lets start over. To be frank, we would rather not fight you guys—“

Oikawa huffed, “Speak for yourself.”

Hinata excitedly raised his hand, “Yeah Sawamura! It has been so boring lately, it was actually kind of fun.” He ended his confession with a pout.

“As I was saying, I don’t like fighting, so we won’t.” Sawamura’s smile was more devious than last time, and Kuroo could only smile in return. He scratched the back of his head as he thought of what to say next. Lifting up his sword, he pointed at the meetinghouse. “Do you guys minds talking in there?”

Tsukishima loudly snorted. “Why the hell would we—“

Sugawara loudly clapped his hand and reworded, “What ‘Tsukki’ here means is that while we also dislike fighting and would love to join you as we calmly discuss this matter, we really can’t.” Sugawara ended his sentence with a smile that said, ‘end of conversation.’

“But,” stammered Sawamura.

Sugawara shook his head at Sawamura before locking eyes with Kuroo, to whom he gave an okay sign.

Kuroo grinned back, and he quickly slapped Oikawa’s hand to knock the knife out of it.

Before Oikawa had time to switch his attention from Sugawara to Kuroo, Kuroo already brought the hilt of his sword down on Oikawa’s head. A curse came from Oikawa’s mouth as he collapsed to the ground. Kuroo walked over to Sugawara and said to Oikawa, “Thanks for not killing me pretty boy.”

While Kuroo was making his move against Oikawa, Tsukishima elbowed Yamaguchi in his stomach, knocking the wind out of him. Kageyama landed the final blow by tackling him to the ground. Yamaguchi landed with a loud thud and proceeded to cough. Unable to speak, Yamaguchi latched onto Tsukishima’s leg. The owner was only able to look down, face a bit solemn as he mouthed an apology. He pulled his leg away from Yamaguchi, and Kageyama and Tsukishima dashed over to where Iwaizumi and Sugawara stood.

The other three, well, just the ones called Sawamura and Hinata, attempted to fight the knights, but Kozume held onto both their shirts, shaking his head.

His gold eyes stared at them admonishingly, “It’s 3v5. We’re not going to win.”

Hinata spoke loudly, outraged, “What?! We can so take them! Sawamura and I were just fine with two of them. We can take down at least one of them!”

“Shit,” mutterd Sawamura. He lowered his arms and stared intently at the knights after realizing their disadvantage. He lowered his voice, which was filled with poisen, “The day you come back is the day of your death sentence. Get the hell out.”

Kuroo smiled annoyingly at Sawamura, but when he saw the apologetic and solemn look on everyone’s face, the smile quickly disappeared. Even Sugawara looked upset.

Shit, everyone’s in too deep.

Kuroo redirected his gaze to Kozume. Both were intensely staring at one another. There was something about the air around him that gave Kuroo goosebumps. Kozume was mysterious, but full of hate felt Kuroo—and that just made him excited. He grinned at Kozume, who continued to look apathetic.

Hinata angrily bounced up and down as he kept looking back and forth between Kenma and Sawamura. “If you’re not going to do anything, then I will.” Before Hinata’s friends could stop him, the charged forward to the mass of knights.

“Damn itttt,” shouted Sawamura as he hastily chased after Hinata.

Kageyama tensed up at the sight of Hinata coming towards them, but took a step forward, blade still in his hand. The tremble in his voice belied the calm composure he was trying to maintain. “Hinata, stay away.”

“Like yeah I will Bakeyama! This is what you get!” Hinata swung his sword, to which Kageyama easily dodged.

Kageyama got irritated at the name, “What?! I’m just telling you to stay away dumbass! Nothing good’s going to happen if you fight us.” Hinata quickly evaded Kageyama’s sword and both parties were at an impasse in the fight, their swords pressing against one another.

Sawamura came over to Hinata’s side, ready to join in, but then Hinata shouted, “I got this Sawamura! This is between Kageyama and me.”

“What stupid? Since when was this just you and me?” spat back Kageyama.

“WHEN I FOUND OUT YOU LIED TO ME,” stated a very angry Hinata. They broke apart, and Hinata just stood there glaring at Kageyama. “Everyone said to be careful of you, and I was the only one who said you were good. But apparently you’re a knight from Shiratorizawa, and now you’re going to steal from us?! Ughh, I’m so stupid.”

Hinata stomped his feet repeatedly, and Kageyama saw that the anger in Hinata’s face had dissolved into disappointment. “St-stupid Bak-bakeyama,” he said, tears forming. He wiped at his eyes, but the tears still came in a steady flow.

Kageyama, still frozen to his spot, blabbered away in attempt to defend himself, “But, Hinata, wait. I have an explanation, although you might not like it…” Kageyama slowly lost his confidence and stopped talking all together.

Sawamura draped his arm over Hinata’s shoulder and he shooed the knights away with his free hand. “Go away, geez. If you’re gonna leave, leave already.”

“Yeah,” said Oikawa. He was now sitting up in the same spot Oikawa hit him. “Go away you dirty cheating knights. Especially you.” Oikawa was pointing at Kuroo.

Kuroo shrugged his shoulders, “Sure thing. And the name is Kuroo Tetsurou by the way.”

“Yeah yeah,” waved off Oikawa. “I don’t need your name.”

Sugawara tugged on Kuroo and Kageyama’s shirts, pulling them closer to him. With no further words, Sugawara dragged them off towards the exit with Iwaizumi and Tsukishima right behind.

Kuroo was able to hear the hiccups from Hinata, and only then did he actually feel a little guilty. “Hey Kageyama.” Kageyama, still dazed, slowly looked at Kuroo. “I take back what I said before. I can see why you’re attached to them.”

Kageyama only nodded his head in acknowledgement as Sugawara released a sigh. “Darn it, we should have left earlier.”

The guilt in the air caused them to leave the village at a walking pace. Right when they were at the entrance, while Kuroo was mulling over his thoughts, a red arrow barely missed him and went through his cape. Everyone whipped his heads back to find the source. They found Kozume, with another arrow loaded. His stare sad it all, I’m not missing next time. This elicited a smile out of Kuroo, who was slowly finding himself fascinated with the golden-eyed boy.

______________________________________________________________

Kenma put his bow and arrow down when the knights were out of sight. Yamaguchi already got up and was standing by Kenma. Yamaguchi asked quizzically, “Why him? Kuroo was it?”

Kenma stared blankly ahead as he answered calmly, “I dislike him the most. He’s annoying, and he reminds me of the knight from two years ago.”

Yamaguchi tensed up and stuttered, “So-sorry Kenma. I-I hope I didn’t ma-make it weird.” He was turning slightly pink.

Kenma shook his head side to side, “Please don’t apologize Yamaguchi. I won’t get mad if you bring it up, but, it still bothers me. I should be apologizing for not getting over it.”

Now it was Yamaguchi’s turn to shake his head, “No! It was a big deal, so why treat it as if it was small. It’s fine to still be upset—I would be too, so, yeah.” Despite Yamaguchi’s talk getting awkward at the end, it did calm Kenma down a bit.

Sawamura, Hinata, and Oikawa slowly made their way towards Kenma and Yamaguchi. Oikawa was still rubbing the back of his head, and Hinata was now sniffling with eyes and nose bright red.

Sawamura sighed is defeat, “Kenma, I’m only gonna say this once, but nice shot. Now don’t’ do that again.”

Oikawa grinned largely at Sawamura’s compliment for Kenma. “Should have aimed for his leg or something, that jerk. Why’d you miss on purpose?”

Kenma shrugged, “I saw no purpose in seriously hurting him; they would have still left.”

“True,” acknowledged Oikawa immediately. He looked at Hinata whose sniffling pretty much died down. He ruffled Hinata’s hair, “Shrimp, you’re better than this and him. Hurry up and cry it out, so we don’t have to deal with it later.”

Hinata grunted and mumbled, “Fine.” He crossed his arms together, and a pout occupied his face.

Sawamura chuckled in response before jumping topics, “Well, who knew Shiratorizawa knights would come?”

Everyone shook his head in disbelief, and Yamaguchi stated something in awe, “I can’t believe Kageyama is a knight.”

Oikawa’s dull look suddenly turned bright. Kenma grew concerned at the sight because an excited Oikawa is never good—ever. He brushed off Yamaguchi’s comment, “Forgot Tobio-chan. Lets talk about something else first.” His smile grew a little devious as he rushed into the meetinghouse, dragging Hinata and Yamaguchi along.

Kenma over looked at Sawamura and asked quickly, “Why’d you call me Kozume earlier?”

Sawamura looked a bit sheepish, “Oh, well, I thought it’d be better if they didn’t know our first name, so if those knights said anything back home, no one would have recognized us from before.” Kenma knew Sawamura was referring mostly to Kenma, but didn’t outright say anything.

He must still be worried. Without anymore words, Sawamura too just followed Oikawa.

Kenma sighed before making his way into the building and sitting at the round table. Oikawa intertwined his hands and rested his head on them. “So lets talk about those knights.”

“Well, they’re complete jerks first and foremost and—“ Oikawa cut off Sawamura.

“No no, not that—but that is true. I’m talking about them.” Oikawa unnecessarily emphasized ‘them,’ and that caused Kenma to groan in realization. The other three were slow to catch on, but Oikawa just raised his eyebrows up suggestively.

After a minute of more confusion, Sawamura caught on, “Ehh, Oikawa. We were just fighting them, how can you move on that quickly?”

At Sawamura’s words, Yamaguchi realized what Oikawa was implying and turned a slight pink. “Oikawa,” he began, “That’s too embarrassing to be talking about that.”

Oikawa scoffed, “Are you serious, even though we were talking about sex right before they came?”

Hinata looked on curiously and excitingly, “What? What are we talking about? No fair guysss, how come I don’t know what’s going on?” His whining grew progressively louder.

Eventually Kenma got annoyed with Hinata’s denseness, so he leaned over to whisper, “You think Kageyama is attractive don’t you?”

Hinata grew pink at the question-almost-statement and skeptically said, “Is that what you guys are talking about?!” Hinata no longer made an attempt to hide his attraction to Kageyama, so that caused Kenma to smirk.

“Not just Tobio-chan, Hinata.” Oikawa threw his hands in the air and groaned, “They were all hot.” Oikawa then buried his face into his hand as he reminisced. Sawamura was oddly quiet for a topic as ridiculous as this. Kenma looked over at Yamaguchi who had on an awkward smile.

Kenma wondered, “Is that it?”

Oikawa looked at Kenma in disbelief, “Do you have any idea how important this is? I just met one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen and nothing happened—not even a freakin’ blow—“

“Gwahh!” Yamaguchi made an odd noise that sounded like he was choking and shrieking at the same time in effort to censor Oikawa.

  “—and now there’s a chance I’ll never see him again.”

Hinata, extra pink from Oikawa’s latest comment, inquired, “The guy Kuroo?”

Oikawa flicked his wrist, “What? No, not him, although he wasn’t that bad looking either. I’m talking about that guy with short black hair with whom Sawamura and you were fighting. God, I wish I fought him instead. I could have touched his arms.” With his head still in his hands, he released a sigh full of disappointment.

“Oh him!” exclaimed Hinata. Hinata lifted his index finger to his chin, pondering at the ceiling. “What was his name again…”

Oikawa looked on excitedly and breathlessly asked, “You know his name?!”

Hinata looked over at Sawamura for help, Sawamura bluntly said, “Iwaizumi. His partner, I think his name was Sugawara, called it out during the brawl.” Kenma noticed that Sawamura smiled at the name of the silver haired knight.

Oikawa went back to his hands and airily sighed out, “Iwa-chan huh?”

Kenma reprimanded, “Oikawa, you can’t just make nicknames for people you don’t know.”

Oikawa looked offended, “Kenma! What are you saying, I plan on knowing him, so that’s good enough.”

Yamaguchi quickly added, “Apparently he’s the best at sword fighting between them all.”

Everyone looked over at Yamaguchi with expecting looks. Sawamura leaned forward with a knowing smirk, the pink still lingered on his cheeks, “So Yamaguchi, would you mind telling us how you know that?”

Yamaguchi averted his eyes away from the others, but the smile on his mouth remained.

Oikawa joined in on ganging up on Yamaguchi and slyly asked, “It wouldn’t happen to involve ‘Tsukki’ right?”

Yamaguchi blurted, “Tsukishima. He doesn’t like other people calling him ‘Tsukki.” And maybe.”

Sawamura recited to no one in particular, “He’s blond, wears glasses, and looks mean. Hmm, that sounds familiar doesn’t it Oikawa?”

Oikawa continued the game, “Oh, why, yes it does Sawamura; however, I just can’t seem to recall who?” Oikawa and Sawamura continued to hum in thought.

Oikawa turned to Kenma and knowingly asked, “Hey Kenma, would you happen to recognize him from somewhere?”

Kenma pondered his option. Should he ignore their jokes or go along with it. He turned towards Hinata, and he was giving Kenma quite an encouraging smile. Kenma couldn’t help but smile a bit before replying to Oikawa, “I can’t remember Oikawa, but Tsukishima looks like someone whom I would kiss and then ran away from.”

At Kenma’s words, Yamaguchi squealed, “Kenmaaa.” Everyone else only laughed in response, and eventually, even Yamaguchi is laughing at himself.

“Fine fine, you caught me. Tsukki’s the knight I met at Shiratorizawa. I really didn’t expect to find him here,” confessed Yamaguchi.

“Well, that must have been really awkward for both of you then,” stated Hinata.

“No shit Sherlock,” mocked Oikawa.

Hinata only glared at Oikawa before redirecting his attention to Yamaguchi. “So, what else did Tsukishima tell you about the other knights.”

Yamaguchi had to think a bit, “Not much actually. Well, Iwaizumi’s one of the best fighter; Kuroo’s an ‘asshole,’” Yamaguchi made quotes with his hand at the word ‘asshole,’ “—and he’s really sneaky, but that’s why he’s such a good fighter. And they treat Sugawara like their mom, which is really weird.”

Hinata nodded with every statement and Oikawa commented, “Hmm, then Mr. Refreshing would totally fit with Sawamura.”

Sawamura looked surprised, “Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?”

Kenma shrugged his shoulders, “Well, to be honest, we all think of you as a dad, so it’s kinda fitting.”

“And besides, “chirped Oikawa, “have you seen the way he looked at your thighs.”

“Oh god,” whispered Sawamura. “Can you honestly stop bringing up my thighs?”

Hinata shook his head, “No can do, your thighs are, like, basically you. Without your thighs, you’re like, not Sawamura.”

Yamaguchi looked over at Hinata, “Hinata, that wasn’t a very good explanation.”

“So? It gets my point across,” retorted Hinata.

“Sure,” was Yamaguchi’s reply.

Sawamura kept groaning into his hands, but he slightly shifted his fingers to see out of it. “Did he really stare at my thighs?” Kenma was able to hear the interest in Sawamura’s voice before he answered.

“Sawamura. I was in a tree most of the time, and even then, I saw that Sugawara was staring at you.” Kenma’s voice didn’t fluctuate, so it didn’t add too much to Sawamura’s embarrassment, but it definitely added to his interest.

Oikawa grinned, “Oho, is the Head of the Village here smitten by a knight?”

“Well, there’s no point denying it since everyone here is super gay for a knight,” admitted Sawamura with a smile on his face. “Yeah, I think Sugawara’s pretty cute.”

“See Kenma. This is why the knights are so important,” reminded Oikawa proudly.

“Well, except for Kageyama,” mumbled a very indignant Hinata.

“Hinata,” started Kenma, “I don’t think you should bear a grudge against Kageyama. I still don’t know why he and the others decided to raid out village, but don’t say you hate him just yet. We should probably hear his side of the story.”

Oikawa scoffed, “And why are we going to defend that two-timer?”

Kenma looked at Oikawa and calmly reasoned, “Because the Kageyama we knew was good. Even if I said to be wary in the beginning, I never disliked him.”

Sawamura spoke first before Oikawa could bark at Kenma, “Far enough. To be honest, I don’t think they were all that bad either, but we’ll have to see.” He faced Yamaguchi and asked, “Are you sure you don’t have anything else on them?”

Yamaguchi bit his lips in intense concentration. “Well, whenever I asked Tsukki what he did, he didn’t really answer me. He didn’t seem… quite happy or proud of it.”

Yamaguchi’s comments left everyone pondering what action to take. Kenma, even as the brain of the committee, had trouble guessing what was going through the minds of the knights; they were complicated.

“Well,” Sawamura said as he was standing up, “We really don’t have any means to confirm why the knights act the way as they do, so lets just get on with our day.”

Oikawa got up with a sigh, “Fine, but damn it. I really want to see them again.”

Yamaguchi, gnawing his lips, looked over at Kenma. Kenma stared back with eyes void of feelings before speaking, “Yes Yamaguchi?”

Yamaguchi, surprised for being noticed, flinched a bit. “Oh, um. I was, I was won-wondering if, um. You know, d-did anyone catch your interest?”

Hinata looked on with large eyes, “Yamaguchi!”

Yamaguchi winced at his name, “I’m sorry! But I was really curious. I thought of something earlier, so I thought it would be okay to ask now.”

Oikawa would have laughed in any other circumstance, but he too looked on at Yamaguchi with large eyes. His stare then moved to Kenma, whose expression was muddled. It was as if Kenma was trying to maintain his calm composure over the feelings that were trying to surface on his face.

Kenma was trying to stymie a blush that he felt was coming and said, “No, of course not,” but there was a slight tremor in his voice onto which everyone else caught.

Hinata was now staring at Kenma with large eyes and mouth agape. “Kenma!” he squealed, “There’s someone?”

Kenma frowned, “I said no Hinata. I’m never going to associate myself with a knight from Shiratorizawa, let alone date them.” At the word ‘date,’ Kenma imagined himself holding hands with someone, being hugged, kissi—

STOP. Kenma mentally forced the image out of his, but it was too late, the blush finally appeared on his face. He knew it was too late.

Hinata spoke again, “Ken—“

“We are not discussing this any longer.” Kenma quickly got out of his chair to exit the room.

After getting bopped on the head by Sawamura, Hinata said nothing more—as did everyone else. Kenma didn’t notice the mixture of endearing and anxious looks in the room, nor did the other members see the painful look on Kenma.

It’ll go away, Kenma tried convincing himself. There’s only physical attraction so far, nothing else.

Hoping to force the physical attraction out faster, Kenma rapidly shook his head side to side.

Please let this be short lived. I can’t be involved with them. The memories of two years ago came rushing back, overwhelming Kenma to the brink of tears. He clutched his shirt with his right hand as his heart was filled with a mixture of emotions.

Please, begged Kenma. Just please.

Chapter Text

‘You gonna speak there doll?’

Kenma slowly backed up in attempt to escape, but only bumped into another knight. The knight latched onto both of Kenma’s arms, and panic soon took over Kenma’s entire body. He tiled his head up, sweat glisteningly on his forehead, to look at the man who kept him rooted.

The words that came out of Kenma’s mouth were foreign, full of desperation never before used. ‘P-please let me go. I’ll do anything but this, anything.’

The first knight came chest to chest with Kenma, grabbing Kenma’s chin to direct his gaze at him. ‘I guess you’re fucked cause I really don’t need anything else.’

Kenma jerked his eyes wide open, now uncomfortably aware of the sweat trickling down his face. The dim moonlight made its way through the only window in the room, and only the sounds of animals could be heard in darkness of the night. Laying flat on his back, Kenma emptily stared at the ceiling with hopes of alleviating his heart that was acting similar to a heart attack.

In through the nose, and out through the mouth did the air go. This is pathetic. I'm so pathetic.

Dejection enveloped the bubble that Kenma felt he was in, and a grand sigh accompanied the disappointment. Hinata waking up was the last thing on Kenma's mind as the aforementioned boy has slept through the loudest of thunderstorms before without a budge. Kenma glazed over at a peaceful Hinata, and a sense of gratefulness slowly washed over the panic Kenma was experiencing moments earlier.

The house they were in was built for the committee members with each member having their own rooms. Hinata was a very needy person and demanded to share a room with Kenma. After countless sardonic comments from Oikawa and Hinata's relentless pursuit, Kenma acquiesced into Hinata's request. While it was a hassle in the earlier days of rooming, Kenma grew accustomed to the energetic orange ball of energy, but Kenma would never admit that to Hinata.

Kenma, thinking the ceiling would provide some answer, returned his gaze back up. Before Kenma could stop it, his mind went whirling at a million miles per hour.

Something’s off with the knights. They weren't... violent.

And by violent, Kenma meant murderous violent like the Knights from two years ago. The Knights that came a week ago seemed like they were trying to avoid blood, not cause it. As Kenma delved further in his thoughts, a certain knight with an obnoxious smirk and bed-head synthesized in his thoughts.

Kenma calm expression grew sour at the image, nose wrinkled and eyebrows furrowed. Kenma forcefully ignore Kuroo's attractiveness and instead, focused on other aspects that stood out.

Kenma recognized the analytical look given to him because it was the same one he directed towards others. Kuroo must have felt the same way since he oddly covered himself when Kenma stare.

It's weird. He's much more... wild, but he feels distant. He's good at concealing himself. Kenma, as proclaimed by the committee members, can read everyone like an open book printed with letters as big as the pages; however, Kuroo was different. Maybe its his smirk, or maybe its just because I can only see half of his face mulled Kenma. Either way, Kuroo was a book unreadable to the public and private alike. As much as Kenma hated busy bodies he found himself fidgeting in his bed from his desire to know more about the knights, and dare he says it, Kuroo.

After thirty more minutes of what was probably futile worrying, Kenma dozed off to a deep slumber, unaware of the impending danger that lurked in the air.

________________

"--Ma!!!"

Sounds of falling goods echoing in the night, along with the desperate cries, once again cause Kenma to awake in sweat. The mysterious and serene moonlight was now full of danger.

Before he had a chance to apprehend the situation, a large, and quite forceful, hand blocked Kenma's mouth. Another hand wrapped itself under the sheets and around Kenma's waist with even more force, squeezing the wind out of Kenma. Kenma was pulled up out of his bed and was immediately slammed to to the ground.

Kenma's grunt was muffled by the hand over his mouth, and the ache soon spread throughout his entire body. The taste of iron pervaded his mouth. Shoot, Kenma ran his tongue over his teeth. The dull pain supported the idea that Kenma must have bitten his tongue when he fell to the ground. His vision went black temporarily, but it soon focused on the looming image before him.

Kenma no longer heard the sounds of Hinata's screams as his entire body went rigid. His senses slowly shut down: first his hearing, next was smell, taste, and touch. Everything felt numb when he locked eyes with the devious glint of the knight who held him down.

The near black eyes were devoid of any feelings besides lust. They matched his straight jet black hair that was pulled into a small ponytail, but it was the smile that triggered it all. The same smile from two years ago that triggered everything. Similar to a black hole, once the smile adopted its familiar crescent shape, Kenma knew that everything was a lost cause.

The man, hovering over Kenma, leaned down near Kenma's ear and whispered, "So we meet again, huh Kenma." Kenma shivered at the low hum of his name. His body was trembling and sweat glistened everywhere on his exposed skin in the moonlight.

The man released his hand from Kenma's mouth, but he continued to pin Kenma down to the ground with his body. It was only then did Kenma examine the room.

Kenma found Hinata, cursing up a storm and thrashing is the arms of another knight. The knight himself was cursing, as he got wacked by Hinata's lithe limbs.

"Damn it! Put me down! Stupid. Baka. Stupid head. You're going to regret this!" Yelled Hinata.

“Fuck,” muttered the knight holding Hinata.

“Damnit Yousuke, you can’t even handle a midget?” sighed the knight on top of Kenma. He cheerfully stared at Hinata, “Listen hear, if you don’t comply with us, then I guess we’ll have no choice but to attack the oh so innocent villagers.” The knight shrugged his shoulders with his hands up as if it was something he couldn’t help.

Hinata hissed, “You wouldn’t.”

“Like how I wouldn’t take Kenma here?”

Hinata froze at his proclamation. Hinata quickly overcame his shock to only stare at a pale Kenma. He gulped down the threatening words that were about to explode from his mouth to whisper, “What do you want now?”

The knight in charge smiled complacently, “Good boy. First of all, lets move to the living room shall we?”

With no further words, the two knights half dragged, half walked Kenma and Hinata down the hall. Hinata kept glaring at the knights in attempt to burn them with his look, but Kenma solemnly directed his gaze to the ground.

Once they reached the end of the hall to the living room, they found the other committee members spaced out on the floor with three just as intimidating knights stationed right behind them. The burning candles illuminated the room and highlighted the danger of the knights. Hinata latched onto Kenma’s arm and pulled him towards Sawamura. They sat down with a flop to the right of Sawamura, and Hinata continued to nuzzle Kenma’s arm as an attempt to assuage Kenma’s fears.

Oikawa scooted over to push Hinata off Kenma and wrapped his own arm over Kenma's shoulder, pulling him in. Clicking his tongue, Oikawa chided, "Come on Hinata. At least try to be of some comfort."

"Hey," pouted an indignant Hinata. "I was."

Daichi, pulling Yamaguchi along, scooted to join the group. "Guys, I know you argue all the time, but now isn't exactly the best."

"What he said."

The extra voice caused everyone to look up, and the source of the sound was the knight that dragged Kenma here.

Oikawa, after recognizing the face seethed, "It’s you.”

“Yup. It’s Yuuta by the way, not ‘you,’” Yuuta corrected. “You know, that hurts a bit since I remembered all your names, right Oikawa?”

Oikawa’s nose scrunched up in disgust at the sound of his name.

“Enough with this,” commanded Sawamura. “What does it take for you guys to lea—“

“You guys.” Yuuta easily stated.

Quizzical looks occupied the face of all the committee members, even Kenma.

Yuuta chuckled at their faces before continuing. “Last time our knights came here, the barely got anything valuable and they almost got their assed whooped. See here, Ushijima-sama was really disappointed in them, but high impressed by you guys.” Yuuta slowly moved closer to Kenma until their faces were only inches away. “I don’t know why, but Ushijima-sama has a thing for strong people.” With his face just as close to Kenma, Yuuta slid his eyes to look over every committee member.

Hinata popped his head up, “What the? Does that mean you want us to come with you?”

Yuuta snapped both his fingers to then point at Hinata in a congratulatory way, “Bingo. Look, you’re not as stupid as thought.”

“Are you fucking crazy. Why the hell would we even go with you?” scoffed Oikawa.

“Because you guys love this village too much to not,” returned Yuuta.

Daichi squinted his eyes with contemplation, “And if we choose not to?”

Yousuke spoke up with enthusiasm, “Ushijima-sama said he’d make sure this village will be like a, ‘living hell.’”

Yuuta walked back and placed his hand on Yousuke’s shoulder. “What he said. But more specifically, knights will be stationed here to prevent you guys from doing anything—and I definitely mean anything.

Yamaguchi, looking terrified as ever with his overblown eyes, whimpered, “But you can’t.”

“I can’t, but Ushijima-sama can. That’s how he got those knights from the top troop, although their action didn’t really reflect the ‘top’ part too well,” shrugged Yuuta.

“NO,” adamantly stated Hinata with his arms crossed. “We’ll fight to the death before that happens.”

“Aww,” Yuuta said as he feigned sadness. “Here I was, hoping to reminisce my time together with Kenma.” At those words, Yuuta gave Kenma a wink, which elicited a scrunched up face from Kenma.

Yuuta walked back towards Kenma to stroke his cheek with the back of his hand, moving some strands of hair along the way. “What? You don’t want to remember the time where I made you cry of joy and pleasure.” His voice dipped lower as the sentence dragged on, and it ended it a soft, but devious whisper.

Oikawa tightened his hold on Kenma even more and hissed, “Fucking asshole.”

Kenma glanced up to meet Yuuta’s eyes. Swallowing his fears, Kenma breathed out, “It wasn’t of joy and pleasure…”

Yuuta grinned at the sound of Kenma’s voice, “Oh it wasn’t? Maybe we should try it again, so I can figure out what it was?”

Before Kenma had time to react, he yelped as Yuuta pulled on Kenma’s arms forcefully, but Oikawa still had a grip on him.

“LET GO OF KENMA.” Hinata sprung up to lung at Yuuta, but Yousuke, anticipating rebellion, was already there. He flung Hinata to the floor. Landing on his shoulder. Hinata let out a sound similar to a moan and yelp.

Yamaguchi scrambled to Hinata’s side, but as soon as he was within touching distance of Hinata, another knight kicked at Yamaguchi with no restraint. With the wind knocked out of him, Yamaguchi stalled on the floor as he clutched his stomach in acute pain. He bit his lower lip to stymie the hacking cough that was about to erupt.

Yuuta, still gripping onto Kenma, brought his foot out to land on Oikawa’s face; yet despite the impact, Oikawa’s hold on Kenma wouldn’t loosen. If anything, he clenched even harder.

“Oikawa” whined Kenma.

In the meantime, Sawamura ran to Yamaguchi and Hinata to hover over them as a protective shield.

Oikawa’s condescending smirk belied his situation, and that only fueled Yuuta’s anger. “What,” mocked Oikawa. “Did you expect the villagers that impressed Ushijima to give up that easily?”

A vein appeared on Yuuta’s arm, and he sneered backed. “Of course not. The other knights just didn’t mention the kind of trash you guys are.”

“Hey now. You can’t call the others trash like that. I’m the only trash here—and a high end one too.”

Yuuta leaned down over lower and past Kenam to whisper in Oikawa’s ear, “We’ll see how much of you will be left to even be called trash.”

At the end of his words, Yuuta tilted Oikawa’s head back by pulling on his hair and kicked at his chin. Oikawa strained to say a curse, but the impact knocked him out almost immediately. Oikawa fell back with a dull thud and no movement.

Kenma desperately yelped out Oikawa’s name before turning towards Sawamura for help, but once Kenma made eye contact with him, he knew that it was a lost cause. The fire in his eyes was pushed to the back as despair took over. As much as Sawamura wanted to help, to save everyone here, but the odds were propitious for the knights. With three committee members down for the count and one held captive, Sawamura had no options.

After mumbling a curse, Sawamura pointed his eyes to Yuuta. Yuuta’s confidence didn’t once falter from Sawamura’s murderous glare since he himself knew how disadvantageous the situation was for the committee members.

“You know what,” started Yuuta, “Ushijima-sama said we needed to get at least one of you guys. I think Kenma here counts for that, but if you all wish to come, you’re more than welcomed to join.”

“Don’t.”

Sawamura turned towards Kenma, who just uttered the single word. Kenma shook his head, “Don’t bother Sawamura.” While Kenma’s face was neutral, Sawamura saw the desperation and bravery in Kenma’s eyes. “Don’t try saving me. You and I both know how futile it will be now, so please don’t do anything stupid.” Kenma’s monotonic voice grew to a whimper by the end of the sentence.

Sawamura, unable to emit a single sound, looked on with sadness. Yuuta’s laugh interrupted both parties thought and redirected their gaze back to Yuuta.

“Oh man, this is great. I thought you would be begging for your friends help, but here you are protecting them instead.”

In one smooth motion, Yuuta bent down, aligning his right shoulder with Kenma’s stomach, and stood straight up. Kenma’s hair flopped all over his face as fell forward on Yuuta’s shoulder. The blood began rushing to Kenma’s face immediately as he was facing Yuuta’s lower back.

Yuuta saluted Sawamura, “Later Sawamura, if you want Kenma back, you know where to find us. Oh, and if do plan on coming, you better come in full health. If you show up like this, it wouldn’t be fun.” With his last words, Yuuta did a one-eighty and proceeded to leave the house. Yousuke nudged Hinata with his foot a bit before trailing after Yuuta.

The remaining knights left as silently as they were the entire night. The usually warm and amiable air of the candles felt cold and aloof. Sawamura released the breath he was holding and scooted back to rest of the wall. He leaned his head back, making a knocking noise that echoed through the room. Sawamura closed his eyes and the thoughts of Kenma in the hands of Yuuta made his boil. From his feet all the way to his head, the passing anger tensed every part of his body without him even noticing. He didn’t realize the whitening of his knuckles from clenching too hard, the uneven and rapid breathing, the shaking of his legs, or the biting of his lips. All that was on his mind was Kenma.

We—I promised to protect Kenma, and I couldn’t even do that.

Sawamura finally opened his eyes, but had to wait for them to refocus. He closed them too tightly. He moved his gaze over to Hinata who was still lying on the ground, but his eyes were open and distant this time. Hinata was looking at the door, yet his eyes were elsewhere. His usual emotion filled face was devoid of any.

Sawamura, his legs feeling like lead, stood up, gripping the wall for support. As he slowly made his way over to Hinata’s side, Hinata decided that it was time to move, so he sat up with both hands behind him to hold him up. Sawamura put his hands out, and Hinata grabbed onto it with both hands. Using everything he had left, Sawamura lifted Hinata up. It took much more energy than usual since Hinata didn’t put much effort into standing up.

When Hinata finally stood on his own two feet, Sawamura brought his hand out to ruffle Hinata’s orange locks. As defeated he felt, it was no time to be depressed. Hinata flinched at the sudden hand, but slowly eased into the touch. Hinata’s eye regained life, although it was sadness that occupied his eyes, it was at least something.

“Sawamuraaa,” whined Hinata, “We have to get Kenma back.”

Sawamura tossed out a light smile, “Yes yes, we will, but not in this state. We’re going to have to rest a day or two to get everyone back on their feet. If we don’t, we might as well stay still while they attack us.”

“But—“

“No buts. Goodness, even when you’re sad, you’re too eager.”

After huffing about Sawamura being overly cautious, Hinata relented and went over to help Yamaguchi to his feet while Sawamura went to Oikawa.

Although no words were spilled, the foreboding danger took over the minds of everyone as the candles faded into nothingness.

____________________

Kenma alternated between rocking back and forth and bouncing up and down while Yuuta’s bony shoulder dug into his stomach, causing intense discomfort. Every bounce only caused Kenma to land on the shoulder, which made it more painful than needed. Kenma bit on his lips to swallow the groans he so desperately wanted to let out, but that would mean acknowledging Yuuta’s effort to cause trouble for Kenma.

Kenma’ return his gaze back to Yuuta’s lower back. His hair swayed in accordance to each movement. A gentle breeze pushed Kenma’s hair all over his face and grazed the back of his neck. Although Kenma tried his best to stymie the reaction, the back of his neck was overtly sensitive. His hair wasn’t there to guard it anymore, so that left it vulnerable to anything. Kenma shivered from the graze, and his entire body shook in response. Shit.

“You cold doll?”

Kenma made no effort to reply and only continued to stare at the locks all over his face.

“Hey, I asked you a question. If you don’t feel like answering, we could do something else.” Even without seeing his face, Kenma knew the no good grin Yuuta had on his face. At the end of his words, Kenma felt a hand tickle up the back of his legs. Kenma involuntarily kicked his legs out, but Yuuta forced them down with his left hand while his right hand continued to ascend even higher up Kenma.

When Kenma felt pressure on his butt, he stopped kicking his legs and whispered, “Stop.”

“Hmm, did you say something Kenma? Couldn’t hear you from down there.”

Oh how much Kenma hated him. “Stop,” Kenma blurted out.

“Go? Oh if you insist.” Yuuta turned around to face Yousuke and the other knights. “Hey, you guys go ahead, I have some business to deal with.”

“Do you need me to stay Yuuta?” inquired an overly excited Yousuke.

Kenma gripped Yuuta’s shirt out of fear, and he heard the laugh it induced from Yuuta. “Nah, you can get your turn back home.”

Kenma at that point was strangling the shirt. His heart accelerated at a frightening pace at the inevitable—at the inevitable he so wished didn’t have to happen. Kenma didn’t see them go, but he heard the sound of leaves rustling grow fainter with each passing second. Eventually, the sound disappeared altogether and was replaced with the vibrations of the earth.

Without a warning, Yuuta flipped Kenma off and plummeted him down to the ground. Within the same night, Kenma found himself winded and pinned down. When he looked up, Yuuta was directly above him on all four. Everything about Yuuta made Kenma uncomfortable, and even more so now. His typical devious grin was plastered on his face. His canines were unusually sharp and added to his image of a tame, yet wild dog.

“You ready doll?” whispered Yuuta.

Kenma refused to speak, make a sound, or even move. He just laid there, looking into the empty voids of Yuuta’s eye. Yuuta’s hands wondered up to the top of Kenma’s pants; but Kenma felt nothing. A pinky dipped itself into his pants. The ring finger was added and soon enough, Yuuta’s entire hand was in his pants.

“What? You’re not going to say anything this time? Scream ‘stop’ or the name of your friends? Hey, you can wiggle and struggle a bit. That made it fun last time. Just don’t lash out this time. You getting hurt is a hassle I rather not deal with,” complained Yuuta. The smile on his face remained there the entire duration of his complaint, but Kenma still didn’t no anything.

Yuuta clicked his tongue and spat out, “Fine, I’ll just make it fun on my own.”

Yuuta grabbed onto Kenma’s pants and roughly pulled it off to his knees. The air was cold, but Kenma didn’t feel it. It felt as if his soul was leaving his body. Not out of surprise, and not out of fear. Yuuta dug the palm of his hand against Kenma’s dull length. Kenma released a groan out of pain, but any sound from Kenma was enough to trigger Yuuta.

Yuuta continued to dig his hand onto Kenma with intense pressure that caused more pain than pleasure, but Kenma endured it all. Yuuta leaned down to run his tongue up Kenma’s neck, causing him to shiver violently. Yuuta stopped his trail to suck vigorously at the base of Kenma’s neck. As soon as Kenma’s body tensed up, Yuuta bit down on Kenma—hard, which engendered a small cry from him.

Yuuta released his mouth from Kenma’s neck with a pop, and it was then that Kenma saw the slick sight of blood on Yuuta’s lips. Not wasting any time, Yuuta quickly pushed Kenma’s underwear down to insert two fingers into him dry, and the intense pain cause Kenma to wheeze. Kenma felt himself widen as he was pathetically scissored. He had to choke back a sob when Yuuta pushed a third and fourth finger in.

Kenma completely detached himself from the situation once he felt the tip of Yuuta’s disgustingly hard penis at his entrance. From that point on, Kenma didn’t know what was going on anymore. He didn’t know if it was him or Yuuta that was panting. If that was him crying out. If the wetness he felt of his cheeks was his tears or a more suspicious fluid. He wasn’t even sure if he was conscious.

Kenma didn’t stop feeling out of surprise and fear. He stopped because he felt hopeless—like the universe without the sun or the night sky without its stars. Isolated and alone, that is where Kenma was now. It was a repeat of two years ago, and there wasn’t anything Kenma could do.

Nothing. At. All.

Chapter Text

“KUROO, CAN YOU PEEL THE REST OF THE APPLES.”

“DON’T FORGET TO DICE THEM UP.”

“ARE YOU STUPID MATSUKAWA, THEY SHOULD BE SLICED.”

“OH. THAT’S RIGHT. NEVER MIND KUROO, CAN YOU SLICE THEM INSTEAD?”

“URGHH,” half groaned half shouted Kuroo. Kuroo, with apples in both hands and lap, leaned back against the grand apple tree that was in the courtyard of the castle. Kuroo still heard the faint sound of Hanamaki and Matsukawa arguing about today’s lunch from the window right in front of him.

The shape of the castle was deviant from the norm. From the outside, it looks like a regular square building, but it was actually hollow in the middle. The castle comprised four long hallways connecting one another to create the outline of a square, and in the empty middle space was the courtyard. Hanamaki and Matsukawa’s garden occupied most of the space, but there was still enough room to lounge around and play games.

Located within the garden section stood a very large apple tree at twenty-five feet high. Its apples are the best in the kingdom: a pretty red with streaks of yellow, crisp enough to relish the sound of biting into the apple, soft enough for even the youngest of kids to enjoy. Although Kuroo pretty much hated the tree now, he couldn’t help but have some kind of pride for the tree.

Matsukawa said the tree has been here for three generations already, but then again, it’s Matsukawa…

The sun was blaring down on the courtyard today, and Kuroo dreaded every moment. It was eleven in the morning, and Kuroo just finished picking over two hundred apples in three hours. Since the tree was so high, he had to use a ladder to reach the fruit. Hanamaki thought it would be fun to play around, so thanks to him, Kuroo almost had a near fatal accident; however, he did end up bruising over twenty apples, thus setting him back even more.

Kuroo had rolled up the sleeves of his t-shirts within ten minutes of starting, but by the thirty-minute mark, it was long gone. Sweat glistened everywhere on Kuroo’s toned body, and Kuroo was pretty sure he turned a few shades darker.

Darn it, I was trying to not get uneven tans and tan lines. Maybe I should take off my pants when I do this next time?

Before Kuroo had time to think more, the sound of his name rang from the kitchen window.

“Kuroooooooooooo—“

“Ugh, what Hanamaki?” asked a very vexed Kuroo.

“I roped Iwaizumi in to help you peel the apples,” said Hanamaki. He head was sticking out enough from the window for Kuroo to see Hanamki’s trademark ‘I don’t give a fuck’ face.

Kuroo couldn’t help but grin at the sight of Iwaizumi being domestic, “Thanks Hanamaki~ You’re actually doing something good here.”

Kuroo heard Hanamaki click his tongue. “Oh, if you want to see something good, wait until you show up for work tomorrow.”

“Ooo,” cooed Matsukawa as he too peeked his head out. “Does that involve a skimpy maid outfit?”

“No,” replied Hanamaki, “But I think Kuroo would fit mine.”

“Oh my gosh. Please stop talking Hanamaki and Matsukawa. Just send out Iwaizumi already with the tub. I don’t need to hear about your love lives,” groaned Kuroo.

Hanamaki poked his head out the window, the indifferent look on his face as peaceful as ever. “I thought you were into these stuff.”

“Yeah,” Kuroo mocked obviously. “I love shit like that, just not—on you.”

Matsukawa’s head joined Hanamaki and he said with a slight lift on his mouth, “Suit yourself. You wouldn’t know until you try.”

“I think I will never try thank you very much.”

The kitchen couple returned to their workplace, and Iwaizumi came out lugging a giant barrel filled with water. Iwaizumi was shirtless too since he just came back from exterior maintenance. Although the barrel was at least fifty pounds, Iwaizumi didn’t struggle at all.

Kuroo whistled suggestively at the sight of Iwaizumi, “Why hello there. Come here often?”

Iwaizumi grunt, “Be quiet Kuroo and tell me what I’m supposed to do.”

Kuroo frowned, “You could have at least played along for a bit.”

“Yeah no, so what am I supposed to do?”

“Fine,” sighed Kuroo. “First of all, is there lemon juice in the water?”

“Yeah. Hanamaki made me pour some in there before I left. I heard you guys mentioned maid outfits. Should I be concerned?” inquired Iwaizumi.

“No. You do not want to know at all.” Kuroo stared directly at Iwaizumi in an oddly serious manner that told Iwaizumi he wasn’t joking.

Iwaizumi returned the stared with equal intensity before asking, “It involves Hanamaki and Matsukawa doesn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Say no more. Pretend that conversation was a thing of the past,” asserted Iwaizumi.

Kuroo give Iwaizumi the thumbs, “Already done. Now lets start peeling these bad fruits.”

“Bad fruits?” questioned Iwaizumi. He cocked his head to the side with one eyebrow raised.

“Ya know. ‘Bad boys,’ ‘bad fruits,’” stated Kuroo as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Iwaizumi only shook his head in disappointment. “That was lame. If only people knew how you really are.”

Kuroo gave Iwaizumi a ‘tough luck’ grin and mirrored back, “I could say the same to you. You’re as slow as you are smart.”

“What?” scowled Iwaizumi. “See, this is the shit I was talking about. That made no sense.”

“Whatever you say,” sang Kuroo.

Before Iwaizumi could reply, Matsukawa stuck his head out again and complained, “Will you start peeling the apples or something? Hanamaki’s complaining to me, and it’s annoying.”

“You’re annoying,” was Hanamaki’s dry response.

Once Matsukawa retreated his head, Kuroo took the barrel of water and set it next to the unnecessarily large pile of apples. Iwaizumi tossed Kuroo a peeler, to which he caught without a second glance.

“Nice catch,” hummed Iwaizumi.

Kuroo grunted thank you before sighing at the apples in front of him.

“And nice apple picking too,” added Iwaizumi. “God, how long did this take you?” Iwaizumi picked an apple up from the pile and rolled it around his hand. After inspecting the fruit and finding no fault, he took bite out of the fresh fruit, smiling at the taste.

Kuroo moaned into his hands, “Way too long. I wish I did exterior maintenance.”

After swallowing his apple, Iwaizumi shook his head, “No you don’t. I have to do it with Tanaka and Nishinoya.” His scowl returned at full power at the mention of those two. “They keep cutting the bush into… inappropriate shapes. And I have to fix every. Single. One. Of. Them.”

Kuroo smirked, more so in Iwaizumi’s pain, “What are you talking about? That sounds fun.”

Iwaizumi whipped his head from the apple to Kuroo with an intense glare.

Kuroo’s smirk only grew larger at Iwaizumi’s unnecessary seriousness and chuckled out, “Alright alright. I don’t want to anymore.”

With that, their conversation came to a close, and the two spent the next hour and a half peeling two hundred apples and dumping them in the bucket with lemon juice to prevent browning. The soft hum of the birds and animals in the gardens assuaged most of the annoyance Kuroo was previously feeling. Just sitting under the shade had a calming affect, and it was a rare time where Kuroo appreciated the silence.

Time passed more quickly than Kuroo anticipated, and soon enough, the apples were completed. Iwaizumi stood up and brought his arms up to stretch. He let out a weird muffled sound, “This wasn’t bad. It’s nice to have quiet after being with the rowdy duo all day, but I’m all stiff now.”

“Yeah, it was,” Kuroo said as he too stretched out his body. He peered at Iwaizumi through his bangs, and a sly smile crept its way up his face. “Hey, you need some help stretching?”

Iwaizumi stared at the way Kuroo’s eyebrows kept moving up and down and knew that it was going to be a bad idea. He turned around and proceeded to walk towards the entrance to the kitchen, but was tackled from behind by Kuroo. Iwaizumi put his hands out in front of him to avoid landing on his face.

Kuroo was straddling Iwaizumi’s back with a grin, and Iwaizumi growled, “Get off of me.”

“After we do some stretching. You’re as flexible as Ushijima is friendly.” With that, Kuroo moved back to straddle Iwaizumi’s thigh. He leaned forward to latch onto both of Iwaizmi’s arms and pulled back.

Iwaizumi let out a strangled noise. With a lack of air, Iwaizumi wheezed out, “Fuck. Kuroo, I can’t do this. Hurry the hell off of me.”

“I said after we stretched.” Kuroo slowly inched back, and Iwaizumi’s protests only grew louder—along with Kuroo’s laughter.

The door to the kitchen flung open, and there stood Sugawara, looking as amused as ever. “I hate to break up your…”

“Stretching session,” completed Kuroo with a smile.

Sugawara returned that with a smile of his own. “Stretching session, right. But practice starts in five minutes.”

“Oh shit,” Iwaizumi and Kuroo said in tandem. After rushing to stand up, the two men dashed over to Sugawara, who was happily laughing at their panicking selves.

“Hurry up and put on your gear. If Ushijima-sama catches wind of you guys being late, you’re in trouble,” advised Sugawara.

“Yes yes, we’re going,” said Kuroo. The three of them maneuvered their way past the kitchen towards the sparing room.

“Hey Kuroo, where’s the barrel of apples,” asked Hanamaki.

Oh shit. Kuroo increased his walking speed, and the other two followed suit.

Once the knights made it safely out of the kitchen, Hanamaki turned towards Matsukawa. “He left the barrel outside didn’t he?”

Without turning to face Hanamaki, Matsukawa just nodded a yes. Hanamaki’s face scrunched up in annoyance and whispered, “He’s getting more work tomorrow.”

Matsukawa hummed in acknowledgement. After a few more minutes, he spoke up. “So about the maid outfit?”

“Should I wear it to work tomorrow?” Hanamaki teasingly asked.

“You can’t move around too much in it right?”

“I shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t.”

“You can’t flash Kindaichi and Kunimi, Hanamaki,” was Matsukawa’s stern reply.

“Why not? I think Kindaichi needs more ass in his life.”

“OH MY GOD.”

Matsukawa and Hanamaki turned back to stare at a very intimidating knife-wielding Kunimi. For a baker, he carried quite a presence. Kindaichi was looking on with a very red face. He too had a knife in his hand, a butcher one at that, and chicken in the other, but he looked more fearful than intimidating.

“I swear to god, if I didn’t like baking so much, I would have left this kitchen in a heartbeat,” spat Kunimi. “You two are disgusting.”

The two culprits only shrugged their shoulders. Hanamaki suggested, “If you gave Kindaich some of your ass this wouldn—“

Before Hanamaki could finish, Kunimi threw the knife at the open couple, and disaster overtook the kitchen.

##

Kuroo pushed the door open to the practice room and was greeted by a flying dagger that landed inches from his face. Tsukishima was standing idly near where Kuroo stood, and Kageyama was in the middle of the room looking enraged. Kuroo’s mouth twitched up, and he felt a blood vessel on his forehead.

Kageyama stood up straight with the scowl still on his face and pointed at Tsukishima. “He was insulting me.”

Sugawara sidled up to Kuroo’s side and sighed, “That doesn’t mean you can just throw weapons at him.”

Tsukishima began snickering, but Sugawara wasn’t finished with his chastising just yet. “And you,” Sugawara emphasized as he pointed his finger accusingly at Tsukishima, “need to stop taunting Kageyama. Goodness, sometimes I think that that boy—what was his name again? Oh, Yamaguchi, is too nice for you.”

Tsukishima grew a shade of pink, and it was Kageyama’s turn to snicker. Kuroo smiled too at Tsukishima’s discomfort and embarrassment. After the failure of a raid, the knights found out about Tsukishima’s discreet love life, and they haven’t stopped teasing him about it ever since.

“I seriously never imagined you’d be in a relationship ‘Tsukki,’” mocked Kuroo.

Tsukishima redirected his glare to Kuroo and hissed out, “Don’t call me that.”

Kuroo shrugged in amusement, “Sure thing ‘Tsukki.’ I let your boyfriend have the privilege of that nickname.”

With his gaze still on Kuroo, Tsukishima monotonously said, “He’s not my boyfriend.”

Iwaizumi looked on with confusion, “What are you talking about. You guys are so dating.”

Tsukishima looked down at his feet and mumbled, “He ditched me.”

“What?” asked an incredulous Kageyama. “What the hell. We were just talking about Hinata and Yamaguchi. If I had known you weren’t dating, I wouldn’t have even mentioned Hinata.” Kageyama, obviously mad, slowly walked forward to Tsukishima.

Kuroo took a step forward to act as a barrier between the two youngsters of the group. “Oh—kay. First of all, why did he break up with your sorry ass? And second, Hinata? The orange hair midget that’s like, the complete opposite of you?”

Both of them refused to speak until Sugawara stepped up and looked on with the eyes of an angel. “You might as well tell us you know. It’s too late to back out now.” Sugawara looked at Kageyama, and Kageyama broke down immediately.

“Fuck. Okay, I like Hinata. Alright? And I’m pretty sure he likes—well, liked—me too.” Kageyama ended his confession with a huff and stuck his head up.

Sugawara faced his attention to Tsukishima, who looked reluctant. He said while grinding his teeth, “He sad he can’t date anyone from Shiratorizawa. They had a rough past with us before, especially Kozume.”

Kuroo perked up at the name, “Kozume? You mean the one that was in a tree? What happened?”

Tsukishima sneered, “How the hell am I supposed to know?”

Kuroo faced Kageyama with an expecting look.

Kageyama raised his hands up, “I don’t know either. It was always a touchy subject for everyone there.”

Releasing a sigh, Kuroo squatted down. “Damn it. I was hoping to know more about him.”

Iwaizumi clamped his hand on Kuroo’s shoulder, but spoke to everyone, “If everyone is done talking about their lame love life, can we start practicing?”

Sugawara shook his head, “As empathetic as always Iwaizumi.”

Kuroo looked up and stated, “You need a love life more than anyone else here.”

Iwaizumi scowled down at the disheveled male, “Shut up. I don’t need anyone.”

Sugawara cleared his throat and regained everyone’s attention. “Before we start, I wanted to tell you guys something.” That peeked everyone’s interests as they listened intently. “So I heard from Yachi, Ushijima’s maid, that he sent out a troop last night back to Karasuno Village.”

“WHAT,” yelled-stated everyone in the room.

“Wait, what happ—“ Kuroo was shushed by Sugawara, who motioned to let him finish.

“Yeah, apparently he’s interested in them, as in recruiting them interested.” Sugawara donned a repulsed look.

“Oh fuck.” Kuroo ran his hand through his hair in exasperation and annoyance.

Kageyama squinted down at the ground, but Kuroo knew how worried he was.

Iwaizumi leaned back on the wall. His face was contorted in concentration. “Damn it. This wasn’t supposed to happen again.” He groaned loudly.

Sugawara looked on understandingly, “It wasn’t, but they were really strong—more so than we thought. I think we’re getting to complacent with ourselves. We made a pack to stop this from happening, but we’ve been slacking off.” Sugawara’s words were nice, but his tone said otherwise. “Myself included.”

Kuroo collapsed in the ground at the bad news and talked from there. “The guy Oikawa was good. Extremely good. I’m pretty sure he could take on Kageyama and Iwaizumi no problem.”

Iwaizumi added to the conversation, “Sawamura, the leader, and Hinata weren’t easy either. How’s Yamaguchi?”

“Don’t know,” was Tsukishima’s terse reply.

“And we also know nothing about Kozume, but I’m positive they’re just as good as their friends,” explained Sugawara. “Shoot, Ushijima probably did send other knights to capture them. I heard it was Yuuta’s troop.”

“Ah double fuck,” Kuroo complained rubbing his face. “I fucking hate him. His troop was about to rape some girls from my village. I walked in on them from my hunting trip and beat the fucking shit out of them. I would have won if they didn’t play so dirty.”

Sugawara sat down on the ground next to Kuroo and ask, “What did they use this time?”

“They threatened to kill the girls, so I had to stop. Next week, they came back to take me,” Kuroo sighed at the unpleasant memory.

Kageyama nodded in agreement, “Yuuta’s troop took me too.”

“Ushijima and his thing for the strong. Despite not liking what happened, I still feel a bit flattered he holds us in such strong regards,” Suga said as he giggled sheepishly.

Everyone looked at Sugawara with a warm smile—a warm scowl for some. The way he can turn a serious situation into something manageable, or the way he makes everything seem fine. I really don’t know what we would do without Sugawara.

Sugawara noticed that everyone stopped talking and looked up with a confused, by still joyful face. “Hey, what happened now?”

“Oh nothing,” Kuroo hummed with fondness, “We were just appreciating you.”

Sugawara turned a little pink and waved off Kuroo, “I said you can’t say stuff like that!”

Kuroo and the others all laughed at the embarrassed Sugawara. Sugawara puffed out his cheeks as a sign of unhappiness, but the others all saw him try to repress a smile. Iwaizumi peeked at the clock on the wall and murmured,  “We should start now.”

Sugawara hummed in agreement and stood up. He patted the dust off of him before extending his hand to Kuroo. Kuroo gratefully reached out to Sugawara. As Kuroo was getting up, he yanked on Sugawara’s hand—hard—causing Sugawara to yelp out. He landed on his hand and butt up.

Iwaizumi’s eyes turned a shade of devious as he made eye contact with Kuroo, who returned the look with just as much evil. Iwaizumi swiftly grabbed one of the practice spears and flipped it upside down. Holding the spear like a baseball bat, Iwaizumi, in one fluid motion, spun around and aimed at the center of Sugawara’s butt. At the impact, Sugawara let out a strangled cry and collapsed on the ground. Muffled moans of pain were faintly heard as Iwaizumi and Kuroo’s laughter enveloped the room.

Tsukishima clucked his tongue at the childish act, “How the hell are they older than us?”

Kageyama only squinted his eyes in concentration and tersely replied, “I don’t know.”

Iwaizumi was twirling the spear around when Sugawara latched himself onto his leg and pulled, causing Iwaizumi to fall squarely on his butt. The spear flew out of his hand and the past the small space that was between Kageyama and Tsukishima’s head.

“I really don’t know.”

##

After their sparing practice, the knights scattered to do whatever they did. Sugawara went to the library to do some research about weaponry. Both Kageyama and Iwaizumi stayed behind to do extra practice, and Tsukishima—well, Kuroo had no idea what he did, but it’s not like he cared very much about it. Kuroo should have gone back to finish slicing the apples, but why would he?

Kuroo was strolling down the halls of the castle, looking on as the rest of the workers did their duty. He was on the top floor, the sixth floor; it was the one reserved for those with the highest authority in the kingdom. People like Ushijima and his counsel members resided here. Despite being part of the best troop, Kuroo and the others inhabited the rooms on the 1st floor since they were originally outsiders.

As Kuroo was turning the corner to finish walking down the last hall, he bumped into Yachi, who was holding onto a broom. Kuroo, being much bigger than Yachi, didn’t move from his spot; however, the impact caused Yachi to stumble back a few feet. She got caught on her own feet and fell down, but as she was flailing down, Yachi swung the broom up making contact with Kuroo’s chin.

Once Yachi landed, she sputtered, “KUROO. Oh my gosh, are you alright? Oh my gosh, did I scratch your neck with the broom? Did I give you a concussion? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

“Yachi!” yelled Kuroo. The sudden sound shut Yachi right up, and she stared nervously up at Kuroo. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. How could one of the best knights in the kingdom get hurt by a broom.” He ended his attempt to calm Yachi down with a confident grin.

Yachi rubbed the back of her head as she grinned sheepishly. “Hehe, I guess you’re right.”

Kuroo grabbed onto her hand and easily lifted her back up to her feet. He put his hand on her head to give it a quick rustle. “Besides, it was my fault anyway. I shouldn’t really be up here.”

“What?!” yelped Yachi. She waved her hands frantically in front of her. “Nooo, you’re totally welcomed here! I love having people come up here, especially you and the other knights.”

Kuroo laughed at Yachi and continued, “Don’t worry. I shouldn’t be here—but I don’t feel bad. I’m still going to come up here.” Kuroo gave her a proud smile to which Yachi returned.

“You know, I don’t know how proud you should feel about that Kuroo,” she said teasingly. “But I’m glad to know you aren’t bother by it.”

Yachi set the broom aside, leaning it against the wall. She quickly dusted her skirt and adjusted her headband before readdressing Kuroo. “So what brings you up here?”

Kuroo crossed his arm and leaned on the wall. He blew air up his bangs and watched them flutter down. “Nothing much to be honest. I just finished sparing practice, and I felt like coming up here.”

“Sparring practice?” inquired Yachi. “You just had one yesterday if I’m correct.”

“Yup,” grinned Kuroo. “But ever since Karasuno, we’ve been practicing a lot more. We really aren’t, ya know, supposed to lose—but damn, they crushed us.”

“Ah,” said Yachi empathetically. “I hear Ushijima talk about it. I heard that he also sent out Yuuta’s troop to gather them.”

Kuroo sighed, “He probably did knowing him. Shit, we’re all trying to be the best just so he stops recruiting more people, but our plan didn’t exactly work out that way…”

Yachi hummed in contemplation, “I see. Oh man, the situation is more complex than I thought. Suga just told me the other day how you guys even came to Shiratorizawa! I had no idea!” Yachi frowned at Kuroo as she recalled their reason.

Kuroo chuckled again and poked at the wrinkles forming on her forehead. “Thanks for worrying about us, but it’s been two years already. What’s done is done.” He shrugged his shoulder in a ‘what can you do’ movement. “As long as our villages are safe, then it’s fine; but we’re also trying to prevent this from happening again. It was working out up until last week.”

“Yeah I know, but! But—“ Yachi jutted her lips out while she tried to form a coherent sentence. After a few seconds, Yachi looked over shoulders and stuck her neck out to look down the hall. After seeing just an empty hallway, Yachi motioned Kuroo to bend down.

Curious, Kuroo quickly leaned down, and Yachi whispered in his ears, “Ushijima is such a jerk! If he didn’t pay so well, I would have left.”

Both parties returned to their normal stance, and Kuroo nodded. “That, my friend, is completely true—an asshole to the bone.” Kuroo peered at the clocked perched at the end of the hallway, and said, “I think it’s time for me to go. Thanks for letting me bother you. I’ll come back again.”

Yachi did another scan of the hallways before signaling Kuroo to get down her level again. This time, Kuroo found it to be extremely surreptitious, but he leaned down nonetheless. “Okay, before you go, you didn’t hear this from me?” Kuroo nodded his head once before repositioning his ear next to Yachi’s mouth. “I heard Yuuta’s group took someone from Karasuno, but it’s just one. They came last night, and I think they’re being kept in a storage room on the first floor.”

Kuroo kept his head straight, eyes still hitting the ground, but a scowl was the current facial expression Kuroo had on. “Do you know who it is?”

“Don’t know, but Ushijima isn’t happy. Apparently he’s the weakest one of the group,” whispered Yachi.

Kuroo racked his bran to figure out who would it be.

It’s not Oikawa. Sawamura looks tough enough, and Hinata is good too if I’m going with what Iwaizumi said; but that just leaves Yamaguchi and Kozume.

“Oh fuck. Okay, thanks Yachi. I have no idea why, but I think I’m going to head to the first floor now,” Kuroo said with a false cheerfulness.

Yachi waved goodbye, “Bye Kuroo! Be careful of you know—tripping down the stairs or something.”

Kuroo saluted her off, “Thanks for the tip.” Kuroo did a 180 and went back the way he comes from. As soon was he was out of Yachi’s sight, he sprinted as quietly as he could down the hallway and stairs. He ended up skipping a few steps in between, but that didn’t faze Kuroo at all.

Once he reached the first floor, he went back to strolling. Feigning a nonchalant attitude was easy for Kuroo, but then again, he was like that most of the time anyway.

There were numerous storage rooms scatter throughout the first floor. Kuroo silently cursed as he thought about the scale of his search. Avoiding the hallway with the kitchen for last, Kuroo started with the hallway at the back of the square. By a lucky chance, Kuroo caught Yuuta walking out a room as soon as he turned the corner. He quickly hid inside a room and waited for Yuuta to walk past. Once the footsteps grew fainter, Kuroo poked his head out and cordially gave Yuuta’s back the middle finger.

Quietly shutting the door, Kuroo tiptoed to the room he found Yuuta exit. Kuroo, with his right hand on the door handle, took a deep breath. Not quite able to calm down, Kuroo slapped himself with his free hand, and smiled to himself once his heart rate went to normal.

The worst that can happen is that he hates my guts, but that’s normal.

Kuroo rotated his hands and slowly opened the door. Despite his best efforts to keep quiet, the creaking was still present—obviously. Kuroo murmured a curse and quickly pushed the door open and closed it just as fast. He closed it too harshly and a loud echo reverberated. After another curse, the lingering sounds finally disappeared, and Kuroo finally turned around.

The storage room was small and bare aside from the various boxes. There were a few light bulbs in the room, but only one was turned on. Perks of living in a well-established kingdom: primitive lighting and plumbing. Kuroo slowly skimmed the room, his eyes landing on the bed sheet and blanket on the ground. His gaze travelled up to look at the person sitting atop of the blanket.

Kuroo was met with the same golden eyes that stunned him before; however, it was lackluster. While there was natural devoid of emotions, his eyes this time didn’t feel like his eyes. It felt like his was gone mentally.

Oh shit, something happened. Kuroo had to hold back the anger that was dying to ooze of out him. He tentatively stepped forward to Kenma, but their eye contact did not waver even once. Once Kuroo was directly in front of Kenma, he lowered himself down the ground, sitting Indian style. For the next few minutes, both parties just stared at one another; not a single sound was uttered.

Kuroo, needing to do something, cleared his throat and stirred in his seat. “Kozume,” he said calmly. No reaction. “Hey, do you happen to remember me?” Kuroo asked hopefully. Kenma, still as a statue, did not answer back. 

Kuroo leaned forward, resting his head on the arm he just propped up on his thigh. He ran his free hand through his hair, slightly shaking. Kuroo didn’t know why, but in front of Kenma, he become much more nervous. Kuroo didn’t really have much of a filter, but right now, he was afraid to utter a single word. What if I mess up?

Kuroo’s heart rate picked up speed, and he felt his body warming up albeit the room being a comfortable temperature. Kuroo started scowling at himself for being so lame. What the hell. I’m just getting nervous by myself.

Kuroo let out a groan and rubbed his face with both of his hands. After a few seconds, he slapped himself calm. A quick shake of the head later, Kuroo stared directly into Kenma’s eyes with a newfound determination. Was he surprised for a little bit? “Lets start over. My name is Kuroo—Kuroo Tetsurou.”