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“What the hell, Yamaguchi—”

“Tsukishima?”

“…Highness? Why the fuck are you calling me at…” Kei squints at his phone screen. “Jesus Christ, three-thirty in the fucking morning.”

There’s crackling on the other end of the phone, heavy breathing. “The moon is really bright tonight…”

“…I’m hanging up now.”

“Wait! Wait…” A hiccup. “There’s no one else…”

“Are you drunk?”

“…”

“Didn’t we establish in high school that you can’t handle alcohol?”

There’s a huff of air against the receiver, probably a sigh, but no real response, and Kei pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Where are you?”

“Uh…” There’s shuffling, the sound of a screen door squeaking open. “Sigma Phi? Across from the football field?”

“Why the hell aren’t you at your own goddamn school?”

More crackling. “Hinata’s in a beer pong tournament, and Yamaguchi and Yachi…Jäger is disgusting…”

“Just go home, Highness.”

“How? I don’t know where I am…”

“Get Yamaguchi to drive you.”

“He’s spending time with Yachi. And Hinata’s busy. And I don’t know anyone else.” A sniffle. “And it’s cold.” Kageyama’s voice has reduced to a piteous whine and Kei wants to strangle him.

“Fine… Just—don’t move.”

 

 

Kei pulls a sweatshirt over his pajamas, tucking the hems of his pants into boots, grabbing his wallet as an afterthought because knowing Kageyama he probably didn’t have enough change on him for bus fare since buying milk took precedence over safe transport home.

 

 

The university dorms are mercifully quiet for the first Friday of the new semester, and save for having to sidestep the occasional passed-out-in-the-hallway drunk person, Kei’s walk out of the first-year complex and toward the fraternity and sorority housing is peaceful.

The party is easy to find, the bone-shaking bass notes audible a block away, and Kei wishes he’d remembered his headphones. He sees Kageyama before the other boy sees him, a hooded figure slumped down against porch railings, shivering and miserable-looking.

Kei stops a few feet in front of him and Kageyama glances up, blue eyes bloodshot and hazy.

“You came,” he murmurs, sounding relieved and almost surprised.

“Well, yeah,” Kei scoffs. “If you drunkenly decided to get hit by a car, Hinata and Yamaguchi would probably find some way to blame me.”

Kageyama’s brow furrows. “Why would I decide—?”

“Let’s go, Highness.” Kei turns, shoving hands in his pockets and starting to walk away.

“Um…”

He turns back to see Kageyama still sitting, looking up at him pitifully. Kei rolls his eyes, then extends a hand to yank Kageyama to his feet and starts to walk, dragging a stumbling Kageyama by the wrist. 

 

 

“Where are we going?”

“The bus stop.”

“But the buses stop running at midnight.”

“Then why are you still here?”

“Yamaguchi was supposed to drive, but Hinata found a tray of Jell-O shots.”

“Fucking…alright, we’re going back to my dorm.”

“Why?”

Kei resists the urge to stick his foot out to trip Kageyama, and settles for rolling his eyes. “I’m going to make coffee, you’re going to drink it and sober up, and then—shit, when does the first bus come?”

“Six.”

“And then you’re going to take the six AM bus back to your own school.”

“What about you?”

I am going to sleep because I have class in—“ Kei fumbles his phone out of his jeans pocket and flicks it open with a thumbnail. “Fucking hell, four hours.”

“Oh.”

Kageyama goes quiet for a while, and when Kei glances at him he’s got that slightly-constipated look on his face that means he’s trying to articulate his feelings.

“Sorry,” comes three minutes later when they finally leave the fraternity complex and start to make their way across campus, sounding like it’s mumbled through clenched teeth.

“Bit late for that, Highness,” Kei says smoothly, and Kageyama bristles, like always.

“I didn’t know—”

“Is your brain literally a volleyball? Why else wouldn’t I have come tonight?”

“You don’t like parties.”

“That never stopped Yamaguchi and Hinata from dragging me to all those ‘hang-outs’ in high school.” Kei adjusts his grip on Kageyama’s wrist. “Hurry it up, will you?”

 

 

“It sucked without you, anyway,” Kageyama mumbles into the collar of his jacket, after they’ve been walking for a while longer, and Kei blames the flush blooming on his cheeks on late-October chill. Kageyama had never liked parties—too many people screaming about things not relating to volleyball, probably—so he tended to cling to whomever he knew; since Yamaguchi had Yachi, and Hinata tended to befriend everyone he spoke to, Kei generally found Kageyama following him around like a tipsy, grumpy cloud. Kei feels a tinge of guilt at leaving Kageyama to fend for himself, and when he tugs on Kageyama’s wrist again it’s considerably gentler than before.

“Let’s get you home, Highness.”

Kageyama obliges, stumbling after him obediently down frosted sidewalks and cutting behind the engineering building. Kei is beginning to daydream about just how soft and warm his bed will be when he finally gets back, when he hears a muffled shout.

He turns just in time to see Kageyama skid spectacularly on a patch of iced-over puddle, then his vision is blocked by black hair and his tail bone is jarring against cold concrete.

“Ge’ off,” Kei grunts, and Kageyama lifts his head and pushes himself onto his hands, face hovering inches from Kei’s.

“Sorry, I slipped.”

Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

Kageyama meets his eyes with a scowl, which just as quickly morphs into a crooked smile, then Kageyama erupts into one of those rare bouts of laughter that only seemed to come out when he’s been drinking.

“What?” Kei is cold, and in pain, and his patience for giggling, drunk assholes is wearing thin.

“Sorry,” Kageyama gasps. “It’s just, you have leaves stuck in your hair.”

Kei shoves him off and runs a hand through his hair, brushing out damp leaves and pieces of bark.

“That’s not even funny. Your sense of humor is terrible.”

“It’s just…I’ve never seen you look so messy.”

“Just because I don’t go out of my way to roll around on the ground like some people.” Kei sniffs, standing and grimacing at how damp his pajama pants had become, almost missing how Kageyama winces when he gets up.

“What’s wrong?”

“Uh, twisted ankle? From the fall, I guess.”

“Seriously? This is why you shouldn’t drink. You’re probably not going to be able to practice for a while.”

Kageyama’s eyes go wide in panic, and he hurriedly puts all his weight on his ankle. “Look! It’s totally fine!”

“You’re joking, right? I can see that you’re hurt—I’m not blind.”

“Then why do you wear glasses?”

Kei feels like leaving Kageyama here to freeze to death, Hinata and Yamaguchi’s wrath be damned, but instead he wraps an arm around Kageyama’s waist and bodily slings one of Kageyama’s arms over his shoulders.

“Wha—?”

“Let’s go, Highness.”

“I don’t need help.”

I would like some sleep tonight, so you’re getting my help anyway.”

 

 

To his credit, Kageyama doesn’t complain about the various times his ankle knocks against walls or corners or passed-out freshmen on the way, and they make it back to Kei’s dorm room in one piece—albeit a grumpy, shivering, probably-going-to-get-pneumonia piece.

 

 

“Sit. Don’t touch anything.” Kageyama slumps into the pillows piled high on Kei’s bed, bleary eyes following as Kei pulls his illicit kettle out of a desk drawer and searches for the top of his French press.

“Are you going to be able to make it to the bus stop?”

“Mm, I think so?” Kageyama struggles to sit up and accept the battered Land Before Time mug that Kei hands him. “Do you have any milk?”

“Do you see a mini-fridge anywhere?”

“Oh.”

Eyeing the coffee dubiously, Kageyama takes a tentative sip—and promptly pulls a face so disgusted that Kei struggles to swallow his smile. The coffee is pretty awful, and he’d run out of sugar the other day. If he’d really wanted to, he could have gone to the common room down the hall and checked for milk, but Kageyama had dragged him out of bed at three in the morning, so…

“Drink up, Highness! I’m going to go get changed.”

 Kei closes the door on Kageyama scowling at the mug, stretching out the kinks in his spine on the way to the washroom. Supporting Kageyama on the way back had meant hunching over to compensate for their ten centimeter height difference—something that Kei would have usually made Kageyama aware of, but tonight he’d been too busy avoiding the icy patches of sidewalk to make snide remarks.

 

 

While the water is heating up in the pipes, Kei frowns at himself in the mirror, picking out bits of leaves that had managed to cling to blonde curls. He splashes warm water on his face (because it’s too late…or early, really, to wash properly), then switches into pajama pants that are less damp.

 

 

He finds Kageyama draped across all four of his pillows, snoring softly, and nearly-full coffee rapidly cooling on the desk.

“Oi,” he shakes Kageyama’s shoulder, but there’s no response save for a sniff and clutching of pillows.

The screen of his phone glows 4:40am and Kageyama shows no signs of waking, sprawled over Kei’s bed, still in his jacket and jeans. Kei has to get up for class in a little over two hours. It’s not worth it.

“This is a little pathetic, you know?” Kei mutters, tugging Kageyama’s arms out of his jacket and wrapping him in a spare blanket, pushing him until he’s lying flush to the wall. “Stay on your side.”

Despite having Kageyama taking up more than half his bed, Kei falls asleep surprisingly quickly, quiet breaths and the occasional snore more comforting than the usual silence.

 

 

He wakes up all-too-soon to his alarm blaring something loud and insistent, and a warm, heavy weight on his chest.

Kageyama had freed himself from his blanket cocoon at some point and draped himself across Kei, legs tangled together and a patch of drool on Kei’s collarbone, black hair in disarray and fanned across Kei’s chest.

“That’s disgusting, Highness.”

Kageyama doesn’t stir—he’s maintained his high school habit of being able to sleep through earthquakes, apparently, but Kei still extricates himself as gently as possible. He shimmies into yesterday’s jeans and a sweater, and on his way back from the washroom he buys a sports drink at the vending machine—something with extra electrolytes and low sugar, because Kageyama seems to care about those things.

He leaves the drink and a couple of aspirin where the coffee had been earlier (he’d contemplated drinking it himself since he didn’t have time to make a fresh batch), but after getting maybe a total of four hours of sleep before an 8am Saturday morning lecture, he deserves that too-expensive-for-its-own-good café coffee.

“You're buying me lunch later.”

Kageyama’s only response is to huff out a breath and hug Kei’s pillow tighter, so Kei leaves him like that. He tugs headphones over his ears and closes the door to his door room softly.