Yaku and Kai are childhood friends, but not childhood friends like most would think. Unlike some, they aren’t attached at the hip–what’s the point of clinging when they’re bonded by the shared experiences of bad haircuts and embarrassing birthday parties and too many tears? They can drift away from each other, knowing full well they’ll eventually drift right back, connected by years of sleep overs and secret jokes. Words are sparse between them, they know each other well enough that they can have entire conversations–or arguments–in a glance.
Which is why, when they walk into their first day of high school volleyball practice and a kid with awful bedhead and a cocky smile greets them, Yaku very carefully does not look at Kai.
Even without looking, he can hear Kai’s teasing in the weight of his gaze.
“I’m Kuroo Tetsurou,” the kid says, and Yaku tells himself that he hates how self-assured he is.
(He has to hate him, because the alternative is–well.)
With only three new members, it doesn’t take long before Kuroo becomes almost as familiar as Kai. They share set up and clean up duty, quickly getting used to working together. Yaku forces himself to keep his eyes focused on himself when they’re changing, is careful to hold himself back and keep his hands to himself. Any chance he’s given to be alone with Kuroo he shoots down quickly. If he keeps to himself, then maybe he can just pretend he hasn’t been crushing on his teammate since day one.
Except it’s hard, so hard. Because Kuroo is a physical guy, and he’s always reaching out and moving towards. And he’s funny–too many times Yaku finds himself biting his own cheek to keep from devolving into crying laughter at his jokes. As Yaku gets to know him, he realizes that Kuroo isn’t anywhere near as cocky as he seems, he just has a face (and what a face it is–Yaku has lost hours thinking about that face). In reality he’s kind and surprisingly gentle, and as Yaku learns more about the size of Kuroo’s heart he feels himself falling deeper into the pit that is his crush on Kuroo Tetsurou.
“Just ask him out already,” Kai says over the phone one night, skipping right past the greeting when Yaku answers.
Yaku hangs up on him without saying a word.
Kai calls back immediately.
“He likes you too, you know. He just thinks you don’t like him because you’re always holding back around him and unlike me, who is used to all of your crap, he has no way of knowing what that means. But I do know what that means and waht that means–”
Yaku hangs up again.
Is that you like him, Kai texts
Yaku stares at those five words for a long time.
He and Kai don’t really talk much. Most of their friendship is based on the fact that they’re two people who like to have their boundaries respected, and so there’s never been any needling or teasing between them about crushes. Kai dated a girl in their middle school for a few weeks, but the start and end of that relationship hadn’t been much of an event in the timeline of their friendship. The fact that Kai’s hassling him now must mean that whatever’s between him and Kuroo has been unbearable.
If he liked me then he would have done something about it, Yaku finally sends back.
You intimidate him, Kai responds. He doesn’t want to ruin anything with you or make you uncomfortable.
Yaku can’t think of anything Kuroo could possibly do to make him uncomfortable. He kinds of wants to do everything with Kuroo–at least everything Kuroo’s willing to do with him.
Sorry I’ll take care of it, he texts back.
The next morning, Yaku gets to school early so he can grab Kuroo before he gets to the club room. He doesn’t really have a plan, other than Get This Over With, and now that he’s got Kuroo cornered behind a building he’s beginning to regret it.
“I like you,” he says. “So if you like me you better do something about it.”
Kuroo stares at him, eyes wide and mouth open and all Yaku can think is, Oh god I like him so much.
“I like you too,” Kuroo finally says.
Yaku nods, feeling assured that at least they’re on the same page now. “Okay.”
They stand there staring at each other for a long moment.
“So…” Kuroo rubs at the back of his neck. “Does this mean we’re boyfriends now?”
Yaku stares at him incredulously. “Obviously.”
“Okay.” Kuroo glances around, and Yaku notices a blush creeping up his neck. “Is it okay if I kiss you?”
“Oh for crying out loud–” Yaku grabs Kuroo by the shirt and drags him down and mashes their mouths together. Their noses bump and their teeth clack and Kuroo doesn’t even move his lips.
It’s the best kiss Yaku’s ever had.
It’s the only kiss Yaku’s ever had.
When he pulls away, Kuroo’s eyes are closed and he’s grinning. Yaku lets go of his shirt, and after a moment Kuroo straightens and opens his eyes.
Suddenly, Yaku feels awkward.
“Right. So.” He shoves his hands in his pockets. “Practice.”
“Yeah, practice,” Kuroo agrees, although neither of them move. “Could we just–I mean… I wasn’t totally ready for that and I’d kind of like to–I mean, only if you want to–”
Yaku doesn’t wait for him to finish his babbling before grabbing him by his face and pulling him down for another kiss. This time Kuroo’s hands come to rest on his waist, and he actually kisses back.
It’s the best kiss Yaku’s ever had.
Yaku’s phone starts ringing, and he pulls away with a curse to dig it out of his bag.
“What?” he snaps.
“Just reminding you that if you’re done sucking face, practice starts in five minutes. Also, you totally owe me.”
“Whatever.” Yaku groans and hangs up. “We have to–”
He and Kuroo stand there awkwardly.
“Right, practice,” Yaku says, echoing Kuroo’s words.
The two of them laugh and then turn to head for the club room.
“If anyone asks, I was totally smooth–right?”
Yaku rolls his eyes but grins. “Whatever you say.”
They get into the club room with a minute to spare, and Kai just glances between them before shaking his head. It says enough to have Yaku kicking him in the shin as he puts his bag up.
“You’re just jealous.”
“Of the way you two just banged faces together? Thanks, but I’ll pass.”
On Yaku’s other side, Kuroo snorts. When Yaku turns to look at him–to look at his boyfriend–he has his phone out typing up a message. Without looking up from his screen, Kuroo leans in toward Yaku. They stand there for a moment, bodies pressed too closely to just be accidental, before the captain claps his hands and orders them all to the gym for practice.