“A lingering presence drifted through the room, filling the air with an icy chill. Cold fingers grabbed the back of Tsubaki’s neck and dragged him down into the pit.” Kuroo grabbed the back of Tsukishima’s neck but instead of screaming, Tsukishima just gave Kuroo a blank but somehow still obviously disrespectful look. Hinata, on the other hand, was wide-eyed and open-mouthed, but that didn’t interest Kuroo at all.
“Is that the end?” Tsukishima said, with no appreciation whatsoever for Kuroo’s storytelling artistry. And stood up. And left, the stairwell door clanging behind him.
Akaashi just rolled his eyes as he left, but Hinata clutched Lev’s arm as they stumbled out and Kuroo wished good luck to them. His own night was turning out to be a bit of a waste. He couldn't be losing his touch, could he?
He stood and stretched, working out his sore muscles and stiff tendons. Maybe the story wasn’t scary enough. But it had worked on him, at least enough, when he had been a first year. He started to leave the room but was yanked back by cold fingers grabbing his wrist.
“Don’t leave me alone with the lingering presence, Kuroo!”
Kuroo looked down at Bokuto. He was even wider-eyed and opened-er-mouthed then Hinata. “You know it’s just a story, right?”
“Except I thought it haunted the other stairwell down by the cafeteria,” Bokuto said.
“You’ve heard it before?”
“There’s always a spooky noise by the cart you put your tray onto,” Bokuto said. “I think the ghost gets bored in the stairwell so it moves around. Like when all those plates broke at lunch.”
Kuroo didn’t remember telling this story to Bokuto before. He’d heard it from Suzuki of course, Shinzen’s captain two years ago. But, you know, they had been alone in the stairwell when Suzuki told Kuroo the ghost story, speaking in a hushed creepy voice, and slipping his fingers down the back of Kuroo’s neck at the punchline.
It’s not like Kuroo had actually been scared by the story, even though it was a little eerie. But he had been quite interested in Suzuki’s attention. Suzuki’s strong arm around his shoulders and Suzuki’s warm lips teasing at his mouth. It’s a training camp tradition, Suzuki had told him, and Kuroo had been carrying on that fine tradition ever since.
“Wait, you already knew about the stairwell?” Kuroo said.
“Suzuki-san told me,” Bokuto said. “Our first year here.”
“Our first year!” Kuroo shouldn’t be pissed off, it was just a training camp thing. But he was definitely a little miffed. At least when he used a ghost story to lure a first year into the stairwell to make out with him, he stuck with the same boy for the whole camp. He wasn’t some sort of training camp playboy like, apparently, Suzuki.
“And he told me the secret spell to keep the ghosts away!”
“Let me guess,” Kuroo said. “‘Ghost, ghost, go away. Come again another day.’”
“No!” Bokuto’s eyes widened even more. He jumped to his feet, his fingers still clamped around Kuroo’s arm. “It’s ‘out out ghost, begone.’ And then we kiss.”
Wow. Apparently Bokuto had believed that was part of the spell. All Suzuki had said to Kuroo was, Do you want to have some fun? “Yeah,” Kuroo said. “That’s exactly what happened with Suzuki and me.”
He disengaged Bokuto’s fingers from his wrist and headed for the door. “Let’s sneak some pudding before bed.”
“What about the ghost?”
There is no ghost, Kuroo started to say but decided it wasn’t worth trying to convince Bokuto. “There might be lemon pudding,” he said instead.
“We have to say it together!” Bokuto hooked his arm around Kuroo’s neck this time and dragged him back to the stairs.
“Okay, okay. One, two–” Kuroo chanted the words with Bokuto: “Out out ghost, begone! Now, it's pudding ti–”
His words were cut off by, of course, Bokuto’s mouth. Because kissing was part of the spell. And not just a dry peck either. Bokuto was doing the job enthusiastically and thoroughly, his lips clinging to Kuroo’s, then parting, nudging Kuroo’s mouth with the tip of his tongue while his hand slid down Kuroo’s back and didn’t stop until he was cupping Kuroo’s ass.
Not the result Kuroo had expected from his stairwell ghost story party but there was definitely something to be said for kissing someone you didn’t have to teach how to first. Especially someone Suzuki had trained. Especially someone you already liked hanging around with.
Bokuto squeezed Kuroo’s butt. And, what the hell, Kuroo locked his arms around Bokuto’s waist. Opened his mouth for Bokuto's tongue. And kissed back until they were both flushed and ruffled and breathing hard. Until someone else had probably stolen the leftover lemon pudding. Until there were definitely no more ghosts haunting training camp.
Lying in bed later, Kuroo rubbed his mouth and decided there might possibly be one more ghost that needed to be chased away before camp ended, haunting the much more private storage closet on the second floor.
At breakfast, he set his tray down across from Bokuto and grinned at him. “Feel any lingering presences?”
“Hey!” Bokuto said in an on-the-court yell. “Kuroo kiss bro!” He held out his fist. “Bump it!”
Every sleepy head in the cafeteria turned to stare at them. Bokuto’s shining happy morning face was blinding, like it could exorcise any ghost and turn vampires to dust besides.
Kuroo bumped it.