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in the eye of the beholder

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Kuroo Tetsurou easily noticed him.

It was perhaps, because of the way he ironically didn’t stand out, among his easily recognizable teammates. But the way he carried himself with dignity –chin held high, squared shoulders, and measured steps– made up for his plain and indistinct look.

It was very telling of his assumed authority, that Kuroo instantly knows, even without affirmation, that he is the captain of their ‘infamous’ destined rivals.

His commanding presence got Kuroo straightening his back unconsciously, changing his posture from that relaxed, seemingly insolent slouch, to making use of his full height and his uncanny skill in intimidating others.

Kuroo smirks at the excitement that coursed through him at the thought of finally meeting them- him.

Later, he finds out that his name is Sawamura Daichi, and Kuroo thinks that it’s a name that fits him perfectly. His tight grip on Kuroo’s hand seems to be his way of making sure that Kuroo remembers it.

Not like Kuroo would ever forget about it, with how easily that information imprinted on him.

It helped that upon closer inspection, Sawamura is actually… handsome. It wasn’t apparent, like most conventional standards of beauty were, but it’s one that gradually grows on you, and one that you wouldn’t get tired of looking at. It delighted Kuroo even more, to know that beneath Sawamura’s rather good-looking and composed exterior, is a boy who’s competitive; always ready to take on any challenge, be it in the form of a cheeky, cunning rival captain.

Sawamura Daichi may not be easily noticeable (to other people, that is), but he does make sure that he’s unforgettable.

 


 

Kuroo’s developed a habit of watching Sawamura.

By now, he’s got a working catalogue of different things about him. Like how he looks over his teammates, with a soft, fond glimmer in his eyes, even as he shakes his head at their latest antics; his sharp focus when it comes to watching the ball; the steely determination that sets on his face before the beginning of every match, or when he reminds his team to get the point back when the opponents gotten an advantage; the display of muscles whenever he squats down or dives in for a receive…

And most of the time, Kuroo likes doing it- likes watching him, watching him that is. He hasn’t been called out yet, but he knows that he’s been doing it rather blatantly. But it’s one thing if he’s only had his fill once or twice, and another matter altogether when he thinks that it’s the only thing he’s been doing since the week long training camp had started.

Also lately, watching Sawamura has been getting difficult.

Not the ‘solve the given mathematical equation with complete solution’ kind of difficult, but it’s a more complex, philosophical (and dare he say, emotional) kind of difficult.

Lately, watching Sawamura has got something inside him aching, and it’s a feeling that Kuroo’s painfully unaccustomed to. He’s not sure if he’s old enough to experience heart burn, but he’s sure that couldn’t be good for his health. So as much as he likes watching Sawamura, he decidedly looks away.

It was when he looked away, that another caught his eyes.

 


 

Kuroo’s always thought blonds are very nice to look at. He can probably even say that he has a type. He doesn’t understand why, but there’s just something about them, and he’s not sure if it’s just a phase, but he’s never been one to deny himself of looking, since it’s something freely offered and harmless.

So, it’s no wonder that the tall, blond megane, Karasuno freshman, who he noticed to mostly just keep to himself, or be tailed after by ‘freckles’, promptly caught his attention.

Tsukishima was fun to rile up. And he’s actually adorable, despite not looking it, when he’s annoyed with Kuroo’s juvenile tactics, and annoyed at himself for actually caring to be annoyed by all of it in the first place. He’s interesting. It’s an actual bonus that he’s easy on the eyes.

Kuroo thinks he can do it. And he offhandedly did. It’s a fickle thing to do, but he’s a teenager, who probably should’ve known better, but didn’t. But he took his chance, and figured that Tsukishima will mostly likely walk away from him after dealing him with a scathing remark. And it will probably take down Kuroo’s pride a notch. He’s expecting nothing short of that.

But then, the unexpected happened. Tsukishima agreed with a shrug. Kuroo blinks then. He isn’t sure if the other is just humoring him or calling his bluff when he did that. All he knows is that he can’t back down anymore.

He thinks it’s alright, since Tsukishima is all sorts of pretty.

Pretty sassy, pretty mean, but pretty sharp and pretty challenging. He’s also the kind of hopeless case- the ones who try to hide their insecurities behind their smiles, (although in his case, it’s behind his sarcasm), that Kuroo had fancied himself of fixing; putting back broken pieces or making sure it will not have more cracks and all that.

It’s alright, he tells himself. Tsukishima is all sorts of pretty. Most of all, he’s pretty distracting, and Kuroo is fine at being pretty distracted, but…

 

But the thing is, despite the pretty illusion he had selfishly created for himself, he can’t help but still notice Sawamura in his peripheral vision- still shining, still bright; still pulling Kuroo’s eyes on him, beckoning him with his warm radiance. And Kuroo, despite willfully not looking, still aches, until it was too much that instead of looking further away, he finds himself looking back at Sawamura’s way again.

Now he isn’t sure which one is the graver mistake- that he looked away from Sawamura in the first place; desperately closed his eyes and chose to ignore how Sawamura stands out so clearly in Kuroo’s vision that the world blurs around him, or that he looked back the second time, only to find that it never wants to leave the sight of Sawamura ever again, and that even if he wants to, it burned at the back of his eyelids, refusing to be unseen.

Despite his distraction, Sawamura stays in focus.

 


 

Kuroo has long since accepted to himself that he’s a horrible person.

It made him feel like a heel, to have dragged Tsukishima in his mess. It truly did, and it’s the one he actually regrets more than the impending and much-needed end of whatever they had, if there ever was something between them to begin with.

Granted, it hadn’t been long. Their relationship, if they can even call it that, only lasted for the duration of the remaining days of the training camp. It wasn’t enough time to form bonds with each other, although he doubts that they both wanted to do that in the first place. And what’s happening couldn’t even be considered a break-up, because despite what he thinks he deserves to get, all he got was a shrug, followed by a caustic, but nevertheless true assessment of his situation, and words dealt harshly, aiming to blow hard on his pride.

Tsukishima cared so little about what happened, or maybe he didn’t even care at all, what with how easily he dismissed the whole thing; with how easily he dismissed Kuroo.

It’s clear to both of them that this event will be something they will easily leave behind and gladly forget. And it’s all and well for Kuroo, because it eased some of his guilt. But he’s a learned a lesson he will not forget.

 

(There’s a short and rare moment of vulnerability in which Tsukishima admitted why he accepted in the first place. Birds of a feather, flock together after all. He tried to be as vague as he could, but there was enough honesty in his eyes for Kuroo to know that he’s telling the truth. When the blonds eyes trailed off to his freckled teammate and his stare lingered longer than when he looks at Kuroo, Kuroo understands.

And he was glad and relieved that things with Tsukishima never worked out.)

 


 

Things with Sawamura, however, is a different matter altogether, but this one, he’s not glad for not working out. It’s even more regretful because Kuroo feels that he’s running out of time. He doesn’t know when- if they’ll meet each other again. He doesn’t know when- if he’ll still have a chance.

But then he supposes that it’s better. Maybe it’s meant to be this way. Maybe it’s supposed to be like this, so that it will be easier. Kuroo will carry this regret, of things ending when they weren’t even given a chance to begin, because he was a coward to do so.

He swallows the hurt and closes his eyes, and even then still sees Sawamura, and he smiles ruefully.

When he opens them, he doesn’t feel even a bit better.

 


 

Its karmic retribution, Kuroo is sure of it. There’s no other explanation except that this is his punishment for wanting to look away from the first place. This is what he gets for being willfully blind.

Because of course, just as when he decided to see the world differently, to look at things more carefully, karma brings Sawamura Daichi back in his life.

It isn’t enough that they go to the same university, they had to be in the same dorm building too. He supposes he still has some luck (or is it a lack thereof?) that Sawamura isn’t staying in the room across his, but on the second floor of the building.

(He’s not sure if he wants to scorn karma, or thank it.)

So now, he’s back to doing what he always does whenever Sawamura is involved: he watches him. It had been really easy to pick up on the old habit.

Besides, it hasn’t really been that long, since they last saw each other. Only a few months after Nationals. But seeing him again, sends a rush of warmth in Kuroo’s chest and that’s when he understands that he actually missed Sawamura. The rush of warmth in his chest at his admittance, attested to that.

Kuroo’s glad that there aren’t many changes about him. He’s presence is still commanding; his smile is still warm; he still banters effortlessly with Kuroo; he still makes Kuroo ache for him.

He still can’t take his eyes away from Sawamura.

And it is because of that, that he noticed something different about Sawamura. Particularly in his eyes. It’s always… twinkling.

He vaguely remembers noticing it, when they faced each other, when they shook hands in front of the National’s audience, for their first official (destined) match. Kuroo thinks it’s unusual to find Sawamura’s eyes like that, but he attributed it to the reason that was most logical for him at that time. They’re playing against each other, at Nationals, no less. It’s a culmination of theirs and their teams’ mutual dreams. So it’s no wonder Sawamura’s eyes are like that.

(He thinks he has the same twinkling quality in his too.)

It is only now that he finds out that it wasn’t because of the thrill of facing against each other.

The reason why Kuroo could see stars in Sawamura’s eyes; why his smiles are easily given now; why he catches Sawamura looking dreamily, spending his idle moments in a place far-off, is because he’s in love.

Sawamura Daichi is in love.

Unfortunately, not with him.

(Kuroo still thinks he had the same twinkling quality in his eyes, that moment, which now seems like a lifetime ago. And he knows it’s also the same reason why Sawamura’s eyes are twinkling now too.

It’s sad that this one isn’t covered by the karmic retribution.)

 


 

For the life of Kuroo, he doesn’t understand why he’s irrationally annoyed with Oikawa Tooru.

True, they have gotten off the wrong foot when they first met, but that was all water under the bridge now. Oikawa gets whiny sometimes, but Bokuto’s far whinier, and he’s handled him just fine. Oikawa knows too much for his own good and he never misses an opportunity to use this against him, but it’s practically nothing compared to how much dirt Kenma has on him, and how ruthless he is when he goes exposing Kuroo’s vulnerabilities.

But, Oikawa was also the one to tell him that Sawamura is dating his best friend, Iwaizumi Hajime.

But that reason is still petty.

 

Okay, so maybe that’s probably why. He honestly didn’t want to hear about it. See, he has been trying hard not to let himself be interested with the man Sawamura is in love with. It hurts enough to keep seeing and watching him while always reminding himself that he’s lost his chance with him.

It’s going to be crushing to have to truly know and meet the person he lost Sawamura to.

But that’s Kuroo’s problem, not Oikawa’s. So yeah, there’s still no reason for him to be irrationally annoyed with him.

 

When he sees Oikawa run up to Sugawara, just as the other disembarked from the train that carried him all the way from Miyagi and envelops him in what probably is a bone crushing hug, something in Kuroo’s mind clicks.

It ultimately made sense, when after letting Sugawara go, he turns his attention to Iwaizumi and subjects him to the same treatment as well, one that he isn’t very successful at, and then proceeds to doting over him. Fixing his hair and then his clothes, then pinching his cheeks and generally being touchy, as if he was his boyfriend. Only after that, did he push Iwaizumi away from him, towards the direction of where he and Sawamura are waiting.

Kuroo feels, rather than sees Sawamura move forward to meet Iwaizumi halfway, and he catches a glimpse of the bright smile on his face upon seeing his boyfriend.

An errant, unreasonable thought echoed in his mind. It’s all Oikawa’s fault.

He shouldn’t have let Sawamura and Iwaizumi meet.

He shouldn’t have gone after Sugawara.

He should’ve stayed in his turf.

He should’ve hold unto his best friend, and developed feelings for him instead.

Then maybe Sawamura would have

He promptly derails that particular train of thought, and feels shame wash over him for even thinking of blaming someone else for his predicament.

Besides, Sawamura would have what? Even if he hadn’t met Iwaizumi, or hadn’t developed feelings for him, there’s no assurance that Sawamura would fall for him instead.

 

In the end, he can only regret the chances he didn’t take; can only blame himself for the wrong moves he’d made. 

 

He is left on the spot, standing still, hands clenched inside his coat pocket, as he ignores the urge to hold Sawamura back, to make him stay beside him. He focuses on the painful way his nails are digging on his palms, rather than on the hurt throbbing in his chest. He bravely puts on a smiling face, despite wanting to curl up and hide.

It’s not that Kuroo isn’t irrationally annoyed with Oikawa anymore. It’s just that he’s more annoyed with himself.

Actually, that’s not true.

Annoyed doesn’t even cover an inch of it.

 


 

The Sawamura with Iwaizumi he’s forced to witness is some kind of a religious experience, but a train wreck for his heart at the same time. Kuroo has long since known that to him, Sawamura will always be radiant.

But he wasn’t prepared at how dazzling he is at the face of love.

Sawamura is glowing. His face is so open and his lips isn’t tired of smiling. It peaks on his eyes- endless pools of sparkling browns; solely, fondly, focused on Iwaizumi, hanging unto his every word, drinking all his features.

Kuroo thinks it’s a disservice to just call it a happy face, because it is more than that.

He’s beautiful. He’s in love.

Kuroo forgets that he shouldn’t watch as closely as how he’s doing right now, for there are other people. It will be the most inopportune time, not to mention awkward, to have all his dark secrets and deep seated feelings of longing and hurting out. He is also aware that he should look away, because it hurts, dammit it really does, but he can’t.

 

If this is the most that he can see Sawamura look like that, then by all means, spilling dark secrets and deep seated longing be damned, he will continue to look, will continue to drink in all his features, despite the intense nagging of what was left of the rational part of his mind and the intense way of smarting of his heart. If he can’t have this and he knows he never would, then he’ll try to live vicariously as much as could.

Because contrary to what most people believed, that he’s a reckless, careless, risk taker, he does know his limits.

Sawamura Daichi with Iwaizumi Hajime is one limit he knows he shouldn’t cross at all.

 


 

Kuroo didn’t have the heart to deny that the two of them are adorable, in their own quiet way.

They’re not as exuberant as Oikawa and by default, Sugawara are, but theirs is more special- intimate. He feels like a pervert, watching them from the back, from the respectable place for fifth wheels to have.

He indulges himself and contents himself with watching Iwaizumi take care of Sawamura. He saw how he laced their fingers together, and how he brings it up to his lips and plants a kiss on the back of it. He saw how Iwaizumi tried to kiss Sawamura inconspicuously on his cheek, but he ended up nuzzling him instead.

Kuroo feels jealous, but he keeps on watching them. But he didn’t even try to imagine being in Iwaizumi’s place. He knows he doesn’t hold a candle on him. He didn’t have the heart to deny that Iwaizumi is good for Sawamura. He loves Sawamura. That much is obvious. He makes Sawamura happy, and really it’s all Kuroo ever wished for him.

Kuroo pauses his steps, stays on the spot, as he watches the man he loves and had lost, walk away with the man who loves him equally as much. He closes his eyes as he deeply inhales the cold, evening breeze. He thinks of Sawamura’s glowing face.

When he releases his breath, he also lets go.

When he opens his eyes, he feels a bit better.

 


 

Things always have a way of turning for the worst, especially when he’s not looking.

Sawamura is inside his room, they’re taking a break from studying for a shared class, when he received a phone call.

He glances down at it “Why is Suga calling me?” He frowns, but he grabs it all the same as he stands and walks to the window. Kuroo, who’s already leaning on the side of his bed, tipped his head backwards even more, letting it fall into the mattress and closes his eyes with a sigh.

Just a few minutes would be fine.

“Sugawara Koushi, that’s a really bad joke.”

Kuroo instantly opens his eyes and lifts his head up at Sawamura’s sharp tone. He’s frowning deeply, and he actually even looks angry. Which was unusual, because it’s Sugawara. He’s always had a free pass that not even Iwaizumi has. He doesn’t think Sawamura is capable of being angry at his best friend, but now, he seems truly upset at him and whatever he said.

Apparently, whatever it was, it wasn’t a joke. Kuroo startles when Sawamura sucked in a harsh, painful breath. His phone falls from his hands and lands on the floor, before he follows suit.

Kuroo’s beside him in an instant. “Sawamura, what’s wrong?”

Sawamura’s lips tremble as he lets out a shaky breath and tears fall from his eyes, and soon, he was full on sobbing. He was shaking so bad, Kuroo wanted to grab him just to make him stop, but he doesn’t.

Sawamura didn’t hear him, didn’t bother responding. All Kuroo can hear was the steady chanting of whispered ‘No…no…’ falling from his lips as he shakes his head vigorously.

Sugawara’s voice sounds far away, muffled and thick. Kuroo hastily picks up the phone to take over for Sawamura, and to ask what’s happening, but he didn’t have a chance to talk, as Sawamura’s anguished scream shakes the small room.

 


 

It was a noble way to go, Iwaizumi’s mother, who’s holding back her tears, says.

Kuroo knows it’s her way of convincing herself that her son’s death wasn’t untimely or senseless.

The child he saved is assured of her future, after all. Kuroo can’t say the same for all those Iwaizumi left behind.

It wasn’t just Iwaizumi’s future that had gone when he died.

He inadvertently took away Sawamura’s too.

 


 

Kuroo’s been tasked to keep an eye on Sawamura since then. And considering everything, he thinks that he’s doing a good job. At least, until now.

One of Sawamura’s classmate from his morning class came up to him to give the hand-outs given that day. Sawamura didn’t attend the morning class, and they all thought he’s just sick. Kuroo shakily thanks her, then shoves it down in his bag roughly as soon as she turned her back, while he frantically fished for his phone.

He tries to keep the panic rising on his throat at bay, as he speeds dial Sawamura’s number, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to hold it off the longer he’s not picking up. He’s about to drop the call and redial, when the line opened.

“Sawamura? Where are you?!” He demands, free hand immediately covers his other ear to block off the sounds from his surroundings, to try and recognize the sounds coming from Sawamura’s end

“I’m fine, Kuroo,” he says in a low voice, which didn’t sound anywhere near fine and didn’t answer Kuroo’s question at all. Kuroo has enough presence of mind to note that he heard someone talk from the speakers.

“Sawamura, please, please,” He’s getting desperate, probably looks one too, judging from the stares he’s been getting from the students passing by. “Tell me where you are.”

“Kuroo, you don’t–”

Please, Daichi.” Kuroo’s pulling at his hair by now.

It also completely flies over his head that he’d just addressed Sawamura by his first name. But it had somehow done the trick.

Daichi sighs on the other end before he replies. “I’m at the train station. I’m going to Miyagi.”

Kuroo nods his head frantically, as if the sheer force of it would make it visible to Daichi.

“Okay, please wait for me,” he says, as he starts jogging out of the campus. The station is only a few blocks away, and he can make it if he runs fast enough.

“Kuroo– ”

Please wait for me. I will not stop you. I promise. Just… just please wait, okay.”

Kuroo doesn’t wait for his response as he starts full on sprinting to the station. He keeps Daichi on the phone, despite not hearing anything from his side anymore, because all the sounds are being drowned by the wind whipping across and around him, his ragged breath, and the fast beating of his heart.

He arrives at the station in record time, and he’s never demanded for a ticket as hard as he did that time, but when he gets to the platform and sees Sawamura sitting on one of the waiting benches, he allows himself to sag his shoulders in relief, and inhale gulps and gulps of much needed air. He walks to Daichi, his loud panting giving him away before he even speaks.

Daichi regards him silently, in a detached way he’s been regarding everyone and everything since Iwaizumi died. It had been painful to look at those dull eyes.

“You didn’t have to come, Kuroo.” He says flatly. Kuroo swallowed the lump on his throat that has been there since he learned that Daichi’s missing.

“I’ll go with you.” And there’s no stopping him.

 


 

They’re standing outside what used to be Iwaizumi’s apartment. But as far as his sister is concerned, it still belongs to him, after she paid for the lease for another six months.

Daichi takes a deep breath before he fishes out his set of duplicate keys, and unlocks the door.

Kuroo doesn’t approve of what Daichi is doing. He thinks it still too early for him- for any of them, really, to be in here. The space Iwaizumi has left is still very much like an open wound- painful; jarring. But Kuroo holds his tongue, doesn’t say anything. He even tries to make his breathing as quiet as possible just not to disrupt the silence that surrounds them.

He doesn’t approve, but Daichi’s always been a brave one. Should he continue with this or not, Kuroo will still be with him, he won’t leave.

Kuroo will not leave him.

Daichi turns a little so look at him. “I want to be alone…”

Kuroo presses his lips in a tight line and exhales through his nose. It’s not like he can say no to that.

 


 

He’s slumped down on the corridor, with knees against his chest, arms curled loosely around it. He’s been staring at the opposite wall since he took up this position.

He had spent the first few minutes of waiting pacing, while alternately running his hands on his hair or biting his fingernails, worrying about Daichi. Worrying if he’s made the right decision to leave him alone inside Iwaizumi’s apartment, left to deal with the phantom presence of his former love, with his fragile feelings.

The sound of the doorknob rouses him from his stupor, and he immediately stands in front of the door, ready to meet Daichi after what seemed to be a really long time.

When he comes out, Kuroo instantly notices his puffy eyes and his tear stained cheeks. He was expecting it. What he wasn’t expecting was the look of mild surprise Daichi gives him, as if he didn’t think that Kuroo would still be here, would still be waiting.

It hurts Kuroo a little, to see that Daichi isn’t even aware of what he means to him. He mentally shrugs the thought off. He can lick his wounds later.

Daichi’s about to say something, but Kuroo already knows what it is, so he intercepts him by asking if he’s ready to go back.

Daichi slowly nods, but he’s still hovering over the threshold, just looking at Kuroo.

“Sawamura?” Kuroo asks and he sees Daichi blink rapidly, before he resumes moving outside pulling the door behind him, until it closes with a click.

“I’m sorry for making you wait,” he says quietly. Kuroo smiles gently and passes a hand in a front of him in a slow, dismissing gesture, and doesn’t say anything.

Daichi doesn’t have to apologize for making him wait. It’s Kuroo choice to wait for him.

No matter how long it takes, Kuroo will always wait for him.

 


 

Kuroo is grateful because he sees that slowly, gradually, they all are learning to move on, and he thinks that they’re starting to heal.

Especially Daichi.

Little by little, he’s gaining back the sparkles in his eyes, and his smiles are starting to become wider, and he does it often now too. When he sees something that reminds him of Iwaizumi, he looks at it with a small sad smile, instead of looking away, and leaving. He’s also able to talk about him too.

He has also learned how to rely on others again, especially in Kuroo. And Kuroo’s content with watching him rebuild his life again after his loss, and he’s glad that Daichi is allowing him to help. Somehow, it feels like their connection is being rebuilt too.

The feelings he has for Daichi, hadn’t been truly gone, considering all that had happened. And instead of going, it’s taking a stronger hold, a deeper meaning. He just doesn’t see Daichi in all his perfect glory, but he sees his imperfections as well, and that makes him love him even more.

He still doesn’t make a move though. He’s toyed with the idea of confessing, definitely; had allowed himself moments of reprieve where he imagines Daichi returning his feelings. He’s not even afraid of rejection, because their friendship is stronger now. He knows that he will not lose Daichi.

But despite all of the ways Daichi is moving on, Kuroo knows he’s still not ready.

And so he still waits. For a sign, or something. From the universe, or Daichi.

 


 

It’s the first time Kuroo visits Iwaizumi’s grave alone, a week before he’s technically supposed to.

For the past few years, he’d always come with Daichi, Oikawa, and Sugawara, and meets Iwaizumi’s family and other friends there to pay their yearly respects. It had been a somber event, the first year. The little girl and her parents also came, to thank him yet again for the heroic thing he did. They all watched silently as Iwaizumi’s father performed the ritual of honoring the dead, and they offered their prayers and left without saying much of anything.

But as the years go by, the atmosphere gradually gets lighter, and they all leave the grave with slightly less sadness.

Time really has a way of healing.

Kuroo came to pay his respects, of course. And he would still come, next week, as it had become a tradition. There’s just something that he needs to do.

Because, as it turns out, time also has a way of reminding Kuroo how long he’s been waiting.

Kuroo’s waited as patiently as he could. He’s waited for the signs, for Daichi to show signs that he’s ready, to fall in love again; to accept love again. But… despite being happier than he’s ever been since the incident, despite being happy for his friends, it seems that Daichi has resigned himself to being alone. It’s like he’s already resigned to the fact that he’ll never be loved and cared for again, by someone special, by someone other than his family and friends.

And maybe no one else can give the kind of love Iwaizumi had generously given him when he was still alive, but it doesn’t mean that he can’t be loved like that ever again.

It hurts, because it’s what Kuroo has been silently doing for the past few years. And maybe this is impatience, or maybe selfishness on his part, but he just can’t take seeing Daichi like that anymore.

Maybe there aren’t signs, because the world doesn’t just give it to you. You have to earn it for yourself.

Kuroo’s more determined in earning Daichi’s love than he’s ever been.

 


 

“Hey, Iwaizumi,” he greets in a friendly manner, as if he wasn’t actually speaking to a tombstone. “I hope your winning arm wrestling tournaments up there. Does heaven even have one?” Kuroo laughs softly at his own joke, before his expression turned more serious.

He takes a deep breath before he speaks again. “So, I guess you’re wondering, why I visited you, and… I will not beat around the bush. It’s about Sawamura.” There’s a short, but significant pause.

“I- uh… I think you’ve always known or you probably have an idea about the feelings I have for him. I kept my distance, because I respected your relationship. More than that I… I saw how happy he was with you, and how much he loves you. And how much you loved him back.” Kuroo drums his fingers on his thigh, in an attempt to ease the tension.

“And I accepted that. You were a far better man than I am- than any of us will ever be. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t with me, because I’m content with knowing that he’s with someone better- with you. I still think like that, even now.

“But everything’s changed, when you… you know,” he gestures to the stone, then he shakes his head at, cutting his ‘conversation’ in favor of asking himself what exactly is he doing. He takes a few moments to gather himself again, before he faced the stone with a determined expression.

“What I’m trying to say is, I would like to ask your blessing,” his lips are trembling now, and there’s the tell-tale prickling in the back of his eyes, but he forges on. “I want to know if it’s alright for you, for me to love Sawa- to love Daichi.” The emotions he’s been holding back flow outwardly as tears.

“I know I can’t replace you. I won’t even try to. But please, Iwaizumi,” He pleads with a thick voice, as tears continuously pour down from his eyes. He bends forward and prostrates himself even lower on the ground. “Please let me…” he chokes, “let me make Daichi happy. Please let me take care of him.” He’s sobbing now, his shoulders are shaking and it didn’t even cross his mind that there might be other visitors at the graveyard, and that they could see him, but Kuroo couldn’t care less.

He feels a gentle hand on his back then, and Kuroo feels the hesitance of it, despite his miserable state. He assumes that it’s just a well-meaning stranger.

“Kuroo…”

A stranger wouldn’t sound familiar, and most especially, they wouldn’t know his name. Kuroo abruptly sits straight and comes face to face with a worried Daichi.

“Oh,” Daichi says pitifully at him, and Kuroo’s embarrassed to be found out like this, by Daichi no less.

He swears before saying “You’re not supposed to be here,” and he starts hiding his pathetic face away from Daichi, trying not to humiliate himself even further.

Daichi doesn’t let him hide though, as he cups both Kuroo’s cheeks and mildly guides his head to face him again. Kuroo instantly averts his gaze and directs it down instead of looking at him, as Daichi lightly swipes the tears away. Kuroo sees his chest rise and hears him take a deep breath.

“Kuroo, was everything you said true?” he asks in a soft whisper. Kuroo can still feel Daichi’s eyes on him.

He lets out a deprecating laugh. “Shit, Sawamura. You weren’t supposed to hear that,” he says, not affirming nor denying anything. He must really have a rotten luck.

Daichi is persistent, however, as he searched for Kuroo’s eyes, and does not let Kuroo look away when he got his attention.

He repeats his question again, a little desperately this time. Kuroo couldn’t look away from his intense brown eyes, compelling him to tell the truth. And so he did. He starts nodding his head first, still in between Daichi’s hands, before he responds with a string of garbled ‘yes’ as tears started flowing again.

He feels Daichi’s hands leave his face, then he feels his arms wrap around him in a tight hug. He cries on Daichi’s shoulders for few minutes, until he’s tired and more confused. So he pushes Daichi’s shoulders gently, despite not wanting to leave the comfort of his arms and looks at him.

Daichi’s face is initially blurred by Kuroo’s tears, so he blinks repeatedly to try and clear them. Once it did, he’s greeted by Daichi’s smiling face in stark clarity, his eyes are intensely affectionate and they’re focused on Kuroo.

Ah, he thinks. This is what it feels like to be finally noticed.