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Finding Home

Chapter Text

Suga could barely make sense of the blurs slipping past his field of vision. Through the heavy haze that permeated his mind, he struggled to discern even the slightest clue as to where they had taken him but all he could recognize was the sickening smell of decay. The festering rot of despair saturated the stale air.

The men who had kidnapped him had dragged his limp body into a cellar filled past reasonable capacity with men, women and children, all in different stages of malnutrition. So much was the smell of filth that it seemed to seep into his pores. That even in his daze, he feared that the scent might never wash away and forever taint his skin.

This was horrible.

This was terrifying.

This was slavery.

~

A indiscernible amount of time passed before he was able to fully comprehend his surroundings. As he had sat in the far corner of the cell, the drugs had leached out in streams of sweat that swam from his body.  He couldn’t believe his own idiocy. Going home alone that late, even in the middle of town, had been a decidedly poor decision on his part. Dread danced in clouds around his head as he contemplated his current situation. He knew that he was considered a beauty with his eyes the color of honey and his hair silver laced. Since long ago he had noticed the intrigued looks others sent in his direction, although truth be told, he had not fully recognized what it was that they longed for in him until he had grown older. Now, at 17 years, he understood that in being captured, he was intended to be a rare treat for those with riches to playact and grovel at their amusement. To become a pet to entertain and service unknown entities proved to be a truly horrifying prospect. The very thought was appalling. Disgusting. It was also exactly where he was heading if he didn’t somehow manage to escape. But how? Whether inside or outside of the cell, there were too many people, too many eyes. Here, someone would definitely notice if he so much as tried to scratch the bars let alone escape them. He breathed deep in an attempt to calm himself, but only succeeded in furthering his discomfort as stale air assaulted his lungs. One could barely breath in these conditions, let alone think. But , he thought warily, that was probably the point . They guards wanted them weak and disoriented so that they would be easier to manage. Which, in that case, they were doing a superb job. No one in his vicinity looked even remotely rebellious. In fact, they looked as though they would be more than likely to tattle on him before trying to escape with him. Damn , he thought, damn damn damn damn . What could he do? What plan of action could he devise that would allow him to be free again? If only, he prayed, if only he could get out of here. He would run. Run so far and fast away that he would forget what it was that he was running from.

He had no real reason to stay in his town. No home to hold him there. In fact, he didn’t think that he had ever had one. At least not one that he could remember. Sure, he had lived in a house but he had never truly felt that he had belonged there. Hadn’t even had the chance with his uncle being his reluctant housemate. Though, truthfully he had never been able to completely blame his uncle for his less than heartwarming upbringing. After the death of his beloved sister in childbirth, Suga’s so called father had abandoned him on his doorstep, never to be heard from or seen again. Once he had asked after the man who had left him behind, and was met with a brutally honest albeit cryptic reply.

“A weak prince who had lost his princess in a ruined fairytale, with more love for the concept of love, than real love itself,” was how his uncle had described his sire. Although he wasn’t sure his uncle had ever possessed real love himself. Or if he did, he had certainly not wasted any of it on his nephew. Maybe for his sister. But she was gone and all that was left of her were painful memories and an orphaned son. Therefore, his uncle had chosen one of the two remaining things that had been left behind and had dwelled on it obsessively.

The painful memories being the chosen of course.

His uncle had numbed himself into oblivion with cheap alcohol, for the most part leaving Suga to his own devices. For as long as he could remember he had been given food and water and a roof to sleep under. He had never been neglected but neither had he ever known affection. It was a lonely existence to realize as you grew up that you could never be the person someone truly wanted you to be. An existence that made you blame yourself for being unlovable. One you thought could never get less fulfilling than it already was. That was…...until it did.

The loss of his uncle two months ago had not been immediately saddening. Though that may sound heartless, it was an indifference that had seemed unavoidable. Though as the weeks had passed by he had started to notice the silence of a truly empty house. While his uncle may have never been loving, he had always been there . A presence that had permeated the house, now gone, leaving only the deafening silence that remained.

But , Suga reasoned now was not the time to be thinking of such things . He needed to focus on the task at hand, not tear off old scabs. He started debating possible outcomes of the next few days when his attention was snagged by a commotion on the other side of the bars. It seemed that someone had arrived. An unexpected someone at that if it was to be inferred from the sudden straightening of the guards posture. From what he could hear of the approaching voices, it seemed that the guest wasn’t one they readily knew how to handle. The head slave handler’s anxious voice carried down into the cell, giving way to the restless shifting of enclosed bodies.

As the guest reached the edge of the cell, Suga tried to get a clear view of him but was blocked by a particularly tall slave. However, what he heard gave him a slight pause.

It was a beautiful voice, if not a bit of a flat one, that tempted him to try to crane his neck around the tall man to see where the sound originated from,

“The two littlest ones there, I will take immediately.”

The stuttering voice of the handler seemed exasperated as he replied to the guest, “But well, sir, those ones are new to our market, we haven’t had the time to properly train them for someone of your…….position..”

“That is exactly why I will confiscate them from you before you have the time to do so.”

The way the handler had said “position” , as though in scorn, had peaked Suga’s curiosity. Who was this man? He seemed to make the handler jittery, maybe that was why the handler didn’t like him.  Suga didn’t understand what the guest’s words had meant either. Did he mean that the he wanted to train the so called “little ones” himself?

Turning his attention to the mass of people he tried to spot the littlest ones in the group. What he discovered was two small boys huddled together near the back of the cell. They were easy to spot as the latter had tufts of hair so glaringly orange that it made Suga wonder at how he had not noticed him before. The former was slightly larger with a scowl set in a face far too young to be anywhere near the place that they all had found themselves in.

He shifted his attention back to the outside of the cell as the man moved closer to where Suga sat. With this movement he was finally able to catch a glimpse of the mystery man. Just like his voice, the man himself was stunning. Pale alabaster skin peaked around a thick cloak. Hair black as midnight created an alluring contrast to the bright teal of his heavily-lashed eyes accented nicely by thick brows. He had an indiscernible expression placed upon his face as he scanned the rest of the group. He seemed to be looking for something particular, though Suga was at a loss as to what that might be.

Continuing to assess the group with his unsettling gaze, his eyes alighted onto Suga. And Suga, in his anarchistic nature, looked straight back into the stranger's eyes. He knew it could get him in trouble. Hints of challenging any “masters” was an offense that could easily be met by whipping. But he couldn’t seem to help himself, so he continued to stare the man down. A array of silence settled as beats of silence passed by only to be disrupted.

“Will you be purchasing anything else, sir” the slave handler inquired grudgingly.

A chill of unease laced up his spine. He could have sworn he saw the stranger's lips twitch in amusement just before he had turned back to address the handler in a bland tone.

“I will also take the silver-haired boy.”

Chapter Text

He was in shock. Or at least he thought that this is what shock must feel like. With his fate sealed so quickly, he had barely been able to understand his current situation, much less think of a plausible plan of escape. After the transaction had been completed, he’d been out of the cell and in chains in a matter of minutes along with the children. While one could question the slave handler’s morals, he thought in rueful panic, at least they were efficient about it. And so here he was, following the stranger who had purchased him out into an unbeknownst location. He hoped he didn’t throw up. He was sure that would not be a good first impression. Though to be honest he wasn’t as concerned with impressions as he was making sure as to not get on whoever-this-was’s bad side. Especially since throughout the whole transaction the slave traders had continuously given him thinly-veiled dirty looks. They were clearly not happy to have this man in their midst. Though Suga couldn’t figure out why. Even in the dim light Suga could see that he was attractive.  He had a sturdy, expensive looking cloak on and he had paid for all three of them in full. So if he wasn’t bad for business, did that mean that they had been so unwelcoming because they had feared him?

His worrisome thoughts kept him occupied until they emerged from the dark corridor out into what seemed to be a black market of sorts. Dingy caravans and shabby carpets spread throughout the enclosed space between tall buildings causing even the outside air to appear musty. Tarps and tents were clustered so closely together that it made the already shaded area seem even darker. It was like a never ending darkness thought Suga grimly.  He couldn’t help but close his eyes in dread.  He felt like a scared child squeezing his eyes shut in fear. All around him he heard people bustling by, going about their day, completely ignoring or unaware of the people trapped beneath their feet. Once again he wondered at if he was going to be sick when he heard another voice to his right.

“I see today was a successful day” the voice drawled.

“I suppose it is progress.” his purchaser returned flatly.

The voice sighed dramatically, “You...even after years of knowing you, I still can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not.”

Suga opened his eyes and saw that Mr. Purchaser had began to walk down the street without even turning to reply to the other, “Not my problem.”

This was met with a long suffering groan from his companion.  Turning to locate the source of the voice of said companion, his eyes found another man. The first thing he noticed was that he was tall and neatly dressed. He seemed out of place in his fine trousers, white open-necked shirt and well polished knee-high boots. His black hair was similar to the other man’s, though his was sticking up in odd locations. He displayed golden eyes and a wicked grin as he watched the other man retreat further down the road. That was, until his attention was caught by his companions purchases.

He saw a flicker of surprise in the stranger’s eyes, as he registered Suga’s presence. However, his full attention was only on him for a mere second more before it was turned onto the two little boys.

Suga felt an immediate reaction to the man's attention toward the children. It occurred to him that he had no idea what kind of people these were. He didn’t want to make trouble, but he still didn’t want anything to happen to these kids. He knew it was stupid of him to think that he could help them when he couldn’t even help himself. However, the urge was there. Protect . He was already dreading the punishment before he even moved to step in front of the boys. Shifting slightly to block the boys from the other man’s range of vision, he prepared for the worst. But the only clue he was given to what the man’s reaction would be was a quick glance of his unnerving golden eyes meeting his for a split second before the man surprised him by leaning down onto his haunches. Suga was struck again by the sheer height of the man. While his appearance seemed lanky, Suga knew better than to be fooled into thinking that meant it he was harmless. Something about him reminded Suga about cats. Not sweet small ones, but the ones you heard prowled and stalked and feasted on any that were unfortunate enough to cross their paths.

Even sitting on the heels of his feet, his eyes were still slightly above the little boy’s eye-level. But he surprised Suga even further when he asked in a much more gentle voice than the one he had used with the first stranger,

“Hey little birds, the names Kuroo Tetsurou. You guys are gonna come live with me and that guy,” he pointed over his shoulder at the fast retreating form of the other man, “His name is Akaashi Keiji. He’s not always like that but today was a bit of a hard day for him, so he’s gonna go ahead of us. I hope you will forgive him. But anyway, now that you know who we are, what are your guy’s names?”

 

~

 

It had been a decidedly weird interaction Suga thought. The man, Kuroo, had turned out to be somewhat….charming? Maybe that wasn’t the right word but he didn’t know a better one to describe the scene he had witnessed . Kuroo had shown a commendable patience with the children as they had hesitated to tell him their names. He had sat there on his haunches waiting as the boys, much to Suga’s discomfort, decided to hide behind his legs. While he was already slightly in front of them from when he had shielded them, it was a decidedly foreign feeling when they had deliberately moved to stand behind him. It created a distinct pinching feeling in his chest to look down to see them peeking around his tattered cloths at the golden-eyed man. Though exuding his strange form of charm, the man soon convinced the boys to tell him their names. Hinata Shoyou being the bright haired child and Kageyama Tobio being the scowling one. After they had shyly introduced themselves the man lifted to his full height. He looked down at Suga and asked consideringly, “And you? What is your name?”

“And why should I tell you?” he’d muttered against his better judgment.

Seeming to find amusement at his response, he displayed an amused smirk, “because if you don’t, i’m just going to make one up for you.”

Narrowing his eyes he mumbled, “It’s Sugawara. Sugawara Koushi.”

“Perfect! Now that we are all acquainted, it’s time to head home.” he beamed before turning to lead them on their way.

He began to follow the man when he abruptly stopped in his tracks as he felt small hands slide into each of his. The strange feeling prickled at him again but this time it was there in the thickened of his throat. He looked down to see two small sets gazing up at him in a sort of fascination. It made him uncomfortable to think that they would become attached to someone like him. He had no experience with children but they didn’t know that. Nor would they probably care. They were kids in a strange and unsure environment. They probably wanted even the tiniest bit of affection. Well, suga thought resolutely, i’ll be sure to give them as much affection as I can manage.

He could feel the eyes of the other man on their odd little trio. He suspected it was to gouge his reaction to the children. Looking up to stare into the eyes of the man, he gave him what he hoped was a defiant look. A raised eyebrow followed by a slight twitch of his lips was all that was given to him in response. Turning back to walk down the street he said over his shoulder,

“Come along now, we haven’t got all day.”

Gripping the small hands clasped in his, he started forward.

 

~

 

Suga with the children in tow followed the man down the winding paths between dark alleyways. As soon as they had began their journey, Suga had realized immediately that he was nowhere near his small hometown. His kidnappers must have traveled for days with his incapacitated body for him to end up here now. Wherever “here” was. However the man seemed incredibly familiar with the area. This observation made Suga uneasy as he couldn’t decide if that was a good or bad thing for the man to be so familiar in what was obviously the bad part of town. Suga was still wary as they emerged into a square, that appeared to be used as a marketplace. Without the shelter of the buildings to block the sunlight, it was painfully bright. So much so that he was forced to stop, shutting his watering eyes to relieve some of the pain. Standing still with his hands in possession of the boys and eyes helpless for the moment, left him unable to look at his surroundings.

The man startled him as he spoke with genuine concern in his voice “Sugawara?”

Opening his watering eyes he said, “It was just…..bright. I’m fine now.”

Now that he could see, he couldn’t help looking around. The area was much different from the one they had walked out into before. They’d obviously left behind the more unsavory part of town. Here everything was lively and clean. Vendors sold an assortment of fruits and meats. Merchants shouted their wares and men for hire walked to and fro throughout the open space. Unimaginably welcoming spells drifted by and beckoned him closer. The heat of the sun blossoming across his skin, warming him. Hundreds of people in the enclosed area filled the space with all kinds of hubbub and babel creating an electric current that he could almost feel. The children’s intrigue, wonder and unease of it all was revealed to Suga through the tightening of their small hands in his. He couldn’t help thinking how overwhelming this must be for them. He had no idea where they were from or what had happened to their families. If they even had any family at all. It saddened him to think that they were being lead into a life of servitude so young. They deserved to run and play. To remain naive and innocent for as long as possible. Not to wait at the beck and call of some pompous noble. Maybe it was just Suga regretting his childhood, but he couldn’t help it. There was nothing he could do to change his past. But he vowed that wherever they were going, he would try to protect them. Give them what he never did.

Taking a deep breath Suga insisted, “Let us continue on our way.” The man, Kuroo, had been watching him again. With a shrug of his shoulders he began to walk again. Strengthening his resolve, he walked with renewed determination towards his new home.

Chapter Text

The last leg of their journey had caused Suga to reevaluate their buyers. The further they had walked the nicer the scenery had become. Grand mansions had steadily increased inside and grandeur. Lawns kept in perfect condition became larger along with the increase of well dressed servants. It all sent a chill down his spine. Farther and farther they walked until they came to a lane barred by serious looking guards with pikes.

“Hello there~” Kuroo sing-songed “Nice weather we’re having isn’t it Aone?”

A surly grunt was his only response.

“As talkative as always I see! What about you Futakuchi? Enjoying the weather?” he asked cheerfully.

“I would enjoy it more if you weren’t here Kuroo” came the deadpan reply.

“Ouch! You wound me with your harsh words” he cried dramatically, clutching a fist to his chest. The guard rolled his eyes before seeming to notice the others with Kuroo.

“So this is what you and Akaashi were doing?” he asked warily.

“Yep! Speaking of which.,” he stepped forward, shedding the mask of playful prankster and revealing an acute intensity, “He returned safely?”

The guard sighed, “Yes, but he seemed upset. Many know how the Lord gets, but few realize that Akaashi is susceptible to the same melancholy. I do wish he would stop doing this when it upsets him so. Everytime he does, I feel as though i'm watching him chip away a part of his soul.”

A grim smirk settled itself onto Kuroo’s face as he patted the guard on the shoulder, “I know. But you know he can’t help it. It’s in his nature. All we have to do, is do all that we can to pick up the chips and put him back together.”

The guard gave him a firm nod before signaling the other guard. Together they moved their pikes aside to allow them to pass. The other guard, Aone, waved to the children as they passed earning shy waves from them in return.

Suga contemplated what he had just heard. What was wrong with Mr. Purchaser? He had seemed fine to him. Though, he admitted, he hadn’t really been able to get a good look at him. He’d been wearing his cloak which had covered up everything but his face and it had been dark. When they had finally gotten outside, he had taken off almost immediately. None of this gave him any clue as to what Kuroo and the guard had insinuated in their discussion. But one thing was clear. Mr. Purchaser, Akaashi he corrected himself, had more to him than met the eye. He wasn’t sure why he found this information so essential. It didn’t really concern him unless it would effect him.

Shaking off his wayward thoughts he turned his attention to his surroundings. Each side of the lane was heavily forested, blocking the view of what lay ahead. Saturated with the scent of foliage and earth, the fresh air smelled almost sweet. Mixed in was the smell of recent rain, giving the air a musky scent much more pleasant than the one at the dark marketplace.

He wondered at where they were going. Whose lion den he was being lead to. They must be someone important to own such a stretch of land. The forest around him felt thick and far reaching. He had trouble imagining that it covered less than a good few miles. Even as they walked down the wide lane, the trees hung over the path. Far enough was their branches reach that sunlight could not fully filter through. He couldn’t even see what lay ahead of them as it seemed that their was some sort of indent in the land. Wherever they were going was hidden in the landscape. The path widened the farther into the forest they went. The area seemed secluded in a sense. Like they were walking into another dimension, cut off from the rest of the world. He pondered at his fanciful thoughts. It seemed as thought today was one where he continuously was reminded of his past. Maybe it was because he was so uncertain of his future.

After another 10 minutes of walking or so they reached the top of the rise before the hill down unto their new.

Suga couldn’t breathe.

The view was positively breathtaking. A huge castle lay nestled in the embrace of a fierce mountain peak. The stark backdrop appeared as though it served only to create a beautiful contrast to the richly colored abode. Freshly manicured lawns and colorful gardens filled the large clearing before the massive front doors. A large number of people, servants or slaves he assumed, were scatter across the grounds. All busy doing their various chores. The castle looked to be in good condition. Not only that, it seemed to be thriving. Going down the rise had been a tad difficult. He had been forced to keep his balance down the steep hill while his hands had remained in the possession of the boys. Once they had made it down the hill without disaster, all that was left was but a short walk through the front gardens.

Upon reaching the front door, it was opened by a small individual. However, Suga paid them no mind as his attention was taken by the flurry of people inside going about their business. Whoever owned this , Suga marveled was clearly a prosperous man to have so many in his employ.

The entrance hall was exceedingly grand. A huge chandelier hung down from the cavernous ceiling. Suga thought it looked deceiving. It appeared delicate, as though it floated on thin air, with crystalline embellishment glittering alluringly. The craftsmanship was surely of the best quality. And extremely expensive.

Walking through the long halls gave Suga the feeling that it would be enormously easy to turn the wrong way if you were not familiar with the layout. Which meant he would have to learn quickly if he decided to escape. Suga struggling to remember every turn, to heed anything that would help him to remember the way out. Luckily they were soon taken to what appeared to be a waiting room. It was small but lushly furnished with a large window overlooking the forest they had walked through to get here.

“Wait here. Someone will be along to escort you soon.” Kuroo decreed before spinning to leave the room, shutting the door as he left. Suga wondered if he had locked it, he also wondered what kind of person would be next to walk through that door.

Suga watched as the children finally released his hands to go to the window. He couldn’t help but noticing how small they seemed against the large frame. The boys didn’t seem inclined to talk so Suga remained silent as he moved forward to stand behind them, watching the outside world. Though he had not been able to see the castle while walking through the woods, it seemed as though the bottom of the hill was not as deep as he had thought. For in the distance he could see the little town. The sun’s dip towards the horizon revealed that it would be dusk soon. Tracing the skyline, he saw no evidence of his hometown or the land surrounding it. No clues as to what direction he had come from. Only unfamiliar landscape as far as the eye could see. His only comforting thought was that while he was far away from home, he knew that his home country was a large one. Even though he was days of travel from his hometown, he was confident that he was at least in the same country. Seeking some form of connection to anything, he placed his hands atop the young boys heads. Together they stood in a comfortable silence before the abrupt opening of the door caused Suga to jump.

The man from earlier, Akaashi, walked in. He was still wearing his heavy cloak. He must have been in one of the gardens for along with him came the scent of flowers. Still as straight faced as before he said simply, “I am here to escort you. Please follow me.” before promptly turning around to leave the room. Reaching for the children’s hands, he quickened to follow Akaashi. Suddenly he remembered the conversation of Kuroo and the guard’s. With Suga’s curiosity peaked he only lasted a few minutes of silence until his lack of discipline took over. Cautiously he began,

“Um sir-”

“Please, no formalities. Just call me Akaashi.”

“A-Akaashi are you…..well?”

His stride faltered, causing him to stop, “Yes, i’m perfectly alright, why do you ask?” he replied steadily without looking back.

Scolding himself for overstepped his bounds he hastened to try and fix his mistake, “W-well you see, it was just, well, the man, uh, Kuroo, he seemed worried….about….....you?” Mentally slapping himself for the messy explanation he waited with bated breath for Akaashi’s response.

Akaashi looked over his shoulder with a repentant expression.

“He is very kind. Most here are. I was just…...well. I do not enjoy going to such places, it brings up…..unpleasant memories.” he said with a tight smile.

“Unpleasant….memories…?”

Beginning to walk again Akaashi said blithely “Well yes, you see, I was also a slave once.”

Suga stood in stunned silence before scrambling to catch up. This man? This elegant man had been a slave? No wonder the--- oh.

“So those slave traders…? That is why….. they were so…. weary of you…..?” he stammered.

Akaashi displayed a rueful smile, “Yes, most here know what I once was.”

What he once was? Suga couldn’t believe it. How could he smile about it? Even if it was ruefully? He had been bought and sold and now he was here in a house that brought slaves. So didn’t that mean he was still trapped? Still a slave? If so, then why had he gone back there at all? Is that why Kuroo had been so concerned at the gate? Or was he even concerned at all, just worried that he had misplaced something in his possession? The thought made Suga boil in rage which he struggled not to show in front of the children. Taking a deep breath in an effort to calm himself he asked, “How long?”

Akaashi didn’t even pretend not to understand, “I was one from a time when I was younger than Kageyama and Hinata.”

It felt as though a dagger had pierced his heart. To be so young. He couldn’t even imagine what he must have gone through. He knew that his childhood had not been ideal but it must have been nothing compared to Akaashi’s hardships.

“And now?” he couldn’t help asking.

“Now what?”

“What are you now?”

“Well….I suppose it’s a bit difficult to explain…” he looked down and away, seeming unable to meet Suga’s eyes. Was it shame that caused him to blush? Suga felt as though a ball of lead had settled itself in his stomach. He frantically searched for words of sympathy. He knew he had no right to feel sympathy, empathy, for this man but he desperately wished to convey to him a feeling he had no way of describing. But before he even had the chance, Akaashi stopped before a large set of double doors and knocked. In seconds it was being pulled open enough for a small woman with large eyes and short blond hair to slip through.

“Hello Yachi.” he greeted with a small smile.

“Hi Akaashi! Everything you’ve asked me to prepare has been taken care of. So this is Hinata and Kageyama?” she leaned down upon asking. “Hello there! It’s nice to meet you! My name is Yachi Hitoka, i’m one of the governesses of this castle so i’ll be taking care of you from now own! I hope we can get along!”

Seemingly alarmed by the bubbly woman, the boys released his hands to hid behind each of his legs causing him to blush in response.

“Oh! It seems they quite like you! Are you good with children? What is your name?”

Taken off guard by the sudden bombardment of questions, he struggled to think properly, “W-well no…... actually, they are the first I have been around and It’s….. Sugawara….”

“I see, you must be a natural then!” she beamed.

He looked down to find the children's eyes fastened onto his face “U-uh, yes, maybe….”

“So!---”

“Yachi,” Akaashi intercepted before she had the chance to ask more questions, for which Suga was extremely grateful, “i’m afraid you will have to continue this conversation with Sugawara at a later date; we must be on our way.”

“Of course!” she blushed, “sorry if I inconvenienced you!”

“N-no, it's fine.” Suga returned cautiously.

“I’m glad! Well see you soon then Sugawara!”

“Yes….” he replied before she held out her hands to the children expectantly. They hesitated but at a nudge from Suga they took her hands and went with her into the room.

Akaashi chuckled faintly before turning to continue down the corridor.

Suga followed, still a bit unsure after the governess’s enthusiastic personality. But what he was stuck on more was the fact that the children had been left with a governess. After all, children bought as slaves needed no education.

Having fallen behind due to his arbitrary thoughts he quickened his pace until he fell into step slightly behind Akaashi,

“If I am not to go with Hinata and Kageyama, then where am I to go?” he inquired.

“Well for now, I have come to take you to meet the Lord.” he said conversationally, “Ah, but first I would like to make a stop if you don’t mind.”

Suga didn’t answer. Ghastly thoughts danced behind his eyes as they walked. A Lord. He knew little of the Lords of the lands. But what he did know was that to be called a Lord meant that you served the King or were the King himself. He also knew the rumors. Horrible, horrifying rumors of crooked Nobles and Lords using their status to get away with beastly acts. And he was going to meet the Lord of this house. Going to meet the man who would decide his fate. Dread seemed to thicken his veins as sickening possibilities passed through his mind. What must have taken them only a few minutes more, felt like hours before they reached their destination. But all thoughts flew from his mind as he took in his surroundings.

The room that Akaashi had taken him to was the most enchanting that Suga had ever seen. Books and baubles piled onto all surfaces in an oddly neat manner. Beautiful fabrics and rich furniture scattered throughout the enormous space. Though, while everything was captivating, there was another aspect of the room that Suga couldn’t immediately name. It only came to him after he observed Akaashi moving things aside and sifting through items with definite familiarity. The aspect was that this bewitching room looked lived in. While it was clean, it wasn’t exactly pristine. Things all seemed to be in some sort of chaotic jumble that managed to look put together and just….homey.

“What...is this place” he asked slowly.

“Oh, sorry, I know it’s a bit messy. This is my room.”

“Your room…?” he looked around and it brought forward another thing he had subconsciously noticed upon entering. The room did look like a bedroom, however it hadn’t registered because there was something missing. “But....what about a bed…?”

“Oh, um..” a quiet sort of blank expression crossed his face, “well, I don’t usually sleep in here….so I thought a bed would be a bit of a waste...”

It seemed to click in Suga’s mind then, that that might have been an uncomfortable question for Akaashi to answer. He silently berated himself for his lack of tact. He didn’t know for sure what Akaashi’s position in this castle was but it seemed to him as though he was a concubine to whoever was residing here. He had heard of it before. Old wealthy men buying slaves for their sexual pleasures. It had been one of the possibilities he had been most scared of happening to him. He suspected Akaashi wouldn’t want or need it but he felt something dangerously close to pity. To be used like that….no wonder the others employed here worried for him. It would kill Suga, to be treated as some swines sex toy. The very thought terrified him. He desperately hoped that was not to be his fate. But he told himself I cannot dwell on this right now. I must think of how to make the best of a bad situation. Or, escape as soon as possible. Dragging himself back to reality was a hard task but when he accomplished it, he realized he couldn’t see Akaashi anymore.

“Um…..Akaashi?” he called out uncertainly.

“I’m here.” came a muffled reply. His voice had come from behind a tall dressing screen near the corner of the room. A few minutes passed before Akaashi emerged from behind the screen.

He was practically naked. The ensemble of jewels and cloth left a startling amount of pale skin bare to the eyes. The fabric covering his legs looked whole but as he walked it revealed slits on both sides nearing his hips. While it was a long sleeved garment, it rested along the edge of his shoulders before a low drop exposed most of his back.

Suga couldn’t help but feel a rush of resentment. For such a seemingly gentle person to be lowered to the status of a concubine to one in power made Suga sick. Even though Suga did not know him well. Even if his lack of facial expression left him a bit of an enigma. Suga still felt an inexplicable compassion towards him.

“You have to wear that?” he asked morosely.

Eyebrows jumped in surprise, he looked down at himself warily, “......does it look bad?”

Thinking that Akaashi might have been punished in the past for not looking pleasing to the Lord’s eyes, Suga hastened to reply, “No no! It's just well…”

Akaashi seemed to understand a bit of his reaction saying, “The outfit is not required no, however to be blunt, I quite like it.”

That had not been an answer he expected. Suddenly unsure, Suga couldn’t help asking, “You…. like wearing that? But doesn’t it make you feel….self-conscious?” Or embarrassed? He thought silently.

“Well I suppose it can, at times, seem rather too revealing but overall, yes, I do occasionally like to wear this sort of thing,” he said absentmindedly. “It makes me feel sultry.” he added mischievously.

Suga suddenly felt oddly like a fish being told he was stupid for not being able to climb a tree, “but….. why?”

“Well for the latter reason that I like it but also for the reason that it’s a good motivator for him.” he replied breezily.

“A motivator? Him?”

Waving his hands back and forth as if to direct the conversation back to its original purpose he said, “Never you mind that, now come with me, I will take you to see the Lord and master of this house.”

And he turned to leave the room, heading down the hallway at a brisk pace.

Jogging to catch up Suga couldn’t help but inquire,

“Wha…...what is the Lord like?”

“Hmm….well he’s hard to explain, but you shall see when you meet him.” he said with what Suga thought might be amusement in his voice.

All of a sudden Suga couldn’t stand being here. Couldn’t stand all the inconsistencies and mysteries. He stopped abruptly causing Akaashi to turn back towards him. Suga clenched his fits to his sides so tightly that his nails dug small crescents into his palm deep enough to draw blood. His feelings of uncertainty assaulted him.

“Why?” he gasped out.

“Why what?” Akaashi asked cautiously.

“Why did you buy me, you take children, but i'm no child.” he trembled.

Akaashi looked at him consideringly. His eyes boring holds through Suga’s skull with such intensity that Suga almost looked away before Akaashi answered him.

“Your eyes. You still had such fire in them. As though anyone who dared to try to own you, would pray a price far more than they were willing to bare. They reminded me of someone very dear to me” he said thoughtfully. “Now come, we must not keep the Lord waiting.”

Chapter Text

They walked quickly and silently until they came to stand before a grand set of large doors. The two guards stepped aside without a word, opening the room into which he was to meet the presiding Lord. Nervous flutters flitted through him as they entered the chamber but was forgotten as his addled brain processed his surroundings. He was enchanted by the grandiose of the revealed throne room. It could only be described as beautiful. A gigantic jewel-encrusted throne sat upon carefully preserved marble steps. Tapestries were present along the walls with an effortless grace, depicting magnificent forests and knights upon high horses. Breathtakingly beautiful paintings captured the essence of old grandeur. Even the ceiling itself was a sight to behold. The entire arched surface curved onto a central point, was made completely of brightly colored glass. The fascinating sights served to distract him for a few precious minutes before he was brought abruptly back to reality as the sound of unfamiliar voices circulated the room.

He was not here to simply appreciate art, he scolded himself.

Steeling himself for whatever was to come he looked down only to be taken off guard at seeing a newly familiar face.

Kuroo stood talking casually to two others looking the same as when he had left them until Akaashi and himself walked closer.  All looked up as they noticed their arrival, though what appeared to be the shortest of the group was blocked from his view. Suga quickly noticed that something about Kuroo felt different than his first impression of him. It was as though he was presenting himself in a much more relaxed way, which Suga didn’t understand. Confusion crept forward, this was where he was to meet a Lord, was it not? Didn’t that mean that this was to be some stuffy formal affair? Or maybe, if his fears were confirmed, something unspeakably humiliating. But the atmosphere in the room was the opposite of what he had been expecting. It was not even just Kuroo who seemed to be unusually relaxed. The other two with him seemed to be very comfortable, interacting with an easy familiarity.

Meeting Kuroo’s eyes, he raised a questioning brow. Kuroo smirked then began to open his mouth to speak before a booming voice interrupted him.  

“AKAASHI!”

“Hello Bokuto.” Akaashi replied evenly.

“That's a new outfit!” came a delighted exclamation.

“Yes it is.”

The voice belonged to a large jumbulant man who, Suga warily watched, practically bounded forward to stand before Akaashi. He was taller than Akaashi but shorter than Kuroo, and displayed a more prominent musculature than both. His hair was an erratic arrangement of black and white that gave a stark contrast to his illuminating golden eyes. His wild countenance stood in opposition to his informal but neat attire. Traditional buckskin breeches fit nicely, tucked into knee-high boots almost identical to Kuroo’s. Also similar to Kuroo was the cream blouse that he wore, though his was complemented by a dark blue waistcoat that hung open upon his broad shoulders. Though as he took a closer look at Akaashi his exuberance seemed to dim slightly.

“What’s wrong?” he asked dejectedly.

“Wrong? What do you mean Bokuto? Nothing is wrong.” deliberately brushing off his concern with a slight smile as he walked past him to head towards the two others. Abruptly all of his pulsating energy went eerily still.

“Akaashi.”

“Oh but you should see the new children. They’re very sweet, their names are Hinata and Kageya----”

Akaashi .”

Everyone in the room froze before he had the chance to finish his sentence. Bokuto’s tone of voice had held the unmistakable lilt of authority. Uneasily Suga begun to wonder just who this man was. Although he couldn’t see his face he could see as Akaashi begun to wring his hands without turning back to face Bokuto. After a beat of complete silence, Bokuto moved to stand behind him. Laying his hand on Akaashi’s shoulder, he slowly turned him around. Gently he said, “ ‘Kaashi, i’m sure they’re great but that doesn’t explain why you are upset.”

Not completely meeting his eyes he answered quietly, “Really, i’m fine, it’s just…..there were so many, so many people there.” he signed, “I just wish I could do more.”

The note of vulnerability that had appeared in Akaashi’s voice surprised Suga. He remembered earlier when everyone had seemed to be under the impression that Akaashi had been upset. He hadn’t noticed anything to indicate that, but he also had just met him. So the people here, who knew him better, must see some emotion in him that Suga could not. It became obvious that at least Akaashi and Bokuto were well acquainted when he watched the two with widening eyes.

Sliding his hand up to rest it on the back of his neck, Bokuto pulled him down to rest Akaashi’s head in the crook of his shoulder. Bokuto whispered words into his ear that Suga was unable to hear. After a minute, Akaashi took a deep steadying breath as he nodded his head, whether in agreement or defeat Suga couldn’t tell, to whatever Bokuto had said.

Everyone jumped as the silence was broken suddenly by a single loud clap of hands and reminding Suga of the others present.

“Well” Kuroo grinned at the reactions they had made “now that that is all taken care of, why don’t we get back on track.”

“Oh right!” Bokuto beamed, hand still resting on the back of Akaashi’s neck “We should do that! Except well…..” he trailed off.

“Except what Bo?” Kuroo inquired.

“I forgot what you told me we were going to do!” he laughed, all of his previous exuberance fully returned.

“Bo” Kuroo sighed dramatically.

“Sorry sorry! I got too focused on Akaashi so I forgot!” he said innocently. This admission making Suga swear that he could see a light blush forming on Akaashi’s cheeks.

“Bokuto.” Akaashi admonished.

Bokuto just laughed, petting the back of his neck softly. Kuroo, rolling his eyes, strolled forward to stand beside them. This finally revealed the third person who had been in the room upon their entrance. He was a young man, shorter in height than the others which was shortened further by the scrunch of his shoulders. With blonde hair and dark roots that came down to his chin partially hiding his honey-gold eyes. His appearance, much like Kuroo’s, was similar of that to a cat’s. Though while Kuroo made you think of the large prowling kind, with his slighter build, he appeared more like the kind who napped in patches of sunshine. And whose gaze was currently locked onto him.

It felt unnervingly like he was looking into him rather than at him. His assessing gaze was so scrutinizing that Suga unconsciously took a step back. Which consequently drew Bokuto’s attention to the movement. His piercing golden eyes held an almost unnatural illuminocity that was only intensified when directed at oneself.

“Who is this?” he quired.

Akaashi began to answer, “His name is Sugawara Koushi, we…..purchased” he practically choked out the word, “him along with the other two children.”

Bokuto looked at Akaashi as though he had suddenly grown an extra head. His hair strangely resembling ruffled feathers as he asked in all seriousness, “How old is he?”

Both Akaashi and the other just rolled their eyes. Kuroo, who couldn’t seem to hold himself back from giggling, answered “No Bo, he’s not a little kid like usual, Akaashi just walked out with him along with the kids, he’s……..” he turned toward Suga, “How old are you?”

“Nineteen” he answered.

Kuroo turned back to Bokuto “Nineteen, though that’s all I know.”

Akaashi just rolled his eyes again before stepping back from Bokuto to come to stand beside Suga, placing his hand upon his shoulder. “I took him along with the children because….well” he seemed to organize his thoughts before continuing slowly, “well because he reminded me of Oikawa.”

This Oikawa must be the “very dear” person that Akaashi had mentioned but Suga wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Everyone looked stupefied and vaguely alarmed when Akaashi admitted this, making him wonder just who this Oikawa person was to have them react this way. Everyone scrutinized him closely, making Suga feel uncomfortable before the silence was broken quietly.

The small man inquired flatly, “What about this guy, reminds you of Oikawa?”

“Yea Akaashi, I don’t really see it” Kuroo added “I mean Oikawa is just so…..well, Oikawa. From what i’ve seen they don’t seem that similar.”

Akaashi took a minute to answer “To be honest, i’m not quite sure why he does either. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it was enough to make me want to get him out of there as quickly as possible. That feeling only intensified after I met him for the second time here in the castle. The new children seem to be taken with him, so I figure he can’t be a bad guy.”

“Well if Akaashi says he’s a good guy then he must be a good guy!” Bokuto announced earnestly. Striding forward towards Suga he stopped before him, smiling widely he stated excitedly “Nice to meet you! I’m Bokuto Koutaro! Oh! I’m also the Lord of this area too!”

Suga was stunned into silence. This was the Lord? He turned to stare disbelieving at Akaashi and was meet with a small smile.

Akaashi looked at Bokuto and chastened sarcastically “Your disbelief is understandable, Bokuto doesn’t really act like much of a Lord.”

Bokuto hair seemed to droop as he cried, “Akaashi!”

“Well he’s got a point Bo.”

“He has more than just one point.”

“Kuroo, Kenma! Not you too!” Bokuto whined.

Akaashi sighed and placed his other hand on Bokuto’s shoulder, “Hush now Bokuto, we are just teasing.” He reached up to softly tug at a tuft of Bokuto’s downy hair “Also you forgot to add that you are not just the Lord but also a possible next in line for the throne.”

Bokuto frowned comically, muttering “I don’t like to add that part cause people always start to act strange around me when they find out.”

Suga was thrown for a loop. This man could become a King? But just maybe, upon further thought, it wasn’t so shocking. After all, he’d never meet anybody like him. So full of vitality and pulsating energy with such an ingrained authority that it made you strain to hear every word that he said. Even in this short encounter, he could feel himself gravitating towards such a natural leader. But just what did that mean? Obviously this was the mystery man that Akaashi had told him about. The one he would have to see for himself to understand. He understood what Akaashi had meant when he said that. But how was he supposed to handle this information? This had not been the kind of man that Suga had been expecting. He wasn’t old or arrogant and he seemed kind. But would he continue to be a kind man? Or would he turn into an evil one? He did not want to believe that the people in this room were bad people. Didn’t want to think that his life would become a living hell. Didn’t want to think that the man who had saved him, need saving himself. Akaashi, who had been upset because he couldn’t save more people. Owned as a concubine, or was it something different? The way they interacted didn’t seem that way, but what did Suga know? All the uncertainty ate at him. Suddenly a…. hooting noise..? Startled him back to himself. Bokuto was looking down at Akaashi’s leg that had peeked out between the fold of fabric.

“Akaashi your new outfit is ripped!” he said sadly.

Moving the fabric slightly he said matter of factly, “It’s not ripped Bokuto, that’s how it was made.” he moved it to the other side “It’s got one on both sides, see?”

“Oooo, very pretty! Twirl twirl!” Bokuto cheered, grabbing Akaashi’s hand and lifting it above his head.

Akaashi obliged, the outfit fanning out alluringly as he twirled in slow smooth turns continuing for one more after Bokuto let go to begin to clap excitedly. Akaashi’s face did not change from its constant flat expression but if Suga wasn’t mistaken, he did seemed slightly breathless when he stopped. It made him wonder as to how Akaashi was treated. He’d said that everyone knew that he had been a slave. Suga had assumed that he wasn’t one anymore but if he never slept in his room so that must mean he sleeps elsewhere. He appeared to have a great deal of freedom, what with him going to the slave market and even buying him. Though Kuroo had been with him at that time, but as a guard or as a jailor? The evidence pointed to Akaashi being a concubine but that didn’t seem to be the whole situation. And while he had not known the man long, he had been kind to enough to him to get him out of that cell. It pained him to think that he was being mistreated in any way. Worry pulled at his insides and twisted them into a tight knot. How would he know, what way could he come to understand just what he had gotten himself into. It seemed as though the universe had heard his worries as he was shocked a blatant display of affection.

There is no way Akaashi is just a concubine he thought dazedly. Bokuto had reached up to trace the line of Akaashi’s cheekbone with the pad of his thumb, looking at him lovingly.

But then why was Akaashi’s face still so…...blank?

He pondered this as Bokuto, with an earnestly honest voice said “I like it! You look beautiful” he smiled innocently and added “but then you always look beautiful to me.”

Suga could feel his cheeks start to burn and hoped desperately that his face wasn’t bright red. He felt as though he shouldn’t be here to witness what seemed to be a private moment. But what kind of relationship could they have? What if--- Oh. Oh. Lovers. They’re probably lovers he hastily reaffirmed with himself.

Glancing at Akaashi he started to wonder at what kind of person must Akaashi be to be largely unaffected by such loving words and actions. But then he saw something that made him pause. He could have sworn…… no he was positive he saw another faint blush coloring his cheeks. This slight lapse in Akaashi’s seemingly composed facade gave Suga considerable insight to Akaashi’s feelings. His blush from earlier in the hallway must not have been from shame but from a shy embarrassment. The thought was almost cute. But this lapse seemed to be the key to releasing the breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding in. While it did not completely dispel his unease, it did help him to relax and breathe easier than before.

Akaashi inhaled a deep steadying breath and turned away quickly, apparently not immune to the enchantment of Bokuto’s eyes. “Well then, you have met Bokuto and Kuroo” he moved over to stand beside the last man “and this is Kenma. Bokuto, as you know, is the Lord. Kuroo and Kenma are some of his closest advisors and also his childhood friends. Everyon--”

“Don’t forget about yourself Akaashi! You’re my Queen!” Bokuto jumped in loudly.

Now Akaashi was definitely blushing but he ignored Bokuto’s outburst and cleared his throat before continuing “Everyone else that you should meet isn’t here at present. They are all off on various tasks and assignments. However, the lot should be back in the upcoming couple of weeks. You can make all of their acquaintances then and we will decide at that time what you would like to do here. Hopefully that will help you to start to get used to it here, if you decide to stay that is. This castle is large so it takes many people to care for its upkeep and welfare so we can always use more help ourselves. You can take the time before the others return to look around and decide on what it is you’d like to do.”

Suga felt overwhelmed at hearing all of this. He couldn’t quite believe it. They were leaving him to decide what he wanted to do? Where he wanted to go? It left him stunned, feeling strangely exposed and vulnerable he made a decision abruptly. “I, well” he cleared his throat “I already know that I…..would like to stay…..here…..if that’s okay…..” he finished lamely.

Bokuto smiled warmly and largely while Kuroo looked amused. Akaashi seemed pleased and the other man, Kenma, was still just watching him.

Akaashi welcomed gently, “Well then we are happy to have you. Is there anything you would like to know? Questions?”

Suga hesitated before saying slowly “Not a question but well…” they all waited for him to continue “my name…..it is Sugawara but well, i’d prefer if you just called me Suga.”

They all froze for a second before breaking out into smiles, Kuroo was the first to step forward.

“So you liked being called Suga.” he chuckled leisurely. “You should’ve told us that earlier.”

Shifting under their scrutiny, he mumbled, “I wasn’t sure…..if it would matter.”

“Aw come on now,” he grinned wickedly “We don’t bite.”

Chapter Text

The next week was a learning experience. Firstly he had learned that Hinata and Kageyama were not the only children Akaashi had brought to the castle. There was a full nursery of rambunctious children, too many to remember all of their names, kept in line by two governesses. Yachi, the chatty women from before and a more reserved beauty named Kiyoko Shimizu. The second thing he had learned was that he was in a small country, to the north of his homeland, called Fukurodani. When he had found out this bit of information it had been along with the fact that while Bokuto was in line for the throne, he was also not the son of the current king. He was, in fact, his nephew. Bokuto’s father had apparently been the younger son and not only that, he had married a simple commoner much to the distaste of his elder brother. Bokuto’s father then left to arrive at their current location in consensual exile, happily married and very in love with his wife. However, years passed and the elder brother had already married twice. Having outlived both wives and possessing no children from either marriages, he had unhappily sought out his younger brother. Which upon finding him he had discovered a young healthy and lively Bokuto. The elder brother then grudgingly begged his younger brother’s forgiveness. Asking that for the sake of continuing their family’s lineage on the throne, if he could not produce a legitimate heir by the time of his death, Bokuto would become king. The younger brother agreed and began teaching his son how to be a proper king. But tragedy befell the family. When Bokuto was but only seven, his mother and father died in a carriage accident. After suddenly left without his abundantly loving and caring parents, he had developed indiscriminate mood swings which he was still prone to. Bokuto along with Kenma and Kuroo, who had all known each other since a very young age, became inseparable. Kuroo’s widowed mother took Bokuto under her wing, raising him after his parents no longer could. The last thing Suga had learned was the confirmation that, yes, Akaashi and Bokuto were lovers. Akaashi had met Bokuto when they had both been 13 and had fallen in love shortly thereafter. Akaashi had fondly reminisced that they had been together ever since.

The rest of the week Suga had spent either in his room or with Hinata and Kageyama along with the other children. When Akaashi had opened the door to his room he had been convinced that he was playing some kind of joke. It hadn’t been as lavish as Akaashi’s but it was still far more grand than any he had ever stayed in. He’d firmly told Akaashi that he didn’t need something so nice but he had been waved away before he’d finished the sentence. A bed softer than he could have imagined and fine clothes were the not the least of what was given to him. It had overwhelmed him. Though he wasn’t sure which he was more affected by. The generosity of Bokuto’s castle or how much the children had come to care for him. How much he had come to care for the children. Slowly he had become more relaxed and slowly they had grown on him. It had only been a matter of a few days spent with them in the nursery before he came to love them. In all honestly it had scared him but he every time he saw their precious little faces he fell more in love. The few days he spent with them were one of the happiest he could ever remember. He didn’t see a lot of the others in that time. They all seemed very busy but doing what, Suga wasn’t quite sure.

Despite the activity, the castle seemed empty despite all the servants. When Suga asked why this was, Akaashi had said that most of Bokuto’s immediate advisors and company was away on various missions. He told Suga in an exasperated voice that usually it was extremely lively, obnoxiously so and that it was good to have some peace and quiet with all of the troublesome bunch away. But even as Akaashi said this, he had a fond glow to his cheeks. Suga knew without a doubt that all of this “bunch” was very dear to him and wondered if the mysterious “Oikawa” was among them. It occurred to Suga that Akaashi might just be a bit lonely and that was why he was being so nice to him. Fear clenched his gut as he worried that once all of his loved ones were back then Akaashi would turn him away and become cold.

His worries were made worse by the fact that he had no idea what was expected of him. He’d been told to look around and think upon what he would like to do here. But would that really happen? Would they really let him choose what to do? They had said he could stay but what if he said he had changed his mind? The whole week since he had arrived he had been bathed and fed and clothed, but no one had told him to do anything.  Had he really been bought just to be set free? It unnerved him to think that this seemingly stroke of luck would suddenly turn into a nightmare. But Suga pushed these thoughts away. For now he would enjoy these moments of happiness, however fleeting they may be.

 

~

 

Early in the morning of Suga’s ninth day at the castle, word was sent of the impending arrival of the absent members. Their return spurred the household into a flurry of activity. The entrance hall swarmed with servants rushing back and forth with last minute preparations. Suga waited a little to the side of a huge antechamber behind Akaashi along with Bokuto, Kuroo and Kenma. Nervous jitters coursed through him but they were weakened by a twinge of excitement. The joyous mood of everyone seemed to have rubbed off on him. He could practically see the excitement radiating off of the others in the room. He could even see it in the usually so reserved Kenma. The front knocker echoed through the hall and the quick taps of footprints gradually came closer. The double doors of the room burst open and a small crowd of men rushed through. The others in the room stepped forward to meet the group but Suga stayed back and watched. Many seemed to go greet specific people first. But with the number of people coming in at once, Suga had a hard time registering them all.

He focused his eyes to gaze in front of Akaashi, were they were drawn to the man that had been leading the group. He was tall with chocolate brown hair and eyes; and an unmistakable air of regality about him. While Suga had not initially identified Bokuto as royal, he had a hard time picturing this man as anything but a monarch. He moved with an easy but deliberate grace as he strode forward to wrap his arms tightly around Akaashi. Akaashi returned the hug just as fiercely with the biggest smile Suga had ever seen on his face.

“Oikawa” Akaashi breathed in contently “i’ve missed you my friend”

Oikawa pulled back with a huge yet tender smile and replied jovially, “Of course you missed me! I’m such a joy to have around!”

A slightly shorter man stepped forward and punched him hard on the arm, “More like a pain in the ass to have around shittykawa.”

Rubbing his arm he whined “Mean Iwa-chan! Akaashi knows I missed him too! Unlike you he can take a jok--!” the last part was cut off as he dodged another punch to the arm. The man just rolled his eyes and stepped toward Akaashi with a genuine smile and hugged him as well.

“It’s nice to see you and Oikawa are still getting along so well Iwaizumi” Akaashi teased.

Iwaizumi just replied with a long suffering sigh before stepping back.

So this is Oikawa Suga thought intently Akaashi’s very dear friend who I remind him of.

Two more men stepped forward, one with black curling hair much like Akaashi’s and the other with short pinkish hair. Both had the look of mischievous children as they stepped behind Iwaizumi and said in teasing tones.

“Come on Iwaizumi, don’t be such a tsundere.” the black hair one deeply monotoned.

“Yea everyone here knows what a sweetheart you are, so you should try to act a little more honest.” the pink hair one leered.

Unexpectedly, iwaizumi blushed deeply and then jerked around to swat at the men as the pranced playfully out of reached. The man’s forest green eyes flashed dangerously as practically he growled at them. They just laughed amongst themselves but Oikawa looked happily at the exchange and leaned over to hug Iwaizumi dramatically to his chest.

Stating loudly, “My Iwa-chan is so cute when he’s embarrassed.”

Iwaizumi just blank faced as the other two fell into fresh peels of laughter at Oikawa's announcement. As they were catching their breath one of them was the first to spot Suga back farther in the room.

“Oooo who’s this pretty little thing?” The pink haired one grinned as he elbowed the other.

“Yea guys why didn’t you introduce us.” the other drawled.

“You guys already know who I am.”

“Shut up Oikawa” came three simultaneous replies.

Oikawa huffed but didn’t say anything else as he had also noticed Suga and was looking at him keenly. Suga took a small step back, uncomfortable with all the unfamiliar eyes on him. Akaashi moved to stand behind him, putting an arm around his shoulders and squeezing reassuringly.

“This is Sugawara Koushi, though he prefers if you call him Suga, he came to live with us this past week. He’ll be staying here as a part of the castle, so make sure to get along with him.” Akaashi divulged.

“Hmm, Suga is it? Well hello there, my name is Hanamaki Takahiro but you can call me Makki” the pink haired pointed to himself before slinging his arm over his companion’s shoulders “and this is Matsukawa Issei but you can call him Mattsun. Nice to make your acquaintance.” he finished with a flirtatious wink.

Oikawa made an exasperated groan, “Honestly you two, would you stop flirting teasing him? Especially since, like me and Iwa-chan as you so eloquently pointed out, are quite in love with each other.”

The two had listened to Oikawa with blank faces and now they turned to one another with raised eyebrows. Matsukawa kept his unamused expression in place asking flatly “You are in love with me? How come you didn’t tell me?”

Arm still around Matsukawa’s shoulders, Hanamaki returned blandly with the same indiscernible expression, “Sorry, I thought my blatant seduction was an obvious enough declaration of our undying love.”

Oikawa just rolled his eyes as both stared into each other’s faces before breaking out into huge grins. Matsukawa arms shot out to wrap themselves tightly around Hanamaki’s waist before swinging him around in circles as he attested to their love. As their dallying continued, Suga faintly heard Oikawa mutter something to Akaashi which made him chuckle in response. Straightening his shoulders Oikawa once again focused on Suga asking curiously, “Akaashi said you arrived here this past week, what made you decide to come to the castle Suga?”

Suga tensed as he was reminded that he had been brought into this country by force. Drugged and thrown over some scoundrel’s shoulders like merchandise with no decision made on his part whatsoever. A silence seemed to fall onto the room as the tense atmosphere reached everyone.

Oikawa asked cautiously, “Did I….did I say something wrong?”

Bokuto had come back into view to step beside Akaashi, settling a firm hand upon his shoulder. This seemed to strengthen Akaashi’s resolve as he spoke “Last week I went to the underground slave market with Kuroo.”

Everyone’s attention had swung to Akaashi at his admission, their expressions showing varied degrees of worry and anger.

“Akaashi” Oikawa started off wearily “I understand why it is you do what you do but I wish you would not do it yourself. We could easily accomplish the same thing in a different manner. That place is it’s own private corner of hell, one that should not be visited by the likes of us who gain nothing more from it than the painful memories that it dredges up.”

Continuing as though Oikawa had not interrupted, “While I was there, I found two new children, whom I brought here. Their name’s are Hinata and Kageyama.” Akaashi paused meaningfully “I also brought another person here.”

“Another person? Wh--” Oikawa’s voice suddenly cut out as he whipped his head toward Suga examining him in a new light. Suga unable to bear to meet his eyes looked down at the floor. He continued to do so until another pair of boots stopped in front of his own. Looking up slowly until he came to meet Oikawa’s intense gaze. He reached up and placed the fingertips of both his hands along Suga’s jaw, “Pretty little thing indeed.” he mourned thoughtfully. A sad smile settled over his features but Suga could detect no pity in it. Suddenly Oikawa did not look only regal, he looked wise far beyond his years. His knowing expression spoke volumes. At first glance Suga had thought him to be flippant but he could see now that he had gravely miscalculated. The breezy amused air was just a front for an underlying personality of seriousness and decisiveness. But the grim expression vanished quickly as Iwaizumi said in a monotonous voice “Stop trying to be so spiritual Shittykawa, you’re making the guy uncomfortable.”

Whirling around to hang off of Iwaizumi’s shorter frame, Oikawa cried dramatically, “Iwa-chaannnn why must you be so mean to meeee”

Iwaizumi didn’t respond but he appeared to be watching Oikawa very closely. After the exchange, no one asked any more questions about where Suga had come from. Instead Bokuto told everyone to line up so that Suga could formally be introduced to them all. As they did he realized that there had more than he thought who he had not initially seen.

“So!” he beamed “everyone you see here are apart of my guards! We actually have more servants here than we have guards but of the ones that are here are some of the best trained fighters in the country!”

“Also strategizers.” Kuroo added “The reason we are known as some of best in the area is mostly due to our organizational and strategical skills when in addition to the combat capabilities.” He stepped forward to the end of the line. “As you know, Kenma and I are some of Bokuto’s main advisors. Akaashi is, of course, apart of that group as well. Oikawa is also apart of that group along with another man named Daichi. So starting down the line from me we have the four you’ve already met Makki, Mattsun, Iwaizumi Hajime and Oikawa Tooru. Next is-”

Next was Komi Haruki who displayed an energetic personality similar to Bokuto’s. Followed by a fox looking man named Konoha Akinori along with a feral looking creature called Kyotani Kentaro who stood in contrast with a flamboyant individual named Yahaba Shigeru. The next was Fukunaga Shouhei, another quiet cat faced man who stood next to a particularly rambunctious and excitable trio. The first two were much the same height and temperament named Tanaka Ryuunosuke and Taketora Yamamoto whose companion was a short, easy going yet intense man named Nishinoya Yuu, who requested to be called Noya. The man who was next was also short with close cropped hair and pleasant personality named Yaku Morisuke. Suga was told that he usually worked with Yachi and Kiyoko as a guard to the children. Beside him was a large man of an intimidating stature with a surprisingly soft disposition that had shoulder length brown hair named Asahi Azumane. Lastly was--

“And lastly this is Sawamura Daichi.”

Suga stopped listening after he heard the man’s name. Daichi. A pleasant sounding name to go with a pleasant looking man. Though, to be honest, he was more than just pleasant looking. Suga thought that he just might be the most attractive man that he had ever laid eyes on. Sure, Akaashi was strikingly beautiful and Oikawa’s regal and easy grace were alluring but something about Daichi seemed infinitely more seductive. He was broad shouldered and nicely muscular. Both his eyes and hair were a deep brown and with a masculinely handsome face. As he was introduced he gave Suga a slight smile and Suga could have swore that he felt his heart skip a beat. Their eyes held contact for a moment more before Kuroo’s voice drew their attention.

“Now that all of you have been introduced, I think everyone should adjourn to their rooms so that the weary travelers will be able to clean themselves up.” He said “We’ll have plenty of time to catch up with each other after everyone’s had time to rest.”

Chapter Text

Suga walked purposefully down the now familiar corridors. He sneaked easily through the maze of splendor, the scenery no longer as intimidating as it once was. Instead everything seemed to simply be a part of the castle’s charm. Under the cavernous halls and glimmering of precious metals he made his way to the sitting room where they had all agreed to meet.

He crossed the threshold into the room but was brought up short. The first thing he had seen when he’d walked into the room was the man named Daichi. While he was certainly a sight to behold, it was not what had caused him to stop in his tracks. It was Daichi shaking his head exasperatedly at the chaise lounge chair Bokuto was currently occupying. He apparently thought it was proper for him to insist on having Akaashi sit on his lap because it “helps him concentrate”. Daichi on the other hand, was arguing that it most certainly did not, that in fact it seemed to do nothing but distract him. Suga brushed off the exchange with a small smile and a shake of his head. His time here had, for the most part, numbed him to such encounters. However, he thought, Bokuto having a hand on Akaashi’s ass was going a little too far for polite company. Next he spotted Kuroo with Kenma, Iwaizumi and Oikawa standing off to the side. Starting forward to stand near them, he was sidetracked by a pair of double doors leading outside. Changing his course, he moved closer. Coming into view was a large courtyard outlined by a sprawling garden. Roses of every color framed the courtyard, swaying unhurriedly in the breeze. In contrast, the courtyard was buzzing with activity. The soldiers seemed to be having friendly sparring matches. Broken into small groups surrounding crudely made rings, they watched as their companions tried to best each other. They laughed and argued and teased as their companions were forced out of the rings consequently “losing”. They’re gentle ambiance and good cheer saturated the atmosphere, so that even though they were sword fighting, one could tell that it was all in good fun. Continuing to watch, he felt as someone came to stand beside him. With a flick of his gaze he looked over, meeting the gaze of Oikawa.

“Care to join in?” he asked lightly.

A slight burn infused his cheeks but he kept his gaze, “I was never taught how to swordfight” he smirked ruefully. “I’d be more likely to cut myself than anything else.”

Oikawa hummed thoughtfully. While his face was relaxed, his eyes bore into Suga’s until suddenly they softened, “Well then, guess you’ll just have to learn.”. Finally breaking eye contact he looked on the scene and took an invigorating breath. “First things first, you need to see how it’s done.”

“Isn’t that what I’m doing?” Suga inquired.

Oikawa cut him a rapier quick grin before calling over his shoulder. “Iwa-chan!”

Iwaizumi looked over and met Oikawa’s gaze briefly before turning to finish his conversation. In a few minutes, he was striding over.

“A match?” he asked excitedly.

“An educational one. I’m going to make Suga into a fine soldier.”

Iwaizumi turned and looked him over matter of factly. Thoughtfully, he said “He’s got a slight build but that will help make him faster. Good watchful eyes and it doesn’t seem like he’s never had to work for something. All in all he’s got some nice potential. I’ll help.”

Suga decided that he would take this assessment as a compliment. If these people thought that he had the capability of being useful then he would take swordfighting in stride. He took a deep breath, preparing himself to absorb everything that Oikawa and Iwaizumi taught him.

They moved forward together and as the various groups noticed them it was as though they were taking a stage. The groups moved to form a barrier around a lone ring and watched them in anticipation. Suga wondered how good they must be if they created an audience out of everyone. Iwaizumi was given a sword by Daichi who smiled in encouragement. Oikawa on the other hand, waltzed over to the sword stands lazily, taking his time to pick up a sword of his own. He ran a delicate fingertip along the deathly sharpened blade as he sauntered forward to face Iwaizumi across the ring.

Both stood perfectly still. Neither making any unnecessary movements but instead evaluated the other. Analyzing and comparing knowledge, made through countless experiences, at a fire pace.

Without any indication, both burst forth in a motion quicker than Suga’s eyes could follow. Abruptly moving in sync to strike out at one another. Sparks flew at the power of their clashes, viper quick motions that flowed freely and frequently.

Suga stood in stunned enrapture. He felt less like he was watching a sword fight and more like he was watching a master artisan. Oikawa moved in grand yet precise movements. The graceful arches and elegant drives blended together, painting beautiful imagery. In contrast, Iwaizumi moved with ruthless efficiency. Shoulders rippled, things heaved as he moved in complete control. If Oikawa was a painter then Iwaizumi was a sculptor. One painted while the other chiseled. Both working against each other to create the greater masterpiece. With stout dexterity countering delicate brutality, the fight went on. Neither able to seize the upper hand left them drenched from their exertions. Sweat dripped off their bodies yet they seemed unaware of the physical strain. Their faces pulled into fierce grins of ferocious exhilaration.

“Amazing aren’t they?” Suga looked over his shoulder at Daichi who had come to stand beside him. A small thrill crept up his spine at their close contact.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like they’re not even human.”

Daichi simply chuckled, “Some would argue that they’re not.”

Suga grinned, feeling the inexplicable ease at being near Daichi seep into him.

Standing side by side they watched along the with the others, entranced as they fought on. Neither willing to back down against the other, Oikawa and Iwaizumi sparred masterfully on.

Finally, it was over when Oikawa fumbled. In a mere moment that he was taken off balance, Iwaizumi attacked, leaving Oikawa disarmed. With Oikawa’s sword now out of reach, Iwaizumi lifted the tip of his sword to rest just below his chin.

Nobody spoke, the only sound the gasping breaths of the two in the center of the courtyard. Dropping his sword Iwaizumi panted, “I win.”

Oikawa just smirked snidely, returning “Duly noted.”

A voice broke in saying languidly “Would you two mind dealing with your sexual tension somewhere else?”

Oikawa smirked, teasing “Aw Kuroo, sure you aren’t into a light bout of voyeurism?”

Kuroo just gave a amused cheshire grin, but didn’t respond. Instead he turned to Bokuto “Ready to play?”

Bokuto grinned hugely, “Always.” Moving to grab a sword from the stand he took up a starting position.

Kuroo picked his way over in a slower manner. Picking up a sword seemingly at random he swung around with a playful little grin, stepping into the ring matter-of-factly.

The first few swings were light, as though testing the temperature of water. A quick dip before an even quicker retreat. Slowly the exchanges became more intricate, as they acclimated to the cold. Gradually the swordplay became quicker, more erratic. Both seemed to constantly improvise and revise strategies to better combat the other.

A sharp lunge caused Bokuto to take a step back “Havin’ some trouble keeping’ up, birdbrains?” Kuroo teased.

“Sorry, I can’t understand you around that hairball in your mouth.” Bokuto retorted as he regained his lost ground.

They continued to hack away at each other, exchanging a wide variation of insults and jokes. Unlike Oikawa and Iwaizumi’s skillfully intense fight, this one seemed more lively and energetic. Others started adding in comments of their own. Jaunts and bets flew back and forth among the chatter.

Each riled the other, poking and prodding for an opening. The intensity radiated the space, infectious excitement running rampant.

Raw power fought against frank analyticism and wrestled for dominance.

Suga was brought out of the focus of the fight when he noticed as others made their way over to Daichi’s side. There were four of them, one was a face Suga didn’t recognize but the others he knew he had been introduced to. Suga was concerned he wouldn’t remember their names but Daichi casually reintroduced the three he’d already met. Suga flashed him a quick grateful smile. The first to speak was the one he hadn’t met, who was the first to step forward. He gave a kind smile and introduced himself as Ennoshita Chikara. He went on to apologize for not meeting him earlier as he was in the infirmary, having an injury from their trip being checked on. Suga assured him that it was alright but Tanaka and Nishinoya teased him endlessly. It seemed that Ennoshita had been the only one to have been injured. While they continued to tease, Asahi tried to quiet them, to no avail.  That was, until Ennoshita seemed to have enough, giving them a deadly stare that quickly shut them up. Both tensed but didn’t get to say anything before the cheers of the main crowd rose considerably. They all looked over to see as Kuroo groaned dejectedly, pouting dramatically. Bokuto made victorious hooting noises, skipping toward Akaashi and excitedly hugging him.

“Rematch!” Kuroo demanded.

“Nope! I won! You must admit your defeat!” Bokuto boasted.

“Does it count when this match was a rematch from when Kuroo beat you?”

“AKAASHI!” Bokuto whined, giving Akaashi a betrayed look.

Suddenly everyone was bickering. The volume rising with every voice added into the discussion, trying to get their opinion known.

Asahi stepped forward, making an attempt at a calming hand motion, cautioning “G-guys calm down, Daichi will get mad.” But nobody seemed to hear him, all to focused on saying their peace. Suga didn’t understand why Asahi would threaten Daichi’s anger. Daichi didn’t seem all that intimid--Suga’s thought broke off suddenly. When he looked over he’d came face to came with a seething Daichi. A threatening aura radiated off Daichi who just waiting with arms crossed. Asahi was the first to notice Daichi’s displeasure and moved off to the side. Tanaka and Noya quickly followed, hiding partially behind Asahi’s large form. Ennoshita simply sighed, looking resigned. Then slowly, one by one, the rest of the group quieted as they all felt the enormous weight of Daichi’s displeasure. Turning guiltily toward him as they all looked as though they were experiencing one of the stages of grief.

However, Suga found himself to be unaffected. While he could objectively tell that Daichi was looking particularly frightening, he didn’t feel any fear. Maybe it was because the anger wasn’t directed at him, but even so, Suga couldn’t picture ever actually fearing Daichi. Weary? Yes. Fear? No.

Just as he was pondering this, Hanamaki cautiously teased, “Come on Daichi, no need to put on such a scary face. Wouldn’t want Suga to run off scared now, would you?”

Daichi cheeks became a lightly tinted pink as he struggled for a rebuke that wouldn’t offend Suga or embarrass himself. Suga thinking it that this man was an oddly overwhelmingly charming individual couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face.

Leaning into Daichi, Suga put a hand on his arm, saying cheerfully, “How could I ever fear such a handsome face?”

It was then that Suga watched in fascination as Daichi’s face bloomed into a deep red. The flush was going down his neck and over his ears, which prompted the group to burst into raucous laughter and applause. Some cat whistling while others simply turned red themselves from lack of air. A warmth settled on Suga’s chest. Slowly it seeped into his bones and around his heart and it was the first time in his life that he felt an inkling of what it must feel like to have a family. In this castle surrounded by people he has just began to know, he started to allow himself to wish. To hope. To wish and hope for more in his life than he has had up to this point. For people he loved and trusted. And for people who might love and trust him in return. For friends. For a family.

In the middle of this little garden courtyard, surrounded by these people, he made a decision. That this moment must truly be the starting point of a new life. The thought filled him with a quiet yet strong happiness. Drowning in contentment he gave himself over to the laughter and teasing of the group. Losing himself in the promise of his newfound joy.

But suddenly a commotion broke into their laughter. Rage, practically visible, rolled off Iwaizumi into the air. He had a strong vise grip on Oikawa’s upper arm, jerking him across the courtyard.

“Iwa-chan~” Oikawa, looking slightly embarrassed, whined.

“Sit down.” Iwaizumi fumed.

Everyone trailed forward with a morbid curiosity, wondering what had happened to get Iwaizumi so riled up.

“Iwa-chan! I said I’m fine!” he said while rolling his eyes.

“Bullshit Shittykawa, now sit down before I sit you down myself.”

An angry huff ground its way out of Oikawa’s chest but he complied to the order. “Honestly, you are just overreacting! I’m perfectly fi-OW!” he broke off loudly with a sudden jerk. The cause had been Iwaizumi kneeling down, firmly grasping Oikawa’s right knee.

Iwaizumi gave him a hard look. “Perfectly fine, huh?”, he seethed.

Looking thoroughly like a petulant child being scolded, Oikawa mumbled, “Maybe not perfectly fine, but I am okay Iwa-chan.”. He set a steadying hand on Iwaizumi shoulders, drawing to Suga’s attention that Iwaizumi’s whole body appeared to be shaking. “Really Iwa-chan, calm down, it’s okay. I’m okay Haji--”

“NO!” he barked savagely. Suga shifted uneasily. Should they be separated? Why was Iwaizumi so angry? How badly was Oikawa injured? He didn’t understand why everyone was watching with such calmness. Tensing up slightly, preparing to step forward, he felt a gentle hand on his lower back. Glancing over, his eyes met Daichi’s steady gaze.  Suga’s emotions must have been plain on his face. Daichi appeared to understand but still gave a slight shake of his head. His eyes clearly conveying that everything was going to be okay. The unwavering certainty in his gaze calmed Suga. With a nod to show that he understood he looked back upon the scene in front of him.

“No.” Iwaizumi repeated quietly. He reached up while looking up at Oikawa with such a horribly distraught expression. With a motion more delicate than Suga would have thought such a strong man was capable of, he cradled Oikawa’s cheeks. Saying, almost pleading, reverently. “Don’t say you’re okay. Not when you are so obviously not okay. Please.”

Oikawa’s hands slid soothingly along Iwaizumi’s shoulders to grasp the back of his neck, drawing their heads in until their foreheads rested together... He crooned softly, murmuring a mixture of soft reassurances and sweet nothings to calm Iwaizumi, who breathed in large shuddering breaths. He cradled Oikawa’s face with the gentlest of hands. No trace of the bone-deep tension from just seconds before. It was as though all strife had been killed with the sweetest of kindnesses. Completing the stunning picture, Iwaizumi leaned up to brush a kiss at the corners of Oikawa’s lips.

Suga was taken aback. On first glance their relationship had not seemed this close, this loving. To see two more people in this castle so obviously and completely in love with each other, who complemented one another so perfectly and were so irrevocably comfortable showing blatant affection was a new occurrence for Suga.

A sound in the quiet caught Suga’s attention. He turned to watch as Hanamaki stepped forward with Matsukawa trailing close behind. Matsukawa passed him to lean down beside Iwaizumi, revealing some ice that the two must have gone to fetch while everyone else was preoccupied. Iwaizumi thanked him quietly and began pulling off Oikawa’s boot. This time Oikawa remained silent as Iwaizumi fussed over him. He made no complaint as Iwaizumi started to roll up the leg of his breeches and remained dutifully compliant as he held the ice against his knee. Everyone else dispersed, evidently taking this as their cue to go back to their practice. They continued sparring, albeit less lively than before. However the playfully relaxed energy of before returned completely when Iwaizumi and Oikawa could be heard bickering in the corner.

“You seem happy.”

Surprise filtered through him. Turning he met Daichi ’s intent gaze. He hadn’t noticed when the other man once again came to stand beside him. If anyone else had been watching him while he was unaware, Suga was sure that he would have been distressed. But with Daichi… well, he just couldn’t seem to feel uncomfortable. His presence seemed to have an intrusive calming effect on Suga. While it confused him, he couldn’t say that it was a bad feeling. It was a new yet nice experience to feel so at ease in the presence of another person. He wished that he could spend more time with him. Maybe if he did then he would begin to understand how to feel that way about himself.

“Suga…” The way Daichi had said his named intrigued him. Daichi sounded almost... flustered.

“Yes?”

“Well, I was wondering… since you’re new here, you probably haven’t got to see much of town,” he cleared his throat slightly “I was thinking that I could show you around.”. He twiddled his fingers together, blushing slightly “That is, if you’d like me to.”.

An immense unknown joy spread through Suga. He could barely contain the unexpected emotions from his face, hoped desperately that he wasn’t making a strange expression. Taking a quick steadying inhale, he smiled warmly at Daichi, whose blushed deepened dramatically. “I’d like that very much.”