Actions

Work Header

never less than a work in progress

Chapter Text

Daichi had gone to school early in order to complete posters for Friday’s pep rally, and he finished half an hour before first period started. After putting the paints back on the shelf and making note to order more silver paint, he grabbed his stuff and wandered toward the football fields to see if Bokuto had been released from morning practice yet.

The field was empty and had already been cleaned up from any equipment used for morning drills. Next, he checked the locker rooms, but they were quiet, except for a few freshmen who had gotten stuck with the last shower time slot.

He continued to look around for him. Bokuto had definitely come to morning practice; he had sent a selfie to the group chat. He headed toward the gym to check the weight room.

Peeking into the gymnasium itself, he saw a few students from student council taking inventory for the pep rally. He waved to them, and they called him over to clarify the audio needs of the assembly.

“I’d stay to help, but I was actually looking for Bokuto.” Daichi said, backing out of the storage closet that held all the extra equipment.

“Oh god, Bokuto? He better not ruin it for us.” Daichi whipped his head around at the voice. It had come from a girl who had come in early for first period gym, with a group of her friends.

“What are you talking about?”

“The quarterback doesn’t even know what he’s doing, and he’s just a dumb jock.”

“Plus, last year, I heard he had breakdown because of the pressure,” another one of her friends added. “He’s captain of the football team. He can’t be crying like a baby all time.”

Daichi knew the exact game that they were talking about. They had won, but barely. Bokuto skipped the victory party, and the four of them had all slept over at Oikawa’s that night. There had been a lot of crying on all their parts.

“He’s also led the team to back-to-back state championships,” he defended.

The girl crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. “We’re also the laughing stocks of the entire league.”

“Uh?” Daichi narrowed his eyes and frowned. “I talk to the other schools all time at leadership retreats. They actually all really respect our football team.”

“Student council doesn’t count,” she scoffed. “They’re all a bunch of goody two-shoes. Of course they would say nice things about the football team.”

Daichi couldn’t help but think what Kuroo or Oikawa’s reaction to her would be, before trying to delicately phrase his next sentence. “I think you’re being a little harsh.”

“Someone on the football team is almost always at risk for academic probation. They’re just a bunch of jocks.” She said “jocks” like they were the worst thing in the world.

“Look. We don’t allow bullying at this school, and you’re insulting one of my best friends.” Daichi looked at her. “I’d hate for this to escalate any further.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a movement by the gym door and the tell-tale sign of spiked white and black hair.

“You’re just biased—”

The figure darted away from the door, and Daichi looked back at the girl, cutting her off. “We can discuss this later. I just remembered something that I need to do.”

He walked toward the gym door, picking up his pace when he was out of sight of the others. Bokuto had disappeared, but Daichi had a suspicion to where he had gone. Exiting the gym, he resisted the urge to run, and headed back toward the football field.

At the far corner of the stands for the home team, there’s a Bokuto-shaped blob, lifelessly staring out into the distance. He didn’t even look up as Daichi clambered up the metal bleachers. The sound of his footsteps were the only thing breaking the early morning quiet.

Daichi slid into the bench next to Bokuto, letting their thighs touch, but not speaking. They could see the senior parking lot from their place in the stands, and he scanned the lot for any sign of Oikawa’s distinctive Aston Martin, but figured that he hadn’t arrived yet.

Bokuto let out a lethargic sigh next to him, and it became clear that he wasn’t going to start the conversation. 

“You know,” Daichi started, tilting his head to look at Bokuto. “This was where I sat the first time I watched you play.”

“These are the worst seats in the entire stadium.” Bokuto sniffled. “You’re freakishly punctual. How did you get stuck up here?”

He slipped an arm around Bokuto’s shoulders, and pulled him close as if telling a secret. “I actually came to watch Suga,” he whispered.

Bokuto pushed his shoulder, lightly shoving him aside. “You’re the worst.” He rubbed his eyes, smile a little bit brighter than before.

“I think that’s my line.” He knocked their shoulders together. “How much did you overhear?” He frowned when it looked like Bokuto was going to deny everything. “Don’t lie, or else…”

“Or else, what?”

“Ughh… I don’t like how Kuroo and Oikawa have rubbed off on you.” Daichi rubbed his face. “I don’t know what will happen. Why are you so difficult to threaten?” He quickly put a finger on Bokuto’s lips to prevent him from answering. “Don’t try to change the subject. Come on, tell me why I had to chase you all the way up these bleachers.”

“I know I’m not as smart as you or Oikawa or Kuroo.” He gave a small, self-deprecating smile. “Don’t try to argue with me. I’m okay with the fact that I’m not school smart. I know how to live with it, and with the rest of you helping, my grades are better than they have been for a long time. It’s just…”

“It’s just, what?” Daichi asked when Bokuto trailed off.

“Football was always my thing.” He shrugged. “It’s the one thing that I’m proud of. I don’t want to let everybody down.”

“You know what I remember most about that first game?” Bokuto shook his head, and he placed a hand on his knee. “It was how bright you shined when you were on the field. You were only a freshman, and you barely played at all, but you inspired the other players to be better.”

Bokuto threw himself around him, hugging him tightly. “Don’t make me cry.”

“Besides,” Daichi said, shrugging him off. “You’re more than just football. We would have never been friends if you hadn’t tried to bring us together in the first place.” He looked over to the out to the field and the parking lot beyond, tilting his head. “Also, I’m sorry.”

Bokuto sniffled. “What are you sorry for?”

“Those girls were wrong. I should have said it louder and prouder, instead of skirting around the issue. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend.”

“I’m not mad at you for that.” Bokuto hugged him again. “It’s not like you could have pulled an Oikawa or a Kuroo. You’d be kicked off student council.”

“Could you imagine what the two of them would have done?” He shook his head, looking up at the sky to let the morning sun warm his face. “I probably would have had to deal with it.”

The two of them sat in silence until they heard the bell ring in the distance.

“Come on, I’ll walk you to chemistry,” he said, pulling the other boy along.

“You don’t have to – your class is on the other side of the school.”

“I can be a little late.”

“No you can’t,” Bokuto said, pulling them back the other direction. “You’re the class president. You can’t be tardy.”

“I’m the class president, so my teacher will just assume I was doing class president things.” Daichi pulled him along. “Like making sure a student gets to their class.”

“Are you using your position as an excuse to skip class?” He put a hand to his chest in mock shock. “How scandalous.”

“Now, who’s the worst?” He knocked into the other boy’s shoulder. The two of them made small talk and joked around until they arrived at Bokuto’s chemistry classroom. He got shooed off with a hand wave and shout telling him to run along to his own class.

Slightly out of breath, Daichi smiled as he slipped into his first period class.

Chapter Text

“We’re starting a group project today.” The whole class groaned has their AP English teacher explained their next assignment. “You’ll be in pairs. I expect you to write a biography and literary analysis of one of the poets represented in the anthology we’re reading.”

Kuroo jotted down a few notes as the project was explained, before the class was dismissed to choose their partners and start planning.

He looked around, and saw all of his classmates start to find their partners. A few of them gave him an inquiring look, before giving up when they remembered that he’d gotten permission to do projects on his own since they had an uneven number of students. (Plus, his teacher had felt sympathetic toward him. He had done all of the work on the first two projects of the year, and given his useless partners A+’s in the process).  

It seemed like all the other students had forgotten that it was the first day of a new semester and that the class roster had changed to accommodate student’s new electives. Two students had transferred into the 4th period AP English class so they could take ceramics, but Daichi had transferred in because of some student council thing.

Kuroo made eye contact with him. He was stuck in one of the only available seats in the back of the classroom, observing the students around him, trying to figure out where he fit in. With a smirk, Kuroo gestured for Daichi to join him in the recently vacated desk next to his.

Grabbing his stuff, shuffling across the classroom, and settling in the desk beside his, he raised a single eyebrow. “Yes, Kuroo?”

“Howdy, Partner!” He said in the worst Southern accent that he could muster.

Daichi responded with an unimpressed look, but couldn’t quite stop the corners of his lips from quirking up. “You spent all of last semester talking about how glad you were that you finally got permission to do projects alone.”

“We have an even number now.” Kuroo shook his head. “Plus, I only liked doing projects solo because my partners never did any work. They only wanted to pair up with me so they could get a good grade with the least effort possible.”

“I think that was a compliment?” Daichi scrunched his face up in thought.

“Of course it was. Keep up, Mr. President,” Kuroo teased.

“Now, I’m starting to think that it wasn’t a compliment.” He flipped open his notebook and clicked his pen a couple of times.  

“Who should we pick?” Kuroo pulled out the anthology and flipped through it.

“Um…” Daichi dug through his backpack for his own copy. “I don’t know many of these poets. I guess I’d choose Whitman, Wilde, or Frost.”

“I’m not sure if half these people even qualify has famous.” Kuroo pursed his lips. “I don’t know why they couldn’t have just picked a book of the top one hundred poets. It’s like they live to torture us.”

“Has class president, I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” Daichi said, rolling his eyes. “Seriously, though, I’ll go with whoever you want to do.”

“Whoever I want to do?” He shook his head. “You might want to rethink your wording.”

“I wouldn’t have to if you guys weren’t all 12 years old inside.” He looked up to the front of the classroom, where a pair was talking to their teacher. “Hurry up and pick before all the good poets are gone.”

“Oscar Wilde,” Kuroo said standing up. “He was my first pick, because we’ll be able to reuse some of our research when the playwright unit comes if we get The Importance of Being Ernest.

“We?” Daichi laughed. “Who says we’ll be partners again? We might kill each other by the end of this project.”  

“If you found me annoying you would have already ended our friendship.”

“I do find you annoying.” Daichi rolled his eyes with a smile at the corner of his lips and gestured to the front of the classroom. “Go, Genius.”

Kuroo wandered toward the front of the classroom, zigzagging through the desks that had been shifted as groups were formed. He silently fell in line behind a pair of girls who chose Dickenson. The teacher didn’t even look up when it was his turn.

“I’m partnered with Daichi. We’ve chosen Oscar Wilde,” he said aiming for nonchalance. At Daichi’s name, his teacher looked up at him, confusion on her face.

“You begged me for weeks about doing projects alone, and now you’ve decided that you’re willing to be a team player?” Her voice was civil, but there was an undercurrent of suspicion. 

“It’s because they’re friends,” a voice piped up behind him. “And what’s a better way to keep your friends than with good grades.” It was Chad. “It’s not like he’d have friends any other way,” he added under his breath so that their teacher couldn’t hear.

They’d been partners for the first English project of the year – “partners” being a loose term. Chad had blown him off at every turn, made up excuses, and contributed nothing except his name to their final paper. He had even told Kuroo he was sick so he could go to a party, forgetting that Kuroo was friends with Oikawa and Bokuto and was sure to hear all about it. Chad had been banned from football parties and had harbored a vendetta against him ever since.

In short, Kuroo hated Chad.

“Even if he’s your friend, you shouldn’t be doing all the work,” his teacher said, tilting her head to look at him.

“I don’t really think we should be listening to Chad for advice on doing a fair share of work.” He crossed his arms. “Besides, there’s an even number of students now. It makes sense that I’d have a partner. Everybody else in class got to pick their own partners.”

“I guess, if you put it that way, I don’t have a problem with it. We can revaluate at the end of the project,” she said. “Oscar Wilde is all yours.”

Kuroo smiled triumphantly at Chad, who gave him a dirty look when he passed him to get back to his seat. As he walked back, he noticed that the other students in the class were looking at him. His confrontation with Chad hadn’t gone unnoticed, and he heard whispers of their names.

He sunk back into his seat with a thud.

“Everything okay?” Daichi asked, a familiar concerned look on his face.

“Ughh…” He placed his head on the desk, closing his eyes. “Just Chad.”

“Narcissist Chad, Jerk Chad, or Asshole Chad?” Amusement was clearly heard in the other boy’s voice.

“Jerk Chad,” he replied. “Stop enjoying my misery.”

Daichi patted him on the head. “And what would you like me to say instead?”

“The baby voice is worse.” Kuroo turned to look at him, still pillowing his head in his hands.

“Jerk Chad usually doesn’t get you so worked up.” He gave him an inquiring look. “What made it so bad this time?”

“He was saying that the only reason I partnered with you was because you’re my friend, and it wasn’t fair that I help my friends get good grades.” Kuroo shot a dirty look across the classroom to where Chad was sitting. “Then all the other students started to whisper about because they’re all nosy gossips.”

“I mean…” Daichi trailed off, looking unsure. “They’re not wrong.”

Kuroo flung himself off the desk, turning to stare at Daichi. “What are you talking about? Don’t you dare compare yourself to Chad.”

He rolled his eyes at Kuroo’s dramatics. “I’m going to get a better grade because I’m paired with you, and you did partner up with me because I’m your friend.”

“Yeah,” Kuroo scoffed. “But you actually care.”

“I’m still using you.” Daichi shrugged. “Or, at least your brain.”

“You’re not using me. The rest of my partners put in minimal effort, make me do all the work, and get a good grade anyways. They don’t care who I am – only that I’m their ticket to an A.” He wanted to reach out and physically shake some sense into Daichi, but restrained himself.

“I just feel bad sometimes.” He shrugged again. “Like I’m using all of you.”

“So? What does it matter?” Kuroo was whisper shouting, trying not to attract more attention from the rest of the class. “You’re not using me, if I’m freely giving myself. Just like you let us use your keys to get into school after hours. It’s all safe, sane, and consensual.”

“You’re the worst.” Daichi’s slight smile said otherwise.

“And there’s the grumpy class president we know and love.” Kuroo slapped him on the back, just as the bell rang. “We can talk more about the project during our next study session.”

They both shoved their belongings haphazardly into their backpacks and made their way out to the hallway. Together they slowly meandered their way to the lunchroom to meet up with Oikawa and Bokuto.

Chapter Text

“Has anyone seen Oikawa today?” Kuroo asked, sliding his lunch onto the table. “I haven’t heard from him since I turned down a ride last night.”

Daichi shook his head, while Bokuto looked up from his phone. “He dropped me off for morning practice, but he left because for another appointment or something.”

“That’s weird,” Daichi said, pulling out his phone. “I’ll shoot him a text.” Kuroo felt his phone buzz in his pocket has the message was added to their group chat.

By the middle of their lunch period, there was still no sign of Oikawa. Bokuto stood, picking up his empty lunch tray. “I’m going to go looking for him.” Kuroo made to stand up and join him, but Bokuto stopped him with a look.

“Let him go alone,” Daichi said. “Oikawa will just freak out if we all try to confront him.”

He gave a reassuring smile to the two of them before he set off to try to find Oikawa. A quick peek into the parking lot revealed Oikawa’s Aston Martin, which was recognizable from a mile away. Sticking his hands into the pockets of his varsity jacket, he wandered through the hallways trying to figure out where the other boy was most likely to be.

“You just have to think that you’re better than everyone, don’t you?” Bokuto frowned and turned toward the classroom that the voice was coming from.

“Maybe, I’m just better than you.” That was Oikawa’s voice, and he could imagine the pretentious eye roll that probably accompanied it. “The answer is still no.”

“How hard would it be to let us borrow one of your cars for the pep rally?” The boy scoffed. “You have three.”

Bokuto peeked his head into the classroom, being careful to not be seen. Oikawa stood, arms crossed, in front of three boys he recognized from the basketball team. “Actually it’s five now. Father just closed a deal with Ferrari.”

He wished that he could have seen the boys’ reactions, but they had their backs to him. Quietly swinging the door open just enough for him to sneak in, he ducked behind a desk, engrossed in the confrontation. Oikawa’s eyes widened in surprise, and Bokuto put a finger to his lips, gesturing to him not to let the other boys see him.

“You’d lend one to the football team if they asked!”

Oikawa laughed, meeting Bokuto’s eyes. “Have you seen some of the players? I wouldn’t let them within ten-feet of my cars.” He had to muffle a laugh, knowing the truth in Oikawa’s statement. The team was only coordinated while playing, otherwise they were all clumsy messes.

“You’re such an asshole,” the middle boy huffed. “I bet you’re letting that quarterback use one!”

“That quarterback has a name.” Oikawa’s lips turned up into a sneer. “And, for your information, Bokuto hasn’t asked.”

From behind the desk, Bokuto tilted his head, deep in thought. Asking to borrow one of Oikawa’s fancy sports cars had never crossed his mind. The football team always decorated the coach’s old pick-up truck for the parade during pep rallies. It was a tradition, and this year they were going to decorate the entire truck in flowers. It was going to be so badass.

“—your money.” He missed the beginning of the boy’s response, but tuned back in when he saw Oikawa stiffen out of the corner of his eye. “Why else would anyone ever be friends with you?”

“Hey!” Bokuto shouted, giving up on hiding. “We’re friends with him because he’s the best.”

Oikawa looked up at him in shock and mouthed surprised expletives at him. In response, he just shrugged and forced himself in between the basketball boys to stand by Oikawa’s side.

“And I’m sure the fact that he has money is such a downside,” the leader asked. “It must be so hard to host your football parties at his mansion.”

Bokuto’s eyes widened and he smiled. “You wouldn’t believe how hard it is. Oikawa’s really the best for letting us host a couple at his house this year!” He had to stop himself from ruffling Oikawa’s hair, knowing that the other boy wouldn’t want it messed up for the rest of the school day. “We have to make sure everything’s cleaned up, and that people don’t park on the lawn. Not to mention, the time that half the team almost crashed at his house.”

“I would have killed you if that had happened,” Oikawa’s dry voice quipped from behind him.

“I know,” he said flashing a smile at the boy, before turning back to the basketball players. “Oikawa really is the best!”

“I see that Oikawa has successfully figured out how to buy his friends.” The boy on the left snorted in disdain. “A few fancy parties was all it took to win over the football captain.”

“Trust me,” Bokuto replied, placing a hand on his chest. “It was a lot more complicated than that.”

He heard Oikawa muffle a laugh behind him, while the basketball players didn’t seem to know what to do. In the end, they gave them one last stink eye before turning around and heading toward the door.

“You should have gone to Shiratorizawa with all the other rich brats.” The leader of the boys shook his head in disgust and closed the door behind him, leaving the two of them alone.

“They’re right. Shiratorizawa is just a bunch of rich brats,” Oikawa piped up next to him.

“Well, duh.” Bokuto smiled, swinging an arm around Oikawa’s shoulder. “That’s why you went here instead.” Oikawa flushed and looked down shyly at his feet. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” He gave Oikawa a skeptical look, and the boy pursed his lips and changed his answer. “It was just some asshole boys who wanted to borrow my car. It sucks, but I’m used to it.”

“You shouldn’t have to be.” He pulled the other boy closer to him, squeezing their shoulders together. “It’s their fault for not realizing how awesome you are.”

“I don’t think anyone else would agree with you,” he said flipping his hair.

“Kuroo would!” Bokuto insisted. “Daichi, too!”

Oikawa snorted. “You guys don’t count.”

“Or…” he trailed off, scrunching up his face in thought, and shrugged at the other boy. “Maybe… we’re the only ones that do.”

Oikawa slipped out of his hold and turned to face him, looking him directly in the eyes. They stared at each other for what felt like a long time, before Bokuto started to rock back and forth on his heels.

Oikawa eventually looked away. “Thanks for standing up for me. Never change, okay?”

“You could have had it handled on your own,” he replied. “Why were you in there anyways? We were wondering where you were.” he asked.

“I ducked in to make a quick call before lunch.” Oikawa rolled his eyes. “As you can see I ran into some issues.”  

“Did the call go well, at least?” Bokuto asked, leading them back to the cafeteria.

“I just had to correct something with my contact prescription.” Oikawa abruptly changed the topic. “Do you want a car?”

Bokuto stopped walking and turned to face Oikawa. He then looked back to the classroom that they had just came from, before settling again on Oikawa. “Uh… I thought we just had this conversation?”  

We didn’t.” He crossed his arms. “Some random boys on the basketball team had a one-sided, unwelcome conversation with me.”

Bokuto furrowed his eyebrows in thought. “The football team already has plans for the pep rally parade.”

“Which, I personally, can’t wait to see,” Oikawa said with a mischievous smile. “But you’re a shoo-in for athlete of the semester, and they ride separately.”

“I can just borrow a car from someone else on the team if I win?” Bokuto meant to phrase it has a statement, but his confusion made it more of a question.

“First of all, we all know you’re going to win.” He reached out and lightly punched him in the shoulder. “Just borrow one of my cars.”

“But you just told the basketball team…”

“You’re my friend.” He shrugged. “Plus, you get to pick your own driver, so you’re free to wave and smile at adoring fans. I’d still get to drive my own car.”

“You don’t need to let me use your car because we’re friends.” Bokuto placed both of his hands on the other boy’s shoulders. “You know we’re not friends with you because of that, right?”

“I know.” Oikawa tilted his head, and smiled, a little sharp around the edges. “But, I want to see the looks on their faces when you show up in the newest Ferrari convertible.”

“Oh!” Bokuto exclaimed, smiling has the pieces clicking into place. “It’s that petty, spite thing you do.”

“A little,” he begrudgingly admitted. “But, I also want to make sure you look ‘badass.’”

Bokuto wrapped his arms around Oikawa, pulling him into a tight hug. “You really are the best.”

“Thanks, but you can stop crushing me now.” His voice was a little garbled, from where is was squished against his chest. Bokuto let go, but didn’t apologize, instead grabbing the other boy and pulling him toward the cafeteria.

“Come on. We have got to go tell Daichi and Kuroo!” Oikawa laughed and allowed himself to be pulled along, the recent confrontation all but forgotten.  

Chapter Text

Oikawa walked down the hall, twirling his keys around his pointer finger. He headed up the stairs to the third floor, where the labs were located, to meet Kuroo. Since he had to stay after school to make-up a missed test anyways, he had offered a ride home to the other boy.   

He nodded to some of the other members of science club that he past on his way to the chemistry classroom where the meeting was held. Checking his watch, he realized that they must have gotten out slightly early. He heard voices coming from inside the classroom, the door cracked open just enough so that he could hear them clearly in the empty hallway.

“How about $500?” It was Asshole Chad.

“No.” Kuroo sounded exasperated. “I’m not doing your chemistry project for you.” Clearly, Oikawa wasn’t the only one who was having issues with other students today.  

“What about $750?” The boy was starting to sound angry. “You don’t understand how much I need this grade.”

“Apparently, you need it enough to try to bribe me with an exorbitant amount of money,” Kuroo responded drily.

The other boy started to respond, but Oikawa felt it was time to make his grand entrance. “I’d stop trying if I were you.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised a single eyebrow. “Kuroo’s price is so high that even I can’t afford him.”

“You’re not part of this conversation.” Chad scoffed, “But I guess you always have to make everything about you.”

Kuroo rolled his eyes before looking at him. “I was going to meet you by your classroom since we got out early, but I got held up.”

“If you needed money, you should have just asked.” Oikawa put his hands on his hips and gave a look of distaste toward Chad. “Instead of sinking so… low.”

“Like I’d ever be desperate enough to cheat for Chad.” Both of them ignored the presence of the other boy in the room.

“Hey!” Chad interrupted. “I was making a deal with Kuroo before you burst in, so scram.”

“Um…” Oikawa countered. “You were clearly failing at bribing him.”

“Sorry, I’m not an expert at bribing Kuroo.” Asshole Chad glared at him. “Unlike some people.”

Oikawa brought his hands up in front of him in a jokingly placating manner. “I already told you – I can’t afford Kuroo.”

“Are you saying that isn’t a $1200 watch on his wrist?” he asked, pointedly glaring at the band around Kuroo’s right arm.

Kuroo sputtered, flashing a look at Oikawa, before recovering. “It was birthday present, and it’s only a replica.” He cocked his head. “Friends can give each other things without expecting anything in return.”

“I’m not sure Chad would know anything about friendship,” Oikawa said, walking over to Kuroo’s side.

“And you do Mr. Rich Boy?” Chad fired back. He turned his attention back to Kuroo. “You don’t even have to do the entire project – just help me out with the research.”

“That’s still cheating.” Kuroo sighed. “Look. I’m not going to do your chemistry project for you. Why don’t you just give up now before you embarrass yourself any further.”

Chad looked like he was going to argue, but Oikawa smirked and interrupted. “Or we could talk to Daichi and see what the class president thinks about your attempted bribery and cheating.”

Chad picked up his bag, slung it around his shoulder, and slinked out of the classroom in defeat. On his way out, he called back, “There’s no way that watch costs less than $500.” The door slammed behind him.

Kuroo turned to Oikawa, leaning against a table. “What would Daichi say about you using his name as a threat?”

“Considering that he texted me all about your earlier run in with the Other Chad, I’d say he’d approve.” Oikawa started walking toward the door, Kuroo following along. “It’s not like we won’t find out his reaction at tonight’s study session.”

Kuroo locked up the science classroom, and the two of them started making their way to the parking lot. “I’m not letting you get away with it,” he said, aiming for nonchalant.

“What?”

Kuroo stopped and waved his wrist in front of Oikawa’s face. The watch was a replica of one used in a 1980s sci-fi film that they both loved. “You said that the watch was a ‘cheap replica,’” he said using air quotes.

“It is,” Oikawa insisted. “It was less than half the price of buying a real one.” 

“Real ones cost over $1000!”  

Oikawa shrunk in on himself. “I don’t get why you’re so mad. You said it yourself that friends can give each other gifts without expecting anything in return.”

“Oikawa,” Kuroo said softly, seeing that the other boy had started staring at his feet like they held the answers to the universe. “You’re free to spend your money however you want. Just don’t lie to us about it.”

“I didn’t want to make things…” he pursed his lips, searching for the perfect word, “…weird.”

“What were you afraid of making weird?” He treaded carefully. “We’re already maxed out on weirdness.”

“People always get weird when money is involved.” He shrugged, “It sets expectations. Makes people look at me different.” He paused, unsure if he should continue. “…Even my so-called friends start acting differently.”

Kuroo stayed silent and let Oikawa work out the rest of his thoughts. “If I get an inexpensive gift, I’m being stingy and cheap, but if I get an expensive gift than I’m just showing off. I thought it would be better to just… not say anything.”

“You got all of us expensive gifts, didn’t you?”

“What you’d guys would probably consider expensive gifts.” Oikawa gave a helpless little shrug. “Yours was probably the only one that’s slightly extravagant.”

“You don’t have to get us gifts.” Kuroo restrained himself from physically shaking the other boy. “We’re not friends with you because we think you’ll get us fancy presents.”

Oikawa laughed and bit his lip. “You know… Bokuto said something similar to me earlier today.”

“Bokuto’s a wise guy.” Kuroo looked at him out of the corner of his eye. “You don’t need to try so hard to impress us.”  

“I’ve never had friends like the three of you before. I know you guys are different, and it… kind of makes me want to spoil you all.” He looked up and gave him a small smile. “You gave me the best birthday I’ve had in years, and I just didn’t know how to repay all of you.”

“You could have just said something.” Kuroo shuddered. “Instead, I got called out by a Chad.

“What a nightmare!” Oikawa mocked a gasp, with a hand on his chest, and Kuroo shoved his shoulder playfully into the other boy’s. The seriousness of their previous conversation was quickly forgotten as Kuroo chased Oikawa through the halls.

They were out of breath by the time they made it to Oikawa’s car. The car beeped, signaling that the doors were unlocked, and they slid into the front seats. He leaned back against the plush leather and caught his breathe, before turning to Oikawa.

“So, how’d your test go?” He asked, placing his backpack on his lap, while Oikawa started the engine.

“Ughh… Please don’t remind me.”

“That bad?” Kuroo asked. “Was it the chemistry test that Bokuto took on Monday? He said that he thought he did pretty good.”

“That’s because Bokuto is some kind of radioactive decay wizard, while I can barely figure out how to read the Geiger counter.”

“I could have helped. You should have asked,” Kuroo said, rolling his eyes.

“Yes.” Oikawa said sarcastically. “Because we’re all so great at asking for help.”

He sighed. “You have a point, but come on. We’ve all tutored each other in everything at this point.”

“Speaking of study sessions – are we still video chatting tonight?” Oikawa asked looking at him, after he had parked in Kuroo’s driveway.

“Yeah. We need to figure out that astronomy project, and Daichi and Bokuto need to be productive because we’re all behind on homework.”

“Aren’t we all perpetually behind on our lives?”

“Depressing, much?” he asked, while getting out of the car.

“Like my soul.”

Kuroo rolled his eyes at his dramatics, and stuck his head back into the car. “Just text the group chat when you’re available tonight.”

Oikawa waved him off, signaling for him to slam the door. As soon as he did, Oikawa sped off down the block. He texted the group chat his availability at the next red light.

Chapter Text

[Earlier Today]

Oik Oiks: im free at 645 for a study session

Tie-Dai: I should be done with dinner by then.

Oik Oiks: ah good! we wouldnt want to interrupt your family dinners

Bo Bo Gadget: i can do 6:45!!!

Kurooooooo-d: It’s a date~

[6:29PM]

Oik Oiks: change of plans

Bo Bo Gadget: ?????

Oik Oiks: slumber party. my house

Bo Bo Gadget: !!! yesssssssssssssss

Tie-Dai: it’s a school night.

Oik Oiks: bring your homework. kuroo will run a study session in person

Kurooooooo-d:i’m doing what?

Oik Oiks: look. we all had a shit day.

Oik Oiks: i need cuddles

Bo Bo Gadget: big mood

Oik Oiks: ive sent drivers to pick you up. father’s away on business

[6:44PM]

Oik Oiks: you dont have to come. we can video chat instead

Oik Oiks: im being pushy

Oik Oiks: sorry

Oik Oiks: just forget about it

Tie-Dai: i’ve already told my mom. it’s too late. you’re stuck with me.

Bo Bo Gadget: *with us

Kurooooooo-d: a creepy black sedan pulled up to my house. how could i not get in?

Tie-Dai: that’s going to get you killed someday

Bo Bo Gadget: OR taken someplace really awesome!!!

Oik Oiks:

Oik Oiks: i love you guys


 

Kuroo thanked the driver before slamming the door of the sedan closed. He pulled his backpack higher onto his shoulder and yawned as he made his way to the entrance of Oikawa’s mansion. Ignoring the doorbell, he banged the ornate metal knocker three times against the large wooden door.

He heard shuffling before the door was pulled open. Oikawa was wearing a pair of flannel pajamas with tiny rockets on them, paired with an oversized, well-worn, NASA t-shirt. His glasses were perched on his nose, and his hair was sticking up in all different directions.

“You know the knocker is just decorative, right?” he asked wryly.

“You say that every time, and it still hasn’t stopped me,” he replied, slipping off his shoes in the entryway. “Bo’s already here?”

“How’d you know?” Oikawa nodded up the grand staircase. “He’s changing upstairs.”

Kuroo laughed. “Your hair is showing signs of a Bokuto Hair Ruffle™.”

Oikawa scrunched up his face in indignation and ran his hand through his hair trying to fix it, while also trying to push him into the closest bathroom to change so he could change into his pajamas. Kuroo just kept sputtering in laughter, pushing against Oikawa’s hand.

By the time Kuroo had finished in the bathroom, Daichi had arrived. The three were waiting for him in the foyer. They looked up at him as he walked over, and Bokuto hugged him, picking him up and spinning in a circle.

“It’s been forever,” he whined, drawing out his words.

“Bo, we saw each other at lunch today,” Kuroo replied once he was back on his own two feet. Daichi and Oikawa were looking on at them, with smiles on their faces. “What’s the plan?”

“Our chef has already left for the day, but I figure we can scrounge up some snacks and watch some TV.”

“I thought we were supposed to be doing ‘homework,’” Daichi said, using air quotes.

Oikawa laughed. “You knew that we weren’t going to do homework when you agreed to come over. You just used it has an excuse to give yourself permission to come over.”

Daichi just shrugged helplessly in response, while Bokuto started to pull them toward the kitchen. Once there, they all looked at Oikawa expectantly.

He crossed his arms in front of him and rolled his eyes. “You don’t always have to ask permission, you know? You’re allowed to make yourselves at home.”

Bokuto placed a hand on Oikawa’s shoulder, suddenly serious. “We just don’t want to overstep.” Daichi and Kuroo nodded in agreement.

Oikawa flushed, looking down at the ground. He bit his lips, before flashing them a small smile, nothing at all like the flashy ones he used at school. “You guys know where everything is,” he said, gesturing to the rest of the kitchen.

“I’m going to look for snacks!” Bokuto exclaimed, diving toward the extravagant walk-in pantry.

Kuroo moved to follow him. “I’ll make sure that he doesn’t knock everything over… again.”

“You probably have all the ingredients for homemade hot chocolate.” Daichi said, looking through the cupboards for a saucepan. “I’ll even let you help me make it, if you promise to do exactly what I say.”

“I’m not that bad,” Oikawa pouted indignantly.

Bokuto popped his head out the pantry. “You almost poisoned us with your brownies.”

“Or that time that the microwave started smoking when you were trying to make macaroni and cheese?” Kuroo added.

Oikawa moaned. “Why do you all have to gang up on me?”

Daichi handed him a spoon and ruffled his hair. “Because that’s what best friends do.”

He half-heartedly pushed the other boy away, his smile giving away his true feelings. Running his hands through his hair in an attempt to fix it, he turned toward the pantry. “Tetsu-chan?” Kuroo made a noise of acknowledgement. “Look for the mini marshmallows while you’re in there.”

Daichi had started heating up some milk, with explicit instructions for Oikawa to keep stirring, and to prevent it from burning or boiling over. Oikawa didn’t pay much attention to the ingredients that Daichi threw in the pot as it turned from creamy white to a rich dark brown.

“Did you just put chili powder in?” he asked, catching a glimpse of the bottle in Daichi’s hand.

He raised a finger to his lips in a shushing motion. “Shh… It’s the secret ingredient. Trust me, you won’t be able to taste it.”

Oikawa gently knocked into his side. “If you say so,” he said, the unspoken trust clear in his voice.  

They poured the finished hot chocolate into mugs, and placed them onto a tray.

Kuroo emerged triumphantly from the pantry with mini marshmallows in hand, while Bokuto exited a minute later, his arms overflowing with various bags of chips and sweets. Daichi grabbed the tray of hot chocolate from the counter, and the four exited the kitchen.

“Home theater or bedroom?” Oikawa asked.

The three barely glanced at each other, communicating silently, before unanimously announcing, “Bedroom.”

“Why do I even ask anymore?” He shook his head, smiling. “I have a state of the art theater, and instead, you always want to squeeze into my bed.”

“To be fair, it’s a big bed,” Kuroo said.

“Plus!” Bokuto exclaimed, dropping a bag of gummy bears. “It’s better for cuddling.”

Oikawa grabbed the bag from the floor and tore it open, snacking from it on the way to his room. Once there, Daichi set the hot chocolate on the bedside table, while Bokuto dumped his snack haul in the middle of the bed.

Kuroo made himself comfortable on top of the bed, scooting the snacks off to the side, while Oikawa pressed a few buttons on a remote to make a screen drop down from the ceiling. The low whir of a projector came to life above the bed.

Bokuto settled in beside him, pushing the snack pile to rest near their feet. He swung an arm around Kuroo and leaned into his chest.

“What do we want to watch?” Oikawa asked, hugging a pillow to his chest and laying his head on Kuroo’s shoulder.

“Bake Off.”

“Pokémon.”

“Why do we even try to decide?” Daichi laughed. “We never actually end up watching the show.”

“Well, Mr. President,” Oikawa said, trying to swat at his head but failing when he could only reach Bokuto’s bicep. “I want to watch Star Trek, so you’ll have to break the tie. We’ll watch whatever Daichi wants to watch, okay?”

Bokuto and Kuroo nodded in agreement, and turned to look at Daichi, eagerly awaiting his choice.

He sighed, and ignored the puppy eyes that the other three were giving him. “I want to watch Stranger Things.”

There were vocal cries of outrage from the bed. “That wasn’t an option!”

“I never said I was going to break the tie.” Daichi said with a mischievous smile. “You just agreed that you’d watch whatever I wanted to watch.”

They all sighed in defeat, while Oikawa started the first episode, which was still in the queue from the last time they had watched it. Their mugs of hot chocolate were carefully passed down the bed. The show was barely into the opening credits when Daichi’s phone buzzed.

Bokuto made an enquiring noise, turning toward Daichi.

“Anything important?” Kuroo asked.

“Just the pep rally committee,” he said, typing a response. “They need some extra help tomorrow morning. They’re way behind.” Once finished, he placed his phone on the end table, leaning over the side of the bed to dig through the tangled mess of chargers.

“I thought you didn’t usually help with the pep rallies?” Bokuto said.

“I don’t.” Daichi rubbed his face and sighed. “Yahaba got sick and then it spread it to everyone else.”

“What time you have to be there?”

“6:30AM.” He yawned as if he was tired just thinking about it. “I’ll try to be quiet when I’m getting ready and can grab an early morning bus.”

Oikawa scoffed. “It’s over an hour there by bus. I’m not letting you get on the bus at 5AM. I can give you a ride.”

“You shouldn’t have to wake up early because of me.”

“Why don’t we all go in and help?” Kuroo said. “It’s not like we’re doing anything else.”

Bokuto threw an arm around Daichi. “Yeah! It could be fun!”

Daichi looked conflicted. “You really don’t have to. It’s super early.”

“It can’t be as early as that one day last summer,” Oikawa said, grabbing a bag of chips with his toes and flicking it into his hands.

“Why in the world did we think we had to get up at 4:30AM?” Kuroo said, scrunching up his face in distaste.

“For the adventure, of course!”

“We do need the help.” Daichi smiled and shrugged. “Plus, the Pep Rally committee would have probably called Bokuto and woken you all up anyways.”

“What does that mean?” Oikawa asked, narrowing his eyes in his direction.

Daichi opened and closed his mouth several times, squeezing his eyes shut. “I don’t suppose we can forget that I just said that?” It only took one glance at the faces of his friends to recognize that they were not going to drop the subject. He sighed, rolling his eyes. “Athlete of the Semester.”

Bokuto let out a high-pitched screech, launching himself on top of Daichi to straddle him. “Are you serious?”

“I wouldn’t joke about this.” He wiggled his arms out from underneath his body and ruffled Bokuto’s hair. “You deserve it.”

“Bo!” Kuroo jumped onto Bokuto’s back, squishing the three of them together. Daichi groaned at the extra weight.

Oikawa looked amused, and squeezed his arm between Daichi and Bokuto to hug the quarterback. “You were really amazing this season.”

“You better pretend to be surprised when a representative from the committee tells you the good news.”

Oikawa disentangled himself from the cuddle pile, and sat up onto his haunches. “You have to borrow a car for the parade.”

Kuroo, intrigued by the sly look in Oikawa’s eyes, climbs off Bokuto’s back. “Does this have to do with—”

“Don’t even ask,” Daichi chirped, still caged by Bokuto. “We have to get to bed at a reasonable time. We don’t have time for a two hour rant about the basketball team.”

Bokuto shifted to sit with his legs crossed in front of him, while Daichi readjusted to try to sit upright, until the four of them were sitting in a loose circle on the bed. “I don’t need one of your fancy cars.”

Oikawa sighed and tapped his fingers against the sheets. “I won’t make you. It’s your choice, but know it’s an option. You’re not forcing me to do anything.”

Bokuto was silent, mulling it over. He looked down at his hands, twisting them together. “It would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?”

“None of you need any help being cool,” Kuroo said.

“Well…” Oikawa had a shit-eating grin on his face, “We’re not nerds like you.”

“Hey!” Kuroo hit him with a pillow. “I was trying to give you a compliment.”

Out of nowhere, Bokuto hit Kuroo’s head with a pillow. The unexplainable action spurred all of them into action. The pillow fight lasted ten minutes, before they all collapsed into laughter on the bed.

The four of them fell into a comfortable silence, watching the television. 

“What’s with the smile?” Kuroo asked.

Bokuto shook his head, as if clearing his thoughts, grin never leaving his face. “We’re just so different than we were last year.”

“Has it really been a year?” Oikawa asked, tilting his head.

“Don’t you remember?” Daichi asked, jokingly knocking his shoulder. “In a couple of weeks, I think?”

 “We need to do something to celebrate our friendship-versary!”

“What do you have in mind, Bo?”

“We should go on another road trip!” he exclaimed.

“I’m vetoing that one,” Daichi said shuddering. “It took us twice as long as we thought it would, and we’re not missing school because we’re lost in the middle of nowhere.” He gave an accusing stare in Oikawa’s direction.

“That’s only because someone decided we had to take the scenic route,” Oikawa defended. “It would have been fine if we stayed on the highway.”

They sat in silent for several minutes trying to think of something suitable to celebrate the anniversary. All it once, the ideas came pouring out.

“We could have a party?” Daichi offered.

“With just the four of us?”

“I can rent a helicopter?” Oikawa tried.

“I’m not good with heights.”

“Recreate the day we first met?” Kuroo asked.

“I don’t think any of us want to go through that again.”

They sighed, feeling defeated. “Maybe we just do what we always do.” Bokuto said, leaning back.

“What?” Oikawa laughed. “You mean, hang out and be ourselves?”

A moment of silence passed between the four of them.

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Daichi said smiling. The others nodded in agreement.

“What bunch of sentimental fools we’ve turned into,” Kuroo mused.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said Daichi

He was silent for a moment, before shrugging and adding quietly, “I think you’re right.”

Daichi shrugged, “I usually am.”

Kuroo readied a sarcastic response, but Oikawa interrupted him, “Be quiet you two. This is my favorite part.”

He huffed and shot Daichi a look, but pulled a pillow to his chest and settled back against the headboard. The rest of them also readjusted in order to see the screen better.

They sat in companionable silence, letting the adventures play across the screen. Before they knew it and without any of them noticing, they soon drifted off into a comfortable sleep.


 

Kuroo woke up when Oikawa accidentally elbowed him in the stomach. He rubbed his eyes, and saw that the television was still on. Netflix had paused and asked them if they were still watching. The four of them were all tangled together on the bed. None of them were under the covers, but someone must have pulled the decorative throw that was lying on the end of the bed up to cover them.

He smiled, trying to disentangle his legs. He sat up and found the remote to turn off the projector. Feeling around the bed and in between them, he managed to dig out their phones, and plugged them all in to charge. Before placing his phone the floor, he set an alarm for the morning, then he set two more for when they inevitably ignored or slept through them.

He brushed Bokuto’s hair out of his face, tugged the blanket higher to cover Daichi, and plucked the glasses off Oikawa’s face to set them on the end table. Yawning, he rubbed his eyes, and settled back into the bed, cuddling into the closest warm body.

Tomorrow they would have to go to school, survive the pep rally, and possibly plan an anniversary party. For now, sleep came easy.