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lasting impressions

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Kei doesn't associate Tetsurou with the word elegant, but this is still strange enough to shock him.

Before Kei can knock on Tetsurou's door, it flies open, and his boyfriend trips out in a rush; a real rush, his foot gets caught in the door and everything. If Kei had to compare it to something, he'd say Tetsurou looks like a baby deer falling down stairs.

On drugs.

Kei sighs, mentally preparing for...whatever caused this kind of reaction.

Inhale, exhale...

Alright then. He's ready.

Tetsurou's sudden hands on his shoulders are enough to make him flinch as he takes in his boyfriend's haphazard appearance. His frenzied expression is a bit disconcerting, his smile pulled too tight and his eyes so panicked they might give Kei himself an anxiety attack.

His socks don't even match.

Still, there is some relief when those golden eyes find Kei, overjoyed to see him, and Kei's heart does that weird thing where it feels like he's had too many cans of five hour energy.

"Kei!" Tetsurou says, a little too loud and a little too breathless. Sure, Tetsurou is usually excited to spend time together, but this is excessive.They're just going to a movie...

Before he can figure anything out, he's being shoved, turned around to face the stairs leading up to Tetsurou's porch. An embarrassing 'oof' escapes his lips, but Tetsurou's ramblings dull any sound. "Good you're here, let's go!"

Kei tries to turn back around, to face Tetsurou, but well...his boyfriend is strong, a fact which reluctantly pleases him. "O-Oh are you sure? I'm earl--"

"Yes, positive, we'll think of something," Tetsurou soothes, and even in a panic, it works. Nervous but smooth, no wonder people are so easily charmed by this fool. And yet, he'd chosen Kei. The fact distracts Kei for the most part, but as it happens, Tetsurou just isn't fast enough. "We just really need to--"

A new, familiar voice slices Tetsurou's words in half, and Kei can feel his boyfriend go stone still. Huh, cool trick. "Hey you two, what's the hurry?"

Looking over his shoulder, Kei finds Tetsurou's dad, dorky Christmas sweater and all. His hair is doing a poor imitation of his son's gelled up but not getting the same amount of height. Still, there's no mistaking this man as anyone else's father. The posture is the same, the cadence of his voice so alarmingly similar to Tetsurou's, Kei has to adjust to it.

Oh, right, he's Tetsurou's boyfriend. He should probably...say something.

With Tetsurou incapacitated, Kei is free to turn around and greet the man. He's not bothered; he's met him very briefly at one of Tetsurou's games before, but they've never really talked. Even still, Kei feels like he knows the man pretty well. Tetsurou is always talking about how understanding and cool he is, while also being the worst prankster while Tetsurou was growing up.

It explains a lot about Tetsurou, Kei can't help but want to smile. If anything, a lot of the amazing things about Tetsurou can be attributed to this man, and Kei knows his boyfriend looks up to him.

Even when he's desperately trying to coerce him back into the house.

"Dad..." Tetsurou gives a small warning beside him as he finally spins around, watching his dad like a he's a vulture instead of a beloved parent.

He's not acknowledged in the slightest.

"Hello," Kei says, small but polite as he bows his head. He supposes a first impression is important, right? Especially now that he and Tetsurou are together. This is only their third date feels oddly serious.

Maybe because they've been dancing around each other for a year now; they’ve crossed a lot of milestones on accident.

Kei can't imagine his life without Tetsurou, as Hallmark-movie as that sounds.

(Blame Tetsurou, for being a fan of those shit movies and making Kei marathon them on occasion).

Tetsurou's father has almost the same smile as his son, kind and considerate, with cat-like intensity locked beneath. It makes Kei feel oddly small, but he can tell the mischief isn't actually directed at him.

"Tsukishima, right? So good to see you getting my son out of the house," his father says, as if his son isn't one of the most popular people at his college. Though, from what Tetsurou has told him, Kei knows Tetsurou wasn't always so quick to socialize. Maybe his dad never stopped viewing him as that shy little boy in all the family pictures.

It doesn't mean the man goes easy on his son though. "But I'm not nearly as excited as Tetsurou here, he hasn't been able to stop talking about your date all week."

Kei blushes, but the thought is amusing. He definitely believes it, and has to stop himself from glaring at his boyfriend for being so mushy.'s good to know Tetsurou is just as cheesy at home, that he's not tired of Kei. But it also makes him wonder what his boyfriend has told his dad about them.

Hopefully not anything about their first date, because that had been...yeah.

Kei's blush deepens at least two shades.

Tetsurou's is far worse. He tries his best to steer Kei far far away once again, but at the end of the day, he's a good son. He couldn't ignore his father even if he tried.

But oh, he'll try. "Haha, okay, bye--"

But a raised hand is all it takes to stop them both. Tetsurou's dad looks shockingly serious, a face Kei isn't exactly used to seeing on someone with Tetsurou's face. It's a little intimidating, but soon it becomes awful for entirely different reasons. "Now, I won't be here the rest of the night. Me and a few buddies are going out, but no funny business while I'm gone you hear?"

A choked noise escapes Kei's lips, but it's not as loud as Tetsurou's high pitched screech. "DAD."

Another thing Kei soon learns about both father and son: they're relentless. It's as if Tetsurou's father has become blind to Tetsurou's mortified death stare, or his hands frantically waving for him to stop.

Kei is too frozen to do much of anything.

"What?" The older man says, looking far too innocent, far too much like his son when he's trying to hide something. "I'm just trying not to walk in on that kind of thing--"

Again, Kei can't help but wince. He would never. For the most part. Probably.

Tetsurou pleads at this point. If the neighbors couldn't see, he'd probably be on the floor. "No, really we won't--"

Then, as if it couldn't get worse, the man leans more towards Kei, feigning sympathy. "I know Tetsurou's always been rather excitable so..."

Kei doesn't know whether to hate him or respect him. This is classic revenge for years of...well, whatever it took to raise Tetsurou. And it's well planned.

After all, no matter how humiliating this gets, it's not like Kei's going to find another boyfriend. Anyone else simply doesn't compare.

The thought just makes his blush worsen, and he regrets it immediately. Thank god Tetsurou doesn't notice, because he's too busy using his hands to completely cover his dad's mouth, consequences be damned. It's the last straw apparently. The actions of a dying man.

"Please for the love of god stop talking," Tetsurou whines, and Kei is torn. He wants to laugh since...there's not much else to do. He's as red as Mars but he has to acknowledge skilled torment. On the other hand, something about the pathetic wheeze in Tetsurou's voice ignites something oddly comforting inside him, and it takes a lot to not reach out and smooth his hand through Tetsurou's hair.

Then, proving once again he's the winner of this game called Tetsurou's life, his dad's expression morphs into a downright evil smirk. "What? I just meant I might catch you guys cuddling or something," he says, ignoring the drop of his son's jaw. He pats his head fondly before Kei can, a false sense of reassurance. "Relax."

Oh, he is good.

"You're the worst and I hate you." Tetsurou's threat packs no punch, probably because it's not true in the slightest. This is a game between them apparently; Tetsurou has embarrassed his dad in front of neighbors and fellow parents for years, and completely on purpose. In return, his dad is merciless around Tetsurou's friends.

Now all that is coming to bite the raven in the ass.

Kei guesses he can handle being the collateral in this case; even he's not confident enough in his quips to face this kind of wrath.

"Love you too," Tetsurou's father sighs, and the kind smile from before is back. He's proud of his son, above all else. He ruffles his hair again for good measure, making sure to leave the ends at decent angles before waving them off. "Have fun on your date. Bring me back some popcorn."

"Right..." Tetsurou sighs, equally tired. At least he's resigned to his fate, and Kei can tell this is how a lot of their dates will start. He begins to wonder if Tetsurou's grandparents are just as bad...

Then, a small, muffled: "Thanks, Dad."

The smile becomes a blinding grin, so familiar to Kei, yet so marvelously worn and weathered. It leaves him with a warm feeling in his stomach, only spurred on by the man's next words.

"Oh and Tsukishima-kun..."

Kei perks up, standing straighter, and tries not to look upset he hadn't been doing that the whole time.

Tetsurou's dad doesn't seem to care, placing a comforting hand to his shoulder. Kei noticeably dwarfs the man, but he feels small, young. "Thank you for making my son so happy. I've never seen him like this, it's a relief to know he has someone so special in his life. Take care of him."

It's a lot, for a third date.

Tetsurou must be just as stunned as he is, he doesn't say anything. His blush looks so bad it might be permanent, but oddly enough, Kei's begins to fade.

It's probably disgusting, how fast pride swells in his chest. Not for being recognized, or being given praise, but for the sheer fact that Tetsurou's father is right. He does make Tetsurou happy...he'd never thought such a thing was possible.

He still doesn't quite understand it. Why Tetsurou's eyes shine upon seeing him, how his heart skips when Kei rests his head against his chest, every nervous gesture and smile...

Tetsurou looks at him like he's the whole universe, not understanding himself...

Not understanding how much Kei needs him too. Tetsurou always says he shines like the moon, the stars, but Kei never agrees. Tetsurou is the bright one, the only thing leading Kei out of the dark some days, a constant reminder that he's not alone.

Of course. Of course Kei will protect him, no matter how weak he might become. Kei doesn't know if he has a say in it anymore, his body reacts on its own. If Tetsurou is upset, if he gets in trouble... Kei frets and worries and will go through anyone to make sure his boyfriend's okay.

That's more than something a third date can count for, and Tetsurou's father...he realizes that. He can see the reckless adoration in Kei's eyes, and knows this relationship is real.

Whether or not Kei can accept it sometimes, even when he's scared or worried things will crash and burn.

He believes, and Kei can't help but not want to let him down.

That's too much to say, and he lacks the capacity to anyways. Really, all Kei can do is nod to that request.

Take care of him. Yes.

But in the end, it doesn't seem like enough. It doesn't feel like enough.

So Kei puts in the effort; Tetsurou is worth it. His voice is tiny, barely above a whisper, and Tetsurou seems shocked to hear it. Both men stare at him, but Kei doesn't let himself flinch under the attention. He meets Tetsurou's father's eyes, fully serious. It's his chance, and what he has to say may not be the most eloquent, but if this man is as skilled at reading him as his son is, then he'll get it.

"He...he makes me happy too." And Kei means it, with every piece of his work-in-progress heart.

Tetsurou's stance falters a little, for once out of things to say, and Kei can't look at him directly quite yet. It's not like Tetsurou didn't know that but...Kei's been trying to say it more anyways.

If only to get Tetsurou to make that stupid, overly enamored face.

With a chuckle, Tetsurou's dad squeezes his shoulder, satisfied. And like that, the serious Dad Mode dissolves, giving way to exactly what Kei needs: threats. "Well, he'd better, or you know," Tetsurou's dad winces, glancing between his hands and his own son.

Correction, threats against Tetsurou. Perfect.

Kei's smirk is just as evil as the other man's, and well, rest in pieces Tetsurou.

The raven's head jerks towards his dad so fast it probably hurt, and Kei can't wait to make old man jokes about whatever neck muscle his boyfriend just pulled. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, have fun," his dad says through a yawn, closing the door carefully, and while Kei can tell he's joking...he has to wonder. Note to self: if Tetsurou ever makes him cry, he'll have to make sure the boy's father does not find out. Kei doesn't want Tetsurou dead. 

When the door shuts, it's as if nothing happened at all. The neighborhood is filled with muffled laughter from other homes, sprinklers, and the occasional howl of a dog.

He'll never get how the Kuroo family can deliver destruction in that way before taking all evidence with them, but it's a gift he admires.

"Wow," he finally breathes, even as his boyfriend continues to gape at the door. "Everything makes so much sense now."

"Huh?" Tetsurou asks, but Kei doesn't feel like elaborating on his observations. At least not until he can compile them neatly. Another time, maybe.

"Nothing," he says instead, turning towards the cobbled steps. He inclines his head, because he knows Tetsurou is strangely weak to it, and tries not to think about how much emotion he showed less than two minutes ago. "Ready?"

Ah, but Tetsurou won't let him forget.

Kei can see it in the way his eyes droop, the smile which spreads across his features is too loving for Kei to handle. "All the time."

The 'for you' goes unspoken, but Kei is so gifted at reading his boyfriend too. It scares him, yet he's learning to work through that. For now, Kei crumbles, and when Tetsurou offers him his arm, he takes it without hesitation. He's been defeated, and he can't be upset.

When had that happened?

They walk in silence for a while, the streets mostly empty. It's not a busy night, and no one else really frequents the midweek horror nights the old theater nearby holds. Sometimes, it's just them, and it's Kei's favorite kind of date.

Tetsurou uses it as an excuse to hold him closer, to kiss him more.

The quiet is cozy for them, but he can tell Tetsurou is vibrating with excitement, waiting for something only Kei can give.

Validation, reassurance. All things people think Tetsurou gets more than enough of. They'd be surprised, but Kei feels no need to tell them.

He'll be selfish with this, and give Tetsurou what he needs.

"I meant what I said," he whispers, tucking himself further into Tetsurou's arm. He's burning, his coat soft, and Kei can breathe easy. "You know, to your dad."

And he swears, he hears Tetsurou sigh in relief. Not because he doubts Kei, but because he's honest. Twice in one night, Kei truly is making progress. Tetsurou's hand comes up to squeeze his, and Kei is eager to be in the dark of the movie theater. "I know you did."

'I know you.'

Slasher films in the background or not, Kei wants to be closer, wants to look at Tetsurou in a way no one else will be able to see. He quickens his pace, and Tetsurou follows without complaint.

But Kei hasn't lost all his cruelty, and as they round the last corner, his eyes twinkle in a different kind of delight. "So...when do you think we'll hang out with your dad again?"


And judging by Tetsruou's grumpiness, he knows that's far from the truth.