Tsukishima Kei was in high school when he first met Kuroo.
He had taken his brothers advice and decided to check out the volleyball team to see what he was applying for. One person on the team caught his attention. He was so passionate, strong, handsome -despite the weird gravity defying hair- and really seemed to enjoy the game… Why? It was just a game? How can he be so serious about some club?
Tsukishima couldn't take his eyes off of him. Kuroo Tetsurou was amazing, he could've sworn he saw a glimpse of a Panther madararui on Kuroo but there was something else there as well. When Tsukishima joined, Kuroo had taught him how to block better and a friend of his, Bokuto told him about that ‘one moment’.
It was because of him that Tsukishima started to enjoy the game more. He had fallen for him.
One rainy night, Tsukishima noticed that Kuroo was a bit off during a big game, they had still won but Tsukishima was worried about him. He waited for Kuroo to exit the locker room to ask him how he was, so that no one else could disturb them. Everyone had already left, but Kuroo didn't come out. Tsukishima went in the locker room to look for him when he found Kuroo splayed out on the floor.
“Tetsurou!” Tsukishima rushed over to him and felt his forehead to see if he had a fever. Kuroo didn't have a temperature, in fact he was almost ice cold. Tsukishima was glad then that he had not just a bird madararui but a wolf as well, allowing him to emit warmth to Kuroo and bring his temperature up. “Tet- Kuroo, please wake up. I can't leave you here like this.” Tsukishima lightly patted Kuroo’s cheek, trying to wake him up.
Kuroo stirred but didn't show any signs of waking up. Tsukishima hated that he forgot to bring his phone today of all days. Seeing as they were the only ones left, Tsukishima decided to take Kuroo back to his house.
Once at the house Tsukishima brought Kuroo to his room so that he could rest. He tucked Kuroo in and turned to get his phone on the bedside table, when Kuroo dragged him onto the bed. Pulling him into a tight embrace and… Spooned him. Kuroo Tetsurou was spooning him. Tsukishima blushed so hard he was sure he was as red as a strawberry, but tried to compose himself. Reminding himself that Kuroo was ill and just needed him for warmth. Tsukishima relaxed in his embrace and at some point ended up dozing off.
Tsukishima’s eyes shot open when he heard his phone buzz on the bedside table. He carefully lifted Kuroo's arm around his waist and slipped out of his hold. Kuroo merely shifted and moved over to where Tsukishima had been laying, seeking his warmth. Tsukishima's heart was beating fast and he knew he had a light blush on his face.
He had slept beside his crush.
Tsukishima shook his head to clear his thoughts and picked his phone up. His brother had just texted him asking if he ‘had come home safe and how the game went.’ Akiteru was out at his girlfriend's apartment and wouldn’t be back until the next day. Tsukishima replied saying how they ‘had won and he made it home safe and just went to his room for an early night’. Which was half the truth.
Tsukishima called Tobio, Kuroo's half brother who Tsukishima tutored every now and then.
“Tsukishima?” Tobio asked groggily over the phone.
Right. I forgot it was 2:34 am.
“Hi, Tobio. I'm so sorry I called this early in the morning. Ummm… T-...Tetsurou is here. I-” Tsukishima didn't get to finish talking as Tobio started making a lot of noises on the other end of the line, probably getting out of bed and falling over, Tsukishima guessed from all the bangs and swearings he heard.
“My idiot brother is at your house?!?”
Tsukishima rolled his eyes at that because Tetsurou was far from stupid… Unlike Tobio. “Yes, he's at my house. He was passed out in the locker room. I think he collapsed after the match, he was sort of off during the game, and since we were the only ones left I brought him to my house. I wasn't able to get my phone until now, I left it at home and once I brought him here he sort of... Trapped me. Anyway, could you pick him up please?”
“Is he ok?!” Suddenly Tobio sounded concerned.
“Yes, he's fine he's just sleeping now.”
“Ok, make sure he’s warm. Cold temperatures make him sluggish and if he isn't careful he could become very sick.”
Tsukishima remembered that he wasn't supposed to let anyone know that he was a madararui, as he came from not 1 but 2 rare madararui parents; crow (heavy seed bird, bird madararui are thought to be just a myth) and wolf (heavy seed dog and believed to be extinct) he had inherited more of his mum’s crow spirit, making his spirit a crow but he had his father's wolf traits such as the high body heat. Which was why Kuroo felt better in his presence. Bird and wolf madararui were extremely rare that they are targeted by a lot of dangerous people. So in order to protect Kei and Akiteru (who was mostly wolf with few bird traits), their parents had put a spell on them that would lock away their madararui spirit and make them appear as normal humans(ape men).
“I made sure to keep him in a warm environment, I noticed his body temp was low and his lips were almost blue when I found him. I'll text you my address so you can pick him up.” Tsukishima said instead, so that Tobio wouldn't know he was a madararui.
“Alright, thank you Tsukishima.”
After that night Kuroo would show up at his house when it was cold out, or when he wasn't feeling well. Tsukishima would always call Tobio to pick Tetsurou up before he woke.
They didn't really do anything, Kuroo would just sleep next to Tsukishima and cuddle him. Each time Kuroo ‘visited’, Tsukishima noticed that Kuroo would act different and seemed to forget about the visits the very next day. Almost as if he were sleepwalking. So he decided to pretend as if they never happened as well, if it would help Kuroo.
Then Kuroo left for college, he had taken a gap year, which Tsukishima was happy about since he got to play with Tsukishima and the team during practices. The only time Tsukishima got to see Kuroo, one-on-one, were during the visits. Except like all the visits, Kuroo didn't talk much. He didn't talk at all, he was just… There.
Tsukishima went to the same college as Kuroo. He went because it was one of the top universities and had the best courses, but it was also partly because Kuroo was there.
He didn't join the volleyball club in college, but did watch Kuroo's games. He didn't want to be on the team in case he let slip his feelings for Kuroo. They had sort of grown apart since he was no longer playing volleyball but that didn't diminish the feelings Tsukishima had for him. He still loves him, even if he knew Kuroo wouldn't feel the same way.