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A Friend's Duty

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It would be fair to say that there are few people in the world who know Daichi Sawamura as well as Koushi Sugawara does. They have been best friends for years and, despite going to different universities next year, plan to continue being best friends for the considerable future. It is a friendship characterised with shared ambition, unwavering support and a near encyclopaedic knowledge of one another.

Usually Suga has no issue with his extensive best-friend-bank of information that has on Daichi; he likes knowing that the cool, calm, collected captain turns into a twitchy, yelpy mess at the sight of a spider, he enjoys being one of the few people who Daichi is willing to turn to when he gets hurt, it helps that he’s never been able to hide anything from Suga, and he takes delight in his awareness about some of the more embarrassing moments of his friend’s life, especially an incident with a tree, a skateboard, a cat and a very panicked eleven-year old Daichi.

Usually it gives him a warm, gooey, fuzzy feeling that he has been lucky enough to have this bond. Usually it makes him smile to think about it.

It has not been a usual day.

Scratch that it has not been a usual week.

It is all thanks to Kuroo Tetsurou that Suga can feel a headache coming on because Kuroo has a huge, gigantic, monster crush on Daichi.

It is glaringly obvious that Kuroo wants Daichi’s attention, wants it desperately, from the constant teasing, the way he goes out of his way to touch the other; he steals Daichi’s water bottle at the end of practice and the two bicker about it for a good ten minutes before Daichi grabs it and stomps off in a huff. So Suga is boggled when no-one else seems to have caught on to it. He’s tried to subtly raise the subject of it with other members of Karasuno but all they see is a healthy rivalry between the two schools which only increases their desire to play against them at the nationals.

Normally, this wouldn’t be too big of a problem; girls and boys have had crushes on his friend before. There have been some sweet confessions, awkward asks for a date and one very crude request which had Suga and Asahi holding back Daichi before he punched the pervert. They have all been, more or less, politely rejected. Daichi has simply never had the time or inclination for romance; he was a driven member of the volleyball club, he was one of the top students academically, and he took his duties as a senpai very seriously. Suga knows about the team in-joke of calling them mom and dad, it still makes him smile a little when he thinks about it, but he does admit that at times Daichi seems like a middle aged dad in a teenager's body. While most high-schoolers spend Valentines Day in a jumbled mess of fear, hope and despair he can be found on the roof hunched over sports magazines making notes on any new techniques or training routines which seem interesting. Suga’s had to resort to bribery several times in order to tempt him away from another all-nighter study period.

So normally watching Kuroo attempt to flirt with Daichi would be amusing and he’d feel a little sorry for the other boy because it would be a hopeless case and he should just save his teasing for someone who could understand what he really wants. But this is not a normal situation.

Because in all the time he has known Daichi he has never seen his friend act like this around another person. He has never seen Daichi act the way he does around Kuroo Tetsurou during the training camp, and by that he means the way his responsible, intelligent friend reverts to a five-year old whenever the Nekoma captain is in the same room as him.

It is both endearingly ridiculous and unreasonably terrifying at the same time because Daichi doesn’t know how he acts around the other captain. He doesn’t see the way his very being bristles when Kuroo makes yet another comment about his country manners. Doesn’t notice that the handshake they share at the start of each practice match gets longer and more intense in their infantile battle to outdo one another. Doesn’t realise that he is starting to look forward to the daily arguments and snarky comments which fly back and forth between them.

He doesn’t but Suga does. Suga sees all of it and he cannot help but worry for his friend. An oblivious Daichi he can handle, knows the routines of what will happen, knows that at some point the other person will just stop trying. An uninterested Daichi can be predicted to; he’ll be flattered but largely embarrassed and a little uncomfortable that he can’t return their feelings. The rejection will be polite, friendly and encouraging but it will still be a clear no to the other person with hopefully minimal damage to their feelings.

A Daichi who could quite easily be unconsciously returning someone’s feelings is not something he has any experience dealing with.

It had been one incident a few days ago which had really hammered in the possibility of a requited crush.

Kuroo had damaged a couple of his fingers during a particularly vicious set but had been determined to get the last point. Daichi had quite frankly flipped his shit. There had been roaring and pointing and severe frowning. Kuroo had barely anytime to respond before he was being dragged across the floor by his wrist to a bench and his captor was barking out for some athletic tape.

The moment was engraved in Suga’s mind. It was a scene he’d seen multiple times in the Karasuno gym; the concerned captain muttering about stubborn kohai while gently making sure that their injuries were treated properly because he cares an incredible amount about his team and would do anything for them. Except this time the murmuring is about ‘stupid, overconfident, toilet-brush haired idiots’ who ‘should know better than the first years about things like this’ and ‘did he really think no-one was going to notice’ all the while those hands of his bandage the injured fingers with a light, soft touch so as not to injure them further.

Kuroo looked as stunned as Suga felt and had struggled to hide it under words about not being one of his underclassmen and how it was only one more point. Daichi had swatted the hand attempting to remove him and told his fellow captain to sit.

It had taken Kageyama’s uncertain tap to the shoulder for Suga to tear his eyes away from the two captains. Seriously, was he the only one who understood the magnitude of what had happened?

Now here he was standing outside of the main building staring up at the full moon just wondering what the hell he was going to do about it if anything. He knew that Daichi had no clue what his actions meant, if he had Suga would have found himself pulled somewhere by his probably hysterical friend as he tried to figure out what to do. Since that hadn’t happened should he do something? Drop hints that maybe Daichi liked the other captain more than he acknowledged. Tell a joking story about the clichéd children-show-they-like-each-other-by-annoying-the-object-of-their-affections to see if that got through.

Should he encourage it?

He didn’t know much about the other captain apart from what he’d heard off of Daichi, which wasn’t exactly unbiased, and a couple of ill-tempered complaints from Tsukishima about extra practice.

What if for him it was just flirting? A little indulgence while the teams were together for a long period of time. What if it was just to see how many reactions he could provoke out of Daichi? What if he saw it as just a bit of fun?

Suga had no problem with people who did that as long as both parties understood what was going on. Daichi wasn’t someone who would. Daichi still teared up a little over Titanic and had been caught by Suga reading romantic novels with a smile on his face, which he later swore belonged to his mother. He liked the story of how his parents met and got together. If they were talking about this sort of stuff, which did happen, his plans for a perfect date were traditional and well-used. Oblivious he could be but Suga knew one day his friend’s romantic awareness would wake up and realise that it wanted to fall in love.

He was aware that this was a hasty conclusion; they were both in high school and lived in different parts of the country, a crush did not equal love, and being in third year they both had more important things to worry about than relationships.

Yet he couldn’t help but worry. Because what if it became more than just a crush? Was it even his place to say anything?

A sight escaped his mouth and he lifted his head to stare at the sky as if hoping the stars would re-arrange themselves into a handy what-to-do-if-you’re-romantically-stupid-best-friend-gets-a-crush-on-a-stranger guidebook. It strikes him as funny that the biggest concern he had coming to this training camp was being able to keep up with the level of training, they were playing against national teams, instead his head is muddled with concerns over his best friend and the Nekoma captain and he feels exhausted about it all.

“You know you’re gonna catch a cold like that right?” Speak of the devil. It takes him a second to relax his shoulders before he can turn around.

“Hello Kuroo-san, I just needed to get some fresh air.” He gestured to the rambunctious noises emitting from the cafeteria. “It sometimes gets a little too loud for me.” A lie, he loves the chaos of his team, the way they seem to shine and glow with life and energy is inspiring and he wouldn’t trade a single one of them for all of the ace players in Japan. The other player nods and moves to stand by his side.

“They are a noisy lot it’s true. That captain of yours can get pretty vocal at times.”

“With a team like ours he kind of has to be, and Daichi only yells when he really has to.” He doesn’t miss the way that Kuroo stiffens at his use of Daichi’s first name but chooses to continue searching for a guidebook in the sky.

“Are you implying that I really have to be yelled at all the time?” A chuckle escapes at the sulky tone, he sounds like a child whose been told that nap-time has been cancelled in favour of extra addition sums.

“You do have a habit of angering my friend more than most Kuroo-san.” He says wondering why Kuroo has come to talk to him in the first place. They’ve hardly exchanged two words since he arrived here apart from an occasional nod after a game.

“I’m completely blameless for that.” He highly doubts it. “Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about that shorty on your team.”

Shorty? Did he mean Nishinoya? No he probably meant-

“You mean Hinata right?” Hinata came in babbling with joy yesterday when he revealed that he’d joined some afterhours practice with Tsukishima, Kuroo and two of the star players from Fukurodani. Completely baffled by the turn of the conversation he turned to face his unlikely companion. Two sharp eyes stared back, they were bright and focused 100% on whatever goal was in Kuroo’s head, it would have been intimidating but Suga had seen Daichi put the fear of God into more than one student and he had a feeling that this was something he needed to see through.

“Yeah him. You see my friend Kenma kinda really likes him ya know? He’s constantly texting him, he actually practices with him and I’m pretty sure he wants to wrap the shorty up and take him home. But the thing is that setter of yours…”

“Kageyama?”

“Uh huh, he’s always with the shorty. Like they’re a package deal or something, and my poor friend has no clue whether or not an advance on his side would be appreciated or not.”

Suga is not stupid. He can quite easily see what is being said between the lines, he’s not entirely sure if Nekoma’s setter really does like Hinata or if it’s just something for Kuroo to hide behind but Suga can make the links. It’s unexpected and for a moment his brain flounders at the implications.

“Uhh, wouldn’t it be easier for Kenma-san to ask Hinata or Kageyama himself?

“He’s shy.” The instant response brings a wry grin to his face.

“Really?”

“Yep, big problem, so he asks me to make sure that no-one gets hurt or embarrassed and because I’m such a good friend I agreed.”

“Why ask me then? I’m sure one of the others your more familiar with would be happy to answer.”

“Meh, I don’t really want to get shorty involved and your other members a little loud to keep something private. At least it seems that way to me, and if I ask your captain he’d just accuse me of doing something nefarious and tell me to stay away from his team. You’re the logical choice.”

Suga would give him some points for the excellent bullshitting but they’re both aware of what they’re really talking about. Pretending to think he puts his hand on his chin and inwardly marvels at the situation he’s found himself him.

If Kuroo wants to know the nature of his and Daichi’s relationship that’s fine but Suga wants to know what the other’s intentions are with his friend, and god doesn’t that make him sound like a forty year old parent?

“Forgive me for asking Kuroo-san but I feel I must as a responsible senpai. You’re friend how interested is he in Hinata?” The air around them snaps into tension and the easy-going feel of the conversation disappears as the two of them eye one another up as if they were combatants in a Roman arena. “Surely, you must understand that if these feelings of your friend are only temporary attraction then it would be wrong of me to encourage an attachment. Hinata is not the sort of person who would be satisfied with a fling.” There is an edge of steel in those last words, steel that promises retribution and revenge should anything harm any one of his friends. He may not be able to terrify like Daichi on a warpath but he doesn’t lack for strength either.

The cool night air whips around them and he waits for Kuroo’s next words. The ball is in his court now.

The other boy swallows, clearly understanding what is not being said and what Suga wants to know. The pause lengthens but Suga will wait until the sun rises for an answer if he has to. A quiet huff draws his attention back to his opponent?/associate? and he stands a little straighter with his face a little more stern than normal.

“Kenma doesn’t want a fling. He may have thought so at first but then the shorty just got better the more he found out about him. It’s a little sickening actually; I don’t think he’s been this fixated on someone before. Whatever he wants those feelings ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.” The eyes which had turned away focus back on Suga’s face and this time he can glimpse the swell of conflicting emotions going on in that head. “But if the shorty is with someone else, he’ll back off.”

Suga knows he should press him more. Knows he may not get the chance to again. Knows he is being too soft-hearted, too affected by the emotion present on Kuroo’s face. But he is satisfied for the time being.

“Hinata and Kageyama are very close friends. They have a good partnership despite their recent problems. But they are not together.” He speaks with a clear voice aware that something is going to alter after this exchange.

Kuroo looks like he can’t believe what he’s heard, for a second Suga thinks he might ask for more information, but he bites his tongue and offers a short nod.

“I’ll pass on the message. Thanks.” He turns to leave but Suga cannot resist one last parting shot.

“You should tell your setter that even though they’re not together if anyone tried to hurt one of them the other would rain the fires of hell down upon their head. They don’t like seeing their friend upset.” Suga will swear until his dying die that Kuroo shivers the tiniest amount after that.

Things quiet down for Suga after that odd conversation. He’s still concerned about how deep his friend is getting in with the other captain but he’s reassured that Kuroo is not just flirting for the sake of flirting and that will do for now. They have a little more interaction now, a few words exchanged at lunch, a short wave as they pass each other and he finds himself chuckling at some of Kuroo’s more inventive ways to get Daichi to notice him. With the way things are going he honestly expects hair-pulling to become a thing in the next week or so.

It was fine; at least he thought it was until a nervous Daichi hauls him out of lunch one day into their room with and iron grip. Fearing that he’d have to come through on his final words to Kuroo he asks what is the matter.

“Uhhh…it’s nothing really. I’m probably just over-reacting but umm you and Kuroo seem to be getting on better lately.”

As Daichi immediately bursts into jabbering rubbish Suga can only stare at his friend and resist the urge to beat his head in with his shoes.

The both of them are idiots.

He's the bigger idiot for somehow getting in the middle of this mess.