The four of them had met at the Tokyo Training camp during Bokuto and Kuroo’s third year of high school, Akaashi’s second, and Tsukishima’s first. Tsukishima found it absolutely hysterical that he was the tallest out of the four of them even though he was the youngest. When he had proudly snarked the fact during a break, Akaashi had sighed, Bokuto had squawked in disbelief, and Kuroo had looked affronted.
Kenma had been watching the ridiculous-looking quartet interact from the steps of the gym. He had quietly snapped a picture of all of them, including Tsukishima’s triumphant smirk, and proceeded to only send it to Akaashi. The serene male had chosen to withhold the reason for his small smile from his friends (and future lovers).
The following four years of the four of them figuring out their love, polygamous relationships, and who visited who during which break were rough on them all. That second year of the four meeting, they were in that weird transition where Kuroo and Bokuto were at college, Akaashi was a third-year captain training new team members, and Tsukishima was a second-year trying to cope with the minimal contact he got because they were all so far away from each other.
Well, and the noisy freak duo who always fought, and the hyper libero, and the overconfident ace who just had to take his shirt off, much to the new captain’s stress. Tsukishima did not envy Ennoshita at all. At least their two first years were quiet in that all-knowing way.
Somehow, they had worked it all out and while Bokuto and Kuroo sometimes annoyed Akaashi and Tsukishima with their childish antics, Akaashi worsened moods with his blunt remarks, and Tsukishima’s dry snark was not appreciated, they had still gotten to the point where all four of them attended nearby colleges with preferred majors and could therefore live in one apartment together.
Moving in had been stressful on all of them, and Tsukishima’s insecurities had flared up after finally being able to see his boyfriends for more than five minutes on Skype, aside from the occasional break.
Bokuto's first breakdown in front of all his boyfriends had occurred when all their stuff was finally put away.
The entire event had gone like this...
Bokuto had been overexcited and overemotional. Kuroo, Tsukishima, and Akaashi had been surprised by how much sobbing the owl boy had done. That was the first obstacle they had to overcome in order to safely live together: Bokuto’s mood swings. Kuroo and Tsukishima had witnessed Bokuto’s random meltdowns before, but Akaashi was the one experienced in dealing with it.
As Kuroo and Tsukishima awkwardly stood there, Akaashi simply let Bokuto bawl into his shirt. After Bokuto fell asleep due to how much he cried, Akaashi looked up at Kuroo and Tsukishima with a neutral gaze.
"Why didn’t you two attempt to help?” Akaashi asked, looking at them with no judgment in those steel eyes.
"Uh, well, me ‘n Tsukki didn’t really think provoking him or sassing him would help him get out of his funk...” Kuroo’s voice got quieter the longer he spoke, and Tsukishima awkwardly shuffled his feet.
Akaashi sighed, looking down at Bokuto, who was sleeping in his lap. Akaashi ran his fingers through the wild black and white hair. “While it is true that snarky comments could potentially depress Bokuto more, I seem to recall that pain-in-the-ass Kuroo-san could easily, and very frequently might I add, influence Koutarou’s moods. You still do.” Akaashi pointedly stared at Kuroo before looking at Tsukishima.
"You may have only seen him have a serious bad mood swing once or twice before, but you are capable of cheering him up as well.” Akaashi raised up the hand that wasn’t occupied with stroking Bokuto’s hair to stop Tsukishima from protesting.
"Yes, I may excel at giving Bokuto-san encouragement, but you do that in your own way as well. Hinata-kun told me you got him and Kageyama motivated enough to study in order to go to Tokyo in your freshman year, did you not?” At the sight of Tsukishima’s surprised face, Akaashi let out a small chuckle. "Although your former teammate was very reluctant in admitting that you had helped him in any way.”
"Well, I mean, I was just telling the truth. The camp would have been a lot noisier with the King and the Shrimp,” Tsukishima said, trying to shrug off the compliment.
"Yeah, but you said it deliberately to persuade them to keep studying, Tsukki.” Kuroo put an arm around Tsukishima, trademark smirk back on his face. “If I have to deal with Kou’s mood swings, you have to as well~”
"Kuroo-san, please don’t push your responsibilities on to other people,” Akaashi sighed.
"Wha- Keiji, I’m hurt! I thought I was Tetsu now!”
"You don’t deserve that name, Kuroo-san.” Kuroo put a hand to his heart in a dramatic show of fake hurt with a familiar twinkle in his eyes. Akaashi simply turned away from Kuroo.
Tsukishima listened to the banter with an amused smile and cleared his throat. “What if I'm not exactly sure how to cheer him up? Do you have a foolproof method?"
Akaashi regarded him with that serene, searching look. Then, "If you two honestly don't believe you can cheer him up, why don't we make a code?"
Both Kuroo and Tsukishima looked at the shorter male skeptically. "A code?"
Akaashi nodded with a small smile on his face. "Yes, one for Koutarou. Let's name his code 'Code White' because of that ridiculous hair."
Kuroo smirked. "Are you sure it isn't because you like him in white?"
Tsukishima adopted a matching smirk, which did not bode well for Akaashi. Akaashi looked at them warily. Whenever the two teamed up, it wasn't anything good for hi- "Don't we all?"
Akaashi sighed. He had known the remark was coming, and he hadn't been able to stop it. "It's because Koutarou is the only person white would match. Moving on."
Tsukishima, thankfully, dropped the subject. Kuroo, however, had that infuriating and sexy smirk that screamed danger but still made him so attractive. Akaashi spoke before Kuroo could open his mouth again.
Akaashi was grateful they were too engrossed in absorbing the code he'd told them before Kuroo could start making innuendos, or worse, his horrible puns. Akaashi's two snarky boyfriends seemed to be in shock, however.
"That's it?" Tsukishima didn't seem to realize he'd said anything, and Kuroo was surprised as well, although he was recovering faster.
"Well, occasionally he needs several catalysts to feel better, but yes," Akaashi quietly said. "It isn't that impressive."
"Kei-chi, it's impressive you figured this out." Akaashi almost shot off the floor until he realized Bokuto was still sleeping in his lap. Kuroo grinned at Akaashi with an adoring look on his face.
"It's not that hard to figure out, from the way he lights up when he talks about his achievements and the way he loves barbecues. You two would have surely figured this out eventually, simply by being his boyfriend." Kuroo and Tsukishima were simultaneously amused and entranced by the beautiful blush on Akaashi's face.
"Kei-chi, just accept the compliment!" Kuroo cheered, wrapping his arm around Akaashi's waist. Akaashi was suddenly pulled into Kuroo's side, and Tsukishima slid in on Akaashi's other side.
"Yes, Keiji, please ac-" Tsukishima was cut off by a very hyper Bokuto.
"AGHAAAASSHHHIIIII! WHY'D YOU LEAVE?!" All three of them had apparently forgotten Bokuto had been sleeping in Akaashi's lap.
"AAHHH, TETSU, NO FAIR! YOU AND TSUKKI CAN'T HOG KEIJI!" Bokuto screeched, bowling all three over in his haste to hug Akaashi. The tired male was, unfortunately, at the bottom of the pile because of Kuroo's deliberate positioning so that Akaashi had been in the middle when Bokuto crashed into them. When wasn't it Kuroo's fault?
Akaashi just wanted this conversation to be over already.
That was three weeks ago.
Tsukishima had remembered that particular incident when he'd come home and saw an excessive amount of empty bags of junk food thrown all over the four's living room. He was able to barely make out a mop of black and white hair in a corner of the room.
Tsukishima hesitated before walking carefully in Bokuto's direction. He could do this. Akaashi was working on a collaborative project with Kenma tonight, and Kuroo was busy finishing a lab. It was up to Tsukishima to cheer their boyfriend up before the others got home. If his snark didn't work, all he had to do was to follow Akaashi's advice.
Tsukishima opened his mouth to say something, and then paused. Bokuto had noticed his approach, and looked up at him with watery eyes. Tsukishima sighed. His snark would definitely not be appreciated by the sniffling man. Instead of being sarcastic, as he had originally planned, Tsukishima opted for simply sitting down next to Bokuto and allowing himself to be used as a human teddy bear. It was awkward for Tsukishima, but he figured Bokuto needed the silence more than ever now.
Tsukishima reluctantly wrapped his arms around Bokuto when the other man gave him a pleading look.
Okay, Bokuto had wallowed enough for now, Tsukishima decided. It was about time he fixed this.
"Kouta, you spiked really well in the match today." It was a safe topic, as Tsukishima had managed to watch the match, although he would insist it was pure coincidence that he'd had the time.
If Kuroo had been there, he would have smirked and stopped Tsukishima by announcing that he and Akaashi had actually gone to the game, not just watched it on TV. Tsukishima grimaced. Now was not the time to be thinking of his cat-like boyfriend.
"I didn't spike that well, because even Oikawa got annoyed with my mood swings..." Bokuto said in a small voice. He buried his head into Tsukishima's shoulder.
Tsukishima scoffed in disbelief. Bokuto picked his head up at the sound. "Do you really believe Oikawa has to put up with you?" Bokuto shied away from the steel gaze.
"Well, he has to, because he's the setter and I'm the ace..."
Tsukishima put his hand on Bokuto's chin and raised his head. "Look at me." Bokuto reluctantly met Tsukishima's gaze.
The blond softened his voice. "You have noticed what Oikawa calls you now right?"
Bokuto tilted his head. "Uh, somethin' like Taro-chan? I have no idea where he got that..."
Tsukishima smiled softly at his oblivious boyfriend. "The Grand King went from calling you 'owl-head' to 'Bokkun' to 'Taro-chan'."
Bokuto looked confused. "So? He nicknames everyone. He even calls you 'Yotsume-chan' or 'Megane-chan'."
Tsukishima stared at Bokuto. He sighed. "We agree I've known the flamboyant setter for longer, yes? Take my word on this, then." Tsukishima fixed Bokuto with a serious look.
"Oikawa only nicknames the people he's close to with 'chan'." His owlish boyfriend blinked several times in surprise.
"I'm not lying. He nicknamed all his former teammates and your teammates now. He doesn't hate Kageyama- sorry, the King now, does he?"
Bokuto appeared to be thinking hard about it. Tsukishima almost jumped up in surprise because his boyfriend suddenly let out a loud hoot.
"Yeah! HE LOVES ME BECAUSE I'M THE BEST ACE EVER!" Bokuto cheered, suddenly sporting a bright smile. Well, Tsukishima highly doubted Oikawa loved Bokuto, persay, but whatever made Bokuto smile again.
Tsukishima started to get up. Bokuto whined. "Tsukki, why are you leaving?"
"We have to clean up this mess, or Akaashi will see it. Do you want to see his disappointed face?" Tsukishima answered, not even turning around. The blond started picking up the various bags of junk food.
(Un)fortunately, Tsukishima could actually hear Bokuto practically bouncing up to help. The relieved middle blocker hoped the black-and-white haired man wouldn't cause more damage while attempting to clean up.
The door opened a few minutes later, and Akaashi and Kuroo walked in. By then, the living room was almost clean, with a few tissues randomly lying around. Both stopped dead and surveyed the room with an incredulous look on their face.
Akaashi sighed. “Did Bokuto-san have a meltdown?”
Bokuto, predictably, squawked. “AGHAASHI! I did NOT have a meltdown! I just, sort of, really insecure for a bit...” Bokuto mumbled the last part, unable to meet anyone’s eyes.
”It’s fine, bro! You’re all okay now, right?” Kuroo waited for Bokuto to nod before continuing. "Don't worry about it, then! If Tsukki can cheer you up, I totally can!"
Akaashi and Tsukishima fixed Kuroo with a deadpan look. "And where does this overwhelming confidence come from?"
Bokuto spoke up after a few moments of silence where Kuroo was scrambling for a reason that wouldn't sound stupid. "What are you guys talking about?"
He continued speaking before any of his three boyfriends could interrupt. "All of you make me happy!"
Kuroo gave in and squeezed Bokuto into a hug that had Akaashi and Tsukishima wincing. "BRO!"
Akaashi sighed, and turned to Tsukishima. "Well? Do you feel sufficiently experienced enough to handle him without my assistance."
Tsukishima gave a barey visible, genuine smile. "Yeah. I think we should keep Code White though."
Kuroo smirked. "We all love Kou in white, after all!"
Bokuto perked up. "That's because I look awesome, right?!"
Akaashi sighed. "Of course, Bokuto-san."
Their first challenge successfully completed, the four could relax until the next emergency happened.
Kuroo and Bokuto started chatting excitedly about something or another, and Akaashi and Tsukishima could feel a headache coming on just thinking about what could happen next...