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When Shouyou was little, he was always the unwitting victim at any sleepover.

The first one to fall asleep was the first one to get drawn on, to have his hand dipped in warm water, to have weird and wonderful things put in his hair. And Shouyou was always the first one to fall asleep.

Most of the time, he took it with good humour, shrieking with laughter along with his friends when he saw what had been scribbled across his face and showing his mother with a toothy grin as she grimaced and wondered how to scrub permanent maker off her son’s face.

But by the time he reached middle school, sleepovers at friends’ houses pretty much came to a stop – he lived too far away from his classmates for them to be feasible anymore and all he wanted to do was talk about volleyball until the early hours anyway.

Which is partly why Shouyou is so excited for his first training camp at Karasuno.

Not only did he get to play volleyball every day but it was also one big sleepover every night as well!

He knew it wouldn’t be like it was when he was little - there was no way Daichi would let anybody draw any dicks on anyone’s faces even if Shouyou was pretty sure Nishinoya and Tanaka had smuggled in a marker. There would be no pranks at all, probably, but there would be talking and relaxing and just generally hanging out and Shouyou has really missed this, has spent too long in his house far away in the mountains where his only sleepover friend was Natsu.

He rolls his futon out next to Kageyama’s, even though he’d originally planned to sleep next to Yamaguchi, because the setter had made a snide comment that he could do it faster. And well, Shouyou wasn’t going to let that slide.

So when he slips under the bedding later that night, buzzing with excitement to be sleeping in this big room with all his teammates (he’s so excited he doesn’t even mind sharing with Tsukishima!), he’s entirely unsurprised when a large foot kicks at his shin.

“What?” He grumbles, though he’s in too much of a good mood to be that upset, and he turns his head on his pillow to raise his eyebrows at Kageyama, who’s frowning back at him.

“I bet you fall asleep first,” Kageyama says, after a pause. He does this sometimes – hesitates before issuing a challenge. Never in relation to volleyball, or athleticism in general, but for the other (admittedly a bit stupid) challenges he seems to be almost shy about it; under the huge frown. Shouyou wonders sometimes if Kageyama didn’t have anyone at all at Kitagawa First to have silly competitions with, if he’s the first person with whom Kageyama can be his true stupidly competitive self.

“I won’t,” Shouyou replies hotly, because he is also stupidly competitive but at least he’s honest about it. “If you fall asleep first you have to toss me fifty times tomorrow.”

“Dude, the goal is to fall asleep,” Tanaka moans from his other side. He’d seemed perkier earlier at dinner but, like almost all of the upperclassmen, now he’s full with food and fresh from the baths, he looks ready to crash.

“Do not stay up at all night,” Daichi warns from other side of the room, shooting stern looks at both Shouyou and Kageyama.

“Yes sir,” they both say in quiet unison.

Kageyama shuffles a bit under his covers, flicking his eyes up to scan the room before he focuses back on Shouyou. “One gungun yoghurt if you fall asleep first,” he demands in a whisper, eyes narrow.

“Why’m I always buying you food?” Shouyou groans into his pillow and Tanaka snorts next to him.

“Because you’re always losing,” Kageyama hisses, before jerking violently when a pillow thwacks him soundly over the head.

Go to sleep,” Tsukishima snaps from Kageyama’s other side and the setter looks almost ready to blow before he quietens at a furious look from Daichi.

Shouyou snickers under his breath at Kageyama’s misfortune and snuggles under his blankets, content to listen to quiet murmurings of his teammates around him, warm and sated from a day full of volleyball and good food, until his eyelids inevitably start to droop.

It’s the middle of the night when Shoyou’s bladder wakes him back up again.

He shuffles in his bedding and contemplates just ignoring it and falling back asleep, but the urge proves to be too insistent and he rolls up into a sitting position with a sigh, shoving back his covers. The room is dark, though not pitch black, with the lights from outside filtering in through the windows and providing just enough illumination that Shouyou should be able to sneak in and out of the room without waking anybody up.

Just as he’s about to leave his futon, though, there’s a snort and snuffle and a deep voice distinctly saying: “kill.”

Shouyou freezes instantly, eyes blown wide as goosebumps pop up along his skin. Frantically, he looks around for his would-be-murderer, heart hammering away in his chest.

There’s no-one he can see looming in the limited light in the room. Tsukishima, the most likely suspect, is snoring softly in his futon, back turned decisively away from Kageyama. Shouyou swallows and looks over to his other side, wondering wildly if it’s just a prank. But Tanaka is fast asleep next to him, and Nishinoya is similarly dead to the world in the next futon over, so that rules that out.

“Nice kill,” the voice says again, but a bit more mumbly this time, and Shouyou lets out a startled squeak.

By his side, Kageyama shifts and rolls over in his blankets, sleepy mumbles seeping through the bedding.

All of a sudden, Shouyou is rather suspicious.

Squinting at his suspect, he crawls over until he’s leaning just over Kageyama’s head, scrutinising his rival. Kageyama can’t act for toffee, so if he’s trying to scare Shouyou deliberately he’ll definitely be smirking or something.

But the setter’s face is perfectly slack with sleep, completely oblivious to Shouyou hovering five inches above him.

Shouyou stares at him for a few more long moments, watching Kageyama do nothing but breathe slowly and deeply. It’s sort of weird, seeing him this quiet and relaxed, and Shouyou considers him for a bit longer before starting to retreat. Kageyama mutters as he does so, indistinguishable little noises with no clarity, before his sleep thickened voice murmurs “kill… nice… nice kill.”

Shouyou’s mouth twitches into a little delighted smirk.

Kageyama talks in his sleep, apparently.

“Trust you to talk about murdering people in your sleep,” Hinata mutters, though he’s too entertained to be vindictive about it, and he climbs to his feet for his much needed bathroom break.

The following morning, Shouyou’s memories of the night-time talking are vague and indistinct and as much as he wants to playfully tease Kageyama about it, he knows it’s an inevitable argument he won’t win if he doesn’t remember the details.

Instead, he tries in vain to stay awake longer than Kageyama during the nights to see if he can hear it again, but he’s often so tired he nods off as soon as he’s comfortable. At least it seems like Kageyama drops like a rock as quickly as he does, and many of their teammates insist they fell asleep at the same time when they start bickering over it in the mornings. Good thing too - Shouyou doesn’t have the money to buy Kageyama a yoghurt for every night he might fall asleep first.

By the time the week ends, Shouyou honestly forgets all about it, with the match against Nekoma and all of its ramifications taking up the entirety of his attention.

In fact, it’s only when they’re all on the team bus being ferried home from the Sendai City Gymnasium their first day at the Interhigh Preliminaries that he’s reminded of it.

The whole team falls asleep one by one in a matter of minutes when they hit the road, but it’s shortly before they’re due to arrive back at Karasuno that the bus hits a bump and Shouyou is bounced awake.

He blinks, startled, and rubs his eyes with a yawn as his tired brain struggles to piece together where he is and what he was doing and is it time for dinner yet?

Glancing over to his left, he jolts with surprise to find Kageyama sitting slumped so close to him. Then, all at once, the fact they’re all on a bus on their way home from the tournament comes flooding back to him. He bounces a little in his seat in glee, the thrum of victory glittering in his veins as he remembers they’d won their first two matches. They’d beaten Date Tech.

Shouyou is tempted to poke his elbow into Kageyama’s side to nudge him awake so he can ramble his excitement at him some more when his partner seems to sense his mischief and snorts loudly, head lolling against the backrest.

“Bless you,” Shouyou whispers with a roll of his eyes.

“Chance ball,” Kageyama mumbles back.

Shouyou ogles at him, befuddled, before he suddenly remembers that night when Kageyama had been mumbling about nice kills in his sleep. Giggling away to himself, Shouyou waits eagerly for any more words to slip past Kageyama’s sleep slack mouth, but to his disappointment all he gets are just a few more vague mumbles before the bus pulls back into the Karasuno car park.

“Chance ball?” He cheekily asks a yawning Kageyama as they’re stepping off the bus.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Kageyama grumbles sleepily, cuffing his eyes with the back of his fist and then jolting with a hiss when Shouyou jabs him in the side for his awful language.

The next time Shouyou gets to hear it, it’s a rare occasion where he’s actually wide awake while Kageyama is fast asleep.

Apparently, the big idiot had stayed up late at night to cram, so on the (extremely terrifying) ride to Tokyo via Big Sis Saeko, Kageyama is conked out on the backseat as soon as they hit the motorway.

“N… ni… naiff…”

Shouyou cranes his neck to look over his shoulder at his rival (more of a friend, really, these days) who’s spread over both of the seats in the back with his head pillowed on his arms. Patiently, Shouyou waits, until:

“Ni-nice receif. Receive.”

“It’s a struggle to spit out a compliment even in your sleep, huh?” Shouyou sighs through a grin.

“Last hit,” Kageyama replies, and rolls over onto his back.

“Is he… sleeptalking?” Saeko wonders, pulling her lollipop out of her mouth and peering at her other passenger in the rearview mirror.

“Yeah, he does that sometimes,” Shouyou snickers, settling back into his seat once Kageyama quietens again.

“And it’s about volleyball. Of course,” Saeko says, her mouth curling into a grin to match Shouyou’s.

“What else would it be?” Shouyou agrees as signs for Tokyo start to appear in the distance.

The thing is, Kageyama’s sleep talking isn’t only limited to his favourite sport, but Shouyou wishes he could’ve found that out in better circumstances.

They’re in Tokyo again for another training camp, but this time Shouyou has deliberately made sure there’s someone inbetween his and Kageyama’s futons. It’s petty and stupid and childish, he knows, but ever since the fight everything is strained and horrible between them and sleeping next to Kageyama knowing the setter doesn’t trust him properly makes Shouyou’s gut churn nastily.

It was Tanaka who’d stepped up, slotting his futon between Shouyou’s and Kageyama’s with too many loud words to try and cover up the awkwardness as Shouyou tried to work out how to manage it without causing too much of a fuss. He’d wanted to thank his senpai, but the words wouldn’t force themselves through his throat and there’s something about the sad look Tanaka had given him and Kageyama that made him clam up even more.

It’s one of the first nights where, as he settles into the bedding, Shouyou finds himself alert and wide awake even as everyone else around him starts snoring one by one.

Everything feels weird and uncomfortable and part of Shouyou wants to clamber over Tanaka and shake Kageyama awake and demand he race him around the building or something, anything, to scrabble normality back together. So instead he buries himself deep in his blankets and tries not to think about how if Kageyama had remained just a rival and a necessary evil to get to play as a starter and hadn’t become a friend and a partner then maybe none of this would’ve hurt so much.

“Hinata,” a familiar voice mumbles across the room and Shouyou lifts his head sharply from the blankets, hoping wildly it’s one of the upperclassmen and not-

“Hinata… dumbass…”

Shouyou flops back down with a muffled groan and drags his blankets over his head to try and drown out Kageyama’s stupid sleep talking. He’s acutely aware that Kageyama has, that he’s heard, never muttered any names in his sleep, just babbled about volleyball and Hinata really, really doesn’t know what to do about his name seeping out of Kageyama’s sleeping mouth like that.

There’s a sigh and then there’s the first syllable of his name again and Shouyou whines in frustration before throwing back his covers and crawling furiously around Tanaka into the space between the rows of futons to glare down at his stupid rival.

What?” He hisses quietly, shooting daggers down at Kageyama, but all he gets in return is a bit of lip smacking and some soft, sleepy noises.

Shouyou waits there, hands and knees pressed into the mats on the floor, for any more mention of his name – at which point he’s just going to poke Kageyama awake, probably, inevitable explosive argument be dammed – and stares hard at the setter’s sleep slack face.

He’s frowning, because of course he is, but it’s a constipated little frown, and Kageyama is shifting more in his sleep than he normally does and Shouyou starts to wonder wildly if he’s having a nightmare. Gingerly, he reaches out and rests his hand on top of Kageyama’s head, which seems to be the safest place to touch him, quietly marvelling at how soft his hair is. He never gets to touch it after all – it’s always too far out of reach.

Kageyama’s nose scrunches up and another “Hinata…” blows softly past his lips.

“Yeah?” Shouyou asks, grinding his fingerpads oh-so-gently into his scalp. “What, Bakageyama?”

“Nnnh-“ Kageyama then fully rolls over, dislodging Shouyou’s hand, until he’s almost onto his front, one of his arms trapped underneath him at awkward angle. He’s mumbling something else, muffled by his pillow, and Shouyou has to lean in as closely as he dares to be able to hear him.

“Falling…” is the only word he can make out and he tilts his head with a confused frown, before he jolts as Kageyama lets out a boisterous snort. The frown melting off the setter’s face to be replaced by his usual gormless, sleepy expression.

“Tch,” Shouyou mutters, rolling his eyes and, after one more long look at Kageyama, he crawls back into his bedding. He tries to ignore how his stomach is twisting and flip-flopping and his heart is thumping and shoves his head under his pillow to try and muffle all the things he’s feeling.

Kageyama says nothing more during the night, and it’s just the sounds of his snores mingling with everyone else’s, but it still takes Shouyou an awful long time after to finally fall asleep.

It’s only later when everything is finally patched up and squared away and there’s a new, super awesome, special toss to hit that Shouyou pieces it all together.

“Falling… I see,” He marvels after he hits another one of Kageyama’s new tosses. The new toss that he developed just for this. For this move. That he practiced for Shouyou.

“What?” Kageyama grunts, already reaching for another ball, looking twitchy and annoyed that Shouyou isn’t back into position yet for another set.

“I… nothing! Go again, go again!” Shouyou covers, hopping back a few paces, ready for the next ball. There’s a grin splitting his face as he thinks back to how Kageyama was probably practicing this move for even longer than he thought. A part of him feels a bit guilty that he’d misunderstood Kageyama’s faith, but it doesn’t matter now because the equilibrium’s back like it’d never spun out of orbit in the first place.

It’s not until near the end of their first year that Kageyama’s little habit becomes to known to other people on the team.

Unfortunately, one of those people is Tsukishima.

“Is he asleep already?” Yamaguchi wonders as he sits down on his own bedding, staring over in mild amazement at Kageyama, who’s already snoring away into his pillow.

It’s their last training camp with overnight stays before Spring Nationals and Shouyou and Kageyama both have been up earlier and later than everyone else practicing. While this in and of itself isn’t unusual, Shouyou has a sneaking suspicion that Kageyama had to cram for a test again and the lack of sleep has evidently caught up to him – hence him switching off like a light before everyone else was even lying down.

Shouyou pokes his toes into the meat of Kageyama’s thigh. The setter snorts in his sleep but makes no move to snap his foot off. “Yup,” he confirms.

“Has he always snored this loudly?” Yamaguchi asks, shuffling into his blankets.

“That’s why we switched places,” Tsukishima mutters from Yamaguchi’s other side. “Else I’d have to buy earplugs.”

“I think it’s only when he’s like, super tired,” Shouyou says thoughtfully because he’s usually the one next to Kageyama on bus rides and during camps and he hasn’t noticed it being a problem.

Yamaguchi hums mildly but then loses interest, rolling over on his side to converse with Tsukishima in quiet tones.

Shouyou follows his lead and snuggles into his bedding and calls out a cheery “goodnight!” to everyone as he lets his eyes close.

“Yoghurt,” Kageyama mumbles back.

Shouyou’s eyes snap back open.

“Yoghurt?” Yamaguchi repeats, confused, and Shouyou can just about see him turn back over to face his way over the steady rise and fall of Kageyama’s chest.

“Mmmmm… milk. Milk yoghurt,” Kageyama confirms in his sleep, huffing out a sigh and rubbing his cheek into his pillow.

Yamaguchi reaches over behind him blindly and starts smacking whatever bit of Tsukishima’s stupidly long body he can reach. “Tsukki. Tsukki.

“Ugh, what?” Tsukishima grunts, lifting himself up on one elbow, directing his irritated (and squinting, due to the lack of glasses) stare over Yamaguchi’s shoulder and at Kageyama’s sleeping form. “The King’s drooling. So?”

“Curry,” Kageyama mumbles again, though he’s now turned his cheek so far into his pillow it’s quite muffled. “Yoghurt… curry.”

“Oh, my God,” Tsukishima says slowly as a look of utter delight spreads over his face.

Shouyou’s grin, which had sprouted as soon as Kageyama started wishing for food in his sleep (which was a new topic but not entirely unsurprising, seeing as Kageyama’s next top priority after volleyball was his permanently hungry stomach) starts to wither and slip off his face, replaced by a small frown as Yamaguchi and Tsukishima start to snicker.

They’re not being mean, really, and it is honestly pretty funny, but there is just enough mocking in their tone that just doesn’t sit right in Shouyou’s gut. It’d be different if Kageyama was awake to stand up for himself, but he’s not, he’s fast asleep, and Shouyou likes poking fun at him too but right now it feels sort of unfair.

Shouyou watches as Kageyama shuffles a little in his sleep and sucks in a small breath, like he’s about to start up again and makes a quick, reckless decision to interrupt the new round of sleep talking before it can start. He sticks his foot out from under his blankets and into Kageyama’s – his aim solid and true as his toes slip under Kageyama’s pyjama shirt and press into the warm skin of his back.

He’s been told many, many, times, by Natsu, in the dead of night when she’d crawled into his bed seeking attention, that his feet were like ice. And now he’s going to use them to his advantage.

It has the desired affect – Kageyama doesn’t wake up all the way, dead to the world as he is, but he does snort and jerk in his sleep and roll over fully onto his front, snuffling into his pillow.

There. Now at least he’ll be muffled.

Thankfully, neither Yamaguchi nor Tsukishima seem to notice his subterfuge and now that Kageyama has been sufficiently quietened, they settle back into their beds with matching grins and a few final snickers.

Shouyou draws his foot back into the safe haven of his own bedding slowly, watching the back of Kageyama’s head, turned away from him until one of the upperclassmen hits the lights and the room goes dark.

In the morning, Kageyama is rolling up his futon and failing to smother his yawns when Tsukishima sticks his head into his line of vision and smirks. “Hungry last night were you, your majesty?”

Shouyou snickers to himself and doesn’t interfere – Kageyama’s awake now, he can rebuff Tsukishima himself.

But Kageyama just blinks in sleepy confusion and frowns. “Umm… yeah? If you wanted that last dumpling too you should’ve reached for it instead of staring.”

Shouyou tilts his head at his friend, baffled at this response, until he remembers that Kageyama had indeed taken the last dumpling last night. The big idiot had almost poked one of Shouyou’s eyes out in their fight to claim it while Tsukishima looked on in disdain. 

Some of Tsukishima’s smirk slides away in his exasperation. “No thanks, I don’t need to gorge myself at every meal like you do. And even then you still wanted… what was it? Yoghurt curry?”

Kageyama’s brow just furrows deeper, little creases dimpling at the corner of his eyes and his mouth but he says nothing, obviously incredibly confused.

Tsukishima waits a few moments more for a reaction he’s clearly not going to get before rolling his eyes and stepping away with air of deep pity at Kageyama’s lack of understanding.

“What was that about?” Kageyama questions, turning to look at Shouyou, his face still crumpled in frustration and befuddlement.

“Err… who knows,” Shouyou lies, rolling up the rest of his futon quickly. He could be honest with Kageyama, tell him what he was mumbling about in his sleep and that, although it was weird as hell, it was also very funny in an oddly endearing sort of way, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t even know if Kageyama is even aware that does it. And although Shouyou really wants to tease him about until he goes bright pink in the face, he’s also aware this is one of those situations where it’s probably best not to poke the sleeping bear. (As it were.)

He’s learned, over the last few months, that although Kageyama is confident in many areas he’s also insecure in many others and can be terribly sensitive about things. Volleyball is always a safe topic to prod, as is his abysmal grades, because Kageyama is secure in his athletic ability and doesn’t give a shit about his schoolwork but there are areas where he draws into himself instead. Where his frowns twist in a way that Shouyou hates because they’re toeing the line of being distressed instead of grumpy and he goes horribly quiet and withdrawn.

It’s difficult to tell, at first, but Kageyama’s feelings are easily hurt, sometimes.

And so, “he’s probably just low on his usual material,” Shouyou says, finishing putting away his bedding next to Kageyama and offering his friend a bright smile. Kageyama just hums distractedly in response, staring off into the middle distance thoughtfully.

It all starts to change in January.

All year, Shouyou has spent every overnight stay in relation to volleyball surrounded by eleven other people – all snoring and snuffling and breathing slow and deep. Even in the dead of night the room was never truly quiet with twelve sleeping boys and the constant rustling of blankets.

Which is why, as he lies there in his futon in the middle of this room alone in their Tokyo hotel, Shouyou finds the silence so horribly oppressive.

He’s still… he doesn’t even know, after today. He’s tired, he’s literally shattered, exhausted down to his bones. There’s an ache between his temples that hasn’t eased from the day-long fever and stress. He’s eaten, was brought food by his senpais who stuck their heads through his doorway and smiled at him wide and happy but for some of them this was their last ever tournament and Shouyou just feels a bit empty inside.

They’ve lost before, it’s nothing new, but Shouyou can’t stop his tired, overworked mind replaying what he did, didn’t do and should have done instead. Everything his teacher and his coach have said to him since he fell to his knees in a blaze of heat in the middle of the court.

His sigh ruffles the mask across his face and he wants to pull it off, throw into the corner of the room in his frustration, common courtesy be damned, but he’s just too tired. He’s too tired to even sleep, even though his eyes ache and there’s a prickling sensation behind his lids. He kind of wants to roll over and press his face into his pillow and cry, maybe, but he can’t bring himself to move.

There’s a scraping then – as the old wooden door to his room is slid open and Shouyou turns his weary gaze to the door, expecting to see Ukai, or Takeda-sensei, or maybe even Daichi, who were probably there to make sure he was going to sleep.

Shouyou’s brows meet in the middle when it’s Kageyama standing in the doorway instead.

“Shut up,” Kageyama says to him quietly, under his breath, before Shouyou can even say anything and he turns around to bend and grab at something. It’s only then Shouyou notices the pile of bedding behind his friend.

Shouyou’s too tired to really make any noise of protest, but he does force himself to raise up a little on his elbows to watch with increasing confusion as Kageyama drags the blankets into his room and slides the door closed again with his foot.

“Kageyama?” He croaks, voice wrecked and dampened by his mask.

“Shhh,” Kageyama hisses at him again, even Shouyou was far from loud, and blue eyes flick back to the door warily.

Suddenly, it occurs to Shouyou that Kageyama is probably not supposed to be here. Because Shouyou still has a fever and should be on his own in this room to rest and Kageyama by all rights should be in the main room fast asleep with the others. And Shouyou has no idea what time it is right now, but he thinks it must be late because Kageyama has clearly snuck out.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to be here,” he says quietly, voicing his thoughts as Kageyama finishes rolling out his bedding next to him.

Blue eyes shift to look at him sharply. “Do you want me to leave?” Kageyama asks simply.

Shouyou pauses.

He’s not entirely sure why Kageyama is here, because it’s normally Shouyou seeking out the other’s company and attention, and right now Shouyou can’t even do any of the things they usually do together. He’s just a weary, bone-tired log of a boy with a high temperature and there’s no reason for Kageyama to want to sleep in the same room as him right now.

Except, perhaps, maybe, Kageyama feels the same as him.

It’s been a steadily increasing feeling, and Shouyou couldn’t point out when it started for the life of him, but somewhere along the line he’s gone from barely tolerating Kageyama’s existence their first day of high school to feeling like someone had chopped off a limb if he wasn’t in his immediate vicinity. It’s stupid, and needy, and Shouyou has no idea when Kageyama elevated himself from a rival and teammate to being his best friend too, the one Shouyou likes the company of more than anybody else, and yet…

Kageyama is still watching him closely and maybe… maybe Kageyama is the same.

“No,” he says finally, soft in the gloom, “no I don’t want you to leave.”

Kageyama just nods, once, and lifts his blankets to slip underneath them, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.

Shouyou mimics him, and for the longest time neither of them say anything else, just lying there in the darkness until Shouyou opens his mouth to voice his-

“If you even think about apologising I’ll smother you with that mask,” Kageyama interrupts.

Shouyou turns his head to look at him, but Kageyama is still steadfastly staring skyward. “I’m sorry,” he says anyway, defiantly, and he rushes to continue when Kageyama whips his furious gaze round onto him, “I’m sorry and I’ll never, ever let it happen again. I promise.”

Because he won’t. He won’t ever neglect his body and treat it like a machine ever again. Because even though he knows that they were probably doomed to lose regardless of whether he was there to the end or not, he can’t shake the feeling he let everybody down. That he let Kageyama down. And himself, for being whisked away to a hospital instead of standing tall with everyone else when that final whistle blew.

The anger around Kageyama’s eyes eases. “Good,” he says, simply, with a note of finality in his voice.

Shouyou relaxes slightly, because he was half expecting a lecture, but he can read Kageyama now and he can hear the line being drawn in the sand. It happened, they’ll move on, they’ll get better.

“Go to sleep,” Kageyama says after a beat. “You have a fever, why aren’t you unconscious already?”

“Somebody broke into my room,” Shouyou replies, a smile in his voice, and he thinks he can see the corners of Kageyama’s lips twitch in the gloom.

It’s Kageyama that drops off first, breaths getting slower and deeper in the silence until eventually he’s snoring. Shouyou watches him through heavy lids, feeling his battered body slowly start to drag itself into sleep as well. He wonders if maybe, because Kageyama is probably tired enough, if he’ll-

“Hinata… nice kill,” Kageyama sighs in his sleep and Shouyou’s heart flutters away happily as his eyes finally drop closed.

By morning, Kageyama was gone - presumably he’d snuck back into the main room so as to not be caught out by Daichi. Shouyou makes no mention of Kageyama’s late night exploits later when he finally rejoins the rest of the team for breakfast, and neither does the setter, but something silently shifts in their relationship from that night.

It’s like the final lock on being really, truly, properly friends has been removed, and they no longer feel the need to only spend time together during school and practice but also in their free time. It starts off simple – staying by each other’s sides on the way home after practice for as long as possible before Shouyou has to head for the mountain pass. Then it’s meeting up at weekends for extra practice, then extra extra practice, then for homework and then one day Shouyou turns up at Kageyama’s house in the beginning of their second year with video games and a bag of snacks and he’s let in without a word.

They play long into the evening, both trying to one-up each other in a game they’re both bad at but at least they’re equally shit. Shouyou has his controller turned at a funny angle to see if it gives him more leverage for button mashing when his phone starts ringing and he nearly flings the controller across Kageyama’s bedroom in his sudden panic.

It’s his mother, asking where he is because it’s late and she doesn’t want him cycling over the pass at this hour and should she come pick him up? Shouyou dithers because he thinks he should definitely be fine cycling and he feels bad making his mother come all the way here just because he lost track of time and-

“Just stay here,” Kageyama pipes up, clearly ear wigging now he’s paused the game. He’s staring at the pause menu on the screen with intense focus, and Shouyou thinks can see a little pink tinge across his cheekbones.

Shouyou, still a little dazed with pleasant surprise, relays his request to his mother and is thrilled when she agrees.

“Sleepover at Kageyama’s!” He cheers, and Kageyama biffs him over the head with his controller before cheating and using the temporary distraction to unpause the game and take the win. But it’s okay, because Shouyou wins the next two rounds fuelled by pure spite at Kageyama’s flagrant disregard for the rules.

Kageyama’s mother is apparently working late that night, so it’s left to the two of them to locate the guest futon in Kageyama’s big house and get everything set up (once they finally agree to a temporary video game truce.) Shouyou has a suspicion that Kageyama has not had a friend stay over for a very long time, seeing as the setter seemingly has no knowledge of proper sleepover etiquette. He leaves Shouyou to set up the futon once they finally locate it in favour of having a shower, then he forgets to tell Shouyou where the bathroom is so he can have one too and has to be prompted to provide Shouyou with something to actually sleep in because his outerwear is comfy but not that comfy.

Shouyou is too giddy to be cross though, especially once he sinks into one of Kageyama’s old long-sleeved shirts which envelopes him warm and snug and he’s curled up in the futon’s bedding. He lets out a happy little sigh and wiggles a bit before rolling over to face Kageyama’s bed above him and peeking up at his friend.

Who is well on his way to just conking out, apparently.

Hey!” Shouyou hisses, incensed.

What?” Kageyama grunts, not moving except to crack open one eye to squint down at him.

“You can’t fall asleep yet!”

“… We have practice tomorrow?” Kageyama points out, letting his squinty eye fall shut again.

“Haven’t you had a sleepover before, you big dummy? We’re supposed to tell ghost stories and talk about people at school and consider the meaning of the universe,” Shouyou says urgently, because this is important, this is what you do at sleepovers – you talk about literally anything for hours until someone falls asleep. Kageyama can’t fall asleep before either of them have even said anything.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Kageyama groans, but he rolls fully onto his side to face Shouyou and opens his eyes again to stare blearily down at him. He looks as grumpy as usual, but it’s not in the annoyed sort of way and belatedly Shouyou realises that Kageyama is likely waiting for him to spark a conversation topic.

“Why did you get into volleyball?” He blurts, because volleyball is probably is best topic to keep Kageyama awake enough to actually talk and also he’s been achingly curious about this for a while. He knows roughly when Kageyama got into the sport – 2nd grade, much earlier than Shouyou did and it’s a fact Kageyama likes to point out to him often - but not the why.

Kageyama blinks a little in surprise and raises his head a little off of his pillow. “Why do you want to know that?” He demands, sounding hopelessly confused.

“Because. I want to,” Shouyou says simply.

Blowing out a breath, Kageyama lets his head drop back down onto the pillow. “I tried lots of different sports when I was kid,” he says. “I didn’t like school and sports were the only clubs I was interested in, and when I tried volleyball…” he trails off here, and Shouyou has to crane his neck to see his face properly – but the expression is inscrutable in the low lighting. “I liked how much there was to it – how it looks simple but it’s actually really hard and how because it’s so fast you have to be really accurate and…”

Shouyou feels a silly little smile worm its way across his face as Kageyama starts rambling on in big long, drawn out sentences full of passion and vigor. It reminds Shouyou of that night at the very beginning of high school where Kageyama had ranted about how setter was the best position in volleyball, albeit a lot less animated.

Settling back down into his borrowed bedding, Shouyou contents himself just listening to Kageyama talk. It’s not like the setter is normally silent (at least, he never is around Shouyou) but it’s rare for him to talk for this long. It’s… nice, hearing Kageyama’s deep voice pitch high and low in his excitement, and Shouyou barely has time to wonder if that’s a weird thing to think before the sound of it slowly lulls him off to sleep.

As is customary, it’s Shouyou’s bladder that wakes him up in the middle of the night. After a brief panic about where he was (and nearly biting his tongue off to prevent a shriek when he turned his head to have four fingers nearly brush across his face) the fact the was currently sleeping at Kageyama’s came rushing back to him and he crawls out of the futon with a giddy expression. Kageyama himself is currently sprawled on his front, snoring and drooling away into his pillow, one long arm dangling off the edge of his bed and Shouyou has to cover his mouth to muffle his giggles at how endearingly dumb he looks.

It’s a bit of a mission to tiptoe out of Kageyama’s room safely in the dark without tripping over anything (Shouyou vaguely remembered seeing dumbbells earlier and he did not want to stub his toe on them) and then trying to remember where the bathroom was in this stupidly big house, but he manages it.

He’s just lifting his blankets to slip back into the futon when he hears it: moaning. Deep, guttural moaning, muffled only by blankets.

Shouyou’s head snaps up so quickly he almost gets a crick in his neck and blood floods to his face so fast it’s a miracle he doesn’t spout a nosebleed. He sits, ramrod straight, and stares with some (a lot) of trepidation at his friend, eyes wide.

Oh God, Kageyama is moaning.

But Kageyama is not, in fact, lost to night time pleasures, and seems to be actually having the opposite of a good time – his brow creased and crumpled and his shoulders hunched up around his ears.

Shouyou blinks and feels the heat drain away from his face as the initial terror of what Kageyama might have been doing fades away (and why it prompted such a strong response from him instead of just being funny will have to be an issue to be unpacked another day) and he shuffles closer, trying to see Kageyama better in the gloom.

They’re warbly and drawn out, but they’re definitely groans, and now Shouyou is actually paying attention some of them might actually be words, just distorted through the fog of sleep. Kageyama’s face is partly smashed into his blankets but Shouyou can make out the tension there in the lines of his face.

Shouyou frowns. Kageyama’s made plenty of weird faces while asleep and said lots of weirder things too, but he’s never made noises like this and looked so… upset? He doesn’t like it, he decides, and he wonders if his friend is possibly stuck in the throes of nightmare. Cautiously, he reaches out with one hand to shake Kageyama’s shoulder gently.

No response – except for Kageyama’s face twisting up further and another intelligible noise slipping out.

Tightening his grip, Shouyou shakes a little harder. “Kageyama,” he calls, under his breath. “Kageyama. Hey, wake up.”

Kageyama snorts and then heaves in a huge breath all at once, body jerking as he snaps awake, blue eyes flying open and immediately landing on Shouyou, leaning over him in the gloom. He scoots back a little across his mattress, chest heaving.

“What the hell are you doing, you little shit?” He hisses, voice high and thin with alarm.

“Err, waking you up because I thought you were having a nightmare?” Shouyou shoots back, immediately defensive and just about remembering to keep his voice down, lest he wake Kageyama’s mother up from down the hall.

Kageyama’s face contorts itself into a big, complicated looking frown, but he inches back to where he was before. “I wasn’t having a nightmare,” he denies through his pursed mouth.

“You were moaning. And probably saying weird stuff like usual, but I couldn’t really tell. Are you okay?” Shouyou says, squinting at his friend. He just looks sort of cross, like normal, rather than haunted from a bad dream, which is encouraging, he supposes.

“What do you mean ‘like usual’?” Kageyama demands in lieu of answering Shouyou’s question.

Shouyou falters. Somehow, despite the numerous times he’s heard Kageyama talk in his sleep, he still hasn’t actually talked to Kageyama about it. Clearly, Kageyama has no idea he knows. But does Kageyama even know that he does it? Shouyou shuffles a bit on his knees, unsure for a second, until Kageyama’s hand twitches like it might make a grab for him so he blurts, “you talk in your sleep, you big dummy.”

But instead of looking surprised, Kageyama’s mouth twists up and he ducks his head so Shouyou can’t see his face clearly. “… Oh,” he says, very quietly.

Shouyou clucks his tongue in annoyance and tilts his head so Kageyama’s face is visible to him again. He doesn’t like it when Kageyama tries to hide from him. It’s hard to tell in the gloom, but he thinks there’s a blush there, splashed across his friend’s cheeks and down his neck. “What’s that face for?”

“It’s-“ Kageyama breaks off and sighs out a sharp breath before starting again. “It’s embarrassing!” He bursts out, finally lifting his head and managing to shoot Shouyou an impressive glare even with his adorably red face. “Don’t you dare tell anyone!”

Shouyou has to bite down on his bottom lip to stop his silly grin spreading too wide. He decides not to tell Kageyama that, actually, Tsukishima and Yamaguchi already know. And Big Sis Saeko. And probably some of their upperclassmen who were too polite to say anything. He didn’t tell any of them anyway so he’s actually following along with Kageyama’s wishes. “What’s the big deal?” He asks instead, with a shrug, “lots of people talk in their sleep, it’s not that bad. You only talk about volleyball and food anyway. It’s not that different from you awake.”

“It’s weird,” Kageyama mumbles, the fierceness leaching out of his eyes until he just looks uncomfortable again.

“It is a bit weird,” Shouyou agrees, “but it’s also funny in like, a good way? And there are much weirder things, like sleep walking!” He pauses here and looks at Kageyama suspiciously. “You err, don’t sleep walk too do you?” He asks, wondering vaguely whether he needed to move his futon in case Kageyama does exactly that later in the night and tramples him with his massive feet.

No,” Kageyama growls, but he looks a little appeased at least, settling himself back down on his bed and pressing his face into his pillow. “Goodnight,” he says, firmly, clearly done with this conversation and wanting his humiliation to end.

For once, Shouyou decides to let it go, and he lies back down in the futon. “Goodnight,” he replies, warmly, and in the morning he thinks he must’ve dropped off before Kageyama did, as he heard no more snores during the night.

Shouyou does keep his promise to not tell anyone about Kageyama’s sleep talking, not even Kenma, but inevitably other members of the team do find out.

“Is he… talking in his sleep?” Tanaka wonders, half way through their second year while on a week-long training camp in Tokyo.

“Err…” Shouyou freezes with his bedding half pulled over him to look beside him at a Kageyama who’s already well into the land of nod and already mumbling happily about pudding into his pillow. “Apparently?” He says weakly.

Nishinoya makes a curious little noise and peeks around Tanaka to beam down at their setter. “That’s incredible,” he coos fondly.

“Caramel… brown…” Kageyama sighs. “Ca-caramel… pudding.”

Nishinoya starts giggling and Tanaka’s mouth is clamped shut, his shoulders are shaking with the force of his contained laughter. The ace starts smacking his best friend before too long though and they both forcibly contain themselves before they cause too much of a fuss. Shouyou isn’t sure if it was for Kageyama’s sake, or because Ennoshita is looking a bit threatening there in the corner, or a bit of both.

“Adorable,” Nishinoya says happily, wiping away a tear of laughter and heading over to his own futon. Shouyou watches him settle down and strike up a conversation with their first year libero warily.

“We won’t say anything,” Tanaka promises then, with a warm smile. “Probably something Kageyama wants to keep secret, right?”

Something in Shouyou’s expression must’ve given him away.

“Thanks,” Shouyou says, grateful, as Kageyama snorts “chocolate sauce,” beside him.

It’s towards their second year that Kageyama’s sleep talking causes something of a… problem.

Kageyama is staying over at Shouyou’s, a rarity, considering how far away from everything Shouyou’s house is. But for once his house is free and empty, as his mother and Natsu have gone to visit his aunt and uncle for the weekend. Shouyou would’ve gone too, but Nationals were just around the corner and the thought of two whole days with no volleyball practice was horrifying.

(“Stay at mine over the weekend,” Shouyou had said to Kageyama as they left school on the Friday, in the same voice he used when he demanded more tosses.

“Okay,” Kageyama had agreed, and then complained in his ear later the entire way over the mountain pass as he balanced on the back of Shouyou’s bike - wobbling dangerously with two teenage boys perched on it.)

Instead of pulling out one guest futon for Kageyama to sleep in next to his bed, Shouyou had made the executive decision to pull out two, and all the spare blankets he could around the house and his duvet and make a big pile of bedding in the middle of the living room.

“Cosier,” was his explanation to Kageyama who had watched this entire charade with a quirked eyebrow.

But the setter voiced no complaint and promptly crawled into the mini blanket mountain, while Shouyou tried not to bounce too obviously with glee.

Shouyou wasn’t entirely sure why he didn’t want to sleep in his own bed with Kageyama on his bedroom floor, why he wanted to sleep beside him instead, he just… wanted to be next to him. Like at team sleepovers, he reasoned, and forced the small corner (or; bigger, these days) of his mind that thought too hard about these things to be quiet.

It’s warm beneath the blankets, almost too warm, with another body sharing them too, and it’s not long at all before Shouyou’s eyelids start to feel heavy. He lays on his front with his arms crossed underneath his pillow, head turned to face Kageyama, who’s flat on his back and starting to breathe slow and deep. The view blinks away in flashes of darkness as Shouyou’s lids droop lower and close for longer, until it’s smothered away entirely.


A blink back to alertness.


The spark of awareness ignites again and Shouyou blinks his eyes open again fully, humming in response to his name.

But Kageyama doesn’t reply, as he’s still completely asleep, shuffling slightly as his breaths start to catch in the beginnings of snores.

“Kageyama?” Shouyou stage whispers.

“Hinata,” Kageyama grunts back, before smacking his lips and devolving fully into snoring.

Shouyou doesn’t feel sleepy again for a long time after, even though he is warm and comfortable and tired. He stays awake, mind whirling, as he watches Kageyama’s snoring profile for what feels like hours.

“You were saying my name last night,” Shouyou tells Kageyama as they’re leaving his house in the morning on their way to the local park.

He’d kept quiet all morning, even as they’d tidied away the bedding, made breakfast together and brushed their teeth side-by-side in the bathroom. Kageyama had been shooting him strange looks the entire time but said nothing, and Shouyou couldn’t stop his stomach flipping over to voice what he wants to say.

It’s only when they’re outside and Shouyou’s sucked in a lungful of brisk winter morning air to fortify his courage he can say it.

“Huh?” Kageyama grunts, glancing over his shoulder at Shouyou, half of his face hidden by an overly large woollen scarf – a birthday present from Yachi.

“Last night. You were saying my name in your sleep,” Shouyou repeats, and he has to stuff his hands deep into his pockets so he can curl them into fists without Kageyama noticing.

Kageyama’s brow creases mightily and he turns his face down until it’s just his eyes peeking above his scarf. “And?” He says, voice muffled by wool.

He’s embarrassed, Shouyou can tell, but Shouyou is embarrassed too so they’ll just have to suffer together because he wants answers.

“Why?” Shouyou asks, simply.

“I don’t know!” Kageyama bursts out, kicking at a pebble in the road childishly. “It’s probably because I was at your house, stupid.”

Shouyou hums and wants to press it, he does, because Kageyama had sounded as wistful as he did when he mumbled about milk and chance balls in his sleep, which were his favourite things, and to hear his name in that tone of voice was-

“It’s not a big deal, do you want to practice or not?” Kageyama interrupts, spinning on his heel and stomping down the road.

Shouyou puffs out a cloud of mist and chases after him, overtaking and goading him into a race, letting Kageyama’s furious squawks of unfairness ring in his ears and chase away the other thoughts in his head.

The week they go to and lose their second Spring Nationals is quite possibly the busiest of Shouyou’s life.

It all comes to a head when Kageyama sends him a text Friday evening asking him if he wants to meet him at the gym. They have keys now – the third years don’t need them anymore, after all. So Shouyou had gotten back on his bike not ten minutes after getting off of it and cycled back down to Karasuno, legs burning, just so he can hit a few more of Kageyama’s sets.

They’re both sloppy and uncoordinated and more balls land out of bounds than in but neither of them say anything, because of neither of them care. It’s like therapy, just the simple run, jump, smack of the spike and the dull thud of the ball on polished wood.

It’s not even the loss, because losing to a team like Inarizaki is nothing to be ashamed about. And it’s not the fact that all of their upperclassmen have now left the team, because they will still see them regularly just like they do Daichi and Asahi and Sugawara.

It’s maybe the dawn of the end just starting to peek on the horizon, brighter now with officials from the V-League coming to watch their Nationals games, pointing at Kageyama and whispering and a visa application being approved under Washijo’s watchful eye.

But mostly it’s a culmination and Shouyou is just tired. In both good and sad ways and he feels simultaneously full to the brim of emotions and also completely drained.

So when the last ball from the cart lands on the other side of the net (in, just about), Shouyou turns on his heel and stumbles over to Kageyama, tilting forward until his forehead bumps up against his setter’s sternum.

There’s a brief second where they both just stand there, and then Kageyama’s knees are wobbling and they’re both slumping to the floor in a pile of limbs. A sob rips its way out of Shouyou and he buries his face further in Kageyama’s jumper and reaches up to grab at fistfuls of the fabric. Then two large hands are gripping at his shirt and there’s a wet cheek being pressed into his hair and it could be from sweat or tears or both. His breath shudders in and out, quick and light, hitching on soft, dry sobs as he buries himself closer to Kageyama in a facsimile of a hug and just lets himself ride the wave.

“Stay at mine,” Kageyama says roughly into his hair.

“Okay,” Shouyou rasps, and it’s a long while before either of them move to get to their feet.

Shouyou bullies his way into Kageyama’s bed when they finally make it back to the setter’s house, and Kageyama oddly takes no objection to this – just slides in next to him under the covers. And even though it’s a big bed, because Kageyama is, well, big, it’s still a little bit of a squeeze, but Shouyou cannot bear the thought of being on his own on the floor right now.

He’s turned on his side, facing Kageyama’s bedroom wall, and he can tell from the breathing behind him that Kageyama is no closer to sleep than he is.

“I’m going to Brazil,” he admits into the night, staring at the cracks in the aging wallpaper. “After graduation. I saw Coach Washijo yesterday, and we got it all finalised and I’m… I’m going to go,” he trails off as his voice cracks and he feels the mattress underneath him creak and dip as Kageyama rolls from his back onto his side as well, his breath ghosting over the back of Shouyou’s neck.

“I know,” Kageyama says, soft and quiet, and Shouyou can pick out so many things in his voice – including notes of regret and pride and he has to squeeze his eyes shut to clamp down on the emotion threatening to overwhelm again.

On any other day, this declaration would be one of excitement, of challenge and joy, but right now, in the darkness of Kageyama’s room it feels like a sentence.

He feels long fingers brush, feather-light, against his waist, as if they’re not sure they should be there. So he tilts his head back and shuffles his shoulders until the top of his head is bumping the underneath of Kageyama’s jaw and the spread of his shoulders meets a broad chest. The fingers along his side settle more firmly then, rising and falling with Shouyou’s breaths.

He doesn’t know how long he lies there in the dark with Kageyama pressed up against his back, drifting in and out of a light doze, but he does know he’s not imagining the soft sighs of his name into his hair.

(The next morning should’ve been awkward, but it isn’t, it just feels oddly comfortable, waking up next to Kageyama and teasing him lightly about his bedhead before peeling into laughter when his friend rakes his hands through his, admittedly, much messier hair.)

Shouyou feels refreshed, after that night, as if he had been stripped away until he was shiny and new again, ready to take on the world. He thinks Kageyama feels the same, because the glint in his eye is renewed as their second year at Karasuno officially wraps up.

As the beginning of their third year starts, Shouyou spends an inordinate amount of time on Google.

“Who are you talking to?” Tsukishima asks him one day at lunch in disbelief, having obviously noticed the amount of time Shouyou has been staring at a phone screen recently.

“The internet,” Kageyama supplies, with a roll of his eyes. He’d tried to snatch Shouyou’s phone a number of times to see what he was looking up but his reflexes just weren’t up to scratch.

“Research,” Shouyou informs them both, before powering down his phone before anyone could try and sneak a peek. He receives three suspicious looks in return, but is saved by Yachi, who wants their opinion on the poster designs she’d mocked up for the new team manager advertisement.

He takes a few more days to read a few more articles, a couple more forum posts, before he arms himself with his research and bolsters his courage.

Shouyou likes to think he’s always been a go-getter, but this quite possibly the scariest thing he’s ever had to go after.

He picks one morning after he’s stayed over at Kageyama’s again, when they’re both in his bedroom and switching their pyjamas for school uniform.

“You know what I read?” He pipes up, light and airy, as he pulls on his socks.

Kageyama hums to show he’s listening, back to Shouyou as he tucks his shirt into his trousers.

“I read that sleep talking is kind of like… a manifestation of what you’re dreaming,” Shouyou continues, concentrating hard so as to not to stumble over his words. He glances up to find Kageyama has turned to face him now, annoyance creasing his face.

“Fascinating,” Kageyama grunts, rearranging his shirt more than his necessary to avoid eye contact. That’s the problem with his new, shorter hair - he can’t hide behind his fringe anymore.

“So the stuff you say, is actually what you’re dreaming of,” Shouyou says, getting to his feet from his perch on Kageyama’s desk chair and angling himself so he’s between his setter and the door.

Kageyama is still not looking at him, pulling on his blazer agonisingly slowly. “So?” He says, eventually.

Shouyou sucks in a lungful of air and steels his shoulders. “You say my name in your sleep, Kageyama,” he says, voice surprisingly level while his heart tap dances in his chest.

Kageyama’s fingers slip where they fumble on a button.

“I say a lot of stupid shit when I’m asleep,” Kageyama says, low and with warning in his tone.

“When you’re dreaming-“

“Yes, I heard you the first time,” Kageyama spits, finally meeting Shouyou’s eyes. His eyes a dark, dark blue, shadowed and guarded. It’s so reminiscent of how he used to look two years ago that Shouyou’s hearts flips over.

Slowly, he picks his way across Kageyama’s bedroom floor (clear, because they never pull out the guest futon anymore, after that night), and reaches up to bat Kageyama’s shaky fingers away from his blazer buttons. He slots them through the corresponding holes slowly, and Kageyama surprisingly lets him, until he’s fastening the ones by his neck and he has to look up into Kageyama’s carefully still expression.

“You don’t say anyone else’s name,” Shouyou says quietly, carefully. He hasn’t seen this Kageyama in a long time – one who throws up walls and bluster and glares until the problem goes away and leaves him alone. He wants it to be absolutely clear that he’s for once not picking a fight, be it genuine or teasing, that’s he’s going to be careful with Kageyama’s heart because right now it’s the most precious thing in the world.

“I might,” Kageyama protests, but there’s a waver there, in his voice. “I might say lots of peoples’ names.”

“You don’t,” Shouyou says, keeping a careful hold on Kageyama’s blazer lest he try to pull away. “You only say my name.”

Kageyama just watches him, a lot complicated emotions flicking through his eyes as his jaw clenches and unclenches, body horribly stiff under Shouyou’s hands.

And then, he sighs. It’s like the pretence just drains out of him, crumpling his face and sloping his shoulders, and his eyes drop to look down and away. “Shou-“ he starts, soft, but his voice is cracking and there’s a hint of defeat in his tone and Shouyou rocks himself up on his toes in a sudden urgent need to make Kageyama stop sounding like that immediately.

He presses his lips against Kageyama’s maybe a little too forcefully, his teeth bumping along his tongue and nose squished at an angle.

He pulls away just enough to look into Kageyama’s face, heart rabbiting away in his chest, and his setter just looks shocked. Wide eyed and pale and for a brief, heart-stopping moment, Shouyou wonders if this is all going to end horribly wrong when Kageyama makes a funny little noise in the back of his throat and then suddenly he’s cupping Shouyou’s jaw in both of his large hands and bringing their lips back together again.

Shouyou sucks in a little breath through his nose, toes curling as joy spreads warm. He lets go of Kageyama’s collar to loop his arms around his neck instead, removing the final barrier and Kageyama tilts his head with his new freedom and Shouyou makes a little noise of his own at the improved angle.

They break apart in short gaps to gasp for air before meeting again, again, again, a flurry of small desperate kisses and then Kageyama’s hands leave his face to grasp his hips instead and Shouyou finds himself being guided backwards until the backs of his knees hit Kageyama’s bed and he folds, tumbling backwards and dragging Kageyama down with him.

Kageyama’s hands leave his hips to drag themselves across his sides, his stomach, his chest. Shouyou reciprocates in kind, letting his palms roam across Kageyama’s broad back and shoulders as they kiss. He captures Kageyama’s bottom lip and sucks on it slightly, earning himself a gasp, and he grins, using the distraction to slide himself fully across the bedsheets.

He’s gasping himself once his head is pillowed by Kageyama’s duvet and the setter is mouthing gently against his jaw, little licks and nibbles that make his knees jerk and toes curl in his socks. Kageyama’s lips find a sweet little spot between his ear and jawbone and he actually bucks, and he can feel the smirk being pressed across his skin.

Not to be outdone, he plants his foot solidly against the mattress and makes use of his recent strength training to flip them over, until Kageyama is lying dazed on the bed and Shouyou is looming over him, arms bracketing his head.

One look at the flush spreading down from Kageyama’s cheeks, his neck, until it’s disappearing below his collar and his swollen, kiss bitten lips and Shouyou is blurting, “I’m in love with you.”

Kageyama’s eyes widen and Shouyou feels his own face turn scarlet as he bends and presses their foreheads together. “I’m in love with you,” he repeats, voice choked but earnest because he is. He doesn’t know when it started – maybe it was when Kageyama held him all night after Nationals last year or when he snuck into his hotel room so he wouldn’t be alone with just a fever for company the year before that.

Or maybe it was much earlier, when Kageyama sent him his first ever toss from a real setter and looked at him and saw something more than just a short player who can jump high, and it just took him this long to realise it.

“I…” Kageyama croaks, and his tongue dart outs to wet his lips once, twice, before he tries again, “I… Shouyou, I…”

He’s struggling and Shouyou closes the distance to kiss him soft and slow because he doesn’t need to hear the words, he can hear it all in the way Kageyama says his name.

Shouyou had been a little worried that now they were together (and God if that thought doesn’t send happiness zipping up his spine) that Kageyama murmuring his name in his sleep would stop. Because – and he will never admit this to Kageyama even if he is his boyfriend now – he really enjoys the sound of his name being sighed out, sleepy and affectionate.

But to his immense joy, Kageyama continues to say it, mumbles and murmurs and the occasional snort around the syllables. If he’s really lucky, it’s his first name that slips out and the first time that happened he almost woke Kageyama up he was squeezing him so tightly.

They spend most nights at each other’s houses these days – there’s a limit of how long this will last, this everyday closeness, that they both know but won’t acknowledge out loud just yet – which gives Shouyou ample time to hear it again and again and again.

Like now, as they lounge on his bed with Kageyama’s head pillowed on his lap as his setter snores away while Shouyou idly flips through the new issue of Volleyball Monthly.

Shouyou runs his fingers through Kageyama’s hair over and over, teasing out any small knots he finds (and this is probably why Kageyama had fallen asleep in the first place, he turns to an overly large puddle of goo whenever his hair was played with.) He wonders vaguely if he can convince Kageyama to let it grow longer again, because the easier access to his forehead is nice, but the sensation of glossy strands slipping through his fingers ends all too soon.

There’s a snort and snuffle and Shouyou peeks around his magazine to look down at Kageyama, who is rubbing his cheek along his shorts. “Hinata…”

Shouyou grins and drops Volleyball Monthly in favour of watching his boyfriend, grazing his fingernails gently across his scalp.

“Hinata,” Kageyama sighs again, mashing his nose against Shouyou’s leg. “Nice… nice thighs,”

Shouyou blinks once before he bursts into a fit of laughter, loud and bright, because okay that was new.

Kageyama grunts and shifts in his lap, stirred into waking by the noise and the shaking from the force of Shouyou’s giggles. He huffs in mild annoyance, but he voices no complaints - too sleepy and lazy to be bothered to do anything more than squint hazy blue eyes up at him.

“Good afternoon,” Shouyou says, voice still trembly with amusement.

“Whasso funny,” Kageyama slurs, eyelids droopy.

“Oh… oh, n-nothing,” Shouyou replies, and he has to take a few breaths to compose himself. “You were just telling me how nice my thighs were.”

Kageyama blinks at him, long and slow, before realisation eventually dawns in those baby blues and a splash of pink immediately taints his skin. He groans, rolling off of Shouyou’s lap so he’s sprawled on his back next to him instead, covering his face with one large palm.

Biting his lip to prevent anymore giggles escaping, Shouyou slinks down the bed himself until he’s lying on his side parallel to his boyfriend. “Stop that,” he chides, trying to wrench Kageyama’s hand away from his face.

“I’m going to sleep with a mask on,” Kageyama just says, voice dripping with mortification and his hand not budging no matter how hard Shouyou tugs at his wrist.

“I think it’s cute,” Shouyou tells him, managing to finally shift his palm just a little so he can he press little kisses to the underside of Kageyama’s jaw.

That large hand finally raises to paw at the top of Shouyou’s head instead. “It’s embarrassing,” Kageyama protests, and Shouyou has to throw his bodyweight on top of Kageyama to distract him enough that he can place both hands on the sides of his very red face to force his partner to look at him.

“I can see why you think so, but it really is just kinda sweet and funny. It could be way worse,” Shouyou tells him.

“How?” Kageyama mumbles.

“Well you could snore.”

“I do snore.”

“Yeah, like a normal amount of snoring. Some people snore so loudly they wake everyone up. You’ve never done that,” Shouyou points out.

Kageyama hums but still looks unconvinced, face still pink and pouting in embarrassment.

"Have you always talked in your sleep?" Shouyou asks, trying for a change of tact. 

"I think so?" Kageyama grumbles, looking uncomfortable, "my mother noticed when I was small." He quietens after that, still and flushed and not meeting Shouyou's eyes, even when Shouyou starts stroking his thumbs across his cheeks.

Shouyou blows out a frustrated breath that ruffles his fringe, letting go of Kageyama’s face and dropping down onto his chest, ignoring the indignant ‘oof’ from below. “When I was kid,” he starts, fingers plucking at Kageyama’s shirt, “I was always the first to fall asleep at sleepovers and stuff, so it was always me that the other kids played pranks on.”

Kageyama says nothing, but he does raise one hand to rub a rough palm up and down Shouyou’s back.

“Most of the time, it was harmless, like seeing how many pencils they could put in my hair or hiding my stuff around the house. But one time this other kid drew on my face,” he pauses here for dramatic effect, “and it was a dick.”

Kageyama’s hand stops moving and there’s definitely a little judder in his chest underneath Shouyou’s cheek.

“And not only was it a dick,” Shouyou went on, “but it was in permanent marker. Everyone thought it was so funny even when my Mum was furious when she came to get me. She tried everything she could to get it off when we got home – soap, spirit, I think a bit of wine at one point…”

Kageyama snorts.

“But no matter what she tried, she couldn't get it to come all the way off in time for school the next day. So she put this huge plaster on my cheek and sent me on my way, hoping nobody would see my secret dick.”

A huff of air across the top of his head and Shouyou grins as feels Kageyama start to shake with silent laughter.

“Unfortunately, it rained that day, and it was the sort of school where you played outside no matter what the weather, so I went out, in the rain, and got soaked. So of course the plaster got soaked too and as we all heading back into class it just peeled off right there in front of everyone, and then everyone could just see this dick on my cheek in faded marker,” Shouyou starts snickering himself at the memory. “I think a teacher hauled me off to cover it up again or something, and it did eventually wash off, but literally for like, months, they were checking me all over to see if I had any hidden... artworks on my person.”

Shouyou looks up at his boyfriend as he finishes his story, beaming wide and cheeky, and is delighted to see Kageyama’s lips pressed together in a wobbly line and his shoulders shaking.

Wow,” Kageyama says, and a snicker bursts forth.

“Yup,” Shouyou agrees, popping the ‘p’. “So really, I think Sleepyama telling his boyfriend how much he likes his thighs is pretty okay, in comparison.”

“Oh God, stop, you’re an embarrassment,” Kageyama groans, shoving at his shoulder, but he’s smiling.

Shouyou wriggles, pleased at the sight, and crawls up Kageyama’s front so he can kiss him. “So you can go back to sleep now, it’s fine,” he murmurs against his lips.

“You just want more compliments,” Kageyama whispers back, cupping the back of Shouyou’s head as he closes the distance.

“Well maybe if I got any while you were awake…” Shouyou teases when they part again and is silenced by a particularly hard kiss in retaliation. He feels two strong arms encircle him and then they’re both rolling over until they’re on their sides and for a long while there isn’t any more talking at all.

Kageyama breaks away first, pulling Shouyou close against his chest until Shouyou’s head is tucked under his chin with his cheek pressed into red hair. “Go to sleep now,” he orders.

Shouyou grins against Kageyama’s neck and loops his arms around his waist and slots their legs together so they’re nice and comfortable and lets his eyes slide closed, ears pricked in case any lovely words slip out as Kageyama settles against him and starts to snore.