He feels out of place. Daichi never liked the kind of parties thrown by his father’s business partners but “we need to keep up the good image” and “you will take over one day so they need to trust you” ring in his ears over and over again. Frankly, he has no intention to follow his father’s footsteps but he has little say in whatever his family had planned for him. It’s suffocating.
As is the tail coat he is wearing, probably two sizes too small for his shoulders. Not to speak about the mask that looks beyond ridiculous. He requested a simple mask. No glitter. No sequins. No lace. No feathers. What he got was a crow-like mask covering the part around his eyes, the beak sitting on the back of his nose so tightly that breathing is difficult, the sequins making his skin itch. Lace is stitched onto the borders, making it even itchier and the worst are the feathers at each side of his temple. They tickle him and it’s terrible. So much for a simple mask.
Then again, all the guests are wearing masks, most of them obviously expensive models. Covering their entire face, half of their face, he thinks he even saw someone who had an entire costume modeled after their mask. Daichi doesn’t get the appeal of themed parties. Parties, in general. But a masquerade ball? How outdated is that?
A glass is pushed into his hand, something he expects to be champagne or the like. Daichi considers taking a sip, just for the sake of forgetting his surroundings… he places the glass onto the table and decides to do that another time.
His eyes are roaming around, sizing up all persons surrounding him. He doesn’t see him. Him being called Tetsurou Kuroo and very much the only person around his age who is not pretentious like everyone else. They met ages ago when they were still children, pushed into coming onto birthday parties of business partners and whatnot.
Daichi wouldn’t say they are friends. They don’t exactly speak to each other aside from these parties. Mainly because his father and Kuroo’s father compete against each other so they both decided not to stir up more problems. For their own sake, too. But where is he?
Ah. A familiar voice behind him and a tap on his shoulder. He turns around and sees the figure of the person he thought about seconds ago. Of course he does not look into Kuroo’s face - the first thing he sees is a cat’s mask covering his eyes. Completely black yet the silver ornaments on the borders and the glitter make it seem… very unlike Kuroo. It even has silver whiskers. And tiny jewels embedded on the back of his nose. Daichi snorts.
"Nice mask. Did your mother choose it for you?"
"Yeah, you’re one to talk. Yours has… sequins. Talk about corny."
Daichi doesn’t know what to retort and instead traces with his fingers over the feathers of his mask.
"I asked for a simple one, though."
Kuroo lets out a laugh and nods. “Yeah. Me too. Instead they got me this. I did want to be a cat but… not with glitter and sparkles. I’m pretty sure my mum wore this one when she was like 15. Gross.”
Daichi’s grin gets broader and the mask starts itching again. His mood is considerably better than before, though.
"Are you here with someone, Sawamura?" Kuroo asks, taking a sip out of a glass. Is that…? Daichi doesn’t want to ask. If Kuroo wants to get wasted, he should. He starts considering the same, again.
"No. I was supposed to be escorted but I’m not particularly fond of that. It’s… you know."
"Yeah, they all stick to you all evening long without ever talking a word to you because they are really just decoration."
Daichi lowers his gaze and looks at his shoes. Shiny and brilliant. It’s a sad life, somehow. The more he thinks about it, the less he wants to be here.
Probably because he has gone quiet, or so Daichi supposes, Kuroo pushes his glass into Daichi’s hands and grins.
"Means we have all night to ourselves, though. Take a sip."
"I’m not here to get hammered, Kuroo," Daichi says, ogling the glass.
"Neither am I. I just don’t like champagne. You drink it for me, I’ll go and get myself some cola."
Daichi’s eyes shoot up and he stares at Kuroo in disgust. Of course. He is not sure what he expected before. They are not friends, he is sure of that. Being friends feels different from this. Not that Daichi has that many friends to begin with but… it feels off. Perhaps because they don’t see each other that often.
"Then bring me some, too. I’m not going to drink your stale champagne. Who knows how long you already have it."
Kuroo snickers and takes the glass out of Daichi’s hands, his fingers tracing over Daichi’s as he gets a hold of it. He does it so slowly that it gives Daichi goosebumps and it is the first time he is grateful for the tight-sitting tail coat preventing them from spreading all over his body.
"Fine, as you wish," he hums and bows down deeply. Daichi is aware Kuroo loves to mess with others. He is probably going to do great if he takes over his father’s business. Cunning and clever. A good mixture.
He watches Kuroo trotting away, placing the glass onto a random table and disappearing in the crowd of masks. It almost has something frightening about it. Daichi guesses it might take him a while to get back. Perhaps he doesn’t. Perhaps people will start talking to him and he will forget and remember once everything is over.
In an ocean of strangers, all faces masked, Daichi starts to feel sick. His coat is too tight, his mask is too itchy, the air is too stuffed and the crowd is too loud. He takes a deep breath, almost feeling the buttons of his shirt popping but as he exhales it doesn’t stop.
He crouches down, trying not to attract too much attention, so he lowers his head and prays that no one will come and ask him. It will pass. It will leave. Eventually. He doesn’t get the reason why he’d panic like this but perhaps it is just everything at once. The coat, the mask, the undrunk champagne, the prospect of being alone in a world he hates.
A familiar voice and a tap on his shoulder. Daichi raises his head and there it is again, full of glitter and ornaments and he breathes out as quietly as he can. His heart is beating louder than all background noises, like a drum right next to his ears. He wants to say something, anything really.
He is surprised to realize that it was Kuroo saying that. He is surprised to realize that Kuroo holds out the glass bottle of cola right to his face. It is so cold but so, so pleasant. For a second, not even, Daichi closes his eyes and everything goes silent. He hates parties. He hates all of this. He just wants to get out.
"Kuroo… let’s be friends," he breathes and as he opens his eyes he is met with confusion at first until he hears a snicker and sees an all too familiar smug grin. As if he knows everything.