— Chapter #5 —
How far is this place anyway ? thought the black-haired boy as he marched slowly, one step after the other. The rain fell lightly, crashing and shattering on the red fabric of his umbrella; the little quick pops kept him company as he spaced out again. He had been like that since the little crow gave in to his request. He had teased him just for fun, but it had completely backfired. He had expected a grumpy face or seeing him squirm trying to get out of that embarrassing situation, but he had hugged him with the most innocent look on his face. He could still smell his scent on his sweatshirt.
This is getting far more interesting than I thought it would, thought Kuroo pleased. He couldn’t hide the little grin that rose on his face. That thought made him remember the very reason he had invited Hinata to the practice match.
It had been the day before. They were playing a new videogame at Kenma’s house when the setter’s mother came in to check if he had prepared the bag for the trip. He obviously didn’t, as he had been too lazy to do it the minute he was asked to. He had paused the game and started to put together everything he would need. Suddenly, he had frozen in the middle of the room with an absorbed gaze.
« Miyagi prefecture, huh ? » had eventually said the youngest one. « I bet he’s training like hell, doing crazy stuff. »
« Who ? » had asked the black-haired one with an arched eyebrow.
« Shōyō … » had replied the fake blond one. « Karasuno’s little crow. » had needed to add, as Kuroo looked confused.
« You’re already calling him by his first name, without honorific … That’s so not like you at all. » had teased Kuroo crossing his arms at his chest. « He really must be interesting to get that from you. Even I couldn’t, since you’re still calling me Kuroo after all this time. »
« Your teasing is getting old, you’re so predictable. » had fired back the little one with a bored expression, then stuck out his tongue with a sly gaze.
« Still, you’re interested. » had replied Kuroo sitting on the setter’s bed.
« Not particularly … » had denied the evidence the quiet boy, dismissing the matter as he got back at his task.
« Is that so ? » had asked Kuroo with a smirk on his face. « I recall you chatting with him almost every evening. » had added with a grin. Now it was his turn to stick out his tongue.
Kenma had blushed violently on the spot, looking away. Kuroo had hit the bull’s eye.
« Interested in hearing what I think ? » had asked Kuroo letting himself fall on the bad, laying on his back.
The blonde had shrugged his shoulders and kept packing.
« I’m sure you’re worried about what I would think about it. » had explained Kuroo drumming his fingers on his belly, ignoring his silence. « I bet you’re thinking something like “Perhaps, if Shōyō and I became good friends, Kuroo might suffer”, right ? »
« Well, I guess … » had admitted in a soft whisper Kenma with a sneak peek.
« I don’t recall to have ever demanded of you to be my exclusive friend, you know ? » had started Kuroo slightly irked. « Besides, you already have other friends. »
« But they are our friends. » had replied the short one without looking at him.
« So what ? It’s not as if he can’t be our friend too. » had exclaimed Kuroo leaning on his elbows. « You’re not the only one intrigued by Chibi-chan. » had laughed.
The quiet boy had slowly turned around and looked straight at him; it was one of those few times he blatantly showed emotions. His eyes were wide open, and his mouth half closed; he was surprised. He had scrutinized the dark-haired one for a while, trying to figure out what Kuroo could possibly be thinking.
« I bet you’re thinking something mushy. » had shot the cat-eyes boy rolling his eyes. « I’m ready to gamble my whole videogame collection. » had added with a hand on his right hip.
« ‘kay, I’ll admit it! » had replied back Kuroo yielding. « Whenever he appears, your face lights up. »
The cat-eyes boy snorted and glared at him with his sharp gaze. Then, he turned back to his bag, taking the train ticket into his hands. The sharp gaze had vanished. His face was undecipherable; his face muscles were relaxed, his lips were sealed and his eyes disclosed no secret. His thoughts were held in a safe cage. You had to resort to your infamous poker face, huh ? thought Kuroo amused. He didn’t wait for an answer. The black-haired boy got up and took his train ticket out of his sport bag.
« You have your scheming face on. » had stated the little cat boy reading the situation straight away. « I don’t like that. »
Kuroo grabbed the quiet boy’s sleeve and dragged him to himself; with one quick move, he slid his right hand in the setter’s hoodie’s pocket and seized his phone. A flicker of rage and disdain sparkled in the quiet boy’s eyes. It had been enough for him to understand what the black-haired one was scheming. He had rebelled viciously, had put up a glorious fight, but in the end he had lost.
« Kenma, come on, work with me. » had complained Kuroo deleting the picture he had just taken from the setter’s phone. « Smile! » had demanded the boy dragging the short one even more close, who tried his best to look comfortable and excited.
« Kuroo, please … » had pleaded the cat-eyes boy clinging to the elder boy’s black shirt.
« What are you so afraid of ? » had asked Kuroo bringing a lock of Kenma’s dyed hair behind his right ear, looking him with a tender gaze.
« What would he think about it ? We aren’t so close yet … » had murmured Kenma. He looked down, fixing his gaze at the tips of his feet.
« Nonsense! The lad already adores you. » had said Kuroo, giving him back his phone. « Alright, I took the picture, if you really want to see him, let him know we’re coming. »
Kenma took his phone and held it in his hands; it was really a nice picture. I know you want it, go get it, thought Kuroo as he watched the boy staring at the phone. He could see his synapses spread electrical impulses relentlessly. He was analyzing every possibility and thinking of every possible consequences of his actions, what could Hinata think of him, what could he decide to do.
« I don’t know him much yet, but I think he would be hurt to know we were so close, and yet we didn’t say a thing. » had added Kuroo, trying to help him out a bit. « Just saying. »
That seemed to convince him. He let go of the elder boy’s shirt and laid on the bed. Kuroo sit down next to him. The cat eyes stared at the phone for a while; the boy had type something but erased it right after. He stared again at the chat and send the picture without a message.
They didn’t have to wait long for the reply. Hinata had replied right after with an excited text. Kuroo had smiled satisfied. Kenma’s face didn’t betray him, but he could sense his happiness.
« See ? He’s over the moon. » had exclaimed Kuroo gloating.
Kenma had replied back, giving Hinata’s some context. They began to go back and forth with the replies that the conversation just flowed fluently. Hinata had finally asked how long they were going to stay.
« Go on! Invite him to the game! » had said Kuroo with impatience.
« I can’t! » had shot back the younger.
« Well then, guess it’s my duty. » had replied Kuroo solemnly.
He grabbed the phone from Kenma’s hands and started typing, despite the young boy’s rebellion. It was too late, he had sent the infamous invitation.
Hinata Shōyō: “Of course I’ll come! Tell Kenma I won’t miss it for the world. It’s a promise.”
Kenma had stared at the text for the rest of the evening. A shy smile arose upon his face, betraying all his efforts to pretend he was indifferent. That’s how it had played out.
A sweet giggle brought him back to reality. He looked up; in front of him there were the two of them talking and giggling. Hinata was pushing his bike from the handlebars, while Kenma walked besides him, holding the umbrella in his right hand, as he shielded both from the light raindrops.
They had arrived at Karasuno, as Hinata had secured his bike in a covered bicycle parking stand. They went upstairs and walked straight towards the volleyball gym.
« Daichi-san~! » waved Hinata excited as they approached.
« Great job, Hinata! » exclaimed Sawamura, letting the boy in. « Please, get in! »
They all entered the gym, after taking the wet shoes off. Once they got inside, they were welcomed warmly. Karasuno’s team members had lined up and shouted their welcomes as they bowed. Kuroo took the lead of his team and made them form a line as well and they all thank them for their efforts.
« I know this is all very sudden, but we did all we could, please accept it. » said Takeda-sensei to Coach Nekomata.
« Alright boys, form a line and take a plate. The food’s there, dig in! » instructed Sawamura, inviting them to eat while the food was warm.
They had set the gym up nicely; the ground was covered with mattress and picnic cloths. The food was organized on two table which were placed against the wall.
« Yes, I’ve already spoken with the vice principal. He has agreed with our proposal. » explained Takeda-sensei to Nekoma’s coach. « We’ll depart tomorrow morning. Our manager Shimizu already took the refund form. »
Seems that Chibi-chan’s plan is working, thought Kuroo sighing. He felt his shoulders fell, as he finally managed to relax. He filled his plate with food and checked that Kenma ate properly. He was on the verge of encouraging him to fill his plate a little more, but was anticipated by Hinata, who was scolding him, telling “Go on, if you don’t eat, you won’t have enough energies!”. He couldn’t hide a smile. That little boy was a constant surprise.
That moment of happiness lasted shortly, as Yamamoto and Tanaka loudly reunited. They were even tearing up a bit. He was going to scold his own spiker, but Sawamura’s dreadful aura had been enough to sedate every overexcited member of both teams. Tanaka had whispered something to Yamamoto and the little Karasuno’s libero had settled down quickly and silently.
« Try to rest a bit, I’ll keep them in line. » said Sawamura with an empathetic look.
« You’re really spoiling me now, Daichi-san. » replied Kuroo with a genuine smile. It was really tiring to keep them in check.
Silence fell as everyone finally ate his own meal. Nekoma’s team members dug in voraciously as they had spent all their energy on the previous match against Aobajohsai. They were all exhausted; he could read it on their faces. The chattering resumed as they regained energy from all of that delicious food.
« Are you studying hard, Shōyō ? » asked Kenma out of the blue. « If you don’t pass the exams, you won’t be able to come to Tokyo. » reminded him.
« I am! Yachi-san, our new second manager, and Tsukishima are helping me. » explained Hinata, pointing to the two saint who were making him study.
He could read despair all over his face. It hadn’t been a good idea brining that up, as it ended to sadden the lad.
« Do you like us so much ? » teased Kuroo with a sly smirk.
« I do! » exclaimed Hinata with a child’s innocence. « I really want to play with you. » murmured softly before eating his meat.
« And you were even thinking that we could bother him. » teased Kuroo looking at Kenma with a “I-told-you-so” kind of face.
« Shut up! » shot Kenma, hitting him with his elbow.
« What ? » asked Hinata shocked. « But why ? You’re my friends, of course I’m happy to see you. I’m even more happy that we get to spend more time together. » exclaimed Hinata with a big warm smile.
It melted his heart. He was so pure and innocent that he made his heart skip a beat. He just felt the need to shield him from all the bad stuff in the world and protect him at all cost. It was a feeling that, up until that moment, felt only towards Kenma.
« Oh, right. I almost forgot … » murmured the cat-eyes boy, rummaging his own bag. « Happy Birthday. » exclaimed quietly, handing over a wrapped box.
Hinata’s face lit up immediately and forgot all about his food. He cleaned his hands with a paper tissue and rushed at the little box. His hands were shaking a little from excitement. So cute, thought Kuroo as he watched him with interest.
« This is so cool! » exclaimed the red-haired boy, clinging to his birthday present as if it were the most precious possession in his property. « How did you know ? This is the best present ever. » continued Hinata staring at the gift, then looking at Kenma with adoring eyes. He then jumped at him and hugged the boy tightly, and kept thanking him.
« Oh, you got a birthday gift ? » asked Sugawara with a tender look.
« Hey Hinata! What did you get ? » asked Tanaka curious to see him so excited.
« Kenma gave me special shoe laces. » explained Hinata, showing them off. « They are lock laces, so you don’t need to tie them. So cool, right ? »
« That is so thoughtful! » commented Sugawara approving of the gift.
« You’re spoiling him! » laughed Tanaka.
« Our precious kohai, making such good friendships. » added Nishinoya proud.
« He’s growing up so fast. » exclaimed Tanaka looking at him as if he were his own son.
« Of course I’m friend with him. He’s amazing! » exclaimed Hinata with eyes filled with adoration. « You should have seen him! In that third set you were just mocking them with that dump on the last points. »
« Not really … » said Kenma shyly.
He had been looking around the entire time, worrying about other’s people thoughts about them, but no one looked really annoyed. Karasuno’s members didn’t really paid them attention, as they were accustomed to Hinata’s bubbly personality. As for Nekoma, they were just really happy for him. Hinata was an honest, heart-warming boy, it was the perfect person to pull out Kenma’s best sides.
« And you! My god, you’re agile like a cat! » continued Hinata, addressing now to Kuroo. « But you know no mercy. That last kill block, though. I felt so bad for Iwaizumi-kun, his spike was so beautiful. You could have at the very least spared him that smirk of yours. »
« Well, that dandy boy kept aiming at me mercilessly. He ended up annoying me. » explained Kuroo simply.
« Yeah, what was that for ? » asked sarcastically Kenma annoyed.
« Are they talking about Oikawa-san ? » asked Karasuno’s youngest setter.
He saw Hinata nod, then fall silent and look away. Chibi-chan, are you hiding something ? thought Kuroo scrutinizing him from head to toes. The boy got back to his plate and resumed eating without looking up.
« What did he do ? » asked the boy interested.
Thank you, Grumpy-kun, thought Kuroo pleased. It was not as if he couldn’t ask himself directly, but he sensed it would put Hinata under more pressure and it wasn’t worth it. Or so he thought.
« Well, I can’t say for the first set, as I wasn’t even there. » started Hinata looking at his setter. « But he played really aggressively. I mean, he usually uses his head, but this time he went all out. »
« That’s not like him at all. » said Kageyama with his mouth full.
« Maybe he has lost his mind. » replied Hinata scratching his head lightly. « I mean, it must sting hard to lose for the third time consecutively to Shiratorizawa. I know I would, once it’s plenty enough for me. »
« Don’t even bring that up, Hinata boke! » snorted Kageyama annoyed. « We will beat Seijoh, we will even beat that pompous of Ushijima and go to National. That’s it, you hear me ? »
« Of course, we will! I don’t need you to instruct me, Bakageyama. » yelled back Hinata rolling his eyes.
« You better live up to that, we will be waiting for you. » teased Kuroo with a smirk.
« You just wait. » hissed Hinata boastful with his arms crossed at his chest.
« Oy Hinata, don’t put up fights! » scolded Sawamura with a death glare.
Hinata immediately settled down and got back to his food, looking like someone shot a panda bear. He looked sad and grumpy and Kuroo thought it was the cutest thing ever.
The rest of the afternoon just flowed casually; the food they had been served was delicious. He had particularly appreciated Hinata’s onigiris, but also Sugawara’s karē-raisu and Yachi-chan’s Takoyaki. He didn’t have the courage to taste Tanaka’s and Nishinoya’s dishes.
Kenma stayed by Hinata’s side and chatted with him. No, it would be more accurate to say that Chibi-chan pushed him into chatting, thought Kuroo amused. He wasn’t the only one to notice that, though.
« It’s so rare to see Kenma chatting so casually with someone. » commented Yaku in a whisper, mesmerized by the view. « He’s even calling him by first name only! »
« I know, right ? » laughed Kuroo proud.
As time got by, they started tidying up and cleaning the gym. They would have been in great trouble if they used the facility and left it dirty. Everyone found a task and committed to it. The third years were tidying up mattress and the tables, as they were the heavier things. Second and first years cleaned the gym and tidied up the picnic clothes. The coaches were filling out the refund form and taking care of the trip.
Parents started to show up with their cars. Since the weather was so unstable, they thought it would be best to take them home and prevent them a bad cold. The first ones to go had been Tanaka-kun and Yamamoto and Nishinoya-kun and Inuoka. The gym had found some peace since their departure. Little by little the gym emptied out.
« Oh, that’s my mom! » said Shōyō with a smile.
They thanked the remaining team members and followed the red-haired until the car. The two of them hopped on, but Hinata didn’t. The woman looked at him with a “Here-we-go-again” kind of face.
« You’re not coming ? » asked Kenma lightly embarrassed.
« I’ll follow with the bike. » explained Hinata with a smile. « Besides, there’s no place for everyone, my mom has to get my sister from my aunt’s house. »
« Seems like I can’t convince you, huh ? » asked the woman giving up from the start.
Yeah, I can see why. It must be impossible to reason with this one, though Kuroo amused. They parted separate ways and silence fell in the car. She was beautiful and unexpectedly young. He had imagined her completely different.
« So, I’m Hinata Harumi, Shōyō’s mom. » started the woman with a soft voice, looking closely at the street. « I’ve heard a lot about you two. » laughed the woman amused.
They started with the presentations, but the woman was so easy-going that they ended up chatting casually. Now I know where Hinata’s got that from, thought Kuroo thinking about the little spiker. He even resembled the woman, although she had darker auburn hair.
The car stopped right in front of a nice small house. A little girl walked through the path in the garden and opened the rear car door. She hopped on, closed the door and stared at Kenma for a little while. She was the exact copy of Hinata; she had red untamable hair and big amber eyes. She blushed a little.
« Picture boy! » yelled the girl at last.
She just sat there, looking straight at him with her big eyes and her mouth opened in wonder. On the other hand, Kenma looked uneasy. His eyes were bouncing from the little girl, to the woman and to him. Don’t ask me, I don’t know, thought Kuroo amused.
« Natsu! You should introduce yourself, first. » instructed the woman. « Put on the seatbelt. »
The girl’s eyes widened, and her cheeks became as red as cherries. She murmured her name and smiled a little. Kenma replied with curtesy and helped her with the seatbelt, since she was so nervous, she couldn’t do it.
« I’m Kuroo. » said the black-haired boy turning to them, since he sat on the front seat.
The girl smiled a little and kept looking at them with curiosity.
« You’re Onii-chan’s friends! » said at last. « He always talks about you. »
The woman resumed driving and so did the chattering. Eventually the little girl quiet down and started looking out of the car window. The rain had stopped, and some shy sunrays came out in an orange sunset.
« Shōyō-nii-chan! » yelled the little girl pointing with her little index right in front of them.
She was right. There was someone riding on a bicycle on that steep hill. As they got nearer, he could see the little details clearer; red untamable hair, black sweatshirt and infinite stamina. It really was Hinata. They eventually got past him and surpassed him.
« Is he out of his mind ? » asked Kuroo in denial. He kept looking back at him from the rearview mirror.
« I feel tired just looking at him! » added Kenma looking back at him too with his eyes widened. That was one of Hinata’s little things that made him even more interested in the boy.
« Oh, because of the steep hill ? » asked rhetorically the woman. « It’s no big deal for him, he does it every day to go to school. »
Both Nekoma’s boy looked at her as if she said something unbelievable. They looked like they just saw a ghost. Kenma, however, looked more excited as she explained things.
« There’s an high school nearer our home, but since he had seen that Karasuno’s player in the National, he refused to go to other schools. » said the woman as she parked the car.
They all hopped off the car and followed her through the path that lead into Hinata’s house. It was cozy and warming. It wasn’t filled with unnecessary stuff, but it was very tidy and bright. A sweet smell wafted in the air. They got in and followed the woman, as she was giving them a full tour of the house. They took the chance to leave their luggage in Hinata’s room and then followed her downstairs in the living room.
« I’m home! » exclaimed Hinata in the genkan as he took off his wet shoes and put on his slippers.
Both Kenma and Kuroo got straight by his side, scrutinizing him with a dead serious glare. They even took the little boy’s arm into their hands and gave him a full check-up. Hinata looked at them confused and tried to move, but Kuroo grabbed his shoulders and looked straight into his eyes.
« What kind of monster are you ? » asked the black-haired one still unable to believe what he saw.
« Why ? » asked Hinata blushing for the embarrassment.
« I don’t know, maybe because you’ve just ridden a freaking steep hill ? » explained Kuroo shocked.
« Oh … That! » exclaimed Hinata as he went straight to the living room. « I eventually got used to it. » added as if it wasn’t a big deal.
« You’re not going to sit on that sofa without taking a shower, young man. » said Harumi with his arms crossed.
« ‘kaay. » yielded Hinata, bolting upstairs.
Time passed by quickly. Hinata’s mother was good at entertaining them. She asked them questions and listen very carefully to what they told her. She seemed interested in them and knew a lot already. Chibi-chan must have spoken to her a lot about us, thought Kuroo as she told her about Hinata’s excitement about the National and his hope to meet them there.
« What about the cake ? » exclaimed Hinata shirtless and out of breath. He rubbed the towel on his hair, as they were still soaking wet.
« You’re impossible, Shōyō. » murmured his mother covering her face with the palm of her hand. « I’m so sorry for his lack of good manners. »
« Come on, mom! I don’t get to see them every day. I’m multitasking. » exclaimed the red-haired one putting his black shirt on. « Back to the cake. »
« I was waiting for you. » said the woman getting up.
« Don’t worry, I’ll do it. » said Hinata, vanishing in the kitchen.
He could hear the kettle blowing a whistle; he was making tea. Then there was the sound of plates clattering lightly. Hinata appeared with a huge tray. There were teacups, the kettle, a pile of little plates and an apple pie. He arranged the table and served them with tea and a slice of cake.
« Did you do it ? » asked Kenma out of the blue.
« Yeah, we have an apple tree. » explained Hinata with a little smile. « You once told me you love apple pie, so I thought you would like it after the game. »
« It’s really good … Thanks, Shōyō. » said Kenma blushing a little and looking away.
« Your shirt is so cool! » said Kuroo looking amazed.
« Oh, my little sister, Natsu, did it for me! » said Hinata extremely proud.
The little girl blushed but gave them a huge smile in return. My god, he’s so lucky to have this angel as his little sister, thought Kuroo looking at them bickering and giggling. He never had a sibling. The closest thing to it was Kenma. Kenma had been the little brother he never had. The girl whispered something in Hinata’s ear, and the boy smirked amused. The nodded and looked at them.
« I can make you one too, Kuroo-nii-san. » said the little girl with his pure innocent big amber eyes. « Do you want one too, Kenma-nii-san ? »
« You should embroider them cats, though. » said Hinata, messing with her hair. « They’re know as the cats. »
« Really ? That’s better, crows scare me! » said the little girl with a sad face.
In the meantime, both Kenma and Kuroo froze on the spot. They had been hit by some godly miracle. So that’s what real happiness feels like. Kami-sama is smiling upon me, thought Kuroo as if he were in paradise. That was the best moment of his life. Hinata could make fun of him forever, he wouldn’t care. He had been called “Onii-san” and nothing mattered anymore. After that, he would die as a happy man.
Kenma didn’t find the strengths to speak. He just looked at her as if she was an angel descended to Earth from Heaven. His cheeks were as red as fire and he couldn’t bring himself to look at Hinata. He was sure he was having the time of his life seeing them flustered like that.
The rest of the afternoon flew. Natsu was already in love with them and made them play with her until dinner. They filled their bellies with Harumi’s famous sukiyaki, rice and tonkatsu. They dug up nicely and afterwards they let themselves fall on the couch.
« Your mom is a kitchen goddess. » said Kuroo resting his head on the end of the couch.
« Right ? You’re so lucky, my mom doesn’t cook so well … » added Kenma massaging his belly.
Hinata’s phone rang, breaking the conversation they were having. Kuroo saw him looked at it and rushing to put it back in the pocket. It didn’t save him though, because the phone rang again and now they got interested in it.
« So, Chibi-chan has secrets now … » teased Kuroo with a smirk.
« I thought we were friend, Shōyō. » whined Kenma with a sly smile.
He then let his hand slide in the red-haired boy’s pocket and grabbed the phone.
« Wait! » said Hinata rebelling and trying to get the phone back from Kenma.
« Oya oya … Now I get it! » said Kenma putting a sad face on. « So you like him more than us ? »
Kenma passed the phone to Kuroo, who read the texts and looked at him shocked.
Oikawa Tōru: “Chibi-chan~, tomorrow’s my day off from club activities, I was thinking that we could meet for that math lessons you need.”
Oikawa Tōru: “Since I didn’t know about your birthday, I didn’t have the time to get you a present, so I’ll treat you to dinner. Let me know.”
« Oya, oya, oya … Chibi-chan! » exclaimed Kuroo teasing him. « Now I get why he was so mad at me. »
« It’s not what it looks like! » said Hinata hyperventilating. « And no! I don’t like him more than I like you! » added grabbing Kenma’s hand in his own looking desparate.
He then proceeded to tell them about the train station meeting, how Oikawa forced him to sleep at his house, how he was forced to wear the Seijoh’s team shirt and be mocked and blackmailed with the infamous picture and how their mothers conspired against him and forced math lesson to him.
« And that’s the whole story. » said Hinata letting himself fall deeper in the couch, looking grumpy and sad.
« And here I thought he was a dandy boy. After what you told us, he looks more like a caveman. » said Kuroo with a laugh.
« But are you really that deep in trouble with math ? » asked Kenma looking straight at him.
« No, I just didn’t study, ‘cause we had the Inter-High and I was more focus on volleyball. » started Hinata embarrassed. « When I actually study, my grades are pretty decent. »
« Shōyō … You should study right away. » said Kenma quietly. « If you’ll do it good the first time, then you’ll have more time for volleyball. »
« I know, but it’s really hard for me to sit down and stare at books. » said the red-haired boy with a sad face.
« Come on, just think about you’re doing it for the sake of volleyball. » said Kuroo trying to motivate him.
« Okay … I’ll give it a try! » said Hinata with a shy smile.
« But now I have the doubt that you like him more than me. » teased Kenma making a sad face.
« But it’s not true! I even came for you this morning, and made you apple pie ‘cause I know you like it. » murmured Hinata almost tearing up. « What do you want me to do to prove it to you ? I’ll wear the Nekoma’s shirt. No, better, I’ll sleep in it. »
Kenma had stopped him messing with his hair and laughed a little.
« Calm down, I was just teasing you. » murmured Kenma. « But now I want to see you with the Nekoma’s shirt! »
Kuroo lent him the t-shirt and, when Hinata finally reappeared wearing it, they were astonished.
« My god, this is a really good sight. » said Kuroo amused. « A little crow adopted by cats. »
« I like it. » said Kenma with a smirk.
« Well, since I have this on, we can take some picture. » said Hinata sitting again between the two of them.
Kuroo dragged them closer to him and took several pictures. Then, Kenma leant closer to him and took a selfie. They eventually shared them with him.
« Oh! I really like this two! » said Hinata pointing at them. One was a group one and the other was a photo with Kenma.
The cat-eyes boy edited them and posted them on his Instagram profile, tagging them.
« So now it’s official that you like us more. » teased Kuroo with a smirk.
« But guys … » started Hinata, blushing violently. « You know you’re special to me, right ? »
Kenma blushed on the spot and looked away and Kuro teased him a little.
Afterwards, they got to watch the tv a little. They were watching a shounen anime, when they noticed that Kenma had fallen asleep. Kuroo picked him up and brought him to Natsu’s bedroom, where he was supposed to sleep, as Natsu would be with his mother. He adjusted the blanket and turned the light off.
« So, I guess it’s sleep time … » whispered Kuroo, entering the boy’s bedroom.
« Yeah, just give me a second, I’ll prepare the futon. » said Hinata in a whisper.
He moved quietly and without unnecessary movements. He unrolled the futon on the tatami, the rice straw wicker covered in reed, and place on the duvet. He knelt down and polished it with his hands until he was satisfied with the result, then invited Kuroo to settle in. He was about to get up, when Kuroo gently grabbed him by his wrist and stopped him.
« Wait … » whispered Kuroo blushing a little.
Hinata looked at him curious. He had never seen him like that. He nodded and curled up right in front of him. The black of hair one was ransacking his own bag, then he stopped. He turned around, sitting in front of him.
« I know we met recently, but I wanted to … » started Kuroo in a whisper. « I mean … This is for you. » added the boy handing over a packet.
« What ? » asked Hinata with the box in his hands.
« Happy Birthday, Chibi-chan … » whispered Kuroo lowering his gaze.
Hinata looked at him surprised. He had never thought he would receive a gift from him. His hands shook a little, so Kuroo took them in his own and stroke them gently with a tender look. Hinata blushed violently, but with one long breath regain composure and unwrapped the gift.
There were two objects; one was a leather bracelet with a little charm inside, it had the number ten painted on. The other one was a disk. It didn’t have a title.
« I made you a dvd with the best volleyball matches in recent history … » explained Kuroo a little embarrassed.
Hinata had to restrain himself from screaming out of joy. He even teared up and jumped at him, tying his arms around his neck in a tight hug. Since he had bolted on him with such speed, Kuroo fell on his back, with Hinata on him. He closed his eyes and placed his arms around his waist and hugged him in return.
« Bubbly as usual, huh ? » laughed Kuroo genuinely.
« I’m so sorry … » whispered Hinata with his cheeks on fire. « And thank you. »
Even if they were extremely embarrassed by the event, they stayed in that hug for a little while. Then they sat again and avoided eye-contact at all cost. Kuroo couldn’t bring himself to look at him. Chibi-chan, you’ll make me fall for you, thought Kuroo as he looked down.
« Can you help me ? » asked the little one shyly.
He was busy trying to secure the bracelet around his left wrist, but he couldn’t do it, as it kept slipping out of his hand. Kuroo smiled and took the bracelet in his hands. He placed it on Hinata’s wrist and closed it, making sure it would slip out.
« Since it isn’t so late we could watch it a little. » proposed Kuroo with a smile.
Hinata nodded happy and prepared the notebook and turned off the lights. They settled in the futon and clicked on the file. It started with a Brazilian match. The players were amazing. Hinata was mesmerized by them and sometimes looked at Kuroo with a tender look. I know, this was the perfect gift for you, thought Kuroo satisfied.
Time passed and both fell asleep, ignoring the fact that they were sleeping in the same bed, so near one another. Hinata turned around and clung to Kuroo’s shirt, and in response Kuroo hugged him instinctively. He held the little boy in his strong arms with care. They were so close that the little one’s lips were brushing on Kuroo’s neck.
And in that moment, they both felt light in their dreams.