kei glances blearily at the clock on his nightstand. this side of the world has yet to wake, but he has something he has to do. he buries his head back into his pillow. groans. and then blindly reaches for his glasses. knuckles knocking against frames until he picks it up.
he holds them up as if to inspect for fingerprints left behind on the glasses.
this pair was a gift from kageyama. nearly two years ago when kageyama had pointed out his increased habit of squinting, tagged along with kei to select a frame, and paid for it before kei could say a word.
there isn't a rhyme or reason.
there doesn't need to be.
kei would have done the same.
kei pushes the glasses onto the bridge of his nose and heads out to the living room.
the laptop whirs to life. glow of the screen illuminating the dark room, casting long shadows, making the space seem a lot bigger than it really is.
kei lifts the lid of the curry. the aroma that wafts out is a little sweeter than he's used to.
that's a lie. he's long gotten used to this version that's a little sweeter than the way his mom makes it — the way kageyama likes it.
the crackle of the gas stove resounds as kei turns it on to give the pot of curry another simmer. after all, the more it broils, the more delicious it gets, his former roommate swears.
kei frowns as he replaces the lid. he's highly overestimated the portions, falling back on habits when he had cooked this last night. diced fuji apples and pieces of dark chocolate broiled with the regular protein, potatoes, carrots, and curry cubes — the way kei has grown accustomed to.
the way kei has grown to love.
he's made enough for two individuals: a portion for dinner and a portion to bring in for lunch. now he'll have to finish it over the course of the next few days.
he returns to his laptop, clicking into the link for the live stream. pen and paper set to the side in the event he needs to scrawl something. a familiar face waves at the crowd as his name is introduced. the familiar white and orange uniform no more. it's a good look.
kei's smile is tucked behind his palm.
"i'm thinking of going abroad," kageyama says one day.
kei looks up from his screen to meet his roommate's eyes. so he's decided.
"you might want to look for someone to split the rent with," kageyama continues, hands clutched a little too tightly around the mug.
and in his own fashion, kageyama has given kei more than enough time to find a replacement. he doesn't need one.
kei stretches as he says, "no," taking a break from exam materials.
a puzzled expression ( bordering the indignant one kei's grown familiar with over the years ) settles over kageyama's face as he takes up the seat across from kei, setting the mug next to the laptop. the back of kei's fingers brush against the ceramic, allowing the warmth to spread over his skin before he brings the mug to his lips. perfect. just the way kei likes it.
early on in this arrangement kageyama convinced kei to swap out his late dose coffee for tea. so that when he finishes burning the midnight oil, the transition to sleep will be less fitful.
one of the many little things kei is thankful for. no one can fill his shoes — that's a given.
"sendai city museum won't pay me too poorly," he justfies. and more importantly:
"you're coming back right, king?"
the curl of kageyama's lips gives him away.
but kei does. lips mirroring kageyama's smile, hidden behind a ceramic rim.
later today or maybe tomorrow there will be a call, but not before a text that informs kei of the time. later today or tomorrow, kei will nurse a kahlua and milk in one hand, teasing the person on the other line about the comforts of home that can't be found abroad, and analyzing plays on court. and maybe then this small apartment will resemble what it used once more.