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Shades of Kuroo

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It was exactly one month from when he started school but Sawamura Daichi had yet to settle his accommodation. To be perfectly honest, he wasn't quite sure how he got himself into this situation. He had completed registration and assured himself that he had done most of what he needed to do on his to-do list before university started. For some bizarre reason, it had slipped his mind that he needed to find a place to live. Sawamura could imagine his best friend going, "Geez, Daichi, you're really useless sometimes" with a light laugh and he wondered if that was the reason why he forgot in the first place.

 

 

 

Over their years in high school, Sawamura always had Sugawara Koushi by his side. They were one of those pairs who had a great affinity because through sheer coincidence, they ended up in the same class, same sports, same apartment complex and same cram school. It got to the point where they each suspected the other was doing it on purpose, although of course it was mostly luck and a pair of mothers who happened to be very good friends. The two of them remarked that they spent too much time together to each other, then laughed and spent even more time with each other. Sawamura found himself smiling at the thought of their three years together then sighed when he could hear Sugawara's nagging in his head.

Contrary to his reliable impression, Sawamura had the tendency to be surprisingly absent minded. He often forgot about tests and made little mistakes here and there. His memory wasn't his strongest suit, as most people who knew him closely realized. They were bound to after the first time he forgot their outing or the fact that the only reason he did not hand in homework was because he cleanly forgot about it in the first place. Sugawara had laughed, chiding, "Daichi! You're reliable on court but you need some work off it." 

"Shut up," he had grumbled in reply, still hung up about the fact he forgot to turn in an assignment that was a heavy percentage of his grades in his second year, "at least I don't need as much work as Asahi." (For those wondering, yes, he turned in that assignment later and barely passed after the marks for being late was deducted.) 

"That's true, that's true," Sugawara had grinned, "although it says something about you if you're comparing yourself to Asahi." 

"Come here, you!"

Sugawara had burst into laughter even before Sawamura touched him but Sawamura's pride had him digging his fingers into Sugawara's sides. He had laughed hard with the other one, despite being the one doing the tickling because Sugawara's laughter had some magical quality that elicited laughter from those who heard it. The two of them had collapsed in sheer exhaustion later. "Whew!" Sugawara had sighed in relief and Sawamura could hear the smile in his tone, "If we keep this up, I'm sure I can sport a six pack like Tanaka."

"Great that you're using laughter as part of your workout routine," Sawamura had replied drily.

The two of them had looked over at each other and their faces split into grins.

 

 

 

Sawamura knew they were going to separate after high school because both of them wanted to do very different things. Of course Sugawara, with his bright smiles and gentle demeanour, wanted to pursue a degree in early childhood education. On the other hand, Sawamura was really keen on engineering because he had always excelled in physics. They applied to mostly different universities that specialised in each of their desired majors. Sugawara was content with something close to home but Sawamura decided if he wanted to do it, then he wanted to go big, so he aimed for all the top schools with very highly valued programmes. He managed to get into his top choice through sheer determination.

Apparently, his hard work may go down the drain if he didn't figure out where to live for the next three or four years.

At the very least, his belongings and everything was already stored in a relative's house in Tokyo, so he didn't have to worry about moving it across prefectures. Sugawara was already staying in the dorms, even though distance was no problem fir hun. "For the experience, of course!" Sugawara had smiled so brightly that Sawamura sent a silent prayer for anyone that tried to do anything to him. Too easily, people underestimated Sugawara because he seemed like an angel. At the very least, Sawamura looked like he was trouble when he needed to but with Sugawara, there was no warning at all. When he was angry, it's as though the world suddenly had a vengeful angel intent on exacting revenge and no one wanted that on their hands.

(There was once he nearly bust a gut laughing when Azumane thought that Sawamura saved them from their brief encounter with the yakuza. For some reason, two yakuza or two people who looked like yakuza came over to bother them when they were running late for cram school after a practice match that ran late. They looked tough but with one extremely well placed, murderous glare from Sugawara, they ran off. Asahi only saw the incident from afar and was busy debating whether to call the police before he realized they already ran away. Sawamura managed to keep silent when Azumane praised him and decided to let the other side of Sugawara be a secret until the other party encountered it personally. It was more fun that way.)

Deciding that he should enjoy his last moments of reliance and dependency, Sawamura called Sugawara. The moment the other picked up, he asked, "Yes, Daichi, what is it this time?" Sawamura's answering groan was a lament of how utterly predictable he had become. He felt much like a delinquent that was in trouble once again or a badly behaved dog that was going to get reprimanded for the umpteenth time. Somehow, he could just sense the amusement on the other side. 

"This time?" Sawamura mumbled after groaning again. "You say it like it happens often." 

There was a loaded pause before a sigh on the other end. The silent challenge issued was taken up, of course. Sawamura just knew that he was digging his own grave but perhaps it was just masochistic tendencies that he rather enjoyed getting ribbed by Sugawara. Besides, he was probably only fulfilling Sugawara's natural tendency to nag and sparing the rest of his friends that burden. Yes, Sawamura did succumb to rather grand delusions every now and then because fabricated glory and honour was always a cause worthy of fighting.

"Let me remind you that you got into this university because I reminded you about the entrance exam," Sugawara started and Sawamura winced. It was still a sore spot and Sugawara was just the kind of guy who would dig his elbow into it. (Sawamura still doesn't know how he could forget it on the day of the exam when he was studying so hard the day before.) "You don't want to talk about the days that you forgot practice and on the days you thought there was practice and turned up to an empty gym." Oh, yes, those, Sawamura couldn't help but bury his face in his arms because those happened way too often that eventually, he got used to it.

"Do I have to go on?"

The bastard was definitely smiling, Sawamura could hear it loud and clear over the phone beyond the delighted mocking and overt smugness.

"So?" Sugawara egged on. "What is it this time?"

"Gosh, Suga," Sawamura grumbled, "at least give a guy some time after you completely rip apart his dignity and reminded him how much of a loser he actually is."

"Don't be a baby, Daichi. Everyone's a loser but you happen to be one of the more obvious ones."

"Ouch, Suga, ouch. I shouldn't have called you. I don't deserve this. I'm going to call Hinata and tell him about my university troubles."

They both burst out laughing at that. The mere image of Hinata receiving a call from Sawamura was hilarious because Sawamura typically left the communication aspect to Sugawara unless it was something serious. If Sawamura ever called Hinata, the poor second year would probably think the ex-captain was calling him up to scold him or yell about his receives. "Imagine if you actually did it," Sugawara managed between giggles, "he'll probably be sweating while you tell him about whatever thing you forgot now."

Sawamura laughed heartily, imagining the little orange head being extremely confused. The timing was now, since Sugawara seemed distracted. "Oh, yeah, I haven't found a place to live yet."

The laughter immediately stopped and there was silence. Sawamura braced himself. It was going to be soon. Perhaps in the next five seconds. He could feel it building up over the lack of words. Three... Two....

"DAICHI! ARE YOU AN IDIOT??? How could you have forgotten something so important?! Geez! Are you a child? Stop laughing. Stop laughing right now, you hear me? If you don't stop laughing, I am going to get out of my dorm bed where I was comfortably reading until you told me you FORGOT TO FIND SOMEWHERE TO LIVE. I mean it, Daichi, I will go to your apartment and strangle you."

He stopped laughing immediately.

"How could you forget something so important?" Sugawara groaned, mumbling, "Why is my best friend an idiot? Who will save him from idiocy in university?"

Ignoring the insults, Sawamura coughed, "It just happened. Like all the other times."

"Sure, Daichi," Sugawara replied drily, "sure it just happened." Then he sighed. "So what are you going to do now?"

"Find an apartment?"

A snort. "Obviously. The applications for the dorms should have passed already, so that's out but you mentioned you didn't want to live in the dorms anyway. That means you need to find an apartment near school and since you're not very well off, something to share, especially with people of the same university. That way, those people can help you out every now and then so you don't forget the most basic, most obvious and essential things like finding housing."

"Thank you, oh great one, for your guidance and teachings."

"This isn't funny, Daichi, but you're welcome. Are you going to start looking?"

"...Yes," Sawamura sighed, "I have to go to university, don't I? And I can't spend hours travelling every single day."

"Obviously," Sugawara sighed as well, "honestly, Daichi, for someone so seemingly reliable and sturdy, you can be unexpectedly clumsy."

"Thanks, oh great one, for your compliments."

"You're welcome."

 

 

 

The next two weeks were spent eagerly searching for somewhere to live. There were not many options for a starving student in the first place. Among those that did seem to have potential, Sawamura happened to be turned off from the way they treated him or something about the apartment and people didn't appeal to him. "Stop being so difficult, Daichi," Sugawara had groaned, "this is what you get for not searching months ago. Now you're part of the late comer gang and have to deal with scraps."

"I love you, Suga," Daichi had groaned right back, "but you're so annoyingly superior."

"Yes," Sugawara had growled, "precisely because I'm not the one who forgot he needed somewhere to live during university a few prefectures away."

They both came out of that conversation disgruntled. Sugawara because his best friend was an idiot and he was already praying for the other's survival in university because at this rate, he won't even get to attend it. Sawamura because his best friend was totally right and he couldn't dispute whatever Sugawara said and it was all his fault, as usual. One rejected offer, two offers that turned out to be outdated and already accepted and a few days later, Sawamura received a message.

'I found an apartment for you and I already accepted it. You have no right to deny it, anyway, you fool of a Sawamura! Ugh. If it's bad, go look for an apartment after the first sem. You better be very nice to me the next time you see me.'

Well, that seemed awfully final.

'Thanks, oh great one. Your efforts are much appreciated by your underling.' Beggars can't be choosers indeed and Sawamura trusted Sugawara and his judgement.

'Good that you know. Here, the address. Go tomorrow at 3pm.'

Here goes nothing.

 

 

 

The neighbour was decent and awfully close to his university. It was a five minute walk away and Sawamura could definitely imagine that would benefit him should he be forgetting about any lessons or events. The apartment looked a little old but he preferred the feel of it to something more swanky. He climbed three flights of stairs and stopped right outside apartment 303. Taking a deep breath to steel himself, he pressed the door bell and waited.

After thirty seconds, there was no response, so he rang it again.

There was a dull thump before he heard footsteps and finally, the door swung inwards to reveal a man without a shirt. For some reason, the half-nakedness was the first thing that registered in Sawamura's head before he realized the other man was no other than Kuroo Tetsuro. The other man blinked once, twice, then burst into a smirk that just set off the warning bells in Sawamura's head. "Well, well, well," Kuroo drawled in a poor imitation of some cartoon villain, "look what we have here." His eyes roamed over Sawamura, travelling down his chest to his worn down sneakers and back up.

Refusing the urge to reply with something entirely childish like 'We meet again' or hissing Kuroo's name as though he was the antagonist to Sawamura's protagonist, he settled for something bland but utterly obvious. "Kuroo. I wasn't expecting to see you here." Kuroo's stance was utterly relaxed and leaning against the door frame, leering down at Sawamura.

"Likewise," Kuroo murmured, the smirk still obnoxiously prominent on his face, "come in, you'll be living here soon."

The desire to hide in the corner and groan loud enough to wake the dead was staggering but Sawamura pushed away the feeling and entered the apartment with Kuroo crowding him from behind. For a brief moment, Kuroo's body heat was almost stifling but it dissipated in the next moment where Kuroo headed somewhere else. The living area was wide enough, spacious and sunny with the usual television, couches and a coffee table in the middle. There was a blanket on the comfortable and plush-looking navy couches.

"Here," Kuroo said as he emerged from what Sawamura assumed was the kitchen with two glasses of water.

"Thanks," Sawamura murmured as he seated himself in the one seater on the left. Kuroo shot him a look of amusement before sprawling out on the three seater.

"So," Kuroo drawled, still with that cocky, arrogant look to his face.

"So," Sawamura echoed a little drily, already tired of Kuroo's attitude.

To his surprise, Kuroo laughed next and coughed out, "Sawamura, you're a little obvious there. Even if you don't like this, you don't have to be so obvious about it." Indeed, he was being rude, especially to a future house mate. With the deep groan he was withholding, Sawamura rubbed his face for a moment before he looked Kuroo in the end.

"You're right," he agreed. "I'm sorry for being rude."

This time, Kuroo looked smug. "It's alright. I heard about your situation and it would be good for me to spilt the rent, even though I can afford it still."

"Oh," Sawamura blinked, having expected someone who was a complete stranger that Sugawara found. "You heard from Suga?"

"Suga, huh?" Kuroo mumbled contemplatively. "Yes, actually. Yaku passed me a request, saying that I would enjoy it and Sugawara updated me about your situation. Of course, I decided to be kind and generous and let you stay until you find something better or whatever."

"Thank you," Sawamura sighed, resigning to his fate.

Kuroo looked amused, "You look like you just signed your death warrant, Sawamura. I may be a little difficult to deal with but I'm not that much of an asshole."

That earned him a raised eyebrow. "According to who? You?"

"Kenma, actually," Kuroo said with a fond smile, which was Sawamura's favourite expression from him so far since the others were annoyingly superior and condescending, "he told me that sometimes he wanted to punch me, something he wants to hug me but mostly he wants to get rid of me. So I figured I couldn't be that bad since he hadn't done any of those yet."

"Huh." Both of Sawamura's eyebrows raised. "So you deduced you're not that much an asshole based on the fact he hasn't done what he wanted to do on you?"

"I base it on the fact he is tolerating me," Kuroo grin had a smugly satisfied tint, "and that, somehow, we're still friends."

"Alright," Sawamura conceded. "I guess that's somewhat reasonable since I have felt like punching you sometimes but I haven't done that yet, since you haven't exactly warranted it."

The gasp from Kuroo was exceedingly fake but the happy grin was sincere, "See, not that much of an asshole." The glasses were barely filled with water now and Kuroo stood up, gesturing at Sawamura to follow. The bedrooms looked nice and comfortable enough, each with the same set up and with a bed, shelves, wardrobe and table. Kuroo waved off Sawamura's attempt at paying, "It was supposed to be a guest room for people who wanted to crash at my apartment between lectures and tutorials. Guess that plan's a bust but well, now I have a room mate."

'There goes everything,' Sawamura thought, listening to Kuroo prattle about the apartment, sorting trash and whatever else.

 

 

 

The week before school started was when he was finally settled in and the last of his things were brought into his new apartment that he shared with Kuroo 'Out of out all the people in Tokyo, of course it had to be him' Tetsuro. Sawamura did not dislike the fellow, contrary to how his behaviour suggested. He just found Kuroo hard to deal with, especially with that stupid smirk on his face about ninety per cent of the time. It was fine when it was during training camps and practice matches in their third year but now they were talking about constant contact in the same living area for about four to five months at the very least. He was going to get to know how Kuroo was like when he just woke up, what Kuroo liked to do in his free time, the kind of room mate Kuroo was and the kind of lifestyle he led.

If Sawamura said he didn't feel the least bit of trepidation, he was lying.

(Only because he was going to know too much about Kuroo he never wanted to know, of course.)

 

 

 

The first day he slept in his room went surprisingly well, although he couldn't say for sure why exactly he thought it would feel any different from normal. Perhaps it was just the mixture of sleeping in a new place and leaving the place he had lived for almost two decades behind. It was a bit strange to be in Tokyo itself, close to starting school and supposedly securing his future. Stifling a yawn, he opened the door and tripped, barely getting his footing back at the last moment.

A groan sounded and Sawamura blinked.

"Are you dead?"

The first thing that popped into his head would be an inquiry about the other's mortality. He could already imagine Sugawara sighing. Kuroo, only clad in boxers, made a series of garbled noises. Slightly concerned about his new room mate now, Sawamura knelt and turned Kuroo over to his front. The man moaned and nuzzled his face into Sawamura's knees with another line of noises. Feeling awfully freaked out, Sawamura decided to leave him there and continue on his way to breakfast. It was a simple affair of bread and juice that made him feel a little more comfortable with its familiarity. After which, he continued his day, going through the other things he needed to do for university.

An hour later, Kuroo had moved to the couch and another hour later, he finally got up. Sawamura was using his laptop in the living room because he felt like it and it was interesting to see how Kuroo kept making unintelligible noises at random intervals throughout the two hours. The smell of coffee eventually filled the apartment and Kuroo held a steaming mug, sighing in content as his eyes rested on Sawamura. "Good morning," he greeted finally.

"I'm sorry about that," Sawamura gestured at Kuroo's cheek where a red mark stood out prominently against his skin.

"No biggie," Kuroo shrugged, "my fault for being outside your door."

"Why were you outside my door, anyway?" Sawamura tore his eyes away from the outline of yet another module to look Kuroo in the eyes.

"Oh, that's how I get up," Kuroo explained calmly, smiling faintly at Sawamura's flabbergasted look. "I get myself out of bed and manage to get out of my room before I collapse there for an hour. I manage to move to the sofa, then collapse there for another hour and that's when my system kicks in and reboots itself. Then I'm up and running."

"I see," was Sawamura's astute response. "So you're basically dead to the world before that?"

Kuroo winced. "Yeah. Unfortunately. Don't sweat it, I'll be back in working order by the time school starts. Probably means I'll be outside your door at say, 5 in the morning. So if you're going out of your room then, spare me the foot in the face."

"Sure," Sawamura agreed nonchalantly, already engrossed in looking at modules once more.

Even so, he couldn't help thinking that the way Kuroo got up from bed was completely adorable, if not insanely freaky. Sawamura's first thought was that he would like to imprint his foot into Kuroo's face and the best part was that Kuroo probably wouldn't even be awake enough to stop him. After that rare sadistic streak passed, he marvelled at the fact that Kuroo wasn't a morning person. So he didn't wake up unforgivably perky with a smirk painted on his face after all. For some reason, Sawamura found the way Kuroo woke up to be.... more than a bit loser-ish.

He tried to convey it to Kuroo, staring at the other man as he continue to sip his coffee blissfully. It took Kuroo more than half a minute to notice Sawamura's face was turned in his direction and the moment he did, he immediately grumbled at Sawamura.

"Oi, oi, oi. Stop it with the pitying look already."

 

 

 

Naturally, unlike typical university students who would be busy bidding for modules and researching on everything to do with starting university, Kuroo spent his last week before school by going on anime marathons. On the occasions where Sawamura happened to be eating a meal in the living room or kitchen, he would hear Kuroo being noisy in front of the television, where he connected his laptop to and was streaming anime on the screen. During one dinner, he happened to be sharing takeout with Kuroo and watching the characters on screen being way too hyped up on something as simple as cycling.

Sawamura had already finished but he had also done whatever he needed to that day, so he was keeping one eye on the anime while keeping the other on Kuroo. His room mate was looking unnecessarily excited, literally leaning forward in his seat, fists clenched and brought to his chest in his excitement. When the episode ended, he immediately leapt up then sat down hurriedly to check the status of the anime and the next episode.

"I can't believe it!" Kuroo burst out to Sawamura, who was slightly surprised to find himself being addressed. "This is the last episode of the season and they don't tell me how the day ends! How can this be???" Kuroo's jaw was wide open and his fingers were buried in his hair in frustration. "Ugh. I have to wait until October for the next season." Now he was hunched over, resting his face in his palms.

"It's alright," Sawamura found himself saying, leaning forward to pat Kuroo a few times on the shoulder awkwardly.

"It's not alright," Kuroo's muffled reply came from beneath his hands.

Since the man was already resigned to his current situation, the least Sawamura could do was to clear their empty containers and clean up the table while Kuroo wallowed in misery. The same thing happened again on Friday, when it was one about baseball this time. "Oooooh, I just want to hug him!" Kuroo gushed to Sawamura, who looked up from his reading to see Kuroo hugging himself with a stupid grin on his face. "Don't you think he's so cute?" Kuroo squealed and Sawamura directed his eyes to the screen where a stammering, blushing light brown haired boy was trying to speak.

After which, another boy with dark hair started yelling at him. "That one reminds me a bit of you, Sawamura," Kuroo smirked, "but you're a little better."

"Thanks," Sawamura replied drily, going back to his reading. The noises that Kuroo made were not loud enough that it was a distraction, so Sawamura could easily tune them out while he continued to read. He was not disturbed until about an hour where the team finally started their game.

"OH, YEAH, THEY GOT A POINT!" Kuroo suddenly shouted out loudly, dancing a small victory dance. Sawamura actually jumped, having been engrossed in a very interesting study about how science and society progressed in a mostly linear fashion. He looked up to see Kuroo right in front of him, vibrating with excitement.

"That's.... great," he tried.

"Isn't it?!" Kuroo burst into a maniac grin.

On Saturday night, Sawamura decided to get a glass of water after finishing the last of his administration matters and reading most of his readings for his first week lectures. He turned on the light in the kitchen and swore his heart stopped when he saw Kuroo at the dining table. "What the hell, Kuroo," Sawamura rasped, still recovering from his shock, "what are you doing here in the dark?"

"They...." he sniffled, "they... They!"

"Hey!" Sawamura's eyes went wide and before he knew it, he had Kuroo around his waist and his shirt was getting damp. He supposed the glass could wait as he patted Kuroo on the back awkwardly and Kuroo's arms tightened. "Did you even choose your modules already?" Sawamura couldn't help but ask.

Kuroo rubbed his eyes on Sawamura's shirt before looking up and replying, "Yeah, you idiot. I did it a long time ago, at midnight. It's fun to toe the datelines."

"Of course," Sawamura sighed exasperatedly before muttering, "why did I even ask."

"Because you're an idiot with no faith in me," was Kuroo's reply but it was garbled in the fabric of Sawamura's shirt.

 

 

 

The first week was almost over and Sawamura was swamped with work. It wasn't really assignments but the fact that he needed to read up on various things and think about the problem sets that were soon to come. Regardless, he set aside Saturday because Kuroo insisted he did because it was when the apartment was to be cleaned, along with doing laundry and other things. "So. What's your skill level?" Kuroo declared, eyeing Sawamura's plain shirt and sports shorts. He was wearing a holey, threadbare shirt with stained and extremely faded shorts.

"Skill level?" Sawamura raised an eyebrow.

"Cleaning, laundry, sorting trash and all that," Kuroo grumbled, already knowing where this was going and only sighed deeply when Sawamura sent a sheepish smile his direction.

They started the whole affair at eight in the morning and only finished sometime during the evening. It was then that Sawamura truly realized that how spoiled and pampered he was. Throughout his whole life, he left whatever that was regarding the house to his mother, who did all these on her off day, despite working most of the week. Before that, Sawamura never considered that it was something tough to do since he took it for granted. From then on, he resolved to help his mother out whenever he went home.

Despite the fact that he was clearly inexperience, Sawamura was rather surprised that Kuroo wasn't at all condescending or mean. Instead of taunting and annoying smirks, Kuroo explained things in a calm manner, instructing him on how to wash different fabrics, what was the best method to clean the floors and how to sort the trash out so that he can start doing it from next week onwards. After the third time Kuroo started explaining, Sawamura looked at him strangely and the other man picked up on it. "What is it now, Sawamura?" Kuroo asked, both eyebrows raised in a open challenge.

"It's...." Sawamura hesitated, fumbling for words, "I didn't know you would teach me so seriously."

"Oh, that," Kuroo blinked before the familiar smirk finally made its entrance and Sawamura turned wary. "Don't look like that, Sawamura, I'm just happy. Contrary to what you believe, I am nicer than I look."

"Really..." Sawamura spoke in a dead pan voice, coupled with a doubtful expression that made Kuroo laugh.

"Really," he said and the smirk lost its egoistic edge and faded into a pleased smile. "I can tell you more about it later on. For now, let's concentrate on getting this house clean." For the next few hours, that was all they did. He had some reservations initially but eventually, Sawamura succumbed and asked Kuroo about the ratio of mixing water and detergent or what to do after he mopped the floors. With each question, Kuroo didn't tease him about anything but replied sincerely. It was then that Sawamura truly discovered that maybe he was wrong about Kuroo after all.

Sugawara often told him that he had a good gauge of character and judgement. Somehow, he went awry when it came to Kuroo Tetsuro. The man seemed like a egoistic, full of himself kind of person and Sawamura couldn't deny that there was that part to him. However, he never realized he was blind to all the other sides of Kuroo. 'Well,' he mused, 'it's probably because I wasn't his room mate before this.' It was only when Kuroo turned to him while they were both cleaning the windows and asked, "What are you looking at?" that he even realized that he was looking at Kuroo mindlessly.

"Nothing," Sawmura mumbled and went back to wiping the windows clean.

It was much later that Kuroo cooked dinner that smelled really good and tasted even better. After dinner, they sat together on sofa, basking in the cleanliness of the apartment. "You have been doing this ever since you moved in?" Sawamura asked. He knew, from previous conservations, that Kuroo had been living in this apartment for a few months now.

"Yep," Kuroo emphasized the 'p' sound with an easy, rather tame (for Kuroo's standards) smirk, "I actually rather enjoy it."

"Huh," Sawamura looked at Kuroo like he was an alien and Kuroo burst out laughing.

"My family's not very well-off. My father is the only one with a normal office job, which overworks him and provides only just enough money for the whole family. My father's parents are living with us and they're wonderful but old. My mother takes care of them, works part time and in addition to that, cleans and cooks the house every single day while taking care of three children," Kuroo spoke evenly, with a tender smile on his face. There was something undeniablysoft about his whole demeanour that Sawamura couldn't tear his eyes away form.

"Wow," Sawamura breathed in wonder.

"Wow, indeed," Kuroo laughed lightly, smile widening, "my mother is always my superhero. When I was younger, she wouldn't let me do any housework and at the end of the day, sometimes I see her sitting quietly in the kitchen. When I got older, I tried to help out with the house. My mother helped me a lot, taught me things, praised me and we eventually made it into a game of who can clean more windows or who took faster to hang the laundry. My younger siblings joined in when they were old enough.

"I felt like it was wrong for my mother to do all the work. I can't expect my grandparents to help, so I did it instead. People often take it for granted that women do the housework, especially here in Japan and I just didn't like that very much. Guess I can understand when it comes to my father since he's so overworked as it is, so," Kuroo shrugged then suddenly, as though he remembered who he was talking to, his eyes darted to Sawamura. "Uhm, yeah, I just felt like sharing. I hope you don't mind?"

"Not at all," Sawamura said smoothly with a smile, "I think you're a wonderful son."

The blush on Kuroo's face was oddly endearing and Sawamura laughed out loud. Kuroo covered his face immediately, groaning. "Shut up," Kuroo whined, lowering his hands enough to glare at Sawamura. "Ugh, I hate it when I get embarrassed. My face goes up in flames. When we were younger, when Kenma found out, it was his favourite game for a while. He called it "Make Kuroo Combust"."

"I can see why," Sawamura held himself together for a few moments before chuckling, "it's adorable."

"Oh my god," Kuroo curled up into a ball, burying his face in against his knees. The soft sound of laughter mocked him still and Sawamura could see the tip of his ear, which was pink. It took a while for it to fade and by then, Kuroo was his normal smirky self, vowing, "Just you wait, Sawamura, I'm going to find out your dirty little secret too."

Sawamura was sure that Kuroo would eventually find out that he was really forgetful. Since school started, he already had a few close saves by checking his time table constantly to make sure he did not miss any lessons. He had actually forgotten to hand in one of his forms but checked and made sure that it would be accepted since it wasn't too past the dateline. Although it would be potentially embarrassing, he was totally fine with Kuroo finding out about that.

What Sawamura didn't want Kuroo to know was that when Kuroo was on all fours while cleaning the bathroom, Sawamura's eyes had strayed to the other's rear end, eyeing the way the curves stretched the fabric.

The worst part was that he enjoyed the view and didn't immediately avert his eyes.

 

 

 

Each week passed by faster than the last and somehow, they had already attended one month of school. Sawamura had figured he was already settled in and began to start working out again. Being an engineering major was taxing and he already promised his parents that he would concentrate on his studies this time, especially since he went against their wishes in high school. Yet it didn't sit well with Sawamura to simply stop exercising at all, so he decided to keep running and doing work out routines at home.

He ran weekly and started working out at home thrice a week, much to the dismay of Kuroo.

"Oh, god," Kuroo whined as he rubbed at a bruise on his forehead from when he tripped over a dumbbell. "Do you have to do this at home?"

"Yeah," Sawamura managed between his push-ups. "Don't like gyms."

"Hmm," was Kuroo's reply as he continued to sip his coffee and watch Sawamura. After he finished the set, he was done for the day, so he stood up. Sweat dripped off his bare torso, sliding down the barely defined planes of muscle. In his peak, his muscles were rather defined but Sawamura always found that he was more wide than anything, although his strength was certainly nothing to scoff at. Wiping himself down, he walked to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water, his back to Kuroo.  Kuroo cleared his throat and said, "You look pretty good."

"Thanks," Sawamura snorted, "coming from Mr. Six Pack, I don't find that very convincing."

To his surprise, Kuroo only laughed. "I'm skinny, always been, so it's more obvious on me. Somehow, I got the genetics for it too. It's okay, I like a body like yours too."

"What do you mean?" Sawamura asked in genuine curiosity since he was wondering what Kuroo meant. The other man's eyes widened and turned contemplative. It was then that Sawamura turned around and he could have sworn that Kuroo's expression was almost sultry, eyes travelling slowly down his chest and arms. They followed a path back to Sawamura's eyes and Sawamura felt something when their gazes met. The mood disappeared as soon as it came with Kuroo's arrogant smirk and Sawamura knew it was the exact one he used frequently to throw people off.

"Wouldn't you like to know~?" he called as he walked away.

 

 

 

Sawamura had privately thought a long time ago that Kuroo looked like trouble and he was sure the other man would have a very active night life. After a few months of living with him, Sawamura found that that he was completely wrong. However, he was expecting that and in fact, somehow, he started looking forward to how Kuroo would simply betray his expectations every single time. In between rushing problem sets and laboratory reports, Sawamura would amusedly watch as Kuroo continued to fervently watch anime and sleep all the time.

He thought it was positively adorable that Kuroo napped in the afternoon and would wake up sleepily when Sawamura returned home. Somehow, despite Kuroo's strange waking habits, he was a light sleeper.

On the other hand, Sawamura lived the typical college student life. He went drinking and karaoke with his friends at least once a week and even took the time to go cycling or out hiking with others every once in a while. Sugawara and himself met at least once every two weeks and he went back to Karasuno just once, if just laugh at Ennoshita chewing Tanaka and Nishinoya out. Sawamura never felt this at peace with himself before, as though he had everything.

Well, almost everything, anyway.

It was nearing the semester end that Sawamura found out that Kuroo had a crush on someone. He came home early because for once, he wasn't stuck with the bad equipment in the laboratory. When he walked into the apartment, he heard Kuroo speaking, "I mean, it's not like I really really like him-" As Sawamura took off his shoes, Kuroo's head snapped in his direction, mortified. They blinked at each other and Sawamura thought his room mate was simply talking to himself when Kozume Kenma peeked out from behind Kuroo.

"Ah, it's the room mate," Kozume announced in an extremely dead voice that made Sawamura wonder if he was even breathing.

"Hello, nice to meet you, you are Kozume-kun?" Sawamura greeted with a smile, not at all offended at the simple nod he got in reply. "I can see I'm intruding," he politely excused himself and retreated to his room. Still, Sawamura couldn't help but be intrigued by the other's presence. There was no doubt that the pair were best friends- Kuroo mentioned Kozume enough times to assure him of that. Sawamura wondered if there was something more then stopped his train of thought before it could travel far.

It would be a good time to admit why exactly he was wondering about it.

Yet Sawamura didn't allow himself too. If he did, he knew he was doomed- it would be hell to live with Kuroo after that. So he did what he always did when it came down to forgetting something. He lost himself in studying and buried himself in work. Eventually, he forgot about the pair outside and even his appetite, just hunched over his notes and assignments.

 

 

 

The next day, a Saturday, Sawamura yawned his way out of bed, carefully side-stepping Kuroo on the floor and eased through a morning routine. So far, he had a clean state when it came to forgetting things and was, oddly enough, proud of it. Sugawara was sceptical about his success, warning him not to take it for granted. After his workout, when he was trying not to inhale water, Kuroo looked at him confusedly, waiting for the coffee to kick in. "Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?" Kuroo mumbled at him blearily.

"What do you mean?" Sawamura frowned, the small, familiar feeling of the panic of having forgotten something started in his chest.

"Didn't you mention your programming test that was quite essential to your grade? I heard you talking about it with Sugawara when you were chatting in the living room?" Kuroo went on to explain, tilting his head.

"Fuck," Sawamura hissed and flew out of the kitchen, leaving Kuroo looking strangely affronted.

He showered and dressed in record time, taking the things he needed and running out of the apartment. When he arrived in the auditorium where the test was head, sweating profusely and the barest bit on time, he wondered what was the point of having showered in the first place. The professor gave him a disapproving stare but gestured at him to take his seat. Sawamura did so, collapsing into the seat with a heavy sigh, briefly scaring the two on each side of him. It took a full five minutes for him to get his bearings but he more than made up for it as he easily answered the questions after.

All in all, Sawamura felt like he sidestepped the bullet.

When he returned back to the apartment, Kuroo was doing his assignment on the sofa, where he spent most of his time. The moment Sawamura entered, his head snapped up and on it was an expression a cat would have if it caught the canary. Funnily enough, the firsr time he had seen this infuriatingly knowing smirk on Kuroo, he baulked at it and looked at Kuroo suspiciously. (It turned out that Kuroo found a recipe of a cake that Sawamura liked to eat that time, and was just getting to telling the other.) As it was, he felt a unfamiliar thrill and a spark of something in his chest.

"What is it?" he sighed resolutely, coming to sit with Kuroo. He took a sip of the coffee that was on the table, knowing they were long past such formalities.

"I talked to Sugawara," Kuroo announced casually, smirking stretching when he saw Sawamura almost choke. "So, Mr. Perfect Boy, got a forgetful habit?"

Sawamura reckoned he recovered fast because he arched an eyebrow and threw a smirk in return, "Yeah, got a problem with that, Lover Boy?" It was worth it to see Kuroo's expression cloud with confusion for a split second before he flushed.

"I knew you heard us!" he spat out all accusatory and Sawamura couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out of him.

"Does everyone know you're really a loser?" Sawamura drawled, smiling teasingly, watching as the pink got more pronounced.

"I'm not a loser!" Kuroo defended himself before he shrugged and the flush receded, to Sawamura's regret, "It's easier for me when I always have to be the level headed, smooth captain. Kenma's the only one who knows me behind doors and all. Bokuto caught a glimpse of it and then there's you, I guess."

"Bokuto?" Sawamura blinked and he hoped he was just imagining the jealousy that rose in him suddenly.

"Yeah," Kuroo spared a fond smile, "Fukurodani's ace? We get along, surprisingly."

"Is that the guy you're-?" Sawamura paused, trying to find a way to say it nicely without being too obvious about it. Kuroo stared at him, blank before he burst out choking with laughter.

"Bokuto? God, no- god. No, no, no," Kuroo gasped for air, "not the guy at all."

"So who's this mysterious guy you apparently like?" Sawamura asked, curious and totally sadistic.

Kuroo groaned, long and hard. "Damn it, Sawamura, you're ruining my rep. I'm the one who's supposed to make everyone uncomfortable."

"Too late," Sawamura announced cheerfully. "You got me curious."

It took a while but Kuroo eventually opened up. The guy was same age as them and also in the same university- Kuroo refused to tell his major or what he did. He also revealed that he always had an interest in the fellow but it was only recently that Kuroo got to know him better, thus his falling for the guy. "I'm done living in denial," Kuroo let out with a sigh, "Kenma told me yesterday that I should just accept that I have a crush on that guy."

"That's great," Sawamura congratulated and smiled even as it felt as though his heart was sinking to his toes.

 

 

 

In the next week, Sawamura suffered enough to want to pluck every single hair from its root. Not only did he had to endure Kuroo talking about the mysterious crush to Kenma on the phone, Kuroo was even forgoing his usual anime sprees, taken to giggling to himself while he read shoujo manga. If Sawamura were to compare his vision of Kuroo to the impression he got when they were still in high school, he would no doubt be thoroughly freaked out. However, if he were to place it side by side with his current impression of Kuroo, he would call it ridiculously endearing. Those were the kinds of thought he had in the bathroom and he groaned heavily, wondering if it was too late for him.

When he exited, Kuroo was sitting on the floor, nursing a cup of coffee. "You know," Kuroo smirked, surprisingly awake for once, "the walls are pretty thin."

Sawamura barely got out, "What do you mean-" when Kuroo's eyebrows started waggling suggestively and his face flamed. "No, it's not what you think, I did not just jack off in the shower."

"If you say so," Kuroo hummed and Sawamura groaned again, gritting his teeth when Kuroo's smirk only widened.

"Yes, it's all about you," Sawamura wanted to say desperately, "you're the cause of all this." Instead he swallowed and walked out, pretending he couldn't feel Kuroo's eyes on his back.

Afterwards, when they were both eating lunch that Kuroo cooked, he paused after a swallow. "So, tell me more about that guy."

Kuroo sighed, long and loud and eyed Sawamura. "What's with you and your obsession with him?"

"I just want to know, I guess," he grinned, "want to know the identity of the guy who brought the famous Kuroo down."

Kuroo huffed. "For one, I am not brought down in any way. I am still very much my fabulous self. Second, even if you knew, it wouldn't do you any good to know about him."

"Why?"

"It- It just is, okay. Now stop asking."

There was a silence.

"Just tell me something about him."

"Fine, Sawamura, you win, okay, you win! Just one thing, alright, then stop it."

"Deal."

"Let's see. This is pretty embarrassing but ah, well. I get really bothered when I see him working out. It's just that he's so..... hot. I just want to-"

"-woah there! I just wanted to know something about him, not all your fantasies. That's enough, Kuroo. So he works out, huh."

At that point, Kuroo was looking at him oddly, as though he didn't quite whether to be exasperated or amused. "Yes," he said finally, "he works out."

This continued on and on. Eventually, Sawamura amassed a collection of information about the guy that he was sure that he should be able to recognize the guy by then, Kuroo knew him before they started school together but he didn't go to Nekoma. The guy used to play some sport, although Kuroo declined to name it. He was not from Tokyo and (Kenma mentioned that to him when they were both getting a glass of water) Kuroo had been pining after this fellow for ages. Not from the arts, he was either from engineering or some science- Kuroo was awfully vague about this one. The guy had dark brown hair, of average height and shorter than Kuroo and the word Kuroo used to describe his body was "broad".

For the life of him and his friends in school, they couldn't figure it out although some of them looked a bit amused.

When he told Sugawara about everything, Sugawara pondered for a while with his forehead creased before his eyes lit up and he laughed for five minutes. Then, he looked at Sawamura and laughed for five more. At that point, Sawamura took a pillow and hit Sugawara. The muffled thuds mingled with bright, infectious laughter. In the end, he ended up laughing for no reason other than the fact Sugawara was laughing too and they ended the entire evening laughing away.

'Maybe you should in the mirror sometime,' Sugawara messaged over later.

The message was rather cryptic for a person who was more straightforward than anything and Sawamura thought it was strange. Even then, he simply wrote it off, thinking that Sugawara meant he forgot to shave a spot or something trivial like that. By the time the next day rolled around, he had forgotten it.

 

 

 

The next time he tried to ask about Kuroo's crush, he exploded. "Is this some kind of torture?!" Kuroo yelled and Sawamura blinked hard in surprise. One moment, they were drinking coffee and enjoying a lazy afternoon and the next, he had Kuroo hovering over him, glaring down at him in something akin to hatred and frustration mixed in a potent combination. "Are you going this on purpose, Sawamura?" Kuroo groaned, eyes feral.

"N-no?" Sawamura swallowed, unable to deny that he secretly enjoyed his position at the mention. If he just leaned forward, he would be able to meet Kuroos' lips with his own.

With a hiss, Kuroo yanked him out of the sofa, grip tight on his wrist and before he could get his bearings, they are in the bathroom and Sawamura was staring at himself. He wondered if he had forgotten to shave a spot but his face was hair-free. There was a pimple on the side that annoyed him but he knew it would fade in a few days, so he didn't worry about it. By the time he realized he wasn't there for vanity sake, Kuroo was sitting on the toilet seat, knees brought up to his chest. "So, you figured it out yet?" he grumbled.

"That I have a pimple on the side of my face?" Sawamura questioned tentatively.

"No, you're gorgeous," Kuroo stated without hesitation and both of them felt really embarrassed by that. "You said you wanted to know who he is, right?"

"Yeah," Sawamura agreed readily, then paused. "You couldn't have told me outside the bathroom?"

The look he got was full of disbelief that Sawamura himself blanched. "That's it," Kuroo growled. "I'm done with your shit. Listen up. I have just called you gorgeous, which I have never called anyone before and the only reason why I led you to the mirror is because I'm hoping you can stare right in the face what you were too blind to see before."

"Can you stop that?" Sawamura complained, "I'm not good with cryptic statements."

"I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU!"

"Oh."

They both stared at each other, Sawamura's face a comedic mix of realization and horror at his obliviousness and Kuroo panting slightly after his outburst. Then, abruptly, knowing that Sawamura understood, Kuroo flushed and he stalked out of the bathroom. When Sawamura moved to follow him, Kuroo was already curled up on the sofa in a ball. "Kuroo," Sawamura tried but he didn't budge. He sighed heavily and sat down on to the curled up form.

His eyes flitted over the form. Unabashedly, he traced his eyes over the taut form of Kuroo's behind, then up his back, displayed nicely in his white tank top. Kuroo's face was currently mashed into the sofa and his arms were probably losing circulation like that, with the weight of his body and legs on them. Sawamura decided to go with the thoughts he had been suppressing and leaned forward, covering Kuroo's back with his torso.

Then, in Kuroo's ear, he whispered, "Tetsuro."

That earned him a jerk, pressing Kuroo's back to his front and then Kuroo uncurled himself, flipping himself onto his back. The position Kuroo was in was awkward, to say the least and Sawamura helped to move him such that Kuroo was comfortably under him. Kuroo, too shocked to even protest, stared up at Sawamura. When Sawamura leaned down, his brain finally kicked in and they met each other half way.

Long afterwards, Sawamura laughed at himself for having chosen the denial path because they could have been together so much sooner.

 

 

'I got together with him.'

'I told you he liked you back, idiot. Why did you wait so long to make a move?'

'Shut up! I didn't want to make things awkward if it wasn't the case, okay.'

'... Stupid. I should have abandoned our friendship the moment you started making me play volleyball.'

 

 

A few days later, 'I hope you're happy, you moron.'