Kuroo’s skates grind to a stop, making those tiny clouds of ice crystals around his feet that give him so much satisfaction.
He balances on his blades and makes his way over to the benches with the rest of his team, already starting to unlace their skates. Coach Ukai is giving some speech about their game next weekend with their captain, Daichi, standing at his side, and Kuroo half-listens as he stuffs his practice jersey and hockey stick into his bag. It’s not that he isn’t totally riveted by what his coach and captain are saying, it’s just that he’s sweaty and exhausted and starving after that grueling four hour practice.
Bokuto drops onto the bench next to him, tight grey undershirt stained dark with sweat across the breadth of his chest. Kuroo is glad he opted for a black shirt that day. Keeps all the unsightly things hidden.
“Hey man, would you mind coming to wait for Akaashi to finish up his practice with me?”
“Can’t we just wait for him outside like we always do?” Kuroo cuts a glance over to the other side of the ice house and full-body shudders. “You know I hate going over there, man.”
It’s nothing personal against Akaashi. Kuroo was good friends with him before he and Bokuto even started dating. It’s just the figure skating rinks in general that he tends to try and avoid. At All Costs.
“Aw, come on, it’s not so bad!” Bokuto bumps Kuroo’s shoulder with his and Kuroo finds himself the very unlucky recipient of big, bright puppy-dog eyes. “Please? He’s been working really hard on his routine for the competition next month and I wanna see a little bit of it before he finishes up for the night!”
Sometimes, Kuroo wishes he had a best friend who was a terrible person. A truly terrible, awful person who stole things and punched little kids, because then said terrible best friend would be a lot easier to say ‘no’ to.
But, as it is, Kuroo has sunshine and puppy dogs and rainbows personified as a best friend.
“Fine,” Kuroo groans and Bokuto cheers. “I hope you remember this epic sacrifice I’m making for you one day when I’m dying and need your kidney.”
Bokuto shrugs easily, standing up and yanking Kuroo with him.
“You can totally have my kidney, dude,” he says, because Kuroo’s best friend is the least terrible and awful person in the whole world. “I don’t know why you hate going over there so badly anyways. It smells a lot better than this half of the ice house, that’s for sure!”
“The Ice Princesses hate me!” Kuroo scowls. “They’re always so mean to me!”
“Maybe you shouldn’t call them ‘Ice Princesses’,” Bokuto offers sagely.
“I never called them that until after they starting being mean to me! They started it, they always make fun of my hair.” Kuroo looks at the figure skaters mulling about nervously.
As if he could smell Kuroo’s fear from a mile away (which he probably could), Daishou Suguru called out from his spot stretching against the wall, “Hey Kuroo! Do you need a custom made helmet to fit that atrocious hair inside of it?” A few of the skaters around him titter with laughter.
“See?” Kuroo hisses under his breath to Bokuto, patting his hair down with both hands self-consciously. It wasn’t his fault, he’s done everything in his power to try and tame his unruly black locks, but to no avail. “Shut up, Daishou!” He calls out, and it only makes the group laugh harder.
“You do have to wear a bandana to get your hair inside the helmet,” Bokuto says, un-helpfully. Kuroo was wrong, his best friend is a terrible person.
“Ugh,” Kuroo groans, looking back at Daishou’s slimy, smirking face. “I can’t believe I ever hooked up with that guy.”
“You’re an emotional masochist, my dude.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Kuroo hears skates hitting the ice cleanly from the rink to his left and starts for it. There aren’t many skaters left on the ice at this hour, so chances are it’s Akaashi. “Let’s just get your boyfriend and go, I’m starving.”
“Actually, Akaashi reserved the rink over by the…”
Whatever Bokuto says next is completely lost on Kuroo.
How on Earth can anyone in the building be focused on anything else other than the fact there there is an actual literal angel on the ice right now?
He’s tall and lithe, wearing skin-tight leggings and a black long-sleeve compression shirt that shows off all of the lean muscles and sharp edges of his frame. There’s some song playing through the speakers that Kuroo has never heard before, but is immediately enchanted by. The way the boy’s body moves in perfect time with every note, every beat - holy shit, this is Kuroo’s new favorite song.
And wow his skating? Kuroo has seen some amazing figure skaters before, he’s not one of those hockey players who looks down on it as any less than a sport. But this? This is like nothing Kuroo has ever seen before. The blonde is dancing to the music, yes, but it’s also almost like he’s…fighting with it? Like the music is possessing his body, and he can’t break free. Every jump and spin is all at once a graceful and almost violent revolution against his body, the ice. All of it.
It’s the most beautiful thing Kuroo has ever seen. The fierceness in his eyes and the way his blonde curls whip across his face when he makes another sharp, pivoting turn - gorgeous. The lines of his body, so artful and poised and strong. Kuroo feels like he’s not even a soul connected to a body right now, he feels like he’s just a beat in a song that this incredible blonde will burn to the ground.
“Tsukishima Kei? At least you have good taste.”
“Christ, Akaashi!” Kuroo jumps and clutches his hand to his racing heart, but he’s still unable to tear his eyes away from the figure on the ice. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
Akaashi gives him a deadpan look that Kuroo can see out of his peripherals. “Bokuto and I have both said your name at least five times now.”
“Oh.” Kuroo scratches the back of his head sheepishly. He must have been too caught up in watching the blonde angel skate, he hadn’t even noticed his friends approaching him. He glances quickly down at Akaashi’s feet and sees that he’s already had time to change out of his skates and everything while Kuroo just stood here in a dazed trance. “Sorry, what did you just say? Tsukishima Kei?”
Akaashi nods and leans on his elbows against the side of the rink, watching. “Mhm. He’s the best skater at this rink. Probably even one of the best in the country. Maybe the world.”
“I believe it,” Kuroo breathes. Tsukishima Kei lands another perfect jump, skates gliding effortlessly across the ice like his body is as light as a feather and Kuroo loses his breath.
Bokuto taps his chin thoughtfully, draping himself across Akaashi’s back. “Tsukishima, huh? That name sounds kinda familiar.”
“His brother was in the Olympics a few years ago,” Akaashi supplies, tilting his head to let Bokuto rest his chin on his shoulder. Kuroo gags. Ugh. Couples. “Placed fourth and didn’t get a medal, though. It just about crushed Tsukishima. No one saw him around this rink or any other rinks for months. I’m pretty sure he didn’t put a single toe on the ice that entire time, and then when he came back…”
Kuroo watches the elegant and fiery way that Tsukishima attacks the ice and a wild smile takes over his features.
“He came back with a vengeance.”
Akaashi nods again, but doesn’t offer any further information on the blonde. Well, that simply won’t do. Kuroo needs to know everything.
“Sooo,” he starts innocently. “What would you say this Tsukishima Kei character’s type is?”
Akaashi snorts and barely spares him a sideways glance.
“I’d say his type is ‘stays the hell away and doesn’t speak to him, unless they want him to rip their throat out with the blade of his skate.’”
“Akaashi, please, I’m too young to start planning my wedding like this!”
“More like your funeral,” Akaashi says under his breath, but Kuroo hears him because everything Akaashi says under his breath is actually meant to be heard.
“I think he looks nice!” Bokuto offers supportively.
Bokuto glances back at the ice and flinches. “I am actually very afraid of him.”
“That is because you have in instinct for survival, and Kuroo does not,” Akaashi informs them both. Kuroo rolls his eyes and is about to respond with something surely very witty when his attention is drawn elsewhere.
Tsukishima’s music has gone quiet and he’s making his way off the ice.
“Be right back!” Kuroo says quickly, practically sprinting over to the entrance. He beats Tsukishima there by a few seconds and runs his hands through his hair (hopeless), and leans against the glass waiting for the figure skater.
Tsukishima doesn’t even look at him as he steps off the ice.
Kuroo is a little bit in love.
“Hey,” he says, finally getting the blonde’s attention. The rest of his words dry up in his throat as he finds himself the focus of two very wide and intense and stunning amber eyes.
“Yes?” Tsukishima sits down and starts unlacing his skates. Kuroo has to force his eyes away from the graceful arch of Tsukishima’s back as he bends over to reach his feet.
“I just wanted to say that what you did out there, I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. You were really amazing.”
Tsukishima squints up at him suspiciously. “Do I know you?”
“Oh, uh.” Kuroo tugs at his collar. “Well, no, but I sort of know who you are?” He falters a step back when Tsukishima’s expression goes dangerously icy. He really wishes Tsukishima didn’t have a skate in his hand right now.
“What are you, some kind of a stalker fan or something? These rinks are for private practices only, do I have to call security?”
“What?” Kuroo waves his hands in front of him frantically. “No! No, I skate here, too!”
Tsukishima gives him a skeptical once over.
“Not like you, obviously,” Kuroo huffs a laugh and holds up his hockey bag. “I’m a hockey player.”
The suspicious look doesn’t completely leave Tsukishima’s face, but his body visibly relaxes. “Of course you are,” he says with a wry smile.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Tsukishima shrugs delicately, skin-tight compression shirt riding up ever so slightly, and the centimeter of exposed skin of his midriff is almost enough to make Kuroo miss his next words completely.
“It explains the complete and utter lack of social etiquette.”
That startles a laugh out of Kuroo, loud and obnoxious. Tsukishima wrinkles his nose and it’s terribly cute.
“I already told you, I’m not some weird stalker fanboy! I was waiting for Akaashi, and happened to see you practicing over here.” Kuroo jerks his thumb in the direction that he left his friends. Tsukishima glances over his shoulder and his expression melts the tiniest bit as he waves at Akaashi, but then he turns his full frosty gaze on Kuroo again.
“It makes sense, I suppose. Akaashi did always keep strange company.”
“You mean his boyfriend, Bokuto?” Kuroo laughs. “That’s my best friend!”
“You just keep making more and more sense.” Tsukishima tucks his skates into his bag and stands. Without the added height of his skates now, Kuroo notices they’re much closer to the same height. “And I keep getting less and less interested.”
“So at one point, you were interested?” Kuroo smirks. He expects the quip to fluster Tsukishima a little bit, or at least make him blush. Tsukishima simply regards him coolly, his own smirk starting to form.
“I went from zero percent interested to negative one hundred percent interested.”
“Ouch.” Kuroo tilts his head to the side and gives Tsukishima his best bedroom eyes. “Wanna see if I can make up that two hundred percent in one night?”
Tsukishima looks at him like he just grew an extra head. “Are you - Am I not speaking Japanese right now? Are you out of your mind?”
“I might be,” Kuroo admits. Subtlety was never his strong suit. “Okay, how about you just come out for some food with me, Akaashi, and Bokuto, then? You must be hungry, right? After all that hard work you were putting in.”
Honestly, Kuroo had completely forgotten about going out to eat until this very moment. For how starving he was earlier, he found himself hungry for something else completely now.
Tsukishima frowns and crosses his arms over his narrow chest, looking around. “I actually have plans with my own idiots tonight. Sorry,” he says, but he doesn’t really sound it. “Ah,” he sighs. “There they are now.”
Kuroo follows Tsukishima’s line of sight to a pair standing a few hundred feet away, a taller boy with black hair and a short ginger waving his arms excitedly in the air. Kuroo realizes with a start that he recognizes them. That little freak duo from the rink the next town over. How the hell does Tsukishima know them? Did they learn to skate together? Go to school together? Kuroo wants to know everything about him.
The redhead kid looks a little too happy to see Tsukishima and Kuroo gives him a dirty look that makes the other hockey player drop his arms and cower behind his friend.
“That your boyfriend or something?” Kuroo asks, trying for casual and missing by about a mile.
“As if,” Tsukishima scoffs. “Not that it’s any of your business anyways.”
“What! I was just making polite conversation!”
Tsukishima slings his bag over his shoulder and turns sharply to face him. “What was your name?” He asks, catching Kuroo off-guard.
“It’s Kuroo! Kuroo Tetsurou,” he says, perhaps a little too quickly. Tsukishima nods to himself and his lips curl into a smile that promises all sorts of trouble.
“Well, Kuroo Tetsurou,” he flutters his eyelashes, leaning closer. “The next time you see me practicing in this rink?”
“Yeah?” Kuroo asks breathlessly.
“Don’t.” Tsukishima says with finality, turning back on his heel and walking away with his shoulders held back and his chin tilted haughtily.
Kuroo walks back over to his friends in a daze. He feels like he just walked through a hurricane.
“So?” Bokuto grabs his arm excitedly. “How did it go?”
Kuroo looks over his shoulder and spots a head of blonde hair in the crowd. In that same moment, Tsukishima turns his head as well, and when he catches Kuroo’s eye, he curls his lip in a sneer.
“I think I’m in love with him.”
“No survival instinct whatsoever.” Akaashi shakes his head in disappointment.
Over the next two weeks, Kuroo talks to Tsukishima a grand total of eight more times, and every time leaves Kuroo wanting more than the last.
At first, it was just fun trying to rile the blonde up or get his attention, but as the games went on, Kuroo found himself actually starting to enjoy the brief, but always entertaining, conversations he had with Tsukishima. The figure skater was as icy and biting as a winter blast, sure, but he was also unintentionally funny as hell, not to mention very pleasing to look at.
Some nights, Kuroo’s practice schedule didn’t align with Tsukishima’s, and some nights he simply wasn’t fast enough to catch the blonde before he left for the night. But some nights, some very precious few nights, Kuroo finished up practice with just enough time to make it over to Tsukishima’s rink and catch the end of his routine.
If it was possible to fall in love with people based on their talent and passion alone, Kuroo would have been gone for Tsukishima the first moment he laid eyes on him. And maybe he was, a little bit. Who’s to say? Every night that he was lucky enough to see Tsukishima dancing across the ice, carving out his mark with the blades on his feet, turning something that Kuroo did so ordinarily into a masterpiece, a work of art - well, it was Kuroo’s favorite kind of night.
It would have been nine times that Kuroo and Tsukishima talked, if it wasn’t for the fact that one night when Kuroo went searching the blonde out, he found him stretched out in a perfect splits, bent nearly in half so that his forehead touched one of his knees. His throat ran so dry, that even when Tsukishima looked up and saw him standing there, he could do nothing more than turn right back around and march the other way.
He was wearing sweatpants for Christ’s sake. There was no way he would subject an unwilling Tsukishima to the totally natural but quite inconvenient responses his body had to finding him in such a…flexible position.
Needless to say, Kuroo was more than a little bit gone for Tsukishima Kei, which was a little bit more gone than he planned on being. Tsukishima didn’t appear to be falling prey to his charms quite yet, but the fact that he hadn’t called security on him yet, well, that was a glowing review in Kuroo’s book.
He was fully prepared to play the long game, to break Tsukishima’s walls down five-minute-conversations at a time, when Akaashi Keiji, the wonderful shepherd of romance that he is, provides him the perfect opportunity to go crashing in.
“Okay, I’m going to tell you something and I need you to not react like a weirdo,” Akaashi says when they all meet up after practice one day.
Kuroo and Bokuto had been waiting outside by the ice house’s entrance, kicking snow at each other while they waited for Akaashi to join them. Kuroo had gone to look for Tsukishima already, of course, but even though he swore he saw the blonde on the ice earlier and hadn’t noticed him leaving, his rink was empty when Kuroo checked it.
“Are you - Is he talking to me?” Kuroo confirms with Bokuto when Akaashi’s stern gaze doesn’t leave him for a second.
“Yes, you.” Akaashi pokes him hard in the chest. “I’m serious, Kuroo, please don’t freak him out. It was hard enough to get him to agree to this at all.”
“Woah, woah!” Kuroo throws his hands up defensively. “Freak who out? What did they agree to?”
Akaashi looks over his shoulder towards the ice house and cups his hands to his mouth, breathing on them for warmth and beckoning back Kuroo and Bokuto closer. “Tsukishima,” he lowers his voice to an almost-whisper. Kuroo feels his heart rate pick up. “I ran into him in the bathroom and he - well, he wasn’t feeling very good about how his program went during practice tonight, so I invited him to come out and get some drinks with us, just to help him relax a little bit.”
Through the fluttering of excitement in his stomach, Kuroo feels a sharp cut of concern. Had Tsukishima been beating himself up in the bathroom the whole time Kuroo was looking for him? Was he - Oh, no, was he crying in there? How could a skater as flawless as Tsukishima ever doubt himself like that?
Kuroo suddenly felt his usual urge to rile Tsukishima up and make him pink and flustered replaced with the urge to gather him in his arms and tell him everything was going to be alright.
“It took a lot of convincing to get him to say ‘yes’, and it was only on the condition that I promised him you wouldn’t harass him all night. Do you hear me, Kuroo? If you can’t handle that, then don’t come.”
“I can!” Kuroo protests. “I’m going to be totally normal. I can treat Tsukishima Kei like he’s just another person. Easy.”
Just then, the automatic doors to the ice rink slide open and the man in question himself steps out into the night air. Tsukishima is wearing a cropped puffy dark blue jacket that just hits the top of his hips, a white scarf tucked up to his nose, and a horrible green beanie with a pom pom on top tugged over his ears.
Kuroo’s mind goes screeching to a halt.
He’s so used to seeing Tsukishima in his skin-tight practice outfits, all dark and sleek and sexy. But this… This is life changing.
Because Tsukishima Kei - beautiful, gorgeous, ethereal, hot, Tsukishima Kei - is the cutest thing he’s ever seen in his life.
How is that even fair? How is that even possible? People are either hot or they’re cute, and up until this very moment Kuroo was very confident in which category Tsukishima fell under, but now? Now he’s both?
And as if the adorable bundled up outfit wasn’t enough…
“You wear glasses?” Kuroo blurts out. Tsukishima startles and pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose with a fingertip. They're silver and slim wire frames and they magnify Tsukishima’s eyes so that they’re even bigger and more captivating than before.
“The majority of the time, except for when I’m skating,” Tsukishima responds. “I wear contacts when I skate and don’t usually bother changing out of them until I get home, but they get uncomfortable after too long, so since I was going out tonight I just figured…” he trails off, almost self-consciously and Kuroo rushes to reassure him.
“They’re -” Really fucking hot. Akaashi gives him a warning look. “Neat!”
Tsukishima blinks at him. “Neat.”
Bokuto tries to cover his snort of laughter with a cough and ends up choking on his own saliva, which is pretty much the only saving grace to the entire ordeal.
“Okay,” Akaashi claps his hands together with obviously forced cheer. “Let’s do this.”
They make the short walk over to a bar that Kuroo, Bokuto, and Akaashi frequent after practices, with tons of greasy food to refuel the hockey players after a rough practice, and good vodka, which is all Akaashi cares about.
The sidewalk is only wide enough for two people to walk side by side, so they all do an awkward shuffle until Akaashi and Tsukishima end up walking next to each other in the front with Kuroo and Bokuto trailing behind them. Kuroo has to keep pinching his own arm to keep his eyes off of Tsukishima’s ass in his leggings and facing forward instead. Normally, he’s a big fan of watching Tsukishima walk away, but he promised Akaashi he wouldn’t do anything to make Tsukishima uncomfortable tonight, and even if the blonde can’t see where his eyes are, he’s pretty sure he’s staring so hard it’s as good as a physical touch.
“Dude,” Bokuto says under his breath, elbowing Kuroo in the side. “Close your mouth, you’re starting to drool.”
“What?” Kuroo shuts his jaw with a sharp clack, quickly looking away from the sway of Tsukishima’s hips and running his gloved hands over his chin. He scowls when they come away perfectly dry. “Not funny dude, I’m really trying here!”
Bokuto gives him a funny grin, cocking his head to the side like a curious puppy. “Yeah, I can tell that you actually are.”
Before Kuroo can ask what the hell that is supposed to mean, they reach the bar, and the conversation is put on hold.
They have a regular booth, tucked away in a far back corner so that they have room to drop all of their practice bags and gear without getting in everyone else’s ways. Kuroo and Bokuto slide into one side together, and Akaashi and Tsukishima take the other.
By some sort of cosmic force, or maybe good karma for behaving himself so well on the walk over, Kuroo ends up with Tsukishima directly across from him. The blonde shrugs out of his jacket, unwinds the scarf from his neck, and runs his fingers through his hair when he pulls off his hat. It’s like a rated G strip tease, and Kuroo doesn’t realize that he’s watching the entire ritual with rapt attention until he finds dangerously narrowed eyes burning holes into his skull.
He expects a scathing remark to follow, but all Tsukishima says is, “Go get me a drink.”
Well, someone is feeling much better already.
Kuroo quirks an amused eyebrow, and as he and Bokuto climb out of the booth to grab the first round, he dips into a mock bow.
“As you wish, Ice Princess.”
Tsukishima’s lips curl into a haughty, mocking smirk and Kuroo feels weak in the knees.
“That’s Ice Queen to you. Puck Head.”
Bokuto has to physically drag Kuroo away from the table and towards the bar, because he has officially lost all control of his motor functions. Tsukishima Kei has literally rendered him unable to function as a normal human.
“Bo, did you hear that?” Kuroo swoons dramatically across the bar counter as the bartender goes to grab their drinks.
“I heard him call you a Puck Head,” Bokuto responds. “Was that a good sign?”
“He’s so mean,” Kuroo groans, thunking his forehead on the bar. “He’s perfect.”
Bokuto shrugs, grabbing his beer and Akaashi’s drink from the bartender. “Whatever gets your rocks off, man. I’m not judging you.”
Kuroo grinned to himself, grabbing his own beer and Tsukishima’s drink and following him back towards the table.
Tsukishima wrinkles his nose in that cute, distasteful way of his when Kuroo sets down his drink in front of him. He hadn’t actually specified what he wanted Kuroo to get him, so he took a little creative liberty.
“What is that?”
“White Russian,” Kuroo answers, licking foam off his top lip. Tsukishima glances up at him, then quickly back down to the drink. “What, you don’t like them?”
“Never had one.”
“Try it then, it won’t kill ya.”
With one final skeptical look, Tsukishima raises the glass to his lips and takes a tiny sip. Kuroo watches carefully as his fine eyebrows creep up his forehead, licking his lips with a hum.
“It’s good,” Tsukishima admits. “Sweet. Kinda creamy.”
Kuroo feels his face split into a beaming smile. “I knew you would like it! Man, can I read you or what?”
Tsukishima scowls. “Calm down, it’s just a drink. I’m sure plenty of people enjoy it. And don’t call me ‘man’, I’m not one of your neanderthal hockey bros,” he adds primly.
“Oh?” Kuroo rests his elbows on the table and leans forward. “Well I can think of a lot of other things I’d like to call - Ow! Akaashi, watch it!”
Akaashi smiles innocently at him over the rim of his glass while Kuroo rubs his abused shin. Is Akaashi wearing steel-toed boots or something? Okay, maybe he deserved that one. He really just can’t help himself when it comes to Tsukishima. When Tsukishima gives, he has no other choice but to give back just as good as he gets it.
Smirking, Tsukishima takes another sip of his White Russian and scoots closer to Akaashi, turning his attention away from Kuroo.
Oho, so that’s how he wants to play this? Fine by Kuroo.
“Man, is it hotter in here than usual?” Kuroo asks loudly, interrupting the others’ conversation and dramatically fanning himself off with his hands.
Bokuto shrugs. “Maybe they cranked up the heat since it’s so cold outside?”
Kuroo snaps his fingers. “You know what, that’s probably it! You guys just keep talking, don’t mind me, I’m just gonna -” Kuroo grabs the bottom of his hoodie and pulls it up over his head, leaving him in just his sleeveless black compression tank top that he wears under his practice gear. He makes sure to give his hair a good tousle and flexes his biceps as he takes off his outer layer, and smirks when he catches Tsukishima’s eyes trailing lightning fast down his body.
Just as quickly, the blonde’s eyes snap up to his face and he glares, fingers tightening around his glass so hard Kuroo thinks it might shatter in his hand.
Akaashi rolls his eyes so hard, it’s actually loud.
“Ohhhh!” Bokuto’s face suddenly lights up in realization. “Okay, yeah, I see what’s happening now.”
“No idea what you’re talking about, man. I’m just sooo hot.” Kuroo rests his elbows on the table again, this time making sure to cross them over one another in a way that really makes his forearm veins pop. Tsukishima throws back the rest of his drink.
“Excuse me, Akaashi,” he grits out, very obviously trying to maintain politeness while not bashing Kuroo’s brain in. “I need another drink.”
Kuroo crosses his arms behind his head and watches Tsukishima go with a bright smile.
“Stop keeping count, dude. It’s weird.”
“Nobody asked you, Bo.”
Tsukishima’s cheeks get the slightest bit of a glow and flushed pink when he finishes off a third drink, and Kuroo’s life would have been a lot simpler if he had never learned that particular fact.
But, as fate would have it, here he is, sitting in the back of a crowded bar, with the perfect view of Tsukishima Kei sitting right across from him with his cheeks the most lovely shade of pink and his bright eyes slightly glazed over and - and -
It’s not even, like, a spiteful or cruel smile. Bokuto told the most terrible joke in the history of jokes and Akaashi shut him down so flatly that it made Tsukishima smile.
And oh, the things Kuroo would do to get that smile directed at him some day.
“Hey!” Bokuto grins, pointing a finger right in Tsukishima’s face. “You actually look kinda nice when you do that!”
Kuroo holds his breath, expecting Tsukishima to immediately wipe the smile right off his face, but to his surprise, the blonde just huffs a laugh. A laugh.
“Are you saying I don’t always look nice?” He challenges, but there’s no edge to his voice. It’s soft and playful, and does all sorts of weird things to Kuroo’s insides.
Bokuto gets flustered and immediately backtracks anyways. “What? No! No you - I mean, you look - Uh, super nice! All the time!”
Tsukishima stands in his seat to reach across the table and flicks Bokuto on the forehead right between his eyes.
He sits back down with a self-satisfied little smirk on his face, and that, coupled with the absolutely dumb-struck look on Bokuto’s face is enough to make Kuroo laugh so hard, he starts to cry a little. Akaashi joins in after a second, and even Tsukishima is hiding giggles behind his hands, shoulders shaking and eyes alight with amusement. He looks over at Kuroo as he’s wiping tears from the corners of his eyes, and when their gazes lock, Kuroo feels like a shock of electricity shoots up his spine.
Not straight to his dick like it usually does, but all the way up to his chest.
Well, that’s new.
It’s almost closing time when the four of them actually manage to pull themselves together enough to leave the bar.
It isn’t because they’re all stumbling drunk or anything, Kuroo is pleasantly buzzed but still very much in control of himself. It’s mostly because they can’t stop laughing and messing around long enough to get up from the table.
Maybe it was the four drinks he had, or maybe it was because over the course of the last few hours Tsukishima actually grew to like Kuroo and his friends, but whatever it was had Tsukishima giggling and joking around and fitting in with them like a puzzle piece that was meant to be there all along.
And when Bokuto and Akaashi get a cab to go home together, Tsukishima doesn’t say no when Kuroo suggests they share, as well. Tsukishima lives in the same direction as him, it turns out, so it only makes sense. Kuroo isn’t trying to prey on him or anything, he’s just being a good neighbor. And cost effective. He’s helping them both out, really.
Once they climb into the backseat of the cab together, the absence of Akaashi and Bokuto as buffers becomes incredibly apparent, however. Tsukishima pulls his knees tightly together so that they don’t get anywhere close to touching Kuroo’s when he spreads them out comfortably, angling his body so that he looks like he’s about to jump out the window.
“So,” Kuroo starts awkwardly, wanting to dispel the silence. “When did you start skating?”
Tsukishima exhales and relaxes at the simple question. “I started taking actual lessons when I was eight years old, but I used to skate on a lake near my house in the winter with my older brother and his friends.”
“Oh, that’s right! That’s why you started skating, huh? You want to be like your older brother?”
“No.” Tsukishima bites out immediately. “I want to be better than him.”
Kuroo blinks, a little taken aback by the sudden change in demeanor.
“Oh-kaaaay,” he says slowly. “So, what? You wanna go to the Olympics and get gold?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Well, if you don’t wanna go to the Olympics, what do you want?”
“I don’t know!”
“Come on, there has to be something that you -”
“Why do you care so much?” Tsukishima turns in his seat abruptly, eyes flashing. Kuroo swallows hard. He’s no expert in dealing with Tsukishima Kei or anything, but he knows the warning zone when he’s right in the middle of it.
“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to pry. I was just trying to learn more about you.”
“Why?” Tsukishima asks again, and this time there’s something raw and cracked in his voice. “Why the hell are you so interested in me at all? I’m not even nice to you!”
He’s breathing harshly, entire demeanor a little wild and off-kilter, and maybe now isn’t the best time to be thinking about how beautiful he is, but Kuroo can’t ignore a blatant fact of the universe when it’s staring him right in the face.
He offers Tsukishima a blatant fact of the universe of his own.
“You’re a lot like your skating, did you know that? Beautiful and untouchable, controlled but so full of passion. And yeah, maybe you’re not ‘nice’ to me, but you don’t ignore me either, which means that you feel something for me. And honestly? I’m a little too addicted to care what it is. I’ll take anything I can get from you.”
Tsukishima stares blankly at him, all of the anger draining out of him.
“What the fuck,” he finally says in a tiny voice. “What the fuck?”
And then he shoves Kuroo against the car door, climbs into his lap, and kisses the everliving daylights out of him.
Kuroo very much prides himself on his self-control and tact when it comes to wild and messy make outs, always keeping just enough presence of mind to make sure his technique is still on-point. But he would be absolutely lying if he said that the moment Tsukishima’s lips touched his, he didn’t become the most mindless, lust-driven animal in the history of mankind.
His arms come up to wrap around Tsukishima’s narrow waist immediately, fitting around him like it’s exactly where they belong. His head is banging painfully into the window behind him and Tsukishima’s glasses are poking him in the eye a little bit, but he couldn’t care less about any of that shit when he’s got Tsukishima’s wicked tongue tasting every inch of his mouth and those wonderful, sculpted thighs bracketing his hips.
He lets his hands slide further down Tsukishima’s back, grabbing that firm, perky ass with both hands and squeezes hard.
Tsukishima goes boneless against him, releasing the breathiest, most erotic moan right against Kuroo’s lips.
“Shit,” Kuroo curses roughly, kneading the flesh in his hands and devouring each and every sound Tsukishima makes like a man starving. “Fuck, that’s so hot. Tsu - Tsukki!” Kuroo groans a broken version of Tsukishima’s name as the blonde licks a hot stripe up the side of his neck, punctuating it with a bite to his earlobe.
“What - What did you just call me?” Tsukishima pulls back slightly, breathless and flushed.
“I don’t remember,” Kuroo says honestly, wracking his brain for any information from the past five minutes other than Tsukishima’s ass in his hands.
“Tsukki,” he repeats himself finally, a dopey grin taking over his features. “Hey, that’s a pretty cute nickname.”
“I’ll slice you to ribbons.”
Kuroo groans, thunking his head back against the car window. “Fuck, you’re so fucking hot.”
Tsukishima laughs, high and breathy and so lovely it makes Kuroo ache all over.
“You’re an emotional masochist, did you know that?”
“Funny enough, I have heard that one before.”
Tsukishima blesses him with another one of his adorable grins before ducking in and kissing Kuroo again, this time just a few gentle pecks to his lips, his cheeks, his chin. Kuroo grins and closes his eyes, just relishing in the feeling of Tsukishima’s gentle touches and caresses all over his skin.
His heart feels swelled to bursting and he just can’t hold it in any longer.
“Listen, Tsukki, I -”
“Alright, we’re here.” The cab driver barks suddenly, the car creeping to a halt in front of a building that Kuroo doesn’t recognize. Must be Tsukishima’s apartment, then.
Slowly, as if it pains him to do so, Tsukishima pulls himself away from Kuroo, out of his lap and out of his arms. It causes Kuroo quite a bit of pain, too.
“The Grand Prix qualifiers start in two weeks,” Tsukishima says, which is the first time anyone has ever said that particular sentence to Kuroo after a heated make out, but okay then.
“Oh.” Kuroo scratches his head. “That’s cool?”
Tsukishima purses his lips and crosses his arms tightly across his chest. “I can’t have any distractions before then.”
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that ‘distraction’ = ‘Kuroo’ in this case.
“Right.” Kuroo’s heart plummets. “Yeah, no, that makes sense. Your skating comes first. Definitely.”
Tsukishima fixes him with a pointed look.
“I can’t have any distractions before then,” he repeats slowly, like Kuroo is a bit thick in the head.
Which he might be, because it takes a few more seconds for Tsukishima’s words to finally sink in.
“Oh. Oh! But after…?”
Tsukishima rolls his eyes but a grin plays at his lips. He ducks forward again, too quick for Kuroo to react, and gives him a brief but heated kiss that makes Kuroo’s toes curl. The blonde opens the cab door and slides out of the car.
“Goodnight, Puck Head,” Tsukishima says, closing the door behind him in Kuroo’s face.
Kuroo scrambles across the seats and rolls down the window, calling out just as the cab driver starts to pull away, “Goodnight, my Ice Queen!”
This may be a bit of an exaggeration but actually probably not at all:
It is, without a doubt, the hardest and longest two weeks of Kuroo’s life.
The innuendo was not implied, but just thinking of the words ‘long’ and ‘hard’ is enough to make Kuroo dangerously close to coming in his pants like a teenager. That is how on edge he is.
Now that he’s had a tiny sample of Tsukishima, now that he knows what he tastes like and sounds like and feels like, he’s like a horny high school kid jacking off under his covers every night. Except, he doesn’t live in his mom’s house anymore, so he jacks off very much on top of his covers and doesn’t even have to try and keep quiet when he comes with the name Kei on his lips every night. He’s never actually had the pleasure of calling Tsukishima by his first name to his face before, so he makes the most of his time alone, chanting it like a dying man’s last prayer.
For two weeks.
It’s a small mercy that Tsukishima even still lets Kuroo watch him practice and chat with him when he’s finished a few days a week. He wasn’t sure if the ‘distraction’ only included making out with Kuroo, or if his presence in general counted. Luckily, Tsukishima hadn’t asked him to leave him alone yet.
Well, no more often than he usually asks Kuroo to leave him alone.
He isn’t any nicer to Kuroo after their heated cab make out session either, which just adds so much fuel to Kuroo’s fire. Because now that he knows that Tsukishima wants him and his icy facade is nothing more than that, a facade, he’s even more obsessed with trying to get a reaction out of the skater.
One night, Kuroo was sitting in the stands watching Tsukishima run through the last of his program, and when he finished, Kuroo stood up and loudly started to cheer in the silence of the empty rink. Tsukishima whipped his head around and glared, but Kuroo had a feeling the flush on his cheeks was from more than just exertion.
“Damn, Tsukki!” Kuroo cupped his hands around his mouth to call down to the ice. “That was flawless, as usual! How do you even do that?”
Tsukishima pursed his lips before calling back up, “Do you want me to show you?”
Kuroo was already changing back into his skates before the entire question was out of Tsukishima’s pretty little mouth.
It was the most fun Kuroo had on the ice in a long time. He loves hockey, he really does, and there’s nothing like the feeling of a good game with his teammates beside him, but that night? Twirling around on the ice under the lights with Tsukishima Kei?
Don’t tell Bokuto, but he would take that any day.
Tsukishima tried to teach Kuroo a series of simple spins and jumps, but Kuroo’s hockey skates and Kuroo himself as a person were too clunky and uncoordinated to pull any of them off without nearly face planting on the ice. It was entirely worth it for the way that Tsukishima would watch him stumble and flail around with one arm wrapped around his middle and the other held up to his face, trying to hide the helpless way he was giggling at Kuroo’s failed attempts.
“Alright,” Kuroo said eventually, skating closer to Tsukishima so that the toes of their skates nearly touched. “I’ve had about enough of you just standing around and laughing at me. Teach me some pair skating moves we can do together.”
Tsukishima arched an eyebrow but didn’t move away. “You think I trust you enough for that?”
“Definitely not. Wanna do it anyways?” Kuroo held out his hands. Tsukishima’s expression was unreadable in that moment, eyes scanning Kuroo’s face like he was looking for cracks in his armor.
Well, joke’s on him. When it comes to Tsukishima Kei, Kuroo’s armor is just one giant crack.
Kuroo had been so lost in Tsukishima’s piercing gaze, he nearly jumped out of his skin when two delicate gloved hands were placed in his. Kuroo blinked down at Tsukishima’s hands in his in surprise, like they weren’t actually attached to his body. He had never hated a pair of gloves more in his life. What he wouldn’t have done to feel Tsukishima’s skin against his in that moment.
“We are doing a very small lift only!” Tsukishima warned him, leading Kuroo out to the center of the ice, but nothing he said could have brought down Kuroo’s mood in that moment. “I’m talking no more than three inches off the ground, do you understand?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it. I won’t drop you, Your Highness,” Kuroo teased. His fingers itched for Tsukishima to give him the go ahead to wrap them around his narrow waist. The blonde scowled, shoving a finger into his sternum and fixing him with a stern look.
“I’m not kidding. Pairs jumps can be very dangerous. I could end up slitting your throat with my skates, or something.” Tsukishima paused thoughtfully. “Actually, maybe we should try some more advanced stuff…”
“Ha ha, very funny. You do remember that I know how to skate, right?”
Tsukishima smirked, pointedly glancing down at Kuroo’s skates. “You know how to play hockey,” he corrected with devastating superiority.
“Oh, that is it.”
Kuroo gave Tsukishima no other warning before he wrapped both arms around him and threw him over his shoulder. A little squeak of surprise escaped Tsukishima before he was beating at Kuroo’s back and shouting a string of expletives that made Kuroo laugh so hard his stomach started to hurt and he had to put Tsukishima back on his feet.
The blonde glared at him, face pink and hair a ruffled mess. “I regret ever meeting you,” he informed Kuroo.
“Okay,” Kuroo grinned, settling his hands on Tsukishima’s hips. “Wanna teach me how to do the lift for real this time?”
Tsukishima opened his mouth, probably to vehemently protest and curse Kuroo out a little more, but when Kuroo tightened his grip, pressing his thumbs into the hollows of his sharp hipbones, nothing but a weak puff of breath came out.
Kuroo listened attentively, a much better student to Tsukishima than he ever was to any of his teachers in school, as he explained the technique. It really was a very simple lift, but there were a lot of logistics to where Kuroo could put his feet so he didn’t trip up Tsukishima by accidentally locking their blades together, and the way he had to lean his body weight. When Tsukishima had quizzed Kuroo on everything he said and finally deemed him adequate enough to not get them both killed, they worked slowly up to, skating circles alongside each other.
“Now!” Tsukishima said, and Kuroo held onto his waist and lifted him just a few inches off the ground, spinning them both in place as he did it. The position put Tsukishima above him, and when Kuroo looked up and saw the reflection of the lights dancing off the ice playing across his face, he almost dropped him.
And when Tsukishima looked down at him and smiled, well. Kuroo did actually drop him a little bit.
Tsukishima instinctively threw his arms around Kuroo’s neck when he started to fall, and Kuroo caught him easily with both arms around his back, crushing his lithe figure against Kuroo’s broader body. He felt Tsukishima’s breath catch in his chest as he slowly lowered him back to the ice.
Kuroo didn’t move his hands from Tsukishima’s waist.
Tsukishima didn’t move his arms from around Kuroo’s neck.
Neither of them parted even an inch.
Slowly, as if he might startle the blonde away, Kuroo started to slide his hands up Tsukishima’s back, feeling his corded muscle shift beneath the skin-tight material of his shirt. Tsukishima released a shaky exhale, arching ever so slightly into Kuroo’s touch.
“Kuroo,” he warned in a breathy whisper.
“I know,” Kuroo groaned, dropping his head to Tsukishima’s shoulder. “I know, I just - Fuck, I can’t wait to get my hands all over you, it’s driving me crazy.”
“They’re all over me right now.”
Kuroo laughed, slightly crazed and pulled back to look at Tsukishima’s face again. To look him right in the eye when he said, “You think this is all over? That’s cute, baby. You really have no idea what I wanna do to you.”
Abruptly, Tsukishima planted his hands on Kuroo’s chest and shoved him away, chest rising and falling quickly, eyes wide and panicked. “I -” His hands fell to the front of his leggings, covering his groin. “Oh, fuck you, Kuroo!” He shouted, face burning scarlet red as he skated quickly off the ice and headed for the locker room.
Kuroo stood there in a daze for who knows how long, replaying the events over and over in his head.
He definitely just gave Tsukishima a boner, right there, in the middle of the ice rink, from nothing more than light petting over his clothes and some borderline dirty talk. He couldn’t wait to absolutely wreck Tsukishima when he finally got the chance to show him what he could really do.
That was four days ago. The last time he saw Tsukishima.
So yeah, Kuroo has had a long fucking two weeks.
Thank God the qualifiers are tomorrow.
“Is this him? Is it his turn?”
“Does the person on the ice right now look anything even remotely like Tsukishima to you?”
Kuroo squints at the short, dark-haired boy and sighs in defeat, slumping back in his chair.
“Look at that,” Akaashi drawls. “You can answer your own questions. So please, stop asking me. I’m trying to watch.”
Kuroo sighs again. He’s accompanied Bokuto to many of Akaashi's figure skating competitions over the years, and while he finds a lot of the performances actually very enjoyable to watch, the pacing of the whole ordeal can be dragging and tedious. In a hockey match, there’s barely a second on the clock that passes without someone getting slammed into the glass, or a fight breaking out - at least some solid checking action. Figure skating competitions are two minutes of entertainment, followed by thirty minutes of waiting and waiting and waiting for scoring and crying and the ice to be cleaned off before the next person can perform.
He’s more than happy to be here to support Tsukishima, but he would be a lot happier if he actually got to see Tsukishima at some point. Preferably in the next century. Odds are not looking in Kuroo’s favor.
The current skater’s program is nice to watch, elegant and flowery. It’s some classical piece coming out of the speakers, and the boy’s outfit is modest and black with just the barest hint of rhinestones. All of the program’s so far had been nice to watch, but none of them even held a candle to the power and raw passion that Tsukishima’s had. Kuroo had only watched him during practices, but he knows that as soon as Tsukishima steps on that ice and puts on a real performance, there won’t be a single question in anyone’s mind who the gold belongs to.
“Say, Akaashi,” he taps his friend on the shoulder when the performance is over. “Why aren’t you competing today?”
Akaashi scoffs. “Because I’m smart. I’m not going to go up against Tsukishima until I have to. I’m going to skate in the Russia qualifiers.”
“Right,” Kuroo nods. “For argument’s sake, let’s say I needed you to explain the whole Grand Prix thing to me again. How exactly does it work?”
“Oh, I got this, let me tell him!” Bokuto bounces in his seat excitedly. Akaashi gestures for him to go on. “Okay, so there are six Grand Prix competitions in different places all over the world, and to make it to the Grand Prix final, skaters have to compete in at least two of them to try and get the highest scores they possibly can. And then, after all six of the events are over, the skaters’ scores are added up and whoever has the highest scores gets to compete in the Grand Prix finals! Is that right, Akaashi?”
Akaashi grins and turns in his seat to peck Bokuto on the cheek proudly. Kuroo gags. (Secretly, he adores them.)
“That’s exactly right. Since I knew Tsukishima was going to be skating in the Japan qualifier, my coach and I decided to enter the Russia qualifiers as my first event instead. I’m not sure I’m prepared at this stage to go up against Tsukishima, and I’d rather not have my first competition end in a crushing defeat.”
“He’s really that good, huh?” Kuroo breathes. He eyes the ice again, praying for a glimpse of Tsukishima.
It’s not that he didn’t already know that Tsukishima was the best skater he’d ever seen, but it was something else entirely to hear somebody who was actually in the same sport as him and knew what they were talking about say skilled Tsukishima is.
How feared he is.
“As if you don’t already know,” Akaashi smirks.
The announcer calls the next skater to the ice and Kuroo’s heart tries to pound its way out of his chest when he recognizes Tsukishima’s silhouette, the back of his pretty blonde head as he skates his way to the center of the ice. And then, Tsukishima turns around and Kuroo gets his first good look at what he’s wearing.
Good lord. Tsukishima hadn’t been kidding all those times. He really was trying to kill Kuroo.
The bottoms are plain black leggings like he usually wears, but with little gold stitches criss-crossing down the sides to match his top - if it can even be called that. It’s deep purple and mesh and completely see-through. There are glittery golden crescent moons dotted across the body of the shirt, as well an extra piece of shimmery golden fabric wrapped around his hips that swishes around whenever he moves.
It’s inhumanly gorgeous.
“Wow,” Kuroo croaks. Akaashi shushes him and Kuroo holds his breath as the entire rink goes eerily silent. He sees Tsukishima’s chest rise and fall with a deep breath, and then in a burst of motion and sound, the song that Kuroo has become so familiar with it he sometimes hears it in his dreams starts to play and Tsukishima starts to skate.
The notes of the song are hauntingly beautiful, and Tsukishima is even more so. Kuroo has seen him skate this exact program probably close to a dozen times by now, but he’s still on the edge of his seat, just as enraptured as every other person in the audience.
Seeing it performed like this, it’s like Kuroo is seeing it for the first time again. The new outfit is definitely a game changer, but it’s also Tsukishima’s expression. During practices, he usually only shows focus and determination on his face, but now, he’s wearing every emotion the song contains on his face, plain as day for anyone to see. It’s a love song, maybe, soft and lilting in the beginning, but also anguished and sad towards the end. Maybe the person in the song lost their lover. Maybe their lover broke their heart.
It’s lovely and thrilling, almost like he’s spying on Tsukishima doing something that he shouldn’t see, seeing all of that naked emotion on his usually so closed off face.
Is this what Tsukishima looks like when no one else is around? When he isn’t so worried about keeping up appearances, keeping up walls. Does he always feel things so profoundly like this? How much does he really keep hidden behind that perfect doll mask of his?
Kuroo wants to know. Wants to see all of it. Wants to strip Tsukishima down bit by bit until he uncovers the barest, most vulnerable parts of his soul. He wants it so bad, it’s like a physical ache in his chest.
The music starts to swell and Kuroo pays extra close attention, knowing that the climax of the song and the second half of the program are full of the most difficult jumps. He asked Tsukishima why once, since it made more sense to him to put them in the first half when he wasn’t tired yet, but Tsukishima said the more difficult you make it, the higher the score you get. So, if he puts his harder jumps in the second half when he’s already tired, they mark him higher for it.
Tsukishima wasn’t just skating to do well. He was skating to fight, and he was skating to win. Kuroo admired the hell out of him for it.
A collective gasp goes up from the audience when Tsukishima starts into an obviously difficult jump towards the very end of the song and when his skates leave the ice, Kuroo knows before they even touch down again that it’s over. There’s no way anyone else could top this.
Tsukishima stands in the middle of the ice as the music dies out, poised and pretty with his chest heaving from exertion. When the last note dies out, a cheer goes up from the crowd so loud it’s deafening and Kuroo smiles so big he thinks it’ll break his face.
“Holy shit, he totally just won that, didn’t he?”
“He still has to skate his free program,” Akaashi says. “But yes, I’d say his chances are good.”
Kuroo’s eyebrows furrow together. “Free program? But that’s the only routine I’ve ever seen Tsukki practice before.”
Akaashi smiles, sly and knowing. “That’s because Tsukishima never skates his free program in public, not until the actual competition. He goes to a tiny rink back in his hometown and rents out the whole thing to practice it, just to make sure nobody sees. It’s rumored to be something of a miracle, I’ve heard.”
Kuroo sits back, processing all of this new information he’s been given.
He’s going to get to see Tsukishima skate something new today, something he’s been hiding from the entire world up until now, for the first time ever. He’s pretty sure he’s never been more excited for anything in his life.
“Tsukishima Kei is something of a miracle.”
Kuroo watches on the screen as Tsukishima is awarded the points for his short program - by far the highest score of the day so far - and hugs a dark haired man in glasses who looks close to tears. His coach, Kuroo thinks. Takeda. Tsukishima has mentioned him before.
Then, the free programs start. Kuroo tries to focus on what’s going on on the ice, but really, when it isn’t Tsukishima, it doesn’t manage to catch his attention for very long. The entire competition feels like one big waiting game, just the warm-ups, the foreplay to when Tsukishima finally takes center stage.
Finally, the announcer calls Tsukishima’s name for the free program.
Oh. Oh no.
Kuroo is about to have a very unfortunate situation in the middle of this figure skating competition.
Tsukishima’s new outfit is positively dripping in sin.
Cherry red pants that cling to every line and curve of his body, made of some kind of shiny material like latex or something that catches the light and seems to flow like water down his endlessly long legs. The top is a black blouse this time, silky with billowing sleeves and wide open in the front all the way down to his navel, with loose strings tied across his chest but doing absolutely nothing to hold the material together. His skin looks white as snow in contrast, smooth and tantalizing and fuck.
Yeah. Kuroo is at least half-hard already.
He shifts in his seat and crosses his legs, trying to hide the growing problem in his pants. Akaashi is too caught up in the anticipation of Tsukishima’s performance to notice, but Bokuto glances at him over Akaashi’s head and gives him a lewd and all too knowing wink.
This is going to be an interesting two minutes.
A few people in the audience catcall Tsukishima in the moments of silence before Tsukishima’s program starts, and Kuroo has half a mind to find them all and break their noses one by one. The noise breaks Tsukishima’s focus and he snaps his head up in the direction of the catcall with a glare so fiery, Kuroo is surprised it doesn’t melt the ice beneath his feet.
He’s one hundred percent hard now.
After the interruption, Tsukishima takes a few more seconds to get himself into the zone.
The music starts to play, a low bass immediately thrumming through the rink. It’s hard and dirty and sensual and Kuroo watches, completely and helpless obsessed, as Tsukishima Kei visually fucks a song in front of thousands of people.
Kuroo understands now why Tsukishima doesn’t practice this routine in public. It probably isn’t legal.
He does moves Kuroo has never seen him do before, low to the ground, rolling and thrusting motions that show off the fluid, sinewy lines of his body. Spins on his knees and moves where he bends nearly completely in half backwards at the waist, his fingertips trailing the ice behind him, elegant line of his neck exposed with his head thrown back. His movements are all slower and sharper than the ones in his first program, and apparently a man of many faces, even his expression is completely different.
Eyes half-lidded, tongue poking out to lick at his bottom lip.
The whole ‘strip Tsukishima down to his soul’ thing is still part of Kuroo’s plan, but he definitely wants to strip him out of those clothes first. Wants to expose every inch of Tsukishima’s gorgeous body, to make him give Kuroo a very up close and personal demonstration of some of those moves he’s doing on the ice right now. Wants to tear him apart piece and make him scream until his throat is raw, only to pain staking put him back together immediately afterwards.
If Tsukishima fucks anything like he skates, Kuroo is mere minutes away from what will surely be the greatest orgasm of his life.
The cheers are even louder this time when Tsukishima finishes, which Kuroo wouldn’t have even thought possible before now. Everyone around him stands to give Tsukishima a standing ovation, and Kuroo takes the opportunity to stand up, pulling his hoodie as far down his thighs as he can and slipping out of the stands.
He pulls out his phone and looks at the texts Tsukishima had sent him that morning, a mere few hours ago but it felt like years.
tsukki<3: Dressing room 3A
tsukki<3: If you make me wait I’ll step on your dick.
tsukki<3: In my skates.
Tsukishima looks surprised to see Kuroo sitting in his dressing room when he finally walks in.
“You’re here already?” His face falls into something close to a pout. “You missed the scoring.”
Kuroo stands and crosses the room in a few easy steps, backing Tsukishima up against the door. He’s already changed out of his leathery tight pants, which is a shame because they looked so delicious on his, but also probably good because they wouldn’t be very practical for what’s going to come next. He’s also changed out of his skates, so Kuroo can look him dead in the eye, one hand flat on the door next to his head and the other coming up to cradle Tsukishima’s cheek. It might be too affectionate of a gesture for the situation, but Tsukishima doesn’t swat him away.
“I don’t care what the judges say your score was. It was absolutely perfect to me.”
Tsukishima’s eyes widen, lips parting slightly, but he quickly remembers himself, clearing his throat and regaining his composure.
“Yes, well, you’re not exactly a figure skating expert, are you? Your opinion won’t get me into the Grand Prix finals.”
“Mmm,” Kuroo hums. “But will it get me into your pants?”
A startled laugh escapes Tsukishima and his hand flies up to cover his face. Kuroo catches him by the wrist before he can and pins it to the door behind him.
“Aw, come on. There’s no use getting all shy on me now, Ice Queen. I’m about to see a whole lot more of you than just your face. Besides, you’ve got a real nice smile, you know that?”
Tsukishima flexes his wrist in Kuroo’s grasp, testing its hold and Kuroo sees his throat work around a swallow when he realizes there’s no give to it. Kuroo chuckles low and noses his way across Tsukishima’s cheek to the shell of his ear.
“You’re quiet all of a sudden. Having second thoughts?”
“If I didn’t want this, you’d have my foot up your ass right now.”
Kuroo laughs and pulls away to give Tsukishima a dirty smirk.
“Was kinda hoping to get something up your ass, actually.”
Tsukishima glares, heated and dangerous, his free hand fisting itself in the front of Kuroo’s shirt.
“You think I’m some bottom bitch just because you saw me in a skirt?”
“Not at all,” Kuroo says, stepping even closer so that the entire lengths of their bodies are pressed flush together. “I think you’re a bottom bitch because you want me to fuck you so badly, you’re shaking.”
And it’s true. He is. Quiet little tremors throughout his body that could be easily mistaken for nerves, but Kuroo sees them clearly for what they are. Eager anticipation.
“You don’t know a damn thing about what I want,” Tsukishima growls. Kuroo can feel his pulse thrumming erratically in his wrist.
“Oh?” Kuroo raises his eyebrows. He gently pries Tsukishima’s hand from his shirt and starts to back away. “So, you won’t mind at all if I just leave now?”
It’s a dirty trick, he knows, and he obviously has no actual intentions of leaving this room without fucking Tsukishima (unless, of course, the blonde really does change his mind), but it’s so worth it for the way that Tsukishima’s eyes go wide and desperate. He throws his arms around Kuroo’s neck and hauls him back in with all of his strength so that their bodies collide almost violently. Kuroo groans when his hard on presses into Tsukishima’s thigh, and then the blonde is crashing their lips together and cursing Kuroo under his breath.
“Fuck you,” he gasps, one leg hitching itself around Kuroo’s waist and wrapping them tighter together.
“Baby boy, I’m trying to, but I need you to relax a little bit for me,” Kuroo says. Tsukishima growls frustratedly under his breath and bites Kuroo’s bottom lip. Kuroo can feel the way his entire body is trying to give in to him, but Tsukishima’s pride just won’t let it. “Hey,” Kuroo lowers his voice and tilts Tsukishima’s chin up to meet his eyes. “The fight is over now. You can trust me, I’ve got you.”
Tsukishima draws in a sharp breath, his eyes searching Kuroo’s, and for a second there, Kuroo can see it. Can see past Tsukishima’s mask to the underlying myriad of emotions that lay beneath.
Kuroo knows that he’s asking a lot of Tsukishima, to let down his guard and let Kuroo in. And maybe he hasn’t done enough to convince Tsukishima that he’s worthy of it, but he knows deep down in his heart that he would never do anything to hurt Tsukishima. He does his best to show that on his face, to let Tsukishima see past his mask as well.
Neither of them say anything for a few long seconds, and finally, Tsukishima gives a short, barely perceptible nod.
Kuroo pulls him into another kiss, this one deeper and slower than the first. Somehow dirtier, and more tender at the same time, lips sliding against each other and tongues meeting, Kuroo pushing his way into Tsukishima’s waiting mouth.
“Fuck, I’m gonna make you feel so good, sweetheart,” Kuroo promises. He rips his hoodie over his head, surely making a disaster of his hair, and doesn’t miss the way that Tsukishima’s eyes rake over his body, licking his lips.
Now, Kuroo knows he has a nice body. He works hard on it and he’s had many people tell him so, but way that Tsukishima is looking at him right now? Like he’s some kind of temple to a god and Tsukishima is his number one disciple? It makes him feel all sorts of things he’s never felt before.
“You gonna put all those muscles to good work or what?” Tsukishima asks, voice already a little wrecked.
Kuroo grins and grabs the back of Tsukishima’s leg that’s wrapped around him, pushing it almost straight in the air.
“Jesus, are you trying to break me in half?” Tsukishima gasps.
Kuroo steps further in between Tsukishima’s legs and presses his clothed erection against Tsukishima’s. The thin fabric of Tsukishima’s leggings does practically nothing to hide the fact that he’s just as turned on as Kuroo.
“I’ve seen you do worse. I’ll put my muscles to good work when you let me take advantage of that flexible body of yours.” He keeps Tsukishima’s leg held in the air as he drops to his knees in front of him. Tsukishima’s eyes go wide and he opens his mouth to speak, but before he can, Kuroo is mouthing at his erection through the fabric of his pants and all that comes out of Tsukishima’s mouth is a broken whine.
Tsukishima is a little sweaty, his scent heady and raw down here and Kuroo is absolutely fucking addicted. He hears Tsukishima’s head thunk back against the door a few times, as he licks and sucks at Tsukishima’s bulge until his leggings are soaked with Kuroo’s saliva, nosing his way past Tsukishima’s balls, back to his hole and exhaling hot over the fabric there.
“Fuck, Kuroo! I have to - I have to wear these again!”
“Good,” Kuroo licks his lips. “Now every time you wear them, you’ll think about how wet I made you in them.”
“Shit,” Tsukishima whispers, fingers fisting into Kuroo’s hair and dragging him back up for a heated kiss. Kuroo finally lowers his leg back to rest on his hip when he feels Tsukishima’s thigh start to tremble. Tsukishima arches off the door to push their chests together, and Kuroo moans into his mouth at the feeling of his silky shirt against Kuroo’s bare chest. He can feel Tsukishima’s pert nipples poking through the fabric, and something about that tiny detail makes all of the blood in his body rush south so quickly he gets lightheaded.
He yanks the fabric of Tsukishima’s shirt to the side and starts to bite and kiss a trail across his shoulder, his collarbone, up his neck. Tsukishima whines into their kiss, high and needy and Kuroo needs him so, so badly.
“Pants off. Now,” Tsukishima says, voice just bordering on pleading, apparently just as desperate as Kuroo now. He quickly complies, undoing his jeans and dropping them to the floor, watching hungrily as Tsukishima peels off his skintight leggings, slowly revealing his long, lean legs inch by tantalizing inch.
Kuroo takes a moment to pray to whatever gods there may be, to thank them for letting him behold such a lovely sight as Tsukishima Kei, pink-cheeked and glazed eyes, silky black blouse falling off his shoulders and endless, perfect legs on full display. Not to mention the very pretty, glistening head of his cock peeking out from beneath the hem of his shirt.
Kuroo could literally just devour him.
He’s so caught up in thoughts of all the wicked, depraved things he wants to do to Tsukishima’s body, that he misses the way that Tsukishima is looking at him.
“That’s so unfair,” Tsukishima whimpers - actually whimpers - and Kuroo drags his eyes away from the blonde’s legs to find him staring hungrily, reverently at Kuroo’s body.
He is going to have such a god complex after this, holy shit.
“You’re one to talk,” Kuroo laughs, and it comes out scratchy and low. He bends down to retrieve a condom and a packet of lube from his jeans pocket, not even minding when Tsukishima snorts an indelicate laugh at him. There is nothing unsexy about being prepared.
Tsukishima reaches out for him, petulantly like the pretty little brat that he is, and Kuroo happily obliges. When Tsukishima goes in to kiss him again, Kuroo holds him back gently with hands on his waist. He responds to Tsukishima’s confused look by sliding his hands under the fabric of his shirt, sliding it up his lithe frame.
“Don’t want to get this is all messy, hm?” Kuroo asks, ducking in to give him a teasing kiss before pulling the shirt over his head.
Now they’re both completely naked.
Not to brag or anything, but Kuroo has had his fair share of sexual encounters, and he was pretty confident in his ability to make things pleasurable for both himself and his partner. He was bold and took what he wanted and people liked that about him. But right now, looking at Tsukishima, so lovely and vulnerable and trusting, Kuroo can admit it.
Because this isn’t just any person, this is Tsukishima Kei for fuck’s sake. Talented and driven and passionate and fiery Tsukishima Kei, who Kuroo never actually thought he would be allowed to do any of this with.
What if he messes it up?
“Kuroo?” Tsukishima says quietly, blinking at him with wide eyes that tug at Kuroo’s heartstrings. “Is everything…okay?”
“Yeah,” Kuroo says quickly, even though he has no idea because his insides feel like they’re twisted up in knots. But there’s still nothing he wants more than this. “Just enjoying the view.” He adds a wink for effect, and Tsukishima cracks a grin, winding his arms around Kuroo’s neck and pulling their naked bodies flush together. Kuroo wraps his arms around Tsukishima and squeezes, enjoying the way Tsukishima loses his breath and melts against him, everything from their heartbeats to their hard ons lined up perfectly. Like their bodies were meant to be joined like this.
“Wanna try something fun?” Kuroo murmurs against Tsukishima’s lips. The blonde nods with no hesitation and Kuroo grins wolfishly. Bending down to grab the backs of both of Tsukishima’s knees, Kuroo lifts him off the ground and pushes him against the wall. Tsukishima’s legs instinctively wrap around Kuroo’s waist, and they both moan at the feeling of their cocks sliding against each other, trapped between both of their bodies.
“Now - ah! - Now you’re using those muscles,” Tsukishima pants, arching his back and grinding their erections together against Kuroo’s abs. Kuroo can feel the tip of Tsukishima’s cock, already leaking, dragging a wet line across his stomach. It’s messy and probably a little gross, but Kuroo somehow finds it the most attractive thing in the world.
“Hold on tight to me, and don’t let go. Got it?” Kuroo tears open the packet of lube behind Tsukishima’s back and squeezes some of it onto his fingers. Tsukishima nods and tightens his legs, winding his fingers in Kuroo’s hair. “Good boy.” He swallows Tsukishima’s whine in a kiss at the same moment that he pushes the first finger in.
He doesn’t know if Tsukishima’s reaction was to Kuroo’s finger or the praise, but Kuroo is more than happy to conduct further experiments to find out.
“Mmmm, look at that,” Kuroo marvels. “It took me weeks to get you to let me in, and then you go and open up so easily for me.” He wiggles his finger and Tsukishima bites down on his bottom lip, tucking his face into Kuroo’s neck.
“Shut up,” he groans. “Why do you always have to talk so much, don’t you ever just shut up?”
“Nope,” Kuroo replies happily, pulling his first finger out and sliding it back in with a second. He scissors them inside of Tsukishima, and the blonde bites down almost savagely on his shoulder, smothering whatever sound was being ripped out of him. “Come on, sweetheart don’t do that. Let me hear all the pretty sounds you make.”
Tsukishima pulls back and fixes him with a cross look. “Just because you can’t be quiet to save your life doesn’t mean that everyone - O-Oh!” Kuroo curls his fingers and Tsukishima’s words break off into the loveliest moan.
“There you go,” Kuroo praises with a dangerous grin, curling his fingers into that spot over and over again, until a stream of beautiful, wrecked sounds are spilling from Tsukishima’s lips. “Like that, baby? Is that where you like it? God, fuck, you sound so fucking good.”
“Kuroo, sto-op! I’m gon - I’m gonna -”
“That’s okay, baby.” Kuroo feels drops of sweat start to drip down his spine. “You’ve got a skater’s stamina, don’t you?”
Tsukishima’s nose scrunches in confusion. “Wha - What?”
“You can come now.” Kuroo presses a kiss to one corner of Tsukishima’s lips. “And then, I’ll make you come again.” He kisses the other side.
“Cocky son of a - ah!” Tsukishima’s legs start to tremble violently, heel kicking into the small of Kuroo’s back when he adds a third finger and starts to twist and curl it inside Tsukishima along with the others.
“Come on, pretty boy,” Kuroo coaxes, grinding their hips together. “Come for me.”
A pathetic, broken sound escapes Tsukishima as he comes in hot stripes all over both of their stomachs and Kuroo’s own dick. His body shakes and his face goes slack with pleasure, but he does as Kuroo told him to and doesn’t let go.
Kuroo kisses him through the comedown, on his cheeks and his forehead and the spots behind his ears, as Tsukishima’s breathing slowly returns to something close to normal.
“Cocky son of a what?” He asks innocently, earning a slap on the chest from Tsukishima.
“You think you’re such hot shit, don’t you?”
“I think that you think I’m hot shit.”
“You fucking wish.”
“Oho? You don’t think I’m hot?” Kuroo crowds Tsukishima further against the door, rubbing his hard cock through the slick mess on Tsukishima’s stomach. He feels his muscles clench in response, arching into Kuroo subconsciously. “You don’t want me to make you cry on my dick, huh?”
“As if you could,” Tsukishima grits out. Kuroo can feel him already starting to tremble again in anticipation.
“Tell me you think I’m hot and I’ll let you see me try.”
“You’ll be real hot when I burn you alive if you don’t fuck me in the next three seconds.”
“Is that so?” Kuroo rubs a teasing fingertip around the rim of Tsukishima’s stretched and slick hole. “Guess we’re at an impasse then.”
“Big word for a Puck Head.” Tsukishima gasps as Kuroo presses just the tip of his thumb against his hole, applying the slightest pressure. “Jesus, fuck you, you know you’re attractive, just fuck me!”
“It doesn’t matter if I think I’m attractive, I want to know what you think of -”
“You’re fucking gorgeous, you asshole!” Tsukishima explodes. “You’re like a fucking Greek God with permanent bedhead, a body carved out of marble, and the most stupidly perfect cock I’ve ever seen!”
“Oh.” Kuroo blinks and his lips part in surprise. “Oh, wow.”
Tsukishima huffs, cheeks turning pink. “Are you happy now?”
Happy? Is he happy now?
Kuroo is - He’s fucking ecstatic. He’s like, ninety-nine percent sure he’s about to wake up in his bed from the best wet dream ever.
He’s not sure what school bus full of orphans he must have saved in his past life to deserve this, but he could not be more thankful to Bokuto for making him come along to wait for Akaashi after practice that day, because he might have never ventured over to that side of the rink, and he might have never seen Tsukishima skate, and he might have never touched Tsukishima and kissed Tsukishima and held Tsukishima.
The fact that he’s actually here and he can do all of these things?
Kuroo isn’t going to waste another second.
He kisses Tsukishima so hard the blonde’s head bangs into the door behind him. Tsukishima manages to cling on to him while Kuroo slides on the condom, then hitches Tsukishima further up so that he can line up the head of his cock with Tsukishima’s entrance.
“Okay?” He whispers, checking in one last time before he’s not sure what it’ll take to make him stop.
Tsukishima nods, their faces so close that the tips of their noses drag together. Kuroo’s entire field of vision is just Tsukishima’s big, brilliant amber eyes boring into his own.
Kuroo lowers Tsukishima and thrusts his hips forward at the same time, sinking fully into Tsukishima’s heat in one smooth motion.
“Fuck,” he grunts, all of the air punched out of his lungs the second he feels Tsukishima’s velvety smooth walls clench around him. “Fuck, Kei, baby, you feel so good.”
Tsukishima whines, threading his fingers into Kuroo’s hair, fingernails digging into the nape of his neck.
“I nuh - never said you c-could call me that.”
Kuroo chokes out a laugh, burying his face in Tsukishima’s neck, feeling his heart swell with…fondness? Maybe?
“You can barely string a sentence together but you can still manage to sass me?”
Tsukishima’s lips quirk into a half-grin. “Special talent.”
“God, I -” Kuroo pauses. He what?
What the hell was he just about to say?
“Don’t stop,” Tsukishima whispers when Kuroo slows his thrusts. “Please.”
And it’s that one little word that shatters everything inside of Kuroo into a million tiny pieces.
He has officially been wholly and completely undone by Tsukishima Kei.
“Hey,” Kuroo says, some time later when they’ve cleaned themselves off in the bathroom and sprawled out on the couch together in nothing but their underwear, Kuroo’s arm around Tsukishima’s shoulder and his blonde head on Kuroo’s chest. “We should go out for drinks or something tomorrow to celebrate your win.”
He feels Tsukishima go rigid against him.
Shit, that was probably too forward. Just because he and Tsukishima have had sex now doesn’t automatically mean that Tsukishima likes him any more than he did before. That part is still a work in progress.
“I mean, with Bokuto and Akaashi, too. All four of us,” Kuroo amends quickly.
“No, I - It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I really can’t.”
“Got big celebration plans already?” Kuroo teases.
“I’m leaving on a flight to France first thing in the morning.”
Kuroo’s fingers still where they were tracing patterns into Tsukishima’s shoulder.
“Like… Europe France?”
“Yes, Europe France.” Tsukishima huffs a humorless laugh. “That’s the next qualifier I’m skating in. The competition’s not for another few weeks, but my coach arranged for me to practice at a rink there until then.”
“Oh.” Kuroo tries not to be too visibly disappointed. “Well, hey, maybe in a few weeks when you come back we can all catch up?”
Tsukishima ducks his head, but Kuroo catches the flash of his teeth digging painfully into his bottom lip.
“Actually, after France I’m flying straight to Canada to practice there for a few weeks before competing.”
“But I thought you could only compete in two qualifiers?” Kuroo says, recalling Bokuto’s explanation from earlier. Tsukishima shakes his head, fine blonde curls tickling Kuroo’s chest.
“You need to compete in at least two to qualify, but you can skate in as many as three. They just won’t count all three of your scores.”
“And after that…” Kuroo trails off. He can already see exactly where this conversation is going in his head, but hey, he is an emotional masochist after all. He wants to hear the words from Tsukishima’s lips.
“If all goes well, after that I’ll head to America for the Grand Prix finals. It’ll be another few weeks before the competition, but it just makes more sense to practice there instead of flying back and forth from Japan.”
“Yeah. That makes the most sense,” Kuroo agrees, mouth cottony and dry. “No more distractions, right?” He jokes weakly. Tsukishima doesn’t laugh, and Kuroo doesn’t know if he’s thankful for that or not. He just wraps his arms around Kuroo’s middle and keeps his face turned into his chest.
“No more distractions,” he whispers into the skin right over Kuroo’s heart.
Everything inside of Kuroo shatters into a million tiny pieces.
Wholly and completely undone.
Kuroo is pretty sure if he lets one more offender from the other scrimmage team get past him during this practice, Yaku, their team’s goalie, is going to kick his ass up and down the ice a hundred times over.
He’s not sure what’s wrong with him today. Maybe he’s just tired? He did stay up late last night to watch all of Tsukishima’s competition in France. He placed second, and while maybe to the rest of the world he looked perfectly unfazed and content with that, Kuroo could see the anger and disappointment shining bright in Tsukishima’s eyes when he stood up on that podium, with someone else above him.
Kuroo had considered texting him, congratulating him or commiserating with him - anything to make him feel better, really. But, well, he hadn’t spoken to Tsukishima since that night in the dressing room at the Tokyo qualifiers. Tsukishima probably had plenty of other people closer to him that he could go to in his low moments, he didn’t need Kuroo.
The tired excuse would have worked fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kuroo has been totally off his game for weeks now. He knows the rest of his team have noticed, made obvious by Coach Ukai ‘just checking in with him’ almost once a week, Sawamura offering to let him ‘take some time off’ if he needed to, and Bokuto’s constant concerned looks.
Coach Ukai blows the whistle to end practice and Kuroo sags in relief. He quickly skates over to Bokuto before Yaku can shove his skate up Kuroo’s ass and bumps their shoulders together.
“You wanna go grab some drinks or something after this?”
Bokuto shrugs despondently. “Nah, not really.”
“Yeah, me neither.” Kuroo sighs. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t feel like doing anything lately.”
“I do,” Bokuto pouts. “I miss Akaashi.”
Kuroo winces and pats his friend on the shoulder. Akaashi had left a few weeks ago for Russia, and it was never easy on Bokuto when he was gone. Bokuto hated being alone, and always said that their bed was too big and cold without Akaashi in it. It could put him in a funk for weeks.
“Right, sorry man.” Kuroo frowns. “But what’s wrong with me? I don’t miss Akaashi - I mean, I do, but obviously not the way you do. You love him.”
As they reach the edge of the rink, Bokuto turns back to give him a funny look before stepping off the ice.
“Yeah, man. You miss someone else.”
It takes a few seconds before Bokuto’s words actually register in his brain, and by then his friend is already off the ice and changing out of his skates on the benches, leaving Kuroo on the ice alone. He scrambles after Bokuto, dropping down on the bench next to him and grabbing his friend’s arm urgently.
“Wait a minute, are you telling me -?”
“Yup,” Bokuto agrees patiently.
“You mean, I -?”
“This - This whole time?”
Bokuto pauses thoughtfully. “No, not the whole time, I don’t think. Maybe just since that first night we all went to get out with drinks together.”
Kuroo falls onto his back on the bench, staring up at the industrial lights and mentally running through every moment of his life since seeing Tsukishima Kei for the first time.
He was interested right away, obviously. How could anyone watch Tsukishima skate and not immediately be drawn to him like a moth to a flame? Like the tides at the mercy of the moon? Tsukishima was pretty, that was a given, and his personality was biting and cruel and challenging. Kuroo found him entertaining. Exciting. Dangerously beguiling, like something you knew you shouldn’t touch but that just made you want to do it even more.
But that night at the bar… When he saw Tsukishima smiling and laughing for the first time, when they kept up their usual banter but actually sort of got along for the first time, when he saw Tsukishima lower his barbed walls and let Kuroo see him for the very real person that he is rather than the fantasy Kuroo built up in his head for the first time. When Kuroo’s chest started aching when he looked at Tsukishima, instead of the usual ache in his groin. When Tsukishima kissed him for the first time.
Kuroo wasn’t just infatuated with Tsukishima Kei.
Kuroo actually, genuinely, stupidly and hopelessly liked him.
“Oh no,” he groans, covering his face with his hands. “Oh fuck, Bo, I fucked it all up.”
“What do you mean?”
“I - We -” Kuroo lowers his voice in case any of his lingering teammates decided to get nosey. “We had sex dude!”
“Yeah,” Bokuto snorts. “It was pretty obvious what happened when you came back from his dressing room. Why is that a bad thing though?”
“Because I didn’t tell him! We had sex and then he told me he was leaving for months and I didn’t tell him how I feel! Fuck, he probably thinks it didn’t mean anything to me. He probably hates me, and even when he does come back, he’ll never speak to me again.”
Bokuto pats his knee comfortingly. “Do you want to come over and get really drunk and mope around on my couch with me, dude?”
Once Bokuto put the idea of Kuroo missing Tsukishima into his brain, Kuroo only started to miss the snarky blonde even more.
Sometimes after practice he still goes over to Tsukishima’s usual rink and sits up in the bleachers and just stares at the empty ice. Like a lunatic. Like a pathetic, pining, lunatic.
A few times the Zamboni driver found him still sitting there after closing and had to kick him out. The first time he wasn’t very nice about it, but by the second time, Kuroo had spilled the entire sordid and tragic story of his and Tsukishima’s love affair to the man who was not getting paid nearly enough to deal with all of this, and after that he was a little nicer when he found Kuroo mourning after hours.
Despite all of that, Kuroo somehow managed to pull himself together for hockey games. He owed it to his teammates not to let his personal life affect his playing (and, he was more than a little afraid of what Yaku would do to him if he didn’t). He could admit that he was still too bummed and too distracted to be at his absolute best, but he was protecting their goal and Yaku couldn’t complain about that.
By the end of the season, their team, the Red Hawks, actually managed to squeak their way into the championships. Kuroo was happy, of course, but he knew it didn’t have much to do with him. He was pulling his weight, but it was because of the rest of his team stepping up to cover for him that really led them here. He owed them all a lot, especially Daichi, the other defender who had to make double sure to close any holes in their defense while Kuroo’s mind was off in Tsukki-La-La-Land.
So tonight is the championship game, and Kuroo is pulling his weight, and they’re still getting crushed.
The other team is bigger than them, and craftier. It doesn’t matter that the Red Hawks are outplaying them in terms of skill level if the other team is strong-arming their way through, forcing them into penalties and basically running the ice like they’re the ringmasters and Kuroo and his teammates are the circus clowns.
It’s only the beginning of the second period, and already Yamamoto and Terushima have had to do time in the penalty box for things that were entirely not their fault. Kuroo can feel his irritation levels rising with every whistle blow and every ugly sneer the other team gives them when they get away with yet another cheap move. Yaku is cursing like a sailor behind him, and Kuroo is just glad the murderous intent isn’t directed at him this time.
Some big guy with a skull spray painted onto his skates checks Bokuto into the wall. Hard.
Bokuto isn’t even in possession of the puck!
“Come on!” Kuroo shouts at the refs, his protests joined by those of his teammates and the fans in the stands. The ref gives Bokuto a warning instead of the other guy. Kuroo bites down hard on his mouthguard and narrows his eyes at the other team’s number twelve as he skates away, scott-free.
“Hey,” Bokuto knocks their pads together with a grin. “Don’t worry about it, man. Keep your head on straight, right? This game isn’t over yet.”
“Yeah,” Kuroo sighs. “You’re right.”
“Good thing, too.” Bokuto’s smile turns cheeky. “It would be pretty embarrassing if he came all this way just to watch you lose.”
Kuroo frowns in confusion. “If who came all this way?”
Bokuto grabs him by the shoulder pads and turns him around on the ice, pointing up into the crowd.
Kuroo follows Bokuto’s finger and spots him immediately. His heart stops, then instantly starts back up again, but at like three times the speed.
Tsukishima is standing amongst the rowdy masses, looking entirely out of place but still the most wonderful thing Kuroo has ever seen. He’s wearing a Red Hawks jersey - Kuroo’s team jersey! - and has a red line painted on one cheek and a gold one on the other for their team’s colors. Akaashi is with him, and Kuroo watches him tap Tsukishima on the shoulder and direct his attention towards Kuroo with a small smirk.
Kuroo knows that Tsukishima can’t see his eyes with his helmet on from such a far distance, but it must be clear that Kuroo is looking at him from the way he’s facing. Still, he lifts his hand in a dazed wave so Tsukishima knows. The blonde grins and shrugs helplessly, giving the miniature flag in his hand a sarcastic little twirl.
It takes everything inside of Kuroo not to swoon right there on the ice in the middle of the game.
Tsukishima is here! At his championship game! And he looks so beautiful - looking at him through a computer screen really doesn’t do his beauty any justice.
This means - Well, Kuroo doesn’t really know exactly what this means, but he does know one thing.
“We aren’t going to lose.”
“There he is!” Bokuto cheers, clapping Kuroo on the shoulder excitedly. “Now, let’s show these jokers who’s boss!”
It’s not even close in the end.
Kuroo doesn’t let a single player on their team even come close to their goal after that.
He doesn’t wait around for the celebrating and the trophy. He goes to find Tsukishima right away.
Kuroo finds Tsukishima exactly where he expects him to be.
He takes his usual spot in the bleachers right next to him, and they both stare down at the empty ice where Kuroo saw Tsukishima for the first time together.
“Congratulations,” Tsukishima says finally, breaking the silence. God, even just getting to hear his voice in person again instead of through his shitty laptop speakers is enough to make Kuroo’s heartbeat race.
“Thank you, I - What are you doing here?” Kuroo blurts out, unable to hold it in for a second longer. “I’ve been watching all of your competitions online; you placed second in France and first in Germany. You should be on your way to America for the finals right now!”
“What does that mean?”
Tsukishima sighs and turns in his seat to face Kuroo. The lines painted on his cheeks are little smudged and now that he’s closer, Kuroo can see the tired bags under his eyes.
“It means that I was on my way to America, and ran into Akaashi at a layover in Canada. And then he told me about this stupid game, and he said that I should come, and I told him that - Well, it doesn't matter what I told him, because the fact of the matter is that I got off my plane and switched to another flight to come all the way back to Japan just to see your goddamn championship game and -” He sucks in a deep breath. “And to ask you to come with me.”
Kuroo’s mind fizzles out like a flat soda. Did he take too many hits to the head during the game? There’s no way he’s understanding this right. There’s no way Tsukishima is actually saying -
“What?” He croaks.
Tsukishima rolls his eyes and huffs, but he looks unbearably fond and Kuroo’s heart lurches dangerously.
“Am I not speaking Japanese right now?” He asks, the same way he had the first time they met. Only this time, he doesn’t sound as cutting. As icy.
It might actually be the warmest thing Kuroo has ever heard.
“You want me to come to America with you?” He asks slowly, a little balloon of hope slowly growing bigger and bigger in his chest. It only doubles in size when Tsukishima turns pink and crosses his arms defiantly.
“It’s not - You don’t have to, obviously, but Bokuto is coming and someone will have to keep him occupied while Akaashi is skating and the food there isn’t all that bad and -”
“Really?” Kuroo scoots closer, cocking his head to the side with a smug grin spreading. “Is that why I should go? But I have Bokuto and good food right here in Japan.”
Tsukishima scowls when he realizes what Kuroo is doing.
“You are such an ass,” he announces, rising to stand. Kuroo laughs and grabs his arm, pulling him back down, this time into Kuroo’s lap. Arms still crossed, Tsukishima glares down at him but Kuroo can see the way it’s starting to crack at the edges.
“Come on,” Kuroo whines. “I just wanna hear you say it. Tell me why you want me to come to America with you. Really.”
“I don’t. It was Akaashi’s idea.”
“Liar,” Kuroo murmurs, hooking a finger into the front of Tsukishima’s collar and pulling him down further until their lips are only millimeters apart. Tsukishima releases a stuttered breath against Kuroo’s lips.
“You’re not playing fair,” he whispers, clutching at the front of Kuroo’s jersey with trembling hands.
“I’m not playing anything,” Kuroo answers honestly. “No games anymore. Not with you.”
Tsukishima’s fingers tighten. “Sounds boring,” he quips, voice breathless. “I’m not sure I’m interested anymore.”
“Oh?” Kuroo grins, cupping Tsukishima’s cheek. “So at one point you were interested?”
Tsukishima finally breaks.
He bursts into high, breathy giggles, arms going around Kuroo’s neck and knocking their foreheads together. It’s the most satisfying feeling Kuroo’s ever experienced in his life, that precious moment when he finally breaks through Tsukishima’s walls and gets to see the real treasure hidden within them.
“Maybe a little,” he finally admits when his laughter subsides. He pulls back to brush Kuroo’s sweaty bangs out of his eyes, expression going so soft and vulnerable it makes Kuroo want to cry a little bit. “I’d really like it if you came to America. Not for Akaashi, or for Bokuto. For me. Because I… Lord help me, I think I might really like you.”
Kuroo can’t hold himself back anymore. Never can seem to help himself when it comes to Tsukishima Kei. He cradles the back of Tsukishima’s head with one hand and hauls him in for a kiss.
Tsukishima melts into it, soft lips going sweet and pliant, the same way he’s done every time they’ve kissed before and Kuroo has to force himself not to laugh into the kiss when he realizes it.
He melted the Ice Queen.
“I - Me too,” Kuroo breaks their kiss to say quickly. “I like you, too. Like, a lot. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner, I never should have walked out of that dressing room without telling you. Fuck, Tsukki, I missed you so much. You have no idea.”
Tsukishima tugs at a strand of hair at the back of Kuroo’s head and gives him a fond grin.
“I have a little bit of an idea, I think.”
Kuroo simply has to kiss him again for that.
Tsukishima laughs and wedges a hand between their faces. Kuroo pouts but gives Tsukishima autonomy over his mouth back. For now.
“You still didn’t answer the question. Stay focused, Puck Head.”
YES! Kuroo’s heart is screaming at him to answer. But… He bites his lip.
“Are you sure? Won’t I be a distraction?”
There’s no way he’s going if it’ll jeopardize Tsukishima’s skating in any way. Now that he’s gotten the chance to finally tell Tsukishima how he feels and gotten the blonde’s confession in return, he can wait. He can wait forever for Tsukishima if he has to.
Tsukishima’s eyes widen slightly in surprise before a slow smile takes over his face, warm and endeared.
“There is literally no possible way I could think about you any more than I already do when you aren’t there with me, so…”
Kuroo gasps, insides turning into useless goo.
“Jesus, Tsukki, warn a guy, will ya! That was so romantic!”
“You are so embarrassing,” Tsukishima huffs, cheeks pink. “So is that a yes?”
It’s some time later that the Zamboni driver finds them like that, tangled together and making out like horny teenagers in the bleachers.
“Please, I am begging you, just go home!”
“Look, Ernesto!” Kuroo jumps to his feet, pointing to Tsukishima enthusiastically, even as the blonde takes his arm in a viselike grip and tries to drag him away. “I told you he was real!”
“Oh my god,” Tsukishima groans. “Is this what my life is going to be like now?”
Kuroo takes his hand and spins Tsukishima under his arm in a clumsy dance move, made possible only by Tsukishima being so light and graceful on his feet.
“Better get used to it!” Kuroo tugs Tsukishima to his side and plants a messy kiss to his cheek.
“Do you think Bokuto will trade with me?”
“That one hurt, Tsukki. You really wounded me there.”
“Trust me, if I wanted to wound you, you’d be in the ER right now.”
Kuroo grabs Tsukishima by the shoulders and pulls him to a stop, looking very seriously into his eyes.
“It’s too soon for us to get married, so I’m going to need you to stop saying things like that to me or I’ll have no choice but to propose.”
Tsukishima flushes the prettiest shade of pink and Kuroo laughs when he gets shoved off the sidewalk. He’s kidding, of course, but only a little bit. It’s only a matter of time now.
“You know, I was going to invite you over, but after that comment…” Tsukishima trails off and shrugs, raising his hands in a ‘what can you do?’ gesture. He glances at Kuroo out of the corner of his eye, a sly smirk just begging Kuroo to kiss it right off his face.
So he crowds Tsukishima up against the ice house until his back hits the bricks and does just that.
Kuroo presses a kiss into the top of Tsukishima’s sweaty head, ignoring the sticky mess clinging to his skin and the wet spot on the sheets in favor of letting the blonde curl up against him, his hand resting right over Kuroo’s heart.
“Mmmm,” Tsukishima mumbles tiredly, nuzzling close into Kuroo’s neck. “Testurou?”
“Hm?” Kuroo hums back, insides warming at the sound of his given name on Tsukishima’s lips.
“You asked me what I wanted once. That day in the cab when we were talking about my brother, do you remember?”
“I didn’t have an answer then. But I do now.”
Kuroo closes his eyes and smiles, trailing fingertips down Tsukishima’s spine. “And what is it that you want?”
Tsukishima pushes himself up onto his elbows, hovering there until Kuroo opened his eyes again. The air is nearly punched out of his lungs when he finds Tsukishima’s eyes, full of golden fiery passion so close to him. He watches with his breath stuck in his throat as Tsukishima lowers his head slowly, so slowly to the point that it’s almost painful, and kisses Kuroo on the corner of his mouth.
As if Kuroo had ever belonged to anyone else.
“As you wish, my Ice Queen.”
Tsukishima wins silver at the Grand Prix finals in America that year.
He probably would have been a lot more upset about it if Kuroo wasn’t waiting for him at the Kiss & Cry with an embarrassingly large teddy bear, a bouquet of roses, and a stupidly in love grin on his face. The press had snagged pictures of the two of them together a handful of times over the past few weeks, on their way in and out of Tsukishima’s practices, out at lunch together, and sightseeing. There was already speculation about who the mysterious man that he was spending all his time with was, so Tsukishima didn’t hesitate to march right over to him in front of all the reporters and news cameras, grab him by the lapels of his jacket, and kiss him breathless.
Without even winning first place, Tsukishima managed to make the front page of the news the next day.
The next year, Tsukishima wins the gold medal at the Grand Prix finals in Barcelona.
Kuroo gets him a shiny gold ring to match.