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This is how it goes.

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Oikawa’s heart fluttered in his chest often when he saw a notification reading: Iwazumi has posted a new video on his phone. However, his heart is fluttering for an entirely different reason as he nearly jumps out of his skin feeling his coworker leaning just over his shoulder in an attempt to peak at what has Oikawa so distracted from his cleaning duty.

“Shit” Oikawa quickly closes out of the app that has become nothing short of an obsession of his lately “God Bokuto, you scared the shit out of me!” Please don’t ask, please don’t ask, PLEASE.

“You’re a little jumpy today aren’t ya, buddy?” Bokuto giggles as he playfully rolls up the towel in his hands and whips Oikawa with it. “I didn’t realize we were closing together tonight. Did Kuroo switch with you or something?”

“Uh yeah, he did, lucky you I suppose” He all but huffs out, willing his heartbeat to slow and hoping the embarrassing heat he feels on his face isn’t noticeable in the dim lighting of the coffee shop. Bokuto gives him a bit of a side-eye and smirk as he ties his apron and wrestles his hair into a low pony to start his shift, but fortunately seems to realize whatever has Oikawa spooked is too private for him to question.

Oikawa finds himself wondering if Bokuto’s lack of hair cuts in recent months has anything to do with Akaashi’s preferences. They had finally made their relationship official 3 years ago after lots of mutual pining during their high school careers. Ever since then Oikawa has been noticing subtle changes in Bokuto’s wardrobe, hairstyles, the way he carries himself, and even his mood swings. Oikawa finds himself smiling as he thinks about how wonderful it would be to have someone to grow with, and that thought has led him back on the dangerous path to his current crush and the heartbreak that is sure to come of it the harder Oikawa falls for someone who doesn’t even know he exists.

After discreetly pulling his phone back out and seeing another TikTok notification stating Iwazumi is live he subconsciously begins working faster. Before 10 minutes has even passed Oikawa has refilled the beans, powders, syrups, and filters preparing the shop for the morning shift. It’s a slow night since the bitter Autumn wind has picked up significantly and many students have sacrificed taste for convenience and grabbed coffee from the snack area in the library instead of bracing themselves against the cold nights of mid-October.Oikawa uses this to his advantage and checks in with Bokuto, seeing if it would be possible for him to sneak to the back for a break so he could catch at least a bit of Iwazumi’s live.

“Sure thing. I’ll let you know if business picks up again.” Bokuto waves him off as he sweeps.

Oikawa tries to hide how hastily he is pulling out his phone as he enters the tiny mop area they call a break room behind the storage. He would normally bring a snack with him to nibble on seeing as he hasn’t eaten since before his shift started 4 hours ago, but something else has taken precedence in Oikawa’s mind and he is none-the-wiser to the grumbling his stomach will surely be doing by the end of the night. He jumps over the mop handles and squeezes himself into the back corner to take a seat on the stool they have back there. It’s a little crooked and a little broken and Oikawa is pretty sure it’s from last week when Suga walked in on Bokuto and Akaashi in the back failing to keep their hands to themselves during one of Bokuto’s breaks.

Bokuto is lucky we work for the only man more perverted than Akaashi himself. They simply both received a slap on the wrist, but Oikawa knows Suga will hold this in his arsenal for years to come.

Oikawa curls one knee under himself as he props himself against the walls and opens the notification. As the live loads he can tell that Iwazumi is currently at work in his office. Iwazumi is a personal trainer and often live streams from his workplace to showcase new routines he has been working on and give general health advice to those interested. Oikawa accidentally came across his profile one day during his depressive scrolls alone after a failed hook-up attempt at a friend’s party. He initially stayed simply to gaze at the man’s beautiful muscle definition, he would be a fantastic wing-spiker, but soon found himself actually taking away useful knowledge from his videos. So, for the last two months or so, Oikawa has found himself diligently tuning in to as many live streams as possible and making sure to like almost every one of the videos Iwazumi posts. If I like them all it’s suspicious.

In the current live Iwazumi is exasperated. Oikawa watches the comments flooding in and sees many ur so hot and take off your shirt. He even spots a yes daddy which Oikawa nearly gags at. Iwazumi is really doing his best to get the audience back on track without seeming too cold or put-out, but Oikawa can see the growing frustration and he feels for the man. He can’t deny that he knows the feeling of being lusted after like an object instead of treated like an intelligent human being.

As much time as Oikawa has devoted to supporting Iwazumi the past couple months, he has yet to ever post a comment on a video, let alone a live stream. However, seeing his favorite creator being treated like this has sparked a new motivation in him and he holds his breath as he types out:

Hi Iwa - I’m very interested in the new routine, can you show us? 

The comment quickly joins the flood and Oikawa thinks himself an idiot for even assuming Iwazumi would catch his question among the rush. And he seems to be right as he hears Iwazumi say, “Umm, really I appreciate the kind words, but uh, I’d like to keep this PG if that’s okay”.

He’s perfect.

And then Iwazumi is reaching to his phone and pausing the chat to read. Oikawa’s heart is once again racing as he takes in the subtle sweep of Iwazumi’s eyes and the glint of teeth as he starts to smile at what he’s reading.

“Ah, yes, UFOikawa is it? I’m just about to get started now” and Oikawa nearly throws his phone.

Chapter Text

“Ah, yes, UFOikawa is it? I’m just about to get started now”

“Oi! It’s getting kinda busy up here, you okay to help me again, bud?” He hears his coworker yell from the front. Shit timing Bokuto. Oikawa stalls for another minute, watching as Iwazumi stretches and gets himself into position on his mat. “Hey Hey Hey! We really need some mugs wash-

-oh. Hey.” Bokuto finishes as Oikawa slumps around the corner exuding a much different mood than when he went back for his break. Oikawa couldn’t help his disappointment at being immediately pulled away when he finally had the confidence to say his first sentence to the man of his dreams.

Bokuto ushers him over to the sink and hands him the elbow length yellow dish gloves that always make Oikawa feel like a dainty housewife. “I could be a dainty housewife for Iwa-chan” Oikawa mumbles to himself as he over-aggressively scrubs each and every mug piled up next to him.

The rest of the shift goes fairly smoothly. The coffee shop dwindles to a ghost town and the closing routines are done much earlier than usual. The last hour is usually quiet anyway as most of the students have already grabbed their coffees and headed to the library or dorms to study for the next day. Bokuto is humming to himself while wiping down the glass pastry cases and Oikawa is quietly stewing to himself over the fact that his negativity was too obvious once he was pulled away from Iwazumi’s live stream. Bokuto got 3 numbers left for him on the tables today and Oikawa got nothing, not even a second glance, and that was highly unusual. One customer even came and complained about his matcha latte that he had just made him. Too frothy my ass.

“Akaashi isn’t gonna be over tonight cause he has an exam in the morning so I can stay and close up if you wanna head out. You’re… weird today. Go sleep or something.”

Hmph. “Yeah. Okay.”

He basically rips his apron off, thanks his friend for always being the kind person that he is and assures him he will be back to his chipper self next shift. He lives about 2 miles away from the shop and usually gets a ride from whomever he closes with, but today he is grateful for the alone time during his walk back. He puts on some music and sometimes even lightly jogs if the beat calls for it. It feels great, actually, and by the time he arrives back to his apartment he is in a much better mood. He hops up his stairs and unlocks his door. As he goes inside he notices his roommate, Tadashi, isn’t home yet. They haven’t talked much anyway since their schedules have differed since the start of mid-terms but Oikawa sends him a text regardless just checking in.

I’m home early from work. You gonna be here tonight?

*Ping*

Heya Tooru! I wont be home tnite! Sryy but I left pzza in refrig.

Oikawa smirks at the response, knowing Tadashi is obviously distracted or drunk given the odd texting pattern. Tadashi is just a freshman this year and likely to be pulled to parties even on Monday nights by his overly-stressed out classmates. Oikawa hopes he is having fun, but maybe not as much fun as he himself had during his freshman year. But, he is glad he can be home for him at the end of the day given he knows how tough it would have been for Tadashi to live in the dorms. It can be hell when you’ve never lived away from your parents before. Oikawa met Tadashi when he found him hunkered in the bathroom at a university volleyball game trying to disappear into the wall. The new school year hadn’t yet begun and the “friends” Tadashi had come to the game with disappeared and left him to fend for himself in an unfamiliar environment. He felt bad for the kid and kind of accidentally adopted him. Tadashi moved in with him shortly before classes began and its been fine so far. Tadashi has really opened up and gotten involved in a greater social circle. If Oikawa had little else to put on his resume, he could at least say he was a loyal friend.

***

Freshly showered and about to pull the pizza out of the fridge to heat up for an almost midnight snack, Oikawa hears a *ping* on his phone and sees that Iwazumi has posted a new video. Swiping his thumb and opening the app he sees its a bird’s eye view of Iwazumi making his dinner for the evening. He is going through the ingredients and discussing the ratios that are important and whatnot. Oikawa realizes he isn't listening to the words much and instead is staring at his gorgeously tanned hands as he adds some cayenne pepper. Spicy.

He looks over at his slice of cardboard and sighs. After a moment he finds himself opening up the comment section and the keyboard. He doesn’t know whether its the late hour or the rush of butterflies in his heart knowing Iwa-chan read his comment aloud earlier, but he is suddenly typing, and only mildly revising, a response to the video.

And here I am eating leftover pizza. Guess I need to watch more of your videos, Iwa. <3

Posted. God what am I thinking? I need to delete that.

*ping*

Iwazumi replied: Guess you do. :)

 

Tooru Oikawa might just die.

Chapter Text

“Bo-kun. You do realize I have a shift tonight, right? Why could you possibly be needing to call me in the middle of the afternoon when you know I was up early for an exam?” Akaashi sleepily grumbles as he balances his phone against his left ear, curled around his body pillow and relishing in the warmth of the sunlit-heated covers.  

“-kaashi, baby, I’m sorry. I just really miss you is all. Cause ya know, it’s been almost 23 hours since I got to see you and that’s- well that’s a very long time” Bokuto delicately whispers into his phone. Akaashi’s heart swells as he takes note of his boyfriend’s effort to be as quiet as possible.

Bo-kun really might be the most sickeningly sweet boyfriend in the entire world, and unfortunately for Akaashi, he can’t get enough of it. “-it’s okay, Bo. I miss you too. If you’re not working this afternoon why don’t you come let yourself in so I can get some love from my big spoon?”

“Okay!” And the attempt at whispering is quickly forgotten. “Um, I’ll get there…in approximately uh, now.” Bokuto suddenly steps into the studio apartment and shuts the door behind him quickly, attempting to shield Akaashi from the bright hallway light.

“Bo. You know that would be really creepy if you were any normal person, right?” Akaashi responds as he pushes himself up against the headboard and waves his man over to him. Bokuto is blushing head-to-toe and Akaashi is unsure if it’s from his embarrassment of already being outside the apartment or just excitement of being together again; Bokuto blushes a lot. He leans down and cups Akaashi’s chin as he kisses him so sweetly, unsure still if his presence is really welcome. Akaashi quickly pushes that thought out of Bokuto’s head as he fists his hands into his hoodie and nearly pulls Bokuto on top of him in bed. They waste no time at all. Lips turn to tongues, tongues to teeth, and soon Bokuto is very very certain that Akaashi was hoping he would show up all along.

***

The next thing Akaashi is aware of is the setting sun as he limply attempts to roll Bokuto off his left arm which is now completely numb and has no power of its own. Bokuto hardly shifts at all and it takes many kisses on the tousled hair, rosy cheeks, tip of the nose, and even a couple on the newly formed dark splotches littering his neck before Bokuto is waking up as well and quickly apologizing as he rubs feeling back into Akaashi’s arm.

“I must have forgotten to set an alarm earlier. I guess I was a bit distracted.” He smiles slyly and gives Bokuto’s arm a little pinch as he rolls himself out of bed and wanders over to the bathroom. He has to be quick as his shift starts in less than an hour and on top of the 15 minute drive, he also needs time to get dressed and do his makeup. Luckily tonight isn’t a theme, and he can choose one of his simple outfits to save some time. He emerges from the bathroom freshly showered 10 minutes later and Bokuto is just then putting his shoes on and tidying up the bed covers, having struggled to maintain consciousness after the deep sleep he was in. He stops what he’s doing immediately and gazes at Akaashi’s lithe body as he picks out some comfortable sweats for the commute there. As much as Bokuto loves seeing Akaashi all dolled-up at his performances, he simply adores him the most when hes drowning in Bokuto’s old t-shirts from high school - the high school they attended together - back before they discovered their feelings were mutual for years.

Bokuto stands up and wanders over to Akaashi, wrapping his arms around him and lifting him from the rug,  squeezing so tightly he hears soft gasps before he lets Akaashi replace his feet  on the ground and refill his lungs. “-kaashi, whats the show tonight? Anything extra special?”

“Not related to the performance, no, but when I ran into Tsukishima in the library last night he was telling me he thinks Daichi set up a sort of ‘shadow-experience’ for a new kid trying to decide if he wants to join the team.”

“Kid? How old is this kid?”

“19, I think. Daichi is always a little uneasy about hiring such young staff but he hired me on at 19, so maybe he is hoping for a similar success.”

“Have you met him yet?”

“No, I don’t even know his name, I forgot to ask. But Tsukishima showed me a picture from his Instagram. To be honest he looks a little too shy and reserved to be wanting to work at Candy. But some people probably would have judged me similarly. He’s a real cutie, has a bit of an innocent charm. I have a feeling if he joins he’s gonna be a new favorite.”

Bokuto’s phone suddenly starts buzzing in his pocket disturbing their conversation. Akaashi begins  gathering the rest of his things and heading to the door as Bokuto fishes for his cell.

With the blow of a kiss to Bokuto he motions for him to lock up after he leaves. Bokuto stares at the closed door a few seconds too long before remembering he was supposed to be answering his phone.

 

“Kuroo! Hey hey hey! Am I free? I can be. What’s up?”

Chapter Text

“I’m fucking exhausted, Bo. I was thinking maybe a night out? Hit up 6th st and play some pool or darts or some shit - just need to blow off some steam with my bestest bro.”

Bokuto was never one to deny a friend in need. “Sure thing. I’m leaving Akaashi’s so I’m actually pretty close already. Meet me at the usual?”

“On my way.”

Bokuto sat outside their favorite bar, more of a lounge really, and didn’t have to wait for more than 10 minutes for Kuroo to arrive. He slapped Bokuto on the back as he stood up from the bench to meet him and wander through the tinted doors. The bar’s name was Crow’s Beak. A friend of Bokuto’s from high school had told him to visit it when he came to this university and he fell in love immediately. The decor was subtle, many dark tones throughout and nothing over the top and flashy like many of the other college bars around 6th St. It made sense why Asahi would appreciate this place, and Bokuto made sure to thank him for the recommendation.

Kuroo and Bokuto shuffled over to the empty dart board in the corner and reserved their small bar top table with their jackets. Kuroo ventured to the bar to secure them both some drinks and Bokuto shot Akaashi a quick text to let him know what his plans were for the night. Unbeknownst to Kuroo, Bokuto did not have a morning shift the next day, and since he got in a bit of an afternoon nap, he was hoping Kuroo would be up to making their evening into a very adventurous Tuesday.

“Here” Kuroo slides Bokuto a glass with a clear liquid and lime, “It’s on special, and since I’m buying for my bro-date tonight, I had to go with the cheap choice. Enjoy!” He smirks and sighs as he takes a long gulp from his own and gathers the darts, handing half to Bokuto.

They begin playing as Kuroo explains why he is so mentally exhausted from the week. Turns out, even trading his shifts with Oikawa didn’t give him enough time to catch up on grading homework. Kuroo always seemed to be behind with grading as an Associate Instructor, but Bokuto can understand that grading chemistry has to be very taxing. What do chemistry reports even look like? Bokuto wonders, finding himself physically shrugging at his own silent question. Kuroo shoots him a confused look in the middle of his rant but continues none-the-less.  After 7 years of friendship Kuroo is fairly used to Bokuto’s many quirks.

Over the next couple of hours they get bored playing darts, the pool tables are all taken at this time of night, and Bokuto and Kuroo have each had about 4 drinks and are beginning to feel very pleased with themselves. Kuroo was happy to hear that Bokuto didn’t have anywhere to be in the morning, and with his own class not starting till 2pm, he had agreed quite quickly to venturing other places.

They continued to stumble throughout 6th St spending enough time at each bar to get one more drink under their belt. By the time 1am rolled around Bokuto and Kuroo were both laughing at just about everything in sight. They had stopped at a bench to sit outside in the cool evening air and enjoy the atmosphere of other college students crazy enough to party on a Tuesday evening. Bokuto threw one arm on the bench behind Kuroo and dug his phone out of his pocket with the other. He had a message from Akaashi time-stamped 1 hour before.

This new kid, Kenma is his name, he’s intriguing.

Yeh? Still with kuro ned 2 see you. Coming

Bokuto full-out grins at his phone as Kuroo leans over and reads their brief exchange.

“New kid, huh? What’s Akaashi mean by intriguing? And wait, you told him we’re going to come to Candy? That’s like a 25 minute walk!” Kuroo looks exasperated but Bokuto knew he would never deny a chance to go with him to Candy. Kuroo may never explicitly admit to enjoying the dancers, but everyone could tell by the way his eyes would trace their bodies on the stage.

“Yeah man, we’re going.” and with a mighty shove to Kuroo’s back he got his friend up and moving with him down the many blocks to get there.

Candy wasn’t located near most of the college bars since it was geared toward a slightly more mature audience. It made nights out with Akaashi and his friends from the club a little more annoying when many of them had evening shifts and didn’t want to walk 25 minutes for a beer. As the two boys approached the doors they saw a near blindingly blonde-haired bouncer leaning against them. Most patrons had already arrived for the night and there wasn’t a line any longer.

“Bo!”

“Terushima!”

Kuroo stood back as the two exchanged hugs and small talk.

“You brought Kuroo tonight, huh? What have you guys been up to on a Tuesday?”

“Ah yeah well, Kuroo has had a long week, and when he offers a bro-date I’m not going to turn down free drinks.”

“Fair enough. Well I’m sure Akaashi has told you about the new kid here tonight. He’s… something. But why don’t you just go ahead and see for yourself, Akaashi’s set just ended, I’m sure he’s waiting for you boys in the dressing room.” Terushima gave both Bokuto and Kuroo a parting nod and opened the doors to them.

The instant they entered loud music filled their ears. Lights were turned extremely low except for the spotlights on the various small stages throughout the club. Sure enough, Akaashi was no longer up there but Bokuto recognized a few of the usual faces. Akaashi wasn’t friends with all of his coworkers, but the ones he held close to his heart had also become like brothers to Bokuto over the last couple of years. He pointed a few out to Kuroo, knowing he would at least recognize the names, if not faces, having been for the night out with a couple of them before.

“Looks like Hinata, Atsumu, and is that even Suna-? are here tonight. Let’s see if we can find Akaashi, he never texted me back.”

Bokuto grabbed Kuroo and drug him back to the dressing room, knocking on the “staff”- labeled door before Daichi opened the door and let them inside.

“-Kaashi!” Bokuto nearly screeched as he scooped up his boyfriend and spun him a few times. Akaashi giggled and peppered his fluffy head with kisses  as they twirled. Kuroo stood and stared at the amusing scene until they collapsed together on the couch out of breath and apologized to the rest of the staff in the room for the outburst of PDA.

When Bokuto eventually turned away from Akaashi and looked towards Kuroo he noticed his friend attempting to subtly glance at Daichi and the small boy next to him.

“That’s Kenma,” Akaashi nudged Bokuto and whispered into his ear, “he’s proven to be different than expected. Earlier, as Daichi was giving Kenma a tour of the facilities the bartender attempted a flirt with the poor kid. You should have seen his reaction, didn’t even flinch, just stared daggers at Lev. He goes ‘Daichi is talking’’ and Lev shut right up. Even got a laugh from the boss himself”

“Really? Sass from that kid there? You’re right, I didn’t expect that.”

“Watch.” Akaashi stood up and walked straight ahead to stand between Kuroo and Daichi as he addressed Kenma with an easy-going smile.

“Kenma, this is Bokuto my boyfriend” he motions behind him, “And this handsome lad is Bo’s best friend, albeit I’m somewhat sure they both have some unresolved feelings there” shooting a wink at Kuroo, making him blush from such an awkward introduction.

Kuroo diverts his gaze to the floor almost instantly, “Heh heh, yeah well look at the guy!” Kuroo offers as a response while rubbing the back of his head, little option but to roll with the teasing nature of Akaashi as always.

“Hey hey hey! That’s right, baby” Bokuto responds, offering the audience of the room a little flex.

“Hm-” Kenma looks over at Kuroo then, “interesting… it’s Kenma… my name.” and Kuroo looks up to meet Kenma’s golden eyes, glowing and quite intimidating among the dark hair framing his face.

“-Kenma” Kuroo repeats.

The room offers only silence surrounding the light conversation between the two strangers.

Oh?  Bokuto takes note of the way Kuroo has basically frozen in place - the hand once rubbing the back of his head now stuck awkwardly floating an inch above his eternal bedhead. Bokuto leans over to Akaashi and raises his eyebrows.

 

“-interesting” Kenma repeats.

Chapter Text

Kenma has done a fair job recently of keeping himself from most situations that require excessive social interaction, let alone ones that may end up explicit in nature. The fact that he now stands in front of a group of scantily dressed men, attempting to impress his future boss so that he can get paid to put himself in more explicit situations is a bit disturbing to Kenma himself. However, he has come this far and he’s not about to back down from the challenge now.

“I’m kind of new here myself but I’ve already come a long way. I’m gonna be the best bartender here soon enough so you can count on me if you ever need any guidance or…advice.” Lev states with a wink as he leans over the bar in front of Kenma.

“Um, thanks.” This guy talks too much.

“This is Lev-” Daichi gets cut-off as Lev decides to keep speaking, apparently unimpressed with the short response he got from Kenma.

“If you ever need a fake boyfriend or anything, you know, for the real persistent custo-”

“Daichi is talking.” Kenma interrupts.

“-uh. Right. Well, you know where to find me! Heh.” Lev pushes back from the counter a little stunned at Kenma’s blunt response, quickly distracting himself from the awkward tension he begins to organize the bottles behind the counter preparing for the open doors in less than 20 minutes.

“Yeah, so that’s Lev. He’s only been here about a month but he actually is quite skilled. Unfortunately he also has acquired a bit of a cocky attitude to go with it. Try to be patient with him, I promise he’ll grow on you.” Daichi explains as he rubs the back of his head nervously.

I’m not sure about that. But I’m not here to be at the bar so it shouldn’t be difficult to avoid him.

“We have another bartender, Tsukishima Kei, he trained Lev to take over most of his shifts because he also works a 2nd job at a coffee shop across town. You couldn’t find more opposite people if you tried, so you’ll probably really appreciate him. In fact, I get the feeling that you two may hit it off.”

“Good to hear.”

The tour continued throughout the next hour and Kenma got to see the building transform as it opened for the evening and the patrons poured in. He was surprised to see how many customers showed up for a weekday and entertained himself observing the variety of both men and women coming through the doors. Daichi soon finished his script and told Kenma to explore the area a bit on his own to satiate any leftover curiosity he may have. He took the opportunity to watch the dancer’s routines, getting a feel for the differences between them and ideas for how he would need to portray himself to the audience. He counted himself lucky knowing that his innocent appearance let him get away with being less skilled at dancing; the main customers that would be interested in him likely to enjoy that he wasn’t as mature in the scene. The thought irked something deep inside him but he suppressed it quickly like he did many of his feelings related to sexuality. He was here to make money, rather easy money, if his past experience in similar fields were anything to go by, only this time it wouldn’t be illegal.

I’m here by my own choice and actions.

Kenma had been repeating this in his head throughout the night, attempting maybe to convince himself of the power he had in the decision to take a job here. It often felt like a lie to himself however, when he remembered the overdraft fees he encountered recently as his bank account ran dry. It wasn’t easy to afford living on your own when your parents kick you out the night after your 18th birthday. Kenma didn’t want to give up on his college career simply because he couldn’t afford it without loans, so he had been taking odd jobs here and there to pay rent. However, the non-stop buildup of debt he was seeing was causing endless stress and ultimately drove him to seek out a position that would normally make his stomach turn from the memories of buried trauma.

 

***Back to Present***

 

“-interesting” Kenma repeated as he gazed back at Kuroo, meeting his stare.

Kuroo, his assistant instructor from Chem 101, Kuroo. Kuroo, who was blatantly staring at him as if he had never encountered a being like him before in his entire life. Kenma had to suppress his immediate need to call him out. He was unsure if Kuroo was admiring him, attempting to figure out if he recognized him, or just drunk off his ass.

“You’re small” Kuroo mumbled hardly audible above Bokuto’s giggles behind him.

“You’re… drunk? I hope.” Kenma responded, only amplifying Bokuto’s laughter from the couch until it resembled something like a screech owl.

“Ah. I mean, sorry. I-”

“Yeah, it’s fine” Kenma put his palm up to cut Kuroo off, “Daichi, can we finish the paperwork in the office now? I’d like to get home since I have class tomorrow afternoon.”

“Sure thing, follow me. What class is it?” Daichi responded as he led Kenma out of the dressing room.

“It’s a difficult one, the professor is a real stickler” Kenma states with a turn of his head over his shoulder, following Daichi into the hallway. He meets Kuroo’s eyes once more and can’t fight the urge to give him a teasing smirk, fairly confident Kuroo does not recognize him from the class roster. Even the assistant instructors are pervs, huh.

The last thing he hears as the door swings closed is Akaashi’s voice, “I was starting to think you were going to drop down on one knee and propose right then and there, Kuroo. Pull yourself together”.

“I- no. No, I was not. He was the one flirting with me!”

Kenma heard muffled giggles and accusations and then:

“I’m not crazy! He smirked! You had to have seen it too! Bokuto back me up here!”

Kenma found his heart racing at the prospect of seeing Kuroo in lab tomorrow. He was fairly used to this feeling as anxiety attacks were a close friend of his. He was unsure just how drunk his AI was tonight. Would he remember my name?  Shit. I have to see him in lab tomorrow. WHILE HE IS SOBER.

“Was I flirting with him?”

“What was that, Kenma?”

“oh- uh nothing. Sorry.”

Chapter Text

Kuroo’s head had been replaced with a jackhammer overnight. His ear drums rang with the beat of each foot step as he gloriously shuffled his way to the bathroom sink to drown himself. The waterfall did bring him closer to life, however also served to increase the dread of reality that he only had an hour to pull himself together for lab today. He drank a gallon. His mouth had been glued shut upon waking, reminding himself that he knew better and should have been drinking water in between the different bars from last night’s outing. He did, however, still retain his memory from the evening albeit not as crystal clear as it maybe should have been.

He remembered Kenma.

That snarky little bastard was unfortunately one of Kuroo’s first thoughts this afternoon as he hurriedly matted down his bed head to a reasonable level of tousled and dug some slacks out of the laundry that he was supposed to take care of two days ago. They were basically skin- tight anyhow so the wrinkles weren’t too noticeable. He was only the assistant, they’ll cut him some slack. Kuroo was also not stupid, he knew many of the students had their eyes on him during lab. He was attractive, and something about being in an “authority” role did it for a lot of college students. They would probably be entertained once they realized he was a bit hungover from a weekday excursion. Kuroo was just happy he didn’t run into any of his students while he was out last night, that was always a mess trying to avoid awkward tension and small talk. He did think he was happy about running into Kenma. At least that was the case until he met that same intense stare as he entered his office 10 minutes before class began.

As the assistant lecturer he had a small office nook off of the main professor’s office located just down the hall from the lab room in the lower level of the Chemistry building. Kuroo prayed to the gods that it happened to be one of the those days where time seemed to drag by, as he arrived not late, but even earlier than normal to his lab session that afternoon. His plan was to quickly brew a pot of coffee in the maker he kept in his nook for days like this. Luckily they weren’t doing any experiments in lab today that would disallow him from sipping during the 45 minute session. In fact, he was sure most students wouldn’t even show up today as attendance was only “recommended” and lab was to be used as more of a freestyle review before the chapter wrap-up at the end of the week.

Imagine his surprise as he not only expected an empty classroom, but an empty office, as the professor wasn’t even attending today’s class. Kenma was seated on the corner of his desk facing the side wall that held a window with blinds half-drawn to keep out the majority of the blinding light that often disturbed Kuroo during his grading and made him wishful for free-time and beach volleyball with Bokuto. The boy, no he’s a grown man, with the small frame tilted his head just enough to catch Kuroo’s dark eyes in a thoughtful gaze.

“Kuroo. Hi.”

Kenma now turned his body and crossed his left leg over his right, an action that didn’t go unnoticed by Kuroo and only deepened his strange urge to run away. Instead he took a deep breath, rubbed his eyes clumsily while realizing he was still carrying his briefcase and jacket, and turned to set his things on the counter holding the coffee maker. Without a word he poured the grounds into the filter, added enough water for at least 3 full mugs, and waited for the steam to rise as the coffee began dripping into the pot. He was not ready for this shit.

“I’m confused.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean, why? Why are you here, Kenma? How did you even get into my office? How did you know this is my office? DID you know this is my office?” Kuroo hunched over the counter, shoulders pushed into his ears. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he couldn’t help feeling cornered by Kenma’s presence. Was he supposed to feel embarrassed that Kenma was here? Why is Kenma here?

“This isn’t your office. This is Nekomata’s office.”

“Neko- wait. You’re here for Nekomata?”

“He IS my professor, I was hoping to speak to him before lab today, however it seems like he must not be coming in.”

“I’m handling lab today. And this IS my office. You walked through his office to get to mine.”

“Hm. Oops.” Kenma smiled.

Kuroo finally felt the courage to turn around as he finished topping off his first mug with piping hot black coffee. Days like this didn’t require any sort of sugar or cream.

“So you knew who I was last night. And you didn’t say anything. That seems a little childish.”

“I was at work, Senpai.” Kenma smirked as he once again met Kuroo’s eyes and continued to somehow hold the upper-hand while also being half the size and basically lounging on Kuroo’s desk at this point.

That’s right. Kenma works at Candy. I wasn’t just running into a random stranger while there. If Kuroo had regained any confidence since the start of the conversation it was quickly hampered at that realization once again. His student was working with Akaashi at Candy and Kuroo did not know how that situation was supposed to affect him. A rush of different emotions flooded his system: fear, embarrassment, intrigue, and definitely suspicion.

Ignoring the urge to call Kenma out on the flirtatious nature with which he was speaking, he simply replied, “Well if you’re just here for the professor I can take a message for you and leave it on his desk. Otherwise you’re welcome to email him with whatever you needed to discuss. He’s not going to be in again until Friday’s lecture period.”

“Ah. You seem to be back to your senses now, and here I was quite entertained by your blubbering only…” Kenma pulled out his phone to check the time, “8 hours ago”.

“I was drunk. I didn’t know you were my student, Kenma. This is a large class, I can’t possibly keep track of everyone.”

“Shame. I guess I only catch your attention in a strip joint.” And with that last statement Kenma slid off his desk and crossed in front of him, making sure the foot of space between them felt more like an inch as he held eye contact the entire time.

 

“Kenma.”

His student turned the corner and disappeared from view as he undoubtedly wasn’t even planning on attending the lab session that day. Kuroo found himself downing the rest of his mug before refilling it and breathing, when did I stop breathing, before crossing the hall to the lab.

Chapter Text

“Tooru, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to, but I think I might have left my keys at Ennoshita’s last night.”

Yamaguchi began uping his speed from a power walk to a slight jog as he panted into the phone on his way to the coffee shop. He stayed at a friend’s place the night before after downing at least one too many shots of strawberry vodka. He had class starting at 9am and unfortunately his usual responsible behavior was flushed down the toilet with the rest of his stomach’s contents. It was 8:45 and he still needed to swing by the apartment for his essay before he could head to class. He managed a five minute shower before he left Ennoshita’s but his hair was still wet as he tied it back at the nape of his neck- the bustle of getting places causing many of the hairs to flow free and stick to his face as he breached the doorway of Sips.

It was packed. The line was deep and nearly reached to the front doors as Yamaguchi attempted to squeeze his way around the crowd and get a better view behind the counter. There was only one worker at the cash register and it wasn’t Oikawa. He briefly caught himself wondering what such a sad man was doing working with Tooru. Surely Oikawa drives him absolutely insane.

“Tooru? Tooru! Uh, excuse me?” Yamaguchi addressed the general air around him as he cut through the queue and made it to the split in the counter leading to the back kitchen area.

“Excuse me? Excuse you. What are you doing back here?” The man behind the register had turned toward him now and held his arm up in exasperation.

“Uh right. I’m in a hurry, so-” Yamaguchi swung around the corner cabinet and swiftly made his way to the back of the shop calling out for Oikawa as he went. In his haste he noticed another man at the sink washing dishes but hoped he wouldn’t ask questions as he ventured still further. Eventually Oikawa peaked his head out from the store room where he was currently holding a massive box of coffee filters and attempting to balance them on his head as he lifted them up to the top shelf.

“You really couldn’t have picked a worse time, bud” Oikawa grunted with the last heave.

“Yeah yeah I know. I’ll make it up to you, promise!”

“Make it up to him? How about you make it up to me? Didn’t realize it was company policy to have strangers roaming my kitchens during rush hour.” Yamaguchi swiftly turned around and felt his face heat immensely as he stared into warm eyes and a mop of shaggy silver hair.

“-Suga. Sips is mine.Oikawa is mine. And now it appears your debt is in my hands.” His arms are crossed at his chest as he raises a steely eyebrow.

Wow he’s gorgeous. And scary, definitely also scary.

“Yeah. Yeah of course. I’m so sorry, sir. It won’t happen again! Swear on my life.”

-and then the laughter begins. Yamaguchi is unsure whether it’s Suga or Tooru who laughs first but it continues for such a long time he briefly wonders if they broke.

“Tadashi, this is my boss. But uh - you’re fine. A solid actor he is though, right?” Oikawa proceeded to adjust Suga’s scarf for him as it had unwrapped in the fit of giggles, the coffee shop surprisingly holding the chill of Autumn even inside the building.

“You’re just sickeningly sweet, aren’t you?” Suga addressed Yamaguchi again, much less seriously as his smile had not only brightened his face, but the entire coffee shop. It was then he noticed that the rush of customers had dispersed and the cashier was quickly busying himself with restocking and attempting nonchalance as he clearly eavesdropped on the conversation.

“Uh, yeah. I mean NO! I- I just need to get the keys to our place cause I’m really running late for class.”

Oikawa dug his hand in his pocket and fished out his lanyard which held their apartment key, mailbox key, and a tiny green alien that had seen many years of jean pockets and been dyed sightly blue because of it. Yamaguchi loved it. Oikawa can seem a bit shallow to those he feels the need to keep a wall up for, but if he chooses to peel those bricks off - they’ll find each layer holds a new interest or quirk that exemplifies the wonderful human Tooru really is. Each day Yamaguchi finds a new reason to be grateful for his roommate, but he knows he needs to be more responsible in the future if he doesn’t want to take advantage of his friend.

“Hey, before you head out, just know you’re always welcome to stop in before morning classes for a drink on the house. My treat. Oikawa is always covering last minute shifts and working extra hours. It’s the least I can do for his special friend, eh?” Suga nudged Yamaguchi’s arm with his elbow and waggled his eyebrows between the two of them.

“OH! No! No no, that’s not. That’s not us. That’s not what we are, no.” He spluttered as he squirmed his way between the two men and started heading toward the door.

“Chill dude, I’m just offering you free coffee!” Suga cheered back at him.

“Bye, baby. Don’t be home too late! I’ll miss you!” Oikawa added with a wink and kiss his direction. Yamaguchi failed many things in his life - his high school physics class, driver’s ed, jump serves, and now the front door to Sips. It took many pulls on the handle before he sheepishly read PUSH and tackled the door in his hurry to leave the scene of the crime. The cashier stifled a laugh as he himself ran to the sink which had been neglected during his rapture and was now overflowing onto the floor.

“Damn. He’s really something, huh? Reminds me of Yachi a bit.”

“You should have seen him before, trust me, with my guidance he has improved tenfold” Tooru adds.

“Tsukki”, Suga waved his cashier over, “You got your new schedule from Candy yet? I’m about to check the shifts for next week - hoping to keep you on the same mornings as Oikawa, something about your dynamic just thrills me” He giggled.

Tsukki scoffs but Suga doesn’t think he is wrong to assume his cashier also thought Oikawa’s roommate was something. What that something is, Suga doesn’t know yet, but that’s the fun part. He only hopes that for Tsukki’s sake, the kid takes up the offer for free coffees throughout the week. Tsukki could use a new distraction, his personal life having been thrown to the wayside to make room for two part-time jobs and a college degree.

“Dunno. Daichi has been distracted today and hasn’t sent the email yet” Tsukki sighs as he slides his phone back into his pocket and starts to head back to grab the mop.

“D-” Suga’s head whipped towards the other man at lightening speed, “Did you just say Daichi?”

“Yeah. What’s it to you?” Tsukki shrugged.

“What’s his full name?”

“Uh, Sawamura I think. Daichi Sawamura.”

 

“No. Fucking. Way.”

Chapter Text

Kei was tired. His life was nothing like he had imagined it being by age 21. Four days out of the week he spent his mornings with coworkers he could hardly stand. Three days he spent his afternoons or evenings with coworkers that made him want to drown himself in gin - especially a certain half-Russian with as much energy as Hinata Shoyo and no where else to direct it but him.To top it off, he was currently enrolled in 19 credit hours toward a degree he was likely to never use after graduation.

There were a few good things. Suga, his boss at Sips, was a relatively absent manager. The coffee shop basically ran itself which meant that aside from scheduling, Kei had much control over the way his shifts went. His coworkers knew better than to challenge him at this point and he enjoyed the rhythm of cashing customers as Oikawa or the others ran laps around him making the drinks. He made enough drinks already at Candy - alcohol fit his aesthetic a bit more. Speaking of which, he was allowed to drink on the job, as long as he didn’t go overboard. Daichi actually seemed to prefer Kei be a little tipsy as he served the customers - it took away some of the angst he so often portrayed.

And sometimes days like today would happen - a pretty face appearing to disrupt the repetition.

So many freckles.

His feet were wet. The mop he had grabbed in his haste to halt the flood was old and tattered and the handle had been broken once before and repaired with tape. It was doing a solid job of moving the water around the floor rather than soak it up.

“Tsukki. Here, use this one, you’ve been at it for 10 minutes now and I think the only thing soaking up the water is you,” Suga traded mops with him and whistled as he went to the back to put away the old one again - Kei was unsure why Suga hadn’t thrown it away yet, “if you don’t hear from your boss soon I’m going to have to make the schedule without knowing your evening hours.”

“That’s fine. I’ve had to do double shifts before anyway, it wouldn’t be the first time he has screwed me over like this.” Kei’s other boss had a habit of sleeping in late on the days he was supposed to let him know what evenings he would need him to work. Suga was more flexible since he had a larger pool of employees to choose from. He often let Daichi make their schedule first and slotted Kei where he needed him, trying his best to keep him unscheduled on mornings after his late night shifts.

“That’s bullshit. And frankly that should be addressed. As a matter of fact, I’ll just write him a little note reminding him that he is not only responsible to you, but to me as well. I can only be so flexible - and I think this …Daichi… needs to learn a lesson or two about screwing me ov-”

“Who is screwing who?” Oikawa came up behind Suga and looped his arm around the other man’s shoulders, leaning his head against the silver floof of hair in the process.

How does he hug the boss like that? Upsetting.

“Kei’s boss at Candy seems to think I also work on his schedule. I’m going to give him a piece of my mind - a kind little nudge to get him back on track. He didn’t used to take this long” Suga responded.

“Oh hey I’ve met Daichi before. He looks like he’d be a real hard-ass of a boss. And here we’ve gotten so lucky with you!” Oikawa snuggled even deeper against Suga, the shorter man unphased as this was always the case when he stopped by.

Suga carefully ducked out of Oikawa’s hold and made his way to the office touting proudly about his note that Kei was now dreading having to deliver. He thought for a moment about “accidentally” losing it but knew better when he imagined the amount of times Suga would rewrite it until it was finally delivered - likely more aggressive each time.

Many minutes passed and Kei continued to wrap up the remaining items on his to-do list before he was handed an envelope with a pink heart seal. Suga was always suspicious, but some things still took Kei by surprise. He really didn’t like this note - the smile on Suga’s face spelled danger.

The rest of the morning was swift. Another small rush occurred and Kei found himself clocking out late and dreading the fact that his one hour break of the day was now gone as he scarfed down some trail mix during his walk to class - Anthropology 300. Today, however, Kei studied something much more interesting. Today he was focused on his brief memories of loose damp hair sticking to a forehead covered in freckles and shining from the light of the morning as the world’s clumsiest man fell through the crowd.

Kei was an asshole. He enjoyed being one to those he disliked, and those he tolerated. He was often even an asshole to those he loved - the only sign of affection he truly felt comfortable with. Being an asshole meant people left you alone, and when he was left alone he was able to exist solely in his mind where he could live any kind of lifetime he imagined. Kei was a romantic - he knew this - and no one else would ever get to find out. Today Kei was falling in love with the man who pulled the PUSH door and squeaked in embarrassment when he caught Kei snickering.

By the time class had ended 2 hours later Kei and Freckles had been on 3 dates and slept together twice. They were holding hands on the couch during Jurassic Park and still feeling butterflies as they waited for the other to make the next move. Freckles had made Kei strawberry shortcake in his kitchen and a powdered sugar fight ensued when he teased him about his sweet tooth.

 

And then Kei was on his way to work with a mysteriously-worded letter -  and no boyfriend.

Chapter Text

Oikawa wasn’t depressed. His life was not exactly what he had hoped it to be - but he most definitely wasn’t depressed. Depression was for people that couldn’t get themselves out of bed or lacked the motivation for social interactions. Oikawa worked nearly every day, in customer service nonetheless.  Even aside from his job he often made time to socialize with his friends both at the university and old friends from high school that managed to stick around after all these years. He smiled. He laughed. And he still felt happiness occasionally - so he very much wasn’t depressed.

“Hey asshole, I’m not trying to force you into anything. Look, we’re just worried about you is all. If you want us to shut up we will. It was just … an idea” Mattsun sighed over the phone.

“You don’t need to shut up. I’m not lying when I say I’m fine, alright? People change. It’s been years since we were together every day. I’m just a little different than you remember. Besides - this caring attitude from you is weird for me too. I should be the one concerned” Oikawa retorted.

“Ai, start up with that shit and I’ll let you fend for yourself from now on.”

“... Thanks, Mattsun. And tell Makki I miss him. Can’t wait for my vacation time to build up so I can come terrorize him over his new hair.”

“Will do. But don’t be too harsh on him *his voice drops down to a whisper* remember how much better it is than high school Makki hair, we don’t want that to make a comeback. -Wha? I wasn’t saying anything! No! Mak-”

“Oi! What are you guys talking about?! Oikawa I swear you have a lot of balls if you’re gonna make fun of MY hair, pretty boy” Makki sounds like he is jumping around trying to keep the phone out of Mattsun’s reach.

“You know I could bring up your little crush on me, but no worries, no ones gotta know.”

“Oikawa you fucking wouldn’t. That was like … 7 years ago!”

Oikawa can hear Mattsun in the background asking what happened 7 years ago that’s got Makki so flustered. There is some shouting, what sounds like pillows being tossed around, and some muffled screams before the call shuts off. Oikawa giggles to himself. He’s happy for them sticking together after all this time. Soulmates.

It’s a day off. He doesn’t get these often. If it were up to Suga he would work a normal schedule and have good work-life balance. However, his boss begrudgingly lets him work up to 7 days a week so he can more quickly pay off his college debt. His debt that has been weighing on him heavily as it seems like he wrote away his financial stability for a degree in a field he can’t find a job in. Ever since graduation he took a full-time management position at the cafe as he job searched. Unfortunately, maybe, Suga pays his staff a fair wage and Oikawa has forgotten to continue his job search in favor of working more hours. In the 2 years since university he has paid off half of his debt.

I can just work at Sips for 2 more years and then I can really begin my life.

His family doesn’t like that idea. He was supposed to find a respectable position in a company where he can grow to his full potential as an animator. Instead, his Fine Arts degree has gathered dust. He isn’t sure how he feels about it, honestly. He enjoys animating, in fact he often does solo projects just for the fun of it. It made sense to pursue it in college since it came somewhat naturally to him. But, the idea of being given projects he didn’t necessarily feel passionate about worried him. He didn’t want one of his favorite art mediums to become a chore.

At least people appreciate my latte art.

He cringes. He can only joke about his own failures for so long.

A normal person might spend their one day off a week relaxing on the couch to binge their favorite show and stuff their face with Cheetos. But Oikawa has always had way too much energy to simply relax. This has led Oikawa to be staring into his overflowing fridge after he went for a run, showered, called his friends, and went grocery shopping all before 11am. He normally starts his work shifts with a cup of black coffee but when he spends his mornings at home he almost always resorts to a mug of hot tea - again black. He got tired of all the fancy flavors and whatnot at the coffee shop after about a year of working there. There is beauty in the simplicity, which is also what he tries to convince himself about his general life situation.

Oikawa is great at shopping, not too great at cooking. Tadashi has proven beneficial in that department. He doesn’t often get to sit down and eat with his roommate, but more than likely there will be leftovers in the fridge. And it’s usually not cardboard pizza. But now Oikawa is in a pickle because Tadashi won’t be home until evening and as much as eating a raw bell pepper can be a good snack, it’s definitely not going to fill him up after his morning run.

Iwa-chan.

Oikawa hastily pulls out his phone and navigates to TikTok. Iwaizumi has posted another meal prep video since the last time he checked his phone and it looks … well it looks complicated actually. It’s only a veggie stir fry but the last time Oikawa attempted to fry anything he also fried the frying pan and it took multiple days of soaking and scrubbing before it came clean. Regardless, Oikawa feels a sense of determination to prove himself after his friends so nicely suggested he may need therapy this morning. Do depressed people learn new skills? He smirks and starts laying out the cooking utensils and ingredients. He doesn’t have everything that’s mentioned in the video but he does some searching  and thinks some substitutions will be okay.

*ping* Iwaizumi is live

“Oh shit!” Oikawa immediately clicks over to the live stream as he continues chopping up the garlic, ginger, and veggies. Iwaizumi is doing a simple Q&A today, lounging in his living room in a white button down. The top few buttons are undone and sleeves rolled up. For someone who wants to avoid the simps he sure does feed them. Luckily for Oikawa he was already on his channel when the notification came through. There are currently only 30 or so viewers and it feels very comfortable. The chat has remained PG for the most part and hes answering questions about his day.

“Yeah, actually, I thought about doing a bit of a live cooking stream sometime if you guys would be interested. It’s not like I’m fantastic or anything-”

Oikawa laughs. This guy is too cute. He really doesn’t seem to realize how much of a catch he is.

He picks up his chopped goods and slides them into the frying pan and covers it with the lid. He doesn’t remember if he’s doing it correctly but he’s not about to click away from the stream to check. Iwaizumi continues to humble himself and deny the compliments from chat. Oikawa watches silently and patiently waits for the stir fry to do…well…something.

The stove isn’t on.

“Oh my god. You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Oikawa exasperates as he switches the stove on and laughs out loud at how distracted this man can make him. Unlike Iwaizumi’s usual workout streams, chat has not picked up. In fact, the viewer count has hardly risen over the last 20 minutes. Iwaizumi seems kinda tired and it’s the first time Oikawa has seen the man look quite like this. He wonders how much longer Iwa will stream if chat continues to be this slow. It would be a shame if he stopped early, Oikawa is enjoying the simple company while he cooks. He picks up his phone and types:

I’m so embarrassed. It’s hard to make stir fry when you don’t turn the stove on. -_-

Iwaizumi is quick to perk up and respond with a small bit of laughter, “Oof. I can’t say I’ve done that before. What kind of stir fry are you making? Drop the recipe, dude”.

Actually I was just copying your video. Well, before you went live anyway.

“Ah, I can see the issue then.”

You’re distracting.

Fuck! Why would I say that. Keep it in your pants, Tooru.

“Heh. Well umm, hey! Duet the video! I’d love to see how it turns out. Just…remember to turn the stove off when you’re done.”

Aye aye, Captain!

 

Oikawa simply cannot with himself right now.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi was depressed. It’d been a issue for him for the past 10 or so years starting in middle school when his dad left and his mom became distant. The most fortunate thing to come out of the circumstance was his grandmother paying for therapy. Iwaizumi has been going to the same therapist ever since and can’t imagine having to switch to a new one if he ever moved away from his home town. She had become a sort of “fun aunt” to him and has helped him in basically every area of his life.

After he turned 18 and started to really make a life on his own they even became friends outside of the office. It might seem taboo to some but they were able to keep their boundaries in tact. Kiyoko was always ready to support him in any way that she could, even if that meant dropping him off at different job interviews when his car broke down or being the camera man for his Instagram posts.

With his depression came a jumble of other mental health issues like social anxiety and OCD. Luckily, Kiyoko was persistent in conquering those and Iwaizumi hardly felt the symptoms of either on a daily basis. His want to help others in any way that he could gave him the motivation to start creating TikToks in the first place. At first he scoffed at the app, not fully understanding the possibilities it held for him. It seemed much like a place for preteens to flaunt themselves and their possessions and Iwaizumi had no interest at all. But, Kiyoko pushed him to continue exploring it. She told him how it was a nice escape during an anxiety attack and how she often used it when she was feeling down as well. So he did. He opened up his mind like he always did for her and ended up finding his little corner of fitness, cooking, and sometimes anime TikTok.

He has 400k followers now and he doesn’t understand it.

He’s awkward. He’s not very creative. He’s hot, yeah, but it’s not like he’s constantly making thirst traps. His lives usually average out around 100-120 viewers and people spoil him with gifts and whatnot to help him make a bit of income through the app. Never once did he expect to be receiving paychecks from a social media app, but he figures he may as well make the most of it.

Of course, that isn’t his only job. He has been an athletic trainer for a couple years now and even works a bit in dietary as well for certain clients of his. As much as he is grateful for what social media has given him, he is much happier to be working outside of the public eye on the day-to-day.

He is a busy man. He prefers to be. The less downtime he has, the less over-thinking he tends to do and the easier it is to manage his depression. He goes to his office/gym Monday-Thursday, therapy on Fridays, and generally uses the weekends to create a lot of drafts for TikTok that he can post throughout the week to save himself some time. Of course, that means that he still needs to make time for live streams and he has yet to really figure out a solid schedule for doing so. He’s sure he may grow his following if he stuck to a set time throughout the week but he can’t focus on that right now. Every time he attempts to it only succeeds in making him want to quit social media all together. Kiyoko says its perfectly fine to take it slow and afford himself the flexibility to enjoy the app.

“Even though you’re getting paid, view it as a hobby, you already have a job. Enjoy it.”

 

***

 

Iwaizumi finishes his deep breathing exercises and sits himself up, leaning forward to rest his arms on his knees again and center himself. He just logged off of his live stream for the night and was feeling over-whelmed because of the lack of viewers. I’m not a failure. It’s fine. People have responsibilities. It was probably just a bad time. He continues to reassure himself as he forces his legs to lift him and carry him to his room to start his nighttime routine. He didn’t have work tomorrow, it’s Friday, but Kiyoko was meeting up with him for brunch at a cafe near her office building that they hadn’t tried before. He wanted to make sure he was well-rested since they wouldn’t be in the privacy of her building.

The next morning came in the blink of an eye. Really, it felt to Iwaizumi like he had gotten .5 seconds of rest and recuperation before his alarm was going off and he was ready to chuck his phone against the wall. He didn’t. He turned off the alarm and got up because “You should try not to snooze your alarm. It creates a bad habit and leaves you feeling drowsier than you would if you had just gotten out of bed in the first place”. He would normally go to the gym in the basement of his apartment building or jog out to the soccer fields to kick the ball around for a bit but his exhaustion instead made him turn to a YouTube yoga video as he unrolled his mat.

He didn’t touch his phone again until he was at the cafe, freshly showered, seated outside under the awning albeit a bit chilly. The solitude was nice - the interior was bustling with students and he didn’t want to add to the commotion. Kiyoko had called him a bit ago and let him know that her morning client had stayed a little while past their appointment, she would be running late, and to order her a cobb salad. Iwaizumi didn’t know if he would have to go inside to make the order or if a staff member would come out to greet him so he sat and waited awkwardly, hoping the answer would rain down on him magically-

“Hey hey hey! How are you doing today? I don’t think I’ve ever seen your face around here before.”

Iwaizumi startles and looks over his shoulder to see a large man with two-toned hair beaming down at him. His hand is on the chair behind his shoulder and he is literally vibrating with energy. Iwaizumi blanches.

“Uhhh….hi.”

“Not much of a talker, hm? Makes sense why you’re outside on sucha cold day. Sure you don’t wanna seat indoors? There’s a fire plaaaace!” He sings the last syllable like he’s tempting a dog with meat.

“I, uh, like cold. I mean I’m waiting for someone. And they- they like cold? I need a cobb salad” Iwaizumi blinks and hears himself back in his head. What the fuck is wrong with you.

“Cobb salad. Gotcha. But you’re waiting on a date? What’s the date want?”

“Oh, she wants the cobb salad. I want the date. NO! I mean it’s not a date. I want coffee. Please.”

“Not a date? shame,” the waiter winks at him, “And just a coffee? No way, no how. Pick some food, dude. My boss is buying this table’s meals today. We like newbies. Here’s a menu, I’ll be back.”

He leaves before Iwaizumi has the chance to refute the generosity and he has a feeling even if he never picked an item from the menu, the large man would bring him something regardless.

He decides on the avocado toast, it’ll be easy on my stomach, and pulls out his phone as he waits. He opens TikTok and checks his notifications. There are a bunch of likes and comments and he briefly scrolls through them and makes sure any inappropriate ones are deleted. He also takes some time to respond to questions. Sometimes it’s fun to see what people are saying, sometimes its tiring and he’d rather skip it altogether. Today is one of the “skip” days.

He’s about to close out of the app when a new notification pops up.

UFOikawa has duetted your video.

This is interesting. He remembers the username and is surprised to see that the person in his live yesterday actually did what he asked them to do. He clicks on the video and watches as two hands kinda awkwardly stir some veggies in a frying pan just as he explained to do in his original video. It looks a little different. Are those sweet potatoes? He can tell that this person doesn’t have much experience in the kitchen and it charms him to know that they are trying to learn by watching his content. Both meals are plated in the side-by-side and suddenly the camera pans up to their faces as they take their bites. Iwaizumi’s smile looks forced and uncomfortable as he records himself eating. But this guy, he looks like… well he looks like it tastes bad for sure.

Iwaizumi can’t help the laughter that breaks past his lips as he watches the other man push the plate away from himself and sigh, apologizing to Iwaizumi for putting shame to his creation.

Iwaizumi could leave a comment assuring him that he is happy he gave it a shot and that he appreciated the kind words. He doesn’t. Instead, he props his phone on the table in front of him and stitches the video.

With laughter still evident on his face he responds, “Sir, that is a helluva creation. Maybe try to avoid using substitutions - were those sweet potatoes? - before you even know how to follow the basic recipe….And hey, I hope you turned your stove off”.

 

Posted.

Chapter Text

Akaashi stands with one foot in the doorway to the office of Candy.

“Uh, thanks Tsukishima. What is this anyway?” Daichi questions as he takes the envelope from the blonde’s hand and turns it over, “A bit, forward, for you don’t you think?”

Akaashi can see the mix of confusion and distraught written on his face at receiving a letter from his employee sealed with a pink heart.

“Oh fuck no, it’s not from me” Tsukki quickly pushes past Akaashi on his way out of the office. Daichi shivers.

He looks genuinely relieved. Guess Tsukki isn’t his type.

“A love note, Daichi? Has someone seen through your rough exterior after all?”

“Akaashi - hey you’re awfully early for your shift aren’t you? Thought you were closing out the club tonight. You have 2 hours before you’re supposed to be on stage.”

“True. Atsumu asked me to come in early to give him pointers on his new routine. He’s been oddly determined to stand out lately. I wonder whose eye he is trying to catch - must be a big spender.”

It’s not so surprising that Atsumu enjoys the spotlight, but Akaashi has never seen him so hell-bent on trying new styles. He’s very confident in his way of doing things. To ask for Akaashi’s opinion is a first, and honestly a bit suspicious. He agreed to help, of course, due to little more than intrigue. He might suggest doing a few joint routines tonight so Atsumu can get a firsthand look at how the audience reacts to someone like himself. They are both talented in their own rights - it shouldn’t be hard to throw something together before they take the stage.

“Hard to say with that one. But, I am glad he is branching out - a waste of talent if he chose to stop learning new styles after only 6 months of working here.”

“In 6 months he has become the 2nd most beloved performer here. Sometimes I wonder if he is going to take my spot. But then I remember… I’m fucking gorgeous,” Akaashi turns to leave the office with a smirk on his face and one last taunt on his tongue, “Don’t think I didn’t notice the subject change, Daichi. That letter is calling me, you will tell me who it is from later.”

He hears Daichi sigh as the door closes behind him. It’s been 2 years since he started working at Candy and even though his employment started very professionally, Daichi and he have become rather close over the years. Not many dancers stick around long enough to develop that kind of relationship with their coworkers, let alone their superior, but Akaashi has seen many come and go and through it all he and Daichi have grown to be each other’s support beams. As unconventional as his profession may be, he wouldn’t trade it for anything. This experience has helped him grow in his own personal identity, and seeing how supportive Bokuto has been has really cemented his love and devotion to that man.

They may never realize how lucky I am.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Akaashi’s life has been supportive of his choices. His blood relatives, for example, cannot fathom tainting your reputation as a future lawyer by participating in such ludicrous activites - and proudly at that. It stung. He wishes it didn’t. He wishes he could look at them and say “they just don’t understand, and that’s their problem” but he knows that that’s not how emotions work. Being raised by someone for 18 years will make you somewhat dependent on their love and acceptance. And so he is working on love. But right now it’s a lot of bittersweet memories and ignoring phone calls. It’s a lot of denying himself in front of them, but strutting his stuff in the PRIDE parades. It’s a lot of “it’s okay”s, but crying in the car on the way home from Christmas.

But Bokuto loves him. He loves him more than he ever really thought was possible. Nothing Akaashi does could ever be “gross” or “wrong” or “sinful” …

Well, maybe kinda sinful

And he leaves Akaashi breathless.

 

***

 

“Sumu I’m coming in- oh. Wow.”

“Ya, uh so whaddya think?” Atsumu does a ditzy little spin in his boots.

“It’s…damn. Okay. I get it now.”

“Get what now?”

“...Nothing. You look great. Where did you find those pants though? Because I’m going to need them as soon as possible. In fact, just go ahead and take them off now.”

“I guess I’ll take that as a compliment. So it’s good then, ya? The whole giddup?”

“Yeah, Sumu, it’s good I promise.” Akaashi has to tear his eyes away from the leather as it stretches so perfectly over Atsumu’s thighs.

Thighs.

He distantly remembers his sexual awakening being none other than Bokuto’s thighs in his high school volleyball uniform. Fuck.

“Oookay Akaashi- do I need to tell Bo-kun I’m taking his boyfriend home tonight?”

“I said you look good. I didn’t say you look good enough for me. Dance with me on stage tonight and then we can see who's begging to be taken home.”

“Alright alright. But really though - this isn’t too much?”

“If you ask me one more time I’m going to tie you up in here and perform alone.”

“Is that a threat or a promise?”

“Maybe a little bit of both.”

Akaashi takes Atsumu’s hand and leads him out of the dressing room and to the entrance of the main stage. Akaashi, being the top performer, often starts the night shift by welcoming the guests up front. He takes the spotlight for the first 10 minutes while the other dancers get into their positions and say hi to their regulars or any new faces in the crowd. Sometimes they will go around passing out drinks to lure them to their individual sets. Tonight Akaashi is doing something he has never done before - a joint performance with Atsumu - and the only regret is that Bokuto isn’t around to see it happen. He knows it would lead to a fun night once he was back home with him. Bokuto trusted Akaashi completely and the jealously he felt when his boyfriend performed on stage only fueled the flame in the bedroom. They have had extensive conversation regarding Akaashi’s flirtations with his customers and fellow dancers and Bokuto is unfazed. If anything, it bothers Akaashi more than it does his boyfriend. He doesn’t always feel comfortable with that much freedom.

Akaashi pulls Atsumu close and whispers as the lights fade up and the music begins-

 

“Make me wish I was yours”.

 

Chapter Text

[Friday Morning]

 

“Kuroo - I need a cobb salad for that new guy outside. And a dark roast, black,” Bokuto swings himself around the corner leading to the back kitchen calling out to his coworker and best friend, “I let him know Suga is covering the tab today so I’m sure he’ll be wanting something else in a bit”.

“On it, but ya know you could help me out a little bit more back here. You’re way faster than me at all this - food prep is not my greatest strength.”

“Unfortunately for you, buddy, wooing the customers is my greatest strength. So on that note…” Bokuto swings himself back around the corner, waves to a table of boys giggling behind their hands, and weaves his way through the regulars to make his way back outside.

“Alright, I gave ya a good 4 minutes to look over our menu of 12 items. What’ll it be, new guy?”

“Avocado toast please”, the brunette responds, “and a side of chipotle aioli”.

“Akaashi’s favorite, good choice.”

“-Who is”

“Oh I see number two has arrived! Welcome to Sips, your friend here already ordered for you, so it’ll be out soon. And in case this guy is just trying to freeze ya, I invite you to sit inside by the fireplace.”

Bokuto puts on his biggest and brightest smile as he watches the woman nod at him and take her place next to the young man at the table. They share a look before the woman meets Bokuto’s eyes once more and lets him know they’ll be fine in the chilly weather.

“Suit yourself. And real quick, what were your names? I’d like to be able to welcome you back properly next time.”

“This is Iwaizumi. My name is Kiyoko. Thank you for your kindness, Bokuto.”

“...Of course” Bokuto murmurs as he scampers back inside to hide how much she intimidated him. Pretty ladies are scary, surprised that shy dude was with her.

By the time Bokuto makes his way back to the counter he has been stopped no less than 6 times by other customers wanting to say hi, and he has his arms full of plates and mugs, insisting on collecting the used dishes even though it was expected that the customers left them in the busser station themselves. The patrons loved him, and in turn, Bokuto enjoyed his job a lot more knowing that each day he would get to see familiar faces and be greeted with smiles.

In fact, Bokuto was kind of loved everywhere he went. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays he coached a local volleyball club in the afternoons. Weekends were for actually playing volleyball with the neighborhood association. He was still an ace after all these years. He may not have had the opportunity to play professionally after high school but he does take pride in his perseverance to return to the hobby that he had given up during his toughest years.  

 

***

 

4 years ago Bokuto’s father was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was sudden, and traumatic, but not entirely unexpected. His father grew up during a time that smoking was popular. He developed an addiction rather young and was unable to kick it even well into his 40’s. He had finally been clean for an entire 6 months before he got the news. He was angry. The taste of victory he had felt for that short time was for nothing it seemed. It was bad. He fell deep into a black hole of depression that pulled the rest of his family in with him.

Bokuto was confused. His life was good. He had grown up fairly well-off, never knew anyone close to him that passed away, and felt like his future in volleyball was all set-up for him. So this? This was wrong. Things like this didn’t happen to him and he honestly didn’t know what kind of reaction was appropriate. He didn’t talk about it. At school he continued on as normal. At home he mostly kept to himself with the exception of helping his mother out more around the house since his father was unable to.

For 8 months his father’s treatments continued and they all held strong to the belief that this was temporary. His father’s health would fluctuate depending on what stage of treatment he was in and though Bokuto had grown more used to the situation, he did take notice of the worsening condition overall. His mother grew even more distant and stopped asking Bokuto about school and volleyball. She was still kind - just tired.

Then one day after practice as Akaashi was walking with Bokuto to the train station he reached out to squeeze his hand. Bokuto broke. He fell to his knees on the sidewalk and hid his face in Akaashi’s stomach. All of the emotions had finally broke free from the dam he hadn’t even noticed he’d put in place.

Akaashi cried with him. On that day Bokuto and Akaashi loved each other. And Bokuto soon put forward his intention to skip university and professional volleyball altogether. He began working as much as he could to help pay for his family’s medical bills. His father got better, his mother smiled again, and Akaashi moved in with them. It was that way until Akaashi graduated and Bokuto and he moved to a new town. They live separately again - Akaashi’s decision. He told Bokuto it was important for them to grow together and separately. Bokuto was reluctant, but understood.

Going back to volleyball was easier than anticipated. Where he had expected to feel regret and remorse over wasting his potential, he instead found intense pride in his students. His time was over, but their time was just beginning. He made sure they knew that.

Of course, it always helped when Akaashi would agree to set for him during his weekend games. Akaashi was an honorary member of the neighborhood association. He only ever made it to about one game a month, but everyone was always ready to welcome him in. A friend of Bokuto was a friend of everyone. The only rule was no fondling on the court. Bokuto tried to break that rule every time.

 

***

 

“Here’s that outside table’s order, Bo.”

“Thanks. Hey, I’ll take over kitchen duties, how about you go play server for a while?”

“Gee, so generous in the last 30 minutes of your shift.”

“Yeah well you seem a little touchy today, figured some fresh air might do ya good since you aren’t telling me what’s got you so sour” Bokuto shrugged.

Kuroo “hmph”ed and took the plates out to Iwaizumi and Kiyoko’s table. He stalled a bit, tidying up tables that were already in order. Then, he was behind Bokuto again.

 

“It’s Kenma.”

Chapter Text

Kenma basically ran through the doors of the Chemistry building in an attempt to escape the reality of what just occurred.

Who the fuck am I? Who does that?

He can feel his pulse pounding in his ears and the sweat on his lower back accumulate, making his t-shirt stick uncomfortably even in the chill of Autumn. He slows to a crawl until he spies a bench unoccupied between the buildings and decides to sit to catch his breath. He isn’t that out of shape, but the anxiety is making it hard to breathe and his vision isn’t as clear as it was when he was staring Kuroo down in the office.

Kenma is confusing. So confusing, in fact, that he often confuses himself in the process and only comes to realize what he’s done a good 5 minutes after the fact. He is shy, his personality is calculated, his decisions are strategic,  and his attitude is usually mild.

I’m such an embarrassment.

This isn’t the first time Kenma has acted like a different person from himself. Too many times he has come back to his senses to find himself in situations he’d never normally seek out. However, he is usually inebriated. Sure, he did a little yesterday before his tour of Candy to loosen up and forget to be nervous, but there was no way he could blame that for this morning’s incident. That was all him. At least, it should have been. Instead it felt like he was watching his own body through his eyes and being just as surprised at himself as Kuroo seemed to be. He would be impressed with his own confidence if it was anyone else but his Teaching Assistant. Fuck.

His mind is still running loops, trying to decipher all of the details, but his breathing is evening out and the feeling is coming back into his nose and cheeks where  they went tingly from lack of oxygen. He reaches up and rubs his face - bringing color back as he huffs out the last of his panic attack.

It wasn’t so bad this time. Good. I’m on campus.

Not everyone has the ability to calm themselves down as quickly as Kenma, but over the years he has somewhat trained himself. It may have been out of fear of upsetting his partners, but it has come in handy now that he has to be in public more often than not. Of course, its not hard to calm down when your base level of functioning is constant mid-level anxiety.

He takes out his Switch and pulls up Stardew Valley. The cool breeze feels great on his flushed skin and he has some time to kill now that he is skipping lab. Wooing Sam always does him good and before he realizes it, he has spent 45 minutes trying to beat the high-score in Endless Junimo Kart in the bar and hasn’t even completed one full day in the game.

*bzzzzt bzzzt*

He pauses and sets it beside him on the bench as he pulls his phone out. It’s an unknown number calling and he pushes ignore only to see a New Voicemail notification light up 30 seconds later.

“Hey kiddo, it’s your mom. I got a new number and haven’t gotten ant texts back from you so I was just making sure you got ‘em… Thinking about you. Call me back.”

No.

He deletes the voicemail and the missed call log and picks up his game so he can finish the day and save before turning it off. His nose has gone numb again, and though there is no frantic heartbeat or sweating, he is panicking more than he was before - and this kind of anxiety attack is always the hardest. He shuffles his feat as he moves throughout campus. Students bump into him as they pass and others give him a wide berth as he stares dead ahead, unaware of where he is going or what time it is.

***

 

“Disassociation. It’s a self-preservation technique. It’s not something you really teach yourself, or even something you’re necessarily aware of when it happens. It sounds like it happens to you often, we may need to follow-up on that in future sessions.”

 

***

Kenma opens his eyes and sees his ceiling. It’s so ugly. Stupid drop-down popcorn ceiling panels with florescent lighting that makes his veins pop out of his porcelain wrists. It’s dark through the window and he squints to make out the rest of the room as his eyes adjust. His bag is on the floor by his shoes which he discarded by the door to his dorm before he apparently fell asleep for an afternoon nap.

Guess I’m skipping all my classes today then.

He rolls over and sees that his phone is laying dead on his bed beside him and plugs it in. No new notifications. Not surprising. He doesn’t really know too many people in this town, especially not any that would have any reason to contact him on a Wednesday evening. He even opted for a single dorm to avoid being placed with a roommate he wouldn’t be able to stand.

He gets up and swallows his pills.

Unfortunately he ran out of pot yesterday and really doesn’t have the energy to get any more tonight so he resolves himself to a few beers some guy gave him after he stumbled into the wrong room last Friday night. They taste skunky - it’s disgusting. He drinks them anyway.

If I’m not going to remember today I may as well have a good reason.

Kenma doesn’t drink; he’s a huge lightweight. His “friends” used to tease him about it constantly, saying he was uptight and “such a good little boy”. He only started smoking after his uncle made him try it when he was 15 - telling him it would calm him down enough to get the job done. It worked. And it has continued to work since. Everything is calm when he is high.

He discovers that alcohol does not have the same calming effect. Instead he ends up on the floor hugging his knees as the shame boils over him and melts every last shred of humanity away.

 

Let it go. Let me go.

Chapter Text

“Kenma? That kid from the other night? What about him?” Bokuto turns and puzzles Kuroo with a quirked brow that nearly reaches his hairline.

“First of all, he’s no kid. This guy is a fuckin’ menace…”

“Whatcha mean? Did you go back to see him at Candy again? Didn’t even think he’d be on stage yet-”

“No no no. Bo, he showed up at my office! He was there! The next morning! Just plopped himself right on my desk like we’d known each other for years. Who the fuck does that?”

 Kuroo forces himself to relax the muscles in his face that have tightened to match Bokuto’s surprise.

“Look - I don’t wanna like, rag, on someone who will be working close with Akaashi, but this guy is kinda…intense?”

“Ku-”

“AND he’s, uhh, my student?”

“Bah ha ha! No fuckin’ way man. Bro…BRO! Dude, I’m sorry but that’s kinda hysterical.”

To be fair, Bokuto is trying his hardest not to look entirely amused, unfortunately Bokuto has never been good at masking his emotions. Kuroo waits for him to swallow down his last giggles impatiently.

“Bokuto, I know we don’t always deal with the most serious matters here, but this could actually be a real problem for me. He’s my student, he works at fuckin’ Candy, and he has already tried to provoke me once - the DAY after meeting me, no less-  who is to say it’s gonna stop there? He could call me out in the middle of class! He could get all buddy-buddy with Akaashi. He could…show up to my office hours again and…”

Kuroo’s eyes widen as he stares a bit past Bokuto, focused entirely on the worst possible scenarios to come from this new discovery. He’s unsure how much time passes but suddenly Bokuto is taking a step forward and resting a sturdy hand on his shoulder.

“Kuroo. I say this with all seriousness, I promise. Are you listening?”

“Ye- yeah, Bo.”

 

“You’re SUCH a loser.”

 

Kuroo shifts his focus to Bokuto’s face and meets a wry grin unfolding on his lips before the laughter explodes from his friend’s body.

“Seriously, do you hear yourself? What the fuck is wrong with you, dude? He’s hot for teacher! That’s it! You can’t tell me you’ve never had a crush on any of your professors back in the day. That’s like, one of my favorite fantasies! You know- you should see Akaashi in a tie and glasses.”

“Nope. No that’s too much now, Bo. I don’t need to think about that.”

“Be real though. Tell me what actually happened without you over-exaggerating every detail.”

Kuroo releases a built-up breath he wasn’t aware he was holding.

“There was a study hall the next afternoon. It was optional. I was hungover as fuck thanks to you, (Kuroo ignores the “Hey! Drinking was your idea!” from his friend) and I was in charge of supervising cause Nekomata had other meetings. I went to make some coffee in my office beforehand and he was literally lounging on my desk, Bo. LOUNGIN-”

“No exaggerating.”

“-Right. Well I put my stuff down, made my coffee, and when I went to turn around he was all in my face asking me shit.”

“What did he ask you?”

“...I don’t know, like, where the professor was and shit.”

Bokuto stares at him.

“He turned towards me and crossed his legs all like…purposefully, Bo! And the way he was measuring me up, dude if he wasn’t half my size I would have been waiting for him to deck me.”

“Uh huh. So he asked you where the professor was and gave you goo-goo eyes…continue.”

“They weren’t…well I don’t think they were goo-goo eyes. Anyway, I tell him the professor isn’t in and that I’ll leave a note for him if he wants me to. Oh! And he claims that he thought he was in Nekomata’s office all along! I was all ‘yeah right, you knew this was my office’ and he said ‘oops’! He looked me right in the eye, smirked, and said OOPS!”

Bokuto is full-on grinning now and Kuroo doesn’t like it.

“And then I called him out for being childish by pretending not to know who I was the night before. He had an excuse for everything. And then- well he said it was a shame he only caught my attention at Candy-”

“So did he not catch your attention while he was basically eye-fuckin’ you on your desk?”

“That’s not the point, Bo!”

“YEAH DUDE, it is. He wants to fuck. Honestly, I don’t know why you’re being so weird about this. You aren’t usually someone to care about a little fling here or there. Go for it. It’s obviously mutual.”

“I don’t know man, it’s different. He’s kinda… intimidating.”

“Look. I’m not trying to be insensitive about your feelings. If it makes you feel any better I can ask Akaashi for some more information on the guy in case he really is some shady motherfucker.”

“Well it might not be a terrible idea. I guess I’m just nervous he is gonna do something to get me caught up in some guideline violations. I’m not supposed to just go around hooking up with my students. No matter how willing they are.”

“And yet-”

Kuroo rolls his eyes and shoves Bokuto’s shoulder as he steps past him to cover the register. More customers have just walked in the front door. “Ya know, not everyone is as horny as you and ‘Kashi”.

“Now THAT is the real shame.” And with the last statement, Kuroo watches Bokuto untie his apron and head to the back to toss it before he leaves for the day. His replacement should be coming in soon.

Whoever is in next better hurry the fuck up, I’m not running this place alone.

“Whoa! Hey hey hey! What’s got you looking like that, Tooru?!”

Kuroo hands the change to the woman across the counter with a smile and turns to see Bokuto dumbly staring at a tomato-red Oikawa a few paces inside the back door. He’s breathing hard and his hair looks like it was ruffled from the hood still halfway on his head.

“Oikawa? You alright, man?”

 

“I have a secret to tell you guys. Please… please don’t laugh at me. I kinda need your help.”

Chapter Text

Tadashi’s limbs shook violently with the burning relief of a stretch after being forced to curl in the corner of a couch for the last 5 hours.  He hears a grunt behind him and is uncomfortably jabbed in the side right below his ribcage in a way that makes him lose his breath for brief moments. Turning his creaky neck to look behind him he sees a little blonde head peaking out beneath a pile of discarded jackets and a stray Twizzlers wrapper.

That’s right, Yachi was taking care of me last night. Damn, I took advantage of yet another friend this week. Nice going.

Untucking his legs more carefully this time, he manages to sneak away without startling her a second time. He has stayed over at Ennoshita’s more often than not this month, he thinks he may have to start offering to pay some rent or grocery bills.

He knows he should find something to put in his stomach to ease the nausea threatening to ruin his Saturday plans for schoolwork but the thought of even crackers right now is too much to handle. He stumbles through the kitchen searching for a clean cup among the rubbage left over from last night’s party. There is a small stack of them on the counter next to the sink and he grabs one from the top hoping it wasn’t used for beer pong. It was hard to tell. He decided he didn’t care and filled it with room-temperature water from the faucet. It tasted a little metallic but it at least served its purpose of unsticking the walls of his throat.

After several greedy gulps he splashed some handfuls onto his face and through his hair, grateful that he at least didn’t sleep with his hair tied back - that usually resulted in a migraine.

“Hey, Yachi still asleep on the couch?” Ennoshita’s quiet voice filtered through his fuzzy brain as he turned to look around the corner near the hallway to the bedrooms. His friend stood rubbing his eyes and yawning, clearly less hungover than Tadashi, but still struggling with normality.

“Yeah. Hey, sorry about keeping her busy all night. I didn’t mean to get so… out of control again.”

“It’s fine. I think she would busy herself with you regardless of alcohol consumption.”

“Oh. Well. Sorry.”

Ennoshita took that as the end of the conversation and went to the living room to check on Yachi.

 

***

 

The three of them had become very close over the past couple of months. Tooru had introduced Tadashi and Yachi to each other with a nudge and a wink, making it very obvious he thought they would hit it off. They did, as best friends, and Ennoshita had joined their friendship soon after when they all ended up paired together for a group project in one of the required university classes none of them really cared about. This resulted in many “study sessions” ending up with them taking late night walks about campus and playing drunk Mario Kart till they fell asleep in a pile on the floor.

Tadashi liked Yachi just fine, and if he had met her prior to college, he probably would have had a huge crush on the little blonde. However, college has been full of many surprises for Tadashi - the latest being questioning his sexuality.

Tadashi loved women. They were soft and kind and held a sort of weightlessness to them that he had yet to ever see in a man. And then of course there were those who didn’t fall into either category and he really didn’t know where to begin with his feelings towards them. They were like magic - and very intimidating. He chose to figure out how to feel about men first, and go from there.

Sexuality hadn’t even become a subject on his mind until late his second year of high school when he was confessed to by a first year girl and he realized he could have feelings like that. In his bewilderment he accepted and they dated for a bit until the end of the year when her family moved away and Tadashi was left to finish out school single. He only sort of cared. He had more crushes, but never had the desire to pursue a relationship with anyone again.

Now, Tadashi spent many of his days at parties and kickbacks getting drunk and waking up with muddled memories of flirtations and occasional make-out sessions. He thanked the heavens he had managed to keep his pants on so far though; he wasn’t about to lose his virginity to some girl he could hardly remember.

His most alarming memory was one which consisted of him running his hands up a lean muscled chest, his gaze following until it met with dark eyes opened wide with confusion. He remembers feeling like his heart was going to plunge down into his gut, the fear of what he was doing mixed with the confusing excitement that he was actually listening to his body’s urges this time. At least that was the case until he heard the guy’s mouth spill out, “Tadashi? What are ya doing?”

Ennoshita.

His memory fades there, fairly certain that he ran home and tried to ignore his friend for the next week until Yachi and he showed up at his door and held an intervention. Tadashi’s expectation of his friend’s disgust was quickly dispelled when Ennoshita pulled him into a hug and told him he understood and didn’t hold anything against him. Tadashi held on tight and cried.

 

***

 

And now, though it was very obvious to Tadashi, Ennoshita and Yachi were tip-toeing around each other clearly wishing it weren’t weird for them to give in to their feelings. Tadashi didn’t want to be the reason they were holding themselves back.

Just another way I’m taking advantage.

He watches quietly as Ennoshita carries Yachi past the kitchen and into his bedroom, tucking her in and retreating after closing the door to seal out the light of the day. Luckily she is a heavy sleeper, though she will probably complain when she wakes up in the afternoon - half her Saturday gone. Tadashi almost says as much but knows better than to interfere knowing Ennoshita is hoping they’ll be here alone when she does finally rouse.

“Alright I think I’m gonna head out now, I have a lot of writing to do today for English. Thanks again.”

“Course. Text me when you get home so I know you didn’t fall in a ditch somewhere.”

“Damn. There goes that plan.”

He receives a breathy laugh and eye roll from his friend.

Tadashi begins his slow drag to the door after swiping his lanyard off the counter and making sure his wallet and phone were still in his back pocket.

“Hey-”

Tadashi feels a heavy hand rest on his shoulder and freezes up a bit as he turns toward his friend.

“Are you okay?”

“Huh? Yeah, why? Do I not seem okay?”

“-No. It’s just… maybe we shouldn’t have a party next weekend. Take a break from drinking for a bit. Exams are coming up anyway, we could actually use a real study session” Ennoshita’s smile is forced.

“-Um. Yeah whatever, that sounds fine.”

“Cool. Remember, no ditches.” His hand leaves his shoulder with a final pat.

Tadashi sweeps out the door and begins to head down the steps contemplating what that had been about. Ennoshita has always been a worrier but that seemed a little more sentimental than normal.

He takes his phone out and sees his battery is at 6%. He decides to use what’s left to call his roommate and see what he is doing today. However, after a solid 30 seconds of ringing, Tadashi gets sent to voicemail and he ends the call - opting to send him a text instead:

Hey you didn’t answer, I’m assuming you’re at work. You think free drinks extends to weekends? I could really use one.

 

He doesn’t wait for a reply as he sets off towards Sips, a warm mocha calling his name.

Chapter Text

I'm really sorry to be doing this but I completely lost motivation to continue this story. I did love it, but my writing style and ideas have evolved over the past couple months and I cringe looking back on this. 

I did want to thank everyone that left kudos and comments, I appreciated them so so so much. I want to keep writing, but I think I'm going to focus on single pairings in the future; I bit off more than I could chew.

 

Thank you again! I'll be back. :)