Bokuto doesn't know what he's expecting when he opens Shouyou's backpack to take out his lunch box, but it sure as hell isn't a neatly tucked note that says, I'm sorry my son pushed yours, I've talked to him and it won't happen again.
It makes sense five minutes later when Shouyou proudly shows him a faint purple bruise on the side of his knee, and Bokuto shakes his head fondly and tells him not to press on it, because Shouyou is a bit of a mashochistic little thing and keeps touching it with his fingers.
“That Kageyama kid again?”
“He's a meanie,” Shouyou tells him solemnly. “He always looks so angry.”
“Be nice to him,” Bokuto says, ruffling Shouyou's red hair.
“I am! I keep asking him to play with me, but he doesn't want to.” Shouyou lowers his head, suddenly sad, and Bokuto feels a bit bad for him because alright, he remembers what it's like to be a kid and wanting to be liked by someone else so badly.
“Maybe he's sad because he doesn't like his lunch.” Bokuto rolls his sleeves up and grabs a pan and a knife. “I'll make some extra so you can share with him. He won't be a meanie anymore after he tastes my curry.”
Shouyou is positively glowing, all big golden eyes. “You're the best dad in the whole world.”
Two days later Shouyou comes back with his lunch box intact, and Bokuto frowns.
“You didn't eat your food,” he tells his son, concerned.
“Kageyama shared his lunch with me! I don't think he wanted to, but his dad made more and told him to give it to me. He also gave me this.”
The handwriting is the same Bokuto remembers. This time it says, Thank you for sharing your lunch with my son. I thought it'd only be fair to return the favour.
“Did you like it?” Bokuto asks.
Shouyou nods furiously.
The next day he sends his son to school with a note that says Thanks for the lunch, care to share the recipe? and the order to give it to Kageyama, to hand it to his dad. Shouyou is smiling wide as he picks up his backpack, happy to have an excuse to chase after what Bokuto is suspecting is his first crush.
The recipe comes back, and Bokuto finds himself falling into this unspoken agreement with this stranger where they alternate making lunch for both the kids, one day Bokuto's turn and the next day Kageyama's father's. It's practical, and Bokuto finds it simple and neat, though of course he always packs some food in Shouyou's backpack just in case.
“He plays with me now,” Shouyou tells him, “but he's always telling me I suck. Why is he so mean?”
“Tell him he sucks back,” Bokuto suggests.
“But he doesn't!” Shouyou starts flailing his limbs wildly, surely in what he considers is a decent imitation of his classmate. “He's so good, dad. We played volleyball yesterday and he looked like the players on tv. All gwahh , bam ! Swooosh!” He drops his arms and makes a long grumbling noise. “I hate him. I hate Kageyama.”
Bokuto gets a phone call from the school in the midde of practice. He picks up all sweaty and agitated and listens as a secretary asks him to come pick his son up and discuss with Kageyama Tobio's father how they're going to pay for the very expensive window their sons just broke while playing volleyball.
“I didn't sign up for this,” Bokuto mumbles, but the truth as a father is, he sort of did.
When Bokuto meets Kageyama the first thing he thinks is, No five year old should be able to scowl like that.
Or be that tall.
Then, Shit, his dad is really hot.
He's signing a check for half his payment for the window, and his profile is all sharp lines, a straight nose, a delicate jaw. He pushes some hair away from his face and Bokuto swallows hard. It's been years since he's felt this wrecked over someone at first sight, like some kind of teenager who doesn't know better.
He wants to know better. Specifically, he wants to know Akaashi Keiji better.
There's a tug on his sleeve.
“Hinata says you're a volleyball player.”
“I am,” Bokuto tells Tobio, looking down at his excited little face and really, isn't he too young to look that intense? Bokuto is not sure if he's having a conversation or about to get murdered. “I heard you like volleyball too.” Otherwise he wouldn't be here paying for a window that's more expensive than a weekend out in Tokyo.
“I'm a setter,” Kageyama tells him very seriously, “I'm going to be the best.”
He says it in a way that sounds a lot like, and if you're still playing by the time I go pro then I'm going to grind you into dust too, sir.
Bokuto blinks. “Setters are cool,” he says lamely.
Apparently, that's enough to make Kageyama's eyes go bright and awed, mouth open as he nods.
“They are! Are you a setter too?”
“I'm a wing spiker, but I wouldn't be able to score without my setter. They're the heart of the team.”
Kageyama glares at Shouyou, who's looking at Kageyama from behind Bokuto's legs.
“Your dad is so cool,” he grunts angrily, and he storms off to join his father, volley ball in his arms.
Bokuto spends the next couple of weeks wondering how the hell to contact Akaashi Keiji and make it clear that he doesn't want to talk about their sons' weird friendship so much as he wants to take him out for dinner. It's sort of hard, considering all he knows about the guy is that he's gorgeous, his son's mother is out of the picture, and he's a part-time chef.
“Dad.” Shouyou pokes him on the stomach. “What's a crush? Uncle Tetsu says you have one.”
“Oh god, don't call him that,” Bokuto groans, already fumbling for his cellphone to send Kuroo a text telling him to stay away from his son.
“What's a crush?” Shouyou insists.
“Oh, um.” Bokuto scratches the back of his neck, feeling it warm. “I guess it's – when you want to – you know when you think someone looks really awesome and you'd like to spend more time with them? Sort of like that.”
Shouyou fistbumps the air, triumphant. “Aw yeah! I have a crush too.”
When Bokuto goes pick Shouyou up at school, he's not entirely surprised that Kageyama quickly walks up to him and grabs him by the jacket.
“I want to know more about volleyball,” he demands.
It's sort of cute, and Bokuto likes the attention, so he puffs his chest out and says, “Sure! I'm teaching Shouyou on weekends, you can join us if your dad agrees.”
“He likes volleyball too,” Kageyama adds quickly, all wide eyes and innocence. “Can he play with us? He's a setter like me. It'll be me and Hinata against you and my dad.”
Next to him, Shouyou is practically beaming, surely surprised and pleased that Kageyama has willingly said that they can play together and be in the same team. Bokuto knows how much it means to him, judging by the way Shouyou keeps sulking around the place whenever Kageyama refuses to play with him or going on excited little rants about how Kageyama is dumb and mean and awful.
“That's probably a bit unbalanced.”
“I'm going to win,” Kageyama Tobio assures him, and for a moment Bokuto forgets that he's a thirty-three year old with a job as a professional volleyball player and thinks, this kid really is going to kick my ass.
More things Bokuto knows about Akaashi Keiji: he has nice legs, nice arms, and his tosses are everything Bokuto would have wanted in high school.
They indulge the kids and play against them for ten minutes before Kageyama admits he may have to practice some more (and tells Shouyou he sucks a lot) so they end up splitting the teams to play a game of Tobio and Bokuto versus Akaashi and Shouyou.
Akaashi is nothing if not polite, all gentle tosses that Shouyou can spike without problem, and Bokuto receives his son's spike with his own face when he gets distracted by the flex of Akaashi's muscles as he pulls his shirt up to wipe the sweat from his face. Kageyama gets mad and tells him he sucks even more than Hinata does, which Bokuto wasn't expecting to be so hurtful, and now he understands what his son means when he says Kageyama is like a grumpy old man in a kid's body.
“Be nice, Tobio,” Akaashi says from the other side of the net.
After the game has ended (Bokuto and Kageyama winning by a wide margin) Akaashi walks up to him and offers him some water. Bokuto drinks greedily, all long gulps and trying to take his time so as to regain some composture and not end up blurting You're an adult, how are you so pretty? to the man standing before him.
“Thank you for indulging Tobio, I know he's not an easy kid to deal with.”
“He loves volleyball a lot,” Bokuto says, thinking that he can see the resemblance between Akaashi and his son in the darkness of their hair, the outline of their brow and the angles of their soft features. He turns his head to watch Shouyou pulling on Kageyama's hair and sticking his tongue out. “He'll be really good some day.”
“He will,” Akaashi agrees with the slightest hint of pride in his voice, and Bokuto is left breathless by the curve of his smile.
Another thing Bokuto knows about Akaashi Keiji: his phone number.