Kageyama didn’t remember it being this hard to get into his apartment. Usually he didn’t even have to think about it, muscle memory guiding him through the process. But tonight, it was exceedingly difficult for some reason.
Key, Kageyama thought, and he had that in his hand. Then keyhole and turn. Except his key wouldn’t fit into the keyhole of his apartment door at all. He was stymied.
He had been standing outside of his apartment for a good five minutes now, with most of that time spent glaring holes into the metal of his house key. Maybe he should have taken Romero-san up on his offer to see him into his apartment after all.
It had seemed unnecessary before. Yes, he had been drinking, but he wasn’t drunk. Or at least he didn’t think he was drunk.
“Key,” Kageyama mumbled. “Then keyhole and turn.” It didn’t work. Maybe he really was drunk.
He continued staring at his key. Maybe if he glared at it enough, it would magically change shape and allow him into his apartment.
Eyes glued to the key in his hand, Kageyama was certain that he could memorize its exact shape. There was it’s round top, the specific jagged curve of its teeth, and its shiny silver—
“Oh,” Kageyama said, realization finally dawning on him. “This is the key to Tsukishima’s apartment.”
Tsukishima had moved into a new apartment last summer, and he had given Kageyama a spare key when he had come to visit for a weekend a month or so after. It didn’t really look the same as his own apartment key—the key to Tsukishima’s place was silver while his own was gold—but the shape was similar enough that he had gotten them confused in his addled state.
My key looks like Tsukishima. The golden color was reminiscent of his eyes, especially when they glinted in a certain light. And Tsukishima’s key looks like Suga-san. The burnished silver-grey reminded Kageyama of his former upperclassman’s hair.
Home is Tsukishima, Kageyama thought, and Tsukishima’s place is Suga-san. It all made perfect sense now.
With the mystery of his key situation solved, Kageyama was sure that he would be able to get into his apartment now.
Key, then keyhole, and turn.
It took him two tries to get the key into the keyhole, but after that, it was smooth sailing. And to think Romero-san thought Kageyama would need help getting inside.
Once inside, Kageyama found that things became much easier. He was able to get his shoes off—even lining them up neatly—and turn on the lights all without falling over or hitting anything.
What’s next? He had made it safely inside, but he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do after that. Romero-san had mentioned more than one thing when he dropped Kageyama off, earlier, but what was it …
Kageyama sat down in the little entryway of his apartment. He was too tired to keep standing right now, and he kept things clean enough that it should have been fine.
I should call Tsukishima, Kageyama thought. That was a great idea. Tsukishima would know what he had to do. He always knew what to do, unless it had something to do with cooking.
Kageyama didn’t think what Romero-san told him to do had anything to do with cooking.
He scrolled through his contacts until he found Tsukishima’s information. He was saved as Kei 💛, courtesy of Miwa. According to her, it was a rite of passage to have your partner listed under a cute name in your phone. Kageyama saw no reason to disagree with her, so he kept it as it was.
Pressing on Tsukishima’s name, his phone began to ring as it tried to connect. It was a little past midnight now, which meant Tsukishima was likely wide awake. The irregular schedule of college classes finally let him embrace his true night owl self, and he almost never went to bed before 1am unless he had a rare early class or meeting.
The phone continued to ring. With nothing else to do, Kageyama leaned back against the wall and shut his eyes. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, the ringing stopped. But instead of Tsukishima on the other end, there was only an automated voice.
The call had gone to voicemail, Kageyama realized with a frown. The one night he was up this late, and Tsukishima was already asleep. His phone beeped, indicating that he could begin recording his message.
“Kei,” Kageyama huffed, “why are you already asleep? I’m up, and you should be, too.”
That was probably unfair, Kageyama thought. He knew Tsukishima had been busy lately, since finals were just around the corner. It was important to be nice, especially when he didn’t want Tsukishima to be irritated.
“Wait, no,” Kageyama corrected. “It’s fine. You should sleep. I just, hmm.” He shook his head. What had he called for again? “Oh, I just got back from the drinking party, the one with the team.”
“It was, um, a lot.” Kageyama smacked his lips with a grimace, remembering all the drinks that had been piled on him as one of the youngest members. He probably had gotten drunk after all. “Everyone had a drink they liked best, and they made me try them all.”
“I had a lot of beer,” he said. His stomach felt fizzy with carbonation just remembering it. “And, um, some cocktails. I don’t remember which ones, but they were sweet, like candy.”
“I had the drink you like, too.” It had been the only order that Kageyama had made on his own at the party. “The coffee milk. But with alcohol.”
“It was okay,” he said. It hadn’t been as good as the last time he had it months ago when he had visited Sendai for the new year. “I liked it better when you ordered it.”
Thinking about the last time he’d had the drink—at the end of the year when Tsukishima had offered him a sip at the bar where they met up with Yamaguchi and Yachi—made Kageyama feel weirdly fuzzy. His stomach felt like it was filled with bubbles, and that made him nervous.
“Anyway!” His voice was too loud for this time of night, but Kageyama didn’t have the brain power to adjust his volume at the moment. “Yeah. I’m home now, and I have to, um, Romero-san told me to do something when I got inside.” He tried again to remember what it was. It had something to do with drinking right? Or something to do after drinking?
“Ah!” Kageyama jolted forward, scrambling to get up. He nearly dropped his phone, but luckily his hand held firm. “He told me to drink water! A lot of water! He said it would help.” Help with what, Kageyama didn’t know, but following instructions was easy enough.
“I’m going to drink water,” Kageyama declared. He was mostly stable when he stood up. “Come with me, okay? I’ll drink water, and then I’ll tell you some more things.”
In the kitchen, Kageyama put his phone down so he could get the water pitcher out of the fridge. It took him a minute to remember where his glasses were stored, but once he did, he poured himself a tall, cold glass of water and drank it all down. Then, he poured himself a second glass and drank that too, just in case.
“Okay, done,” Luckily, he’d had the foresight to put his phone on speaker. It wouldn’t have been good if Tsukishima couldn’t hear him after all.
“Remember to get home safe and drink water the next time you go drinking, okay?” Kageyama said, putting his glass in the sink. He’d wash it in the morning along with his breakfast dishes. “Your house key is Suga-san, and mine is you. Don’t get them mixed up, or you’ll be stuck outside forever.” It was important to pass on advice to others so that they’d avoid the same mistakes he had.
Done in the kitchen, Kageyama made his way to his bedroom. He wanted to keep talking, but he was tired, so it would be better to lie down while he did it. “I’m going to my room now, and I’m going to lie down, and, hmm, I’ll keep talking since you didn’t pick up.” The last was said with an edge of irritation.
Flipping on the light, his bedroom looked exactly how he left it in the evening. His bag for practice was against the wall, and his hamper was a little more full than it had been this morning. His bed was made mostly neatly, and on top of it was —
“Oh,” Kageyama said. “Kei, I found you.”
Before going out for the night, Hoshiumi had told him to Wear something cool or else! before he met up with the team for their outing. Kageyama had pulled out a lot of clothes from his closet in an attempt to find something “cool,” and while he had put most everything else back when he finally decided on an outfit, there was one thing he had left out.
On his bed was a neatly folded dark blue sweater. It was Tsukishima’s sweater, in fact, which Kageyama had surreptitiously swiped the last time he had been in Sendai.
“Well, not actually you.” If Tsukishima had actually been here, things would be way more exciting. “But your sweater. It’s the blue one, with the moon on the side.”
“It’s mine for now, though,” Kageyama added. It was important to say that. Tsukishima had gotten so irritated with him after he discovered the sweater was missing. He said it had been one of his favorites. Well, it was one of Kageyama’s favorites, too, so wasn’t it okay for him to have it? “Cause it’s my favorite, and that means it’s fine for me to have it. Don’t be mad again, okay?”
Seeing the sweater made a warm feeling grow in Kageyama’s stomach. He had totally forgotten that he had gotten it out early. It was a nice surprise to see it now.
And since it was out, Kageyama was going to wear it. He set his phone down on the bed before pulling his shirt off and wiggling out of his jeans, both of which he tossed towards his hamper. Even drunk, his aim was still quite good, and the clothing landed neatly inside.
Just in his boxers, Kageyama pulled the sweater over his head. It was a little loose on him. Tsukishima had gotten broader and taller over the years, and the size of his clothes followed suit. As often as Kageyama was irritated by their height difference, he could appreciate it, too.
The sleeves were just slightly too long, and instead of pushing them up, Kageyama pressed the extra fabric covering his hands against his cheeks. The fabric was soft against his bare skin.
Kageyama flopped down onto his bed, squirming around so he could get comfortable. He picked up his phone and set it close to his face so he could speak more clearly. “It’s really soft,” he said. It had been a few months since Tsukishima had had a chance to wear it after all, so maybe he had forgotten. “Wearing it makes me feel like you’re here, too.”
Hands still pressed close to his face, Kageyama inhaled the scent of the fabric. All that came back was the smell of his own laundry detergent, which made him frown. “It doesn’t smell like you anymore, though.”
The first time Kageyama had worn the sweater after bringing it back to Tokyo, it still smelled like Tsukishima’s body wash, a sweet milk and honey scent. He had even slept in the sweater for a few nights until the scent had faded, and the fabric needed to be washed.
Something wet slipped down Kageyama’s cheek, and when he blinked, his face grew even more damp. “Oh,” he said, bringing a hand up to wipe away the dripping tears. “I guess I really miss you.”
Kageyama curled up on his bed, hiding his face behind the sweater’s long sleeves. He took a deep breath and let it out in a shuddering exhale. He wasn’t crying anymore, but he felt very deeply sad right now. He had been living life without Tsukishima for years now, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard sometimes, especially with everything he had going on.
“Kei, you remember, right?” Kageyama moved closer to his phone, like it would bring him closer to Tsukishima himself. “I don’t say it a lot, but I like you.”
He paused, taking a deep breath before continuing. “I love you.”
Kageyama let the sentiment hang in the air for a moment. Somehow, saying it aloud had made him feel a little better. Tsukishima still wasn’t here, and things were still hard, but Kageyama loved him, and that meant that the effort of staying together was worth it, even with all the obstacles.
“I think about you all the time,” Kageyama said. He didn’t know if Tsukishima knew that. He thought that it was pretty clear, but sometimes Tsukishima had stupid opinions about what Kageyama felt about their relationship.
“You should come visit when finals are over, by the way.” It would be good to see Tsukishima again, in person and not just through his phone or laptop screen. “Your, uh, your internship doesn’t start until a month after classes start again, right? The team still has practices, but we should have time to do stuff.”
“There’s a ramen place that I think you’d like. I found it when I was out for a run.” While not particularly adventurous, Kageyama tried to find new places to go to with Tsukishima whenever he visited Tokyo. Miwa always said that they couldn’t just spend all their time together stuck in his or Tsukishima’s apartments. “The food’s not that heavy, so you can’t complain, okay?.”
“And, um, the museum we visited last year has a new exhibit, too, I think,” he continued. “Ushijima-san told me about it last week. So we should go to that when you’re here.”
“There’s a lot we can do. Or we can just stay home, too.” No matter what his sister said, Kageyama thought staying at home all weekend with Tsukishima was good, too. He curled an arm around his pillow and sighed. “I don’t mind really… I just want to … see you … again …” His voice trailed off, tiredness suffusing through his body. The only thought left in his head was seeing Tsukishima again, whenever that might be.
Kageyama was nearly asleep, face tucked into the fabric of Tsukishima’s sweater when a sudden thought had him jerking back into full alertness. “I need to wash my face!” he yelped, frantically pushing himself up. “I need to—nee-san sent me a new cleanser, and I have to tell her how it is. She’ll know if I don’t actually use it …”
Phone forgotten in the mess of his sheets, Kageyama tumbled off his bed and unsteadily made his way to the bathroom.
It was 1:30 in the morning. With his phone on silent as he worked on a paper for one of his classes, Tsukishima had missed Kageyama’s midnight call completely. It was only now, after he had reached a good stopping point, that he bothered to check his phone and found the missed call notification amid a slew of unread messages from other friends and classmates.
Tsukishima usually would have brushed off the missed call. Kageyama was never one to stay up too late, so the call was likely just a clumsy mistake after spending a night drinking with his teammates. The voicemail notification that came with the call, though, was much longer than Tsukishima expected.
It’s probably just background noises, Tsukishima thought with an internal roll of his eyes. If Kageyama had called him by mistake, the voicemail was likely to be a messy amalgamation of sounds. He decided to play it anyway. Maybe there would be something he could use to make fun of Kageyama when he called him back later in the day.
“Kei,” Kageyama’s voice said, already grouchy right from the start, “why are you already asleep?”
Minutes later, the voicemail ended. Tsukishima was alone in his apartment, but he still covered as much of his face as he could with his hand. He could feel a blush deepening the color of his cheeks to a bright red, and even if there was no one around, he still didn’t want it to be visible.
Love made you pathetic, Tsukishima knew, mostly because of how smitten he constantly was with Kageyama. Even worse, his affection was apparently exceedingly obvious, according to almost all of his friends and even his family. It was a curse.
Kageyama’s voicemail should have annoyed him; listening to a drunk person’s ramblings was typically an exercise in frustration. The last time he had gotten a drunken voicemail—from Hinata who had been dragged out bar hopping with Oikawa in Brazil—he had blocked Hinata on all of his accounts for nearly two months.
It was clearly a stupid voicemail, maybe even worse than Hinata’s considering its length. It should have been painful for Tsukishima to even listen to it.
That didn’t stop him from replaying the voicemail, however. He listened to Kageyama stumble through his apartment, lose his train of thought, and generally be everything Tsukishima should have found annoying all over again.
“I guess I really miss you,” Kageyama said, sounding so forlorn that it made Tsukishima’s heart ache. Most of the time, he assumed Kageyama had a better handle on their long distance relationship than he did, but it seemed like the king struggled too, more than Tsukishima had even realized.
“-ei, you remember, right? I don’t say it a lot, but I like you. … I love you.”
Of course I remember, Tsukishima thought. His face was hot, like he had been sitting in the sun too long. Like Kageyama ever let him forget, really.
“… I think about you all the time,” Kageyama’s voice said, floating up into the quiet air of Tsukishima’s apartment.
Tsukishima knew this, too. It was obvious in everything Kageyama did, no matter if they were together or apart.
Kageyama texted him a morning greeting every day without fail and sent him terrible photos of scenery, animals, food, and anything else that caught his attention. In return, he liked Tsukishima to call him if he wasn’t too busy most nights. He listened to Tsukishima complain about assignments, professors, annoying under-and-upperclassmen, teammates, and everyone and anyone, and in the end, he would say, “You’re just grumpy since you don’t eat enough,” starting off a whole other stupid, endless argument.
On the rare occasions they got to meet in-person nowadays, Kageyama would always stick close, leaning on him whenever he could. He stole Tsukishima’s clothes and bullied him about the sorry state of his fridge. When they slept, he tucked himself into the curve of Tsukishima’s shoulder as usual.
The voicemail was near its end now, changing from Kageyama’s quiet breathing as he almost fell asleep to his flustered tumble out of bed. All that was left was muffled mumbles before it ended completely.
I really miss you. I like you. I love you. I think about you all the time. It was getting closer to 2am now, and at the moment, all Tsukishima could do was be consumed by how much he wanted to be with his boyfriend.
At this hour, Kageyama was likely long asleep, his usual heavy sleep further weighed down by alcohol. There was no point in calling him now, not when he wouldn’t pick up.
It would be better to wait until the morning. Kageyama would be awake by then, maybe even hungover, which would give Tsukishima another thing to tease him about.
It would also give Tsukishima time to compose himself. Anything he said now was probably going to be too honest, too sappy. He’d probably end up buying a train ticket to Tokyo half way through, denting his bank account and absolutely ruining his weekend plans.
He should get back to work, or if he was smart, he’d go to sleep himself. It wasn’t like Kageyama wouldn’t still be there in the morning. There was no need to rush now.
Instead of being sensible, though, Tsukishima dialed Kageyama’s number. He listened to it ring and ring before it finally clicked over to voicemail.
“Tobio,” he said, “you’re really just an idiot, huh?”