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Daichi loved his job. He truly did.

Surprisingly enough, the first thing that drew him to the profession were the knives. He was seven years old and very much into action heroes and comic books when he saw an episode of Iron Chef. It blew his little mind how proficiently all the chefs wielded those blades, sharp enough to cut through bone - some even using both hands interchangeably. And by the end of the show every chef was still in possession of all ten of their fingers, miraculously so. To Daichi's reverent eyes the people in uniforms and funny-looking hats were nothing short of badass.

Now, however, twenty-one years later, as Daichi stood in the kitchen he commanded and watched the chaos around him, he wondered if that moment of revelation when he was a child had been a blessing or a curse.

In the middle of service someone had tripped, someone else had knocked something over and - long story short - one of the bus boys had set one of the sous-chefs on fire.

There had been a brief moment of panic among the staff (Daichi almost cut off his thumb - so much for his diligently honed dicing skills) before the bus boy, Hinata, was fast to correct his blunder. He doused the unfortunate sous-chef, Kageyama, with water from one of the pots for cooking vegetables (thankfully, not turned on yet and, also thankfully, with no vegetables in it).

The two were now in a shouting match in front of Daichi, Kageyama's uniform drenched to his skin as it looked like, the hem of it smoking a little, and Hinata on the verge of tears, albeit not backing down under Kageyama's scorching glare. The rest of the kitchen did its best to ignore them, but it was hard to operate under the sheer volume of their voices.

"Incompetent, clumsy," Kageyama fumed, his dark bangs falling into his eyes. "Dumbass, DUMBASS HINATA HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO WATCH YOUR BACK, TO ANNOUNCE WHEN YOU'RE-"

"I WAS WATCHING MY BACK AND I WAS ABOUT TO SAY THAT I WAS COMING BEHIND YOU BUT THEN-" Hinata's fists were clenched by his sides, round face red with frustration.

"IF YOU HAD I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN PUSHED INTO THE BURNER NOW WOULD I?!"

"IT WASN'T MY FAULT THAT YAMAGUCHI HAD STUMBLED AND-"

Daichi had just about had it with this nonsense. He stepped forward, his shadow looming over his subordinates.

"That's enough."

He didn't raise his voice and yet both Kageyama and Hinata had stopped their arguing to stare wide-eyed at him.

"S-Sawamura-san," Hinata stammered, but Daichi held up a hand to silence him.

"We're in the middle of service. There is a hall full of guests waiting for their food out there and we will not disappoint them," he spoke slowly and carefully, but with a clear edge to his words. "Kageyama, go change."

The sous-chef nodded curtly and threw one last death glare Hinata's way before he headed out the kitchen to get a spare uniform.

"Hinata." Daichi looked at the short young man standing straight, defiant, despite the slight tremble of his frame, his orange hair sticking out in every direction. Daichi laid a hand on his shoulder and gave him a reassuring squeeze. "You do need to be more careful in the kitchen."

Hinata nodded vigorously, color draining from his face.

"But you are a hard worker and I see no reason to reprimand you for this. It was just an accident. One which I hope will not be repeated."

"Of-of course not, Chef. I-I didn't- I mean, I..."

"I believe there are some tables that need clearing?" Daichi prompted, wanting to spare the bus boy any further attempt at speaking and also to hurry up the process of getting back to work.

"Y-yes, Chef!"

And Hinata practically sprinted off in the direction of the employee's bathroom, even though there definitely weren't any dining tables in there. Daichi chuckled as he went back to cutting up meat, fully aware of Hinata's problem with his nervous stomach.

Apart from the palpable tension between Hinata and Kageyama (which was their default state really, accidents involving exposed flame notwithstanding), the rest of the shift went by without a hitch. Daichi was in his element, shouting out orders and focusing on melding the flavors of the menu to the best of his ability despite the sizzling heat of the kitchen, the one thing he still had trouble getting used to after six years on the job.

By the end of the evening he had received no less than seven compliments to the chef; not a personal best, but commendable either way.

"Good service today, Chef," one of the sous-chefs told him before stepping out of the near-empty kitchen after closing time.

Daichi merely nodded, writing down last-minute additions to their supply order for next week, bent over a counter which had been polished to shine.

Someone moved behind him. He caught sight of a mismatched uniform, Kageyama's black pants with a borrowed orange-colored top.

"Good night, Chef," Kageyama said with a hint of weariness in his tone, hiking up the bag on his shoulder.

"You shouldn't be so hard on Hinata, you know." Daichi looked up; Kageyama had paused on his way out the door and turned to him with a mildly annoyed expression, that Daichi believed had long ago become his resting face. "He's just doing his best."

"He's not doing his best," Kageyama corrected.

His gaze shifted over to the bus boy in question who strolled in from the break room; Hinata wasn't wearing his apron anymore but carried two juice boxes, one of which he handed to Kageyama and Kageyama took it without a word, glared at the bright eyes looking up at him innocently as Hinata slurped through his straw.

"That's what's bothering me," Kageyama muttered. "I know he can do better." He nudged Hinata's shoulder with his own. "He's just being a dumbass."

Hinata let go of his straw and smirked.

"Hey, I wasn't the one who had to stop, drop and roll today."

Kageyama let out what sounded most like a growl. Daichi laughed.

"Just try and not disrupt the entire kitchen next time, alright?"

"Yes, Chef." They nodded in unison.

"See you tomorrow." Daichi turned back to his order list as Hinata and Kageyama bid him a good night and walked out the door with the beginnings of another squabble.

It was a pleasant July night, warm and stale despite it being close to midnight, though still not near as hellish as in the kitchen. Daichi enjoyed his walk home. The city never slept - even between two week days - and Daichi was comfortable with the bright lights, the incessant noise of the traffic, with the strangers in the streets. Made him feel like he almost had a normal work schedule.

Though compared to the main boulevards Daichi's neighborhood was quiet, with only one bistro open until around 3 a.m. that was often empty save for a small bartender, forever engrossed in video games on a hand-held device that seemed permanently glued to his hand.

And he was there now, too, alone in his quaint establishment, his two-toned hair falling over his eyes; he hadn't even looked up when Daichi walked by the window.

Daichi took two steps at a time to the second floor of his building and carefully unlocked his apartment as to not spill anything from the boxes of food that didn't get served that night and he got to bring home. Once he was inside he threw the keys onto the coffee table in the living-room, put away the boxes in the fridge and headed to the bathroom for a long, relaxing shower, looking forward to the moment he'd crash into his bed and sleep till midday, preferably.


Voices. Daichi could hear voices in his apartment. The apartment where he lived alone.

He opened his eyes and squinted at the alarm clock glowing neon blue on his nightstand: 3:56 a.m. A little over two hours after he turned in.

"Ughghgh..." he let out a groan and rolled over to the other side, pulling the covers over his head.

There should not have been voices in his apartment before the break of dawn. Especially not loud enough to wake him up, for him to hear every single word that they were saying.

"...and so we're in the private area dancing, right?" A male voice talked, around a mouthful of food from what Daichi could hear. "Swaying, grinding, she's got this ass, sooo... Ugh. You know? And she's all over me, and of course I'm all over her because I hadn't had sex in like... four days, or something. And she puts her hand down my jeans, my boxers - she had no shame, I loved it - and she cups my balls and I'm gone, Bokuto, like I'm ready to just do it right-"

"What did I tell you about that?" another male voice interrupted him, Bokuto's, a little annoyed.

"Yeah, yeah, no sex in the clubs, I know, I'm not saying I would've done it, I'm saying I just really really really wanted to."

Daichi's fortress of thin sheets was far from soundproof. He heard distinct noises of two idiots rummaging through the leftovers from the restaurant.

"Umph, this is so good, I love the little pang of chilly..." The first voice munched in between his words. "Where was I?"

"Somewhere around your balls."

"Right! So she feels them up, less in a sexy way and more in a scientific way. Not bad, you know, just a little... clinical. Different. But then she goes, and this is the kicker: Huh. Less hairy than Mr. Whiskers'."

Bokuto choked on a bite and erupted into a violent coughing fit. Daichi heard his friend smack him forcefully on the back a few times.

"Wha--" Bokuto rasped. "What the hell?!"

"Exactly! So I go: Who's Mr. Whiskers? And I'm thinking - no, no, I'm praying - that it's like an ex with a particular style of moustache or something, anything, that doesn't mean that it's..." A loud sigh. Seriously, who the hell sighs loudly enough for Daichi to hear him all the way to the bedroom?! "And it was. It was. Her cat, Bokuto, she compared my nuts to her cat's nuts."

That was it. While Bokuto's laughter roared through his apartment, Daichi threw the covers off and sat up, teeth gritted.

"And then- what- happened?" Bokuto managed to ask through what sounded like tears.

Not even bothering to put on something over his T-shirt and boxers, Daichi stomped his way out of the bedroom and down the hallway.

"What do you mean what happened? What do you think happened, I got the fuck out of there faster than you could say batshit crazy."

Daichi stopped in the doorway and glared at the two young men that had claimed his kitchen - Bokuto, standing by the fridge with that ridiculous upright hair which added at least a dozen more centimeters to his already imposing height, and Kuroo, the perpetual bed head, sitting on the counter by the sink as if he owned it. Which he most certainly did not. Both of them held plastic containers, Daichi's plastic containers, forking food into their mouths directly from them.

"What are you two doing here?" Daichi demanded.

"Oh, hey, man!" Kuroo looked up at him through the dark bangs that covered only half of his forehead. He smiled, pointed at the box in his hands. "This is really good! You should totally be a chef." He sniggered at his own joke.

"It's 4 a.m.," Daichi growled.

"Yeah, delicious! I loved the little red thing, whatever it was..." Bokuto said.

"It was an inedible decoration," Daichi snapped. Bokuto's amber eyes went comically wide; Daichi couldn't hold in a snort, despite his annoyance. "Sun dried tomato. Also, it's still 4 a.m."

"Our fridge was empty," Kuroo said, with an almost innocent shrug.

"When is it ever full?"

"Good point." Bokuto nodded. "But we just got back from the club and we were hungry and Kuroo remembered that you always had leftovers from The Crow, so..."

Daichi watched them for a moment, their fancy dress shirts, Bokuto's pants that were too tight for his strong legs, Kuroo's tailored jacket; both of them were looking at him like orphans abandoned in the freezing rain and having not eaten for weeks (which Daichi knew wasn't true - they had early dinner with him just yesterday before he left for work) and, well, fuck it. It wasn't like he had anywhere to be in the morning, anyway.

"Shameless," he said, shaking his head and hopping onto the counter next to Kuroo. "You two are shameless."

"Which is why you love us." Kuroo grinned at him, batting his eyelashes. He wasn't being even remotely cute, until he offered Daichi his container of pasta. "Sorry we woke you up, though."

"That's okay. I'm kind of hungry too, actually." Daichi helped himself with a clean fork from the first drawer right behind his legs and dug in. "So what's this about a cat's nuts I heard?"

Bokuto snorted as Kuroo began retelling his story, "Alright, so we're at The White Owl, right? And-"

"Which one?" Daichi interrupted, grabbing another forkful.

"The new one," Bokuto said. "We just got this earth-shattering sound system, you should totally come check it out." He beamed, proud of the shiny new piece of electronics he bought for one of his night clubs. "You can feel the bass in your bones."

"Hah, I bet."

"Anyway," Kuroo continued. "So I see this girl over at the bar..."

His recounting of the story inspired Bokuto to share his most recent sexual escapade which made Daichi accidentally inhale some of the tomato sauce and almost die from spaghetti-induced suffocation right there on the spot. By the time Kuroo saved his life with a glass of water Bokuto was talking again and then Kuroo was talking again and pretty soon Daichi was in stitches, his abs hurting from all the laughing.

"Holy fuck, where do you two find all these freaks?" he asked when he was finally able to take in a normal breath, throwing his fork in the sink. The next time he was going to eat pasta was somewhere around New Year's probably.

"Oh man, that reminds me." Bokuto was finishing off one of the last containers, obviously on a roll with his storytelling. "Remember that guy I dated for like three quarters of an hour?"

"Oh yeah, the one with the..." Kuroo made a vague gesture in front of his mouth. "Those teeth?"

"Yeah, with the- Yeah." Bokuto repeated the motion and Daichi vividly recalled an unfortunately horse-faced gentleman that Bokuto may have had a particularly raunchy night with one time at the club.

"So, apart from that, he was also strangely obsessed with snakes. Not a euphemism, by the way."

"Obsessed how, exactly?" Daichi asked.

"He got turned on when he realized my skin was cold, enjoyed hissing in my ear..."

Daichi made a disgusted face as Kuroo slammed his last box of food on the counter. "Aaaand we're done with the green pesto thing."

The doorbell rang out in the apartment. Daichi frowned, glanced at the oven clock - 4:47 a.m. Who the fuck--?

Bokuto was just telling Kuroo to pour the green pesto thing into his own last meal and mix it all up when Daichi slid off the counter and went to answer the door.

"Hey!"

Daichi blinked at his next-door neighbor, taller than him, his dark hair neatly tied up in a ponytail at the base of his neck. His smile was unnaturally perky for this time of night. Morning. Whatever.

"Asahi...?" Daichi said, surprised at this visit, before his gaze fell on at least four large suitcases behind Asahi's back. He did a mental smack on the forehead. "Oh, that's right, you're leaving today."

Asahi's smile fell, shoulders slumped a bit. "Did you forget?"

"No, no I most definitely didn't." Daichi shook his head, as if that would've made his words more convincing. He then let out a sigh, smiling apologetically. "Sorry, I just had very little sleep last night. This night...?"

"Yeah, you don't look too good."

"Gee, thanks."

If Asahi detected Daichi's sarcasm, he didn't react to it. He fished something out of the pocket of his jeans. "Anyway, our flight's in three hours. Here are the keys for Suga." He pressed cold metal into Daichi's palm. "I left a detailed note on the counter by the stove, we changed the sheets and restocked the fridge. We'll be back in September, but we'll definitely Skype until then so I'll let you know the exact date. So you don't forget again."

Daichi gave him a look. "I didn't. forget."

"Do you even have my Skype username?"

"I... think I do, but you know, you could always text me with it." It was way too early to be remembering such details as his list of contacts on Skype. It's not like he had any reason to use it with Asahi, with them waltzing into each other's apartments pretty much at will.

Behind Asahi and to the left, the door of his apartment opened, Noya stepped out and turned to lock it. Shockingly, his hair was as spiky as ever, with that lighter-colored floof in the front and Daichi wondered how much earlier Noya had to wake up to get it to look like that.

"Right. Oh!" Asahi exclaimed and made Daichi look back at him. "And we let the landlord know that we won't be here, but if anything comes up I told him to-"

"Babe," Noya interrupted him, coming to stand beside him and wrapping an arm around his waist. His smile at Asahi was wide and reassuring. He gave him a little wiggle. "Breathe. Relax. Daichi is actually the most capable person in this godforsaken building, it'll be fine."

Daichi was just about to reply when there was a mildly offended shout from inside his apartment.

"Hey! We heard that!"

Noya's gaze darkened. "Well. If it aren't the hair gel huffers."

Daichi thought something along the lines of You're the one to talk, Mr. My-hair-counts-for-one-third-of-my-height. but knew better than to say it out loud. Bokuto and Kuroo came closer, stood on either side of Daichi, grinning and satiated with the food that wasn't theirs.

"Packed everything?" Kuroo asked teasingly. "Remembered to bring your speedo, Asahi?"

Asahi's cheeks flushed as he muttered, "I don't wear that."

"More precisely, he can't fit into a speedo," Noya clarified with a wide grin, his eyes on Kuroo clearly saying Fight me, big-ass.

Asahi's face was now bright red to the tips of his ears.

Daichi jabbed an elbow into Kuroo's side, making him let out an ooomph and preventing him from continuing the banter. "Just ignore them," he told Asahi. "You guys have fun and enjoy yourselves and make sure to send me lots of embarrassingly romantic pictures from the beach. Noya, please don't draw dicks on Asahi's back with the sunscreen again." Everyone laughed; even Asahi managed to let out a feeble chuckle.

Daichi frowned, then, looking down at the keys in his hand and rewinding Asahi's words. "Quick question though: what's a Suga?"

"Suga. Sugawara Koushi," Asahi said. "My coworker? House sitting?" His gaze turned into a glare. "You did forget."

"Oooooh, that's right!" Daichi exclaimed. "He's your coworker that's coming over to house sit while you guys are in Hawaii and I'm supposed to give him this key to your apartment that I'm holding just now in my hand!" He grinned. "Hah, it's all coming back to me."

Asahi was not amused, but Noya tugged at his T-shirt, turning to their suitcases. "Asahi, c'mon, we have to go."

Daichi spread his arms and Asahi obligingly gave him a hug. "You're not as reliable as Noya thinks you are," he muttered into Daichi's ear to which Daichi just laughed.

There was a long moment where both Bokuto and Kuroo demanded hugs as well, followed by an exchange of grumpy words before both Noya and Asahi realized that the overgrown teenagers wouldn't back down before they got what they wanted. Only then did they start down the stairs, each carrying more than one suitcase.

"Have a safe flight! And text me when you land!" Daichi shouted after them from the doorstep.

"DO NOT LET THOSE TWO INTO OUR APARTMENT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES," were Asahi's last words before he disappeared from the landing.

"Rude," Kuroo said as the three retreated back into Daichi's apartment.

"Yeah, totally uncalled for," Bokuto agreed.

"Oh yeah?" Daichi closed the door and turned to them. "Shall we reminisce on what happened the last time they gave both you and I the keys to their place?"

The two jokesters exchanged looks and Daichi smirked at them. They had spent six months paying off Asahi and Noya's new plasma screen TV, since Bokuto had smashed their previous one in a rage fit when he and Kuroo played some PS game in their neighbor's empty apartment. Which may or may not have been one of the reasons Asahi and Noya had found a house-sitter for this time.

"It's not like we'd want anything from over there anyway," Kuroo waved a hand dismissively, going back to Daichi's kitchen.

"...though the stereo is nice," Bokuto said as he followed.

"Altec Lansing."

"Yeah."

Daichi pushed himself off the front door, trying to figure out the exact moment he thought living in the same building with his high-school friends was a good idea. He threw the set of keys in the general direction of his coffee table, but missed and they landed somewhere on the beige sofa. "I'm going to bed," he called out as he passed the kitchen. "Please don't leave a mess."

"We'll try. Good night!"

"'Night."


Daichi wasn't sure when he fell asleep but he had no idea for how much longer Bokuto and Kuroo stayed in his apartment; he hadn't heard them talking, hadn't heard them leave and lock the door behind them.

What he did hear, however, was the doorbell ringing again. Incessantly. Annoyingly.

Daichi looked over at his clock - 6:23 a.m. He buried his face in his pillow and screamed for whoever was dead-set on getting him out of bed to go the fuck away. But his screaming was, of course, muffled, and it was only after the fact that his sluggish mind caught up and he realized that it must've been Asahi's colleague coming for the keys.

He jumped out of bed, almost broke his neck as he tried to put on his grey sweatpants while running to the door. Once he was sure he was more or less decent - T-shirt, check; sweatpants, check; there was a cowlick sticking out from the side of his head, but he had no time to deal with it right now - he opened the door-

-and came face to face with a literal angel.

Only this angel seemed to have had a hard time falling from heaven; his usually selfie-perfect chocolate brown hair was in disarray, falling into his eyes that were void of the piercing taunt Daichi had become accustomed to, now with purple shade underneath them; he wore nothing but pajama bottoms, lilac with little neon green alien heads all over it.

Daichi frowned up at him. "What are you doing?"

The barely-conscious angel pushed past Daichi without a word and patted over to the couch in his living room.

"My AC's not working," he mumbled.

It had only then occurred to Daichi that he hadn't woken up in sweat, that his apartment was uncharacteristically cool for that time of summer morning, when the sun shone directly into his side of the building. His, and the angel's, who lived a floor directly above him.

One look cast at his own air-conditioning unit and he understood why - Bokuto and Kuroo had left it on. Daichi smiled - not completely useless, those two.

He looked back to the intruder. "So?"

"So, it's hotter than the eighth circle of hell up there. Can't sleep." The angel fell face first into the cushions of Daichi's sofa and remained lying like that.

"...aren't you supposed to be at work?"

"Day off." His words were barely decipherable from the fabric his face was pressed into.

Daichi sighed; his limbs felt heavy and his eyes burned. He really needed to sleep now. "Goodnight, Oikawa," he said to the angel as he went back to his bedroom.

"Mmmph."


By the third time the doorbell rang Daichi's half-asleep mind wondered if he had woken up in central station instead of in a quiet one-bedroom home in the suburbs.

He didn't have enough energy to be angry about it. He just blindly reached for his alarm clock and turned it face-down so he didn't have to see how little sleep he had squeezed in this time.

He sat up in the bed, his head pulsating, vaguely aware that the bell rang again, much less insistent than when Oikawa was adamant to continue his beauty sleep. The sun poured through the cracks of his window shutters and it was infuriatingly bright.

If this wasn't Asahi's colleague, Daichi was ready to break both kneecaps of whoever it was. Especially if it was someone he knew, someone living within a hundred meters of him.

The ding-dong echoed once more and, as he got out of bed, still in his sweatpants-and-T-shirt welcoming ensemble from earlier, Daichi made a mental note to disable it, change it, or better yet, spend the rest of his life without a doorbell. That sounded like a reasonable plan.

Once in the living room, he glanced in the direction of his sofa and saw a pile of beige, neon green and soft locks of chocolate brown hair; it was impossible to determine where the couch ended and his friend began.

"Hey, did you, by any chance, manage to figure out what it means when the doorbell is ringing non-stop?" Daichi said, purposefully loud, reaching out to unlock the door. "Like, I dunno, maybe someone should answer it?"

"Not. My. Apartment," the pile of colors replied gruffly.

Daichi chuckled, but the sound died out in his throat the moment his eyes landed on the man at his door.

Bright.

His smile was so bright, almost like the invading sunlight. "Hi!" he said, hazel eyes crinkling at the corners. He tilted his head to the side, a strand of silvery-blonde hair falling over his forehead.

Daichi stared, now sure that, rather than being replaced with a central station, his apartment had turned into a landing spot for celestial beings, what with Oikawa earlier - the angel with a decidedly devious streak underneath - and now with this pure, glowing spirit gracing him with its untainted presence.

"I'm Sugawara Koushi, Asahi's colleague?" the spirit said, eyebrows raising questioningly. "I'm looking for... Sawamura Daichi?"

He couldn't have been much younger than Daichi; his oval face, pink lips and sparkling eyes made for an aura of innocence around him, a sort of charm that felt effortless, breezy. And mother of- was that a beauty mark just under his left eye?

It had dawned on Daichi then that he hadn't said a word yet. Better get right on that. "Me," he said clumsily. "I'm-... It's-..." He sighed, closing his eyes to rev up his sleep-deprived brain. "I'm him," he finally managed, looking back and offering a hand to the heavenly-... No, Sugawara. That's right, Sugawara was his name. "Hey, nice to meet you."

Sugawara accepted the handshake, his smile widening, which Daichi didn't think was possible. "You too. They, uh... They told me you'll give me the key to their place and..." Sugawara paused as he let go of Daichi's hand. Concern ghosted over his features. Beautiful, beautiful features. "Are you alright? You look pale."

"Fine, fine. I'm..." Daichi waved his hand in the air, trying to dismiss his undoubtedly obvious desperation for a good night's rest. "Fine. You're just the... sixth person at my door since 1 a.m., I didn't really get that much-..." He cut himself off; it had nothing to do with Sugawara, he didn't need to listen to Daichi's explanations. Daichi let out a breath and smiled. "Never mind. You're here for the key, right." He raised an index finger. "Hold on one sec."

It took him an impressive three blinks to remember where the keys Asahi had given him ended up.

He walked over to Oikawa who hadn't moved a muscle, hadn't even opened his eyes; his face was buried in pillows, one foot dangling off the sofa.

"Oikawa. Get up."

No reaction. Daichi poked him in the bare shoulder, hard. "Oi. Up."

He knew the bastard couldn't have fallen asleep that fast; he was awake and purposefully yo-yoing with Daichi's one last intact nerve. Daichi glanced in the direction of the door, from which there was a clear line of sight to the living-room seating. Sugawara smiled almost sheepishly from the doorway and Daichi had enough time to conclude that he was properly fucked by that smile before he glared back at Oikawa's nape.

"If you don't get up right now I'm shoving you off the couch," he said.

"Mmmphno."

"Oh for fuck's sake." Daichi grabbed the two cushions underneath Oikawa's head and arms and swiped them away. Oikawa didn't let the thump of his head to the bare sofa interrupt his show - he curled to his side and hugged the remaining cushion close to his chest, still not opening his eyes. Daichi held back a growl. "You're just a useless pile of pretty, aren't you?"

He had no choice but to kneel down and dig in under Oikawa, feeling along the beige fabric for anything remotely metal-like. He didn't pass an opportunity to pinch the back of Oikawa's thigh through his pajamas, to which the other let out a surprised yelp, but otherwise refused to budge.

"You know, I could come back...?" Sugawara said from his spot.

Daichi huffed, feeling bad for the nice angel. "No, no I almost-..." His fingers closed around a pair of keys, jammed between the back of the couch and Oikawa's knees. "Got it!" He pulled them out, nudged Oikawa's back with his leg none too gently and hurried back to Sugawara.

"Sorry about that." He handed him the keys. "It's not easy, you know, running a daycare center."

Sugawara laughed - a melodic, sweet sound that caused a flutter in Daichi's chest. "Thanks."

"I hope you'll enjoy your stay in our building," Daichi said, smiling. "If there's anything you need don't hesitate to just come over, anytime. God knows everyone else on this floor does," he muttered the last sentence before he looked over at Oikawa who had apparently taken his sofa for a hostage. "Or the one above it!"

Oikawa raised an arm and flipped him off.

"Hah, I will." Sugawara picked up one of his suitcases, his smile spilling over into his eyes. "Thank you, Sawamura-san."

Daichi didn't fail to notice the muscle of his arm flexing under the short sleeve of his button-up, the ease with which he handled seemingly heavy luggage. He willed himself to focus back on his face.

"No, please, call me Daichi." He smiled. "We're going to be neighbors, after all. And here, let me help you."

Daichi reached for Sugawara's other suitcase, ignoring his "No, that's really not necessary..." because he was a good person and a good neighbor and he was going to do whatever he could to stay in the radiation range of that smile for a little while longer.

"So, you work with Asahi, huh?" Daichi said, walking the few steps from his doorstep to Noya and Asahi's and setting down the suitcase, which he was right about - Sugawara did not pack lightly for his two-month stay in someone else's home. "At the PR agency?"

"Yeah, I'm a Senior Community Manager there." Sugawara experimentally tried one keys to see if it would fit in the bottom lock.

"Senior?" Daichi raised an eyebrow, intrigued. He leaned his shoulder on the wall by the door, hoping that he looked more casual than dead-tired. "You're Asahi's superior?"

Sugawara's cheeks flushed a light shade of pink. "Well, technically yes, but I try not to look at it like that," he said. "Asahi's a friend, that's all." He looked down at the lock, tried the second key.

"Huh, interesting. Asahi never mentioned that..." Daichi said. Sugawara shot him a surprised look and he hurried to correct himself. "That you were his boss I meant! Not that you were friends. I mean, he didn't say that you weren't friends. He doesn't talk about work much, anyway-"

Sugawara laughed, saving him from ranting away. "It's alright. I travel a lot so the only time I really get to socialize is after work, when we all go out for drinks. I don't get many chances to-... What is wrong with this lock?" He frowned. "Are you sure you gave me the right keys?"

Daichi pushed himself off the wall. "Oh, heh, yeah, you just have to... Here, let me." He took the keys from Sugawara and came to stand in his place in front of the door with Sugawara moving aside; Daichi caught a whiff of his sharp, citrusy perfume; he blinked away the pleasant buzz.

"Like this," Daichi said, and inserted one of the keys into the lock. "You just gotta-" He tapped the bottom of the door with his foot two times. "And then turn the key-... And then-" He used his shoulder to push the door in and smiled, opening it wide. "Voila."

"Huh." Sugawara smiled. "A door with character."

"Yeah, well, it's been like this ever since Kuroo and Bokuto thought it would be a good idea to play volleyball in the hallway. Kuroo had dived for the ball and slammed into the locked door and sort of... Dislocated it."

Sugawara laughed; Daichi could not get enough of the tune. "Kuroo and Bokuto?"

Daichi waved a hand in the general direction of their door, right across from his own. "You'll get to meet them soon enough."

"Oh. Asahi mentioned he had some interesting neighbors."

It was an innocent enough sentence - nothing about Sugawara's honest brightness suggested even a hint of flirt, and it was clearly referring to Kuroo and Bokuto, but Daichi couldn't help but hope that maybe, as he got to know him better, Sugawara would think he belonged in that group of interesting as well.

"I should-" Sugawara motioned towards the open door, to the apartment waiting for him.

"Right, right." Daichi moved out the way and flashed a smile before he headed back to his place. "See you around, Sugawara-san."

"Daichi."

Daichi. He never thought his name could sound so good, so... musical. The way Sugawara dragged out the last syllable, only a fraction, giving the whole word almost a melody of its own.

"Yes?" Daichi turned around, swallowing thickly.

There was that dazzling smile again, full on, blinding. "Call me Suga, please."

"Suga," Daichi breathed out. An image of crystal white popped into his mind - sugar, grainy and sweet, which he used for deserts on a daily basis. Suga. Sugar. Fitting.

Daichi quickly pulled himself together, cleared his throat. "Suga," he repeated, his voice close to normal. "Alright. See you around then, Suga."

As Suga carried his suitcases over the threshold, Daichi walked back into his apartment in a daze. He realized his heart was racing only when he closed the door, leaned back on it.

"...shit."

"What?"

He jumped - he had forgotten Oikawa was there. His handsome neighbor was facing him now, having hoarded the cushions back onto the sofa and made himself comfortable on top of them again.

Daichi blinked at him. "The new guy's cute."

And he was so, so screwed.

Chapter Text

"The new guy's cute."

Oikawa snorted, amused at Daichi's sudden infatuation. He rolled over to face the back of the beige couch. "Can't be cuter than me."

Daichi glared at him. He walked over and sat down on the back of Oikawa's legs, not even trying to lessen the weight of his solid frame. Oikawa merely grunted and readjusted his legs to accommodate Daichi between them.

"Well, he's nicer than you, that's for sure," Daichi said.

"Aw, you hurt me, Dai-chan," Oikawa said in his pouty voice.

"It's true! When was the last time you thanked me for anything? Like, for letting you crash on my couch, just for a more recent example?"

Oikawa unloaded a few pillows from his bundle and untangled himself from the sofa's clutches. He gave the side of Daichi's thigh a shove or two with his foot, just because he could and just because he was despicable, and sat up next to him. Daichi laughed at the chaotic state of his hair.

"We've known each other since high school, Dai-chan," Oikawa said, his chin up, looking down at Daichi as if he was about to explain the mystery of the universe to his more simple-minded friend. "Our relationship no longer depends on such nonsense as outward expressions of gratitude and overall politeness."

Now it was Daichi's turn to snort, loudly. "When have you ever been polite to me? I distinctly remember one game where you promised you would, and I quote, crush me into captain-pulp before the first set even started."

"Pfffft. Technicalities." Oikawa stood up and walked towards the front door, stretching out his athletic body, some of his joints cracking. "We were on opposing teams then." He shook his head, ran his fingers through his hair; much to Daichi and his cowlick's dismay, for the most part it fell into Oikawa's trademark flawless chocolate-colored waves. "Besides, if I remember correctly..." He threw an evil smirk at Daichi. "I did crush you that time."

Daichi flung one of the sofa pillows from the floor straight at Oikawa's bare back. The cushion fell with a flump as Oikawa's laugh rang out in the living room.

"Where are you going?" Daichi asked.

"Work," Oikawa said, reaching to open the front door.

"I thought you said you had the day off?"

Oikawa's hand hovered over the doorknob for only a fraction of a second before his fingers closed around it. "I have some important projects coming up and I need to prepare for them." His voice was dipping into serious, losing its arrogant high-pitch.

"Hey," Daichi called out to him, made him turn around. "Are you OK?"

Without the goady smirk and with the dark under his eyes, Oikawa looked almost... sad.

But then his lips twisted downwards into an over-exaggerated pout and he cooed, "Is Dai-chan worried about me?"

Daichi fixed him with a glare. "Tooru."

Oikawa let out a sigh. He stared at his feet for a moment before he looked back up at Daichi, leveling him with a stern gaze. "It's been eight months, Dai-chan. I'm fine."

Before he stepped out he flashed his megawatt smile, eyes pinching shut - the iconic Oikawa Tooru look.

The door closed.

Daichi hadn't believed him for a second.


He didn't see Suga for the next few days. It was only natural; Daichi's work schedule wasn't exactly standard, with him going out in the late afternoon and coming home after midnight. And sleeping in the next day, if his neighbors saw it fit not to bother him. Suga's rhythm was different, apparently, and they simply hadn't had an opportunity to meet in the hallway. (Not like Daichi had hoped for it, either.)

The short time frame was enough for him to cool off, take a breath, reason with himself - he had only seen Suga once. Pretty (mind-numbingly pretty) or not, Daichi didn't know anything about him, aside from his work place (and the fact that his smile had the power to bring the dead back to life). It was too soon and too unlike Daichi to get carried away by someone he hadn't even properly met yet and he was efficient in putting a stop to his thoughts whenever they would get too close to the way Suga's light blue shirt had fit around his torso, to that mischievous strand of silvery-blond hair that bounced off his head, to-

No, no, no, no, nope. Daichi wasn't in that deep to daydream about his new neighbor.

He had more important things to think about: that large party of American businessmen coming to the restaurant in a few days time, the fact that the ice-cream maker would need replacement, the suspicious lack of potato chips in his house. (Though he had a pretty good idea of who was responsible for that.)

He simply didn't have the time to develop a crush, that was all.

On Monday evening, his day off, Daichi was on the phone with his mother, just like pretty much every other Monday evening since he had moved out of his family home. She was droning on about the most recent scandalous activity of their distant relative and Daichi was barely listening, more invested in the football game on TV.

"Yes, mom. Uh-huh... Uh-huh... You don't say."

He opened a cold beer bottle with a psh and laid back on his sofa, propped his feet up on the coffee table. He wasn't much of a football fanatic, but he was vaguely familiar with the teams playing at that moment and infinitely more familiar with the feel of successfully pulling off an attack and the thrill of the game itself. He was looking forward to a relaxing evening by the TV.

Once he got off the phone, of course.

However, the chances of that happening plummeted when the door to his apartment swung open and Bokuto walked in, not even glancing Daichi's way before he turned directly into the kitchen.

"Wow, that's really inconsiderate of her..." Daichi muttered to his mother on the line, ignoring Bokuto's loud opening and closing of the kitchen cabinets.

"Where are they?" Bokuto called.

"Wha-? Mom, hold on." Daichi lowered his phone and frowned at Bokuto who was now rummaging through Daichi's condiments shelf. "What?"

"Where did you put the chips?"

"No chips."

Bokuto blinked, his eyes owlishly wide and just a touch unsettling. "No chips?"

"No chips."

The phrase didn't seem to register in Bokuto's mind. "...no chips?"

"No. Chips."

"No chips?"

"OK, new words now."

"...you're kidding, right?"

"I'm cutting you off," Daichi said before he pressed the phone back to his ear. "Sorry, mom. Yeah, no, it's Bokuto. Wanted to know where I put the chips."

Apparently, Daichi's words had no effect on his friend - Bokuto continued his search, stainless steel cutlery clinking as he checked every drawer possible.

"No, he's not, they broke up a while ago," Daichi said to his mother. "I don't know, what does it matter." He sighed and then raised his voice again. "Bokuto, did you break up with Aito?"

"Ummm..." Bokuto dragged a stool from by the island counter to the cabinets and was now dangerously balancing on his knees on the seat. He stretched his neck to take a peek at the highest shelves. "No, no, he broke up with me. Said I was draining his energy, whatever that meant."

"There, did you hear?" Daichi asked his mom. "...he said that Aito broke up with him, because Bokuto was draining his energy, or something like that."

Bokuto returned the stool back to its place and opened the tall fridge, as if the chips might've been there.

"Mom says 'hi'!" Daichi told him, taking a swig of his beer.

"Oh, hey Mrs. S!" Bokuto shouted back. He found a lone sushi roll that remained from Daichi's lunch and devoured it in one bite.

"He says 'hey' back. What? No, why? I'm not gonna-..." Daichi sighed again. "Hold on." He held out his phone in Bokuto's direction. "Mom wants to talk to you."

Bokuto stopped half on his way to unload the large mixer and see if Daichi had stashed the chips in the bowl.

"Can't believe you hid them from me," he mumbled as he took the phone from Daichi.

"You have a problem," Daichi said, eyes on the football game.

"Yeah, a severe potato chips deficiency. It's gonna be your fault if I start on the M&M's instead," Bokuto said before he smiled into the phone. "Hey, Mrs. S! Long time no hear!"

Daichi tried to focus on the TV, but Bokuto's loud voice accompanied by him still poking around in the kitchen made it kind of impossible.

"Yeah, didn't work out," Bokuto was saying. "Nah, it's OK, you know. ... Right, plenty of fish in the sea. ... Aw, thank you so much! ... Hahaha, no Mrs. S, Daichi and I are just friends."

Aaaaaand there it was. Daichi rolled his eyes. His mother was almost desperate to find him a date, a partner, even if it meant harassing every gay man in his surroundings, including the ones Daichi was friends with for over 10 years. Even if Daichi himself was completely fine with his single status. ...most of the time.

"...yes, I do know he's a fiiiiiiine young man," Bokuto accentuated the word, sniggering. "...Hah, yes, I am familiar with his cooking, I live next door, remember?"

Daichi looked over at Bokuto who was leaning against the counter now, head bowed, shaking from the sheer force of holding back laughter. Daichi snapped his fingers to get his attention and then gestured for him to hang up or else throats would be slashed. Bokuto choked back a laugh.

"Um, listen, Mrs. S, I kinda have to go, I said I was gonna watch the game with Daichi. ... Yeah, just the two of us. ... No, Kuroo's at work." Bokuto slapped a hand on the counter, turning blue in the face from the soundless laughter. "... Aham, y-yes, I will make sure to think about it. Definitely. A boat ride sounds nice this time of year."

Daichi slammed his beer on the coffee table, almost shattering the bottle, and stood up to take the phone away from Bokuto. Impossible, his mother was just impossible.

But Bokuto held up an index finger and Daichi paused on his way into the kitchen.

"...what?" Bokuto's eyes were on him then, wide and excited from something his mother was saying. His gelled up, highlighted hair was practically vibrating. "...the oven you say?"

Daichi froze. How the fuck did she know?

"Don't you dare-..." he began, but Bokuto wasn't wasting a second - he whirled around and opened the oven door that was right behind him.

"A-HA!" he exclaimed in triumph.

Daichi dragged a hand down his face. He yanked the phone from Bokuto. "You're a vicious enabler," he said to his mother.

Bokuto straightened up with a bag of unopened potato chips, 'fresh' from the oven. His eyes twinkled with manic glee.

"Thank you, Mrs. S!" he shouted as he dived onto the sofa, already crunching on the salty snack.

Daichi wrapped up the call with his mom and walked back to the living-room, glaring daggers at Bokuto.

"So, apparently, you had an obsession with gummy bears when you were little?" Bokuto said, grinning, the bag of chips hugged tightly to his chest. "And your mom used to hide them from you in the oven?"

"Don't talk to me." Daichi slumped down on the sofa next to him.

Bokuto laughed.

They watched the game in silence for a while, save for Bokuto's munching and licking the salt off his fingers. Daichi's sofa had this unique ability of molding to the bodies of its occupants with time, leaving them sunk in the soft material and rather reluctant to ever get out.

At half-time, this posed quite a problem for Bokuto.

"Water." He tugged at Daichi's T-shirt sleeve.

"You get it."

"Why do I have to get it?"

"You're the one who's thirsty. I just had a beer."

"But it's your apartment."

"You lost any guest privileges you might've had in my apartment the moment you threw up in my bathtub on my 25th birthday."

"Hey, that's not fair! I couldn't get to the toilet because your head was in it!"

"Technicalities," Daichi repeated Oikawa's words from the other day, a sly smirk on his lips.

Bokuto grumbled. "Fine." He crumpled the bag without chips and threw it on the coffee table, next to Daichi's empty beer bottle.

It took him two tries to get to his feet; he left a Bokuto-shaped imprint in the cushions, framed with chip crumbs. He stepped over Daichi's legs and was on his way to the kitchen when he passed the front door and suddenly stopped.

Daichi didn't bother to look up from the commercials until he heard an "Oho-ho-ho!" and saw Bokuto pressed up against the door, looking out the peephole.

"Bokuto, what are you doing?"

"New neighbor's got a visitor!" Bokuto said excitedly.

Something fluttered in Daichi's chest. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't interested in who frequented Suga's temporary residence. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. Oh! And she's cute!"

The flutter turned into an anvil that clanged heavily in Daichi's gut. "She?"

"Yeah, he let her in just now."

Daichi swallowed. "How did he... greet her?"

Bokuto shrugged, went into the kitchen to get his water. "Gave her a hug. Nothin' special."

Daichi stared at the TV, not seeing the woman with the fake smile gushing over some brand of laundry detergent.

He had a girlfriend. Suga had a girlfriend.

Of course he was fucking straight, of-fucking-course, it was just Daichi's luck that the one guy who took his breath away before even the first handshake would be not only taken but also straight; it wasn't like Daichi hadn't been single for over a year now, it wasn't like he hadn't had sex in almost as long, because Daichi was incapable of one night stands, he wasn't like Bokuto or Kuroo, he couldn't do casual, and Suga was not only beautiful, he was also charming and bubbly and-

"Hey man, are you OK?" Bokuto asked.

Daichi blinked - his friend was back in his Bokuto-mold on the sofa and the game was starting again.

"I can't believe he's straight," Daichi muttered.

"Who? Suga?"

"Yeah. ...fuck."

Bokuto snatched the empty bag of chips, pressed it into a tighter ball and began throwing it upwards and catching it again. "Dunno, didn't seem like she was his girlfriend."

"But still, the chances of him being gay..."

It was a notion Daichi hadn't even considered. He took it for granted that everyone in his tight circle of friends and neighbors was more or less homosexually oriented, a perception only reinforced by the fact that Bokuto's clubs were 'gay-friendly' and basically every time Daichi went out he'd be surrounded by potential lovers, boyfriends, what have you.

He only, stupidly, assumed Suga would fit right in there.

"Hah, you really are into him." Bokuto laughed, still playing his tossing game. "Oikawa told us how you almost pulled a Ted Mosby and declared your love for him the moment he showed up at your door."

Daichi glared at him. "Did not. Oikawa is exaggerating, for a change. The drama queen."

"Hey, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I can see it." Bokuto was looking up instead of at the TV, giving the ball little bounces with each hand. "He's pretty, in a pretty kind of way, y'know, with the hair and the mole and the head tilt when he smiles... Not my type, but I can definitely see the appeal."

"Not your type?" Daichi asked. He let himself slide sideways on the sofa, replaced propping his feet on the coffee table with resting them over Bokuto's lap.

"Nah, too chipper."

"Yeah, you always liked them broody-ish."

"Yeah."

"...wait." Daichi narrowed his eyes at Bokuto. "How do you know about the mole and the head tilt?"

He wasn't there when Suga came to Daichi's apartment. Oikawa couldn't have told him about it since he was too busy being a dickhead and it wasn't that easy to see from where he was on the sofa at the time. And it was highly unlikely that they ran into each other in the building since Bokuto had a similar work schedule to Daichi's and Kuroo's was just all over the place.

Bokuto caught his makeshift ball. "Um." He looked down, removed a thread from Daichi's sweatpants leg. "We sort of..."

"Sort of what?"

Bokuto let out a nervous laugh. "We tried to get the stereo from him."

"WHAT." Bokuto was lucky that Daichi didn't have the power to kill with his glare, otherwise he'd be reduced to highlighted ashes on the spot.

"We just wanted to move it to our place!" Bokuto exclaimed, his amber eyes wide. "Y'know, until Asahi and Noya came back! Just to listen to some good drum and bass or something. We were gonna return it, honest!"

"It wasn't a question of whether or not you'd return it," Daichi said, aggravated. "It was a question of in how many pieces you'd return it."

"Heeeey, we're not that-"

Bokuto's complaint was cut short by the door of Daichi's apartment opening again. He went from mildly offended to curious and Daichi didn't look up to see who had joined them, already having a pretty good idea.

"Hey, guys. Whatcha doin'?" Kuroo's voice drawled behind him as the door clicked shut.

He stepped into Daichi's line of vision, walked around the coffee table and sat in the armchair on the other side of Bokuto, still fully dressed in his work clothes, shirt, tie and all. He probably didn't even try and get to his own apartment first.

"Trying to figure out the best way to murder you both as painfully as possible," Daichi said.

"Huh. Cool." Kuroo unbuckled his belt, let it out a few hooks and slid off the black leather holster with his gun still in it, followed by his badge, glinting gold in the light from the TV. He placed them on the coffee table and put up his feet beside them, buckling his belt back up. "Any ideas?"

"Flay you alive?"

"Good one. Classic. A little messy though." As if the word reminded him, Kuroo ran a hand through the anarchy that was his hair, further disheveling it.

"I'll use the walk-in freezer at the restaurant. Hook you up like pigs. My good knives are over there anyway."

"Can we please not talk about this?" Bokuto asked, gulping. "Don't wanna hurl my hard-earned potato chips."

Daichi gave his queasy stomach a nudge with his foot. "Just stay away from my bathtub."

Bokuto groaned.

"Got any more of those?" Kuroo pointed at Daichi's beer bottle and Daichi waved him in the direction of the fridge. "...and why do we have to suffer this time?" Kuroo called from the kitchen.

"You harassed Suga for the stereo."

"Hah!" The door of the fridge slammed shut. Psh. "He didn't seem harassed to me." Kuroo strolled back to his armchair, his feet back up on the coffee table. "If anything, by the time Bokuto and I realized it wouldn't be like taking candy from a baby, Suga was so polite in turning us down that we ended up apologizing to him and recommending him some of our favorite mixes to listen on the good stereo."

Daichi laughed.

"Yeah, I actually asked him if he could at least turn it up while playing them, so we could hear it over at our place," Bokuto said.

"You didn't."

Kuroo nodded, drinking from his bottle. "That pretty motherfucker is dangerously sweet."

"Yeah, well, pity he's straight..." Daichi muttered, still not over the fact. He looked at the TV, at the football game none of them was following anymore.

"Yeah?" Kuroo raised his eyebrows. "Huh. Wouldn't have called it." Bokuto hit him directly in the forehead with the chip-bag ball. Kuroo threw it back, aimed at his nose, but Bokuto caught it before it made contact. "Too cute to be straight. How do you know?"

"I don't. Not really. It's just a feeling." Because why the fuck wouldn't he be.

Bokuto went for one more headshot but Kuroo was fast to react this time, even while holding his beer in one hand. He blocked the ball and it rolled to the floor, under the coffee table.

"You know what you have to do if you want to find out if he's gay or not. Without asking him directly," Bokuto said. He tried to reach the ball with his foot.

Of course Daichi knew. The solution was simple: properly introduce Suga to Oikawa. Oikawa and his infallible gaydar.

"Hey, we could ask him to go running with us tomorrow?" Kuroo offered.

Tuesday evenings were a special treat, when all six of them (Noya and Asahi included) had time off work enough to go on a run as a group. It was an efficient way for all of them to squeeze in some exercise, especially for those like Asahi, whose nerves depended on a regular training regimen. Granted, Oikawa was the one who worked the hardest, but his narcissistic tendencies forced him to work out on a regular basis to maintain his flawless physique despite his cramped schedule.

Well, before, anyway. Daichi had a feeling Oikawa might've missed more than a few of his individual training sessions in the past few months, even if he still did head out with them for the weekly jog.

Bokuto almost slid off the sofa, Daichi's legs along with him, trying to get the ball with his foot.

"Oh, for the love of-" Daichi leaned over, supporting himself with one palm to the floor, and retrieved the ball. "Here. Go nuts."

Bokuto grinned. The ball bounced off Kuroo's nose and right back into his hands.

"I guess asking Suga to come isn't such a bad idea..." Daichi said as casually as he could, trying not to give away that his mind was having a fit at the possibility of spending time with Suga. "If running is even his thing."

Kuroo shrugged. "Doesn't hurt to ask."

The next time Bokuto aimed for his head Kuroo caught the ball. He carefully placed his bottle of beer on the coffee table and proceeded to try and feed Bokuto the ball, which resulted in a rather violent three-person pile-up on the sofa.


Come midnight the three friends were watching a Jean Claude Van Damme movie in the dark of Daichi's living-room.

Though maybe watching was too strong a word.

Kuroo had curled up in a large ball on Daichi's armchair, tucked his head in under his arms and for all intents and purposes fell asleep; Bokuto sat perched up on the back of the couch, the only one loosely following the plot of the movie. His socked feet pressed into Daichi's calves as Daichi lied on his stomach on the sofa underneath Bokuto, eyes unfocused and more watching the flickering dance of the TV lights on the wall than paying attention to what was going on onscreen.

"Van Damme was hot," Bokuto said. "Y'know, before he got all... old and plastic-faced."

Daichi made a non-committing grunt.

Then Bokuto stilled above him, tapped Daichi's leg a few times with his foot. "Hey, hey, I think I hear the door!"

Daichi blinked lazily. What door?

"Voices. He's seeing her out!"

Bokuto jumped over Daichi and was on his way to the peephole when Daichi's mind kicked into gear - the door! Suga's door!

He stumbled as he tried to get to his feet, banged his knee on the edge of the coffee table and cursed under his breath. Bokuto was already looking out into the hallway; Daichi shoved him aside to take his place and see the girl Suga had spent the evening with.

To the far left, just at the edge of the blur of the distorted lens, light poured into the dark hallway from Noya and Asahi's apartment. Suga stood in the doorway, talking lively to a dark-haired girl.

"What are they doing? What do you see?" Bokuto breathed eagerly into Daichi's ear, leaning with most of his non-inconsiderable weight on Daichi's shoulder.

"They're talking," Daichi said. "I see her ass."

"What's it like?"

"It's... nice, actually."

"Suga's got good taste."

Daichi didn't want to think about that. Pleasedon'tbestraight, pleasedon'tbestraight, pleasedon'tbestraight...

"What are they doing now?"

"Still talking, Bokuto."

"...how about now?"

"I swear to-"

But Daichi didn't get to finish his threat - Kuroo had leisurely ambled over to the spying pair and tugged open the unlocked front door. It smacked Daichi and Bokuto right in the face.

"OW WHAT THE-" Bokuto shouted, just as Kuroo stepped into the hallway. Daichi reached to pull him back, whispering "No, don't, what are you-", but it was too late - Kuroo was already standing in the light from the apartment and addressing Suga in mild surprise. He obviously pretended not to have known Suga or his friend had been out there.

Daichi banged his bruised forehead on the edge of his door. He was surrounded by complete idiots.

But Bokuto didn't give him much time to feel sorry for himself - he pushed Daichi outside right after Kuroo, hands firm on Daichi's shoulders and his wide grin anything but inconspicuous. "Hey, Suga!"

"Uh... Hey guys?" Suga greeted, a little hesitantly. Fuck, Daichi forgot just how adorable he was.

Daichi only managed to smile awkwardly, sandwiched in between his soon-to-be former friends, praying for the earth to open up and swallow him whole, preferably without them so he could at least have some semblance of peace in the fiery depths of hell.

Suga and his friend were looking at the trio and Daichi agreed that the girl was, in fact, pretty and also sort of unassuming, with large eyes behind red-rimmed glasses, black hair falling to her shoulders... Albeit she did seem unimpressed at the sight of three men unexpectedly barging out of an apartment next door.

Daichi couldn't blame her.

"So! Thank you for having us," Kuroo turned to Daichi after an awkward pause. His voice was too loud, one side of his face all mushed up from the nap on Daichi's armchair. "Wonderful food, as always, my boy!"

Daichi glared at him. Were they really going to do this? Try and make a sales pitch out of his culinary abilities?

Bokuto's hand on his shoulder slapped him hard. "Yes, exquisite dinner, Daichi, you really outdid yourself tonight!"

Daichi sighed and suppressed a facepalm. They really were going to do this. Great, because talking like 19th century British aristocracy was just what he needed for Suga not to suspect they have been watching him and discussing his female friend (and his sexuality). Brilliant plan.

He glanced at Suga who was still looking at them curiously and realized that he had no choice but to go with it if he wanted to seem even remotely normal.

"No, no, thank you." Daichi smiled through his teeth as he looked up at Kuroo, trying to melt his eyeballs with his glower. "I was happy to have you."

Suga's friend must have concluded that this was just their usual brand of crazy since she turned back to Suga to finish the conversation the trio had undoubtedly interrupted.

Daichi let out a breath. He shrugged Bokuto's hands off his shoulders. "Skinless. Meat slabs. In my freezer. Both of you," he muttered as Suga's laugh echoed in the hall at something the girl had said.

"So, we'll see you tomorrow, then?" Kuroo's drawl still overpowered the volume of the other conversation. "For the run?"

Bokuto nudged Daichi who gritted out a reluctant "Yes."

"Though, it will be a little quiet, you know, with Noya and Asahi gone. Especially Noya." Kuroo pretended to ponder over this fact for a moment. Daichi knew exactly where this was going and Kuroo wasn't being nearly as subtle as he thought he was. Kuroo's face lit up then as if he had just discovered the secret to endless renewable energy and he turned left. "Say, Suga!"

Suga and his friend stopped talking and looked at them again. Daichi could've sworn Suga laughed under his breath. "Yes, Kuroo?" He quirked an eyebrow, smiling. God, that smile.

"You look like you work out," Kuroo said. Daichi resisted the urge to smack that smirk off his face. "Would you like to join us tomorrow for a run perhaps?"

"A run?"

"Yeah, you see, every Tuesday evening we go running for a couple of hours, y'know, to blow off some steam," Bokuto said. "And since Noya and Asahi aren't here, maybe you'd like to come with?"

"Hmmm..." Suga bit his lower lip, thinking.

Daichi definitely did not, even for a second, imagine what that lip would taste like.

He cleared his throat, decided to at least try and sound like the only sane person in the group. "It's OK if you can't or don't want to," he said, offering Suga a way out with a small smile. "It was just a-"

"No, no, I want to!" Suga cut him off, his doey eyes wide. "I just... I have to move some things around, but I wouldn't mind joining you, if that's OK?"

"Perfect!" Kuroo clapped his hands together, not even hiding that this has been his plan all along. "So we'll see you here, tomorrow, at around 7 p.m. Sound good?"

"Great." Suga flashed them a blinding smile.

He hugged his friend goodbye. Daichi didn't have time to internally celebrate the fact that they hadn't kissed (though a voice in the back of his mind told him that maybe one or both of them were too shy for PDA) since Bokuto punched him in the back, knocking the air out of him.

"Daichi's got a daaaateeeeeee," he sing-songed in Daichi's ear; Daichi hoped it wasn't loud enough for Suga to hear.

They separated to let the girl pass on her way to the stairs and Suga waved them a cheerful goodbye before he went back into his apartment.

The moment his door closed Kuroo clamped a hand on Daichi's shoulder, his smirk turning wide and smug. "You're welcome."

Daichi looked at him, unmoved. "That was quite possibly the worst, most transparent, invitation to a thing in the history of invitations to things. And it's not a date," he snapped when Bokuto opened his mouth to say that it wasn't a thing but a date. "Dates don't involve three other guys sweating, running along and silently judging the couple."

"Eh, probably not gonna be that silent." Kuroo was infuriatingly pleased with himself.

Daichi threw one last glare his way before he went back into his apartment, grabbed Kuroo's badge and gun from the coffee table, brought them out and shoved them into his chest.

"I don't want to see or hear from either of you until tomorrow evening. No calls, no texts, no coming over. And no. chips." That last one was aimed, of course, at Bokuto, whose shoulders slumped in a pout.

Daichi retreated into his home, alone, before he paused in the doorway and turned back to the two shuffling over to their apartment.

"Oh and, guys...?"

Bokuto and Kuroo looked up.

Daichi shot them a small, you're-idiots-but-you're-my-idiots kind of smile. "Thanks."


"Shaved?"

"Yes."

"Showered?"

"Of course I did."

"That's the shirt you're gonna wear?"

Daichi looked down at his white T-shirt. "What's wrong with it?" It had no special markings, no obvious holes or stains that he could see. It was wide and comfy and Daichi loved wearing it for exercise whenever he could.

Oikawa hummed from Daichi's beige armchair. He was sitting sideways with his head on one armrest and his feet - clad in bright red running shoes that matched the bright red stripes on his shorts - dangling over the other. "Honestly, Dai-chan, you're a lost cause." His smirk reeked of superiority. "It's so incredibly threadbare that I can see your nipples from over here."

Daichi felt a blush creep up his neck. He huffed and went back to his bedroom to change.

"Don't worry, they are quite nice nipples!" Oikawa shouted after him. "Round, dark-"

"One more word and you'll be limping instead of jogging tonight!"

Oikawa giggled. "Oooooh, Dai-chan so nervous before his date."

"It's not a date." Daichi returned to the living-room, now in a dark blue T-shirt that he made sure wasn't see-through. "And I'm not nervous."

Though by the tightness in his chest as he sat down on the sofa he knew that it wasn't entirely true. With him being older than 14, it has been quite a while since Daichi had felt such a childish, rom-com type of rush upon meeting someone, and even though he wasn't sure if he wanted to do anything about it yet, he was acutely aware of the very real possibility that he could make an ass out of himself. Which was something he'd have liked to avoid, preferably.

"I think it's cute." Oikawa looked at him upside down, his hair fanning out over the armrest. "If you don't fuck it up."

Daichi shot him a look. "I'm not gonna fuck it up. There's nothing to fuck up. I don't even know if there will be something to fuck up."

Oikawa wanted to reply, but was interrupted by a loud banging on the front door. Bokuto shouted from outside, "C'MON BOYS AND GIRLS TIME TO MOVE YOUR ASSES!"

The whole building echoed with his thunderous voice. Daichi rose to his feet, chuckling at Bokuto's unrestrained enthusiasm every time a workout came about. He fought the urge to wipe his palms on his shorts as he walked to the door - best not give Oikawa any more signs of his trepidation.

Oikawa adjusted the white knee supporter on his right leg before he stood up as well, with an almost predatory smirk. "Time to make friends with the new kid."

Daichi stopped him just before the door, jabbed a finger in his chest. "Don't be a dick to Suga."

"Aw, look at Dai-chan, all protective." There was that pout on Oikawa's lips, laced with taunt. "You sure this isn't more than just a crush?"

"I mean it, Oikawa," Daichi was adamant, holding Oikawa's gaze. "You play nice."

Oikawa made a criss-cross motion over his heart before he flattened his palm over his chest and closed his eyes, dramatically confirming his honest intentions. Daichi did not find it funny.

Kuroo and Bokuto were in the hallway, with Bokuto alternating between jogging in place and bouncing up and down in his famous compression leggings underneath his running shorts, the grin on his face wide and excited.

"Hey guys," he said. "Where d'ya wanna go today?"

Daichi shrugged. "Trail by the river?"

Kuroo smirked lazily from where he was leaning against the staircase railing. "Romantic."

Oikawa laughed.

Daichi dreaded this whole evening.

But then the door to his left opened and Suga stepped out and the apprehension flew right out of Daichi's mind.

Suga's workout gear was pretty standard - nothing too flashy or out of place - with his teal colored top matching the teal markings on his otherwise black sneakers - a fact that Oikawa no doubt approved of, but the shirt was tight and the shorts were barely reaching the middle of his thighs and Suga was all sinewy muscle and porcelain skin and Daichi forgot to breathe for a moment.

Suga smiled widely at them and turned to lock the door to Noya and Asahi's apartment. The sight of his ass, round but taut, covered with the thin fabric of his black shorts, reduced Daichi's thoughts to a mess of hnngngngngnhhngngn on repeat, and oh my god the muscles of his legs rippled as he moved, holy mother of all that was good and pure-

Oikawa blocked Daichi's line of sight then and a forceful smack on the back by Bokuto managed to bring him back to a state of near-reason.

"I don't believe we've officially met," Oikawa said, offering a hand to Suga, smiling down at him much like a vicious wildcat ready to pounce. "Oikawa Tooru. I live upstairs, right above Dai-chan."

Suga's features lit up with a smile and he glanced over at Daichi. "Dai-chan?" The giggle that followed, small and sweet, melted Daichi's insides. Suga accepted the handshake. "Pleasure to meet you, Oikawa-san. I'm Sugawara Koushi, though you can call me Suga."

"Suga." Oikawa nodded, let go of his hand.

"By the way, I loved your pajama bottoms from the other day. Y'know, when you refused to get off the couch?" Suga's smile was wide and earnest even as his eyes twinkled with tease. "X-files meets neon, with just a touch of immaturity. You must be really fun at sleepovers."

Bokuto let out a snort, Kuroo successfully turned a snigger into a cough and Daichi wasn't sure if he had heard right. Did Suga just sass Oikawa?

Though Oikawa wasn't bothered at all, only cocked an eyebrow in interest. "Is that so?" His laugh rang out in the hallway as he turned to Daichi. "You were right, Dai-chan, he is cute!"

For one mortified moment everyone was silent.

Daichi was pretty sure his head exploded from the sheer heat that rushed to his face. Suga looked at him again, a flicker of confusion in his hazel eyes and he seemed as if he was about to say something when Bokuto broke the tension with a loud, "ALRIGHT. IT'S TIME TO GO!"

He stepped forward without hesitation, wrapped a strong arm around Suga's shoulders and practically dragged him to the front of the group as they started down the stairs, with Kuroo close behind.

Oikawa's self-satisfied smirk as he passed by Daichi was just begging for a punch in the face.

"I like him," Oikawa said, slowly descending to the lower floors, Daichi grinding his teeth behind him.

"You're insufferable. I'm adding your name to the kill list."

"Pretty, intelligent, feisty..." Oikawa paused, making Daichi stop as well. Oikawa leaned in close, whispered in his ear, "And hella gay."

Daichi figured that having one of his best (and most unnerving) friends assassinated could wait at least one more day.

They started running the moment they were out of the building, heading in the general direction of a dirt path by the river, where it was quiet and somewhat cooler in the suffocating summer than on any other running trail they frequented. Their pace was brisk, with all of them being former athletes still in excellent physical condition, and Suga didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up. He had good form; he was smiling and talking without any apparent effort as they ran through the quiet neighborhood and Daichi was more than happy to let Bokuto and Kuroo entertain Suga in the front as he kept busy with shamelessly staring at his backside.

"Drooooooling." Oikawa's sing-song voice next to him wasn't as loud as it was irritating.

"Shut. Up."

"Alright, so! New dream!" Bokuto called for attention from his place beside Suga. It was a ritual of sorts, where he recounted any interesting dreams he might've had in the week between two running sessions, which could get really colorful. Daichi had long ago come to terms with the fact that Bokuto's head was the type where Freud would take one look inside and promptly nope the fuck out. "I'm in my bedroom, and in comes Mr. Nagano, from our history class, remember him?"

Kuroo and Daichi hummed in affirmation. Daichi didn't forget the scrawny, leathery old man who could barely walk up the stairs of their school but was always the first in line when there was miso ramen in the cafeteria.

Bokuto laughed. "Aaaaaaand he's wearing nothing but a black thong!"

"Ugh, great, thanks for the visual," Kuroo said.

"And I freak out, because oh my God Mr. Nagano, what the fuck are you doing, right? And I tell him that I'm going to take a shower and he has to be gone by the time I get back. But when I'm back in my bedroom, Mr. Nagano has been replaced by Jean Claude Van Damme! In a gold, glittering thong!"

Daichi laughed. "Remind me not to let you watch any more TV after 11 p.m."

"Was he at least from his early years?" Suga asked, as if this was a completely sane conversation.

"Yes, yes!" Bokuto nodded vigorously. "He was all fit and sturdy and oopmh those pecs... And his ass was so tight, like you almost couldn't see the back of the thong!"

"Then what happened?" Oikawa piped in. "Did you...?"

"Nah, woke up the moment I saw him." Bokuto's voice held a clear tone of disappointment. "But next time I swear..."

Kuroo laughed from Suga's other side. "You really need to get laid, man."

"So, wait." Suga half-turned to look at Oikawa and Daichi, gave Daichi a nice view of his slender waist before he averted his gaze back to the front. "You all went to high school together?"

"Pretty much." Kuroo nodded. "Bokuto, Daichi, Asahi and I went to the same high school. Oikawa didn't, but we got to see him all the time since he was on a rival volleyball team."

"On the better volleyball team," Oikawa corrected, looking way too smug about something that took place roughly ten years ago. He blew a strand of his chocolate-colored hair away from his eyes.

"Don't get me started." Kuroo shot him a look.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Tetsu-chan." Oikawa didn't sound apologetic in the least. "How many nationals have you won again? Three? Ah, no, wait, I'm remembering it wrong: that was us."

Kuroo bit back, but Suga didn't have a chance to witness their argument (approximately 2470th on the same subject, according to Daichi's internal count), since Bokuto had drowned them out by leaning closer to Suga, pointing a thumb at his own chest. "I was one of the top five aces in the whole of Japan!"

Suga laughed good-naturedly. "That's quite impressive! Volleyball, huh...? I guess that explains how all of you are so athletic."

"Yeah, well, I kinda have to be, for work," Kuroo said. "And also, if Bokuto doesn't get his daily dose of endorphins he starts gnawing on the furniture."

Everyone laughed save for the pouting Bokuto.

They navigated to the right, off the paved roads and onto the running trail, with the river flowing wide and dark to their left, a glimmer of the yellow street lights on its calm surface. Daichi inhaled the only slightly fresher air, already feeling his shirt damp in the small of his back from the heat and humidity.

"Oh? What do you do, then, if you have to stay fit for work?" Suga turned to Kuroo.

"I'm a police officer," Kuroo said, his lazy smirk in place. "Protector of the innocent, enforcer of the law, a nightmare for the wicked, a-"

"-a downright miracle that they gave you a license to carry a gun," Oikawa said, effectively ending Kuroo's ode to his heroic self.

Daichi kneed Oikawa in the ass, made him stumble and almost fall face first into Bokuto. Kuroo laughed.

"Mean, Dai-chan!" Oikawa exclaimed as he caught up, his perfect waves ruffled.

Suga apparently found all of this extremely amusing since he didn't stop smiling, further antagonizing Daichi's heart palpitations. "And what do you do, Oikawa-san?"

Oikawa made sure his hair was presentable again, his running not hindering him in preening in the least. "I'm a mechanical engineer. I work for my father's company."

"Oh, that's right!" Suga threw a smile over his shoulder at Oikawa. "I thought your name sounded familiar. Oikawa Motors, isn't it?"

"That's the one." Unlike when discussing pretty much every other matter, Oikawa's expression lacked its usual arrogance. He was smirking, but with a bitter edge to it. "Nothing like a family company to invest yourself in."

His tone was dripping with venom. Even if Suga had caught on he didn't say anything, couldn't have, when he didn't understand...

Daichi came closer, gently nudged Oikawa's side with his elbow. Oikawa simply shook his head, giving him a nudge back, harder, indicating that he was fine.

"I own two night clubs!" Bokuto sliced through the silence. "The White Owl!"

"I've heard of those, too!" Suga smiled at him. "They're very popular, aren't they? I never went, though... Clubbing's not really my thing."

"Not a party boy, Suga?" Kuroo asked, eyebrow raised. Daichi could've sworn there was an ulterior motive to that question, for his own benefit. He wasn't sure whether he should've been pleased or disgruntled that his friends so shamelessly interrogated his potential crush.

"Ummm... no, I guess. Maybe I would've been if I had the time."

"That's right, you work with Asahi!" Bokuto said.

"Actually." Daichi spoke up for the first time in a while. "Asahi works for Suga."

Suga laughed amidst Bokuto and Kuroo's howls, once again brushing off his seniority. "We both work for the company, so hierarchy is not that important in the grand scheme of things."

Daichi found his persistent humility endearing, in tune with his angelic appearance and disarming smile. Did he really need one more thing to like on Suga?

"Still, you must be really good at what you do, then," Bokuto said. "I mean, you don't look much older than Asahi...?"

"No, Asahi's actually a few months older than me, I think."

"Yeah? When's your birthday?"

"Uh... June 13th?"

"You don't say! A Gemini, huh... What about your moon sign? At what time were you born?"

Daichi rolled his eyes; this was getting out of hand. He had to put a stop to any further attempts at making Suga uncomfortable.

"Hey, Bokuto?" he tried, running over to Bokuto's other side. "Isn't it time for a race maybe?"

Bokuto's eyes lit up at the mere mention of the word, wide and energized. "Yes! It's always time for a race! Whaddya say, Suga?"

Suga laughed. "I think I'm going to pass."

"Oikawa?"

"When have I ever?"

"...right. So, just the three of us?" Bokuto side-eyed Kuroo and Daichi, to which the two nodded.

The whole group slowed down and then came to a stop. As Bokuto dragged a makeshift starting line in the dirt of the trail, Daichi sneaked a glance at Suga, at his cheeks flushed from exertion, the silver-blond hair clinging to his forehead... Suga reached and wiped his brow with the black sweatband around his wrist and Daichi suppressed a whimper.

"Alright, so from here to..." Bokuto squinted at the deserted trail ahead of them. "To the fourth lamppost."

"Fourth including this one?" Kuroo motioned towards the street lamp right next to them.

"No. Fifth including this one."

"So is it the one, two, three, four? Or the one, two, three, four, five?" Kuroo counted with one eye closed. "We finish at the one with the yellow paint?"

"No, the one before that."

"Before towards us or before away from us?"

"Wouldn't the before away from us actually be after?"

"After what?"

"What after what?"

"Huh?"

"OK, this could be a really long discussion," Daichi interjected. "How about we just race to the bridge?"

Both Kuroo and Bokuto agreed that that would be the most sensible thing to do.

"Alright! On your marks!" Bokuto called and took his place in between Daichi and Kuroo, leaning forward a little as if that would give him advantage over the other two. His enthusiasm for all things competitive was electrifying. "Suga, you call it!"

Oikawa and Suga stood to the side, one bored out of his egotistical mind and the other genially curious.

Suga smiled; Daichi willed himself not to stare since a) he'd be way too obvious and b) he wasn't about to lose his focus at the start and let Bokuto win (again).

Suga lifted his arm up. "Three! ... Two! ... One! ... GO!"

And Daichi lunged forward, broke into a sprint so fast that his quads caught fire. He skillfully avoided a tree root protruding from the ground (which Bokuto didn't, hah, set him back a few steps), gaze fixed only forward, at the overpass above the trail, only a few dozen meters more... His lungs burned, he was pretty sure he'd never be able to breathe properly again. With the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of Kuroo's wild hair, gaining on him, dammit, not-

But then Kuroo let out a yelp and his bangs were gone from the edge of Daichi's vision. He didn't turn around to see what had happened until he slapped a hand against the concrete column of the bridge, hard, his palm going numb from the sting.

"I... win..." Daichi panted out, turning around and leaning back on the wall, barely standing upright. He was good with medium-tempo long distance, but short bursts of insane energy were not something he was particularly used to.

Some distance before the finish Kuroo and Bokuto lied on their backs in the dirt, both barely moving save for their heaving chests.

"Could've- broken- my- legs," Kuroo wheezed.

"Sorry, but... couldn't have let you win," Bokuto replied, twisting his neck to give a wink at Daichi. He had apparently been willing to risk permanently disabling both Kuroo and himself, throwing himself at Kuroo's back during the race, Daichi guessed, and bringing them both down, just to make Daichi look good in front of his stupid crush.

"Have you been diagnosed yet?" Daichi said with a smile, coming over on his shaking legs and offering each of them a hand to pull them up to their feet.

"Anything for you to get laid, my friend." Bokuto beamed.

They looked over at Oikawa and Suga still standing where they left them. Suga smiled incredibly wide and waved a thumbs up for Daichi and Oikawa seemed utterly unimpressed as he continued their inaudible conversation.

The racing trio slowly made their way back, with only Bokuto having enough energy to jog circles around Daichi and Kuroo.

"Talked to Iwaizumi today," Kuroo said, more quiet than was necessary.

"Yeah?" Daichi glanced at Oikawa, at his laugh from something Suga said. "How's he doing?"

"Good. He's... He's good." Kuroo looked up as well, as if making sure the two they were approaching couldn't hear them. "He's... seeing someone."

"Oh." Daichi swallowed. "That's... That's good." And it really was good. Iwaizumi was still their friend, albeit a little distanced, and he was a good person, warm and caring despite his stoic appearance and he deserved to be happy. "Just... maybe don't tell-...?"

"No, no, of course not," Kuroo hurried to say. "Wasn't going to."

Before they closed the distance between the two groups, Bokuto broke off and jumped Oikawa. He wrapped an arm around Oikawa's neck, shouted something about making him race next time because the best ace vs. the best setter would be the COOLEST THING EVER at which Oikawa reminded him that Bokuto was most certainly not the best ace, only the top fourth one and would he for the love of God get his sweaty, dusty body off Oikawa's spotlessly white shirt.

Kuroo had joined them and so on their jog back towards their building Daichi found himself next to Suga, with a dry mouth and sweaty, well, everything else.

"Congratulations," Suga said, smiling. "Oikawa-san said that usually Bokuto won these races."

"Heh... Thanks. He does, most of the time, when he's not too busy tripping over things."

"You all really have a lot of stamina."

"Yeah, well, it's the volleyball. We sort of... never stopped playing or working out, even when we were no longer on any teams. Hard to get rid of something that's in your blood." He threw a sideways glance at Suga, making sure not to hold it for longer than a second. "How about you? You seem in pretty good shape, too. Played any sports?"

Suga shook his head. "'Fraid not. I'm not that good with balls. ...when it comes to sports, that is."

Daichi almost blew an aneurysm. He stared at Suga who smiled widely, unabashedly. He just-... He-... This saintly presence, the embodiment of beauty and modesty (and a hint of sass), just made a dirty joke. And Daichi wondered what other type of dirty stuff he knew, what he could do, what he enjoyed- No, no, this was bad, so, so bad...

"I just go to the gym regularly," Suga continued seamlessly, saving him from having to come with anything even remotely intelligent to say.

"That's... Good. That's-..." Bad, so incredibly bad, he couldn't just-... Oh no. "Good."

Suga laughed, prompted Daichi to pull himself together and wipe the dumb look off his face. He was almost 28 for fuck's sake, not like he never heard a dirty joke in his life. (Not like he had a vivid image of Suga employing his ball skills outside the context of sports... Bad, so very bad.)

"I didn't hear you say what you do for a living?" Suga asked. "You were kinda quiet on the way here..."

"Yeah, well, hard to get a word in next to Bokuto." Daichi smiled, feeling the heat dissipate from his face even as he ran. "I'm the executive chef at The Crow."

"Really?" Suga's eyes went round with awe in the yellow glow of the streetlights. "The restaurant that made the top 20 in last year's Miele Guide?"

"You-... You know about that?"

Suga shrugged, looking pleased. Daichi did a mental back-flip at the fact that he impressed Suga. "I keep track of such things. I travel, and I like good food, so... I don't necessarily know how to make good food, but eating... I could do that all the time."

Daichi laughed, thinking I could cook for you all the time. How was it real, falling this fast?

"Yes, well, that's the restaurant," Daichi said. "I don't own it, but Ukai-san leaves almost everything up to me. He just comes in sometimes to see how we're doing, taste the new menus and such."

"Sounds like a really good job."

"I'm not complaining. Hadn't really wanted to do much else in my life. You?" Daichi smirked. "Have you always wanted to be a... what was it? Community Manager?"

Suga laughed. "That just sort of... happened, I guess. I figured I was good with people, especially in online communication, which is what our sector specializes in, and... well. It's easy. Flexible hours."

Daichi nodded, thinking of Asahi, how he could afford to go on 'vacation' for months at a time, taking his work with him wherever Noya would think of, precisely because of those flexible hours that didn't require the employees physically showing up at the company, just as long as they did their part.

"Hey." Suga's arm brushed against Daichi's, too quickly to be misinterpreted, but enough to make him look up. "Thanks, for inviting me to come with you guys." The hazel eyes were so clear, honest, Suga's smile almost shy, a little... "It was fun."

A little gloomy?

"I..." Daichi paused. "It's-..." He smiled back, widely, having the sudden urge to reassure, to disperse whatever melancholy Suga might've been feeling, for whatever reason. "You're welcome. It was all Kuroo's idea, really."

Suga looked back at the group ahead of them, at Kuroo and Oikawa loudly bickering over which Alien movie was better. "You're an interesting bunch, all of you. I wouldn't mind going for a run again sometime. ...if you'll have me?"

"Of course!" Daichi exclaimed, perhaps a little too eagerly. "You're welcome any time! Though I have to warn you, I'm not sure how much longer you'll be able to abstain from racing. Bokuto might in the end just run with you under his arm like a sack of potatoes."

Suga let out a laugh, loud, sugary. "I promise I'll race you next time."

"Good."

They looked back to the remaining three just in time to see Kuroo reach behind Oikawa and smack Bokuto over the back of his head for something he said, all of them laughing over his protests.

Chapter Text

Daichi enjoyed the comfort of his bed. It was large, king-sized, and he had it all to himself (sometimes for longer periods of time than he'd have liked to). The mattress wasn't too soft, not floorboard-hard either, and he had an anatomical, memory foam pillow that helped him with the occasional spasms in his neck from standing bowed over kitchen counters for hours at a time.

He could arrange himself on top of that bed however he desired, could sleep upside-down or across, could wrap himself up in a sheet-burrito or choose to discard all types of covers altogether. It was his, and his only, and he could do whatever he wanted in it.

Most of the time.

This particular morning, Daichi found himself teetering on the edge of his beloved bed, his limbs only centimeters from the floor. He opened his eyes, managed a yelp of surprise before he tumbled over to the unwelcoming parquet.

"Fuck..." He winced, tangled in the bed sheets he pulled down with him. His side throbbed from the hard collision.

It was unbearably hot in the room, in the whole apartment, and by that he concluded that it was the Hell Hour, somewhere between 6 and 7 a.m. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple.

"'Slong as you're up, would you turn on the AC?"

For one absurd moment Daichi wondered if the voice came from inside his own head. But then, it had an awfully familiar drawl to it...

With a groan Daichi sat up, looked over to the reason he fell out of bed - Kuroo had stretched his tall body over approximately 90% of the mattress surface, had piled every single pillow under his head (including Daichi's special memory foam one), and kicked off all the covers, presumably because of the heat, and, also presumably, left Daichi to roast under them without giving a single fuck.

Daichi dragged a hand down his face to give himself a moment and not strangle his friend right on the spot. "Is there a particular reason you're drooling in my bed instead of in your own?"

"Bokuto locked me out last night."

Daichi's gaze fell on Kuroo's boxers-covered ass, sporting the Superman's S insignia over it. "Cool undies. Let your mom shop for you again?"

"Bite me."

"You do know that I have a perfectly good couch?"

"Too soft."

"Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I was talking to Goldilocks. The hairy legs threw me off. My bad."

It was no use, fighting the swarm of friends with no concept of boundaries whatsoever. Daichi had been trying to for years, but it had only gotten worse with time.

He scrambled out of the mess of sheets, ignored Kuroo's clothes thrown haphazardly all over the floor and made his way to the living-room to turn on the AC. Upon his return he reclaimed a reasonable amount of space on the bed by literally pushing Kuroo towards the other side - which Kuroo allowed without protest, without even opening his eyes. Daichi snatched the pillow that was easiest to reach from his grasp and turned his back to him, hoping that the overgrown cat wouldn't try and retake the lost territory in his sleep.

Daichi drifted off again, lulled in the fuzzy coziness between dream and reality when the door to his apartment banged open. He made a hazy mental note to superglue it shut next time he wanted an uninterrupted night of rest.

"Yeah, uh-uh. ... One sec, I'll go get him," a raspy voice said from the living-room, coming closer.

A pair of footsteps patted down the hallway to the bedroom - both Daichi and Kuroo grunted when Bokuto threw himself in between them, on top of them, settling more of his weight on Kuroo than on Daichi, thankfully.

Daichi frowned, about to ask what the actual fuck when Bokuto spoke up.

"It's for you," he mumbled into the mattress. "Tsukishima."

"...no," Kuroo said.

"He says it's important."

"If it's important why isn't he calling my cell?"

"Turned off."

"But I'm sleeping."

"So was I before you two happened," Daichi growled. He made an effort to turn around underneath Bokuto's heavy arm, the presence of yet another body in the increasingly limited space on his bed defeating the purpose of artificial cooling. "Please leave before I start screaming."

The plea went largely ignored. Kuroo reached for the phone in Bokuto's hand and the moment he pressed it to his ear the hand dropped and Bokuto seemed ready to fall back asleep. Great. Daichi poked him in the cheek that was uncomfortably close to his face. Bokuto hummed in response, unmoving.

"Yes, dear?" Kuroo cooed into the phone on Bokuto's other side.

His teasing demeanor disappeared at once at something his work partner had said and he sat up, suddenly wide awake. "What? ...shit. ... Yeah, no, I'm coming. I'll be right there."

He ended the call, threw the phone on the bed where it bounced off Bokuto's back and rolled away. "Gotta get back to the station."

"Everything alright?" Daichi asked, unable to move more than lifting his head since Bokuto had him pinned down.

"Uh..." Kuroo whirled around with his pants halfway up his legs, looking for something. "Not really. There's a thing with a politician..." He shrugged on his shirt, snatched his belt off the floor. "Missing or whatever. Don't know the details, but Tsukki sounded like he was just about ready to shove his glasses up someone's ass."

Daichi chuckled, with a clear picture of the perpetually disgruntled blond doing just that, despite having seen him maybe only a couple of times in his life.

"It's all hands on deck." Kuroo ran a hand through his dark hair - if he wanted to make it even remotely presentable for the outside world, he, of course, failed. "I'll see you later."

"Yeah... Good luck. And be careful!" Daichi shouted after him.

"Will do! Thanks!"

The door of Daichi's apartment slammed shut after Kuroo and Daichi turned his attention to Bokuto, half-draped over him and snoring lightly into the bedding. Using as much of his strength as he could gather at the ungodly hour of the morning, Daichi rolled Bokuto off himself and on his back, where his friend continued snoring even louder.

Fucking perfect.


The trend of unexpectedly putting in more work hours continued later that day when Daichi was called in on his day off to sort out a problem regarding an alarming lack of salmon in the restaurant.

It required a certain amount of reassurance to the part-time Head Chef, Ennoshita, that everything was alright and that no one was going to have their ass handed to them, except for the suppliers. Daichi had then spent seventeen minutes on the phone listing every single way The Crow was screwed over by that 'minor oversight', as the suppliers had called it, and negotiating a way they could make up for it. Although it wasn't so much negotiating as it was cough it up or one of the most prestigious restaurants in Japan is taking its business elsewhere.

He helped prepare one of his special dishes, chocolate brownies with kinako-kuromitsu ice-cream, which wasn't on the menu for that week but was always a guest favorite, as an apology on the house for anyone that might order the non-existent salmon during the course of the service.

"And make sure the ice-cream is on the side of the brownie," Daichi said to Ennoshita as he placed a scoop of the icy treat next to the brownie. "If you put it on top it's just gonna melt from the heat of the brownie and it's gonna be a-"

"-a complete mess, don't worry, Daichi, I've got it." Ennoshita smiled, his eyes kind, calm.

Daichi laughed, looked down at the contrast between the dark of the brownie and the off-white of the ice-cream with a touch of green fresh mint leaves on top. "Yes, of course you've got it. I'm sorry, I forget you're more than capable of running the kitchen on your own."

"Only because I learned from the best."

Daichi felt his cheeks flush. He pushed himself away from the counter, started unbuttoning his uniform. "I'm far from the best, Ennoshita. If you keep working as hard as you are now you'll surpass me in no time."

"...and when I take over as the Executive I'll make sure to stick you somewhere nice. Like the fish station," Ennoshita joked, putting away the aesthetically pleasing dessert in the freezer for reference later, when they actually had to start plating dozens of them in the heat of service.

Daichi folded his uniform in his locker and bid Ennoshita goodbye and good luck before he started his walk home.

It was late afternoon and for the first time in a while Daichi hadn't broken a sweat the moment he stepped into the streets; he could actually enjoy the gentle sunlight glinting off the skyscrapers and their glass walls, bathing the city in orange tones. He was in no hurry, meandered through the end-of-work-day bustle without difficulty, taking in the colorful displays of shops and boutiques as he passed them by.

He didn't think about anything important, at first, with contemplating on how Frank Underwood was going to continue on in the next season of House of Cards taking up most of his time. But then, inevitably, his thoughts drifted elsewhere, to a pair of vivacious hazel eyes, a shining smile that lately seemed to occupy his mind whenever he was idle.

So maybe, now, Daichi was in deep enough to daydream about his temporary neighbor.

He had run into Suga exactly two times since their group exercise a week ago, but it didn't go beyond pleasant greetings and complaining about the heat, since either one or both of them were too busy to actually stop and chat.

And it wasn't like Daichi didn't want to ask Suga out. He liked Suga, he thought Suga was the most beautiful person he had ever met, not to mention friendly and witty and genuinely nice. (And whenever he'd run into him, Daichi didn't seem to remember his own name.)

...it just wasn't the right moment.

Though, of course, if someone asked Kuroo or Oikawa, they'd say that Daichi was chickening out, as usual.

Somehow, over the years, Daichi had earned a reputation of being hesitant when it came to actually making a move on someone. And it wasn't because of lack of interest (which, granted, never bloomed as fast as it did now, with Suga), it was just that he liked to examine every possible outcome of asking someone out, of perhaps starting a relationship with them; Daichi liked to cover his bases, to make sure that he was doing the right thing for all parties involved.

A trait that all of his friends found endlessly amusing.

("Pass the salt, Sawamura. That is, if you don't feel like me adding salt to your food is deeply insulting to your cooking skills," Kuroo joked. "Or! Alternatively, maybe you think the excesses salt will be a major factor in me developing high blood pressure and running the risk of a heart attack later on, which might kill me and thus leave you without such a cool, frankly irreplaceable friend.")

...he was going to ask Suga out. He wasn't chickening out. He just had to wait for that Moment.

When Daichi was halfway up his quiet street a car rolled by, large, gleaming black in the setting sun - a Mercedes, elegant with its tinted windows, impressive with its engine barely above a purr as it drove up towards the parking lot in front of Daichi's building.

Daichi frowned, not sure he had seen it before. Though that didn't mean much - there were a lot of buildings in their complex, a lot of residents and even more visitors. Could've been anyone's.

He glanced over the little bistro on his street that was, this time, deserted with good reason: the gaming owner was nowhere to be seen in the dark establishment, closed for the day. It had always struck Daichi as odd how the place continued being open despite the persistent lack of customers, despite the slight bartender never giving any indication that he was interested in serving (or smiling for) anyone.

There was no sign that the bar was closed for good, however. The young man just needed a day off, perhaps.

Daichi came up to the edge of the parking lot just when the driver's door to the magnificent Mercedes opened in the distance.

And a head of very familiar, very soft (at least in Daichi's imagination) silver-blond hair popped up.

Daichi stopped in his tracks, stared at Suga who closed the driver's door, hiked a duffel bag up his shoulder and walked - no, limped around to the trunk.

Suga drove a fucking Mercedes. An E-class, polished to shine, if not new than in pretty damn good condition.

Holy fuck.

Suga emerged from the trunk with two large paper bags brimming with groceries. He shut the trunk door with his elbow, beeped on the car alarm and headed towards the building's entrance, slowly, putting as little weight on his left leg as possible. How in the world had he driven here, if he could barely walk?

But it wasn't until Suga's duffel bag slid off his shoulder, ripped one of the paper bags and spilled the content all over the pavement that Daichi reacted.

He snapped out of his surprise and hurried to help.

"Shit..." Suga muttered under his breath, watching his oranges roll every which way on the asphalt.

He tried to crouch on one foot, still holding both the torn and the intact bag, but the duffel one tipped him over. He would've faceplanted if he hadn't slapped a palm to the pavement to steady himself, letting go of one bag in the process.

It was now lying sadly on the ground, with even more of his groceries falling out.

Daichi smiled as he came closer. "Fast reflexes."

Suga looked up from his unenviable position, startled, but broke into a smile when he saw Daichi. "Now if only I could grow out that extra arm like I've been planning to for years."

Daichi laughed. "Or maybe you could just try and not take all of your shopping upstairs in one trip?"

"Aw, but I like to live on the edge."

When Daichi reached for the remaining bag Suga relinquished it without protest and accepted Daichi's hand to get to his feet; Daichi didn't miss a wince on Suga's features when he used his left leg for minimal support to stand up.

"You alright?" Daichi asked as he gathered the stray fruit and an assortment of scattered products.

"Yeah, it's nothing, a minor ankle sprain." Suga waved it off with a smile, pulled his duffel bag back up his shoulder. "Didn't even need a brace. Gym accident."

"Does it hurt?"

"Not really." Suga instinctively looked down at the injured ankle. "Just, you know, when I try to stand on it, walk on it, if I think about it too hard..." He laughed at Daichi's worried face. "I'm kidding, Daichi. It's fine."

Daichi ignored the way his heartbeat stuttered at the sound of his name pronounced in that melodic way, unique only to Suga's lips.

He straightened up with both paper bags, held the ripped one together with his hand. "OK, so the good news is that now you really are going to bring this up in one trip, because I'll help you." He looked at the nearest car, a beaten-down Toyota with a large oil stain underneath its front. "The bad news is that you lost an orange to Mrs. Kikuchi's car."

Suga laughed. "That's alright, it looks like it needs the vitamins more than me, anyway."

"I'll go leave this in Asahi and Noya's apartment and then come back for you, OK?"

"...come back for me?"

"Yeah, to help you up the stairs." Daichi thought this was a given. Suga obviously couldn't be trusted to walk on his almost-but-not-really-two healthy legs and their building didn't have an elevator.

Suga laughed. "I don't need help, Daichi. I'm fine, I told you." He started towards the building's entrance, wobbly but with an unwavering mile, as if to prove his point. "You just go ahead and I'll be right behind you."

Daichi eyed him suspiciously, ready to drop the unfortunate bags if Suga decided to topple over. "...are you sure?"

Suga fixed him with a look, piercing, stripping Daichi of all of his arguing power. "Here's the key." He placed the key to Noya and Asahi's apartment on top of the box of cookies in Daichi's arms and Daichi had no other choice but to go inside.

He took two steps at a time to the second floor, had to put one of the bags down on the welcome mat to perform the opening ritual with Noya and Asahi's front door; once inside he placed the bags on the kitchen counter and rushed back, not even bothering to lock the door behind him.

He found Suga almost on the first floor, one hand firm on the railing as he hopped up the steps, one by one, painfully slowly.

"See?" Suga smiled. He barely touched the next step with his injured foot and then jumped on it with the other one, using the railing for support. "Easy."

Daichi laughed from the top of the stairs. "So should I inform Noya and Asahi to expect you back in their apartment around Christmas? Or maybe you could tell them yourself, when they pass you by."

Suga was not amused. "Har har." He hopped onto the first floor next to Daichi and adjusted the strap of his duffel bag. His cheeks were rosy from all the skipping; Daichi found it adorably cute.

"At least give me the bag," Daichi said, walking next to Suga as he limped towards the second staircase.

"Nope."

"You gave up the other ones!"

"Because they clearly outnumbered me. This one I can take."

"Oh I'm sorry, so now it's you vs. the bag?"

Suga grabbed hold of the railing again, flashed a smirk at Daichi. "That's right! And I'm bringing it down!"

"Wow, tough words for someone who's hopping his way up." Daichi let Suga go up a few steps before he matched his crippling pace behind him.

"Hey!"

"No, seriously, you look like the bunny from Bambi."

"Daichi!" Suga's laugh rang out in the building, made Daichi press on with his teasing.

"If I scratch you behind the ears, will you do the leg thumping thing?"

Suga lowered his head, his shoulders shaking with laughter.

"Maybe if I lure you up with some flower blossoms, maybe you'll forget about the ankle and go faster?"

"D-don't-...!" Suga choked out. His hand slid from the banister, the laughs using up his energy to continue upwards.

Daichi stepped up to Suga's level, slipped the duffel bag off his shoulder and on his own, which he wasn't sure Suga even noticed. "...how poofy is your tail, exactly? I mean, I couldn't tell through your sweatpants...?"

Suga was gone, eyes shut, almost doubling over from the laughing. He gave in, allowed Daichi to take his arm and drape it over his shoulders, to hold him by the waist. Daichi took on some of Suga's weight and gently guided him up, acting as a crutch on his injured side.

Suga was warm, giggly, and Daichi did his best not to close his eyes and just revel in the sound, the closeness, until he knew of nothing else.

"You're... impossible," Suga said, when he could finally breathe.

"And you're stubborn," Daichi said, careful not to squeeze him more than was necessary.

"Am not."

"Phah! I actually used Disney jokes to get you to let me help."

"Which was such a cheap shot," Suga said, smiling, when they finally reached the second floor. "I can walk on my own now."

"Alright. But I'm keeping the bag." Daichi let go of him and stepped back, the side Suga was leaning into feeling almost cold, despite the summer temperatures.

He walked into Noya and Asahi's apartment first, set down Suga's duffel bag by the door and patiently waited for him to hobble in.

"Are you going to be OK now?"

"I'm in for the night," Suga said. He placed his cell phone and the rest of his keys on a side table in the hallway. "Have some work to do, but I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon."

Daichi nodded. He glanced over the apartment, larger than his own, bordering on psychedelic with the orange living-room with the dark red leather seating, purple curtains and the bright green kitchen with cabinets made of light wood. (Noya was responsible for the most recent redecoration, much to Asahi's fragile nerves.)

The place was just as spotless as when Asahi was there to take care of it. Suga was a good house-sitter. Not that Daichi had doubted it.

"I... don't know how to thank you, for this."

Daichi looked at Suga, at his timid smile. He smiled back, widely. "You mean, for tricking you into letting me half-carry you upstairs? It was nothing, really."

Suga laughed. "...you can stay for dinner, if you want? It's not much, but I make mean microwave ramen?"

And it occurred to Daichi then that this was... something. Maybe not the right moment to officially ask Suga out, but the right moment, an opportunity, for just the two of them to spend more time together. For Daichi to get to know Suga, talk to him, and just... marvel at that smile, at the intensity of Suga's cheer in a more intimate setting.

And he wasn't going to let it slip away. He wasn't chickening out.

"How about I help you make something that doesn't come in a box?" he asked, hoping that it didn't sound too inappropriate.

"Like... cook?"

Daichi laughed at Suga's uncertainty. "Yes, like cook. I'll teach you something simple, easy, that you can make on your own whenever you want."

"But..." Suga chewed on his bottom lip; Daichi willed himself not to stare. "Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of me thanking you?"

Daichi shrugged. "I'm still gonna eat. And this way I get to use all of my Ratatouille references?"

Suga chuckled, pondered for a moment, before he looked back at Daichi with a dazzling smile. "OK, then. But you'll tell me later how you're so well-versed in children's movies."

Daichi resisted the urge to pump a fist up in the air. "Deal. I just have to see what you have out of the ingredients we'll need."

Suga grabbed his duffel bag, limped into the living-room and turned right, to where the bedrooms and the bathroom were. "Help yourself. You probably know your way around this kitchen better than I do. I have to take a shower because I went from the gym straight to the doctor and I feel all gross, but then I'm ready to... well, try and not ruin dinner."

Daichi laughed, turning left to the kitchen. "You won't ruin it with me by your side. I'll see you in a bit, then?"

"Yeah." Suga flashed one last smile Daichi's way before he retreated to the guest bedroom.

Daichi's mind erupted into violent victorious screaming.


He chose a dish that would take roughly 20 minutes to prepare, that was simple, delicious, and didn't require any special chef skills. Suga had only rice and sugar out of all the ingredients and Daichi brought over chicken, eggs, mentsuyu and onions from his own kitchen. He defrosted the meat in the microwave, set a pot of water to boil for the rice. Arranged the sugar and soup base in little glass bowls, with two eggs and two onions next to them, as they did on cooking shows where everything was neatly organized before-hand.

He considered starting on the dicing when the door to the bathroom opened down the hallway, straight ahead of where Daichi was in the kitchen. He looked up, inadvertently.

...just in time to see Suga step out in a gust of steam with nothing but a long, white towel wrapped around his waist.

Daichi suddenly lost all sensation in his hands.

His heart hammered against his ribcage as Suga - oblivious to the ogling he was subjected to - ruffled out the stray droplets from his hair, made it effortlessly messy. His lean torso glistened in the bathroom light and Daichi caught sight of a nipple, as pink as Suga's lips, suddenly imagined running his tongue over it, imagined the sound Suga would make if he pushed him up against the wall, if-...

Suga's defined muscles tensed up tantalizingly under the smooth skin as he moved, crossed the short distance between the bathroom and the guest bedroom. The last thing Daichi saw were the dimples in Suga's lower back and the towel dropped just before he disappeared into the bedroom and his ass was perfect, round, Daichi could feel his fingers digging into the firm flesh, his hips pushing into-...

Fucking get a grip on yourself, Sawamura.

Daichi bowed his head, inhaled deeply through his nose and exhaled through his mouth. His jeans were tight in the front, hands fisted on the counter and he breathed steadily until any and all images of Suga in his arms, Suga pressed close to him, Suga under him, dissolved.

Well. That was...

Daichi had no idea he was so desperately thirsty.

He swallowed thickly, helped himself with a can of Coke from the fridge. The icy bubbles of the drink washed away his horniness and he turned on the AC in the living-room to stave off the impending heat from the cooking.

This was going to be an interesting evening.

Shortly after, Suga appeared in the hallway again, fully dressed in a loose T-shirt and equally baggy sweatpants, barefoot save for the elastic bandage tightly wrapped around his injured ankle and foot. Daichi thanked heavens for that not-even-remotely-snug outfit; it would've been difficult to focus on cooking with a hard-on.

"What are we making?" Suga asked, once again running a hand through his damp hair, agonizingly tousled.

"Uh... Oyakodon." Daichi blinked, took another sip of his Coke. "Wasn't sure what you liked really, so I thought we'd go with something classic."

"Sounds good." Suga stopped just after the archway into the kitchen, looked over the set-up on the kitchen counter with anxious amusement. "Where do we start?"

Daichi let out a good-natured laugh. "You don't have to look so worried. The chicken is the only thing here that was alive once and I'm pretty sure it couldn't have bitten you even then."

Suga laughed too, relaxed a little. He came closer, rested his hands on the counter. "Sorry, I just... I never did more in the kitchen than cook rice on occasion. I'm not even sure if I know what that is." He pointed at the onions.

Daichi stared at him until Suga giggled, obviously joking. Phew.

The water in the pot was bubbling nicely now and Daichi set aside his drink to hand Suga a cup of rice. "Here, then, you can start with the thing you know."

Suga poured the rice in with a theatrical flick of his wrist, making a show of the one thing he was good at. Daichi laughed.

He pulled out a cutting board and a broad, sharp knife and placed them on one of the free counters. "Then, you dice the onions. The pieces don't have to be too small."

Suga's smile was unfaltering as he started cutting up the vegetable without question, for only a few seconds until Daichi stopped him by laying a hand on his hands. Daichi tried hard not to blow a vein in his head from biting back the laughter.

"You... Um," he said. "You're supposed to peel them first."

"...oh."

Both of them burst out laughing. Suga's mirth coiled warm and fluffy on Daichi's chest.

"Here, I'll do it first." He came to stand next to Suga, relishing the closeness again. Do not think about his ass, do not think about his ass, do not-...

Suga watched, attentive and apparently not bothered by their arms touching at all, as Daichi took out a second knife, grabbed the other onion. He cut it in half on the board, used the knife to peel away the outer layer in one go and expertly chopped it up in small cubes in 0.72 seconds.

Suga's features fell. "Show-off," he grumbled.

Daichi laughed, gave him some space. "Practice makes perfect. Your turn."

Suga repeated the action, infinitely slower, careful not to slice through his fingers instead of the onions. His face was the epitome of concentration, teeth digging into his bottom lip, until the smell of the onion irritated his eyes. "...burns!" He buried his face in the crook of his arm with a sniff.

"Yeah, the trick is to do it fast enough that it doesn't get to you." Daichi stepped away and leaned back on the fridge to not start crying from the sharp onion vapors as well. He had a feeling he wouldn't look half as cute as Suga if he did.

Suga blinked away the first wave of the sting and continued dicing, determined not to give up even when he had to squint through the tears to see what he was doing. His cheeks and nose were pink from irritation, eyes red at the rims, but when he finished he beamed proudly at Daichi.

"Done!" he exclaimed, motioning towards his work with the knife.

Daichi had honestly never seen a more endearing scene in his life. He smiled back, came closer to inspect the cubed onions. "Excellent work! Now, you break the eggs." He procured a plastic bowl from one of the cabinets, handed it to Suga along with the two eggs. "You crack them on the edge and then pour the stuff in here. Just-"

Before he could finish the sentence Suga slammed an egg on the edge of the plastic bowl, crushed it into bits of egg shell and yellow viscous fluid that seeped through his fingers.

"....-not too hard."

"Oh." Suga let out an awkward laugh. "Whoops."

He looked so precious that Daichi wanted to pull him in and kiss the hell out of his beautiful, cried-out, hopeless-in-the-kitchen face.

Instead Daichi just laughed, took out a carton of eggs from the fridge. "That's alright, we've got about eight more to go." Suga washed the egg goo off his hand in the sink. "And then, if need be, I'll go up to see if Oikawa has more."

"Not Kuroo and Bokuto?" Suga handled the next egg with more care, cracked it almost gently on the edge of the bowl, separated the two halves of the shell and poured in the contents.

Daichi snorted. "The last thing I saw in their fridge was a jar of mayonnaise from about two years ago. I'm pretty sure they're waiting for it to come out of there on its own two legs."

"Hah, why does that not surprise me." Suga peered into the egg bowl after he cracked the second egg. "Um. I think I fucked up."

"What?"

Daichi leaned over to see, his face only centimeters away from Suga's. Fuck, Suga's scent, shampoo, whatever, was lemony, fresh, made his mind spin.

"There's a shell piece, see?" Suga pointed out the speck floating about in the yellow liquid.

Daichi blinked a couple of times, focused on the problem in front of him. "Oh. That's- that's nothing. You just take an empty shell, like this - see - and scoop it out."

"Oooooh, nice!" Suga smiled, seemingly genuinely impressed with the small feat.

Daichi laughed as he discarded the empty shells, handed Suga a fork to beat the eggs with. "You really haven't cooked anything, ever?"

Suga nodded, gaze fixed on the bowl in his hands, whipping the eggs with astonishing force. "Only rice, I told you. Lived on cafeteria food for most of my life, and then when I finally got out on my own I sort of... Well, it's much easier to order in and eat right out the container than to bother with the cooking and washing the dishes later."

"True."

"Why?" Suga smiled at Daichi. "Am I that bad?"

Daichi pursed his lips, his eyebrows high in an overdramatic innocent expression of a not-so-innocent person.

"Daichi!" Suga giggled.

Daichi allowed himself to wonder if the way Suga exclaimed his name after being teased was going to be his favorite. Of course, he'd have to hear all the other ways Suga could utter (whisper, moan) his name to come to a valid conclusion.

He smiled. "Let's just say that I've seen a 12 year old make a strawberry shortcake from scratch. Kinda hard to compete with that."

"Ah, and is this 12 year old the reason for your vast knowledge of kid's movies?"

"As a matter of fact, yes, she is." Daichi looked at the eggs, gave Suga a nod that it was enough of beating. He motioned towards the chicken breast. "You're supposed to cut it up in bite-sized pieces. And try not to cry about it," he added with a smirk.

Suga nudged him playfully with a shoulder to the chest, laughing. He set down the plastic bowl and took up the knife again.

Daichi gave the simmering rice pot a stir with a spoon, tasted it. It was sufficiently soft so he turned off the burner.

"Anyway, yeah, so the 12 year old is Oikawa's niece. He has two nephews who are 18 and 15, and little Meru... Well, not so little anymore, but she's a certified genius. Oikawa likes to think she takes after him, of course." Daichi dug out a large strainer from one of the drawers and through it poured out the excess water from the rice pot into the sink. "Whenever she comes to visit we watch Disney movies, cartoons, anime and such. Used to with the boys, too, but now they're way too cool for that."

Suga smiled. "Sounds nice."

"Yeah, they're fun." Daichi shrugged, plopped the rice in the twenty-third bowl of the evening and left it on a counter next to Suga. "You? I may have made all the lame Bambi jokes, but you're the one who got them. And knew what Ratatouille was, might I add." He found a large skillet, placed it on the stove.

"I volunteer at a children's home," Suga said. "About once a week I spend time with the kids there, ranging from..." He thought for a bit. "Two to sixteen, I guess, and we do all sorts of things. Watch movies, build pillow forts... I help them with their homework, let them do my hair, we play outside if the weather's nice, so on and so on."

Daichi smiled at the visual of Suga patiently sitting on the floor while a couple of cute five year olds braided his hair.

"That's... very selfless of you," he noted.

"Hm, maybe." Suga brought over the cutting board with the chicken on it. "This OK?"

"Perfect." Daichi grinned. "Ready to actually do some cooking now?"

Suga returned the grin. "Yes, please!"

The bright green kitchen quickly filled up with Suga's laughter as he sautéed the onions in a combination of water and mentsuyu, added the chicken and finally poured the eggs over everything.

Daichi couldn't explain how exactly, but Suga's delight was contagious, intoxicating, made Daichi want to wrap his arms around him and bury his face in Suga's neck, tickle him and tease him without mercy so that the laughter never ended. His heart swelled with each little giggle, his hands thankfully occupied with the can of Coke so that he wouldn't reach and brush away a strand of Suga's hair that fell into his eyes as he bowed over the skillet.

"...and then he realized that he wasn't wearing any underwear," Daichi finished his story, blatantly relishing in Suga's happiness.

"How- how did that happen?" Suga asked through his laughs, stirring the food with a wooden spoon.

Daichi shrugged. He leaned sideways on the counter by the stove. "Apparently, he had forgotten them at some girl's apartment the night before, too hungover to notice he was going commando."

Suga chuckled. "I can't imagine what he went through, chasing that guy on foot without any support. Ouch."

"Yeah, not to mention climbing over metal fences."

Suga's laugh rang out once more, this time combined with a generic ringtone from somewhere in the apartment.

"Oh, that's mine," he said, blowing the unruly strand of hair away from his eyes. "Will you see who it is?"

Daichi finally finished off his Coke, threw it in the trashcan and left the kitchen. He found the buzzing and flashing cell phone on the side table in the entrance hallway, read the caller ID off the screen. "It's an unknown number!"

A pause. Then, "Leave it! Could you please mute it, too?"

"Sure..." Daichi waited for whoever it was to hang up (probably after having waited until the last ring, from how long it took) and then turned on the silent mode, leaving the phone where he found it.

"You don't have to watch it all the time now," he said when he returned to the kitchen, noticeably warmer than the rest of the apartment despite the AC. "Just turn down the heat and leave it covered like that. It'll be done in about 10 minutes."

"'Kay. ...um, is it OK if I take that time to look at my e-mail?"

Daichi smiled. "Of course. Go, work, I'll finish up here and then we'll eat."

Suga smiled back and limped away to his bedroom to get his laptop. He opened it up on the coffee table in the living-room and immersed himself in his world of online PR management.

Daichi set the small table in the kitchen with cutlery and tasted the oyakodon for the final time before he concluded that it was just sweet enough and didn't need any extra spices. He assembled the food on two differently colored plates (one red, one orange), garnished them with dark green mitsuba leaves with uneven edges. He pulled out two more Cokes from the fridge, placed them on the table along with two glasses and figured that lighting a candle between the plates would be taking it a step too far, so he just left the ceiling light on.

He stood in the archway, caught Suga at the end of a wide yawn.

Daichi chuckled. "Dinner is served."

"Hah, that was fast," Suga said, standing up. "Barely managed to reply to one e-mail." He passed Daichi, paused when his gaze landed on the table. "Whoa. How did you make it so pretty?"

"It helps when you spend two whole semesters pulling your hair out over proper food presentation," Daichi said, taking a seat. Suga followed suit, sitting across from him. "I never did grasp the concept of color theory, passed the course by the skin of my teeth."

"Well, to us common folk it looks absolutely beautiful."

You look absolutely beautiful, Daichi thought, watching Suga pick up his fork and dig in. He did the same, quickly enough not to venture into creepy watching-Suga-while-he-eats-and-not-touching-own-food territory.

"Hey, this is actually edible!" Suga exclaimed after his first mouthful.

"Why so surprised?" Daichi narrowed his eyes at him in mock-offence. "Was I not a good teacher? Am I not reputable enough? Does the last year's Miele Guide count for nothing?"

"No, no, you're right, I'm sorry." Suga smiled as he took another bite of his rice. "Shouldn't have doubted your ability to make a decent food-provider out of me."

"Apology accepted." Daichi nodded. "Although, if in any of your future cooking endeavors you burn down this apartment I take no responsibility."

"I'll try not to," Suga said, laughing. "So, how does one go about becoming a master chef?"

Suga's question prompted Daichi to embark on a story that began with that faithful episode of Iron Chef, continued when he burned his first batch of muffins in his mother's oven at age 11 to when he almost suffocated in the smoke when one of his pans caught fire on his aunt and uncle's wedding anniversary at age 23.

"...so I passed out," he said, stabbing a piece of chicken with his fork. "But luckily uncle Hideki is this huge, fearless construction worker who pulled me out of the smoke before the firemen arrived, or else I might not have made it."

Suga's hazel eyes were wide, astounded, his food temporarily forgotten. He opened his mouth to comment on the unexpectedly life-threatening aspect of cooking when another ringtone started playing, this time from Daichi's pocket.

"'Scuse me." He set down his fork and fished out the phone, frowned at the screen. Of course, it was Monday evening, 9 p.m., time for his regularly scheduled talk with his mother. "Hah, um. I'll try and keep this short, but you just continue eating without me, OK?"

Suga nodded and Daichi stepped out the kitchen to answer.

"Hey, mom. ... No, it's OK, we're just having dinner." Daichi paused in his pacing around the living-room, closed his eyes at his own stupidity. "We meaning me and Suga. ... Suga is a nickname, his name is Sugawara Koushi. ... No, you don't know him, he's house sitting for Asahi and Noya. ... What?" He turned away from the kitchen where he could hear Suga's fork clinking against the plate. "No, it's not a date, mom," he said in a hushed voice. "We're just... hanging out. ... Yes, like Bokuto and I hang out. Sort of. Look, I have to go, I'm the middle of- ... No I am not letting you talk to him. ... No. ... No. ... Mom. NO."

Daichi sighed, feeling pressure build up behind his eyebrows.

"You absolutely cannot talk to him. ... Because! You don't know him, I don't even know him that well, and I'm not having my mother- ... What? ... Hah, you wouldn't. ... MOM."

His grip on the cell phone tightened to the point where his knuckles turned white. "Why must you be so difficult? ... No, I don't want you coming over, I don't want you meeting him, that's why I don't want you to-..."

He felt that punching through a wall in this apartment wouldn't bode well for Suga. "Fine," he growled. "Hold on."

Daichi stomped back into the kitchen, stopped next to Suga and waved his cell phone in front of his face. "It's for you."

Suga blinked up at him, confused.

"I'm sorry," was all Daichi could manage.

Cautiously, Suga took the phone and brought it to his ear. "Uh... Hello?" He looked up at Daichi with incredulous amazement when he realized it was Daichi's mother on the line. "Yes, people call me Suga. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Sawamura."

Daichi slumped in his seat. He grabbed his fork and started playing with the remainder of his food, rolling it around his plate much like a sulking child.

"We met, what, almost two weeks ago?" Suga said into the phone. He laughed. "Um, no, actually, he didn't. He helped me make dinner. ... Yes, it's still quite delicious. ... Sorry? Well, I- I-..." He hesitated before answering, "I am too, as a matter of fact." Daichi had a pretty good idea of what that question was about. He should've just let his mother grill Suga about anything that might've been of interest to him, including Suga's sexuality, instead of exposing him to the sanatorium that were Kuroo, Bokuto and Oikawa. "I do have a degree, in marketing. I work at PR Pepper. ... Yes, with Azumane Asahi, you know him? ... Ah, that's right, they went to high school together. ... I'm 28. ... Um, no, when I'm not house-sitting I live alone. ... Yes, I have a car. ... A Mercedes? ... I- I suppose I do make pretty good money, yes." Suga looked down at himself. "I dunno... decent-looking?"

Daichi reached over their plates and snatched the phone from Suga. "That's it, you heard enough," he barked at his mother. "Now will you please leave us alone before your only son strokes out?" He pinched the bridge of his nose, tried to relieve his budding headache. "...yes, he does sound like a nice young man, he is a nice young man." Daichi didn't notice the blush on Suga's cheeks at his words. "Yes, I will call you tomorrow, now for the love of- ... Terrific, bye."

He almost threw the cell phone across the table. "I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry." He looked at Suga in the most apologetic way he could muster. "My mother was apparently a member of the Gestapo in her past life and she-..."

Suga held up his hand, silenced him with a kind smile. "It's alright, Daichi. Really. She sounded... nice. Caring."

"Caring?" Daichi echoed. "That-... That was caring?"

"Yes. She might not be subtle about it, but she obviously cares who you spend time with."

"Well, yes, but the woman has no concept of personal space. Of privacy! If I hadn't stopped her, I'm pretty sure she'd be asking you about possible STDs right about now."

Suga laughed. "It's sweet."

Daichi stared at him in disbelief. "You're... weird."

"You're weird!" Suga exclaimed back without hesitation.

They burst out laughing at the immaturity of the exchange. Daichi's inbound headache slowly ebbed away, mostly thanks to Suga's soothing smile. He continued with his eating, while Suga helped himself with one of the last few bites of his meal.

"Sooooo... Is everyone in this building gay?" he asked bluntly.

"Hah, something like that." Daichi nodded. "At least on this floor. You've got Noya and Asahi, obviously. Bokuto's gay as fuck, I'm pretty sure my mother told you that I am too," he said with a hint of irritation over how that played out. "And Kuroo... Well, Kuroo is sexually attracted to pretty much everyone that looks human."

Suga laughed. "And Oikawa-san?"

"Hm. Oikawa... I think he falls somewhere on the bisexual spectrum. We never really talked about it, but I've seen him with both girls and boys."

Suga nodded. "Asahi did say that I'd fit right in with the neighbors here."

"Haha, yeah. Welcome to the Rainbow Building."

Suga chuckled, neatly arranged his fork and knife over his empty plate, swallowed his last mouthful. He stood up to clear the dishes.

"No!" Daichi exclaimed, stopping him with a hand on his arm. "Leave it. I'll clean up."

Suga smiled at him. "That's hardly fair. You helped me bring in my groceries, oversaw making of your own thank-you dinner, I can't let you-"

"Please. I insist." Daichi held Suga's gaze, unyielding. "You're hurt, go sit down, you've been standing for way too long as it is. Work some more or something. I'll clean up."

Suga sighed, returned his plate to where it was. "Alright, then. I'll be in the living-room if you need help."

Daichi watched him limp back to his place on the dark red couch and resume his computer work, face illuminated only by the bluish radiance of the screen.

Daichi took his time with the rest of his meal, in no hurry to break the overwhelming serenity he felt. He had enjoyed every second of tonight, from hunting down rebel oranges, over the unexpected voyeurism on his part to this quiet moment at the table (though he could've gone without his mother butting in). Being with Suga was inexplicably easy, relaxing. The conversation wasn't lagging, there weren't any uncomfortable silences, it was so effortless, and even though this wasn't an official date, Daichi wanted more of whatever it was.

He wanted more of Suga.

There were faint typing sounds coming from the living-room as Daichi stacked Suga's plate on his own empty one and set about to wash them. He cleared out the skillet and the pot as well, found a Tupperware container to put away the leftover oyakodon and rice in the fridge so Suga wouldn't have to order in tomorrow. He made sure that all of the used bowls were spotless before he dried them out.

It was only natural that he thought he was done when his gaze landed on the cutting board and the knives and so he washed them, too. He also gave the kitchen counters a light scrub, more out of habit than necessity.

With one last whirl around to make sure that now he really got everything, Daichi turned off the lights in the kitchen and walked into the living-room.

He smiled. The laptop was still open and running on the coffee table, casting its dim glow on Suga's sleeping form on the sofa. His bent arm supported his head, his gorgeous face peaceful, breathing even.

Daichi didn't want to disturb him - Suga had obviously had a long day - but he felt obligated to at least warn him about the unavoidable consequences of spending more than an hour lounging on Asahi and Noya's couch. Not everyone owned a cloud instead of a sofa, like he did.

Daichi crouched next to Suga. For a while he just gazed at the beauty, to Daichi's smitten eyes nothing short of ethereal with Suga's delicate bone structure, the curve of his upper lip, the long lashes, dark despite his fair eyebrows and hair... He wanted to sweep his thumb over the pink of those lips, brush his knuckles over those cheeks...

But he wouldn't. He couldn't, yet.

Instead Daichi rested a hand on Suga's shoulder, gave him a gentle shake. "Suga?" he whispered.

Suga's eyebrows twitched in the slightest of frowns, but he didn't open his eyes. "Mmm?"

"I know it sounds like a good idea to conk out here right now, but trust me when I tell you that you'll wake up wishing you didn't have a neck tomorrow. Maybe you should go to bed?"

Suga smiled faintly. "Hm."

The smile faded away, with him not giving any indication that he was getting up.

"...Suga?"

Suga let out a sleepy sigh, slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position while still keeping his eyes closed. "'M going," he mumbled.

Daichi chuckled. "Take your time."

He waited, watched Suga sit unmoving save for the barely noticeable sway back and forth. Daichi worried that Suga was just going to fall back asleep like that and tip over, but after a moment he seemed to have won a battle with himself; he opened his eyes, heavy-lidded and unfocused, and stood up.

He even made it a few zombie-like steps around the coffee table, too.

But then he banged his leg, his injured leg on the wooden edge and cried out. Daichi rushed to his side, ready to prevent his fall, but Suga remained standing, pressed a palm to Daichi's chest to stop him from coming closer. His face was contorted in a wince, eyes firmly shut, the hand on Daichi's shirt clenched in a fist from the pain he was undoubtedly in.

"You should sit back down," Daichi whispered to him, but Suga shook his head.

"I'm fine," he gritted out, his whole body stiff and unable to move. "Just need a minute."

"You're in pain, Suga, let me-"

"No." Suga couldn't even touch the floor with his injured foot.

"For fuck's sake." Daichi had no more patience for Suga's dumb stubbornness when it came to accepting help. Not when he was so obviously hurting.

He closed the short distance between them and scooped Suga up in his arms, quickly and not entirely without effort, brought him close to his chest.

"What are you- No, don't- Daichi!" Suga exclaimed, eyes suddenly wide in protest. His arms wrapped around Daichi's neck on reflex so that they wouldn't lose their balance.

Daichi ignored the squeaking, headed in the direction of the guest bedroom, looking straight ahead as to not crash into any furniture himself and drop Suga.

"I don't need you carrying me, I was fine without-..." Suga's objections trailed off as he glanced at Daichi's arms around him. "You are surprisingly strong," he said.

"You are surprisingly heavy," Daichi panted out, adjusted his hold under Suga's knees.

"I know, that's why I said you were surprisingly strong."

"What were you, involved in some kind of a secret program? Turned your bones into adamantium?"

Suga laughed. "You're red in the face."

"Shouldn't have done this right after dinner."

Daichi reached the bedroom, its walls blaringly pink even in the darkness, and released Suga over the bed where he lightly bounced off the mattress.

"There goes my back," Daichi huffed. He pressed a hand to the small of his back, stretched backwards to lengthen his spine.

"You didn't have to do that," Suga said with a small smile. "I was-"

"-fine, yes, I know, I've heard it before." Daichi shook his head. "Stubborn."

Suga's lips turned down into a pout. Unlike Oikawa's, which made him look like a petulant child in the body of a grown ass man, Suga's pout only made him about 100 times more lovable.

Daichi glanced at Suga's bandaged foot. "Still hurts?"

"Yeah." Suga nodded, frowned down at it, gingerly wiggling his toes. "But at least now I don't have to move until tomorrow. Literally."

"Good, because I'm this close to chaining you to the bed," Daichi said. "Kuroo always has an extra set of handcuffs lying around."

He realized how that sounded the moment he said it, but seeing as he had vividly pictured fucking into Suga only a couple of hours earlier, somehow he couldn't bring himself to blush. Suga arched an eyebrow, obviously having registered it as well. He seemed to have been on the verge of commenting on it, but then changed his mind.

He let his hands rest in his lap, looked up at Daichi, his eyes bright in the street lights filtering in through the windows. "Thank you, Daichi. For everything. I... I really had a good time tonight."

The warmth in Daichi's chest spilled over into his smile. "Me, too. You're not a bad student."

"You're not a bad carrier."

Daichi laughed. He held Suga's gaze, felt like he should say something more, something that clearly stated how he found Suga mesmerizing, how he wanted to be with him and his heartbeat picked up...

But then Suga spoke first. "Could you please turn off my laptop on your way out?"

Daichi blinked, looked away. "Yeah, of course." He smiled. "No problem. Good night, Suga."

Suga smiled back, fluffed up his pillow and laid down, not even bothering with the covers. "Good night, Daichi."

There would be plenty of opportunities for a more romantic goodbye, Daichi concluded. What mattered was that he was happy, Suga was happy, and Daichi couldn't wait to see him again, despite having not even left his apartment yet.

He was very conscious of his urge to hum some melody or other as he shut down Suga's laptop, but he resisted. He'll crank up his favorite tunes in the safety of his apartment, dance his giddiness away in his underwear. (Locking the door beforehand, of course. He didn't need Kuroo, Bokuto or, god forbid, Oikawa, walking in on him like that.)

In the hallway of the apartment, just as he was about to open the front door, a persistent blinking light caught Daichi's eye. He glanced at Suga's phone, alerting to an incoming call. Daichi frowned, came closer to see the same unknown number as before.

When the call went unanswered the phone briefly lit up the notifications before the screen went black.

Daichi sucked in a breath.

18 missed calls.

He suddenly had a very real, very heavy feeling that not everything with Suga was going to be as effortless as tonight.

Chapter Text

To: Kiyoko
he taught me how to cook :)
he's funny
sweet

...I think I'm falling for him. :/


Daichi wandered into his bathroom, groggy, eyes still adjusting to his newly conscious state. He took in his reflection in the mirror above the sink and concluded that, despite the cowlick sticking out of his short dark hair - as it was every morning - and the light stubble over his square jaw, a full night of rest did him much good. He looked his age, for once.

He almost wondered what he'd done to deserve a night without anyone stumbling into his apartment at the risk of losing a vital organ or two.

Almost.

For the most part he was just grateful for the unbroken sleep he'd gotten.

Daichi took off his boxers, turned on the hot water in the shower stall and stepped under the stream, not even waiting for the temperature to adjust to his desired, scalding level. The pressure was as high as it could go without being bruising and Daichi lowered his head; let the jets pelt his shoulders with reassuring force, washing away the sleep.

He sighed in contentment and opened his eyes, vaguely registered his dick standing straight, flushed along with his abs. Not any more unusual in the morning than the damned cowlick.

What was unusual, however, was that he suddenly envisioned a pair of innocent hazel eyes at level with his erection. Round, curious, coupled with lips pulled up in a smirk that was decidedly less innocent than the gaze.

Daichi swallowed thickly.

He hesitated for only a second before he reached down to touch himself, to wrap his hand around his cock. The temperature or the pressure of the shower weren't important anymore; he felt an entirely different heat now, internal, rumbling... Those eyes, Suga's eyes, looked up at him, and the pink lips parted and-

Daichi let out a shaky breath as he imagined sinking into the hot wetness of Suga's mouth. His hand stroked his dick at a languid pace and all he could see was Suga on his knees, tongue swirling around his cockhead.

Suga would be good at blow jobs. Yes, he'd take Daichi all in, as far as he could go until he'd hit the back of Suga's throat, and Suga would moan around his length... Maybe he'd even choke a bit, gag, just enough for those hazel eyes to well up, to widen with a desperate need for Daichi...

Daichi brought up his free hand and pressed it against the tiled wall in front of him for support. His other hand picked up its pace.

He imagined Suga's slender, pale fingers taking hold of his cock, moving in time with Suga's mouth - slow at first, but then faster and faster. Suga sucking him off, his hot lips tight around Daichi, just a gentle graze of teeth-

Daichi moaned weakly over the rush of water.

Didn't Suga say he was good with balls? That's right, he'd cup them, play with them. He'd lick them all over and he'd be shameless, look Daichi straight in the eye while he jerked him off with his tight balls in his mouth.

"Ah..."

Suga's thumb would smear the precome over Daichi's cock, over his sensitive spot, before he'd take it between his lips again, deep, so deep...

Daichi's thighs clenched, every nerve in his body on fire and every nerve in his body leading straight to his dick.

And when he'd lose control he'd thrust into Suga's mouth, hard, fist his fingers in the soft, silvery hair and Suga would love it, his own cock would drip at the roughness, he might even play with himself while...

"Fuuuuuuck...!"

Daichi fucked into his hand erratically, just like he imagined fucking into Suga's throat, and his knees buckled under the rush of his orgasm. He lost his balance and fell shoulder first into the wall, shot his load all over his hand and the tub, short gasps ripping out of him.

The fantasy dissolved, the image of a naughty Suga washed away in the lukewarm water.

Daichi stood against the slippery wall with his heart thrumming in his ears until his muscles twitched and he slid down in the shallow tub, sleepy all over again.

Well. At least this time he wasn't inappropriately horny with the object of his desire physically present in the room with him. That was something, right?

...shit.

Daichi let his head connect with the wall, closed his eyes, still settling his breathing. He couldn't remember the last time he'd imagined someone he knew from real life while masturbating.

He was too far gone.


"Hello? Daichi? ... Can you hear me? ... HELLO?!"

Daichi laughed. "I hear you just fine, Asahi, you don't have to shout." He leaned farther into the range of the camera on his laptop, rested his forearms on his kitchen counter.

"OK, good."

A dark square appeared in Daichi's Skype window. It lit up with a live stream of a shirtless Asahi, sitting on a couch and looking down at his own computer that was perched on something low, like a coffee table.

Daichi gave him a little wave and Asahi waved back, smiling.

Hawaii agreed with him. Asahi had gotten nice tan in the little over two weeks he and Noya had been away; he let his hair down, cascading dark and silky over his shoulders, and seemed to have forgone shaving, now with a five o'clock shadow across his face instead of the usual hint of a beard on his chin.

He looked good, rested.

Happy.

"Learned to surf yet?" Daichi asked.

"Almost. Getting better every day. Look-" Asahi turned sideways and lifted his arm, gave Daichi a nice view of a purple bruise spreading from just underneath his armpit down to the waistband of his red and orange shorts. It was yellowing at the edges, slowly healing. "-it's almost gone."

Daichi laughed. "Getting better at avoiding the rocks, congrats. How's Noya?"

"Bouncing off the walls."

"Hah, what else is new."

"We went scuba diving yesterday and he brought the underwater camera with him, snapped about three million pictures of this reef. Woke me up at 3 a. m. last night to show me some fish, how colorful they were, completely forgetting that I was there to see them with him."

Daichi didn't find this hard to believe. The only one who could stand to match Bokuto's zest for life was Nishinoya, that small ball of pure concentrated energy, investing no small part of it into his passion for photography. Especially if it involved unconventional surroundings and/or extreme sports.

"How are things there?"

"Same." Daichi shrugged. "Work, home, gym. Kuroo's gonna be on TV."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, there's this big case surrounding some politician and Kuroo and Tsukishima were assigned to it. They're holding a press conference tomorrow."

"Wow." Asahi whistled. "Impressive."

"Mhm. Bokuto organized a Kuroo Watch event, where we'll watch the live broadcast of the press conference and then spend the next 24 hours by the TV, taking bets on how many more times Kuroo's ugly mug will show up onscreen."

"Wasting time and money on pointless activities just for the sake of it. So, basically, just another day on our floor."

"Basically."

"...and our apartment's still in one piece?"

Daichi feigned confusion. "You mean the side of the building where that huge crater is? There was an apartment there once?"

Asahi glared at him through the tiny camera window.

Daichi laughed. "Your apartment's fine, Asahi. Suga's taking good care of it."

"Good. I mean, not that I doubted it, but still... How's he doing?"

"He's fine. Didn't go running with us this week because he sprained his ankle, but otherwise he's alright."

Daichi paused.

He'd been meaning to ask the question that had gnawed at him ever since he left Suga's place five days ago, ever since he'd witnessed the persistence with which someone was trying to reach him. Of course he couldn't ask Suga directly (not like he had seen him since, anyway), and Asahi was the only mutual friend they had, so he seemed like the optimal choice to turn to, considering the situation.

"Say..." Daichi started, fascinated by the num pad on his keyboard. "Do you know by any chance... if, maybe, Suga is seeing someone?"

Asahi froze, paled in the face. "Oh no."

"What?"

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no..." Asahi repeated, closing his eyes in torment. He doubled over, pressed his forehead to his knees and circled his arms around his head. "No, no, no, no, no..."

Daichi stared, surprised, before his expression turned dark. He recognized the standard Asahi-type freak-out, the one that always happened when Asahi launched into his overstressing mode. Usually over nothing substantial.

"Asahi."

"Nope, no, no, no, no, no, no, no..."

"Asahi. ... Come on! ... I was just asking! ... A-sa-hi."

Daichi's words didn't manage to bring his friend back to normal and so Daichi crossed his arms, sat up straight on his stool and resigned himself to wait until Asahi got it out of his system.

From somewhere off screen Daichi heard, "...Babe? What's wrong?"

Not even Noya's concern could snap Asahi out of it.

A small figure zoomed into the camera window behind Asahi, leapt over the back of the couch and landed on the cushions right next to him. Noya's hair was down as well, those lighter-colored bangs falling over his forehead and shaving at least five years off his age and while Asahi's skin had a nice bronze glow to it, Noya's cheekbones and nose were red from sunburn. He placed a hand on Asahi's back, looked at him worriedly before he noticed the laptop and the ongoing Skype call.

"What the hell, Daichi." Noya's fiery gaze was intense even through the flickering video stream. "You broke my boyfriend."

"Did not. I just asked him a question and he went all... Asahi on me."

"What did you say to him?"

"He wants to sleep with Suga!" Asahi cried out his first words other than no, muffled by his arms.

"I don't want to sleep with him!" Daichi was quick to lie. Maybe too quick. "I was just thinking... wondering, really, if he was single and then maybe I could-"

"Wait, wait," Noya interrupted, his irritation giving way to curiosity. He looked at Daichi, still caressing Asahi's back in long soothing motions. "You like Suga?"

"I... I don't necessarily like him like him..." Daichi fought hard to sound as casual as possible. "I just... I think he's... interesting, is all."

And if I could, I'd gladly have his babies.

"No, but please don't, Daichi!" Asahi exclaimed, finally lifting his head. "It's weird and it's gonna get even weirder and I don't nee-"

"Why shouldn't he sleep with Suga?" Noya turned to Asahi. "Have you seen Suga? I'd be surprised if there was a person on this earth who didn't want to sleep with him."

Asahi blinked at him. "...What?"

"Suga is a literal angel," Noya said matter-of-factly. Daichi wasn't about to protest. "He's pretty, smart, incredibly fun to be around..." He looked at Daichi, determined. "I say go for it." Noya supported his own words with a firm nod.

"No!" Asahi reached towards the laptop, as if he could pull Daichi through the screen and lock him up in Hawaii to prevent him from trying something with Suga.

"But why not?" Noya demanded.

"Because he's my boss!"

"Your boss who you let live in your apartment!" Daichi exclaimed.

"That's different!" Asahi defended himself. "That's a- a friendly thing, a normal thing and it doesn't involve the two of you..." He made a gesture with his hands, fitted his fingers together awkwardly. "...you know, that's just gonna make it weird and what... Oh my god, what if you break up? What if I lose my job then?"

"You know Suga would never fire you over something like that," Noya chided.

Asahi seemed as if he were about to throw up. "Alright, maybe not. But still!" He looked at Daichi, his mood crossing over into miserable. "What if you two end up moving in together?! Then I'll be neighbors with my boss and- and we'll have to carpool together and how-"

"Babe, babe." Noya had had enough of the absurdity, cupped Asahi's face with his small hands and turned his head to look him in the eye. "You're freaking out."

"But I- They-"

"You're freaking out over nothing," Noya emphasized. He held him in place but gently ran the pads of his thumbs over Asahi's cheeks. "You know Suga, you like Suga, remember? He's not exactly your standard-issue boss. And Daichi's one of our best friends, right? And they're both adults, responsible, mature..." Asahi whimpered weakly, but his shoulders relaxed, Noya's loud words apparently driving home. "I feel like what they do amongst themselves is none of our business, and we should stay out of it. Except, y'know, to maybe feel happy for Daichi because I'm pretty sure he hasn't gotten laid in months."

"Wow, thanks."

Asahi ignored Daichi's sarcasm. He gazed into Noya's eyes, as if searching for something in them, and Noya didn't look away.

Finally, Asahi smiled feebly, clasped Noya's wrists and leaned in to place a kiss on his forehead. "You're right," he muttered into Noya's hair.

"Damn right I'm right." Noya nodded, confident. He wrapped his arms around Asahi, as much as he could, and gave him a squeeze.

"So, now will you tell me if Suga's seeing someone?" Daichi tried again.

Asahi turned to him, sank back into the couch and let out a sigh, exhausted by this whole ordeal. "I don't know," he said honestly.

"You don't know," Daichi echoed. He wasn't exactly surprised by that answer, but he would've been lying if he'd said he wasn't a little disappointed.

"He could be seeing someone. I've no idea. I... don't know that much about Suga, to be honest."

"Wha- How is that possible? You've been working together for years, haven't you? He said that you were friends."

"We are friends," Asahi said. "In the sense that we see each other at work all the time, and we go out for drinks after, and Noya met Suga and we're friendly, definitely, but we're not exactly close... I have a feeling Suga knows a lot more about me than I know about him."

"Suga's a very good listener," Noya added.

Daichi couldn't argue with that. He thought back to their evening of cooking, how he'd talked a lot; about Kuroo, Bokuto and Oikawa, about his work, his childhood; how he made Suga laugh a lot, but in turn didn't learn all that much about him.

Funny how he hadn't noticed it until now.

"Look." Asahi grabbed his attention. He leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees, his long dark hair falling around his face. Asahi reached and tucked one side of it behind his ear. "Suga's great. Like Noya said, he's funny, pleasant, nice. He's the only one who'll let us take a day off and pick up the slack himself. I mean, you've probably seen for yourself - his cheeriness is downright infectious. I don't think I've ever seen him on a bad day. But..." Asahi tried to find the right words. "...he's always been... sort of a question mark, I guess."

"...A question mark?"

"Yeah, like, there are so many things no one knows about him. Where he lives, for example. Where he gets the money, what else he does, if he has any family or friends, why he travels so much-"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Daichi cut him off, not liking where this was going. "What do you mean, where he gets the money?"

"What's he driving, a Mercedes?"

"...Yeah?"

"Two years ago it was a BMW. Brand spanking new. Sold it, bought this one."

"But... He works-" Daichi tried lamely.

Asahi shook his head. "No Senior Community Manager of a medium-sized company earns enough money to be changing German luxury cars more often than Kuroo changes his socks."

Daichi said nothing, familiar with the math. He and his friends were lucky to have employment, to be successful in their careers, but even with their comfortable upper-middle class lifestyles none of them were exactly swimming in cash. Oikawa was the only one who owned a car, a not-so-new Mazda that was solid and working, but far from luxurious.

"He's either the heir to some massive family empire," Asahi continued, "or he has another job. Which wouldn't be too hard, considering our loose schedules."

"Or he's a mob boss," Noya piped in, eyes glinting with excitement. "Or, like, sells his body for money. Or he's a hitman for hire."

"Yeah." Asahi smiled. "Noya believes Suga is like, the Japanese version of James Bond or something."

"Hey, have you seen how good he looks in a suit?" Noya asked.

"I'm pretty sure secret agents aren't chosen based solely on their appeal in formalwear," Asahi said.

"Whatever." Noya waved him off, not prepared to let go of his outrageous idea. "Suga also travels often."

"That's right." Asahi nodded. "Once... maybe once every two months, three days here, two days there... He rarely says where the here and there is, of course. But it's never long enough to be considered a proper vacation and he sure as hell doesn't travel for business."

"He doesn't?" Daichi asked.

"Unless the business is taking someone out," Noya muttered. He squished his cheek against Asahi's shoulder, laced their fingers together in Asahi's lap.

"What's he got to travel for? Our work is online, the office is where the Wi-Fi is." Asahi shrugged with his free shoulder, looked down at where Noya's fingertips drummed some beat over his tanned knuckles. "The bottom line is, Suga is awesome. But he's also got his secrets. I never ask because it isn't any of my business, and he doesn't say, so..."

He looked up, his kind brown eyes serious, almost worried. "I'm just not sure how all of that factors in if you want to have a relationship with him."

"Yeah..."

Neither did Daichi. He was sure he would've preferred a direct answer to his "Is Suga seeing someone" question, even if it was an affirmative, to this analysis of the mystery that was Suga.

How could he hope to successfully date someone who was unwilling to open up? Was it because Suga didn't think Asahi and he were close enough? Was it because Suga was involved in something illegal and/or immoral, as Noya had so vividly depicted? Daichi remembered Suga's pretty friend, with her shiny black hair and red-rimmed glasses, and wondered if she knew the origin of Suga's apparent wealth, where he traveled and why, with whom... If he trusted her with the information wouldn't there be a chance then that, maybe, somewhere down the line...?

"I honestly don't think it's gonna be that hard," Noya mumbled, his eyelids heavy as he practically dozed off on top of Asahi. "You're a great catch, Daichi, and Suga's not stupid. If he's single - and interested - he'll see it."

"Yeah," Daichi said, not entirely convinced. Those missed calls on Suga's phone sure seemed like one big, "If."


Kuroo Watch Hour 1

Daichi pulled open the door of his apartment, heard a deafening "CHANCE BALL!" and widened his eyes at a volleyball coming right at his face.

It was instinct, an action ingrained into his very bones; Daichi jumped back and landed low, arms straight out in front of him, one hand in the other. The volleyball bounced off his forearms perfectly, returned in a wide loop to the one who threw it - Bokuto, of course, from across the hallway, right outside his own front door.

He caught the ball and grinned at Suga standing next to him. "What'd I tell ya? No one trustier than our Captain, could always rely on him to back us up in any game." He beamed proudly at his obvious efforts to make Daichi look badass in front of Suga before he retreated into his apartment with the ball under his arm.

Suga smiled widely as Daichi came closer, shaking his head at Bokuto's impromptu toss.

"Nice receive," Suga said. "Bokuto talked highly of your volleyball abilities, wanted to show me firsthand how fast your reflexes were. I believe his exact words were born for receiving."

Daichi laughed, felt a blush edge up his neck. He was about to make a humble remark on account of his skills, when Suga's smile turned teasing, devilish.

He leaned in towards Daichi and whispered, "So was I."

And with a wink Suga limped inside Bokuto's apartment, leaving Daichi nailed to the welcome mat, his brain spazzing under the onslaught of surprise and the very real fact that Suga had smiled at him in the exact same way Daichi had imagined in the shower.

...Suga's cheekiness would end him one of these days, and soon, he was sure of that.

Did that mean that maybe he was interested...?

Daichi pushed the thought to the corner of his mind and went in after him.

"Wow, you cleaned." The first thing that caught Daichi's eye was the coffee table with no discernible surface, brimming with take-out containers, pizza boxes, soda cans, balled-up wrappers and bags of various snacks, a couple of game controllers, what seemed like thousands of differently colored bobby pins, and a very suspicious purple floofy thing that Daichi did not want to know the origin (or the purpose) of.

"At least there's no weird smell this time."

Daichi looked to the left, at Oikawa. He was sitting at the counter island connecting the living-room and the kitchen, with just enough space cleared on the top for his MacBook and some folders and papers around it. Oikawa didn't take his eyes off the screen as the three made their way in, with those thin-framed glasses perched on his nose, the ones he always wore when working. The ones which made him look like a young hot college professor in the business of breaking all of his students' hearts.

"Think fast!" Bokuto called out, flung the volleyball straight at Oikawa.

But the handsome engineer didn't even blink. He kept typing, tilted his head to one side and the ball zoomed right by his ear, thumped off the wall behind him, barely missed the kitchen window and rolled away on the tiles.

"Is it... always like this?" Suga asked, worried eyes scanning the mess on the coffee table. He was just about to sit in the black armchair when Bokuto stopped him and fished out a plastic fork jammed within the cushions before Suga could make himself comfortable in it.

"Nah, there's a lot more clothes around usually," Bokuto said, unbothered by the chaotic state of his home. He threw the plastic fork in the general direction of the kitchen, where it clanked somewhere next to the volleyball. "But I figured, since you guys were coming I could at least take care of that, right?" He plopped down on the sofa, spread his arms on top of the back cushions. "So now everything's on Kuroo's bed."

"Oh..." Suga's gaze fell on the stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, straight ahead of where he was in the armchair. It was a remarkable mess considering the amount of take-out lying around.

"You'll get used to it," Daichi said with a smile, sitting down next to Bokuto. "Took Oikawa about two years to agree to even step inside."

"Um, excuse me, Dai-chan," Oikawa spoke up from behind his laptop. He glared at Daichi over the rim of his glasses. "I did not agree, I was manhandled."

Suga smiled in confusion, to which Daichi explained, "One time when he threw a hissy fit over hanging out here he was dragged in kicking and screaming, and then three guys held him down on the sofa with one of Kuroo's used socks under his nose until he gave up."

"That... sounds a bit harsh," Suga said.

Oikawa merely scrunched up his nose at the memory, turned his attention back to his work.

"But you know, it's not that bad actually," Bokuto said about his living situation. He dug out the remote control from under the sofa and turned on the TV before switching to the news channel where Kuroo's press conference was about to start. "We have a system." He grinned at Suga. "If something starts to reek - we throw it out."

Suga's gaze shifted over to Daichi with a hint of desperation, clearly saying For the love of everything sanitary, please, please tell me that's not the system.

"He's not kidding." Daichi shook his head gravely.

"What? It's a good system! That way we don't throw out something that may still be good to eat."

Suga's pretty face was a mixture of shock and genuine concern for Bokuto and Kuroo's wellbeing when something small dropped into his lap from the other side of the living room.

"You're welcome," Oikawa said as Suga held up the small plastic bottle to read off its sticker: hand sanitizer.

Suga laughed faintly.

"How's your leg?" Daichi asked, settling back into the sofa. He nudged a couple of pizza boxes to the side, which made minimal space on the coffee table to prop his feet up.

"Hm? Oh." Suga nestled Oikawa's hand sanitizer between him and the armrest and lifted his injured foot, made a small circle with it. "Better, thanks. Almost back to normal walking."

"Yeah, too bad you couldn't come running with us this week," Bokuto said. "Was fun."

"Yeah?"

"Kuroo found a kitten," Daichi said. "Or the kitten found him, like they usually do. Latched onto his sweatpants when he stopped to breathe and climbed up him like a tree."

"He ran with it balancing on his shoulder the rest of the way," Bokuto said.

"Cute!" Suga smiled.

"Yeah, but then we spent almost an hour convincing him to let it go since the landlord doesn't allow pets in the building."

"And with good reason," Oikawa said. "The poor thing would've just gotten lost somewhere in this chaos and probably died from neglect."

Daichi snatched a crushed soda can off the coffee table and threw it at Oikawa. It hit the back of his laptop and fell to the counter.

"Your aim is getting worse, Dai-chan. Perhaps I should take you with me to my next eye appointment?"

Suga giggled. Oikawa smirked at Daichi, Daichi sneered back, Oikawa stuck out his tongue and Daichi's hands itched to fling something more at him when Bokuto exclaimed, "Hey, hey, it's starting!"

He turned up the volume of a very authoritative tune accompanying red and blue shapes swirling on screen, the standard opening sequence for important programs and announcements. Oikawa took off his glasses, made his way from his workspace to the sofa, shoved Daichi closer to Bokuto and sat down next to him, stretching out his legs over both of their laps with an intolerable smirk on his face. Daichi glared at him while Bokuto calmly accepted the socked feet on top of him and placed the remote control between Oikawa's ankles.

Suga pulled up his own legs, folded them beside him on the large armchair and turned his attention to the wooden podium that showed up on TV, bearing the National Police Agency's logo, a yellow sun with its rays shaping a star around it, and a backdrop of the Japanese flag. It had numerous microphones attached to its front and it barely took a couple of seconds for two figures to step into view - Kuroo, who took his place at the podium, and Tsukishima, who stood off to the side, rigid, his hands clasped to his front. A few flashes went off; the room whey were in was undoubtedly filled with reporters.

"Wow, he looks so official," Suga commented.

Kuroo's wild hair was the only thing standing out from his otherwise entirely professional demeanor, back straight, eyes focused, complete with a freshly pressed suit, shirt and tie. Despite the fact that Daichi knew Kuroo pretty much hadn't been home since he was assigned to this case, nothing about his composure even hinted at exhaustion or the pressure that he must've been under.

"Yeah, unlike... well, everything else, Kuroo takes his job very seriously," Daichi said. "And I'd assume he's very good at it, too, if they gave him such a high-profile case."

"Or, you know, he slept with his superior."

Daichi flicked Oikawa's thigh at the remark, but didn't say anything as Kuroo cleared his throat and the camera zoomed in on him.

"Good morning," Kuroo said, looking straight ahead at the press. "I am Sergeant Kuroo Tetsurou, and along with Sergeant Tsukishima Kei," Tsukishima gave a curt nod at the mention of his name, "I have been assigned to the Nakahara case. I have prepared a short statement concerning this, and I will not be taking questions afterwards, seeing as this is still an ongoing investigation." He glanced down to his notes before he started, "Early Monday morning one of our patrol cars responded to a..."

"Do you think he has his phone with him?" Bokuto asked as Kuroo continued talking.

"Dunno," Daichi said. "He might. Why?"

Bokuto grinned, rummaged around the coffee table until he found his own cell phone.

"No, come on, don't." Daichi reached half-heartedly for Bokuto's phone, which the other pulled away. "This is serious, you shouldn't mess with him."

"Just a little," Bokuto reassured him. "He probably turned off the sound, but maybe he has it on vibrate..." He found Kuroo's number and pressed call.

The four of them watched as Kuroo continued describing their progress in the investigation, leaving out any details that weren't suited for the public.

"...leads, but we are in no position to reveal them yet. I can only assure you that-" Kuroo paused for a fraction of a second, the same second his phone started vibrating in his pocket probably, as there was no audible ringtone playing. "-that we are doing everything in our power to..."

Bokuto sniggered as he ended the call.

"You're three years old, did you know that?" Daichi said.

"How many more times do you think we can get him to stutter?" Bokuto's grin grew wider.

This time Daichi lunged with more conviction, as much as he could with the weight of Oikawa's legs on him. He grabbed Bokuto's phone and stuffed it into the pocket of his jeans.

"Hey!" Bokuto exclaimed.

"You'll get it back at the end. Now be quiet and watch."

Bokuto crossed his arms and slumped in his seat, sulking.

"...top priority, and we have every reason to expect a swift-" Kuroo paused again, this time for a beat longer. He closed his eyes briefly and let out an irritated sigh before he continued, "-a swift and satisfactory resolution. We are..."

Daichi wondered if it was just a freak coincidence that someone else tried to get in touch with Kuroo shortly after Bokuto's prank call, but then he realized that Oikawa's phone was in his hand, his expression perfectly innocent as the small screen displayed Tetsu-chan.

"What?" Oikawa asked when Daichi shot him a death glare. He ended the call and cocked an eyebrow. "Like it's a surprise that I enjoy it when other people look stupid."

Just as he said that a small plastic bottle of hand sanitizer whacked him right in the forehead and landed into his lap. Oikawa spluttered, Daichi laughed and Suga's giggle from the armchair was loud, filling the air with warmth and chime.

"Speaking of people looking stupid..." he said, his hazel eyes mischievous, the tip of his tongue caught teasingly between his teeth.

Oikawa narrowed his eyes at Suga, on the verge of a snarky comeback, but Daichi took the opportunity of his averted attention to confiscate his phone as well. Just to be safe, while Oikawa was too busy whining Daiiiii-chaaaaaan and trying to get to Daichi's back pocket, Daichi snatched the hand sanitizer too, threw it across the room into the kitchen.

"Now will all the children please settle down so I can watch the rest of this damn broadcast in peace?" he nearly shouted, leveling Oikawa with a glare.

Oikawa pouted, joining Bokuto in his sulking session.

"You're all stupid," Oikawa muttered under his breath, to which Suga's laughter just increased in volume and he covered his mouth with his hand trying to contain it.

Daichi's eyes were back on Kuroo's serious face, blissfully unaware of the ruckus in his apartment; but the sound of Suga's merriment rang out within every corner of Daichi's chest, in that same way it had when they'd cooked together, heartening, as if everything in this whole world was going to be just fine as long as Suga kept laughing.

Kuroo Watch Hour 2

They devised a system: at least two individuals were to sit in front of the TV at all times (a foolproof way to ensure that no one would cheat and add or subtract numbers for personal gain). Only the news channel which showed Kuroo's speech would be taken into account (as it was the most popular one anyway), and only images and recordings of Kuroo's face counted as a sighting. Quotes, mentions and/or audio of his voice were not to be added to the scoreboard.

Bets were to be placed exactly 12 hours after the live broadcast (at 11 p. m.), based on the score up until then, so that they would have at least some insight into the frequency of Kuroo's appearance onscreen before giving their best estimate. The one who ended up farthest from the actual number of sightings after the 24 hour period (either lower or higher), would have to buy dinner for the rest of the group every Friday for the next six weeks.

The four of them shook on the deal just before Suga went to work and left Daichi to fend for himself with Bokuto taking up the entirety of the sofa and Oikawa perched back in front of his laptop, work glasses on.

Kuroo Watch Hour 3

Bokuto declared that he was hungry. Oikawa agreed that they should indeed eat something. They voted for Daichi to provide the food.

Kuroo Watch Hour 4

Bokuto, Oikawa and Daichi cleared out two large baking pans of meat lasagna. Bokuto passed out on the sofa. Oikawa returned to his project. Daichi kept himself entertained by stacking as many empty boxes and cans on Bokuto as he could get away with before Bokuto woke up (which he never did).

Kuroo Watch Hour 5

Oikawa received an emergency call from his company and had to rush to work. Daichi did his best to ignore the snoring pile of trash on the sofa while keeping track of the TV with one eye and playing Angry Birds on his phone with the other. (The rules didn't specify that both individuals in front of the TV had to be awake, did they?)

Kuroo Watch Hour 7

Bokuto rose up from his blanket of containers, hungry again. Daichi refused to bake another batch of lasagna. Bokuto retaliated by going over to Daichi's and coming back with three XXL bags of his potato chips in hand. He was gracious enough to offer Daichi some. Daichi accepted, begrudgingly.

Kuroo Watch Hour 7.5

Oikawa was allowed to return to his day off, looking a bit worse for wear. Bokuto relinquished his last few bites of chips for him, to cheer him up before he had to unpack his laptop on the counter again.

Daichi left to prepare for his shift at the restaurant.

Kuroo Watch Hour 12

From: Unknown
hey! Suga here, I hope it's OK that Bokuto gave me your number :3
need your bet
the score so far is 14

Between making sure that the duck breast wouldn't get over-roasted, that the slices of salmon in the carpaccio were thin enough and that Kageyama was being careful with the black cod, Daichi almost dropped his phone, his mind shutting down under the all-encompassing thought of Suga texted me, Suga texted me, Suga texted me, Suga texted me, Suga texted me...

"You OK, Chef?"

Daichi flinched, fumbled with the phone for a second time before he caught it and straightened up, meeting Yamaguchi's concerned freckled face with as much dignity as a man whose ears were bright red could muster.

He cleared his throat. "Fine, yes, thank you Yamaguchi."

The server offered him a kind smile before he returned to his duties and Daichi hurried to turn over the duck breast, giving his best not to spiral into analyzing if Suga had asked for Daichi's number, or, more likely, Bokuto had offered to give it to him under the pretext of inquiring about the bet, but then Suga obviously didn't mind it, and what if he-

His cell phone buzzed in his uniform pocket again. Daichi sneaked a glance at the new message.

From: Unknown
it's 15 now
tick-tock
need a fast decision Captain! :D

Captain.

Daichi laughed, now with a clear image of Suga's dazzling smile, the tilt of his head to the side as he called him that, and in Daichi's mind it was nothing like his former teammates had addressed him, because Suga would make it sound playful, sexy, and maybe he'd even lower his voice, come within a breath of Daichi's lips, whisper it-

"Is something burning?"

Daichi's imagination came to a grinding halt. He tuned into his senses and smelled the definitely burnt duck breast, blackening at the edges right in front of him.

"Fuck, sorry guys!" Daichi was quick to jam his phone back into his pocket and get rid of the charred meat. "Need more duck over here!"

Great, Sawamura, just perfect. Lose your job over a crush why don't ya?

Kuroo Watch Hour 14

Daichi was grateful that nothing else got ruined because of his daydreaming, that the kitchen completed the service without any (more) incidents and that he was finally home, showered and tired, ready to go over to Bokuto and Kuroo's.

However, just as he opened the door to the apartment across from his own, he stopped dead in his tracks.

It was clean.

And not Bokuto-clean, but clean-clean, with no litter anywhere in sight. Every visible surface - the coffee table, the counters, even the little side table by the floor lamp - gleamed in the flickering bluish light of the TV, the refreshing pine scent of some cleaning product lingering in the air. The heap of garbage Daichi had piled on Bokuto during his afternoon nap was completely gone, as if it had never existed.

Daichi's jaw went slack in shock - was that a doily on the coffee table?

"What the..."

His gaze landed on Suga then, sitting by himself on the sofa with the scoreboard in his lap, and Daichi cut himself off at the sight of his somewhat guilty smile. "You... You did this?" Daichi asked reverently. He closed the door.

"I... Yeah." Suga laughed nervously. "I couldn't take it anymore, Daichi," he said in a hushed tone, his eyes round. "I mean, I get that it didn't smell, thank god, but it was just... too much." He bit his lip. "Do you think Bokuto and Kuroo will mind?"

How was it possible for a single person to look so sweet and yet have such a distinctly impish core inside?

Daichi laughed, sat down next to Suga. "Of course they won't mind." He took in the spotless state of the living room, the volleyball in one corner and Oikawa's hand sanitizer sitting by the TV - Suga's cleaning spree had obviously gone as far as the kitchen. It was downright unnatural for Bokuto and Kuroo's residence to be this tidy. "Now I'm not sure they'll ever let you leave this place," Daichi said. "You might have just sentenced yourself to a lifetime of cleaning up after the two of them."

Suga laughed, relaxed into the cushions.

Daichi glanced at the uninspiring news program on the muted TV when he realized that, as well as being abnormally neat, the apartment was just as abnormally quiet. "Where is everyone? Aren't we supposed to be keeping score in pairs?"

"Kuroo didn't come home yet, Bokuto's at work, and I do have a partner, he's just..." Suga looked over to the counter island between the kitchen and the living room. Daichi followed his gaze, only then registering the third person in the immediate area.

Oikawa slept bent over his work, his face pressed into the laptop keyboard, arms sprawled on either side and his glasses askew.

"Oh," Daichi said, a knot tightening in the pit of his stomach at the sight of his exhausted friend. He had suspected Oikawa wasn't getting enough sleep, among other things, and he was obviously right. He made a mental note to keep a closer eye on him in the future.

Suga let out a sigh. "This is the sixth time he's dozed off." He stood up and walked over to Oikawa with one of the small pillows from the sofa. Gently, Suga removed Oikawa's glasses from where they were digging into his temples, folded them on a higher shelf in the kitchen so that they wouldn't get accidentally knocked over. He lifted Oikawa's head - to which Oikawa didn't even twitch, out like a light - and placed the pillow between him and the laptop, for at least some semblance of comfort.

"He works a lot," Suga whispered, coming back to his place beside Daichi.

"Yeah. He's... Well, he's trying to work away the pain, I guess."

"The pain?" Fair eyebrows knitted in concern.

Daichi's gaze lingered on Oikawa for a moment longer before he turned to Suga. "Some time ago he broke up with his boyfriend," he said, his voice quiet so as to not disturb Oikawa. "They've been together for a long time, lived upstairs. It... wasn't pretty." Daichi frowned, remembered how he had to constantly make sure that Oikawa was eating, sleeping... that he was even alive in the first few weeks after Iwaizumi left. "Oikawa actually had to move in with Asahi and Noya for a while, in their guest bedroom, where you are now. He couldn't face the home he shared with Iwaizumi without-... without Iwa there." He looked at Oikawa's chocolate-brown hair spilling over the pillow under his head. "He's better now, of course. But he's not quite there yet."

It was a process and it required time, as well as the love and support of his closest friends, which at this point Oikawa couldn't avoid even if he tried.

"He will be," Suga said softly, but with such underlying conviction that Daichi looked back at him, at his reassuring smile.

He couldn't help but offer a small smile back. "Optimistic. Speaking from experience?"

"Hm, no. Not really." Suga pulled up his legs, leaned back into the sofa. "Can't say that I've ever had a relationship meaningful enough to end with a tough break up." He rested his head on the cushions. "Not a romantic one, at least."

"No?"

"No..." Suga blinked; his gaze turned contemplative, unfocused under the light of the TV. "Relationships aren't... I mean, I'm not really... Hm," he mused, tried to best formulate his thoughts. "I don't think... I'm cut out for relationships."

Daichi settled into the couch as well, sank deeper into the leather, for once grateful for his weariness that made it easy to hide how focused he was on what Suga was saying.

His vision was soft at the edges; it was dark and peaceful in the room, intimate, and it made Daichi think there was something different about Suga in that moment. A touch of gloom maybe, a sort of melancholy that was in stark contrast with his usual liveliness. Or perhaps Suga himself was just as tired as Daichi was.

"It's just that..." Suga continued, voice barely above a whisper. "I worry too much, and I overthink things, and..." He smiled sadly. "...I'd probably just be too much of a burden."

"I highly doubt that." Daichi's tone was too quiet, too gentle for someone who disagreed that fervently.

Suga looked at him, one side of his face pressed into the sofa. His eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled more boldly, a quirk of his eyebrow chasing away the gloom faster than it had come. "Despite what I may have led you to believe, Captain, it's not always rainbows and unicorns with me."

Daichi ignored the stutter of his heart at the way Suga's lips shaped the word Captain.

"I just..." Suga shrugged, now speaking frankly. "I carry too much weight with me. It complicates things and..." He smiled, resigned, as if this was a natural thing; something that he was used to. "No one should have to deal with that."

Uneasiness crawled into Daichi's chest, expanded from within, making it a bit harder to breathe. How could anyone, least of all Suga, think they were a burden?

And even though Suga seemed down for only a moment, even though he bounced back from his murkiness quickly, Daichi had the sudden urge to hug him, pull him in and convince him with nonsensical whispers just how little of a burden he'd be to him, how amazing he was, how beautiful, smart, caring... How Daichi wanted to "deal with that," whatever that was, because it would mean that he got to be with Suga...

But before he could even consider acting on it, Suga let out a mighty yawn, covering his mouth with his hand. He laughed at the end of it, his eyes turning bleary. "Wow, that sounded dumb. I'm sorry, it's way past my bedtime. I shouldn't be allowed to interact with other people this late."

Daichi hummed, forced out a smile through his discomfort, thinking that it wasn't dumb at all. It was concerning; it made him feel angry and worried and curious and scared all at the same time, but it certainly wasn't dumb.

He reached and took the scoreboard off Suga's lap. "You should go to bed, I'll take over."

"Mhm."

Daichi expected Suga to get up and limp back to Asahi and Noya's apartment, to his room, but instead Suga scooted down the sofa a little and lay down on his side next to Daichi, the top of his hair brushing against Daichi's thigh. He used his arm as a pillow, brought his knees to his chest and tucked his head in to shield his eyes from the TV.

He relaxed and dozed off, unaware of the fact that his words were reverberating in Daichi's mind, unrestrained.

Too much of a burden... Complicates things... Too much weight...

It was strange how they made Suga seem... smaller, somehow, to Daichi. Vulnerable, almost like a child, occupying as little space as possible on the sofa, curled in as if he was protecting himself from whatever had hurt him.

And something must have, Daichi realized. Hurt him.

Whatever it was, it couldn't have been a happy experience that made Suga believe it would be too much work to care for him, that made him hide his insecurities behind his carefree smiles and sassy comments, even around people he'd known for years, people he considered friends, if Asahi's words were anything to go by.

And Suga's self-deprecating smile, the way he talked about it, played it off as if it was normal, to be expected even... It was just so many levels of wrong that Daichi felt aggressive about it. Despite the weight he said he carried, even if it was something criminal (even if Suga was selling his body for money, a voice sounding a lot like Noya muttered in Daichi's mind), Suga deserved better. He deserved someone to be there for him, to spoil him with attention, kisses... To love him.

It wouldn't require much, really - Daichi had only to stretch his fingers from where they rested in his lap, he wouldn't even have to move his whole hand to feel Suga's hair at his fingertips.

And so he did.

The silver-blond locks were soft, feathery under his touch, just like Daichi had imagined, and Suga didn't stir. Daichi wasn't sure if he was sound asleep yet or not, but it was encouraging.

He held his breath as he went further, carefully tangling his fingers in the pale strands, feeling the fluff.

Warmth bloomed from the contact and spread through Daichi's arm up into his chest, made him dizzy, smiling to himself in the dark. He felt emboldened, dared to ghost his fingers over the porcelain of Suga's cheekbone, smooth to the touch, delicate. He gently caressed along the side of that beautiful face, brushed the hair away from Suga's forehead, and when there still was no reaction he ran his fingers through the silver again, slowly, savoring the feeling.

It felt... easy. As if Daichi had done this a thousand times and would a thousand times more; his fingers found their rightful place, entwined in Suga's hair, and he suddenly thought how not even cooking felt this comfortable, relaxing; in front of the soundless TV, with a pen in his other hand and a stupid bet to keep score for, it almost resembled a home.

Give or take a passed out workaholic on the kitchen counter.

Lulled in the coziness, the closeness, Daichi couldn't tell how long he was vaguely paying attention to the TV, taking notes of the rare sightings of Kuroo while mainly focused on his fingertips tracing the edge of Suga's brow, the shell of his ear, the inexplicable calm that washed over him...

Suddenly, Suga let out a hum, half-dreaming, and Daichi's hand flew back to his lap at the speed of light. His heart jammed up into his throat.

"Mmmmno," Suga murmured.

Daichi stilled - Suga was awake. Or rather, he'd woken up and he obviously didn't want this and why did Daichi even think that being affectionate towards someone unconscious was a good idea, now he'd have to come up with a valid excuse as to why he was touching Suga and shitshitshitshitshitshit-

But Daichi's inner panic was silenced at once as Suga said, "Don't stop."

While it hadn't been beating at all a second ago, now Daichi's heart went into overdrive, pumping so fast he was running out of breath. Did Suga just...?

He got his answer when Suga laid a hand on Daichi's thigh and, without opening his eyes, moved a bit to rest his head on it as well. He let out a small, content sigh when he was effectively lying in Daichi's lap, his face smushed against Daichi's sweatpants. "Don't... Don't leave," Suga whispered, with the teeniest of frowns.

Daichi breathed out, overwhelmed with wonder and sadness and the need to protect. His fingers easily found their way back into the softness of Suga's hair.

"I won't," he whispered to the sleeping angel, to his... well, it definitely didn't feel as trivial as a crush anymore.

"I'm not leaving, Suga."

Kuroo Watch Hour 18

At dawn Bokuto and Kuroo's living room was coated in the faintest of glows, the inky black of the night sky out the window retreating under the advance of purples and pinks. The silent TV was still on, a morning news program just starting with a recap of yesterday's police press conference regarding the Nakahara case.

Only there was no one awake in the room to see it.

Daichi still sat upright, miraculously so, with his head tilted back onto the sofa, mouth agape. One of his hands loosely held the score paper by his side while the other rested on Suga's shoulder, who, in turn, still slept in Daichi's lap, seemingly not having moved since he'd first made himself comfortable there.

Though now, several hours later, he wasn't the only one using Daichi for a pillow.

Kuroo drooled on his friend's shoulder from the other side, his unruly hair falling over his eyes. The jacket of his suit from the broadcast was slung over the armchair, his gun and badge on the shockingly clean coffee table, but he was still wearing the shirt, tie and slacks. They were considerably more wrinkled and untucked than they were in front of the cameras, but that might've been because Kuroo was somewhat compressed, between Daichi's sturdy body and Oikawa's not insignificant weight pushing down on him from the end of the sofa.

Oikawa was leaning back into Kuroo's side, his legs hanging off the armrest of the couch, head supported by Kuroo's shoulder. His mouth was open as well, a light snore resonating from his throat.

It was to this endearing sight that Bokuto returned home and realized that none of his friends had managed to hold up their end of the deal made not 17 hours earlier regarding their bet.

He slammed the front door - three of the four sleepers jumped right out of their dreams.

"Five more minutes..." Kuroo mumbled, wrapped a hand around Daichi's arm to prevent him from further jostling and disturbing his slumber.

Daichi groaned, lifted his head with great effort, his neck stiff and hurting. Oikawa and Suga rose as well, groggy, obviously not really sure of their location or the time of day.

"How are we supposed to know now what the actual score is, if you all fell asleep?" Bokuto exclaimed, gesticulating wildly. "Huh?! Six Fridays' worth of free dinners, guys! How will we figure out who's the sucker who-... Whoa," his eyes widened in amazement as he took in the impeccable state of his apartment. The bet and Kuroo's Watch flew right out his mind. "This... This wasn't like this when I left... Was it? Oh, look, my mom's doily!" He beamed at the little white decoration on the coffee table. "Cool, I thought I'd lost it!"

"Why is he so loud?" Oikawa grumbled. For the most part he was still leaning on Kuroo, only his head was in his hands now as he attempted to get his bearings.

"I'm glad you like it, Bokuto," Suga said quietly, a drowsy smile on his face. He straightened up next to Daichi. "And the doily was actually there the whole time, you just couldn't see it."

"Wow, thanks Suga, you're the best!" Bokuto's grin was still in place as he ungraciously dropped into the armchair, obviously the only one fully awake, even after a whole night spent at one of his clubs. "And now that you've all screwed up my event - who's making breakfast? Not it!"

"Not it," Oikawa repeated, scrambled a bit before he stood up and made his way to his laptop.

Kuroo muttered it, half-asleep and unmoving, and Suga giggled. He threw a sideways glance at Daichi as he also said, "Not it."

Daichi's right arm was numb from Kuroo's weight, his lap feeling cold where Suga had slept on it. He was pretty sure he couldn't move his head from the pain in his neck and he felt like dying from the barely four hours of sleep he'd gotten. He should've known his well-rested appearance wouldn't last long.

He closed his eyes, wondering if he'd have enough energy to open them again. "That's great, guys, make the chef in charge of the food," he said, his voice gruff, mouth dry. "Groundbreaking."

Bokuto laughed. "Eggs!" Daichi felt a gust of air, heard the front door open and close as Bokuto undoubtedly went to get eggs from Daichi's own fridge.

"And apparently I'm making eggs," Daichi muttered. A faint tune of an operating system starting up reached him from the direction of Oikawa's not-so-temporary workspace.

Then Daichi felt a warmth on his thigh, a gentle squeeze, and he opened his eyes to meet Suga's hazel ones, bright, smiling. "Thank you for the nap," Suga said, his thumb rubbing gentle circles over Daichi's leg. He was ridiculously cute with his bed-hair sticking out every which way. "You have very comfortable thighs."

Daichi smiled, his vision still blurry with sleep, body melting under Suga's touch. "That was the exact effect I was going for with all those lunges over the years."

Suga laughed, withdrew his hand.

"Mhm, bony shoulders though," Kuroo added sleepily, still not opening his eyes or showing the slightest intention of getting up.

Daichi figured it was too early in the day to commit murder.


Making breakfast for five people was a simple task.

However, making breakfast for five people while Bokuto hovered centimeters above Daichi's shoulder every step around the small kitchen, while Kuroo insisted on squeezing in a few more minutes of sleep on the now vacant sofa and with Oikawa refusing to move his folders and electronics off the largest work surface available drove Daichi to consider giving up and finding a quiet corner somewhere to repeatedly hit himself over the head with a frying pan.

The only relief from the chaos sat on a counter by the window, face illuminated by the first rays of sunlight through the blinds, legs dangling as he laughed at Bokuto's energetic retelling of last night's events from the club.

Suga laughing was how it was supposed to be, Daichi thought as he added cheese to the first omelette of the morning. Not Suga sadly thinking of how he'd be a bother to anyone romantically interested in him. The memory was still fresh and unsettling in Daichi's mind.

"...but the guy was having none of it," Bokuto was saying. Daichi finished chopping up tomatoes, turned to flip the omelette and Bokuto snatched a few pieces of the fruit, stuffed them into his mouth when he thought Daichi wouldn't notice. "So security had to intervene and there was a scuffle, but no one got hurt in the end. He was thrown out, his Spongebob Squarepants boxers and all."

Daichi opened a new packet of cheese slices, left it on the counter so he could slide the omelette onto a plate and pour in new eggs into the skillet. He was barely awake enough to handle hot pots and gooey food, unable to turn his head more than a centimeter or two in any direction and the conversation mostly eluded him, save for Bokuto's boisterous voice and Suga's musical laughter.

When he returned to the cheese on the counter more than half of it was gone - Bokuto was just swallowing a mouthful, Oikawa and Suga were finishing off their portions and Kuroo was unconscious on the couch with a slice of cheese slapped onto his face.

"Stop eating the ingredients," Daichi said. "Or else one of you will have to go down to the store to get more."

Bokuto complained that there were no nearby stores open that early in the morning, and he was just about to convince Oikawa to bring down ingredients from his fridge when a familiar ringtone started playing.

Daichi barely heard it over the sizzling eggs, but as he turned to add more cheese he caught a glimpse of Suga out of the corner of his eye, gently lowering himself off the counter and limping out of the apartment with his ringing phone in hand.

It wasn't even 5 a.m. Concern crept up Daichi's spine at the thought of who could be calling Suga (and to what purpose) so early in the morning.

"...-ve tomato and basil ones and five mushroom ones? ... Daichi?"

"Hm?" Daichi blinked, looked back to the omelette and flipped it over.

"How about you just make two cheese omelettes, and then five tomato and basil ones and five mushroom ones?" Bokuto suggested from his place by the sink.

"Am I feeding a small army?"

"What, I'm hungry!" Bokuto exclaimed. "And I'm pretty sure Kuroo is too. ...Oikawa?"

"Two is fine for me," Oikawa said before he turned and batted his eyelashes at Daichi. "Oh, and Dai-chan? Can you make mine all pretty like you did that one time?"

"Oh, you mean when he put that thing with the other thing on top?" Bokuto asked, making a corresponding motion with his hands.

"Yeah, and then he drizzled that stuff over it-"

"Yeah, I want mine like that, too!" Bokuto declared excitedly.

Daichi sighed. "Fine. Do you have the two things and the stuff?"

Bokuto stared at him, obviously having no idea what the things or the stuff were, and obviously quite aware of the fact that even if he did there was no way in hell his kitchen would have them in stock.

Daichi shook his head. "Never mind." He finished up the second omelette and wiped his hands on a dish rag. "I'll be right back."

The hallway of the second floor was quiet when Daichi stepped out, and that was why he noticed a presence only when he was already halfway towards his front door.

Suga stood motionless some distance away, close to Asahi and Noya's apartment, face hidden from Daichi's sight. His head was bowed, eyes downcast, but Daichi was sure he wasn't seeing anything, judging by the ever so slight tremble of his hands by his sides. The one clutching his phone was fisted so tightly that Suga's knuckles turned white.

"Suga...?" Daichi said carefully. For some reason he felt a lot like he was approaching a hurting animal, uncertain of whether it would bare its teeth or try to flee.

But Suga's head shot up, his face brightened with a smile in a single instant that felt too quick to be natural. "Daichi!" he exclaimed. "You scared me!"

"Sorry," Daichi said. He took a step closer, studying Suga's cheery disposition. Or was it more like a facade? "I was just about to get some garnish for Bokuto and Oikawa's eggs." He didn't advance too much, wanted to leave some space for Suga. "Are- are you OK?"

"Fine, fine," Suga said, his smile tightening with a note of distress which he was obviously fighting hard to control. He glanced down at his phone, realized he'd been gripping it and loosened his hold. "I, um... I actually have to go to work."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, so, I'm sorry I won't join you for breakfast."

"That's... that's OK." Daichi couldn't bring himself to reciprocate the smile. He felt too unsure, too on edge even though he couldn't grasp at anything tangible that bothered him with Suga's seemingly normal behavior.

"But I'm sure it will be delicious," Suga added, his shoulders relaxing only slightly. "So... I'll- I'll see you around?"

"Yeah... Yes, of course."

Suga gave him a small wave before he persuaded Asahi and Noya's front door to open with his uninjured foot and his shoulder, and when it closed behind him Daichi was left alone in the hallway, somewhat disturbed and a lot more confused.

A question mark indeed.


To: Kiyoko
he doesn't need my problems in his life
...I better keep my distance

Chapter Text

Daichi's mind was one huge clusterfuck.

On one hand, he couldn't spend even a minute of his day not thinking about Suga. It was fine if it was during mundane tasks, such as brushing his teeth or watching TV, but he was now actively spacing out at work, at the gym... The other day during a volleyball outing with the guys on the outdoors court nearest to their building, he received the ball with his face because he was thinking about what position Suga would play if he was into volleyball. (He also might've spent a shameful amount of time thinking about Suga in other types of positions.)

It was now clear to everyone (especially his increasingly irritating friends) that Daichi was beyond help when it came to the beautiful temporary neighbor.

However, on the other hand, Suga was obviously bothered by something that had nothing to do with Daichi. And as much as Daichi wanted to know what it was, as much as he wanted to help, he also wanted to respect Suga's need for privacy. He understood that he shouldn't rush anything; that, if Suga hadn't revealed a smidgen of his home life to Asahi, Daichi really couldn't expect it to happen overnight with him. And then he also wasn't 100% sure if Suga was even into him (though his hand on Daichi's thigh might've given it away... god his hand on Daichi's thigh).

Daichi didn't want to be forceful or insistent, while at the same time wanting Suga to know that he was there for him; that if he needed anything Daichi would make it happen, and he really did mean anything because Suga was amazing, and beautiful, and hot, and giggly, and-

He was doing it again.

The bottom line was, Daichi had no idea what to do. He wasn't sure when his next opportunity to spend time with Suga would come around, if he should be the one to initiate it, how he should behave...

Cluster. Fuck.

Luckily, though, he didn't have to torture himself for too long.

A few days after Kuroo Watch, on a Friday evening, Daichi was leaving for work and locking the door to his apartment when he heard someone coming up the staircase.

He glanced to the left to see who it was and promptly dropped his keys when his fingers turned numb.

Suga was climbing up, normally and without hopping, in a powder blue button-up with the sleeves rolled up around his lean arms, and khaki pants, with a laptop case slung over his shoulder. Though it wasn't his flawless fashion sense or his kind smile that riveted Daichi's gawk to him.

Around Suga's right eye, all the way up to the eyebrow, stretching with his smile and pinching at the corner, was a dark, almost black circle. Its diffused edges invaded the porcelain of Suga's skin, stained it with blue and purple hues, causing Daichi to forget how to blink.

Suga had a black eye.

"Uh... Your keys are on the floor," Suga said once he was standing right in front of Daichi, smiling at his gaping.

"I... Yes." Daichi looked down at the metal glinting in the hallway light, certain that he'd never seen such strange contraptions before. His mouth was dry. "Right."

As he bent over he thought he heard a faint giggle from Suga before he finally straightened up with the keys in hand, an action that took far too long for a young man of his mental capacity.

Suga had a black eye.

"Going to work?" Suga asked, hiking up the laptop case over his shoulder.

"Work," Daichi repeated dully.

Suga had a black eye.

Suga now outwardly laughed. "Ever heard of it? Apparently, if you go there, you can even get paid. It's nice for such things as eating and... I don't know, having a roof over your head?" His smile was teasing before he tilted his head to one side and narrowed his eyes slightly. "...Are you alright?"

The question snapped Daichi out of his initial shock, made him resort to back-up generators of coherence. He cleared his throat. "Y-yes, I'm... alright." He willed himself not to stare, to focus more on the soft brown of those mesmerizing eyes than on the discoloration around one of them. "And yes, I am going to work."

He even managed a weak chuckle.

"OK, then." Suga shot him one last suspicious look before he dug out his own keys from his case and sidestepped Daichi on his way to Asahi and Noya's door. "Careful out there. It's unbearably hot, even now."

"Suga."

Suga stopped, turned back around. "Yes?"

Daichi had no idea what to say. He had no idea what to think, much less how to articulate it, but he knew he had to say something, anything; he couldn't just pretend he didn't notice it, even if Suga seemed perfectly normal. (More normal than when Daichi had last seen him, anyway; it was almost as though Suga was far more upset by a phone call than by physical injury.)

But now he was looking at Daichi curiously, waiting for him to speak.

"Are... Are you alright?" was the best thing Daichi could come up with that wasn't outright demanding the name and general location of the person who did this so Daichi could find them and break their teeth.

Suga's smile turned hesitant. "...Yes?" He frowned. "Do I not look OK?"

For one bizarre second Daichi wondered if Kuroo and Bokuto had slipped something into his Gatorade during yesterday's game, something that made him see black eyes where there weren't any, like they did that one time Daichi came back home and spent an evening talking animatedly to his oven.

"Your...?" Daichi gestured to his own cheekbone.

Suga's eyebrows flew up in realization. "Ooooh! That, right." He waved it off, smiling. "It's nothing, just a little accident I had at the gym the other day. Forgot it was there, actually."

Something vile and nauseating oozed its way up Daichi's throat; he swallowed to force it down, gritted his teeth to keep his composure. It was an excuse he had heard before, one that he hadn't doubted for a second the first time. A sprained ankle, a black eye... Must have been some pretty violent equipment at that gym.

Not only had Suga so obviously been harmed, he was also lying about it.

Daichi took in a deep breath through his nose to steady the rising rumble of anger beneath the surface. "Are you sure?" he asked, dangerously quiet.

Suga must've caught a whiff of his temper; he looked at Daichi seriously, with reassurance in his eyes. "I'm sure. Don't worry, Daichi." He offered a small smile. "I'm used to it."

Used to it.

Daichi's heart pounded in his ears. It was a normal occurrence. It was another thing Suga was used to, just like being used to his little cage where he didn't let anyone in... Used to keeping people at arm's length.

Was this why? Were these injures why? Those phone calls?

A particularly disconcerting thought surfaced in the back of Daichi's mind. Was Suga being abused?

"It doesn't look like nothing-" he tried again, struggling to keep the anger out of his voice.

"You should go," Suga interrupted him. The smile was still there, Suga's eyes kind as ever, but it was more than clear that he didn't want to continue this conversation. "You're gonna be late."

Daichi glared at him, half on his way to lunge and crush his lips to Suga's, tell him he was being stupid, force him to spell it out, what was wrong, what was going on; Daichi had to know because he was just about ready to lose his mind. Whatever it was, Suga didn't have to take it on his own, they could find a solution together, Daichi would just have to strangle someone a little bit and then-

"Hey." The softness of the voice made Daichi blink, regain his focus. Suga had taken a step closer, grabbed the hem of Daichi's T-shirt just below his hip and tugged on it lightly. The small act alleviated some of the pressure in Daichi's chest, made him release a fist he hadn't even been aware he was clenching.

"Don't worry about me," Suga repeated. He was smiling widely, honestly, still holding onto Daichi. "I'm a lot tougher than I look. It's fine."

Daichi hated that word. He'd heard it spill over Suga's lips more times than he'd have liked to, now realizing that Suga had probably not been fine each time he'd said it. He examined Suga's eye from this new, closer, proximity; how there was no swelling around it, only a trace of bright red that seeped into the white around the iris where a capillary had burst, leaving Suga with mismatched eyes.

Beautiful mismatched eyes.

Daichi frowned and reached up, slowly. He was bitter and angry, so incredibly angry at the injustice, at Suga's damn smile, at how calm he was... how accepting. His fingers hovered over the bruise, hesitated; he didn't want to cause any more pain, rather quite the opposite. He just wanted to make it better, to comfort, to erase the black and the blue...

When the pads of his fingers gently brushed over Suga's temple, Suga let out a shaky breath and closed his eyes. He pulled harder at Daichi's shirt, allowed him to trace the outline of where it hurt with faint touches, gingerly... Soothingly.

“Suga...” Daichi whispered, on the verge of saying everything that was on his mind.

He pressed his hand to Suga's cheek and Suga leaned into the contact. He smiled that bittersweet little smile that made Daichi's insides twist in a knot.

“I-”

“Asahi and Noya will be back next month,” Suga cut him off quietly. He opened his eyes, looked at Daichi. “I won't be in your way much longer.” He moved his head to the side, just enough for a graze of his lips (soft, dry) over Daichi's palm, too fleeting to be considered a kiss; he let go of Daichi's shirt and turned back to the front door. “You should really go to work, Daichi.”

Daichi's hand dropped to his side, warm from Suga's face. He watched Suga pry the door open, bang it twice with his foot and then push it in with his shoulder, feeling dazed, hollow.

That was it, wasn't it? A huge, red GAME OVER sign flashed in Daichi's mind.

He averted his gaze, looked at his keys without the slightest idea of what to do with them. He headed towards the staircase on legs that didn't feel like his own.

“Bye, Suga.”

“Goodbye, Daichi.”

The door closed.

That evening, The Crow had its worst service to date.


From: Kiyoko
and how long do you intend to hide behind your fears?
honestly Suga
it's obvious he likes you
tell him

I mean it.


“A disgruntled pimp?” Kuroo suggested.

Daichi glared at him from his place on the beige sofa.

“What. Wouldn't be that strange.” Kuroo slid his ass down the armrest of Daichi's armchair and helped himself to more chips from the bag on Bokuto's chest. “If Suga was a good prostitute he'd be earning excellent money, while at the same time running the risk of being... smacked around sometimes. It fits.” Kuroo's detective skills were obviously hard at work.

“Or maybe he's like a member of some fight club?” Bokuto asked. He was lying upside down on the armchair, with his legs swung over the back cushion and head hanging off the edge of the seat. “Tyler Durden style.” He socked Kuroo in the shoulder to give an example of his idea and Kuroo didn't waste a second in punching him back.

Daichi heaved a sigh, not wishing to be dragged into a conversation similar to the one he'd already had with Asahi and Noya. At this point he wasn't so much curious about the reason behind Suga's secrecy as he was concerned for his well-being.

In the few days since they'd run into each other Daichi had analyzed his and Suga's conversation more times than he could count, usually while lying awake at night, unable to dispel the image of that offensive black eye from his mind. He replayed it over and over, every word, every touch, from every possible angle. And, provided that Suga wasn't indeed telling the truth about him being an exceptionally clumsy gym-attendee, however Daichi looked at it he'd come to his original conclusion that someone had, in fact, raised a hand on him.

It made his blood boil in his veins.

“Isn't there anything I can do?” he asked the question that'd been plaguing him, interrupting the scuffle that had broken out between Kuroo and Bokuto.

"'Bout what?" Bokuto asked, one of his hands fisted hard in Kuroo's messy hair, his own head tilted at an odd angle to lessen Kuroo's grip on his throat.

Daichi shot them both a glare.

"Sorry, man, I don't think you can," Kuroo said, finally letting go of Bokuto as the two assumed their previous laid-back positions on the armchair; the chip bag found itself lodged under Bokuto's side, the chips crushed into powder which Bokuto then poured directly into his mouth.

"If he doesn't say anything... If he doesn't explicitly mention that he's in some kind of danger or that someone had hurt him..." Kuroo shrugged. "Legally, we can't do anything."

"Well that's just perfect," Daichi said irritably. "Especially since he made it pretty clear that he doesn't want me in his life in any capacity other than 'that nice guy who once made me dinner and also is excellent for sleeping on'."

While being so goddamn sweet and pained and kissable as he said it, fuck.

“Aw.” Kuroo pouted. “Does Daichi need a hug?” He outstretched his long arms and started making kissy noises.

“Fuck, no, get away from me.” Daichi leaned away as much as he could, but Kuroo was undeterred and plopped down with all his weight on Daichi's side, pressing him into the sofa and giving him wet sloppy kisses all over his face and neck. “Ew, Kuroo, get off!”

But then Kuroo's weight more than doubled when Bokuto piled up on top of them as well; Daichi couldn't breathe; they were both craning their necks to give him kisses and Bokuto was leaving salty chip crumbs all over him and-

The door to his apartment swung open. Of course it did.

“Ooooooh my,” Oikawa cooed. Daichi gave up under the undefeatable wave of his insufferable friends.

Kuroo and Bokuto didn't even blink; Kuroo licked Daichi's neck while Bokuto ruffled his hair and Daichi somehow managed to turn his head to the side and see that Oikawa already had his phone in hand, smirking while taking pictures of the three.

"Please, don't let me stop you," he said, voice sweet and silky.

"What do you want?" Daichi snapped, finally wriggling one arm free to push Kuroo's face away.

"Oh, I'm just here to raid your closet." Oikawa documented a few more poses of the sofa trio before he pocketed his phone and strolled through the apartment to Daichi's bedroom. "Not that you have better style than me," he said, chuckling. "No one does. But just in case."

"No, don't go in-" Daichi struggled, but neither Bokuto nor Kuroo moved a muscle, grinning like the two dumbasses they were.

"Didn't you have that watch I really liked?" Oikawa called as the doors to Daichi's wardrobe slid open in his room.

"It was a gift, I'm not letting you- OIKAWA HANDS OFF MY STUFF."

"Oh, there it is!"

Daichi groaned, slammed his head back into the sofa and shut his eyes. A vein in his head was about to pop any second now, aided by Oikawa's cheerful hum from the bedroom. Bokuto buried his face in Kuroo's back, wrapped his muscular arms around the two below him and made himself comfortable for a nap. Kuroo laughed.

“Why would you need my watch?” Daichi asked, eyes still closed. “Don't you have a perfectly good one?”

“Brown leather. Can't wear it with my black belt. Also doesn't go with my stripey green shirt.”

“Huh.” Kuroo mused. “Isn't that the fancy shirt you wear when you want to get laid?”

Daichi opened his eyes and saw that Kuroo was just as surprised as he was. Bokuto raised his head.

“Good to know you still preserved some of your shrewdness, Tetsu-chan, despite an unhealthy amount of gaming. The NPA is lucky to have you,” Oikawa said casually, still rummaging through Daichi's clothes judging by the shuffling sounds. “As a matter of fact, I happen to have a date this weekend.”

Everyone froze.

Kuroo was the first to react, launching to his feet before Bokuto could properly get off of him, which resulted in both of them banging various body parts into Daichi's coffee table. They glanced at each other to make sure no one was bleeding and that everyone was conscious before they ran to the bedroom, Daichi in tow.

“A date?” Bokuto asked. “Like a real, candlelit dinner type date?”

“With who?” Kuroo wanted to know.

Daichi felt like he didn't need to add to the questions and just leaned into the wardrobe to watch Oikawa waist deep in his shelves and drawers, making a complete mess out of everything.

“A guy from work,” Oikawa said. Daichi's watch was already around his wrist and he pulled out one of Daichi's shirts, black with white threading, and brought it to his chest in front of the mirror on the wardrobe door. He scoffed before he threw it backwards onto the bed, not even trying to return it to its place.

“A guy from work?” Kuroo frowned. “A guy from work...”

“Oh my god,” Bokuto muttered. “Don't tell me.” He tapped Kuroo on the shoulder in excited realization. “You gave in, you finally told him yes!”

Oikawa said nothing, busy with rifling through Daichi's assortment of pants.

“No...” Kuroo almost whispered when there was no response from Oikawa. “Turnip-head?! You're going out with Turnip-head?”

Both of them burst out laughing; even Daichi couldn't hold back a chuckle.

Turnip-head, as he was dubbed in the group, was one of Oikawa's fellow engineers at his father's company, a tall fella with spiked, turnip-like dark hair who was quiet and somewhat reserved, save for the one time he'd asked Oikawa out, not too long ago, when he'd tripped over his words and blushed bright red all the way to his hairline, if Oikawa's retelling was to be trusted.

And as much fun as Kuroo and Bokuto were having making up puns about Turnip-head (“You should go to the club and really turnip the beat!”, “I knew Oikawa would turnip in the end!” … “Turn up? Shouldn't it be give in?” … “Yeah, but then I can't make it into a joke.”) Daichi was happy for Oikawa. He worked too much, slept too little and probably barely ate in between and he deserved a break, even if it was with Turnip-head.

“I'm glad you're doing this,” Daichi said, quiet enough so that only Oikawa could hear him next to Kuroo and Bokuto's loud bickering over the proper usage of turnip puns. “Whatever the reason is.” He'd known Oikawa for far too long not to think there was at least a pinch of spite towards his father in this endeavor.

Oikawa shot him a smirk. “It started to feel selfish, keeping all of my irresistible charm and stunning good-looks just for myself.”

Daichi laughed, nudging Oikawa's leg with his foot.

“Oh, and by the way, Dai-chan, your fashion sense is appalling,” Oikawa concluded. He sighed, his hands on his hips as he cast one last disapproving glare at Daichi's wardrobe; which at this point looked like it had vomited his clothes all over the bedroom. “I'm taking you shopping as soon as I wrap up this project at the company.”

Daichi's smile fell. “If it's gonna be anything like last time, when you flirted with all of the employees and made me squeeze into a tutu skirt just to see my legs in it, I think I'll pass.”

Bokuto slapped a palm to his knee, startled them into turning back to the other conversion as he doubled over laughing at something Kuroo said.

“...No fuck in turnips!” Bokuto wheezed. “Priceless.”

“Aw, but anyway.” Kuroo's own laugh faded into chuckles as he wrapped an arm around Oikawa's neck and gave him a jiggle. “I want you to know that I support this 100%, Oikawa.” He jabbed a finger in Oikawa's chest, accentuating every word, “You- get- yours.”

“Whatever would I do without such a supportive friend, Tetsu-chan.” Oikawa's voice was laced with sarcasm.

“No, but for real though, why don't you come by the club?” Bokuto piped in. Kuroo's cell phone rang and he let go of Oikawa to take the call in Daichi's living room. “Dancing, drinking... What could be better for a first date?”

“Except for the fact that they basically won't be able to hear each other over the music?” Daichi said.

“Ah, but that's where it pays to be friends with the owner.” Bokuto grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. “I'll save you a private area on the house. Huh, whaddya say?”

“Hm.” Oikawa thought about it for a moment. “I suppose it isn't the worst idea...”

“Awesome!” Bokuto smacked him so hard on the back that Oikawa's knees buckled. “And you, you should come, too!” He turned to Daichi then. “It'll be fun, get your mind off things?”

Things. Right.

Daichi smiled tiredly. “Thanks, Bokuto, but I'll probably just watch a movie or go running or something. Not really in a clubbing kind of mood.”

Bokuto shrugged. “There's still time before the weekend, you might change your mind.”

“Shit!” Kuroo shouted from the living room. The other three automatically turned to the doorway, despite not being able to see him. “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck...” The string of curses grew louder as Kuroo rushed back in, obviously agitated. “Bo, I need the keys.” He beckoned Bokuto to hand them over quickly. “I gotta get my things for work.”

“What's wrong?” Daichi asked.

“Is it the case?” Bokuto gave him the keys to their apartment.

Kuroo nodded. He looked up at the group darkly, teeth gritted. “They found Nakahara's body.”


By the time the weekend rolled in, Daichi didn't feel any differently towards the open invitation to The White Owl.

It was one of the rare occasions that Kuroo had declined to go out, opting instead to catch up on sleep and exercise the stress off now that his case had officially become a murder investigation and was handed over to another division. Bokuto would be at the club, of course, but he'd be working, and Daichi really didn't want to be the third wheel on Oikawa's date.

He didn't want to go alone, and it wasn't like he could ask someone... Suga, it wasn't like he could ask Suga to come with him. (Wasn't like he wanted to either, he kept telling himself.)

As if their conversation, which had put a definite end to whatever could've been between them, wasn't enough, Daichi got a nagging feeling that the door to Asahi and Noya's apartment would shut just a little too quickly when he'd be coming up the stairs, that he'd hear someone come out of that apartment just seconds after he'd close the door to his own... Little things, maybe imagined things, that made him think that Suga was avoiding him.

Perhaps it was better that way. Made it less awkward. If Suga didn't want him in his life, Daichi wasn't going to force anything on him.

But he couldn't deny the weight on his chest, the constant grind of his teeth whenever he'd think of Suga, of the way he had leaned into Daichi's hand... He had craved contact, gentleness, even as he refused it and- When was the last time Suga was even close with someone? Intimate? When was the last time someone was loving with him, if at all? Daichi remembered how Suga had asked him not to leave in his barely conscious state and it. just...

Daichi was wound tight from it all; he'd snapped at his subordinates more times than was necessary over the course of the week, had run too fast on the joint jogging trip, had lifted more weight than usual at the gym. He was grumpy, dejected and his muscles were sore.

With or without company, he was in no mood to even try and pretend to have fun on the dance floor.

So on Saturday night, as he unlocked the door to his apartment with leftovers from the restaurant in hand, Daichi had resigned himself to a hot shower and an action movie to take the edge off. He barely had time to put the containers on the coffee table, coming back to close the front door, when he heard a voice downstairs.

It was Suga's - Daichi could recognize that soft lilt anywhere - distant because Suga had just entered the building. Only he didn't sound half as charming or as bright as he usually did.

"-stop calling, didn't I? ... No, I don't care what the reason is, I don't care if- ... NO. I don't want to hear it!"

Suga was pissed, like Daichi had never heard him before. He was talking on the phone, coming closer as he climbed up to the second floor.

"What? ... Hah, that's rich. That's- ... How can I not laugh? It's funny, it's hilarious, how after everything that happened you still have the nerve to-" Daichi's grip on the doorknob tightened; Suga sounded completely different when angry. His voice took on a new edge, razor sharp. Derisive.

"No, I'm absolutely going to be like this. After what you did I think I have earned the- ... Nope, no, no, no. I don't care what it is, I don't care how much money you- ... Wha- How can I?! ... How-" He laughed, high pitched and devoid of mirth, a chilling laugh that made Daichi's skin crawl. "You have no right to ask me that."

Daichi made a mental note never to get on Suga's bad side, ever.

Suga's footsteps drew near, almost at the top of the last staircase and Daichi closed his door as much as he could without completely shutting it, leaving a sliver of space so he could hear better. He didn't have a lot of time to dwell on the morality of his actions. He was curious; an entire week of brooding over not having a chance with Suga couldn't erase his need to know what the fuck was going on, even if it was too late to do something about it.

"Don't." Suga's shadow passed by Daichi's apartment. "Don't call me that." He was speaking quietly now; Daichi barely heard him over his keys jingling. "You don't get to call me that. You..." Suga's voice broke off, the last syllables trembling in the air. He exhaled sharply as he banged the door twice with his foot. "I don't want to hear that word from your mouth ever again," he spat, pushed the door in and slammed it shut behind him.

Daichi swallowed thickly. He could no longer hear Suga loud and clear; he wasted only a second on deciding to sneak out in the hallway, to come closer to Asahi and Noya's apartment.

"We are not family!" Suga nearly shouted from the inside. He sounded upset, pained. His composure was cracking. "We have never been a family- ... You- You abandoned me! You used me! You..." The words faded into what sounded like a muffled sob.

Daichi was rooted to the spot, every muscle in his body tense. His heart hammered as he listened to Suga crumbling on the other side, too stunned to do anything about it.

"You took everything I had! Do you understand that?! You walked away with all of it and you didn't even look over your shoulder! I... I just wanted to- to... I thought we could be..." Suga trailed off weakly, sniffed.

Daichi's throat clenched up. He was in no mental state to try and piece together who Suga was talking to and why, but it was all he could do not to start banging on the door right then and there.

"I owe you nothing," Suga finally said, with some conviction in his worn-out tone. "I... I can't get involved in this. It's your mess and you have to deal with it. ... Don't... Don't call again."

Silence ensued. Whether through mutual agreement or not (Daichi guessed not), Suga ended the call.

And he strained to hear if Suga was OK, if he'd managed to gather himself, but then something heavy thudded to the floor and a wail rang out, raw and terrifying. Daichi's heart stopped beating.

Suga was crying; he was on the floor and crying just on the other side of the door and Daichi didn't know what to do with his hands. He couldn't knock, he was effectively stalking – he had no real reason to be there or to visit Suga at almost one o'clock in the morning, but they burned, his hands were on fire with the need to break down the door and stop this.

The whimpering reaching him was so thin, so helpless that Daichi choked on it. It devoured him, wrecked his strong frame and fuck this, fuck whoever was on the phone that broke Suga and fuck whatever the reason was that Daichi was here and Suga was there and that he couldn't-

Daichi flattened his palms over the wood of the door, desperate to pass through and shaking, shit, when did he start shaking? A loud sob ripped through the air and Daichi wasn't sure if it was his or Suga's. He couldn't take it; he just wanted in so he could kiss that tear-stained face, those eyes, undoubtedly red as they had been the time Suga had diced onions, and he wanted to hold and console and... Tell him.

He had to tell Suga everything; that he thought about him all the time, that he daydreamed about their dates and their traveling and their sex, that he was so lost in Suga it wasn't even funny. And he had to tell him that he wasn't alone, fuck, he didn't have to cry by himself in a strange, empty house, Daichi was right there...

If only Suga would let him in. In the apartment. In his life.

Please...

His fingers curled into the unyielding surface of the door; he was aching all over and yet he couldn't tear himself away. He punished himself for not having the guts to disregard Suga's words from before; they swirled in his mind, polite but definite... Next month... I won't be in your way much longer... It's fine.

And Daichi stood like that, for the longest time, leaning against the barrier between them, wincing at each hiccup, at each shuddering breath from the one he cared for so much.

So much, Suga...

He endured it as he would blows to the head, as he would a knife to the gut, and it wasn't until he could no longer hear Suga inside that Daichi opened his eyes and realized he was kneeling on the welcome mat, his forehead pressed to the door. He didn't know at what point his legs had given out, but his eyes were stinging and his chest hurt and he had to pull himself together.

He listened for movement, noise, but he couldn't hear anything anymore. He wasn't sure if it was because Suga had fallen silent or if he had actually moved deeper into the apartment and Daichi hadn't noticed it from the sheer volume of his own misery.

He straightened up, swayed a little on his feet, feeling drained, sluggish. His fingers brushed over the apartment number on the door, as they had over Suga's black eye, and Daichi turned away, with superhuman effort. He walked unsteadily towards the staircase, grabbed his phone from his pocket and dialed a number.

"Hey-” His voice wasn't working and he cleared his throat, tried again. “Hey, Bo. Which club are you at? ... I'm coming over. ... What?" He let out an exhausted sigh as he trudged down the steps. "Fine, I'll bring you a couple of cheeseburgers."


Inside Asahi and Noya's apartment Suga's knees were drawn to his chest on the green and purple rug right by the door. He trembled from the sobs that were dying out in the dark, crushing silence; his cheeks glistened with tears that had finally stopped coming.

It was like he was three years old again, small and scared of a new place, of strange faces all around him. It had seemed to him that they didn't have eyes and he'd run away from their grabby hands, hide under the table in the corner of the play room.

He was six, eight, nine years old and disappointed, over and over again. Always being left behind. He was losing faith, confidence... Learning to conceal his fears behind his smiles, learning to devote himself to others so he wouldn't have to deal with himself.

He was twenty-one, livid and screaming, blind with heartbreak and smashing whatever he could reach, glasses, lamps, the bookcase... Taken advantage of, shattered like the hotel furniture around him.

And he was alone, now as he was then; somehow he was always alone and afraid... And he wished he wasn't; he wished there was a way out of this vicious circle where he was too scared to open the door while at the same time yearning for someone to break it down, to push their way in, to-

To make him feel like he belonged somewhere.

Like here.

In the company of the most welcoming, most fun group of people he had ever encountered. With the hardworking police officer who'd had sex on every vaguely horizontal surface in his apartment; with the club owner who could eat 18 cheeseburgers in 15 minutes and not even break a sweat; with the sleepless engineer who was not as damaged as he thought he was...

With him, his broad shoulders and reassuring presence, his warm eyes and deep, rumbling voice that drew Suga in, made him feel safe and wanted, for the first time in his life.

Suga inhaled deeply, for the briefest of moments giving in to the fantasy of Daichi's arms around him, all taut muscle and tan skin, of his gorgeous smile, so close that Suga only had to tilt his head to meet those lips...

...honestly Suga.

Maybe Kiyoko was right.

Suga sniffed, reached up and wiped away the dried tears from his face. His gaze hardened as he looked up at the nearly packed suitcase in front of him.

It wasn't like this has never happened. It wasn't like he hadn't been overwhelmed before. He'd already gone through this, many times, and he'll go through it again, fighting, like he always did.

Chapter Text

The White Owl's newest structure was centered right in the district most popular for deafening music, flashy outfits and staggering clubbers trying to make their way home in one piece. The area teemed with people from dusk till dawn on any given night of the week and Bokuto had been after that particular location for months, almost a year, before he'd finally acquired it for his growing chain of night clubs.

Daichi wasn't surprised when he saw the large concrete cube through the mass of people on the street, complete with the name of the venue and a silhouette of an owl in gigantic white neon lights over the entrance, so bright that someone less sober could've easily mistaken it for daylight. He also wasn't surprised at the long line-up in front of the main doors, where two gorilla-sized bouncers in charge of admittance stoically stood watch in front of a string of red velvet rope; in the few years it had been under Bokuto's wing, The White Owl had quickly earned a reputation for the place to be if one wanted to party until their brains turned to mush.

Which sounded like such a sensible idea to Daichi right about now. Maybe not to party per se, but drink; drink until he could no longer hear the echo of Suga's sobs or feel like his lungs had shriveled and he'd never be able to inhale properly again. That was a good plan.

He pushed his way through the crowd towards the club and circled the waiting line until he was standing right at the front, his eyes at level with one of the bouncer's nipples. Or at least Daichi assumed the man had nipples under the dark jacket that was way too tight around his scarily thick arms.

A few of the people that had already been waiting complained about Daichi's insensitive cut-in, but neither he nor the bouncer regarded them with so much as a glance. The protests quickly died out.

“Name?” the bouncer grumbled, lifting up the tablet in his hand.

“Sawamura.”

The bouncer scrolled down the screen. “Not on the list,” he said.

Daichi tightened his hold on the paper bag with Bokuto's dinner. “Check again.”

His gaze bore holes in the bouncer's shaved head until the steroidosaurus reluctantly searched through the list again.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

“Fucking great.”

Daichi transferred the bag between hands to dig out his cell phone from his jeans pocket and call Bokuto to come get him when the bouncer stopped him half-way.

“Wait. What's in the bag?” he asked, squinting suspiciously at the take-out.

“Uh... Cheeseburgers?” Daichi unrolled the bag and gave him a peek.

“Huh.” The bouncer's sausage fingers danced over the tablet. “I have a guy with cheeseburgers here.”

Daichi snorted and shook his head. Bokuto's hunger had obviously reached that point where his mind was blanking out and he couldn't even remember the name of one of his best friends.

The bouncer waved over a considerably slimmer colleague from the main door. “Take him up to the boss,” he told him before he unhooked the red velvet rope and let Daichi through.

Daichi followed the elegantly dressed usher into a large, well-lit foyer, quiet save for the barely noticeable bass rumbling on the other side of the closed doors that lead directly into the club. Their footsteps were muffled by a dark purple carpet as they passed a coat check area and turned left, onto a staircase leading up.

The usher stopped in front of an unmarked door, the only one atop the stairs, and knocked cautiously. “Hey boss? It's your-”

He didn't get to finish his sentence as the door flew open with such force that Daichi's shirt and the usher's bangs billowed in the gust of air.

“FOOD,” Bokuto uttered, his amber eyes crazily wide and zoning in on the bag in Daichi's hands.

Daichi laughed and climbed up the last few steps. “We'll be fine now, thanks,” he said to the usher who seemed more than grateful to run down and as far away from his ravenous boss as possible.

Bokuto snatched the bag from Daichi and dove in, wasting no time in unwrapping the first burger and stuffing it into his mouth. Daichi closed the door and the moment he turned to take a better look at Bokuto's office his breath got caught in his throat. The grim fog in his mind temporarily lifted and gave way to shock because whoa.

“Um. Holy shit.

Bokuto plopped down at his littered desk to eat and Daichi walked around the purple seating arrangement to stare out into the raving club from the wall of the office, curved and wide, made entirely out of soundproof glass.

“Cool, huh?” Bokuto asked over a mouthful.

“I'll say...” Daichi's jaw was scraping the floor.

He could see everything that was going on in the space below, which was the size of a hangar. And the building seemed so deceptively small on the outside...

There was a DJ booth on a high podium on the far left, a dance floor in front of it, an incredibly long bar at the far right, with at least five bartenders working behind it... Occupied tables everywhere, professional dancers, male and female, in sparkling skimpy purple and white outfits, servers that meandered through the dancing crowd... Holy mother of- was that a fire breather?

All of that illuminated by an array of dizzying lights of all colors, making star shapes and laser beams that cut through the dark, blinking, swirling... Daichi couldn't hear a thing, but from the way the people on the dance floor held their arms up and bounced rhythmically like in a trance, he figured it must've been some pretty good music playing down there.

“Bokuto, this is amazing,” Daichi said, unable to take his eyes off the scene. “I mean... Wow. Just-” A ray of blindingly white light zapped above the crowd and exploded in a huge shape of a flying owl, imprinting itself on Daichi's retinas and sending the clubbers into frenzy.

Bokuto chuckled from behind him. “Wait 'till you hear how it sounds.”

Daichi shook his head, his chest swelling with pride and happiness. To think that only a few years ago Bokuto was working and living in the original White Owl, homeless and practically broke, refusing any kind of help from his friends until he could rake up enough money to move in with Kuroo...

“You did it,” Daichi said quietly, in awe at what was in front of him. “You fucking did it, Bo.”

He turned back to Bokuto who swallowed a bite and looked at Daichi with pure, innocent confusion, a half-eaten hamburger in his hand.

Daichi gestured to the club. “What you always wanted to do? 'Create the most awesome party place in existence'?” He laughed. “You did it!”

Bokuto stared at him for another beat, before his own lips split into a huge grin, his eyes lighting up excitedly. “Yeah?”

“Fuck yeah! Bokuto, you made it!”

Bokuto laughed out loud, jammed the rest of the burger into his mouth and jumped up. He came closer and wrapped an arm around Daichi's shoulders, squeezed him tight as both of them looked down at the craziness.

“You think so?” Bokuto said when he swallowed. “I mean, I know I’m awesome, but do you really think this is awesome?”

“Are you kidding me? I have never in my life been to a club like this! It's... unbelievable.” Daichi averted his gaze from what looked like a liquor fountain perched in one corner of the bar. He gently punched Bokuto in the chest. “I'm proud of you, man.”

Bokuto's cheeks flushed. “Thanks Daichi...” he mumbled, pulling Daichi even closer into a bone-crushing hug. “Means so much to me to hear it.”

Daichi chuckled and patted Bokuto on the back. It was funny how the big sap could endlessly boast about his talents, but the moment someone else genuinely complimented or praised him, he'd turn into a blubbering mess.

“Yeah, well, you worked your ass off,” Daichi said, voice muffled by Bokuto's shirt. “You deserve it.”

Bokuto sniffed, held onto Daichi for a moment longer before he pulled away and wiped at his eyes, successfully preventing any tears from falling. He laughed and turned back to the glass wall, the dancing lights reflecting in the gold of his irises.

“They do look like they're having fun, don't they?” he said.

Daichi smiled, nodding. “Yes, they definitely do.” He gave Bokuto one last comforting squeeze on the shoulder when he remembered. “Speaking of fun, wasn't Oikawa supposed to be here?”

“Oh, yeah! He's here.” Bokuto whirled around, rummaged through the chaos on his desk before he found a remote control. With a push of a button there was a whirring noise and a large flat-screen TV descended from the ceiling right in front of him.

“That is just perverted,” Daichi commented.

Bokuto laughed. Another click and the TV turned on, the screen divided into dozens of little windows, black and white, obviously feeds from the many cameras distributed in and around the property.

“They're in room... 12. There.” Bokuto touched the stream in question as Daichi came closer to see it.

Oikawa's pixelated image was sitting on a sofa in a private room, with his date (wow, Daichi had forgotten just how high his hair went) sitting next to him, and they appeared to be just talking. Oikawa was comfortably settled in his I own this room pose, arms spread over the back of the couch, legs crossed wide. He laughed at something his date had said and reached to take a sip from one of the two glasses on the low table in front of them. Seemed like the date was going good enough.

Daichi frowned. “Where is this?”

“There.” Bokuto turned to the glass wall again and pointed at a row of doors across the club, on the same floor as the office, accessible by a spiral metal staircase right by the bar. “For a little extra you get to drink and party in private with your friends. You can adjust the volume of the music in the room, order special drink combos, even get a karaoke machine in there if you want. Really anything goes, except for sex.”

Daichi snorted. “Then you might wanna tell these guys.” He motioned to a couple in one of the other private areas, getting it on quite openly on the sofa.

“For fuck's sake,” Bokuto said, annoyed. He went back to his desk, searched through the stacks of unsorted papers muttering, “One rule. I've got just one rule in this club...”

Daichi laughed. Bokuto exclaimed triumphantly as he lifted up what he was looking for – a black walkie-talkie, on which he pressed a button and said, “Code red. I repeat: we have a code red in room…” he trailed off and Daichi was kind enough to help with the number. “In room 10.” Bokuto let out a sigh. “Please get to them before they ruin the new leather seating.”

He threw the receiver back onto the desk where it skidded across the documents and stopped just short of falling off the opposite edge; Bokuto sat back down and dipped his hand into the paper bag for more cheeseburgers.

It wasn't until he took another bite that he looked back at Daichi who was still examining the ins and outs of the club through the camera feeds.

“Hey, Daichi?”

“Mmm?”

“What are you doing here?”

Daichi laughed, glanced at Bokuto. “I’ve been here for a while, Bo. Brought you dinner, remember? Is your blood sugar still low?”

Bokuto’s face darkened. “I know that. I meant, why are you here when you said you weren’t feeling like coming?”

Oh.

Daichi’s gaze was fixed on the TV screen, but he wasn’t seeing the rowdy bunch in room 3 fight over the microphone of the karaoke machine. He had a different image before his eyes; one he hadn’t witnessed but could’ve clearly visualized, of a slender frame balled up in a sobbing heap on the floor, of a tear stained face, not any less beautiful for its pain…

His chest constricted again, smoothly, as if it was his natural state to not be able to breathe, and Daichi swallowed thickly. “I… had to get out of the building,” he said.

It was the truth; if he had spent so much as another second in there he would’ve started screaming his throat raw.

“OK...” Bokuto replied. “Do you... wanna talk about it?” he asked, uncharacteristically quietly for him. So, like, in a normal person’s volume.

Daichi's lips curved up into a small smile at Bokuto's honest offer to listen, at his consideration. “No, I… Not yet.” Daichi sighed. “I actually came here for a drink or two, if that’s OK?”

And just like that, Bokuto’s expression shifted from kind and caring into what could’ve only been described as wicked. He grinned, unsettlingly wide, his round eyes glinting in the light of the TV.

“I know just the thing.”


Visually, the cocktail wasn't anything special. Its base was bright pink with a dark blue layer on top, their borderline diffused, the colors seeping into one another. As far as stunningly vibrant alcoholic beverages went, Daichi had seen better. Hell, Daichi could make better.

But there it was, in a nice glass with a wide mouth and a sugar rim on the bar top in front of him, decorated with a tiny umbrella and an orange slice perched over the edge. He stared at it, trying to determine if this was his second or third pouring of what Bokuto called Death at the Discotheque.

Must've been the second. Bokuto had made the first one, shamelessly showing off his juggling skills with the orange and the shaker behind the bar, and when he'd returned to work and Daichi had downed the first glass in one go, he ordered a second one from another bartender.

From the way Bokuto talked about this fabled drink that he personally created the recipe for Daichi had expected an immediate buzz to take hold of him and relieve him of his current gloom; but as it were, he was halfway down his second glass still not feeling the effects.

He wasn't even sure what he wanted the effects to be. Maybe he'd hoped to get cheerily tipsy and enjoy himself, forgetting about Suga, at least for one night; maybe he'd hoped the alcohol would smother the constant simmer of anger inside of him. Or maybe, just maybe, he'd hoped it would give him an epiphany, a sign as to what his next move should be (if any) and whether or not he should just completely give up.

Someone bumped into Daichi's back and he looked over his shoulder; his field of vision lagged behind the turn of his head for a couple of milliseconds, and he blinked to regain his focus.

Alright, so maybe the drink was working, Daichi thought as he watched a giggling girl, unstable on her high heels and shouting her apologies to him, retreat into the crowd. He turned back to his second cocktail and finished it off. The sweetness conveniently masked the lethal amount of alcohol in it and this time Daichi felt a fuzzy warmth, all the way to the tips of his fingers, causing everything to blur at the edges.

He ordered another drink.

The music thundering from the speakers was catchy, the bass making Daichi's seat vibrate. He might've heard it before, somewhere, and nodded along to it even though he wasn't too sure of the vague lyrics.

"You look like you work out."

Damn right I do, Daichi replied mentally, raising his eyebrows at his cocktail.

"I said," the voice was closer now, a presence hovering by his left side. "You look like you work out."

Daichi frowned. Hadn't he already said that he did?

Slowly, careful not to make his vision swim again, he turned to the left and was met with a pair of icy blue eyes staring directly at him. They belonged to a blond young man on the bar stool next to Daichi, pointy-featured and smirking, confident, impeccably dressed in a crispy white shirt and a fancy vest tailored to his skinny frame.

It took a second for Daichi to realize that he was being hit on. It took another one to realize that he'd actually have to open his mouth if he wanted to say something.

"I... do work out," he said carefully. "But I-"

Blue Eyes' laugh cut him off, loud and shrill over the music. Daichi didn't care for it. "I could tell right away. I mean, those arms just..." His gaze brazenly roamed up and down Daichi's body, lingering on his bare arms under the short sleeves of his T-shirt, as if Daichi was looking particularly delectable tonight. "Oomph."

No.

The word was blaring in Daichi's foggy mind. He didn't want to be hit on, he didn't want to be leered at, he didn't want to have a conversation with whoever it was next to him. The stranger's cold gaze was too intense, his attitude too cocky and his grin too lecherous. Daichi was not in the mood.

"You don't talk much, do you?" Blue Eyes said, delighted at the prospect. "The strong silent type." He leaned in a bit. "I like that."

Daichi wasn't moved. He figured he'd better voice his disinterest rather than let this go on any longer. "Look, I'm flattered, really, but I-"

"I'm Wakahisa Kaoru," Blue Eyes interrupted him again, offering a small hand.

Daichi glanced down at it, decided that this person wasn't worth his time and chose to ignore him and take another sip of his drink instead. Maybe if he waited long enough, the nuisance would go away.

"Aw, come on, don't I at least get to hear your name?"

Un-fucking-believable.

Daichi pinned him with a glare, to which Wakahisa's smirk faltered a bit.

“I'm not. interested,” Daichi growled.

Wakahisa laughed like this was the most ridiculous thing he'd heard all day. "What are you, just gonna sit there by yourself for the rest of the night? Come on, no one likes drinking alone... 'Specially in a cool place like this one." His pale lips turned down into a pout, his whole expression becoming rat-like.

Daichi gritted his teeth. "Fuck off," he said, loud and clear, ending any further discussion as he turned back to his pink and blue beverage.

Except that Wakahisa really didn't know what was good for him. He leaned in further, close enough that his sharp, synthetic perfume made Daichi's stomach churn, and lowered his voice to what he obviously thought was a sexy lilt. "I'll make it worth your while."

Anger coiled in Daichi's gut, red hot, aided by the sear of alcohol through his veins. Daichi willed himself to count to ten, if only for the sake of not causing a scene in Bokuto's club.

"What I wouldn't give to wrap myself around a tough man like you..."

That's it.

Daichi lashed out to grab Wakahisa and shove him backwards over his seat, and he would've too, gladly, if it wasn't for the distinct, familiar, whine that reached him through the lull in the music.

"Dai-chaaaaaan, there you are!"

Daichi stopped just short of closing his fingers around the collar of Wakahisa's shirt, his gaze dark and infuriated, boring into wide, surprised icy blue eyes.

And Oikawa was standing right next to Daichi then, sinfully handsome in his slim button-up and tight black slacks, with his perfectly wavy hair and pearly white smile. He draped an arm around Daichi's shoulders like it belonged there, made Daichi’s reasoning kick in; it probably wasn't the best idea to rearrange Wakahisa's facial features right then and there.

"Aw, Dai-chan, I turn my back on you for just a moment and you already start fighting with the other kids," Oikawa said lightly, diffusing the tension.

Daichi withdrew his hand, even if his glare hadn't let up. Wakahisa recollected himself in this new addition to their company and smoothed out the wrinkles on his vest.

"And who is this?" Oikawa asked sweetly, an ominous sparkle in his chocolate brown eyes. Even through the boozy haze Daichi knew that the question was out of form rather than anything else; Oikawa had undoubtedly read the situation before he'd stepped in and was just being deceivingly polite.

Wakahisa drew his narrow shoulders back and flashed a smile at Oikawa, trying to make it seem unforced. "Your friend and I were having a nice chat," he said. "He was a little quiet at first, but I think I'm finally getting him to open up." He winked at Daichi who restrained himself from slapping the smugness off his face. "He seems like a man who understands the importance of exercise... in- uhhh..."

He trailed off as Oikawa bent down and nuzzled Daichi's neck affectionately, making a point of not listening to what Wakahisa was saying. Daichi smiled at the tickle of Oikawa's warm breath just above his collarbone, having no qualms over playing along.

"Oh. I- I mean..." Wakahisa stuttered. "I wasn't aware that-"

"That what?" Oikawa asked, his tone venomous. "That you were stepping on the territory of a taller, more beautiful, more intelligent and, frankly, far superior man to your rodent self?" He straightened up to his full, imposing height and took a step closer to Wakahisa, his arm around Daichi sliding just enough but not letting go.

"Hey! That was uncalled for, I was just-" Wakahisa struggled to keep his composure; he shrunk away from Oikawa's advance, much to Daichi's amusement.

Oikawa’s smile took on a deadly edge as he leaned in, fixating Wakahisa with his gaze. "You see, it's not very nice to harass other people. ...Or so I've been told," he said conversationally, barely heard over the bass. "If I hadn't interfered, I'm pretty sure my darling Dai-chan would've beaten you to a pulp, right here by the happy hour sign." Oikawa's hand gently squeezed Daichi's shoulder and Daichi did his best impression of a man who didn't mind a little blood to liven up his Saturday night out.

Wakahisa's eyes were the size of plates.

"Ah, but as it is, you're in luck. I don't have the habit of using my fists," Oikawa continued, voice smooth as silk. He brushed an invisible speck of dust from Wakahisa's vest and the smaller man gulped. "Though I promise you that, if you linger for a bit, you'll get to experience what's it like to have your puny ego crushed so bad that you'll break into tears in the middle of the hottest club of the season." Oikawa's smile had reached an unstable note, too wide for his beautiful face, eyes unblinking. Wakahisa might've whimpered, Daichi couldn't be sure.

Oikawa giggled and leaned away just enough to make room. "Run along, little lamb," he chimed, his laugh growing louder.

Wakahisa didn't need telling twice; he bolted right into the crowd without sparing a glance back at what he undoubtedly thought were two raging psychopaths.

"Well, you're feeling particularly vicious tonight," Daichi noted, smiling nonetheless as he took another sip of his drink and Oikawa made himself comfortable in Wakahisa's abandoned seat. Daichi was used to Oikawa's antics, his tendency to rip people to shreds if he was so inclined, and in this state of comfortable inebriation it had been quite amusing to watch.

"Aw, you flatter me, Dai-chan." Oikawa batted his eyelashes, his hostile demeanor from seconds ago completely gone. He plucked the orange slice off of Daichi's glass. "Though you really shouldn't go smacking people around, you know. Especially in Kou-chan's lovely establishment." He took a bite out of the fruit, soaking his fingers in the juice. "Don't you have more important things to do at home? Like spend all your time pining for the unattainable neighbor who wishes he was as beautiful as me?"

Daichi's smile fell.

"Oooooh, hit a nerve did I?" Oikawa's eyes gleamed. "Come on, spill. Why are you here drinking yourself under the bar?"

"'m not. Barely had two drinks," Daichi grumbled.

"And almost killed a man because he was a little enthusiastic about having you in his bed tonight. You're only really this volatile when you've had a few, Dai-chan, everyone knows that. Your inhibitions are lowered and you get all... physical." Oikawa smirked, taking another bite of the orange slice. "Like that time you refused to let go of Tetsu-chan and he had to literally carry you across town."

Daichi said nothing, swirling his cocktail with the tiny umbrella, muddling up the colors.

Oikawa nudged his leg with a foot clad in a shiny black oxford. "Tell me."

"Shouldn't you be on a date?" Daichi said in a weak attempt to change the subject.

"I asked you first."

"Where does he think you are?"

Oikawa shot him a glare. "The bathroom. Now talk to meeeeeee," he whined and Daichi let out a sigh.

"Fine." He thought for a moment, discovering that it was infinitely harder to analyze his memories and feelings when under the influence. "I... I'm not sure what to do,” he said honestly. “It's all too...” He made vague gestures with his hands; words eluded him, his mind was too sluggish to form sentences that would best describe his emotions.

Oikawa sucked the last out of the orange slice and threw the peel onto the bar top. He sat straighter on his bar stool and looked at Daichi with wide, knowing eyes. “Remember when I told you a while ago it would be fine if you didn't fuck it up?”

Daichi nodded, mistily recalling such an event.

“Well, you're fucking it up,” Oikawa told him simply, licking the orange juice off his long fingers. He didn't even wait for acknowledgment before he continued, “There's a reason we say you chicken out of things like this. You get all up in your head, Dai-chan. You think too much, way too much about things that are simple. You waste time weighing the right against the wrong, worrying about the outcome... Being cautious when you really shouldn't be. You never take action. And you seem to enjoy waving to romantic opportunities as they pass you by while you agonize over whether asking someone out for coffee would maybe cause a thunderstorm in Spain or something,” Oikawa finished with a pleasant smile, as if he hadn't just broken down Daichi's mentality in a few sentences and laid it out in front of him, pointing at the faulty bits and going This is why you're an idiot.

“But, Suga said that he-”

“That he what?” Oikawa raised his eyebrows, unnervingly sure of his analysis. “He alluded to the short time he has left in our building, didn't he?” He shook his head. “Unless you can tell me that you had a conversation that went something like: oooooh, Suga, my perfect little glowing angel, I love you, I want to marry you and suck face with you for the rest of my undeserving existence and he said lol, no tnx, it doesn't count.”

“But-”

“Have you told him?” Oikawa was insistent, now leaning forward a little and capturing Daichi's gaze with his own, entrancing one. “Have you told him how you feel about him?”

“Well... No,” Daichi admitted. “But, I mean, we've been cozy with each other and-”

“Dai-chan, I literally sleep on top of you if we're both too tired to move after a movie marathon. Coziness doesn't cut it. Unless...” Oikawa's lips pulled up in a devious smirk. “Well, unless you have something to tell me...”

Daichi kicked him in the shin while the bastard laughed.

“The point is,” Oikawa said and stood up, making sure that the waves of his hair were still falling properly around his face. “You need to suck it up and tell him, right in the eye, whatever it is that you think you should tell him. Don't hesitate, don't wait any longer. And at the risk of sounding like the almighty Mr. LaBeouf: just fucking do it.”

Before Daichi could even register what was happening, Oikawa reached and downed the glass of Death at the Discotheque, grinned at him and fluttered off in the direction of the metal staircase, back to his date in the private area.

Daichi's intoxicated mind was spinning, nauseatingly slow, from Oikawa's words.

He needed another drink.


When his phone alarm crowed barely three hours after he'd crawled into bed, Suga was tempted to chuck it at the wall and continue sleeping. His body had become one with the mattress, his head melded with the pillow and he didn't feel like facing the outside world before the sun came up.

Except that a packed suitcase and a plane ticket in the living room pretty much insisted on it.

With a groan Suga detached himself from the warm embrace of the guest bed and staggered his way to the bathroom, setting about his morning routine on auto pilot. He was slow, his mind still gearing up for coherent thought; it wasn't until he was fully dressed for travel in a hoodie and sweatpants, clean and shaven, back in the bathroom to check if he had packed everything he'd need out of toiletries, that he paused in front of the mirror above the sink.

He examined the fading bruise around his right eye, now a mixture of yellow and purple, and gave the discolored skin a prod or two with his fingers. It wasn't tender anymore, thankfully; the red around the iris was dissolving, barely a fleck remaining now.

Suga was satisfied that it wouldn't cause any problems.

He stared at his reflection, paler than usual and with dark shades under his eyes, and he hoped he'd sleep on the plane. He hoped he wouldn't get another phone call like last night. He hoped... things were easier.

A touch different than his own surfaced in his mind, from a week ago, feather-light and gentle around his then fresh bruise, and a pair of dark brown eyes, aggressively worried. Daichi wanted-

Suga sighed, leaning forward to press his forehead on the cold mirror.

Daichi wanted to know. He'd seen the bruise and he wanted to know what was wrong.

Nothing was wrong.

Nothing save for the fact that Suga was scared of so many things in life that he no longer trusted himself to open up to anyone, about anything. He couldn't discern what was safe to say and what not, what would attract attention, flattery even, what would expose him to people's greed, and what... What would make them pity him.

He didn't know what would make people leave...

Because they always left, didn't they?

Shit.

He couldn't think about that now. He had to be at the airport in an hour and he couldn't allow himself to spiral into his usual doubts. Suga successfully cut off his train of thoughts and turned away from the mirror, back to the living room to make sure he had his passport.

The doorbell rang out in the quiet, dimly-lit apartment.

Suga paused in unzipping his carry-on bag. He wasn't expecting anyone at almost five o'clock in the morning. It wasn't his apartment; exactly one person besides him and the people living in this building knew where he was, and Kiyoko would've at least texted before coming over.

The doorbell sounded again, insistent. Suga figured there was no harm in at least checking who it was.

Through the fish-eye lens of the peephole he couldn't see much more than the top of a head, dark, short hair of someone leaning with their forehead against the door. Suga's first impulse was to just wait until the stranger left, but then he heard a hiccup and a groan and his heart rate picked up at the sound of that voice.

Not having any idea what was going on (and steeling himself in case something was terribly wrong), Suga unlocked and opened the door. Daichi stumbled head first into the apartment, into Suga, who squeaked and braced himself on instinct, catching Daichi in his arms before the larger man brought them both down.

"Daichi!" Suga exclaimed, startled, teetering under the weight until he found his balance and tightened his embrace around Daichi's waist. "What-"

What the hell!

Daichi barely made an effort to keep himself upright; he draped most of his robust body over Suga and buried his face in Suga's neck.

"You smell nice," he mumbled hoarsely, his breath hot and damp over Suga's skin.

And reeking of alcohol.

"And you smell like you drank all the rum in the city," Suga said, not without humor in his tone. He breathed a sigh of relief; Daichi appeared to be in no rush and no immediate danger. The only thing wrong with him was an evidently copious amount of booze.

"'S 'cause of all the rum I drank," Daichi explained helpfully into Suga's hoodie.

Suga chuckled. He adjusted his hold, not finding it in himself to be bothered by the intrusion, by Daichi's sudden stumble into his day, however bizarre.

He turned his head and pressed his lips to the edge of Daichi's jaw, salty with sweat. "Dai?" he murmured, reflexively closing his eyes at the closeness, at the warmth of Daichi's skin against his own. "What are you doing here?"

"N'one was home," Daichi said.

Suga laughed. "No one was home? In your apartment?"

"Knocked for ages..."

"Um. Daichi, you do realize you have the keys?"

"No, no, no, no..." Daichi repeated, burying his face deeper into Suga's sweatshirt, snuggling as close to him as it was possible and Suga did his best to accommodate the heavy teddy bear. "Y'don' get it, Suga: I wasn't home to answer the door."

"So, you're telling me that you knocked on the door to your own apartment, and, surprisingly, you weren't in your apartment to answer the knock?"

"Dunno how that happened..." Daichi sighed and perceptibly sagged in Suga's arms. "'M usually good with doors."

Suga’s giggles were uncontainable, bubbling through both of them. “Obviously not when you're not even aware of which side of the door you're on. Come on, Daichi, I think it's time for bed.”

He propped Daichi up, shifted them so Daichi's arm was around his shoulders and managed to poke him into sufficient awareness that he was almost walking and not being dragged along to his apartment.

“Mmmmmno,” Daichi muttered, squinting in the hallway light, his head lolling to the side. “Need to talk.”

“Yeah?” Suga locked the door to Asahi and Noya's apartment and gently steered Daichi to the right, supporting his weight. “About what?”

“'bout... Spain, I think.”

Suga smiled at the nonsense. He used the hand that wasn't holding Daichi close to him to pat the sides of Daichi's jeans which hugged his thighs in all the delicious ways until he felt keys in a front pocket. “Spain, huh?” Suga slid his fingers inside, feeling his way in while definitely not thinking about the proximity of his hand to- “What about it?”

“Thunderstoms.” Daichi nodded with surprising conviction for someone who had zero connections with meteorology.

Suga laughed, pulling out the keys and blowing an unruly strand of his hair away from his eyes; it was getting hot with Daichi leaning into him so heavily. “If there are thunderstorms in Spain, then you might not want to go there,” he said, unlocking Daichi's apartment while at the same time steadying their coupled weight.

“Noooooooo, wasn't gonna.”

The door swung open into the dark apartment and Daichi's face lit up as he smiled, wide and dumb. “Heeeey, you got the door open!” he exclaimed and then looked at Suga through his drunken haze. “Wait.” He narrowed his eyes. “How'd you get into my apartment?”

Suga booped Daichi on the nose with an index finger and helped him trudge over to the sofa. “My magical teleportation skills, of course,” he joked.

“Right,” Daichi said, as if this made every sense. He plopped down on the soft cushions and immediately slid sideways, closing his eyes. “Forgot angels had special powers.”

Suga shook his head with a smile. He hadn't the slightest clue where Daichi had been, why he drank so much or what the hell he was talking about, but his cuddliness and meaningless chatter was cute, heartwarming, and Suga was glad for the unexpected visit, despite himself.

Despite having spent the last week avoiding Daichi.

Suga bit his bottom lip and crouched to unlace Daichi's sneakers and take them off. Uncertainty slithered its way around his ribs... It was a mess; everything, his life, his past... Suga himself was a mess and last night's conversation hadn't helped at all. Suga wished that for a day, or two, he'd be free of all of his concerns and hesitations and just...

He set aside Daichi's sneakers and lifted his legs on the sofa; Daichi sank into the softness, looking ready to pass out.

...just kiss him, maybe, and whisper that he's got a plane to catch now but that he'd be back in a few days. He'd be back and there would be someone waiting for him.

Maybe.

Suga's teeh pinched his lip to the point of pain to stop it from quivering and he shut his eyes tightly. He needed to focus on what else had to be done before he left.

He should probably get someone to stay with Daichi before he had to be at the airport... His gaze fell on a bag of what looked like leftovers on the coffee table and he moved them to the kitchen, stacked them neatly in the fridge, and also...

Suga searched through the cabinets until he found the largest bowl he could, the size of a hamper almost. He walked back to the sofa and set it on the floor beside Daichi.

“Dai?” he whispered, gently carding his fingers through Daichi's thick, fluffy hair.

Daichi frowned and cracked open his eyes, deep brown and bloodshot in the morning light, bleary as he tried to focus on Suga. There was a hint of stubble over the sharp angle of his jaw and Suga smiled, kneeling down so that they were at eye-level, thinking how gorgeous he was even when looking like the cat had dragged him in.

“I have to go soon,” Suga said, twirling Daichi’s hair around a finger slowly. “But I'm going to ask Kuroo or Oikawa if they can sit with you. Also...” He motioned down to the bowl. “This is in case you have to hurl later.”

Suga continued playing with Daichi's hair, gently, savoring the moment as Daichi worked on processing this information.

“'urdy,” he mumbled at last.

“What?”

Daichi adjusted his head on the armrest better, so that his cheek wasn't squished against the fabric. “Pretty,” he repeated.

Suga's fingers froze.

“You're so pretty, Suga,” Daichi said, seriously, almost soberly, and Suga was spellbound by the words.

Then his reflexes kicked in and he laughed, withdrawing his hand. “And you're wasted,” he said lightly. Because he was, Daichi was wasted, he didn't know what he was saying…

Suga was too speechless, too caught up in Daichi's eyes, in something so fierce whirling in them, that he didn't notice Daichi reaching for him until his fingers ghosted over Suga's temple, brushing away a strand of silvery hair.

“Too pretty to be sad,” Daichi whispered.

And Suga smiled even as his throat clenched up. It was an automatic response for him – smiling, but the truth was that it was hard to breathe, to think clearly, and he leaned into the warmth of Daichi's palm like before because it felt safe, reassuring, just like Daichi. And Daichi was strong and solid; strong enough to deal with anything, including maybe the disorder of Suga's life...

“How would you know if I was sad?” Suga asked, still smiling, woefully, his chest burning.

“Heard you crying. Through the door.” Daichi caressed the side of Suga's face, right where the bruise dissolved into the unharmed skin. “Wanted to... I- Wanted to break in, to...” Daichi frowned, aware at least to some degree that words were difficult to manage in his state.

“I didn't,” he said. “I should've.”

And somehow, Suga wasn't surprised. Tears blurred his vision but he blinked them away because he needed to look into those dark eyes, clearer now. He wasn't surprised that Daichi had heard him, that he'd wanted to help; Suga needed that, he desperately needed someone to smash through the wall he'd built for himself, to make an effort, and who else, really, who other than-

“You should've,” Suga whispered, again biting his bottom lip. His hands were fisted in his lap, his shoulders trembling ever so slightly, and he fought to remain in control of his emotions.

Daichi's gaze slid downwards, to where the hard edge of Suga's teeth dug into the plump of his lip and he pulled Suga in, only a little. He looked back up and Suga was transfixed by the intensity in Daichi's eyes, so close now.

“I don't care, Suga,” Daichi said, with frightening certainty. “I don't care what's... What's going on. What you do or what...” His lips twitched upwards, thumb sweeping tenderly over the slope of Suga's cheekbone. “If you're like a spy or a hooker or... I don't give a fucking fly what the story is. I just...” And he smiled, openly, kindly, in the way that Suga came to associate with fun and cooking and happiness. “You... You're so bright an'- and amazing and... Whatever's going on, you're you, and... An' you make me high, Suga. Soooooo...” He released Suga's face to wave slowly. “Not- not like hi. But like whooooosh!” He made a swooping gesture with his hand and Suga couldn't help but choke out a laugh at the silliness. “Every time I see you, you know?”

“You don't know what you're saying, Daichi,” Suga said, shaking his head, but he was smiling, and tearing up again because it was too much to handle all at once; he felt like he was going to burst from joy and fear and hope that Daichi actually knew what he was talking about, that this was true and real-

“No, Suga. Listen to me.” Daichi edged closer, his face only centimeters away from Suga's. His dark eyebrows, so intimidating, his long lashes, the tan of his skin rendered Suga breathless.

“I... I'm in love with you.”

And a single tear escaped the corner of Suga's eye. He was paralyzed, shaking and yet unable to move, and Daichi stopped the droplet from rolling down further with the pad of his finger.

“And I...” he whispered, so close, so agonizingly close, his breath sharp and sweet over Suga's face. “I want to be with you, Suga. If... If you'll let me.”

Daichi's lips were right there, on the verge of his own... Suga tingled all over, his vision watery and he closed his eyes, leaning in...

Only to be shoved back, roughly; Suga would've collided with the unforgiving edge of the coffee table if it weren't for his fast reaction – he anchored himself with a grip on the armchair beside him, eyes shooting open to realize that Daichi had his head in the large puke-bowl, retching his guts out.

Suga took a second to recollect himself; his heart was hammering, his breathing uneven and he swallowed a sob as he sat back up and wiped at his eyes. Daichi made a pitiful groan between two convulsions that wracked his whole body and Suga patted him lightly on the back, deciding that it was a good time as any to see if someone else could take over watching him.

A good time as any to get up and put some space between them, some air.

He rose to his feet and wandered out of the apartment and across the hall. His head buzzed with words and feelings and lips, the promise of which burned in his mind and he might've pressed the doorbell of Kuroo and Bokuto's apartment and forgotten to let go.

He wasn’t aware of the shouting from inside, of someone tripping over the chaos in the living room until a pissed off, disheveled Kuroo yanked the door open.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR- Oh.” His glower was immediately replaced by surprise when he looked down at Suga and tightened his grasp on the waistband of his shorts that seemed too stretched out for his hips. “Suga? Is something wrong?”

Suga blinked up at Kuroo, somehow finding it strange that he was standing there even though Suga's finger was still on the doorbell.

“Uh... You might wanna stop the ringing?” Kuroo suggested with a smile. “Kinda giving me a headache.”

“Oh. Right.” Suga let his hand drop to his side. “Sorry. I...” His heartbeat was still thundering in his ears.

“Is everything alright?”

He could barely hear Kuroo. “Yeah...”

A pair of bright eyes invaded his field of vision then as Kuroo bent down and tried to get Suga to focus on him. “Suga, what happened? Are... Are you hurt?” he asked quietly, with obvious concern in his gaze that lingered on the fading bruise around Suga's eye.

The question made Suga snap out of it. “What? No, no...” He dragged a hand down his face to reset his brain. “Daichi...” Told me he was in love with me. “I have to leave for a business trip now and Daichi needs... A babysitter.” He had a vague notion that it was barely 6 in the morning. “I-I'm sorry for waking you up, I just... Can you watch him?”

“Yes, of course.” Kuroo nodded, but he still watched Suga with the same level of worry.

“Good. Thank you.” Suga managed a weak smile. “I'll... see you in a couple of days.”

“Sure.”

And Suga ambled away, leaving a confused Kuroo holding his shorts up on the doorstep.

Suga succeeded in opening Asahi and Noya's door on the second try and moved about in a daze. He wasn't doing anything consciously, zipping up bags, checking that he turned off all of the things he had to turn off in the apartment, gathering everything... Mind short-circuited and attempting to start back up.

And underneath all of the layers of self-doubt, disarray, hesitation, underneath the voice that kept telling him that Daichi was too drunk, that he didn't mean any of it, there was something small and warm, glowing, saying just how much...

Suga wanted this.


A deafening HONK! blasted through the air and Daichi jumped out of his skin. He banged his leg on the coffee table, the sharp pain in his foot joining the dull throb between his eyes; he swore out loud, winced and looked up at Kuroo and Bokuto standing wide-eyed in the middle of his living room with what looked like an air horn on the floor.

“He did it,” both of them said in unison, pointing an accusing finger at the other.

“You two...” Daichi croaked out, shutting his eyes and laying back down on the sofa, his heart finding its way back down into his chest. “Shouldn't be allowed back into society. Ever.”

He couldn't pinpoint the exact source of his distress at the moment; his tongue was sticking to the inside of his parched mouth, the headache was unrelenting and his stomach was doing what felt like an Irish jig. With a firm, Captain's resolve, Daichi concluded that the best course of action would be to just wither and die right there on his own couch.

“Here.”

Something hard and cool nudged his forehead and Daichi squinted through the subdued light in the room (somewhere in the back of his hung-over mind he realized that all of the curtains were drawn) to see Kuroo standing above him with a bottle of water in hand.

Daichi looked at it morosely. “If I sit up to drink that my eyes will pop right out of my skull.”

Kuroo smirked. “If it so happens that you lose your eyesight over this bottle of water, I promise I'll be a good assistant and only let you walk into walls when you deserve it.”

Daichi debated whether or not to just leave it, but there was a bitter taste in his cotton dry mouth that he wanted to wash down and water sounded like a healthy drink choice, unlike anything he had last night. He groaned and slowly pulled himself up, the pressure behind his eyebrows increasing until he was sitting with his forehead cradled in his hand, waiting for his head to split down the middle.

“I feel like I've been digested,” he muttered, taking the bottle from Kuroo who also slipped two Aspirin into his hand.

“You look like it, too,” Kuroo said.

“Nonsense!” Bokuto exclaimed from the armchair, far too loudly and cheerfully. Daichi heard a smack, most likely from Kuroo warning him to lower his voice and Bokuto repeated, near-whispering, “Nonsense. From what I saw you had an awesome time last night.”

“Yeah, which reminds me: I'm gonna have to see that footage,” Kuroo said, dropping on the sofa beside Daichi, causing a ripple of the cushions that didn't help Daichi's headache in the least. He laced his fingers behind his head and propped his feet up on the coffee table. “Can't remember I've ever seen Daichi dance before.”

Daichi choked in the middle of swallowing his second pill. He erupted into a coughing fit and Kuroo slapped him forcefully on the back a couple of times.

“You mean, other than that weird head-nodding thing he does that he thinks makes him look cool,” Bokuto supplied.

“Yeah.”

“D-dance?!” Daichi managed to utter between his gurgling, gaping at his friends.

“Yaha.” Bokuto grinned widely, a gleam in his eyes. “Got it all on camera.”

Daichi searched through his memory, as fast as the swirling alcohol vapor in his mind would allow him. He remembered the club, Bokuto and his stunning office, his juggling behind the bar; he remembered a pair of blue eyes that made him irrationally angry for some reason and he was almost positive that he had run into Oikawa, but then... Then it all went fuzzy, and finally black, until now, when Kuroo and Bokuto gave him a heart attack with the air horn.

He couldn't, for the life of him, remember anything about dancing.

“I heard it was to Worth it by Fifth Harmony,” Kuroo whispered, smirking. Daichi paled in the face.

“Great beat,” Bokuto said. “You really knew your way around the bar top.”

And then it hit him – it must have been because of the headache and the back-flips of his stomach that he didn't catch on sooner, but as Daichi took another swig from the water bottle, his mind cleared up a little and he narrowed his eyes at Kuroo and Bokuto.

“You're screwing with me.”

The two exchanged a look, silently communicating something that Daichi couldn't make sense of, but then Bokuto started laughing and Kuroo grinned, giving Daichi another slap on the back.

“Running time: approximately one minute and 20 seconds, drowning in a bottle of water included,” Kuroo said. “Took you long enough.”

“Aw, but thank fuck your higher brain functions are intact,” Bokuto added through his laughs. “I was worried, you know, seeing as you drank half of my club.”

Daichi set the empty bottle on the coffee table, let out another drawn-out groan and lied back down, resting his head on Kuroo's lap. “'S your fault,” he mumbled, pressing the heels of his palms into his eyes to try and alleviate the headache. “You and your drink. Should be labeled as an environmental hazard.”

“Hey now,” Bokuto protested as Kuroo chuckled. “That is a special recipe, reserved only for the darkest of times. You seemed pretty down so I figured what the hell, might as well break out the shaker.” He shrugged. “Haven't been behind the bar in a while. Besides, I only gave you one drink, you didn't have to order the other five.”

“Five?” Kuroo asked. “You drank six Deaths? Surprised you still remember all your vowels. No wonder Suga was all freaked out.”

“Suga?” Daichi opened his eyes, a fast pulse a new addition to the myriad of his woes. He looked at Kuroo's blurry face above him. “When did you see Suga?”

“Um... This morning?” Kuroo quirked an eyebrow. “When he came to get me to sit with you?” At Daichi's uncomprehending expression he smirked. “Aw, is that another thing Papa Bear forgot?”

“You owe me exactly 63388 yen,” Daichi reminded him, not in the mood to play games.

“So, Suga came by at around six.” Kuroo's smirk vanished at once. “I dunno, he was all lost and looked like he'd been crying. I thought maybe something happened, you know, with the whole potential abuse thing, but he said he was fine and asked me to watch over you and... just left. Went on a business trip or something.”

Daichi's heart dropped. The trips, the mysterious trips Suga took that Asahi claimed couldn't be of the business kind. Fuck.

I have to go soon...

Daichi couldn't explain the feeling of dread that snaked into his gut.

“I didn't see him again,” Kuroo continued. “And by the time I got rid of my, ekhm, guest you were already passed out on the sofa.”

“Wha- Guest?” Bokuto squawked. “How did you-? You didn't even go out last night!”

“What? I went to get pork buns.” Kuroo shrugged innocently.

It was something... shimmering in the back of Daichi's dull mind, a silhouette of a memory. A transparent image of bright hazel eyes glistening with tears... Why were there tears?

“At the tiny corner store?”

“Well, yeah. The cashier was really cute, her shift was ending soon and it's not my fault I'm devilishly handsome.” Kuroo wiggled his eyebrows.

And then a scent, painfully familiar, fresh and citrusy, and a tingling sensation around his hip... Did someone try to sneak their hand into his pocket?

“The one with the lip piercing?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Dude!” Bokuto grinned and raised a hand for a high-five which Kuroo met with a smack!

Which is pretty much the same sound Daichi's mind made when all of the alcohol-laden puzzle pieces fell into place. It was still rough around the edges but he could clearly see Suga, smiling through tears, his own hand caressing Suga's face, and he remembered saying...

Oh god.

“I think I'm gonna be sick,” Daichi muttered, the memory making the water in his stomach slosh around revoltingly.

“Shit.” Kuroo's attention was back on him, eyes wide. “Quick, Bo, get another bowl.” Bokuto darted towards the kitchen and Kuroo smiled nervously. “You know I love you, but that last one was just so many levels of gross that I figured it was easier for my sanity to just throw it out and buy you a new one than to try and wash it.”

But Daichi wasn't listening. He was too wrapped up in replaying his own words from last night over and over, feeling like it wasn't him, like it was someone else entirely who talked, and the way Suga had shivered underneath his touch, the way Daichi had pushed him away in that one critical moment...

“I'm such an idiot,” Daichi said out loud, staring horrified at the void, seeing nothing but his own drunk stupidity.

“Um. OK?” Kuroo wasn't following. Bokuto returned with puke-bowl 2.0, set it on the coffee table and settled back into the armchair. “I mean, yeah, at times you're not the sharpest tool in the shed,” Kuroo conceded. “But why now?”

Daichi tried to swallow the lump in his throat, fruitlessly. The AC was on right above their heads, but he was still sweating. “I think... I think I told Suga that I was in love with him.”

There was a beat of silence. Daichi didn't notice Kuroo and Bokuto glancing at each other again, with Kuroo's eyes clearly going fucking finally! and Bokuto agreeing, with an added I should've grabbed a bag of chips while I was in the kitchen.

Kuroo cleared his throat. “And?”

And? What do you mean and?” Daichi erupted, exasperated, his arm shooting up in the air before falling to the sofa. His hangover and his disbelief in his actions made him voice every following thought, “I'm a moron who declared his feelings while completely hammered and then proceeded to throw up right in front of the object of those feelings! Not to mention that Suga... Fuck, Suga is all closed off and weird underneath all that prettiness and now he's probably freaking out!”

Daichi's voice was increasing in volume with every sentence, along with the intensity of the pain in his head. “I scared him! I definitely scared him away now, shit, why did I open my stupid mouth? How did I even- I don't even remember how I ended up at his doorstep! It's all Oikawa's fault, and yours,” he added again motioning towards Bokuto behind him. “You provided the fuel and Oikawa fucking lit a match with his perfect wavy hair and his pleasure in dissecting people and now-” He paused, out of breath and wide-eyed, ignoring the thumping behind his temples.

“Now he thinks I'm an idiot. I am an idiot. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, this is so bad, I can't take it back! I... I mean, not like I want to, not like I lied, but who in their right mind goes around confessing to people when they're drunk? Like, who does that?”

“We didn't even go out on a date yet!” Daichi nearly shouted. “We didn't even kiss oh my god he must think I'm some kind of a freak, some- like, some obsessed stalker type, how do you call it? Those yandere characters in those mangas Meru is too young to be reading? He clearly implied that we were to remain acquaintances at best, he was absolutely not interested in sharing even a smidgen of his life with me and I ignored that. I completely disregarded that and literally fell face first into his apartment to tell him I'm fucking in love with him! Not only that, I actually admitted to listening to him crying, oh my god, no wonder he ran away the moment he could!”

With one final groan of anger Daichi pressed his palms to his face, wondering what were the chances that he would suffocate himself with his hands, because that would probably be the best option considering the surprising drop in his IQ from last night. His mind continued ranting, his veins hot with disappointment in himself.

This was the last nail on the coffin of his and Suga's potential relationship, which might've even been saved if he'd been tactful.

If he hadn't done what he did last night, he would've approached the whole thing differently. Slowly, carefully, the way you approach a trembling doe in the woods, not by fucking firing from a shotgun in its general direction hoping it'll come running to you.

“Are you done?” Kuroo asked after a moment.

“Out loud, yeah,” Daichi said, his voice muffled by his hands.

“Asahi would've been proud,” Bokuto said. “You can freak out with the best of them, apparently.”

“Glad my misery is amusing to you, Bo.”

“OK, first of all.” Kuroo grabbed Daichi by the wrists and removed his hands from his face. His honey colored eyes stared at him almost hypnotically as Kuroo spelled it out, “You. Have to. Chiiiiill.”

Daichi exhaled sharply through his nose, his jaw clenched, but he nevertheless relaxed, and Kuroo let his hands drop on his chest.

“Second of all,” he continued. “What is up with you? You're one of the most stable people I know.” He smirked. “Well, except when Bo and I bet on who can get the vein in your forehead to pop out first.”

Daichi wanted to punch his nose in.

“But, I mean, I've never seen you this worked up over... Over a guy. Even when you were with someone you were always a little on the reserved side, always far from falling down the rabbit hole. Are you really that much into Suga?”

Daichi glared at Kuroo's questioning gaze before he let out a sigh. He turned to his side and looked at the dizzying pattern on Kuroo's shirt right in front of his nose that wasn't helping his headache.

“It's stupid, I know,” he said quietly, his anger subsiding enough for common sense to kick in. “He's been here barely a month. I don't... For all intents and purposes, I don't even know him. But still, somehow, he makes me feel all...” He inhaled deeply and gestured with his hands, demonstrating something that was expanding. Because that's what he felt like; every time he looked at Suga's radiant smile, at his kind eyes Daichi was filled with joy and butterflies and fluff until he was just about ready to take flight. “You know?”

He glanced up at Kuroo who smiled. “No, I don't know, actually. But I can imagine.”

“And I just...” Daichi frowned as Bokuto's hand squeezed his shoulder. “I wish I hadn't fucked it up.”


It was already dark outside when Daichi decided to drag himself upstairs to Oikawa's apartment. He'd asked Ennoshita to cover his shift at the restaurant (on account of his sudden flu, which the other chef didn't buy for a second, even as he agreed to take over, bless him), but he didn't feel like being alone; the magnitude of his bitterness threatened to swallow him whole and he knew he had to move, even if it was only to another floor, to maintain some semblance of reason.

Oikawa's door was unlocked, opening into an apartment with the same basic layout as Daichi's below it, only directly reflecting Oikawa's sophisticated taste. It was a nest of pastel colors, earth tones and light wood with elegant, modern appliances discretely falling into place in the airy rooms, specifically decorated to allow for an atmosphere of effortless style. The spotless interior was something directly out of a home design magazine and Oikawa was infuriatingly proud of it.

On the days it hadn't reminded him of who he used to share it with, at least.

The large, sleek plasma TV fastened to the wall was on, casting its flicker on the lump that was Oikawa on the mint colored sofa, curled up under a sheet even though it was a warm night; Oikawa could never make himself comfortable without some kind of a cover, regardless of the temperature. He seemed frayed at the edges, tired, and Daichi regarded him with concern, wondering about the last time Oikawa had a proper meal or a good night’s rest. His closed laptop and glasses were on the coffee table, a half-packed suitcase in the corner by the bookshelf.

“Hey,” Oikawa said quietly, not taking his eyes off the TV.

“Hey,” Daichi returned, closing the door. “Going somewhere?”

Oikawa sat up, made room for Daichi to sprawl on the sofa before he plopped back down on top of him, covering both of them with the sheet and looking back to the TV. His soft brown hair grazed Daichi's chin, faintly smelling like raspberries.

“One of our factories is late with parts for the new engine prototype,” Oikawa said from around Daichi's chest. “Father dearest is sending me to hurry them up. As if it can't be done over the phone.”

Daichi said nothing, taking a moment to fluff the cushion behind his head and better position himself under Oikawa's taller frame.

“He's just doing that because he heard about my date with Kindaichi.” Oikawa let out a cynical snort. “Once again he thinks a few days away from the city will magically make me straight.”

Daichi realized then that E. T. was playing, Oikawa's go-to movie whenever he was feeling blue. It was only the beginning - little Elliot getting scared of whatever was in the tool shed, and Daichi had an inkling that his and Oikawa’s moods coincided at that very moment; both of them could use cheering up in the form of family entertainment.

“I talked to Suga,” Daichi mentioned casually.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Daichi poured every bit of his frustration and dismay into that word and Oikawa took the hint and didn't prod further, unusually for him. “And your date?”

“Yeah,” Oikawa said in much the same manner.

The silence that followed was a mutual one, where they chose to focus on the movie instead on their current predicaments, following the adventures of one funny-looking alien while not moving a muscle from the couch.

Halfway through the feature the door to Oikawa's apartment opened again and Kuroo walked in, fresh from work. No one said a thing; Kuroo glanced at the TV, saw what was on and proceeded to dismantle his weapon and badge, take off his jacket and waste no second in crawling on top of Oikawa, to which Daichi just grunted from the added weight.

“How's the case, Tetsu-chan?” Oikawa asked, lazily running a hand through Kuroo's messy hair.

“Still unsolved,” Kuroo mumbled into Oikawa's sheet. “And not my division anymore, anyway.”

And after a while longer E. T. was pointing to his lips and saying ouch, and Elliot was doing the same, all teary eyed, and Daichi felt a tightness in his chest that he kept telling himself was just from the movie and nothing else.

Out of a corner of his eye he saw Oikawa wipe his face and then the door opened once more and Bokuto walked in on the saddest part of the movie. He took one look at the TV and dropped into the lazy bag beside the sofa without a word.

I'll be right here...” The alien said, his finger glowing in front of Elliot's forehead and Oikawa let out a tiny sob. Daichi patted his arm soothingly, though he was choking up himself.

“Fuck, even the dog ran up to him,” Kuroo said, his voice thick. “Everyone's gonna miss that little bastard.”

The doors of the space ship were closing, the last image of E. T. and his glowing chest on the screen when Bokuto spoke up, hesitantly, “Hey guys?” He looked at the trio on the couch, sniffling and in varying degrees of miserable, using the movie as an excuse to let their disquiet surface, if only a little.

And Bokuto smiled, in that electrifying way that he used to back in high school when they were all too exhausted to play anymore; when he knew he had to share his boundless energy with the team to keep them going, to keep them strong, because Bokuto was a force to be reckoned with, a contagious will to live and to enjoy every wonderful second life had to offer.

“You do know that you're all gonna be OK, right?” he said brightly.

And if Daichi let out a sob himself then, it was barely heard over Oikawa's whine of Kouuuu-chaaaaan as he peeled away from Daichi to hug Bokuto, pulling Kuroo along with him, who wasn't prepared and lurched forward and bumped his head on the coffee table.

MOTHERFUCKER!

They all burst out laughing as the credits rolled, uplifting music played and Kuroo let out a string of rather innovative curses.

Yeah, Daichi thought as he watched Oikawa sob into Bokuto's shoulder and Kuroo look for an ice pack. Maybe not right now, maybe not even soon, but they were definitely going to be OK.

For himself, he just had to set some things straight first.

Or gay.

Depending on how you looked at them.


To: Suga
hey
I kinda have a few things to say
and apologize for
we should talk when you get back

Chapter Text

Daichi had it all planned out. Suga hadn’t specified the exact date or time of his arrival in his short reply, but Daichi prepared everything beforehand. He put together a list of topics he wanted to cover, he made sure to include at least three apologies evenly spaced out through his speech, and to finish strong, a statement that he didn’t regret a thing but would still respect any decision Suga made regarding their future relations.

He supposed it did have a slight political ring to it, but Daichi wasn’t taking any chances. He’d delivered more than enough speeches in his career as a team captain to know that he had to be impactful and direct if he wanted Suga to take him seriously after the whole I’m in love with you like whoooosh debacle.

It was do or die.

Needless to say, when there was a knock at his door just after 1 a.m., when Daichi had stepped out of the shower that washed the restaurant smell off of him, all of his preparations went to shit.

First, he was wearing only a pair of boxers.

“Hold on!” he shouted from the bedroom, frantically searching for any decent pair of pants. “I’m coming!”

Were there no clean clothes in his house? Did he not just do a load of laundry? Was there a black hole specifically designed to open up and swallow every single nice article of clothing just when Daichi needed it- Oh, there they are!

Over the sweatpants Daichi threw on the first T-shirt he spotted and ran a hand through his damp hair, hurrying to answer what was now already a third knock. He found it a little hard to breathe.

Which brought him to his second problem: he was panicking.

It wasn’t like he didn’t know who it was - any one of his friends would’ve just barged in without an invitation; not like he wasn’t rushing for a reason, but even so, it was sudden, unexpected and he wasn’t ready; he needed to go over his notes one more time, he’d forgotten what was the first point on the list, he couldn’t remember the compelling way he’d phrased his last paragraph and his palms were clammy.

It didn’t help in the least that when Daichi swung the door open he was left stunned; stupefied by Suga’s weak, subdued smile that fried the few remaining gray cells in Daichi’s brain.

The lights were on in his pitiful mind but there was no one home.

“Suga…” was all he managed lamely, staring at the beauty before him.

And Suga was tired, Daichi could see that, with sleepy eyes and dark circles under them, but he was ethereal, just like the first time Daichi had met him on that same doorstep. The silvery hair with the wayward strands, the beauty mark, the fading purplish bruise around his eye... It was Suga, Suga was there... Daichi’s heart swelled, his mind blank and words-

Daichi needed words, needed to say something, needed to start the goddamn speech he’d been working on for the past four days, but he couldn’t. He stared, captivated.

Hopeless.

Suga’s gaze was on him, so kind, and that smile pierced Daichi right through the chest.

“Did you mean it?” Suga asked simply, whispered it, like he was afraid to dispel the warm silence, the gleam of the yellowish hallway light… No greeting, no unnecessary chit-chat, right down to the heart of the matter.

But Daichi was still speechless. Yes he fucking meant it; he meant the whole alcohol-infused tirade. He was an idiot, but an honest idiot who was in love and he… couldn’t look away. Couldn’t open his mouth.

“What you said?” Suga continued with an uncertain raise of his brows. “About… About not caring what the story was…” His smile widened for a second, once again left Daichi amazed at the glimpse of its brightness. “If I was a hooker or something. When…” Suga swallowed, faltering. “When you said that you were in love with me?” His voice was so thin, so small. Fuck, he was so precious. “Did you really mean it?”

He was scared, Daichi saw, scared of the answer and the outcome and… maybe even scared of getting hurt, heartbroken, though Daichi couldn’t know for certain. Suga was scared but standing straight, almost as tall as Daichi, ready for whatever Daichi was about to say.

And Daichi smiled. Widely, candidly, with warmth blooming under his skin, in his hands, from the small of his back to the tips of his ears, enveloping him because Suga was everything and here and so adorably afraid but strong; Daichi felt - god, he was exhilarated.

“Every word,” Daichi said, using all of his energy not to close the short distance between them and smooch the hell out of Suga right on the spot. “I meant every word of it.”

Suga watched him seriously, studying, clinging to his transparent armor for one more second before it crumbled, before he closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. As if it was hard for him to remain upright anymore, he leaned forward and rested his forehead on Daichi’s, smiling faintly, his breath hot on Daichi’s lips.

“Good,” he whispered, unmoving, his eyes still closed. Perfectly calm in the quiet of the hallway.

But Daichi forgot there was a hallway, a doorstep, anything but Suga, his pink lips, long lashes and the warmth of his skin; he trailed his hand up the sleeve of Suga’s hoodie and fitted his palm over the back of his neck, tangling his fingers in the ends of Suga’s soft hair.

“Suga…” he murmured, his heart beating something fierce. Just a tiny upward tilt of his chin would be enough to bring their lips together and he’d be damned if he let this chance slip.

Suga hummed, his smile dipping into a smirk.

“I’m not a hooker, though.”

If anyone had told Daichi that those would be the words just before he’d kiss what was likely, definitely, the most amazing person he’d ever met, he’d deck them.

But as it were, he just chuckled, breathless, barely managing a weak “Good,” before he finally pressed his lips to Suga’s.

And Suga gasped into the kiss, a small sound not of surprise but of longing, solace, a sound that rushed through Daichi and lanced through his heart, made him pull Suga in, cup his face with the other hand and hold him, just… take his lips between his own, pliable, softer than Daichi could ever imagine… kiss him, kiss him forever, slowly and tenderly, let go of reason and sanity and breathe him in.

Suga’s hands brushed over Daichi’s hips, squeezed on either side and Daichi sighed, content and blissful. Suga tasted like mint, kissed like sugar, sweetly.

Addictively.

He smiled, licked at Daichi’s lip, and Daichi smiled back, deepening the kiss, getting caught up in Suga’s playfulness, in the teasing of his tongue, the gentle, tantalizing licks...

Daichi was content never to break away, ever. He had forgotten how easy it was, being with Suga, how it was only to be expected that kissing him would be just as easy, effortless… Reviving. They had all the time in the world and for all Daichi cared the whole building could go up in flames before he’d let go.

He nibbled at Suga’s lower lip and Suga let out a delicious little ah that went straight to Daichi’s crotch; his fingers in Suga’s hair curled in, tightened around the silver fluff, and Suga wanted more, pressed his lips harder to Daichi’s, leaned into him. His hands slid up over Daichi’s shirt and Suga grazed with blunt fingernails over his chest; this time there was a definite jolt in the front of Daichi’s sweatpants.

Somewhere in the back of his sizzling mind he knew he had to take it slow, to cherish and be gentle because Suga was fragile; Daichi had to tread carefully.

Though it was hard to listen to the faint voice of reason as Suga kissed back without restraint, gripped at Daichi’s shirt and let out- oh god, it was a moan, a tiny, melodical moan that set Daichi on fire-

Any coherent thought processes Daichi might’ve had flew out the metaphorical window of his head and he slid his tongue into Suga’s mouth with more purpose, insistent, gave his hair a light tug and Suga pressed closer, but then, suddenly-

“Um.”

Too soon, not now- Suga pulled away; a small retreat of his lips, his body still firmly settled in Daichi’s arms as he looked down, out of breath, his fingers in Daichi’s shirt trembling lightly. And Daichi was thrumming as well, with fire and elation and his lips tingled; and this time he was the one to lean his forehead on Suga’s.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, still working on calming his breathing. “I- I shouldn’t have-”

“No,” Suga breathed out, cutting him off with a shake of his head. “I… Hm.” He managed a feeble smile, his lips red and kiss-swollen, bright hazel eyes looking back up into Daichi’s. “Dai… How comfortable would you be with seeing me naked?”

Daichi stared. His fingers in Suga’s hair idly threaded through the feathery strands as he processed this.

“I have a feeling this is a trick question,” he said at last.

And Suga laughed, though with some strain.

“No, I mean, I… I literally just got back and I could use a… a bath and I might need some help… I think.”

Daichi thought he had never heard a weirder, more awkward invite for sex in his life.

Which Suga must’ve read off his face as he hurried to add, “No, not- not in that way… I mean, not yet, anyway.” He smiled, nervously, tiredly. “I... just. Please?”

Daichi was confused and in no position to try and figure out what was going on, but he figured helping Suga take a bath, whatever that meant, involved seeing more of Suga and being more with Suga and perhaps even seeing Suga naked and so he smiled, quirking a brow.

“Does that mean I don’t get to touch?”

Suga’s laugh came out easier this time. He winked.

“Only if you behave.”

And Daichi’s smile widened, Suga slipped out of his embrace and Daichi picked up the suitcase, swung Suga's bag over his shoulder and turned to follow him-

Only to stop dead in his tracks.

Any feeling of cozyness, lazy intimacy that swirled in Daichi’s gut vanished at once as anger took over, overpowering, burning every single giddy butterfly to ashes.

Suga was limping, again. Little less pronounced than the first time but moving towards Asahi and Noya’s apartment with a definite hesitation about putting weight on the same leg as before.

Daichi’s hold on the suitcase turned into an iron grip; he stepped up to Suga’s side, laid a hand on his back as gently as he could manage, about to open his mouth but-

Suga knew.

He knew exactly what Daichi was going to say and with a small smile he just shook his head as he paused by Asahi and Noya’s door, fishing out the keys.

“Is it your ankle again?” Daichi asked, keeping his voice under control for the time being. Ungraciously, he dropped the suitcase and took the keys to open the door.

“Not… exactly,” Suga said, looking… guilty?

Daichi kicked the door with too much force, slammed his shoulder into it and almost stumbled right after it into the apartment, steadying himself in time.

He hauled the suitcase over the doorstep into the green and purple hallway of the apartment and let the carry-on bag fall from his shoulder to the floor, grating his teeth, hating that it was happening again, the whole nine yards, the injuries, the silence. He hated that Suga was avoiding the topic yet AGAIN-

A soft touch sliced through his internal rant; a brush of fingers over his own as Suga leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.

“Come with me,” he whispered and pulled Daichi by the hand.

Daichi fumed silently, the handholding providing little comfort as he followed Suga at his limping pace to the dark bathroom.

Moonlight poured through the small windows high on the wall, casting bluish shadows over the tiles and the gleaming ceramic plumbing. Suga didn’t bother flicking on the lights; he let go of Daichi and came to the edge of the bathtub and Daichi watched him as he bent over, a pained huff escaping his lips. It rattled Daichi’s insides, gave him an idea that it wasn’t just Suga’s leg this time, maybe, and he bit his tongue not to explode, not to ruin what had started out so wonderfully only minutes before.

Suga plugged the drain and turned on the facet, adjusting the water temperature. He helped himself with one of the products arranged on the side of the tub by the wall, added a cap of yellow liquid into the water. The refreshing scent of lemons rose into the air.

Suga turned around then, faced Daichi and smiled in that way that Daichi didn’t like, the way that meant he was hiding something, hurting maybe; for fuck’s sake how long would Daichi have to wait before Suga would finally-

“You should see something,” Suga told him.

Daichi didn’t reply, his arms crossed over his chest on the doorstep and the steady rush of water in his ears as he waited... agitated, expectant.

Suga reached and slowly unzipped his grey hoodie.

And an audible gasp - Daichi’s - echoed in the silence, reverberated from every tile on the wall and filled the space between them with palpable shock.

Daichi’s anger evaporated, his heart clanging to his knees, heavy like lead, still as if unbeating. “Oh my god,” he uttered as Suga shrugged off the hoodie and let it fall to the floor, standing shirtless in front of him.

And Daichi was frozen, his mouth hanging open; his incredulous stare travelled over Suga’s lean chest, his stomach, following the blossoms of black, blue... Galaxies of bruises with jagged edges tarnishing the skin, creeping up under a collarbone and over one shoulder, blaring in the silver moonlight, screaming, chilling Daichi to the bone.

There was pounding in his ears, thundering that drowned out the swoosh of water and he couldn’t breathe; his chest wasn’t moving, ribs rigid and Daichi choked, inhaled sharply not to suffocate, not to pass out. Suga flinched at the sound, jarring Daichi enough to tear his eyes away from the offended skin, from what he knew used to be so flawless, pale...

He looked up, his head buzzing, and through the static he realized that Suga was biting his lip, avoiding his gaze, nervous and scared all over again.

Scared of what? Of Daichi?

Daichi moved. In two steps he was standing right in front of Suga and he held up his hands awkwardly, wanting to feel, to embrace and hold close, but he didn’t dare now that he wasn’t sure of the extent of the injuries and Suga still wasn’t looking at him, worrying the lip between his teeth-

No, Suga shouldn’t be scared of Daichi, he’d never- Daichi would never reject him for this, he’d never-

His distress too great, encompassing, Daichi resolved to comfort even if he didn’t understand a thing, even if he himself was outraged, disoriented. Lost. He dipped his head, closed his eyes and nuzzled at Suga’s ear gently, feeling the tickle of blond hair over his nose.

“It’s okay,” he whispered, his voice shaky. He brushed his knuckles over Suga’s bare arms hanging by his sides and lightly wrapped his fingers around them, steadying himself, his hammering heart. “I’m here, I’m here now, Suga…”

That’s right, he was here now, they were together; it would be alright, whatever it was.

Suga leaned into him and a piece of Daichi’s heart chipped away at his weak hum.

It would be alright.

“I…” Suga whispered. “My ribs hurt when I, um, bend over.” He fiddled with the button of his jeans. “Can you please, help me-”

He didn’t need to say more. Daichi placed his hands on Suga’s to move them out of the way, pressed his lips to his ear lobe, the edge of his jaw, slowly unbuttoning his jeans and rolling down the zipper as he trailed soft kisses to the corner of Suga’s mouth.

It wasn’t at all how it should’ve been; it wasn’t hot or sensual or anything remotely how Daichi imagined taking Suga’s clothes off for the first time would go. Rather he dreaded the condition of Suga’s lower body, remembering his thighs, the hard muscle under the supple skin, as he hooked his numb fingers in the waistband and slid the jeans past Suga’s hips, let them pool around his ankles while not breaking away.

Suga was kissing him then; a small, hesitant push of his lips against Daichi’s, as if testing, gouging Daichi’s state of mind and Daichi kissed back, harder, letting him know that he wasn’t leaving, however fucked up this was. He cradled Suga’s face in his hands, frowned into the kiss, breathed out his frustration and Suga grabbed onto his wrists, held tightly, anchoring him, responding to his advances with ache and hope and Daichi suppressed what could’ve only been a sob building up in his throat.

It wasn’t right; none of this was right, none of this was fair- Suga rubbed gentle circles on the smooth inside of Daichi’s wrists as they kissed, but Daichi wasn’t the one who needed soothing.

Or at least he kept telling himself that.

A rustle of clothes made them separate; Suga had kicked his jeans away as much as he could and used Daichi’s forearm for support to lower himself on the edge of the tub, obviously trying as much as he could not to twist his torso.

And Daichi’s jaw was clenched to the breaking point as his gaze traced down the bruise spreading over Suga’s hip, past his black boxer briefs and along the defined line of his thighs, blessedly less discoloured than his upper body.

He paused at the left knee, secured with bandage and painful to bend if the way Suga straightened his leg out in front of him was anything to go by. Daichi swallowed thickly, failing to get rid of whatever was lodged in his throat.

“Um. The- the knee-” Suga began hesitantly, but was immediately cut off by Daichi kneeling beside him.

With careful, trembling fingertips Daichi felt along the woven surface of the bandage, to the back of Suga’s knee where he found a little metallic clasp, a fastener, and undid it, letting it clink to the tiled floor. Slowly Daichi unwound the material, keeping himself calm by pointlessly counting the number of times it had been wrapped around Suga’s leg so he wouldn’t think about what was underneath.

He let out an inaudible sigh of relief when he saw that there were no open wounds, no stitches. The knee was a grisly shade of black seeping into purple, swollen, and Daichi laid out the bandage on the floor with care that was in stark contrast to his incensed mind.

He couldn’t manage a steady stream of thought. There was shouting in his mind and red hot anger and pitch black darkness and Suga was hurt, someone had hurt Suga and Daichi wanted-

Perhaps to murder was too strong a word...Though Daichi wasn’t opposed to an eye for an eye kind of retribution.

“Thank you,” Suga whispered, barely heard over the water still filling up the bathtub behind him.

Daichi didn’t have the strength to look Suga in the eye. His hands were shaking; he wouldn’t be able to hold back, to stop himself from raising his voice, crying, demanding answers.

Instead he leaned down, planted a tiny kiss above Suga’s knee, just where the bruise faded into healthy skin. Suga sucked in a breath, quivering, and slid his hand over Daichi’s shoulders, spreading warmth from his touch.

Daichi continued, leaving a trail of tender, dry kisses up Suga’s leg to the edge of his underwear and he allowed himself to touch, to ghost his fingers over the inside of Suga’s thigh. The skin was smooth, velvety as Daichi’s lips followed their path upwards, above the waistline of Suga’s boxers; along the smoky borderlines of the bruises, over his hip, the side of his chest, kissing it all better because that’s all Daichi could do at the moment.

His hand on Suga’s inner thigh stroked feather-soft as he took his time, pressing his lips wherever he could reach that he thought wouldn’t hurt, avoiding the darkest of black on the other side of Suga’s ribs, not wanting to think about the fragile bones underneath, about why they hurt when Suga moved…

Daichi sighed into Suga’s collarbone, paused to recollect himself, to breathe in the closeness and the way Suga still had his hand around Daichi’s shoulders and he was vaguely aware that Suga was also comforting him, caressing him over his shirt and trying to ease his worries.

“Daichi…” Suga murmured and Daichi finally looked up.

Into those round hazel eyes, shining in the moonlight, deep and welcoming... Daichi couldn’t stay quiet any longer.

“If you tell me who did this,” he said, his voice gruff, laced with seething rage. “I will break their skull.”

Suga’s eyes widened for a second, for a brief moment of surprise and Daichi was completely unprepared for The Smile. The way Suga’s lips curved up and Suga giggled; let out a true joyful chime that rang out over the water and dissipated the toxic vapours of Daichi’s angst.

“Trust me.” Suga patted his shoulder reassuringly. “The other guy’s got it much worse.”

And from the way the moonlight in his eyes transformed into a gleam of something fiery, triumphant, Daichi irrationally wondered if maybe Suga had buried the one who inflicted this much damage to him.

Despite himself, despite the turmoil of the night, Daichi stared at Suga with only one fully formed, flashing sentence in his mind:

Noya was fucking right.

Suga was James Bond.

He pulled Daichi closer, brushed their lips together and whispered, “It’s alright, Dai. It’s… expected.” His fingers raked through the back of Daichi’s short hair, sending tingles down his spine, and Daichi was positive that he was completely fucking dumbfounded in this whole ordeal.

“Help me get in?” Suga asked, tilting his head in the direction of the tub, now halfway filled with steaming water and a magnificent, twinkling fluff of foam. He reached and shut off the water.

Daichi helped him take his socks off and once more served as a sturdy pillar for Suga to haul himself up to his feet with as little pain as possible.

“Heh, um…” Suga chuckled, looking at Daichi sheepishly. “This is the part where you see me naked.”

And Daichi’s heart was still stuttering, every beat throbbing in his chest at the sight of Suga’s tainted body, but Suga himself now seemed more at ease, reassured that Daichi wasn’t too freaked out (wasn’t he?)... That he wasn’t running away.

It was as if Suga was expecting him to bolt at the first sign of trouble. But Daichi hadn’t, had actually wanted to help, to solve his problem, and Suga seemed to have relaxed, if only for a bit.

And Daichi smiled a little through the mess of his emotions, the confusion and the unrest; he bowed his head and softly kissed Suga’s healthy shoulder. “I think that what I’ve seen so far is a lot more upsetting than anything I might see when you take off your underwear,” he said into the porcelain skin, keeping his tone light, despite the accuracy of his words.

Suga’s shaky breath whispered over his ear.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this…” His voice cracked at the edges. “I- I know that, but I needed… I needed you to see this, Daichi. I needed to show you what I do because what if- if you change your mind and...”

Daichi laid more kisses on Suga’s shoulder, bringing up a hand to brush the back of his fingers over his jawline, hearing how Suga’s voice faded into a soft, shuddering sigh; Daichi stepped closer, enough to bridge the gap between them but not so much as to squeeze Suga’s aching body against his own, and followed the line of Suga’s collarbone with his tender lips.

He wasn’t going to change his mind, no matter what the situation was.

“...I’m sorry,” Suga said at last, gently scratching at Daichi’s arm.

“For what?”

“For… putting you through this, I guess.”

There was a hint of a smile in Suga’s voice, wobbly, remorseful. Of course Suga was feeling guilty; he was selfless and humble and of course he’d be all beaten up and broken and still apologizing for dragging Daichi into this.

Daichi was going to put a stop to it.

He closed his lips around the tender skin of Suga’s neck and sucked lightly, his heartbeat speeding up at Suga’s breath hitching in his throat; Suga wrapped his arms around Daichi’s waist tightly and Daichi released the spot before it could even turn red - Suga didn’t need more stains on his body. He did the same a little higher, gently catching the skin between his lips, enough to leave a wet mark, to feel Suga shiver and lean into him.

“Dai…” Suga whispered, dropping his forehead onto Daichi’s shoulder, clinging to him, and Daichi slowly dragged his fingertips from Suga’s nape down the slope of his back, exploring every centimeter of smoothness… Every dip, every rise of his muscles, with his lips burning their path up to the edge of Suga’s jaw and further... When Daichi reached the spot just under Suga’s ear he licked and Suga grabbed fistfuls of his shirt, melting in his arms.

Daichi slipped off Suga’s boxers and let them drop down to the floor; he pulled Suga in, gently pressed his warm, bare body close to him as they buried their faces in the crooks of each other’s necks, seeking comfort, affection, warmth... Daichi didn’t stop caressing, running his faint fingertips over Suga’s back, savoring…

He couldn’t tell for how long they held each other. Felt like hours, though it was probably no more than a few minutes. The air swirled thick with steam from the tub; Daichi’s shirt turned damp in places, Suga’s hands still fisted in it… And Daichi memorized every delicate patch of Suga’s skin, the pattern of his moles, the tightness of his embrace… They breathed together, calm and steady, peaceful.

Then Suga moved, rubbed his face against Daichi as if waking up from a dream; he lifted his head and Daichi met his gaze, his hazel eyes, soft at the corners, so incredibly captivating that Daichi could stare into them until his last hour.

“You’re beautiful,” Daichi whispered, nudging his nose to Suga’s, flattening his palms over his back and restraining himself from pulling him in further, not wanting to agitate his wounds.

Suga smiled.

“You’re pretty gorgeous yourself, you know.”

Daichi chuckled, feeling air-light, invincible, with this breathtaking unclothed angel telling him such ridiculous things, finding him gorgeous, as if he could even compare.

It took longer than it should have for them to pull away, for Daichi to let go of the serenity that was Suga and support him as he carefully stepped over the edge of the tub. With a wince Suga lowered himself down into the water and the crackling foam.

“Ah… Fuck,” he breathed out, stilling in obvious spasm until the pain dissipated.

And Daichi’s romance-induced wooziness thinned out when he saw the wince.

“Is… Um. If it hurts,” he started clumsily, “Maybe… Is there something I can get you, for- for the pain?”

Suga blinked up at him, as if surprised by the notion of pain killers, or the idea that Daichi was able and willing to get them for him, or-

“Yeah,” he said. “There’s… I have ibuprofen in a side pocket of my carry on bag.”

Daichi didn’t let Suga finish the sentence before he was already out the bathroom, fetching the pills as well as a glass of water from the kitchen.

Suga reached with wet hands, downed two pills with the water and gratefully smiled to Daichi as he handed the empty glass back to him. Daichi put it away on a shelf stacked with colorful towels and made himself as comfortable as possible on the hard, tiled floor. He folded his arm over the edge of the tub, rested his chin on it and looked at Suga, at the droplets of water carving trails down his collarbones, at the way his hair was charmingly curling at the ends from the humidity.

He didn’t feel the need to say anything. Not anymore.

Where there was shock and disorder and agonizing incomprehension in the beginning, now there was tranquility, a balmy patience and a realization that there was no need to rush. Suga was mostly fine… Suga was inexplicably fine about his injuries as a matter of fact, from the way he smiled and the way he was more upset about hurting Daichi than about getting banged up. They had all the time in the world - or at least this whole night, to talk, to sort things out… to enjoy each other.

Daichi held out his free hand and Suga’s emerged from the water, warm and dripping wet, with a collection of white bubbles around his wrist, to lace their fingers together on the edge of the tub.

Suga smoothed his thumb over Daichi’s knuckles and bit his lip, giving Daichi one long, absorbing look, before he smiled and said, quietly...

“I fight.”

Daichi’s eyebrows flew up.

“You…?”

“I fight,” Suga repeated, enunciating, holding his adorable smile.

Daichi had nothing. He gaped; he knew he was gaping, he knew that he should at least blink, but he couldn’t.

Suga was still running his thumb over the back of his hand; Daichi hardly felt it.

“U-um…” he stuttered out, trying to jump start his brain, his mouth suddenly paper-dry. “As in…?”

“As in, most days I work as a Senior Community Manager of a PR agency,” Suga elaborated slowly. “And then, sometimes, I get to fight in ranked matches as a professional MMA fighter.”

And if Daichi had felt frozen when Suga took off his hoodie earlier, now it was like he had dissolved into nothingness, like his body had broken apart into specks of dust that dispersed in the moonrays, like the airy bubbles of Suga’s bath.

His heart was dead set on bursting out of his chest and he was grateful for Suga’s hand grounding him or else he could’ve fainted from how dizzy he was, even sitting down.

Suga was looking at him, his smile kind and touch gentle, giving him time to mull this over.

“And… And…” The wire between Daichi's brain and tongue had obviously been snapped in half. “How…? … How? I mean…” He swallowed in a futile attempt to expand his vocabulary. “How.

Suga let out a faint laugh. “Well, um… It usually involves a lot of training, like on a daily basis. And then if you’re good enough you get to fight in some low-level matches… And if you win those then maybe you get to-”

“No, no, I know that, that’s not what I-” Daichi interrupted him, his voice higher than normal. He sat up straighter and closed his eyes to refocus, reformulate his thoughts. “I meant… I meant, how… Like… Why?”

Suga’s laugh was louder now, echoing in the bathroom.

“I know what you meant, Dai, I was just teasing.”

Daichi opened his eyes, his heartbeat still pounding, though less erratic at the way Suga was so obviously trying to help him get through this.

“I, uh, started training for real just out of high school,” Suga said. “I needed money, for… for life, I guess. For further education and a place to live and, you know, food.” He giggled. “Um, and I was good at wrestling, so…”

Daichi’s gaze swept over the blue tint of Suga’s shoulder, the bruises that disappeared into the white bubbles of the bath. “So… So, this is all… voluntary?”

Suga nodded.

“Well, I do get paid for it, of course.”

Paid for it… The words jolted the gears of Daichi’s mind into churning. He remembered everything that was odd to him about Suga since they first met; the conversation with Asahi, how Suga kept to himself, his expensive cars, travelling, his limp, the black eye - remnants of which were still visible on his face… How the injuries were accidents at the gym, holy shit, he was actually telling the truth.

Suga wasn’t being abused; it wasn't some dark, secret life of crime or hidden family fortune. Suga was training, fighting for a living, he was-

“Well fuck me sideways,” Daichi mumbled when the reality finally sunk in. He stared at Suga with wide eyes, in disbelief, relief, and utter reverence, suddenly very aware that the angel before him was most likely capable of breaking him like a pretzel.

It was an oddly satisfying feeling.

“I’m sorry,” Suga whispered, again sweeping his thumb over Daichi’s hand. “I should’ve told you before. I, um…” He smiled weakly. “It’s complicated, this and- and some other things and I didn’t want… I got scared, Daichi.” Daichi’s heart clenched at Suga’s round, honest eyes and pained little smile. “You were so sweet to me, ever since I came to this building, and I had such a good time with you and your insane friends and I was so scared that if… Somehow, if you saw this and knew more about me that you’d-” Suga shrugged, in the way you do when you feel small, helpless, and Daichi squeezed his hand tighter. “...Leave.”

Suga’s gaze followed the mounds of fluff in front of him as he continued glumly, “It was easier to keep a distance and act like nothing could’ve ever happened than to open up and risk...” He trailed off, inhaling sharply, shakily, suppressing a rush of emotions. "I didn't really have the best experiences with people... Well, people in general in my life."

Daichi leaned down and pressed his lips to the back of Suga’s hand to help him compose himself; the next time Suga spoke his voice held a dash of its usual melody. “And then you told me you were in love with me and I couldn’t... I couldn’t stop thinking about it, about you and your stupid sexy face… And your shoulders. And thighs…”

Suga laughed, bringing up his free hand to run his fingers through Daichi’s hair, sending rivulets of water cascading down his ears and neck.

“And I thought, why not try, maybe, this time...”

Daichi smiled broadly into Suga’s hand; the breezy feeling from before was creeping back, swelling up in his chest and making him giddy.

“You’re gonna get my shirt wet,” he muttered, turning his head and squishing his cheek against Suga’s hand.

“Eh, that’s okay. I can see your nipples through it anyway.”

They both laughed, out loud, freely and without strain, without… or rather, with far fewer untold stories between them, and Daichi looked up at Suga and his magical smile, his cheekbones, rosy from the hot water, and he was absolutely positive that he had never before been this much in love with anyone or anything, ever.

“Is… um.” Suga raised his eyebrows uncertainly. “Is this okay?”

Daichi sighed, taking a moment to consider the question. He was… Hell, he was glad; that it wasn’t something far worse, far more terrifying than Suga earning a living in professional fights. This was even...

“Honestly,” Daichi started. “I don’t know how okay I am… or will be with seeing you like this.” It was definitely something that would require getting used to. “But… Yeah, it’s okay. It’s... kind of badass, actually.”

"Is it now?" Suga laughed, evidently relieved at how well Daichi had taken all of this.

“Mhm. Having a boyfriend who can kick ass-” Daichi realized what he said and abruptly cleared his throat. “Or, I mean, doesn’t- doesn’t have to be a boyfriend, but like, a- a- person who um… for dates and such, maybe. And kissing of course.” He felt his face heat up, not from the steam of the bath, and he was talking at a spot on the tiled wall right beside Suga’s head. “And then maybe sometimes even… like, maybe more than that... kissing I mean. Or not! You know, uh, however you-”

Suga’s laugh made him stop his flustering and focus back on that shining smile.

“I’m sorry, but it’s so much fun watching you fumble.” Suga couldn’t stop laughing, his shoulders shaking and he brought up the hand that wasn’t holding Daichi’s to the side of his ribs because it must’ve hurt. “Sort of like those cartoon characters, you know, with a hole in their boat in the middle of the sea, when they’re sinking but still trying to save themselves with a bucket?”

Daichi’s gaze darkened. Well, this relationship was off to a splendid start.

Nevertheless, the corners of his lips twitched upwards as Suga fought to calm down, sliding a bit down the tub and frowning at more pain in his chest. Frowning and still laughing. God he was perfect.

“So, um…” Daichi started when Suga had finally dissolved into quiet giggles. “What happened? With… with this?” He gestured vaguely at Suga’s bruises that were visible above the waterline.

“Hm? Oh.” Suga smirked, and there was that determination again, the ferocity that Daichi had caught a glimpse of earlier.

I won.


They talked.

Talked until Daichi’s cheeks went numb from laughing, until Suga’s bathwater turned lukewarm and the skin of his palms all pruney.

Suga spoke about his trainings, about his coach, this wise old man who only spoke in riddles as if he was teaching the next Karate Kid, about his style of fighting, and when Daichi admitted that he had absolutely no idea about the sport Suga backtracked and laid out all the rules and regulations to him, explained the weight categories, the exact way of wrapping up the wrists and hands for matches, before he moved on to technique, rankings, records and Daichi’s mind was spinning from the flood of information but he was gulping it all down with fervor; Suga seemed so excited to share it with him. Finally!

“And it’s like…” Suga paused, thinking of words, his hands hanging mid air before he continued gesturing. “Like, in the ring there’s no room for overthinking. For worrying! It’s just you and your opponent, head to head, and all of the things that I usually can’t shake off, you know, that I overanalyze and get scared of… All of that goes away in there. It’s just… silence. Adrenaline. One of the reasons I keep doing it still, 10 years later. Even though I have a normal, non-bruising job.”

He looked at Daichi, at the way he was smiling softly from where he was still draped over the edge of the tub, with one hand drifting in the tepid water and the tips of his fingers brushing over Suga’s hip.

Suga smiled.

“I’ve been talking too much, haven’t I?”

“Yes,” Daichi said teasingly. “I’m literally seconds away from falling asleep, so please, keep going.”

Suga responded very maturely by splashing water into his face, giggling like a maniac, and Daichi was quick to retaliate. The foam had long ago dispersed and they were like schoolchildren, sloshing water around the tub and spraying it all over themselves, the floor of the bathroom, even the mirror above the sink. The ceramic tiles resonated with their laughing and screeching, pleas for surrender when Daichi was finally backed up in a corner beside the hamper, his clothes drenched and chest heaving.

“I yield, I yield!” he shouted with his hands up, powerless over Suga and the seemingly infinite supply of water around him. “You shouldn’t- be moving so much- anyway,” he wheezed.

Suga’s playful smile was still in place even as he gingerly relaxed back in the tub. He waved a hand dismissively. “It’s not so bad now. The painkillers are helping.”

Daichi steadied his breathing and used the hem of his soaked shirt to wipe the water off his brow. He then scrambled to his feet, his socks squelching through the puddles as he grabbed a clean towel from the shelf and held it in front of Suga.

“Your water’s getting cold.”

“You mean what little of it is left.” Suga laughed, using the edge of the tub for support to get up, Daichi holding him by the arm so that he didn’t have to bend his knee too much.

He leaned in once he was fully standing in the tub, now taller than Daichi, and brought their lips together, weaving his fingers through Daichi’s damp hair and it’d been less than an hour since Daichi had last kissed Suga and he’d already missed it, how was that possible…?

“You’re all wet.” Suga smiled, peppering Daichi’s lips with a couple of more kisses before pulling away. He took the towel out of Daichi's hands and wrapped it around his waist.

“‘S not my fault you decided to make me a Miss Wet T-shirt contestant.” Daichi smiled back.

He held Suga’s hands as Suga stepped over the side of the tub and down in front of him, still mostly dripping and with his silvery-blonde hair in complete disarray. Daichi smoothed a stray lock and tucked it behind Suga’s ear, fascinated by how Suga was so mind-numbingly attractive, angelic in the blue glow of the dark bathroom.

“I have to bandage the knee again,” Suga said quietly. “There’s a med kit in the suitcase, right on top of everythin-”

But once again Daichi was on his way to the living room before Suga could finish his sentence, leaving wet footprints down the hall of Asahi and Noya’s apartment. He retrieved the box of medical supplies that was neatly packed on top of Suga’s clothes, not missing a pair of fighter gloves, black and orange leather with the fingers cut-off, wedged in the side of the suitcase. He felt a pang of what could’ve only been described as fierce pride (Suga was so fucking cool), followed by the urge to take care of him in any way Daichi possibly could.

When he returned Suga was sitting on the edge of the tub again, his injured, dried-off leg straight out in front of him, and he reached for the box but Daichi shook his head.

“I’ll do it,” he said firmly, kneeling beside Suga. “If you tell me how.”

“You don’t have to-” Suga started, but Daichi held up his hand, silencing him.

“I want to, Suga. If… If this is what it is, if this is what it’s going to be like, then I want to be here for you.” He held Suga’s gaze, made sure that Suga knew exactly how strongly he felt about this. How resolute he was in his decision to be with Suga, no matter how much of a burden Suga thought he was being. “I want to help.”

Suga blinked a couple of times, dispelling what Daichi hoped weren’t tears, because Suga shouldn’t be touched at something so trivial. Daichi got the impression that in his 28 years of life this was the first time Suga wasn’t alone and it gnawed at his insides.

“Okay.” Suga nodded, sounding more collected than he looked. “Um... “ He cleared his throat. “Start just below the knee, hold it over the leg like this…”

And it was only a matter of seconds before it became clear that, even with Suga’s patient guidance, Daichi was all thumbs when it came to first aid. He couldn’t make the bandage even and it was loose in some places and tight in others, which required a special kind of talent, according to Suga.

“Just, imagine you’re wrapping a sushi roll!” Suga exclaimed through giggles, which didn’t help Daichi’s increasing amusement in the least.

“This feels nothing like wrapping sushi, okay,” Daichi defended himself, laughing. “For starters, I can’t turn you over the way I want to-” Suga inhaled to say something and Daichi talked over him with a blush creeping up his neck, “-yes, you’d be more than willing to let me turn you over just as soon as you get better, I know, but as it happens you are kind of more solid than a bowl of rice and some fish. And secondly, I’m trying not to hurt you, I don’t want to-”

“Daichi.” Suga laid a hand on his shoulder and Daichi looked up at his gentle smile and kind eyes. “You’re not going to hurt me,” he said, grazing his fingernails over Daichi’s shirt, still drenched from the water fight, clinging to his frame. “It’s fine.”

“You say that too much,” Daichi told him.

“What?”

“That it’s fine. It’s okay to sometimes say that it’s not, you know?”

Suga laughed.

“Okay, then it’s not fine that my master chef boyfriend can’t bandage up my injured knee good enough that the dislocated kneecap heals properly. Like that?”

“Boyfriend?” Daichi asked, grinning, his hands fumbling as he unwrapped the skewed bandage from Suga’s knee and decided to give it another go.

“What. You started it!”

They laughed again, loudly, as Daichi finally caught sense of what he was supposed to do and how it was supposed to look.

“Just tell me if it’s too tight, okay,” he said, focusing on holding one end of the bandage in place over Suga’s leg while he rolled the other end over the knee, doing his best not to mess it up again.

“Cutting off my circulation, but it’s not too tight,” Suga teased and Daichi shot him a look. “Wasn’t really attached to that leg anyway.” He beamed, bathing Daichi in his cheeriness.

Daichi just shook his head with a smile and finished his work, adding a new metallic clasp to the back of Suga’s knee like before and feeling somewhat proud of his masterpiece.

“It’s perfect,” Suga said when Daichi pulled him up by the hand and gave him a sweet peck on the lips.

Then Suga’s gaze slid down, to where the soaked fabric of Daichi’s shirt stuck to his chest, now showing more than his nipples, outlining the defined muscle.

“A wet T-shirt contest, huh,” Suga whispered. “I feel like you’d definitely win that.” Slowly, he spread his fingertips over Daichi’s torso and Daichi’s heart raced at the way Suga regarded him with admiration and maybe something hungrier as he traced the tiny folds of Daichi’s shirt over his body.

“You should maybe take it off,” Suga whispered, breathless.

Daichi didn’t waste time in complying, pulling the shirt over his head and throwing it away; he heard it fwump somewhere behind him and Suga was once again staring at him, mouth open and slender hands reaching for him.

“God, Daichi, look at you…” he murmured, dragging his fingertips over the hard lines of Daichi’s abs, the expanse of his chest, and Daichi couldn’t control his breathing anymore under that tentative, reverent touch. “You should be illegal.”

A faint chuckle escaped Daichi’s throat before he sought out Suga’s lips, pulled him close with a gentle hand to the small of his back and licked, breathed into the kiss. He surrendered himself to Suga and his soft hums that faded into moans, Suga’s hands gripping at his arms.

And the way to the guest bedroom was short, just across the hallway, but they stopped more than once along the way, not least because of Suga’s limp. They kissed, lapped at each other, paused with their foreheads pressed together to breathe and laugh and for Daichi to get lost in the sparkle of Suga’s eyes, in the elegant lines of his body, the tight and corded muscle underneath the soft skin.

He was hesitant to grasp, to touch as much as he wanted to; even if Suga hadn’t protested Daichi didn’t want to harm him and he settled for wet, open-mouthed kisses down Suga’s neck that coaxed musical whines from him, noises that Daichi couldn’t get enough of.

Suga tugged at the strings of Daichi’s water-stained sweatpants and Daichi discarded them on the bedroom floor, took off his socks as well as he followed Suga to the bed, settling beside him and right into his hands, curious and nimble, Suga’s pink lips welcoming him back with heat.

They sank into the softness of the light blue bedding, fitted into each other perfectly and kissed, tasted without ever meaning to stop; Daichi caressed and soothed and Suga’s hands wandered, feeling, squeezing every centimeter of Daichi’s body he could reach and Daichi was high-strung and burning, already hard in his boxers from Suga walking his fingers over his hipbone, down to his ass, kneading… From Suga’s naked body flushed against his, skin on sweaty skin...

“I swear your ass is out of this world, Daichi,” Suga rasped, parting just enough for Daichi to look into his hazel eyes, half-lidded with desire, lips soft and kissed red.

You’re out of this world,” Daichi returned with a cheesy grin, swooping in for another kiss before Suga could laugh or roll his eyes; he ventured into some exploring of his own, lower than what he had already committed to memory, past the dimples of Suga’s back… He brushed his hand over the rough material of Suga’s towel and spread his fingers over the roundness his ass, gave a light squeeze and Suga gasped, his hips bucking into Daichi and he was hard too, fuck, Daichi’s mind took a spin…

“I… I can’t…” Suga panted between kisses, pressing closer into Daichi, letting go of his ass and thighs and reaching up to card his fingers through his dark hair. “Sex is too- um… I don’t know if I can-”

“That’s okay,” Daichi reassured him, already knowing what Suga was about to say. “It’s fine, we don’t have to…” And he meant it; they didn’t have to do anything until Suga was healed enough; Daichi was horny, yearning, but more than content to just lie here next to him, touch and kiss until he couldn’t stay awake any longer, without any expectations.

But as he nuzzled into Suga’s neck, searching for a patch of skin he hadn’t yet marked with his lips, Suga slid a hand between them; he palmed at Daichi’s clothed erection and Daichi whined before he could stop himself, unwittingly rutting into Suga’s hand… “F-fuck, Suga, I thought you just said-”

“I didn’t say we couldn’t have fun…” Suga purred into his ear as he moved the hand to Daichi’s lower back to steady him.

And Daichi was gone from the cheekiness, closing his eyes in the nook of Suga’s neck and using every bit of self-control he had left not to beg for Suga’s hand back so he could come in his underwear; he had imagined this for far too long, had fantasized about Suga far too much and he was shamefully needy... His senses muddled when Suga slipped his healthy leg between his own, canting his hips up, into-

Oh,” Daichi gasped; he closed his fingers around Suga’s side, involuntarily, not aware that it was too tight, too close to Suga’s cracked ribs.

Suga stilled under his touch, whimpered in a way that didn’t sound hot in the least and Daichi’s eyes shot open, icy realization cutting through his lusty haze; Suga’s beautiful face was pinched in a wince beside him and Daichi withdrew his hand at once. He moved to scoot away, to give Suga some space to breathe.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, we shouldn’t-”

“No,” Suga cut him off, stopped him from leaving with a firm grip on his shoulder. He let out a breath and relaxed, opening his eyes, and he was trembling, Daichi realized, his hair sticking to his forehead from sweat and face flushed red as he spoke, “Please, Dai… I- I want you…” He traced gentle curves into Daichi’s arm, the side of his bare chest… “I need-”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Suga…” Daichi brushed a strand of silvery-blonde bangs away from his fair eyebrows. He was like a broken record, repeating himself, but he really didn't want to do anything to cause more pain, or-

Suga nestled into his arms again, back to where he had been, perfectly in line with Daichi’s body and Daichi felt his length against his own again, shit...

“You won’t. You won’t hurt me…” Suga whispered, burying his face in Daichi’s shoulder and rocking his hips into him, slowly, languidly, with Daichi feeling every shiver of his warm breath.

Ngh, Suga…” It was hot, suffocating, their bodies slick and searing. Suga murmured gentle reassurances into Daichi’s skin, his mouth leaving wet kisses, hips arching into Daichi with tantalizing persistence and Daichi gave in; he pushed back, unable to think clearly as he chased pleasure, chased Suga’s lips and his moans as they grinded into each other.

Suga was still trembling, not any less aching for contact than Daichi and Daichi held him as tight as he dared and kissed him breathless, gazed straight into his eyes as he felt the hardness under Suga’s towel sliding next to his own, and Suga hadn’t looked away, boldly sharing the passion and intoxication, clinging to Daichi.

“I…” Daichi swallowed, his motions stuttering because it was too much and not enough; too many layers of fabric between them, not enough friction, but they were so close… “I need-”

“More?” Suga breathed out, reading his mind.

Daichi nodded, closing his eyes and kissing Suga’s chin, the corner of his lips, tip of his nose, now shaking himself because every muscle in his body was tight, begging for release that he could feel boiling in his gut, but not quite there yet and it was agony.

“More.”

And Suga untangled their legs, moved away just enough to sneak his fingers past Daichi’s waistband, to wrap his hand around his dick and Daichi hissed at the contact, desperate, on the verge of thrusting into Suga’s hand; he bowed his head and watched, how Suga’s thumb circled the precome over the head, how he stroked, slowly at first, before Daichi moaned weakly, impatiently, and Suga pumped faster and it was- finally, it was building, hotter and hotter, to the sweet finish line; Daichi was delirious, consumed with ecstasy…

“Daichi…” Suga planted a sticky kiss to his temple, voice almost pleading and Daichi reacted, pulled himself together enough to tug away Suga’s towel and take his throbbing erection into his hand, jerk him off in the same way, breathing in every little pant from Suga’s lips, every little delicious mewl.

“Suga, I- close, ‘m so close…”

He was there, on the edge, Suga’s hand divine as he worked him, the pressure just right, and he heard a faint, “Me too, me- Ah, Dai…!” before Suga choked out a moan and Daichi felt warmth spill over his hand; the single thought of Suga coming made him finally snap, unravel and thrust into Suga’s hand a couple of times as he rode out his own climax with gasps, unintelligible words and Suga’s sloppy kisses to his jaw, the side of his face...

Until Suga found his lips and kissed hard, deep, and Daichi laughed through it, in that feverish way that sometimes followed orgasms, the way he hadn’t in a long time, high on Suga and his scent and sweetness and quivering-

Suga was laughing too, kissing him in the mess; they made such a mess but it didn’t matter because Suga was curled into him, relaxed and happy and saying things Daichi couldn’t wrap his reeling mind around and he was half-sure that Suga himself didn’t know what he was talking about and they were both-

“Fuck, the bed…!” Daichi exclaimed in a sudden moment of clarity as his body wound down from the soar and Suga just giggled louder.

“The sheets are mine, Daichi.”

Daichi smiled, lazing back, his body heavy and head filled with cotton wool. He combed his clean hand through Suga’s hair and cradled him in his arms, breathing in the euphoria that lingered around them, the night laced with fulfillment and unbound silliness; Daichi was pretty sure this was what heaven felt like.

The sun was already coming up, its timid yellow rays seeping in through the windows when they agreed, reluctantly, to go to sleep; when they were too tired to even cuddle with their eyes closed, whispering craziness and giggling because hours have passed since their conversation had last made any kind of sense… Daichi had cleaned them up, proudly declaring that his bandage handiwork survived even their romp in the sack. (“What the hell, Daichi, that was barely an omp!” Suga had sent them into another fit of uncontrollable laughter.)

And after they closed the blinds and the curtains to make sure no amount of sunlight would disturb them, they settled under the covers; it was a matter of seconds before Daichi was already drifting off, lulled in the silence and the coziness and the thought of Suga sleeping right next to him; he could just tilt his head down on the pillow and breathe in the lemony fragrance of Suga’s hair.

“Daichi,” Suga whispered, and Daichi felt a finger tap on his cheek. “Hey. Dai…”

Daichi smiled, not opening his eyes. “What.”

“I forgot to tell you something,” Suga said from where he was snuggled into his chest.

“Yeah?”

“Mhm.” A pair of soft lips kissed just on the outside of his nipple.

“I’m in love with you, too.”

Chapter Text

The first thing Daichi saw when he opened his eyes was pink. Everywhere, Barbie pink walls grating his retinas, even in the weak sunlight sneaking in through the cracks on the blinds and curtains.

These weren’t his walls. This wasn’t his bedroom.

But then Daichi remembered everything from the night before; the unexpected visit, the even more unexpected conversation and then, more vividly, the smoothness of Suga’s skin underneath his wandering fingertips, the lilt of Suga’s voice in his ear, broken, laced with need… the shiver of Suga’s moan into his neck.

Daichi turned over under the covers of the guest bed and smiled at the figure sleeping soundly by his side.

Suga was facing him, peaceful and calm, sheets reaching up to his hips and baring his bruised torso. Daichi’s gaze swept over his pink lips, relaxed and slightly parted in his slumber, the pale line of his jaw, up to the ruffled tuft of hair just shy of Suga’s ear that caught a stray stream of light and shattered it into silver glimmers.

Fuck, he was so beautiful.

Suga’s left hand was curled in front of his face and Daichi remembered how Suga told him he had broken two of the knuckles one time, before he’d learned how to properly execute a left hook.

Fuck, he was so badass.

Beautiful and badass, and Daichi was the embodiment of a cliche, lying next to Suga and admiring, just on this side of believing this was all real.

Real and, what was more important, okay. It was all fucking okay!

Suga was safe, safer than Daichi had thought (feared), and he had opened up, at least a little, and Daichi couldn’t have been more grateful, more honored and more proud because oh my god.

And he did suppose that there were yet unanswered questions, that Suga might’ve still had some trouble and/or some unwanted people to deal with in his life (at least if his upsetting phone calls were anything to go by), but Daichi was convinced that there was nothing they couldn’t conquer and overcome now that they were together, now that he got to kiss Suga and hold Suga’s hand and spoil him and-

Daichi was beyond sanity at this point.

There was a constant stir in his chest, a movement threatening to spill over in the form of awkward dance moves while preparing breakfast, in the form of singing into his spatula and sliding on socked feet across the tiled kitchen floor. And before his glee erupted in the quiet of the bedroom and woke Suga up, Daichi planted a soft kiss on his forehead and slipped out of bed.

He collected his sweatpants and socks off the bedroom floor, located his T-shirt in the still wet bathroom and figured he could clean the mess up later. He wasn’t sure of the time, but he guessed it must’ve been after noon by the amount of blinding sunlight pouring in through the windows, the temperature of the apartment rising to hellfire degrees.

He threw on the clothes from yesterday and wandered back to his apartment to make himself decent, get a quick shower, brush his teeth, shave and attempt to beat his cowlick into submission. And after a fresh change of clothes and a rummage through his recently restocked fridge and cabinets, Daichi was ready to go back with armful of ingredients for a breakfast of champions.

Though it had occurred to him as he crept back into Asahi and Noya’s apartment that he actually didn’t know if Suga was a champion. Reason and any non-delirious conversation eluded them last night and Daichi wasn’t sure how good Suga was at this fighting thing. If he was earning a lot of money, then he must’ve been, no?

Daichi made a mental note to ask Suga later as he set down all the ingredients on the kitchen counter. He turned on the AC, found a funky radio station on his phone, turned the volume barely loud enough to hear the music over the sizzle of the frying pan, and set to work.

He was going All Out.

To the tune of a catchy guitar riff Daichi orchestrated a complete show rather than preparing a simple meal. He was entirely in his element, with multiple skillets and pots taking up all four burners of the stove, the steam cooker filled with eggs; with the mouth-watering smell of sausages and fried bacon lingering in the air and crispy toast popping out of the toaster. Daichi paused to strum the invisible strings of his air guitar before he arranged a colorful spread of sandwiches, tomato red, cheese yellow, pickle green and pink from the ham, neatly aligned on a long, thin platter with three different types of dip (and if he had garnished the dips with spices in the shape of hearts, well, he really couldn’t help it). He then mouthed the chorus of the current song into his whisk and used it to stir the crepe batter.

As the first crepe turned deliciously golden in the frying pan, Daichi chopped up an assortment of fruit, helping himself to bites of strawberries, apples and bananas, completely lost in the music, cooking, and his own uncontainable delight.

He was flipping the crepes in the air with practiced ease, mind filled with high notes and contagious melodies when an amused voice cut through his reverie.

“What are you doing?”

Shit…!” Daichi jumped, barely managing to catch the airborne crepe with the pan; it flopped on the edge of it, tore and folded in on itself and Daichi discarded it on a separate plate, the one reserved for his not-so-presentable work, which he alone was going to eat later.

Suga was smiling at him from the doorway, fresh-faced and adorably groggy, in an oversized T-shirt with a shrimp drawing across the chest that fell almost to the middle of his bare thighs.

Daichi smiled back, a blush warming up his cheeks and he poured another ladle of the batter in the frying pan to finish up the dessert.

“How long have you been standing there?” he asked, eyes on what he was doing in an effort to hide his awkwardness, and also not to outwardly ogle at Suga.

“Oh, I don’t know…” Suga limped across the tiled floor to the dining table, where Daichi had laid out all the dishes that were ready to eat. “Since you tried to juggle two of the apples with a banana and almost dropped one into the bacon pan?”

Daichi laughed, his blush intensifying.

“Yeah, I can cook, but I’m not much of an entertainer. That’s more Bokuto’s deal.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” Suga took in the sheer amount of food, his hazel eyes widening slightly at the plates taking up the entire surface of the table. “Um. What is all this? Are we expecting the whole neighborhood for breakfast or...?”

“Okay.” Daichi added the finished crepe on top of a considerable pile of ones waiting to be filled. He turned off the stove, wiped his hands on a dish rag and turned to Suga. “So. I did some thinking.”

Uh-oh.” Suga smiled as he helped himself with a slice of pickle from one of the sandwiches.

Daichi shot him a flat, but affectionate look.

Har har. No, okay, this is what I figured: you train a lot, right? Like, every day? Well, I mean obviously not now until you recover, but you will soon. And so, to train so hard and to heal up before that you’ll need energy, at least the same amount of kilocalories you expend, right, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day and so I…” Daichi faltered at Suga’s look of utter amusement. “I- I thought you could use a good breakfast.” He coughed and waved a hand in the direction of the food. “There’s… I thought I could go a little Western today, so there’s sausages and eggs and bacon and sandwiches and orange juice and milk in the fridge and I can make tea or coffee and… And crepes, yeah, which I thought we could fill with fruit and whipped cream and then maybe pour some chocolate syrup on top.”

And Suga wanted to laugh, Daichi could see that, but the painkillers from last night weren’t working anymore and Suga let out a sound between a giggle and a huff; he frowned from the pain and then followed it with a smile, until he finally shook his head.

“You’re… unbelievable.”

“In a good way, though?” Daichi prompted, taking the few steps closer to Suga, to wrap careful arms around him and sigh into his warmth again; it was like he had been walking around incomplete for the past hour or so, up until this very moment when Suga was back in his personal space, smiling at him.

“In the most wonderful way possible,” Suga said. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” Daichi murmured. He brushed his lips over Suga’s, barely enough for a tangible kiss, but more than enough to make his heart race. “How are you feeling?”

“Hurts. But nothing I’m not used to.”

Suga wound his arms around Daichi’s neck, pulling him and pressing their lips tighter together. He hummed his content and Daichi melted; it was disgustingly easy to get lost in Suga, in his sweet kisses and gentle twining of his fingers in Daichi’s hair. His slender body was so responsive, thighs silky and-

“Um.” Daichi pulled away to look into Suga’s eyes, his fingers sliding up under the hem of Suga’s long shrimpy T-shirt. “Suga,” he breathed, his mouth going dry at the mere idea. “Are- are you not wearing any underwear?”

Suga quirked an eyebrow, smirking as he tilted his hips back, just enough for the curve of his ass to fit into Daichi’s hand and Daichi’s mind to go blank.

“I don’t know,” Suga cooed into his lips. “Am I?”

He most certainly was not.

And Daichi stared at the devilish twinkle in Suga’s eyes, his hand reflexively reaching higher, feeling the round tightness. Oh god, he was getting hard just at that, just at the fact that Suga was wearing only a shirt in front of him-

“How are you even real?” Daichi whispered, but Suga’s focus was already on Daichi’s lips again, hazel eyes lidded and pupils wide.

The next time their lips met it was with heat, with urgency in the way Suga deepened the kiss with licks and teases, the way Daichi welcomed it eagerly, perhaps too eagerly, but he couldn’t help himself, not now when Suga was right at his fingertips…

Literally.

They kissed in the middle of the kitchen, leaning into each other, and the lust-heavy haze clouded Daichi’s mind again; nothing existed but Suga, Suga’s taste, his hair, scent… Daichi gently bit at Suga’s lower lip, pulled it away and sucked lightly; and they were right back to where they had been not twelve hours ago, Daichi drunk and needy and Suga hot and pliant, pressed up against him, asking for more.

And Daichi was going to give him more, anything and everything, right here on the floor of Asahi and Noya’s kitchen if it so happened, fuck it; his lips trailed along Suga’s jaw down to his neck, finding all the sweet spots that made Suga gasp as Daichi squeezed his ass tight.

Ah, Dai…” Suga’s breathy moans of his name were Daichi’s drug of choice, his sweatpants already feeling two sizes too small.

He licked, nibbled right above the collar of Suga’s T-shirt, and grabbed Suga’s ass with one hand, spread him open and lightly brushed a tip of a finger of his other hand over his hole-

Suga gasped, gripping at Daichi’s shirt as he let out a prolonged, keening sound and pushed back onto Daichi’s finger.

“Yes?” Daichi asked if it was okay, breathing hot and damp over Suga’s neck.

“Yes!” Suga exclaimed, all but buckling in Daichi’s arms.

But Daichi held him securely; he grazed his finger over the sensitive skin, circling the tight ring of muscle and Suga whimpered, shivered against him, meeting his every touch with a desperate cant of his hips back into the sensation. His hardness underneath his long shirt pressed into Daichi and Daichi himself was searching for friction, anywhere, searching for the smooth skin of Suga’s neck to latch onto and kiss….

“Da-i-chi…” Suga breathed, syllables punctuated by tiny mewls. He buried his face in Daichi’s shoulder, squirming needily into Daichi’s fingers… “Oh, I can’t wait - ah - to get better so that you can - mmmmm - fuck me over the kitchen counter.”

The image alone was enough for Daichi’s thighs to clench, his hips bucking forward and fingers stuttering for a beat.

“Fuck, Suga…! Impossible, you’re just impossible,” he rasped through a smile before he regained his senses and continued teasing, rubbing and circling but not pressing his fingers into Suga, not without lube.

“In - ah - a good way though?” Suga chuckled breathlessly from around Daichi’s collarbone, repeating his own words from before.

And before Daichi could reply, Suga’s hand released the bunched fabric of his shirt and traced down, between them; he ran a single finger down the length of Daichi’s erection, over his sweatpants and Daichi was helpless, sparks shooting up behind his eyelids, his crotch begging for the feeling again.

“Suga…” he groaned out, barely holding back.

Mh, I can’t… Shit, I can’t stand for much longer, Dai…”

Despite still pushing back for pleasure, despite still obviously seeking stimulation, Suga’s injured knee could only take so much and he was clinging more heavily to Daichi now, shaking slightly from the exertion.

“Okay, that’s okay…” Daichi reassured him, softly kissing up Suga’s neck. “I got you…” He withdrew his hand, giving one final squeeze to Suga’s amazing ass, and wrapped his arms around him.

He let Suga rest against him, supporting his weight and nuzzling into him, breaths coming heavy as he whispered nonsense into Suga’s ear, enjoying the sound of his panting giggles. Daichi smoothed away Suga’s hair that tickled his face and kissed as far as he could reach, to Suga’s jawline, cradling him tenderly.

They were both still very much hard and horny, reluctant to separate even if Suga was barely standing upright anymore.

And he smiled, closed his eyes where he was leaning his cheek against Daichi’s shoulder and murmured, “You know… I have lube in the bedroom.”

Daichi stilled, for a moment definitely not thinking about why Suga had lube in the bedroom or what he had been using it for or what he may have looked like while he was using it. His dick didn’t mind the train of thought and Daichi let out a quiet laugh.

“What?” Suga asked, failing to sound innocent. “This just now was amazing and I want more…” Carefully, he pulled back Daichi’s shirt enough to expose a patch of skin right where his lips were and plant a wet kiss on the spot. “I want you to finger me, Daichi. Properly. And I want to come-”

“Okay!” Daichi exclaimed gruffly, warmth creeping up his neck, flames licking at the back of his mind; he was actually considering just giving himself a hand job to the sound of Suga’s entirely too pleasant voice saying such filthy things. “Can- can you walk or should I carry you?”

Suga laughed, straightening up and cautiously stepping out of Daichi’s embrace.

“I can walk.”

He took hold of Daichi’s hand and lead him out of the kitchen, away from all the food that would just have to wait.

Daichi watched Suga’s beautiful legs march in front of him, the paleness of the skin broken by the purple tint here and there and the ivory white of the bandage around his knee…

He was just in the middle of imagining those thighs wrapped around his waist when a loud banging interrupted his fantasy.

Suga paused before the bathroom and turned around, raising a questioning brow in the direction of the noise - the hallway of their floor.

They exchanged looks and Daichi shrugged, about to blame the disturbance on the loudest residents of the entire building, Kuroo and Bokuto, when there was more banging, this time followed by a loud voice that was too shrill, too feminine to belong to either of the tall idiots.

“Sawamura Daichi! I know you’re in there, open up!”

It was nothing short of miraculous, the speed with which all semblance of arousal drained out of Daichi. As if he was doused in ice water, as if the floor beneath him had opened up to swallow him whole, Daichi froze on the spot, dropping Suga’s hand.

Suga frowned.

“Is that someone at your door? Who’s-”

Oh my god,” Daichi whispered, realization and recalling hitting him like a very heavy, very real brick to the face.

“Daichi, darling, you know better than to ignore me!” The voice from the hallway was persistent. “You can’t get yourself out of this one! Now, I am your mother and we both know you have to open the door!”

Suga’s eyes widened, mouth falling open but no words coming out from sheer surprise. Daichi couldn’t blame him.

“Today’s Saturday, isn’t it?” he muttered pitifully. “I told my mother I’d take her shopping in the city, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck-” Daichi tangled his fingers in his hair and yanked, in disbelief over this one colossal thing he had forgotten, out of all the fucking things to forget on a day he’s in a neighbouring apartment and about to do some increasingly explicit things with his boyfriend of exactly twelve hours and forty-seven minutes FUCK FUCK FUCK

“Daichi? Daichi, hey.” Suga’s soft voice pushed through the shouting in Daichi’s mind and Suga gently pried away his hand from where it was fisted in his hair. “Honey, please breathe.”

Daichi looked up at Suga’s smiling eyes, feeling Suga’s thumb rub light circles over his hand and he allowed himself to inhale, aware that he was probably blue in the face from the shock-induced lack of oxygen.

“My mother’s in the hall,” he croaked out, wanting nothing else but to disappear into thin air.

And bless him, Suga was doing his best to suppress his laughter. Though Daichi wasn’t sure if it was out of consideration for him or from the pain in his ribs.

“I gathered that. Um, don’t you think you should-”

Suga was interrupted with more insistent banging; god, Daichi’s mother was going to disturb the whole building at this point.

And it was only a matter of seconds before Daichi’s thoughts came true, before there was the sound of a door unlocking in the hall and-

“Oh, hey, Mrs. S! We thought we heard a familiar voice!”

Daichi needed to sit down.

As the cheerful voices of Kuroo, Bokuto and his mother reverberated in the hall, Suga started laughing out loud, opting to press a hand into the side of his chest rather than forego his amusement at Daichi’s expense.

This was not happening.

This could not have been happening.

“I feel like it will only get worse the longer you wait,” Suga said through his laughs, now reaching for the wall to support himself because he couldn’t calm down.

“Can’t I just ignore them?” Daichi asked. He faced the door of Asahi and Noya’s apartment, looking as if it was about to decapitate him on the spot. “Why can’t I just… not go out? Maybe I’m at the store, maybe I’m at the gym… Maybe I died, they don’t know that.” Dying sounded like such a great idea right about now.

“You know it’s only a matter of time before they come knocking on my door.”

Yes, Daichi did know that. And yes, Suga was right - it would only get worse the longer he waited. God, his palms were sweating, nervousness itching in the back of his throat, shit.

“Aw, come on, it won’t be that bad.” Suga laid a hand on his back, soothing him in long caresses before he nudged him forward, to the entrance hallway. “I’ll be right here with you. Besides, didn’t your mother like me over the phone? She sounded sweet.”

As sweet as a sugar-coated sledgehammer could be, Daichi supposed.

He allowed himself to be steered forward and they made it a few steps towards the door before Suga suddenly stopped.

“Oh! Wait, maybe I should put on some pants first.”

He hurriedly limped off to the bedroom to change as Daichi shouted a sarcastic, “You think?!” after him.

But then Daichi sighed and used the moment to wash his hands in the kitchen sink, willing himself to wake up from this dream that was rapidly turning into a nightmare, before he walked back to the apartment door and paused just on this side of it.

The voices in the hallway were loud and Daichi could hear them clearly now.

“Daichi isn’t home?” Kuroo’s voice asked. “That’s weird…”

“We could get our key?” Bokuto suggested.

“Nah, he’s just being a big baby.” Daichi could picture his mother waving a hand dismissively. “Took me weeks to convince him to this shopping trip and this isn't the first time he tried to stand me up.”

The truth was that Daichi didn’t mind shopping with his mother. When it lasted a reasonable amount of time and didn’t involve visiting every single clothes store the shopping district had to offer. Also, when it included an occasional food break, just so he could keep up with her endurance worthy of a marathon runner.

It just somehow turned out never to be a good time for him. (Like today, especially.)

His mother remarked how the boys were as handsome as ever and how their hairstyles were so in this season and Daichi sighed, feeling all too unprepared for this.

“Hey.” Suga’s hand returned to his back, warm and comforting, and Daichi straightened up, eyeing Suga’s sweatpants under the shrimpy shirt.

“You’re about to meet my mother in the flesh,” he said morosely. “Are you ready?”

Suga’s smile was wide and bright.

“Are you ready?”

“Does Asahi still have that bottle of Jack stashed somewhere? Cause I could really use a shot right about now.”

Suga laughed.

“Oh, because we both know how eloquent you get when you’re wasted.”

Daichi looked at him darkly, but then nodded; Suga did have a point.

“That’s fair,” he said, before he took in a deep breath and wrapped his fingers around the doorknob.

“Go get ‘em, tiger!”

“You’re not helping.”

With Suga’s giggle ringing in his ear, Daichi tugged the door open and braced himself.

Mrs. Sawamura was short by all standards, barely reaching Daichi’s chin, but standing in front of Kuroo and Bokuto in the middle of the hallway she looked positively tiny. The only glimpse into her unconventional personality was her short hair, styled to stand out on ends and dyed flaming red, and her piercing eyes, the same dark shade as Daichi’s, unwaveringly looking up at the two large, grinning young men.

Their conversation abruptly stopped and three pairs of eyes looked at Daichi and Suga in the doorway of Asahi and Noya’s apartment.

It took 0.3 seconds for Kuroo and Bokuto to connect the dots. Bokuto’s eyes widened, flitting from Suga to Daichi and he started maniacally tapping Kuroo on the shoulder out of sheer excitement, while Kuroo seemed like he hadn’t felt a thing, his lips drawing up in a knowing, oho-ho-ho? grin as he crossed his arms over his chest.

As always, Daichi had the urge to slap the grin right off Kuroo’s face, but then his gaze fell on his mom who had merely raised an eyebrow, mildly surprised by this turn of events.

“Um…” Daichi began uncertainly before he cleared his throat, his face feeling as hot as the sun. “Hey, guys… Mom. Uh…” He gestured to Suga beside him, who was still smiling and seemed as interested to see how Daichi would get himself out of this one as was the rest of the group. “You remember Suga, right? You, uh, talked on the phone a while back?” Good god, Daichi’s throat was parched, like he hadn’t had a single drop of water in the past week. He coughed to stop his voice from cracking. “We were just, uh… having breakfast.”

Naked breakfast,” was the first response, from Bokuto, just before Kuroo elbowed him in the chest.

Daichi shot him a glare, but the blush edging up his neck only heated up because yes, fuck it, it was naked breakfast.

“Mrs. Sawamura.” Suga bowed as much as he could, fighting hard to keep his smile within the boundaries of politeness and not break into uncontrollable laughter. “It is really nice to meet you in person.”

And it was tense in that moment, where everyone was waiting for the matron of the group to respond, where Kuroo and Bokuto couldn’t hold back their idiotic grinning and Suga shifted his weight to his healthy leg; Daichi wished he could crawl back to his apartment through the slit between his door and the floor and hide from the world. (Except Suga; Suga would be allowed to visit, definitely.)

But then Mrs. Sawamura let out a long, suffering sigh, closing her eyes towards the ceiling.

“Lord help me, Daichi. You’re my only child and I love you, but you are a. complete. trainwreck.

Kuroo and Bokuto burst out in a fit of laughter, using each other for support as they howled their appreciation for the legend that was Daichi’s mother; Suga stifled a giggle and Daichi wasn’t as amused.

“Mom…” he started, only to be immediately cut off.

“First of all, you could have at least texted,” Mrs. Sawamura said, marching over to him and Suga. “How hard is that? ‘Mom, I’m sorry, I’m kind of in a middle of something here, can we take a raincheck?’”

She took Daichi’s face in both of her small hands and pulled him down to give him a kiss on each cheek.

“Oh, and you would have calmly accepted that?” Daichi muttered, not returning the kisses but not outwardly struggling against her own either. “You wouldn’t have insisted to know the exact reason for the cancellation, you wouldn’t have tried to convince me… No, no, to blackmail me into coming along anyway?”

Mrs. Sawamura huffed out a laugh as she let go of him and patted the side of his face.

“Oh, no, I definitely would have, darling. But if I had known it was about a boy…”

“It’s not like that!” Daichi tried to defend himself. He wasn’t exactly sure why he was defending himself, not like he had any reason to hide his and Suga’s newly formed relationship status, but it was almost a gut instinct at this point - try and not give your mother any more ammunition. “Honest, we were just-”

Mrs. Sawamura’s gaze turned playfully sharp as she spoke over him.

“-having breakfast at two o’clock in the afternoon? Like all normal couples who get up on time do? Like all normal couples who have definitely not spent the night before-”

“I beg you not to finish that sentence.” Daichi’s face had permanently become a space heater, he was sure of it, and he glared at Kuroo and Bokuto losing it in the background.

Mrs. Sawamura smirked knowingly before she looked over at Suga; in his round hazel eyes Daichi saw that Suga wasn’t afraid, not really, just surprised and maybe anxious… Daichi wanted to take his hand and squeeze it for reassurance; his mother was taking shit from exactly no one in her life (including Daichi’s father), but she was fair and polite… When she wanted to be.

“I do remember you,” Mrs. Sawamura said, straightening up to her full, insignificant, height in front of Suga, narrowing her eyes only slightly. “Sugawara Koushi.”

Daichi shouldn’t have been surprised that she remembered Suga’s full name, not with that hard disk brain of hers.

“I remember thinking how long it had been since my son had offered to cook for someone who wasn’t a resident in this building. Or to teach them how to cook. And I remember your kind voice, and how you didn’t mind answering my questions even though I drove Daichi up the wall.” Mrs. Sawamura smirked and leaned in conspiratorially. “Which is one of my favorite things to do, by the way.”

Daichi groaned as Suga laughed, visibly relaxing.

“Though what I didn’t imagine,” she continued, “and what of course Daichi failed to mention, having so expertly avoided discussing you in our phone calls since then - you think I don’t know when you’re being evasive?” She shot a look at Daichi. “You weren’t any slicker than when you tried to convince me that Katsu the Teddy Bear broke grandpa’s watch when you were four.”

Kuroo and Bokuto’s sniggering was reaching new heights and Daichi just knew they were absorbing all of this to come up with new ways to test his nerves later.

Mrs. Sawamura focused back on Suga, on his warm smile and a hint of something… touched, in his expression, as if, apart from this all being amusing to him, he also found it endearing. Heartwarming.

“I didn’t think you’d be so pretty, Suga,” she said, smiling back at him. Suga’s cheeks tinted pink and he opened his mouth to thank her when Mrs. Sawamura added impishly, “To be perfectly honest, way too pretty to settle for my son.”

“Mom!”

But all of them started laughing then, the hallways resonating with joy and Daichi’s grumbling under his breath as Mrs. Sawamura again patted his cheek affectionately and declared that she was just kidding.

“It’s very nice too meet you, too, Suga,” she said at last. “I’m Sawamura Takara, though everyone here is in the habit of calling me Mrs. S.” She laughed. “Say, would you maybe like to join us for lunch and shopping?”

“No!” Daichi was fast to reply instead of Suga. Apart from him obviously not being fit for hours of walking and browsing through the boutiques, Daichi thought it was way too early for Suga to be exposed to the full blast of what was his mother. Better to ease him into it.

His mother’s eyes darkened, much like his own did when he’d had enough of someone’s shit.

“Did I ask you, Daichi?”

Daichi sighed, his shoulders slumping.

“No…”

“I have heard him speak, but is there perhaps a reason why Suga can’t answer me?”

Kuroo and Bokuto were crying behind Mrs. Sawamura’s back, with Kuroo leaning heavily on Bokuto’s shoulder.

“No…” Daichi repeated.

“Okay, then, what do you say, Suga?” Mrs. Sawamura brightened right back up. “It’ll give me an opportunity to tell you stories about Daichi you won’t hear anywhere else.” She winked.

“Someone just shoot me in the face,” Daichi muttered and Suga laughed.

“Thank you for the offer, Mrs. S, but I have some work I have to catch up on. Maybe some other time?”

“Some other time, definitely.” Mrs. Sawamura nodded, though her voice was barely heard over the shouts behind her.

“Oh, but we want to go to lunch!” Bokuto exclaimed.

“Yeah, we wanna hear the stories!” Kuroo was quick to add, both of their eyes wide and shining.

“Absolutely not,” Daichi said.

“Ooooooooh, did someone mention lunch?” A decidedly sing-song tone then came from the very top of the stairs to their floor and Daichi thought how Oikawa had perfect timing, as always. He was climbing up the last few steps, dragging his travel suitcase behind him with a pearly white smile on his pale face. “Are we having a little get-together in the hallway? Mrs. S! Wow, haven’t seen you in a while!”

“Tooru!” Mrs. Sawamura exclaimed cheerily as she turned and walked over to Oikawa to give him a hug.

Daichi let out a breath and Suga’s fingers found his own, lacing them together; the radiance of Suga’s smile caught the corner of Daichi’s eye, making the tension in his shoulders ebb away.

“Have you lost weight?” Mrs. Sawamura glanced down at Oikawa’s waist as she let go of him. “Is Daichi not feeding you well?”

“Jesus Christ, mom, I’m not the designated cook of this building. They’re adults, they can feed themselves.”

“Lately he has gotten worse with the feeding.” Bokuto nodded gravely, as if this was a serious concern.

“Yeah, I mean, sometimes I lie awake at night, unable to fall asleep from the grumbling in my stomach because Daichi didn’t make us dinner,” Kuroo added, pressing a hand to his chest dramatically.

“I don’t remember the last time we had something that didn’t have to be microwaved.”

“Daichi!” Mrs. Sawamura looked at him incredulously, but smiling nonetheless.

“That’s okay, Mrs. S, I think I’ve just been working too much these past few weeks, that’s all.” Oikawa pulled his suitcase up the last few remaining steps and Daichi noticed his clothes hanging too loosely over his frame, the deeper set of his eyes, which right then twinkled deviously at him, at the join of his and Suga’s hands. “Besides, Dai-chan has been busy with a new dessert on the menu.”

And before Daichi could retort, before his mother could pipe in or Kuroo and Bokuto could wolf whistle, it was Suga who smiled widely, not faltering for a second.

“A sweet one, I hope?” he asked, looking Oikawa straight in the eye.

There was a miniscule change in Oikawa’s expression, one that took Daichi years to learn to discern, but the taunt of his gaze diffused, his smile turning soft at the corners, almost nostalgic.

“Sweet,” Oikawa said in agreement. “And a little bit spicy, I’d say.”

Daichi smiled and gave Oikawa a nod, grateful for him not being his usual dickheaded self and Oikawa beamed in response, skillfully hiding his momentary kindness behind his too-wide smile.

“Are we still talking about food?” Bokuto whispered loudly enough for everyone to hear. “I’m kinda really hungry.”

“Yeah, Daichi where are you taking us-”

“Nowhere,” Daichi interrupted Kuroo’s attempt to convince him to tag along. He’d have his hands full with his mother for god only knows how long; he could only imagine the questions she’d have now that it was obvious Suga and he were dating. (Did it count as dating if they hadn’t yet been on a real date?)

Daichi didn’t need anymore annoyances on the damn shopping trip.

“Ah, sorry, darlings, but I promise to come back and take all of you out soon.” Mrs. Sawamura smiled at everyone, adjusting the shoulder strap of her purse. “To lunch and Daichi’s roast.”

The others nodded appreciatively as Daichi glared at her, though without any real heat behind it. His mom would always do whatever the hell she wanted, consequences be damned; a trait that proved far more useful than it was hindering in Daichi’s life, no matter how much she got on his nerves right now.

“It was really nice to see you all, and it was especially nice to meet you, Suga.” Mrs. Sawamura’s smirk was back as she regarded Suga with approval. “If Daichi gives you a hard time, just remember that his most ticklish spot is right by-”

“Okay then, it’s time for you to go and wait downstairs!” Daichi exclaimed, letting go of Suga’s hand and walking over to her. “You caused more than enough trouble.”

“But he has the right to know!” She laughed as Daichi firmly guided her towards the stairs.

“Your information is old news, anyway, I was maybe ticklish there when I was like, five.”

Twelve,” she corrected him.

“Either way, I grew out of it.”

“How do you grow out of something that makes you laugh so hard that you lose control of your blad-”

“BYE BYE NOW,” Daichi shouted, barely restraining himself from giving his mother a light push down the steps. “I’ll be right down!”

“Aw, Daichi, you were always such a serious kid.” Mrs. Sawamura pouted. “Grumpy puss.”

Daichi inhaled deeply, searching for any composure that might’ve remained in his body, however insignificant.

“Please don’t ever call me that again.”

The group shouted their goodbyes in unison as Mrs. Sawamura waved at them happily and finally started down the stairs, much to Daichi’s relief.

The moment she was out of earshot, however...

“Now, about that ticklish spot...” Kuroo began.

“I wanna know all. about. last. night!” Oikawa clapped his hands along with every word. “What happened? Where did it happen? How many times-”

“What are you cooking for us, then?” Bokuto’s eyes gleamed. “It’s like a celebration day, isn’t it? You and Suga finally getting together, so-”

“Finally?” Suga asked from where he was leaning with his side against the doorframe of Asahi and Noya’s apartment. “What do you mean finally? For how long did Daichi want us to get together?”

Daichi glared at all of them, feeling the well-known prickle of an inbound headache behind his eyebrows.

“Are you kidding?” Kuroo guffawed at Suga, draping an arm around Bokuto’s shoulders. “Basically from the moment he met you!”

“We were beginning to think it was never gonna happen!” Bokuto exclaimed. “I mean, he told you he was in love with you and then he threw up! Like, good luck getting that image out of your mind.”

“Tetsu-chan was actually this close to starting a bet on how much longer it would take you two to hook up.”

“Pity I never got around to it. Could’ve made some good money off of you.”

“Oh, like you would’ve won,” Bokuto glared at Kuroo, going a bit cross-eyed from the proximity of Kuroo’s face to his own.

“Well I’m a police officer, aren’t I? It’s literally my job to find out-”

“Okay, you know what?” Daichi spoke up, getting everyone’s attention again. He shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I need to go change because my mom is waiting for me downstairs. You-” He then pointed a finger at Kuroo. “Will never find out my ticklish spot. I’d rather cut off my dicing hand than ever reveal that. You...” He turned to Oikawa, wanting to say something equally dismissive, but he knew Oikawa would get his way in the end. Daichi sighed at his annoyingly pleasant smile. “If Suga wants to tell you what happened, he can, but you’re not getting a word out of me.”

“Ooooooh, a challenge, fun!”

Daichi ignored him as he looked at Bokuto.

“Not cooking today because I’m leaving now and I have work later. And you…” He looked at Suga and his glare softened as he smiled, walking back and reaching for him, not giving a fuck that everyone else was watching. “Yes, I did kind of want to be with you from the moment I met you. I hope that doesn’t come off as too…”

“Desperate?” Suga offered with a smile of his own, tilting his head up into Daichi’s hands and closing his eyes at the press of their lips. “Stalkerish?”

There were gagging noises behind Daichi and he widened his eyes at Suga through the kiss.

“I’m gonna kill them,” he whispered.

“You think I won’t be able to stop you?” Suga widened his eyes back, smiling. “Even with bruised bones, Daichi, I will not hesitate to put you in a chokehold.”

“Huh.” Daichi swallowed, considering this. “That’s… kinda hot.”

“You’re such a loser.” Suga chuckled.

“So, no food?” Bokuto chimed in and Daichi let go of Suga again (why couldn’t he just spend the rest of his life less than twenty centimeters away from Suga at all times?) to turn around and open his mouth, though he didn’t get a chance to say anything.

“How about this,” Suga called out merrily. “Since apparently Daichi has to go now and I have a kitchen filled with breakfast food all to myself, if anyone wants to join me…?”

He didn’t finish the proposition before Bokuto cried out like a man on the edge of starvation and made a mad dash for Asahi and Noya’s apartment, with Suga barely managing to squeeze himself to the doorframe as he rushed past.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Daichi asked.

“Yeah, if someone doesn’t stop him in time Bo will probably just continue munching on the table,” Kuroo drawled, following after him into the apartment.

Suga laughed.

“It’ll be fine. Sooner or later he’ll pass out from a food coma, like all children do.”

When Kuroo went in, Suga and Daichi turned to the only remaining person in the hallway.

Even with the smile, with the shine in his dark eyes, Oikawa still seemed worn out. As if something had chewed him up and spat him back out in the few days of his business trip.

He didn’t make a move to join the rest of his friends, rather looking more inclined to refuse the offer of a good time. Daichi was tempted to just grab him by the collar of his button-up and drag him inside to eat something, to enjoy himself a little, knowing already that that kind of aggressive caring was sometimes necessary with Oikawa, even if Daichi hadn’t been the one providing it for him.

“I’ll make you a deal, Oikawa,” Suga said with a smirk on his lips. “You eat one sunny side up egg, one strip of bacon and at least one strawberry and cream filled crepe and I’ll tell you everything you want to know about last night.”

“Everything?” Oikawa cocked an eyebrow, intrigued.

Everything?!” Daichi repeated, eyes wide. “Suga-”

Suga held up a finger, still looking at Oikawa.

“Everything except… proportions.”

Daichi stared at him.

“Hm.” Oikawa pretended to contemplate this, ostensibly tapping the tip of his finger to his lower lip before he grinned. “Deal.”

He then pulled his suitcase behind him and sauntered right past Daichi and Suga into the apartment filled with noises of two grown ass men already fighting over the food, complete with growling, shouting and what sounded like a utensil sword fight.

“He looks so thin,” Suga whispered worriedly, answering Daichi’s unspoken question to the reason for this. His hazel eyes were bright in their honesty as Daichi once again wrapped his arms around Suga’s waist and drew him near. “I figured I’d find a way to make sure he eats, at least a little.”

Daichi smiled, feeling nothing but adoration for his angel.

“Are you going to tell them?” he asked. “About the fighting?”

“I guess. I mean, if I don’t you probably will, no?”

“Probably.” Daichi nodded, leaning his forehead against Suga’s. “They’re cool, they’ll be…” He paused for a moment. “I was going to say they’d be fine with it, but now I’m thinking it might be a bit too exciting at first. So just… be careful, okay?”

Suga laughed.

“I don’t think you give them enough credit, Daichi. They are almost thirty, you know.”

But then there was a crash from inside the apartment and a shriek and,

“HE BIT ME, THE SON OF A BITCH BIT ME! ACK! Goodbye, cruel world...”

“I’ll be careful, yeah,” Suga said in the end.


Five hours and thirty-four minutes later Daichi was mercifully released from his mother’s clutches. It was funny how he could survive playing a whole five-set volleyball game and yet walking around the shops made him exhausted, his feet aching and body heavy as he dragged himself upstairs for a touch of relaxation before work.

Though, to be fair, the fatigue had more to do with his mother’s rapid-fire questions and comments that never eased up, not even when they stopped for food.

“Where’s he from?”

“...I don’t know.”

“How can you not know?”

“We haven’t talked about it that much.”

“Then what did you talk about?”

“I don’t know! His work, my work, stupid things…”

“God, Daichi, you’re lucky you’re handsome.”

Glad that was over with, Daichi stepped onto the second floor and for only a moment considered going to his own apartment, before his craving for Suga overpowered any wish for alone time he might’ve had and he shouldered open the door to Asahi and Noya’s apartment.

“So, like, how rich are you exactly?” the first voice he heard was Bokuto’s, from the kitchen to the left of the entrance hallway, followed by Suga’s laugh.

“Probably not as rich as you’d expect me to be, Bo.”

“Are we talking millions? A mansion? Swimming pool? Tennis court? OH MY GOD CAN YOU BUY A VOLLEYBALL COURT, THAT WOULD BE SO COOL.” Was it just Daichi’s overwrought imagination or was Bokuto speaking around a mouthful of food again?

Daichi toed off his sneakers and walked further in; Oikawa was lounging on the uncomfortable red leather sofa, not bothering to acknowledge Daichi’s arrival as he continued playing on his phone. A stack of empty plates from the breakfast buffet was on the coffee table, right between Suga and Oikawa’s closed laptops.

“No, but what I actually want to know is:” Kuroo started, also from the kitchen. “Do you have one of those cool nicknames? That fighters sometimes have? Like, I don’t know, Jackhammer or Fireball or something?”

“I do, actually,” Suga said.

Bokuto, Kuroo and he were sitting around the dining table cluttered with more empty plates and utensils, with Suga’s injured leg straightened over Kuroo’s lap; Suga was about to continue when Bokuto held up a chip-salty hand to silence him from across the table.

“No, no, we want to guess!”

Suga chuckled, only then catching a glimpse of Daichi in the doorway of the kitchen.

“Hey!” His smile brightened, instantly relieving some of Daichi’s stress. “How was the shopping trip?”

Daichi let out a sigh as Kuroo gently lifted Suga’s leg and gestured for Daichi to take his place in the chair beside Suga.

“It was…” Daichi sat down, scooped up Suga’s both legs now in his lap and leaned over to peck him on the lips. Bokuto and Kuroo thankfully refrained from making inappropriate sounds. “I feel like my brain is still vibrating. What did I miss?”

“Oh, nothing much.” Kuroo waved his hand in a vague gesture as he made himself comfortable next to Bokuto. There was a cross made of pink band-aids just below the knuckle of his thumb and Daichi recognized them as the Hello Kitty band-aids Noya sometimes used. “We ate. Bokuto tried to bite off my hand.”

“He’s gonna have scars in the shape of my teeth!” Bokuto interjected with a grin.

“We took a nap,” Kuroo continued as if Bokuto hadn’t said a thing. “Suga and Oikawa worked… Oh, and did you know that your boyfriend is so fucking badass that we all still can’t believe?”

Daichi laughed, casting a warm glance at Suga, squeezing his legs with affection.

“I think I might have an idea, yes.”

“Fight me.” Kuroo’s eyes fixed on Suga and Suga just shook his head.

“I told you already, Kuroo, no.”

“What-” Daichi wanted to ask only to have Kuroo cut him off.

“Just a little bit?”

“Nope.” Suga refused him again with a smile.

“I promise it won’t hurt.”

“Ah, but I can’t make such promises.” Suga’s smile widened into a grin; Kuroo narrowed his eyes.

“Suga’s not going to fight you, Kuroo.” Daichi finally caught on what was happening. And he wasn’t surprised (or happy about it) in the least.

“But I’m trained in hand to hand combat!”

“He’s injured!”

“He-”

“Is it something like: Hell’s Angel?” Bokuto asked then, his hand lodged deep within the bag of chips in front of him on the table.

Everyone looked at him, confused.

“Your special fighter name thing,” he clarified, throwing a handful of the snacks into his mouth.

Suga chuckled.

“No, it’s not.”

Devious Diamond?” Bokuto guessed again and the other three broke out into laughter.

Gentle Fist?” Kuroo added.

“Are you trying to figure out my fighting name or my pornstar name?”

Poisonous Sugar?” Bokuto asked.

“Oooooh, nice, one, because of Suga - sugar, yes!” Kuroo high fived him.

Suga shook his head and sneaked a hand over Daichi’s shoulders, his fingers finding their way into Daichi’s dark hair and lightly scratching; dear god, if Daichi could purr he definitely would have, with his body instantly melting under Suga’s touch.

Cannonball?”

Embrace of Death?”

Sexy Nurse?”

Daichi laughed at Kuroo.

“‘Sexy Nurse'?”

“What?” Kuroo shrugged. “We all have our fantasies.”

“You have fantasies about MMA fighters dressed as sexy nurses?”

Suga was just about to shoot all of their guesswork down when Oikawa’s voice fluttered in from the doorway, smug and melodical,

Mr. Refreshing.”

“Pfffft, what kind of a name is that?” Bokuto frowned.

But Oikawa’s smirk was set, his gaze confident as he crossed his arms over his chest, phone still in hand.

“That’s… actually right.” Suga nodded, taken aback by Oikawa’s correct guess. “How did you-?”

“Apparently there’s this thing called Google,” Oikawa said casually, strolling over and taking a seat at the head of the table. He swiped a thumb over the screen of his phone and read off it, “Sugawara Koushi, also known as Mr. Refreshing.”

“No offense, Suga, but that’s kinda lame,” Bokuto said. “You should ask them to change it to something way cooler. Like THE NIGHT, or something. Or, or! The White Owl - you’d be my perfect advertisement!”

Mr. Refreshing?” Daichi asked quietly as Kuroo joined in on the new game of What would be cooler sounding than that.

Daichi couldn’t remember if Suga had mentioned this tiny detail of his side career, but it was strangely… fitting. Suga was sunny and bubbly and infectious with his joy and he was like a breath of fresh air, like a spring breeze billowing over fields of golden wheat against a bright blue sky-

Okay, so maybe Daichi wasn’t good at poetry, but Suga was refreshing, there was no doubt about it. Daichi just wasn’t sure how the name worked in the unforgiving world of professional fighting.

Suga shrugged with a smile.

“I didn’t really have a say in it.”

“Yadda, yadda, yadda… Oh, here we are.” Oikawa scrolled down the phone screen until he started reading out loud, “Mr. Sugawara’s strangely placating nickname comes from the single fact that not only does he always leave the ring with a smile on his face, regardless of the outcome, but his opponents do so as well. Aw, there’s even a picture.” Oikawa turned his phone towards the others, zoomed in on a still from a fight.

Kuroo, Bokuto and Daichi leaned in to see better, Daichi inadvertently holding his breath - this would be the first time he’d actually glimpse Suga in action; and the moment his gaze fell on the picture he knew that he’d have to relearn how to properly blink later.

In the picture Suga had his bare shoulder blades pressed into the floor of the ring, gloved hands and hips in the air and thighs, those strong, defined, milky thighs, wrapped tightly around another fighter’s head and arm pinned alongside his ear, intent on squeezing the life out of him as it seemed; and the opponent was kneeling helplessly, red in the face (Daichi had no idea how the poor bastard was breathing at that point), eyes pinched shut, but there was an obvious, though somewhat strained, smile on his face and Suga was smiling, too…

“Such a lovely picture for the grandkids,” Oikawa murmured, turning the phone away and making Daichi return to reality, to the kitchen and the feel of Suga’s legs (those fucking brutal legs) warm in his lap.

Bokuto let out a low whistle and side-glanced Kuroo.

“Still want to fight him?”

“Do you still want to fight him?”

Bokuto seemed to ponder this for only a moment before he broke out into a toothy grin.

“Hell, yeah!”

Kuroo matched the grin and the two leaned into each other, Kuroo’s head resting on Bokuto’s shoulder as they blinked sweetly at Suga, pleading for him to fight them.

“Only once, we swear. I wanna feel those juicy legs wrapped around my face.”

“Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?”

“You mean more like, Daichi on top.”

Kuroo snorted.

“Do you think Daichi would be the one to top? Why? I kind of vote for the badass fighter to top.”

“But Daichi’s like… Hm.” Bokuto frowned. “That’s a good question.”

Their banter continued in this manner but no one paid them much attention, with Oikawa back to browsing the internet and Daichi still processing what he’d seen, slightly dazed.

“Hey.” Suga’s fingers in his hair gently tugged. “You okay?” he asked.

Daichi turned to him, looked into his soft hazel eyes, thinking how it was possible that someone so adorable, so heavenly could be so-

“I’m sorry,” Daichi mumbled, his thumb gently rubbing over Suga’s leg on its own accord. “I just… You’re so… I mean, I still can’t…”

“I hope the ends of these sentences are good?” Suga asked, his smile turning hesitant, even as he continued twirling strands of Daichi’s hair around his fingers.

Daichi smiled back and sighed.

“Yes, of course they’re good. You’re not as... helpless as I thought you were, I guess. Before, I mean. It’s strange, seeing you like… that,” he finished, motioning towards Oikawa’s phone.

“Hm,” Suga mused, his smile widening. “I like to think that I’m not helpless at all.”

But before Daichi could say anything more, a loud SLAM! made them all jump in their seats; Bokuto had slapped a hand to the table and leapt to his feet, nearly knocking his chair back. He announced that he’d be right back and he darted out of the apartment.

Everyone looked at Kuroo who pointedly cleared his throat.

“Shall we make ourselves comfortable in front of the TV? The presentation is about to start.”

“What presentation?” Daichi asked. He helped Suga stand up and limp over to the sofa as Oikawa and Kuroo led the way.

“No idea,” Suga said. “They said they wanted to wait for you to come home so they could show us something.”

“How long is it going to take? I have to get to work,” Daichi grumbled.

“Not long,” Kuroo said. “Unfortunately.”

“If it’s one of those bizarre Remi Gaillard pranks, like the time we watched him crawl down the highway dressed as a snail, I’ll pass,” Oikawa declared with a fussy toss of his hair even as he graciously landed into the leather armchair. “I have more important things to do.”

“It’s not,” Kuroo said. He scooted to the end of the couch to make room for Suga and Daichi and turned on the TV. “This is something that even you will enjoy, princess.”

“Why am I not reassured by that?” Daichi asked darkly, settling in and draping an arm around Suga as he cuddled into Daichi’s side with a tiny, pained sound; Daichi chased it away with soothing rubs over Suga’s shoulder.

Kuroo grinned, wolfishly, and Daichi’s frown only deepened.

“What did you do, Kuroo?”

“What makes you think it’s anything we did?”

“Because you’re doing the creepy smiling thing and Bokuto is obviously excited, and it involves some kind of a video clip and shall we remind ourselves what happened last time? When you showed us that elevator thing with fake girl ghosts? Took us an hour and a half to convince Oikawa to unlock himself from the bathroom!”

Kuroo burst into laughter and Oikawa smacked him on the leg.

“It’s not funny, Tetsu-chan, little girl ghosts are the creepiest!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Kuroo held up his hands despite still laughing. “I promise this is not like that. It’s… Hm. It’s one of a kind, and sort of… riveting.”

Before Daichi could ask what the fuck that meant Bokuto barged back into the apartment, humming to himself, making the hair on Daichi’s nape stand out even more.

Mysterious and gleeful Bokuto and Kuroo were never a good thing for the rest of the group.

Bokuto plugged a USB flash drive into the back of Asahi and Noya’s plasma TV and faced the seating area, suddenly all poised and proper, like Bokuto usually never was. Kuroo tossed him the remote control and he cleared his throat.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have gathered here today on this joyous occasion to witness something extremely... joyous.” He realized he’d repeated himself and shook his head before continuing, “Anyway, on this blessed day that one of our best friends finally grew a pair of balls and claimed this lovely temporary neighbour to himself-”

“Oh my god,” Daichi huffed out as Suga chuckled.

“-a feat that required not only bravery on his part, but also endless patience from us, his loyal companions through this so called ‘life’.” Bokuto used air quotes. “Until he finally got his shit together and spent a salacious night in the arms of-”

Suga’s laughter grew louder, mixed in with winces from the throb of his ribs and sharp intakes of breath, and Oikawa started laughing too. Daichi glared a hole between Bokuto’s thick eyebrows.

“I’m giving you two seconds to finish the speech before I shove that remote up your ass.”

“LONG STORY SHORT,” Bokuto talked over him, not deterred in his official address in the least. “For this special moment Kuroo and I have prepared a thing, kind of like a gift to you guys for embarking on this grand journey of togetherness, conscious coupling as that actress I can’t remember the name of would say-”

“Bo, I swear to-”

“WE ARE PROUD to present to you, courtesy of The White Owl’s security department, a brand new BoKuroo production, starring Sawamura Daichi as ‘The Twerking Lady’, a movie never before seen on our screens, titled: That Night When Daichi Got Piss Drunk and Danced on the Bar Top.”

Kuroo hooted loudly as everyone’s eyes went wide, Oikawa and Suga caught mid-laugh with their mouths in a comical O; Daichi’s heart stopped beating.

WHAT THE ACTUAL-

Bokuto pressed play and stood off to the side as the video flickered to life and Daichi recognized footage from one of many security cameras from Bokuto’s new club, black and white, clearly showing a section of the long bar. And there, right on the smooth surface-

“Wha-- WHAT!” Oikawa cried out in giddy disbelief as they all watched Daichi, in his plain T-shirt and jeans from the Six Deaths at the Discoteque night, prancing up and down the bar top, with the bartenders and guests alike hurriedly moving drinks out of his way.

“Of course, the cameras don’t record sound so we took the liberty of adding the song that played at that exact moment,” Kuroo said into the shocked, buzzing silence that was interrupted only by a strong, familiar bass.

Give it to me, I’m worth it!

Daichi’s jaw dropped at the sight of himself… Twerking, oh my god, he really had been twerking; swaying his hips from one side to the other with the most ridiculous pout on his lips before he spread his legs, bent his knees in a grotesque variation of his infamous receiving position, arched his back and, to his horror, popped his ass out; his jeans slid down and exposed the waistband of his boxers and how was he mouthing the words when he didn’t even know that song?

It was a lot like watching Shakira; if Shakira was taller, buffer, far less limber, with no sense of rhythm whatsoever and had smoked one too many joints.

So, basically, it was nothing like watching Shakira.

Daichi was too shocked, too numb to register the chaos around him; Suga crying tears of laughter and subsequently tears of pain into his side, dampening his T-shirt, with Kuroo and Bokuto cheering and hooting and Oikawa thanking the heavens for this invaluable experience that was watching Daichi dance.

Dance.

Through the mist of disbelief in his head Daichi recalled his conversation with Kuroo and Bokuto when he’d been hungover, how Kuroo had teased him about dancing and then promptly lied about it and those. two. DICKHEADS-

The recording ended when a black and white, grainy, laughing Bokuto came closer to the bar, reached up and pulled Daichi off it. He allowed Daichi to wrap himself around his bulky frame like a koala before he carried him away into the crowd towards the exit.

Daichi inhaled deeply, counting back from 10 to calm his nerves, to not lunge and headbutt Kuroo on the spot, and it was mostly out of two reasons: A) He wasn’t sure he could do it properly, never having headbutted anyone before, and he might’ve ended up breaking both his and Kuroo’s noses, and B) Suga would probably, definitely, pull Daichi’s arm right out of its socket if he tried anything like that.

So instead, Daichi spoke, keeping his voice uncharacteristically composed, “I’m assuming the file on the USB drive isn’t the only one?”

Kuroo laughed.

“What are you, insane? There are at least four copies and one of them is in a secure, bulletproof box at the station.”

“Dai-chan, so bootylicious!” Oikawa exclaimed through his laughter before he started clapping his hands. “Encore! Encore! Encore!”

And as Bokuto more than willingly pressed play and the clip started again, Daichi let out one last sigh, accepting the fact that his time in this building had come to an end and that he was due to find some new friends.

But Suga was still shaking with giggles beside him, both arms close to his chest in a futile effort to relieve the pain, and Daichi watched him, watched the clear tears of mirth stream down his face, watched him laugh and ow! and laugh again and Daichi couldn’t resist kissing him, right above his beauty mark…

Daichi’s anger about his drunken idiocy or Bokuto and Kuroo’s subsequent jackassery couldn’t hold up for long, not when it all made Suga laugh so beautifully; instead Daichi sank further down in Asahi and Noya’s lumpy sofa, pulled Suga tighter into him and made a mental note to accidentally add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the next batch of cupcakes for Bokuto and Kuroo.


From: Kuroo
Hey

From: Kuroo
Hey hey

From: Kuroo
Hey hey HEY

From: Kuroo
Daichi

From: Kuroo
Daichiiiiiiiiiii

From: Bokuto
Kuroo kindly asks for your attention

From: Kuroo
Daichi! OI DAICHI!

From: Oikawa
Tetsu-chan wants to tell you something
pls keep me out of this
I need to finish a project

From: Kuroo
Daichi
this is important

To: Kuroo
WHAT IS IT KUROO I’M WORKING

From: Kuroo
I need your boyfriend to fight me


By the second time Daichi climbed up to his floor that day he was drained of every last smidgen of energy he might’ve had. (That day being a relative term since it was already past midnight.) He ached for a long, hot shower to wash the stress off and a decent night of sleep on his anatomical pillow and in his clean sheets and-

Daichi unlocked the door of his apartment and stopped on the doorstep at the sight before him, his bag of leftovers hanging by his side.

The TV was on as the only source of light in the dark living room, casting bluish flickers on Suga who was sleeping on Daichi’s beige sofa, cozy in a pair of shorts, newly wrapped knee bandage and what Daichi recognized as his own hoodie, falling loosely over Suga’s leaner frame. He had one bent arm serving as a pillow under his head and his laptop was sitting on the coffee table in front of him, opened, just the way Suga left it before presumably dozing off in the middle of work.

Daichi smiled, making sure to be as quiet as possible as he closed the door, took off his shoes and put away the food containers in the fridge.

It was a novel experience, having someone waiting for him at home (who wasn’t there just to pillage through his kitchen, he hoped), and Daichi didn’t mind the fluffy warmth spreading from his chest, the feeling of calm and comfort… Of domesticity he didn’t even know he needed.

“Hey,” he whispered above the quiet murmur of the TV, crouching beside the sofa and tangling his fingers in Suga’s silky hair.

“Mmmm… Hey.” Suga smiled faintly, keeping his eyes closed. “Bootylicious.”

Daichi chuckled.

“I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

“Not if I can help it.” Suga’s eyes fluttered open, soft with sleep and warm, always so warm that Daichi could so easily get lost in them. “Didn’t know you could shake that fine ass like that.”

“And I didn’t know you could strangle a man with your thighs, yet here we are.” Daichi’s tone was playful and Suga breathed out a laugh.

“You don’t mind, do you? Me coming over, I mean. I wanted to see you after you came home and the guys gave me the keys and-”

Daichi stopped Suga’s words with a gentle press of a finger over his pink lips.

“I don’t mind at all,” he said, feeling the smooth, damp curve under his touch and not resisting the urge to lean in and kiss it, to taste Suga with a few slow, lasting licks before he pulled away. “Want to sleep with me?” he asked, raising a teasing brow.

“Oh, Captain.”

Daichi laughed, ignoring the heat pooling in his gut at the sound of the word in Suga’s melodic cadence.

“I meant-”

“I know, Dai.” Suga widened his smile, even as his eyes remained drowsy, slow to focus. “Yes, I want to sleep with you. And your ass.”

“Taken more pain killers?”

“Mhm.” Suga nodded and Daichi turned off the TV and closed the laptop. He gently slipped one arm around Suga’s shoulders and the other behind his knees, careful not to disturb the mending dislocation as he lifted Suga off the sofa.

“At least now I know why you’re so heavy,” Daichi huffed out as he made his way towards his bedroom with Suga half-asleep in his arms, head on Daichi’s shoulder and a finger tracing random shapes in the front of Daichi’s T-shirt. “Nothing but skin and muscle.”

“Some bones, too,” Suga mumbled.

Daichi laughed and planted a kiss in his hair, breathing in the citrusy scent, fresh and sparkling, enough to wipe his thoughts clean before he slowly laid Suga on his bed.

“Be right back,” Daichi murmured, to which Suga only hummed as he unzipped Daichi’s hoodie and dropped it by the bed, curling up shirtless under the covers.

Daichi couldn’t wait to join him; his bedtime routine had been the shortest one ever because of the burning need to slide up to Suga, to run his lips over every reachable part of Suga and fall asleep just as he’d woken up, sharing a bed together. Daichi rushed through his shower and the brush of his teeth and returned to the bedroom in his boxers, skin still tingling from the hot water; he snuggled close to Suga and wrapped his arms around Suga’s warm body, pulling him close.

“I met your mother today,” Suga whispered, the side of his face pressed into Daichi’s bare chest, his silvery-blonde hair sticking out in Daichi’s field of vision. Suga had replaced trailing nonsense over Daichi’s shirt to trailing nonsense over his tan skin with the same finger as before, perfectly serene, perfectly tucked into Daichi’s side.

Daichi chuckled.

“You did. Not the way I would’ve imagined that meeting going for the first time, but hey…”

“She was nice to me,” Suga said. “Do you think she liked me?”

“Of course she did! You should’ve heard the thousand and one questions I had to answer later. She wanted to know all the tiny details about you that I have yet to learn myself and she declared that you’re welcome to come to dinner at my parents’ place any time.”

Suga’s laugh was quiet, wistful.

“I’d like that.” There was a touch of melancholy in his voice, even as his fingers continued gently scratching over Daichi’s torso and Daichi tightened his embrace around Suga.

“I’d like that, too. She’ll probably cook so prepare yourself for a super spicy meal that will make you regret having a digestive system later.”

Suga kissed Daichi’s skin that was nearest to his lips, smiling through it.

“I love spicy food.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. What were you like as a kid? Your mom said you were too serious.”

Daichi smiled lazily, watching Suga’s fingers gracefully gliding over his body, barely discernible in the dark.

“I was serious. I mean, I played as much as any kid, I guess, but I liked rules. I respected the elders, never cheated on tests, mostly strived to do the right thing…” Save for when he had been blaming teddy bears for his mishaps, Daichi thought. “I suppose mom was proud of me in that regard, but also tried to find a way to get me to loosen up a little, to not be so…” he trailed off, his tired, lulled in mind struggling to find the right word, before Suga helped him.

“Constipated?” Daichi could hear the smile in his voice and he laughed.

“Something like that, yes. Oh, and I was chubby as a kid.”

“You were not!” Suga exclaimed, his fingers ceasing their dancing number and poking Daichi lightly in places, feeling the hard muscle of his abs.

“I was! I liked eating, go figure; I had an obsession with gummy bears for quite a while. And I learned how to bake the simple stuff early on, and that’s why I took up volleyball, at first. Some of the other kids in my class were making fun of me for being... round.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“It wasn’t the best,” Daichi agreed. “But it didn’t last long; practices twice a day helped and soon it didn’t matter how much I ate because nothing was sticking to me.”

“Hm.”

Suga fell into a contemplative silence, resuming the gentle walk of his fingers over Daichi’s skin in a way that made Daichi unwind, breathe deeper and wish for them to stay like this forever.

“And when…” Suga hesitated. “When you came out to your parents?”

Daichi hummed. He raised his gaze from Suga’s hand to the wardrobe opposite the bed, though he was seeing something else entirely; his father’s empty chair at the dinner table, his mother hurriedly wiping away tears whenever he’d walked in on her…

“It wasn’t… pretty.”

Daichi could almost hear the volume of their late night arguments, feel the acrid burn of guilt in his sixteen year old self at the thought that he’d caused it…

“My dad… He had a hard time accepting it. He would barely talk to me and I… spent as much time as I could away from home. At school, with the team… The guys were really supportive.” He laughed weakly. “They may be pains in my ass but they were there for me when I needed them, always.”

Daichi felt Suga smile a little again.

At this point in time, the recalling wasn’t painful, Daichi thought; not anymore. Eleven years have passed, plenty for their wounds to heal, for their lives to align right again and for Daichi to treat the whole experience as a miserable, but necessary period in his family’s life.

“If it wasn’t for my mother, though…” he said, bowing his head and breathing Suga in, closing his eyes for a soothing moment. “She was the one who made everything right,” he whispered into Suga’s hair. “Forget dad and me; she’s the one with balls of steel in our family.”

“Hm, I don’t find that hard to imagine.”

Sawamura Takara was many things to her son; annoying, nosey, blunt, too intelligent for her own good and with a penchant for making fun of her only child, in public. But she was also a superwoman, someone Daichi could count on whenever it mattered, who would pick him up and dust him off after his every fall, telling him that this time he’d conquer the world, for sure.

Everything he was, everything their family was, they owed it to her. And the least Daichi could do was suffer through an afternoon of shopping every other month to keep his mother happy.

Suga was still smoothly dragging his fingertips down the middle of Daichi’s chest, along the grooves of his abs, when Daichi asked,

“And you? What’s your mother like?”

Suga’s hand stilled. Daichi felt him tense up, a minute change in his demeanor that Daichi might not have noticed if Suga wasn’t in his arms, flush against him.

“Not… Not like that,” Suga breathed out with a strained smile, almost forcing himself to unclench, fingers now more careful, not as carefree as they continued their game.

Daichi didn’t press further.

He caressed Suga’s bare side in long, tender strokes, suddenly feeling not as warm and not as tired, his once gratefully forgotten feeling of worry regarding Suga crawling back up his spine.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t like Daichi’s life had been particularly dark or miserable; he had a satisfying, fulfilling job, a decent place to live (which was, for better or worse, more often than not occupied by an entire horde of longtime friends), and he had enough free time to spend however he pleased, including at least once a week playing his heart out on a volleyball court with the previously mentioned friends.

Daichi was surrounded by people he loved and who loved him back and, sure, he hadn’t had the best track record when it came to romantic relationships, and his sexual life had certainly been suffering, but it wasn’t like he’d been desperate for any of that. Most of the time.

However, once Suga had seamlessly fitted into Daichi’s life, complete with his sunny giggles and sassy winks, his wandering (godsent.) hands and soothing murmurs, Daichi was inclined to look back on his time spent on this earth and conclude that it’d been boring as fuck.

Lacking.

It was the whole before Suga and after Suga deal; no matter what awaited them in the future, from this point onwards Daichi would divide his lifetime by that single, groundbreaking event of Suga stepping into his world and turning it upside down.

As he lounged back in the softness of his beige sofa, Daichi glanced up from his menu planner at Suga, who was sitting with Daichi’s legs over his lap, focused on work, typing away on his laptop that was perched on the coffee table. Suga’s unruly silver-blonde hair was alight in the setting sun on the other side of the windows and Daichi smiled; he’d never get tired of the beauty that was his boyfriend.

“Hey,” he said, setting his notebook down and scooting closer; he pulled his legs away from Suga’s lap and wrapped his arms around Suga’s waist instead, still mindful of the healing ribs. “Wanna take a break?” he mumbled.

Suga smiled, not pausing in typing some kind of a report, as far as Daichi could make out following the letters across the screen.

“Is it the kind of break we need to lock the door for?”

Neither Daichi or Suga were stupid; they knew it was only a matter of time before they’d get caught in a compromising position by their neighbours who weren’t familiar with the concept of privacy, and the couple was careful to reduce the chances of that happening to nonexistent, if possible.

“Mmmm… I was thinking of maybe just watching that anime Bokuto recommended?”

“And ‘watching that anime’ is a euphemism for my mouth around your dick?”

Daichi laughed, heat creeping up the back of his neck at the thought of how his shower fantasy had come to life that morning; of Suga’s round hazel eyes looking up at him mischievously and the wet heat of his tongue…

“I mean, if it turns out that the show sucks…” Daichi said breathlessly and Suga laughed.

He stopped working and leaned back into Daichi’s broad chest.

“Then I’ll suck, too.” His smile grew wider and Daichi swooped in to kiss him, Suga’s giggling ringing out in the living room.

They pushed away the coffee table and piled all of the sofa cushions on the floor, deciding to lie back in an impromptu nest, and as Daichi fiddled with the remote to put on the first episode of the anime, Suga went searching for extra pillows and blankets to amp up the coziness.

“Uh, Daichi?”

“Yeah?” Daichi didn’t look up from the menu settings of the TV when Suga returned, dropping a heap of comforters and pillows on the floor.

“Did you know that Kuroo’s in the closet?”

Daichi snorted.

“I don’t think Kuroo was ever in the closet.”

“No, I mean right now. He’s asleep in your linen closet down the hall.”

“Oh.” Daichi looked up at Suga, vaguely recalling Kuroo having been to his apartment earlier that day. Daichi couldn’t remember seeing him leave. “I think…” Kuroo’s words floated into his memory, distant and muffled. “I think he’s hiding, for like a surprise attack.” Daichi shrugged, arranging the covers around him and sinking back into the cushions. “Must’ve fallen asleep waiting for you.”

Suga huffed out a laugh. Carefully, he sat down next to Daichi, cuddling into his arms.

“Guess that rules out potential blow jobs,” Suga mumbled as the show started playing, with a scene of a huge explosion in a metropolitan city. “Do you think we should wake him up? It’s pretty cramped in there.”

“Nah, he’ll be fine.”

And Daichi did try to follow the plot of the anime, truly.

But Suga was warm and serene next to him, and the show was strange, bizarre even, with some kind of a crab monster and a child with its chin resembling a pair of balls; it was hard for Daichi to focus on it and he prefered to gaze down at Suga, at his soft face lit up by the TV’s flickering screen, his fluffy hair…

Daichi turned to his side, foregoing trying to keep up with the show and peppering Suga’s neck with slow, gentle kisses, lazily caressing, raking his blunt nails up the skin of Suga’s forearm, arm, up over the sleeve of his T-shirt… Suga murmured approvingly, eyes still trained on the TV but a smile tugging at the corners of his lips, body leaning into Daichi’s affection.

“Daichi?”

“Hmm?” Daichi hummed in Suga’s ear, holding him close, perfectly happy.

“I… Um.”

The episode was coming to an end, it seemed, even though Daichi was sure neither of them grasped what it was about, and the last of the sunrays were breaking across the sky, bathing the living room in twilight orange.

Suga bit his lower lip, tentatively leaned the side of his face against Daichi’s forehead.

“Every Sunday I try to spend time at a children’s home… I told you about it a while ago, I don’t know if you remember. I volunteer there?”

“Yes?” Daichi did remember; it was one of the many things that made Suga loveable before Daichi ever got the opportunity to love him.

“Um. So… I’ll go this Sunday, too, and… And I thought, maybe, you’d like to come with me?”

There was hesitation in his voice, uncertainty and the faintest hint of reaching, offering a sliver of his life to Daichi.

“Oh.” Daichi pulled away a bit and looked into Suga’s eyes, bright in the fading daylight. “What, uh. What would we do there?”

Suga smiled, waved a hand in the air.

“I don’t know. Whatever you want. Whatever the kids want. If it’s a nice day we’ll play outside, maybe help with their homework if they need it… A couple of girls play volleyball in middle school, you might be able to give them a few pointers.”

“Huh.”

Daichi had some, limited, experience with children from whenever Oikawa’s nephews and niece came to visit; they seemed to have liked Daichi just fine. He didn’t see any reason to refuse to go with Suga.

What’s more, Suga’s careful gaze told him that he wanted Daichi to come, at least this one time, to see where Suga spent most of his Sundays.

And who knew, it might even be fun.

Daichi smiled.

“I guess I could do that.”

“It’ll be fine, Dai. They’re just children,” Suga said, smiling more widely at his acceptance, letting out a tiny breath of relief. “Compared to your friends they’re literal angels.”

That I don’t doubt for a second,” Daichi grumbled.

He snuggled closer into Suga and both of them relaxed into the cushions and blankets of their nest, laughing and talking, kissing, and finally dozing off in the early evening.

Sometime later, there was a dull thud as the doors to the linen closet swung open and Kuroo fell out, along with a pile of neatly folded sheets and pillow cases. He didn’t wake up.

(Not immediately at least. After going completely numb on the hard floor, Kuroo had gotten up, stretched out his long limbs and strolled over to the living room, where Daichi and Suga were asleep in front of the still-turned-on TV.

Kuroo joined them, spooning Daichi between him and Suga.)

(Suga didn’t mind it. Daichi wanted to set Kuroo on fire.)


“However we want?”

“Yes.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

“You’re absolutely-”

“Yes, Bokuto, you can decorate the damn cupcakes however you want.” Daichi paused and looked over his shoulder, at Kuroo and Bokuto sitting at the dining table, three trays of different flavored cakes waiting to be frosted in front of them. “Well, you know, not with anything obscene. They are children, after all.”

Kuroo and Bokuto gave him flat looks.

“What?” Daichi asked. “You made me a penis shaped cake for my last birthday!” He vividly remembered Kuroo slapping him on the back, hard, with the words, “Here’s hoping this isn’t the only time you get to eat dick in the new year.”

“Because you wouldn’t make one yourself!” Bokuto exclaimed indignantly.

“Because we know you and your sexual preferences, and that you’re over 18,” Kuroo said, taking up one of the pastry bags with a star tip and pulling out a golden crusted cake from the molds. “And it was pretty funny watching Asahi layer on the frosting over the cake balls,” he added with a snigger.

Beside him, Bokuto’s tongue was peeking out from between his teeth as he almost flawlessly swirled bright pink buttercream on top of a rich brown colored cake, his concentration and technique nothing short of admirable.

Daichi smiled to himself and went back to stirring in orange peels in the next batch of chocolate cakes; he had taught them well. It wasn’t an activity they often did together, but over the years they’ve lived next door to each other Kuroo and Bokuto had stumbled upon Daichi and his baking more than enough times to get curious at first, then eager to learn and then downright competitive with who can decorate the prettiest cupcake.

And for this occasion Daichi didn’t see why he couldn’t include them in helping out.

“Do you think they’ll like them?” he asked over the gentle whirr of his stand mixer, watching the beater slowly even out the mix.

“Of course they’ll like them!” Kuroo exclaimed. “Never met a kid who didn’t like cupcakes.”

“If I like them, the kids will love 'em,” Bokuto said confidently. He used a pair of large chef’s tweezers to gingerly place a colorful butterfly made of sugar on his pink swirled cupcake and then held up his creation to appraise it better.

“Maybe I should’ve made mochi…” Daichi voiced his doubts. “Or like individual fruit salads, you know, something healthy? This might send the wrong message, like: hey kids, nice to meet you, here’s some tooth decay!”

Kuroo snorted, in the middle of placing tiny spots of red over the white piping of his own cupcake, giving it a pretty polka dot pattern.

“You shouldn’t worry about that. They’re kids without parents, I say they’re allowed to be spoiled once in a while.”

“Yeah, I guess…” Daichi said, not entirely convinced.

It was easy to spend a week not thinking about it. In fact, it was easy to actually look forward to Suga sharing more of his routine, to him opening up and including Daichi more in his life.

Until Sunday morning when Daichi had woken up with a pang of nervousness in his chest; that was exactly the problem - these children, twelve of them as Suga had told him, were a big part of Suga’s life. Suga had been visiting them once a week for years, and they must have loved him and Suga must have loved them back and it occurred to Daichi that this was a lot like meeting Suga’s family.

And if it were Suga’s family Daichi wouldn’t have been that apprehensive about it, since they’d be adults and he could handle adults. But these were children, ages between 2 and 16, and children were shrewd, honest and unpredictable and Daichi’d had a sudden realization that he wasn’t prepared enough for this.

He couldn’t go there empty handed.

It was fortunate that Suga had an early meeting on Sunday and hadn’t slept over because Daichi had to do some last minute ingredients shopping, had to sneak into the restaurant outside his shift to borrow some tools, and suffer Ennoshita’s glare as he promised to return them that same evening. He had even had to wake up Kuroo and Bokuto to get them to assist with the decorating of forty-eight cupcakes.

Which amounted to four cupcakes per kid. Daichi hoped that was enough.

Oh god what if it wasn’t enough?

“It’s actually pretty cool that Suga volunteers with these kids,” Bokuto mused as he worked on his third cupcake, fashioning a Pikachu out of yellow frosting. “Can’t imagine what it’s like, growing up with no family.”

There was a tense beat, during which Kuroo and Daichi exchanged looks.

“Bo…” Kuroo started carefully, as Daichi turned off the mixer and gave the batter a stir with his wooden spoon.

“I know, I know.” Bokuto waved his hand that was holding the decorating pen. “Not like I talk to my family anymore either, but that’s different you know?” His tone was conversational, amber eyes focused on his delicate work. “I was 20 then they kicked me out, already a 'grown up', and I actually did have a nice childhood. Parents… mean home, don’t they? Some kind of stability, safety… Like your mom kissing it better when you fall off your bike and scrape your knee. Or your dad teaching you how to ride that bike in the first place. But these little squirts…” Bokuto sighed and put down his finished Pikachu cupcake, looking at it thoughtfully. “They don’t have a home.” Then he smiled widely, brightly, and looked up at the other two. “And that’s why they deserve all the cupcakes.”

“Bro,” Kuroo whispered. He wrapped an arm around Bokuto’s neck and yanked him sideways into a hug, almost knocking over all of the trays and tools in the process. “That was fucking beautiful,” he sniffed as Bokuto laughed and relaxed in the affectionate headlock.

“Dorks,” was all Daichi had to say with a smile, pouring the thick chocolate batter into the fourth muffin tray.

“So… What’s the sex like?” Kuroo asked after a moment.

“Yeah, how flexible is Suga, really?” Bokuto added, straightening back up in his seat.

Unbelievable. From emotionally charged to having no sense of boundaries whatsoever in 0.7 seconds.

Daichi laughed.

“I don’t know actually,” he said. “We haven’t had sex yet. Can’t until Suga’s knee and ribs get better.”

“Oh,” Kuroo said. “But you did stuff, right?”

Daichi shot him a look over the shoulder, intending to make it a half-glare with a dash of drop it on the side, but the warm blush of his cheeks ruined it.

Kuroo and Bokuto grinned like mad over cutely decorated cupcakes in front of them.

“I just…” Daichi set down his ladle, pausing with his work and turning around to fully face his friends. “It’s been…” He thought for a bit, feeling the familiar rush of excitement and tingling whenever he thought of Suga. “Perfect, I guess. I… I mean, you guys know, I’ve had relationships before, I even had that one… What was it? I think Yuuji and I were together for like a year and some months, no?”

“Something like that, yeah,” Kuroo said, twisting a pastel blue rose from his pastry bag onto the next cupcake. “Too bad that didn’t work out.”

“Yeah, Teru was so much fun,” Bokuto agreed.

“Badass, with the tongue piercing and all.”

“He always had the craziest stories.”

“Yeah, yeah, Yuuji was fine,” Daichi said, wanting to cut short Kuroo and Bokuto’s ode to his ex-boyfriend. “He just wasn’t for me, we’d never have worked long ter-”

“Was he as badass as the MMA fighter, though?” Bokuto asked out loud, completely ignoring Daichi.

“Huh.” Kuroo paused, contemplating. “No, I guess not.”

“Hey, Daichi?” Bokuto then turned to the annoyed chef. “How come you always have such cool boyfriends?”

“Maybe it’s because I don’t hijack their conversations while they’re still talking,” Daichi gritted out.

“Right, sorry.”

“Anyway.” Daichi let out a sigh and turned back to finish up the last batch, or else he’d never be ready on time. “I don’t think I’ve ever been into anyone as much as I’m into Suga. I don’t think I’ve ever… It’s a gut feeling more than anything, I suppose. Like, me and Suga. We’ve been together for less than two weeks and the honeymoon phase is definitely still in full effect but god… He’s just so…” The last mold was filled ¾ of the way up and Daichi used a thumb to swipe a stray drop off the side and bring it to his lips, tasting chocolate with a tang of oranges. “I don’t even know what I want to say, to be honest.”

“That you’re finally in a relationship which matters to you, with a guy who makes you go all gaga at the mere mention of his name and that you hope it all works out in the end?” Kuroo asked, smirking because he knew he was right. “With possibly a touch of fear that it’s still too early to be that invested in the relationship because something horrible might happen and ruin it all?”

Daichi slid the muffin tray into the preheated oven and closed its door.

“For a guy whose choice karaoke song is always Taylor Swift, you’re surprisingly observant you know,” he said, setting the digital oven timer and smiling at Kuroo.

Though it wasn’t much of a surprise, really. Whereas Bokuto was half-idiot and half-overenthusiastic-puppy-in-need-of-belly-rubs-who’ll-always-make-you-feel-loved-and-appreciated, Kuroo was half-idiot and half-god-help-you-if-you-piss-him-off. There was a reason he made Sergeant before turning thirty, a feat outdone only by his partner in the workplace, Tsukishima.

It was true that most times Kuroo’s mentality wasn’t different than that of a teenager popping a mint into a bottle of coke just to see what would happen, but underneath the smug jackassery Kuroo was sinfully intelligent, protective, and above all, loving towards his close group of friends.

“It’ll be fine,” Kuroo said, narrowing his eyes at the white swirl of the cupcake in his hands; he used a small brush dipped in food color to paint rainbow stripes running along the upward spiral. “Not that I have much experience in the area, but you and Suga make sense together. You’re like the ultimate sickeningly sweet couple; hashtag romantic goals. Just take it slow and easy and you’ll be fine.”

“Also, feed him,” Bokuto added.

Daichi let out a snort.

“I already feed him.” He set the bowl where the cake batter had been in the sink and filled it with water before he moved on to putting away all the ingredients they'd used for the baking. “Suga’s skilled in many things, but cooking isn’t one of them. Not without supervision, at least. Can’t afford to have him chop off his own finger in an attempt to make dinner.”

“Aw, you complete each other,” Kuroo joked, Bokuto snickered and Daichi just rolled his eyes in good nature.

Right then the entrance door to Daichi’s apartment slammed shut under the draft pull from the open window in the kitchen and Suga’s cheery voice rang out,

“If Kuroo’s in there, tell him I’m not fighting him today, either!”

Daichi laughed at the aggravated purse of Kuroo’s lips, even as he still worked on the rainbow cupcake, with Bokuto laughing beside him, adding sugary flowers to his own creation.

“We’re in the kitchen!” Daichi called and a moment later Suga appeared in the doorway with his laptop case in hand, all casually elegant in a tight-fitting button up and chinos, fresh from his meeting at the company.

He was smiley as always, a little flushed because it was hot outside and the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up around his elbows. Daichi spent a tad too long staring at his boyfriend’s arms.

“I- Oh my god.” Suga’s eyes widened at all the finished and unfinished cupcakes, the trays and tools… Though what probably surprised him even more were Kuroo and Bokuto diligently decorating each and every one of the cakes. “Are we… having a bake sale?” he asked. “Or are dozens of cupcakes like a regular Sunday for this building?”

“I wish,” Bokuto mumbled.

Suga’s limp wasn’t as heavy as before, though his short walk up to Daichi was still a bit wobbly as he came closer to plant a quick peck on Daichi’s lips and Daichi gave him a hesitant smile.

“I figured the kids might like a treat,” he said, gesturing awkwardly to the colorfully designed cardboard boxes stacked on a counter, waiting to be filled with finished cupcakes.

“Oh. Ooooooooooh!” Suga was achingly precious in his realization, with his eyes round and lips parted, once again taking in all the sweets around them. “You… For- for the kids?”

“I don’t know, it’s been a while since I was sixteen or younger. I just thought I couldn’t go there without at least something, you know, and I’m kind of decent at baking, so…”

Daichi couldn’t decipher the look on Suga’s face; soft, wondrous, grateful, touched, as if Daichi had single-handedly made sure that every single puppy in Tokyo would be safe and loved for the rest of its life.

“You… made them a gift,” Suga whispered, hazel eyes gleaming.

Daichi smiled, reached up to brush his knuckles over Suga’s cheek.

“Well… They’re important to you, no?” he murmured.

“Yeah, they are.” Suga returned the smile and leaned into Daichi’s touch, into his hand with a happy little sigh. “And you’re kind of important to me, too. Thank you, for doing this.”

Daichi pressed his lips to Suga’s cheekbone, to the side of his nose, keeping him close as Suga giggled quietly.

“You’re welcome,” Daichi whispered back, closing his eyes and relishing in Suga’s presence and warmth.

Until a shout made them separate.

“Cool, your tongue’s all blue!”

They looked over at Kuroo and Bokuto surrounded by a myriad of artfully frosted cupcakes, just in time to see Kuroo pull in his smurf blue tongue and Bokuto announcing that it was HIS TURN! before he squeezed pastel green buttercream directly from the pastry bag into his mouth, complete with gurgling noises and Kuroo’s loud cheering.

“So,” Daichi turned back to Suga over the CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!, deciding that it was for the best to simply ignore them. “Wanna help decorate the rest of the cupcakes?”


Suga insisted that he was fine with driving; his knee was healing nicely, he didn’t need to bend it too much, and it was only a short drive since the children’s home wasn’t that far from their apartment complex.

They packed the cupcake boxes in the back, Daichi made himself comfortable in the black leather of the passenger seat and willed himself to not outwardly gape at how hot Suga was behind the wheel of the large, sleek Mercedes.

“So, like, twelve children?” Daichi wanted to confirm, averting his eyes from the relaxed hold of Suga’s hand on the wheel to the wide boulevard which was somewhat less busy with traffic, since it was a sunny Sunday and people prefered walking and biking.

Suga smiled.

“Yes, twelve.”

“I’m assuming there’ll be some adults there, too?”

“No, on Friday they lock up the children and leave them to fend for themselves until Monday. You know, survival of the fittest and all that.”

Daichi shot a dark look at Suga and crossed his arms over his chest. Suga let out a laugh.

“Of course there’ll be adults. They have a cook during lunchtime and my friend, Kiyoko, is there today. She works there as a social worker and- I think you saw her actually? In the building, a while back?”

Daichi frowned, searching through his memory until he came up with the only time he saw an unknown person in the hallway of their floor in the past month and a half, barring one of Kuroo’s friends on their walk of shame down the stairs.

“Uh, the girl with dark hair and glasses?” Daichi asked, his face heating up. Bokuto and he had effectively been spying on Suga and his friend that night, trying to determine if Suga was dating her or not after Daichi’s freak out over Suga’s sexual orientation, and it might’ve felt a tad humiliating. “Kinda quiet?” Daichi’s voice came out more strained than he’d have liked it to be and he cleared his throat.

“Yes, that’s her.” The car rolled to a stop at a red light and Suga turned to Daichi, narrowing his eyes as he undoubtedly noticed Daichi’s sudden flush of embarrassment. “Why so weird, Daichi?”

Daichi shook his head, trying to keep his voice even.

“Not weird.”

“Is it about Kiyoko? Did Kuroo hit on her while I wasn’t looking or something?” The stoplight turned green and Suga shifted into first gear, the car gliding smoothly across the intersection. “Not like it would’ve worked, anyway. Even if she wasn’t married, Kuroo never would’ve had a chance with her.”

“It’s not that.”

“Then what?”

Daichi held his breath for a beat, before he released it in a loud puff and dragged a hand down his face.

“Okay, but this is… Promise you won’t laugh.”

Suga glanced at him shortly, already on the verge of laughter and it was obvious he couldn’t make such promises.

Daichi sighed.

“Okay, you know how I basically fell in love with you at first sight?”

“And I never get tired of hearing that.” Suga smiled impossibly bright as he kept his gaze on the road. “Yeah?”

“So, when, uh… Kiyoko visited, Bokuto and I were at my place and…” Daichi looked down at his hands in his lap and mumbled, “Iwasafraidshewasmaybeyourgirlfriendorsomething.”

“What!” Suga exclaimed, bursting into laughter as Daichi shut his eyes and bowed his head in the passenger seat.

“I didn’t know, okay!” he defended himself. “I just met you, and you were so beautiful and charming and then you had a girl over and do you know how shocked I was that I didn’t even consider the possibility of you being straight? And for a few days there, until we went on that run together, I actually thought that maybe you were and-”

Daichi’s rant was cut off by Suga reaching with the hand not on the steering wheel and gently scratching at the back of Daichi’s head, combing his fingers through the cropped dark hair; it was a move which always relaxed Daichi, instantly, made him breathe out and lean back into the touch.

“You’re too cute, you know that,” Suga said, withdrawing the hand to shift gears.

Daichi smiled.

“Would it be too lame if I said not as cute as y-

“Yes, it would,” Suga cut him off and they both laughed, Daichi leaning over, straining against his seat belt to plant a kiss on Suga’s shoulder.

Suga made a left turn, into a parking lot in front of an unimpressive ground level building. It wasn’t difficult to find a space as it was practically deserted and Suga turned off the ignition and smiled at Daichi.

“Ready?” he asked, unbuckling.

“I think so, yeah.” Daichi nodded with a smile of his own, feeling apprehensive, excited and hesitant all at once. He hoped he wouldn’t fuck it up, to put it in Oikawa’s gentle words.

Suga kissed him on the cheek, nudging the side of Daichi’s face with his nose and Daichi mellowed out at the gesture.

“It’ll be fine,” Suga repeated quietly. “They are polite and friendly kids, mostly, and we don’t even have to stay that long, just for me to check in.”

“We can stay as long as you like,” Daichi replied. He looked into Suga’s sparking eyes, his fingers finding their way into Suga’s hair and threading through the silvery blonde. “Just do your thing and I’ll be right here with you.”

And Daichi was prepared. Nervous, sure, but as they got out of the car and made their way to the entrance door (sans the cupcakes, since Suga decided it would be for the best to bring them in after they made sure lunchtime was over), Suga took his hand and squeezed reassuringly. Daichi squeezed back, casting one last glance down at himself to check if his T-shirt and jeans were alright, that his fly wasn’t open, right before-

“SUGA IS HEREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Daichi widened his eyes at the shrieking from within the building and Suga laughed. He let go of Daichi’s hand and pushed the entrance door open, into an avalanche of screaming, thundering footsteps from all sides, a voice shouting from the back, “TAIKI, LEAVE THE LIZARD, SUGA’S HERE!”

And suddenly they were surrounded by deafening voices, by bouncing children, screeching, all clamoring to give Suga a hug. Daichi ducked out of the way at once, opting to watch from the sidelines as Suga was enveloped in a pile of small hands and arms reaching out for him.

“Suga, Suga, I got a 92 score on that English test!”

“-and then he jumped, Suga, you should have seen him! I want to be just as good as him one day!”

“Is your knee better, Suga?”

“We had oatmeal for breakfast, yuck. I stuffed mine into a napkin and fed it to Charizard.”

“-but then he went POW! and the thing just exploded like BOOM! and then the monster was so angry and-”

And Daichi had never heard Suga laugh so loudly over the noise; never seen his smile so wide and bright, blinding as he spread his arms as much as he could, leaning down to give each kid a hug and a pat on the head, which they returned gladly, some of them even refusing to let go until forced to by others.

Daichi smiled to himself, catching the glow of the joyful atmosphere, the radiant happiness from the group as he watched Suga straighten back up and raise his hands to calm the children down.

“Okay, okay, I promise we’ll talk later, just as soon as I actually come inside.” Suga laughed, still pretty much trapped against the front door in the unassuming entrance hallway. He then looked at a short, curly haired boy and tried to appear as stern as possible as he told him, “Taiki, you shouldn’t feed Charizard oatmeal. Do you still have the crickets I brought you last time?”

“Yes, but-” Taiki started, round cheeks puffing out, only to have Suga interrupt him.

“No buts. Oatmeal is healthy for you and you should eat it. Geckos only eat insects, you know that. You don’t want to make him sick, do you?”

“No, of course not,” Taiki mumbled, averting his eyes in resignation.

Suga turned to Daichi then and motioned for him to come closer, which Daichi did, cautiously, acutely aware of many pairs of young, curious eyes shifting their attention to him. He did his best to appear calm, normal, even as nervousness twisted in his gut and crept into the edges of his smile.

“I brought a friend,” Suga said, regarding the group in front of him. He laid a hand between Daichi’s shoulder blades, caressing soothingly to ease the tension there. “Everyone, I want you to meet Daichi. He’s the neighbour I mentioned some time ago, who’s good at cooking?”

The kids stared at Daichi, unblinkingly, and his palms started sweating from the undivided attention.

Suga laughed.

“And, Daichi, this is… Well, not everyone,” he said, scanning the children. “But most of them.”

Daichi nodded, swallowing thickly.

“H-hi,” he stammered out through his smile, giving an awkward wave. “It’s really nice to meet you a-”

“Do you have a lizard?”

Daichi stopped. He looked down at the small curly haired boy, Taiki, who had his head tilted to the side and his eyes narrowed scrutinizingly at Daichi.

“I… No, I’m afraid I don’t,” Daichi said, suddenly much too self-conscious about the fact.

“Hm.” Taiki held his inspecting look for a beat longer before he grinned excitedly, revealing a gap where his two front teeth were missing. “Wanna see mine?”

“Uh…” Daichi cast a sideways glance at Suga, who gave him a gentle nudge on the back, nodding encouragingly and Daichi breathed out a chuckle. “Sure, I guess.”

“Awesome!” Taiki immediately took Daichi’s hand and led the way down a hallway, launching into chatter, “His name is Charizard and he’s seven months, two weeks and four days old and he’s a leopard gecko, 22.3 centimeters in length and he weighs about…”

Out of the corner of his eye Daichi saw that about half of the group followed after them while the other half stayed behind with Suga, back to animatedly talking over each other in the entrance hallway.

Taiki pulled them all into a lounge of sorts, a well-lit room with walls painted in a pattern of green and blue, depicting sea life in a cartoonish style as far as Daichi could make out; it had access to the courtyard behind the building and it was filled with round wooden tables and chairs, boxes filled to the brim with toys, high shelves neatly stacked with books, board games, buckets of LEGOs…

And a large glass tank sitting on a side table in the corner.

“-I saw it in an encyclopedia, you know, and I thought it was so cool. Do you know that they eat live insects? And shed their skin about once a month and can detach their tails if they’re in danger, how awesome is that! Anyway, then Suga bought me this one for my birthday and my favorite Pokemon is Charizard and I know that geckos can’t breathe fire, but just imagine if he could, wow-”

Daichi followed the children’s lead as they dragged a few chairs up to the tank and sat around it and he observed how a golden-brown, leopard printed lizard lazed about in its habitat, calmly enduring gentle pats from its six year old owner.

And it was strange, how quickly Daichi relaxed. How quickly he felt accepted, with Taiki and his friends addressing him as if he had been around since forever. They didn’t seem to need more than him to genuinely listen to them, to react appropriately to their musings and ask questions to prompt even more of their talking.

Taiki’s excitement about all things reptilian was palpable, his eyes wide with wonder as he recited every single bit of his considerable knowledge. The other children shared the sentiment to a lesser extent, but still chiming in with their own observations and stories about Charizard, about what happened when they’d handled him for the first time or when they accidentally forgot him outside of his tank once…

“I bet that didn’t go too well with the…” Daichi paused. Staff? Social workers? How did the kids address their caretakers?

A girl a bit older than Taiki shook her head.

“Kiyoko was so mad,” she said, whispering in case Kiyoko was near. “She said that if we can’t take care of Charizard they’ll take him away.”

“But the older boys helped us find him and bring him back to the tank,” another girl said. “We’ve been on constant watch ever since.”

Daichi laughed, commending how seriously the children took their job of having a pet. It was sweet.

“Oh and here! We’re collecting all of his old skin!” With a grin Taiki brought up a jar of transparent, whitish substance that once belonged to Charizard, still with a visible rough pattern of his scales. “We need to keep it sealed tight because of skin mites, but isn’t it cool?”

“The coolest,” Daichi agreed and the kids beamed.

Before his lessons on geckos and lizards could continue, though, there was a loud BANG! as the door to the courtyard slammed open and two girls stumbled in, flushed and fighting for breath; one of them clutched a volleyball and the other pointed a shaky finger at Daichi.

“Y-you!” she panted. “Da-Daichi-san! Suga told- us- that you know volley- ball.”

“I… Yeah,” Daichi said, gaze flittering between the two girls, their identical almond-shaped eyes, button noses and auburn hair tied back in tight ponytails; they had to be twins. Older than Taiki, maybe 12 or 13, both outfitted in green and yellow T-shirts and gym shorts from what was probably their middle school team. “I’m familiar with the volleyball.” Daichi smiled.

“Play with us?” the other girl asked, raising her eyebrows hopefully.

Daichi looked back at Taiki and his friends, and the curly haired boy nodded.

“I’m satisfied with what you’ve learned today, Daichi-san,” he said. “We’ll continue next time and you can go and play for a bit now.”

Daichi laughed and ruffled Taiki’s hair affectionately, feeling oddly proud of himself that he heard a next time, before he got to his feet and jogged after the twins outside, into the sunny yard.

And if Daichi had any preconceived notions about what a playground of a children’s home looked like, this definitely wouldn’t have been it.

He stared at the large open space, sectioned off from the city with the building itself on three sides and a concrete wall on the fourth; it would’ve resembled a prison yard if it didn’t contain pretty much everything a kid would need to have fun outside. Soft, grassy terrain on the left, a huge play gym with a pirate ship theme in the middle and an asphalt court on the right, where two teenage boys were playing one-on-one by a basketball hoop fastened to the wall. A volleyball net was put up some distance away from them, where the twin girls were headed, nudging each other and laughing, not realizing that Daichi had lagged behind to process his surroundings.

He had expected something… simpler, humbler, not a literal oasis for anyone who wanted to spend even a minute of their time outside.

“Big, huh?”

Daichi smiled as Suga came to stand beside him, though the smile immediately morphed into one of those silly, delighted faces that adults made for children at the sight of a cute, chubby-cheeked girl in Suga’s arms, her impassive expression in stark contrast to the pink bow in her hair.

“Who’s this?” Daichi asked, unable to keep the coo from his voice. He leaned in and waved at the toddler. “Hi! Hello, princess! I’m Daichi. Da-i-chiiiii… What’s your name?”

The girl looked at Suga as if asking him who the fuck is this idiot and Suga laughed, adjusting his hold on her, smoothing out her frilly yellow skirt.

Daichi’s heart swelled at the sight of his beautiful boyfriend carrying the adorable girl, smiling widely at her in the bright sunlight, and if Daichi was one of those instagram-obsessed types, like Oikawa had been for a while, he’d definitely snap a pic of them and post it with a sappy, gushing description underneath. (Practically inviting Kuroo to leave an inappropriate comment on it, because of which Daichi would have to block him.)

“Are you going to tell Daichi your name?” Suga asked the girl, to which she just scowled. “Come on, he introduced himself and now it’s your turn to-”

“No.”

Both Daichi and Suga laughed at her pouty mouth, at the tiny voice that was so steadfast in her refusal.

“Ah, guess he’ll just have to call you No, then,” Suga said and smiled apologetically at Daichi. “They brought her in about six months ago, so she’s still adjusting. Took her a while even to let me hold her.”

Daichi ignored the lance of injustice at the reminder that these enthusiastic, inquisitive children all didn’t have families; that they were abandoned and that this place wasn’t temporary for most of them. Not just somewhere they did their homework or played until their parents came to pick them up, but where they lived

He nodded in understanding, but kept making ridiculous faces at the girl, widening his eyes, squishing his cheeks, making fish-lips… Suga laughed at her utmost lack of interest in Daichi’s attempts to get her to smile.

“Are you okay?” he asked tentatively as Daichi finally gave up. “I… I didn’t know if you would be, with me leaving you on your own with them, but I felt like they should get to know you, like, without me there-”

“It’s fine, Suga,” Daichi reassured him, laying a hand on his back. “They are very well-mannered and so smart, holy sh-” He caught himself just before he said the curse word in front of the small girl and quickly amended, “-cow. They know so much about lizards!”

“They do know so much. Too much,” Suga said with a smile.

“Oi!”

They looked up and Daichi’s hand on Suga’s back dropped to his side. One of the volleyball twins had run back to them and without warning flung the volleyball straight at Daichi, which he caught without effort.

She spread her arms in challenge at him.

“Come on, old man, we don’t have all day! Let’s see what you got!”

Kumiko,” Suga chided. “That’s not a way to talk to guests.”

“Aw, Suga, but he’s not a guest! He’s your friend.” She smiled, failing to look innocent. “And as such, Masako and I want to see what he’s made of. Didn’t you say he used to be a team captain?”

Daichi laughed at her feistiness, spinning the volleyball in his hands. He looked at Suga, at the toddler in his arms and Suga shook his head in response.

“Go. Don’t be too hard on them.”

“I have a feeling you should be asking them not to be too hard on me,” Daichi replied through his laugh, resisted the urge to give Suga a kiss and joined the twin sisters, Kumiko and Masako apparently, on the mock volleyball court.


Though it didn’t matter that Daichi knew their names, since appearance-wise he couldn’t tell Kumiko and Masako apart; the sole thing he could latch onto to distinguish them were their positions, one being a setter and the other a wing spiker, the ace.

After only a few practice spikes, however, Daichi was inclined to just name them Little Monster #1 and Little Monster #2 in his head because they were fucking. unstoppable.

Barely reaching his nose level in height, the ace sister’s spikes held an insane amount of raw power for a twelve year old, and the setter sister was on her way to become the next Oikawa as far as Daichi was concerned; they would be absolutely terrifying by the time they came into their own and started dominating in high school teams.

The only area they needed more practice in were their receives and overall defense plays - what Daichi excelled in. He’d spent a good amount of time polishing their skills, teaching them new tricks and mental fortitude required to meet an incoming volleyball aimed at one’s head at flaming speeds without even a shred of hesitation.

“Who knew you’d actually be so cool, Daichi-san!” Little Monster #1 exclaimed with a grin and a hard slap on Daichi’s back.

“Yeah, almost as cool as Suga!” her sister added and Daichi managed out a laugh, pausing to the side of the net to catch his breath. He was sweating through his clothes and barely standing in the heat, even if he did roll the sleeves of his T-shirt up around his shoulders.

The two teenage boys, oldest of the bunch it seemed, were still shooting hoops not too far away from them, shouting and joking around with their seemingly endless energy; it wasn’t until Suga emerged into the courtyard again, no longer holding the disgruntled little girl from before, and shouted that there was a treat for everyone in the kitchen that both the volleyball and the basketball fell to the ground and remained there for the foreseeable future.

Kumiko and Masako waved before they went to join the other kids for the cupcakes.

His breathing finally settled and he used the hem of his T-shirt to wipe the sweat off his brow before he turned and-

Came face to face with the teenagers. Rather, Daichi found himself looking up, up, way up because the two boys were towering over him, not unlike Kuroo did. Their arms were crossed over their broad chests and their expressions were dark, menacing, the opposite of their playful behavior from moments before; Daichi realized they were trying to intimidate him.

Which might’ve even worked, if they weren’t high school students.

As it was, Daichi was just confused as to the reason for their apparent hostility.

“Can I… help you?” he asked as kindly as possible.

“What are your intentions with our Suga?” the blond boy asked, his golden eyes narrowing at Daichi.

“I- What?”

“Are you friends, colleagues…?” The other boy was a bit taller, tan and with a blue tint to his dark hair. He frowned. “Are you dating?”

“I… Don’t see how that’s-” Daichi began only to be cut off again.

“We know he went on dates before,” the blond one said. “But you’re the only boyfriend he ever brought here.”

“Which means that he really likes you.”

“Which means that he really cares about you.”

Which in turn means that you should treat him right,” the darker boy concluded, leaning in a bit to get his point across, his dark blue eyes ablaze, jaw clenched. “Because if you hurt our Suga, Daichi-san, no matter how old you are, no matter where you are or what you do, I swear to god we will find you and-”

“Daiki.”

The boy paused, his intimidating aura dissolving in an instant as he straightened back up and turned to look behind, at Suga smiling up at him warmly.

“Ryouta.” Suga aimed his smile at the blond then. “I hope you two are being nice to Daichi,” he said, glancing at Daichi who laughed under his breath; it was strange, unexpected, but in the end quite endearing that these two overgrown boys were so protective of Suga, that they were essentially doing a big brother with a touch of Liam Neeson routine, even if Suga was at least ten years older, not related to them in any way and a professional MMA fighter.

“We were just-” Daiki began, but now it was Daichi’s turn to interrupt him.

“They were being very nice, indeed,” he said seriously. “I couldn’t help but notice their outstanding basketball technique and we got to talking and turns out we have some shared… interests. Ones that we equally care about.”

He wasn’t being subtle in the least and Suga’s smile widened. Both he and Daichi did their best to suppress their laughter.

“I’m glad… that you found some things in common,” Suga choked out and somewhere above him Daiki and Ryouta rolled their eyes at the obnoxiously transparent couple. “Here.” Suga took Ryouta’s hand and pressed what Daichi realized were the keys to the Mercedes into his palm. “Only around the parking lot.”

“Yes!” Daiki exclaimed with a fist pump in the air. “You’re the best, Suga!”

Daiki and Ryouta high-fived each other and ran back off into the building as Suga laughed after them, shouting, “And get a cupcake or two! Before they run out…” he added quietly, turning back to Daichi. “Everyone went absolutely crazy in there. It’s like a stampede.”

Daichi smiled.

“I’m glad.”

“Kumiko and Masako told me you were a monster on the court,” Suga said. “And they’re all pretty much talking about you in there. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming? Awkward? I know the kids can be a handful sometimes, and I’m sorry for Daiki and Ryouta. They get too riled up and-”

“They love you a lot,” Daichi interrupted him, taking a step closer. He swept the yard with his gaze to make sure they were alone before he hooked a finger through one of the belt loops on Suga’s jeans. “All of them. And I can’t say that I blame them.”

Suga reached for Daichi, cupped his face to pull him in and Daichi tensed up, aware that there were quite a few windows looking out into the courtyard; Suga let out a melodic laugh.

“The kitchen is on the other side,” he murmured before he pressed his lips to Daichi’s and Daichi relaxed, smiled and kissed back, slowly, savoring the gentle brush of Suga’s thumbs over his cheekbones… “You’re hot when you’re sweating,” Suga whispered through the kiss and Daichi laughed, because his shirt was clinging to him in all the damp spots and god, Suga was delicious, mind-reeling…

“Wait.” It took a while for Daichi’s thoughts to wade through the haze of kissing Suga and make him pull away slightly. “Did you just give those two boys the keys to your car? How old are they?”

Suga laughed, not letting go of Daichi.

“They’re 16. I, uh… One of the reasons I try and buy a more… extravagant car is because, as much as they’re obsessed with basketball those two are equally obsessed with cars and I kind of… Taught them how to drive and I let them drive circles around the parking lot sometimes, and, you know, poke around under the hood and- You’re laughing.”

Daichi shook his head in between Suga’s hands, unable to stop his laughter from rumbling out. Suga was ridiculously precious.

“I’m sorry, I just…”

“What?”

“Never mind.” Daichi gave up on words and simply kissed Suga again, pulled him closer by the belt loop and dragged the tip of his tongue over his lips, enjoying Suga’s sharp intake of breath, the deepening of the kiss-

Someone cleared their throat right next to them and Daichi jumped back with an undignified yelp, causing Suga to laugh out loud; his friend, Kiyoko, had joined them without either of them noticing.

“Sorry,” she said with a barely-there smile, the late afternoon sunlight glinting off her glasses. “I just needed to step away from the chaos for a moment.”

“Are they absolutely sugar crazed and about to engage in Hunger Games-like activities for the last of the cupcakes?” Suga asked with amusement, bringing a hand up to Daichi’s lower back and giving him a gentle scratch.

“Something like that, yes.”

“Ah, should I not have brought the sweets? Was it too much?” Daichi asked uncertainly, but Kiyoko hurried to reassure him.

“No, no, it was so kind of you!” Her grey eyes widened at him gratefully. “I made sure they knew that you were the one who made them and… Well, Shin suggested that we lock the doors and never let the two of you leave.”

“Wow, that sounds a bit… excessive.”

“Not like the time he said he wished I broke a leg so that I couldn’t walk out of here,” Suga said airily, because apparently this Shin kid was known for his exaggerations. “Oh, wait, you two haven’t officially met, have you?” Suga looked between Daichi and Kiyoko and Kiyoko shook her head.

“Not officially, no. I think I just saw you in the hallway that one time…?” Daichi swore he heard a faint giggle from her, even if her polite expression hadn’t changed. “When, uh… When your friends subtly suggested a group run of some sort?”

Daichi looked over at Suga, at his valiant effort to hide his own smile.

“I can’t believe you told her.”

“She’s my best friend!” Suga exclaimed in his defense. “And you thinking that we’re together is just hilarious.” Daichi’s features darkened and Suga tugged lightly at his T-shirt from the back. “Aw, don’t be like that. Hilarious in a sweet way.”

“Especially when I did use to have a crush on Suga when we were… ah, I don’t know, in middle school or something?” Kiyoko smiled, offering her dainty hand. “Tanaka Kiyoko.”

Daichi smiled back and accepted the handshake.

“Sawamura Daichi. Nice to meet you, Tanaka-san.”

“Likewise. And please, call me Kiyoko. I’ve heard so much about you that I feel like we’re already way past formalities.”

Daichi laughed.

“Alright, but only if you call me Daichi,” he said, before he glanced at Suga. “And I hope the things you heard about me were mostly good?”

Suga stared off over Kiyoko’s shoulder, putting together his most innocent face, lips tight together and so pure, tugging right at the strings of Daichi’s heart.

Daichi narrowed his eyes at him.

“I see right through you, you know.”

Though Kiyoko laughed quietly, confirming that they were indeed only good things. Daichi had his doubts, but it was hard to remain suspicious with Suga’s gentle strokes over the small of his back.

“So you two know each other from middle school?” Daichi asked.

“Ah, well, actually-” Kiyoko began, just as there was a loud CRASH! from inside.

The three of them looked up in the general direction of the kitchen inside when a screech rang out over the courtyard.

Shit,” Suga muttered. He let go of Daichi, heading back to the building as fast as his semi-limping pace would allow him. “I’ll take care of it!” he shouted back to Kiyoko.

“You know where the first aid kit is!” she told him and he raised a thumbs up before he disappeared into the lounge.

A moment passed where both Daichi and Kiyoko listened for more commotion from the inside, but as there was no more activity or noise, they figured that Suga was handling it and Kiyoko smiled back at Daichi, kindly.

She was beautiful, Daichi noted, composed and graceful in her manner, her grey eyes sharp, observant.

“It really is nice to meet you,” she said. “I’m… Hm.” She paused, contemplating. “I’m happy for Suga… for him finding you.”

She was honest, warm, and Daichi smiled awkwardly, feeling the blush spread up the back of his neck again.

“Uh… Thank you?” He let out a laugh, not sure how to take her direct sincerity. “I’m happy he found me, too. I mean, he’s…” Heavenly. Breathtaking. Flawless. All of the above. It all seemed too trite to say out loud.

“He is.” Kiyoko nodded slowly, understanding just what Daichi had meant and he was grateful for not having to struggle for the right word.

“It’s amazing what he does here… Visiting so often, devoting so much of his time…” Daichi’s gaze fell on the large pirate ship again, a black skull and bones flag flapping gently from the top of the mast. “This is my first time at a place like this and I honestly didn’t expect it to be this… cool. It’s so… spacious and… happy, I guess.” He laughed at how dumb he must’ve sounded. “Of course, I wasn’t picturing some horror orphanage out of a Hollywood movie, but I was still surprised at how welcoming it is.”

“It wasn’t always quite like this.”

Kiyoko had turned towards the play gym as well, her expression mellow, content; she smiled.

“We receive a certain amount of money from the government budget every year…” she began softly. “Any extra we manage to raise comes directly from donations.” She glanced at Daichi over the thin rim of her glasses and Daichi’s attention piqued; he had a feeling of where the story was heading. “About twice a year we receive an anonymous check for… an absurd sum.” She motioned towards the volleyball net, the pirate ship. “All of this is possible precisely thanks to those donations. Some of the older social workers say they haven’t seen anything like it in their careers. We don’t accept donations in the form of clothes for the kids anymore because we can afford to buy new ones, Daichi.” She smiled. “We hired a nutritionist to craft us a healthy eating plan for them, we can pay for private lessons, sports, playing musical instruments, excursions for crying out loud. We have a hearing impaired girl who was able to get special education, state of the art hearing aids… Financially, these children want for absolutely nothing.”

Daichi’s heart raced; he could hardly breathe from the tingling, warm pressure in his chest because he knew-

Kiyoko looked at him kindly.

“We tried, but there is no way to track down the insanely generous anonymous donor.”

They both knew who it was. And Daichi was dangerously close to sprinting inside, picking Suga up in his arms and twirling him around until they got so dizzy that they fell to the floor. Daichi wanted to kiss him all over, never stop telling him how amazing he was, fuck…

“I…” Daichi tried to find words, to say something intelligent, but all that came out was a chuckle, because his first thought was the most ridiculous one. “It’s like the kids have a guardian angel, isn’t it?”

Kiyoko laughed.

“It’s exactly like that, yes.”

They stood in silence for a while; Daichi was processing all of this, working through his feelings of pride, love, earth-shattering emotions… Kiyoko was calm beside him, breathing in the pleasant summer air.

“There’s a bathroom through the lounge, down the hall to the right,” she finally said and at first Daichi didn’t understand, until she glanced down at his still sweaty shirt, rolled up sleeves and probably salt-stained face from the volleyball session.

“Right. Thanks.”

Daichi excused himself with a smile, walked back inside and down the hallway Kiyoko directed him to, the opposite way from laughs and giggles of some children, where Suga was undoubtedly entertaining them.

He found a large bathroom, decked out in white tiles and plumbing, squeaky clean as everything else. Daichi splashed his face with cool water over one of the sinks and took a minute to steady himself, clear his head and attempt not to break into any type of a pride-induced freak out on the spot.

Suga made all of this happen. He'd made all of these adorable kids happy, as much as he could. He was fighting to donate money, holy hell, this was beyond anything Daichi could ever imagine. He suddenly felt woefully inadequate, average, shit, Suga was so perfect and Daichi so wasn’t… He was just a guy, just someone who fell in love with Suga and-

Daichi shut his eyes tightly, inhaled deeply through his nose and shook the nerves away.

It was fine; they were absolutely fine and Daichi had no reason to think otherwise. He had to keep his shit together.

And he did manage to, at least a short distance back down the hallway he came from, towards the laughter and fun, until he passed a large display cabinet he hadn’t noticed before. It had various photographs, diplomas, medals and trophies neatly arranged on its shelves and the topmost frame caught Daichi’s eye; a news article from about five months ago, proclaiming Suga as the winner of something called ONE championship (the biggest promotion of its type in all of Asia!) in his weight category (featherweight).

Daichi smiled, looked over at some of the other showcased awards and pictures, of other successful people, either patrons of the shelter or perhaps its former residents…

And then there was Suga again, a bit younger, standing in the middle of a fighting ring and holding up a huge golden trophy high above his head, smiling brilliantly into the camera, bruised from the final fight… More complimentary articles… A dark-haired girl with glasses, in her teens, sitting at a table and doodling something in a notebook… Hm. Daichi frowned through his smile - she looked a lot like-

Another photograph of Suga beside the one of the girl, and he was even younger here, standing between two of his peers and pulling them in with arms around their shoulders; all three were outfitted in what looked like gym clothes from a high school wrestling team, a banner behind them and gleaming medals around their necks…

Daichi’s smile faded away as he continued looking, as he stepped up as close to the display glass as it was possible. Uneasiness crept into his bones; he found more pictures of Suga, of him as a child, smiling while looking up from a book in his lap, smiling while playing with a toy on the floor, smiling from a bench in what looked like a backyard of a house… Of a large house surrounding the open area on three sides, and it didn’t have a play gym or a basketball hoop or a volleyball net, but it was still awfully familiar-

Realization washed over Daichi, ice cold and suffocating, as the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. His heart plummeted, eyes glued to the picture of a small Suga, with the same ruffled silvery-blonde hair, the same blinding grin, swinging his legs on the bench of the orphanage he grew up in.

Daichi’s vision blurred and he had to blink.

There was a presence next to him, suddenly, a shadow cast over the photographs of Suga’s life in this place, of his life as an abandoned child, just like the ones Daichi had spent the afternoon with…

Careful fingers intertwined with Daichi’s own and tightened their grip.

“You…” Daichi’s voice was rough like sandpaper, throat clenched painfully tight. “You grew up here.”

Suga smiled, gentle, calming as ever.

“Wanna go get some ice cream?” he asked, and Daichi fought hard not to fall apart.


Suga watched the large circular fountain in front of them, the glimmer of clear droplets against the blue sky; the water murmured, some kids laughed, playing around it, splashing. And Suga closed his eyes for a moment, enjoyed the warmth of the retreating sun on his face, the vanilla sweetness of his ice cream lingering on his tongue.

He knew that Daichi was upset; too quiet, too tense sitting beside him on the park bench, staring at one grassy spot with such intensity that Suga believed he could set the world on fire if he wanted to.

Daichi didn’t want any ice cream. Suga didn’t insist.

“So…” Suga smiled, trying to chase away the loaded silence between them. “It’s kind of… complicated.”

It wasn’t about the story, for all it’s heaviness and emotional turmoil. It was about the reaction now, about how Daichi would take it, what he would say, do, if he’d-

Suga wondered if it would be too much.

“I was two,” he began quietly when Daichi hadn’t replied. Hadn’t moved. “My parents decided that I was too much work. Nothing…” Suga let out a weak laugh. “Nothing more tragic than that. They didn’t die, they weren’t homeless, they just didn’t want me anymore. Not sure if they ever did.”

The sting of being unwanted wasn’t something Suga dwelled on consciously; not a tangible sorrow for him to focus on. Rather it was a bone-deep insecurity, an ingrained feeling that he was always imposing, always a bother to others, that made him work that much harder to be cheerful, effortless… likeable.

He sliced through the soft ice cream with his tiny plastic spoon.

“I don’t remember it, of course, I was too little. My earliest memories are from the home, of other kids and the staff and such… Of Kiyoko.” His first and to this day only friend from the home. “It wasn’t as it is now because there wasn’t enough money, but it was… It was okay. The social workers were nice to us and took care of us the best they could and… We were okay.”

Suga would never say that he had an unhappy childhood. He wasn’t like the other kids in his classes at school; he didn’t have parents who would’ve been proud of his grades or who would’ve cheered for him in sports, but he was happy. Mostly.

“No one, uh… No one adopted me. I mean, not many people come to adopt anyway, and even when they do chances of them taking in a toddler or an older child are… Well.” He smiled, sadly, automatically. Always smile, the wider the better. If he’d smiled all the time maybe someone would’ve liked him enough to take him home.

Suga had another spoonful of ice cream, strawberry this time, a touch acidic, cold… Grounding. The kids around the fountain weren’t splashing around anymore, but sitting on the stone edge and watching something on a tablet, heads close together.

“It’s why I needed money right out of high school,” Suga continued. “When I turned eighteen I couldn’t live at the home anymore and I had to find a place to live and a job… Wrestling was what I liked and… You know how that went.”

He hoped Daichi wouldn’t simply turn and walk away; that all of this wouldn’t be too overwhelming for him to bear.

“A year later, when I was nineteen, I won my first big fight. My first big money.” Suga’s smile turned bitter. “And lo and behold, my parents showed up.”

Daichi turned his head, didn’t quite look at Suga, though could probably see him out of the corner of his eye, dark brows drawn together. Suga took that as a good sign - at least Daichi was willing to hear the story until the end, hopefully.

It didn’t hurt so much, thinking about it now; it was almost funny, how stupid Suga had been. Hollywood-like.

“They, uh… They really were- are my parents. We did all the tests and everything. I saw them for the first time in my life, found out their names, what they looked like… That I had my mother’s eyes.” He wished he hadn’t.

Climactic, he supposed was the right word for the moment. It had been an emotional period; Suga even recalled thanking the heavens one night before bedtime that his parents were returned to him. As if they had somehow been lost, misplaced and not absent of their own free will.

“They were full of regret, full of…” Suga laughed dryly, having more of the ice cream. “They were so full of crap. Sorry that they gave me away, that they were so thoughtless, selfish… Insisting on making up the lost years…” He bit his lip, cold and sweet tasting. He’d been borderline euphoric upon hearing those cliched phrases. “Kiyoko warned me about them, but I was young, naive, and I wanted…” He sighed, because the wish remained with him still, heavy and constricting in his chest, even after everything had transpired. “I just wanted a family, you know? I wanted- I was desperate for parents and a place to… Ah, it’s dumb. It was so dumb and I allowed them to take advantage of me.”

He was still searching for that; for somewhere to fit in, to settle down and build a home, though now he had entirely eliminated the notion of parents from the equation. Suga thought, maybe, in that strange, laughter-and-craziness-filled building, perhaps…

He swirled the bits of white with bits of pink in his plastic cup. A dog ran past the bench, cute with its short legs, tailless bum and tongue sticking out as it chased pigeons.

Perhaps Suga had found a place like that. Maybe.

“For about two years everything was fine. It was great, actually. I was earning a lot, I passed university entrance exams because I was finally able to afford further education and… And then my manager told me there was something wrong with the finances.”

He remembered the rage; the anger that had consumed him when he found out, when he screamed his throat raw and thrashed the hotel room he’d been staying in. He remembered how good it felt to break, to shatter the lamps, tear down the bookcases and crack the paintings in half… It was almost cathartic.

“My parents cleaned me out,” he said evenly. “I’d had stupidly allowed them access to everything and… Yeah.”

It wasn’t about the money. Suga could’ve gone without the stealing, of course, but it was the betrayal that did him in, that made him cancel everything and refuse to leave his house for days, weeks at a time. He’d cried for years, it seemed now.

If it weren’t for Kiyoko, who knows if he’d have even survived.

“Had to take time off studying to earn enough to continue… I didn’t- Hm. I didn’t press charges, I didn’t want the money back, I just…” Another taste of strawberry. “I just wanted them gone. Not to hear from them, not to see them ever again.” Perhaps it had been yet another mistake on his part, not taking legal action.

“And I didn’t, hear from them. For six, seven years maybe?” Just enough time to heal, Suga supposed. “Until… Well. I think you witnessed one of the conversations? Right before I flew out?”

He chanced a glance at Daichi and Daichi nodded once, slowly, not taking his eyes off the grass patch in front of their bench. Suga tried not to overthink the silence, the lack of any kind of response; Daichi needed time to figure this out.

The ice cream in Suga’s cup had almost completely liquified and he brought it up to drink, at this point finding little comfort in it.

“They’re in trouble,” he said, licking the excess off his lips. “My… The Sugawaras. Managed to spend everything they’d taken and even owe money to some… eh, questionable people. And they’re asking me for help. To cover their debt.”

Which was the essence of his existence, Suga thought darkly; screw-up parents who used him time and again as their very own biological cash cow, who waltzed into his life whenever they pleased and left nothing but destruction and empty bank accounts in their wake when they left.

“I didn’t tell you this so you’d feel sorry for me, Daichi,” Suga felt the need to add in the end, even when he couldn’t tell if that was where Daichi’s mind trailed off to. “I, uh… I know it’s a lot. It’s the main reason why I don’t open up to people. I don’t want to burden them with all of this and I don’t want them to pity me.” He took one last sip of his ice cream. “I- I wanted you to know because… Because I’m- You know, people always leave.” All his life, everyone. “And this is a mess and no one deserves to be pulled into it and... I- I needed you to hear it because if you think this is too much and want to bail out, now is the-”

Suga’s sentence died in his throat, swept up in a gasp as Daichi suddenly pressed his lips to Suga’s temple, wound an arm around his shoulders and pulled him in roughly, tightly. Suga stilled, tensed until his mind caught up with the sudden gesture.

Daichi was hugging him; kissing, pressing his dry lips way too hard against the side of Suga’s face, gripping Suga’s shoulder and Suga…

Suga breathed out in relief, leaned into the tight embrace and allowed himself to feel, to close his eyes against the prickling of tears and just- be held by Daichi. He was aware that his hands were shaking slightly and that his throat was clenched but he couldn’t help it; he was prepared for it, he expected it, but he prayed to whatever deity listened that Daichi wouldn’t leave.

“I’m sorry, Dai,” he whispered, squished against Daichi’s side. He didn’t even notice the pang of pain from his ribs. “I’m not… I wish I wasn’t this complicated and that I wasn’t this… Fuck it, scared of… Letting people in, I guess?” He laughed. “I have the worst parents in the world.”

“I don’t care,” Daichi murmured into his skin hoarsely, nuzzling into Suga’s hair. “I don’t care about how complicated it is, or how much you think this will affect me… I only care about you and whether you are okay, and whether you are going to be okay… Okay?”

Suga pressed closer, brought up a hand and grabbed Daichi’s T-shirt in the front to steady himself against the rush of warm, overpowering gratitude, devotion, disbelief that Daichi could be so amazing.

“Okay,” he said, smiling.

Daichi kissed him again, on the head, the tip of his ear, the corner of his eye and they held onto each other for a while, saying nothing, enjoying the comfort and the tender end of the summer day.

“What are you going to do?” Daichi asked finally, pulling away only enough to look into Suga’s eyes. “About… them? And their debt?”

“I…” Suga considered this. Ever since he first realized why his parents were trying to get in touch with him again, the question had been swirling in his head almost constantly. “I don’t really know,” he replied honestly.


That night Daichi’s main goal was to spoil Suga in all the ways he could possibly imagine.

He couldn’t erase the past, the years of hollow hope and loneliness; he couldn’t fix any one of the moments where a small Suga had smiled too widely, too desperately at someone who might’ve taken him home, made him a part of their family… Daichi’s chest tightened at the mere image their conversation in the park had brought up.

And Daichi certainly couldn’t make Suga’s parents better people. (Or completely erase them from the face of the earth, as he’d much prefer.) He couldn’t solve Suga’s problems for him.

The only thing Daichi could do was make Suga feel loved, safe.

Because he was, Daichi thought as he laid tender, slow kisses along the line of Suga’s brow and down his temple; Suga was loved and safe, here in Daichi’s bed, blanketed in warm summer silence and silver-blue moonlight pouring in through the windows.

Unless Suga explicitly stated that he no longer wished to be with Daichi, Daichi had no intention of letting go of him. Ever.

And they kissed, easily, for the longest time. Daichi pulled Suga’s soft lips between his own, dragged his tongue over their sweetness, holding Suga close to him, gently playing with his feathery hair. Suga had relaxed into him, nestled into Daichi’s side and closed his eyes, a lazy smile on his lips as Daichi showered him with affection, fingers trailing down Suga’s bare shoulder blade, the smooth slope of his back…

Daichi pressed kisses down Suga’s jawline, nuzzled into his neck and licked at the thin skin, gently grazed his teeth over his pulse and Suga’s breath hitched in his throat, tickling Daichi’s senses.

He took his time, kissing, lightly sucking and nibbling, from right behind Suga’s ear down to the dip of his collarbone, attune to the way Suga leaned into him more, how he held tighter to Daichi’s shoulders and breathed, hotter.

Daichi slid a hand up Suga’s body, still sore, still tarnished with fading bruises and he was careful, soothing… He circled a thumb around Suga’s nipple, pinched it between his fingers and Suga gasped over Daichi’s skin, shivered in his arms.

Daichi…

Daichi smiled.

“Found a new sweet spot,” he murmured, ducking his head and running his tongue over the sensitive nipple. Suga let out a tantalizing moan, faint, breathy; he tensed up and fisted a hand into Daichi’s hair as Daichi licked, teased, already hard in his boxers and enveloped by Suga’s lean arms, hot skin; god they were pressed so close together, so fucking close

Suga squirmed against him, panting with each flick of Daichi’s wet tongue, wanting. And with one last suck that made Suga whine needily Daichi pulled away to look into his eyes, dark with passion, half-lidded, and his lips were parted, tinged red…

“I… Do you…” Suga breathed, unsure of what he wanted to say as he glanced at the bottle of lube lying on the bed not too far away.

Daichi pressed dry kisses to his abs, to the yellowish edges of his bruises.

“Just relax,” he whispered as he gently nudged Suga to lie on his back and Daichi moved down, to the boxers covering Suga’s obvious arousal. “Let me take care of you tonight.”

Daichi brought up a palm to feel the bulge, to stroke over the strained fabric and Suga’s hips bucked into it, his head falling back onto the pillows.

“You’re- ah… Not being fair, Daichi.”

Daichi hummed in agreement, not bothered by the fact at all. He rubbed at Suga’s cock through the material, thoroughly enjoying the moans, each and every little noise Suga was making as his hips tilted into Daichi’s hand, searching for more contact. Daichi brushed the tips of his fingers under Suga’s waistband, over the cockhead beading with precome, and Suga let out a shuddering breath, his thighs clenching beautifully.

Slowly, Daichi pulled down the restraining material of Suga’s underwear and watched the hard curve of Suga’s dick spring into view, resisting the urge to take him into his mouth right away.

Suga helped with raising his hips a little and Daichi discarded the article of clothing in a corner of the room. He settled comfortably between Suga’s thighs, draped them over his shoulders, his arms under and around them, hands smoothing over Suga’s hipbones.

He took a moment to admire the lithe lines of Suga’s legs, to gaze at the skin bathed in moonlight, pale, peppered with dark blue here and there…

Daichi bowed his head and nuzzled at the inside of Suga’s thigh, savoring the softness before he wrapped his lips around the smooth skin; Suga shivered underneath him, let out a rough moan which spurred Daichi on, made him carve a path of wet kisses up the thigh, first pressing his lips and then running the flat of his tongue over the glistening patch… Tasting.

Dai…

Daichi recognized the light tone of impatience, knew that Suga wanted friction, heat, but he wasn’t done yet; just a little longer, just a little more…

With the same leisurely pace Daichi lapped at the inside of Suga’s other thigh, humming contently at each moan that escaped Suga’s throat, louder, breathier now, at each sweet tightening of his muscles, and by the time Daichi licked at the join line of the thigh Suga trembled around him, hands gripping the sheets.

“Daichi, please…” he panted and Daichi smiled at the strangled voice, rubbed Suga’s hips comfortingly before he withdrew his hands, let Suga’s legs roll off his shoulders and Suga readily spread them for Daichi, the wet skin of his inner thighs sucked rosy and gleaming in the moonlight.

Daichi paused, propped himself up on his hands just to take in the scene, Suga’s flushed face and silver-blonde hair fanned out over the pillow, dark eyes hazy with pleasure, lips parted around his heavy breaths. Daichi couldn’t wait for the moment he would fuck into Suga looking like this, heavenly and blissful...

“You’re staring,” Suga whispered through a dazed smile, reaching up to brush his fingers over Daichi’s cheek.

“I’m appreciating,” Daichi corrected, closing his eyes briefly, leaning into the touch.

“Hopeless…”

“Hopelessly in love with you, yeah.” Daichi laughed, lowering himself back down between Suga’s legs.

“So cheesy, god Daichi, how can you be so-” Suga’s voice broke, the syllables fading into a long, drawn-out moan as Daichi wrapped his lips around the head of Suga’s dick and sucked, relishing the reaction.

Daichi steadied Suga with a gentle hand on his hip, squeezing lightly as he took in more of his length, pushing slowly down until he thought he couldn’t any more and then even further, thanks to his nonexistent gag reflex; the only thing he could hear was Suga’s ragged panting.

Daichi eased up, dragged his tongue from the base all the way to the cockhead, circled it around, tasting the bitterness of the precome, loving it, loving the way Suga melted into the bed, his thighs taut, strained.

And Daichi loved giving head; seeing the erotic tension ripple through Suga’s slender body, the bite of his lower lip, his pale hands bunching the sheets on either side of him and Daichi loved hearing the noises, the fucks and the desperate whines, the little high-pitched variations of Daichi’s name because of which he was this close to rutting against the mattress underneath him.

Daichi teased, licking at the slit before taking Suga’s dick in his mouth again, sucking in rhythmic motions, in time with the strokes of his hand and Suga shuddered, canting into Daichi’s mouth helplessly, whispering praises, unable to complete a sentence without moaning.

He ran a hand through Daichi’s hair, carefully lifting his hips up, on the verge of hesitant, and Daichi welcomed the movement; he squeezed Suga’s hip again to let him know it was okay and Suga slowly thrust into Daichi’s mouth. Daichi groaned around it, dizzy from the fact that Suga took over, that he was using Daichi to pleasure himself.

Fuck, Dai…” Suga’s voice was shaky, barely audible through his breaths. “You look so good like… that.”

And Suga felt so good like that. Daichi wanted more, wanted Suga to let go and fuck his mouth properly, wanted to encourage him, and so he blindly reached for the bottle of lube on the bed.

He slicked his fingers generously and, while still keeping his mouth open for each languid slide of Suga’s dick down his tongue and throat, he pressed a finger at Suga’s entrance; Suga’s hips stuttered and he gasped into the near darkness, automatically spreading his legs even further, as far as he could without bending his injured knee too much.

As Daichi circled around the tight ring of muscle, slicking it up, Suga found his rhythm again, faster this time, rougher as his hand in Daichi’s hair tightened its hold and he moaned, his dick hitting the back of Daichi’s throat. Daichi pushed in with his finger, slowly, when he thought Suga was relaxed enough and Suga trembled, whimpered; he tilted his hips down onto the finger while guiding Daichi’s mouth deeper onto his cock and Daichi was in heaven, eagerly devouring, stretching out Suga’s hole and listening to him slowly losing it.

So good… God, your mouth, so wet… Daichi, I-”

Suga’s hand released Daichi’s hair and dropped to the side, his hips stopped their movement and he was shaking as Daichi fingered him, too wound up to move, too stimulated to focus on fucking Daichi’s mouth and he let out a sob as he fell back onto the pillows.

“Please… More,” he breathed; Daichi was more than happy to oblige.

He licked at the throbbing length before he took it into his mouth again, before he set up a fast pace to his motions, to the hand helping his tongue, to the finger now easily sliding in and out of Suga and Suga sounded so wrecked, his velvety skin glistening with sweat. Daichi added a second finger, slid them inside together, spread Suga open, licking every last drop of precome from the head and-

“I’m- going to come, Dai… Just-”

Daichi curled in his fingers, pressed hard at Suga’s most sensitive spot and Suga cried out. He arched his back off the bed, tugged at the sheets and pushed into Daichi’s mouth and Daichi felt warmth spill onto his tongue, thick as he swallowed it entirely, as he stimulated Suga’s prostate and sucked his cock through his climax, until Suga was nothing but a boneless, shivering heap on the bed, panting, wincing…

Daichi hurried to get the paper towels from the nightstand, to wipe his hands and mouth clean before he turned back to Suga, worriedly regarding the clear tears escaping the corners of his eyes, the shaky hands pressed into the hurting side of his ribcage.

“Hey,” Daichi whispered, hovering beside him, gently brushing away the strands of silver blonde from Suga’s sweaty forehead. “Are you okay? Does it hurt?”

“Y-yes,” Suga gritted out with a frown. Daichi knew that the bend of Suga’s back in his ecstasy couldn’t have been a good thing to do, with cracked ribs and all.

But then Suga opened his eyes and looked at Daichi, smiling dopily even though he was still shaking, hips jerking with aftershocks.

“Worth it, though,” he said. Suga let go of his chest and cupped Daichi’s face, brought him down close. “You… kind of broke me.”

Daichi laughed, tangling his fingers in Suga’s damp hair.

“That was kind of the intention.”

“Thank you.”

They kissed, tenderly and without rush, Daichi settling beside Suga once more and soothing his aching body with long, slow caresses.

Until Suga pulled away and looked at Daichi with wide eyes.

“Oh! But what about you?” He nudged Daichi’s front with his thigh, where Daichi was still hard in his boxers, almost painfully so as he had done nothing to try and get some release of his own.

He shook his head with a smile.

“Doesn’t matter. Next time.”

But Suga wasn’t having it. He reached for Daichi, sneaked his hand under Daichi’s waistband and Daichi managed a half-hearted, “No, Suga, you don’t have to-” before Suga cut him off with a kiss to his cheekbone.

“Come on, Dai,” he whispered, voice pitched low, purring. “Let me hear you…”

His fingers were already wrapped around Daichi’s dick, thumb rubbing the tip and Daichi let out a rough moan, despite himself, and he gave in, surrendered his senses to Suga’s nimble fingers and explicit words, to his soft kisses and warmth.

Chapter Text

Out of the corner of his consciousness, Suga felt an arm drape around his bare waist, pull him in slightly under the sheets, and a warm, happy sigh in his hair as Daichi pressed closer to him.

Skin on skin. Lazy, comfortable. Loving mornings.

Everything was going to be fine.


The scene in Daichi’s small Skype window was the same as all the times before: Asahi sitting on the couch of the rented beach house, looking down at his laptop. He was clean-shaven today - his hair pulled back in a ponytail, tan, and younger-looking than Daichi had ever seen him, wearing a T-shirt to match his blue flower-patterned shorts.

His expression, however, was solemn as he gazed at Daichi through the video feed.

“What do you mean his sneakers caught fire?” Daichi asked, confused by what Asahi had just told him.

“I wish it was some kind of a deep philosophical metaphor, but unfortunately it means exactly that: Noya’s sneakers had caught fire,” Asahi said darkly. “The thing is, we went to see this volcano? Kila-something, that’s supposedly been active since 1983? And of course Noya brought the camera equipment and he’d studied up on the environment and the ecosystem of the volcano and was determined to get as many… Ah, how did he put it? Fucking badass shots as he could.”

“And?”

“And he did. Really, I’ll mail you some of the pics, Daichi, they’re amazing.” Asahi smiled a little, proud of his insanely talented boyfriend. “But then he got too close to the crater and when he lined up a shot, his sneakers caught fire because he was standing in one place for too long.”

“Oh my god. Is he… I mean, I’m assuming he’s okay?” There was no way Asahi would’ve been this calm if something serious had happened to Noya.

“He’s… yeah, second degree burns mostly. The doctors said it was… uh. Superficial partial thickness burns? Something like that. Anyway, we were fast to put him out and get him to a hospital. They bandaged his feet, gave him pain meds and antibiotics, and told him that he can’t walk for a while. Two weeks until the burns heal.”

A series of distant ow ow ow ow- fuck that hurts- ow ow ow ow ow… filtered in through Daichi’s speakers and Asahi let out a heavy sigh.

“But, of course, not like that stops him,” he said. “Hold on.”

Asahi stood up and walked out of the camera frame.

“I told you not to get up,” he said off-screen, voice gentle but with an undertone of sternness. “I’ll get you whatever you need.”

“Asahi. Babe. You know I love you,” Noya said. “I’m so lucky to have you in my life and you’re so incredibly wonderful. But if I have to spend one more minute in that bed I will first fling my phone through the window, then the lamp and, lastly, myself.”

Daichi laughed, though he probably shouldn’t have when his friend was on doctor ordered bed rest.

“Can you at least try to stay off your feet until I finish Skyping?”

“Oh, who’s on? Give me a lift.”

There was shuffling and some commotion and Asahi huffed out, “Daichi.”

Then he came back into camera view, with Noya clinging to him from behind, arms around Asahi’s neck and legs around Asahi’s waist, feet bandaged in white locked in front of him.

“Hey, Daichi!” Noya waved and plopped down on the sofa when Asahi let go of him to take his own seat.

“Hey, Human Torch.” Daichi waved back. “Heard you got your skin melted off.”

Other than the careful way Noya rested his feet on the coffee table off-camera, nothing about him suggested that he was in any way inconvenienced, his grin as wide as ever, hair flawlessly spiked.

“I do appreciate the awesome nickname,” he said. “But it wasn’t that bad. I mean, it kinda hurt for a while, but they gave me some pretty strong stuff in the ER. Made me all woozy.”

Asahi smiled. “Yeah, he was yelling ROLLING THUNDER! the entire time the doctors were working on disinfecting the burns,” he said. “Tried to get me to spike a model human skull at him.”

Daichi laughed and shook his head because classic Noya.

“But anyway.” Noya waved a hand dismissively and slid sideways, Asahi lifting an arm to wrap it around his shoulders and fit him into his side. “It was a lot of fun and I got hundreds of awesome photos. Though now I can’t go swimming anymore.”

“Or basically go anywhere that requires walking,” Asahi added. “We had to reschedule our flight, so we’ll be back on the 16th of September, a week later than planned. I’ll also have to tell Suga about it,” he muttered the last sentence more to himself, and Daichi barely caught it, but apparently it was just loud enough for Noya’s eyes to go round and bright.

“OH YEAH!” he exclaimed. “Did ya bang Asahi’s boss yet?”

“Ni-Nishinoya!” Asahi sputtered, looking shocked.

“What? He’d been real quiet about Suga lately and I bet my nearly-charred toes that I know why.” Noya raised an expectant eyebrow at Daichi. “How’s the pretty manager handling our neighborhood? Have you cooked for him some more? Have you… wooed him with your rugged good looks and devilish dishes?”

“Oh god.” Asahi buried his face in the palm of his hand and Noya laughed out loud.

And it occurred to Daichi then that he might’ve, accidentally, forgotten to mention that he and Suga were officially together now.

It wasn’t on purpose; he simply hadn’t talked to Asahi and Noya for over two weeks since it happened, and he’d been busy with… well, not letting go of Suga, and it had sort of completely slipped his mind.

Daichi cleared his throat, gathering the words to break the news.

“So, actually-” he began, but was interrupted by the front door of his apartment slamming shut.

“Okay, I tried, I really did,” Suga called from the hallway, seconds before he walked into the kitchen with two paper bags in his arms, oblivious to the opened laptop on the counter and the reason Daichi was sitting on a bar stool in front of it. “But did you know there are, like, thirty types of cream? Light cream, heavy cream, single cream, whipping cream-” He set down the bags behind Daichi and proceeded to unload the groceries. “-something that sounds French, and they even asked me if I wanted half and half, this thing from the USA which is like half milk and half cream or something.”

Daichi opened his mouth to cut him off, but Suga talked right over him.

“Anyway, so I just bought every type,” he said, neatly arranging the ingredients on the counter. “I mean, fuck it, you weren’t answering your phone and, well, not like we’re not gonna use any of it. Especially whipped cream. I’d be lying if I said that I never imagined licking it off your-” Suga finally turned, blew a wayward strand of silvery-blond away from his eyes, and his gaze fell right on the couple on the other side of the video call. “Oh.”

Daichi was positive that the adorable pink blush high on Suga’s cheekbones was nothing compared to his own full body flush underneath his clothes.

“Hi.” Suga smiled somewhat awkwardly and gave a little wave in the direction of the laptop.

“I KNEW IT!” Noya’s voice boomed through the speakers, making both Daichi and Asahi jump in their seats.

“Please don’t freak out,” Daichi said, turning back to the screen to see apprehension skitter over Asahi’s face. “I was going to tell you, honest, but we were never online at the same time, and I also kind of… got distracted, I guess.”

Ho ho, I bet you did,” Noya supplied and Daichi ignored him.

“But, um… yeah. Suga and I are together,” he concluded lamely. “Dating. Going out. In a romantic relationsh-”

“I think they got it, Dai,” Suga saved him from rambling away, coming closer from behind and resting his chin on Daichi’s shoulder, warm smile directed at Asahi and Noya.

And while Asahi’s expression was mostly unreadable, Noya’s grin was so wide that Daichi was sure it would’ve wrapped around his head if it weren’t for his ears.

“Look at them, Asahi,” he murmured dreamily, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Look how pretty. DAICHI AND SUGA, ASAHI!” Noya shook his boyfriend by the arm that was around his own shoulders until Asahi couldn’t help but let out a quiet chuckle. Noya shouted, “You totally helped your best friend and your boss hook up! LOOK AT THEM. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for you!”

“Yeah.” Asahi nodded and looked at the screen, a fond smile on his lips. Daichi was grateful that Asahi seemed to be in a much better place about the possibility of his boss becoming a more integral part of his life. Noya must’ve been a profound influence on him. “I suppose I did help.”

“This won’t change a thing in our working relationship,” Suga said kindly. “You know that, Asahi. Just because we’ll be seeing each other more often outside of work and the bar across from it doesn’t mean that-”

“Don’t worry about it.” Asahi waved a reassuring hand. “It’s okay. I’m… glad, actually.” He smiled more widely. “Happy that you two are happy.”

A quiet, warm moment passed, in which the two couples smiled at each other through the video cameras, appreciating the joyful event, until a thought crossed Daichi’s mind.

“Oh yeah,” he said, going for casual. “By the way, Suga’s a professional MMA fighter.”

“WHAT.”

He was pretty sure Asahi’s head exploded.


Daichi gazed down at Suga in his arms, peaceful and content, cheek smushed against Daichi’s chest. Fair, relaxed eyebrows, delicate skin… Radiating warmth that Daichi felt in every fibre of his being through their thin summer clothes. He grazed his fingers up and down Suga’s side, idly, and couldn’t look away.

They were squeezed together on the beige sofa, sunken into the impossibly soft cushions ever since Suga had abandoned his laptop for a spontaneous cuddle/nap session in the middle of the afternoon.

And it was a random product of Daichi’s wandering mind and of Suga’s steady breathing beside him that made him break the drowsy serenity.

“Your name’s not Suga,” he whispered upon the realization.

Suga stirred, smiled, but hadn’t opened his eyes.

“Okay?”

“No, I mean,” Daichi said as he tried to make sense. “Has anyone… does anyone call you Koushi?” It was unusual, saying Suga’s given name out loud. But pleasant. Intimate.

Suga’s lashes fluttered open. “Not really? I… no.”

“Why?”

“I… have no idea,” Suga said honestly. “I never thought about it? I just always ask people to call me Suga. It’s… I’ve always been Suga.”

“Even to Kiyoko? To…” Your parents? Daichi paused, not sure if it was okay to mention Suga’s estranged family in a lazy, casual afternoon conversation.

“Yeah, to everyone.” But then Suga seemed to have arrived at the same train of thought as Daichi. “Well, not everyone,” he amended. “My parents used to call me that. Call me, still, I guess. Back then it was…” He searched for the right word. “Fitting, somehow? Kind of normal and… personal.”

There was no hint of melancholy in his tone. No sadness or regret, just a plain statement of facts and a thoughtful note, like he had never considered this before.

Daichi didn’t press further. He laid a kiss into Suga’s feathery hair and adjusted his hold on him, bringing him closer into his body.

It was a while before Suga spoke again.

“You can, though,” he said quietly. “If you want.”

Daichi looked down at him, eyebrows raised. Suga returned the gaze with a smile, hazel eyes bright.

“Call me by my given name,” he explained, as though Daichi needed it spelled out for him. “I’d much rather associate it with you than with them.”

“Hm,” Daichi mused, then smiled. “Koushi.” He tested it on his tongue. “Koushi.” Again, feeling the syllables roll off, fluid and soft with the hush at the end that were ultimately just as gentle, just as beautiful as Suga himself.

Suga giggled. “I like the sound of that.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. I like your voice.”

Daichi smiled wider, warmth now blooming in his chest, spreading down his arms to where he was holding Suga close. He leaned in, a barely audible “Kou” between their smiles before their lips met.


Suga heard the SLAM! of the front door through the thick, cottony haze of sleep. He frowned and clutched tighter at the sheet tangled around him, half inside it and half out because it was unbearably hot, the early morning sun unforgiving even with the blinds closed and curtains drawn.

A faint peep from the AC turning on in the living room and footsteps approaching, along with the wave of fresh, cool air - Suga wasn’t ready to focus on what was happening around him yet and was about to go back to sleep when he heard a whisper by his side of the bed.

“Phew, okay, good, you’re not naked. Or… busy.” Weak laughter. “Um. Suga?”

Suga mumbled go away, though it didn’t sound like it at all, and buried his face into his pillow.

“Suga?” A poke into his shoulder; Suga let out a deep, suffering sigh.

He cracked open an eyelid and glanced up. Bokuto stood there, peering down at him between his disheveled bangs, highlighted almost white and curling slightly at the ends with the lack of hair gel.

“What is it, Bo?” Suga muttered with an edge of frustration, squinting to take in Bokuto’s dizzily patterned boxers, the fact that he wasn’t wearing anything else, and looking like he’d just gotten out of bed as well.

“Um. Well.” Bokuto’s eyes were bright and honest. “I kinda had a bad dream,” he said quietly. “And Kuroo usually lets me sleep in his room when it happens, but he had to go into the station already and…” he trailed off, his gaze hopeful.

Suga didn’t have the energy for any more words. He scooted backwards, until he nudged into Daichi’s sleeping form on the other side of the bed, and made as much room as possible for Bokuto to join them.

“Thanks, Suga,” Bokuto whispered, settling in next to him and trying hard not to take up too much space, but failing miserably.

Suga relinquished his pillow for Bokuto, patted his strong, bare arm gently and then turned and half draped himself over Daichi’s back, resolved to resume his sleep with his forehead pressed between Daichi’s shoulder blades.

“Hmm?” Daichi uttered drowsily at the contact.

“Bo’s in the bed,” Suga made an effort to say.

“Oh.” Daichi shifted a bit to better accommodate Suga and raised his voice a little. “Bad dream again, Bo?”

“Yeah,” Bokuto replied mournfully.

“What was this one about?”

There was a long, loaded pause before Bokuto answered.

“Remember how you accidentally knocked off the principal’s wig in our second year?”

Suga couldn’t help the snort that escaped him.

“What?” he asked despite himself, noticing how Daichi had tensed up under him.

“We agreed not to talk about that ever again,” Daichi said, in a sleep-rough tone which suggested that the conversation was over.

“Right,” Bokuto said and fell silent.

And it was a perfect opportunity to continue sleeping, for Suga to make the best use of the few hours before he had to be at work, but he couldn’t stop thinking, smiling at the one line of a story he’d heard just now.

Curiosity easily won over.

“So, did you, like… pull it off his head or…?” he asked, trying hard to sound nonchalant.

Oh my god,” Daichi huffed, while Bokuto launched into storytelling at once, as if he’d just been waiting for the invitation.

“Okay, so it was our second year, and we were standing in the gym-”

“You have two seconds to get out of the bed,” Daichi cut him off angrily.

“What? Suga wants to know!”

“We made a pact, Bokuto, okay! We said we were never going to talk about that- I had nightmares!” If Daichi wasn’t mostly trapped by Suga lying on top of his back, he’d have turned to glare at Bokuto, Suga was sure, even as he couldn’t hold back the laughter. “Remember that?” Daichi asked irritably. “During training camp when I couldn’t sleep?”

“But it’s a good story!” Bokuto defended loudly. “Come on, Daichi, it’s been ten years.”

Daichi was insistent, however, and Suga’s laughs were growing louder in the morning quiet, at the snippets of Bokuto’s story he’d managed to discern from his and Daichi’s back-and-forth. Apparently, it had involved a stray volleyball, a young and eager Daichi still practicing his spikes, and their school principal who took a great deal of pride in his hairpiece. Suga couldn’t stop laughing, tears in his eyes.

Everything was going to be fine.

It had to be, when he was this happy between two arguing, half-naked young men at barely 6 a.m on a weekday.


On Tuesday evening, preparations for their regularly scheduled run had the door to Daichi’s apartment wide open, mirroring the door to Kuroo and Bokuto’s apartment across the hall.

Daichi and Kuroo were settled into Daichi’s sofa, ready in their workout gear, sneakers and all, disinterestedly following a basketball game on TV.

“So, like, they don’t know what happened to him?” Daichi asked, only vaguely aware that their conversation about Kuroo’s mysterious kidnapping-death of the known politician had gone quiet a while ago.

“Well, he was murdered,” Kuroo said. “That much was obvious. Professional job, arms tied in the back, shot once in the head from point blank range. The 1st division thinks he was involved in some corrupted business - mafia or something.”

“Huh.”

“They’ll never find the killer. No traces of anything, no DNA or prints, no leads, no witnesses, nothing. Flawless execution.”

“WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY LEGGINGS?!” Bokuto shouted at the top of his lungs from his own apartment, his voice easily carrying between the two open front doors.

“CHECK IN THE CORNER BY THE ARMCHAIR!” Kuroo was equally loud from Daichi’s sofa, nearly perforating Daichi’s eardrums. “I USED THEM TO COVER THE LAMP!”

“To cover the lamp?” Suga repeated, speaking up for the first time since he’d retired to the dining table with his laptop to work.

“Oh, yeah.” Kuroo grinned at him. “The other day I needed to dim the lights for a more romance-y atmosphere and his leggings were the first dark thing I grabbed,” he explained. “Fight me.”

Suga chuckled.

“No.”

“THEY’RE NOT THERE!” Bokuto complained again.

“THEN I DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!” Kuroo replied.

“FUCKING SHIT.”

Brief silence followed, slightly ringing from the volume of their voices.

“Wanna go by the river again tonight?” Kuroo asked.

“Nah, let’s go through the park,” Daichi said.

He barely registered a skillful three pointer from a player he might’ve remembered the name of if he dared to try. Which he didn’t. The onscreen crowd erupted in cheers from the stands.

“OKAY, I CAN’T FIND THEM!”

“TRY-”

Daichi clamped a hand over Kuroo’s mouth and glared at him.

“For the love of my mostly intact hearing, just go over there and help him find the damn leggings.”

“WHAT?!” Bokuto shouted at the lack of Kuroo’s response.

Daichi felt Kuroo’s expression shift, his lips pulling up into a smirk under Daichi’s palm right before something slippery and wet touched it. Daichi withdrew his hand at the speed of light.

“Ew, Kuroo!” He wiped off the wet spot on Kuroo’s t-shirt, but Kuroo was already getting up, cackling, to help his poor roommate find the vital piece of his workout ensemble.

Daichi stared at his hand, disgusted.

“Licked it, didn’t he?” Suga asked with a smile as Kuroo strolled out into the hallway.

“Asshole.” Daichi wiped his palm off on his own T-shirt a couple of more times for good measure, even though it was already dry, and then also rose to his feet. He came up behind Suga and leaned over his shoulder to take a look at the laptop screen. “Whatcha doing?”

“Eh, putting together a facebook statement for a client,” Suga said. “Wish I could go with you instead. I miss training.”

“Soon, though.”

“Yeah, soon.” Suga agreed with a sigh and the cutest jut of his bottom lip. “The doctor said only a couple more weeks before I can start again, and then a few more until I’m allowed to spar.”

“And then you get to race Kuroo and Bokuto on our runs and god forbid that one of them wins because we’ll never hear the end of it.”

Suga laughed.

“I’ll buy you a premium pair of ear plugs, then.”

Daichi smiled and nuzzled into Suga’s hair.

“Ear plugs?”

“Highly effective against noisy neighbours. Or, y’know, if you ever feel like staying over at my place to get away from it all, I can also buy you a different kind of plug…” Suga’s voice dropped to that sexy lilt. “Hm… Rope… Blindfolds... Toys.”

Daichi turned breathless at the suggestions. He couldn’t- he shouldn’t imagine a possible scenario in which those kinds of props would be used with Suga. For a brief, heated moment, he considered giving up on the group run to stay behind and explore these ideas further.

“You’re not allowed to sound that hot,” he said, giving Suga a peck on the cheek. He straightened up and adjusted the front of his shorts in an attempt to make his semi less obvious.

Suga giggled, much too joyful about the fact that he could get under Daichi’s skin like that, and returned to his typing.

Daichi took in a couple of deep breaths to cool his head(s) and, at the sound of voices from the hallway, decided to see if his friends were finally ready for the outing.

“They look amazing on you.”

“I know, right!”

“Seriously, Bo, those thighs just- oomph. No wonder your lap is so comfortable for sitting on.”

As he shut his front door, Daichi caught Kuroo checking out Bokuto’s legs with great admiration. Bokuto had apparently located the compression leggings he usually wore underneath his running shorts, tight like second skin over his sculpted thighs. Only they weren’t his completely black ones, but peppered with-

“Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees the little purple owls,” Daichi said, staring at Bokuto’s legs while the owl-head hopped in place in front of him.

“Cool, huh?” Bokuto asked, grin wide.

“I’d go with nauseating.” Daichi had to look away, or else the constant bouncing of the neon owls was going to make him dizzy. There were purple spots in his vision now.

“Kuroo got them for my birthday last year. Look, they match my shoelaces!”

Indeed, Bokuto had also gone through the trouble of changing the shoelaces of his black sneakers, now adorned with small owl shapes that dangled off the ends. They jingled, too, oh god, the tiny shoelace owls jingled like bells as Bokuto moved.

“Huh.” For a moment Daichi was at a loss for words. “Well, at least this time it won’t take us an hour to find you if you get lost again.”

“Hey!” Bokuto exclaimed, still jumping in place. “I wasn’t lost! I was taking a shortcut.”

Through the lake? Bokuto, you fell hip-deep into the water and we had to pull you out.”

“It was dark, okay?! I didn’t see where I was going!”

“It was broad daylight!”

“Was not!”

“Was- Okay, we’re not getting into this again.”

Bokuto seemed eager to continue the age-old banter of That Day He Almost Drowned On Their Run, though he was thankfully interrupted by Oikawa who had finally deigned to grace them with his presence and come down the stairs, dressed like-

“Is it still summer?” Kuroo asked out loud as the three in the hallway regarded Oikawa’s outfit.

He was wearing a full-on tracksuit, stylishly black with yellow stripes following the lithe lines of his body down the sides, and a well-padded vest over it, zipped up to his chin.

“Uh, pretty sure it is, yeah,” Daichi replied, gaping.

“Global warming?” Bokuto offered a potential explanation as he stopped bouncing, only a bit out of breath.

“In the sense that it’s over 30 degrees outside, yes, but not in the sense that it started snowing,” Daichi said.

“What?” Oikawa, in turn, acted as if nothing strange was going on. “The weather lady said there was a chance of light rain tonight.”

“Light rain?” Kuroo echoed. “Which is why you felt the need to dress for an apocalyptic blizzard?”

“On our two hour run through the park that’s like… 10 minutes away?” Bokuto added.

“You only wear this when it’s minus penguin outside,” Daichi said.

Oikawa huffed at them and tossed his perfectly wavy hair to the side in a grand display of brushing past them and towards the stairs. The others remained rooted to the spot, confused while witnessing the most illogical overdressing of the year.

Something was eerily off here, but Daichi couldn’t put a finger on the reason for it.

Not, at least, until Oikawa was about to take his first step down the stairs.

He swayed on his feet, let out a weak half-sigh, half-whimper and would’ve blacked out, dropped either back on his ass or tumbled down the stairs, if it weren’t for his friends who lunged at once.

“Tooru!”

“Oikawa!”

“Whoa!” Kuroo was the quickest, wrapping his arms tightly around Oikawa and preventing his fall. “Easy there, princess.”

“No…” Oikawa breathed. He winced, tried to stand more firmly on his feet, but probably wouldn’t have managed to get back up the landing without Kuroo there to support him. Daichi and Bokuto hovered at either side of them, close but not crowding as Oikawa mumbled, “‘m fine.”

“Like hell you are,” Daichi replied.

Now that he was closer, under the yellowish light he could see Oikawa’s ashen face, a thin sheen of sweat over his brow as he feebly tried to push Kuroo away, without success.

“Did you forget to eat again?” Bokuto asked worriedly.

“No…”

“When was the last time you slept?” Daichi asked.

“I’m fin-”

“Jesus Christ, you’re shivering,” Kuroo interjected, his arms still firmly around Oikawa’s waist. “That’s it, you’ve officially lost all rights to make decisions regarding your well-being. Daichi, get the door.”

Daichi hurried to open the door to his apartment. Kuroo ignored Oikawa’s protests and scooped him up in his arms without effort, held him close and carried him inside like a bride, with Bokuto following right behind.

“What’s going on?” Suga’s chair screeched from the kitchen as he got up at the sudden return of the running group.

“Oikawa’s sick,” Daichi said.

“Am not.” Oikawa’s tone was petulant as Kuroo set him down onto the sofa, where he made no move to get up, sinking into the soft cushions instead.

“You almost passed out on the stairs,” Daichi insisted.

“Headrush.”

“You weren’t sitting!”

Suga pushed through the people surrounding the sofa and came to stand beside Oikawa, unceremoniously planting the back of his hand over Oikawa’s forehead before anyone could say anything more. “You’re burning up!”

“It’s hot outside.” Oikawa swatted Suga’s hand away.

“And yet you were cold enough to wear that stupid vest,” Kuroo said. “Tooru, you have a fever.”

“Do not,” Oikawa insisted. “And the vest is not stupid. ...you’re stupid. Besides.” He reached up and righted the one disheveled strand of his otherwise perfect hair. “It’s nothing a little healthy jog won’t cure.”

“So, you admit that you’re sick?” Suga asked, turning the tables. His gaze on Oikawa was warm but challenging, daring him to retort.

“I…” It was clear that Oikawa was calculating, assessing the situation: Suga’s determination, Bokuto’s concern and Daichi and Kuroo’s readiness to hold him down and handcuff him to the sofa if necessary. He was grossly outnumbered.

A visible shiver surged through him and he turned to his side, faced away from his friends. “I might’ve caught a cold or something,” he muttered finally.

Daichi opened his mouth to say something clever, but Suga was already shaking his head with a smile and motioning for them all to back away and let Oikawa sulk for a while.

They filed out of the apartment again, Bokuto’s shoelace owls jingling in the quiet.

“Is he going to be okay?” Bokuto asked.

“Of course he’s going to be okay,” Suga said once he closed the door behind him. “I’ll make him tea and we’ll watch a movie he likes or something.”

“Maybe we should…?” Kuroo glanced at Daichi and Daichi knew what he was going to say.

“We’ll take him to a doctor if it comes down to it,” he replied.

“There’s really not much to do,” Suga said kindly. “You guys go on, enjoy your run, and I’ll take care of him in the meantime. He just needs rest and plenty of fluids and…” He raised his eyebrows at Daichi. “Maybe a decent dinner when you get back?”

“Of course, yes.” Daichi rifled through his mental list of Oikawa’s comfort foods he’d compiled over the years. He’d need to get milk on his way home.

“Is he really going to be okay?” Bokuto repeated in a hushed voice, amber eyes still wide with worry.

“Don’t worry, Bo.” Kuroo slung an arm around his shoulders and shook him a bit, managing a grin of his own. “It’s just a minor thing. Oikawa’s a tough cookie. Remember that time when Ushiwaka spiked a ball to his nose? Was bleeding all over the place and still played three full sets. God, I hated him.”

Daichi snorted, reached and tugged lightly at the back of Bokuto’s T-shirt.

“Gonna take a lot more than just a puny fever to bring Oikawa down.”

“It’s probably not that high of a fever, either,” Suga offered, until Bokuto seemed somewhat convinced.

They said their begrudging goodbyes, with Daichi exchanging last minute plans for dinner and taking care of the sick manchild with Suga before giving him a kiss and following the others down the stairs.


When Daichi returned with a grocery bag of ingredients for Oikawa’s favorite milk bread recipe, the sky was already darkening outside. Kuroo and Bokuto had retreated to their home to shower and change before they dropped by on their way to their respective workplaces and Daichi let himself into his apartment.

No one had turned on the lights and the living room was illuminated by the flicker of the TV screen, filled with the murmur of some movie or other but otherwise still; its only two occupants slept soundly on the sofa.

Daichi smiled at Suga, who had slid sideways against a pile of pillows with Oikawa resting his head in his lap. Suga’s fingers tangled in Oikawa’s hair as the other napped as well, still pale but peaceful, relieved of his vest and covered with a blanket. There were empty mugs of tea on the coffee table, a jar of honey next to them and a small box of ibuprofen.

Daichi couldn’t resist planting a kiss on Suga’s forehead, to which Suga only hummed sweetly, and he set about to prepare dinner for five people as quietly as possible.


A day later, Suga gazed out the window of Daichi’s kitchen, a clean view from the second floor down to the front parking lot, warm orange and yellow of the setting sun glinting off the vehicles. The shadows lengthened in the advancing evening, a single car with its headlights on unmoving on the asphalt.

“I’m going to give them the money,” Suga said quietly, but knew that Daichi heard him. Knew that he understood who them referred to.

Suga turned and met Daichi’s kind, dark eyes, watching him steadily from where Daichi sat at the dining table, a notebook of recipes opened in front of him, all dog-eared and pages falling out, which Daichi must’ve filled out years ago.

“Are you sure?” Daichi asked and Suga smiled faintly, coming over to the chair next to him. “They…” Daichi hesitated. Suga could sense him deliberating whether or not he should speak his mind on such a delicate matter that didn’t concern him directly. It made Suga smile a tiny bit wider as he sat down; Daichi was endlessly thoughtful. “If you give them what they’re asking for-”

“They will probably never stop asking,” Suga finished. He leaned back in his seat and reached with a hand, palm up, over the table. Daichi twined their fingers together, keeping his careful gaze on Suga. “I know, Dai, I’ve thought about it.”

God, did he think about it. Days, weeks… His parents were insistent, calling him almost daily now, and he’d started avoiding their calls before he came to a definite decision. It was pretty straightforward, now that he had settled on an answer: either he was going to pay their debt or he wasn’t.

“Kuroo can maybe-” Daichi started again, but Suga shook his head.

“He can what? Go and speak with the loan sharks? Or…” He sighed heavily, Daichi’s hand in his a source of warm comfort, a reprieve from the mess in his head. “I don’t even know what those people are. I didn’t want to know the details of what my parents had gotten themselves into. I just know that they need money and that they sound pretty desperate about it.”

He had also considered the fact that they were great actors and had previously successfully manipulated him for profit. But that was different, Suga thought. He was younger, more vulnerable, more… blinded. They didn’t ask, last time, and this time it was his choice.

Though it wasn’t much of a choice, when it came down to it.

“I know it’s maybe a play. I know they might be using me and if I give them this they might just ask for more later,” Suga said, watching Daichi’s neat, schooled handwriting across the notebook. “But I can’t…” His voice went quiet, a reaction to the tightness in his chest that ultimately prevailed in his inner debate. “If- if there is even the slightest chance that they’re not faking it… If they really are in some kind of danger and this money is the only way to save their house or- or even their lives… And I didn’t help them…” He looked up at Daichi. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, Dai. They’re not good people, but I wouldn’t be-”

Daichi understood; he squeezed Suga’s hand, saving him from talking about it any more, and Suga squeezed back, grateful.

“Okay,” Daichi said slowly. “I… If that’s what you want, if you’re sure about it, then that’s what you should do.”

Suga nodded. Daichi smiled and it was easy to smile back because Daichi was here, with him, steady and reassuring, and it was all going to be fine.

“What’s that?” Suga gestured to the recipes then and Daichi instantly flushed.

“Um.”

“Yeeees?” Suga found it adorable.

“So. Your last night in the building is coming up. And- and I thought we could… do something special.”

Ah. The Last Night. Suga had thought about that, too. About how he would no longer be a few paces away from Daichi, or Kuroo and Bokuto, or even Oikawa, and how he’d go back to his apartment, which was nice and cosy but too… quiet. Too lonely, especially after two months in the company of all of these insanely wonderful people. Or wonderfully insane, depending on how one looked at it.

Suga couldn’t change that. He’d have to accept that his role would reduce to that of a visitor, sometimes spending the night at Daichi’s, but mostly missing out on the ass o’clock conversations, spontaneous barging into each other’s homes, shameless food/clothes/linens stealing, taking up each other’s beds, and abusing the others’ better electronic systems.

He’d miss it. Fiercely. It never felt more like… home than here.

But it could’ve been worse. Not like he’d be leaving and never coming back, never seeing any of them again. It was just a minor adjustment. He hoped.

“What did you have in mind?” Suga asked with a smile, bringing up his free hand to rest his chin upon.

“Well, first of all, we’d have to relocate the English patient,” Daichi said with a glance over his shoulder at the sleeping Oikawa on his sofa, which had become his unofficial sick bed. “But then, here’s what I had in mind…”

Suga listened as Daichi meticulously outlined his romantic plans for the Last Day, with bullet points and summaries after each one (god, he was such a dork and Suga was so in love), with breaks for both him and Suga going to work included, and then an even more ridiculously romantic Last Night, where-

“So, um.” Daichi cleared his throat and reached out to fruitlessly smooth a corner of his recipe notebook, which contained dessert options for their not-exactly-lunch-but-not-dinner-either-due-to-their-job-schedules meal. “I thought maybe we could… you know.”

Suga was not above enjoying the deep crimson of Daichi’s cheekbones and ears.

“Know what?”

“Well. I mean, if you… um. Health wise and- and of course, if you wanted to, I thought maybe that could be the night that we…” Daichi trailed off, raising a hopeless gaze at Suga.

Suga laughed, leaned in and kissed Daichi’s cheek, brushed the tip of his nose over his ear and murmured, “I’d let you have your way with me on this table right now if I could, Dai.”

Jesus fucking Christ,” Daichi breathed out and banged his forehead on the notebook in front of him, causing Suga’s laughter to ring out loud and merry through the kitchen and narrowly avoiding waking Oikawa up.


Over the next few days, while Oikawa was more or less confined to a bed - or a sofa, or an armchair, depending on whose apartment they would gather in - group movie nights were a normal, logical development. And all the movies were Oikawa’s choice because when Oikawa was sick, Oikawa was more of a drama queen than usual and he had to be pampered.

Which didn’t bother anyone all that much - they could see that Oikawa needed to be pampered, needed a moment or two of rest and recharge, of good food, a stress free environment, and just plain relaxing.

Which was why Bokuto snatched Oikawa’s computer from his lap, hefted it high up so that Oikawa couldn’t reach it with grabby hands from where he was sprawled on Daichi’s couch.

“Kou-chan! I’m working!” he exclaimed hoarsely, fingers closing around empty air above him.

Bokuto shook his head.

“Nope, sorry. Tonight this apartment is a work-free zone.” He squinted at the screen to make sure all of Oikawa’s progress in whatever program he’d been working in was saved before he loudly clamped it shut. “You’re tiring yourself out, Tooru.” Bokuto placed the laptop by the TV and settled beside Oikawa, taking his legs into his own lap, along with the dusty pink blanket that covered them. He reached and easily removed Oikawa’s glasses from his face, leaving them on the coffee table. “And you need to get better.”

There was a barely noticeable pout on Oikawa’s lips as he glanced at Daichi, who’d been watching all of this from the armchair, and Daichi shrugged.

“Sorry, but I’m totally with Bo on this one. You work way too much. Probably one of the reasons why you got sick.”

Oikawa let out a ragged breath and coughed into a fist - a grating, sickly sound from deep within his lungs that wasn’t encouraging at all.

“Here.” Suga set down a bowl of steaming soup on the coffee table and for a moment both Oikawa and Bokuto stared at him.

“All right, don’t worry, Daichi made it,” Suga said, correctly guessing what was on their minds. “I just heated it up, no need to get all freaked out.”

The two stares pointedly shifted over to Daichi, who let out a laugh.

“Yes, he does know how to work a microwave. It’s perfectly safe.”

Bokuto and Oikawa breathed out in relief and Suga laughed as he shuffled back to the kitchen, where Kuroo was busy stacking no less than twelve bags of popcorn to be microwaved for the event.

“Tell me the story again, Kou-chan,” Oikawa said, sinking into the welcoming sofa, making himself comfortable under the blanket as a child would before bedtime.

“Don’t,” Daichi said, but he was steadily ignored.

“Okay, so,” Bokuto began with a smile. Daichi felt a prickle of a headache coming on; this was the seventh time he heard the retelling of the principal’s wig story ever since that fateful morning. Even the cashier at the supermarket down the corner had asked him about it the day before. “It was late spring in our second year; the flowers were in bloom and the trees were just coming alive with green…” And each time the story would get insufferably more poetic.

Daichi let out an exasperated sigh and resigned himself to tuning out the two who were doing this on purpose. There was some kind of a wild cat documentary on TV and he tried to follow that, occasionally hearing a ping from the microwave as Kuroo and Suga worked on the popcorn.

“...and he was so confident, Oikawa, you should have seen him,” Bokuto continued with a fond smile, idly brushing his thumb over Oikawa’s shin in his lap. “Little baby Daichi, not yet our captain, trying to improve his spikes. He had a lot to learn still, what with me and Asahi on the team, and also Kuroo who wasn’t half-bad with spiking, either.”

“Hm, I remember,” Oikawa said mistily, like this had happened sixty years ago and Daichi (and Asahi, and Kuroo) were all long gone. He coughed. “Despite our obvious superiority, your team had always put up a decent fight. Especially you, Kou-chan. You were practically unstoppable!”

Bokuto huffed out a loud laugh.

“I was, wasn’t I? I think we even won a couple of practice matches against you guys! Before you figured out a way for your team to receive my spikes.”

Oikawa shook his head.

“No, that never would have happened without-” He paused, and his smile fell a little, perhaps even subconsciously. “...without Iwa-chan.”

“Yeah, Iwa was the best.” Bokuto nodded, not noticing the change in Oikawa’s expression.

Daichi wondered if he should say something, maybe offer some comforting words or change the subject, but he didn’t have to dwell on the problem for too long.

A loud clatter from the kitchen made all three of them look up - there was a yelp, a mess of limbs, and then Kuroo was kneeling by the fridge, surrounded by popcorn spilled all over the tiled floor, face scrunched up in a pained grimace, and Suga was standing behind him, firmly holding one of his arms twisted behind his back.

“...another thing entirely to go for it while I’m holding a bowl of popcorn!” Suga exclaimed. He was smiling, despite having made a mess and having wasted at least one bag of the prepared snack; despite his firm two-hand grip on Kuroo’s arm, from which the other was awkwardly bent forward.

“It’s not- OW! - it’s not realistic if you see the attack coming!” Kuroo gritted out, his forehead already glistening with sweat in the overhead lighting.

“Well, congratulations, you caught me completely by surprise,” Suga said. “You’re cleaning up the mess.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Kuroo conceded. “Not like I was doing my best, anyway,” he muttered, at which Suga tightened his hold and made him cry out. “Okay, okay, I take it back!”

Suga released him and Kuroo fell on all fours, taking a moment to catch his breath and flex the fingers that had been in a deathgrip. Suga straightened up, flushed and pleased with himself, shooting a full-on, dazzling smile at the living room trio who all gawked at him.

Daichi had honestly never been more turned on by anyone in his life.


Suga couldn’t hold back a smile, even while he was alone washing dishes, with only a string of muffled lyrics from a TV music channel in the living room interrupting the comfortable silence.

Daichi had outdone himself.

Their Last Day involved flowers sent to Suga’s office (and questions from his colleagues, which he’d skillfully side-stepped, still keeping a large portion of his private life private); a long, romantic walk from the office building through the park by the glittering lake, with hand holding and ice cream and laughter; a brief, heated make-out session with Daichi pressed up against the wall in his apartment, the two of them barely managing to close the door before Suga had slipped his hands underneath Daichi’s shirt; a relaxed, joking conversation as Suga sat on a kitchen counter and watched Daichi prepare the previously planned meal - fish and rice and sauces, seaweed and sweet vinegar, spices and garnish and all the fine details that eluded Suga’s untrained eye, except for the fact that it had all tasted like heaven. A shared dish of chocolate souffle after that, Suga licking a touch of melted chocolate off the corner of Daichi’s lips and both of them almost giving in to what they were saving for later in the Last Night.

And now Daichi was at work and Suga was finishing up the last of the dishes, unable to contain his happiness. The smile was permanently fixed to his face and he couldn’t resist even singing a verse or two out of tune as he rinsed out the last of the plates and stacked them to dry.

His phone rang from the dining table and he glanced at the oven clock - 12:13 a.m. - Daichi’s shift ended and he must’ve been on his way back. Suga swiped across the screen to answer, belatedly realizing that it was an unknown number on the screen.

He stilled at the shrill female voice in his ear.

“What? … I’m home,” he said, trying to keep his tone calm despite the hysteria on the other end of the line. He wasn’t going to give his mother the satisfaction of rattling him, especially not today. “I told you I would help, didn’t I? And I told you that I needed time to arrange the money, can’t you- … What? I said I’m home.” He frowned. “No, I don’t intend on going anywhere tonight. … Stay inside? … What’s going on? What did you do?”

Suga’s heart pounded in his chest as his mother explained the situation. In three steps he was at the kitchen window, looking down at the parking lot. His car was there, near the building entrance, just outside one of the cones of bright white street light.

Take the car?!” he repeated incredulously. “They came for the money and you told them to take my car?!” Suga leaned his forehead on the cool glass and let out a breath of bitter laughter. Seriously.

“How do you even know where I am? How did you even know- … Ah, of course.” His voice was chilling, because he should’ve known. “Of course that you’d have a backup plan. Following me from the office, from the children’s home, tracking me in case I decided not to- … No, it’s exactly like that! I know full well what you two are capable of, believe me.”

As he spoke, Suga spotted two dark figures emerging in the night, avoiding the glow of the street lamps and scouring the rows of cars in search for the Mercedes. The car wasn’t worth exactly the amount the Sugawaras owed, but it was enough to keep them unharmed for the time being.

“Was this your first option?” Suga didn’t shout. He didn’t care about the car - it was just another materialistic thing and he would replace it soon enough. It wasn’t a necessity. He was only mildly concerned that, for a second, he’d been surprised something like this could’ve happened. That his parents had, again, found a way to fuck him over. “Was steal our son’s car the first idea that occurred to you? Until maybe one of you went wait, maybe we should actually ask him for help.” She had excuses, but he wasn’t moved. “Touching, really.”

One of the unknown men now peered through the tinted driver’s window of the Mercedes, and Suga carded through what he’d left inside the car; nothing of any value. Some papers from work that he’d need to print out again were the most important. Which was to say, not at all.

“I won’t try to intervene, though I appreciate your concern for my well-being,” he said coldly at his mother’s urgings in his ear, insisting that those were people not to be messed with. “I’ll just sit here comfortably and watch them drive off into the night. … No. Don’t you dare try to apologize.”

This time around, the unexpected turn for the worse didn’t hit him as hard as it had six years ago. Not even as hard as one of their phone calls when he’d first come to this building, which had stirred all of the emotions he’d successfully locked somewhere deep down.

This time around, he was standing in his boyfriend's apartment, where he found his place, his love, and his happiness. And he was simply done with all of this.

“Tomorrow I’m going to the nearest police station and using everything in my power to make sure you never get to contact me again." He was inwardly pleased that at least he never deactivated the call recording app on his phone. "You can expect-”

An indistinct shout from outside caused Suga to freeze in the middle of the sentence. He turned his attention back to the ongoing theft.

His heart seized up.

Daichi was there. Daichi was in the parking lot. He was coming home and he’d seen what was happening-

“No,” Suga breathed out, as though Daichi could hear him, as though he would stop approaching the two thugs, reaching for his own phone.

Two seconds of sheer, terrified silence surged through Suga, a buzz of nothing but paralyzing fear. His mother’s voice was muffled in his ears; the disproportionately cheerful melody from the TV nothing more than white noise as Daichi yelled at the thugs, blind to the danger-

Danger.

“NO!”

One of the men held something Suga only now noticed: a bat, a pipe maybe, long and solid and Suga’s fight or flight instincts kicked in. His brain went into overdrive, racing through solutions - Oikawa was still sick, Bokuto and Kuroo were at work, the police-

Kuroo.

His heart hammering in his ears, deafening, Suga ended the call and found Kuroo’s number in his contacts, already in the hallway and putting on his sneakers.

He yanked the door of Daichi’s apartment open and ran down the stairs, breathless, ignoring the throb of his still tender knee, phone pressed to his ear.

Pick up pick up pick up pick-

“Kuroo! It’s Suga!” he heard himself shout as he sprinted down the first floor landing, nerves on edge, senses sharpening. “Listen, you gotta get to the building now. Or- or send a patrol or something, Daichi’s in trouble. … Someone tried to steal my car and he’s there, but-”

He barely registered that Kuroo had acknowledged this and was blessedly on the move without needing any further explanations.

“It’s my fault, I-” Suga didn’t even know what he wanted to say. It was his fault, everything; he should’ve decided earlier, he should’ve been smarter, he should’ve been prepared, he-

He jumped off the last few steps and shouldered his way out the door of the building. The air was pleasant and warm and he was panting, whirling around to orient himself, to know where to go in the dark. There were sounds to his right, thumps and grunts, and he didn’t want to think what they meant until-

He saw Daichi on the ground by the damn car before he reached it, curled in on himself with the two thugs above him, one aiming a swift kick to Daichi’s side-

“Oh, and Kuroo?” Suga choked out, every single trained muscle in his body reacting, thoughts narrowing in protective rage, obliterating all reason. “You should hurry.”

His free hand clenched into a fist.

“Because I’m about to hurt some people.”

Chapter Text

Suga threw his phone to the side and lunged, wrapped his arms around the waist of the thug who was about to kick Daichi and tackled him to the ground.

They landed hard on the warm asphalt, tumbled to a stop, and Suga felt a sting from where his skin grated against the rough ground; his side, elbows - it didn’t matter.

The thug was big; taller and heavier than Suga, but Suga was fast, flawless in technique. Before the goon could even process what had happened, Suga’s forearm was pressed into his throat, tight enough to cut off his air supply.

The thug struggled with his head in a chokehold and Suga clenched his jaw, muscles straining to keep him in place. He had no intention of letting go, dammit, not until-

Out of the corner of his eye he caught a flash of metal.

Surrendering the iron grip around the throat, Suga rolled out of the way just a heartbeat before the other thug’s pipe smashed into his skull.

Suga was on his feet then, light and agile and adrenaline powered, quickly assessing the situation.

The first thug was fighting for breath, coughing and hacking on all fours on the ground.

Daichi wasn’t moving. Suga didn’t have time to think about the reason, about the extent of his injuries; he was going to break some bones for that.

“We just want the car, darling,” the standing thug said, voice too high for a man of his stature, pipe firmly in his hand.

Suga didn’t reply. He knew he would lose if he made the first move, due to his physical slightness and the lack of a weapon. So he waited, heart hammering, hands in front of him in a fighting stance. Ready for the attack.

The thug moved, swung wide behind him with the pipe, losing precious seconds for Suga to take advantage of.

It was easy, when the opponent obviously wasn’t trained. It was even easier, surprisingly, when Suga wasn’t holding back, when he wasn’t intentionally restraining his strength to not endanger the other one’s life, like in the ring.

Suga ducked, expertly brought down the thug with a kick to his weight-bearing ankle and the man fell to the ground with a cry, letting go of his pipe. It rolled away, out of reach, and Suga was on top him.

The thug fought back; fists aimed at Suga’s head carried weight, power, but were too slow - Suga blocked them without trouble.

He was a grappler, a wrestler, far better at forcing the opponent to submit in his hold, but throwing punches wasn’t foreign to him, either. He tightened his thighs around the thug’s torso and the first contact of his knuckles with the thug’s temple came with a sickening, satisfying crunch of bones.

Suga wasn’t aware of his surroundings anymore; everything faded to red as he used both fists, one after the other, out of breath and out of composure. He couldn’t tell where the first thug was, whether still wheezing for air or maybe preparing for a counterattack; whether Daichi was coming to or not.

His teeth were gritted to the point of breaking, his punches fast and relentless as he took out every last drop of outrage he had on the man’s face.

And this time, he didn’t see the pipe coming.

It connected hard with his back, the pain instant and searing down his spine; the first thug had recovered. Suga allowed his body only a second to reel from the blow, to seize up, before he pushed it into action.

He caught the next attempt at his head, wrapped his fingers around the pipe and yanked it away from the thug’s hands.

He leapt up, leaving the second thug motionless on the asphalt, and then returned the favor.

One swing to the ribcage, sending the first thug staggering backwards.

“SUGA!”

One to the knee, from which he fell to the ground.

“SUGA, STOP IT!”

One to his side, from which he was going piss blood for the next-

“SUGA, YOU’RE GONNA KILL HIM!”

Just as Suga was about to land the final, kidney-crushing blow, a pair of strong arms locked around him and spun him away.

Suga dropped the pipe with a clang, jammed an elbow behind him, into whoever interrupted him, was about to follow it with a fist-

When a hand shot out and stopped it from making contact.

“Suga, it’s me, Kuroo!”

And Suga blinked, his vision - his reason - returning.

The parking lot was lit with red and blue flashes in the dark, sirens, and Suga was breathing hard and fast. Kuroo was in front of him, one hand around Suga’s waist and the other firmly holding his wrist in place, where it almost- Suga almost-

Punched Kuroo.

He relaxed his fist at once, and Kuroo was equally quick to let him go, eyes bright with concern. “Suga…”

But Suga barely heard him. He stumbled back, heart racing out of control, and whirled around to see one thug with a bloody face, unmoving on the ground, and the other crawling on his stomach towards the pipe, as if it still mattered-

A second officer in plain clothes, tall and blond, calmly walked over to the thug and stood in his way. Suga dimly recognized Kuroo’s partner, Tsukishima, from the TV broadcast.

Tsukishima adjusted his glasses and smiled down at the thug, icily. Dangerously.

“One more move, and I’ll put a bullet between your eyes. Trust me, with the shift I had, it would make. my. day.”

The thug stopped crawling at once.

And Suga searched, gaze travelling over the cars and the lights and the chaos - Kuroo was on the phone behind him, calling for an ambulance it seemed like, and Tsukishima was pulling out handcuffs - and where was…

Daichi.

Suga felt like he was suffocating. He choked, his lungs stopped functioning, because Daichi was still unconscious. There, on the ground beside Suga’s stupid car, a dark rivulet of blood trickling from his lip.

Suga was somehow beside him then, unsteady and unable to inhale, and his legs gave out. He fell to his knees; hesitantly reached with a hand, but knew he shouldn't touch, not until the ambulance got there. So he just lingered, terrified and trembling.

“Dai…”

Please… Wake up.


His brain was coming out of his ears. He was sure of it, because there could be no other explanation for the head-splitting pain, the pounding inside his skull from which he couldn’t even open his eyes. His side hurt. His face hurt. Everything hurt.

Daichi groaned, winced, and he was vaguely aware that he was lying on his back, in a bed or similar, and that there were voices around him.

“Doctor! He’s waking up again.”

The headache peaked, Daichi’s stomach lurched violently and he rolled onto his side to throw up. He heaved, body convulsing, and strong hands supported him by the shoulder, words like It’s okay and It’ll be fine filtering through the haze until there was nothing left for him to expel.

“Lie back down,” a male voice said and Daichi did, feeling someone wiping his mouth, the hand on his shoulder patting him gently. “Hey. Look at me. Can you open your eyes?”

It was a monumental effort. His eyelids never felt heavier, glued shut almost, and with every tiny movement of his facial muscles the headache intensified.

He contemplated shaking his head no, but even that seemed like too much.

“Can you tell me your name?”

“I…” Daichi croaked, winced again because the act brought about a throb in his jaw, a sting of the side of his face. “Sa-Sawamura…”

“Good, good.” The hand wasn’t leaving his shoulder, reassuring and strong. “Do you know where you are?”

He couldn’t think. Logic was pushed along the edges by the ache, squeezed against the walls of his head and he couldn’t string two thoughts together, couldn’t-

“Daichi. Do you know who I am?”

Daichi summoned every bit of his considerable willpower. He frowned, gritted his teeth through the pain and managed a squint into the outside world, where the lights were distant and dimmed, thankfully, and there was a person leaning in by the side of the bed.

Sharp, piercing eyes, dark hair, spiked, thick eyebrows and a stern face, if you didn’t know it well enough to see the hint of concern.

And Daichi did know it well enough.

“Iwa...” he managed, and Iwaizumi smiled, suddenly open and warm, friendly.

“Good, you’re not totally fucked,” he said with a light chuckle.

He patted Daichi on the shoulder once again, before he straightened up to give instructions to the nurse, and Daichi shut his eyes to try and not die.


Numb, was the best word to describe how Suga felt.

He patiently sat in the chair Kuroo had directed him to upon the arrival at the police station, with a vague, simmering feeling that he shouldn’t be there.

He had to go.

An unknown officer had questioned him. Suga had given all the information he knew of the incident and the events preceding it, including the recorded phone calls from his parents. He’d signed a statement.

He had to go now.

Suga looked around the space, the empty desks in the middle of the night; a lonely phone rang and a half-asleep night guard answered it indistinctly. One of the neon lights above Suga was blinking, buzzing intermittently, and surely, now, he could go.

Leave, disappear, bring it back to how it used to be, make it right...

The grim-faced officer was still sitting at the desk left of Suga and filling in paperwork, slowly and meticulously typing on the ancient computer, and how much longer would Suga have to-

“I’ll take it from here, Yamazaki.”

Suga turned to see Kuroo coming over from one of the back rooms, a paper cup in hand. He nodded at the police officer who stood up, returned the nod and seemed as though he wanted to say something more to Suga-

“He won’t be leaving the city,” Kuroo anticipated the question and answered it easily, with a small smile.

His colleague nodded again and retreated out of sight.

Kuroo handed the paper cup to Suga - warm - and didn’t stop, continued walking towards the main doors. Suga followed, anchored to the heat of the cup, the one tangible, comforting thing his mind clung to in the mess, the tangled sluggishness of his mind.

They stepped out into the summer night.

Stars twinkled in the inky blue sky above and Suga was in a car then, not really keeping up with how he got there or whose car it was, just that he was buckled in and that Kuroo was driving.

City lights swelled and overlapped on the other side of the passenger window. Sped by, unclear. Suga blinked, slowly; his eyes hurt.

The cup was still warm.

“No one is blaming you, Suga.”

Suga turned, looked at Kuroo’s profile, at the ridiculous bangs sticking out over his forehead. Kuroo had his eyes on the road.

“For what happened,” he clarified, glancing shortly, pointedly, at Suga. “It’s not your fault.”

Suga needed a second to catch up.

Of course it was his fault.

It was absurd to think otherwise. The math was easy: if Daichi had never met Suga, if they had never gotten involved, if Suga hadn’t interfered with his life and the life of his friends, then Daichi never would have been-

Suga gritted his teeth, forced himself to look back out the window. Breathing was still hard.

Kuroo didn’t say anything else, and Suga didn’t ask where they were heading.

A stocky, concrete building with numerous windows loomed out in front of them, bright fluorescent signs of the ER entrance slicing through the dark.

Suga’s hands trembled; he almost spilled the contents of the cup. Kuroo must have noticed it, since in the next moment he was parking the car near the hospital and relieving Suga of the drink.

“I gave you tea to try and bring some feeling back into you, not to get it all over the service car.” His lips were up in a smirk, but his gaze was kind, compassionate. He held up the cup in front of Suga. “You should at least take a few sips.”

It was that instinctive reaction, again; Suga smiled, barely, and shook his head. “No, thanks. I…” He couldn’t think of an end to the sentence. He didn’t even know he looked like he needed feeling brought back to him. He was all feeling.

Or none at all.

It was hard to tell.

“Hey.”

A hint of gold; Kuroo’s eyes reflected a touch of gold in the neon lights. Suga didn’t know how that was possible, but it was nice, warm as that tea had been in his hands.

“He’s going to be fine, yeah?” Kuroo said, with a quirk of an eyebrow. “It will all be fine.”

Nothing will be fine.

“Right,” Suga replied dully, and managed to unfasten the seatbelt and step out of the car.

Through a haze he heard Kuroo informing him that Oikawa and Bokuto would be coming down as well, before he drove off to… finish his shift. Sort out the clusterfuck Suga left in his wake. Something or other.

There was a reception desk inside the ER, with an older, strict-looking nurse scribbling in a file behind it, and a waiting area, with plastic chairs strewn about. Deserted.

Blue. Everything seemed to glow a faint, sinister blue. It was too quiet for a hospital; must’ve been a slow night.

Suga leaned on the counter of the reception and smiled, though he knew it was fragile. “Hi, I’m here to see my… Um.” He had trouble swallowing. “Sawamura Daichi, he was brought in…” When? How much time had passed? “Some time ago tonight?”

“You family?” the nurse barked, the volume of her voice jarring. She let go of her pen and grabbed the mouse, squinting at the computer screen in front of her.

“I…”

Yes. He’s my family. He’s my-

Was.

Suga exhaled slowly, in a futile attempt to relieve the pressure in his chest. “No.”

Seconds stretched on. He waited, heart pounding infinitely faster than the agonizing clicks of the mouse.

“Sit over there,” the nurse motioned to the chairs finally. “The doctor will be with you when he can.”

Suga struggled against the urge to demand answers right away; making a scene would only get him kicked out, probably. He sighed and pushed away from the counter, shuffled over to the nearest chair and dropped into it, resigning himself to wait.

There was a plasma TV, high in a corner. Muted. He didn’t know what was on.

The walls were painted a bleak off-white, sickly, and a horizontal blue line wrapped around the room at Suga’s eye level. For some reason, it was the place where his gaze settled.

He felt a lot like a child again… Small, hiding under the table in the playroom.

Scared. Lost.

He wished he could hide now. He wished there was a hole for him to crawl into until everything passed, until everyone forgot about him; forgot he ever existed and moved on with their lives, happy and carefree and laughing and sharing their apartments… Without any interruptions, without Suga there to fuck things up, to hurt-

He pressed the heels of his palms into his eyes, choked back a sob because he was determined not to fall apart.

Not here. Not yet.

Murmurs from the right made him look back up to the desk, blink through his anguish. A doctor was talking to the nurse now. In a white coat over his blue scrubs, he turned and looked at Suga.

And Suga immediately got to his feet, held his breath as the doctor came closer - young, he didn’t look much older than Suga - and cleared his throat.

“Are you... here for Daichi? Uh… Sawamura-san?”

“Y-yes,” Suga stuttered out, not recognizing his own voice. Quiet, unsteady.

The doctor nodded, intense eyes appraising him, travelling down, until he frowned. “Is that your blood?”

Suga didn’t even realize his hands were clenched in fists. He released them and, for the first time, examined the scraped skin on the back of his hands, knuckles covered in dark red, dried blood.

“No…” he whispered, unable to tear his gaze away from the evidence of what he had done. “Not my blood.”

“You should let me clean that u-”

“Daichi?” Suga interrupted the doctor, looking up again and really, truly, not caring about his hands.

The doctor watched him for a beat, with a serious expression, unreadable, until he squared his shoulders and spoke clearly, professionally, “He suffered multiple contusions and lacerations of the upper body and face. He lost a tooth. The worst is the concussion, which is why we’re keeping him overnight, for observation. His CT scan and X-rays were clear. There are no fractures and no signs of permanent damage.” The doctor paused. “In short, he should be fine.”

Fine.

He should be fine.

There was only a smidgen of relief.

“U-um…” Suga’s hands were shaking again and he pinned them to his sides. “Can I… Can I see him?”

“Visitation hours are over.”

“Ah, right…”

He closed his eyes to inhale; he needed air, needed to breathe, to see Daichi, hold his hand, to say-

“But I’ll tell you what,” the doctor continued. “You let me look at your hands, and I’ll let you see him for five minutes.”

Suga moved, took a step forward without question. Without even a second of thinking. Anything, anything, to see Daichi, one more time, just one last-

The doctor mumbled something about an exam room to the receptionist nurse, and Suga followed him down a hallway, to a small room. Under the white lights was an exam table, two or three stools, a sink, some cabinets… The doctor motioned for Suga to sit on one of the stools while he prepared the material he’d need.

It was silent for a minute or two. Suga waited, stared at one spot on the floor, mind flittering from one thought to another without any connection, like a drunken butterfly with no idea where it was flying to until it paused on something that seemed… out of ordinary.

“How do you know him?” Suga asked quietly.

“Hm?” The doctor’s back was turned to him, as he sorted through something, neatly arranging supplies on a tray.

“Earlier.” Suga squinted to focus better on the white coat over broad shoulders, the dark hair styled up. “You called him Daichi.”

“Oh. Yeah.” The doctor cleared his throat, voice gruff. “We, uh… We used to be neighbors. I lived in the apartment above him.”

It was mostly thanks to his foggy, dazed state that it took Suga longer than it should’ve to connect the dots.

Above him… Where Oikawa lives… Previous resident? … Or. Oikawa’s-

“Oh,” Suga said, softly. “You’re… Iwa-chan.”

The doctor, Iwa, stopped what he was doing. Suga couldn’t see his face.

“Yes. Iwaizumi Hajime,” he muttered over his shoulder, then lifted the tray filled with a couple of labeled plastic bottles, packets of sterile gauze, cotton wool and some stainless steel instruments to place it on a side table, which he wheeled in front of Suga.

“Sugawara Koushi,” Suga said, giving a tiny nod, maybe a hint of a smile. “Nice to meet you.”

“You, too.” Iwaizumi took a seat on an identical stool across the little table, pulled on a pair of white latex gloves, and reached for one of Suga’s hands.

Suga allowed him to look it over under a bright, fluorescent lamp, the kind with a circular magnifying glass in the middle, before he started working.

It wasn’t an uncomfortable, strained silence. It was a busy one, where Iwaizumi used gauze and alcohol, or something that smelled a lot like it, to clean the scratches and the marred skin on the back of Suga’s hands, and Suga took in the features of Iwaizumi’s face; he was handsome, Suga concluded, with his dark eyebrows, straight nose, and narrow eyes... Grumpy, kind of, though given the fact that he offered to let Suga see Daichi (first nice thing) by convincing him to get his injuries taken care of (second nice thing), Suga highly doubted that this grumpiness went much deeper than the surface.

It made him smile, for some reason. Relax, a tiny bit.

“You got them good,” Iwaizumi said then. “The other guys?” He glanced up when Suga didn’t say anything. “They were brought here by the police. One of them was admitted for facial reconstructive surgery.”

Suga’s smile turned bitter, thin. He watched Iwaizumi’s gloved hands deftly pick out minute debri from the scrapes with a pair of tweezers, and he said, honestly,

“I wanted to kill them.”

He met Iwaizumi’s eyes, held the sharp, serious gaze without looking away. “For hurting him. I wanted to break every bone in their bodies.”

And to his surprise, Iwaizumi smiled. A tiny bit, just with one corner of his lips.

“Good.” The word rang in Suga’s head. It sounded like approval. “But it’s also good that you were stopped in time. I don’t doubt you would’ve broken them, if you weren’t.” At Suga’s prolonged confusion, Iwaizumi’s smile grew wider, lighting up his face, and he reached to the side for a roll of bandages. “I’ve seen some of your matches, Sugawara. You’re a solid fighter. Daichi was lucky that you were there.”

Suga couldn’t hold back a huff of humorless laughter.

Lucky. He was...” He bit his lip and shook his head, looked down at how Iwaizumi carefully wrapped the bandage around one of his hands, rolling it around the palm.

Anything but lucky.

“You care about him a lot,” Iwaizumi said.

Suga smiled over the lip bite, tears welling up in his eyes, and he only nodded curtly, not trusting himself to speak.

Not here. Not yet.

Iwaizumi wrapped Suga’s other hand as well, just as gently, took off his gloves and stood up from his seat to fetch tape.

“Kuroo tells me you’re house sitting for Asahi and Noya,” he said casually.

Suga cleared his throat, made sure his voice was somewhat normal. “Yes. They’re coming back… today, actually.”

“Ah.” Iwaizumi rummaged around a drawer. “So, how’s the building? How’s…” Hesitation, palpable. “...everyone?”

Suga heard the real question as loudly as though Iwaizumi had shouted it from the hospital rooftop; Suga wasn’t the only one in the room who cared a lot.

“Everyone’s fine,” he said quietly, as Iwaizumi returned to his seat and set about to cut two pieces of tape to hold Suga’s bandages together. “They, uh… They’re working too much. Not really taking care of themselves.”

A pause; Suga wasn’t sure if Iwaizumi understood, but then he smiled, and Suga knew a pained smile when he saw one.

“They never did learn,” Iwaizumi said, flattening a final piece of tape over the bandage, before he schooled his expression into that of a medical professional. “Flex your fingers for me.”

Suga did, with a normal range of motion, not even feeling the bandages around his hands, and Iwaizumi nodded, satisfied.

He looked Suga over once again, his thin T-shirt and sweatpants he hadn’t changed out of from when he was cleaning up after his dinner with Daichi. “Does it hurt anywhere else?”

“No.”

Iwaizumi smirked. “Are you saying that just to get to see Daichi quicker?”

Suga couldn’t resist the small smile back. An honest one at that. “No.”

It hurt everywhere.

“Okay, then.” Iwaizumi stood up. “Come on, I’ll take you to his room.”


They walked through the halls of the hospital in silence. It was mostly empty, with the patient rooms closed and only an occasional nurse or a doctor passing by them. No one questioned why Suga was there, in plain clothes and bandaged hands, as he trailed behind Iwaizumi’s taller form.

Finally, Iwaizumi stopped in front of an unmarked door, and tilted his head toward it.

“He’s… not really conscious, so don’t freak out if he doesn’t react.”

“Um…” Suga cast a nervous look through the small window in the door, though saw nothing but darkness beyond it. “Can he hear me?”

“Maybe. If he’s not asleep. Uh…” Iwaizumi made a face. “In a concussed state, patients slip in and out of consciousness without really being able to tell what’s what. So, yes, he might hear you, but there’s a good chance he won’t remember it tomorrow. Or think it was just a dream, or something.”

Suga took in a deep breath and nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay. I’ll come get you in five minutes. No more.”

Iwaizumi stepped away, down the hall, and Suga carefully made his way into the room.

It was a small one, almost completely encased in darkness. One out of two beds was occupied; the one closer to the window, where slivers of streetlights poured in through the half-closed blinds, just enough for Suga to see…

His hands clenched in fists again, straining against the bandages. His heart thumped too loudly in his ears.

Surrounded by a silent monitor, with colored numbers and lines, waves of his heartbeat, and an IV stand, Daichi lay on his side, away from the window. It would’ve been almost as though he were sleeping, peaceful and beautiful, if it weren’t for the hospital gown, thin, white and peppered with little blue dots; if it weren’t for the scraped side of his face, covered with white bandage; if it weren’t for the-

Suga struggled to breathe all over again. Tense and fighting to remain calm, he dragged a chair from the other side of the room and sat beside Daichi.

His gorgeous, caring, thoughtful, talented, wonderful Daichi.

“Dai…” Suga whispered, and slowly brushed Daichi’s dark bangs away from his forehead.

Daichi didn’t stir.

With both of his hands, Suga took one of Daichi’s - warm, large, comforting, even now - and gave it a light squeeze.

Daichi didn’t return it.

Maybe he really was asleep.

Maybe it was better like that.

“I…” Suga sucked in air, suddenly feeling like laughing. The hopeless, exhausted kind of laughter which chewed at the edges of his sanity. “I’m… I’m sorry, Daichi,” he whispered. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m…” He repeated it over and over again, like a mantra, leaning down into Daichi’s hand. He pressed his lips to the warm skin and held on, feeling the apology run deep in his veins, overflowing and scalding…

Futile.

It didn’t matter. Words didn’t matter anymore.

“I’m so sorry, Daichi. For everything. For…” He inhaled sharply. “I’m sorry for letting you in and for thinking it was going to be okay, I’m sorry for dragging you into all of this, for dumping my fighting, my parents, my whole-” He was trembling again, suppressing another rush of tears while bent over the hospital bed in the mute darkness. “My whole fucking life onto you. I’m sorry for lov- Shit.

For loving you.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”

He wasn’t aware of what he was saying. He wanted to say it all; how he never intended it to end like this, never intended it to end at all, how Daichi didn’t deserve any of it, his friends either, how Suga wished it was-

Pointless, it was all pointless.

And it was all over.

Daichi was going to walk away. When he woke up, when he got better, he was going to walk away.

And Suga wouldn’t be able to take it, because Daichi would be nice about it, and he’d choose his words and he’d want to remain friends, maybe, and Suga couldn’t be friends, not after- not when-

“I would’ve loved you, Daichi…” he mumbled, shutting his eyes tight because the tears stung. Not here. Not- “I would’ve loved you for so long, so much…”

I would’ve done everything in my power to make you happy.

“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. You and your kind eyes, and your beautiful smile, and-” A tear escaped the corner of his eye and Suga wiped it away angrily, before once again taking Daichi’s hand between his own.

“I’m sorry that I ruined everything. And I’m sorry that I’m…” His head hurt, from the amount of sheer emotion he was trying to hold back. “I’m going to leave, so that you don’t have to.”

So that I don’t have to watch you go.

In the quiet that descended, in the dust of their relationship, Suga imagined, for a split second, a life filled with Daichi; a lifetime of teasing and kisses, mornings beginning earlier than expected because of their neighbors, a life of vanilla frosting and sizzling deliciousness in a pan, of Bokuto’s exuberant laughter and banter with Oikawa, of breathing Daichi, and looking at Daichi, and touching Daichi, Daichi…


He didn’t break. Not really, not in Daichi’s room. Not when Iwaizumi came for him again, and not when he planted a kiss on Daichi’s forehead.

Suga walked back the hallways of the hospital, answering Iwaizumi’s question of whether he was okay with a ghost of a smile. I’m fine.

And then the was left alone in the ER waiting room; Iwaizumi had other patients, and the receptionist nurse disappeared somewhere, and Suga couldn’t move.

He couldn’t move because when he stepped out that door he would cement his intentions, his decision, and he wasn’t ready; not for this, not… He would do it, because it was the right thing to do, for everyone, but that didn't make it any easier.

The glass doors of the ER slid open.

“Suga!” Bokuto rushed in, wild worry in his amber eyes, arms reaching for Suga and wrapping him up in a hug without hesitation. “Are you okay? Is Daichi okay? Man, when Kuroo called, I thought I had a stroke, jesus fuck, took me half an hour to move my ass…”

But Suga didn’t register a word of Bokuto’s breathless monologue. He was shaking, pressed against a strong body, completely enveloped in the warmest hug ever; he clutched at Bokuto’s T-shirt with his bandaged hands- it was too much, too much, TOO MUCH-

“Bo…” Suga whispered, unable to hold it in any longer, splitting at the seams. Tears welled up in his eyes so easily and Bo tightened his embrace, dipped his head.

“It’s okay, Suga,” he said. “It’s… I got you. You’re okay.”

The first wail was half-muffled by Bokuto’s shirt, and then Suga finally let the tears spill over and dampen the fabric; his whole body racked with sobs, and he couldn’t stop it, couldn’t rein it in even if he tried.

Bokuto held him close, shielding him from the outside world while Suga cried, uncontrollably, and he whispered support, encouragement and reassurance, which Suga only faintly heard.

And hours later, or only minutes, a different pair of hands rested on Suga’s shoulders, another warmth came up from behind him and a quiet, hoarse,

“Suga-chan…”

Before Oikawa joined in their hug and Suga fell apart between them, in the cold, silent ER of the hospital.

Chapter Text

Daichi felt a warmth, a gentleness of someone else’s hand in his own. Instinctively, he tried to close his fingers around it, to return the kind gesture, but there was nothing there.

Empty air.

He frowned. He was almost sure someone had held his hand just now.

But then a dull ache seeped through his consciousness; a throb in his head, his face… his body. Daichi groaned, winced as he forced himself to open his eyes and see white.

White until his vision cleared at least, until he blinked a couple of times and managed to discern a frame of a window, half-closed blinds letting in sunlight, and…

“Hey.”

Daichi looked at the person sitting in a chair next to his bed - wait, this wasn’t his bed - and attempted to speak, but his mouth and throat were paper dry.

“Here.” A plastic cup appeared in front of him, with a straw, and Daichi lifted his head a smidgen - the pain increasing slightly - to take a few sips. Cold, fresh water helped a little.

“Thanks,” he whispered then, laying back down on the pillow, “Asahi.”

Asahi smiled kindly and returned the plastic cup to the nightstand by the bed. “How are you feeling?” he asked quietly.

Daichi closed his eyes and took a moment to assess his physical condition; his current location and state in general.

He was in a hospital, that much was clear by the thin hospital gown he was wearing, by the screen beside him displaying a series of readings and the IV needle in his arm, fixed in place with adhesive bandages. His cheek was patched up, and it stung when he tried to open his mouth. His side also hurt, but the worst was his head and the painful pulsating from the inside of his skull.

He was weak, exhausted, and he felt like he could sleep for the next three years.

“Like I could use a vacation,” he muttered. “Or death, whichever comes first.” He opened his eyes again. “What happened?”

Asahi shifted in his seat and leaned forward, still smiling in that calming way that suggested he was about to deliver some bad news. “What do you remember?”

Suga…

“Dinner,” Daichi said, vividly recalling Suga’s sweet laugh when he had accidentally gotten chocolate all over his face. “Work.” He rifled through his fuzzy memory. “We had a sudden shortage of shrimp. I… I think I walked home?” He couldn’t seem to grasp what happened after. Glimpses, elusive flashes of feeling, but nothing solid.

Asahi nodded, and his smile fell a little. “From what I gathered this morning, you ran into a couple of guys trying to steal Suga’s car, in our parking lot.”

Oh.

There was… a pipe. Daichi had been angry. Maybe even shouting?

“Apparently they knocked you out, but Suga saw it from your kitchen window and he… Well.”

Daichi tensed, heart flying up to his throat. What, he what?! What happened? Was Suga hurt?

Despite the violent protest of his headache, Daichi cast a wild gaze over the hospital room, as though expecting to see Suga lying in the bed next to him in god knows what condition, but it was empty. Untouched.

Asahi let out a chuckle of impressed disbelief. “He kind of… destroyed them. I believe those were Iwa’s exact words. And then Kuroo came, and the ambulance, and…” Slowly and carefully, he detailed what he knew of the event - We’re not sure what would’ve happened to you if Suga wasn’t there.

Daichi heard snippets of Suga’s parents, owing money, and planned theft, but he hardly cared; by the time Asahi got to the particulars of Daichi’s own injuries, he only had one question on his mind.

“Iwa told us that you can probably go home today, but that you’ll need to be on bed rest for a while,” Asahi said, and Daichi interrupted.

“Where’s Suga?”

That’s when Asahi paused. That’s when, after retelling this entire story of how one of his best friends had gotten beaten up and ended up in the hospital, of how it was an unpredictable night by any standards, Asahi hesitated. And Daichi knew that this was what was wrong.

“What happened to him? You said…” Daichi’s heart hammered in his ears. “I thought you said he was okay!” He made to get up, to throw the covers off of him and fucking storm the entire hospital if necessary to find Suga, fuck the headache and fuck the concussion and even if he had to throw up in every fucking trash can on his way-

“He’s fine!” Asahi hurried to reassure, laying a hand on Daichi’s arm and stopping him from moving. “Really. He’s… Physically, he’s okay.”

“What do you mean physically?” Daichi spat. It was hard to focus when his brain felt too big for his head; he still wanted to get out of bed, but his entire body was screaming in protest, Asahi’s gentle hand keeping him in place.

And Daichi endured the hurt, waited for it to fade back to the even, tolerable pulse. He willed himself to relax back into the sheets and gazed up, at the ceiling, trying to breathe steadily, to follow a streamlined train of thoughts…

“Suga waited for us at home, when we arrived,” Asahi said, quieter than he had to, giving Daichi’s arm a comforting squeeze. “He told us what happened, and returned the keys to our apartment.”

And out of a corner of his awareness, Daichi discerned a shimmery imprint of a memory.

He’d dreamed it, maybe. Or maybe it had been real, the whispered string of apologies, the tender warmth of lips pressed into the back of his hand…

I’m going to leave…

Daichi blinked, his vision sharpening on the square panels of the ceiling.

It wasn’t a dream.

It was Suga; Suga had been there, and Suga had said goodbye. It didn’t take a genius to connect that to what Asahi had told him, about Suga’s parents as the initiators of all of this, about them being the reason that Suga-

“He’s gone, isn’t he?” Daichi asked, closing his eyes, silently grateful for Asahi’s touch. He felt the first prickle of emotion at the back of his neck, and he knew if he were alone he would’ve done something incredibly dumb right about now.

“I… Yes, I think so,” Asahi said. “He didn’t say anything, and- and honestly, I didn’t ask. He just… He left a letter for you.”

“A letter…” Unwillingly, Daichi huffed out a breath of exasperated laughter.

Of fucking course.

Anger slowly crept its way up his spine, hot and bitter, but he wasn’t sure whom he was angry at, exactly. Himself, maybe, for some irrational reason; for not being conscious enough to stop Suga from spiralling into overthinking, from reverting back to considering himself a burden… And then also he definitely was angry at Suga, for leaving; for being so fucking stupid-

But mostly he was angry at Suga’s parents, and not just for what happened last night. They were the sole people to blame for the way Suga blamed himself; the way he was strong and resilient and selfless but then also fragile underneath; the way he preferred to hide and lock everything up inside to avoid getting hurt. To avoid hurting others.

“I’m sorry,” Asahi’s soft voice said through the red mist of simmering rage.

“Don’t be,” Daichi said. He gritted his teeth, a spark of fresh pain shooting up his jaw. “I’m going to fix this.”


Noya joined them not too long after and made himself comfortable in a chair on the other side of Daichi’s bed. He seemed recovered from his volcano incident, walking around in his sneakers without problems.

And he talked loudly as usual, with a lot of gesticulating, about their vacation, about colorful, unimportant things, and Asahi supplied a few humorous anecdotes of his own. Daichi had trouble concentrating and only loosely followed the conversation, but he did appreciate their efforts to distract him, to cheer him up and make it bit easier to ignore the headache. It helped, to an extent, until Iwaizumi strolled in, with Daichi’s patient chart in his hand.

He nodded at Asahi and Noya and then smiled at Daichi, who was now sitting up in his bed, supported by no less than three pillows (Noya had stolen two off the unoccupied bed). “I see you’re more conscious.”

“On the outside, probably,” Daichi mumbled, unable to suppress a smile of his own. It was good seeing Iwa again, even under the circumstances. Daichi’d forgotten how formidable he looked in his scrubs and the white lab coat. “On the inside I feel like everything’s turned to mush. Specially my brain.”

Iwaizumi chuckled and opened up Daichi’s chart, taking a pen out of his coat pocket. “It almost did turn to mush. But if fighter boyfriends are good for anything…”

“Right.” Daichi’s smile fell a little, and he noticed Asahi and Noya exchanging looks while Iwa scribbled on the chart.

“Any pain?” he asked then, tucking the chart back under his arm and coming closer to inspect the bandage over Daichi’s cheek, careful fingers feeling the sore area. “Still a little swollen…”

“Head hurts. Not so bad anymore, though.”

“Good.” Iwaizumi nodded. “Um.” He glanced at Asahi and Noya. “I’m going to have to take off your electrodes and for that you’re going to have to take off-”

“And you think two guys who were on my high school volleyball team make me embarrassed to take off my clothes?” Daichi couldn’t hold back a chuckle, as he reached to pull off the upper half of his hospital gown.

“I usually ask for a moment of privacy with a regular patient, but you’re not exactly a regular patient, so…” Iwaizumi deftly peeled off four electrodes that monitored Daichi's heart rate from his chest and hips, and removed the needle from his arm while he was at it, without ceremony. “You can go home today. I’ll write up your discharge papers and then explain just how little you’re gonna have to move in the next few days.”

Little…? But, my job-” Daichi started lamely.

“Strict bed rest, at least until the headache subsides,” Iwaizumi stressed.

“We already called Ennoshita, and Ukai-san,” Asahi chimed in. “They told you to take all the time you need to get better.”

Daichi yanked his gown back over him and sank in his bed. It wasn’t the job he was worried about, really.

He didn’t have enough time to mull things over between Noya and Asahi’s stories; while on one hand he hoped to resolve the situation with Suga sooner rather than later, on the other, this would give him enough time to prepare; to organize his thoughts, and cool down a little, because at this moment the unstable status of his relationship made him want to jam a fist into a wall.

Iwaizumi withdrew to wrap up his double shift, and Asahi and Noya lingered for a bit longer, then, before they both had to go back to their apartment, to unpack and generally return to their normal, post-vacation lives. They promised they would send in the one person who could bring Daichi a fresh set of clothes, and who had a car to drive him home.


Oikawa arrived not too long after, right in time to interrupt Daichi’s jumbled mess of thoughts, which mostly boiled down to fucking FUCK!

He stood in the doorway of Daichi’s hospital room with a duffel bag over one shoulder, pale and worn out, his bloodshot eyes coming to rest on Daichi in his bed.

“Well, you look like shit,” Daichi commented.

“Says Dai-chan, who got his ass kicked into a concussion last night.” Oikawa’s words held no heat to them as he trudged over and dropped the bag at the foot of the bed. He coughed into a fist, still not over whatever illness had him in its clutches. “How are you?”

“Ready to go home, apparently,” Daichi said, reaching for the bag and taking out his clothes, ignoring the increasing throb in his head at every slight movement. “How are you?”

“Fine,” Oikawa said as he plopped into the chair beside the bed, and Daichi knew he was lying.

His posture was that of a person at the end of their rope, elbow on the arm of the chair and head leaning on that fist, barely keeping his eyes open. His dark gaze was watery, unfocused, even as his chocolate hair still retained its flawless waves. It had been a while since Oikawa looked this… tortured.

“Want to talk about it?” Daichi asked as he stripped off his hospital gown again to tug on a clean T-shirt.

“About what? Suga-chan leaving you?”

Daichi knew better than to hold the snark against Oikawa. Daichi was pissed at the entire world at the moment, but Oikawa looked miserable, and when Oikawa was miserable he tried to bring everyone down with him, just to have company in his suffering. Which was also a great tactic to avoid talking about his own issues, Daichi supposed.

“Did you see him last night?” he asked instead of taking the bait, unfolding his jeans next. Luckily, he still had his underwear on.

“Yes. I held him in my arms as he cried.”

The sentence was delivered casually, with an air of uncaring nonchalance, which made it all the more painful.

Daichi stopped pulling on one jeans leg while sitting on the edge of his bed. He counted backwards from ten in order not to explode, to make himself fucking breathe.

Suga cried; Suga cried, and Oikawa held him because Daichi wasn’t there; Suga cried and Daichi wasn’t there-

“I didn’t know,” Oikawa said quietly then, his previous smugness gone. Daichi looked at him, fingers in his jeans gripping way too tightly, and Oikawa didn’t meet his glare, coughing into his hand. “I… Kou-chan and I were here, with him, and we didn’t know that he… What he was going to do. He told us he’d meet Asahi and Noya and then come right back.”

Of course they didn’t know. Suga wouldn’t have told anyone that he was leaving. He’d spent enough time with all of them to know, or at least assume, how they would react; that they would try and stop him, talk him out of it. Which was why he’d left the letter with the only two who wouldn’t.

“‘S not your fault,” Daichi gritted out, finally managing to slide his jeans over his ass and gingerly rise to his feet to zip them up. His vision blurred again, headache pounding behind his temples, and Oikawa grabbed his forearm to steady him from where he was sitting. “He didn’t want anyone to know until he was already gone.”

“You should sit back down,” Oikawa said, his grip on Daichi’s arm tightening and Daichi listened, sitting down on the mattress. He shut his eyes to weather the bout of pain, to deeply breathe through it.

This whole day was a fucking nightmare.

“You okay?” Oikawa asked, and Daichi looked up to see his lips pulled up in a tiny smirk. “Or does wittwe Dai-chan need me to help put his socks on?”

“Shut up.”

“Come on, I have to get to work.”

Daichi rummaged around the duffel bag in search for the socks in question. “Work? I thought we agreed you wouldn’t go to the office until-”

“Okay...!” Another voice interrupted, Iwaizumi’s, as the doctor walked back into the room, carrying a large ziploc bag and a handful of files. “I have your old clothes here, and your discharge paper… s.”

Iwaizumi looked up from the documents, and everything went still.

For only a moment or two, though to Daichi it seemed longer. He didn’t dare move as Iwaizumi and Oikawa stared at each other, and it struck him that this might’ve been the first time they met since… Since they broke up, almost ten months ago.

“Hey.” Iwaizumi was the first to recover, his voice almost soft compared to before.

Oikawa blinked, and Daichi could see his mask slipping into place, his expression turning haughty and disinterested. He averted his attention back to Daichi and said nothing, and Daichi knew that this was his way of protecting himself.

Daichi hurried to put on the last of his clothes as Iwaizumi came closer.

“Um, so… Yes.” He set down the ziploc bag beside the duffel one. “Here are your clothes from last night, and these are the papers. You need to sign here-”

Despite his best intentions to ignore Iwaizumi, and to seem cool and collected, Oikawa erupted into a coughing fit then, loud and sputtering; Iwaizumi and Daichi had to wait for him to settle down to continue talking. Daichi reached out to pat his knee until Oikawa wheezed and leaned back in his chair, decidedly still not looking at Iwaizumi and pretending nothing happened.

“Uh, here…” Iwaizumi pointed again at a line on a document with his pen, and Daichi scribbled his signature. “And here.” He gave a copy of the papers to Daichi and clicked off the pen. “Now, you need to stay in bed, at least for the next three to five days. Minimal movement, lots of rest and plenty of fluids. When you need to get up for the bathroom or something, make sure that someone is there with you, just in case you start feeling faint again.”

Daichi nodded.

“And of course call me if anything goes wrong.” Iwaizumi managed a smile, and Daichi returned it, hoping it looked compassionate.

“Thanks, Iwa. For everything.”

“No problem. I... I hope next time I see you, you will at least know your own name.”

Daichi laughed. “I hope so, too.”

Iwaizumi clapped him on the shoulder and turned to leave, and for a second Daichi thought he wouldn’t address Oikawa again; until Iwa paused, right before the door.

“You should see someone about that cough,” he said gruffly, not turning around.

Oikawa smiled his well-known venomous smile, and flippantly waved a hand in the air. “Noisy in this room, isn’t it, Dai-chan?”

Daichi kept his mouth shut, catching a glimpse of how Iwa’s hand clenched into a fist before he disappeared into the hallway, leaving them alone.

“Tooru…”

But Oikawa's smile vanished at once and he shook his head, pinching his lips tight. “Come on, let’s take you home.”

Daichi gathered his things, and Oikawa helped him out of the hospital, letting Daichi lean on him and carrying his bags to Oikawa's car.


The brilliance of Bokuto's grin when he opened the door to Daichi's apartment was nothing short of concerning.

"What did you do?" Daichi asked instead of greeting him, as Oikawa and Bokuto switched places and Bokuto's arm wrapped around his waist. Daichi didn't have the strength or the patience for some more of Bokuto's-and-also-possibly-Kuroo's shenanigans.

"You'll see in a minute," Bokuto said, gently guiding Daichi to his bedroom, radiating with glee.

Daichi glanced around his apartment; everything was still in its place it seemed, intact and just as he'd left it yesterday evening, when he'd kissed Suga goodbye before leaving for work. When Suga had giggled in that sweet way of his, his playful fingers threading through Daichi's hair...

Daichi mentally clamped that particular course of remembering because it only made his anger spike, and when he was angry he'd tighten his jaw, and his jaw was already hurting enough.

They reached the end of the hallway and Daichi peered into his bedroom.

“TA TA TAAAAAA...!” Bokuto announced happily, the volume of his voice causing Daichi to wince and groan, to grip Bokuto's shoulder firmly. “Oh, shit, sorry man,” Bokuto immediately adjusted to his indoor voice, and Daichi just dropped on the edge of his bed, waiting for the pain in his head to dissipate.

“Wow...” Oikawa murmured when he entered the room. “You brought in the TV.”

“And the sound system!” Bokuto hooted.

Indeed, when Daichi finally squinted to see the modifications to his bedroom, there was a large flatscreen TV that hadn't been there before (Bokuto and Kuroo's), hanging on the wall opposite his bed, a surround sound system securely fastened to the corners of the room (Asahi and Noya's), and a staggering array of DVDs, CDs, a PS4 console and probably every single game that Kuroo and Bokuto owned.

“Everything you two will need during your stay here!” Bokuto was still a tad too loud for Daichi's liking, but he endured.

“Us two?” he asked, scooting back on the bed until his back hit the headboard.

“Uh... Yeah.” Bokuto cast a hesitant glance at Oikawa. “The rest of us talked about it, and we decided that you and Oikawa aren't going anywhere until both of you get better.”

By the way Oikawa's tired eyes widened and his mouth fell open Daichi figured he had no idea about this arrangement.

“That's... I can't do that!” Oikawa's voice was rough from the illness, but now also high-pitched. “I have work! And a project to finish!” he screeched. “And my father-”

“-will manage a couple of days without you,” Bokuto insisted. He laid a hand on Oikawa's shoulder, none too gently it seemed, and nudged Oikawa towards the bed. “We brought your comfy clothes here, and you're gonna rest and watch movies and listen to cool music and maybe even play video games until you get better.”

Kou-chan,” Oikawa pleaded again, even as he made a couple of steps towards Daichi. “I don't have time for such-”

Bokuto raised a hand to silence him. “I have full authority to call Kuroo in case of a patient escape, and he will not hesitate to use force and/or handcuffs to administer health and justice.”

Oikawa crossed his arms and petulantly glared at him without a reply.

“Now, I am the designated caretaker here,” Bokuto continued, beaming proudly at his newfound title. “In case you're hungry, Asahi left some soup and rice that I can heat up for you, and I was instructed to make you, and I quote, enough tea to last you through the next ice-age. So I'm gonna get on that, and you just sit back and relax!”

“Actually, Bo,” Daichi mumbled, sliding his legs underneath the sheet and settling in for a nap. “ I think some sleep would be nice, right about now.” Seeing people and talking with people was more exhausting than it would've been if he were not of a rattled brain.

“Sleep, right, yeah, that's important, too.” Bokuto nodded. “I'll just be in the living room then, and you guys let me know if there's anything you need!” He then made to leave, before he paused, turned back and took something out of the back pocket of his jeans. “Oh, right. And Asahi also gave me this... to give it to you.”

Daichi frowned and zoomed in on what Bokuto was awkwardly holding in his hand. Ah. The letter. It was a plain white, thin envelope, with only what seemed like Daichi's name written in large letters on the back.

Bokuto walked over and set it down on the nightstand on Daichi's side. “We didn't know...” he started, in much the same manner Oikawa had earlier.

“I know,” Daichi saved him the trouble, eyeing the letter as if it had personally offended him.

In a way it had, he supposed.

“We thought maybe if he call him now and tell him-”

“No,” Daichi cut Bokuto off again, resolutely looking at him. “Nobody call him.” He aimed the same determined gaze at Oikawa. “I mean it. Nobody call Suga, nobody text him. Just leave him be, for now, and I'll talk to him when I get better.”

There was a quiet moment, during which Daichi assumed was another exchange of looks above his head, and then Bokuto muttered, “Okay...” before he left the room.

Daichi closed his eyes and rolled over to face away from the door; through his headache and the fuming, unchecked spiral of his thoughts, he barely registered Oikawa finally sitting down on the empty side of the bed and heaving a sigh, before he drifted off into restless sleep again.


As with everything they did together, Daichi's friends and neighbors had devised a system: they were taking shifts babysitting Daichi and Oikawa, with at least one of them hanging around the apartment at all times. Since the master chef was incapacitated, Asahi was the next best source of food that didn't come in a can, and he made sure that the two patients ate regularly and nutritiously as best as he could. Bokuto had made good on his promise to provide tea, and had bought no less than seventeen different kinds, enthusiastically refilling their mugs the moment they'd dry up.

Noya had very knowledgeably informed them that the maximum dose for ibuprofen was one gram per twenty-four hours, and was keeping a watchful eye on their pill habits, and Kuroo had offered to very kindly accompany them to the bathroom every time they needed it.

(“No, you are not coming inside with me,” Daichi was adamant, even as he had to lean against the bathroom doorframe to support himself.

Kuroo tried for innocence. “Iwaizumi made it very clear that-”

“That what? What could I possibly need help with in there, for the whole of thirty seconds that I'm gonna be standing over the toilet and then washing my hands after?”

“I don't know... I could hold it for you?” Kuroo broke into a Cheshire grin, and Daichi had an urge to drown him in toilet water.)

Daichi had to hand it to them: they were well organized, and he and Oikawa wanted for nothing. As the second day drew to a close, Daichi's headache had subsided considerably, and it was no longer adding to his perpetual brooding state.

What was getting on his nerves, however, was that he couldn't resolve his situation with Suga just yet, and with each passing minute that particular corner of Daichi's mind was growing increasingly more hazardous.

He hadn't opened the letter. He had no intentions of opening the letter. He refused to admit that this was the end, that what had started out fucking perfectly, even if with slight turbulence, would break off just like that, over a one-sided conversation in a hospital room and a piece of paper. He counted the hours until he would get to talk to Suga. Face to face, like it should've been.


In the wee hours of the morning on the third day of their quarantine, Daichi turned over in the bed and, through the quiet, soft glow of pre-dawn, saw that Oikawa was awake, staring up at the ceiling of Daichi's bedroom.

“You okay?” Daichi whispered, thinking if he needed to get Noya from the living room to fetch more cough drops or anti-fever medication or-

“Yeah,” Oikawa said. He didn't move, only let out a faint, gurgly cough.

“Can't sleep?”

It was a moment or two before Oikawa replied, enough for Daichi to wonder if maybe he wouldn't reply at all.

“He looked good, didn't he?” Oikawa said.

He didn't need to clarify, Daichi understood. Both the question, and the reason why Oikawa was awake when he shouldn't have been.

“Yeah,” Daichi said honestly. “He looked good.”

Oikawa's bottom lip quivered and he sank his teeth in it to stop it from doing that, shutting his eyes tight. Daichi's heart ached.

“I don't...” Oikawa whispered roughly. “I don't want him to be happy without me, Dai-chan.”

Daichi knew that this was Oikawa speak for I miss him, words that Oikawa was too proud to say out loud, to admit maybe even to himself. On instinct, Daichi reached, carefully opened his arms for Oikawa and Oikawa let out a small whine, turning into Daichi's embrace and burying his face in Daichi's T-shirt.

He cried so quietly that Daichi barely heard him, barely felt his raspy sobs shaking his lean frame. He bowed his head into Oikawa's hair, raspberry scented, and soothed him with long caresses down his back, swallowing his own anguish. Suppressing his own burning need to punch something, to scream into the city noise and fucking hunt Suga down and make him see reason.

“I know...” Daichi whispered instead, holding Oikawa close to him in the weak daylight breaking through the blinds. “It's okay to miss him.”


On the fourth day - which Daichi deemed his last in bed, judging by how almost back to normal he felt (and how antsy his need to talk to Suga was making him) - he was abruptly woken up by a loud, distinct voice that didn't belong to any of his friends.

“SAWAMURA DAICHI.”

Daichi groaned and rolled over in his bed, as the female voice continued from the living room of his apartment, “You get hurt, you end up in a hospital, you are released on strict bed rest, and I have to hear from Kuroo that my only son has been beaten up-

“Whoever let her in,” Daichi mumbled into his pillow, “please kindly get her the fuck out.” Dealing with his mother wasn't high on his list of favorite things to do, especially at this very moment.

“You don't get to decide whether or not I stay,” Mrs. Sawamura said, walking into the bedroom it sounded like; Daichi still hadn't opened his eyes. “Since obviously you're not capable of making the right decisions concerning your mother to begin with. Besides, I'm sure that Asahi wouldn't even think of ushering out a nice little lady like myself, would he?”

“N-no, ma'm,” Asahi stuttered in the vicinity.

Daichi cracked open an eyelid to aim and flung one of his pillows at the tall, useless friend standing by the doorway. Asahi avoided it with ease, laughed quietly as he retreated back to the living room.

Mrs. Sawamura was glaring at Daichi then, in all her short, red-haired glory, and he was internally thankful that at least Oikawa was there to act as a buffer, until he turned to see that the other half of his bed was empty.

Fucking perfect.

“What do you have to say for yourself, Daichi?”

Daichi fell back into the bed with another groan and shut his eyes. He did not need this today. He needed quiet, and sleep, and peace to fucking think through a course of action regarding Suga.

“I had more important things on my mind, mom.”

“More important than calling me after you almost died?”

“I didn't almost die. I was just-” He looked up, at the hard lines of yellow sunlight streaking across the ceiling. “Suga was there.” It came out thinner than he'd have wanted it to, and he hurried to move on, “Besides, everyone's taking good care of me.”

“I see that,” Mrs. Sawamura said, coming closer. With her arms still crossed over her bright green blouse, she leaned in to inspect the array of medicine, the empty soup bowls and tea mugs on his nightstand. (And the lone bag of chips Bokuto had selflessly shared with them.) Daichi would bet his ass that she didn't miss a glimpse of Suga's envelope somewhere in there as well. “At least I can be grateful that, if you do die, your friends will arrange a nice funeral for you before they call me.”

“Mom...”

“I'm kidding, Daichi,” she said with a faint smile, and sat beside him on the bed, her small hand resting over the back of his own. “How are you? Do you really have everything you need? Because I can get-”

“I'm fine,” he interrupted her gently, taking her hand in his and giving it a light squeeze. “Really. And you know that if it was anything truly serious, everyone would've called you right away.”

“I hope so. For your sake, because I'm on the verge of moving in with you this very second.”

It was a joke and a threat all in one, and Daichi couldn't help but smile. His mother smiled back.

“Does it hurt?” she asked, fingers of her other hand ghosting over the patch of bandage covering his cheek. “I hear I'm going to have to get you a new tooth.”

“Nothing hurts anymore. Had a hell of a headache for a couple of days, but it's gone now. And yes, I'd appreciate a new tooth, please.”

“I'll make an appointment for you next week.” Benefits of having a dentist mother. “Maybe a gold one? Make you look interesting?”

“Which would imply I don't look that interesting now,” Daichi said dryly.

“Would it hurt, though?” Mrs. Sawamura asked. “To maybe get one of those cool hairdos like Kuroo and Bokuto have?”

“Absolutely not.”

“But they're so... fascinating, and it makes you think they must be fascinating people, because what kind of an ordinary person-”

Mom.

“What?”

Daichi shot her a glare, and she let out a sigh with a smile, her gaze falling on their joined hands. In the brief moment of silence between them Daichi could feel it coming; she knew that something was up. Of course that she knew; even if Kuroo hadn't told her any details (and despite him being a menace, Daichi trusted that Kuroo didn't overshare anything) in the five seconds she'd been there, she was too sharp not to come to the right conclusion.

It didn't make Daichi any more prepared to answer.

“Where's Suga?” Mrs. Sawamura asked, not changing her gentle tone.

“He's...” Daichi trailed off, thinking. Left. Gone. Doesn't want to come back because he thinks it's all his fault- “It's complicated.”

“Hm.” Her eyes followed the folds of Daichi's sheet, her thumb idly brushing over Daichi's knuckles.

She knew all about complicated, Daichi supposed. She knew all about saving a relationship, a marriage, a family, and despite his initial annoyance, Daichi found himself grateful that she was there.

“Are you going to try and uncomplicate it?” she asked.

“I thought about it,” he said. “I... want to, but I don't know if it will... work.” He frowned, having for the first time voiced his doubts.

Hope burned in his chest, that all of this could be resolved with just a simple conversation, with (yet another, and hopefully final) reassurance on his part, but maybe Suga's decision was iron cast. Maybe he wouldn't change his mind, despite what Daichi said. Maybe to think it could be easily fixed was foolish, too idealistic. After all, Suga hadn't even tried to contact him in the last four days.

Maybe... Maybe this really was goodbye.

Daichi inadvertently squeezed his mother's hand tighter, thinking how this would've been the stupidest thing over which to say goodbye.

“Is he important?” Mrs. Sawamura asked. “I know he's pretty and smart and unlike anyone else you dated – trust me, because some of the boys were just-”

“Hey, now,” Daichi said, indignant, and also not entirely sure how she could possibly know about everyone he's ever dated.

She laughed, and shook her head. “But is he important, Daichi?” she repeated the question, raising her gaze to look at him.

“Yes,” Daichi replied without hesitation. He felt it in every corner of his being; the lack of Suga's presence, the resounding radio silence, the mundane ordinarity Daichi's life had returned to since Suga left. “He's important to me.”

Mrs. Sawamura's smile was soft, but her voice was not; her dark eyes were ablaze, fierce and determined, and Daichi once again remembered how everyone said he had his mother's eyes.

“Then you fight for him, Daichi,” she said, loud and clear. “You fight for him with everything you've got. He might not have made the right decision, and you might not forgive him for it right away, but if he's important, you don't give up. No regrets, remember?" Her smile widened, in the way it used to back when she'd been rooting for him and his team in every volleyball game they'd ever played. "And if I know anything about you, Daichi Sawamura, I know that Suga won't be able to resist.”

And it was the most ridiculous thing yet, the way Daichi's throat clenched up, the way his eyes prickled with tears at his mother's words; she was there to support him once again, in her own, slightly unconventional way, and he managed a choked up “Thanks, mom,” when she leaned in to give him a hug.

“But also maybe take a shower first,” she muttered into his ear then, and Daichi laughed.


Of course that he wouldn't insist on anything. The last thing he wanted was to put pressure on Suga.

He only wanted to... Well, if Daichi was being completely honest with himself, he wanted to hold Suga in his arms so tightly that Suga wouldn't be able to breathe; he wanted to kiss Suga until his lips turned red and swollen and he wanted to make it clear, on every possible level, that nothing, not a goddamn thing was important enough to change Daichi's mind about Suga.

Also he wanted to tell Suga to stop being stupid, but that could wait until the romantic stuff was out of the way.

Mentally, Daichi made yet another list of points he wanted to cover, once he finally met with Suga. This time he didn't commit them to paper.

Though to even get to see Suga, he first had to find his address, since Suga had skillfully avoided sharing it with anyone. (Asahi had skimmed Suga's letter for Daichi, and it wasn't there; he said he would've offered to ask Suga at work, only Suga hadn't been to the office since the incident; Kuroo offered to look it up in the police files, but Daichi declined. This was something that he needed to do himself.)

So on the morning of the fifth day of his recovery, Daichi took a shower, put on a fresh set of clothes, checked himself over in the mirror to make sure he looked decent, and set off.

In late September it wasn't that hot outside anymore. A clear sky above him and a pleasant breeze - Daichi enjoyed breathing in the fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun on his bare arms. It wasn't a short walk, but it was a nice change from being confined to the four walls of his bedroom.

The faint timber of anticipation flared in his gut as he rounded a corner and the building of the children's home came into view.

It was Monday, and almost noon, and most of the kids were at school. Daichi knew it was a gamble, knew that there was a chance Kiyoko wasn't in today, but still, it was the best shot he had.

He entered through the main door, and this time, there was no screaming. No battering of feet, no excited voices. Just... quiet. A home waiting for its family to return.

Daichi hesitated, unsure of where to head first, when a voice came from behind him.

“Oh! D-Daichi!”

Kiyoko was standing there, with a stack of colorful children's books in her hands, her eyes wide in surprise behind her red rimmed glasses.

Daichi smiled, relieved to see her. “Hi. Uh... Do you have a minute, maybe? I came here... I'd like to talk. With you.”

Kiyoko watched him for a beat, probably taking in the dark circles under his eyes, the scraped skin of his cheek around which he'd had to carefully shave and then had decided not to bandage up again, and then she moved towards the play room, motioning for him to follow without a word.

She neatly put away the books on a shelf, and then they stepped onto the large playground together. Today no one was playing basketball, or volleyball. Kiyoko took a seat on one of the benches by the building, and Daichi joined her.

She didn't say anything. Neither did he, for a while. It was inexplicably comfortable, being silent with Kiyoko, and it helped calm Daichi's racing heart, his mind that was searching for words to begin with. After all, this all depended on her good will.

“How... How is he?” Daichi finally settled on. Careful. Testing the grounds.

Kiyoko hummed. Out of a corner of his eye Daichi saw a sad smile.

“He's dealing, I suppose,” she said. “The best he can.”

Daichi interpreted that as not doing so good. His chest felt too small for his lungs, too constricting, and he remembered Oikawa's words. I held him in my arms as he cried. Daichi fought off an image of Suga crying all alone now.

“How are you?” Kiyoko asked then.

He kept his gaze fixed on a lone pebble in the grass, and he thought shortly, and decided to be honest, “I miss him. I... want to see him, and talk to him.”

“About what?”

“About... About this whole mess. About him leaving. He didn't have to- I would never-” Daichi cut himself off, gathering his thoughts. It wasn't easy, saying this out loud. “I just want to talk to him. I want to... I can't leave it like this.”

More silence. Birds chirped in the leafy trees beside them, and Daichi waited.

“Suga...” Kiyoko started, quietly. “Hm. Ever since we were little, he cared a lot for other people. It was easier for him, in many ways, to ignore his own needs and his own emotions, and focus solely on others.” She wasn't looking at Daichi, and it was as though she was talking to herself more than to him. “To protect them, support them, and make decisions based on what's best for them, for the low price of keeping his true self locked away from the world.” She shifted in her seat, and Daichi heard a soft rustle of paper; Kiyoko had pulled out a small notepad, and a pen. The first note had been doodled on, by a toddler it seemed, and she ripped it out to write on the next one. “Which means...” She scribbled something. “That Suga almost never chooses what's best for him.”

With a small, encouraging smile, she handed Daichi the note, and he read off a street name and number. His heart pounded in his ears and he wanted to hug the life out of her.

“I always try to tell him,” Kiyoko said, looking fondly at Daichi. “That he's not right all the time. That he should take care of himself more; that he deserves to have nice things... But, as you probably know, he's stubborn.”

“Like all hell,” Daichi replied, smiling gratefully back and taking Suga's address from her. “One of the first things I learned about him.”

“I hope you will have more luck than me,” Kiyoko said, seemingly not expecting him to linger there any longer, and Daichi took that as his cue to leave.

“Thank you, Kiyoko,” he said, already on his feet and pausing to awkwardly nod at her. “Thank you so much.”

“I expect a month-long supply of cupcakes for this!” she shouted after him and Daichi smiled as he rushed back out through the play room.

One hurdle overcome.

Now all that was left was to get Suga back. No big deal.

Chapter Text

It was a nice neighborhood. Quiet, with tall trees between the buildings - leafy and green in spite of the early autumn - with neatly mowed grass and a tranquility which other, more suffocating, more concrete neighborhoods didn’t have.

Suga’s building was part of a complex surrounding a small park, with a children’s playground in the middle, and Daichi was lucky that a woman was struggling to open the entrance door just as he approached.

She had her hands full of grocery bags and was trying to hold the door open with a foot; Daichi helped, with a polite smile, and she thanked him as she went in.

His heart was beating out of control.

He checked Kiyoko’s note - fifth floor - and decided to use the stairs to shake off some of the nervous energy, slowly going up while holding onto the railing in case he got dizzy.

Remember the speech. Remember the main points. Be polite and understanding, but firm. Don’t insist on anything.

Talk.

In front of the white door marked with a brass number 10 Daichi paused to take in a steadying breath. He stuffed the piece of paper back into the pocket of his jeans, smoothed out the front of his T-shirt and knocked, loudly.

There was nothing but thunder in his ears as he waited.

Maybe Suga wasn’t home. Maybe today of all days he decided to go to the company. Maybe he had a meet-

At the first sounds of unlocking Daichi braced himself, and then entirely stopped breathing when he met a pair of hazel eyes that he hadn’t seen in five days. Warm. Round in surprise. So fucking beautiful that it hurt.

Suga stared at him, frozen in the hallway. He looked the same, with the same disobedient strand of silvery blonde hair, the same beauty mark below his left eye, only he was obviously tired; too pale - he must’ve gotten just as little sleep as Daichi had in the past few days - and Daichi didn’t miss the marred skin over his knuckles, on the hand resting on the door frame.

Suga’s lips were parted in shock; Daichi forced himself to inhale again, and exhale, and not lean in to taste them.

He tried for a normal tone, “Hi.”

“...hi,” Suga breathed out, not relaxing.

“Um. So.” Daichi’s mouth was dry. “I wanted to talk to you. And… And you didn’t- I didn’t know how to find you, so… So Kiyoko gave me your address, and… Can- can I come in? Maybe?”

He didn’t mean for it to sound so hopeful. He was supposed to be sure in his words, dammit, but Suga’s entire pretty presence threw him off.

Suga watched him, guarded and uncertain, assessing, and then the tension in his shoulders eased up a little.

He opened the door more widely and stepped inside. “Sure. Come in.”

It was a much bigger apartment than Daichi’s own. The living room, the dining room and the kitchen were all one open space, airy and bright with natural sunlight, and… refreshing, just like Suga was. No jarring colors, no furniture that didn’t fit the relaxed, earthy atmosphere; light wood and white and gray, and a little bit of blue-

This wasn’t the way Daichi imagined seeing Suga’s home for the first time would be. Not so… tense.

Suga walked over to the kitchen area and called over his shoulder, “Want anything to drink?”

“Um. No, no thanks.”

Daichi followed him, pulled out one of the dining chairs to sit. Suga didn’t join him; he remained standing leaned back on a counter, and he would’ve seemed almost normal if his fingers hadn’t turned white from how tightly he was gripping the edge of the countertop.

It shouldn’t have been like this between them; not so strained and heavy and loaded with misunderstandings, with lack of communication, days of silence and a potential break up.

Daichi frowned, looked down at the surface of the table and spoke up.

“This isn’t going to work.”

A beat passed, before Suga replied, unsteadily, “I- I know, that’s why I… I wanted to make it easier for-”

“Not if you keep running away,” Daichi continued, looking up straight into Suga’s eyes.

Suga stopped. Stared, not moving; not breathing, it seemed.

“I can’t keep… chasing you,” Daichi said, through the pressure in his chest. “This isn’t going to work if every time things get a little rough, you bail. For whatever reason, especially if it’s because you think that I would want that.”

Suga didn’t react in any way, but didn’t avert his gaze, eyes large and unblinking.

“I came here to say this one last time.” Daichi swallowed the lump in his throat, pushed through. “I need you to listen, carefully, and I need you to accept it. To know it, to get it into that gorgeous, dumb head of yours…” He gritted his teeth behind a brief, pained smile.

“I. Don’t. Care.” Daichi purposefully enunciated every word. “I don’t care about your past. I don’t care about your job. And I particularly don’t care about your family. To me it doesn’t matter that-”

“You could’ve died,” Suga whispered then, but it was enough to interrupt Daichi. “You could’ve died because of my-”

Daichi shook his head, resolute. “Doesn’t matter.”

“How can it not matter?” Suga seemed to have recovered a bit of his voice. “Daichi, you were taken to a hospital. You were beaten up; you got a concussion… Look at your face! None of that would’ve happened if I wasn’t-”

“Do you know what hurt the most, when I woke up?” Daichi went off script, realizing that Suga wasn’t going to let him finish what he came here to say. He laced his fingers together in front of him and suppressed the slow boil of his anger. “I had the worst headache known to man; I couldn’t stand up without getting dizzy; I could barely dress myself, but do you know what hurt the most?”

When Suga didn’t reply, he continued, “The fact that you weren’t there. I woke up, and you weren’t there.”

Suga recoiled; he shut his eyes, expression almost in a wince, as though Daichi’s words hurt him.

“I…” he tried again, despite that. “I left a letter-”

“I don’t care about the letter!” Daichi raised his voice, and Suga looked at him in surprise. “I don’t care, Suga, I don’t care, I don’t. fucking-” He clenched his hands in fists on the table, trying hard to control himself as he said, “I don’t care if your goddamn aunt Yuki bursts through that door right now with an axe in her hands, intent on chopping my head off; I don’t care, I... I want to be with you!”

Well, so much for a civilized, composed conversation.

“I want to be with you! Can’t you understand that?!” Daichi was practically shouting, but he couldn’t- He was shaking from the sheer desire to convince, to make himself heard, to just- “You are important Suga! You are important to me; not- not what you do for a living, not what your parents are like, not-

“You make me happy, and you make everything make sense, and I want to…” He huffed out an exasperated laugh, aware that this had gotten out of hand. His lower lip quivered, but he tightened his jaw; focused on the table in front of him, on the pain from his missing tooth, making a conscious effort to quiet down.

“If you don’t want this… If you want to break this off because you yourself don’t feel good about it, then by all means…” Daichi closed his eyes and inhaled, his lungs burning. “But don’t- don’t do this out of some misplaced sense of greater good, or because that would be the best for me, or I don’t even know why… I don’t deserve that.” He cast a sad, tired look at Suga, finally laying all his cards on the table.

“I deserve to make my own choices about who I want in my life. I deserve to be believed when I say that nothing in this whole mess matters to me but you.”

Suga was stunned.

Maybe Daichi overdid it. Maybe he definitely overdid it. He shouldn’t have shouted; shouldn’t have lost his temper. Days of being confined to his bed, stewing in his own rampant thoughts about this whole situation had built up inside of him and had to get out somewhere, and now, even if Suga had been inclined to-

Suga blinked once, twice, and Daichi thought he saw a glimmer of tears, though none spilled over before Suga turned around. He bowed his head, rested his weight forward on the countertop, and said nothing.

Daichi watched him, fighting off the consuming urge to come up behind him, to wrap him in a hug and pull him close, to kiss the back of his neck, to whisper…

“What do you want, Suga?” Daichi asked gently, not getting up from his chair. “Stop… Stop thinking about anyone else; about me, about your parents, just- What is it that you want?”

He could foresee all the possible answers.

I don’t know.

I can’t do this.

I want you to leave.

Daichi was prepared, and yet hoped, hoped so fiercely that, maybe…

This was his last chance.

This was their last chance.

So he waited, as patiently as he possibly could, for Suga to absorb all of this. For him to think it through, and make a decision.

“I…” Suga started, voice thick with emotion. His back was still turned to Daichi, and Daichi’s entire being hung on what he’d say next. “I want... to be selfish.”

Daichi’s heart registered the words before his mind did; it start beating erratically as Suga straightened up, brought a hand to wipe at his face - tears? - and continued,

“I want to go back. To that apartment. To that building.” He laughed, dry and humorless. “To you.

Suga turned and looked at Daichi then, with the saddest, softest gaze, with clear tears staining his cheeks, and Daichi moved on reflex; he got to his feet, but didn’t know if this was leading to a yes or a no, but Suga was crying and he couldn’t stay still, Suga please don’t cry, please let me-

And Suga shrugged, helplessly, like he didn’t have much choice in the matter.

“I want you, Daichi,” he whispered, more tears streaming down his beautiful face. “I want you, I want you, I want-” he repeated, until Daichi cut him off.

Until Daichi closed the distance between them, took Suga’s face between his hands and pressed their lips together - roughly, inelegantly, but desperately, his mind reeling at kissing Suga again, tasting his lips, salty with tears…

“...want you, I want you…” Suga was whispering between kisses, clutching to Daichi’s shirt, and Daichi wrapped him in his arms, finally holding him close. Finally, finally, embracing Suga again.

“Shhhhh…” he soothed, but he was shaken himself, thrumming with excitement, with remnants of fear and something almost like delirium because Suga was so warm, and here, and warm, and here…You have me, Suga,” Daichi whispered back, softly kissing, tangling his fingers in the silvery blonde hair. “All of me. For as long as you want me.”

“Dai…” Suga’s eyes were large, glistening in the bright daylight. Mesmerizing. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for everything… I thought- I thought you wouldn’t want, after what happened…”

Slowly, he reached and brushed the tips of his fingers over Daichi’s sore cheek, and Daichi leaned into the contact, melting under the touch, as Suga continued, “I thought you wouldn’t want me around anym-”

“Don’t,” Daichi said. He closed his eyes and covered Suga’s hand with his own, pressed it into his cheek. And he didn’t feel pain, just endless, overwhelming joy. “Not right now.” There’d be time to talk, to explain, and to apologize. Right now he just wanted every little bit of Suga he could get.

“Kiss me,” Daichi asked with an unsteady voice. “Please, just- just kiss me…”

And Suga did. It was tender, at first; Suga’s slow licks and sweet, pliable lips, and his gentleness… Daichi’s mind shut down as he gave in, as he allowed Suga to carefully deepen the kiss, to give more, and want more; Suga, Suga, everywhere Suga…

With Suga’s arms around him Daichi leaned in on instinct, pressed Suga back into the kitchen counter, and they didn’t break apart, just sank into each other; breathing together, kissing, feeling… Suga moved, a tiny tilt of his hips into Daichi and he let out a thin sound, of content and- and arousal, oh god, oh-

“I-” Daichi pulled away just enough to catch his breath. He was burning all over, and Suga was so close and Daichi’s jeans were too tight. “If we don’t-” he said. “Um. I’m a little-” Turned on. “I don’t want you to- Maybe it’s not the right time-”

“Don’t,” Suga used his words against him, whispered them into Daichi’s lips, and pulled him back in by the front of his shirt. He kissed - fuck, Suga kissed him so perfectly, intense and determined, open mouthed and wet, and Daichi couldn’t focus, couldn’t- just-

I want you, Daichi,” Suga said, not sad or helpless anymore, but low and molten hot, and he rocked into Daichi’s front more forcefully-

Shit…!” Daichi gasped, shuddering at the friction. He wanted Suga, god how much he wanted him, now, here- or maybe not here, but a bedroom… “Where’s…?”

He hadn’t finished his question, but Suga knew. He always knew, and he hummed in response. “Mmmm… Down the hall, to the left.”

Daichi smiled through his red haze, bent his knees a little and slid his hands down to Suga’s strong thighs, gripping at the back of his legs.

“Daichi?” Suga’s eyes widened. “What are you…? Daichi!” he screeched as Daichi hoisted him up, so that Suga had no other choice but to wrap his legs around Daichi’s waist, to allow Daichi to carry him towards the bedroom. “I thought we’ve been over this! I’m too heav-”

Daichi once again silenced him with a greedy kiss, pausing in the hallway to pin Suga up against the wall, and Suga’s surprise was swallowed in a moan, loud and unrestrained.

“I know,” Daichi panted, unable to stop the slow grind into Suga now, aching for more contact, his gaze fixed on Suga’s kiss-red lips. “I know you’re heavy, my little champion.”

It was the first Suga-smile Daichi had seen in days; small and high on lust, but there, and Suga shook his head, despite being out of breath himself. “You’re the worst.”

“Yeah?” Daichi punctuated the question with a long, hard grind that made Suga throw his head back and bite his lip over another moan.

“Y-yeah…” he exhaled weakly.

They kissed every chance they got, and Daichi was now fully hard in his jeans, needy as he’d never been before, because this was happening, Suga was wrapped around him so tightly, Suga’s shirt thrown to the floor, giving Daichi free access to his collarbones, to his soft, sensitive skin.

Ngh… The other left, Daichi,” Suga murmured through a smile when Daichi made the wrong turn at the end of the hallway, too busy planting messy kisses along Suga’s neck.

They stumbled into the bedroom laughing and horny, fell into dove-gray sheets of the large bed and then Suga was on top of Daichi, astride him, and unspeakably beautiful. Sparse rays of sunlight poured in through the closed blinds, bathing Suga in angelic yellow, and his hair was mussed, his eyes red from crying, lips red from kissing, and Daichi was utterly powerless underneath him. Not even thinking of protesting when Suga helped him out of his shirt as well.

Suga cast a gaze down at Daichi’s bruised chest, stomach, and his smile fell a little, turned sad at the corners.

“Ironic, huh?” he whispered, using a finger to gently trace a bruise over Daichi’s skin. “Now you’re the one who’s black and blue…”

“And you’re the one who’s cheesy,” Daichi whispered back with a smile, and sat up.

He didn’t care about the bruises, didn’t want to think about them now; just kissed Suga again, threaded his fingers through the silvery blonde hair, touching, licking… One hand sliding down to squeeze that perfectly taut ass-

Ah…” Daichi moaned as Suga rocked down into him in response. Suga’s hardness was visibly outlined through his sweatpants, and Daichi had to get them off, get the rest of their clothes off, now.

They scrambled, kissed and laughed over the rustle of fabric, and they were naked then, pressed into each other and wanting, breathing heavily. Daichi couldn’t look away from Suga; from his lean body, muscles rippling under the smooth skin, and it was that much hotter that Daichi knew of the strength in those arms, the power held in those firm thighs so deliciously straddling him-

“You’re so…” he trailed off, forgetting words in his awe, and Suga laughed.

“Stunning? Perfect?” he joked. “The most amazing-”

“Yes,” Daichi cut him off and kissed him again.

They sought contact wherever they could - lips, legs, hands, and Suga shifted a bit, aligned their erections together and wrapped a hand around both of them. For a second he didn’t move, just looked down at where he swept the pad of his thumb over Daichi’s tip, and then his own, and-

Jesus…” Daichi shivered, now on fire absolutely everywhere.

Suga’s hand started moving, slowly stroking, slowly rubbing them together; Daichi couldn’t tear his eyes away. He stared down at where they were slotted against each other, leaking onto Daichi’s abs, where Suga’s hand kept them together, fuck- Daichi was desperate, raising his hips to push back, and Suga’s sounds… Suga let out little sounds, little breathy moans in Daichi’s ear as he moved, rutted against him-

“Suga, if- if you keep it up, I’m-” Daichi was incoherent. It was beautiful, it was perfect, and he could come just from this, but not today. Today, he wanted more. “I’m not gonna last.”

Suga kissed him, tongue and teeth and hunger, and Daichi kissed back with equal force, unwittingly thrusting up into nothing when Suga let go of them.

He threw a quick smile at Daichi, his hazel eyes half-lidded and dark with pleasure, before he reached into his nightstand, pulled out a bottle of lube and a condom.

“Maybe you can last a little bit longer?” he teased. “At least a couple of more minutes?”

Daichi choked out a laugh, and when Suga was on top of him he sat up, ran his tongue over the dip in Suga’s collarbone; ran his hands down Suga’s sides and to his ass again, squeezing, kneading and spreading him open… His dry fingers brushed over the entrance and Suga whined, long and craving and urgent.

“Come on, Dai…” he whispered into Daichi’s neck, hot breath over Daichi’s skin. “Get me ready.”

God yes.

Suga’s hazy gaze was on Daichi, arms loose around his shoulders when Daichi slipped one slicked finger inside of him, slowly, watching Suga’s face and drowning in each and every reaction; the way Suga’s red lips went slack, letting out a drawn out moan, the way his hold on Daichi tightened.

Oh…” Suga breathed, tense everywhere - around Daichi’s shoulders and waist and his finger before he relaxed; before he rested his forehead against Daichi’s and closed his eyes.

“Okay?” Daichi whispered.

Hah… Okay…”

Daichi laid soft kisses wherever he could reach - Suga’s jawline, face, neck, shoulder, as he moved his finger, as he held Suga tightly against him and gently worked him open.

“M-more…” Suga panted, hips canting back onto Daichi’s finger, reaching between them for Daichi’s dick and stroking-

Ah, Suga…

Daichi barely had the presence of mind to add another finger in; the air was thick with intimacy, warmth, and they kissed between gasping breaths, licked into each other’s mouths, Suga’s moans the only sounds breaking the heady quiet.

“Dai…” Suga sought more stimulation, his hand around Daichi still moving, but without any real momentum because he was too far gone, because Daichi was now fingering him properly, circling his sweet spot with his fingertips and making him shudder in his arms.

“Tell me…” Daichi whispered.

“Ah…! Ah… I want… to ride you.

Daichi had realized early on that Suga’s beautiful, filthy mouth would be the end of him, and it came as no surprise now, while Suga tore off the condom wrapper with his teeth, rolled it on Daichi and coated him in lube.

And Daichi’s entire body sang with anticipation; with sweet, sweet expectation as he held Suga’s gaze, as Suga slowly, carefully, sank down on him… As he took Daichi in, and Daichi trembled at the feeling. At the eye contact and how Suga’s lips parted and how his cheeks were rosy with desire and it was perfect- it was Suga, his Suga, and Daichi was inside of him now, feeling him hot and slick and amazingly tight-

He exhaled loudly, grounding himself because oh my god he wanted to move; to chase his pleasure hard and fast, but also wanted this to last forever, wanted to be this close to Suga until-

Daichi waited, shivering, completely entranced; Suga was sitting in his lap, on his dick, Suga’s hands coming up to cradle his face and Suga was watching him, looking deep into his eyes.

“Koushi…” Daichi rasped, barely handling the heat. Suga’s bangs were damp with sweat and he was smiling…

“Mine…” he whispered, like he couldn’t believe it, like he had only now realized what Daichi had told him earlier. He ghosted his thumb over Daichi’s bruised cheek, and Daichi returned the smile.

“Yours,” he replied simply, because it was true; he was utterly, completely at Suga’s mercy and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

That’s when Suga began to move. He rocked his hips slowly and steadily in Daichi’s lap, and Daichi’s vision blurred at the edges. The thin rays of daylight, the heated room, the world dissolved, faded away as he kept his eyes on Suga. As he kissed Suga, held him close, felt his erection between their bodies…

The sounds, the little erotic sounds Suga made were intoxicating, and Daichi barely held on; he couldn’t take it. It was Suga, Suga set the pace, made it intimate and skintight and so, so tender…

“Mmmm…” Suga purred into Daichi’s ear, not ceasing his motions. “You feel so good, Daichi…”

It was too much; it was too tight, overwhelming, impossible not to get consumed by the fever because every single point of contact was searing hot- Daichi nipped at the soft skin of Suga’s neck, earning yet another moan, and now they were both shivering. They were high strung and sweaty, and Daichi burned from the inside out. He wanted Suga never to stop, never to part from him, never, never…

He was whispering nonsense; you are so beautiful, so amazing, I love the sounds you make, I love how you move, how you taste… It was partially because Daichi wasn’t aware of what he was saying, and partially because he needed Suga to know all of that, to hear it-

“Daichi, Daichi, Da - i - chi…” Suga repeated helplessly, and his grinding was falling out of rhythm; he was losing control. “I… Oh, I…”

Daichi couldn’t take it any longer. He wrapped his arms more tightly around Suga and in one fluid motion rolled them over, pushed Suga into the mattress and kissed his lips raw; captured his bottom lip between his own and sucked; thrusted into Suga, hard, and Suga cried out brokenly.

“There?” Daichi asked into Suga’s lips, holding Suga’s thighs pressed at his hips.

“Yes! There!”

And Daichi fucked into Suga almost desperately, because he was so close, so damn close he could taste it, and Suga was so beautiful underneath him, gripping his shoulders and throwing his head back, and-

“Don’t stop- don’t- ah… Don’t stop-” Suga breathed.

He moaned, his body tense and begging as Daichi pushed into him, over and over again; as he slid a hand between them and stroked Suga, sure and steady.

“I… I… Dai…!”

“Come…” Daichi whispered into Suga’s neck, licked at the sweat-slick skin, out of his own mind. “Come, Koushi…”

And Suga came undone, messily spilling over Daichi’s hand, eyes squeezed shut and Daichi’s name on his lips, and a curse, and Daichi-

“Shit, I- Suga- Koushi- Fuck!”

Suga tightened impossibly around Daichi and he couldn’t hold back; he was there, right there after Suga’s orgasm- Suga cupped Daichi’s face with shaky hands, licked into his mouth as Daichi came too, as he broke down and shattered under the rush of emotions, with a jumble of oh fucks and Sugas and Koushis

They were shivering together, pressed into one another and unable to let go, ever it felt like. Daichi opened his eyes to see Suga’s round hazel ones, Suga still holding his face, thighs wrapped firmly around his waist.

“Don’t move…” Suga whispered, and Daichi couldn’t discern the exact emotion in his gaze. Tears collected at the corners of his eyes and Suga blinked them away, still clenched tight everywhere. “Don’t-” he said in a small voice. “Don’t go.”

And Daichi’s heart ached; he wasn’t close enough, even while inside of Suga it wasn’t enough - he needed to envelop him completely, shower him with love and comfort and reassurance-

“I’m not going anywhere,” Daichi whispered, raising unsteady fingers to comb them through Suga’s disheveled hair. He was flooded from all sides, euphoric and unable to keep his fucking shit together, and maybe he was tearing up himself… “My love, I’m not leaving, ever; not if you don’t want me t-”

“Lo-love?” Suga interrupted him, eyebrows raising. Hopeful. So painfully precious…

“Yes,” Daichi breathed with a faint smile. “I love you. I love you, Koushi, I love you, I love you so much and I’m never letting go.”

Suga laughed, weakly, as though he didn’t have the best grasp on reality, and Daichi saw a tear streaming down his temple. He leaned his forehead into Suga’s, hard, to ground him, to just. fucking-

“I love you too, Dai,” Suga whispered, and kissed him, long and slow and deep; Daichi might’ve lost it completely, then.

His heart was too big for his chest, his body fitted against Suga’s and it was the most wonderful feeling in the world - tasting Suga, being inside of Suga, kissing him and loving him all at once.


Daichi woke up slowly, drifted back to consciousness and opened his eyes to see… darkness. He stirred to realize that his body was tangled in dove-gray sheets, the bed around him sleep-warm… Smelling of Suga. Of sex.

God, he’d had sex with Suga. Here, in Suga’s bedroom, he’d made love to Suga; the thought was enough to make Daichi grin from ear to ear, like a dumbass. Dumbass who was happy, in love, and happy, and in love and Suga-

Suga wasn’t there. Under the faint shimmer of street lights through the cracks in the blinds, Daichi could make out that the other side of the bed was empty.

He succeeded in slipping out of the sheets without any tripping or knocking into furniture, and found his boxers on the floor, as well as his jeans a short distance away, with his phone still a back pocket.

Blinking with a barrage of text messages.

From: Bokuto
Dude
What’s taking so long?

From: Asahi
Are you okay?
Did you find Suga?

From: Oikawa
I assume since you’re still not back that either Suga-chan rejected you and you flung yourself off a bridge in desperation
Or…

From: Kuroo
Did you bang the boy yet?
Because if you didn’t I s2g I’m coming over there and doing it myself

Daichi laughed, pulled on the boxers and the jeans and returned the phone to his pocket without replying. They could all wait a little bit longer.

He stepped out of the bedroom and followed the light pouring out on the hardwood floors from the kitchen area, where Suga was sitting at the dining table and typing away on his laptop, comfortably dressed in an overlong shrimpy shirt that Daichi had recognized and his sweatpants from earlier; adorably chewing on his bottom lip in thought, giving Daichi heart palpitations.

“Hey,” Daichi said, his voice hoarse from sleep.

Suga looked up, and paused. He gazed at Daichi almost in wonder, admiration, and Daichi tried hard not to feel self-conscious.

“Everything okay?”

“Yeah, um…” Suga smiled, wide and bright, and thank god he was smiling; Daichi would single-handedly wipe out the entire human race just for Suga to keep smiling like that forever. “You’re just… Shirtless, and your hair is… You’re really hot, Dai,” Suga said, making Daichi grin. “Sleep well?”

Daichi walked over, took a seat next to Suga. He brushed his fingers over the inside of Suga’s wrist, over the smooth, delicate skin, and twined their fingers together; Suga seemed more than content to continue typing with one hand.

“The bed smells like you,” Daichi said, bowing down to press his lips over the scraped, rough knuckles; to rest his cheek against the back of Suga’s hand. “What time is it?”

“Almost 10 p.m.” The typing sounds stopped. Suga looked at Daichi, once again with that softness in his eyes, like he was trying to determine if Daichi was real, before he leaned in to kiss the tip of Daichi’s nose, the side of his face…

“Thank you,” he whispered.

“What?” Daichi smiled, going a bit cross eyed from trying to keep looking into Suga’s eyes. “Why?”

“For… fighting for us. For me. I almost…” So earnest… so laced with guilt. “I almost ruined every-”

“Hey, now,” Daichi interrupted, squeezing his hand tighter. “None of that. No more apologizing, no more guilt, no more anything. Just… Just happy, okay?” He smiled wider. “Happy and- and horny…” Suga giggled, the sound calming as he returned the squeeze and nuzzled at Daichi’s face. “And maybe a little bit hungry?” Daichi offered, now realizing he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

“Oh!” Suga suddenly straightened up. “I ordered food! Since I have nothing but bottled water in the fridge and I didn’t want you to feel pressured to make anything… There’s this place I like to eat at close by, but I’m not sure if it’ll be up to your master chef stand-”

Daichi once again didn’t let him finish, this time with a smacking kiss to the cheek. “It’s fine, thank you.”

He laughed at Suga’s blush high on his cheekbones, and stood up to stretch, to take a better look at his surroundings.

For someone who knew jack shit about cooking, Suga had an excellently equipped kitchen. State of the art appliances, wide countertops, a kitchen island… Daichi rummaged through the drawers and cupboards a bit, finding essential instruments for eating, cooking, baking; a mixer, though without a stand, a muffin tray still with a barcode sticker on it.

“Why did you buy all of these things if you knew you weren’t going to use them?” Daichi asked, holding out an unopened package of whisks in different sizes.

“Hm? Oh.” Suga smiled timidly, looking back to his screen. “I, um. I kind of…” He cleared his throat and sat up straighter, as though deciding that this was nothing to be ashamed of. “I like online shopping.”

Daichi suppressed a snort and almost blew an aneurism in his head from doing so. “You…?”

“Just for small things!” Suga defended himself. “They were all on sale, honest!”

Daichi burst out laughing at the cuteness, oh my god the CUTENESS, at the silly image of Suga collecting whisks he didn’t even know how to hold, or what they were used for, or-

“It’s just!” Suga stood up, snatched the box from Daichi’s hand and stuffed it back in its place. Daichi still couldn’t calm down. “Usually, I look up books. And then books lead to more books. Maybe some pretty cat-shaped bookends. A… shelf, once,” he added quietly, and at the increased volume of Daichi’s howling - he had to hold himself up by the counter now - Suga continued, “But sometimes there’s a cookbook in there, and if I’m going to buy a cookbook, I might as well buy the tools needed to- Daichi!” Suga smacked him on the arm, though on the verge of laughing, too.

“I’m sorry!” Daichi managed through a wheeze. “Wow…” He fought to inhale, wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “And here I thought… Here I thought you were this perfect, selfless angel who donates money to orphans, who is a nice, caring boss, who always puts others before him-”

Suga crossed his arms and pouted, and Daichi laughed more.

“God I love you so much,” he said, wrapping his arms around Suga and planting a kiss on his cheek, playfully licking his pouty lip.

“Yeah?” Suga asked, the sulk dissipating in favor of fondness.

“Yeah. Even with your online shopping problem.”

“I don’t even do it that often!” Suga exclaimed, once again sending Daichi into a laughing fit.

Suga shot him a glare, pulled away and went back to his work, leaving Daichi to settle down on his own, to turn towards the rest of the apartment.

He wandered further into the living area and took a better look at the large TV, the fluffy white carpet and really cute cat-shaped bookends on the shelf stacked with a staggering amount of volumes.

“So this is your place, huh…” Daichi mused, more to himself, as he inspected a birthday card proudly displayed on the bookcase - a child’s drawing decorating the front.

“One of the first things I bought when I started earning more money,” Suga said.

“It’s nice.”

“Thanks.”

Daichi cast a gaze over at Suga at the dining table, feeling like he was standing on the edge of a cliff; his heart was racing as he stared down at the ground so impossibly far that it would take him hours to fall, surely, and nothing would remain of him, not a trace-

“You should rent it out,” he said.

Suga frowned, finishing up a thought on the laptop before looking up. “What?”

“Move in with me,” Daichi said, terrified.

It wasn’t a new idea; but it also wasn’t something he seriously considered, not something he examined from every angle. He didn’t have a pro and con list, no backup or a prepared speech; only this cliff, this wind-swept end of the world, where he could fall-

Suga’s face went slack in shock.

“I- I know this isn’t something we talked about,” Daichi hurried to say, breathless. “I know it’s too sudden, and maybe even too fast, and I’m sorry-”

“Yes.”

“-but I just can’t imagine spending another day withou-” Daichi looked up, right at Suga.

Or he could fly.

“Did you just say yes?”

Suga broke into a grin so wide, so blinding, that Daichi could cry all over again. “I said yes.”

“You said yes!”

They erupted into laughter, shouts and euphoria; Suga leapt to his feet and Daichi ran to him - they met in the middle of the kitchen, crushed their lips together and kissed without restraint, breathing into it and holding each other close, so close…

“You said yes…” Daichi whispered in a daze, pressing one hand to the small of Suga’s back, the other cradling his face. “You said yes…”

“Of course I did,” Suga whispered back, kissing Daichi again. His own hands trailed down, down, grabbing Daichi’s ass over his jeans. “I’m going home.”

Daichi had never felt more exhilarated in his life. He couldn’t get enough of Suga’s lips, Suga’s body, his neck…

“More sex?” Daichi breathed into the soft skin, ran a wet, hot trail up to Suga's jawline with his tongue, because this. was. heaven.

“Yes, more sex, just-”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang, and Daichi suddenly remembered the ordered food. Suga gently pried him away with a giggle.

“Hold that thought,” he said and moved to the front door, before he stopped and turned. “Um.” He looked down at himself, taking a moment to adjust the front of his sweatpants so as to make his hard-on less obvious.

“You’re good.” Daichi laughed, and once again thought how Suga was the most adorable when blushing.

Tuning out Suga’s exchange with the delivery man, he pulled out his phone and quickly sent a text.

To: Bokuto, Asahi, Oikawa, Kuroo
I’m coming home tomorrow
AND I’M BRINGING SUGA WITH ME


“Bo, we need to talk about the sign.”

“What’s wrong with the sign?”

“It says WELCOME HOME BABY BOY.”

“...I don’t get it? Is Suga not a boy? Is he not Daichi’s baby?”

“Oh my god.”

“Bo, that’s a sign for babies coming back from the hospital. You know, after being born.”

“But it’s kind of like… that Suga’s being reborn after coming to live with us, isn’t he?”

“I give up.”

“What? I bet he’ll be much happier here than he was by himself!”

“The sign’s perfect, Bo.”


Daichi literally could not. stop. smiling.

The next day, Suga packed two suitcases of clothes and things he’d need the most, and the rest he’d bring over/put away/sell/donate over the following weeks, to empty his apartment as much as possible for future tenants.

It took them an absurd amount of time to pile out of the taxi, to enter Daichi’s (and now Suga’s) building and climb up to the second floor, largely because they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. They kissed on the landing, tripping over the suitcases, and laughed, and Daichi felt like a giddy teenager; like he was high, on Suga, on life…

“Just so you know, everyone knows we’re coming,” Daichi said, unlocking the door to his apartment. “So don’t be surpri-”

SURPRISE!” his entire gang of friends boomed in unison as he swung the door open, not surprised in the least.

Ecstatic and grinning, and so very high, but not surprised.

Suga, however, cried out happily as Kuroo, Bokuto, Oikawa and Noya rushed over to wrap him in a group hug, which was a mess seeing that they couldn’t possibly all hug Suga at the same time; Noya found himself wedged in between Suga and Oikawa, Kuroo joined them from the other side, and Bokuto was lightly bouncing up and down in excitement, trying to fit them all into his arms. Asahi hung back, waiting for the greetings and cheers to fade away before he also came closer to welcome Suga to the building.

Daichi stashed Suga’s suitcases in a corner and took a moment to inspect the party decoration; colorful ribbons hanging from the ceiling, from the bookcase (he’d need to get a much bigger one for all of Suga’s books), sparkles already littering the floor, from party poppers it seemed like, and everyone wearing cone-shaped party hats, one of which Kuroo proudly plopped on Daichi’s head, snapping the elastic band to his chin.

“I hope you know that you’re all cleaning this up after,” Daichi said, looking up at Kuroo’s own party hat, precariously perched atop the chaos of his hair.

“Congratulations on not letting him get away,” Kuroo said with his trademark grin. He draped an arm around Daichi’s shoulders and shook him lightly.

“Yeah? How many of you bet that I wouldn’t make it?”

“None.” Kuroo shook his head, watching how Oikawa gently nudged Suga in the direction of the makeshift bar - Daichi’s kitchen island - where there was a ridiculous amount of expensive booze, probably mostly hauled in from one of Bokuto’s clubs. “We all believed, man. You and Suga are stuff of romantic novels.”

Daichi laughed. “As if you ever read a romantic novel.”

“Hey! I watched The Notebook!

“...and cried,” Bokuto added in passing, on his way to turn on the music.

“You cried, too!” Kuroo exclaimed defensively, but Bokuto was already turning up the volume. “They were soulmates, okay!”

Daichi slipped away from their incoming bickering and headed over to the bar, just in time to hear Suga read off of the large sign hanging lopsidedly above the sofa.

Welcome home baby boy… ?” He tilted his head in confusion.

“Don’t ask.” Oikawa grabbed a plastic cup and lifted a bottle of rum, smiling sweetly. His voice was still gruff, face still a little pale. “Death at the Discotheque?

“No, nope. Nuh-uh.” Daichi interfered, snatching the bottle away from him. “I’d rather not have my boyfriend spend his first night living with me with his head in the toilet.”

“Ho ho, what about his head somewhere els-”

“Out.” Daichi pointed in the direction of the living room, where Noya had pulled out his professional camera and took an experimental picture, of Asahi sitting relaxed on the sofa with a bottle of beer in his hand, and then promptly blew him a kiss, from which Asahi turned tomato red.

“Happy?” Suga nuzzled close to Daichi, wrapping his arms around him and contentedly watching how Kuroo and Bokuto argued over whether or not the ending to The Notebook was realistic, while Oikawa looked smug and obviously just egged them on for his own amusement.

“Mmmm… Happy. You?”

“Like I’ve never been in my life,” Suga said, with unwavering honesty.

Daichi leaned into him, planted a gentle kiss to the side of his face, and Noya snapped a picture.


Because Bokuto was impossible to say no to, in the end there were at least three Deaths served at the welcome party. Two of them were Daichi’s, so he kind of lost count of the others.

There was music, and dancing. There was Worth It and replaying of Daichi’s twerking video. Oikawa passed Suga a handful of bills, which Suga then playfully tucked in Daichi’s jeans and asked him to do a live performance.

(He didn’t. Even while tipsy, Daichi knew what he was saving for later in the night, when everyone left.)

There was a loud, heated discussion over food, where Bokuto drunkenly demanded potato chips, Daichi couldn’t tie an apron around his waist even after six tries, and Noya saved everyone by calling in so many pizzas that the person on the other side of the line said they were going to need two delivery scooters for that.

Bokuto and Kuroo played Frisbee with empty pizza boxes. They knocked over the welcome sign, and it fell on Suga and Asahi, who were so deep in a lightly intoxicated conversation about solving the problem with the door to Asahi’s apartment not opening properly, that they simply continued it with the sign over their eyes.

Daichi crawled under the sign and curled around Suga, kissing him everywhere and making him laugh while talking to Asahi.

Kuroo challenged Suga to a fight, again.

(Suga said no. Again.)

Kuroo then brought over his console and challenged anyone to fight him in some game, which Noya gladly accepted, around the same time that Bokuto passed out in the armchair.

Everyone was having a great time, satiated and pleasantly buzzed from the alcohol, and…

And it was about time for Oikawa to retreat to his apartment.

He cast one last look at Suga and Daichi, snuggled close to one another as, together with Asahi, they watched Noya absolutely obliterate Kuroo at the game.

They looked happy. Oikawa was glad they were happy.

He was glad in a normal, friendly way, but also in a way which made dark bitterness ooze its way into his heart, grip tightly and not let go; bitterness that suffocated and corroded every tiny bit of cheery, fluffy feelings he had left in him.

Oikawa waved goodbye to his friends, and stepped out into the hallway. He let out a rattling cough into his hand as he headed upstairs, making a mental note to take something for the fever and try and go to bed earlier.

After all, tomorrow was another work day.