A hand grabs his shoulder in the dark and Daichi instinctively shakes it off. It is late and the classroom that Karasuno sleeps in is filled with nothing but the sound of snoring and light breathing. The hand catches hold of his shoulder again, shaking him into wakefulness, and Daichi opens an eye to squint at the owner of the offending hand.
"What the hell, Kuroo," he mumbles blearily and shoves his hand away. "What do you want?"
He sees teeth flash in a grin above him. "Let me crash here."
Daichi opens his other eye to execute a proper glare, hoping that it will chase him away. "What?"
The outline of Kuroo shifts and Daichi can barely make him out in the dark as he sits down next to him. "I said let me crash here. You're going to make me wake everyone here if I keep having to repeat myself."
"Just for that, no." Daichi turns over, putting his back solidly between Kuroo and him.
"Come on, Sawamura. Your team's shorty fell asleep while talking to Kenma and Inuoka and now I don't have anywhere to sleep."
That gets Daichi's attention and he sits up slowly, turning to look at where the first years are supposed to be sleeping. There is an empty spot right next to where Kageyama is, a head of orange hair conspicuously missing from its usual spot. Usually, he would have checked if everyone was in before going to sleep but a whole day of penalties and a late-night captain's meeting had all but dropped him into sleep the moment he stepped into the room.
Daichi stifles a scowl and makes to get out of his futon. "Sorry, I'll go fetch Hinata now."
A hand lands in the general direction of his shoulder and holds him in place. "Whoa there, Sawamura. It's alright, I don't want to wake the shorty up. Actually, I don't want you stumbling into the room at this time of the night and waking everyone up."
"Are you serious—" Daichi bites off a curse at Kuroo's pointed stare and continues in a heated whisper. "You're the one doing that now."
"Ah, but I haven't woken anyone up yet, have I?" He can just hear the smirk in Kuroo's voice. "Scoot over, Sawamura. I brought my own futon, don't worry."
He is too tired to put up with this right now. Tomorrow's schedule starts bright and early at six in the morning and being captain means that he has to get up way before that to make sure everyone else gets up on time. Time spent arguing with Kuroo only means less time to sleep and recover before all of that.
"Fine." Daichi gives in, inching closer to Suga's side so that Kuroo can lay his futon in the narrow gap between him and the wall. It is too cramped a space to accommodate a whole futon so at least a quarter of it ends up on Daichi's side and overlaps with his futon.
"Is that even comfortable?" he asks as Kuroo slips under the covers, pressing close to the wall.
"It's alright," Kuroo answers, his voice barely audible. "Goodnight, Sawamura."
Daichi doesn't bother with a reply as he rolls over again, falling asleep the instant he shuts his eyes.
Daichi's alarm greets him the next morning by going off right beside his ear, which makes him very awake and also very deaf on one side. He has half a mind to fling his phone into the wall to shut it up when his hand makes contact with something warm and definitely not his phone.
His first instinct is to freak out because he was pretty sure he went to sleep last night beside an empty space and oh god all those ghost stories Fukurodani had told them about their school were real after all, weren't they? His second instinct, after opening his eyes and actually looking at what his hand had landed on, is to stare at the thing to his left in confusion.
He is not exactly sure what he is looking at. There is a squished futon next to him and there is definitely something under the covers, but the only vaguely recognisable part of this is a head of black hair squashed between two pillows. It takes Daichi a moment but when he finally puts it all together he has to slam his face down into his pillow to stop himself from laughing.
Beside him, Kuroo stirs, one hand reaching out to swat weakly in Daichi's direction. The other light sleepers in the room are starting to wake up with Daichi's alarm still blaring loudly somewhere in his futon. He locates his phone and switches it off with practiced ease before turning his attention to Kuroo again. He is still grinning when he prods the other captain into wakefulness.
"Whaat?" Kuroo mumbles, his words muffled through the nest of pillows his head is stuck in.
"Why do you even have two pillows with you?" Daichi asks, jabbing Kuroo with more force than necessary, which is most definitely not revenge for waking him last night.
Kuroo groans and peers out from his pillows, his eyes barely more than slits. "What the hell, Sawamura—" Something appears to click in his head and Kuroo jerks away, rolling straight into the wall on his other side.
It takes a bit of work, but Daichi very valiantly does not laugh at Kuroo as he attempts to claw his way out of the mess of blankets wrapped around him, with his hair sticking straight up like it has never heard of gravity. That doesn't stop his grin from widening and the amusement is clear on his face when Kuroo finally frees himself from blanket hell. Like Daichi, it takes a while for Kuroo to remember why he was sleeping here with Karasuno instead of his own team, which he does while staring at Daichi with a particularly dumbfounded look.
"Good morning, Kuroo," Daichi says, keeping his voice low so as not to wake the rest of them up. Despite all claims (mostly from Asahi), he wasn't terrible enough to wake them earlier than required (maybe only Asahi).
"Hi," Kuroo says back, looking as though he would rather take blanket hell over Daichi at the moment.
It would be a waste if Nekoma lost a valuable player to mortification so Daichi just jerks his head towards the door. He even helps Kuroo bundle up his crumpled futon before they step out of the room.
That doesn't mean that Daichi is above taking golden opportunities when he sees them and so as the door shuts behind them, he directs his gaze towards Kuroo's hair meaningfully.
"That's some hairstyle you've got there," Daichi remarks lightly, "I can't believe it only takes two pillows to achieve a look like yours. Saves so much time."
Kuroo throws one of said pillows directly into Daichi's face. "Shut it, Sawamura."
And Daichi just laughs.
Two days later, Daichi suddenly finds himself awake in the middle of the night with a sense of déjà vu creeping up on him. There is a figure looming tall over him and Daichi jerks up in shock before he realises who it is.
His eyes dart towards the first years and he counts the heads—two black, one blond, and one very orange—before moving on to the second years, and then Suga and Asahi. He remembers taking roll call right before he switched off the lights last night, which is something he makes sure to do every night now. Then he turns back to Kuroo with his most unimpressed face.
"What is it this time?"
Kuroo is already laying out his futon, smoothing out the edges the best he can, without waiting for Daichi's permission. "Yamamoto snores. Kai snores. Kenma snores. Like a cat. With little kitten snores."
"No, that's not a valid reason. Get out." Daichi punctuates his last sentence by kicking at Kuroo's ankle through his covers.
Kuroo moves his leg slightly, just enough so that it stays out of Daichi's range. "Shhh, it'll be like I'm not even here."
"If you're trying to rack up more wins during the practice games by disturbing my sleep, you're doing a good job," Daichi mutters venomously.
"Aha, that was my plan all along," Kuroo says as he slides under the covers. "Well then. Goodnight, Sawamura."
"I hope your hair turns out weird tomorrow."
"That's just low."
The next morning, infuriatingly enough, Kuroo's hair looks the same as it has been for the entire camp.
Daichi is in the midst of shoving Kuroo and his two pillows out of the door when the captain of the Ubugawa team passes by.
"Do I even want to know?" he asks, raising an eyebrow at the scene.
"Their room has better ventilation," Kuroo explains, without missing a beat.
"Uhuh," says the Ubugawa captain slowly. Then he shakes his head. "Anyway, the coaches want to see us captains in half an hour. That should be enough for you two to sort out whatever this is."
He walks off without another word, which Daichi is thankful for because his face feels just about ready to spontaneously combust.
"Better ventilation?" he questions Kuroo.
Kuroo at least has the decency to look embarrassed. "I discovered that last night? It's a very airy room."
"It must be terrible over at the Nekoma classroom then."
"My condolences," Daichi says cordially. "I hope you get used to it soon."
Kuroo tightens his grip on the futon bundled up in his arms. "I'm, uh, going to go back now. Gotta get ready and all."
Once Kuroo is well on his way back, Daichi darts back in the room for his toiletries and towel. Since he won't be around to wake the rest of his team up, he is counting on Nishinoya to get everyone into shape by the reporting time. In the morning, Nishinoya has the wakefulness of a thousand men on coffee, which inspires trust in Daichi and other, not so nice, feelings in the rest of them. Just in case, Daichi scribbles messages to Suga and Nishinoya and drops them beside their respective pillows.
When he leaves the room, there is a single pillow sitting in the middle of the hallway that had not been there before. It looks slightly beaten up and there is an imprint so deep in the middle it nearly cuts the pillow into half. Overall, it is a sad thing and Daichi knows exactly who it belongs to.
He should just go, but something makes him walk over to the pillow and pick it up with a sigh. The Nekoma classroom is just beside theirs, which makes Kuroo's presence at night all the more bizarre. There really isn't much difference between the two rooms and it can't possibly be comfortable squeezing into the gap between Daichi and the wall. Kuroo is tall, tall enough that Daichi has to crane his neck to look him in the eye, and his body frame too wide for him to rest properly in that small space.
Daichi pulls open the door quietly. Like Karasuno, the Nekoma team is still sound asleep. The only movement in the room comes from Kuroo, who has his back to the door as he rummages around in his bag. In a corner of the room, his futon and single pillow are stacked in an inelegant heap.
A whispered "Kuroo" is all the warning Kuroo gets before Daichi lobs the pillow at the back of his head. Kuroo's bedhead takes no damage as the pillow bounces painlessly off and lands dangerously close to a sleeping Nekoma member.
"I was going to pick that up later," Kuroo tells Daichi, leaning over to retrieve the fallen pillow on his way out and putting it on top of the heap.
"Why do you even need two pillows?" Daichi asks once they are out in the hallway.
Daichi snorts. "I've seen the way you sleep. Suffocating, yes. Comfortable, not really."
They end up brushing their teeth side by side at the sink. Half an hour is not really a lot of time but mornings at this time of the day are slow and sluggish, making it hard for them to move quickly. At this time of the day, the first rays of the sun are only just starting to wake up, filtering through the windows lazily. Kuroo yawns widely through a mouthful of toothpaste foam and despite himself, Daichi finds himself following suit.
The next time, Daichi is not even surprised when he feels movement next to him, on the side that is supposed to contain nothing but empty space. Was.
"What now?" Daichi asks tiredly, not bothering to open his eyes. The fatigue from camp is starting to weigh down on him and he can't be wasting precious recovery time on people who don't seem to need sleep.
"Since you asked, I just checked my horoscope and it says that Mercury is in retrograde and that I should stay near Capricorns so—"
"Stop talking and go to sleep, Kuroo." Daichi groans.
The shuffling beside him stops. "Goodnight, Sawamura."
There is a lull during the practice matches when Suga wanders over to where Daichi is and casually says, "Do you want to tell me why the Nekoma captain has been sleeping in our classroom at night?"
There are at least three different answers to this question Kuroo has given him so far and Daichi realises, belatedly, that he doesn't really buy any of them. Suga probably won't either when he tells him, which leaves Daichi stuck. Instinctively, his eyes dart towards the Nekoma red on court, searching out the subject of their conversation.
It is Nekoma versus Fukurodani for this round, which means that the noise level in the gym is elevated to extreme levels whenever Kuroo and Bokuto come face to face on court. As Bokuto slams the palm of his hand into the ball, he lets loose a triumphant yell which dissolves into indignation when his spike is picked up by Kuroo. The dignity of a good receive is diminished by the absolutely annoying grin on Kuroo's face, which sets something off in Bokuto. None of their teams seem particularly fazed by this exchange.
"Do you want me to do something about it?" Daichi finally tears his eyes away from the court. There is no answer to be found in watching Kuroo and he has to deal with enough displays of stupidity right in here in his team to be watching the Nekoma-Fukurodani match play out.
"Oh no, I don't mind. I'm not the one sleeping next to him after all." Suga studies Daichi thoughtfully, like he's coming to a conclusion that Daichi doesn't really want to hear about. "Actually, I'm surprised you haven't kicked him out yet, Daichi. You usually aren't very tolerant of this kind of errant behaviour."
"Believe me, I tried."
"You usually try harder." There is definitely some sort of point Suga is trying to get at here and Daichi frowns at him, hoping to dissuade him.
But he has never been able to win against Suga, not since their second year. Scary captain looks and lectures might work on the first and second years, and especially on Asahi, but they just fall flat before Suga.
"Maybe you should talk to Kuroo properly," Suga suggests. "I don't think he's the unreasonable type. I mean, he came to apologise to us about Tsukishima, didn't he?"
The last thing he wants to do is talk about it, but nevertheless Daichi concedes defeat, if only to appease Suga. "I'll do that."
Suga lays a hand on his shoulder and there is laughter dancing in his eyes when he says, "Don't worry too much about it. After all, you're still in the springtime of your youth."
A whistle rings out across the gym and Daichi loses the chance to come up with a retort to that as they file onto court.
That night, Daichi waylays Kuroo before he enters the room, slipping around the door the moment he hears footsteps down the hallway. His phone tells him that it is past one in the morning and that both of them should really be asleep now, but he only shoves it in his pocket before pulling Kuroo aside.
"So what's your excuse this time?" Daichi says, keeping his voice low as they reach the end of the hallway, where the classrooms are empty. Daichi leans back against an open windowsill, crossing his arms before him as he tilts his head up to look at Kuroo.
"Hang on, Sawamura, I haven't thought of it yet." Kuroo runs a hand through his hair, which droops after a whole day of pulling off the anti-gravity look, and it falls flat after he untangles his fingers from it. He blinks back at Daichi as if trying to convince his eyes to stay open for a while longer. He looks tired, as he should be after another day of endless practice matches.
"Why do you keep coming over at night?"
"If you're talking about how late it is, blame Bokuto. He drags me into these ridiculous one-on-one matches that last way into the night—"
"Kuroo," Daichi interrupts, his voice barely above a murmur, "that's not what I asked."
Kuroo trails off. He is still holding his futon and pillows and all, since Daichi had dragged him off without giving him a chance to put them down. By right, he should look ridiculous, but Daichi can't find it in him to laugh now. Not when for the first time that night, Kuroo meets Daichi's eyes, all previous traces of sleepiness gone, his gaze careful and searching.
There is a faint breeze coming up from behind Daichi, uncommon for a summer night in Tokyo, and he is strangely conscious of the way it brushes over the exposed areas of his skin. Kuroo isn't actually standing all that far away from him and they are barely two steps apart, close enough to hear each other without having to raise their voices. It makes Daichi realise that he really does not want to be having this conversation, not now or ever, even if he knows that Suga will not let it rest if he hadn't at least attempted it.
It isn't entirely Suga's fault though. In fact, he thinks it is mostly Kuroo's, from the very first night he had decided to step into the Karasuno classroom. Or maybe it was from the first time they had met back in Miyagi and Kuroo had tossed a "see you soon" over his shoulder as they were leaving, catching and holding Daichi's attention for far longer than necessary. The moments are all blurring together now and Daichi blames it all on the lack of sleep.
They really should be sleeping now.
"It's comfortable," Kuroo finally answers and it isn't his best but Daichi takes it.
"Comfortable?" Daichi repeats, raising an eyebrow, and Kuroo mirrors that little action of his, his lips curling in a half-smile.
"Comfortable," Kuroo affirms.
"You find suffocating between two pillows comfortable," Daichi says incredulously. "I think there's something seriously wrong with your sense of comfort."
"Now that's just rude, Sawamura."
"Seriously, you should get that checked out."
"I'll make an appointment." Kuroo groans. "Can we just go to sleep now?"
And just like that, it is a return to the safe ground between them. Casual banter is good. It is normal talk and Daichi revels in the familiarity of it. If asked about it tomorrow, Daichi would say that he had no idea what they actually talked about. Kuroo still follows him back to the Karasuno classroom, his eyes heavy-lidded with sleep as they both try to shuffle into their futons with as little noise as possible.
"Goodnight, Sawamura," Kuroo mumbles incoherently before he falls face first into his pillows.
It takes Daichi a bit longer than that and he is left blinking up into the dark above him before he finally shuts his eyes.
On the last day of the training camp, they run round to the back of the building to escape from the combination of Tsukishima's dirty looks and Kozume's increasingly uneasy glances. Daichi has to hold on to the wall to keep upright as he doubles over laughing while Kuroo dissolves into tears beside him. Somewhere, Bokuto has run off with the plates of food they had tried to push onto Tsukishima and Kozume.
"I've never seen someone look so offended by food before," Kuroo wheezes out, leaning his shoulder against the wall for support. "Okay, maybe Kenma does that all the time before but Tsukishima, man."
"I don't know why I let you talk me into that," Daichi complains, even though there is still a smile wide on his face. "Now I won't get any respect from him."
"Respect is overrated." Kuroo scoffs.
"And here I thought that was the whole point of my captaincy."
"The whole point of being captain is to do things like that and get away with it."
"You must be very popular with your team," Daichi remarks drily.
"Not to brag, but they all look up to me." Kuroo pauses contemplatively. "Mostly."
"Not Kozume. That wasn't a look of respect at all."
"I'll make sure to ask him about that." Daichi glances over Kuroo's shoulder, nothing more than a fleeting shift in his gaze. He has to bite back laughter as Kuroo whips his head around like he is ready to explain himself to Kozume, only to find nothing but air behind him.
When Kuroo turns back to face him, Daichi widens his eyes, feigning innocence.
There is something like surprise in Kuroo's face before it melts into a softer expression, not like the smirks or the looks of wicked glee Daichi has gotten used to being on the receiving end of. He has caught Kuroo looking at him like that sometimes, when he thinks Daichi isn't paying attention. It always stays there in a corner of his sight, vanishing in a heartbeat when Kuroo notices Daichi looking back at him.
It doesn't disappear this time. Not even with Daichi facing him straight on like this.
It reminds him of last night. Talk to him, Suga had said, but their talk hadn't been a proper talk then, not with the both of them dodging around each other and retreating back into their usual banter.
"I'm going to miss you, Sawamura," Kuroo says as the laughter dies down between them. "After all this is over."
"There's always the Nationals," Daichi replies and it sounds soft even to him. It is difficult to keep breathing when it feels like his throat has seized up, trapping the butterflies in his stomach there.
"Not like that." Kuroo drags a hand through his hair. For the first time since they've met, Kuroo looks at lost for words, anxiety creeping into his eyes as he tries again, "I mean, um, I'm going to miss sleeping next to you?"
That startles a laugh out of Daichi, more of a nervous thing that bubbles out of his mouth before he can stop it. "Comfortable, you said?"
"There's that," Kuroo concedes and there is colour high on his cheeks when he says, "but what I'm trying to say here is that I like you, Sawamura."
The summer heat must have gotten infectious because Daichi feels it flare up in his face, its colour darkening to match the shade of red on Kuroo's face. Kuroo gazes back at him, all intensity focused in his eyes as he waits for Daichi to say something, anything.
It really is the worst place to be doing something like this, at the back of a school neither of them go to and the smell of barbecue hanging in the air around them. For all that he pretends to be cool and suave, Kuroo has been nothing but embarrassing this whole time, saved by nothing but the equally embarrassing fact that Daichi kind of likes him back too.
"Okay," Daichi says, everything else in his throat deep down to his stomach too knotted up for him to say anything more.
"Okay?" Kuroo repeats, his voice pitching high in a way that makes Daichi want to laugh at him just because. "Like okay 'that's weird' or okay—"
Daichi leans forward on his toes, his fingers tangling in the front of Kuroo's shirt as he pulls Kuroo down to his height. Things don't exactly go as planned: Daichi miscalculates just how tall Kuroo is and the both of them come in too fast and the resulting collision of teeth and lips hurts, but it is enough. When they both draw back, Kuroo looks at Daichi with something like stunned awe, bright in his eyes like stars, and Daichi is beginning to think that his face will never return to a normal temperature after this. Damn Tokyo summers.
"So I guess that's what okay means," Kuroo says, a bit breathlessly. "Does this mean we're going out?"
"What do you think?" Daichi huffs out, but it is more out of affection than anything. "Although I don't know how we're going to make this work when you'll be here in Tokyo and I'll be back in Miyagi after today."
"It'll be fine, Sawamura. I mean, we've already slept together, haven't we?"
The unimpressed look Daichi gives him is completely ineffective but that doesn't stop Daichi from doing it anyway.
"Just kidding," Kuroo says and there is suddenly a hand in each of Daichi's, long fingers interlocking with his, palm against palm. "Although it is technically true."
"Shut up, Kuroo," Daichi says and tugs him down again before he can get another word out.