JUST A BIRTHDAY KISS
Sunny Sunday. Date Tech High.
“So. Next Monday you’re leaving.”
“So. Yes, I do.”
Sun is shining from the sky, wind is blowing in the trees. And Moniwa-senpai is leaving next Monday. Futakuchi Kenji keeps breathing and watches the ball hitting the net.
What a damn weird day.
A simple, friendly and very much not-formal practice game between some Dateko’s members and Crows of Karasuno turned into a bit more uncommon play, when Hinata Shouyou texted Aone asking if he’s allowed to bring more friends. Dateko wholeheartedly agreed, expecting maybe a few fresh Karasuno’s alumni, or some guests from Tokyo. But it was Shiratorizawa’s Satori and Goshiki coming with happy and bouncing Hinata, and even with their team being the fallen giant of the year, you couldn’t just treat such an opportunity all light-heartedly and carelessly. Outnumbered Dateko members were quickly aided by their alumni, called by Sakunami. And the play began.
Play continues for hours.
Futakuchi meets Satori Tendou face to face for the first time and it’s definitely good to have the net separating them, or they might get way too overexcited with this meeting. Splendidly vicious redhead blocks Futakuchi’s marvelous plays, derides Futakuchi’s so well hidden devotion and loves Koganegawa from the first sight. Futakuchi derides Satori’s “I’m lonely triumphant velociraptor” style, blocks his attacks with other Iron Wall players and promises to bring the whole Wall to Shiratorizawa for a horse-riding and volleyball practice. It’s a great day and Futakuchi is crazy - happy blocking with Aone and Koganegawa, countering Kamasaki’s jibes and just playing side-by-side with Moniwa-senpai once again. During the break they sit on the bench together, sharing an onigiri and chatting like two reverent leaders of the same, dignified case should chat. They talk a bit about their team and opponents, school rumors and coach’s prolonged cold. And then they talk about Moniwa’s newly found job. Futakuchi’s pert smile gets genuinely warm and proud, while he congratulates his senpai.
“So. Next Monday you’re leaving.”
“So. Yes, I do.”
Moniwa-senpai doesn’t really leave the town, of course. His workshop is a couple of miles away, but it’s just a bus-ride-distance. He stays where he was, he will just work from seven a.m, six days a week. New job, new life, limited spare time. No more volleyball practice with schoolchildren for now. Futakuchi pats his former captain’s shoulder in approval and feels cut off with a big, serrated knife of adulthood.
Big, warm hand of Aone pats his head on the next break.
He doesn’t speak. Futakuchi evades unspoken pressure anyway.
“I’m not some hysterical girl with the crush to jump the guy in the back street! I’m not even in love with him. That’s nothing.”
Aone knows very well how much of nothing is that something that Futakuchi has for Moniwa. He wouldn’t press his friend harder for such an idiocy. But he thinks about it and Futakuchi explains himself again.
“It’s not like we part ways forever. And it’s not like I would actually care about parting or not parting the way with him! Shit, what a romantic crap I’ve just said?! I want nothing. I’m just… Curious!”
Aone knows how curiosity kills the fox that Futakuchi is. But Futakuchi is totally sure the whole thing is nothing. He would just prefer to put one more stone to the wall of his certainty. Aone thinks he should just do it and have it done. Futakuchi doesn’t think so. They speak no more and come back to the game. Hinata jumps and spikes, Moniwa runs around to receive Goshiki’s hits or amend Koganegawa’s lousy setting.
Futakuchi doesn’t even fancy this thin ass of his former captain. He checked said ass up and down and all around on many occasions and he simply knows that he doesn’t fancy Moniwa. He would just fancy a kiss.
Satori Tendou gets knocked down by the Iron Wall as often as he crushes through. He keeps complimenting Koganegawa, whistling at Aone and deriding Futakuchi. He meticulously observes their trivial traits.
- Your captain seems lost in thoughts – he confides to Aone, just after a very brilliant and precise action, which quite proves Futakuchi’s full attention. Aone shrugs, not saying how impressively perceptive Shiratorizawa’s former player seems to be. Satori enjoys this new guys quite much, so he neither bores further nor derides. He offers a friendly advice instead.
- Our coach always says that no matter the level of strategy, the pure force will always prevail, if strong enough. But, of course, he’s having a bit of identity crisis lately, so perhaps you should just keep to your own resolve…
They keep playing, and Aone thinks about it. His own pure strength is certainly immense enough and he hates nothing more than just pushing people around with force. Yet still, nothing else works. And there’s no limit of force that Aone Takenobu would give to strengthen the Iron Wall and Futakuchi Kenji. On the next break, he just grabs Futakuchi by his arms and kisses him loudly – lips to lips, nose bumping in the nose. Next to them, Hinata Shoujou watches it with this never-fading sunny smile of his.
- Whazzup? – he mumbles, mouth full of rice.
Aone takes a step back from completely stunned Futakuchi and points his finger at him.
- Birthday – he explains succinctly. From the next bench, Satori jumps to new fun.
- Goshiki! Goshiki! – He waves for his kouhai. – We have to kiss the birthday boy! C’mon, it’s a custom!
Goshiki, being Goshiki, runs with all his might to do as he’s told and show his respect to local tradition. Frozen still Futakuchi gets a cordial hug and kiss from him. Satori decides to have some real fun and wakes Dateko’s ace slapping his ass and biting his ear.
- Happy birthday! – he shouts. Futakuchi’s cheeks don’t even get pink. Satori deeply respects non-blushers.
- Your turn! – he waves for Hinata, who finishes his rice and happily jumps Futakuchi, kissing his face all over like he would greet his sister on her birthday.
- Kageyamaaa! – he calls for the setter, who is already green from horror.
- Do I have to? Or shouldn’t I? What do I do? – he tries to consult his captain, but Hinata already pushes him forward.
- Just wish him happy birthday, Bakageyama! Pretend you’re human! – he reprimands. Terrified Kageyama Tobio grabs Futakuchi’s arms and almost knocks him down, hitting his forehead with his own. Eventually he manages to kiss Dateko’s ace right above his nose.
- Happy birthday!
Futakuchi laughs hard and gets bear-like hugs and wet kisses on his cheeks from Koganegawa and Kamasaki. Sakunami quickly manages to topple their captain on the ground, sit on his stomach and kiss his nose.
- Happy birthday! – he says, and what he doesn’t say is that said birthday comes in three days from now. Sakunami always remembers, the little devil. God, how Futakuchi Kenji loves his team.
Moniwa-senpai comes to hug him.
- Get up, you lousy imp!
Futakuchi feels too brave and content for his own good.
- Kneel – he demands. And Moniwa kneels to kiss him. Aone watches from above, Kamasaki laughs happily lying on ground, Karasuno’s libero throws leaves around like a birthday fireworks. Futakuchi makes sure to have a really good kiss from his senpai.
God, it’s been ages. He couldn’t even remember when the obsession formed. Futakuchi went through all possible stages of having a crush on his captain and decided long ago that it’s not a crush after all. Nothing even close to any romantic pining. Yet still – it kept bothering him, deep below his skin, what it would be like to kiss Moniwa Kaname. To be sure it’s nothing, or to get rid of the outdated emotions, or just as a life-goal – he wouldn’t know
Now he does it. He kisses, and Moniwa kisses back.
It’s not much fun, given Moniwa’s total lack of interest in guys. It doesn’t last long: for a life-goal it’s a ridiculously short event. But it happens. Like a seal, where Futakuchi promises he would do anything, really, and it’s such a relief that being totally unwanted isn’t heartbreaking anyhow. And Moniwa says how proud he is and how content to leave the matters in the right hands, and how he just couldn’t enjoy this, so very sorry, but he wouldn’t deny it either. They part and hug and laugh. Futakuchi stands up, gets some more kisses, and he even manages to wake sleepy Karasuno’s new captain with his tongue, feeling surprisingly welcome. Ennoshita Chikara, Futakuchi decides, requires deep strategical analysis in the nearby future – for Dateko’s sake, of course.
Happy? Aone doesn’t ask that. Futakuchi answers anyway.
- It was never about being happy.
Aone says nothing. Futakuchi answers anyway.
- I’m not unhappy anymore.
Aone doesn’t give him an eye-roll.