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Kenma's family had gone on their once-every-five-years trip to Kobe to visit distant relatives, and Daichi and Suga had gone back to Miyagi for the holidays. While he knew he was going to be with his own family on Christmas day, Kuroo found himself alone on Christmas Eve, the most romantic day of the year.

He stuffed his hands into his pockets while he walked the streets alone. When he'd gotten tired of sightseeing and people-watching, he headed back to his apartment and listened as the shopping district's cheery holiday noise dimmed into the silence of the residential district. He listened to his steps on the emptying sidewalk, turned his head up to observe the flickering streetlamps wash out the stars above, and took a deep breath of cold air.

Kuroo wasn't lonely, exactly; he liked people but he knew how to entertain himself. And it wasn't like this solitary christmas eve was a surprise. He climbed the flight of outdoor stairs to his apartment, flipped on the light to his sparse one room apartment, and couldn't decide whether it was worse to be outside or inside—alone in the crowd, or alone in here.

He ended up texting Bokuto all night, careless conversation that turned into flirting around three in the morning; Kuroo had never pushed it before, but he was tired, and it was the holiday magic having its way with his brain, maybe. Maybe he was tired of holding his tongue after nursing a crush all through high school. He was fairly sure Bokuto wouldn't catch on, anyway, except then Bokuto had said brb!!!1 and shown up at his house an hour later, cheeks red like he'd run the whole way there (he must have—the trains didn't run that late).

Bokuto was covered in a mountain of fabric: his neck wrapped in mismatched multicolored scarves, and with the cat-eared wool hat that Kuroo gave him as a joke last christmas peeking out from underneath the hood of his jacket. "Cold enough for you?" Kuroo said and forced himself to chuckle, clutching at the doorframe to hide the shaking in his hands.

"Kuroo Tetsurou," Bokuto announced, his eyes wide and serious. Kuroo never knew how to feel when caught in Bokuto's regard like this—simultaneously reveling in the attention and curious about what that attention entails. "Will you go out with me?"

Kuroo blinked at him. "What? I don't think I heard that right."

"You," Bokuto jabbed a finger into his chest, making him flinch back.


"You!" Bokuto repeated, heedless. "You were flirting with me, weren't you?"

"You ran all the way over here on christmas eve to ask me that? You could have just kept texting me, you know."

"Answer the question, Kuroo!" Bokuto whined, and then he was in Kuroo's space, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt and pulling him in close, pushy as always. Kuroo could read his excitement in the tense line of his shoulders, and his nervousness. That he was nervous about this made Kuroo's eyes widen. "Do you like me? Will you go out with me?"

"That was two questions," Kuroo replied.

"Argh, you damn cat! It's the most romantic day of the year and you were flirting with me! And if you like me like that then I want to spend tonight with you, because—because I wouldn't want to leave you pining after me, or something."



"You learned that word from Akaashi."

"Kuroo, Kuroo, I've liked you for years," Bokuto said, sounding a little desperate now, "and it's really cold out here and if you want me to go home I—I will, just, do you like me?"

Bokuto's whole face was red from the cold, and his fingers felt icy through the thin fabric of Kuroo's shirt. "How is it," Kuroo said, "that you're wearing three scarves, but you forgot to wear gloves? Get in here, before even someone as awesome as you finds a way to freeze to death."

"Hey," Bokuto protested weakly as Kuroo ushered him inside, "do you really think I'm awesome? Do you really—"

"I, Kuroo Tetsurou, have a crush on you, Koutarou Bokuto," he said, his mouth working to smother a lopsided smile. "I just didn't want to, you know, mess up our friendship or anything."

Bokuto headbutted him, the movement swift and surprisingly gentle. "Well," he says. "Well, well! That's good. That's really good, Kuroo. Because otherwise I would have had to take back your present."

"A present, huh?"

Bokuto flung his arms out wide. "It's me!" he said. "That's why there are so many scarves. And like, two coats."

"But no gloves."

"Presents don't wear gloves, man!"

"Sometimes gloves can be presents, though."

"Whoa. You're right." Bokuto stared at him, wide-eyed, while Kuroo unwound scarf after scarf from his neck. "I'll get you gloves next year. Don't let me forget."

Kuroo bumped their noses together as he went in for a kiss, laughing. "I won't," he promised.