Chapter 1: Une | The Moon that Towered Over the Cat
Meet Tsukishima Yukiko, Kanegawa Gakuen's resident moon princess.
Tsukishima Yukiko is a girl on a mission.
It is only the first week of her second year in high school, but she already has her hands full. There were club presidents to meet, festivals to plan, crazy ideas to reject, paper works to review and sign, and budgets to approve. Anyone could easily crumble under the sheer weight of these tasks, well, anyone who isn't her.
She, contrary to what any normal student may react to this daunting responsibility, welcomes the challenge. One could even say she is on a roll, being student council president only on her second year.
Tsukishima Yukiko, indeed, is a girl on a mission. A mission to become the best student council president Kanegawa Gakuen has ever had, and finally get all the doubters to close their trap shut.
On top of that, Tsukishima Yukiko is a girl who always wins, no matter what. Failure is not even an option, and losing isn't in her vocabulary.
Then she meets the greatest hurdle in the form of one Kuroo Yukio, who is determined to hinder her success.
Of course, chaos ensues.
Tall. Blonde. Dangerous.
These three words are often used to describe Kanegawa High's Student Council President. Standing at almost 173 centimetres, she is easily one of the tallest girls on campus. (There have been rumors flying around about her being scouted by modelling agencies, but she has neither confirmed nor denied it.) Her tall frame is to be expected though, since she is a Tsukishima. Almost everyone in the prefecture knows that the name Tsukishima is somehow synonymous to having long, long legs, so it was not a surprise to everybody that Yukiko just grew and grew until she towered even over some boys.
Her coloring also merits the same explanation: genetics. You simply can never be a Tsukishima without that standout natural blonde hair, golden eyes, and fair skin. It can't be helped, seeing as the Tsukishima matriarch is actually French, which makes Yukiko's mother half-French, and Yukiko herself being of mixed blood. (She denies it though and claims she's pure Japanese when asked.)
Then there's the trademark sarcastic wit that can lash anyone out to pieces and the signature cold glare that can make anyone shiver, a deadly combo that earned her quite the fearsome reputation. Her grandparents say she got both traits from her mother; that she was as calculating and critical and almost-distant as the one who gave birth to her. In fact, almost everyone who knew Yukiko's mother would say that she is a mini version of the older omega.
There are no other words, really, other than these three that perfectly encompass the personality of one Tsukishima Yukiko, who is currently doing her after-school rounds on the hallways like she always does on Monday afternoons.
The blonde did not even have to turn around to know who it was, after all, there was only one person who can call her that in all of Tokyo without any form of backlash: her best friend.
"How many times do I have to reprimand you about running in the hallways, Yamaguchi?"
The boy simply smiled and ran a hand through his dark locks. Whenever he is with the student council president, Yamaguchi Masato seems to forget that he is the captain of the men's volleyball team and just reverts back to being that little lost puppy following the blonde. It's kind of cute, really, but don't let the Pres hear you say that lest you are ready to have your head chewed off.
"Seriously, act your age. You are older than I am, may I remind you."
The athlete simply laughed at that, booping the blonde at the nose (again, the only person who can do so without getting admitted to the hospital) and handing over a carton of strawberry milk.
"Shouldn't I be saying that to you too, moon princess? Act your age, you're too young to be too old."
Yukiko rolled her eyes as she stabbed the carton rather forcefully with the straw.
"Don't you have practice to go to? I thought you were holding try-outs today?"
He gave out a jolt of surprise, like he really forgot about it even though his gym bag is slung casually over his right shoulder.
"Oh, yeah! Thanks for reminding me Tsukki, let's go home together, okay? Wait for me!"
"You don't have to remind me of something I do every day, Masa-chan." The blonde deadpanned, oblivious to the athlete's sunny expression at her usage of the latter's given name. "I'd come watch in the gym after my rounds so you don't have to go to the council room."
If you think Yamaguchi Masato couldn't grin any wider, then you are seriously mistaken.
Three blonde heads turned to the door the moment Yukiko announced her arrival.
"Okaeri, Yuki! Did Masa-chan accompany you home today?"
She looked up from changing her shoes into her indoor bunny slippers (a gift from Masato, she'd never even wear it had he not sulked for a week) to her uncle's smiling face. She did not know he'd be visiting today.
Wait, if her uncle is here, then so is her aunt and ugh, her rowdy cousins. Her stoic mask did not hide the pained expression well enough that Tsukishima Akiteru saw right through it. He ruffled her blonde locks affectionately as she reminded him of his beloved younger brother.
"No need to put up a face like that, Yuki! It's only me and your Aunt Saeko today, your cousins had prior commitments."
Yukiko couldn't help but give out a sigh of relief as she followed him to the dining room. At least she can have dinner in peace, or at least as peaceful as it gets around Tsukishima Saeko.
"Sit down snowdrop, dinner's about to be served."
It took all of her willpower not to roll her eyes at her grandpa at the use of such a ridiculous pet name and averted her honey eyes to the empty chair opposite hers instead. That said chair is usually occupied by her mother.
"Mom's still at the office?" she asked aloud as the other members of her family settled down around the table.
It was her grandmother who supplied the answer to her question.
"Yes, there was an emergency at one of the branches that he had to attend to. He'd be here before your bedtime, at the latest."
She just nodded. Times like these weren't exactly new to her. After all, Tsukishima Kei is the CEO of the Hotaru Group, so in times of the most pressing emergencies he is always the go-to person.
But sometimes, she wishes her mother wasn't as successful as he is today. Maybe if he wasn't as efficient as he is in running the family business, then maybe he'd have more time for his daughter.
Tuesday in Yukiko’s first week of school brought in a stray cat disguised as a transferee. No kidding, the boy actually reminded her of a cat: lazy-looking eyes, sly grin, and just the entire slinky, I-am-up-to-no-good aura. Everyone’s eyes were trained at their new classmate as he introduced himself, and Yukiko couldn’t shake off the feeling that the cat-boy would be bringing her nothing but problems as the student council president.
"I hope we can be good friends."
She decided cat-boy was a potential threat to her leadership when said feline-human gave the girl closest to where he was standing a very suggestive wink. She’d stop by the faculty room later after class and ask for details about him just in case.
Tsukishima heard giggles from a group of omegas seated a few chairs before her and tried her bestest not to roll her eyes in annoyance.
"Ain't he just gorgeous?"
"I would love to have those strong biceps around me, girl."
"Soooo dreamy! He's my alpha."
This is why omegas are often seen as weak--they just melt around alphas like the new guy: strong, tall, and gives off a sense of security. They swoon so obviously like giggly high school girls. Well, they are but they couldn’t be more obvious about it, could they? Talk about fitting right into stereotypes.
This is why I hate being an omega.
Growing up, everybody just assumed that she'd present as an alpha. After all, she just had the right characteristics for it: tall, snarky, and will not take orders from anyone. She was never afraid of boys and bullies since she towered over most of them (it is hard to fear someone you look down at literally) and she has her way with words that could slash through anyone like a samurai. There was also no way you could talk Tsukishima Yukiko into doing something she does not want to, except maybe for two people: her mother and her best friend.
She herself had believed she'd be an alpha, or a beta if she'd had it her way. Betas have less life dramas since they encompass majority of the population, and since they aren't as affected by smells and pheromones as much as the alphas and the omegas. Also, they have fairly normal sexual lives and do not go into these ridiculous quarterly tortures called a rut or a heat.
But fate decided otherwise when Tsukishima Yukiko first went into heat during the summer of her first year in high school.
"I'm Kuroo Yukio."
Tsukishima almost jumped out from her seat when she heard the new guy talk to her. So sensei has given him, of all the vacant spots, the one next to her. Great.
She merely looked at him with an unimpressed expression, one she has seen her mother give all those alphas who tried to make a move with him when they learned Yukiko's father is absent from their lives.
"I know, Kuroo-san. You just introduced yourself in front of the class no less than five minutes ago."
She felt a small victory when the confident grin on Kuroo's face fell.
That's right, not all omegas submit to alphas. Not my mother, not me.
When she finally came to terms with her secondary gender, Yukiko decided she'd act nowhere near like omegas just to spite the system, just to rebel against the society's norm about how gender classes should typically react.
It was never easy at first, especially when she goes into her quarterly heats, where her mind just screams alpha and knotting in one delirious train of thought. It was never easy, especially when she could only rely on her toys to satisfy herself, and those were never enough.
It was never easy, but she has done it. Just like her mother has, just like all the other sensible omegas who knew they were meant to do so much more than become a receptacle for pups.
"Are you done checking my legs out, Kuroo-san?" She had to bite back the feral grin and the angry growl which were both threatening to escape her lips, instead reverting to her I'm-your-student-council-president-you-should-be-afraid-of-me smile.
This always works wonders, especially on smug alphas who think they are superior to everyone. It definitely worked on Kuroo, who had the decency to flush scarlet at being found out.
Take that, stupid alpha.
Chapter 2: Deux | The Cat that Clawed at the Moon
Meet Kuroo Yukio, Kanegawa Gakuen's newest aspiring delinquent (aka threat to Yukiko's perfect leadership streak)
Kuroo Yukio is a guy on a mission.
It is only the first week of his second year in high school, but he already has his hands full. There were sports club presidents to avoid, festivals to skip out altogether, crazy ideas to act upon, club membership forms to review and sign, and fights to get involved in. Anyone could easily crumble under the sheer weight of these tasks, well, anyone who isn't him.
He, contrary to what any normal student may react to this daunting ‘responsibility’, welcomes the challenge. One could even say he is on a roll, being labelled a delinquent since he entered the high school level.
Kuroo Yukio, indeed, is a guy on a mission. A mission to do all sorts of stupid shit for his father to realize how much he needs a mother. Especially when he overheard from his dad and his uncle's conversation that they finally found where his mother was.
On top of that, Kuroo Yukio is a guy who may not always win, but when he's motivated, he sure as hell will do everything in his power. Failure is inevitable especially at the face of better opponents, but that does not mean he wouldn't at least score a point, right?
Then he meets the greatest hurdle in the form of one Tsukishima Yukiko, who is determined to hinder his success.
Of course, chaos ensues.
Mischievous. Sharp. Dangerous.
These are the first three words in everyone’s mind as they watched in silence at the new boy who scribbled on the chalkboard (well into the end of the first week of school) with an almost lazy flick of the wrist as he wrote the correct kanji for his name before he introduced himself in an almost bored voice.
“Hello everyone. I am Kuroo Yukio, and I will be in your care.” He paused to smirk at the girls staring at him from the front row before continuing. “I hope we can all be good friends.”
A few girls giggled at the end of his introductions, which wasn’t a first for Kuroo Yukio. He may or may not be aware of it, but the boy sure was easy on the eyes. He was strikingly tall for a second year high school student at his present height of 180 cm, and his crazy black hair sticking out at odd directions created an illusion that he was taller than he actually was.
“Kuroo-san, you may take the empty seat at the end of the second column.”
The boy’s golden eyes darted to the direction of the said seat and found that there was an absolutely gorgeous blonde seated to the direction of his left. A mischievous glint crossed those golden orbs as he walked with purpose towards his new chair. Perhaps transferring to Kanegawa Gakuen isn’t really a bad decision on his part, after all. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is where he’d finally meet the omega intended for him. Perhaps that omega is the gorgeous blonde seated next to him.
Boy, was he ever wrong.
“Hello, I’m Kuroo Yukio.” He flashed his best smile at the blonde, who looked at him with disinterest. His smile faltered a little with the way she looked at him like he was nothing of importance, like he was a slug or something.
“I know, Kuroo-san. You just introduced yourself less than five minutes ago.” The blonde deadpanned before going back to her notebook to scribble something.
Kuroo’s jaws almost dropped in shock. Were his charms off today? This was not the reaction he was expecting from her; she was supposed to blush crimson and get flustered. She did not do both, she did not even seem to care.
Tuning out the droning sound of the lecture given out by their teacher, he looked at his seatmate closely.
This one’s a real beauty.
But seriously, the blonde was a real looker. Basing on the way her legs folded at an awkward angle under her desk, she must be really, really tall. He almost let out a long whistle at those legs which seemed to stretch out for miles and would clearly keep his head in a leg lock if—
"Are you done checking my legs out, Kuroo-san?"
Startled, Kuroo pried his eyes away from those creamy, perfect pair of legs to stare at her face.
“So, how’s the new school?”
Kuroo Yukio grinned at his monitor which was displaying the face of his best friend, Daishou Ringo. The two boys lived next door back then, just as Yukio’s dad and Ringo’s mother was. Apparently Kuroo Tetsurou and Kozume Kenma has been childhood best friends who promised not to live apart from each other, which was why his Uncle Kenma brought his dad along when was offered a job as a game designer in a huge gaming company that had its headquarters in London. Apparently they were also the kind of childhood friends who became parents around the same time, so Yukio and Ringo grew up together in London, and, like some sort of extended friendship bond between their parents, also came to be the best of friends.
“It was okay.” He grinned even wider that even he felt the sides of his mouth splitting.
“Basing on the way you are smiling like a pleased house cat, things are going more than okay.”
“Oh, you can tell just by my smile? I usually smile like this.”
"Kuroo Yukio, I have known you since we were in diapers and I know all the one million and one Yuki smiles and that smile now says you are brewing trouble again."
“You make it sound like I’m a bad person.”
“Hey, I’ll have you know I’m always this nice!”
The blond strands in the brunette’s hair catch the bedroom light as Ringo shifts in his seat with laughter from Yukio’s supposed “niceness”. (People often ask Ringo where he had his hair done since the brown and blonde strands just looked really good on him, but he was actually born with it.)
“There is a whole world full of adjectives that could best describe you but I’m telling you as your best friend, nice is not one of them.”
Ringo laughed again at the sight of his pouting friend. Yukio was undoubtedly good-looking and had omegas begging him to consider them ever since they started middle school, but he was also incredibly dorky and a huge dinosaur nerd, something that new acquaintances find shocking. If anything it makes him more adorable.
But his argument still stands: nice is not a word to describe his best friend. Not at present, though. He does not know the reason why, but his friend just changed. It could be due to a lot of things, but Ringo was sure it started when they overheard their parents talking about a missing omega. He doesn’t know who the missing omega was, but Yukio seems to.
“The omegas at my new school think otherwise.” The bedhead grins at him from his screen, reminding him that Yukio is now miles away from him and not next door, the way he had been since…forever. Ringo suspects that his friend’s decision to study in Japan involved the said missing omega, but he remained quiet about it.
“They’re disillusioned.” He scoffed playfully. “I’d say it’s the hair.”
“Hey you’re not being nice!”
“I never said I was, Yuki.”
His feet hurt.
Seriously, who said that the best way to see a new city was on foot? He’d like to give that bastard a piece of his mind. He was just thankful he had the idea of doing this particular reconnaissance after school, or else he’d have to suffer through stifling heat, too.
He figured he should just sit down before his legs gave way, so he ducked into one of the open coffee shops and ordered strawberry tea. (Who knew strawberry tea is a thing here in Japan?! Not that he minded though.)The look the waitress gave him made him want to defend his choice of beverage if not for the ringing of the chimes by the door, signifying a new customer.
His argument instantly died down his throat as soon as he saw who it was.
“But Yukiko, don’t you think you have been way too harsh on Tendou-san? I mean, he’s just a harmless kouhai with a crush.”
“Well, he was annoying.”
Tall, statuesque figure: check.
Long, wavy blonde hair tied in a loose braid: check.
Perpetually bored expression: check.
Flash of annoyance in those golden eyes (though hidden behind eyeglasses): check.
“Tsukki! Why didn’t you tell me he was still dropping letters in your locker? I told you to tell me and I’d take care of it!”
“You’d just send the poor boy into the infirmary, Masato-san.”
Yep, it’s his blonde omega, all right. Tsukishima Yukiko.
The gorgeous (no use in lying now, even when she appeared to be disinterested in him) blonde was with two other people: a boy and a girl.
The girl was one of their classmates in Class 2-5. She was one of the very few people who did not cower from the blonde’s signature glare and total intimidating aura, if anything, the two were super close basing on the way the girl had her arms wrapped around the other in a very best friend-y gesture. He had to rack his brains for her name: Bokuto Keiko.
In a way, Yukio was right about the two girls being close. Keiko is one of Yukiko’s childhood friends, having grown up together with Masato. At first glance one would think that Keiko is similar in temperament to the blonde: same bored expression, same sharp, calculating eyes, same intimidating stance, and same attention-grabbing beauty. But where Yukiko was cold and indifferent and aloof to strangers and mere acquaintances, Keiko gave friendly smiles to familiar faces. Sure she’s got a mean resting bitch face, but the raven-haired beauty is actually very friendly and gets along with everyone.
The boy, on the other hand, is very familiar to Yukio. Of course even a transferee would know the captain of Kanegawa Boys VBC, but more than that, Yamaguchi Masato actually came up to Yukio Tuesday after class to invite him to join the club. Though he looks normal-looking beside the two beauties he’s with, Masato isn’t shabby, either. He is almost as tall as Yukio, and no thanks to his serious (albeit adorably freckled) face, he gives off an aura of superiority inherent in natural leaders. Yukio is prepared to bet this month’s allowance on the number of omegas that got their sights on the kind alpha—he just looks so sturdy and dependable.
It was the ‘gentle giant’ Masato that spotted him, three tables down from where they stood.
”Oh hey, Kuroo-san! It’s good to see you here! Mind us sharing a table?”
Kuroo pointedly ignored Tsukishima’s deathly glare before saying he doesn’t mind.
Chapter 3: Trois | The Firefly and the Black Cat
The clock read 10:23.
Tsukishima Kei looked up from the last page of the contract he was reading and heaved out a sigh.
I guess I'll be home late tonight. Again.
His golden-brown eyes (one of his best assets, one would note) darted to a framed picture on his desk.
His daughter, his reason for living, his motivation to reach the top and become the best.
His long fingers reached out to the frame on their own accord, pulling the picture of his daughter closer to him. He gave a tired smile at the sight of his beloved child.
One good look at Yukiko and nobody would question she was his. They, after all, are splitting images of each other: blonde hair curling at the ends, gold eyes, creamy fair skin, and the height only supermodels get to enjoy.
A tender finger traced the outline of the besotting smirk that adorned his daughter's face, one of the small quirks that the mother and daughter do not share. Everybody thinks that Yukiko takes after her mother so much that they even have the same personalities, but Kei would beg to differ.
True, Yukiko may look down on people with a cold glare like he does on a daily basis, but she is surprisingly warm when she starts opening up to someone. Those gold eyes simply melt with affection when she thinks no one is looking.
She may also lash out harsh words, but they are never to maim anyone's feelings. No matter how much the girl acts tough and distant, Kei knows that she is actually a softie. Words are a double-edged sword to his precious pup: they hurt her back as much as they hurt anyone.
She may also act like a docile child, but Kei knows how she can pout and wail and whine like a spoiled brat just to get something she so desperately wants. And don't even start on the multitude of stupid things she and her friends have found themselves in—especially when Tsukishima Yukiko and Bokuto Keiko are left to their own devices. Sensible, reliable Masato-kun won't even stand a chance.
On the outside she may look and act like her mother, but those who has seen her for what she really is will get glimpses of her father in her ways.
He wiped away the tears before they could even fall and pressed speed dial one on his mobile.
"Hello, Snowdrop? Yes, I'll be home soon. Do you think you can prepare some tea for mommy? Yes, I know. I miss you too, snowdrop. Let's talk when I get there, okay?"
"I swear Yukio, one more call from the Student Affairs Office with regards to your misdemeanor and I'm sending you back to London!"
Kuroo Tetsurou ran a frustrated hand through his already messy hair, making it floofier and stick out in every direction possible.
With his best angry father stare, he glowered at his son who was on his bed, fingers intertwined together in nervousness and anxiety.
The act itself was almost enough to melt his anger away because it reminded him of a certain omega in the past, but he knew he had to stand his ground so he toughened himself out.
"I'm sorry, Dad. It won't happen again."
His son mumbled as his intertwined fingers fiddled on the wires of the headphones he was wearing around his neck. Yukio wasn't a mean kid, he did not get into loads of trouble growing up. The boy only changed during the summer prior to his freshman year in high school, when he practically begged his father to allow him to study in Japan, despite being raised in London all his life.
"Seriously, Yuki, is there something you wish to tell me?"
The boy just shook his head in an almost imperceptible gesture which would have gone unnoticed if not for Tetsurou's honed observation skills, perfected over the years of raising the kid on his own and even way before that, when he had been happily caged in a relationship with an equally passive omega.
He sighed and ruffled his son's messy hair affectionately, which earned him a little tch of annoyance from Yukio.
Just like his mother.
It was funny how his son looks like him yet acts like his mother.
Nobody in their right mind would doubt that Kuroo Yukio is indeed the son of Dr. Kuroo Tetsurou, one of the most prominent specialists in the world of neurosurgery. The two of them look so alike they were often mistaken for brothers with a relatively wide age gap, especially that the surgeon doesn't really look his age, despite the demands of his work.
"You know you can always ask me for anything, right buddy?"
Eyes bright like golden coins looked up to meet his own brown ones, and for a moment, Kuroo Tetsurou thought he almost saw a flash of blonde (which was impossible, considering they were both dark-haired in the house).
"Except for raising your allowance; but yes, anything."
Yukio untangled his long fingers and clenched them into a tight fist.
"Who is my mother?"
"And you should have seen the new earrings he got today, Mom! And I just confiscated the ones he had on yesterday!"
Kei smiled fondly at Yukiko's face, one that reflected pure disdain as she talked about a certain stupid cat-boy who may be a potential threat to her leadership.
"I swear he does all of it to spite me!"
Kei bit back a laugh and placed a new plate of grilled mackerel in front of his daughter instead. Apparently Yukiko did not eat enough during dinner, opting instead to wait for him so they could eat together.
Yukiko's eyes practically shone in delight at her favorite dish and spooned a bit into her mouth before continuing.
Just like her father.
"Today he tried befriending Keiko during volleyball practice, just like he did with Masa-chan! That little devil is going to steal all my friends away from me if I'm not being carefu—"
"Maybe he just likes you. You did mention he is an alpha, right?" He said, spooning his own meal into his mouth, his tone lightly teasing as his daughter's face burned crimson. Ah, the curse of fair-skinned people: the inability to hide a blush.
"Eww!" Yukiko cringed with as much passion as she could muster. Kei fought against a grin at the sight, marvelling in the many ways his daughter could look like him yet act exactly the opposite. "He's just angry at me because I commented at his lousy blocking during their practice—I swear he'd bring Masa-chan's team down..."
"That's not very nice, Yuki." He purposefully used the shortened version of his daughter's name which everyone knew Yukiko hates the most, a signal that he's serious.
His daughter pouted and ran a nervous hand through her hair, a habit that most definitely did not come from Kei, and whined like a toddler.
"I know, but he's not being very nice either, Mom!"
Yes, just like her father.
"You do realize you have to tell him, right?"
Kuroo Tetsurou heaved yet another sigh at Kenma's words. Trust his best friend to tell him things straightaway.
"But Ken, I don't even know where his mother is. All I know is that he's in Japan and not in France which we both originally thought."
"We can always ask Koutarou-san."
"He's mad at me, in case you have forgotten." He sipped at his coffee before turning back to the open Skype call on his desktop computer. Kenma looked away from one of the other screens on his end where his latest game was doing a simulation and stared at him as if to say, until now?
They stared at each other for quite a while until the faux blond (yes, until now) spoke.
"There's always Akaashi, Kuro. We can ask him instead."
"You mean Bokuto Keiji." The surgeon involuntarily cringed at the thought that his other best friend apart from Kenma got married and did not even invite him, even when he, Kuroo Tetsurou—matchmaker extraordinaire, was the one who got them together in the first place.
Well, Kou's mad at you, so why would he invite you?
Kuroo had never wanted to hurt his conscience so bad up until now. If only that was physically possible.
"I can go ask Akaa--Keiji-san for you if you want, you know."
And then what? They'd know where he is. And then what? Yukio would want to meet him. And then what?
The omega could try and get Yukio away from him.
Kuroo paled at that possibility. The omega can actually do that, and what's worse, he would probably win. Or—
The omega might not recognize Yukio as his own, given the way they parted ways more than a decade ago.
Kuroo could not decide which one was worse.
Chapter 4: Quatre | The Cat that Challenged the Moon
Tsukishima Yukiko is going to die from a coronary by the end of the week, she’s sure of it. She has even planned out how her funeral would go, the kimono she’d be wearing, the design of the urn in which her ashes will be kept, the picture to be placed in the butsudan.
And oh, she’d be bringing a certain cat down with her on her certain death.
“My moonshine! Tsuuukkkkiiiii!”
Speaking of the devil.
Yukiko allowed herself an almost imperceptible eye roll of exasperation before putting on her best stoic face. In the past weeks that Kuroo Yukio had been in school, he has spent more time in detention than any of his classes combined. The boy simply wouldn’t pay attention to most of his classes and even slept in the middle of discussions, making subject teachers gnash their teeth in annoyance and report everything to the homeroom teacher. Their homeroom teacher, on the other hand, got fed up by the myriad of complaints and called up on the student council to keep the boy from toeing out of line.
I did not get paid for babysitting this jerk.
It was a Wednesday in Yukiko’s seventh week of school that brought her to the faculty room first thing in the morning where Azumane-sensei called her to discuss urgent important matters.
“I’m sorry, Tsukishima-san, but I couldn’t think of anyone else more capable to get the job done.”
Azumane-sensei looked downright concerned and jittery and gave off an aura that seemed to say he’s fed up with the world. Or fed up with the problem student, at least. Which was astonishing on its own, considering he is the father of two of the most energetic twins Yukiko has ever known: Yuzuru and Yutaru.
Well, as student council president she doesn’t have that much of a choice, does she?
“Of course, Azumane-sensei. Consider it done.”
Which brings her to the present, where has found herself trailing the way to the music room to fetch the stupid cat-boy who skipped club activities. Again.
“My moonshine! You’re here! To what do I owe this extreme pleasure?”
The boy was easy to spot, after all, he was seated in front of the piano which was situated on a raised platform on the far right corner of the room, next to the glass wall that overlooked the campus garden. Rays from the afternoon sun somehow illuminated him in a literal different light, and Yukiko could actually see why the other omegas want to have his consideration. Kuroo Yukio was cute, if he did not waste his time (and hers) with all the bullshit he just happens to come up with. But she’s not going to tell him that. Ever.
“You skipped club. Again.”
She slowly made her way to the platform and stood just in front of the piano in full ‘Pres mode’. Most troublemakers would have cowered and ran away, but the guy simply spared her a gaze and went right back to adjusting the height knob on his chair.
“Ah, they did not need me there anyway.” Cat-boy smirked at her as he played the opening notes to Fur Elise. “Something about my blocking bringing the team down?”
Yukiko had to bite back a retort. It was obvious he was referring to the spat they had long ago, when the volleyball club held try-outs and Yukiko had been there as a spectator.
“Hmm?” Yukio did not even look up from music sheet, fingers flying across the keyboard in a fluid movement that showed years and years of professional training and practice. “Is there something you want to tell me? Aside from my lousy blocking?”
“Or maybe this is about the English test I flunked.” Yukiko wasn’t sure, but his Fur Elise sounded a bit harsher now, or maybe her head was imagining things. She eyed him warily—cat-boy surely wasn’t mad, he was grinning. “It does sound kinda stupid, seeing as I was born and raised in London, huh?”
“Come to think of it, you still have to give me back those earrings you took from me yesterday. They hold sentimental value, you know.”
“Hmm?” Fur Elise stopped abruptly, and Yukiko almost held up a hand to her ear because they were suddenly enveloped in complete and utter silence it was deafening.
In a display of superiority, she levelled her gaze with that of the bedhead’s. “Go to club practice.”
His eyes have the exact same color as mine, what the heck?
“What’s in it for me?”
His gold orbs did not even blink and met his own golden pair steadily, a feat that most delinquents most definitely could never do with her. Kuroo Yukio is a persistent one, she had to give it to him.
When his words caught up with her brain, Tsukishima’s eyebrows shot up on their own accord. “Excuse me?”
Yukio flipped through the pages of the music sheet in front of him to find another song to play, oblivious to the malevolent aura that she was sure to be exuding. That, or he could be downright ignoring her. Which was rude, by the way. No one dares to contradict the Pres, didn’t this stupid transferee get the fvcking memo?
She cleared her throat and tried again. “Excuse me, but what did you just say, Kuroo-san?”
The shit-eating grin came up again as the first few bars of a somewhat complicated Twinkle Twinkle Little Star resonated from the piano. Why was this jerk even good at it, anyway? Yukiko clenched her fists to keep her from yanking that crazy mop of bedhead and dragging its crazy owner to the gym.
“What’s in it for me? If I go to club, do I get a kiss?”
Instead of going to the gym, Kuroo Yukio landed in the hospital instead, where he stayed there for the rest of the week and well into the weekend.
I could get used to this.
Monday morning into his eight week in Kanegawa Gakuen had Kuroo Yukio confined to his wheelchair and his itchy arm cast. Every pair of male eyes were piercing through him as he made his way through the hallways as though they were trying to punch holes throughout his body but he couldn’t really care less. Kuroo Yukio was too damn happy to care about the obvious haters.
After all, it isn’t every day that the student council president gets to apologize to a student publicly and even tends to his needs personally as a sign of utmost remorse. True, Yukio’s nose may or may not be broken and he may or may not have broken a few ribs as well as dislocated a few fingers in the process (who knew Tsukishima Yukiko has had self-defense training?) and DEFINITELY twisted an ankle, but the end result was absolutely worth it.
“Ah, I would like to go to the toilet, Tsukki.”
He almost got forcibly ejected from his wheelchair as the gorgeous blonde who was pushing it towards their first class halted abruptly upon hearing his request.
“Don’t call me that.” He couldn’t see it, but he knew the blonde just rolled her eyes behind him. “And you couldn’t have gone before you came to school?” There was the obvious irritation in the blonde’s tone but she downplayed it with a smile because a few students passed by them as they made their way towards their own classes. Yukio thought it was kinda cute.
“I just got the urge to pee!”
Yukiko puffed her cheeks in annoyance and let out a harsh laugh and—did she just stomp her feet? Who knew the Pres could do such a childish act? Yukio was fighting a grin behind his good arm.
“Fine, I’d ask a male classmate to take you once we get to the classroom.”
“But I have to go now.”
Okay, so Yukio has a death wish, but he could not just let the chance get away, could he? It may cause him his other arm or even a broken jaw, but if it means seeing the usually stoic omega blush and show other emotions, then it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to take.
And Ringo wouldn’t believe I’m always this nice.
“Just hold it in.”
So he pretended to squirm in his seat and gave the glaring blonde his best kicked-puppy pout. No one was immune to his charms when he unleashed their true power—not his dad, not his Uncle Ken, nor his best friend.
“But I really really reaaallyy have to go, Tsukki!”
Tsukishima Yukiko let out one last huff of annoyance before turning the wheelchair to the left, in the direction of the rest rooms. Apparently not even the Pres can say no to his kicked-puppy pout.
Yukio - 1, Yukiko - 0.
But instead of going to the boys’ toilets, Yukio found himself being wheeled into the girls’. He thought he’d go deaf forever by the shrill shouts of the girls while Yukiko simply pushed him to the last cubicle.
“Hey, why here?!” He tried to stop his wheelchair but alas, he couldn’t do so with one working arm only. “This is the girls’ toilet, Tsukki!”
“I said don’t call me that.” The blonde deadpanned, then shrugged. “I can’t enter the boys’ toilet, Kuroo-san. I am not a pervert like you are.”
“I am not a pervert!”
“Says the guy who’s about to take a leak inside the girls’ toilet. And don’t look at me like you need help unzipping your pants, you have one good arm you can use.” She smirked. “Or would you rather have me break that one too?”
Yukio - 1, Yukiko - 1.
The next day Yukio got back at Yukiko by pleading loudly (making sure that everyone within earshot heard clearly) that she should also help him change his clothes for PE. He was exempted from participating, but payback is payback.
“You already helped me pee, Tsukki, so helping me change is a lot easier, right?” he asked her, fighting the urge to howl in laughter as the people around them stared on as if they could not believe their ears.
The high flush on her cheeks was worth the painful smack to his head afterwards.
Yukiko scored one back as she wheeled him to the infirmary during dismissal that very afternoon in nothing but his volleyball shorts, declaring it was a medical emergency and could anyone give Kuroo-san a CPR? The nurse is out! as loudly as she could to the omegas standing by the door of the school clinic.
He thought he’d never get out of there alive, if not for Yamaguchi-san who wheeled him back in to the gym.
Then there was the ‘wheel-me-around-places’ incident, where Yukio purposefully postponed handing over his homeworks at the last minute, resulting to a very dizzy and very tired Tsukishima Yukiko who had no choice but to push him (and his wheelchair) to various offices just for him to beat his deadlines.
The guilt he felt for that was easily placed with anger at the blonde when she pushed her to a shallow ditch by the school gate, saying her fingers slipped. He definitely got a few more scratches in his legs for that.
The next few days were filled with petty pranks, half-assed revenge plots, and almost-playful banters that definitely endeared Yukio to the blonde.
He had to bite back his laughter (so as not to give away his hiding place) as he saw Tsukki holding up a pair of indoor shoes full of icing from the strawberry shortcake he left behind.
“I swear Kuroo Yukio you are so dead when I find you!”
Okay, so the next few days were filled with petty pranks, half-assed revenge plots, and almost-playful banters that definitely endeared Yukio to the blonde, but he could not say it was the same for her.
But for some weird reason, it did not matter to him—as long as she was by his side.
“It’s good to see you getting around without being wheeled by, Kuroo-san.”
Kuroo Yukio gave out one of his yes-thank-you-but-I-don’t-have-time-for-idle-chat-with-total-strangers smile to the omega who had cornered him by his locker as he was about to go to club. Frankly, he was getting tired of fake-smiling to people who seemed to be a lot happier than he was now that he can walk again without aid. It was overwhelmingly pleasing to note that his schoolmates worried about his health, but after doing so for three straight days now was getting annoying.
“So this means that Pres won’t be with you the entire time? She’s good at everything she does, but she can be downright scary, you know.”
He has been hearing about how Tsukishima Yukiko is really scary and you were so brave to be able to be with her for days, Kuroo-san! To be honest, this was even more annoying than the congratulatory greetings. One more you’re so cool, Kuroo-san! and he’d hurl.
How the heck was he considered cool when he got his ass whipped by a girl? These people have a weird perception of coolness, that’s for sure. If you’d ask him, the blonde is way waayy cooler than he is. She’s on a different level on the coolness spectrum. She can hold herself up, she doesn’t take any shit lying down. For an omega, she does not whimper and isn’t needy. She does not cower from alphas and dominate betas. She’s her own person.
I wonder what she’d be like as a girlfriend.
He did not notice that his mind had wandered off until the unknown omega pushed himself to him that he already felt his locker door upon his back. Light blue eyes looked up at him prettily as he felt a hand hold on to his sleeve. Suddenly the overwhelming scent of a lavender field invaded his senses, making him feel slightly light-headed.
“Would you consider me, Kuroo-san?”
“You have amazing eyes, Kuroo-san. They remind me of molten gold.”
Yukiko has gold eyes, too. Gold is prettier than blue.
“And you have such unique hair. I wonder if they feel nice to the touch.”
Yukiko says my hair is stupid. I think she means the opposite, though.
“And you’re really tall. You’re taller than most guys here in school, Kuroo-san.”
So is Yukiko. She’s got pretty, long legs and towers over most girls. Boys, even.
“I think you’re the perfect alpha, Kuroo-san.”
I wonder if Yukiko also thinks I’m—
Like whiplash, the voice coming from the end of the hallway pried the two apart. The omega who just begged for his consideration whimpered softly, a clear sign that he’s agitated. Yukio almost reached out to said omega in an attempt to comfort him, but somebody already beat him to it.
“Are you okay?” Concern was laced in the voice of the newcomer and enclosed the whimpering omega in a soothing embrace. “Are you hurt anywhere? What did this pervert do to you? Did he force himself onto you?”
”WHAT?!” Yukio couldn’t help but splutter out, because how dare this person accuse him? Wasn’t it obvious that he was the one pinned to the wall by the omega? “I did not do anything to him, how dare you jump into—
Fierce gold eyes bored into his own and for a moment, he almost forgot that he was an alpha. The newcomer was no other than Tsukishima Yukiko, who had her fangs bared at him in a gesture of protectiveness, like an omega mother protecting her cub.
“Oh I dare, Kuroo-san.” The blonde’s eyes seemed to brighten up almost murderously as she tried to hide the other boy behind her. “I won’t have any alpha parade their perceived dominance and treat any omega like shit.”
Despite himself, he bristled at the accusation and wanted nothing more than to reach behind the mad girl and force the whimpering boy to tell her what exactly happened.
“But I did not even touch him!”
“If I had come any later I’m sure you would have.”
“Why don’t you ask him what really happened?!”
“He’d lie because he’s afraid of you!”
At that, the whimpering omega behind Yukiko dashed out, leaving the two behind in their clash of snarls and stares. Yukio visibly deflated at the sight of the absolute traitor who ran away without even trying to clear out the obvious misunderstanding.
“See? You scared him away!” The blonde huffed at him. “What is with you alphas?!”
Yukio did not even bother explaining anymore, because he was sure the blonde was convinced he did something.
“What is it with you and alphas?” He roared at her, pleased when her golden eyes grew wide in apparent fear. “Why do you hate us so?”
Yukiko lowered her gaze and turned away. Yukio tried to grab her arm but she jumped away, bristling.
“Or is it just me?” Despite himself, he felt his chest aching at the realization. “Do you really hate me that much, Tsukki?”
“Go to class, you jerk. I don’t want to fetch you from detention again.”
As Tsukishima Yukiko walked away without as much as a backward glance, Kuroo Yukio knew that there was more to the apathetic blonde than what meets the eye.
And he’s determined to find that out.
Okay, so saying he’d find out more about Tsukishima Yukiko was easier said than done. Damn Hollywood, they always make stalking look easier. How dare all those spy movies lead their viewers into thinking that becoming a spy was just about wearing suits and whispering into hidden microphones! He’d be sure to delete all the espionage films stored in his computer later, that is, if he comes out of the situation with all limbs intact and not dislocated or broken.
So far, he was on day three of his Operation: Lunar Discovery (which, he would like to note smugly, was the greatest name for a stealth operation ever known to mankind—even when his best friend visibly gagged when he told him the last time they had a skype call. What did Ringo know about spies, anyway? He can just go and drown himself in his games and Yukio would just make him take back his word about how this was beyond his capabilities).
“So you’re saying that your injuries are not enough for you to let go of the blonde.” Ringo had asked him over the weekend with one eyebrow raised, as if he has heard all of Yukio’s crazy ideas and this one just topped the list. (He probably did.) “Getting her to like you literally cost you an arm and a leg, Yukio.”
“I’m telling you, Ringo, there’s just something about her that draws me closer…”
“...to death.” His best friend supplied helpfully. “If you like her that much, why don’t you just ask her out?”
Actually, Yukio had thought of that ever since he met the omega. He just doesn’t know why he still couldn’t, it wasn’t really that hard, and he’s done so loads of times in his previous schools. So far, no one had ever flat out rejected him and some even fight for his attention, so why the sudden hesitation?
“To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I like her.”
Ringo looked at him with a perplexed expression on the other end. “Really, Yukio? You go to great lengths just to get this girl’s attention and you don’t know if you like her? Are you stupid or are you stupid?”
Yukio winced at that, coming from his bestfriend he does sound stupid. “Well,” he laced his fingers together, “I like her, but I don’t know if I like like her. I just know I had to be near her—she’s just pulling me!”
“You are stupid.” Ringo deadpanned. “Anyway, it’s your funeral, so do what you wish. I just have one advice, though.”
“Change the name. Lunar Discovery? Really?”
“Hey, the name’s perfect! It fits the operation! I’ll show you just how good I am at this, you condescending jerk!”
The Londoner sighed before disconnecting. “I’m going to go pick out my suit for your funeral.”
So, yeah, day three of Operation: Lunar Discovery has provided Yukio with the following facts:
The subject’s name is Tsukishima Yukiko. She’s a sophomore in Kanegawa Gakuen, and she has been studying in the same school since elementary. She’s the present student council president, and is exempted from joining club activities. Most of her friends are in the boys’ volleyball club or is associated to said group; she also hates the swim team, mostly because the team captain and his younger brother (who is also a member of said team) have always been open about their appreciation (for lack of a better term) for the blonde. She is a figure respected and even feared, to a certain extent; is warm to omegas, friendly enough to betas, and dislikes alphas.
He heaved a sigh. Three days of tailing after the blonde and he’s got nothing; only generic facts that most people already knew about Tsukishima Yukiko. The girl’s a tough nut that’s harder to crack than he initially thought.
I wonder what Yukiko is like outside of school.
That line of thinking is what led present-day Kuroo Yukio in Marunouchi, Tokyo’s premier financial district. The said business hub is located about two stations away from Kanegawa Gakuen and is the headquarters of the world’s most successful corporations including the top Japanese companies that have made their mark globally. Apparently Yukiko more often than not comes to Marunouchi after classes since she walked purposefully towards one of the buildings like she has been doing so for years. Nonetheless, he had been perplexed to know that she frequents such a place—Marunouchi is hardly a place for an ordinary student, even if it was the student council president of a prestigious academy.
Yukio watched the blonde’s curls bouncing as she skipped her way towards one of the many establishments there: a very impressive-looking skyscraper made entirely of glass panels that made the sunlight bounce back in all directions that made Yukio think of a lighthouse. It was easily the most majestic and the tallest building in the district, with the words The Hotaru Group emblazoned in gold adorning the front. The guards greeted her as she walked in, cementing his hunch that the blonde is a frequent visitor.
Who is she visiting, though?
Knowing that he could not follow her inside, Yukio settled down instead on one of the nearby benches within the designated smoking areas and pulled out his smartphone. He opened the search engine and started looking up for whatever he could find about The Hotaru Group.
“Welcome, Miss Yukiko.” The receptionist said warmly with an almost motherly smile, instantly making her feel lighter. Her mother said omegas are always preferred for positions such as these, and now she knows why. They make every visitor instantly feel welcome—she suspects it’s the pheromones. “Here to visit Tsukishima-sama?”
She nodded and ran a hand through blonde locks out of habit. “Is he accepting visitors today? I can wait in the study or with Uncle Keiji.”
The receptionist laughed lightly. “Miss Yukiko, you are in your mother’s ‘always let-in’ list, but I can give his secretary a call if you like.”
“Yes please, and thank you.”
One phone call later and Yukiko is on her way to her mother’s office. The office of the CEO is unsurprisingly located at the topmost floor, and has its own private lift. This is why the CEO is hardly visible to the employees, and only the board gets to see his face during meetings. Yukiko even doubts it if his ordinary employees recognize Tsukishima Kei when then walk by him, especially when he goes out of the office in his casual wear (which he does when he and Yukiko decide to eat out rather than at home).
A loud ding! announced her stop, and the elevator doors part to reveal the most exquisite office in all of Marunouchi, which would undoubtedly dazzle anyone, even Yukiko had she not been accustomed to seeing it from when she was still younger.
The heels of her outdoor school shoes tapped on sleek black marble tiles, making an echoing sound on the relatively empty receiving lounge that made her mother’s secretary look up.
Ichinose Aimi had been Tsukishima Kei’s executive secretary for as long as Yukiko could remember—she was practically family. The now 37-year-old beta still looked as crisp and as immaculately professional as the day the blonde met her: long brown hair tied up in a tight bun (not a single strand out of place), high cheekbones dusted with light blush and red lips curling into a smile along the edges. Behind her polished wooden desk Yukiko was sure she was wearing one of her so-called power suits: tapered pencil skirt that showed the right amount of legs, white dress shirt under tailor-fitted blazer of the same color as her skirt, and black heeled shoes. Ichinose-san definitely looked like she belonged to the place, like she was purchased alongside the elegant chandelier in the middle of an ornately carved ceiling, alongside the white sofa that stood out among the black, grey, and wood motif.
“Yuki-chan!” Her professional, almost stern features broke into a wide smile at the sight of the teen. “I was wondering when you’d come visit, it has been so long!” So long in Ichinose-san’s opinion apparently totaled to a number of hours, since Yukiko was sure she saw the secretary during last night’s dinner—she and Kei had worked at the latter’s home office way into the night for an urgent project.
"I've just gotten a bit busy at school."
"Oh yeah! Student council president, huh? Good on you Yuki-chan, not all omegas get to hold such high positions!"
"Hmm." She managed to give out a weak smile, but said nothing. Ichinose-san looked like she was about to say something else, but at that precise moment, the double doors to the right opened, and out came someone dressed impeccably in a suit. Yukiko thought the guy was good-looking: tall, toned body, well-styled hair, and a face that could rival any model. In fact, he looked as if he came straight out of a fashion magazine. He'd totally be the bad boy-slash-playful-kitten that omegas seem to dig. He seemed pretty pissed off when he came out, but flashed both a friendly enough smile and a small wave upon seeing them. Yukiko's gaze followed the stranger's back until he disappeared into the lift and the smell of an alpha pheromone dissipated away.
Seeing the curious glint in the teenagers eyes, Ichinose-san whispered conspiratorially, "That's Terushima Yuuji of Yuuji Builders."
She nodded, being a daughter of a corporation's CEO often meant she was updated with who's who in the world of business, whether she liked to or not. And besides, who does not know Yuuji Builders? It is simply the biggest architectural firm in Japan!
"He's also courting Tsukishima-sama."
Okay, she did not expect that. Yukiko kept her face blank as she made a mental note to look up Terushima Yuuji online later. (Being the daughter of a corporation's CEO taught her that as well, since apparently the wealthiest people are also the most secretive; they get into as lot of crazier shit than the average worker--only they have the money and the connections to have all their bullshit buried and well-hidden.)
"You may now go and see your mother, Yuki-chan."
She did not need any more prodding as she pushed the door to her mother's office open with a tentative crack.
The CEO's main office is quite simple as compared to its outside lounge area, but it somehow screams elegance and power and wealth in its own quiet way. In a sense, the sparsely-decorated room reflects its owner like a mirror. Like his office, Tsukishima Kei of The Hotaru Group is never one for extravangance, but somehow he carries himself with grace and elegance that only businessmen in the higher echelons seem to pull off. He is no pushover either; he conducts business like the way a genius student answers a particularly hard item on a quiz: with calculated, sure steps backed up with multiple alternate plans. Like the usual, he is dressed in a light gray suit that he matched with a light yellow tie which brought out the startlingly golden hue of his eyes (even with his dark rimmed glasses on) and the fair, flaxen shade of his hair. The only accessory he had on was his favorite chrome timepiece, but he still managed to look like he owned most of Japan. Sometimes when he is like this it is even hard to believe that the man is an omega, especially as he wears scent masks and takes suppressants during important business dealings.
The CEO did not notice her arrival at first, immersed with typing something into his laptop. Yukiko even had to clear her throat first to announce her presence and get the busy omega to look up. She stared as her mother's professional mask melted away into the familiar face of a mother who dotes on her pup, a face that Tsukishima Kei only shows to her.
"Snowdrop, is this your way of telling me you want to go out with me on a dinner date?"
Kuroo Yukio could not believe his own eyes.
Tsukishima Yukiko, Kanegawa Gakuen's student council president, upholder of justice, enemy of delinquents, and protector of omegas has a sugar daddy.
A sugar daddy, of all things. True, he does not know anything about the blonde's family's financial state of affairs, but is she really that low on funds to resort to this?
Just a filler, sorry. :) Next up: Yukio finally meets his mother! (throws confetti)
Chapter 6: Six | The Cat that Saw a Firefly
Daishou Ringo has always thought that he has had this best friend thing down to a science. He knew Yukio since they were both in diapers and he has witnessed every phase that the boy has ever gone through. He was there when the alpha had his first rut (and has sat patiently while the bedhead bemoaned the fact that he was a beta—Ringo had been secretly pleased at being a beta and put up a depressed front to his best friend who seemed to be more affected by the revelation, as if the tables were turned and Yukio had been the beta.); he had been there when the boy got his first consideration back in middle school (and Yukio was also with him when he got his first courtship offer from an alpha that they both did not like—his raven-haired friend still howls with laughter to this day at the memory, damn him). Daishou Ringo thought he has had this best friend thing down pat, considering the length of time they’ve been together and the amount of utter bullshit he has been tolerating from the bedhead through the years, but alas, he was grossly mistaken.
“Yuki, are you even sure about what you’re saying?” He thinks now it really is time for him to pull out that suit and prepare a eulogy, since Kuroo Yukio is adamant on digging his own grave.
The bedhead puffed from the other line, annoyed. It has already been a few days since his trip to Marunouchi but Yukio has been telling him about his shocking discovery as though it all happened yesterday. He has never seen his best friend this agitated, like Yukio was actually upset by what he saw. Boy was this stupid cat in too deep for his apathetic blonde classmate.
“I am sure!” Gold eyes emitted a serious glow even through the shitty intermittent Skype connection. Huh. He’s really sure of it. “I told you before, Ringo, I saw it myself!”
“Maybe it’s her brother?”
“She’s an only child.”
“Didn’t look old enough.”
“She hates her cousins, much less go out with them on dinner dates.” Ringo had to admit, he was impressed that his friend knew the blonde’s relationship with her cousins—that must have took up a lot of effort and ingenuity.
“Did he look like…?” Ringo grimaced, not knowing why he could not say the damn word. It’s not like it is taboo, he can even do profanities just fine.
“…like?” Yukio’s confused voice came to him clearly, with a face scrunched up like a curious kitten confronted with a new toy he has yet to know about. He had even tilted his head a bit, and Ringo was sure that if the boy had cat ears, it would have been twitching like crazy at this point. Damn this cat-boy.
It was Ringo’s turn to huff in annoyance now, wishing he could go back to his mother’s home office down in the basement where he was developing a new game for gaming company Blizzard Entertainment. Daishou Kenma was a name that most gamers all over the world revered, making out-of-this-world games that have their own riveting plots and tastefully-designed characters in a setting that is unique as it was meticulously detailed. He was so good, in fact, that he was not tied to any gaming company (he referred to them as special clients and he was just working on a commission) and worked in the comfort of his own home. A year ago his mother finished a new game for Nintendo, and it was Yukio and he who first tested it before it came out of the market. Before this skype call he was with his mother in the design room, where he was looking at the newest character raws that Blizzard’s design team has sent over and was giving his own criticisms and improvisation ideas. It was way much cooler to be a game character than a supportive best friend, especially to someone with ridiculously stupid and possibly fatal ideas like his idiot tomodachi.
But, as a good best friend, Yukio was his responsibility so he just had to deal. “Like a sugar daddy, as you said.”
Do sugar daddies fall into one similar trope? Like, do they exude an aura that separates them from the rest?
“Oh.” Yukio laced his fingers again, a gesture that Ringo found odd, because Uncle Tetsu never does that. In fact, no one around Yukio does. He wasn’t sure how that gesture came to be, but he was sure what it meant: uncertainty.
His eyes instantly reduced into snake-like slits, scrutinizing.
“And you said you were sure.” Damn, his mother would be halfway done with the characters by now. “You did not see his face, didn’t you?”
“Kuroo Yukio, if that blonde classmate of yours doesn’t kill you then I will.”
“But I saw them!” Yukio’s face suddenly became bigger on his monitor; the bedhead must have pressed his face nearer to the cam. “They were kissing!”
The last word had been breathed out in urgency, like it was supposed to make him tear his hair out in shock. Kuroo Yukio can be such a drama queen sometimes.
“That can’t be right.” A well-placed frown was in place of the supposed shock. “Where did you see them again?”
“I followed them to a restaurant located a block away from the building owned by The Hotaru Group.” Wow, such perseverance, Yukio. “They were holding hands going to dinner.”
“And?” It was clear that his best friend was disappointed at him for his lack of reaction but well, Yukio deserves a little bitching for keeping him from all the excitement currently happening in the basement. He put on his best stoic face. “Did you follow them inside?” he asked, knowing full well what the answer was.
True enough, the bedhead nodded his head in confirmation and Ringo could hardly contain an exasperated sigh at his friend’s naiveté sometimes.
“The manager led them to a table.” Yukio looked up towards the ceiling, as if he was trying to remember details. “They were regular customers, by the way everyone in the staff treated them.”
“Oh?” There was an unspoken are you sure? in that single syllable and both boys knew that.
"Yes Ringo I am sure."
"But that does not mean they are lovers, Yuki."
"I'm telling you what I saw. I saw them kissing, Ringo! Tsukishima was raining kisses all over the man's face—
"Whose face you didn't really see, and could really be a member of her family."
"Well, he had his back on me, how am I supposed to see who it was?"
"You said the man had blonde hair, Yuki. He could easily be a family member."
"He could also easily be a lover."
"Or he could just be a friend.”
The raven-haired boy stared at the brunette like he could not believe what he just heard. Ringo did not even bother to hide a sigh of relief the moment Yukio suddenly stood up and went outside of the webcam's range.
Maybe I can still see the finishing touches on the costumes if I disconnect right now.
But before he could even carry out a plan, the bedhead was back, and Ringo was surprised to note that his best friend was carrying a big green dinosaur plushie with him.
"Oi Yuki, why'd you bring Midori?" He asked, appalled. The green plush dinosaur was his gift to Yuki; he in turn had Akai, a black plush cat with a bell around its neck tied by a red braided cord. They were in third grade back then, and those gifts came with a promise.
"Midori is here as my witness."
Back then they both promised never to keep secrets from each other--they can tell half the entire story, even withhold information when they are not yet ready to share, but they should never lie to each other. They both swore on that, with Midori and Akai as their witnesses. Now, several years later, both boys still abide to that promise.
"You don't play fair, Yuki."
"I'm telling the truth, Ringo. If you don't believe me, please at least believe in Midori."
"I'd believe you when you give me substantial evidence--Midori or no Midori."
Tsukishima Kei would know that mop of bedhead anywhere.
The car screeched to a halt, tires digging onto the pavement in a loud screech that got into a perfect sync with Yukiko’s surprised squeals. The sleek red Porsche 911 Cabriolet skidded into a halt just in front of a nearby fruit stand, drawing the attention of everyone in the streets. The stall owner angrily reprimanded him for his bad driving, to which the bespectacled blonde only paid half attention to. Even as he and his daughter apologized profusely, Kei's eyes wandered through the crowd, mind gears whirring more than they usually do.
There was no way he was here. Kei made sure of that. He did everything to make sure of that.
It hurts, but it had to be done.
"Mom, is something wrong?" Yukiko's voice jolted him back to reality. He looked around and saw that the shop owner had gone back to his stall, albeit still glaring at them and their obnoxious western-made car.
"Nothing." He forced his features to form a smile, hoping against hope that his perceptive daughter would not notice it was a fake. He adjusted his glasses as some sort of distraction. "I'm just thinking about how I'd get even with that Tanaka for switching our cars."
"Uncle Ryu said there was this lady he needed to impress, but she thought he was a reckless type of person so he borrowed your car for their date."
He was sure Yukiko was filling him with the details about how long-time bachelor Tanaka Ryunosuke supposedly met the greatest love of his life, but Tsukishima Kei could not be bothered with that. Not now especially.
He turned around, trying to locate the crazy hair that almost drove them to a near-death experience. It was already getting late and people were rushing by in throngs, drowning him in a sea of unfamiliar faces.
"Who are you looking for, mom?"
He gave the area one last sweep before opening the door to the passenger seat open for his daughter.
It doesn't matter. He decided. It has been seventeen years. It didn't matter back then; of course it won't matter now.
"Nothing, snowdrop." Yukiko looked at him funny, like she knew he was hiding something. Well, knowing her daughter she probably did. Yukiko reached over to touch his face before getting inside the car like she always does when she knows her mother is upset about something, an omega comforting a fellow omega, a daughter looking out for her mother, Yukiko just being Yukiko.
He thought he heard a choked scream somewhere but he disregarded it and proceeded to the driver's side. His pup was still staring at her intently, face full of concern. "How about we go to your favorite restaurant again for dinner?”
Yukiko shook her head. “I want to try the new place near the hospital. Keiko said that their mackerel dishes are to die for.”
“Near University of Tokyo Hospital, mom. I believe it’s called Le Maison de Fraise, so called because apparently, they also have the best strawberry pastries.”
Their eyes met, both twinkling like polished gold coins. Looks like they’ve found a new favorite dining spot.
28 missed calls.
150 unread mails.
1 baffled Kuroo Yukio.
He was woken up by the incessant vibrations coming from his phone, which was shaking too much that his still sleep-drugged brain initially thought of an earthquake. Before he could panic, however, his ringtone blared up again, and his father’s smirking face filled the entire screen.
Seriously, when did he put this as his contact image? I guess I’d have to change my password later.
He allowed the noisy device to ring three, four, five times before answering. His father had been back in London for a few weeks for a seminar of sorts (he did not really listen to the neurosurgeon when he saw him packing up his things back then) and also to finally finish their move. There had been a few things left in their old house that Tetsurou handed over to Uncle Ken for safekeeping.
“Kuroo Yukio!” The bedhead put away the phone at an arm’s length, worried he’d go deaf by the steadily rising tone of his father on the other end. “What is this I’ve been hearing?”
“Hearing what?” He placed his phone on loudspeaker and placed it on his bedside table—better safe than sorry. “I swear dad, I’ve been really good while you’re away, and I’ve been attending all my classes, doing all my assignments, even going to club—
“And getting injured enough to be admitted to a hospital.” His father finished for him, tone dropping dangerously that he actually feared for his just recently healed limbs. “And you never even told me.”
“What kind of father does this make me?” He could just imagine Kuroo Tetsurou on the other line, pacing briskly back and forth and running his hand through his hair, messing it even more (as if it was tamable in the first place). “I even had to hear the about it from a colleague! AND AFTER YOU WERE DISCHARGED!”
“Dad, I’m okay now, really.” He wrung his own fingers, sitting up straight on his bed as if Tetsurou could actually see if he truly was okay. “And this is why I did not tell you, I know you’d fly straight back home had you known.”
“Of course I will! The school is going to have to answer to me for this, Yukio, how could they have kept this from me?” A vivid image of Kuroo Tetsurou in bloody scrubs marching towards the pricipal’s office filled his head, but before he could even give out a rebuttal, the neurosurgeon gave out a sigh and spoke again. His father’s tone softened considerably, obvious even over the phone. “You’re the only one I have, Yuki.”
“I’m sorry, dad.”
A few minutes of nothing but static, and then—
“It’s fine, I just panicked when I knew.” A sharp huff. “And hey, I just arrived at the airport.”
Just like that, Kuroo Tetsurou turned the mood around in a full sharp 180.
“You’re back?!” Yukio jumped on his feet, staring at his father’s image on the screen and waiting for him to drop the punchline, saying it was all a joke. “You weren’t supposed to until the end of this week!”
“Well, my son almost DIED of course I’d fly straight back home.”
“But I’m okay now! What about your important seminar?”
“You’re more important, Yuki.” Tetsurou chuckled when his son let out an embarrassed squeak at that, his pup was always very easy to rile up. “Anyway, get dressed, I got us reservations for dinner at this new restaurant near the hospital where I work.”
“Which one?” Hell, there were loads of restaurants near the hospital’s general area, he’d be wandering all night if he did not know specifically where to go.
“It’s a French place.” Came the reply. “Dress up a bit more formally than you usually do, the new place is supposed to be fancy.”
Yukio did not even bother hiding a groan, along with the promise that he’d be there in 45 minutes.
Tsukishima Yukiko would know that mop of bedhead anywhere.
Tsukishima Yukiko would know that mop of bedhead anywhere, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever imagine she’d be seeing him in a fancy French restaurant, of all places!
Le Maison de Fraise is this new café-restaurant (seriously, us Japanese and our fascination for the French, Yukiko thought with an imperceptible eye roll) that just opened over the weekend, located three blocks away from Todai hospital. In the mornings, the place is known as The Strawberry Hut, a cute, homey café specializing in everything strawberry: from crepes to scones to breads to tarts to cakes to parfaits, they even serve strawberry tea and strawberry-infused coffee. After 6pm, the place closes down for two hours, then opens right back at eight, this time an elegant restaurant serving all sorts of French dishes catering mostly to the elite, what with their higher-than-usual pricing range.
Most of the people around their table came dressed in formal wear, though no one raised an eyebrow when the Tsukishimas went right inside clad in jeans and sweatshirts (Yukiko suspects it was due to Kei’s aura of self-confidence, leaving no room for questions) and were led directly to a table near the grand piano, as per the older omega’s request.
That was when she saw him: transfer student/delinquent/annoying cat-boy/stuff of nightmares/crazy bedhead Kuroo Yukio. She was about to dig in to her plate of mackerel when she noticed him directly in her line of vision, two tables away from where she and her mother were seated.
Gold meet gold, and Yukio winked at her.
A few minutes later, she felt her phone vibrate with a new LINE message. She knew giving her user ID to the damn boy was a mistake and she should never have done that, despite Yukio’s incessant grovelling. Now that mistake has come to bite her in the ass.
KurooCat: TSUKKKIIII (8:43pm)
TsukishimaYukiko: What? (read 8:43pm)
KurooCat: dat u near d piano? (8:44pm)
KurooCat: ur boyfrnd looks cute (8:44pm)
KurooCat: even if its jz his back (8:45 pm)
KurooCat: dint know u wr into older guys, tsukkiiii (8:46pm)
TsukishimaYukiko: GO DIE (read 8:53pm)
Yukiko glared at the bedhead, who was looking right back at her with his signature shit-eating grin. The boy even raised his glass at her, then gestured at his phone as if urging her to check hers. Right on cue, her phone buzzed again with a new message.
KurooCat: enjoy ur date (8:55pm)
TsukishimaYukiko: shut up, Kuroo-san (read 8:56pm)
KurooCat: nevr imagined ud hav an older boyfrnd (8:56pm)
TsukishimaYukiko: Can you just go be annoying somewhere, Kuroo-san? (read 8:56pm)
KurooCat: oooohhh sugar daddy? seems rich *wink* (8:57pm)
TsukishimaYukiko: I’m going to kill you. (read 9:00pm)
Yukiko heard a small chuckle from across her seat while she was busy typing a message back to the stupid cat-boy. She looked up to see her mother’s amused face, a teasing smile on his pink lips. “I’m going to think that it’s your boyfriend you’re texting, snowdrop.”
“No way.” She huffed and placed her phone down on the table. “It’s the annoying cat-boy, I’m seriously regretting giving him my LINE.” Out of the corner of her eye she saw Kuroo grinning right at her. She frowned his way, making her mother laugh.
“Oh, is he here too?” The older blonde laughed. “Is this why you chose this place, snowdrop?”
KurooCat: hey tsuks do u think I can meet ur boyfrnd? (9:11pm)
Kuroo Yukio is going to have his other arm broken tonight.
A few tables away, Kuroo Yukio was having the time of his life, thoroughly enjoying every minute he was riling up his schoolmate. He wanted to get mad at his father for his restaurant choice, but know he’s glad he decided to indulge his old man.
TsukishimaYukiko: You’re really asking for it, Kuroo-san. (9:16pm)
KurooCat: c’mon, i wont tell anyone at school. promise. (9:16pm)
He laughed at his own message, wondering if he could rile Yukiko into introducing him to her sugar daddy. (Maybe he could even sneak a picture, if he’s lucky—then maybe Ringo would stop being a haughty b*tch and believe him.)
“Would you like to order now, sir?”
Yukio shook his head at the waiter. “Maybe in a while, I’m still waiting for someone.”
“Oh.” The waiter’s bright smile dimmed down a few watts. “Your girlfriend? She must be pretty to have a handsome alpha like you to wait for her.”
Nah, the omega I like is on a date with another guy.
He flashed a charming smile at the waiter instead, watching with fascination as the boy slowly turned beet red, the blush creeping up his cheeks up to the tips of his ears. This one’s not bad, he decided.
But before any of them could say anything, Tsukishima Yukiko was already at his table, clad in a white beribboned sweatshirt and an obviously fake smile plastered on her face.
“Kuroo-san.” Even her voice was dripping with fake politeness.
The waiter stared at her, blinked a few times and then took his leave, shoulders slumped dejectedly. Yukiko sat herself on the empty seat.
“What’s with those messages?” She hissed angrily behind a smile. “Why are you here?”
He grinned at her, making sure that his smile screamed malice. “Maybe I also have a date with my boyfriend.”
The blonde’s eyes reduced into annoyed slits. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Then who’s the blonde?”
“None of your business.”
Yukio leaned forward. “Is he your sugar daddy, then? I saw you holding hands one time, you know. You even rained kisses all over his face.” He then leaned back on his seat, staring at the blonde who was obviously struggling with herself, probably trying to hold herself back.
Why won’t you tell me who he is, Yukiko?
To his (and everyone’s) surprise, Tsukishima Yukiko banged both fists on the table, her face red and her eyes brimming with unshed angry tears. The bedhead jolted up in alarm.
“What is wrong with you?” The blonde’s voice wasn’t exactly loud, but it was certainly loud enough to reach a few tables. “What the hell is wrong with you, Kuroo-san? Look, if this is your way of getting back at me for breaking your arm then—
A third voice came from behind him, sounding like melting honey. Kuroo Yukio was also suddenly aware of the smell of strawberries flooding his olfactory nerves, reminding him of his favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake.
Before he could even turn around, the owner of the voice had already walked around and in front of him, bowing deeply as an apology. Yukio sat up straighter despite himself, looking at the soft looking blonde waves of the man in front of him.
“I am deeply sorry for Yukiko’s behaviour.”
It’s the sugar daddy!
The man then straightened up, drawing himself to full height and dwarfing the two teenagers who were still shell-shocked in their chairs. Yukio marvelled at how tall the blonde actually is, and thought he was way taller than him or his father. But what surprised him more is—
Oh my god they look so much alike!
“I am Tsukishima Kei, Yukiko’s mother. Again, I apologize on her behalf. She can be really temperamental.”
Damn it, Kuroo Yukio, what were you thinking?!
Thank god for his stoic face borne from years and years of practice or Tsukishima Kei would have embarrassed himself. The moment he finally looked into cat-boy’s face, he felt his knees go weak.
Get a grip on yourself, Kei. It has been seventeen years, of course he’d move on.
“Are you Yuki’s friend in school?” Damn it, his voice was shaking. “I haven’t seen you before. What’s your name?”
He knew already, even before the boy gave out his name. After all, he was the splitting image of the man he used to know back then: the same hair he used to comb his fingers through, the same tanned skin he used to shower kisses with, the same charming smile that used to make him blush. He was even somehow as tall when Kei first met him!
“I’m Kuroo Yukio, sir.” The boy bowed low, and Kei felt his heart constrict. Maybe if they hadn’t parted ways they’d have a boy like Yukio, maybe Yukio would be calling him mom instead of sir.
“Tsukki and I are schoolmates.” Tsukki. He calls her Tsukki. Like father like son. What are the odds?
Kei’s gold eyes searched over Yukio’s face, studying his features. An inexplicable feeling of wanting to touch the boy’s face overwhelmed him, which made no sense at all. Why was he so drawn to this boy? Why does it feel like he knew him even long before, when this was obviously the first time they’d met?
“Oi.” Yukiko’s voice came sharp like a whip, jolting Kei back to reality for the umpteenth time today. “Stop staring at my mother, you pervert. Do you want me to break your other arm?”
It took him a few seconds to process what his daughter just said, eyes still trained on the boy in front of him like a crazy person. Wait, what?
Kei turned to his daughter (who was now cringing at her little slip-up) the moment his body finally caught up to his brain. “What? Who broke whose arm? And why wasn’t I informed?”
“It was my fau—
Both teens were visibly relieved when Kei’s work phone rang. It was Akaashi. He hardly ever calls, and when he does, he does so in times of pressing emergencies. He has to take this.
“I think I’m needed at the office.” He said, looking at his daughter. “You have some explaining to do, young lady. I’d be hearing from you the moment I get home.
Yukiko nodded almost imperceptibly, head still bowed in apology.
“Have Masa-chan pick you up, okay?” Yukiko nodded again. Good.
He then turned to Kuroo Yukio and, in a gesture that is so totally unlike the Tsukishima Kei that everybody knows, he gave the boy a tight hug.
“I’m sorry for whatever my Yuki did, Kuroo-san.”
The boy hugged him back, to his surprise. It felt warm and he practically eased into it, which was odd since he was never this comfortable to strangers. Honestly, there was something about this kid. Or maybe he just had a weakness for anybody named Kuroo.
The unfeeling mask was back to his face the moment he pulled away from the hug. He handed over his business card. “Here is my number, please call me. I would like to compensate you for whatever my daughter did as a sign that we are sincerely sorry.”
He let out his tears the moment he was in the car.
Meanwhile, Kuroo Yukio’s little childish crush on Tsukishima Kei just ebbed away. The student council president gave him one last withering stare before calling Yamaguchi Masato for a ride home.
“Yuki, I’m sorry I’m late.” His father came in just a few minutes after Yukiko left, finding him smiling giddily at the card in his hands.
His little crush for his classmate may have ebbed away, but he still thinks he has a thing for blondes.
Chapter 7: Sept | A Black Cat, a Firefly, and a Secret
i really should work on that blasted report, but here you go.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Kuroo Tetsurou thinks his son has lost it.
He looked at the boy seated in front of him at their small breakfast table, wondering if something happened during the course of his three-week absence to attend that goddamn boring seminar, if he should press charges to Kanegawa Gakuen for his son turning out like this.
“Someone woke up on the right side of the bed for once.” He said airily, sipping on his cup of black coffee. “Had a good sleep huh, Yuki?”
Yukio looked up from his stack of dino-shaped pancakes (Tetsu made them for little 3-year-old Yuki back then and somehow, the boy never got over it) with a smile that brightened up his gold eyes. It somehow unnerved him a little, since his son was never a morning person and was always grumpy when woken up in the mornings. It was one of the things the two of them never really share, as he was an early riser and had no problem functioning at ungodly hours of the morning.
“The best!” The boy enthused, acting more like a toddler than a high school sophomore student. Tetsurou laughed and ruffled his son’s hair, making the latter swat his hands away with a small annoyed tch before going back to his syrupy stack of pancakes. “I even had a really good dream.”
”Hmm…” he took another sip of his coffee again and dug into the plate of grilled mackerel his son prepared for him for breakfast. “I can see you did, Yuki. You even woke up early and made breakfast.”
“Well, you looked a bit jetlagged so I really couldn’t wake you up.”
He smiled at his son. This was the Yukio he knew, the Yukio he raised back in London. This was the kind boy who always looked out for others in his own quiet way, the Yukio who never got into fights because he was content to stay detached until his cooperation is needed, the Yukio who acted very much like the person from where he got those beautiful, expressive golden eyes from.
“Aw, Yuki!” He pretended not to hear the second annoyed tch escaping his son’s lips. “What was your dream about?”
He watched the teenager cut up his pancake carefully by the dino’s little spikes (yet another trait they did not share, Yukio always acted with finesse where Tetsurou was brash) and bring the food to those delicate pink lips that absolutely did not come from Tetsurou. The boy then took a sip of his own strawberry-infused coffee (Tetsurou never saw the point in adding strawberries in everything) before meeting his father’s gaze once again.
“My mother.” He said in all seriousness. “I dreamt about my mother.”
Kuroo Tetsurou promptly choked on his coffee.
“We share the same eyes.”
He almost spilled black coffee all over his suit as he replaced the cup back to its saucer.
“You do, huh?” He had taken to stirring his black coffee, feigning nonchalance when all he wanted was to escape from his son’s steady, prying gaze. Shit, I can’t stop my hands from shaking!
Yukio didn’t buy his cool guy act. “I’m right, aren’t I, dad?”
Those golden eyes bored into his brown ones and he had to look away from the intensity of the gaze.
“My mother had golden eyes, too.” The boy looked far off into the distance, remembering bits of the previous night’s dream. A ghost of a smile danced upon his lips at the memory. “He hugged me tight and said he was waiting for me.”
Tetsurou’s voice shook. “He?”
“My mother is a male omega, isn’t he?” Their digital clock announced the time from their living room and Yukio was up in an instant, saying he was late for practice. He was out the door no less than five minutes later, not even bidding his father goodbye in his haste.
Kuroo Tetsurou placed a long distance call to London the moment his son set off for school.
Damn it Kenma, where are you?
Kuroo Tetsurou never cared for mating and marking and bonding and everything that pertains to his secondary gender. Even when he first went into rut in the beginning of middle school, Kuroo Tetsurou was unfazed. His sole focus was on volleyball, and no sweet-smelling omega will ever topple the sport from being his first priority.
Until the summer of his eighteenth year.
He was never really looking forward to the practice game that Nekoma’s VBC had been invited to; after all, Miyagi was a bit of a long ride away from Tokyo. He had dragged himself out of his warm, toasty bed at dawn, yawning his way to the bathroom and cursing when the stream of cold water hit his back. He hadn’t really wanted to go, his friend Bokuto Kotarou from Fukurodani had invited him to shop for new knee pads and muscle tapes plus there was a pile of required readings he has yet to start on. If he wasn’t captain then he’d really figure out a way to bail out.
But, as his circumstances prohibit him from doing so, Kuroo Tetsurou had no choice but to gather his fellow cats and push their sleepy heads inside the school coaster that’s taking them to Sendai. For the entire duration of the four-hour (almost five) ride, he had to grit his teeth and bear with all the antics his teammates could come up with to reprieve themselves of the boredom. (He also felt he ran the risk of going deaf from all of Yamamoto’s shouting about how Karasuno could or could not have a hottie for a manager—which was proven right when they saw Kiyoko Shimizu and the mohawk promptly melted into a puddle of tears.)
Karasuno better be good enough to compensate for a really long road trip at such an ungodly hour.
“We are glad you could come.”
“Thank you for having us.”
Karasuno’s captain, a reliable, sturdy-looking alpha named Sawamura Daichi (“I want those thighs to crush me, Kuroo-san!” Yaku had whispered with a giddy grin that had him gagging) shook Kuroo’s hands the moment everyone from Nekoma finally stepped out the bus. Only a few members from Karasuno greeted them outside, Daichi said most of their members are already in the gym. He only managed a nod in reply, his mind still recovering from sleep. He never really felt fully awake until they got to Karasuno High School’s gym, where a faint sweet smell flooded his senses.
He stumbled a little in his steps as the alpha in him stirred.
“Huh?” Daichi turned to face him with a perplexed expression. “Are you hungry, Kuroo-san?”
Oh. I must have said that aloud.
He gave out a polite smile. “Nah, just thinking about what’s for lunch later.”
The remaining members of Karasuno’s VBC stood in one straight line facing everyone when Kuroo and the rest of his team came in. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Kenma’s face light up just as the orange-haired little crow screamed,
“UWAAAA KENMAAAA!!!” Number 10 would have even rushed towards their reserved pudding-head setter had not numbers 9 and 11 restrained him in his place. “You did not tell me you were from Nekoma!”
The scent of fresh strawberries filled up his nose once again, and the alpha in him stirred, looking for the source.
It wasn’t until they stood on other sides of the net that he realized the sweet-smelling omega was the tall and grumpy blonde who wore jersey number 11: Tsukishima Kei.
Mine, the alpha in him growled possessively, throwing him off as the ball hit the blonde’s outstretched arms straight to his face. He stayed sprawled on the ground until the blonde’s face loomed inches over his, mumbling an insincere apology as evident on the smirk playing on his lips.
Kuroo Tetsurou never cared for mating and marking and bonding and everything that pertains to his secondary gender. His sole focus was on volleyball, and no sweet-smelling omega will ever topple the sport from being his first priority.
Until the summer of his eighteenth year, when he first met Tsukishima Kei.
Tsukishima Kei lived a very sheltered life.
Growing up, everybody made sure that he gets what he needs and what he wants even before he could ask. He grew up in a large mansion in one of the most affluent parts of Tokyo, where he was waited upon hand and foot by a handful of servants. He had all the most fashionable clothes, the latest toys and gadgets, went to the poshest of vacations. Anyone would want to be him, except for…well, him.
Tsukishima Kei lived a very sheltered life, and he hated it.
He hated how his family treated him either like some sort of fragile flower, or like he’s the family’s lucky charm. He was born during the time The Hotaru Group was experiencing a downhill slide, and after his birth the business picked up and continued to grow ever since. Kei thinks his birth was merely a bit of a coincidence, but there was no convincing his parents and grandparents otherwise. Plus, there was also the fact that he was the first omega the Tsukishimas had in almost five generations, earning him the moniker “the prized omega” among family and relatives. The only thing that Kei liked about this overwhelming protectiveness was the fact that his immediate family (sans his father) moved to a new location after he first presented. He remembers the heated conversations among the adults in choosing a new place, all wanting him to be as far away from the unruly, sly alphas of Tokyo who did not deserve even the slightest chance to even gaze at their prized omega.
Miyagi was far from what he expected at first (after all, his maternal grandparents wanted him in France), but it was far away from Tokyo, and it has less people, less cars, less noise, less…everything. The best part of it was the presence of lesser bodyguards, and the fact that nobody really knows them nor cares about their lives back in Tokyo. Here, Kei was Kei, an ordinary omega teen, not a bocchan.
He did not miss Tokyo, and did not care for anyone there. Kei was in love with all of Miyagi.
It was easy to spot his visitor as the passengers who came from the Tokyo train milled out, he easily stood above them due to his height and his ridiculous hair. Tsukishima Kei tried to ignore the sudden fluttering of the multitude of butterflies in his stomach as the crazy bedhead made his way towards him, all smiles and excitable waves. He pushed his glasses straighter up his nose, also placing his stoic mask in place along with it.
“I told you to stop calling me that, Kuroo-san.” He tried to inject as much irritation as he could in his voice, but there was no mistaking the slight lilt of his lips upwards, or the happy twinkle of his golden eyes. He was happy, and Kuroo knows it.
Kuroo Tetsurou simply laughed and laced their fingers together, “I will if you stop calling me that, Firefly. Call me by my name like you always do, please?”
The blonde let out a huff of faux-annoyance. “Kuroo-san, people are starting to stare.”
The bedhead raised their entwined hands as a response and pointedly kissed the back of Kei’s hand, watching the blush spread out from the blonde’s cheeks towards his ears and down to his neck.
“So cute.” Kuroo’s lips grazed his beloved’s ears as he leaned in close to a whisper. “Let them stare, they can’t help it. You are so beautiful, Kei, of course they can’t help but stare at you.”
Damn this stupid cat for making him behave like a little love struck omega in the arms of his alpha (which he was, but he at least wanted to be more discreet about it). Tsukishima Kei tugged at their entwined hands and pulled his boyfriend towards their next destination.
“What have you planned for our anniversary, Kei?” Of course the bedhead would ask loads of questions like the curious cat that he is, but he sure as hell won’t give in. As a distraction he simply reached over and wrapped his scarf around his alpha’s neck, making sure that parts of the cloth (which was still saturated with his strawberry-scented pheromones) was as close as possible to the alpha’s sensitive nose. He had to hide a grin when Tetsurou closed his eyes after a deep inhale, tanned fingers clenching into tight fists in an attempt to stop his inner alpha from ravishing the delectable omega in front of him.
They have been going out for a year now but Tetsurou has refrained from anything too intimate that might scare the omega away, willing himself to be contented with light touches and a few kisses instead. Out of the corner of his eye Kei can clearly see his boyfriend’s adorable ‘concentrating’ face and rewarded him with a kiss to the nose for his sheer willpower. The bedhead promptly lighted up like a Christmas tree, his nose wrinkling (it reminded the blonde of how much his boyfriend really did resemble a cat at times).
“You’ll find out soon enough, Tetsu.”
The alpha whined, “Aw, no fair!”
The blonde did not bother to respond and gave his boyfriend a quick peck on the lips to shut him up—it works wonders every single time. Chuckling at the Tokyo boy’s stupefied expression he entwined their hands again and continued walking down the street.
He did not miss Tokyo, and did not care for anyone there. Kei was in love with all of Miyagi.
But he was more in love with all of Kuroo Tetsurou.
It was already way past business hours but the board room just below the topmost floor of The Hotaru Group’s building was still lit, showing two figures seated across each other on the conference table, bodies slumped with exhaustion but still wearing facial expressions that can only be described as gravely serious. Two steaming cups of coffee lay in front each person, forgotten in the midst of a discussion.
“Did you know already?”
At that, one of the figures threw a handful of photos on the table. All of them were candid shots, meaning whoever was the subject of all of the photos did not know they were being followed and closely monitored.
“Akaashi Keiji, I thought you already convinced him.”
It’s Bokuto Keiji, his mind had supplied instantly, but Keiji did not voice it out. After all, he still used his own surname at work despite his husband’s squawking protests back then, on the premise that he has been working for The Hotaru Group since he got out of university, and that his most important clients as well as some of his closest colleagues still refer to him by Akaashi.
Nonetheless, Akaashi—no, Bokuto Keiji—gave the photos a glance, knowing full well that the subject of these was no other than his former friend, Kuroo Tetsurou. After all, if there is one thing that this other person he was currently talking to was good at, it was being overprotective towards his younger brother.
“Calm down, Akiteru-san.” He said placatingly, his hooded olive eyes scanning the pictures as he picked them one by one. “I did convince him, but that was years ago.”
“He agreed to stay away from Kei!” Tsukishima Akiteru was usually a calm and composed person even under tons of pressure from work and his over-achieving family, somehow very much like Akaashi, but he was showing none of that now, obviously very much agitated at this new development.
Akaashi turned to his forgotten cup and took a tentative sip. “That he did, Akiteru-san.” He replaced the cup back to its saucer with a soft clink that reverberated loudly in the silence of the huge room. “He did fulfil his end of your bargain. For eighteen years, even.”
Tsukishima Akiteru was obviously not pleased at this, releasing a huff that is so reminiscent of his younger brother that Akaashi had to hide a smile. Kei may be the saltiest person to ever walk down the earth, but can also be unbelievably adorable at times, and his little endearing acts and mannerisms often rub off people.
“To be honest, I’m not even surprised.” He went on, locking gazes with the older man. “You can’t expect an alpha to stay away from his omega forever, can you?”
“Please, they’re not even proper mates.” Akiteru insisted, the infamous stubbornness that is a trademark of a true Tsukishima showing despite himself. “They did not mark each other.”
“If their families hadn’t meddled, you think they haven’t?” Warm honey eyes glinted sharply as the honed on to an olive pair, but the younger was relentless. “Besides, they had pups, even if one of them did not live. Don’t you think that’s an even stronger bond than a mating mark, Tsukishima Akiteru-sama?”
“But Tsukki, are you sure? Are you really, really sure?”
If Tsukishima Kei wasn’t as nervous as he was, he would have laughed at the unsure look that dominated Kuroo Tetsurou’s features. The raven-haired alpha had looked very much like a skeptical cat when the blonde brought him home for the first time in all of their twelve months of going out (-Wow, your house is so big, Tsukki! And you always say you’re not rich! -That’s only because you are so used to the small living spaces in Tokyo, Tetsu. This is a modest-sized home, you should see the bigger houses at the further end of this neighborhood. Stop it with the bocchan theory, that’s just ridiculous.) It appears that they have the modestly-sized house all to themselves, as the omega’s parents went to Tokyo for an important matter and the older brother still at university.
Taking advantage of that fact Kei had dragged Tetsurou into his room and, upon closing the door, did not even give the latter a chance to speak up as he pinned his boyfriend to the wall and promptly kissed him.
Not that Kuroo minded, of course. It was very rare for the blonde to express emotions first without much coaxing and a kiss initiated by the boy was more than welcome, but it did not sit well with him. At least not now, not until after he knows that his firefly is sure.
“Hmm…” The blonde chased after his lips when he broke it apart to ask his earlier question. “I’m sure, Tetsu.” The omega promptly kissed him again, this time with more passion that it took all of Kuroo’s willpower not to take all of Tsukishima’s clothes off and pushed him to the warm, inviting bed directly in his line of vision. He did, however, allow his hands to slide into his omega’s clothes, calloused tanned hands trailing over the expanse of smooth pale skin.
“But why?” He asked in between kisses, already giving in to the blonde’s mute request. “I mean, I would love to do it with you more than anything, my firefly, I’ve been wanting to do so for quite some time but I thought we are to wait for your heat first before we…uh—
“I know.” Kei instantly pulled away from Tetsurou, making the latter whine inwardly at the loss of contact. “I know that you just want me to be comfortable that’s why we should do it before my next heat, but I don’t want to. I want to give myself to you now, Tetsu.”
The raven-haired teen washed his face with the inside of his palms, overwhelmed by what the younger just said. Seriously, Kei is testing the last strand of his patience. If he does not stop being so adorable now Tetsurou is really going to snap any minute. “But it might hurt you, Kei.”
“I know.” His voice was merely a whisper that Kuroo had to pull him into his arms to be able to hear it. “I know it’s going to hurt and I’m scared, but I know you won’t hurt me.”
“Of course not!” Ever since they have reached the understanding that they were both ready to spend Kei’s heat together, Tetsurou had been educating himself and doing all the necessary preparations. He vowed he will give his partner the best first time in the history of all first times, and he is going to deliver.
However, all his plans were riding on his firefly’s heat.
“I want to be able to feel you properly, Tetsu. Once I’ve had my heat I’d only be consumed by my inner omega’s instincts. I don’t want that. I want to be able to remember this clearly, down to the tiniest detail. I want to do this as Kei, not as an omega in heat.”
Kuroo would later on blame it on the cute pout on his boyfriend’s lips or the high flush in his cheeks or even the warmth of the room, but at that present moment he was simply Kuroo Tetsurou who was madly in love with Tsukishima Kei.
The door to the conference room opened once again, this time revealing The Hotaru Group’s prized omega, confused and surprised at being called back to Marunouchi. Akiteru visibly blanched at the sight of his younger brother while Akaashi slipped the pictures into the pocket of his grey trousers.
“Kei!” The older Tsukishima recovered first and crushed the younger in a hug, like they did not see each other for months (which was true, since Akiteru traveled overseas for business dealings). “I was about to go to your place just now.”
“Aki-nii.” The younger acknowledged, prying himself away from the hug. He then turned to his long-time colleague. “Is Aki-nii’s arrival the reason you called, ‘Kaashi?”
Akaashi Keiji pulled his hand back from inside his pocket in what he hoped was a nonchalant way despite the fact that the pictures now felt oddly warm inside, like they were trying to make their presence known. He ignored his nagging guilt and nodded at his friend. “Yes, but there was also a revision in the contract with Yuuji Builders that I want to go through with you.”
“Oh.” The blonde smiled. “We could have done that tomorrow; you’re simply working too hard, ‘Kaashi. One of these days I’m sure Bokuto-san is going to give me yet another phone call about how I’m such a slave driver.”
All three of them laughed at that, since it was not impossible for one Bokuto Koutarou to do just the thing.
And then, the blonde stopped laughing, gazing instead at something by Akaashi’s feet.
He crouched down before the two could even catch up on his line of vision.
“You dropped something, ‘Kaashi.” Long fingers clutched the edges of an upturned photograph, making the other two hitch their breath in suspense.
“Uh, that’s—“ Akiteru started to say, but stopped when Kei flipped the picture over.
An almost silent oh escaped Tsukishima Kei’s lips.
“I’m getting tired of this, Tsukishima. Let’s just stop and not waste any more of each other’s time.”
He was pretty sure the other person was saying something, but Kei’s head was spinning. His eyes were blurred by tears, and there was this strange buzzing in his ears, making him unable to hear clearly. His throat hurt too, and he wonders how much he still got before all his unspoken words choked him out. His palms were clammy yet his fingers were sweating, and he was pretty sure his lungs are going to be squeezed out of air and his heart would just cleanly break in two.
“I’m sorry.” Kuroo Tetsurou was saying. His boyfr—no, ex-boyfriend. “This was just supposed to be fun and games, Tsukishima, I never really thought you’d go and fall hard…”
Tsukishima. He thinks bitterly about the ridiculous nicknames the raven-haired guy has come up for over a year, and now he just reverts to calling him by his last name. Suddenly he wants to throw up, but he doesn’t. He won’t.
“You know I’d choose volleyball over anything.”
The older teen then launched an explanation about how he’s been scouted and how he’s going to go attend KyoDai on an athletic scholarship and how things are looking up for his future and how their relationship was just going to drag him down, among other stuff, but Kei was suddenly tired. He was tired from waiting too long in the rain earlier when Kuroo said they had to talk. He was tired of trying not to cry, of trying to hold in the sobs, the spur of questions. He was suddenly tired of the older man’s face. He was tired of his presence. He was tired of everything.
“It’s okay, Kuroo-san.” Was all he said, now eager to get away from the world if that was possible. “I understand. You’ve always wanted to go to KyoDai and finish Medicine so you can cure your mother’s illness.”
Kei thought he saw a flash of pain in the alpha’s eyes, but it was gone too soon, replaced by a hardened gaze that he never saw on those warm brown eyes before. He steeled himself and opened his eyes again.
“I know you have priorities, and I am simply not in that list.” He granted himself a mental self-congratulatory pat on the back as he outwardly smiled, the warmth never quite reaching his golden orbs. “I won’t make this any harder for you, Kuroo-san, so let’s break up.”
He found out he was pregnant the day Kuroo Tetsurou set off for Kyoto University.
i'm sorry for this chapter, and the half-assed answers it managed to give. you have my express permission to hate kuroo tetsurou.
Chapter 8: Huit | The Black Cat and the Moon
just sneaked this one in bc I just realized that there are hardly any interactions between Kuroo Tetsurou and his baby princess.
All her life, Yukiko has wondered who her father is.
“Yuki-chan, why don’t you have a daddy?”
She didn’t realize what she was lacking at first, since she grew up surrounded by so many members of her doting family. Uncle Aki always brought her to summer holidays with Aunt Saeko and her rowdy cousins, so she knew the feeling of having annoying siblings and meddlesome parents, more or less. Uncle Kou dragged her and Keiko around during his training practices, so she knew the feeling of having a father who spoiled you and embarrassed you in one breath. Her maternal grandparents give in to her every wish every time they visit, so she knew the feeling of being the baby of the family. During his rare day-offs from his busy work schedule, she and her mother and have their ‘dates’, so she knew the feeling of being a parent’s favorite kid (though her mommy doesn’t really have any choice since she is his only daughter). She thought no one was missing from her family, as she had more than enough members to begin with.
That is, until she started going to school.
Kanegawa Primary was not supposed to be her first school, not if her grandparents can help it. They wanted her to stay with them in Miyagi, saying that the busy Tokyo life was unfit for a growing kid. Uncle Aki had objected, saying it was too much to ask for Kei to go back to painful memories (it baffled her back then, how can a place hurt a person? Miyagi must be really horrible!) and said it would do her good if she attended the same school her cousins did back in Osaka, where they had settled in accordance to Aunt Saeko’s wishes.
It was mommy who decided she should stay in Tokyo with him and he stood firm in that decision, despite the arguments from his parents and his brother.
“I’m not going to lose Yukiko too, Aki-nii.” He had said in tears, hugging her tightly to him. And that’s that.
Two weeks later she started her formal schooling in Kanegawa Primary, two train stops away from her mother’s office.
“Yuki-chan, why isn’t your daddy included in your drawing?”
She did not have an answer to the innocent question her classmate raised when the teacher asked them to draw their family and introduce them for show and tell. She talked about her mom and how he is very busy working in a big office on the top of a big building, about her grandparents and how they always bring sweets when they come visit, about uncle Aki’s family and the holidays they spend in their Osaka home, even uncle Kou and uncle Keiji and uncle ‘Dashi and even Keiko-chan and Masa-chan. She had a lot of people in her drawing, far more than her other classmates had drawn.
What is a daddy supposed to be? Does everyone have to have one?
Why doesn’t she have one? Where is her daddy?
She asked mommy about daddy the moment he came home from his office that night. She could not forget how he paled and dropped his chopsticks and sat her on his lap, a teary-eyed smile etched on his face.
“Snowdrop, you know grown-ups can make mistakes too, right?”
Really? Grown-ups make mistakes too? She never realized! Mommy hardly ever makes mistakes, except when making pancakes for breakfast. Uncle Keiji doesn’t make mistakes, except for marrying uncle Kou, which she heard him tell mommy over dinner (Uncle Kou made a funny noise like a startled owl—she and Keiko-chan laughed into their pudding because he really looked funny). Sensei doesn’t make mistakes and even checks students’ papers to see if they made a mistake. Grown-ups never lmake mistakes, that’s why they scold children when they do, right?
But her mommy said they do, and grown-up mistakes are bigger, too. Sometimes they even get so big that a simple sorry won’t make up for it. It’s terrifying to be a grown-up, she had told mommy, and he laughed a little.
“Did daddy make a mistake too that’s why he isn’t here?”
Mommy looked like he was about to cry, so she reached up and kissed his eyes. She did not ask him about daddy after that; she didn’t want mommy crying because he gets sick and has to go to the hospital and she has to stay with Uncle Aki.
But she did ask him again when she got into middle school.
The other girls in school had made fun of her because she did not know who to mail her father’s day card to, and said maybe her daddy didn’t want her that’s why he does not live with her and her mommy. She pulled their leader’s pigtails as a retort and the other girls pushed her back that she almost fell down the staircase and the leader snatched her glasses away (she started wearing glasses during fifth grade) and stomped on it so hard that the glass broke and it cut through her indoor shoes and her feet. Sensei scolded her afterwards for laughing at another person’s pain and said Yukiko should apologize.
She didn’t because she realized that mommy was right. There are some mistakes that a simple sorry will not heal. Mommy got called into the principal’s office along with the parents of the other girl, and sensei had to call him because she thinks Yukiko wouldn’t tell mommy—she was right. The other parents apologized profusely when they learned who her mother was, and that was the moment she knew that mommy was the big boss in the big building where he worked, and the other girl’s parents worked under him even when they did not see each other often.
Yukiko was scolded so hard when they got home. It was the first time she saw her mother like that: the gold in his eyes seemed to harden, and his face was so red it colored even his ears and neck. Mommy was furious at her for being mean, even when she explained that the other girls were mean to her first.
“They said my daddy hated me that’s why he’s not here!”
“That doesn’t mean you should get into a fight! Do you think your daddy will be happy if he learns that you fought with your classmates because of him?”
“I don’t know because I never even saw him!” She half-shouted, half-sobbed, her hands clenching into tight fists on her sides. “What if they were right? What if daddy really didn’t want me?”
Mommy made a move to hug her, but she pushed him away. They were both crying then. He said that he did not know, since he also did not see daddy for a really long time.
“Snowdrop, I am here. Mommy loves you enough for two people.”
The gold in his eyes glinted differently, softening like it was melting and she knew he was telling her the truth. They hugged and cried and laughed and talked for a very long time after that, settling under the covers in his big bed. She told him how everyone said she was a runt (what’s a runt, mommy?) and he said she shouldn’t believe them and should learn to ignore their teasing. He said he didn’t want to be called into the principal’s office again and smiled a bit when she told him she also did not want to go there again too: the principal looked like a very old mean cat and he scares her.
“Snowdrop, we can’t have people knowing about my job, about me being here.”
“Why?” His job was cool, he had the biggest office and he signed papers all day and talked to the phone and sometimes rode on airplanes. She wanted a job like his when she got older, it seemed too easy.
“Because your gramps and I had a deal.” Whatever deal that was, she doesn’t know. It sounds so stupid. She doesn’t really understand grown-ups. “You don’t want to leave Japan, don’t you?” She vigorously shook her head because she still wants to be with Keiko-chan and Masa-chan.
“We can’t leave Japan, snowdrop.” He whispered as he kissed her forehead goodnight when he thought she was already asleep. “We can’t leave Japan for your daddy’s sake.”
Mommy was sent to the hospital a few hours later after that, and her grandparents forbid her to ask about daddy ever again.
It was another exhausting day for neurosurgeon Kuroo Tetsurou. He had just spearheaded three equally successful operations, attended to one emergency case, conducted one home visit, and did his usual rounds. It was more than any usual surgeon can do, but since he was the head of ToDai Hospital’s Neurology Department, he was used to being swamped with a lot of tasks.
“Good job today, Kuroo-sensei.” A group of trainee nurses greeted him as he made his way out, temporarily blinded by the glaring heat of the sun. Startled, he looked at his watch. It read 10AM. His shift was supposed to end at six.
Another day, another overtime.
With heavy steps, he dragged himself to the hospital’s parking lot reserved for employees, located his car, threw his things on the backseat and sank into the driver’s seat. He rubbed his throbbing temples and heaved an exhausted sigh just as his phone vibrated with a message.
From: Snow Kitten
wru? Working overtime today? Going to practice, grab breakfast.
To: Snow Kitten
Subject: You didn’t cook?
Just got off work. Did you even eat?
From: Snow Kitten
Subject: I overslept
No, but Bokuto-san said she prepared bento for everyone.
To: Snow Kitten
Kuroo Yukio, you know an athlete should eat well. I am dropping by The Strawberry Hut, do you want something?
From: Snow Kitten
Subject: thought you hated strawberries
But I want crepe.
To: Snow Kitten
Subject: anything for my little snow kitten
Got it. Stay away from injuries, I love you!
From: Snow Kitten
Subject: why are you like this
Please don’t tell me I’m still “Snow Kitten” on your phone. I changed that already!
Also, stop it with all the cheese.
To: Snow Kitten
Subject: why are you so harsh on your own father
Maybe I changed it right back, can’t have my own son as only “Kuroo Yukio” on my phone I can’t do that to my precious snow kitten!
Also, I love you. Even if you are too shy to say it back.
From: Snow Kitten
You aren’t really dropping this one off.
To: Snow Kitten
Subject: where do you think you got all that stubbornness from?
Want me to call?
From: Snow Kitten
Subject: please no
We’re about to start and the team won’t live this down so…Love you too, dad.
I want a whole strawberry shortcake now.
The quaint, comfy coffeehouse was a bit crowded by the time he got to it, the customers mostly students and young professionals just chilling out on a lazy Saturday morning. There were even hardly any empty tables, so the doctor had no choice but to ask to share. After a thorough sweep of the place, he instantly made a beeline towards the nearest table occupied by a single person: a blonde was by herself near the corner, with her back turned away from most of the crowd, clearly immersed in her book as her crepes and hot beverage lay forgotten on the table.
He cleared his throat first and bowed.
“Hi, I’m sorry, but everywhere else is full. Would you mind sharing this table?”
The blonde looked up to him, and the moment her eyes met his, he felt all the wind knocked down from his lungs. He suddenly had to rack his brains to remember how to breathe as the stranger frowned at him, looked around to see if everywhere else was indeed full, and pouted when he was proved right.
The blonde gave his face a brief once-over, eyebrows ever so slightly raising at her hair before going back to her book.
A faint “Sure, oji-san.” was heard from the blonde which Kuroo took as a signal to sit down from across her, heart pounding loudly and blood rushing through his ears. He even felt faint for a fraction of a second which he could attribute to stress, but he knew better.
He muttered a low curse when his knees knocked the underside of the table. Who the heck decided on these ridiculously low tables, anyway?
The teenager from across him seemed to enjoy his misfortune, giving him a view of her amused smirk before it was hidden by her book.
He suddenly felt as if he was transported back to his high school days, when he was still going out with his beloved firefly. It didn’t help that the stranger before him was the exact same shade of blonde just like his omega, skin the same smooth paleness. The teenage girl even had glasses on, though they were not black-rimmed like his omega once had, but the way she pushed them back up when they slid down her nose was exactly how Kei did. Her long fingers reminded him of Kei’s as she flipped through the pages, her golden orbs shining the same way Kei’s did when the light passes through them.
Kuroo Tetsurou was looking at a female version of his omega, and he did not know how to react.
“Is there any problem, oji-san?” The girl asked her, voice monotone, and Tetsu strained his ears to hear if she sounded remotely like Kei. (She did, and the sound of her voice made his heart constrict.)
“Sorry.” He ran his hand through his hair, fingers stilling halfway as he watched the girl do the same. It was like looking at a mirror, except his reflection was that of his former mate. His fingers shook as he clasped them together on top of the table. “I did not mean to stare, it’s just…you remind me of someone.”
The girl looked straight at him for a full minute, face devoid of emotion. When she opened her mouth to speak, Kuroo was expecting her to say something snarky, something along the lines of yeah right you old geezer, but her next words shook him further, as if he wasn’t already unstable to begin with.
“Actually,” there’s the hand-through-the-hair move again, and Kuroo was amazed she did it exactly like he does. Even his own son couldn’t do that. “You also remind me of someone, oji-san.”
“Who do I remind you of?”
“An annoying guy at school.”
Kuroo let out a loud guffaw at that, drawing everyone’s eyes to their table. The blonde was pouting prettily when she said that, making Kuroo think that this girl would just be like his and Kei’s daughter had they not separated years ago. He stifled the urge to reach over and ruffle her hair.
“Do you attend Kanegawa Gakuen?” The surprised look etched on her face told him the affirmative. “I think you may have met my son, people always say we look very much alike.” His mind conveniently came up with a mental image of his snow kitten, reminding him that he had to grab some strawberry shortcake later. “His name is Kuroo Yukio.”
The blonde placed her book down on the table and turned to him, blanching. The doctor was alarmed when the girl visibly paled in front of him and even swayed lightly when she stood up.
What the—?! What’s happening?
“I’m sorry!” The teen bowed low in front of him, making all the people stare openly at them now. “I’m so sorry, Kuroo-sama!”
“Uh, I don’t know what this is about, but there’s really no need to bow.”
The girl went back to her seat with her head hung low. Kuroo tried for a reassuring smile, but it made her eyes fill to the brim with unshed tears. He was amazed once again at how this teenage stranger just screamed Kei at everything she does.
“I’m sorry for hurting Kuroo-san!” Her hand shook as she ran it again across her hair. “I’m sorry, I did not mean for him to be sent to the hospital, I’m really, really sorry, Kuroo-sama!”
So this was the one who sent his snow kitten to the hospital with a sprained ankle and a fractured arm?! This innocent-looking girl right here defeated Yukio?!
“I did not really mean to, I was just really busy with all the plans for the upcoming school festival and he was being so bothersome and no one could really keep him in check aside from me and…”
She just more and more seemed like his beautiful pouting Tsukki the longer he observed her.
“I just snapped, you know? I lost it and the next thing I knew I was already—
“Do you know someone named Tsukishima?” Crap, his mouth-to-brain filter does not really work sometimes. The girl stopped midway through her breathless explanation and threw him a confused look. For the first time she did not look like Kei, but the way she tilted her head to the side like a curious kitten made him think of Yukio.
A few moments passed (Kuroo could swear he heard a few cicadas chirping in the background) before the blonde spoke again.
“My name is Tsukishima Yukiko, actually.” She said quietly, like she was afraid of telling him her name for fear of retribution. “Do you know someone from my family, Kuroo-sama?”
I do, I know a certain Tsukishima Kei. I wonder how you are related to him.
The blonde’s eyebrows raised a tiny fraction again when he did not respond.
“Are you okay, Kuroo-sama?”
He was saved from thinking up of an alibi when the barista working on his coffee called out his order.
“Black coffee and banana pancakes for a Dr. Kuroo Tetsurou?”
He got back just in time to see Yukiko’s phone light up, signalling an incoming call. The teen did not seem to notice her phone vibrating, lost in her own train of thoughts as she watched the view from beyond the glass wall but not really seeing anything. Kuroo slouched down slightly to place his tray on the table, giving him a perfect bird’s eye view of the lit-up screen.
It was a picture of Tsukishima Kei smiling up at him, golden eyes staring straight at the camera that it seemed the omega was looking at him.
Time paused for Kuroo Tetsurou, even more so when Yukiko finally noticed her phone and answered the call.
His heart promptly broke into a million irreparable pieces.
There are four things that baffle Tsukishima Yukiko.
One was the fact that Kuroo Yukio seemed to be spending more time at their place, even hanging around until dinner time. Heck, the boy was even acting like they were some sort of bestfriends or something, even talking to her casually at school and going out with them like he grew up with her and Masa-chan and Keiko-chan. The past week that she deemed “group study period” along with her two childhood friends now included the cat-boy, and everyone seemed okay with it. Even their household helpers looked forward to his visits.
Second was the fact that her mother seemed to have taken a liking for the boy, so much that sometimes she would wonder if he was secretly Tsukishima Kei’s son or not. Her mother had even started to come home early and have dinner with her and her friends, which she would admit surprised her immensely. Usually it was just her, sometimes with her grandparents when they fly in from Miyagi, sometimes with Uncle Aki and his family, sometimes with Masa-chan or Keiko-chan or both, with Kei arriving just as she was ready to go to bed.
“I win this round, Kuroo-kun.”
“But I won the two straight rounds before this one, Tsukishima-san.”
“Don’t get cocky, you stray cat, I’m going to even out the scores with this next one.”
She looked up from her latest book at the sound of her mother and her sort-of-friend playfully bickering as they sat on their heels on the floor, chessboard open on top of the low table before them. Yukiko never cared for her mother’s favorite board game, so the older omega had been pleasantly surprised to know that the new boy knew the game and was even good at it to defeat him. It has become some sort of tradition between them to play a round (or two or three) after dinner. Looking at the two Yukiko would even go as far as to say they were like a typical mother and son bonding over a game, if only the two looked remotely alike. They most certainly looked at ease with each other, as if they had been doing this for ages and not a week ago.
This was most surprising in the case of her mother, who was typically aloof around alphas. Well maybe because this stupid cat-boy is still a teenager that he doesn’t really pose any real threat, thought the blonde.
The third was the fact that she seemed to be warming up to the boy that sometimes she’d even expect to see him every time she comes home, greeting her with a smile on his face as he announces he’d just made her favorite grilled mackerel pike for dinner.
The fourth was the fact that she found herself looking forward to Saturday breakfast meetings with a certain neurosurgeon who acted like he was her father, and more surprising was the realization that she actually wished he was.
“Kenma, I think I found Kei.”
“Where? Are you sure, Kuro? His family has done a good job of keeping him away for years, how did you manage to find him?”
“Through his daughter.”
“He has a daughter? He’s married? Maybe that’s why we didn’t find him, maybe his surname changed!”
Maybe that was it. But he remembered Yukiko introducing herself as a Tsukishima. Could it be that Kei was a single parent? Nah, Kei’s parents were too proud, they wouldn’t allow a pup out of wedlock. Maybe Kei’s alpha married into the family and took in the Tsukishima name. Yes, maybe that was it. That was the best possible explanation he could think of.
“Ken, what do I do now?”
“I’m already too late.”
“I’m sorry for my son’s constant intrusion in your home, Yukiko-chan.”
Yukiko shook her head as their orders came, her eyes zoning in on the chocolate crepe. After their first chance meeting, she has had a lot of run-ins with the neurosurgeon that she has grown to enjoy his company, even to the point of looking forward to it.
The world must be nearing its end, I’m getting soft towards alphas.
“It’s okay, Kuroo-san.” She bit into her chocolate crepe, watching her companion do so with his own. She had been delighted to know that the alpha did not like strawberries just as she was. She could not really see the point in adding the said fruit to everything, but she can never tell her mother that since Kei was a big strawberry addict, followed closely by no other than the cat-boy Yukio, much to Kuroo Tetsurou’s chagrin. “Everyone at home likes it when he comes over.”
“Everyone?” At first it was a really funny thought that this kind doctor could be in any way related to her annoying classmate. Aside from their looks, the older alpha was kind, funny, and a really good listener who always made time for her whereas the younger was loud, obnoxious, overly confident, and always had to have the final say. “Who’s everyone?”
“Just me and my mom, and the household help.”
“I…” she ran a hand through her hair, not knowing whether or not she should tell him, but somehow this person makes her want to open up to him. She couldn’t understand why, but talking to the doctor made her feel lighter. “I haven’t really met my dad.”
She just shrugged the question off, not really knowing what the answer should be herself. It was a thought she had been wondering all her life, a question that she wasn’t even close to knowing the answer.
The alpha’s warm brown eyes stared straight at her as his lips tugged into an equally warm smile. It was one of the things she noticed about the man, he was very sympathetic and he always feels for her.
“I’m sorry for asking.” The man said, fiddling with the teaspoon on his coffee. “I didn’t mean to—
“Kuroo-kun is very lucky he has you as a father, Kuroo-san.” She gave him her best smile, one that people say she got from Kei, if only her mother smiled a lot more. The doctor surprisingly turned away when he did that, and a tear escaped from his eyes. That was another thing she noticed: her mannerisms and movements that people say she got from Kei almost always made the man sad.
She thought about the first time they met, and how he asked if she knew someone named Tsukishima. The man had been keen on avoiding that topic during their succeeding meetings, making her wonder if he was keeping something she ought to know.
Who was it? Was he involved with her mother in the past, perhaps?
His short snort pulled her out from her thoughts. “Yukio would not agree with you on that.”
I wonder how it feels to have a father like him.
“Oh I don’t know, Yukiko-chan.” He smiled at her playfully. “I haven’t been my own child, so I wouldn’t know how it feels to have a father like me.”
Oh, I must have said that out loud!
“Yes, you did.” His grin suddenly reminded her of his son—it was a grin that Kuroo Yukio always wore before he does something stupid. “But if you really like to, you can think of me as your father.”
It was a stupid suggestion, but Tsukishima Yukiko was even more stupid for agreeing.
“Four bentos? Four? Why do I need four bentos?” Yukio’s stares were locked onto the bento boxes on their dining table, perplexed at the thought that his father made him lunch bentos (Tetsurou had stopped making him packed lunches ever since he started highschool—his request), much less four.
“An athlete needs to eat, kitten.” His father said airily, humming along as he wrapped the boxes in cloth. “Look at you, you’re so skinny it’s even a miracle your arms don’t come off when you go for a block.”
“That’s because I’m still a growing boy.” He retorted with an eye roll, missing the way his father’s hands trembled and stilled momentarily halfway through knotting the end pieces of the cloth together at his familiar words. “Besides, four is too much, I can’t even finish three by myself.”
Kuroo Tetsurou handed him two cloth-covered bento packs in response. The blue one was considerably larger than the pink one, the former containing two more bentos than the latter.
“This is for you.” The blue one was pushed into his hands. “And the other is for Tsukishima-san.” He gestured to the pink one.
“Tsukishima Yukiko?” This was the first time he’s heard of his father preparing food especially for somebody else. “Why do I have to give lunch to the Pres?”
His father gave him a look that clearly said, “just do it.”
Everyone at Kanegawa Gakuen was having a field day, all fighting for a spot in front of the school’s main announcement board. It didn’t matter whether you are a kouhai or a senpai; whether a beta, an omega, or an alpha; whether girl or boy. Everyone fought for dominance, crowding in one spot and causing traffic for the passers-by, making the others curious about the commotion, and upon knowing what it was, adding on the onslaught of people.
Bokuto Keiko and Yamaguchi Masato were both on their way to the gym, which incidentally required for them to pass through the administrative building where the said announcement board was located. They had been very surprised to see such a large crowd over a school announcement, normally people disregarded these and went on their own ways without so much as a glance to any post there no matter how important it would seem. After all, if it is really that important, they have the student council to effectively disseminate any information.
Keiko was the one to first voice out her thoughts with the slightest rise of her eyebrows. “What’s happening?”
“Beats me, I came here with you.” Came Masato’s reply, but even then he was craning his neck to see the board (futile effort, since there were too many people blocking the way). He tapped the shoulder of the nearest person, a sandy-haired beta from the first year. “What’s happening by the announcement board?”
The beta took one long look at them, and in his eyes dawned the recognition that he was facing the volleyball team captain and the manager.
“Uh…” the poor boy averted his eyes away from the two burning gazes that came his way. “It’s about the p-pres...”
At the word, Masato perked up like an overexcited puppy. “Tsukki? What about Tsukki?”
Like a scene from a cliché high-school themed movie, everyone turned around in perfect sync towards Masato, and paved the way for the two to get to the front of the bulletin.
Tacked right dead center of the board was a colored spread, a promotional page from the campus newsletter. It showed a full color montage of a boy and a girl together, taken from various locations: the boy handing the girl bento outside the school gate, the two of them talking near the school gym, carrying a big pink box out from The Strawberry Hut, and outside the tall gates of a big house.
Love Scandal: is the Pres and the transferee dating? Full story in this month’s upcoming issue!
Chapter 9: Neuf | The Cat, the Moon, and a Multitude of Questions
drowning in work but still.
“Snowdrop, what would you like for dinner later?”
Tsukishima Yukiko stopped halfway through a yawn. Was she imagining things, or is that her mother preparing her breakfast?
Kei laughed lightly at her perplexed expression, and it was easy to see why alphas still come courting the omega. Tsukishima Kei was absolutely breathtaking, especially when he lowers his guard down. The older omega was in one of his ‘mom modes’, clad in an old-looking plain white tee that was slightly bigger for his frame (why the heck would Kei buy a shirt that’s bigger for him?) and short dinosaur-printed shorts that accentuated the plump curve of his ass and placed his long legs in full display. He was wearing an apron over his clothes to complete his domesticated look, looking very delectable to any alpha. Yukiko has often wondered why her mother did not accept any courtship offers that came his way, especially when most of them have been truly dreamy (even for Yukiko’s high standards) and honestly earnest in their intentions. Her mother would always say his pup was enough for him, but she knew the older omega missed the feeling of an alpha to snuggle up to, especially when his heats came around.
A sudden feeling of annoyance rose up her throat, bubbling hazardously as she thought about how alone her mother must have felt when he had given birth to Yukiko and raise her as a single parent, making him an oddity by societal standards.
All because his alpha was foolish enough to leave such a perfect omega behind for fear of responsibility. Thinking about how his father left Kei at such a trying moment left a bitter feeling on her tongue, reminding her of the primary reason why she hated alphas in the first place.
If only Kuroo-san was my father, I would have had a complete family from the start.
“Don’t look at me like that, snowdrop.” Kei must have mistaken her hateful look as a disbelieving one, a wry smile playing on his lips as he poured scrambled eggs into the pan. “Tamagoyaki for breakfast?”
She slightly shook her head to get rid of her hateful thoughts. Her mother was in a good enough mood to wake up early and cook for her, she isn’t going to go ahead and ruin the day for him. She smiled one of her fake ‘I’m okay’ smiles.
“Yes please.” She alighted one of their kitchen bar stools and watched her mother play chef. “Don’t you have an important meeting later?”
“You sure know my schedule.” Her mother set down a plate of eggs in front of her, along with a tall glass of warm milk. She just shrugged and picked up her chopsticks, knowing full well about the important meeting because that was the only thing that Uncle Keiji and her mother holed up for in the latter’s home office for about three weeks now. “Yes, I do have an important meeting later, but it’s going to be done here.”
The piece of egg she was about to eat fell from the sudden gap in her chopsticks where her grip had loosened in shock. An important meeting? In their house? Just what is the meeting about, and just who is the guest who is certainly important enough to The Hotaru Group for Kei to break his rule about no bringing of business partners over?
“Do you want me to come home early, mommy?” she asked instead, resuming her breakfast like Kei’s announcement did not surprise her. “I can...uh, leave the festival planning to the rest of the council, we still have three months anyway.”
Kei ruffled her hair, messing it up even further. “No, don’t do that. It won’t do any good for Kanegawa Gakuen’s kaichou to leave earlier than everyone, right?” She nodded mutely, knowing full well that her mother valued excellent work ethics. “You can even bring Kuroo-kun over, if you like. I have a feeling he will be itching to meet our guest, let’s do him a favour so we can finally repay him fully for the injury you caused him.”
She frowned at that. If Kei was joking, then Yukiko was sure she missed the punchline. “But won’t we be getting in the way?”
“I’m sure my guest wouldn’t mind, snowdrop.” He placed a second plate of eggs and some buttered toast on the bar and sat down on the stool beside her. “In fact, he even requested that we do not interrupt our daily routine for his sake.”
Now Yukiko couldn’t wait for dinner.
The entire Kanegawa Gakuen Boys’ VBC may be consisted of boys that were playful and unruly and hardly serious about anything but their beloved sport, but Kuroo Yukio knew better. If they wanted something, they can be a very formidable force to reckon with. A lone alpha like him won’t stand a chance.
Take for example that very early Tuesday morning. He had walked up to the locker rooms to change into his practice jersey, blissfully oblivious to the fact that almost all eyes were trained on him like hawks eyeing their prey. No sooner had he pulled his jersey over his head, the entire team—regulars and reserve players alike—had closed in on him in a tight circle with no possible way out.
What did I do this time?! His mind instantly went into full panic mode, searching frantically in his memory for anything stupid he may have done before. He came up with nothing, and his face must have shown it, because their team captain growled at his clueless face.
“Is it true, Kuroo?”
His gold eyes scanned the rest of the team and saw that they bore the same hard look that their captain had, so now wasn’t the time to crack a joke. Best to come out clean, then.
“What is, taichou?”
“Come on, Kuroo-san!” their libero Azumane Yutaru groaned at his clueless response. “It’s impossible for you to miss the news, you haven’t been exactly living under a rock!”
“I’m really sorry guys, but I really have no idea what you are talking—
A piece of newsprint paper was pushed under his nose, missing it by inches and risking one hell of a nosebleed. It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust and his brain to catch up what he was seeing, but when it finally did,
“WHAT KIND OF BULLSHIT IS THIS?!”
Before anyone could even recover from Kuroo’s outburst the doors of the boys’ locker room opened unceremoniously, revealing one disinterested Bokuto Keiko and one outraged Tsukishima Yukiko. The boys dissipated to their own lockers, scandalised that the girls saw them in various stages of undress. Keiko bowed low as an apology while Yukiko, for her part, made an angry beeline to where the cat-boy stood and pulled his jersey by the neck.
“What have you done this time, you bakeneko?!” The omega screeched at him angrily, livid expression etched on her otherwise pretty face that the other alphas in the room actually cowered in fear. “What is this dating crap?! Since when have we been dating?! Why would I even date you?!”
“Huh, don’t look at me I don’t even know what this is about!”
If the circumstances were any different, everyone would have been at awe at the cat-boy for actually having the guts to talk back to the kaichou especially in her livid state, but since it wasn’t, all the shouting just made all the others uneasy. Masato even pulled a trembling Keiko closer, the omega in her upset at all the angry pheromones the bickering ‘couple’ was emitting.
“Also, why would I date you? I practically live in your house these past few days and treat you as my little sister! Also, everyone knows you’re not exactly girlfriend material, Tsukki. I don’t even know if you still need an alpha with you, you’re just so independent!”
There was a collective gasp in the locker room. Kuroo Yukio is dead for that rebuttal. The seniors looked at their middle blocker forlornly as though they are sad to see such a good player go, while the freshmen looked at their senpai as though he is their own personal hero.
Ignoring the exaggerated reactions of the others, Yukio pulled Yukiko to his chest in a tight embrace, where the livid omega looked straight into the eyes of the equally enraged alpha and actually relaxed.
“Don’t mind them, seriously. We both know the truth behind those pictures so there’s really no need to sweat the small stuff, Yuki-chan.”
Let the record state that Tsukishima Yukiko actually sniffled against Kuroo Yukio’s chest in what was an uncharacteristic moe overload, mumbling a tearful ‘yeah’ to the alpha’s calming purrs. A lot of first years suddenly developed a crush on her from that moment on, wondering if there will also come a day when the proud omega would also melt against their chests.
“Or should I call you snowdrop?”
Just like that, the president jumped back away from the teasing boy and hissed in a way that only Tsukishima Yukiko can. Everything is alright with the world once again.
“Like you’re any better, snow kitten.”
“Wow, Yukio actually got Yukiko’s mood swings down to a science.” was apparently on everyone’s minds now.
“Anyway, dinner’s at home tonight. I’ll LINE you the details.” Tsukishima said calmly, flipping one long fishtail braid over her left shoulder like she wasn’t screaming like a banshee earlier. “Don’t be late, mom has visitors.”
Later that afternoon, the editor in chief of the school’s newsletter issued a public apology for the rumors regarding the president and the transferee. All of the members of the publications club suddenly seemed to be afraid of Kuroo Yukio, though the charming young alpha would just smile winsomely when asked about it.
The Tsukishima household is not one that holds its doors open for guests. In fact, it is much like a formidable fortress, unwilling to let just about anybody in. Located at the dead end of a row of equally affluent houses in the more posh side of Tokyo, the magnificent slate blue house with the intimidating air surrounding it hardly has guests over, making the neighbors wonder if the owner still lives there. (If not for a common grey car that goes in and out of the house everyday they would have suspected that it is abandoned.)
Tonight, however, is an exception. The magnificent slate blue house at the end of the road is suddenly the end point of a convoy of western-made luxury cars, black and sleek and screaming so much affluence that even the most polite of neighbors couldn’t help but wonder just who the guest was.
The house may be bustling with activity on the outside, but it was surprisingly tranquil inside, with its residents falling into their usual routine. Tsukishima Kei was, per his nightly routine, in his home office in the second floor, going through all the paperworks that demand his attention. Lounging on the sofa on the corner of the office was Bokuto Keiji, going through a rough draft of a contract in one hand and holding a cup of earl grey tea on the other. Every so often the brunette would look up to the blonde, olive eyes silently asking, silently observing.
“Kaashi? Is everything okay?” Kei asked after a while without even looking up from the paper he has been writing corrections on and reached over for his own cup of strawberry tea.
Keiji almost dropped his cup in surprise; he did not know the blonde was actually paying attention to his surroundings. “Hmm? Uh, yeah. Everything’s fine.”
“You know if you wanted a pay raise you’d have to have not only my approval, but also that of the chairman’s and majority of the board.”
“Huh? No, I wasn’t thinking of a pay raise.”
A sound of clinking china could be heard as teacups were replaced onto their saucers.
“Then what is it? You have been staring at me for quite a while.”
The brunette heaved a small sigh before speaking, not sure if he should speak what was on his mind. “Aren’t you going to do anything about it?”
“About what?” Damn it Kei, be more oblivious, will you?
“About Kuroo being here in Japan. Don’t you think he deserves to know about his daugh—
The blonde calmly took a sip from his cup once more, not even reacting to the name of his ex. Keiji could not decide if this was a good thing or not. “He’s moved on. He has a son.”
Does this mean the former Nekoma captain has found himself another omega?
“He has? How do you know?” he asked, fighting to keep his voice monotone, as disinterested as he could when in reality he was bursting with curiosity, with questions left unanswered.
“I met the boy. He looks just like him. And I don’t have to tell him about Yukiko, nor will I tell my daughter about her father.”
A few moments of silence passed, save for the soft scratching sound of pen writing on paper. When it became obvious that the younger omega has no plans of saying any more than he did, the older decided to break the silence once more.
“But Yuki-chan deserves to know, Kei.” God knows that girl has been lonely and wondering about her father for years, Keiji has seen the wistful look that crosses the girl’s eyes every time she watches Keiko and Koutarou bond over the silliest things.
Kei stopped writing whatever it is he was working on, gripping the pen so tight that the ink almost bled through the page. His eyes became steely and cold, matching the hardness of his voice when he finally spoke again.
“Maybe she does.” The words even shook a little in the wake of suppressed anger. “But she doesn’t deserve to get hurt when she learns the truth that his father never really wanted her; that she was born from a mistake.”
“But Kei, what if—
The phone on the desk started ringing and Kei answered it without so much as a hello. The call lasted only about a few minutes with the blonde mumbling a low thank you to the receiver.
“Let’s not talk about this now, please.” Tsukishima Kei stood, loosening his tie. “The guest has arrived.”
Kuroo Yukio stood in the doorway, grinning. The high schooler was wearing something similar to what he wore to Le Maison de Fraise: dark grey slacks, white long sleeved shirt, and dark grey jacket. The top two buttons on his shirt were undone, giving him the look of a young bocchan who did not have a care in the world (and probably broke hearts everywhere, what with his devilishly handsome face). In his hands was a beribboned bottle of strawberry flavoured White Zinfandel, and Yukiko saw that it was the brand that her mother likes.
“Aren’t you going to greet me back, snowdrop?” He grinned as he put on the indoor slippers a household help had laid out for him, watching the omega and her obvious discomfort at having to wear a dress at home, when all she wanted was slip into her favorite pajamas and snuggle with her mother and have a movie marathon. Yukio must admit that Yukiko was indeed beautiful: the soft yellow dress hugged her thin waist like a lover, and it ended just above the knee, showing off her long legs. Surprisingly though, the sight of her did not make his heart go ba-dump, which cemented his suspicions that what he felt for her before was just a silly admiration for a pretty omega.
“Don’t say ‘tadaima’ so casually like you live here, idiot.” She grumbled as she took the bottle of wine the boy handed over. “You are so late, the guest has arrived.”
They padded their way through the carpeted hallways, and even though Yukio has been inside the Tsukishima home for over a week now he was still not immune to the subtle air of wealth the entire house emits, and he wasn’t sure he would ever get over it. He allowed his eyes to roam around, to take in the intricate carved ceiling, the elegant lighting fixtures mounted on wallpapered walls, on the high table consoles that are placed at intervals bearing framed pictures of the household owners (Yukio’s favorite was that of the two blondes laughing candidly, clad in richly embroidered kimonos at a festival in Hokkaido) and porcelain vases bearing fresh flowers. He has always admired how the house was just a perfect mix of western and eastern interiors, and how it must be nice to grow up in such a large place like this, with Tsukishima Kei as his mother, doting over him like he usually does with Yukiko.
He almost bumped with the blonde before him, so consumed by his imaginations of having Kei as his mother that he hadn’t noticed that Yukiko stopped walking and turned to look at him.
“The guest has arrived, but they went immediately to mom’s office for their boring business matters, so you’re not late for dinner.”
The boy sank onto the carpeted floors with relief.
“By the way, who is this mystery guest? The way you messaged me on LINE gave me an idea that I would look forward to meeting this person.”
The blonde smiled sagely as the shoji doors to the dining hall slid open. “You’ll see.”
“Don’t you think he’s spending way too much time over there, Kuro?”
Kuroo Tetsurou fidgeted with the frayed edges of the throw pillow he was hugging, mumbling something Kenma couldn’t catch over the low static of their video call connection. The surgeon had pinged him while he was taking a short break from all the game developing shit he was drowning in, asking if he can spare some time to talk. The fact that it was already the doctor’s usual bed time and that he actually asked permission served as warning bells to the faux-blonde. Just what exactly has been happening in Tokyo?
“I know, I know. He’s been going there lately, sometimes even staying for dinner.”
The doctor ran a hand through his hair. “But I couldn’t exactly stop him, Kenma.”
Kuroo then looked at him with a pained expression that Kenma hadn’t seen for years since he broke up with Kei.
“Not when I could see the huge smile on his face when he gets home, regaling me with stories about how Kei praised his mackerel recipe, how he defeated Kei in three rounds of chess, how Kei doted over him during dinner…how nice it must be to have a mother like him.”
“I don’t understand, Ken.” A single tear rolled down a tanned cheek. “If Kei enjoys Yuki’s company so much, why hasn’t he acknowledged his son?”
“Yuki’s still oblivious to the fact that he actually found the mother he was looking for, Kenma. And Yuki’s not exactly secretive about his life, and I don’t believe Kei cannot see the similarities between me and our son!”
“And there’s the matter about his daughter, Yukiko.”
“I think she’s the same age as Yukio.” The former captain was on a roll, talking away and not even allowing him to butt in. “And she hasn’t met her dad. Does this mean she’s also my—?”
“But that can’t be right, she looks nothing like me and besides, didn’t Kei give me our son because he wasn’t ready to be a mother yet?”
“Who told you that?” Kenma had to raise his voice higher to pull his bestfriend out from his rampaging thoughts. “Kei?”
“No, he did not even talk to me personally.” The pudding head could clearly see how Kuroo clenched his fists when he said that, the knuckles turning white in a myriad of suppressed emotions. “It was Akiteru who met up with me, and he relayed his brother’s message before handing Yukio over.”
“Do you think he was telling the truth?”
“Ken, what reason did Akiteru have to lie? Okay, their parents didn’t like me, and I knew that; but Aki was supportive of us. He even talked their parents out from their initial plan that Kei should have an abortion.”
That stilled Kenma, shocking him that he did not even bother hiding the expression on his face. Why was he learning all of these just now?
There was one thing left to do now.
“Kuro, I think you should go talk to Kei.”
“OH MY GOD!”
Both blonde omegas snorted into their hands at Yukio’s initial reaction upon finding out who the esteemed guest was. Even Keiji allowed himself a small smile at the look of apparent awe on the young alpha’s face, looking like a little starstruck fangirl faced with her idol.
“Is this true, snowdrop?” The boy had asked the girl beside him in a daze, eyes fixated at the guest who was looking back at him with unmasked curiosity. Yukio did not even notice the little hiss Yukiko had let out at the use of her nickname, he was just so enamored with the person in front of him.
“Am I dreaming? Am I really seeing the Ushijima Wakatoshi in front of me?”
Said Ushijima Wakatoshi gave a little ghost of a smile at the young alpha, amused at the unmasked admiration the boy was showering him with. He bowed low in front of the boy, as if regarding him like an equal.
“Hajime mashite.” He said in his usual deep voice. “I am Ushijima Wakatoshi.”
Kuroo squealed uncharacteristically as Ushijima straightened himself. “Yoroshiku. Onegai shimasu.”
“I admire your volleyball skills so much, Ushijima-sama! Especially when you led Japan to victory in the Olympics during your captaincy!” Kuroo all but shouted in an unnaturally high-pitched tone. “I’m Kuroo Yukio, and I am honoured to meet you, sir!”
Kei stood in next to the former national team captain and smiled warmly at the both of them. “Now that your jiko shoukai is over and done with, can we have dinner? I’m starving.”
Ushijima linked his hands with Kei’s as a response, smiling fondly at the blonde and allowing himself to be lead to the dining table.
Yukio had briefly wondered why Yukiko did not look even remotely like Ushijima (though she can be as hard and unrelenting as he was, so that makes sense) and had wanted to ask why Yukiko and Kei did not take in the Ushijima name, but he was more interested in what the former national team player had to say that the Tsukishima family tree seemed trivial in the face of his longtime idol. His gold eyes followed the older alpha’s every move, from the way he smiled fondly at Yukiko’s stories, the way he complained that Kei wasn’t eating enough and piled dish after dish on the blonde’s plate, the way his large hands seemed to be holding Kei’s slender ones at every opportunity he gets. His eyes caught the loving stares that the alpha would give the omega beside him as the latter talks, oblivious to the obvious adoration being bestowed on him.
He tentatively sniffed the air and noted that the omegas around the table smelled sweeter than usual, a clear indication that they were comfortable with the presence of such a strong alpha and were even enjoying his company.
So this is what a true alpha is like.
Kuroo Tetsurou, for his part, just got even more confused when his son came home from the Tsukishima household, full of stories about a certain Ushijima Wakatoshi, former national volleyball team captain, loving alpha to mate Tsukishima Kei, and doting father to Tsukishima Yukiko.
Some things just didn’t add up, and the more he thought about it, the more questions resurfaced, until the poor cat was swamped with a multitude of questions he didn’t know how to answer.
Maybe Kenma was right. Maybe it was time to talk to Kei, repercussions be damned.
Chapter 10: Dix | The Cat, the Moon, and a Discovery
Yukio and Yukiko make a discovery that changes the way they look at each other.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
KurooCat: why didn’t you tell me Ushijima Wakatoshi-sama was your dad?
so stingy, Tsukkiii!
I can’t believe this; haven’t I been a good onii-chan to you, snowdrop?
bc he isn’t.
Why do you always jump into conclusions, Kuroo-san?
Also you’re not my onii-chan. You’re not even my anything.
KurooCat: he isn’t?
TsukishimaYukiko: baka! I just told you!
KurooCat: Isn’t he your mother’s mate?
hmm…I guess that’s what it looks like to strangers.
But no, they’re not mates.
TsukishimaYukiko: unlike some people I try to verify my facts before dishing info out, Kuroo-san.
KurooCat: hey! So rude, snowdrop!
You can’t blame me, Ushijima-sama acts like he’s your mom’s alpha
TsukishimaYukiko: Waka-ji has always been like that.
But he was mommy’s fiancé, so I guess that’s why?
KurooCat: HE WAS?! U CUOLD HAVF BEEN AN USIIJHMA?!
I can’t understand why so many omegas want you when you’re so stupid.
TsukishimaYukiko: of course I wouldn’t have been an Ushijima.
If mommy and Waka-ji ended up being together before he met my dad
I would never even exist, Kuroo-san.
That much is obvious.
What are they teaching you in London?
Oh, I shouldn’t blame your school, they ought to be awarded for even taking you in
KurooCat: i am SO ignoring that barb against my intellingence
I’ll have you know I’m a genius in my school
Yeah right, genius who can’t even spell
KurooCat: is that supposed to be me? cute
This one’s you (ΘɞΘ)
HOW IS THAT THING EVEN ME
IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE ME
ARE YOU BLIND ON TOP OF ALL THAT STUPIDITY
KurooCat: believe me it’s all you
glasses and pout spot on
but wait, don’t sway me from the topic
your dad is WAAAAYYY better than Ushijima-sama then
I mean, how could Tsukishima-san say no to an alpha like Ushijima-sama?
TsukishimaYukiko: I am so ignoring your fangirling.
KurooCat: but if your mommy met your daddy and left Ushijima-sama—?
TsukishimaYukiko: tsk. obviously mommy met another alpha and had me
so the Ushijimas backed out on the engagement.
but Waka-ji stayed by mommy when he was pregnant with me
they remained good friends to this day
KurooCat: and your dad is okay with it?
i think Ushijima-sama is very much in love with Tsukishima-san
if I were your dad I’d be jealous
it just occurred to me
why are you using your mother’s surname?
TsukishimaYukiko: Please go back to sleep, Kuroo-san
KurooCat: I can’t!
TsukishimaYukiko: Don’t you have to wake up early? Training camp something?
KurooCat: aw, my baby snowdrop remembers my schedule! *sniff*
Shut up, snow kitten. I’m friends with your manager and your captain.
Just in case you’re forgetting.
KurooCat: oh right. I thought Tsukishima-san told you.
TsukishimaYukiko: why would he tell me?
KurooCat: bc I told him?
TsukishimaYukiko: wtf are you telling MY mother your schedule?
I did not even deny you MY father’s delicious bentos
TsukishimaYukiko: you should be thankful I still even allow you inside MY house
KurooCat: mean! I’d go there as Tsukishima-san’s guest then
TsukishimaYukiko: that’s if my mother would have you as his guest
KurooCat: I’ll have you know that I’m his favorite snow kitten
TsukishimaYukiko: go to sleep, idiot.
TsukishimaYukiko has gone offline.
Tsukishima Kei opened his eyes to a different room.
Judging from the amount of sunshine filtering through the crack in the black-out curtains of the room, it was almost noon. His golden eyes slowly adjusted to the light and took in his surroundings: the off-white walls that highlighted its cracks and holes, the mounted wooden shelves that contained a few books and framed pictures of a group of boys clad in red jerseys, the study table on the corner with the unfinished homework, a small stegosaurus figurine, and a framed picture of himself: blonde, pale, and pouty.
He felt soft lips touch his cheek, which drew his attention to the smiling face of the man beside him.
“Good morning, baby.” This time a kiss landed on his nose. “Slept well?” A kiss on the forehead.
Kei pushed the man away from him in faux annoyance. “Go brush your teeth, Tetsurou.”
A long, wet patch on his cheeks came as a reply where Tetsurou had licked it playfully in response. He huffed and wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand and then wiped it on the bedhead’s clothed chest.
“I love you, firefly.”
Kuroo Tetsurou’s warm brown eyes locked onto his golden ones, shining with an emotion the omega could not describe. The warm orbs seemed to be smiling, if that was even possible, and was looking at him as if he was the only thing the bedhead could see. Part of him wanted to look away from such an intense gaze, but a bigger part wanted to stay and stare back and drown in the moment.
Kuroo’s calloused fingers padded their way to his cheeks, their touches tentative and feather-light. His alpha was holding him as if he was something fragile, as if he was some treasure the bedhead could not believe he was holding inside his arms.
The alpha’s lips curved into a loving smile. “I love you, Kei. I love you so much.”
Before he could respond, there was a knock on the door accompanied by a timid “Mommy? Are you sure you still want me to go?”
Then Tsukishima Kei woke up.
Yukiko adjusted the straps on her backpack for what seemed to be the umpteenth time, listening outside her mother’s door. It was a Saturday and she was off to visit her grandparents in Miyagi, something she does whenever it is almost time for Kei’s heats. The older omega did not want his daughter around for fear he might induce her into premature heat, so these countryside visits were something she was used to doing for a total of four times per year.
She had knocked upon her mother’s door a while ago, letting him know she was already going. This was the first time that she was going to Miyagi without being driven there by a chauffeur, as she was going with the volleyball boys’ club in their school coaster. Karasuno has invited a lot of schools over for training camp, Kanegawa Gakuen included. And really, who were they to deny a powerhouse school?
The Hotaru Group’s prized omega expressed his concern the first time she informed him that she’d be going there with the team, even when she had pointed out that her bestfriends would be with her, as well as the club’s faculty adviser. If it wasn’t for Uncle Keiji who straightforwardly told the blonde he was being too overprotective, she wouldn’t be making this trip with her friends and endure a five-hour drive with a too-scared-to-lose-his-job-to-even-talk-to-her chauffeur and just scour the net for any and all cat videos she could find.
“Okay, snowdrop.” Came her mother’s soft voice, not even bothering to open the door. Even with the scent filters placed in all the rooms of the house, a faint smell of sweet strawberries still diffused from the closed bedroom, a telltale sign that its occupant was about to go into heat. “Leave a message when you get there, okay?”
She nodded from the other side of the door and bid goodbye, finding Keiko waiting for her in the foyer downstairs. Masato would obviously be in the lanai, unallowed entry inside the house as he is an alpha. Just an extra safety precaution.
“Let’s go!” Keiko beamed at her and pulled her out to where a car was waiting to take them to school where the rest of the volleyball team was waiting.
Kuroo Yukio is, for all intents and purposes, an alpha.
But, judging the way he was pouting prettily by the school coaster, one would rethink the boy’s secondary gender. The second year middle blocker had both arms across his chest, silently glaring at anyone who dared to talk to him at this ungodly hour.
His bad mood continued on until they were allowed to board the vehicle, and until he finally sank into a window seat and pulled his headphones over his ears. He did not bother to wait until everyone finally got in as he promptly fell asleep, not knowing that Tsukishima Yukiko on the empty seat to his right until he woke up to the scent of winter: cold, pure, and reminded him of the very first snow angel he has ever made. People would argue with him, maybe, but the scent now really struck him as no other than snow, thick and immaculate white as it covers the ground like a fleece. With a startled jolt, he sat up and found himself looking straight to gold eyes very much like his own.
“Good morning to you too, snow kitten.” The blonde omega he was starting to treat more and more like his sister drawled in a bored monotone. “I was wondering when you’d wake up, we’re the last ones left here that I was tempted to just shove you awake.”
When his sleep-addled mind finally caught up to her words Yukio looked around to unfamiliar scenery. “We’re here?”
“Welcome to Miyagi, Kuroo-san.” The blonde deadpanned, slipped her backpack into her shoulders and alighted the bus in a manner strangely reminiscent of a cat, landing noiselessly and gracefully. Before he could even ask her why she’s on the bus with the rest of the team, the omega had already taken a beeline to the direction of the Karasuno High School gym.
He dashed off in hopes to catch up with her but took a wrong turn that led him to the school’s trophy room, where he saw the numerous awards that the school’s volleyball team has accumulated through the years. There were trophies and championship cups and medals, as well as pictures of the teams over the years and some notable events like the “National Champions!” and “Battle of the Trash Heap”.
Yukio snorted amusedly at that; the caption was just ridiculous. Upon closer look he saw that the picture was of two obviously amiable teams, one clad in orange and black, one in red. The caption stated that it was Karasuno and Nekoma, National Interhigh Tournament 20xx.
He perked up at that, he has had so many volleyball stories from both Uncle Ken and his dad about their days as varsity players for Nekoma high. The year in which the picture was taken would invariably mean his father was still in high school, so there was a high chance Kuroo Tetsurou was in the shot.
And there he was, in his signature messy-haired glory, not even looking at the camera. He was smiling and holding hands with the person beside him, a tall lanky blonde with black rimmed glasses whose jersey bore the large number 11 on them. A short list of regular players during that time was supplied right next to the picture, informing anyone who was interested that number 11 was a first-year middle blocker whose name was—
There was a suspicious car outside the huge gates of the slate blue house at the end of the street. The grey SUV had been parked outside for a good two hours that the security personnel thought of sending someone to inquire had not the driver stepped out and walked calmly and confidently towards the front of the gate.
The man was obviously an alpha, evident in the way he carried himself with such importance that even his ridiculous bedhead seemed to compliment his features. The person manning the surveillance had been taken aback to see that the visitor looked a lot like the young teenage boy that ojousama is friends with.
Kuroo Tetsurou, for his part, almost let out a low whistle when he was finally permitted inside the premises. He was debating with himself for more than an hour whether or not he should follow through with his plan, and admittedly, there have been loads of times he considered going home before he finally gathered the courage to get out of the car and request an audience with the blonde in the most faux-confident fashion. There was a lot of questions he had to answer, too, and it wasn’t until he told them he would like a discussion with the Tsukishimas with regards to his son’s hospitalization that somebody finally opened the towering gates and allowed him in to wait in the mansion’s lanai located in the west wing. Apparently the owner of the household has had some personal circumstances that forbids him to accept visitors inside the house itself.
“Please wait here a moment, Kuroo-sama.” A petite lady said softly as she placed a tray of peppermint tea and some scones in front of him. “Tsukishima-sama’s legal adviser shall be with you shortly; he’s on his way.”
“Wait,” He asked, eyebrows knitting. “Legal adviser? But I was hoping I’d get to talk to Ke—ah, Tsukishima-san.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but Tsukishima-sama is unable to attend to visitors at the moment.” His eyes followed the girl’s line of vision to a large curtained window on the second floor with the wide balcony and got an idea as to where Kei currently is. “He has…uhm, taken a personal time off.”
Kuroo snuck inside the house a few minutes after the girl turned her back on him and tried to locate the room he was looking for, only to finally land outside a closed room on the second floor which reeked of strawberries so delectably-smelling that the alpha in him stirred again after so many years of searching.
The room was getting unbearably hot, and Tsukishima Kei discarded his last piece of clothing for risk of overheating. He crawled to his nest beside the bed with a needy whimper, clutching an old red jacket with the words Nekoma on it.
He buried his nose in the said jacket, its scent practically non-existent as it has been a long time since its owner had used it, but it served its purpose to the omega. Kei closed his eyes and imagined the clean scent of pine and cool breeze that used to emanate from it, and the image of a smiling messy-haired cat captain came along with the thought.
Kuroo. The blonde started palming his turgid cock, his mind playing the same fantasy he has had through the years. Tetsu please.
Kuroo would be there in an instant and wrap his calloused hand around his hard length, pumping slowly and whispering sweet nothings in his ears. Kei would arch his back at the building pleasure, slick slowly dripping out his wet hole, aching to be filled, aching to be breeded.
Kuroo’s wet mouth would trail hot wanton kisses at his back, one hand continuing its pumping motion and the other rising up to tease a pert nipple. You smell so good, omega, he would purr, and proceed to nibble at his shoulderblade. Kei would give out an answering whimper, grinding his hole at the poking shaft he could feel pressing at the small of his back.
The raven would give out a low growl at the contact and flip him over so that they were face to face and crash his lips clumsily against his in a sensual dance of tongues: wet and carnal and full of burning desire. The alpha would push his pink tongue in the warm cavern of the omega’s mouth, eliciting moans from the latter as he opened his lips to allow deeper access.
Kei…Kuroo would murmur between kisses, cupping his omega’s face lovingly as he pulled the blonde impossibly closer. Kei…His tanned arms would then fall down, calloused fingers padding their way to Tsukishima’s shoulders, to his chest, to his waist. Tsukki would close his eyes as he felt the heat pooling in his belly, as more slick dribbled out from him.
The cat would line their cocks and give a low thrust, grunting and panting and swallowing the crow’s sudden scream of pleasure. His large hands would hold both erections and work at it while holding the blonde’s mouth hostage, until Kei’s breath would hitch and rise and fall in the most erratic rhythm, whispering the alpha’s name in a desperate chant of both need and want.
Kuroo…With lust-filled eyes he would gaze upon his alpha’s face, his face open in a silent plea that begged for release. Alpha, your knot…I need your knot.
And before the alpha could even react, the needy omega in heat would assume a submissive position, turning his back as sensually as he could upon the alpha and offer him his wet entrance.
Kei…I can’t hold back anymore.
Kei would lick his lips in anticipation as the alpha would finally enter him, stretching him wide and filling him up with that sweet, burning heat he had been longing for years. Their moans and pants would mix in a cacophony of sensual sounds as the alpha bounced him on the hard shaft, as his sharp teeth grazed his sensitive scent glands in a promise of a mark.
Kuroo would chuckle at the needy whine that escaped his omega’s lips as he pulled himself out completely, only to have the blonde face him because I want to see you clearly, firefly, and thrust so hard and so deep and so sudden for those beautiful golden orbs to roll back into its sockets in pure bliss. The blonde’s seed would spill between their stomachs as his own would fill the omega.
Faster, Tetsu, the blonde would cry out in pleasure, his hot breath on the alpha’s neck. Your knot, alpha, I need your knot, he would plead and Kuroo would concede as he rammed inside even harder, said knot catching on Kei’s rim.
They would reach the peak together, calling each other’s names as they rode out their orgasms and bite each other’s scent glands to complete the mating with a mark, a bond, a sign that they were made for each other.
And Kei would feel satisfied with that fantasy until the second wave hits later, his arms aching with the sheer effort of trying to bring himself pleasure. His mind has played that exact same fantasy every time that he would get into heat, but this time, this time it felt real.
As real as the strong pair of arms that wrapped around his waist, pulling him into the little spoon position.
As real as the soft lapping on his scent gland, licking away the blood that oozed out in the middle of marking.
As real as the soft warm brown eyes of Kuroo Tetsurou, who was looking at him with a blissed-out expression and a tearful smile.
“Finally, Kei.” A loving whisper, a quick peck on the lips that would leave the blonde startled, just like before. “Go to sleep, my omega. Your alpha is here to take care of you.”
With an annoyed huff, Tsukishima Yukiko finally found the cat-boy who stood shell-shocked as he stared at something on the awards display board. Keiko and Masato were both worried and looked all over the place for him, dragging her along to make the job easier.
“There you are!” She said, making an irritated beeline to where the alpha stood like a statue. “Seriously, all you had to do was to make a left at the first turn and you would have reached the gym. And I wasn’t really walking that fast it’s impossible you weren’t able to catch up to me.”
For the first time in the history of forever, the cat-boy did not even react, which was odd. She followed his line of vision to an old picture, which showed two teams together. She let out a gasp at a familiar face.
“Hey, is that my mother?” She leaned towards the display excitedly to get a better look, and true enough, it was her mother. The blonde hair and the glasses and the 11 were nothing but a dead giveaway. Her golden orbs took in the image of her teenage mom, all bored and snarky and yet still as breathtakingly beautiful, long pale legs, long fair arms linked to—
Kuroo Yukio did not even have to look at her to answer her unfinished question.
“My dad, yes. That’s my dad.”
Chapter 11: Onze | The Firefly, The Black Cat, and a Mark
Kuroo Tetsurou opened his eyes to the most spectacular view ever.
There was a crack in the heavy navy blue curtains that covered the tall French windows, allowing a tiny sliver of light to pass through the room, just enough to illuminate the area. It also did not help that the said sliver of light ended just before the sleeping omega by his side, giving him an ethereal look that Kuroo couldn’t dare avert his eyes away.
The light made the blonde’s hair glow softly, giving an impression of a halo, which the alpha thought befitted his omega (‘his’, his mind supplied giddily) because no matter how snarky Kei was when he was awake, he just turned into an absolute angel when asleep without that constant unimpressed expression on his face. His pale shoulders rose up and down in a steady rhythm that matched the omega’s breaths, collarbones protruding so seductively (Kuroo has the hots for his omega, okay?) that he was almost tempted to give it a soft nip. His eyes travelled to the junction of Kei’s neck, the part where it joins the omega’s shoulders and let out a sob despite himself.
Kuroo’s mark was there, wound still fresh and red, a beautiful contrast against the paleness that was his omega’s scent gland. Instinctively he reached out to his own gland and gingerly touch the wound there, the slight pain a direct contrast to the happiness that welled his chest.
Kei was finally his, and he was finally Kei’s. Finally, after sixteen years of longing, of wishing, of yearning, his omega was his to hold and protect.
He pulled Kei closer to him, to his chest, to somehow remind himself that he wasn’t dreaming. Kei frowned sleepily at the action, muttering a “still so early, Tetsu” as he scooted closer to bury his nose near the alpha’s scent gland and rubbing against the skin, as if lulling himself back to sleep with the scent of his mate. The alpha gave out a fond laugh and kissed the omega’s frowns away.
He could get used to this.
The final whistle blew, signifying Kanegawa’s loss against Karasuno in three straight sets.
Yamaguchi Masato turned to the rest of his team with a sigh and a clap and a command for all of them to do diving receives, but not before pointedly looking at a very distracted middle blocker whose head was obviously not in the game that he was rendered utterly useless in the court.
It wasn’t only the captain, though. Yukio could feel all and every pair of eyes from Kanegawa VBC members on him as he lunged down to the floor. He winced at the contact; apparently his mind was still wandering off that he couldn’t even muster the mental preparation required to warn his body of the pain of a miscalculated dive.
Wandering off to the fading old photograph on the bulletin board which is also the only thing on a certain omega’s mind.
Keiko winced at the sight of their newest best friend (because who are they kidding, the unruly-haired alpha had been to a lot of their study dates and other random hang-outs that it would be futile for them to be pretending to see Yukio as anything but), and wondering what was wrong. Anyone with eyes can see that the second year middle blocker was well and thoroughly distracted with something. He was, after all, the best middle blocker they’ve had for years, and yet hardly any of his blocks had actually stopped balls or effectively changed the course of a spiker’s hit which he is known to be very good at.
The pretty ravenette turned to the blonde near her with a perplexed expression. “Yuki-kun seemed pretty distracted, don’t you think, Yukiko?”
“Huh?” Yukiko looked up, face painted with a distracted expression, perhaps even more so than Yukio that had Keiko sighing in defeat. Seriously, they had been like that when they found them already trudging back to the gym from god knows where, wearing identical expressions like they have just lived through the worst experience ever.
“Never mind.” She said, pursing her lips and turned away to watch the boys still on their diving receives, just in time to see Yukio bumping his head at Masato’s raised right foot who was directly in front of him. Usually Yukiko would snicker gleefully at the sight, but she just looked on as if she had seen crazier things than Yukio shoving his face to Masato’s foot.
Keiko briefly wondered if she should allow her girl best friend go home alone to her grandparents on a state like this. The original plan (which the blonde omega had decided upon despite protests from her childhood friends) was to allow Yukiko to hitch a ride with the VBC, hangout at Karasuno for a while, and then go home alone to her grandparents just before lunch. That had been a good enough plan since Miyagi was a safe place and it’s still very early out, but now she’s not so sure.
“Don’t go home alone.” Bokuto Keiko said after a while, voice laced with a subtle yet firm command that Yukiko had to stare at her. “Masa-chan and Yuki-kun and I will go with you.”
It’s during times like this that Yukiko is reminded just who Keiko’s mother is. And like Kei who can never say no to a soft yet firm Keiji, Yukiko had nothing to do but nod an approval to Keiko’s soft yet firm decision.
Tsukishima Kei knows he’s simply dreaming but he allows himself to drink in the dream scene and sleep some more, stubbornly keeping his eyes shut for fear that the dream might end prematurely when he opened those gold orbs open.
He woke up at the familiar sensation of his heat licking at his toes and spreading slowly throughout his body, signifying yet another wave. The hunger for a mate overpowered physical hunger again; he hardly had any decent meal since it started yet unsurprisingly, the omega did not feel the need to eat.
The need to mate was gnawing at him just as he felt strong arms pull him in and envelope him in the calming scent of pine trees and cool wintry breeze which sent him back to years ago, when he was still somebody’s boyfriend and bond-mate. He buried himself on the alpha’s chest and sniffed as much as he could, mumbling a partially-annoyed-partially-embarrassed “still so early, Tetsu”, not really wanting to give in to his omega instincts just yet and just go right back to the most comfortable sleep he has ever had in a long time.
He was rewarded with the sound of laughter and a kiss on his furrowed brows, and Kei kept his eyes painfully shut until it welled with tears, not wanting to wake up and prolong the dream.
The words I love you, Kei came as a mere whisper but his heart committed it to memory. With eyes still shut, he allowed his arms to wrap around the alpha’s waist as tight as he could, not wanting to let go.
If this was a dream, then he does not have to hold back like he’s forced to in reality. If this was a dream, then he would latch onto that familiar scent and warmth and keep it all to himself.
“I love you too, Tetsu.” he whispered fervently, tears now spilling out of his eyes but he still not dared to open them. Not until he tells the alpha what he couldn’t tell him in real life, at least.
“I missed you so much, alpha.”
The responding I missed you more than anything, my little omega was immediate, hardly skipping a beat. A pair of calloused hands wiped the tears away, feeling so startlingly real that he was tempted to open his eyes and see for himself, but no—
He dare not break the spell and wake up to the bleak reality that he was alone, that the person he considers his alpha has grown tired of his snarky, indecisive self and left long ago, that his alpha has another pup with another omega around the same time Kei had their twins. He dare not open his eyes to the reality that he was never enough, that another omega is living the life he yearns, a life with Kuroo Tetsurou.
He kept his eyes shut, a steady flow of I love you-I’m sorry I wasn’t a good omega-I miss you-please stay and a multitude of words he’d been keeping inside for sixteen long years spilling out from his mouth, mingling with choked sobs and hiccups that it made his throat painful and dry.
But he couldn’t stop. If this is the only way he could be with his alpha, then he could go on dreaming forever.
“This is your house?!”
Three pairs of eyes turned to Kuroo Yukio in surprise. The cat boy had exclaimed that in his loudest voice, the words echoing through the stillness of the posh neighborhood of Tsukishima Kei’s childhood. Yukiko heaved a sigh like she was done with the world and allowed herself in, toeing off her shoes warily in the spacious genkan and slipping onto the white indoor slippers being provided.
Yukio followed suit and dropped his voice a few octaves lower, sticking to the blonde.
“What is it with you Tsukishimas and your ridiculously big houses?” The alpha whispered animatedly, a surprising contrast to the distracted boy he was a few hours back. “Seriously, your genkan is about the same size as my room!”
“You’re just used to the small spaces we have in Tokyo, Yuki-kun.”
He scoffed at that statement, because Yukiko’s room was about the same size as his and his father’s rooms put together. The two of them carried on with their whispered banter, oblivious to the stares their other two friends were giving them.
“You know, I used to think they’d make a perfect couple.” Keiko said to the freckled alpha as they silently padded their way to the living room. It did not escape her olive eyes how the volleyball captain slightly stumbled upon his steps at her statement, but she opted to say nothing and hid a knowing smile.
Masato scratched his cheek out of nervous habit and laughed awkwardly as he tried to ignore the knowing look on the dark-haired omega’s face.
“Really?” He said as casually as he could. “Well, I know what you mean. Yuki-kun is a good-looking, dependable alpha, and he’s irresistible to omegas around him; whereas Tsukki…”
“…is beautiful and smart and independent and is painfully oblivious to the fact that a certain volleyball captain is crushing on her.” Keiko supplied with a laugh and evaded the long arms who threatened to strangle her in a platonic one-arm hug. “But don’t worry, Masa-chan. Yuki-kun isn’t your competition.”
The both of them looked ahead at the subjects of their conversation, who have now come out of their confused states earlier and have been arguing playfully like they always do. Yukiko even reached out to ruffle the messy tresses of Yukio’s hair, the latter jokingly swatting the omega’s hands away with an exaggerated pout.
“If I hadn’t known any better, I’d say the two of them are siblings.”
Yukio could feel a pair of eyes watching his every move intently, making the small hairs on his nape stand on end and his skin prickle. He nudged Yukiko’s feet gently with his own under the table where the four of them were eating lunch at the insistence of Yukiko’s obaasan.
Snowdrop (he giggled inwardly at that, relishing the way the girl’s cheeks would dust pink with annoyance—apparently her grandparents call her with only that nickname) turned to him with an obvious ‘what?’ on her face.
“Is it just me, or your grandparents hate me?” He whispered urgently, hiding in the guise of draining his glass. “They just keep on staring at me I can hardly even breathe here!”
“I’m pretty sure that’s just you.” Yukiko clipped a piece of mackerel with her chopsticks, but her brows were furrowing, as though she herself doesn’t believe in her words. “But we need to talk about something.”
The middle blocker was pretty sure their conversation would be about that photograph of her parents but before he could say so, the older Tsukishima alpha cleared his throat and looked straight at him.
He almost wet himself from that look alone.
“It’s nice to see you’re expanding your social circle, snowdrop.” The older man said in a deep commanding voice, like he was used to holding authority over a large group of people. “I see you have made another good friend.”
His mate, a golden-eyed beta who was obviously not Japanese turned to him with glassy eyes and said, “What did you say was your name again, darling?”
He wanted to say he had not yet introduced himself because the moment the older Tsukishimas saw them they had been ushered into the dining area, where a spread contain all of their snowdrop’s favorite foods were served, but his tongue seemed to have short circuited along with his brain. He could only stare fascinatedly onto those gold eyes that had the same tiny specks of deep brown such as his, wondering idly why they were looking at him with a teary expression.
It was Yukiko who answered for him when it was apparent that he was rendered temporarily mute. “He is Kuroo Yukio, obaasan. He’s classmates with me and Kei-chan, and plays in the same team as Masa-chan.”
He did not say anything else, but Yukio had not missed the way his deep dark eyes hardened at he turned to look at him with scrutiny.
He wondered if their reactions had something to do with the photograph they just saw.
There are two things that can fully stop any alpha in his tracks, no matter how powerful they may be.
One is an omega in heat, which appealed to their breeding nature, their instinct to claim and mate. The other is an omega in distress, which called out to their protective nature, their instinct to keep safe and protect.
Right now, Tetsurou’s omega was both.
“Kei, please, baby…” He said imploringly, trying to get closer to the hysterical omega that was huddled into a tight fetal position near the bed’s headboard. Just a few minutes ago they were snuggled in each other’s arms when the omega started crying and talking in his sleep, so the alpha took it upon himself to shower the blonde’s face in butterfly kisses to calm his mate. He even tried purring and releasing a calming scent to help, but all it did was to wake the blonde.
Needless to say, Tsukishima Kei was not pleased to see Kuroo Tetsurou at all.
The blonde had pushed him off the bed in surprise, making Tetsurou land on his naked bottom rather painfully. But even more painful was the look of surprise and rage in Kei’s eyes as he glared at the alpha, and the look of shock and regret when he saw the fresh puncture wounds he had made in the surgeon’s scent glands in the midst of heat.
Kei had cried in anguish, like it had been his worst mistake.
But Tetsurou’d be damned if he allows his omega to run away again. Not now, when they are finally mated.
“Baby, please, stop crying.” He pleaded, positioning himself at the foot of the bed. Kei had tensed up at the proximity and it was all that Tetsurou could do not to show the pain he felt at the thought his omega did not want his touch. “Kei, please, your eyes are swollen now.”
A mumbled ‘get out’ was all he got in reply, the scent of a trapped omega thick in the air it made his skin prickle. The alpha in him bristled at not being able to come closer to his mate, but he knew better than to push the blonde.
“I said get out, Kuroo-san.”
“But your heat! A-and you need—
“I don’t need anything.” The blonde spat, pulling his comforter closer to his pale frame. “I haven’t needed anything from you for the last sixteen years.”
“But Kei, you’re in heat, and you need your mate to take care of you.” Okay, he was supposed to argue better than this, but the hard glare in those tearful golden eyes made it hard for his brain to formulate smart rebuttals. “I can’t leave you like this.”
Golden orbs steeled as they transfixed onto hazel ones, and Kei seemed to transform into a different person. “Mate?” He said softly yet bitterly, hands coming up to tentatively touch his own gland to see if Tetsurou’s mark was indeed there, but stopped midway. “Just because we marked each other hardly makes us mates, Kuroo-san. Don’t even start on that shit about how alphas can’t leave their omegas because we both know that’s not true. You proved that wrong, remember? Sixteen years ago.”
Tetsurou was an alpha, and the inner beast in him took the blonde’s words as a challenge. It reared its possessive head and urge Tetsurou to just swoop down on Kei and claim him, breed him into submission.
But Tetsurou was also a lover, a man who just loved Tsukishima Kei with all his heart that he was willing to do everything to make him happy, even at the price of his own happiness. His moonshine deserves to be happy, and if happy isn’t Kuroo, then he’d comply.
He moved from his perch at the end of the bed and scooped the omega up to sit him on his lap. The blonde put up a decent fight, pushing and punching and clawing at every bit of Tetsurou he could reach and the bedhead allowed it all, silently crying.
I’m sorry, Kei, he whispered over and over until the blonde sat still and cried along with him. I’m sorry.
I love you.
He kissed his omega’s forehead lovingly and placed him gently back to bed. If Kei’s happiness excluded Kuroo from the picture, then so be it. He’d simply watch over and protect his omega from afar, even if the pain kills him.
“I love you, Kei.” He whispered again, looking straight into those golden eyes that widened at his words. He tried giving his firefly a smile, but it did not quite reach his eyes.
“I love you, my omega.”
He cried for a long time in his car before driving off, marked yet unmated.
Kuroo Yukio and Tsukishima Yukiko sat huddled across each other on the blonde’s bed, locked in what seemed like a staring game. Yukiko’s grandparents have excused themselves right in the middle of dessert, saying that they have important matters to attend to urgently, and left before any of them can even react. Masa-chan went over to his own grandparent’s house five houses away, and Keiko-chan holed herself in the house’s mini library which housed both Kei and Akiteru’s literary collections.
“I can’t believe we’re getting so worked up on a single picture.” Yukiko said after a while, to which Yukio just replied with a loud exhale. “Besides, they were still in high school when that picture was taken.”
Yukio sat up straighter at that, face contorting into a frown. “And your point is?”
“My point is that high school relationships are often flimsy and shallow and none of them last, snow kitten.” The blonde snapped, sitting straighter herself.
“My dad met my mom in high school.” Yukio said, pulling one of the nearby pillows to his chest. “And they had me, which would mean they were serious enough about each other.”
“You’re forgetting my mom also met my dad in high school.” Yukiko tsked emphatically. “And they had me, but my dad left my mom, which would mean he wasn’t serious enough.”
The bedhead slumped at her words, and perked up again.
“What if my parents broke up because your mother came?”
“I don’t care if you’re an alpha, Kuroo, I swear I’m going to kill you if you talk about my mom like that again.”
“That’s just a what if!”
“I don’t care! My mother isn’t like that! He never even had an alpha after my dad, despite the large number that tried to court him through the years!” Yukiko huffed at Yukio, who had the decency to look sorry. “Wait, you said your parents broke up? Where’s your mother now?”
Yukio looked away from the piercing curiosity in the omega’s eyes. “I haven’t met my mom. My dad doesn’t exactly talk about him, either.”
“I overheard dad and Uncle Kenma –that’s his bestfriend– talking about him, okay? And for the record, my dad didn’t have any other omega besides my mom either.”
Yukiko ran a distressed hand through long blonde tresses. “But the picture doesn’t really prove anything. So our parents dated for a while in high school, no big deal. Then they met their mates and had us.”
Yukio stared at her for a while, then linked his fingers together. “This is going to sound stupid, but what if…”
“…we have the same set of parents?” Yukiko laughed, but it came rather forced. “That is indeed stupid, Yukio.”
She ran a hand through her hair again, watching the cat boy fiddle with his fingers. “My mother does that too, you know.” She remarked thoughtfully, gesturing to the alpha’s hands. “Have you been doing that ever since?”
Yukio looked at his hands like he hadn’t even noticed he was already playing with them. “Only when I’m uncomfortable.”
“Okay.” There goes that hand through the hair gesture again. Seriously, she’s going to pull all her hair out anytime soon if she doesn’t—
The boy’s eyes widened with a sudden realization. “My dad also does that hand through his hair thing. And he also likes mackerel.”
The omega looked at him carefully, quickly catching on to his train of thought. “My mother eats as much strawberries as you do.” She said slowly.
“You and dad have the same smile.”
“You and mom have the same frown.”
“You smell like dad; both of you remind me of Christmas.”
“You and mom remind me of a confectionery.”
The two looked closely at each other, knowing that both of them could be stretching things just based of an imaginary picture, but they have observed too many similarities that are impossible to ignore and chalk to simple coincidence.
“When’s your birthday?” They finally asked in unison, both having a hunch as to what the other’s answer might be.
A long pair of arms loomed over the net and cut the course of the ball effectively, where it fell back to the other side of the court with a dull thud. The final whistle blew, signifying Kanegawa’s victory against Karasuno in three straight sets.
But before any of them could run to Kuroo Yukio, who scored the last point (and most of their points, to be perfectly honest), the alpha had run to the Karasuno coach, Ennoshita Chikara. Yamaguchi Masato and Bokuto Keiko could only watch on and wonder why the middle blocker suddenly got interested in the team Chikara-san has been in when he was a high school student at Karasuno, because he has been taking every chance he’s got to talk to the coach for the entire duration of the training camp.
“Maybe he’s just asking for tips.” Masato turned to Keiko with a sigh, and then continued, “Is Tsukki coming home with us today?”
The manager sighed and pulled out her phone. “Maybe.’ She said, scrolling through her contacts list for Yukiko’s number. “I’ll call her again in case she forgets, she’s been holing herself in the basement going through all her mother’s old stuff.”
Chapter 12: Douze | The Cat, The Moon, and An Investigation
Akiteru’s worried face was the first thing he saw when he woke up to a pristine white room, IV lines poking on his arms and an oxygen mask placed over his nose and mouth. He couldn’t remember what had happened before this, all he remembered was the heavy rain, the long waiting, and the sight of his boyfriend walking away.
“You have been unconscious for about two days, Kei.” His older brother couldn’t hide the concern and worry seeping through his voice as he pushed the blonde curls away from the omega’s face. “It was Tadashi who found you unconscious on the sidewalk.”
“What happened?” The teenager asked, wincing in pain as he tried to sit up straight. “All I remember was meeting up with Tet—
Tetsurou said we were over. He said he was only playing with me.
The older Tsukishima blinked in confusion. “Kuroo-san was with you? You know Dad does not like him!”
How could Kei not? Their father did not keep his dislike for the raven a secret, even saying that he’d ruin the boy should he try and claim the Hotaru Group’s prized omega, who’s already being promised off to the only Ushijima heir, a serious-looking alpha named Wakatoshi.
Father doesn’t have to do that now, since Kuroo had called it quits.
The thought stung and Akiteru misinterpreted his tears as something else, like frustration at not being allowed to be near the messy-haired alpha.
“It’s okay, Kei.” Aki’s warm hands covered his cold ones, warmth emanating throughout his entire body. “Dad will change his mind once he sees how you are meant for each other.”
He won’t, because there’s no ‘us’ anymore.
But before the omega could say anything, a beta in scrubs and a white coat came in, smiling widely like he had some good news.
He had news alright, only Kei couldn’t decide right then if it qualified as good or otherwise.
“Omedetou, Tsukishima-san. Your test results just came in, and you’re having twins!”
The entire house smells like pine, and it momentarily threw Yukiko off as she wondered if she got home to the right house.
Of course I got home to the right house. One side of her replied dully (with no less than an exaggerated eye roll) as she toed off her shoes and slipped into the bunny slippers that were a gift from Masa-chan. Maybe someone just tried out a new air freshener and opted for one that smells like pine, and Yukiko must admit that it actually smells nice. Relaxing, even.
“Tadaima!” She called out in a sing-song, noting how incredibly Yukio she sounded when she said the particular greeting that way.
“Okaeri nasai, ojousama.” One of the household help greeted her by the genkan, arms outstretched for the blonde’s travel bag.
She gave her the bag with a thankful smile. “Where’s mommy?”
“Okaeri, snowdrop.” Her mother’s calm voice carried over from where he was comfortably seated on the sofa, a bowl of fresh strawberries on his lap as he surfed through TV channels. (He eventually stopped on a channel that featured a dinosaur documentary and smiled invitingly at her, knowing full well about her obsession with dinosaurs because it was him who influenced it in the first place.) “How was Miyagi?”
“It was okay.” She plopped down next to her mother, refusing the fruits offered to her. “Still Miyagi, I guess.”
“Hmm.” The older omega hummed in reply, golden eyes transfixed on the TV screen. Now, let the record state that Tsukishima Yukiko is never a schemer, but she definitely knows an opportunity when she sees one. With her mother in his most relaxed state, now is definitely the best time to seize the opportunity and run away with it.
“But you haven’t visited in a while, have you, Mommy?” She asked airily, taking care that she doesn’t sound too eager.
Kei did not even turn to look at her; he was currently preoccupied by the herd of triceratops presently featured in the documentary. “No, snowdrop, I haven’t.”
“For how many years?”
“After I had you, I guess?”
“You don’t miss Miyagi?”
“You don’t miss Karasuno?”
“You don’t miss volleyball?”
“You don’t miss your former teammates?”
“You don’t miss your high school friends?”
“You don’t miss dad?”
Yukiko didn’t know whether to feel accomplished or defeated. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the prized omega’s signature barely-there smile, a sign that she was being played by her own mother. She huffed playfully and sunk even lower into the sofa with a pout.
Kei laughed at his daughter’s antics, temporarily forgetting about the upset that was the fiasco during his heat. He knows his pup deserves to know the truth regarding the secrets surrounding her birth, but he does not know where to start, he does not know how to start.
But for now, he chooses not to deal with it. At least, not for a while.
“I’m sure you’re tired, snowdrop.” He said with the most nonchalant smile he could muster, afraid that his ever-observant daughter would notice if he even dared show the smallest hint that something happened in the course of his heat. “Why don’t you go rest first, and then I’ll call you when dinner’s ready?”
Yukiko nodded, looking instantly tired as if Kei’s words just reminded her of how exhausted she was from the long trip. The girl stood up, shoulders slumped, before reaching down and kissing her mother on the cheek.
“Can I go and rest in your room instead?” His pup asked timidly, sounding unsure. “I want to sleep in your bed so that I will be able to sleep better, mommy.”
Kei looked the tiniest bit hesitant, but Yukiko gave him her full-on puppy pout that he couldn’t find it in his heart to say no. Especially when his heart skipped a bit at how his pup’s expression matched that of her father.
The teenager practically lit up like a Christmas tree the moment he finally nodded his assent and skipped towards his room with a chirpy “Can we have grilled mackerel for dinner?” that had him smiling and subconsciously reaching up to his fresh bond mark.
Let the record state that Tsukishima Yukiko is never a schemer, but she definitely knows an opportunity when she sees one. Once she turned to the landing and out of her mother’s sight, she bolted to a full on dash, eager to lay her hands on whatever she could find out about her mother’s past.
She was so excited, in fact, that she was already dialling Kuroo Yukio’s number before she noticed that the room smelled heavily of pine, like she just walked into a whole forest.
Her mind raced back to the moment she arrived home, noting belatedly that even though the scent of pine had spread all over the living room, it was more concentrated by the sofa, where her mother was.
It wasn’t goddamn air freshener, and she bonked her head on the wall when she came to a realization.
“Moshi moshi, Snowdrop?” Kuroo Yukio’s voice crackled through her phone, sounding extremely tired. “What is it?”
The scent of pine belonged to an alpha.
“Yukio.” She whispered urgently into the phone. “Mommy’s mated.”
A dazed Kuroo Yukio was greeted by the door by an equally dazed Kuroo Tetsurou.
The boy stood by the door, a weak Tadaima dying on his lips and looking shaken as he gripped his phone tightly in his hands. Tsukishima Kei is mated. His mother is mated.
His mind raced back to the recent conversation he had with Ennoshita-sensei, one of the many he has gleaned from the coach during the entire duration of the training camp.
“You really are your parents’ son, Kuroo-kun.” Ennoshita Chikara gave him a fond smile the first time he has walked up to him on the second day of the training camp. “During the first day I thought you only inherited your father’s looks and your mother’s eyes, but you have proven me wrong. They were very good middle blockers, too.”
The photo in the trophy room resurfaced in his mind, reminding him that yes, both Nekoma’s number 1 and Karasuno’s number 11 were middle blockers. His heart hammered in his chest that even the simple act of swallowing down was painful.
He forced himself to give out a small laugh, praying that he sounded nonchalant. “Dad never lets up an opportunity to give me tips, Ennoshita-sensei. He gets overbearing at times.”
The amiable beta let out a mirthful laugh at that. “Kuroo-san has always been like that ever since, he’s done that to your mom, too. It’s funny that even in parenthood he hasn’t really changed a bit.”
“Oh, right!” Yukio exclaimed in faux-realization, schooling his features to one that looks pleasantly surprised. “You and dad used to play against each other, right?”
“Yeah.” The Karasuno coach gave a wistful smile, like he was remembering good old days. “Your parents first met at a training camp like this, too.”
“Really?” Okay Yukio, don’t be too obvious. Calm the heck down! He internally reprimanded himself as he accepted the water bottle Ennoshita-sensei had just handed over to him. He even made a show of drinking from it as slowly as possible, partly to calm his over-excited heart and partly to stop the slew of questions from coming. “Dad never mentioned that.”
“That’s strange, because Kuroo is always open when it comes to his affections for his omega.” The coach took his cue and drank water himself, and it was all Yukio could do not to jump on him right now and demand for the name of his dad’s omega.
But it turns out he doesn’t have to resort to anything rash, because Ennoshita-sensei calmly spoke back up again, his soft calm voice a stark contrast to the huge bomb he just dropped on the young alpha’s head:
“But maybe Tsukishima forbade him to, Kuroo’s a softie when it comes to your mother anyways.”
And now he learns that his mother is mated. And he hasn’t even told Yukiko about what Ennoshita-sensei said yet. What the actual fuck.
The moment he finally knows who is mother is, he dances out of his reach again by finding a mate. A mate. Bonded for life. To another alpha.
What’s going to happen to their family now?
“Okaeri, Yukio.” His father rasped, making the boy look up to his father. Kuroo Tetsurou looked like he just went through a very rough time. No, scratch that, he looked like he was still in it.
He still had his characteristic bedhead, only this time it was ten times worse, like the surgeon just got dragged into a catfight. His shoulders were slumped, making him look shorter and vulnerable, a trait that one could hardly witness from an alpha. Not to mention his eyes were red and puffy, and he was sniffling slightly. Had he been crying?
“Dad?” He asked, concern seeping through his voice. “Is everything okay?”
His scent changed, too, Yukio noted. He was seriously emitting worried alpha pheromones, something that only alphas with mates—
He dropped his bag and bolted out the door, his acute nose catching the faint whiff of something sweet-sour as he uttered a quick I’ll be back to his surprised father.
Kuroo Tetsurou gulped visibly the moment he saw Tsukishima Hideki walk in the restaurant like he just owned the entire place (and learned that he owns not the resto, but the building it is housed in later on) flanked by a no-nonsense beta guy in a well-pressed tailored suit and a serious-looking young alpha with dark olive-brown hair that matched the color of his eyes. All eyes fell on the three the moment they made their beeline to where the bedhead sat, feeling more nervous by the minute.
“Kuroo Tetsurou?” The alpha in the center addressed him, brown eyes trained on the Nekoma captain like he was something relatively small yet posed a big threat.
“Yes sir.” The cat captain said, drawing himself to full height. Sure, he was intimidated by the presence of this obviously stronger alpha before him, but he was of the same secondary gender too so he shouldn’t back down. It was obvious that they were sizing him up, and he did not want them to think he’s a pushover.
“Tsukishima Hideki.” He held out a hand in response, and Kuroo noted when they shook hands that the alpha had the same long fingers his omega son had. “I’m sure you know who I am.”
The man sat himself calmly across Kuroo’s, and the two others followed suit. The raven-haired alpha knows who Tsukishima Hideki is, of course. The Hotaru Group is one of the country’s top conglomerates it is a wonder that Kuroo hadn’t really made the connection between the CEO and his beloved moonshine right away.
But then again, the man looked more like Akiteru and less like Kei (except only for the height and the classic stoicism), plus nobody really knows the members of the Hotaru Group’s higher echelons. Kuroo has even seen the man only once, in a lavish gala thrown by the mayor to celebrate the city’s newest milestone. Kuroo had been there as one of the servers as his part-time job.
“I won’t beat around the bush, Kuroo-san.” Tsukishima Hideki said calmly, sipping on his mugicha. “I know you’re courting my Kei.”
A cold, ominous feeling bathed the younger alpha upon hearing those words. He has had his own suspicions regarding Kei’s social status the longer he spent time with the omega, and the blonde’s small quirks and mannerisms often screamed affluence. It was becoming increasingly obvious, at least on his part, that the two of them were worlds apart, but that didn’t really affect his feelings for the snarky, salty freshman.
“You should understand, Kuroo-san,” Hideki was telling him in that monotone that Kei has mastered, “that my son is not your ordinary omega.”
Of course, Kuroo had wanted to say. Kei is by no means ordinary; he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.
“So when the news reached me that my son is being courted by an alpha, of course I did what any father would’ve done.” His cup was replaced into its saucer with a small clink. “I had someone look into your private life.”
The beta beside Kei’s father cleared his throat, getting the bedhead’s attention. ”I am Ishikawa Takeru, Head of Security for the Hotaru Group and private investigator for the Tsukishimas. I apologize for having looked into your private business without your permission, Kuroo-san, but you should understand; we are only acting with Kei-sama’s best interests in mind.”
“Of course he doesn’t mind, Ishikawa.” Tsukishima Hideki said with a feral grin, obviously enjoying Tetsurou’s discomfort. ”That is, if he truly loves Kei like he claims to be.”
“I don’t mind, of course.” Kuroo Tetsurou finally managed to find his voice. “I understand that you are only trying to protect Tsukki.”
“Tsukki?” The olive-eyed alpha spoke for the very first time that day. “Only Tadashi calls Kei like that.”
Tetsurou briefly wondered who he is and how he’s related to his moonshine for him to be casually using the omega’s given name like he was used to doing so, like he belongs to Tsukki’s close inner circle.
Tsukishima Hideki spoke again. “You’re Kuroo Tetsurou, eighteen, alpha. Born to a beta mother and an alpha father whom you never met. Your mother raised you alone because your father left her when he learned she was pregnant with you, and she hasn’t seen nor heard from him ever since. You attend Nekoma High, class 3-5. You are current captain of Nekoma’s volleyball club, having played the game since you were little. You have three part time jobs: a barista in a coffee shop on weekends, a delivery boy for a pizza chain’s graveyard shift, and a private tutor for that young girl who lives next door in the evenings. You are aiming for KyoDai and planning to take up neurosurgery for your mother, who’s suffering from brain tumor. I even had our head accountant look up your finances, just standard procedure of course. I can’t just give my prized omega to someone who cannot support him and the life he’s used to, can I?”
Kuroo gritted his teeth in annoyance and anger.
“I don’t think Kei’s the type of person who’d care about that, Tsukishima-sama.” He said with all the fake politeness he could muster. “And I did not court him for his money; Moonshine has always been secretive about his private life and I don’t pry on things I know I don’t have the right to.”
He internally rejoiced at the olive-haired alpha’s reaction at his pet name for the omega: he looked like a kicked puppy. A kicked Siberian husky puppy, what with his eternal frown.
“Exactly, Kuroo-san.” Tsukishima Hideki low-key snarled at him that his skin bristled as his inner beast urged him to show the older alpha just who is the stronger. “You shouldn’t be prying into things you know you aren’t a part of. Kei is one of them.”
Confusion was etched clearly in his face as he waited for Tsukishima-san to finish his statement. “Kei is the Hotaru Group’s prized omega, Kuroo Tetsurou. He is our pride and joy. His best interests always come in first in our family, and we all ensure that he gets nothing but the best, and that includes the choice of a mate. As such, Kuroo-san, you are not a suitable mate for him.”
“Isn’t that Tsukki’s decision to make?”
The alpha’s grin was back, a grin the raven came to hate. “Of course, Kuroo-san, of course. A choice of a mate is nothing but the individual’s. We are…how do I say it? Ah, we are merely narrowing down the list, ensuring that the possible candidates are strong alphas worthy of such an omega.”
Ishikawa-san butted in with a lingering look on the young alpha with them. “Ushijima Wakatoshi-sama is the best candidate for Kei-sama’s mate.”
The olive-haired alpha gave a curt nod in recognition. “I am sorry for not introducing myself earlier, Kuroo-san. I am Ushijima Wakatoshi, heir to a weapons conglomerate, and Kei’s bethroted.”
Kuroo Tetsurou looked on in horror. This sturdy, dependable, and (begrudgingly) good-looking alpha is his moonshine’s bethroted? An heir to a weapons manufacturing giant? How will he be able to win over this one?
“A damn fine alpha like myself, I should say.” Tsukki’s father addressed him again after placing a fond hand on Ushijima’s shoulders. “I’m sure by now you know exactly the reason why I wanted to meet up with you, Kuroo Tetsurou.”
“You want me to get out of the picture.” He said bitterly, fists clenched hard under the table at the unfairness of the situation. “You want me to stop courting Kei so he’d give this—this other alpha a chance—
“We will be compensating you for the inconvenience we have caused, Kuroo-san.” Ishikawa Takeru said, pulling out a brown manila envelope. “We are willing to cover your mother’s operation in full, as well as her monthly check-ups for five years after her operation.”
“Wait, who do you think you are—
“We can even cover all your student expenses in KyoDai, Kuroo-san. If you like to study abroad, we can arrange that one, too. Plus we can move you and your mother out from your present home to a residential area that’s…better.”
Kuroo was on his feet now, anger emanating from every fiber of his being that all the other customers fled in a hurry, muttering their own excuses. Even Ishikawa-san shuddered slightly at all the alpha pheromones he was giving out, making everyone want to submit to him. The only ones left unaffected were Ushijima Wakatoshi and Tsukishima Hideki.
“I love Kei.” Tetsurou said through gritted teeth. “And I know he loves me, too. I may not be as rich as any of you and I will never be, no matter how hard I try, but I will make sure to give my omega a good life. Kei deserves all the best, and I will do everything to give the best to him.”
“So will I, Kuroo-san.” Ushijima told him calmly. “But your best and my best are two very different things.”
The olive-haired alpha said that in the most natural way one possibly could, like he was simply stating a fact and meant nothing else. To say that Kuroo was taken aback was an understatement.
“Between your best efforts and mine, who do you think will suit Kei better?”
Kuroo was left seething as the three finally left, with Tsukishima Hideki giving him a final condescending look that clearly told the bedhead who just won.
Chapter 13: Treize | The Cat, the Moon, and Stubborn Parents
Just a filler chap while I'm still in the middle of reviews and cramming and mock tests bc I can't resist not writing :) Enjoy!
“Dad’s mated, too.”
Yukio’s rushed announcement took Yukiko by surprise that she choked on the mocha-hazelnut concoction she had ordered out of curiosity. The two had agreed to meet in The Strawberry Hut in fifteen minutes, and the alpha barely made it in time.
She felt the alpha’s hands pat her gently on the back as he handed her a glass of water and some napkins, which she accepted gratefully.
Yukio settled down on the seat across hers with a grave expression. “You think he’s mated to mom?”
“Mom?” Yukiko raised one skeptic eyebrow at him. “You mean my mom?”
“He’s my mother too.” He gruffed and reached for the blonde’s drink, ignoring her squeals of protest. “You know that.”
“You know there’s a possibility that we’re wrong.” She argued, the more logical side of her dominating the conversation. Which was true, since never once did she hear about having a twin. And if she did have one and if it were Yukio, surely her mother must have known and claimed the pup. Omegas are inherently protective and possessive of their pups, and Kei is not an exception.
“I talked to Ennoshita-sensei, and he simply assumed I’m the son of Tetsurou and Kei.” He chose to overlook the surprise etched in Yukiko’s face and continued, “So they dated in high school and seemed serious enough for people to believe they ended up with each other.”
“But what if they broke up and had other—
“I don’t know why you’re being so stubborn, Snowdrop.” He smirked, if this was a chess game then he was winning. “We share a lot of things in common. You have some of my father’s quirks. I have some of your mother’s. We share the same birthday goddamnit—
“Okay, so what if you’re right.” Yukiko crossed her pale arms across her chest, glaring at the smirking boy. “But my mother is mated now, and as you said, your father is, too.”
That shut them both up enough for a good ten minutes, each holed in their own train of thought. Yukiko stared at her drink like it was the most fascinating thing in the world, while Yukio hunched over the menu, eyes glossing over the list but not really seeing anything.
It was the girl who broke the silence after a while, saying, “They’re mated to each other.”
Yukio looked up from his brooding position, golden eyes widely staring at his sister’s (because there’s no doubt in his mind that she is) serious expression when she said that. Seriously, somebody has to have this omega’s head checked. Wasn’t it just ten minutes ago when she was quite the skeptic?
Yukiko’s golden eyes locked onto his, steel-hard and piercing. “Aren’t you going to say something?”
The teenage alpha blinked in confusion. “Uh…I think you’re right?”
The teenage omega heaved out a deep sigh that said she was done with the world and the person in front of her. “I wish somebody could just contradict me on this one. The more I think about the possibility that we are twins—
“Duh, we are.”
“—the more believable it gets. And now I think our parents are mated.”
“Dad smelled like he bathed in strawberry-scented wash. It reminded me of mom.”
“Same. Mom smelled like Christmas when I got home today.”
She laughed at the confused head tilt her brother (because there’s no denying now that he is) is giving her. “Like pine and snow, idiot. I only know one alpha with that very distinct smell—Dad.”
“But one thing’s bothering me, though.” Yukio said, reaching over the table for her drink and taking a long good sip nonchalantly for the second time. “They’re mated, but they’re not together. Isn’t that the next logical step? If anything Dad looked even more miserable now, emitting worried alpha pheromones that it’s stifling to be around him.”
Yukiko forcibly took back her drink with a glare, but her features schooled again to what Yukio had come to know is her thinking face. “Come to think of it, Mom seemed a bit off too. Like…he’s missing something but he’s too proud to admit it.”
Gold met gold for the umpteenth time that afternoon, but this was the first time their gazes met with the same burning purpose behind them: to get their parents back together.
Kei started going home late again.
Yukiko could only stare at her phone after her mother called to say he’s tied up at work and she should just eat dinner ahead without him.
Tetsurou started holing up in his home office again.
Yukio could only sigh as his father turned down his invitation for dinner, looking sadly at the grilled mackerel he was sure would go uneaten. Like the ones he made before it.
“This is the first time I want to just smack Mom up in the head just so he’d realize that overworking himself is not going to help with his inner omega reaching out for Dad.”
The twins were up in the rooftop again, a new routine they started no more than a week ago when they both decided to take matters into their own hands and patch up their family. Yukio chuckled at her statement before handing her a bento box. Yukiko opened it carefully and was greeted by the usual: a cute Rilakkuma-themed lunch handmade by her father. Who knew the famed neurosurgeon was exceptional at bento making?
“I could say the same for Dad too, though this is not exactly the first time that I thought about punching him back to reality.” The messy-haired boy shook his head and opened his own volleyball-themed bento. “He’s been drowning in work, too. Just yesterday he had five straight two-hour operations that he promptly fell asleep on the couch.”
“They’re missing each other, aren’t they?” Yukiko shook her head as she bit off the mushroom (aka Rilakkuma’s right ear) from her pale pink chopsticks with an irritated sigh. “They’re so obviously pining for their mate it’s not even cute.”
“I want to lock them up in a supply closet and never let them out until they make out.”
“Tsk. So high school, snow kitten.”
“Well, do you have any ideas then?”
“No.” A sigh escaped the blonde’s lips. “Let’s just lock them up in a supply closet and never let them out until they make out.”
“Or,” Yukio picked out the carrots from his bento and dumped them to Yukiko’s, “we can just go to them, tell them what we already know—
“What we think we already know.” The blonde interjected, picking at her beans and shoving them onto Yukio’s bento, missing the way Yukio perfectly copied her infamous exasperated eye roll.
“Fine.” The raven-haired teen relented with a sharp sigh. “So we tell them what we think we know regarding our birth, and demand they stop all this nonsense and get back together.”
“Demand?” Yukiko frowned at him, gold eyes wide with disbelief. “So you’re just going to tell them, Mom, Dad, I know you still want each other so please just get on with it! And oh, by the way, we’d like to know why we have been separated at birth, please.”
Yukio doubled up as he howled in laughter and his twin snatched his bento box away from his lap before it could fall as the alpha keeled over to his side, wheezing.
“Why not?” He asked laughingly, not even making a move to get up from the floor. “It’s my birthright, I deserve to know!”
“Yes, as the eldest.”
“What makes you think you’re the eldest?”
“I know I am.”
“No, you’re not. I’m totally the older one out of the both of us, so don’t expect me to call you oniisan anytime soon.”
“Sure thing, imouto.”
Gruff male laughter resonated from the rooftop once again, where it was joined by a girl’s tinkling laugh afterwards.
Kei bit his bottom lip to prevent a terrified whimper from escaping as the Tsukishima patriarch roared at him in anger, flipping over a mahogany desk like it was made of carton and not solid wood. This wasn’t the first time Tsukishima Hideki had this display of anger, but this was certainly the first one aimed directly at The Hotaru Group’s prized omega.
If the servants shuffling around in their Tokyo mansion heard the loud, cannon-like blast from the desk as it broke promptly in pieces as it landed on the floor, they did not give out any indication. Nobody had even dared come near the closed doors of the patriarch’s study as the alpha’s rage permeated the entire room, even seeping out the door. Kei’s inner omega twitched in discomfort and he stepped closer to Akiteru, who stepped in front of his otouto like he was shielding him from their father’s rage.
The gesture was indeed sweet, but it did nothing as Hideki reached behind Akiteru and clamped vice-like grips around the omega’s wrists. The alpha pulled Kei out, ignoring his beta wife’s pleas, his older son’s threatening growls, and the steady stream of tears from his youngest.
“Tell me, Kei. Tell me I heard it wrong.” Hideki shook the teenager’s arm, quaking in suppressed fury. “TELL ME!”
“I’m pregnant.” The omega croaked, flinching at the enraged stares of his father who slackened his hold as though the blonde had dropped an atomic bomb on his head. “Eight weeks.”
The blonde did not plan to break the news to his parents this way. Originally, he has even planned to tell them the next time Tsukishima Hideki could fly over to Miyagi, where at least it would only be them, as a family, and not here in Tokyo where they are constantly surrounded by a flurry of helpers and guards and occasional guests. But as it is, the alpha had walked in on him and Akiteru, who was arguing with him to let Kuroo-san know and take responsibility for your pups!
Tsukishima Hideki’s low growl of Whose pups? as he stood seething by the doorway will be forever ingrained in Kei’s memory.
“I’m pregnant.” He repeated, a voice little louder this time as he looked straight into Hideki’s dark eyes. He shrugged out of the alpha’s hold. This wasn’t the time to cower, this was the time to defend his unborn pups. He had long made the decision of pushing through with the pregnancy even without his mate, and if his family does not approve, well then fine. He’s going to raise them himself.
“I’m pregnant with twins.”
His father growled again and he half-expected the alpha to strike him down hard with his bare hands, but all he did was wash his face with both his palms. It was a gesture his father only did when he was frustrated, and the alpha did not get frustrated all too often.
When Hideki looked at his son again there was an unmistakable look of pain and disappointment in his eyes, and guilt washed over Kei in unrelenting waves. Fresh tears trickled down the omega’s face once again.
“I’m sorry.” He sobbed, hiccups racking his slender frame. “I’m sorry for letting you down, I’m sorry for getting pregnant when I even haven’t finished high school yet.”
Tsukishima Michiko instantly came over and enveloped her distressed son with a hug, the beta crying as hard as the omega. Akiteru slowly walked over to the two and joined in the hug, whispering comforting words to his beloved otouto.
“We’ll get a schedule with Dr. Nishimine.” The Tsukishima patriarch said in a low voice, looking at the rest of his family but not really making a move to get near them. Nishimine Katsuhiro had been the Tsukihima family’s private doctor for years, even before Kei was born.
Three pairs of eyes locked onto him in confusion.
“You can’t have a child out of wedlock.” The alpha spat coldly, and Kei’s hands instantly flew to his stomach, trembling at the implication in his father’s words. “The Ushijimas can’t know about this, they’d back out on—
“NO.” The omega’s voice came ringing loud and clear with obvious determination. He would not allow an abortion. He lost a mate, yes, and even at the price of losing his doting family, he cannot lose his pups. The omega in Kei reared its protective head.
Tsukishima Kei hardly stood up for anything in his sheltered life, hardly questioned his father’s choices. He knows that his father just wants the best for him, but what about what he wants?
There are only a few things that Tsukishima Kei has ever wanted when he was growing up, as he was raised in affluence. This is the first time there ever was something he so desperately wanted and he is going to do everything and anything, repercussions be damned.
“I’m keeping them.”
“I won’t have a disgraced omega as my so—
“I’m keeping my pups and raise them myself, whether you support me or not.” The teenaged omega kept his hands protectively over his still-flat stomach. His gold eyes were aflame with determination, the cogs in his head whirring as he considered his options. School’s out for him, that’s for sure, until after he gives birth. There’s also the possibility of his father disinheriting him so he’ll have to find a place to stay and a job to keep him afloat. Maybe he can ask Yamaguchi to get him into the coffee shop he’s working part-time in. There’s also the issue of pre-natal check-ups which he’s sure will be quite expensive even with the maternity packages most hospitals have to offer so maybe he could sell some of his—
“I’m supporting Kei.” Akiteru said solemnly, breaking the bespectacled blonde away from his rampaging thoughts. He gazed up again to his brother, feeling a certain kind of warmth bloom in his chest. Akiteru always had his back ever since they were kids, no matter what kind of shit Kei finds himself in (not that he got into many, but when he did it was mostly his snark and sass that always did him in) and it’s more than reassuring for the omega to know that his personal hero has his back once again. “If you throw him out you throw me out, too.”
“Aki-nii…” He whispered, half in awe and half in disagreement. This was his mistake, his brother does not need to be dragged into all of this. “Don’t, Aki-nii.”
“Stop with all this nonsense, Akiteru.” Their father barked sharply, fangs bared. “I won’t have any of these ridiculous ideas from you, too.”
“I’ll help him throughout his pregnancy and after he gives birth, and your disapproval won’t matter, Father.” The young alpha was unrelenting even in front of an older and obviously stronger alpha like Hideki. “I have a job and a place of my own, I’m sure we’ll do just fine without you.”
Before anyone could react, Akiteru had grabbed Kei by the hand and pulled him out of the room.
Tap, tap, tap. Tap tap tap tap taptap tap—
Yukiko slammed her fists on the table, sending her twin to startlingly jump back a few feet away from where they are currently huddled on the student council president’s office. The blonde was in the middle of reviewing the booth suggestions of each class for the school’s festival one month from now, and the raven’s constant tapping on the desk with his pen was driving her nuts.
“What the heck is wrong with you?” The alpha yelped, almost three meters away from her with both his hands clutched dramatically at his chest. “What if I die of a heart attack?” He asked exaggeratedly at his twin who went to her default reaction: eye-rolling.
“You’re what’s wrong with me, snow kitten.” She grumbled as he made his way back to the chair he pulled up against her table just so they could sit across each other. “I can’t concentrate with all your tapping ruckus. Why are you here, anyway? You skipped practice again, didn’t you?”
Yukio only gave her a fake saccharine smile before going back to the Japanese history assignment he’s been working on for the past hour. “Captain cancelled practice.”
“Really?” The dubious tone in the omega’s tone was pretty much understandable, as Yamaguchi Masato was a very big volleyball idiot who’d never cancel practice. It would take something drastic for the freckled alpha to decide to do so, like an alien invasion or a national emergency or a—
“He said their class has a festival planning meeting and it is mandatory that everyone should attend.”
Ah. That, too. That could very well be a very valid reason to cancel, especially as classes in Kanegawa Gakuen often go all out during school festivals, trying to outshine each other. The booths are often the most anticipated in the entire campus, a tradition that has started long since the blonde has even stepped through Kanegawa Gakuen’s school gates.
No one in their right minds would miss the school festival for anything in the world, some even inviting people from other prefectures in—
“You think you can get Dad to the school festival?”
“Huh? I’m not too sure, he’s purposefully drowning himself in work nowadays. He only comes to school events when I’m part of it.”
Kuroo Yukio merely looked on as the student council president leafs through submitted plans to stop at the one marked Class 2-5. His golden eyes followed her own as she skimmed through the page, reading the proposal submitted by their class representative (who incidentally is Bokuto Keiko), only to be startled as she directed a super sweet smile at him after getting to the end of the file.
A million warning bells started ringing inside his head all at once as a dangerous glint flashed through the girl’s eyes, her smile turning into a leer.
“Yuki, do you have stage fright?”
The room finally stopped spinning, and the blonde went back to his sea of papers and files like it was nothing. He was used to it by now, almost two weeks after he first felt the signs. He was finally used to the dizzy spells, to the short blackouts where everything goes black for a single, fleeting moment, to the constant urges to vomit before he even had something to eat, to the crazy mood swings.
He looked up from the latest revision of the contract drafted for Yuuji Builders to find a stern-faced Akaashi (Bokuto) Keiji looking at him with a steely glint in his otherwise soft olive eyes. To say he was surprised and confused was an understatement; he tried to rack his brains for a possible reason for the other omega’s displeasure, but his tired mind came up with nothing. He schooled his features into a neutral expression nonetheless and looked at Akaashi like this was a natural occurrence for both of them.
“Yes, ‘Kaashi?” He asked, calmly putting down his pen to clasp his hands together to keep them from shaking. “If this is about section 2B of the Yuuji contract then my decision still stands to—
“How long are you going to keep this up?” The olive-eyed omega cut through both his words and his overworked mind. “How long are you going to keep running away?”
“What are you saying—“ He tried to act nonchalant, but Akaashi was already leaning into his personal space.
“You didn’t think I’d notice, did you?” The man was growling at him with suppressed rage, reminding him that this was the guy who kept an alpha as strong as Bokuto Koutarou in check. “You didn’t think I’d notice the change in your scent.”
Fvck. He had been taking double the dosage of his usual suppressant intake after the accident with Kuroo Tetsurou, and he also made sure to keep changing his scent masks every four hours. He was confident nobody would notice (he could hardly even smell himself), but it seems he was wrong.
“Don’t say you’re okay, I know you’re not. You’ve been smelling off since you came back from your heat.” Without warning the smaller omega pulled him into a tight embrace and ripped his scent mask away from his scent glands. He was sure Keiji saw the fresh bite mark there, but the other did not even voice that one out and only hugged him tighter. “Shit, Kei, you don’t really take care of yourself, do you?”
Keiji adjusted their position that the blonde’s face was buried at the juncture of his neck as he tried to release calming pheromones. One hand carded through blonde locks and he let out a hum, almost drifting off to sleep if not for the other hand that demanded his mobile phone.
“Why do you need my phone for?” He asked almost sleepily, but handed over the device anyway.
He wasn’t sure, but he thinks he heard the words “You need your alpha, you tsundere.” before drifting off to a dreamless sleep in the other omega’s arms.
Chapter 14: Quatorze | The Firefly, the Black Cat, and a Confrontation
Because we need it. We all do. Hontou gomen for the veeeerrryyy long wait!
One would hear stories about it all the time, but this was the first time Bokuto Koutarou got to witness it the first time: an omega refusing anyone but their alpha.
"But Kei, please." Even Keiji was having a hard time coaxing the bespectacled blonde, his beautiful, calm Keiji who can be quite convincing and persuasive if need be. "Ushijima-san is just behind the door, waiting—
The blonde merely whimpered, the omega in him adamant in its refusal. It was plain for everyone to see, and even he, who everyone jokingly called that oblivious owl, can see how Tsukishima Kei's rational nature was slowly overpowered by his omegan core.
Koutarou looked at his husband again. How could his Keiji not notice? In fact, how could anyone overlook that Kei's scents mingled with that of an alpha, an alpha who smelled nowhere near Ushijima Wakatoshi?
"Kei, please listen." Keiji tried again, this time emitting calming pheromones for the younger omega to see reason. “Kei, if we don't do something this touch starvation you’ll fall into a drop.”
The younger just shook his head sadly, and his Keiji turned to look at him, those empathic eyes full of concern. They both knew it was of no use. Tsukishima Kei was a mated omega and would have no need of anyone except for his alpha.
Except that said alpha wasn't around to give his omega comfort.
Bokuto Koutarou sniffed at the whimpering omega once again and decided that the intermingling scent was familiar. It was cool and fresh and reminded the owlish alpha of pine needles and freshly dug snow, like the time it snowed in heavily and Koutarou had to dig his car out from where it was buried in the snow.
"Kou." His husband was beside him in an instant, filling his nose of the scent of a vast lavender field. "You're good with scents; can you place this one? It's been nagging at me, like it was something I was familiar with."
"Same." He murmured back, noting the way Kei's scent was gradually turning sour. A low shit was on Keiji's lips then before rushing back to the blonde on the hospital bed and dousing him with omega pheromones all over.
Koutarou has had enough secondary gender education to know what this offensive sour smell means: an impending omega drop.
Ushijima's low growls and pleas on the other side of the door begging entry would invariably mean that the other alpha was thinking along the same lines as Koutarou's.
The smell of snow and pine...He couldn't tell whose scent it was exactly, but somehow the scent takes him back to his younger years, when he was still volleyball captain in Fukuroudani, when his weekends were spent shopping for kneepads and muscle tapes or practice breaking past blocks with another captain from—
Just before he could voice out his realization, the door to Tsukishima's hospital room opened to reveal one disheveled Kuroo Tetsurou, wild hair sticking out at odd edges and panting heavily as if he had come running all the way. Bokuto believes he did so.
A rush of air swooshed past the open doors, drowning all of them with the lingering fragrance of pine and snow. Bokuto saw the realization in the way Keiji and Ushijima's eyes widened.
What he probably didn't know was that his own eye held the same surprised look, too.
Kuroo Tetsurou believes he has never run so fast in his entire life. He has been sensing Kei's distress through their bond, but every time he makes an attempt to connect and check on his omega, he finds himself being shut down from the blonde's mind.
Early this morning, however, the alpha in him had been restless, prowling, sniffing at the air, and the need to growl needlessly come tore out from the neurosurgeon's mouth more than once. He couldn't explain why his alpha core was acting this strangely, like there's an insatiable need to protect something.
But protect what?
The answer came in a phone call from fellow doctor Iwaizumi Tooru. The charismatic pediatric oncologist had been Tetsurou's classmate in one of his Pre-Med classes in KyoDai, before he made the decision to fly to London with his son and continue his studies there.
He was making his last rounds of the day when his phone kept buzzing incessantly in his lab coat's pocket. He handed the clipboard over to an assistant nurse with an apologetic smile before fishing the device out of his pocket with a soft yet mildly annoyed tsk.
“Iwaizumi? You called?”
A short chuckle greeted him back, followed closely by a voice that was way too cheerful for the end of shift. “Iwaizumi is my husband. I told you to call me Tooru, Tetsu-chan!”
Tetsurou could have sworn he heard the pout in the beta's lips with that statement. One would say adulthood changes people, but the same could not be applied to the oncologist who is a proud husband to Tokyo Police chief Iwaizumi Hajime and doting mother of four. Iwaizumi Tooru is still the same charismatic, flamboyant guy who has hoardes of fangirls everywhere, which surprisingly makes him a really good pediatric specialist. There is no child in all of Japan that can resist the doctor's charms.
Tetsurou sighed into the mouthpiece, the fatigue of working longer hours than necessary finally catching up to him.
“If this is another attempt to set me up on a blind date, Iwai—
“Come over, Tetsu-chan.” It was amazing how Tooru sounded so serious even with the use of that ridiculous pet name. “I happened to pass by the Gynecology Department earlier.”
Tetsurou's eyebrows raised out of their own violition. Tooru would of course pass by that department as they are housed in the same building. How is this news worthy of a sudden phone call?
“An omega was being rushed in by that time.” The oncologist continued in the same serious tone. “Showing signs of a drop, I believe.”
“Tooru why would that concern me—
“Patient's name is Tsukishima Kei.”
He could not even remember ending the call, he could not remember giving instructions to the assistant nurse for the remaining patients he has yet to check up on.
He doesn't even remember how he got to the Gynecology and Pediatrics Building, doesn't remember to check up on Kei's room in the nurse's station. He just followed his inner alpha and sniffed Kei's signature strawberry fragrance out, notwithstanding the fact that every room is installed with state-of-the-art scent screens and purifiers, instantly confining the scents of anyone and everyone in the room and preventing it from seeping out. He just ran blindly until he came to room 642 and saw a concerned and distraught alpha by the door. He smelled faintly of omega—of Kei.
With a low growl, the neurosurgeon approached the man who looked up to meet his gaze.
"Kuroo Tetsurou." The alpha said, and suddenly the raven was faced with the guy he envied for years.
Before he could acknowledge the olive-haired alpha, a tortured whimper came from inside the room, making the hairs on his neck stand.
It was an omega calling for its mate. He shoved the other alpha aside and forced himself into the room, zoning in on the omega on the hospital bed emitting a scent akin to strawberries that are about to go bad.
The name ripped out from his throat before he could even think, and despite the manic pounding of his nervous heart, it had felt exhilarating being able to freely call out his moonshine's name.
In hindsight, he saw that there were two other people in the room, an omega and an alpha. A pair, most possibly, judging by the way the smelled like each other. The alpha had growled the moment he reached the blonde, prompting his omega to restrain him with calming pheromones.
He did not notice the exact moment the two slipped out of the room as he solely focused on the omega in front of him. Tsukishima Kei hardly looked like himself at all: his soft, pale skin was now of a sickly pallor, the gold behind his eyes seemed to be dulling with dark bags underneath, and the pink tinge on his cheeks and lips were gone. Tetsurou internally beat himself as he scooped up the omega in his arms and settling him in his lap, absently noting the fact that the blonde seemed to have lost more weight.
He was a failure at being an alpha for allowing his moonshine to get to a drop. Kei must have sensed his darkening thoughts through their bond as he let out another low, needy whimper, the omega in him demanding to be with its mate.
"Oh, baby." Tetsurou whispered, carding tanned fingers through once-soft golden locks that had felt brittle now. "I'm here."
He could see the hesitation in Kei's eyes before he finally succumbed to his inner omega instincts and burrowed his face in the crook of his alpha's neck.
"T-Tetsu..." He felt a shallow breath of air near his scent gland as his omega whispered weakly at his neck. It was soft and frail, the way Kei murmured his name, like the simple act of calling out to him was exhausting and downright tasking in itself. Despite that, the alpha in him trilled in delight.
He cupped the blonde's face in both his hands, holding it like it was something fragile. Warm brown eyes locked with dull gold ones, and for a single moment he could see a flashing wave of panic in those eyes he loved so much.
"What is it, moonshine?" He asked softly, lightly rubbing the omega's glands with his fingers. He felt Kei lean into his touch, but the blonde seemed to hold back when he realized what he was doing.
"Kei?" He tried holding the golden gaze hostage, but the blonde turned away sadly even if it was so goddamn obvious that the simple act was painful for the touch-starved omega. "What's wrong, baby?"
The sound that escaped the megane's lips was so small Tetsurou had to resort to lip-reading to somehow get an idea.
He pulled his omega closer to his chest. Maybe the blonde was begging him to stay, as demanded by his inner omega. "I won't go away, I promise."
"Don't…" The blonde murmured again, and this time Tetsurou felt it: the blonde's palms flat on his chest, pushing him away.
Pushing him away?
A frown appeared on his features at the realization. "Kei, I know you're still mad at me but you need my—
"No." The megane sobbed silently, still trying to push the confused alpha away. "Don't, Tetsurou. It would be unfair."
"Unfair?" He echoed hollowly, his mind racing to catch up to what the omega was trying to tell him. "Unfair to whom?"
The only one Tsukishima Kei was being unfair to was himself, for refusing his alpha's touches even at the face of a drop.
"I d-don't want to be unfair..." The blonde sobbed again, and Tetsu was beginning to get annoyed. Kei was in a critical condition and yet he was pushing Tetsurou away! Just how much did this omega hate him?
"...to your omega." The megane finished somewhat lamely, giving the alpha's chest another weak push.
"My omega?" Incredulity laced his voice. "You're my omega, Kei, and you can't deny that. Aren't our bond marks enough proof?"
"It's a mistake." The blonde insisted and pushed him again, but this time the alpha's annoyance got the better of him and he held the omega's wrists in a tight grip.
"Say that again." He growled, leaning his face towards the omega. "Say that again, I dare you."
The omega whimpered lightly at his obvious anger and he almost took back his angry resolve at the look of pain and fear in his moonshine's eyes, but he held his ground. This has to stop, whatever this is. He will not have another episode of his omega deliberately hurting himself just because of their unresolved issues.
"You are my omega." He whispered as he pinned the omega down. He lowered his lips towards Kei's, lightly touching them together in the ghost of a kiss. "I bear your mark, you bear mine. There is no one else. Not even then, Kei, not even then. I tried to replace you, I really did—
He kissed his omega this time, unable to hold it any longer. He kissed him gently at first, trying to coax the blonde to respond and open his mouth so their tongues could meet.
"But I can't. It's so hard, Kei, because none of them come close to you."
Out of their own accord his hands pulled the omega closer, noting how Kei's scent wasn't as sour as it had been earlier. The alpha in him rejoiced and he kissed Kei deeper, more intently, until the other had to give in.
And give in he did. The omega's hesitant tongue finally met his own, giving the alpha access to that irresistible hot wet cavern that tasted so sweet Tetsurou just can't get enough of. He would have loved to go on and kiss the guy for days until he gets better and his pheromone levels return to normal, but the omega was pushing him away again, slightly panting.
"What about Yukio?" Golden eyes stared at him with obvious pain etched in them.
He frowned at that. What about Yukio? What about their son?
Before he could voice that out, however, the blonde spoke up again. "What about Yukio's mother? I don't want to steal you away; I know how painful it is to lose an alpha."
What? He was sure Kei had mumbled “just like when I lost you” or something along those lines, but he paid no attention to it, his mind still caught up in what Kei had said prior to that.
What is happening?
"Yukio's mom?" Is his moonshine getting delirious because of the impending drop? He ran his fingers through blonde hair, worry obvious in his face as he did so. "But Kei, baby, Yukio...he's..."
Kei looked like he was genuinely anticipating what the alpha had to say, like he was presented facts about something he was interested in. Again, what was happening?
"You're his mother." Well, that was the truth, plain and simple.
Confusion hung palpable in the air as the pair looked into each other's eyes, trying to see who's trying to delude who. Tetsurou watched his mate's face carefully, drinking in the many emotions that crossed the blonde's face all at once. It was plain to see Kei was various degrees of confused, in deep thought, and finally, his face opened to reveal an expression of dawning recognition.
"Yukio is...mine?" The words rolled off the blonde's tongue as if he himself could not believe what he was saying. "He's...?"
Wait, he seriously didn't know? What is happening here?
"Yuki's mine." The omega was mumbling to himself, seemingly in a daze. The sight alone sent various emotions coursing through his veins, but he decided to settle on confused and angry, two emotions he's been very familiar lately. He welcomed those two like old friends.
"What are you talking about?" There was no trying to deny the hurt in his voice as he stood up abruptly, slightly pushing the omega away in the process. "Why didn't you know? Were you trying to forget him? Were you trying to forget he's a part of you, too?"
It was all too unfair. His son doesn't deserve this.
Yuki...that wonderful boy, the reason Tetsurou persevered despite everything. It was all unfair.
He paced up and down, trying to control himself from shaking the omega to somehow force some sense into him. "I know you're mad at me but isn't this too much? Yuki was looking for you all his life!"
It was crazy, how their emotions just rose up and down like waves. It was like being thrown in the ocean in the middle of the storm, and you have to swim and stay above the waters over anything else. His doctor's instincts were practically shouting in his ears, telling him to calm the fvck down and not let the patient get agitated like that, especially when the omega was unstable with the threat of a drop.
But no, the alpha in him wanted answers. The father in him demanded for his pup's happiness, and both could only be satisfied by the crying omega in front of him.
"You're his mother!" He roared, jolting the omega. "I don't know what you're playing at, Tsukishima Kei, but I won't allow you to deny our—my—son his right to know."
"But Tetsu, I seriously—
"What, are you going to tell me you didn't know? That's bullshit, Kei! How could you not know when you're the one who gave birth to him?!"
Yukio is mine? He's my son?
Tsukishima Kei is only vaguely aware of the alpha pacing in front of him. Kuroo Tetsurou looked mad, and he was saying something...oh, the veins in his neck are showing. Is he shouting?
It was like his senses closed in, and he couldn't hear anything but the excited beating of his heart. His eyes were blurry with tears, his hands trembling with weakness, and he almost dropped, but—
Yukio is my son. He's my son.
"Yuki was looking for you all his life!"
So was he. So was he, and he wanted to tell the alpha. No wonder there was something missing, a hunger he did not knew existed inside him until he met the young alpha. No wonder he was drawn to him the first time they met. No wonder why he saw a part of himself in the boy, despite looking like Kuroo. No wonder.
The tears fell again, steadily trickling down and he did not know how to stop them. The omega in him was yearning for a different thing now: instead of its alpha, it was yearning for its pup.
“You're his mother!” Tetsurou's shouts faded into background noise as the omega in him tuned him out to focus on the thought of a pup it lost. “I don't know what you're playing at, Tsukishima Kei….”
But, if it were the case, then who was that stillborn child? Who was the child they held a funeral for sixteen years ago?
Who was it whose death he mourned for all these years—and how come nobody even told him?
"But Tetsu, I seriously—
Like the missing piece of a rather complicated puzzle, Tsukishima Akiteru burst through the door, panic clearly etched on his face. Kei watched how his brother visibly sagged at the sight of him sitting upright on the bed, albeit in tears, and how he perked up again upon picking up another alpha scent in the room.
He could only watch as his brother zoned in on Kuroo Tetsurou, and how, with a low growl, he pinned the black haired alpha to the wall.
"What are you doing here?" Akiteru's warm brown eyes flashed red in anger and rage. Both alphas had fangs bared at each other, even as Tetsurou did not make any move to free himself. "You promised, Kuroo-san. You promised you'd both stay away from my brother!"
Only one thing registered in the omega's mind at Akiteru's statement.
"Both?" He asked, gold eyes staring straight to the older Tsukishima's honey-brown ones. "What do you mean, Aki-nii, both?"
It did not escape the omega's mind how Akiteru's eyes spoke fear and panic in silent volumes.
The older started to say, but he cut Akiteru off by raising a shaking hand mid-air. He could not even tell for certain if the tremble in his pale hands was because of weakness, or of supressed rage, or both.
"I gave birth to...twins." He started slowly, staring at his brother that he missed the way Tetsurou's jaw fell at the bomb he just released. "A girl and a boy."
He was greeted by stunned silence, so he continued. "I'm sure I gave birth to fraternal twins."
Akiteru averted his gaze, "Yes."
His tears started to fall again, already knowing where this conversation would end. "But one of them, the boy, died."
Akiteru walked towards him but stopped midway upon seeing the reproachful look in his eyes. "Kei – I – there's something I had w-wanted to tell you—
Pain constricted his chest and he heaved a louder sob. "He was stillborn. Am I right, Aki-nii?"
His brother's response was a mere whisper: "K-Kei..."
"AM I RIGHT?" He shouted, feeling immensely betrayed by the person he looked up to for the longest time. His tears were flowing like a river now, and the steady flow was clouding his vision, but even so he could see that his brother was already crying too.
"Kei, I know...I...s-said—
Suddenly there was another shout, and this time Tsukishima Akiteru was the one being pinned against the wall by a shaking Tetsurou, whose hands were gripped so tightly against the other alpha's collar that his knuckles were turning white.
"But you said—!” The neurosurgeon was shouting himself hoarse in the face of the older alpha. "You said Kei wasn't ready!"
When the man did not react, Tetsurou raged on. "You said Kei didn't want the child because he reminds him of me!"
No one seemed to have heard the disbelieving What? that escaped the blonde's lips from where he was sitting on the bed.
Tsukishima Akiteru seemed to have regained his wits and he pushed the other alpha away, angry tears still streaming down his face.
"I had to do it, okay?" The man looked quite livid as he met Tetsurou's glares full-on. "I had to protect my baby brother!"
"Protect him from where?" The incredulity in the neurosurgeon's words were laced with anger. "Protect him from who?"
"Protect him from you!"
"Protect him from me? You knew how much I love Kei, Akiteru, you knew of all people!"
At that, Akiteru let out mirthless laugh. "Love? Oh, you loved it all right. You loved the fact that you were first. You loved to tell your friends how easily you got the Hotaru Group's prized omega."
Tetsurou voiced out what Kei had been thinking:
What the fuck are you talking about, Akiteru?
The place read: Ambrosia.
Tsukishima Akiteru was no stranger in dimly-lit establishments like this, having went to his first bar during his first rut. They looked all the same, lining up the streets of Tokyo's red light district, offering the same thing: booze, drugs, sex.
“Welcome home, Master.”
He merely nodded to a scantily clad young boy who met him by the door, wearing only a flimsy vest and short shorts that exposed the underside of his delectable-looking ass. The leather collar around his neck, coupled with a sweet honeysuckle scent gave him an idea of the boy's secondary gender.
Another boy came up to him at the aisle, looking no older than his beloved otouto. He also had blonde eyes, though his was bordering on deep brown, and the same pale skin. He was more or less wearing the same ensemble as the first boy, only his collar was of black lace. He smelled of fresh pancakes and clean sheets, and Akiteru shuddered at the thought of his baby brother being in the same position as him, had Aki not stood up to their father and Hideki's decision of throwing Kei out the house for disgracing the name of Tsukishima.
“Are you alone, Master?” The boy smiled at him sweetly, soft hands latching on his arm. “Do you want me to accompany you?”
He nodded absently, allowing the omega lead him through the double doors and into the dance floor. Loud house music from all sides coupled with the whooping, shouting, and boisterous laughing from inebriated partygoers almost rendered him deaf, but he hid it behind a smile.
He looked around the place, on the lookout for his target: a dark-haired KyoDai freshman who worked just recently as a part-time barista. The man who told him this info also said that Ambrosia's profit picked up soon after he got hired, with omegas and betas alike vying for his attention.
To his relief his omega escort led him straight to the bar, hips swaying seductively before him it was hard not to get hard. “What would you like to drink, Master?”
“What can you recommend?” He asked his companion with his most seductive smile. He can already see his target by the bar, attending to a pair of richly-dressed omegas. “Something that's delicious as you would be nice.”
The escort giggled as he pulled the Tsukishima heir faster towards the bar. “Everything made by Kuroo-kun is good, Master!” He just nodded at that, thinking about how best to tell the bedhead about Kei's pregnancy. His younger brother was adamant in keeping it a secret from the young Medicine student, but Akiteru feels this is something Kuroo Tetsurou should know. He's sure the young alpha would be thrilled to know his beloved moonshine is pregnant with his pups.
When he finally got to the bar, however, he was met with a different scene.
"I've heard rumors, Tet-chan." A heavily made-up girl was fluttering her long fake lashes at the handsome barista. "You're mates with a really rich omega?"
He heard other barista laugh at that statement. "Where did you get those rumors? Do you see a bond mark on Kuroo's neck?" True enough, the alpha’s neck was unmarred, a silent testament that he is currently unattached.
“Uh, actually I, with Kei—uh…” The alpha under interrogation blushed as he poured a freshly made mix to another customer with a polite smile. “It didn’t really—
“See!” One of the omegas turned to their companion. “It wasn’t true! I mean, no one has really seen the Hotaru Group’s prized omega, ever, have they?”
“Woah, Hotaru?” Tetsurou’s co-worker chimed in again, wiping away a few spills on the marble countertop. “That giant group in Tokyo? The one that just expanded globally?” He turned to look at Kuroo as if to assess the probability of the bedhead landing quite a catch like that.
“No way! This guy, seriously?” A burst of laughter erupted from their little huddle, making everyone in close proximity turn to look at them.
Akiteru sipped on a dubious-looking bluish green concoction his omega escort just handed to him, ears glued to the conversation. The Tsukishima heir almost snorted into his drink in his attempt to suppress his laughter, but made no move to make his presence known. Not yet, at least. He figures he still has time to talk to the guy in private, maybe when the aspiring neurosurgeon gets off from work.
“But well,” The omega continued when the laughter died down. “I’ve heard that this ‘prized omega’ has the most boring personality ever.”
Her companion agreed with a slightly tipsy nod. “He doesn’t attend their company functions, no one knows where he goes to school, and he hasn’t honoured any invitations, either. My mother says he’s a complete loner.”
“Maybe he’s ugly so he wants to hide!” Despite himself, Akiteru gripped his glass tight. Kei, ugly? Hah!
“Well, he’s quite the introvert but he’s really beautiful.” He heard Kuroo say casually, feigning nonchalance despite the high blush on tanned cheeks. “And he smells heavenly.”
There was an almost dreamy tone when Kuroo said that, and his conversation partners looked to him in awe.
“So you are mates with him!” One of the omegas gushed. “I should tell my cousin about this, he’s quite curious about the prized omega after all!”
“Oh my god, me too, my popularity is going to soar when my friends learn that I actually talked to the prized omega’s mate!”
There was panic in Tetsurou’s voice as he tried to stop the guests from doing what they had planned.
“No, please, Kei is not—
“Can I see his picture, Kuroo?” His co-worker slung an arm around the bedhead, grinning. “Is he as good in bed as he sounds? Prized omega…hmm what a prize, I wonder.”
“Yeah, show it to us, too!”
“STOP!” The young alpha finally raised his voice, not too loud to attract attention, but loud enough to make the omegas and his co-barista stop. “Kei and I aren’t mates, okay? We never were!”
The others stayed in stunned silence as they watch a fuming Kuroo Tetsurou walk out the back door, followed closely by another alpha.
Akiteru was already panting heavily by the time he caught up to the bedhead through the back alleys he weaved his way through. Kuroo, knowing that he was being followed, turned around quite abruptly with an angry growl.
“WHAT?!” The young alpha started to bark out, but abruptly stopped when he saw it was Akiteru who followed him. The older Tsukishima saw the burning question in the guy’s eyes, how it quickly looked behind Aki to see if he had maybe brought Kei along and then in a flash, those eyes turned cold and hard.
“Is it true?” The older alpha started, trying to get past the sudden coldness Kuroo was subjecting him to. “Did you guys break up?”
“What if we did?” Kuroo said tonelessly. “It was getting boring. Your brother had been a challenge, but the moment I got to him, I found out he was just another ordinary omega after all.”
Akiteru could not believe what he was saying. He could not believe he was hearing all of these from Kuroo.
“You don’t mean that.” He said quietly, feeling his anger bubbling through the surface. “I know you loved Kei, I can see it, I—
“I must have been a really good actor, then.” Kuroo laughed, then shook his head as if he could not believe how gullible Akiteru was. “Kei was a good fuck, of course, but he was nothing more than that.”
“What?!” He roared, marching towards the younger male and gripping his collar in anger. “I must have misheard the first time, Kuroo. Mind to tell me again?”
To his annoyance, Kuroo merely flashed him a smirk, a condescebding expression that had not quite reached his eyes. They were still hard and flat, like the guy was operating on auto-pilot.
“You heard me perfectly.” The voice was low, whispered in a raspy voice. “Kei was nothing but a challenge. I’m moving on to the next.”
“Oh, but do tell him I really enjoyed.” Is it just him, or was that a flash of pain in those eyes? “He was a natural in bed, you know. He really deserved to be called the prized omega.”
Akiteru’s fist collided with Tetsurou’s jaw with a satisfying crunch.
“You bastard!” Akiteru yelled, blowing punch after punch at every oart of Kuroo he could land his fists on. The younger alpha did not even try to fight back, which only made the Tsukishima heir angrier.
He only stopped when a particular hard blow to the bedhead’s stomach made Kuroo cough out a little bit of blood. For a moment he was taken by pity, but he steeled himself. This guy did not deserve Kei nor his pups.
“Do not come near Kei again.” He spat coldly, wiping his bloodied knuckles on the raven’s soiled shirt. “I’ll kill you. I’ll do it with my own hands.”
He placed a call to his father the moment he got out of the alley. It was time to coax Kei into meeting Ushijima Wakatoshi, who expressed his feelings for the blonde did not change even when he learned the omega was pregnant, carrying pups of a different alpha.
They say time heals, but Kei knows otherwise. Love is an illness, and it has never ceased to inflict him pain, even until now, sixteen years later.
He did not even know what to feel upon hearing Akiteru’s tale. Would crying make him feel better? Would having his heart broken over again still make a difference? What did he expect? Kuroo had been upfront about it sixteen years ago: Tsukishima Kei was just another omega he had grown tired of.
That was the truth back then, and it holds the same until now. Whatever his reasons for coming back to his life, Kuroo Tetsurou should not be trusted with his heart. He had just been taken aback and stupidly gave in to his inner omega after all these years, but he won’t make the same mistake. Never again.
Akiteru walked over to his brother, his shoulders slumping dejectedly when Kei flinched as he made a move to encase him in a hug. A part of Kei understands his brother and his determination to keep the neurosurgeon away from him, but even to the extent of forcing a pup to grow up without his mother?
“Why did you keep this a secret for far too long, Aki-nii?” He asked, pain ripping his chest it felt like he was dropping for real. “You saw what I went through! You saw how I mourned for the loss of my son, when all along he was alive, and quite possibly looking for his mother! How could you allow that to happen to my child?!”
Akiteru had the decency to look sorry as he tentatively sat on the foot of Kei’s bed. “Yukio was declared dead by the doctors, believe me. You were already fighting death when Yukiko came out, and before they could get Yukio out you suddenly had a series of abnormal, unexplained contractions and we were asked to make a decision: you, or Yukio.”
Tetsurou started sobbing in the background, having to hear the story of their twins’ birth for the first time. Kei’s inner omega betrayed him at the sight, wanting to go and console its alpha, but the blonde held his ground.
“We had to choose you, Kei, of course we would.” His brother wiped his tears angrily away. “When Yukio finally got out, he wasn’t breathing. He did not even have a heartbeat.”
Kei closed his eyes tight but even so, the tears still managed to run down his cheeks. He ached for his son, he ached to touch him, embrace him, smother him in kisses and mother him until he got annoyed.
Yukio. Yuki. His beautiful son.
“The doctor gave us a bit of time to say goodbye to him, and that was when Kuroo-san came.”
Kuroo nodded, looking nowhere near like the respected neurosurgeon that he was with his puffy eyes and disheveled hair. “I did not give up on Yuki and managed to revive him.”
Akiteru grunted his assent, even though he looked like he did nit want to acknowledge the amazing feat Kuroo has accomplished. “The doctors were at a loss, but ultimately decided it was a miracle. Yukio somehow knew that it was his dad holding him, calling him back. And he did. It was easy to persuade Kuroo to bring the boy afterwards.”
The three stayed silent for a very long time, each wrapped up in their own train of thoughts.
After a while, it was Kei who broke the silence.
“I want to see my son.” He said, voice laced with determination. “I want to properly get to know my son and introduce myself as his mother.”
Before anyone could react, the door to Kei’s private suite swung open, revealing a panting and crying Tsukishima Yukiko. The girl’s face was read from exertion and tears, and her blonde locks tied in a haphazard ponytail.
“Where’s my mommy? How is he?” She cried into the room at large, taking in the sight of its inhabitants before spotting Kei and throwing herself to the older omegas arms in a desperate hug.
“Mommy!” She sobbed into Kei’s chest. “I just got a call from Ichinose-san and she told me you had dropped and- and--
He hugged his crying little omega and gave her his best smile. “I’m okay now, snowdrop, no need to cry.”
He even tried to hum his daughter’s favorite song to make her feel assured, but stopped abruptly at the sound of another timid voice in the middle of the room.
“I’m glad you’re alright, Tsukishima-san.”
There he was, a young messy-haired alpha in his teens, looking every single bit like his father but with the startling gold eyes of his mom. He was looking as disheveled as his twin sister. Both kids looked like they ran a marathon with zombies trailing behind them. “I was worried too.”
Kei’s legs moved out their own accord and the omega ran towards the boy. Yukio looked alarmed at the sight of Tsukishima Kei running to him, crying, and downright confused when the blonde finally reached him and pulled him tightly in a hug.
“Uh...Tsukishima-san?” He boy asked cautiously, tentatively returning the hug like he really wanted to but was afraid to do so.
“Yukio.” Kei mumbled, kissing the boy’s forehead. “Yuki. Yuki. Yuki.” Each name was punctuated with a kiss all over his face. “My baby. My Yuki.”
It was then that it finally dawned on the teenage alpha, and he let out a choked sob as he fully returned the hug as tight as he could.
“Does this mean you know me now?” Yukio wailed, looking up to his mother with pleading eyes. “Can I call you Mommy now?”
“Of course, baby. Of course. I’m your mommy.”
Yukio buried his face in the crook of his mother’s neck, inhaling for the first time his mother’s strawberry pheromones straight from his glands. He instantly felt a thousand times lighter.
“Mommy.” He sobbed again. “Mommy. You’re really here.”
“Yes, Yuki.” Kei used his pheromones to calm his pup, something he has not done for Yuki in sixteen years. “I’m here.”
“Mommy.” He repeated again, and again, and again, like it was the only word he knew.
Chapter 15: Quinze | The Moon, The Black Cat, and an Almost-Family
I was planning to post this last Friday, but decided at the last minute that no, I’m posting this on Sunday (yeah i’m a little shit). Anyway, who's keeping up with the manga? I wish I'd get to see the Battle of the Trash Heap for real! I want to see Kuroo and Tsukki play against each other irl (if only that's possible, ne?)
I bet they made out before the match began ㄟ(￣▽￣ㄟ)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The three of them made a lovely sight, and Kuroo Tetsurou's heart swelled just looking at his three most favorite people in the world.
The doctor had kept Kei in the hospital overnight and told them he'd have the omega undergo a battery of tests in the morning, hopefully when his pheromone levels have stopped inflating and fluctuating quite abnormally. She even glared pointedly at the alphas in the room, like their mere presence around the omega was causing the problem.
Oh well, in a way, she was right.
He looked at his beautiful little family again. Kei was on the bed, sitting up with a mountain of pillows propped against his back. He was laughing silently at a story Yukio was telling them, pale hand covering his mouth to stop himself from laughing out loud. The boy began to flap his arms rather enthusiastically like a chicken high on some shit. This time Kei let out a giggle as Yukiko almost rolled off their mother's hospital bed, wheezing as she clutched her stomach desperately.
Kuroo smiled from where he was standing right outside the door. How many times did he ever dream of going home to a scene like this?
The neurosurgeon smelled the scent of a lavender field even before Akaashi Keiji could get to him. In the midst of panic and excitement that was Yukio and Kei's reunion, he had conveniently forgotten the fact that Keiji was the one who rushed Kei to the hospital, but not after calling his husband for help.
Tetsurou had long wanted to reconcile with his other best friend, but of all the simulations he and Kenma had come up with, a hospital setting after his omega almost slipped to a fatal drop did not make it to that list.
Bokuto Koutarou. I wonder if he's still mad at me?
"Kuroo-san," The stoic dark-haired omega called out to him in a soft voice, one that did not betray any emotion. "We are going to go grab coffee, want to come with?"
It took Kuroo a few seconds to process that. Was he really being invited for coffee? With friends whom he had a fallout with?
Keiji seemed to have interpreted his hesitation as a decline to the invite because he suddenly bowed low as apology. (There was a low growl from further up the hallway at that sight.)
"I'm sorry for being too familiar, Kuroo-san." The omega said in the same soft voice. " I just thought you might want some, afterーuhーano..."
"Ah! Ah, e-eto..." The bedhead interjected, hands flailing in front of him. Geez, why was he acting like a middle schooler on the first day of school?
"Kuroo-san?" Bokuto Keiji asked, head tilted to one side.
"I'd like to go." He mumbled, then coughed at the lumbering lump in his throat." W-with you, I mean."
The omega's normally passive olive eyes lit up like lights on a christmas tree. "You will? Great! Come on, Kou and Ushijima-san are waiting."
Ushijima Wakatoshi offered him a nod when they got there and walked ahead with a strut, carrying himself with the confidence of an alpha leader. It was to be expected of course, especially as the Ushijima clan was into weapons manufacturing. The nature of their family business alone was enough to conjure a picture of generations after generations of strong alphas, and Ushijima Wakatoshi definitely fit the bill.
Bokuto Koutarou slid an arm around Keiji's waist possessively and pointedly ignored the bedhead and refused to even turn his head in the neurosurgeon's general ditection. It was a reaction Kuroo has expected from the owl-like alpha given the way their last argument had gone down, but that does not mean it hurt less. In fact, being so near yet so far to one of his best friends made his chest constrict almost the same way it did when Kei pushed him away.
Akaashi Keiji turned back to him with an apologetic smile and a slight jerk of his head, urging him to follow. Kuroo ran nervous fingers through his hair before following the trio, hoping against hope that finally, finally, he can patch up old friendships.
Kuroo Tetsurou had to gnash his teeth forcefully together to prevent it from chattering due to the cold from where he was bundled up, hands and feet under his best friend's kotatsu.
Bokuto Koutarou's owl-like head peered out from the kitchen doorway where he was making homemade chicken soup from scratch.
"You were saying something, bro?" He asked, bright gold eyes trained on his shivering figure. "I seriously don't know what's gotten into you, bro, standing in the rain like that. Tsukki's going to be mad at you when he gets wind of this. Don't come whining at me again when your omega refuses to answer your calls."
Tetsurou scrunched his face tightly at the mention of his omega and clutched the sheets tighter around his body when he remembered the cold stare Kei gave him the moment Tetsurou said they were over.
"He won't be answering me anymore." He said, refusing to acknowledge that he heard the teasing 'oho ho ho?' that escaped his owl friend's lips. "I won't be calling him, either."
A huge bowl of soup was placed before him, followed by the obvious curiosity etched on Bokuto's face. "So..what happened?"
"We...broke up." He said in a hoarse whisper. The two locked stares for almost a full minute before Bokuto laughed at him.
"Bro, how many times have I heard this?" The owl said, grinning at the seemingly trivial problem his friend is facing. "And you know Tsukki never means it when he says he's breaking up with youーyou two are just too lovey-dovey it's embarassing sometimes!"
If it wasn't for the tight feeling in Kuroo's chest he would've loved to retaliate to that, to say he and Kei are nowhere near as 'lovey-dovey' as Bokuto and Akaashi, but he couldn't. It took him all his energy to walk away from Tsukishima Kei, so much that he couldn't muster the will to do anything anymore.
"It was me." He said simply, pushing the soup bowl away from him with trembling hands. "It was me. I broke it up. I ended everything."
He did not have to look up to see the shocked expression on Bokuto Koutarou's face. "What?!" His owl-like friend sprang on him, almost knocking off the soup bowl in the process. "You're joking, right?"
"It had to be done." Tsukishima Hideki was right; he wasn't the right mate for the blonde omega; maybe he never will. That Ushijima guy was better suited for his firefly.
"Between your best efforts and mine, who do you think will suit Kei better?" The olive-haired heir to a weapons conglomerate had asked him a few weeks back, and it has been nagging at his mind ever since.
Kuroo knew the answer, so did Ushijima.
"You're definitely joking." Bokuto pulled him off of reminiscing with a forced chuckle before pulling out his phone and fiddling with it. "I'm going to call Keiji."
Kuroo pushed himself up and off Bo's kotatsu and slowly trudged towards the door. "Akaashi will only tell you the same thing, Bo. Tsukishima and I are over."
The owl-like alpha caught up to him in the tiny genkan as he was tying up his left shoelace.
"Kuroo!" Was he merely imagining it, or was there some underlying panic in his Kou's voice?
He did not even bother to look up at his friend, even though his heart started hammering down for some unknown reason.
"What?" He asked in a monotone as he slipped his right foot into the other sneaker. "I told you Akaashi will only tell you the same thing. Tsukishima and I are over. Get on with it."
"Tsukki just got rushed to the hospital!" The urgency in his friend's voice was unmistakable; he was urging Kuroo to act, to go to his omega, to set everything straight. "He's burning up; Yamaguchi found him slumped on the sidewalk, drenched and shivering in the rain!"
Ah, if only it were easy. Kuroo's hands trembled as he feigned nonchalance, finishing up his right shoelace like it was nothing, like he was being told some old news. The alpha inside him trashed and fought to get to its omega as quickly as it could and it took everything he had not to succumb to base instincts, to stay and put on a show when all he ever wanted was to go and put his arms around Kei.
Was he wounded? How long has he been in the rain? Where exactly did Yamaguchi find him?
"The hospital, you say?" He said, standing up and slinging his backpack over one shoulder. "Then he'd be fine. They own majority of the shares in that hospital, I'm sure he'd be top priority."
Bokuto managed to grab his bag just as he was about to leave. "That's it? That's all you can say?"
He turned to face the other alpha with deliberate slowness, smirk in place. He wasn't 'King of Provocation' for nothing. "What should I say then, Bo?"
Bokuto was looking at him as if he was an entirely different person and not the bestfriend he knew for so many years. The gold in Koutarou's eyes somehow reminded him of Kei's, mirroring the same confusion and pain that he saw in his omega a few hours back, back when he decided to end everything for Kei's sake.
"What did you do, Kuroo?", came Bo's whisper, still looking at him disbelievingly. He steeled himself.
"I told you, I broke up with him."
Why? He didn't have an answer.
Bokuto smirked at the sight of the old Nekoma captain jerking up in surprise at Keiji's voice calling him back to reality. The neurosurgeon must have been so exhausted, having to stay awake from his graveyard shift and rush to Kei's emergency and up until now. The poor man had been up for almost 24 hours now, and he was finally succumbing to the fatigue.
"Eh?" The bedhead alpha asked back, bewildered. In his exhaustion he seemed not to notice that they have already reached the 24-hour coffee shop next to the hospital.
"You really need to sleep, Kuroo Tetsurou." Ushijima Wakatoshi piped in his usual low tone, features barely concealing his amusement. "I can have someone drive you home, just say so."
The neurosurgeon shook his head rather wearily, and Bokuto suddenly found himself punching the other alpha lightly on the chest. To say that everyone was surprised was the understatement of the century; even Bokuto Koutarou himself would not be able to provide an excuse to justify what he just did.
"Oi!" Kuroo Tetsurou was the first to recover, tired features opening up to form a disbelieving grin. "What was that for?"
It took him all his efforts not to return that grin. "You need sleep, not coffee."
"I'm used to staying awake at odd hours with only caffeine spurring me on." Kuroo said, grin still plastered on his face. "One more cup won't hurt."
"Idiot." He mumbled then turned to enter the coffee shop first. "Don't come whining to us when you're suffering from palpitations."
Out of the corner of his eye he saw his husband and his old friend share a hopeful grin.
Bokuto Koutarou was one persistent shit, Kuroo had to give it to the alpha.
His owl-like bestfriend still adamantly refused to believe that he had fallen out of love with Tsukishima Kei, told him off for being a 'little cocky shit but I forgive you' (Bokuto's words) and took it upon himself to update Kuroo with the omega's life. They haven't seen much of each other since then, but the owl never failed to send him messages almost every week.
Tsukki's getting discharged today. Don't you want to come and visit? Akiteru-san
wants to see you, and even if he doesn't say it out loud, Tsukki misses you too.
My Keiji's gotten into this really cool internship at the Hotaru Group. Can you believe Tsukki knows someone there?! He and Akiteru-san put a good word for my baby and he's in!
I'm throwing him a party this weekend. You'll come, right? I'm not mad at you anymore, so please don't hesitate in coming.
Subject: You won't believe this
Ushijima Wakatoshi, that top 3 spiker? He's childhood friends with Tsukki! I'm a bit disappointed Kei did not tell us earlierーdid he tell you? They were at the French place I'm working at, and Ushiwaka-san said they were catching up on their friendship. I wonder how they're friends, I just couldn't see them growing up together but you can really tell the alpha is super smitten by your omega you lucky neko!
Maybe that's why you couldn't come to my party. Tsukki wasnt able to attend, too, said he's not feeling too chipper. He's been under the weather for days and Keiji and I are both worried. BUTー
He spent the weekend with you, didn't he? He looked positively glowing when he came by today!
Subject: practice match
I'm excited! See you in two weeks here in Fukuroudani!
P.S. Akaashi says we'll totally beat you. I agree 100%.
Couldn't you have picked a better day to get sick? Really, during the practice match?
I visited the place you used to work part-time. Why did you resign? I thought you wanted to save up for Tsukki's birthday gift?
Subject: Tsukki at the mall
Akaashi and I ran into Tsukki and Ushiwaka at the mall todayーit's been ages! Tsukki looks really prettier these days...and a bit softer, I guess?
He smells super heavenly though. It's good that Ushiwaka's with him, he's attracting a lot of alphas with that insanely good scent. Now I know why you said he smelled 'good enough to eat' during your first meeting. Even Akaashi looked concerned and he pulled Tsukki away for a private talk.
Hey you never got round to telling me where you'll be going for college.
I had someone from ToDai approach me today. You think I should?
Subject : choice of univ
Come to think of it, you never shared your plans at all
So I had to learn from Lev. From Lev! Why didn't you tell me?
Kuroo never responded to any of these texts, afraid that it may crumble his resolve.
He met up with Ishikawa Takeru once he got his admissions letter from KyoDai. The Hotaru Group's Head of Security gave him a brown manila envelope, which he received with slightly trembling hands.
"Kuroo-san," the ever-professional beta extended out an arm for a handshake. "Tsukishima Hideki-sama is very pleased that you have gotten round and made the right choice."
Leaving his omega behind and alienating himself from his friends...how is that the right choice?
The beta then slightly gestured to the envelope in his hands, as if urging him to check the contents. Even if he absolutely did not want to, he now has to.
"As promised, we will cover your mother's medical expenses plus her needs in the next five years of her recuperation. I have taken the liberty to open up an account under her name for that purpose. We will be depositing a standard amount bi-monthly, without fail, to ensure she gets the best medical care money can buy."
The teenage alpha then looked at the bank book in his hands, bearing his mother's name. He saw that it already had quite the amount in it, an amount that he will never be able to save in a year no matter how hard he tried. He closed his eyes and took a deep calming breath.
"You're making the right choice, Tetsurou.", a part of him says, but there's a nagging side of him that thinks otherwise and desperately pleads for him to reconsider.
Ishikawa-san cleared his throat rather noisily when it became clear that the alpha wouldn't even attempt to engage in a concersation. "The other bank book there," he continued as he watched Kuroo pull out said item, "is under your name, Kuroo-san. The amount it holds should be able to enough for you to transfer from your present residence to a better one. Tsukishima-sama has deemed it best that you transfer to Kyoto immediately, as it will be most convenient for you while you're studying in KyoDai. The top neurosurgeon of choice is in the area too, so it's a win-win."
Tetsurou chuckled dryly as he chucked the item back into the manila envelope. Can't that old geezer be more obvious in his attempt to remove the Nekoma captain out of the picture?
"We will also be depositing in that account monthly to cover your academic expenses both for your pre-med courses in KyoDai and your Medical degree should you decide to finish your studies abroad. His wife, Michiko-sama, has suggested we give you an allowance on top of that so that you don't have to work part-time and just focus in your studies and caring for your mother.”
"This is too much." He all but blurted out, brown eyes widening at the beta's kind smile in return.
"Oh, no, not at all." Kuroo wanted to punch the smile from the guy's face, but he knows the beta is just following orders. "After all, we are causing you a great inconvenience."
Before he could find his voice, the beta had bid him goodbye with a final reminder to pack his things as the Hotaru group will be sending a moving van for them by the end of the week. He did not even have enough time to properly say goodbye to the people he will be leaving behind.
Or so he thought, until Bokuto appeared in his doorstep just as the last of the boxes have been loaded to the mover's truck. It was a good thing Tetsurou had thought of admitting his mother to that hospital in Kyoto in advance, thinking that all the preparations of the move would cause her unnecessary stress especially when he knows she's still agitated about how his son suddenly had the money to spend on her.
"What's all this?" The owl had asked, eyes blown wide in surprise. "You're leaving?"
Tetsurou chuckled dryly. "What does it look like, Bo? Spring cleaning?"
"So you're really going to Kyoto?"The other said, drinking in the sight of his empty, rundown apartment. "Does Tsukki know?"
"Why does he have to know?"
"He's your omega."
The two young alphas locked gazes at that, brown against gold. There was an obvious exasperation in Bokuto's orbs, questions brimming out of them that demanded answers.
Answers that Kuroo will never give.
"Bo, quit it." Tetsurou sighed. "Tsukki and I are over."
"But that doesn't mean you don't love each other anymore." Bokuto circled him closely, living up to Fukuroudani Academy's owlish nature. "Tsukki certainly does, and he's missing you."
"Bo why are you so concerned about him?" His skin prickled in the tense aura surrounding them, feeling like a mouse in an open field with a predator looming above and nowhere to hide. "I'm your longest friend."
“True, and you're being an idiot." He huffed. "Tsukki's my friend too, and he does not deserve any of this. I don't know what's going on Tetsurou, but can you stop fooling around already?"
"You think I'm fooling around?" He looked around the empty apartment as if to make a point. "I'm perfectly serious here, Bo. This is me, literally walking away from that omega's life."
"That omega." Bokuto echoed back. "Wow, what a jerk, Kuroo. That omega's suffering because of you. That omega's health started failing againーdo you know this is the third time he's been admitted to a hospital this month?"
"That omega will live. It's just a broken heart, Bo, we all get that all the time." He stood up casually, praying that the wobble in his knees won't be obvious under his best friend's burning gaze.
He walked right up to where the house keys hang on the wall. "I should definitely get going, Bo. Thanks for this nice chat."
He expected his friend to get the clue and get ready to leave, but Bokuto Koutarou stayed in the middle of the room, hands curled up in a fist so tight his knuckles were almost white.
"Boー" A fist collided with his cheek before he could finish his sentence.
"You pathetic excuse for an alphaー!" The owl growled, grabbing a handful of Kuroo's shirt. "How can you just abandon the person who loves you?"
"That makes two of us then." He growled back but did not make an effort to pull himself away from his friend's grip. "That beta loved you more than anything and you left her for Akaashi."
He barely had time to dodge the owl's angry swing. "Don't you dare drag Akaashi into this!"
"Why not? Don't act all too righteous Bokuto Kotarou, you're just as rotten as I am. I am not the first alpha who's abandoning the one who loves himーyou did that first, remember?"
Bokuto's face turned pale."Iー
"Tell me, Bo. Why do people break up? Why did you break up with that beta you were dating before Akaashi?"
Bokuto's eyes widened and his hold on Kuroo's bag slackened. The alpha looked down. "I b-broke up with her becauseー
"Because you don't love her anymore, right?" He sneered, inwardly hating himself for attacking his bestfriend this way. "Because you know she's not the one. Because you met Akaashi. You broke up with her because Akaashi came into the picture."
It was a low blow, Kuroo knew, and he was not at all surprised at the second punch that landed on his jaw. It hurt like hell, but he managed to laugh. He had to finish this. He had to make sure Kei gets the life he deserves; a life that he could never give him.
"How dare you!" Bokuto was livid, the expression on his face contorting into one of pure anger and hatred.
"Woah there!" He said with a chuckle, raising both hands in mock surrender. "Chill, Bo, I was just making my point. If you can do it, then why can't I?"
"But Tsukkiーhe's different! You said he's different!"
"Oh?" He said with another sneer. "Then I changed my mind, then. It's the same thing as that beta girl you used to date. You thought she was the one, right? Same goes for Tsukishima."
The sound of his own footsteps was defeaning as he made his way to the door. Each step resounded as loud as the heavy beating of his heart, as painful as the knife pierced in his chest.
"Love isn't always the answer, Bo."
A slight movement to his right woke Kei up. He sat up, startled and slightly dizzy from the sudden action as he bewilderedly looked around the room until he remembered to check his right.
A smile grazed his lips at the sight of one Kuroo Yukio, face half buried in the pillowーKei's pillow. The blonde suspects it was saturated with his scent, and was proven right when the boy suddenly turned in his sleep, took one long inhale at the pillow, and fell back to a deep slumber with a peaceful smile in his lips. The omega's heart warmed looking at his long lost pup, even more so when the boy's twin sister who was on the opposite side of Kei turned to face her brother and unconsciously reached out to touch her brother's hand.
Kei decided to get out of bed and moved the teenagers slightly to the center, biting a laugh when Yukiko pulled Yukio into a hug, not before inhaling the alpha's wildberry scent (which was kinda surprising for an alpha, as they mostly have musky, woody, earthy scents instead of smelling slightly sweet).
"Oyasumi nasai, my babies." He whispered as he adjusted the blankets and reached over to kiss each one on the forehead.
He silently made his way to the small balcony of his hospital room, silently looking out to the cityscape of Metropolitan Tokyo: pitch black, dotted with multicolored lights. Big cities like this never sleep, and Kei allowed himself to get lost in the sounds of bustling activity in the distance. He closed his eyes and allowed the scent of pine and snow envelope him in a calming embrace.
Wait, isn't this scent--?
Golden eyes opened suddenly, only to meet chocolate-brown ones.
"Hi." Kuroo Tetsurou whispered, a faint smile playing on his lips. "How are you feeling?"
"Shouldn't that be my question?" He said, taking in the alpha's overall appearance. Kuroo has always been good-looking (okay, hot) even back when he was still this cocky senior high school student who wooed the awkward freshman that was Tsukishima Kei.
Adulthood had been very good to Kei, but it clearly favored Tetsurou. The alpha grew up from a handsome boy to a handsome man, and it was evident that the neurosurgeon turned heads everywhere.
Looking at him now, though, the alpha looked so wrecked he was almost indistinguishable. Kuroo had taken on a gaunt expression, the light in his eyes dulling with exhaustion and fatigue. His bedhead looked worse, his clothes from yesterday crumpled and dirty. It was as though he was the one recovering from a drop and not Kei.
The omega took small steps towards the alpha and unconsiously reached out to touch the latter's face.
"Have you even slept, Kuroo-san?" His pale fingers traced the darkening circles under brown eyes. "You look like you need the rest more than I do."
Tanned fingers closed upon pale ones and it was only then that Tsukishima Kei realized he had once again succumbed to his inner omega. He gave an annoyed tsk before pulling his hand away and looking out once again at the cityscape, knowing full well that his alpha's eyes are on him. He willed himself not to blush because that would mean he's affected, which he isn't.
Aren't you really? A part of him voiced out, which his rational self immediately snuffed out. Serves it right.
They stood there for god knows how long, feeling each other's presence, groping for words. Kei was about to say something when the alpha beat him to it.
"I'm sorry." The words came in a painful whisper and Kei couldn't help but look in the other's direction.
"Sorry for what?" He asked, feigning nonchalance and praying fervently that the heavy beating of his heart would go unnoticed.
"For a lot of things." The reply came after a full minute. "For everything. For leaving you."
Their eyes met once again, briefly, until the omega looked down and broke eye contact. The sincerity he could see in those eyes were too much they were crumbling his resolve.
"Hm.", was all that escaped from his lips. He could not trust himself to say anything more.
"I'm sorry." The alpha started again, to which he replied with a shaky okay. The alpha heaved a sigh. "I was doing all of it for you."
Kei looked up as soon as the words finally sank in, his head jerking up so fast he may as well have earned a crink in the neck.
Did he just hear that one right?
"I'm sorry, I must have misheard." He blurted out bluntly, and felt some sort of victory upon seeing Kuroo's grimace. "You were doing it for me?"
When the other did not speak up he continued, "How is leaving me to bear our pups alone good for me? How is keeping one of them away good for me?"
He felt Tetsurou inch closer and he instinctively took a step away.
"Kei," There was no mistaking the plea in his voice. "You don't understand."
"Of course I don't!" He whispered fiercely, aware of their sleeping pups inside. "How am I supposed to understand when you just broke up with me without any reaaon at all? How am I supposed to understand, Kuroo, when you kept me in the dark?"
He let out a gasp of breath he hadn't realized he was holding, looking at the guy in front of him who had the decency to look guilty and pained.
"I-I woke up." The neurosurgeon said while rubbing the tears away from his tired eyes. "I woke up to the realization that I am not the one for you."
"You're not the one for me?" He echoed, letting out a short bark of demeaning laughter. "And you decided that on your own?"
"Wow, Kuroo-san." He looked away from those eyes. "I may be an omega, but I am capable of making decisions on my own. Including the choice of who to spend the rest of my life with."
"I know." Kuroo let out a sharp huff as though he was willing himself not to cry anymore, which was futile because even as he did so a steady stream of silent tears came flowing out of his eyes. "You were always so amazing, Kei, so perfect that I...I knew I would never be a good enough alpha for such a prized omegaー
Tsukishima Kei instantly saw red and he found himself inches away from Kuroo's face, fists bunched up in the front of the neurosurgeon's day-old shirt.
"I hate that. I hate having to hear that from you." He growled, the hair on his skin bristling though he could not honestly say it was only because of his anger, but also because of the alpha's close proximity. He almost had to remind himself not to close his eyes and drown himself in the alpha's scent. "I hate that people see me as something rare, something fragile. I'm just me. I'm like the other omegas out there. I just want to be lovedー
He gripped the other's shirt tighter and seriously considered shoving him to the wall to let Kuroo have an idea about how much pain he's currently in when the neurosurgeon placed both hands over his fists.
"And I do." The alpha said, hands trembling as they covered the omega's. "I loved you then."
"Then?" He said, smiling bitterly. "Past tense."
The bedhead shook his head. "Continuative. I love you, I am loving you until now."
Kei's hold slackened with such straightforward words and the alpha simply took advantage of his disconcerted state, wrapping two strong arms around the blonde's waist and pushing the megane's head slightly to his tanned neck, directly in the juncture between his neck and shoulders. Tsukishima's nose landed directly on the alpha's scent glands and he could not help but take a long inhale. "Goddamnit Kei, I love you." The arms around him went tighter. "I guess I just loved you too much that I had to let you go."
Tetsurou could feel his omega struggling against his hold, so he held on tighter. He had to at least scent-mark Kei as his alpha, even if their bonds aren't that strong.
"You don't love me", came a muffled sob. "You never have."
He untangled himself from the blonde and slightly held his chin to make Kei face him. The omega has to know, he owes him that. "If there ever was, is, something I'm sure of, it's the fact that I love you."
Golden eyes steeled at those words. "You say you love me enough to let me go. Why couldn't you love me enough to stay?"
Kenma had once asked him the same question by the time he and Yuki had already settled into the life in London. His answer had remained unchanged. "I told youーI'm not worthy."
The blonde swatted his hand away from his chin with a sharp slap. "Did I ever tell you that? Did I ever made you feel that way?"
"But everyone believes I deserve better." Kei angrily wiped his tears away, his breathing hitching with all the bottled-up anger. "That I will be happy with someone better."
No, no, Kei, please listenー
"Tell me, do I look happy now? You're all the same. All of you. You all claim you love me and want the best for meー
The alpha in him panicked. "Because that's the truth! You're the Hotaru Group's prized omega!"
"And do you think that matters? Do you I think I care? I don't care about all that. I didn't ask to be born into any of these. I don't want to be the prized omega. I just want to be Kei." He pushed the alpha away with a tearful grunt.
"But did any of you think of that? Did any of you ask me what I wanted? You all went on and shaped my life as you pleased. All of you. Nobody cared about Tsukishima Kei. You were all concerned about the prized omega.”
Every word felt like a deep stab in his heart. Could it be? Could it be that in his attempt to give Kei the best, he just subjected him to the worst? He closed his eyes; he could no longer bear the sight of his weeping omega.
"But still, Kuroo-san, thank you." Kei's voice shook with tears. "Thank you for bringing Yuki back to me. Don't worry, I won't rob you of your right to be a part of Yukiko's life, but only if she decides you could."
"Go home, Kuroo-san. You need the rest. Come back tomorrow, and I'll let you talk to my daughter."
"Our daughter." He whispered.
The omega gave him a withering glare. "My daughter. Mine."
The first thing that greeted Dr. Kuroo when he rushed to Tsukishima Kei's hospital suite was the grinning face of his teenage boy.
"Ohayou, Dad!" It seemed that the young alpha had undergone a drastic change overnight. His face seemed to light up and his disposition a hundred times cheerful than he had been since the first time they came back to Japan "Mommy had just been wheeled out to have the tests, but Yukko and I had been waiting for you so we could eat breakfast together!"
"Is that so?" The huge giddy smile in Yukio's thin face was so contagious it was hard for him not to smile back. "You two aren't going to school today?"
The boy shook his head rather enthusiastically, grin seemingly plastered permanently on his face. "No, I'm thinking of keeping watch over Mommyー
"Absolutely not." A third voice piped up, and Tetsurou thought for a split second he was looking at a teenage Kei with uncharacteristically long hair. "You heard the doctor. They're simply testing Mommy for the sake of being thorough; he's out of any imminent danger for now. Therefore Yuki, there is no reason for us to be skipping school."
"Daddy works here, he can help look after Mommy." Gold curls framing gold eyes on a pale face, Yukiko was the very definition of femme fatale that Tetsurou pitied any alpha who'd dare court her as early as now. "Right, Dad?"
His chest constricted in a surprisingly pleasantly painful way. His daughter had called him Dad.
Kuroo Tetsurou had always believed he would never be able to fall in love with another omega apart from Tsukishima Kei, but looking at his daughter now, he knew his belief was wrong.
His love for Yukiko may be different from what he feels for her mother, but it is just as strong.
"Yeah. Good thing I happened to have your uniform here, snow kitten." Both he and the young omega grinned identical grins at the sound of Yukio's groan of disapproval.
"You two start on breakfast without me, let me just go and take a shower here." Yuki said, sounding like the idea of getting ready for school today was fatal. "You better help me explain to taichou the reason why I should be allowed to skip afternoon practice, Yukko. I want to be here when Mommy gets discharged."
Yukiko rolled her eyes (and it amazed the neurosurgeon how she definitely channeled salty Tsuishima Kei at such a simple act) and mumbled a disinterested "Whatever, snow kitten."
The two did not start on breakfast until after they heard the shower running. Kuroo cleared his throat rather awkwardly and walked to the small table that served as a temporary breakfast spread. He started unpacking the bento boxes stacked up on top of the said table.
"Where did you two order take out this early?" He asked, hoping that his attempt for small talk doesn't sound awkward nor forced.
"They're not take out food." Despite himself, he stilled at the sound of Yukiko's soft voice gettkng nearer. How does one become a father to a daughter who's been estranged from you for more than a decade?
He laid out three sets of plates and utensils methodically to help calm himself down. "Oh?" He asked aloud, concentrating on the task at hand. "They're from your house, then?"
Instead of a verbal answer, what he got was a pair of pale arms tentatively hugging him from behind followed by a tearful whisper.
Suddenly there was no hesitation in the alpha's actions as he immediately turned around to properly envelope his daughter into a hug, who promptly broke into tears.
"I've always wondered where you've gone to, Daddy." The girl sobbed into his white coat. "I've always asked about you, ever since I was little."
He planted a kiss at the top of Yukiko's head. "Snowdrop", he said, remembering the endearment he has heard Kei address their daughter. "I'm sorry, baby. Daddy did not mean to leave you behind."
Gold eyes looked up to him with a tearful smile. "But you're back now, right? You won't leave us anymore, right?"
He smiled back and planted another kiss, this time on his daughter's forehead. "I won't, baby. I'm here to stay."
The girl hugged him tighter and grinned, with Tetsurou noting how similar their natural scents were despite being of different secondary genders. "Our family's finally complete now, I'm so happy!"
Kuroo did not have the heart to correct that statement, even more so when Yukio found them in that position and demanded he be included in the ‘almost-family’ hug.
“Almost family?” Yukiko asked, lowkey wiping away the last of her tears. Yukio looked smug before answering.
“Mommy still has to join in for it to be called an official family hug.”
headcanon that Bokuto is a total message app/email nerd who types with all the correct grammar and uses all the proper punctations (because how else is he going to impress Keiji enough to keep on replying to his messages?!) FIGHT ME IF YOU DISAGREE *evil laughter*