Kuroo is good looking.
This is sort of a fact of life, just like the fact that Kuroo likes volleyball and science and has an awful, braying laugh and likes Animal Crossing but does not like Warzone. The Witcher series he's okay with, but he likes Yennefer best.
He is also tall, lean and fit from volleyball, and has near golden eyes in the sun. It's just sort of a fact of life, for Kenma. It doesn't mean much.
It doesn't mean much until girls in Kenma's class start asking about him.
"Kozume-kun," one girl asks. "Please, tell us about Kuroo-senpai."
Kenma doesn't look up- he's on the tail end of a 1v1 in smash. "Why?"
A twitter from above him. "Well, he's very good looking, isn't he?"
"And so tall," another girl says. "But I guess all the- most of the volleyball players are," she finishes, and when Kenma looks up, pins her with a feline stare at that, she has the grace to go pink.
"Please, Kozume-kun?" the third girl says, now that Kenma has seemingly checked into the conversation. "What does Kuroo-senpai like?"
"Volleyball," Kenma says shortly, ignoring their annoyed little sighs, and returns his expression to the screen. He's died. Figures.
After that he starts paying attention. More attention to the social aspects, at least. Kenma always pays a fair percentage of his attention to Kuroo. He sort of demands it. And. Kuroo does get a lot of female attention.
Scratch that, Kenma decides after a few weeks of...paying attention. Kuroo gets a lot of attention, period. And he doesn't even....notice? Someone will compliment him on a game and he'll go "The team is really coming together this year!" or they'll ask what he's doing this weekend and he'll say, "Practice!"
Or, sometimes, he'll say, "Kenma and I are-" and it's just. Better that way. Kenma doesn't want to think about why it's so much better that way, until one day it's 3am and he's finally beat this stupid level and he's just laying there, save point music playing over and over in the background and he goes. Okay.
Maybe he does know why he likes it better. Kenma's the brain of Nekoma for a reason. He notices, and knows things. He lays awake till 5am this time, thankful tomorrow is a Saturday, and thinks.
So Kenma shrugs and says fuck it, exhausted and black bags under his eyes from his all nighter even though it's now Monday. He makes the necessary adjustments and the next time someone asks, "Kozume-kun, what does Kuroo like?" Kenma just smiles.
And when Kuroo comes into the second year classroom to grab him, a few people flutter and ask him questions and grab for his attention. Kuroo laughs- not his real one, but a soft, vaguely awkward chuckle in a bid to get out. He waves Kenma over, filling the doorway with his height. As Kenma gathers up his stuff- still slow, still conserving energy- he hears a girl in his class say, "I'm going to confess to him after class on friday."
Kenma shoves the rest of his stuff in his bag, blinks at the girl with lazy lidded eyes. "Good luck with that," he says. The girl blinks back, a little shocked.
Kenma walks over to Kuroo and makes a little moue of dissatisfaction. "Kuro. Can we go? I want to get a snack before practice." He looks up at Kuroo under his lashes, something he'll take to his grave that he practiced in front of the mirror. It's something very warm and pleasing in his chest when Kuroo blinks a little in surprise and then smiles down at him, soft and fond.
"Of course," Kuroo says, still smiling, not looking anywhere but Kenma. "I'll treat you. You need to eat more, Kenma." They turn to leave and Kenma grabs at the loose elbow of Kuroo's blazer, and rolls his neck to the side. Just enough to shoot Kuroo's little fan club a look.
He might as well have put a neon sign up. Closed for business. Keep Out. Mine.
They stare at him in something close to shock, and Kenma lets himself be led out of the classroom, dips his head so his hair shields his face, a very small smirk appearing there.
This goes on for longer than Kenma would care to admit. He's not acting too different from normal, really. He still ignores Kuroo when there's something time-sensitive or too important in his games, still doesn't like getting too tired at practice, still tries to keep energy usage down.
The necessary adjustments are very simple, and the energy expended is well worth the soft curve of Kuroo's mouth, the warmth in Kenma's stomach, and the metaphorical dog collar Kenma may as well have put around Kuroo's neck.
All Kenma has to do is ask, let the faintest whine or plea slip into his voice, look up at Kuroo and he's putty, putting everything- and everyone- aside.
Kuroo is oblivious.
It's a Friday, and Kuroo is about to be cornered by some second year Kenma doesn't know the name of. He's worked up the courage to confess, and Kuroo is beginning to look more and more alarmed around the eyes.
"Kuro," he calls out instead, and Kuroo's head comes up like a dog. "Will you buy me a juice?"
"You need to bring your own pocket money," Kuroo teases, extricating himself from the second year. He's going steadily red.
"Why?" Kenma says as Kuroo reaches him. "I know you'll treat me."
Kuroo slings a friendly arm around Kenma's shoulders, laughs. "Yeah, yeah." Kenma looks over his shoulder, over the heavy weight of Kuroo's arm. The boy tilts his head up and stalks the opposite way down the corridor.
Kuroo leads them to the vending machines outside of the school, prattling on about something or another till they're in the shade, protected from sun and any stray glances of students. He gives Kenma a little tug on the arm, just enough to bring him in front of him.
Kuroo smirks, and Kenma is instantly suspicious. "What," he demands, glaring up at him.
Kuroo's smirk grows wider and he takes a step forward, boxing Kenma up against the side of the vending machine, the wall of the school, and Kuroo. "Did you think you were subtle?"
Kenma glares harder. Yes, he did. Well, maybe it was more that he thought Kuroo was a little bit oblivious.
"Did you think I didn't notice?" Kuroo presses harder, takes another step forward. "You being a possessive little brat?" Kenma finally drops his stare and pouts, an angry, embarrassed flush suffusing his cheeks. "Hey," Kuroo says, soft, chucks his chin up a little so they lock gazes.
"Didn't say I didn't like it." Kenma's eyebrow twitches. "My little kitten's got claws, huh?" Kuroo says, and his eyes are wide and gold in the shade and he's so tall and so close and- Kenma punches him in the stomach.
"Ow!" Kuroo says, doubling over enough to make their heads clunk. Tension dissipates in a single instant. Kenma rubs his forehead, scowling. "Claws indeed," Kuroo says, laughing his stupid hyena laugh, and it makes something in Kenma relax. Kuroo's smirk twists up again.
"Feel free to keep it up," he says airily, turning to the vending machine. "What do you want?"
Kenma pouts at him again, and then says "Orange juice."
Kuroo gives him a sidelong glance, smirk softening just a little. "Good kitty."
The next time Kuroo is cornered, this time by a couple of third year girls, Kenma steels his courage.
"Kuro," he says in his low, quiet voice, and Kuroo's face brightens.
"Hello, kitten," Kuroo says, grinning that stupid smirk of his. The nickname is new-ish- it's been popping up since the incident by the vending machines. Kenma hasn't said a word against it, which, for him, is screaming from the rooftops about how much he likes it.
He is, however, against how much he likes it.
One of the girls raises her eyebrows at the nickname. The others look pleasantly scandalized. Kuroo reaches out an arm and they part, let Kenma make his way through and worm his way under Kuroo's arm.
"You weren't waiting for me after class," Kenma says, flat.
Kuroo smiles down at him, smirk softening into something Kenma can't quite name. "Got held up," he says, flicks his gaze at the girls.
Kenma hums. "Ready?"
"Always," he says, and then nods to the girls. "Ladies," with a polite little nod. They leave like that, with Kuroo's arm slung over his shoulder, and Kenma doesn't even bother to look back at them.
He's a little too nervous about what he's about to do.
They exit the school, and Kenma tugs them over to the vending machines again. "Am I treating you?" Kuroo asks, amused and fond and-
Kenma pushes Kuroo against the stupid vending machine, stands on his toes and kisses him in the shade of the school.
It's very quiet, just the quiet brr of the vending machine and the soft little intake of breath that Kenma can feel against his mouth.
There's a pause, just a spare second, before Kuroo's hand comes up and cups Kenma's face, the other wrapping around his hip, underneath his uniform jacket, and Kuroo's kissing him back, gentle and a little breathless.
They only stay like that for a minute and then Kenma's dropping down from his toes and relaxing his fingers from where he's curled them into the front of Kuroo's uniform shirt. It's going to need to be ironed.
He lets his hands stay there anyway.
"Right," Kuroo says, and the warm, possessive feeling in Kenma's chest and stomach overflows at how dazed he sounds. "Alright then."
"Okay?" Kenma asks, looking up at him.
Kuroo groans, just a little. Swoops down and cradles Kenma's face in both hands, kisses him fervently, harder than before. He draws back enough to knock his forehead against Kenma's.
He tucks a strand of hair behind Kenma's face. "Okay, you little brat. Of course."
Kenma just smiles at him in the space between their faces, safely obscured by their proximity.
Kuroo sees it anyway, presses kisses to his face like he can't help it, half-laughing. Kenma lets him do it until the edge of his tongue catches on his ear and he gives a full body shiver, tears himself away.
"I thought we were cats, not dogs," Kenma says, and does a poor job of disguising how breathless he is.
Kuroo smiles back, shameless. "Whatever you say, kitten." he sounds cheerful enough.
Kenma sighs a little. "You can buy me juice now."
Kuroo's laugh echoes against the walls of the school and the vending machine and Kenma, and it's loud and braying and everything Kenma wants, right there.