His life began on a sunny September day, and it would end in a stormy February day, Kei lamented to himself as he wrapped the thick blanket around himself tightly, as if that would shelter him from the storm outside or the sounds of wind howling.
Urgh, he had always been a little sensitive to the cold, but this was ridiculous – even the blanket around him did very little to warm him up. Kei huffed out an annoyed sigh as he buried himself deeper into the folds of the only warmth available to him. God, he hated snowstorms and winter in general.
"Doesn't look like it's getting better any time soon!"
What made the ordeal much worse was the fact that Kei wasn't alone in his misery. Whereas he would have been content if Yamaguchi were suffering with him, this situation with these people from that goddamn school only served to make him crankier and uneasy. Having the misfortune of sharing a cottage with the two idiots from Nekoma was the worst thing Kei had had to deal in a while.
And he had to deal with Kageyama and Hinata's repressed romantic tension on daily basis.
Kei's eyes flickered to Lev, one of the above-mentioned assholes. "No shit, Sherlock," Kei grumbled to himself as he cursed the coach once more for arranging a skiing trip with Nekoma all of a sudden. It was just for the weekend, but god ha hated it already. Why had he said yes?
Oh, right, because Akiteru had so kindly encouraged him to. Kei made a face at the memory of his brother's smiling, supportive face.
"Ah, c'mon, Tsukki, it's not that bad! This calls for a board game night," Lev hummed, way too cheerful and obnoxious, kind of like Hinata. "I mean, this is kinda fun; snowed in like this, we get to spend valuable time together—"
"What're you on about, Lev?"
Ah, the other asshole to complete the duo Kei had to share the chilly cottage with. Kei's eyes flickered towards the small excuse of a kitchen Kuroo Tetsurou had just come from. Looking as unimpressed with Lev as ever, Kuroo cocked his head. "You remember the time Kenma crushed you in Monoply, yeah?"
Just listening to him was annoying. Just being close to him was annoying. But god if that asshole wasn't the nicest asshole Kei had ever met.
Contradictory, Kei thought to himself as he shifted on the couch awkwardly when Kuroo plopped down next to him, still very much into whatever discussion about past Monopoly games he was having with Lev, who kept pouting at Kuroo and whining something about it not being fair, Kuroo-san was the banker that time.
"Also," Kuroo added irritably, "don't call him Tsukki."
Kei blinked. Huh, oh right, he had called me that. Guess I stopped noticing when people do that. Then he grimaced, because fuck that nickname was catching on, very much like Ushiwaka for Shiratorizawa's Ushijima.
Lev seemed utterly floored by the judgmental tone in Kuroo's voice, and his usually wide eyes went even wider. "Huh? Why not? It's such a cute nickname."
"It's not," Kei said flatly, "and I never gave this asshole permission to use it either." Bokuto had been the first to pick it up, though; it had been inevitable before Kuroo would as well. At least Bokuto's not here, Kei comforted himself, though at the same time he wasn't sure whether he preferred Lev to Bokuto at all.
Kuroo's attention shifted to Kei, lips curling into a pout that was… kind of disturbing on Kuroo's face, actually. Kei made a face back at him, shuddering underneath his blanket.
More importantly, how were these two not freezing their asses off?
"It's not like you mind, though?" Kuroo's pout turned into a grin. "You never protested about me calling you that as much as you did about Bokuto."
"Because Bokuto-san is relentless and I do not want to deal with him yelling 'Tsukki, Tsukki' every waking moment," Kei snorted, burying his face into his knees and ignored the warmth radiating off of Kuroo as he slide closer to Kei.
"Does that mean you like listening me say," Kuroo's voice was too close for comfort, and Kei gave an involuntary shudder, not entirely from the chills of the cold, "Tsukki, Tsukki~?" The nickname was breathed into his ear with an obvious teasing tone, but Kei felt his skin heat up nevertheless.
Scratch that – Kuroo was just as big an asshole as the rest.
"No," he said blankly and as irritably as he could muster himself to. "I'm going to punch that smirk off your face, too, Kuroo-san."
"Go ahead," Kuroo said, not missing a beat, "punch me with your lips."
Kei made a choking sound from the back of his throat, suddenly very glad that neither Nekoma student could see his face. Just how lame was that? Way above the scale Kei used to measure the lameness of things.
"Gay," Lev's serene comment (and the whistling wind outside) broke the silence.
Accurate, Kei wanted to say, but he hadn't recovered from the damage caused by Kuroo's words just yet.
"Wasn't talking to you, Lev," Kuroo said easily, laughing at the way Lev proceeded to whine about it and the Tsukki deal. "Tsukkiii, at least you could look at me. You that embarrassed?"
Kei fumbled for a moment as he got his arm out from the blanket cocoon and flipped Kuroo off wordlessly.
"Oh, c'mon, look at me at least," Kuroo purred as he took Kei's hand, moving it to his face until his breath tingled on Kei's knuckles. Already sensitive to the changes in temperature, Kei shivered, and cursed himself inwardly for it.
"Stop that," Kei said irritably, raising his head despite himself to glare at Kuroo, who was still too close. Much too close, but Kei wasn't going to complain about the extra heat at his side, even if it was Kuroo.
(Especially because it was Kuroo, he admitted begrudgingly.)
Kuroo's smile was shit-eating as usual, contented now that he had won this round between him and Kei, but it faded a little as he kept rubbing Kei's hand in his. "You're kinda cold."
"Like really cold, Tsukki."
"No shit, there's a snowstorm outside and the heating's not the best." Kei tried tugging his hand back. "Blanket's awful too, but that's the best I have, so give me my hand back, Kuroo-san—"
Kuroo let go of his hand, but not without a contemplative look directed at Kei before he stood up. Kei minimally regretted the loss of warmth at his side. The blanket was really shitty despite its thickness, alright? Alright.
Kei raised an eyebrow as Kuroo's fingers worked on unzipping the glaring red Nekoma jersey he apparently wore everywhere. ("First thing I found before leaving," Kuroo had shrugged when Kei had asked about it, "helps to identify us, too.")
"You're not stripping here," Kei said flatly, toes curling beneath the blanket against the cushions.
"That'll happen later," Kuroo grinned good-naturedly as he took off the jersey and threw it to Kei. "Put that on. You need the extra warmth more than I do."
"Gross," Kei said to Kuroo's first response before staring suspiciously at the flaring red piece of clothing he had caught just barely. Feeling the fabric up with his fingers, he had to admit – it was warm. The thought of simply getting his winter jacket from where he had left it crossed Kei's mind, but the lazier (sort of an idiotic) side of him that didn't want to move from the couch won. "You're an idiot. You're gonna freeze instead."
"Nah, I'm pretty hot," Kuroo laughed as he plopped down next to Kei again, helping him untangle the blankets enough for Kei to be able to put the jersey on. "Seriously, I'll be fine," he added when Kei shot him a doubtful glance.
"Hmm, but isn't Kuroo-san's jersey a little too small? You can have mine, Tsukki," Lev chose this time to pipe in after having watched the previous exchange with curious, wide eyes. Kuroo waved a hand dismissively. "He's just six millimeters taller, Lev."
"Probably even closer to a centimeter by now," Kei muttered to himself as he shoved his arms into the jersey. "Stop calling me Tsukki, Nekoma's supposed ace."
Lev's expression stiffened as the words stung him into a stunned silence.
Kuroo whistled. "Wow, he actually shut up? Impressive, Tsukki." Then his attention drifted back to the younger, lips curling into an appreciative smile when he caught sight of the jersey on Kei's frame. "Hey, it looks pretty good on you."
Kei looked down at the sleeves that hung loosely around his arms, slightly peeved that he had less muscle than Kuroo's, and tugged at the fabric tentatively. He felt considerably warmer with the jersey over his long-sleeved shirt, but his legs couldn't be saved.
"It does!" Lev was quick to confirm Kuroo's words, as though Kei needed to hear that kind of thing. "Man, it'd be awesome if you could wear that all the time, wouldn't it?"
"Who says he doesn't?" Kuroo sounded irritated again – maybe Lev was just that good at getting under his skin. Either way, Kei was amused, though slightly mortified by the insinuation that he wore Kuroo's jersey all the time.
Not that he would mind it too much – it was a nice jersey, and now that he sniffed closer, it did smell like Kuroo.
Go away, gay thoughts, Kei chanted, the heat on his face still just the cold.
"What." Lev's face at Kuroo's statement was worth seeing, at least, and Kei snickered under his breath as he draped the blankets over his feet. "Kuroo-san, so it's true!" Lev's expression lit up. "You and Tsukishima-kun really are—!"
Kuroo's grin was enough to warm Kei up from the inside out of the sheer irritation it ignited in the pores of his being. "Super cool boyfriends? Well, duh."
God, he really was a dork.
Yet Kei didn't put up a fight when Kuroo pulled him close by his waist, cheeks pressing together as Kuroo smirked at Lev. "I got the cute one."
"I got the idiot," Kei deadpanned, but the almost smile curling on his lips betrayed him. Damn facial muscles. Perhaps the jersey was also to be blamed; it did things to Kei he couldn't explain with his infallible logic.
Lev whistled at the sight, but unlike a decent person, he didn't stop staring at them and the way Kuroo's nose nuzzled into Kei's hair sort of awkwardly since there was basically no height difference between them despite what Kei had said.
"Surprisingly lovey-dovey, huh," Lev hummed. "I guess I win that bet with Yaku-san after all!"
"…what bet." There was nothing funny about the way Kuroo and Kei had spoken at the same time, but Lev still burst into a fit of laughter, mumbling something about how they really seemed like a couple like that.
"Your team's full of idiots," Kei said as he wrinkled his brow at Lev, who was holding his stomach while trying to calm down.
"Nah," Kuroo said, brow twitching, "that's just Lev."
"You know what this situation calls," Lev started once he had stopped laughing and was wiping the remaining tears off from the corners of his eyes.
"Don't," Kuroo and Kei groaned, both having the vague sense of something stupid coming up next from Lev's mouth.
"Group cuddling," Lev announced, smiling widely. "It is kinda chilly, you know! And with Kuroo-san's shirt off and Tsukishima-kun's bad circulation, it's just logical!"
"I hate your team," Kei told Kuroo.
"Again, that's just Lev," Kuroo replied without missing a beat as a thoughtful look crossed his face. That was the moment Kei knew all hope was truly lost. "He does have a point, though."
"C'mon, Lev, since you're so enthusiastic about it," Kuroo snickered, pulling Kei tighter against his side. "Tsukki's legs need a little warming up."
"Tetsurou, you asshole."
"Love you too, babe."
Kuroo's smirk was infuriating, and Kei really wanted to punch it off his face. Must I really, he questioned himself, but it wasn't like he was particularly reluctant to lean over to press his lips against Kuroo's. It was easy to disregard both his use of Kuroo's first name and Kuroo's love you, babe when their lips were pressed up against each other, so there was that bonus too.
Also, it was totally worth hearing Lev's whine of disappointment and tactful retreat once it was clear that making out was in the program for the next unforeseeable moments.