Chapter 1: Oikawa
Daichi was tired. Not that that was a new feeling for the former volleyball captain. He’d been on the verge of near exhaustion since his second year of high school when he’d been named Captain after his after the third years had left.
But Daichi knew his biology class wouldn’t always let out thirty minutes early so he should try to get the extra practice in while he could. Besides, despite having led his team to nationals last year in high school, he still felt like the underdog player. All the players here had to have been scouted out for college teams much earlier than he had. So, despite technically being on the same team, he couldn’t shake the feeling that his upper and regular classmates we’re just waiting for him to fall.
Which was ridiculous, everyone on the team, including the coaches, hadn’t been anything but welcoming. True he, along with the rest of the freshmen, weren’t at the top of the food chain by any means. Heck, Daichi was pretty sure he wouldn’t see much action on the court this year. But still, the Captain (a long limbed smiling guy by the name of Yamamoto Takashi) had taken all the freshmen aside one by one and expressed his delight at having them all there.
Daichi shook his head.
He really needed to stop being so introspective, he’d come to the gym early to practice.
Not go over how lucky he’d been to be scouted by his univeristy of choice.
Daichi quickly changed into his practice uniform of green shirt and grey shorts (the volleyball uniforms were grey, green, and black).
Daichi finished adjusting his knee pads, grabbed his water bottle and made his way into the gym. Practice was on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, from three to six.
With Saturday practice from noon to four. Daichis biology class had miraculously gotten out early that day so after he’d gotten a head on all his pressing homework he’d decided to get some extra practice in.
Now it wasn’t unusual for one of his other team members to already be in the gym and practicing. What Daichi was slowly starting to be more concerned about was one member who seemed to be there before anyone else and the last to leave the gym.
Oikawa Tooru was serving with vicious intent. His almost robotic movements never wavered from the toss, jump, hit and repeat. Daichi watched him in silence for a moment. It had been what Daichi would almost consider a cruel twist of fate that he, along with Oikawa Tooru, Ushijima Wakatoshi, Kuroo Tetsurou, and Bokuto Koutarou had all been scouted by the same university and had all accepted.
Daichi now shared a three-way connected dorm with the others. Bokuto and Kuroo had claimed the each other as roommates before they’d even found out who the rest of their dorm mates were. Oikawa had straight up refuse to room with Ushijima and Daichi had quickly claimed the former Shiratorizawa Captain as his roommate. Leaving Oikawa quite happy with his one-person bedroom.
It could have been a lot worse Daichi decided. Ushijima was a tidy type of person and didn’t mind Daichi’s late night skype calls to his Karasuno teammates. Bokuto always had coffee made in the mornings for them all. Kuroo had brought his Xbox and they’d all have movie nights after practice and video game tournaments. And Oikawa (who couldn’t cook to save his life) was a pretty adapt baker and usually had muffins, some healthy yet sweet cereal bars made up for mornings where they were all running to get to class (or practice).
But now it was concern he felt for Oikawa. Out of all the people on the team he was the one most likely to over work himself or strain something. It wasn’t that he didn’t know his limits. Oikawa was just a firm believer that any limits he had he could push, and push, and keep pushing until he either hurt himself or someone told him to stop. Kageyama and Hinata were like that, heck Daichi could get like that too. But so far no one had told Oikawa to stop.
Well, Daichi shrugged his shoulders and cleared his throat loudly, it was probably time for someone to. Oikawa yelped at the sudden throat clearing a whirled around to stare at Daichi. Blinking a few times as if to reassure himself that Daichi really was there, staring at him expectantly.
“Oh, Mura-chan, it’s just you. What are you doing here? Usually your cursing your biology homework at this time.’
“Usually my biology homework is trying to get me to tear my hair out. But class got let out early today so I could work ahead. I see you you’re here early…again.”
Oikawa looked guilty for all of two seconds but quickly changed his facial expression to a smirk. “Well Mura-chan, since I’m ahead in my homework what excuse do I have not to get a little extra practice in?”
“And you’re excuse for staying later after every practice?”
“I don’t have morning classes Tuesdays and Thursday, so I can catch up on any sleep I might miss.” Oikawa said smugly. Oikawa obviously thought he had Daichi stumped. But Daichi had gotten quite a bit of practice with teammates who also tended to over work themselves.
So, Daichi just looked at Oikawa. It was a look he’d patent tested on his Kouhais and had an 85% success rate in getting them to rethink their actions.
Oikawa began to fidget after a few moments, turning his head this way and that to avoid Daichis stare.
Finally, the setter said, “Would you stop with the disappointed Dad stare? I’m basically an adult I think I know when I’ve hit my limit!”
“Oh I have no doubt you know when you’ve hit your limit,” Daichi said, ignoring the Dad comment. “But you also believe you can just push past it and not suffer any repercussions after.”
“I do not!”
Daichi stared at him for a bit longer.
“Oh! Alright! Fine! So, I may have been pushing myself a little too hard recently.”
“…And my knee might be hurting just a little bit right now because I’ve been ignoring it.”
Daichi sighed before motioning Oikawa over to him. Oikawa walked over and sat down on the bench, Daichi kneeled in front of him before gently removing his knee pad. His knee didn’t look bad, maybe a little swollen and judging by Oikawas expression tender to touch but nothing a day or two rest wouldn’t fix.
“I’m going to go look for some ibuprofen and some ice or something. Don’t move.”
“Mura-chan, seriously I’m fine do-“
Oikawas mouth clicked shut at the sound of his first name staring at Daichi shocked.
“I’m not going to stop you from practicing today. Like you said you’re basically an adult. But I am going to make you tell coach so he can keep an eye on it. And if you don’t tell him. Then I will, and I’ll make sure he knows it’s the same knee you’ve injured before and request he pull you from practice until you’re 100%. Deal?”
Oikawa stared at Daichi incredulously for a moment before sighing and nodding his head. “Alright, you win. I’ll tell him when he gets here and I’ll even let Yamamoto-san know too.”
Daichi nodded before smiling at Oikawa. “I’ll be right back.”
By the time Daichi had managed to find some medicine and an ice pack, there was only 15 minutes before practice officially began and the rest of the team had begun to trickle into the gym. Everyone talking amongst one another and just being overly boisterous.
Yamamoto-san was the first to notice the two first years sitting on the benches, Oikawa with his knee propped up with and ice pack and Daichi sitting next to him. The captain quickly rushed over along with his vice-captain, Akashi Kimihiro.
“Are you okay? What happened? Sawamura what happened? Does he need to go to the hospital?” Yamamoto asked, looking increasingly more panicked by the second.
“Yamamoto-san, please calm down.” Akashi said, firmly kneeling down by Oikawa and gently removing the ice pack.
“Oh, I’m fine Yamamoto-san, Akashi-san, I worked myself a little too hard recently and my knee just hurt a bit. Mura-chan here had been taking very good care of me.”
Daichi rolled his eyes, of course when Daichi asked Oikawa he had to wrangle the answers out him. But if the Senpais asked he was all for answering, oh well at least he was being honest about it.
“Oikawa, Sawamura, what’s this I hear about an injury?” Coach Furinji barked out. Making the small group of volleyball players jump.
“Nothing to bad Coach, my knees just been acting up so I was icing before practice.” Oikawa said quickly, shooting Daichi a helpless look.
“Is that true Sawamura?”
“Yes coach, if he doesn’t push himself to hard then he’ll be fine.”
Coach Furinji stared the two first years down, making Dacihi shift a bit in his seat. He knew he hadn’t done anything wrong. But whenever coach looked at him like that it made Daichi feel like a high school student who’d accidently pulled the fire alarm all over again.
“Alright, Oikawa you can practice today, but if I so much as catch you stumble I’m benching for the rest of practice. Can’t have one of my only setters out for the season because he didn’t know when to stop.”
“Right coach!” Oikawa said happily carefully removing the ice pack and pulling his knee pad back into place.
“WE”RE HERE!” A very loud, and very familiar voice screamed. A flash of green, grey, and sliver ran into the gym.
“We’re not late! There’s still two minutes before practice starts!” The blurs other half yelled as he also ran into the gym.
“I apologize for our tardiness,” a low steady voice said, also walking into the gym at a much more sedated pace. “I couldn’t get these two away from the Mario cart duel.”
“Dude!” The first voice howled, the silver haired spiker named Bokuto looked completely scandalized.
“Does vow of silence mean nothing to you?” The wild haired blocked named Kuroo demanded, shooting the rest of the team a pointed look.
“You two made ‘the vow’ Kuroo,” Ushijima said frowning. “I merely ‘witnessed’ for you.”
Daichi tried not to groan to loudly. His teammates were great players, and…alright people. But he couldn’t help but wonder what he’d done in a past life to get stuck with them for the rest of his college career.
“I don’t care about some vow of silence or a Mario cart competition! You all should have been warmed up and ready to go five minutes ago, get to work!” Coach Furinji shouted.
The next few minutes were filled with volleyball players rushing about to start warm ups. Daichi grabbed Oikawas shoulder and hauled him over to where some other members had started stretching out.
“Hey.. ummm…Sawamura…thanks, ya know, for taking care of me.” Oikawa said, looking at the ground and nudging a stray volleyball.
Daichi smiled light before nudging Oikawa with his elbow. “Hey, no problem. Just try to take care of yourself a bit more, okay?”
Oikawa smiled back, “Alright, I can do that.”
Saturday night were both the bane of Daichis existence, and what sometimes felt like his only reason for living. Saturday after practice he and his dormmates would all return to their apartment, fight over what they should have for dinner (whether they should order take out or have Daichi make something), and then fight about what movie they should watch.
Daichi, in between all the arguing could usually catch up on whatever homework he’d neglected, and after the movie could skype Suga without worrying about the other losing sleep to talk to him.
Suga had been accepted to his dream school in Kyoto for architecture and was played volleyball on a recreational team. He’d been ecstatic when he’d received his letter and had quickly called Daichi as soon as he’d received it. Daichi, while happy for his friend (and maybe someday boyfriend) couldn’t help but be just a tad bit sad.
Daichi had wished move their relationship to the next level in college. Daichi had thought maybe, without worrying about/taking care of the volleyball team and cram school and regular schoolwork, they would have had more time for each other.
But they’d both agreed that with Suga so far away and neither of them generating a whole lot of money to afford seeing each other very often they’d simply wait and see what happened. If, even after being separated from each other for extended periods of time and only speaking irregularly at best, they still liked each other. They’d give a long-distance relationship a try.
So after only a few weeks into the semester Daichi could confidently say that he would like to try and work around the long distance. But Daichi also knew Suga wanted more time to settle into college life and Daichi refused to make Suga do something before he was ready.
Daichi was drawn from his thoughts when the timer went off on their stove. He walked over from the table where’d he’d been sitting trying to get through his math homework (and thinking about his future with Suga). He stirred the pasta in the behemoth seized pan before carefully lifting it off the stove to and carrying it towards the sink to drain the water.
The rest of the food was already finished, sitting on their rickety little table ready to be eaten. Daichi quickly finished the rest of the prep before wiping his hands on a dish towel and walking into the living area.
Their dorm was rather unusual. The building itself used to be an apartment complex but when the university had expanded it had been bought to try and help house the many students attending. The university, instead of using the usual two to a dorm method, had decided to leave the rooms as they were. So some rooms had a more traditional college two person to a room while others (like theirs) had separate rooms all connected to a living room/kitchen area.
Daichi stepped into the living room. He stood there for a moment as he watched Kuroo scream in Oikawas face about betrayal and swearing vengeance while Oikawa cackle like the little shit he was as he once again, beat Kuroo at the rainbow bridge in Mario Cart.
“I believe you’ll need a different strategy Kuroo. Simply hitting the excel button and hoping for the best doesn’t appear to be working.” Ushijima said calmly from one side of the couch as he looked over his English assignment.
“Dude, my strategy is fine! The alien cheats!” Kuroo replied, giving Oikawa a dirty look.
“I play against my nephew on this level all the time Kuroo-kun, you just need to accept the fact that I’m simply better at this than you.” Oikawa said flippantly, stretching his arms above his head and smirking at the still sulking blocker.
“Whenever you guys are done acting like children, dinner’s ready.” Daichi said, leaning up against the wall and gesturing with his head to the table.
“Sawamura, I don’t care what Oikawa says about you behind your back. You’re a wonderful person.” Kuroo said, leaping off the couch and passing Daichi.
“There isn’t anything I said about Mura-chan behind his back that I haven’t already said to his face Kuroo-kun.” Oikawa retorted chasing after the other boy.
“Thank you for making dinner again Sawamura. I fear what would happen to us if you hadn’t been placed in our dorm.” Ushijima said seriously, patting Daichi on the shoulder as he walked by.
Daichi snorted before replying, “I’m sure the mad scientist Kuroo and his sidekick Bokuto would have found a way to make the carpet edible… Or you’d be surviving off baked goods, take out, and whatever care packages get sent to you. But speaking of Bokuto,” Daichi said frowning.
“Where is he? He’s usually in the kitchen eating before the foods even done.”
“He said he wasn’t feeling very good after practice.” Kuroo said looking at his and Bokutos closed bedroom door also frowning.
“He said something about taking a nap and seeing if that helped.”
Daichi glanced at the closed door. “I’m going to check up on him. He might need some medicine or something.” The other boys made noises of agreement while they piled food onto their plates.
Daichi walked over to the closed door before knocking quietly. No response. So, Daichi slowly opened the door before peering inside. Bokuto and Kuroos room, while not exactly messy, was clearly lived in. Knickknacks and school work littered the desks, while their gym bags lay in the middle of the floor and their dirty cloths had been tossed in the general direction of their cloths hamper.
Bokuto lay on his bed, closest to shuttered window with his back to Daichi. “Bokuto?”
I distinct sniffling sound could be heard and Bokuto, while not crying, looked like he was about to at any given moment.
“Oh…Bokuto…” Before Daichi could properly process what, he was doing, he’d already crossed the room and sat himself down on the other boy’s bed. Daichi carefully reached out and gently placed his hand onto Bokutos shoulder.
“Bokuto, what’s wrong? Are you alright?”
“Sawamura I… I don’t know.” Bokuto said miserably, curling up even further into himself.
“…Do you want to talk about it?” Bokuto shook his head firmly.
“Do you want me to call someone for you?” He shook his head.
“Have you eaten anything yet?” Another shake.
Daichi frowned down at his teammate. Daichi vaguely remembered Akaashi mentioning something about Bokuto having mood swings when he’d come to help his boyfriend move in, but Daichi knew he couldn’t handle them like Akaashi did.
Daichi tried to think about the situation logically. Bokuto probably hadn’t had a very good day for whatever reason. Practice today had been admittedly rough on all accounts, and Bokuto probably hadn’t re-hydrated himself properly since practice and he was more than likely starving.
‘Well,’ Daichi thought, ‘I may not be able to sort through…whatever this is. But I can get some food and water into him.’ Daichi snorted to himself, he sounded like his Grandmother.
“People feel bad because they don’t eat!” She’d say to Daichi when he was younger. Daichi always loved the way his grandmother spoke. She was outgoing sort of person, always ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly and couldn’t care less if you didn’t. And any and all problems, could be solved with good food, and good company.
“They go rushing about so busy with their lives they forget it’s not just their body that needs food! The spirit does too. Nothing like a good homecooked meal and some good company to make a day seem a bit brighter eh Dai-chan?” Then she’d wink and tickle his cheek before sneaking him a cookie before his mother could say anything.
Daichi’s grandmother never wrong at any point that Daichi could remember, and who was he to question that aged smiling women now?
“Alright, come on Bokuto. You’ve had some alone time and you haven’t started feeling better yet. We’re going to get up, get some food and water into. Sit on our too small couch with the other morons, and watch some shit movie you’ll love and I’ll hate, and then we’ll see if you feel up to talking okay?”
Bokuto stared incredulously at the other boy for a second. As if waiting for Daichi to turn tail and leave him to his wallowing, or waiting for Daichi to try and make him talk about his feelings. But Daichi wasn’t like that. Daichi was a strong believer that sometimes the only way to get a person to feel emotionally comfortable was to take care of their physical comforts first.
“…Okay Sawamura, we’ll do it your way.” Bokuto said at last and let Daichi pull him to his feet. Daichi grabbed the others boy arm and gently dragged him out of them room.
When they entered the kitchen, Daichi almost physically pushed Bokuto into his assigned chair next to Kuroo and then made a plate of food for Bokuto and himself.
The table was built to sit four people comfortably so usually someone had to awkwardly eat at one of the corners and the others would try not to elbow each other.
But today Daichi gladly claimed the corner near Bokutos left and Oikawa’s right. He’d have to keep an eye on the silver haired boy to make sure he ate an appropriate portion of his meal. Luckily for Daichi the other boys in the room had quickly picked up that something was amiss with their spike-y haired roommate.
Kuroo, as soon as Bokuto had been seated, had quickly scooted his chair until their seats met with a small ‘thump’ and then proceeded to throw his arm that wasn’t feeding him, over his friend’s shoulder and gently stroked his hair.
Oikawa and Ushijima didn’t get into their usual highly amusing but very loud and disruptive argument. Well, Oikawa didn’t start and argument and Ushijima kept any comments about Shiratorizawa to himself. Honestly Daichi was pretty sure Ushijima just brought Shiratorizawa up to get arise out of the other boy. Ushijima could be surprisingly manipulative and rather…puny if one paid attention.
Bokuto picked at his food at first, not seeming to be very hungry. But after a few minutes and a few small bites he started to eat with some of his regular gusto, he even started poking fun at Oikawa who retorted in kind.
It was a bit more sedated than their usual Saturday night dinners, but Daichi thought it was a good kind of sedated. The kind that was when everyone was tired and lethargic and just wanted to eat and enjoy each other’s company with some scattered conversation thrown in.
After dinner Daichi herded everyone into the living room, choosing to forget about the dishes in the sink in favor of choosing a horrible movie two thirds of the room would enjoy, and he and Ushijima would sit through to keep their roommate’s happy.
They used to have a sofa and a love seat in their living room, but they’d had to get rid of their love seat because of the ‘Flaming Hot Cheeto & Vodka incident’ that they all agreed to never speak of again. So now whenever they had a movie night or a video game tournament they were forced to either have two of their group sit on the floor, or shrug their shoulder and say ‘No homo, but homo. Just not for you’ and squish against each other until they got comfortable.
Oikawa claimed the cushion on the right-hand side, Ushijima claimed the left-hand side, and Kuroo ran to the middle dragging Bokuto behind him and then forcing the other boy to sprawl across his and Oikawas laps. Daichi shrugged before sitting on the ground and leaning up against Ushijimas knees, Xbox controller in hand.
“So,” Daichi drawled looking up at his cotenants, “What are we watching tonight?”
A solid forty-five minutes later, and one to many pointless horror movie deaths, had Daichi standing up and walking into the kitchen to make them all popcorn. The dramatic gasp of Kuroo and Bokuto as yet another unfortunate moron bit the dust and Oikawas laughter at the death carried into the kitchen, along with Ushijimas sigh of annoyance at the impracticality of the victims. Daichi shook his head. He really wasn’t much of a horror fan, he’d always been more of an Indiana Jones kind of guy.
He was waiting for the popcorn when he heard a shuffling sound behind him, he elbowed the person behind him when he felt arms wrap around his waist and a chin prop itself on his head.
“Thanks, Sawamura…I really needed this.” Bokuto said quietly. Daichi rolled his eyes and carefully pried the other boy’s arms off him.
“Hey, it’s no problem, if you ever feel upset or whatever just let me know how I can help and I will. And even if you don’t want to talk to me, just tell me and I’ll call whoever you need me too.”
Bokuto nodded, he looked down at the ground for a moment before saying. “I…haven’t felt very useful lately. Like I understand that high school volleyball and college volleyball are on very different levels and that lots of things are going to change. I…just wasn’t prepared for how hard it was to connect to some of the guys on the team.
“Like most everyone’s cool and all but some of them just look at me like I’m just some fumbling middle schoolers who’s never spiked a ball before, ya know? And then if I get shut down or my spike get received they’re all like ‘oh well he obviously wasn’t trying very hard, he’d better start improving soon or he’ll never play on the court.’ And I just get so irritated at myself and…I feel like I shouldn’t even be here. Like, I shouldn’t be playing at this college with this team.” Bokuto finished, looking thoroughly bereft.
Daichi swallowed thickly. That sounded eerily similar to how he himself felt at times. His entire middle school and high school he’d been fighting to get others to take him seriously. To take his sport seriously, and in college surrounded by people who were much better than him at many things he was having to fight for his to right to play on the team, his right to his scholarship. Bokuto was in a very similar boat it seemed.
“Thank you, for telling me Bokuto. It…really means a lot. And I understand how you feel, I sometimes don’t feel like I belong here or am good enough to play for this team either, but then I see you trying so hard and always having fun and just enjoying volleyball, that I remember that I’m here because this school thought I could play for them and make this team better. And that I earned my way here in high school, and I feel better. And, well, if ever that doesn’t work, Suga will set me straight.” Daichi finished, chuckling at the thought of his friend.
Bokuto laughed along with him, before smiling his signature annoying but very bright smile. “Yea, Akaashi always sets me straight. He calls me and idiot then reminds me about how great I am before ridiculing me for having such a big head later. He’s such a contradictory guy…” Bokuto sighed dreamily. Daichi rolled his eyes. He had no idea how those two had managed to get together. It must have taken a lot of persuading on Bokuos part and a lot of compromising on Akaashis. Oh well, if Akaashi could handle the annoying owls screeching and mood swings and still find him attractive power to him.
“Maybe you should give Akaashi a call tomorrow and see if you two can go out. It’s been a while since you two last saw each other, hasn’t it?” Daichi said smiling.
Bokuto practically hooted with joy at the suggestion, “This is why I need to talk to you more!” He exclaimed. “You always have good sensible ideas. Oi! Kuroo! Why don’t we listen to Daichi more often?” Boktuo hollered as he ran into the living room and dived on top of Kuroo and Oikawas laps. Making Kuroo laugh and Oikawa complain about the spiker being too heavy.
Daichi shook his head at their antics. Well, at least Bokuto was back to his normal obnoxious self. ‘You were right Grandma, good food and good company really can make a difference.’
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this. I really appreciate it and hope this chapter met you expectation. I just wanted to clarify a few things about the pairings for this. The pairings while talked about and sometimes used for plot depending on the character, aren't my main focus for this story. It really is about Daichis relationship with the other captains and their relationship with him and each other. I hope I didn't mislead anyone and if I did I'm really sorry. I've always enjoyed romance but also always found friendship based relationships to be a lot more interesting to develop. Anyway, thank you again, I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
Daichi was not feeling well. His body was sore from the constant volleyball practice and his head ached from trying to understand and memorize the many different chemical formulas that he had to know. Daichi groaned and put his head in his hands. He honestly hadn’t had such a hard time studying since his first year of high school. It usually wasn’t that hard to get into a studying groove but he just wasn’t having it today.
On the upside, the library was quiet except for the occasional yawn and the sounds of people typing away on their keyboards. The sounds of pages turning and lead scratching on paper also filled the quiet.
Daichi had a complicated relationship with libraries. The library was both Daichi’s sanctuary and his prison. It was a quiet, peaceful and place. Teeming with books on any subject imaginable. All of which were useful in his class, and entertaining in his free time. But the library also held some of his greater annoyances.
He couldn’t get the book he needed to finish an assignment because a different student had checked it out. That one librarian, that had decided that Daichi would make a good husband for her granddaughter, would stalk him through the library trying to set them up. Which worked as both distracting and creepy. Or sometimes the quiet was too quiet and he’d end up falling asleep only to be wake up and realize his precious study and homework time had been wasted snoozing.
Today was a one of his not good library. Not only was he tired and sore, but Daichi had had to duck under a table to avoid the old librarian and had bonked his already aching head on the way down. Daichi had also started on one of his English assignments only to realize that that particular one wasn’t due for another month and a half. And then when he’d reached for his bag to grab his biology work he’d realized he’d left it on his desk in his dorm room.
Daichi groaned before lifting his head off his hands and began shoving his things back into his book bag and exiting the library. He grumbled to himself as he made his way across campus to his room. Daichi was tired, sore, and just in a generally cranky mood. He’d probably would have gotten more done if he’d simply stayed in his dorm. But with his roommates rushing in and out, loudly talking about their Sunday plans (which involved three different dates and one parent child meet-up) Daichi had decided to leave before he’d darkened the mood of the others.
It wasn’t their fault he was cranky and homesick. It wasn’t their fault he was having more and more trouble with practice and school. And it wasn’t their fault his potential significant other was farther away then he cared to think about.
Daichi groaned when the weather decided to make his not very good day worse and began to rain. Daichi honestly didn’t mind the rain, or storms for that matter. But he’d left his umbrella at the apartment and was in no mood for finnicky weather .
Ten minutes later Daichi was stomping up the steps to his dorm, cursing under his breath and ignoring the squelching sound his sneakers made as he climbed. Daichi turned the knob to his room and was un-surprised to find it unlocked.
Every one of the former captains was horrible about locking up after they left their dorm. Kuroo and Bokuto were used to their parents locking up after them. Ushijima said since none of them were excessively wealthy it wasn’t like people had a reason to steal from them. While Oikawa would more than likely forget his key and then be trapped out outside (which had happened before and Daichi had had to come to his rescue). Daichi had already been used to leaving the house unlocked because of his mother. Even back in Miyagi
Daichi was the only person with any sense. Daichi trudged inside taking his shoes off and carrying them into the living room. Daichi froze when he entered the living room. Instead of the living room being empty and devoid of any of his cotenants like he thought it would be, one was still there. Kuroo was laying on the couch. And he looked absolutely miserable.
Kuroo was wearing an overly large red hoodie and black sweat pants, with thick cat themed socks covering his feet. His hair was even more wild than usual and his cheeks had an unnatural flush to them.
Any lingering thoughts Daichi had had about his bad day vanished. Concern for his roommate swelled in Daichi and he quickly walked over to him. “Damn Kuroo. You look horrible.”
Kuroo looked up from his phone that he’d been texting on and chuckled roughly before coughing into his elbow. “Well you look like a drowned crow. You should go change before the carpet gets wet.”
Daichi frowned before walking to the vent and putting his shoes by it. With any luck, they’d dry off before his class tomorrow. “You didn’t seem sick earlier today.”
Kuroo shrugged his shoulders. “I wasn’t feeling…bad earlier per se, but I wasn’t feeling good either. As soon as Kenma noticed he forced us back here. He’s in my room right now changing clothes. We thought we’d beaten the rain here, but then mother nature decided she wanted to be a bitch today.”
Daichi nodded his head. “Yea that sounds about right. She got me too. Anyway, I’ll go get some tea started and go grab the thermometer. Don’t you move from that couch you hear me?”
“You don’t have to take care of me Sawamura. I’ll probably be fine by tomorrow.” Kuroo said, before once again coughing into his elbow.
“Hmmmmm right, whatever you say. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Daichi left before Kuroo could attempt to say anything else. Daichi walked briskly into his shared bedroom and stripped out of his damp clothing. He re-dressed himself in more lounge worthy clothing and walked into the bathroom.
He opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed the thermometer Bokutos mom had given them and grabbed cold and flu medicine. He also got a cool damp cloth and walked back into the living room. Kenma had made himself comfortable in their living room. He was curled up in the corner of the couch with Kuroo head pillowed in his lap. The sounds of his
DS were almost drowned out by the romantic comedy Kuroo had selected.
Daichi didn’t know why Kuroo even bothered turning the TV on, he wasn’t even paying attention. The blocker had basically turned into a puddle of goo in the younger boy’s lap.
“Sawamura.” Kenma said, barely sparing Daichi a glance as he pressed more buttons on his game.
“Hello Kenma, how have you been doing?”
“If this idiot hadn’t gotten himself sick I’d be great. Thank you for asking.”
Kuroo groaned and pushed his head deeper into Kenmas lap. “Don’t be passive aggressive.” Kenma poked the back of Kuroos head with his finger before rolling his eyes. Daichi smiled before pulling the thermometer out of its packaging.
“Here stick this under your tongue.”
Kuroo glared suspiciously at the thermometer for a moment before pouting. “I don’t want to.”
Daichi frowned down at the older boy. “Kuroo, I am not your father or your boyfriend. I don’t want to nor do I have to be nice to you. So be quiet and do as I say.”
Kuroo looked mutinously at the thermometer but with another glance at Daichis face he popped the device underneath his tongue. Daichi smiled, “Good kitty, maybe I’ll even pour you some cream later.”
“Oh, screw you Sawamura.” Kuroo muttered.
“Don’t talk. You need to keep your mouth closed for an accurate reading.” Kenma interjected quietly, his eyes only briefly leaving his DS.
“Yea Kuroo don’t talk.” Daichi agreed happily.
Kuroo flipped Daichi off but Daichi ignored the rude jester in favor of removing the thermometer, which had beeped quietly, from the other boy’s mouth and read the screen.
“37.7 yep, you’re officially sick. Not life threatening but you’re not going to Volleyball tomorrow.”
Kuroo protested this by whining pathetically at Daichi. “Look, even if you feel better by tomorrow, your immune system is still going to need a few days. Heck, you’ll probably be worse because you were out in this rain!”
“But volleyball Sawamura!” Daichi sighed. Kuroo was infinitely more stubborn than your average person. It was both a quality Daichi admired and disliked in the other boy. Oikawa was more likely to push himself when he shouldn’t. But Kuroo was more likely to pretend he was fine and make everyone else believe he was too. Daichi groaned, Kuroo would do everything in his power to get to volleyball tomorrow. Daichi would just have to use his stubbornness to his advantage.
“Look, if your fever goes away and no other symptoms show up then I MAY just MAY let you go. But if you so much as sneeze tomorrow before I leave for class I’m banning you from class and Volleyball, okay?”
“…And if my fever goes away and I get better by tomorrow you won’t stop me?”
“…Deal. Now you said something about tea correct?” Daichi rolled his eyes before getting up from his kneeling position. He stretched his arms above his head and started walking towards the kitchen before he stopped and frowned.
“Kenma, I know you and Kuroo don’t get to see each other as often as you want but maybe you shouldn’t be cuddling him right now. He might be contagious.” Kenma paused his game before looking up and making eye contact with Daichi, a small smile om his face.
“Thank you for worrying Sawamura. But I’ve only been sick twice in my life. I have an immune system of steel. Tetsurou is very jealous.”
Kuroo groaned in agreement. Daichi blinked before shrugging. Well. Is Kenma sais he’d be fine Daichi would believe him. Kenma always seemed the more dependable of the two.
Kuroo was not better by the next day. Bokuto came running out of the room the two-shared looking a mix between worried and amused.
“Kuroo says he’s not better.” Bokuto told Daichi seriously. Daichi blinked before nodding his, a small smug smile tugging at his lips. “He also said to tell you ‘Dammit Sawamura get that smile off your face! If I weren’t sick, I’d totally fight you.’ His words not mine.”
Diachi threw his head back and laughed. “Thanks for letting me know Bo. I’ll go in and tell him about the soup I made and the medicine myself.” Bokuto nodded before looking at the clock and hooting in alarm at the time he saw. “Thanks, Sawamura! Bye! MOVE SHITTYKAWA I’M LATE!”
“I TOLD YOU GUYS TO STOP HANGING OUT WITH IWA-CHAN!”
“Your boyfriend’s nicknames are pretty accurate.”
“MEAN USHIJIMACCHI! MEAN!”
Daichi shook his head. Daichi had figured Kuroo probably would be better by tomorrow. So, after he’d wrangled the blocker into his own room and Kenma had left, Daichi had stayed up late making home-made soup his Grandma had used to make for Daichi when he wasn’t feeling well.
Daichi paid for his late night the rest of the day. Each of his lectures seemed more dry and boring with each passing second. And volleyball practice was a different kind of hell. He body screamed for more sleep and to just not move for a while. But when he got back to the dorm later that night with the rest of his roommates to see Kuroo, looking infinitely better than he had earlier and with his usual smirk on his face Daichi decided it was worth it
I just want to thank you to everyone who has left kudos and reviews. I'm extremely grateful but I'm also really bad about replying. I know this chapter took a bit longer than the last one and I'll just say, Kuroo is way to independent. He really is like an alley cat who's only interested in the food in your house. Anyway, thank you all again and I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Daichi was usually very deep sleeper. After dealing with his more restless teammates in high school at their training camps, he’d developed the skill to almost an art form. He could sleep through people stumbling around trying to get water, or use the bathroom. Heck, he’d even managed to sleep through Tanaka’s thunderous snoring! So yes, Daichi was a deep sleeper.
Daichi also quite enjoyed sleeping. He never got enough sleep, being a full-time college student, volleyball player, and unpaid babysitter to his roommates rarely left him with enough time to sleep. When Daichi did manage to drag his exhausted body to bed, he slept like the dead and never woke before his alarm.
So, it came as a surprise to him when a he woke up before his alarm. Daichi blinked slowly, even though it was still semi dark when Daichi usually woke up it was never pitch black. Daichi frowned sleepily before checking his alarm clock.
The red glowing numbers showed it was only a little after three in the morning. Way too early for any sensible person to be awake. Daichi’s frown deepened and he looked around his shared room, trying to determine what had awoken him.
Daichi and Ushijima kept their room reasonably tidy. Neither men were in the habit of leaving their stuff lying around, waiting for a mess to accumulate only to then waste time cleaning it up. Their school bags were by each of their separate desk, nothing had fallen or been knocked down as far as Daichi could tell, and when he moved the curtain away from their singular window it didn’t appear to be storming. Nor was there anyone outside the building making noise.
The only thing out of place in the room as far as Daichi could tell was the empty bed where Ushijima slept. The other boy did go on early morning runs quite often but as far as Daichi knew he had never gotten up this early. And usually the other boy was able at leaving the room silently without awakening Daichi.
Something had to have awakened Daichi, and it looked like his only clue was his absent roommate. Ushijima had gone to bed before Daichi. Daichi had seen his prone figure sound asleep on his bed. So where had the other boy gone?
There was nothing else for it. Daichi groaned, like the old man he sometimes felt he was, before sitting up and throwing his incredibly warm, incredibly soft blankets to the side. With any luck, Ushijima was just getting himself a late night (or early morning) snack, or maybe something to drink. Out of all Daichi roommates surely Ushijima wouldn’t need anything from Daichi right?
Daichi stood up and made his way over to the door. No light was showing through the crack at the bottom so the hall light was still turned off. Daichi sent one last longing look at his bed, it wouldn’t be hard to simply get back into bed and pretend this had never happened. After all it wasn’t like Ushijima had specifically asked for Daichis help. Hell, the other boy probably hadn’t meant to awaken Daichi to begin with.
Daichi shook his head back and forth and squared his shoulders. No, something had to have woken him up and even if Ushijima had done so unintentionally something must have distressed the other boy. It was the only real explanation Daichi could think of and until proven otherwise it was what Daichi was going with.
Daichi opened his door and stepped out into the hall. Immediately he could see a light was on in the kitchen. He blinked rapidly a few times, letting his eyes adjust to the light source. It was their overhead sink light, from Daichis own late night escapades he knew it would provide enough light to see but not enough to bother anyone else in the dorm.
Daichis eyes flickered from the sink to the table. Ushijima was sitting slouched over on to the table. His chin was pressed into his arms and he seemed to be contemplating something.
Daich knew something was wrong. Daichi hadn’t seen Ushijima slouch before, heck, Daichi didn’t think Ushijima could slouch until now. Usually his back was as straight as a telephone poll, his shoulders squared and eyes forward. Ushijima was the type of person to always move forward and progress forward. Ushijimas body reflected that. Ushijimas stride was always strong and almost seemed unstoppable, on campus people unconsciously parted for him, pressing away from the unstoppable eagle.
He was like that with his decisions too. Ushijima, after considering all the options, would follow his choice with unwavering nerve. Never swerving from his chosen course unless a better option presented itself.
Pile that, on top of his willingness to help his teammates with almost anything they asked, (within reason), he had really endeared himself to Daichi. His only real problem was people skills. Which were almost as bad as Kageyama’s had been when the genius setter had first joined Karasuno.
Now that Daichi thought about it, those two really were rather similar. Both seemed geniuses at volleyball compared to average players like Daichi. Both had terrible people skills but both also held their teammates in high regard and wanted the best for them. Even if their ways of showing concern and encouragement often lacked warmth they were both good people.
Maybe it was the little parallels Daichi had unconsciously made between his former Kouhai and his current roommate, but Daichi had always felt slightly protective of the Ushijima.
Which was ridiculous, Ushijima was as far as Daichi knew, fearless and a very intimidating person. It wasn’t his tall frame that made him intimidating, he just had a very…unapproachable aura about him.
And the former Shiratorizawa Captain had sat through horror movies that had made Daichi feel sick, left Bokuto in tear, Kuroo with nightmares, and Oikawa sleepless without so much as flinching. Ushijima had also been the one to come to Oikawa’s aid first that one time they’d gone dancing. Ushijima had sucker punch 6’4ft, bulldozer sized drunk guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Iwaizumi had nearly broken the front door when he’d found out. Only to turn and politely thank Ushijima for rescuing his boyfriend. Daichi didn’t know who was more shocked, Ushijima or Oikawa. Oikawa of course had to grumble and complain about not being a maiden in need, but he had baked Ushijimas favorite cookies and snack for the next week so.
Daichi blinked and rubbed his eyes. None of that was relevant to his current predicament. Taking a stroll down memory lane wouldn’t answer anything.
Daichi squared his shoulders and slowly walked into the kitchen. He carefully sat himself at the opposite end of the table from where Ushijima sat. Ushijima at this point had noticed his presence and had fixed his slightly bloodshot eyes on Daichi. Watching Daichi with a solemn, weary gaze.
Daichi waited a moment to see if Ushijima would say anything. He didn’t. After a moment of silence Daichi hesitantly cleared his throat.
“So…good morning I guess?” Daichi voice came out sounding like an old man’s rasp. Daichi cleared his throat again before looking at Ushijima,”…What are doing up with late Ushijima?”
Ushijima stared Daichi down, he seemed torn between wanting to talk but he also seemed almost…embarrassed to say anything. Daichi sat a watched Ushijima struggle with himself before standing up.
“How about I make us some hot chocolate and then you can decide is you want to talk, okay?” It was the same line his Dad used to pull on him.
A long, long time ago before everything had happened. Back when Daichi had been young enough to want comfort but still wanted to be independent. Back before Daichi realized that no family was perfect and that even his parents couldn’t be depended on for some things.
Ushijima considered Daichi’s offer for a moment before he carefully nodded his head. Daichi smiled comfortingly at the taller male before setting to work. Before long two steaming mugs of Daichi Grandma’s homemade hot coco sat in front of them. Daichi had his own special mix that he kept stocked and up. And no matter how much Suga begged Daichi refused to give away the recipe. His Grandmother almost hadn’t given the recipe to Daichi, he wasn’t about to jeopardize his coco, even if it was for his best friend.
Daichi had taken the opportunity to change seats and now sat shoulder to shoulder with Ushijima. Both sipped their coco, Ushijima seeming more relaxed and comfortable with every passing moment.
When both men had finished, men had finished their drinks they continued to sit in silence. It was a nice silence, the type you only got with either family or close friends. When you didn’t feel the need to fill the silence with talk or music or anything else.
Daichi blinked. Maybe that was it. Maybe Ushijima didn’t need to talk at all. Maybe all he needed was just some silent comfort. Ushijima was a much more introverted type of person. Especially compared to the likes of Bokuto and Oikawa.
Ushijima wasn’t the type to verbalize his feelings. That wasn’t how he processed things. True keeping something to yourself for to long wouldn’t help but Ushijima needed more time to think before talking. So that was what Daichi was going to offer.
“Ushijima,” Daichi quietly started keeping his eyes focused on the table in front of him. “Don’t feel like you have to tell me anything. If you’re more comfortable just not talking about it that’s fine too.” Daichi glanced up at the other boy.
As soon as the words left his mouth Daichi knew he’d made the right choice. Ushijima seemed to lose any tension he’d had in him. His breath leaving in a quiet huff.
“…Thank you Sawamura.” Ushijima quietly stated, his face looked peaceful. As if taking whatever unintentional pressure Daichi had put on away was the greatest thing Daichi could have done. And maybe it was.
“No problem man. You want some more coco?”
Hey guys! So I just want to start off by apologizing. I know it's been ages since my last update and I feel horrible. I had some school stuff to take care of as well as a con to prepare for and finally my biggest change. I'm a mid-western american but I am currently living in Taiwan and have been since mid march and I wont be leaving until May. It's been a big change and I'm still adjusting to my work schedule but don't worry, I will be finishing this story! With any luck the final chapter will be coming out with in the month! If you guys want I irregularly post updates about my life here on my IG Acid.cosplay. Feel free to follow. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Ushijima really endeared himself to me while writing it and I hope I did him justice.
Daichi was not having a good day. That seemed to be the theme of his college life. In fact, the more he thought about it, he realized how truly exhausting college had been. Between his roommates genuinely needing help (or them just being stupid), being a full-time college student and a college athlete Daichi was constantly getting closer to the edge of his rope. His very frayed and worn rope.
And today had been a moldy cherry on top of melted ice cream sundae. He’d somehow managed to sleep through both his alarm clock and phone alarm, making him late to his English class. And because of his rush he’d forgotten his essay at home. True his teacher had been very understanding, and seemed more worried for Daichi than upset at him.
But Daichi couldn’t help but feel guilty. Sure, other students had turned in late papers, some had even gotten extensions on their papers. But for Daichi it felt like just another mess up on a long list of them. It was as if he was saying he couldn’t handle it. And he was just waiting for someone to say those dreaded words to him, for someone to say “You can’t handle it. You aren’t good enough.”
Daichi hated those words. Hated being told he couldn’t handle or do something. It was part of the reason he’d been so determined to make Karasuno fly again. To no longer be called flightless crows, fallen giants. And he had.
He’d poured everything he had into Karasuno, and they had soared. Soared through match after match until finally they stood on the national stage and had continued to soar, they’d shown everyone what they could do together as a team. But now he was a crow without his murder. And he was struggling.
Karasuno he hadn’t had time for self-doubt. Looking after eleven other volleyball players, himself, his mother, and his dog had kept him busy. To busy, Daichi reflected. He hadn’t allowed himself time to think about how he’d have to adjust to University. Having his semi-helpless roommates had helped in a very unorthodox way. They usually needed someone who, if not responsible at least had more common sense then 3/4th of them put together did. Daichi had common sense a responsibility down pat.
But they were all brilliant. In volleyball and in life they all excelled beyond what he could ever hope to be capable of. Despite needing someone to help they still managed to show him up in other ways. And if that wasn’t like salt in a wound that had never quite healed.
He knew members of his volleyball team questioned his position. Whether privately or quietly to each other he knew. Questioned his scholarship and his skills. None of them did it spitefully, they were all just thinking of the good of the team. And he couldn’t really blame them. Daichi was good at many things, but he never had been, or ever would be brilliant or naturally talented like some of them. And when rooming with geniuses’ and insane athletes it just became more and more apparent how out classed Daichi truly was.
Daichi had given his all for Karasuno and had seen how his hard work had helped them soar. But going back to square one and having to reaffirm his own belief in his skills, having to fight his self-doubt in a completely different environment with completely different people was beyond difficult. And knowing that others were just waiting for him to falter, to misstep, to fail was almost more than he could handle. Daichi had always been a path of most resistance sort of guy. But he had limits and he was terrified failing because of them.
Daichi didn’t usually feel like that. His sports scholarship proved that he had talent and the brains to be here. But since before high school Daichi had become very aware of his shortcomings.
Unlike, say, Oikawa who could study for twenty minutes and still get A’s, Daichi had to spend hours constantly going over material if he wanted it to stick.
He couldn’t run off 4 hours of sleep and whatever godlike energy Bokuto could and still have energy for homework, volleyball, and a social life.
He couldn’t meticulously plan his papers and strategies, then throw them out without a second thought for an even better idea like Kuroo.
He couldn’t simply go with the flow and accept the changes or be completely unembarrassed asking for help when he couldn’t understand something like Ushijima.
Daichi was very much a background player. He had a strong receive and unwavering resolve, but was ultimately forgettable when next to truly talented people like his roommates. He was a foundation for others to stand strong on, but was ultimately forgotten in the grand scheme of things.
Those thoughts and feelings stayed with him all day. It had decided to rain for 5 minutes when he was traveling between buildings and had stopped as soon as he walked in the other door. He’d done much more poorly on a quiz than he thought he did, so much so he was debating re-taking the quiz or asking about extra credit possibilities.
And because he’d been in such a rush earlier that day he hadn’t been able to locate and lay his volleyball gear. So, he spent way too much time trying to find his knee-pads and left shoe than was acceptable by anyone’s standards. He finally caught a break and managed to make it to volleyball practice on time and didn’t get yelled at by the coach.
Practice went well for the most part. Daichi could feel his spirits lifting as he played the sport he’d dedicated so much time too only for it to go all downhill.
Daichi was getting ready to leave the locker-room room when his phone rang. Daichi pulled it out of his gym bag and glanced at the number. It was his mother. Daichi frowned in confusion, his mother didn’t have the best track record remembering Daichi’s schedule. She usually waited for him to call her because of that.
Daichi on the other hand had had his Mothers schedule memorized since he was ten. It simply made it easier to figure out the grocery list when he knew which meals would need enough food for two people.
Daichi shrugged to himself and silenced the phone. If it was important she would leave a voice mail and he could get back to her after he walked back to the dorm. No point discussing in front of all his teammates and potentially having to deal with their curiosity. He’d made that mistake at Karasuno, Tanaka and Nishinoya had never let him forget it.
He double checked to make sure he had everything when his phone started ringing again. Daichi stared at his phone slightly torn. While he would prefer to answer back in the privacy of his own room, it must have been bad enough to warrant a second call. He glanced around and judged the probability of getting over heard judging by the volume of his teammates and roommates. His teammates were all laughing and talking with each other, shouting across the room, and noisily putting their gear away.
Daichi glanced at his roommates, who were all terribly curios about anything relating to personal privacy. Bokuto and Kuroo were running around the locker room snapping each other with their towels and pretending to do parkour off the benches (Bokuto hooted with laughter and nearly banged his head on a locker when Kuroo tripped over his shoe lace and face planted into a gym bag).
Oikawa was meticulously inspecting his knee brace and other volleyball gear for any signs of wear or tear while Ushijima was engrossed in conversation with another 1st year about the pros and cons of soy versus regular milk. Deciding he had about a fifty-fifty chance of being overheard Daichi cautiously answered his phone. “Hello?”
Daichi’s stomach dropped. His Mom very rarely used her old nickname for him. Only when she had something she really didn’t want to tell but couldn’t figure out how to avoid.
“Mom? Is everything okay?”
‘Daichi I’m so sorry. I was taking Riku for a walk and I stopped to talk to Makoto-san and I wasn’t paying attention and Riku ran into the street. He…he got clipped by a car and I’m at the vet right now and she’s performing surgery, she says she isn’t too worried but because Riku is an older dog we should keep our options open and think about what’s best for him.”
The noise suddenly turned to static in Daichi’s ears. His heart skipped, his lungs stopped takin in air and he felt true panic take over. Riku was his Dachschund. A dog his Grandmother had gifted him on his eighth birthday. He’d been Daichi’s constant companion and best friend. Riku had been with Daichi when his home life had turned…less than ideal and had been his only source of comfort for longer than Daichi cared to admit.
“I…you’re at the vet right down the street from home, right?! I can board a train and be there in a a few hours, I- “
“Dai-chan I’m sorry the last train to Miyagi left already I checked before I called you. The earliest one is at 6am tomorrow. The vet said she let us know if anything changes but for now we shouldn’t be to be worried but should stay cautious. I know you want to be here Dai-chan but we can’t afford to have anyone drive you out here and Riku is in good hands.”
Daichi did not feel any better. His Mother was trying but she couldn’t understand, Riku was his dog. I was hard enough leaving him behind in Miyagi when he left for university. Finding out he was hurt and Daichi couldn’t be there for his own dog was heart wrenching.
“Mom... I… take care of him okay? I’m going to try and come home tomorrow morning I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.” Daichi said bitterly.
“Okay Daici. I’ll text you when the vet is finished with surgery and let you know what she hast to say. I’m so sorry Daichi. I truly am.”
“… I know you are Mom. Keep me updated okay?”
“Of course, don’t worry Daichi I’m sure he’ll be fine. Goodbye.”
“… Bye.” Daichi somberly said into his phone before hitting the end button. His slightly better mood had completely dissipated and left him feeling lower and more upset then he had in ages.
“Mura-chan? Are…are you okay?” Daichi felt a cool hand press gently down on his shoulder, gently turning him around to stare into Oikawas confused brown eyes.
Daichi had completely forgotten he was in the locker room. The very open, very not private locker surrounded by upperclassman and the other freshman.
Daichi quickly glanced around the locker room. His breath eased when it appeared like no one was paying them much attention. Everyone else was still caught in their own conversations. All except Oikawa Tooru who continued to stare at Daichi.
“Mura-chan?” Oikawa prompted, his eyes darting from Daichi’s face to the cell phone he still had clutched in his hand’
“I-I’m fine Oikawa.” Daichi said uncertainly. Oikawas eyes narrowed in suspicion he looked like he was about to say something when Daichi cut him off.
“It’s been a long day and I kind of just want to go to bed and rest.” Daichi said finally, walking quickly back over to his volleyball bag and slinging it over his shoulders. Oikawa followed close behind him looking even more suspicious.
Daichi could not deal with this. He might have opened to Oikawa if it were a more private setting, but seeing as it wasn’t there was no way in hell Daichi was going to say a word on the subject.
So, without so much as a glance backwards he made his way to the locker room exit. He gave a slight wave to those behind him as people wished him good night before he briskly began his trek back to the dorm.
Normally, Daichi and his roommates would all walk back together after practice, unless someone had a group project to get to or was staying later they made it a point to walk, talk, criticize, and encourage each other afterwards. Daichi was the first to break the tradition.
The walk back to the dorm was a blur to him. His mind to full of worry for his dog, and to full of such bitterness towards the day he’d had. He barely even noticed when he got to the building. He would have blown right past it if his gym bag hadn’t gotten caught on one of the handrail leading into the building.
Cursing a little louder than usual, Daichi made his way into the building and began climbing the three flights of stairs it took to get to his dorm.
He flung the door open and practically stomped his way into his and Ushijimas bedroom. He could feel hot tears burning at the corner of his eyes, but he quickly brushed them away with the back of his hand.
He had homework to do but no will to get it done. Truthfully, he was mostly caught up in his classes but suddenly every little assignment seemed so much larger and more intimidating than it had originally.
Daichi briefly contemplated calling Suga or Asahi but dismissed the idea. Suga was at his own volleyball practice and a large presentation tomorrow while Asahi was on a date. When Daichi and Suga had demanded to know who it was, the long haired former Ace had straight up refused to say who with but Daichi had a sneaking suspicion it was a former teammate of theirs.
Daichi shook his head before stripping down and throwing his dirty cloths in the general directions of his cloths hamper. He quickly secured his towel around his waist and grabbed a fresh change of cloths from his dresser before walking to the bathroom for take a shower.
The locker rooms had their own showers to use, but Daichi had always preferred cleaning himself in the comfort of his own bathroom. There was far less risk of getting pranked that way. Or to be more accurate, of getting caught in the cross fires of one of Kuroo vs Bokuto vs Oikawa’s shower wars.
The latest incident had left most of the volleyball running out of the locker room half naked with tears streaming down their faces and coughing from being gassed with cans of axe body spray Oikawa tapped open then released into the open.
Daichi let out a sigh of relief as the luke-warm water hit his body. The showers we’re notorious for being perpetually cold and the slight temperature change made it slightly more bearable. Even so Daichi didn’t stay in there for very long. Knowing his cotenants would be arriving home soon and would want their own shot at the bathroom made him finish quickly.
Daichi quickly dried himself off before changing into his most comfortable black sweat pants that were so faded they were almost grey, and his old Karasuno high volleyball t-shirt. It brought a tiny amount of relief wearing his old shirt, if only for the memories he had attached to it.
Daichi quickly stepped out of the bathroom toweling his hair as best he could, he had just lowered his arms to his sides when he felt a pair of strong arms wrap themselves around his arms and torso. It left him with his arms pinned and his face pressed into the persons chest. Another pair of arms swiftly followed, this time from behind him, and he found himself incased by two separate people. Both of whom seemed to be doing their best to simultaneously hug the air out of him and try and make him feel secure.
Daichi blinked in confusion before craning his head backwards and trying to look around. Bokuto was the person in front of him, and he was looking at Daichi with such concern and sincerity Daichi found it difficult to keep eye contact. A familiar mop could be seen out of the corner of his eye and he knew Kuroo had decided to glomp him from the back
“Ummm guys? What are you doing?” Daichi asked uncertainly. Kuroo and Bokuto were the most huggy out of the five of them, but they usually stuck with cuddling each other or their respective significant others. True, he’d walked in on Oikawa and the two of them huddled together on the couch but that was almost as rare as Ushijima skipping his morning run.
“We’re hugging you Sawamura. You looked like you really needed one when you left practice like a bat outta hell and who’s better at giving hugs than us?” Kuroo responded, sounding almost mocking if one didn’t pay attention to the slight concern lightly coloring his voice.
“Yea Sawamura, we give great hugs!” Bokuto said happily squeezing Daichi a bit closer to him, “And Oikawa said something happened in the locker room and that something was definitely wrong, so we decided we could maybe make it a little less wrong.”
The logic was very childish, but then again, both Kuoo and Bokuto were very touch oriented people. For them, giving affection through touch was one of the best ways to comfort themselves and others. It was a physical link they could grasp and offer. And Daichi was incredibly touched by the gesture. Daichi unwillingly felt his eyes growing hot and blinked rapidly to try and fight them off.
“Thanks guys, I really appreciate the thought, but I got- “
“You got to sit on the couch, cuddle your friends, and tell us what’s wrong” A new voice said from the living room. Oikawa suddenly appeared from behind Bokuto, hidden by the larger boys’ broad shoulders.
“Ushiwaka is making hot chocolate and I'll be making cookies later, don’t think you’re getting out of this Mura-chan. After forcing me to ‘take it easy’’’, he made quotation signs with his fingers, “I’m certainly not letting you get away with it,” Oikawa finished, his eyes glowered and Daichi and a slight sneer showed on his face.
Daichi opened his mouth to rebuff him, before slowly closing it glancing at the ground. Bokuto and Kuroo both released their tight hold of him, but each left an arm strung over his shoulders or around his waist.
Daichi glanced at the two of them before sighing again. All three had that stubborn ‘Captain’ look on their face, they weren’t going to let this go. Daichi knew because he’d had that same look on his face with each of his roommates.
Daichi let himself be led into the living room and let them gently for forcefully seat him in the center of the couch. Bokuto crawled slightly behind Daichi and gently pulled him back so that he was secured against the side of his chest with Bokutos arm wrapped around his shoulder. Kuroo did a similar thing on the other side of Daichi but didn’t put his arm around him. Instead he leaned back pressed the side of his arm along Daichis.
Oikawa had walked into the kitchen and returned with Ushijima in tow, toting five mugs of hot chocolate each made to the persons specific taste and in their favorite mugs.
Oikawa took Kuroos other side whilst Ushijima squeezed himself next to Bokuto. They all sat in compatible silence for a while, sipping their hot drinks.
Daichi, over the top of his mug, watched Oikawa elbow Kuroo and look pointedly at Daichi. Kuroo, in retaliation, kicked Oikawas leg and stared at him. Oikawa rolled his eyes before again elbowing Kuroo. Kuroo huffed before carefully moving closer to Daichi and Bokuto, he stared at Bokuto for a moment before he pinched his arm with his free hand.
Bokuto jolted and almost spilled his hot chocolate. Bokuto pouted at Kuroo before turning his attention to Ushijima. Ushijima seemed almost oblivious to Bokutos stare, until he lightly tapped Bokutos shoulder and gave a pointed look back to Oikawa. Making Oikawa huff irritably.
Daichi couldn’t help but smile helplessly to himself, here they were a bunch of technical adults, sitting around drinking hot chocolate, while 4/5th of them had a silent argument with each other. It was rather endearing in a rather childish way.
“Sawamura,” Ushijima finally said, breaking the comfortable silence that so rarely visited their dorm. “I wanted to thank you again for helping me the other night. I know it was rather early by most standards, but it was still incredibly kind of you.”
Daichi stared uncomprehendingly at Ushijima for a moment, surprised by the thanks and at his boldness of speaking of the moment in front of the other three.
“It wasn’t any trouble Ushijima, I know you don’t want to talk about it but-“
“I do.” Ushijima interrupted bluntly, glancing at the other three before continuing, “I simply did not have the words before.”
Daichi processed that for a moment before nodding his head. Ushijima was usually very careful about what he said, it would make sense he wouldn’t speak of something if he didn’t know exactly how he wanted to say it.
“I used to suffer from night terrors rather frequently when I was a child, I never knew why I did and my Mother could offer no explanation. As I grew older they became less frequent but occasionally they will reoccur, and I am unable to do anything about them. My Mother was never the most…sympathetic women. She and my Father separated when I was young, and he moved over seas. It has been a while since I had anyone to offer any comfort after one occurred, it was very comforting having you there Sawamura, if only as a silent show of support.”
Daichi blinked and stared at Ushijima. Daichi had never known anyone who had had night terrors before. The closest was Asahi and his occasional panic attacks and even then, they were vastly different things.
Daichi glanced around him again to gauge the other threes reactions. Kuroo was looking thoughtfully at Ushijima and slightly nodding to himself. Bokuto was staring at Ushijima mouth slightly open, probably as equally surprised at Ushijimas confession as he was surprised at at how much Ushijima had just spoken. Oikawa was looking appraisingly at Ushijima, as if trying to find his angle he was playing by telling them all that.
“The reason I say this Sawamura, is because you were there for me when I greatly needed someone. Unintentional it may have been you still helped, and as your teammate, roommate, and your friend I would like to do all I can to help you now.” Ushijima finished, looking Daichi dead in the eye as he spoke.
Daichi opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying and failing to find something to say to that. Not only had Ushijima thanked Daichi again in front of their roommates, he’d called him his friend. I word Daichi had purposefully not used to describe any of them before.
“Yea Mura-chan,” Oikawa said suddenly, leaning across Kuroo and grabbing Daichis face with his hand so he could look him in the eye better. “You’ve been so busy with school, volleyball and taking care of these three idiots you haven’t done the same for yourself. We’re worried about you Mura-chan, and I’ll have you know I don’t like worrying about my friends. Gives me wrinkles and pre-mature aging.”
That startled a laugh out of Daichi and Oikawa winked jauntily at him in return, before looking Daichi in the eye. “But in all seriousness Mura-chan, we are worried. You looked real torn up earlier and we want to help.”
“Sawamura!” Kuroo exclaimed, shoving Oikawa back so he could have Daichi’s full attention, “I know you made me miss volleyball practice cause you thought I was sick,”
“(You were sick.)” Oikawa said blandly looking unimpressed with the cat like blocker,
“But you did it out of the goodness of your heart," Kuroo continued as if Oikawa hadn't spoken. "You made me soup and tea and I didn’t get food poisoning like that one Bokuto tried to help,”
“Quiet bro, but if that doesn’t show you care I don’t know what does. Let us help you out, one friend to another.”
Daichi opened his mouth to try and say something but before he had a chance to his face was grabbed again and he was turned towards Bokuto.
“When I was having a really bad day you didn’t make me talk until I was ready. I know we all want you to tell us what’s wrong, so we can help, but if you don’t want to that’s okay too. You’ve taken care of us so much Sawamura and we just want to return the favor. But if you’re-“
“My dog got hit by a car.” Daichi blurted out, interrupting Bokuto before he lost his nerve.
Silence rang out throughout the apartment but Daichi didn’t stop, he’d started and there was no point in holding back now. Once Daichi admitted something was wrong the floodgates opened and he found himself telling them all about the genuinely shitty day he had had.
He talked about his doubts and he talked about his loneliness, he talked about his problems with Suga being to far away and he talked about missing his Karasuno murder. He talked about the phone call, and how his constant companion of ten years had been hit by a car about how the vet had said ‘keep all options open’. Daichi didn’t cry, and by that he didn’t sob. A few tears of frustration did leak out though.
Frustration at his mother’s carelessness that had gotten his dog hurt, frustration at himself for not being able to be there, and frustration at his school and volleyball load that were wearing him down.
His teammates let him rant and rave and swear until he felt so emotionally done he threw himself back on the couch he had stood from in his anger and just let himself drop.
His four roommates let him breath and catch his breath before moving.
Bokuto and Kuroo gently nudged Daichi around until he was practically sprawled across their two laps; Bokuto began to soothingly run his fingers through Daichis hair and Kuroo lazily drew patterns on Daichis knee.
Oikawa got on the floor and sat by Daichis head, leaning his own back so that it gently touched Daichis shoulder. Ushijima stood and made his way into his and Daichis shared room. He retuned with some extra blankets and Daichis cell phone. At Daichis look he shook his head. Still no word from Daichis mother then on how Riku was.
Ushihima sat on the ground by Oikawa, his body tilted so he could still see Daichi and speak with him. “Thank you for trusting us with your troubles Sawamura, I’m sorry you’ve had such a trying time.”
Daichi felt himself smile. He felt lighter than he had in a long while. He was still worried sick about Riku but it was less painful than it had been only moments before.
“Thanks for listening guys. I…I really needed that.”
The other four boys smiled at him in return, Kuroo opened his mouth to reply when Daichi’s phone beeped. Suddenly very nervous Daichi sat up and nearly headbutted Bokuto in the face trying to look at his phone. Ushijima graciously handed Daichi his cell. Daichi saw his mothers name and swallowed worriedly before opening the text to read it.
Daichi felt a grin spread across his face. He turned to look at the others, his grin was enough of an answer and suddenly the apartment was filled with noise. Oikawa cheered loudly, throwing his arms in the air, Kuroo whooped and nearly threw Daichi to the ground as he jumped to his feet. Bokuto re-attached himself to Daichi hooting and shouting for joy while Ushijima gave Daichi one of the sincerest smiles he’d seen on another person’s face.
Daichi let himself smile, laugh, and let himself get dogpiled by the others (Kuroo dragging Ushijima along for the ride).
It was still a shitty day. His dog was still hurt. He still had homework, and people would continue to doubt him. But he wasn’t so lonely anymore. These once rivals and now teammates were proving to be better people…better friends than he’d thought they would.
He knew they would drive him crazy, and chances were, they’d be back to acting like children and he’d have to be the adult (or Grandfather as Oikawa said) but at the end of the day, they were there for him. And he really couldn’t ask for too much more than that. Well, besides one more thing…
“GET OFF ME! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HEAVY YOU ALL ARE?!” Daichi shouted from the bottom of the dog pile. Friends they may be, but he certainly wasn’t going to suffocate because of them.
“You love us Dadchi!”
“Not the word I would use cat!”
“Mura-chan! Don’t be mean! We’re bonding. Except for you Ushiwaka-chan, go away you’re to heavy.”
“That’s hardly fair, Bokuto should be made to leave as well if we’re going by size.”
“What?! Ushijma did you just call me fat?”
“No bro, he’s just saying you’re muscular!”
Daichi hollered. Yes, they were all dependable and good people and Daichi was genuinely happy to have them in his life. But they certainly didn’t make it easy to remember.
I did it. Just in time for Daichi's birthday. I took me way longer than it should have but here it is. The final installment of Lean on Me. Thank you again to everyone who has ever read, reviewed, or left kudos on my story. I greatly appreciate the support and hope this final chapter makes up for my lack of inspiration and dependability. On a side note I may go through and re-write a couple chapters *Kuroos* because I feel it can be written better it should be of higher quality. But thank you all again for the kind words. Let me know what you think of this final chapter, (I had several different ideas for it but this made the most sense), and let me know how you think the character relationships could be improved or how you interpret them. Have a Happy New Year everyone!