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The Cat and the Crow

Chapter 1: The Day We Met (Early May)

by isilelensar

Kuroo slunk a little further down in his seat, stretching as far as he could. The train had just left Sendai and was headed back to Tokyo. It would be a few hours before they got home. Sighing, he looked out the window at the passing scenery with half-closed eyes. The sun was nearly below the horizon, and street lights were dotting the landscape. He was exhausted, but he knew sleep wouldn’t come easily. Not while he had a certain blonde on his mind.

“You have that look on your face, again,” he heard Kenma say from the seat across from him.

Without moving, he slid his eyes over to look at his best friend. “Oh yeah? What look is that?” he asked nonchalantly.

“Like you’ve got something up your sleeve. Plotting something,” he replied with a shrug. Then, he focused on Kuroo. “I already know you want the showdown to happen as much as Coach does, so that look is for something else.” He stared hard at Kuroo. When he didn’t get an immediate response, his gaze became sharper. “Or someone,” he added.

Finally Kuroo moved, pushing up in his seat and looking straight at Kenma. His best friend knew him well. “You met Hinata first, right?” he asked, bypassing the subject for the moment.

Kenma nodded. “Yeah, when I got lost on the way to Karasuno.” He didn’t look away. “You knew that. Why are you asking?”

“Did he talk about anyone else?”

“Their setter. Kageyama.”

“Okay. Anyone else?” Kuroo pressed.

Kenma blinked, and then tilted his head. “No. You found us before we could talk more.” He watched as Kuroo moved again, leaning forward so that his arms rested on his legs. “Why are you asking?” he repeated.

It took a few more minutes to gather his thoughts, but then Kuroo finally answered. “You were right. I kinda met someone, and I am thinking of a way to see him again.”

“Kinda?”

Kuroo shrugged. “We were getting ready to leave, so it wasn’t much of an exchange. I think I startled him, though. Ended up teasing him a bit, too.”

“Kuro,” Kenma admonished. But before he could say anything else, Kuroo smiled.

“He walked off before anything else happened. Either way, I definitely want to meet up with him again.”

“Well, if Coach has his way, then this was only the first time we’ll play Karasuno. I’m sure more opportunities will present themselves.”

Kuroo was about to reply, when his phone dinged. Pulling it out of his pocket, he read the message and chuckled.

“Bokuto and Akaashi?” Kenma asked as he went back to his game.

“Yeah,” Kuroo answered simply. “They figured it out before you did, and I was vague when I managed to reply.” He scrubbed a hand through his already messy hair. Patient as always, Kenma waited him out. “It’s just… this feels different, and I can’t quite put my finger on how. I want to jump right in, but then again, if I do, I could ruin everything.” He looked up at Kenma, and smirked. “I’m not making too much sense, am I?”

But the small smile on Kenma’s face, and the light in his eyes, said otherwise. Kuroo knew his friend understood him perfectly. The only response he gave was a nod, as if he were giving his blessing. And maybe his own version of help, when needed.

Relieved, he settled back in his seat once more, and began typing his reply in the group chat he had with the two players from Fukurodani. They were, naturally, on board with anything he planned, offering backup if needed. Bokuto was already sending ideas for meetings, and Akaashi kept him in check, while offering more sensible suggestions. He chatted with them for a while before ending the conversation. Satisfied, Kuroo put his phone on silent, stuck it back in his pocket, and closed his eyes. He dozed off, dreaming of the tall, lanky, and rather salty, blonde middle blocker from Karasuno High.

[Oh, Captain]

Tsukishima reclined against the post on his porch, a pensive expression on his face as he gazed at the moon. It had been an exhausting day, what with all the volleyball they’d played, the team meeting after Nekoma had left, and the short practice they put in afterward. It was a miracle he’d survived all that effort, no thanks due to Hinata and Kageyama. Those two would still be practising if Takeda hadn’t stepped in.

He’d walked to the bus stop with Tadashi, and they parted ways when they came to his street. Neither of them had said much, though they did poke fun at the weirdo duo, and talked about meeting up again in the morning before heading to school. Tadashi brought up the Nekoma game, and subsequent rematches, but Kei barely offered a response in kind. All discussion ground to a halt after that.

He honestly couldn’t say he was bothered by anything, really. He’d worked hard to keep his mind on the game, and succeeded for the most part. And yet…

And yet … his thoughts turned, once again, to the captain of the Nekoma team. Tall, dark, messy hair, and eyes that could only be compared to dark honey. He was almost always smirking at something, but also took on a serious mien while playing. Cat-like with cunning, Kei could only think of him as a schemer.

While he could convince himself that he hadn’t been drawn to the guy since he first saw him that morning, he couldn’t forget the small exchange they’d had before Nekoma left.

“Do you … understand that?” Kei asked, thinking it had been Tadashi who’d stepped up beside him. He’d been watching Hinata and one of Nekoma’s blockers jumping up and down and speaking in gibberish.

“Nah. They sound like a couple of toddlers.” The voice was deep, just a touch rough, and enough to send a shiver down his spine. Certainly not Tadashi, by any stretch. His eyes widened, and he felt his heart jump, before turning to look at the person who’d replied.

“But you know, maybe you should try goofing off once in a while instead of acting all stoic,” the captain of Nekoma added with a teasing tone. Seriously? For an introduction, even unofficial, this wasn’t expected.

“That’s not one of my strong suits.” Kei said coolly, not bothering to buffer his response. Besides, Tadashi was waving him over to join the others, so he left without another word. But he still heard the captain’s parting shot.

“Mmmhmmm. Ya sound like an old man.”


“ARGH!” he groaned out loud, knowing no one would hear him. He drew up his legs, draped his arms over his knees, and leaned his head against his arms. “Why? Why can’t I stop thinking about him?” he asked no one. Sighing, he tried thinking about schoolwork, and trying to formulate a plan for this next semester. He’d almost managed to divert himself, when his phone buzzed, breaking the silence.

Without much movement, he reached down to pick up his phone. Assuming it was Tadashi, he was mildly surprised to see the name on the notification. Swiping the screen, he opened the text message.

[Sorry it’s late, but I figured you might still be awake.]

He wasn’t expecting the vice-captain to text him. [It’s alright, Suga-senpai. Can I help you?]

[Please, Suga is fine. I was just checking to see if you were okay.]

“Not really, no,” Tsukishima admitted out loud. However: [I’m fine. Why?]

[No reason. My apologies.]

“Great. I think I insulted him,” he groaned. He was thinking of something to say, but noticed Suga was typing again.

[ … ]

“Are we typing a scathing reply?” he asked his phone. But still, he waited.

[I noticed you were acting a little … off. I’m not asking you to tell me anything, but if you need someone to talk to, you can call or text. Anytime.]

“You really are the team mom, aren’t you?” Tsukishima said, grinning a little. He typed his reply: [I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you, Suga.]

[You’re welcome! Now, go get some sleep.]

He was tempted to send “Thanks, Mom,” as a retort, but kept it cool. [I will. Good night.]

[Good night.]

Putting his phone in sleep mode, he sat on his porch for a little while longer. His thoughts weren’t nearly so jumbled as before, though, so maybe sleep would be possible. And perhaps tomorrow, he’d thank the resident angel, and team mom, for his assistance.

Taking one last look at the moon, he stood up slowly, stretched, and then headed back inside. He was going to make an effort to forget the Nekoma captain, and concentrate on anything else.

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Chapter name
The Day We Met (Early May)
Created
28 Aug 2021
Last Edited
28 Aug 2021
Hits
55
Words
1494