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Unbreakable Bond

Chapter 1: Unbreakable Bond

by isilelensar

It didn't surprise Tsuki too much to find out Kuroo had engineered that very first meeting. It was a brief exchange of words, and Kuroo teased him a bit. But it was enough to 'set fate in motion.' That's how Kuroo put it, anyway. Still, he wasn't wrong. It was just the beginning.

At the Shinzen summer camp, it was Kuroo who called out to Tsuki as he walked by, inviting him to block for them. He refused at first, but Kuroo knew what to say to get him to join. Nevermind that it was more taunt than friendly invitation. Here, he met Bokuto and Akaashi.

That entire week, the four of them spent their extra practice time in the 3rd gym, but not all of it was spent practicing. Sometimes, they'd talk, sharing little bits of info about themselves. Tsuki never thought he'd enjoy the company of others; his only other friend was Tadashi. But he did.

By the end of camp, he had three new contacts in his phone, was invited (and accepted) to a group chat (with only the four of them), and plans to meet up again. Though how that was going to work was questionable at best. By train, Sendai was at least three hours away from Tokyo.

They kept in touch constantly, telling each other about their days (mostly), and how practices were going. Tsuki usually didn't say much, still not used to having more than one friend. But Kuroo would draw him out, asking questions that needed more than one-or two-word answers.

Their first out-of-school meeting was during winter break. As a surprise, Kuroo, Akaashi, and Bokuto all came up to Sendai for the week. Tsuki's mom insisted they stay at the house with them, and they happily accepted. Bokuto and Akaashi stayed in the guest bedroom, and Kuroo would stay with Tsuki.

Tsuki hadn't really thought it'd be more than an extended sleepover, really. During the day, the four of them explored the town. Tsuki showed them places that were less touristy (including Sakanoshita), which they seemed to prefer. In fact, the less people around, the better.

At night, after dinner and playing games, or watching movies, they'd go to their rooms for the night. Kuroo often started up a conversation, usually something about their day that he found fascinating; something that caught his eye, or something he overheard. Tsuki slowly opened up; the more he talked, the more Kuroo smiled. Tsuki liked his smile.

The next year, they met up again for winter break, this time in Tokyo. Kuroo and Bokuto were freshmen in college, Akaashi was months away from graduating high school, and Kei was finishing his second year. They all stayed at Kuroo's place; it was easier and more roomy.

During the day, they took turns showing Tsuki around town. It was frenetic and overly crowded; it was way too much. Tsuki tried not to panic, he hated crowds. But when he nearly lost sight of the only people he knew, he frantically grabbed the nearest person, which happened to be Kuroo.

Kuroo spun around to look at Tsuki, and it only took a heartbeat for him to figure out the problem. Without missing a beat, he gathered Bokuto and Akaashi around them, and he began to go through the grounding process he was taught, starting with focusing on five things to see. He held Tsuki's hands firmly and spoke calmly, urging Tsuki to focus on him and breathe.

Bokuto was on his right, Akaashi on his left, and Kuroo directly in front of him. Tsuki's eyes stayed fixed on Kuroo, taking in his dark honey eyes and perpetually messy dark hair. He attempted breathing deeply, but that wasn't possible. Not yet. He squeezed his eyes closed, gripped Kuroo’s hands tighter, still too overwhelmed to speak.

The fourth step was focusing on four things to touch. Tsuki clung to both Kuroo's hands like lifelines, unable to let go. Bokuto put a hand on his shoulder, offering another point of contact. Akaashi followed suit; Tsuki's speeding heart began to slow down, as did his breathing.

The third step was harder to accomplish: hearing three things. It was loud and noisy; couldn't really avoid it. Seeing the problem, Kuroo gently pulled Tsuki closer, dislodging his hands, and placing Tsuki's around his waist. He wrapped his arms around Tsuki, with one hand carefully grasping the back of his neck, and brought his mouth to Tsuki's ear.

Tsuki concentrated on his voice, which was difficult where they were. But, he listened to the pitch, cadence and tone as Kuroo spoke. He purposely made his voice all three things Tsuki needed to hear, and just loud enough to hear over the noise around them, further calming Tsuki. It was magic.

The second step was concentrating on two things to smell. For Tsuki, that was the easiest of the steps so far. The first thing he smelled was the woody scent of the cologne Kuroo wore. It wasn't too strong; just enough to notice, to tease the senses. He buried his nose in the crook of Kuroo's neck and inhaled deeply, for the first time since the attack started.

The second scent was Kuroo himself. It was hard to describe. It was just... Kuroo. Tsuki noticed it first at summer camp, and then again when they stayed over for winter break last year. The scent was familiar, safe, alive. Also a little weird, fun, and free. Finally, breathing deeply was easier.

The first, and last step, was one thing to taste. They both knew it, too. Kuroo was the first to move, to lean back far enough so that they could see each other. The world had fallen away; it was just the two of them. No one could say who started the kiss, but it didn't matter.

As far as first kisses went, neither of them could have described it, even if they wanted to. It started out as tiny little sips, getting used to each other and the feel of being this close. Then, it became a long, slow drink; tasting each other, but brains scrambling trying to describe that taste.

When the kiss finally ended (after a few verbal cues from their friends), Kuroo asked if he would be okay to continue, or if he wanted to go home. Tsuki chose the latter. So, they all went back to Kuroo's place, making it feel like that's what they intended to do in the first place.

While an exhausted Tsuki slept, curled up in Kuroo's lap, the others decided at least one of them would always be with Tsuki when it came to crowded areas. Kuroo, of course, would be the go-to, but if he couldn't, for some strange reason, then Bokuto or Akaashi would take his place.

They each had at least one personal demon that was tough to conquer on their own. For Kuroo, it was falling from high places. Bokuto was claustrophobic. Akaashi hated deep water. Tsuki was terrified of crowds, or to be more exact, being lost and alone in a sea of unknown faces.

Their squad was more than just four guys having fun and hanging out together; they were their own support system. Something no one else could quite understand completely. They were more than just friends; they were their own family. The dynamic was a little weird, but then, so were they.

A year later, they met in Sendai again for winter break. It was better all around, anyway, because now Kuroo lived there, working for the JVA. Bokuto played for MSBY Black Jackal, and Akaashi was an editor for a manga publication. Tsuki was in his third year of high school.

For Christmas, gifts were exchanged. Although, they were gag gifts more than anything else. Throughout the year, they would give each other little gifts that meant more, so at Christmas, their presents tended to be silly rather than serious. This was the way for their squad.

Between Christmas and New Year's, they started cleaning everything at the Tsukishima residence, and pre-cooked what they could so that when New Year's finally came around, they could spend more time with each other, rather than in a frenzy trying to get stuff done. Operation: Controlled Chaos had begun.

Bokuto was banned from the kitchen, so Kuroo helped him clean the rest of the house along with Ni-san. Tsuki, Akaashi, and Mom commandeered the kitchen, taking care of meal planning and food prep. Once they finished, they unleashed the cleaning crew into the kitchen and vacated to the living room.

On New Year's Eve, the squad went out and enjoyed what Sendai had to offer. They went to several neighborhood festivals, walked around a few malls, and ate food from various street vendors. They gave out otoshidama to random children, and Bokuto insisted on buying them all fukubukuro.

That evening, everyone pitched in making the feast Tsuki, Akaashi, and Mom had prepared. Tsuki made the toshikoshi soba, with tempura and spring onions. Akaashi gave them all osechi boxes, which had everything but the kazunoko. Kuroo made pickled veggies, and Mom made taiyaki for dessert. Bokuto served the drinks.

With respect for Tsuki, they decided to wait until a later date for their first shrine visit of the year. Instead, they climbed to the rooftop, hoping to see fireworks in celebration of the new year. They were not disappointed. After a short nap, they enjoyed hatsuhinode together.

After Tsuki's graduation, and before he started at the local college, Kuroo came to visit. It was unexpected. Mom invited him to stay for dinner, anyway, but he politely declined. Instead, he asked Tsuki if he would like to go out for dinner. Surprised, Tsuki agreed.

Kuroo took him to a charming little restaurant in Sendai, well off the beaten path. Tsuki loved it immediately. They talked and laughed, all the while scooting a little closer to each other in the booth. When their food arrived, they didn't think anything of sharing, and even fed each other.

After dinner, they walked around in a little park nearby. The sun had set, but there was still a little light left. Fireflies gently rose and fell, flitting about the ground. They walked in silence, comfortable with each other's company. And then Tsuki felt Kuroo's hand touch his.

Their relationship was... unusual, to say the least. Most of the year, they were apart, at least physically. They really only spent time together when the squad met. But during those times, it was as if they'd never been apart. Where there was one, the other was not far behind.

But since that first kiss, they'd somehow managed to be together, even if it was via text, talk, or video call. They had a bond no one could break, and there were a few who tried. Neither lacked for admirers, but when it came to confessions of love, they turned them all down.

So, here in this little park in Sendai, in the moments between twilight and dusk, when they'd finally managed to meet by themselves, they each confessed their love to the other. It wasn't a surprise. How could it have been? Even before that first kiss, they knew they’d met someone special.

Someone they could be completely open to, who knew what they were thinking without saying a word, who was there when they needed them most. Their friends would claim it all started that night in the 3rd gym at Shinzen almost two years ago. But Kuroo and Tsuki knew it started before then.

Their date tonight just happened to be two years exactly from the day they first met, at a gym near Karasuno, for a series of games between their two teams. Kuroo teased Tsuki, and Tsuki calmly rebuffed Kuroo, but that was all it took for the bond to form. That was all they needed.

So there, under the soft light of the moon and stars, they kissed again. Soft and gentle at first, smiles appearing briefly before reconnecting. Tiny sips that grew into a long, slow drink. This time, they knew the taste of each other, though they still couldn't explain it to anyone else.