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Little Moon

Chapter 1: Chapter One

by isilelensar

“Well, tomorrow will be an adventure,” Kei was saying to Koshi as they sat on one of the benches surrounding the playground. “I have to take Eru to the doctor for another round of vaccines and we all know how much she loves those.”
“I think I can still hear her screaming from the last round,” Suga replied, playacting covering his ears. “One thing you can rightfully claim she didn’t get from you.”
“Yeah, well, still,” Kei said, quickly moving the conversation away from Eru’s mother. It was still a bit too much to talk about. “After her check-up, we’re going for ice cream, so hopefully she’ll forgive me for the evil shots.”
“Ice cream always works.”
“Especially with lots of sprinkles.”

At that moment, two children ran by; Koshi’s seven year old son Kenji, and five year old Eru doggedly trying to catch him. The two dads laughed and waved at them, and then smiled at each other. They’d met at the playground for their kids’ biweekly playdate, which was pretty much code for: “we’re letting them run so they’ll go to sleep earlier.” Of course, it never worked. Still, it was good seeing Daichi and Koshi, and it meant Eru had friends to play with. They even took turns babysitting, which meant the kids had even more time to play.

“Hey guys,” Daichi came up to the bench, carrying one of their twins, who was sleeping on his shoulder. The other ran off to catch up to the others. “You’ll never believe who I just bumped into.”
“Oh yeah?” Koshi asked.
“Who?” Kei looked around. He didn’t see anyone familiar standing around Daichi.
Dachi grinned, but quickly caught on that whoever was supposed to be with him, clearly wasn't anymore. “Well, I guess he went back to his car for something.”
“Okay, but who was it, Dai?” Koshi asked as he stood and took their little girl from his husband and settled back down on the bench.
“Kuroo! He’s in town for a week for work.”
“Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time,” Koshi said, glancing sideways at Kei.
“I know, right? Anyway, he came in a little early and was just wandering around the park. I told him we were here with the kids, and I swear he was right behind me, but…”
“Well, we only just got here ourselves, so if he comes back, we’ll see him then.”

Kei simply smiled at his friends, but said nothing about Kuroo. Not that he could, really. There wasn’t much to be said. Kei remembered the year they met, the week long summer camp at Shinzen, Nationals. Being told Kuroo had a crush on him, but then nothing ever came of it. Even so, it wasn’t as if Kei could have done much to reciprocate. That time in his life had been turbulent, at best. He’d barely known which way was up, half the time, and the other half… well. He wasn’t sure how he even felt about Kuroo then.

He knew better now; several years too late. However, he did have someone in his life that meant the world to him, and she was all he needed.

She was Eru Tsukishima. His five year old daughter.

~*~

Kuroo was in his car, head tilted back on the headrest of his seat, half-tempted to just leave. Instead, he sighed and sat up, finding Daichi, Suga, and… Tsuki. Who’d’ve thought that his high school crush was still in town? Last he’d heard (through mutuals, of course) Tsuki was an exhibit designer for several of the more renown museums around the country. He was last seen in Ueno, overseeing several new exhibits at each museum located there.

Of course, that had been several years ago, and news through friends wasn’t always that reliable.

Looking at Tsuki now, his heart did a little flip flop. His golden blond hair was a little longer, and a bit more wavy. He certainly wasn’t the beanpole he was back in high school; he had the body of an athlete, muscular but not overdone. Like he worked out to keep in shape, not to bulk up. Kuroo really liked it. The only thing he was curious about was: did Tsuki still wear those black rimmed glasses, or had those changed, too? Did he wear contacts? Either way, Kuroo really wanted to see those amber eyes.

Kuroo sighed again. He still had the worst crush on Tsuki. It hadn’t faded in all the years between them. And since Daichi invited him back to see Suga and meet the kids, he really couldn’t be rude and leave. Even if he wanted to.

Opening the door, Kuroo got out of his car, and shut the door, pocketing his keys. He’d just started walking toward the little group, when a child’s scream tore through the air. His eyes scanned the area, until he saw a small girl break from the rest of the children, tiny golden blond ponytails bobbing as she ran. Her face was red, blotchy, and tears streamed down her cherubic cheeks. Dressed in a little yellow shirt with a huge strawberry on the front, blue shorts, and pink shoes, she ran toward Daichi, Suga, and Tsuki.

“Must be one of the Sawamura’s kids,” he said to himself. He watched to see who would console the child. But, while both had turned their attention to the little girl, neither of them moved.

Instead, it was Tsuki who stood up from the bench, knelt on the ground, and held out his arms. She darted right for him, and soon Tsuki had his arms full of crying child, holding her tight, no doubt whispering soothing words and sounds in her ear. He stood up, as if this had been a common occurrence, and sat down on the bench, setting the little girl on his lap and reaching into a bag to bring out a pack of wipes. He gently rubbed her little face, all while making sure she wasn’t truly hurt. When he was finished, and had tickled the little girl into laughing, he kissed her cheek, and she hopped off his lap and ran back to her friends.

Kuroo wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Was that little girl one of Tsuki’s cousins? Maybe she was a niece? But no, that didn’t quite fit, either. The child’s hair was the same color as Tsuki’s, and he’d be willing to bet she had the same amber eyes… No. She couldn’t be a niece or a cousin. That little girl had to be Tsuki’s daughter. There were too many similarities between them, at least in looks. But when…? Clearly any information he’d been given about Tsuki wasn’t correct in the slightest. A daughter?

His brain scrambled, but he was able to muster the motivation to walk over to the bench. He was definitely curious now, that’s for sure.

~*~

“Kei, are you alright?” Koshi asked quietly, after Daichi saw Kuroo and went to go meet him. “You went quieter than usual after Dai mentioned Kuroo.”
“What? Oh, yeah. I’m fine,” he replied, coming up out of his thoughts. He smiled gently at Koshi. “I was just… remembering.”
“Yeah. Hadn’t really been able to catch up with him since we all graduated. Guess life just kinda swept us all along.”
Kei snorted. “Very philosophic of you, Sensei.”
“Yeah, well, they’re almost here. At least try to look friendly.”
“I’m always friendly!” Kei muttered under his breath. And then it was too late to return fire. Daichi had walked up with Kuroo alongside him.
“Found our wandering kitty cat,” he slapped Kuroo on the shoulder. “Kuroo, I’m sure you remember Koshi, my husband?”
“Sure do! Good to see you again, Suga!” He held out his hand. “Or, well, I guess I should call you Sawamura-san?”
Koshi laughed and shook his hand. “Suga is fine. Or you can call me Koshi. How’ve you been, Kuroo?”
“Eh, can’t complain. Call me Tetsuro. Anyway, life has been pretty much non-stop here.”
“I bet.”
Daichi chuckled and there were a few beats of silence before he turned toward Kei. “Umm… do you…”
“Hello, Tsuki,” Kuroo said quietly. “It’s good to see you, again.”
“Kuroo-san,” Kei nodded politely, and then turned his face back toward the playground, looking for his daughter. He found her; she was scream-laughing as Kenji pushed her on one of the swings. If he happened to notice Kuroo’s smile fading a little, he refused to acknowledge it.
“What did I tell you?” Koshi whispered and elbowed him.
“Ow!” Kei rubbed his upper arm and glared at his friend. Then he sighed and looked up at Kuroo again. “I’m sorry. It’s good to see you, too.”

The talk afterward was largely just catching up and meeting the kids. Well, most of them, anyway. Eru was determined to finish her sand castle, after tiring of the swing, and Kenji stayed with her. Koshi pointed his eldest son out to Kuroo, but left it up to Kei to “introduce” his daughter. Kei stayed silent. This was something Kuroo didn’t know about. At least, he shouldn't know about it. Only his immediate family and former teammates knew about Eru. And Kei was determined to keep it that way.

So, he shouldn’t have been at all surprised when three pairs of eyes were trained on him. Kuroo's eyebrow lifted and his head tilted toward the kids. He must’ve seen Eru running to him a little bit ago. Damn it.

“She’s my daughter,” he said softly, but defensively.
“She’s cute. Just like her dad.”
“Thank you,” Kei mumbled, feeling his face heat with a blush, and looking at his daughter again. Then, "I'm sorry, Koshi, but we need to go."
Koshi looked at him knowingly. Just like Sugamama to know when one of his chicks was fleeing the nest. So to speak.
“We’ll see you both for dinner tomorrow night, right?”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Kei replied with a small grin. He packed up Eru’s bag, and then stood up. He bowed to the three of them. “See you two, and the kids, later.”
“Call me later,” Koshi said lightly, though his tone brooked no refusal. Koshi was almost worse than Kei’s own mother, sometimes. Still…
“I will.” He bowed once more, and then went to retrieve his little girl, who was already running toward him, arms wide and a sunny smile on her face.

~*~

Kuroo watched Tsuki pack his bag (the old red one he remembered seeing Kei with during training camps years ago), and then practically run toward the playground. Well, not so much run, as take really long steps to outpace anyone, should they choose to try and follow him.

“Was it something I said?” he asked Daichi, who shrugged with a confused expression.
“I don’t think so,” Koshi replied. “I could explain things to you, but it’s really not my story to tell.”
“If you were trying to stop me from being curious, you failed.”
“I’m just saying,” Koshi said with a sly grin. “If you’re really that desperate to find out more, you’re going to have to do it yourself.”
“And from the look of it, you’ll have your work cut out,” Daichi added. His friend looked at him with speculation. “You still have a crush on him, don’t you?”
“Can’t really fool you, can I?”
“Not when it’s written all over your face, Tetsuro,” Koshi said knowingly.

Kuroo chuckled quietly, and sat down on the part of the bench that Kei vacated. He turned his gaze toward Tsuki, who had picked up his daughter, settled her on his hip, and started toward the bus stop. He smiled as she talked to him, and laughed when she made an adorable little face. She had his hair, and his eyes, but her entire personality (from what he's seen so far) was totally opposite of Tsuki’s. She was an outgoing, dramatic, tiny ray of sunshine. Tsuki kept to himself a lot, even when they’d spent time together with Bokuto and Akaashi. He was quiet, only really talked when spoken to, and was very… insular, for lack of a better word.

But watching Tsuki as he walked away with his daughter, he smiled brightly, was more animated than Kuroo had ever seen him, and there was a little spring to his step.

“She’s his entire world,” he heard Daichi say, and Kuroo forced himself to look at his two friends. They were both watching the pair, as well, but in a more protective, parental, way.
“Just so you know, you’re the only one outside of his family, all of us, to find out about Eru. Kei wants to keep it that way.”
Kuroo raised an eyebrow. Koshi had said it kindly, but the warning was clear. Still, his curiosity had reached an all-time high.
“Even when she starts school?”
“He’ll jump that hurdle when he comes to it,” Daichi said. “Until then, you’re sworn to secrecy.”
“Fair enough,” Kuroo relented. He slowly rose to his feet, and turned to catch his last glimpse of the father/daughter pair as they boarded the bus. “Thanks for inviting me over. It was really good seeing you two again.”
“It was good seeing you, too,” Daichi replied with a smile. He reached out to shake his hand. When they let go, Kuroo shook Koshi’s hand, as well.
“We’re having a little dinner party tomorrow night,” Koshi said, a peculiar glint in his eye.
“Koshi…” Daichi tried to stop him, but it didn’t work.
“Why don’t you come over?”
Even Kuroo knew when to step carefully. “I mean, I would love to, but Tsuki…”
“Tsuki and Eru won’t be the only ones there. This is something our old team does once a month. It’s our turn to host. We’d be honored if you could join us.”
Kuroo grinned. “What time should I show up?”
“Seven o’clock. Dinner at eight. If you want anything alcoholic, you’ll have to bring your own.”
“Noted.” He checked his watch, and then waved at them. “I gotta get going. See you tomorrow night.”

~*~

Later that night, while Eru was sleeping, Kei was sitting at the table, slowly paging through an older digital photo album on his tablet. He’d put it together himself, using what photos he’d managed to take throughout high school, and various family functions. He stopped on a few pictures, lightly touching beloved faces, some of which would be forever gone from his, and Eru’s, life.

Just as he reached the pictures of his teammates, he heard tiny, shuffling, footsteps. He looked up to see Eru standing in the doorway, rubbing an eye, and dragging her favorite blanket. Kei put down his tablet and held out his arms. Eru toddled forward and when she was within reach, held up her arms. Dutifully, he picked her up and onto his lap.

“Daddy still awake?”
“I am,” he answered, gently rocking her. “Did you have a bad dream, baby?”
“No. Not sleepy.”
“Did daddy keep you awake?”
She sleepily shook her head and yawned. Then, she caught sight of the tablet, and the picture on it.
“Who that?” she asked, pointing a small finger at the smiling tangerine.
“His name is Hinata,” Kei replied, smiling. “You’ve met him, remember?”
“He flies!”
“He does, indeed.”

They spent a little more time going through pictures, Eru pointing at various players and asking who they were. She clapped tiny hands when he showed her pictures of her “uncles” Daichi and Koshi. He also had to explain why Kenji and the twins weren’t there, and she nodded as if she understood.

Resting his chin on her head, he let her swipe through pictures, listening to her as she told her own little story about his teammates. Until she stopped. He blinked and looked down at the picture she was staring at.

“Who that?” she asked, her little finger touching a very familiar face.
“His name is Kuroo-san,” he said simply, grinning at the picture of Kuroo, Bokuto, and Akaashi.
“Kuroo-san,” she repeated the name, looked up at him, and touched his face. “Daddy likes him?”
He could only nod, not quite trusting that his voice wouldn’t crack if he admitted it out loud.
“Eru likes him, too,” she said decisively.
“You haven’t even met him,” he told her. Still, she patted his face, and then looked back at the picture.
“Eru likes him, too, Daddy.” Said no less decisively than before.
Kei kissed the top of her head, and then held her tight as he stood up. He carried her to her room, and tucked her back in bed.
“Story!” she demanded.
“I already told you one, baby. It’s time for sleep.”
“Story, Daddy. Please?”
“Eru…”
“Please?”
Kei was weak against her cute pleading. “Okay. What would you like to hear?”
“How Daddy met Kuroo-san!”
He walked right into that one. Thinking fast, he settled on the floor, next to her child-sized bed, and began to tell her all about ‘How Daddy met Kuroo-san.’

~*~

“You still have a crush on Kuroo, don’t you?” Koshi asked him during their phone call.
“I guess so,” Kei admitted quietly. “I thought I’d forgotten…”
“Liar,” Koshi chided gently. “You might’ve been stone-faced the whole time, but your eyes…”
“Shut up,” Kei replied, feeling his face heat up with embarrassment. “Alright, so I never forgot him. But Koshi, it’s been years! And now, there’s Eru. I don’t think…”
“Well, that’s your problem, right there,” Koshi interrupted him. “You’re overthinking things. He already knows about Eru, at least as far as her being your daughter.”
“And that was a total accident!”
“Well, maybe it was a good accident.”
“A good accident? There’s never a good accident.”
“What I meant was that maybe you should let him in. It was painfully obvious that he hasn’t forgotten you, either, and… Well.”
“What are you up to Koshi?”
“What makes you think I’m up to anything?”
“How long have we known each other?”
“Point taken. My advice, take it or leave it, is to just see where things go between you two. Let him in. Who knows? It may lead to your own little family.”
“I don’t know.”
“Kei, you’ve walled yourself away for far too long. Just try.”
Kei sighed. “Fine. I’ll think about it.”
“That’s a start, at least.”
“Whatever, Mom.”
“Think you can make it over a little earlier tomorrow night?”
“I guess. Shouldn’t be a problem. But why?”
“I need a little help getting it all put together, and the twins want to play with Eru.”
“Not Kenji?”
“He’s with his cousins tonight.”
“Got it. What time?”
“6:30.”
“We’ll be there.”
“Alright, thanks! See you then.”
“See ya.”

Kei hung up and put the phone down on the kitchen table, picking up a mug of hot cocoa. As he sipped, he smiled to himself. So, Kuroo never forgot about him, either, huh? Did he still have that crush, too? If so, would he do anything about it this time?

Koshi was an unabashed meddler and matchmaker, and he suddenly turned his efforts on Kuroo and himself. Well… maybe he was right, too, about letting someone else into his life, that wasn’t a member of his team or part of his immediate family. Would it be so bad if it were Kuroo? More importantly, would Kuroo like Eru? Kei was a little selfish this afternoon, leaving before letting the two of them meet each other properly. Still, he considered Eru’s reaction to Kuroo over a simple photograph. His daughter decided she liked Kuroo. It would be nice if Kuroo returned the sentiment.

Well.

As usual, Koshi (aka: Sugamama), proved himself the team mother and clearly also the team psychiatrist. Kei would follow his advice, starting with telling Kuroo the full story about his parentage of Eru.

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Chapter name
Chapter One
Created
23 Apr 2022
Last Edited
23 Apr 2022
Hits
16
Words
3415