Epilogue

Shoyo Hinata was too antsy to sleep on time that night. He had tried to look at a few pinup girl magazines he kept hidden, but he kept remembering the weird feeling of watching the very unfeminine Tsukishima and Yamaguchi, and finally gave it up. Now, he lay in bed staring at the ceiling, thinking.

Finally, Shoyo sat up and turned on his phone. He sent a text message to a friend, and was relieved to get a response. He texted about school and volleyball for a while, trying to get the courage to ask what he really wanted to.

Hey, Kenma, Shoyo finally texted. What do you think about people dating?

It's something some people like to do in high school, was the typically callous reply from Kenma Kozume, of Tokyo's Nekoma High School.

Well yeah, but two guys in school have just started dating.

That happens, too.

Shoyo sighed. Kenma was a brilliant observer of humanity, but there were still times when he did not fully understand it. Shoyo decided to be as frank as possible, that was always the best way to talk to the other boy.

I mean, they started dating EACH OTHER, Shoyo texted. What do you think? About guys dating, I mean?


A ways away in the suburbs of Tokyo, Kenma Kozume raised his eyebrows at the text.

Are you interested in dating a guy, Hinata?

NONONONO! Shoyo's reply exclaimed. I was just curious what you think about it?

Kenma thought for a moment, and almost smiled. He sprawled out over Kuroo Tetsurō's legs, knocking his school book off his lap. Kuroo scolded him, but made no move to get him off. He leaned the book open on the boy's slim bottom, and resumed his homework.

Who is together? Kenma texted. I won't tell anyone.

Shoyo texted Kenma the entire story. Kenma's cat-like golden eyes followed the scrawling text, and widened. He tapped the phone to his mouth once the texts stopped, considering.

When people are together for so long, relying on each other so closely, it can sometimes progress from friendship to romantic love, Kenma texted back. Even with two guys, like Tsukishima and Yamaguchi, it can turn out that way. Or two girls, too, I guess. Most people are scared of that fact, and won't admit it, but it's true. They are both young and probably want to keep it a secret, so it won't affect their lives too much. In the end, the very closest friendships usually look a lot like love, anyway.

I guess so.

You shouldn't worry about being curious or turned on, either, Shoyo, Kenma continued. The human body is programmed to react to sex, in any form. It doesn't mean anything. If it did, would that even matter?

YEAH IT WOULD MATTER!

Why?

Because I'm not that way! I don't want to be into guys!

Why not?

I'm just not that way.

Well, that's ok. But Hinata, even if something isn't normal, that doesn't mean it's wrong. I was always told I wasn't normal. Is my living wrong? Does not being normal mean I can't be good at anything, or good for anything?

Kenma ... [There was a long 'typing' pause.] I never thought of it that way. I don't think Tsukishima and Yamaguchi are wrong, not really. They looked happy. More than happy. I was just confused about how I felt, I guess. It's really a normal reaction?

From what I understand about biology, yeah.

You know a lot about everything, Kenma. Thanks.

No problem, Kenma texted back with a tiny smile. Above him, Kuroo yawned and shut the book. He tapped Kenma's bottom with it, telling him it was late. I have to go. You should respect your friends and their privacy. Good night, Shoyo.

Good night.

"Hey, Kenma, put the phone down already," Kuroo said. He idly stroked the youth's back, watching him arch his spine a little like a cat. "Bedtime."

"Mmm."

"I said, bedtime."

"Mm."

Kuroo noted the conversation Kenma was scrawling through. He snatched the phone out of the startled boy's hands.

"What is this?" he demanded. "Is that Hinata shrimp interested in you?"

"No." Kenma sat up finally, snatching at the phone. "Give it back, Kuroo."

"Huh, glasses with the attitude and that fanboy of his are together?" Kuroo remarked, holding the phone out of Kenma's reach. "Reminds me a little of us. You're not a slobbering talent-less idiot, though."

"That's mean, Kuroo." Kenma watched Kuroo for a moment, saw his chance, and snatched his phone back. "Stop reading my texts."

"All right, all right," Kuroo said. He yawned. "It's not like I give a crap about those Karasuno guys, anyway. Unless I can use it in a game against them sometime. I'll have to think about that. Anyway, let's get some sleep already, okay?"

Kenma looked at him, expression unreadable. Then, he leaned up and gave his lips a light kiss. Kuroo was surprised; Kenma rarely took the initiative to be affectionate. He kissed the younger boy back and held him close a moment.

"Kenma?"

"Mm?" Kenma looked up at him, cradled on the other youth's lap.

"There's nothing wrong with you," Kuroo said, recalling Kenma's texts about being told he was not normal. "If you're not 'normal', it's because you're special. You've always been the most special person I know. You get that, right?"

"Okay."

Kuroo kissed his forehead tenderly. Then, he stood up, lifting Kenma up to his feet with him. The texts he had read reminded him of the gradual shift from friendship to friendly romance his relationship with Kenma had taken, just a year ago. He wondered if Tsukishima was worrying about the things that had troubled him. Did he feel guilty for letting his best friend fall in love with him? Did he worry that he was using the other boy?

If he is worried, that's too bad for that smartass, Kuroo thought. He climbed into his bed, and Kenma crawled in with him. Kuroo was in the habit of locking his door no matter whether he had visitors or not, so they never had to worry about being caught. Kuroo smiled, stroking Kenma's soft skin. He looked and felt like a kitten, nestled perfectly into the crook of Kuroo's shoulder and arm. I didn't have to worry too much about Kenma. He's honest, he wouldn't lie to me or for my sake. I asked him if he wanted me to kiss him, he said it was okay, and he's been happy with all the rest. That honesty can be annoying sometimes, but if he's ever not okay with something, he would sure as hell let me know it.

Kuroo reached over and turned off the nearby lamp. He settled beneath the bed covers with Kenma in one arm. It probably won't last past high school, he thought. I don't see how it could. But I have this time with Kenma, and it will always be precious to me. A precious little secret, that's what Kenma is to me. I guess high school is the time for these kinds of experiments. Even those backwards Karasuno losers get it.


A gently rainy morning dawned on Japan the next day. In Tokyo, Kuroo had to nudge Kenma awake. They dressed together and had breakfast at Kuroo's house, then headed out to school. In the Miyagi Prefecture, Shoyo woke up tired but no longer so confused about the world, thanks to Kenma's insights. Not too far off, the source of his confusion woke up in a tangle of limbs. Tsukishima watched Yamaguchi sleep for a few minutes, enjoying their closeness. Finally, with a kiss, he shook him awake for school.

"Ah, I wish I was a girl," Yamaguchi lamented as he dressed. He pulled the curtain aside and looked glumly out at the rain. "We could share an umbrella and hold hands on the way to school."

"If you were a girl, we wouldn't be on the same volleyball team, Yamaguchi," Tsukishima pointed out. "Besides, holding hands is lame for anyone."

"Still ..." Yamaguchi shook the wistful mood away. He gave Tsukishima a kiss. "Oh well. I have you to myself when we're alone. That's enough."

Tsukishima felt a little sorry for him. He was not the type that cared about having a public display of love, but he knew Yamaguchi was. He wished he could let the boy be with him freely, but it was simply not possible.

"Hey, let's go into town later," Tsukishima suggested. "We can go to a restaurant. I'll buy you french fries. It'll almost be like a date."

Yamaguchi beamed and hugged him. Tsukishima stumbled back a step, and held him tolerantly. If he could harness some of this fervor in his serves, he'd give Oikawa competition, he thought cynically.

"Calm down, I said 'almost'," Tsukishima said. He kissed Yamaguchi's cheek. "We won't be going anywhere if we're late to school. Let's go."

Yamaguchi's mother had already left for work, but she had left them bento boxes for lunch and most of breakfast prepared. Yamaguchi heated everything up and cooked some eggs; he often had to cook for himself or complete half-prepared meals due to his mother's busy schedule. He was diligent in the kitchen, a careful and decent cook. Oftentimes, Tsukishima took him to get fast food on nights when his mother was not home, which might have led to the boy's love for french fries.

"Hey, Yamaguchi, maybe you should have been a girl," Tsukishima teased when Yamaguchi served him a plate. "You'd make a decent wife."

"Would you have married me if you could, Tsukki?" Yamaguchi laughed. The gravity of the word sunk in and he blushed deeply. "Haha, sorry, I'm still kind of half-asleep."

"No you're not," Tsukishima said. "And ... yeah, sure, I would."

"Huh?"

"Marry you," Tsukishima muttered into his bowl of rice, shoveling it into his mouth to muffle his words. His ears had turned red. "If I could."

Yamaguchi stared at him with round eyes. Uncertain whether he was joking or not, he just laughed. Over the table, however, he put a hand on Tsukishima's, and Tsukki squeezed it back.

After eating and cleaning up, they headed out into the rain together. Despite his earlier laments, Yamaguchi barely felt the physical separation of walking as friends rather than lovers. The core of their relationship had changed irrevocably.

Even when we're apart, we'll be together, Yamaguchi thought. He smiled up at Tsukki, walking just a tiny bit closer beside him. We've shared too much to be truly separated now. We belong to each other. We always will, won't we?

At school, they put their umbrellas in the stand. Tsukishima ruffled Yamaguchi's damp hair, accidentally standing his cowlick up again. Yamaguchi gave him a loving smile, but it was brief, secretive. Talking about nothing, the friends and lovers headed to class side by side, as always.


Take your time watching over you
Waiting for a load I will take for you
Step by step I will shadow you
You can hold your own, I will only do

In your name I will cover you
Waiting for the blame I will take for you
All I need is to carry you
You can hold your own, I will hold it too

Only want what you know you need
I will come to you and know what you're asking for
You want what you know you need
I begin to see
I will come to you and follow you through the dark

Changing mind, like you always do
Waiting for the blow I will take for you
Blinding lights washing over you
You can hold your own and I will hold it too

Only want what you know you need
I begin to see
I will come to you and know what you're asking for
You want what you know you need
I begin to see
I will come to you and follow you through the dark

You want what you know you need
I begin to see
I will come to you and know what you're asking for
You want what you know you need
I begin to see
I will come to you and follow you through the dark

See the dark
See the dark
See the dark
See the dark
See the dark

~ CHVRCHES, "Follow You"

THE END