Okay, this is significantly shorter than the last chapter, but I like it! Here it is, the promised third chapter in Akiteru's P.O.V.! I hope you all enjoy it!
Disclaimer: No, I don't own Haikyuu.
Brothers and Brothers-in-Law
"I'm home!" Akiteru kicked his shoes off, taking a deep breath as he did so. His stomach rumbled at the delicious smell coming from the kitchen, yearning for the home cooking he missed so much.
His mother's enthusiastic welcome echoed through the doorway, accompanied by two lower voices that Akiteru recognized immediately. Looking down at where his shoes were now resting, he finally noticed that Tadashi's were there as well, resting right beside Kei's. Akiteru grinned, just as happy to see his brother's best friend as he was to see his actual brother.
Walking into the kitchen, Akiteru greeted his mother first. He bent down to accept the quick peck on the cheek and nodded when he was asked if he was hungry before he went searching for his brother. It didn't take long to find Kei or Tadashi, he just followed the sound of the television.
Akiteru walked into the sitting room and was greeted with the backs of two heads poking out above the edge of the couch, the two boys facing the television. He didn't recognize the game being played, but he could tell it was his brother who was playing it. The little creature in the center of the screen was absolutely pummeling the monsters surrounding it.
Not wanting to disrupt his brother's concentration, Akiteru hung back for a moment to watch. His eyes dropped slightly to watch the back of his brother's head when he noticed something rather… odd. Well, not odd. It was more sweet, really. Tadashi, who was watching Kei's progression just like Akiteru was, had his head resting on Kei's shoulder. If he hadn't called out a welcoming when Akiteru first arrived, he might've assumed that Tadashi was asleep.
Akiteru smiled at the cute sight. He remembered when Kei and Tadashi were younger, how they practically cuddled up on the couch to watch movies and play games. They had drifted apart physically as they got older, especially when Kei and Akiteru hit a bump in their relationship, and Akiteru would never forget the heartbreak in Little Tadashi's eyes when Kei first pushed the other boy away on movie night.
It was a great moment to see Kei so relaxed again around his friend.
"Boys! Dinner's ready!"
Without hesitation, Kei paused his game and stretched his arms above his head, dislodging Tadashi from his shoulder. The other boy let out a small whine, but stood up anyways, stretching as well. He looked over his shoulder and jumped a bit upon seeing Akiteru standing behind them. Then he smiled and gave the older boy a cute little wave.
"Hello, Aki-niisan! How was your trip?"
"Uneventful, but that's a good thing! How have you been, Tadashi."
"Uh…" At the question, Tadashi looked down at Kei, his cheeks redding a bit as he smiled. "I've been… great. It's been great."
"Well, that's good!"
"Boys! I need your help setting the table!"
Akiteru spun around to call back, "Okay, Mom! We'll be right there!" He could smell meat from the sitting room and his stomach growled lowly again. He couldn't remember the last time his mother cooked meat for dinner. A part of him wondered if they were celebrating anything… but when nothing came to mind, he brushed off the confusion and walked to the kitchen to help set the table. Kei and Tadashi were right behind him.
A volcano eruption couldn't have been louder than the roar of the stadium as the volleyball slammed itself for the last time onto the floor… on the opponent's side of the net. Hinata landed from his last jump just in time for Kageyama to scoop him up in what looked like a crushing bear hug.
Akiteru's throat felt scrubbed raw and he definitely wouldn't have a voice tomorrow, but he continued to cheer on regardless. Shouting himself hoarse, he jumped around at the side railing as the Karasuno team poured onto the court in chaotic celebration. They had done it! Karasuno High School was going to nationals for the second time in three years.
He watched as, just like in their first year, Tadashi launched himself at Kei for a hug. The difference now was that Kei was ready for it, looping his arms around Tadashi #1 jersey and lifting him high, the two boys spinning around and screaming in celebration. Tadashi might've been crying, his face buried into the #2 on Kei's own jersey.
Akiteru felt tears streaming down his cheeks, but he ignored them in favor of jumping around more, waving for his brother's attention. A second later and Kei set Tadashi down on his own two feet, the two still hugging each other tightly.
Kei lifted his head and his eyes found Akiteru's. Without hesitation, Kei flashed a peace sign up to his brother, a small smile on his face. A sob bubbled up before Akiteru could stop it and he buried his face in his hands, completely missing how the rest of the Karasuno team ran to dogpile their Captain and Vice Captain.
Job hunting was exhausting.
Letting out a soft groan, Akiteru rolled his neck around, trying to relieve some of the uncomfortable pressure. He wanted to loosen his tie, but decided to wait until he was in Kei and Tadashi's apartment, just so there wasn't a risk of him losing it forever or looking ruffled in public. Of course, thinking of Kei and Tadashi's apartment brought forth a surge of pride for his little brother that Akiteru couldn't contain.
He smiled to himself as he exited the subway, remembering the way Kei's eyes had grown huge at the letter that contained his full-ride scholarship. Up until that point, Akiteru hadn't been completely sold on the idea of his little brother pursuing a teaching degree, but Kei's excitement left no room for doubt. Maybe it had something to do with Tadashi attending the same school for the same degree? The two of them had grown even closer during their high school years. Akiteru supposed it made sense that they would share more than a few passions.
Now, a few months into their first year of college, the boys were settled in an apartment just a few blocks away from campus and, according to Kei's phone calls, they were enjoying life. Akiteru didn't know how he'd managed to keep himself from visiting them for so long.
His excitement made him walk faster than usual, and he appeared at Kei and Tadashi's door nearly twenty minutes earlier than planned.
Knocking cheerfully at the door, Akiteru looked around at his surroundings. The complex looked clean and sturdy, if not a little small. He wondered if the apartment was a little cramped with two grown men living in it. Did they even have two bedrooms, or did one of them sleep in the living room on a futon?
The sound of a lock brought Akiteru's attention back to the door, and he beamed as his brother's usual morning scowl greeted him.
"Morning, Kei! Pardon the intrusion!" Akiteru ruffled his brother's complete mess of a bedhead before walking inside. He got his hand swatted away and a grumble for his efforts, but he didn't much care. "Were you really still sleeping when I knocked? At this hour? Tadashi's sleeping habits must be rubbing off on you!"
"Hey, now!" A voice called out from the doorway on the right. "There's nothing wrong with liking some extra sleep!"
Squeezing past his brother in the narrow hallway, Akiteru hurried into the kitchen and greeted Tadashi with a grand, "Ah! If it isn't my favorite little brother!"
His loud voice so nearby startled Tadashi a little, as the man squeaked in surprise, the pan of eggs in his hands dipping enough to hit the stove top again. Akiteru laughed and apologized, even though the embarrassed blush on Tadashi's face was quite adorable. He was also wearing what Akiteru recognized as his sleep clothes; a pair of grey sweatpants and an old t-shirt of Kei's. When his brother had started the tradition of giving the shirts he'd outgrown to his friend, Akiteru didn't know, but it didn't look like he was planning to stop.
Just then, Kei plodded into the kitchen with a yawn. The kitchen wasn't very big, and he had to keep one hand on Tadashi's back to keep the other man from backing into him as he opened a nearby cabinet.
"Do you want a drink, Niisan?"
"Just water, please."
Kei pulled out three cups and slid around Tadashi, getting himself hip checked in the process by a smirking Tadashi. Akiteru rolled his eyes at the teasing. They may be college students, but they clearly still had a bit of high school teasing in their brains.
"So, Aki-niisan, how was your interview?"
"Oh gosh, I don't even know…"
Akiteru was shivering frantically as he finally walked inside the house. It felt colder this year than last year! How was that fair?
"Aki-chan? Is that you?"
"Yeah, I'm home, Mom!"
As he removed his shoes and outerwear, another voice called out, "You're back later than we expected. Dinner's almost ready."
"I ran into an old friend after making my New Year's wish, Yamaguchi-san. She insisted we catch up."
"Ah, a she? Would this be someone we know?"
Akiteru's face heated up, and he was glad that neither his mother nor Tadashi's parents could see him at that moment. While he adored the Yamaguchi's, who had become second parents to him and Kei over the years, it almost meant he had three parents who enjoyed teasing him about girls and the like.
"It was Tanaka Saiko-san, Yamaguchi-san. Her younger brother used to play with Tadashi and Kei in high school."
His mother's tone was practically dripping in curiosity and innuendos. He needed an escape. Now.
He carefully peeked his head around the corner of the kitchen doorway, hoping beyond hope that his red face would be dismissed as from the cold outdoors. "Uh, how about I go get Tadashi and Kei for dinner. You mentioned it was almost done?"
"It is." His mother's smile was still rather sinister in a teasing way, so Akiteru quickly nodded and ran up the stairs as fast as possible, the adult's laughter trailing behind him. Once he got to the second floor, he took a moment to catch his breath.
He really didn't mind the Yamaguchi's staying over. It wasn't there fault the earthquake sent a tree into their house, and they really were a joy to be around. It was nice to have someone around Akiteru could (mentally) call "Dad". And then there was Tadashi to consider.
Smiling to himself, Akiteru walked past his old room where the Yamaguchi's were using until their house was mended and stopped in front of Kei's old room. He went to open the door, only to find it locked. The doorknob jiggled as he attempted to twist it around, and he heard a startled squeak from the other side of the door. What was that?
Knocking, he leaned his ear against the wood. "Kei? Tadashi?"
"What is it?" Kei's sharp, annoyed tone had Akiteru pulling back in shock for a moment before he leaned in again.
"It's time for dinner… are you two alright?"
"We're fine, Aki-niisan!" Tadashi sounded a little breathless. Had he really scared him that badly? "We'll be… we'll be down in a bit!"
There was the sound of Kei's bed creaking and Akiteru nodded to himself, glad to hear movement. Satisfied, he went to walk back downstairs. His heart rate had settled… perhaps he could handle talking about Saiko with his "parents" now?
Life went by too quickly. Akiteru felt like he blinked twice and he was suddenly standing in the audience for Kei and Tadashi's college graduation. Yamaguchi's mother filmed the moment, which was a good call because the other three were crying so hard they wouldn't have been able to follow the boy's progression with the camera if they'd tried. Akiteru wished Saiko had been able to come along, just so he could've had a shoulder to cry onto, but she was on tour at the moment so he had to go without.
Even if he had to bite down on his fingers to no sob when Kei flashed a peace sign after he received his diploma. He couldn't believe how fast his brother had grown up. He and Tadashi already had jobs lined up for the following school year, in the same town even! Kei would be teaching 3rd-year High School science while Tadashi was a Kindergarten teacher. They had an apartment leased, class plans scheduled out, and a bright future. Akiteru felt old, but content.
After what felt like an eternity, the ceremony was over and everyone was flooding outside into the warm April air. Akiteru was on his tip-toes, trying to spot the boys over the crowds of people. Usually the boy's heights made it easy to find them, but the crowd was so large…
By his side, the three adults were simply chatting excitedly among themselves. Akiteru didn't listen in until his mother started giggling. He blinked and looked over, momentarily distracted.
"How do you think Tadashi-kun is going to react?"
"Oh, he'll definitely cry. He's like his father that way."
Tadashi's father shook his head with a smile, but didn't deny the claim. "He probably will cry, but I doubt he'll be surprised. I think he was starting to consider asking Kei-chan himself. He did get rather blushy whenever Miho or I asked him about them living together after college."
"Kei was the same!" Akiteru's mother pressed a hand to her cheek as she beamed. "He sounded so happy over the phone when he told me they found jobs in the same town!"
The three adults continued to coo over… whatever they were talking about. Akiteru didn't understand it, completely lost. It sound like Kei wanted to ask Tadashi an important question, but what could it be? They were already living together after this…
Shaking his head, Akiteru went back to looking for the pair. He was barely looking for a minute before he spotted them. Bouncing in place, Akiteru raised a hand, trying to beckon them over. Tadashi saw him first, eyes lighting up as he started dragging Kei in their direction.
Akiteru was beaming, watching as they got closer, slipping through the crowd as it slowly dissipated. It wasn't until they were almost on top of them that Akiteru noticed the pair were holding hands. He felt his heart go a little extra mushy and warm at the sight, but at the same time he felt concerned. He'd noticed as the years went by that neither Kei nor Tadashi seemed to hold girlfriend's down for long. At least, never long enough to mention them to anyone else.
He couldn't help but wonder if their close friendship was the cause of that lack of romantic partnership in their lives. Sharing apartments, skinship, being attached by the hip, it was a shock that people didn't assume the boys were dating each other. Akiteru didn't know how to bring it up with his brother, but if something didn't change soon, he might be forced to… for Kei's sake.
A small little scream from his mother made Akiteru jump back into reality. He looked at her only to watch as Tadashi's mother rushed in between them to wrap Tadashi in a tight hug. Kei took a small step back from the pair, but didn't get very far before Yamaguchi-san shot her left hand out and grabbed the front of his dress shirt in her fist, dragging him into the hug.
Akiteru laughed along at Kei's mildly disgruntled expression which quickly softened as the blond wrapped his arms around the two Yamaguchi's… and that was when Akiteru noticed the ring on his brother's left hand. It was silver, or at least it looked like silver. And… there was a second one. On Tadashi's left hand.
Since when did they have matching rings? And the rings were one the fingers meant for-
Akiteru's thought process was interrupted by Tadashi escaping his mother's hug and running up to him, showing the older man the ring now on his left hand. He slapped a smile on his face.
Tadashi giggled, "Thanks! It fits perfectly, too! I don't even want to know how Kei-kun got my measurements without me knowing!"
As Tadashi turned around to show his father the ring, Akiteru felt his brain kick into overdrive. What was happening? Tadashi just got that ring, which probably meant that Kei got his own ring as well. Were they engaged to some girls Akiteru had never heard of? How would that go down with the apartment? Would the four of them live in a tiny apartment? After all, if they were close enough for Kei to get Tadashi's ring measurements for… wait, did Tadashi's girlfriend propose to him? It wasn't uncommon these days, but not something Akiteru would have expected, even though he didn't know the girl-
"Very nice choice." Tadashi's father was nodding at the ring on his son's finger before turning to face Kei, one eyebrow raised. "Did you..?"
"Yes, I did. Thank you for the advice, Yamaguchi-san. It was exactly what I needed."
Tadashi whipped his head around, looking between his father and his best friend with wide eyes and an even wider smile. "What? What advice?"
Tadashi's father wrapped his hands around Tadashi's a thumb gently stroking the silver band. "Kei bought your rings at the same store I bought your mother's engagement ring."
Akiteru was struck silent even as Tadashi started crying, staring at the ring in shock. He listened mutely as the five people in front of him continued to exchange questions and stories about the… engagement that had just occurred.
Tadashi's mother finally checked her watch and said they needed to leave if they were going to make their lunch reservation. The group of six started walking, Tadashi taking Kei's hand and weaving their fingers together before leading the way. Akiteru was at the back, hardly able to tell if he was even alive at the moment.
Before long, his mother was at his side. "Honey? Are you alright? You look a bit pale."
Akiteru swallowed, his mouth unusually dry. "Mom… this might sound like a stupid question… but how long have Tadashi and Kei been dating?"
"Ever since their first year in high school. Maybe about halfway through the year?"
Akiteru nodded… horrified by how dumb he must be. With each step he took, another puzzle piece fell into place behind his eyes. If he were to sudden walk straight into a sinkhole, he'd be less surprised.
His mother watched his face for a few seconds before something clicked in her own eyes. She gasped softly before placing a hand on his upper shoulder. "Oh… Aki-chan… did you not know? This whole time?"
He shook his head slowly.
"Do you want me to fill you in later?"
"...I won't tell Kei."
"Are you upset?"
Akiteru thought about it for a moment, staring hard at Tadashi and Kei's interlocked fingers just ahead of him. As he watched, Kei turned his head to the left and pressed a gentle kiss to Tadashi's temple, which made the other boy giggle and nuzzle his face against Kei's upper arm.
He wasn't upset that his younger brother was dating a boy. If anything, he suddenly realized how obvious the whole situation was. It had only ever been Tadashi. From the looks of it, it would continuing to only be Tadashi until the end of time. No… he wasn't upset about their relationship.
What he was upset about was…
"He never even told me!"
Obliviousness must run in the family!
I typed this whole thing in less than an hour! And now it's done! Oh my gosh! Happy birthday to me!
Hope you enjoyed!