Asahi groans, turning around to grab his phone. He blinks blearily as he reads through Nishinoya’s messages, which is usually excited and punctuated with an abundance of stickers and emojis. Cute.
6:37 noya: asahi-san!! are u comign to karasuno with us today??
6:37 noya: [an animated sticker of a cat wagging its tail excitedly with shiny eyes]
6:37 noya: suga-san and daichi-san and chikara are coming too!!! hisashi and kazuhito are helping ryuu with homework so they won’t be here
Asahi smiles, getting ready to type out a reply. He’s halfway done with his message before a call comes in.
“Asahi-san! Are you awake?”
Nishinoya’s voice is as cheerful as ever, and Asahi can almost see the way his eyes are sparkling. He turns down the call volume before answering.
“I just woke up,” he says, yawning. “I don’t know how you have this much energy in the morning.”
“I just woke up too! Suga-san invited us to go with them yesterday, but he said that you were working and that he didn’t want to bother you. Do you have any plans for today?”
Asahi blinks slowly, trying to remember if he had planned anything. He doesn’t have work today or tomorrow, so it should be fine for him to go out with them.
“No, I’ll go with you guys. When are you going?”
“We’re meeting up at Ukai’s shop for lunch before going,” Nishinoya replies. Asahi hears a thump and a crash in the background.
“Aiko, what are you do-! Shit! See you, Asahi-san!”
The call is cut off abruptly, most likely due to Nishinoya’s younger sister getting into trouble again.
I guess that means I’ll have to get up soon, he thinks, staring at Nishinoya’s messages just a bit longer.
Nishinoya’s voice can be heard from a mile away. He grins and waves, luminous in the midday sun.
“Whoa, your hair’s gotten even longer!”
Ennoshita’s surprised voice draws everyone’s attention to his hair, which is, indeed, longer than it was two years ago.
“Ah, I keep forgetting to cut it,” Asahi replies, touching his hair a little self-consciously. It’s grown past his shoulders and is reaching the middle of his back; he’s been meaning to cut it for months now.
“You don’t have to! I think it looks good!” Nishinoya says.
“Noya… well, if you think so,” he replies, face heating up slightly.
Daichi laughs and slaps him on the shoulder while Sugawara gives him a knowing look, walking towards the direction of the high school.
“Will Tanaka be able to come with us next time?”
“I keep telling him to study properly instead of cramming the night before a test, but he never listens to me…”
Hinata’s excited squawk brings everyone’s eyes to the entrance of the gym. Ukai calls for a short break, and the now-third-years rush over to them.
Hinata’s excited squawk bring everyone’s eyes to the entrance of the gym. Ukai calls for a short break, and the now-third-years rush over to them.
“Yo! Yamaguchi, how are you doing as captain?”
Everyone’s hair has gotten longer, Asahi notices. Yamaguchi’s hair is in a short, messy ponytail, while Yachi’s blonde hair is in a neat braid, bangs clipped to the side.
“Noya-senpai! I didn’t know you guys were going to be coming today!”
Hinata hasn’t grown much at all. Kageyama jogs over and greets them quietly, smiling with a little of the same endearingly awkward charm he had as a first-year. Tsukishima nods at them, and Asahi is a little shocked to see that he’s grown even taller. What the hell?
Hinata hasn’t grown much at all. Kageyama jogs over and greets them quietly, smiling with a little of the same endearingly awkward charm he had as a first year. Tsukishima nods at them, and Asahi is a little shocked to see that he’s grown even taller. What the hell?
Some of the second years also shout their greetings, having warmed up to them after their frequent visits last year. Nishinoya grins and runs onto the court where they are, introducing himself to the first years and immediately starting a conversation.
“A ball of energy as always, isn’t he?”
Asahi turns around to see Daichi watching them as well, eyes fond. Sugawara is teasing Hinata and Tsukishima, while Ennoshita seems to be giving Yamaguchi tips on managing a few rowdy first years.
It’s a warm, familiar scene, and Asahi plans to bask in the comfort of it all for as long as he can. He’s interrupted, however, by Ukai.
“Since some of our former players are here, why don’t we play a few practice games?” Ukai says, clapping his hands loudly. “We’ve got Karasuno’s former ace and guardian angel here!”
There are cheers, and Asahi is ushered onto the court along with the rest of them.
By the time practice ends, the sun has set and the sky is covered in gray clouds heavy with water. The rain falls with a ferocity Asahi hasn't seen for months, and he silently mourns his decision not to bring an umbrella earlier during the day.
“Asahi-san! Do you want to come to my house today?” Nishinoya asks, eyes shining. “You can go back after the rain stops!”
“You do live further away than the rest of us,” Sugawara says, smiling pleasantly.
It’s completely ridiculous and everyone knows it. Asahi’s house is exactly seven minutes further than Nishinoya’s house is, four minutes if he runs. There’s absolutely no reason for him to go to Nishinoya’s house instead, and yet here he is, standing in his room and drying his hair after a nice, warm bath.
Nishinoya’s mother had told him to stay the night because the rain hadn’t stopped after eight and it would be unsafe for him to walk home in the dark. He calls his parents to let them know, then sits on Nishinoya’s bed awkwardly.
Nishinoya’s mother had told him to stay the night because the rain hadn’t stopped after eight and it would be unsafe for him to walk home in the dark. He calls his parents to let them know, than sits on Nishinoya’s bed awkwardly.
Nishinoya comes into the room a moment later with his younger sister in his arms.
“Sorry about this,” he says sheepishly. “Aiko said she wanted to meet you.”
Aiko looks at Asahi with big, round eyes. She’s silent for a few seconds, studying him.
“You have really long hair.”
“Huh? Ah, yeah…”
“Can I play with it?”
“Aiko, do you even know how to do hair?” Nishinoya asks, smiling.
Aiko pouts and opens her mouth to say something when her mother calls for her. Nishinoya lets her down and she trots off into the kitchen.
“Your sister is cute,” Asahi says.
“She is, but she’s a handful sometimes,” Nishinoya says, flopping onto the bed and sighing.
They stay like that on the bed for a few minutes. The silence is comfortable, like a warm blanket on a cold day.
“Do you mind if I do your hair?”
Nishinoya’s voice quieter than usual and his face is a little red. Asahi feels his face heat up as well when he nods.
Nishinoya’s hands are soft as they run through his hair, gently separating any knots and tangles. They’re practiced, deftly weaving pieces of hair together to create an elaborate braid.
Asahi loses track of time, nearly dozing off. Nishinoya starts humming at some point, carefully making sure not to tug at his scalp. It’s relaxing.
Asahi blinks a little blearily before walking into the bathroom and looking into the mirror. Both sides of his hair are braided, and the back is gathered into a bun. The braid on the right is a little lopsided and there are bits and pieces of hair sticking out from the bun, but it looks good. It’s cute.
“I’ve only practiced a few times on Aiko’s hair before so it’s not perfect,” Nishinoya says.
Asahi touches his hair tentatively. There’s a warm feeling in his chest, like his heart can’t contain his happiness and is overflowing with love.
“It’s beautiful,” he says softly. “Thank you, Nishinoya.”