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Yahaba doesn’t like Kyoutani. In any way, shape, or form. Not when he’s yelling, not when Yahaba has to answer questions about why he’s skipping class again - because of course they had to end up in the same class in their third year - and not even when it’s a relatively good day, where Kyoutani swears at Yahaba for giving him pointers but tries to follow his advice anyway.

But the absolute worst kind of Kyoutani is the one that’s being difficult during a match.

“Stop being a fucking chicken.”

“What did you say?”

“Stop being a fucking chicken,” Kyoutani repeats, louder and while glowering at him. Yahaba hates how they’re pretty much on eye-level now.

“Send me the toss and I’ll score, so stop shitting yourself over the blockers, Captain .” It’s always mocking when Kyoutani calls him that, and Yahaba bristles.

“Like when half of your spikes were blocked in the first set?” He’s exaggerating, he knows that, but it’s always satisfying to see Kyoutani’s frown deepen. “Thanks for the offer, but I’d rather toss to people who can actually score."

“I said I’ll fucking score, so do your job and toss to your ace-”

“Don’t-,” Yahaba is interrupted by the coach loudly clearing his throat. It's probably for the best, because he doesn’t know what he’d do if the words ever actually left his lips.

Don’t call yourself mine.

It’s another thing he’s come to hate about Kyoutani - how often he calls himself his , Yahaba’s ace, rather than the team’s. He thankfully hasn’t called Yahaba his setter since the first time when Yahaba actually hit the back of his head, but the thought, the implication, still makes his throat close up hotly.

“Datekou’s defense has been as unrelenting as ever, but you should be warmed up by now, right?” the coach asks.

Kyoutani nods.

“Very well,” Irihata then turns to Yahaba. “Keep your attacks varied, but don’t let them intimidate you, got it?”

Yahaba bites his lip but nods. “Yes!” He’s still annoyed when they get back on the court, but he can’t let it show - as much as he hates to admit it, Kyoutani is their ace, and the asshole knows it.

He demands attention almost more than their opponents do by virtue of his presence alone, but he’s more obvious about it now, calling for hits even if he’s in the backline to the point where Yahaba almost wants to toss to him just to make him shut up - but they’ve rarely practiced back attacks, and Yahaba would rather not lose points through a misjudged toss.

Kyoutani doesn’t care about any of that at all, and goes for the runup as soon as Watari’s receive goes up, perfectly on top of Yahaba. Their eyes meet for just a fraction of a second, Yahaba is ready to yell at him for being an idiot, but there’s an unnervingly calm challenge in those eyes, a ‘ You gonna fucking do it or not ?”, but also something else - something confident and grounding, calm and unshakeable, and Yahaba hates that he recognizes it as the begrudging trust they somehow built up between them.

It’s only when the ball is on the other side of the net, cleanly smashed through the tall setter, that Yahaba realizes that he took the bait, hook, line and sinker. He knows he’ll yell at Kyoutani later, but for now, they share another look, and solidly high-five each other, matching grins on their lips.