All of the Crows always looked forward to the training camps their coaches had miraculously scooped up for them. Well, most of them were excited for the camp that was.
Yamaguchi didn’t hate training camps, more like the opposite. He rather enjoyed getting stronger alongside his teammates, the comradery from other teams, as well as the infamous food that came at the end. The one thing he didn’t like wasn’t really so much of a certain activity like pushishment workouts, but instead a person that got involved in his schedule.
And said person was arriving just as their bus had been, all of them in a crimson assembly line, waiting to grab all of their bags. Tadashi knew what was going to come next, and so he gave out a breath he didn’t know he was keeping. Then he took a step back while they all walked to the dormitories, knowing he’d just be pushed to the side if he didn’t.
Low and behold, a familiar sly face and dark hair came next to his best friend and rubbed his scalp in a playful greeting. This annoyed Tsukki, but what didn’t aggravate him?
The brim of his glasses slid down the blonde’s nose, which made his stare more expressive and agitated. “I told you I hate that, Kuroo.”
“You’re giving me the cold shoulder already? Aw you’re gonna hurt my feelings..” The cat stuck out his bottom lip and puffed up his eyes, trying to gain some sympathy. It didn’t work.
“I want the whole run down about what you’ve been doing since the last time I’ve seen you! No more lost time, kay Tsukki.” His eyes then reversed and narrowed, knowing what he was doing with that last part.
Yamaguchi, who wasn’t that far away from the pair, could hear what was going on. He was especially attentive to the nickname, the one that meant so much to him. The pinch server held onto his bag’s straps so tightly he could see pure white. He even tried to tune into other conversations, but it was futile.
“I told you to also not call me that .. Are you brain dead or something?” Tsukishima said, rolling his eyes, which made Nekoma’s captain laugh.
“I don’t know, maybe just the mere sight of you makes me lose my train of thought.” Then, while still having an arm around his shoulders, Kuroo sent fake kisses into the air for the blonde.
Tsukishima tried to break his connection, but instead started to smirk and go along with the joke. Whenever Yamaguchi made accidental contact, whether it be a graze against the other knuckles or legs bumping while on the couch, the other seemed to be defensive. He didn’t act that same repulsed way with Kuroo, and it made Yamaguchi’s heart drop heavy.
After much more banter, Kuroo split off from Tsukki and the rest of the Karasuno team, since Nekoma wanted to get their rooms situated. After Kuroo left, Yamaguchi fell right into place with Tsukki, trying to shake off his little worries. His friend gave him a slight smile, which definitely helped a little.
“He’s such a pest, not as much as you though, Tadashi.” He said, swaying a bit to nudge the freckled boy walking next to him.
It shouldn’t have bothered him, and it usually didn’t bother him. But for some reason, it did now . After spending years with Tsukki as his best friend, he was used to Tsukki’s brutal tongue and the intricacies of the words that fell from it. He knew he wasn’t a pest, but somehow…
“You alright?” Tadashi was immediately taken out of his head when he saw that his friend, who usually left him trailing, was now behind him. His eyes made it seem like he cared a lot about what he was feeling, but Yamaguchi didn’t want to voice his concerns. He knew that he was his best friend and no black cat was going to change that overnight.
“Yeah, Tsukki. Just a little bus-lagged is all.” And the way that he spoke, even Yamaguchi believed for a minute that he was alright. The blonde must have believed it too, since he shrugged and walked alongside him until they made it to their designated room.
So yeah, Yamaguchi didn’t have a fondness for some things about training camp. But there were a few things he did like, so all he had to do is hold his head up tall and roll with the punches. He could manage that, right?
“Sorry, Yamaguchi! You all right?” Kuroo shouted from his end of the court, sincerity dripping from himself.
“‘M fine! No worries!” He strained out, attempting to get up. He was fine, if not just a little dazed from receiving the full force of the middle blocker’s spike. Tsukki lent him his hand while pressing the other palm on his back for extra support, so that also could have been a factor as to why his legs refused to work.
“Point for Nekoma!” The person on the scoreboard shouted out, as if it wasn’t obvious that Yamaguchi had lost the point for his team yet again.
“Next time you serve it, spot on his snarky little mouth, okay?” Tsukishima asked Yamaguchi, who couldn’t decipher if he was being genuine or not, in his advice. He switched back with their leading star like always, who gave him a grand compliment for getting it over the net.
For the rest of the match, Yamaguchi was on the sideline while mostly everyone else got rotated in. If only I could prove I belong there , he thought. He tried to hide it but I still stung a little that he was the only first year excluded from being one the starting group. Shaking his head in hopes to get those thoughts out of his head, Tadashi looked up to see Tsukki fidgeting in Kuroo’s grasp.
He didn’t even register that the game had ended, Karasuno winning, everyone dispersing to talk to their friends. And for some reason he found it disheartening that his best friend went to Kuroo first. Or maybe he went to his best friend first, trapping him. Did it even matter?
“Kuroo, put me down!! I’m gonna vomit in that nest you call hair!” Kuroo was spinning him around the court, mimicking an ice skater’s routine. And although his mouth spoke with displeasure, his eyes made those words seem suspicious.
Maybe if you actually put on some muscle, he’d be that happy with you in his arms. The back of his brain mumbled to him, making the pinch server feel a little queasy. He flexed his arm and pinched the top of the skin, not denying the thought didn’t have some merit.
When he looked back up, he saw that his best friend was smiling constantly with the other. Realizing he didn’t need, nor want, to see anymore of what was going on, Yamaguchi left the gym, making his way for somewhere to clear his head more freely.
As soon as Tsukishima saw Yamaguchi leave in the corner of his eye, his demeanor went back to the same cold state. Now using his energy to pry himself backwards, giving Kuroo a wave before transforming into his friend’s pseudo-shadow.
He knew in his head that something was going on with the middle blocker, but he couldn’t pinpoint what-
“He’s using you, Idiot.” Kenma muttered, startling the captain more than it should. He was usually used to his friend popping out of nowhere at the last second.
“What do you mean?” He wasn’t denying that was a possibility, but he felt like there was more going on.
Kenma, who was playing a gacha game on his phone, gave a little sigh before continuing. “Think, Kuroo, you think Tsukishima went from ‘touch me and you're dead’ to ‘haha it’s funny spinning in your arms’ overnight? Think for a second.”
And he did, but then a second turned into a minute. And then that minute spiraled into four until the pieces finally clicked. “I get it now!”
“Oh, thank god, I honestly thought you didn’t-”
“He wants to go into gymnastics! Like, do all that cool spinny-air shit and what not!”
Kenma clicked his phone off and turned straight at his friend, eyes piercing him into place. “Kuroo.”
Kuroo, who felt like a brainiac, looked back with a smirk that he couldn’t quite muster back. “Kenma.”
There was a pause, both boys just looking at the other. Then, Kenma slapped him on the arm with so much strength that Kuroo didn’t know he had stored inside his tiny body.
As Kuroo whined in pain from the attack, Kenma whined in his voice. “How dense are you!!” Pinching the bridge of his nose, both him and the pain simmered down.
“He’s using you to make someone else feel a certain way.” Kenma finally spoke up.
Still rubbing the marked spot, he asked back “Who’s this someone?”
“Kuroo, I swear I will not hesitate to smack you again-”
“Wait do you mean, his best friend?! Yamaguchi?” To which Kenma nodded, looking relieved he finally understood. “But why do that?”
Kenma shrugged, twirling his phone subconsciously. “I don’t have all the answers, Kuroo. He could have no clue what he’s doing. Or maybe he has a full clue, but you need to do something about it.”
Kuroo pondered, then looked back up at his best friend. “You think he’s got a crush on him? I-I mean I tease him about it, but-”
“That’s probably the most likely answer. But again, take a stand. Help both of them out, but…. Be smart about it, kay?” Then he opened up his phone, screen still on the summoning page, before heading out the same pair of doors.
Getting both of them to realize their feelings, confessing to one another. Confessing to your best friend. He felt the last part of that the same, if not more than the pair in question. This isn’t about you Kuroo! Put your feelings on the back burner and focus on them for now! You can help them out somehow, right?
For some unknown reason, all the team's captains got called for a meeting with the coaches and managers. Which didn’t really concern most of the Karasuno team, beside them being unsupervised… so maybe they should be concerned.
Tsukishima and Yamaguchi wanted no part in the team’s antics, and surely didn’t want to try to calm the storm (sorry to Asahi and Ennoshita), so they retreated to their room for the night. It wasn’t anything glamorous, if anything it looked like a fake furniture set at a department store.
There were no windows, two twin beds with identical spreads, creme tinted walls and wooden flooring. Nothing really special about the room, but it was their room, and that made Yamaguchi feel pretty good about the situation.
Climbing onto the bed near the left, Yamaguchi let his feet sway while looking at his best friend. He was unpacking some toothpaste and bedtime necessities, obviously trying to get ready for sleep sooner rather than later.
Yamaguchi bit down on his lip slightly, thinking about speaking his mind. He decided there was no real harm, so he made the leap. “Hey, Tsukki? Can I ask you a question?”
Without turning around and still unpacking, he replied with a “you already did”, not in a hurtful way, but just stating a fact.
Yamaguchi giggled partially out of embarrassment, and also because of the hilarity of what Tsukki was as a person. Sometimes he thought the blonde was a cyborg with how he acted and talked, trying to secretly infiltrate human society. “You wanna watch a movie or something before bed?”
For this, he actually did turn around. He had a look in his eyes that made Yamaguchi rethink everything, eyebrows knitting closer together. “I’m tired, Yama. What if we fall asleep during it?”
“Well,” he looked down at his feet, which were swaying more rapidly in a way that showed his words. Stupid anxiety, who invited you here? “M-If we do, that wouldn’t be so bad would it? I-I mean the worst is our phones die…” It took everything in him to look up, and when he did, he regretted it instantaneously.
Tsukishima had a stare that made Tadashi want to be consumed by the bed in one gulp. “Let’s do it tomorrow night? When we can plan it out, instead of being spontaneous-” You know he hates doing things on the fly, Tadashi. How incompetent could you be? “- and I’ll even let you choose. Just give me more time so I can get snacks prepared, alright?” He nudged the calf of his friend, and Tadashi could see he was trying to be nice and sweet, not wanting him to feel embarrassment.
“That being said, I’m going to brush my teeth before anyone else gets in the bathroom. Wish me luck getting through the literal jungle known as our team.” Tsukishima’s smile and presence both left the room before Yamaguchi could utter a word out.
Tadashi retreated to the bed’s pillow, which he cuddled closely to himself. For some reason, the back of his throat felt caught and strung, almost like he wanted to cry. But cry about what? The fact that he was hopelessly pining over his childhood friend, who no way liked him back? He’d done that more times than he could count over the years.
Maybe he likes that Kuroo fellow? He’s much more entertaining than a scrawy wimp who can’t even hit a fucking ball over the net. No, scratch that, watching you repeatedly fail must be fun to watch. He clutched the pillow so much he thought the seam and fluff would burst alive. He could feel tears dancing at the end of his eyes, eager to perform their piece of a streamed dance.
What’s a few more shredded tears for impossible love? It’s not like his best friend would mention that fact that he was crying, and if he did…. It’s not like Yamaguchi would give him the honest reason as to why.
When Yamaguchi woke up, he wasn’t expecting to be dragged out of bed. He was a heavy sleeper, he’ll admit that, but that didn't mean Noya and Hinata needed to physically lift him from bed like he was a coffin .
“G-Guys, I’m awake!! Put me down!!” He had helplessly cried out, which thankfully summoned both captains for their makeshift family and then that nightmare was over.
Apparently the reason the players needed to get up early was 1) for practice, which somehow would start up earlier and end faster but the most intriguing reason was 2) the results from last night’s meeting.
During the meeting, the captains and managers were told that a team in their prefecture circle had some difficulties with their usual training camp, something about a stray gas line breaking. They had found out from the team’s coach, who begged for any spot or opportunity to be involved in their training camp activities.
So a majority of the captains told their teams about what would happen because of this change, which also led to Karasuno being the lead men in helping them get situated. Apparently during the meeting, that was the unanimous, pairs of eyes drifting to the third year captains and manager who attended the meeting.
Yamaguchi was sure he'd get a sunburn, as it was too humid and hot outside to be left alone without sunscreen. He realized then that the gyms would probably be even more sticky, so complaining was futile.
Tsukki and him were charged with getting the new teams their schedules and the layout of the place they'd now be accompanying.
After a few minutes of getting everything and one situated, a bus rolled up and parked itself to a halt. The doors grew in shrunk, showing a team in golden material and various dark sweatpants.
Yamaguchi remembered that team very well. Johzenji High . They all started to grab their luggage from the bottom of the bus, until the wild pack walked over towards where the Crows took nest in front of the building.
One thing he especially remembered was their charismatic captain Yūji Terushima, who had enough energy to rival Noya or Hinata sometimes. He seemed to have eyes that kept darting around, maybe taking in the scenery or maybe some other reason.
Tsukishima looked up for a minute before scoffing and breathing out an “ew” to pair. Yamaguchi got ready to hand out flyers to the newcomers.
The captain tried to get the attention of their own captain, but Daichi was in the middle of a conversation with Coach Ukai. Waving his arm like a car wash inflatable man, shouting out in a way that caught Tadashi’s interest. “Oi Daichi, where’s Karasuno’s trademark cutie?”
Yamaguchi, gripping his paper a little tighter than needed, stepped from behind their captain, who was blocking him from sight. He looked at the question-asking boy, who looked to have gotten even more piercings. “I-Uh, Kiyoko’s with the other team managers right now, but if you wan-“
He was cut off once the other boy loomed over Tadashi mid-sentence, placing an index finger under his chin and solely raising it. His eyebrows and eyes reached downward, which made Yamaguchi shiver for some reason. I-It just got hot outside.
Then after a moment of silence and staring, Terushima uttered back in a low, raspy tone. “‘Meant you. How are yah?” The way that he said the last syllable made it so Tadashi has a clear shot of the shining bead on the boy’s tongue. Shit, it’s really hot outside.
The pinch server couldn’t respond, all his thoughts and learning of speech vanished from his mind. So he stood there like an idiot, Terushima laughing soon after.
“Cat got your tongue?” He didn’t wait for a response that wasn’t coming anytime soon, so he pressed on. “Is that the map you guys got together for us?” He scooped a paper from the stack Yamaguchi was holding, observing it for a second before tearing it in half.
Yamaguchi’s eyes and mouth stretched open, shocked at what was going on. Then Terushima hooked his neck with his arm, mumbling with his tender tone into Tadashi’s ear. “I don’t do so well with paper learning, I need to just do it, you get it? So why don’t you give me a personal tour? We can ask Daichi if it’s alright, wouldn’t want you to get my ‘bad boy’ rep.”
Yamaguchi looked across to see that the man in question was finally getting out of his conversation. But he didn’t see Tsukki anywhere. Where was he? Was he helping everyone one else?? Was he giving out tours?
Tadashi looked back to see Teru smiling down at him, which made his face blush from something other than the sun. More importantly that his best friend’s whereabouts was the situation he was currently in.
Because what was going on?! He just hoped this wouldn’t be another reason to dislike camps, but he was also scared of this being the opposite reason too. Another ‘Lose-Lose’ situation for the bad luck charm Tadashi Yamaguchi.
Let’s just make the best of it, he thought as Daichi’s distance and Terushima’s breathing came closer towards the pinch server.