He didn’t know where the other had gone and halfway he’d lost the other’s trail around a corner, but he was determined to find the other. This was also a good opportunity for Tadashi to breathe in the oxygen he desperately needed, plus think of where he’d run off to.
Yamaguchi was so lost in thought that he didn’t even notice the two silhouette shadows until he felt well enough to move his throbbing legs again. He approached carefully, but didn’t round the building’s edge since he didn’t want to startle them (whoever they were). “H-hello?”
There was a yelp and some shuffling around, but soon enough three of the four Karasuno first years were looking at each other with ranging awkward expressions.
Self-consciously, Yamaguchi poked the bear. “What are you two doing out here…?”
Defensively, Kageyama responded with crossed arms and annoyed half-lidded eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“Um, I was…” He felt his face blushing, not knowing where to start on what had just happened and what he wanted to do. “The thing is that-”
“You’re looking for Tsukishima?” Hinata looked up like it was the most logical conclusion, which to be fair he did have a point. They were usually inseparable, but then the camp and Terushima happened and now he was having a hard time picturing ever going back.
Big congratu-fucking-lations for screwing up one of the only good things you had. Never knew stupidity could get this bad, but aren’t you full of surprises, Tadashi!
“Helloooooo. Earth to Yamaguchi! Did you hear me?” Hinata said on the balls of his feet, hand washing back and forth in front of Tadashi’s freckled cheeks.
“Um, no. Sorry.”
“No worries! But he looked like he was going back to the dorms, so that’s probably your best bet.”
Yamaguchi couldn’t hold back his smile, though it was laced with some anxiousness. “Thanks! And have fun with… whatever you’re doing! Bye!” He left both of the two, sprinting yet again towards the blonde’s hopeful direction.
Tadashi didn’t know how to explain it, but he knew Tsukki would be in their shared room. The lights were off and the only thing giving the slightest indication that someone was occupying the space was the light from the blonde’s phone and the slight rumble of his friend’s music.
He cautiously made his way to the other’s bed, sitting at the foot. Although he couldn’t see him due to the covers and pillow stacked above him, Tadashi could sense the other tense up. Neither made a move or invited the other for a conversation, both listening to the song’s tune in varying volumes.
That was until Yamaguchi made a move he had never made in all his years of knowing Kei Tsukishima: take off the other’s headphones. He’d wanted to so many other times before, but shied away from the action for multiple reasons. But if Tsukishima was going to tell him to leave him alone forever, what was one more item to stack onto the laundry list of reasons?
Yamaguchi was about to reach under the covers and pillows when he could feel the other do something other than stiffen when he originally made his way over. Tsukshima was sniffling and most likely shaking as well. He remembered Tsukki once confiding in him, saying that his headphones helped soothe him when the world was too much, even if they weren’t playing anything.
So instead, Tadashi made his way over to the phone and hit pause. Accidentally seeing that he was listening to his comfort playlist (which he’d never admit) based on the sound choice. Yamaguchi’s gut sank more than before.
The freckled boy didn’t know what to say, and neither did his friend, but he decided to give it a shot. “You… okay?”
Mumbled through the fabric, he responded. “Y-yeah. ‘M fine.”
Another awkward pause, and Yamaguchi looked off the bed, finding that twiddling his thumbs helped calm his nerves somewhat. “Tsukki?” No response. “A-Are...are you crying right now?”
He’d seen him cry only a handful of times, if you weren’t counting times where you got a scrap from tripping as a kid. The last time he’d seen the other this emotionally disoriented was when they’d both found out the truth over Akiteru. It had completely wrecked Tsukki. Now you’ve completely wrecked him. I hope that you’re happy, because he’s sure not.
He didn’t even realize how clear the response was, since his heart and thoughts were being anchored down yet again. “I’m not crying. You’re the one crying.” He said it in a way that children do to push the burden of feelings away, and looking over Yamaguchi could see that familiar grumble he’d always found sort of endearing. His glasses weren’t on his face, but he was scrubbing at his now red eyes, clearly lying that no tears were shed.
He was knocked out of his thoughts yet again when he found something yet at the end of his chin. And another wet feeling sliding down his cheeks, and suddenly Yamaguchi felt like he needed glasses because everything was cloudy. Then he realized he was actually crying. “Oh,” he started, feeling the unknown need to give a slight chuckle at the revelation. “Looks like I am.”
Tsukishima fumbled getting himself out of the binding cloths and onto the surface, where he could see and be closer to Yamaguchi. He always hated when the other would cry in front of him, partially due to the fact that he didn’t know what he should or shouldn’t do and also because it caused a pinching sensation for his heart, which he wasn’t fond of.
He shifted his weight as close as possible, but still giving him some space just in case. “Tadashi, why are you crying?”
In retaliation, he flung his arms up then casted them back down. “I-I don't know! Maybe it's cause my best friend is about to finally realize he’s better off without me! Or maybe it’s due to you and Kuroo finally tying the knot! Could be because of my utter stupidity in kissing a guy I don’t like! O-Or mayb-be it’s bec-cause-”
Tsukishima could feel it coming, and probably Yamaguchi as well. Before he knew it, Yamaguchi was shivering like it was the peak of snow season and breathing like he was drowning underwater. His legs were moving more rapidly than they once had and the tears were building up, showing Tadashi wanted them to stop. Tsukshima had been close with Yamaguchi for some time to know his signs of a panic attack and that this was not an exception.
He closed the distance and moved behind Yamaguchi, remembering what had been helpful the previous time this had happened with him in the room. Wrapping his arms around the other and placing his chin at his shoulder’s crevice, he began to shush him. Telling him to breathe with his own heartbeat, as well as tell him positive and truthful statements.
“You’re amazing. The whole team’s so proud of you.”
“You might fumble, but you’re trying, and everyone can see that.”
“Your imperfections and freckles aren’t ugly. You and them are unique and show just how beautiful the world can be.”
“You aren’t alone.”
“You aren’t alone.”
“You aren’t alone.”
It had been a few minutes and he’s composed himself enough to talk without breaking back out into tears. The last phrase rang and bounced off Yamaguchi’s mind, because he couldn’t believe that was true. “B-But I am alone. I’m.. going to be alone, Tsukki.”
“Says who? I’m not leaving you. Not now, not ever.” It seemed so sincere that Yamaguchi thought that he was being true, but only for a moment.
Tadashi wanted to rip the band-aid off, because moving around it for his sanity now was going to harm him in the long run. “Yes, you are . You’re going to be happy dating Kuroo, and realize I’m more trouble than you’re worth.”
Yamaguchi was scared once he felt the weight in the mattress shift around again. He closed his eyes shut, weighting for the pain that came with tearing off a bandage: the initial hurt, the recovery, and the moving one. It all sucked, but you could still live on with the scar.
Instead of yelling words and maybe a swing or two of fist, he felt hands cup his cheeks. Then he felt the other’s breath on his nose, which made him wrinkle.
“Who’s telling you these things, Yama?” When he finally forced his eyes open, he could see Tsukishima’s tearing up again.
He casted his eyes down, pushing a hair strand behind his ear. “No one…. But it’s obvious, I mean-” Tadashi was quickly stopped when his friend pulled his head upwards to meet his amber eyes yet again.
“Tell me, Tadashi, do you have access to my head? To my thoughts? Like could you go in there right now and tell me what I’m thinking? Feeling?” Yamaguchi shook his head, not knowing where this was going. “So then you need to trust me and my words. I know how I’m feeling, not you. And only you know how Tadashi Yamaguchi feels… and I’m so sorry I didn’t ask how you were feeling sooner.”
Yamaguchi did the only practical thing he could in that moment, reach the other and pull the other into an embrace. He didn’t account for the landing, since the unexpected weight made them both fall over onto the bed in each other’s embrace.
There was a moment of silence, except in the shuffle they’d accidentally played Tsukishima’s music again, so the humming accompanied them. This time Kei broke the silence that kept the two. “If you want to know how I feel,” he started, hot words and breath in Yamaguchi’s ear, “I felt awful. I hurt you and wasn’t being a good friend. I… this whole time I should have thought more about your feelings when fake-flirting with Kuroo. I don’t even like him-”
Yamaguchi pushed away to see the other’s face. “Y-You what?!”
Tsukishima was scrambling to gather the right words and thoughts. “I, well, you and Terushima were getting so close and I-I hated it. So Kuroo made the idea, now thinking back was so stupid , to fake flirt in order to get your attention. And that’s so fucked and… why are you laughing?”
“B-Because I’m relieved you're not, I don’t know, in love with him. I mean, I won’t lie in saying that I didn’t enjoy Terushima’s flirting, but that’s all it was. I don’t like him the way I like… now why are you laughing?!”
Now they were both giggling like usual, both feeling the other’s laughs in their hug. “We’re both awful, aren’t we?” Tsukishima said, not even trying to hide the appearing smile.
Yamaguchi snuggled closer, head rested on top of the other. “Maybe.” And after gaining some more confidence, knowing the other definitely wouldn’t leave him in the dust, he finished his thought from before. “Hey, Tsukki, there’s another thing the kiss with Terushima made me realize…”
All the buses were loaded and in a few minutes the once packed training camp would be vacant once more. Karasuno’s bus was one of the first ones to be leaving, so many of them who overslept (aka all the second years) were scrambling to make sure everything was in order.
It was colder than expected, but that was no problem since Tsukishima had left Yamaguchi his extra sweatshirt to use. They were walking hand in hand, both beaming more than ever. Everyone noticed, but none made a comment directly.
Tsukshima had noticed Kuroo and Terushima standing in close vicinity to the other and without hesitation, stopped Yamaguchi and pulled him into a kiss. After breaking it, Yamaguchi giggled in his ear, which made Tsukishima stop breathing for a moment.
Yamaguchi hurried over to the bus, leaving Tsukishima only a few centimeters behind. This was the optimal time, since Tadashi couldn’t see his boyfriend flip off the other two while hurrying to catch up and drop off his bags.
Terushima drifted over to the other captain, arms crossed and face holding a familiar smirk. “Mission successful, aye Kuroo.”
“ Pft , took long enough. And, thanks by the way.”
The pierced boy snickered and playfully shoved the other. “I won’t lie, I did find it a bit strange that you asked me to flirt with Yamaguchi, but it sure was entertaining! Dude can not handle a tease or two save his life.”
“It was the only thing I could think of to do!” Kuroo said slightly shoving him back, still as playful.
“What was?” An unknown voice said behind them.
Terushima started to explain, trying to stifle his laughter in between. “Well, apparently all the captains got pulled into this meeting, saying how me and my guys were going to come. And then I get a text from fucking Kuroo , asking to flirt with Yamaguchi in order for heartless Tsukishima to come to his senses!” He was crouching over, hands at his sides and ribs sore.
“Kuroo.” He didn’t have to look around to see who was the mysterious voice. He also didn’t have to turn around to see his face and know it was going to be a long lecture and ride home.
The ride back was more bumbly than Tadashi remembered compared to the ride there. It was a good thing he had Tsukishima steadying him.
He was leaning against his ams, snuggling up against the sweatshirt’s fabric while his boyfriend’s other arm played with his hair. It’d take a while for him to get used to that word, boyfriend, but he didn’t mind.
Looking out the window, he saw cars and forest pass by at a faster rate than before, which mimicked his accelerating heart.
There were a few things Yamaguchi didn’t like about training camps, sure, but he could add being with Kei, his best friend and boyfriend, to the parts that he did enjoy.