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you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness

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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?

 

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. 

 

Chapter Text

Daichi gave them the big thumbs up and bright smile after they asked, just telling them to pay attention to the times and to not miss their first matches. 

 

Yamaguchi didn’t feel as sweaty and heated like when he was outside, chalking it up to the indoor ventilation and air conditioning. He still felt slimy and jittery, but that was most likely due to what had transpired a few minutes ago. Once they entered the building, Terushima didn’t do anything as… energetic from before. 

 

They were walking side by side and Tadashi thought about how nice it was to have someone at your own pace. Usually Tsukki was too far ahead for his bony legs to speed up too, or with three people walking he was always smudged on the end or the head of a make-shift triangle. So he enjoyed the walk and the little banter between themselves.

 

He never had a chance to talk one-on-one with the captain before now, but he seems vaguely the same on and off the court. “Ooooo, how’s the food here? Are you positive I won’t catch a stomach bug?”  

 

They had just passed the dining hall, where all the team managers were talking about both manager and girl issues. The two of them didn’t stick around there long, but talk of food was certainly something to discuss. “Well,” Tadashi started, looking straight ahead. “No one from Karasuno has gotten anything like that, but… I’d stay away from surprise stew. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.” And as if on cue, he shivered a little on the course of his spine. 

 

This made Terushima laugh and Yamaguchi look up at him. “Heebie-Jeebies? Really?”

 

Yamaguchi got embarrassed for the nth time that day, taking the defensive. “Y-yeah, like when you get this chill-”

 

“I know what it is, Yamaguchi. It’s cute.” A pause from Terushima left the pinch server wondering if that was the end of it, until he walked a little closer than before and placed an addition to his response. “You’re cute.” Looking up into his eyes, Yamaguchi’s head started to spin because what sort of Twilight Zone episode was he in?!

 

Clearing his throat and slightly speeding up his walk, Tadashi stated that “they’d go visit the dorms, then go to our first matches.” He hoped that he could keep blaming the sun for his rose-tinted face, but both knew that wasn’t the case. 

 

Once they finally made it to Terushima’s room after much idle banter and placed silence, the freckled boy exhaled a breath, knowing it would all be over soon. “Here’s your room. I-I don’t know who you’re sharing it with, but… It’s a teammate of yours so it shouldn’t be too bad.” 

 

He felt the other’s presence draw closer, leading Yamaguchi to slightly tense up. “Why don’t we try to get the coaches to let us room together? Bet we’d have a lot of fun, right, Yamaguchi.” Then he felt the other use his shoulder as an armrest, the captain’s brown eyes looking for a reaction.

 

And a reaction he would get. Since Yamaguchi’s eyes kept glancing around the hallway, palms getting slightly sweaty, and breathing getting more hitched. The captain laughed and then playfully hit his back. 

 

“I’m joking! Loosen up, dude!” He reached for the door handle, peering back at the other with amber eyes. “I’m going to get situated and changed. You can stay if you’d want or go back down already, doesn’t matter to me.” And he shut the door, leaving Yamaguchi a blushed, anxiety-ridden mess.

 

He decided to head to where the rest of his friends were, especially to see one of them. Because he needed to clear his head and make sure he wasn’t going insane, because if he was, Tsukki would be the one to tell him so. 

 

###

 

Kuroo was with the rest of the members, getting ready and doing some team exercises when Tsukishima grabbed him from the side, leading them away.

 

The Nekoma captain was giggling the way to the outskirts of the gym. Once they were safely out of view from the gym’s occupants, Tsukishima let the other free. He kept pacing back in front of the other, who decided to lean against the wall.

 

After a moment of watching the first year struggle to contain himself, he spoke up. “Wanna tell me what’s on your mind?”

 

“It's… The main issue is.. just… hgnn! ” His fingers were threading themselves through the blonde locks. Kuroo didn’t speak, not wanting to push the other into silence. “Terushima and his goons showed up.”

 

“Did they?” He responded, giving a coy smile. “I should say hi to the guy, haven’t seen him in awhile.” 

 

“Might be hard right now. Yamaguchi’s… giving him a personal tour.” The last words were pressed through gritted teeth, obviously showing his disdain. 

 

“Oh, I can see that.” 

 

Tsukishima’s head tilted upward towards Kuroo, confused. Then he looked at where the cat’s eyes were directed towards. Soon regretting that he had.

 

Across he could see his best friend and that stupid off brand e-boy walking. Yamaguchi talking, most likely mumbling under anxious stress, because why else would he be speaking that much?? And Terushima gave Tadashi less and less bubble space, but what really irked Kei the most was what came next. 

 

Terushima looked up, directly at him. Then he winked , before leaning into Yamaguchi’s ear, presumably to whisper something. The listener jumped out of his skin and grew the distance by stepping up his pace.

 

He must have been zoned out more than he thought, since a light pressure on his wrist brought him to. “You alright there bud? Is… are you-“ 

 

Before he had a chance to finish, Tsukishima ripped himself away and glared at him. “Shut up, stupid cat.” Then he started the trek to where his team would be practicing for the day, kicking trash cans and pebbles along the way.

 

###

 

Their first practice game was against Fukurōdani, which was both good and bad. They could learn a lot from the team, but also learn that they still had much to learn.

 

Yamaguchi was the last to enter, profusely apologizing for almost being late. The coaches and managers understood the reason as to why, so he wouldn’t be getting reprimanded by them. 

 

Being reprimanded by a certain blonde? That was still on the table. 

 

He didn’t say anything at first, but the blonde’s eyes would always shift over to him whenever there was a moment available. Or even when there wasn’t, since he barely made a successful block, his eyes moments before looking at the other. He definitely wants to talk about something.

 

But about what? Tadashi had learned over the years that his best friend wasn’t the best or biggest socializer, so this meant business. Does he wanna talk about the movie night idea?

 

The childish one you thought of? The one that makes you look like a four year old, you big baby? the back of his mind gnawed at him, but he was soon snapped back into reality once he saw the game had concluded.

 

Running over to Tsukishima after the team’s ‘thank yous’, who was now over near his bag and water bottle, he was determined to get to the bottom of it.

 

“You did really good out there, Tsukki!” He said, both hands hidden behind his back. He didn’t respond or react, Yamaguchi at first thought he had his headphones on, but that wasn’t the case. Hm..

 

“T-Tsukki? You alright?” He spoke aloud, fumbling to act like he wasn’t bothered in the slightest.

 

Finally, his best friend looked up with passive eyes. That’s good, right? And in an equally passive tone, he responded with “I’m fine. How was the tour?”

 

Yamaguchi couldn’t contain his blush, however hard he tried. The whole thing still felt like a fever dream to him. “Fine. Nothing major, but it was nice talking to him.” He made his thumb do a circle motion in his other palm. “I get the feeling he likes talking to me too.”

 

Placing his bag over his shoulder, he didn’t meet Yamaguchi’s eyes. “Yeah, I bet you do.”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He really was unsure of his friend’s meaning, the tone mangling the words.

 

“Nothing, just… forget it.” Tsukishima exhaled then looked up at the freckled boy. “You want to do that movie night later? I’ll let you pick.”

 

Tadashi couldn’t hold the glimmer in his eyes and voice. “Ah, I’d love to!” He had no clue what possessed him to add onto the complete sentence, but it was too late to take it back. “I’m so happy I could hug you!!”

 

And he was equally taken aback at the other’s reponse. “So, do it.”

 

“What?”

 

“What?”

 

Both pairs of eyes refused to lock, the end of the awkward air was Tsukishima giving the other a shove. On his way to the door telling Yamaguchi to “pick something good or I’ll end you like the dinosaurs.”

 

Yamaguchi wouldn’t mind that fate at the moment, considering today was the most wild day he’s probably had in the history of Tadashi Yamaguchi.

 

###

 

By nature, Bokuto was a person who laughed at even the dumbest jokes. And one of the dumbest jokes he’d heard in a long time was his friend Tsukishima’s ‘predicament’, or as he liked to call it ‘the so-called brainiac lacking any and all brain power.’

 

After he’d come to both of them during free time to rant about the newcoming team and his conversation with his friend, Kuroo and Bokuto were one more cackle away from pissing themselves.

 

“Y-You told him t-that you wa-wanted a hug?! ” The lead owl shouted out, hands clutching his side to try and dull the soreness from laughing.

 

Yes! Now quite down, you idiots!” Tsukishima retaliated, clearly regretting the people he spoke to about his dilemma. But who else was he going to turn to? 

 

The two captains composed themselves after what seemed like an eternity. Kuroo finally spoke up, face slightly tinted from the laughing fit. “And what exactly do you want us to do about it?”

 

The blonde’s mouth flapped open and shut, clearly taken aback. “I… uh, I don’t really know. To be quite honest..”

 

“Kuroo, look he’s blushing!” and with this, spiraled another fit of laughter and gasps for breaths.

 

Tsukishima was tired of this, pushing past them, and shouting one parting phrase at the two. “Nevermind! I’ll figure it out myself!”

 

I will… somehow, he thought to himself. But figure out what exactly? 

 

###

 

Yamaguchi truly thought he was scotch-free. Not for the rest of the training camp, but at least for the rest of the day. He hadn’t bumped into the flirtatious and bubbly captain since the door, which he was grateful for.

 

He was on his way to the dining area, excited to tell Tsukishima about the movie he had chosen for them. While rounding the corner, he rammed fully into a hard object, knocking him to the ground.

 

Only it wasn’t an object, but a person. A person he was dreading seeing so soon again. Terushima turned around, completely unaware of what had just happened. 

 

But when he did put all the pieces together, his lips tilted upwards and his eyes drifted down towards Tadashi, who was still on the floor. “Falling for me already, aye Yamaguchi? Thought it would take more than a few hours, but maybe I’m underestimating myself.” Then he giggled at the lack of seriousness in his own speech.

 

He could feel his face starting to rush with blood again, clearly none leading up to his brain since no thoughts could be made. Terushima stuck his hand, signaling the other to grab it for support. Once they were both up, it took a moment for them to unwind their close proximity.

 

“You heading to dinner too?” Yamaguchi nodded, and Terushima smiled in return, getting ready to start walking. “Perfect. So tell me, how’d your first match go?”

 

Tadashi took a moment to catch up, since when the other started to move, his own feet were cemented in place. “Um, fine. We lost, but it was a good match.” There was a pause, and he couldn’t figure out if it was awkward or if he was making it awkward. “How was yours?”

 

“Went up against Nekoma, and uh. Not to make up excuses, but” he rubbed the back of his neck, signaling some embarrassment. “None of us got the best sleep, so we’re kind of off. So in short we lost, bad.

 

He looked at the other and giggled. “I’m sure it couldn’t have been that bad! You’ve got some great chemistry on your team.”

 

The conversation swayed from there, driving from topic to topic with ease, both not even realizing they had made it to their destination until the aroma from inside made it clear.  “Oh,” Yamaguchi started. “Guess.. we made it?”

 

“Appears so.” Terushima responded, both boys laughing after the fact.

 

When the pinch server looked up, he saw his friend looking up at him from a table where he was alone. He eagerly made his way over to his friend, saying his name over and over before taking a seat. 

 

Both shoulders leaning against the table, he looked across at his best friend. “How long have you been here, Tsukki? I’d feel bad if you were here all alone…”

 

Tsukishima was about to respond when he heard the scraping of metal next to Yamaguchi. That stupid captain making unwanted room for himself there. Kei disregarded the question, more interested to see the other’s intent. “Can we help you?”

 

“I don’t know if you can.” Terushima said, head cupped by his palm on the table. The way he said it made Tsukishima blood feel hot and bothered.

 

“Shouldn’t you be with your own team right now. You know, being captain and all?” The blonde muttered out, having an unofficial staring contest with the intruder.

 

“My team’s doing quite fine, trust me. But…. is there a reason you want me to leave?” He tilted his face slightly in his palm, making him look more innocent. 

 

I know your game, you little shit, Tsukishima thought to himself. He was about to respond, he wasn’t sure with what, but then the pest turned toward the remaining boy.

 

Leaning himself and his chair a little closer toward the freckled boy, he asked him a similar question. “Yamaguchi, would you like me to leave?”

 

Yamaguchi looked dazed from the whole thing, eventually mumbling out that he didn’t mind either way. Tsukishima minded.

 

After getting their food and settling down, it took approximately 23 minutes before Tsukishima couldn't not stand it anymore. 

 

It felt like he was a ghost, or a prisoner in crime tv shows where he could see them, but they couldn’t see Tsukishima. Yamaguchi tried to include him into their conversation, but after a few rounds of words, he would be swept under the rug by that damn pierced imbecile. 

 

He looked over at his own to a table diagonal from them, where Kuroo, Akaashi, Bokuto, and even Kenma was sitting there. He excused himself, saying he needed to ask the table for advice on blocking (which wasn't a whole lie. But it wasn’t the full truth either.) He just needed to leave and compose himself.

 

Yamaguchi looked disheartened to see his best friend leave him, while Terushima looked indifferent towards him. For some reason, his gaze was towards Kuroo and his pair of eyes. Both of them making unspoken conversation with stares and blinks. Fucking weird… I should ask Kuroo about whatever the fuck that was later. 

 

When he sat himself down at the new table, no one asked why he had done what he did. Going about their respective talk like he had been there the whole time. 

 

And maybe it was Kuroo and Bokuto’s taste and jokes, but he laughed more often and louder than usual with the group. Each time he couldn’t help himself from looking over in his friend’s directions, who was focused on his own company. And Tsukishima couldn’t tell what hurt less, the smiles that he was giving to the captain, or the lack of grins and soft laughs that Tsukishima received from him lately.

 

###

 

The movie Yamaguchi picked out wasn't what Tsukishima was expecting, to put it into simple terms. He thought his best friend would choose a cheesy romcom, or maybe even a suspenseful movie if he really wanted to surprise him.

 

He wasn’t expecting a movie they had watched inside and out from childhood to be on the tiny monitor. Granted, he wasn’t particularly upset with it either. 

 

Yamaguchi loved all the animated movies directed at children, ‘the more singing the better!’ he’d always say. Tsukishima liked them, he’ll admit it, but he wasn’t as obsessed.

 

So it was no wonder, midway through the film he started texting and receiving texts from Nekoma’s captain. Attention going from monitor to monitor like his eyes were tennis balls in an intense match. 

 

They were both sitting on Yamaguchi’s bed, both sat next to each other while sharing his stringy headphones. Yamaguchi laid his head onto the other’s arm, his hair most likely tickling the other slightly. They had a lamp on to show the major outlines of the room, multiple blankets on top of each other to keep the warmth inside.

 

Tadashi was more than content in how domestic and roomy the whole situation was. He popped another jelly bean into his mouth before pausing the movie on his phone’s screen. “Are you even watching?” he asked, trying his best to not sound desperate. How can you not sound desperate when all you are is whiny?

 

He steered clear of his thoughts, waiting for the blonde to realize he paused the movie. When he finally did, he just looked back at him with eyes that looked right past Yamaguchi, even though they were making direct eye contact. 

 

“Um. Yeah.” Tsukishima squirmed under the confining cotton sheets, making a move to leave. He went over to put on slippers and a hoodie that once belonged to his older brother. “Kuroo’s going through something and he needs me.” The entire time while talking, never making eye contact. “You can finish the movie… sorry, but he said it’s important.”

 

“Nonono, it’s fine. I get it.” He didn’t want to leave the conversation in such a pessimistic tone, so he pressed on. “Plus the next song’s more of a solo than duet, I wouldn’t want to get overshined by your beautiful voice.”

 

Tsukishima huffed out a miniature chuckle, though Yamaguchi could distinguish its sincerity. He paused at the door, reiterating that he’ll be right back and offering another apology. 

 

Yamaguchi sunk lower into his bed, letting his knees bunch up under the covers. He flicked off the lamp, making the only light coming from the screen in front of him. He gave a slight sigh before pushing play, ready to give a whispered performance alongside the character.

 

“If there's a prize for rotten judgement, I guess I've already won that…



Chapter Text

Kuroo was already outside his room when Tsukishima finally made it to his corner of the living area. He was draped in a loose black tank top and pale blue pants that had a familiar pattern repeated throughout. The design struck him as odd and maybe it was his lack of sleep, since he usually wouldn’t care to mention it at all, but instead he did. 

 

“Are… those Chocobos on your pajamas?” 

 

The man in question took the defensive, arms crossed over his torso. “They were a gift from Kenma, plus they’re soft-”

 

“But you don’t even play Final Fantasy-”

 

“I know that! Everyone knows that!” His voice and patience was rising at an alarming rate, soon everyone would be roaming the halls to see what the commotion was. Kuroo took a moment to compose himself before speaking again, getting closer so they would speak a little louder than a whisper. “That’s not important. What is important,” he started, putting both hands on the other’s shoulders. “Is that you said something’s wrong. So, what’s going on?”

 

For all the good marks and information he could easily retain, he had to admit that the part of his brain that dealt with feelings was… not as bright as the academic side. Tsukishima didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but just that ever since Terushima started getting more friendly and flirty with his best friend, he was struggling in mundane activities. 

 

His heart would act up, like it was starting back to life and making up for usual shallow beats with surplus amounts of them. His face got more flushed than before, though he suspected the growing climate attributed to that. Focus was becoming a struggle for him, especially if the new duo was in his line of sight. He had no clue what was going on, but he wanted it to stop…

 

The middle blocker was shoved out of his thinking once his body swayed back and forth against his will. “Earth to Tsukishima! A-are you alight?” Maybe it was the window from outside that made Kuroo look like a being sent from above, or maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe even the overwhelming amount of emotion that he usually tried to bottle up. For whatever reason, Tsukishima didn't respond, but reacted.

 

He escaped the boy’s grip on his shoulders, sliding his arms around the cotton tank top and holding close. Tsukishima was trying his hardest to retract back into the stoic player he presented to the world, but it was hard to do so, and Kuroo felt safe in that instant. 

 

The captain certainly wasn’t expecting the emotionless blonde to be hugging him with a slight shiver at a time close to midnight, but when did anything in his life go as planned? He responded with a soft “oh” before they both remained silent. Kuroo knew the other needed some time to compose himself, so he let the hug extend more than needed, making circles on the back to his hoodie.

 

Tsukishima pulled off and readjusted his glasses, and maybe it was the gleam from the glass, but Kuroo swore he saw a tear and the possible buildup of more. After clearing his throat and looking down at the floor, the blonde spoke once more. “T-thanks. I, um,... I-I’m not sure what came over me.” 

 

“It’s okay, but I think I can give you a diagnosis.” 

 

Kei looked up in confusion, yet with a hint of intrigue. “You.. can?”

“With all of your symptoms and current conditions, I’m diagnosing you with ‘emotional constipation’”. 

 

Tsukishima looked rattled then went to turn away, regretting ever texting Kuroo to meet up about his predicament, whatever it truly was. Should have called Akaashi. However, before he could make the journey back to his own room, Kuroo caught the edge of his sweatshirt. Even when he’s not here, Akiteru still haunts me. 

 

“Look, that wasn’t the best wording, so... sorry. But can you honestly look me in the eyes and tell me I’m wrong?’ They both know the answer to that. “So, we can go about this a couple ways. You could always talk to Yamaguchi about how you’re feeling-”

“-How I’m feeling about what? I don’t want to burden him because I’m… I don’t even know what I’m feeling or why for that matter.”

 

Does he really have no idea? And he’s supposed to be the smart intellect. “Okay. Well, what do you want to do then?”

 

“I….” Tsukishima looked downwards all of a sudden, thinking out his options and end goal. “I just want Yamaguchi to look at me again. I think… I think that I want to make sure Terushima doesn’t hurt him.”

 

Kuroo, don’t fucking suggest it. I know you’re running on -239 hours of sleep, but don’t- “We could always fight fire with fire?” 

 

He locked eyes with the other, obviously taken aback. “I’m sorry, what?”

 

Digging yourself a hole man... “You don’t like how close Terushima and Yamaguchi have been getting lately, so what if..” Nononon sTOP- “... we did the same thing they’re doing, but towards them.”

 

“That’s…” Tsukishima’s face went from thinking the whole thing was absurd, to actually considering the possibility. “I-It could work. But, I wouldn’t force you to do it… I’d be your choice. I-I’m sure there’s another way.”

 

Kuroo opened his mouth, but as soon as he did, another thing opened up: the bedroom’s door. In the doorway was a disheveled blond-ish boy, hair ruffled and sweatshirt bunched up around his waist more than it should. He was rubbing his eyes, and leaned against the wooden frame for support. With a yawn, he asked “are you two almost done? I’m trying to sleep..”

 

“Yeah, sorry Kenma.” Kuroo said, quickly dropping Tsukishima’s sleeve as if it were a poison. The tired boy seemed to register enough to realize he didn’t want to get involved and that they were wrapping up soon. He closed the doorway, leaving the remaining two to look at each other. 

 

It's a simple word to say, you can even add more. Explain why it’s stupid, why this whole thing has gone way out of proportion- “Sure, I’ll do it if you’re game.”

 

Tsukishima nodded and went to leave, thanking him for his cooperation and help, plus saying he’ll text him tomorrow about what the plan of action would be.

 

Kuroo stood in the dim hallway for another minute after the blonde left, trying to grasp whatever just happened. Before returning to his bed, he thought about Kenma and what he would have said if he had gotten up just a few moments earlier.  Kuroo just hoped his decision wouldn’t hurt anyone, but that was just wishful thinking. 

 

###

 

It was strange to awake to his phone’s alarm clock for once. Kenma was getting used to getting woken up by Kuroo’s steps or commission from getting ready. But when he had fully woken up to the setting on his phone, his friend was nowhere in sight. Mumbling to himself, he thought that “maybe he’s pulling a prank on me, again.” 

 

He got up and ready for the day, being extra cautious of all his care products, since last time Kuroo decided to be a prankster he replaced his toothpaste with mayo. It was vile and Kozume would very much not like to repeat that if possible.

 

Heading outside and towards the cafe, he saw that only the coaches and team managers were sitting inside. The manager trainee from Karasuno had told him that they needed to fix the upcoming schedule, due to the additional team. This meant that all the other players were laid out on the grass, making a make-shift picnic breakfast. 

 

Maybe this is all a part of Kuroo’s big idea , the setter thought to himself. What a bother for everyone.

 

He tried to find where his friend was in the sea of high school boys, but it proved difficult. While scooping out the area, he missed the entrance of a familiar ginger and his frantic motions. 

 

“Kenma! I haven’t seen you in like forever! ” He shouted at the boy, who still thought it was too early to be up. 

 

“We literally saw each other, like, 12 hours ago.” 

 

Hinata sunk even more into his sad act. “I know ! That’s like an eternity!” Then Kenma realized that Hinata was blocking his vision from everyone else and he got more paranoid than he liked to admit.

 

Low blow to drag Hinata as a pawn, Kuroo. Hinata was about to ask him what had made him more animated, but the Nekoma player beat him to it. “Where is he? What’d he bribe you with?”

 

Hinata’s head sagged to the side, eyes narrowing in on his friend with concern. “W-Who are we talking about? And what did they do to me?” Hinata raised the back of his hand to Kenma’s forehead, brushing back bangs.

 

Kenma flinched out of it almost instantly, which made his friend more alarmed. “Kuroo, obviously. He wasn’t there for me when I woke up this morning, so he’s planning a prank. You don’t have to tell me what it is, but could you give me warning to if I’m going to need to change my unifo-”

 

“Kuroo’s been with Tsukishima all morning? The two have been sort of inseparable… kinda giving me the chills, actually..” As if on cue, Hinata’s body shimmied around like the degree outside had significantly dropped. 

 

“Wait, really? Uhm, where exactly are they?” He stepped to the side to look over the coast of players one more time.

The middle blocker turned around and after a moment, pointed to the corner of the eating area. Kenma was far away but he could see quite well, which added fire to the ‘Kenma’s a living cat’ propaganda his team produced. He wished in this instance that his vision wasn’t as clear.

 

Tsukishima and Kuroo were on top of a checkered blanket to protect them from the glass, which was still damp with morning dew. Tsukishima was laying next to Kuroo’s arm, the feline laughing so hard his head snapped back. After a moment, Kuroo’s hands rung around the other and started to tickle the blonde. Tsukishima collapsed onto Kuroo’s legs, looking up at him with a smile plastered across his face. Kenma had to turn away as soon as Tsukishima grabbed the collar of his friend’s shirt.

 

“Where are you going, Kenma? You haven’t even eaten anything yet?!” 

 

Still refusing to turn around, the setter started to walk away. “Don’t really have an appetite anymore, plus forgot my phone in the dorms. I’ll see you later though.” 

 

“But your phone’s in you back pocket-”

 

Blushing (not like Hinata was able to see), he tried to save his cover. “I, uh, meant my DS! Good luck with your game.” 

 

Kenma turned the corner and slumped down just a tad against the worn bricks. He must have miseen what had happened… because they weren’t… they couldn’t. Kuroo would have told him, right ?

Then he stood up suddenly, remembering last night with them bickering outside the room’s walls. He tried to shove the idea out as soon as it came, starting his treck to go… well, he didn’t know where exactly, he just knew where he wasn’t going anytime soon. 

 

Some lousy prank, Tetsurō.

 

---

 

Tsukishima had pulled Kuroo in close to whisper into his accomplice’s ear. “Is he looking over here?” He didn’t dare see for himself, since he didn’t know what he’d do if they locked eyes. 

 

Kuroo looked up and debated lying to the other, to calm his nerves and feel like they were making progress. Instead, he opted for the truth. “He looked up for a brief second, but now he's back to talking to Terushima.” 

 

Kei scoffed then retracted his hand from the other. “Damnit.” When they had both arrived, they grabbed a blanket that was in storage and made their way to a clearing near some other Nekoma students. Terushima and his best friend had talked coincidentally at the same time, they weren’t close enough to hear what Kuroo and him talked about, but in the vicinity to hear laughs and uncontrollable giggles.

 

Tsukishima was hoping this would do the trick, but it didn’t appear that way at first glance.

Kuroo tried to cheer him up. “Hey, you didn’t expect this to be a shut-case after like, what, 45 minutes? It needs some time.” 

 

“I suppose so”, he started, pushing himself back up and parting from his friend. 

 

Truth be told, Tsukishima would wait however long to make sure his friend knew that the pierced boy was nothing but trouble.

 

###

 

When Hinata had said the two were practically smeared together with glue, he wasn’t kidding.

 

It took Yaku and Lev to literally tear their captain to their side of the court to talk strategies. Kenma stood next to Kuroo and for some reason he felt smaller than usual. Almost as if he was invisible, nonexistent.

 

He felt a punch on his side, and when he looked over it was Yamamoto who’d dealt the blow. “What do you have to say, Kenma?”

 

He looked all over to see everyone’s eyes and attention on him. He hated it more than usual. “Say about what?”

 

Rolling his eyes not so subtly, he added “about the game! Like parting encouraging words!”

 

“Oh. Um.” He thought the floor was quite interesting in that moment, head tilted down. “We know a lot of Karasuno tricks, so they might try to psych us out. Be alert and awake, that’s all.” 

 

Then they all parted with a group cheer, getting into position. Kenma saw from the corner of his vision that Kuroo and Tsukishima were making banter through the holes of the net. And in his other corner, saw how Yamaguchi appeared to shrink down like Kenma had earlier. Misery loves company , as the expression goes.

 

The setter wasn’t shocked when halfway through the first set he was taken out. That’s what skipping breakfast will do to you, he thought. 

 

He tried to focus on the game, but that soon proved impossible, seeing how Kuroo and Tsukishima’s glances looked domestic, yet lustful. So instead he looked anywhere else. That’s when his eyes landed on Karasuno’s pinch server. 

 

He looked like he was going through some internal turmoil, but his face usually looked like that to him. His legs kept bouncing and hands kept fidgeting. His cheers were less passionate, and when time came to cheer or applauded his childhood friend, he seemed… almost hesitant. Each time he did cheer, but never looked in the middle blocker’s direction.

 

The boy was so entranced that he didn’t notice that Kuroo had decided to sit next to him on the bench. Well, not like he decided , to get switched out… but he didn’t sit on the very opposite of the metal log. 

 

Kenma scooted a little closer, so close that the bleached flyways lightly brushed Kuroo’s neck. After a moment’s hesitation, Kenma took the leap and put all his weight against the other side, wrapping his arms around the others like a boa constrictor.

 

His friend laughed at him, but Kenma wasn’t sure what exactly. Then again, Kenma was looking rather pitiful, but childhood crushes usually did that to a person. 

 

“Kenma, I know we make jokes about you actually being a cat… but doesn't this push it?” 

 

Before he could respond, the whistle was blown and the game was ended. They had lost, but without Kenma there like usual the team was out of sorts. What’ll happen after I graduate?

 

They all said their pleasantries to the other team and were about to disperse to talk to officials or freshen up. Kenma’s objective was to speak to his friend and get his feeling off his chest, if not now then never.

 

He spotted him talking to their coach, the latter walking away after the conversation ceased. Kenma was about to grab the other’s sleeve for attention, hand already mid air. “Ku-“

 

Before he got the chance, his window of opportunity was swept from under him. Quite literally, the bratty blonde had come over and snatched up his friend, dragging him outside.

 

Dropping his hand down, he also dropped the last syllable. “...roo.” He took that as a sign that the verdict would be never.

 

—-

 

Yamaguchi saw his friend dragging the other outside the gymnasium. His face and excitement dropped downward, trying hard to fake being happy with the rest of his team there.

 

He wasn’t sure what was going on. They were best friends. They knew everything about each other… or that’s what Tadashi liked to think. Now he wasn’t so sure.

 

###

 

That night, both bedrooms were chilled over. Each boy cemented in ice, both in movements and in dialect. Pauses were longer, words were shorter than usual, and awkward glances were more common than ever before.

 

Needless to say, none of the four got a good rest, if much of a rest at all.

 

###

 

Today had been something special, reworked to make sure that the Johzenji team had an adequate amount of teams to play. It was their school vs. Karasuno. Terushima vs. Tsukishima.

 

The game was going fine, nothing too out of the ordinary for both teams. There were a few moments here or there that caught everyone’s attention. Mainly between the two ‘Shima’s. 

 

Tense glances and mumbled toxic worlds oozed from Tsukishima. Sly eyebrows and witty remarks sprung from Terushima. 

 

At the end of the practice, after Johzenji had won, it took one more push to set the tumbling Kei over the edge. 

 

Yamaguchi was standing next to him while he took a swig from his water bottle. Neither spoke, just in each other's presence like they’d been for years. Terushima stuck up behind Yamaguchi and lightly picked him up, feet and soft giggles flying everywhere.

 

Tsukishima continued to drink his water, but stared at the two. Terushima saw an opportunity to make the situation more fun.

 

“What’s wrong, Tsukishima? Mad that you’re losing?” He left Yamaguchi’s feet hit the ground, but still had his arms practically around the other’s waist. 

 

The middle blocker put down his water bottle and with the back of his hand, scraped away the excess water. Staring back, he uttered, “What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Terushima?”

 

Yamaguchi was let go, instinctively running to his friend’s side, seeing his eyes becoming raw with anger and…. hurt? “Tsukki, I don’t think-“

 

“I think you know exactly what I mean.” Terushima replied, placing his weight into his left leg. 

 

Tsukishima was getting dangerously close and Yamaguchi started to panic slightly more than before. “No, enlighten me.” His voice was raised and his knuckles turning snow white from the pressure his fists were making. 

 

The only thing that was louder than his voice were his captains, who made it public that he wasn’t too pleased at the moment. “Karasuno! Meeting outside. Right now.”

 

Tadashi looked back and forth, waiting for someone to move, before Tsukki turned to follow the line of crows. Yamaguchi followed soon after.

 

They all placed themselves outside of the gym, sitting down like they were in a firing squad. And by the look of Daichi, that wouldn’t be out of the question.

 

Him and the other third years were still standing up, though Daichi clearly was the only with the most to say on the matter. “I am extremely disappointed in all of us. As captain of this team, I feel like a failure to not see the strains in the dynamic as of late.

 

“I’m not going to name names or point fingers, but since coming to camp, we haven’t been at our best. It’s frustrating to not only myself, but to our managers and staff, and I believe the majority of us, that we’ve been slacking. 

 

“If there is any reason or voice of concern, know that your upperclassmen and coaches are here to help you. If anyone wants to add anything, feel free to speak to now or pull any of us aside later-“

 

“I have something I’d like to ask.” All eyes were trained on Tsukishima, the one least expected to talk in a team meeting. He wouldn’t look up, instead engrossed in his knee pads, which were close to his face due to his sitting position.

 

“Yes, Tsukishima?” Daichi said with both interest and worry.

 

“Are we allowed to switch dorm rooms? Because if so, I’d like to.”

 

Yamaguchi’s heart and back sank further. Had he just heard that right? He couldn’t have.

 

“I’ll ask Mr. Takeda.” Shifting his attention to the majority, he added “anyone else have anything?” And then after a moment of glares and silence, Daichi dismisses them. Tsukishima stayed behind to talk to Daichi, while Suga attempted to make Yamaguchi stay as well, but he was faster and left as soon as possible. He couldn’t stand to see Tsukki’s sad eyes or posture, knowing now that he was the reason.

 

###

 

Usually the end festivities were saved for well, the end of the training camp. Apparently at the new team’s old place, they used to have a celebration midway through to celebrate their accomplishments and keep going strong.

 

Johzenji luckily had enough s’mores materials for every team and then some. They had all decided to start the extravaganza around 9 pm, but Yamaguchi couldn’t bring his feet there until around 9:30. 

 

When he finally arrived he saw a plethora of things going down. Bug spray being thrown all over the place, multiple grills being used as pseudo-fireplaces, Kuroo and Tsukishima snuggling under a shared blanket, Terushima waving him over.

 

Telling his feet to manually move over to the group, each step caused more anxiety for him. Not wanting to see his best friend so soon, but also being drawn to see how he was holding up.

 

Their wooden benches were in a triangle format, Bokuto and Akaashi on one, Kuroo and Tsukishima across from them, and across from him was Terushima, patting down on the log. Tadashi looked around to see where Kenma was, the missing piece of the usual five person group, but he wasn’t in a very lit or seen area for the pinch server to know his location. 

 

He hesitated before plopping himself down, grabbing an extra stick and marshmallow to start making his snack. The flecked boy noticed how Akaashi was whipping daggers in Kuroo’s direction, though he didn’t seem to care or pay mind. What is with this group and anger issues??

 

Even though they were close to the lit grill in the middle of them, Yamaguchi shivered, only dressed in a thin long sleeve sweatshirt. Terushima could see the other struggling to keep warm. 

 

Before Yamaguchi could even react his bench mate was reaching for the edge of his sweatshirt, slightly lifting it up. Which to his surprise, teased a belly button piercing?!?? How many piercings could he have!?-

 

The other boy had a much thicker long sleeve on, which slid back down to act as a veil to the newly discovered piercing. Reaching out with his hands, he offered Yamaguchi his freshly removed sweatshirt. He tried his best to refuse, but Terushima wouldn't budge.

 

“Nonsense. Here, I’ll even help you out.” Terushima put the fabric over the other, hands sliding up and down his body, fingertips pressing into his skin. Yamaguchi couldn’t contain his blush or supposed yelp.

 

He felt Tsukishima’s eyes on him, but he never looked over to meet the distance. Instead, he made his way to see Terushima and thank him. The other boy saying “it was no problem” and that “he looked adorable in his clothes.”

 

After that Yamaguchi didn’t shiver as much as before. He did occasionally when he and Terushima bumped legs or Terushima’s hand accidentally brushed his back while trying to grab the edge of the seat. Eventually, Yamaguchi managed to spot a disoriented Kenma talking to a frantic Hinata in the distance, wondering what that was all about.

 

Before long, some managers had come along with trays of premade s’mores for people who struggled to make them. One of those being Tadashi, so he and surprisingly Terushima, both thanked the girls and took one off the tray.

 

“What do you say to a toast?” Terushima asked, tilting his head only slightly. Yamaguchi strugged and they both clinked their s’mores, both laughing and regretting it since it made a marshmallowy mess. 

 

Terushima as some point said how he was the master at pick up lines, and in a dumb turn of events Yamaguchi asked him to prove it. He wasn’t sure why exactly he did it, but with each new line made him feel both giddy in heart and guilty in gut.

 

All of them revolves around their current circumstance:

 

Are you a marshmallow? Since you’re both sweet and soft?”

 

“Could I call you a marshmallow, cracker, and chocolate sandwich? Because I love you s’more.”

 

“What do both you and the stars have in common? Both put on a great show in the dark.”

 

“You make me a very happy camper.”

 

Each one making Yamaguchi blush and chuckle more and more, to a point where both of them at one point couldn’t catch their breaths. 

 

Kuroo looked to Tsukishima, who was fixated by the opposing bench. “Uh, Tsukishima, your marshmallow’s on fire. And uhmmm, your eyes are like scoldering too, you good?”

 

Tsukishima was in fact not good, far from it actually. And it wasn’t quite clear when he’d feel ‘good’ again.

 

###

 

Yamaguchi left later than Tsukishima had, having greeted him and Kuroo a goodbye when they both decided to leave. When he entered the dorm room once more there was no light.

 

Whispering an apology to his friend, he turned the light on, hoping to not startle him awake.

 

That wouldn’t be an issue, since Tsukishima wasn’t in his bed. He wasn’t in the room whatsoever. He had left a majority of his things here, but himself was long gone.

 

He’d overheard that he wasn’t allowed to switch rooms, since it was almost time to depart anyways. So this meant that he’d left as a sign of desperation to escape him then. He’s probably off with his new friend, Kuroo. Or are they more than friends? You’d certainly not know the answer to that.

 

Yamaguchi barely had enough time to kick off his shoes before running face first into the pillows. He clung one in between his legs and snakes his arms around.

 

His dumb brain imagined it was his best friend he was holding. Very funny Tadashi, considering it's your fault he’s gone in the first place. Must have gotten tired of your shit, I mean who wouldn’t though?!

 

Yamaguchi held tighter but couldn’t get his mind to stop racing about what he had done to hurt the person he cared about so much. After a few moments and scattered breaths, he couldn’t help but start crying. He tried to muffle it with the edge of the pillow, but the tears and sobs wouldn’t stop.

 

He’d eventually be drowned out with the sound and the effort it took to try and retain his volume, soon after drifting into sleep. 

 

—-

 

The walls were practically paper thin when you were right against them. So when Yamaguchi started to cry, he heard it and his heart ached alongside him.

 

He was thankful Noya let him sleep where Tanaka usually did for the night. The usual occupant of the bed having to visit Ennoshita’s room to discuss ‘personal matters’, whatever that meant. It didn’t matter, Noya was out fairly sooner than Tsukishima anticipated, leaving the room practically just to himself.

 

Tanaka’s bed was pressed right against the wall closest to Yamaguchi’s. Every stifle in breath, each sniffle, all of the kicks from under the covers, Tsukishima heard.

 

He wanted everything to march right over, or better yet pierce a hole in the wall, and comfort his best friend. But he couldn’t, knowing he was the cause for Yamaguchi’s suffering. All he could do for now was think about his next course of action, knowing that what was going on now wasn’t working the way he’d imagine.

 

In parallel, Tsukishima started to cry next to his friend, though his tears were silent. Somehow he’d make things better for the two of them, no matter if his heart got shattered in the process.

 

He held Yamaguchi’s happiness above all else… and if that meant losing him to Terushima, then he’d have to learn to live with that fact. 



Chapter Text

Yamaguchi didn’t bother with trying to look presentable, he was just striving for decent. His eyes were still stinging and tinted from last night and probably the early morning. His hair refusing to cooperate, but he wasn’t in the mood to force it, plus the added headache. 

 

Trudging himself downstairs for the ending of breakfast, he didn’t interact much with anyone. There was no sign of Tsukki or anyone else, since they most likely ate earlier. But just a nod or simple implanted smile did the job just fine for most people to pay him no mind. Yachi was not most people.

 

“Seriously, y-you’re freaking me out! What’s wrong? You know I’m here for you right?!” She was sitting next to him, eyes wide and hand gestures wider. “This is the last full day of camp, I just want to make sure you’re making the most of it…”

 

Yamaguchi took another scoop of his now soggy cereal, only eating for the sustenance rather than hunger. “I appreciate it, but I’m just tired is all.” 

 

She didn’t seem to believe it wholeheartedly, but also looked like she knew pushing would get her nowhere. “If you say so….”

 

He felt bad bringing down her bubbly expression from camp when they first arrived. I don’t want to be the reason why another blonde has to suffer. 

 

Taking a breath, he pushed out any deeper thoughts and put on a tacky smile and overly enthusiastic voice. “Yachi, remember when Hinata almost hijacked Suga’s car because Kageyama said he wanted more sour candies?”

 

“Are you psychic or something because I was just thinking about that!!” Her usually gleeful demeanor came flushing back, lifting herself slightly from her chair with excitement.

 

Yamaguchi described himself in many words, but not something of value like the term psychic. 

 

###

 

Tsukishima was both more aggravated than usual, and somehow more tired to do anything about it. He had been giving everyone snappy comments and retorted with everyone, but the moment someone tried to fight back he’d drop it and focus on anything else. He was angry, but exhausted. 

 

This was most apparent when he was doing some practice during some free time, since coaches needed some time to arrange the bus schedule and best route home.  It was the usual gang of players, though Kenma was invited but said he had ‘other commitments’, whatever the hell that meant. 

 

It was a basic circle (square?) of the four of them, setting and passing to the others in order to not make the ball drop. Everything was going smoothly for the most part, though Akaashi’s stare was so sharp it could have split the volleyball in half. 

 

Tsukishima wasn’t too concerned that Akaashi was upset, due to the fact that he put his emotion first and foremost in the instant. 

 

After a while, the conversation got dull and Bokuto, being Bokuto, couldn’t read the room- er, outside area. “So Tsukishima, how are you and Yamaguchi holding up?” 

 

He passed the ball to the blonde to receive, but it fell at his feet. Practically sizzling with anger, he grasped the volleyball so hard it almost resembled a squeezed fruit. “Bokuto. Let’s not do this . Do what you’re good at volleyball, and quit what you’re not great at, talking.”

 

Bokuto seemed to start deflating like he usually did when insulted, but instead of being moppy, he continued to stroke the fire. “Oh yeah?” He started, crossing his arms. “Funny how the person who’s in a dilemma is giving out advice.”

 

Akaashi went to most likely smack Bokuto for the remark, but before he could, Tsukishima did a more drastic movement. Before he even realized what he was doing, the ball had disappeared from his hand and now located at the top of the roof. 

 

Everyone stood there stunned, not knowing what to do or say. Until the blonde spoke up, not making eye contact. “Screw this, I’ll see you later.”

 

As he started to walk he heard Bokuto’s plan of hopping on each other's shoulders to somehow make it on top, followed by Kuroo’s confirmation and Akaashi’s disapproval. A part of him felt bad for what he’d done, since his friends didn’t deserve all of this unneeded anger, but Yamaguchi was always the one to calm him down. And without Yamaguchi… he was lost, though he still tried to deny that concrete fact. 

 

###

 

The silver-haired vice captain was playing especially close attention during their final day of warm ups. If this behavior continued between their team, then he was certain they’d never make it to nationals, or maybe another two weeks. 

 

It wasn’t just two of their first years, but every single one that was off their game, some more than others. Suga had his fair share of early highschool dilemmas and drama, but never to this extent. 

 

Hinata kept getting pulled away by Kenma making up excuses that Suga knew were lies, but didn’t push him on the matter. Kageyama seemed ticked off that his new boyfriend wasn’t perfecting their quick attack, but the real trouble was between the first year childhood friends.

 

While doing practice serves, the vice captain had managed to find himself next to Yamaguchi, who was having difficulties, at an alarming rate. After the fifth one didn’t make it over the net, he chuckled to himself before breathing out “ what a shocker” in a callous manner.

 

He wasn’t near Tsukishima during warm ups, but his friend Daichi had. Apparently he was slower than usual to get himself up to block, barely making it successful. Anytime someone tried to comment on it or his performance, he’d scoff and roll his eyes.

 

Daichi and Suga were planning on spending their free time together alone, but after the morning they both came to the agreement something needed to be done.

 

###

 

Being cornered in a bathroom wasn’t what Tsukishima had put into his schedule for the day, but when did things for him ever go as planned. 

 

“Kuroo, please move away from the door.” Tsukishima said, glaring lasers into the other’s head. He just wanted to brush his teeth, get ready for bed, and not sleep until the witching hour because his brain wouldn’t shut up about losing his best friend.

 

“‘Mmm no can do! Not until you get your constipation out!” Kuroo said, which made Akaashi on the left make a face of worry, and Bokuto on his right muffle a snicker. 

 

Tsukishima pinches the top of his nose, hoping he could wake up from the never ending nightmare that was their ragtag group. “Is this about the emotionally constipated shit again?!”

 

“Yes!” He replied, obviously offended. Then he reeled himself back, and his face soured. “Unless you’re like… actually constipated right now-“

 

“I’m not constipated! In any sense!” He couldn’t bite down his anger any longer, clearly getting more and more worked up. “What I am is annoyed, so if you would please let me through-“



He tried to push past, but quickly stopped when he was constricted by a setter’s arms into an unfamiliar embrace. Tsukishima and everyone else stopped talking for a moment, all engrossed in what was transpiring at that moment.

 

Akaashi drew Tsukishima as close as he could and cooed in his ear, reminding him of his older brother consoling him from childhood. “It’s okay. You’re allowed to feel, Tsukishima.”

 

He didn’t know what curse or magic he’d placed on his words but Tsukishima started rattling in his arms. Tears were coming but more like they had been switched on, he wasn’t sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. 

 

Bokuto made a side comment that Akaashi has a sorcerer's touch for healing other’s wounds. Maybe that’s why the pair got along so well. 

 

After a few moments, Akaashi drew backward with both  hands firmly gripping the other’s shoulders. Tsukishima used the toilet paper that Kuroo had grabbed from a stall to make his face less damp.

 

“I, uh, sorry.” Tsukishima said after a while of prolonged silence. 

 

“No need to apologize, but I think we need to talk about the elephant in the room.” Akaashi replied.

 

“I was afraid you said that…”

 

“Tsukishima, we all care about you so.. what the hell is your deal with Yamaguchi?!” His grip went harder than expected, making him flinch for a second.

 

The setter let go, but still held their sight on the other. “I…” Where did he even start? “Well, Tadashi and I aren’t on the best of terms right now-“

 

Scoffing, Kuroo mumbled “Yeah no shit.”

 

“-and I feel… things.”

 

“What kind of things?” Bokuto asked, genuinely curious as to what.

 

Feelings. It’s repulsive.”

 

Kuroo echoed his similar comment of emotional constipation, to which no one commented back on.

 

“I miss him a lot. A-And I don’t know exactly what I did, but the bottom line is that I hurt him.” He looked down, brushing his hand back and forth on his other arm. “And that’s the last thing I’d want. If he’s happier with Terushima then I can try to live with that, but I still want to be his friend-“

 

“Hold up, happier with Terushima? Than with you?! Are you hearing yourself dude!?” Bokuto blurted out, rushing to get closer to the boy. “He likes you , stupid smartie!”

 

Tsukishima couldn’t help the red growing on his face. “I-I don’t think that’s the case.”

 

“Are you braindead!? Akaashi has the most janky Crush Detector known for mankind, and even he knows this!

 

The blonde shifted his focus to Akaashi who simply nodded in agreement. 

 

“...You think… You think I have a shot?” Tsukishima had always put his emotions to the side, hiding and locking them up. His crush for his best friend since elementary school was no different.

 

“Yeah! Go find him! You don’t want to waste your last night at camp a moppy sad little Tsukishima, right?!” With a determined nod, Tsukishima finally was able to leave the bathroom in search of his friend.

 

Not too long after, the rest of the boys left with the Nekoma player in the caboose. Only he moved a few short steps when he felt the edge of his sweatshirt being tugged.

 

Turning around, he noticed it was his own childhood friend Kenma. “Kenma?”

 

It was more of a question of ‘what are you doing?’ than ‘are you Kenma, Nekoma's setter?’ but Kuroo supposed he assumed it was the latter, since he gave him a soft “ hmph ” of confirmation. It was extremely adorable. 

 

“What’s going on with you? Feel like I haven’t seen you in forever...” Which was true, the last 24 hours for the duo had been devoid of their usual interactions.

 

“I-I’ve been talking to Hinata a lot about.. stuff.” He finally dropped the fabric, a blush beginning to take form. “He suggested I see you at some point.”

 

“Well that’s great! B-Because I missed you… a lot.” Now the red was spreading to Kuroo’s face as well.

 

“Could we talk somewhere better than outside a bathroom?”

 

“Sure”, he replied with both enamored eyes and smile.

 

###

 

Daichi had texted him saying that he had important news that he wanted to tell Yamaguchi. He should have known something was off from that alone, because since when did ‘important’ and ‘Yamaguchi’ make sense in the same sentence?

 

He made his way to his shared dorm with Suga, where as soon as he entered the door blew a gust behind. The vice captain was next to the door, Yamaguchi assumed he’d be the culprit for why the door was now shut.

 

“W-What’s all this?” Yamaguchi started, turning back to his captain. 

 

“Yamaguchi, we’re…” he trailed off, looking in his boyfriend’s direction. “We both care about you so much. A-And we want you to know we’re here for you?”

 

Yamaguchi took the defensive faster than anticipated. “What do you think’s going on?”

 

Suga stepped forward and inbetween the other two to the side, leaving against the bedpost. “We don’t know the specifics, but Tsukishima and you are both more distant than I think I’ve, we’ve, ever seen.”

 

“S-So?!” Yamaguchi uttered back, anxiousness seeping out more than he expected. 

 

“And we were talking to some of the other captains, and Kuroo was saying-“

 

That’s when it became all too much. Kuroo and Tsukishima. Terushima and Him. Daichi and Suga. All the panicking and internal worries that had been keeping him up. If Daichi and Suga knew what was going on, did everyone know? Was everyone talking behind his back?!

 

Suga must have seen his turmoil, since he came over with what appeared as concern, but Yamaguchi took it as pity. “Yama-“

 

Before he could rationally think about it, Yamaguchi was out the door and down the building’s stairway faster than he could have imagined. He didn’t know where he was leading himself, but he needed a moment to just gather what was making him feel so many things.

 

---

 

After a while, Yamaguchi stumbled onto Terushima outside on a bench, seeming to admire the night sky. 

 

He probably noticed the new presence, since not long after he turned to look at him. His eyes and smile weren’t as bright as before and it made Yamaguchi wonder if all the stamina he presented to the world was always completely real.

 

“You wanna sit down? I don’t mind.” And so Yamaguchi took the seat, neither making a sound. Just admiring the sky and having company.

 

After however long, Yamaguchi gripped the bench’s edge and inhaled. He didn’t know if his next course of action would be the best, per say, but he knew that it was better than nothing. 

 

And dammit, Yachi told him to make the best of his last night, so he would. 

 

“Terushima? Would you mind if I did something irrational?” Yamaguchi tried to make himself more confident, but he could tell he was struggling to get that across.

 

“Irrational like 12 years in jail? Or irrational like racing down the hill in a porta potty?” Terushima asked, his eyebrow arched in intrigue. 

 

Tadashi chuckled, remembering hearing the story from Tanaka from a last year’s match against the school. “Not as extreme as the latter, but we won’t be going to jail.”

 

“Alright then lay it on me.” Terushima said, not knowing those words would jumpstart the other.

 

Before he could think about it again, his lips were on the other. They were a bit scruffier than he'd imagined, but they were still nice for the most part. Terushima was clearly taken aback, but after a moment of catching up he was holding the back of Yamaguchi’s neck to deepen the kiss.

 

They broke free to let them both recover and gasp for air, and for the first time Yamaguchi saw the other get the blush he'd been dishing out for the duration of the camp. 

 

“A-Why? What was that about?” He didn’t seem mad, more confused than anything. 

 

“I’ve been having conflicted feelings since you’ve got here a-and I didn’t know what else to do!” Now he was obviously blushing.

 

Chuckling softly, he replied with “it’s fine, but did this help you figure it out?”

 

Yamaguchi nodded. “Yeah, I think so. I like the attention you give, I won't lie. But….don’t like you, in the romantic sense.” He paused, realizing he needed to finally come clean. “I like…I love-

 

“Tsukishima?” Terushima voice said, almost like he didn’t mean to. 

 

Tadashi realizes his eyes were towards the scenery, rather than himself. When he turned his head, that’s when he saw it.

 

Eyes draped in tears, shoulders slouching low, lips becoming invisible, a blonde boy named Tsukishima having his heart ripped out right in front of him by his now definitely ex-best friend.

 

He forgot how close the distance between Terushima and him were, and how much farther the distance between him and his friend was becoming. 

 

Yamaguchi stood up and began to run after the other, hoping to come clean about his motives. Even if they decided from that night to never speak again, Tsukki deserved to know the wholehearted truth.



Chapter Text

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.”

“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.