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Oikawa-san’s rapport with Shiratorizawa’s captain when Yuutarou was in his first year at Seijoh was… rocky at best. Explosive at worst.

Shiratorizawa, back then, was nightmare fuel for many an unsettled night leading up to tournaments. 

Since then, Aoba Johsai has developed somewhat of a more stable relationship with their opponents. He can thank, in part, Johzenji’s coach for his persistence to set up the mock youth training camp, hosted at Shiratorizawa each year since Yuutarou first got invited. 

In his second year, it stunned Yuutarou to see Yahaba-san competing so viciously with someone other than Kyoutani-san. Yuutarou had been afraid the electrical air between the two setters was just as bad as it had been between Oikawa-san and Ushiwaka.

He turned out to be wildly wrong. 

The rivalry between them, unlike in previous years, had made for much more involvement between the two teams. Practice matches became more common, and so spurred on a rivalry of Yuutarou’s own. 

It seemed that Shiratorizawa and Aoba Johsai captains always had a bit more going on between them than most. 

To Yuutarou, his friendship with Shiratorizawa’s current rival captain, Goshiki Tsutomu, is somewhat of a blessing. There’s no enmity between them, no scowling across the net at each other. 

No, it’s much worse. 

Goshiki riles him up more than anyone in that team. Goshiki might argue that Tendou-san had been the instigator of most explosive anger on the court - which is true, Yuutarou had seen it for himself. Kyoutani-san got on less with Tendou-san than anyone, and that said a lot - however, every time Goshiki hits Yuutarou with that self-satisfied smug smirk , a fire blazes in his stomach. 

He looks forward to seeing him, his bag packed and by the door for the morning. 

Because this summer, his last summer of highschool, Yuutarou is taking his team to Shiratorizawa once again for their final training camp before the next tournament.

 

-

 

If someone told him that being a captain would be so stressful, he never would’ve- well, he didn’t truly have any choice. But that makes it worse! Kunimi doesn’t help as much as Yuutarou’s idea of a vice-captain should, but Yuutarou has ways of kicking his ass into gear even more effectively than coach Mizoguchi.

Either way, they end up at Shiratorizawa in time for lunch thanks to the swift drive, a lot less chaotic than Yuutarou remembers his earlier days being.

The Shiratorizawa volleyball club are milling about when they pull into the car park, their coach looking comically small next to Shiratorizawa’s. Yuutarou spots his backpack and small suitcase in the luggage storage, yet as he pulls them out, he receives a tap on his shoulder.

“Need help?”

Yuutarou resists spinning around hurriedly to greet Shiratorizawa’s captain, his voice so recognisable now, the mere sound gets his blood pumping. “Not from you,” Yuutarou teases as he turns around, shifting the straps of his bag up his shoulder.

“Oh perfect, you can carry mine then.” Kunimi comes up from nowhere to dump his bag in Goshiki’s arms, filling Yuutarou with exasperation. Goshiki doesn’t seem to mind, simply laughing as he takes Kunimi’s second bag too, unprompted.

“I’ll show you guys to your room.”

Yuutarou does his best to ignore the effortless way Goshiki carries Kunimi’s bag up two flights of stairs without complaint, his whole body practically bouncing as he does. It seems like he’s as excited as Yuutarou is and he can’t force back a grin breaking out on his lips.

Goshiki rattles off the timetable for their week with enough enthusiasm to even make Yuutarou’s head spin. It’s not like it’s that different to the last few times they’ve done this, with the exception that being third-years, the three of them have a later curfew.

With the rule forbidding people in each other’s rooms that everyone ignores, Yuutarou finds himself bouncing on the balls of his feet. This training camp will be one of his favourites.

Once settled into their rooms, they all eat lunch together and later change for the first practise of the camp.

To start off, Goshiki has scheduled a special first match comprising their current starting lineups to gauge how the week as a whole is going to go. His challenge is as broad as day, especially when Goshiki glances at Yuutarou as he declares it. In reality, each day will be different, but with that subtle toss of the gauntlet, Yuutarou is already bending over to pick it up.

No matter what, he won’t let Goshiki win this first match.

 

-

 

Shiratorizawa wins.

Playing so hard so soon after lunch was a bad idea.

“Wow, I didn’t know you were going to go that hard…” Goshiki sniggers, sitting down next to Yuutarou on the bench while he sips his water, face pale.

Stomach unsettled, Yuutarou doesn’t dare move, but why would he, when he can feel Goshiki’s warm hand on his back. It’s so comforting, it helps Yuutarou talk without feeling the need to throw up. “Well, it’s your fault!” He protests, and for the first time he sees Goshiki looking guilty, biting his lip.

“Sorry Kindaichi,” Goshiki says, his hand falling from his back and back into his lap, “I got over-excited.”

Yuutarou frowns briefly, but smiles shortly after, leaning to the side to bump Goshiki’s shoulder. “Apparently, so did I.”

When Goshiki looks back up to him, their faces are incredibly close. It seems to cheer him up, though, as he leans to bump Yuutarou’s shoulder back more forcefully. Their lessons learnt, they both filter back onto the court in their own time, warming up to face each other again.

All Yuutarou knows is that he’ll beat Goshiki by week’s end… and he won’t make himself ill in the process.

 

-

 

“You’re sure fired up, Kindaichi-san,” Yuutarou’s setter says as they pack up on their first day. It’s more accusatory than a compliment. He looks more than a little drained, but Yuutarou doesn’t give him any sympathy. He can’t, not when they’ve only just started.

“Why aren’t you?” Yuutarou asks in return, watching an apathetic shrug roll the question off his shoulders. With a sigh, Yuutarou gently smacks his back. “Find something to get you fired up, and you’ll enjoy yourself a bit more.”

Advice is not one of Yuutarou’s strong points. He knows that, but something about his point makes the setter look back at him, his head tilted curiously to the side. “So what fires you up, Kindaichi-san?”

The question lingers long after the conversation ends.

Playing volleyball to begin with had been a conduit for all his energy. It had been effective until the end of middle school, where Yuutarou’s fuse couldn’t take all the excess effort when it all seemed for nothing. Eventually, it blew and fizzled out, and there was no way to fix it.

Yuutarou knows fuses are a failsafe. He knows that when he got into Seijoh, when Oikawa-san showed him what he really can do with volleyball, his fuse got replaced.

Something recently, however, has altered. He’s still the boundlessly energetic person he’s always been with no-one shouting at his every move, and he still taunts and teases his rivals even when they’re the underdogs, but rarely to this degree.

Yuutarou knows the common denominator. He just doesn’t want to admit it.

 

-

 

It’s the same all week. Shiratorizawa has always dominated on the court, but they seem so much more polished than Yuutarou’s own team. He begins to wonder if it’s Goshiki’s charisma as a captain. He looks so at home when he congratulates and fires up his teammates, the court is his territory, and Seijoh aren’t at all welcome.

Goshiki focuses as he crouches for his serve, the ball spinning in his hands and his tongue swiping the salt from his lips. Yuutarou shouts to step back and their libero just barely digs it from the back corner of the court. As Yuutarou scowls, Tsutomu merely grins.

A last resort, Kunimi is the one to make the next pass, barely a bead of sweat on him as the ball arcs toward Yuutarou. With an eye on the blockers, Kindaichi jumps to hit it straight over their outstretched hands and directly into Goshiki’s forearms.

Shiratorizawa edges closer to winning another set. It’s close, it’s always so close. Kunimi is panting beside him, a hand on his knee as he wipes the sweat from his brow. “Thought we weren’t gonna lose this one, Captain.” Kunimi teases, his droning voice calming.

“We won’t!”

Yuutarou is determined. No matter how much he loves seeing Goshiki howl in victory after winning a game, he desperately wants to wipe that smug grin off his face.

Aoba Johsai wins the second set by the skin of their teeth. Yuutarou becomes more optimistic about winning. That is until he feels Goshiki’s confidence. Between every player here, he’s unmatched. His sheer show of determination sends an icy shiver up Yuutarou’s spine.

Several points into their final set, the chill hasn’t faded. Even as his skin drips sweat and his muscles burn, he still feels that edge. It’s not until they’re face-to-face on either side of the net that it’s replaced with a blaze.

“Don’t think we’ll let you take another one, Kindaichi.” Goshiki scoffs at his glare. “But it’s cute to see you try.”

A flash crosses Goshiki’s eyes as a smirk grows on his face. Yuutarou doesn’t respond. He has no comeback, not when his heart hammers in adoration. Fuck, it’s supposed to be a challenge, but instead of wanting to retaliate, he wants to kiss him-

He wants to kiss him so badly.

That thought throws Yuutarou completely off-balance. His focus becomes less on the match and more on Goshiki. He watches more intently each time Goshiki serves, each time he jumps, each time he crouches for a dig.

He falls for him as a decoy more than once, meeting his gaze over the net.

It’s embarrassing that that of all things is what costs them.

But still… He can’t be mad when he can see the way Goshiki celebrates with the rest of his team, smiling and laughing into their group hug.

Sighing softly, yet a smile of his own on his face, Yuutarou turns to his own team and grabs the two nearest to him to hug to his sides. “Well played! We stole a few sets this week, that’s nothing to be sniffed at!”

Kunimi elbows Yuutarou and wriggles himself out of his grip, shoving his shoulder. “Neither are we, I need to shower…”

With a guffaw, Yuutarou lets his other captive go before patting him on the shoulder. “Warm-downs first! Then showers!”

As they spread out to stretch, Yuutarou looks over his shoulder to Goshiki, finding his gaze already on him. He flashes Yuutarou a genuine smile, one that grips his heart tightly, before he focuses on his own warm-down routine.

 

-

 

After realising his crush, how bad his crush really is, Yuutarou spends the rest of the day thinking about it.

In the shower, long after the rest of them have gone, Yuutarou presses his back against the cool tiles and stares at the ceiling. He can’t ignore the growing tightness in his chest or how his heart races every time he thinks about him. Now it consumes all of him.

When did this even start?

Minutes pass as Yuutarou finds himself stuck on that question. It may have been today that he found a word for it, but this had clearly been going on for a while.

Yuutarou likes Goshiki more than a friend.

“Shit…” Yuutarou curses as he rubs his face, the water shutting off. He considers waving his hand in front of the sensor again, but he’s hungry after the match and he wants to eat. Although he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to stomach it after his realisation.

He’s just entering the changing room with a towel around his hips when the door opens, startling him to jump and cover his chest awkwardly. He doesn’t know why, he’s used to changing with lots of people, but he’s somewhat glad when the eyes he meets belong to Goshiki.

“Kindaichi?” He asks, so bemused as he stares at him. A blush runs straight over Yuutarou’s face, spreading down his neck, like he’s been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He realises quickly, however, the source of Goshiki’s bewilderment as his soggy hair begins to drip again.

“Yeah, s-sorry, what’s up?” Yuutarou asks, trying to act as if he wasn’t currently burning up inside at the situation.

Blinking a few times, Goshiki clears his throat and leans on the doorframe, eyes glued to his face. “We were wondering where you were- well- me and Kunimi- Your dinner’s getting cold… Everyone’s finished already.”

Yuutarou’s eyes widen in surprise and he turns to the clock on the wall. Exactly how long did he space out in the shower for…? “Oh…” He murmurs, flushing red. “I-I just need to change and I’ll be right there!” Yuutarou turns to the locker his clothes are in and grabs them out to lay on the bench, not once looking back at Goshiki.

“Right, yeah, we’ll wait for you…”

With that, the door to the changing rooms shuts and Yuutarou sags as he begins to change, his cheeks flaming hot.

 

-

 

Once Yuutarou finishes changing, spending a little less time than usual in the mirror doing his hair, he packs his kit and towel in his bag and runs it up to his room before joining Kunimi and Goshiki in the cafeteria.

“Wow, I know I told you you smell, but you didn’t have to spend an hour in the shower…” Kunimi teases as he approaches.

Grumbling, Yuutarou slides into the seat next to him, opposite Goshiki, and has to restrain himself from jabbing Kunimi in the side. “I was just thinking. Lost track of time.” He sighs, flicking his eyes up to Goshiki and catching his gaze. Holding it is more difficult, his face warming up, knowing that he was thinking of him, of them .

“We, uh… kept your food warm for you.” Goshiki said, nodding to the tray of food in front of him. This gives Yuutarou an excuse to look at something else, smiling down at his plate of food, still warm as promised.

“Thanks guys, I really appreciate it!” he exclaims and digs into his food, barely able to find the courage to look up.

Next to Yuutarou, Kunimi yawns and stretches his arms out over the table before crossing them and resting his head. He’s not surprised that Kunimi is exhausted as he looks, the whole week has been tough and it’s rare that Kunimi tries as hard as he has this week. All of his nagging seems to have been working.

Tsutomu clears his throat softly as he begins to speak. Out of excuses, Yuutarou looks up at him, watching as he scratches the back of his head. He looks a little flushed, striking up a pang of worry that perhaps he had overdone it. “I was just telling Kunimi, but… Would you like to watch a movie with us?”

The food in Yuutarou’s throat becomes difficult to swallow at Tsutomu’s sudden question. In protest to the sudden racing of his heart telling him no - that he can’t stand being that close, not after finding out his feelings, Yuutarou nods. “Yeah,” he agrees, ignoring the heat in his cheeks. “In your room?”

 

-

 

Yuutarou has been in Goshiki’s room before, on the odd occasion at these training camps, but never like this.

The room is cramped with the three of them, Yuutarou stuck between both Goshiki and Kunimi. It’s warm and cosy and the bed, although likely used for multiple generations of students at Shiratorizawa, is comfortable. It even smells nice, Yuutarou thinks he can owe that to Goshiki’s deodorant.

For some reason, Goshiki’s movie of choice had been a thriller. That had caught Yuutarou completely off-guard, but maybe he just doesn’t know Goshiki all that well as he thought.

In fact, it just makes Yuutarou want to find out more. He wishes to know what his other favourite things are. But those thoughts lead him down more dangerous roads. Like the fact that he wants to know all of those things means that he likes him a little more than a friend. Goshiki couldn’t possibly want that, so he backtracks. He tells himself they can’t be more than friends, despite everything that has happened this week just reinforcing that fact.

Yuutarou wants to ask Goshiki out.

He wants to tell him so desperately. Now he’s figured out all of these feelings, how right now, just being next to him and feeling his body heat charges him with a different kind of fondness than, say, Kunimi, who is sitting just as close. In fact, he has fallen asleep, his head heavy on his shoulder. And being the good friend he is, Yuutarou slowly takes his attention away from the action on the screen to manoeuvre Kunimi to a more comfortable position for both of them, tucking one of Goshiki’s blankets up to his chin.

He doesn’t notice the film has been paused until he looks around. Goshiki is watching him with an expression Yuutarou can’t really place. He doesn’t like it one bit, it makes his chest and throat close up, like he’s done something wrong.

Goshiki’s tone completely contrasts his taut look, softly asking, “You want to get him to bed?”

“Ah, no, I’ll give him a nudge when it’s time to go.” Yuutarou replies, expecting Goshiki to continue the movie. He doesn’t. He just stares at him, Yuutarou can see his lips move as he tries to respond.

There’s a few moments of uncomfortable silence before Goshiki turns away. The tips of his ears are red, he can see them even in the light of his laptop. “You two are close, huh?” Goshiki says, his voice seeming… lost.

Yuutarou is unsure exactly why Goshiki questions it. “Yeah… We’ve known each other since we were kids…” He answers, head tilted in curiosity. “Why… Why do you ask?”

So many things swirl in Yuutarou’s head as he racks his brain for why any of this right now is happening. Goshiki is facing him again, eyes wide, almost pleading. Yuutarou becomes entranced by them. “So… you’re not together?”

Yuutarou swallows, throat going dry and heart thumping hard in his rib cage. Why is he asking that? He almost wishes Kunimi was awake since he’s the one who would be best to handle answering these questions, especially considering how hard Yuutarou’s heart aches to be Goshiki’s. “N-No…” He answers hesitantly, still trapped in Goshiki’s gaze.

Something shifts quickly in the eyes Yuutarou is so transfixed on. Yuutarou isn’t sure why or how, but they both move instantly. There’s a mutual understanding that clicks into place as soon as a breath leaves Goshiki’s parted lips.

Yuutarou barely sucks in a breath before he catches them clumsily. Goshiki makes no move to pull back despite that fact, and unlike Yuutarou he’s a great kisser, tilting his head in just the right way and everything suddenly feels right . A hand slides into Yuutarou’s hair, Goshiki’s fingers run pleasantly through the strands, making him shiver. Yuutarou moves his own hand to Goshiki’s waist, finding somewhere to hold on as he loses himself in the kiss.

They move back only when their breath becomes laboured. Yuutarou’s face feels like fire and his chest aches with the force of his heartbeat. It’s a better kind of ache, one that gives him a warm and fuzzy sensation inside his chest as he looks back at Goshiki, finding him in a similar state.

“I-I- G-Goshiki- you-” Yuutarou stutters, wondering how Goshiki can give him so much confidence on the court and when they kiss, yet reduces him to a bumbling mess afterwards. Goshiki is looking at him with a smirk on his face, one that reminds Yuutarou of the kind he gives him when he’s teasing him. But it’s softer and complemented with a beautiful red blush covering his cheeks.

“I didn’t know if you could see it…” A sigh of relief floats from Goshiki’s lips as his fingers play with the short strands of Yuutarou’s hair. His head falls forward to his shoulder and Yuutarou grips his side a little tighter. “I like you, Kindaichi. I like you a lot. More than… whatever we are now.”

It’s kind of obvious, after what just happened, but Yuutarou appreciates the transparency. He’s not sure he could truly believe what is happening otherwise. “I thought… I didn’t- I didn’t think… that you liked me the same way…”

Moving back from Yuutarou’s shoulder, Goshiki looks up at him with something glistening in his eyes. For a moment, Yuutarou wonders if he’s upset, but he’s smiling too, a wide smile that barely fits his face. “I’ve liked you for a while now. For someone who thinks so hard, I’m surprised you didn’t see it.” He chuckles, even as tears fall down his cheeks. Hurriedly wiping them with his free hand, Goshiki slides his other down from Yuutarou’s hair, over his shoulder to his chest, directly over his heart, his eyes focused on it before flicking back to Yuutarou’s. “I was afraid you liked someone else.”

Every one of Goshiki’s movements are so careful, but Yuutarou had wanted to be the one to wipe those tears away, since it’s his fault he’s crying in the first place. He’s frozen in place seeing him this way. Confident, boasting Goshiki in tears, thinking that Yuutarou didn’t have his entire heart set on him. Because it’s impossible not to. Not after this week, realising exactly how amazing Goshiki is. Yuutarou feels so guilty that Goshiki thought he liked Kunimi.

All this time he’d been desperately hiding his feelings for him… It all seems so dumb now. “Oh…” He breathes, looking down at Kunimi’s slack face and back up again. The thought is amusing once thinks about it, his lips cracking into a grin. “You say I didn’t see anything, but you saw what wasn’t even there.”

With a petulant huff, Goshiki moves his laptop away and clambers over Yuutarou until he sits directly on his thighs, arms around his shoulders. “Well, maybe I was just jealous seeing all your attention on him and not me.”

Goshiki’s closeness and the fact that his entire weight is in his lap - and fuck is he heavier than he expected - gives Yuutarou no choice but to pay attention, his lips slack, trying to find words to retort beneath Goshiki’s smug grin.

“What? Why are you so red, Yuutarou ?” Goshiki asks, but Yuutarou can see how red he is too. No matter how the way he says his name sends a shiver up his spine, Yuutarou knows he can just as easily evoke the same reaction.

Instead of flustering, Yuutarou sets his hands on Goshiki’s waist and leans in closer, a confidence he only gets when waging a contest with the other captain. “I could ask you the same thing, Tsutomu .”

The next moment, Yuutarou is unlikely to forget. Tsutomu shoves him back to the bed and enters into a bruising kiss, one that leaves Yuutarou’s head spinning and his heart pounding wildly in his chest. He definitely got to him, he can tell from his reaction, but he admits defeat anyway. There’s no way he can compete with Tsutomu on top of him and kissing him.

Despite the initial crash of his lips, his remaining kisses are soft and slow. Yuutarou can understand Tsutomu’s tears now, because he feels so relieved that Tsutomu wants him just as much.

“Holy shit guys, get a room.”

Yuutarou tries to sit up so fast he almost smashes his face against Tsutomu’s, but Tsutomu is unperturbed. “We are in a room,” he protests, his gaze not even breaking from Yuutarou’s startled eyes.

“Well, guess I know where I’m not wanted…” Kunimi drawls. Yuutarou can hear he’s grinning in the way he speaks, however he doesn’t dare try to look. As the door shuts, they’re left alone and Tsutomu sighs deeply.

“Everything OK?” Yuutarou asks, brushing his fingers through Tsutomu’s hair. It’s so silky, he becomes mesmerised by it until Tsutomu’s lips move, curling into a soft smile and catching his eye.

“No. It’s more than OK… I have you now.”

Yuutarou’s entire body flushes. In the dim lighting of the lamp beside Tsutomu’s bed, Yuutarou can see his face framed in the shadow of his hair, his gorgeous smile and glimmering eyes.

As Tsutomu leans down to kiss him again, this time slower, Yuutarou knows he had been right to expect such great things to happen this week.