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They fall in step with the ease of people who have been fighting with and against each other for years. For they have, Daichi and Kuroo, Karasuno and Nekoma, they were allies before they had allies. Somehow, he has forgotten such a basic, important fact. He has forgotten this one truth, this single certainty in the world of full lies and uncertainty he has come to hold on to in his and his family’s most difficult times.

Nekoma would always stand by Karasuno.

The least he and Karasuno can do is to do the same for Nekoma. But he had let himself be swayed, giving into his doubts just because of some disagreement and misunderstanding that could be easily settled if he was more willing to listen, to understand.

He is the one to put them in this position, separated from their guardians, fighting for their lives against enemies intent on killing them by using excessive number and force. He was prepared for Kuroo to throw him an I-told-you-so remark and he would not dispute him. But instead, the Nekoma boss simply put his back against him and threw a wall of fire around them to give them time, quiet and focused as his Mist flames surrounded him. He couldn’t help the flutter and the warmth in his chest at the sight despite the guilt and loathing threatening to devour him. He owed the other man and his family more than just an apology. He would make things right between them. He would make sure of it. With that resolution, he fell easily into hyper dying will state, pressing his back against Kuroo and taking a fighting stance. When he snapped his eyes open, Sky flames burned brightly in his eyes and on his hands. Together, back-to-back, the two young leaders took on the overwhelming odds.

Daichi isn’t sure how long they have been fighting and evading their relentless pursuers. It might have been minutes or hours, he cannot tell with how persistent their attackers are. It seems one down only for another to take their place. They have agreed to keep moving and looking to regroup with their guardians. Kuroo managed to contact his guardians, thanks to Nekoma’s new, advanced technology, and decided on a meeting point for them to regroup and get to pickup point. They found out that their guardians had paired off like they did, to their relief, but also had the same problem with they did, unable to shake their attackers off and being kept from getting to the others. Daichi and Kuroo exchanged a grim look at that, realizing how serious and determined their enemies were to take them out of the picture.

Daichi follows Kuroo’s lead as he gets them through the path with the least resistance with the assistance of who is likely Kozume in his ears. The men are easier to handle now they are the ones choosing the place to fight. Somehow each of Karasuno’s guardians gets paired up with Nekoma’s, so neither Suga nor Asahi are flying blind in the chaos. He counts his blessing in this clusterfuck. He is taken out of his musing when he feels his intuition flared up. He avoids a punch to his face and takes out another’s knee under him, but the warning is still there. He spreads out his awareness as he is taught, while his body keeps moving and fighting.

Something… Somewhere… But before he can pinpoint the source of the danger


he finds himself being pushed to the ground, barely catching himself on the hard asphalt at the unexpected force and weight on top of him.

“Kuroo, wha-!” His surprised yell is cut off when he hears the familiar zing of a bullet far too close for comfort and the resulting boom and destruction from where the bullet hits. Daichi lets out a loud curse at the realization that they have a sniper who is a flame user targeting them. He lets out another when his intuition warns him another bullet is coming their way. He pushes against Kuroo, but the other man doesn’t budge despite Daichi having more weight on him.

Move!” Daichi is prepared to use his flame-enhanced strength, only to freeze when he catches an impossible sight at the corner of his eyes. Kuroo’s eyes are not burning indigo, which is typical of Mist flame. They are burning orange, which is not typical of Mist flame.

That’s not possible. There’s only one flame burns that color.

Wide-eyed and breathless with surprise and confusion, he watches in slow motion how those orange–orange, he keeps repeating in his mind, as though it will changeflames gather in the air… and stop the bullet in its tracks and have it returned to where it comes from from one breath to the next. He won’t realize what is happening if he hasn’t been closely paying attention. For all he know, there’s a sudden stop of barrage of bullets. Before he can gather himself, Kuroo pulls him up by the arm, strong and sure, and pushes him in front of him.

“We need to go.” With Kuroo behind him, Daichi cannot see his face. There are so many things he wants to say, but he knows better that this is not the time and place. They are still not out of danger. 

Only now that they are moving again, he realizes that the area they are currently in is surprisingly open with higher ceiling and less obstruction around them. He strongly doubts that Kozume led them to this place without counting on the possibility of a sniper. This means that their enemies are more coordinated than they realize and they should not give them time to spring another trap like before. They skid to a stop when they are close to the meeting point right behind a pillar with good vantage point, not wanting to give away their position and plan in case of watching eyes.

“The others are still on their way.” Kuroo says after they catch their breath. Despite having better stamina than most and having each other to watch their backs, it hasn’t been easy fending off their attackers, especially when they’re trying not to kill them when the other side has no such inhibition. Kuroo doesn’t have such constraint, but he has followed his lead. It is his Mist illusions that make it possible for them to prevent high casualty, but it is also why between the two of them he’s the most drained out of flames. However, when Daichi looks at him, Kuroo is much too pale and clammy for mere exhaustion.

Before Daichi can say anything, his senses catch the familiar presence of Suga and Asahi. At the same time, Kuroo receives the confirmation as he straightens up next to him. In wordless agreement, they break into a run. For a while, they fend off the attacks on their own until soon they are joined by their guardians who immediately flank them as they move out towards the pickup point.

Daichi exchanges relieved gazes with his friends and guardians as they don’t seem to have been injured badly. Suga looks rather winded with only shallow scratches on his body. Asahi is better off but seems worse with the gash on his head, the only injury he can see. He is surprised to find that both of his guardians manage to pair up with Nekoma’s guardian they work best with. Suga with Yaku and Asahi with Kai. Himself with Kuroo. Inwardly he wonders what the chances are for them to end up in advantageous pairing in such commotion. He doesn’t let himself wonder for long, pushing his senses and his flames to the limit as they are now in the open in order for their family to get them.

They don’t need to wait long, two black SUVs zoom into the area in full speed, skidding into a stop with a screech and in a V-formation to give them cover. Tanaka comes out from the car to get them to safety as Yamamoto does the same in the other car. Daichi’s guardians close in on and around him, pushing him into the car before he realizes that he is separated from Kuroo.

“Chikara, drive!” Daichi should be worried that Chikara’s the one driving, but instead he feels dread gnawing his insides the moment he lost sight of Kuroo.

“Daichi, what are you doing?” Asahi pulls him back, Daichi doesn’t realize that he has been trying to reach the door until Asahi’s panicked voice break through his stupor.

“Wait,” without preamble Suga takes his jacket off him, hands on his back.


“There’s blood on your back.”

“What? How? I’m not injured.” Daichi should have felt it by now if he was. Wordlessly Suga shoves the jacket at him, flipping it over to show a suspicious stain on its back. With trembling fingers he touches the fabric only to find them wet and coated with red.

His mind flashes back to the warmth and weight pressed on his back, keeping him down to the ground. His blood freezes in his veins at the realization.