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The Butterfly Effect

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The memories Suga has after waking up in the hospital are piecemeal, and fan out in disarray. He thinks he has them all in the right order, but he could be wrong.

He remembers Ukai and Takeda visiting after Daichi had to leave and asking in low voices if anything had happened between them. He remembers a smile creeping up on him and the way his heart flits about in his chest when he answers, "It's alright now. We'll be okay." Suga thinks they were holding hands when they smiled back at him with genuine happiness on his behalf, relief and something like pride painting their softly-lit faces.

He remembers the team visiting only a few minutes later, how could he not? The nurse had to pry Hinata off of him when he jumped on Suga with a bunch of flowers still in his fist, jabbering a mile a minute and crying a little bit in obvious relief that Suga was feeling better. Kageyama probably hit him upside the head, but he doesn't remember.

The team chattered with him for hours until the nurses got sick of them and kicked them out so Suga could have some peace, even though he wanted them to stay for hours more.

He remembers Asahi staying, and having a real, heartfelt conversation with him about anxiety and attacks. Asahi had said that if Suga ever needed someone to go to when he was panicking, he would be there for him. "And Noya, too," Asahi had added unexpectedly. Suga noted the distinct lack of an honorific. "He knows a lot about calming techniques now, and he's pretty good at it recognizing an attack before it can start. You're not alone in this. Noya's even started teaching the rest of the team so they can help us if we need it." A proud grin lights up his entire face, and Suga almost wants to make fun of it, but it's so sincere and endearing that he decides to not ruin it.

He doesn't remember much else. There's therapy and he hates it, there's pills and he hates them, there's his mother and he hates her and it scares him.

Suga remembers the first day back home in colours, a swirling mass of white and red and black; white in the iciness of his mother as she asked if "those faggot teachers" had come to visit again, red in the way he growls "don't call them that," black in her derisive snort in reply. "I'll call them what they are," she had said. "Faggots. Disgusting faggots. Don't spend too much time around them. You never know with faggots. They might try to force themselves on you. They're more likely to do that, you know."

Suga had rushed upstairs so she wouldn't see him start to cry. His coloured memories melt to greyscale as he shoots off a text to Kaoru that never gets answered, but draw back in some sense of soft pastels as he starts a group text with Daichi, Asahi, Noya and, surprisingly, Tsukishima, and they take turns comforting him, telling him that they love him and don't think he's disgusting, and Noya blasts off into a long rant about homophobes with Tsukishima sneaking in brutally sarcastic little comments that have Suga grinning in spite of himself. They text for hours and everyone makes sure he's okay before leaving.

Then Daichi calls and they talk about everything and nothing. Suga only remembers a sense of peace washing over him as Daichi's low voice paints him sky blue and deep purple with splashes of sunset and a myriad of stars.

He does remember with startling clarity waking up next to Daichi in that puffy white hospital bed. The numbness of his legs, the tiny sheen of sweat on his forehead from sharing copious amounts of body heat, the way Daichi had every one of his limbs hooked around Suga, anchoring him to safety.

Daichi had been staring at him with a painfully gentle expression when Suga's eyes blearily fluttered open. Caught, he hastily masked his quiet sadness, leaning forward to nudge his lips against Suga's hair, barely a kiss but still achingly intimate.

Suga remembers thinking for a long time afterward that he should have known then. He should have known ever since he woke up at four in the morning to find Daichi still awake and waiting for him.

Daichi was so in love with Suga it was killing him to hide it away, and it bubbled up in moments like these, silent moments for just the two of them, a mellow early morning with a hint of sun and a hint of rain and Suga wanted to stay here forever and that was really when he should have figured it out.

But he had Kaoru, so it never occurred to him until much later.

 

Suga drops his backpack on the floor of Kaoru's bedroom. "Hey."

Kaoru looks up from his desk. "Hey."

"So are we actually doing homework today or..?"

"...you want to make out, don't you."

Suga drops to his knees next to his boyfriend and slips his arm around his waist. "Little bit, yeah," he says huskily, leaning closer.

He presses their lips together and waits for Kaoru to respond. He does, but it feels forced. Suga figures they haven't done this in a while and Kaoru must be feeling a bit out of practice, but when the kissing doesn't become any more enjoyable, Suga pulls away.

"What's wrong?"

Kaoru is silent. He gently removes Suga's arm from his waist. He opens his mouth, pauses, closes it, and opens it again to say, "I've been thinking."

Suga feels the anxiety stir in his stomach. "...yeah?"

"Yeah, and I think... I mean... Sugawara, I'm not..." Kaoru runs a hand tiredly through his dark curly locks. "Sugawara, I'm straight."

The floor opens beneath Suga and he's falling, falling, falling. "What?"

"I thought I wasn't, and so I wanted to try this, but... it's just not... it just feels really—"

Suga's mouthing "no no no no no no no" but he doesn't see—

"—it's kind of gross. I don't want to do this anymore." He won't look up and Suga doesn't want him to.

Suga scrambles backwards and knocks his backpack over. A bottle tumbles out. His anxiety meds. Kaoru flicks his gaze to it and his mouth curls.

"Besides, I kind of already have a girlfriend."

The bottle is in danger of being crushed in Suga's shaking grip. "...what."

"Yeah. So we really can't do this anymore."

Suga doesn't know how he manages to hold himself together. The shock probably puts him on autopilot as he zips the bottle back up, slings his backpack over his shoulder, and stands up on legs that tremble so hard he almost collapses.

"I'm sorry."

"Shut the fucking hell up," Suga breathes, and then he's stumbling out of the house, barely able to see through his tears. He starts running as soon as he hits the sidewalk. He doesn't know where he's going.

His heart is broken cleanly in two, and it bleeds into his lungs and fills them with blinding grief that he coughs up and spills from his eyes and nose. His feet pound the asphalt in desperation, carrying him as far away from that house as fast as they can, and they start to hurt but it's nothing next to the black mess seeping from his ribcage.

Suga finds himself in front of Ukai's store with no idea how he'd gotten there.

The bell above the door is too happy as it rings out his arrival, and he just stands in the entrance, not knowing what to even do. Does he cry? Call out for Ukai? Turn around and leave? Pretend that he's just here to get a snack?

He doesn't have to make a decision. Ukai makes it for him by wordlessly getting up and leading him to the back storage room, where he sits Suga on the floor against the wall and busies himself with finding a can of something sweet and fizzy, popping the tab open and gently pushing it into Suga's shaky hands. Suga doesn't drink it, just stares blankly at the orange soda bubbling idly within the cold aluminum. Tears drip down his face and he makes no moves to wipe them away.

"What happened?" Ukai asks finally, covering Suga's hands lightly with his own.

Suga only shakes his head and a tiny noise escapes him, a swallowed sob.

"Do you want me to call someone over? Itte— Takeda, or Daichi, or Yamada?"

Suga flinches so badly that the can nearly slips from his fingers.

"Not Yamada, huh?"

Suga shakes his head violently and makes that choked noise again.

"Did something happen with him?"

"He—" Suga squeaks, and his eyebrows scrunch up and his eyes squeeze shut. "He just broke up with me because— he said— he was straight. And I wasn't— he might as well have— I wasn't—" he gasps erratically. Ukai takes the can from him and sets in away, wiping Suga's tears gently. "I wasn't enough."

He collapses his face into his hands. He's so sick of crying, so sick of feeling like shit all the time, so sick of not feeling good enough for anyone. The sobs escape him anyway, and Ukai cautiously folds Suga into his arms after extracting his phone from his pocket. Suga cries into his broad shoulder.

It hurts.

It hurts so bad.

Suga isn't good enough and it hurts worse than the attacks, worse than his mother's jibes, worse than any physical injury he's ever gotten playing volleyball. It's all over, dragging outward from his heart, which is barely working properly anymore, beating too fast, too slow, too hard, too much.

"I'm going to get Itt— Takeda over here, and Daichi if I can. Is that alright?"

Suga nods weakly.

He hears the pings of sent messages, then Ukai tucks his phone away and begins to slowly stroke Suga's hair. Suga cries himself all out of tears but doesn't move, slumped against the older man who's become something like the father he never had. Well. One of the fathers.

Ukai's phone vibrates. "Ittetsu's on his way." A moment passes and it rings. "It's Daichi." He answers. "Hey."

Suga can just barely hear the murmur of Daichi's voice through the phone.

"No, he's still here. Yeah. Yeah. Takeda's on his way as well... of course." Ukai doesn't stop moving his hand through Suga's hair. "I'll ask." He tips Suga's head up. "You got your meds?"

Suga nods again, gesturing at the backpack laying forlornly at his feet.

"Yeah, he's got them. You taken them today?"

"Yeah."

"He has. Yeah. Alright, see you soon— oh? Suga, he wants to talk to you."

Suga take the phone carefully. "Dai?" he rasps.

"Koushi." The breath that holds his name holds so many other painful, beautiful things, and that's all it takes for Suga to finally understand.

Daichi loves him.

"I'm on my way right now. Do you need anything?"

"Just you."

Daichi's breath catches. "Alright."

The door rings brightly and a few seconds later Takeda bustles into the storage room, dropping next to Suga and looking him over carefully.

"Takeda-sensei's here now."

"Okay. I'll probably be around in ten minutes."

"Okay. See you then."

"See you."

Suga hangs up and hands Ukai his phone. He finds himself in Takeda and Ukai's held-hand embrace for the third time and they sit there in silence until Daichi shows up, his hair blown all over the place and red-faced, as if he had sprinted. He probably had.

He settles in between Suga and Ukai and Suga immediately presses his body into Daichi's, his face hidden in his chest, breathing him in, this boy he almost lost.

He doesn't know how long they sit like that. Ukai has to get up to tend to the store, and Takeda has to leave to take care of some work, but Daichi stays, and he pulls up a video chat with Asahi and Noya, but finds that Noya shows up on Asahi's phone. "Are we interrupting something?" he lightly teases.

"Of course not!" Noya blushes.

"You're wearing Asahi's shirt," Suga giggles, wiping his eyes. "And Asahi, I can see you putting a shirt on in the reflection in your window."

Noya gapes. "How can you even—? Well, whatever. You got us. What's up?"

Suga bites his lip and looks up at Daichi. "I don't wanna say it," he says quietly. "I assume Ukai told you..?"

Daichi, out of sight, laces his fingers with Suga's. "Yamada... broke up with him."

"Oh!" Noya gasps. Asahi reenters the screen, taking a seat next to Noya on the messed-up bed. "Are you okay?"

"Not really," Suga says, snuggling closer to Daichi, feeling the way his friend's heart speeds up. "I'm better than I was, though." His eyes unfocus slightly. "Going home is going to be hell."

"Sleep over here," Noya says immediately. "You too, Daichi."

"Noya, it's a school night. You know I can never sleep enough when I'm not in my own bed," Suga says, but his heart stutters at Noya's kindness.

"Oh, yeah," Noya's face falls.

"Thank you, though," Suga says softly. "Maybe on Thursday? We have no school on Friday, right?"

"Yeah!" Noya nods vigorously. "The whole team! A giant sleepover! Oh! We can go two days in a row!"

They continue to make plans, then drift into other lighthearted conversations. Ukai checks in on them a few times, but doesn't interrupt. Suga drinks the now-flat soda. It's still cold and feels good against his sore throat.

 

Daichi walks him home. "See you tomorrow."

"Yeah." Daichi starts to turn away.

Suga's heart clenches.

On a wild impulse, he grabs Daichi's arm and presses a kiss to his cheek.

Daichi freezes. Slowly, he brings his fingers up to touch his cheek. "Koushi."

Suga is just as shocked.

"...What did that mean..?"

"I don't know," Suga breathes.

Daichi rocks on his feet, then rushes forward, cups the side of Suga's face, and returns the kiss to his lips, resting their foreheads together.

"Well, you think about it," he says shakily against Suga's mouth.

This time Suga lets him walk away.

He floats through dinner in a haze. These feelings fighting for recognition deep in his stomach... they're real, right?

They're not just a rebound from Kaoru, right?

 

Suga's dreams that night are filled with visions of him chasing after a boy with short, dark hair and toned muscles that flex as he runs from Suga, slipping away as soon as Suga gets close.

Suga reaches out, puts on a burst of speed, and brushes the boy's neck.

He bursts into a brilliant shower of sky blue and deep purple butterflies, with splashes of sunset and a myriad of stars, and Suga drowns.