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the whens and the wheres

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It’s a bit of a hasty decision when he suggests an ice rink for their winter break date. A new one’s just opened near the school and Koushi’s never been, and anyway, ice rinks are supposed to be top dog of all excellent date venues. He doesn’t really know how to skate, but he figures that makes it even better. Kageyama’s good at everything and he agreed pretty quickly so he’s bound to know how, right, and it’s going to be so romantic, how he’ll wrap his arms around Koushi and hold his hands so they can glide through the ice together until Koushi’s confident enough to do it himself. And then he’ll slip and Kageyama’ll catch him before he falls, bend down until his lips are just right before Koushi’s, just right there, and Koushi’s going to cup his cheeks and bring their faces together and…

Romantic. This is going to be so romantic.

He’s excited all the way up to the edge of the rink after they put on their shoes (the blades are thinner than he thought), happy to see Kageyama in the scarf he’d gifted for Christmas but a little scared he’s going to do a lot more falling than in the scenario he’d envisioned for the afternoon. But he figures it’ll be okay, as long as Kageyama’s there to catch him everytime.

Koushi smiles at him once he’s ready, gestures to the rink. "You go first."

Kageyama blinks at him. "Oh, uh, I thought you’d want to go first."

Someone on the ice screams as he stumbles and Koushi thinks no, he really doesn’t want to, but maybe it’ll be easier for Kageyama to guide him if he goes first, or something. He swallows his fear in the name of romance. "O-okay, I’ll go first but...here, take my hand."

One eager nod later, their hands are tightly linked together. A little too tightly; just the way Koushi wants it right now.

He steps onto the frozen deathtrap, shaking as he goes, attached to Kageyama as well as the nearby bars, and heaves a sigh of relief when he manages not to completely lose his balance in the first ten seconds. It isn’t so bad, he thinks. All he has to do now is not move until the more experienced of them both decides to take the lead. He looks at Kageyama expectantly, finds him staring at Koushi’s feet the way he looks at opposing team setters during a match.

"Good job, Suga-san," he says.

"Thanks! You should hop in too."

Kageyama’s stare lingers for far longer than it should, but eventually he does take a deep breath, glance at the ice, and say, "Okay."

The weight of his hand in Koushi’s seems to double as he takes a single bold step onto the rink and he loses his balance the moment that Koushi does, the both of them yelling as they drop to the ground in a glorious display of fists fruitlessly clutching onto jackets and flailing, tangled legs.

Koushi squeezes his eyes shut and groans as the pain attacks his entire backside, and as he watches Kageyama haul himself up by the elbows looking like he’s just barely survived a deadly accident, his thoughts of romance and orchestrated graceful accidents have been chased off with a broomstick by a single, crushing realization:

"Kageyama...do you not know how to skate?"

Kageyama slips on his own elbows and nearly faceplants onto the ice. "No! Don’t you?"

Koushi can almost physically feel the color draining from his face. "No…"

"Seriously?" Kageyama cries, genuinely baffled. "I thought that since you’re good at everything, you knew how."

"Me? You’re the master of physical coordination here."

"Volleyball is played with normal shoes, though."

"Okay!" Koushi says, unable to keep from grinning. "Okay, okay, this is fine. We’re here now; we can try and learn together. This is still going to be fun, I promise. Okay?"

Despite himself, Kageyama lets out a small, quiet laugh. "Okay."

And it can still be romantic, Koushi tells himself as he struggles to get on his feet. After all, their inability to find balance is an excellent excuse to hold each other as intimately as possible. Their falls might even benefit them in the long run, classic shoujou manga style, Kageyama dropping on his back and Koushi’s smaller body landing on top of his, his lips right before Kageyama’s, just right there, and Koushi’s going to cup his cheeks and bring their faces together and…

He loses his footing before he can completely regain it and he plummets back down onto the ice, the exruciating collision of his forehead against Kageyama’s shoulder accompanied by the two ugliest yelps he’s ever heard.

Koushi makes a face as a little girl expertly whizzes past them. “Maybe we should get help first.”

“Agreed,” Kageyama says, as he begins crawling back to the entrance.

 

 

Chapter Text

Whereas the entirety of the Kitagawa Daiichi student body is focused on the formalities of this year’s opening ceremony, Yuutarou’s sights and mind are elsewhere. How cramped the hall is from all the classes lined up to hear the principal drone on makes it easy to examine everyone around him--the boy beside him in particular. He's standing as erect as the rest of his class but he's breathing deeply, mouth lolling open wide enough to let a thin strand of drool (ew!) flow by the corner of his lips and down to his jaw, eyelids half-raised to reveal only the whites of his eyes, probably rolled all the way back to his head.

The kid is fast asleep on his feet, and Yuutarou has to bite his lips to keep from smiling too wide. That's actually pretty cool, he thinks, sneaking glances at the guy's lightly snoring form, and snorting. A brand of cool only the biggest of losers could achieve. Yuutarou wonders if he’s going to do this all year, in class and at all the assemblies, wonders if the teachers will ever catch him or if they’ll even realize he’s drifting away.

The thought makes Yuutarou snort louder, but throwing his hand over his mouth doesn't do much for damage control. The sleeping kid's entire body gives a light twitch, jerking awake, and Yuutarou wants to find a hole and hide in it or else find a closet to freely laugh in when he slurps his own spittle back into his mouth, lowers his head to wipe at the excess with his prestigious Kitaichi blue blazer sleeve, and looks around himself like he's only just remembering he's left home. Yuutarou silently laughs at the back of his confused head, visualizes his sleepy eyes blinking themselves into reality.

His grin is killed when those sleepy eyes look at him.

They're pale and foggy from the kid's drowse but evidently blue, and a shade Yuutarou can't find it in himself to qualify now that they're glued to his face, how heavy they are somehow managing to look captivating rather than ridiculous now that he's not drooling all over himself. He's way shorter, his dark hair more unkempt than Yuutarou had first assumed, the few strands sticking up in the front kind of cute paired with his sleepy morning face.

Yuutarou swallows, vaguely aware of how wide his own eyes are, how sweaty and hot his face suddenly feels.

He jumps when the kid's eyes shift from his face to his legs and drag all the way to the top of his head, feels himself heat up even more and crumble from the weight of a gaze he has no business being able to physically feel.

"You're really tall," the kid says, loudly enough for Yuutarou to hear how smooth and low and kind of pretty, oh no his voice is. "Are you going to join the volleyball club?"

Yuutarou’s being is busy screaming when he realizes he's just been asked a question he didn't hear. "Ah--" he stammers, "yeah. What? Yeah. Huh?"

It's apparently a satisfactory answer, as the kid stops trying to estimate his height and turns towards the ceremony they're supposed to be paying attention to. "Cool," he says. "Being tall’s important in volleyball. You’ll probably be really good. See you later."

Crap, did he just agree to join the volleyball club? He hasn’t played volleyball much. Yuutarou sucks in a breath, holds it in to stop himself shaking, aggressively tries to shove all of his attention towards the principal's encouraging message and equally aggressively failing. The kid is blankly staring ahead now, how bored he appears not at all discouraging to the part of Yuutarou's brain that decides what beauty is, and Yuutarou can do nothing but surrender to it. Maybe volleyball won't be so bad. He'll have an excuse to ask for this kid's name, at least, to see his eyes when they’re alive and attentively watching the ball.

Is he really going to join a club for a single person, though?

He sneaks a look at the kid again.

Yeah, he totally is.

 

Chapter Text

“Would you care to explain to me what this is?”

Tetsurou stands erect, watches a little too intently as his firefighter for the day (for, like, the fourth time in the span of a month) Sawamura sternly stares him down and holds a piece of paper, scarcely bigger than a palm, up before his face. It’s familiar, and it should be, as Tetsurou is the one who strategically placed it near today’s source of the fire just moments after he’d started it. Accidentally, of course.

“Uhh, a note containing a humble request?” he tries, offering a crooked grin as if it stands a change against Sawamura’s gorgeous pre-scolding frown.

That frown deepens. “No. A humble request would at least contain the word ‘please’. This just says ‘go out with me’.”

“There’s a question mark at the end, though! It conveys my uncertainty and modesty. And also tells you that you can say no, no problem, I can take it.”

His well thought-out punctuation doesn’t seem like much of a consolation for Sawamura. “Unbelievable,” he mutters, but Tetsurou hears it perfectly. Suddenly he’s starting to second guess his master plan. “Did you really just start a fire in the middle of the night for this? Were all the other fires leading up to this too?”

“Hey! No! I didn’t start any fires on purpose!” Tetsurou protests, and it’s mostly true. The first night—the one that had started it all—had been a pure accident. His stove was old and he was old and he honestly thought he’d turned it off already after he retrieved his dinner and the mistake could’ve happened to anyone. The second fire was the wiring of the toaster’s fault. The third fire was because of a friend that had smoked in the wrong room. And tonight’s fire was just as unplanned, a product of his mind that had been a little too preoccupied while cooking, and totally not by the fact that he could get Sawamura to show up if he burned something. “It just so happens that something caught fire again and I knew you’d show up, so I took the opportunity.”

Sawamura pauses. “You mean to tell me that while your stove and pot were going up in smoke, you thought of writing me a note asking me to go out with you, and then actually managed to write said note and even leave it right beside the blazing fire before I arrived?”

And then Tetsurou pauses. Sawamura’s condescending tone makes it sound more pathetic than he’d initially thought it would be. “Okay, I know it makes me seem like a disaster—”

“It does.”

“But I have my—”

“You’re a disaster.”

Will you please go out with me or what?”

With a sigh and a quick rub of the temple, Sawamura shakes his head and reaches into his pocket, his hand eventually triumphantly emerging with a pen. Tetsurou swallows as he flips the note over and scribbles something on the back. “Next time you want to see me,” he says, capping his pen and then slamming the paper onto Tetsurou’s subconsciously outstretched hand, “be a normal person and call me personally; not the fire department. And seriously, don’t go starting any more fires, please.”

The once-blank backside of his request note now contains a legitimate-looking number. Tetsurou’s insides scream and his heart gives the sound a fast, stable rhythm. “So...that’s a yes?” he asks, rather stupidly.

But it gets him a smile from Sawamura, just a single corner of the mouth turned up but reaching all the way up to his raised, suggestive eyebrows, and it’s so worth it. “Obviously. Who do you think volunteered to put out your fires three nights in a row after the first time?”

He walks away, and Tetsurou has half the mind to yell at him to come back and take responsibility for the fire that’s started on his skin and in his chest.

 

Chapter Text

“Kunimi, where’s Kageyama?”

Kunimi whips around, sees nothing behind him other than the remnants of the narrow corridor they’d just passed, the illumination of the flashlight they were provided by the entrance to the house flickering as he stares at the space Kageyama should’ve been standing in. He was there just moments ago; Kunimi’s sure of it, and Kindaichi probably is too, if his fingernails digging into the skin of Kunimi’s arm is any indication.

“Maybe we left him behind at the first area,” Kunimi suggests as calmly as he can. He isn’t quite sure he believes that excuse but hearing that something bad might have happened to Kageyama in this ridiculously-realistic attraction is the last thing Kindaichi needs right now. “Should we go back for him?”

“Uhh, this is—this is timed, right? Maybe we should just go without him. He’ll probably be okay,” Kindaichi says, his body pressed even closer to Kunimi’s while he searches through the darkness, maybe hoping for Kageyama to turn up, maybe not. “Right?”

A glass shatters where neither of them are looking, and any other suggestions Kunimi might have had completely slip his mind when he jumps along with Kindaichi’s startled yelp. “Right. Let’s go. If we win, we can just give him the entire prize as an apology.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s good.”

They press forward, Kunimi struggling to keep the flashlight steady even as they’re bombarded by brief gusts of cold wind and the most inexplicable of quiet noises. They can’t see the end of the corridor just yet, can only briefly stare at the dirty green walls and rotting wooden shelves lined with jars containing who knows what and then hastily turn away. Kindaichi flinches away from those closets everytime, knows they’re the perfect hiding spot for opportunistic beast hands or perhaps a full-blown monster thirsting for the chance to ambush. Kunimi can probably handle those things better. He’s just as evil, anyway.

Kunimi tries his best to be the calmer of the two, takes in every dark stain and cobweb and tries to rationalize why they’re there, reminds himself that he’s in the middle of 3-3’s House of Screams and not in an actual abandoned laboratory used for barbaric experiments and housing grotesque corpses seeking revenge. He makes faces at the trail of centipedes and swarm of flies, but he keeps his lips zipped and hopes they’ll stay zipped no matter what suddenly grabs his ankle or falls from the ceiling.

He gasps through his nose when he hears a loud bang.

“Kunimi!” Kindaichi, with full custody of Kunimi’s entire arm now, harshly whispers.

There’s a single door to their right, just beside another shelf with shattered glass cabinet doors and a balding baby doll with its leg ripped off sitting on the bottom tier. Kunimi stops walking (and Kindaichi doesn’t dare continue without him), stops to listen for more sounds—footsteps, other doors, inhuman growling—but for a while, he can only hear Kindaichi’s controlled breathing and his own steady heartbeat in his ears.

Another bang, and the door starts to shake with the knob’s incessant twisting. They reflexively back against the wall, Kunimi shining his flashlight to the rest of the corridor ready to make a getaway only to find that a dead end waits ahead. “Oh, shit,” he mutters, blindly groping around for Kindaichi’s hand with the arm already enveloped in Kindaichi’s embrace. They’re going to have to run, he thinks. If something comes out that door, they’re going to run back to the first area, maybe hide, maybe flee back out the entrance, he doesn’t care.

The clatter of the doorknob stops. Kindaichi isn’t breathing.

And then the door bursts open, a disease-ridden creature splotched with white all over its body rushing out with wide, glowing eyes.

All three of them scream.

“Wait,” Kunimi says, his own yelling cut short by the fact that their assailant seems as frightened as they are, and he squints at the thing before them just as the hallway goes quiet again. “Kageyama?”

The thing rapidly blinks, its eyes a brilliant shade of blue. “Kunimi! Kindaichi!” he cries, and Kindaichi deflates around Kunimi’s arm. “I’ve been looking all over for you guys!”

“What the hell, Kageyama!” Kindaichi’s shortness of breath is evident in the way he yells. “Why are you all white?”

“You guys left me in the kitchen area and I accidentally knocked down some flour. I can’t get it off my uniform.”

“How’d you get into that room before us?” Kunimi demands.

“There was a shortcut behind the bags of flour I knocked over.”

There’s a pause, and despite everything, Kunimi and Kindaichi find themselves breathlessly laughing after a collective, well-deserved snort. Kageyama blinks at them, his hair and face still dressed in flour and making him look like a really short, confused yeti lost in urban society.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” Kindaichi says, finally releasing every hold he has on Kunimi for the first time since they saw the first centipede. “I get the feeling the rest of the attraction’s gonna be pretty doable now.”

“No kidding,” Kunimi says.

“Why’s that?” Kageyama asks.

Nothing they throw at us can hold a candle to how scary that entry of your was. Look at you! You’re basically that ghost kid from Ju-On.”

“Actually, you know what,” Kunimi says, grabbing onto both of their shoulders until he realizes Kageyama’s is full of flour and withdraws his hand straightaway. “I think I have an idea.”

By the time the three make it to the exit, they’ve managed to rebrand the House of Screams, from collecting the screams of the customers to collecting the screams of the staff. When they get out, 3-3’s class president begs Kageyama to be a part of their attraction, and other than the free candy they get for making excellent time, Kunimi and Kindaichi are rewarded with the best laughs they’ve had in a while. They give Kageyama all the candy.

 

Chapter Text

Yuuji feels like he’s bearing the weight of the world on his eyelids by the time 4 AM on his nightmare shift rolls around. The store is nearly empty save for a few stragglers who’d wandered in early into the night for a warm drink and a place to stay, and he himself wants to grab one of the garbage bags out back, lie on the floor next to the register, and snuggle into it like a sleeping bag. No one’s going to suddenly walk in starving at this time anyway. He glances at the nearly-empty back room, wonders if he’ll get fired from this job too if he makes a bed out of burger buns and naps on it.

He’s barely able to fully consider it when the familiar, dreadful sound of the front door swinging open fills the room, and he’s left tiredly gawking at the man who’s dared to be his customer at such an ungodly hour. Couldn’t he have waited two hours till Yuuji’s shift was over? Couldn’t he have just stayed at home and slept like a normal person? What the hell is wrong with people these days, acting like 4 AM is prime time to go get breakfast while the exhausted, underappreciated employees are—

“Um, excuse me?” The new customer is suddenly in front of Yuuji, studying him.

Left with no other choice, Yuuji allows his reflexes to take over, to organize his body into basic greeting posture and his face into a perfunctory friendly smile. “Hi there, welcome to KFC.”

He realizes his mistake when the customer has the nerve to wear a puzzled expression, like it’s so surprising that Yuuji is so tired he’ll forget he’s gotten fired from KFC and is now wasting away at McDonald’s hours before the sun is due to rise. He shuts his eyes for a brief moment and that feels so good but he opens them again after a brief, exasperated sigh.

“Sorry,” he says, “it’s just...4 AM is not a real time, you know? The entire world deserves to be in bed right now.”

It isn’t in his instructions to strike up chitchat with the dawn patrons but this particular one smiles at him. “I hear you,” he says, and despite how bright his brown eyes are so early in the morning, he actually does sound a little tired. “The night shift’s rough, huh?”

“Hell yes,” Yuuji breathes out, finding the empathy rather refreshing. “Anyway, yeah, this is not KFC; this is McDonald’s. Can I take your order?”

“Yeah, uh…” The customer hums. “What do you like to order here?”

Yuuji frowns (what is this, a chef’s recommendation?) but he stares at the menu anyway. “Uh, the teriyaki burger’s pretty good. With fries, of course. And I’d usually get a Vanilla shake but considering that you’re working at this time, coffee would probably suit you better.”

“Okay, then. Two of what you just described.”

“For here or to go?”

“For here.”

“Wow,” Yuuji remarks without really thinking about it, taking a moment to glimpse the customer’s burly body, his built-looking arms unjustly trapped inside a long-sleeved work shirt. “That’s kind of awesome, being able to handle that much.”

Any other customer would have accused him of calling them fat, but this one only smiles at him again, a little sheepishly this time from what he can see as he’s punching in the buttons. “Actually, I was thinking the other one would be for you.”

Yuuji accidentally presses the Happy Meal button.

The customer shrugs. “It is 4 AM. There’s almost no one around and no one else is going to come in after me, probably. You can’t get into bed right now like you want to but you deserve any break you can have.” He jumps suddenly. “Oh, uh, I’m not—necessarily asking you to eat with me, of course. Maybe you can eat it later, or if you have a lounge out back, or. Something.”

He’s hours away from the end of his nightmare shift but for the first time since he was hired, Yuuji is wide awake, ready to take orders and serve nuggets for at least a hundred more customers, no break necessary. But as he meets this miracle customer’s shy-looking eyes, tries to battle a smile, he makes the conscious decision to have one anyway.

“All right,” he says, punching in the correct order this time. “Could I have your name?”

“Daichi. But, um, is that necessary here at McDonald’s?”

“No, but if we’re gonna eat together, I wanna know what I can call you,” Yuuji says, relishing in the startled rise of Daichi’s eyebrows before turning around to prepare their orders. He doesn’t think he’s ever assembled food this excitedly before.

 

Chapter Text

Every hurried step they take is a brand new puddle that splashes on Morisuke’s pants, and the last thing he needs is any more water when his head and shirt are already sopping wet, his eyes desperately blinking away rainwater in the hope that he doesn’t lose his way and slip and damage anything important. The grip Kuroo has on him while they both dash through the storm is slippery as well, but they haven’t let go yet.

Morisuke wheezes, his extensive training in volleyball still somehow leaving him unprepared for this wet marathon Kuroo’s decided to take him on. “Whose idea was it that we go out here near midnight when there’s a storm coming?” he demands, raising his voice over the harsh patter of the rain on concrete.

“Yamamoto’s!” Kuroo yells back.

“Oh, really?” Morisuke rolls his eyes even as he runs. “I didn’t know Yamamoto was hiding in the shadows whispering to you! Or is he telepathically sending you instructions on what to do with your life?”

“Neither. But he is in my ear right now.”

“What the hell does that even mean?”

“I mean—” Kuroo quiets, and when Morisuke looks at him, he holds out his hand, reveals a little black who knows what, Morisuke can’t see very well, sitting on his palm. “He’s talking to me through this.”

Morisuke stops, squints at the earpiece dimly-lit by the street lights scattered by the fall of rain. “What?” he cries, staring the device down as if an explanation will come if he glowers hard enough. “I thought you were joking, what—why is he talking to you through this? Why are you taking ideas from Yamamoto?”

Kuroo finds his bewilderment amusing as usual, but his smile and laugh are short-lived, drowned out by the rain beating down on them and almost enough to hurt. He narrows his eyes and looks around, searches for somewhere a little less waterlogged to stand, and it’s not exactly a roof but he figures a spot underneath a large-leafed tree is better than nothing, doesn’t let go of Morisuke until he brings the both of them there without accident.

“We were planning a surprise for your birthday,” Kuroo says, voice just a tad quieter now that his face isn’t being pelted by rainwater, and Morisuke starts. “Yamamoto wanted there to be fireworks, and I was supposed to take you to the location while he and the others set them up. He insisted that the rain wouldn’t start up till tomorrow, but...eh, this wouldn’t be the first time he’s completely wrong.”

His shrug is nonchalant, but Morisuke makes it a point to plaster every ounce of warmth he feels in his chest onto his face as he stares up at Kuroo. “You guys, come on,” he says, and follows up with a gentle slap to Kuroo’s arm. The guy winces anyway, but he knows what it means. “You didn’t have to do any of this. And you don’t need to do anything now. The weather’s terrible and it’s late; we should tell everyone to just go home. I appreciate the sentiment. Thank you.”

“That’s...not where the plan stops.”

Morisuke frowns. Kuroo’s voice has changed and his eyes are determinedly staring somewhere far away while he frantically rubs his hands on his even wetter clothes, his sudden silence unnerving. He frowns at his own palms and shakes them like he’s just come from the sink and the bathroom doesn’t have a dryer.

And only after he sneaks a glance at Morisuke from the corner of his eye does he speak. “So, while you were watching the fireworks, you were supposed to be extremely and pleasantly surprised and enter a state of euphoria,” he states, almost too methodically, “and while you were grinning like an idiot, I was going to stand in front of you—” He does “—and take your hands—” He does, maintaining direct eye contact “—and tell you the big news.”

His heart hammering in his chest from the sheer proximity, Morisuke struggles to respond. “What—what big news?”

Kuroo takes a deep breath. “I really, really like you, Yakkun.”

The hammering stops, along with every function of Morisuke’s brain.

A car passes and its headlights briefly illuminate Kuroo’s face, streaked with droplets of water as well as tinges of red Morisuke’s never seen on him before. His lips tremble like he can’t handle his own inability to make words. “It was—it was supposed to be grander than this, okay? There were going to be fireworks and a cake and I—I had a flower but it got soaked and fell out of my pocket while we were running—”

Morisuke finds his strength, decides right then that he wants to use it to pull the infuritatingly tall Kuroo down by the collar of his shirt and so he does, lifts himself higher to meet Kuroo’s lips halfway in a sudden but soft kiss. He can feel his clothes clinging to his skin but his skin is on fire, a rapid, steady rhythm thumping in his ears, and he sees stars from behind his closed eyes when Kuroo responds, touches his cheek, settles a hand on his back.

He grins when they pull away and Kuroo looks like a breathless mess. “Who needs fireworks, right?”

There’s only a split second until Kuroo grins back, rolls his eyes before pulling Morisuke into a tender, very wet but still kind of nice embrace. “Happy birthday, Yakkun,” he says, “you smooth bastard.”

Morisuke laughs against his chest, and the clock strikes 12.

 

Chapter Text

Yamaguchi is the first to arrive at the station, though they aren’t necessarily expecting each other, his sports bag slung onto his shoulder and his face a picture of a very subtle sort of excitement, happiness. He clutches tightly at the strap, stares into the distance waiting for the train to arrive, but more than feeling eager to finally start his journey, he feels his heart pumping too fast at the thought of who he might just share the train ride with.

Yachi arrives next, though she doesn’t spot Yamaguchi right then, two bags heavy on her still small but no longer frail shoulders—one for her personal effects and the other for her prized Nikon D4s HDSLR, a very important component for today, if she does say so herself. Her hands are full but she still manages to touch her hair, now flowing until just beyond her shoulder blades, and decide that it’s dry enough for a ponytail. She reaches for her favorite hair tie, already five years old, in her pocket.

Tsukishima spots Yachi immediately once he steps onto the platform, because how could one possibly miss the little five footer carrying baggage half her weight with so much ease? He allows himself a small smile, a brief look around the area in which he spots Yamaguchi and the tiny ponytail behind his head, and then another smile a bit wider. He adjusts his grip on his own sports bag, takes silent steps towards Yachi now bouncing lightly on her feet, and gives the top of her head a light tap.

She recognizes him before she even whirls around. “Tsukishima!” she cries with a bright grin.

“Yamaguchi’s over there,” he tells her, gesturing to the left, and they move together after her audible, animated gasp.

They’re still a few feet away when Yamaguchi glimpses them and immediately throws a hand over his wide open mouth. “Ohh, I knew it!” he says with a shaky voice, running over to them and then immediately taking Yachi’s hands so they can jump around together in that ridiculous way Tsukishima always kind of liked to watch. “I knew I was going to run into you guys here!”

“Well, we are going to the same place,” Tsukishima says, shrugging. “It’s not like this is a coincidence exactly.”

Yamaguchi’s eyes go wide. “Yachi’s coming too?”

“Of course I am!” she says, still shaking his hands with both of hers. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world!”

Those two will if they don’t show up anytime soon, though.” Tsukishima eyes the entrance to the platform.

In truth, Hinata and Kageyama spotted each other several blocks away from the station and, almost as if possessed, wordlessly started sprinting the rest of the way there, Kageyama initially in the lead but Hinata quickly gaining, until the two of them neck and neck pass through the station doors and quickly climb the stairs. No longer screaming, of course, because that’s immature.

“Oh, there they are,” Yamaguchi notes.

They step onto the platform still sprinting at top speed, their eyes on the prize at the theoretical finish line on the far end of the area until Kageyama’s quick eyes spot their friends watching them with varying degrees of amusement and drags Hinata in their direction, neither slowing down until they both collapse on the floor right next to the drop to the rails.

“Couldn’t you have waited at least three more hours before you started competing again?” Tsukishima says in place of a greeting.

“That makes—” Hinata tries through his wheezing, grimaces. “Shit, I don’t even know the score anymore.”

“If you think about it, though, today’s the best time to get a fresh start!” Yachi points out.

They’re still breathing hard, but the remark gives the two simpletons, never changing, the strength to pick themselves up off of their embarrassing situations on the floor, Kageyama already smiling before he’s fully stable on his feet. “Not a bad idea,” he says, pointing a finger at Hinata. “We’re back to zero. And this time, we’re not counting races. We’re counting games.”

“You’re on,” Hinata says, grinning now as well, grabbing Kageyama’s finger and shaking it like a hand. “Get ready to eat my team’s dust! And that goes for you two too! We’re all rivals now!”

“Oh, wow, I’m included in your official tally,” Tsukishima says, the levels of his enthusiasm dropping to the negatives, while Yamaguchi offers a smile others would misinterpret as friendly, “this is a dream come true.”

“Shame you got contacts. I’m going to miss aiming for your glasses,” Kageyama quips.

“Should’ve killed me while you had the chance.”

Kageyama snorts.

“Wait, though, I think we’re forgetting the most important part of all this.” Holding his hands up to prevent further bantering, Yamaguchi too-eagerly eyes Yachi. “Yachi, whose team are you rooting for the most?”

Hinata and Kageyama erupt into noisy, intrigued, “Ohh”s and Tsukishima doesn’t bother concealing his smile when Yachi turns beet red and clutches her camera bag like a life support. “I—I—don’t ask me that!” she shrieks, stepping away from the group, as if they can’t close the distance again just as easily. “I love all of you equally! I’m rooting for all of you!”

“But when my team’s fighting Yamaguchi’s,” Hinata asks, “who’re you going to cheer for?”

“Both of you!”

“You have to choose one,” Tsukishima says.

“Rank us,” Kageyama says.

“The train!” Yachi yells, pointing at the rapidly-approaching vehicle and running towards the nearest entrance spot. “We need to hurry and get on the train, you guys, you don’t wanna be late for your first games of the season!”

The four of them, from simply grinning to now heartily laughing, from growing as teammates to now officially playing as rivals, move to follow their once-manager, now a great friend left to experience heartaches four times as great than she did back when they were still the little crows of Karasuno.

“Okay, we’ll give you the entire ride to make a decision, Yachi.”

“No!”

 

Chapter Text

Sometimes the best things can come during the worst of moments, someone Tetsurou can’t quite remember once said, and he believes in that firmly. Which is why when he turns on the radio for a bit of background tunes to accompany his gruelling, completely unromantic in-bed Finals study session with Suga and Daichi (though there are plenty of other things he’d honestly love to do in bed with them right now) and the room is immediately filled with the melody of their song, he lights up like his head isn’t swimming in foreign terms and numbers.

“Hey!” Suga cries immediately, propping himself up on his elbows and beaming at the radio.

“‘Unbelievers’,” Daichi says, sitting up, the beginnings of a very jovial smile already on his face. “Wow, I haven’t heard this play on the radio in a long time.”

“I know, right?” Tetsurou says. “The last time was...well, that time.”

“That special time,” Suga coos, and as if energized by the sheer recollection of the day they decided to throw all caution to the wind, all rules out the window, and stay together, he rises and gets off the bed. “It’s fate! That just means we have to dance.”

Daichi and Tetsurou exchange glances. “Uh,” Daichi says, “I’m fine with it, but...how do we dance with the three of us?”

“Oh.” Suga hums for only a brief moment. “We can take turns?”

“What? No!” Tetsurou protests. “That’s not fair.”

“That’s, like, the epitome of fair.”

“No, I mean, if I’m gonna dance, I want to dance with the two of you at the same time,” Tetsurou explains. “That’s how boyfriends are supposed to dance. It’s just that I have no idea how to do that without us looking like we’re just group hugging, or playing Ring Around the Rosie.”

He supposes the mental image is rather funny, and so he smiles when Suga and Daichi both burst into fits of laughter. Tetsurou almost wants to grab them right then and there and get that group hug started.

“I don’t know about you,” Suga says once his giggling subsides, “but both of those sound pretty good to me.”

“Are you serious?” Tetsurou asks, but Suga is already hauling him and Daichi onto the bedroom floor, his foot already tapping the wood and his head rhythmically bobbing to the upbeat drumming in the song.

“Yeah, come on, group hug!”

He wraps an arm around each of them, pulling them close enough to rest their chins on his shoulders, and both Tetsurou and Daichi can do nothing but comply, smile as they position their hands as well, one wrapped around each other’s backs and the other reaching behind Suga’s and linking there. Suga feebly moves their joint form from side to side, and when they’re all mimicking the action they find themselves in the middle of a sway. A little odd, but working just the same.

“See?” Suga croons. “This is good, right?”

“I mean, I guess,” Tetsurou says with a chuckle, while Daichi beside him outright laughs.

Without words, they try to spin and somehow that works too, Daichi’s laughter only getting louder and louder the more they manage to move despite the compromising position. Tetsurou himself smiles all the while, feels Suga’s shoulders bouncing in time with the music and his hold getting tighter.

Okay, that’s a little uncomfortable. “Uh, Suga? Suga. You’re crushing my neck.”

“Oh, sorry! Wait, did I just hit something? I can’t see my feet.”

“They just stepped on mine, in case you want to know,” Daichi supplies.

“Oh no, I’m so sorry! WHOA!”

They tip over the edge of the bed and fall on top of it right as another chorus plays, a pile of massive and tangled bodies crushing text books and pillows and one another, and when he hears a pencil underneath him crack, Tetsurou doesn’t bother holding back his loud laughter. And if he does say so himself, the sound mixed with Suga’s and Daichi’s combined makes a melody just as beautiful as the song’s on the radio. Album-worthy.

“Ohh my god,” Daichi says, a tad breathlessly, “I love you two.”

“Love you too,” Tetsurou and Suga echo, before locking gazes and grinning. “You too.”

“Should we try Ring Around the Rosie next?” Suga asks.

“Absolutely not. We have exams tomorrow,” Tetsurou says.

Their chorus of groans doesn’t sound half bad either, and neither does the silence that they enter once they’ve retrieved their notes and textbooks and resumed their much overdue studying. But really, every moment spent with these two, Tetsurou thinks, has the makings of a grand and catchy tune worthy of a spontaneous dance, no matter how sloppily-choreographed. He knows he’s going to enjoy the hell out of it either way.