“Aw, look at that, Mattsun,” Hanamaki snickered, “They actually ran into each other’s arms.”
Matsukawa nodded slowly, the solemn set of his eyes at odds with his twitching lips. “I think Oikawa’s going to cry.”
“Kuroo is already crying,” Yaku pointed out as he walked up to them, a giant sigh shaking his shoulders. “He’s going to be useless for the rest of the day too.”
“At least you didn’t have to put up with the week-long, lovelorn sigh fest leading up to this,” Hanamaki pointed out helpfully, flicking his hand over to where Oikawa and Kuroo were wrapped around each other, hands clutching at each other so desperately, you’d think they’d been separated for years instead of weeks. “I was half-expecting Oikawa to break out into song at some point.”
“I’m pretty sure he tried, actually,” Matsukawa mused with a hum. “Iwaizumi smacked him before he could really get into it though.”
“You don’t know that,” Yaku muttered darkly, already marching away from them with his eyes firmly set on some tall, willowy, silver-headed kid who was hoisting a squeaking short kid above his head. “Lev! Put Shibayama down!”
Matsukawa and Hanamaki just stayed where they were, watching Yaku rip the tall kid a new one while tugging the short kid behind him, and straight into the eager hands of the other bouncy middle blocker, who immediately tossed him over his own shoulder and ran off with him.
“Should we tell him?”
“Nah, he’ll figure it out soon enough.”
Their silent contemplation of Yaku and his cat wrangling ways was eventually interrupted by a polite cough, and Yahaba’s inquisitive face appearing to their left. “What’s up, young Padawan?”
Yahaba just barely wrinkled his nose in distaste, but didn’t grace them with any other outward reaction to the nickname. Disappointing. “Ah, it’s nothing really,” Yahaba glanced out at everyone spread out throughout the gym all too casually for it to be real, taking great care not to linger on anyone or anyones for longer than a second.
“I just hadn’t known that Oikawa-san and Nekoma’s captain knew each,” he lifted and dropped his shoulders, nonchalance almost rolling off of him in waves. “Especially not so,” he took a diplomatic pause, obviously struggling for the right word.
“Intimately?” Matsukawa offered with an unnecessarily obscene eyebrow waggle.
“Or maybe biblically?” The look on Yahaba’s face shouted of all sorts of regret as Matsukawa and Hanamaki exchanged victorious high-fives.
“Oh yeah,” Matsukawa snorted into his palm, “I think ‘biblically’ is the word you’re looking for there, Yahaba.”
“That’s right,” Hanamaki wiped a tear from the corner of his eye, his free arm clenched around his middle. “You can say they really know each other, REAL well.”
“Actually,” Yahaba muttered weakly, “I meant ‘familiarly.’”
He was, unsurprisingly, ignored.
Hanamaki slung an arm around Yahaba’s shoulder, effectively pinning him to the spot. “Look, young Padawan-,”
“Please stop calling me that.”
“If you’re going to be Seijou’s Next Top Setter,” Hanamaki was undeterred, “Then you have to start accepting the facts as they are.
“And the facts are, Oikawa and Nekoma’s captain are involved in a torrid love affair.”
Kunimi, who had been meandering up to them, immediately about-faced and let out a quiet, “Nope” before trying to scurry away. Matsukawa stopped him with a well-placed ankle, catching him around the shoulders before he hit the ground and swinging him around to face them.
“Stay for a bit, Kunimi-kun,” he drawled, “We were about to educate Yahaba-kun here about the true nature of our beloved captain’s passionate liaison with the cat captain.”
“I really rather not.”
He was, also, unsurprisingly ignored.
“That’s really not necessary, senpai,” Yahaba tried, desperately wiggling under the iron hold on his shoulders. “I think I get it.”
“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong, Grasshopper,” Hanamaki watched with undisguised glee as Kindaichi started wandering over, curiosity painted clearly across his face, Watari herding a belligerent Kyoutani in front of him. “I don’t think you quite do get it, and its pertinent that you do.”
“For the future of Seijou,” Matsukawa was nodding solemnly right next to him, looking like a very serious bobble-head.
“For the future of Seijou.” Hanamaki reiterated, and oh great, now both of them were bobbing their heads like possessed chickens.
“What’s going on?” Watari chose right then to interrupt, and apparently, his best friend mindreading powers were set to off because he totally did not show any indication of understanding Yahaba’s desperate wide-eyed plea.
“First thing’s first,” Matsukawa made a big show of looking behind him and around the gym at large. “Where have our fearless captain and his keeper wandered off to?”
“Iwaizumi-san said that the coaches were having a captain and vice-captain meeting,” Watari blinked questioningly -innocently, Yahaba thought bitterly- up at them, “He told us to warm up while they were gone.”
“Said to keep it easy,” Kyoutani grunted, folded arms showing exactly how much he liked that idea. “Not to wear ourselves out before the practice matches.”
“Perfect.” Hanamaki had really white teeth, almost disturbingly white, that he had no problem flashing at all of them. “We were just about to have a little team meeting of our own.”
“Please don’t,” Yahaba prayed fervently under his breathe.
“Kids,” Matsukawa propped his free hand on his hip, Kunimi still reluctantly tucked under the other one, “This tale that we’re about to tell you is a classic.”
“A classic?” Kindaichi furrowed his brows, looking more and more curious by the second.
Bless his heart.
“A classic,” Hanamaki confirmed. “A classic tale that has everything that a good story should.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Are we telling stories?!” To Yahaba’s great horror, some Nekoma players were starting to wander over, obviously drawn by the suspiciousness of their little huddle in the middle of the gym, the tall silver-haired one reaching them first. “Is it a good one?”
“Oh,” Matsukawa nodded with a devious smirk, “One of the best.”
“Cool! Can we listen too?”
“Of course,” Hanamaki cooed, curling a finger at the little crowd, looking to all the world like the driver of a white van, making promises about puppies and candy. “Gather around.”
“Now,” Hanamaki tapped his chin thoughtfully as Nekoma players crowded closer, almost effectively cutting off all escape routes. “Where were we?”
“Classic tale and good stories.” Kunimi, it appeared, had accepted his fate.
“Right!” Hanamaki snapped. “This story has it all; Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison.”
“True love,” Matsukawa picked up without missing a beat. “Hate. Revenge. Giants.”
“I’m really confused-”
“Hunters,” Hanamaki continued. “Bad men.”
“Is that a real word, Kenma-san?”
“Snakes. Spiders,” Hanamaki was starting to get a really worrisome gleam in his eyes. “Beasts of all natures and descriptions.”
“Pain.” Matsukawa rolled the word around his tongue, grin the most perfect example of ‘shit-eating’ that Yahaba had ever seen. “Death.”
“Wait, is this Cinderella?”
“What version of Cinderella have you watched?!”
Brave men,” Hanamaki clenched his free hand across his chest. “Coward men. Strongest men.”
“Chases.” Matsukawa spread his hand out and swung it out in front of him, eyes dramatically on the horizon. “Escapes. Lies.”
“Dude, this is definitely Cinderella.”
“I know, right!”
“You two aren’t allowed to watch TV alone together anymore.”
“Truths!” Hanamaki picked up, eyes on fire. “Passion!”
“And of course, miracles.” Matsukawa finished with a fruitful sigh. “Truly, a tale worthy of sharing with all of you.”
“I, uh,” Kindaichi was blinking rapidly, visually trying to process everything he’d just heard. “I thought this was, uh, about…the team?”
“Oh, it is,” Matsukawa plopped a heavy hand on the younger boy’s shoulder, and to Yahaba, it looked no different than the swing of an executioner’s axe. “About both of our teams.”
“This,” Hanamaki raised a single finger into the air, “Is the story of how Oikawa and Kuroo fell in love.”
Kyoutani promptly wasted no time trying to make a run for it.