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You're Acting Childish!

Chapter Text

When Tsukishima awoke, he was greeted with an unfamiliar sight.

It wasn’t as if Yamaguchi hasn’t slept over before, no. In fact, they have had more sleepovers than Kei can remember. But this was something else. For his best friend of six years was laying next to him, nuzzling his arm as if it were a teddy bear, in a child’s body.

That’s right. In a child’s body.

He had found out the day before, when he went to arouse Yamaguchi from his slumber in order to avoid making them late for practice. He discovered him on the floor, smaller and more fragile-almost as vulnerable as when he first met him. For a while he just stood in a state of shock and awe. And then he decided that it was a good idea to take the child to his high school volleyball team. Now that he was thinking about it, that probably wasn’t his best thought but it helped either way. Yamaguchi retained his memories while being able comprehend new information, not to mention his improved speech and mobility. By the time practice ended, Yamaguchi could keep up with Tsukishima in walking and speaking. But the major issue remained.

He still looked like a five year old.

A deep exhale from Yamaguchi brought Tsukishima’s mind back to the present. He looked down at Yamaguchi with a soft smile on his face. As cliche as it was, people really did look peaceful while they were sleeping. Yamaguchi vibrated with nervous energy when he was awake, so seeing Yamaguchi in this picture of serenity was nice. Before he knew it, he reached out a hand and took a piece of Yamaguchi’s thick, forest hair between his fingers. Rubbing them together and letting the strands fall, Tsukishima realized just how far they had come.

In the beginning, Yamaguchi was nothing more than some annoying kid who followed him around everywhere. He stayed hidden most of the time, too scared to approach Tsukishima directly. But then, one day, Tsukishima was walking home and he turned around to find the smaller walking in the same direction as he, looking at his feet-well at least trying to. Tsukishima doubted that he could see anything out of that black eye. He stopped walking, and waited for Yamaguchi to look up and see him. He didn’t see him until it was too late, Yamaguchi bumped, forehead first, into Tsukishima. It didn’t have enough momentum to knock either of them over but Yamaguchi  still stumbled a bit.

“Are those guys still bothering you?” He asked, trying to make it appear as if he didn’t care. He did, though. He did care a lot, he realized later in their friendship. A plethora of emotions passed over Yamaguchi’s face before he looked down at his feet again and slowly nodded. Tsukishima clicked his tongue and the boy jumped at the sound. Was this kid really scared of him? That was annoying, Tsukishima concluded. “Don’t be stupid. I won’t hurt you like those idiots.” Tsukishima thought for a little bit, trying to find some way to get the boy to look at him. “What’s your name?” The strange boy almost snapped his neck looking up at the blonde so fast. More emotions morphed the freckles that were scattered on Yamaguchi’s face.

“I-I’m Yamaguchi Tadashi...but you can call me whatever!” Yamaguchi was quick to add, expecting to be called more mean names. Tsukishima smirked.

“Okay Whatever.”

For some primordial reason, that made Yamaguchi laugh. And boy, was it a beautiful laugh. No one ever laughed at Tsukishima’s vicious humor. It was at that moment that Tsukishima thought, yeah, this might work.

As the memory faded from Tsukishima’s mind, he was reminded of just how much he loved his best friend.

That bothersome little kid that trailed behind him turned into a faithful friend who walked beside him turned into a beautiful person who walks ahead of him. He didn’t know exactly when he began to fall in love with his best friend, but he knew that his heart had been beating quicker than normal a little while after they decided to become friends. He would get a little sweatier when they walked side by side, so close their hands would occasionally bump. His heart would feel too big for his chest when that sheepish smile was sent his way accompanied with the usual “Sorry Tsukki,” At first, he didn’t understand why he felt this way, until Akiteru told him what it felt like to be in love when he, himself, was pining after another girl. It was love. And Kei wasn’t all that opposed to it; most likely because it was Yamaguchi. Warm, caring, familiar Yamaguchi.

Tsukishima attempted to move his arm without waking his best friend, but it was to no avail. As soon as he made the slightest movement, Yamaguchi’s eyes shot wide open. Tsukishima froze, waiting for Yamaguchi to realize that he cuddled him all night. The child yawned and looked around, smacking his lips to be rid of the stale taste of sleep. He eventually looked down at the arm that his limbs were wrapped around. His eyes followed the path from Tsukishima’s arm to Tsukishima’s face. He turned such a vibrant shade of red that it appeared as if he were glowing. Yamaguchi scuttled away from Tsukishima, incredibly embarrassed. Tsukishima almost laughed at his friend’s typical behavior. Classic.

“Sowry Tsukii!” Yamaguchi yelped. Tsukishima didn’t know what he was expecting. They’ve been through this multiple times, having shared a bed on many occasions during sleepovers. They always found an excuse to be close to each other, Kei just realized.

“It’s fine.” Tsukishima reassured him. Pushing himself to the edge of the bed and standing up, with his bones creaking, he walked toward the door. “Do you want breakfast?” Yamaguchi’s mood visibly lightened at the promise of food. He too, scooted himself over the bed and turned around to lower himself down carefully. Tsukishima sighed before picking up Yamaguchi, who was struggling with the size of the bed, and setting him on the ground. Yamaguchi pouted as if wanting to say that he could’ve done it by himself, but he thought better of sharing that out loud.

The two headed down the stairs and fixed their breakfast. A little too preoccupied thinking about their first practice match to really focus on anything else, they carried out their morning routine every time Yamaguchi slept over.

They were going to Tokyo to face off against their greatest rivals. Nekoma High school was the home of the home of the most strategic volleyball players Tsukishima had ever met. They had one of the best liberos in the business, as well as what they called the ever-adapting brain of the team. But what probably intimidated Tsukishima the most was their bed-headed captain. Kuroo Tetsurou was a volleyball monster. Not a god like Ushijima, nor a king like Oikawa-but impressive in his own unique way. If he had to say he feared one person, it would be Kuroo Tetsurou.  The last time that he saw Kuroo it was before the Spring Interhigh Preliminaries, the night Bokuto talked about finding his moment and the night Yamaguchi stood up to him. He wasn’t completely sure if he was dreading seeing him again. It wasn’t as if he was a bad person, no. It was just that he was intimidating.

And if he was scared of someone, not that he’d ever admit out loud that he was scared of anyone, that meant that Yamaguchi was terrified. Yamaguchi and Kuroo had never met individually, and Tsukishima hoped that they never will.

This practice match will be interesting.

As Tsukishima and Yamaguchi finished their routine, Tsukishima gathered his things and waited for Yamaguchi to get dressed. The night previous, both he and AKiteru went to the nearest shopping center to get some fitting clothes for Yamaguchi. Today, Yamaguchi picked out a gray t-shirt with a print picture of french fries and a caption that read “Exercise? I thought you said Extra Fries.” Tsukishima was a bit proud because it was he who picked that shirt for Yamaguchi. He wore brightly colored shorts that peeked out from the larger t-shirt and long socks, stopping just below his knees. He looked so cute, even with his terrible fashion sense.

Before the two took off for the school, Yamaguchi tugged on his pant leg, and pointed at something. Tsukishima followed the path from his pointer finger to his black Karasuno jacket. Understanding almost immediately, Tsukishima took the jacket off of its hook and dropped it on Yamaguchi’s head. .The child struggled for a bit, before his little head popped out, hair askew. The jacket almost went down to his ankles, but it was unzipped so that Yamaguchi could walk properly.  The said person looked up a Tsukishima with a bright, glowing smile on his face. They were ready for this practice match.

Tokyo here they come.

Okay, they were not as prepared as they thought because as soon as the team arrived in Tokyo and got off the bus, Yamaguchi was nowhere to be found. Tsukishima checked the bus seats, and all around the bus drop off area. The team had never seen him so frantic. That wouldn’t be fair to say though, because they were panicking too. They ran around the perimeter calling Yamaguchi’s name, hoping that they would find him soon.

Tsukishima gripped the sides of his head, trying not to think about Yamaguchi somewhere alone, hurt or kidnapped. He told himself to calm down. He stood up straight and took a couple of deep breaths. Yamaguchi was okay. They just needed to find where he wandered off too. Before someone recognized, that is.

________________________________________________________________

Yamaguchi looked around the place, trying to find something familiar. He thought that Tsukki was following him when he had walked away from the bus, after all that is what they did everytime as soon as they got off the bus-separate themselves from the rest of the group. Yamaguchi’s legs began to shake. He couldn’t find anything that he remembered! What was he going to do? He was in an unfamiliar place, with no one to help him, and in a very vulnerable state. He curled up into a ball on the floor. He didn’t want anything to happen. All that he wanted was to find Tsukki and be out of Tokyo as soon as possible. So many things scared him here. He was so scared.

“Are you okay?”

Yamaguchi looked up from his safety ball to see someone standing in front of him. Someone from Nekoma.

What was he going to do?

Chapter Text

Kenma just wanted this practice match to be over. Although he looked forward to seeing his good friend, Hinata again, he did not care that much for volleyball. He’s heard Kuroo and his ridiculous owl friend talk about moments, and how they can change your opinion of volleyball. He has yet to experience his moment. So disliking volleyball it is until the ‘oh so special it’ happens.

Wandering the halls, on his favorite Nintendo, playing that new game that the Western kids were foaming at the mouth about, Kenma tried to get his mind off of volleyball. Because when he thought of volleyball, it would eventually lead to thinking of him.

Kuroo Tetsurou, the captain of the Nekoma volleyball team and long-time childhood friend of Kozume Kenma was also the long-time crush of said Kozume Kenma. Kenma felt like he was staring at a natural disaster when he looked at Kuroo. He shook the world with a smirk on his face. Kenma couldn’t help but fall for him. Kenma adored him especially when he drops that cool upperclassman facade, and let himself be the weird person he is around Kenma.  It was like Kenma was seeing something that no one else got to see. His own little secret. Kuroo was secretly the dorkiest person alive-and no one else was going to know that.

Kenma smiled slightly at that thought, bashing buttons randoming in his game, no longer really paying attention to it as much as his own thoughts.

It wasn’t as though he did not like Kuroo’s suave side, no. It’s just that Kenma appreciated honesty. And if Kuroo was anything, he was honest with Kenma. For that alone, Kenma felt like smiling. Sometimes, Kenma felt like slapping him and sometimes Kenma felt like kissing him. He knew that Kuroo would not be opposed to it. It was obvious that Kuroo liked him back. He stuck with him for this long, hasn’t he? Despite all of the ignoring in favor of a video game and complaints about his favorite sport, he stuck with him. Not to mention, the confession letter that he accidentally stumbled upon while they were hanging out in Kuroo’s room. He knew that Kuroo liked him back, so what was taking him so long to confess?

The sound of Game Over music floated through his ears. Looking back down at his game, Kenma sighed. He felt just about as dead as the protagonist in the game. The pudding headed setter closed his game and shoved it in the pocket of his Nekoma jacket. Instead of turning around and walking back to the court to meet Karasuno, Kenma decided to stalk around a little more, hoping he wouldn’t get lost in his own school again. Karasuno was interesting to say the least. Packed to the brim with diverse, dynamic  players with surprises up their sleeve everytime they face-off, Karasuno was probably their most troublesome rival. But that was the point was it not? He overheard the coach call it “The Battle at the Garbage Heap.” Kenma didn’t like that name. Who would want to fight in garbage. Certainly not Kenma.

Interrupting his thoughts, came the sound of crying. It wasn’t the loud obnoxious crying that accompanies losing a match, no. This was a more quiet, hurt-filled cry. The sniffles and whimpers hurt Kenma’s ears. In turning the corner of the hallway, Kenma pinpointed the source of the crying.

It was a little boy with a very familiar, freckled face. The second year couldn’t put his finger on where he had seen this little boy before, and it ached inside of him when his memory came up with nothing. He didn’t like children that much, so he had no possible idea where we could’ve met this child. The boy looked up from his little ball and made eye-contact with Kenma. They stared at each other for awhile, the little boy growing more and more pale. Was he scared? Probably, Kenma deduced. He was probably lost without his parents. What was a little boy doing on campus when it was closed anyways? Only the gym was open for the volleyball practice match. Maybe he was a little brother of one of their players? That would explain why he looked so familiar. Either way, Kenma knew that he couldn’t leave him there.

“Come on. I’m nothing to be afraid of. I’ll bring you back to the group.” Kenma turned away and started walking in the other direction. As expected, the little kid stood up and started following him. He was an amusing child.

He wore interesting clothes and had an interesting face. Those were little kid clothes, but he wore the black Karasuno jacket like he was a member of the team. Wasn’t there a freckled team member on Karasuno? Kenma’s only ever seen him on the bench, never playing unless another player got injured. And when he was on the court, he looked so out of place and out of sync with the others that Kenma assumed that he did not work with the team as often as he should. This was probably his little brother. That didn’t stop him from being interesting though, because he behaved almost exactly like his brother did when he was on the court. Out of place and out of sync.

The way he walked was careful, like the floor was going to collapse beneath him if he took a wrong step. The way he carried himself was nervous, like Kenma was going to turn around and eat him at any moment. The way he fidgeted with his hands was repetitive, like the constant action calmed him in some way.

He was so reminiscent of his brother.

Approaching the gym, the smaller began to linger a little farther behind Kenma. Kenma slowed down in return. They both walked slower and slower until they came to a complete stop in front of the gym. Kenma sighed again and turned around to face the child.

“What’s wrong.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and fiddled with the controller in his pocket, tracing the edges and running his fingers over the buttons. He was not in the mood for this. He would never be in the mood for this. The little kid startled a bit at the question but looked up at him either way. And for a second, after the two made eye contact, Kenma’s heart ached. So cute. Kenma banished the thought as soon as it came. It was just a kid, nothing cute about it.

“N-Nothwing, Mr. Kozume!”

“Call me Kenma.” He corrected without thinking at first. It took a good five seconds before Kenma realized what just happened. “How do you know my name?” Kenma inquired, looking at the little boy through narrowed eyes.This didn’t make sense. And Kenma didn’t like things that don’t make sense. The child was a little slow in realizing his mistake but once he did, he looked like the picture of death. He paled considerably, his freckles standing stark on his face and he trembled terribly. Either he looked pretty terrifying or this kid just scared easily. In reality, it was a combination of both.

Before the suspicious child could answer, the doors to the Nekoma gym were slammed open. Both parties jumped a little at the sound of the impact. Kenma recovered quicker though. He stood in front of the little kid, not knowing what else to do but hide him from the rest of the team. This was a Karasuno kid, not theirs. It was guaranteed that the team would waste an entire practice swooning over the child and Kenma would rather not. If he was being forced to be here, he was going to at least play. To Kenma’s dismay, the one who threw open the doors was the only person Kenma was weak too.

“Hey Kenma, what are you doing out here? I thought you were going to meet up with that orange friend of yours.” Kuroo asked, leaning on the door with a knowing smirk on his face. He knew he was hiding something and he knew that Kenma was going to tell him eventually. Sooner rather than later, too. Even now, Kenma could feel himself wanting to spill everything to Kuroo, being sick with word vomit at his feet. Maybe it was the way his hair fell in his face, or the way his eyes sparked with steely experience, or the way he just exhumed confidence-something that he never did when they were kids. He has come so far.

“I’m not hiding anything.” Kenma spoke, holding his hands behind his back, successfully shielding the child from the captain. An amused smile as a response told Kenma that he messed up.

“Oh ho? I never said that you were hiding something.” Kuroo advanced toward Kenma, letting the gym door close. “Which begs the question, why would you feel the need to deny something that was never implied? That clearly shows that you are hiding something.” It was just the way that he talked, low and sultry. Kuroo stopped right in front of the dyed blonde with a raised eyebrow and hands on his hips. Oh, he just knew that Kenma would spill. Resistance was futile.

“You can’t show anyone else.” Kenma stated. Kuroo nodded, his expression changing from amusement to anticipated curiosity. Kenma reached behind him to clasp a tiny hand in his, and brought him around to show Kuroo. Kuroo’s eyes widened in surprise, scrunched in confusion, and then shifted back to surprise.

“He looks familiar, but I can’t quite place where I know him. What is he doing here?”

“I think he might be related to some guy from Karasuno. I found him. It’s strange though because he knows my name.”

Kuroo looked up at him with wide eyes.

“He knows you?”

“Apparently.”

“How?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you want to do?”

“We probably should give him back to Karasuno.”

As the two talked, no one bothered to look at the new kid, who was close to crying. He was lost and had no idea where he was or how to get of the situation. And then there were people who scared him and ignored him. When Kenma brought his attention back to the little kid, interrupted by him trying to pull his hand away from Kenma’s. Kenma felt a twang in his heart when he looked at the tears shimmering inside the boy’s eyes. He may not know who this boy is, but he knew for some reason that he didn’t want to see him upset.

An idea popped into his head.

Taking away his attention from Kuroo for a second, he pulled his game out of his pocket. He kneeled down to the freckled kid’s level. He looked a little shaken at this sudden movement from the older but he stood in interest at what Kenma was doing. Kenma looked at him with cat-like eyes and the child avoided his gaze.

“Do you wanna play?”

This game was special. Something he did not even let Kuroo touch. Yet, he felt the need to share this with this child. He was special, Kenma could tell.

The child slowly nodded, reaching for the device with hesitant, chubby hands. Kenma handed it to him with care and the child slowly took it with care. Kuroo watched the exchange with a shocked expression on his face. The child smiled a little, looking down at the game, truly grateful. Upon seeing him smile, Kenma felt a smile grow on his own face.

Cute.

“Kenma! A little kid gets to play on your thing and I don’t. That’s messed up!”

“No it’s not, you’re being a baby.”

“Yes it is.”

“No, it’s not.

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“...no.”

Chapter Text

This was amusing to say the least.

Kenma was flustered, which was a sight to see all on its own, over a little kid that looked a lot like that freckled boy that follows his protege around. It was completely unfair though, no matter what Kenma says. Not because he never got to play with the stupid game console that Kenma was always on, but because how cute the scene was. Then again, anything Kenma did was cute, but what was a moot point.

“So what are we going to do about this?” Kuroo inquired, kneeling down to get a better look at the kid. The kid started and immediately hid behind Kenma. Both Kuroo and Kenma looked at him in surprise-Kenma because of how fast the child moved and Kuroo because he didn’t think that he was that scary. The child peeked out from behind Kenma to look at them again, but once again retreated after seeing the two sets of eyes on him. Returning to the question, Kenma shrugged, attempting to go back to his usual nonchalance.

“Don’t know. I think we should give him back to his brother’s team. That much is obvious. But what should we do while we wait for them?” Looking at the kid who was still trying to hide behind Kuroo’s best friend, Kuroo had an idea. He smirked. Kenma frowned, knowing exactly what that smirk meant.

“Hey kid,” Kuroo started, still kneeling. The boy glanced at him for a second, peeping his head out a little, continuing to avoid eye contact. “What’s your name?”

“Y-Yamaguchi.” He responded, squeezing his eyes tightly closed. Kuroo had no idea what he was so scared of.

“Well Yamaguchi, do you think you can do something for me?” Kuroo could feel his smile grow wider and wider. Yamaguchi nodded, clearly wanting the conversation to be over. “When Tsukki, the tall blonde guy from your brother’s team, gets here I want you to say something to him.” The little boy’s head shot straight up to look at Kuroo. Kuroo basked in the mossy color of Yamaguchi’s eyes. Wow, they were nice. Did his brother have such nice eyes? He’ll have to pay more attention when they arrive. Now that he finally had Yamaguchi’s undivided attention, he spoke. “I want you to tell him this: you’re gay.” A bright red flush colored Yamaguchi’s entire face. Tears came to his eyes and he slapped a hand over his mouth to stop himself from laughing. He shook his head furiously.

Overall, Kuroo was confused. Weren’t little kids supposed to be ignorant of such terms? How could this little boy know his malintentions?

“H-hey. What’s so funny? It’s a very serious message that I need you to deliver to Tsukki.” Yamaguchi continued to try to restrain his laughter. Eventually the flush died down and he removed his hand from his mouth.

“Ts-Tsukki wouldn’t like that vewy much.” Yamaguchi said, standing up straight for the first time but quickly going back to his nervous posture at the sharp look in Kuroo’s eyes.

“You’re so immature.” Kenma shook his head. He put a hand on Yamaguchi’s back and started to push him away from Kuroo. The black-haired captain pouted childishly, popping up to follow the two. “You’re corrupting him with your stupidity. I doubt that anyone of Shouyo’s team would appreciate it if he came back saying that to one of their starting players. They’d probably know it was you anyways.”

“Come on, Kenma.” Kuroo whined, following the path Kenma was pushing the child away. “I’m just trying to have a little fun with him! Don’t you remember that thing called having fun?” A suspicious blush came to the setters cheeks that Kuroo decided to disregard, ignoring how adorable his best friend looked at that very moment.

“I know what fun is. I have plenty of fun playing my game.” Kenma concluded, stopping in his tracks when Yamaguchi tripped. Kuroo reached over to help the kid back up, but Kenma eyed him-daring him to defy him. His kitten can be quite scary sometimes. Which reminded Kuroo of something that he wanted to ask.

“Yamaguchi, do you think I’m scary?” Yamaguchi looked at him with those big eyes, then looked away from him. He nodded slowly. “What?! Why?!”

“Tsukki tells me about how you plway. You lwook scary too. Your eyes are mean.”

“Mean?! My eyes are not mean! Charming, maybe but not mean!” The boy cowered away, clearly not liking the way that Kuroo was shouting at him. Kuroo stopped. The last thing he wanted to do was scare Yamaguchi any further. “Well, I’ll have you know that I am a very kind person and definitely not mean, no matter what ‘Tsukki’ says.” He elongated the name mockingly, coaxing a giggle out of Yamaguchi. “Here, let me introduce myself.” He extended a long-fingered hand, smiling charismatically. “My name is Kuroo Tetsurou.”

Yamaguchi smiled back, inching his much smaller, pudgy hand toward Kuroo’s.

“Nice to m-meet you.”

Kenma watched the exchange lazily, pretending not to care that he was happy that the two were getting along. Then, without warning he turned and started walking away.

“Bring him back to his team Kuroo,” was all he said before turning a corner and disappearing completely.

“What the heck! Kenma! Come back!” Kuroo called after him, debating whether or not to chase after him or stay with Yamaguchi. Speaking of, he looked just as Kuroo. He had just met him officially and now he was left all alone with him-even Kuroo could understand his wariness. Kuroo whirled around to look at Yamaguchi sheepishly. “Now now, everything is going to be okay” And suddenly, Yamaguchi was at peace. Although Kuroo was sure that he had heard that phrase a thousand times in his short little lifetime, he looked suddenly calm and composed. Well, as calm and composed as the nervous little boy can be. But curiosity aside, Kuroo was glad that at least he wasn’t spazzing out.

Trying to remember where the bus drop off was, the two started to walk down the hallways of Nekoma high school. Kuroo attempted to carry a conversation between the two but the child tried his best to remain silent and answer in as few words as possible.

“So, what is your brother like?” Yamaguchi froze, stopping in his tracks before quickly recovering and catching up to Kuroo who did not stop. He didn’t answer for a really long time, and for a second Kuroo thought that he was just going to not answer him at all.

“He’s...pathetwic.” This time it was Kuroo who stopped walking. This was really confusing. Usually big brothers are described as cool protectors or even princes. Why was this little kid so mean towards his little brother?

“What do you mean by that?” Kuroo asked, pout settled on his handsome face. From what Kuroo had seen of his brother, he was shy at best and a wreck at worst-but little brothers still shouldn’t give such negative introductions of his brother.

“Well, Tsukki did call him cwool once, but he thinks he’s pathetwic.” Yamaguchi looked down at the ground in determination and thought. “He’s always messing up and swaying sowrry even though he knows he’s going to d-do it again. He twries too hard.” Kuroo’s frown grew bigger. That was definitely not how little brothers should talk. Especially about people who Kuroo believed to be nice enough.

“Hey, at least he tries. Some people in the world go through all of their lives missing out on opportunities just because they didn’t try. They are some of the saddest people you will ever meet. Your brother is not only trying at volleyball and whatever else he does, but he’s trying to be happy. You should appreciate that and support him like a good younger brother.”

Yamaguchi was looking at him with the biggest eyes in the world. Astounded and quiet, he stood for some time until a small smile came to his face. With eyes closed and all teeth he nodded.

“Right!”

Kuroo realized then and there, how weak he was for little kids. Maybe not all little kids. Maybe just this one. Their sweet moment was quickly interrupted by a far cry.

“Is that Yamaguchi?!”

“Where?!”

Some enough, a tall, blonde figure came sprinting, full speed, towards the two. Kuroo was actually scared of a collision at how fast the middle blocker was approaching. But he slowed down last minute, still fast enough to blow the child back when Tsukishima enveloped him in a hug. He panted heavily while Yamaguchi returned the hug, grateful to be reunited with his Tsukki.

“Don’t you ever! Ever! Leave my side again!” Tsukishima pulled back and gripped the boy’s small shoulders. “Do you have any idea how worried we all were? How worried I was?” Yamaguchi shook his head, his eyes tearing up in the corners. Upon seeing this Tsukishima hugged him once more. “Please don’t do that again. You scared me.”

This was the most emotion that Kuroo had ever seen Tsukishima display. It was unsettling to say the least but it was also pretty sweet to see that Tsukishima actually cared about someone aside from himself. Kuroo smiled, before plastering a smirk on his face. This was the perfect opportunity to mess with the blonde.

“Hey Tsukki! Lost your little crow here? What kind of a big brother is your best friend if he just let him just walk away?” He knew perfectly well from the looks and touches shared between the two, the extent of feelings Tsukki had for his best friend. Optimal teasing material. Tsukishima stiffened, an aura of annoyance and...was that anger? The black cat’s smirk disappeared. He never wanted to make anyone angry.

“Don’t call me Tsukki.” Tsukishima stood up and jabbed Kuroo in the chest with a great force. The first year suddenly seemed a meter taller, looming over him in undeniable rage. Kuroo cursed. “And don’t insult Tadashi like that. He’s probably thousands of world better of a person than you are.” Kuroo held his hands up in defeat, but he tried to appear as though he wasn’t as intimidated as he actually was. Translation: he continued to be a smartass.

“Come now, Tsukki. Why are you so mean? All I wanted to do was just keep this little guy safe! Tadashi, huh? What a cute name! Then again, your friend’s pretty cute too. Speaking of, where is he? I want to introduce myself!”

If it was even possible, Tsukishima became more angry.

“You’re not coming near him.” Oddly, upon saying this, Tsukishima pulled Yamaguchi back behind him, protectively. It was almost as if he was talking about the child instead of his older brother. In response, Yamaguchi tugged at Tsukishima’s pant leg.

“It’s okay, Tsukki. I’m okay.” Again, it appeared that Yamaguchi was the same person as Tadashi. Which would explain why he seemed to be missing from the group of Karasuno members approaching the three of them. But Kuroo couldn’t really worry about that right now. Right now, he had to deal with the angry captain and the even angrier Tsukki.

“Kuroo. What are you doing with Yamaguchi?”Daichi sounded calm and composed, but everyone knew the demon lurking beneath that fake smile. Once again Kuroo held his hands up in a gesture of peace.

“I just found him and brought him back here, I swear. This is your number twelve, is it not?”

Upon inquiring, it appeared as though the entire team turned to statues. Kuroo then assumed that he wasn’t supposed to figure that out. The hyperactive, ginger first year snapped out of it first.

“Wah?! How did you know?!” His voice literally vibrated the hallways. At his reaction, Kuroo couldn’t help but scoff.

“Tsukki, over here, basically told me.”

The vice captain, the one with the silver hair that Kuroo could not remember the name of, looked to Tsukishima with a curious expression.

“You actually told him?”

“No! Of course not! Bastard basically figured it out himself.” Tsukishima cursed the third year’s acuity.

One of the wing spikers, shaved head and ridiculous tough guy impression, shoved his face into Kuroo’s.

“Don’t go telling all of your city boy friends. This is supposed to be a secret. We don’t even know what happened but people freaking out is the worst!”

“Yeah!” The libero with the blonde streak agreed, also getting up into Kuroo’s face. Kuroo pushed both faces out of his with his hands, smiling an innocent smile.

“I won’t tell a soul. But you should make it a little less obvious next time.” The Nekoma captain put a hand on his hip. “Seriously, if I could tell this early, Kenma definitely will. He turned to walk away and guide the group to the Nekoma gym. “Oh, and Tsukki?”

“Don’t call me that.”

“You’re gay.”

Chapter Text

To sum things up, Bokuto was excited. It had been awhile since he had seen the Karasuno team, and if he was being honest he doesn’t think he had met a team quite as diverse and interesting as Karasuno. He was especially interested in the blonde first year, Tsukishima Kei, or Tsukki as Kuroo calls him. He acted like he didn’t care about their favorite sport but when push came to shove, he cheered the loudest. It reminded him of himself in his first year-having no motivation to play volleyball until he had his moment only two years later. It made Bokuto want to simultaneously shake the kid by the shoulders and tell him that things will most definitely be better if he tried harder, and turn around and walk away from the first year and let him figure things out for himself because it was so frustrating.

He stood, excitedly rocking back and forth on his heels and tapping his hand against his thigh, waiting for the Karasuno bus to arrive. They shouldn’t be too long, coming only from a little ways away from Nekoma.

Right on cue, Bokuto’s phone let out a trill from his sports bag. Jumping over to it, he dug the device out of one of the pockets-struggling to find it at first because the pocket was packed full of his favorite little butterscotch candies. He looked at the caller ID to see Nekoma captain and his 2nd best friend, Kuroo.

“Hey, Bad Luck!” Bokuto could hear the smirk Kuroo was giving on the other line.

“Hey, Owl Eyes.” Bokuto readjusted the phone, holding it between his shoulder and his ear. He dug out one of the candies and unwrapping it.

“What’s up? You usually don’t call me. Unless it’s about Kenma?” Bokuto gasped. “Is Kenma okay?! Are you okay?! Is anyone hurt?!” Kuroo snickered on the other line, calming Bokuto down a little. “Okay, if no one’s hurt, then why did you call me?” It was quiet for a second, and Bokuto took that opportunity to pop the candy in his mouth, letting it roll around his tongue and click against his teeth.

“It’s about Karasuno. They’re coming over to your school for a practice match right?”

“Mmm yeah. Why, what’s going on with Karasuno?” Bokuto pushed the candy to the side of his mouth so he could speak. Curiosity overcame him. Akaashi once called him a gossip girl, whatever that meant. Bokuto got the jist though.

“Well, do you remember their number twelve? The one with the freckles?” Bokuto scanned his memory, trying to find the face within the times that he had seen the team. He remembered the captain, the strong guy with nice thighs. And he remembered the first year setter because the other first year, the one that Bokuto helped train, talked about him alot. And of course, he knew Tsukki. Everyone else was blurry.

“Nope!” He sang, wondering what exactly this about and why he needed to remember some guy that did not seem that important to the team if he couldn’t remember him. Kuroo sighed and Bokuto began to feel bad.

“He’s Tsukki’s best friend?”

“Oh! That guy! Kind of, what about him?”

“Well, apparently something happened and now-” Before Kuroo could finish his statement, a bus pulled into the drop off station in front of Bokuto. He felt more excitement rise in his stomach and he bounced on his heels.

“Sorry bro, but they’re here! You’ll have to tell me later!” Kuroo attempted to get him to stay on the line but Bokuto didn’t hear anything as he hung up. People began coming off the bus and Bokuto came barreling toward the bus, not being able to contain his excitement anymore. “Karasuno! Hey hey hey!” Seeing a familiar head of orange hair, he skidded to a stop in front of the bus.

“Bokuto!” Hinata shouted in response also bouncing up and down. A dry voice cut between the two.

“Wow, more shouting, how wonderful.” Tsukishima stood in the doorway of the bus. Instead of discouraging him like what Tsukishima wanted, Bokuto just felt more fired up.

“Tsuk...ki?” Bokuto stopped, mid-yell.

The candy fell out of his gaping mouth.

In Tsukki’s arms, he held a small child with the very same freckled face that Kuroo had described. Memories of seeing the grown up version of this child in the background flooded Bokuto’s brain. He might not have been the brightest bulb in the box but he could at least connect the obvious things together. This was what Kuroo wanted to tell him. He wanted to tell him that Tsukki’s best friend was suddenly a little kid. Well, warn him was more like with the piercing glare Bokuto received for staring.

Coming back, and realizing that he was, indeed, staring-he actually eyed more, this time more aware and taking in the image.

He was a pretty cute kid. All eyes and chubby cheeks, he looked like the poster child for one of those child care commercials. He was nervous though, hiding his face in Tsukishima’s jacket. Bokuto deduced with his amazing guessing skills that he didn’t like attention all that much. A hand obscured Bokuto’s view.

“Stop ogling him.” Tsukishima practically spat. It was so full of emotion that Bokuto was kind of taken aback. He recovered quickly though, just like he always does. He smiled brightly at the blonde, hoping that it reassured him more. It seemed to do the complete opposite, however, as Tsukishima scowled deeper and shouldered him aside so he could get off the bus. The team gathered together is a massive group of black, while Bokuto stood around the edge, listening to the captain’s addressal of the group. It was interesting how other captain’s handled their teams. But he ran out of luck as he stood behind two of the taller members, the ace and that first year setter. He bobbed his head around for a bit, standing on the tips of his toes.

“Just like last time, we’ll do our best. Just because this is a famous Tokyo team that doesn’t make it unbeatable. Just like Nekoma, we’ll learn. Sound good?” The team gave a collective hum of agreement, before their heads tipped towards Bokuto-who was balancing, probably making a ridiculous face from the strain. He fell back on his heels, glad that the attention was back on him.

“Follow me!” He gave an excited cry, pointing toward their destination with an overdramatic arm. Just like with Akaashi, Bokuto could feel the eye rolls in his veins. He didn’t care that much though. He had bigger concerns at the moment. Like his undying curiosity. “So, Tsukki, what happened to your friend there?” Tsukishima made a disapproving grunt.

“What makes you think I’d tell you?”

“He doesn’t know!” Hinata came up behind them, squeezing his small body in between the two. “None of us know really!” Tsukishima all but killed Hinata with the glare that he gave him. “But he knows who we are and stuff, he just doesn’t look like tall and bwah, anymore.”

Something about that didn’t make sense to Bokuto. There seemed to be a simple solution to everything and it was rather obvious. He was surprised that someone as smart as Tsukki wasn’t able to figure that out. He smiled at the thought that he was smarter than the smart mouth that was the middle blocker.

“Why don’t you just ask him? I mean, he must know something about what happened!”

Tsukishima opened his mouth, before closing it again. A awed expression came onto his face. It was almost as if he had been slapped in the face. He would never admit it to Bokuto but, it was a good idea that he never thought of that before.

“Here! I wanna do it!” Bokuto bent to the level where Tsukishima held Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi backed further into Tsukishima’s chest, not liking how close Bokuto was getting to him. “What happened, little guy?” The child looked at him, head tilted to the side a bit, pouting. What was odd was that Yamaguchi’s stare began to make him feel uncomfortable-like he was being analyzed or something.

What happened next reminded Bokuto of one of those ‘Ten pictures taken before disasters.’

“Who are you?”

Didn’t they say that he has all of his memories? Looking up to Tsukishima for answers, he found none. Tsukishima and Hinata’s matching bewildered expressions told him that something was wrong. Tsukishima readjusted Yamaguchi in his arms, so that he was facing him. When he spoke, he attempted to sound less panicked than he felt. Bokuto could practically feel the worry radiating off of him.

“You don’t remember him?”

Yamaguchi slowly shook his head. Fidgeting with his fingers, looking down, he seemed ashamed of the fact that he couldn’t remember. Hinata bounded forward.

“Do you remember me, Yamaguchi?!” Bokuto looked between the two, incredibly confused as to what was going on and why they were so unnerved. That just meant that he hadn’t remembered all the way, right? Yamaguchi nodded in response to Hinata’s question. “Do you remember Yachi?” The freckled boy shook his head again. Hinata groaned. “What is happening?!”

At that cry, the rest of the Karasuno team was beckoned. Daichi approached, hand extended forward in an act of unsurety.

“What’s going on? What happened?”

“Yamaguchi just lost some memories. He doesn’t remember Bokuto or Yachi.” Tsukishima replied, tightening his grip on his best friend. “Even though he just barely finished remembering everything.” The frustration leaked through his voice and furrowed eyebrows. Because of the tense atmosphere, Bokuto was on edge.

“What is this supposed to mean?” He asked as a headache began to blossom from trying to piece everything together by himself.

There was a collective, solemn silence across the board. Bokuto couldn’t stand the silence for what it meant. It meant that something ominous was lurking in the empty voices that refused to be heard.

“It means that he might eventually forget everything.”

Chapter Text

Akaashi couldn’t say that he was that surprised when Bokuto came to him, bouncing up and down and talking really fast. And he couldn’t say that he was actually listening to most of Bokuto’s babble. He was little too focused on tying up the nets. He knew that Bokuto would be hurt if he knew that he wasn’t listening so, he asked Bokuto to repeat himself, slowly.

“So, you know those first years from Karasuno right? The orange, the setter, the glasses, and the freckles? Well the freckles is a little kid now! And no one knows what happened and no one knows how to fix it. Apparently he just remembered everything but then when I asked him if he remembered me and he didn’t know! Everyone on the team thinks he’s losing his memories again! So they’re freaking out! So I’m freaking out! What if they can’t turn him back to normal? Will they play okay? Will anything be okay anymore? It doesn’t feel like it!” Akaashi sighed. When Bokuto got excited like this, it was always better to let him ride it out, rather than try to calm him down. The setter attempted to keep him talking, which wasn’t a difficult feat, really.

“Are you sure that he didn’t just remember you? I mean, the two of you had never met. You didn’t even know his name.” He asked calmly.

“Yeah! He didn’t remember me! Who wouldn’t remember me? They’ve seen me plenty of times and I have a big personality!” Akaashi couldn’t disagree with that. “Also they asked him if he remembered the new manager that he met this Spring and he said he didn’t! He doesn’t remember anything from this Spring! They say he did before though!” Bokuto dramatically threw his arms in the air before bringing his palms to his eyes. “It’s so frustrating!”

“What is the team doing about it, right now?” The captain peeked at Akaashi before deflating into his pathetic emo mode.

“They’re in the bathrooms trying to get the kid to calm down. He started freaking out when they said that he could lose all of his memories. It was really sad to see him crying. I never thought that I could feel that sad for someone else.”

This was a different kind of emo mode than Akaashi has ever seen. Usually the lapses are caused by personal problems and self esteem issues. Very rarely was it about someone else’s trouble. It was a subtle difference. Rather than the shouting and depressing aura, it was a more quiet kind of sad. Solemn. And thinking. It was as if Bokuto was told that someone just died. It stirred something inside Akaashi that he wished it hadn’t. He never wanted to see  Bokuto look like this ever again.

He touched Bokuto’s arm, with a certain amount of love and care that it could break through anyone’s depressed mood.

“It will be alright.” Akaashi, ran his hand over his bicep in a comforting motion. The black-haired teen liked the feeling of the muscles beneath his palm. “Karasuno will figure something out. They always do.”

As if summoned by their name, the Karasuno team began to file into the gym. The serious looks on their faces were a different kind from their volleyball faces. These faces were helpless. So amazingly so that Akaashi was unsure for a second that everything would be alright. The group approached the two. Fukurodani team was still in the changing room, goofing around, probably considering Konoha and Sarukui were in the same room.

Akaashi looked around the group, eyes searching for the cause of all of this drama. His eyes landed on the child curled inside of Tsukishima’s arms. His eyes widened. Bokuto was not joking when he said that he was a little child. He was very small and fragile looking. It appeared as though if Tsukishima squeezed too hard, he would break into a million pieces. He had his face turned away from the group, face planted firmly into Tsukishima’s chest. After a few seconds of staring, the child turned to look at the person who’s gaze dug into his back.

Akaashi, although prefered more masculine things (even though he knew that he looked more feminine), was blown away by this small thing with big eyes and freckles. He was the most adorable thing he was ever seen. Excluding Bokuto’s puppy dog face.

The little one turned away almost as soon as he looked Akaashi’s way, unrecognizing.

“Is everything better, now?” Bokuto piped up, literally bouncing beside Akaashi. Tsukishima adjusted his friend and glared hotly at Bokuto. Akaashi caught on that everything was not better even though they managed to get their teammate to stop crying. He put a hand on Bokuto’s shoulder to calm him a little, discouraging him from responding to the angry look. Bokuto pouted and Akaashi resisted the urge to swoon. Bokuto was pretty cute, too.

“Yamaguchi should be alright as long as he’s with Tsukishima.” Yamaguchi tightened his grip on his best friend’s shirt. “I do believe that it would be best if the two were not separated. Which means that Tsukishima will be sitting out this game.” Bokuto’s pout increased in fervor. He quickly realized though that it would be best for the small child, preventing him from freaking out as he did before. A muffled squeak came from Tsukishima’s chest. Tsukishima held Yamaguchi away from him so that he could say what he wanted to say. Yamaguchi refused to look anywhere but his hands.

“I’m sowrry.”

All of a sudden, Akaashi felt the need to rush to the child’s side and give him the biggest hug of his life. Which was saying something because Akaashi was not usually one for physical affection. Bokuto beat him to the comforting though as he jumped forward towards Yamaguchi, who flinched backward.

“No reason to apologize little buddy! You’re important too, you know!” He extended a hand to rub Yamaguchi’s head. After a few seconds, Yamaguchi leaned into the hand, a soft frown still situated on his face.

“I don’t think he does know.” Akaashi also stepped forward. He was really good at reading emotions and predicting reactions, as he has had a lot of practice with Bokuto and the rest of his teammates. He could tell that Yamaguchi had issues with self-deprecation, and thus low self-esteem-therefore, in seeing his reaction to Bokuto’s statement, Akaashi deduced that he was thinking those kinds of thoughts again. He knew what he had to do. “May I hold him?”

Tsukishima looked surprised for a moment, a subtle widening of the eyes and his mouth pulled into a tight line. He did nod in the end though, preparing to hand Yamaguchi over to him. Yamaguchi looked panicked. And reasonably so. It was scary having some stranger hold you as if you were a child, especially when you are shaped like a child. Tsukishima then rubbed Yamaguchi’s head, ruffling his hair a little bit in an bid to ease him. It worked long enough for Akaashi to take him into his arms.

He wasn’t as heavy as he was expecting, but heavy enough to weigh down in Akaashi’s arms. Yamaguchi clenched his fists and held them clasped to his chest, afraid to make a move. He kept his head down and declined eye contact. Akaashi slowly moved his hand to the child’s back and rubbed comfortingly.

“We may not have talked all that much, but we knew each other. I know that you don’t remember me, but I can at least tell you what I remember about you.” Yamaguchi shuffled in his arms. “You are loyal. You’d follow your friends to the end of the world. That is something that most people look for. In friends, in family, in romantic relationships.” Akaashi eyed Tsukishima. “You need to, you need to understand that you are important.” Yamaguchi then looked at him with tears in those big eyes of his. “Especially to us.”

“B-but you don’t know me, how could you carwe about me?”

Akaashi nodded, expecting this question. All eyes were on him, particularly Tsukishima, who had a sour look on his face. He looked just about ready to take Yamaguchi away from him again. As much as he respected his upperclassman, Akaashi was upsetting the person closest to him. So, he had to make this fast.

“I guess it is because you, despite what you think, are lovable.”

Yamaguchi stiffened in his arms, before relaxing. A small, wet giggle escaped him.

“Everyone’s been hewlping me. I didn’t think that pweople w-would hewlp me.” Despite sounding somewhat content, tears ran down his freckled face. “I don’t want to forget this.”

Akaashi smiled. It set off a chain reaction of smiles, albeit they were uneasy. He had always been told that he had a beautiful smile.

“I’m sure that you won’t.”

Chapter Text

He knew that he was good-looking. Why else would girls flock to him like moths to a light? And why else would other boys confess to him? He was handsome enough to turn people! Nothing can boost your self esteem more than knowing that the way you look turned straight males to gay males.

But he also knew that he was a jerk. He was selfish and mocking, always poking fun at other people. He played with girl and boy’s hearts alike, crushing them beneath his foot sometimes. Iwa was always telling him what a terrible personality he had. And to some extent he agreed with him-especially with the way that he treated Iwa, read; horrible. And to some extent he couldn’t believe it. He was nice enough to his underclassmen, he was understanding of their flaws and willing to help them work past them. All except for his younger rival, Tobio, of course.

Oikawa couldn’t stand Tobio. He couldn’t stand Karasuno as a whole. So many irritating wild cards and overly strong and talented people, it gave him a headache. There was Tobio, the volleyball robot who could serve, set, receive, and spike like mistakes weren’t programmed into his blood. There was also their libero who could receive Oikawa’s strongest serve and pick up Iwa’s spikes. And then there was the tall, blonde first year who blocked Ushijima, which was something even his team couldn’t do! Not to mention, the annoying shrimp. Who could jump high and run fast-who knew that, that was all that it would take to beat the great Blue Castle.

What was even worse though were the people who weren’t naturally talented, like how he used to be. He had to work endlessly to get where he was now. That silver-haired setter, the third year that got taken out because Tobio was ‘better’, came into the game and proved that  although he wasn’t as skilled, he was just as hard-working. And then there was that pinch server. How annoying was he?! He almost stole the game right from under their noses, before they even had the chance to play a third set! He was pathetic in the first game they had and he was troublesome in the second game they had. Sure, he worked to accomplish the jump float serve, but he was still not good enough.

Anyone would think that the shrimp was Oikawa’s opposite, but it was actually that freckled number twelve. He was a first year benchwarmer, unpopular and shy, and relied on a weak, unexpected serve. Oikawa was a third year captain, attractive and bold, and relied on a strong, whiplash serve.  They both worked hard, but one was clearly better than the other.

The reason that the number twelve was the subject of his thoughts currently was because he was right in front of him. Looking like he was four years old.

Oikawa was simply in the gym, the rest of his teammates were warming up. He was actually practicing his serves when Karasuno walked in, in some strange formation. They were huddled together in a circle with the blonde first year in the middle, a head taller than everyone else. It was odd to say the least. It wasn’t until he peeked between the members and saw something so surprising that his jaw stayed, firmly planted, on the floor until the captain noticed him and his surprise. The black-haired captain sighed.

“Getting pretty tired of trying to hide this stuff because it never works.” He said, sounding exhausted. If it weren’t for Oikawa’s still state of surprise, he would’ve laughed. “Basically what happened is that Yamaguchi is a little kid now. No, we don’t know what happened. No, we don’t know how to fix it. And yes, this is very bad because he is losing his memories. Fast. I’m not even sure if he remembers you, anymore.” Daichi looked around unsurely, before turning to the annoying blonde first year. They had a silent conversation that ended in the blonde shielding the teen turned kid. It clicked that the captain was asking if he could bring him Yamaguchi so that he could access whether or not he remembered Oikawa. It was actually kind of insulting.

“Excuse me? I’m right here! If you want to say something, say it so I can hear it. It’s very rude, you know.” Oikawa huffed, not liking that they were talking about him, but not with him. The other captain turned to him with an polite smile, but it had some mocking undertones-as if he didn’t give a shit of what Oikawa wanted.

“So sorry, I was trying to get Tsukishima to let you talk with him. You wanted that, didn’t you?”  Daichi asked, dabbling in niceties but not really meaning them. Oikawa pulled the same polite-but-not-really-polite smile, his face darkening with annoyance.

“I honestly could care less about the brat. I thought you were here to play volleyball, hmm?” With that, Oikawa turned around, debating whether or not to steal number twelve.  

Pros would be that he would get to talk with the little bugger and see what he remembers. Maybe he could even figure out what happened and rub it in their stupid National-attending faces. It would be a plus too, to see the faces of the entire stupid team when they saw that he liked him better than any of them. After all, he was rather charismatic, wasn’t he? So much more so that the sour-faced ‘Tsukki’ as he has heard the kid call him.

Cons would be that he’d have to figure out some way to get his hands on him. Tsukishima didn’t even want him to talk to his friend, so obviously alone time was out of the question. Unless he could find a way to get rid of them. Which would be hard. Almost too hard to be worth it, if it weren’t for how giddy the idea of kidnapping number twelve and seeing the angry, startled faces of everyone on the team made him.

In the end, he decided that yes, this was going to be really fun.

The courts were already set up by the time his other teammates came back from their warm up, him being excluded from both the warm up and the game because of the fall he took in the previous game messing up his knee once more. Oikawa was on light duty-allowing him to come to practice but not actually participate in games. Which didn’t make that much sense. Oikawa can do as much damage to himself as other people do to him. If the original reason for the sprained knee was because he was over-exerting himself, then who’s to say why not? But Oikawa wouldn’t overwork himself, he’s felt the pain and promised both himself and Iwa that he wouldn’t do it again.

Speaking of, Iwaizumi approached Oikawa and Karasuno. Sweat dripped down the side of his face,a drop running along his square jaw and down his thick neck. Oikawa probably stared a little longer than he should’ve because he was startled when Iwa suddenly slapped him upside the head.

“  Oi!  Why is everyone over...here?” He caught sight of the kid and Oikawa couldn’t contain his snort.  He looked so stupid with his mouth hanging wide open and bug eyes. Then Oikawa thought that he might’ve looked the same exact way. His reaction must’ve been better looking though. Daichi gave him the same explanation that he gave Oikawa. Little by little, Iwa’s jaw tightened. Oikawa could tell that he cared. He was worried. It left a rotten taste in his mouth to think that Iwa actually cared about some Karasuno kid that was stupid enough to turn himself into a little kid. When Daichi finished, Iwa wanted clarification.

“You mean to tell me that, that crazy first year with the cool float serve is this little kid.” Iwa pointed to the child. Oikawa huffed to the side of him, both at the smug face that Tsukishima was making at the description of his best friend and at the fact that Iwa called the first year’s serve cool. Oikawa’s serve was cool too! Karasuno’s captain nodded and Tsukishima once again readjusted the child to be closer to him. He clearly did not trust anyone at Aoba Johsai. Maybe he was right to, considering what Oikawa was planning.

“Yeah. Like I said, we don’t know how to fix it. So, for right now, we have to look after him. Tsukishima will be sitting out this game to keep an eye on Yamaguchi. Is that okay?”

Realizing too late that Daichi was talking to him, Iwa elbowed Oikawa in the side.The captain nursed his side, sparing a glare at his childhood friend before turning to Daichi with that malicious smile again.

“Of course! I’d like to see how you guys play without your best middle blocker.”  He scoffed. The team exploded with anger and offense.

“Hey! I’m a middle blocker too!” The shrimp crowed, shaking his fist at Oikawa. The orange-haired nuisance was promptly shoved to the side by the guy with the funny faces and shaved head.

“Don’t forget about Narita, asshole!” He dragged another guy with a shaved head and a nervous expression behind him.  Oikawa remembers vaguely seeing him in the Shiratorizawa match when Tsukishima was injured. Their captain, then shoved them away to look at Oikawa with his teeth gritted.

“All of our players are the best. They just have different skill sets that we utilize in different moments of the game. Need we remind you that, that, was how we beat Aoba Johsai?” His grimace turned into a petty grin. Oikawa weighed his options of letting Daichi get to him and deck him in the face, or being the bigger person and letting their team feel guilty for their niggling. He decided against punching him, mostly due to the fact that Iwa would probably punch him in return for starting a fight. Not to mention, the rest of the crows might do something about it. So he gave in.   

“I’m sorry,” he said, not sounding sorry at all. “Now, Iwa, go show them how much we’ve improved since they last played us.” Oikawa shooed the rest of the team away, walking over to the sidelines. Tsukishima followed him, the child in his arms looking around curiously. It was as though the freckled boy didn’t know what he was doing there, even after the two explanations that he had to hear. The clueless and slightly scared look on his baby face was reminiscent of the face that he made when he first saw Oikawa enter. Even he could tell from the very beginning that Oikawa was a force to be reckoned with.

The whistle blowed and the game began. Oikawa watched mindlessly as the ball bounced from each side of the court. He stole glances at Yamaguchi who was incredibly intrigued by the game in front of him. It was actually kind of cute in a puppy dog kind of way. Oikawa knew that his plan had to work, in order to get what he wanted.

“Hey Glasses.”

Tsukishima refused to look at him, also neglecting to respond.

“It is kind of cruel, the way that they are making you sit out of the game.  I know just how badly you want to play, no matter how hard you try to hide it!” Oikawa said with a singing voice. Tsukishima clicked his tongue and Oikawa’s triumphant smile faded.

“I asked to sit out, idiot. Yamaguchi’s my friend.” A melancholy tone seeped through his words and Oikawa could see the why. Not because he was sitting out, but because he was his friend. Just his friend. It was still bothersome, though, that his plan was not working out. “I wouldn’t leave him at a time like this. Especially here.” He followed, his words pointed sharp at Oikawa. The captain seethed at the implication but refused to let the smart mouth first year get the better of him.

“I’m just saying that I know you want to play and that I’m willing to help make that happen.” The setter shrugged dramatically. “I guess some people are just to stuck up to accept help from such a generous person.” Next to him came a scoff kind of laugh. Tsukishima pushed up his glasses, the light glinting off of them, preventing Oikawa from seeing the look in his eyes. Anger boiled deep in his stomach. All of these stupid first years are too good at pushing Oikawa’s buttons.

“You are the farthest thing from generous that I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.” Yamaguchi giggled a little and Oikawa almost growled at him. “I know what you’re trying to do, I don’t know why but you should know that there is no way in hell that I’m letting you touch him.” The blonde said as he moved his arm up to push Yamaguchi into his chest protectively. The child seemed content enough, smiling peacefully. It must be nice to feel safe in your someone special’s arms.

Oikawa didn’t know why he did it.  Maybe it was a combination of the disrespectful attitude he was receiving and the jealousy that he felt that he’d never be able to be held like that by his favorite person in the world, his childhood friend. And maybe it was a combination of his frustration with not being able to get what he wanted and his hate towards the team even before the conversation. Maybe it was all four! Either way, Oikawa snapped.

If you are going to hit it, hit it until it breaks.

Oikawa snaked his hands between Tsukishima’s tight grip on Yamaguchi and pulled his arms apart. Tsukishima shouted in protest, trying to keep Yamaguchi in a good position to hold onto but not hurt him. Oikawa managed to grab the child by the waist. The child cried for his Tsukki. He pulled, effectively yanking him from Tsukishima’s arms. Yamaguchi’s head knocked back into Oikawa’s collarbone.

Oikawa’s vision exploded with black.

Familiar voices danced in his ears as he whirled his head around, looking for something that wasn’t black. It was also though he closed his eyes and couldn’t open them. He could feel his heart rate pick up. This was strange. He felt like he had been somewhere like here before but didn’t know how. All he could see was darkness.

Then, little glowing squares floated down from what Oikawa assumed to be the ceiling. They fluttered around him, the sound of shuffling papers muffling out the voices that Oikawa heard. What was most interesting about the small, ethereal squares were the images on them. They were images of him, when they faced off in the Fall Interhigh Preliminaries and then when they first met for the practice match. They all had one thing in common, they made fear rise like bile in his stomach. Oikawa appeared to be feeling what Yamaguchi felt when these memories occured. Oikawa was torn between glad that he could scare someone from Karasuno so badly and insulted that someone would be so scared of him. Suddenly, Oikawa’s breath left his body. Existential dread filled him as he watched his face disappear from the glowing squares and storm downward where they disappeared. He was felt a pulling sensation, moving at an incredibly fast pace, he was thrown out of wherever he was.

He was on the gym floor. It took him a little while to realize it, but he could open his eyes and see many faces peering down at him. Some shocked and worried, others smug and uncaring. He didn’t know what he would expect, though. He did try to rip one of their members from someone else’s arms. But that didn’t really matter right now because he had a killer headache and a new bruise on the back of his head. He groaned and sat up, the crowd around him dispersing a little.

“What happened?” Oikawa asked, bringing a hand up to rub the tender spot beneath his hairline. Iwaizumi crossed his arms, clearly annoyed and a twinge disappointed.

“I don’t know Shittykawa, we thought that you could tell us why you tried to take Yamaguchi and then faint.” Oikawa then became aware of the dark aura radiating off of the Karasuno members, awaiting the crappy explanation he was bound to give. It wasn’t as though he had a good reason for taking their number twelve, it sounded more selfish than anything else. He didn’t really care whether or not the Karasuno team saw him as selfish but Iwa that he wanted to remain less of a truly terrible person. So instead of explaining, he simply looked up to Iwa and shook his head. Iwa sighed and offered a hand to pick Oikawa up.

Even when he did the most terrible things, Iwa was also there for him.

He looked around the room, purposefully ignoring the deadly looks the other team was giving him and discovered an interesting detail-more like a lack of one.

“Where’s the brat?” He asked, dusting himself off, wincing when he reached his bad knee as it shot a sharp pain up his leg. Someone on Karasuno growled ferally. The captain stepped forward.

“If you are referring to Yamaguchi,” He paused, making sure to send his worst wishes to Oikawa through facial expressions. “He ran away as soon as he dropped him. He was hysterical. Tsukishima chased after him but he had  to much a head start to be caught right away.” Oikawa’s eyes widened. A little kid was wandering around Aoba Johsai, upset and lost. All because of him.

Wow, he really was an asshole.  

Chapter Text

It started out as a nice day. The weather was beautiful. Gaia actually woke up at the right time today. And she made a couple of friends at the coffee shop nearby her high school. They were nice girls who really liked talking about volleyball. Well, particularly one infamous volleyball player that attended the school that she went to. After chatting for a bit, Gaia left the coffee shop with pastry in hand and sketchbook in the other. She made her way to Aoba Johsai as she had some business with her math teacher. It started out as a nice day.

That was until a little freckled boy collided into her, causing the boy and her sketchbook to fall to the ground. Gaia stumbled, holding the shin he rocketed into. The dark haired girl looked down at her sketchbook.  And just as she thought, it was now dusted with dirt and leaves. Deep breaths, she told herself, turning back to the criminal that was the source of her internal screaming. Almost immediately her anger dissipated.

The criminal, in question, was small-smaller than the average little boy Gaia supposed. His mossy hair was messy and now dusted with dirt and leaves. Large amber eyes and little brown freckles sprinkled across his cheek almost made Gaia swoon. Almost. The reason that see was no longer as angry with the little boy, however, were the tear tracks painting his face, red puffy eyes with tears still dancing on the edge. And as much as she said that she hated people, seeing people cry always moved her to help. The dark brunette knelt down to his level.

“Hey little guy, are you okay?” The boy looked around frantically and whimpered helplessly, before looking up at Gaia and shaking his head frantically. Tears fell down his face and his breathing picked up. “I’ll take that as a no.” She knew that she had to do something-and fast. The child curled tighter into himself as Gaia looked around for something that could help. “Hold on, kid. Just try to take deep breaths okay?” Her chocolate eyes scanned the area before they promptly landed on her discarded sketchbook. Her hand shot out to quickly grab it and turn a couple of pages. She finally settled on the page that she needed. It was full of criss cross marks that resembled a Tic Tac Toe table. It was something that she always carried around her, just in case she was bored or she needed something to start a conversation with and perhaps make a new friend.

“Here kid.” The little boy didn’t come out of his little ball. “Come on, it’s not that bad.” Gaia softly said, coaxing the freckled child out. He looked at the paper with curious teary eyes. He looked up at Gaia then back down at the paper; it clicked in his mind that she wanted to play a game with him. “Here! I’ll let you make the first move!” She handed him her favorite pencil with the teddy bear eraser. He gingerly took it and analyzed the paper, looking for the best place to put his X. He decided with the upper left corner. He glanced at  Gaia while handing her pencil back before going back to avoiding eye contact, his lips drawn in a tight line. Gaia dawned a reassuring smile, attempting to gain the trust of this mysterious child. She didn’t know why, but she knew that she had to help him. She made her move.

The game was very short. It came out to the little boy’s win, something that Gaia rigged to happen. She thought it would make him happy, and she’d get to see a bright smile light up his face. Instead, he pouted.

“Y-you chweated.” He huffed. Gaia stared. Little kids aren’t supposed to be able recognize that kind of stuff. “I want t-to win by myself.” That isn’t usually something that she saw in a person, let alone a little kid-which was interesting because she’s seen a lot of people. Someone who didn’t want to take the easy way out, even if it is in something as small as a Tic Tac Toe game. So, she felt genuine happiness rise within her as she started another table.

The two played for awhile, the little boy insisting on playing again until he won. At one point, Gaia thought she heard him giggle when she made a quip about secretly manipulative the game was. The dark brunette would be lying if she didn’t say that she was having fun just observing this curiosity of a boy. Maybe it was the way his hair fell in his face, or the freckles that danced in the light across his face, or the way he stuck his tongue out when he was concentrated.But she liked this kid. Finally, after what seemed like a hundred games , he won fair and square.

He gasped in surprise at his success, throwing his small arms in the air. His entire face lit up with happiness and a wide grin spread across his face. Gaia’s heart swelled with joy. He looked so happy! It was a definite improvement from the shaking mess that he was not fifteen minutes ago. She leaned back on her palms, feeling the dirt between her fingers.

“So kid, you feeling better?” She asked, looking at him through her eyelashes. He lowered his arms to his chest, bring his hands together and wringing them nervously. He blushed with embarrassment and nodded. Gaia knew how embarrassing breaking down in front of someone could be, but it was still important that she made sure that he was okay. She sighed through her nose, content. Gaia stood up, dusting herself off before offering her hand to the child. He took it cautiously, allowing her to help him stand for the first time since he fell over.

“I’m Gaia, it is very nice to meet you.” She curtseyed mockingly, drawing out a chuckle from him. He played along, bending his small body in half in a bow.

“I’m Y-Yamaguchi.” Gaia tossed him a smile, to which he returned and Gaia felt her heart tighten. He was adorable-and this was coming from someone who didn’t like people all that much despite her social status.

“So, Yamaguchi, mind telling me what you are doing here at Aoba Johsai?” His face drew to a pout. He looked down at the ground and shook his head.

“Don’t rwemember.” He says under his breath, sounding disappointed. The girl was slightly taken aback. Did this kid have memory problems or something? He couldn’t remember how he got here? Maybe he was like one of those main characters in a novel where they don’t know where they come from but end up having a tragic backstory and a crazy adventure with two friends that he met along the way. Gaia hoped that she was one of the two because that sounds like a lot of fun. A tug to the leg brought her out of her thoughts.

“Take me on your adventure, please.”

It was Yamaguchi’s turn to be surprised.

“C-could you help me find Tsukki?” He asked quietly as if embarrassed that he couldn’t do it by himself. This kid really didn’t like getting help, did he? She asked the more important question though.

“Who’s Tsukki?”

His eyes sparkled and a huge smile came onto his face. This was the happiest Gaia had ever seen of Yamaguchi. It was a little disturbing actually.

“Tsukki is the coolwest person in the world!” He said, bouncing a little. “He’s reawy tawl and he h-has these glasses that make him look coolwer.” The entire mood changed when his bright grin turned soft. “He helped me when n-no one else would. I have to fwind him. Or the o-other’s will fwind me.” He gave a little shiver, and looked at Gaia helplessly. “Pwease h-help me fwind my Ts-Tsukki.”

It was odd how his speech became worse and worse as he continued to talk. It was as though he was forgetting how to talk. Whatever was going on with Yamaguchi, it wasn’t good and she knew that they should probably find whoever this kid was looking for.

“Okay, okay. Do you know where he might be?”

“Ts-Tsukki is always cwose to m-me. H-he-he-.” Gaia cut him off.

“Alright, don’t hurt yourself.” Yamaguchi turned frustrated and closed his mouth. “How about we walk around for a bit, ask anybody nearby if they have seen a really tall, cool guy with glasses, yeah? She said already taking off in the direction near her school. Maybe there was an elementary school on a school field trip, she thought-realising that she never questioned why there was a little kid on Aoba Johsai campus. So, if the kid’s friend would be anywhere, it would probably be on campus. Yamaguchi followed in the direction she started walking in, nodding his head in response to her question.

Just as they reached the hallways of the school, a blonde blur rushed past them. He was really tall. He had glasses. The two seconds that he was in view wasn’t enough to determine if he looked cool but Gaia had a feeling. The only problem would be the fact that he was at least ten years older than what Yamaguchi looked like.

“Yamaguchi!” A voice echoed through the hallway.

“Tsukki!” Yamaguchi cried after him, starting to stumble in the direction that “Tsukki” went. Tsukki, however, was out of earshot when Yamaguchi cried his name. Gaia snapped back into reality and started to chase after Yamaguchi. It didn’t take much to catch up with him, his stumbling and eventual fall hindered him greatly. “Ts-Tsukki! Ts-Tsu-Tsukki!” Tears welled up in his eyes as he cried after is long gone friend. Gaia shushed at him, trying to calm him down again.

“Hey, you!”

Another voice, much deeper than Tsukki’s, cut through them. Gaia’s gaze turned from the floor where Yamaguchi was, up to the not-much-taller-than-her guy. He jogged over to them. He wore a practice jersey and knee pads, leading Gaia to guess that this guy played volleyball. He had spiky black hair and a stern expression. Gaia had seen him around the school before but she couldn’t quite put her finger on his name. He approached the two.

“You have any idea how long we’ve been looking for you, kid?”

Yamaguchi stared at him. Recognition lacking in his eyes. Gaia stood in front of Yamaguchi, who was still on the floor. She may have seen this guy but she didn’t know what he was like. Maybe he was the “other’s” that Yamaguchi was talking about.

“Yamaguchi, do you know this guy?” She narrowed her eyes in suspicion. The guy looked surprised, and looked to Yamaguchi; expecting a positive affirmation. He was even more surprised when Yamaguchi shook his head, even more confused. He groaned.

“They told me that you were forgetting stuff but I didn’t think that it was this bad! We have to get you back to the team, and fast.” The guy took a step forward but Gaia held her hand out to stop him from coming any closer.

“What’s your name and how do you know Yamaguchi?”

He sighed, rubbing his neck, visibly exasperated.

“I’m Iwaizumi Hajime, I’m only the volleyball team and he’s from a rival school, we’re having a practice match.”

“Why would a little kid be at a practice match for high schoolers?” Gaia, placed one hand on her hip while behind her, Yamaguchi stood up. Peeking at Iwaizumi from her side, he became more and more anxious.

“It’s a really long story. But his team is looking for him, worried sick. Let me take him back.” He said, taking a deep breath. He was the patient type, Gaia could tell. Before she could say anything though, Yamaguchi jumped out from behind her.

“Y-you can take mwe t-t-to Ts-tsu-ukki?!” He cried, eyes wide, his expression turning hopeful. Iwaizumi stared at him for a little bit, startled before looking away, cheeks tinted a light pink.

“Yeah, I’ll take you back to your friend but you have to trust me, okay?” The older one said, crossing his arms and eyes averted. Yamaguchi nodded vigorously before turning to Gaia in one quick motion. He gave her this look of reassurance and gratitude-Gaia didn’t even think that someone could look at her like that. He reached up and tugged at the hem of her shirt, prompting her to kneel down. She complied.

“Th-thank you.” He said to her softly, smiling slightly. This kid was so expressive, and so honest, and just so full of life that Gaia doubted that she would ever forget him. She smiled back at him.

“Your welcome, kid.” The brunette ruffled his hair, playfully. “Take it easy, okay?” He looked at her through the hair that fell in his face and nodded. He glanced away from her, catching Iwaizumi’s eye. The tallest held out his hand for the smallest to take. Yamaguchi walked over to him, dragging his feet slightly. He took Iwaizumi’s hand.

Together the pair began to walk away, leaving Gaia standing in the middle of the Aoba Johsai hallway. She watched them go until they turned a corner and were out of sight. She pulled out her sketchbook, turning around to leave the school campus and carry on with her day. Gaia ran her fingers over the indents and lines of the Tic Tac Toe games on the paper.

She walked out of the campus.

She walked out of earshot.

Chapter Text

Things could not get any worse. As a third year, he was leaving his team; and in his very last practice match, the rival team that was responsible for putting them out of the running for nationals introduces a whole other issue. One of their team members was now a little kid who got lost-and now was in Iwaizumi’s care. If that wasn’t enough, the little kid started to scream.

They were just walking. Iwaizumi had no idea why, at the halfway point to the gym, Yamaguchi just dropped to the ground and started whimpering. And then that whimpering turned into screaming in a matter of seconds. The wing spiker’s eyes widened, panicked at the outburst. It wasn’t even two seconds later when he realized what was wrong. It was fairly obvious, fairly being an understatement considering Yamaguchi’s leg was bent backward with the bone jutting out of it. Blood flowed freely out of the wound and Yamaguchi vacillated between whimpering and crying out in pain.

Now for as long as Iwaizumi has been in volleyball, anyone would think that he would know how to deal with various kinds of injuries. They would think correctly. He leaped into action, taking off his white shirt and applying pressure to the bleeding area. He avoided touching the bone, noticing the swelling around the offended area but he knew that he couldn’t do much about that as he did not have anything like cool pads or ice packs with him that could help. All he could do was try to stop the bleeding and treat for shock. He watched Yamaguchi take quick, shallow breaths as the pain increased with the pressure that Iwaizumi was putting on the broken leg. But the breaths began to decrease and become deeper. It was as if the pain was going away, which frankly didn’t make sense unless Yamaguchi was losing consciousness. He looked wide awake, staring at his leg.

A weird sensation passed through the Seijou wing spiker, underneath the cloth he was applying pressure to. He heard a loud crack.

He looked with amazement at the leg, that he would have bet his life on, was broken. Iwaizumi was more than surprised to find that the leg was perfectly fine. There wasn’t even a scar! And if Iwaizumi knew anything about injuries, having a bone jut of your leg would definitely scar. Something weird was going on and he didn’t know what to do about it. What he could do, though, was deal with the stuff that was less weird-like finding the rest of his team and getting him back safe.

He tossed his shirt aside, and scooped Yamaguchi up in his arms-the kid still looked like he was in shock. He jogged down the hall, back towards the gym, doing his best not to jostle Yamaguchi. Out of all the thoughts running through his head, only one raced the fastest.

This was all Oikawa’s fault.

If the idiot actually thought before he acted, then maybe Iwaizumi wouldn’t be in this situation right now. He could swear that Oikawa never thought twice when he wanted something but he knew that wasn’t completely true. Oikawa always hesitated when it came to Iwaizumi. Not hesitating in making fun of him, or tossing to him. That the captain was perfectly fine doing; but addressing his feelings for him was a different story. It was strange because Oikawa was never one to hide his feelings either, so despite being Iwaizumi being the Oikawa whisperer; he was dumbfounded.

Don’t ask how he was able to figure out how Oikawa had less than platonic feelings for him, it was just one of those things that Iwaizumi knew. Oikawa and Iwaizumi always had this, mindmeld of sorts. They were able to communicate with opening their mouths, the result of having been friends for so long. It was both a blessing and a curse to understand exactly what was going on in the other’s mind. One moment they will be helping each other when they are down and the other? They are chasing each other’s tails like rabid dogs.

It was ridiculous.

Which was why Iwaizumi was sick of it; sick of the chase and the whole dancing around the subject game; sick of Oikawa’s cowardice; sick of, well to be frank, his inability to do something about his stupid feelings.

Iwaizumi had always struggled to identify feelings, and even worse, struggled knowing how to act on them. When he was little, he thought Oikawa was the same way for a little while. Maybe that’s why they became friends.

When he was little, he thought Oikawa was more reserved and unwilling to present himself  than he was. He recalled the fidgetiness and lip biting, but what the kid him didn’t notice were the smiles that accompanied attention and stealing attention away from someone. Oikawa was not at all what he thought he was when they first met. Oh, well, first impressions.

It wasn’t as though he wasn’t glad he met him. Oikawa gave him exactly what he needed when he needed it and vice versa. In fact, Iwaizumi might be so bold to say that befriending Oikawa was the best decision he had ever made. In him he found a motivator, a partner, a teammate, a friend.

And a soulmate.

The gym came into view and Iwaizumi slowed his pace, breathing heavily. The child cradled in his arms whimpered, wanting to be put down. Iwaizumi complied, noticing the care that Yamaguchi put into each step-like he was trying to avoid tripping and falling over. It was definite decrease in mobility. Even Iwaizumi could tell that the situation was getting worse, and he doesn’t even know the kid. The two entered the gym.

And then all chaos broke loose. The members of the team that stayed behind crowded around Yamaguchi. The Ace, the libero, captain, and left wing spiker were talking all at once

“Yama! You’re okay! We were like super worried! You can’t just run off again!”

“Dude, what happened? Why did you run away?”

“We should text everyone and tell them that Yamaguchi is safe.”

“Did you see how fast Tsukishima took off? Never seen him run that fast before, you really bring out the best in him, Yama. It was a good thing that him wanting to find you beat out his want to murder Oikawa.”

It was so easy to pay attention to the much bigger, much louder people but Iwaizumi immediately sensed something wrong with the incredibly scared expression on Yamaguchi’s face.

“Yeah, it would have been kind of funny if it wasn’t related to Yama’s condition.”

“I don’t think we should be talking about Tsukishima behind his back, and in front of his best friend. Yamaguchi is probably worried about him anyways.”

“Yeah, but when isn’t Yama worried about that jerk.”

“Walking on eggshells, you two.”

Yamaguchi began to back away, which, in turn, lead the others to come  closer subconsciously. The child looked around helplessly, beginning to tremble. Iwaizumi noticed this.

“Hey.”

“I’m just stating facts, Daichi! Besides, if Yamaguchi was upset about it, he would tell us to stop, wouldn’t he?

“Hey guys.”

“Even so, you should have some self-control and try to get along with your teammate better.”

“Ugh, fine. But you know how much of a smartass he is.”

“Reminds me of someone in their first year.”

We said we wouldn’t talk about that!”

“Guys!”

That finally caught their attention and they looked to Iwaizumi, who was more than a little bit irritated. This was their teammate and they didn’t even notice.

“You’re scaring him. You should know him better than I do, and I know that you shouldn’t be crowding him like that.”

The four looked ashamed when they finally saw Yamaguchi shaking like a leaf, eyes wide and full of fear. Daichi kneeled down to Yamaguchi’s level, and lifted a hand to demonstrate that he wasn’t going to hurt him.  The forest-haired child flinched away from him.

“It’s okay, Yamaguchi. Sorry we yelled; we didn’t mean to scare you.”  

The kid scanned his face, then looked over his shoulder to scan the other faces staring at him. He directed his gaze back to the captain. And then, sealed his doom.

“Who are you?”

If the team’s jaws could drop any further, they would be underground. The ace, Asahi, if Iwaizumi remembered correctly, was the first to snap out of his surprise but also the first to freak.

“Oh my god, this is bad. This is like really bad. What are we going to tell Tsukishima?”

The libero was next.

“How is this happening? Why is everything so complicated?” Everything was perfectly fine three days ago!

“Everyone just needs to remain calm. Imagine how scary this is for Yamaguchi, being stuck in a room with complete strangers who are shouting and panicking.”

“What do you mean by strangers?”

Tsukishima returned; his face tinted red from the amount of running he had done. Sugawara, Hinata, and the other team members lined up behind him, also curious as to why the gym was filled to the brim with anxiety.

Yamaguchi perked up at the sight of Tsukishima, and stood up, running to him as fast as his little legs allowed.

“Tsukki!”

The left wing spiker groaned, honestly louder than what Iwaizumi thought was necessary considering the point he just made about being too rowdy.

“Oh, so he remembers ‘Tsukki” but not any of us?! Well this is just great!”

The search party collectively gasped. Suga stepped forward, past where Yamaguchi had reached Tsukishima and was hugging his leg tightly.

“You mean...you mean he forgot us?”

“But! But! He just remembered us! Why is he forgetting everything so fast?!” Hinata followed.

Tsukishima stood frozen, not knowing what to do.

He felt so goddamn helpless.  

And no matter how much help he got from Iwaizumi or the rest of his teammates, Yamaguchi would continue to forget until there was nothing left to forget.

And there was nothing that he could do about it.