Being the person who assumes the landscape of their environment upon entering the room and often designated as kin of the furniture, Yachi is very happy when people speak at her and not to her, so that unnecessary conversations do not occur and everyone can go back to ignoring her as they did before.
Acquiring a retail job runs something similar to that vein.
A retail job in a relatively functional business is great. People still try to be friendly - older people, and older men, which, no - but it’s not too unbearable.
She gets a message, one day, while she’s getting a one-on-one tutoring session by Yours Truly, Chameleon Expert Man Himself, Kinoshita, on calculus and tactics of evading eye contact. They’re revising what she should know, she’s confident that going to the job, with these new skills, will maximise her invisibility, when her phone vibrates and seeing as the team shares absolutely zero boundaries, she pores over the message with Kinoshita, who bites into a slice of orange.
“New shift?” He chews, eyebrow lifted.
She’s noting that down as a skill that she needs to be taught. Kiyoko-san does it very often and it makes grown men cry on the spot. Yachi can weaponise that and turn it on the creeps at work. It can work for her.
“Hmm,” she nods, mouth full of orange slices. Kinoshita slaps a napkin to her face, picks up her phone and types a response out. By the time she swallows the pieces of citrusy goods and wipes herself dry of unwanted orange spit, there is a hovering screen with the line I’m good to go on Saturday. Same time as usual? waiting for her approval from her upperclassman.
“All good, Kinoshita-san,” she gives him two thumbs up, because he deserves it.
“I’m going inside to tell Chikara we’re almost done. Send it and pack up. We’re bullying Ryuu to buy us food,” he rises, takes his books with him, and gives her a jaunty wave at the doorway.
She hits send. Working at the bakery in Miyagi central shopping district with the locals is great, but working in busy Tokyo where she will know nobody and the customers will assume she is a speaking brick wall?
She sweeps all her books into her tote bag and sprints after Kinoshita.
The nature of the bakery franchise she works at is that she rings in all the sales when customers approach her with the baked goods and she restocks when bread is running low. That’s the official job description.
Recently the bakery, influenced a little by by multiculturalism and mostly by the owner being completely smitten with the Vietnamese literature teacher with the dimpled smile who passes by their bakery every second day, they also have a banh mi side gig.
According to Suga-san, what the workplace is doing is very similar to Subway, but more Asian. Regardless of the plagiarism of what had been done in food chain stores, this is her job and if she wants to save up for a nicer tablet for graphic design then she just has to suck it up princess and cry her way through the world of earning hard cold cash.
So now she makes bread. Per order of the customers who now have to interact with her, human to human.
It is just as uncomfortable for her as it is for the customers so - equivalent exchange?
Anyways. Now she has Stories. The team sets aside time to provide group therapy for Yachi and the Woes of Being a Slave to Capitalism. It is aptly named group therapy because it is a bunch of highschoolers sitting in a loose collection of volley playing brats and consoling a little blonde girl of her retail hardships.
Today’s story, she muses as she runs nose first into Asahi’s abruptly stopped back, must be the More Chillis Please episode.
It happens like this -
It is 10 o'clock, she had been there for two hours and made, to the worst of her memory and knowledge, at least twenty individual banh mi. She is righteously outraged by the smell of egg mayonnaise, and if somebody shows up in the store again she will Scream.
Anyways, once the moment of Mandatory Two Hour Fury manifested and dissipated, she settles back into greeting customers, offering her services, and registering sales.
She sees the two boys, clad in similar sports jackets, not a uniform, but it is close enough, on their very very tall and lanky frames.
She is immediately brought back to the sight of Kei and Asahi, except Asahi is twice as wide as one of these guys.
Yachi ties up the package for her current customer, bides them farewell and good luck on their date, and turns to the two boys, her Customer Service Voice already on its routine greeting and question.
“Hi, welcome to Dreamworks Bakery. How can I help you today?”
The slightly shorter boy, with bushy eyebrows and wow those really look like caterpillars, wait until the team hears about this, leans forward, friendly smile fixed across his crooked front teeth.
“Hi there, if you don’t mind, can I have one pork roll please, and cut in half.”
Yachi sets to work, doesn’t think too much or too hard at why there are two boys and only one bread. She picks up the tongs, considering the viable options -
- They are sharing this tiny loaf of Vietnamese bread roll, which, is never going to be enough, even for her, and she eats roughly a sixth of the amount Kageyama eats, so that says Something. Maybe it’s just a snack. Who knows
- The grumpy boy with the face mask willingly walked his friend or walked with him to this busy bakery to wait for him to buy a small snack, which, Amazing Dedication
She finishes it up, takes the knife to cut the bread in half but wonkily, because she has a healthy fear of knives, you know, as a normal sensible human person would. The boys have been chattering between themselves, the one who ordered constantly bumping into his companion, grinning and tugging on his arm. While from the companion’s end there is the long suffering Stop being annoying universal eye roll and sigh combo, it’s done with the same degree of exasperated fondness Kei huffs at Tadashi, the unspoken but loud What am I going to do with you, you troublesome creature?
Yachi thinks that everything happening is meant to both be a private moment and a routine, and she shouldn’t pry. She also thinks that she is reading too much into this, that toxic masculinity is slowly eroding away with her generation and boys can care for each other deeply without the gross gushing of others around them of Amazing, uwu, yaoi babies.
That had actually happened with Suga-san and Akiteru while they were running an errand so Ew. She’s not going to become one of those people.
It’s not really a big moment of deep euphoria when the shorter boy with the bushy caterpillar eyebrows slips a hand into the other’s pocket, leaning right up into his side, under his retreated chin. It is a cuddle manifesting slowly in front of her eyes, and she pauses in her struggle with the paper bags and her two pieces of bread, to blink and the scene make an Ah sound in her lizard brain.
“Cool,” she hums.
“Sorry again, but,” Caterpillar Brow leans up against the glass, “would you mind adding chillis onto one half?”
Yachi is already stretching one nearest to her hand open. “Tell me when to stop.”
He flashes her another winning smile. “You’re so valid.”
She grins, sprinkling chillis in the tiny half. After a good half of the bread is covered, and he asks her to stop, retreating back into his companion's side.
His partner has a head of hair that is either purely natural permed hair, or just really really really, Kuroo-level bed hair ascension, with two moles above his right eyebrow. Yachi, since Karasuno everything, had grown out of being intimidated by tall and mostly bored looking teenage boys, so she stares back evenly, and tries to channel the image of Lev and Tendou-san poking fun at their setters and being the target practice of their respective teams for the combined sport of lobbing volleyball and dodgeball.
The masked friend sighs, leans forward, tugs down his face mask, and speak softly to her.
“Add more, please.”
Because Yachi assumes things, as she does, like a presumptuous idiot, she goes on fulfilling the request and thinking that it’s for the masked friend. The masked friend doesn’t like ordering so his friend had taken up that responsibility for him and he has the taste bud of titanium which explains the excessive chilli situation.
“Is this,” she is afraid to ask, “enough?”
She tries to make eye contact with both boys, but because the Presumptuous Moron Energy is on high visibility that day, the masked companion tugs his mask up and draws out his wallet, sighing softly.
“Don't worry too much about that. It's more than fine. This one,” he jerks his head to his companion, “likes his food to strip off skin when he eats. I hold no jurisdiction over his questionable tastes.”
It’s all kinds of a wonderful, wonderful plot twist. She accepts the payment and wishes them farewell in a rather mechanical manner, and spends a good half of the day just processing everything that transpired. Everything from the masked friend taking the bread from her and pulling the strap around his wrist so he can hold the other boy’s hand, to them knocking heads as they walk away, the excitable companion speaking onto his neck as they disappear into the throng of people.
Asahi apologises for almost running her over and into a medically induced concussion, but she reassures him that she’s fine, I’ve been the victim of a spike before, Asahi-san, this is like a small shove next to that, oh no don’t cry, please, I’ll live.
Story time is going to be Lit.