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Stay Away While the Clowns Play

Chapter Text

 

 

Shlink

 

Shlink.

 

Shlink.

 

The air was heavy with darkness, atmosphere filled with the faint sounds of miserable screams of anguish and suffering from afar, begging and yelling and laughing of several kinds carrying with it the stench of smoke, blood and flames. Death danced along the whispers of the night’s stale, cold wind, hissing and crying like the punctured tires and ruined engines of the innocent vehicles laid to waste outside. 

Shlink.

 

Shlink.

 

Shlink .

 

He could barely suppress the flinch in his bones as the chain dragging along the floor drew nearer, slowing to a stop only a certain distance away. 

Beside him, Yamaguchi was still coughing up blood, a trickle of it running down his chin and joining the litany of bruises and cuts on his face and body.

 

It had been two hours.

 

Exactly two hours since they’d been walking home, extremely oblivious to the dangers that would greet them that night, and had been caught off guard when the alarm had gone off. Tsukishima and Yamaguchi had been about to head down their own road, both talking about completing the essays they’d been assigned to for their Literature class during school, and Kageyama had lingered behind with Hinata, the both of them waiting for the other to see if they were up for one more round of volleyball before they finally retreated back to their various homes for the night. The streets had been as passively active as it always was, cars passing by occasionally and 24-hour hour shops switching staff for the duration of the night. 

Neither of them had known when the alarms would sound.

Neither of them had known about the marauders waiting for them in the hidden shadows of the dark.

 

Hinata was only grateful Yachi hadn’t decided to follow them this night.

  

Shlink.

 

The chain shifted again, and he couldn’t stop the trembling of his arms from where they’d been strung up on a chain falling from the ceiling, his wrists having been bruised and bloodied from when he’d been forced to struggle and pull against them various times during this torture session. They’d been trapped in the Karasuno gym for over two hours, the wooden floorboards that had just been wiped clean moments before now stained with blood, sweat and tears, his knees blistered from how long he’d knelt and scuffled them against the ground.

The tears and sweat on his face were yet to dry.

In front of Yamaguchi, only a short distance away, Tsukishima was just barely conscious, his arms held above him by the same chains keeping them all from full slumping on top the dirtied gym floors. A man held up the blonde by his hair, and though his face was masked, he could see the lurid grin stretching cruel lips into a wide smile. Like himself, the blonde’s mouth was taped shut, muffling the cry escaping his throat as a knife was plunged into his calf, blood spurting out immediately afterwards and trickling down the trembling limb into a growing puddle on the floor. He could see the stray tears running down his cheeks. His glasses had been broken and thrown off to the side hours ago.

The man held the knife in his leg and turned to a blindfolded Yamaguchi, the chains above the freckled teen rattling in his futile struggles as he heard his best friend cry out in pain for the nth time.

“Okay… what did I do to Kei just now? Hmm, Tadashi?” The man questioned, releasing the knife and leaving it embedded in pale muscle. “Try and get it right this time, okay? I know you don’t want to get hurt again…” His voice was leery, adding to the chilling atmosphere clouding the gymnasium. The chain a distance away dragged itself along the floor again, the looming threat writing itself across the air like it had done ever since it’s gleaming, metallic exterior had touched the wooden floorboards.

They’d been playing this game for the past hundred and twenty minutes. And counting.

 

Still counting.

 

After they’d been kidnapped and forced into chains, their names forcefully threatened out of them, Yamaguchi and Kageyama had been blindfolded, while Hinata and Tsukishima were gagged with tape. From then, the man and his lackies—two other people with similar masks—began torturing them, switching between blades, sticks, fists and then the chain. The chain was the worst of them. The man would hurt the ones that were gagged, while he made the people blindfolded guess what was happening to them as he constantly ran his knives and slammed several things against their bodies. They were met with the heavy repercussions of the chain with every wrong answer they got and with every rule broken. 

Then they’d switch positions after forty-minute intervals, and start again.

This was his second round in this position.

Y-you…” Yamaguchi coughed again, pitifully trembling as he fought against the pain and cold of the situation. “Y-you used th-the… the knife…”

“And?”

“And… y-you…” Hinata watched him grit his teeth in desperation and fear, fresh tears lining his face and dripping to the floor where the splatters were light against the wood, but heavy in his ears. “The—you st-stabbed him… w-with it…?”

“What did I say about making it sound like a question?”

Oh—oh no… I-I’m sorry!” He instantly panicked, struggling against the chains as the man got up from where he crouched beside Tsukishima, boots plodding against the ground as he approached him with heavy steps. “I forgot! P-please—I’m sorry!”

“Shut up,” the man ordered, gesturing for the lacky holding the chain to ‘get to it’. Without hesitation, the man lifted it from the ground, its bloodied end raised into the air before swinging it downwards with full force. Yamaguchi knew it was coming and braced himself, yet, even though this had already been done more times than he’d bothered to count, he couldn’t bear the pure agony that came along with having the two-meter metallic chain land against his ribs, cutting through skin and muscle and shattering both bone and sinew. The agonized cry that roared through his throat was feral, like a living creature being burnt alive.

Hinata had nearly instinctively shut his eyes and looked away as the chain made contact and his friend was hurt again, but there were consequences against that too.

Don’t make the answers sound like questions.” The man spat as he watched the suffering teen slump forward, the chain the only thing stopping his head from hitting the ground, his lips mumbling out several unintelligible words as he let the all-consuming pain devour him. Yamaguchi was seriously trembling, and no one could do anything about it. “Don’t look away during the game. Don’t hesitate with your replies. Don’t get them wrong. And most important of all… don’t make me repeat the rules.” The man bent down again, this time in front of Yamaguchi, and pulled his head up by his hair, the blindfold preventing them from seeing eye-to-eye. “I should whip you again for breaking the last one, but I’m feeling merciful.”

He dropped his head not-so-gently, the chain pulling painfully at his arms as he was suspended mid-air, seconds from hitting the ground.

“One last chance, okay Tadashi?” he proposed, moving back towards Tsukishima who tried his best to scoot away from the man, not that it did much good. Hinata never thought the tall, salty teen could have made any other expression besides his condescending, taunting looks and disdainful glares. Seeing him look like he was begging for his life right now was beyond painful.

Grabbing his hair and forcefully pushing him forwards, he held him down and seized his left arm, bending it backward and using the chain as leverage to speed up the action of his newest torture. Hinata wasn’t even aware of the tears escaping his eyes, only trying not to throw up the rest of his lunch as he watched the man bend, bend and bend till a sickening ‘pop’ met his ears and Tsukishima’s final, loudest scream died down along with the light in his eyes. In front of him, he saw Kageyama trying to hold down the contents of his stomach, crouching into himself and biting his lip as he tried to breathe.

He was also wearing a blindfold, but he didn’t need to see what had happened to know.

On his side, Yamaguchi had already thrown up after screaming out his best friend’s name in agitated panic, spilling vomit down his chin and shirt till it landed on the floor.

“Can you guess what I did, Tadashi?” The man sounded the least bothered about what he just did to another human being, letting go of the unconscious blonde so his—broken? Dislocated? —arm hung at an abnormal angle. He looked to Yamaguchi again, not minding the way he heaved and coughed, blood still trickling down his chin from the corner of his mouth.

Yamaguchi inhaled shakily, his breaths far from even as he sobbed and quivered. “Y-you… you d-dislocated a bone,” he replied, trying to swallow and cringing into himself as though the action itself was painful. “In his… h-his arm…”

“Which part?”

“His…” He coughed, streams of tears and agony lining his cheeks as he tried to inhale in more air. “His e-elbow…” 

Hinata saw the grin behind the man’s mask as he reviewed his victim’s answer. “Correct.”

At that, the relieved slump of Yamaguchi’s shoulders was ever so visible as he was, for that round, mitigated from having to bear another long, atrocious period of utter pain and torture. Though he couldn’t hep but hear his teammate’s unsettled mutterings and whispers, mumbles of ‘I’m so sorry Tsukki. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ and ‘It’ll be okay. It’ll soon be over’ being whispered over and over in an unending mantra through bloodstained lips.

Hinata gulped, staring sadly at the state of the freckled teen and the still unconscious blonde, his stomach rolling every time his eyes accidentally veered upwards to stare at the dislocated arm, the bone pushing crudely against skin in a manner that just wasn’t natural.

Only to be forced away by a hand against his scalp, pulling at his matted strands so he faced upwards and into the covered gaze of the masked man. If his trembling from before had stopped, they instantly continued at the notion of the man’s sudden close proximity. It didn’t need to be spelled out loud, nor did it need to be said, because at that moment, it was so painfully clear.

 

It  was his turn.