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the perks of being a superhero (there are none)

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Waking up at 6 pm isn’t actually that bad. No, Yahaba didn’t actually sleep at 11 in the morning, he just passed out after a small, inconvenient training session with Shirabu. Accidents happen sometimes. On purpose.

The sun was already setting by the time he arrived at the studio. It’s pretty big; it has its own gymnastics area, indoor field, and small parkour course as well as a small area for the training mats. At first, it was simply a random building in the middle of the city; he didn’t know what the place was for. He sort of gets it now, after working there for two years. He greets his friend and coworker, Watari, and his student, Ayka, before heading to the lockers. 

He plays music softly on his phone while changing into his workout gear. He didn’t have the time to since hopping out of bed. This session is Yahaba’s very first session in the late evening. He usually takes early morning students so that his afternoons are open for either lunch dates, usually by himself, or roaming around Kozume’s ever expansive mansion. Seriously, how’s he only 26 with this much money? 

“So you decided to take another one in, huh, Shigeru? Aren’t you only supposed to be part-time?” Watari teases as he leans on the lockers beside him, crossing his arms. 

Rolling his eyes, Yahaba tosses his outside clothes in his locker and sits on the bench. “You make it sound like I do this all the time.”

“Because you kinda do?”

“No, I don’t?” Yahaba laughs, sorting through his duffle bag for his phone. He swears he threw it in here before leaving.

Watari kicks his leg. “Four, now five students in seven months?”

Yahaba glances up at him, raising an eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“And three of them left because you were done with them!” Watari throws his hands up. Maybe it looks like Yahaba didn’t flinch. ‘Cause he didn’t. At all. “They completed their basic training in like, what, three months?! And then they wanted to up and leave?!”

“Because they said they wanted to try something else,” Yahaba shrugs. His phone definitely isn’t in there. Where could it be? Hopefully nobody calls him, though the unfortunate truth is that it’s rare for him to get a call. But it’s nice to be prepared.

“You can’t keep scaring away your students.” 

Yahaba looks over his shoulder and grimaces. 

Watari’s secret weapon, his disappointed look, hands set on his hips. “You’re lucky Mei-chan is still here. Wait- no, you’re lucky I’m here to save your ass from being fired.”

“Woah, woah, woah,” Yahaba shakes his hands between them. Watari’s move is highly effective. Sighing, Yahaba covers his eyes. "Okay, fine. I’ll try really hard to make sure this one stays or something. Stop looking so disappointed in me.”

“Or something alright,” Watari sighs, walking behind the bench to the door. He pauses. “Actually, now that I think about it, they were all male, right?”

“What?”

“Mei-chan is, like, your only female student.” Watari taps his chin, leaning on the side of the door. 

“I don’t like where this conversation is going,” Yahaba shrinks, locking his locker and walking to him. Maybe he left it in his room? Oh good god, what if Shirabu stole it. Yahaba probably won’t be that busy tonight since he’s training a new beginner. He could probably pop by there once he’s finished.

Before he can wish his best friend good night, Watari gasps dramatically, pointing at Yahaba, a smile forming on his face. 

Yahaba frowns. “What?”

Watari bites his lips, but it doesn’t stop his grin. He tries covering his mouth. “You slept with them!”

WHAT?!” Yahaba shouts, pushing his friend. Watari stumbles forward and shakes with laughter. “Stop laughing!”

Wiping fake tears from his eyes, Watari pokes Yahaba’s face. “Your face is red!” 

“My face is not red!” Yahaba bites back, slapping his friend’s hand out of his face, covering his cheeks with his own cold hands. Okay, so maybe his face was a little warm. But- “I didn’t sleep with any of them! I was serious when I said they wanted to try something new!”

“Whatever you say~” Watari smiles innocently, pushing the locker room’s door open. Only, it was stopped halfway by something—or someone—on the other side.

A man, a little shorter than Yahaba, blinks before shaking his head. “Ow,” he grunts eloquently. His eyes make a direct course to Yahaba’s. 

“Oh, sorry, Kyoutani,” Watari apologizes, raising an eyebrow at Yahaba. “Are you here for your lesson?”

The man, Kyoutani, turns to Watari and nods. He looks about their age. What’s up with that weird hairstyle? “Yeah.”

“I didn’t know you switched trainers.”

What was Yahaba doing here. Why does it feel like he’s a third wheel?

“Yuma-san can’t make it to 6:30 or later.”

Wow, he’s blunt.

Watari nods solemnly, “Yeah, he has kids. Why’d you switch?”

Kyoutani’s expression changes for once. The wrinkles on his forehead weren’t as intense. “I got promoted at work… kinda.”

“Hey, congrats!” Watari smiles, patting Kyoutani’s shoulder. Are they friends? Surely Yahaba would’ve known this Kyoutani kid if he was friends with Watari, right? 

Right?

Watari glances at his wrist as if there was a watch on it. “Hey, I have to go now, but have fun with Yahaba!”

Kyoutani blinks at him. “Who?” 

With a final smile, they watch Watari's retreating back skip into the locker room. 

After a moment, Yahaba sneaks a glance at his new trainee. (Un)fortunately, Kyoutani has the same idea and oh- now they’re staring at each other. 

Yikes. Wait, is that eyeliner? 

Yahaba couldn’t really get an answer before Kyoutani turns his head away, staring at the very interesting door frame. The silence that settles between them feels awkward.

“Um,” Yahaba taps on the door he’s still holding open, “Did you hear anything? Before we walked out?”

Kyoutani glances up at him, tilts his head down, then walks past him, shaking his head. “Nope,” he says with a pop.

Slowly letting the door close behind him, Yahaba hopes that Kyoutani is the type of guy who doesn’t speak sarcasm.

 

-_-_-

 

From the way Kyoutani first introduced himself in the locker room, Yahaba should’ve known that teaching him was going to be difficult. 

-

“But you’ve already started training with Yuma-sama?!”

“Not for that long.”

“Then how long then?”

“...”

-

Kyoutani is erratic and doesn’t follow what Yahaba says most of the time. He wanted to do everything his way, not even in the way his previous trainer taught him! And Yahaba knew Yuma-san for a pretty long time; he learned how to teach from him! 

Sometimes, Kyoutani’s late for lessons or doesn’t show up at all. Today is the first day in the past month and a half that he’s been on time.

“So you finally decided to show up on time for once,” Yahaba says, crossing his arms as Kyoutani exits the locker room.

Kyoutani yawns, stretching his arms up above his head. “I’m busy.” 

“With what?” Yahaba asks, raising an eyebrow. His eyes momentarily focus on Kyoutani’s biceps. All muscle, no technique. How does someone have the looks of a thug but can’t do anything with it? Does he go to the gym?

“Yeah?”

Yahaba blinks. “What?”

He’s squinting at him. “I do go to the gym?”

Oh shit. Did he say that out loud? “Well, Kyoutani-kun,” Yahaba plasters a smile on his face, “It’s a shame all that muscle is for show. You wouldn’t be able to do anything without my teaching.” The fuck? What in the hell is he saying? Kyoutani could probably crush Yahaba’s ribcage with his arms alone.

“Probably.”

Yahaba tenses. Probably? Probably what? He didn’t blurt out his thoughts again, did he?

When he sees that Kyoutani doesn’t look too distraught with his question or maybe by his earlier statement, he shakes his thoughts away and grabs his water bottle. “We’ll be training your parkour skills today.”

“Can’t we do jujitsu today?”

Yahaba turns to Kyoutani, who’s now sitting cross-legged on the mats with his bottle beside him.

From the few times Yahaba’s actually interacted with Kyoutani (because when he’s actually training, he… ignores him? Focuses on the activity too much? They don’t really talk a lot), this action seems foreign. He would either grunt in annoyance or grunt in acceptance. Either way, he still follows along.

Yahaba crosses his arms and taps on his sad, not as buff bicep. Super strength doesn’t mean anything if you can’t show it, even if it’s not that major. He glares at Kyoutani. “Your parkour is the worst out of all the skills I’ve taught you.”

With a big sigh, Kyoutani flops backward, throwing his arms and legs up and landing with a bam, like a child. “I’m tired today, alright? I don’t want to do anything with lifting myself.”

Now Yahaba is really worried. Is he drunk?

“Are you drunk?”

“Ha!” Kyoutani yells. It echoes in the room. “No?”

Yahaba cautiously moves up to him, his hands behind his back. “Is that a question or an answer.”

“Answer,” Kyoutani replies immediately. His eyes are closed and for once, he’s holding a neutral expression. No lines. 

“You should stop frowning. You’ll get wrinkles.”

“Don’t care.”

“Well, you should.” Yahaba carefully sits to his right, far enough away where Kyoutani couldn’t kick him. Hopefully.

It’s silent again, and not the nice kind of silence where both of them have something to do. It’s like that first night at the locker room entrance. Is it weird to say that he felt nostalgic even if it wasn’t that long ago?

Yahaba bites his lip. “So... what do you do?”

“Hm?” Kyoutani grunts in an annoyed tone.

“What’s keeping you from going to your training. You know, the one you have to pay for each week?”

“...”

Yahaba glares at Kyoutani’s face. He always does this. Never shares anything about his personal life. To be fair, he hasn’t told Kyoutani anything from his personal life either, but that’s because Kyoutani never asks

Sighing, Yahaba begins lifts himself from the mat. “Ugh, whatever, let’s just-”

“Newspaper.”

Yahaba pauses. Kyoutani’s eyes are open now, staring up at him. When they make eye contact, Kyoutani looks back at the high ceilings. “I work for the Sendai Frogs Newspaper.”

Oh god. What’s happening? They only meet, like, three times a week! He was exaggerating earlier! Is this karma from what he thought earlier? Kyoutani doesn’t need to share anything!

Yahaba goes to tell him this when Kyoutani continues- “Superhero department.”

Yahaba hopes he doesn’t look as distressed on the outside as he is on the inside. 

Superhero department? He writes about superheroes in the newspaper? Man, what a turn of events. Not like Yahaba should be worrying in the slightest bit, since he’s really only the backup and sidekick and hasn’t actually made his debut yet, but he does have connections to Oikawa, aka the most egotistical superhero, quoting Kuroo-san (but that’s rich, literally and metaphorically), Galaxy. That would be an amazing opportunity for Kyoutani if he got an exclusive interview with one of the heroes.

“Close your mouth, you look like an idiot.”

Yahaba clamps his mouth shut with a clack. “Wow…” 

“The hell’s that supposed to mean?”

When he looks back at Kyoutani, he’s sitting up, leaning on his fully extended arms with a challenging look in his eyes. Yahaba looks behind him at the locker room sign. “Nothing.”

“Nothing, huh? Is it because you expected me to do something other than throwing around skinny pimps like you?”

Is. Is Kyoutani smiling?

“What?” Yahaba smiles back awkwardly. Really, this is the only thing that his mind can come up with? He’s having a fucking crisis! What if Kyoutani figures out that he does business with Oikawa?! Aren’t newspaper people or whatever they’re called, really competitive? And in your face about the facts? To get the news out first? 

What do people in newspapers do.

Kyoutani glares at him. “Shut up.”

“what?” 

Now it’s only coming out in distressed whispers? Keep it together, Yahaba.

“You’re thinking too loud.”

Yahaba blinks. “Excuse me?”

“Your smile is too rigid. Like, you’re worried about something.” 

Are newspaper workers usually this perceptive? Yahaba laughs breathily, waving a hand at him. “How can a smile be too rigid?”

Kyoutani shrugs, leaning more on his right. “Normally when you smile, your eyes aren’t droopy.”

“Droopy?” Is that supposed to be an insult? Suddenly his water bottle is the most interesting thing in the room.

“I dunno,” Kyoutani yawns, stretching his arms forward to his feet, “Unless you really are that shallow and use that fake smile every time I come here.”

What is with him today?! Kyoutani’s never even said a complete sentence to him before this! And now he’s just spitting insults like his older sister did before moving to college. It was a bad week. She apologized through his dms.

“I don’t have a fake smile, but I won’t deny that I’m a little shallow,” Yahaba mutters, rolling his water bottle on the mat beside him.

“A little?” Kyoutani raises an eyebrow, the corner of his mouth lifting a bit in a teasing manner. And that shouldn’t make his heart skip a beat, but… no. No it doesn’t. What is he saying? Maybe he should’ve stayed at home.

Yahaba shakes his head, pushing himself off the mat. “Whatever, I don’t care if you’re drunk or tired. We’re practicing your parkour, dumbass.”

“I already told you, I’m not drunk.” Kyoutani sighs. But he follows behind anyway. 

They don’t end up talking for the rest of the day.

 

-_-_-

 

“How long have you known Kyoutani?”

The sound of the tv commercials about some “super hair product” fills up his and Watari’s shared living room. Actually, it’s more like Watari’s living room since Yahaba technically doesn’t live there anymore. There are pros and cons of knowing Oikawa Tooru. He’s not sure what to classify this as.

“We went to college together,” Watari replies with a mouthful of chips. 

Currently, he’s at the edge of their small couch; Yahaba’s legs thrown across Watari. Yahaba takes a handful of chips and stuffs it in his mouth. “Were you friends in college? Are you still friends?”

“What’s with all the questions, dude? Did something happen between you and Kyoutani?” Watari turns to him, rubbing his nose. He apparently had a canceled lesson with one of his students that night, so they were both free with nothing to do. Which is very rare; they don’t really see each other at night, which is good for Yahaba since he had an excuse for “being out so late”. 

“No.” Yahaba snorts. 

Definitely not. Nothing happened. Seriously!

Watari squints down at him. “Your face says otherwise. Which is saying something, Mr. Best Imposter in Among Us.”

“You’re just salty that you’re always the first to die.”

“I-” Watari stutters before slapping his friend’s stomach. “Oh, shut up.”

“You didn’t answer my question though!”

“You didn’t answer mine,” Watari shrugs, increasing the volume of the tv. The cook’s meal in the show sizzles loudly, enough to make your ears ring. Yahaba sits up, almost flinging the chip bag while trying to wrestle the remote out of Watari’s hands. 

“Lower the volume!” Yahaba shouts, extending his arms from where he sat. Still, Watari keeps the remote out of his reach.

Watari triumphantly grins at him. “What happened between you and Kyoutani?!” 

“I’m not telling you!” Yahaba yells back. Watari’s surprisingly strong and even though it’s very minor, Yahaba doesn’t want to accidentally pop out his shoulder. And- “Besides, I asked you first!”

Pulling his spine straight, Watari smiles calmly. “Yes, we’re still friends...” Yahaba backs up and squints at him. “-in Facebook.”

Yahaba groans and drops his arms, sinking into the couch.

Useless. He needs better friends.

“Aw, don’t be like that, Yahaba.” Watari laughs, shoving Yahaba’s shoulder. “I’m just messing with you. He reached out to me about training for his new job. I guess he didn’t expect to rise in ranks so quickly.”

Yahaba glances at him. “Did you know he works in the superhero department for the Sendai Frogs newspaper?”

Watari scoffs. “Seriously?”

Yahaba leans back on the couch, focusing on the tv judge’s reactions. He didn’t mean to word vomit Kyoutani’s job to Watari since they’re ‘Facebook Friends.’ He crosses his arms. “Yeah.”

Watari leans forward into Yahaba’s space, using his left arm as a table for his right arm to rest on. With a hand delicately on his cheek, Watari smiles and flutters his eyelashes at Yahaba. “ He told you that?”

“Yeah?” Yahaba raises an eyebrow, shoving Watari to the side. “And stop with that face. It’s disturbing.”

“How’s it disturbing?”

“You look too much like a girl.”

HEY!

 

-_-_-

 

Before heading off to sleep that night, Watari explains the basics of his and Kyoutani’s relationship in exchange for what Kyoutani said to Yahaba. Obviously, he couldn’t just tell Watari what was going on in his brain and what could’ve been implied if he overthought it enough. So in the end, he ended up sounding very vague.

“Seriously,” Watari deadpans, “That’s it?”

Yahaba nods, arms crossed. “Pretty much.”

Watari drops his head into his hands. His voice comes out muffled. “I tell you all this stuff about my best friend, Kyoutani Kentarou, and all you tell me is that you talked about his drinking problem, wrinkles, and job?!”

“Hold up,” Yahaba points his finger up, pursing his lips. “ Who’s your best friend? Who’s paying for half of everything in this apartment? Who’s gonna be your emotional punching bag for when you get back with your ex for the third time?”

Watari glares at Yahaba, pointing his finger at him. “Oh, do not bring Sasaki-chan into this.”

“Oh, you’re already back with her?” Yahaba smiles innocently. 

“Shigeru…”

“Who’s your best friend?”

Bated silence fills the room, a showdown on whoever keeps the longest eye contact, both of them not blinking even once. Finally, Watari sticks his tongue out and opens the door to his room. He calls out before he slams his door, “Definitely not you!”

Yahaba gasps. “Shinji!

 

-_-_-

 

The first time Yahaba was called for a mission was… uneventful. 

It happened about two months after he was ‘hired’ (forced into for fun) by Oikawa. A simple, lowkey robbery at a civilian’s apartment in which Yahaba had to simply listen to Oikawa’s advice on how to handle the situation from headquarters. That’s usually how most of Yahaba’s missions go, learning from an expert. That’s where most of Yahaba’s admiration for Oikawa grew.

Oikawa discovered that Yahaba had unusual strength and spectacular healing powers after being in a collision with a runaway motorcycle. Yahaba chose to push the motorcycle off Oikawa instead of chasing the culprit. Mistake number one. There weren’t a lot of people nearby, mostly because they were in an underground parking lot, and Yahaba was being reckless for some reason. So, before healing Oikawa, he accidentally threw the motorcycle into a wall. The motorcycle didn’t breakthrough, he’s not that strong, and Oikawa, starry-eyed, stuck by his side ever since. 

That was way back when Oikawa and his friends- er partners were first introduced to the public after a new evil group rose throughout japan. Well, evil might be a stretch, more like an inconvenience if anything. It gave the heroes something to do since Kozume funded Oikawa and Kuroo’s ‘passion project’. Yahaba had to admit, it was pretty fun some of the time and a well paying job, so who can really complain? 

The ‘mission’ in which he figured out his role, aka Oikawa’s sidekick, was when it was announced drunkenly at a get-together (which Yahaba now actively avoids because drunk Oikawa is a sad and pining Oikawa. And even though Yahaba really looks up to him, he doesn’t ever want to deal with that again). Now, Oikawa’s perfectly capable of doing the saving all by himself, but when times get rough, another hero would be there to back him up. It was usually Sugawara-san or Moniwa-san in the early days if he’s being a mess or Miya or previously Semi-san when he needed more power. 

This system of bringing in main or senior heroes for battles lasted for two years. But this time, it's different. 

It’s present-day; about five months after Watari told him Kyoutani was his best friend (of course he was joking. Probably). Yahaba receives a call from headquarters in the middle of his lunch. 

Yahaba ?”

Yahaba blinks at the sudden voice. Usually when Yahaba gets a call, it’s Akaashi, head of suit-design and planning or something, who informs him for his talk-through with Oikawa. He doesn’t really know the exact job name but after a disastrous first battle with Kuroo-san making the plan, Akaashi took over. This is definitely not Akaashi.

Yahaba glares at his phone. “Shirabu?”

Hey, uh, this might sound a little sudden, but we kinda need you on the field today?

“What?!” Yahaba looks around him urgently to see if anyone heard him, even though he’s alone in his room in the apartment. 

In the field? In the field? What the hell is going on outside?

Sprinting out of his room (yes, he was eating lunch on his bed. Lunch-in-bed exists), Yahaba fumbles with his tv remote and flips on the news channel. The woman reporter says a few words he doesn’t bother to listen to when he sees the headline.

Superhero Galaxy knocked out by the Black Cobra’s new prototype drone. Foxbane barely keeps it at bay as Sparrow carries Galaxy to an unknown location.

He covers his mouth, his eyes widening. “Oh my god.”

Yeah, I know. Silver’s on his way to your apartment, so don’t move. I’ll send you coords of our location in a bit.

“Seriously?!”

A knock on Yahaba’s window startles him off his couch. Outside of his window of the third story of his apartment complex is… nothing? Yahaba tilts his head and gets up from the floor to open his window. Hopefully, it’s Akaashi and not another bird who thought his window was a mirror. 

An arm materializes, detached from its body, floating in midair. It's holding his suit, the one that Yahaba only tried once when Akaashi first made it.

“... A-Akaashi?” Yahaba whispers at the arm.

The arm shakes up and down like a nod. 

“Okay, then…?” Slowly reaching for his suit, another hand appears along with Akaashi’s entire upper torso, holding Yahaba’s hand between his.

A small smile forms on Akaashi’s face. “You’ll do great, Yahaba-san. We called you because we know you can do it.”

Right. Of course he can do it. He’s done it before, plenty of times. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Yahaba nods once. “Right.”

Akaashi pushes the suit into Yahaba’s hands. “Then good luck.”

Yeah, thanks.

“Oh!” Yahaba calls out. “By the way, how are you here?”

Akaashi blinks. “I flew here?” He shakes his head, “Oh, I’m testing out Kozume’s flying motorcycle. Your apartment is still in the same place as Oikawa-san last wrote down.”

“Huh.” Yahaba nods. Well then. Luckily Watari’s having a training session right now, but hopefully next time he can just… rush to Kozume’s mansion. Akaashi’s fully invisible once again as Yahaba shouts out, “Thanks!”

Now’s the hard part: figuring out how to put the suit on and if the suit still fits.

 

Ten minutes later and, turns out, it’s a little tight on the limbs (this either means he gained weight or muscle. He’s hoping for the latter), but overall the same as he last remembered it. A muted teal blue tight suit with silver-white accents and black borders along his sides and across his chest. A large white plus sign displayed itself proudly on the lines across his chest, an upside-down teal triangle as its border. White knee high boots and elbow length gloves completed the outfit with of course, a silver mask. His eyes were covered with a one-sided gray lens, to somehow protect his identity. As a last minute upgrade, Akaashi added a hoodie, one where it stuck beside your ears to keep it in place.

It was ridiculous, but honestly, it fit fabulously on Yahaba. 

Wait. The Black Cobra. Right.

Sprinting out of his window and miraculously landing on the ground, Yahaba dials up Sparrow’s comms.

It stutters in and out of range, but he can still catch a few things he’s saying.

Building… Abandoned… College… Now!

“College?” Yahaba mutters to himself. There are at least three different colleges nearby, and to be honest, he hasn’t really looked at the map Akaashi sends and updates every few days. Hopefully, Sparrow’s smart enough to pick the one that’s the most inconvenient for the drone to find—and the closest one to his apartment.

 

-_-_-

 

When Yahaba finally makes it to the scene where Sparrow last sent coordinates, Sparrow’s comms open clearly. 

WHERE ARE YOU.

Yahaba flinches at the volume. “I’m here, I’m here! Don’t yell.”

Ugh, what took you so long? Oikawa-san keeps complain- ” 

Another voice interrupts, “Yahaba-chan? Is that you? I can see the light. I don’t think I have that much longer to live! ” 

If you can say all of that with a single breath, I think you’ll be able to see more than just the light at the end of the tunnel. Hurry, Yahaba!

They must be hiding in the underground garage unit near the office buildings, from how echoey their voices sound like. Yahaba quietly wishes he got superspeed instead of superstrength.

 

-_-_-

 

After healing Oikawa-san (and Shirabu. He got caught in the fire trying to escape), Yahaba followed far behind them, back to the fight Foxbane was at, who was barely dodging the drone. Sparrow and Galaxy were able to keep the drone at bay while Yahaba healed Miya a few buildings away. 

“So ya finally got to get in some of the action, huh, Yahaba-kun?” Miya grins in pain, clutching his side that was bleeding, now scarring up thanks to Yahaba.

“Yeah, I guess,” Yahaba laughs breathlessly. He’s still processing that fact. He knows he’s dreamt of this moment finally coming. It doesn’t really change how he’s feeling right now, though.

“Ugh, if you were here every time we fucked up, we would’ve won a ton more battles, yknow?”

Of course Yahaba knows. He just… wasn’t ready at the time. He’s probably not even ready now either. Earlier, Sparrow had to steady his hand because it was shaking so much while Yahaba healed him. Yahaba bites his lower lip and frowns. “Yeah…”

He can feel Miya’s gaze on him. He’s intense like that. Like most of the main heroes are. 

“What?” Yahaba asks. You can’t really tell what Miya has on his mind. It’s either stupidly wise or just plain stupid, Semi-san said one time while they were watching Galaxy and Foxbane fighting the earliest drones. 

Miya finally sighs. “... Nothin’.”  

“Nothing?” Yahaba glances up at him. 

“Mm, nothin’.” Miya shrugs, shifting his body as the scar completely disappears. 

As they both stand, Yahaba scratches his neck. “You’ll all have to go by Akaashi to get your suit repaired.”

“Yeah, yeah. Thanks again for healin’ me back up.” Foxbane nods, the heavy slaps of his hand landing on Yahaba’s shoulder. “We’ll see ya at the Litterbox?”

Yahaba cringes at the nickname. “Ew, don’t call it that. It’s not going to stick.” That mansion, their main base of operation, didn’t deserve that kind of nickname. It’s like a Batcave! But cat-based, since Kozume can turn into a cat! Miya said while watching a previous battle. 

Foxbane winks at Yahaba before pulling his mask on (He wanted a mask like that because it reminded him of his favorite American comic hero) and posing his hands on his hips. “Tell that to Kenma and then come back to me about that.”

Yahaba crosses his arms, raising an eyebrow at him. “You’ll lose.”

With a lighthearted laugh, Foxbane bops Yahaba’s elbow with his own. “That better not be a death wish for me going into battle.”

“Then let’s see if I’m right, shall we?” Yahaba grins, lifting his chin.

Foxbane blinks down at Yahaba, seemingly frozen. 

“Lost your cool, foxy?”

“I…, oh, shut up and get outta here, will ya?” Foxbane whines, waving his hand in the air at him. He jumps from the edge of the rooftop to the next, making his way towards the crashes and shouts of the warzone.

Yahaba cups his hands around his mouth. “Good luck!”

He could barely hear a faint shout. 

“I don’t need it!”

 

-_-_-

 

So he was wrong earlier. That’s a good thing, right?

Miya pulls off his mask, his face dripping in sweat and distress. “I can’t believe ya didn’t believe I would come out of that alive, Yahaba-kun!”

Yahaba squints at him. “You do know that I’m older than you, right?” 

Atsumu opens his mouth, then pauses, his finger hanging stupidly in midair. Akaashi’s typing in the background clacks into their ears as the sad, rusty gears turn in Atsumu’s head. Or at least that’s what Yahaba thinks is going on in his brain. 

Yahaba pulls out a chair behind him and carefully sits down on it, crossing his arms and legs. It’s remarkable how still Atsumu can be. Standing there like that with his hand up, mouth gaping, still in his golden and black themed suit. It’s absolutely hilarious, and being around this group of people for a long time really teaches you how to keep your cool, aka how to act like someone’s an idiot. In this case, Atsumu. 

“Y-” Atsumu stutters after a few moments. “Yes. Of, yeah, of course, I knew that!” He huffs nervously. Walking up to Yahaba, Atsumu pulls him off the chair and pushes him towards the door. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Akaashi-kun here needs to repair my suit, so I’m gonna need ya to get outta here. Mingle with the others and such.”

With a final shove, Yahaba turns around—“Mingle?”—and promptly gets the door slammed to his face.

Yeah, no. He’s going home. As exciting as the fight was, Yahaba would rather conk out at his shoddy apartment for the rest of the week than mingle with the others. Plus, he has training with Kyoutani later. He can’t show up feeling and looking like a zombie.

 

-_-_-

 

“So, what happened to you?”

Yahaba inhales sharply, then glares at his shoes. What the hell is this? His shoulders aren’t supposed to be tense and his chest is definitely not supposed to be beating so fast. It’s just a question, just like the others Kyoutani has asked before. There’s nothing special about this.

Yahaba pauses his stretches to blink up innocently at his trainee. “You’re worried about my well-being? I never thought I’d see the day.”

“I don’t,” Kyoutani says in a flat tone. 

Yahaba can feel himself deflate. He should’ve expected this answer. 

Kyoutani’s arms were crossed, a bored expression on his unfortunately creased features. Especially with the harsh lights shadowing his already dark eyes. And also his hair- “You look like you aged.”

What. 

Yahaba straightens. “What?” 

He was going to mention Kyoutani’s own expression, but Yahaba didn’t even expect such a low blow from a silent, brooding type like Kyoutani. What does he even say to that? Sure, he felt a little tired from earlier. Maybe he should’ve checked his reflection before sprinting to the studio. He still had two minutes before Kyoutani showed up. Surely he looks more alive now that they finished training.

“Pick your jaw off the floor, prince hair gel.” Kyoutani rolls his eyes, taking a swig from his sports drink. 

“Two insults!” Yahaba splutters, pushing himself up from the mat. He glares at Kyoutani, pointing a finger at him. “And I do not look old.”

Kyoutani nods, swiping his hand across his mouth. He raises an eyebrow, a tease of a smirk at the corner of his mouth. “So you’re saying you use hair gel?” 

“I…” 

He could deny it. Because it’s the truth; Yahaba doesn’t use hair gel, especially when he’s training (it feels sticky afterward), but... this. Talking to Kyoutani. He kind of doesn’t want it to stop. 

“Maybe.” Yahaba smiles back, shrugging his shoulders as he walks back towards the benches. He plops down on the metal plank, crossing his ankles and opening his water bottle with a pop. “You don’t know. And will probably never know. There’s nothing wrong with using a bit of hair gel, right, bleach disaster?”

“I chose to do my hair like this,” Kyoutani replies, squinting at him. Yahaba bites back a smile; he hit a nerve. This is good. Except that Kyoutani’s walking up to him.

Kyoutani stops next to him, his gaze uncomfortably boring into Yahaba’s. Out of the corner of his eyes, he can see Kyoutani place his sports drink on the bench beside him (Yahaba’s not gonna let him win this staring contest. He already lost the last… thirty? When was the last time they actually talked?)

What Yahaba doesn’t see is Kyoutani’s other hand reaching out; and he doesn’t see it until he feels it raking through his very sweaty and tangled hair. 

Kyoutani was either really lucky his hand didn’t get caught or the sweat and tangle canceled each other out because he was able to pass his hand through Yahaba’s entire head of hair with relative ease. And Yahaba couldn’t do anything about it. Well, maybe he could have, if he wasn’t frozen on the spot. But Kyoutani’s hand was in his hair. What’s Yahaba gonna do, pull back? No <3

“K-ky,” Yahaba stutters, feeling his face warm. This is hell. Or heaven? He doesn’t know which. Maybe torture.

Kyoutani stares at his hand in mild half disgust and half interest. He grabs his towel and dries it, throwing the towel on his shoulder and picking up his drink. “Now I know you don’t use hair gel.”

“Of course I don’t use it. Not during lessons, idiot.” Yahaba scoffs, twisting his body away from Kyoutani. He practically drowns himself drinking his water, but he’s gotta give himself a pat on the back for speaking clearly after what just happened. He fans his face, to try to ease the warmth. He’s seen movies of girls doing this and they seem to be better afterward, so it must work.

“Seriously, though,” Kyoutani continues on, seemingly unfazed by what he did. Is this guy dense? “Get some sleep or something. You look like you’ve been drinking caffeine for hours non-stop.” That’s rich, coming from him. Kyoutani works at a newspaper company and is the only one who has late late night lessons, like at eight and one time, 10:30. They’re the ones who live on coffee. “I thought you were supposed to be an expert on this kind of stuff.”

“For others!” Yahaba points out. 

Wait, Yahaba thinks, That’s not helping my case, is it.

Yahaba glances at Kyoutani and, sure enough, the blond-haired man was frowning at him, confused. Yahaba focuses on the clock on the wall instead. Maybe he is tired.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll sleep early tonight.”

“Good,” Kyoutani pats his shoulder, nodding his head. 

When the door stops creaking behind him, the last remnant of Kyoutani’s physical being of that night, Yahaba has a hard time listening to his music over the thumping in his chest. 

 

-_-_-

 

“You’re sleeping early? Who are you and what have you done to Shigeru?”

Yahaba rolls his eyes. He just finished his night routine and was ready to call it a night at the apartment instead of the mansion (he switches every few days) if not for being immediately called out by his fellow night owl roommate. “Kyoutani told me I looked old today and to get some sleep. I’m just-”

“Wait,” Watari jolts, almost spilling his popcorn for his Star Wars marathon, “Kyoutani told you to get some sleep?”

“-listening to his advice.” Yahaba slumps. “And yes, he told me to get some sleep. Because he said-!”

HE said?!” Watari laughs maniacally, slamming the bowl on the coffee table and throwing his hands in the air.

He said I look like I aged! Hey, stop laughing! Why are you even laughing?!” Yahaba stomps his foot in an attempt to get a handle on the situation. Watari’s squeezing his stomach, wheezing. He must’ve had a boring week if he’s acting like this. Yahaba pinches himself so he won’t laugh with him. “Stooop! Stop it!”

“Oh my god, I need a break!” Watari shouts, throwing his blanket on the couch. “I, I think I’ll go to sleep too, holy shit. That’s hilarious.”

Yahaba squints at him. “ What is?”

Watari covers his popcorn with saran wrap with a skip in his step. Is he really going to sleep with that much energy? He skips to Yahaba, flicks off the tv, and pats his shoulder. “Good night! And get some sleep! Like Kyoutani told you to do!”

“I will?” He raises an eyebrow at him, very worried for his friend. How is he wearing that smile for so long? 

 

-_-_-

 

Turns out, an early night helped a lot. He felt energized, like he could take on a thousand henchmen. Instead of doing that (and getting killed from the adrenaline rush), Yahaba decides to run around the city near the studio. His first lesson isn’t until nine and it was currently… 7:30 am. He has a bit of time to kill.

The cold, crisp air reminds Yahaba that winter’s slowly approaching and that the holidays were coming up soon.

Since working with Oikawa and in relation, Kozume, he’s had enough money each winter season to buy his friends and coworkers a nice gift. Sometimes his students, the ones who had a holiday off before they left, too. It’s usually a simple pair of socks or headbands since they always used the same ones every time. To give their outfits a bit of flair.

Every so often, Yahaba would pause at a storefront, window shopping things he could probably buy for Watari and even Miya. He’s already thought of a gift for Mei-chan (her favorite anime’s winter stationery) but the one that’s been bothering him the most was a gift for Kyoutani. Of course, he could always go with the easy option (a pair of socks with puppies on them to spite him) but for some reason, he really wants to impress him. 

He shakes his head at a clothing store, bare from any puppy socks, and continues down the streetlight filled road.

Maybe a new camera? Yahaba thinks mindlessly. The crunching of fallen leaves tickles his ears as he jogs through them. Is he a photographer? Or does he write for the Sendai Frogs? Maybe I should buy him his own coffee machine. Does he even like coffee? 

As he turns at a corner, the upbeat music pumping in his earplugs distracts him enough to not see a moving body right in front of him. He collides with the person and falls forward, all the contents in the other person’s bag spilling onto the street. Luckily, none were glass. As quickly as he fell down, Yahaba pushes up and pulls out his earplugs by the string. 

The other man groans, rubbing the back of his head in pain. 

Yahaba blinks down at him. “Chikara?”

“Yup, that’s definitely my name. Now get off of me.”

Yahaba scrambles up and grabs Ennoshita’s hand, pulling him up. They silently stare at the fallen shopping bag and the concrete tattered with a few boxes of ramen and some vegetables. 

“You’re paying for the vegetables.”

Yahaba glances at his friend’s displeased neutral expression then drops down to start picking the food from the ground. “Okay,” he sighs. He knows how much shit Ennoshita’s had to deal with for the past few years. Paying for a bit of food is the least he could do. 

Of course, when he means shit, he’s talking about him and their friend group. This year, Yahaba invited Akaashi and sadly, Shirabu and Miya to the summer festival along with their close friends. He didn’t expect Akaashi to accidentally burn his jinbei or Shirabu to team up with Ennoshita against Futakuchi and him, but that’s exactly what happened. If he ever has to pair up with Futakuchi again, he is going to cry. 

Ennoshita furrows his eyebrows at him, “Why are you even running that fast? Are you running from something?” He spins around and glares at the people behind them. 

Yahaba drops an arm on his shoulder. “Relax, nobody was following me. I think,” he briefly glances behind them, “Um, anyway, I was just running around the city to window shop for presents.”

Ennoshita pushes his arm off, dismissively. “This early? It’s mid-autumn, Shigeru.”

“You know how I am,” Yahaba shrugs. “It’s nice to be prepared.”

“It’s in two months.”

“And?”

Ennoshita shakes his head. “Nevermind. I don’t even know why I try.”

“Aw, don’t be so down,” Yahaba nudges his friend’s arm. “I picked something for you too.”

Ennoshita raises an eyebrow. “Is it another awful 80s movie?”

“Nope.” Yahaba smiles. It definitely is another awful movie, but it was made in the 2000s. Now it’s even cheesier and awfully made. He’ll love it.

Ennoshita sighs once again, a fond smile gracing his features. They walk back to the nearby supermarket in comfortable silence.

 

-_-_-

 

Mei-chan’s lesson went by in a flash, surprisingly. She’s such a sweetheart even though she definitely could move on to a better teacher. She’s old enough to make her own decisions, she said, so she’ll be staying a bit longer.

Which is fine by him. He has an excuse for a day job and something to complain about with his roommate. It really is a win-win situation.

A buzzing from inside his bag calls for his attention as he passes off the studio to Watari and Nishinoya, their newest trainer. He specialized in gymnastics before transferring over to their division.

“You better get that, Shigeru!” Nishinoya shouts out, startling him. 

He’s been in the program for about a year now, so ‘new’ might be a stretch. And he’s been friends with Watari longer than he has.

“I will, I will. Have fun, guys!” Yahaba waves them goodbye before stepping out of the building. Pulling his phone out of his bag, he answers without checking the number, shoving it between his right ear and shoulder. He shuffles through his bag for his apartment keys. 

“Hello?”

Yahaba-kun!

He flinches at the loud sound, almost dropping his phone. “Miya? What the fuck, how did you get this number? I don’t remember giving-”

Woah, woah, woah. That’s way too many questions, calm down. I’m calling through the Litterbox landline.

Not that stupid name again. Yahaba picks up his phone and huffs. “Why? Where’s Akaashi?”

Wow, I’m heart-broken. You’d rather it be Akaashi-kun than me? ” 

Yahaba can practically hear him pout from his voice. Rolling his eyes, Yahaba makes his way down to his apartment, choosing to find the key when he gets there. “Yes. And because it’s usually Akaashi who calls me about these things.”

Oh, Akaashi’s already in the meeting room, setting things up.

He takes a deep breath of the cool air and sighs dramatically. “Is it another update on The Black Cobra?”

Yeah, and something about ya too. That’s what he told me, at least.

Yahaba blinks at his phone as if Atsumu’s face was on screen. It wasn’t— Atsumu’s on a landline— but something tells him that that bastard’s messing with him. He crosses the street, holding his other hand up at a stopped car. “Yeah?”

Yup. He was talking to someone on the phone in the room before I walked in. Just get here soon. Oikawa and Kuroo are coming in a few minutes, so do what ya must.

Yahaba nods, then realizes that the other can’t see him. “Okay. I’ll be there in 5?”

Sure. Bye bye, Yahaba-kun~

As he pushes open the entrance to his building, Yahaba shouts into the speaker, “I’m older than you!” but the sound of ‘Call ending’ beeps back mockingly.

He glares at his phone. “You bitch.”

A cough interrupts his glaring contest with his phone. 

He hastily bows and apologizes to the older woman. 

 

-_-_-

 

Yahaba arrives at Kozume’s mansion about 17 minutes later than he said he would. He temporarily forgot he was supposed to be there, so once he got back to his apartment, he went to take a shower. He barely feels the very icy water when it literally hits him: he has a meeting to go to. In record-breaking time, he changes into a pale blue shirt and black jeans, a pair of matching black flats, and a silver chain to finish the look before he books it towards the mansion. 

He softly raps on the meeting room door to catch his breath before opening it slightly. Akaashi and Oikawa are in the front of the room, the rest of the team sitting around the large meeting table. As Oikawa continues his not-so-brief opening, Akaashi beckons Yahaba to sit beside Kageyama, their youngest recruit. 

So many young people, it’s making Yahaba feel old.

Kageyama was brought in by Sugawara-san, actually. Usually, it was Oikawa who brought in new members, but Suga simply said, ‘you owe me a favor’ and Oikawa reluctantly accepted the boy into their group.

In any case, Yahaba gave a short nod to Kageyama, which he returned before focusing back on their leader.

Oikawa crosses his arms, glancing down at a hologram list in front of him every so often. “Akaashi and Kuroo have been working since last night on the main details of The Black Cobra’s new machines, specifically their largest and most obnoxious drone in Japan. It has ever extendable arms that are faster and more precise with their hits, which ended up injuring Sparrow and Foxbane.”

“And almost killing Galaxy,” Shirabu interrupts, frowning at the table.

 

The room goes silent.

 

It was an extremely close call. Yahaba only learned how dire the situation was when he actually saw Oikawa at the underground parking lot. He bled everywhere and sometimes, Yahaba would have to remove stained shards of glass stuck inside him. Yahaba had amazing healing powers that can even heal broken bones, but still, it took a long time to even get Oikawa to be in decent condition.

Their leader coughs. “Why, yes,” Oikawa smiles sadly. “The drone almost killed me. But, Foxbane did a marvelous job distracting the drone, only receiving a few blunt hits alone while Sparrow brought me someplace safer. Great teamwork, guys!”

A few soft claps commemorate their work, Yahaba included. Of course, all of them were still on edge about yesterday. It almost seemed like a miracle when Galaxy and Sparrow, and later Foxbane, came back, full force, to drive away the drone from the city. 

“And of course, how can I forget my precious kouhai, Yahaba! Thank you for healing all three of us right away. This may have been your first mission on the field, but your work was just as important as ours, if not more. We literally couldn’t have done this without you.”

A louder clap and a few cheers from the members, especially Kuroo and Suga who were laughing quietly between themselves, direct to Yahaba. It’s not like he didn’t like to be praised, it was just that Yahaba never really knows what to do with it. He decides to smile back and clap along, which gets another round of laughing from the duo and Moniwa-san. 

“You’ve been training for a long time and doing extremely well in the past few months. You’ve become a valuable member of the on-field crew. So, with the decision of Kuroo, Sugawara, and I, you’ll now be able to get alerts from Akaashi to participate in missions. Congrats!”

His chest squeezes with pride as he stands to bow in thanks. This is it. He made it. “Thank you, Oikawa-san! A-and Kuroo-san and Sugawara-san! I won’t let you down!”

Suga and Kuroo glance at each other. “We know you won’t.”

With a final smile, Oikawa nods at Akaashi, who raises a hand, stopping the chatter. As Akaashi switches places with Oikawa, Kuroo pats the chair next to him. Oikawa’s smile drops a little before bouncing back at the other man as he sits down. 

“Congrats again, Yahaba-san,” Akaashi nods his head at Yahaba. “Now, to the main event. The Black Cobra’s Terror Titan , their strongest and most advanced drone yet.”

 

-_-_-

 

When they have an all members meeting, it can end one of two ways. Everyone understands the precautions and leaves peacefully or someone (coughcough Oikawa coughcough) ends up slamming the door and everyone leaves even more on edge than they were before going into the already urgent meeting.

Today was the second option. Except, it wasn’t Oikawa who slammed the door. 

Kuroo pushes his chair back, knocking it down. “Sugawara-!

The door shuts with a bang, the echo ringing into all the members' ears. Yahaba’s pretty sure he isn’t the only one who flinched at the force. Even without superstrength, the room seemed to shake. Just an angry Suga-san is a worry for most, if not all of them. Of course, he can be playfully angry at people sometimes, but him being actually mad at something. It’s kinda scary.

Kuroo rubs his eyes with a hand as Semi picks up his chair. He pats Kuroo’s shoulder as their second in command sinks into his seat.

When Yahaba glances around the room, the rest of his coworkers have their heads down or looking sadly at Kuroo. Even Kozume, who hasn’t touched a single piece of tech since Akaashi started talking about their plan, stared openly at his best friend.

The plan. Kenma and Akaashi, with oversight by Kuroo, have been working non-stop on creating the ultimate weapon to stop The Black Cobra’s drones. They would have to amp up the power for the newest one, but it hasn’t been tested yet. What probably upset Suga-san was the part where someone has to man it. From inside. You can probably guess who volunteered to try it in the next major battle. 

Suga wasn’t as up to date about the secret project and seemed even more upset than Oikawa, but that might be because he already knew about it and got over it. Yahaba remembers a period of time when Kuroo and Oikawa were avoiding each other before slowly becoming friends again. 

Suga argued that it was too dangerous to use it, that Kuroo could possibly cease after hearing the risks and complications that could happen. Yahaba got the unfortunate spotlight on himself for a brief moment as Oikawa points out that he could heal Kuroo into tip-top shape in a matter of hours. Which, one, is an exaggeration, Oikawa must still be sore from all the healing Yahaba had to do and two, it took two and a half hours to even get Oikawa to stand up again. That’s why he had to heal Shirabu first so that he could help Miya. He may be a miracle worker, but this kind of situation needs more than just a miracle.

Their argument lasted a few minutes until Sugawara shook with rage and stomped out the room. The plants decorating the corners shook violently for a few moments before drooping down completely. 

After a few quiet moments, Oikawa stands up, the scratching of the chair on the tile floor catching their attention. “Meeting dismissed. We’ll talk more in-depth about everyone’s role at a later date.” Chairs squeak as members start to leave. “And congrats one more time to Yahaba for getting on the field!”

Yahaba waves at Oikawa as he files behind Akaashi out the door, leaving their leader, Kuroo, and Moniwa in the room. 

Sighing, Yahaba pulls out his phone and stares at the five notifications on his phone from Watari. He presses on his phone to extend the thread when he feels a hand on his shoulder.

He glances behind him, a tense smirk filling his view. 

“Hey, ya got a minute to spare?”

 

-_-_-

 

The soft, autumn breeze brushes against Yahaba’s face. The leaves below softly crinkle with each other as Miya pops open the balcony door with two bowls in his hands. There are two chairs behind them, but they opt to lean onto the metal railing instead.

The silence that falls between them as they eat their lunch together doesn’t feel tense, just uneasy. Miya usually brings more energy to the battle, almost as much as Oikawa. These quiet moments are rare, but from what Yahaba’s heard and experienced once before, both parties usually leave content and with new insights.

“Hey,” Miya nods, breaking the silence. “Congrats again for getting promoted. How do ya feel?”

Yahaba huffs, pushing around his rice with his chopsticks. “Honestly, pretty excited. Obviously, I’m nervous, but I think it was about time.”

“Oh, totally! We’ve gotten used to a few of yer healing seshes after battles, but now we’ll be able ta just call and beckon for yer service,” Miya grins, taking another bite of his lunch.

Yahaba squints at him. “That’s a disgusting way to phrase what I do.”

“Eh,” Miya shrugs, “I’m not the best with words sometimes.”

“Sometimes?” Yahaba mutters to himself. The midday heat isn’t as harsh as previous days and the clouds were thick enough to shade them when they passed by.

They finish their lunch in silence once more, Miya finishing first and throwing his bowl in the automatic trash disposal in his room. He waits patiently for Yahaba, staring at the streets leading uptown. The road isn’t that busy, but still, cars pass by more often on this side than on the other sides of Kozume’s mansion.

Yahaba swallows the last bit of his meal and nods to his companion. Wordlessly, he takes the empty bowl and throws it away in the same fashion.

“Why did you take the room with the busiest roads? Don’t the car noises get annoying?” Yahaba asks as Miya leans forward on the railing.

“The sound is comforting,” Miya smiles. But, like, genuinely. He tilts his head on his knuckles. “Plus, it’s the closest I can get in the mansion to the city. ‘Samu’s been sus of me ever since I got this gig and its perks. Had to sneak out fer an entire year before I told him I was movin’ out.”

Yahaba briefly remembers Miya’s twin who also came to the summer festival. He’d been invited secondhand by Atsumu and seemed pretty quiet. He and Ennoshita connected pretty well, though he stuck by his twin’s side for most of the night. 

“You both seem pretty close,” Yahaba notes.

“Kinda,” Miya shrugs. He doesn’t elaborate and continues on. “He’s still hot on my trail and, like I said, I’m not the best with words. It’s annoyin’, keepin’ a secret from yer sibling.”

“Eh,” Yahaba shrugs, mocking Miya’s movement from earlier. “I can kind of relate.”

The other man nods in solidarity, ending the conversation. It was like this before too, when Yahaba first interacted with Miya. Straight to the point without adding too much fluff or revealing too much. Short conversations. It’s kind of a relief, the short silences, especially after such a heavy discussion they had not even an hour ago.

“Oh!” Miya snaps his fingers, straightening a little. “Hey, who did ya talk to yesterday?”

Yahaba’s mind flashes to a certain blond and he blinks. “What?”

“Mingle, I think were my words. ‘Cause Shirabu-kun was lookin’ at you funny the whole meeting.”

“I didn’t ‘mingle’ with anyone after yesterday. I went home to sleep.” Yahaba rolls his eyes. Not a complete lie on his part. “And wasn’t everyone looking at me weird after hearing I healed Oikawa-san to ‘top condition’? Which, by the way, isn’t exactly true.”

“Mmm,” Miya nods, his finger tapping on his chin. “I guess you can say that. And yeah, yer not completely wrong about that ‘top condition’ statement. Not everyone’s gotten healed by ya, so they’d never know.”

“How are you feeling, by the way?” Yahaba asks, elbowing Miya’s side. He flinches away slightly. 

He rubs his side, grimacing. “Ugh, I feel sore. I’ll probably be better by tonight, though.”

“Probably.”

Atsumu huffs out a laugh and sighs. “I should totally interview you.”

Yahaba glances down at him. “Interview me for what?”

“Oh, did Akaashi not tell you? I got a job as a photographer for a newspaper in the city.”

Yahaba’s eyes widen. “Really? W-what newspaper company?”

Atsumu straightens fully to his height and props his hands on his hips. “MSBY News.”

Yahaba deflates. Or maybe relaxes in relief. He’s not really sure how he feels. “MSBY News?”

“It’s pretty new, now that I think about it,” Miya itches his cheek, brows furrowing. “They only opened up, like five years ago? I got hired last year.”

Yahaba nods. “Oh, uh, congrats?”

“Thanks. It’s awesome, taking pictures for a living. I even got promoted to their superhero department-” Yahaba clenches his jaw at that, “- because of how dynamic my photos were! It’s like livin’ a double life, Yahaba-kun.”

Yahaba frowns. “I’m older than you.”

Miya breathes in through his teeth. “Ya know, it doesn’t really feel like ya are.” 

Yahaba raises a finger to argue that he definitely should feel like he’s older, but Atsumu turns and spins around in a circle, flopping onto a deck chair with flair. The blond sighs, relaxing his face into a smile, and crosses his ankles. Yahaba stares flatly at him before deciding not to waste his energy.

Instead, he sighs and drops his chin on the palm of his hand, staring at the buildings of the city. 

Getting a temp job, or at least Yahaba thinks the newspaper was a temp job, in the city was probably the safest bet to protect their actual jobs and identities. Newspapers were probably pretty flexible with scheduling if Miya has this much time to lounge about. 

Does Kyoutani have this kind of time? He and Miya have the same job, so maybe? Why doesn’t he just have shorter lessons in the afternoon? Then maybe Yahaba wouldn’t have to deal with him and all the weird feelings going on in his brain. Does he even want that though?

“Hey, you know you think so fucking loud?”

Yahaba jumps and spins around. Miya’s still laying back on the deck chair, eyes closed. “What?” Yahaba snaps.

Atsumu sighs. “Ya don’t even say anything and I can still feel all yer crowded thoughts.”

“Oh,” Yahaba says, scratching the back of his neck. “Well, you using normal dialect for once freaked me out.”

“What does that hafta do with what I’m sayin’? What’s on yer mind, Yahaba-kun.”

He didn’t even give me time to answer, Yahaba thinks to himself as he rolls his eyes. “Nothing important. I mean, you got the job at MSBY to cover your actual job right? Like a temp job?”

“Psh, no,” Atsumu says, pushing himself off the chair and stretching up. “I wanted to join MSBY. Always wanted to be a photographer. At least now I can get a bit of cash and some friends with it.”

The words spill out without any thought. “You have friends?”

Atsumu stares at him with a flat expression, lips pursed. “Yes, Yahaba. I have friends.”

“Right~” Yahaba slurs out, leaning back on the railing. “I’m kidding. I’m sure you have plenty of friends who love you ever so dearly.”

“Ya say yer kiddin’, but yer tone says otherwise.”

“Fine. I’m half kidding,” Yahaba grins. He straightens up and takes out his phone, checking the time. 

“Ya gotta go soon?” Miya asks, now standing beside him to look at the clock. 

Yahaba shrugs. “No, I’m free for the rest of the day. I’m already recording my show anyway.”

“Nice, nice,” Miya says in an American accent, bumping his elbow to his. “Do ya still wanna do that interview? ‘Cause now that I think about it, nobody’s said anything about how we all healed up in time to finish the fight. Just speculation.”

“We can always wait for another battle. Maybe I’ll do some fighting this time.”

Miya backs up and raises an eyebrow. “You? Fighting?”

Yahaba squints at him. “I’m? An athletic trainer? And also have some super strength?”

“Oh.”

Yahaba rolls his eyes and checks his emails. A force of habit. Maybe he should check what Watari was texting him earlier about? He decides to turn off his phone.

“Well, it’ll be interesting to see how ya handle their minions and bots. And maybe then you’ll get your ‘who’s this strange figure that helped out the heroes’ articles and you’ll be famous for a bit.”

“Who knows?” Yahaba shrugs. He kinda does want that, the mysterious hero fame. Maybe Kyoutani can be the first to write about him. Or take pictures. He should ask what he does at his work, shouldn’t he.

“Only time will tell, I suppose,” Miya sighs, placing a hand on Yahaba’s shoulder. He leads the two of them out of his room. “Have fun watchin’ yer show, Yahaba-kun.”

“Definitely better than watching you pretend to sunbathe.”

Miya shrugs, his hand holding the door open. “It’s a good pastime. You should try it sometime.”

Yahaba deadpans. “I’ll just burn up.” 

He laughs, flicking his hand in a shooing motion. “Yeah, yeah, get outta here. I have ta meet ‘Samu in ten minutes, hella forgot about that,” Atsumu calls out, muttering the last part.

Yahaba starts walking down the hall, waving his hand while he takes out his phone once more. “Good luck.”

“I’ll be fine without it!” 

 

-_-_-

 

The wind starts to pick up a little bit after Yahaba leaves the mansion. At least he brought a scarf along this time. 

Like Yahaba said earlier, he doesn’t really have anywhere to be. 

Watari’s texts were just a heads up that he won’t be at the apartment until really late and to not wait up for him for dinner. Suspicious.

Well, he could probably pass by the studio and dual teach with Nishinoya and his twin students or now Yuma-san, Watari’s probably having lunch now, since Thursdays are usually the busiest. 

Instead, he walks by it, still holding his phone, open to a certain someone’s number.

He shouldn’t be embarrassed. Kyoutani was required to give his phone number to his trainer. They regularly chat about advice on meal prep or his lifestyle choices with their usual remarks that can be twice as brutal. It just felt wrong to ask out of the blue. Besides, if it wasn’t for his reminders, it was usually Kyoutani who would text a question first. 

Yahaba glares at their recent message thread.

-

[Today 8:00 AM]

Yahaba : When did you go to sleep last night? (A usual text he sends in the morning)

Kyouken : Can I lie?

(Oikawa somehow managed to swipe Yahaba’s phone and change all his contact names a few months ago. His was the only one that didn’t really change, except for a simple nickname. It used to be his full name)

Yahaba : Are you going to ask that every day?

 

[Today 8:21 AM]

Kyouken : 3 am

Yahaba : What happened to you for 20 minutes??

Kyouken : Fell asleep.

Yahaba : … 

Kyouken : [read]

-

Yahaba sighs in grief. This is impossible. 

“I shouldn’t text him.”

“Text who?”

Yahaba jerks at his sudden companion. 

Sporting his red beanie and obnoxiously yellow bomber jacket was none other than Terushima Yuuji. Ironic how he looks exactly like his character in and out of Among Us.

His face held some surprise before he relaxed into a grin. “Don’t tell me you didn’t notice me. You even said ‘Hi’ back.”

Yahaba clicks his phone off and shoves it in his pocket, glancing at the building signs as they pass by. Another one? Isn’t two blonds enough?! “I did? I can’t remember.”

“So why can’t you text him?”

Yahaba grips his phone tighter. “It doesn’t matter.”

The shorter man snorts and elbows his side. “If it’s you, it probably does.”

For his reputation as the “party guy”, Terushima’s remarkably perceptive. One of the main reasons why he’s really the glue for their friend group. You’d think it would be Ennoshita, but he’d just smack you upside for calling him glue.

Yahaba sighs as the stoplight turns red on his street. “You’re not gonna leave until I tell you, aren’t you.”

Terushima shakes his head and smiles. “Nope,” he says with a pop.

Yahaba waits for the light to turn green and shrugs his shoulders to cover his ears. They continue walking up to his apartment complex and pause at a nearby tree. 

Terushima raises an eyebrow, trying to contain a grin. “All of this silence is making me think you either murdered his friend or like this person.”

Yahaba scoffs at that last part. Him? Like Kyoutani?

What?! You like someone?!”

Yahaba glances at Terushima. His mouth was dropped in gape, disbelieving. Did he say that out loud again? Yahaba shakes his head. “No? I don’t like anyone. What are you talking about?”

The blond covers his mouth, stage-whispering, “Woah, denial.”

Yahaba shoves his friend and glares at him. “I’m not in denial. I-”

“Woah, in denial of his denial,” Terushima laughs into his hand.

Yahaba throws his hand in the air. “He’s my trainee!”

Terushima’s jaw drops, eyes widening. “Woah, in denial of his denial for his student. Wait, isn’t that, like pedophilia?”

Yahaba slaps his own forehead and drags his hand down his face. “He’s the same age as me!”

Terushima’s face scrunches into thinking mode, his fingers on his chin. “So he’s your age and your student? And you can’t text him because he’s your student and you like him.”

Yahaba pinches Terushima’s arm. “I do not like him.”

“Ow, ow! Okay, you don’t like him,” Terushima rolls his eyes, rubbing his arm. “So, what were you gonna text him?”

“I was, um," Yahaba fumbles eloquently. Being asked on the spot doesn't really give him time to think. "Gonna tell? No, ask. Ask about his job."

Yup.

The blond crosses his arms, pursing his lips. “His job? What, are you gonna give him cupcakes on his birthday at work or something?”

“No,” Yahaba says, straightening his back. “I’m not going to give him anything. He mentioned his job before but he’s always late for sessions. I’m just trying to get closure on what’s keeping him from coming.”

That should be a good enough reason. Just two people talking about their careers. There’s no underlying reason why he’s asking his trainee who also works at a newspaper company if he writes or takes pictures of superheroes. 

Terushima squints at him, walking up to and straightening to his full height. “Suspicious.”

Then he relaxes his stance and shrugs his shoulders, sauntering back in the direction they came in. “Well, tell me when you get the courage to text your man. Or Ennoshita, he usually keeps me updated.”

Yahaba shouts at him, “He’s not my man!”

Terushima waves and turns at the corner, “Denial!”

“Ugh,” Yahaba groans. He glares at the spot the blond disappeared to. 

He’s not in denial. There’s nothing to be “in denial” about. Besides, even if he was (and he isn't), Kyoutani wouldn’t even bat an eye at it, that dense fucker. You could show him an image of a couple and he'd say that they were best friends or something.

Whatever, Yahaba rolls his eyes, finally escaping the chilly autumn wind.