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“I want a girlfriend!” Hinata shouted into the night, voice expanding over the neighborhood stores and suburban houses along the dead street. He let his pumped fists drop beside him in defeat as the universe did not immediately provide said request. 

Tadashi hushed him under a laugh as Yachi giggled alongside him. Somehow, the two of them had become the mediators for the group. Blame it on their roles as captain and manager, or maybe because they were the only ones with common sense. Tadashi didn’t mind being the voice of reason, but sometimes they were such a handful. He was seriously beginning to consider putting the team on toddler leashes so they wouldn’t wreak havoc on the general public. 

“Shut up, idiot!” Kageyama barked back, reaching to grab Hinata’s head, who ducked out of the setter’s grasp and repositioned himself to the center of the group. 

Tadashi stepped to the side to make room for Hinata, glancing up at Tsukki as they inched closer together. Tsukki smiled down, tiny and hidden, not letting the others see his reaction. 

“Don’t you want one too, Kageyama?” Hinata asked, genuinely curious. 

Kageyama huffed, “Why would I need a girlfriend? I have volleyball. And neither of us have time to date anyway, idiot!"

Tadashi and Tsukki couldn't help but snicker at that. Kageyama sent a weary glance their way, but he was quickly distracted by more of Hinata’s shenanigans. 

“It might be nice to date someone,” Yachi mused, tilting her head back and letting her eyes gaze up. “I mean, I don’t have time for it either, but I sort of want my first kiss before I graduate.”

“Right?!” Hinata exclaimed as Kageyama landed another attack. The two brawled for a moment but Hinata eluded Kageyama once more as he added, “Stingyshima and Yamaguchi are too lucky!”

Tadashi laughed brightly and resisted the urge to correct Hinata. Technically, he’d had his first kiss, but the whole experience was rather traumatizing and he’d like to forget it happened at all. 

A girl named Muzioka had confessed to Tadashi during the spring of their second year. Tadashi had accepted, surprised she was actually vying for him instead of Tsukki, and went on a few dates with her before the monumental occasion occurred. 

It wasn’t anything special. They’d been walking home together after school and Tadashi, ever the gentlemen, had asked he could kiss her. She’d tentatively said yes and allowed him to kiss her right then and there. 

There wasn’t… well… anything

Books and mangas always talked about how his heart was supposed to beat heavy against his chest and butterflies were supposed to prance around in his stomach and he was supposed to feel some sort of something during his first kiss. 

But he hadn’t. 

Tadashi had pulled away abruptly, only to see she was mirroring his own dissatisfaction. She swore it wasn’t his fault but he turned red anyways and profusely apologized for the whole situation. 

That was that. 

He’d walked her home and she said goodbye and texted later on to confirm that they’d broken up. 

Tsukki had been there when he’d received the message. He’d looked at Tadashi with careful eyes and didn’t say anything other than, “She wasn’t that pretty anyways.” 

Tadashi had told Tsukki that he shouldn’t speak badly of people like that and Tsukki had corrected himself by saying, “You deserve someone better.”

He let the conversation drop there and went back to studying, but the words had already cemented in Tadashi’s mind. It was a tiny, insignificant spark of hope. A dangerous one at that, as Tadashi realized for the first time that he liked the way Tsukki’s curls dangled over his forehead when he looked down to study. There was also the way he pressed his lips together when he didn’t get a problem right; he scrunched them up and his features became all small and cute. And then there was the way that Tsukki pretended to not listen when Tadashi was speaking, but always managed to perfectly recall their conversations. 

Yeah… that was going to be a problem. 

Tadashi’s first break-up had been anticlimactic to say the least. When that new, forceful wave of feelings that Tadashi had no idea how to deal with surfaced, his emotions towards Muzioka faded quickly. She merely remained the person with whom he had shared his first kiss. Tadashi was okay with that outcome. 

Tsukki, on the other hand, landed himself a girlfriend during the winter of their second year. She was nice and smart and tall. Tadashi didn’t know much else about her. Tsukki didn’t talk about her. Tadashi didn’t ask. 

They’d broken up only a couple of months beforehand in March. Tadashi wasn’t there for the moment, but he knew it’d happened by the way Tsukki silently slipped back into his life. His return to their usual walks home from school and hang-out sessions on the weekends was welcomed, even if Tadashi never told him so. 

Truthfully, he thought their friendship would’ve faltered at least slightly whenever Tsukki returned. But apparently it takes a lot more than a couple of girlfriends to ruin a solid, established relationship from childhood. They wouldn’t break that easy. 

“Why do so many girls like stupid Bakayama and mean Jerkyshima,” Hinata growled to himself. He turned to Tadashi, eyes desperate. “I don’t get it!”

“Hinata, you’ll find someone,” Tadashi assured while Tsukki responded, “Maybe women would like you if you grew ten more centimeters.”

“Tsukki!” Tadashi complained, but the deed was done. Hinata’s jaw was dropping and Kageyama was stifling his laugh and Yachi was beginning to mediate between them and Tsukki was wearing that shit-eating grin he only got when he messed with Hinata. 

Their light-hearted argument continued on as it always did until someone was able to shift away the topic to something less contentious. Tadashi smiled and laughed with his fellow third years, relishing in their happy moments. 

Adolescence was fleeting. Tadashi would simply have to soak up all of the moments he had left. And while the future was uncertain, with a million different things that could go wrong at any minute, Tadashi had the grit to simply enjoy what was happening in front of him. Yachi’s cute worries. Hinata’s bad jokes. Kageyama’s unintentionally funny comments. Tsukki’s sly, hidden grins. 

Even if there was less than a year left of high school, Tadashi was somehow okay with that fact. He’d simply enjoy the time they had together, knowing that they wouldn’t ever really separate. 

There was a part of Tadashi, after all, that had changed when he entered Karasuno his first year. The friendships he’d made and maintained were precious to him; he wouldn’t let a simple thing like graduation steal that away. 

“This is us,” Tadashi announced, pointing down the route him and Tsukki always took to get home. 

“Get home safe!” Yachi called back, while Hinata waved only to be attacked once more by Kageyama. 

Tadashi let out a sigh, knowing there was nothing he could really do to curtail their antics, and followed after Tsukki. He’d already put his headphones around his neck, but not on his ears yet. A perfect sign that he wanted to hear whatever Tadashi had to say that night. 

“It’s really warming up,” Tadashi commented, pulling on the collar of his shirt. “Hopefully the weather isn’t too hot during the Inter-High.”

“Mmm.”

Okay, maybe Tsukki didn’t want to talk that night. That was okay. Tadashi could always talk to him tomorrow. They had the rest of the year to cycle through Tadashi’s endless rambling thoughts. And… well… if Tadashi wasn’t getting ahead of himself…  and somehow got lucky… maybe even longer. 

He felt lucky as is. Not many childhood friendships lasted all the way through high school. Him and Tsukki were different though. They’d make it through high school and through the rest of their lives together. 

They continued walking along as the cicadas sang their early summer song. Tadashi wasn’t naive enough to over-romanticize the summer, but there was a certain serenity in the comfort of walking the same path everyday. They’d carved it themselves years and years ago, when they’d go searching for frogs during the day and fireflies at night. 

Almost like the universe could read his mind, out of the bushes from along the sidewalk jumped a little green frog. Tadashi immediately paused in his tracks, stopping to look back at Tsukki with big eyes. 

Tsukki let out a huffed laugh. He gazed over at Tadashi with lazy eyes. “I’m guessing—”

“Yes, please!” Tadashi cut in, grinning all big and happy. 

Tsukki snorted before shrugging off his bags and handing them to Tadashi. He stood by, bouncing on his toes, and watched as Tsukki snatched up the frog before it even knew what was coming.

“Here,” Tsukki said, exchanging the little creature for their bags. Tadashi clutched the frog close and provided little strokes on its forehead as it calmed down in his hands. 

Tadashi had always liked catching frogs and bugs and other little things but was notoriously infamous for his failed attempts to do so. Kei, on the other hand, acted like he hated the bugs but in actuality wouldn’t hurt a fly. He always caught them for Tadashi, despite his protests about how gross they were. Even as they’d grown older, he always managed to make time to be childish with Tadashi when a frog hopped its way down the road. 

Tadashi was well aware of the looming threat of growing up. A simple frog was only a momentary distraction for what truly lay ahead. Adulthood, although it was imminent, brought forth a new wave of anxieties that Tadashi wasn’t ready to face yet. 

He had been too young to realize how little adolescence he had left.

They veered off the road in order to drop by a creek bank and deposit the frog back into its natural habitat. Tadashi gave it a silly little salute. Tsukki attempted to stifle his laugh. 

“Can I stay over tonight?” Tsukki asked once they were back on the course home. 

“Yeah, my mom isn’t home though, so you’ll have to deal with my cooking,” Tadashi teased. 

Tsukki rolled his eyes. “I guess that’ll do.”

Tadashi laughed and told him a story about his meeting with the female volleyball captain from earlier in the day. And although Tsukki may have acted like he didn’t care, he still offered input where he could with chide remarks and witty quips. 

Once back at Tadashi’s apartment, they washed up and ended up preparing dinner together. It was a simple curry that Tsukki took over in preparing considering Tadashi’s cooking skills were practically nonexistent. He cleaned up after though, considering it was his apartment, and they got to work in Tadashi’s bedroom. 

Tsukki put on one of the playlists they’d created together specifically for studying and they both let the quiet beats fill up the place. Though they could speak like normal people, they’d come to realize that they studied best when they passed notes instead of voicing their concerns. The only occasional noise came from Tadashi’s breathy laugh and the sound of Tsukki unwrapping strawberry candies.

That was, until the music on their playlist seemed to fade away and Tsukki stopped writing in his notebook. There was a lengthy pause in which the world remained how it always did, before it began anew. 

“I didn’t, you know,” Tsukki said quietly. 

Tadashi looked up from his homework. Tsukki’s eyes were still on his own book, but his lip was trembling to give away all the pent-up nervous energy that was building inside. 

“Didn’t what?” Tadashi asked. 

Tsukki didn’t react much to the question. Flipping a page, he simply continued, “I didn’t kiss her.”

“Oh.”

The stagnant air in the room became sweltering. Tadashi slowly closed his book, flinching as it made a solid thud against the table. 

Was his heart beating faster than usual? Were his hands getting sweatier? Oh god, why was he getting so anxious? 

Because you have feelings for your best friend, the rational part of Tadashi said, even if he would never admit to the fact; because he honestly didn’t know if that’s why he wanted to stare at Tsukki every possible moment he was given and bask in the beauty of his best friend. 

Because there laid the issue. 

Best friend. 

Childhood best friends, at that. 

Tsukki had been the one to establish their friendship in the first place, all those years ago when he’d invited Tadashi to keep playing volleyball with him. A part of Tadashi would forever feel indebted for that initial step; there was no way he could ever repay Tsukki for his initial kindness.

Still, Tadashi was frightened for whatever the future held. Because if he messed this up, this perfect little friendship that was so dear to his fragile heart, he didn’t know if he would be able to cope.

He had no idea how to deal with his own feelings, let alone the fear that Tsukki may never return them. 

Regardless, a bit of courage wrapped itself around Tadashi’s heart. He let out a breath, steady and firm, before he spoke up. 

“I mean…” Tadashi hadn’t really planned out his words, but he exposed the truthful part of himself as he went on. “You don’t really need to kiss someone in order to be in a relationship… if that’s what you’re worried about. Or, I guess a relationship isn’t defined by a kiss? Don’t feel bad about it! I mean… ah… I only kissed Muzioka once! Um…”

Tsukki looked up finally. Tadashi couldn’t quite distinguish that treacherous look in his eyes. 

“Did you want to have your first kiss before you graduated, too?” Tadashi decided to ask. He mentally slapped himself for sounding so naive. 

Tsukki pressed his lips together. “I’m not particularly interested in relationships. Physicality is merely a byproduct that shouldn’t be based in affection.”

“Right…” Tadashi swallowed. He wasn’t following. 

“But… I suppose it’s not an awful thing.”

“Right.”

They stared at each other, gazes burning into infinity. A question sat on the tip of Tadashi’s tongue and threatened to spill. He wondered if Tsukki felt the same way.  

It wasn’t a new question, but now it was more present than ever and Tadashi didn’t know what to do. How long had he truly dreamed of golden eyes and ivory skin? Of running his fingers through blonde curls and learning about every centimeter of Tsukki, in and out?

“Tsukki…” Tadashi’s voice was small. Tsukki stared at him anyways, leaning forward to nod him on even without actually moving. “Do you… do you want to kiss me?”

Tadashi began to retract his question, to blow it off as some stupid suggestion and something they really shouldn’t be doing as friends, but Tsukki was already crossing around the table and Tadashi’s words were swallowed by a part of soft lips and the distinct bump of a nose. 

It was just a peck, really. Tsukki pulled away almost immediately with red cheeks and a stuttered apology. 

Tadashi took one look at the blubbering mess in front of him and began to laugh. “I’m sorry, Tsukki,” he tried to say between short breaths but as Tsukki became more embarrassed by the minute, Tadashi’s laugh became fuller and fuller. 

It was sort of freeing to see Tsukki make such a novice mistake. His inexperience was adorable (not that Tadashi was much of an expert, but the attempt still made him feel all bubbly and warm). 

“It’s not funny,” Tsukki argued. Tadashi only laughed more. 

“It’s a little funny.”

“It’s not—”

Tadashi took his opportunity and scooted closer to finally wrap his hand around Tsukki’s cheek to kiss him once more. He tasted like strawberry candies and something else that was sweet that Tadashi couldn’t quite place. 

Although Tsukki’s lips were hesitant, they were ultimately softer than Tadashi could have ever anticipated and the feeling was effortlessly intimate.

Tsukki didn’t pull away. In fact, he ineptly worked his lips against Tadashi’s and pulled him in to thread his fingers through the strands of his long hair. Tadashi liked the ripples it sent through his body as he shivered under the touch. He relished in the feeling and felt Tsukki give him a little smile. 

It could have ended there. A single peck paired with a prolonged full kiss. They could have never even spoken of it again and gone about their daily routines, hoping to regain some semblance of their normal friendship back before it all fell apart. Tadashi could have pulled away, accepted the small awkward period that would have followed, and moved on. 

But they weren’t destined for that. They were destined for bigger and better things, Tadashi determined, because he’d never experienced anything like this before. The warm sensations that coursed through his stomach were pleasantly welcomed. He could practically soak in the bliss, content to spend the rest of his life with Tsukki’s hands running through his hair. 

And although Tadashi initially thought he was meant for other things, the truth was him and Tsukki were always destined to end up like this. A simple kiss was inevitable from the moment their two paths had collided. They were magnetic stars, tied together by forces unseen but ultimately unstoppable. There was no altering their initial connection, but what laid after could remain a mystery. 

For now, Tadashi leaned into the kiss and let himself enjoy the fleeting moments of his adolescence.

And thus began their history of wholly ruinous encounters. 

 

---

 

“And starting with the play-offs, we will unveil the uniforms with the additive sponsorship brandings. A promotional shoot is currently scheduled for October 26th, and the photos will debut the following week. We’ll be requiring a two-person team…”

Trying his best not to completely zone out, Tadashi readjusts his posture as the Frogs PR manager continued her presentation. It’s not her fault he can’t pay attention; she’s actually doing quite a good job at explaining the next steps in their plan, but Tadashi is too wrapped up in his own thoughts to focus on his work. 

While it’s easier sometimes for Tadashi to focus all of his attention towards the menial things in life that don’t end up mattering, the adverse effect is that his brain will sometimes remind him of everything he’s done wrong so that even his distractions are ineffective. 

Issue is, Tadashi’s done a lot of wrong things. Like sleeping with Tsukishima last weekend, for example. 

He curses internally, reminding himself of Tsukishima’s ashamed eyes from the bar in order to quiet the thoughts that lingered on Tsukishima’s silent but not unnoticed aftercare.

God, he’s an idiot. And while he may not regret what happened, he can still admonish himself for allowing it to occur in the first place. For allowing… well… really any of it to start. That day Tsukishima had kissed him in his bedroom should have been the end of whatever their relationship was. Friendship was a much easier thing to keep under control. 

But stolen kisses in the locker room? Making out when Tadashi’s apartment was empty? Quick pecks when no one was watching? Going further and further until they can no longer go back?

Yeah… they should have prevented that all from the beginning. Before it was even an inkling of a thought in Tadashi’s hormone-driven teenage brain. Truly, he should have never hoped for anything more with Tsukishima because that man was someone who gave nothing in return. No amount of aftercare or offering a place to spend the night would salvage the rotten personality he actually possessed. The personality Tadashi had created and encouraged by allowing Tsukishima to act as he pleased. No matter how many times Tadashi roped him into caring or exerting effort or doing more, he always returned to the same apathetic man who had never given a damn about Tadashi in the first place. It was all Tadashi’s fault. It always had been. And if Tsukishima were to ever change then—

“Tadashi-kun?”

Tadashi blinks a few times, zoning back in.

Meeting room. People are filing out. The speaker has concluded her presentation. Aiko is standing over him. She looks worried. 

“Are you alright?” Aiko asks, all sweet and innocent because she, at least, is a good-hearted person at her core. “I think I might have dozed off during that meeting too, no offense to Hana-chan.”

“I’m fine, thank you,” Tadashi says, standing up and brushing down his suit. He hopes his appearance isn’t too haphazard. 

“Mind if I walk you out?”

“Not at all.”

They follow the other members of the meeting out of the conference room and head toward those familiar doors once more. Tadashi’s numb to the whole process now, seeing as half of his weeks are spent trying to avoid another run-in with one of the players. Tadashi genuinely likes the work, he just wishes there wasn’t so much baggage to go along with it. 

Although, even that is his fault. An adult conversation, one where he actually talks to Tsukishima would probably clear up most of their issues. 

Aiko’s practically shaking beside him. She’s all twitchy and nervous, eyes flicking up to Tadashi every few moments. 

“Actually, Tadashi-kun, will you run up to office with me for just a moment?” Aiko blurts, her voice rough. 

He eyes her desperation. “Of course.”

The walk to her office is even quieter than before. The ascension up those grand entry staircases indeed leads them back to an open office area that’s much more freeing than Tadashi’s office. Rather than cubicles, the dedicated Frogs marketing team works at long, collaborative tables where coworkers chat lively about things they’re actually passionate about. 

Aiko, however, has her own office at the end of the space. She ushers Tadashi inside before closing the door, even though the walls to her office are just glass windows. 

Aiko shuffles to her desk before retrieving a green pass, nearly identical to the ones Tadashi was able to use the other night. The difference is there’s only one. 

“What’s this?” Tadashi asks as Aiko hands it over. 

“My extra badge,” Aiko explains. They both hover over the edge of her desk, half-sitting side by side. “I know your company has a few passes, but I figured since you liked volleyball and all you should have something a little bit more official. And it’s good for all Frogs games, not just the exhibitions like those passes… Kanji-kun told me about how you came to the game and that’s really cool and I would love to go to a game with you sometime! Or anywhere, really.”

Aiko loops her fingers through her hair. Tadashi knows what’s coming. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, Tadashi-kun, will you please go on a date with me?”

And there it is. 

An escape route. 

Tadashi is excruciatingly cognizant of how awful it is. Of how truly horrible of a person he is for even considering the idea because if Tadashi is anything, he is not someone who uses others for his personal gain. Or at least he didn’t use to be. 

Aiko is a beautiful, nice woman. She deserves to be in a relationship with someone who wants to date her because they have no ulterior motives. She should be with a man much better than Tadashi seeing how he’s subpar in more ways than one.

Thing is, Tadashi wants to. They get along great and there’s still so much more to learn. He thinks that maybe, possibly, he could be happy with her. 

Isn’t that what’ll make him happy? A wife and kids? A girlfriend he can show off to Yachi and his mother and see how they dote over their relationship?

Yes. This is right. This is what Tadashi wants. 

“I’d love to,” Tadashi answers, voice saccharine but tongue oddly bitter. He gives her a smile regardless, adding on, “Only if you want to… I mean…”

“I want to!” Aiko assures, nodding her head. “I really do!”

“I do too.”

Aiko grins at him, unmistakably genuine, and leads him out her office door with promises to talk more and plan some big date and Tadashi laughs at her whimsy. He gives her a wave off, and once the door closes he can clearly see Aiko jump up and down a little before reaching for her phone and excitedly calling someone. While her office mates give Tadashi a tiny smirk as he passes by, all of them apparently aware of the whole situation, the most Tadashi can manage to give back is a pressed-lip smile. 

He descends the staircase, maybe a little lighter on his feet despite the heavy thoughts weighing on his mind. Maybe saying yes was a good idea after all… 

Tadashi readjusts his tie, rounding the corner towards the exit. 

It’ll be fine, he convinces himself. It will all be fine. 

“Yamaguchi.”

It’s not fine. 

Tadashi doesn’t even need to turn to know Tsukishima’s staring him down like some silent hawk, ready to pick apart its prey. But Tadashi does anyways to find Tsukishima dressed for practice with a grim look upon his face. 

“Hi,” Tadashi says. 

Tsukishima looks around, checking to see if anyone’s nearby to capture their impending collision. Even though they stand a few feet apart, truly there could not be more distance between their hearts. 

“Don’t you think…” Tsukishima sighs and rubs a hand through his hair. “I don’t know…”

“Did you want something from me?” Tadashi asks. 

The real question is, what does Tadashi want from Kei? Surely it’s not meaningless sex or awkward conversations or avoiding one another out of convenience. 

Tsukishima’s about to say something when he pauses, looking back towards the gym. “We’ll talk later,” he promises, before shuffling off. 

Tadashi wants to scream. 

Why, why are they like this?

Why can’t they talk now and get everything out and move on? Isn’t that what’s best? Isn’t that what’s right?

Why can’t they communicate?

 

---

 

That weekend, Tadashi goes on a date with Aiko.  

They have a lovely time together. They go to a nice Italian restaurant, spending the evening talking about whatever they’d like. Their conversation flows easily, Tadashi finds, even if he’s often on the receiving end of their talks most of the time. He doesn’t mind listening. The dynamic is new, sure, but it is pleasant. Yes, very pleasant. 

Outside of the business sphere, Aiko is even prettier. She wears a flattering dress and has her hair done up. Tadashi compliments her appearance and she compliments his. It’s all civil. It’s all nice. 

At the end of the evening, Tadashi walks her back to her apartment. She smiles at him all prettily and Tadashi kisses her goodnight. 

He doesn’t feel anything.

 

---

 

Cubicle after cubicle after cubicle. 

Tadashi’s main workplace is horribly dull, unlike the fluid, even fun environment of the Frogs. His space is sparsely decorated so he doesn’t have much to distract himself with. Really, all he should be doing at work is focusing. He shouldn’t let his mind wander off and think about those unpleasant things. 

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t my favorite little salaryman!”

“Hi, Morikatsu,” Tadashi says, and keeps his focus on his computer. 

Morikatsu doesn’t take the clear indicator and strolls inside his cubicle anyways, leaning against the desk until Tadashi’s forced to interact with him. 

“Have a good weekend?” He gives Tadashi a wink. “Heard ya landed a date with that Aiko girl. Nice going, Yama-kun! She’s super pretty.”

Tadashi rolls his eyes. Morikatsu rambles. 

“Ya know, when we went to that big meeting the other day, I ended up running into one of the players for the Frogs. And I mean like, literally ran into. We both fell, and I was freaking out because the guy was giant and I thought he was gonna be mean, but he was super nice and apologized to me! Anywho, we started talking and we got on the topic of work, and I was like, ‘Oh I work with Yamaguchi!’ And he was like, ‘That’s crazy! I used to play against him in high school!’ And I was like, ‘No way!’ And he was like, ‘Yeah totally! Yamaguchi’s the nicest guy ever. He’s super passionate about volleyball and was always a ton of fun to talk to.’ And I was like, ‘Are you talking about Yamaguchi Tadashi?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, who else would I be talking about.’”

Tadashi represses the urge to interrupt.

“I was just so confused,” Morikatsu continues, “because, no offense Yama-kun, but I’ve never seen you super passionate about…  anything. Like, nothing. Ever. And then Kogane kept going on about how you were so cool and you had this awesome… serve? Is that what they’re called? Doesn’t matter, because apparently you even went to high school with one of the players on the Frogs and some guys that went to the Olympics? Dude! That’s crazy and super cool! Why don’t you ever talk about that kind of stuff? It always seems like you’re so…” 

Morikatsu motions to Tadashi entirely, like that offers a justification. “I don’t you’re like closed off? If that makes sense? Definitely not passionate.”

Tadashi sucks in a breath between his teeth. “I’ve changed a lot since then,” he says as his measly explanation. 

Morikatsu snorts. “Well, duh, but I would love to see you all fired up and going! It’d be kinda cool.”

“I don’t know why Koganegawa would tell you all of that,” Tadashi sighs. “It’s not like any of it matters.”

“‘Course it does, man!” Morikatsu then pauses to raise his eyebrow suggestively. “Unless something even crazier happened in college? Oh my god, you’re probably friends with some prince or billionaire or someone. Billionaire prince maybe?”

Tadashi gives him a look. 

“Come on, what’s so bad about the Frogs, huh? I mean, you could have rejected Suzuki or said the plan didn’t work out. If it didn’t work, it didn’t work. You’re the one that got us the deal in the first place so obviously you wanted to do it, right? I mean you’re friends with Koganegawa and all them so I don’t know why you’re so like meh about it.”

Morikatsu, for all he’s worth, is actually right. It would have been so easy to stop this all from starting once more. If he hadn’t reached out to the Frogs promotional team, Tadashi wouldn’t be back to feeling this… well… wrong. 

The issue isn’t the Frogs. It’s not Koganegawa for speaking up. It’s not even Tsukishima, who has drawn him in once more. 

No, the issue is Tadashi. He allowed himself to foolishly believe in fate. He allowed himself to pine, and pine, and pine, until he had nothing left to give. He allowed himself to trust Tsukishima would be there for him, from childhood and beyond.

Tadashi is done allowing himself the freedom of falling in love with Tsukishima Kei again.