There is a high-rise building on the north side of Tokyo, carrying apartments stacked together like a deck of cards. Peering through one window at the corner facing the sun is a girl, the only early riser in her shared apartment.
She is holding a mug of tea in one hand, a textbook in the other. It is approaching winter, so she has her blanket huddled over her bent knees as she sits and reads on the couch, sipping every once in awhile. Her hair is damp and hangs by her cheeks. Her suitemates - long term friends, at this point - are such heavy sleepers that the sound of the shower turning off and on hasn’t made them so much as fidget in their beds.
Yachi is content here; her first class is in a few hours, and Kageyama at the very least should wake up by then. If he doesn’t, she’s the one in charge of banging on his door until he throws a pillow at it, though she really doesn’t want that to happen - she doesn’t want to wake a grumpy Kageyama up. Neither does Hinata, but when he sleeps, he goes out like a light.
The sun stirs over the skyline. The golden light makes it easier for Yachi to read that she hasn’t turned the tableside lamp on, and she studies for her test diligently while keeping her eye on her phone’s clock. As eleven o’clock approaches, she prays that Kageyama will wake up soon.
It is ten fifty-seven and Yachi is turning the page in her book when there is the sound of a door slamming open. Kageyama trudges out of his bedroom, rubbing his eyes, yawning and looking rumpled.
“Good morning,” Yachi says brightly, closing her textbook.
Kageyama looks at her sleepily. “Morning,” he mumbles. “Breakfast?”
“Already ate,” says Yachi. They buy baked goods once a week for breakfast because none of them can cook. All of their parents send them cooked meals every few weeks, though, knowing how hopeless they are.
(Yachi’s mother wants her to learn how to cook, though, so sometimes she sends Yachi recipes through email instead. Yachi does her best, but at least half the time she fails. Kageyama and Hinata never complain; they’re not picky eaters.)
“Cool,” says Kageyama, before shuffling over to the kitchen. He drags his feet and will probably get rugburns on his toes. Hinata will be the first to notice.
“Do you know when Hinata’s getting up?” Yachi asks from the living room.
Kageyama doesn’t look up as he pours himself his tea. “Not really, and I don’t care,” he says. “If he’s going to wake up too late to miss morning practice, that’s his fault.”
Yachi frowns. “He won’t like that.”
Kageyama shrugs. “‘S not my fault he sleeps like the dead,” he says.
“Don’t you like playing with him?”
Kageyama pauses, mug raised to his lips. “Yes,” he admits, after a moment. “I mean, obviously, we’ve been playing together for--years.” He fumbles over his words. “He’s still lazy and stupid though.”
“I guess,” says Yachi neutrally. She stands up from the couch. “I’m going to go get ready for class,” she tells Kageyama, because she’s still in her nightgown and the pajama pants she only wears between late November and early March. “Do you want to make more tea?”
Kageyama shrugs. As Yachi makes her way to her bedroom, she hears the stove turn on.
There is an exam in a lecture hall twenty minutes away from the high-rise apartment building. At roughly the same time, there is a volleyball practice, with two boys who have not yet exhausted their old weapons and continue to find new ones.
Once Yachi gets out, she breathes out a sigh of relief. She doesn’t study any less for the exams she has--Hinata even sometimes jokes that with each exam she drives her head into the ground even more--but finishing them after studying is just a satisfaction of itself. Yachi had never really thought about the little things before, but since her first year in high school second semester, she has learned that every motion counts.
She suddenly gets a gust of confidence--these rare bright things that are foreign, almost, but welcome. She steps onto the bus and the driver greets her with a grin; she finds an empty seat and the girl next to her keeps glancing at her, smiling and a bit shy.
When she gets home, Hinata is there, scrounging through a bag of chips while watching something on the television. “Hey,” Yachi greets, dropping her bag next to the door and unwrapping her scarf.
Hinata is in a t-shirt and shorts. “Yacchan,” he says happily, waving to her, a chip in hand. “How was class?”
“It was okay,” says Yachi. “I had an exam.”
“Oh! Right, you did.” Hinata takes his feet off the table. “It went okay then?”
Yachi shrugs. She hangs up her coat, before bringing herself and her bag out of the hallway and into the living room with Hinata. “I think so,” she says.
“It probably was.” Hinata grins at her reassuringly. “You always study for so hard for them, you always get good grades.”
Yachi feels herself blush. She rolls her eyes. “Is Kageyama at class, then?”
“I think so,” says Hinata. “He made me tea before morning breakfast, can you believe that?”
Yes, Yachi wants to say. She knows that Hinata doesn’t think Kageyama is a mean person--Hinata is just continuously surprised anytime Kageyama does something that seems out of the ordinary.
Well, okay, maybe Hinata does think Kageyama is a mean person. But in a way where if Hinata didn’t like it in some sense, he wouldn’t be here now.
“It was kind of cold, though,” Hinata continues. “But it’s okay, I took care of it!”
“I know,” says Yachi, joining him on the couch. “What are you watching?”
Hinata brightens up. “Oh!” he says, before launching into a spiel about whatever cartoon is playing on the television. (That he still watches cartoons is an alleged irritation to Kageyama, though Yachi has caught Kageyama watching from the kitchen whenever Hinata has control over the television.) Yachi follows along for maybe the first sentence, before getting lost because Hinata is talking too loud and fast. Having an extended conversation with him is still like staring at sunlight for too long. Yachi’s not blind yet, though; it’s a superpower in itself being able to see clearly after Hinata every day.
They all go to the same university. None of them take the same class, because Yachi’s main investment is humanities and design, while Hinata and Kageyama are… she’s actually not quite sure. They had had this conversation multiple times before, but it always ends with Kageyama and Hinata yelling about how they’re going to make the Olympics.
Yachi, naturally, includes herself in tagging along. Hinata does too, often with, “And you’re going to cheer us on, Yacchan!” and Kageyama will add, “Dumbass, she’s not just here to cheer us on.”
“Oh, right,” says Hinata. “And to make us famous!”
Kageyama will hit him then. “She’s not just here to make us famous, either!”
But Yachi doesn’t mind so much--at all, really. She knows that Kageyama and Hinata are partners at what they do, and it had been their idea for the three of them to live together. Her mother says to not intrude on other people’s passions if she won’t help out, but there must be something they benefit from her if they keep asking for her to be around.
Kageyama comes home the next week, grumbling. Hinata is behind him, and they both have their duffel bags swung over their shoulders.
Yachi is in the middle of writing an essay in their living room. She likes it; she likes being able to see the sunlight and busy streets beneath them. “Hi, Hinata,” she says first. “Kageyama?”
“Yachi,” says Kageyama, before storming into the kitchen.
Yachi watches, half-frightened, half-curious. “Is he okay?” she asks Hinata, who walks in, dropping his bag on the ground.
From the kitchen, Kageyama calls, “Oi, don’t be a slob and get changed first!”
“We just got home!” says Hinata, rolling his eyes. He turns to Yachi. “Yeah, people just don’t believe him when he says he--”
“It’s not like your special power is smelling good, and Yachi doesn’t want her nose to suffer.” Kageyama pokes his head out through the kitchen window that peeks into the living room. “Go shower and get changed, dumbass.”
“Alright, alright,” says Hinata. He picks up a pillow from the couch and tosses it at him. “Don’t take your anger out on me.”
The pillow misses by a mile, landing on the ground. “And pick that up!” Kageyama snaps, disappearing.
Yachi curls herself into the couch. “What happened?” she asks, glancing towards the kitchen fearfully.
Hinata leans forward, lowering his voice. “One of our teammates accused Kageyama of lying on his application form,” he says. “They said that there was no way that he could be that good without it being supernatural, so Kageyama told him--”
“I don’t hear the shower running!” Kageyama barks.
“I’m going to shower! Mean Kageyama!” Hinata shouts back. “Yacchan was just curious, so I was telling her--”
“You don’t have to tell her!”
“She asked!” Hinata shoots back.
Yachi is beginning to get the picture now. “So Kageyama told him what it really was?” she asks Hinata.
Hinata nods solemnly. “Yep. And then they made fun of him for it.” He crinkles his nose. “Which I don’t really understand--one of them knows what time it is whenever they want. Isn’t that stupid? Can’t you just look at a clock?”
“It is stupid,” Yachi admits, though the three of them are pretty bad at keeping track of time when they need to. She doesn’t bring that up.
“And another one of them can sneeze whenever they want.” Hinata scoffs. “Kageyama’s isn’t dumb.”
“It’s not,” Yachi agrees.
Kageyama appears from the kitchen, glaring at the both of them. “Hinata, go take a shower,” he says.
Hinata shudders; Kageyama’s voice is ice cold. “Yes, Kageyama,” he says dutifully. He sends Yachi a meaningful look before disappearing into the hallway.
Kageyama glowers at his back as he retreats. Yachi says, “He wasn’t making fun of you, if that’s what you thought.”
“No, that’s not what I…” Kageyama turns, rubs his forehead. “I don’t know, I don’t think my power is dumb either, but every time I have to talk about it or write it out…”
All universities and club applications have a field querying about a superpower. Not all have one, and most who do are pretty irrelevant; Yachi remembers classmates from when she was younger, who could teleport a millimeter or fix squeaky doorknobs, if they were made of metal and not plastic. The field is as normal as your birthday or your name, on hospital forms and birth certificates too, for the government to track.
Yachi’s is usually too hard to describe, but she can get away with calling herself powerless.
She says, “They’re probably just jealous, Kageyama-kun.”
Kageyama lifts his head up, smiles. “You haven’t called me that for a while,” he says.
Yachi shrugs. “Well, you’re talented at volleyball, and you have a cool power,” she says. “There aren’t a lot of people with natural talent that have nothing to do with their powers in this world.”
“There’s Hinata,” Yachi agrees.
Hinata pops his head out from the bathroom, dry despite the sound of running water in the background. “What’s this about me?”
“Go get yourself clean, dumbass,” Kageyama says fondly.
There had been no flowerbeds on the balcony when they first moved in. There had also been no stains on the stove or that dent in the wall when Hinata had been running away when Kageyama was threatening him with a spatula and had crashed into it while chasing the terrified Hinata to Yachi’s room, waking her up and trying to get her apparent “Yachi-ness” to calm Kageyama down, it wasn’t like Hinata had meant to spill boiling water all over Kageyama’s front.
Yachi doesn’t know what he meant by Yachi-ness, though one look at Kageyama and back and Kageyama had dropped the spatula, leaving her room and muttering.
Hinata does wear a jacket one day, when Kageyama is out and Yachi and Hinata have decided to buy breakfast for the week together. Yachi sees him and smiles. There is a familiar urge of wanting to hold Hinata’s hand, as she feels usually when she sees him. She figures it’s because he’s always so warm.
“Ready?” Hinata asks, ruffling his hood.
“Yeah,” says Yachi. She hitches her purse over her shoulder. “We should take the train, it’ll probably be warmer.”
“Ooh, good idea.”
They step outside. It’s begun to snow, as is typical for the season, though they don’t have a break until exams are over. Yachi’s only exam had been early; Kageyama and Hinata’s exams haven’t started yet, as far as she can tell.
Hinata unzips his jacket soon enough. Yachi watches the breeze tuck its way under the lapel before fluttering out.
“You know,” she says thoughtfully. “We can buy some stuff for Kageyama, too.”
“Like milk?” Hinata asks.
“No, I meant at the flower shop.” There is one along the way; Yachi’s passed it quite a few times getting their pastries before. It looks homey and she’s stepped inside once, the first time she and Hinata and Kageyama had moved in and bought the flowerbeds before filling them up.
Hinata’s eyes brighten. “Like an early Christmas present!” he says eagerly.
Yachi’s insides flutter at the thought--of getting something for Kageyama, with Hinata. “Yeah,” she says.
They take the train, which is only hardly warmer than outside. Yachi presses herself close to Hinata, who is so long used to it that she highly doubts he’s even noticed. It’s only one side of her body but it’s good enough--Hinata turns to her halfway and grins for no reason, and Yachi grins back. This is what they do. She takes the chance and grabs for Hinata’s hand, and their fingers tangle easily. Hinata looks at them, but doesn’t say anything.
They let go once they disembark, stepping up and out toward the bakery. Yachi is small but she’s long learned to look where she’s going; Hinata, however, collides into someone hard in the middle of the street, nearly knocking them both over.
Yachi yelps. “Hinata!” she says, offering her hand out. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine Yacchan,” Hinata says brightly, accepting her hand. To the stranger, he asks, “Sorry about that.”
The stranger is a tweedy old man who has deep wrinkles on his face. They soften, though, when he sees Hinata. “It’s alright, boy,” he says with a generous smile. “Got somewhere to be, eh?”
“Just the bakery,” Hinata replies.
“And the flower shop!” Yachi puts in.
The old man’s gaze flickers between them, smile broadening. “Alright then,” he says, clapping a hand on Hinata’s shoulder. “You and your girlfriend be careful now.”
He walks off. Yachi feels kind of stunned, though Hinata chortles right away, watching the man go.
“He just called you my girlfriend,” he says to Yachi, like Yachi hasn’t been here the whole time to witness it. “Is it just ‘cause I’m a boy and you’re a girl? Stupid.”
Warmth rises to Yachi’s cheeks. “Maybe it’s because I said we were going to the flower shop together,” she says. She remembers how Hinata had held her hand just minutes ago; it’s remarkable how warm he can make her feel even when he’s not touching her.
“Maybe,” Hinata says thoughtfully. “But we should really get to the bakery before all the egg tarts are gone!”
They do, and Hinata gets three egg tarts while Yachi orders their usual loaf of bread, and pork buns, and more assortments of things that she and Hinata pick out. Afterward they go to the flower shop that Yachi knows the location of (Hinata is useless at directions), though neither of them know much about flowers at all.
“What do you think Kageyama would like?” Yachi asks.
Hinata shrugs, poking the petal of a particularly purple flower. “I dunno,” he says. “What do you think he’d like?”
In the end, they decide on a pot of premature orchids, despite that the owner encourages them to get the pot already has them bloomed. There are also packets of seeds by the cash register, so Yachi picks out a pack for sunflowers and another for pink lilies. There is a full heat in her heart as they walk and take the subway back to their apartment.
Kageyama is happy with the half-blossomed orchids and the seed packets. He says thank you, and Yachi notices the way Hinata doesn’t quite meet his eyes as he says, “It’s weird to hear you be polite,” and Kageyama whacks his shoulder and asks, “Is this better?”
“Hey!” says Hinata, though he still doesn’t meet Kageyama’s eyes.
Yachi is not quite sure what to think. She blames herself for being around so often, even though they were the ones who had asked her to be here in the first place. Sometimes she needs to remind herself this, though she wonders if she should blame herself as well.
Kageyama’s flowers are beautiful. They always are, sleeping in the beds on the balcony, and Kageyama plants the seeds in the soil delicately. Yachi watches as Kageyama cups his fingers around the petals, tender and calculated, similar to how he is when he sets a volleyball, but--different.
“Are you going to do it?” Yachi asks. She’s watched Kageyama do it so many times before, but it never ceases to amaze her every time.
Kageyama shakes his head. “Not the gardenias, I’ll give them a bit,” he says. “I can do the orchids though, if you want.”
“You don’t have to,” Yachi says hurriedly.
Kageyama glances at her with interest. “Do you want me to?”
“I-I mean.” It’s Kageyama’s power, not hers. “If you want to, I-I wouldn’t mind.”
Kageyama continues looking at her like that, but nods once. The orchids are sitting on the other side of the balcony--they’re too big to join the flowerbeds, and their apartment is pretty high up. Kageyama takes a few strides and tilts his head, watching before grazing his knuckles along the stem.
Immediately the flowers begin to open up. None of them have allergies, though the orchid doesn’t seem to release the familiar smell of pollen Yachi is so used to. They sigh, purple and blossoming. Yachi watches with awe.
“I never get tired of that,” she finds herself saying.
Kageyama looks back at her. His lips are quirked into a rare half-smile. “Neither do I,” he confesses. “Orchids need a lot of humidity, though, we’ll need to ask Hinata to come out and sit with them every time after he takes a shower.”
Yachi laughs. Kageyama makes something bloom in her, too, pink. “Do you think he’ll want to?” she asks.
“I think he’ll know I don’t care,” says Kageyama.
Yachi comes home to Hinata and Kageyama already in the living room. The sound of the television is on in the background; Yachi is ready to say hello as she takes off her shoes.
“You know, the other day,” Hinata says. “Someone called Yachi my girlfriend?”
Yachi pauses, one hand on a shoelace. Kageyama is quiet. From here, Yachi can see both of their gym bags behind the living room couch, nestled and half on top of each other.
“Who?” Kageyama asks.
“Some guy,” says Hinata. Yachi imagines Hinata shrugging. “When we were buying your flowers, he thought we--” He breaks off into a giggle. “I dunno, we weren’t even doing anything.”
Kageyama is quiet again. Yachi wonders what he is thinking; she knows that oftentimes she and Hinata go on grocery runs whenever Kageyama is in class. Sometimes she asks Hinata to come out with her on an errand, or Hinata just chooses to tag along anyway. Talking to him isn’t just looking into direct sunlight--it’s always having your hand held. Or maybe like the intensity of volleyball practice, Yachi thinks Kageyama might feel.
“You do spend a lot of time together,” Kageyama says, finally. “I could probably see why he would think that.”
“Yeah, but it’s not like we are,” says Hinata.
The tell-tale of Kageyama’s silence makes Yachi’s heart jump. She can only imagine what Kageyama is thinking, and it’s not something she wants him to think--he is everything, with his hydrangea and holly, and she doesn’t need to think about it to know that Hinata has viewed him beyond a friend since day one.
She is startled when Hinata says her name, then. “Yacchan?” he says, out of nowhere.
Yachi realizes she’s been lurking by the front door like a creep, and comes into the living room. “Hi,” she says, to Kageyama and Hinata. “I just got home.”
Hinata is looking at her strangely. Kageyama says, “Welcome home.”
His voice is off-kilter, and Yachi wishes Hinata could tell him what he had told her all those years ago, about Kageyama being his partner. “Thank you,” she says, as graciously to Kageyama as she can. “So, um. Dinner?”
On Friday afternoon, all their schedules are free. Kageyama, naturally, wants to spend the time at the gym, but Hinata says, “We should do something that Yacchan can do, too!” Yachi tries to tell him that no, really, if they want to practice volleyball it’s fine. But Hinata suggests for them to go outside to the park, and Kageyama says he’s okay with that, and Yachi supposes she doesn’t mind. So they do.
Yachi and Kageyama wear jackets and scarves; Hinata wears a hoodie so he doesn’t warrant odd looks, though he unzips it and pushes his sleeves up to his elbows. “We should race,” he says eagerly, bouncing along the sidewalks.
Kageyama growls, striding over to keep up with him. “Where would we even race to? Why do you want to race me all the time?”
“Because it’s fun beating you!”
Yachi giggles to herself as they walk on ahead without her. Kageyama is big and dark and kind of brooding; Hinata is small and his hair has tints of golden under the sunlight. They look good together, she thinks, and her stomach tugs, warm and blooming at the image.
Kageyama and Hinata do race, though Kageyama defeats him by a hair, at the end of the sidewalk near the streetcorner. Yachi jogs along so she keeps them in sight, panting a little when she finally reaches them.
“Oh… shit…” Kageyama says through his own gasps. “We forgot about… Yachi.”
“I didn’t forget about her!” says Hinata. He’s breathing loudly through his nose. “She was right behind us all along! Weren’t you, Yacchan?”
Yachi nods, resting her palms on her thighs. “You guys… are fast,” she manages out.
“I’m faster.” Kageyama rights himself. “What are the numbers now? 238 to 235?”
“I dunno,” says Hinata.
“Idiot! What’s the point of racing me if you forget to keep track of our wins?”
“You’re probably right, Kageyama,” Yachi assures him. Kageyama is terrible with numbers, but at least he’s good with memorization.
Kageyama looks like he’s about to say something to her, but then a chattering to the side interrupts them. At the corner of the grass is a squirrel, stopped and sniffing the air.
“Ooh, squirrel,” says Hinata.
“He’s probably looking for a place to hibernate,” Yachi muses. “It’s almost winter. He should probably find someplace warm to stay.”
“Like in my jacket,” Hinata jokes.
Kageyama is eyeing the squirrel warily. “Do you think I could pet it?” he asks them.
Yachi glances at him curiously. Hinata says, “Probably not! It probably has rabies, Kageyama, and we don’t want you to get rabies either!”
“Yeah, but I--”
Kageyama steps forward, toward the squirrel. It stops its sniffing in the air and turns, facing Kageyama.
“Hinata might be right,” Yachi says warningly. “It could have rabies.”
“It’s not running away,” Kageyama murmurs.
Hinata glances at Yachi: a question, she recognizes. Kageyama seems captivated at this squirrel who won’t run away from him. He takes another step toward it but it flinches, darting back a meter.
Yachi watches as Kageyama’s face falls, and it makes her--well, maybe once she and Hinata had been that squirrel, but now they aren’t, joined to Kageyama’s side easily. “Here,” she says, walking up to Kageyama and pushing herself toward him.
The squirrel looks at Kageyama again, this time with more--intrigue. Kageyama watches as the squirrel comes up to him, hopping between Kageyama’s and Yachi’s shoes. It stops and nuzzles the side of Kageyama’s sneaker.
“Ew,” Hinata says from behind them.
Kageyama doesn’t seem to be grossed out, though. He watches as the squirrel chews at at the aglet of his shoe, before chattering and scampering off.
He turns to Yachi. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“I wanted to.” Yachi smiles at him.
Kageyama returns it. This is what it is, not being that squirrel, seeing more than just Kageyama’s loud exterior and finding him surrounded by blooming flowers, trying to leave bird feed out in the springs so they’ll come to him.
“You and Kageyama look good together,” Hinata says.
They’re on their way home from a grocery run; both their arms are loaded with plastic bags, and Yachi imagines they must be a sight, two short people running around with grocery bags slung on their hands and arms.
“What?” Yachi says. She’s trying to figure out how to hold a bag that has its handle broken.
“You and Kageyama,” Hinata repeats. “You’re really, um. Well, he’s Kageyama, and you’re you!” Pink blooms on his cheeks. “I think you guys would look good together, that’s all.”
“I think you would look good with him,” Yachi says, surprised. “You spend more time with him, you guys are--partners.” She stumbles over the word.
Hinata looks thoughtful. “Yeah, I guess we are,” he admits. Then: “Still! It’s not like I’m dating him.”
“It’s not like I’m dating you, either.” Yachi tries to gesture with one arm, but it’s weighted down by the shopping bags. They go through milk like cats, so they’d bought a lot of cartons. “And I thought you, well. You seem to like Kageyama a lot!”
“I do like him a lot,” says Hinata. “Don’t you?”
“Yes,” says Yachi.
Hinata watches her. It’s that scary look he gets when he’s determined to defeat an opponent in volleyball, or at least show off his talent. Yachi has never had it turned on her before, and cowers in fright, dropping all but three shopping bags.
“Oh no!” she cries, rushing to pick them up. “I’m--did it sound like anything broke?”
“I don’t think so.” Hinata has snapped out of whatever trance he’d been in before, helping Yachi now. “I’m holding the eggs, I think.”
“Are the any of the fruits bruised?” Yachi digs through a bag and finds the bag of apples. “Oh--thank goodness,” she says, when they appear to be as shiny and hard as before.
They gather the bags back up, and Hinata doesn’t bring up Kageyama again on their trek back. The sidewalks are full of cracks but Yachi can’t see them between the crowd of her grocery bags; living with Hinata and Kageyama is more interesting than the ground.
She has never been told she is magnetic; Yachi always saw herself as a wallflower, evaporated among everyone else.
There is no describing Hinata and Kageyama to her, though she knows that she does not want any other choice. They are the ones who make her feel like she is more interesting than she feels to be, Kageyama and his surprises, Hinata and his sunshine. She had figured out what she could do long before she met them, but it had never meant so much before until now.
Until now, when they are together almost every day and Yachi can see the way Hinata stares too long at Kageyama and Kageyama sneaks peeks at Hinata. Yachi thinks, I did this, and it is a bad feeling, sometimes. It can be a bad feeling, being magnetic. She waits for it to resolve. She has been waiting for it a long time.
It is evening and it is Thursday and they are in the living room together. Yachi watches Kageyama watch Hinata watch the television. She wonders if Hinata will ever tell him so Kageyama can say it back.
Kageyama is on the floor pretending to read his textbook, and Yachi is on the couch with Hinata, pretending to work on her laptop. “I’m sorry,” she blurts, because maybe they are the ones who have been waiting too long, because of her.
Kageyama’s gaze snaps to her. Hinata says, “What?”
“That I’m, um.” Yachi ducks her head down. “My power, and you guys are--”
“What about your power?” Kageyama demands. “Did you do something--”
“I--Not--Kind of,” Yachi stammers. Kageyama turns to her like he has ruined his flowers, or incompetently spiked a ball, though Yachi would never do the former nor attempt the latter. “You guys are so--and it’s my fault.”
“What’s your fault?” Hinata asks her curiously.
“That you two--” Yachi gestures between them. “You like each other, and it’s because I--”
Feelings, her mother had told her, when she was young and a boy in her class had made fun of her so she had repelled all her classmates away from him. Feelings, she’d told herself, when she’d seen Shimizu-san for the first time, and then everyone else’s eyes in the hallway had turned on her, too.
And now, Kageyama and Hinata, who had asked for her but not this.
“What are you talking about?” Kageyama asks.
Yachi blushes and hides her face in her palms. “I don’t know,” she says, muffled into her hands. “You two should just--confess to each other, I know it’s my fault, I’m--”
“Confess to each other?” Hinata sounds bewildered.
Yachi peeks through her fingers. “You both,” she says. “It’s you both for me, and I don’t--I really think you should--” It is hard to pick between Hinata and Kageyama because it’s not much of a contest, because she can’t imagine one without the other.
This is why they belong together.
“Yacchan.” Hinata comes over to her. He brings her hands from her face. “What are you talking about?”
“Please be more clear with us,” says Kageyama. “You know we’re idiots.”
Yachi giggles. But they both look solemn.
“Hinata told me that he thinks we look good together,” she says, trying to meet Kageyama’s eyes and failing. “But I think you two--I think you two are better.” Together, she leaves out, because that does not include her.
“Us two?” Hinata glances at Kageyama, whose cheeks are red suddenly. “What about you?”
“I.” Yachi shakes her head rapidly. “I mean, it’s my fault, isn’t it? That you guys--”
“Oh,” says Kageyama. His expression clears up. “Because Hinata and I are,” he coughs. Hinata turns to him. “That we like each other,” Kageyama says to Hinata.
Hinata furrows his eyebrows. “But I like you when Yacchan’s not around!” he says. His lips press together and wobble in embarrassment. “And I like Yacchan, too!” he says, even louder.
“Hinata, you’re shouting,” Kageyama scolds.
Yachi is bewildered. “Um,” she says, because something hot is growing in her chest, like a lily ready to pollinate.
“I like Yachi too,” Kageyama says carefully. “I was never sure if--but it’s never had to do with.” He looks pointedly at his knees. “I like you both,” he mumbles.
“Oh,” says Yachi.
“Oh!” Hinata echoes.
The three of them sit around in silence. Kageyama is still on the ground; Yachi feels too big and too small on the couch.
Hinata crawls over to her. He is in his usual t-shirt and shorts; Yachi is wearing big woolen socks. “Hey, Yacchan,” he says to her. “Can I kiss you?”
“Um,” says Yachi. Hinata is warm. She nods.
Hinata glances past her. “Hey, Kageyama,” he says, before leaning in. “Watch this.”
There are three bodies tangled in a bed too small, in a high-rise building on the north side of Tokyo. Sunlight does not shine on just her but all three, hot and growing and big. It is winter and their sheets are sliding off the bed. Two are fast asleep and the third does not complain.
It is winter and Yachi draws, with ink, with pencil and paper (Kageyama and Hinata), with herself. Her heart is big and full and she thinks, Mom, people are my passion. Because there is a world where she can tuck her toes under ankles to keep warm, can watch the magic of Kageyama’s fingers outside of a volleyball court, can watch other people fall in love. And in it, she has found something better.