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“So, Kei, your wish is finally coming true.”

Tsukishima doesn’t turn to look at his brother, pretending that the headphones covering his ears are blasting music. He shoves his suitcase into the car with unnecessary roughness and walks to the front seat. Before he can get in, Akiteru catches his arm.

“I know you heard me,” he tells Tsukishima. In return, Tsukishima glares at his brother. Akiteru blanches, taking a step back before clearing his throat. “You’ve always wanted to move out, but now that you’re going to university for finances, you don’t seem as… excited as I thought you would be.”

“And what do you want me to do about that?” Tsukishima asks, a mock frown plastered on his face. “I have to meet my roommate today, and he’s probably going to be as stupid as the rest of the students there. There’s no way that we’ll get along.”

“Hey, you don’t know that!” Akiteru hops into the driver’s side. “You became friends with Bokuto and Kuroo pretty easily. If you tried, you two could become great friends! One person can make everything better, you know.”

Tsukishima snorts. “Somehow I sincerely doubt that. And for the record, I was forced to become friends with those imbeciles.” He gets in the car and turns on his music to avoid further conversation. Akiteru thankfully stays quiet and ignores the lie. The drive to his university takes less time than anticipated, and they end up arriving while it’s still light outside.

“Alright, Kei, be sure to visit me!” Akiteru smiles at him through the mirror as Tsukishima gets his suitcase out from the trunk of the car. Once he has everything and is ready to go to his dorms, Akiteru sniffles, “I’ll miss you, okay? See ya, little bro.”

Tsukishima smiles slightly as he waves goodbye to Akiteru. He doesn’t move until his brother is out of sight, his face falling back into its regular frown. After a moment, Tsukishima heads inside his dorm building in order to avoid any people. His room is on the first floor, thank goodness, so he doesn’t have to use the stairs everyday.

Tsukishima scowls when he struggles with the dorm room’s lock, the key barely fitting into the socket. His roommate isn’t inside, but it seems that they’ve already unpacked, judging by the bedspread, the volleyball and the various books stacked everywhere on their side of the room. Taking off his headphones, Tsukishima begins to unpack, though he didn’t bring many things. With his only interests being music and dinosaurs, he didn’t feel the need to bring items he wouldn’t need.

Tsukishima is attempting to fit his suitcase under his bed when the door of his dorm opens. A guy nearly his height bounces in, and Tsukishima stands to greet him. The first thing that he notices is that the boy’s hair is greenish-black, a fairly irregular colour. Then it's the freckles, the sweaty workout clothes, and lastly, the brown eyes that stare into his own.

“Oh, uh- hi!” The guy says, clearly startled. A grin spreads across his face. “I didn’t think that you’d be here so early, so I was at the gym. I’m Yamaguchi Tadashi, your new roommate. And you’re-”

“Tsukishima Kei,” he interrupts. Tsukishima’s first impression of Yamaguchi is… odd. Yamaguchi seems sort of desperate and lacks self-confidence, but at the same time, radiates a sort of calmness that could also be interpreted as control. At least he doesn’t seem like a complete fool. Tsukishima almost puts his headphones back on, but then he remembers what his brother said earlier that day. If you tried, you two could become great friends . So he takes a deep breath and says, “I’m here for finance. What’s your major?”

Yamaguchi blinks, as if shocked that they were still talking. “Uh, electronic engineering.”

Tsukishima opens his mouth slightly in surprise. Electronic engineering is supposedly one of the most difficult engineering majors there are. “That’s nice.”

“Say, Tsukishima,” Yamaguchi says quickly. “I’m going to go grab dinner with one of my friends, do you want to come with us?”

He shakes his head out of habit, automatically replying coolly, “I’ll pass.” Yamaguchi flinches slightly, and Tsukishima grimaces internally.

“A-alright, I’ll see you later then. Don’t get your head stuck in your ass,” Yamaguchi strides out of the dorm, nearly running outside. Once the door closes behind him, Tsukishima curses, kicking his suitcase further beneath his bed.

Why is it so hard for me to just be nice for once? He thinks, not at all blaming Yamaguchi for his snide remark. There goes the one chance I had at making an actual friend.

He wasn’t hungry, having eaten on the way to university with Akiteru. So he flops onto his bed and pulls out his favourite book. He loses track of time, and by the time he looks up again, it’s nearly his bedtime and Yamaguchi seems to have just returned to the dorm.

The door opens, and Yamaguchi enters, calling over his shoulder, “See you later, Suga! Oh, hey, Tsukishima.”

“Hello,” he replies. “How was your, uh, dinner?”

“Really good, thanks. Sorry about earlier,” Yamaguchi smiles, tossing his jacket onto his bed.

Tsukishima shrugs, catching a glimpse of the jacket, and he makes a slight realization. “You played volleyball in high school?”
“Oh, yeah, I did,” Yamaguchi replies. “What about it?”

“Are you good?” Tsukishima winces at his own tone, pausing for a moment before speaking again. “What’s your position?”

“Middle blocker. I still play too. I’m on a team with the friend I ate dinner with.”

“Interesting. Your height isn’t bad for volleyball either. Were you on the starting line up, or...”

“Ah, yeah, I was the captain in my third year, so I guess you could say I’m pretty good. Our team almost made it to nationals too, but we lost to Date Tech in the preliminary finals two years in a row.”

Tsukishima pauses. This guy was the captain of a team? He didn’t seem confident enough for a job like that. Maybe there weren’t any other candidates for the job of captain. “That’s too bad, but I’ve heard of Date Tech. Their blocks are nearly impenetrable.”

“Yeah, we had an amazing duo that broke through their blocks a lot, but our own blocks were pretty weak. We could’ve been so much better if we had a tall middle blocker that specialized in blocks. Since I specialized in serving and our best middle blocker specialized in spiking, we didn’t have many powerful walls. Also, how do you know so much about volleyball? Do you play?” Yamaguchi sits on his bed, yanking off his shoes with a strange amount of struggling, then lies down, letting his arms spread out to take up the open space. 

“No, I don’t play, it’s just that my brother does, and he constantly tries to get me to play because I’m tall. My schoolmates did that as well.”

“Oh, I see. What school did you come from? Maybe I’ve heard of their volleyball team.”

“You probably have… I went to Nekoma.”

“Oh, we have the biggest rivalry with them. I went to Karasuno.”

“Ah, I’m pretty sure I was told about that rivalry. It was a big deal for our school’s team. It was called, if I recall, the battle of, uh-”

“The battle of the trash heap,” Yamaguchi informs him. “Sounds kind of lame, but it’s a pretty cool rivalry. We never got to face each other in an official match while I was in school though, since our team never made it to nationals. We got shut down in the inter-high finals every time we got to that level.”

“That sucks, really. My friends that were on the team always seemed pretty pumped up about it.” Tsukishima shrugs slightly, putting aside his book. “It was kind of annoying, actually.”

“You’re friends with some of the players?” Yamaguchi sits up in interest.

“Yeah, maybe you know them. Kuroo Tetsurou and Kozume Kenma?”

“Ah, yeah. Their old captain and setter duo, huh? Somehow, the only thing that surprises me about that is the fact that you have friends.” Yamaguchi fiddles with his shaggy hair, braiding a loose strand together innocently.

“Excuse me?” Tsukishima sputters. “Why are you so surprised?”

“Eh, I don’t know.” Yamaguchi's mouth twitches with the ghost of a smile. “You just don’t really seem like the type of person who has a social life.”

“I’ll have you know that my social life is perfectly normal,” Tsukishima scoffs. “Besides, I could say the same about you, Yamaguchi. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to bed.”

“Alright, alright, cool.” Yamaguchi grins widely, clearly amused, and gets out his phone, laying back down on his bed. His hair splays out in a small halo around his head, causing Tsukishima to smile slightly before heading to the washroom.

Chapter Text

Yamaguchi is already gone the next morning when Tsukishima wakes up. This is expected, as Tsukishima always tends to wake up as late as possible while still being able to class a few minutes early. He expects to see Yamaguchi when he comes back from class that afternoon, but he’s not there again.

For the first week or so in school, the only time that Tsukishima and Yamaguchi see each other is before they go to bed when Yamaguchi comes back from the library late at night. Besides an occasional conversation, they don’t talk at all.

Nearly a week and a half into the school year, Tsukishima returns from his night lecture, expecting to see Yamaguchi inside, but he’s instead greeted by a grey-haired guy. The guy turns around, sees Tsukishima and pauses.

“Oh, you must be Tsukishima, Yamaguchi’s roommate,” he smiles widely. “I’m Sugawara Koushi, nice to meet you.”

“Hello,” Tsukishima nods at Sugawara once before piling his books onto his desk. Sugawara appears at his shoulder, eyes wide.

“That’s a lot of books,” he exclaims. “Both you and Yamaguchi have so many textbooks. Teacher’s college for me isn’t as stressful as I’d originally thought, to my surprise. More time for volleyball, though, which is good.”

He must be someone from Karasuno , Tsukishima thinks. He remains silent, so Sugawara fills the silence.

“You’re pretty tall, Tsukishima.” Suga hums a small tune. “Have you ever considered playing volleyball?”

Tsukishima scowls, looking down slightly to meet Sugawara’s eyes. So much like his brother, this guy. So much like almost every one of his friends, like Kuroo and Bokuto, that Tsukishima can’t stand it. “What are you doing here?” He sighs slightly, rolling his eyes. “What do you want?”

Sugawara stares at him for a second, eyes wide. Tsukishima expects Sugawara to retaliate with words, but instead, he jumps. Tsukishima freezes, startled as Sugawara bonks the top of his head before landing.

“A salty boy, aren’t ya!” Sugawara chuckles. Tsukishima frowns, rubbing his head. Sugawara stops chuckling suddenly and meets Tsukishima’s eyes, an intimidating look on his face. “You better not be this rude towards Yamaguchi.”

Tsukishima scoffs, “I’ll do what I please.”

“Oh really?” Sugawara raises an eyebrow. Something about Sugawara’s expression changes and Tsukishima inhales sharply, stepping back a bit. Sugawara’s normally light attitude has completely changed, becoming somewhat threatening. “That’s what I thought.” After a moment, he goes back to humming his song cheerfully.

Tsukishima ponders for a moment. Sugawara seems to be a very protective and loyal friend, so that must've been his motherly instincts to defend Yamaguchi. Understandable, although that expression… it sure was scary, though Tsukisima would never admit it.

“Tsukishima, here.”

Sugawara tosses Yamaguchi’s volleyball at him, and instinctively, Tsukishima catches it. “No, don’t catch it!” Sugawara pouts. “Set it back and forth with me!”

“I’m not very good at setting,” Tsukishima says stiffly.

“Well, lucky for you, I was Karasuno’s setter years ago for all three school years I was there,” Sugawara tells him. “I’ll cover for your mistakes.”

Before Tsukishima can protest, the dorm door opens and Yamaguchi enters. “Hey, guys! Wait a second, were you-”

“No, we weren’t.” Tsukishima tosses the ball onto Yamaguchi’s bed.

“Oh, yes we were!” Sugawara smiles. “You ready to go, Yamaguchi?”

“Yeah, let me just drop off my books, and I’ll be ready.” Yamaguchi heads to his desk to dump his books. “So, Tsukishima, want to come with us this time? It’ll be fun, I promise, and we’re just going to McDonald’s anyways.”

Tsukishima opens his mouth to decline, but finds Suga glaring at him. He sighs in defeat. “Tsk- alright. Just this once.” Yamaguchi smiles widely, clearly thrilled. “Let me grab my jacket.”

Around half an hour later, Tsukishima sits across Sugawara and Yamaguchi inside their local McDonald’s. While Tsukishima sits with only chicken nuggets in front of him, Yamaguchi and Sugawara both have full meals in front of them.

“Why only the chicken nuggets, Tsukishima?” Sugawara asks. “I would’ve thought that a tall person like you would need more food to function-”

“Maybe it’s the fact that Tsukishima clearly has an obsession with dinosaurs, so I’m thinking that the chicken nuggets remind him of dino nuggets-”

“At least I have a normal interest, all you two are capable of talking about is volleyball-” Tsukishima retorts, but Yamaguchi laughs, clearly having fun with this argument.

“Dinosaurs are such a kid’s obsessio-”

“Shut up, Yamaguchi.”

“Sorry, Tsukishima.”

Suga lets out a low chuckle. “You two are ridiculous.” He throws a fry at Yamaguchi, grinning widely. Yamaguchi throws a fry in retaliation, and Tsukishima frowns slightly. He’s had friends before, but Tsukishima never acted so relaxed or easy around them. Yamaguchi and Sugawara just seem so… right.

It was like the movies, the way they acted. So protective of one another, as Sugawara had clearly demonstrated earlier, so calm around each other, like they weren’t worried about how they acted when they were together. It was almost like Kuroo and Bokuto when they were around. Tsukishima had never experienced a relationship quite like that, and looking at the two guys in front of him, he almost felt… jealous.

The Mcdonald’s door opens at that moment, bringing in two voices that Tsukishima recognized only too well. Speak of the devils and they shall appear , he thinks, nearly groaning aloud. But a smile appears slightly on his face, and Yamaguchi notices.

“Hey, Tsukishima, why are you smil-”

“IS THAT YOU, TSUKKI-DUDE?”

Tsukishima turns towards the voice, attempting to conceal his smile. “Hello Bokuto, hello Kuroo. Long time no see.”

Bokuto waves wildly at him from the door, dragging Kuroo to stand near their table. Tsukishima should’ve known that he would see the two idiots around, they’ve been attending this university for three years, after all.

Kuroo saw Tsukishima in the library once during Tsukishima’s first year of high school, and for some unknown reason, took a special interest in becoming friends with him. After Tsukishima reluctantly agreed to be friends, Kuroo dragged him out one day to meet Bokuto. From then on, Tsukishima met Akaashi and Kenma, as they were mutual friends. Tsukishima was constantly brought around by Kuroo and Bokuto, whether to the arcade or just for pizza. It didn’t bother him much anymore, and he actually somewhat missed being the fifth wheel on game nights.

What surprises Tsukishima more is that Akaashi and Kenma weren’t with them. During their third year, Bokuto and Akaashi announced their relationship, which wasn’t a surprise to anyone, and Kuroo asked Kenma out a few weeks after that. Tsukishima was sure that Kenma and Akaashi had come to the same university as their boyfriends when they graduated. It must be a bro-night then.

Coming out of his thoughts, Tsukishima notices that Kuroo and Bokuto are staring at Sugawara and Yamaguchi.

“Hey, aren’t you two from Karasuno? Sugawara and… Yamaguchi?” Kuroo frowns slightly, patting his hair down.

“Oh yeah,” Sugawara smiles. “We went to that training camp together in our third year. You guys were Nekoma’s captain and Fukurodani’s ace?”

“Hell yeah, I was!” Bokuto puffs out his chest. “I remember your team! You guys really needed a good blocker, did you ever find one and get to nationals?”

Yamaguchi noticeably clenches his fists. “We didn’t.” Sugawara narrows his eyes at the two guys standing at the edge of the table, looking ready to throw hands for bringing up nationals.

“That’s too bad,” Kuroo says. “That’s probably just as frustrating as Tsukki never agreeing to play on Nekoma’s team even after we dragged him out to play with us so many times.”

“How many times do I need to tell you not to call me that?” Tsukishima rolls his eyes.

“So many times that we’ve elected to ignore you, Tsukki ,” Bokuto grins. “Besides, we haven’t seen each other in so long!”

“Say, why don’t we join you three? If it’s alright of course.” Kuroo looks between Sugawara and Yamaguchi, irritation that only Tsukishima seems to notice peeking through Kuroo’s usually calm features.

Tsukishima didn’t understand why they were all so worked up about volleyball teams they weren’t even on anymore. The four of them hardly know each other, why should they care about each other's sports clubs so much?

“Actually, we were just leaving,” Tsukishima tells them. “Maybe another time?” Sugawara looks down at his half-finished fries and back up at Tsukishima a couple of times before opening his mouth to object, but instead, he closes his mouth at the last second. Yamaguchi begins to clean up his stuff quietly.

“Yeah, of course,” Kuroo exclaims. “Now that you’re here at our university, Bo and I can force you to play with us whenever we want.”

“Oh, we should do that every week!” Bokuto pumps his fist in the air. “Now you can block for us again! I can show Akaashi how good I’ve gotten!”

“Please no,” Tsukishima grimaces, adjusts his glasses, earning a grin from Bokuto.

Yamaguchi looks at Tsukishima in confusion. He mutters, if only to himself, “Block… again?”

“C’mon, let’s order, Bo, I’m getting hungry,” Kuroo tugs at Bokuto’s arm. “Nice to see you guys.”

“Yeah, see you around,” Sugawara waves his hand at both of them before shrugging on his jacket, motioning for Yamaguchi to do the same.

“Bye guys,” Tsukishima nods slightly before turning back to the table. He does a double-take, noticing that only Suga’s unfinished fries and Yamaguchi’s uneaten burger remain on the table. “Sugawara, how did you clean up so quickly?”

“He’s special like that,” Yamaguchi grins. “C’mon, we can just finish our food in the dorm when we get back.”

 Nodding, Tsukishima gets up from his chair and follows them outside. “Why were you so eager to leave?” Yamaguchi asks once they emerge from the Mcdonald’s. “If they’re your friends, shouldn’t you be more enthusiastic when you see them?”

Tsukishima shrugs. “I don’t know. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was nice to see them, but with the tension between them and you guys, I didn’t want there to be a full-on brawl. I don’t think my phone would’ve had enough storage to record it.”

Yamaguchi snorts. “A fight? Please. There are better ways to sort out that type of tension. Like volleyball games?”

“Besides,” Sugawara interjects. “There was no tension, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Liar,” Yamauguchi snorts. “You were practically ready to challenge them to a two-on-two game. As soon as they brought up nationals, your energy completely changed.”

“Hey, Yamaguchi?” Tsukishima says quietly.

“Yes?”

“Your energy changed too.”

“It did not!”

Tsukishima catches Yamaguchi’s eye and they stare at each other for a moment, as if having a staring contest. Eventually, Tsukishima looks away and smiles. “Did too.”

Chapter Text

The panic attacks were supposed to stop ages ago. Seeing the psychologist was supposed to help them go away.

But as Tsukishima sat at his desk shaking uncontrollably, everything his psychologist had taught him was far from his mind.

There was so much work. So much of it. Tsukishima’s wide eyes scan his desk, trying his best to breathe. He couldn’t call Akiteru, it would just annoy him. Kuroo and Bokuto didn’t even know that Tsukishima occasionally had problems with his OCD, much less his anxiety.

What triggered the attack this time? Tsukishima reaches for his headphones, anything to keep his mind from wandering further. But his hand shakes so much that he can’t even pick them up. A single tear runs down his face and Tsukishima stares blankly at the wall, ready to give up.

He was so alone.

Akiteru had never liked him. Bokuto and Kuroo only tolerated him because he had no other friends. His mom didn’t care about him. Yamaguchi…

Tsukishima whips his head towards the other side of the room, hoping to see his roommate. Not to talk to him, not to insult him, not to ask him to go to Mcdonald’s, but just to prove that he has at least one person. One person in his life that might actually care.

But the bed is made, the desk neat, volleyball equipment gone. At the gym, then.

Tsukishima brings his knees to his chest, hugging his arms around himself as he rocks back and forth. His breathing becomes uneven and shallow.

You’re all alone.

Tsukishima is used to this voice, at least. That nagging voice at the back of his head that he’s so used to suppressing. But he can’t silence it this time, and it eats at him from the inside.

Stop. Just give up already.

“No.”

Tsukishima’s voice is shaky, so he tries again.

“No.” But the thoughts are ringing through his head so fast. So fast. It’s like a tidal wave; unstoppable, and the best thing you can do is run away from it. But he can’t. He’s stuck to his chair, hugging himself because there’s no one on earth that would hug him back. The tears flow freely now, and Tsukishima doesn’t even try to stop them.

He rocks back and forth in his chair, unable to hear the door opening. Unable to see Yamaguchi enter, his clothes sweaty and a smile stretching across his face. Yamaguchi spots Tsukishima at his desk and says hello brightly. When his greeting goes unnoticed, Yamaguchi finally realizes what’s going on and the smile fades from his face.

“Tsukki,” Yamaguchi slides onto the floor beside Tsukishima, taking his hands in an attempt to get a response from him. Something. Anything. But Tsukishima remains unresponsive, his body shaking with tremors that rock the chair. “Hey, Tsukki. Breathe. Breathe.”

No response.

Yamaguchi is ready to panic himself, but he remembers all the times when he was scared or nervous about an upcoming volleyball game or test. He reaches forward and lifts Tsukishima off of his chair and onto the floor. He lifts Tsukishima’s chin, trying to get him to look into his eyes.

“Tsukki, hey. It’s Yamaguchi. It’s Yams. It’s okay now, I’m here,” Yamaguchi says quietly, in the most soothing voice he can manage. “We’re gonna get through this together, alright?”

Still no response.

Yamaguchi reaches for his phone in his pocket. Maybe Sugawara will know what to do. He finally finds his phone, but his fingers connect with it, Tsukishima finally speaks.

“No.”

Yamaguchi looks up, startled, but Tsukishima doesn’t seem to be talking to him. Yamaguchi’s heart all but breaks when Tsukishima whimpers, a small, broken sound. It’s so unlike him, the confident, obnoxious, person Tsukishima usually is, that Yamaguchi finds himself speaking again.

“I’m here, Tsukki,” he whispers. “Things are going to get better, I promise. You’re not alone.”

And it’s those words that echo through Tsukishima's brain, the words that finally penetrate the fortress of Tsukishima’s mind.

You’re not alone.

Tsukishima looks up. And he does, he only sees Yamaguchi. His beautiful brown eyes that have been watching him for the past month and a half, every single one of his freckles that cover his face, half of his green hair tied back into a bun at the back of his head, the one bead of sweat dripping down his forehead. And as Tsukishima looks at the boy in front of him, the voice in his head finally fades.

“Yamaguchi?”

“Yes, Tsukki?”

“Did you mean it?”

“Did I mean what?” Yamaguchi looks at Tsukishima with a concerned look on his face. Pink is slowly making its way up Yamaguchi’s neck as he realizes how close they’re sitting, but he ignores it because Tsukishima isn’t panicking anymore. He’s still vulnerable, but speaking. Replying.

“When you said I wasn’t alone,” Tsukishima mumbles. “Did you mean it?”

“Of course,” Yamaguchi smiles. “I’m here after all, aren’t I?” The look in Tsukishima’s eyes is hard to distinguish. It looks somewhat like anger, and sadness, but also happiness. Hope, Yamaguchi realizes.

And when a smile slowly spreads across Tsukishima’s face, they both stop worrying.

“I’m sorry about that,” Tsukishima says, running a hand through his short hair. “I just got a bit overwhelmed, and-”

“Stop that. Don’t apologize for something that isn’t your fault,” Yamaguchi hits Tsukishima’s shoulder. “You’re going through something, alright? You don’t have to apologize for something like that. And Tsukki, I hope you realize that I’m going to be here whenever you need me?”

Tsukishima tilts his head to the side slightly. “What did you just call me?”

“Tsukki,” Yamaguchi says sheepishly. “It’s just that Kuroo and Bokuto call you that, and Tsukishima is kind of a mouthful sometimes, so when I panicked, I-”

“Shut up, Yamaguchi.”

“Sorry, Tsukki.”

Yamaguchi stands, pleased with himself. Tsukishima didn’t tell him off for calling him Tsukki, so it must be okay. “C’mon,” he holds out a hand to Tsukishima expectantly. “Let’s go.” Tsukishima looks up, confused, and Yamaguchi smiles at him.

“Go where?” Tsukishima takes Yamaguchi’s hand and pulls himself up. Yamaguchi looks at him for a moment before wiping away some of the tears lingering on Tsukishima’s face. At first, Tsukishima flinches, but after a second, he leans into the touch, face slightly red.

“The roof,” Yamaguchi pulls his hand away from Tsukishima’s face. “I’m assuming you don't want to tell me why you just went through… that, right? And it’s dark out, so Tsukki, let’s go watch the stars.”

 


 

“How long have you had recurring anxiety attacks?”

Tsukishima looks over at Yamaguchi lying next to him. Yamaguchi isn’t looking at him, instead of looking up at the stars above. His eyes reflect the stars perfectly, and Tsukishima swears he can see every single one inside those two tiny orbs.

“As long as I can remember, honestly,” Tsukishima admits. “It caused a lot of problems in middle school, so my mom took me to a psychologist. It got rid of the OCD and most of my attacks, but occasionally, I have the odd anxiety attack.”

“Are all of them that bad?” Yamaguchi asks, turning to look at Tsukishima.

“Yeah.”

Yamaguchi sighs, and they look at each other for a moment without speaking. “Well,” Yamaguchi says eventually. “ You aren’t as bad as I thought.”

Tsukishima sputters. “What do you mean by that?”

“When I first met you, I thought that you were a jerk that was incapable of emotions and only cared about himself. What?” Yamaguchi laughs at the glare Tsukishima is shooting at him. “It’s true.”

“That’s not harsh at all,” Tsukishima frowns sarcastically. “Well, my first impression of you isn’t very good either. And before you ask, I’m not going to tell you what it is.”

“Please?”

“No, Yamaguchi.”

“Ah, fine,” Yamaguchi pokes Tsukishima’s side lightly before turning back to the stars. “You know, the stars remind me of life, in a way.”

 When Tsukishima doesn’t say anything, he continues, “Most of the stars we see now are dead, right? They lived their full lives, alone, isolated from all the other stars. When you look at them like that, it’s rather sad. But connect them with the right stars,” Yamaguchi traces a shape in the sky, “and they aren’t alone anymore. They’re better, an improved shape, and in a way, brighter. Just like humans. All alone, they can’t reach their full potential. But if they get connected with the right people, everything can get better.”

And there was that word again. Better. Why does everyone use that word so much? Why is that one word a source of such hope? Tsukishima didn’t know the answer.

“Hey, a shooting star.”

“Where?” Tsukishima follows Yamaguchi’s finger to see the last of the falling star fading away. But he saw just enough of it to smile.

“Make a wish, Yamaguchi.”

And as Yamaguchi goes quiet, making his wish, Tsukishima wishes for everything to get better.

Chapter Text

“Jeez, you’re so focused!”

Tsukishima looks up from his work. Yamaguchi is sprawled across Tsukishima’s bed, his head dangling off of the side. He licks a cherry lollipop, one that Tsukishima got for him. Tsukishima looks at Yamaguchi for a moment before looking back at his work.

He’s so cute , Tsukishima thinks, smirking a little. Realizing what he just thought, he shakes his head slightly. Even if he liked Yamaguchi like that, he couldn’t even be sure that Yamaguchi likes guys too.

“Hey, don’t ignore me!” Yamaguchi throws the finished lollipop stick at Tsukishima, but it doesn’t even make it to the desk before falling to the ground.

“Tch. Please don’t make a mess, Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima groans, leaning down to pick up the stick. “It’s going to get super filthy in here before you even realize it.” When Yamaguchi doesn’t reply, Tsukishima looks up in confusion, only to get tackled to the ground by his laughing roommate.

They lay there in silence for a second, Yamaguchi on top of Tsukishima. They stare at each other, and Tsukishima begins to turn red, hoping that Yamaguchi would get up. But he doesn’t, staring into Tsukishima’s eyes for a moment before bursting out laughing.

“You’re so lame, Tsukki!” Yamaguchi snatches the glasses off of Tsukishima’s face and slides them up the bridge of his nose. He pulls out his phone and grins, “Say cheese!” He snaps a picture, Tsukishima barely able to see any of it without his glasses.

“Wow, your eyesight is really bad,” Yamaguchi exclaims, and Tsukishima reaches forward to snatch the glasses off of his face. Yamaguchi giggles and dodges, jumping up to stand over Tsukki. “You’ll never get them from me!”

“Yamaguchi, I can’t see.”

“Oh, alright, be that way,” Yamaguchi throws the glasses down to Tsukishima, snickering when Tsukishima struggles to get his glasses on right.

And when Tsukishima finally gets his glasses on and the world comes into focus, he catches a glimpse of Yamaguchi’s face. The sun illuminates his best friend, making him seem like a god. And although his eyes look tired, they seem to sparkle. His messy, loose ponytail has strands coming out of it… and yet Tsukishima has never seen someone so beautiful.

Almost two weeks have passed since Tsukishima’s panic attack, and yet Yamaguchi still talks to him. Still cares enough to say good morning every day, cares enough to ask if Tsukishima ate dinner. Yamaguchi treats Tsukishima like a normal person, not one with anxiety, or OCD, and for that, Tsukishima is grateful.

But Tsukishima gets closer to falling in love with Yamaguchi every day.

He doesn’t understand why he feels this way, but what Tsukishima did know was that he wasn’t going to act on it. There was no logical reason why Yamaguchi would feel the same way, and Tsukishima wasn’t about to ruin their friendship for some petty feeling.

“I’m going out with Kuroo and Bokuto today.”

“Oh, really?” Yamaguchi grins down at him. “I knew you’d get sick out of me one day. Guess today’s the day!”

“What, no,” Tsukishima protests. “I could never get sick of you.” He nearly winces at how sappy he sounds, hoping that his blush hasn’t already become noticeable. Luckily, Yamaguchi isn’t looking at him.

“Aw, Tsukki that’s sweet. Is my tongue red?” Yamaguchi sticks out his tongue, going cross-eyed in an attempt to see his own tongue. “I can’t see it.”

Tsukishima pushes his glasses further up his nose. “Yeah, kinda. Maybe I shouldn’t have given you that lollipop, now your tongue is going to be red during your volleyball practice.”

“Nah, it’s fine, Suga won’t mind. Besides, with my hair, now my colour scheme is Christmas-like!” Yamaguchi points between his green hair and red tongue, expecting a reaction from Tsukishima, but to no avail. “You’re no fun,” Yamaguchi pouts. “Christmas is my favourite time of year.”

“It’s Halloween in a few days, how can you already be thinking about Christmas?”

“I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure that I already know what I’m going to get you for Christmas. The only problem is that I’m not sure how I’m going to get it to you if we both go home for the holidays.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Tsukishima says. “I have to give you a gift too, you know. But first, Halloween. Do you know what you’re going to be?”

“Yeah, I already got the stuff. But it’s a surprise! On Halloween, I’m gonna get ready while you’re at your lecture so I can get a reaction out of you.” Yamaguchi puffs out his chest, clearly proud of his plan. “What are you going to be?”

Tsukishima stands up, patting down his shirt. “I’m not sure yet. Probably nothing.”

“What, why? You could totally be a good cowboy, or like, a vampire!” Yamaguchi tilts his head sideways to get a better look at Tsukishima. “I could totally do your blood makeup, I was a vampire two years ago.”

“We’ll see.”

There’s a knock at the door, followed by two loud voices laughing about something. “C’mon, Tsukki-dude, we don’t have all day, it’s already four!”

“I should go,” Tsukishima says. “I’ll see you after?”

“Yeah, once I get back from practice I think,” Yamaguchi blinks, surprised that Tsukishima is asking about something like that. Usually he doesn’t ask when they’ll see each other, they just see each other whenever.

“Alright,” Tsukishima reaches forward before he can comprehend what he’s doing, and ruffles Yamaguchi’s hair slightly. “Bye, Yamaguchi.”

Tsukishima leaves before Yamaguchi can say anything, but as he passes Yamaguchi’s shoulder, he catches a glimpse of his roommate’s face. And when he does, Tsukishima could’ve sworn that Yamaguchi’s face was as red as his.

 


 

“Hey man, are you good?”

Tsukishima turns to Kuroo, an offended look on his face. “Excuse me?”

“You’re actually buying a costume?” Kuroo yanks the package out of Tsukishima’s hand. “I mean, it’s not even really a costume, but a vampire? Since when are you into that stuff?”

“I’m not. I was just thinking that it would be nice to change things up a little and-”

Bokuto peeks over Kuroo’s shoulder, looking back and forth between the package and Tsukishima before whispering something in Kuroo’s ear that makes his jaw drop.

“Holy shit!” Kuroo blinks way too fast to look sane. “Tsukki, did you meet someone?”

“Technically, yes. I met that girl who held the door for us when we left the dorms, that person that took our order at McDonald’s, the bus driver that took our money when we got on the bus,” Tsukishima smirks slightly, trying his best to maintain a neutral expression as Kuroo and Bokuto surround him.

“Stop playing dumb, glasses!” Bokuto shakes his head. “Are you romantically invested in a relationship with someone? Kuroo, did I say that right-”

“Yes, Bo, you did.” Kuroo grins. “Now tell us Tsukki, who’s the special girl- or guy, for that matter?”

“It’s none of your business,” Tsukishima goes to take the package away from Kuroo, but he yanks it away. It was more funny when Yamaguchi did that, but Tsukishima is annoyed now. He just wants them to drop the subject and go back to debating whether or not Bokuto should be a maid for Halloween.

“So there is someone!” Bokuto cheers. “Just tell us, Tsukki, I promise that we won’t make a big deal about it!”

“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep,” Tsukishima rolls his eyes. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about the time that I told you guys that I liked dinosaurs. Bokuto, you literally showed up to my house wearing a dinosaur costu-”

“And you loved it!” Bokuto protests. “At least tell us if we know them or not and what their gender is. It’s not like we can figure it out just based on that.”

“Fine, but only if you brainless morons leave me alone after that,” Tsukishima waits for both Kuroo and Bokuto to nod before prying the costume package from Kuroo’s hands and saying quietly, “You know him, I guess.”

Kuroo and Bokuto’s faces spread into disturbingly wide smiles. They look at each other for a total of six seconds before turning back to Tsukishima and blurting in unison, “It’s Yamaguchi, isn’t it?”

Tsukishima blanches, concerned as to how it was so obvious. Was he really that conspicuous? He recovers quickly, clearing his throat and saying, “And why do you think that?”

“Well,” Kuroo steers Tsukishima to the counter to pay, “Yamaguchi is the only possible option. It couldn’t be either of us, since you despise us, and not Akaashi or Kenma because we would murder you. That leaves Sugawara and Yamaguchi. Sugawara has a boyfriend-”

“He does?”

“Yeah, that captain of Karasuno, the Daichi Sawamura guy I think, don't distract me,” Kuroo waves his hand in dismissal before continuing on with Bokuto snickering behind him. “Since Sugawara is taken, Yamaguchi is the only other person that we know that you know, and since he’s your roommate, it just makes sense.”

“You picked up all of that from one sentence? You guys are ridiculous.” Tsukishima pushes his glasses up his nose, not meeting their eyes.

“You don’t have to admit it, we know that we’re right,” Bokuto grins, patting Tsukishima on the back. “So are you gonna ask him out or what?”

“I, unlike you, can ignore stupid feelings like that,” Tsukishima pauses, pointing to some of the mock guns hung up on the wall. “Hey, do you think that those guns work? There are two specific idiots that I want to shoot.”

“C’mon Tsukki, that’s not nice,” Bokuto pouts.

“Please don’t go into emo-mode, I can’t handle it and I don’t think that Akaashi wants to help us out right now. He’s probably enjoying his peace and quiet,” Tsukishima says with a slight smile hidden on his face.

“How about this,” Kuroo ignores both Bokuto’s sulking and Tsukishima’s snarky remarks, “there’s a party on Bo’s floor on Halloween that we’re both going to. You can bring Yamaguchi and, I don’t know, make a move?”

Tsukishima snorts. “And what are you dressing up as? A scientist again?”

“Hey, Kenma likes that costume!”

“I’m pretty sure he just finds it funny,” Bokuto whispers loudly.

“Hey, don’t you-”

“I’m gonna pay.” Tsukishima walks to the counter, ignoring Bokuto and Kuroo calling after him. Part of him wanted to bring Yamaguchi to the party. But if Yamaguchi went with him, there would be no guarantee that they would be going as more than friends, or if Yamaguchi was actually interested in him at all.

Tsukishima shakes the unwanted thoughts out of his head and pulls out his wallet to pay, but when he does, he sees a notification on his phone. It’s a text from Yamaguchi, so he grabs his phone to check what it is.

It’s a picture of Yamaguchi at volleyball practice with Sugawara, sticking out his still-red tongue out at the camera. Tsukishima covers his smile with the back of his hand and sticks his phone back into his pocket, if only to not give away what he was looking at.

He’d worry about the Halloween situation later, and deal with his stupidly analytical friends first.

Chapter Text

Tsukishima can’t focus. His lecture is nearly over, but his mind is on the Halloween party he would be going to with Yamaguchi in almost two hours. It didn’t take much to convince Yamaguchi to go to the party with him, but Yamaguchi was originally confused as to why Tsukishima wanted to go to the party in the first place.

When Tsukishima’s teacher ends the lecture, he gets ready as fast as he can, packing away his laptop so he can get back to his dorm as soon as possible. But as he’s about to exit, his teacher calls him over.

“Tsukishima, if you have a moment,” his professor exclaims loudly. He doesn't even look up, continuing to pile the work on his desk. Tsukishima froze, wondering what was going on.

“Yes, professor?” Tsukishima walks towards the desk and stops just before he reaches it. All the students are gone by now, and Tsukishima is the only one left in the lecture room. His professor finally looks up, a disappointed look on his face.

“Your grades are falling, Tsukishima,” he says. Tsukishima blinks in surprise. He hadn’t even noticed. How could it have slipped past his weekly analysis of his marks? “It’s not by much, but you’re a student with a lot of potential. I don’t usually pay attention to certain individuals, but you’re one of the best in my class. I don’t want you to start falling behind,” he adds.

Tsukishima blinks in disbelief. “Professor, I-”

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been zoning out during my lectures,” his professor frowns in Tsukishima’s direction. “If there’s something that’s bothering you, please let me know.”

“Sorry, professor.”

“It’s alright, Tsukishima, please try to focus next time. I don't want you to fail.”

Fail.

A failure, then. That’s what he was. Tsukishima bids his professor a quiet goodbye before hurrying out of the class. The word echoes in his head, and he clenches his fists.

If he failed the class, then he wouldn’t be able to get a job. Without a job, he would have no money, no place to go, no way to live his life. He shouldn’t go to the Halloween party. Studying was the better option anyway, to keep his grades up.

But Tsukishima remembers the look on Yamaguchi’s face when he was invited to the party. So, so happy. A face that Tsukishima could never see when he looked in the mirror. He wasn’t going to ruin it for Yamaguchi, so he needed to go to the party.

Tsukishima pauses in one of the empty hallways, leaning back against the wall to take a deep breath.

You’re a failure, Tsukishima Kei.

He flinches at the voice in his head.

So fucking pathetic.

Go away, Tsukishima thinks. Leave me alone. But the voice won’t go away, getting louder and louder until he feels a pinch of pain in his palms.

Tsukishima looks down, startled to see both of his palms bleeding, fingernail markings trailing along his hand. Did he just…

You deserve it. In so many ways. Do it again, Tsukishima, do it. You deserve the pain.

He believes the voice. Believes it to the point where he clenches his fists again if only to make the cuts deeper. They hurt more now, and small droplets of blood leak through the wounds. Tsukishima stares at his hands for a moment in disbelief. He never thought that his mental health would get to the point where he self-harmed. Yet here he was… and he felt as though it was the right thing to do.

Tsukishima shakes his head vigorously and a single tear runs down his face. He has to get back to the dorm before he does something that he regrets. He tears through the halls, eventually getting back to the dorm without making any mistakes.

Yamaguchi greets him when he enters, expecting Tsukishima to look at his costume. He smiles widely, but when Tsukishima ignores him and heads straight for his closet, his smile morphs into a frown.

“Tsukki, look at my costume!” Yamaguchi steps towards his roommate but still gets no response. It wasn’t a panic attack, he notices, because Tsukishima doesn’t seem to be shaking or scared. So then why was he rummaging through his closet in such a frantic state? “It’s not nice to ignore people for no reason you know.”

Tsukishima stops rummaging in his closet without sparing a glance at Yamaguchi or his costume. He seems to be holding a roll of gauze and attempting to wrap it around one of his hands, but both of his hands are too shaky to do anything.

“Tsukki, is everything alright?” Yamaguchi strides across the room in three steps and reaches for Tsukishima’s hands. To his surprise, Tsukishima turns his back to him as fast as he can, hiding his hands.

“Everything’s fine,” Tsukishima says roughly, still attempting to get the gauze around his hands.

“Let me see your hands,” Yamaguchi tells him. “Did something happen? Do I need to go attack someone or…” Tsukishima doesn’t laugh or reply, not moving to show Yamaguchi what the problem was. “Please, Tsukki.”

With a sigh, Tsukishima slowly turns around. He couldn’t say no to Yamaguchi even if he tried. He holds out his hands and closes his eyes slightly, so he wouldn’t have to see the look on Yamaguchi’s face.

“Oh, it’s just a few cuts, that’s not so bad,” Yamaguchi exclaims. “You must’ve been pretty stressed to do that by accident. Or did you fall…?”

Tsukishima tries to find his voice, but can barely muster one word. His mouth is dry. What would Yamaguchi think if he told him the truth?

He’ll leave you , the voice says. He’ll think that you’re pathetic.

“I…”

Yamaguchi flinches in realization. “Tsukki,” he whispers, “did you do that on… purpose?”

No reply.

Yamaguchi sees Tsukishima stiffen and reaches for his hands. They’re warmer than Yamaguchi originally thought they’d be. The cuts still seem to be leaking a bit of blood, but not enough to drip onto the carpet. “Tsukki, please talk to me. Did you-”

“Yes, alright?” Tsukishima snaps. The voice in his head clouds most of his thoughts, but he doesn’t fail to realize the way that Yamaguchi sucks in a breath. “I did.”

“Why?”

Such a simple question , Tsukishima thinks, with such a complicated answer .

“It’s none of your business,” he ends up saying.

“Actually, it kinda is,” Yamaguchi recovers from his shock. “First of all, this is my dorm too, and if there’s blood on the floor, we’re gonna have to clean it up. Second, you’re my best friend, and I care about you. Please, you need to tell me what’s going on inside of your head.”

Tsukishima stays silent for a second. “B-best friend?” He doesn’t believe it. For a moment, barely a second, he forgets about his hands. Yamaguchi cares, he realizes. He cares enough to ask what’s going on.

“Yeah, best friend,” Yamaguchi’s face burns, but Tsukishima still isn’t looking and doesn’t notice. “So do you want to tell me what’s up?”

“No.”

He’ll judge you. He’ll think less of you. He’ll find out how weak you are and leave.

“Alright, I won’t pry,” Yamaguchi whispers. “But please, let me clean the cuts.”

“Don’t you think I’m pathetic? Why do you even care?”

The words slip out before Tsukishima can stop them. Yamaguchi looks up at Tsukishima’s reddening face and tears begin to form in his eyes.

“Tsukki… you’re not pathetic. Please don’t ever think that way. You’re so, so important to me. More than you know. I could never think of you as weak or pathetic because you are so strong. Never forget that, alright?”

“I couldn’t stop myself,” Tsukishima whispers, and a tear leaks out of his closed eyes. “It was an accident at first, but then I-” His voice breaks, and he can’t seem to form another word.

“Should we get someone who knows what they’re doing?” Yamaguchi asks suddenly. “What if you do it agai-”

“No.”

“Tsukki, please.”

“I won’t, alright? I don't want to talk about this anymore, can we please just clean the cuts and forget that this happened?”

“...Okay. But I’m not going to forget about this. I know that you don’t like opening up about these things, like what you’re thinking about, but please, tell me if you feel like doing something that you’ll regret. I don’t want to lose you.”

Tsukishima’s eyes fly open in disbelief to see Yamaguchi looking down. But his mind goes blank and his breath is nearly knocked out of his lungs when he sees what Yamaguchi's costume is.

Yamaguchi is dressed up as a punk rockstar. The bottom half of his hair is dyed white, eyeliner runs along his eyelids, and his outfit is completely different than his usual style. Even his nails are painted black. Tsukishima jolts as he realizes how much his heart is pounding.

Shit , he thinks. Pull yourself together. He tries to contain his thoughts.

Yamaguchi looks up slowly, wondering why Tsukishima hasn’t answered him and catches a glimpse of the look on Tsukishima’s face. “What? Did I say something wrong? Or do you not like my costume?”

“No, no, it’s nothing,” Tsukishim clears his throat slightly. “You look great. And… thank you, Yamaguchi.” Somehow, Yamaguchi manages to remain oblivious to how flustered Tsukishima is.

A smile spreads across Yamaguchi’s face. “Anytime, alright? Now, c’mon. Let’s get your hands bandaged and get ready for the party.”

 


 

“Do we really have to go in there?”

Tsukishima and Yamaguchi stand outside of the party, arms linked, and Tsukishima fidgets with his costume again. Yamaguchi really outdid himself, painting blood that was almost too realistic on Tsukishima's face. With the blood and the costume he'd bought, Tsukishima almost thought that Halloween might not be so bad. Maybe he just liked how close Yamaguchi stood when applying the blood. Or maybe he just liked when Yamaguchi fingers occasionally brushed his lips while putting on Tsukishima's fangs. 

Tsukishima keeps tugging Yamaguchi’s arm in the direction of their dorm, but Yamaguchi only laughs. “Yes, let’s go.” Yamaguchi pulls open the door and yanks Tsukishima inside. Almost immediately, as if summoned, Kuroo appears.

“Hi Kuroo,” Tsukishima and Yamaguchi say, nearly in unison.

“Hey, guys!” Kuroo grins lazily, his science lab coat ruffled. He stands there, clearly proud of his scientist getup. “Tsukki, nice costume, I didn’t know that your stubborn ass had it in you. You too, Yamaguchi, you look pretty hot-”

“Kuroo, shut up, you’re getting drunk. The party barely started an hour ago.” A small guy without a costume and grown-out bleached hair comes up beside Kuroo and gives him a look, his face clearly displeased. He looks back down at his game and links arms with Kuroo.

Yamaguchi fidgets beside Tsukishima, grabbing onto the hem of Tsukishima's shirt. They both turn red at the same time.

“Kenma, I'm sorry, I know that I promised to be a loyal boyfriend, but I can't deny how attractive punk Yamaguchi is! Besides, it's not like drinking is illegal! For me, at least.” Kuroo wiggles his fingers at Tsukishima and Yamaguchi. “But for Tsukki and Yamaguchi, it may or may not be. I won’t tell on you though!”

“Uh, sorry about him,” Kenma sighs, sliding his game into his pocket. “Hi, Tsukishima. Who's your friend?”

“I’m Yamaguchi Tadashi.”

“Cool. Look, I’m gonna get Kuroo some water before Bokuto comes and challenges him to another drinking contest.”

“Alright, nice seeing you Kenma.” Tsukishima nods as Kenma shoves Kuroo towards the kitchen. With Kuroo out of the way, they finally get a good look at the party.

The music blasts from every corner, letting the people in the middle of the party dance. Tables with various drinks and food are in random places. Many people are sprawled across couches, and a few people are making out in certain spots of the room. Tsukishima turns to Yamaguchi, who’s already smiling up at him.

“Hey, do you wanna-”

“HEY! HEY! HEY! IS THAT TSUKKIBALALALALA?”

Tsukishima groans as Bokuto tumbles into view. Akaashi trails behind him, visibly annoyed. Bokuto stops in front of the two of them and laughs loudly, turning a few heads.

“And Yamaguchi!” Bokuto is clearly already drunk, and Akaashi is holding on to him, trying to keep Bokuto upright.

“Sorry, I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, he was like this.” Akaashi smiles slightly, “You must be Yamaguchi? I’m Akaashi Keiji.”

Yamaguchi nods. “You’re Bokuto’s friend?”

“Boyfriend, actually,” Akaashi looks sideways at Bokuto, who exclaims,

“Boyfriend? More like my future husband! Should I propose now?” Bokuto whispers loudly as turns to Tsukishima. Akaashi looks at Bokuto incredulously, but he doesn't seem to notice. “Yo, dino-dude, do you have a ring that I could borrow?”

Tsukishima smirks. “Yeah, no.”

“Bokuto-san, please shut up.” Akaashi’s face is more red than Bokuto’s, but he’s still smiling widely. It couldn’t be more clear that he was happy with what Bokuto had just said.

“But Agaashiiiiii, Kuroo said that I should propose! He’s gonna propose to Kenma when he graduates, I wanna beat his ass. I just love you so much, Agaashi, let’s just get married now!” Bokuto whines.

“Bokuto-san, I swear to god,” Akaashi groans. “You-”

He’s cut off by Bokuto gagging. “Akaashi, I don’t feel good.”

“Shit-” Akaashi pulls Bokuto towards the bathroom. “He's definitely gonna be sick. Nice to see you two! Enjoy the party!”

The two guys stand there for a moment in complete silence before Yamaguchi bursts out laughing. “Your friends are really interesting,” Yamaguchi giggles. “I don’t know if I should be concerned or not.”

“You should be.” Tsukishima sighs. “Come on, let’s go get some food. I already regret coming here.”

Chapter Text

“I’m gonna go get some water.”

Tsukishima turns towards Yamaguchi’s voice. They’ve been standing in the same corner together the whole time that they’ve been at the party, just talking. They complained about the workload in their classes and analyzed the people in the room. It was quite fun for Tsukishima since he heard Yamaguchi’s opinion so much in that short period.

“Alright, go, just don’t let a perverted weirdo like the one on the couch get you,” Tsukishima teases.

“Now I’m getting scared,” Yamaguchi pouts. Tsukishima opens his mouth to apologize, but Yamaguchi bops him on the nose. “I’m only kidding, Tsukki. I’ll be back soon.”

He leaves Tsukishima in the corner, red-faced and flustered. Tsukishima’s mouth is slightly agape as his eyes follow Yamaguchi until his roommate enters the kitchen.

And that’s it. Tsukishima’s completely head-over-heels in love with Yamaguchi.

He stands there for a long time, not doing anything except thinking. Should he act on his feelings? How lucky would it be that Yamaguchi liked him back? Loved him back, even. Could they still be friends if Yamaguchi didn’t return the sentiment?

He looks down at his watch, jolting slightly when he realizes that it’s been nearly fifteen minutes since Yamaguchi left. It doesn’t take fifteen minutes to get water, does it? Was everything okay?

He pushes off the wall and makes his way towards the kitchen. Halfway there, Kuroo of all people crashes into him.

“What the fuck, Kuroo?” Tsukishima steadies his friend, who looks up at him with a bemused look on his face.

“Hey man,” Kuroo grins up at Tsukishima. “Worried about Yamaguchi?”

“That’s none of your business,” Tsukishima snaps. Kuroo only chuckles, using Tsukishima to steady himself. “Are you drunk?”

“I saw him in the kitchen, let’s go. And,” Kuroo adds while dragging Tsukishima towards the kitchen, “maybe I am a little drunk, but it’s fine because Kenma says that no one except him would be interested in hitting on my geeky, volleyball, science-nerd ass. Ah, I love him so much.”

“Hey, Kuroo, sto-” Tsukishima hisses in protest and tries to escape Kuroo’s grip, and of course, he fails. Kuroo stops dead at the kitchen door, and swallowing slightly, turns back to Tsukishima.

“Let’s go back and wait in your corner,” Kuroo exclaims loudly.

“What’s wrong with you now?” Tsukishima finally shakes himself from Kuroo’s grip and while keeping Kuroo at bay, searches the kitchen for Yamaguchi. “Kuroo, I swear to god, you’re so annoying, just leave me alo- oh.”

He finally spots Yamaguchi. But he isn’t getting water like he said he was. He’s talking to a pretty blond girl, and they’re… extremely close together. Of course, the kitchen is pretty full of people, but they don’t have to be close to the point where they’re almost kissing. Yamaguchi’s smiling, laughing even. He leans over the girl, his elbow resting on the wall above her. He’s flirting, then.

And out of nowhere, the girl leans towards Yamaguchi. Tsukishima turns away, unable to look any longer. He strides towards the door and out of the party with Kuroo in tow, the world blurring before him. The hallway walls push in towards him, suffocating him.

“Tsukki, I’m sure that he didn’t-”

“He didn’t what, Kuroo?” Tsukishima whips around, stopping his friend in his tracks. Kuroo gapes at the tears in Tsukishima’s eyes. Tsukishima has never been one to express his emotions, and yet here he is, crying in the hall. “Tell me.”

“Look, I’m sorry but-”

“You know what?” Tsukishima rips his hands through his hair. He can barely see Kuroo in front of him, the world tilting beneath him. “I’m going back to my room. It was a mistake coming here. Jesus fuck, just leave me alone. ”

He turns back around, but Kuroo grabs his wrist. “Tsukki, I know that you’re upset, and-”

“Do you? You got Kenma, Kuroo. You got your happy ending. I just lost mine. So let me be sad for once -” He chokes on a sob, and Kuroo just watches, eyes wide.

“I- alright. Go then. Just please, don’t do something you regret.”

“What, like kill myself? Sorry Kuroo, I can’t make any promises.” Tsukishima leaves Kuroo in the hall, stumbling towards his dorm. It isn’t like he’s drunk. Tsukishima is so heartbroken that the world can’t stay still beneath his feet.

He somehow makes it back to his dorm and shuts himself in the bathroom with extreme difficulty. He turns on the shower in the coldest setting and tumbles into it. His heart is so hurt that the pain is nearly physical.

He sits down in the shower’s tub, not caring that his costume is soaked and his makeup is running down his face. He looks down at his bandaged hands and goes to rip off the fabric wrapping around his cuts. He hisses as the water stings his open skin.

Yamaguchi didn’t like him back. It was painfully obvious that he liked that girl. The girl that was definitely trying to hit on Yamaguchi at the party. It makes sense. Yamaguchi is, of course, extremely attractive and incredibly kind. The way his hair rests on his shoulders, the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles… Tsukishima shakes his head.

"Fuck." He forces the word out of his mouth with difficulty.

He always knew, deep down, that Yamaguchi didn’t feel the same way that Tsukishima did. He’d just always elected to ignore it. He grabs onto his shirt, right near his heart, trying to block out the waves of raw, painful emotion flowing through him.

What’s the point in living now, Tsukishima?

The voice is back after only a few hours of absence. Tsukishima puts his hands over his ears if only to block out the sound. But it does nothing, the voice being inside his head.

Just end it already. You’re a burden to Yamaguchi.

“No,” Tsukishima whispers. “I’m not. He cares. He cares.”

So then why was he with that girl? Cares about you, my ass!

Tsukishima whimpers, clearly in distress. It would be easier for Yamaguchi, for him, if he just died. He looks up, ignoring the water running into his eyes, spotting hair-cutting scissors on the bathroom counter.

He looks down at his wrists and back up at the scissors. It would be so easy to just end his life right there.

Do it.

As if in a daze, Tsukishima takes out his phone. He opens his messages and texts Yamaguchi.

I’m sorry, he types. It’s easier this way. Please forgive me.

He clicks send and pauses only briefly before standing up and making his way over to the counter. His fingers wrap around the scissors and a few more tears escape from Tsukishima’s eyes. He leaves his phone on the counter, ignoring the notifications that pop up every few seconds.

He sits back down in the shower, not bothering to turn it off. The blood will wash away easier with water anyway. Tsukishima shivers slightly, remembering what Kuroo told him right before he left the hall. Don’t do something you regret.

But if he didn’t regret it, Kuroo wouldn’t be mad, right?

He isn't drunk, but his thoughts make his head swim. His one motive lies clear at the front of his mind. He holds the scissors to his left wrist. How long would he have to slit his right wrist after the left? He can barely see his own wrists now, even with his glasses on. Yet Tsukishima can feel every drop of water on his back. He feels his hair plastered against his face. He feels his chest move with every breath.

He savours each feeling. He won’t feel them again.

The scissors dig into his wrists now. They don’t draw blood just yet. In his mind, Tsukishima takes a few seconds to thank everyone in his life. His brother, his mom, Bokuto, Kuroo, Akaashi, Kenma, the rest of his friends, the rest of his family, and Yamaguchi.

He squeezes his eyes shut.

Now. End your life now.

But Tsukishima hesitates. He doesn’t know why he does it, but he just can’t seem to go through with his plan.

Pathetic. Stop being a coward and do it NOW. CUT.

“Goodbye,” Tsukishima mumbles. He pushes the scissors down, and he winces at the pain. He starts to drag the scissors across his wrists, and-

The door of the bathroom bangs open.

Tsukishima drops the scissors in surprise, grabbing his wrist and opening his eyes to look at the doorway.

Yamaguchi stands there. His phone falls out of his hand when he takes in the sight of Tsukishima in the shower, the scissors, the small cut on Tsukishima’s wrist that could’ve been so much worse if he hadn’t burst in when he did. Tears flow freely down his face as he rushes towards his roommate, clambering into the tub.

Yamaguchi collapses and pulls Tsukishima into his arms without a word, not caring that his clothes and makeup are being ruined. He laces his fingers into Tsukishima’s hair, pulling Tsukishima’s head forward so it rests on his shoulder.

Is this a dream? Tsukishima wonders against Yamaguchi’s neck. Am I already dead?

He watches the white hair dye wash out of Yamaguchi’s hair, the dye running down both of their clothes. No, if he was dead, he wouldn’t feel Yamaguchi’s warmth contrasting the coldness of the shower water.

They don’t move for a while. At some point, Yamaguchi uses the bandage on the tub floor to temporarily cover Tsukishima’s wrist. The bleeding isn’t serious, barely any blood leaking from the wound. Tsukishima doesn’t see Yamaguchi’s face, his face being buried in Yamaguchi’s shoulder. But Tsukishima hears him sniffle slightly in an attempt to cover up a sad whimper.

So Tsukishima pulls back to look at Yamaguchi. Through his smeared glasses, he sees that his roommate’s eyes are red, and either tears or water dripping down Yamaguchi’s face. Maybe both. They look at each other for a moment before Yamaguchi tries to speak.

“W-why didn’t you talk to me?”

Yamaguchi lets out a choked sob, and Tsukishima can only stare back at him.

“You told me that you would. Why did you lie? I- almost- lost- you-” Yamaguchi hits Tsukishima’s chest with each word. “Why- did- you- lie- to- me-” He breaks down sobbing, slumping forward into Tsukishima’s chest.

Immediately, waves of guilt flow through Tsukishima.

“Yamaguchi, I-” He can’t seem to form any words. For the first time in a long time, Tsukishima is at a loss for words. “I’m s-sorry, I wasn’t thinking straight, I-”

Yamaguchi wraps his arms around Tsukishima’s abdomen and says, “You could’ve t-talked to me, you know.”

“No, I couldn’t have.”

He won’t understand, the voice hisses. You should’ve killed yourself when you had the chance.

“Please tell me what’s going on inside your head, Tsukki. It might make things better.”

Better. Tsukishima hated that word. He hated it so much. Why did people always put hope in hopeless situations?

“Yamaguchi, it won’t,” Tsukishima pulls back.

The scissors are still there. Just grab them and use them. Tsukishima winces, trying to shut out the voice.

Yamaguchi looks up at Tsukishima. “For once in your life, just open up. It’s not healthy to keep it all in and battle it yourself.”

“The voice won’t let me.”

“The what?”

“The fucking voice inside my head!” Tsukishima yells. “It won’t leave me alone!” He whimpers, causing pain to shoot through Yamaguchi. He hates to see Tsukishima like this; it breaks his heart.

Yamaguchi stares at Tsukishima in disbelief. He slowly reaches forwards, but at the last second, pulls back. “The voice inside your head… is it… evil? Telling you to do bad things?”

Tsukishima nods, wiping his eyes with the back of his head repeatedly, falling back into one of his OCD habits. Yamaguchi reaches for the knob of the shower, finally turning off the water. The two of them sit there, their clothes soaked and chilling them to the bone.

“Look, Tsukki… that voice is lying. Anything it tells you isn’t something you should agree on. I’m not lying like the voice does, okay? You’re safe now. I’m here. So please, talk to me. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you at the party, I-I got caught up in talking to a friend. Dammit, I was being so stupid, losing track of time as I did. But then I saw that text and Kuroo told me what you’d said, so I panicked. You scared me so much, Tsukki. I thought that I’d lost you. I’m never going to forgive myself.”

Yamaguchi’s voice drowns out the one inside Tsukishima’s head. It overpowers it, and Tsukishima’s mouth seems to open by itself. He begins to talk.

Tsukishima tells Yamaguchi what’s going on. How his teacher talked to him, how he’s sure that his own brother despises him, and how much of a burden he thinks he is. Yet, he doesn’t mention what happened at the party.

Throughout it all, Yamaguchi sits there. He listens attentively, his eyes not leaving Tsukishima’s face. And when Tsukishima finishes, Yamaguchi stands.

For a second, worry flies through Tsukishima. Was that the final straw? Was Yamaguchi about to leave him?

But Yamaguchi smiles weakly, holding out his hand. “Come on Tsukki, let’s get you cleaned up.”

A few minutes later, Tsukishima stands in front of his bed, his wrist and hands freshly bandaged, new clothes on, and his hair dried. Yamaguchi gestures for Tsukishima to sit down beside him. Tsukishima obliges, sitting crossed-legged in front of his best friend.

“What made you decide to do what you did today?”

“Hm?” Tsukishima looks up at Yamaguchi, a confused look flitting across his face.

“I can understand how everything builds up,” Yamaguchi says, “but when we were together at the party, you were happy. Amused, even. So what happened when I left?”

“As if you would understand,” Tsukishima snorts.

“Tsukki,” Yamaguchi scoffs. “You can’t imagine how I felt when I saw you in the tub with those scissors. On top of that, I just saw you break down in front of me. I’m pretty sure that I’ll understand. I know that you're not the type that likes receiving advice. You just want someone to be there to listen to you. And that person is me, so please talk to me and don't make me force you.”

Tsukishima hesitates for a moment before replying. “You were with that girl. In the kitchen. You looked so happy with her, and when she leaned in to kiss you… I realized that you would be much happier around her than around me. You’re my last reason to stay alive, Yamaguchi. So I thought, you won’t need me when you have her.”

He watches Yamaguchi’s face once he finishes talking. To his surprise, Yamaguchi is smiling.

“Tsukki,” Yamaguchi says, struggling to maintain a straight face, “I’m gay.”

“What?”

“I like guys.” Yamaguchi bursts out laughing, causing Tsukishima to smile slightly. “Sorry, sorry, I’m supposed to be serious. I just thought that you would’ve noticed by now. I mean, technically I'm bisexual, but recently I've been way more interested in guys so I'm probably gonna come out as gay. Wait, no, that's oversharing.”

“I-” Tsukishima doesn’t know what to say. He was wrong before, so that means… he has a chance with Yamaguchi? “So then what were you doing with that girl?”

“Oh, her? That was my high school friend, Yachi. She even has a girlfriend, Tsukki. Like man, your gay-dar is messed up.”

They look at each other for a few seconds before collapsing in a fit of giggles.

“Come on, you should sleep now,” Yamaguchi grins, wiping his eyes. “It’s a Saturday tomorrow, we can fix everything then. Just relax for me now. I’m here.”

“You sound like a superhero,” Tsukishima mumbles while getting under his covers. “‘It’s fine now. Why? Because I am here!’ You’re ridiculous, ha.”

“Ah, shut up.” Yamaguchi helps set up Tsukishima’s covers before standing. But as he turns away to get into his own bed, Yamaguchi feels Tsukishima’s hand grab his.

“Yams?”

“Yes, Tsukki?”

“Will you lie with me tonight?”

Yamaguchi looks down at Tsukishima’s vulnerable face for a moment before agreeing. “Of course.”

He goes to turn off the dorm lights, coming back to lie down beside Tsukishima. Tsukishima turns around, his back to Yamaguchi. “Wow, Tsukki,” Yamaguchi murmurs against Tsukishima’s back, wrapping his arms around him. “So desperate to be the little spoon, huh?”

“Shut up, Yamaguchi.”

“Sorry, Tsukki.”

Little does Yamaguchi know, Tsukishima’s face is red and his heart pounding. Nonetheless, he feels safe with Yamaguchi. Tsukishima’s internal voice disappears, finally allowing him to breathe. They both begin to doze off after a few minutes.

Assuming that Yamaguchi is already sleeping, Tsukishima whispers into the dark,

“Yamaguchi, please stay with me.”

He doesn’t expect an answer, and he doesn’t seem to get one. But just as Tsukishima drifts into an easy sleep, Yamaguchi’s voice echoes out behind him.

“Always.”

Chapter Text

Tsukishima opens his eyes.

The first thing he feels is Yamaguchi’s warm body pressed against his. The next thing he feels is the sun shining against his face. Yamaguchi must’ve forgotten to close the curtains last night before getting into Tsukishima’s bed.

Tsukishima groans and rolls out of Yamaguchi’s grip. It’s been nearly eight days since he attempted to end his life, and Yamaguchi has been by his side ever since. Yamaguchi hasn’t gone to the gym or seen any of his friends. He even skipped his classes so he could tag along to Tsukishima’s. And yet, he still hasn’t fallen behind in school.

Luckily, Tsukishima’s grades have been rising. His finance professor even pulled him aside after class once to tell him how well he was doing. Tsukishima doesn’t understand what changed, but at the same time, he has a feeling that it has to do with Yamaguchi being there to support him.

Yamaguchi sleeps in Tsukishima’s bed every night now, of course not in a sexual way. Platonically.

Platonically .

That’s what Tsukishima keeps on telling himself, but that doesn’t stop his mind from wandering every time Yamaguchi lies down beside him.

All of a sudden, Yamaguchi huffs and tries to get Tsukishima back into his arms.

“Hey,” he yawns, grabbing at the hem of Tsukishima’s shirt. “It’s almost nine in the morning, can’t we sleep a little longer?”

Tsukishima sighs, letting Yamaguchi pull him back into his arms. He wouldn’t have usually let this happen, but he couldn’t let Yamaguchi see how red his face was at the moment. Yamaguchi’s morning voice is… very attractive to him, and hearing it so close to him each morning flusters Tsukishima more than he cares to admit.

Tsukishima isn’t exactly fond of physical touch, but as always, for Yamaguchi, he makes an exception. He lies still in Yamaguchi’s arms for five more minutes, savouring the feeling of Yamaguchi’s face against his upper back.

Each night, Tsukishima swears that it will be the last night he sleeps in the same bed as Yamaguchi. And every morning, he throws that promise out the window.

“Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima whispers. For a moment, he thinks that Yamaguchi has fallen asleep again, but he gets a reply a few seconds later.

“Yes, Tsukki?” Yamaguchi’s voice vibrates through Tsukishima’s back, causing him to shiver slightly. “Is everything alright?”

“Can you teach me how to play volleyball today?”

“What?” Yamaguchi sits up wildly, sputtering. His hair is dishevelled, the bun he tied his hair into the previous night almost tangled beyond recognition. Tsukishima looks over his shoulder at Yamaguchi, smirking a little. Yamaguchi looks down at his best friend with confusion written all over his face. “What did you just say?”

“I’m not going to repeat myself.” Tsukishima props himself up on his elbows, looks back up at him with pure amusement written all over his face. “So will you?”

Yamaguchi smiles widely. “Of course I will. Do you wanna go now? I can invite Suga, or Kageyama, or even Hinata! Maybe you can invite your friends and we can play a game? Oh, that would be so fun- why are you looking at me like that?”

Tsukishima doesn’t reply, only looking up at Yamaguchi with his eyebrows raised.

“Oh, shut up, I know I’m rambling. I’m just excited.”

“I wasn’t talking.”

Yamaguchi puts his forehead in his hands, groaning slightly. Tsukishima nudges Yamaguchi’s arm with his hand in response. When Yamaguchi looks up, Tsukishima smiles at him, which causes Yamaguchi to grin back. The small gesture brings him a lot of joy, seeing that Tsukishima hasn’t smiled much in the past week.

“Do you want to go now?” Yamaguchi blurts.

Tsukishima tsks, “Yamaguchi, as you said only a few minutes ago, it’s only nine in the morning. And it’s Saturday. Let’s relax for a few more minutes before we go or I’ll regret asking.”

“Fine,” Yamaguchi pouts. He stands on the bed, holding up one elbow like a wrestler. He lets out a small yell and a giggle before jumping on top of Tsukishima. “Let’s wrestle then!”

Tsukishima yelps, startled. Yamaguchi screeches in joy, tackling Tsukishima with a hug. He nuzzles against Tsukishima’s chest, leaving Tsukishima with his eyes wide, his face is red. Yamaguchi’s act of affection is overwhelming.

It’s way too much. If Tsukishima doesn’t pull away, if he doesn’t put up a wall as soon as possible, then he won’t be able to restrain himself.

So he rolls out of Yamaguchi’s embrace and off of the bed. He grunts when he hits the floor, landing flat on his ass.

Yamaguchi gasps in alarm, looking over the edge of the bed and not being able to see Tsukishima’s face. He begins to panic. “Tsukki, are you okay? I’m so sorry-”

“Yams.” Tsukishima looks up at his roommate, a rare, bright smile across his face. “I’m alright, why are you so worried about me all the time?”

Yamaguchi shrugs, sliding over the edge of the bed and onto the floor beside Tsukishima. “Maybe I care about you a little too much, I don’t know.” Yamaguchi’s face flushes slightly. “Sorry, that was out of pocket.”

“No, it’s fine,” Tsukishima waves his hand in dismissal. “Kuroo and Bokuto overstep my boundaries all the time, you aren’t even close to their level of annoying.”

“Ah, alright,” Yamaguchi licks his lips, causing Tsukishima to blink and look away. “That makes me wonder, Tsukki, you seem to be the tsundere type. Assuming that you like guys, is there, uh, a chance that you have feelings for Bokuto or Kuroo?”

Tsukishima sputters, looking back at Yamaguchi with disbelief written across his face. “Wha- that’s ridiculous, why would you- I-”

“What’s ridiculous,” Yamaguchi replies smoothly, “you liking guys or you liking one of those two?”

“Liking one of those idiots, of course!”

“So you are gay? I knew it!”

“That’s not the point!” Tsukishima frowns, clearly concerned. “I do like guys, but why would you think that I-”

“Oh, I didn’t,” Yamaguchi waves a hand in dismissal. “I just wanted to know if you were gay or not. I was, uh, testing my gay-dar, you know?”

“The fuck is wrong with you?” Tsukishima scoffs. “I’m concerned for your mental health.”

You’re concerned for me ?” Yamaguchi lets out a small laugh, standing up and offering Tsukishima his hand. “Okay, you do you, let’s just go get some bubble tea for breakfast and then play some volleyball.”

Tsukishima takes Yamaguchi’s hand but hesitates once he stands. “Why are you taking care of me like this?”

“Hm?” Yamaguchi leans forward to make the bed.

“You don’t have to stick around, you know. You don’t even have to talk to me, so why do you bother?”

“Well, I’m trying not to be offended right now,” Yamaguchi jokes. He looks back at Tsukishima with a purely innocent look on his face. “To be very honest, I kind of feel responsible for how you’re feeling, and since you refuse to see a therapist or psychologist, I’ve decided that I’m going to take care of me until you don’t need me anymore.”

“Now that’s the second ridiculous thing you’ve said today, and we’ve only been awake for around twenty minutes.” Tsukishima pulls Yamaguchi into a hug. He’s being awfully bold today, and Tsukishima’s sure that Yamaguchi has noticed.

“And what’s that?” Yamaguchi looks up from Tsukishima’s chest.

“I’m always going to need you.” Seeing the smile spreading across Yamaguchi’s face, Tsukishima frowns. “Hey, you better not be thinking that I’m going fucking soft, because I most definitely am not!”

“Okay, okay.” Yamaguchi steps away. “Let’s go before I start to cry at how sweet you are. Hey!” Yamaguchi dodges a hit from Tsukishima and laughs. “I’m joking, don’t kill me!”

Tsukishima turns away, hiding his face. “C’mon, Yamaguchi. Let’s get ready, I really want bubble tea.”

Chapter Text

“Tsukki, I didn’t think that you would be so good at blocking,” Yamaguchi pouts, taking a sip of his bubble tea. “You blocked me too many times for it to be a coincidence.”

“I don’t know if I should be insulted or not,” Tsukishima smirks, looking up from his phone. They ended up getting bubble tea after finishing playing volleyball with Sugawara. So he, Sugawara and Yamaguchi are sitting on a park bench near a bubble tea place, finishing up their drinks.

“Be both,” Sugawara throws his empty boba cup in the air and sets it into a nearby garbage. Tsukishima replies by rolling his eyes slightly and looking back at his phone. Sugawara pouts and pokes at Tsukishima’s arm.

Yamaguchi watches the two of them together. He doesn’t miss the small smile on Tsukishima’s face or the obvious way he’s trying to be nicer to Sugawara. Yamaguchi’s mouth falls open slightly. He remembers how Tsukishima looked while playing volleyball, the way he looked like he was actually enjoying himself. He swallows and looks away, distracting himself with the cup in his hands.

Tsukishima notices Yamaguchi’s change of energy and nudges his arm. “You good?”

Yamaguchi jumps slightly at Tsukishima’s touch. To Tsukishima’s surprise, Yamaguchi flushes a bright red. “Yeah, sorry,” he looks away quickly. “I’m kind of tired. Don’t worry about it.”

“Daichi’ll be here soon to pick me up, and then you two can go back to your dorm and Yamaguchi can take a nap,” Suga suggests. “I wonder if Daichi’s coming by car, I really want to ask if he’ll strap me to the roof and let me ride back to our dorm like that.”

Yamaguchi and Tsukishima laugh, causing Sugawara to look at them, trying to contain a smile. “C’mon guys, I’m not joking. It sounds really fun, Nishinoya’s done it and he told me how Tanaka almost threw him off a cliff in the process. Kiyoko lectured them after… to think that she’s not used to this stuff after being Tanaka’s girlfriend for almost a year and a half. But that doesn’t matter, just think of the rush!”

“Tanaka and Noya are our old teammates,” Yamaguchi explains after looking over at Tsukishima. “They were another one of our chaotic duos. Kiyoko was our manager.”

“Oh, I see,” Tsukshima says, meeting Yamaguchi’s eyes. The two of them look at each other for a few moments without saying anything.

Suddenly, Tsukishima reaches towards Yamaguchi’s face. He uses his nimble fingers to brush some of the strands escaping Yamaguchi’s ponytail behind his ear. His fingers linger at Yamaguchi’s cheek and their eyes lock.

The world seems to come to a halt around them. Neither of them can bring themselves to look away, even though the tension levels are through the roof. Tsukishima trails his hand down Yamaguchi’s face slightly.

“Tsukki?” Yamaguchi whispers, face red. “What are you doing?”

Tsukishima withdraws his hand as quickly as possible. He rubs the back of his neck and smiles slightly. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to. I won’t do it again, I-”

“No, actually, please do,” Yamaguchi reaches out, pulling Tsukishima’s empty hand back to his face. He places Tsukishima’s hand on his cheek and leans into it. “It feels nice.”

Tsukishima looks away, putting down his drink to cover his face with the back of his other hand. “Yams, why are you-”

“Did you guys forget I was here?”

Yamaguchi and Tsukishima flinch and pull away, turning around to see Sugawara grinning at them with the most bemused face Yamaguchi has ever seen.

“Tch, o-of course not,” Tsuishima pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Oh, you totally did,” Sugawara snickers, looking sideways at them. “I was actually one hundred percent set on watching this scene play out, but Daichi’s here and like I said earlier, I want to ride on the roof of the car.” He plays with his fingers, shaking with laughter as Yamaguchi tries to compose himself.

“I hope you get thrown off the roof of the car,” Yamaguchi covers his red face and sighs.

“Eh, maybe I will, maybe I won’t,” Sugawara shrugs, standing up. “I guess it really depends on Daichi.”

“Bye, Sugawara,” Tsukishima says quietly. He pretends not to be embarrassed and fails.

“C’mon guys, I’m sorry, don’t be mad. I didn't want to interrupt your moment-”

“It wasn’t a moment,” Tsukishima protests. Yamaguchi mutters words of agreement behind him.

“No, no, no, don’t cut me off. Respect your elders, Tsukishima.” Sugawara waves his hand in dismissal, looking back and forth between Tsukishima and Yamaguchi. “What I was going to say was that you guys are both really cute when you’re flustered and that I’ll see you guys later. Daichi’s waiting.”

“Bye Suga,” Yamaguchi whispers dramatically. “I hope that when you go to flip your pillow to the cold side at night, both sides are warm.”

“I hope that your phone charger only works in one really annoying position,” Tsukishima adds.

Sugawara clutches his chest in despair as he begins to walk away backwards. “Ouch, guys, that’s really hurtful. I don’t think I’ll ever recover. Oh wait, look, it’s my loving boyfriend! He’ll solve all my problems! Don’t you guys just hate being single? Hey, no!” He laughs, dodging the cup that Yamaguchi throws at him. “Bye guys, see ya.”

They wave back at Sugawara and watch him greet Daichi at his car. Sugawara’s already bright smile only widens when Daichi kisses him hello. They talk quietly for a moment, and then Daichi laughs loudly, visibly shaking his head.

I guess Sugawara won’t be riding on the roof, Tsukishima thinks, watching Sugawara get in the passenger side of the car.

“Suga wasn’t always that happy, you know.”

Tsukishima turns to Yamaguchi. “What?”

“He just seems so happy all the time, I always wondered why,” Yamaguchi explains. “But when I asked him about it and he opened up, I realized that his life isn’t as perfect as I’d thought. Suga told me how much he worked to make himself happier… I have no idea how he did it.”

“I guess he was just good at putting up a mask.”

“Just like you.” Yamaguchi’s tone causes Tsukishima to look back at him. “Ha, you can’t even deny it anymore. I’m calling you out.”

Tsukishima shrugs. He looks down at his hands, fidgeting with his fingers. When he speaks, it’s barely audible. “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so reserved, and that I could be as excited and open as Sugawara. I want to be able to enjoy myself without thinking negative things.”

Yamaguchi smiles sadly, taking his hand. “You’ll get there, Tsukki. I’ll help you get there.”

 


 

By the time Yamaguchi and Tsukishima get back to their dorm, it’s dark outside. They quickly make dinner without speaking, the tension levels still high from earlier. After they finish eating, Tsukishima immediately goes to shower, grumbling about how sweaty he is.

He showers for a long time, trying to keep his mind off of what happened on the bench and trying not to think about Yamaguchi. Little does he know, Yamaguchi is outside of the washroom facing a struggle of his own.

Yamaguchi stands in front of the mirror, his shirt off, looking himself up and down. He turns to the side, checking how bloated his stomach is. He has a shadow of a six-pack, and yet, he feels disgusting. He feels fat.

“Why did I eat so much food today?” Yamaguchi mumbles, grabbing at the skin on his stomach. “Why am I such a fatass?”

What his elementary school bullies said about him echoes through his head, something he hasn’t thought about in a long time.

Your freckles are so fucking ugly.

What a loser!

Fat.

You’re a piece of shit.

So pathetic.

Yamaguchi shakes his head. That was a long time ago. He’s different now… right?

You’re not doing enough. Staying with Tsukishima is making you fat. Eating food will increase your weight… maybe you just shouldn’t eat anymore.

Yamaguchi jolts as the voice inside his head appears. It sounds like his bullies, like his parents, and like Tsukishima.

But before, he told Tsukishima that the voice inside his head was lying. So wouldn’t his own voice be too?

I’m not lying , the voice whispers. You’re a fat, disgusting pig .

Yamaguchi turns away from the mirror and goes to sit down on his bed, throwing on a shirt as quickly as he can. Tears begin to form in his eyes. He isn’t worthless, Tsukishima taught him that much. Nonetheless, he continues to think about his current weight.

He wants to get up and go to the gym, but he can’t bring himself to move. He sits, curled in a ball against the back wall.

He might not be worthless, but he wasn’t enough and the voice was right. He was getting fat. These thoughts run through Yamaguchi’s head repeatedly, so fast that he doesn’t hear the shower turn off. He merely looks down at his shaking hands, clasping them together in an attempt to calm himself.

Where were these thoughts even coming from? Why were they reappearing now of all times? Yamaguchi used to have trouble with accepting his appearance, but that was years ago, in elementary school. Why did they have to resurface right when Yamaguchi was starting to be happy?

Yamaguchi’s bottom lip trembles and he starts to cry. Tears flow down his face, his sobs shaking the bed.

He’ll never be skinny enough. He’ll always be the fat, ugly, piece of shit that he was in elementary school. He’ll never be what he strives to be.

Yamaguchi is crying so hard that he doesn’t notice Tsukishima coming out of the bathroom, a shirt and shorts on with a towel draped over his shoulders.

When Tsukishima finally looks at Yamaguchi, his hands fall to his side in surprise.

“Yamaguchi? What happened?” Tsukishima closes the distance between them in a few long strides, stopping right as he reaches the bed. He doesn’t make a move to hug Yamaguchi, not knowing what Yamaguchi’s current boundaries are.

“N-nothing happened.” Yamaguchi jolts, attempting to wipe up his tears and calm down. But after a few seconds, his sobs overtake him and Yamaguchi succumbs to his tears again. He covers his face with his hands, avoiding Tsukishima’s gaze.

“Hey, talk to me.” Tsukishima kneels down at the side of the bed and reaches forward to nudge Yamaguchi’s hand. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing, go away!” Yamaguchi doesn’t want Tsukishima to find out what’s going on, not because he’s afraid he’ll leave but because he doesn’t want Tsukishima to look at him differently. So he sticks out one leg, swinging at his roommate in an attempt to get him to move away.

Of course, it doesn’t work. Instead, Tsukishima grabs Yamaguchi’s foot, suddenly pulling him to the edge of the bed. Startled, Yamaguchi looks down at Tsukishima on his knees in front of him. He shakes his head, trying to get rid of an inappropriate thought that appeared. It isn’t the time to be thinking things like this. Tsukishima looks up at him with an exactly shocked, red face and scowls.

“Tell me what’s going on, Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima commands. “If I always have to tell you what’s happening to me, you have to tell me what’s going on. Don’t make me force you.”

“You won’t understand, Tsukki.” Yamaguchi resists the urge to cover his ears, the voice inside his head loud as ever. He looks away and out the window.

Tsukishima rolls his eyes, reaching out his hand. He grips Yamaguchi’s chin and turns his head so that they’re looking at each other again. Yamaguchi’s face, to Tsukishima’s surprise, turns bright pink as he shoves away his hand.

“Please, Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima pleads. “I’m… worried.”

Yamaguchi blinks in disbelief. Tsukishima wasn’t usually one to verbalize his feelings and emotions. He knew that he couldn’t keep it from Tsukishima much longer. So he sighs and offers his best friend a spot beside him on the bed. Tsukishima gets up immediately, sitting awkwardly on the bed.

“So, uh, I’m just overwhelmed right now I guess,” Yamaguchi starts. Tsukishima stares intently at him, eyes begging him to go on in ways that his words could never. “I don’t know if I’ve already told you this, but I was bullied as a kid.”

“You did,” Tsukishima reminds him softly. “A few weeks ago on the roof.”

“Oh yeah,” Yamaguchi smiles weakly through his tears and continues. “Well, um, sometimes what they said comes back to the front of my brain and wrecks my mental health. That’s what happened just now.”

“And what did they say exactly?” Tsukishima visibly clenches his fists in anger.

“I’m a worthless piece of shit, basically.”

“Yams-”

“But that’s not all, Tsukki. I’m fat, okay? I’m fucking fat, and I can’t do anything about it because if I eat, all my progress will go away. I can’t eat anymore, I-”

“That’s a sick joke, Yamaguchi. Why the fuck would you joke about that?” Tsukishima scoffs, looking down into Yamaguchi’s eyes.

Something inside Yamaguchi cracks, and then he’s yelling.

“Joking?” He screams. “Why would I joke about shit like this? It’s how I feel, okay? I knew you wouldn’t understand! You never do, you just make fun of me and act like I’m a pathetic loser that can’t take care of himself!”

Tsukishima gapes at Yamaguchi, frozen in place. He couldn’t be serious, he-

“And you know what? I bet you don’t even care how I feel! All you care about is keeping up that fucking mask that won’t let me see what you really think of me! Whenever I’m with you, all I can think is that you don’t actually care, that the only reason that you’re staying with me is because I helped you in the bathroom that one time!”

“Yamaguchi, please-”

“I’m sick of it! I’m sick of being the last choice in everything, I’m sick of wondering if you actually like me, I’m sick of being fat, I’m sick of living, I’m sick of-”

Just like that, Tsukishima cuts him off, knocking the air out of Yamaguchi’s lungs as he pulls him into a tight hug. As soon as Yamaguchi feels the warmth of Tsukishima’s arms, he breaks down, crying into his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Yamaguchi. I’m so sorry.” Tsukishima whispers. He drops his head on Yamaguchi’s shoulder, and Yamaguchi flinches as he feels Tsukishima’s tears soak the fabric of his shirt. “I thought you were joking, I swear. I’m so fucking sorry. I’m shit at this, I-I didn’t know-”

“It’s fine, Tsukki.” Yamaguchi croaks.

“No, it’s not. You’re not the last choice, Yams. You’re my first choice in everything, you’re my best friend. I care about you more than you could ever know, more than I could ever verbalize. I would take a bullet for you. Shit, I would do anything for you.” Tsukishima grips Yamaguchi tighter as he continues talking. “And you’re not fat. You’re fucking perfect, alright? Everything about you is perfect. Those bullies lied, okay? You don’t need to starve yourself, and you shouldn't starve yourself. You can’t. I won’t let you. Your freckles are beautiful, your body is flawless, your smile makes me weak. Don’t ever forget that. Whoever you end up with will be the luckiest person in the world.”

Tsukishima’s heart seems to shatter as he feels Yamaguchi melt into his arms, breath shaky and uneven. He realizes that he’s said too much, but at the moment, he doesn’t care. All he cares about is making Yamaguchi happy.

“You really mean it?” Yamaguchi’s voice is muffled by Tsukishima’s shirt.

“Yeah.”

Yamaguchi starts to pull away, but Tsukishima is unable to face him. He yanks Yamaguchi forward and back into his arms.

“Don’t, Yamaguchi. Just let me hold you for a while.”

“Okay.”

They sit there for what seems like forever, Yamaguchi’s breathing slowly getting more steady, and Tsukishima’s face slowly returning to its natural colour. When Tsukishima finally pulls away, he holds Yamaguchi at arm's length and looks at him.

“Don’t ever think like that again,” Tsukishima wipes the remaining tears off Yamaguchi’s face. “Please.”

“I-I’ll try.” Yamaguchi bites his lip. “And I know that right now you’re thinking that you said too much, but you didn’t. You made me feel better, Tsukki, you really did.”

Tsukishima grins slightly, causing Yamaguchi to flash him a bright smile.

“I hope you don’t get weak now that I’m smiling, Tsuk- ow!” Yamaguchi isn’t able to dodge the punch that Tsukishima sends his way, so he rubs his arm and pouts. He then takes Tsukishima’s hands, and thankfully, Tsukishima doesn’t pull away. Although, he does frown.

“Shut up, Yamaguchi. Don’t make me take it back.”

“Sorry, Tsukki.”

Tsukishima looks down at their interlocked hands. “I’m not leaving you, you know that? So you better not leave me.”

“Don’t plan on it.”

“Tch. Let’s just go to bed already, it’s getting late. Are you okay now?”

“Yeah, I’m good for now.” Yamaguchi stands up and offers Tsukishima his hand. “Wanna race? Last one ready owes the other lunch tomorrow.”

“You’re on.”

Chapter Text

“I’m going out to buy some bread, wanna come?”

Yamaguchi looks up from his phone. “I’m good, I’ll just stay here and wait.”

“Okay, you need me to get you something from the store?” Tsukishima opens the dorm room door.

“Buy cake.” Yamaguchi waves goodbye to Tsukishima and looks back down at his phone almost immediately.

“Alright, see you.” Tsukishima sighs and steps outside, not bothering to lock the door behind him. He trudges down the hall, barely paying attention to his surroundings. He nears the door, and suddenly he’s almost knocked to the ground.

“Shi- sorry, man. Watch where you’re going.”

Tsukishima looks down at the person he ran into. “My bad,” he says halfheartedly. He doesn’t even bother getting annoyed with the man, he’s too deep in thought.

The guy keeps walking and Tsukishima leaves the building. He walks for a while, collecting his thoughts. He would buy strawberry shortcake at the store. It’s his preference of cake, and Yamaguchi likes it too. Maybe he could even stop at a burger place and get some soggy fries, Yamaguchi’s favourite.

Tsukishima sees the grocery store in the distance and smiles slightly before continuing on.

That’s when Tsukishima gets a gut feeling that something is wrong.

He’s had moments like this before with his OCD when it forced him to do a certain compulsion. But this is different. This feeling, it’s like nothing Tsukishima has ever felt. It’s like a thread is connected to his chest, leading him back to his dorm room. It feels like if he doesn’t follow, the world will end.

So he turns on his heel, walking back to his dorm as quickly as possible.

Faster, the feeling says. It’ll be too late.

For just a second, Tsukishima hesitates. Was the voice another trick, just like the voice that told him horrible things?

No, this voice isn’t lying, he decided. So Tsukishima breaks into a run. His phone rings in his pocket, but Tsukishima ignores the call. He speeds up once he sees his dorm building again. He almost runs into another person as he enters. When he reaches his room’s door, he puts his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

A noise brings Tsukishima back to reality. It sounds like something smashing on the ground. Tsukishima turns wildly, but there’s nothing broken on the ground and no one in the hall except for him.

He shakes his head in realization. Of course, his gut was wrong. When he was younger, Tsukishima always opted to ignore the feelings that appear in his chest, whether a gut feeling or a romantic feeling. He learned to only trust what he sees with his eyes, what he hears in his ears, and what he feels with his fingers.

Tsukishima begins to walk away from his room again, rolling his eyes.

But then he hears it.

Someone yelling from inside a dorm room.

Stop it! Please! ” The voice comes from somewhere behind Tsukishima, and he freezes. He looks around but doesn’t see anyone. The voice rings out again, along with another crash.

Hey, I said stop! Get off of me, Yūj-

Tsukishima turns slowly. He recognizes that voice. He would recognize it anywhere. Yamaguchi.

Something was very wrong after all. Tsukishima struggles with the door for a moment before he flings it open and stumbles inside.

Tsukishima notices many things at once.

First, there’s glass shattered on the floor, and near it lays Yamaguchi’s lamp. Papers are scattered on the floor in disarray, some ripped.

Second, there’s more than one person looking back at him. A man that Tsukishima does not know is kneeling on Yamaguchi’s bed. It’s the guy he passed on the way out of the building. He has an undercut, his blond hair slicked back. He’s shorter than Tsukishima. The guy’s shirt is off, leaving only his grey sweatpants on. He grins, getting off of the bed and tilting his head at Tsukishima in what could only be described as amusement.

And last, the thing that twists Tsukishima’s insides the most. Yamaguchi, huddled against the far corner of his bed, his hands up in front of him in what seems like defense. His shirt is half-off, pants hanging loosely around his upper legs, his hair a mess against his head. He’s shaking uncontrollably, and there’s a look of horror, fright, and helplessness written across Yamaguchi’s face as tears silently fall down his face.

“And who might this be?” The guy turns towards Tsukishima, his smile fading slightly.

“I might ask you the same thing.” Tsukishima steps farther into the room. “What the hell is going on here?”

“T-tsukki,” Yamaguchi tries to speak, but he freezes when the guy struts back over to him. He takes Yamaguchi’s chin in his hand, smiling down at him.

“Oh, I see.” The guy looks away from Yamaguchi’s crying face and glares at Tsukishima. “You must be his roommate? Tsukishima Kei or something? Yeah, Tadashi tried to call you when I got here, but you didn’t pick up. I’m Terushima Yūji, his ex-boyfriend.”

Tsukishima ignores Terushima’s question. All he can think about is the fact that he didn’t look at his phone when he got the notification. What an idiot he was.

Also, ex-boyfriend? He was never mentioned in any of Yamaguchi and Tsukishima’s past conversations.

“Get your filthy hands off him.” Tsukishima breathes. Yamaguchi looks at Tsukishima, terrified and unable to remove himself from Terushima’s grasp.

“Oh, but what would be the fun in that?” Terushima pouts, only gripping Yamaguchi harder. “We were about to have sex when you came in, do you think you could leave so we can continue? That would be great, thank yo-”

Tsukishima crosses the room in a few long strides and grabs Terushima by the arm, yanking him away from Yamaguchi. “Get the fuck out.”

“I’m quite happy where I am, thanks.”

“Do you actually think that Yamaguchi is enjoying your company? I bet he didn’t even take off his clothes by himself.” Tsukishima trembles slightly, purely out of anger. “You forced him, didn’t you? You asshole, I’ll-”

“Let’s calm down, shall we? I was just having some fun.” Terushima pulls his arm away roughly, smirking down at Yamaguchi. “I missed him a lot, I just thought I would do Tadashi a favour and visit.”

“Go away, Yūji,” Yamaguchi whispers.

“Aw, Freckles, don’t be like that-”

“Go fuck y-yourself.” Yamaguchi sticks up his middle finger at Terushima, who only grins.

“Ah, I’m too lazy, why don’t you do it for me?”

Something inside Tsukishima snaps.

“Listen here, motherfucker,” he hisses, grabbing Terushima’s arm again. “You’re going to leave Yamaguchi out of this, and you’re going to follow me outside before I do something horrible to you that I don’t want Yamaguchi to see.”

“Alright, bro, chill.” Terushima grins and leans down to pick up his shirt. Tsukishima ushers him out the door, thankfully restraining himself.

He looks back at Yamaguchi quickly and speaks softly. “I’ll be right back soon, okay? Stay put, Yams. Call Sugawara is you need to.”

Yamaguchi looks like he wants to protest, but he eventually nods slightly. Tsukishima doesn’t want to leave Yamaguchi by himself, but he has to. He leads Terushima out to the front of the building, which is abandoned now that it’s dark. Tsukishima shoves Terushima out the front door.

“You know that what you did is considered sexual assault?”

“Oh, really?” Terushima frowns. Then his face lights up, creeping Tsukishima out. “It doesn’t matter, though. Freckles won’t let you do anything about what happened. Not that anything I did was illegal, of course.”

“And why should I believe you?” Tsukishima demands, taking a step towards Terushima.

“Because Tadashi is still in love with me. I mean, let’s say he isn’t, for your sake. That still won’t change anything.” Terushima pulls on his shirt with ease, shivering from the weather. “I was his first boyfriend. We met at a volleyball game in high school and fell in love. Hell, we were on and off for the rest of the next few years, but I think we loved each other the whole time, no matter what.”

Tsukishima stiffens. He wants to know who this guy really is, and why he’s so set on having sex with Yamaguchi, even without consent. He needs more information. “And why did you break up so often?”

“Tadashi couldn’t handle the pressure of what I desired. I wanted his body, he wanted my affection. Two very different aspects of love, or in my case, lust. So each time I wanted to have sex with him, he would break it off because he was a pussy. But Tadashi is Tadashi, and he’s too nice for his own good. So within a few days, he would always beg for me to take him back. And I would, but only after he sucked my dick. He’s surprising really good at it, considering-”

“Shut up.” Tsukishima clenches his fist. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Oh, is that jealousy I sense?” Terushima chuckles. “Don’t tell me that you’re in love with Freckles, he’ll never want you.” When Tsukishima doesn’t respond, Terushima continues to speak. “Well, I finally ended it all with Tadashi when he graduated high school a year after me. But I missed him and I’m horny, so here I am.”

“Why were you so sure he would want you back, even though you were the one who ended it so long ago after you got what you wanted?”

“It doesn’t matter that I was the one who broke up with Tadashi in the first place. Because just like every other time we split before, I know that as soon as I shove my cock in his mouth, Tadashi will come crawling back like the little slut he is-”

Tsukishima swings at Terushima, hitting him square in the jaw. Terushima yells out, tumbling back and spitting out blood. 

“You little fucker,” he scoffs, wiping his mouth. He holds up his fists. “Ha, are we really doing this? ‘Cause I’m down and won’t go easy on you.”

“Yeah, listen up,” Tsukishima tells him. ‘“If I win the fight, you’re going to leave Yamaguchi alone.”

“Alright,’ Terushima shrugs. “If I win, though, I’m going back in there and you’re staying the fuck out of my business.”

“You’re on, asshole.”

With that, Terushima and Tsukishima launch themselves forwards and into the fight, fists at the ready.

Chapter Text

“Are you just gonna leave him there?”

Tsukishima looks up, wiping the blood from his mouth. Yamaguchi stands at the door of the dorm building, now fully clothed and less shaky, a blanket wrapped around him. Tsukishima bends down and picks up his glasses, wiping off the dirt on them.

“He deserves it,” Tsukishima nudges Terushima’s unconscious body with his foot. “He’ll wake up and leave. We made a deal, so he’s not going to bother you anymore. So let’s get inside, okay?”

Yamaguchi nods, stepping closer to analyze Tsukishima’s wounds. “I can clean you up. It’s just your knuckles and your jaw, right?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” Tsukishima steps over Terushima and makes his way over to Yamaguchi. He reaches out to wrap his arms around him, but Yamaguchi flinches away. “Oh, shit, sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfo-”

“It’s fine,” Yamaguchi laughs weakly. “Just… please don’t tell anyone about tonight.”

“But the police could-”

“No, I’m not going to cause any more trouble. It’s not worth it.” Yamaguchi’s face darkens momentarily.

“It is worth it. Let me know if you change your mind,” Tsukishima reaches the door and holds it open. As Yamaguchi passes, he grabs onto Tsukishima’s hand, who looks down at their joined fingers in shock.

“Let’s go clean you up, alright Tsukki?”

Tsukishima nods slightly and lets Yamaguchi pull him through the halls. He ignores the pain in his knuckles when Yamaguchi’s grip tightens. He stays silent, not knowing what to say to make Yamaguchi feel better.

When they get back to their dorm, Tsukishima sees that the floor is clean, no trace of what Terushima did except Yamaguchi himself. Tsukishima helps gather the first aid supplies and a few cold cloths.

He sits on his bed, pressing one of the cloths to his bleeding mouth. Yamaguchi puts the first aid kit on the floor and turns to Tsukishima. He moves closer and grabs another cold cloth.

“Shit,” Yamaguchi breathes, pressing the cloth to Tsukishima’s knuckles. “I guess you really punch hard, all your knuckles are bleeding.”

“I guess, but my form was ass,” Tsukishima shrugs. He tries not to focus on how close Yamaguchi is to him. He also attempts to keep his mind off of the fact that Yamaguchi is basically straddling him. Tsukishima sits with his own legs straight out, and Yamaguchi is hovering over him.

Suddenly, Yamaguchi freezes.

“What’s going on, why aren’t you moving?” Tsukishima asks lightly, nudging Yamaguchi’s arm.

“Tsukki, I…” Yamaguchi trails off, leaning down. He holds Tsukishima’s wrist and kisses each one of his knuckles, causing Tsukishima to jump in surprise, flushing red.

“Yams, what are you doin- ah!”

Without warning, Yamaguchi lifts Tsukishima's shirt and puts his head underneath it. He begins to kiss a trail down Tsukishima’s stomach, one kiss after the other. Yamaguchi’s mind is blank, only one thought in his brain.

“Y-Yamaguchi, w-what are you…” Tsukishima tenses. He feels his back arch slightly as Yamaguchi’s kisses reach the waistband of his pants. Tsukishima squeezes his legs together in an attempt to control himself when he feels Yamaguchi’s tongue slide across his waist. “Yamaguchi, what the hell are you d-doing?”

“Nothing,” Yamaguchi mumbles, trailing a finger down Tsukishima’s chest. Tsukishima shudders beneath his touch. Yamaguchi tugs at the waistband of Tsukishima’s pants teasingly.

“F-fuck,” Tsukishima hisses. “Yamaguchi, stop that. Let me up, I-”

Yamaguchi ignores him, his hand now moving to the fly of Tsukishima’s pants. He begins to undo the zipper, and Tsukishima goes rigid. He pushes himself away, backing up as far as the bed will allow.

“Yams, what the fu-”

Yamaguchi looks at him calmly, face tinged pink but otherwise expressionless. “I’m going to suck your dick.”

“Wha-” Tsukishima gapes at Yamaguchi. “No, no you’re not. What’s gotten into you?”

Yamaguchi tilts his head to the side slightly. “You’re hard, Tsukki. You want this. So why are you stopping me?”

Tsukishima exhales shakily. Yamaguchi looks at him expectantly. It’s like he’s seeing a completely different person, and Tsukishima doesn’t like that. A part of him is screaming to let Yamaguchi proceed, but-

“No, Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima spits. “I am not Terushima. I am not going to have you suck my dick as compensation for something that’s happened.”

Yamaguchi flinches like he’s been hit, and Tsukishima immediately feels bad. He’s so guilty that he doesn’t even stop Yamaguchi when he leans in and presses his lips to Tsukishima’s. Yamaguchi forces his tongue into Tsukishima’s mouth, causing Tsukishima to stiffen and try to pull away. Yamaguchi doesn’t let him, grabbing the front of Tsukshima’s shirt and tugging him back towards him, his teeth grazing Tsukishima’s lower lip.

“Please, Tsukki,” Yamaguchi whispers against Tsukishima’s lips. “Just let me have this. Just let me do the one thing I actually know how to do.” Tsukishima sees the tears forming in Yamaguchi’s eyes, but he doesn’t budge, putting up some of the mask he’s always been so good at using and finally pulling away.

“No. That’s my final answer.”

But Yamaguchi isn’t listening, he’s reaching for Tsukishima’s waistband again. So Tsukishima grabs his hand and grips it tightly. Yamaguchi looks up at him and blinks, as if suddenly realizing what he’s doing. He begins to go red, opening his mouth to say something.

Tsukishima pulls Yamaguchi forwards and into his chest, which surprises both Yamaguchi and himself. He wraps his arms around Yamaguchi, who buries his face into Tsukishima’s shirt.

“Tsukki, I’m sorry,” Yamaguchi finally cries, shaking slightly. “I don’t know what’s happening to me, I’m not in control. I’m so sorry. I-I wasn’t thinking, it was like a habit or something, I’m not sure. Forgive me please, I-”

“Are you okay, Yamaguchi?”

Yamaguchi looks up at Tsukishima in confusion. Tsukishima tightens his arms around him. “You’re-” Yamaguchi’s voice breaks, so he tries again. “You’re not mad?”

“Of course I’m mad, you dipshit,” Tsukishima rolls his eyes. “I’m just making sure you’re alright. This isn’t like you. At all.”

“But you should be more mad. Yell at me, hit me, just do something -”

“No.”

“Stop saying no!”

“... Absolutely not.”

Yamaguchi smiles slightly at that, but tears still fill his eyes. “At least let me do something as a punishment for being an ass just now. I don’t have to sleep in your bed anymore, I can-”

“Shut up, Yamaguchi. The bed is cold without you there.” Tsukishima looks away. “We can just forget it happened.” Of course, Tsukishima would never truly forget it, but Yamaguchi didn’t have to know that.

“Really?”

“Mhm.”

“Hey, I’m sorry for not telling you about Yūji earlier. And I’m sorry that I took it so far just now. I mean, it looked like you didn’t mind, and I know I didn’t, but it was wrong of me and-”

“Yamaguchi, you’re making it harder to forget.”

“My bad.” Yamaguchi buries his head back into Tsukishima’s chest once again.

Tsukishima looks down at the top of Yamaguchi’s head and flushes. If there was any doubt in his mind concerning his feelings for Yamaguchi, it’s gone now. He wants Yamaguchi, flaws and all. He wants to kiss him again until his brain turns to mush, he wants to do things to Yamaguchi that will make him moan his name. Tsukishima tries to distract himself, humming a tune that Akiteru always sung around the house. It effectively disgusts him and luckily the bulge in his pants goes away slowly. He looks back down and Yamaguchi and smiles.

He wants to keep Yamaguchi forever.

But he can’t.

And he won’t.

“You’re my best friend, Yamaguchi,” he whispers into Yamaguchi’s hair. “You don’t always have to put up a wall and act like everything’s okay. Until you want me to leave, I’m staying. Nothing will change that.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”

“Thank you for help tonight. You’re my best friend too, Tsukki.” Yamaguchi’s voice vibrates into Tsukishima’s chest. Tsukishima resists the urge to shudder.

“I know,” he says smugly. “Now sleep.”

Soon enough, Yamaguchi is snoring softly in Tsukishima’s arms. Tsukishima watches him, bringing his hand to his lips and touching them softly. That wasn’t what he imagined his first kiss with Yamaguchi would be like.

That’ll be the last time, Tsukishima thinks. That was the first and only kiss I’ll get from him. Like Yamaguchi said, he wasn’t in control. He didn’t mean it. I’ll just have to live with that. But he said he didn’t mind it, so what’s up with that?

Tsukishima’s emotions are like water penetrating a dam. At first glance, the dam seems to be holding. The water doesn’t seem to pose a threat, but if you look closely, there are cracks up and down the walls of the dam. All that it needs to break is a large wave. And the wave of Tsukishima’s emotions is inevitable. It’ll arrive soon, and it will be impossible to ignore.

Chapter Text

“Are you guys dating?”

Tsukishima looks over at Kuroo, a bewildered look on his face. “What?”

“You and Yamaguchi,” Kuroo tells him. “Are you two dating? You finally told him how you feel?”
“What the fuck? No.” Tsukishima looks over at Yamaguchi to make sure he didn’t hear. He seems to be completely oblivious thankfully, looking at stuffed animals with Bokuto. The four of them are in a bookstore, and Kuroo and Tsukishima, who already bought their books, are waiting for the other two by the door. For some reason, Yamaguchi and Bokuto have a shared obsession with stuffed animals.

“Oh, okay.” Kuroo sounds disappointed, so Tsukishima hits him in the arm lightly.

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, I mean, don’t get mad. You guys just act like a couple. You just, I don’t know, act like a pair instead of one person. Reminds me of Bokuto and Akaashi or me and Kenma.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“No, I-”

“Tsukki!” Yamaguchi rushes over, waving a small green dinosaur plushie in the air. “Look at this! I’m gonna buy it for you!” Yamaguchi throws the plushie at Tsukishima, causing him to almost drop his book. Luckily, he catches it and looks down at the stuffed dinosaur before throwing it back to Yamaguchi, scowling slightly.

“It’s cute, I guess. But you’re not buying it for me.” Tsukishima looks down a few inches at Yamaguchi. He tucks a loose strand of hand behind Yamaguchi’s ear and scoffs.

Yamaguchi pouts for a second but then grins widely. “C’mon, don’t be a dick. I’ll make it a thank you for the other night. He can’t stop me now, can he, Kuroo?”

Kuroo coughs in surprise. “Uh, yeah, he can’t.”

“But-” Tsukishima begins to protest, but Yamaguchi cuts him off.

“Yes! Okay, we’re almost done, Bokuto’s just picking one for Akaashi.” Yamaguchi turns and goes back to Bokuto, who greets him with a slap on the back. Tsukishima watches them for a moment, a small smile on his face.

“See?” Kuroo nudges Tsukishima’s arm. “That’s how a couple acts.”
Tsukishima turns pink and scoffs. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Okay, if you say so. I’m just gonna tell you, you should make a move. Yamaguchi clearly likes you.”

“As a friend.”

“You sound like you’re reassuring yourself more than me.”

“Shut up, Kuroo.”

 


 

“So what are you doing over the Christmas break?”

“I’m going back home for a few days, Akiteru is bugging me and forcing me to visit.”

“Oh, I see,” Yamaguchi looks up from his book. He sits at his desk, and Tsukishima sits at his. The break has already started, but they haven't really talked about it before.

“And what are you doing?” Tsukishima doesn’t look up while asking the question, so he doesn’t see Yamaguchi look down and sigh.

“Staying here.” When Tsukishima does look up, Yamaguchi plasters a smile on his face. He avoids Tsukishima’s gaze. Yamaguchi knows that Tsukishima’s frowning, he just knows. “I can give you your gift before you go back home. I’ll watch a bunch of sad movies. It’ll be fun.”

“Why aren’t you going home to your parents?” Tsukishima gets up and moves to sit on Yamaguchi’s bed. “I would’ve thought your parents were looking forward to seeing you..?”

“Ah, no, not exactly,” Yamaguchi puts down his book and fiddles with his hair. “Jeez Tsukki, don’t make that face, I’m explaining right now. My parents don’t want me home anymore, alright? They’re kinda… homophobic, I guess? It’s okay though, l-”

“It’s not okay, Yamaguchi. Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“It’s not a big deal and I didn’t feel like mentioning it. I just stay at Suga’s when school isn’t on. I don’t want to intrude on their family’s Christmas, so I’m staying in the dorms.”

“That’s stupid,” Tsukishima rolls his eyes. “Nothing is ever a big deal to you. You could come to my house if you want, my mom would be thrilled to see I actually have friends besides Bokuto and Kuroo.”

“You’re joking!” Yamaguchi sits up wildly, nearing falling out of his chair. “I can?”

“Yeah, that’s why I offered,” Tsukishima replies, trying to cover his red face with his hand. “Besides, Akiteru will be less annoying if there’s someone else around. My mom would love to cook for you and we can go get fortunes on New Years' and stuff. Yamaguchi, stop looking at me like that.” Yamaguchi doesn’t reply, gaping blankly at Tsukishima. Tsukishima shifts around uncomfortably.

“Wouldn’t I just be a bother, though?” Yamaguchi asks quietly.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Tsukishima waves his hand in dismissal. “Akiteru is coming to pick me up tomorrow, we can drive you home and you can leave your car here. We can ignore him and listen to the playlist I made you.” As soon as the words leave Tsukishima’s mouth, he freezes.

Yamaguchi looks at him with a large smile across his face. “You made me a playlist?”

“Uh, no?”

“That’s cute.”

“Shut up, Yamaguchi.”

“Sorry, Tsukki.” Yamaguchi grins wider when he catches sight of the dino plush he’d given to Tsukishima a few days ago sitting on his bed. “You ended up liking that stuffie, huh?”

“You gave it to me, why wouldn’t I like it?” Tsukishima gets up slowly. He dusts off his pants before offering out his hand. “Wanna go get some bubble tea and then pack? I’ll help, make sure you’re packing the right clothes.”

“Sure,” Yamaguchi lets Tsukishima pull him up. He could get used to Tsukishima taking care of him. He hopes it’ll last.

 


 

Yamaguchi is a very awkward person. Tsukishima already knew this, but he didn’t think it was a very obvious thing. He was wrong.

Yamaguchi sits beside him in the car, looking out the window while Tsukishima sits in the middle seat.

When Yamaguchi met Akiteru, he mumbled a small ‘hello’ before stuffing his bag in the truck. Akiteru held in his laughter, being as nice as he could until Yamaguchi warmed up to him, eventually being almost as talkative as he usually is around Tsukishima.

The two boys sit in the backseat and listen to the playlist Tsukishima made for Yamaguchi in headphones. Akiteru drives in silence, occasionally humming along to whatever song plays in his head.

“I like this song,” Yamaguchi whispers quietly, scooting closer to Tsukishima. Tsukishima sighs, trying not to turn red when he feels Yamaguchi pressed up against him.

“You hum it all the time,” Tsukishima whispers back. “I’d be stupid not to put it in the playlist, it’s stuck in my head because of you.”

“Sorry.”

“So, Yamaguchi,” Akiteru says loudly. Yamaguchi straightens and Tsukishima rolls his eyes. Akiteru smiles at Yamaguchi in the mirror. “Do you have a girlfriend? You seem like a lady’s man.”

“Er- no,” Yamaguchi looks at Tsukishima, unsure of what to say. Silently asking him if it’s okay to tell his brother that he doesn’t like girls. Tsukishima nods slightly. “I like guys, actually.”

“Ah, just like Kei then,” Akiteru nods. “Cool.” Yamaguchi blinks surprised at the little-to-no reaction he receives. The car stops at a red light.

Akiteru looks back at them sitting together in the backseat and raises his eyebrows. He doesn’t say anything, but Tsukishima groans loudly, grabbing a nearby neck pillow and throwing it at his brother.

“Oh, fuck off,” Tsukishima hisses. “We’re not dating, you might as well have been screaming the question.”

“What, I’m allowed to be curious!”

Yamaguchi laughs. “I would be too if I were you. Also, green light.”

“Oop, thanks.” Akiteru turns back to the road and resumes driving. “I’ll leave you two alone before Kei murders me.”

The car falls silent for a while, Yamaguchi occasionally murmuring comments about whatever song is playing. After a while, Tsukishima sees Yamaguchi nodding off out of the corner of his eye. He smiles softly and nudges Yamaguchi’s arm. Yamaguchi looks up at him and smiles back lazily.

“You can sleep if you want,” Tsukishima whispers. “I’ll wake you up when we’re close.”

“Okay, thanks Tsukki.” Yamaguchi props his elbow up against the car door, shifting around. He can’t seem to find a comfortable position. Tsukishima sighs, reaching out to pull Yamaguchi’s head onto his shoulder.

“Shut up and sleep, alright?” Tsukishima looks out of the opposite window when he feels Yamaguchi’s gaze on him.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“Fuck off.”

Yamaguchi smiles into his shoulder, slowly drifting into a light sleep. Akiteru and Tsukshima lock eyes in the rearview mirror, causing Tsukishima to turn a bright red. He covers his face with his hand and prepares himself for the teasing he’ll receive later.

He focuses on Yamaguchi’s soft breathing, looking down at him for a moment before pressing his face into Yamaguchi’s hair. Tsukishima feels Yamaguchi stir slightly, but he doesn’t fully wake.

I love you, he wants to say. Yamaguchi, I love you.

He stays silent.

 

Chapter Text

Yamaguchi loves Tsukishima’s house.

Part of him feels like he’s always lived there because of how well he fits into the Tsukishima’s lifestyle. He doesn’t feel like a burden there, or like he’s causing trouble.

Akiteru left them alone soon after they got there, probably afraid of Tsukishima’s wrath. It didn’t really matter to Yamaguchi, but it was pleasant being alone with Tsukishima.

Tsukishima’s mom looks more like Akiteru than her younger son. As soon as they met, she commanded Yamaguchi to call her Misumi. She was, like Tsukshima said, thrilled to see that he was Tsukishima’s new best friend. She thanked him for putting up with her son, causing Yamaguchi to laugh nervously and reassure her that it was more Tsukishima putting up with him.

Yamaguchi sleeps in their guest bedroom, which he normally wouldn’t mind doing, but it was difficult to fall asleep without Tsukishima’s warmth beside him. Yamaguchi wonders if Tsukishima feels the same way.

Yamaguchi wakes up at around eleven in the morning on Christmas to the sound of Misumi cooking in the kitchen. He sits up and rubs his eyes. Groggily, he gets off of his bed and wanders over to Tsukishima’s room. He thinks he walks by Akiteru, who’s leaving his own room. Yamaguchi mumbles a quiet greeting and continues down the hall.

He enters Tsukishima’s room without knocking. Tsukishima is on his bed and under the covers, still sleeping. Yamaguchi blinks a few times before padding over to the bed and worming his way under his blanket.

“Merry Christmas, Tsukki,” he whispers, poking at Tsukishima’s cheek.

Tsukishima jolts awake, grabbing his covers and holding them up to his neck. He then sees Yamaguchi and grins dazedly, his expression evening out. He reaches forwards and caresses Yamaguchi’s cheek.

“Oh, Tadashi. This is a nice dream,” Tsukishima mutters, relaxing back into his covers. “This must be some type of shitty Christmas miracle.”

Yamaguchi lets out a quiet chuckle and turns a light shade of pink. “Tsukki, this isn’t a dream. You’re awake and your pants are on fire.”

“Huh?” Tsukishima fumbles with his covers, searching under them for a few seconds wildly before slowly looking back up at Yamaguchi. “Oh, very funny. Merry Christmas to you too. How embarrassing for me.”

He attempts to cover his blush by reaching over Yamaguchi to grab his glasses off of his bedside table. He rubs his eyes angrily. Once Tsukishima puts his glasses on he clears his throat, looking Yamaguchi in the eye.

They stare at each other for a moment before Tsukishima reaches out and pulls Yamaguchi into his chest.

“Wha-” Yamaguchi gasps against Tsukishima’s bare chest.

“Payback,” Tsukishima tells him quietly. “You can’t just embarrass me and expect nothing back.”

“Okay okay, sorry.” Yamaguchi smiles, pressing his cheek into Tsukishima. “Don’t you want to put on a shirt?”

“No, this will fluster you more.” Yamaguchi can almost hear the smirk in Tsukishima’s voice.

“Hm, alright.” You’re right .

A few things echo in Yamaguchi’s head at once.

First, Tsukishima called him Tadashi . It makes him tingly inside, but he isn’t sure why.

Second, why would Tsukishima be happy to see him in his dream? Surely just because he was a familiar face. There was nothing more comforting than seeing someone you knew in a dream.

Third, Tsukishima has no shirt on. It flusters Yamaguchi a little more than he’d like to admit. It takes all his restraint for Yamaguchi not to trail a finger down the lean, bare torso displayed in front of him.

Fourth, they’re cuddling. Not just like the innocent cuddling they do to fall asleep every night back in their dorm. This is full-on cuddling. Tsukishima is holding him tightly like he’s the last thing on earth.

Yamaguchi’s chest aches in a way he can’t describe. He feels like he matters, lying there in Tsukishima’s arms. The warmth of someone else protecting him, the fingers that stroke gently through his hair, it makes him want to cry.

What is this feeling?

He’s always been the odd one out, the person everyone avoided whenever they got the chance. Not once in his life has Yamaguchi felt like he belongs. Not in his own home, where his parents hated him; not with Terushima, where he always found a way to fuck up; not in elementary school, where he was bullied for his appearance; not in middle school, where he had no friends; not even in high school or on the volleyball team, where he was somehow always excluded even though he was the team captain. Even around Suga and Hinata, there was always something.

Yamaguchi had never been anyone’s first choice. No one chose him or cared for him the same way he cared for them. There was always someone above him, someone better. He was never enough.

But Yamaguchi realizes, enveloped in the warmth of his best friend, that he is enough for Tsukishima. Just like Tsukishima is Yamaguchi’s first choice, Yamaguchi is Tsukishima’s. Yamaguchi feels like he belongs, not like he needs to pretend to be someone else in order to get noticed. That huge, gaping hole that has always been in his chest finally feels like it’s filling up. Because with Tsukishima, Yamaguchi feels safe. Because in this bed, in a house that isn’t even his own, Tsukishima’s arms feel like home.

Ah, he finally realizes. That’s what you call this feeling.

Love.

“Yamaguchi? Are you alright? I feel your tears, they’re kind of cold.”

Yamaguchi smiles a true grin. He hadn’t realized that he was crying. He looks up at Tsukishima, tears still pooled in his eyes. His face stretches widely at the intense happiness he feels. But to Tsukishima, as joyful as that smile looks on Yamaguchi’s face, it looks a little sad too.

“I’m great,” Yamaguchi whispers. “Better than great actually. Thank you, Tsukki.” He buries his face back into Tsukishima's chest, leaving Tsukishima with a bewildered look on his face.

“Idiot,” he mutters, his voice mostly soft with only a bit of his usual snarky tone. Tsukishima says it more as an endearing term than a teasing one, and Yamaguchi doesn’t miss it.

They stay in the same position for a while. Silence fills the room, but it isn’t uncomfortable. It’s peaceful. Yamaguchi can tell that Tsukishima is trying to remain stoic, which only causes him to smile more.

They hear footsteps stomping obviously down the hall, coming towards Tsukishima’s room. Like the person is trying to make their appearance noticeable.

“Pretend to be asleep or he’ll never leave us the fuck alone,” Tsukishima whispers into Yamaguchi’s ear, causing him to shiver. He nods slightly in response, going limp in Tsukishima’s arms.

Akiteru knocks at the door loudly. “You guys decent?”

“My god, Akiteru, shut up, Yamaguchi’s sleeping. You’re gonna wake him,” Tsukishima calls quietly. “Just come in.”

Akiteru opens the door slightly and pokes his head in, peeking at them through his fingers. Tsukishima rolls his eyes and begins to stroke Yamaguchi’s hair again.

“What do you want, big bro?” Tsukishima demands, eyes narrowing at the bemused look on his brother’s face.

“Mom says that breakfast, er- brunch I mean, is ready.” Akiteru fidgets, stepping inside the room. A grin flashes across his face when he sees Tsukishima without a shirt on and Yamaguchi breathing softly against his chest. “Were you guys-”

“Yes,” Tsukishima interrupts his brother, a shit-eating grin on his face. His sarcastic tone is easy to miss, so he’s unsure whether or not Akiteru will misunderstand. Not that it matters. “I fucked Yamaguchi so hard he’s never going to be able to walk again without using crunches or buying a wheelchair. So now that we’ve settled that, politely fuck off. Oh, and tell Mom that we’ll be out in a minute.”

“Understandable, have a nice day.” Akiteru flushes and steps out of the room quickly before Tsukishima can whip a pillow at him. The door closes with a small click.

Silence fills the room once more, but only for a moment. Then Tsukishima and Yamaguchi burst out laughing. Yamaguchi isn’t laughing as hard as Tsukishima is, savouring the moment so as to see the look of pure joy radiating off of his best friend’s face.

God, I know I’ve been in love with him for a while, but since when was I this down bad?

“Did you see the look on his face?” Tsukishima wipes at the tears in his eyes. “It was like he… shit, I can’t even form words right now. You don’t have to give me a Christmas present, Yamaguchi, that was the best gift I’ve ever gotten. Jesus fuck, what a clown.”

Yamaguchi laughs harder now. “Tsukki, what did he even do, you’re killing me. I didn’t even see him, shit .”

“I’ve never seen him so embarrassed, I’m sorry,” Tsukishima sits up, grabbing at his sides. “Just imagine a big gorilla seeing someone else eating his banana, I-”

They laugh until their stomachs hurt and they can’t breathe anymore. Eventually, they both get up to head to the kitchen. Yamaguchi drapes his arm over Tsukishima’s shoulder as they walk down the hall.

Yamaguchi wants to live in this moment forever. He’d be completely content if time stopped right then and there. He’s never been so happy.

I love you , he wants to say. Tsukki, I love you .

He stays silent.

Chapter Text

“Shut up, Yamaguchi, you're going to wake them up,” Tsukishima hisses into Yamaguchi's ear, shoving him towards the window.

“It was your idea to sneak out,” Yamaguchi whispers back, sticking his tongue out at Tsukishima. “Besides, it's 3 a.m, they're not going to wake up. Hop out the window already.”

“Alright,” Tsukishima rolls his eyes, turning back to the window in his room. Sneaking out was, as Yamaguchi said, his idea. Besides, it was Christmas(actually Boxing Day) and they were going back to their university soon. He wants to spend some time with Yamaguchi alone in his hometown while he has the chance.

Tsukishima forces open his window, pausing only a second before hopping onto the windowsill. His room was on the first floor, so the way down wasn’t too far. He attempts to jump outside but instead of landing gracefully on his feet, his foot gets caught on the way out and he falls face-first into the bushes outside his window.

There's a loud crash, then silence. Tsukishima whips his head towards the house, where Yamaguchi is looking down at him from his room.

“Are you okay?” Yamaguchi mouths, eyes wide.

Tsukishima nods, brings his hand to his mouth. His lip is split, he feels the blood on his lips. He wipes his hand to see the blood and grimaces at the taste of it in his mouth. He shows his lip to Yamaguchi.

To his surprise, Yamaguchi starts to shake with silent laughter. He grabs his stomach, trying to hold in his giggles. Tsukishima waits for Yamaguchi to contain himself. When he does, Yamaguchi looks down at Tsukishima once more.

They lock eyes for only a few seconds before laughter consumes the both of them. It’s not silent anymore, their choked laughing filling the night and echoing through the neighborhood.

“Shut… up…” Tsukishima gasps out between breaths. “They’ll… wake… up…”

“I… can’t stop,” Yamaguchi snorts, bringing forth another round of giggles.

They hear a knock at Tsukishima’s closed door behind Yamaguchi and instantly still.

“Kei, is everything okay?” Akiteru’s voice rings out. Yamaguchi covers his mouth with his hands, eyes full of tears of laughter. Akiteru knocks again. “I’m coming in.”

Immediately, Tsukishima springs up onto his feet, reaching for Yamaguchi through the window. “C’mon, hurry.”

Yamaguchi throws himself through the window and into Tsukishima’s arms as the door opens. He almost falls on his face like Tsukishima did, but Tsukishima holds him up. Akiteru spots them and his eyes widen as Tsukishima and Yamaguchi look back at him. The two boys freeze in place for a moment before regaining their senses and laughing again.

“Run,” Tsukishima exclaims between chuckles, grabbing Yamaguchi’s hand and pulling him away from the window. For a moment, Yamaguchi looks back at Akiteru and waves. Tsukishima glances backward and flips off his brother. They take off running, leaving Akiteru standing alone at the window, half-awake and blinking rapidly, trying to comprehend what just happened.

Yamaguchi lets Tsukishima drag him along, following him down the driveway while grinning widely. “Which way are we going?”

“Follow me and don’t get left behind,” Tsukishima smirks. He takes the lead, pulling Yamaguchi by the arm and leading him away from the house. He feels so free, more than he has in a long time.

Yamaguchi watches Tsukishima laugh while running beside him. The house disappears from view, but they keep running. They don’t speak, the sound of their shoes hitting the ground and their laughter echoing against the houses surrounding them being the only noises around. Yamaguchi isn’t trying to keep up, he just lets Tsukishima tug his arm so he can gaze up at the look on Tsukishima’s face.

He looks so happy, Yamaguchi realizes. He knows that Tsukishima indeed does have a softer side when the two of them are alone, but even this is different. The smile on his face looks so genuine, so natural on his face that it nearly breaks Yamaguchi’s heart at that moment. Yamaguchi wishes to see that smile every day for the rest of his life. His heart pounds, but Yamaguchi’s unsure if it’s caused by the running or by the fingers intertwined with his own.

They finally stop at a park, Tsukishima sitting down on a bench to catch his breath. That’s when Yamaguchi realizes the weather for the first time.

“It’s snowing,” he gazes up at the sky, watching the cold, white flecks fall to the ground.

“You just realized?” Tsukishima breathes heavily, still trying to recover from the running and the laughing. His breath is visible against the cold air. “It’s been snowing all night.”

“Oh,” Yamaguchi looks around for the first time since they left the house, at the fine layer of snow covering the ground, and the park that they’re in. He didn’t see this particular park on the way to Tsukishima’s house from university, but it seems rather regular, with various trees and benches scattered around the area. Snow coats each of the benches and branches lightly. “I guess so. Do you think Akiteru will tell your mom?”

Tsukishima looks up, fiddling with his fingers. “Don’t think so. He knows I’ll be mad at him if he does.”

“Ah, so your passive-aggressiveness is paying off,” Yamaguchi says. “Also, how’s your lip?”

“Not bad. It stings a little though.”

“Let me see.” Yamaguchi steps towards the bench and kneels on the ground in front of Tsukishima, reaching for his face. Tsukishima jumps slightly when Yamaguchi’s cold fingers touch his cheek, but he leans forwards to give him a better view. He’s so close that Yamaguchi can feel Tsukishima’s breath on his face. The split lip doesn’t seem so bad anymore, it’s hardly bleeding at all now.

  For the first time in a while, Yamaguchi really looks at Tsukishima’s face. He looks at the freckle underneath Tsukishima’s right eye that you can’t see unless you really search for it, he looks at the fluttering eyelashes that frame those beautiful golden eyes, too long to be fair. He looks at the slightest part in Tsukishima’s lips and the tiny wrinkle in his forehead, right above his eyebrows. He looks at the faint blush on his cheeks that Yamaguchi thinks is from the cold.

“Your hair’s a mess.” Before he even realizes what he’s doing, Yamaguchi reaches out and brushes a stray strand of hair out of Tsukishima’s eyes.

“So is yours,” Tsukishima whispers back in a mocking tone. After a second, he smiles. “Let me tie it up for you.”

“Okay!” Yamaguchi turns around to give Tsukishima better access to his hair. He slips an elastic off of his wrist and hands it to Tsukishima over his shoulder. Tsukishima takes it and ties Yamaguchi’s hair into a loose ponytail. He misses some strands, but Yamaguchi doesn’t say anything, savouring the feeling of Tsukishima’s fingers in his hair.

When Tsukishima finishes tying the ponytail, his fingers linger at the back of Yamaguchi’s neck. “What’s this?”

Yamaguchi flips around immediately. “Huh?”

“That necklace? The one you’re always wearing.”

“Oh.” Yamaguchi reaches into his shirt and pulls out the chain that never leaves his neck. Attached to the leather cord was a simple band of silver, a ring that sparkled in the moonlight. “This was my dad’s. He left it for me. He was the first person I came out to.”

Tsukishima furrows his brows. “I thought your parents were homophobic?”

“Yeah, uh, I meant my step-dad and mom. My real dad… he, um, killed himself when I was fifteen. This ring was his father’s, who passed it down to him, so he hid it under my pillow before he left. I really miss him.” Yamaguchi manages to get through the explanation without crying, which makes him proud. It’s been a while since he’s talked about his dad without tearing up.

“Oh shit, Yamaguchi, I’m sorry, I-”

“Don’t worry about it,” Yamaguchi grins, “You didn’t know, and I’m over it now. I guess it makes sense for you now, why I was so upset when you tried to do the same thing on Halloween.”

“Yeah, I figured that out,” Tsukshima smiles back sadly. He reaches forwards to tuck away the strands of hair he missed when tying the ponytail, his fingers lingering on Yamaguchi’s face. ‘I’ll try my best not to worry you like that again.”

“Thank you, that’s all I want.” Yamaguchi leans into his hand. “While we’re on the topic, how has your mental health been? You haven’t brought it up recently.”

“I mean, it’s obviously not good,” Tsukishima chuckles, “but it hasn’t been too bad. It’s gotten better.”

Tsukishima flinches slightly when he says the word ‘better’, which confuses Yamaguchi. He forgets about it a second later, as Tsukishima speaks again.

“The bad thoughts, the voices,” Tsukishima speaks quietly, causing Yamaguchi to lean in closer to hear. “They go away when you’re around.”

The air seems to leave Yamaguchi’s lungs as they both realize what Tsukishima said.

“Oh my fuck, I overstepped there, didn’t I,” Tsukishima leans back, covering his face with his hands. “I’m sorry.”

Yamaguchi stands up. He brushes off his pants and pulls his phone out of his pocket, clicking away as Tsukishima peeks at him subtly through his fingers. He watches as the snow falls heavier, more and more snowflakes landing in Yamaguchi’s hair and on his shoulders.

“Are you cold?” Tsukishima asks. Yamaguchi waves a hand at him in dismissal.

“No, no, just wait a sec,” Yamaguchi clicks his phone a few more times before music starts to play from the tiny speakers. Yamaguchi slips his phone into his back pocket, which muffles the music, but he doesn’t seem to care. He steps towards Tsukishima, looking away as he holds out his hand.

Tsukishima smiles as he recognizes the music.

“Dance with me?” Yamaguchi asks.

“Sure.” Tsukishima takes Yamaguchi’s outstretched hand and pulls himself up. “Claire de Lune? Is this something you found because of a certain movie you’ve watched, or do you actually like Debussy?”

“Ah, that’s a secret,” Yamaguchi lets out a small laugh, hesitating a moment before pulling Tsukishima into his arms.

They don’t exactly dance. Tsukishima and Yamaguchi simply hold each other in their arms, swaying on the spot as snow continues to fall from the sky. The music plays just loud enough for them to hear. Yamaguchi accidentally steps on Tsukishima’s foot, causing a small round of giggles to break out. He recovers by draping his arms over Tsukishima’s shoulders.

It’s more romantic than anything Tsukishima has ever experienced. It’s almost like a movie, the way they’re dancing in a park at three in the morning, snow falling into their hair and freezing their faces. They’re the only people outside as far as he can tell, and he’s glad.

He can barely hear the music anymore. All Tsukishima can focus on is Yamaguchi’s face. Each one of his freckles, every eyelash, every breath.

He should confess. He knows he should.

He stays silent.

Soon, the music stops. They keep dancing. They don’t need music. All they need is each other.

Yamaguchi clearly wants to say something, Tsukishima can tell by the way that his eyebrows slightly push towards each other, creasing his forehead. Tsukishima nudges Yamaguchi’s waist. “You got something you wanna say?”

They look at each other, the same way they always do. Yamaguchi opens his mouth.

“I’m in love with you.”

Yamaguchi clasps his hands over his mouth, stumbling backward as if he’s trying to shove his words back into his body. Tsukishima stares at him, eyes wide and pupils dilated.

“Oh god, sorry, it wasn’t supposed to happen like that, I was going to wait, and then I was gonna-”

“Confessing in the snow on Christmas- er, Boxing Day actually, alone in the snowy park? You really are a hopeless romantic, Tadashi.”

Silence.

Yamaguchi looks down and his heart drops. “I-”

“What the fuck, just kiss me already,” Tsukishima laughs, stepping towards Yamaguchi and grabbing onto the front of his shirt, pulling him into a kiss.

They’ve both waited far too long for this to happen. They’re both numb from the cold, both way too excited, both way too surprised.

This kiss isn’t nearly long enough for Yamaguchi’s liking, so the second that Tsukishima pulls away, he’s pulled back in. Tsukishima knows that this second kiss is an apology for the night Yamaguchi made a move on him. He accepts the apology with a light swipe of his tongue against Yamaguchi’s. They kiss until they can’t feel their mouths anymore, until they realize that their fingers are about to freeze off.

“I’m in love with you too,” Tsukishima exclaims as soon as they pull away. “Just wanted to make that clear.”

Yamaguchi nods, smiling brightly as his cheeks flush.

“Let’s go home, I’ll make something hot for you to drink.”

“Okay,” Yamaguchi says breathlessly, nodding again.

“Also, your hand is cold.” Tsukishima slips his hand into Yamaguchi’s and starts to walk back to his house. Yamaguchi laces their fingers together, sighing lightly.

“Boyfriends?” Yamaguchi proposes quietly.

“Yeah,” Tsukishima squeezes his hand, looking up at the sky. The moon shines brightly, reflecting onto each snowflake that falls to the ground. “The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?”

Yamaguchi smiles.

I’m in love with you , he wants to say. Tsukki, I’m in love with you .

So he says it.

And Tsukishima says it back.

Chapter Text

The thing about Yamaguchi is that he doesn’t exactly know how to keep his own secrets. He has no trouble keeping someone else’s secret, but when it comes to himself, he hates misperception and likes to make things clear. For example, a few weeks before Christmas, the second his suspicions of him being gay instead of bisexual were confirmed in his mind, he told Tsukishima. As in, they were sitting next to each other in the university library studying and all of a sudden he blurts out,

“Fuck, I’m gay.”

Tsukishima looked at him with a bewildered look before replying, “Okay?”

That’s why Tsukishima knows that it’s only a matter of time before all the people he knows find out that they’re dating. It doesn’t bother him; he just doesn’t want to hear all the comments from Bokuto and Kuroo. Surprisingly, his parents and brother didn’t find out when they were at Tsukishima’s house. Akiteru almost found out multiple times, as he nearly walked in on Tsukishima and Yamaguchi kissing too many times to count.

Tsukishima is meeting up with Kuroo, Bokuto, and Kenma tomorrow to catch up. Akaashi and Yamaguchi were both invited, but Akaashi has a cold and Yamaguchi already made plans to play volleyball with Suga (who will most definitely find out about their relationship if he didn’t know already).

School doesn’t start up until the weekend is over, and it’s only Friday night. It’s around eleven o’clock on the first night that Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are back at the dorm, and the tension in the room is high. It’s one thing to be alone in a room when Tsukishima’s brother and mom are a few rooms away, but it’s completely different having a full dorm to themselves. 

They’re watching a movie on Tsukishima’s laptop, cuddled up on his bed underneath a blanket. Tsukishima feels every one of Yamaguchi’s movements, each of his breath monitored. Is he supposed to do something? Make a move, put his arm around Yamaguchi’s shoulder?

He looks down at Yamaguchi, whose face is illuminated by the laptop, which is the only light source in the room other than the lamp of his bedside table. Yamaguchi feels Tsukishima’s gaze on him and looks up.

“Hi there,” he smiles, leaning forward to press a light kiss on Tsukishima’s lips and pulling away after only a second. Tsukishima makes a little noise in protest and pulls Yamaguchi back in.

Fuck the movie , he thinks. I wasn’t watching anyway .

He closes the laptop, shoving it off the bed in one surprisingly smooth motion and shifting positions. He pulls Yamaguchi onto his lap while gripping onto his waist. He leans back against the wall.

“I was waiting for you to give up on the movie,” Yamaguchi teases, reaching up to tangle his fingers in Tsukishima’s hair. “How many minutes did we watch? Thirty?”

“Twenty-three, actually. Now kiss me.” Tsukishima smirks slightly when Yamaguchi obeys. He hums against Yamaguchi’s lips, causing Yamaguchi to let out some sort of strangled noise and open his mouth slightly.

Yamaguchi’s tongue brushes against Tsukishima’s and he suppresses a moan. He tries to ignore the burning heat in his core but fails when Tsukishima bucks his hips gently against his own, gasping at the feeling.

Tsukishima’s tongue explores his mouth and he occasionally bites down on Yamaguchi’s lip lightly. Yamaguchi vaguely wonders how Tsukishima got so good at kissing. The thought leaves his brain the second Tsukishima’s grip tightens on his hips.

“Don’t think about other things while kissing me, Tadashi,” Tsukishima’s voice vibrates in Yamaguchi’s mouth, causing Yamaguchi to shiver. He still has to get used to Tsukishima using his first name; he insisted that he call him Tadashi as soon as they started dating.

“Sorry, Tsukki,” Yamaguchi whispers, clearing his mind completely by grinding his hips forward. Tsukishima doesn’t hold in his moan this time. Yamaguchi captures the sound in his mouth, cupping Tsukishima’s jaw firmly. Tsukishima slides his hands down and under Yamaguchi’s upper legs, pulling him in closer.

Yamaguchi pulls his mouth away from Tsukishima’s, trailing his kisses along his jaw. His teeth graze Tsukishima’s earlobe and Tsukishima inhales sharply. Yamaguchi rolls his hips into Tsukishima’s roughly and Tsukishima moans again, louder this time. His hands move to cover his red face as Yamaguchi repeats the motion.

“Fuck,” Tsukishima breathes. “Do that again.”

“Or what?” Yamaguchi whispers into his ear. He sees Tsukishima grin underneath his hands.

“Fine,” he replies hoarsely. “I’ll do it myself.” Tsukishima moves his hands back to Yamaguchi’s hips, gripping them even tighter than before. He grinds his hips up into Yamaguchi’s and they both let out strangled groans, breathy and uneven.

Yamaguchi reaches up and pulls at the base of his shirt, yanking it over his head. Tsukishima flips their positions so that a shirtless Yamaguchi is underneath him and he leans back to look at his boyfriend up and down. Yamaguchi feels the urge to cover himself back up until Tsukishima speaks.

“Holy shit, you’re beautiful .” Tsukishima inhales lightly. He leans forward to press a kiss on Yamaguchi’s left collarbone, then the right. He continues by pressing kisses down Yamaguchi’s stomach as Yamaguchi squirms beneath his touch.

His tongue grazes Yamaguchi’s stomach and Tsukishima pauses to glance up at Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi’s cheeks are tinged pink and his brows furrow tightly. His arm drapes over his face and his hands are clenched tightly. Tsukishima smiles smugly and continues to kiss him.

Tsukishima pauses at the waistline of Yamaguchi’s pants.

“Yes or no?”

Yamaguchi hesitates for a moment, before sighing. “I don’t know.”

Tsukishima looks up at him and smiles. “Alright.”

He continues to plant light kisses back up Yamaguchi’s chest, kissing him on the lips once more before pulling away. He sits back up and settles himself beside Yamaguchi against the wall. He exhales deeply and closes his eyes.

“Are you mad?” Yamaguchi whispers after a minute. He fiddles with his fingers, a habit that he’s picked up from Tsukishima himself.

“Huh?” Tsukishima’s eyes fly open and he turns towards Yamaguchi. “The fuck? Of course not, why would I be?”

Yamaguchi reaches for Tsukishima’s hand, intertwining their fingers. “I don’t know, Yūji would-”

“I’m not him though,” Tsukishima interrupts quickly, squeezing his fingers and breathing out through his nose. “You keep comparing me to him, even though I know it’s not always out loud. I can tell when you think of him. He treated you horribly, Tadashi. It shouldn’t have happened and I’m not going to let history repeat itself. I’ll be better than him, I promise. If you aren’t sure about something, I’m not going to force you to do it.”

“Really?”

“Well, duh. Besides, I don’t need stuff like that this early into our relationship. We have all the time in the world to do what we want. As long as you’re with me, I’m happy.”

“Aw, Tsukki, that’s so sweet-”

“I’m not going fucking soft,” Tsukishima repeats the phrase he’s said so many times before, a grin stretching across his face.

“I know, I know,” Yamaguchi smiles. “But like, are we just gonna ignore that we’re both hard or…?”

They burst out laughing.

“Think about something weird, I don’t know,” Tsukishima wheezes. “Kuroo. Think of Kuroo.”

“But he’s hot,” Yamaguchi whines.

“No!” Tsukishima gasps, yanking his hand back dramatically. “He most definitely is not. I need to keep him away from you.”

“Noooo,” Yamaguchi leans forward, falling onto Tsukishima's chest. “You’re the only one for me, I swear.”

Tsukishima lets out a soft snort. “Okay, okay. Think of other things to think about, I don’t know. One of them better involve something stupid Kuroo has done.”

“Hm,” Yamaguchi pulls back and closes his eyes for a second. “I have two, actually. The first one is the time that we were shopping with Bokuto and Kuroo, and they both ran into the same pole within the span of thirty seconds.”

Tsukishima freezes, trying to keep a straight face as he lets out a cough to cover up his laugh. “Tha- that’s not funny.”

“The second is that time that your brother was humming the Bill Nye The Science Guy theme song in the car.”

Tsukishima makes a face. “That works. I hate that bitch.”

They fall silent for a few minutes, trying not to look at each other as they wish away their arousal. When the heat in Tsukishima’s core dissipates, he looks over at Yamaguchi, who's already looking at him.

“What?”

“Can we… cuddle?”

“Tsk.” Tsukishima crosses his arms and Yamaguchi makes a confused noise. “What the fuck, Tadashi. Of course we’re cuddling, what do you think this is, pottery class?”

Yamaguchi lets out a small laugh and launches himself into Tsukishima’s arms. They cuddle until they fall asleep, the warmth of each other’s arms keeping them both safe. Before he falls asleep, Yamaguchi thinks back to earlier, when Tsukishima said that his body was beautiful. It makes him warm and tingly inside. It makes him confident. He snuggles deeper into Tsukishima’s arms, a large grin stuck on his face.

Maybe things were getting better after all.

 


 

“Remind me why I agreed to come and see you idiots?”

Tsukishima, Kuroo, Bokuto, and Kenma sit at a cafe near their university, relaxing at their own table. There’s nothing particularly special about the cafe, with its beige walls and wooden furniture. No one is in there except for them and a couple in the corner, as it wasn’t a very popular venue. Its only perk was that it was the cafe that’s nearest to all of them.

“Because…” Bokuto pauses, taking a sip of the smoothie in front of him. “Actually, I’m not sure.”

“Shut up, Bo.” Kuroo swats Bokuto’s arm and leans back against his chair. “You agreed to come to this cafe because we’re swag, oya? Don’t glare at me, you know it’s true.”

“We’ve been sitting here for nearly two hours,” Tsukishima tells them. “Don’t you guys have anything better to do?”

“Kuroo doesn’t.” Kenma looks up briefly from his switch. He holds a half-empty smoothie between his knees and leans forwards to take a sip from its straw before returning to his game. “You’re saving me from science documentaries, Tsukishima.”

“Ah, I see,” Tsukishima smirks at Kuroo, holding in a laugh. “I guess I can spare a few more minutes.”

“Oi, you better not be trying to steal Kenma from me!” Kuroo looks between Tsukishima and Kenma frantically. “Stay away, demon!”

“Relax, there’s no way I’d ever think of Kenma that way,” Tsukishima waves a hand in dismissal. “No offense Kenma.”

“None taken.”

“Besides, Tadashi and I-” Tsukishima stops himself before he can get out another word. Bokuto notices his pause and sits up straighter.

“Oya?” Bokuto grins, looking at Kuroo.

“Oya oya?” Kuroo bites his lower lip and looks at Tsukishima up and down.

“I’m not saying the other three ‘oya’s,” Kenma mutters.

“What?” Tsukishima tries to act oblivious, which doesn’t exactly work with his personality.

Bokuto scoots his chair closer to the table, pushing his smoothie aside. It nearly knocks into Kuroo’s arm and falls over, but he catches it at the last moment and sets it upright. Bokuto continues as if nothing occurred. “Did something happen-”

“Between you and Yamaguchi? Or should I say Tadashi…?” Kuroo finishes, leaning forward and resting his chin on his hand.

“No, you shouldn’t. And of course not,” Tsukishima stammers. “It’s nothing guys, we-”

“Tsukki!” Four heads turn to the entrance of the empty cafe.

Speak of the devil and he shall appear. Yamaguchi makes his way over, hiding his hands behind his back. He seems to have changed clothes from playing volleyball, now donning a beige patterned sweater and faded jeans. Yamaguchi stops at the edge of the table and smiles brightly. “Hey, guys!”

“Hey hey hey!”

“Heyo, Yamaguchi!”

“Hi, Tadashi.”

“Hello.”

They all exclaim a light greeting, and Tsukishima smiles slightly when he locks eyes with Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi tilts his head towards Kuroo slightly, recalling their conversation last night about him. His eyes widen and he makes a small amused expression. Tsukishima wrinkles his nose, scoffing slightly.

“Nice to see you, Yamaguchi!” Bokuto stands up to give Yamaguchi a hug but stops when he sees Yamaguchi’s arms. He grins wildly, which concerns Tsukishima. “Whatcha got there?”

Kuroo whips his head around as Yamaguchi makes his way around the table, halting at Tsukishima’s seat. He takes one hand out from behind his back to pull Tsukishima out of his chair. With his other hand, Yamaguchi produces a small bundle of flowers from behind his back. They’re blue forget-me-nots, wrapped together by string.

“These are for you.” Yamaguchi blushes furiously as he shoves the flowers into Tsukishima’s hands. Tsukishima looks down at the small bouquet; the small violet-blue buds and the thick string surrounding them. “I got these on my way here. What do you think?”

Tsukishima looks up at Yamaguchi with a burning look on his face.

“No one’s ever done something like this for me. Thank you, Tadashi,” he mutters. Tsukishima leans forward to press a light kiss to Yamaguchi’s lips. Yamaguchi sighs in relief and returns the kiss.

A series of confused noises erupt from the table, reminding him that they’re not alone.

Well, shit.

Tsukishima looks over at the table as he pulls over a chair for Yamaguchi silently and sits down at his own chair. Bokuto has a smoothie dripping from his mouth in disbelief and Kuroo has the most shocked look on his face. Only Kenma seems unbothered, merely smiling down at his game in amusement.

Tsukishima sighs. He’s never going to hear the end of this, is he?

“Alright,” he breathes out, placing the flowers on the table as Yamaguchi reaches for his hand. “Let the stupidest conversation in history begin.”

Chapter Text

Contrary to what most people would believe, dating Tsukishima is as easy as breathing for Yamaguchi. Two months have passed since they got together without many problems. They’re like the pieces of a puzzle, fitting together to make a whole. They belong with each other.

But that doesn’t mean that their relationship is perfect.

It’s two in the morning, and Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are procrastinating and avoiding their homework. Naturally, they do so by taking selfies while sitting on Tsukishima’s bed.

“We should dye your hair pink,” Yamaguchi comments randomly between pictures.

“Why? Pink is such a noticeable colour,” Tsukishima takes another picture with Yamaguchi's phone. Yamaguchi kisses his cheek for a photo and Tsukishima smiles, putting down the phone. “I hate to admit it, but I would look stupid.”

“I don’t think so,” Yamaguchi rests his head on Tsukishima’s shoulder. “I think you’d look hot.”

“Do you now?” Tsukishima smirks. “Then you should dye your hair how you had it on Halloween. You looked really pretty.”

“I did?” Yamaguchi looks up at Tsukishima, pink tinting his cheeks. “Really?”

“Kidding.”

“Tsukki,” Yamaguchi frowns. “Rude.”

“Don’t worry, I wasn’t kidding. You always look pretty, Tadashi.”

A smile forms on Yamaguchi’s face and his eyes light up. “I love you. Do you want some fruit Mentos?”

“That’s so random,” Tsukishima smirks, sitting up. He rolls his eyes before replying. “Yes, I’d like Mentos. And I love you too.”

Yamaguchi goes to his desk and retrieves a roll of Mentos. He sits back on the bed and dumps a few mentos into his hand. Two are strawberry flavoured, and two are lemon flavoured. “Strawberry mentos are my favourite candy, don’t steal them from me.”

“Hm, why not?” Tsukishima plucks the lemon mentos out of Yamaguchi’s hand and eats one. “Why do you like them so much?”

“Not sure,” Yamaguchi pops a strawberry mentos into his mouth. “I like the taste.”

“No shit, sherlock.” Tsukishima chuckles as he looks down at Yamaguchi’s phone, going through the photos they’ve taken while eating the other mentos. They both occasionally make offhand comments about their classes and complain about teachers or assignments. Yamaguchi pours a few more mentos into Tsukishima’s hand.

“Okay, fine, try a strawberry one. So you can see why I like them.” Yamaguchi sighs and holds one out for Tsukishima. He drops it into Tsukishima’s mouth, giggling. “What do you think?”

“Hm, not bad. Hey, I’m gonna send this picture to myself for a lock screen, okay?” Tsukishima points at the picture of Yamaguchi kissing his cheek.

“‘Kay!”

Yamaguchi drapes himself over the side of the bed and watches Tsukishima tap around on his phone. Tsukishima’s lips tighten suddenly and Yamaguchi frowns, wondering what could’ve upset him. But then Tsukishima sighs and continues clicking around on the phone. His phone dings beside him and the smile reappears on his face. Yamaguchi breathes out in relief.

Tsukishima reaches for his phone and switches his wallpaper, which used to be a candid photo of Yamaguchi laughing one of the times they’ve had a coffee date. He shows Yamaguchi the new lock screen. “Look.”

“You look nice there.”

“So do you.” Tsukishima goes back to clicking around on his own phone and Yamaguchi tosses the roll of mentos across the room and onto his bed. He lays his head back and yawns.

“You know, I think I ate too many mentos, I should-”

“When were you going to tell me that you’ve been texting Terushima?” 

Yamaguchi whips his head around to look at Tsukishima, sitting up straight as quickly as possible. “What?”

“You’ve been texting him again, the conversation was open when I sent myself the photo,” Tsukishima spits. “And no, don’t even worry, I didn’t read the conversation. I don’t want to see what you guys say to each other. So, were you just not going to tell me at all?”

“Tsukki, it’s not what you think,” Yamaguchi swallows. “I promise.”

“What is it then?” Tsukishima asks without expression. Although his face is blank, Yamaguchi can see the hurt in his eyes. “Do you still love him or something?”

“Tsukki, I- I’ll explain right now.” Yamaguchi reaches for Tsukishima’s hand, but he pulls it away so Yamaguchi withdraws his hand hesitantly. “Yūji has been having a rough time lately. He's had problems with school and his family. He asked me to help him, so I've been giving him advice and listening to him. That's all. I was reluctant to help at first, believe me. But he really needs me, so I’m gonna help him out, okay? You can even look through our texts if you want, I don’t care.”

“I don't need to look at your texts. Tadashi, I trust you,” Tsukishima exclaims, looking away. He swallows and fiddles with his fingers before looking back at Yamaguchi. “But I don't trust him. He's using you, he's not safe-”

Yamaguchi wraps his arms around himself as he interrupts Tsukishima, raising his voice slightly and startling the both of them. “It doesn't matter if he's safe for me! He's going through the same things I did! His dad left his mom and is getting remarried, and then his mom found out that he's bisexual! She's not supporting him, so he's stressed out and now he's failing school, okay? He’s-”

“I don't fucking care!” Tsukishima raises his voice. He runs a hand through his hair and pockets his phone roughly. “I don't give two shits about that asshole!”

Anger radiates through the room, not just from Tsukishima but from Yamaguchi as well. They both believe that they’re right. Neither of them is going to give in. Yamaguchi laughs again, the sound frustrated and not at all amused. Tsukishima narrows his eyes when Yamaguchi replies in a sour tone.

“Of course you don't care, you wouldn't understand! Your family supported you when you came out! Your mom-”

“Oh, bullshit !” Tsukishima scoffs loudly and rolls his eyes. “Of course I know what it feels like, I understand! Why do you think my dad wasn’t home during the holidays? He left my mom when he found out that she was pregnant with me! I met him for the first time last year and he told me I was a disappointment and that I never should’ve been born! He told me I ruined our family. Look, Tadashi, Terushima is a horrible person and you know it. Everyone has shit to deal with, it’s just his turn-”

“Everyone has someone there to help them when they have problems!” Yamaguchi slams his hands down and looks up at Tsukishima roughly. “I’m going to be that someone for Yūji!”

“You shouldn’t be!”

“And why not?”

“Have you forgotten what he’s done to you?” Tsukishima spits out, squeezes his eyes shut. “Why do you even have his number still? I thought you blocked him.”

“I don’t know, maybe I didn’t!” Tears pool in Yamaguchi’s eyes, his arm tightening around himself once more. “But you have to realize that it doesn’t matter right now, okay? I’m the only person who understands him. I’m the only person who’s stuck with him for this long. As much as he’s done bad things to me, he’s also done good things!”

“Like what, Tadashi? What’s something so good that it overrides how he manipulated you after every argument? What can cover up the fact that he’s abused you? Don’t act like that isn’t true, I’m not fucking stupid. I see how you flinch sometimes when you go for high-fives at practice and flinch when people startle you. So tell me, what good has he done?”

“He loved me.”

I love you, and I haven’t done those things to you.”

“You know what?” Yamaguchi pinches the bridge of his nose and purses his lips forcefully. “Yūji asked for my help, so I’m going to give it to him and you can’t stop me. He and I have history, I can’t just ignore that!”

“But you can ignore how he tried to fuck you without consent?”

The room goes quiet and Yamaguchi flinches, his mouth falling open. Yamaguchi’s silence says it all and Tsukishima holds eye contact with him the whole time, eyes guarded. Yamaguchi’s eyes widen and he looks down at his hands. A tear escapes Yamaguchi’s eye, staining the bedspread beneath him.

“I know you just want to help someone in need,” Tsukishima says quietly, voice gentle. He begins to reach out as if to tuck away a strand of Yamaguchi’s hair, but he stops himself at the last second and pulls his hand back to his side. “You’re a good person, Tadashi. But Terushima doesn’t deserve your help. He’s done terrible things to you. You can’t just let that go.”

“And what if I can?” Yamaguchi dares to look up, eyes narrowing as he looks at Tsukishima up and down. Tsukishima’s mouth falls slack, his eyebrows furrowing at Yamaguchi’s outburst. “It’s nice to feel needed by someone for once -”

I need you!” Tsukisima laughs in exasperation, surprised by how frustrated he sounds. “I’ve needed you since I met you, Tadashi. I wouldn’t be here right now without your help. I know you might still care about him, or you might still have feelings for him or whatever, but he’s had his chance with you. And from what I’ve heard, he’s had way more than that. If he’s actually struggling, then he should see a professional. It’s time for you to let him go. Please.”

“I can’t let go of someone when they ask for my help!” Yamaguchi throws his hands up in frustration. “Why won’t you let me do what I want?”

“Because I care about you,” Tsukishima says sharply. “I just want you to be safe.”

“I am!”

“Not with him you aren’t.”

“Look, I don’t expect you to understand, or be happy about it. But Yūji trusted me enough to come to me during a vulnerable time in his life. I’m not breaking that trust.”

“Do you still trust him then? After everything?”

“Why does that matter?” Yamaguchi yells. “For fuck’s sake, I’m going to help him, alright? You can’t stop me, and if you won’t let me help someone in need then you can fuck off! Leave! I don’t need you!”

The moment the words leave his mouth, Yamaguchi regrets them. They look at each other for a few seconds, the silence too loud to be any form of comfortable. For an instant, Tsukishima’s mask slips and Yamaguchi can see the pain in his face, the disappointment, all of it. Every single emotion that Tsukishima always tries so hard to keep hidden, on display for Yamaguchi to see. And then Tsukishima recovers and the mask is back. Tsukishima lets out what should be a sarcastic scoff, but it comes out almost like a sob. He tries to keep a straight face, but the tears pooling in his eyes betray him. Yamaguchi can still see the ghost of his last expression etched on his face.

“Fine,” Tsukishima says sharply, clearing his throat. “You choose him. I get it.”

“Wait, no- no,” Yamaguchi says frantically, reaching for him. “I didn’t mean it! I-”

“No, It’s fine,” Tsukishima gets up off of the bed and steps away from Yamaguchi. He holds his hands out in front of him as if in self-defence. Tsukishima visibly winces, and Yamaguchi knows it’s because of him. Because of him, the voices in Tsukishima's head are back. “It’s fine, Yamaguchi. I- I’m fine.”

“Tsukki-”

“Don’t call me that.” Tsukishima backs up slowly, making his way to the door. 

“Please,” Yamaguchi is crying now. “Don’t go. I need you-”

“No, you don’t,” Tsukishima shakes his head slowly, tears flowing down his face. “You don’t need me anymore. You don’t want me around. The voice was right. Everybody always leaves.”

“No, no, no, I swear, the voice is lying-” Yamaguchi sobs, starting to get up.

“Don’t.” Tsukishima covers his face with his hand and Yamaguchi freezes. “Please don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“C’mon, I didn’t mean it, okay? I take it back, I love y-”

“It makes sense now, ha.” Tsukishima rubs his eyes once more before stepping back and reaching the door. He puts a hand on the handle. “You didn’t answer my question earlier, and that’s why. The voice was right.”

“What- what question?”

“I asked if you still loved him. Terushima. And the voice was right.” Tsukishima repeats, a single tear falling down his face as he smiles. His heart seems to break at that moment. “You still love him.”

“N-no, Tsuk-”

“When you’re with me, do you pretend I’m him?”

Yamaguchi gapes at Tsukishima, at his vulnerability. His voice is like millions of knives stabbing Yamaguchi’s chest. He sounds like Tsukishima on Halloween night, the Tsukishima that was ready to give up. Yamaguchi shakes his head in panic.

“What- no, of course not, I’ve never- wait, don’t open the door-”

“Don’t follow me, Yamaguchi. I- I’m fine. I just need some air.”

Yamaguchi stands up, holding his hands out to try and reason with Tsukishima. “Hey, it’s late, and it’s dangerous out there. Please don’t go, please-”

“Sorry.” Tsukishima opens the door and steps outside. He hesitates in the doorway, looking back at Yamaguchi one more time. He can’t cover the hurt on his face this time. “Oh, and while I’m gone, maybe you can text Terushima. I think he’d like that.”

The door slams behind him and then Tsukishima is gone. Yamaguchi throws his phone across the room, flinching when it hits the ground with a loud crack. Yamaguchi collapses on the floor, covering his face with his hands. Sobs rip through him as Yamaguchi obeys, not following Tsukishima outside.

He fucked up and he knows it. He never should’ve answered Yūji’s texts. He should’ve blocked the number. Tsukishima was right. This wasn’t about helping someone from his past or letting go of Yūji. It was about being with Tsukishima, being in love with him, and earning his trust. Besides, Yamaguchi didn’t even have feelings for Terushima anymore. There was no reason to answer him.

But it’s too late, and Tsukishima is gone. He left, and there’s no sign of him returning anytime soon.

Yamaguchi sucks in a shaky breath, retrieving his phone and tapping on the now-cracked screen to call Tsukishima. There’s no reply to the first call or the second. Yamaguchi tries again, huddling against the side of his bed.

How is he going to fix this?

Chapter Text

Tsukishima doesn’t know what to do.

He walks on the dorm pavilion path, underneath the lamp posts that emit the only light around. Tears blur his vision as Tsukishima struggles to fight the voice in his head, but it’s so loud that he can’t contain it.

Yamaguchi doesn’t want him anymore. Nobody wants him anymore. He doesn’t have a purpose now. Tsukishima has completely given up.

Leave! I don’t need you!

The words still echo in his head. Tsukishima knows that he shouldn’t be listening to the voices, but he can’t help it. It takes so much energy to block them out, and he doesn’t have the strength to do so now. Besides, it doesn’t matter whether or not Yamaguchi meant it or if he was joking. Behind every joke, there’s truth. It doesn’t matter because Yamaguchi is bad at lying, and Tsukishima could tell that he didn’t lie then.

Tsukishima lets out a shaky breath and looks around. Where could he even go? There was no going back to his own dorm, which he can’t even see anymore, even with the lamp posts and the moonlight outlining each dorm building. He couldn’t go to Kuroo or Bokuto, they wouldn’t understand. Tsukishima looks down, furiously wiping at the tears overflowing his eyes and staining his face.

He doesn’t know what to do.

Tsukishima has nowhere to go. He wants to end it, but he knows he shouldn't. It'll cause more trouble than it’s worth. It’s not that anyone would truly care, the trouble would be caused by arranging a funeral and sorting out his belongings. In any case, if Yamaguchi really wanted him, wouldn’t he have followed?

Tsukishima’s phone rings and he pulls it out of his pocket, stopping in the middle of the road. It’s Yamaguchi, calling for the third time since he left. It’s almost like he cares about him. Maybe he really does-

False hope, Tsukishima.

Tsukishima winces at the voice, dropping his phone on the ground as it continues to vibrate. He hears the crack of his phone screen hitting the gravel over the sound of the voice. The presence of the voice itself is painful, and as much as Tsukishima was trying to block it out, he can’t bring himself to stop it anymore.

You’re so tired. I understand.

He really is tired. Tsukishima grips his fingers together, gazing sadly once again into the distance. The cold breeze blows against Tsukishima’s neck, causing him to shiver.

It’s okay now, Tsukishima. You’ve been tired for so long. It’s finally time to rest.

Rest.

It sounds so appealing. All it will take is a blade, a cliff, or even a drug, and then he’ll finally be at peace.

He doesn’t know what to do.

It didn’t matter that Yamaguchi insisted that he isn’t in love with Terushima anymore. He texted Terushima and didn’t bother telling him, as if he knew Tsukishima would get upset. That just goes to show that it meant something. If it wasn’t a big deal, Tsuishima would’ve already known about it earlier. Terushima said it before when he tried to get Yamaguchi back. He said that Yamaguchi still has feelings for him. He knew. And now Tsukishima knows too.

He smiles and tears flow freely down his face. He looks up at the moon.

The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?

Yamaguchi didn’t reply to Tsukishima back then when he said that all those weeks ago. It makes sense now why he didn’t.

Let go, Tsukishima. No one wants you. You aren’t even enough for the person you care for most. No one will miss you and you deserve that. You will never be enough and I feel sorry for you. So do it. End it.

But same as last time, Tsukishima hesitates. He picks up his phone, glancing at the now-cracked screen. More text messages, more missed calls, not only from Yamaguchi but also from Kuroo now. 

Yamaguchi said once that the voice only lies. What if, this time, the voice is lying as well-

I’m not lying this time. Yamaguchi is the one who lied. Why would I lie to you about this?

Tsukishima is done. Done with all of the bullshit that goes on in his head, the endless loop of negative thoughts. He’s sick of wondering if the people he cares about care for him in return. He’s sick of everything.

And the only thing he could think of in this blur of emotion was how tired he is. 

He’s scared, but the relief will be worth it, won’t it?

He doesn’t want to end it. There are too many things he’d miss.

He could make up with Yamaguchi, he could graduate, get married, adopt an annoying child, and live a full life. Tsukishima’s knees give out and he falls to the ground, putting his head in his hands.

He doesn’t know what to do.

“Tsukishima?”

Tsukishima freezes and looks up wildly while getting rid of his tears, trying to find the source of the voice. It says his name again and he finally sees who it is.

“What are you doing out here? It’s late, and being out alone at this time is dangerous.” Sugawara gazes down at him, out of breath. Tsukishima looks down at him and for a second, the voice is as surprised as him. It fades away for just a moment.

That moment is enough. Tsukishima musters his strength in the moment that the voice allows him to think clearly. And then he does the unthinkable, something he’ll be glad of for the rest of his life.

Tsukishima’s eyes widen and weakly he gasps, “Please, I need help.”

Sugawara immediately drops to the ground beside him in a squat. “What’s wrong? Do you need something?”

“We argued and the voice is so loud.” Tsukishima whispers.

“We? As in you and Yamaguchi?” Sugawara’s brow furrow and his gaze softens as Tsukishima nods. “Alright, I see. Uh, I know you’re not really a touchy-feely person, but do you want a hug? Then we can go to my dorm to calm down and maybe you can fully let me know what’s going on. Maybe tell me about that voice?”

Tsukishima nods, unable to look Sugawara in the eyes. Sugawara lightly wraps his arms around him and pats his head lightly. Tsukishima then startles the both of them by gripping Sugawara tightly.

A couple of minutes pass and Tsukishima clings to Sugawara like the world is ending. Sugawara is still confused, but he doesn’t question Tsukishima any further. Tsukishima eventually pulls away, clearing his throat.

He looks away from Sugawara before speaking. “I’m- uh, I’m sorry for causing you trouble and-”

“Don’t apologize.” Sugawara says softly, squeezing Tsukishima’s shoulder gently. “I’ve been where you are, I’m sure you’ve been told. Not necessarily in the same way, I’m sure, but I’ve been depressed, I’ve had intrusive thoughts.”

You’re not special, see? He’s been there, done that. You don’t deserve his help.

Tsukishima flinches, and Sugawara, the observant person he is, seems to notice.

“Hey, Tsukishima.” Sugawara smiles at him as if reading his thoughts. “I’m not saying you’re invalid, okay? You deserve help, and to be happy. Let’s get rid of those negative thoughts.”

Tsukishima nods, closing his eyes briefly. “It’s getting loud.”

“And it’s going to be loud for a while. But let’s just slowly ease back into things, alright? We can start by heading to my house, have a nice warm cup of coffee and we can talk a little. And then in the morning, I’ll get you the help you asked for and call my old psychiatrist. How ‘bout it?”

Tsukishima can’t do much more than nod again. Sugawara reads him well once again, standing up and offering him a hand. Tsukishima grabs on, pulling himself up. He sways on the spot for a moment. He isn’t used to being this vulnerable. Apparently, it’s something he’ll have to get used to.

Sugawara links arms with Tsukishima. “Don’t do anything stupid, ‘kay? Promise me you’ll stay with me until the morning, and not run off? I can stay up with you all night if you don’t feel like sleeping.”

“Sure.” Tsukishima clears his throat, they only walk forward a few steps before Tsukishima stops in his tracks. “What about Tadashi? He’s gonna hate me and he’ll break up with me and-”

“Tsukishima, he doesn’t hate you, that’s just an intrusive thought. I know one when I see one. Or hear one, I should say.” Sugawara squeezes his arm. “You’re catastrophizing. Look, if anything, Yamaguchi will be worried because he cares. I’ll shoot him a text, let him know where you are, and you guys can talk as soon as you’re ready.”

“Thank you, Sugawara.”

“No need to thank me, I’ll always be here for you. Anyways, how many times do I need to tell you to call me Suga?”

 


 

Yamaguchi gives up after Kuroo tells him that Tsukishima isn’t answering him either.

He’s tried everything. Calls, texts, even discord calling. Everything except going outside after him. Yamaguchi knows that going after Tsukishima will just end in more problems.

Yamaguchi already sent a text to Terushima, one last text telling him to get real help and never text him again. It also tells Terushima to fuck off, which seemed appropriate at the time but now only seems unnecessary. Yamaguchi hadn’t waited for a response before finally blocking Terushima.

Yamaguchi tugs at his hair, wincing when he accidentally yanks on a knot. He continues pulling at his hair until he gets a thought that freezes his hand immediately.

Tsukishima doesn’t deal well with conflict. Yamaguchi knows that from Halloween night. Tsukishima promised not to attempt to end it all again, but Yamaguchi knows that in full panic mode, promises mean nothing.

Yamaguchi scrambles for his phone. He doesn’t want his last conversation with Tsukishima to be an argument. It was all his fault, he would tell Tsukishima and apologize and-

There’s a text from Suga.

I’ve got Tsukishima in my dorm room, he’s alright so call me when you can :) It’s gonna be okay

He’s alright. Yamaguchi lets out a breath that soon turns into a sob. He calls Sugawara as soon as he can see through his tears. Sugawara picks up on the second ring.

Yamaguchi?

“Suga? Hi. It’s me, what happened? Is Tsukki really okay? I fucked up bad and I just need to talk to him-” Yamaguchi’s rambling stops as Sugawara speaks again.

He’s fine, Tadashi .”

His first name coming out of Sugawara’s mouth is like a reality check. It calms Yamaguchi, but only slightly.

“Can I talk to him? Please.”

No can do, sorry. He just fell asleep, no chance I’m waking him up. Besides, it would just stress him out. ” Sugawara’s voice is somewhat muffled due to him whispering.

“Okay, okay, yeah, for sure.” Yamaguchi takes a shaky breath and pushes himself back against his bed. “I just need to text Kuroo that Tsukki’s fine, give me a sec?”

Of course. ” The line goes quiet apart from slight movement on Sugawara’s end. Yamaguchi pulls the phone away from his ear.

After the text is sent and Yamaguchi has thoroughly calmed Kuroo, Yamaguchi brings the phone back to his ear and he speaks again.

“Where did you find him? Is he upset with me? Because I really fucked up, Suga, I don’t know what to do.”

Found him on the way back to my dorm from Daichi’s. He was in the middle of the sidewalk, on the ground. Tsukishima’s pretty shaken up, I’m gonna get him my psychiatrist in the morning. Now, would you mind telling me what the fuck you two argued about?

Yamaguchi launches into a detailed explanation, only pausing when Sugawara reminds him to breathe. Tsukishima will be okay, they’ll be okay. Yamaguchi then finds out that Tsukishima isn’t mad, instead he’s worried about Yamaguchi.

“What an idiot,” Yamaguchi chuckles slightly, despite the circumstances. “I’m the one who needs to apologize.”

The two of them are on the phone all night, and Sugawara agrees to ask Tsukishima about meeting Yamaguchi soon so they can talk things out.

They hang up the call when the sun begins to shine through the curtains of Yamaguchi’s dorm, after Sugawara makes Yamaguchi agree to get some sleep. The line goes quiet and Yamaguchi stares at the ceiling.

He doesn’t get the sleep he promised he would.

Chapter Text

Tsukishima and Yamaguchi speak two days later.

Those two days were the longest of Yamaguchi's life. He occupied himself with anything he could find, but it never was enough to keep his mind from wandering back to Tsukishima.

Those two days were a blur to Tsukishima. He was ready to speak with Yamaguchi the second he woke up, but Sugawara reminded him how important it is to think things through. 

Somehow, Sugawara got him to the psychiatrist the day after the argument, and he already has a few things sorted out with his new psychiatrist. He has some new strategies on how to improve his negative thinking and he also has some ideas on what to say when he speaks with Yamaguchi.

When Tsukishima and Yamaguchi meet in their dorm after classes on Monday, rain hits their dorm room’s windows nearly loud enough to block out their hushed sorry’s to each other. Tsukishima apologizes. Yamaguchi denies his apology and explains that Tsukishima did nothing wrong. They make promises to communicate better and to be honest in the future.

The rain turns into a light mist. Somehow, they end up walking around the university in the dark, rain slightly soaking their clothes as they walk beside each other. Their hands are intertwined and the light emitted from the lamp posts allow them to see each other.

“You’re really pretty, did you know?”

Tsukishima chokes on air. “Excuse me?”

“You’re just, you know, heartbreakingly gorgeous. I would let you stomp on me, stab me with a stick, run me over with a car, and I would thank you immediately after.” Yamaguchi giggles hysterically at the concerned look on Tsukishima’s face.

“Why am I even surprised at this point?” Tsukishima wonders aloud. “You’d think I’d get used to your uncanny ability to both flatter and concern me all at once.”

“I think you are used to it,” Yamaguchi tells him. “You just force yourself to act surprised.”

“Maybe, maybe not. You’ll never know.” Tsukishima smiles slightly, spotting a bench in his peripheral vision. “Do you mind if we sit for a bit?”

“Only if you hug me.”

“Alright.” They make their way over to the bench and Tsukishima, much to Yamaguchi’s dismay, places his jacket on the bench so Yamaguchi doesn’t have to sit on the wet wood.

“Is something wrong?” Yamaguchi asks from in Tsukishima’s arms. Tsukishima tenses slightly and takes a deep breath.

“No, but I’d like to say something that I normally wouldn’t. I just need the confidence to first.”

“Take your time, Tsukki,” Yamaguchi buries his head into Tsukishima’s chest. “I’m not going anywhere.”

They sit in silence for a few minutes, Tsukishima stroking Yamaguchi’s hair. The rain stops. Tsukishima doesn’t know if he should say what he’s thinking, but he knows deep down that this is important. He clears his throat.

“You know that I’m struggling,” Tsukishima starts, immediately wincing at his own words. “But I’m getting help now, so you don’t need to worry. I just wanted to clear that up, and tell you that you’re the most important person in my life. I’m happier around you, I’m myself when I’m around you, and when I’m with you I feel like I can finally breathe. See, I have this thing, where at times I feel so alone and helpless, so isolated that it sends me into a state of panic. I can be around people and still feel alone, I can be with my family and still feel alone. But you keep me from that feeling, I don’t know why, but you’re you and I really think that that’s why. I really thought I would lose you when you showed interest in Terushima again, so I panicked. I know that I probably over-reacted about him and the situation, so I wanted to explain that too, I think.

“When you see the one person keeping you from pain, the one person you love in pain because of someone else, it hurts. And Terushima hurt you, many times. He was finally out of your life, and then he came after you again. And when I saw him in our dorm that night, I’ve never hated someone more. So you can only imagine how I felt when I saw that you were contacting him without any means of safety. I understand why you were talking to him, I just disagree with it. Like a lot. I’m not mad. I’m not trying to justify my actions or whatever, I just want you to know. And I love you a lot, Tadashi. I want to keep you safe. I also never want to say this much sappy shit in one go ever again or else I might actually explode.”

When Tsukishima finally goes quiet, Yamaguchi tightens his arms around him.

“Do you mind if I say something too?”

“Of course, Tadashi.”

“I will always worry.” Yamaguchi exclaims, sniffing quietly, his face still concealed in Tsukishima’s shirt. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I was in the wrong, I think. Reaching out to someone who destroyed me? Stupid of me. You treat me a billion times better than Y- Terushima ever did. You treat me like how I used to imagine love when I was a kid. When I fell in love with Terushima, it wasn’t like what I thought love was. It was almost like I followed him around like a dog, doing whatever he said. I was like a lost puppy, going after what I thought I needed, but in reality, I was just hurting myself in the process. I’m never going to talk to him again.

“And then I met you, and you showed me what love is supposed to be. Loving you isn’t like a chore, it’s like a gift. It’s like the movies, which sounds fucking cheesy but I’m gonna say it anyway. You taught me that I deserve a lot more than I thought. You’re my favourite person. I’m going to stay with you forever, until you either get rid of me or I’m forced away, because I’ll never leave you by choice. I love you.”

“I love you too.” Tsukishima doesn’t say anything else, he doesn’t need to.

He just hugs Yamaguchi tighter and doesn’t let go.

 


 

Tsukishima checks his phone again. Yamaguchi’s class has been done for over fifteen minutes, and Yamaguchi isn’t back yet. This shouldn't worry Tsukishima. Yamaguchi doesn’t have to tell him where he is every ten seconds, nor does he have to let Tsukishima know when his class is over, although he usually does.

Tsukishima sends Yamaguchi a quick ‘where r u, is ur class over yet?’ text and refocuses on the book he’s reading.

Except he can’t focus, and he sits there on his bed for two more minutes before checking his phone again. Still no texts from Yamaguchi. A few minutes pass he still can’t focus because what if Yamaguchi’s class really is over and something’s gone wrong? Now the words blur on the book’s pages because what if Yamaguchi’s gone back to Terushima? He wouldn’t though, because he promised he wouldn’t. But people lie, and Tsukishima’s been lied to so much.

Yamaguchi was going to get sick of Tsukishima eventually. Tsukishima knew this because everyone gets sick of him in time. His brother, who always discarded Tsukishima when they were kids so he hung out by himself with only music to keep him company. His mother, who when asked for help with homework was too busy, so Tsukishima spent hours poring over textbooks in order to pass tests and assignments. Bokuto and Kuroo, who as much as they pretended they wanted Tsukishima around, definitely are sick of him intruding on date nights. Not that he’d been invited to hang out with them recently anyway.

And Yamaguchi.

Tsukishima knows, in the very back of his mind, that these thoughts were not rational. None of his thoughts are, but that doesn’t stop them from ruining Tsukishima’s day. All he can think of is the fact that Yamaguchi left him alone and was most likely never coming back, and then Tsukishima can’t breathe and he’s having a panic attack.

His hands are shaking and he still can’t breathe because he’s alone and no one cares. The voice is speaking and Tsukishima can’t even focus on that because his brain is cloudy and the only thing he can think about is how alone he is.

And it hurts.

It hurts because for the past few weeks he’s been doing so, so well. Sure, there were setbacks here and there because everyone has setbacks and that’s okay. He and Yamaguchi were communicating so well and he even hung out with Sugawara a few times. He even made an effort to ignore the worried looks Sugawara sent his way when he thought Tsukishima wasn’t looking.

Tsukishima hadn’t even panicked when his psychiatrist told him how well he was doing, he didn’t freak out even though it scared him so much. Because getting better is a change, and change is terrifying. Now tears are running down his face and now Tsukishima can’t even see.

He’s so alone.

And then he’s not.

Tsukishima can hardly process the hands that take his. He’s much too numb now. He can’t process the words being spoken to him in a soft tone. The words tell him to breathe and count and there’s too much going on. He can barely see the green hair that he loves so much.

But he does.

He sees the Yamaguchi who came back, who isn’t in danger and didn’t leave him alone. His boyfriend who is still here even after everything he’s been through. Yamaguchi who knows exactly what to say to Tsukishima when he panics, or is sad, or can’t deal with anything anymore.

And he slowly begins to see Yamaguchi in front of him, hears his voice and listens. Yamaguchi tells him to follow his breaths and Tsukishima does without thinking because Yamaguchi is here and he’s not alone.

Sometime in the next few minutes he hears Yamaguchi repeat to him over and over that he’s here and that Tsukishima’s not alone, so the panic ebbs away bit by bit.

And when he becomes verbal again and tells Yamaguchi what happened, Yamaguchi doesn’t get mad. Instead he tells Tsukishima that he’ll always be with him, no matter what. He says that no matter what, Tsukishima will never be alone because Yamaguchi will stay with him.

And Yamaguchi pulls him into a hug because he knows Tsukishima will not initiate it.

And they fall asleep cuddling because it’s the unspoken tradition they have.

And Tsukishima doesn’t feel so alone anymore because Yamaguchi is there.

And that’s enough.

Chapter Text

hello hi guys this isn’t a new chapter sadly

 

after a few months of thinking and a lot of rewriting chapters, i’ve decided to scrap this fic and leave it unfinished. trying to write it has been really difficult for me and i’ve tried so many times to get back into writing the story.

 

when i started this fic, i was in a really bad place mentally and i used this fic as a way to cope and release emotions in a safe way (through tsukishima’s character basically, and i don’t even kin him #awkward). i’m trying to get better with my mental health. the thing is, when i look back at things i’ve written already, i can see my past thoughts and feel my old emotions writing the chapters. i don’t want to feel like that anymore, so i’m going to leave this fic behind. i hope that makes sense (also why does this statement feel cheesy i do not like this)

 

maybe in a year or so, or when i’m mentally prepared, i might pick this fic back up and finish it. but for now, it’s going to remain unfinished. i’m really sorry and i wish i could finish it for you guys, but i can’t bring myself too. i’m going to try and write more fics, and hopefully that momentum can let me finish this one. if you guys really want me to, maybe i can put out chapter summaries for the remaining chapters (maybe) i'm going to leave this fic up though, so don't worry about it getting deleted

 

thank you guys for the support you’ve given me :) again, i’m really sorry. i hope you’re all doing well :D take care