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Spilling Rose Petals

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It started on a cold winter day, Kyoutani and Yahaba. It wasn't by choice but rather by an order from their captain.

"You're going to be setter and ace," Oikawa had told them, patting them both on their heads, "that needs to be a close, untouchable relationship!" Kyoutani had only grunted in response and Yahaba turned his head away. Iwaizumi had snorted in the background but Kyoutani saw Oikawa and Iwaizumi kiss as they walked out of the gym. 

So that was how Kyoutani was roped into walking the second-year setter home, every day after practice. At first, it hadn't been pleasant at all, considering Yahaba had a habit of stopping at stare at a random shop item. It was beyond annoying at first, but as Kyoutani learned Yahaba's habits be found himself predicting which store Yahaba would wander in or guessing as to what kind of food he would buy. 


"Kyoutani," Yahaba tugged at Kyoutani's sleeve. Kyoutani grunted in response, Yahaba was pulling him in the direction of his favorite sushi shop. A place that had grown to be a constant in Kyoutani's life.

"Alright," Kyoutani muttered and the two pushed open the door. It was warm inside, a far cry from the bitter cold that nipped at the pair's noses. Kyoutani immediately shrugged off his jacket and hung it up by the pegs on the door. The shop was a hold in the wall, barely noticeable but Kyoutani had begun to understand- Yahaba noticed even the smallest details. That annoying little quirk of his was probably how he found the tiny sushi shop in the first place. 

Kyoutani wasn't hungry, satisfied with a steaming cup of green tea. He held is tightly in his palm so it warmed his hands. Yahaba sat next to him, munching down a bowl of ikura don like it was the last meal he'd ever eat. Kyoutani rolled his eyes and grumbled about how Yahaba always had to eat something on their walk home. 

Another quirk Kyoutani had picked up about Yahaba, he had a huge stomach. He could shovel bowls of noodles, ikura don or tempura like it was about to be torn from his hands. Especially after practice when their muscles were tired and bellies empty. 

They started walking home together two months ago and Kyoutani had learned so many small things about Yahaba that he would have never bothered to know two months prior. He kept a close eye out for more, not because he had to, but because watching Yahaba was interesting. Learning about the youngest setter filled Kyoutani with a sense of accomplishment, one that he couldn't explain. 

Yahaba was talking about a book he was reading or his history class or something but his words were lost in Kyoutani's brain because the boy was preoccupied. Kyoutani was staring at Yahaba, his gorgeous features were so finely drawn, his nose was sharp and his eyes flickered lightly when he talked about something that interested him. His hair looked soft and fell effortlessly over his forehead and a few strands were placed over his eyes. 

"-youtani? Kyoutani? Are you even listening to me? I said I was done, you dumbass, let's go," there was a certain lightness in Yahaba's insults that made Kyoutani hide his blush and scoff loudly.

"Shut up, I was thinking."

Yahaba tapped Kyoutani's forehead, "how can you even think when there's nothing there?"

Kyoutani slapped Yahaba's hand away, causing said boy to erupt with mirthy laughter that made Kyoutani's heart skip a beat.

A final thing Kyoutani observed about Yahaba Shigeru: he had the world's most pretty laugh.


 

"See you tomorrow!" Yahaba waved. They stood at the gate that divided his large house from the sidewalk. 

"Fine," Kyoutani replied, hands stuffed in his pockets, "but we're getting onigiri tomorrow."

Yahaba nodded. Then, wordlessly, he unwrapped his scarf and rewrapped it around Kyoutani's neck. Kyoutani watched as Yahaba's long fingers brushed past Kyoutani's neck.

"Wha--"

"If you catch a cold and miss practice, I swear I'll slap you," Yahaba replied, looking away. Then, he turned around and ran up the steps to his house. He didn't look back at Kyoutani until he all the way at his door, keys in hand. He glanced behind his shoulder to see that the wing spiker was still standing by his front gate. Kyoutani swore he saw a flicker of a smile painted on Yahaba's rosy lips. I'm imaging things, he thinks as he watches Yahaba disappear into his house door. 

It was then Kyoutani noticed the pain in his chest, he pounded his fist against the middle of his chest, hoping to unplug whatever was caught there. When the lingering bother in his lungs didn't go away, Kyoutani pressed his fist to his mouth and began to cough. He coughed at his own will first, then his body took over and before he knew it, he was heaving thick, chesty coughs into his arm.

Then, he felt it. It erupted from his chest and rippled up his throat. In horror, Kyoutani spat into his hand.

Crimson rose petals fell delicately from his lips. 

Kyoutani's hands trembled. He'd seen the disease before; when his mother broke her leg and they visited her in the hospital. Kyoutani had been trying to find the cafeteria when he peered into the room of a girl. She sat on her bed, hacking uncontrollably and daisy and tulip petals had poured from her mouth and littered her bed. There had been flower petals all over her white hospital room, blown from the bed. He learned a few days later that she had died from unrequited love. 

Kyoutani was in utter disbelief, there was no way he had fallen victim to Hanahaki. He had sworn to himself he'd never let his heart shatter so much that flower petals could flow from his lips and fall from his mouth. And even more, it was Yahaba's unrequited love. 

Yahaba Shigeru, the boy Kyoutani hated. The one he was forced to spend time with every single day, he was just like every other squealing girl who came to their practices and called words of encouragement to Oikawa and Yahaba. 

Kyoutani continued to cough, spitting the stray assortment of flower petals onto the mushy snow by his feet. By the time the awful coughing had abated, Kyoutani was breathing heavily and unsteadily. He continued to walk towards his home, less sure-footed. And he refused to look at the pile of flower petals that had fallen into the snow.


Kyoutani had stopped coming to practice from then on. The flower petals that littered his sink and shower drain were enough of a reminder, he didn't need to see Yababa's face

The flower petals that littered his sink and clogged his shower drain were enough of a reminder, he didn't need to see Yababa's face every day. That on top of the ugly coughing that kept him up until the wee hours of the morning were bad enough to leave dark bruises under his eyes nearly every day.  

Even seeing Yahaba in the hallways, talking to Watari or trailing behind Oikawa, trying to talk to their boastful captain, started another spew of petals. Just getting a glimpse of his disgustingly beautiful head, only for a second, had Kyoutani running towards the bathroom, desperate for a toilet to cough the petals that plagued his lungs into. 

But the worst part? Everyday Kyoutani didn't see Yahaba or talk to him or walk him home, every day that passed without the hot-headed second-year setter, only made his hanahaki worsen. It only caused more violet petals to violently eject themselves from Kyoutani's shaken frame. 

The season began to slowly change from a bitter winter into a blooming spring. The sakura trees outside their school began to sprout their cherry blossoms and big bulky coats retired into the closet for another year. Kyoutani was walking outside, happy that his coughing had stopped for the time being. He knew that soon the petals would begin to clog his lungs and plug his arteries but he shoved those thoughts aside and sat on the benches.

The spring wind blew through the air and brushed past Kyoutani's cheeks. He let out a soft sigh and leaned his head back. He was about to fall asleep in his state of tranquilty (sleep was something he hadn't been getting a lot of, the coughing made sure he wouldn't dream for too long) when he heard loud stomping coming towards him.

Opening one eye, his heart flipped when he saw who was coming. Yahaba stood over him, a scowl etched into his features and his arms were crossed tightly to his chest.

"Where the fuck have you been?" He demanded, loudly. Kyoutani growled under his breath. "You've been gone a full month! If you aren't gonna take the team seriously, why come at all? And here I thought next year you might make an okay ace! I guess you won't, I guess I was wrong about you, you're the same godawful human being you were three months ago."

His words stung, they were like a put in Kyoutani's gut. Yahaba spun around on his heel and stormed off the opposite direction, leaving Kyoutani is a shell-shocked state. Yahaba hated h


 

That night, Kyoutani spent eight hours in the bathroom. He stood over the toilet, grasping tightly onto the wall with one hand, another hand clutching his chest. He felt like the chest was trying to rip itself out of his body. Tears spurted to his eyes as he gagged and sputtered and coughed out more petals than he ever had in the entire one of his hanahaki battle. 

One constant thought roared through Kyoutani's mind.

Yahaba hates me.

The next morning, Oikawa came up to him. His arms were on his hips and the annoying smirk Kyoutani wished he could slap off his face was settled on his rosy lips. 

"What are you doing here?" Kyoutani's voice was raspy and annoyed, his eyes sagged in tiredness. 

"Jeez, Kyouken-chan," Oikawa pointed out, shamelessly, "you look like a bus ran you over. Aren't you sleeping, you know it's not good for an athlete like you to not be taking care of you--"

"What do you want?" growled Kyoutani. His chest was aching something terrible and he was tired and had no patience for his overbearing senpai.

"Show up to practice today," Oikawa's told him, "it's our last Spring Tournament as a team and we're going to beat Karasuno and Shiratorizawa." 


Practice with Yahaba was painful, to say the least, the very least. Seeing his face for hours on end was bad enough but keeping the spilling petals from tumbling out of his lips was the hardest. Every twenty minutes he would run to the bathroom and stay there, coughing out everything he felt for about five minutes before returning (reluctantly) to the gym. It wasn't the most efficient system but it was better than everyone knowing of his hanahaki. Better than Yahaba knowing of his hanahaki. 

The nights were the worst, though, because his thoughts would be a dizzy, feverish array of Yahaba's face, Yahaba's angry words, the fact that Yahaba no longer talked to him except to shout. The reminder that he and Yahaba bickered constantly during practice, that he snapped at Yahaba and yelled at him so loudly their words echoed off the hollow gym walls. All of those thoughts wrapped around his mind and squeezed it until he was numb, limp on the cold bathroom tiles and hacking his lung out. 

Petals fell from his mouth and floated in the toilet until Kyoutani weakly lifted his arm and flushed them down. An awful process that repeated everyday Oikawa and Iwaizumi dragged him to the gym. 

The day of the Sping Tournament arrived both quickly and not quickly enough. He was switched in during the second set of the Karasuno game and he spiked each ball was power, even though his limbs ached and his chest pounding with pain. He knew things were not looking good for him, he had determined in his mind he should play what might be his last tournament as well as he could, feel as good as he can spiking.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

It wasn't until he was switched out again, did things begin to change. Yahaba had thrown him against the wall, talking in a dangerous voice. It was blurry to Kyoutani, it was a painful blur because he could fell the petals inching their way up his chest. To see Yahaba's eyes dark with anger, knowing that Kyoutani was the reason they weren't light, forced more petals into his lungs. He felt like he could pass out at any time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 They lost in the end and as they were packing up, Yahaba made an offhand comment to Watari and Kyoutani. "Don't ever forget this sight. We're definitely going to pay them back." It was simple and angry but it ricocheted in Kyoutani's mind. I won't be here to pay them back


Kyoutani was alone in the changing room. It was the day after the Karasuno match and practice ended quickly, it seemed everyone's spirits were shattered. Kyoutani's chest had felt unusually bad all that, his lungs felt like they were closing in on themselves. It had been increasingly hard to breathe throughout the day and Kyoutani found his breathing becoming shallow. He was dizzy as he tried to pull on his street clothes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

He stumbled over to the bench, still shirtless. The locker room was dark and the only sound were the showers dripping a few water drops. Kyoutani felt his eyesight blurring and he started heaving loud, chesty coughs into his hands. Rose petals flew from his lips, spilling onto the floor and into Kyoutani's lap. He coughed loud, too loud that he didn't even realize Oikawa had walked in.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Kyoutani felt like crying, it hurt like someone had speared a knife through his lungs. The rose petals were beginning to kill him as they continued to pour out of his throat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

"Kyoutani?" Oikawa's voice was panicked and high. Kyoutani felt Oikawa's strong setter hands on his bare back, patting it and rubbing deep circles. A few more coughs tumbled out of Kyoutani's lips and two petals escaped before it stopped. It was a huge relief, that was the worst attack Kyoutani had ever experienced, He looked up, his eyes glassy but angry,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

"Who is it, Kyouken?" Oikawa asked, his eyes were wide, more worried than Kyoutani's ever seen them.

"Don't tell anyone," rasps Kyoutani, his breathing heavy and shallow at the same time. He hadn't realized he was clutching onto Oikawa's arm like the captain was his lifeboat on a shaky sea. The room was still spinning and very little made sense to the disoriented wing-spiker.

"I won't," Oikawa whispered, surprised that the usually angry Kyoutani was not only holding his arm tightly but letting Oikawa run his fingers through his short hair. "But who is it, Kyoutani?"

"Yahaba," Kyoutani managed to gasp out, "it's fucking Yahaba."

"Oh," Oikawa mumbled, knowingly, "how about we get you home, Kyouken?"

"Whatever," mumbled Kyoutani, feverishly and tiredly, home sounded pretty nice. He let his captain lead him out of the locker room, feeling the flower petals flutter in his lungs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 


*Yahaba's POV*

Yahaba walked into practice with a knowing absence lingering in the gym. Two vital people were missing. Confused, he walked up to Iwaizumi.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

"Iwaizumi-san? Where are Oikawa-san and Kyoutani?" He asked. Iwaizumi turned around, an expression Yahaba never seen on his face. His eyebrows were knitted together in concern and he was holding his phone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

"Apparently Oikawa and Kyoutani are at the hospital," he mumbled.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

"H-hospital?" Yahaba repeated, his voice dropping in utter disbelief. Thoughts raced towards his mind but the most prominent one was: what happened to Kyoutani?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 "Yeah," Iwaizumi's voice was distant and concerned dripped from his tone and knitted his eyebrows, "Oikawa said he wants you at the hospital. I guess I'll take you."

Confusion swirled in Yahaba's mind, why does he need me? "Uh...sure."

"I can drive you if you want," Iwaizumi said, jerking his thumb towards the direction of the parking lot. Yahaba have a grateful nod and Iwaizumi left the practice Hanamaki and they were off.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Iwaizumi's car was not what Yahaba expected. He expected black leather seats, loud music, and just an all-around cool car. But instead the seats were made with fabric and some were torn. Alien decals on the glovebox and three glasses cases. Stickers adorned the windows and doors and k-pop CDs littered the car. 

"Sorry for the mess," Iwaizumi said, shoving a bag of what looked like Oikawa's books towards the backseat, "Oikawa thinks it's funny to put weird stickers all over my car." Yahaba chuckled but his mind was elsewhere. It was floating to the image of Kyoutani, broken or beaten or something equally bad. He knew Kyoutani was hotheaded; did he get into a fight? Iwaizumi must have noticed Yahaba's creased forehead and biting his lips because he said,

"I'm sure everything's fine. Don't worry, both Kyoutani and Oikawa are strong."

Yahaba nodded, but he wasn't quite sure his senpai was right


The hospital was quiet. The halls had few people besides nurses and the walls were too white for Yahaba's taste. Iwaizumi was by the desk, finding out information of Kyoutani's condition but Yahaba still knew nothing, only armed with Kyoutani's room number, he walked down the too-quiet, too-white hallway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Kyoutani's room was room 3H and Yahaba found it relatively quickly. Walking in, his heart dropped into the very pits of his stomach. Oikawa sat in a plastic red chair, his hands were clasped together and he rested his chin on the tips of his finger. He was wearing his glasses, they were crooked on his nose and his hair was unruly, not as placed and perfect as it always was.

But then Kyoutani, Kyoutani was lying on the bed. He was lifeless, all color was drained from his cheeks and the dark bags under his eyes stood out in sharp contrast. Yahaba's hands shook at his side and his eyes widened in utter fear. There are flower petals on the bed. An oxygen mask was placed over Kyoutani's lips and rose petals were caught in it, fluttering around at each shallow breath Kyoutani took.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

An assortment of flower petals littered his bed, the window was open and with every small gust of wind, they whipped around the room. 

Oikawa looked up and smiled, sadly, seeing Yahaba.

"Hi Yahaba-chan," Oikawa's voice was hoarse, he looked almost as tired as Kyoutani himself. Almost.

"He...He has hanahaki, doesn't he?" Yahaba was surprised at his choked up voice, he didn't even feel his eyes welling with hot tears. 

"Yeah," Oikawa's voice scared Yahaba, solely because he'd never heard his captain sound so tired and unhopeful, "he's been pulling through since this morning, though."

"Can...Can't he get the surgery?" Yahaba hated how distraught and cracked he sounded, there was a resounding pang in his heart that he could feel, just by looking at Kyoutani's crumpled form, lying on the bed.

"He doesn't want to," Oikawa whispered, rubbing Kyouani's arm that was outside of the blanket, "he told me not to do it last night when it was getting pretty bad. I never took Kyouken-chan as a romantic, but I guess he wants to die with his love. How cheesy Kyoutani." At this point, Yahaba knew Oikawa was no longer talking to him, but rather the unresponsive Kyoutani. 

"Hey," the sound of Iwaizumi's voice from the doorway brought both Oikawa and back down to earth. Iwaizumi looked at the bed and muttered a curse under his breath. Oikawa stood up and let Iwaizumi envelop him in a hug. It was strong and protective and Iwaizumi ran his hands through Oikawa's thick brown curls and Yahaba desperately wished he didn't feel as jealous as he did. 

"Iwa-chan," Yahaba knew Oikawa was speaking in a whisper so Yahaba wouldn't hear, but he heard it anyway, "he's not doing good at all. I wish...he told someone sooner...I just..." 

"I know, Tooru," was all Iwaizumi said, but somehow it seemed to calm Oikawa down. Yahaba was staring so intently at his captain and ace he didn't notice Kyoutani's eyes opening. Suddenly, Yahaba felt a cold hand on top of his and his heart raced. 

"Kyoutani?" he whispered, feeling like sobbing from either happiness, sadness or both.

"Sorry," Kyoutani whispered, weakly, words muffled from the oxygen mask. A thick, mucusy cough rattled from his chest, causing Yahaba to wince at the sound, bringing up three daisy petals. 

"How are you feeling?" Yahaba asked in a hushed voice, knowing it was a stupid question, but out of all the questions he had, it was the only one he could bring himself to ask.

Kyoutani scoffed, but instead of the rude it usually was, it came out pathetic and sickly, "like shit."

"Yeah," Yahaba mumbled, "I expected that." 

Oikawa looked up from Iwaizumi's arm, where his head had been buried and noticed Kyoutani's glassy eyes flickering around the room.

"Ken-chan," he said, pulling away from Iwaizumi's grasp and rushing to the side of his bed, "are you okay?"

"Stop doting on me," Kyoutani muttered, but Yahaba could see gratefulness in his golden-hazel eyes. Oikawa chuckled, almost dryly. It was offputting to see their boisterous captain act so somber. Kyoutani looked away from Oikawa's eyes before answering, "shitty. My chest really hurts and I...I can't breathe."

"I'll get a doctor. Iwa-chan, come with me," Oikawa said, standing up and motioning for Iwaizumi to come.

"I can stay with Yahaba, if you--" he was cut off by Oikawa's glare and more intense hand motion before he interrupted his own thoughts, "I mean, sure, stay with Kyoutani, Yahaba." For the first time, Yahaba didn't complain or whine as his senpai left him alone with Kyoutani, he just nodded and watched them leave.

"Kyou, can I asked you who it is?" Yahaba's tone softened, he wished it didn't. He wished it could be loud and so would Kyoutani's. He wished they were screaming at each other, yelling, scolding. He wished they were literally punching and smacking each other. Anything but this. Anything but seeing Kyoutani broken down and dying. 

"It does...*cough* matter who it is now, does it?" 

"I suppose it doesn't," Yahaba hummed, his fingers reaching up and running through Kyoutani's sweaty scalp. He never did have a boundary when it came to Kyoutani. He couldn't count the number of times their noses were inches apart, or he pulled on Kyoutani's collar, sleeve or end of shirt. But this contact, caring and soft seemed wrong. It seemed unnatural. Then again Shigeru, he tells himself, he's dying so it's the least you can do. Especially after yelling at him while he was sick...oh...fuck.

"Hey," Yahaba said, nudging Kyoutani's side. That caused anther painful sounding hack to escape Kyoutani's trembling lips, "sorry about all the yelling I did at you before."

"S'fine," Kyoutani slurred, "you didn't know." 

"I know but...I feel guilty about it," Yahaba muttered.

"Not my problem," Kyoutani's words were broken, coming out in pieces. He looked feverish and his eyes had taken on a new hazy cloud. His breathing was rapid in some periods than slow and hoarse in others. It didn't take a doctor to see he wasn't going to be okay and that's what hurt Yahaba the most. He never thought he'd live to see the day Kyoutani showed outward weakness, but the wing-spiker had no choice at this point. Hell, he let Oikawa take care of him for two days. 

Yahaba snorted but said nothing. There was nothing left to say, so they stirred in knowing silence for awhile. The only noises were the gushes of cool wind and Kyoutani's coughs and loud, labored breaths. 

Oikawa came back, holding Iwaizumi's hand. 

"They're gonna adjust your oxygen flow and see how you fare, okay Ken-chan?" 

Kyoutani said nothing, only curtly nodding. Oikawa laughed, softly and sadly and Iwaizumi frowned. Yahaba felt more pieces chip away from his heart.


 

Yahaba couldn't sleep that night. He sat cross-legged on his bed, clutching his phone, shaking. Kyoutani was two miles away, suffering in a hospital, he needed to stay up. Iwaizumi promised to keep Yahaba posted throughout the night but the last text he received was at 12:43 am about Kyoutani's oxygen flow and the how the flower petals were filling his lungs at a rapid rate. That he...he might not make it through the night. 

It was 3 am now and Yahaba's eyelids were impossibly heavy but he couldn't bring himself to fall asleep, knowing Kyoutani is still alive. 

Five minutes passed and Yahaba was seriously considering sleeping for the night when his phone vibrated and lit up, jolting Yahaba awake. His heart pounded as he opened the message app then it sunk and cracked all at one.

Iwaizumi-san: time of death 3:02

Yahaba's phone dropped from his hands, his fingers were shaking too much to support the weight of a smartphone. He was gone. He was gone

Yahaba didn't cry, that was the oddest part. He just stared at his dark room, shaking. Stunned. He couldn't cry because it was almost impossible to believe he'd never see Kyoutani's dyed blonde hair in the hallways or that he'd never be able to wear the 2 that he was planned to next year. It made no sense in Yahaba's muddled, tired mind. For all he knew, Iwaizumi was lying because there was no way Kyoutani was dead.

He fell asleep, phone pressed against his chest and arms curled around his sides. The second he woke up that morning, tears started pouring down his cheeks. 


Practice was canceled that day, not surprisingly. Yahaba didn't go to school. He sat on his front porch, drawing dogs in the dirt with a stick. He felt numb. He felt nothing except shell-shock and a numbness that crept over his body like ivy, twisting and turning and squeezing him. 

Iwaizumi's car pulled up and Yahaba stood up. He walked over and opened the door, sliding into the passenger's seat. 

"Morning," Iwaizumi was the epitome of tired. Yahaba couldn't even picture Oikawa's state right now. They drove in a painful, cutting silence for longer that Yahaba wanted to keep count. He stopped after 2 minutes, it was too much for his mind.

"Where...where are we going?" Yahaba asked. 

"Have you eaten?" Iwaizumi replied.

"No," Yahaba muttered, "I couldn't."

"I don't blame you. Oikawa and I couldn't either. He's at home, sleeping, he hasn't in almost two days. We're gonna get food, okay?"

"Sure," Yahaba whispered, fiddling with his fingers. 


He forced pancakes down his throat even if his stomach churned at the thought of food. He washed them down with weak green tea and cold water and melancholy that pooled in his gut. Iwaizumi was quiet across from him, chewing as silently as possible.

"Yahaba, me and Oikawa agreed to tell you something. I don't know if Kyoutani would want you to know, but I...we...think it's your right to know."

Yahaba already knew before Iwaizumi said it, he knew it in his chest, he could feel the potential words but when Iwaizumi said, "Kyoutani was in love with you," he was still in complete shock and fear. The world stopped spinning and the ground shook beneath his feet. Iwaizumi's attempt at comfort dulled to a hum. He was dizzy and the contents in his stomach began to churn awfully. 

Kyoutani was in love with him.

He could have saved him.

Oh god, please no.

"I'm sorry," were the only words that Yahaba could stutter out, "I'm sorry."

"Yahaba, you didn't know. Kyoutani didn't want you to save him, I don't think. I didn't even know until a few hours ago. Don't blame yourself, Yahaba." Yahaba's vision was blurred with tears. and he couldn't see straight. Anger, sadness, and guilt washed over him in huge waves, hitting him repeatedly, one after another. He was drowning in every negative emotion he knew possible. 

Yahaba closed his eyes tightly, wishing it would all go away. That if he squeezed his eyes shut hard enough, the whole world would wash away. And he could find Kyoutani and hug him and save him. He wanted everything to stop. 

He wanted to kiss Kyoutani. He wanted to promise him everything, make his gruff facial expression twist into a smile and bright eyes. He wanted so much, he wanted the impossible. 


One Month Later

The route home was tainted, it was haunted by Kyoutani's memory. Yahaba could no longer walk past certain stores, or even eat in his favorite restaurant. The mere sight of it flooded Yahaba with images, memories of the deceased love of his life. Yahaba could see the ghost of the two of them walking in the cold, carefree. Before hanahaki, before everything awful. 

Oikawa and Iwaizumi had graduated, but not before putting together a small ceremony for Kyoutani. Yahaba didn't go, he couldn't bring himself to. He kept Kyoutani's picture in a box under his bed. The box contained a note in Kyoutani's scrappy handwriting that read "fried chicken today or i'm not walking you home shithead." It also held his yearbook picture. Yahaba didn't look it, but he found comfort in the fact that he'd always have Kyoutani with him. 

Yahaba sighs then took a deep breath. He pushes the door to the restaurant open. He has no winter jacket to hang on the pegs. He orders a bowl of ikura don. He eats in and he swears he can feel Kyoutani next to him, sipping tea and grumbling about how Yahaba always has to eat something