In truth, Hitoka finds it hard to put them into words.
“Look at that serve! Did you see Kageyama? Did you— oh no they got it in the air...”
“Watch the set up, that’s what I wanted to show you.”
“The…? Oh, I see it now. Are we gonna try that next time?”
“We could. We should probably ask coach about it…”
“Right… right… let’s watch it again! Give me your phone!”
“Dumbass! I’ll do it.”
Hinata and Kageyama had never known how to take a break, but Hitoka is grateful that this time at least they’re sitting down. That counts as resting for them right? Even if they’re still thinking about volleyball…
They share a pair of earphones as they sit in the corner of the gym, staring intently at Kageyama’s phone. Kageyama’s left arm is draped loosely across Hinata’s shoulders. Hinata, in turn, leans in close to Kageyama and rests his chin on Kageyama’s shoulder.
Hitoka allows herself a small smile. It’s sweet really, how comfortable they are with each other.
“Aaaand they’re back at it again, aren’t they?” a voice groans from behind her.
Hitoka stifles a laugh. This was their eternal conflict: Kageyama and Hinata being… whatever it was they were, and Tsukishima getting no end of grief from it.
“I mean,” Tsukishima continues, “does it really have to be now? In the middle of practice?”
“I think volleyball is something kinda romantic for them, honestly,” Yamaguchi chimes in.
Tsukishima groans again. “Disgusting.”
Hitoka giggles. “To be fair, it’s not that different from before they were dating, is it?”
“Don’t remind me. The less I think about them, the better.”
“Oi Tsukishima! You were talking about me, weren’t you? Why don’t you come here and— “
“Shut the hell up, dumbass,” Kageyama snaps, and pulls Hinata back down by the hem of his shirt. “You’re so much trouble.”
“And here I thought you liked me Tobio.”
Kageyama’s blush is immediate and fierce. “D- dumbass,” he manages. “Stupid dumbass Hinata, just watch the video!”
Hitoka and Yamaguchi laugh, while Tsukishima pinches the bridge of his nose. “ Idiots.”
“Alright! Break’s over!” Coach Ukai calls out. “Split up, we’re doing a three-on-three!”
Hitoka spares them one last glance before she makes her way to the storage closet. Kageyama is half a step in front, looking straight ahead as he seems to be explaining something to Hinata. Hinata follows, already grinning in anticipation of a game, looking up at his setter with gleaming eyes.
And that’s something. Hitoka can’t really find the words, but perhaps words are wasted on people like them. She only has to look, and then she knows.
Coach Ukai had once likened a volleyball match to an orchestra. They are silent now, in the seconds before the whistle blew. They stand on the center court, the eyes of the world watching them. Watching her team. Hitoka feels a swell of pride. They had made it, they had made it so far.
As she watches them play (white-knuckled on the bench) Hitoka thinks that Coach Ukai had been absolutely right. There were no words, but there was this: there was motion, dizzying speed that made your heart feel like it was falling. The sound of shoes hitting the floor, squealing as they slid across it with their arms outstretched, fighting to keep the ball in the air. A soaring melody of movement accompanying Karasuno’s brutal chorus— the omnivorous hunger that had always characterized their team.
The libero bumps the ball high into the air, sending it to where Kageyama is waiting in a perfect arc. Hitoka’s fists tighten against her notebook. Go, she urges them silently, make this last point.
“Tobi!” Hinata calls out, and he’s already running along the net, already two steps ahead of Itachiyama’s blockers, already crying out I’m here!
“Shou!” Kageyama yells back, at the same time Hinata takes off in a glorious crescendo. He slams the ball down onto the other side of the net, and just like that the second set is theirs.
“Yes!” Hinata crows, hands punching the air. He tackles Kageyama as he’s walking over to the bench. Kageyama pushes him off, but lets Hinata have an arm draped around his shoulders, lets Hinata smirk up at him as he gushes about their final play and did you see how awesome I was, Tobio? Of course you did. Did you think I looked—
“They’re back at it again, aren’t they?” a voice groans from behind her. “Those two seriously need to get a room…”
Hitoka hears Yamaguchi laugh in response. “Be nice, Tsukki.”
“In the middle of a game— ”
Tsukishima’s protests are cut short as the referee’s whistle blows, ordering them back onto the court for the final set.
“Good luck!” Hitoka calls out to them as they make their way out onto the court.
“Thank you Yachi-san!”
“We won’t let you down Yachi-san!! We’ll win this for you, just wait and see!”
“Could you shut up for once.”
“Tsukishima! Kageyama-kun aren’t you going to say anything?”
“Shut up, dumbass.”
“KAGEYAMA HOW COULD YOU—! “
Hitoka smiles quietly as Coach Ukai groans.
Before Hinata had confessed to Kageyama, he had confessed to her. Hands twisting into themselves, body still in a way he never was. She had worried, and was about to call the hospital (“You seem really sick Hinata-kun! I hope it’s nothing serious… but it must be since you’re so… I can’t just leave you like this, we need to get you a doctor right now and—”) but Hinata brushed her off with a quick brittle laugh. She waited in silence for a few more moments, Hinata looking up at the darkened sky instead of meeting her eyes.
“Yacchan… I think I like Kageyama. A lot.”
He whispered it into the night sky like a secret. The boy who lived and breathed cacophony, rendered so suddenly silent by the weight of his own feelings. And they weighed on him, that much was clear to her. The tremble of his lip, the slight unevenness of his breathing belied what his words wouldn’t.
She had reached out to him, placing a hand gently on his shoulder. “You sound like you want to talk about it.”
“I’m scared. ”
“What will it do to us? To the team? What if he doesn’t want to play volleyball with me anymore?” His voice, taut like a wire stretched out to it’s breaking point, snapped. “What if he won’t even look at me?”
Hitoka wishes she had the words then, to tell him.
She watches them now, boys that had grown into monsters. Hunger radiating off of them like heat. Leaning into each other as they stepped on the court. Harmonizing perfectly.
“Hey… give me lots of tosses today, okay Tobio?”
Kageyama’s head tilts down minutely, the smallest of gestures but Hitoka knows she isn’t imagining the way his face softens. There’s pride there, and something else.
She recognizes it out of familiarity. That something else. She wishes she could have shown it to Hinata back then, when he was still afraid of what he wanted. Don’t you see? That’s the way he’s always looked at you. The only way he ever looks at you.
“You know I will,” Kageyama says, and Hinata grins.
“Are you two done yet?”
Coach Ukai sighs as he sits down. “Those guys…” he mutters, and Hitoka giggles.
Well, she supposes she can’t really complain. They’re her boys after all.