“Yamaguchi, please look at me.” The setter’s voice was soft but demanding. Yamaguchi hadn't wanted this, hadn't wanted to be ridiculed for his poor serves and his uselessness on the team. The only thing Yamaguchi wanted was to stay by his best friend’s side, which was proving difficult. The tears wouldn't stop, so Sugawara took action. He lead Yamaguchi out of the gym, to the locker room, and had Yamaguchi sit down next to him. The small circles that Suga rubbed on Yamaguchi’s back helped him calm down, and eventually he was able to stabilize his breathing.
“Shh, it’s okay, take deep breaths,” Suga’s voice was soothing, helping Yamaguchi to clear his eyes and finally speak up. “What’s wrong, Yamaguchi?”
All Yamaguchi had to do was look down to meet Suga’s eyes and Sugawara instantly knew what he was feeling, as he’d gone through that exact feeling before.
“It’s just...not fair-” Yamaguchi murmured through his tears, trying to take deep breaths in order to prevent another breakdown. “I want to be of use for just once in my life!”
The tears began to fall again, and Sugawara’s heart warmed up. There was a mixture of sympathy and empathy, and of knowing that he himself had suffered this pain as well. When he realized Kageyama had easily surpassed him as a setter, that he could no longer help the team, and the only thing he could do was cheer from the sidelines, hoping that his words could have impact. Yeah, Suga knew exactly how Yamaguchi was feeling.
“Listen to me Yamaguchi, you are absolutely needed,” The older boy took a hold of Yamaguchi’s face, gently bringing it up to look at him. “And if anyone tells you different, they’re wrong. Don’t listen to them, because they don’t even know how wonderful you truly are.”
“Suga-senpai, you don’t know what you’re saying. I’m nothing special, and nothing would even change if I just dissapeared forever.” Yamaguchi brought his head back down, forcing the tears to stay back so he could finally release everything he’d been bottling up.
“Yamaguchi, do you really think that we could ever let you go? Do you think Tsukishima would easily give you, his best friend up? Do you think that our team would be okay losing our best pinch server? How do you think your classmates and family would feel? And don’t you dare even think that they don’t care, because you are an amazing person Yamaguchi, a wonderful boy who is going to succeed in life, because it doesn’t doesn’t matter if you’re good at volleyball! You’re in college prep classes aren’t you? You’re smart Yamaguchi, and you’ll easily find someone who loves you, even though you’re not as good at volleyball as that freak duo out there.
“So please realize how important to everyone you are, Yamaguchi. I mean, without you, this whole team would be broken.” Yamaguchi was speechless, nobody had ever told him something so sweet and heartfelt before. Of course Tsukishima showed his affection in other subtle ways, but Yamaguchi was overcome with emotions by what Suga had told him.
After a few minutes of crying and soft, comforting words from Sugawara, Yamaguchi returned back to the team, holding Suga’s hand to feel more secure about himself. His senpai cared about him quite a bit, and that’s all that really mattered to Yamaguchi at this moment.