Tsukishima restlessly taps his foot against the polished floor, waiting for Hinata to move up a step up the bleachers.
Maybe I should have said something.
He brushes the thought away, fishing his headphones out of his bag. Is he taking advice from Hinata now?
He would do it for you. Not that you’d need it. He wouldn’t get so worked up over… over nothing, over a silly club. Even as he shrugs off the thought, he knows it’s true.
Yamaguchi would follow his Tsukki to the ends of the Earth.
Tsukishima puts his headphones on, connecting them to his phone and turning his music to full volume. He then turns his attention to his teammates, putting that little shrimp’s words out of his mind, putting his friend out of his mind.
The rest of the team is still fussing over their captain. Hinata is attempting to recount ever detail of the match while bouncing up and down and speaking in that language only he understands. Even Kageyama looks like he’s in a good mood.
They’re just missing Ennoshita… and Yamaguchi.
Despite how much energy Tsukishima puts into focusing on his overexcited teammates and the music blaring in his ears, he gives up after 5 minutes have passed, slipping away from the rest of the group. He walks in the direction of the bathrooms.
He passes Ennoshita in the hall, walking silently with his hands clasped in front of him.
Ennoshita smiles slightly, and Tsukishima nods in the shorter boy’s direction.
He sighs as he approaches the end of the hall. Yamaguchi must have finished talking to Ukai by now. But he’s still not back, so something’s obviously wrong. Tsukishima glances around the hall, turning toward the bathroom.
Being comforting is not generally in his range of capabilities.
Yeah, well, it’s Yamaguchi. Guess you’ll just have to figure it out.
He shoves the bathroom door open and sticks his head into the brightly lit room. Aside from a lone bug crawling across the ceiling light, the restroom is empty.
Tsukishima frowns in annoyance, turning around and starting back down the hall.
Yamaguchi leans against the wall, resting his head in his hands. His lower lip quivers as he holds back tears. Sure, he held it together for a while. He talked to Ukai, asked for another chance, but… that doesn’t take back this match. It doesn’t erase this mistake.
That serve is all I have. And I can’t even do it. I’m not good enough.
He blinks, and tears spill down his cheeks.
I’ll never be good enough.
He drops to the ground and tucks his knees up to his chest, tracing cracks in the cold cement. His gentle tracing gradually turns to violent scraping, and soon he’s hitting the ground, digging at it like he’s trying to break it.
His hand begins to bleed, and he stops clawing at the concrete, cradling his hand in his lap.
A gust of wind rustles down the small alley, tearing leaves off of the trees and sending them spiraling to the ground.
Yamaguchi shivers, resting his head on his knees again, and chokes back a sob. Why am I so pathetic?
A shadow suddenly looms over him, and he shrinks back, still shivering, hiding his face in his bleeding hands. His chest tightens uneasily. After a moment of huddling against the wall in silence, Yamaguchi peers up at the tall figure through a mess of tears and blood.
“Ts-Tsukki?” he stutters, wiping tears off his face.
Tsukishima looks down at his friend, taking in his tear-stained face, bleeding hands, red eyes. He removes his headphones, letting them rest around his neck.
Yamaguchi sniffs, moving his hands away from his face, and stares up at Tsukki, waiting to see disappointment in his eyes.
Tsukishima wordlessly sits down beside him. It’s just a club. It’s just volleyball.
Yamaguchi leans back into the wall. Say it. Tell me this doesn’t even matter. Tell me how pathetic I am.
Tsukki doesn’t speak.
A few minutes pass, the two sitting in silence until it’s broken by a barely audible sniffle from Yamaguchi.
“I-I wanted… I d-didn’t think I w-“
“I know,” Tsukishima says calmly. He adjusts his glasses and stares at Yamaguchi.
“That serve is all I have, and i-it’s not good enough! I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
“Make it better,” Tsukishima responds simply.
“I’m not good enough! I’ll n-never be good enough!” Yamaguchi yells. He takes several shallow, shaking breaths before letting his head drop back to his knees. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry.
Tsukishima watches as Yamaguchi bites his lip and curls up into a tight ball, sitting still beside him. What do I do now? He’s never been an emotional, touchy-feely person, and none of this comforting stuff comes naturally to him, although maybe it should, seeing as Yamaguchi is his closest friend. Maybe you should start by dropping the stupid three word pieces of advice.
Yamaguchi attempts to brush all of the tears off his face, but as soon as he does, more replace them. Useless. Worthless. Pathetic. Not good enough.
Tsukishima stands up and takes a step in the direction of the doors.
Yamaguchi looks up at him desperately. He’s finally gotten sick of me.
“Are you coming?” Idiot, did you think I was going somewhere without you?
Yamaguchi scrambles to his feet, hurriedly rubbing his eyes. He follows Tsukki to the bathroom, staring at his feet as he walks, still wiping away tears.
Tsukishima steps into the bathroom with Yamaguchi at his heels and turns on the tap. Hot water spirals down the drain as he grabs his friend’s wrist.
Yamaguchi flinches as Tsukki’s cold fingers brush his skin, but it only concerns him for a moment. The next second his hand is being thrust under the faucet, out of which is pouring extremely hot water. He jumps back. “What are you doing?” he chokes, the cuts on his hand stinging painfully.
Tsukishima adjusts the sink knob and dips his friend’s other hand under the stream of cool water. He tears a paper towel out of the dispenser and starts to hand it to Yamaguchi before deciding he’s incapable of drying his own hands and lightly patting them dry.
“What were you thinking?” Tsukishima says in a slightly accusing tone. “That it would be a good idea to attack the concrete?”
Yamaguchi looks at the ground, his eyes burning. He sniffs and opens his mouth to speak. Before his usual, “Sorry, Tsukki,” can come out, though, something else does, his mouth moving of its own accord, voicing the first thing that comes to mind. “I hate this. I hate me.” Disappointing. Not needed. Not good enough.
He leans against the wall, attempting to hide his tears behind his hands but failing miserably. His soft crying quickly turns into violent sobbing, leaving him breathless and dizzy, and somehow he ends up leaning against Tsukki’s shoulder, trying desperately to catch his breath.
His head pounds as his thoughts attack him once again. Useless. Worthless. Pathetic. Disappointing. Not needed. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not g-
“Shut up, Yamaguchi,” Tsukki says with a slight smirk, as cool and collected as ever, still simply standing there, ignoring how Yamaguchi’s tears soak through his jacket, with the power to silence the thoughts threatening to overwhelm him.
His cold hand touches Yamaguchi’s scratched and bleeding one. “You’re enough.”