POP IT DON'T DROP IT [grossover]

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doin' it to death

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1


HE COULDN'T READ  /  HE COULDN'T READ 


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ONE BAD APPLE RUINS THE BUNCH, TWO BAD APPLES LEAVE NO WITNESSES.

+10

2

when the sweat starts drying on his skin, hinata shivers. it's hot in brazil, too hot even. the muffled rattling of the fan and the delayed wave of air it sends across the room give no relief. the sweat dries, and hinata shivers as if he was cold. he curls on the bed, exhausted from the afternoon training and the work he had in the evening. he can still feel the sand burning his bare feet, and then the hard and smooth volleyball against his palm. he had to learn a lot of things about beach volleyball, one of them being—when the ball falls on the other side of the court, you don't hear a loud slam echoing off the walls, celebrating the spike. instead, you see a small splash of the sand. at fisrt, it felt weird when the sound he was expecting after the spike didn't come, scaring hinata with deafness. he got used to it pretty quickly, though. jumping felt different. awkward, stiff. sometimes it felt like hinata was bogged down. like he couldn't fly anymore. he couldn't get used to it.

hinata sighes. the smell of his own sweat and the mawkish, dusty exhaustion that he could feel on his skin make him dizzy and sleepy. when he first got home, the bathroom was taken, and so hinata went straight into his room, fell on the bed and never got up again. he could hear pedro leave the bathroom and move around the flat they shared, quiet noises of his presence slightly lulling hinata. he knows he has to take a shower, to scrub the sticky film of noise and fuss of the day off his skin. still, he can't make himself move.

playing on the beach was nothing like playing indoors. still, beach volleyball reminded hinata about volleyball he used to play before. how unexpected it might be and how sometimes you have to adjust, let the force of nature do it’s job. bend you one way or another, do something you never would’ve expected of yourself. something he'd felt when playing with kageyama. the constant challenge there, the bubbling excitement, the never ending more, quicker, higher.

hinata closes his eyes, letting his thoughts drift. he thinks of telling kageyama, how cool beach volleyball turns out to be—it's been over two month now, so he knows. he imagines telling kageyama how often he gets to touch the ball—he even tried counting, once. though he kept failing at it, getting distracted with the weight of the ball against his palms, and hot kisses the sun was leaving on his face, and sand packing between his toes. it has been a lot, even too much at times. too bright, too loud, to unfamiliar—and he told himself, he loved it.

he did love it.
not that he missed something, right?

pedro was shuffling again in the kitchen, tupperware clanking against the table, and then there was television on, murmuring in the background. hinata closes his eyes, giving up on the idea to get out of bed even to brush his teeth. his body feels heavy and foreign, too clumsy to obey. like the language, too new to speak it properly. like jumping on the sand. he can't fly, he thinks. not like this, not on his own.

his lips curl in a memory of a smile against his own will. he can’t really tell what he is smiling at now, he doesn’t feel like smiling. hinata thinks, the place could go on existing without him just fine. even better than before. the stuffiness of the air, the softness of the bed, the buzzing murmur of tv from the other room, everything would be the same, except he would be somewhere else. home, maybe. if he shuts his eyes tight enough, he can pretend that he is back home, he thinks. in japan, in his room, trying to fall asleep and failing, his head too loud with all the thoughts.

he isn’t sure how each thought of home turns into a kageyama-thought. it’s almost annoying. he still can't really wrap his mind at the abscence of kageyama, of all things. he used to be there—you just turn around, you just reach for his hand, you just—

now hinata is way more aware that kageyama isn't there.

hinata buries his head deeper into the pillow, and then he feels a brush of damp fabric against his cheek. when he reaches for his own face and finds traces of tears, he realizes: one, he was crying; two, it’s actually more sad than annoying.

+

“hey, kageyama-kun”, he says when he hears kageyama’s soft breath against the speaker once he picks up the phone. the words stumble in hinata's mouth as he hurries to let them out, to be the first to speak. “hey, did you know, you can’t really hear the ball slamming against the floor in beach volleyball? crazy, right? it’s all because of the sand. who would’ve thought? definitely not me. first i was kinda scared i was deaf. so yeah, that’s beach volleyball, baby!! also i get to touch the ball so often, i bet i beat you on that. so i feel like i could get a point for that, what do you think? what was the score, do you keep it?” he continues babbling for quite some time, while kageyama stays more or less quiet.

it's one of those nights, when hinata finds himself lying on his bed, or sitting on the floor, his back against the hard wall. one of those nights, when the reality seems to slip away, leaving him with stupid, loud, too-annoying-to-ignore thoughts. one of those, when he doesn't have enough self-control to think properly.

they've been texting already. hinata, sending pictures of the city and of the court, telling bits about the training and never really finishing the thought, leaving the abrupt threads. and kageyama, answering his texts blow-to-blow.

hinata isn't quite self-concious about his actions, when he hits the "call" button. kageyama was taking forever to answer his last message, which happened to be a silly sticker.

“hey, kageyama-kun”, he says when he hears the soft breath against the speaker. and that's how it all starts.

+4

3

He was supposed to like the quiet.

Instead, the apartment just feels cold when he turns on the lights and pulls out his earbuds. There is no hum of the television, no traces of the flowery shampoo scent in the bathroom. The air smells stale, the fridge is empty, and all of Tobio's possessions aren't enough to fill up a single closet. The place didn't look lived in when he moved, and it still doesn't several months later, and Tobio wonders if it's one of those things that he should just give up on. Ones that look so effortless when other people do them.

It's not actually bad, he doesn't think so. It's nothing like the crippling alienation of his middle school years, the confusing, painful anxiety that seeped through his very being all the way to the thing he tried to protect the most. It's just a little off, a little too empty. Nothing Tobio can't handle, but his mind keeps coming back to it, like a tongue running over a chipped tooth. The song that comes on when he takes his first step off the train, the clicking of the lock when he turns the key inside. The density of the floors in the training center. This is the life Tobio worked for since he was able to stand, and it feels like another person's skin that he wears on top of his own.

It does go on, though.

He recalls Karasuno a lot these days: the sounds, the smells, the running jokes. The particular way light would hit his retinas and the cadence of Tsukishima's laughter when Tobio would trip over himself and say something stupid. It was all in good fun, and he knows it, it didn't take him that much time to understand that they actually liked him the way he was. But he also remembers that popular girl from Kitagawa Daichi, the way her face turned red after he rejected her. The sinking feeling that he felt settle deep in his chest, one that came with the realization that he'd fucked up, again.

Primitive, that's what she called him. Uncivilized, crude, lacking any advancement or complexity. That was the word Oikawa-san used to describe him, too, and for all his inability to remember his Japanese assignments for longer than ten minutes, this one had stuck with him for a while.

But it doesn't matter. Whatever. He's not in middle school anymore. No one is avoiding him, no one is snickering in the corner. His teammates aren't saying the word as they talk about him, even though they're probably still thinking it. This might be the funniest part of it all, how they are so sure that he doesn't know. Kageyama the monster, Kageyama the freak. It's not like he understands what is wrong with him, right? Otherwise, he just wouldn't do it.

The problem with Tobio, this weird and fucked up thing growing in the back of his head, one that he still want to just claw out of his damn skull sometimes. The problem with him is not that he lacks feelings. He feels plenty, sometimes too much: his brain going into chemical overdrive, his nervous system a bare wire, the tiniest of touches and sounds scraping his very soul. It's just, he is never really sure what he is supposed to do with those feelings, what he is allowed to do with them. Surroundings are, after all, solid, objective and easy to lay out. Emotions are loud and confusing. So he deals in the former, and keeps his mouth shut about the complicated mess that goes through his head. It's not like he could explain it if he tried.

(He still has a vivid memory of seeing a counselor in Kitagawa Daichi, a day or two after that disaster of a match. The cuffs of her shirt were pink, half-hidden beneath the black sleeves of her jacket, and she kept asking him these things, her voice high-pitched and full of concern. How do you feel? What is on your mind? Don't you want to make more friends on the team? What can you tell me about your family?
I don't know, he said to her. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
His own hands felt sweaty and calloused, and stripes of dirt were already forming under broken fingernails.)

So the thing is, he knows he misses Hinata. Not that it's actually hard to figure out. Through the way he feels: listless, chaotic, overused. Through the way his hands itch, his movement patterns come apart, fragmented. After practice, he lines water bottles in a row close to the net: one, then two, then three. There's a whoosh, then a hollow thud, then the sound of empty plastic falling over. Almost worse then not doing it at all, and all of it is just wasted time, Tobio knows it. Wasted practice. No one is there to hit it.

He thinks of the promise that they made to each other, Shoyo and him, at the top of the world. It makes him want to go at it harder. It makes him too sick to continue.

He wants his old habits back. The burning warmth at his side, the orange blur, the shuffle of feathers where there used to be nothing. The trust, the hope, the determination. Hinata barged into his life with his clammy hands and his smiles and his promises, and now Hinata is gone, has fucked off to wherever, and Tobio doesn't even have it in him to be angry about it. Not anymore, at least. He doesn't think so.

He just misses the feeling: sunburnt, exhilarated, fearless. God, so fucking fearless.

***

"Hey," he says softly. Almost too softly, the kind of softness that would make Hinata stare at him with a puzzled, almost cautious expression before asking whether he is sure he's not dying. But Hinata is not himself tonight, either. Frantic, almost feverish. Tobio remembers him like that, how hot his palms would get. How he would curl up on Tobio's bed, hugging his knees into his chest, his eyes wary and gleaming. Tobio wonders whether Pedro turned off the lights for him.

So what he is ought to do right now is, of course, get pissed. Not really, of course, just that familiar mix of irritation and self-assurance. Bring up the score, call Hinata an idiot a couple of times. The rituals, the familiar territory. Their old habits, if you will. Something that would make him feel better and maybe even make Hinata feel better, putting up this act like nothing has really changed. That's probably the reason Hinata is calling, and if he just takes a deep breath, if he just approaches this calmly, this might be one of those few things that he hadn't managed to fuck up just yet.

"Are you alright?" it takes him a moment to recognize his own voice.

Oh, of course. Of fucking course. Why on earth would Tobio allow himself to get anything right?

Отредактировано Kageyama Tobio (2021-07-02 00:36:22)

+3

4

he didn't turn on the lights.

the room was dark and empty—not empty, really. there was only nothing to see, in this pitch black space, so it was just thing-less, thought-less, and maybe even hinata-less. it was dark, and there was only breathing and a quiet and soft "are you alright?"

for once, the room wasn't kageyama-less.

the gentleness of it almost makes shoyo laugh and he blurts out, "have i dialed the wrong number?" he even checks the screen just to see tobio's name as if he wasn't really sure who he was talking to. "please don't make me worry about you. are you in pain?" but the laugh dies in his throat, never having been born, and hinata closes his eyes, and he sighs, and maybe—just this time—it doesn't count that they aren't being themselves.

+

hinata's never really though about the way his life would unfold once he stepped out of karasuno’s gym for the last time. once he held onto kageyama’s hand in the departure hall. once he boarded the plane and then got off it. and even before that—when he first saw a volleyball match on TV, or when he smelled the icy hot spray during his first ever real game or during his last game as a karasuno's middle blocker, or at all times he fell asleep listening to kageyama breathing evenly next to him.

he has never really given it much thought, how his life would unfold.

turned out, it was all about the space between kageyama and him. even long before they met each other—the time of solitary bike rides, and perfected sets for nobody to spike them. it was them fighting the space that used to separate them. turned out, it was all about the space between kageyama and him. the perfect distance being a stretch of kageyama's set. maybe all of it was just about them finding one another and then doing it to death. and taking this for granted, being on the other side of the globe seems ever so absurd.  is this the distance of kageyama's set?

are you alright? is he alright, really?

it was supposed to be his pursuit for greatness, for becoming so much better that there would be no other choice, who has to be standing next to kageyama. just them—at the top of the world.

and he ended up running. he left kageyama with that stupid, slightly false smile plastered on his lips. the one he so feverishly wanted to wipe off since it looked so wrong. but yamaguchi and yachi were standing next to them, hyping hinata up and babbling about brazil. so hinata had to just bite hard on his own bottom lip and mimic tobio's smile—sour and plastic. (even months later, he still feels it sticking to his lips, no matter how hard he rubs on his skin).

"wait for me, a'right? i'll be back soon, you won't even notice i'm away!" that's what he said before squeezing kageyama's palm one last time and then walking away.

running away.

he keeps running (the ground is hot under the soles of his shoes).
he keeps running (out of words—the way he runs out of change. he costantly asks pedro for some spare coins—and earns a sigh and an eyeroll for that, too—and then just stares at vending machines in the streets. looking, but not seeing: cans of soda, chocolate bars and bottled water. nothing he would be hungry for. nothing he would really mean to say).

running was so much easier when he could feel kageyama's presence. 

"so, i was wondering," he wasn't wondering. he doesn't mean it that way. his mouth forms words as if it didn't belong to him. the same way his body moves sometimes, diving for the ball, driven only by instincts. or rather, a need, a hunger.

the same hunger that scratches his insides when he sees kageyama right next to him, a half-step forward. always a half-step forward.

hinata was, in fact, wondering if it's true. if he is worth something only as a part of their freaky duo. if he never really grew out of their quick. the adrenalin, the heat, the pure joy. he sees it mirrored in kageyama's smirk—how could he possibly let it go? (same way he let go of kageyama's hand then, maybe).

"why did it have to be this hard?"
not the volleyball.
"it's not like i can't do it, you know? i can. i totally can and i will and it's amazing. it's all i wanted and it's so good. i'm doing great! i mean, you just wait and see, get your jaw ready to be dropped! it's— i mean— still, i kinda wish it wasn't this hard."
not the volleyball. not the volleyball.

not the volleyball—however, volleyball was all they had. their routine, the way hinata would call for a toss, and the way kageyama would bring the ball into shoyo's palm.

hinata presses the phone closer to his ear and mumbles, half to himself "i didn't think i'd miss— i'd miss home this much".

this now is him calling for a toss once again.

+2


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