18. things you said when you were scared
“Oh come on,” Hinata laughs. “You can’t be serious. You’re not…scared of him, are you?” Kageyama doesn’t answer, pursing his lips in irritation. Hinata raises his eyebrows. “You are?”
“Not like you would ever understand what it’s like t–” No, that was stupid, of course Hinata understood what it was like to watch the court with a hunger to be out there, where the air was heavier and pressure made you Atlas in the middle of a game. Hinata had watched that court for longer than Kageyama had, because when it came down to it, that always had been his court, and he was its unquestioned ruler. Until now, that is.
“I shouldn’t have ever come to you for help,” he grumbles instead, looking away.
“Hey, hey, hey now!” Hinata dances in front of him, pathetically tiny bob of a ponytail bouncing in time with the gleam of the dying sunlight on his industrial. Kageyama thinks he looks like an idiot (not that that’s anything new). The girls that have started looking Hinata’s way think otherwise.
But no amount of piercings or hairstyle changes could save Hinata from looking like a child when he pouts, sticking his bottom lip out. “Come on, we’re partners–of course you can come to me. You should come to me. I just don’t get what you’re so worried about. You’ve faced the Grand King in all his fine glory; what’s a measly first-year to that?”
“He’s a measly first-year who’s already on good terms with the third-years, that’s what he is!” Kageyama snaps. “He’s loved by all his classmates–like Suga-san was–and he has genuine talent. Suga-san pulled us out of pinches with his ability to bring the team together. I still have no fucking idea how to do that!”
Hinata goes quiet at the outburst, but only for a moment. He tilts his head to the side. “Do you remember what you said to me, that night we watched that American horror movie together?” Kageyama does. It was some cheaply made story about a creepy girl who had green slime all over her face. She was supposed to be possessed or something, but Kageyama wasn’t impressed. He secretly thinks that the only reason Hinata was so scared was because he kept thinking of the little girl as Natsu.
“I remember watching that crappy movie with you,” Kageyama answers carefully, suspicious.
Hinata nods. “Right! Well, you told me–if I’m recalling correctly–to ‘stop being such a damn baby, the stupid movie isn’t even scary! Stop clinging to me idiot, how are you even scared?!’”
“Soooo…” Hinata drawls, grin breaking out across his face as Kageyama screws up his nose at the memory. “So I’m going to give you my own flavor of advice, 'kay?”
Kageyama sighs, but he has no rebuttal. Hinata will probably call him some childish name and stick his tongue out like the child he is, anyway. Kageyama prepares himself for the inevitable.
But instead of taunting his friend, Hinata turns and bolts up the school’s stairs, spinning on his heel so that he’s in the same position as that day almost two years ago. When Kageyama answered a call he never knew would echo into his future. When he memorized a teary, snot-covered and blotchy red face into his memory right beside volleyball hand signs and the memory of Oikawa-san’s jump serve, permanent and important. He’s stunned once more, unable to move as Hinata slaps a hand over his heart, wearing a blinding smile.
You’re not crying this time.
“As long as I’m here!” Hinata yells, loud enough to startle some other students heading home. “You’ll be invincible!”
“Idiot!” Kageyama barks, flushing red. “Stupid, that’s too loud!” He marches up the steps and covers Hinata’s laughing mouth. He is gently rebuffed.
“Or something like that,” he giggles. “Embarrassed by your own words, are you?”
“At least I don’t yell them like a hooligan,” Kageyama mutters, feathers still ruffled.
“You’re not afraid, though, are you?” Hinata points out, smile softening. Kageyama raises an eyebrow.
“I suppose not. But that’s only because I’m preoccupied taking care of a certified idiot.” Hinata dances away from the headlock Kageyama tries to catch him in.
“Well, guess that just means I’ll have to occupy your mind more often, then!” Hinata concludes. “That way you’ll never be afraid!”
“Must be easy as a single-celled organism, never feeling fear,” Kageyama says loud enough for Hinata to hear. He gets a furious that’s Tsukishima’s insult not yours! in reply and smiles, despite himself.
So Hinata wasn’t much with words. But his fire and his presence and his acceptance were enough of a balm on Kageyama’s nerves as anything.
The image of him smiling burns through the memory of tears, leaving only the confident smirk of his partner on the steps in Kageyama’s mind.