Fuck this scene killed me. Kei had always have this self deprecating air about him and after a while you figure out that it’s his defense mechanism. He got pulled out of a match because of an injury. He allowed himself to be escorted to the infirmary even telling the rest of the guys to hold forth while he was gone and then - and then - Akiteru (his brother, his forever hero, the person he never wanted to see him in this state) comes up and sees him at his weakest. Naturally he would turn to his defense mechanism of just casually putting himself down just so it all seems like it’s no big deal for him, that this is actually good because he can finally rest he’s no good now anymore anyway and at the final critical stages too, what a shame, but that’s okay because at least now he can finally rest what a relief. And then AND THEN he makes THE FACE just as soon as he turns his back to Akiteru and Yachi because godfuckingdammit this wasn’t supposed to happen, he was supposed to finish the game, and they were supposed to win with him there and Akiteru watching by the stands and he’ll be so so so proud of Kei just like how Kei was so proud of him when he was the ace in middle school and he was Kei’s hero. Imagine what this moment felt like for Kei, Kei who is so afraid of failing that he resolved himself to just not bother trying at the start of the series because what’s the use if you’re just gonna be disappointed in the end anyway. Kei who is so afraid of failing that it took years, people from other teams and his best friend literally shaking him and telling him it’s okay to try before he even did. Imagine what it felt like for Kei (atop the burden of worrying over how his team would hold up without him) seeing Akiteru seeing him fail and imagining that this was what it must’ve felt like for Akiteru in that moment years ago - seeing the one person you never want to disappoint see you fail.
FUCK JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO WEEP ABOUT KEI. AND HIS COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP ABOUT HIMSELF AND THE THINGS HE LOVE AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH AKITERU. FUCK TSUKISHIMA KEI’S WHOLE EXISTENCE DESTROYS MEEE. *sobs to eternity*