Little Yamaguchi having a stutter but with Tsukki it got better but then his bullies start making fun of him so he just stops talking all together -Tornado
You love my pain, and I do too, tbh.
Tadashi doesn’t see Tsukki around much after the Akiteru incident; he skips practice, leaving Tadashi to walk home alone, and it’s hard to call and ask to come over on weekends when neither had a phone, nor the option of relaying messages through Akiteru’s phone. They hardly spend time together out of class now, and Tadashi’s gradually building confidence is beginning to diminish, evident in the way his stutter begins to come back. He’d been doing fine with the help of Tsukki, but with his vanishing presence, it was slowly but surely making reign on his life once again.
Everyone notices them drifting apart, but the people that use this to their advantage are Tadashi’s old bullies. They start cornering him on his way home after the second week, when they’re sure Tsukki isn’t going to be around.
“You left us all on our lonesome, Yamaguchi,” One boy says coldly, glaring Tadashi down.
“We had to find another kid to mess with, and he wasn’t as fun as you,” Another says, and pushes Tadashi down. Tadashi falls to the ground with a whine, already feeling the tears welling up in his eyes. “Oh look, he’s as easy to get crying as always!”
The boys laugh, and one nudges him with his foot, not quite a kick but surely building up to one. The leader growls down at him. “What, not going to say anything? No ‘p- p- please d- don’t hurt me’? C’mon, we missed that!”
“I- I just w- want t- to go h- home, l- l- leave me alone,” Tadashi whimpers, crawling away from them. One of the boys swings his leg and kicks Tadashi in the gut, and he falls with a grunt.
“There it is.” The leader grins, like he’s proud of himself, and the others follow suit, snickering together in a monstrous roar. “See guys! I told you it would be back if the big one left him alone. And we all knew it was going to happen, too! Why would anyone so cool hang out with Yamaguchi?”
The boys laugh again, and a sob bubbles up in Tadashi’s throat. “Wh- what wou- would come back?” He can’t help but ask.
“That weird thing when you talk. Where the words stop!” The leader laughs heartily, and shifts, pointed stick Tadashi hadn’t noticed earlier poking Tadashi in the gut. “I knew it would come back. You’re so lame without your big body guard around you can hardly speak!”
“Your precious mommy and your Tsukki probably hate having to wait twenty minutes for a response to a simple question like ‘how was your day?’ or something like that.” The first one spits, and punches Tadashi in the jaw.
The words hurt more than the blow of the fist, bringing the sob up from Tadashi’s throat, and he can’t bite it back. The other boys are closing in around him now, in a large circle so he can’t escape, and another is winding up a punch when someone nearby yells and the kids all curse, scattering, leaving Tadashi on the ground crying as the stranger who had yelled approaches. He flinches when the stranger crouches down next to him, peering up at them through the tears blurring his vision.
The stranger turns out to not be much of a stranger at all, and he flinches once again when Akiteru pulls his head into his lap, petting his hair as he sobs. “Tadashi? Is that you?”
“Y- Y–” Tadashi cringes as the words stop in his throat, and instead he just nods. The boys were right; his stutter was really lame, and he was lame, too.
“Who are those boys?” Tadashi shakes his head. Akiteru shouldn’t concern himself with his problems. “Tadashi, they–” Tadashi reaches up and tugs at Akiteru’s shirt collar, effectively shutting him up.
“I- It’s f- fine, Ak- Akiteru-k- kun…” He whispers.
“But–” Tadashi just shakes his head, still sobbing. That’s that. He and Akiteru sit like that for a few minutes, until Tadashi’s stopped crying, and then they stand, Akiteru silently walking Tadashi to his apartment. “…C- Can I tell Kei?”
Tadashi shakes his head rapidly, panic setting in. Tsukki can’t know. Tsukki can’t know how pathetic he is, how bad his stutter’s gotten without him around, he can’t he can’t he can’t–
“But he can–” A whimper raises from Tadashi’s throat, and Akiteru’s mouth clamps shut. “Ok. Ok, I won’t tell him. You’re lucky he’s not happy with me…”
Tadashi flinches at the threat and bows in thanks before fumbling into his house. His mother sees his distressed look, but he can only stutter out a few words before he decides he shouldn’t trouble her with trying to understand his jumbled sentences when she really should be resting before her next shift at the coffee shop. He hates being a burden.
Tadashi squeaks as Tsukki speaks, breaking the morning silence with his signature pout.
“In face, you’ve been quiet these last couple days…”
Tadashi wants to deny it, say that nothing’s wrong, but he knows it’s true. He only spoke to the teachers, now, and only when they needed him (which, with his stutter making it hard to speak with him for more than a minute at a time, wasn’t often), and he chose silence during their walks to school together, figuring Tsukki couldn’t hear him speaking anyway with his headphones on, music playing in his ears. Instead, Tadashi shrugs.
“Is anything wrong?” Tadashi shakes his head, and makes a humming noise so Tsukki doesn’t think he’s completely mute. Tsukki frowns, and Tadashi, curiously, wonders why he looks upset at his lack of verbal response. “You’d tell me if there were, right?..”
Tadashi opens his mouth to speak, because he needs to give Tsukki a response so he’ll stop worrying – god, does he hate the look on his face – but the words catch in his throat. He nods, pretending to cough to cover up his lost words. Kei’s frown deepens, and he shoves his hands in his pockets, looking down at Tadashi with seemingly knowing eyes and Tadashi panics. Tsukki can’t know–
“…I’m here, if you need me. I know I haven’t been around, but…I am. Ok?”
They reach the schoolyard, and immediately a few classmates ambush Tsukki, asking him to help them with homework they’d forgotten, and Tadashi takes the opportunity to slip off to the classroom, glad he’s not going to have to reply.
He passes one of the boys that cornered him and worries his bottom lip, trying to look as if he wasn’t hiding the black eye he gave him under some of his mother’s concealer.
“H– How– How’s it g- goin’, Y- Y- Yama- Yamaguchi?” He mocks, and Tadashi feels the breath leave him as a few other students laugh at the joke, trying to walk past him, but his friend pops up beside him, blocking the way.
“Wh- What? You not t- t- talking n- now?” He sneers, and Tadashi whimpers involuntarily. A few students watch warily now, but most still laugh along with the two, and Tadashi is glad their leader Hotarou isn’t there, because he would surely bring the hallway full of students to hysterics.
“P- Please–” He only now realizes how rough his voice sounds from lack of use, and frowns. “Please l– let–”
“P- Please l- let me go to c- class, Kohinata-san, I believe you’re looking for,” The first boy smirks, and suddenly he’s towering over Tadashi and the laughter from the other students stops. “Isn’t that right?”
Tadashi scans the crowd for any familiar faces that he could use as an excuse to run away, but he doesn’t see anyone. There’s a restroom directly to his left, and he could lock the door if he could reach it before the boys realized it.
Tadashi shakes his head, and glares defiantly up at Kohinata.
“Oh? Then what is it?” Kohinata moves in to grab Tadashi and push him to the ground, but Tadashi ducks under his arms and makes a rush toward the restroom, slamming and locking the door and locking it just in time. He flinches at the sound of Kohinata and his friend slamming into the door and prays they don’t come after him for this later. There’s a bit of pounding and teasing from the other side of the door, but Tadashi just slides down the dirty wood, hands over his ears.
Eventually the noise stops, and Tadashi breathes a sigh of relief as he stands, looking himself in the mirror. He hadn’t even noticed he’d started crying, but now most of the concealer under his eye has washed off, showing his freckles, marred by a rather nasty bruise from the day previous. With a sigh, Tadashi washes the rest of it off of his face with a grimace. There was going to be no hiding this from anyone– from Tsukki.
The warning bell rings, and Tadashi steels himself as he unlocks the door, walking to his classroom with his head down. Tsukki stares at him as he takes his seat across the room, probably curious as to where he’d been the last ten minutes, and for once, Tadashi is glad they sit across the room from each other.
- - -
“You’ve been awfully quiet, Yamaguchi,” Kei mumbles, not looking up from his book. Tadashi hadn’t had practice, and so they’d walked home together for the first time in three weeks. Three long, long weeks, and Tadashi hasn’t spoken a word. Kei had expected him to have stories upon stories, as per usual, but Kei’s bedroom is unnaturally silent as they do their homework together. “In face, you’ve been quiet for the last couple days…”
Tadashi shrugs. He’d decided it would just be better to stop talking, so he wouldn’t have to force everyone to try and decipher his words. The bullies were right, after all. His stutter is pathetic.
Kei raises an eyebrow. “What? Giving me the silent treatment?”
Tadashi flinches at Kei’s harsh words, gnawing at his already raw lip. Kei sighs.
“Sorry. Just– Are you mad I’ve been skipping practice? You haven’t spoken a word to me in…I don’t even know how long. If you are, I’m sorry, but that’s kind of pathetic.” Kei frowns at the sharp intake of breath Tadashi takes. Had he said something wrong? He didn’t mean to. “Hey, I’m– I’m sorry. I just…don’t want you to be mad at me…”
Tadashi gulps, and it hurts, his throat stinging in pain from misuse.
“Are you mad at me?” Tadashi shakes his head vehemently. “Then are you going to talk?”
Again, Tadashi flinches, and Kei feels frustration take over. God, Tadashi’s so frustrating sometimes.
“S- S- Sor–” Tadashi coughs, his throat burning as he tries to speak for the first time in three weeks. “Sorry, T- Tsukki,”
Kei frowns. This was unusual; Tadashi’s stutter had gotten better. “Your stutter is back.”
Tadashi looks down at his hands.
“Yamaguchi. I know you can talk now, so spit it out. What’s going on. Why is your stutter back?”
“I– It– It’s n- n- noth- thing. Don- Don’t w- worry about– about it.” Tadashi feels sick at how long it takes for him to say six words.
“It’s not nothing,” Kei snaps, and suddenly he’s mad. Mad at Tadashi, mad at the guilty look on his face, and definitely mad at his damnstutter. “Now what happened? What went wrong?”
For a panicked moment, Kei fears that it’s his fault, because he’s been leaving Tadashi alone, he’s been ignoring Tadashi more because of his own petty feelings, and now he feels sick, and angry at himself.
“Please tell me.” He whispers, looking up to meet Tadashi’s watering eyes. That’s when he remembers the black eye, and the bruises he’s been seeing Tadashi cover more and more often, and everything clicks. “People have been picking on you again, haven’t they?”
“Yamaguchi.” Silence. “Tadashi,” And Tadashi flinches.
“O- Ok…S- Some people m- mi- might be…t- tease– teasing m- m…e…”
“About your freckles? Because If they’re bringing that up again–”
“N– No!” Tadashi says immediately, interrupting Kei, startling them both with the volume of his voice. “No. N- No, it’s…i- it’s ab- abou- about m- my–”
“I– It got– got w- worse…af- after you st- stopped walking w- with me–” Tadashi gnaws at his lip, and Kei’s suspicions are confirmed. “Th- The bullies started– started b- beating me up af- after p- practice…”
“Is that why you haven’t been talking? They’re bullying you into thinking your stutter is bad?”
“I- It is, isn’t it?” Tadashi asks meekly, and Kei feels rage building up in his chest.
“It’s not.” He says, pursing his lips. “And I’ll beat up anyone that says it is.”
“I’m going to practice tomorrow, and every day after that. You won’t have to walk home alone ever again, ok?” Tadashi looks shocked as he nods. “Good. And you better be talking when we walk to school tomorrow. There’s no need to worry about it.”
“B- But…Don’t you hate it wh- when y- you have to s- suffer through my stories?..”
Kei raises his hands to rest on both of Tadashi’s cheeks, mushing them together and muffling his complaints. “Yamaguchi Tadashi. Stop.”
“Oh-tay, Tfukki,” Tadashi says, voice muffled by Kei’s hands.