It was already evening when Kenma parked himself in front of a fancy restaurant. The stars were already out, and more people suddenly appeared now that the night was upon them. Slouching on a bench, Kenma stopped counting how many people were going into the restaurant after customer number twenty. With his phone in hand, Kenma glanced at the time every now and then. Fifteen minutes had already passed, and Kenma was already drawing attention to himself.
Some girls pointed and giggled at him while adults and parents whispered to each other, wondering if his “date stood him up”. Pulling his bangs over his eyes, Kenma couldn’t help but blush a bit at their comments. He was dressed as if he was on a date, which he wasn’t. He was just…wearing clothes that were more suitable at a wedding than a dinner out with a friend, and there was nothing wrong with that. Or so he hoped. Maybe the black vest and yellow-collared shirt were a bit too much.
Okay, Kenma would be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. Checking his phone again, Kenma gave a small sigh as he stood up. Where was Hinata anyway? The orange-headed decoy promised he would come, and Kenma had the text message on his phone for proof. Maybe he forgot, the Nekoma setter thought as he pulled back his long bangs, looking around the crowd for a hint of orange. Just after that thought slipped his mind, he heard the squeaks of a bicycle and saw a certain orange-head riding said bicycle.
The bike screeched into a stop as Hinata hopped off and bowed his head. “I’msorryKenma!Imissedthebus—” Kenma raised a hand to silence the flustered boy.
Sighing, he straightened out Hinata’s outfit and redid his friend’s crooked tie. “Speak slowly, Shoyo.” He looked into Hinata’s eyes and saw the tense expression melt away.
Hinata took a deep breath and bowed again, almost smacking Kenma’s head in the process. Luckily, volleyball and observation training gave the pudding head the reflexes he needed to get out of harm’s way. Hinata’s voice was so quiet. “I missed the bus that was going to take me here, so I biked all the way here instead.”
Kenma’s eyes widened. “That’s an hour of biking.” Hinata nodded and a wide grin covered his face.
“Yeah, and I’m starving!” Giving Kenma a high-five, the orange boy pointed at the restaurant’s entrance. “So, is this the place you mentioned?”
Kenma nodded. Following Hinata as he secured his bike at a bike rack, Kenma led the Karasuno Decoy into the building. Hinata’s jaw dropped, and he immediately tensed up. Kenma tensed up too, but he hid it well. A large marble fountain was in the center of the waiting area as statues of cupids were placed in random corners. An ice chest full of lemon slices was lying out for customers to take as a crystal chandelier lit up the place. Both boys gulped when they saw what other people were wearing. Kenma was cool as a cucumber, but Hinata was already falling apart.
He grabbed Kenma’s hand and spun the boy around before placing his trembling hands on his friend’s shoulder. “K-Kenma, I-I’ll do my b-best.” Hinata’s face was bright red. Steam was pretty much leaking out of his ears as he stuttered on. “M-Mom h-helped m-m-me p-practice f-fine dining-g s-skills.”
Then, he froze. W-What am I doing? I’m just embarrassing myself and K-Kenma… Those thoughts echoed inside his head, and only Kenma could bring Hinata back. Kenma looked around and noticed that no one was paying attention to them. Hesitatingly, he grabbed Hinata’s hand and held it gingerly. The Decoy looked like he wanted to cry at this point.
How should I calm him down? Kenma thought. He’s not like Lev or Kuroo for that matter. Glancing around for inspiration, his eyes caught notice of a skinny young man staring at the twenty-something utensils on the dining tables. Is he trying to memorize what each thing is used for? Then, a thought crossed his mind.
The orange head squeaked.
Kenma glanced down at Hinata’s tie and started to straighten it out even though he did it earlier. “Look, everyone’s going to notice you if you try too hard to fit in. Um…” He froze. What else should he say? Maybe volleyball can cheer him up. “You told me once that you were having a hard time at one of your practice matches. Aboajosai was your opponent, and you were messing up big time. Then, your senpai came up to you and said, ‘Everyone on this side of the court is an ally.’” Kenma stretched his arms out, imitating the action Hinata did when he told him, Kenma, the story a few weeks ago.
Hinata’s mouth dropped. How could he forget? Tanaka-senpai was the one that said those words to him so long ago. Noticing Hinata’s expression, Kenma finished with: “So on this ‘court’, that includes me.” Kenma squeezed Hinata’s head gently. “Let’s go.”
And Hinata smiled, like the sun rising from the depths for the new dawn of tomorrow. With his friend back to his cheery self, Kenma told Hinata to wait for him while he talked to someone. Walking up to the reservation booth, Kenma told the woman there, “I have a table for two reserved under the name Kozume.” The woman scanned through her large reservation book and gave Kenma a nod. Snapping her fingers, a female server appeared before Kenma—Wait, I didn’t notice her coming here, Kenma thought—and the setter gestured Hinata to follow the server. She led the two to a table right in the middle of the restaurant.
Lovely, Kenma thought; already breaking into a sweat. It’s probably too late to switch tables now. He gulped and loosened his collar. When the two got seated, the server bowed.
“Hello, my name is Tetsumi and I’ll be your server for the night.” Her voice was like one of those monotone commercials from the dinosaur ages, but her sweet appearance made up for it. “To start off the night, what would you two like to drink?”
“Water,” both boys said at the same time.
“An excellent choice.” She gave them both menus and disappeared when a group of people passed by. Unfazed by the disappearing act, Hinata looked at the menu and began to sweat.
“Exactly how expensive is this place?” Hinata whispered, cracking open the menu. His jaw dropped when he saw the prices. Kenma rolled his eyes.
“Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy yourself,” Kenma mumbled before sneezing into the crook of his elbow.
Meanwhile in the front of the fancy restaurant, Nekoma’s Captain paced back and forth by the entrance. It was a pain to smooth down his natural bedhead—he just gave up in the end—but hopefully, Kenma won’t recognize him in a vest and tie. Pulling back his sleeve to check the time, he whacked the flower bouquet in his hand against a bench.
“I swear Lev…you’ll be doing fifty laps at the crack of dawn,” Kuroo muttered, rearranging the rose buds in his bouquet. He looked around; making sure no one was paying attention before sneaking a pair of binoculars between the stems. Kuroo rearranged the roses again before hearing someone yell out his name.
“Kuroo-senpai!” A wig wearing, dress wearing, and make-up wearing Lev ran—in high heels Kuroo wanted to add—to Kuroo, gasped, and pulled off his wig to wipe his forehead. Already, eyes were on them and there was laughter too. Loosening his tie, Kuroo looked away, slowly inching himself away from the tall first-year. Damn you, Lev…at least get a dress that compliments your height. Lev’s dress barely passed mid-thigh, and the first year’s hairy legs were in the spotlight for Japan, no, for the entire world to see!
When Lev felt better after hacking oxygen back into his system, he threw his wig on and whined, “Why do I have to be a girl?”
A vein poked out on Kuroo’s forehead. He looked around again, but luckily no one was paying attention to them now, but Kuroo couldn’t let down his guard. Doesn’t this boy have an inside voice? Slapping the bouquet over Lev’s mouth, Kuroo pulled off a convincing smile, got on his tippy toes, and wrapped an arm over Lev’s shoulders, even though he wanted to choke the boy dead with the crook of his elbow.
“Honey, to celebrate our one year anniversary, I booked us a nice restaurant, don’t you think?” Kuroo purred, eye twitching. Judging by Lev’s brave attempt not to laugh, he didn’t know what to do but he caught on when Kuroo’s eyebrow started twitching too.
“Oh darling, you shouldn’t have!” He slapped Kuroo’s back as if he was spiking a ball over a net. Kuroo made a mental note to tripe Lev’s training as he passed the half-Russian the rose bouquet while rubbing his stinging back. Shuddering, he held onto Lev’s elbow and escorted the ‘girl’ inside. While Lev goofed off at the fountain and stole lemon slices from the ice box to snack on later, Kuroo made his way to a woman who looked like she was in charge.
“A table for two please,” he sighed. He could hear Lev hollering in the distance, something about lemon juice squirting into his eyes.
The woman sighed too. Opening the gigantic book in front of her, she asked, “Reservation?”
“Sir, you need a reservation,”
Kuroo deflated a bit inside. Shi—
“But please, this is our one year anniversary!” Kuroo looked to his right and saw a crying, snorting Lev. Mascara was running down his eyes, and Kuroo raised an eyebrow. When did Lev become a good actor? But then, he noticed some sliced lemons in Lev’s hands, and he remembered what Lev hollered earlier.
“Ma’am, I understand that today is a very important day for you, but you need a reservation. It isn’t fair for the others.”
Lev cried in response. Nice, fat tears slid down his face, pulling down the rest of his makeup. Kuroo grabbed some napkins, and Lev snorted into them. “Thanks, sweetheart.” And Kuroo was left to hold the wet and slimy napkins with his bare fingers. Lev was definitely going to have triple, no, ten times more training than everyone else.
Pulling off a convincing concerned look, Kuroo hesitated before giving Lev a one-armed hug. “Please Ma’am, give us a chance. You won’t regret it,” Kuroo told the woman, waving the snotty napkins as he spoke. He turned to Lev and tried to comfort the…boy/girl. “Don’t worry...” Name. What should his-her name be? “Levinna, we can still have a good time.” Kuroo whispered his sentence into Lev’s ear and the boy stopped crying immediately.
You’re scaring me, Captain. The first year said with his eyes.
Look at yourself. Kuroo raised an eyebrow, eye twitching.
Maybe it was the crying or the fact that a pair of nasty napkins were waving in front of her face. Whatever it was, she caved in. “Fine, I’ll let you two have a table.” The woman snapped her fingers and Tetsumi came and escorted the ‘couple’ to a shady table by a corner.
“What would you two like to drink?” she asked, deadpanned.
“Oh darling, it’s our anniversary. Do you have any wine, champagne, or some of the hard stuff?” Lev raised his eyebrows.
Kuroo laughed in public but kicked Lev under the table. “S-Sweetie, I don’t think my budget can handle that just yet.” That’s what his mouth said. His eyes were a different story. Boy, we’re here to eavesdrop not to order.
“Two waters,” Lev squeaked, not even bothering talking in his female voice anymore as he rubbed his poor leg. Tetsumi raised an eyebrow as she bowed and disappeared. Throwing off a quick grin on the surface, Lev leaned towards Kuroo. What should he say? Kuroo is already pissed at him. Bending down, he inspected his injured leg. Luckily, the bruise didn’t look too bad. Lev sighed in relief. “Hey Captain, why couldn’t someone else be your ‘date’ instead?” Lev asked, looking up.
With his crossed arms and with that bedhead, Lev couldn’t tell if Kuroo was more pissed at the question or if he was chill about it. The first year jumped in his seat when Kuroo leaned across the table. “An ace is always prepared for anything whether it’s on the court or real life, and no one else volunteered so that’s the other half.” Kuroo whispered the last part. A visible vein appeared on his forehead when he saw Lev looking around, not even paying attention. “Oi, it’s not nice to leave someone hanging like that.” Kuroo clicked his tongue and slouched back in his seat.
Lev, with his blessed height, spotted Kenma with the Karasuno Decoy roughly seven tables away. Pulling the binoculars out of the bouquet, Kuroo tossed one to Lev. The half-Russian glued his eyes to one end while the other was locked on Kenma. Kuroo clicked his tongue when he saw people from other tables pointing and whispering at Lev.
Chuckling on the surface, Kuroo aimed another kick at his ‘date’ under the table. Lev bit his lip and glanced over at Kuroo, eyes watering. Smiling, Kuroo swiped Lev’s binoculars. “Oh Sweetie, you and your habits and all.” To Lev, the sweet message accompanied by Kuroo’s unamused stare translated to: “Don’t be obvious, idiot!”
“Sorry, Captain.” Lev bowed his head and tried to grab his binoculars from Kuroo. “I just want to see what Kenma’s doing. Hey! Is he replacing me? Am I not ace material enough?” Lev poured out all his questions like a whining dog that wanted to go outside. Kuroo pinched the bridge of his nose.
“How am I supposed to know? Don’t worry about it.” But Kuroo couldn’t lie to himself. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was worried as well. Kenma is and will always be his childhood best friend. Kuroo knew that Kenma found another best friend in that Karasuno Shrimp, but he never knew that the relationship grew this strong so fast. Was he being replaced? Did Kenma find his inspiration to go further in volleyball? If he did, was he going to leave Kuroo behind?
Kuroo didn’t realize his hands were trembling until Lev touched them to get his binoculars back.
“Are you okay, Captain?” Oh no. Lev was so close that he might’ve been able to see the fear that hid behind Kuroo’s eyes. Luckily for him, Lev was too dense to notice anything.
Kuroo pulled off another smile. It was hard, but he couldn’t let Lev see him trembling like a lost kitten. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just act natural when you look through those or else pudding head will know we’re here.”
Seven tables away, Kenma sneezed into the crook of his elbow. Hinata looked up from his menu. That was the fifth time Kenma sneezed, not that Hinata was counting or anything.
“Hey Kenma, are you sick?”
Kenma rubbed his nose and shrugged. “Maybe I’m allergic to something here,” he mumbled, sniffing. “But I’ll be okay,” he added after seeing Hinata’s colorless face. Looking back at his menu, Kenma looked down the endless list of names. Come on. Does listing down a million dishes make you fancy? He glanced up and witnessed Hinata twitch here and there as he flipped through the menu, lost. “Have you picked something out yet?” Damn. Now I made him feel rushed. Kenma narrowed his eyes as the orange head looked up from his menu, looking like he wanted to fall down and cry.
Looking at Kenma somehow calmed the boy down, and he was able to reply with, “Um…I can’t really decide.” Hinata gave a soft laugh as he scratched his cheek. Kenma nodded and looked back down at his menu.
“Me too.” Silence fell between the two again. Glancing down at his shoes, Kenma sighed. “I guess I shouldn’t have been so brash when I reserved a table for us. I—” What was he supposed to say? ‘I didn’t want you to judge me so I picked a place that’s so fancy that it’s ridiculous.’ No, there had to be a way to word the statement in a nicer way. Kenma twiddled his thumbs. “I wanted tonight to be special. It’s our first time getting together somewhere that’s not on our home turf.”
Hinata nodded and laughed. “It’s okay. It’s always better trying something new with a friend.”
Kenma nodded as well, looking around at anything that wasn’t Hinata. “Since we both can’t decide what to eat, do you want to close your eyes and point randomly at something instead?” It sounded childish, but Kenma felt a bit easier when he saw Hinata throw his hands in the air.
“Cool! I better flip to a page that I actually like.” Now Kenma could see why Hinata’s name suited him so well. Hinata: place in the sun. Shoyo: flying heaven. Seeing the grin on Hinata’s face was probably equivalent to seeing the sun’s light break through a blanket of clouds. The atmosphere felt warmer and for once, Kenma wouldn’t mind being the center of attention.
Outside the restaurant, Kageyama, Tsukishima, Sugawara, Tanaka, Nishinoya, and Asahi had just met up with one another. Still wearing their practice clothes, they trooped into the restaurant, already feeling the stares from the rich snobs. Now, rich people were notorious eavesdroppers, so the boys huddled into a circle next to a potted plant.
Tanaka and Nishinoya were quietly, or so they thought, impersonating rich people but stopped when Sugawara gave the two a firm grip on the shoulders. Asahi, the tallest and probably the oldest, trembled in his shoes and Nishinoya had to flash grins every now and then before Asahi could chicken out. Kageyama and Tsukishima were parked next to each other, and everyone else could see the electricity cackling when the two went into a silent staring contest.
“Oi, pay attention fish-fries,” Tanaka snapped at them. He pulled himself straight and leered up at his kouhais—okay, if they were fifteen centimeters shorter, he could look down at them but life wasn’t fair for the bald senpai.
“Alright, this is the plan,” Sugawara whispered. He placed his hands on Tanaka and Nishinoya’s shoulders. “Tanaka and Nishinoya, you two will serve as decoys and distractions when things get tough. Can I trust you both that you guys will do your job excellently?”
“Hai!” both boys yelled and Sugawara quickly covered their mouths before anyone could stare at them. Relaxing his shoulders, he patted Asahi’s back and the taller boy stood a little straighter.
“Asahi, if you may, can you be in the kitchen. Knowing what foods Hinata and his friend are getting can help us evaluate the situation a little better.”
“I’ll do my best,” Asahi said with a nod. Sugawara nodded as well before unzipping his volleyball jacket and pulling out his backpack. Unzipping that, he pulled out a shopping bag. Immediately, Kageyama and Tsukishima glanced at each other. They both already had a feeling that the night was going to be worse for one of them. Sugawara placed a hand on the boys’ shoulders so that they wouldn’t run away, if they tried.
“Kageyama and Tsukishima, you two will act like you’re on a date. Try to eavesdrop if you can. If you can’t, spy on them.” Sugawara held out the shopping bag for one of the boys to take. Tsukishima and Kageyama stared at each other. Then—
“Nose goes.” Kageyama placed a finger on his nose as soon as the words left his lips. Eye twitching, Tsukishima took the bag and slapped Kageyama with it. Tanaka held Tsukishima back, and Sugawara did the same for Kageyama when his signature pissed-off-expression covered his face.
“Guys, c-calm down. It’s j-just for a while,” Asahi said.
“What are you doing, Sugawara-senpai?” Tsukishima suddenly asked, elbowing Tanaka off of him.
Sugawara flashed a devious looking grin. “I’ll be a server, of course.”
Why couldn’t I be that? Tsukishima thought, taking a peek inside the shopping bag. One peek was all it took for the blonde to think: Shoot me now. Apparently, not only was Sugawara good at ruining lives—In a way, we’re all getting humiliated in some sort of fashion, Tsukishima thought bitterly, some more than others—Sugawara was a mind reader as well.
“Remember, if your cover is blown or something goes terribly wrong” Sugawara paused to let the words sink into every man in the circle “there’s a fire alarm right over there.” Smiling, he pointed to the large red button by the kitchen. For their convenience, there wasn’t anything covering the button. It was just there; ready to sound the alarm at the slightest touch.
“S-Suga-senpai, you’re so prepared that you’ve got an escape route,” Tanaka chuckled. Sugawara scratched his cheek and waved the compliment off.
“When Kageyama mentioned earlier today that Hinata was meeting another setter, I felt that my job as the team’s setter, though temporary now, was on the line. Kageyama, do you feel the same way?” The boy nodded rather stiffly. He didn’t enjoy tossing for the little orange head, but Hinata was the only one who could spike his quick tosses. So even though Kageyama didn’t want to admit it, he needed the annoying ball of sunshine that was Hinata Shoyo.
“If Hinata’s with another setter,” Kageyama mumbled. “It makes me feel that I wasn’t helping him reach his full potential.” Really, it took all his strength just to sync with Hinata’s lower abilities, but Kageyama knew he had a lot to learn. If he was going to be the invincible drive behind Hinata’s spikes, Kageyama was going to have to be able to draw everything from the shrimp: Hinata will have to jump his highest, spike his hardest, and will have to believe in Kageyama a hundred percent more. Though, Kageyama felt the need not to mention this to the others while all eyes were on him.
Tsukishima clapped lazily at Kageyama’s words, spoken and unspoken. “That’s fine and all, but is it necessary for me to be here?”
“Of course! It takes a team to make something possible, and we’re the only ones that were free tonight to make this possible.” With that, it was time to part ways. Sugawara disappeared when a crowd came by, and Tanaka and Nishinoya followed Asahi to the kitchen. Kageyama felt a vein stick out on his forehead. Out of all people he could’ve been paired with, why was he stuck with this one? At least I don’t have to be a girl.
As if he read his mind, Tsukishima muttered, “Whatever. I would rather be hanged than be with an Egocentric King.” Kageyama’s face went through fifty shades of rage as Tsukishima disappeared to the restrooms. Ten minutes later, a tall blonde girl approached Kageyama.
With her hair in a braided ponytail and wearing a modest white dress, she looked just like Tsukishima. Kageyama mentally slapped himself. This girl was that sassy middle blocker. For the first time, Kageyama felt inferior next to the blonde.
“Some date,” Tsukishima sneered, looking down at Kageyama. It was true. He was underdressed, considering the situation, so he couldn’t bring himself to be mad. Kageyama’s knee pads were clearly visible while, luckily, his elbow pads were hidden under his volleyball jacket. “Well?” Tsukishima nudged Kageyama impatiently. “Aren’t you going to get us a table, King?”
Kageyama knew full well that it wasn’t nice to yell at a girl, especially if that girl was really just Tsukishima wearing a wig and a dress. Biting his tongue to keep the profanities and insults away, he approached a woman that looked like she worked at the restaurant.
“A table for two please.”
Kageyama blinked. This wasn’t part of the plan. Why didn’t Hinata say anything about a reservation?! Of course he didn’t say. Kageyama mentally slapped himself again. He didn’t expect me to come.
“Tsukishima,” said an alluring voice. Kageyama turned around and the middle blocker had the nicest smile playing over his lips, but it was a mask! As the woman searched for the last name in her book, Tsukishima shot Kageyama a look that said: Really, King? Didn’t even do your homework before coming here? Kageyama took a deep breath and hid his shaking fists in his pockets.
“Ah, ‘Tsukishima’.” The woman snapped her fingers and Tetsumi appeared by her side in an instant. Kageyama and Tsukishima’s eyes went wide when they saw her. She definitely wasn’t around just earlier. This seemed to have been common reaction she would get because Tetsumi didn’t seem to mind when the boy and ‘girl’ tugged her sleeve to make sure she was real. She led the two across the dining area, and she gave them a table next to a weird couple—a gentleman with bed hair and a lady that looked a bit too manly to be a lady.
“I hope you don’t expect me to pay, sweetheart,” Tsukishima said, kicking Kageyama under the table when he sat down. “Two waters, please,” he told Tetsumi. Tetsumi nodded and disappeared when Kageyama and Tsukishima blinked. The Karasuno setter looked around in his seat.
“Damn, I can’t find them.”
“Your giant ego is going to make you shorter than the shrimp,” Tsukishima snickered. “He and his friend are seven tables away, Your Majesty.” When the sentence left his lips, the lady from the table next to them spun around, looking happier than ‘she’ should be.
“Oi! Kuroo, these two are spying too!” Kuroo wanted to body slam and choke the first year with his napkin but he calmed down when he saw Tsukishima and Kageyama, staring at him and Lev.
“What are you crows doing here?”
“Same reason as you.”
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Nishinoya and Tanaka had successfully driven all the real cooks out. It was easy: Convince everyone that they were super awesome cooks that would be taking everyone’s shift, and then, pass the duty over to Asahi when it was just them three. The gentle giant grew weak in the knees as the job weighed down his shoulders. Pots were boiling on stoves, orders were scattered around the kitchen, and ingredients were sitting patiently on cutting boards. Add all of that up and divide the work with one Asahi, and it made the third year tear up.
“G-Guys, get the real cooks back. P-Please.”
“You’ll do fine,” Tanaka said, patting Asahi’s back. Wrapping his other over Nishinoya’s shoulders, a big old grin covered half of Tanaka’s face. “Noya and I can’t cook anyways.” And that’s supposed to make feel better? Asahi thought, feeling the pressure crack on him.
“Oi! I can boil water.”
“But that ain’t cooking.” Tanaka ruffled up Nishinoya’s hair. Pulling Nishinoya with him, Tanaka waved Asahi goodbye. “Good luck and me and Noya will come visit in a while.” Maybe it was the pressure or that Tanaka and Nishinoya were probably going to slack off somewhere, but the gentle giant that was Asahi decided to wear a new mask.
“WAIT!” Nishinoya and Tanaka froze and turned around. The usual gentle giant they were used to seeing was already an active volcano. But no matter how angry Asahi got, deep down, he was still a nice guy. Wrapping a chef’s apron around his waist, he told them, “At least slice all the ingredients for me.”
When he finished saying that, Asahi was back to being the lovable, shy dude he always was, and Nishinoya and Tanaka sighed in relief that Mt. Asahi was back in slumber. Asahi gave them both a pair of knives before tending to the boiling pots. Sniffing some of the raw ingredients, Asahi dumped them into one of the simmering pots. “I really want us to work together on this mission. If Hinata’s seeing another setter, it won’t be long until he’s seeing another libero or wing spiker.”
Nishinoya and Tanaka shrugged as they compared each other’s knives. Aren’t you at least worried? Asahi wanted to yell. Wait, they need an incentive. And what did Tanaka and Nishinoya love about being second years? Bingo! A light bulb was over Asahi’s head and he swore he could hear a heavenly choir in the distance. “Who knows? Hinata might call the other libero and wing spiker ‘senpai’.” Nishinoya and Tanaka froze, turning their heads to give Asahi a look—a look he could only describe as “Terrifying with a slice of vengeance.”
Now, nothing really bothered Nishinoya or Tanaka except two things. One: their dear goddess and manager, Shimizu Kiyoko, being the love interest of other males. Two: the ‘senpai’ right being snatched from them. Asahi’s last comment hit them both hard, and there was a fiery glint in their eyes as they chopped through ingredients with gusto. Tanaka de-boned the raw meats himself while Nishinoya diced and diced his way through a garden.
“Asahi, do you need potatoes?” Tanaka asked, pulling the round tubers from the fridge.
“No soup is complete without some,” the tall third year replied, mixing together spices in a coffee mug.
“Oi, Noya! Catch!” Tossing the potatoes in the air, Tanaka spiked them across the kitchen. Knees bent, Nishinoya sprung left and right to receive them. It was just like a volleyball game, except the balls were brown tubers but they were ‘volleyballs’ nonetheless so he couldn’t afford to let one potato fall onto the floor. Nishinoya knocked the tubers over to his cutting board with his hands, arms, and even with his kneecaps when some of the potatoes decided to become daredevils.
Executing his way through the victims—er, potatoes—the libero skipped over to Asahi and placed the sliced tubers next to the boiling pots. Tanaka also came, bearing an assortment of meats that may’ve been from a bird or something. To say the least, Asahi was impressed with his sliced ingredients.
“Are you guys sure you can’t cook?” He teased.
“Cutting isn’t exactly cooking.” Tanaka gently elbowed Asahi. Asahi brushed him off and grabbed Nishinoya’s potato slices. That’s when he noticed some odd about them.
“Noya, why are all your slices shaped like Ls?” Then he noticed something strange about Tanaka’s meat. “Tanaka, why are all of these spheres?”
“I’m failing math.”
“And my grade in English is the sixth letter in the English alphabet.” Nishinoya chirped.
Asahi sighed. How these two managed to be second years in high school, Asahi may never know.
Meanwhile, Sugawara had managed to find a server’s outfit for him to wear. Why the outfit was left hanging in a restroom stall, Sugawara may never know but it may’ve as well been a gift bestowed from high above. Stowing his real clothes in his backpack and hiding the backpack behind a potted plant by the restrooms, Sugawara was ready. He passed by some other servers, but they didn’t glance twice at him to his relief. He saw Hinata’s orange hair smack in the middle of the dining area and saw a teal haired server giving him and his friend their drinks.
She must be their server, he thought. When the girl wandered off and leaned against a corner by the kitchen, Sugawara made his move.
“Hi…T-Tetsumi,” he said, glancing at the name tag on the girl’s chest. Okay, step one was done. Tetsumi had her attention on him now. Okay, how was he going to word this without it sounding like he was prying? “You look like you want the night to be over with. How many tables are you taking care of?”
“What?” This girl, who barely reached Sugawara’s chest with her height, was basically running the restaurant. When he picked up his jaw from the floor, he pointed to a group of servers that were chitchatting in another corner. “Them, what do they do?”
“Mostly talk but they do walk around from time to time to look like they’re working. Really, I’m the only one that’s actually working.”
“Do you want me to take some weight off your shoulders?”
“If you want.” Perhaps the first time that night, Tetsumi had a smile on her face. “Are you new here?”
“Hai. Today’s my first day.” Technically, what he said was true so he wasn’t exactly lying.
“I’ll give you some tables to start off with. There are two couples here that are kind of…interesting. I think you’ll get a lot of experience just by tending to them.” She pointed to the tables. Sugawara nearly dropped his jaw again. He saw Kageyama and Tsukishima sipping their drinks politely on the surface, but he could definitely seeing the kicking war they had under the table. The other table housed Nekoma’s captain and “ace”.
Sugawara’s eye twitched as he compared the two ‘couples’. At least Kageyama and Tsukishima looked like they were on a date. Nekoma’s captain and his ace looked like a couple of parents that were spying on their child that was on a date. Tetsumi waved her hand in front of Sugawara’s eyes to get his attention.
“So, do you think you think you can do it?”
“Of course, but can I tend to that table too?” He pointed to Hinata’s table.
“I don’t mind.” With that, Tetsumi disappeared. Literally. A blink later and she was gone. Sugawara looked around. Was Tetsumi real or just a figment of his imagination? Thinking about it was going to waste valuable time, and he had his own mission to do.
Arriving at Kenma and Hinata’s table, Sugawara gave a bow and asked them if they were ready to order. Hinata nodded enthusiastically and popped open his menu. While he closed his eyes and picked a random dish, Kenma narrowed his eyes at Sugawara. The grayish hair, the mole under the left eye… Isn’t he from Karasuno? Kenma thought. He didn’t notice that Hinata was done ordering until the boy himself leaned across the table and tugged Kenma’s sleeve.
“Sir, what would you like to order?” Sugawara asked him.
“Same as my guest,” Kenma replied, examining Sugawara from head to toe. He’s Karasuno’s other setter. When Sugawara left, Kenma asked Hinata, “Do you recognize him?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve never seen the guy before.”
How do you not recognize your own teammate? Kenma wanted to ask, but it wasn’t nice to say that to a guest. He didn’t even put on a proper disguise, Shoyo. He sighed.
Seven tables away, Lev and Kuroo were whispering over what they had witnessed through their binoculars.
“I think it was cute how orange shrimp ordered. I should try that too!” Kuroo shot Lev a look that could’ve meant two things: ‘Shut up’ or ‘If you don’t calm down, you’re running fifty laps at the crack of dawn’.
“Damn, I wish I could hear what they’re saying,” Kuroo muttered, hiding his binoculars inside the bouquet.
“So, why are you two here?” Kageyama asked, staring at his reflection on his water glass.
“Oh, Kuroo wanted to know why he was eating with the enemy!”
Kuroo kicked Lev’s leg again under the table. While the first year hissed and massaged his leg, Kuroo looked at Tsukishima and Kageyama. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why these Karasuno crows were here too. “I think we’re all on the same boat on this.”
“True, but we could still do this espionage without playing dress up,” Tsukishima grumbled, adjusting his wig. The long, thick hair was already making the middle blocker sweat, and he felt that his manhood was crumbling away the longer he was wearing the dress.
“I think I look pretty,” Lev squeaked, messing with his wig. Kuroo covered his eyes with his hand and sighed.
“With this one around, I don’t want to be seen in public with him.”
“But people see me!”
“Yeah, but you’re not Lev. You’re Levinna right now.” While Lev and Kuroo argued over the topic, Kageyama couldn’t help but hide behind his water glass when Tsukishima gave him an annoyed look. Clicking his tongue, the taller boy mumbled something about not wanting to be seen in public with Kageyama either and something inside the setter snapped.
Kageyama slammed his hands on the table. “I don’t care if you grumble or whine. I don’t care if you hate my guts. I hate yours anyway. I don’t even want to be here with you, but I’m doing my best to make it through the night so I can find out what’s going on. When this is all over, you can insult me, sass me, and do whatever you want. I’m here because I’m worried about friend so at least show some self-restraint!” Tsukishima just stared at Kageyama in response. The setter sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Look, I know what you’re going to say.” With a frown on his face and his eyes narrowed, Kageyama imitated Tsukishima’s voice. “It sounds like you’re saying ‘Shut up, commoner and do as you’re told.’” Kageyama gave a bit of a chuckle as he picked up his menu and glanced through it.
Tsukishima didn’t know it, but a small smile was on his lips. Picking up his menu as well, he whispered, “I guess even a King can be reasonable.”
Kageyama lowered his menu. “What’d you say?”
“Nothing, Egocentric King,” Tsukishima sneered, hiding his smile with his hand while Kageyama breathed in and out to calm his shaking fists. Right on cue, Sugawara appeared at the table to say a comforting word or two into Kageyama’s ear. Immediately, the boy looked relieved.
Bowing low, Sugawara gave his kouhais his usual grin. “My name is Sugawara and I’ll be taking your orders for this evening.”
“Senpai, you don’t work here.”
“Observant as always Tsukishima, but the tips here aren’t that bad. An old woman gave me six thousand yen because I was—quote in quote—‘working so hard’.”
“Shouldn’t that be for Tetsumi because from what I see, she’s the only working and you just started,” Tsukishima countered. Sugawara’s shoulders sagged a bit in response.
“True, but Tetsumi lacks presence so it’s hard to notice her at time and especially when she disappears.”
“Yo!” Kuroo snapped his fingers and smirked. “Serve now and talk later.”
“W-Why are you here?”
“Same as reason as you,” Lev answered. Flipping his menu to a random page, Lev started pointing at dishes. “I want the filet and lamb chops and I want my fish to be served on a golden plate like in this picture” Lev pointed to the picture on the page “and I want my chops to be—”
“I WAS JOKING! THIS PLAY IS TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE!” Kuroo was about to kick Lev again before Sugawara intervened by saying,
“Alright, I’ll just refill your waters while you spy—I mean, observe.” Bowing low, Sugawara made his way to the kitchen and nearly had a heart attack at what he saw. All the stoves had boiling pots on top of them, Asahi was ladling bowl after bowl of soup, Nishinoya and Tanaka were throwing flour at each other, and Tetsumi kept telling Asahi,
“No one ordered soup. I can’t bring this out.”
Asahi looked like he was going to cry until he noticed Sugawara.
“S-Suga!” He ran and hugged his friend. Sugawara hugged him back and looked around.
“Where are the cooks?’
“Gone! It’s just been me, Tanaka, and Noya,” Asahi sniffed.
“What? Hinata and his friend ordered filet mignon.” Sugawara didn’t mean to, but his voice grew louder with each word. Asahi flinched and bent his knees to hide behind Tetsumi.
“But I only know how to make soup!”
Crying wasn’t going to make things better, and Suga could hear the growls of the hungry diners outside. Sugawara would bet an arm and a leg to say that Tanaka and Nishinoya had something to do with missing chefs. Tying a chef’s apron around his waist, he grabbed Tanaka and Nishinoya by their shirt collars. Now, Sugawara wasn’t usually the one that got mad, but when Tanaka and Nishinoya saw his face, they nearly wetted their pants. But the scary expression changed into a devious grin when Sugawara gave them two soup bowls.
“Why don’t you two play decoys and give Hinata and friend some food. It won’t be that hard to find them.”
“Y-Yes, S-Sir!” The two rushed out of the kitchen as if their lives depended on it, and it probably did too. Turning his attention to Asahi, Sugawara patted the poor boy on the back and squeezed Asahi’s arm.
“It’s going to be okay. The clients didn’t ask for soup, but we shouldn’t leave them hungry.”
“You’ll be helping me?” And when Sugawara nodded, the river Asahi was holding back ran down his face as he thanked Sugawara again and again. When Asahi returned back to his pots, Sugawara turned his attention to Tetsumi and rubbed his head.
“Sorry for this, but can you bring out the soup anyway. It’ll mean a lot to us.”
“I guess I have no choice. Besides, I don’t really like working here anyway, so I guess I can get fired over this.” Tetsumi grabbed some bowls and left. With that taken care of, Sugawara helped Asahi ladle soup into the empty bowls.
Meanwhile in the dining area, Tanaka and Nishinoya were on a mission, a mission that Sugawara would probably kill them for if they failed. Part one of the mission was complete. They found Hinata and his friend soon enough, but their favorite kouhai would recognize them if they waltzed over. Then, Tanaka hatched a brilliant idea. Whispering the plan over to Nishinoya, the two boys held their breaths afterwards.
“Are you ready, Noya?”
“Ossu!” With an image of a volleyball in the air in his head, Nishinoya flew across the floor to ‘receive’ it and rolled into a land while yelling, “Rolling Thunder!” All eyes were on him, giving Tanaka time to place the soup bowls in front of Kenma and Hinata before tiptoeing back to the kitchen. When Tanaka gave the signal—which was basically him taking his shirt off and spinning it around his hand—Nishinoya jumped to his feet, bowed, and ran back to Tanaka.
“Wasn’t that your libero?” Kenma asked.
“No, it can’t be him. Noya-senpai is way cooler.” The two boys looked forward and noticed the bowls in front of them.
“Did you order soup?”
“I ordered some filet thing, but I like soup.” Hinata grabbed a spoon and started eating. Kenma moved his spoon around and around the bowl, taking notice of how much food was in it.
“Do you want some of mine? It’s a bit much for me.”
“Swa,” Hinata replied, mouth full of soup. While he took some of Kenma’s soup, the four spies that were seven tables away caught every detail.
“Look Kuroo, the shrimp is stealing Kenma’s food.”
“Lev, Kenma probably has a lot on his plate…bowl.”
“I can’t see over this guy.” Kageyama pointed at Lev. He could stand on his seat, but then again, part of the mission was to not stand out. “Oi, Tsukishima. What’s going on?”
“I thought your inflated ego gave you some height.”
“Shush it both of you. I think Kenma and your decoy are having a moment.” The three spies—Kageyama was still struggling to find a way to look over Lev—bit their tongues when Kenma reached his hand over and poked Hinata’s cheek to get his attention.
“Did you have a good time?” Kenma wanted to add ‘with me’, but it would it make him sound too needy? He glanced over at Hinata and the orange head had his usual smile.
“Of course, you’re my friend.”
“That’s good.” Kenma tasted some of his soup. Was the soup really that plain or were his taste buds dead from how nervous he was?
“Um, is something wrong?” Hinata asked. Kenma shook his head rather quickly. “Well, you took me to a really nice place to eat, you offered to pay for everything, and…why?”
Sometimes you make me worry, Shoyo. Kenma scratched his head. Even you should know what today is. Seeing the blank expression on Hinata’s face, Kenma could determine that his friend had completely forgotten the occasion. “It’s your birthday, Shoyo. Jeez, you’re starting to make me worry.”
Although Kenma and Hinata weren’t talking very loud, the four—even though Kageyama couldn’t see, his ears were just fine—spies heard everything. Kageyama slouched in his seat.
“I never knew… Hinata didn’t say that today was his birthday.”
Tsukishima stared at him, wondering how dumb Kageyama was. “Let’s think about it, King. He came to practice bearing gifts, he was humming ‘Happy Birthday’ in the changing room, and he asked us if we remembered what today was.”
“His birthday. Sheesh King, you need to listen to us peasants more often.”
“I’m going to go congratulate the birthday boy!” Lev rose from his seat and ran to Kenma and Hinata. Kuroo tried to grab Lev but tripped and pulled the table cloth down with him. Glass shattered all over and around him. He was okay, but people stopped and stared after Tsukishima and Kageyama ducked under the table to hide. Seven tables away, Lev picked up Kenma and squished the poor boy while yelling, “I didn’t know you were celebrating a friend’s birthday!” Kenma could feel the soup inside him go down the wrong tube as Lev squeezed the living daylights out of him.
“Kenma, do you know her?”
Choking, Kenma shook his head frantically. He clawed at Lev’s arm so that the taller boy would let him go. Back in his seat, Kenma coughed and massaged his bruised middle. Lev’s here? That means… He looked around and saw Kuroo putting napkins up to his face to stop the bleeding from the scratches he got from the glass shards. All while this was going on, Lev was spinning around like a ballerina, spider version that is.
“Stop that, Lev!” Either Lev was deaf or too happy or somewhere in between because he picked up Kenma again and spun him around. Doing so caused Lev to trip over his own feet and knock down a table next to him. Kenma yanked Lev out of harm’s way as food and glass fell. He closed his eyes, expecting to feel pain. What he didn’t expect was another hand pulling him out of harm’s way. It was Kuroo’s. Close up, Kenma saw all the scratches he could’ve gotten if it wasn’t for his best friend’s reflexes.
Asahi and Sugawara had run out of the kitchen to see the commotion. The restaurant’s boss, who was also the reservation lady, stormed in and looked like she was going to explode. Kageyama and Tsukishima crawled from under the table and made their way over to Hinata. Tugging Hinata’s sleeve, Kageyama pulled the boy onto the floor and draped his volleyball jacket over him.
“What? Kageyama! What are you doing here?” Then he saw Tsukishima—er, the girl version. “Oh, you want me to tag along on your date?”
“It’s Sassy Glasses, idiot!” Kageyama yanked Tsukishima’s wig off. Several people saw this and gasped. A permanent scowl was on Tsukishima’s face as he pulled a shopping a bag from under his dress.
“Wait. What? I don’t want to see that!” Hinata and Kageyama blurted out at the same time.
“How is this any different than changing in the locker rooms?” Tsukishima grabbed his clothes that were inside and pulled the bag over his head, just enough to cover his hair. “Good job, King of Idiots. We’re never going to get out of here.” He pointed at the reservation lady/restaurant boss and to the crowd of people that were standing up to see what was going on.
Apparently, Tanaka and Nishinoya chose this moment to come out of the kitchen. Giving each other eye signals, they jumped into the dining area and doing what bros do: Unleash destruction and distractions. They forced everyone’s attention on them as they hollered; chest bumped, and did volleyball dives all over the dining area. Dishes broke and tables were knocked over as people got out of their way.
Realizing what the two were doing, Sugawara slammed his fist onto the emergency fire button. The ceiling sprinklers were activated, showering everyone. The spies, the havoc duo, the two senpais who actually did their job, Kenma, and Hinata left the scene of the crime in the chaos. Sugawara was the last one to leave after he grabbed his backpack from his hiding spot.
The boys ran as fast as they could out of the restaurant and onto the street. But first, Hinata got his bike and hopped on it before pedaling his way to catch up. Ignoring the stares they received, the boys kept running/biking until thirty minutes had passed. At this point, they stopped at a supermarket to let Tsukishima change back into his normal clothing. Lev was being chased around by a bleeding, wet, and angry Kuroo. Asahi used the chef’s apron around his waist to dry himself off. Kageyama had his back on the ground as he stared at the sky, trying to get his breathing normal. Sugawara just sighed as he tugged at his server’s outfit.
“I thought I was going to get arrested,” Asahi whimpered.
“We’ll have to return the clothes we borrowed,” Suga said, watching Tanaka and Nishinoya goofing off. “Well, this is where we split for the night.” Nekoma was one side of the street while Karasuno was on the other. Tsukishima had just returned and looked happy to be in his normal clothes. Before going their separate ways, Sugawara looked at his group and looked at Nekoma’s. “Hey, where’s Hinata and his friend?”
Unknown to the others, Kenma and Hinata had split from the main group a while ago, and Hinata was biking back to the Miyagi Prefecture with Kenma in tow.
“Kenma, you didn’t have to come with me.” Hinata hollered when a strong wind passed by. His wet hair stuck to his forehead, and Hinata shivered when the wind collided with his wet clothes. “You have to go home too, so why are you doing this?” Teeth chattering, Hinata flinched when he felt two warm arms hug his middle.
A smile small covered Kenma’s lips. “It’s not nice to leave your guest unaccompanied.”
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