in regards to love (agape) - Chapter 1 - Mouchouaru (2024)

Chapter Text

The boundary between passion and obligation is a thin one, Yamaguchi always knew. He tried being careful not to lose his passion and let it morph into some mere work. He loves being on the ice, loves dancing and conveying emotions through graceful movements. But, something changed, slowly, quietly, and he realised there’s only so much you can do before you break your resolve.

As confusing as it may be, he has to do something. There are still things to save.

He has to talk to Tsukishima.

Yamaguchi is a ball of anxiety, just like Tsukishima is an overthinker. Many people mistake the blond for someone who doesn’t care about anything but himself, though the green-haired skater knows that’s far from the truth - they’ve been attached to the hip for so many years, after all. He witnessed the stray tears on Kei’s cheeks when Hinata and Kageyama won their first professional tournament and the proud smile on his face when Yachi announced she was hired at her dream company.

Over the years, he developed a theory about his boyfriend: the thoughts never leave him completely and they make him grumpy. He’s not always nice, even less so with people he doesn’t consider close. And yet, he does care, even if he only shows it through fleeting moments.

Tsukishima Kei is an overthinker, and it makes him a worrier. Even more when it comes to the one and only Yamaguchi Tadashi.

And he knows. He knows Tsukishima takes things seriously. He knows whatever serious speech he’ll make, the other man will listen, think about it, imagine hundreds of scenarios and only then will he start to move.

Yamaguchi doesn’t want to have this conversation. Not when Tsukishima is finally so at peace, his head on Yamaguchi’s lap, letting him card his fingers through short hair. Not when the atmosphere is serene, the fairy lights casting a soft yellowish glow and gentle songs playing on either one of their phones.

He’ll have to disrupt this peaceful moment to break some news to Tsukki. It feels like soiling some holy item and he hates it. He wants Kei’s peace of mind, at all times, puts it before his own.

Even then, hiding things from his partner is unthinkable, especially when he can just gather his courage and tell him.

He inhales.

“Tsukki,” he breathes, “are you asleep?”

“I might be in a second. Do you need to move?”

“No, I just… I need to tell you something.”

Yamaguchi can almost hear the alarms going off in Kei’s mind and it makes him feel bad. He watches his partner sit up, sees the way golden irises focus on him fully.

“Are you okay?”

He wants to hide. He wants to put his face in the crook of the other’s neck and never show his face again, but he can’t, not right now.

So he smiles to try not to cry.

“I am. It’s not anything too bad, don’t worry, really. It’s just that I don’t know how to tell you.”

Tsukki feels the man’s anxiousness and really wants to try and stop him from rambling or hyperventilating. He feels a little helpless before he notices Yamaguchi fiddling rather harshly with his fingers and - that’s it, there’s a thing he can do.

“It’s okay, take your time. Can I take your hand?”

Yamaguchi nods and lets Tsukishima massage his fingers gently. It doesn’t stop the sickening feeling in his stomach, but it grounds him. That’s already something.

“Whenever you’re ready,” Tsukishima smiles.

Both men look at each other for a painfully long second, very different expressions on their faces.

“I want to quit.”

It feels like a punch to the abdomen, all the air leaving his lungs and letting him breathless.

It can’t be real, Tsukishima thinks.

And the only thing his mind supplies is…


“I don’t want to compete anymore.”

Yamaguchi can’t quit. They’re doing this together, right? They promised each other, all those years ago and then again, when they moved into their apartment. There’s no reality where they don’t skate hand in hand. They’re not a duo yet they’re not on their own either.

But, Yamaguchi is still there.

After the initial shock, the tallest of the two realises the green-haired man fidgets once more and that only means one thing: he’s starting to panic. Tsukishima hears the other’s breath picking up and sees the way he looks like he might either cry or break in a thousand pieces.

Maybe both.

He needs to say something and his damn brain doesn’t choose the right words, he registers as soon as his lips move to pronounce them.

“That’s… I didn’t expect that.”

“I’m sorry, Tsukki. I have thought about it, I thought a lot, and there’s nothing else I can do. I don’t want to disappoint you, I’m so sorry, it’s just too much and…”

Yamaguchi’s voice cracks and that gets him to stop talking. He doesn’t want to break down. He can’t risk it. He knows Tsukishima isn’t great at feelings, he won’t put him through the hassle of drying out his tears.

Kei might be distraught, but he is also very much infatuated with his partner.

“Hey, Tadashi, don’t cry, please. I’m sorry. Can I hug you?”

The “please” goes unsaid yet Yamaguchi understands it all the same and he nods weakly.

“I’m not disappointed,” Tsukishima says while carding his fingers through soft green locks, “not at all. I’m proud of you for trying to do whatever makes you feel better. I just didn’t see it coming.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t be. I love you, no matter what, okay?”

This could have been anticipated, really. After all, Tsukishima is a loving person. That might be the reason why the sincere and quiet voice the blond used to utter these words makes them feel like little treasures.

It soothes his worries in a way he didn’t expect and he can’t keep his tears at bay.

He lets himself cry, hidden in the crook of the other’s neck. And Tsukishima, sweet Tsukishima, tightens his embrace for however long salty drops cascade down Yamaguchi’s cheeks.

When he finally calms down, the green-haired skater sits up, hands clutching the taller’s ones, taking extra care to not let their gazes meet.

“I know you have questions,” he whispers, “you can go ahead and ask them.”

Gentle lips fall on a freckled forehead, pouring as much love as humanly possible in the gesture.

“I do have some.”

“Can I lay my head on your lap? And then I’ll answer, I promise.”

How could he possibly say no? Tsukishima takes a strand of Yamaguchi’s hair and twirls it around his finger, nodding.

They change positions to be more comfortable while still indulging Tadashi’s needs of hiding. Big hands then naturally find their way to dark hair to work their magic and hopefully relax the soon-to-be retired athlete. The latter has his head on Tsukishima’s thighs, face turned to the man’s belly.

He feels protected, this way. This is safe. He squeezes his partner’s thigh lightly as a “go” signal.

“Do you know what made you want to quit skating?” Tsukishima murmurs.

“It got too much. I can’t deal with the pressure anymore,” he chokes out, “it’s just…”

“Hey, it’s okay. We can stop talking if you want to.”

“No, I owe you explanations. We started together, it’s only fair I tell you.”

“Is it… Is it someone’s fault?”

They both know what he implied. They both know Tsukishima didn’t name anyone out of sympathy. And they both know Yamaguchi won’t name anyone either, but out of shame.

“I’m not sure,” he chooses to say wisely. “Maybe. Maybe it’s the world’s fault. There was just too much pressure, Tsukki. All the new skaters got so much more competitive. It happened so fast, and then there wasn’t…”

Yamaguchi trails off and Kei waits for a one, two, three seconds, but the sentence never starts again.

“There wasn’t what, Tadashi?”

Said man curls up a little, visibly suffering through his thoughts. The blond man has to fight the urge to protect his partner, create a cocoon with his own body and shelter him from the outside world.

“It got hard to feel anything other than stress when I skate. I don’t want to fall out of love with skating, but that’s what was happening. It felt like I was losing myself, too. And when I thought about quitting, I felt a bit lighter at first, but then…”

Fresh tears and painful sobs wrestle their way out of the skater’s body. He takes a few moments to try and reign over his feelings before concluding his previous words with a timid voice.

“It feels like I betrayed you.”

“You didn’t,” Tsukishima answers quickly, “I promise.”

“But, you’re upset.”

“Look at me, Tadashi?”

Gentle hands turn Yamaguchi’s face to finally let their gazes meet. The taller man looks at Tadashi, tries to read him, and he lets his thumbs caress wet cheeks.

“I am upset, but not at you. I should have noticed, maybe I could have helped.”

“It’s okay. We prepared for this, right? What comes after. We have our degrees, we knew it wouldn’t last forever.”

“I have to admit that’s not how I imagined this.”

“I’m sorry, I know you don’t like sudden and unexpected changes…”

“No,” he stops his significant other, “no, don’t go there. It’s not about me, and it will be okay. Everything will be okay.”

“I’m sorry to leave you all alone.”

“You’re not,” Tsukki whispers as he affectionately puts his forehead on Yamaguchi’s. “Don’t be sorry, okay? You’re still here and that’s what matters. I’m proud of you for taking action.”

“I’m sorry. I love you.”

“Love you too.”

“Kiss me, Kei?”

They close the short distance separating their lips and this, right there, feels like home. Both men let their eyes flutter close to convey the feelings they want to share. When Yamaguchi tries to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry”, Tsukishima says “I want to be there for you” and “you’re so strong”.

They kiss for a few moments, smiling into it. And when they do detach themselves, they choose to stay only one centimetre away for a bit, fingers dancing on each other’s hair and skin just for the sake of feeling close, close, so very close and loved.

It’s only when they eventually rearrange their positions and lie down together on the couch, Tsukishima’s arms embracing Yamaguchi’s thin body and nose buried in the green mop of hair, that he lets his most sincere thoughts slip.

“Thank you for fighting for yourself, Tadashi.”

in regards to love (agape) - Chapter 1 - Mouchouaru (2024)


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