“So much for subtlety.”
Tsukishima could hear the amused resignation in Kuroo’s voice as Bokuto squawked loudly. From what Tsukishima could tell it sounded like he had tripped and fallen into a bush playing Pokemon.
“I got it though, Kuroo! Yeeeees, I will catch all the Hoothoots!”
“Sure, buddy. But right now we should really be concentrating on tracking down the ultra-rare Tsukki.”
Tsukishima snorted, amused despite himself and stepped around the corner to see Kuroo and Bokuto peering down at their respective phones.
Suddenly finding yourself the focus of Bokuto and Kuroo’s combined grinning power must be disconcerting if you're not used to it. Tsukishima had developed quite a tolerance during summer training camp but he definitely remembers being weirded out the first few times.
“Made it out undetected,” Kuroo drawled.
“Yeah, Sugawara and Sawamura-sempai are having a meeting and Yamaguchi is covering for me.”
Bokuto had apparently found all of the Pokemon in the vicinity because his phone disappeared into a pocket in favor of latching onto Tsukishima’s arm with his ridiculous iron grip and dragging him down the street.
Kuroo strolled along next to them, content to interject occasionally into Bokuto’s steady stream of excited commentary about the first round of the tournament.
Just a few minutes later they reached the door of a little neighborhood noodle shop.
Kuroo ushered him in and he was happy to see Kenma and Akaashi were already installed at a table in the corner. He appreciated the balance they were sure to bring to the overall noise level of the evening.
Once they were all seated and the flurrying of ordering was past Tsukishima found himself tucked neatly between Kuroo and Akaashi being subjected to Kuroo’s pleased smile at much closer range.
“It’s good to see you off the court for a change. We should be able to have some ramen and get you back without anyone finding out.”
Tsukishima had barely opened his mouth to reply when all of their slightly less than good intentions were dashed by Tsukishima’s captain and vice-captain strolling through the door.
“Or not,” Bokuto cackled, turning to wave at them. “Hey guys!”
Tsukishima was gratified that he didn’t have to make any effort to reach around and hit Bokuto, Akaashi had already elbowed him in the side.
“What?! This place is tiny, It's not like they weren't going to see us.”
Sugawara had a sly, far too pleased grin on his face on as he approached the table, the one they all called the scary smile behind his back. “It’s true! We could hear Bokuto halfway down the block.”
Their long suffering captain just leveled a firm stare at Tsukishima. “We weren't here, you weren't here. We will never speak of this again and no one will find out that we all snuck out after curfew.”
He should just take the olive branch Sawamura was offering without comment but sometimes his smart mouth just ran away without him. “You mean as long as no one sees all of the selfies Sugawara-sempai is currently taking?”
Sawamura whipped around to see Sugawara squished up next to Kenma and angling his phone for some “pretty setter squad” pictures with Kenma and Akaashi. He actually slapped his face down into his palm as Kuroo laughed.
“It’ll probably be fine, Sawamura-sempai. I’m eighty-five percent sure Takeda-sensei doesn’t follow any of us on social media,” Tsukishima offered.
Not long after the impromptu photo session plates of gyoza and bowls of ramen started to arrive and they all quieted down a little just by virtue of stuffing their faces instead of talking. Even Bokuto ‘I have no indoor voice’ Kotarou found it hard to be too loud around mouthfuls of noodles. So they managed to have dinner without being ejected from the premises for being a public nuisance. Though if Tsukishima were the proprietor he might have done so just on principle.
He was more than happy to listen to Kuroo and Sawamura talk shop about the first day of the tournament with Akaashi occasionally throwing in an insightful comment of two. They speculated about other well-known teams’ performances in the first round and their expectations for the next few days.
Even Tsukishima couldn’t help but chuckle when Sugawara, smile sly and eyes sparkling, asked if Nekoma and Fukurodani were gunning for a rematch and Kenma and Akaashi responded instantaneously with nearly identical claims that they would absolutely kick the other team’s ass. There was a quiet beat of intensity as they sized each other up before they broke out in grins. Kuroo and Bokuto spent a good twenty minutes trying to out trash talk each other before Sawamura cut in with calm assurance that it really didn’t matter whose mom was whose biggest fan because Karasuno was wipe the gym floor with all of them.
The third years sorted out the bill between them like good sempai and they all piled out onto the street to take another few pictures and say goodnight. Tsukishima even let Kuroo pull him into a quick hug when Sawamura was looking the other way.
“Seriously, you guys kicked ass today. Keep it up, I want to face off with you again.” Kuroo’s voice was low and earnest.
“You couldn’t handle any more of my face,” Tsukishima quipped. But he followed it up with a small, genuine smile - there and gone again quick as a flash. “I want to play you again too. So don’t fuck up.”
After a few minutes, and a bone crushing hug from Bokuto - he vastly preferred the casual fist bumps of Kenma and Akaashi- he bid the others goodbye and let himself be shepherded back to the hotel by Sawamura and Sugawara.
They snuck back in without fanfare and went straight to bed. Tsukishima assumed their late night dinner had gone unnoticed until the quick team meeting after breakfast.
“Ok, that’s everything for today, except,” Ukai leveled an unimpressed look at Sugawara as he tapped at his phone, holding it up to show a picture of Sawamura and Akaashi egging Kuroo and Bokuto on in an arm wrestling match for the last gyoza, followed quickly by one of Sugawara with a radiant smile on his face squeezed between a mildly put-out looking Kenma and a smug looking Akaashi throwing up peace signs. “I have some questions about after hours proceedings.
“What the fuck,” Sugawara hissed in Tsukishima’s general direction.
He returned Sugawara’s irritated glance with a shrug. “I said Takeda-sensei wouldn’t follow us online, I didn’t mention Ukai-san at all.”
Sugawara just sighed, his face a perfect portrait of a man mentally reviewing his entire instagram feed up to this point and finding it slightly more questionable than he would like.
Tsukishima noticed that Takeda-sensei not paying attention to the conversation so hard he had to be doing it deliberately. Plausible deniability indeed. Smart man.
The rest of the team was more than happy to shout questions, tease, and add to the general ruckus as Sugawara responded, eyes narrowed. “I have some questions of my own, coach.”
He wasn’t sure exactly when he had adjusted to the general level of chaos that was the volleyball team and it was even more unclear when he had actually come to enjoy it. But Tsukishima was happy to be here, with this team, at this tournament. It was going to be a good day.
Over to you, chuyeol!