You're the Coolest (Haikyuu!!)
@happyandticklish We're going back in time again! Consider this a bit of backstory for the events of "Burn Some Calories." I personally really love this one; there's not enough ticklish Noya in the world and he's so dang cute! Thanks so much for the fun prompt! Enjoy! ^^
This little first-year was at once making him look really bad and pushing him to do even better.
From the moment he’d introduced himself, Yuu Nishinoya had taken the court by storm. The kid was a natural libero, able to receive and defend better than anyone Asahi had ever known before. His bright smile and outgoing personality lit up the gym, making practice both more fun and more intense as everyone strove to do better, inspired by his energy.
Asahi admired him greatly for that. He, too, promised to work harder and improve in all areas so he could be worthy of sharing the court with Noya. As time went on, though, he found that it didn’t seem to matter how hard he worked; the first-year was always several steps ahead of him. While Daichi, Suga, and the others began to serve better, block better, and spike better, he himself – the ace of the team – remained steadfast in doing just as well as he always had. Sure, every practice was helping him improve, but only marginally compared to his teammates. Noya was always smiling and encouraging, but Asahi felt more and more like he was being left behind, and the weight was crushing him.
All of that changed one night after practice.
“All right, guys,” the captain announced, “time to call it a day. First-years, clean up. Second-years, put the gear away.”
Everyone shouted their affirmation and scattered to do as they were told.
Noya came bounding up to him, grinning. “You were great today, Asahi! You’ve been working on your serves, right? I can tell.”
Asahi gave him a tired smile. “You don’t have to do that, Noya.”
“Huh? Do what?”
“Act like I’m making such great progress.” Asahi gripped the ball he was holding before tossing it into the bin nearby. “I’m obviously not.”
“Sure you are.” Noya looked up at him, eyes wide and earnest. “If I’m having to work harder to receive them, that means you’ve been working harder to improve them. It’s logic.”
“That’s more a testament to how amazing you are than anything.”
“You think I’m amazing?”
Asahi looked down at his underclassman, astonished. “Of course I think that. You are amazing, Noya.”
Noya beamed, gently pushing his fist into Asahi’s chest. “You’re amazing, too, ace.”
“Not compared to you. You’re so…so energetic and adaptive and tough, and I’m…I’m none of those things.”
“Tough? I’m not tough,” Noya laughed. “You’re the tough one.”
Asahi tossed another volleyball into the basket. “Yeah, right.”
“Noya!” Tanaka snapped from the supplies closet. “A little help would be nice!”
“Hang on a second, Tanaka,” the libero called back. “I’m giving a pep talk here.” He turned to look up at Asahi again. “You’ve got to believe in yourself more, dude. I can see you’re improving. All of us can. Why can’t you?”
“Sure, I’m improving. Just not enough.”
“Everyone moves at their own pace.”
“I’ll never be as awesome as you.”
Noya frowned, and the look was so unusual for him that it gave Asahi pause. “I’m not as invincible as you think I am, Asahi. I’ve got weaknesses, too.”
“I have yet to see one.”
“Where do I start? My test scores are average at best, I’m total crap at serving – kind of why I chose to play libero, honestly. Oh, and don’t get me started on my luck with girls—”
“I meant physically,” Asahi said quickly, putting an end to that train of thought. “Physical weaknesses. On the court. I haven’t seen any.”
Noya hesitated for a moment, suddenly looking embarrassed. He glanced around to make sure no one was listening in, then lowered his voice. “Look, I’ll admit something to you, because you need the encouragement and I trust you. But you’ve got to promise not to tell anyone else, okay?”
Asahi swallowed, nodding.
“I’m ticklish,” Noya said quickly, cheeks turning pink as he spoke. “Like, stupidly ticklish. One poke and I’m completely useless.”
Asahi stared at him. He scanned him up and down, his mind automatically filling in the blanks. Ribs, sides, waist, knees. All places he’d attack first if he were to tickle Noya. Not that he was going to, of course. Not after the libero had specifically said he trusted him.
“Oh,” he said at last, voice soft. He blinked, straightened. “Well…I suppose that counts.”
“Nishinoya!” Tanaka yelled.
Noya whirled around and ran to him. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming!”
Asahi watched him go, then blindly – as if in a daze – picked up the rest of the volleyballs and helped take down the net, putting it away for the night. Ticklish, he thought, and that was all he could think. Noya’s ticklish. Noya’s ticklish. Noya’s ticklish.
Once the gym had been cleared up and cleaned up and the captain had locked the doors, Noya found Asahi again, prancing up to him as if it was the first time he’d seen him all week. “So, feeling better now, ace?”
“Hm? Oh, yeah, I guess so.” Asahi took one glance at the libero’s smiling face and lost all control. He wanted to see that smile more. Wanted to make him smile like that more. He was dying to hear what Noya sounded like when he was tickled. So, in a flash, he grabbed the little first-year’s sides and squeezed.
As promised, Noya immediately burst into giggles and crumpled to the ground, his legs giving out beneath him. “Nohohoho, Asahi!” he pleaded, holding up his hands defensively as the ace knelt down to join him and dug in again, more purposefully this time. “Nahahahahahahahaha! P-Please, I tohohohhohold you, I’m reheheheheheally ticklihihihihish!”
“You had to know I’d want to see for myself,” Asahi countered, beaming at the adorable sight but lightening his touch slightly.
“Ahahahahahahahaha! Sehehehehehee?! I’m n-nohohohohohot so tohohohohough, am I?”
“You’re the toughest person I know, Noya.” Asahi snatched up both of his wrists and held them above his head, using his free hand to wiggle his fingertips into the grooves of the libero’s ribcage. Noya spasmed, laughter spilling out of him faster than he seemed able to keep up with. “You’re just a sensitive guy, that’s all.”
“Tehehehehehell that to the lahahahahahahadies!” Noya retorted, squealing when Asahi found the backs of his ribs and kneaded there. He tossed his head back and laughed unguarded. “STAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAP!!”
Part of Asahi thought he should stop, but another, stronger part of him found that he simply couldn’t. Noya losing control of himself like this was just so…so unprecedented and unusual, not to mention the cutest thing he’d ever seen. He swung a leg over to pin his thighs down and dug in a little harder, enjoying the shriek he got in response.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! PLEHEHEHEHEHEHEASE, ASAHIHIEHEHEHEHE!!” Noya begged, smiling uncontrollably as mirth burst out of him in helpless waves. “STOP, PLEHEHEHEHEASE, I CAHAHAHAHAN’T TAHAHAHAHAKE IT!!”
“You’re really ticklish, huh, Noya?” Asahi asked, half-teasing, half-serious. He trailed his fingers down to the libero’s belly and scribbled there. “It’s kind of cute.”
“SHUHUHUHUHUHUHUT UP!! I’M NOT CUHUHUHUHUHUHUTE!!” Noya insisted even through his frantic cackling and squirming. “I’M THE COHOHOHOHOHOOL, CONFIDENT LIHIHIHIHIHIBERO!!”
Asahi laughed with him at that. “Oh, are you, now? Not so cool and confident when I’ve got you pinned down like this, hmm?” He poked at Noya’s belly button, chuckling at the “eep!” he got as a reward. “Let’s see. Where’s your worst spot?”
“HAAH?!” Noya made a distressed noise through his giggling, twisting every which way under Asahi’s grasp. “N-Nohohoho, no, plehehease don’t, I cahahahahan’t take it! Reheheheheally!”
“I haven’t even found it yet!”
“Y-You wihihihihihill,” Noya replied, sounding nervous, his eyes panicked. “T-Then you’ll nehehever want to stop. Nohohoho one ever dohohoes.”
At that, Asahi pulled back, releasing Noya entirely as he climbed off of him. He frowned. “Whoa, dude, I’m sorry. Is this…is this traumatic for you?”
“No,” Noya groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes, still laying on the ground. “It’s just…I’ve got this reputation, you know? You were telling me yourself that you think I’m some awesome, unbeatable volleyball star. I…I like being cool like that. And this undermines that coolness.”
“Then why did you tell me?” Asahi asked. “If you were worried it would ruin your reputation?”
“Because it’s you,” Noya said, uncovering his eyes to look at him. “I trust you.”
I trust you. Those words again, with more meaning this time. Asahi smiled at him. “Then do you believe me when I say I’ll never tell anyone else about this? I’ll preserve your reputation. Don’t worry.”
“But…” the libero looked away, seeming embarrassed again. “My worst spot makes me sound ridiculous when I’m tickled there. There’s no coming back from that once you’ve heard it. That’s why I…I don’t want you to try it.”
Asahi felt a little wounded. “Why? Do you think I’ll think less of you?”
“Everyone always does. Once you lose your cool, you’re no longer cool. You know?”
“Noya, I’ll never think you’re not cool just because you’re a little ticklish. That’s silly.” When the libero didn’t answer, he continued, “But if you want me to stop here, I will.”
Noya turned to look at him again, and he frowned. “You really want to, don’t you?”
Asahi could feel himself blushing, but he couldn’t help it. “I mean…yeah. Tickling you just now was…was fun. I’d like to hear what other sounds you make. But not if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“Ugh.” The first-year covered his face with his hands. “You’re the cool one, Asahi. I’d never let anyone else do this, you know? You’re the only one allowed to see me like this.”
Asahi’s heart leapt. “So…is it okay? Or do you want me to stop?”
“It’s my thighs.”
There was a pause. Taking that as an invitation, Asahi cautiously reached out to try said spot, but stopped when he realized Noya was still hiding. He leaned forward and gently pried his hands away, forcing him to make eye contact. The ace smiled, then carefully grabbed one of the libero’s thighs and squeezed.
Noya spasmed again, his smile back in an instant, and just as instantly covered up again.
“Don’t hide,” Asahi said, pulling his hands away again. “I want to see that smile.”
“You’re the worst,” Noya whined, giggling. “The actual worst. I can’t believe I’m letting you do this to me-EEEEEE!! NAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!”
Asahi chuckled, scratching and scribbling along his thighs, enjoying how the lightest touch forced him into this amount of hysterics. “You know what, Noya? This is way more than just cute. This is cool.” He found the inner thighs and kneaded, making the libero toss his head back and scream like a banshee. “This is really, really cool.”
“NO IT’S NOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOT!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHASAHIIIEEEEEE!!”
“Yes it is! Seeing you laugh so freely like that, like you don’t care who’s watching or listening? That’s really awesome. You’re the coolest, Noya.”
“SHUT UP, SHUT UHUHUHUHUHUHUHUP!!”
“Don’t be rude! I’m your upperclassman. I know what I’m talking about.” Asahi left Noya’s thighs, darting back up to his ribs and scribbling wildly, enjoying the tussle of trying to keep up while the little libero squirmed around on the ground, curling up, giggling wildly. “You’re so cool. The best first-year in the bunch. Don’t tell the others, though.”
“Please,” Noya wheezed, grabbing onto Asahi’s wrists, too weak to actually push them away. “Please, stohohohohop tehehehehelling me I’m cohohohohool whihihihihile you’re tihihihihihickling me!”
“But you are!” Asahi insisted, grinning at how red Noya’s cheeks were becoming. “I already thought you were cool, but your laughter is awesome. I think you’re cool whether you’re ticklish or not. I want you to believe me. Do you, Noya? Do you believe me?”
“Yehehehehehes, all rihihihihight, I’m the c-cohohohohohoolest kid on the theheheheheam!” Noya relented, giggling so hard he was gasping for breath. “Plehehehehease, stahahahahahap it! Let me gohohohohoho!”
Beaming, Asahi did as he was asked, allowing Noya to catch his breath before reaching down to squeeze his shoulder. “You’re the best, you know that? When you’re around I always want to do better. To improve. Having you share this with me and letting me indulge a little bit makes me feel like I can do anything. Because if our cool, confident libero trusts me enough to do this, there’s nothing I can’t do. Right?”
Nishinoya looked up at him incredulously, then burst out laughing all over again. “Oh my god, you’re such a sap!” he cried, clutching his stomach as he rolled onto his side. “All right, fine, you’ve convinced me. I’m glad my being so stupidly ticklish makes you feel invincible.”
“You’re not stupidly ticklish. You’re extremely ticklish,” Asahi countered, reaching down to scribble at his belly. “Because you’re an extremely cool person.”
Noya beamed, giggling, allowing his friend to have a little more fun at his expense.
From that day forward, he never called his sensitivity stupid again.
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