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Scandalize Me

Chapter Text

It was not unusual for Iwaizumi to eat out alone. This was done not out of necessity, he had a very- perhaps too active social life, but a choice he made because he enjoyed it. After a busy day on his feet at work it was just nice to relax in the corner seat of his favourite family restaurant, and forget his stresses in a mix of fattening food, cheap beer and silence.

Taking a sip of said cheap beer, Iwaizumi sighed as he felt the liquid slip down his throat. He closed his eyes. Perfect.

"Iwa...chan?"

A familiar, nostalgic voice snapped his eyes back open. Iwaizumi frantically turned his head towards the sound, words immediately jamming in his throat at the sight of the tall man towering above his table.

"Oikawa?" He managed to force out.

The man chuckled lightly and pulled down the surgical mask he was wearing to below his chin.

"Shh," He said with a small wink underneath his wide rimmed glasses, "Let's not cause a scene."

Fixing his mask back in place, Oikawa flopped down in the seat opposite Iwaizumi, neither waiting or asking for permission.

"Wow, fancy us both being here at the same time, what a coincidence Iwa-chan!" He gushed, "You haven't changed one bit. The same ugly scowl. How long has it been?"

"5 years." Iwaizumi said immediately, instantly regretting his lack of hesitation.

He could sense Oikawa's lips turn up in a small smirk underneath his mask, and it took all that Iwaizumi had to prevent his cheeks from turning red in either annoyance or embarrassment.

"Yes, I suppose it has been."

Oikawa reached into his bag and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, before once again pulling down his mask.

"You don't mind, do you?" He said, shaking the pack in front of him.

Iwaizumi shook his head, and Oikawa flashed a quick smile before bringing a cigarette to his lips and lighting it, inhaling deeply before exhaling the smoke in a steady stream in front of him.

This time Iwaizumi had an opportunity to study his face. Really Oikawa had not changed much either, at least appearance wise. The lines of his face had matured and had lost some of it's youthfulness which was to be expected at 25. His hair was in the same irritating flicks, and although it was not uncommon to see Oikawa in glasses, Iwaizumi was sure half of their role now was to hide the noticeable darkness underneath his eyes. Yet he was undeniably still beautiful.

"So," Oikawa continued, "How have you been? I guess that's what people usually say at times like this, mm? What do you do?"

Straight to the point.

"I'm a sports therapist at a private hospital." Iwaizumi said, taking a bite of his now lukewarm meal.

"Knew it!" Oikawa grinned as though it was some sort of personal achievement, "I guess I still had some sort of influence on you!"

"Who said it had anything to do with you, Shittykawa?" Iwaizumi grumbled.

Oikawa laughed, high pitched and almost sounding genuine.

"There's my Iwa-chan!" He said, "Being mean as always."

He paused to take another drag of his cigarette, eyes fixated on Iwaizumi.

"I'm an actor." Oikawa stated, smoothly continuing the conversation. His expression caught somewhere between offended that Iwaizumi didn't ask, and proud.

"I know."

Who didn't?

"Have you seen any of my movies or dramas, Iwa-chan?"

"As if I would do that." Iwaizumi snorted, downing the rest of his beer and enjoying the burn down his throat, "I bet you over-act in all of them."

"So mean! I am a national star, y'know." Oikawa said, flashing a peace sign. Iwaizumi rolled his eyes.

"Not to me. You're still just an annoying childhood friend."

A ghost of a smile flickered across his face before it faded into smoke.

"Have you kept in contact with anyone from high school?" He asked, voice kept at a casual level.

"Yeah. Most of the other Seijoh third years and some people from Nekoma and Karasuno too."

"No, Iwa-chan. Please don't say you have replaced me with Tobio-chan?" Oikawa said, looking mock scandalized, "I forgive a lot of things but that really pushes my boundaries."

"Not Kageyama in particular, although he is fine. I am sure you would be relieved to hear that."

"Is he with Chibi-chan?"

"Yeah."

Oikawa smiled, this time not as genuine.

"I'm glad that we can talk like this again though, it is almost like no time has passed at all. I can't even remember what we fought about. Can you?"

Iwaizumi didn't answer. Of course they both remembered.

"I never really wanted to be an actor." Oikawa continued lightly, exhaling a last round of smoke before stubbing the rest of the cigarette out in the ashtray on the table, "But I had to do something, and I figured I was already so good at lying."

Iwaizumi could feel the weight of his words, and it was beginning to get too much.

"What the hell are you doing here?" He said, pushing his now unappetizing meal out of the way.

Oikawa blinked, and tilted his head.

"It's our favourite restaurant."

Our.

"When we were in college, not now." Iwaizumi said with a sigh, "Surely a damn 'national star' can afford better. I know I can."

"Then what are you doing here, Iwa-chan?"

"You haven't even ordered anything. You'll starve." Iwaizumi said dodging the question, throwing the laminated menu at Oikawa where it propelled forward a few centimeters before falling pathetically onto the table.

They both stared at it for a minute, before Oikawa burst into a fit of laughter, rubbing his eyes underneath his glasses. He pulled his mask back up as his outburst began to garner attention.

"I'm not hungry." He said, with one last laugh.

"Then why come to a restaurant, idiot."

"Why do you think?"

Iwaizumi was not going to play that game, not this evening. Not anymore.

"I've gotta go." Iwaizumi said, standing up and grabbing the bill from the table.

"We should exchange numbers first." Oikawa said, pulling out his phone.

Iwaizumi shook his head.

"I don't think we should."

Oikawa pursed his lips briefly, before tucking his phone back into his bag.

"Maybe you're right, wouldn't want you leaking my number online."

Iwaizumi knew what he was supposed to do. He was supposed to say 'Of course I wouldn't do that, idiot.' and change his mind, giving Oikawa his number to prove a point. Iwaizumi allowed some of Oikawa's manipulations to get through. But not this one.

"Bye. Good luck with the acting."

"Bye bye Iwa-chan. I'm glad you haven't changed. It's sort of a relief."

Iwaizumi acknowledged Oikawa's remark with a grunt, before heading to the counter to pay. He didn't look back.


 

It really hit him when Iwaizumi reached the darkness of his apartment. He didn't bother to flick on the light switch as he tossed his jacket onto the sofa and headed straight for the bedroom. Collapsing on to his bed, Iwaizumi looked up at the ceiling and swore loudly.

Oikawa Tooru. The man he had spent the last five years failing to forget a lifetime of memories of just happened to appear in front of him in a grotty family restaurant. Tokyo was a big place. Oikawa was a big star. And coincidences like that just didn't happen.

It could have been worse. One of them could have said 'I missed you.' Then Iwaizumi did not know what he would have done.

"You haven't changed either, Shittykawa." He whispered, trying to shake images of soft brown eyes and curls from his mind.

His phone vibrated.

Iwaizumi jolted. Surely, Oikawa didn't take his number when he wasn't looking? Hand shaking, he grabbed his phone, the pounding in his heart settling immediately when he saw who the call was from.

"Yeah?"

"Sorry Hajime, were you sleeping?" The female voice rang through, a smile spreading across Iwaizumi's face.

"No, I'm good." He said, "Is everything okay, Rina?"

"Yep, I have good news actually!" Rina said, her excitement clear from the phone, "I managed to get tickets to the midnight screening of the new film you wanted to see- the one staring Oikawa Tooru. It's out next week."

Fuck.

"Hajime?"

"Yeah, sounds great. Thanks." He said quickly, "You know what I am pretty tired. I think I'm gonna sleep. Sorry."

"You sound it. Sweet dreams Hajime. I love you."

"Night."

He ended the call with a large sigh.

Iwaizumi had his own life now. So did Oikawa. Two completely incompatible lives that had no reason to cross except a lingering sense of nostalgia. He was nothing to do with him now, didn't even know why Oikawa would sit at the same table as him. He was not a big star, or one of his supposed many friends in the world of show business.

He forgot to ask Oikawa how his knee was.

With another loud swear, Iwaizumi shed his clothes onto the floor and set the alarm on his phone. His teeth could wait until the morning. He climbed into bed and pulled the covers roughly over his head, encompassing himself in further darkness.

Iwaizumi closed his eyes, deciding not to think anymore about Oikawa Tooru and what could have been between them. They just met for one last time, that was all. Just one last time to confirm that everything was over between them.

He should have taken his number.

Chapter Text

Oikawa was everywhere. No wonder Iwaizumi had no chance of being able to forget him, even if he wanted to. On his way to work he drove past at least 4 billboards or posters showing the actor posing obnoxiously with his trademark fake smile. Two of them were advertising his new movie, one for a car which Iwaizumi was pretty sure Oikawa could not drive and the last one for an expensive brand of shampoo. Iwaizumi scoffed. Oikawa's hair was the result of an unnatural amount of product, not due to any shampoo, he would know.

Reaching the hospital, Iwaizumi headed straight for the sports therapy room, grunting at at anyone who greeted him along the way. He checked his schedule, which as usual was full to the brim, before getting his notes together for his first patient.

And if he was a bit more forceful with the stretching for them than usual, they could blame Oikawa.

 

"Iwaizumi, are you alright?"

It was his lunch break before Iwaizumi decided he could hold a reasonable conversation with another human. He was sat in the break room, stuffing his mouth with rice when he was called out to. Lifting his head, he saw Sugawara, expression amused staring down at him.

"It's just that one of the other nurses was grumbling that you snapped at her when she brought you coffee. Coffee Iwaizumi."

"Yeah, I'm fine." Iwaizumi muttered, Sugawara raising an eyebrow as he took a seat next to him, "Alright, I had an awful night last night. The worst actually."

"Oh dear." Sugawara said, actually sounding sympathetic, "You didn't argue with Rina-chan again did you?"

"No, no. Nothing like that."

Sugawara looked at Iwaizumi expectantly, a pleasant smile on his face. Iwaizumi scowled.

"Anyway instead of worrying about me, you have enough to think about." He said, waving a hand towards the plain, white gold band on Sugawara's finger, "How are the plans going?"

"They are going well," Sugawara started, his eyes sparkling, "Although Daichi refuses to make any decisions himself in case he 'gets them wrong', but it's not just my wedding y'know?"

Iwaizumi hummed at the appropriate times, thankful that he was able to change the conversation. When Sugawara got into the topic of his wedding he just didn't stop, and that was exactly what Iwaizumi needed right now. To space out and think about nothing.

The rest of the day passed as normal. He advised a local university volley ball team on the best nutrition before their games after work, and reached his apartment feeling considerably better than he did that morning.

Yesterday was an unwelcome glitch. Iwaizumi could forget about it now and carry on with his life.


 

The next day started the same as usual. Iwaizumi drove past the usual amount of Oikawa posters which seemed to blend into the background more this day, and reached the hospital feeling alright. He even exchanged pleasantries with some of the nurses walking the corridors on the way to the sports therapy room, all of them looking relieved at Iwaizumi's improvement in mood.

As always, the first thing that Iwaizumi did was check his schedule. Straight away he noticed that something was different. Standing out among the kanji names down the list, his 11am appointment was written in roman letters. Mr. King. It said, for a knee injury assessment. Huh.

It wasn't unusual for the hospital to get foreign patients, usually if a team was visiting Japan for a fixture. But they were seen by the other, more senior sports therapist, not Iwaizumi who had only 3 years under his belt. He shrugged it off, preparing for his first patient. The mystery would be solved at 11am.

Iwaizumi had just finished referring a young girl who played tennis for further treatment on her elbow when the clock turned 11. The girl left him distraught which only made him feel guilty, as he used the phone in the room to alert the receptionist that he was ready for his next patient.

The door pushed open a moment later. Iwaizumi turned his head towards it.

No.

"Ya-ho, Iwa-chan!"

Oikawa was striding towards him, a thick scarf covering his neck and up to just below his nose, and his eyes shining underneath his glasses.

"What the hell, Oikawa!" Iwaizumi said, recovering from his speechlessness as he took a seat in the room, "Mr.King?"

Oikawa simply chuckled, unraveling the scarf and folding it up neatly next to him.

"I am the 'Great King' after all, and I couldn't exactly use my own name."

"What the hell are you doing here?"

"Doesn't it say on that clipboard of yours," Oikawa said, frowning towards the clipboard Iwaizumi was still holding in his hand, "I'm here for my knee."

"No you're not."

"No, I'm not."

"Why did you come here?" Iwaizumi said weakly, sitting in the chair he used for examinations, and reclining in it, "I could write off the restaurant as a coincidence if I was stretching it, but this is just you being stupid now, isn't it."

"Do you want the real reason?" Oikawa asked as though he was simply asking for the weather, voice annoyingly pleasant.

Iwaizumi paused. He didn't know.

"Which...whichever will piss me off less, I guess."

Oikawa seemed to consider for a moment, crossing his legs dramatically.

"After I met you again once it wasn't enough. I wanted to see you another time. And maybe one more after that too." He said, voice dropping lower, "But you didn't give me your number so I had to improvise."

Iwaizumi swallowed. He did not want to begin guessing if that was the real reason or not. He decided not to do that to his heart.

"How did you know I worked here?"

Oikawa brightened up with the question, his expressions once again becoming animated.

"Only one hospital in Tokyo has a sports therapy department. Can you believe it, Iwa-chan? Just one. I bet you're very busy."

Iwaizumi rolled his eyes.

"What would a 'national star' be doing, fraternizing with just a lowly sports therapist like me?"

Oikawa's lips turned up at the corner.

"I thought I was just a childhood friend?"

Iwaizumi frowned, remembering his words from the previous day.

"Now come on Iwa-chan, do your job and take a look at my knee."

"You seriously want me to do that?"

Oikawa shrugged.

"It's what I am paying for, better give me my money's worth Iwa-chan."

"Take off your trousers."

"Well, that escalated quickly!" Oikawa joked as he started undressing immediately, ignoring the deathly glare that Iwaizumi was focusing upon him.

When Oikawa had removed his trousers, Iwaizumi had him sat on a soft examining table and started moving his leg, flexing his knee. His legs were not as toned or firm as they were in high school, or college for that matter. But that was to be expected. They weren't soft either, though, Iwaizumi noted. Oikawa clearly still did some exercise.

There was no point to him doing this. They both knew that. The damage had been done a long time ago and was far beyond anything Iwaizumi could do. Yet he needed to humor him.

He sighed and moved to his chair, picking up his clipboard and pen.

"When did the problems first start?" Iwaizumi said, chewing on the pen between his teeth, trying to keep his voice level through the intense gaze of Oikawa.

"Mm, a while ago." He said, voice becoming wistful, "I can't remember exactly. Maybe 10 years or more? Perhaps slightly less."

Iwaizumi gritted his teeth and jotted on his paper, '9 years'.

"Do you know what happened to cause it?"

"I was being an idiot." He said softly, "But luckily a very important person was there to stop it from getting any worse at the time."

Iwaizumi wrote 'overwork.'

"Well, there's nothing I can do for you." Iwaizumi said, putting the clipboard to the side, and shrugging, "I can't fix idiot I'm afraid."

"I know." Oikawa said with an exaggerated sigh, "Because you would have fixed yourself first."

"Oi, Shittykawa..."

"Is that how you talk to a patient, Iwa-chan?" Oikawa said, stretching out his leg towards Iwaizumi, "Now tape up my knee."

Iwaizumi stared at the long leg waving in front of him.

"Taping? It doesn't need taping. What the hell do you need it taping for?"

"Sure it does. If I'm paying for it."

Iwaizumi swore under his breath before going to the cabinet and pulling out the brightest, most obnoxious sports tape he could find, and marching towards Oikawa.

"Why are you doing this?" He muttered as he began the taping for a full knee support, beginning under the knee cap.

"I thought I told you earlier. You really should listen more."

Iwaizumi raised his head, and stared straight at Oikawa, pulling just slightly too tightly on the tape in his hand.

"Oikawa." He said firmly, "I'm reaching my limit here."

The actor tilted his head and made a face as though he did not comprehend what Iwaizumi just said.

"We have not spoken in 5 years. At all. You can't just waltz back into my life and talk to me like this, pretending that nothing has changed between us-like no time has passed. Like that fight didn't happen. It doesn't work like that."

"Iwa-chan, I-"

"No, Oikawa. What the hell are you trying to achieve? Do you know how damn hard this is for me right now?"

Oikawa didn't reply. He simply pursed his lips and turned his head away from Iwaizumi, instead focusing his gaze on the wall to the side.

Iwaizumi bit on his lip, hard, as he continued the taping in silence. Once it was finished Oikawa hummed in approval, jumping from the table and bouncing on his feet a few times.

"It's good, Iwa-chan. Thank you."

"Just put your trousers on and go."

Oikawa began dressing again, going too slowly.

"I didn't mean to make you mad." He said, still avoiding Iwaizumi's gaze.

Iwaizumi sighed and folded his hands in front of his chest.

"We have our own lives now Oikawa, and they are too different. Not even on the same level. Things can't go back to how they were when we were kids."

"Maybe not." Oikawa said slowly, zipping up his flies.

"You finally finished?"

The actor nodded and strode towards Iwaizumi, who instinctively took a step back.

"Here." Oikawa said, thrusting a piece of paper from his pocket into Iwaizumi's hand, "My number."

"What, you decided I won't leak it online after all?" Iwaizumi said, words dripping in sarcasm as he clenched the paper in his fist, refusing to look at it.

"I never thought that from the start," Oikawa said, his voice unusually soft, "You know I trust you completely."

Iwaizumi swallowed.

"Even now?"

"Even now."

Oikawa wrapped his scarf back around his neck, and walked towards the door, holding his fingers up in a piece sign towards Iwaizumi.

"Send me a text Iwa-chan. We can get coffee! I will be waiting!"

He left through the door in as much of a whirlwind as he entered, the whole atmosphere suddenly becoming silent. Iwaizumi stuffed the paper into his jacket pocket.

There was no way he was going to use that number.

Chapter Text

The piece of paper in his jacket pocket burned like acid as Iwaizumi walked through the crowded streets of Ikebukuro, hand locked with Rina's who walked besides him. She was chatting enthusiastically, smile lit up in the neon lights, and Iwaizumi wished that he could muster the concentration that moment to give her the attention she deserved.

"Hajime?" She called gently, patting his shoulder.

"Yeah? Sorry, what were you saying?" Iwaizumi said, shooting Rina what he hoped was an apologetic look.

"Just about work, nothing important." She said, frowning, "Is everything okay? You have seemed really distracted today."

They stopped near the entrance to subway, people rushing past them down the steps as they remained still in the chill of the night. Iwaizumi leaned towards Rina and kissed her lightly on her lips, both of them smiling afterwards.

"Everything is fine." He said, managing to keep the smile in place as he spoke, "Want me to walk you to the ticket gate?"

"Just here is okay." Rina tucked a strand of auburn hair behind her ear, "But you know Hajime, if there is anything worrying you, talk to me about it. Okay? There's no point you thinking about it alone, we both know it gets you nowhere." She added with a small wink.

"Oi."

Iwaizumi nudged her lightly in the side and they both laughed. Rina opened her arms and pulled Iwaizumi in for a quick hug before they parted ways. Waiting until he could no longer see her from the top of the stairs, Iwaizumi let out a deep sigh and ruffled his hands in his dark, messy hair as he headed back to his apartment. He tried to ignore the billboard of a certain actor in his line of sight.

Iwaizumi couldn't throw the number away. When he reached the room he removed it from his jacket, handling it as though it was porcelain, before stuffing it into the top drawer of his bedside of the cabinet next to the expired condoms and throat sweets. For now, it could stay there.

~

There was a small crowd of people gathered around the television in the break room the following lunchtime. Iwaizumi's last appointment overran so he arrived in the room later than usual. He navigated the nurses and specialists to a free spot on the table in the corner of the room, trying to shut his ears to the louder than usual chatter that filled the space. What were they watching, anyway?

Oh.

Despite wanting to turn his head away from the screen, now his eyes had caught sight of what was playing Iwaizumi could no longer escape his curiosity. It was the same trashy day-time show as always, the type that Iwaizumi would usually pay no attention to. But this time standing in between the two overly-enthusiastic hosts was Oikawa. He somehow seemed to be matching their enthusiasm, talking with his hands as the trailer for his new film ran in the background.

That was enough.

Practically tearing the cap off his bottle of water, Iwaizumi downed the entire contents in one go, slamming the empty bottle on the table hard enough for it to crush.

"Wow."

Iwaizumi groaned as Sugawara dropped into the seat next to him looking amused, setting his own lunch on the table.

"Not in the mood."

"You never are." Sugawara said, taking a large bite from his egg sandwich, "Another bad night?"

"No."

Sugawara didn't seem satisfied with his answer, giving him the same expectant look as before. Iwaizumi swallowed. He couldn't talk to Rina about recent events, there was a wall in his mind that wanted to keep her separate from getting involved. But she was right, it did not usually do him any good to keep his troubles locked to himself.

"...It's Oikawa."

Sugawara looked confused, before a moment of realization flashed on his features. He dashed over to the television and pressed the 'off switch', oblivious to the whines and complaints from those who were watching. Yet nobody moved to turn it back on. Everybody obeyed Sugawara. The nurse dashed back over to Iwaizumi, guilt written all over his face.

"I'm really sorry," He said, Iwaizumi hating how flustered the nurse looked, "I should be more acute to things like that being around. I don't know the details about what happened between you two, but I saw how close you were and know it must be hard for you to be reminded of it all the time in this way."

Iwaizumi shook his head, starting on the rest of his lunch.

"It wasn't that." He said through mouthfuls of food, "Although that was annoying as hell. We...met up."

"You met up?" Sugawara said slowly, "You and Oikawa? That same Oikawa?"

"Yeah." Iwaizumi said, trying to organise his feelings into coherent thoughts, "That shitty night? Oikawa came into the restaurant I was in. We talked. Then Yesterday he booked an appointment to see me in the sports therapy room."

"No. Way."

Sugawara looked scandalized, eyes wide and hanging on to every word that Iwaizumi was saying.

"What happened?"

"Nothing. He was just being Oikawa and then he gave me his number and just fuck."

Some of the other hospital staff members turned in Iwaizumi's direction as he swore loudly, planting his face on the table.

"Does Rina-chan know?"

"Like hell I could tell her." Iwaizumi muttered to the table, eventually raising his head when he felt a firm hand on his shoulder.

"I know what you need, Iwaizumi." Suga said, his grin not as wide as usual, "I was going to invite you anyway, but me and Daichi are going drinking tonight. Getting wasted will help to clear your mind."

Iwaizumi snorted.

"I'll pass."

"Let me rephrase that. You are coming drinking with us tonight." Suga said firmly, "It'll be great. Kuroo is coming too, and Kenma-"

"Kenma won't come."

"Okay, Kenma won't come, but it's been a while since the four of us went out. You can bring Rina-chan too if you want. Although she always drinks us all under the table."

"I don't wanna subject her to you lot again." Iwaizumi shook his head, "Fuck it. I'll come."

~

The former volleyball club member's bar of choice was a small place, tucked away in Shinjuku. It was not too far from either of their places of work, and the prices were just low enough to prevent them from starving for the rest of the month.

Iwaizumi was the last to arrive. His friends had already gathered at their usual table, close enough to the bar for quick runs but offered just enough privacy.

"Here he comes!" Kuroo called too loudly as Iwaizumi approached their line of sight, "Heard you've been through some shit lately."

Iwaizumi sat next to him, shooting a glare at Sugawara who held his hands up immediately.

"I just thought we all could help!"

"Yeah, by getting you pissed enough to forget all about that pretty boy." Kuroo grinned, raising his own drink.

"First drinks on us." Sawamura added with a smile.

"First and second." Iwaizumi corrected, pushing Kuroo from his seat and into the direction of the bar.

"You really alright, though?" Sawamura asked while Kuroo was ordering at the bar, "You can talk to us if you need to."

Iwaizumi shook his head, checking on Kuroo's progress at the bar out of the corner of his eye.

"You were all right, just get me drunk enough to not think about him."

"I still can't believe your celebrity ex is stalking you, though." Kuroo said, slamming a pint down in front of Iwaizumi, "Isn't it supposed to be the other way 'round?"

"Fuck off." Iwaizumi said, picking up his drink and beginning to consume it as fast as he could.

"But, seriously." Kuroo continued, ignoring the warning glances from everyone else at the table, "Can you get me his autograph? Bet I could make a fortune on ebay."

"Kuroo, stop." Sugawara said firmly, "I wouldn't have told you if you were going to make fun like this."

"My bad."

"What are you going to do, though?" Sawamura asked carefully, "You have his number."

"Just thinking about it is messing me up." Iwaizumi said, letting out a burp at the completion of his beer, and pushing the empty glass away, "Don't let me think about it."

Sawamura swallowed and pulled some money from his pocket.

"Another drink?"

Iwaizumi grumbled in approval, gesturing for the former captain to stay seated and waving his hand at Sugawara.

"Sugawara, go get it."

"Why me?" He whined.

"Because Sawamura hasn't pissed me off yet."

When Sugawara returned with another drink for Iwaizumi the topic shifted to the plans for his wedding. Admittedly, he could understand how Sawamura felt about not wanting to make decisions for himself- his fiance seemed adamant on everything being perfect. It was pretty scary, really.

"I think Kenma is warming up to the idea of marriage." Kuroo said, the rest of the table bursting out laughing.

"Yeah right." Sawamura said, knocking back the last drops of his drink.

"I don't blame him, not wanting to vow to be with you for life." Iwaizumi added, thankful the topic had changed.

"Have you considered proposing to Rina-chan?" Sugawara asked, skin already flushed from the alcohol.

"Yeah." Iwaizumi said honestly, downing the rest of the glass, "I have actually."

"Well it has been around...two years, right?" Sawamura said, and Iwaizumi nodded.

"I'm just not sure, y'know. Lot's to think about. I haven't really discussed it with her. I don't know how Rina would feel about it."

"Don't let this, stuff, with Oikawa get in the way between the two of you."

Iwaizumi was silent, staring the bottom of his empty glass.

"My turn." Sawamura muttered, heading for the bar.

"Shots, we need shots!" Kuroo called after him.

 

Time passed and drinks flowed freely. Drink in one hand, and half smoked cigarette in the other, it wasn't long before all of the frustrations that Iwaizumi was feeling began to be poured out.

"I loved him. We fought, he said shit, I said shit. But his shit was worse."

The rest of the table hummed and nodded, exchanging glances between them as Iwaizumi paused to take another drag.

"He stormed out, I waited for a while for him to apologise. It never came. When I finally called his number it wouldn't connect. We never spoke again. Became some fucking big star. Now he just appears in front of me, swanning around like he is Jesus and I should just automatically fall back into place and start worshiping him or something. It's not happening. I've got a career, a girlfriend and a life. And a career."

"Iwaizumi, er-"

"I don't need some fucking pretty, gorgeous, beautiful boy Oikawa. With his shitty personality. Why would I care about him? Why did I ever? It's not like I think about him every day. Fuck I do. Fuck it. Fucking shit."

He took another shot. It missed his mouth and spilled down the front of his shirt. Iwaizumi cursed loudly.

"And he's usually such a quiet drunk," Kuroo said sadly, shaking his head as he watched the scene play out, "I don't think I've ever heard him talk so much in my life. What have we done?"

"We said we would get him wasted enough to forget Oikawa, but it seems to have done the opposite." Sawamura agreed, shooting a worried look at Sugawara who shrugged.

"How was I supposed to know that would happen?"

"I'll call Kenma." Kuroo said, taking out his phone and shakily trying to unlock it, "He can pick us up, and get him home. He can sleep it off."

"Kenma won't come." The engaged pair said at the same time, "He only did it that one time because you literally passed out, Kuroo." Sugawara added, "And you had to buy a PlayStation to compensate."

"Taxi, then. Get him some water."

 

Iwaizumi made it back safely to his apartment, head floating from the alcohol. He found himself undressed in his bed- unsure how he got there but could think of a lot worse places to be. Closing his eyes and mind clear, he fell asleep immediately.

It was the pounding in his head that woke Iwaizumi the next morning. Thankful the curtains were drawn and whole body shaking as forced himself to stand up, he grabbed his phone and made his way to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water. Iwaizumi took a careful sip and almost threw it up. Energy drink it was, then.

His trembling had began to subside with sugar entering his system and he sat down on the sofa, massaging his temple. This wasn't his favourite way to spend his precious weekend time. What time was it? Iwaizumi checked his phone. 1pm and a message from Rina.

'Turn on the TV!'

Iwaizumi frowned. He reached for the remote and pressed the 'on switch'. The remote slipped from his hand.

Fuck.

Plastered in big letters across the screen were the words 'National Star Oikawa Tooru, Big Scandal. Gay Kiss With National Team Volleyball Vice Captain."

The headline overlaid a picture- grainy but definitely clear enough to make out. Oikawa on his tiptoes, arms wrapped around the neck of Ushijima as their lips were locked in a kiss. Dressed in shorts, the taping Iwaizumi performed still visible on his knee.

Chapter Text

The scandal was everywhere. On every television and the front of every newspaper, magazine and falling from the lips of everyone Iwaizumi seemed to cross paths with. Girls were crying, saying it must be a fake, that there was no way that Oikawa could be gay which made him snort. No, he was definitely gay. Experts were saying his career was now over- talks of boycotting his latest film spreading across internet forums. Iwaizumi thought they were stupid. How could they be enamoured with him one moment and after something as trivial as a kiss completely ostracise him. The public was stupid. Ushijima was stupid.

Not that it mattered to Iwaizumi, anyway. Oikawa was nothing to do with him.

When he arrived at work that following Monday morning, a bit earlier than usual to get himself into the right frame of mind, Sugawara was already waiting in the sports therapy room. Iwaizumi knew what this was about. The nurse didn't work in this part of the building. He opened his mouth and stuttered around some words before he finally spoke clearly.

"With Ushijima!?"

Iwaizumi laughed, throwing his bag in his locker.

"Seems so."

"Are you okay?" Sugawara asked slightly quieter, as others walked past the room.

"Why wouldn't I be?" Iwaizumi said lightly, "It's nothing to do with me."

Sugawara bit his lip.

"Yeah but..." Iwaizumi raised his eyebrow, waiting for him to finish, "You and Oikawa...um..." Sugawara coughed, shaking his head, "It's a big scandal. Like massive. There are so many talks about the future of his career, aren't you worried?"

Iwaizumi shrugged.

"He's a fighter. He'll be just fine and it'll blow over in a week or so."

 

The media seemed to think differently. In the break room that lunchtime the usual lunchtime show was playing, the hosts discussing what the scandal could mean for Oikawa and the release of his new film the following week. Sugawara made a move to turn over the channel but Iwaizumi grabbed his wrist, shaking his head. He wanted to listen.

The show cut to a press conference, Oikawa standing behind a panel next to a stern faced manager. Endless camera flashes lit up his face, revealing a confident smile. Iwaizumi let out the breath he didn't realise he was holding. Oikawa was okay.

"Is it true that you are in a homosexual relationship with national volleyball vice-captain, Ushijima Wakatoshi?" The first question hounded him.

Oikawa let out a shrill laugh, and waved his hand flippantly in front of his face.

"With Ushiwaka-chan? Never." He said, "He's just a friend, no, an acquaintance really. I hate him."

"The kiss says differently, Oikawa."

His lips turned up in a smirk, eyes narrowing and staring into the cameras as though they were dirt underneath his shoes.

"Does everyone date all the people they kiss? Or even like them? Not every kiss has a meaning."

"Oikawa are you gay?"

Momentarily Oikawa's expression slipped. Face frozen before recomposing himself, the playful look returning to his features.

"No. Are you?"

"There are talks of boycotting your latest film. Does that bother you?"

"Pfft. I'm not worried about that. It's a good film, we all worked hard on it- so please come to the cinemas to see it!"

The press conference faded back to the studio, the hosts of the show excitedly discussing what they had just seen. Sugawara looked at Iwaizumi.

"What do you think?"

"Well, there was at least one lie in there." Iwaizumi said quietly enough so that no one else in the room could hear, "Not gay my ass."

"Is he bisexual like you? He could have meant it in that way?" Sugawara suggested.

"No. He isn't. He's just doing what he needs to do to protect himself."

"You shouldn't have to hide who you are. That sucks."

"It sucks." Iwaizumi agreed.

"Are you going to, y'know." Sugawara said, dropping his voice even lower, "Call him?"

Iwaizumi shot him a clear enough look for that question to be answered. Like hell, he would.


 

That evening Iwaizumi was sat on the sofa in his apartment with Netflix humming in the background, Rina's head resting on his shoulder as he brushed through her hair gently. The sweet vanilla smell of her perfume relaxing his mind as he placed a gentle kiss on her nose. She giggled, nose scrunching up, as she moved to look up at him.

"Dork." She whispered, pecking him on the lips.

Iwaizumi tried to glare at her, but he couldn't quite manage it, only causing Rina to laugh further.

"Oh yeah, can you believe the news about Oikawa?" She said suddenly, as though she had just remembered, "I was so shocked!"

"Yeah, I was shocked too."

"Did you still want to see the film next week? A lot of people are boycotting it."

"I dunno." Iwaizumi said honestly, "Do you?"

"I'm fine either way, you know I only accompany you for all of your Oikawa films. You fanboy." Rina laughed, "If I didn't know you any better Hajime, I would say you had a crush on him!" she joked joked, snuggling further into his side.

"Very funny." He said quietly.

"Anyway, I have a volleyball game on Sunday morning." She continued, "Will you come and cheer me on?"

"Of course."

"I promise no one will get injured this time!"

"You can't promise that." Iwaizumi scoffed.

"Well you are pretty cool in sports therapist mode, so I wouldn't mind seeing it again." Rina said, sighing dreamily.

"Wait, are you saying you want a team mate to get hurt?"

"It'd probably be me, to be honest."

"Yeah, you crazy libero."

"Shh!"

They both settled into a comfortable silence, focusing on the American film on the television. This was how it should be, Iwaizumi decided. This was his life. He was happy.


 

Iwaizumi thought the scandal would be over by Wednesday. On Friday it was still going strong, perhaps even more than before. Despite the rational part of him saying he should avoid all contact with anything about Oikawa, Iwaizumi had found himself listening into conversations on the topic and watching programs when he could.

That is how that Friday evening, waving off the invite from Sugawara for more drinks, Iwaizumi found himself watching a late night talk program on television. Oikawa was a special guest, the point of his appearance to promote his new film.

The usual rapturous applause that Oikawa is usually met with from the studio audience was not present this time. As he stepped into the studio, dressed perfectly in the usual outfit that would get him in the pages of the fashion magazines with his hair on point, the studio was eerily quiet apart from a few quiet 'boo's' and stray claps. Oikawa seemed to ignore it as he strode into his seat like nothing had changed, wearing the same beaming expression he used towards girls back in high school. Fake.

The interview started off rather normally. Questions were asked about the new film and the role he was playing in it as a young detective, and Oikawa was all too happy to provide information, talking excitedly. Yet, as expected the topic soon shifted.

"So, I am sure you are aware that you have been surrounded by controversy recently." The host began, "Let's talk about that, shall we?"

Oikawa's lips seemed to thin and his eyes dilated, but he managed to keep a pleasant smile on his face regardless.

"There's nothing more for me to say." He said, tone noticeably colder, "I have already said all there is to know."

"Well we have a statement here from a former volleyball teammate of yours back in Miyagi." The host said, pulling out a piece of paper, "They state that you have quite the history with Ushijima."

Iwaizumi's widened eyes matched the expression that Oikawa wore on the screen. His mask crumbled, face twisting in anger.

"Who?" He asked the host, voice rising, "Who said that?"

Iwaizumi wanted the same question answered. He quickly listed names in his head. It couldn't have been any of the other third years in Seijoh, they wouldn't do that. But out of their teammates, no one would. Would they? They all liked Oikawa and respected him, although he himself never seemed to realise this. Could it have been someone from a different school?

The host ignored the question, a smirk on his face at getting a reaction from Oikawa.

"Let me read the statement. 'Oikawa and Ushijima have been rivals for a long time. The passion that was seen when they played opposite each other was unmatched and this could be seen off the court as well. Although they pretended to hate each other, there is a fine line between that and love, and it was often rumoured about what they did behind locker room doors.' Quite the heated statement, wouldn't you agree?"

"Bullshit!" Oikawa spat, face enraged.

The host coughed loudly, as though he was trying to cover up Oikawa's curse before continuing to speak.

"Seems like good evidence to me, Oikawa." He said, turning to smile at the cameras, "And with all of your friends in the entertainment industry beginning to abandon you in light of this scandal, is it only a matter of time before we hear some more stories about your indecent personal life? Perhaps some other men that you have had in the sheets?"

Oikawa stood up and marched from the set.

Iwaizumi was frozen, eyes fixated on the screen. Oikawa. He swallowed. He would be okay, wouldn't he? Oikawa had always been popular, surrounded by people. Surely someone would be there for him now, Iwaizumi wasn't his pillar anymore. Had not been for a long time. Someone else would have taken that role. Wouldn't they? But the final words of the host stuck in his mind, until he could think of nothing more.

Fuck it.

Surprised by his own speed, Iwaizumi shot into his bedroom. He almost yanked the drawer from his cabinet out with the force he pulled it, rummaging around until he found Oikawa's number. Before he had a chance to regret it, to think about what he was doing, he punched in Oikawa's number and a short message and pressed send.

'Are you okay?'

What a stupid message to send, Iwaizumi thought in hindsight. He didn't even attach his name. But he wasn't going to send another one. Returning to the living room to turn off the television, Iwaizumi shed his clothes and climbed into his bed.

A loud ringing sound woke Iwaizumi from his shallow sleep. The clock on the bedside table read 2:13 am. Who the hell would be ringing at this time? He groggily checked the caller ID. It wasn't a contact, but the number looked familiar. It suddenly dawned on him. Iwaizumi quickly accepted the call.

"Yeah?"

"Iwa-chan, I'm sorry- were you sleeping?"

The voice was too loud for the time of night, cheeriness dripping from it. Yet there was an undertone that Iwaizumi could pick up on, a slight nasal quality. And he almost swore he heard him sniff.

"How did you know it was me?"

"I don't give my number out often." Oikawa said lightly, "It could only be you."

"Ah."

"Anyway, I'm sorry Iwa-chan, we need a rain check on that coffee!" The fake cheeriness continued from the receiver, "Even though it was my idea. Next time, alright?"

"I didn't text you for damn coffee." Iwaizumi grumbled in his still sleep heavy voice.

There was a pause on the phone, only the shallow sound of breathing audible. As the silence continued Iwaizumi considered hanging up, before Oikawa spoke again, voice sounding even more strained than before.

"I'm okay."

"Alright." Iwaizumi said, "But if you aren't, y'know, I..."

He trailed off. What was he saying? What was he offering? Iwaizumi was the one who said he wasn't going to get involved in this, with Oikawa.

"Thank you."

The words were whispered, difficult to pick up over the phone, but Iwaizumi heard them clearly.

"But I really am okay!" Oikawa continued, the annoying pep back in his tone, "I'm okay." He repeated, as though he was trying to convince himself of the matter. Because Iwaizumi certainly wasn't.

"Goodnight, then." Iwaizumi said, wishing the call to end.

"Oh...yes. Night night Iwa-chan."

The call ended before Iwaizumi had the chance to do so himself. He heard the reluctance in Oikawa's voice with his goodbye, he probably wanted to have talked longer.

Iwaizumi should have let him.

 

Iwaizumi liked Saturdays. Usually. Saturdays meant dates with Rina, when she wasn't training, or getting more work experience as a volleyball physical therapist-getting him one step closer to his goal. Sometimes it meant spending the day with Kuroo when Kenma wouldn't indulge him, or helping Sawamura escape from wedding planning hell.

When he woke up this Saturday, however, it felt different. Guilt weighed up in his chest and spilled through every movement he took towards the kitchen to make breakfast. Iwaizumi should have said more to Oikawa. Should have said something comforting. He cursed as he made his coffee, sitting down on the sofa and nursing it in his hands.

A 5 year absence from each other was hard to overcome, but the 13 years by each other's side before then is harder to forget.

The rest of the day passed amicably, Iwaizumi deciding to keep his body active so that his mind did not have to be. He jogged to the gym and spent time working out on the machines before walking back to his apartment and deciding to let out the rest of his frustrations on a killing spree on his PlayStation.

It was when he was warming up his dinner in the microwave that his phone began to ring. The same number as the previous night. Iwaizumi's breath hitched.

"Oikawa?"

"Iwa-chan!" The voice said, sounding a lot better than the previous night, "A gap in my schedule has appeared. Shall we get that coffee?"

"I already said I didn't want coffee with you, Shittykawa." Iwaizumi said, although he knew his words were lacking bite and part of him no longer believed in what he was saying, "We have gone through this. We shouldn't keep communicating."

"Because our lives are too different now, and we aren't friends anymore after all this time." Oikawa confirmed, "Or because I am a scandalous gay man? That's the reason the rest are using." He added with a self deprecating laugh.

"When is the gap in your schedule?" Iwaizumi said instantly, knowing he was letting himself get tangled in Oikawa's manipulations but had no will to stop it.

"Tomorrow morning."

Tomorrow morning. The time of Rina's game. Iwaizumi should have hesitated more than he did before his answer.

"Where are we meeting?"

 

Rina took it very well when Iwaizumi called her to say he had an emergency patient and couldn't see the game. Lying was fundamentally against his nature, especially to Rina, but he tried to brush his guilt from his mind as he reached the address Oikawa had sent him. Iwaizumi realised straight away that the cafe was beyond his budget. It was in Ginza, a part of Tokyo that he made a point to never go to, and was affiliated to a luxury brand.

He felt incredibly under-dressed as he walked into the cafe, standing close to the middle and scanning the room for Oikawa. There were screens dotted around in certain areas of the windowless room, which seemed like a likely place. He was correct.

Despite his disguise Iwaizumi recognised him straight away. Like when they met in the restaurant he had a mask covering his face but had this time swapped his glasses for shades and a wide brimmed hat covered his hair. Oikawa looked ridiculous.

The actor looked up when Iwaizumi sat down in the seat opposite him, letting out a small laugh as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"Mornin' Iwa-chan!" Oikawa said cheerfully although his voice was tired, "I can't stay long, so will you hurry up and order a caramel latte for me and probably a boring black coffee for yourself."

Iwaizumi swallowed.

"This, er, I can't really afford..."

"Don't be silly, I'm paying for both of us." Oikawa said, taking his wallet from his clutch bag and pushing it across the table.

"I don't need your money." Iwaizumi said defensively, and Oikawa simply laughed again.

"You're not getting it, Iwa-chan. The cafe is."

Iwaizumi groaned and snatched the wallet from the table, going to order.

When he returned to the table Oikawa had lowered his mask so that it rested underneath his chin. He whispered a thank you as Iwaizumi threw his wallet to him, blowing on his drink lightly before taking a tentative sip. Oikawa's cheeks had sunken slightly, skin lost most of it's rosy colouring and was unusually pale.

"Have you had breakfast?" He found himself asking before he could stop, "Want me to order you some food too?"

He shook his head.

"I'm not hungry."

How long had Oikawa been 'not hungry' for?

They found themselves drinking their drinks in a strange silence. It wasn't often the usual chatterbox that was Oikawa would get like this, but when he did it was never a good sign. Oikawa seemed to realise that he was acting weird himself and he coughed, a smile replacing his previous sullen expression.

"So, haven't you got something to ask me?" Oikawa asked, voice a strange pitch.

Iwaizumi tilted his head? It was Oikawa that invited him out in the first place, so why would he be the one with the question. But then he realised. It had been 5 years but he could still read his former best friend and lover with ease.

"Is it true? Are you in a relationship with Ushijima?"

"Do you think I am?" Oikawa countered, lips pursed.

"No." Iwaizumi answered straight away, "I don't."

Oikawa smiled. A genuine smile.

"Correct."

"Then what actually happened? Did you actually kiss Ushijima, because it didn't look photo-shopped."

"Since when were you a Photoshop expert, Iwa-chan?" Oikawa said, voice playful before again adopting the serious tone, "But yes. I did kiss him."

"Why?" Iwaizumi said, scrunching his face up.

"You'll think it's stupid."

"When don't I think things relating to you are stupid?"

Oikawa smiled again, removing his sunglasses to reveal dull, brown eyes framed with dark circles.

"I wanted to play volleyball for the first time in a while. You see, I had a really good taping job done on my knee and didn't want to let it go to waste. I felt like I could jump again, and wanted to do just that."

Iwaizumi swallowed. It was his taping job, the one that was still visible in the photograph.

"Anyway, there was not many people I could play volleyball with. And it's not like I could just walk into a facility either. That's when Ushiwaka came in handy. I had his number and begged and pleaded until he gave in." Oikawa paused, letting the corners of his lips turn up into a wry smile, "And I like teasing Ushiwaka. So as thanks I gave him a kiss. To mess with him."

"Seriously." Iwaizumi said slowly, absorbing all the information that Oikawa had given him, "That is it? And everyone is making such a big fuss over just that? That-that's nothing!"

"Apparently being gay is not good for your image when nearly all your fan-base is female. In fact, here, it's not really accepted at all no matter who you are." Oikawa said, voice sour, "And actually being in a gay relationship is worse. I wasn't thinking at the time." Oikawa laughed, "Me, not thinking?"

Oikawa always overthought, over-analysed everything.

"But if you wanted to play volleyball you could have..." Iwaizumi started, but then stopped, remembering what he said to Oikawa when he came to the sports therapy room.

"Could have asked you?" Oikawa finished, eyes narrowing, "You made it clear that you didn't want to see me. Although recently you have been sending, hmm, mixed signals."

Iwaizumi was silent. He turned his gaze away from Oikawa and returned to his coffee, sipping on it and letting the liquid scald his throat.

"Thank you for indulging me today, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said, his glass already empty. He fastened the mask back over his mouth and covered his eyes with the sunglasses. "I need to go. I have a meeting with my manager soon, and I can't smoke in here either."

Oikawa stood up, grabbing his bag.

"You were right, y'know." He said quietly, "I had no right to suddenly jump back into your life like that. Acting like nothing has changed. I forget, because we could still talk so naturally that things aren't the same. There is lots I don't know about you now, Iwaizumi. There is probably a happy life that I am interrupting. So you really shouldn't associate with me right now. Especially now. But I am so happy I could see you again- talk to you again. I really am."

He could see what Oikawa was doing. It was his stupid way of trying to protect him.

"Wait." Iwaizumi said immediately, standing up and grabbing Oikawa by the wrist, "Don't push me away."

Oikawa tilted his head.

"I thought it was the opposite way around?"

Iwaizumi cursed and ran the hand that wasn't attached to Oikawa through his hair.

"I'm only going to say this once, okay Shittykawa, so listen up." Iwaizumi said, his voice raising to a volume probably unacceptable for the space that they were in, "Yeah you had no right, and I still have not forgiven you. But you're in my life again now, so I'm stuck with it. Things have changed, and true there is a lot we don't know about each other now. So I am not saying we should start acting like best friends again, I don't think I could even do that. But if you ever need me, need to talk, I'm here alright?"

Oikawa froze under his grip, before he let out a long sigh.

"You might regret saying that."

"I already have." Iwaizumi said, but allowed a small smile to creep onto his face.

"Thank you, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said after a pause, lightly brushing off his wrist and making sure his hat was in place, "I guess I'll be seeing you, then?"

"Yeah."

Oikawa nodded and turned away, walking towards the door with a small wave.

Iwaizumi waited until he had gone before relaxing back into the seat and deciding to finish his overpriced coffee.

What the hell was he doing?

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi took Rina out for dessert after her volleyball game. He was not a fan of sweet food, she knew that, and laughed at his suggestion at first.

"You don't need to do that, Hajime." Rina said with a smile, an arm hooked around his, "You can't help it when you are suddenly called in for work. It's not your fault."

Her words only piled extra guilt onto what Iwaizumi was already carrying, the weight of it beginning to crush him.

"I want to." He said firmly, "You can tell me about the game over cake."

"Well, if you insist!"

Iwaizumi received a text while taking small bites of his cheesecake, trying to keep his mind from wondering during Rina's game account. He had now saved the number in his phone, so it wasn't a surprise when the word 'Shittykawa' was lit up across the screen. Muttering an apology to Rina, he opened the message.

'Thank you.'

That was it. Oikawa, who was usually known for flowery messages and endless emoticons sent a mere two words. But those words squeezed on Iwaizumi's chest. He quickly stuffed the phone back into his pocket without replying, trying to shake the strange feeling that was overcoming him.

"Hajime, who was that?" Rina asked, sounding more curious than intrusive.

Iwaizumi answered without hesitation.

"Sugawara."

"You're not going to reply?" She continued, frowning, "Is he okay?"

"I'll see him at work tomorrow." He said, taking a bigger bite of his cake, "It can wait."

Rina merely made a small noise of acknowledgement, looking slightly strangely at him for a moment before continuing her dessert and story.

Iwaizumi never knew that cheesecake could taste so bitter.


 

Iwaizumi didn't usually seek Sugawara out at work. He didn't need to- the nurse always seemed to pop up and interrupt whatever peace he was trying to have without warning. Today was different. Arriving earlier than he needed to, Iwaizumi headed straight to the building's nurses station where he found Sugawara sat looking at some patient's records. He looked up as Iwaizumi approached, the tracksuit standing out among nurses' uniforms.

"Iwaizumi, come to see some records?" He asked cheerfully, closing his folder and laying it on the table.

"No. For you." Iwaizumi said and Sugawara hummed in interest, "Are you free after work?"

"Are you asking me on a date?" Sugawara joked, fluttering his eyelashes. Iwaizumi picked up the folder on the desk and bopped the other man on the head with it.

"Yeah, because I would love to get slaughtered by Sawamura." He rolled his eyes, "Some er, stuff happened this weekend. I need to talk to someone about them."

"Stuff? Oikawa stuff?"

"Shush!" Iwaizumi said quickly, "Lower your damn voice."

"That's a yes then." Sugawara winked, but he lowered his voice regardless, "It is a week night, you know. A Monday night at that."

"I know, I'm sorry. But I really can't wait."

Sugawara blinked, his expression changing to one of concern.

"Alright." He said, patting Iwaizumi on the shoulder, "I'll let Daichi know I will be late home. No alcohol though!"

"That would be for the best."

 

They ended up after work at an Izakaya, pints of beer in front of them, Sugawara insisting that just one should be fine after all. It was never just one with them.

"So, what's up." He asked, resting his hand on his chin and looking up at Iwaizumi with a mix of worry and intrigue.

"I think I'm making a huge mistake." Iwaizumi said after a gulp of his beer.

"What sort of mistake?" Sugawara asked, choosing his words carefully.

"I text Oikawa."

"Right."

"Then I lied to and cancelled a promise with Rina to see him." Iwaizumi continued, taking another long sip of his beer.

"Okay."

"Also I told Oikawa I would be there for him whenever he needed me."

"I see."

"And after that I continued to lie to Rina, and now I feel so damn guilty." Iwaizumi groaned, finishing his beer.

"Iwaizumi." Sugawara said with a small sigh, "I counted at least four huge mistakes there. Not just one."

"Brilliant, I feel so much better about myself." Iwaizumi said, looking over at the bar and wondering if he could get away with ordering another drink. Sugawara coughed, regaining his attention.

"I might be being a bit judgemental, sorry." He said, "Lying to Rina-chan is never a good thing. That is undoubtedly a mistake. But repairing your relationship with Oikawa might not be."

Iwaizumi frowned.

"Is that what I'm doing? Because to be honest I don't know what the hell is going through my my mind."

"Seems like it to me." Sugawara shrugged, "Let's put it this way. Forget for a moment his celebrity status and all the crap that has been happening recently. As far as I know, for most of your lives you were incredibly close and the best of friends and even became lovers. Then you had a big fight and lost contact with each other. Right so far?"

Iwaizumi nodded. Sugawara smiled and continued.

"Okay, so you might have lost contact but you never forgot Oikawa. You never stopped thinking about him. Oh stop giving me those eyes- you know it's true. You admitted it yourself when drunk. Anyway, part of you always wanted to reconnect with Oikawa and set things right between you again. And subconsciously now you are doing just that."

"Maybe." Iwaizumi said slowly, thinking it over in his head.

"Well does any other reason come to mind? Saying you will be there for him...are you doing it out of pity?" Sugawara tried.

"No. Not pity." Iwaizumi said immediately. He had never pitied Oikawa, he was not the type of person for that to apply to.

"Then, do you..." Sugawara swallowed and his eyes shifted downwards as he cringed slightly, "Still have feelings for him? Romantically."

Iwaizumi immediately felt the heat rush to his head, feeling almost hot enough to break out into a sweat. His eyes widened and he shook his head aggressively.

"Fuck no, of course not!" He said loudly, Sugawara shrinking further back, "Not with that pretty idiot."

"Alright, alright." Sugawara said, "It was a suggestion. Don't kill me."

"I'm just worried about him." Iwaizumi said with a sigh, "That's all. I know it sounds stupid, but something just tells me there might not be many people he can rely on. Oikawa looks like that but he internalises things. He really lets things like this get to him, his self esteem is stupidly low to start with. It doesn't even seem like he has been eating much recently."

"...And people call me a mom." Sugawara said with a short, grey eyebrow raised.

"Fuck off."

"Hey, I could be cuddling up to Daichi in my bed right now drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream on top so be kinder."

"Sorry."

"Here is my suggestion. If you want to continue, doing whatever you are doing, with Oikawa then go for it." Sugawara said, finishing the rest of his drink, "But quit the lying. Be honest to Rina-chan, tell her the background you have with him, and carry it on in a completely open way. No more secrets."

"No more secrets." Iwaizumi agreed, "But..."

"But?"

"I am not sure I can get back what I had with Oikawa. Not after all this time."

"It doesn't need to be what you had. It can be something new." Sugawara said with one of his warm smiles, "Besides, you have Rina-chan now too."

 

The pair parted ways shortly afterwards, Sugawara saying he needed to get to bed and suggested that Iwaizumi did the same. He agreed with his friend, getting into his car and starting the short drive home.

He didn't still have feelings for Oikawa, did he? Iwaizumi laughed the thought from his head. Of course he didn't.


 

With the build up to the release of Oikawa's new film that Friday, the tabloids and talk shows seemed to be having a field day trying to come up with new ways that they could tear his reputation to pieces. It was frankly hard to watch. Blatant lies were spewed and Iwaizumi had no idea how the general public could believe them, lapping them up like a cat with cream. Oikawa appearing himself on shows was now rare. When he did, Iwaizumi wondered just how hard it was for him to keep up the air of arrogance behind his smile and the confidence in his eyes.

By Thursday afternoon Iwaizumi had made his decision.

 

"I knew you would decide to come after all." Rina said, arms full of popcorn, as they walked into the screen which was showing the midnight screening of Oikawa's film, "You really are a fanboy Hajime."

"I'm not." Iwaizumi said, shooting her a glare.

"It's fine, I've already said I don't mind accompanying you. At least it's not a rom-com this time." She smiled cheekily, "Besides he is nice to look at on the screen, if nothing else."

Iwaizumi snorted, of course even his own girlfriend would think that.

"But it seems like he would be annoying in real life, there is just something irritating about him too...do you understand what I mean?"

"Yeah you're right. He is annoying." Iwaizumi said, realising his mistake immediately and feeling his face flush, "From what I have seen on TV shows." He added quickly.

Rina cocked her head, but didn't say anything.

Great, Iwaizumi thought. He was already ignoring Sugawara's advice.

They found their seats in the nearly empty screen and sat down.

"You would not think this was a midnight screening." Rina whispered, looking at the hoards of empty seats around her.

Iwaizumi nodded. Although a few people had made the trek to the late night screening and were dotted around the room, most seats sat bare for a supposedly sold out screening. He tried not to think about it as the lights dimmed and the adverts began to run.

When the lights returned and the credits began to roll Rina stretched, eyes sleepy from the lateness of the hour.

"What a shame no one was here to watch it." She said with a small sigh, "It was definitely Oikawa's best film yet."

"Yeah." Iwaizumi said quietly, "It really was."

 

Iwaizumi arrived at work the next day feeling groggy, lack of sleep probably not being the ideal situation in his profession. He headed straight to the break room, making himself a cup of coffee while there was still time, sipping on it as he watched the television. The title of the news story ran across the bottom of the screen.

'Oikawa Tooru's film set to be huge box office flop.'

Iwaizumi swallowed the rest of the coffee in one gulp, scrunching up the plastic cup and throwing it into the bin.

He considered sending Oikawa a text. Telling him that his movie was great, his best yet, and that he shouldn't listen to all of the crap that was surrounding him. Shouldn't let it get him down. But that would mean Iwaizumi would be admitting to watching Oikawa's films and he did not want to give the other man that satisfaction. Besides, why should he be trying to comfort him? He would be okay. Not every film could be a hit.

Even though Iwaizumi knew the problem was bigger than just that.

 

That evening Iwaizumi wanted to go to sleep as soon as possible. Due to having only caught a couple of hours rest the night before his body was barely functioning and even eating dinner seemed like too much effort. Knowing he would regret it otherwise, Iwaizumi ate a quick microwave meal while texting Rina before brushing his teeth and letting his head hit the pillow. He fell asleep immediately.

When Iwaizumi's phone alarm began to ring, he woke up feeling refreshed. Until he frowned. He doesn't set an alarm on a Friday night, and his digital clock read 3:12 am. It was a call. Oikawa. Iwaizumi answered it without hesitation.

"Yeah?"

"Hello, is this er, 'Iwa-chan'?"

The deep voice on the phone definitely wasn't Oikawa's, yet only one person used that nickname. Feat shot through Iwaizumi like a bullet.

"Iwaizumi, yes it is." He said, trying to ignore the shake in his voice, "Is everything okay?"

"Depends on how you look at it." The man said, sounding exasperated, "I work at 'Aki' in Roppongi. We closed half an hour ago but your friend is in too much of a state to go home alone and is refusing to let me call a taxi. Can you come and pick him up?"

Iwaizumi cringed. He knew first hand what Oikawa was like when drunk. Iwaizumi had accompanied the man on one too many nights out when they were at university, or had been the one to get him home when his other friends had abandoned him.

"I'll come and get him."

 

Even with less traffic at that time of night, it took Iwaizumi 20 minutes to reach the bar. There was no parking nearby, so he pulled up as close as he could- praying he would not get a ticket as he entered the bar.

Where only the staff members remained, sweeping the floor and cleaning the tables, there was Oikawa. Slouched over the bar counter; hair dishevelled and face plastered down, snoring loudly. Iwaizumi swore under his breath, the staff looking relieved as he approached, and he shook Oikawa roughly by the shoulders.

"Oi, wake up Shittykawa."

Oikawa groaned as he came too. He looked up at Iwaizumi with unfocused eyes and smudged makeup. He blinked a couple of times, frowning, before his face lit with recognition and his lips spread into a wide smile.

"Iwa-chan!" Oikawa shouted, the screeching tone in the silence of the room making Iwaizumi wince, "I said you would come drinking with me! I missed you so, so much!"

"It's been less than a week, idiot." Iwaizumi said, wrapping his arms around his waist and trying to yank him off the stool, "C'mon stand up."

"No, I've been missing you much more than that. I'm always missing you Iwa-chan!"

"I'm getting you home." Iwaizumi muttered, ignoring the aching in his chest.

Apologising repeatedly to the staff in the bar, he managed to get Oikawa's support and began the slow walk to his car, the actor babbling nonsensically the whole time. They made it to the thankfully ticket free car where Iwaizumi practically threw Oikawa into the passenger seat, pushing a bottle of water into his fist and fastened his seat belt, before getting into the drivers seat.

"Where do you live?" He asked with a sigh.

Oikawa's eyes were glazed over as he swayed in the seat.

"Miyagi! You know my address, silly Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi counted to 10 slowly in his head, breathing out through his nose.

"Not your parent's house. Where in Tokyo do you live?"

"I haven't memorised the address Iwa-chan." Oikawa whined, "I walked here."

"So close by, then." Iwaizumi said, trying to keep his cool head on, "Can you direct me?"

"Um, that way!" Oikawa pointed to the left where there was no turning. Iwaizumi swore.

"I'm taking you back to my place, alright?"

Iwaizumi blocked out Oikawa's stupid cheers as he fastened his own seat belt, reversed his car and drove towards his apartment as quickly as he could.

Oikawa wouldn't shut up. Iwaizumi expected that really, but thinking of it and facing the reality of the situation was two different things. All of the 'Iwa-chan, your car is my favourite shade of blue!' the car was black, 'The Mars rover proved alien life, y'know.' no it didn't, and the 'I knew I can count on Iwa-chan.' comments were frankly grating.

"Why the hell didn't you get a taxi?" Iwaizumi groaned, mostly to himself.

"I couldn't get a taxi!" Oikawa said, the whiny tone returning.

"Enlighten me to why."

"Because the taxi driver would probably hate me. Everyone hates me."

Those words struck something inside Iwaizumi. Oikawa drunk, alone in a Roppongi bar. Surrounded by negative media attention each day, having to hide your sexuality because people refused to accept it and forcing yourself to go through it all with a plastic smile on your face. No matter how strong Oikawa was, it was getting too much for him.

"That's not true." Iwaizumi said quietly, "Everyone doesn't hate you."

"They do." He sniffed, "Have you seen twitter? I read it every day, the things they say are horrible Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi could tell him to 'not read it then', but it would be pointless.

"No one saw my film, I worked so hard on it."

Brilliant, Oikawa was beginning to sob. Tears streaming down his cheeks and making his skin look even more patchy in the light of the street lamps.

"The critics praised it though, Iwa-chan, it's not fair."

"No it's not."

Oikawa was now quiet apart from his occasional sniffs, sips of water and coughs. The atmosphere in the car felt heavy. Iwaizumi strangely preferred his chatter. He sped up, pushing the boundaries of the speed limit.

"Iwa-chan?"

"Mm?"

"I feel sick."

Fuck.

"Not in my damn car, Shittykawa. I mean it." Iwaizumi growled, winding down the window to let some air in. Oikawa gagged.

Just a few more minutes.

 

To Iwaizumi's relief, they made it to his apartment without any accidents. As soon as the lift doors opened, Oikawa stuck to his side like a koala, Iwaizumi unlocked his door and raced him inside- straight to the bathroom. Oikawa showed he still had some sense as he dropped to his knees and began to cuddle the toilet bowl, skin clammy.

"I'm going to get you some more water, okay?" Iwaizumi said, wrinkling his nose as he turned towards the kitchen.

"No Iwa-chan! Don't leave me!" Oikawa sobbed through a particularly wet burp, as his body was practically sprawled across the tiled floor.

He looked truly pathetic.

There was no way that Iwaizumi would be able to leave.

"Shh. I'm here, alright?" He said as softly as his deep voice could manage.

Iwaizumi crouched down next to Oikawa and stroked his hair gently. It was still soft. Moving his hands down to rub soothingly on his back, through the smell of alcohol and smoke the familiar scent that was Oikawa was still present. He wanted more of it.

Iwaizumi continued to stroke Oikawa's back as he lost the contents of an entire night's drinking into the toilet bowl, whispering comforting nothings into his ear. He wiped his nose and mouth with tissue after Oikawa was sure he was done and brought him some water,tipping it into his mouth gently.

"Feel a bit better?"

"Yes." Oikawa said. His eyes were more focused than before, but he was still clearly under the effects of the alcohol he had consumed as Iwaizumi helped him to his feet, swaying on the spot.

"Good." Iwaizumi said with a sigh, "Bed."

He led Oikawa to his bedroom, pushing him inside as he hung in the door frame.

"Borrow whatever you need of mine to sleep in, I don't care if it comes up short on the ankles." Iwaizumi said as the taller man began to wander around his small room, "If you need to vomit again, for the love of god go to the toilet. Night."

"Iwa-chan, wait!" Oikawa said quickly as the door almost closed. Iwaizumi put his foot out to stop it and groaned.

"What now?"

"Sleep with me."

"No." Iwaizumi said immediately, "No, no no."

"Where are you sleeping? The sofa?" Oikawa asked tilting his head, "That's no good."

"Yes, the sofa. And it's fine. Shut up and go to sleep already."

"Sorry."

Iwaizumi sighed and turned back to leave.

"Sorry, for those things I said. I didn't mean any of them Iwa-chan, really, I didn't. I was just being mean and spiteful, now Iwa-chan hates me too."

He knew what Oikawa was rambling about. And it hurt. The words, the memories he wanted to forget. Yet, it was five years too late to hear an apology from the mouth of a drunk who did not know what he was talking about.

"I don't hate you." Iwaizumi said quickly, "I never will. Okay?"

"Then sleep with me."

"Look, that's not happening." Iwaizumi said through gritted teeth, feeling the binds on his patience beginning to untie.

"Okay." Oikawa eventually said after a pause, and relief came over him, "Just come here a moment?"

"For fucks sake..." Iwaizumi groaned but complied, walking over to Oikawa who was still rocking slightly on his heels where he stood in the centre of the room.

Oikawa smiled. Not a shit-eating grin or condescending smirk but a bona fide smile, before he lifted up Iwaizumi's face by his chin and placed his lips firmly onto his.

Oikawa tasted disgusting. Absolutely vile. So why was Iwaizumi kissing back? Wrapping his arms around Oikawa's neck with eyes closed and melting into him as the familiar sensations came rushing back. Oikawa's lips were not as soft as he remembered them, a lot drier and chapped, but they were still his, the long want, the pent up feelings all pouring out between them.

It took too long for Iwaizumi to return to his senses.

Reality smacked into him and he broke apart from Oikawa, pushing him away from his body hard. He didn't look at Oikawa's face, did not want to see what sort of expression he was making. Iwaizumi opened his mouth, but no words came to mind. He turned straight around and ran from the room, slamming the door behind him.

Iwaizumi poured himself a glass of water as he sat on the sofa, wrapping a nearby blanket over his body. He felt sick. Hands shook as he tipped the glass to his lips, trying to wash out whatever lingering taste was left in his mouth. Iwaizumi touched his lips. No, it was no good. The warmth was still there. Head pounding and heart threatening to break from his chest Iwaizumi lay down and closed his eyes.

He needed to sleep.

 

The sofa was not comfortable. Iwaizumi spent what little remained of the night drifting in and out of a troubled sleep until the sun began to trickle through his living room curtains and it became futile to even try. Instead he put some cartoons on a low volume on the TV and began to browse the internet on his phone until a more reasonable hour.

It was just past 11 am when Oikawa emerged. He looked worse than the previous night, if possible. Although his eyes were now alive, the rest of him certainly wasn't as he padded into the living room and dropped down dramatically onto the sofa.

"Coffee?" Iwaizumi asked, already heading towards the kitchen.

"Please."

"Breakfast?"

"No thank you."

Iwaizumi pursed his lips and decided to make Oikawa some anyway. The actor was sat in complete silence, seemingly fixated on the cartoons still playing. Hungover Oikawa had always been like this. Instead of the whiny, puppy-like personality that he shows when drunk, the next morning he is so quiet it is as though even the smallest of noises would cause his head to split in two.

"Here." Iwaizumi put two mugs of coffee on the low table and sat down next to Oikawa who looked as though in a trance. "The balcony." He continued, gesturing to the cigarette and lighter in Oikawa's hand, "There is an ashtray there too."

Oikawa raised an eyebrow but didn't speak as he grabbed his coffee in his free hand and walked out to the balcony. Iwaizumi set to making toast as Oikawa went for a smoke, massaging his temples in relief. He was acting normal- at least as much as he could be in his situation. The kiss could be added to the pile of forgotten drunk moments, and Iwaizumi would waiver his own sobriety.

Spreading butter on the lightly toasted bread, Iwaizumi left it on the table as he joined Oikawa on the balcony. The actor was staring into space as he leaned over the railings, exhaling smoke into the distance.

"Toast is on the table." Iwaizumi said quietly, trying not to stare. How did he keep finding more ways to look beautiful through the mess he was in.

"Mm."

Oikawa took a slow, final drag of the cigarette before stubbing it out in the ashtray and sitting on a small plastic chair where he nursed his coffee.

"Y'know, I was really confused when I woke up this morning." He said, voice lighter than earlier, "Had no idea where I was."

"Ah."

"But I looked around the room and I saw all these photos of you, Iwa-chan, next to a pretty woman. She really is so pretty."

Rina. Iwaizumi had not even thought about her after the kiss. He was too busy focusing on his own feelings towards Oikawa, trying to arrange them so they made sense that Rina wasn't even a fleeting thought. And for some reason having Oikawa know about her was causing his stomach to twist further, a dread lingering in his mind. What would she think about all of this? No, she couldn't know.

"Is she your girlfriend?" Oikawa asked, his voice too cheerful.

"Yes." Iwaizumi said, unsure why it was hard for that single word to come from his mouth. He had introduced Rina as his girlfriend many times before, but doing it to Oikawa felt different.

"What's her name?"

"Rina. Inoue Rina."

"Rina-chan, huh?" Oikawa said softly, trying out the name aloud, "Hmm...yes."

What he was saying yes to Iwaizumi did not know, and he was not going to ask either. Oikawa stood up and turned back into the apartment. Iwaizumi followed him. He headed straight to the bedroom and began to gather up the things that he had seemingly dumped on the floor before changing.

"I will wash and return these." Oikawa said, pointing to the loose fitting sweatpants and t-shirt he had borrowed from Iwaizumi, "Although they are so scruffy they really should be thrown out."

"Thanks." Iwaizumi said drily, rolling his eyes.

"Fetch me a mask and, no...you don't have glasses, do you?"

"What makes you think I even have a mask?"

The look that Oikawa gave him made Iwaizumi sigh, and he went to the bathroom where he kept a fresh pack of masks just in case. He opened the packet and grabbed the first one on top, dropping it onto his bed when he returned. In that time Oikawa had stuffed his things into a plastic bag Iwaizumi had lying around and had put on one of his old caps, keeping the brim pulled down low. Absurd.

"I've already called a taxi." He said, "I feel totally gross and need to disinfect myself fully before my schedule starts."

"Good." Iwaizumi shrugged, "I finally get rid of my unwanted guest."

The corner of Oikawa's mouth turned up briefly, before he coughed- eyes shifting to the side.

"Last night..." He started, those words already causing tension to build in Iwaizumi's body, "I don't really remember what happened. I didn't- I didn't do...anything, did I?"

Iwaizumi had two choices. He thought of Rina.

"No." He said, hoping his voice would not betray him, "Apart from nearly puking your guts out in my car."

For a flash Oikawa's face was downcast, before it returned neutral. He let out a sigh, as he stretched his mouth into a smile.

"Okay." He said, before jumping slightly and patting his pockets where he pulled out his phone. "That will be the taxi."

They walked the short distance to the front door in silence. The only sound was the rustle of the plastic bag in Oikawa's hand as it bounced against his leg.

"Treasure Rina-chan, okay?"

Iwaizumi frowned. He could not see Oikawa's expression through the mask he was wearing, and it was unnerving him.

"Yeah, of course."

The answer seemed to satisfy him as he walked out of the door, before turning around to face Iwaizumi once more.

"You said you wouldn't be able to act like we were best friends anymore, but last night I think you stepped into that role really well. I know everything has- but it felt again like nothing had changed. Thank you Iwa-chan." Oikawa paused, shifting the bag in his hands, "Maybe it would be easier for us than you thought."

Before Iwaizumi had a chance to formulate a reply, Oikawa laughed, a strange sound, before holding up a peace sign in his free hand.

"Only kidding!"

And he was gone, half way across the corridor as though he was never in front of Iwaizumi in the first place. Staring at the empty space where Oikawa stood, the realisation crept upon him.

Oikawa remembered everything.

 

 

Chapter Text

"I've made a huge mistake."

Sugawara choked on the lemon tea he was drinking in the break room, and looked at Iwaizumi in disbelief.

"Why is it always on a Monday? Listening to you makes me want to get pissed, so I can forget your stupidity."

"Remind me why we are friends?" Iwaizumi narrowed his eyes as he took a sip of his water, his intimidating glare having no effect on the nurse.

"Because we ended up working together so it was kinda by default." Sugawara laughed, before his voice became more serious, "Well, is this another huge mistake that requires alcohol to fix it?"

"It was caused by alcohol."

"No." Sugawara said, eyes widening and his face twisting to a mix of horror and excitement, "You fucked him, didn't you!"

Iwaizumi suddenly felt the eyes of everyone in the room upon him with Sugawara's outburst, the heat rushing to his cheeks.

"For god's sake Sugawara, no!" Iwaizumi half yelled as everyone's disappointed gazes returned to their own business, "I can't believe you just said that."

"Oh," Sugawara said, looking equally crestfallen, before adding in a jokey tone, "Well, that is good though. Otherwise I would have to lecture you on the fact that you would be cheating on your poor girlfriend who in no way deserves it, Iwaizumi."

Iwaizumi swallowed.

"I...sort of did."

Sugawara was silent for a moment, simply staring at Iwaizumi with a blank expression, before finally speaking in a hushed tone.

"What did you do?"

"Oikawa kissed me when he was drunk."

There was another silence before Sugawara burst into laughter, face softening in relief.

"Is that all?" He managed to say once his laughter subsided, "That's nothing Iwaizumi, you can relax and stop looking so guilty! That's not your fault."

Iwaizumi shook his head, keeping his voice low.

"I kissed him back, Sugawara. I kissed him back and I wanted it. It was so hard to stop."

Sugawara sighed and crossed his arms in front of him. He regarded Iwaizumi carefully, as though he was searching for answers in his face.

"Are you still going to deny that you have any romantic feelings for Oikawa?" He said, Iwaizumi thankful that he was keeping his voice low, "I'm really not going to judge you for telling the truth, no matter how much I joke."

"I don't know." Iwaizumi said honestly, "I thought I didn't anymore. I mean, I'm still angry with him. I think. Dammit..."

"Alright." Sugawara said, patting him on the back, "What are you going to do? What about Rina-chan?"

"I'm not gonna do anything." Iwaizumi said quickly, "I'm happy with Rina and I have no intention of changing that. I'm just going to forget it ever happened."

"If that's what you want."

Sugawara's words were vague and loaded, and only created more doubts in Iwaizumi's mind. He turned to his long forgotten lunch, but he no longer felt hungry.

"It would be so much easier if he never came back into my life." Iwaizumi groaned, "He would just be a background thought that I could ignore. I would probably just marry Rina, maybe have a couple of kids, without having Oikawa mess me all up like this."

"Do you wish he didn't?" Sugawara asked quietly, "Wish he didn't come back, I mean."

The answer came effortlessly.

"No."


 

Oikawa's film had officially made a loss at the box office. Despite praises from both critics and those who had actually attended screenings, a single gay kiss had overshadowed everything. Iwaizumi could not for the life of him understand why people were acting like someone's sexuality was a personal attack upon them, as though it was some sort of high level betrayal. How Oikawa was coping with it, Iwaizumi did not know. He was sure he would have punched several people by now and lashed out at a few more.

Oikawa was coping, wasn't he?

The media was still focused upon the after effects of the scandal and seemed to take great pleasure in shooting down Oikawa more and more each day. Having his role replaced in the drama he was supposed to start shooting for, re-shooting commencing for a role he had already fulfilled, advertising contracts nullified, posters torn down. Ridiculous street surveys to find out their opinion of Oikawa, 83% apparently saying they have either stopped being his fan or that their opinion of him had changed since the kiss. A higher percentage believing his career had now ended completely.

And then, there was the paparazzi. Having now put a complete halt to television appearances, camera crews and enthusiastic journalists had taken to following Oikawa wherever they could find him, shoving microphones in front of his face and pounding him with questions and statements after something as mundane as stepping out of the supermarket.

Iwaizumi watched this in horror on the television. Saw how Oikawa; clad in his normal mask and glasses, which probably only he knew was there for function as well as disguise, remained calm and confidently composed as he walked through the sea that was trying to drown him- not saying a word.

Again, Iwaizumi considered sending a message. But he did not know what he could say. There was nothing he could say, or do, to help Oikawa in this situation. Iwaizumi felt so helpless.

He continued to think about it the following Sunday afternoon while Rina relaxed in his arms following a tiring shopping trip. She was half asleep and struggling to keep her eyes open as Iwaizumi combed through his hair, which he felt guilty for being thankful for. It meant he did not have to try to pay attention.

Just as Iwaizumi was drifting off himself, the doorbell rang. He prised Rina carefully from his chest as he stood up, walking groggily to the door and swinging it open.

"Iwa-chan!"

Horrified, Iwaizumi leapt out of the front door, shutting it quietly behind him as he stood in the corridor next to a tired and flustered looking Oikawa who was surprisingly without any form of disguise.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Iwaizumi hissed, glaring at the other man, "You need to go. Right now."

"Why?" Oikawa said, eyes dangerously dark and voice more strained than his initial greeting, "I just came to return these." He held up a plastic bag, filled with the clothes he had borrowed the previous week.

"Thanks." Iwaizumi said quickly, taking the bag, "But please leave."

"Hmm?" Oikawa said, inching closer to the closed door, "Anyone would think you were trying to hide something from me, Iwa-chan."

"Don't do this, Oikawa. Not now." Iwaizumi said sharply, instinctively widening his arms to block the way.

"Or perhaps it's the other way around. To hide me from something. Or someone."

As Oikawa moved closer Iwaizumi could see the redness in the whites of his eyes, the dried tear tracks across his cheeks and the slight tremble in his shoulders. Yet his look was determined, almost angry. Frankly, it was both worrying and scary. Iwaizumi had seen this before, the way Oikawa seemed as though he could explode at any moment after running himself to exhaustion chasing for something that he could not reach. He wondered just how many things he was chasing right now. Oikawa's self destruct switch was flashing wildly.

Iwaizumi reached up and put his hand on Oikawa's shoulder, squeezing it firmly.

"Listen." He said, keeping his voice down low, "You can't come in. Give me an hour and I will meet you somewhere so we can talk, alright? Calm down."

"Calm down?" Oikawa snapped, "Easier said than done when every fucking day-"

"Hajime? What's going on?"

The door opened and Rina stepped out, gasping as she saw the identity of the visitor.

"You...are you Oikawa Tooru?" She asked, voice stuttering as she pointed weakly at him, "Hajime...you know him?"

"Oh, I more than just know Hajime." Oikawa said before he could answer, walking towards Rina with his lips turned up in a smirk.

Iwaizumi shook his head viciously, trying to catch the other man's attention- desperate to stop whatever could come out of his mouth.

"You didn't tell her about us? I feel so hurt."

"Oikawa, just go." Iwaizumi said quickly as Rina looked further confused with her mouth wide open and eyes constantly blinking as though she couldn't believe what was in front of her, "I will talk to her. Please."

"Talk to me about what?" Rina managed to say, grabbing Iwaizumi by the arm and practically shaking it off as her gaze flashed between the pair of them, "When did you two meet? Why are you here? What does he mean 'us'?"

"I'm Iwa- Hajime's childhood friend." Oikawa said lightly, before facing the pair directly and sneering, "And his ex boyfriend."

"For fuck's sake, Oikawa-"

"Ex...? Hajime? What..."

Almost as though he was oblivious to the growing pandemonium around him, the murderous looks and streams of curses from Iwaizumi and the state of shock that Rina was quickly falling into, Oikawa continued to talk with his mocking smile fixed firmly in place.

"She is even prettier in real life." He said softly, moving closer to Rina so that his breath could almost reach her, "Very pretty. Do you need to fuck him with a strap-on to get him to come?"

Iwaizumi heard the loud sound of a slap before wincing as he felt the harsh sting against his cheek. Clutching the burning area, he opened his eyes to see Oikawa doing the same as Rina stood looking at both of them with her face red and tears streaming down her face.

"I'm leaving!"

She dashed into the apartment to grab her bag and push her feet into her shoes before storming down the corridor, heels clacking against the metal floor.

Iwaizumi stood stunned for a moment before he called after her, running barefoot through the hall.

"Don't you dare follow me Hajime!" Rina screamed, stopping him in his tracks.

Iwaizumi watched her figure disappear down the staircase. The burn of his cheek nothing compared to the pain in his chest and the fire like rage rising through him.

"Iwa-chan. I'm sorry."

Oikawa's quiet, almost dazed, voice came from behind him. He turned around to see him still clutching his cheek, gaze unfocused and far away as though he had just woken up.

"I didn't mean to-I just got jealous, I wasn't thinking..."

"Well that seems to be a theme, doesn't it, not thinking." Iwaizumi spat, resisting the urge to make Oikawa's other cheek match the glowing red one, "That's what got you into this mess in the first place. Not enough for just your own life to be fucked up, huh?"

Iwaizumi regretted the words the instant they fell out of his mouth. Despite his current anger towards Oikawa, the expression he was making was too much. Oikawa opened his mouth, before swallowing whatever words he was going to say and striding off in the same direction that Rina left.

All energy suddenly leaving his body Iwaizumi dropped to the floor, back resting against the front of his apartment as he buried his head in his hands.

It would be easy to blame Oikawa. His last remark towards Rina was particularly out of line, and reminded Iwaizumi that he had a shitty side to his personality which occasionally arose. But despite this, Iwaizumi knew much of the blame was on himself. He was the one who ignored Sugawara's advice and lied to Rina, there was countless opportunities for him to have told her the truth. Yet Iwaizumi didn't. He couldn't bring himself to, for a reason that he didn't know himself. This situation could have been avoided.

Iwaizumi did not know how much time had passed before he stood up and returned to his apartment, the small space suddenly feeling huge and empty. Picking up his phone from the bedroom, he noticed there were several messages. Chest pounding, he saw that they were all from Oikawa- sent before he arrived at his apartment. He scrolled through them, the stress that the actor was feeling becoming more apparent with each one until the final message;

'I need you Iwa-chan. I need to see you.'

Hands shaking, Iwaizumi called Oikawa's number.

The phone rang; once, twice, continuously. It went to voicemail, the cheery tone of Oikawa's voice rambling about leaving a message making Iwaizumi feel sick as he quickly hung up.

He called Rina. After the first ring, Iwaizumi quickly hung up, pushing the phone away from him. He couldn't talk to her right now, did not know what he would say.

If Rina asked why he kept Oikawa a secret-if he still had feelings for Oikawa, Iwaizumi did not trust himself to be able to say the answers she needed to hear.

Iwaizumi had not felt so alone since the first time he watched Oikawa walk away and did not stop him. This time, he had watched two.


 

Work the next day was a welcome distraction. Thankfully all of his patients were repeats so Iwaizumi did not have to think about making a good first impression. Because if he did, he certainly would not have made one. Iwaizumi was never known to be gentle in the first place. He spent the whole day locked in the sports therapy room, trying to keep himself focused, and when there were no patients Iwaizumi caught up on some theory reading that he had been putting off.

At the end of the day, just as Iwaizumi was packing up to reluctantly return home to brood further, the door opened and Sugawara walked in- whistling lowly as he spotted him.

"It's a Monday so I have been waiting all day to see what terrible life decisions you made over the weekend, but you didn't even show up in the break room at lunch!" Sugawara moaned, sitting down on one of the chairs in the corner of the room and staring at Iwaizumi with an eyebrow raised, "But wow...have you seen yourself today? You look like hell, Iwaizumi."

"I've been through it." Iwaizumi said, choosing to sit on the floor close to Sugawara.

"Another huge mistake?"

"The biggest."

Sugawara was silent as Iwaizumi talked, hanging on to every word he said, as he explained what happened the previous afternoon. When he was finished, Sugawara let out a deep sigh and rubbed his hands through his ashen hair.

"I don't know what to say." He said slowly, "I warned you."

"I really don't feel like 'I told you so's' right now." Iwaizumi said, voice low and inherently moody.

"I guess not." Sugawara said, giving Iwaizumi a sympathetic smile, "You have been doing a lot of thinking since then, I'm sure. You want to make up as soon as possible, right?"

"Of course." Iwaizumi said, massaging his temples, "Oikawa was a dick, but he is under a lot of stress right now. I'm more worried about him than angry, although I know I should be furious."

"I meant with Rina-chan."

"Oh."

"Well." Sugawara said, standing up and stretching his back, "That tells me so much Iwaizumi."

"Don't start, please."

"Look, I have already said I won't judge you." Sugawara continued, ignoring Iwaizumi's silent pleas, "I know you are conflicted. I know you are in two minds. I know you are debating between Rina-chan and Oikawa, but subconsciously I think you can tell which one it is you really want. I can."

"I'm not debating that. I have been in a relationship with Rina for over 2 years." Iwaizumi said, lying down across the floor and staring at the ceiling, "I really care for her. It's not as though I'm just going to suddenly drop her and run off with Oikawa. There is too much going on his side anyway to make running off with him a reality, even if I wanted to."

"I'm sure you would manage to make it work."

"Who says Oikawa even wants to be in a relationship with me, anyway? We are just assuming that. He might not at all."

Sugawara gave Iwaizumi a simple look which he understood to mean yeah right.

"I thought you were completely against the idea of me having anything to do with Oikawa, anyway?" Iwaizumi grunted as he forced himself to stand up, "Weren't you the one who told me not to let him get in the way of my relationship with Rina?"

"Yes." Sugawara said, "But in the end as my friend, all I want is for you to be happy."

"Ugh."

"Too much?"

Iwaizumi managed to let out a small laugh, Sugawara smiling in return.

"Let's just get home, you don't want to keep your fiance waiting."

Sugawara used that as his cue to break into wedding talk while Iwaizumi quickly finished tidying up. Apparently having the correct flower type is very important. Iwaizumi was only half listening and vaguely replying while he went to grab his jacket just as another voice joined the conversation.

"Hey there! Room for one more?"

Neither of them noticed Oikawa enter the room. Yet here he was striding towards them dressed immaculately as always apart from sporting another hideous hat on his head. Rather than shock, Iwaizumi felt a strange surge of relief at his appearance, one of his worries melting away. Oikawa held up a double peace sign as he approached, flashing a small wink at Sugawara whose face dropped immediately.

"Long time no see, Refreshing-kun!" Oikawa called, his lips spreading into a trademark grin, "So when Iwa-chan said he was in contact with people from Karasuno, he meant you?"

"Hi. My name is Sugawara Koushi. Pleased to meet you properly." Sugawara said wryly, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

"So you are a nurse, Suga-chan? Oikawa continued as though he didn't sense the atmosphere, "The uniform really suits you! I guess not everyone can be a doctor."

Sugawara merely pursed his lips as the actor turned his attention to Iwaizumi, who found himself trying once again to stifle the urge to punch him.

"I've come to apologise, Iwa-chan." He said brightly, "For yesterday."

"I'll be waiting in my car." Sugawara mumbled, hurrying towards the door. Iwaizumi understood that to mean that he would be waiting for a full report afterwards.

Oikawa waited for the door to close behind Sugawara until his entire demeanour changed. The smile faded immediately and the hat dropped to the ground. In the strong light of the room it was even clearer to see how pale Oikawa had become and the way that the sparkle in his eyes had been diminished completely. He leaned with his back against the wall as though he had no energy as he lowered his head in a small bow.

"I really am sorry." Oikawa said quietly, "What I said yesterday, I had no right...I was being stupid."

"You don't say." Iwaizumi said, face steeled.

"Your girlfriend, Rina-chan, are you two...?"

"Fighting? Yeah." Iwaizumi supplied, narrowing his eyes as he thought of the many messages he had sent that morning which received no reply, "She won't talk to me at the moment."

"Shit." Oikawa muttered, body seeming to shrink further into himself, "I've gone and ruined things for you. My stupid, big mouth. I know you're not going to forgive me for this but-"

"I already have."

Oikawa raised his head, looking at Iwaizumi with a confused expression.

"I already have forgiven you." Iwaizumi repeated, "Even though I know I shouldn't have, really. At least not so easily. But you weren't the only one at fault, so I am not blaming you."

There was silence for a moment, before Oikawa spoke, eyes appearing even wider behind his glasses as he stared incredulously at Iwaizumi.

"Why?"

A million reasons rushed into Iwaizumi's mind but neither of them seemed to fit. So he simply shook his head and shrugged his shoulders before putting on his jacket, trying to indicate to Oikawa that he was ready to leave. But the signal did not seem to get through to him as he continued to talk.

"I know I told you to treasure Rina after you made your choice, but when I actually saw her I just..." He paused to cough and Iwaizumi gave him a moment to gather his thoughts, "I just couldn't take it. I couldn't stand the thought of someone else..."

Oikawa trailed off again, letting out a small laugh.

"Stupid, isn't it? After I was the one who left you. After all this time."

"Wait, made my choice?" Iwaizumi said, trying to think back to when he indicated such a decision that morning until it hit him, "I knew it. You remembered, didn't you Shittykawa!"

"Remembered what, Iwa-chan?" Oikawa said in a light voice, although he was now smiling as he stretched to his full intimidating height and walked over to where Iwaizumi was standing, "You said there was nothing to remember."

"Exactly." Iwaizumi groaned, "You were testing me, weren't you?"

"Who knows?" Oikawa said, lips now close enough to Iwaizumi for him to smell the tobacco on his breath as it blew against his skin, "Maybe you should remind me of what happened?"

It was all too tempting to close his eyes and close the gap between them. He wanted to. God, did he want to. But Iwaizumi didn't. Remaining control of himself he took a small step back, just enough for the distance to no longer feel suffocating.

"Oikawa." Iwaizumi said, voice almost at a whispered level, "What are we doing?"

"What do you think?"

"I have a girlfriend." Iwaizumi said quickly before his thoughts could begin to become jumbled again.

"You had me first." Oikawa shrugged, once again moving closer.

"Doesn't work like that." Iwaizumi said, "Besides, I can't believe that you would still want me."

"Don't say stupid things, Iwa-chan."

"No. Stop." Iwaizumi said firmly, putting his hands out in front of him and preventing Oikawa from moving any further, "Stop. We need to talk about this. We need to talk about everything we have been trying to avoid since meeting again instead of pretending it didn't happen. Especially as we ended on the worst terms, this makes little sense to me."

Oikawa sighed, running his hands through his hair as he walked a safe distance away from Iwaizumi with a slight pout on his face.

"I suppose we should."

At that moment a loud ringing sound emerged from Oikawa's pocket. He pulled out his phone and rolled his eyes at it as he rejected the call and stuffed it back into his jeans.

"Is it okay to ignore that?" Iwaizumi asked, noticing the way Oikawa's posture had become slightly tense.

Before he had a chance to reply his phone began to ring again, the loud sound screeching through Iwaizumi's ears.

"It's my manager." Oikawa said as he again rejected the call, "I really do need to go. I'm going to be late. Can we put a pause on the talk?"

"Yeah,'course." Iwaizumi said, watching how Oikawa seemed to become distant as he picked his hat from the floor and pulled on a mask from his pocket. "What are you going to be late for?"

"A press conference." Oikawa said, voice sounding unusually nervous which matched the stiffness of the rest of his posture.

"A press conference?" Iwaizumi repeated, following the actor as he walked towards the door, "What for?"

"Watch it and find out, Iwa-chan. 9pm."

He stopped just before the doorway, turning to stare at Iwaizumi. Pulling down his mask to beneath his chin Oikawa tilted his head, tired eyes clinging on to one last glow as he smiled widely.

"Going to wish me luck?"

Iwaizumi made a 'tch' sound before mumbling the words under his breath.

"Not like that."

Oikawa reached up and placed the palm of his hand on Iwaizumi's cheek, moving his soft fingertips in a slight caress. He knew what was coming before Oikawa leaned over and kissed him and he let it happen. Iwaizumi allowed Oikawa's lips to press against his, tentatively at first, before they pressed more firmly as he realised Iwaizumi was not going to push away.

The kiss lasted only a few seconds before Oikawa pulled apart, his face still smiling.

"I have the energy to do this now, thank you!" He said cheerfully, "You make a good charger Iwa-chan!"

"Oh shut up and just go, I want to get home too. Idiot." Iwaizumi said with narrowed eyes, although he was struggling himself to keep the smile that was trying to form from showing.

 

Oikawa kept his head facing downwards as they walked into the hospital car park. He waved a quick goodbye to Iwaizumi, not wanting to garner attention, before rushing into a black car with tinted windows. Iwaizumi waited until the car had driven off before searching for Sugawara's car. It wasn't hard, the baby blue colour stood out among the blacks and whites in the car park. Iwaizumi jumped into the passenger seat next to Sugawara who was watching a video on his phone.

"You were quicker than I thought." He said as he tucked his phone away, mouth in a wide grin, "So I guess we don't need to disinfect the room, then."

"Fuck off." Iwaizumi grunted, "We just talked."

"Anything get sorted out?"

"Not really."

"Okay, tell me everything in detail along the way." Sugawara said, turning the key in the ignition, "Buckle up."

"Wait- why the hell are you driving!" Iwaizumi shouted, making a move for the door handle which was annoyingly locked.

"You're staying with me and Daichi tonight." Sugawara explained as though kidnapping Iwaizumi was a completely normal affair, "Don't worry, I've called him. He knows."

"That's not what I am worried about." Iwaizumi muttered, sitting back in the car seat and fastening the seat belt.

"We have a spare room, you can borrow clothes from me or Daichi, we have an abundance of toiletries and I will drive you to work tomorrow morning. You're not imposing, we both want to do this." Sugawara said, voice slightly impatient, "We are concerned about you Iwaizumi. I didn't want you spending another night overthinking alone."

"...Thanks."

"It's okay. Now start spilling all about what just happened."

 

The journey to Sugawara's small house was a short one, and it was not long before they reached the quiet neighbourhood in which it was situated in. Sawamura swung the door open before Sugawara could find his keys, expression grim.

"Iwaizumi, welcome to wedding hell." He greeted still dressed in his work suit as he ushered them both inside, pecking Sugawara on the lips.

Iwaizumi could see what Sawamura meant immediately. As he took off his shoes and walked into the living room, every crevice of the space seemed to be littered in wedding related goods from magazines to design samples and half written invitations.

"I've ordered a pizza so just relax on the sofa." Sawamura called from the entrance where he was still 'greeting' Sugawara, "If you can find space."

He couldn't find space. Instead Iwaizumi hovered awkwardly next to it, eyes flicking around the room. His eyes settled on a group photo on one of the shelves, taken at a barbecue held at the house the previous summer. Everyone looked so happy, full of smiles, his own arms wrapped around Rina's waist as they posed for the camera. Rina.

"I'll just pile these on the table." Sugawara said quickly as he noticed where his gaze was, clearing off the sofa and gesturing for Iwaizumi to sit with him, "Have you heard that Kuroo might be in line for a promotion?"

True to his word, the combination of Sugawara's gossip, Sawamura's calming presence and pizza kept Iwaizumi suitably distracted for the evening and he found himself glad that his friends had invited him. But as the clock neared 9, Iwaizumi found himself thinking about Oikawa more and more until he could no longer resist it.

"Er, Oikawa is doing a press conference at 9..." He started, shifting uncomfortably on the sofa, "I-"

"Say no more." Sugawara said and he looked at Sawamura who immediately turned on the television.

The screen flashed on to Oikawa standing in front of a rather plain background clutching a piece of paper, the flashes of cameras reflecting off his skin. Clearly an army of make-up artists must have got to him, as he looked a lot better than when Iwaizumi had seen him only hours earlier.

After the sound of the crowd quietened down Oikawa coughed slightly, bringing up the paper closer to his eyes to read from.

"I would like to start by thanking you all for your support throughout this challenging month, and apologising for my actions." He started, before he paused.

Oikawa's eyes noticeably flicked down the page before his expression changed. His nose scrunched up as his whole face frowned- pupils narrowing and eyebrows upturned. Oikawa scrunched up the paper in his fist and dropped it to the floor.

"Actually, I would not like to thank a single one of you." He said, the audience suddenly erupting into chatter, "In response to the barrage of homophobic abuse and downright discrimination I have faced recently, I will be taking a short break from the entertainment industry." The audience became louder, camera flashes more frequent, "During the time I am away I hope you all reflect on your actions and learn to become more adequate human beings, because I have not done a damn thing wrong. That is all."

Oikawa bowed before breaking out into his trademark pose from high school, sticking his tongue out at the audience before running off camera- his manager following shortly behind him with a ghost like face.

The living room was silent.

They exchanged glances, nobody opening their mouths, until Sugawara spoke.

"Well, ouch."

Chapter Text

It was Wednesday when Iwaizumi finally heard from Rina.

When his phone vibrated from the table he assumed it was Oikawa, although it was not as though they were texting regularly. After the press conference Iwaizumi had messaged him once, praising him for the speech and that even Sugawara was impressed, but that had been it. Oikawa had replied, thanking him, and stating that he will message again when he had a time that they could talk properly. Despite the announced hiatus, the press conference caused such a stir that the news coverage of Oikawa had not stopped. Whether it was predictions if he would ever return to the entertainment industry, criticisms of his speech or more paparazzi ambushes, Iwaizumi could see that Oikawa still had it extremely hard at the moment.

But because of his assumptions, Iwaizumi was unprepared for the surge of emotions that rushed through him upon seeing Rina's name flashing in the middle of his phone. Iwaizumi navigated clumsily to the message, reading each word slowly in his head.

'Can we meet on Saturday? We need to talk.'

Those words were never a positive sign. He replied immediately, agreeing, and they arranged a time and a cafe to meet in. All Iwaizumi could do now was wait and try not to let predictions of how their meeting might play out to plague his time.

As expected, the rest of the week passed slowly. Sugawara wished him luck on Friday evening, stating that he better prepare himself for 'another one of those Mondays', but Iwaizumi hoped that there would be no need.

Sleep did not come easy that night.

The cafe that they had chosen to meet in was not one that they frequented. Iwaizumi arrived first-probably too early as he ordered a coffee and picked a table hidden away in the corner. Rina was perfectly on time. With a light scarf wrapped around her neck, she turned her head as she searched for Iwaizumi, waving lightly as she noticed him.

"Hey." She said softly, gaze fixed on the table as she sat down opposite him.

"Hey." Iwaizumi mirrored, a lump already forming in his throat, "Gonna get something to drink, first?"

"Oh, yes."

She rose from the table, removing her purse from her handbag.

"Wait- I'll pay." Iwaizumi said quickly, reaching for his own wallet, but Rina shook her head.

"I'll get it." She said, hurrying to the counter to order.

Iwaizumi watched her go, letting out a deep breath. This was awkward. He had not felt this awkward with Rina since the early stages of their relationship, being around her had become as natural as breathing a long time ago. Iwaizumi had taken ten steps backwards.

Rina returned quickly, a vanilla latte in her hands. She sat down gracefully, taking a small sip before finally looking at Iwaizumi. Her expression was unreadable.

"I'm sorry for taking off like that last weekend, and for not replying to your messages." Rina said quietly.

"No, no. I am sorry for, well, a lot of things." Iwaizumi said, Oikawa's harsh words flitting through his head and making the guilt hit him once again.

"So, you and Oikawa Tooru." She started, voice small, "Are childhood friends?"

"Yeah."

"And your ex...ex boyfriend?"

"It's true." Iwaizumi said, nerves beginning to kick in, "I'm bisexual. I'm sorry, I never told you before."

"It's okay, your sexuality doesn't bother me. I had an idea of it." Rina said, honesty in her tone, "But what does bother me is that you have kept all of this quiet for so long! After all the movies and dramas we have watched together, the countless times Oikawa has arose in conversations, why didn't you just say?"

"I don't know." Iwaizumi said, knowing how pathetic his answer sounded, "Until the past month when he suddenly appeared and began to piss me off, I had not spoken to him in 5 years. I was trying to forget him."

"Trying to forget him?" Rina said laughing, "While collecting all of his films on DVD?"

"Uh, yeah."

"I would find it hilarious, really. If it didn't hurt so badly, Hajime."

"Rina...I'm sorry."

"Please stop apologising." Rina said, dabbing carefully at her eyes with a napkin, "It's like I am seeing everything in a different light now."

"What do you mean?" Iwaizumi asked, reaching out and wiping a stray tear that had fallen down Rina's cheek.

"Do you still love Oikawa?"

The sudden question caught him off guard. He stumbled slightly over his answer with his hand hovering in the air. No more lying.

"I don't know."

"Do you love me?"

"Yeah, of course." Iwaizumi said without thinking.

"You've never said it, Hajime." Rina said, voice a whisper, "You've never said the words."

There was a silence. The sounds wouldn't come out.

"I think we should go on a break."

Rina's words didn't register immediately. Yet as the silence continued the meaning of what she said began to sink in piece by piece.

"A break?" Iwaizumi said, shaking his head vigorously, "No, Rina, let's talk about this, okay?"

"We just have Hajime." She said, eyes back on the table, "We need this. You need this. You need to think about what it is you really want."

"What I want? Rina-"

"Hajime. Please."

Iwaizumi swallowed. He knew she was right.

"Okay." He said, hating the look of relief that overcame her soft features, "Okay."


 

"It could be a lot worse." Sugawara said the following Monday during their lunch break, "At least you have a chance to repair your relationship with Rina-chan after you have given each other some space. If that is what you want."

"I don't even know anymore." Iwaizumi grumbled into his water bottle, "I don't want to hurt her further."

"There is that."

"I never wanted to hurt her at all, though."

"Iwaizumi," Sugawara started in his gentle but strong voice, "Do you want to stay over again tonight? It seemed to cheer you up a little last time."

It did cheer him up. But he couldn't keep invading his and Sawamura's space like that. Besides, Iwaizumi really did need to think about this and for that he needed to be alone.

"Thanks, but I'm going to stay at home tonight." He said with a small sigh, "I'll just try and work everything out."

"Don't hurt yourself trying."

"Fuck off. You sound like Oikawa.

Sugawara rose an eyebrow at the comment, but didn't say anything further. Iwaizumi let out a groan. His head already hurt.

 

Iwaizumi prepared himself for a quiet evening of contemplation. Stopping off at a convenience store on the way home, he had beer, snacks and fried chicken. Everything he needed to have a serious conversation with himself. He was just sitting down to eat when the door bell rang. It rang once, twice,three times in quick succession. The ringing didn't stop. Frowning, Iwaizumi put down his chicken and rushed for the door, swinging it wide open.

Oikawa fell into his entrance way.

Mask hanging from one ear, hair dishevelled and body trembling he latched onto Iwaizumi's shirt and buried his head into his chest before he had a chance to process what was happening.

"I can't take it anymore." He gasped, breaths coming in short quick pants, "I just can't."

"O-oi, Oikawa!" Iwaizumi said, initially trying to push Oikawa away from himself until he noticed just how quickly his breathing was coming, "Slow down, breathe."

"I can't." Oikawa said through strained gasps, Iwaizumi not sure what he was referring to, "They are all watching me and looking at me and following me and outside my apartment saying things and I-"

"Shh, it's just me and you now." Iwaizumi said, managing to hold Oikawa's shaking body at an arms length from him and raising his head up so they could look at each other, "It's going to be okay. We've gotta breathe properly, alright?"

Oikawa was shaking his head, as he clutched his hand over his chest as though it was in intense pain. He continued to babble through his quick, shallow breathing, a bead of sweat running from his forehead.

"You always used to hit me. Do it now. Please, hard. Make it stop, I need it all to stop. It hurts."

Iwaizumi swallowed his thoughts. Swallowed his doubts.

"Oikawa, look at me." He said firmly, although his gaze was still flitting around, "You are safe. You need to breathe more slowly. Deeply. Copy me."

Iwaizumi began to breathe slowly, exaggerating his movements as he inhaled and exhaled. It wasn't instantly but Oikawa began to adapt to Iwaizumi's pattern, gradually slowing his breathing as his lungs began to inhale more oxygen. As he became more relaxed, Oikawa's trembling legs tried to give way and Iwaizumi lowered him gently to the floor where he sat against the wall with his knees up to his chest.

For a while there was no other sounds except their formulaic breathing.

"Fuck."

Oikawa was the first to speak, muttering the curse under his breath. The fear still evident on his face.

"Would- do you want to be touched?" Iwaizumi asked gently, knowing it could go either way when he was like this. He nodded once, so Iwaizumi crouched down next to Oikawa and placed a hand on his back, rubbing it slowly.

"I didn't mean to show you that." Oikawa said quietly, his usual air of confidence completely vanished.

"It's nothing I haven't seen before" Iwaizumi shrugged, continuing to rub his back soothingly.

"I suppose not."

"Don't start thinking your weak or any shit like that." Iwaizumi said, "You're not. You're stupid strong, which is why I always said it's alright to rely on me when you need to instead of shouldering it all yourself, idiot. Don't let it get to this stage again."

"Thank you." Oikawa said before mumbling another curse, "Need a cigarette..."

He stretched out his arm for the bag that lay close by, pulling it close and fumbling his hand inside. Letting out another string of expletives, he tipped the contents onto the floor and frantically searched among the pile of his belongings.

"Wait here." Iwaizumi said, rushing into his bedroom and grabbing a pack of cigarettes, ash tray and a lighter from his bedroom and passing it quickly to Oikawa. He looked momentarily surprised before taking a stick from the packet and placing it in his mouth. Oikawa's hands were still shaking as he tried to light it, finger slipping from the wheel. Iwaizumi sighed and removed the lighter from his hand, lighting Oikawa's cigarette for him. The relief was instant, face relaxing as he exhaled smoke from his nostrils.

"Sorry, I'm not on the balcony." He said after a while and Iwaizumi shook his head.

"I'll let you off this once."

"I meant to ask before, do you smoke now Iwa-chan?" Oikawa asked, "You even have an ash tray on your balcony. You were so mad at me when I started."

"Only when I'm drunk or really stressed." Iwaizumi shrugged, "I try not to make a habit out of it."

"There really is so much I don't know about you now, huh." He sighed, using the edge of the ash tray to stub out his cigarette.

"Stop thinking."

Oikawa looked up at Iwaizumi and blinked, the smallest indications of a smile forming on his face.

"One of us has to be able to."

Iwaizumi did not bite the bait, instead feeling relieved that the worst was now over. He sat down next to Oikawa on the floor and folded his arms.

"Now that you are feeling calmer, are you going to tell me what happened?"

"Nothing happened as such." Oikawa said quietly, "It's just...everything. Do you know Iwa-chan that they are waiting outside my apartment for me all hours of the day? Just watching and waiting."

"No." Iwaizumi said, starting to feel nauseated by the thought of it.

"I can't go anywhere without them...oh shit." Oikawa said, the tempo of his speech suddenly increasing, "They might have followed me here. I tried to go around in circles and stupid long ways around to lose them, but Iwa-chan I'm so sorry they-"

"Shh." Iwaizumi said quickly, placing his hand on Oikawa's shoulder and squeezing it gently before giving it a light hit, "Stop it."

Oikawa nodded and Iwaizumi smiled, standing up and brushing the dust from his trousers.

"I'm going to leave you here for a bit, alright?" He said, "I'll be in the living room when you're ready."

"Iwa-chan, can you..?"

"Yeah. One moment."

Iwaizumi returned to his bedroom to pick up his headphones, which were attached to his MP3 player, and handed them to Oikawa who mumbled a thank you as he pulled them on top of his ears and shut his eyes as the music began to play.

Some things did not change, Iwaizumi thought, as he sat down on the sofa to eat his now cold chicken- very conscious of the presence in his hallway. Whenever Oikawa was feeling anxious, he had always liked to have something to focus on to shut the rest of the world away. When they were younger it used to be recordings of matches for their rivals. Oikawa would spend all night with his headphones on, studying every detail and strategising for the benefit of the team and to keep his own nerves at bay. But it really was rare when things became this bad.

Once his meal was finally complete, Iwaizumi set to laying out the futon from the airing cupboard onto a space cleared in the living room. He always found it a pain to do and would usually just sleep on the sofa, but Iwaizumi had a feeling that Oikawa might be staying a while. He wouldn't have it any other way at the moment, in fact.

"Is that for me?"

Oikawa was padding towards Iwaizumi, headphones around his neck. He looked considerably less tense, head raised instead of focused on the ground.

"No, for me." Iwaizumi said, finally winning his battle with the covers and looking down proudly at his job.

"I can't take your bed again, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said, "You have work tomorrow."

"Well you look like you haven't slept properly in a year." Iwaizumi said, sitting down quickly on the futon as though to take ownership of it, "Get a good sleep tonight, and in the morning I will make you breakfast. And you will actually eat it this time, or I will force it down your throat."

"Scary, Iwa-chan!" Oikawa said with mock horror on his face, but he was smiling as he removed the headphones and placed them on the sofa. "Well, if you insist. Mom."

"Oi!"

Iwaizumi removed the things he needed for the night from his room, before brushing his teeth and splashing his face with water. He listened to Oikawa complain about the lack of skin care products that he owned until he got fed up and left him in his bedroom with his sole bottle of moisturiser and a spare tooth brush.

Setting his alarm half an hour earlier than usual, Iwaizumi climbed into the futon and shut his eyes. Oikawa did not suggest that they sleep together this time. Even when sober, Iwaizumi would not have put it past him to make such a request. He was not sure why he felt so disappointed.

 

Iwaizumi woke before his alarm. Sitting up in the sheets and making sure his phone wouldn't ring he could see that the door to his balcony was open and could make out a tall silhouette from behind the curtains. Did he even sleep? He ignored him, deciding to give Oikawa his privacy, as he went to the bathroom to begin his routine for the day.

When he had returned to the living feeling fresh and dressed for work, Oikawa was sat on the sofa cradling a cup of coffee with another one left to steam on the table.

"Morning Iwa-chan!" He called brightly with a small wave as Iwaizumi grumbled a reply, "I've made you coffee. Aren't I kind?"

"Whatever, freeloader." Iwaizumi said, taking a sip of the coffee anyway before turning on the rice cooker, "Don't think it will get you out of breakfast."

"Didn't know you had a feeding kink, Iwa-chan. Waah, maybe I should run before I lose my beautiful figure?"

Iwaizumi again chose to ignore Oikawa's comments as he made breakfast. He was glad to see the other man back to his usual self this morning, although how much was fake and how much was genuine he did not know. But the fact that Oikawa even had the energy to act was a good sign regardless.

"Here. Eat."

He slammed the bowl of egg and rice in front of Oikawa with a pair of chopsticks, scowl firmly in place. Iwaizumi watched until he picked up the chopsticks and scooped a small amount into his mouth, nodding in approval before beginning to eat his own meal.

"Will you be okay here by yourself?" Iwaizumi asked while they were eating, alternating bites with gulps of coffee.

"I can stay?"

Oikawa's question was so genuine, lacking any of the usual playfulness in his voice that Iwaizumi was slightly taken aback.

"Yeah, of course." He said, looking over at Oikawa who had already stopped eating despite his bowl still being half full, "Unless you want to go. I'm not stopping you."

"Do you have Netflix?" Oikawa asked, peering over at the large television.

"Yeah?"

"Then yes. I will be perfectly okay."

Iwaizumi let out a small laugh, finishing his own breakfast.

 

"You can wear any of my clothes, there is a spare key hanging up if you want to go out, and you can eat anything in the cupboards." Iwaizumi began to reel off as he put on his trainers in the entrance way before leaving for work. Oikawa hung in the background, from his expression only semi-paying attention. "Has your cooking improved since university?"

"Not really?"

"Then don't touch the stove and stick to the microwave. Don't smoke inside. Don't answer the door. Don't do anything I would kick you for."

"Iwa-chan so mean! Don't you trust me?" Oikawa whined, pouting as he flailed his arms around dramatically.

"No." Iwaizumi said without a pause, "I'm off."

"Wait!" Oikawa said quickly.

Iwaizumi turned around from where he almost had one foot at the door to look at Oikawa. He always looked so different when his hair was not perfectly set and he wasn't dressed by a stylist. Despite Oikawa's sense of beauty having always been high, his sense of fashion was not, and Iwaizumi almost missed seeing his hideous style choices. Although, dressed in nothing but his own sweatpants and a loose t-shirt was not bad, either.

"What?"

"Why are you doing all of this for me?" He asked, the playful expression he wore moments ago now vanished, "You don't have to."

"Because it's you." Iwaizumi said instantly, hoping it would be enough of an explanation. However, Oikawa did not seem satisfied.

"But the last time you were taking care of me like this-"

"No." Iwaizumi said quickly, trying to curb the conversation away from their past, "Not now. Okay?"

"Okay." Oikawa said with a small sigh, "What if your girlfriend comes over and sees me here. Won't that be trouble?"

Iwaizumi grimaced, Rina having once again slipped his mind completely over the past night.

"She won't." He said through gritted teeth, "We are on a break."

"Oh."

Tension suddenly rose in the small hallway, the easiness between them having faded away, until Oikawa spoke again.

"Shall I kiss you goodbye, Iwa-chan?"

"Fuck off."

Iwaizumi headed out of the door to the sound of Oikawa's laughter, hearing him shout from behind the closed door.

"Buy me milk bread on your way home!"

"Fuck off."

 

Sugawara was just leaving his car as Iwaizumi pulled into the car park. He practically jumped in front the moving vehicle causing him to slow down as he waved enthusiastically as though Iwaizumi had not spotted him.

Once he was parked safely without having run over one of the hospital's nurses, Iwaizumi left the car and Sugawara bounded up to him immediately wearing one of his bright grins.

"Morning! How did the thinking go?" He asked before Iwaizumi even had a chance to catch his breath.

"Er, well about that..." Iwaizumi started, taking a deep breath as Sugawara looked at him full of expectations, "Oikawa turned up at my apartment last night, and now he is sort of staying with me."

"Hold it- what!?" Sugawara yelled, clapping his hands together, "That is big Iwaizumi, what happened? You definitely fucked this time, right?"

"No! No Sugawara!" Iwaizumi yelled equally as loud, whacking him on the back which only made Sugawara whack him in return, "What's your obsession? Isn't Sawamura...wait never mind. Forget it. We just talked. He had a panic attack."

"Oikawa did?" Sugawara said, his voice turning softer as he shifted into his serious mode, "Is he alright?"

"Yeah. It's happened before so I knew how to handle it, not like that makes it any better."

"How long will he be staying with you?"

"As long as he needs to, I guess." Iwaizumi said shrugging, "I haven't really thought about it."

"As long as...are you really okay with that, Iwaizumi?" Sugawara said, firmly back in concerned mode, "You haven't talked everything through yet, have you? And there is still the stuff with Rina to think about. It's not going to look good with her if you are living with your ex."

"It'll be fine." Iwaizumi said as they reached the turning for his part of the hospital, "I don't mind having him around. It's just Oikawa."

"Mm, really?" Sugawara said as they hung awkwardly in the middle of the corridor, his playfulness returned, "You weren't saying that a month ago."

"See you at lunch." Iwaizumi said quickly, hurrying away from Sugawara's teasing and trying to get himself focused for the day ahead.

 

The day dragged on and at times it seemed as though the clock had stood still. Iwaizumi did not realise that having someone waiting at home for him would make him want to return as quickly as he did, although he didn't know whether Oikawa was still there in his apartment or not. He endured more of Sugawara's joking at lunch time, helped to rehabilitate a football player who was recovering from an ankle injury and by the time his shift had ended he was half way out of the door.

Iwaizumi did stop, however, at the convenience store to buy some milk bread. He figured that it would be worthwhile, if Oikawa actually ate it.

When Iwaizumi arrived back at his apartment he opened the door and grumbled that he was home, kicking off his trainers and walking into the living room. Oikawa was sat on the sofa in one of Iwaizumi's hoodies watching an American drama with several dirty cups that once housed coffee on the table in front of him. He looked up as he entered the room, hair now set using some of Iwaizumi's product, and smiled pleasantly.

"Welcome home, Iwa-chan!"

"At least clean up after yourself, Shittykawa." Iwaizumi said, removing the milk bread from the packet and holding it up in the air, "Or you're not getting this."

"Aww Iwa-chan! You actually bought some for me?" Oikawa said, his reaction entirely over the top as he began to swoon over the bread, "I knew you loved me!"

"Wash up!"

The rest of the evening was fairly quiet. They sat on opposite sides of the sofa, watching more American dramas of Oikawa's choice. He had actually eaten the majority of the milk bread, which Iwaizumi was glad about, and insisted he would have the rest tomorrow.

"Are you going to stay here tomorrow night too?" Iwaizumi asked while Oikawa was flicking through his phone.

"Yup!" Oikawa said cheerfully although it sounded rather forced, "My manager called and asked me where I was but I didn't tell him. If he doesn't even know where I am then here is a perfect hide out spot!"

"Glad to see that's all you are using me for." Iwaizumi said scowling, although his voice remained lighthearted, "What are you gonna be doing all day anyway?"

Oikawa did not reply, continuing to look at his phone as though he did not hear him. His brows were furrowed as he held the device too close to his eyes, almost squinting as his mouth began to fall further and further down.

"Oi, Oikawa?"

It seemed to take a while for Iwaizumi's voice to register, but something seemed to click and Oikawa blinked, setting the phone on his lap and turning to face him with another forced smile.

"Yes?"

Iwaizumi sighed, trying to get a glimpse of the screen from where he was sitting.

"What are you looking at?"

"Just keeping up with a few things." Oikawa said quickly, shutting off the screen and putting it out of Iwaizumi's eyesight, "I can't fall of the grid completely y'know! I still have appearances to keep up, blogs to update, food pictures to post on Instagram. Things grandpa Iwa-chan would not understand."

He was babbling.

"Oikawa." Iwaizumi said firmly, noticing how the other man turned his head away from him, "You were reading those tweets again, weren't you?"

Oikawa once again did not reply. But Iwaizumi knew this time that it was not from a lack of hearing him.

"You should stop doing it. Stop doing it to yourself."

"It's not that easy." Oikawa whispered, "When you know they are there, you can't help but read them. It's addictive."

"It is easy." Iwaizumi said, "Turn off your phone. Problem solved."

"It isn't that simple!" Oikawa shouted, grabbing his phone and climbing across the sofa to shove the screen in Iwaizumi's face who tried to duck out of the way, "Look at it!"

"I don't want to look!"

"Look at what they say about me, look at what they think!"

The phone had already slipped from Oikawa's grip as his hands began to shake, the panic that Iwaizumi witnessed the previous day beginning to show signs of returning.

"Calm down, Oikawa." Iwaizumi said, immediately regretting the words as he knew they were among some of the ones that Oikawa hated the most, "Who cares what those strangers think. What matters is what the people around you think of you."

Oikawa did not seem convinced as gave him a sceptical look.

"Well, what do you think of me Iwa-chan?"

"That you're an annoying, arrogant, selfish-"

"Fine. I get it."

The other man was usually the first to take a joke, but clearly this time it had fallen flat. Iwaizumi felt stupid. Of course it wasn't the time, and the expression on Oikawa's face confirmed that completely. His body reacted before his head had a chance to think.

"Come here."

Oikawa turned his head a fraction and looked at Iwaizumi who was sat with his arms barely open. He could already feel the heat rushing to his cheeks.

"...What?"

"I won't ask again. If you don't want to then-"

"I want to."

Crawling hesitantly across the sofa, Oikawa settled himself against Iwaizumi's side as he wrapped his arms around his waist. It was a perfect fit. Iwaizumi's hands settled on top of Oikawa's middle, and although he was undoubtedly thinner than the last time they did this, the weight was comfortable. And comforting. It felt somehow more intimate than the fleeting kiss that they had shared with the feel of Oikawa's back pressed against him, and Iwaizumi found himself resting his head on the crook of his shoulder as Oikawa began to relax as well.

"You're a hard worker." Iwaizumi murmured close to Oikawa's ear and he felt him shiver against him, "You're determined, strong and beautiful. That's what I think about you. Alright?"

There was a pause as they simply rested against each other, before Oikawa turned around, facing Iwaizumi with one of his detestable smirks and a glint in his eye.

"So, you think I'm beautiful Iwa-chan?" He said, voice airy as his his smirk transformed into an even more sarcastic grin, "Yay, thank you! I never knew that you felt the same way about me that I did!"

Iwaizumi growled, pushing Oikawa away from him so that he was shoved face first into the sofa cushions.

"I take it all back, Shittykawa!"

"It's too late to take them back, those words are mine now, Iwa-chan!" Oikawa said, leaping up from the sofa and bouncing around in front of Iwaizumi, who really wanted to hit him.

"Shut up, idiot." Iwaizumi said, covering his face with a cushion so that he didn't have to see the performance in front of him, "I'm never falling for that again."

"Falling for what, Iwa-chan?" Oikawa said, the purposely innocent tone he was using only irritating Iwaizumi even further, "I know your real feelings now so just be honest to yourself!"

"Go to bed and stop annoying me."

"Oh but Iwa-chan, I still feel sad. Hold me a bit more?"

Iwaizumi removed the cushion from in front of his face so that he could shoot Oikawa a murderous glance, an action that appeared to go unnoticed as he tried to pout cutely in response.

"Please?"

"Will you shut up afterwards if I did?" Iwaizumi asked, already feeling himself become once again controlled by Oikawa's charms.

"Yep!"

Rolling his eyes, Iwaizumi stretched out his left arm and Oikawa immediately slotted himself inside the opening. Body curled up tightly, Oikawa rested his head on Iwaizumi's chest as the arm around his shoulder began to caress the exposed skin from the t-shirt gently. The warmth of his body with the familiar weight making him begin to feel sleepy. Iwaizumi could smell his shampoo on Oikawa's hair as he lowered his head just low enough to nuzzle his nose slightly into it.

"Mm...I could fall asleep like this." Oikawa said fluttering his eyes closed and letting the light reflect on his long lashes.

Why don't you, then? Iwaizumi almost allowed himself to say before Oikawa was already standing up, body stretching as he smiled in his direction.

"Thank you, Iwa-chan!" He said, grabbing his phone, "I'll get out of your way now just like you asked. Night-night."

And just like that, in a flash, Oikawa had left the room. His lack of presence leaving a gaping hole.

Iwaizumi groaned as he rubbed his hands through his hair. Oikawa knew exactly what he was doing to him, the damn flirt. Yet he was not going to give into the other man so easily, despite not always noticing his games until it was too late. Making a mental note to kick Oikawa in the morning, Iwaizumi tidied up the living room before getting the futon ready.

His own bed, however, seemed inviting right now.

He swore under his breath as he dumped the bottom layer of the futon on the floor. Iwaizumi noticed it was getting gradually harder to deny his feelings with every passing day. With every time he looked at Oikawa they only seemed to grow.

Iwaizumi just was not ready to say it out loud yet.

 

Chapter Text

By Thursday afternoon Iwaizumi had made an important observation. Throughout the previous days he had endured Sugawara's probing during working hours, and the carousel of emotions that was Oikawa throughout the evening to the point that Iwaizumi could no longer differentiate between what was an act and what was genuine. And frankly he did not care anymore. He was tired. Sharing his apartment with Oikawa took more out of his mental strength and patience than he thought, and he had began to wonder when the other man might decide to return home. Which was when Iwaizumi noticed.

Oikawa had not once left Iwaizumi's apartment since he arrived.

This thought stayed with him throughout his drive home and continued during the walk up the stairs to his apartment. It couldn't be healthy for Oikawa to spend all of his days inside the small confines of the building, left with nothing but a television and a phone to read damning comments about himself with. Iwaizumi was annoyed that he had not realised before.

Oikawa disguises his fear well.

Iwaizumi was greeted with the normal sight when he entered the living room. Oikawa, sat on the sofa, phone in hand and eyes glued to yet another American drama.

"Welcome home Iwa-chan!" He greeted as Iwaizumi approached, putting down his phone, "I missed you! Miss me too?"

"Yeah right." Iwaizumi said, taking a deep breath, "I actually need to stop by the convenience store."

"Have a safe trip. Buy some milk bread." Oikawa said without missing a beat, reuniting himself with his phone.

"You're coming with me."

Oikawa flinched. Watching carefully, Iwaizumi saw how his mask slipped momentarily; face frozen and eyes distant, before Oikawa let out a small laugh as his expression relaxed.

"It doesn't take two of us to go to a convenience store, Iwa-chan." He said, stretching himself further across the sofa, "And your jacket is still on, so it makes sense that you go."

Iwaizumi was not known for subtlety, and he was not a master of manipulation like Oikawa was. So he decided to be straight.

"You have been stuck in this apartment for nearly 3 days now without leaving. You need some fresh air." He said firmly.

"I get fresh air from the balcony."

"No you don't, you smoke there. That isn't fresh."

"Who cares about the small details, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said with a wave of his hand.

"Oikawa." Iwaizumi said, meeting his gaze head on, "It is not healthy to stay cooped up inside here for so long. You are coming with me to the convenience store. It is a 5 minute walk. Alright?"

"Alright, alright." Oikawa said with a small sigh, although from the stiffness of his movements as he stood up it was clear that he was not happy about it, "But I am getting myself fully ready first."

It took a long time for Oikawa to get 'fully ready'. While waiting Iwaizumi made and drank a cup of coffee, and washed the cup, before the man fully emerged. Mask and glasses fixed in place as usual, he was wearing one of Iwaizumi's padded jackets which was just slightly too warm for the mild autumn weather, and clashed terribly with the cap on his head.

"Right, let's hurry up and go then." Iwaizumi said as he led Oikawa to the front door.

He was very hesitant to step out of the door. It took more than one deep breath through the barrier of his mask for Oikawa's foot to step past the threshold and into the corridor of the apartment. They took the stairs, Oikawa standing close to Iwaizumi, as they walked in silence until they reached the entrance of the building.

"Just like I thought, there is no point in me going." Oikawa said, his voice rushed, "I'll see you in a bit, Iwa-chan."

"Hell no." Iwaizumi quickly, reaching out and grabbing Oikawa's wrist with fast reflexes, "We have been through this."

Oikawa didn't move, looking at the world outside the glass door warily through the lenses of his glasses.

"You can hold my hand, okay?" Iwaizumi said, moving his hand down from where it was on his wrist until it was resting on top of Oikawa's closed fist. He nodded and loosened his grip, sliding Iwaizumi's hand with his own as they laced their fingers together. Oikawa's palm was sweaty as Iwaizumi gave it a small squeeze.

He was surprised at his own lack of embarrassment at the arrangement as they eased out of the building, Oikawa's grip on his hand seeming to become tighter with every step they took.

"Iwa-chan." He whispered, Iwaizumi barely able to pick up on his voice through the sound of the traffic, "They're all looking at me, aren't they?"

Iwaizumi frowned, looking around. There were few people on the street and it was already completely dark, nobody was taking any notice of them.

"No one is looking." He said, giving Oikawa's hand a small squeeze, "Just focus on where you are walking."

It didn't work. Oikawa's arms were shaking, Iwaizumi could feel it conveyed to his own body and his pulse was quickened.

"I can feel them staring." He said, breath quickening, "They are going to know it's me."

"Shh. It's pitch black. No one will see."

Oikawa stopped walking. His leg's began to tremble in the same manner as his arms as he froze in the middle of the pavement.

"Iwa-chan." He stuttered, the mask muffling his straining breaths, "I can't, I'm sorry, I just-"

"It's okay, it's okay." Iwaizumi said, quickly, taking both of Oikawa's hands in his, "I'm sorry. We will turn back. Just keep breathing slowly and deeply while we return, alright?"

Oikawa nodded, managing to move his feet after a short delay back into the direction of the apartment building which was still visible from where they were standing.

They soon returned to the safety of Iwaizumi's apartment, Oikawa latching himself to him immediately. Iwaizumi let him, slowly taking off the hat, and mask while his shivering subsided and breathing returned to normal.

"I know that was stupid." Oikawa said to Iwaizumi's chest, "Thinking about it afterwards makes it sound even more stupid. But I just couldn't stop thinking..."

"It's alright. We will work through it, okay." Iwaizumi said, unhooking Oikawa from his body and removing his coat.

"We?"

"You don't think I'm gonna leave you to cope with this alone, do you?"

"I guess not."

Maybe he had pushed him too far, too quickly, Iwaizumi thought as they settled in the living room for their usual evening routine. Yet either way, it was worse than Iwaizumi initially thought.

 

The next evening went a similar way. Oikawa needed even more reassurance before he left the apartment the second time, but they managed to get slightly further along the street before turning back. Iwaizumi considered calling Kuroo for advice, knowing that his partner had bad days when his anxiety got the best of him, but decided against it. Hearing Kuroo's smug voice over the phone as he had a field day taunting him about his situation was not worth it.

It was a typical Oikawa reaction to the stress, really. Some challenges he liked to face head on, never backing down. But others, the ones that really mattered, he ran away from. Avoided. Just like the 'talk' that they still had not had.

Saturday, Iwaizumi had an idea. Oikawa tripping over his futon in the darkness of the room on his way to the balcony woke him up, as he watched the other man slip out of the sliding door with a cigarette in hand. Reaching for his phone, Iwaizumi saw that it was only just past 7am and groaned. He was not convinced that Oikawa was actually sleeping at all, as he always used to be hard to wake up in the morning, and that was another worrying thought.

Deciding there was no point bothering to go back to sleep now he was awake, Iwaizumi dragged his body from the futon and turned on the light, before starting to make coffee for himself and Oikawa.

"Oh- morning Iwa-chan." Oikawa said when he returned into the room, looking surprised that Iwaizumi was up and active, "Did I wake you?"

"Yeah." Iwaizumi shrugged, "Watch where you're walking, you're damn clumsy. Anyway, you want rice or toast for breakfast?"

"Neither." Oikawa said lightly, flopping on the sofa and turning on the television, quickly changing the channel from a gossip show as soon as it turned on, "Just coffee, thank you!"

"Nope. You'll need energy for where we are going today."

"Iwa-chan, you're taking me out on a date? You shouldn't!" Oikawa said, mouth in a wide smile as he fluttered his eyelashes resting his chin in his hands in a mock cute style, although his eyes spoke a different story.

"Don't get full of yourself, Shittykawa." Iwaizumi said, whacking him on the head with a nearby tea towel as he whined, "We are going to play some volleyball."

"Volleyball." Oikawa repeated slowly, his thoughts unreadable, "We are going to play volleyball."

"Yes." Iwaizumi sighed, "Y'know, that sport where-"

"I know what volleyball is, Iwa-chan! How many years do you think we played together!"

"Then it's settled."

"Wait, I can't play anymore." Oikawa said, voice dropping as his glance drifted to his right knee, "You know that."

"You can't play professionally or regularly." Iwaizumi said, putting bread in the toaster, "You can play volleyball once casually with me for a couple of hours without any problems at all."

"But-"

"We will drive straight there in my car. I know the team that usually practices in the gym and we will have it to ourselves for the whole time. No one else will be there. I'm not gonna ask you to jump serve or anything like that, just give me a few tosses."

Oikawa still looked sceptical.

"If you can play volleyball with damn Ushijima, then you can play it with me." Iwaizumi said with his eyes narrowed.

"Did you have to bring that up, Iwa-chan!" Oikawa wailed, but his expression was defeated, "Fine. But you're taping my knee up first."

It doesn't need taping. Iwaizumi thought, but kept the comment to himself. Oikawa's injury was as much psychological as it was physical, and if taping it helps him to feel better about it then so be it.

 

True to his word, Iwaizumi drove the two of them straight to the gym. Oikawa seemed much more comfortable being in the car than out on the street, and they reached the inside of the gym without any problems.

"Help me set up the net." Iwaizumi said, pulling a key from his pocket and unlocking the store cupboard where the volleyball equipment was kept.

"You have a key?" Oikawa said, helping Iwaizumi to carry out the parts of the net.

"I gain experience as a sports therapist for volleyball with the team that uses this facility, and as thanks they let me practice here when the gym is free."

"So you couldn't completely give up volleyball either than, huh, Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi looked at Oikawa, and shot him a grin.

"Isn't that obvious?"

They set up the net in the centre of the gym, and did a light warm up before Oikawa picked up a volleyball and held it carefully in his hands.

"Gonna toss it, then? I'm ready for you." Iwaizumi said, watching the way Oikawa stared at the ball as though it was a precious jewel in his hands. He bounced it once in his hands, before throwing it up in the air and tossing it to Iwaizumi who jumped to spike it over the net.

They both stared at each other as the ball rolled along the floor on the other side of the net, simultaneously breaking into a grin. It felt good. It was right. Ice broken, Oikawa picked up another ball and swirled it in his hands, ready to repeat the move, expression entirely different.

 

"Was volleyball always this tiring?" Oikawa panted after almost 2 hours of various styles of practice, leaning up against the wall of the gym with a coating of sweat across his body, "I think I'm getting older Iwa-chan!"

"We are all getting older, Shittykawa." Iwaizumi groaned, dropping next to him and wiping his brow. He could feel the burn in his thighs and knew it was only going to feel worse the next day. When did he become so unfit?

"Brings back memories though, doesn't it!" Oikawa said, tipping half of the contents of his water bottle down his throat, "When we used to do double this every day. We were still so young and carefree then. You still look like a moody gorilla like you did then, though."

"Oi!"

Iwaizumi did not have the energy to argue back, instead closing his eyes as he tried to get his breath back. Even his throat was beginning to burn.

"Thank you."

Opening his eyes, Iwaizumi turned to look at Oikawa who had a small smile on his face, clutching his water bottle in his hands.

"What for?"

"For bringing me here." He said, smile widening as though his entire face was lit up, "It was fun. I think I needed it."

"No problem." Iwaizumi said, feeling heat rise to his head that wasn't related to the exercise he undertook.

"Iwa-chan?"

"Yeah?"

"I think we should talk about it now." Oikawa said, expression becoming serious as he shuffled across the floor to sit closer to Iwaizumi, "Everything that we have been dancing around. I'm ready."

"Right now?" Iwaizumi swallowed, looking around the gym. Of course, it was still empty.

"Yes, right now." He said, "Being here, sitting next to you after playing volleyball feels right. It seems the perfect place to talk. Right here."

Although Oikawa often spoke a lot of nonsense, his reasoning resonated with Iwaizumi.

"It does." He agreed, exhaling slowly,"Let's talk, then."

They both fell silent. Awkwardness began to creep back. Iwaizumi felt as though he should speak up, start the conversation, but he didn't know how to. There was no clear way to start this or place to begin that made sense.

"I didn't cheat."

The sudden sentence caused Iwaizumi to let out a small sound of surprise, eyes widening instinctively.

"I just wanted to make sure I said that first." Oikawa said with a small laugh, "I only wanted to make you think I did. Messed up, right?"

"I know you didn't." Iwaizumi said with a small sigh, recollections of the night they argued coming back to him clearly, "I'm not that dumb."

"Iwa-chan..." Oikawa started, voice a whisper, "How...?"

Iwaizumi blinked. Oikawa thought that he had believed that?

"It was obvious. You weren't yourself at the time-you were hurting after the injury, Oikawa. You said, and did, lots of stupid things. But I knew you would never cheat on me."

"Then why didn't you come after me when I walked away?" Oikawa said, his voice becoming louder, more frantic, "Or call me?"

"I did." Iwaizumi said quietly, "Not straight away, of course. I was beyond pissed off with you, Oikawa. The things you said were out of line. Especially as I went out of my way to care for you through your injury."

"I know."

"But after a month I did. My head had cooled. I wanted, no, needed to see you. So I called, but your phone had already been disconnected by then."

"No..." Oikawa had slumped back against the gym wall, head down.

"So I went to your university, they said you had already dropped out. Your apartment had someone else in it."

"I didn't know." Oikawa said, voice barely audible with a slight stutter, "If I had known...fuck..."

"That was it, I thought." Iwaizumi said, the bitterness from the time returning to his tone, "I thought you were completely done with me. I couldn't even find you. It broke my heart, frankly. I couldn't believe I had lost you, just like that. Even now, it's hard to swallow."

He had said it. Iwaizumi had laid out his emotions in front of Oikawa, opened the way for him to say his piece. Oikawa raised his head, and looked at Iwaizumi with such an intensity in his eyes that it made him want to edge backwards.

"Fuck acting." He said suddenly, his voice deeper than usual, "I enjoyed it, I worked hard for it, but it was never what I wanted. It was a job. So what if I have lost that now. Volleyball, of course, was so hard to give up. But I had no choice. Do you know what hurt the most, Iwa-chan?"

"No."

"It was losing you."

Oikawa's face wore a small smile, the type that Iwaizumi disliked the most. It was far from genuine and was a feeble attempt to cover what he was really feeling.

"The fight we had was my fault. I know that. I knew it at the time, too. But because of my stupid pride I did not want to apologise. I was waiting for you to do it first, despite me walking away from you. That's how it always was between us. Stupid, wasn't it?"

Oikawa laughed. A sarcastic sound that made Iwaizumi wince instinctively.

"Yet you never did. And why should you have? Then before I realised it weeks had passed, and it felt too late for me to apologise too. The timing was lost."

Oikawa paused to wipe the back of his hand across his eyes with another small laugh.

"I thought, maybe you didn't need me after all. Not like I needed you. I realised, I was the one always relying on you. I don't think I did one thing for you as a friend, never mind a lover. It was a shock, actually, to realise that. You were always by my side, taking care of me, but I ruined it. So I joined the acting agency that was trying to recruit me for years and I ran away. Now look at me. I lost the sport I loved, the career I worked for and the man I lived for. I have nothing left."

"Oikawa-"

"Just think. What if I had just waited maybe one more week? You would have come to me, and everything would be different right now. We would be together."

"You don't know that." Iwaizumi said firmly, "We might not be."

"We would." Oikawa said, shaking his head, "We would."

Iwaizumi sighed deeply.

"You say some stupid things." He said, making sure he had Oikawa's full attention, "I never 'needed' anything from you. It doesn't work like that. Just you being here, with me, that was always just enough."

"That's really cheesy, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said with a wry smile, "And must be false."

"Don't start accusing me of lying," Iwaizumi said with a scowl, "Just listen. Yeah, you are selfish. And silly. But you were always my best friend I was happy just being with you, hanging out together. Even if that was just watching crappy alien movies with you in your room with your shitty dress sense. It was fun. I knew that if I ever did need anything, you would be there for me. My life just happened to not be even half as dramatic as yours."

Oikawa's face was flushed red, expression as though he was understanding this for the first time.

"But then you moved on." He said eventually, running his fingers through the waves in his hair, "You managed to forget me."

"I have all your films on DVD." Iwaizumi blurted, unable to stop himself now he had started, "Even the shitty ones, or the ones where you only had one line. I always watched over you. I never forgot you, how the hell could I?"

"Iwa-chan, but you said-"

"I might have lied about that one thing, alright?"

"...Did you like them?"

"What?"

"My films. Did you like them? Which was your favourite?"

Iwaizumi whacked Oikawa on the head with his mostly empty water bottle, causing him to yelp. There was just one more question he wanted to ask.

"The restaurant, that night, wasn't a coincidence. Was it?"

"No." Oikawa admitted with a soft sigh, "Not completely. When I had time, I would always go in just in case I saw you. I wanted to find you."

"Me too."

"You...too?" Oikawa's eyes were watery, the warm flush returned to his cheeks.

"I mean, I like the restaurant. But I don't even live close to it anymore. I think I was subconsciously going just in case I saw you too. I just never thought it would actually happen."

"Iwa-chan!" Oikawa cried before the tears ran freely down his cheek and he began to sob, face screwing up tightly as his eyes turned red and nose began to run.

"Ugh, you've always been an ugly crier." Iwaizumi groaned, but wrapped his arms around him anyway and pulled his face into his chest as he combed through his soft hair. He could feel Oikawa's tears begin to join the dried sweat on his t-shirt, as he shook violently in his arms, "I'm going to hold you until you stop crying, okay? It's all alright."

"Well then I'm never going to stop crying," Oikawa wailed into his chest, "Because I don't want you to let go."

"Oikawa..."

"No! I know I'm still selfish, and this is selfish, but now I've found you again I don't want to lose you again, Iwa-chan. I don't wanna let you go."

"Idiot." Iwaizumi murmured, rubbing circles on Oikawa's back, "I have no intention to let you go either."

They stayed like that for a while, no other words being spoken as they simply clung to each other. Even as Oikawa's tears subsided and shivering stopped he showed no intention of moving. Iwaizumi tried to prise the bundle of brown hair away from his chest but the grip on his t-shirt only tightened.

"Oikawa." He tried calling to him.

"No."

"Lift your head up."

A few seconds passed before Oikawa gradually raised his head. Lips slightly parted and swollen to match the state of his eyes, he looked up at Iwaizumi expressionless between damp eyelashes and dishevelled hair.

Iwaizumi took one look at him, and all rational thoughts left his mind.

Cupping the back of Oikawa's head with one hand Iwaizumi crashed his lips hard onto his, pushing their mouths together. Oikawa did not hesitate, kissing back immediately with a force rarely felt before. Their tongues quickly intertwined as their passion increased, small sounds spilling from each other's mouths as they tried to feel each other closer as though it was all they needed to live. Parting for breath for a brief moment, Oikawa pushed Iwaizumi's torso down on to the floor and quickly straddled him in one movement before slamming their lips together again.

"Need this." He said gruffly through kisses, as he rolled his hips into Iwaizumi causing him to groan, "Need you. Don't stop."

Iwaizumi had no intention to stop. He wrapped his arms around Oikawa's neck as their bodies moved in time with their lips. Oikawa was pressing himself harder against him as his lips slipped to his neck, alternating light nips with soothing licks down the exposed flesh. Iwaizumi arched his back, seeking more of the sensations he was giving him, eyes tightly closed.

"I've missed this." Iwaizumi heard Oikawa whisper against his ear, a tingle shooting down his spine with the words.

Before Iwaizumi could reply their lips were back together, Oikawa sucking on his tongue with his warm mouth that tasted of cigarettes and coffee, as his hands grabbed Iwaizumi's wrists and held them high above his head. The grip was too tight but the burn felt perfect against the way Oikawa began to nibble on Iwaizumi's bottom lip before diving back into his mouth.

"Oikawa..." He managed to breathe through relentless kisses, lips already bruised sore as he felt new sweat adding to what was already soaked into their clothes.

"Mm?" Oikawa pulled away an centimetre, licking away the thin trail of spit that joined their mouths, as he let go of Iwaizumi's wrist and used his finger tips to trace a line down his cheek. Iwaizumi's eyes opened, and he reawakened to the environment they were in- lying down surrounded by discarded volleyballs on the cold gym floor.

"We need to tidy this up and go." He muttered, wanting to keep the comfortable weight of Oikawa's body against him, "We can't stay here and do...this."

"I don't care about that right now, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said, leaning back down towards Iwaizumi who quickly pushed his hands up to stop him.

"But I do." Iwaizumi said, using his strength to push Oikawa from his body as he stood up, quickly adjusting himself in his shorts, "And you would too if someone else comes in, I only booked the gym for 2 hours."

Oikawa sighed, standing up and beginning to wordlessly pick volleyballs from the floor, replacing them into the basket.

They tidied the gym in silence, a strange tension between them. Iwaizumi's hands slipped on the net while folding it. He did not want to raise his gaze from the material in his fingertips in case he caught a glance of Oikawa, not sure how much of his self control he would be able to maintain if he did.

The short drive home was equally as quiet. Seeing as Iwaizumi felt as though he hit every red light along the road, there was a lot of time for him to think. A lot of time for him to reorganise his feelings, allow the logic to filter back into his mind and realise that this might not be the best idea. Yet all Iwaizumi could think about was the sensation of Oikawa's body against his own and how much he wanted more of it.

As soon as they entered the entrance of his apartment Iwaizumi slammed Oikawa against the wall, not caring that their shoes were still on, as his lips went straight for his pale neck. Oikawa groaned, long and deep, as Iwaizumi maintained his assault. He was leaving marks, he knew it, but Oikawa didn't seem to mind either as he placed his hands on Iwaizumi's ass and pulling him further against his body. Iwaizumi moaned against Oikawa's neck as his hands began to squeeze his ass through his shorts-his touch firm.

"Yes." Oikawa hissed, head banging against the wall as he threw it back further, "Need more Iwa-chan, I want to feel all of you."

"Feel me how?" Iwaizumi groaned, licking a trail up Oikawa's neck and to his ears as friction increased on his crotch from small, needy thrusts into him.

"Inside me." Oikawa said without hesitation as Iwaizumi slid his hands inside his t-shirt, "I need you inside me right now Hajime, filling me up and making me complete again."

Iwaizumi paused his ministrations, lifting his head from Oikawa's neck and taking in the expression he was wearing.

"Inside you?" He asked, voice still breathy, "But before we always..."

"Yes." Oikawa moaned, his body continuing to roll naturally into Iwaizumi's, "But this time I need it this way around. Oh god, Hajime, I need it so much."

The words rushed to Iwaizumi's mind, further clouding his judgement, as he grabbed Oikawa's wrist and pulled him straight to his bedroom. Sheets still messy from the morning, they fell onto the bed limbs tangled against each other as they began to kiss furiously. The bed smelt like Oikawa, as much his bed now as Iwaizumi's own, as he pushed him down further onto the mattress. With his legs parted, Iwaizumi slotted himself perfectly between them, relishing how they wrapped around his waist as he ground his erection onto Oikawa's body. Clothes struggled to become shred through frantic kisses, neither of them able to slow the pace down.

"Hurry." Oikawa groaned against Iwaizumi's neck before biting down on the flesh, his breath hitching in his throat.

Unwillingly Iwaizumi left his position from on top of him, and went to fetch a bottle of lube and a condom from his draw, as Oikawa began to get into position on the bed.

"Ready?" He asked, coating his fingers with the strong smelling lube as he attempted to keep calm at the sight laid out before him.

"Please."

Swallowing, Iwaizumi eased his first finger inside, the squeeze tight against the digit. Oikawa let out an indescribable sound at the intrusion, his face contorting as he let out a long breath.

"I'm surprised you even still have lube." He said, voice unusually wavy and high pitched, "What do you use it for?"

"Shut up." Iwaizumi said, preparing to insert another finger before noticing how much Oikawa's body was shaking, "Have you even bottomed before?"

"Of course I haven't!" Oikawa snapped, his blunt honesty making Iwaizumi pause momentarily, before the tone of his voice changed again, "It couldn't be anyone but you."

He sighed.

"Relax, Tooru."

Iwaizumi rubbed the palm of his left hand over Oikawa's lower back in large circles, waiting for his body to still and breathing to ease, before adding in another finger. Oikawa swore quietly, but took it, as Iwaizumi continued to stretch his body ready to accept him in until he decided he was ready.

"Oh god." Oikawa groaned as Iwaizumi pushed himself inside, the friction against him surely causing Oikawa to feel a burn. Yet his face didn't show it, expression dreamy, as Iwaizumi became fully seated inside, the heat and pressure alone almost enough for him to feel ready to come.

"Move, please Hajime, need this." Oikawa breathed, already trying to thrust himself against his erection. Iwaizumi didn't hesitate.

They moved beautifully together. Their bodies fit, as Oikawa met Iwaizumi's thrusts, the room full of needy sounds and the smell of sweat.

"I love you." Oikawa said, shivering violently as Iwaizumi reached to pump his erection in time with his thrusts, "I love you so much, please, please..."

Iwaizumi merely grunted, his movements quickening, skin slapping hard together. His pace already beginning to crumble as his control weakened. This could never have lasted long.

"Tooru." He moaned as Oikawa's body tightened around him, head beginning to thrash wildly as he could tell he was close, "Love you too- fuck, I love you."

Oikawa almost screamed as he came, walls clenching almost unbearably around Iwaizumi as he followed him shortly with a loud groan muffled into Oikawa's neck.

 


 

Iwaizumi woke to a heaviness on his body, and a strange heat that he wasn't used to. He tried to sit up but found his body restrained. Looking down, Oikawa was sprawled on top of him, arms and legs hooked around his body and head resting upon Iwaizumi's chest.

He untangled their limbs carefully, Oikawa barely stirring. Iwaizumi wouldn't wake him, not when he finally looked peaceful and was actually sleeping. His face was currently free from the stress he had been carrying, expression relaxed as his chest rose and fell rhythmically. Iwaizumi leaned over and pressed a light kiss to his forehead, before grabbing one of Oikawa's packs of cigarettes and heading to the balcony.

Lighting a cigarette quickly and taking a long drag, Iwaizumi stared out at the empty concrete that spread in front of him. What had he done?

"Shit." He muttered through through the smoke, "Damn Shittykawa."

Iwaizumi always picked the complicated option.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi was on his 3rd cigarette when Oikawa waddled onto the balcony. He glanced at the man as he entered, watching the strain in his movements, before focusing his gaze at the concrete landscape ahead of him.

"I thought you said you didn't make a habit of smoking." Oikawa said lightly, picking the cigarette packet out of Iwaizumi's back pocket and lighting his own.

Iwaizumi did not need to look at Oikawa's face to picture the expression he was wearing. The sky had already began to turn dark, the middle of the day a complete blur in his memories.

"Don't tell me you regret it." He continued, "Not when I remember hearing confessions of love pouring freely from your mouth as you fucked me into the mattress earlier."

"Stop being so crude, Shittykawa."

"Finally got a response from you." Oikawa exhaled the words through the smoke, "Do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Regret it."

"No." Iwaizumi said, turning to face Oikawa whose eyes seemed to be focused on a streetlight in the distance. "But we shouldn't have done it."

"That sounds like regret, Iwa-chan. Or maybe you didn't mean what you said, and it was all in the heat of heat of the moment." Oikawa's voice was airy as he rubbed his lower back, "I mean, I can relate to that. I'm never bottoming again. Feels like I was ripped apart."

Iwaizumi snorted as he stubbed out his cigarette and moved towards the door.

"I meant everything." He said, "It's just the timing that was wrong."

"Timing?" Oikawa's voice followed him into the living room. A firm hand grabbed his wrist, preventing Iwaizumi from walking any further away as their eyes finally locked. His face was pale, eyes shining bright against the dead of his skin. "Explain."

"There's nothing to explain." Iwaizumi said, trying to not to flinch under the intensity of Oikawa's stare, "Now isn't the time to start a relationship. There is a lot of chaos in your life that needs dealing with first, you were hurting so I feel like I took advantage of you and-"

"Advantage? Of me?" Oikawa scoffed, eyebrows raised as he leaned his weight on his good knee, "Now who is being silly?"

"I'm not wrong. It's not the best time."

"I don't care."

Long arms wrapped around Iwaizumi's waist, massaging circles into his lower back. Warmth began to engulf his body as Oikawa slowly brought him closer until he was pressed against him, tobacco tasting lips hovering dangerously close to his own.

"Tell me you don't want this."

Those lips really were too close. Iwaizumi could see the hints of Oikawa's tongue, lips still kiss-swollen from the way they smashed together repeatedly previously. Suddenly it was too much. Iwaizumi cupped Oikawa's rough cheek and kissed him, gasping into his mouth as the grip against his body tightened.

"The evening is still young Hajime." Oikawa grinned as they pulled apart, leading a willing Iwaizumi towards the bedroom with a new found vigour, "I'm gonna fuck you until it ends."

 

They had sex until Iwaizumi was no longer sure if it was still Saturday night or Sunday morning. And really, it didn't matter either way. The feel of Oikawa inside him was familiar to Iwaizumi, creating a sort of pleasure which was not only physical. He had rarely felt this drained of energy, body aching and sticky with his head clouded. Oikawa was again sleeping peacefully, body covered in a light sheen of sweat as his fists clutched at the duvet. Iwaizumi felt no need to leave the bed. Pressing kisses to Oikawa's strong back and neck, he snuggled close, relishing in the sensation of their skin together. Oikawa stirred. He turned in the sheets, muttering something intelligible, before swinging an arm across to wrap around Iwaizumi's chest. Smiling into the embrace, he closed his eyes. He had missed this. It was something that Iwaizumi could get used to.

 

Iwaizumi was still tired as he filed into work Monday morning. The irregularity of his weekend sleep schedule affecting him more than when he was younger, as he stifled a yawn into his clipboard so that his first client would not notice. Oikawa was not faring much better. He was still in bed when Iwaizumi left and showed few signs of waking any time soon, not that he particularly needed to.

By his lunch break, Iwaizumi was really starting to feel the strain on his body. He eased himself into a chair next to Sugawara, taking out his shop-bought lunch and shoving it onto the table.

"How was your weekend?" Sugawara asked brightly as he lay his chopsticks down, eager eyes giving him full attention, "Any more crazy things happen? Need some Suga-healing?"

"We fucked. A lot. Happy now?"

"No, not particularly..." Sugawara coughed, eyes widening and his words becoming more cautious, "But, um, congratulations?"

"Thanks." Iwaizumi muttered, careful of the other pairs of ears around them, "We talked about the past and what happened between us and our current feelings, and then it sort of just led to sex."

"That's common when emotions are running high."

"I didn't think I was the type to get caught up in something like that." Iwaizumi groaned, rubbing at his throat. Even his voice was starting to become hoarse.

"Well, you never know until the time comes." Sugawara smiled, resting his chin on his palm, "So, what's next?"

"Next?"

"Yeah, are you guys going to be officially in a relationship now?"

"Oh." Iwaizumi said, turning away from Sugawara and starting on his lunch, "I thought about it."

"And?" Sugawara's tone was impatient.

"I think it's best to wait a bit longer before I have that sort of talk with Oikawa." Iwaizumi said, ignoring the eye roll he saw Sugawara perform from the corner of his vision, "Things are still complicated, there is too much going on right now."

"I guess there is Rina too, to think about." Sugawara mused, taking a sip of his coffee.

"Shit." Iwaizumi muttered, "I can't draw things out with her any longer like this."

"So you've chosen Oikawa?" Sugawara wasn't laughing like Iwaizumi expected, "I can't say I'm surprised."

Iwaizumi didn't reply. It was meaningless to continue lying to himself. If Oikawa was involved, there never was a choice to make.

 

Oikawa was lounged across the sofa when Iwaizumi returned home, phone in hand. He briefly looked up as he entered the room and dumped bags of shopping on the counter, flashing a small smile.

"Going to make me something nice, Iwa-chan?"

He was starting to look healthier, Iwaizumi noticed. The meals and sleep that Oikawa had recently received must have done a world of good as his eyes were no longer as dark, and the colour was starting to return to his complexion.

"Wouldn't hurt for you to make something nice yourself for a change." Iwaizumi grunted, beginning to prepare dinner, "Especially as all you do is lounge around and watch Netflix all day."

"Ouch." Oikawa said, bordering on sarcasm, "Maybe if you came over here and gave me a kiss I will tomorrow?"

"Not falling for that."

"Okay, fine." Iwaizumi could hear the pout in his voice, "But come and kiss me anyway?"

Placing his pan on the counter with a click of his tongue, Iwaizumi walked over to Oikawa whose eyes were already shut and lips puckered ready. He muttered a small insult under his breath before placing his lips onto his quickly in a short kiss. Just as Iwaizumi was ready to pull away, Oikawa's arms shot out and wrapped around his neck as the kiss deepened. A small moan hummed against him as their tongues twirled around each other, the hand on his neck tickling the short hairs there.

Oikawa controlled the kiss like he once controlled the court, causing Iwaizumi to fall deeper into him as their breathing began to become more laboured. His ability to think was being quickly taken away, focusing on gaining more of the sensations Oikawa was providing.

They broke apart too soon, Oikawa smirking as he ran his tongue across his bottom lip as though he was sampling the taste Iwaizumi left there.

"Now cook me something yummy, Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi believed that Oikawa fully deserved the whack to the stomach that followed.

 

"I should speak to my manager soon." Oikawa said with an exaggerated sigh as he flicked idly across his phone's screen while Iwaizumi continued to cook, "I can only ignore all of his calls, texts, emails, voice mails and legal threats for so long."

"Are you going to start acting again?"

"I don't know." Oikawa said, voice small, "I don't really want to. But there is not really much of an alternative. There isn't anything I could do instead."

"You could do anything." Iwaizumi said, and he meant the words despite how cliche they sounded out loud, "Seriously. That's one of the annoying things about you, you could succeed anywhere."

"No one is going to hire a university drop out with a failing knee and national media scandal hanging above their head." Oikawa said, the slight strain in his voice revealing the truth between what he tried to make sound like a lighthearted statement.

"People will forget about it eventually." Iwaizumi shrugged, "You can volunteer first or something to build a good reputation before getting a job. Besides, you can always go back to University and get a degree if you wanted to."

"At my age?" Oikawa looked scandalised.

"You're not that old!" Iwaizumi groaned, "People do that all the time, it wouldn't be weird."

"I suppose. But..."

But Oikawa didn't want to go to a place where people would be constantly judging him before they even tried to understand him, gossiping, alienating him. Iwaizumi knew that was what he was thinking, even if that reality was only in his own head.

"It's not like you have to decide straight away." Iwaizumi said, piling their dinner onto plates and setting them down on the table, "Take some time out." To get better "I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about money right now."

"I probably don't have as much money as you think I do, Iwa-chan." Oikawa said, sitting at the table and taking a long sniff of the food in front of him, "But, mm, I can probably live perhaps 5 or 6 years extremely comfortably with many holidays abroad and designer shoes without worrying."

They began to eat, the conversation fading off. It was strangely silent, and Iwaizumi could see from Oikawa's slowed movements that he was overthinking. Yet he was never brilliant with words, and was not sure what he could say to help. Only one solution came to his mind. Iwaizumi just hoped that giving Oikawa a home with him would be enough.


 

"Iwaizumi!"

The door to the sports therapy room swung open the next afternoon and Sugawara burst inside, face red and strands of grey hair plastered to his face. Iwaizumi looked away from the amateur volley-ball player he was talking to, exhaling slowly to keep himself level and professional.

"Sugawara-san, I am currently in an appointment," He said, managing to maintain his work voice, "Please come back after it has finished."

"There's no time for that!" Sugawara continued, dashing over to Iwaizumi and practically yanking him from his chair by his wrist, "You need to come with me, right now."

Sugawara was playful, and he was always the first to tease others or make a joke. But he was trustworthy, professional and never crossed the line. Iwaizumi knew that if Sugawara was taking action like this, it must be important. Flashing an apologetic look to his client, Iwaizumi allowed himself to be pulled from the room and ran beside Sugawara, matching his fast pace.

"What the hell is going on?" He shot, the tight grip on his wrist becoming painful.

"It's the paparazzi." Sugawara panted as they began to dash up a long flight of stairs, "They must have done some research or got a tip off or something, I don't know, but they have found out you were connected to Oikawa. Very connected to Oikawa."

Iwaizumi swore loudly, suddenly the urgency in which Sugawara was acting making sense.

"Are they here?"

"Yeah." Sugawara said, pace changing to a brisk walk as they started to tire, "The reception team with reinforcements are holding them at the moment, but it won't be long before they break through. They are convinced Oikawa will be with you since he dropped off the radar, and I am sure it is just a matter of time before they discover your address too."

They settled on the fourth floor, knees not wanting to climb any more stairs, as they jogged down the long, white corridor.

"Quick, in here."

Sugawara pulled Iwaizumi into a small broom cupboard, closing the door firmly behind them. He turned on the light, a small bulb illuminating the space as Sugawara began to bar the door.

"This is like something out of a shitty rom-com." Iwaizumi grumbled as he nearly tripped over a mop, trying to make some space within the limited room available.

"Ooh, going to try and seduce me Iwaizumi?" Sugawara said with his usual grin as he sat on a bucket, a devious glint in his eye, "Always wanted to see if you or Daichi would win in a fight."

Iwaizumi elbowed him, relishing in the yelp that followed, and winching when he was elbowed in return.

"How long are we gonna stay in here, anyway?" He said, "I can't hide forever. Shouldn't I just tell them to fuck off and be done with it?"

"Do you really think that will work?" Sugawara sighed, waving his hands like a fan in front of his forehead, "If it was that easy than Oikawa wouldn't have to fear the paparazzi either."

"Then what?" Iwaizumi grumbled, already feeling himself beginning to become impatient.

"We wait." Sugawara said, pulling his phone out of his pocket and beginning to amuse himself, "The hospital chair has told me to tell you not to come in for a few days. At least until everything settles down."

"Fuck this."

Marching the few steps to the door, Iwaizumi pulled apart Sugawara's makeshift barricade and stormed out of the door.

"Hey, Iwaizumi!"

He could hear the heavy footsteps of Sugawara following him down the corridor, but Iwaizumi had no intention of stopping. Making a detour at the sports therapy room to grab his bag and coat, Iwaizumi made his way to reception.

It was chaos.

Approximately 9 reporters with a camera crew where being held at the door by the hospital security, the noise and questions being pounded at the reception staff relentless. Iwaizumi swallowed, before striding towards the crowd, keeping his head held high.

"Wait- is that him?"

A reported pointed at Iwaizumi and attracted the attention of the others, suddenly flooding around him and barraging him with questions.

'Are you Oikawa's ex lover?' 'Witnesses have said they have seen you together recently' 'So it is true that Oikawa is gay?' 'Do you know Oikawa's current whereabouts?' 'Is it true that he is in rehab abroad?'

Iwaizumi was never known for his patience. He turned to the camera shoved in front of his face, hands clenched into fists.

"Leave Oikawa the fuck alone, he has done nothing to deserve this treatment! Go and sort your own morals out first before judging someone else!"

"You complete idiot." Sugawara hissed as he managed to catch up to him, before pushing Iwaizumi through the crowd and trying to block the single open door as best as he could with his body, "Hurry the hell home!"

Sugawara's advice had never been better. Grateful for his friend's sacrifice, Iwaizumi raced to his car praying he won't be followed, as he drove out of the hospital car park. He took a detour at a restaurant first, reluctant to go straight home until the sky had turned completely black and it was harder to follow him.

 

"I'm back."

"Iwa-chan." Oikawa said, his wavy voice calling from the living room, "What is this?"

Iwaizumi walked into the living room where the television was on, the commotion in the hospital and the words he said to the camera playing out in front of them. He clicked his tongue, grabbing a beer from the fridge.

"Don't worry, I didn't tell them anything about you."

"That's not the point."

Oikawa had risen from the sofa as he used his full intimidating height against him, the lines on his face furrowed as he stared into Iwaizumi.

"The last thing I wanted was for you to get involved in this as well."

"Too late now." Iwaizumi shrugged, "It's fine, nothing we can do about it."

"It's not fine." Oikawa spat, face red, "I'm just rui-"

A loud ringing from Iwaizumi's pocket startled them both. He pulled out his phone, his breath leaving his chest when he saw the called ID.

"I need to take this." He said, accepting the call and rushing into the adjoining bedroom leaving Oikawa to calm down.

"Hajime, I saw what has happened on the television." Rina's voice echoed through the speaker, the familiarity of her tone striking something within Iwaizumi, "I didn't know whether I should contact you or not, but I was so worried so...are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Iwaizumi said, sitting himself down on his bed and reclining, shutting his eyes, "You don't need to worry."

"You're not mad that I called?"

"Why would I be?"

Iwaizumi talked with Rina for around 20 minutes. He had forgotten how much he enjoyed simply talking with his former girlfriend and how much the sound of her voice soothed him. Conversation still came easy between them and hearing about how she had been had a relaxing effect upon his thoughts.

When the call ended, Iwaizumi returned to the living room. Oikawa was back on the sofa, lay across it like a cat with his phone back in hand. His face was now free from the rage that it held earlier, expression completely neutral. It made Iwaizumi feel uneasy. This made Oikawa harder to read.

"Are you going to lose your job?"

"I'm not gonna lose my job." Iwaizumi lightly slapped Oikawa on his shoulder as he tried to sound as lighthearted as his deep voice could manage , "I am just giving it a couple of days until it calms down, and then it will be back to normal."

"Were you happy these past 5 years?" Oikawa asked, not lifting his gaze from his phone as he quickly switched the topic.

Iwaizumi frowned.

"Not at first, of course. But yeah, I was."

Oikawa made a small noise, barely audible.

"Oikawa, what are you thinking?" Iwaizumi said slowly, as his expression started to become faraway, clearly no longer focused on his phone.

"I really am selfish, huh."

Iwaizumi swallowed and attempted to pull Oikawa into his embrace. He shook his head, struggling quickly out of his arms. Oikawa refused to look Iwaizumi in the eye.

"Don't, not right now."

"Have I done something?"

"You should know by now Iwa-chan, that it is never you."

"Tooru, stop. Just come to bed with me. Please."

Iwaizumi hated how much it sounded as though he was begging. Oikawa seemed to pause, thinking it over, before nodding and following him into the bedroom. They stripped down to their underwear, Oikawa settling in between Iwaizumi's arms. His body was hot against him, still gelled hair that smelt faintly of something musky tickling against his chin . Iwaizumi pressed slowing kisses to Oikawa's neck and shoulder as he faded slowly into sleep.

Iwaizumi woke up in a too-cold bed. Rolling over onto his side, the place where Oikawa slept earlier was now empty, the warmth he had provided gone. Rubbing his eyes, Iwaizumi checked the time on his phone. 3:47 am. That was too early for even Oikawa to have a cigarette. Iwaizumi forced himself out of his bed with a groan, padding towards the balcony to tell him to go back to bed.

He wasn't there.

A flash of fear shot through Iwaizumi's spine. He raced back into the bedroom, and slammed on the light. Oikawa's phone that usually sat on the bedside table had disappeared, the plug socket which housed his charger empty. He was always messy, used clothes and the contents of his bag covering Iwaizumi's floor, which was now completely clean.

All traces of Oikawa in his apartment had vanished.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi panicked. He prided himself on being level-headed and not allowing a situation to overwhelm him. It was Iwaizumi that was the firm voice of reason, keeping everyone steady together and adapting to whatever life threw his way. But as he charged to his phone he knew that all of his sanity had vanished. Navigating to Oikawa's number, Iwaizumi counted the seconds it took for his phone to begin to call with his breath stuck in his windpipe. A long, flat 'beep' rang into his eardrums.

'This number has been disconnected-'

The phone fell to the floor.

No. Not again. Iwaizumi's hands were shaking as he retrieved his phone, legs feeling ready to give way. He had just got Oikawa back. They had just found each other again. This couldn't be happening. Iwaizumi still didn't know where Oikawa lived, or where he could possibly be at this moment, and Oikawa had made sure that he wouldn't know. The bastard.

Iwaizumi did the only thing his mind allowed him to think of at that moment.

 

"Seriously Iwaizumi please, it's 4am." A sleep heavy voice drawled through the speaker as his call connected, "This better be important."

"Sugawara." Iwaizumi said, trying to keep his voice from betraying his panic, "He's gone. Oikawa, he's gone."

He must have failed to disguise his emotions as Iwaizumi could sense Sugawara become instantly more alert, the nurse muttering something under his breath that the speaker couldn't quite pick up on.

"Alright. I'm coming over." He said, the sound of rustling sheets and Sawamura groaning in the background, "Stay calm until I get there."

"I am calm." Iwaizumi said, sitting himself down on his bed to steady his breathing.

"Stay calm." Sugawara repeated more firmly, the soothing quality to his voice already beginning to take effect, "I will be there in 15 minutes."

 

True to his word, Sugawara arrived quickly. Still dressed in his pyjamas and with a hideous bedhead, he launched himself at Iwaizumi as soon as the door opened, pulling him into a too-tight hug.

"It's going to be okay." He said, rubbing circles into Iwaizumi's back, "We will work through this, yeah?"

"I'm fine." Iwaizumi muttered into Sugawara's neck.

"Stop trying to act tough." Sugawara sighed, loosening his grip on Iwaizumi and allowing him to breathe more easily, "Even you can't be Mr. Strong guy all the time. I'm not stupid. You've been on an emotional roller-coaster recently and this was the final drop for you."

Sugawara was right. Iwaizumi felt drained. Over two months worth of tension had all built up and was leaving him feeling less stable than he would have liked.

"Would you like to talk about it now, or after a sleep?"

"Sleep first." Iwaizumi said easily. His initial alarm had quickly turned to fatigue and his eyes were already struggling to stay open.

Sugawara nodded, pointing to the futon messily rolled up in the corner of the room.

"Did you fuck on that futon?"

"Huh- no!" Iwaizumi said, his cheeks burning, "I just slept in it."

"Good. It's mine for tonight, er this morning, then." Sugawara said, beginning to set it up in the middle of the living space, "Go and get some rest, okay?"

Iwaizumi was not going to argue with that. He returned to his bedroom and climbed into the bed, pulling the sheets over his head. It was no good. The scent of Oikawa was overwhelming and Iwaizumi immediately threw the covers off. Too tired to change the sheets, he simply stripped the bed before lying in the bare covers that were uncomfortably itchy against his skin.

 

The light screech of the kettle boiling awoke Iwaizumi from an unexpectedly deep sleep. Light was already beaming through his thin curtains, and the room pleasantly warm. Iwaizumi groaned as he took his first step out of bed, moving to the living room where Sugawara was beginning to pour hot water into two mugs.

"Oh, I was just going to wake you up." Sugawara said with one of his pleasant smiles. His appearance had not improved since the early hours of the morning. "You slept for a long time. Which is good. It's already past noon."

"Seriously?" Iwaizumi said, scratching at the back of his neck before his eyes widened, "Wait- what the hell are you still doing here? Why the hell aren't you at work?"

"Ah, about that."Sugawara said with his other sort of smile, the one that almost reminded Iwaizumi of Oikawa, as he handed him a mug of coffee, "When the higher ups found out that I had a very tentative link to Oikawa in high school, they also told me to stay away until it calmed down. Silly, right? I never even spoke to him once!"

"Sorry."

"Stop that. It's not your fault."

"Fuck Shittykawa." Iwaizumi said, taking a long sip of his coffee as he sat down on the sofa, "I am completely done with him." He ignored the raised eyebrows staring at him from across the room, "He comes and goes into my life as he pleases, manipulates and takes advantage of other people's feelings and not caring about the mess he leaves behind when he leaves. I hate him."

"You don't mean that."

Iwaizumi did not have to think about it.

"You're right. I don't."

He watched as Sugawara scooped rice into bowls from the rice cooker which Iwaizumi did not even know was turned on, and topped it with grilled salmon.

"What would your fiance think of you taking care of another man like this?" Iwaizumi muttered, starting on the food after it was served to him, and wondering vaguely if he should have one of his remaining cigarettes.

"He would be disappointed in me if I didn't." Sugawara said with a weak grin, "Because we are all friends, after all. He joined Iwaizumi on the sofa. "Besides, I'm not the only one worried about you. Daichi would be here too if he could. And Kuroo."

"God Sugawara, please say that you didn't tell Kuroo what has happened."

Sugawara didn't reply, shovelling rice into his mouth. Iwaizumi rolled his eyes. Through Sugawara's kindness he often forgot how much of a gossip the man was.

"Anyway, do you have any ideas to why Oikawa has suddenly vanished?" Sugawara asked, suddenly finding his voice.

"I think Oikawa left because he believes he selfishly messed up my life since returning, and now has some strange sense of guilt from that."

"Isn't that true?"

Iwaizumi blinked, surprised by the fierce reply from his friend.

"You had both a stable job and relationship with a wonderful woman and everything was going smoothly and more or less stress free for you. When Oikawa returned, well, a whole load of crap has happened. Am I wrong?"

Sugawara was not wrong. Yet, he was not quite right either.

"I want to find him." Iwaizumi said, his hands turning to fists, "He has always belonged in my life, whether he was physically there or not."

Sugawara smiled, placing his hand on Iwaizumi's shoulder.

"I know."

 

A few days had passed since Oikawa left Iwaizumi's apartment, and he was no closer to finding him. Iwaizumi hoped that the actor would have had a change of heart and returned to him by now, or at least sent a message, but there had been nothing. Oikawa was always a stubborn man. Neither he or Sugawara had returned to work yet, but they both planned to start again on Monday, regardless of whatever the management thought. He was fed up of being cooped inside feeling helpless.

"So the first meeting for operation 'Find Oikawa' is now commencing. We must start by announcing our code names. Sawamura, you are '001 Thighs'."

"Kuroo, do us all a favour and shut up."

They were sat in Kuroo's spacious apartment, the copious amount of salary that he received shining through the decor. Sugawara was glaring at Kuroo from his position on Sawamura's lap, who looked slightly uncomfortable at the extra weight upon him. Iwaizumi instead chose to ignore Kuroo's comment, shifting his gaze to Kozume instead who had surprised everyone by being there. Usually when the group visited Kuroo's apartment Kozume chooses to lock himself into his room, avoiding socialisation at all costs. Even now he was playing on his vita, splayed across one of the sofas, but his presence alone suggested he also held some interest in the topic.

"Why do you care so much about finding him, anyway, Iwaizumi?" Sawamura asked with a small frown, finally managing to ease Sugawara off from his lap and onto space next to him, "I remember you being clearly against having Oikawa back in your life when you drank yourself into a stupor a couple of months ago."

"Because I still love him." He said instantly. Iwaizumi surprised himself at how easily those words left his mouth and how little he had to think about them."I love Oikawa."

The room fell to silence. Even Kuroo did not have a comeback for that statement, instead his eyes becoming unusually serious through his mass of dark hair.

"Why don't you just use the paparazzi to send a message?"

Everyone turned to stare at Kozume. He had still not shifted his attention from his game, eyes focused on the screen as he continued to talk.

"If you know that Oikawa always follows the coverage than he will definitely watch it. It is probably your best chance to get your feelings across to him."

"Kitten, you're a genius!" Kuroo wailed, leaping up and jumping on top of Kozume who let out a startled wail as the vita flew from his hands.

"Kuro, get off."

"That's a good idea though, Kenma." Sugawara said, resting his head on Sawamura's shoulder before addressing Iwaizumi, "Do you think they will still be there on Monday?"

Iwaizumi considered the idea, a simulation running through his mind. Even if Oikawa missed watching the coverage on the television he would definitely see it on social media with the amount of time he spent being glued to it.

"There's only one way to find out."

 

Iwaizumi was never nervous to go to work. The private hospital was a place where he had become comfortable over the past few years and despite the unpredictable nature of his job, his workplace gave him a strange sense of stability. But this day was different. Iwaizumi sat in his car, peering towards the hospital entrance through the windscreen. The car park was always full of life anyway, so it was impossible for him to tell if there would be any reporters waiting to ambush him on his way into work.

Deciding he had procrastinated for long enough, Iwaizumi grabbed his bag from the passenger seat and left his car. The walk to the entrance seemed longer than usual, legs feeling heavy. He took a deep breath before stepping towards the automatic doors.

It was definitely considerably quieter than the previous week. But there standing conspicuously in the entrance was one reporter, complete with a full camera crew. The reporter's face lit up immediately as Iwaizumi approached, the crew quickly jutting into action with an oversized camera and microphone thrust in front of his face.

"Iwaizumi Hajime." The reporter started, his excitement barely contained, "Would you answer our questions about Oikawa Tooru and his relationship with you?"

Iwaizumi swallowed.

"Yeah, whatever." He said with no intention to make true on those words. He tried to remain calm despite new nerves trying to override his thoughts, trying to think of the surprisingly good advice Kuroo gave to him previously, "But can I say something to the camera first?"

"Of course."

This was it. Iwaizumi had rehearsed the words countless times in his head, he had even attempted to write them down to make his thoughts more coherent. Yet it hadn't worked. Iwaizumi's mind was blank.

He turned to the camera, trying to stare it down like he had watched Oikawa do effortlessly many times. But Iwaizumi was not a trained actor.

"So you think that you're selfish, Oikawa? Yeah, I have known that forever. It doesn't change a thing." He started, the reporter tilting his head in confusion.

"Even if you think that by running away again you are doing the right thing, you are wrong. You are always wrong Shittykawa, so hurry up and come back home or I will find you and drag your skinny ass back myself. And this time, I won't ever stop looking for you. Not ever. I love you."

As the words left his mouth he could feel something on his cheek. Pressing his fingers to the spot lightly, Iwaizumi felt that it was wet. Horrified, he quickly wiped his hands across his eyes before dashing towards the door to the rest of the hospital, scanning his staff card along the way. He could hear the protests from the reporter asking about the questions but Iwaizumi didn't care.

 

"You did well, Iwaizumi. It was very brave."

"Stop it." Iwaizumi groaned, the pat on his back almost feeling patronising, "I'm not one of the kids on the children's ward."

Sugawara barely managed to stifle his laugh, the sound making Iwaizumi glare at him.

"It was very passionate. I have watched it on YouTube twice already. I have forwarded the link to everyone, too."

"Seriously. Fuck off."

"Sorry, sorry."

Despite his teasing, Iwaizumi was glad for Sugawara's company. It was keeping him grounded as they sat together in the sports therapy room during lunch, away from the prising ears and eyes of others. Iwaizumi was not sure he could even look at another person who didn't know the full story right now.

"Do you think it will work?"

Sugawara stopped patting Iwaizumi's back and reclined in his chair, flicking through his phone idly.

"Dunno. Can only hope it does." Iwaizumi said, letting out his breath in a slow sigh.

"Ah!"

He turned to Sugawara who was flapping his arms wildly in his chair with his mouth and eyes wide open, phone shaking so fast it was impossible to read.

"What is it?"

"It says Oikawa is doing a press conference tomorrow morning oh my goodness Iwaizumi!" Sugawara exclaimed, his face the very picture of excitement, "There is no way that it is unrelated!"

Iwaizumi did not want to get his hopes up. The press conference could be about anything, it could have already been planned. Yet Oikawa was spontaneous and the timing was too perfect for it to be a coincidence. Tomorrow morning seemed too far away.

 

They both should be working. Iwaizumi had an appointment in ten minutes and Sugawara was on an extended 'toilet' break. However instead they were hiding in a toilet cubicle, Sugawara's phone linked to a live stream of the conference as they shared a pair of earphones. Iwaizumi did not know what to do with his hands, opening and clenching his fist as he waited for it to begin.

"It's starting." Sugawara whispered, Iwaizumi's attention refocusing on the small screen.

Oikawa strode onto the small stage.

Some of the confidence that Oikawa usually wore had returned, and although it wasn't his usual, it was enough to fool the general public that he was still the put together actor in the spotlight. He greeted the cameras and audience, smile perfectly set.

"I have been doing a lot of reflecting about what I want to do, and my mind kept changing. Who knew that the brilliant Oikawa's mind was so fickle?" His tone was light as he began to speak, eyes never faltering from the camera in front of him. "But I have finally decided. Really, there was no other choice." He paused, seemingly only for effect, as the seconds faded into silence before speaking again.

"I am leaving the entertainment world completely." Oikawa said, face unwavering, "For those few fans who did stay loyal to me, I am extremely grateful." He stopped to bow for a few moments, before standing up more straightly than ever, "But I can not stay in an industry that won't accept me for who I am."

"Does that mean you are gay?"

"Yes. I am gay." Oikawa took a deep breath as talk erupted around him, "But it doesn't change the fact that Ushiwaka-chan has nothing to do with me!"

"What are you going to do after leaving the industry?"

"Hmm, I have not decided yet." Oikawa said, lips curving up slightly, "But I won't have to make the decision by myself."

The conference footage faded out, returning to the news studio.

They both exhaled.

"You better return home." Sugawara said lowly, pulling out the earphones and wrapping them around his phone.

"I can't." Iwaizumi said with a frown, "I'm working, stupid."

"Then as soon as you finish this evening, go home." Sugawara pushed the cubicle door open as they both sneaked back onto the ward, "Don't wait for me."

 

Iwaizumi followed Sugawara's advice. As soon as the clock hit 5 pm he rushed home, not stopping to look at his appointments for the next day. He didn't know what he was expecting as he arrived at his apartment. Nothing had changed- how could they have? No one else but himself had a key to his door, and as he returned to his dark, empty living room some of the adrenaline that pumped through his body had left.

Beginning to warm up the pasta he bought in the convenience store along the way, Iwaizumi slumped onto the sofa. He felt so tired. Iwaizumi massaged his fingers on his forehead, trying to get rid of the stiffness.

The doorbell rang.

Iwaizumi shivered. Struggling to breathe, he stood up carefully, slowly making the short distance to the door and pushing it open.

Oikawa was standing in his doorway, a large suitcase besides him and a heavy looking bag slung across his shoulder. Both mask and glasses absent, his dark eyes stood out against the pale sheen of his skin as they stared into him. Iwaizumi froze. A flood of emotions rushed into his mind as he grappled with urges to slap him in his pretty face or pull him close and never let go. Ultimately he could not do either, simply staring into those brown eyes.

Oikawa smiled, warm and genuine, outstretching his arms towards Iwaizumi as he dropped his bag to the floor.

"I'm home."