Izumi Yukitaka and Sekimukai Kouji were two of the very first people in Shouyou’s life that fell for him, not counting the nameless classmates who developed crushes but never interacted with him, only knew him in passing, or from sharing the same class. Their feelings developed slowly over the years turning from friendship into the blossoming blooms of love. The problem was, even when they felt they were being obvious in their attempts to gage Shou’s possible feelings for them and flirting shamelessly, he just never caught on. Yes, they quickly determined that Hinata Shouyou is completely oblivious! They came to the conclusion that he was either too innocent to understand, wasn’t interested in romance, too obsessed with volleyball, or even some combination of all three. Not to put extra strain on their friend, they agreed to just love him from a distance and only tell him if it seemed right to do so, especially since he was going to Karasuno High School and they weren’t.
What are some of the funny experiences they had during their time together in Junior High, you ask, well, let me tell you….When Izumi and Kouji realized their feelings for being what they are, they started discussing how to see what Shouyou felt for them. When they’d help Shouyou practice for volleyball they’d find any and every excuse to touch him and get real close…’oh your arm is so red from receiving I should check to see if there’s any swelling’, ‘nice job, Shou’ followed by a buttslap, ‘wow that ball hit your face really hard let me see if you need more than the usual first aid’. On and on, this continued for a good long while. ‘Shouyou, your face is really red, let me check if you have a fever’ pressing their foreheads together, ‘oh, Shou, did you not get enough sleep, your eyes are really red’ followed by a gentle touch to his check, ‘Shouyou, you really bombed that test, are you okay?’ getting close enough to breathe the same air…but alas…the blushes all turned out to be from embarrassment and not from trying to hide a crush or stronger feelings.
“Well, Kouji, what are we supposed to do?”
“I don’t know, Izumi, but no matter what I plan to support Shouyou and do what I can to keep him happy.”
“I’m with you there. We’ll definitely have to keep in touch with each other and him so we can always be there.”
With a handshake, they sealed their promise.
One thing they did get plenty of was hugs and kisses from Shouyou, for he is a very tactile person. He saw absolutely nothing wrong with hanging off of his closest friends, giving them platonic (to him) kisses on the cheeks or foreheads, and he didn’t care one whit whether anyone thought it was wrong or disgusting. He liked it and that’s all that mattered. He hugs and kisses those he cares about with a pureness that isn’t often seen and it warms the hearts of these people.
His friends suspects he gets the hugging from his mom, as Hinata-san always has a hug in store for them and her children anytime they’re around. The kissing they suspect comes from his connection with his little sister, Natsu as she doesn’t seem to like hugging as much as kisses (though she tolerates them well enough from her mom and brother). With every hello and goodbye shared between them, it became common practice quickly to receive a hug and kiss, Izumi and Kouji cherished every single one from Shou.
There were lots of hugs after the loss of their Junior High Volleyball Tournament. Shouyou was devastated and they were worried that he’d hurt himself attempting to work too hard at correcting his ‘mistakes’ and fighting to get better. Hell would freeze over before they let their dear friend suffer like that. As the rest of the weeks passed, Shouyou proved that he wouldn’t be beaten by the negativity or the sting from the loss.
Graduation was then faced with slightly heavy hearts for Kouji an Izumi, for they really wished they could stay with Shouyou for forever (who wouldn’t?). But their vow made, they did what they could to prepare and face the future.
“Keep in touch, Shou.”
“Yeah, you better. I want to hear everything!” Kouji agreed.
“Izumi, Kouji, I promise I’ll keep in touch. We have to make sure we can meet up sometimes and you have to promise to come to some volleyball matches once I make the team!! You’re
my best friends!” The tears built in Shouyou’s eyes as he said this. “I’ll miss you guys and still wish we were going to the same High School, but this isn’t goodbye for good!!”
The first tears fell down his face with his proclamation.
“Don’t cry, Shouyou. We’ll still hang out, have sleepovers, and play sports together when we can. You’re stuck with us, for life!”
“Yeah, Shou! This is the farthest from the end as it could possibly be!” Izumi exclaimed.
“Thank you, so much. I love you guys!!”
Little did he know how much happiness and pain those words gave his best friends. Not that they’d ever regret hearing it.
“Love you too, Shou!” They say back together.
With another round of crushing hugs and kisses, they go their separate ways at the end of the day.
The months pass and Shouyou prepares for his first day of High School before he knows it. He’s trained as hard as he can, practiced until he made himself sick, and reminded himself daily that he was aiming to be Karasuno’s Ace, just like the Little Giant he saw on that TV. all those years ago!!! He was both nervous and excited, freaking out and calm, ready and so not ready for his first High School experience. For better or worse, the day is upon him.