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winner takes all

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"I thought you were fine with the score being even forever but you just had to win, didn't you? Dumbass."

 

-

 

"That's. . . three hundred and fifty-one. . . wins and three hundred. . . and forty-nine losses. . . for me," Kageyama pants, stuttering in between his words, trying to catch his breath. "When are you going to catch up?"

Hinata scowls indignantly from where he was sprawled on the gym floor. "Shut up! You're only two wins ahead, idiot!"

"Well, before you know it you'll be a hundred behind," He smiles mockingly, knowing it will only infuriate the boy further.

Their teammates have already arrived, content on just watching them bicker as it is their daily routine. Some are amused—he's pretty sure Tanaka and Nishinoya are betting on who will finally win their stupid competition—and others, namely Tsukishima, are looking at them with a why-do-i-have-to-endure-this-everyday look on their faces.

"Oh, yeah? I bet I could do more sit ups in two minutes than you can!"

"You're on."

And then they're up and dragging their own partners to count for them, mindfully ignoring their captain's "Oi, you two, cut it out!"

 

-

 

"Papa," comes a small voice from behind him, "why are your eyes sad?"

Little Himari's big amber eyes curiously scans the room. "Is Daddy not home yet? Is that why? Do you miss him? Because I miss him too! I hope he comes home already because he said he'd teach me the volley thingy you both used to play! What's taking him so long? I want to see him now!"

Kageyama closes his eyes because he couldn't stand the hopeful expression on their daughter's face.

 

-

 

What just happened?

One moment he and Hinata were just fighting over who gets to take the window seat, and then the next they're both red and wide-eyed. His cheeks feel like they are going to combust any minute now, but then again, looking at Hinata blushing so wildly that the color of his face clashes with his hair so bad, he can't help but want to laugh if only he wasn't feeling so damn uncomfortable because just what the hell happened?

He is frozen, back stiff, lips tingly and throat dry.

"I-I'm sorry...! I didn't k-know. . . I mean, uh, I just. . . ohmygodpleasedontkillme!"

Hinata is badly shaking, his eyes wide and darting left to right, his face so red, looking completely mortified that Kageyama would have found it funny had this been any other situation.

Seeing him not responding, Hinata stumbles over his explanation. "I didn't mean to do it but, like, you were looking so angry, and I just want to shut you up? B-because, uh, if I didn't then you'd become even more riled up and mad a-and it's not like I want to kiss you, anyway. I mean, I do. . . wait, no! Ugh, I just, I'm really so—"

He kisses him. It's nothing extreme, just a peck, really, but it effectively shuts the other boy up.

Kageyama stays like that, lips pressed against Hinata's, and when he feels him relax and smile, he leans back a little. "Dumbass."

Hinata Shouyou is grinning like mad and it makes Kageyama want to punch him and kiss him at the same time. But then again, he always feels that way whenever his orange-haired teammate is around him.

He's leaning in again with his eyes closed when he heard Hinata mutter "five hundred and seventy-three" and he stops.

"What?"

Hinata beams and he wants to throw him off the bus because why does that have to make his heart thud hard in his chest? "Five hundred and seventy-three wins for me."

And because Kageyama's brain decided to leave him now, he intelligently says "What?" one more time.

"I mean, it's only fair that I get a win, you know? Because I kissed you first. Your grouchy ass was probably too scared to make a move on me!"

He sputters, "Why, you—" but Hinata makes his lips too preoccupied to speak.

And maybe he likes it that way.

 

-

 

"Papa, why are you crying?"

 

-

 

College is hard, his days are always long and tiring—today is no different—and honestly, all Kageyama wants to do is fall asleep, cocooned in blankets with his boyfriend snuggling in his arms.

Unfortunately, said boyfriend has other plans.

"Kageyama?"

He gives a soft grunt in reply, his fingers not stopping in combing through his orange locks.

"If we die. . . I mean, will it be counted as a win to whichever of us dies first?"

Kageyama stills his hand, shock making his body tense. "What are you talking about?"

Hinata pushes his torso up, leaning on his elbow to look down at him. "Like," he gestures wildy with his hand as he tries to find the right words to say, "Almost half of our scores came from races of any sort, right? The first to get to the gym, the first to finish lunch, the first to arrive in class—that sort of thing? Well, does it also apply to our deaths?"

He couldn't say anything; he doesn't even know what to say. Numbness spread from where his fingers are threaded through Hinata's hair to the rest of his body.

It's not the prospect of dying that bothers him. Kageyama knows that it's inevitable, that it's no use dwelling on something that will come whether or not he prepares for it. Rather, it's the realization that even after everything he and Hinata has been through, there's still something that could separate them.

They do everything together. Even back in high school, even before they started dating, they've been inseparable. Their former teammates used to tease them about it, saying that their "rivalry" is their own twisted way of flirting.

Now, Kageyama couldn't imagine what his life had been before Hinata came.

It's terrifying—this thought that he had completely entrusted his heart and soul to just one person. To have that person gain complete control of him. But Kageyama knows, he's sure, that should he be given a chance to go back in time, he wouldn't change a thing.

If the boy beside him, the one with the too-bright smile and the too-warm eyes, will be the death of him, then he'll die a happy man.

"Dumbass, we'll keep the score even from now on. No one wins."

"But—"

He tucks Hinata close to his chest, tangles their legs, and places a soft kiss on his head. "Shut up and go to sleep."

A beat passed. Two beats. Three. Four. Then he hears a soft "okay" and Kageyama swears he felt Hinata smile against his neck.

 

-

 

"Sweetie, come here."

Himari timidly steps forward, her round eyes filled with confusion.

"Did you," Kageyama clears his throat when he hears his voice break just a little bit. "Did you know that your Daddy was a winner?"

A joyful gasp escapes his daughter as she starts jumping up and down. Kageyama can feel his resolve cracking because there's another person who loves jumping too and goddamn it he's not here anymore he's gone he's gone he's gone he's go— "Really? I want to be a winner, too! Papa, I want to be a winner, too! Can I be like Daddy?"

"Of course!" Kageyama has to force the words out because he knows that he needs to be strong for Himari. For Hinata. For their family. "Daddy is—was—a winner so he got a reward."

The little girl is practically vibrating with excitement, her smile so bright, her eyes too warm—

—and Kageyama remembers a different smile. He imagines another pair of too-warm eyes.

"What's Daddy's reward?"

"Angels took him to a golden kingdom where he'll stay and live like a king! Isn't that great?"

Almost immediately, her lips begins quivering, and tears are starting to well up in her eyes. "B-but doesn't that mean that h-he won't come home a-anymore?"

He tries to hold it back, he really does, but a single tear still manages to escape. "We'll see him soon. I promise."

 

-

 

"Kageyama?"

"Shh, I'm here. I'm here. I'm not leaving."

"I. . . I think I'm gonna win this. Remember when w-we talked about it? F. . . Finally, I g-get to beat you."

"Stop talking, dumbass. Goddamn it. You won't win. I won't ever let you. Got that?"

"If y-you say so."

 

-

 

After tucking Himari to bed, Kageyama returns to their room.

For awhile he just stood there, silently surveying and observing and memorizing every little detail of their safe haven.

He notices that everything is in their right places. All except one thing. All except the most important thing. That one person he needs right now.

Kageyama walks over to the nightstand where a framed photo stood. It's a picture of them, from when they graduated high school which, coincidentally, is also their first year of officially being together. Hinata had jumped on him, riding piggyback, with a big grin on his face. His hands are pinching Kageyama's cheeks, and the latter was wearing a scowl, although his blush was very apparent.

They looked so happy. Though Kageyama was frowning in the photo, there was a spark in his eyes that gave away just what he's truly feeling.

He will never see that bright smile again. He will never have those too-warm eyes look at him so tenderly. Kageyama will never hear his laugh, will never hold him, will never kiss him again.

No more Shouyou.

When Kageyama sees a volleyball peeking out from just under their bed, he breaks.

And then. . . and then he starts crying.

 

-

 

"Don't worry, B-Bakageyama! I won't. . . gloat too much," a pained whimper escapes Hinata's lips which he tries to hold back, "for w-winning."

Kageyama sees one last smile. One last smile from the man who gave light to his life.

And then the line went flat.

 

~