Kageyama Tobio and Ushijima Wakatoshi are on the same volleyball team now, which is reason #1452 Oikawa is sure the universe is plotting against him.
“He did it on purpose, Iwa-chan!” he wails to Iwaizumi over Skype, the day the article about Kageyama’s college decision comes out in Volleyball Monthly. “They’re working together to make my life horrible!”
“I think you overestimate just how much Kageyama and Ushiwaka give a shit about you, after so much time has passed,” Iwaizumi says calmly.
“I think you under estimate how important I am to their character development!” Oikawa huffs.
Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. He’s doing his physics homework. They have these Skype study dates every so often, in an attempt to recreate the feeling of grade school when they could actually spend all their time together in person. Today, though, Oikawa just happened to call him while he was doing homework.
“Anyway, you’re at Todai, they’re at Chuo, the only time you’ll ever have to interact with them at all is when you’re up against each other on the court.” Iwaizumi flips a page in his textbook, rapidly losing interest in the conversation.
“But what if they beat me because Tobio-chan’s a prodigy and Ushiwaka’s Ushiwaka?” In the past three years, Oikawa’s team had beaten Ushijima’s twice, out of five games. Which is better than high school, maybe, but still not great.
“As a first year, Kageyama will probably be on the reserve team for a while,” Iwaizumi points out. “And even if he’s not, it’s not just you versus those two, you have a whole team you’ve been playing with for two years now to back you up. Anyway, don’t you have work to do?”
Oikawa blows a raspberry at his laptop screen. Iwaizumi’s right, of course. He usually is. Tokyo’s a big city. It is incredibly unlikely he’ll just run into his nemeses (Iwa-chan thinks he shouldn’t call people that, but that’s exactly what they are, dammit) on the street. Tokyo University and Chuo are in totally different neighborhoods, too.
So it is therefore a completely reasonable reaction on Oikawa’s part when, not even two months after that conversation, he runs into Ushijima and Kageyama on the street and accuses them of stalking him.
“WHY ARE YOU HERE?” Oikawa screams, pointing dramatically between the two of them. They’re in Shibuya, right next to the famous crosswalk. It is packed with people, but volleyball players are tall and athletic and pretty noticeable in general. Oikawa definitely wasn’t looking for them, because he doesn’t go out of his way to look for people he wants to avoid. That would be silly.
“I go to Chuo now, Oikawa-san,” Kageyama says carefully. “And so does Ushijima-san.”
“But why are you here , in the same place as me, right now? Are you stalking me? Did you know I was going to be in Shibuya today?”
“We were just on our way to lunch, Oikawa,” Ushijima says. “I intend to give Kageyama some advice about playing for the university volleyball team.”
“Ushijima-san’s been very helpful,” Kageyama cuts in, and Oikawa can hear the unlike you in the sentence as clearly as if he’d said it out loud and oh, how he hates Tobio-chan. He twirls around on one foot.
“Congratulations, Tobio-chan! Please never speak to me again. That goes double for you, Ushiwaka-chan.”
They both nod solemnly at this, and Oikawa remembers one of the reasons why he hates them so much in the first place: they never give him the reaction he’s hoping for.
“Anyway, I’m late to a thing, so, see you never, hopefully,” Oikawa says smoothly, and speedwalks in the opposite direction of where he was planning to go. He ducks behind a street light and watches them shrug at each other in confusion and disappear into the crowd.
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: Iwa-chan you lied to me
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: context??
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: you said I’m not gonna run into ushiwaka or tobiochan outside of volleyball games
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: GUESS FUCKIGN WHAT
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: lmao.
That really should’ve been the end of it. But, as was previously established, the universe is plotting against Oikawa Tooru.
A few weekends later, Oikawa’s teammate, Kuroo, and his friend from another school, Bokuto, invite Oikawa to an owl cafe in Asakusa, and he goes, because who doesn’t want to pet an owl? They take off their shoes and pay for the admission fee, and Oikawa turns around and immediately sees fucking Ushiwaka and Tobio-chan. They’re looking at a puffed-up screech owl next to a sign that says “DO NOT TOUCH” and muttering about something. Probably something stupid, Oikawa thinks.
Oikawa resists the urge to scream this time because he doesn’t want to scare the owls.
“Oh shit, it’s Ushijima,” Kuroo says, behind him. “Third-best high school-level spiker in Japan. Bokuto was always kinda salty about that.”
“Oh, good, so I’m not the only one,” Oikawa replies.
Bokuto is currently making pleasant conversation with the girl behind the counter while he tries to find exact change for the admission ticket. Kuroo looks back and forth between Bokuto and Ushijima for a moment, then decides, to Oikawa’s profound horror, to walk over to Ushijima.
“Kuroo-san!” Kageyama blurts out, looking surprised. Surprised and profoundly uncomfortable. The owls turn to look at them.
“Sup, guys. Fancy running into you here,” Kuroo says. Ushijima nods stiffly. He reaches a hand out and strokes a nearby owl, because if he paid to be in an owl cafe, he is going to get his money’s worth.
“ Why are you here, again, ” Oikawa hisses, coming up behind them. The owls make disgruntled ruffly noises.
“I thought you didn’t want to talk to us,” Kageyama says, and Oikawa glares at him.
“Obviously that doesn’t apply when I’m asking you the very important question of WHY DO I KEEP RUNNING INTO YOU IN A CITY OF NINE MILLION PEOPLE.”
“Maybe it’s a coincidence? We’re all college students who play volleyball and know more or less the same people, we’ll probably go to the same places sometimes,” Kuroo says. “Chill, Oikawa.”
Bokuto finally comes over and...does not notice his volleyball rivals. “DUDE, THIS ONE LOOKS LIKE ME,” he whisper-yells, so as not to disturb the animals too much, and leans over to pet the horned owl. “Kuroo, take my picture.”
“Sure thing, bro.” They spend some time figuring out a pose that captures the similarity between Bokuto and the owl well, because the lighting in the jungle-themed space was dim and dark. Then Bokuto takes 37 pictures of a dark,sleepy-looking owl that he decides looks exactly like Akaashi. And at least a dozen pictures of every other owl in the cafe.
Kageyama and Ushijima make their way out, and Oikawa sighs with relief. Besides owls, the cafe has a tank of hedgehogs, an iguana, a parrot, and a meerkat you can pet on request. It’s very therapeutic. It would have been more therapeutic if he didn’t have to see certain people’s faces before petting the animals, but the universe, as always, had to plot against Oikawa Tooru.
He’s not sure if he’s deliberately looking for Those Two every time he leaves campus or if they’re stalking him, but it keeps fucking happening. One day, it starts raining out of nowhere, so he ducks into a Lawson’s to get an umbrella and maybe some milkbread, and Those Two are standing at the register buying milk drinks! What the fuck!
He goes to the 7-11 two blocks over instead.
When he’s picking up Iwaizumi at Tokyo station one weekend, he sees Tobio-chan talking to the short redhead from Karasuno nearby. Oikawa grabs his friend by the shoulders and forcefully steers him away from the shinkansen exit until his least favorite underclassmen are out of sight.
“Trashikawa what the fuck--”
“Iwa-chan, have I told you about how Tobio-chan and Ushiwaka-chan are stalking me?” Oikawa says, lightly.
“Yes, and I told you you were being ridiculous and paranoid. Dumbass,” Iwaizumi adds for good measure.
“Didn’t you see him back there though? What are the odds both of us would be meeting someone at the shinkansen station on the same day AT THE SAME TIME? It can’t be a coincidence!”
“You know that English meme where the guy in the red shirt is falling down some stairs and the text says ‘it keeps happening?’ I am the guy in the red shirt. IT KEEPS HAPPENING, IWA-CHAN.”
Iwaizumi rolls his eyes.
The final piece of evidence that Those Two are stalking him or otherwise out to get him falls into place when Oikawa runs into Tobio-chan and Ushiwaka-chan somewhere they have no legitimate reason to be: outside Todai’s library. On the campus of a university Those Two do not attend, and on a day they don’t have a volleyball game at that.
Oikawa turns around, finds a quiet corner, calls Iwaizumi, and screams.
Oikawa blows off his homework for a bit and makes a list of reasons why he keeps running into Kageyama and Ushijima around Tokyo. He then Skypes Iwaizumi and reads the list out loud to him, because of course Iwaizumi has nothing better to do on a weeknight than to listen to Oikawa’s conspiracy theories.
“Okay, so, Theory One,” Oikawa says, holding up his piece of paper. “They’re actually aliens taking the shape of my worst enemies to weaken me psychologically and make me more susceptible to brainwashing. That would be a pretty cool movie,” Oikawa says. “Deep and psychological and all that.”
“It might be a cool movie but it sure as hell isn’t a thing that’s happening in real life,” Iwaizumi retorts.
“Fine, fine. Theory two: They’re actually aliens, and always have been, which is why they’re so good at volleyball and also so fucking annoying. When you look at it that way it would explain a lot,” Oikawa says, and Iwaizumi rolls his eyes the way he always does.
“Theory three! They’re trying to weaken me psychologically so they’ll win the next volleyball game. This is far too convoluted and cerebral for Ushiwaka and Tobio-chan’s dumb muscle brains.” Iwaizumi tries not to laugh.
“How many more of these have you got?” he asks, and Oikawa holds the list up to the camera to show him that it continues on both sides. “Jesus christ, Shittykawa.”
“Anyway! Theory number whatever: They’re trying to get me to transfer to Chuo!”
“But why,” Iwaizumi deadpans.
“I don’t know, Iwa-chan! It’s just a theory!” He clears his throat. “How about this: They want to recruit me for a threesome.”
Iwaizumi chokes on his coffee and says, “What the actual fuck, Oikawa.”
“Do you have any better ideas?” Oikawa demands.
“Yeah. There is no conspiracy, it’s just a bunch of weird coincidences, and you need to chill, Shittykawa.”
“How about maybe you chill,” Oikawa retorts, and sticks his tongue out.
“Okay, this might sound crazy, but hear me out,” Iwaizumi says, a painfully familiar Humoring Oikawa’s Bullshit expression on his face. “What if you just...asked them what was going on next time you saw them?”
Oikawa splutters. “That is... How dare you.”
“What, is asking them going to ruin your fun or something?” Iwaizumi asks.
Oikawa gasps exaggeratedly. “Being stalked by creepy volleyball-brained idiots is not my idea of fun!”
“Isn’t it, though?” Oikawa can hear the amusement in his friend’s voice, and wishes for the thousandth Iwaizumi had ended up in Tokyo with him.
“Bye, Iwa-chan!” He clicks “end call”, feeling both vaguely embarrassed and better than before.
When you think you’re being stalked by creeps, the logical next step is to stalk them back. That’s what Oikawa says to himself when he casually walks around by Chuo’s volleyball gym and just so happens to see certain individuals leaving it. He sits down on a bench and holds up a newspaper to hide his face and observes as Those Two make their way to...the dining hall on campus. How...predictable and underwhelming.
Anyway, he doesn’t have any classes for the rest of the day, so he might as well just keep this up until he gets bored. He pulls out a milkbread and watches Tobio-chan and Ushiwaka-chan interact pleasantly with each other and the rest of their teammates. How dare they.
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: I decided to stalk them back to figure out what they’re up to
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: oh my god stop
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: what if they get a restraining order or something
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: imagine what your team would say
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: well that sure would be a worst-case scenario
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: anyway they’re really boring when they’re not following me around as it turns out
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: I really don’t think they were following you around in the first place but ok
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: shhhhhhhh
To be fair, the next three times Oikawa sees his least favorite people, only two of those times he was stalking them. He wears a hat and sunglasses to hide his identity better and follows at a distance where he can hear what they’re saying and easily duck out of view. To his surprise and disappointment, his name does not come up much.
“We have a match against Todai next week, right?” Kageyama asks, the second time Oikawa accidentally-on-purpose finds himself outside his rivals’ volleyball gym. Oikawa is very casually standing behind a tree and looking in the opposite direction. He hears Ushijima make an affirmative noise.
“Is that why Oikawa-san’s standing behind that tree, then? Trying to gather information on his opponents?” Kageyama continues to speak, and Oikawa freezes. He slowly sinks to the ground and pulls his phone out like a lifeline.
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: IWA-CHAN MISSION COMPROMISED I]’VE BEEN MADE
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: you brought this on your own damn self. Suffer
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: so unsympathetic to my plight </3
“Should we confront him?” Kageyama’s saying, more quietly than usual but still loud enough for Oikawa to hear. Oikawa debates whether or not he should just run away. Like a coward.
“No, Oikawa told us he doesn’t want to speak to us ever again, didn’t he? Although he keeps contradicting himself on that point, so I’m not entirely sure anymore.”
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: just fucking talk to them jfc
Oikawa can’t just talk to them, though, because, as this whole thing continues, the tiny possibility that none of his elaborate conspiracy theories are actually true and Iwaizumi was right all along seems more and more likely. And Oikawa does not like being wrong.
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: WHY DIDN’T OYU STOP ME EARLIER
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: probably bc I can’t punch you over skype
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: I miss u but also that’s mean :’(
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: you’re texting me to avoid something aren’t you
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: ....no.............what makes you say that.......................
Oikawa jumps. “Ah! Yes! Hello.” Oikawa does his best to stall while he works his way through the process of making up a plausible reason for his presence. “You may be wondering why I’m here today! Well! The truth is...” Everything in my life that has led up to this moment has been a complete and utter goddamn mistake, Oikawa thinks, and then blurts out, “I am here to visit...Kenma-chan! You may know him, he was Nekoma’s setter way back when? Good friends with Kuroo-kun?”
Oikawa has met Kenma all of three times by this point in his life, and is not a hundred percent convinced he goes to Chuo at all, but he is certain that of everyone he knows, Kenma is the most likely to go along with the deception, if only because it’ll be less effort than dealing with any kind of drama.
“You’re here to visit Kenma,” Kageyama says, flatly.
“Shockingly enough, Tobio-chan, sometimes people you know are friends with other people you know!”
Ushijima gives Oikawa a long, considering look. “It seemed as though you were the one having difficulty understanding that concept, Oikawa.”
Oikawa squawks defensively, the way he does when Iwaizumi lands a particularly irritating insult on him.
Somehow, he’s not sure how, he might have lapsed into a trance at some point during the most hellish interaction of his life (or maybe Iwaizumi somehow possessed him), Oikawa ends up making plans to go to that one hedgehog cafe with Ushijima and Kageyama next week. He’s on the subway staring at the reminder in his phone’s calendar when the extent of just how much he does not want to be in this situation hits him. He sags down in his seat with a total disregard for proper train etiquette.
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: did u possess me or something bc I don’t know why on earth I ended up agreeing to this
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: what did you do this time
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: I agreed to a 1.5 date. Like a double date but with 3 ppl
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: isn’t that just third-wheeling
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: are ushiwaka and kageyama even dating??
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: idk they might be
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: THE IMPORTANT PART IS it’ll be the 3 of us and a bunch of hedgehogs at the hedgehog cafe and I want DEATH
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: l m a o
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: maybe I can come down with an illness. If i do will u vouch for me
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: lol fuck no
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: I HVE A BETTER IDEA
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: FUCK no
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: idek what it is i just know i want no part in it
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: I’ll pay for your train ticket and the cafe
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: ............
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: we can spend the rest of the weekend doing whatever u want
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: and don’t u want to pat the cute hedgehogs in the cute hedgehog cafe
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: ............
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: fine
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: but only because I’d rather watch this trainwreck in person
Tooru (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ: !!!! love you iwa-chan ur the best <3 <3 <3
Iwa-chan ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶: I know
“I can’t believe I actually went along with this,” Iwaizumi says when Oikawa picks him up at the station, and then continues to say so at regular intervals until the two of them meet up with Ushijima and Kageyama. It’s a comfortable, familiar refrain that reminds Oikawa of all those other times throughout his life he managed to drag Iwaizumi into his shenanigans.
They get to the cafe ten minutes before the agreed upon meeting time, and Oikawa’s least favorite people show up five minutes after they do.
“Iwaizumi-san!” Kageyama says, surprised. Ushijima nods, stoic and expressionless as ever.
“Oikawa didn’t tell you I was coming?” Iwaizumi sighs. “Of course he didn’t. I’m here to mitigate any further disasters.”
“Iwa-chan, you can’t just say that!” Oikawa hisses, but he can’t even deny it at this point.
They go up the narrow staircase into the cafe and pay for their half-hour. Maybe this wasn’t the worst idea after all, Oikawa thinks, because he won’t be obligated to stay for more than that and he gets to pet hedgehogs. The four of them sit around two tanks of hedgehogs at the edge of the room, Oikawa and Iwaizumi on one side, Ushijima and Kageyama on the other. They get little papers explaining exactly how to hold the hedgehogs properly, and an option to buy the hedgehogs a snack, which they do not take.
“They’re so cute, Iwa-chan, don’t you want to feed them?” Oikawa whines.
“Do you know what hedgehogs eat, Shittykawa? Worms. Live ones. Wriggly ones.” Iwaizumi has an expression on his face as though he has seen indescribable horrors. Oikawa is slightly concerned.
“Why do you know that?” His friend’s face settles into a far more comfortable annoyed glare.
“Believe it or not, I actually did some research before coming here,” Iwaizumi says.
Kageyama focuses on the hedgehog he’s holding. It’s small and covered in brown and white needles, and has a tiny pink nose. If he stares into its little round eyes he can almost forget the awkwardness of the situation he’s found himself in.
“What if we replaced volleyballs with rolled-up hedgehogs?” Oikawa says after a few minutes. The hedgehog in his hands had curled up into a spiky ball. It is adorable. “Spiking with actual spikes. Imagine.”
Everyone within earshot turns to look at Oikawa, horrified. Iwaizumi smacks him on reflex. “I was kidding, god!” Oikawa says. He ducks down slightly.
The awkward silence resumes. “Well,” Iwaizumi says, “now that we’ve reestablished that Oikawa has the worst personality...He’s been bugging me for weeks now about how you guys are both stalking him and out to get him, somehow. He has a list of theories.”
Oikawa can feel himself slowly turning red with embarrassment, but he doesn’t have the energy to protest anymore. Also, he doesn’t want to wake the hedgehog in his hands. Its name is Twinkle, according to the label on the tank.
“I’m sorry about saying that thing about volleyball, I didn’t mean it,” he whispers to the hedgehog. Iwaizumi ignores the fact that Oikawa is talking to a hedgehog in favor of continuing to spill his innermost secrets to his nemeses.
“Why would we stalk Oikawa?” Ushijima asks, betraying no emotion.
“There were a lot of theories,” Iwaizumi says. “So, were you?”
“No,” Kageyama says. “It was honestly just coincidence. Ushijima-san is my friend, so sometimes we spend time together, and sometimes Oikawa-san happens to be in the same places as me and Ushijima-san. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”
“Sounds fake but okay,” Oikawa says.