"Sleep, Issei, I know you're tired."
The words sounded like absolute heaven to him as he laid there, with his face hidden in the crook of his boyfriend's neck, Hanamaki's arms holding him tightly, keeping him warm.
They'd spent the past month and a half preparing for this one week of final exams, wishing every five minutes that it could just be over, hoping that they could actually make it until the end without absolutely losing it. Admittedly, it wasn't pretty; Matsukawa was pretty sure he'd failed at least one of their exams if not two - maths and literature really weren't his forte - and he was tired, so hellishly tired.
Matsukawa knew Hanamaki was tired too: knew that, even if not as much as himself, he had had to cram a bit, because, surprisingly - or not - a month and a half wasn't nearly enough. Especially not when you have volleyball, sleep and a social life to balance with all the classes a third year has to take.
But it was over. Finally over. No more hell week, no more classes. The term had come to an end and so had the school year and, for them and some of their friends, so had school altogether.
That fact still hadn't quite settled for the two of them. Not when everything was still very much the same: the same town, the same route back home, the same people, the same routine. Nothing had changed yet, so for all they knew, come Monday, they'd wake up at around bright 7 a.m., put their uniforms on, grab their lunches, meet where their streets turn into one and head back to school like they had for the past three years.
Come Monday, however, they could sleep well into the afternoon and not even change out of their pyjamas. Graduation wasn't until a month from then.
It sounded so freeing and yet was so weirdly terrifying to talk about if not just for the changes that came with it.
Matsukawa and Hanamaki had talked about it before, of course. Hanamaki had brought it up first, on a Friday afternoon much like the present one, with the sun setting far from them, it's last rays still making their way through the blinds on Hanamak's bedroom' window.
They had made plans to attend the same university, room together at all cost, keep each other as close as possible; because they could handle long train rides and they could handle a whole new city but not being apart.
The thought of it hurt more than either of them ever thought something could hurt. Maybe they were being dramatic, Matsukawa even joked about it himself through teary eyes that threatened to spill, but there was no use risking something that could be prevented.
After talking among themselves they talked to Oikawa and Iwaizumi, who'd made very similar plans. Their friends wouldn't be in the same university as them but they wouldn't be far; Tokyo was a big city, but it was hard to be far when there's a university in practically every corner.
Everything was settled, for the most part, and yet their imminent graduation was still as daunting as it seemed far away when they started their first year.
Maybe it was an uneasiness that'd go away as soon as they got their diplomas; maybe it wouldn't. All there was really left to do was wait: for their exam results, for the exams they had one last chance to retake and then, eventually, the big day.
"I don't wanna sleep just yet."
Unlike how it usually was, Hanamaki's room was quiet: the TV wasn't playing in the background, not even the computer was on. All they wanted was quiet and warmth and each other.
"You said you wanted to sleep."
Matsukawa had wanted that not even half an hour ago. Because he was exhausted and he deserved after the many sleepless nights he'd spent studying over the course of the last few weeks.
At that moment, however, he wanted to just be: be in Hanamaki's room and be on Hanamaki's bed and be next to Hanamaki. How many more times would he be able to be like that before everything changed?
He explained it to Hanamaki how it was, what he thought, what he felt. He told him he knew they'd be back but not as they were then because after graduation it'd be different and after university it'd be different too and he wanted to enjoy everything as it was then.
Hanamaki listened and understood him, felt every word as if it had left his own mouth and held his boyfriend tighter for good measure.
It was hard to explain but it wasn't fear that they felt, because no matter how daunting graduation sounded, it sounded equally as exciting at the same time. The same went for moving out, living in a new city and attending university. They were curious about what was to come.
It was an odd kind of nostalgia associated with something that wasn't gone just yet but that they could almost feel slipping through their fingers: their walks to and from school, lunch break with their friends, volleyball club with their team; everything that had made up their days for the past three years and that was slowly but surely disappearing in front of their eyes.
It was also a sort of sweet sadness or bitter happiness; a gladness for having lived every moment and regret of not having committed it all to memory a bit better, no matter how impossible that would have been.
They were feelings that would surely fade away with time, the less that they thought about them, but that weighed them down as they became aware of them.
"No matter how much we change, we'll always have each other, Issei. You know that, don't you?"
Matsukawa knew. It was an old promise they'd made to each other, soon after they became friends, that they'd renewed when they started dating and that was implied in every 'I love you'.
They fell silent, lulled by the warmth that surrounded them. Matsukawa kept his eyes closed, felt Hanamaki's chest fall and rise again and again. He felt himself drift off into sleep as he listened to his boyfriends breathing evening out as well.
"I love you, Hiro."
Hanamaki pressed a kiss to the top of Matsukawa's head and cuddled him closer again.
"I love you too, Issei."