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you don't have to say i love you (to say i love you)

Chapter Text

“Okay,” Hajime says, voice dangerously low, “let me just run this by one more time.” Oikawa grins that infuriatingly confident grin, crossing his legs and leaning back on Hajime’s couch as if it’s his own. “You told your mom you were gay to stop her from trying to set you up with girls. She thinks it’s a phase or you’re lying, which you are , so you want me to come over and pretend to be your boyfriend so she’ll believe it’s real. Which it’s not.”

“You’ve always been slow, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says cheerfully.

Hajime opens and closes his mouth.

“I hate you,” he says after a long moment, running a hand through his hair and exhaling slowly. “So much. I hate you so much, Oikawa, and I hope one day you realize how awful you are and cry at your empty husk of a soul.” Oikawa bounces off the couch.

“That’s a yes, then?”

“That’s a yes,” Hajime confirms. Oikawa grins again.

“Excellent. Just don’t fall in love with me,” he trills. “I know I’m pretty irresistible.” He loops his arms around Hajime’s neck and rests his chin on his shoulder. Hajime glares at Oikawa’s hands, but he doesn’t move.

“I’ve managed not to for the past ten years,” he replies after a long moment of comfortable silence. “I think I’ll be fine.”

“Well, you never know,” Oikawa hums against the nape of Hajime’s neck. Hajime’s ticklish, he thinks, because it tingles whenever Oikawa presses his lips there. “Boyfriend Oikawa is a different breed of irresistible.” Hajime rolls his eyes.

“No matter what labels we put on this,” he says, “you’re still Shitkawa to me.”

Oikawa presses himself off of Hajime’s back (he acts like he doesn’t miss the warmth) and crosses his arms. “Don’t call me Shitkawa in front of my parents, Iwa-chan,” he warns.

“I’ve been calling you Shitkawa in front of your parents forever.”

“But now we’re boyfriends , so it’s different.” A phone buzzes, and Oikawa lets out a sigh. “You’re coming over for dinner this Saturday. It’s gonna be sunny, warm, all around springlike. Perfect time to break the news, don’t you think?”

“I hate you,” Hajime repeats, sounding and feeling more resigned than he means to. “I hate you so, so much.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Oh, Hajime!” Oikawa’s mother says with a beam - like Oikawa’s, but about a million times more genuine and less shit-eating. “We weren’t expecting you here, but stay for dinner.” She leans in conspiratorially. “Actually, do you know about Tooru’s boyfriend? We’ve been dying to meet him ever since he came out to us.”

“I, uh,” Hajime stammers. He already wants to run far, far away and never come back. (Okay, he’ll come back, but only to punch Oikawa in his dumb perfect face.)

“Mom,” Oikawa drawls, appearing behind her as if he’s a ghost. “You’re talking to the boyfriend right now.” He smiles at Hajime, who finds himself missing the regular overconfident Shittykawa grins. This one’s tender, and it makes Hajime’s chest ache just a little bit. He’s not sure why, but he doesn’t like it. “Hi, Hajime.”

Hajime bites his tongue.

“Hi, Tooru,” he replies in a sickly sweet tone.

Oikawa’s mother’s mouth drops.

“Oh,” she says, and then after a long pause, “ oh. ” She smiles, pulling Hajime in for a hug. “You know, it makes sense when I think about it. There were a few times when I wondered, to tell the truth.”

Hajime glares at Oikawa over her shoulder, and Oikawa flashes him a devilish grin.

“Hajime!” Oikawa's father exclaims upon seeing him. “We weren't expecting you, but - ”

“He's the boyfriend, Dad,” Oikawa says, rubbing the space between his eyebrows. Hajime smiles sheepishly. Oikawa's father's mouth forms an o , and he smiles back.

“Well. Come in for dinner, then.”

“Ah,” Oikawa's mother says as Hajime helps set the table, “I was worried about making food that Tooru's boyfriend would like, so I made agedashi tofu because it reminded me of you.” She smiles brightly. “Things have a way of working out, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” Hajime murmurs, feeling an odd tightness in his chest as he watches Oikawa ramble to his father about his newest alien conspiracy theory. “They really do.”

They sit down for dinner, Oikawa threading his fingers through Hajime’s. It’s nice - normal, for the most part, other than a few overly affectionate asides. Hajime forgot he’s always been like this with Oikawa, something close to being a couple (without romantic feelings, obviously). “So how did you guys figure this out?” Oikawa’s father asks, motioning between them as he chews on his tofu.

Oikawa and Hajime send each other panicked glances. They should’ve planned this out better. Oikawa should’ve planned this out better, Hajime thinks, affronted. I had nothing to do with this. I’m just the victim.

“Well, uh,” Oikawa begins, flashing a trademark smile, “one day I was at practice a little too late. I was doing laps for - three hours, I think? At least,” he laughs, “that’s what Iwa - Hajime said. He exaggerates a lot to get me to stop.”

“Wait,” Hajime says. This actually happened.

Oikawa stares at him as he continues speaking. “Hajime, um, tried to get me to stop, because apparently I looked like I was ready to die or something, but I didn’t. He ran into me so that I’d have to stop, carried me off the court, and set me down on the bench before telling me I was,” he swallows, “good enough the way I am. That’s when I knew.” There’s something soft in the way he’s looking at Hajime now, and Hajime wants to look away, but he can’t.

Oikawa glances back at his parents and grins again. “So then I kissed him, and here we are.”

“That’s very cute,” Oikawa’s mother says, leaning over to pinch his cheeks. Oikawa groans and affectionately bats her hands away.

“Although I was caught off guard,” Oikawa’s father says after they all finish, “by all this, I’m glad you’re the man Tooru’s chosen.”

“Yeah,” Hajime stammers. He glances at Oikawa, face suddenly warm. “Me too.” Oikawa smiles at him, that damn tender look in his eye again.

“Thanks,” he says as they approach their apartment complex, slinging an arm around Hajime’s shoulder and leaning into him. “For doing all this, I mean. You didn’t have to.”

Hajime shrugs, for some reason feeling a lot better than when he came. “Yeah,” he says noncommittally. “I can’t really say no to you, though. You know that.” Oikawa grins.

“Of course I do, Iwa-chan.” He looks away for half a moment before glancing back, still wearing the boyfriend grin despite his parents not being around. “That’s why I asked.” There’s a tense but not quite ugly silence before he speaks again. “Sleepover today?”

“You live literally a floor down,” Hajime says. Oikawa sticks his tongue out.

“I’m cold all the time and you have the heat of like, a volcano or something. I need your warmth, Iwa-chan,” he moans, throwing himself onto Hajime and stopping both of them in their tracks.

“You’re a vampire, Shitkawa,” Hajime replies. He needs to work out more, he thinks. For some reason his heart is pounding even though he’s barely walked anywhere.

“I’m your vampire,” Oikawa responds with his regular confident Oikawa smile, “Hajime.”

They don’t make it to the apartment complex until twenty minutes later, if only because Hajime feels the need to wrestle Oikawa until he apologizes.

Chapter Text

“Refreshing-kun!” Oikawa yells from across the quad. Suga turns around and flashes a peace sign, exchanging an exasperatedly amused glance with Daichi. Hajime mouths I’m sorry as they walk over.

“You’ve been skipping practice a lot,” Oikawa says once they’re within speaking earshot. “I miss your advice. You’re the only one who can tell me how to improve without being mean, ” he shoots a sharp glare at Hajime, who just smiles, “or being too nice.”

“I’m not even actually on the team,” Suga reminds him gently. “But I’ll show up just for you.” Oikawa smiles.

“Hey, I have to ask,” he says, and the tone in which he says it makes Hajime preemptively apologize, “how do you, like, be gay?”

Daichi coughs so hard he turns red, and Hajime punches Oikawa in the shoulder, causing Oikawa to hiss and punch him back.

“That’s,” Daichi gasps once he’s calmed down, “a good question. Um, you’re born with it, y’know, and you like men and not women. That’s it. That’s all the requirements.”

“No, but like,” Oikawa huffs. He crosses his arms and stands with his legs slightly apart like he always does when he’s pretending to be frustrated. Hajime rolls his eyes. “How do you convince your mom you’re gay, like good and proper, without actually… being gay?”

“Get a fake boyfriend,” Suga says immediately.

“Done that already,” Oikawa says, motioning towards Hajime.

“Wait,” Daichi says, “what?”

“Well,” Oikawa begins, but Daichi holds up a finger to shush him. He glares, but he complies nonetheless.

“I want to hear this from Iwaizumi,” he explains. “I trust him more.” Oikawa begins to splutter. “You were going to say something about how Iwaizumi’s secretly in love with you and you were just accommodating his feelings while pleasing your parents.”

“I was,” he agrees reluctantly, “going to say something to that effect.”

“Asskawa wants to prove to his parents that he’s gay, which he’s not, to stop them from trying to set him up with girls. I’m convenient,” Hajime yawns. “But apparently they’re not completely convinced yet, so he’s figuring out additional plans of action.”

“Just do something disgustingly affectionate in front of them,” Suga advises. “Like…” He trails off, watching Oikawa clamber onto Hajime as Hajime sighs and hoists Oikawa’s legs onto his waist. “Like what you’re doing right now, I guess.”

“I can see your problem,” Daichi mutters.

“You guys could kiss in front of them?” Suga suggests. Hajime and Oikawa both gag, though Hajime feels his heart slamming against his ribcage. He swears he feels Oikawa’s, too, but he’s probably just imagining things. “Okay, I see why that would be objectionable.”

“Oh!” Daichi exclaims. They all stare. “You always make fun of each other. That’s not something that couples do.” Suga glances at him.

“I make fun of you all the time,” he says, and Daichi rolls his eyes.

“You don’t call me variations of shitty, trashy, ass, crappy - ”

“Understood,” Hajime blurts, cutting Daichi off before he can further elaborate. Oikawa grins smugly.

“And you’re always talking about how he’s going to die alone,” Daichi continues, now targeting Oikawa, whose smile is slowly sliding off his face. “That doesn’t even make sense; you guys are dating .”

“You make a fair point,” Oikawa responds thoughtfully, climbing back off of Hajime’s back to cross his arms. “Logically, I shouldn’t be rude to Iwa-chan and Iwa-chan shouldn’t call me every rude name ever created because we’re in a loving relationship now.” He looks at Hajime almost analytically, wearing that unreadable, cryptic expression Hajime’s caught him with a few times. “However, if we really were in a relationship, would Iwa-chan be any less rude to me and would I be any less rude to Iwa-chan?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Suga answers easily. “Because you’re not in a real relationship.”

“That’s true,” Hajime concedes, feeling something bitter and hot rise in his throat without quite understanding why. “That’s extremely true. Okay, so we just gotta be nicer to each other. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?”

“Maybe not for me, because I have the countenance of an angel, but for you , Iwa-chan - ” Hajime puts Oikawa in a headlock before he can continue.

“Trashkawa, you have the worst personality out of anyone I’ve ever met.”

“That’s only because you have like three friends ow that hurts stop it -

“You’re doing it again,” Daichi says smoothly. Hajime lets go, and Oikawa rubs his neck, glaring. “This is why they don’t believe you.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

For some reason, Suga’s words haunt Hajime long after he’s laid down in his bed, Oikawa next to him. (“You have your own damn apartment,” he’d said, resigned, and Oikawa had wordlessly flopped down and curled around him like a cat after a long day anyway.)

You guys could kiss in front of them.

If this keeps going for long enough, which, knowing Oikawa and his dramatic tendencies, it will, they’ll eventually have to kiss in front of his parents. So it’s only logical that Hajime’s thinking about it.

It’s only logical that he’s thinking about what cupping Oikawa’s face in the palm of his hand would feel like. Iwa-chan, Oikawa would tease, your hands are so calloused. You’re going to cut my perfect skin. It’s only logical that he’s imagining leaning in, gently slotting his lips against Oikawa’s - no, Oikawa would be a rough kisser, like he’s rough with everything else, or maybe not, since his boyfriend smiles are soft and tender -

Real Oikawa shifts against Hajime, murmuring something mostly unintelligible about space, and rests his leg on top of Hajime’s own.

This is weird, Hajime thinks, shutting his eyes and willing himself to imagine anything else. This isn’t what I’m supposed to be thinking about. Not a guy. Not Shittykawa, goddamnit.

Not Oikawa.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Rise and shine,” Oikawa trills far too early in the morning. Hajime grunts and rubs his eyes, turning over and covering his ears with his pillow. “We have practice today, and Refreshing-kun’s gonna be there to give me constructive advice.”

“I give you constructive advice,” Hajime says wearily. “You don’t need Suga.” Oikawa hums.

“No need to be jealous, Iwa-chan,” he says, pulling Hajime off the bed and yelping when Hajime shoves him off. “I still love you even if your advice is mean and angry.” Hajime glares. “Speaking of love, my parents called. They want us all to go out to dinner next week, fancy restaurant and everything.”

“Why do they want to hang out with us so much?” Hajime mutters.

“To scope out if it’s real or not,” Oikawa replies almost instantaneously. “So we have to be on our A game.”

“Yeah,” Hajime says, suddenly remembering what he was thinking about last night and averting his eyes. “Our A game.”

Suddenly Oikawa’s in his face, lips pursed and worry in his eyes. It’s almost strange when he gets genuine (not that he’s ever as fake with Hajime as he is with everyone else, but even after years of friendship, it feels like there’s yet another layer he has to pull back to see the real Oikawa). “Are you okay, Iwa-chan? You’re look red; do you have a fever?”

Hajime coughs. “Just tired, Shittykawa,” he says, stretching. “I have to go take a shower; we can leave right after.”

“I can join,” Oikawa says with an exaggerated wink. Hajime shoves him again.

By the time they get to practice, Oikawa has called Hajime some variation of lonely fifty four times despite the fact that they only live six minutes away. “I’m getting it all out of my system throughout the next few days,” he explains, and Hajime scowls. “Smile,” he advises. “It makes you look less like a demon.”

“I’m going to crash this car so that you die,” Hajime threatens. Oikawa snickers.

“If I die, you die too.”

“I’m willing to go down as long as you come with me.” Oikawa flutters his lashes, laying a gentle hand on Hajime’s shoulder and almost causing him to swerve into the wrong lane by doing so.

“Wow, Iwa-chan. No one’s ever said anything that romantic to me.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Iwaizumi,” Daichi calls. He’s not a captain anymore, but he still has the authoritative tone of one, commanding the attention of anyone he wants to. Iwaizumi looks up. “You’re glaring at the ball. Calm down.”

“Sorry,” he huffs, “it’s just the whole fake dating thing. It’s throwing me off.” He glances at Oikawa. “I don’t know if I’m cut out for this kind of thing.”

“You’ll be fine,” Daichi reassures. “Oikawa’s just being himself, and you’re used to that, so you should be okay until he decides this can end - ”

“I imagined kissing him yesterday,” Hajime interrupts as quietly as he can.

Daichi stares.

“Because, like, Shitkawa tends to drag things out for as long as he can when it involves annoying me, and like your fucking boyfriend said, I’m probably going to have to kiss him at some point, so I was just - playing it out in my head. It’s not weird.” Daichi opens his mouth and closes it again. “It’s not weird,” Hajime insists.

“It’s a little weird,” Daichi replies. “Just a little bit.” He sighs. “Are you sure you don’t…”

“Don’t what?” Hajime asks.

“Never mind,” Daichi says, and he rubs his eyes. “Get back to practice, and don’t be so angry at the ball next time. Sometimes,” he says carefully, “it’s better to be gentle and take things slow, as long as they’re moving somewhere.”

“Spiking is never gentle,” Hajime says, confused. “That’s the point.”

“Jesus - just stop being annoying and start hitting the ball, Iwaizumi.”

“But you called me here - ”

Daichi points at the court. “Leave,” he says. “Please. For my sake.”

Chapter Text

Oikawa’s a lot of things, Hajime finds himself remembering time and time again, and all of them are ruthless.

“Tobio-chan, Chibi-chan and some others from the Karasuno team are coming to visit the college next weekend,” he says with a smile mildly resembling that of an unhinged killer. “He wants to play a friendly game with the kids from the college team that he knows while he’s here.” He scoffs, lying down on his floor with his hair spread around him. Hajime’s facing the opposite direction, but their faces are right next to each other - a little too close , Hajime thinks, but he doesn’t move anyway. “What an ego, to think he can beat people preparing to play professionally.”

“Yeah,” Hajime murmurs, not even bothering to call out Oikawa’s hypocrisy. “Don’t do anything weird.”

“I’m going to crush his spirit,” Oikawa says, laughing mirthlessly. “I’m going to make sure he never feels joy again.”

“That’s…” Hajime sighs. “That’s weird.”

“The kid never smiles anyway,” Oikawa points out. “He’s not losing much.” He grins. “And I’m just teaching him humility.”

“Bullshit,” Hajime mutters, but he’s too tired to argue. “We have to go to that fancy restaurant, right? The one your parents asked us to go to last week; I put it in my calendar.” Oikawa parts his lips in surprise, and Hajime feels the need to look away.

“You’re a good boyfriend, Iwa-chan,” he says, patting Hajime’s arm gently and rolling over so that they’re nose to nose. “I would’ve forgotten otherwise.” They stay in that position for a few moments, transfixed by each other. Oikawa’s eyes are darker than Hajime remembers. (Why does he know the exact color of Oikawa’s eyes? That can’t be a normal best friend thing, can it?)

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa all but whispers. His breath fans against Hajime’s face, warm and not quite unpleasant.

“Um,” Hajime says, abruptly and awkwardly standing up. “I have to go and find my good suit. See you in a few hours?”

Oikawa stares at him, brows furrowed. “Yeah, I guess. But – ”

Hajime’s out the door before Oikawa can add anything he might regret.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“You look good in a suit, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says, eyes curving in the way they only do when he smiles genuinely. “Like a real boy.”

“Fuck you,” Hajime snaps, but he’s laughing despite himself. “I can’t call you anything except Tooru for the next few hours, so if I slip up, kick me under the table. I’ll do the same if you say anything insulting to me, yeah?”

“Babe is also an acceptable label,” Oikawa hums. “As are sweetheart, honey, baby,” Hajime wrinkles his nose in disgust, “etcetera.”

“Those are gross.”

“Those are coupley ,” Oikawa insists. Hajime rolls his eyes.

“If we were actually dating, we wouldn’t call each other stuff like that, Trashykawa.” Oikawa’s staring at him with that indecipherable expression again.

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, a little too quietly and a second too late. “Because we’re not actually dating. We just need to convince my parents that we’re actually dating, and then the job is done.” He mutters something after, but Hajime can’t hear him.

“We’re here,” Hajime says after a moment. “What the hell is valet parking?”

“Something we’re too broke to afford,” Oikawa says smoothly. “Go to the regular parking lot, like the plebeian you are.”

“One – you can’t afford valet parking either, so you’re a plebeian too.” Oikawa gasps, affronted. “And two – we’re going to have to walk a lot. Are you good with that? I know you’re sore because of the extra practice Coach made us do yesterday.”

“He really hates me,” Oikawa muses. “Thank you for concern, but I’m not a weakling like Tobio-chan.”

“Don’t bring Kageyama into this; he really is a good kid – ”

“So I can walk on my own,” he finishes, opening the door and getting out. “Come on; my parents just texted me. They’re waiting.”

Hajime hisses – laces his arm with Oikawa’s as they both walk into the restaurant. “Of course, Tooru,” he says. The name feels unfamiliar and clunky in his mouth. Even though he’s known Oikawa for at least a million years, he hasn’t called him by his first name until now. It’s a good name , Hajime thinks. To carry out. That’s a cool meaning.

“Oikawa, table for four?” Oikawa says at the front, eyes half-lidded in the way they sometimes are when he forgets to meticulously piece together his expression. The woman nods and giggles, and Hajime resists the urge to roll his eyes, instead clasping Oikawa’s arm with his other hand. “You’re looking possessive, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa whispers. His breath tickles against Hajime’s ear.

“Sells the bit more,” Hajime mutters back, glaring at the hostess. “Don’t you think?” Oikawa stiffens. “What?”

“Nothing,” he sighs. “I just thought – nothing.”

“Tooru!” Oikawa’s mother calls, pinching his cheeks. “Ah, and Hajime. It’s so nice to see you two. Sit down! Tell me about your week.”

“Sh – Tooru’s freaking out because one of the second years at a high school near our old one is visiting and wants to play a practice match.”

“Is it the famed,” Oikawa’s father screws his eyes shut, and Hajime’s struck by how much he looks like Oikawa when he’s trying to remember something, “Tobio-chan? Was that his name?”

“My mortal enemy,” Oikawa says.

“He’s the only person who can match Tooru’s,” god that name still feels weird, “intensity.” Hajime grins, more to himself than anyone else. “If you can call it intensity.” Oikawa stares at him for a few moments, and his mother lets out a satisfied hum. Hajime squeezes his hand, wondering if the message they believe you will come through. He realizes it doesn’t really matter.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“That was great,” Oikawa announces for the fiftieth time as they pull back into their apartment complex’s parking lot. “They totally believe us now. They told me they’re happy that I’ve finally found someone.” He laughs, unfiltered joy in his words. “Thank god ; if I had to be introduced to another family friend I’d scream.”

“Oh,” Hajime says, smiling despite himself. “So in a couple weeks it’ll be done, I guess.” Oikawa’s smile slides off his face.

“I mean,” he says, coughing uncomfortably, “if we break up too soon, my parents will start setting me up with boys instead, which I definitely don’t want.” Because I’m straight, his words scream, and for some reason, Hajime’s chest feels tight when he thinks about it. “So could we keep this going for a little longer? At least so I can,” he swallows, “pretend to be heartbroken when it ends and stuff.”

Hajime stares.

“Only if you’re comfortable with it,” Oikawa adds hastily. “Obviously I wouldn’t make you do anything you weren’t comfortable with – ”

“You always make me do stuff I’m not comfortable with,” Hajime accuses.

“Not like this , Iwa-chan,” Oikawa whines. “And I never make you do anything. I just ask you and you say yes.”

“I… guess that’s true,” Hajime admits reluctantly, scratching the back of his neck. Oikawa’s eyes are bright.

“So is that a yes?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Hajime sighs. “Yeah, I guess it is.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Tomorrow’s the day,” Oikawa trills. “Tobio-chan’s gonna come up to me with his huge ego and his dumb face and I’m going to crush all of it.”

“Don’t crush Kageyama’s face, Shittykawa,” Hajime repeats for what feels like the eightieth time. “That’s unhealthy.”

“You’re unhealthy,” Oikawa snaps childishly. “And it’ll be good for him; he needs to learn the value of respecting his elders. Right now he’s just riding on his talent, but soon he’ll have to rely on his team. Teamwork, Iwa-chan. It’s important.”

“He relies on his team fine,” Hajime says. “He has Hinata, anyway. I feel like you’re projecting here.”

“I rely on my team fine, too,” Oikawa says, and he blows a raspberry. “And I have you, Iwa-chan.” He flutters his lashes again . “You’re my Chibi-chan.” Hajime sighs sits down on the hardwood floor of the gym where they’ve been practicing for hours.

“You do realize they’re dating, right?”


“Hinata and Kageyama,” Hajime says. “They have been since like, early this year.”

“Well, we’re dating too,” Oikawa answers, a little spitefully with the closest thing to a grimace he can pull off when he’s in a good mood. “Technically, anyway.” He gasps, eyes wide and lips parted, and Hajime feels the need to look away again, like he does so often these days. “We have to outcouple Tobio-chan and Chibi-chan.”

“No,” Hajime says flatly.

“Please, if he finds out that I’m in a more functional and loving relationship than he is it’ll ruin him please Iwa-chan please ,” he begs. Hajime buries his head in his hands.

“You’re so childish,” he groans.

“That isn’t a no,” Oikawa says hopefully.

“It isn’t,” Hajime agrees, “a no.” Oikawa yells in joy, falling on the floor and resting his head on Hajime’s lap in one graceful swoop.

“We’re gonna destroy them,” he says with terrifying, evil glee.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

It’s one in the morning and Hajime can’t believe he’s doing this again, but he knocks on Oikawa’s door nonetheless.

“If it’s a serial killer, stay out,” a muffled voice calls from the other side, “but if it’s an alien or Iwa-chan, you’re fine.” Hajime rolls his eyes and walks in.

“The only three categories are alien, serial killer, and me?” he asks, a smile playing at his lips no matter how hard he tries to remain firm. Oikawa nods, face bathed in blue light from his laptop. He’s hunched over, chin touching his knees as he observes Karasuno’s matches.

“The only important ones,” he says after a moment.

“You should go to sleep,” Hajime says, ignoring the way the tips of his ears turn red. “This is a friendly match; there’s no need to get weird and super competitive about it.” Oikawa stares at him, eyes hollow.

“He’s not beating me again,” he answers, rubbing his eyelids. “Not even in a friendly match.” Hajime snaps the laptop shut without another word, ignoring Oikawa’s offended yelp as he puts it on the farthest dresser.

“He’s not going to beat you because we’re on a university team and everyone on it is really good, including you. You’re not the only person playing, Trashkawa, so go to bed.” He’s about to leave when Oikawa grabs his wrist, forcing him to turn around. This feels like a shitty drama, he thinks, and then, except we’re friends. A best friend drama.

“Stay here,” Oikawa breathes, and something in Hajime’s chest comes undone, leaving him feeling loose and limp and a little bit like he’s glowing. “Please. I won’t be able to sleep if you don’t.”

“Oh,” Hajime says.

“Please,” Oikawa repeats, and Hajime wordlessly climbs into the bed. He falls back onto the pillow, one arm around Oikawa and the other behind his head as he stares at the ceiling and wonders what’s wrong with him.

Chapter Text

“Dumbass!” Kageyama roars as he enters the gym, a frazzled and angry Hinata in tow.

“We win,” Oikawa says against the shell of Hajime’s ear, an arm already around his waist. “No contest.”

“Yeah, because they don’t know they’re competing, idiot.” Oikawa scowls.

“You’re such a bad boyfriend, Iwa-chan,” he snaps. “Now we’re tied with them.”

“I’m not your boyfriend,” Hajime says wearily. Suga stares at them for a moment, lip quirking. Hajime glares.

“It’s not my fault someone was stupid enough to forget to fill up the gas before we left,” Hinata snaps. Kageyama glares.

“You,” he says. “You were the person who was stupid enough to forget to fill up the gas before we left. That was your one job, because I knew you were gonna be overwhelmed with trying to impress Suga-san and the captain, asshole.” Hinata’s expression softens.

“Babe,” he says, and Hajime can feel Oikawa’s scowl against his throat, “you thought about how nervous I was gonna be?” Kageyama blushes - a look which looks uncharacteristically soft on him.

“Yeah,” he admits. “No big deal, though. You think about my needs all the time.”

“Hi,” Suga says, and Hinata breaks into a huge grin.

“It’s been forever!” he yells with his brand of Hinata-enthusiasm that Hajime’s always found slightly draining, even in Daichi’s stories. After everyone that came (Tanaka and Nishinoya have both arrived as well) greets Suga and Daichi, Hinata’s eyes turn to Oikawa and Hajime.

“Great king,” he says with a mock bow. Hajime resists the urge to smile at Oikawa’s cutting glare. “Iwaizumi-san. How are you?”

“Hi, Oikawa-san,” Kageyama says, waving like he’s desperately trying to be friendly. Hinata shoots him a proud sunny smile.

“We’re good,” Oikawa says to Hinata, pointedly ignoring Kageyama. “Dating.”

“Subtle,” Hajime murmurs.

“Shut up,” Oikawa mutters almost inaudibly in response, smiling his trademarked fake Oikawa smile. Hinata doesn’t pick up on it and just beams, although Kageyama seems to, raising an eyebrow at the two of them and tilting his head suspiciously.

“I’m happy for you guys!” Hinata says. “We’re dating too, if you couldn’t tell.” He loops an arm around Kageyama’s waist, and Kageyama blushes as he reluctantly leans into it.

“I heard,” Hajime says. “That’s, uh, cool.”

“Was he always this weird?” Noya asks Tanaka out of the corner of his mouth. Tanaka shrugs.

“I thought they were already dating,” he answers. Oikawa glares at both of them, and Noya glares back.

“You’re all being annoying and strange,” Daichi announces in the loudest voice Hajime’s ever heard him use. The Karasuno team has always been - it’s rude to use the word weird, so Hajime settles for quirky - with people screaming all the time and falling over during breaks and randomly touching and arguing and crying. It’s all a little disorienting, like having ten Oikawas on one team.

He shudders at the thought.

“It’s,” Suga seems to age and lose five years all at once, “nice to see you guys again. Noya, I trust that you didn’t let the team get too wild.” Noya’s eyes glimmer like a shark’s fin in the water, and he grins a gleaming, terrifyingly confident grin.

“Daichi probably shouldn’t have left me as vice captain if you wanted things to be less wild,” he answers cheerfully. Daichi hisses through his teeth.

"I know," Daichi replies. "It was a dumb move. I let Asahi influence me; I should've known he's just useless and gay."

Noya winks adorably.

“I’m learning so much,” Hajime mumbles to Oikawa, who glances at him as if startled by his presence.

“Is your entire team gay?” Oikawa asks in disbelief. Tanaka frowns.

“I’m in love with Kiyoko-san,” he says. “Even though she’s gone now.” He sighs longingly, and Noya kicks his shin.

“Practice,” Suga says, and everyone seems to stand to attention. Ah, Hajime thinks. Suga is the only person who can handle Oikawa, so it makes sense.

“We have to practice before our match,” he explains with a smile, and suddenly everyone’s off to business, serious and strong-willed and much more like the Karasuno Hajime used to see during matches.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

The match goes well. The university team beats Karasuno (and two of the university students), but only by six points in the third set because of Hinata and Kageyama’s killer quicks. They seem to have gotten even more in sync this year. Dating probably does that, Hajime thinks, betraying himself by glancing in Oikawa’s direction. He’s beaming.

“We won,” he says, encircling his arms around Hajime’s waist. “Time to go out for ice cream and laugh in Tobio-chan’s dumb face.”

“I don’t know,” Hajime says, leaning back into Oikawa’s embrace and eliciting an almost-surprised squeak, “they seem pretty happy.” Kageyama’s looking at Hinata with a sort of fond exasperation as Hinata talks about how they went bam and gwah and woosh , an expression that Hajime knows from somewhere but can’t quite place.

Oikawa pauses. “Yeah,” he agrees. “I hate it.”

“You have such a shitty personality,” Hajime replies, and Oikawa pouts against Hajime’s throat.

“I never knew Oikawa-san could be,” Noya gestures dramatically as he walks over, a grinning Tanaka in tow, “ human .”

“Brat,” Oikawa snaps. “I never knew you could keep up with Ryuu-chan without running.” Noya crosses his arms and glares.

“Don’t pick fights with the high schoolers,” Suga calls patiently from the other side of the gym.

“He started it!” Oikawa yells back.

They go out for ice cream and pizza, and Hajime catches Oikawa staring at him while he eats. He wipes his mouth. “Do I have something on my face?” he asks self-consciously, reaching for a napkin.

Oikawa looks away, slightly red - probably from the heat, Hajime rationalizes. “Ice cream above your lip, you slob,” he says, without the regular mean-spirited smile he wears whenever he gets to tell Hajime off.

“Are you okay?” Hajime asks, and Oikawa quickly glances at him before turning toward the window again.

“Peachy,” he says, pursing his lips. Hajime considers pushing him to talk like he always does, but he decides to drop it. Hinata and Kageyama slide into the booth beside Oikawa and Hajime, respectively.

“That was a good match,” Hinata says with a grin. He seems like the type of kid who gets his hair ruffled a lot, Hajime thinks, though he’s not quite sure what that means. “Next time we’ll beat you for sure, though.”

“Next time?” Oikawa asks, eyes narrowing as he smiles. “If there’s a next time, you won’t even get a third set.”

“Don’t be rude,” Hajime warns, but Kageyama’s tilting his head and staring again.

“There’ll be a next time,” he says with an odd certainty. “And we’ll win.”

Jesus, Hajime thinks, a shiver running down his spine, he’s so creepy. Hinata reaches across the table and flicks Kageyama’s forehead.

“Stop doing that,” he says. “I’m sure they’re not intimidated by you.” Oikawa laughs lightly, tilting his head in an identical fashion.

“I could never be intimidated by someone who doesn’t even know how to smile without looking like a serial killer,” he says with a shrug. “Talent can only get you so far, but social skills will set you up for life, Tobio-chan.” Hajime leans in and punches Oikawa’s shoulder.

“I’m sure they’re not intimidated by you, either,” he snaps, though Hinata is very clearly gaping. “I’m sorry. He likes to act like he’s a psychopath, but he’s trash.” Hinata grins.

“Your boyfriend and mine both,” he says.

Boyfriend? Hajime thinks, and then a split second later, oh, right.

Oikawa seems to pause, too, though his expression is strange and analytical and indecipherable again. “I don’t know how Hajime deals with me,” he singsongs after a moment, pinching Hajime’s cheek. Hajime turns red (out of annoyance, not because of anything else).

“I don’t know how either,” he says with a forced smile. “I’m some kind of saint, honestly, taking Tooru off the market so no one else has to go through this pain.” Oikawa snickers.

“So rude.” Kageyama’s staring at the two of them with the same inquisitive, suspicious expression he wore before the game.

“I didn’t know Oikawa-san was the type for relationships,” he says. “Didn’t most of your girlfriends dump you because of volleyball?”

Girlfriends. The word hangs heavy in the air, though that’s probably just Hajime’s imagination. (Why is he so preoccupied with the fact that Oikawa’s had girlfriends before? He knows that; Oikawa’s been complaining about them since middle school.)

“Obviously,” Oikawa says icily, “that’s not a problem when your boyfriend is also dedicated to volleyball.”

“We should talk to Suga-san and Sawamura-san,” Hinata says hastily, getting out of the booth and pulling Kageyama with him. “I’m really happy for both of you!” he yells as they both leave, and Hajime smiles.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“We didn’t crush his spirit,” Oikawa sighs as they drive back home. “Which is - I mean it’s fine, but he didn’t even believe that we were dating.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Hajime says, “because you’re not supposed to be this obsessed with ruining a sixteen year old kid. I thought we were a pretty good couple.” Oikawa flashes a smile at him - something quiet and tender that seems to slow the world down, if just for a moment. Hajime coughs. “You don’t need to smile like that,” he says. “Your parents aren’t here.”

“Smile like what?” Oikawa asks, putting his feet up on the dashboard and immediately putting them back down when Hajime glowers.

“Like,” Hajime shrugs, “you’re in love with me or something. The boyfriend smile. You don't need to do that when your parents or Kageyama or whatever aren't around."

Oikawa looks away, grinning sheepishly.

“I guess I forget to turn off Boyfriend Oikawa’s charm sometimes,” he hums after a moment, giggling when Hajime reaches out and necks him.

Chapter Text

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa groans at an ungodly hour of morning. Hajime’s not even sure if the sun has risen yet. “I’m bored.”

“Go to sleep, then,” Hajime says, in a tone which would undoubtedly hold more venom if he weren’t about to fall asleep again. “Dream about something interesting.”

“So rude. Take a walk with me.”

“It’s four in the morning,” Hajime yawns, rubbing his eyes.

“Which is why I can’t go alone,” Oikawa says, as if it’s obvious. “Please? I’ll make you breakfast.” He sucks in a breath through his teeth. “Or wait - I won’t make you breakfast.” He grins. “If you don’t take a walk with me I’ll make you breakfast and burn down your apartment.”

“You’re awful.” Hajime’s already getting out of the bed, pulling his shirt off and ruffling through his drawers to find another one. He catches Oikawa staring. “What?”

“You look angrier in the morning, Iwa-chan. It doesn’t suit you,” he explains after a moment, but he sounds distracted.

Haijme just shrugs. “You look like a brat all day,” he replies. Oikawa sticks his tongue out.

“I’m cold ,” Oikawa complains as soon as they step outside. The moon reflects harshly on his face and his eyes shine. Something feels like it’s stuck in Hajime’s throat, but he can’t seem to get it out.

“You should’ve brought a jacket, then,” he says, voice strangled though he doesn’t know why. Oikawa throws him a glare, shivering.

“Thanks,” he says flatly. “I’ll keep that in mind while I freeze to death.”

“Jesus Christ - ” Hajime takes off his jacket and drapes it on Oikawa. It’s a little loose and a little short but for once Oikawa doesn’t talk about how Iwa-chan, you must be some kind of dwarf or something, instead smiling.

“You’re so good to me, Iwa-chan,” he hums, nuzzling against Hajime for added warmth even though he’s already wearing a fucking coat . “Always so kind.”

“Are you drunk? You only say nice things when you’re drunk,” Hajime says, suspicious. Oikawa scowls.

“Do not,” he mutters. “I just…” He throws his hands in the air. The sleeves of the jacket fall back, revealing his forearms. When he puts his arms down, they bunch around his biceps. “I just like you.”

He pauses.

“I just like you,” he repeats, quieter. His eyes look glassy. It’s probably just the reflection of the moon.

“I,” Hajime feels like something’s pushing down on his chest, “like you too, Shittykawa.”

Oikawa smiles at him but it looks strained. “Yeah,” he says. “I know.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Mom wants to hang out again,” Oikawa says as they’re both watching some shitty horror film. Maybe it’s not shitty; Hajime doesn’t know. He’s been trying to pay attention to it all night, but at one point Oikawa fell asleep on him, lips parted as he breathed hot and slow onto Hajime’s neck, and Hajime hasn’t been able to look at the laptop screen ever since.

“Cool,” he says, closing his eyes. “That’s cool.”

“She wants to visit,” Oikawa clarifies. “See the sights.”

“They live ten minutes away,” Hajime says, confused. “They can see the sights anytime they want.” Oikawa grins and it’s tired and soft. Hajime can barely look at him anymore.

“You know what my mom’s like,” he says. “She needs an excuse to see her favorite child.”

Hajime rolls his eyes. “Your sister isn’t here, though,” he says innocently. Oikawa gasps.

“Take that back,” he says. Hajime grins. “Take that back,” Oikawa repeats childishly, softly banging his fists against Hajime’s bicep. He lets them drop after a few moments, resting his head against Hajime’s arm instead. “You’re always so warm.”

“You’re always so cold,” Hajime says. Oikawa hums.

“Guess we were meant to be,” he says with a smile. For some reason, Hajime feels an odd tight pain in his chest.

“I guess we were,” he replies.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Okay,” Daichi says after exhaling. “For a straight man, you’re sounding pretty gay right now.” Hajime scowls.

“You have to at least admit that what you and Oikawa have is more than a regular friendship,” Suga says gently. “You’re very close.”

“Because we’re best friends,” Hajime insists. “Best friends are close; that’s - that’s in the definition.” Suga and Daichi exchange glances like they always do, and Hajime is, like always, infuriated. “Stop doing that; I’m not weird.”

“We’re not saying you’re weird,” Suga says, placing a hand on Hajime’s shoulder. “We’re just saying maybe you should take a step back and analyze why you’re feeling this way.”

“Who platonically thinks about kissing their friend?” Daichi blurts, and he starts to cough when Suga elbows him in the gut.

“It was just logical,” Hajime hisses. “I was thinking about kissing him because it was logical.”

“And you were having a meltdown over his collarbones the other day - ” Suga tries, but Hajime interrupts him.

“They’re objectively nice collarbones,” he snaps. The world must be conspiring against him, because as if out of nowhere, Oikawa appears, draping his arm around Hajime’s shoulder and grinning.

“Who has objectively nice collarbones?” he asks, his voice sounding like it’s trying to needle its way through Hajime’s words. “Iwa-chan, we’re dating now; if you start flirting with someone else, I’m going to have to pull out Jealous Boyfriend Oikawa.”

“Oh, like I’ve never seen Jealous Oikawa before,” Hajime scoffs. He pointedly ignores Daichi and Suga’s simultaneous raised eyebrows at the way Oikawa just hums in assent and moves closer.

“Jealous Boyfriend Oikawa is significantly meaner than Jealous Oikawa, though,” he says against the area just behind Hajime’s ear.

“I’m not sure that’s possible,” Hajime murmurs in response. Oikawa snickers.

“You’re probably right,” he admits.

Daichi clears his throat, and Hajime and Oikawa’s heads both snap toward him. He gives Hajime a level stare. “You guys are really close,” he says, and Oikawa nods, clueless.

“Best friends,” he says, and a pang of - something - shoots through Hajime’s stomach and directly into his chest. Suga purses his lips, tugging lightly on Daichi’s arm.

“We have to,” he pauses, “study.” He grins at them. “See you guys at practice.”

“You can just say you’re going to fuck, Refreshing-kun,” Oikawa calls as they turn. He laughs when the tips of Suga’s ears turn scarlet. Hajime looks at him, trying and failing to hold back a smile.

“Do you enjoy making other people awkward?” he asks.

Oikawa shrugs. “A little bit.” When he grins it twists like a knife in Hajime’s gut. “Though you’ll always be my favorite person to mess with, Iwa-chan; don’t worry.”

“You - that’s not what I was asking, Trashykawa,” he snaps.

“I was just making sure you knew,” Oikawa says, ruffling Hajime’s hair and giggling when Hajime affectionately swats his hand away.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Mom wants to take a picture of us kissing in front of the statue in the courtyard,” Oikawa mutters. Hajime almost wishes Daichi and Suga were here just so he could tell them he was right, but then again, they’d probably laugh at him, so he’s glad they’re not.

“Why,” he says, carefully, “is your mother so invested in your fake love life?” Oikawa shrugs.

“I think she’s trying to prove she’s not homophobic,” he replies after a long pause. “And she’s going slightly overboard with it. Anyway, it’s just one kiss, so as long as we don’t make it weird it shouldn’t be weird.”

“Kissing isn’t really a normal best friend activity,” Hajime says.

“Neither is starting a fake relationship,” Oikawa shoots back, narrowing his eyes and smiling. “I’m not sure we count as regular best friends, Iwa-chan.”

Hajime pauses.

“That’s fair,” he decides after a moment. “But could we, uh, hold off on the kissing? I mean - for now.” He looks away, not quite sure what he means by for now but hating himself for saying it nonetheless. Oikawa’s grin falters for a moment, and Hajime’s heart stutters.

“Understandable,” he says. “You’re afraid that you’ll develop feelings and ruin this whole operation if you kiss me.”

Yeah, Hajime almost says, but he bites his tongue. “Asshole,” he snaps instead, and Oikawa laughs.

Chapter Text

“Um - Iwaizumi-san!” a girl - Ikeda, from his chemistry class - calls from across the quad, waving. Hajime ducks his head and waves back.

“Hi,” he says, jogging over. “Uh, good to see you.” Ikeda’s eyes are bright.

“I was wondering,” she says, “if you’d like to go to that coffee shop off campus with me.” She plays with her hair, staring steadily at the floor. “Not as a - um, I mean - just to study. I’m really confused.” She laughs. “Professor Nakano is kind of the worst at explaining things, and midterms are coming up and I’m going to fail without any help.”

Hajime quirks his lip. “Yeah,” he agrees. “Me too.” He pauses. “Um. Sure, yeah, I’d love to. Is - is Thursday okay?”

She beams, a little crookedly, and it reminds him of something but he can’t quite figure out what it is. “Sounds great. I’ll see you later, then?”

“Yeah,” he says. “See you.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

"Iwa-chan," Oikawa says with a pout. "You have to at least let me know when you're going on dates so I can help you look somewhat acceptable." His frown seems a fraction less annoying-adorable and more angry than usual, but Hajime, for once, refuses to rise to the bait.

“It’s not a date,” he repeats calmly for the millionth time. “I’m going to study with the girl in my chem class, and it happens to be at a coffee shop because it’s near campus. There are no romantic feelings involved.” Oikawa scoffs.

“Please,” he snorts. “Ikeda-chan, right? She’s flirting with you every time I see you together, like,” he pitches his voice an octave higher, laying a delicate hand on Hajime’s shoulder and sighing, “ Iwaizumi-san, you’re so smart; it’s hard to find someone that’s so handsome and good at everything. ” He wrinkles his nose in disgust. “How can you not tell? You’re worse than I thought.”

“That - you say that stuff to me too, sometimes,” Hajime sputters. “And you don’t like me.”

Oikawa tilts his head up - pinches the bridge of his nose. “Sure,” he agrees, tone flat in a way that makes Hajime flinch. “But I’ve known you for ten years, so I’m allowed to say things like that. She’s not.”

“You’re so possessive,” Hajime grumbles.

“I’m looking out for a friend. She thinks this is a date, and - there’s no romantic feelings involved, like you said, right?” Oikawa asks. Hajime reluctantly nods, folding his arms across his chest. “So let her down easy.”

“Don’t - don’t do that thing where you jump to conclusions and screw my friendships up,” Hajime says. “I’ll know if she thinks of it as a date.”

Oikawa shrugs. “It’s your funeral.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Iwaizumi-san!” Ikeda calls from across the coffee shop, grinning brightly. “It’s nice to see you outside of the lecture hall for once.”

“I, um,” Hajime tries for a smile, Oikawa’s words weighing uncomfortably on his mind, “yeah, you too.” He exhales and tries to find something to say. “You look nice,” he finally settles on. “I mean - your scarf. It’s nice.” It is a nice scarf, the kind Oikawa would bother Hajime for hours about because Iwa-chan, it’s so pretty and the pattern is so cute; you should buy it and be a good best friend .

Ikeda blushes.

“Thank you,” she says. “You look nice too.”

If there are romantic feelings involved, Hajime thinks, it might not be so bad for either of them. She’s pretty, with a slight figure and long dark hair and round eyes and a smile that’s achingly familiar somehow, and she’s sweet. This could work out, Hajime thinks. Fuck you, Shittykawa.

“Yoo-hoo, Iwa-chan!” a familiar voice calls, as if he senses Hajime’s pride and anger and shows up just to spite him. He probably does, all things considered.

“Oikawa,” Hajime says through gritted teeth. He blinks and focuses on the red behind his eyelids. “I told you I was studying.”

“I realized I needed help with studying too,” Oikawa says easily, looping an arm around Hajime and settling into the booth. Ikeda stares. “So I came here to ask for your assistance! Iwa-chan’s always so smart and good with helping,” he says to Ikeda, voice dropping low as if he’s sharing a secret, “so I like to keep him to myself.” He smiles, charmingly. Hajime seethes. “Though I could see why he’d want to spend time studying with you.”

“Thanks,” Ikeda says, and it’s hesitant and strange. “Iwaizumi-san, we should probably get started, right?”

“Yeah,” he agrees. “Oikawa, you’re not even in chem, so I don’t know why the fuck you’re here - ” He glances at Ikeda with a gaze he’s sure is long-suffering and exhausted. “I’m sorry,” he says. “He’s trash.”

“Your favorite trash,” Oikawa hums. “I’m going to order a coffee and a pastry for you, Iwa-chan, because I know how much you like lemon buns.” There’s an edge to his voice that Hajime can’t read, and he hates it. “Ikeda-chan, would you like anything?”

“No,” Ikeda says agreeably. She flashes him a grin. “Thank you, though.”

When Oikawa walks away, Hajime buries his head in his hands. “I’m sorry,” he repeats dully. “We’re probably not going to be able to get anything done.”

“You and Oikawa-san,” Ikeda begins, confused. “Are you two…”

“Best friends,” Hajime finishes, “unfortunately. We don’t hate each other.”

“That’s not what I was asking,” Ikeda says.

“What were you asking, then?” Ikeda opens her mouth again, but Oikawa shows up before she can say anything, comfortably curving around Hajime to set down his own coffee. He has a bit of froth on his lip, probably because he took a sip before getting to the table like the impatient bastard he is. Hajime isn’t sure why that’s so interesting to him, but he has to tear his eyes away anyway.

“You were sitting on the outside,” Hajime says. “There was no reason to go around me.”

Oikawa twinkles. “You’re warm,” he offers as a weak explanation, “and I was cold. Also, I want to be closer to Ikeda-chan.”

Ikeda’s pursing her lips, and Hajime should’ve known that Oikawa would ruin whatever sort of not-date Hajime went on because Oikawa is a selfish dick.

“I, um,” Ikeda says, “didn’t know you two were close like that.”

“Close like what?” Hajime asks.

“Iwaizumi-san,” she says patiently, “I’m a pretty open-minded person.” Hajime’s eyes widen.

“No, we’re not - ” He sighs. “We’re not dating. We’re just friends. I could never date Shittykawa; are you kidding?” Oikawa stands up suddenly. His cup clatters against the table.

“I have to go,” he says with a smile. “I just remembered I was supposed to call Mattsun today.” Hajime pauses, confused. Oikawa usually tells him whenever he’s calling Matsukawa just so that he can brag about how they’re better friends and how he’s so much better at networking and maintaining relationships.

“Tell him I said hi,” he says after a long moment.

“I will,” Oikawa says, and there’s something strained and awkward in the way he says it. Hajime finds himself wondering when Oikawa got so unreadable.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“How was the date?” Oikawa asks as Hajime arrives at his own apartment at ten in the evening. He’s perched on the edge Hajime’s bed precariously like a finch, reading through his own notes.

“Wasn’t a date,” Hajime grunts. “And not good; she wouldn’t believe I wasn’t gay. I think we’re friends now, though, so that’s good.”

“That is good,” Oikawa agrees noncommittally. His smile is hollow. “I’m glad.”

Hajime sighs, flops onto his bed, and pulls Oikawa down with him. “Don’t be weird,” he admonishes, resting his chin against the crook of Oikawa’s neck and snickering when Oikawa squeaks. “You’re less fun when you’re weird.”

“You’re no fun all the time,” Oikawa says, and now his smile is genuine. “I’m just,” he swallows, “confused as to how you got a girl as pretty as Ikeda-chan to like you.”

“Like you said,” Hajime sighs, wrapping his arms around Oikawa’s waist and closing his eyes, “I’m really handsome, which is surprising considering I’m also good at everything.”

“Arrogance isn’t a good look on you, Iwa-chan,” he hums. “It’s only a good look on me.” He says something else, quieter and more tender with the word love thrown in, but Hajime’s already mostly asleep by then, so he doesn’t hear.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa yells as greeting in the morning. Hajime glares.

“Go home ,” he snaps. “Stop waking me up all the time.” Oikawa scowls, though there’s an annoying glimmer in his eye.

“You called me fun yesterday,” he says.

“I was tired yesterday,” Hajime says, willing away the blush which threatens to tinge his cheeks. “Today you’re stupid.”

“You’re so mean.” Oikawa pauses - fiddles with the buttons on his shirt. “I, um, think you should try going on a real date with Ikeda-chan. She seems nice.” He smiles, but it’s fake. “It’d be good to have a nice person around for once.”

“I don’t - I don’t want to go on a real date with Ikeda,” Hajime stammers.

Oikawa blinks.

“I mean, I was thinking about it for a bit just to spite you, but like I said - no romantic feelings involved.” You’re enough for me, he almost says. He bites his tongue. “Besides, you’re too much to handle on your own. I couldn’t have you turning a girlfriend against me too.” Oikawa seems to read Hajime’s statement correctly anyway, smiling softly and carding a hand through his hair.

“That’s good,” he says, finally. “I couldn’t share you with some girl, anyway.” He snickers. “I’m so lucky you’re ugly, Iwa-chan.”

Hajime punches him on the shoulder, but they’re both laughing.

Chapter Text

“Hey, I never asked,” Daichi says abruptly as he and Hajime are practicing serves. “Why do you and Oikawa live in the same apartment complex but not the same apartment?”

“I don’t know,” Hajime says after a long reflection. “He was the one that suggested living in different apartments, but he never explained why.” He snorts. “Not like that stopped him from basically moving in here anyway.”

Daichi pauses. “I have to call Suga,” he says. “I feel like that means something but I don’t know what.”

“Everything means something with Shittykawa,” Hajime replies, hearing the way his tone turns fond and glaring when Daichi raises an eyebrow. “Don’t bother figuring out what, though. It’s usually a waste of energy.”

Daichi serves, grinning when the ball remains just barely in bounds. “I guess I should trust your opinion on Oikawa stuff,” he says, but he sounds skeptical.

“You should,” Hajime agrees, wincing at how aggressive he sounds. “I’ve had to deal with his shit for ten years.”

“You don’t sound mad about it,” Daichi says.

Hajime stares at him, confused. “I’m not.” He allows himself to smile. “Everyone thinks I hate him, but he’s a good person. Deep down, under all that trash, he cares.” He pauses. “Probably.”

“He does,” Daichi agrees. “According to Suga, anyway.” He glances at Hajime after serving again. “You should ask him why you didn’t move in together. Tell him I want to know.”

Hajime hates to admit it, but he wants to know too.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“I never asked,” Hajime says, unconsciously parroting Daichi’s words, “but why’d you want us to live in the same apartment complex but different apartments?”

Oikawa stares.

“What?” Hajime asks. “I just - I’m just curious. Stop looking at me like that.”

“It was to make sure you didn’t get woken up by all the girls I bring home,” Oikawa trills gleefully after a moment far too long. Hajime rolls his eyes.

“I can tell when you’re lying, Trashkawa,” he snaps. “So don’t lie.”

He’s said the same thing a million times before, but somehow he ends up feeling bad when Oikawa bites his lip and glares determinedly at the floor. “I don’t know if I can tell the truth,” he says.

“What does that even mean?” Hajime asks, making sure his tone is gentler. “I don’t,” he grits his teeth, “like it when I don’t know what you mean.”

“I think,” Oikawa says, closing his eyes, “you’re going to have to get used to that.”

When he walks away, Hajime feels a hard ugly weight settle on his chest and refuse to move.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Is something up with you and Oikawa?” Suga says in the way that he does, gentle and quiet and annoyingly sincere. “He hasn’t set to you in a week.” Hajime kicks at the dirt in front of him.

“It’s your boyfriend’s fault,” he says, and Suga raises an eyebrow.

“Daichi isn’t awfully involved in either of your personal lives, so I’m going to need you to provide a little more context here.”

“He - he asked me why Oikawa and I didn’t live together when we lived so close anyway, and then I realized I didn’t know either, so I asked him and he didn’t respond - or he responded, but in, like, a Crappykawa kind of way.” Hajime screws his eyes shut. “And I said I don’t like it when I don’t know what he means, and he just walked out.”

“Oh,” Suga says.

“You’re supposed to be some kind of magic therapist person,” Hajime mutters. “That’s what everyone says. This isn’t good therapy, Suga.”

“You’re not paying me,” Suga says cheerily. “I don’t know Oikawa that well, so I can’t really say anything. You’ll know how best to deal with the conflict, not me.”

“I’ve known him for ten years,” Hajime says, exhausted despite it being midday. “And I don’t know how to deal with him at all.” When Suga gazes at him, it’s piercing.

“Then learn.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

The last time Hajime and Oikawa got into anything even remotely resembling a fight was in their first year of high school, when Hajime had gotten a girlfriend and Oikawa had gotten jealous because Iwa-chan, I’m supposed to be the one dating cute girls, not you; it’s unfair that you’re so buff now so you can trick girls into thinking you’re attractive.

Even then, he’d never stopped talking, instead badgering Hajime and his girlfriend incessantly until they’d broken up because they were both tired of it. (Later, she came out as lesbian, so Hajime feels like it ended well anyway.)

Huh, he thinks as he unconsciously checks his phone for a text he knows won’t arrive. I guess this is the longest time we’ve gone without talking.

He finally calls Oikawa, sighing in relief when the line doesn’t go to automatic voicemail. “Hey,” he says. “Shittykawa. Stop avoiding me or I’ll break into your apartment and punch you.”

“You have keys,” Oikawa says, and something about his voice sounds strange.

“Doesn’t matter,” Hajime presses on. He closes his eyes. “What did… what did I do wrong? I just want to know so that I don’t do it again.” He runs his tongue over his lips. “It’s weird not having you here annoying me all the time.”

“You didn’t do anything,” Oikawa says, but his voice sounds tinny. He clears his throat. “You didn’t do anything,” he repeats, more confidently this time. “I’ve just been tired. I’ll be around to annoy you lots, Iwa-chan.”

“Don’t do that thing when you’re fake, though,” Hajime says, sternly. “That’s annoying. Have you been sleeping? You sound tired.”

“I’ve been lacking Vitamin L,” Oikawa hums.

“Please,” Hajime says wearily, smiling despite himself, “don’t say what I think you’re about to say.”

“Ask me what Vitamin L stands for, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa prods.

“What does Vitamin L stand for, Assikawa?”

“It stands for love,” Oikawa cackles gleefully. “Your love! Because we haven’t been talking.”

“I hate you,” Hajime says. “Come over tonight; I want to watch a horror movie and see you get scared.”

“You’re the one who can never fall asleep after it’s done, but I’ll come over, sure.” Hajime can hear his smile, and for some reason, it makes him feel at ease.

Chapter Text

“It’s not a big deal,” Hajime says, putting his head down on his desk. “Please stop.”

“Iwa-chan, you get to talk in front of all those big biology nerds about your big internship thing that you got as a freshman and you’re saying it’s not a big deal?” Oikawa takes a seat on the desk, threading his hand through Hajime’s hair and giggling when Hajime groans. “You have to become more likable by then or you’ll embarrass yourself. When is it?”

“In three months.”

“We have three months to make you human,” Oikawa announces dramatically. Hajime looks up - glares.

“Says you,” he mutters. “Remember when Nishinoya was surprised that you have feelings?”

“Remember when I’m the one that was labeled as most charismatic?”

“Only because you have that weird horde of fangirls,” Hajime counters. Oikawa stares blankly, looking like he’s suppressing the urge to smile.

“And why,” he says, “do you think I have that weird horde of fangirls?” Hajime searches for an answer but can’t find one he’s comfortable with.

“I’m good at speaking to people,” he says instead. “Everyone that knows us likes me better than you.” Oikawa snorts.

“Calm your ego,” he says. He ignores Hajime’s matter of says you, asshole . “And most of those people won’t know you. I know it’s hard to accept that you have no natural charisma—” He easily dodges Hajime’s lazy punch. “Ah, jeez, fine, I’ll leave you alone. I’ll hang out at my apartment until you finish your fancy speech.”

“I never said you had to leave,” Hajime mutters, scribbling out a part of his outline. When he catches Oikawa’s eye, there’s something in it that makes his throat run hot and dry. Oikawa reaches out, his palm close to Hajime’s cheek, but he blinks and looks away a moment later.

“I can’t believe Iwa-chan’s attached to me now,” he coos. “It only took ten years.”

“You’re so annoying,” Hajime says, willing his stomach to unknot itself. “And I only want you here because it’s good for my self esteem to have someone dumber than me in the room.”

“You’re always so rude,” Oikawa snaps. Hajime grins at the familiarity.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“So,” Daichi says as he, Suga, Oikawa, and Hajime are sitting in a ramen shop just off campus, “how’s the fake relationship going?”

Suga lightly ribs him. “Don’t bother them about it,” he reprimands. Daichi just grins.

“It’s fine,” Hajime answers, cautiously. “I mean, we haven’t seen his parents around in a little bit, so we’re fine.” Oikawa nods cheerily.

“I forgot to tell you, Iwa-chan,” he says. “We’re seeing a movie with them this Saturday. It’s, um…” He squints at his plate, trying to remember. “I think it’s about a ghost who falls in love with their human friend. It’s really sad, apparently, and it might be gay, but it might not. I don’t remember that part.”

“Oh, I think I’ve heard of it,” Suga says. “I saw an ad on Instagram.” Daichi and Hajime exchange confused looks.

“Who even thinks of that?” Hajime asks. “Why would that idea come to anyone’s mind?”

“People think of weird things all the time,” Oikawa replies flippantly. “It looked cool; I’ll show you the trailer. Anyway, after that we’re going to have tea together. How’s your real relationship?” He stares at Suga and Daichi with something shrewd in his expression. “Is there anything interesting happening there?”

Daichi coughs. “Nope. We’re still, um,” he hastily gulps down his ramen, “in love, which is good. That’s about it, though.” When he smiles there’s something nervous in his eye, and Oikawa seems to revel in it. Of course he does, Hajime thinks. Asshole.

“That’s good,” Hajime says, trying to diffuse the tension. He glances at Oikawa, who just grins innocently.

“So,” Suga says, eyes darting between Daichi and Oikawa, “the gay ghost movie. Are you excited for it?” Hajime lets himself get sidetracked by the discussion, asking questions about are you sure it’s gay and of course I don’t fucking have a problem if it’s gay; I’m literally fake dating you, Trashykawa, so it’s only hours later that he remembers the conversation.

“Hey,” he says while Oikawa sets up his computer so that both of them can watch Ponyo on his bed. “What was that whole thing with Daichi and the relationship stuff?”

Oikawa glances back at him. “Nothing,” he says. “Don’t worry about it.”

“You know I hate when you say that.”

“That’s the only reason I say it,” he replies, falling onto the bed and throwing an arm around Hajime in one smooth move. “Now shut up; I wanna watch Ponyo.”

“It’s been three years since we’ve watched a Ghibli movie together, but before that we did it all the time,” Hajime says after a moment. “Isn’t that weird?”

Oikawa shrugs. “Why would it be weird?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” Hajime says, sounding slightly more frustrated than he means to. “It just - feels like we lost track of it somewhere along the way.”

When Oikawa grins at him, it’s soft and a little sad and if Hajime were gay he might kiss him. “I think we lost track of a lot of things somewhere along the way,” he replies, and the way he says it makes it seem more significant, somehow. “The only thing that matters is that we pick up on them eventually, right?”

“I guess,” Hajime says, for some reason feeling even more uneasy than before.

“For real, though,” Oikawa says, hitting the play button, “shut up. Let me enjoy art.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Makki,” Hajime whispers into the phone, “is it weird to dream about kissing your friend? Like, unconsciously. I’m not consciously thinking about kissing him,” except for that one time, he thinks, but he shoves it to the back of his mind, “but I had a dream that we were actually dating and I really kissed him. That’s not weird, right? You’ve dreamed about kissing friends when nothing would actually happen?”

“Iwaizumi,” Hanamaki says blearily. “It’s five in the morning. Don’t bother me with your gay bullshit this early.”

“It’s not - it’s not gay bullshit because it’s normal ,” Hajime insists. “Right?”

“The rest of us got over this when we were fifteen.” Hanamaki yawns into the receiver for an unnecessary amount of time before continuing. “Why are you so fucking repressed?”

“No - I’m not repressed; I’m just straight,” he snaps. “Like, I’m fine with gay people and everything, obviously, but I don’t - I don’t like guys.” The last part comes out sounding more like a question than it should. “And neither does he, so it doesn’t even matter.”

“I’m assuming the he is Oikawa,” Hanamaki says, “and you should figure your gay bullshit out; I’ve been saying this since high school.”

“There’s no gay bullshit,” Hajime says, again, “because I’m straight and so is he.”


“Okay,” Hajime says. “You never told me whether it was normal or not.”

“Are you going to listen to me if I say it isn’t?” Hanamaki asks. Hajime can imagine him raising an eyebrow.

“Probably not,” he admits, and Hanamaki snorts.

“Then what I say doesn’t matter,” he answers, and before Hajime can say anything else, he hangs up. Next to him, Oikawa opens his eyes, blinking a few times before looking up at Hajime and grinning sleepily.

“Why are you glaring at your phone?” he asks.

“Makki,” Hajime replies.

“Ah.” Oikawa reaches up and tugs on Hajime’s shoulders until he’s forced to lie down. “You’re so muscular; what the hell?”

“We’ve talked about this before,” Hajime reminds him. “It’s not my fault I work out while you try to pick up girls.” Oikawa sticks his tongue out.

“I’d rather be handsome than a gym rat,” he says, and Hajime’s too tired and confused to hit him. “Go to sleep; it’s like, six in the morning and it’s a weekend.” His eyes are soft. “When you wake up again we can go get ice cream.”

“Mm,” Hajime replies, closing his eyes. This is exactly like my dream, he realizes, discomfited, but without the kissing.

That can’t mean anything, he decides a little desperately, so he lets himself drift to sleep.

Chapter Text

“Your mom’s calling me,” Oikawa says, brows furrowed. “That’s weird. Did she text you?” Hajime shrugs.

“My phone’s out of charge,” he says. Oikawa clicks his tongue against his teeth.

“Iwa-chan,” he reprimands. “Be more responsible. Should I pick up?”

“Do whatever you want,” Hajime replies. Both of them know that’s a yes.

“Hi, Obasan,” Oikawa hums, his tone going slightly higher like it always does when he’s kissing someone’s ass. Hajime rolls his eyes. “No, his phone’s out of charge - I told him to charge it too! He’s so irresponsible sometimes, honestly.” His eyes widen. “Oh. Um - yes, we are.” He pauses, nodding. “I thought he told you,” he says in that dumb fake voice. “Hm? Oh, um,” it’s probably Hajime’s imagination, but he thinks Oikawa’s blushing, “yeah. Yeah, I am. I’ll tell him to call you back, okay? Bye, Obasan!”

He turns to Hajime, expression suddenly shifting to that of someone visiting the morgue. “My mom told her we were dating, and now she wants you to call her.”

Hajime leans against the wall and slides down until he’s sitting.

“I’m sorry,” Oikawa says, for once looking genuinely apologetic. “I can’t - I couldn’t blow my cover; I’m really sorry.”

“No, it’s fine,” Hajime replies, sounding less exhausted than he feels. “She’s not - she doesn’t have a problem with that sort of thing, I don’t think - ”

“Obviously not, she was fine with me - ”

“But she gets so involved,” he continues. “She’s going to give me a lecture on treating you right, which doesn’t even make sense because I’m her son, not you, and then she’s going to ask to –” He pauses, horrified. “She’s going to ask us to dinner.”

“I like your mom,” Oikawa says.

“I like her too,” Hajime agrees, “but do you remember what she was like when I brought Katsumi home for the first time?”

“Katsumi,” Oikawa says thoughtfully, closing his eyes. “Who – oh, the lesbian from Seijoh! No, I don’t remember what she was like when you brought Katsumi home for the first time. I was,” he twists his face into an expression Hajime can’t decode, “busy with other things. Fill me in.”

“She gave me the sex talk,” Hajime replies. “Right in front of Katsumi, when I was fifteen, which is sort of late anyway. She had diagrams and everything.” Oikawa giggles so hard he snorts a little.

“Iwa-chan,” he says, “are you going to learn about gay sex for the first time from your mom?”

“Don’t,” Hajime warns.

“Hajime, just remember,” Oikawa says, in an embarrassingly poor imitation of Hajime’s mother, “the dick goes in the ass.”

“I quit this fake relationship,” Hajime says, getting off the ground and walking away.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa calls after him. “We still have to watch the gay ghost movie, remember? You can’t break up with me until after that, and now your mom wants to meet your angel boyfriend, too!”

“She’s met you already,” Hajime replies without looking back.

“So you admit I’m an angel,” Oikawa says, and how has he caught up with Hajime already? He blames it on Oikawa’s legs, which have no right to be that long. “You’re so kind, Iwa-chan, thank you.”

“I hate you,” Hajime repeats for what must be the eight millionth time, at least. Oikawa grins.

“No, you don’t.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Apparently this movie was banned in a few theaters, even though it would probably be PG-12 if it were a straight couple,” Oikawa’s father says in a low voice as they walk in. “The things that you guys must have to go through daily… I’m sorry.”

Hajime and Oikawa exchange guilty glances, but his parents don’t seem to notice. “Hajime,” Oikawa says in a tone which seems gentle but Hajime knows isn’t, “I know you tend to get emotional during movies, and this one’s supposed to be really sad. None of us will judge you if you start crying.”

“Tooru,” Hajime replies with a smile, “I know you have the same problem, so it’s okay. We can cry together.”

“So sweet,” Oikawa’s mother says, smiling fondly at both of them.

Hajime tries his hardest to remain stoic throughout the movie. He really does, but at the end the human leaves his gay ghost friend for a woman who doesn’t love him, and the ghost can’t pass on to wherever ghosts go because his last wish hasn’t been fulfilled, so he has to watch the human build a life with someone else. He’s not heartless, so of course he sheds a few tears, and because Oikawa’s crying right next to him, nobody makes fun of either of them.

“That was,” Oikawa says as they drive back to the apartment complex, “the saddest movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

“Old Yeller,” Hajime reminds him.

“Dog death movies don’t count,” Oikawa snaps. “Those are made by people who just want to cause pain.” He sighs. “Also this was a different sad.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Hajime says, even though he kind of does.

“Like - my heart hurts,” Oikawa explains, shutting his eyes. His eyelashes are long. Hajime doesn’t know why he’s noticing that; he’s probably just in a weird mood. “When I saw Old Yeller I was crying a lot, but with this, my heart hurts. It’s the same kind of thing you feel when you - ” He pauses. “Never mind.”

“When you what?” Hajime asks, pulling into the parking lot. They get out and walk to the elevator, and Oikawa sighs.

“When you like someone who doesn’t like you back,” he says. “That sort of thing.”

Hajime snorts. “Since when do you know about how it feels to have an unrequited crush?”

When Oikawa smiles, he looks fragile, somehow. “You’d be surprised,” he says delicately. The elevator dings on his floor. “I’m tired. See you tomorrow, Iwa-chan.” He walks out before Hajime can reply.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Iwaizumi Hajime,” his mother snaps upon picking up. “You got a boyfriend and you never even told me you liked boys? What kind of son does that? You know I'd support you; this is ridiculous.”

“I thought I told you,” Hajime lies.

“Well, you didn’t,” she replies, crossly. “Good job with Tooru, though; he’s a sweet boy. He seemed really happy about everything when I called him, too.” Oikawa might be suited for acting, Hajime thinks, because no one’s been able to fool his mother before. Maybe she’s just too happy he’s finally in a relationship to look for flaws in the story.

“I’m happy, too,” he says, a beat late. She hums.

“I was wondering,” she says, “if you and Tooru would want to come over for dinner sometime soon.” Her voice is calculating. “I want to see what you guys are like as a couple.”

“It’s pretty much the same as being friends,” Hajime says, “but with kissing sometimes, I guess.”

“You guess.”

“I guess,” Hajime repeats. He’s an idiot.

“You’re very lucky to have Tooru,” she says with a heaving sigh. “I don’t know if anyone else can understand you.”

“Mom,” he whines, feeling like a child.

“Is next Sunday good?” she continues. “I think it sounds good.”

“I might be busy, though,” Hajime says.

“Clear your schedule, then,” she replies easily. “Your mother should be the most important person in your life, Hajime.” He realizes why she and Oikawa have always gotten along so well.

“Okay, Mom,” he sighs. “See you next Sunday. Love you. Bye.”

“Bye,” she says, and she hangs up with a click .

Chapter Text

“So,” Oikawa says as they drive to Hajime’s mother’s house, “what do I say?” He looks nervous for once, tapping his fingers against the dashboard like it’s a new drum kit.

“I don’t know,” Hajime replies. “Just act like you normally do, and hopefully she won’t pick up on anything weird.” Oikawa frowns.

“I feel like we should be different as a couple, though,” he says. “Like - not as crazy as we were for my parents, but… something, you know?” His eyes are wide. “I don’t know; I just don’t want to mess anything up.”

“It’ll be fine,” Hajime reassures, though something twists in his stomach when he says it. “She loves you, remember?”

“That’s not the problem,” Oikawa says with a tight grin, “because everyone does.”

“Annoying,” Hajime mutters, feeling better when Oikawa laughs. They pull up in the driveway.

“Seriously, though,” Oikawa says suddenly, “if you’re uncomfortable with this, we can call it off. I can deal with my mom setting me up with people; it’s fine.” He’s fidgeting with the hemline of his shirt, avoiding eye contact, and something about the way he looks makes Hajime’s chest tighten.

“I’m not,” he replies honestly. “If I were, I’d tell you.”

“You’re sure?”

“Of course I’m sure,” he says, and because it sounds too soft, laced with something he doesn’t want to think about, he adds, “idiot. Come on, let’s get out before my mom breaks down the car or something.” Oikawa smiles in the quiet way he does sometimes, where his teeth don’t show and his eyes go soft, and Hajime feels his cheeks heating up, so he looks away.

“Hajime!” his mother calls from the doorway, waving. “Tooru! It’s so warm outside; you’re going to boil to death. Get in here.” When they walk in (Oikawa greets her far too enthusiastically, and she stares at him as if he’s insane), she immediately begins to berate Hajime for not visiting enough.

“Mom,” he reminds her, “college is busy.”

“You live half an hour away,” she counters. “I’ve heard Tooru visits his parents all the time, and you two practically live together, so you don’t have any excuses.” Oikawa preens, and Hajime hates that he can’t punch him right now.

“Hajime has a more challenging schedule than I do right now,” Oikawa offers. “He’s taking a lot more courses, so he has less free time.”

“I told him not to overwork himself,” his mother sighs, but she seems placated. Hajime gives Oikawa a look that he hopes says thank you , and Oikawa just grins and grabs his hand in response.

“So,” she says as they eat their dinner, Oikawa making sure to play up any signs of affection, “how has school been for both of you? Hajime, I know you have that big presentation because of your internship - ”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Hajime says, embarrassed. His mother and Oikawa both level him with identical disappointed and amused stares. “Really. I’m not even the only one giving the presentation; there’s, like, three other students - ”

“All of them are upperclassmen,” Oikawa adds. “And that’s four out of a thousand.”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Hajime repeats, but his mother’s eyes are wide.

“Four out of a thousand ?” she asks. “You didn’t tell me that.”

“Because - ”

“If you say it’s not that big of a deal one more time, I’m taking away your food,” she warns. He stares sullenly at his plate, kicking Oikawa under the table when he begins to laugh. “That’s really amazing. How’s volleyball going?”

“Spring tournament starts soon,” Hajime says, and then, feeling like he should brag a little about Oikawa (isn’t that what good couples do? It’s what Oikawa’s doing, anyway), “Tooru’s the only freshman that’s a starter.”

“Yeah,” Oikawa says, running a hand through his hair. “Hard work pays off, I guess.”

“Before we know it, you’ll be heading off to the national team, advertising all those big sports drinks like you see on TV,” Hajime’s mother says proudly.

“I’m not that good, Obasan,” he coughs. Hajime rolls his eyes.

“You are,” he says. “Knowing you, you’ll probably be the youngest player there.” Oikawa turns a strange shade of red before smiling.

“Thanks,” he replies quietly, glancing away for a moment.

They leave an hour later, after several slightly intrusive questions and an amount of skin-to-skin contact that’s strange, even for Hajime and Oikawa. Before he gets in the car, his mother calls him back. “When you came here,” she says in a low voice, “I was skeptical about - all of this.” Hajime flinches, waiting for her to call him out, but instead, she smiles. “I was wrong about that, and I’m sorry.”

Wait, what?

“You guys really seem like you’re in love,” she continues. “I guess I should’ve seen it coming, but,” her grin turns sharp, “we both know picking up on cues isn’t something that runs in this family.” She looks at him as if she’s seeing someone new. “I’m happy for both of you.”

“Yeah,” Hajime says, feeling like a broken record, “I’m happy, too.” He leans in and hugs her one more time. “I’ll visit more often after I give the presentation; I promise.”

“Drive safe,” she calls as he gets in the car. “I love you.”

“I will,” he answers, waving. “Bye.”

“I think that went well,” Oikawa says cheerfully.

Hajime hums in assent. “She said we really seem like we’re in love,” he replies. “So that’s good. I’ve never been able to lie to her before.” When he looks over, Oikawa’s face is twisted into something unreadable again. “What?”

“Nothing,” he says before smiling. Hajime knows it’s fake, but he doesn’t feel like arguing right now so he lets it go. “When we get home, let’s watch District 9. I’ve been meaning to for, like, five years now, but I never got to it.”

“Okay,” Hajime agrees. “Don’t get scared, though.”

“I don’t think it’s a scary movie,” Oikawa says, rolling his eyes. “Besides, you’re the one that gets scared, not me.”

"I never get scared," Hajime scoffs, and Oikawa begins to list off every time he's so much as flinched at a horror movie since they were ten years old. The familiarity seems to put them both at ease, and Hajime decides he wouldn't risk this for anything.

Chapter Text

“Hey,” Hajime asks Suga, because Suga’s the only person who’s been nice to him about any of this, “is it, like, a gay thing to notice the way your friend smiles?”

“Sometimes I wonder if you can hear yourself speak,” Suga says, with the air of someone much older and much more tired. Hajime scowls despite himself.

“No, I mean – I know normally it would be a gay thing, but for me, it’s more like, um.” He pauses, trying to come up with the right words. “Oikawa has a lot of fake smiles, right? So I figured out which ones are his real ones, and what each type of fake smile meant.” Suga clicks his tongue against his teeth.

“That’s passably straight, I think,” he allows. “Barely, but sure.”

“But, uh,” Hajime adds, and Suga sighs, “lately I’ve been noticing – other things about his smile, like how he looks when he does smile for real. That’s – that’s kind of gay.” He pauses, horrified. “That’s kind of gay,” he repeats, “isn’t it?”

Suga glances at him apologetically. “I’m afraid so,” he agrees.

“And everything else I’ve been saying,” Hajime continues, “about the kissing and the hair and the collarbones; that’s all – that’s all gay, too. That’s all really fucking gay.” Suga nods. “Okay,” Hajime says. He presses his palms to his forehead. “Thanks, Suga.” Suga’s grin makes Hajime feel worse – more out of place, somehow.

“Sure,” he says cheerily. “Anytime. I have to go, though; I have an essay due tomorrow. See you later?”

“Yeah,” Hajime agrees, waving as Suga leaves. He sets his head down against the table.

He has a crush on his best friend (of ten fucking years; what is he thinking?). This is a fact, so he won’t annoy everyone by further questioning it.  Even if he hasn’t ever liked guys before, he’s never really liked girls either, choosing to focus on his studies instead. (Besides, whenever he even so much as looked at a girl, Oikawa would be there, working himself to the bone and reminding Hajime that caring for him is a full-time job.)

Oikawa’s straight, though, and Hajime’s reminded every time he talks about a pretty girl who came up to him and asked him out – every time he reminisces upon his high school glory, all the girlfriends he’d had, all the hearts he’d unwittingly broken.

“This is a problem,” Hajime says quietly to himself, well aware that he sounds insane. He dials Daichi’s number, exhaling when it goes to voicemail. “Um,” he says, trying to keep his voice level, “hey. I was wondering if you could set me up on any blind dates or something.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa whines with a scowl, wrapping himself around Hajime and resting his chin on Hajime’s forehead. “You’ve been weird.”

“You’re always weird,” Hajime counters, though the insult seems tired even to him. “So it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

“But, like,” Oikawa sighs, shifting off of Hajime and sitting on the floor instead, “it’s a different weird. You’ve been – moody. More than usual, I mean.” He squints. “Have you been avoiding me?”

“No,” Hajime says, too quickly. Oikawa’s features tighten for a moment, but he relaxes so quickly Hajime thinks he must’ve imagined it.

“If there’s actually something wrong,” he says, softly, “you could tell me. You know that, right?”

“Yeah,” Hajime says. His mouth runs dry. “Yeah, I know. But there’s nothing wrong, so stop worrying about me.”

“It’s hard not worrying about you when you’re a caveman,” Oikawa sighs after a long, tense moment, and when Hajime leans forward to pinch him he loses balance and topples, landing squarely on Oikawa. He lifts himself slightly upward to ease his weight and stabilize, expecting to hear Oikawa’s laugh and some annoying remark about wow, the vocabulary of a caveman and the balance of a baby; what a catch, but instead, Oikawa’s staring at him. The moment feels eerily familiar, but Hajime can’t place it.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa breathes. His eyes are wide and his cheeks are rosy and his hands are moving upwards, as if he’s trying to cup Hajime’s face in them. “I have to tell you something.” Oh, god, Hajime thinks frantically, he can tell. He can tell I like him and he’s going to say that it’s too weird to be friends with me anymore and I’ll have to move out of this complex or transfer to another college.

“Later,” he says aloud, getting up and sitting back down on the chair. He stares steadfastly at the laptop. “I have to finish this paper.”

“Okay,” Oikawa says, and his voice sounds choked and awkward. “Sure. Later.”

“Are you okay?” Hajime asks, looking back with a frown, but Oikawa’s already seemingly engaged, texting someone. Hajime sighs – glares at his laptop – wonders when they got so out of sync.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“Okay,” Daichi says, sounding as weary as Suga did yesterday. “You realized that you like Oikawa, which was a long fucking way coming, by the way–”

“Yeah, whatever, I know,” Hajime says hurriedly, not in the mood for another lecture. (When he called Hanamaki and Matsukawa, they’d laughed for a full minute before talking to Hajime about not breaking their friend’s heart, as if Oikawa’s not his best friend – as if Oikawa would even like him back, anyway.)

“But you think he’s straight.”

“I know he’s straight,” Hajime corrects. Daichi shrugs.

“Sure,” he says. “So you want me to set you up on blind dates to – what, to get over him?” Hajime pauses – puts his finger to his lips.

“That makes it sound more emotional than it is,” he replies finally.

“And you don’t see how this could be a bad idea,” Daichi continues. Hajime shakes his head. “I mean, I guess I could try, but I really don’t think that’s the best way to resolve whatever’s going on.”

“If I wanted life advice,” Hajime warns, “I would’ve asked Suga.”

“That was extremely rude,” Daichi says, frowning. “I have a great life; I’m good at life advice.”

“I know,” Hajime groans. “I’m sorry. I’m just – out of it lately, I guess, because of the internship and the tournament and Oikawa. It’s too much.” Daichi’s brows are knit, and when he speaks again it sounds more resigned than anything.

“Okay,” he agrees. “I’ll set you up on blind dates, but if or when you realize this is a bad idea, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“I won’t,” Hajime replies with a smile, “because it’s a great idea.”

Chapter Text

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa coos, “why are you all dressed up?” He presses his thumb against his lip. “Is it a date night I forgot again? I’m pretty sure we’re not seeing my parents again for another few weeks, but you know how I get with putting stuff in calendars.” Hajime inhales - steels himself quietly. “Why are you breathing like that?” Oikawa asks, his voice suddenly sounding colder.

“I’m going on a blind date,” Hajime says, closing his eyes. “Daichi set me up.”

“Oh,” Oikawa says. He steps back. “Okay.”

“Is that – is that all you have to say?” Hajime asks, feeling disappointed and immediately reprimanding himself. Oikawa turns away.

“Yeah,” he answers. “Have fun. Let me know how it goes.”

“I thought you were staying here until after lunch.” Oikawa turns back and smiles, though it feels more to Hajime like he’s baring his teeth.

“I have to meet up with Suga today for a study thing,” he says. “I forgot about it. Like I said, you know how I get with putting stuff in calendars.” When he leaves, he closes the door a little too harshly.

Hajime stares at the space where Oikawa just was for a moment, something in his chest caving. He shrugs – glares at his laptop – begins to brush his hair instead of thinking about what he might have done wrong.

The girl he meets up with is a high school friend of Daichi’s – Michimiya Yui. They go to an arcade together, and the game she pulls him toward is one about defeating alien overlords he’s played a million times before with Oikawa, because of course the universe hates him. “This is my best friend’s favorite game,” he says after they get a new high score.

“Really?” she asks, eyes wide. “It’s my best friend’s least favorite; she’s sick of playing it with me. You should see how she looks whenever she kills an alien.”

“Mine smiles,” he says, thoughtfully, “but in a weird way. He’s kind of a sociopath.”

“Mine just talks about how it’s gross to condone murder, even if it’s in a game,” she says brightly. “But she’s cute, so it’s okay.” She covers her mouth. “I mean – in a friend way, obviously. She’s a cute person. Girls call each other cute all the time.”

“Yeah,” Hajime replies, coming to a quiet but sudden realization. He offers a tentative smile. “My best friend’s cute too.” Michimiya blinks at him before giving him a similarly sympathetic smile in return.

“This was really fun,” she says after they’re done eating four servings of waffle fries with an obscene amount of ketchup, looking at the floor apologetically, “but–”

“Don’t worry about it,” Hajime interrupts, waving a hand dismissively. “I feel the same way.” She seems relieved.

“Daichi’s an amazing guy, but he’s not the best matchmaker,” she replies, and they both laugh. “Friends, then?”

“Yeah,” he agrees. “Friends.”

“I hope everything goes well with your best friend,” she says, getting into her car. Hajime’s heart sinks as he remembers his conversation (was it even really a conversation?) with Oikawa.

“You too,” he says earnestly. “I’ll see you around, Michimiya.” She beams before driving off.

“Is Oikawa still with you?” Hajime asks Suga over the phone.

“Yeah,” Suga says cheerfully, and Hajime hears a betrayed screech. “Do you want to talk to him? He’s been sulking all day; it’s exhausting - ” He’s interrupted by another screech. “I don’t like having you here when you’re angry; you’re a negative influence and you’re killing all my plants!”

“Uh,” Hajime says. “I’m sorry on his behalf.” He’s expecting Suga to be gracious, as always, and say something like oh, don’t worry about it; it’s not your fault.

“You should be,” Suga says, icy cold. Hajime flinches just from hearing it. “This is entirely your fault. He killed three cacti, Iwaizumi. Do you know how hard those are to kill? I specifically bought them because they’re impossible to destroy.”

“It’s not my fault he kills everything he touches,” Hajime says defensively.

“You caused a situation where he’d need to come over to my apartment and kill all my goddamn plants. When a child swears at you, do you blame the child or their influences?”

“I don’t - that’s a weird fucking analogy, and Oikawa isn’t a child ; he’s just a ridiculously clumsy person. He’s capable of making his own awful decisions and killing plants by himself.” Suga sighs, and Hajime can imagine him shaking his head.

“He wouldn’t have come here if you didn’t fight - or not fight; I don’t know - if you didn’t get him upset somehow. Therefore, he wouldn’t have been clumsy in my apartment, and he wouldn’t have killed my cacti.”

“Could you tell me why he was mad at me?” Hajime asks, curious. Suga sucks in a breath.

“I don’t know if that’s my place,” he says.

“Fine,” Hajime says crossly. “Could I talk to him, then?”

“Of course,” Suga replies, his tone once again light. “Oikawa - Oikawa, I swear to god; you’re giant and my apartment is too small to hide in - ” After a couple moments, Hajime hears Oikawa grumbling and something clattering on the floor.

“Hi, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says. “How was the date?” Before Hajime can answer, he continues. “Do you have a new girlfriend? When’s the wedding?”

“It was fine, no, and never,” Hajime says.

“Wait, what? Why?” Oikawa asks, his voice significantly brighter. “Suga showed me a picture of her; she’s really cute. And she’s exactly your type.” Hajime blinks.

“What’s my type?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” Oikawa replies after a moment. “All your favorite celebrities have been volleyball players with brown hair and pretty eyes. Also that’s what Katsumi looked like.”

“I’m not sure if I even liked Katsumi,” Hajime says honestly, realizing that all his favorite celebrities have fit that description. And so does Oikawa, he thinks, horrified at himself. “And we didn’t really fit together. Like, romantically. She’s fun, though.”

“That’s good,” Oikawa hums. He pauses. “I mean - it’s good that you guys are friends. That’s what I meant.” Hajime furrows his brows.

“Yeah,” he says, running a hand through his hair. “Obviously. What else would you mean?” Oikawa huffs out a laugh that’s - incredulous, maybe? Relieved? Hajime can’t tell.

“Nothing, Iwa-chan,” he says. “I wouldn’t mean anything else.”

“I don’t - ” Hajime rolls his eyes, trying to recollect himself. “Whatever. Come over; I wanna watch a movie and I don’t have any early classes tomorrow.”

“Aw,” Oikawa says, and Hajime can hear his beam, “did you miss me while you were gone?”

You were all I talked about, Hajime almost says, but he bites his tongue. “I just don’t want you murdering any more of Suga’s plants, asshole,” he says instead. Oikawa snickers.

“Okay,” he says skeptically. “I’ll come over. See you in five, Iwa-chan.”

“Bye,” Hajime says, hanging up. He wonders why he feels so heavy even though they made up.

Chapter Text

“Chibi-chan and Tobio invited us out to dinner tonight, by the way,” Oikawa says. “They’re in town to visit Suga and Daichi, I think, so they invited them and Suga and Hinata wanted us to come, so now we’re going. Dress nice.” Hajime cranes around in his seat to glare.

“When did they send the invite?”

“A week ago,” Oikawa replies with a too-sharp grin. “But you were busy with your blind date and I didn’t want to bother you.”

“I - ” Hajime rolls his eyes. “I told you that didn’t work out.”

“And I told you,” Oikawa says. He flicks a piece of paper into Hajime’s face. “I wish it did so that you could be happy with someone.” Before Hajime can speak, he moves on. “Anyway, wear something like - casual-fancy. Nothing too Iwa-chan-esque; we have to be a better couple than them in every possible way.”

“Says the one who likes plaid shorts,” Hajime mutters, “but okay.”

“Those were cute with the outfit,” Oikawa whines, plopping his legs onto Hajime’s and leaning forward. “You just don’t want to admit I’m gorgeous.”

“You’re right,” Hajime agrees. “I don’t.” He realizes what he just said - closes his eyes - makes eye contact with Oikawa, who’s staring at him with an odd expression. “Um,” he says. “I don’t want to admit it - because it’s not true.” Oikawa blinks.

“Okay,” he says easily after a minute, leaning back into his seat again. “Wear that blue button-down; you look cute in it.”

“I - uh - cool,” Hajime stutters, feeling heat rising to his cheeks and silently thanking his skin tone for hiding it. “I will. And you should wear that, uh, patterned shirt with the brown jacket. It looks good on you.” Oikawa beams.

“Cool,” he replies. “I will.”

Three hours (and what feels like an infinite amount of Oikawa’s complaints about Hajime’shair) later, they finally get into his car. “Kageyama was suspicious about how legitimate we are the last time,” Hajime says offhandedly as he starts the engine. “So we should probably play up affection or something.” I’m taking advantage of this, he thinks miserably, watching Oikawa hum and fold his hand over Hajime’s knuckles.

“Smart plan,” Oikawa agrees. “You’re very good at schemery, Iwa-chan; I’m surprised.”

“Schemery’s a disgusting word,” Hajime says, biting his tongue to keep from laughing.

“You’re a disgusting word,” Oikawa shoots back childishly.

Hajime can spot Hinata and Kageyama from the parking lot. When Hinata sees them, he hops up, tugging Kageyama’s sleeve with one arm while waving with the other. “He jumps so much,” Oikawa mutters.

“He needs the height,” Hajime replies.

“So do you,” Oikawa counters, ignoring Hajime’s indignant splutter, “but you don’t jump that much.” Before Hajime can reply, Oikawa flutters his lashes, grabbing Hajime’s hand. “We have to be affectionate now, babe, so don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone you’re madly in love with.”

Hajime pretends his heart doesn’t jump. “Whatever,” he replies. He pauses. “If I were in love with you, I’d still make fun of you.” Oikawa grins, but there’s something uneasy in his eyes.

“That’s good to know, Iwa-chan,” he says. “You’d be a great boyfriend.”

“Iwaizumi,” Suga greets warmly. “You and Oikawa are always so cute together.” Oikawa coughs into his sleeve.

“Thanks,” he says with a false smile. “You and Daichi are cute too.” Daichi just raises an eyebrow, pulling a face Hajime can’t read but hates anyway.

“Yeah,” Kageyama agrees, narrowing his eyes. “You both are really cute.” Hinata elbows him.

“We should go in,” he says with a bright grin. “I reserved a good table; it’s right by the window so we get a good view.” Suga pinches Hinata’s cheeks, ignoring his yelp.

“So grown up and responsible,” he coos.

“You never treat our kouhais like that,” Oikawa says accusatorily. Hajime rolls his eyes.

“You do that enough for both of us,” he says, and then, noticing Kageyama staring at the two of them, he adds, “and I don’t think I’d be able to be as good at it, anyway.” Oikawa’s smile turns soft for a moment before flashing back into an obnoxiously toothy one.

“We really should go in,” Hinata says again, tugging on Kageyama’s sleeve. Kageyama offers what Hajime’s learned to recognize as a smile.

“We should,” he says. “Could I talk to Iwaizumi-san for a second, though?” Hinata gives him a warning look, but he laughs a moment after.

“We’ll head in, then,” he says, and Kageyama waves as they walk away.

“I really am happy for both of you,” Hajime says honestly. Kageyama nods politely.

“I’m happy for you and Oikawa-san, too,” he says. He tilts his head. “If it’s real.”

Creepy, Hajime thinks, but he refuses to let himself get intimidated. Instead, he crosses his arms, widening his stance a little bit. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he asks. Kageyama shrugs.

“If you know, you know,” he says. “We should go in.” When he turns his back, Hajime allows himself to shudder.

“He’s suspicious,” he says to Oikawa as he slides in next to him, intertwining their hands. Oikawa clicks his tongue against his teeth, leaning against him.

“Not good,” he whispers. “I don’t know what we’re doing wrong. Everyone else seems to buy it.”

“There’s only two people here who don’t know what’s going on,” Hajime snorts. Oikawa pouts.

“Still,” he says, just as quietly. “I don’t think it’s that we’re not affectionate enough, because we’re – fine, I think; everyone thought we were too affectionate when we were just friends.” He pauses. “I mean, we’re still just friends, but–”

“I get it,” Hajime reassures him hastily, though Oikawa’s words feel like a stab in his side. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter what he thinks, right? As long as your parents buy it, then nothing else really matters.” Oikawa looks at him oddly.

“I want to win, Iwa-chan,” he says, like it should be obvious. “We can’t win if we’re not even competing.”

“Relationships aren’t a competition, dumbass,” Hajime mutters. Oikawa grins sharply at him.

“You’re just not playing right, then.”

“How’s college?” Kageyama asks abruptly, looking – anxious? “We’ve started getting offers from a lot of schools, and we know which ones are objectively the best, but there’s also environment and stuff.” He wrinkles his brow. “Asahi-san talked to us for hours about it.”

“We?” Daichi asks. “Both of you are getting offers from the same colleges?” Hinata beams.

“They want the Karasuno magic duo,” he says, pointing at himself and Kageyama. “He’s the genius setter and I’m – ” He pauses. “What am I?”

“The second coming of the small giant,” Kageyama supplies helpfully. “That’s what the newspaper said.”

“I’m the second coming of the small giant.”

“That’s really dramatic phrasing,” Oikawa says with a raised eyebrow. Hajime kicks him under the table while Suga beams back at Hinata.

“I’m so proud of you,” he says.

“You’re never this nice to us,” Oikawa muses. Suga turns to them.

“You’re my age and still idiots,” he says. Hinata snickers, though he’s silenced by Oikawa’s glare.

“Be nice,” Hajime hisses. Kageyama stares at them. “Babe,” he adds, as an afterthought. Oikawa laughs, and Hajime tries not to notice how his heart skips a beat.

Goddamnit, he thinks, I’m not a fucking schoolgirl. Oikawa makes eye contact with him, threading their fingers together again.

Hajime might be a little bit infatuated.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“That was a mess,” Oikawa says as they flop down on his bed, his hair drifting around his head like an angel’s. “I still don’t think Tobio believes us.”

“I still don’t think it matters,” Hajime yawns. Why are we even doing this, anyway? he almost asks, because it’s definitely been long enough for them to have an amicable breakup and move on. Something (his selfish stupid feelings) holds him back, though, so he bites his tongue. Oikawa looks at him, exasperated.

“You’re hopeless, Iwa-chan,” he sighs. “Where did your competitive spirit go?”

“It doesn’t extend to relationships,” Hajime replies, feeling strangely irked. “Sometimes people aren’t in relationships just to rub it in others’ faces.” Oikawa’s expression shifts into – something – before he beams a false beam.

“We’re not even in a real relationship in the first place,” he says cheerily, “so I don’t see why my motivations matter.”

Hajime closes his eyes – why does he feel like he’s always been saying the wrong thing lately? – opens them again. “I guess you’re right,” he admits finally. “I’m tired; I’ll head back to my room. See you tomorrow.”

Stay, he remembers Oikawa saying months ago, and he almost turns back.

“Good night, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says quietly.

When Hajime reaches his room, he lets out a scream into his pillow.

Chapter Text

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa whines. “Help me study. Donate your genius to me.” Hajime throws a pencil at his head, and Oikawa catches it easily, tossing it back.

“I’m not a genius,” Hajime  says. Oikawa rolls his eyes. “Don’t say anything about the internship; you’ve used it too often for it to be valid anymore.”

“It’s not – it’s not like a fucking card or something,” Oikawa huffs. “Proof that you’re a genius is proof that you’re a genius no matter how many times I say so.” He makes a face. “Anyway, help me with math or I won’t move from this spot for the next three days.” Hajime knows Oikawa will stick to his word, so he groans, shifting so that they’re pressed against each other, thigh-to-thigh in order to properly see the textbook. At times like this, Hajime can almost forget his stupid, ridiculous crush.

Oikawa beams winningly, reaching out to pat Hajime’s head and run a hand through his hair (like he’s some sort of fucking child or dog or something), and ah. Suddenly Hajime wants to kiss him again.

He’s a mess.

Unsurprisingly, Oikawa doesn’t really need help – just a little guidance and then constant nudging to stay on track. “I wanna work on psych,” he insists. “Why the hell would I need math if I’m a psych major? It doesn’t make sense. None of this makes sense.”

“You’ve gotten the past five problems right without me saying anything,” Hajime replies, scrolling through Instagram idly. “It obviously makes sense to you.” Oikawa rolls his eyes before flashing his teeth and fluttering his lashes.

“Only because Iwa-chan’s a genius teacher,” he says, blowing a kiss. Hajime flips him off, and Oikawa snickers. “Do you need help with anything?” He sounds earnest, and his eyes are wide. Hajime shrugs.

“I don’t really have anything due this week,” he says, surprised at himself. “And I’m all caught up on long-term projects, too.” Oikawa sighs admiringly.

“So responsible,” he breathes, dropping his book and flopping down so that his head rests atop Hajime’s thighs. “College has changed you, huh?” Hajime flicks Oikawa’s forehead, laughing when Oikawa yelps. “Sorry, sorry – you were always responsible,” Oikawa amends. He grins lazily – softly, Hajime almost thinks for a moment, but it’s probably just him being delusional.

“I like you a lot, Iwa-chan,” he says quietly.

“Yeah,” Hajime agrees, gazing fondly at Oikawa and letting himself card a hand through his hair. “I like you a lot too.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“That’s really fucking gay, dude,” Matsukawa says. “Like – like super fucking gay. Everything about what you told me is incredibly gay.”

“I – okay,” Hajime replies. He shuts his eyes, trying to think. “Okay. Yeah. Yeah, maybe I’m a little gay; we’ve all accepted that by now, right? But he’s – he’s not. So it doesn’t matter. I’ll keep doing the whole blind date thing.” Matsukawa sighs, and Hajime hears the phone thud against the floor and then something that sounds like an anguished screech.

“Sorry,” Matsukawa says calmly after a minute. “I had to take care of something.” He sighs again. “I’m – I can’t say much, but things aren’t – they’re not – just don’t be stupid.”

“I’m never stupid,” Hajime instantly replies. He can hear the face Matsukawa’s making, and he wants to punch him. “Shut up.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Matsukawa shoots back. “I have to go and talk to Makki about – uh, something that’s not you guys. Bye.” Hajime rolls his eyes, about to bite back when he hears the dial tone. His first instinct is to call Oikawa so they can complain together, but he realizes he can’t.

Having a crush on your best friend is lonely, he muses, sitting down and working on his homework instead.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“I think we should practice kissing,” Oikawa announces brazenly as he strides into Hajime’s room like it’s his own – which it practically is, honestly. Hajime chokes on his water.

“I think that’s a bad idea,” he replies.

“Why?” Oikawa asks, hopping onto the bed. “We’re still – I mean, we still have our fake thing going, and you need all the help you can get so that you can trick a girl into seeing past your looks–”

“So mean,” Hajime mutters. “How haven’t you learned manners in nineteen fucking years?” Oikawa sticks out his tongue.

“And people are gonna get suspicious if we don’t ever kiss or anything and I’m not gonna lose to Kageyama. It’s a good idea. C’mon. Let’s practice.” He grins his stupid soft dopey grin that no one but Hajime ever seems to see, and Hajime wonders if Oikawa knows he can’t ever say no.

“Fine,” Hajime agrees, hesitantly. “But don’t make it weird.”

“It’s only weird if you make it weird,” Oikawa says cheerfully, and without further warning, he leans in. Hajime instinctively scrambles backward, trying furiously to slow the beating of his heart.

“I – uh – sorry,” he stammers. “I just – Jesus fuck, warn me next time.”

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa chastises gently. “I’m sure you’re not that bad of a kisser. And if you are, I can help you out.”

“I don’t need your help, dumbass,” Hajime replies hotly, feeling his cheeks burn. Oikawa’s smile is soft.

“It’s okay to be nervous,” he says with something that sounds oddly like fondness. “You’re probably not used to kissing guys, right?”

“I mean – are you?” Hajime asks, and it comes out too accusatory and not hopeful enough. God, he thinks, closing his eyes and tilting his head toward the ceiling, I’m a fucking idiot.

Oikawa just shrugs. “Doesn’t matter,” he answers airily. “I’m talented enough to pick up on it quickly.”

“You’re so stupid,” Hajime mumbles.

“Stupidly cute,” Oikawa replies, putting a finger to his cheek and winking.

“Yeah,” Hajime agrees without thinking. “You are.” Oikawa stares.

“I want to kiss you now,” he says, quietly, and Hajime’s a little breathless.

“Is that what you say to all the girls?” he asks jokingly, but Oikawa’s already leaning in, closer, closer, closer until their lips meet and his eyes close and Hajime thinks he might have feelings a little deeper than a stupid crush.

He kisses softly, gently, as if he’s afraid of scaring Hajime away. He smiles when he kisses. He laughs a little when Hajime cards a hand through his hair. He’s ethereal.

“I was right,” Oikawa says when they break apart. “You’re not that bad of a kisser.”

I love you, Hajime almost says, but he bites his tongue. “Of course I’m not, dumbass,” he replies instead. “I told you.” Oikawa snickers, rolling off Hajime’s bed.

“Hey,” he says after a moment. “When you called me cute–”

“Setting the mood,” Hajime blurts quickly. His heart is pounding. “Um, I think it worked.”

Oikawa’s expression shatters for a moment before it’s back, meticulously pieced together. “Oh,” he says. “That’s smart.”

“Uh, yeah,” Hajime replies. “Thanks.”