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With a little help from our friends

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You were waiting to eat lunch with Watari like always. The two of you were fast friends ever since meeting the previous year. He was almost glad that, at first, you’d been barely interested in volleyball beyond if he’d played in a match. He’d learned in your first year that all the girls wanted a piece of the team in order to get to Oikawa. It’d only got worse when he became the captain. But not you, on your first sighting of the setter you’d expressed insistence that you’d never date any guy who would look better than you in a skirt. And everyone had seen that at last years culture festival. But you’d actually come to a few games after that. He’d been curious until he’d seen you doodle the ace’s name in the corner of your notebook lazily. He wondered if you actually knew about your feelings. You weren’t exactly in the middle of pursuing the 3rd year. Well, it would be up to him to get things started then, wouldn’t it?

“[name]-chan.” Watari called you from the doorway. He was one of the few that you let call you by the cutesy suffix. Only your older brother was allowed that joy otherwise.

“Hey.” You grinned. “So what’s the challenge today? Last to the vending machine buys the juice?” You liked that one, you would win that race often enough.

“Nope, that short test we have this afternoon.” He came to sit at his desk next to yours.

“[subject]? You must be joking. You never get a better score than me.”

“I have confidence.” He grinned.

“So what’s the prize?” You asked. You didn’t mind beating him if you got something good out of it.

“One request, that lasts a week.”

“Serious?”

“You always said you wanted a pack mule.” Your brain raced, sure having him carry all your shit to and from school would be awesome, even if only for a week. “Besides, aren’t you just so confident?” You knew something was up, but you couldn’t help but agree.

“Fine, fine. Not like it matters what you want. Not when it’s a [subject] test.”

----------

You regretted your boast the moment you heard his request.

“Come be a temporary manager, just for the next week. Please.” He asked, pleading with you.

“A manager?” You squinted. “You weren’t put up to this by that piece of piss captain were you?” He knew very well of your disdain for Oikawa’s open flirting and inability to keep a girlfriend for more than a few weeks. At least it was the girls breaking up with him regularly and not the other way around. Oikawa was rumoured to have only broken up with a girl once when she demanded he chose between her and volleyball.

“No! It’s just... uh... um...” You could see he was fumbling. “Iwaizumi-san’s been stressed out!” He blurted. “He’s having to work really hard keeping the girls away from practice since it’s Oikawa-san’s last year. So, I thought he could use some help with the club... just a little.” The idea of Iwaizumi running around dealing with Oikawa’s messes got under your skin.

“One week. No more. I don’t think I could stand being around that priss everyday for longer than that.”

“You’re the best!”

“Don’t you know it. Now show me your test, how the hell did you get three more points than me?”

----------

Iwaizumi sat by the post of the net stretching, he was early compared to Oikawa as usual. If the captain was much later he would be sent to find the idiot who was probably waylaid by some first years again.

“Iwaizumi-san!” Watari crowed, running over. The libero was already in his training kit and flopped down to help the ace stretch out properly. “So. Uh. You know how we don’t have a manager?”

“If you’re telling me there have been more volunteers I’m going to punch Oikawa.” Iwaizumi muttered.

“Not a volunteer per say...” The less said about a bet the better. “[name]-chan, from my class, the one that thinks Oikawa-san is uh... annoying? She’s going to help out, just for a week.” Watari blabed. It all just spilled out in one go.

“[L-name]-san? The girl you always hang out and walk home with?” Iwaizumi asked, looking back. Watari blinked, he hadn’t thought the vice-captain actually knew who you were. It was a good sign.

“Yeah, her.”

“I guess that’s okay then.” Watari grinned as Iwaizumi looked away, was that a hint of blush he saw? This might be easier than he thought. Iwaizumi panicked internally. Why did it have to be you of all people? He could count on one hand the number of games he’d seen you at, so that immediately ruled you out as an Oikawa fangirl. Last year, he’d assumed you were dating Watari as he’d seen the libero walk you home a number of times. But Oikawa had openly asked and Watari had declared you his best friend. It was very much implied that Oikawa was not to lay a hand on you on pain of losing the best libero they'd ever had. And since you remained single and very much unattached to any male except Watari, Iwazumi had been content to watch you from the sidelines. Watari talked about you enough for him to keep a distance and still know about you. And now you were coming to be a manager for the volleyball club on a temporary basis. He was suddenly going to meet you. He very much hoped Oikawa wouldn’t pick up on his feelings.

----------

You’d come to the gym after school as instructed on Friday, already changed into the standard gym clothes of white and turquoise. Surprisingly, there were no other girls around. You’d expected to have to do some serious shouting. Stepping into the gym, you were surprised when the horde of males ran right up to you, led by Iwaizumi and Oikawa.

“Please take care of us.” They shouted and bowed in unison. When they all bobbed back up, they seemed much more relaxed even if Iwaizumi stared over your shoulder.

“Wattachi said you’d be helping out this week.” Oikawa smiled brightly. You nodded, looking away from him. “So Iwa-chan will tell you want to do but you don’t-” You moved away from him while he was talking, stepping in front of Iwaizumi. “-really have to do anything?” Oikawa’s voice tailed off to nothing, not used to being ignored in such a way. You dipped your own bow which Iwaizumi mimicked on instinct.

“I’ve never been a manager before... so uh... please just tell me what you need.” You said, grateful that your hair was covering at least part of your face.

“First... could you get the balls out while we finish warming up?” He asked. “The main cupboard.”

“Should I help you?” Oikawa chimed in.

“No, I got this.” Watari was not the only one who noticed the smile creep onto Iwaizumi’s face.

----------

"[Name]-chan, could you give me some water?” Oikawa cooed. You frowned at the captain.

“Uh oh.” Watari gulped.

“[Name]-chan.” Oikawa repeated. You took one of the water bottles, your knuckles white.

“You might wanna get out the way.” Watari hissed to the others. They listened and took a few steps back leaving a very clear path between the two of you.

“[Name]-chan, sorry I don’t think you heard me but-” You didn’t let him finish. You instead threw the half-full bottle at him. Well, you wanted to aim for his head but killing the star of the volleyball team probably wasn’t the best idea. So you opted for his stomach instead. “Ack.” Oikawa doubled over, crumpling to the floor.

“No one, no one but my brother and Shinji-kun, who is as good as family, call me -chan, you dipshit.” You scowled.

“You heard her, Dipshi-kawa.” Iwaizumi grinned, warping your insult to make it his own.

“Nice.” You grinned back. “Can I use that?”

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa whined. “You’re ganging up on me!”

“You finally grasped the situation. I’m here for him, not you.” You sighed. Everyone froze. Iwaizumi’s heart lept into his throat.

“Sempai, uh... what do you mean by that?” Kindaichi asked carefully.

“What? No! Shinji-kun said Iwaizumi-san needed help!” You flailed as Iwaizumi and Oikawa snapped their attention to the libero.

“I.... thought Iwaizumi looked stressed.” He attempted. You frowned at him.

“Wattachi!” Oikawa whined.

“We’ll talk about this later.” Iwaizumi muttered, disappointment making him feel a little queasy. “[L-name]-san, you can go if you want.” You froze, while you hadn’t enjoyed the captain pestering you, Iwaizumi had definitely smiled once or twice. You were sure of it.

“No. I’ll stay. As much as I’d love to not deal with Dipshi-kawa again-” You earned a lip twitch from Iwaizumi, “ I made a promise and I’ll keep it.” You were firm in your decision. “One week.” Iwaizumi sighed. It wasn’t the meeting he’d hoped for, but at least you were honest.

----------

Iwaizumi had watched as you tidied up the last few things in the gym. Usually he’d be the one ordering the first years around for clean up in place of Oikawa, but you’d assumed the role reasonably well. And after your treatment of their captain, they’d been eager to please. For the first time since Oikawa became captain, practice finished on time, and with minimal raised voices. When Watari had joined you and started to walk with you, Iwaizumi found himself annoyed that Oikawa had managed to stumble across a pair of girls from another school near the gate. A chance to at least listen in to your conversation was walking away, literally.

“Oi, we have to go home.” Iwaizumi muttered.

“Thank you for the chocolates! I’ll be sure to try them!” Oikawa smiled sweetly at the girls.

“Oikawa.” Iwaizumi had already tuned out the voices of the girls.

“You’re from [random] school? Wow that’s pretty far!”

“Oikawa.” You were slipping out of view. He was frustrated that he felt like he was compelled to keep an eye on Oikawa until the station.

“You should come to a game sometime!” Iwaizumi snapped a lot earlier than usual at the incessant flirting, grabbing his friend by the collar as soon as he finished speaking.

“Excuse us.” He growled, glaring at the girls, before dragging the brunette away.

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa squeaked. “You’re hurting me!”

“Shit.” Iwaizumi let go and stuffed his hands into his pockets.

“What got into you today? Is it that girl? [Name]-chan?” Oikawa prodded. “I wonder why Wattachi brought her of all people. You usually kick any prospective managers straight out the gym.” Oikawa started skipping lightly as he thought aloud. “I wonder, I wonder.”

“Shut up.”

“Iwa-chan, you’ve not had a girlfriend since junior high, right?” Oikawa followed a thought.

“...No...” The setter smirked at the shyness suddenly radiating from the usually gruff ace.

“Did you.... like [Name]-chan coming to practice?”

“She was alright. She helped.” That his best friend wasn’t protesting your presence told Oikawa a lot more than Iwaizumi probably realised. “It’s more than any of the others did.” Oikawa couldn’t deny that.

“Okay! We have time! Iwa-chan! Let’s do our best!”

“At what?!”

----------

“Time for serving drills.” You called as you pushed the ball cart to one end of the court. “First years, pick up duty. Third years serve first, then second years.” When all were roughly in place, you gave the third years a nod to signal for them to start. While they rotated sides of the court regularly, you were glad that Iwaizumi started on your side. Watching him up close gave you thrills. It was almost as good as watching a live game.

“Oi, why you smiling?” Iwaizumi barked in Oikawa’s direction.

“Our little manager seems to be quite cute, don’t you think?” Oikawa smiled, spinning a ball in his hands. Iwaizumi knew that smile, it was the ‘I know something’ smile. The smile he’d been hoping not to see.

“Shut up Trashi-kawa.”

“Keep it up!” You cheered to the second years, egging them on. When Oikawa stepped up for his next turn, he let it rip. He over did the power though, sending the ball smashing into the wall. “Oh yeah, real useful serve there.” You watched as Iwaizumi took his few paces back. He took a calming breath and served. It was pinpoint, smacking one of the half filled bottles on the back line clean off the floor. You smiled, impressed. “Nice one Iwaizumi-san.” You called to him. A genuine smile plastered across your face. Iwaizumi couldn’t help but flush pink.

“Very cute.” Oikawa teased.

----------

“Hey, uh... [L-name]-san.” Iwaizumi nearly tripped over your name. You were supervising the clean up again. He took the mop from you and thrust it at one of the few remaining first years without a job.

“I could do that you know. But thanks?” You said, confused.

“So there’s no practice tomorrow.”

“Ah, yeah, Shinji-kun would always walk me home on Mondays.” You realised. “... that means I’ll have to help out on Friday again too I guess...”

“What?” He was confused.

“I promised a weeks worth of help. Even if you don’t have practice... it feels weird to skip a day. I’d rather pay up in full than give Shinji-kun even a chance of lording it over me another time.”

“So... Would you come to the sports store with me then?” Iwaizumi asked. He knew that feeling, Oikawa had a habit of holding things over him. If he could help you, he would. “As the manager I mean! I want to check out some of the new equipment. It’s still you helping out that way.” Whatever his reasoning, you blushed at the thought of spending time with him away from the others.

“I... sure... if you think I could help.”

“Sure. So, uh. Would you wait in your classroom or something? After school tomorrow.”

“My classroom?”

“If Oikawa gets wind of this...”

“Oh. Right. Got it.”

----------

You’d been curious about the way Watari looked so pleased with himself when you’d explained your plans with the vice-captain for after school the next morning. Going so far as to swipe your phone to punch in said vice-captains number. He’d come back after a break in classes to announce that he’d given your number over too. You weren’t sure if you wanted to hug him or punch him. A crushing hug later would probably suffice. After school, Watari gave you a thumbs up as he left, for someone who was usually ready to swat down guys who he thought were unsuitable, he sure was chilled out about Iwaizumi eating into your best-friend-hang-out time. You sat reading until your phone dinged.

Just ditched Dipshi-kawa. Be there in 5. Iwazumi You thumbed out your reply.

Just reading. Take your time. [L-name] True to his word, 5 minutes was all it took. You heard him before you saw him.

“Did you run?” You asked, gathering up your stuff.

“You could tell?” He grinned, there was a slight shine on his forehead which had given it away. That at the rhymic pounding from when he ran down the hall. “Let’s go.” He led you out of, and then away from school. Before long you were on the train, then off the train and walking into the store. You watched and chatted happily as he tried on new knee pads as well as some shoes before opting to buy the second pair he’d tried on. You thumbed through a beginners guide to volleyball as he looked at some other bits. Before you knew it, he was done.

“Got everything?” You asked, eyeing up his shopping bag. “I think you could have spent just a little bit longer in there.”

“The shoes were the main thing.” He answered. “There’s one more place I want to go. You still have time?” You nodded and let him lead the way again. To you, he was much more relaxed without Oikawa around. And you kinda liked it.

----------

“Iwaizumi-san, this is a cafe.” You said, confused. Looking from the cafe to him, you thought he might be blushing. Well, now you were too.

“Consider it a thank you.”

“I... okay.” You mumbled. The idea of going into a cafe with him had set your stomach doing cartwheels. You queued up to order in silence, merely pointing at the menu when it was your turn. Iwaizumi didn’t give you a chance to try to pay for your share.

“I got these.” He said bluntly, handing over the cash to the staff. “Why don’t you find a seat while I wait for these?” You left him at the counter and weren’t sure if you were glad or embarrassed to find the only open seats for two was one of the couches meant for lounging. With a sigh you sat down and settled yourself in the depths of the soft cushions. You thought back over the time at the store, Iwaizumi had asked your opinion on a lot of things even though you had almost zero knowledge. It made you feel warm inside. It was why you’d started reading the book on volleyball. Not that it would matter after a few more days.

“Here, one [drink]... thing.” Iwaizumi said, putting both your and his drinks down. He eyed the space left on the couch, not the most room in the world, but sat down anyway. You were suddenly very aware of how close he was. “Thanks for coming out with me today.” When you didn’t say anything he continued. “If I bring anyone from the team with me then it takes forever, and I have to keep an eye on everyone.” You tilted your head to look at him. “It was nice to just go for myself. Not really a manager’s job I know.”

“A friend’s?” He looked stunned at your suggestion, so you tried to back pedal. “I mean, not that we’re... but if you want to do stuff that’s not club...”

“A friend is good.” He said. It made him happy, but not as happy as he’d thought it would. Friends went for coffee alone after school, right? “Because of Oikawa I don’t have a lot of female friends that I can trust. They all want to get close to him through me. It’s frustrating.”

“I am so not interested in him. Rest assured.” You waved away the topic of the captain. “Too pretty. I prefer a much more-” You couldn’t help but flick a glance Iwaizumi’s way. “-reliable guy.” He hadn’t expected the word reliable. “Someone who’s on time, knows what he’s doing. Someone who supports me as I support him.” His brain ticked over the past few days, the smile on your face when you arrived at club just after him, but before the others, and he’d showed you what to do to help out. He’d made sure he was nearby when you were lost as for what to be doing, and had been pleased when you were nearby with water or towels. He fidgeted in his seat, inching slightly closer to you.

“So, if I were to message you after your stint as manager ended... would you reply?” He asked, very aware of your leg against his on the couch.

“If it was you...” You paused, revelling in the question and the way he was suddenly looking at you. “I would.” Relief flooded his face when you smiled at him. You went back to talking about volleyball and club as you drank, but neither of you moved away from the other.

----------

On Tuesday you had to ask Watari to apologise on your behalf for being late. Skipping your own club to go help out the volleyball club had been easy at first. But when you’d not been rejected over the weekend, your own captain was starting to get annoyed. Even though as a second year kyudo archer, it wasn’t like you had to practice everyday like the regulars.

“Wattachi, where is [Name]-chan?” Oikawa asked in a sing-song voice.

“She had to go to her own club today.” Watari answered. “I thought their break would be for longer. It’s why I asked her now rather than another time to help out.”

“Break?

“They did an exhibition at the shrine, so they took a break.”

“Exhibition?”

“That was the kyudo club right? I saw that, it was pretty cool.” Kunimi chimed in.

“She missed practice then, right?” Oikawa asked, frowning. “But she’s only got 2 more days after today with us right?”

“Yeah, Thursday’s the last day.”

“I’ll go talk to the captain then!” Oikawa cheered. He skipped to the door. “Iwa-chan? You’re not going to stop me?”

“Go bring her back, Oikawa.” Oikawa almost froze mid run. Iwaizumi was wanting you back and not exactly being subtle about it with his ears being bright red.

----------

“What happened to your face?” Iwaizumi asked, he brought his hand half way up to your face before freezing, everyone was watching intently. Was their ace being gentle?

“When Oikawa-san showed up, the captain freaked and the string slipped out of my hand when I was setting the bow.” You explained. The welt that slashed vertically down your cheek was still very red. “I’m trying really hard not to touch it.” The frown on his face made you continue. “I put some cream on it, you get used to dealing with welts when you start out.”

“So [name]-chan is all set to stay with us until Thursday!” Oikawa cheered. You visibly deflated at the cutesy suffix but felt unable to get angry with him. “And I have a date on Friday.”

“The captain was rather insistent about it.” You sighed. “But thank you Oikawa-san.”

“Come on then, practice time.” Iwaizumi ordered, patting your shoulder. It was about as much as he could manage without turning beetroot.

----------

When practice was over, you waited for Watari to change, perching on the railing near the club room.

“[Name]-chan.” There he was. “I forgot, I have cram school tonight.” You frowned. No, he didn’t. You went to the same damned cram school.

“You... what?” You asked.

“Everything okay?” Iwaizumi stepped out behind the libero.

“Ah! Iwaizumi-san! Could you walk with her? Her parents would kill me if I sent her home alone at this hour.” No, no they wouldn’t. It was getting dark sure, but you’d walked home alone later than this before albeit not often. Watari ran off around the corner before either of you could say anything though.

“Oikawa can manage on his own. He’ll have to get used to it.” Iwaizumi muttered, adjusting his bag.

“Oh?”

“We’re applying for different universities.” You slipped off the railing and walked with him. Were you walking closer together than before? Had you always felt his blazer sleeve brush against yours when you walked?

“Haven’t you two been together forever?” You asked, referring to the common knowledge that they’d been playing volleyball together since Elementary school.

“I think it’s time he learns to do stuff on his own. I’m not his mother.” Iwaizumi explained. “Besides, Oikawa’s the one all the scouts want.”

“Oh come on, you’re awesome. Even he can’t beat your spikes.” You grinned, bumping into him lightly. You’d not really expected him to bump you back, so you wobbled off course a little.

“Is it really okay?” He asked randomly. “You skipping your own club?”

“I’m not like you Iwaizumi-san, not a regular.” You answered. “And I can make up the time afterwards.” The frown that threatened to crease his brow kept you talking. “And besides... it’s not like being a temporary manager doesn’t have some perks.” He panicked slightly, very aware of you beside him and how he might not be the freshest daisy after practice.

“Like?” His voice nearly cracked asking.

“Oh. Uh...” You chose to bump into him again instead of answering. “Something like that?” Iwaizumi frowned for a moment, his brain scrambling to make sense of things. He took a chance.

“So if I-” He bumped against you, “-too. That’s okay?” Before he could really move away you snagged your little finger around his one of his fingers.

“I’d like that.” It was the smallest thing, your finger loosely hooked around his, but it made both your hearts soar.

----------

Practice the next day had a much lighter mood. Oikawa couldn’t seem to piss off Iwaizumi as often as normal and you were particularly friendly to the first years. You’d heard rumblings of them wanting you to come be a real manager, but you’d done your best to stop them before they could gain any real momentum. Talking about your return to your own club helped things, asking them to come watch if you happened to make it into a tournament stopped things dead in their tracks. You’d not admit it to anyone, but talking with the first years stopped you from simply watching Iwaizumi for the whole practice. When practice was finally over, the first years, riding your own good mood, had cleaned up at super sonic speed. So you sat on the railing near the clubroom again, not sure if you were waiting for Watari or for Iwaizumi. When they both came out in succession, you hopped off the rail and slipped in between them to walk. The pair slowed their pace to match yours.

“I heard your brother is coming back next weekend.” Watari said, “Mum told me.”

“Yeah, he said he misses mum’s cooking.”

“Did his girlfriend break up with him again?” Watari grinned. “It’s what, the fifth time?”

“Yeah, he always comes running home after.” Iwaizumi stored that information away. An older brother. Great.

“Iwa-chan! Wattachi! [Name]-chan!” Came Oikawa’s voice from behind them. “Wait for me!”

“It’s because you were being slow.” Iwaizumi grumbled.

“Ah! [Name]-chan, tomorrow’s your last day, right?” The captain asked, joining your line next to Iwaizumi. “We should do something! We’ve never had a manager for this long before.” His eyes were sparkling. You frowned, he seemed rather excited.

“And who’s fault is that?” Iwaizumi muttered under his breath. “Stupid pretty boy.” You couldn’t help but smile.

“There’s that cafe you wanted to go to, the one in the department store’s basement.” Watari chimed in.

“The one where you can read their books like in a library?” You checked. When he nodded you continued, “I’m not sure that’s the place to fill with a bunch of sweaty guys after practice.”

“Why don’t we just buy a cake and you can come over to mine!” Oikawa cheered, proud of his idea.

“Why on earth would we go to your house?” Iwaizumi asked in disbelief.

“That’s not the worst idea.” You said softly. The three boys stopped and stared at you. “But not at Oikawa-san’s. That’d just be weird.” You paused, thinking for a moment. “I mean, if it’s just you three. The captain, the vice-captain and my best friend. I think I can get away with having you over.” You bumped Iwaizumi’s arm without thinking. The idea of having him over in particular was both exciting and terrifying.

“What kind of cake do you like?” Iwaizumi asked quickly, looking away to hide his face but showing you his red ears instead. “I’ll buy it.”

“Ah, um, strawberry shortcake is good.” You managed.

“You always eat all the strawberries!” Watari laughed.

“Yay! Party!” Oikawa cheered.

----------

Your final practice had gone without much too much trouble. The first years had nearly started crying before you promised to stop by now and then. The second years had bought you an actual volleyball, one of the yellow and blue ones, and joked that they’d teach you the basics some time. Something told you you’d be learning some of the basics even if you didn’t want to. The first years had nearly started crying again. It was only Oikawa coming over and almost telling them all that he was going to your house later that nearly ruined things. Thank heavens for Iwaizumi stepping in and putting a stop to that. You went home alone, having asked Watari to bring the other two with him later, stopping at the supermarket to buy a few things. Once home, you set to work. With both parents still working you were able to prepare quickly, and soon almost everything was ready. And not a moment too soon. You heard the door open, you’d left it unlocked for this very reason.

“[Name]-chan, we’re here.” Watari called.

“Excuse us.” Iwaizumi and Oikawa spoke in unison.

“Come straight through Shinji-kun.” You answered, hands still damp from washing up everything you’d used earlier. The three came into the room and Watari took his usual spot on the arm of the couch. Iwaizumi came over to the kitchen space and held up a box.

“I think we should keep this away from Oikawa. And this-” He held up a smaller bag, “-should go in the fridge if there’s space.”

“Ah, thanks.” You took the items and put them away for now.

“What are you cooking? It smells really good!” Watari grinned.

“It does!” Oikawa chimed in.

“Just some veggies and rice. Some karaage too.” Iwaizumi’s eyebrow shot up. “I couldn’t have you over and not feed you after practice. I know how hungry Shinji-kun gets after practice.”

“Don’t leave us.” Oikawa whimpered playfully. “We need your cooking skills.”

“I am not feeding a whole team. Not ever.” You laughed. “Well, we have some time before this will be ready. “Maybe 10 minutes?”

“You started as soon as you got home?” Iwaizumi asked, still loitering by the kitchen. His mind was racing over the fact that he was going to get to eat your cooking.

“Yeah, I wanted to make sure the rice and vegetables were started.” You rummaged through the fridge for the chicken.

“How much are you making?” He asked, eyeing up the packets.

“I need to keep some for my parents. They’re working late tonight.” The sound of the TV and the slightly old, but very playable, Wii booting up signalled that the other two were content to entertain themselves for the moment.

“You want some help?”

“Ah, sure, can you cut this? I’ll get the oil ready.”

----------

“Wattachi, I don’t really like this game.” Oikawa pouted quietly.

“Shhhh, look they’re bonding.” Watari hissed softly. “That’s the point right?”

“But my nephew always makes me play this.”

“Pick something else quick then!” Watari rarely got snippy with the captain, but this was his best friend and vice captain they were dealing with. “Oh god, he smiled at her.”

----------

Dinner was eaten with much enthusiasm by the boys. You were delighted that they’d polished off everything that wasn’t safe in the kitchen. Iwaizumi had rightly made up two plates and covered them so that no one would be tempted to keep eating until there was nothing left. Watari was noticeably trying to keep Oikawa entertained and contained, keeping him from straight up exploring the house.

“Cake time!” Oikawa sparkled once he’d ferried the dirty dishes into the kitchen and flopped back down on the couch.

“Okay, I’ll-” You started to get up, but Iwaizumi put his hand on your shoulder.

“I’ll do it. This is for you anyway.” You couldn’t help but glow a little, not only at his touch but at how softly he spoke to you. Things had definitely changed since he’d walked you home, your fingers loosely connected. When he came back, he had a bigger than expected cake and a bowl of extra strawberries. He set both down in front of you.

“Iwaizumi-san?” You asked as he sat back down next to you.

“Thank you. For this last week.”

“Iwa-chan, you make it sound like we’ll never see her again!” Oikawa laughed. You quickly reached for the knife and started to cut the cake into rough slices.

“It’s just the end of me being a manager.” You explained. “I’ll still be everyone’s friend. Here.” You gave them each a slice, but Iwaizumi’s was noticeably larger than Oikawa’s.

“Uh. I think there might have-” Watari stabbed the captain in his side before he could continue.

“Let’s eat!” Watari over rode whatever the captain had been about to say with obvious over enthusiam. Before you could actually start eating, Iwaizumi dished out the extra strawberries. You couldn’t help but smile that he gave you the most. The four of you dug in, and when Oikawa attempted to feed you himself, you turned to Iwaizumi instead. Your red face nearly made his heart explode. Then when he’d fed you from his own fork he was just as red as you. Watari and Oikawa cheered silently. After such a large meal, you couldn’t finish the cake between you, and sat talking with it just sitting on the table.There was the click of the front door.

“I’m home.” Came a familiar voice. You jumped up and darted into the kitchen. There was a whir of the coffee machine and the sound of water. Your mother was home. When she stepped into the room she smiled. “I see your guests are still here. And there’s cake! Someone was very appreciated I see.”

“Auntie, welcome home.” Watari smiled warmly.

“[L-name]-san. Thank you for allowing us to come over.” Oikawa had gotten to his feet and bobbed a bow, tailed closely by Iwaizumi.

“Mum, do you want your dinner?” You called from the kitchen.

“Ah, later. I think coffee and cake is in order first.” When you came back into the room with a coffee in hand she smiled. “That’s my girl. Why don’t you take your friends upstairs? I can clean up down here.”

“Up... upstairs?” You flushed. You’d stayed sane knowing that they would be confined to the living room and kitchen area. But the idea of having Iwaizumi in your bedroom was making your heart pound even if the other two were around as well. “Ah, sure.”

“Leave the door open!” She called as you started to lead them towards the door.

“Mum!”

----------

The next few days were quiet, especially since you were putting in some extra hours at archery over the weekend. So when Iwaizumi sent you a text on Sunday night, you were pleasantly surprised.

So no club tomorrow. There was a pause. You wanna do something? You nearly dropped the phone. You’d thrown yourself back into club activities and school work to stop yourself from day dreaming about this moment. You’d nearly convinced yourself that all those little moments between the two of your had all been in your head. That you’d not walked to the station together connected by a single finger.

Sure. I’d like that.

How about that cafe Watari mentioned before? You froze. He remembered that? Watari had barely mentioned it once.

Is that... like... a date?

Would that be bad? If it was? Did he really just ask you that? Your heart was pounding in your chest. It was a now or never moment.

I’d love to go on a date with you.

----------

In his own room, Iwaizumi punched the air with glee.

----------

The next time you showed up at the boys volleyball club, the first years started to gather around you, there was an excited tension in the air. That was until Iwaizumi walked right up to you and very clearly laid his arm across your shoulder and pulled you close.

“[Name]-san is my girlfriend, so behave.” He said loudly, cheeks tinged with pink. It was the first time he’d called you by your name rather than family name.

“Finally.” Watari sighed as the first years scattered in fear.

----------

After Seijou’s loss to Shirotorizawa, Iwaizumi threw himself into practice almost as much as Oikawa did. Your time together was limited to lunchtime and Mondays after school. You made it your mission to make sure he ate decently at lunch, routinely switching your lunch boxes when his didn’t look particularly healthy with the help of some of the other 3rd year members. Not that you thought he was awake enough to notice the switch. When you did meet after school on Mondays he looked so exhausted that you simply took him home with you so that you could feed him and if he happened to take a power nap, then that was fine too. He’d become such a regular presence at the house that your parents treated him almost like Watari. Minus the being your boyfriend part. He had a few more rules to follow. The door was always left open so they could discreetly, or not so, check up on you.

“Is he okay?” Your mother asked from the doorway. “He’s been asleep since dinner.” Iwaizumi lay on your bed, covered by a blanket you’d thrown over him.

“He’s practising a lot. Like a lot a lot.” You said, looking up at him from the low table where you were studying. “If he can sleep, I’d rather he sleep now than in class.” He looked much more relaxed asleep.

“Should I call his parents? Tell them he’ll stay here tonight?” She asked. “If you use your brothers old room it would be okay. It might be hard to move him afterall.” The suggestion that he could stay was a sign of how much they actually liked Iwaizumi.

“Really? You have their number?”

“Dad made sure to get it.” She grinned. One of the rules for dating you, clearly. “We”ll see if we can’t wake him up for a bath once dad gets home. Your brothers old shirt might fit him for school tomorrow.”

“You kept his Seijou uniform?”

“Of course.”

----------

Iwaisumi woke up to a familiar ceiling, not that it was his. The clock on the bed stand told him it was barely 7am. Sitting up and rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he realised a few things. A, he was in pyjamas that were several sizes too big. B, that a clean, pressed shirt was hanging with his uniform on the door of the wardrobe and C, this was your room. He carefully left the room and followed the sound of movement to the kitchen.

“Morning, buddy, you slept like a log!” Your father greeted him. “You were like a zombie when I finally got you awake enough for a bath.”

“Dad, leave him alone.” You said from the kitchen. “Hajime, come sit, breakfast is nearly ready.”

“Tea? Coffee?” Your mother asked as he sat down. “We called your parents dear, they agreed that letting you sleep was for the best.”

“Let’s not make a habit of it though, buddy.” You father said loudly before addressing you both. “If you’re so tired, you should both study at Hajime’s. That way [name] can come home if you nod off.”

“Of course. Thank you for allowing it this time. And coffee, please.” Iwaizumi bobbed his head, panicking slightly. He’d not taken you to his home yet, not when he was so welcome here. You served breakfast quickly and sat next to him.

“Now then, let’s eat.” Your father led the meal.

----------

“[Name], do you want to come over on Monday?” Iwaizumi asked, his nose and cheeks pink. You’d both finished practice and you had a fresh welt across the back of your hand, it stung like crazy because you had had to keep using your hand during practice. “We have to train all weekend.”

“Hajime, you always have to train all weekend.” You smiled, glad he was holding your hand that wasn’t injured. He had a fairly tight grip that let you feel all the callouses on his hand. He’d taken note of the loose gauze and netting over your hand and positioned himself accordingly. “And that won’t end any time soon.” You refused to bring up the Spring High and any possibility that Seijou wouldn’t make it all the way to the final. You didn’t want to tempt fate any more than that.

“It... that’s true.” Even he couldn’t say it. It was a dream he’d shared with Oikawa since Elementary school. “So... Monday?” You nodded and squeezed his hand. “I’ll... try to make sure my parents don’t ask you too many questions.”

----------

You sat in his room on the edge of his bed. After a very brief talk with his parents, you’d been hurried upstairs to his room with the promise of dinner and more questions before you went home. You were surprised by the western style furnishings but even more surprised by the large white shiba-inu who had come and flopped on the bed next to you, resting it’s head in your lap.

“Sorry about the monster.” Iwaizumi said, coming in with hot tea. “He’s a pest, but he's ours.”

“He’s so friendly.”

“Oi, Pakkun, move.” He ordered, but the dog just wagged it’s tail. “See? Pest.” Iwaizumi sat next to you, close enough to rest his hand over yours. Something must have changed in the mood between the two of you as Pakkun raised his head to look at Iwaizumi, staring at him for a moment before huffing and hopping down from the bed and leaving the room.

“Maybe he needs to pee?” You asked.

“Na, if he needs to go he’ll start barking. He’ll go pester my parents for some fuss.” Iwaizumi half laughed. You let yourself relax and lean on him.

“Thanks for having me over.” You said softly, letting your fingers intertwine with his.

“You always have me at yours, so... it was about time.” He was breathing heavily, like he’d been running. “And... uh... I’m sorry for sleeping last time.”

“It’s okay. I got to see something new.” You smiled brightly. You turned and lightly tapped a finger to his chest. “Something super cute.”

“Eh?” He was getting flustered.

“So, so cute.”

“What the?”

“I sort of want to see it again.”

“No way.” You laughed with him over the stupidity of him trying to deny you seeing him sleep again. You both knew it would happen. You bumped foreheads, leaning towards each other. Suddenly it was quiet. You’d not been this close before. You could see each individual eyelash, short as they were, but it just seemed to add to his attractiveness.

“[name].”

“Hajime?”

“Can... I kiss you?” You smiled your answer, butterflies soaring in your stomach. He closed the distance carefully, pressing a light kiss to your lips. He twisted his fingers around yours, holding them just a little tightly.

“I’m glad I’m here.” You whispered to him.

“Me too.”