Oikawa frowned as the ball hit the ground once more.
It wasn’t the same.
It was never the same.
He’d had another memory this morning. Another memory from his soulmate. Another memory of the perfect set leaving his fingertips with pinpoint accuracy…. It wasn’t fair. His soulmate was younger than him. He shouldn’t be better.
You never knew when you would get a memory, or what it would contain, but Oikawa had long ago discovered that there was really only one thing his soulmate ever did: volleyball. If the younger boy didn’t have a volleyball in his hands, then he was doodling it on a paper, miming motions of plays, or watching a game. If he wasn’t doing something involving volleyball, his soulmate was either bored out of his mind or angsty as hell.
Kageyama. The younger boy’s last name and the fact that he was a better setter were really the only details Oikawa had. He was shorter, too, but since he was younger that wasn’t really saying much.
He grabbed another ball from the bin.
Iwa-chan sighed across the room. “How long are you going to keep doing this, Oikawa?”
“Just one more.”
“That’s what you always say.”
“How can he be so good, Iwa-chan! I’m his senpai! I should be the one who’s better!”
His best friend sighed. “We’ve been over this, Oikawa. You’re better than him at many things.”
“I know.” Oikawa threw the ball up in frustration, then jumped to send it sailing across the net as hard as he could. “I know that, but still. I’m a setter. It’s annoying.”
“Come on, classes start soon. Let’s clean up. The new members will be at practice this afternoon, so that should help distract you.”
Oikawa sighed, but let his best friend cajole him into cleaning up.
The only consolation Oikawa had was that if he ever met his soulmate across the net, Oikawa had no doubt that, as things stood now, he would beat the younger setter.
Kageyama may always be thinking about volleyball, but he was also always alone. He had no concept of teamwork.
Oikawa was determined to change that once they met. He would be a good senpai. He would train the boy to work with his team and all that control, all that precision and focus…. It would be his.
Kageyama was his soulmate, after all. Oikawa may not be able to replicate Kageyama’s set, but that set was his all the same.
“Try to actually focus in your classes, Trashykawa.”
“Rude, Iwa-chan. I always focus in class.”
“Whatever you say.” Iwaizumi whacked him lightly in the back of the head, then headed out of the gym.
Oikawa sighed. The gym was clean, now, but he still really did want to practice a bit more. Surely just five more minutes….
“Oikawa!” Iwaizumi poked his head back inside. “Come on. No more practice.”
He stuck out his tongue. “So stubborn, Iwa-chan.”
“Only because you’re a brat. Come on.”
“Hai, hai.” Oikawa trudged after his friend in sulky silence.
The day was miserable. Any day with the memory of one of those sets was. His fingers just itched to try to replicate it in his own body.
But he never could.
Oikawa sighed and tried to focus. His mother was proud of his good grades. He shouldn’t let himself get distracted. He had to maintain perfection. Model student, model athlete, model looks… perfection.
Just not the perfect set.
Perfect teammate, server, and captain, though. That would have to do.
When the final bell rang, Oikawa slipped through the girls wanting to chat with a simple, “Excuse me girls, but I really should be going. New first years in practice, you know? Maybe come watch?”
They had giggled and left with a chorus of goodbyes.
He changed quickly into practice clothes, then headed to the gym.
The new first years were all fairly tall, which was good. One, though…. He was adorable. Oikawa just wanted to pinch his cheeks. He had the prettiest dark blue eyes…
And his name was Kageyama. Kageyama Tobio. That had shocked Oikawa. And the boy wanted to play setter. But it was just coincidence, right? Just coincidence. Surely there were lots of boys named Kageyama. Kageyamas that played volleyball. Kageyamas that were younger setters.
Kageyama Tobio watched both Oikawa and Iwaizumi sharply, but they were the captain and vice-captain. Of course the boy would be paying attention to them both.
Oikawa swallowed and tried to push those thoughts to the back of his head. He needed to watch the first years’ practice match. See what they were good at.
And then Kageyama set. The boy played with that same razor-sharp focus and the ball flew through the air. It flew with that same accuracy and precision…
That perfect set.
Oikawa’s clipboard clattered as it hit the gym floor.
“Oikawa?” Iwaizumi glanced at him sharply. There was concern in his voice.
Oikawa made no move to pick up the clipboard. He felt like he was going to throw up.
He wasn’t ready.
He wasn’t perfect yet. How dare his soulmate show up in middle school? Oikawa needed to be perfect for him! Needed to have a better set! Everything needed to be better.
Iwaizumi’s hand was shaking his shoulder.
Those blue eyes were watching him, now. The spike had landed, and the younger setter was once again paying attention to things outside the court.
That ridiculous focus.
Oikawa swallowed. “I—I need a moment.”
He fled his captain duties and ran to the club room before collapsing against the wall.
He felt those blue eyes following him, watching his escape.
He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t.
His arms clenched around his knees, nails digging into his skin.
“Trashykawa? What the hell is going on?”
The lights flipped on.
Iwaizume was in front of him, hands on both shoulders.
“Go back to the game, Iwa-chan.”
“Hell no. What’s going on?” There was a pause, then Iwaizume resumed speaking, choosing his words carefully, “You freaked out at the first year’s set. Is he…?”
Oikawa gave a jerky nod.
“You’re such a messed-up piece of shit.”
“Rude!” Oikawa glared at his friend. How dare he insult him when he was having a breakdown?
“You just ran from your soulmate, you idiot.”
“Ano…” the two of them froze, then slowly turned to the doorway.
Iwaizumi sighed and stood up. “You two need to talk. I’m going to go explain things to the coaches.”
“Iwa-chan! Don’t leave!”
Iwaizumi glared at him, “The coaches need to know why the practice match was disturbed, and you two need to work things out in private.”
“Arigatou.” Kageyama bowed to the vice-captain, “Gomen nasai.”
“Tch. At least you’re more polite than this loser. Whatever.” Iwaizumi walked past the first year and out the door.
Kageyama straightened, but still looked at the floor awkwardly. “Gomen, Oikawa senpai. I didn’t know how to—”
“S-senpai?” Oikawa stared at the boy. His set was better. They both knew it, there was no way the boy hadn’t seen Oikawa set in a memory.
The boy was blushing, though. “Hai. You’re the best setter I know! I saw a game in your memories. How do you decide which spiker to use? I would have used someone else, but what you did worked so well! The blockers jumped where I would have set, and your spiker got through without any problem! And your serve! It’s so strong--”
Oikawa grinned. Senpai. He let the continued praise wash over him. His soulmate respected him.
He could work with this.
--“And I saw your uniform in your memory, and I recognized it, and I just had to come here! I had to learn from you! So please, please teach me, senpai! I need to be a better setter!” Kageyama was bowing again, his whole body tense.
Oikawa slowly pulled himself up off the ground and to his full height.
“You’re adorable, Tobio-chan.”
His soulmate’s head shot up, midnight blue eyes wide in surprise and a blush spreading across his cheeks. “To-tobio-chan?”
“Of course. You’re my soulmate, so I’m hardly about to call you by your last name, my sweet kouhai.”
“Kouhai? Then you’ll teach me? Arigatou, Oikawa-senpai!!”
Oikawa gasped in surprise as the younger boy’s arms wrapped around him.
His body… it felt warm. So warm. He felt like everything had shifted and was centered on this boy. This boy that was currently trying to hug all of the breath out of his body just because Oikawa had promised to teach him.
Oikawa’s arms wrapped around Kageyama. He would protect him. Protect his innocence and love for this sport. He would make this boy perfect, just like everything else.
After all, Tobio-chan was his.