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Worthless Pride

Chapter Text

Part II

 

 

Worthless 

 

Pride

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

I would like to show, cut open my skull, look into my head. I don’t know why–

 

He groaned and then turned it off by pressing the button on the phone. It quieted down and just when he wanted hug his pillow, to continue his sleep–

 

The door burst wide open. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day.” 

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes popped open the minute he heard Hanamaki’s voice. Iwaizumi sat up and almost jumped out of bed, looking at Makki who looked as fresh as one could be. 

 

Goddamn it.

 

Iwaizumi looked at the taller boy’s uniform and then looked back at himself, still wearing his pajamas.

 

Fuck, he’s going to be late–

 

There was a loud crash outside of Iwaizumi’s room.

 

Makki turned, surprised and then opened the door – another crash, what the hell – Iwaizumi’s mother flew into the room, his father following her – both of them wide eyed, with the biggest smile on their faces – Makki tripped over his father’s leg – his father shouted, trying to catch him – then fell down, tripping over Makki’s leg – both of them ended up being on the floor while Iwaizumi’s mother was looking down at them, shocked to her core.

 

And then Iwaizumi’s phone started to ring, so loud, it hurt his ears.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Iwaizumi shouted looking all around his room, not knowing where to even start. “WHAT THE HELL–”

 

“HAJIME, LANGUAGE!” His mother shouted, turning back to look at him.

 

“HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN?” Iwaizumi heard his father and then looked down, only to see Hanamaki looking like as if he was done with everything that has happened in his life.

 

Iwaizumi picked up the phone and went, “WHAT?” shouting, just like that.

 

“Iwa–chan, why are you yelling at me so early in the morning?”

 

“OIKAWA?!”

 

“HAJIME, DON’T YOU YELL AT MY SWEETHEART, TOORU!”

 

“Okay, I – wait a minu – THEN WHY THE HELL ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?!”

 

“HAJIME, LANGUAGE,” shouted his father.

 

“I CANNOT BELIEVE THI–”

 

“Iwaizumi, we’re late – the teacher is going to be mad, and please, Mr. Iwaizumi, move your legs, I can’t get up–”

 

“WHAT IS HAPPENING OVER THERE?” Now Oikawa was shouting too. “IS THAT MAKKI?”

 

“DON’T SHOUT INTO MY EARS FOR GOD’S SAKE–”

 

“WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS HOUSE?” His father shouted, getting up, helping up Hanamaki. 

 

“HOW SHOULD I KNOW?” Iwaizumi shouted back. 

 

“HAJIME STOP YELLING–”

 

“YOU’RE THE ONES WHO ARE YELLING–”

 

“IWA –CHAN SHOULD I CALL THE POLICE–”

 

“WHY WOULD YOU CALL THE POLICE–”

 

“WHO’S GOING TO CALL THE POLICE? YOU KNOW I HAVE–”

 

“DAD CALM DOWN NO ONE’S GOING TO CALL THE POLICE–”

 

“I’m pretty sure we’re late–”

 

“Takahiro, my darling, is your leg fine?”

 

“It is Mrs. Iwaizumi, thank you for your concern–”

 

“IWA–CHAN I’M WORRIED!”

 

“I’LL BE AT SCHOOL IN A BLINK OF AN EYE–”

 

“HA, YOU WISH!” Now, Makki began to shout as well.

 

“SHUT THE FUCK UP–”

 

“HAJIME, I WON’T TELL YOU AGAIN–”

 

“JESUS CHRIST, FINE! I NEED TO GO!” Iwaizumi ended the call and then took a deep breath, looking at his parents. He started to massage his forehead, noticing that his parents were still smiling, as if that earlier scene hadn’t happened at all.

 

His mom was shining with joy and Iwaizumi couldn’t take it anymore. “What? What was this big rush about?” He asked, curious. Makki, next to him, looked curious as well. 

 

His mother smiled and then stepped closer to him. She was so shorter than him, Iwaizumi felt a gentle smile touch his mouth. 

 

His mom slipped her hands into his. “Your brother is coming back. His flight will arrive at night.”

 

Iwaizumi felt it like a sigh. It felt like a breath of fresh air – the smell of flowers and the sight of the northern lights they saw on that day, a long time ago.

 

“Sora?” He whispered his brother name, asking his mother. Because he still didn’t believe it, because he still didn’t comprehend what it meant.

 

He caught his father’s grin – too similar to a child’s, youthful, full of wonder.

 

“It’s true,” he said. “He’s coming home.”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“Both of you, be careful!” Iwaizumi heard his mother say and then both of them broke into a run. 

 

“Wanna bet I’ll reach the gate earlier than you?” Makki shouted over him, making Iwaizumi smirk and laugh. He fastened his steps, the sidewalk turned blurry, he only focused what was in front of him – only focused on his breathing, to keep it even until he reaches the school. 

 

“Wanna bet I’ll stomp you to the ground?” He countered.

 

“Your dad already did that this morning.”

 

And Iwaizumi choked on his own saliva, fell down to the ground and began to laugh so hard his eyes teared up. And then, to his surprise, Makki sat down next to him, not giving a single fuck about the other people on the sidewalk, staring at them and said, with a face of an old, wise man,

 

“Fuck it, the hell with this shit, there’s no way we’d make it to third period.”

 

And Iwaizumi only stared for a couple of seconds, and then laughed and wheezed and then heard

 

Makki

 

to

 

just

 

lose

 

it.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“I’m not even mad, I’m just disappointed,” Matsukawa’s cold stare was burning its way into Makki’s. He had caught them the moment they stepped into the classroom. “I’m not even surprised because it’s dangerous to let you two be at the same place for a longer period of time,” Iwaizumi bit his bottom lip to prevent himself from laughing out loud. Matsukawa turned to gaze down at Iwaizumi. 

 

Damn him and his height.

 

“I mean, you two remember what happened at Katashi’s party last year, right?” Iwaizumi noticed a vein pop out close to Matsukawa’s neck.

 

Makki tried to look innocent. Iwaizumi felt a quiet laughter building up inside of his chest.

 

“I don’t recall anything weird that happened on that day,” Makki said with a cold face. Iwaizumi had to look away, he couldn’t laugh–

 

“Oh,” Matsukawa said, his patience wearing thin. “So you don’t remember calling Iwaizumi out for arm wrestling?”

 

Makki pressed his lips into a thin line, the corner of his mouth starting to curl up. “I don’t remember doing anything like that.”

 

Matsukawa hummed. “So that means you don’t remember that you lost either.”

 

Makki took a deep breath and shook his head. Iwaizumi couldn’t contain his laughter. He felt how it built–

 

“And the time when you both had got so angry that it almost ended up in a scuffle?” Matsukawa raised an eyebrow. 

 

Makki looked confused, lost his smile for a minute. “That happened during the same party.”

 

Matsukawa smirked, looking down at Makki. “Well, well. Seems like someone got his memory back all of a sudden.”

 

“Mattsun, don’t be so hard on them.”

 

Iwaizumi turned around to find himself facing Oikawa. He wore a bright smile, came close to Iwaizumi’s desk and leaned on it. 

 

“Oikawa, these idiots can’t do anything right,” Matsukawa pointed at Makki who looked more than hundred percent done. “They had one job. They can’t even get here in time.”

 

Oikawa snorted, his gaze slid towards Iwaizumi. “I’m sure they had a very good reason to be late, right, Iwa–chan?”

 

Iwaizumi always found Oikawa’s eyes weird. Brown eyes, too bright. And this was the thing. 

 

Too bright.

 

Sometimes, Iwaizumi felt unease. Keeping his gaze, not trying to avert his gaze because it was too bright. 

 

Too fake.

 

It pissed him off so much. 

 

“Sora is coming home,” Iwaizumi answered.

 

Both Oikawa and Matsukawa’s eyes widened. Matsukawa even leaned closer and whispered,

 

“But I thought he said–”

 

Iwaizumi nodded. “That he won’t ever come back,” he sighed and then laid down his head on his desk, shutting his eyes. “Yeah, me too.”

 

“Are you scared?” Iwaizumi heard Oikawa’s voice. He didn’t open his eyes. 

 

“No,” he didn’t lie.

 

I am terrified.

 

After a couple of seconds, Makki, Oikawa and Matsukawa began to talk about something else that Iwaizumi didn’t hear.

 

The only thing that echoed in his mind were the last words he had heard from his brother before he left;

 

“...We are not the same and we never will be, Hajime...”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was walking home with Oikawa after volleyball practice. The night made the city glow, everything felt like an endless corridor, bathing in light water filled with stars. Oikawa was constantly talking about his day and Iwaizumi had to listen, even if he was tired.

 

“And you know, that day was the weirdest day of my entire life–”

 

Iwaizumi was nodding along with every sentence.

 

“– Then, you have no idea who I met, it was insane–”

 

Iwaizumi had no idea when – but suddenly he noticed that he was there in front of his house. Oikawa stopped in front of him and gave out a little smile. 

 

A real one.

 

“I assume this is the end, Iwa–chan,” Oikawa said quietly, staring into his eyes. Iwaizumi has never seen him look this serious before.

 

He could only nod. “Yeah,” he said, furrowing his brows, looking confused.

 

 Oikawa is too dramatic.

 

 He patted Oikawa’s shoulder. “See you tomorrow.”

 

Oikawa’s eyes changed. He didn’t move or say anything. He only stared and then smiled gently, stepping forward to hug him.

 

Iwaizumi was too bewildered to move.

 

“See you tomorrow,” he heard Oikawa whisper, close to his ears. Then, before he could’ve even said anything, Oikawa let go of him and turned around to walk away. 

 

And Iwaizumi watched him 

 

go.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

When he arrived, no one was at home. His parents probably went to the airport, waiting for Sora. He dropped down his stuff, had dinner and then took a bath. 

 

“...We are not the same and we never will be, Hajime...”

 

He sat down on his bed, burying his head into his hands. He also remembered the thing he had said back.

 

“...Get out of my life...”

 

And he realized he can’t face him. He won’t talk to him tonight – he’ll talk to him tomorrow morning.

 

He froze.

 

Oikawa’s words came to life inside him.

 

“Are you scared?”

 

I am terrified.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

I would like to show, cut open my skull, look into my head. I don’t know why–

 

Did he leave the alarm on? 

 

He groaned and then turned it off by pressing the button on the phone. It quieted down and just when he wanted hug his pillow, to continue his sleep–

 

The door burst wide open. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day.” 

 

And Iwaizumi

 

swore

 

he

 

stopped

 

breathing.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

 

Day 2

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi turned around and stood up, feeling numb. His head felt as if it wore the weight of the world. He looked at the taller boy’s uniform and then looked back at himself, still wearing his pajamas.

 

“...It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day...” 

 

His eyes went round.

 

I must be dreaming.

 

There was a loud crash outside of Iwaizumi’s room.

 

He recoiled – his eyes widening even more, he covered his mouth. 

 

Makki turned, surprised and then opened the door–

 

No way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way–

 

– Iwaizumi’s mother flew into the room, his father following her – both of them wide eyed, with the biggest smile on their faces– 

 

No way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way–

 

Makki tripped over his father’s leg – his father shouted, trying to catch him – then fell down, tripping over Makki’s leg–

 

No way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way–

 

Both of them ended up being on the floor while Iwaizumi’s mother was looking down at them, shocked to her core.

 

No way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way–

 

And then Iwaizumi’s phone started to ring, so loud, it hurt his ears. He turned his head into its direction. 

 

“There’s no way,” his brows knitted as he made his way to the phone which was still ringing. Iwaizumi took the phone into his hands and raised it to read the caller–

 

Shittykawa.

 

He ignored the phone, let it ring, and sat back on the bed. Iwaizumi touched his face, trying to vanish the tiredness, vanish the state he was in. 

 

“We have great news, Hajime,” he heard his mother say, saw her mouth move but couldn’t focus on it – not really. She stepped closer to him and sat next to him, completely unaware of how shocked Iwaizumi was. Maybe she thought it was due to the incident that happened when they had stepped into the room. 

 

Iwaizumi looked at her, his eyes glowed with terror.

 

Don’t say it.

 

“Your brother is coming back. His flight will arrive at night.”

 

And hearing it for the second time – it felt like cold water. It finally hit and it hit hard.

 

Iwaizumi wanted

 

to

 

throw

 

up.

 

No way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way, no way–

 

He caught his father’s grin – too similar to a child’s, youthful, full of wonder. The first time he had seen it, it made him feel warmth. 

 

But now?

 

Iwaizumi wished he hadn’t seen it at all. 

 

“It’s true,” he said. “He’s coming home.”

 

I want to close off the sound of your voice.

 

Iwaizumi shut his eyes and turned away. He knew. 

 

I really don’t want to see him.

 

And still to this day, the only thing that echoed in his mind were the last words he had heard from his brother before he left;

 

“...We are not the same and we never will be, Hajime...”

 

He clenched his fists and began to– 

 

He stood up and muted down his parents’ voice, he passed by Makki and rushed to the bathroom, closing the door–

 

He noticed how heavily he has been breathing this whole time. 

 

He leaned his back against the door and slid down to the floor, pulling his knees close to his chest, listening to his heart, beating fast, beating as if he were about to take his last breath–

 

Iwaizumi breath hitched in his throat. He remembered, Sora sitting at the table, late at night. Only him and he were at home. 

 

Iwaizumi could still see it clearly. 

 

“You make me feel like I’m not good enough,” Sora yelled and broke the mug which had been in his hand, anger glowed in his eyes. “I wish your parents would’ve left me there – I wish you would vanish and leave. I wish you would realize that we are not the same and we never will be, Hajime–”

 

“Get out of my life,” Iwaizumi spat through his teeth, wanting to hit Sora, punch him until he would bleed.

 

Someone knocked on the door. Iwaizumi flinched, the engram faded like smoke, like a snap of a finger.

 

“It’s me, Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips together and then stood up to unlock the door and let Makki inside. His light brown hair was the first thing Iwaizumi noticed, and then his dark eyes. Makki closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall, looking at him.

 

Iwaizumi gripped the washbasin and tried to concentrate. “Did my mom send you?”

 

“They do love me to use as a problem solver from time to time, but I sent myself,” Makki said, snorting. “And your parents aren’t oblivious. They know that you two...” He trailed off and stopped for a moment. “They know you didn’t part ways in a peaceful manner.”

 

Iwaizumi stayed quiet. 

 

Sora.

 

He saw images – like pictures, flashing before his eyes. 

 

Sora and him – playing chess, swimming in the sea, eating ice cream, enjoying the sun –snowball fights, building Christmas trees, drinking hot chocolates – running through fields and forests, playing Tag you’re It – jumping into leaves that looked like enormous hills, counting people’s umbrellas during the rain. 

 

“He is your everything, Iwaizumi.”

 

“...I wish you would vanish and leave...”

 

Iwaizumi gripped the washbasin and felt the muscles in his hands move. “He was.”

 

Makki didn’t say anything. For awhile, Iwaizumi only heard silence. It reminded him what he has been hearing day by day, after Sora had left.

 

“What really happened during that fight, Iwaizumi?” Makki asked, his voice strong, it held power, confidence.

 

This means he’s scared. 

 

Makki was scared because he knew the state Iwaizumi was in after his brother had left.

 

Iwaizumi smiled – a smile that held wrath in its cage.

 

“We stopped lying to each other.”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi felt numb in ways he couldn’t comprehend. He was sitting in his seat, listening to a conversation he had already heard. Yesterday, to be exact.

 

“I don’t recall anything weird that happened on that day,” Makki said with a cold face.

 

“Oh,” Matsukawa said, his patience wearing thin. “So you don’t remember calling Iwaizumi out for arm wrestling?”

 

I think I might be dreaming.

 

Iwaizumi wasn’t sure. He couldn’t feel anything at all. This morning destroyed him more than he understood. 

 

Why didn’t he react like this the first time they told him?

 

Because you couldn’t believe that he’s coming back. But now you heard it twice.

 

And it really made it worse.

 

Makki pressed his lips into a thin line, the corner of his mouth starting to curl up. “I don’t remember doing anything like that.”

 

If it’s really a dream then it’s the cruelest he has ever had. 

 

Matsukawa hummed. “So that means you don’t remember that you lost either.”

 

Makki took a deep breath and shook his head. Iwaizumi glanced at him, looking thoughtful. 

 

They don’t seem to notice that this day had already once happened.

 

“And the time when you both had got so angry that it almost ended up in a scuffle?” Matsukawa raised an eyebrow. 

 

Makki looked confused, lost his smile for a minute. “That happened during the same party.”

 

Matsukawa smirked, looking down at Makki. “Well, well. Seems like someone got his memory back all of a sudden.”

 

“Mattsun, don’t be so hard on them.”

 

Iwaizumi’s Déjà vu kicked the most in that moment. He turned around to find himself facing Oikawa. He wore a bright smile, came close to Iwaizumi’s desk and leaned on it. 

 

Iwaizumi, for some reason, couldn’t look away from Oikawa. He blinked and suddenly the surrounding changed around them. 

 

A dark sky appeared in front of Iwaizumi, the light of the city and a sidewalk with lamps glowing at the side. 

 

The first time for Iwaizumi to see Oikawa’s real smile.

 

He blinked again and it vanished. 

 

“Oikawa, these idiots can’t do anything right,” Matsukawa pointed at Makki who looked more than hundred percent done. “They had one job. They can’t even get here in time.”

 

Oikawa snorted, his gaze slid towards Iwaizumi. “I’m sure they had a very good reason to be late, right, Iwa–chan?”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t speak. 

 

This smile worth nothing. It had nothing against the one Iwaizumi had witnessed. 

 

“Sora is coming home,” Iwaizumi repeated the answer that he had gave yesterday.

 

Both Oikawa and Matsukawa’s eyes widened. Matsukawa leaned closer and whispered,

 

“But I thought he said that he won’t ever come back.”

 

Iwaizumi was looking at Oikawa. Waiting. He was really waiting for him to ask. 

 

I believed that this dream is real. Far too easily.

 

Oikawa’s light brown eyes felt to raw and real. It made him wince.

 

“Are you scared?” Iwaizumi heard Oikawa’s voice. Only Oikawa knew what really happened during that fight. He was the only one who knew how Iwaizumi felt. 

 

“No,” Iwaizumi lied again because he was far too gone to admit it.

 

I am terrified.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi was walking home with Oikawa after volleyball practice and this time, he didn’t know why, but he listened. 

 

“I knew she was lying but still, that was the first time I’ve seen a fight happen right in front of me and you know, that day was the weirdest day of my entire life,” Oikawa’s eyes burnt with joy. “Then, you have no idea who I met with, it was insane. Today, I was walking down the street, minding my own business as always, and suddenly I see Ushiwaka sitting in a coffee house,” Iwaizumi’s eyes widen and Oikawa started nodding. “I know, right? Insane, I swear he’s stalking me.”

 

Iwaizumi decided to play along. “I’m sure that’s his idea. He needs to tell you that you should have come to Shiratorizawa at least once a day.”

 

Oikawa shuddered, looking like a man who saw something really disgusting. 

 

“If I hear that sentence one more time–”

 

“But it’s fate, Shittykawa–”

 

“Iwa–chan!”

 

“You need to accept it–”

 

“You see me accept it when I’ll stop wearing my fucking trench coat.”

 

“Oh,” Iwaizumi clicked his tongue, trying not to laugh. “You won this time.”

 

“I win every time,” Oikawa smiled, looking smug. 

 

“Yes, because you cry when you lose and I don’t have the energy to deal with that.”

 

“Aww, Iwa–chan, does this mean you don’t like to see me cry?”

 

“I don’t like hearing you complain for hours after it, yes.”

 

Oikawa smiled and looked away. “How mean,” he said in a different tone. And just like that he was there in front of his house. Oikawa stopped in front of him and gave out a little smile. 

 

The real one.

 

“I assume this is the end, Iwa–chan,” Oikawa said quietly, staring into his eyes. Iwaizumi saw the city lights glowing behind his silhouette.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

“You should smile more,” Iwaizumi said it out loud. 

 

Oikawa’s eyes changed again. It softened, it made him look approachable. “You think so?”

 

Iwaizumi smiled too. “I do,” he said and then stepped closer. For a moment he thought what he should do. Hug him or not. 

 

I’ll leave it up to him to decide that.

 

“See you tomorrow,” Iwaizumi said. “And I better see this smile tomorrow.”

 

Oikawa’s bottom lip twitched so he bit it down.

 

“See you tomorrow,” he heard him answer. Then, before he could’ve even said anything, Oikawa turned around to walk away.

 

Not giving him a hug or anything. For the first time, Iwaizumi felt a sharp warning in his soul. As if his nerves were screaming that something wasn’t okay.

 

But he ignored it. This day was already weird as it was.

 

And Iwaizumi watched him 

 

go.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The moment he heard the door he knew Sora arrived. He waited for him to come up and folded his arms across his chest. 

 

He didn’t want to go down.

 

His heart was beating too loud and the pressure inside his ears was only making him feel heavy and at the same time, weightless.

 

He heard the voices fade away and then heard footsteps and then the creaking of his door.

 

And then he was face to face with Iwaizumi Sora. 

 

He was older than Iwaizumi, but with only three years. It still showed in ways Iwaizumi couldn’t accept.

 

Sora’s light, cold blue eyes found his. The indifference that rested on his face was well known to Iwaizumi. 

 

It

 

still

 

felt

 

foreign.

 

Sora took a step closer – his boots sounded heavy as they hit the wood – his leather coat glowed below the lamps of the room. 

 

“Why are you here?” 

 

Iwaizumi wanted to be deaf.

 

To not hear this voice that had held so much love in the past but only showed cruelty now.

 

“I thought if I’d see you once more, I could finally move on,” Iwaizumi answered, his voice felt dead.

 

I really feel like I am.

 

Sora looked like that as well. As if something had torn him apart. As if something had burnt a hole inside of him that could never be healed.

 

“You can never move on,” Sora told him quietly. “Neither of us can.”

 

“...We are not the same and we never will be, Hajime...”

 

“...Get out of my life...”

 

“Where is the boy who counted the people’s umbrellas with me during the rain?” Iwaizumi asked with trembling voice, wanting to hug, wanting to find closure.

 

Sora 

 

didn’t 

 

even

 

wince.

 

“He died the moment you walked away.”

 

“...I wish you would vanish and leave...”

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips into a thin line and tried to stop shaking. Sora’s blue eyes never left him. Familiar but distant eyes.

 

Iwaizumi hated them.

 

And then Sora spoke, clear as day, his voice shaking as well,

 

“Where is the boy who made me remember what the purpose of life is?”

 

Iwaizumi shut his eyes and turned away, feeling too vulnerable, not having enough strength to be able to hide it.

 

It was quiet. 

 

It was quiet when Sora had left the house a couple of years ago.

 

“He died the moment you broke him,” Iwaizumi whispered and walked out of the room because he realized immediately why he couldn’t bear to see Sora. 

 

“...I wish you would realize that we are not the same and we never will be, Hajime...”

 

Because the statement Sora had told him was true.

 

And you

 

cannot

 

accept

 

it.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

I would like to show, cut open my skull, look into my head. I don’t know why–

 

No, no, no, no, no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no,  no, no, no–

 

He jumped out of the bed and touched his head, terror struck him, he couldn’t hear his own thoughts, his heartbeat was racing, echoing, beating–

 

Don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me,

 

don’t 

 

do

 

this

 

 to 

 

me.

 

The door burst wide open. And Iwaizumi saw Makki.

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day.” 

 

And

 

Iwaizumi 

 

fell 

 

to

 

 his 

 

knees.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

 

 

 

Day 3

 

 

 

 

Someone was talking to him but he didn’t hear. For some reason, he didn’t hear anything. 

 

Iwaizumi has never wondered what it feels like to be alone.

 

He didn’t need to. It was useless to think of that. After all, Oikawa was always there to fill the silence when it became too unbearable. Since the moment they met, Iwaizumi felt a strange connection. 

 

It strangely felt as if they had to meet. 

 

As if they had a reason to meet.

 

Iwaizumi has never wondered what it feels like to be alone. He never knew what that feeling could do to someone. 

 

Iwaizumi has never wondered about anything like this.

 

But today,

 

for some reason,

 

he really felt like as if he was the only one in the whole world.

 

He knew this was not a dream. He knew that for some reason, he’s been living the same day over and over again. Nothing has ever changed – nothing big for the matter.

 

This must be a punishment.

 

But for what? What had Iwaizumi done? Because he couldn’t think of anything that would’ve led to this.

 

And there was something spine chilling that he had to live this exact day. 

 

The day when Sora comes home.

 

But this wasn’t what really made him pause. 

 

What do you want from me?

 

He turned his head to look out of the window, in the classroom, elbowing on his desk. He raised his chin to look at the sky.

 

What do you want from me?

 

But who is Iwaizumi to question God?

 

What have I done to be trapped in this hell?

 

“You’re awfully quiet.”

 

Iwaizumi didn’t move, only gazed at Matsukawa. His brown eyes felt more serious than ever and it scared Iwaizumi. He thought he should lie. 

 

I’m tired of lying.

 

“It’s because of Sora?” Matsukawa asked, turning back fully, leaning on his desk. Their other classmates were doing their homework and were having a chat, but Iwaizumi only heard his friend’s voice.

 

He didn’t want to answer. There was no reason for him to do. This whole thing was going to happen again – in the same way, in the same manner. 

 

And yet

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t help but hope.

 

“Nowadays, I notice things I haven’t before,” he confessed, as if he were in a church. As if this could make all his wrong doings go away. “It’s like I’m an outsider and I’m constantly watching myself. It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life.”

 

And strangely, Matsukawa’s face remained blank. A light wind started to dance with the curtains, moving it in front of Iwaizumi’s face – blocking the view for a minute when Matsukawa said,

 

“Sometimes I remember that this is our last year and we might not see each other ever again.”

 

Iwaizumi turned his head to look at him. To really look.

 

And that’s when he really noticed. Matsukawa looked mature. They all did. This was their last year and yet, for whatever reason,

 

Iwaizumi lives this day over and over again because of something he might not see yet. 

 

“Do you remember when we had that campfire years ago?” Matsukawa asked, smiling. Iwaizumi gave out a little smile. “And we told each other about our future? About what we might do – about how this is our chance to do something unforgettable? We were kids,” his smile slowly vanished, as he looked out of the window. A light breeze caressed Matsukawa’s hair and Iwaizumi heard him say,

 

“I’m afraid we’ll be one of the ones who miss each other their entire life.”

 

And Iwaizumi realized how blind he had been and how interesting is to be able to finally see.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

During volleyball practice, Iwaizumi felt like he was the most terrified person alive. He didn’t want to go home. He didn’t want to face Sora – he didn’t want to hear his voice nor his words. He’s already heard them – he didn’t want to hear them again. 

 

He wanted to stop questioning his decisions and actions that had led him to be here, trapped in the same day – he was tired of figuring out something that was way out of his league. 

 

What if I wake up and it’s still yesterday?

 

Iwazumi couldn’t stop his beating heart. Not even when the practice had finished, not even when he had finished changing. 

 

What if I never see tomorrow?

 

And what should he do? What should he change? 

 

What was the reason of living this day over and over again?

 

Iwaizumi turned his head to look at Oikawa. He was talking and smiling and behind him the whole city was burning up with lights, with the brightest colors. The blue shone on Oikawa’s shoulders, the green on his hair, and the purple touched his eyes.

 

I wonder why this scene makes me feel like as if I have all the time in the world. 

 

“I knew she was lying but still, that was the first time I’ve seen a fight happen right in front of me and you know, that day was the weirdest day of my entire life–”

 

“...Sometimes I remember that this is our last year and we might not see each other ever again...”

 

“Hey, Oikawa,” Iwaizumi spoke. Oikawa stopped talking and turned his head to look at him. “What do you think about the future?”

 

Oikawa’s eyes widened and he paled white as the wall. Iwaizumi frowned, completely confused by his reaction. 

 

He sure doesn’t want to talk about us third years, huh?

 

Oikawa was staring at him, and after a couple of seconds with Iwaizumi waiting patiently, he took a deep breath and turned his head forward–

 

A sudden, light blue lamp glowed close to his eyes from the building they’ve began to pass by and for a minute, Iwaizumi couldn’t breathe.

 

“I don’t think about it,” Oikawa said quietly, looking so mature Iwaizumi almost stopped. “I only think about now,” he shut down his eyes, “I can’t stop thinking about now.”

 

Iwaizumi began to wonder why Oikawa hadn’t been curious enough to ask him why he had brought up the topic.

 

He really began to wonder why this day was so important. So he said,

 

“I can’t stop thinking about the future. I don’t want to go home,” he admitted and Oikawa looked back to him, eyes filled with something he didn’t understand. “I don’t want to see him.”

 

Oikawa smiled. “Because you cared about him and he hurt you and you still care about him,” his voice was soft when he continued, “Sora has been through a lot, Iwa–chan.”

 

Iwaizumi saw images appearing in front of him – it still felt so real, so real he had almost stretched out his hand to touch them. 

 

Sora flinching away from everyone, being quiet and aware of everything around him, wincing every time someone would raise their hands to a certain height.

 

“I know,” Iwaizumi said quietly. “I know he’s more sensitive than I am and he needs time and he hates me but I just can’t seem to let go.”

 

Oikawa placed a hand on his shoulder, giving strength. “And you don’t need to let go, Iwa–chan,” he said, smiling. That real smile.

 

The city glowed behind the tall boy and the stars were bright and yet, out of all the things he could’ve remembered, Iwaizumi’s thought from yesterday appeared in front of him like a soft whisper.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Oikawa said, his voice felt feathery. “But I know you won’t give up on anything that you had set your mind into.”

 

And then Iwaizumi felt again. That thing. That damn thing. 

 

“...It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life...”

 

And because tomorrow won’t come, and because Iwaizumi felt like he could do anything, he said,

 

“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

 

And Oikawa pressed his lips into a thin line, his eyes changed–

 

Why do you look so sad?

 

And he answered, 

 

“I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road.”

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

When Sora stepped into the room everything felt quiet. Sora’s light, cold blue eyes found his. The indifference that rested on his face was well known to Iwaizumi. 

 

Sora took a step closer – his boots sounded heavy as they hit the wood – his leather coat glowed below the lamps of the room. 

 

“Why are you here?” 

 

And Iwaizumi heard Oikawa’s words as if it were a choir. 

 

“...I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Oikawa said, his voice felt feathery. “But I know you won’t give up on anything that you had set your mind into...”

 

And Iwaizumi had only one day.

 

So he stepped forward and asked,

 

“If I hug you, will you punch me?”

 

And Sora’s eyes widened and he looked scared and doubtful and–

 

Iwaizumi grabbed him by his shoulder and pulled him close.

 

And it was the same when they were little and Sora cried and Iwaizumi vanished all his worry but now

 

Iwaizumi

 

was

 

the

 

one

 

who

 

cried.

 

“No one is sent by accident to anyone, Sora,” Iwaizumi said harshly, not letting him go. 

 

And 

 

Sora

 

hugged

 

him 

 

back.

 

“You walked away,” he shouted and Iwaizumi heard him cry and his shoulders began to shake and he wanted to scream because it hurt, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt–

 

“I did,” Iwaizumi sobbed, tears rolling down his cheek, “I fucking did and I hate myself so much.”

 

Sora laid his head on his shoulder. “I was so afraid,” his voice cracked and it pained Iwaizumi to see him like this, to see him in this state again after so many years of healing and

 

he

 

made

 

him

 

this

 

way–

 

“I woke up and you weren’t at home – you weren’t with us,” Iwaizumi couldn't breathe–

 

You said get out of my life,” Sora answered, taking deep breaths and Iwaizumi felt like this moment was the reason why he’s been feeling so hollow–

 

“You’ve always stayed,” Iwaizumi cried. “I had no idea that–”

 

“It was the worst day of my life.”

 

“I know – hell, it broke our family–”

 

“I was never in–”

 

Iwaizumi pushed him away with strength and stared into his eyes, shouting because he needed to make him understand.

 

“You’re my brother and my family and one of the best thing that has ever made it into my life and that’s all there is.”

 

And Sora’s eyes went round and with shaking hands

 

he

 

pulled Iwaizumi back into the hug.

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

I would like to show, cut open my skull, look into my head. I don’t know why–

 

“NO!” He shouted and jumped out of the bed, searching for Sora, for his hug – his hands touched the air–

 

“NO!”

 

The pain in his chest had never felt this deep – had never felt this pressure, this heavy and Iwaizumi covered his eyes and let it all out–

 

The door burst wide open. And Iwaizumi saw Makki.

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so–” Makki’s eyes widened, he dropped his backbag down, rushed towards him and hugged him.

 

“I don’t know when this is going to end,” Iwaizumi whispered harshly. “I don’t know when this is going to end, I don’t know when this is going to end–”

 

And then he saw his mother, who hurried to him and Makki let go and then his mother touched his face and wiped his tears and hugged him and

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t help but remember Oikawa’s words.

 

“...I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

 

 

Day 4

 

 

 

 

“Are you sure it’s okay for us to skip school?” Iwaizumi rubbed his eyes – the skin around them were red and it looked puffy. He didn't care. 

 

I’m afraid I’ll forget how to care.

 

Makki furiously shook his head while he was pouring coffee to Iwaizumi and then to himself. The restaurant was full at eight o’clock – as it seemed. The music was playing quietly – people’s talking, humming, the sound of their eating echoed through it. Iwaizumi and Makki was sitting close to a big window, the sun shone through, vividly glowing up their table and the surface of their black coffee. 

 

“Like hell I allow you to go to school in this state of mind,” Makki took a sip out of his coffee and then clicked his tongue, staring down at the mug. “This is very hot, don’t drink it yet–”

 

“I mean,” Iwaizumi gave out a sniffle, “I kind of get what you mean but are you sure it’s good idea for you to skip school?”

 

Makki almost recoiled and Iwaizumi would have laughed if he had the energy to do so. 

 

“As if I could leave you here to starve–”

 

“I have money, you know–”

 

“As if Oikawa wouldn’t kill me if I left–”

 

“Are you afraid of Oikawa–”

 

Makki gave him a glare and Iwaizumi shut up. “Point is,” he continued. “We’re going to eat pancakes and talk about your problems because Iwaizumi, you’ve got plenty, I hear.”

 

Iwaizumi sighed tiredly and then leaned back in his armchair. He turned his head to look out of the window. He caught the sight of a playground. A little girl and a little boy playing, a kid running around holding a plastic sword.

 

Memories appeared and vanished in a minute. Him and Oikawa playing with crowns and swords – Oikawa as the king and Iwaizumi as the knight.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes softened, a gentle smile touched his mouth. Another memory danced through his head.

 

“Do you remember when Sora met with someone in a bar and there was a scuffle and he and that stranger beat the whole gang up?”

 

Makki chuckled and Iwaizumi heard him taking a sip out of his coffee. It mustn’t have been hot anymore.

 

“And we were so shocked,” Makki was still laughing and Iwaizumi felt his shoulders began to move up and down, shaking. “We were at yours and all of a sudden the front door burst wide open and all of us turned around and saw Sora – looking beat up, having bruises all over his face, blood on his hair – and he just said, with the most serious face I have ever seen–”

 

“Guys, I just made a friend.”

 

Iwaizumi turned around with wide eyes because they said simultaneously and 

 

both

 

of

 

them

 

burst out laughing.

 

Iwaizumi went on and on laughing and then Makki almost dropped his coffee – making Iwaizumi freak out – and then Makki caught it halfway, completely pale and Iwaizumi 

 

wheezed.

 

That was the moment when the waitress arrived to their table. The woman looked like a fancy countess – she looked fifty six, though. 

 

“Here are your pancakes, young men,” she put them down and then placed down butter and maple syrup on the table as well. “Enjoy your meal!”

 

Iwaizumi and Makki thanked her at the same time and then began to eat the pancakes – they looked similar to mountains. 

 

Iwaizumi poured maple syrup and noticed that the sweet syrup glowed gold as the sun shone through it.

 

The clicking sound of their forks and knives were noticeable but it didn’t disturbed Iwaizumi. 

 

These little sounds are starting to grow on me.

 

“So, what’s wrong?” Makki suddenly spoke, chewing on his pancake. 

 

Iwaizumi knew that this day will be exactly the same tomorrow. He also knew that Makki won’t remember any of this.

 

So he said,

 

“I’m stuck in a time loop.”

 

Makki only stared and Iwaizumi just knew he didn’t believe it. It wasn’t a surprise. Who would believe this madness–

 

“Like in those movies?” Makki’s eyes widened and his jaw almost fell. Iwaizumi could see his half eaten pancake.

 

“Eww,” Iwaizumi wrinkled his nose and Makki closed his mouth. “I suppose, yeah.”

 

Makki looked thoughtful and actually considerate so Iwaizumi had to ask,

 

“Do you believe me?” 

 

Makki swallowed and then shrugged, “Honestly? I’ve never seen you cry and I don’t think you’d ever lie so why not? I’m kinda freaking out on the inside but I hope it doesn’t show–

 

“It doesn’t–”

 

“I also watched a lot of movies about time loops and time travel and stuff, my dad loves those,” Makki stopped for a moment, narrowing his eyes, leaning closer. “So let’s just pretend we’re both sane and this is not the case at all and you only saying it because you don’t want to bring up the real issue, but for the point – if we see this theoretically – how does your time loop work?”

 

Iwaizumi has never thought this would be so easy. He has never thought that his solution for the problem might be Makki.

 

“I’m living this day for the third time already,” Iwaizumi leaned closer as well, whispering, just in case someone would hear. “It always ends up after Sora comes home and it starts with you as you come to my room.”

 

Makki seemed to think. “But why are you in one, though?” He asked. “Most of the times, people are only in it because they need to change their personality, the way they see life.”

 

Iwaizumi turned silent. This must mean he should notice something. Something very important.

 

But what?

 

“And what should I do to get out of it?” Iwaizumi asked. Makki took another bite of his pancake. 

 

“In the movies,” he started. “They only get out if they learned their lesson. You know, noticed all the things they couldn’t before.”

 

And then Iwaizumi felt again. That thing. That damn thing. 

 

“...It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life...”

 

“But what should I notice?” He continued eating his pancake. “What seems to be out of place?”

 

Makki was chewing loudly. “What about Sora?” Iwaizumi raised his eyebrows. “I mean, maybe you two should make up.”

 

Iwaizumi remembered his brother’s hug. The warmth hadn’t vanished and he knew it might never do.

 

“That can’t be it,” Iwaizumi answered. “We did that yesterday. If that would’ve been the case, then it have ended by now. The time loop, I mean.”

 

Makki hummed and then took a sip out of his coffee. “Then who’s doing some weird stuff today? What about your parents?” Iwaizumi shook his head. “Matsukawa?” Iwaizumi shrugged and then shook his head. Makki seemed to hesitate before asking, 

 

“Oikawa?”

 

And 

 

Iwaizumi

 

froze.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

He felt chills running down his spine. Makki’s eyes widened and he put down his mug, leaning close. 

 

“Did you notice too?”

 

Why do you look so real?

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t breathe. “Notice what?” He gazed at Makki.

 

Makki hesitated and then began to play with his food – well, with what was left of it. And that wasn’t much. Iwaizumi looked down at his own pancake. It was only half eaten. He was still holding his fork. He sliced a little piece of the pancake and put it into his mouth, began to chew and trying to enjoy the delicious thing.

 

But inside his heart was beating too loud.

 

“Nowadays, he’s much quieter,” Makki began, looking uncomfortable. “Matsukawa noticed it as well.”

 

Why do you look so real?

 

“Really?” Iwaizumi asked, breathless. He blinked and he saw Oikawa’s silhouette, the light of the city, blue and green and purple.

 

Iwaizumi blinked again and he was back. Sun, food and coffee.

 

Makki nodded and then continued, “He’s not playing as well as he used to either,” he said and Iwazumi recalled their previous practice matches. “And it’s hard to notice, because the girls are still around him and he’s still looking like the same as ever. And yet,” he trailed off. “Sometimes he just doesn’t join in our conversations. He just goes quiet.”

 

Why do you look so real?

 

Iwaizumi clenched his fists. “I walk home with him and every time, he just gives me this smile, Makki...” 

 

“Smile?” Makki tilted his head, looking confused. “He smiles all the time. A fake ass smile if you ask me–”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes went round. “That is what I’m talking about,” he touched his own cheek. “But that smile isn’t like his ordinary. He smiles with this real one, his eyes soften and he looks so...” Iwaizumi was clenching his hand and then letting it out – as if he couldn’t grasp his thoughts. “He looks so approachable, so normal, it freaks me out.”

 

Makki clicked his tongue. “Well, you’re in deep shit, Iwaizumi,” he said, shaking his head. “I’ve never seen Oikawa smile for real. Looking normal either.” Makki massaged his forehead – vanishing his wrinkle. “Man, how do you get out of this?”

 

Iwaizumi furrowed his brows. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I don’t even know what his problem might be.”

 

Makki gave out a chuckle, “Well that,” he said, “I don’t know either.”

 

And then they heard Makki’s ringtone. 

 

One song from Ling Tosite Sigure and their insane guitar part filled up the restaurant. Makki took his phone out of his denim jacket and then raised it up to his ear.

 

“Hello?” He said because he hadn’t looked who was calling him.

 

“HANAMAKI!” A voice shouted.

 

Several things happened then.

 

Iwaizumi’s little pancake fell off his fork – and then because he got scared, he dropped the fork as well, which landed on the plate with a loud sound. Someone flinched because of the loud sound and ran into a waiter. The waiter dropped the food – the food landed on the floor. Another waiter walked into it – he slipped and then fell down. Someone screamed – Iwaizumi freaked out.

 

“WHAT THE HELL?!” Iwaizumi yelled.

 

Makki was watching the scene with fascination. “What’s up with you, Matsukawa?” He asked calmly, with a normal tone, not even panicking one bit.

 

“I DON’T KNOW?” Matsukawa shouted. Another waiter dropped a glass – it shattered, someone yelled. “MAYBE THE FACT THAT YOU TWO AVOIDING SCHOOL LIKE THE PLAGUE?!”

 

“Hold up!” Makki said and then leaned back to look at his phone. He squinted, and then raised up to his ear again. “HOW ARE YOU SO LOUD YOU’RE NOT EVEN ON SPEAKER!”

 

“WHY ARE YOU TWO EVEN SHOUTING?!” Iwaizumi shouted.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi and Makki was sitting in his living room. Iwaizumi’s parents had already gone to the airport. 

 

Iwaizumi was drinking Coke and Makki was eating a slice of pizza. He was currently drawing the possibilities of Iwaizumi getting out of his time loop. 

 

“You can literally do anything,” Makki said suddenly. 

 

Iwaizumi cringed. “I just want to get out of it,” he said. “It might be fun to watch in your movies but it’s nowhere near as fun living it, trust me.”

 

Makki laughed. “Oh, don’t worry, I believe that,” he pointed at Iwaizumi’s face. “You look like shit.”

 

Iwaizumi glared. 

 

And glared.

 

And then picked up a pillow up from their sofa and punched Makki in the face with it.

 

And then Iwaizumi heard the bell ring. Both of them looked at each other and then their gaze slid towards the digital clock on the coffee table, under the television. 

 

21:38

 

This time is the same as–

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened as he looked back to Makki.

 

“Oikawa!” He whispered and then signed Makki to be quiet. Makki was freaking out – hell, Iwaizumi was freaking out – as he began to walk towards the front door.

 

When he was sure Makki couldn’t be seen, he opened the door and found himself facing Oikawa.

 

City light glowing behind him, as always. Blue and green and purple. 

 

“Oikawa,” Iwaizumi tried to sound surprised. “Hi.”

 

Oikawa smiled lightly. “Hello, Iwa–chan,” he said. “I was near – I thought I’d stop by.”

 

Iwaizumi stretched out his arms, already stepping away. “Wanna come in?” He asked.

 

Oikawa shook his head, still smiling. “I have to get home early. I just wanted to say hi,” he looked up to hold Iwaizumi’s gaze. Oikawa’s light brown eyes mirrored the lamp that was glowing behind Iwaizumi in the house.

 

It turned his eye color gold – little bits here and there. 

 

And his smile. That smile.

 

Iwaizumi had the same thought. It felt haunting. It was raw and incredible.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

“Hey, Oikawa,” Iwaizumi started quietly – quietly enough to matter, loudly enough for Makki who was inside to hear. “Would you tell me if something bothered you?”

 

Oikawa’s eyes widened – the gold in them spilled out like paint. 

 

His own voice started echoing in his mind.

 

“...He looks so approachable, so normal, it freaks me out...”

 

But now, now in this moment, Iwaizumi didn’t freak out. Looking at Oikawa, waiting for his answer, waiting for something, anything–

 

Iwaizumi felt his heart move and beat in his throat, creating music inside of his ears, crawling down to his chest.

 

“Of course,” Oikawa’s voice brought him back. The taller boy smile – his smile didn’t change. It was still the real one. “I will tell you tomorrow, Iwa–chan.”

 

But I have only one day.

 

Iwaizumi blinked slowly, feeling the heaviness taking over him. 

 

I have only this day.

 

But before Iwaizumi could’ve said anything, Oikawa’s voice rang in his ears,

 

“I assume this is the end, Iwa–chan,” Oikawa said quietly, staring into his eyes. Gold and brown and black.

 

It’s like as if he was made of light.

 

Iwaizumi’s other thought from yesterday touched his mind like wings, gently, leaving him stunned.

 

I wonder why this scene makes me feel like as if I have all the time in the world. 

 

“See you tomorrow,” he breathed and stepped closer to hug Oikawa. Oikawa looked shocked and for a minute, Iwaizumi didn’t understand why. But then he did. And when he did, it was like as if he had been hit by a bat.

 

I don’t usually hug him.

 

Iwaizumi felt his heart clench.

 

I really don’t hug him at all.

 

Oikawa stepped closer and so ever gently leaned into the hug. Iwaizumi noticed the lights. The city lights. 

 

Green and purple and blue.

 

“...It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life...”

 

And then they let go of each other and Iwaizumi watched Oikawa go. It’s not important. He could always ask about Oikawa’s problem tomorrow.

 

He went back to the house and closed the door. Makki was sitting where he stood a couple of minute before, his eyes as wide as ever. 

 

He must have seen it through a window.

 

Iwaizumi halted. “What do you think?” He asked.

 

Makki was staring at him with wonder, looking completely astounded. Iwaizumi has never seen him looking at anyone like this.

 

“What?” Iwaizumi asked again, sitting down next to him. 

 

It was night, Makki had to leave soon, his parents were at the airport, Sora was going to come home, Oikawa has just left, the stars were bright, they were eating pizza and drinking Cola, Iwaizumi was in a time loop and Makki still said, with a voice like a philosopher,

 

“When you talk with him you take your time,” Makki whispered.

 

Iwaizumi frowned. “What do you mean?” 

 

“You and me need to figure out the time loop today, immediately,” Makki’s eyes were filled with wonder. “But he can talk about his problem with you tomorrow,” Makki smiled slowly. “Everything is going so fast and yet you slow down when you talk with him, Iwaizumi.”

 

I wonder why this scene makes me feel like as if I have all the time in the world. 

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes went round. 

 

No. Not scene.

 

He forgot to breathe.

 

Him.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

After Makki left, Iwaizumi memorized what they had written down about the time loop. He decided that today, he won’t wait for Sora. 

 

He doesn’t know what to say.

 

What else to say.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

I would like to show, cut open my skull, look into my head. I don’t know why–

 

Iwaizumi turned it off and sat up in his bed, rubbing his eyes.

 

The door burst wide open. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day.” 

 

And for the first time, seeing Makki, remembering yesterday, 

 

Iwaizumi smiled.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

 

 

Day 5

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was walking next to Makki, looking at him while he was speaking. He was talking about some tv show he has been watching for awhile now and Iwaizumi listened. It felt weird – something felt weird. A little buzz under his skin. 

 

He has never really thought about how great it was to have Makki’s friendship. Iwaizumi knew Makki was insecure about a lot of things in his life and even though, he never showed it, he wasn’t as brave as he looked – wasn’t as though as he looked. He knew he always had disagreements with his parents. He knew Makki was never sure about himself – whether the things he had done were worth it. 

 

Iwaizumi knew this because every time these things had happened Makki always came to him.

 

It’s crazy to think about it.

 

It was crazy to think about how Makki was still kind. Still standing tall, never looking down, showing empathy for someone like Iwaizumi.

 

His heart clenched for a moment.

 

It’s crazy to think about how I’ve never appreciated his personality. 

 

It was crazy to see how little Iwaizumi cared enough to notice, cared enough to think about it.

 

Makki’s light brown hair danced with the wind when Iwaizumi suddenly decided to speak and break his speech, slowly, patiently.

 

“Have you ever wondered that you might not appreciate things? Not appreciate them enough?” Iwaizumi asked, curious.

 

Makki looked shocked and it hurt Iwaizumi because it was true and he deserved it.

 

They think I don’t care enough. 

 

And Iwaizumi didn’t. 

 

I 

 

am

 

really 

 

blind.

 

And Makki answered with a haunting line, sending chills down on Iwaizumi’s spine,

 

“All the time.”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––-

 

 

 

It surprised Iwaizumi, that even though this was the fifth time he lived this day, he still heard and saw new things.

 

No, that’s wrong.

 

They weren’t new. He just noticed something new, something entirely else in them. 

 

Like now;

 

Oikawa was talking to a very pretty girl while he, Matsukawa and Makki were sitting at a table in the canteen, eating lunch.

 

Matsukawa and Makki were talking about the upcoming practice match and about how Kindaichi never seemed to find his socks and although Iwaizumi was really really interested about Kindaichi’s socks, he was only looking at Oikawa and the girl.

 

Iwaizumi tried to think whether he had seen this girl or not. But this one had light hair – there was no way he could’ve forgotten her. 

 

“Something’s off,” Matsukawa spoke, making Iwaizumi wince. He turned his head to his direction and noticed that Matsukawa was looking at Oikawa and the girl as well.

 

“I know, right?” Makki answered, looking at them as well. “Even if he rejected the girl, he would never reject the gifts and the bentos. He’s an asshole, but not that much of an asshole.”

 

Matsukawa hummed and Iwaizumi’s worry began to grow because it was true. Iwaizumi leaned closer to them and said,

 

“I don’t know what is up with him,” he muttered. “But he’s not okay.”

 

Matsukawa’s eyes widened as he said, “He hasn't been okay since months, Iwaizumi.”

 

And Iwaizumi

 

froze.

 

He swore his heart stopped. 

 

“Months?” He repeated, trying to understand, trying to comprehend that he hadn’t noticed that his best friend–

 

“Since months,” Matsukawa continued and then noticed Makki, who’s jaw fell down. “I thought you knew and were working on the issue, that’s why I haven’t done anything.”

 

Iwaizumi sighed and wiped his face, his eyes, trying to wash away the disgusting feeling that–

 

“What have you noticed so far?” He asked Matsukawa this instead.

 

Makki began to eat a sandwich and Matsukawa looked down at his own food when he started to speak,

 

“The other day, I asked him about which university he wanted to go to,” Matsukawa’s eyes narrowed. “And he said something weird.”

 

Makki stopped eating his sandwich and gulped. Iwaizumi blinked. 

 

“What did he say?” He asked, leaning closer because Matsukawa was talking so quietly. Even though the canteen was full, even though several people were talking, filling the room in with something that was similar to music.

 

“There’s no point in thinking about that.”

 

Iwaizumi took a deep breath. “I asked him a similar question the other day too. He said something weird to me as well,” he began. 

 

Matsukawa looked intrigued. “What was his answer?”

 

Iwaizumi remembered. The image was clear, Oikawa’s voice like water poured down on him and blinding lights shone behind his eyelids. 

 

Blue and green and purple.

 

“I only think about now,” he shut down his eyes trying to close off the people’s voices. “I can’t stop thinking about now.”

 

When both Matsukawa and Makki didn’t answer, Iwaizumi opened his eyes to find himself staring at. 

 

Iwaizumi felt vulnerable and he didn’t know why. He wanted to open his mouth to actually ask about it but before that could’ve happened, Oikawa appeared next to their table, completely empty handed.

 

“What’s going on?” He asked with a smile. 

 

Iwaizumi’s stomach dropped.

 

His fake smile.

 

It made him clench his fists to the point where he felt his own blood running in his veins.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi had seen Oikawa shining with the city’s glow but it never bored him. The same colors, the same expression, the same buildings, the same route, the same person, the same stars,

 

and it never bored him.

 

“I knew she was lying but still, that was the first time I’ve seen a fight happen right in front of me and you know, that day was the weirdest day of my entire life–”

 

“Hey, Oikawa,” Iwaizumi started quietly, repeating his words from yesterday, curious to hear the answer. “Would you tell me if something bothered you?”

 

And Oikawa smiled. With the same one he wore yesterday. 

 

“Of course,” Oikawa’s voice was kind, caring. “I will tell you tomorrow, Iwa–chan.”

 

But Iwaizumi knew better than to let go this time. 

 

“Why don’t you tell me now?” He asked and saw Oikawa’s smile twitch for a moment. It happened so fast, Iwaizumi thought he had hallucinated.

 

They both stopped for they reached Iwaizumi’s house. Oikawa looked away, pressing his lips into a thin line.

 

“I don’t want you bother with it,” Oikawa said, still not looking at him. Iwaizumi felt something rise from his chest.

 

“When have you ever bothered me with anything?” Iwaizumi couldn’t keep the steel out of his voice. 

 

Oikawa’s eyes twitched so he narrowed them – the blue light glowed up his iris.

 

“You have a bad temper,” Oikawa answered and Iwaizumi felt his blood accelerate because–

 

“I do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care,” he can’t vanish the sharp voice – he didn’t know why he had turned so angry–

 

“I might have a problem but that doesn’t mean you care.”

 

Iwaizumi 

 

couldn’t

 

breathe.

 

And then he burst.

 

“What do you mean I don’t care?” He noticed his voice rose. He noticed he was starting to shout. “Why wouldn’t I care–”

 

Oikawa raised his head and looked him in the eye.

 

“Because I don’t care about it either,” he said in a low voice and it

 

made

 

Iwaizumi 

 

recoil.

 

The look in Oikawa’s eyes was haunting, memorable. How his eyes narrowed, how calm he stood and how he raised his chin, how the colorful lights captured his cold state.

 

“I don’t care about it, because it’s settled,” Oikawa’s voice was shaking and Iwaizumi flinched – the last time he has seen him this unstable was when they were children. “So you don’t have to either. Just leave me be, Iwaizumi.”

 

My name.

 

He

 

couldn’t 

 

move.

 

It felt something broke about them. 

 

Iwaizumi stretched out his hand to touch Oikawa’s but he stepped back. 

 

No.

 

“You’re scaring me,” Iwaizumi whispered, taking a step further but Oikawa took a step back again.

 

No.

 

It was quiet, it was night, the city glowed looking like eternity, no one was here but them and Iwazumi didn’t hear his heart.

 

No.

 

He heard the silence. 

 

Iwaizumi has never wondered what it feels like to be alone.

 

He didn’t need to. It was useless to think of that. After all, Oikawa was always there to fill the silence when it became too unbearable.

 

But now,

 

Oikawa has

 

destroyed

 

the noise of the world.

 

Iwaizumi wondered if this was how a deaf person felt. Alone all the time. Even if they were surrounded by people – even if the others’ talking looked unbearable. 

 

“I assume this is the end,” Oikawa said quietly, hugging himself, staring into his eyes, cutting an invisible wound and it bled–

 

Iwaizumi remembered all of his sentences that rang like this. He’s always said this with a different feeling–

 

“Why are you saying this?” Iwaizumi’s voice was shaking as well. His hands were still extended. “Why do you always say this? What do you mean by this?”

 

Oikawa shut his eyes. “I can’t take this anymore,” he whispered and then turned away to leave. “Please leave me alone.”

 

Iwaizumi opened his mouth–

 

“I said,” Oikawa raised his voice, his eyes widening, “let. me. leave.”

 

Iwaizumi stood there, petrified, letting his hands down. It felt permanent. It felt exactly the same as Sora.

 

And Iwaizumi had an eerie thought. 

 

Why do I think I might never see you again?

 

And Iwaizumi let him leave.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think about Oikawa. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think about Oikawa. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think about Oikawa. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t think about Oikawa. He–

 

Iwaizumi stood up from his bed, pulled up his shoes and grabbed a jacket. When he tried to grab the door knob to open the door, someone from the other side had already did so.

 

And Iwaizumi found himself staring at Sora’s light blue eyes and black hair.

 

“Hajime?” Sora’s eyes widened but Iwaizumi had seen his brother so many times that now he–

 

“Move out of my way, bro,” Iwaizumi said and then caught his parents’ worrying gaze. “I need to go.”

 

Sora raised his eyebrows, his eyes comically wide.

 

“Go where, exactly?” His mother asked as casually as if she only asked about the weather.

 

“Six in the morning?” His father asked as tiredly as Makki did when he tried to stay up late during a whole week.

 

“I need to go to Oikawa’s, so move out of my–”

 

That seemed to bring Sora out of the shock. “What about Oikawa?”

 

Iwaizumi said, “He’s acting weird nowadays, we just had a fight–”

 

“Mom, dad, we need to go.” Sora paled and turned around. Iwaizumi blinked, completely surprised.

 

“You too, Sora?” His mom wondered.

 

“How do you two have this much energy?” His father said, stepping away.

 

The moment they had enough space they broke out for a run and Iwaizumi was relieved that he could keep up with Sora. 

 

He  didn’t realize why Sora looked so panicked. 

 

When they arrived and Sora knocked on the door and then waited for the answer that didn’t come, Iwaizumi felt something close off the air from his lungs.

 

Sora started banging the door, looking like a mad men. 

 

“Shit, shit, shit, shit,” Sora chanted, his arms shaking. “Fucking hell!” He raised his leather boot and kicked the door three times and it was open but before Iwaizumi rushed in Sora grabbed his wrist, making him look back and said,

 

“Don’t go in there.”

 

His voice shaking, his blue eyes glowed. He looked desperate and young and Iwaizumi couldn’t stop shaking.

 

Iwaizumi frowned, feeling the fear grow and grow. “Why are you saying this?” His voice was loud, he couldn’t control it. “Why are you looking so scared?”

 

Sora didn’t answer.

 

“What do you know?” Iwaizumi felt his anger come out to peel his skin off – he yanked his hand back and started to walk into the house. The lights were on but no one seemed to be at home.

 

Still, the lights were on.

 

“Oikawa!” He shouted but no one answered. He heard the footsteps of Sora who was quiet and seemed to know where to go immediately for he started heading to the bathroom. Iwaizumi followed him, watching his back, seeing him opening the door–

 

Sora stopped and Iwaizumi almost ran into him.

 

“What’s wrong?” Iwaizumi asked but Sora didn’t answer, he just stood there. Iwaizumi tried to look but Sora was too tall–

 

Sora fell to his knees.

 

And

 

then

 

Iwaizumi

 

saw.

 

All his energy, the endlessness of his breathing, his hearing and the capability of seeing turned to be so

 

distant

 

and so

 

cruel.

 

That Iwaizumi thought it was all made up.

 

Because there was no way that Oikawa was lying in the bath, being unconscious, full clothed, sinking in blood red water and Iwaizumi was standing here.

 

Iwaizumi began to breathe again – hastily, loudly, unevenly – because–

 

The water is red.

 

“Sora, call the ambulance,” Iwaizumi said calmly. 

 

Sora flinched and tried to stand up but couldn’t. Iwaizumi helped him to get up, not taking his eyes off Oikawa.

 

“Hajime–”

 

“CALL THE AMBULANCE!” He shouted and then stepped away to walk closer to the bathtub. Oikawa had his eyes half opened. 

 

There was nothing in them. 

 

No expression. No reflection. No light.

 

Iwaizumi fell down, clutching the side of the bathtub, his fingertips touching the surface of the water.

 

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he whispered, not looking away from Oikawa, “Oikawa, wake up! Hey, Tooru, don’t fuck with me, do not dare, this shit is not funny, you hear me? IT'S NOT FUNNY–” Iwaizumi was shouting, his throat began to hurt–

 

“I’ve never thought he–” Sora shouted and Iwaizumi looked back at his brother, who was leaning against the wall, covering his mouth. “He told me years ago that he thought about it sometimes but I've never–”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes went round.

 

“...I assume this is the end...”

 

He froze. His breathing felt too loud.

 

No,” Iwaizumi whispered, his throat clenching, his chest hurting – he noticed his eyesight turned blurry. 

 

“...I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow...”

 

Iwaizumi began to sob as he reached out to raise Oikawa’s arm, noticing the scar – seeing his bleeding–

 

“...I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

Iwaizumi’s hands were covered in blood. 

 

“No,he begged, he screamed–

 

“...Because I don’t care about it either...”

 

“I shouldn’t have let you go,” he screamed and felt Sora sitting behind him and hug him, he was crying as well. “I shouldn’t have let you leave – why did I let you leave? Why did I let you leave? Why did I let you leave? Why did I let you leave? Why did I let you leave?

 

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

And then Iwaizumi opened his eyes. 

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins–

 

Iwaizumi jumped out of his bed and looked down at his hands – his perfect, saint skin–

 

He ran to the bathroom, went up to the washbasin and opened the faucet, beginning to clean his hands. He washed them – desperately trying to vanish the blood from it. He was breathing through his nose – unevenly, panting, washing his hands until they were red–

 

The water was red.

 

Iwaizumi stopped washing. He raised his chin and looked into the mirror.

 

“...I don’t know what I’d do without you,” he breathed.

 

And Oikawa pressed his lips into a thin line, his eyes changed–

 

Why do you look so sad?

 

And Oikawa answered, 

 

“I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

Iwaizumi struck and shattered the mirror, fraying his skin, making it bleed, because – because–

 

Oikawa died five times – he died again and again and again and again and again–

 

and

 

I

 

watched

 

him

 

go.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

 

 

 

Day 6

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi heard Makki’s voice from the other room and he moved without thinking. He rushed – he almost ran when he caught him by his collar and slammed him to the wall. He heard his parents behind him saying something but Iwaizumi didn’t do anything. 

 

He didn’t want to punch Makki. He didn’t want to so he didn’t do it. He just stood there, clutching his friend’s T– shirt, not doing or saying anything. 

 

He wants to die.

 

Iwaizumi froze and let go of Makki–

 

Oikawa wants to die.

 

He didn’t know how he put the jacket on – or when he had put it on. He only knew that his parents struggled to hold him back from going out of the house. He only knew Makki was speaking to him but Iwaizumi didn’t hear a word. 

 

Iwaizumi thought he told them not to follow. 

 

Iwaizumi also thought that it was a cruel joke how he has been gifted with all of these plus days – only to realize Oikawa died in every one of them.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

What would Iwaizumi’s life look like without Oikawa in it? 

 

Iwaizumi grew up with him – he learned how to tie his shoe, how to play with cards and lose in a manner that was acceptable with the help of his best friend. Iwaizumi has never opened his eyes and did not see Oikawa at least once during the day. 

 

If he dies, I’ll never see him again.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart clenched as he bit down his bottom lip until he could feel the iron inside of his blood with his teeth. 

 

The water was red.

 

He shut his eyes and saw images. Oikawa’s half opened eyes – his arm bleeding out because of his own decision–

 

“...I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

“How can you say that and then leave me alone?” Iwaizumi said through his teeth. “How can you look at me knowing that you will...”

 

He leaned back on the bench – and took a look around the park where he sat. No one was there besides him. Behind him, there was a building with a painting on it. Iwaizumi was sure he had seen it somewhere before. Blue and yellow and black and a little green – it resembled a town and a starry sky. He turned his head up to the sky. The sun was shining through the leaves of the trees – so green, vivid, and lively. 

 

If Oikawa dies, he’ll never see it again.

 

Iwaizumi wondered why Oikawa would try to do something like that. He knew it was no way that it happened because of his family. His family loved Oikawa with all their hearts.

 

How would Oikawa’s mom have reacted to her son’s suicide? How would his father have reacted? His sister? Or Takeru?

 

There was something ambivalent in all of this. Oikawa loved his family. But his pain – his desire to end his suffering seemed bigger than the love he felt. 

 

This was something major.

 

Iwaizumi was looking at the clouds above his head, let the sun wash him over with its light and sensed a calm breeze dance with his skin.

 

Who hurt you, Tooru? What made you feel like you’re all alone?

 

Iwaizumi didn’t notice. 

 

“...He hasn't been okay since months, Iwaizumi...”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyesight turned blurry as he brought his arms up to his face – hiding from the world, hiding from everything, because he had only one best friend and he wanted to kill himself.

 

How could I not notice?

 

Iwaizumi was so busy about figuring out his own future, about figuring out how to deal with Sora, how to win matches and competitions – these seemed so useless and so little than what Oikawa has been going through. 

 

I lived my useless days, thinking about useless things, doing useless things that could have been done later.

 

I lived my useless days as lazy as I could, not doing anything. 

 

I lived my never-ending useless days, as if I had time – as if I had all the time in the world. 

 

I lived my useless days not giving a damn about anything because I knew I had more. More to live, more to see, more to hear, more to talk and and do and accomplish and think–

 

I

 

lived

 

my

 

useless

 

never–ending 

 

days.

 

While Oikawa counted his.

 

Iwaizumi had the same thought. It felt haunting. It was raw and incredible.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

And he finally knew why.

 

Because unlike Iwaizumi, Oikawa really had one last day. He had only today. 

 

Iwaizumi then remembered a scene. A scene not long ago, in one of his yesterdays.

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Oikawa said, his voice felt feathery. “But I know you won’t give up on anything that you had set your mind into.”

 

And then Iwaizumi felt again. That thing. That damn thing. 

 

“...It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life...”

 

And because tomorrow won’t come, and because Iwaizumi felt like he could do anything, he repeated the words he had said,

 

“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

 

And he didn’t.

 

“...I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

Iwaizumi moved his hand away and stared at the sky and asked God,

 

“And who could help me?”

 

“Tendou, how many times do I have to tell you not to call me when you think Shirabu tries to end you?”

 

Iwaizumi knew this voice. How could he not recognize this deep voice?

 

He raised his head and turned left just to see 

 

Ushijima Wakatoshi.

 

Speaking into his phone, sitting down next to Iwaizumi.

 

His eyes widened when Oikawa’s words began to echo in his mind.

 

“...Today, I was walking down the street, minding my own business as always, and suddenly I see Ushiwaka sitting in a coffee house...”

 

Iwaizumi turned right and saw a coffee house on the other side of the road and he 

 

felt

 

chills.

 

There was no way. Was there? It was all a coincidence– 

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

 It was all a coincidence– 

 

And yet

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

here.

 

Iwaizumi gulped and then turned back to him. He was still talking on his phone. His stoic expression was just as same as ever.

 

“Yeah,” Ushijima nodded, looking ahead. “That’s why I said–” he turned to his right and 

 

looked

 

at

 

Iwaizumi.

 

They both froze.

 

Ushijima was still holding his phone – someone’s voice could be heard until he hung up. Iwaizumi didn’t know what to say – neither did Ushijima. 

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

 It was all a coincidence– 

 

And yet

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

here.

 

And then he remembered something. Something he said to his brother.

 

“...No one is sent by accident to anyone, Sora...”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. His hands began to shake.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

 It was all a coincidence– 

 

And yet

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

here.

 

And then Iwaizumi heard his own voice, distant, unsure:

 

“If your friend wanted to die, what would you do?” 

 

Ushijima’s eyes looked old and didn’t even wince. Iwaizumi didn’t know why he answered. He didn’t even know why he asked it. 

 

Still, he’ll never forget what Ushijima said.

 

 The sun was glowing, the light breeze danced through them, Iwaizumi had asked God for help, he was trapped in a time loop and 

 

Ushijima

 

still

 

said,

 

“Give them something to look forward to in life.”

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

It was night and he was walking in the city. He had already called his parents. They were worried but he knew how to calm them. They were okay with everything he did as long as it wasn’t harmful. They took it easy on him – it was usually Sora they worried about. I mean how could they not? Sora always got into fights. 

 

He also always won them though.

 

He remembered how hard Sora held him yesterday. When everything turned to hell–

 

Iwaizumi’s phone rang and he answered it immediately. 

 

“Iwaizumi,” he heard Makki’s voice and braced himself for the storm that was about to come. “Are you okay?”

 

And it didn’t come. Iwaizumi felt ashamed. How could anything violent come from Makki? How could he think that? 

 

He raised his hand and let out a deep breath. The city looked mesmerizing. Blue and green and yellow. 

 

He blinked and for a minute he saw Oikawa. Then he blinked again and saw him lying in the bathtub. He blinked again and saw Ushijima, remembered his words before Iwaizumi rushed away.

 

Give them something to look forward to in life.

 

“Have you ever wondered that you might not appreciate things? Not appreciate them enough?” Iwaizumi asked, curious if Makki would answer the same. 

 

And Makki answered with the same haunting line,

 

“All the time.”

 

Iwaizumi shut his eyes and leaned on a building. It had a graffiti on it. It resembled a bird, flying out of its cage. The writing was drawn as feathers,

 

Don’t make me walk when I want to fly.

 

Iwaizumi looked at it and then asked Makki,

 

“Have you ever thought of killing yourself?” 

 

People were walking on the sidewalk, carrying bags, talking on their phones or with their friends, families. Their footsteps had a unique rhythm, as did the cars that passed by.

 

The world was still going but Iwaizumi felt as if it had stopped.

 

“Why do you ask me this?” Makki asked back and Iwaizumi felt silence stretch out in his soul. Indeed, why did he ask this?

 

And then Iwaizumi asked something else. It felt as if he was being controlled by something he had never seen.

 

“What would you do, If I killed myself?” 

 

And he only saw lights. City lights. Everything turned slow – everything felt quiet. 

 

“I’d say fuck you because there’s no way I won’t grow up with you.”

 

And Iwaizumi said, “And if you were the one? Who wanted to die?” 

 

It was weird. 

 

It was weird seeing how everyone rushed but Iwaizumi took his time. It was weird how fast everything seemed.

 

“I’ve never thought about ending it,” Makki answered finally and Iwaizumi heard the honesty behind its words. “If I did, I wouldn’t have the balls to do it.”

 

“Why?”

 

And then Iwaizumi heard Makki say something that triggered another memory. A memory with Matsukawa.

 

“Because I don’t think I could leave any of you.”

 

He froze.

 

“...I’m afraid we’ll be one of the ones who miss each other their entire life...”

 

And Iwaizumi realized again.

 

 Just how blind he had been and how interesting is to be able to finally see.

 

 And he hung up and broke out for a run.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The flashing city lights glowed on Iwaizumi’s jacket as he ran miles just to catch up to Oikawa. His lungs were on fire but Iwaizumi didn’t care. The fire worth it if it was for Oikawa. His legs were aching with pain – he felt every step he took. The voice of his steps echoed and people turned around just to see where he was heading. 

 

The night was bright. Just as bright as the stars and when Iwaizumi finally saw a tall figure almost going into their home he sped up. 

 

That was when Oikawa turned back and Iwaizumi – for the first time since yesterday – saw his face.

 

He recoiled and paled.

 

“...I don’t care about it, because it’s settled...”

 

His hands began to shake, his whole body began to shake, his breathing felt uneven–

 

The water was red.

 

Iwaizumi looked down at his hands–

 

“Iwa–chan?” He heard Oikawa say. It made him wince.

 

His could still feel Oikawa’s blood on his hands.

 

“...I assume this is the end...”

 

And Iwazumi took a hesitant step closer to Oikawa and the taller man let him. And then Iwaizumi reached out and touched Oikawa’s arm, feeling the skin–

 

Iwaizumi fell to his knees. 

 

Because he was here – he was still here, he wasn’t dead, he wasn’t dead–

 

Oikawa fell to his knees as well and hugged Iwaizumi without saying anything. Iwaizumi only then noticed. 

 

He was crying.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t say anything afterwards. The shock that had been building up from yesterday finally came out. Oikawa didn’t ask. He let Iwaizumi be there in his room. He didn’t make him leave. In fact, Oikawa didn’t do anything.

 

He didn’t kill himself and stayed up all night with Iwaizumi, not talking, just complete silence.

 

Iwaizumi wondered if Oikawa knew that he knew. Maybe. But then he chose not to say anything. And Iwaizumi couldn’t say anything. He just wanted to make sure Oikawa doesn’t do anything. So he watched over him. They watched each other. 

 

Maybe to Oikawa – it might have seemed like Iwaizumi was the one who were unstable.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

And then Iwaizumi opened his eyes. 

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins–

 

Iwaizumi jumped out of his bed and looked down at his hands – his perfect, saint skin–

 

“WHY?!” He shouted and bough this arms to his face, wiping everything away. “HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!”

 

And then Iwaizumi understood. 

 

It was like cold water, pouring down his head. 

 

If he’s not doing it today, he could still do it tomorrow.

 

And if tomorrow ever comes, then Iwaizumi won’t be able to save him.

 

He understood and he shut down his eyes, not wanting to break down–

 

I will only get out of this time loop if I make sure he never does it again.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

 

 

 

Day 7

 

 

 

 

 

The door burst wide open. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have all day.” 

 

Iwaizumi turned around and just stared at his friend. Makki’s light brown hair stood out as he wore his usual ‘I don’t have time for this shit’ face. Iwaizumi just stared and stared and he realized–

 

I have one day to make Oikawa fall in love with life.

 

He has one day to make sure Oikawa won’t kill himself again. Ever again.

 

And the issue wasn’t little. Wasn’t nothing.  Oikawa had a major problem that Iwaizumi needed to find out but–

 

It was that major. It had driven Oikawa to the edge. Oikawa who always pushed himself more and more just to be able to touch the feeling of winner’s. It had driven him this far – his pain.

 

There’s no way I can do it alone.

 

And Iwaizumi moved without thinking and grabbed Makki’s arm and said,

 

“We won’t go to school today,” Makki’s eyes widened and he let himself to be dragged. Iwaizumi pulled him out of his room and found himself staring at his parents.

 

His dad looked surprised and his mother was smiling wide. She opened her mouth to say something but Iwaizumi beat her to it.

 

“Yes, Sora is coming home, can’t wait,” he said it with a blasé tone but smiled all the same.

 

His mom looked shocked and his dad blinked at least four times when Makki shouted:

 

“WHAT THE FUCK?”

 

Iwaizumi’s dad almost fainted and his mother started to stutter. Iwaizumi bit back his laugh.

 

“But – how did you know?” Then she turned over to her husband who still looked pretty much shocked for his life. “Did you tell him?”

 

Iwaizumi’s dad paled, white as the wall. “I didn’t.”

 

Iwaizumi decided to mess with them and his smiled was wide when he said,

 

“He told me himself.”

 

All three heads turned to look at him at the same time. 

 

Makki looked as confused as when Kindaichi asked him how people make spaghetti. Iwaizumi’s dad raised his hand to touch his chin and started thinking, while his mom gasped so loudly, it made Makki turned over his head to look at her.

 

“You talk with each other again?” She muttered, tears filled her eyes. “My lovely boys... talking again, oh my god–”

 

“Why didn’t you say something?” His dad asked as calmly as ever.

 

And then there was Makki.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK?!”

 

And Iwaizumi, despite being the situation he was in, smiled and dared to hope.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“Iwaizumi, you’re really freaking me out, man,” Makki was starting at Iwaizumi’s pajamas and his boots. He then looked over to take a look at his long coat. “This shit is usually what Sora does – I mean I love him but the dude is the definition of ‘you only live once’ – and not in a good way.”

 

People stared at them – well they mostly stared at Iwaizumi who looked like a character straight out of a movie – while they were walking on the sidewalk. Iwaizumi didn't care. His thoughts were running in his head like cogs in a big machine. 

 

I won’t lose.

 

He fucking won’t.

 

I’ll save you.

 

He needed to look at his time loop in a different light – a different way. 

 

It’s not a punishment.

 

It’s a chance.

 

It’s not a nightmare.

 

It’s a second shot.

 

Even if it seems like I can’t get out–

 

Iwaizumi 

 

fucking

 

will.

 

“We need to drag here Matsukawa,” Iwaizumi dropped the bomb and waited for–

 

“WHAT?” Makki shouted, unintentionally scaring the old lady that happened to be passing by.  She dropped his walking stick and Iwaizumi made his way there in a second to pick it up for her. 

 

“We’re sorry, ma’am,” he said, bowing and then gave her the cane. Makki bowed and murmured an apology as well. 

 

The old lady had green eyes – clear as the forest. She took the cane back, accidentally touching Iwaizumi’s hand for a moment.

 

She smiled – her wrinkle touched her skin with light. Her voice were raspy but held power.

 

“What a handsome young man,” she said and then bowed. “Apology accepted and thank you,” she turned and right before she began to walk away, she said back to Iwaizumi,

 

“God bless you, young man.”

 

And Iwaizumi stopped in his track. He looked back at her and felt chills ran down his spine.

 

And then suddenly, Makki spoke. His voice felt nostalgic for some reason. 

 

“Sometimes I forget how much it matters to give people kindness.”

 

Iwaizumi turned back to look at him – cars rushed behind Makki, people walked. But Makki was looking at the old lady.

 

“Have you ever wondered that you might not appreciate things? Not appreciate them enough?” Iwaizumi asked, curious if Makki would answer the same. 

 

And Makki answered with the same haunting line,

 

“All the time.”

 

Makki’s words echoed in his head – clear like a choir, free like the bird on the building he leaned on yesterday. 

 

This time loop wasn’t a punishment.

 

It was a chance.

 

And Iwaizumi still remembered how it felt to be blind. How it felt to be burdened with his own pain, not giving a chance to understand or notice other’s.

 

“...Most of the times, people are only in a time loop because they need to change their personality, the way they see life...”

 

Makki told him not a long time ago. And Iwazumi dared to hope, dared to see, dared to be brave–

 

Because he wanted to walk

 

with

 

open 

 

eyes.

 

Living his life without regrets.

 

So he brought his hands up to grip Makki’s shoulder. He looked back at Iwaizumi who only stared. 

 

It was silence.

 

It was silence when Iwaizumi spoke – he broke the silence, like if he was an error in the system. Someone who saw things differently, someone who was capable of catching life in his hands and couldn’t let it go anymore.

 

He spoke and Makki’s eyes widened – the sun caught his iris and Iwaizumi caught his reflection for a minute;

 

“If we do this, Makki, I swear you won’t ever forget what kindness feels like.”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Makki was fidgeting next to Matsukawa, both of them were looking directly at Iwaizumi who was standing in front of them, checking his wristwatch in every damn minute. They were standing in the park where Iwaizumi had been yesterday.

 

Iwaizumi raised his head only to see Matsukawa looking hundred percent done.

 

“Let’s get this straight,” Matsukawa gestured wildly, looking at Makki and then Iwaizumi. “You,” he pointed at Makki – Iwaizumi noticed a vein pop out close to Matsukawa’s neck, “hadn’t been hit by a car. And you,” pointed at Iwaizumi, “clearly aren’t in hospital with him.” Matsukawa opened his mouth and then shut it again. 

 

“We had to get you here somehow,” Makki said, looking sheepish. And then Matsukawa turned to look at Iwaizumi and said, as calm as ever,

 

“The fuck did you call me then, Iwaizumi?”

 

Makki gasped – both of them glanced to his direction. He looked shocked. 

 

“OH MY GOD, IWAIZUMI!” Makki exclaimed, utterly excited. “MATSUKAWA CURSED!”

 

It was really simple. 

 

Iwaizumi was surrounded by idiots.

 

“Makki, concentrate!” Iwaizumi snapped his fingers – Matsukawa said simultaneously. Makki recoiled, seeing his friends working together.

 

Iwaizumi then checked his wrist again – only a couple of minutes. Well, it’s now or never. There was no way Iwaizumi was going to back down. He needed their help. 

 

Iwaizumi took a deep breath and looked at both of them. Matsukawa narrowed his eyes, looking pissed as fuck and Makki looked confused for his life. 

 

And yet I feel like I can trust them with my entire life.

 

So Iwaizumi confessed with all the bravery he had,

 

“I’m in a time loop. I’m living this day for the seventh time.”

 

Because Iwaizumi had already told that Makki in his earlier yesterday – he was more curious to see Matsukawa’s reaction–

 

Matsukawa wasn’t amused. Not in the slightest. 

 

In fact, he looked bored. “Is this some kind of a prank? Because I ain’t got time for this, man,” Matsukawa started to look around, searching for cameras.

 

Iwaizumi wasn’t surprised either. How could he? Who could blame him? He wouldn’t believe it either, it was nuts.

 

 “No, I’m serious–”

 

“This is weird.”

 

Iwaizumi got chills when he heard Makki’s voice.

 

“What?” He asked and he realized – looking back now, Makki seemed weird the whole day.

 

Makki opened his mouth to say something but then he shut it back again. He shook his head, not saying anything in the end.

 

Matsukawa then began to shout,

 

“ARE YOU SERIOUSLY BELIEVING THIS?”

 

And then, just like a reflex, Makki was shouting as well,

 

“WELL, HE LOOKS CONVINCING –”

 

“I SWEAR TO GOD, WHY ARE YOU TWO SHOUTING ALL THE TIME?”

 

“SAYS WHO? YOU SHOUT ALL THE TIME FOR NO GODDAMN REASON!”

 

“MAKKI, FOR FUCK’S SAKE, LANGUAGE!”

 

“OH. MY. GOD. CHILL, YOU LITERALLY JUST CURSED, MATSUKAWA–”

 

Iwaizumi’s wristwatch gave out a beeping sound then, ending the argument. He turned it down and looked back at the boys.

 

“I can prove it – I mean I can prove that I’m in a time loop,” he said and then pointed at the bench where he sat yesterday.

 

Matsukawa folded his arms together but Makki glanced over the bench curiously. Matsukawa turned over too.

 

“What is there to look at?” Matsukawa asked, skeptical. “There’s nothing there.”

 

Iwaizumi smirked. “Ushijima is going to arrive here and sit down on that bench in about three minutes.”

 

Matsukawa clicked his tongue, looking still pretty much in denial. “Yeah right, as if the mighty Ushiwaka would even set one foot close to the area where we have our school.”

 

Iwaizumi shot him an unimpressed look but then he noticed that Makki’s eyes went round. He looked back at Iwaizumi. “How do you know?”

 

Iwaizumi shrugged. “He sat there yesterday.”

 

Makki’s jaw fell down, looking the most shocked Iwaizumi has ever seen him. “And you two talked?”

 

Iwaizumi frowned. “Well,” he took a deep breath. “Not exactly–”

 

“Makki, stop! What the hell are you doing?” Matsukawa glanced at Makki, pointing at Iwaizumi. “You can’t believe this madness.”

 

Makki stayed frightfully quiet. Iwaizumi felt shivers ran down on his spine.

 

Matsukawa then looked at Makki intelligently and spoke,

 

“I’m done with you,” he didn’t even blink. “I swear, Makki, if you were about to hit by a car tomorrow, I wouldn’t even lift a finger to help.”

 

Makki then came out of the shock and brought his hand to his chest, completely offended and Iwaizumi wanted to laugh so bad. He wanted to open his mouth and speak but then

 

he

 

heard

 

footsteps.

 

And all three heads turned to the sound’s direction. 

 

And 

 

they

 

saw

 

Ushijima.

 

“Tendou, how many times do I have to tell you not to call me when you think Shirabu tries to end you?”

 

Déjà vu hit Iwaizumi like a brick. He turned to look at Matsukawa and Makki – they had their eyes wide, their mouths open. He chuckled and then turned back at Ushijima.

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t help but smirk when he saw Ushijima sitting down in the same bench. He raised an eyebrow to look back at his friends again, satisfied with his little victory – only to notice that Makki was nowhere to be seen and Matsukawa was petrified as he was staring ahead.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes went round when he followed Matsukawa’s gaze – and then he saw.

 

His jaw fell down.

 

Makki was heading towards Ushijima.

 

Iwaizumi started walking, already feeling the disaster that was about to come – he could hear Matsukawa’s footsteps, following him towards Makki who was already in front of Ushijima. 

 

Ushijima had already looked up and hung up the phone by the time they got there. Ushijima raised an eyebrow and then Makki spoke,

 

“Did Iwaizumi make you go here?” He asked. “Sit here?”

 

Ushijima’s eyes widened. “No.”

 

Then, several thing happened.

 

“Shit, no way,” Matsukawa dropped his schoolbag and touched his face, shutting down his eyes. Makki nodded quietly, biting his bottom lips and then sat down on the bench next to Ushijima. 

 

Ushijima’s eyes were jumping from person to person – he clearly didn’t understand what was happening and Iwaizumi saw it again.

 

Ushijima’s eyes looked different.

 

“He wants to kill himself, doesn’t he?” 

 

Makki.

 

Iwaizumi looked at him, feeling his world shift and blend and break and bloom and 

 

he asked 

 

quietly,

 

 “How?”

 

How do you know?

 

Matsukawa peeked to look at them behind his fingers, pale and white. 

 

How do you know?

 

And then Makki spoke quietly, wrecking his world,

 

“I sometimes feel like you’ve already told me this,” he looked away in pain and Iwaizumi’s heart was beating

 

so

 

loud.

 

“Sometimes I feel like I’ve been walking the same streets for days.” Makki touched his head, starting to cry. “I sometimes have these moments when I feel I should do something and notice really important things but I cannot seem to find them.” And Iwaizumi 

 

couldn’t

 

breathe.

 

Matsukawa cursed again and then before Iwaizumi could’ve reacted he felt someone touch his hand. He looked down at it and then back up and found himself face to face with Ushijima. 

 

The taller man’s eyes were wide and he didn’t let go of Iwaizumi’s hand–

 

“If your friend wanted to die, what would you do?” 

 

Iwaizumi 

 

could

 

not

 

move

 

anymore.

 

Hearing his yesterday words from Ushijima.

 

The sun was glowing, painting his world with gold and light – it felt like a scene from a movie. 

 

“...No one is sent by accident to anyone, Sora...”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. His hands began to shake.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

 It was all a coincidence– 

 

And yet

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

here.

 

Ushijima’s eyes were wide and full of light when he said his next words to Iwaizumi:

 

“I can’t believe you’re in a time loop.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

Day 7: 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. The world stopped–

 

He remembered when he was watching people walk in the street – hurrying, not caring about anything in the world. They rushed and rushed and Iwaizumi only stood, leaning against the wall. 

 

How weird it was to notice, that now, he was the one who felt the world’s rush. 

 

And he remembered. He remembered that yesterday.

 

Ushijima’s eyes looked old and didn’t even wince. Iwaizumi didn’t know why he answered. He didn’t even know why he asked it. 

 

Still, he’ll never forget what Ushijima said.

 

 The sun was glowing, the light breeze danced through them, Iwaizumi had asked God for help, he was trapped in a time loop and 

 

Ushijima

 

still

 

said,

 

“Give them something to look forward to in life.”

 

And Iwaizumi couldn’t look away because he felt hope – he felt that raw hope that could touch his soul, could bring out the joy to make it dance with glowing light.

 

I wonder if God exists.

 

Iwaizumi stopped breathing. 

 

I wonder if my life was destined to go this direction. 

 

He suddenly remembered something else. An old memory. Something special, something nostalgic.

 

“You know, Hajime,” the thirteen year old Sora said while they were sitting on the roof, watching the stars. “I’ve never met anyone like you.”

 

The ten year old Iwaizumi frowned. “I don’t understand.”

 

Sora sighed, looking away. “I remember how bad it was for me. My days,” he said in a quiet voice. “My days were always the same. Monotone and painful – it was hard.”

 

Iwaizumi looked away too, feeling guilty. He was sorry because they hadn’t adopted Sora earlier.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart clenched so he had to say something back. “If you feel like you have hard days then you can punch me anytime, Sora.”

 

Sora laughed, shaking his head and looked up to the sky. Iwaizumi did too because he saw stars and blue and houses and streets filled with light and he didn’t think Sora would speak again.

 

But then he did and Iwaizumi will never forget it.

 

“I don’t think I’ll ever have hard days. You make my days better. You made me remember what the purpose of life is.”

 

And Iwaizumi looked back.

 

“And what is it?”

 

He had asked Sora and he answered. 

 

He did.

 

Maybe that’s why Ushijima’s sentence stayed in his head for so long. Because Ushijima told him something similar to what Sora did.

 

Maybe that’s why Iwaizumi stuck in a time loop. 

 

Or maybe not.

 

Maybe he was the only one who could make a difference.

 

Or maybe not.

 

Maybe Iwaizumi was the only one who believed in making a change.

 

Yeah.

 

Maybe that was it.

 

It was weird that this memory only now came into his head and not earlier. It was weird just how much Iwaizumi listened and noticed. How many words and sentences he remembered from others that he had never been able to recall before.

 

I just didn’t care enough to remember then.

 

That was the harsh reality. 

 

Because how could you care when you only look ahead?

 

His heart was beating too fast.

 

Because how could you care when you had forgotten how to see?

 

Iwaizumi got out of the shock, trying to calm his heart and then finally opened his mouth, but before he could’ve said anything, Ushijima beat him to it.

 

“We should go eat something,” he said, looking at Makki and Matsukawa as well. “This needs to be addressed in somewhere more private.”

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

They were sitting in a bar called Mirai.

 

 Iwaizumi had never been here before but according to Ushijima, they had the best ramen. It was lunch time anyway. The bar wasn’t filled with people but there were a few here – eighteen year olds or more, in Iwaizumi’s opinion. But those weren’t eating, they were playing darts at the other end of the bar. Iwaizumi, Ushijima, Makki were sitting at the other end, wanting to be in a bit quieter spot.

 

Truth be told, Iwaizumi was really freaking out but he tried to focus on other things because he didn’t want to let it out. 

 

Also, truth be told, if someone were about to shout again Iwaizumi would scream for his nerves were getting thin.

 

 He looked over Makki, who was sitting next to him. He was unusually quiet – freaking Iwaizumi out more.

 

Ushijima arrived back after he had ordered their food. He sat in front of Iwaizumi and Makki, looking stern and serious–

 

holding a glass of milkshake with a red straw in it.

 

Normally, Iwaizumi would have laughed – because Ushijima was the definition of poker face, not to mention, tall as fuck. So this image was spectacular to witness – but he was under so much pressure he only ended up frowning.

 

“Are you in a time loop?” Makki spoke, startling Iwaizumi, making him bring a hand over his heart. 

 

Ushijima, however, did not even bat an eye. 

 

“I was. I’m not anymore.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes went round.

 

Was, was, was, was–

 

He leaned closer and asked, “How long were you in it?” 

 

Ushijima seemed to think for a moment. “Thirteen days or less, I think.”

 

Iwaizumi’s mind were accelerating with thoughts–

 

“You seem really calm about it,” Makki spoke again. Iwaizumi looked at him and noticed that Makki seemed concerned. “Was it a long time ago?”

 

Ushijima gave out a little smile. “A year or so,” he admitted and then touched his temple. “I’m never sure. Mine felt like it was a year,” he shut his eyes for a minute, concentrating. “It’s all mixed up in my head, so I’m actually not sure how long I was in it or when it all began.”

 

Makki paled and Iwaizumi didn’t let unease take over his his body.

 

“Why did you stuck in it?” He asked, begging for an answer. “How did you get out of it? How did you stuck in it? Did you need to save someone too–”

 

Ushijima’s eyes widened more and more with every question Iwaizumi asked.

 

“I just woke up one day and I was in it,” he answered calmly. “To this day, I’m still not sure how I got out and no,” he shook his head, “I didn't have to save anybody.”

 

Iwaizumi leaned back, shocked and he only had one thought.

 

Then why does mine feel like if I’m playing a brand new game on a really hard level?

 

“But I learned things I would have never learned by myself.”

 

Makki stopped breathing next to Iwaizumi. He remembered again.

 

 “...Most of the times, people are only in a time loop because they need to change their personality, the way they see life...”

 

And Iwaizumi spoke, 

 

“Was there something you didn’t notice about others?” And then Iwaizumi asked the thing he felt the most disgusted about his old self. “Was there something that made you notice you’ve been acting selfish the whole time?”

 

Makki looked stunned. Iwaizumi recognized his eyes so he looked away, at Ushijima instead.

 

You think you are selfish?

 

And Iwaizumi wouldn’t hesitate to answer,

 

I

 

was

 

blind

 

and

 

forgot

 

how

 

to

 

see.

 

Ushijima old eyes looked like no one else’s in the world. The boy had seen so much and Iwaizumi knew his own eyes had began to look similar too.

 

“Actually,” Ushijima smiled and both Makki and Iwaizumi froze.

 

No one would think Ushijima was capable of smiling like this.

 

But he was doing it. In front of them. He looked like a completely different person. Iwaizumi heard the words of his echo. 

 

“...But I learned things I would have never learned by myself...”

 

“I noticed things about myself,” he said, smiling. Looking happy. Truly happy.  And then he said something that sent chills down Iwaizumi’s spine.

 

“You could say I found myself.”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. 

 

“...No one is sent by accident to anyone, Sora...”

 

His hands began to shake.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

It’s not a punishment.

 

It’s a chance.

 

It’s not a nightmare.

 

It’s a second shot.

 

Matsukawa came back from outside, holding his cell phone ins his hand. He sat down next to Ushijima, in front of Makki and Iwaizumi. 

 

“Oikawa called me,” he said with a pale face. He looked awful. “He was curious why didn’t we go to school. So, I told him an excuse.”

 

“What kinds of excuse?” Makki asked.

 

Matsukawa was not having it. 

 

“That you broke your fucking arm while you were trying to impress a girl in the middle of the god given sidewalk – and even though I tried to pull you away, you didn’t listen so Iwaizumi had to call the ambulance – and now we are in a hospital.”

 

There was loud silence. Makki narrowed his eyes at Matsukawa and then said, clearly impressed,

 

“Fair enough,” he then stopped and began to think. “That’s awfully detailed, though. You’re scaring me.”

 

“Be grateful. I could have told him that you had been hit by a shitty car.”

 

“Why are you swearing so much?”

 

“Because my patience can only take much and my blood pressure it’s up – it’s really high.”

 

“How high up it is?”

 

“You’ll see when Oikawa decides that he wants to see you.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because then I really need to make sure your arm is broken.”

 

Makki frowned, looking away in the distance, saying,

 

“I don’t get it.”

 

Iwaizumi placed one hand across his face with a loud sound, giving out a tired sigh. That was the moment when their food arrived. Hot, golden broth, giving out steam – noodles, and pork filling the whole room with an amazing smell. As the waiter put down the four ramens in front of them, all the boys bowed, thanking him. 

 

Iwaizumi broke his chopsticks apart and started with the egg. The sound of their slurping and little chewing felt weirdly comforting and natural. Makki told Matsukawa what they had been talking about while he was standing outside, talking to Oikawa over the phone.

 

Looking at the two of them and Ushijima, Iwaizumi had a weird thought.

 

We’re eating with the captain of Shiratorizawa. Fate has a funny way of coming back with a loud bang.

 

This made Iwaizumi smile. He didn’t know why. Maybe it was because this meant anything was possible. 

 

After Makki had finished, Matsukawa looked uneasy – the noodles fell down from his chopsticks back to the bowl. He looked at Ushijima.

 

“You met with Iwaizumi yesterday too, right?” Ushijima nodded. Matsukawa looked a bit more confident so he continued, “then why didn’t you tell him right away that you had been in a time loop?”

 

Iwaizumi froze. He didn’t even think about that. Ushijima, however, didn’t look surprised. He put the chopsticks down, next to his bowl and then put his hands together, fingertips touching. 

 

“It’s not that simple,” he said, looking at every one of them. “Iwaizumi is in a time loop now and I am not in one. This means, his time and my time don’t match, therefore, I can’t remember our first meeting. Or better say,” he leaned closer, “I couldn’t remember until I touched his hand.”

 

Everyone stopped eating. Makki even stopped in a middle of slurping the noodles.

 

Matsukawa’s eyes widened. “You need to touch him in order to remember?”

 

Ushijima nodded. “You need to. But only if you aren’t in a time loop at the same time he is,” he stopped for a moment, thinking. “If you and him are in a time loop at the same time, you’ll immediately remember and won’t need to touch. Because both of those people are in the same timeline. And of course, this only works with people who were or are in a time loop.”

 

Matsukawa gulped, Makki was stunned and Iwaizumi didn’t eve know what to say.

 

“But,” Ushijima began. “People like Iwaizumi and me... how should I say this?” He shrugged. “We can feel the other, basically.”

 

“WHAT?” Iwaizumi, Makki and Matsukawa responded at the same time.

 

Ushijima jut sat there, shocked, blinking at least three times before he could pull himself back together.

 

“Well,” Ushijima started, “after some time, I can feel if the person I’m talking to is in a time loop or not.”

 

Iwaizumi started coughing, choking on his pork – Makki gave him a glass of water with wide eyes.

 

“How?” Matsukawa asked, looking intrigued. “How can you tell? Do you feel that after or before the touch?”

 

“Touch is needed if you want to remember. The feeling though,” Ushijima looked at Iwaizumi who found himself staring at his eyes. 

 

Old eyes.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes in a different color and shape.

 

“The feeling can come anytime and usually, people want to touch after that, just in case, to really make sure if their guess was true,” he said. “The feeling came to me the minute you three talked in the park. And then I just had to check, it all came back to me with the touch.”

 

Iwaizumi tried to look away. 

 

But

 

he

 

couldn’t.

 

“What do you feel when you meet someone like that?” Makki spoke again. “How does it feel like? How can you know?”

 

Ushijima smiled – gentle, happy. It made him look older.  

 

“It’s not similar to any other feeling,” he answered quietly. “It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.”

 

Oh.

 

And Iwaizumi knew. He knew he felt it too.

 

Because he prayed to God.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

And

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

there.

 

Iwaizumi remembered how weird it was when Ushijima sat there next to him on that bench. How Iwaizumi felt like he could ask anything. Say anything to him. 

 

“...It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life...”

 

“But then why do I feel like I can remember some bits from here and there?” Makki asked, unsure. Ushijima sent him a calm smile.

 

“That’s normal. Some people are really sensitive about time.” Ushijima said. “Somebody remembered some things about mine as well.”

 

Makki’s eyes widened. “Can I talk to them?” 

 

Ushijima laughed. 

 

Laughed.

 

“Maybe some other time, it’s getting late,” he picked up his chopsticks again and continued eating. “But don’t stress about it too much. You will never be able to remember everything and some things might get lost along the way. And that’s how it should be.”

 

Matsukawa hummed. “I agree. The fact that time loops are existing things are beyond me and broke at least hundreds of rules in the name of science.”

 

Ushijima was shaking his head. “You tell me,” he muttered. “I still don’t know how it’s possible. But,” he stopped.

 

And then didn’t continue. 

 

“But?” Iwaizumi asked back, waiting for him to continue. Ushijima’s gaze slid down to his. 

 

Weird to see my eyes looking at me again and again.

 

“There is someone who knows, he just doesn’t want to tell me.”

 

Several things happened then.

 

Matsukawa’s noodles fell down again. Makki gasped and then began to choke and then cough, eyes watering – Matsukawa gave him a glass of water. And Iwaizumi

 

literally

 

lost

 

his

 

mind.

 

“DO YOU KNOW ANOTHER PERSON WHO WAS IN A TIME LOOP?” He shouted and then a lot of people hushed him in the building. He apologized.

 

Ushijima was only eating his ramen in peace. “Of course I know,” he said. “His time loop and mine were at the same time. It finished at the same time too.”

 

Makki finally stopped coughing, Matsukawa was still in shock.

 

“Who is it?” He asked and Iwaizumi eagerly leaned closer.

 

But Ushijima only smiled. “It’s better if I don’t tell you. You need to process a lot of information today. You don’t need another shock.”

 

Matsukawa was outraged. “We’re going to forget it tomorrow anyway.”

 

Ushijima chuckled. “Then it’s not a problem if I won’t tell you.”

 

Makki snorted.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Matsukawa and Makki were drinking cola, while Iwaizumi and Ushijima were eating cakes.

 

“Why would he want to do that?” Makki asked. “Why would he try to kill himself?”

 

Matsukawa’s fingertips turned white for he was gripping the Cola bottle that strong. 

 

“Fuck,” he said, shaking his head. “I don’t understand. I don’t know what could have made him decide this.”

 

Iwaizumi sighed, wiping his face, trying to erase his worries unsuccessfully. “What should I do?” He meant the question for everyone. “We can’t let this happen. We need to prevent it somehow. We need make sure he will never do it again.”

 

Makki sighed, leaning back in his chair. “How should we do that?”

 

Matsukawa buried his face into his hands. “It will take a lot of time. A lot of talking and analyzing and being a complete asshole to get the truth out of him.”

 

Iwaizumi but his bottom lip and then turned to Ushijima. “And what do you think, Ushijima?”

 

Ushijima didn’t hesitate. 

 

“The least thing I want to do is lie, so I’m going to say the truth, Iwaizumi,” he stopped for a minute. “You can’t cheat death.”

 

Iwaizumi

 

felt

 

goosebumps. 

 

Makki and Matsukawa paled, looking at the other.

 

“Whatever solution you can come up with – a solution that will save Oikawa and get you out of the time loop as well,” he continued calmly. “Will be useless if it doesn’t weigh as much as a suicide or similar to that.”

 

Iwaizumi’s throat was getting sore.

 

“What do you mean? Do I need to kill or what, don’t joke about this.”

 

Ushijima looked thoughtful. “No killing, not any of that. I’m just saying that whatever idea you’re going to come up with has to be as drastic as a suicide mission.”

 

It was silent after that and Iwaizumi couldn’t think or say anything for awhile. He didn’t need to. 

 

The weight on his shoulders were already trying to break him down.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“Tell me about your time loop,” Makki said to him. “And I mean everyday, Iwaizumi. I’ll help you. I’ll try my best.”

 

Iwaizumi had a strong urge to cry. He held it in. They were standing in the middle of the sidewalk after all. People rushing, city glowing with ethereal lights.

 

He hugged Makki instead with all of his strength. “Of course,” Iwaizumi said. “Thank you.”

 

Makki hugged him back, and after a couple of minutes, they felt another person come close to hug them. 

 

Matsukawa.

 

“I will help too,” he said in a choked up voice. And Iwaizumi realized that he was crying. “I’m just really angry, damn. I’m going to beat the hell out of Oikawa when I see him.”

 

Makki and Iwaizumi laughed too. 

 

“You’re going to forget it tomorrow, though.” Iwaizumi’s voice contained something melancholic. 

 

Matsukawa hugged them harder. “We’re going to win this too. Just like a match.”

 

Just like a match.

 

Iwaizumi smiled and he stepped out of the group hug. He stretched out his hand, palm facing down. 

 

“We’re gonna win,” he promised.

 

Makki nodded, placing a hand on Iwaizumi’s. “Hell yeah.”

 

Matsukawa laid his hand on the top of theirs, looking determined. “We’re gonna show him how good it feels to be alive.”

 

Iwaizumi was petrified – sensing shivers running down at his spine.

 

“...If your friend wanted to die, what would you do..?” 

 

“...Give them something to look forward to in life...”

 

And even after Matsukawa and Makki turned away to walk back to their homes. Iwaizumi was still looking at them. And then, out of nowhere, a scene appeared in front of Iwaizumi. 

 

“Do you remember when we had that campfire years ago?” Matsukawa asked, smiling. Iwaizumi gave out a little smile. “And we told each other about out future. About what we might do – about how this is our chance to do something unforgettable. We were kids,” his smile slowly vanished, as he looked out of the window. A light breeze caressed Matsukawa’s hair and Iwaizumi heard him say,

 

“I’m afraid we’ll be one of the ones who miss each other their entire life.”

 

And Iwaizumi realized again.

 

It feels like I had my eyes closed in my entire life.

 

“Iwaizumi.”

 

He looked back, hearing Ushijima’s voice. 

 

He asked turning into the other direction, pointing at the road ahead.

 

“Want to walk a bit?”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––

 

 

Ushijima and Iwaizumi’s walking felt different than his and Oikawa’s. 

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t put it into words. It felt too much and nothing at the same time. Too overwhelming yet too easy. When Ushijima started to walk faster than Iwaizumi, he slowed down to match his steps. While Oikawa and Iwaizumi always walked together.

 

They arrived to an another road, with only people walking on it. Ushijima, without a word, walked close to the side, leaning close, touching the handrail. Iwaizumi followed him, grabbing the handrail as well. 

 

When he looked down he saw cars. Driving on the road. Their lights felt gold in the night. And the city that surrounded them glowed with blue and yellow and green and purple.

 

“This is where I met him for the first time.”

 

Iwaizumi was confused as looked at Ushijima, who was only watching the cars below them.

 

“The other person who was in the time loop,” he continued. A light breeze touched his hair. “I couldn’t believe it was him. He couldn’t believe it either.”

 

Iwaizumi’s curiosity wanted to bloom out of his soul. He wanted to ask who it was but he knew Ushijima didn’t want to tell him. Not yet. So he chose to be quiet.

 

But then Ushijima spoke again. 

 

“It’s going to be hard and you’ll never be the same.”

 

Iwaizumi knew what he were talking about. “I know,” he whispered.

 

Ushijima looked at him from the corner of his eye. “There’ll be times when you want to stop because you’ve grown tired of it.”

 

Iwaizumi shut down his eyes, “Maybe,” he whispered.

 

It was silence. Cars and people were rushing, wind was blowing and starts shone just as bright as the city lights.

 

“But even if you feel this is the end, don’t stop, Iwaizumi.”

 

His eyes snapped open and his heart stopped beating. 

 

He slowly turned his head – the pressure in his blood was pumping in his ears – and looked into Ushijima’s eyes.

 

He was staring back. 

 

“He wanted to stop too,” Ushijima said. His voice felt powerful – Iwaizumi has never heard somebody talk like this in his whole life. “The trouble is that he thought he had time. It’s not true. He needed to take the matter into his own hands and that’s what you also need to do. He didn’t know how to do that, he felt overwhelmed because he noticed how broken he was. But I said don’t stop.”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. His heart was beating too loud, it felt like–

 

His eyes widened.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

“I said, it’s time to remember what it feels like to be alive. So don't stop.”

 

And Iwaizumi, looking at Ushijima who felt like a savior, could only remember Oikawa’s words.

 

“...I just hope you’ll always have someone who helps you along the road...”

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“I don’t think I’ll ever have hard days. You make my days better. You made me remember what the purpose of life is.”

 

“And what is it?” Ten year old Iwaizumi asked Sora.

 

He had asked Sora and he answered. 

 

He did.

 

“To feel love, to believe and to make conversations with people because you might find someone. And I’m not just talking about love – I’m talking about luck, friendship, family and strangers and so much more.”

 

Iwaizumi stayed quiet and then Sora said,

 

“When you start to believe that it’ll never work out – that you’ll never get better, that your life won’t ever get better – that’s when the change happens, Hajime! That’s the moment!”

 

And Sora’s smile was wide, full of heart and Iwaizumi grinned back because his family put that smile there and because Sora won’t ever go away. And because of this, he knew that smile won’t escape anywhere either.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

 

 

 

 

Day 7: Part III

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was standing in front of Oikawa’s door and he has never felt this scared in his whole goddamn life.

 

People who had passed by earlier, gave him a weird look because he didn’t do anything – he was only standing in front of the house. He knew Oikawa’s suicide will be later so he’s not dead – and yet,

 

 Iwaizumi couldn’t go in.

 

“...Don’t go in there...”

 

Sora said that day. That night. 

 

“...I’ve never thought he–” Sora shouted and Iwaizumi looked back at his brother, who was leaning against the wall, covering his mouth. “He told me years ago that he thought about it sometimes but I've never...”

 

Sora knew Oikawa had suicidal thoughts. And for some reason, Iwaizumi wasn’t angry about Sora not telling him this earlier. Because Sora knew better than anyone else what this type of feeling felt like. He must have understood what Oikawa had been going through – was still going through.

 

“...I don’t think I’ll ever have hard days. You make my days better. You made me remember what the purpose of life is...”

 

Iwaizumi glanced down at his feet and shut down his eyes. Sora’s words were in his mind. He would never forget them. Not even after he’s dead.

 

I need to talk with Sora too.

 

Iwaizumi sighed loudly and then knocked on Oikawa’s door. He knew his mom and dad were working late, Takeru was at his mom’s – so not even Oikawa’s sister was at home. It’s only him.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened.

 

...Iwaizumi stretched out his arms, already stepping away. “Wanna come in?” He asked.

Oikawa shook his head, still smiling. “I have to get home early...”

 

The day when he told Makki he was in a time loop – when he stayed at Iwaizumi’s and then Oikawa stopped by his house–

 

“I have to get home early...”

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips into a thin line – Oikawa basically told him his plan right then and there and–

 

“Fuck,” Iwaizumi said through his teeth and then the door opened and he raised his chin and stared.

 

It felt so different. Everything felt different. 

 

It was so different to look at someone after you saw them die. Everything that had felt normal and nothing important, became so much unique. 

 

Like now – how Iwaizumi didn’t care that Oikawa had his fake smile on. He only cared he was smiling. 

 

Alive. Breathing. Smiling.

 

Iwaizumi had struggle breathing – he sometimes took little uneven ones and then big, deep from his lung ones.

 

Oikawa’s eyes were wide – just as wide as his own was. But then Iwaizumi pulled himself together and spoke before Oikawa could.

 

“Can you walk with me?” He asked, suddenly feeling bold and determined. “I want to show you something.”

 

Oikawa must have realized how serious Iwaizumi was because he put his coat on, closed the door and followed him immediately without a single word. 

 

Iwaizumi pulled his own coat tighter around himself and waited for Oikawa to catch up. They were walking next to each other in silence. Their footsteps hit the road and created an odd rhythm that Iwaizumi was glad to hear.

 

You’re walking next to me. You’re here. You’re alive. You’re breathing.

 

And then Oikawa finally spoke up, “Iwa–chan,” he asked, “where are we going–”

 

“I miss Sora,” Iwaizumi started, only looking ahead. Not looking at Oikawa. The street was filled with people as they started to reach the city centre. And yet, Oikawa didn't fall behind. He stayed next to him during their walk. “I still remember the day when we adopted him. It is one of the best days in my entire life.”

 

It took a minute for Oikawa to answer. “You liked him so much. You introduced him to me immediately,” his voice was Oikawa’s real voice. Filled with joy and nostalgia. “I remember he cried. After we started to play with him. Playing a game of tag.”

 

I want to hear this voice a lot of times.

 

Iwaizumi remembered too. He knew why, so when he answered his voice wasn't shaking,

 

“Because his previous family was beating him and he never knew what kindness really meant.”

 

Oikawa sighed out loud and almost slowed down next to him. “I don’t know how he endured all of that. I know many strong people, Iwa–chan. But Sora puts all of them to shame.”

 

Iwaizumi hummed, completely agree. “That’s why I have no idea why I walked away when he had got into a pretty violent fight with someone,” he shook his head. “I would usually help – I don’t even remember why I walked away,” he shook his head, shutting his eyes. “How could I do that?”

 

Oikawa answered, “Maybe you’ve grown tired of seeing him getting hurt.”

 

“...I don’t know what I’d do without you...”

 

Iwaizumi wanted to live his life with Oikawa. Not without him. So he asked,

 

“Do you miss anyone right now?”

 

And Oikawa didn’t hesitate. Not even a bit.

 

“Myself.”

 

And Iwaizumi looked at him for the second time today. He remembered Oikawa’s earlier words.

 

“...I only think about now. I can’t stop thinking about now...”

 

How weird it was to see everything so clearly. How frightening it was to be this perspective. How new.

 

How interesting.

 

He wanted to hug his best friend. He wanted to make Oikawa fall in love with life. He wanted to do that so much it hurt.

 

Iwaizumi asked another question again, thinking about Sora.

 

“If you’d grown up in a different environment, do you think you’d have turned out the same?”

 

Oikawa seemed to think as they turned to left, walking on the sidewalk, seeing the graffiti on the building Iwaizumi leaned against in one of his yesterdays.

 

Don’t make me walk when I want to fly.

 

“Maybe,” Oikawa answered with honesty. Iwaizumi haven’t seen him looking this serious since a long time. “I’d be happier, probably. Somewhere else, being someone else. I would be a lot happier.”

 

Iwaizumi’s chest clenched and his stomach dropped. It hurt to hear Oikawa talking like this, knowing exactly what was going on in his head. 

 

Why aren’t you happy now? What is the thing you’re missing Oikawa?

 

“What was the last compliment you received?” Iwaizumi asked, gently and Oikawa didn’t hesitate again.

 

“I don’t remember.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart began to beat faster.

 

“Who was the last person you cried in front of?”

 

“I haven’t cried for a long time.”

 

Iwaizumi winced.

 

“How many times have you been in a hospital?”

 

“Not enough times.”

 

Iwaizumi shut down his eyes.

 

“How many kids do you want when you grow up?”

 

“My answer is useless for that one.”

 

And when they reached the park where Iwaizumi met with Ushijima, he turned around to face Oikawa with his heart beating like wings of a flying bird, 

 

he asked,

 

“Why do you want to kill yourself?”

 

And Oikawa wasn’t surprised. He just stood there in front of him, looking tired. He had bags under his eyes – Iwaizumi noticed that he has lost a lot of weight too.

 

“...He hasn't been okay since months, Iwaizumi...”

 

Oikawa gave out a sad smile. “I had a feeling you realized,” Oikawa didn't look away from him. “You asked random things. You never do that–”

 

“Oikawa.”

 

“– and you never do this random walks either. I should have known you just wanted to make sure I’m not alone–”

 

“Oikawa.”

 

“Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi almost flinched again, hearing his name from him. His full name. He took a deep breath, and tried to get close to him. Oikawa let him. He stood close to him, head to head.

 

“Why?”

 

And then suddenly Oikawa 

 

burst.

 

I don’t know what to do. 

 

He said in a tiny voice and buried his face into his hands. The sight made Iwaizumi tear up.

 

 I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do–

 

Iwaizumi felt his world crash on his shoulders as he pulled Oikawa close to hug him. His best friend gave out a loud sob. “My knee is starting to get worse – it’s getting really bad. So bad, I don’t think I’ll be able to play after graduation,” he said through his teeth, leaning his head on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. “I’ve started to hate playing, I just don’t want to do it anymore–”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened.

 

“– and then it started to go worse from there because if I’m not able to play then what is left of me? There’s nothing valuable in me, there’s nothing good in me, Iwaizumi. I have nothing, nothing,” he screamed, clutching Iwaizumi’s arm. “I lie, I cheat – I think I can do anything but I look down at everyone who’s trying to accomplish something. I hurt girls, I hurt my friends, I hurt my family, I even hurt you. You, my best friend in this whole fucking world and you know what’s the most devastating in all of this fucked up thing?”

 

Iwaizumi hugged him harder and quietly asked, “What?” His voice cracked.

 

That I don’t care,” he was shouting, crying, his shoulders shaking. “I don’t care about you, my family, or my friends,” Iwaizumi’s shoulders were starting to shake too, his bit his lips and cried silently. “I don’t care that you’ll be devastated because I can’t live with myself,” Oikawa fell to his knees, pulling Iwaizumi down with him. Oikawa sat down and turned away from him, pulling his knees up to lean his head down on them. 

 

I can’t live with my disgusting thoughts,” Oikawa screamed, giving out a loud whimper. Iwaizumi couldn’t hold his own crying inside anymore. “I can’t live with my worthless pride. Live every single day thinking about how I’ll never get better, how I’ll never be able to play, how I’ll never find peace with myself, how I’ll never have enough strength to apologize to Tobio–”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t move, his whole body was shaking and he felt cold and rigid and–

 

“– how I’ll never feel satisfied, how I’ll never feel enough, how I’ll never do anything good in my life. I don’t care,” Oikawa covered his ears. “I don’t care if I leave all of you behind – I don’t care because I can’t keep living like this and feel this pain all the time, all the fucking time, without breaks I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” he screamed, breathing heavily, with choked up voice. “I’m getting tired, I hate myself, I fucking hate everything in me.

 

Iwaizumi sat down behind him and hugged him, leaning his head on Oikawa’s nape. 

 

“Stay alive for me,” Iwaizumi begged, holding Oikawa strong. “Staystay for me.”

 

Oikawa took uneven, loud breaths. “No fucking way,” his voice cracked.

 

Iwaizumi grew tense, his mind going blank–

 

“I’m not ready to say goodbye,” Iwaizumi whispered, hugging him harder. “You’re going to be fine someday, you–”

 

And then Oikawa said something in a haunting tone, 

 

“You can only get okay if you begin to love yourself.” 

 

Oikawa looked so small 

 

and 

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t stop his heart from aching because 

 

he’s not okay, 

 

he’s not okay–

 

“I despise everything in me,” he continued. “And that will never change. Even if I change –even if it gets better, I’ll never lose the incapability of playing. I’ll never lose the feeling of not being enough. I will never love my thoughts, I will never love being me.”

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t move or say anything. His breathing hitched in his throat, his pulse slowed down.

 

But his 

 

soul

 

broke.

 

“I can’t stay for anybody, Iwaizumi,” Oikawa whispered, sounding defeated. “Because at the end of the day, everyone can go away but I can never get out of my head. I can’t stay for my mom or my dad, Takeru or even for my sister. Because they will all die one day and then I’ll be left all alone with myself.”

 

Iwaizumi was crying.

 

“I’m getting tired of feeling disappointment all the time,” Oikawa said quietly. “I’m getting tired of not being able to look into someone’s eyes because I feel such a big amount of shame that you can’t even possibly imagine,” he took a deep breath. “I can’t live with myself like this – I just can’t do it anymore.”

 

And

 

Iwaizumi

 

wanted 

 

to

 

be

 

deaf

 

and

 

blind

 

again.

 

Praying his old eyes would vanish, praying he would never see the possibility in anything again.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Iwaizumi heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. 

 

And for once in his life, 

 

He wanted to wake up in tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8: PART I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi began to search for a T–shirt, his leather jacket, jeans and shoes. After he had changed and put his pajamas back into his drawers, his door opened and Iwaizumi knew who stood there without turning his head over to check.

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so– oh, you’re up. ” 

 

Iwaizumi turned around and just stared at his friend. Makki’s light brown hair stood out as he stood there, completely surprised that Iwaizumi had already changed.

 

Then Makki’s eyes darted down – he noticed Iwaizumi’s clothes.

 

“Why aren’t you in your uniform?” Makki asked, confused. He looked back at Iwaizumi who painted a fake smile on his face with his numb hands with broken brushes and paint made of blood.

 

“...I don’t care that you’ll be devastated because I can’t live with myself...”

 

Iwaizumi’s shoulders tensed up but the fake smile was still there on his face. “I’ll head out a bit, I need to clear my head,” Iwaizumi made his smile wider. “I’ll call you later, okay?”

 

Please let me leave.

 

Iwaizumi begged.

 

Please let me

 

His eyes went round.

 

Oikawa shut his eyes. “I can’t take this anymore,” he whispered and then turned away to leave. “Please leave me alone.”

 

Iwaizumi opened his mouth–

 

“I said,” Oikawa raised his voice, his eyes widening, “let. me. leave...”

 

The fight. 

 

On that night.

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips together in a thin line. He begged for leaving. He begged.

 

Just like Oikawa did.

 

And suddenly Iwaizumi didn’t hear Makki. He didn’t even hear his parents as he made his way towards their front door. He remembered the day after he had found out about Oikawa’s suicide. He didn’t know where to go then. He had nowhere to go then. He was alone. Iwaizumi didn’t know what to do. He was lost. That hadn’t changed. He was still lost – Oikawa was still suicidal – Makki and Matsukawa were still one of the most supportive people on Earth – Sora was still angry – his parents still loved him–

 

Iwaizumi had nowhere to go then.

 

And now,

 

he was heading towards the park.

 

“...It’s going to be hard and you’ll never be the same...”

 

“I know,” he whispered out loud again as he got closer to the park. As he walked calmly in crowd where everyone rushed.

 

Iwaizumi,

 

 the only walker in a crowd full of runners.

 

“...There’ll be times when you want to stop because you’ve grown tired of it...”

 

“Maybe,” he whispered the same thing he had answered yesterday. And then Iwaizumi saw Ushijima walking close to the bench, talking over his phone.

 

“...But even if–

 

Iwaizumi felt tears prickle his eyes as he fastened his steps–

 

 you feel this is the end–

 

Iwaizumi was running and when Ushijima noticed him, his eyes widened and stopped talking into the phone. Ushijima abruptly stood up from the bench.

 

 don’t stop, Iwaizumi...”

 

And Iwaizumi stopped in front of him and reached out to touch the other boy’s hand. Ushijima froze and 

 

then

 

clenched

 

it.

 

Ushijima brought his other hand to lay on Iwaizumi’s too. “What happened?” he asked in a weird tone and that’s when Iwaizumi realized that it worked.

 

That Ushijima remembered.

 

And Iwaizumi felt himself break because he wasn’t alone, because had help, because he couldn’t do this alone, because–

 

Iwaizumi said quietly, “I don’t know what to do–” and then the words stuck in his throat.

 

“...I don’t know what to do... 

 

Oikawa screamed that yesterday. 

 

“...I don’t know what to do... 

 

“I... I know why he wants to do it,” Iwaizumi tried to come back from the shock. “I know and, Ushijima, he’s not okay and I can’t talk him out of it – I thought I could talk him out of it – but he wouldn’t even stay for me nor anybody else. Oh, fuck,” Ushijima was still holding Iwaizumi’s shaking hands. “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to save him, fuck, what am I going to do, I can’t let him die, what should I do, I don’t know, I don’t know what to do–”

 

“Stay calm.”

 

Iwaizumi stopped and looked up at Ushijima. He saw Ushijima taking a deep breath and then letting it out – he gave Iwaizumi a pointed look. At first, he was confused but then he realized that Ushijima wanted him to mimic his breathing. 

 

Iwaizumi began to breathe with him. In and out. Long, deep ones.

 

He calmed down immediately. 

 

“You’re not alone,” Ushijima said calmly, patiently. “I will help, don’t worry.”

 

And Iwaizumi felt tired and torn and Ushijima was still holding his hands. Maybe he was afraid that the moment he let go, Iwaizumi would collapse. It wasn’t a vain fear.

 

Iwaizumi was on the edge of collapsing.

 

The pain wanted to burst from his skull, destroying, ripping the skin. He shut down his eyes and felt lightheaded. His lungs felt too much for him to worse – like a breaking copper cage.

 

He fainted.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

The first thing he saw and heard when he woke up was a white ceiling, and the chirping of birds.

 

He groaned and opened his mouth – it was dry. He needed to drink–

 

“Looks like sleeping beauty is up.”

 

Iwaizumi stiffened as he turned over his head to the direction of the voice. 

 

Red hair.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened because–

 

I know who you are.  

 

He had seen him in television. He really stood out. It was the only name that stayed in his mind.

 

“Tendou.”

 

The name felt weird for he had never said it before – but Tendou just grinned. He was sitting on the nearest armchair. He moved his hand towards Iwaizumi, holding something–

 

A water bottle.

 

Iwaizumi looked back at him, noticing he was still grinning, like a complete mad man. He hesitated.

 

Tendou gave out an amused sound. “Come one, big boy,” he was having way too much fun with this situation, Iwaizumi could tell. “I’m not in the mood of biting anybody’s arm off today. Least of all yours.”

 

Iwaizumi blinked, completely thrown off and then took the water bottle. He lifted up to his mouth and began to drink it – it felt heaven. Iwaizumi drank the whole thing and then put the empty bottle down on the nearest bed stand. When he turned back, he froze.

 

Tendou was looking at him, smiling.

 

Iwaizumi looked away, feeling uneasy. He took his time and looked around. The room he was in was full of trophies. It was also clean, comfortable to look at. 

 

Only then, Iwaizumi realized. 

 

I’m sitting on Ushijima’s bed. In Ushijima’s room. With Satori Tendou.

 

Iwaizumi then raised an eyebrow and then looked at Tendou, wanting to ask something but the red head beat him to it,

 

“Wakatoshi went out to buy groceries,” Tendou answered instantly, leaning close, elbowing on his knees. “You can imagine how shocked I was when I received an interesting phone call from him to come here. I was nowhere near as shocked as I was when I saw him carrying you on his back, though. I flipped my shit,” Tendou nodded enthusiastically and then started to gesture wildly. “Is that fucking Iwaizumi Hajime? I asked him, but he only told me to shut up,” he sighed, he had a lazy smile on his face and he was looking at the ceiling. As if he was remembering a fond memory. Iwaizumi looked up to the ceiling as well. 

 

There was nothing there.

 

He looked back at Tendou with the most confused expression on his face. What in the hell are you looking at?

 

 “I thought I was dreaming,” Tendou continued with a funny voice, still looking at the ceiling. “But I usually dream about useless stuff, so there you go,” Tendou looked back at him. “Are you in a time loop?”

 

Iwaizumi froze. As if he had been hit by a truck.

 

“What?” He asked, maybe he heard it wrong.

 

Tendou tilted his head. “Wakatoshi says that I’m some rare case,” he began to explain. “That I’m too sensitive and aware of time and changes and timelines and what not, but basically,” Tendou expanded his arms as if he was saying to the world ‘look at me’ and it sent chills down on Iwaizumi’s spine. “I still remember Wakatoshi’s. I remember almost every single one of his yesterdays.”

 

“...That’s normal. Some people are really sensitive about time.” Ushijima said. “Somebody remembered some things about mine as well...”

 

Iwaizumi was too stunned to speak. Because this was too unreal, too unbelievable. 

 

“I can identify people who are or were in a time loop too,” Tendou said with a little smile.

 

Iwaizumi asked, “How?” 

 

Tendou pointed at one of his eyes. “Your gaze,” he said. “You guys have different eyes.”

 

Iwaizumi knew. And yet, he had to ask. “Different how?”

 

He didn’t even hesitate. “Old,” Tendou suddenly turned serious, his smile vanished. “Someone who have seen much. Those kinds of eyes should be worn by old people. You two are way too young for this shit.”

 

Iwaizumi didn’t miss the disgust from Tendou’s voice. “You resent time loops.” 

 

It wasn’t a question, more of a statement. Tendou went quiet. So quiet it scared Iwaizumi shitless. 

 

“It breaks people,” the red head answered. “It didn’t break my best friend – Wakatoshi, I mean,” Tendou’s eyes looked down at his toes. He looked comfortable and vulnerable at the same time. “But it broke the other person who was in a time loop at the same time as him.”

 

Iwaizumi remembered.

 

“...I said it’s time to remember what it feels like to be alive. So don’t stop...”

 

“The funny thing is,” Tendou continued, still looking down, “I didn’t care about that person. But as some of my memories stayed with me from Wakatoshi’s days, I’d grown to care.”

 

Iwaizumi sensed how the world turned quiet. The sun shone through the window, a light wind danced with the curtains, birds were singing and a loud cello could be heard from the streets. Someone’s music from the streets.

 

Iwaizumi sensed how the world turned quiet.

 

And he asked,

 

“Did you meet him? That person?”

 

Tendou nodded. “I met him twice during his time loop,” he said. “The first time, when he was at his lowest. And the second time, when he finally started to get better.”

 

Iwaizumi found himself strangely intrigued by this person. “Why was he so broken? What did he have to do? Did he need to save someone too? Why was he stuck?”

 

Tendou finally looked into his eyes. Really looked, for the first time today. He didn’t say much, he just stared. 

 

And then Iwaizumi realized.

 

My old eyes. He sees Ushijima’s eyes.

 

Different color and shape but all the same. Maybe he is thinking about Ushijima’s time loop.

 

“That’s the case, Iwaizumi,” it was weird to hear his name coming out from Tendou’s mouth. “He needed to change himself.”

 

Iwaizumi was confused. “But everyone changes during a time loop. How could they not change?”

 

Tendou didn’t look away from him, he just sat there, being comfortable. And then he said something that made Iwaizumi’s mind go blank.

 

“Imagine living in a day where everyone hates you. Even if you change, even if you say nice things, no one will act differently towards you because they think you’re just messing around. You’re constantly being told of how you are the worst.”

 

Iwaizumi felt his stomach drop.

 

“...He needed to change himself...”

 

“How did he change?” Iwaizumi asked and Tendou smiled.

 

“Wakatoshi must have been some big help,” he stated. “I know only one thing for sure.”

 

“What?”

 

Tendou sighed. “That Wakatoshi thinks he’s still not okay. And I can see why he’d think that.”

 

Iwaizumi stared. “You won’t tell me who it is either, will you?”

 

Tendou had the nerve to grin on that. “Ding dong! The answer’s right. It’s not my place to tell,” his smile turned lazy. “Wakatoshi will tell you eventually. He has to.”

 

Iwaizumi frowned.

 

Has to?

 

“Do you have to save someone? Is that what you have to do? Cause you mentioned saving when we were talking about that person,” Tendou asked, turning serious. This boy changed his mood as well as Iwaizumi changed his clothes. “It sounds messy as fuck. No wonder you look so shit.”

 

He heard this already. In one of his yesterdays.

 

“...You can literally do anything,” Makki said suddenly. 

 

Iwaizumi cringed. “I just want to get out of it,” he said. “It might be fun to watch in your movies but it’s nowhere near as fun living it, trust me.”

 

Makki laughed. “Oh, don’t worry, I believe that,” he pointed at Iwaizumi’s face. “You look like shit...”

 

Iwaizumi wanted to laugh. Some events just didn’t change. He started to smile–

 

“...I can’t live with myself like this – I just can’t do it anymore...”

 

And

 

his

 

smile

 

froze.

 

What am I doing?  

 

Iwaizumi touched his face, completely numb.

 

How can I smile when–

 

“You are allowed to feel a little joy here and there.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart stopped. 

 

He looked up to meet Tendou’s eyes. His gaze was too sharp, too aware, too sensitive.

 

And–

 

“How did you know?” Iwaizumi asked. 

 

for some reason–

 

How did you know that joy was my demon?

 

Tendou’s eyes looked way more exhausted and old than anyone’s Iwaizumi had ever seen. It wasn’t because of a time loop. 

 

“...No one is sent by accident to anyone, Sora...”

 

And then Tendou gave a little smile. The first real one.

 

“Because joy isn’t easy” he said. “Smiling isn’t easy. It means you’re trying. It means you’re fighting.”

 

And Iwaizumi remembered something else again.

 

“...What is the purpose of life?”

 

“To feel love, to believe and to make conversations with people because you might find someone. And I’m not just talking about love – I’m talking about luck, friendship, family and strangers and so much more.”

 

Iwaizumi stayed quiet and then Sora said,

 

“When you start to believe that it’ll never work out – that you’ll never get better, that your life won’t ever get better – that’s when the change happens, Hajime! That’s the moment!”

 

And Iwaizumi felt chills and began to wonder. Wonder about life, wonder about consequences and accidental meetings and suddenly

 

he

 

felt

 

a

 

bold

 

hope

 

bloom

 

inside

 

of

 

his

 

heart.

 

It felt like a disease – a feeling he could never get rid of. And yet, feeling brave,

 

Iwaizumi gave out a soft smile.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8: PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi and Tendou were sitting in the kitchen watching Ushijima making dinner. The smell of the spicy curry filled the whole house. The warmth and the comfort could be sensed in every way as it was possible.

 

“What’s your next move, Iwaizumi?” Ushijima spoke and Tendou snorted.

 

“You just don’t go around and ask people what their next move is, Wakatoshi. Didn’t I teach you manners?”

 

Ushijima sent a glare towards his best friend. “You? The person who calls me at least ten times a day?”

 

Tendou didn’t even look sheepish. In fact, he looked frighteningly smug. 

 

“What can I say?” He shrugged and smirked. “I have the popular miracle boy’s phone number. Might as well take advantage of it.”

 

Ushijima wasn’t amused. “One day, you’re going to be very surprised.”

 

“Ah? Why?”

 

“Because I’ll be damned to pick up.”

 

Tendou narrowed his eyes. “How rude.”

 

Iwaizumi chuckled, their interaction reminded him of Makki and Matsukawa’s. They were indeed close. Good friends.

 

“Next move, huh?” Iwaizumi ruffled his hair and wiped his face, feeling tired, overwhelmed. “I’ll call my brother and Makki. And then I visit Oikawa.”

 

Ushijima was waiting for him to continue. “And then?” He asked.

 

Iwaizumi shut down his eyes. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “We just have to wait and see.”

 

It was silence. Deep, long silence. 

 

Iwaizumi thought he died.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

After the delicious food, Iwaizumi went to the bathroom. When he had begun to go back he heard two voices talk. He abruptly stopped.

 

“Do you remember when we saw someone standing on the edge of a building, wanting to jump off?”

 

Iwaizumi froze, hearing Tendou’s voice. The other boy hummed.

 

“It was during my time loop,” Ushijima said gently. “When we figured it out that she wanted to jump – after that day – we always made sure to save her in every one of my yesterdays.”

 

Tendou hummed too. “Do you still get coffee with her?”

 

“I do. Every Friday,” Ushijima’s voice was gentle, like feathers. “I was with her today too. Akira is a great friend.”

 

Iwaizumi suddenly remembered about what Oikawa told him a long time ago.

 

“...Today, I was walking down the street, minding my own business as always, and suddenly I see Ushiwaka sitting in a coffee house...”

 

“You know,” Iwaizumi heard Tendou, “Iwazumi made me remember why I hate time loops so much,” he stopped for a minute. “But...”

 

But?

 

“But?” Ushijima asked out loud. 

 

“But if you hadn’t been in a time loop, we would have never been able to save her,” Tendou muttered. “She would have just died.”

 

Ushijima hummed again. Deep yet nostalgic. 

 

“There’s something unique about time loop, isn’t it?” He asked Tendou. “Something special, something different.”

 

The red head was quiet and then he spoke,

 

“It’s like a second chance from life.”

 

And Iwaizumi 

 

felt 

 

chills.

 

“I think it’s because people think they have time when they don’t,” Ushijima said. “I told him the same thing.”

 

Him.

 

The person who was in the time loop at the same time Ushijima was.

 

“Do you think he knows why time loops happen?” Tendou asked, curiosity dripping over his voice.

 

“I know he knows,” Ushijima answered. “He is the only one who knows.”

 

“But how do you know that?” Tendou asked again.

 

Ushijima seemed to hesitate. “He feels different from everyone else – I swear Tendou, his soul is something else. He didn't need anyone to make him strong. He became strong by himself.”

 

Iwaizumi stopped breathing.

 

He didn't need anyone to make him strong. He became strong by himself.

 

“I know what you mean,” Tendou said quietly. “I will never forget my second meeting with him. It was so different from our first meeting. It was like as if I was talking to a completely different person.”

 

Ushijima gave out a little laugh. “You still haven’t told me what he had said to you.”

 

Tendou laughed too. A happy, joyful, nostalgic laugh. 

 

“I will tell you one day,” Tendou promised. “I will tell you one day.”

 

And Iwaizumi didn’t know who they were talking about. He had no idea. No clue at all. 

 

But for some reason, Iwaizumi could sense that different kind of feeling which Ushijima had talked about. There was something unique about this person. 

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t put a finger on it. 

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“I’m off,” Tendou looked at his phone and then put on his coat. Ushijima tilted his head.

 

“What happened?” He asked calmly. “Shirabu realized you stole his cat? I told you it was a bad idea.”

 

Iwaizumi whirled around, looking at Tendou. The boy raised his arms, completely defensive. 

 

“Okay, first,” Tendou pointed at Ushijima. “I lost a bet with Yamagata–”

 

“I still told you it was a bad idea. You never listen.”

 

“– second, I did not stole his cat. I borrowed it, ‘kay? It was part of the bet. And what do you mean I never listen–”

 

Ushijima wanted to speak but then his phone started to ring. He picked up and then sighed tiredly and said, “Shirabu, what can I do for you?”

 

Iwaizumi looked back at Tendou who turned pale as hell. The red head began to look around – look for a way out to escape.

 

“You’re looking for your cat?”

 

Ushijima looked at Tendou who was shaking his head, completely terrified. He ran to the window. Iwaizumi’s eyes widened.

 

“Yamagata’s acting weird? That’s interesting.”

 

Ushijima smiled when he saw Tendou, sticking his foot and then the other out to jump out the window. 

 

Iwaizumi’s jaw fell down. He began to drink his glass of water, watching how the situation was going to turn out.

 

“Tendou? Have I seen Tendou, you ask?”

 

With a loud sound and a painful yell, Tendou jumped out of the window and landed on the other side with a loud thud. 

 

Iwaizumi spat out the water.

 

“Actually, he just left.”

 

“SON OF A BITCH!” Tendou shouted in pain and when Iwaizumi looked out of the window he saw him run for his life.

 

“Good luck for that,” Ushijima ended the call and then came to stand next to Iwaizumi. He looked out of the window as well.

 

“Did that idiot really jump out of my window?” Ushijima asked.

 

Iwaizumi was still processing. “Look at him go.”

 

Ushijima and Iwaizumi looked at the other, completely silent.

 

And

 

then

 

burst

 

out

 

laughing.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

The sky started to turn dark blue when he was sitting out in the terrace. Ushijima’s house was in a quiet area, far away from the city’s pressure. Iwaizumi was enjoying the sky’s view. Stars and clouds. Blue and orange and rose colors blended into the other.

 

I wonder if someone else is watching this dawn with me today.

 

He could feel a quiet cello somewhere near. They’ve been playing since morning. It sounded deep, soulful and filled with melody.

 

Iwaizumi was looking at his phone. He knew he should call Sora. He knew he should call Makki. 

 

He knew he should visit Oikawa. The phone was on the table. He just needed to reach for it.

 

He didn’t move his hands. He was just looking at it.

 

“I brought you tea,” Ushijima said, putting the cup on the table. He sat next to Iwaizumi, close to the table, putting down his own cup of tea as well.

 

Iwaizumi said, “Thank you,” and then reached for the cup. The tea warmed his hand, sending shivers down his spine. He was suddenly aware of the cold wind brushing his skin, his T–shirt didn’t cover his arms–

 

Ushijima stood up and went behind him, taking off his jacket. He put it on Iwaizumi’s shoulders and then sat back where he had been a couple of seconds ago.

 

Iwaizumi was grateful for he immediately felt the warmth surround his being. “Thank you,” he sighed.

 

Ushijima smiled at him. It didn’t matter how many times he did it, Iwaizumi was always surprised. How it fitted him, how happy he really looked.

 

So different than him, so full of life.

 

“Tell me about your time loop,” Iwaizumi whispered. He didn’t know why. He didn’t know why he asked for this. Maybe he wanted to feel how good it is to live.

 

Maybe I want some faith. Maybe I want to believe that I can be as happy as he is one day.

 

Iwaizumi’s chest clenched because of the thought. He was being selfish again. How could he think about his happiness when Oikawa–

 

Ushijima reached forward and held his hand. And just like that, Iwaizumi stopped thinking about his and Oikawa’s pain.

 

Just like that.

 

“I woke up and realized how monotone my days were,” he said, smiling gently, looking away, trying to remember. “I wasn’t happy with my life. I felt okay with myself, I was okay with my friends, with my family but...” he trailed off. “I wasn’t really happy. It felt like you just exist, do your thing, go to school, eat and sleep and breathe. It was weird because I wasn’t sad either. It was a state where you just do your thing.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes were half lidded, concentrating on every word. Because he felt the same most of the time. Probably not as regularly as Ushijima did back then, but felt it all the same.

 

“So one day,” Ushijima grinned, joy painted his face. So bright as life itself. “I told myself this: the world is big and I want to have a good look at it before I die.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eye began to water. Because this felt hauntingly like fate.

 

Oikawa, who was tired of living and wanted to stop.

 

and

 

Ushijima, who was tired of having monotone days and wanted to live.

 

Maybe God really existed.

 

Because Iwaizumi prayed for help.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

And it made sense. Because the only one who could save Oikawa – save someone who wanted to die – was a person who had fallen in love with life.

 

“...And who could help me...?”

 

And

 

Ushijima

 

sat

 

there.

 

“I told myself this every day,” Ushijima continued, holding his hand gently. His smile was blinding. “And then I began to do and see insane things with my friends – although, most of the time it was Tendou,” he looked so happy. “We ate in ten different restaurant on the same day. We bought a cat, that cat which is Shirabu’s by the way. We picked randomly a house and gave cookies. We once stole a car. Ended up participating in a wedding – witnessed a marriage proposal. Crashed a party, saved someone, met with new people, formed new friendships. Bought a cello to my neighbor because why not. Went to church with my grandmother, learned how to cook with my mother,” he looked away, up to the sky, at the dawn. “And my life just changed. I still do these things,” his eyes turned gentle. “I’ll travel to London, next month. And the girl I saved – I still go with her for coffee every Friday. The cello I bought – we can listen his play because of me. The boy, who’s party we crashed, is going to have an another party soon and I am invited with my friends. The wedding where we participated – the couple sent us letters – to me, Tendou and Shirabu.”

 

Iwaizumi stood there, stunned, heart beating calmly in his cage, soul melting by the sheer happiness of Ushijima.

 

Ushijima tugged his hand gently and Iwaizumi blinked, focusing on him again.

 

“There are so many things in this world, Iwaizumi,” he said with a soft voice. “So many things to see, to hear and to feel. And everyone’s rushing, and everyone takes things for granted and don’t appreciate things enough.”

 

And then Iwaizumi felt it. It was fresh and melodious, something entirely else. It sounded almost like the cello they were constantly hearing.

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away from Ushijima. His heart was beating too loud.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

“You see,” Ushijima began and looked down at their hands. “Your actions matter because it will influence others’ lives. You can leave a mark. You can save him, Iwaizumi. I believe it. If anyone can do it, it’s you,” his eyes, his smile.

 

Iwaizumi swore he could see faith in Ushijima. 

 

He swore he could see the dawn.

 

“But,” Ushijima brushed his thumb against his knuckles and then stopped. He reached over to pick up Iwaizumi’s phone and then put into Iwaizumi’s palm. Their hands were still joined. “If you stay on your feet and don’t move – if you stay where you are, looking around from one place –, you’ll never run and you’ll never see different things.”

 

Iwaizumi’s phone felt cold in his hand. It felt like hope. It felt like a breath of fresh air. 

 

It felt like–

 

“...You are allowed to feel a little joy here and there...”

 

He stopped breathing for a moment.

 

“Say it after me, Iwaizumi,” Ushijima whispered, clutching his hands, the phone in his hand. “Even if I believe this is the end, I won’t stop.”

 

If Iwaizumi was the savior of Oikawa, then Ushijima was his.

 

“Even if I believe this is the end, I won’t stop.”

 

And after he had said that, Iwazumi felt the world, weighing his shoulder

 

vanish.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

He was walking in the streets, blue, yellow, white, green lights glowed everywhere. An everlasting walk – that’s how it felt walking the same street over and over again. And yet, Iwaizumi find them beautiful. Strangely the same, beautiful all the same. He had grown to accept things and situations. He had learned to adapt.

 

A second chance.

 

Tendou said. 

 

A second chance from life.

 

And Iwaizumi believed it. More than anything he had believed before. He raised his phone and dialed Sora’s number. When it rang, he gave out a relieved sigh. So that meant Sora wasn’t on the plane yet.

 

And then Sora picked up.

 

“I swear to god, James, If you call me again because of your ex girlfriend’s wedding, I’ll fly back and break your fucking nose. She said yes to Scott, get over it, don’t be a fucking dick. Women deserve to make their own choices, goddamn.” 

 

Iwaizumi almost began to wonder whether he had dialed the right number. But Sora’s attitude was unmistakable. He then gave out an amused smile.

 

I really want to meet this James.

 

“Hi, Sora,” Iwaizumi said, already cringing. “It’s me, your bro. Hajime.”

 

Sora was dead silent. 

 

“Hel–”

 

“HAJIME?!” 

 

And Iwaizumi shouted back, like a reflex. “WHAT?!” Some people whipped their heads around, completely surprised because of his sudden change.

 

“HOW– DID YOU KNOW I’M COMING HOME?”

 

“YEAH I DID!”

 

“FUCKING HELL! MOM SAID SHE COULDN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE YOU RUSHED AWAY!”

 

“LIES!”

 

“WHY WOULD SHE LIE TO ME?!”

 

“SORA, CONCENTRATE!”

 

“WHAT?!”

 

Iwaizumi wiped his face and sighed but before he could speak, Sora shouted again–

 

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY BUT BETTER BE QUICK BECAUSE MY FLIGHT IS–”

 

And he dropped the bomb.

 

“Oikawa wants to kill himself, isn’t he?”

 

Sora went silent again. But then he spoke. “How do you know?”

 

Iwaizumi let out a deep breath. He loved how Sora never lied. How he never acted as if he knew nothing.

 

I missed you, bro.

 

“How do you know?” Iwaizumi asked instead. 

 

Sora answer was immediate.

 

“He told me years ago that he thought about it sometimes,” he said. Iwaizumi heard him sigh. “I don’t know the reason, though. He just saw my cuts on my wrist and blurted out. It scared me. He begged me not to tell you. But I see,” he sighed again. “You know now. Is he in a really bad shape?”

 

Iwaizumi also loved how Sora accepted Oikawa and instantly saw him as a part of the family. Saw him as a second brother.

 

“Very,” Iwaizumi answered. “At the lowest.”

 

“Shit,” that was all Sora said. 

 

Iwaizumi nodded but then he remembered Sora couldn’t see him. “Yeah. Shit indeed.”

 

Sora was talking to somebody and then said through the phone. “I gotta go,” he said. “We’ll talk about this when I arrive.”

 

Iwaizumi hummed. “Okay,” he said and then hesitated. He felt Sora was hesitating as well. 

 

Maybe he wanted to ask why Iwaizumi was acting so friendly. 

 

“I missed you,” Iwaizumi told him and then continued. “I love you, bro.”

 

And before Sora could answer, Iwaizumi hung up and dialed another number. Makki’s. He picked up.

 

“Iwaizumi, I give you one fucking minute to tell me where have you been you little shit, you think you can play games with me–”

 

He dropped another bomb.

 

“I’m in a time loop.”

 

Makki went silent too. For a long time. But then he said,

 

“You need to save him, don’t you?”

 

Iwaizumi smiled gently. Makki was almost as sensitive about time as Tendou was.

 

“I do.”

 

The world was glowing. His whole world was glowing when Makki said the next thing,

 

“Tell me where you are. We both going over to talk with him.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8: PART III 

 

And

 

Day 9: PART I

 

 

 

 

 

Makki fell into deep silence after Iwaizumi had told him Oikawa’s reasons for suicide. He was walking slowly next to Iwaizumi, hands in his pocket, sometimes kicking into little rocks, laying around on the sidewalk. His friend seemed deep in thought, frowning. Iwaizumi enjoyed the quiet. Enjoyed this little peace.

 

My life has become so loud. 

 

Maybe that’s how Oikawa was feeling. 

 

Loud.

 

 A world filled with noise. So, so much noise. People looking down at others because of their skin color, because of who they love, because of what they believe in, because of what happened in their pasts. 

 

Loud. 

 

A noiseful world of fools.

 

Maybe the real moment – the moment when you realize you’re surrounded by fools – happens when you notice you don’t know yourself.

 

Iwaizumi had been reminded how little he knew about himself with a splash of cold water. How selfish he was, how naiv. 

 

Oikawa had been reminded because of one mere fact;

 

He couldn’t play anymore. 

 

How cruel. 

 

How cruel that might have been. Realizing because of your favorite thing  how little you knew about yourself. It was as if you had never seen a mirror before. But then, in the moment of truth, you turned around.

 

And was disgusted about what you were seeing in the reflection.

 

For the first time in his life, Oikawa had seen himself. Bare, without masks.

 

No wonder he wanted to die.

 

Iwaizumi thought about what Oikawa had told him and he realized no matter how he tried, he couldn't deny any of his statements. Oikawa wasn't a good person. He had done all of those things he mentioned to Iwaizumi. All of it.

 

Maybe that was why Iwaizumi couldn’t talk him out of it. Because no matter how hard he tried to look to the other way, turn his head–

 

Everything Oikawa said about himself was true. And Oikawa knew that too.

 

And still, Iwaizumi didn’t want him to die. How could he want that? How could anybody want that for their friends? Their best friend?

 

People say, someone who is bad, doesn’t deserve redemption, doesn’t deserve forgiveness. 

 

But people tend to forget that no pure human has ever existed. 

 

People tend to forget that everyone can make mistakes.

 

People tend to forget that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be imperfect, bruised, scarred, unsure and afraid.

 

People has grown used to looking up to brave people. Honest people, painted with saint skin and golden halo. 

 

Those kinds of people were never down. Those kinds of people has never seen pain close enough to feel it in their souls.

 

How can you look up to somebody who has never struggled? 

 

Because people tend to forget that’s what really matters. Being able to stand up and try walking – even if you stumble, even if you’re weak, even if you have forgotten how to walk.

 

Because people tend to forget that’s what really matters.

 

After seeing, witnessing all types of horrors, fears, nightmares and pains – and still being able to pull themselves up and

 

take

 

a

 

step.

 

People say, someone who is bad, doesn’t deserve redemption, doesn’t deserve forgiveness. 

 

If that was true,

 

Then all of them were sinners pretending to wear wings. 

 

If that was true, 

 

Then all of them were walking on hell pretending to name the ground beneath their feet Earth.

 

And humanity was showing their backs to the mirror, afraid of turning around. Afraid of witnessing the core of their soul. That takes bravery, that takes being able to stand up and start walking.

 

And yet,

 

No one turns around.

 

And yet,

 

We all look down at the other. 

 

Iwaizumi wondered what could cure this? Love? Creativity? Passion? Religion? 

 

Maybe nothing. 

 

But Iwaizumi didn’t believe that. Not really. 

 

He had faith, there was no point of denying that. He believed in fate, he believed in destiny, in accidental meetings, in deep-full conversations and he believed having a soul.

 

Feelings, emotions.

 

The core of one’s soul.

 

So, what might be the cure? 

 

Iwaizumi looked up at the stars, the corner of his eyes caught the glowing city. Green and purple and yellow.

 

So, what might be the cure? 

 

It came to him, like a cold wind, caressing his face. 

 

Living truthfully with yourself. 

 

Iwaizumi shut his eyes, taking it all in. 

 

Completely aware of what you can do, what you are made of and how much your soul can take. 

 

A gentle thought hugged Iwaizumi’s mind – feathers, soft and colorful like the northern lights.

 

Self love.

 

We take pills – we try to find meaningful things that are not even things – so we reach for drugs, cigarettes and alcohol and sex but no one is brave enough to admit that–

 

Self love is the greatest medicine.

 

And Iwaizumi opened his eyes. Gently, slowly – as if he was looking at the world for the first time.

 

Maybe.

 

Maybe he really was.

 

And when he turned his head he noticed Makki had been looking at him. Iwaizumi didn’t know why.

 

Then Makki said quietly, leaving Iwaizumi at peace

 

“This is going to sound crazy, but I want to tell you because it frightens me to my core.”

 

He felt the loud world go quiet. 

 

Deafening silence. That’s all there was. 

 

And when Makki continued, the world never turned over to let its wave crash into Iwaizumi. It sang to him, embraced him and accepted him.

 

People say, someone who is bad, doesn’t deserve redemption, doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

 

And yet, Makki opened his mouth and said,

 

“I’ve never believed in God, Iwaizumi, But for some reason, when I look at you, I think I can.”

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The thing about Oikawa’s door was that Iwaizumi was scared of it. Scared to open it, scared to get inside, scared of what he might see if he were about to really open it.

 

So when they finally had arrived in front of Oikawa’s house, Iwaizumi was just standing there, completely petrified. 

 

Until Makki touched the doorknob and, without a without a single word, got in. Iwaizumi was staring at him, shocked and grateful at the same time. He didn’t realize how grateful he was for Makki to be here. So that he didn’t need to do this alone. Iwaizumi was tired of doing this alone, seeing Oikawa break down every single time. It will backfire him one day. He was sure about that. He was aware. 

 

He was also aware that this was a second chance from life. And he wasn’t about to waste it.

 

He took a deep breath, went inside and closed the door behind him. He could already hear Makki and Oikawa’s shouting from the living room. 

 

Iwaizumi tensed up, fear bleeding inside of him.

 

He was careful not to look around too much – he was afraid it might gave him flashbacks to that night.

 

When he arrived Makki held an angry sight and Oikawa looked genuinely terrified and pissed off at the same time. 

 

“You think I care that I let you down?” Oikawa was shouting his head off. “Do you really think I fucking care?”

 

Ah.

 

Iwaizumi realized.

 

Makki didn’t go easy on him, it seems.

 

Iwaizumi turned his head to check on Makki. He looked like he wanted to murder Oikawa.

 

Well, it seemed like Iwaizumi felt sad over Oikawa. Not Makki though. 

 

Makki looked like hell incarnate.

 

“And you think I give a fuck about what you think?” Makki shouted back, a vein was shown on his forehead. “You don’t even stop and think? Could you, for once in your life, think about everyone else you’re gonna leave behind if you finally get yourself killed?”

 

Oikawa 

 

did

 

not

 

even

 

wince.

 

When he said,

 

“I want to let go. Let go of it all.”

 

And Makki suddenly appeared in front of Oikawa and grabbed him by his collar, and his lips were trembling with rage,

 

“You’re a coward,” Makki said through his teeth and Iwaizumi flinched. 

 

Oikawa, however,

 

did

 

not.

 

He stared with all his might. “That doesn’t change the fact that I want to die.”

 

And then Iwaizumi saw Makki break.

 

Maybe because Oikawa said it out loud. Or maybe because he was looking at Makki in a way that was somewhat similar to a bitter defeat. 

 

Or maybe because he had finally caught a glimpse of who Oikawa really was.

 

Iwaizumi didn’t know why. To this day, he still didn’t know.

 

But Makki let go of Oikawa and turned away. He buried his face into his hands and let out a deep breath, his whole being was shaking.

 

And then Oikawa suddenly looked at him. Iwaizumi noticed his young eyes. And Oikawa noticed his old ones.

 

So many things had changed. Iwaizumi couldn’t even count it. So many, and yet–

 

Time was standing still.

 

Oikawa looked composed, brave and filled with void. Iwaizumi desperately wanted to help him. But for some reason, he didn’t begin to panic. 

 

 Humanity was showing their backs to the mirror, afraid of turning around. Afraid of witnessing the core of their soul. That takes bravery, that takes being able to stand up and start walking.

 

And yet,

 

No one turns around.

 

And yet,

 

Oikawa did.

 

Even after it tore him apart, he never did once look away. 

 

Never.

 

He felt the loud world go quiet. 

 

Deafening silence. That’s all there was. 

 

Because Iwaizumi turned around as well, and now, he was looking into his own mirror as well.  For him, the time loop helped, so now, Iwaizumi wasn’t disgusted by his real soul.

 

But for Oikawa, there was no time loop. 

 

“...Your actions matter because it will influence others’ lives. You can leave a mark. You can save him, Iwaizumi. I believe it. If anyone can do it, it’s you...”

 

And suddenly, Iwaizumi realized what he had to do in order to save Oikawa.

 

And it was because of Ushijima. Because of his words.

 

It was a slow, quiet realization. Iwaizumi’s heartbeat slowed down for a couple of minutes, his breathing felt shallow for a couple of minutes but other than that the revelation felt like an acceptance of sort.

 

It would have felt like that, if Iwazumi felt he was ready.

 

But he wasn’t ready.

 

So it felt like

 

as

 

if

 

he

 

had

 

been

 

torn

 

apart.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Iwaizumi opened his eyes. 

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins. But Iwaizumi, for the first time during his time loop, didn’t rush.

 

He touched his face with his fingertips and felt his soul stretch inside of him, filling his ribcage and lungs up with colorful birds, blue, gold and white. 

 

“...You can’t cheat death...”

 

He didn’t know how long he didn’t move.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was waiting for Ushijima in the park. He was leaning back on the bench where he was sitting. The sun captured him, pouring light on him with golden glow. The green trees were vivid and Iwaizumi thought the world was beautiful. 

 

An old lady – the one he helped the other day – almost passed by him but stopped midway and turned her head to look at him. The sound of her cane quieted down, her green eyes found his. 

 

She suddenly opened her mouth and told him,

 

“You look as troubled as he were,” she said. Her voice deep and raspy, melodious. “God I could never forget his eyes, it’s just like yours.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened but before he could’ve answer, she spoke again,

 

“I liked talking to him,” she smiled – dimples touched her smile, “he was a handsome young man too. A bit more handsome than you but details,” she chuckled and then for a minute, her smile vanished. “I remembered I asked him what could I do for him. Do you know what he said?”

 

Iwaizumi gently shook his head.

 

The old woman gave out a sad smile. “A hug. He only wanted a hug, that poor thing.”

 

Iwaizumi’s stomach dropped.

 

That was the moment when he spotted Ushijima, talking on his phone. The old woman looked at Ushijima, and then back at Iwazumi with a little smile on her face.

 

“Have a good day, young man,” she said, starting to walk away with her cane. “God bless you, may He help you vanish your worries.”

 

Iwaizumi wanted to speak again but then he noticed that Ushijima had stopped walking and turned to stare at him.

 

He tilted his head in confusion – as if he wasn't sure why was he staring at Iwaizumi. 

 

But Iwaizumi knew.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

Iwaizumi walked towards Ushijima and when he got there, Ushijima reached out his hand at the same time Iwaizumi did.

 

Their fingertips – their palms – and then their wrists touched.

 

Iwaizumi looked up at noticed the change in Ushijima’s eyes. It turned from surprised and confused to soft and familiar.

 

Iwaizumi then began to shake and looked down. Ushijima frowned, not moving his hand and bent down to be able to look into Iwaizumi’s eyes.

 

“What’s wrong?” His voice made Iwaizumi calm down. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

 

Iwaizumi pulled back his hand but Ushijima didn’t let him. He had that thought again.

 

If Iwaizumi was the savior of Oikawa, then Ushijima was his.

 

“Even if I believe this is the end, I won’t stop,” he said and felt Ushijima pull him into a hug, filled with warmth.  Iwaizumi buried his face in the crook of the taller boy’s neck.

 

And maybe Ushijima figured it out that Iwaizumi realized what he had to do in order to save Oikawa. Because Iwaizumi had a suspicion Ushijima knew from the beginning or had a hunch. 

 

Iwaizumi was hundred percent sure he figured it out.

 

Because Iwaizumi didn’t start to cry. 

 

But for some reason,

 

Ushijima did.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 13 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9: PART II and PART III

 

 

 

 

 

Ushijima couldn’t let go of his hand. Maybe he was afraid if he were to let go of him, Iwaizumi would vanish like a hand of stardust.

 

They were sitting in a pub called ‘Days and Minutes.’

 

 Ushijima gently helped Iwaizumi sit down and then he himself sat down next to him. He was still holding his hand gently, his thumb brushing the back of his hand, doing tiny circles.

 

“Yo, Wakatoshi,” smiled the bartender, similar to a shark. He shook Ushijima’s hand.

 

“Park,” Iwaizumi heard Ushijima say. “How’s it going? How’s Seung? Haven’t seen that guy for awhile.”

 

Park was a tall, Korean man who had black dreadlocks and at least twenty tattoos and piercings all over his body, seeming to wear a ‘I take no shit’ face 24/7. 

 

 Iwaizumi noticed a unicorn tattoo on him. Also one about a wolf, the sun, a peace sign, wings on an infinity sign, the moon, and a quote on his neck that made him pause for a bit.

 

Lord let them see you in me.

 

 And then Park looked sideways and Iwaizumi saw an another tattoo on that side of his neck.

 

Lord let me see you in them.

 

Iwaizumi felt chills ran down his spine. 

 

“Seung, you say?” Park shrugged, already pissed off and then began to wipe the counter clean. “That motherfucker has the biggest entrances in this god given world, I swear to Jesus,” Park scowled. “Yesterday, he waltzes in as if he is the one who owns this place not me – looking all neat and proud as fuck but for why I have no idea, anyway, he found a girl, Wakatoshi. That lazy son of a bitch – you know what he said?”

 

Iwaizumi turned intrigued. He saw Ushijima hold back his laughter in the corner of his eyes. His eyes still looked a bit red and puffed for crying earlier.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart clenched for a bit.

 

“What did he say?” Ushijima tried to stop himself from smiling.

 

I want to marry her, Park–hyung. She is the one, Park–hyung. You can be best man, Park–hyung,” Park made his voice high pitched. Iwaizumi snorted. “They met literally two months ago. The kid doesn’t even work here during the weekends anymore. I was like, boy are you fucking kidding me? You’re what? Eighteen? And he was like, and you’re what? Twenty–nine? And never had a decent girlfriend?”

 

Iwaizumi gasped and then Park turned to look at him and started to nod. He pointed at Iwaizumi and looked back at Ushijima. 

 

“See? He gets it,” He said, still pissed off. “I was like, no you didn’t! And do you know what he told me back??”

 

Ushijima grinned and answered with Park simultaneously:

 

Yes I did.

 

Iwaizumi chuckled.

 

“I want to have a beer!” Someone shouted from the other side.

 

A vein poppet out on Park’s neck as he turned around to look at the man. The man who was at least ten feet tall with the biggest shoulders Iwaizumi had ever seen. 

 

Park only looked offended. “And I want to have a dog, but hey, what can you do?”

 

The man grimaced – completely confused for his life. He didn’t seem to be a bright individual. 

 

“I want to have a beer,” he said again, tilting his head, still confused.

 

Park’s eye twitched. 

 

“Listen here, brotha,” Park pointed at the man. Iwaizumi noticed a red dragon tattoo on his arms. No one in the pub looked tense. Everyone stayed comfortable, watching the game, talking with their friends. “Because I will only say it once. In this pub we stan for only one man and that is our Savior Lord and Jesus Christ – I don’t care about your bad boy attitude – if you stay here, you’ll fucking say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ am I clear or am I clear? Show some respect to your mother, for God’s sake. Did she raise you like this? I don’t think so.”

 

Iwaizumi

 

was

 

completely

 

amused.

 

He looked at Ushijima who was biting his lips in order to not laugh. 

 

The giant man blushed, turning completely embarrassed. “I... uh... want to have a beer,” he said, looking down. “Please.”

 

Park smiled gently and then pointed at a chair. “Sure, knock yourself out.”

 

Iwaizumi smiled.

 

Park turned around to serve the man, but continued talking all the same. 

 

“So anyway,” he continued. “Looks like I’m heading to a wedding in the next month or so. It’s fun–fucking–tastic.”

 

Ushijima grinned, his hands was still on Iwaizumi’s. “Why don’t you tell him that it’s a foolish idea?”

 

Park snorted. “To Seung? You know the kid, Wakatoshi. He’s like superman on steroids. If you call him stupid, he’ll probably answer, yeah stupid in love. Remember when he met that cool kid? I forgot his name, damn. Well, he looked up to him. That kid might could kick some sense into him. But he disappeared somewhere. Until then, I’m the substitute,” Park sighed. “I totally feel like I have a kid who’s not even mine, God help me,” he gave the beer to the giant man and told him. “And you – you better visit the church after this, you good for nothing. Wash your hands in some fucking holy water.”

 

The giant man turned sheepish and red. “I will, promise. And sorry. And thank you for the beer.”

 

Park gave out an annoyed sound. “Now I feel bad, fucking hell,” he walked back to them, shaking his head.

 

Iwaizumi laughed and Ushijima’s shoulders were beginning to shake with a silent laughter too. Park frowned and dropped the towel – which he had used to clean the counter – on his shoulder. He turned to look at Iwaizumi.

 

“Who’s this?” Park asked, smiling warmly. 

 

Ushijima pointed at Iwaizumi with his chin. “This is Iwaizumi Hajime.”

 

They shook hands and bowed to the other.  “I’m Park,” Park introduced himself with a grin, full of teeth. “You look stressed as fuck, fella. Wanna have a beer?”

 

Iwaizumi slowly shook his head. “No, thank you,” he said. 

 

Park clicked his tongue. “A Coke then,” he grinned and it made Iwaizumi smile too. “It’s on the house.”

 

Iwaizumi shrugged. “Sure,” his eyes turned soft. “Why not? Thank you.”

 

Park went away to bring him the drink. Iwaizumi leaned close to Ushijima’s ear and whispered.

 

“You took me here because you knew he would cheer me up, huh?”

 

Ushijima smiled gently as he leaned close to him as well, whispering back,

 

“He’s my neighbor who plays the cello.”

 

And

 

Iwaizumi

 

froze.

 

“And also the one who goes to church regularly with my grandmother.”

 

Coincidences and consequences.

 

Just how small the world really was?

 

Park came back and put the Coke in front of Iwaizumi. He brought a glass and a slice of cake as well. 

 

Iwaizumi turned surprised, looking at the cake. He looked back up at Park who looked satisfied with himself.

 

“You look sad, brotha,” Park shrugged. “Cake is one of the best medicines.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart melted because of the kindness. He had been constantly giving out patience and kindness towards Makki, Oikawa and even Matsukawa. 

 

But Ushijima–

 

Whenever he spent time with Ushijima, Iwaizumi had never needed to constantly give kindness. 

 

No.

 

With Ushijima, Iwaizumi had been constantly receiving kindness. 

 

Receiving it.

 

Iwaizumi smiled gently as he began to eat the cake. Ushijima let go of his hand and touched his shoulder instead – warmth radiated from him.

 

Park was silently watching them.

 

And then

 

the 

 

door

 

burst 

 

open.

 

And Park looked at the person who was coming in. The Korean man went from zero to hundred in a snap.

 

“Seung, you son of a bitch!”

 

Everybody in the pub turned around to look at the popular Seung, including Iwaizumi. The boy had a light green hair and a handsome face, wearing a long coat and nice shoes. He had a guitar in his hand.

 

“Park–hyung!” Seung shouted with a big grin. He expanded his arms, waiting for a hug but Park didn’t even move. The older man wasn’t amused. 

 

Seung’s jaw fell down. “I’ve come to work,” he patted his guitar lightly, “and you don’t even hug me? That is really rude, Park–hyung.”

 

Park went from zero to hundred in a blink of an eye, again. Iwaizumi let out an amused laugh. 

 

“You know what’s rude, Seung?” He gave him a pointed look. Iwaizumi began to continue eating the lemon cake. “Telling me you’re going to propose and then going away as if the announcement was nothing–”

 

Seung had a nasty grin on his face as he said. “It’s okay, hyung. I swear you’ll find a lovely girl too, no need to be jealous.”

 

Park looked like he wanted to murder him. But instead of doing that, he pointed at the stage and said,

 

“Go to work, kiddo,” he said. “And if I hear one tone, one sound that is off–key, you’ll be a goner.”

 

Seung grinned at him. “I’m already a goner,” he winked while walking towards the stage. “For love.”

 

Park shut his eyes and looked up to the ceiling. To Iwaizumi, it seemed he had been counting to ten.

 

“Looks like the kid hasn’t lost his sense of humor,” an old, dark skinned man shouted over to Park from the other side of the room. 

 

Park smiled, still closing his eyes. “Looks like you haven’t lost the ability to hear either, Gerard. And yet, you still pretend to be deaf whenever we’re listening to Pastor Riley downtown at the church.”

 

“WHAT?” Gerard shouted, pretending not to hear. Another man from the other side of the room began to laugh.

 

His laugh sounded one of those contagious ones and it made Iwaizumi grin. Park sighed and finally opened his eyes. “Oh for the love of God,” he whispered and laughed too. 

 

Iwaizumi finished his cake, feeling comfortable, and reached for his Coke when he suddenly felt Ushijima’s hand on his shoulder tighten. Iwaizumi turned his head to look at him, only to notice that Ushijima had been looking at him already. 

 

Ushijima wore that soft smile when he said. “Check this out,” he whispered. “There’s a reason why Seung works here.”

 

Iwaizumi gave out a cheeky grin. “I thought it was only because of driving Park crazy.”

 

“I wish that was the only case,” Park suddenly said, leaning over to them, making Iwaizumi jump in fright, his hand clutching onto the fabric of his shirt as he tried to catch his breath.

 

Iwaizumi wanted to speak but then he heard

 

a

 

guitar

 

chord

 

struck

 

the

 

silence.

 

Everyone who was talking, moving or doing anything – stopped and turned around towards Seung’s direction.

 

He was sitting on a barstool with one foot on the ground, the other leaning on the chair, balancing himself. He looked comfortable, the microphone close to his mouth. 

 

And it was silence.

 

It was silence when 

 

Seung

 

began 

 

to 

 

play.

 

It was a light, nostalgic, soft tone. The strings felt feathery, constantly changing, strangely glowing the whole place up. The golden candles around Seung created an unearthly atmosphere and showered his green hair with light.

 

Seung looked like completely else. 

 

And then he began to sing.

 

I wish I was a slave to an age–old trade,”

 

And

 

Iwaizumi

 

felt 

 

shivers

 

runnig

 

down

 

on

 

his 

 

spine.

 

His voice was clear, but kept the deep tone, full of melody. 

 

A soulful voice.

 

Like ridin’ around on railcars and workin’ long days,” he didn’t look down while he played, he was looking at the people. Completely open, honest and free. “Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways,” his voice felt like a lost whisper filled with his heart. “Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways.

 

Iwaizumi couldn’t look away.

 

Call it one drink too many, call it pride of a man. But it don’t make no difference if you sit or you stand,” Seung looked down at his guitar, checking his hand. “Cause they both end in trouble and start with a grin. Yeah, they both end in trouble and start with a grin.

 

Seung shut his eyes and leaned back as he let his voice to be heard,

 

We do it over and over and over again,” he had a soft smile on his face. “We do it over and over and over again.

 

His voice filled the pub up. Everyone looked too stunned to move. Some people recorded with their phones, some were tapping their feet, some were swaying their body along to the song. Some even mouthed the words – a lot of people knew the song. Maybe Seung performed it regularly. Maybe it was his favorite. 

 

And everyone was smiling.

 

Iwaizumi turned over to catch the sight of Ushijima. 

 

His heart stopped.

 

He forgot to breathe for a moment.

 

I know there’s California, Oklahoma, and all of the places I ain’t ever been to, but down in the valley with whiskey rivers,” Seung hummed for a minute. “Yeah, down in the valley of whiskey rivers – these are the places you will find me hiding, these are the places I will always go, these are the places I will always go.

 

Ushijima eyes was closed, a quiet smile touched his mouth, giving him dimples. A glowing, golden lamp painted his silhouette, giving him glory and halo.

 

Iwaizumi’s breath hitched in his throat.

 

I am on my way,” Seung stopped playing and then knocked on the wood of the instrument for three times. “I am on my way, 

 

Knock. knock. knock. 

 

I am on my way back to where I started.

 

He began to play again. People began to cheer and clap, they stood up and began to dance as Seung started to grin and let his voice follow the tune. 

 

And then the crowd began to sing along with him. It felt like a heavenly choir, filled with joy and hope.

 

One more for the stars and the eyes of the walls. I saw your face,” the crowd sang.

 

I saw your face,” Seung’s deep voice followed the choir.

 

I heard you callin’ out,” the crowd clapped to the rhythm.

 

Callin’ out,” Seung repeated, playing stronger on the guitar.

 

I saw your face in the crowd and you came out,” the crowd began to dance with the joyful, now fast paced melody. “Just like the sun and the moon and the stars at night.

 

There was a sign on the door and it reads to me,” a woman with a deep voice sang louder, the choir followed her.

 

It reads to me.

 

Seung’s grin was as wide as the sky above their heads. “Just like the sun and the moon and the stars at night.”

 

People took their drink and clinked their glasses together.

 

I am on my way,” Seung sang – almost shouted with his beautiful voice. He stopped playing and knocked on the wood again three times. He pointed at the crowd.

 

I am on my way,” they sang.

 

Seung couldn’t stop smiling. 

 

knock. knock. knock.

 

I am on my way back to where I started.

 

And then everyone began to sing at the same time – Iwaizumi saw Ushijima open his mouth and sing along too.

 

California, Oklahoma, and all of the places I ain’t ever been to, but down in the valley with whiskey rivers,” Seung hummed for a minute, people hummed along with him. It felt as if Iwaizumi’s soul was begging to be freed out of his chest.

 

 Yeah, down in the valley of whiskey rivers – these are the places you will find me hiding, these are the places I will always go, these are the places I will always go.

 

And then everything quieted down for a moment. Seung started to play the same way he had done in the beginning of the song. 

 

Seung’s playing felt like an old soul who had seen God and loved the world with his whole heart.

 

So I wish I was a slave to an age–old trade.”

 

Ushijima opened his eyes and turned around to look at Iwaizumi with half lidded eyes. Two old eyes, staring at the other. Golden lamps glowing above their heads. 

 

And Iwaizumi couldn’t look away.

 

Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways.”

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Iwaizumi told Makki what happened yesterday. He didn’t tell him that he knew what he had to do to save Oikawa.

 

I’m not ready for that.

 

He wasn’t.

 

He wanted to hope there was another way.

 

Even if he knew there wasn’t.

 

He made sure to have a sleepover with Oikawa – they played video games the whole night and talked about useless things. 

 

And Iwaizumi pretended he knew nothing.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Day 10

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was aware of the fact that he had tried everything he could with Oikawa in order to stop the attempt.

 

He talked about it with him – calmly and not so calmly too.

 

He made one of their mutual friend talk about it with him, Makki – calmly and not so calmly too.

 

He tried to make Oikawa days better every single yesterday. Make him enjoy volleyball practice, even tried to search for a girlfriend, made him go on a date–

 

But 

 

everything

 

turned

 

out

 

to

 

be

 

useless.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Day 11

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was wasting time, he knew. It was clear no other thing could make him Oikawa stay but only that one he didn’t want to do.

 

One day when he was at Ushijima’s – while he and Tendou were waiting for him to come back from the supermarket –, Tendou spoke suddenly,

 

“You’re fucking amazing, Iwaizumi,” he stared at him, openly, as if Iwaizumi was the purest thing on earth.

 

Iwaizumi though, shook his head. “I’m really not.”

 

But Tendou didn’t stop – he laid a hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder, took a deep breath, and said,

 

“You are,” his voice felt feathery. “You always seem to bring the light. I know what you have to do.”

 

Iwaizumi tensed up but the grip on his shoulder only grew stronger.

 

“I’m amazed how selfless you are to even consider doing it,” Tendou whispered in a severe voice.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened for a moment.

 

Selfless.

 

He had been selfish before. Now his mirror broke. He had changed.

 

I’ve become selfless.

 

“I’m so scared, Tendou,” Iwaizumi admitted it quietly. “I’m so afraid.”

 

Tendou narrowed his eyes and pulled him into a hug. Iwaizumi closed his eyes and tried to stop his fear that started to rip him apart from the inside.

 

“You’re so fucking brave,” Tendou said. “Doing this for your best friend – goddamn, Iwaizumi. I swear I’ll have someone make you a ‘world’s number one best friend’ trophy, I fucking swear.”

 

Iwaizumi laughed – how long had it been since he laughed? But then, suddenly, the laughing turned into a loud sob. 

 

Tendou tensed in his arms. “Iwaizumi,” he whispered, sounding scared.

 

Iwaizumi began to wipe away his tears and got out of the hug. Tendou’s hands were still on his shoulders.

 

“But what if something goes wrong?” His voice cracked as he buried his face into his hands. “I’m not ready, I’m just not ready,” he took an uneven breath, deep from his lungs. “I have so many things to–”

 

And Tendou hugged him again. Held him with all of his power. But he couldn't do more.

 

Just like as Iwaizumi couldn’t do anything else either.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Day 12

 

 

 

 

It started to show on Iwaizumi. All of this fucked up thing was beginning to show on him. It wore him down.

 

Makki mentioned it when they were eating pancakes. 

 

“You’re sure you want to continue?” He asked, his eyes clouded by sadness. Or pity. Iwaizumi didn't know anymore.

 

No.

 

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi smiled. 

 

No. 

 

“We gotta save him,” Iwaizumi continued, still smiling.

 

I want to get back my life.

 

“There’s no point of giving up,” Iwaizumi said while smiling.

 

I’m tired of lying. I’m tired of making sure he never dies. 

 

But I love him as a brother. I love him as a family.

 

It was sad that Iwaizumi had to say these things over and over again in order to not quit.

 

It was also terrifying that sometimes it didn't work. 

 

He could only keep going because of Ushijima. Because of his words, because of his presence, because of his hugs, because of his constant comfort. 

 

I’d be insane if Ushijima weren’t here.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Day 13

 

 

 

Even Oikawa noticed how broken Iwaizumi was. One time, while they were playing video games, Oikawa stopped the game and turned over to look at Iwaizumi to say,

 

“Something’s not okay, Iwa–chan,” Oikawa stared. “I can tell.”

 

Iwaizumi had this conversation so many times with so many people he couldn’t even count. He didn’t want to have it again. 

 

He didn't want to do the thing that could save Oikawa.  

 

He was sure everybody would have done it for their friends. But Iwaizumi also knew that Oikawa didn’t care about their friendship – he wouldn’t kill himself if he did.

 

So Iwaizumi had to remind himself, constantly, how Oikawa had enough about life and that he wasn’t okay.

 

But the real truth was that Iwaizumi wasn’t okay anymore either. The only difference was that he cared.

 

He wanted to save his friend.

 

He shut his eyes to stop the tears coming out.

 

But I don’t want to lose myself in the process.

 

 

––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Day 14

 

 

 

There was a day when Iwaizumi didn’t even want to see Oikawa. He had Makki to look over him.

 

Iwaizumi was walking all day long. Alone.

 

He visited the restaurant called ‘Mirai’ – where he and Makki ate a lot of times. He visited the park where he and Ushijima met and where Oikawa cried. He sat down on the bench, enjoyed the view. He visited the place where Ushijima met with that other person who was in a time loop. Iwaizumi had his quiet time, had his alone time. 

 

Away from the noise of the world.

 

He visited the church and stood there just stunned as he stared at the stained glass. Red and blue and purple.

 

Beautiful.

 

And Iwaizumi lowered his head, pressed his palms together and prayed.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

He visited the pub called ‘Days and Minutes.’

 

When he went in he noticed that Seung was singing the same song he did a couple of yesterdays ago. 

 

Iwaizumi’s breath hitched in his throat.

 

I am on my way,” Seung stopped playing and then knocked on the wood of the instrument for three times. “I am on my way, 

 

Knock. knock. knock. 

 

I am on my way back to where I started.

 

Iwaizumi noticed Ushijima sitting at the counter, not completely blending into the crowd. They hadn’t met today yet.

 

Iwaizumi took a step forward.

 

Seung began to play again. People began to cheer and clap, they stood up and began to dance as Seung started to grin and let his voice follow the tune. 

 

And then the crowd began to sing along with him. It felt like a heavenly choir, filled with joy and hope.

 

One more for the stars and the eyes of the walls. I saw your face,” the crowd sang.

 

As he took a step forward, Ushijima looked up and met his eyes.

 

I saw your face,” Seung’s deep voice followed the choir.

 

His eyes widened as he stood up from the barstool. 

 

I heard you callin’ out,” the crowd clapped to the rhythm.

 

Iwaizumi smiled. A real smile – the first smile today.

 

Callin’ out,” Seung repeated, playing stronger on the guitar.

 

Ushijima began to walk towards him, not looking away.

 

I saw your face in the crowd and you came out,” the crowd began to dance with the joyful, now fast paced melody.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

And for the first time – Iwaizumi didn’t reach out with his hand. He stretched his arms out and collided with Ushijima in a big hug. His cheek brushed over Ushijima’s – their skin touched. 

 

 Just like the sun and the moon and the stars at night.

 

And then Ushijima turned his head to whisper something to Iwaizumi – his voice out of breath, filled with gratefulness.

 

“I had a weird feeling all day. As if I was waiting for something, as if I was looking for something.”

 

And Iwaizumi felt his heart fly.

 

Because when he had only one person didn’t expect anything from him. He only wanted to be around him. Ushijima reminded him what it feels like to only live.

 

Ushijima reminded him what it feels like not to worry about a single thing.

 

I am on my way,” Seung sang – almost shouted with his beautiful voice. He stopped playing and knocked on the wood again three times. He pointed at the crowd.

 

I am on my way,” they sang.

 

Seung couldn’t stop smiling. 

 

knock. knock. knock.

 

I am on my way back to where I started.

 

And Iwaizumi felt he could breathe again.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––-

 

 

 

Day 15

 

 

 

Iwaizumi wanted to be happy all day. Just for one day. Just for only one day. So he stayed with Ushijima and Tendou.

 

They talked about everything – they talked about Ushijima’s time loop, talked about Tendou’s weird time when a police man chased him from the other side of the city to the other end of it. And Iwaizumi laughed so much and he smiled so widely and for a moment he forgot about everything.

 

After Tendou left, it was past midnight and Oikawa came to his mind. Iwaizumi was tired of being completely reminded what he had to do. He pushed the thought away – he knew Makki was there.

 

Ushijima came out to the terrace and sat next to him. He brought two quilts. He gave on to Iwaizumi and he put one on himself.

 

They enjoyed each other’s company and then Ushijima began to hum quietly. Iwaizumi knew why he did that. As he knew what was Ushijima’s favorite color, favorite memory, his family’s best moment.

 

Ushijima began to hum because he knew Iwaizumi was hurting. 

 

And he wanted to cure his soul.

 

Something no one has ever tried to do. Maybe they would if Iwaizumi told them.

 

 But no one will ever know him in a way Ushijima does.

 

And just like that – Ushijima once again, vanished his pain like nothing.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

He hummed the song which Seung had performed. 

 

They were sitting under the dark starry sky, he was in a time loop, he had to do something terrifying in order to save his best friend, he missed Sora, he loved Makki and Matsukawa and his parents with all his heart, and even though, even if all the above was true–

 

Ushijima 

 

made

 

Iwaizumi

 

fall

 

in

 

love

 

with

 

life.

 

They stayed on the terrace, and Iwaizumi told him all about Sora, all about his childhood, all about Oikawa and his friendship. And Ushijima was staring at him all the time. Smiling, happy. 

 

He was happy because Iwaizumi finally was too.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––– 

 

 

 

Day 16

 

 

 

There was still something Iwaizumi could try before finally accepting the thing he had to do. He could still try something he had never done before in any of his yesterdays.

 

He even asked about Matsukawa. 

 

“You could try telling him,” he told Iwaizumi over the phone. “Maybe that will make him finally realize of what a bastard he is.”

 

Makki laughed hearing that – because Matsukawa was on speaker. 

 

Iwaizumi nodded but then he remembered Matsukawa couldn’t see him.

 

“Yeah,” he answered. “We’ll tell him tonight.”

 

Iwaizumi will tell him he’s in a time loop tonight. For the first time ever.

 

If that doesn’t work either–

 

Iwaizumi

 

swallowed

 

down

 

his

 

fear.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Oikawa was walking in front of them. Iwaizumi and Makki was walking behind him. They were heading to the park – Iwaizumi was scared Oikawa might do something drastic if they stay at his or at Oikawa’s.

 

“Did you call Ushijima?” Iwaizumi leaned close to whisper that to Makki.

 

Makki nodded, stealing a glance over to Oikawa. “I did, he’s on his way. Good thing he doesn’t even live far,” he pointed at Iwaizumi with his chin. “Also a good idea to have him here in case of Oikawa won’t believe it.”

 

Iwaizumi nodded, feeling the anxiety starting to drive him mad.

 

And then they arrived to the park. Oikawa stooped and turned back to face them. Makki was patiently waiting for Iwaizumi to start.

 

But his hands were shaking too much. 

 

This was the last chance. 

 

The last chance.

 

If this doesn’t work then–

 

Iwaizumi took a deep breath and then opened his mouth to say,

 

“I’m in a time loop.”

 

He finally said it.

 

For the first time.

 

He finally admitted it to Oikawa. 

 

But Oikawa didn’t react. He just stared at Iwaizumi. 

 

Suddenly,

 

it

 

felt

 

difficult

 

to

 

breathe.

 

“I’ve been living the same day – this day – for the sixteenth time today,” Iwaizumi continued, thinking that maybe Oikawa didn’t understand what a time loop might be. Or maybe he thought he had misheard it. “And I’ll only get out if I prevent your suicide.”

 

There.

 

He couldn’t mishear or misunderstand this one now.

 

But again, time stood still, everything was still quiet, because Oikawa didn’t move, didn’t say anything, just stared. 

 

Iwaizumi looked over to Makki who was just as confused as Iwaizumi was if not more.

 

But then

 

Oikawa

 

laughed.

 

The laugh hurt his ears – it hurt him more than anything ever before. Because this was his last chance, his very, only one in a lifetime chance and if it didn’t work then–

 

Iwaizumi’s chest clenched.

 

“You think you can make up a lie like that?” Oikawa’s voice was frightening. It felt cold and prideful and wrong and sharp like a knife begging to kill.

 

This was his last chance, his very, only one in a lifetime chance and if it didn’t work then–

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes began to tear up.

 

And it didn’t work.

 

“So what? You figured it out that I want to kill myself and thought, why don’t we just lie to make him stay?” Oikawa’s voice was deadly, low and was shaking with hatred. 

 

Makki paled as he stole a glance towards Iwaizumi who was beginning to have a panic attack, “Oikawa–”

 

Oikawa flashed his eyes at Makki, “Shut up,” he said through his teeth. “Shut the fuck up and let me talk.”

 

Makki stopped afraid of this unstable person in front of them. He was afraid Oikawa might hurt him.

 

Oikawa then looked back at Iwaizumi, merciless. 

 

“You want to make me stay because of this shit reason?” Oikawa shouted, making Iwaizumi flinch – this made him come back from the shock. “There’s nothing that can make me even consider staying alive.”

 

Oikawa walked closer to him and grabbed Iwaizumi by his collar – Makki tried to stand between them but Oikawa snarled at him.

 

“I will break your face, Makki,” Oikawa clenched his jaw. “If you don’t step down.”

 

Makki hesitantly stopped – already hating himself. How scared he was, how pathetic he was because of how he feared of getting hit. And Oikawa knew this.

 

And turned it against him.

 

Oikawa turned back to look at Iwaizumi. He said, in the most vicious tone Iwaizumi had ever heard from anyone,

 

“You can’t just let me die, can you?” 

 

Iwaizumi was shaking, his eyes widened in fear – the similar feeling of a panic attack came to him like a cold wind, beginning to suffocate his whole being.

 

“Huh? You know even if this was true, I wouldn’t care. I would still want to die – I still want to die, you fucking piece of shit,” Oikawa bared his teeth, seething with anger. “Just let me die. Move the fuck on and just let me die.”

 

Iwaizumi started to shake his head, his senses were trying to come back to him.

 

No,” he said quietly. “No, I can’t do that–”

 

And 

 

Oikawa 

 

struck.

 

Iwaizumi felt the pain on his left cheek – it made him dizzy, he stumbled, almost fell down to the ground, he brought his hand over it immediately–

 

“OIKAWA! FUCKING HELL!” Makki yelled as he held Oikawa back who wanted to go close to Iwaizumi again for another hit.

 

Iwaizumi looked down at his shaking hand and noticed that it was covered in blood.

 

His blood was dripping down from his face to the palm of his hand.

 

Iwaizumi – still in pain, feeling dizzy –, looked up and noticed that Oikawa’s knuckles on his left hand was bruised and bleeding as well.

 

And only then, Iwaizumi finally realized, 

 

Oikawa

 

had

 

hit

 

him.

 

He lifted his hand to touch the bruise on his left cheek, wincing when he felt the warm, sticky blood again–

 

“What the fuck?”

 

Iwaizumi 

 

heard

 

Ushijima’s

 

voice.

 

He arrived next to Iwaizumi and looked at him, at his expression, at his hand where the bruise was. And then he looked at Makki – and then at Oikawa – and then at Iwaizumi back again.

 

Ushijima hesitantly touched Iwaizumi’s hand with one fingertip.

 

And then 

 

Iwaizumi saw it click in Ushijima’s eyes. 

 

Because

 

they

 

widened

 

and then narrowed as he lowered his eyebrows. 

 

He turned to Oikawa with terrifying silence but Iwaizumi noticed his clenched fists were shaking. 

 

Maybe not because of fear.

 

No.

 

Because of anger.

 

But Ushijima didn’t hit Oikawa. He only walked close to him and said with utter disgust,

 

“Do you know how hard this is for him?”

 

Makki paled but Oikawa didn’t even react. He was only staring at Ushijima. 

 

Ushijima pointed at Iwaizumi without turning around, holding Oikawa’s gaze. “He wants to save you,” his voice was calm, powerful. “He wants to fucking save you.”

 

Iwaizumi didn’t know why but he almost began crying. He felt his strong posture break – the pieces of it pierced him, making him bleed.

 

Makki was starting to cry as well – his lips starting to tremble.

 

And then 

 

Ushijima

 

raised his voice,

“He wants to save you every single day and you hit him?”

 

Iwaizumi, even when he was fighting back his tears – let down his hand from his cheek. Even if his foot was trembling –  he took a step forward. 

 

He didn’t even need to open his mouth to talk – the moment Ushijima heard his footstep, he turned around and walked back to him immediately. 

 

He stopped in front of Iwaizumi and

 

gently

 

touched

 

his

 

bruised

 

cheek.

 

Not caring about the blood, only caring about Iwaizumi’s comfort and Iwaizumi felt warmth and kindness.

 

He smiled at him.

 

Despite everything – Iwaizumi could still smile at Ushijima. 

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

They were at Ushijima’s. Iwaizumi was sitting on the couch as Ushijima came back with a first aid box. He kneeled in front of Iwaizumi and with a wet cloth, began to gently wipe the blood off his left cheek.

 

Iwaizumi winced, pain struck him again.

 

Ushijima stopped for a minute – his lips still pressed into a thin line. And then he was still waiting until Iwaizumi said,

 

“You can continue.”

 

Ushijima nodded and continued to clean the bruise just as gently as he did it before. His hands were shaking – shaking so much–

 

Iwaizumi clasped his hand over Ushijima’s.

 

Ushijima stopped and silently looked at him, taking a shaky breath. He immediately began to brush his thumb over the back of Iwaizumi’s hand.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes softened, his soul trembled and he spoke,

 

“You keep me sane.”

 

And Ushijima glanced up with a warm smile as he answered, “You keep reminding me how brave someone can be.”

 

Iwaizumi’s breath hitched in his throat.

 

“How could I have ever hated you?” Iwaizumi remembered their years of competition. 

 

Ushijima then answered again. They were going back and forth. 

 

“I’m constantly looking for something or someone every single day and the feeling doesn’t disappear until we touch.”

 

Iwaizumi 

 

felt

 

alive.

 

So he said, “You keep reminding me how good it is to be alive.”

 

Ushijima whispered, leaning closer, “You are one of the strongest person I know.”

 

Iwaizumi leaned close to rest his forehead on Ushijima’s – he was still holding his hand.

 

“I would have given up, if you hadn’t been here.”

 

“It’s a weird feeling but the most right I’ve ever felt. I want to protect you.”

 

Iwaizumi felt overwhelmed. He thought without Ushijima, he’d be lost, scared and insane. Completely tired. He loved Oikawa as his best friend, he was family after all, but tonight–

 

Tonight broke him in so many ways he couldn’t even count it.

 

He was easy to forgive when it came to Oikawa. But there were some things he couldn’t forget or forgive.

 

Not even if I wanted to.

 

Not even if I tried to.

 

And Ushijima had been pulling Iwaizumi out of insanity. He had been pulling Iwaizumi out from pain every single day.

 

He wanted to protect him.

 

Iwaizumi tilted his head up – their noses brushed.

 

He wanted Ushijima to know. He wanted him to know that he didn’t give up only because of him. 

 

He wanted Ushijima to know that–

 

“I only remained human because of you.”

 

And Ushijima’s eyes were staring at him. With half lidded old eyes, with the soul of a person who had seen so much and was still able to stand up in the end.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart bloomed, the colorful birds from his soul flew free–

 

When Ushijima gently kissed him.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

 

 

Day 16: PART III

 

 

 

And

 

 

 

Day 17

 

 

 

 

 

The kiss was as short as a moment. It was too quick, Iwaizumi almost thought it hadn’t even happened. 

 

He opened his eyes to make sure– 

 

Ushijima’s face is so close and he is staring at him with so much–

 

His blood pumped inside of his veins, energetic, alive–

 

Ushijima reached over to gently touch his hand – pulling him from the couch down to the floor. Both of them now kneeling on the floor, Iwaizumi’s heart rang in his ears, dancing with his blood–

 

Ushijima wrapped his arms around his waist, pulled him close and bent down to rest his cheek gently against his, making Iwaizumi’s heart almost leap out and escape from his cage–

 

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Ushijima said quietly, close to his ears. “I just want to be close to you.”

 

His pulse quickened. Iwaizumi turned dizzy so he shut down his eyes and then felt daring. He felt his blood singing.

 

He threw his arms around his neck, turned towards him and pressed a lingering kiss on Ushijima’s cheek. 

 

He turned to look at Iwaizumi, their noses brushed. 

 

Their foreheads were touching, they were so close – Iwaizumi could feel Ushijima’s heart beat through his chest that was pressed against him – their hearts were beating in the same quick way in this moment, and everything felt soft and gentle and–

 

Ushijima tilted his head and pressed a little, short kiss on his lips again. 

 

He couldn’t breathe–

 

His hands find me again.

 

Ushijima’s eyes found his, his hand moved along the side of Iwaizumi’s neck, fingertips grazing his jaw – making him shiver. He stopped close to his nape, close to his ears–

 

I want to kiss you again.

 

Iwaizumi laid his palms on both of his cheek, feeling the warmth and kissed him.

 

And–

 

Ushijima kissed back again.

 

And it felt comforting and soft and he smiled and messed up the kiss immediately– he just couldn’t–

 

Ushijima broke the kiss and looked down at the smiling Iwaizumi.

 

And Ushijima broke into a smile too – it painted his being, slow, and then made him look so human, so real.

 

Iwaizumi, still smiling, leaned close and stopped before his lips touched Ushijima’s. 

 

“Do you want to kiss again?” he muttered, his words touched Ushijima’s lips. 

 

Ushijima’s smile showed his dimples. “No,” he mimicked Iwaizumi’s tone. “We need to talk before we kiss again.”

 

Iwaizumi froze, suddenly reminded by this awful day–

 

“Hey,” Ushijima whispered and kissed Iwaizumi’s temple and then Iwaizumi shut his eyes. “Nothing is okay and this day is hell, I won’t lie, but there’s something good about it too.”

 

“What? That my bruise will disappear tomorrow? It still hurts–”

 

Ushijima pressed a kiss on his eyelids, shutting Iwaizumi up.

 

“There’s that,” he admitted. “And also that I can hug you anytime now.”

 

Iwaizumi snorted and opened his eyes. “Like I wouldn’t have allowed you to hug me anytime, for no reason before all of this,” he pressed little kisses on Ushijima’s jawline because damn Iwaizumi can’t stay away–

 

Ushijima grinned and nosed along Iwaizumi’s cheek and then jaw, making the other chuckle. 

 

“I like being around you,” Ushijima said and kissed Iwaizumi’s neck. “My days are always much better after we meet.”

 

Iwaizumi gave out a soft smile as Ushijima pressed a little kiss on his hair. “I always have hope because I know I can meet you. I can get help – I can count on you. And you,” Iwaizumi started to press little kisses on Ushijima’s cheek, temple, neck – absolutely destroying him. Ushijima began to laugh, lost his balance and fell to the floor – Iwaizumi falling down on top of him.

 

But that didn’t stop him.

 

He was still showering Ushijima with kisses. “And you,” Iwaizumi continued. “You have to be so comforting, and kind. You have to be amazing, don’t you, Ushijima? You just can’t hold back, can you? You couldn’t be an asshole, could you? You had to ruin our friendship! Now I want to be your friend but something else too! You just had to do that!”

 

Ushijima tilted his head, confused. “I am the one who ruined it? Says who?! I’ve got nothing on you,” he suddenly sat up, one arm behind his own back with palm down on the floor, balancing both of them for Iwaizumi was sitting on his lap.

 

Ushijima’s other hand came up to touch his unbruised cheek – they were close, their noses almost brushing.

 

“You’re amazing too, Iwaizumi,” Ushijima said, his voice felt powerful. Iwaizumi remembered one of their conversations from early on. “You’re so nice to talk to, so kind and clever and open minded and you keep standing up but these are not the most amazing things – the most amazing thing is that you remind me what’s the hardest thing to do and yet you do it anyway,” Ushijima stopped for a moment to stare at him. Only stared. His smile turned soft when he continued quietly, “Like it’s nothing.”

 

Iwaizumi slowly blinked. Ushijima followed the movement calmly. 

 

Oh my–

 

I wan to kiss him again.

 

“And what is that I’m doing?”

 

Ushijima’s hand moved down to caress his arm, then his side, and then stopped to pull him close by his waist. Iwaizumi hugged him back – he rested his face on Ushijima’s head, burying his nose into his hair, wanting to drown in him, wanting to blend–

 

“You keep going even if you are too tired to do it anymore, even if you just want to live your life, even if Oikawa doesn’t deserve it anymore. You keep going.”

 

Iwaizumi frowned in pain – he moved his cheek to rest against it Ushijima’s and then gently, slowly started caressing his hair and face. 

 

No one has ever made me feel like this. 

 

“I can only do it because of you,” Iwaizumi whispered, his heart racing gently because of the other boy.

 

Ushijima soundlessly kissed his cheek making Iwaizumi melt.

 

 “And I’m only this kind and comforting because of you. I’m weak for you,” Ushijima kissed his cheek again. “I want you to succeed. I want you to win. I want to support you all the way. You made me want to cheer for you,” Ushijima laughed, Iwaizumi felt it through their chests, pressed together. “Iwaizumi, I want nothing more but to see you win this mess.”

 

Iwaizumi smiled gently, his whole being radiated with light, with joy. They enjoyed the silence – they enjoyed the comfortable little touches and kisses. Until Ushijima began to speak again,

 

“I still can’t believe he hit you.”

 

Iwaizumi tensed but calmed down immediately as soon as Ushijima pressed a kiss to his collarbone.

 

“He’s hurting right now,” Iwaizumi said quietly. “His mind isn’t okay – he’s not okay.”

 

“But you? Hitting you?” Ushijima nuzzled to his cheek, to his neck. “You’re everything, Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart loved to hear Ushijima talk, as it seemed, apparently.

 

Like now.

 

How the little shit was beating as fast as the speed of light.

 

Iwaizumi saw the scene in front of him crystal clearly, trying to calm down his racing heart and vanishing his crimson face. “You seemed like you wanted to hit him too.”

 

Ushijima stopped nuzzling – he just stayed close to Iwaizumi’s neck. “I did.”

 

Iwaizumi felt Ushijima’s breath on his neck, tickling his skin. “Then why didn’t you?”

 

Ushijima seemed to hesitate but then he answered,

 

“Because he’s important to you. He’s your best friend and I don’t want to hurt things or people that are important to you. I want to avoid hurting you in any kind of way, to be honest. You have so many things to stress about in the first place. You don’t need me on your list.”

 

It feels like my whole body is burning with joy, with purple and blue fire–

 

Iwaizumi pressed a lingering kiss on Ushijima’s forehead. “I could kiss you all day.”

 

Ushijima chuckled. “Me too. It doesn’t make sense, though. I’ve never had anyone before. I didn’t search for it, I didn’t want to have a...” he trailed off.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyebrows rose. “What?”

 

“I just thought about how many things had changed since my time loop,” Ushijima continued and Iwaizumi pressed a little kiss on his cheek and face because–

 

God, he couldn’t stop.

 

They enjoyed the silence, enjoyed each other’s comfort. But then someone broke it again. This time, it was Iwaizumi.

 

“My time loop will activate soon.”

 

And Iwaizumi felt his heart shrink and become numb – he felt tense, so hurtful and–

 

I don’t want to start again, I’m so tired of doing it again, let me move on, let me find peace–

 

“Look at me.”

 

The gentle voice pulled him out. Pulled him out from the bottomless pit of his mind.

 

Every

 

single

 

time.

 

Iwaizumi looked at him and caught Ushijima staring. 

 

“If you feel that it’s too much,” Ushijima whispered. “That the next one, the next day, will be too much, find me in the afternoon – not in the morning when you used to –, and you can help me gonna get Tendou out of jail. It’ll cheer you up.”

 

And Iwaizumi burst out laughing.

 

He covered his mouth, trying to turn away but Ushijima grinned and hugged him and turned him back–

 

“That’s what you’ve been doing all this time in every afternoon?” Iwaizumi laughed. “Getting Tendou out of jail? I can’t–”

 

Ushijima’s shoulders were starting to shake. “The funny thing is that he didn’t do anything this time but the cop didn’t believe him–”

 

“Oh my god–”

 

“You see, because he always gets the same cop whenever he’s at the police station for some reason–”

 

Iwaizumi began to wheeze, making Ushijima 

 

lose

 

it.

 

“And,” Ushijima couldn’t breathe, “Oh shit – one time he stole a deodorant from a convenience store–”

 

Iwaizumi began to lightly hit Ushijima’s shoulder. “Stop, stop–”

 

Ushijima tried to grab Iwaizumi’s arm. 

 

“And when I asked him why he did that, he told me, he had thought it had been a perfume–”

 

Iwaizumi stopped hitting Ushijima, feeling powerless, laughing so much his eyes began to tear up.

 

“And I tell him, you still stole it. That’s stealing, Tendou–”

 

Ushijima wiped Iwaizumi’s tear, while Iwaizumi wiped down Ushijima’s – both of them looking like a mess, not knowing how to breathe properly–

 

“And you won’t believe what he told me, Iwaizumi, you won’t–”

 

“What?” Iwaizumi took uneven breaths, trying to gain his composure.

 

Ushijima’s laugh died down – he silently suffered. 

 

“He told me,” Ushijima shut down his eyes, touching his own face, trying to calm down. “He told me, it was only stealing if they didn’t see you taking it.”

 

Iwaizumi frowned, confused but then–

 

his

 

jaw

 

fell

 

down.

 

“He didn't.”

 

Ushijima started nodding, “He did,” silently shaking, crying with laughter. “That idiot took the thing off the shelf and then fucking walked out with it, passing the security without shame and,” Ushijima couldn't take it anymore. “When the alarm went off what do normal people do? Run, right? Not this guy. No, Tendou looked back at the security and told him this, right into his face,” Ushijima cleared his throat, trying to look as stoic as he usual was. “I’ll do it again tomorrow because I’m quite interested.”

 

Iwaizumi thought he was going to die – Ushijima was coughing and it felt soo good to laugh, so amazing to feel things so freely.

 

“Interested in what?” Iwaizumi asked after they both had calmed down.

 

“Hmm?” Ushijima turned his head towards him, smiling lightly. This nice smile just for Iwaizumi.

 

He had to blink to make himself function again.

 

“Tendou? Interested in what?”

 

Ushijima frowned and then chuckled. “I have no idea,” he let out an amused sound. “He still hasn’t told me, and at this point, I am too afraid to ask.”

 

Iwaizumi grinned and then shut down his eyes, feeling weightless.

 

His time loop is activating. 

 

“Hey, Iwaizumi,” he heard the gentle voice again. Just pulling him out of his mind. Saving him over and over again.

 

Iwaizumi opened his eyes and found himself staring into Ushijima’s eyes. And they were filled with respect and care and adoration.

 

He stopped breathing for a moment.

 

The same things his eyes had even before all of this. Ushijima cheered for him when they became friends and he was still cheering for him now.

 

“See you today,” Ushijima whispered, smiling and Iwaizumi’s smile appeared too. Like a lost song from a piano that only Ushijima could play. 

 

“See you today,” he whispered back and then Ushijima gave him a chaste kiss on his lips.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

And when Iwaizumi woke up

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins.

 

It felt like as if he heard it for the first time in his entire life.

 

He stood up and touched his burning cheek – he knew he was red.

 

“...See you today..”

 

He smiled and then the door burst wide open. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have– whoa,” Makki stared. “Why are you blushing– oh my god,” Makki’s eyes widened as he started to look around in the room, searching for something. “Iwaizumi, please tell me you weren’t just watching porn. Or worse,” Makki froze.

 

 His eyes wandered down

 

 there.

 

Iwaizumi’s jaw fell. He raised his hands in defense.  “No.”

 

Makki turned horrified. “If I opened the door at you,” Makki shut down his eyes and gulped. “Oh shit, I don’t need this imagery, bring the holy water–”

 

“Makki!”

 

“Oh god, my eyes, somebody help me, I’m too young for this–”

 

“You’re eighteen!” Iwaizumi was getting impatient. “Makki!”

 

Makki was shaking his head, still not opening his eyes. 

 

“We gotta get you a girlfriend, man–”

 

Iwaizumi was waving his hands in front of Makki’s face.

 

“Makki, listen to me–”

 

“I swear, give me a week and I’ll find you a sweetheart. I fucking will, just watch–”

 

And Iwaizumi’s mouth moved before he could’ve stopped himself,

 

“I kinda have a boyfriend already.”

 

In that moment, several things happened.

 

Makki stopped in mid sentence and opened his eyes, his eyebrows rose – they went up so high it got almost lost in his hair.

 

His door opened again and Iwaizumi’s parents were standing there with wide eyes and opened mouth.

 

And Iwaizumi bit his bottom lip, slightly tilting his head back. 

 

Well, fuck.

 

It was silence.

 

Makki turned back to look at his parents and then he turned back to Iwaizumi, looking so scared Iwaizumi wanted to laugh.

 

Iwaizumi’s lips twitched. And then

 

 all

 

 hell 

 

went 

 

down.

 

“Oh my god! Oh my god!” his mom squealed, grinning, already walking towards him. She pulled him into a hug. “My baby has a boyfriend.”

 

Makki’s jaw fell down.

 

Iwaizumi’s dad pulled out his cellphone from his back pocket and started to dial.

 

“Who are you planning to call?” Iwaizumi asked, curious, still hugging his mother.

 

“Sora,” his dad answered immediately, grinning. “I want to hear him lose it,” he raised the phone over to his ear, looking like a maniac. “I finally get him back after his lie about winning the lottery last year. All of that just to make me buy a motorcycle,” Iwaizumi’s dad looked vicious. “Oh boy, this is gonna be fun. We’ll see who’s gonna faint now, son.”

 

Makki’s jaw reached the ground. 

 

“Darling,” Iwaizumi’s mother scolded her husband. “You’re scaring poor, Takahiro,” she pulled back from the hug and turned towards Makki. “Are you feeling alright, sweetheart?”

 

Makki was gaping like a fish – he pointed at Iwaizumi and then at himself, and then at Iwaizumi again – looking confused as hell.

 

“But if I’m not the boyfriend,” Makki began, wondering. “Then who is it? I mean who else is there? It can’t be Oikawa or Matsukawa, I would’ve noticed that, I–”

 

Iwaizumi burst out laughing because–

 

“Is this the only thing that made you freak out?” He gasped, trying to remain calm, completely failing at the job. 

 

Makki looked straight up offended. He laid a palm over his chest, frowning. 

 

“You think I care about that you’re gay?” Makki clicked his tongue. “You’re one of my best friend–”

 

Iwaizumi chuckled and then shook his head. “I don’t think I am gay – well,” he looked back to his mom who was smiling wide. “It’s just this specific person.”

 

His mom’s eyes began to tear up. She pressed a little kiss to Iwaizumi’s cheek. 

 

“Hajime,” she said, smiling. “Bring him over soon, okay?”

 

Iwaizumi nodded, not noticing Makki, who was starting to freak out.

 

“Wait,” he raised his hand in a manner as if he was asking for a time out. Both his mom and Iwaizumi turned over to look at him. “Who is it, Iwaizumi?”

 

He noticed that Sora finally picked up the phone – because his father was starting to speak into it.

 

Iwaizumi swallowed and then answered,

 

“Ushijima.”

 

Again, everyone lost it.

 

“WHAT? A BOYFRIEND?” Sora’s voice rang through the phone.

 

“USHIJIMA?!” Makki shouted.

 

“Is that the young, talented boy who represents Japan in the under nineteen age group?” His mother’s eyes sparkled.

 

“USHIJIMA?!” Makki shouted.

 

Iwaizumi’s father had heard this sentence and turned to his son, giving him a thumbs up.

 

“Good catch, Hajime,” his dad winked at him. “He’ll be rich, huh?”

 

“USHIJIMA?!” Makki shouted.

 

Apparently, Sora heard it too. 

 

“HIS BOYFRIEND IS ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S TOP THREE ACES?”

 

Iwaizumi sheepishly nodded. “That’s the one.”

 

“USHIJIMA WAKATOSHI?!” Makki shouted.

 

A loud thud could be heard from the phone and everyone turned towards it. Iwaizumi’s dad looked smug.

 

“He fainted,” he said and ended the call. He shrugged. “He’ll be alright, he fainted at the airport.”

 

“USHIJIMA?!” Makki shouted.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“Oh shit, it makes so much sense,” Makki said after he had remembered. He was eating breakfast with him in the pub, ‘Days and Minutes.’

 

Iwaizumi smiled lightly and continued to eat his own scrambled eggs. Park suddenly appeared in front of them on the other side of the counter and tilted his head towards Iwaizumi.

 

“Young love, huh?” He looked pissed off as he began to wipe clean a glass. Iwaizumi bit his bottom lip, trying not to laugh.

 

“Why?” He asked, trying his luck. “Is there a wedding you need to attend to soon?”

 

Park stopped wiping the glass and narrowed his eyes at Iwaizumi.

 

“As a matter of fact I do,” he said, squinting and then asked, “Did I fire you?”

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips into a thin line, smiling, trying to hold himself back.

 

“No, I’ve never worked here before.”

 

Park was still squinting. “Interesting,” he said and the shrugged. “Forget it kid, I’m just seeing things,” he looked at Makki who grinned back, showing his teeth.

 

Park scrunched his nose. “Fucking Friday, I’m telling you, this day is cursed,” he said, shaking his head and then walking away from them.

 

Makki snorted. “Well,” he said, looking over at Iwaizumi. “He’s not wrong.”

 

Iwaizumi sighed, smiling a little. “No,” he said. “He’s not.”

 

Makki stopped eating for a minute and turned towards him. The voices of the people felt like a little buzz, caressing his skin. The radio was on and Iwaizumi recognized the song.

 

  Aimer.

 

“He hit you, huh?” 

 

Iwaizumi flinched.

 

He felt too vulnerable, too weak – he didn't look into Makki’s eyes, afraid of what he might see if–

 

“I’m sorry I’m useless when things are getting violent. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop him.”

 

Iwaizumi froze.

 

“...Have you ever wondered that you might not appreciate things? Not appreciate them enough..?” 

 

“...All the time...”

 

Oikawa wasn’t the only one who needed help. Makki was in a bad situation as well.

 

Iwaizumi knew his father beat him when he was younger – he also knew he had stopped for some reason and he didn’t do it anymore. But Makki’s mom was nowhere better. She never cared for his son, she never talked to him. 

 

That was why Iwaizumi invited him all the time – to sleep overs, to just hang out. Because Makki felt like a family member – his mom loved Makki and his dad always went with him fishing, because only Makki knew how to do that. Everyone loved him and wanted to help him, but–

 

Makki was eighteen. An adult. 

 

And he didn’t want to go, he wanted to wait after the school was over. Iwaizumi knew he would move after graduation.

 

But until then, Makki was suffering.

 

Before the time loop, Iwaizumi was too caught up in his own useless days. Now, during the time loop, he was too caught up with Oikawa’s pain, not doing anything with Makki.

 

Even though, he deserves it.

 

Hell, Makki had always been there for him – helping him with the time loop, or just being there in general.

 

And he just apologized because he was scared of being hit.

 

Makki. 

 

The embodiment of a good soul.

 

A good person. 

 

And even though, Makki suffered – with all of the shit, all of that fucked up thing–

 

He never turned cruel.

 

“Never apologize to me, Makki,” Iwaizumi said, turning towards him and wrapping him into a big, bear like hug. “You didn’t deserve any of that shit, you deserved so much more. I’ve known for awhile, but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it and that’s okay but I want you to know something.”

 

Makki’s shoulders were shaking and Iwaizumi knew he was crying.

 

“I’m sorry what you had been through,” he whispered. “I wish I could go back to that time just to make sure you live a life where the only thing you constantly get is kindness. Not pain, no violence, no screams.”

 

And Iwaizumi truly wished that.

 

But he wasn’t God.

 

He was someone trapped in a time loop. In a day where he needed to prevent a suicide. His best friend’s suicide.

 

All he could do now, was comforting Makki. And yet, he couldn’t help but think–

 

Maybe that was why people got stuck into time loops. 

 

Because someone needs to be saved.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

After Makki had gone away, Iwaizumi began to walk towards Ushijima’s house. He slipped his hands into the pocket of his coat.

 

“You really want to take care of him tonight?” Iwaizumi asked Makki.

 

Makki sighed and cracked his neck. “I’m not the one he hit. I’m angry too, you know. But I think you shouldn’t meet him today. You’ll see him tomorrow anyway.”

 

And Iwaizumi hadn’t noticed how grateful he was. He hadn’t noticed it until Makki said it out loud, vanishing the nightmare from his bones.

 

He really didn't think he could deal with Oikawa today.

 

Iwaizumi stopped before Ushijima’s door and raised his hand to knock–

 

The door opened.

 

And he found himself face to face with Ushijima, wide eyes that drifted down–

 

They both leaned at the same time.

 

Ushijima’s kiss was soft as he held Iwaizumi’s face in his hands. Iwaizumi raised his hand to lay it on Ushijima’s and kissed back–

 

Ushijima pulled back to rest his forehead on Iwaizumi’s, keeping him close, saying,

 

“So that’s what was missing, god,” Ushijima sounded relieved. “I thought I was going insane.”

 

“Hi,” Iwaizumi smiled, leaving another short kiss on Ushijima’s lips. “So are we getting Tendou out of prison?”

 

Ushijima’s laugh echoed through the street.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“They’re saying you didn’t do it,” Fred the cop said, looking at Tendou from the other side of the bars. “But I know you did it. I can smell your work.”

 

Iwaizumi was biting his bottom lip. Ushijima was right about this making him feel better.

 

They had been standing here for a half an hour now and Fred still didn’t believe that it wasn’t Tendou.

 

“For the fifth time, I can’t be held responsible,” Tendou grabbed the bars, glaring at Fred. “I wasn’t even there!”

 

Fred wasn’t amused. “Yeah, like I’d believe that crap.”

 

“I was literally on the other side of the city. I was nowhere near that building”

 

“That might have been your twin for all I know.”

 

“Now you’re just making excuses.”

 

“Cause you’re pissing me off.”

 

“I stole one deodorant, It was one time–”

 

“You’re trying to tell me you won’t do it again? Do you think I’m stupid?”

 

“Do you really want me to answer that with deep honesty?”

 

Iwaizumi buried his head into Ushijima’s chest, wrapping his arms around his waist, warming his arms under his coat – trying to muffle laugh. He noticed that Ushijima’s shoulders were shaking too.

 

“Check this out,” Ushijima whispered to him. Iwaizumi nodded.

 

“Hey, Fred,” Iwaizumi felt Ushijima’s voice vibrate through his chest. “Look at that poor man. He doesn’t even know where he is. Look at him, do you really think he’d stole a porcelain set?”

 

“Now I’m offended,” Iwaizumi heard Tendou’s voice. “I do know where I am.”

 

Fred snorted. “Don’t you remember when I found you in Busan? Man, what a wild night that was.”

 

Ushijima was silently laughing and Iwaizumi couldn’t breathe.

 

“What were you doing there anyway?”

 

“What were you doing there?”

 

“How the fuck would I know.”

 

“And you have the balls to even ask why I don’t want you to leave. That’s why.”

 

“Why? Am I too fun?”

 

“No, you could die doing one of your insane activities, like stealing deodorants–”

 

“That was one time, I do something one time–”

 

“I want to have a normal week, Tendou. A normal week where I don’t see your face. And you can’t do it and I’m going bald– you see where this is going?”

 

“Yeah, you’re getting old?”

 

And Fred

 

just

 

snapped.

 

“Okay, that’s it, get him out of here.”

 

Iwaizumi struggled to breathe, he wanted to laugh so bad–

 

He heard footsteps and the creak of an old door. More footsteps. And then Tendou said,

 

“Fred, I know you love me.”

 

Iwaizumi laughed and Ushijima grabbed his own coat and hugged Iwaizumi’s with it, drawing him closer.

 

“Tendou, I love you as much as one can love digestion problems.”

 

It was silence for a couple of minutes.

 

“That depends on the digestion problem.”

 

And both of them lost it.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“Fred is like a weird uncle to me,” Tendou said to them while they were walking him home. “But he’s also the reason I can’t go to any supermarket or store that is close to this area, I can’t even try because he is always everywhere. It’s a difficult relationship.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened. “Is that why you always kept waiting at home while Ushijima went out for groceries?”

 

“Shocking, right?” Tendou gestured towards them. “But not as shocking as you two are.”

 

Ushijima was amused. “Oh, really? And why is that?”

 

Tendou grinned. “I had a guess.”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“It feels wrong not being there for him now,” Iwaizumi whispered. “He doesn’t deserve this.”

 

That was all he could think of now. The endgame of all this.

 

Ushijima gently intertwined their fingers together, and with his other hand, he started to caress his forearm. The silk of the blanket felt comfortable beneath Iwaizumi’s arm.

 

They were lying on Ushijima’s bed, only their hands touching, enjoying their quiet time.

 

“I’m not doing what I supposed to do,” Iwaizumi continued. “I’m wasting time and you let me.”

 

Ushijima brought Iwaizumi’s hand towards his lips and pressed a little kiss on the palm.

 

“Lie to me, Ushijima,” Iwaizumi whispered. “Tell me I have an another way. Lie.”

 

“No.”

 

Ushijima pulled him closer, but Iwaizumi didn’t stop–

 

“Tell me I have nothing to worry about.”

 

Ushijima pressed a kiss on his forehead.

 

“I won’t lie to you.”

 

“Lie.”

 

“No.”

 

Ushijima’s hand were shaking and Iwaizumi kissed the other boy’s chin.

 

“Lie.”

 

“No.”

 

“Tell me I have an another way.”

 

Ushijima’s remained silent and Iwaizumi buried his face into the crook of his neck.

 

“Tell me that I don’t need to try – tell me that I don’t need to commit suicide in front of him, in order to make him stay.”

 

Ushijima began to press little kisses on Iwaizumi’s hair, cheek–

 

“Lie.”

 

Iwaizumi felt something wet close to his skin–

 

“Lie.”

 

Ushijima was crying.

 

“Maybe you only need one cut,” Ushijima whispered, begged. “After he sees that you’re being serious and if you’re important to him enough, he’ll stay if you ask and you don’t need to cut more. He’ll stay for good.”

 

“If?”

 

 Iwaizumi couldn’t see – everything felt blurry.

 

“Tell him that the moment he commits suicide, you’ll do exactly the same. He wouldn’t stay for you – but now, he could try to live for you.”

 

Iwaizumi took a shaky breath. “Maybe I’m not that important.”

 

“He wouldn’t want you to die.”

 

Iwaizumi couldn't take it anymore.

 

“But I don’t want to die either.”

 

Ushijima froze and Iwaizumi started to wipe away his tears. 

 

“I want to live, I want to stay, I have so much thing to do and see and–” his voice broke, “I’m not ready to die, I can’t go–”

 

“And you won’t go,” Ushijima said, his voice powerful. “You won’t die from one cut if the ambulance is near and they will be cause I’ll fucking call them before you even walk through the door–”

 

Ushijima began to wipe Iwaizumi’s tears away.

 

“Maybe I need to cut more for him to believe–”

 

“No,” Ushijima whispered, leaning close, sounding too afraid. “No, please don’t do more than one – I just got you and–”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened. “Okay,” he whispered, calming Ushijima down. “I won’t.”

 

Iwaizumi had never thought that someone like him could have someone like Ushijima. 

 

Because it was normal for Iwaizumi to be selfless.

 

But the fact that he was someone else’s first priority too–

 

“Lie.”

 

And Ushijima indeed lie. 

 

“I don’t give a damn about what happens to you,” You’re too important to me. “Lie.”

 

And Iwaizumi indeed lie.

 

“You make me feel nothing,” You make me feel everything. “Lie.”

 

And Ushijima indeed lie. 

 

“You’re not one of my most important friend,” You’re one of the best. “Lie.”

 

“My family aren’t happy that we’re so close,” They love you already. “Lie.”

 

And Ushijima’s gentle eyes never left his as he said,

 

“I want you to suffer.”

 

I want to vanish your pain.

 

And Iwaizumi wanted to kiss him again, his heart got excited for Ushijima and the birds in his soul sang as he slowly said,

 

“I want to feel your misery.”

 

I want to feel your joy in these monotone days as if it were mine.

 

And Ushijima lied again, smiling gently,

 

“One day you’ll wake up and notice all the miseries in this world.”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

And Iwaizumi woke up. 

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins.

 

But Ushijima’s words still rang in his mind.

 

One day you’ll wake up and notice all the happiness in this world.

 

And Iwaizumi felt that after all of this, maybe he could.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“You can’t cheat death. Whatever solution you can come up with – a solution that will save Oikawa and get you out of the time loop as well,” Ushijima continued calmly. “Will be useless if it doesn’t weigh as much as a suicide or similar to that...”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18: PART I

 

 


And

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was walking next to Makki on the sidewalk and his mind was racing like an endless war.

 

There was something interesting in living the same day over and over again. You felt like you had all the time in the world and you genuinely believed that every little thing connected to something or someone. 

 

And that was the truth. 

 

Iwaizumi started to wonder, started to think about his life – how he lived before the time loop. He didn’t think about life, he didn’t think about fate, religion or destiny or coincidences or consequences then. These topics had seemed... quite untouchable to him at that time. He had only thought about getting into college, avoiding Sora, living his life, his endless days.

 

“...I woke up and realized how monotone my days were...”

 

Ushijima told him. And Iwaizumi knew the feeling. 

 

Because this time loop maybe wasn't about Oikawa. 

 

Well, he was part of it, yes. But maybe–

 

It’s about me.

 

Iwaizumi hated living the same day over and over again. Hated how most of the people forgot about the day. Hated how he never made progress. 

 

But now, he understood what Tendou meant a couple of yesterdays ago.

 

“...It’s like a second chance from life...”

 

And the person who was in a time loop at the same time Ushijima was – knew why all these time loops happened. He knew why people got stuck in time loops. How would that feel like? Having all that knowledge? 

 

“...He feels different from anyone else – I swear Tendou, his soul is something else. He didn't need anyone to make him strong. He became strong by himself...”

 

A person lived here – in this city, close to Iwaizumi. A person who had a soul that left even Ushijima surprised.  

 

Iwaizumi looked up to the sky – seeing enormous skyscrapers in the corner of his eyes – and let himself to be devoured by life.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––-

 

 

 

After you change, you’ll notice so many things.

 

They were sitting in the classroom and Matsukawa was sitting in front of Iwaizumi. Everyone in the classroom was talking with their friends or eating their bentos and, for some reason, they looked too young for Iwaizumi. Which was insane because they were the same age. 

 

But they looked so much younger than him. 

 

They were loud where Iwaizumi was quiet. They seemed to only think about their own personal life whereas Iwaizumi was thinking about everything and nothing at the same time.

 

The time loop changed me more than I’ve ever realized.

 

“You’re awfully quiet.”

 

Iwaizumi didn’t move, only gazed at Matsukawa. He and Makki had told him about the time loop in the morning before Oikawa arrived, so he knew everything. And yet, he asked the same thing he did a long time ago when he didn’t even know about Iwaizumi’s time loop.

 

There was something funny about fate – about certain sentences, conversations, or scenes. 

 

Sometimes something completely opposite happens. Sometimes something happens all over again. Sometimes someone says the same things to a certain question. Sometimes someone says something opposite for an answer. 

 

I’m living the same day over and over again.

 

And yet, 

 

I’ve seen and heard new things  in every one of them.

 

And he remembered Sora’s words.

 

“...What is the purpose of life?”

 

“To feel love, to believe and to make conversations with people because you might find someone. And I’m not just talking about love – I’m talking about luck, friendship, family and strangers and so much more.”

 

Iwaizumi gave Matsukawa a gentle smile and stayed quiet, leaving Matsukawa stunned.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“What should we do?” Matsukawa asked while they were sitting at the canteen, eating lunch. All three of them were looking at Oikawa, declining the bento from the girl. 

 

“I have an idea,” Iwaizumi answered. “We’re going over to my house after school, skipping practice and discuss the plan.”

 

Makki stopped chewing and looked amused. “Look at Iwaizumi, Matsukawa,” Makki nodded at him with his chin. “Looking all professional and shit.”

 

“Makki, please shut up.”

 

Matsukawa sounded so tired it made Iwaizumi chuckle. A couple of minutes went by with them only eating, but then Makki asked,

 

“Have you talked to him?” He looked concerned. “You know.”

 

Matsukawa’s eyes turned serious as he turned towards Iwaizumi. 

 

He said ‘hi’ to Oikawa today and talked about normal stuff but it was nothing what they usually talked about.

 

He didn’t know why it mattered so much to him that Oikawa hit him. 

 

He knew Oikawa wasn’t okay – he knew it wasn’t completely his fault, he knew. 

 

But it hurt so much. 

 

Iwaizumi had been fighting for Oikawa since a long time – trying to put his puzzles together, trying to solve the whys and the ifs. It felt like as if he was trying to get out of a black, tar of sea only to be pushed down by Oikawa. To suffocate. Completely alone.

 

He needed one more day. Or maybe two. 

 

To let this go. 

 

“I will,” Iwaizumi promised because he couldn't say anything else. “I will soon.”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

They were sitting at the table of Iwaizumi’s dining room, drinking Coke and eating crisps, ready to make a plan to save Oikawa when Iwaizumi decided to announce the big bomb.

 

“So, I’m gonna call Ushijima because he’s in the plan as well.”

 

Makki spat out his drink and looked rather alarmed as he glanced over Matsukawa who didn’t react at all. 

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened.

 

Makki didn’t tell Matsukawa that him and Ushijima are together.

 

Right now, Matsukawa only knew that Ushijima had been in a time loop as well and was a good friend to all of them.

 

And then, Iwaizumi noticed that Makki started to grin. That insane grin of his that he only used for plotting.

 

Give him a heart attack,” Makki mouthed, standing behind Matsukawa. 

 

Iwaizumi bit his bottom lip, trying not to smile. 

 

Matsukawa – seeing Iwaizumi’s interesting facial expression – turned back to look at Makki, who’s grin had vanished, and now he looked as innocent as a saint in a church.

 

Iwaizumi shook his head, smiling, and began to dial Ushijima’s phone number when–

 

Shit.

 

“We haven’t met today yet,” Iwaizumi looked back at them. “He doesn’t remember.”

 

Matsukawa raised his eyebrows while Makki gasped and snapped his fingers, saying,

 

“You should call Tendou.”

 

Iwaizumi blinked, surprised. “That’s brilliant,” he said, already dialing Tendou’s number. 

 

“Who’s Tendou?” Matsukawa asked in the background.

 

“He can remember like me. He’s Ushijima’s best friend,” Makki answered, sounding excited to finally meet Tendou in person after Iwaizumi telling him so much about him.

 

Iwaizumi put Tendou on speaker and held the phone in his hand as they were waiting for him to pick it up.

 

And he did.

 

“Hi–”

 

There was a loud thud, screaming and panting. 

 

Matsukawa’s eyes widened and Makki was staring at the phone as if it was made of gold.

 

Great. Tendou is now Makki’s role model. Perfect.

 

“I don’t know who you are or what you want, but be quick because the cops are chasing me.”

 

Iwaizumi then remembered.

 

Fred is trying to take Tendou to the police station.

 

Shit.

 

“Tendou, it’s me Iwaizumi.”

 

A loud scream again – this time a woman. Tendou was panting into the phone – he must be running.

 

“PULL OVER, PULL OVER – Ah, Iwaizumi, good to hear from you again, how are – OH MY GOD BERNIE I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN DAYS.... I HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING! THEN WHY ARE THE COPS CHASING– I HAVE NO IDEA–”

 

“Then why are you running?” Iwaizumi asked him calmly. 

 

“BERNIE SHUT THE FUCK UP I’M ON THE PHONE – what did you say, Iwaizumi? I couldn't catch that.”

 

Iwaizumi sighed. “Can you and Ushijima come over after he got you out of the police station? You know where I live, I told you once or twice.”

 

The police’s sirens went off in that moment.

 

Iwaizumi, Makki and Matsukawa looked at each other.

 

“Sure thing, Iwaizumi, we’ll be there – FRED, IT’S BEEN SO LONG – YEAH I KNOW IT’S BEEN ONLY A WEEK BUT I MISSED YOU ALREADY, HEY!” Iwaizumi heard some loud sounds. “GIVE ME MY PHONE BACK I WANT TO SAY GOODBYE – I SURE AS HELL DON’T NEED A LAWYER, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING – I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING–”

 

And the call ended.

 

Iwaizumi gave out a tired sigh and smiled at his two friends. Matsukawa looked petrified, sitting on the chair in complete silence. 

 

While Makki only said this,

 

“I think I want Tendou to be my life consultant.”

 

“Makki no!”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––

 

 

The doorbell rang. 

 

Makki – without a single word – grabbed his phone and stood next to Matsukawa. Makki was holding his phone vertically, grinning at the screen.

 

Matsukawa raised and eyebrow. “What the hell are you doing?” He asked. 

 

Makki bit his bottom lip, trying not to laugh. “I’m just recording, don’t mind me,” his smile was getting bigger as he looked over to the door. “Iwaizumi, open the door!” He shouted.

 

“Why are you recording? This might be the pizza delivery guy. You really wanna freak out the pizza delivery guy – we could lose our pizza, Makki, think!”

 

Makki started to grin and Iwaizumi laughed.

 

“It might be the pizza delivery guy, yes,” Makki said, still biting his lip. “But if it isn’t, then that means it’s Ushijima and oh boy, I can’t miss that.”

 

Matsukawa frowned, confused for his life while Makki looked like a complete lunatic. 

 

Iwaizumi walked towards the door and opened it. 

 

It wasn’t the pizza delivery guy.

 

Iwaizumi froze as he saw Ushijima.

 

The taller boy was wearing a baseball hat, his long black coat, and a mask covering his mouth. Iwaizumi looked over to notice that Tendou was wearing a hat and a mask too. This was written on Tendou’s mask:

 

  I’m at 120%

 

And a creepy, white grin.

 

“Sorry, Iwaizumi,” Tendou said through his mask. “You live in the centre so a lot of people wanted to take photos – I mean of course they would love to take a photo, I’m incredible – but you sounded serious on the phone, so I thought this was an urgent type of thing, so we had to come here in incognito.”

 

Iwaizumi could feel Ushijima’s stare on him. Iwaizumi also knew that Makki couldn’t record well in this spot – so he stepped away to let them inside the house.

 

“Come in,” Iwaizumi said. “Makki and Matsukawa are in the dining room.”

 

Tendou walked in as if he owned this place. “Makki, huh?” Tendou’s eyes widened. “I can’t wait to talk to that kid. He’s one of my species.”

 

“Tendou, behave.” Ushijima said as he stepped into the house. “I just got you out of jail.”

 

“You’re making it sound like as if this was the last time getting me out of jail,” Tendou was waving as he made his way towards the dining room.

 

“Fred is going to have a heart attack soon, if you continue.”

 

“If I go down, I take everybody with me – oh my god, Makki, my boy!”

 

“Tendou, my brotha!”

 

“I haven’t seen you in ages! You look fine, my boy.”

 

“You two haven’t even met–”

 

“Don’t pay attention to Matsukawa, he’s jealous of our brotherly bond.”

 

“Who wouldn’t be, Makki, my boy? We are best friends already–”

 

“Tendou, my brotha, want to be the best man in my wedding?”

 

“Makki, my boy, want to help me find my wife?”

 

“Bro.”

 

“Bro.”

 

“What am I witnessing right now?”

 

“The birth of something beautiful, Matsukawa.”

 

Ushijima and Iwaizumi gave out a tired sigh at the same time. Ushijima glanced towards him with a curious gaze. 

 

Iwaizumi stared back, looking at the hat, looking at the mask – how calm, how real, how handsome he looked.

 

Ushijima was staring too and Iwaizumi suddenly blushed – because this Ushijima didn’t know about their past and he still stared at Iwaizumi with–

 

Iwaizumi shut the front door, just to not look at him.

 

“You are attractive, Iwaizumi.”

 

What.

 

Iwaizumi looked back and he noticed that Ushijima was smiling under his mask. “Really?” Iwaizumi asked, being doubtful. “Why do you say that all of a sudden?”

 

Ushijima’s smile turned soft. “It felt like a good time to say it,” he slowly raised his hand to Iwaizumi’s cheek, not touching it. 

 

Iwaizumi turned towards the hand.

 

“May I?” Ushijima asked, his voice sounded gentle to Iwaizumi’s ears. “I want to check something.”

 

Iwaizumi knew what he wanted to check.

 

It feels like you saw a person you want to have in your life.

 

Iwaizumi smiled and said, “Can you check it in the dining room?” 

 

Ushijima furrowed his brows. “I can but why?”

 

Iwaizumi tilted his head towards the dining room. “Me and Makki are very interested in a reaction, you see.”

 

Ushijima looked confused but nodded nevertheless. Iwaizumi turned back and started to walk into the dining room, Ushijima following him –

 

 He saw Tendou and Makki trying to make a secret friendship handshake and Matsukawa looking done with everything.

 

Well damn.

 

“Oh shit, Tendou, my brother, hold up real quick,” Makki said, holding his phone again and then started recording. “And action!”

 

Matsukawa raised an eyebrow at Makki, looking into the phone’s camera.

 

Iwaizumi smiled and then told Ushijima, “You can check now.”

 

Ushijima had a hesitant smile on his face – he looked over to see Tendou giving him thumbs us, Makki recording the whole thing but only Matsukawa’s reaction – and of course, Matsukawa, who was staring at them being confused as hell.

 

Ushijima raised his hand but before he could’ve touch Iwaizumi’s cheek–

 

Iwaizumi turned his head to Ushijima’s approaching hand and pressed a kiss on Ushijima’s palm.

 

“Oh,” Makki started excitedly.

 

“My,” Tendou continued smugly.

 

“God,” Matsukawa finished astonishingly. 

 

Ushijima didn’t move his hand – he didn’t move at all. He looked completely stunned by Iwaizumi, starting to remember and then–

 

The doorbell rang again.

 

“Tendou, my brotha, could you get that?” Makki said in the background. “I’m kinda... occupied in the moment, Matsukawa’s still not breathing but his face is priceless.”

 

“Of course, my boy, I’m going,” Tendou answered, walking away.

 

And then, as the tension, as the silence shattered–

 

Ushijima gently grabbed Iwaizumi’s arm and pulled him into a hug. Iwaizumi wrapped his arms around his waist and Ushijima leaned close to him and nuzzled to his cheek, his nose brushed Iwaizumi’s and then–

 

Ushijima kissed his cheek through the mask, making Iwaizumi smile, and then he heard Ushijima laugh–

 

“OH MY GOD!” Matsukawa shouted.

 

“Well shit–” Makki started.

 

“OH MY FUCKING GOD!” 

 

“Matsukawa, you’re cursing again, you gotta chill, man–” Makki tried to continue, shouting over Matsukawa.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCK?”

 

“I mean, not like I don’t get it, I reacted the same way–”

 

“DID YOU KNOW AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME – THAT’S WHY YOU WANTED TO RECORD MY FACE, HANAMAKI?”

 

Makki gulped. “Well shit.”

 

Iwaizumi stole a glance towards Matsukawa who looked the most surprised man alive. Iwaizumi could see Sora’s surprise in it – he hoped Matsukawa was not going to faint, though. He almost laughed, but instead of doing that, he said,

 

“Don’t worry, Matsukawa,” Iwaizumi smirked. “You can have a match against him – practice even,” Iwaizumi looked up to see Ushijima already staring at him, with a kind smile under the mask. “Right, miracle boy?”

 

Ushijima chuckled and then looked at Matsukawa with a kind expression.

 

“By the time you get them back,” he turned back to Iwaizumi, “they’ll be ready for nationals.”

 

Ushijima’s heart was so big and Iwaizumi had a place in it and this thought just made his heart race – his heart who loved to hear Ushijima speak and–

 

Iwaizumi turned crimson so he buried his face into Ushijima’s coat, making him laugh.

 

“This looks actually...” Iwaizumi heard Matsukawa, “fucking adorable.”

 

“But I think you missed a very important detail, Matsukawa – Iwaizumi just got us signed up for a spartan training–”

 

“Look at them, Makki, they look so happy and cute–”

 

“Matsukawa, you’re still missing the point, we’re gonna die–”

 

“I mean... I always wanted to be with a person who makes me happy, but seeing that someone really met someone who is making them happy is such a nice feeling–”

 

“Matsukawa, Ushiwaka is going to practice with us, we’re gonna fucking die in distress, concentrate–”

 

And then Matsukawa suddenly stopped. And then said,

 

“What is going on with Tendou? He’s been out there for a–”

 

“GUYS, I JUST MET BERNIE AGAIN – HE WORKS AS A PIZZA DELIVERY GUY IT SEEMS! THE WORLD IS SO SMALL!” Tendou shouted and then rushed back to the dining room, looking like an insane individual. “He just found out that I’m finally out of jail so he decided to give us the pizza for free. Can’t wait to tell him the same thing on next week too, just to get another free pizza. What a time to be alive, goddamn! Gotta tell this to Fred later, he’s gonna lose his mind.”

 

It was silence.

 

Tendou started eating one slice of pizza and then – as the cheese started to melt down from his mouth, flowing down to his chin – he said, completely serious,

 

“I didn’t lie. I really just got out of jail.”

 

And then everyone burst out laughing.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

 

 

 

 

Day 18: PART III 

 

 

 

And

 

 

 

Day 19

 

 

 

 

 

“Oikawa has to go to a professional after we save him,” Iwaizumi started.

 

Makki, Matsukawa and Tendou were eating pizza and were currently looking at Iwaizumi and Ushijima – who were sitting on the couch, facing them.

 

Iwaizumi had been thinking about this since a long time. No one – not any of them – could help Oikawa. And Iwaizumi didn’t want to put such a heavy pressure on Oikawa’s family either. He doubted they could help him anyway. 

 

No.

 

Oikawa needed help. He needed the best of the best out there. Because even if Iwaizumi saved him – even if he had managed to make him stay, that wouldn’t mean Oikawa was not going to have those thoughts anymore. It didn’t work like that. This might take years to end. Maybe it won’t even end entirely. Maybe it will only heal a part of Oikawa.

 

But every part counted. Small or big but every part counted and mattered and could eventually make a big difference.

 

Iwaizumi suddenly realized the big road that was ahead of them – how many years, months, weeks, days will it take for Oikawa to fully heal or even partially heal?

 

Iwaizumi brought his arms close to his chest and wrapped around himself, feeling the anxiety growing, blooming around his throat, choking him–

 

Ushijima gently lowered Iwaizumi’s arms and maneuvered the hands to his own waist – pulling Iwaizumi close to him. Iwaizumi felt everything fell quiet in him as he hugged Ushijima and laid his head on his shoulder.

 

The pain went away.

 

Just like that.

 

He felt soft and cared and gave out a grateful sigh while Ushijima pressed a kiss on his temple.

 

“I know Oikawa is our first priority,” Matsukawa spoke up. “But you’re getting worse and worse, Iwaizumi. I don’t like it.”

 

Iwaizumi closed his eyes and held Ushijima tighter, craving for peace for his soul.

 

“No one likes it,” Tendou sighed and then continued. “That’s why we need to save him fast. Does anybody here know a professional psychologist?”

 

“I do,” Makki answered and Iwaizumi buried his face into Ushijima’s chest. “My mother knows one and he doesn't live far from here either. We could talk to him – I just need to get his  number from her.”

 

Matsukawa and Tendou hummed in agreement. 

 

“I’ll go with you tomorrow,” Iwaizumi said, turning his head to look at Makki. The other boy gave him a grateful look. “We’ll talk to her.”

 

Makki nodded but then Matsukawa suddenly spoke up,

 

“Oikawa is a stubborn individual though,” he looked worried. “How are we so sure that he’ll go to therapy?”

 

“He will.”

 

Everyone turned to Iwaizumi and he could feel Ushijima’s arms around him stiffen. His eyes dropped down and his heartbeat slowed down.

 

The room went terrifyingly quiet. So quiet. 

 

Because Iwaizumi told them what he was going to do. All of them knew the plan’s most important part. All of them knew only Iwaizumi could do it. 

 

All of them knew it was the most dangerous step in the plan.

 

And all of them knew he was going to do it anyway.

 

“Can I hug you?” Matsukawa broke the silence and Iwaizumi’s heart softened and the birds in his soul sang–

 

He leaned back from Ushijima’s hug and stood up from the couch. Matsukawa – without a single word – walked towards him and hugged him with all of his strength.

 

“You’re the most awesome friend and I hate seeing you like this. I promise, after all of this is over we’re going to make you so happy,” Matsukawa said quietly and Iwaizumi’s chest began to feel heavy, pulling him down–

 

Tendou walked towards them and hugged them and Iwaizumi shut down his eyes, trying to hold back his tears because his friends were so kind and considerate and–

 

“You can always call me. You can always count on me. I’ll break out of prison, I’ll even break out of the president’s residency if I have to,” Tendou voice was simple like benevolence.

 

Iwaizumi’s vision turned blurry as he noticed Makki walking his way towards him, hugging the three of them. 

 

And what he said next was the last straw for Iwaizumi.

 

“You guys are all I have.”

 

After all these useless, never–ending days. After all these repetitive, broken days. After all these endless days, suddenly Iwaizumi 

 

still

 

felt

 

his

 

soul

 

breathe.

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“If you hurt him, I’ll snap your fucking spine in two,” Matsukawa said goodbye, smiling softly at Ushijima while standing at the door, ready to leave.

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened in terror. 

 

He looked over at Ushijima who wore the most serious face ever. He nodded at Matsukawa. 

 

“I’ll let you,” Ushijima spoke in a severe tone. 

 

Iwaizumi’s jaw fell down.

 

Matsukawa looked satisfied with his answer apparently, because then he grinned like the happiest man alive and pulled Ushijima into a hug.

 

“Welcome to the family, big guy,” he said, patting Ushijima’s shoulders twice. He leaned back and waved at him. “See you later at practice – well, after the time loop is done for good.”

 

Ushijima smiled, his eyes glowed up. “Sure. Can’t wait.”

 

Matsukawa stared at him and then at Iwaizumi – then shook his head, grinning like an idiot.

 

“What a time to be alive,” he said still shaking his head, turning away from them, walking out of the house.

 

“What the fuck – wait for me, Matsukawa!” Makki shouted, rushing to the door. “Tendou, my brotha,” Makki yelled back to Tendou. “One of these days we should go for a ramen.”

 

“Amen to that, Makki, my boy,” Tendou yelled back.

 

“Tendou, my brotha,” Makki yelled, smiling wide. “Can I just say I love you?”

 

“Makki, my boy,” Tendou shouted back, grinning like a maniac. “I fucking love you too!”

 

“Iwaizumi,” Makki looked at him suddenly, turning serious. “Tendou stole your place. He’s my best friend now.”

 

Iwaizumi blinked. Ushijima snorted, almost laughing when–

 

“Don’t laugh, Wakatoshi,” Tendou appeared in front of them out of nowhere. “You lost your place too. Makki is my fav bro.”

 

Ushijima’s face turned stone cold in a single moment and Iwaizumi couldn't help but laugh.

 

Makki turned towards the red head. “Tendou, my brotha,” he started. “Want to go watch that new superhero movie in the cinema?”

 

Tendou almost began to cry. “Makki, my boy,” he sounded overwhelmed. “Are you a fan of those? Fucking hell, this has to be destiny.”

 

“It is destiny, bro.”

 

“Bro.”

 

Iwaizumi started to get annoyed. “Oh my god, just go!” He closed the door and sighed, looking at the two idiot from the window. “These two should have never met.”

 

Ushijima hummed behind him, completely agree. “You tell me.”

 

Iwaizumi noticed – looking out of the window – that Tendou and Makki caught up with Matsukawa and the three of them were walking down the street, like old friends.

 

“What a sight,” Iwaizumi said out loud what he’d been thinking. “One I’ve never thought I’d see.”

 

“Who’s going to take care of Oikawa tonight?” Ushijima abruptly asked, making Iwaizumi smile because even though Ushijima was still angry at Oikawa, he cared.

 

“Matsukawa,” he answered. “They’ll go bowling.”

 

Ushijima laughed. “You have great friends,” he said, the tone causing Iwaizumi to turn around to face him. “I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Those three will be alright. They have each other now.”

 

Ushijima’s mask was pulled down, resting below his chin, close to his neck. Iwaizumi’s eyes glanced up to his baseball hat.

 

Ushijima smiled and lifted up his hat and put it on Iwaizumi’s head. Iwaizumi adjusted the hat and tilted his head, looking up at Ushijima.

 

“It suits me, huh?” He asked, his smile tender.

 

Ushijima was staring at him so openly, they were standing close and it felt comfortable and slow and Iwaizumi, out of the blue, noticed how easy and simple his life was before Ushijima.

 

How monotone.

 

“Yeah,” Ushijima answered quietly, not looking away. “Happiness suits you.”

 

And Iwaizumi’s heart loved Ushijima speak so much. It wanted to flew out of his cage and touch the other boy’s heart.

 

“Lie,” Iwaizumi whispered.

 

Ushijima’s eyes softened as Iwaizumi intertwined their fingers. He lied,

 

“I can let you go.” I can’t let you go. “Lie.”

 

Iwaizumi looked down at their hands and lied, “I can let you go.”  I can’t let you go. 

 

And he really couldn’t.

 

“Hajime.”

 

Iwaizumi blinked, hearing his name. He gently raised his head to look at Ushijima and asked,

 

“Yes?”

 

Ushijima’s eyes held comfort, warmth and adoration as he raised their hands and pressed a kiss on the back of Iwaizumi’s.

 

Ushijima said, keeping his lips on Iwaizumi’s hand, “I still wonder who I would have been, if my time loop hadn’t happened. Maybe someone stranger, someone who is far away from me. Someone you would never look at.”

 

Iwaizumi tried to imagine it. “Maybe,” he admitted softly.

 

Ushijima pulled him closer. “What I’m trying to say is that everything I had done made me who I am today,” Iwaizumi turned his hat so that it was backwards on his head and pressed a kiss on Ushijima’s neck. “And everything you had done made you who you are today.”

 

“And?” Iwaizumi whispered.

 

“This version of me,” Ushijima let go and then held Iwaizumi’s face between his hands. He bent down to press their foreheads together. “Is extremely fond of this version of you.”

 

And Iwaizumi’s heart reached up to his throat, pulling up his soul. He felt weightless.

 

“I am who I am because of you,” Iwaizumi stared at him with half lidded eyes.

 

Ushijima smiled and pressed a kiss on his forehead. “I doubt that,” he said. “Because I only met you recently and even then I was a goner.”

 

Iwaizumi grinned. “Really?” He lifted an eyebrow. “Why?”

 

Ushijima furrowed his brows and said, “Because you looked so broken when I turned towards you, sitting on that bench. I remember what I was thinking then. It was silly.”

 

“What? No.” Iwaizumi asked, laughing a little, “What were you thinking?”

 

Ushijima looked away, blushing. “I was thinking that you looked lost. So alone and yet so powerful, so out of place yet so singular,” he gave out a little laugh, shaking his head. “I wanted to see you smile.”

 

And Iwaizumi looking back to Ushijima’s earlier answer, remembering what he said to his question:

 

Happiness suits you.

 

He turned crimson and noticed a little lie growing inside of him. A little lie for Ushijima.

 

I don’t hate you. But I’m–

 

starting to hate you.

 

And that felt the easiest thing to admit in his whole life filled with all of his remaining endless days.

 

They went up to Iwaizumi’s room and laid on the bed, Ushijima was hugging him, his head was pressed against his heart. Iwaizumi’s cheek was lying on the top of Ushijima’s head as he began to caress the other’s ear, jaw and neck.

 

And Iwaizumi tried to imagine doing these things with somebody else.

 

 His heart stopped because it felt so empty, so numb, so nothing–

 

My soul would never find comfort in anyone else but him.

 

And he wanted Ushijima to know. So he whispered,

 

“You have me in a way no one else could ever have me.”

 

Ushijima hugged him tighter and said quietly,

 

“I don’t think I’ll care about anyone else as much as I care about you.”

 

And Iwaizumi knew Ushijima could hear his heart accelerating. 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

When Iwaizumi woke up he heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins.

 

The same today, the same day, the same routine. 

 

And yet Iwaizumi smiled.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

When Makki’s father opened the front door, Iwaizumi noticed Makki turn tense–

 

They didn’t look alike – except for their eyes. Makki was more similar to his mom in appearance, not that it was nowhere near better than to be more similar to his father.

 

“Ah, Takahiro,” Iwaizumi flinched hearing the tone of his voice. “You’re here early.”

 

Makki bit his bottom lip. “I won’t be here for long.”

 

Makki’s father gave out a nasty smile. “Good,” he said and stepped away to let them in. 

 

God, Iwaizumi wanted to punch him.

 

“Iwaizumi,” Makki’s father nodded at him, his voice like venom. “You look good.”

 

Iwaizumi gave him his kindest smile. “You look like a piece of shit.”

 

Makki’s eyes widened as he looked back at Iwaizumi. But Makki’s father didn’t even wince.

 

“You are lucky your father is such an important man, Iwaizumi,” Makki’s father narrowed his eyes. 

 

Iwaizumi sneered. “You’re lucky I respect Makki. He’s the only reason you’re still standing here and not in jail.”

 

Makki’s father’s lips twitched with disgust. “My patience is wearing thin. Remember who’s house you’re in.”

 

Iwaizumi grunted and walked into the house, looking at Makki’s father as he walked away from them.

 

“I loathe him,” Iwaizumi said through his teeth, almost spat. “I completely despise him with my whole being.”

 

Iwaizumi suddenly noticed how quiet Makki was – he turned towards him and noticed his hands were shaking, his eyes were staring at one point, not blinking.

 

Iwaizumi gently touched Makki’s wrist – the other boy snapped out of his trance.

 

“Hey,” Iwaizumi whispered gently. “Let’s find your mom, okay?”

 

Makki nodded, giving a little smile to Iwaizumi. They walked towards the kitchen, Makki’s mom usually was there.

 

And there she was, cooking. 

 

Iwaizumi knew that for Makki, it wasn’t his dad who was the hardest to be around. No. It was his mom.

 

Because Makki looked just like his mom.

 

The same hair, the same smile, the same skin tone and movements. And Iwaizumi knew Makki – he knew how much the boy wanted to reach out to his mom.

 

But his mom didn’t care.

 

And the most devastating part was that she probably never will either.

 

Iwaizumi looked over to see Makki staring at his mom. Iwaizumi also noticed how quiet this house was, how different from his or Matsukawa’s. 

 

While his and Matsukawa’s house were filled with laughter, talking and noise – Makki’s house was filled with silence, anxiety and pressure.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart clenched. 

 

Makki had a beautiful soul and an enormous heart. He was one of the most precious human Iwaizumi had ever known – he was loud and funny and caring and compassionate, filled with empathy and hope–

 

And he had to live in a house like this.

 

Iwaizumi felt his eyes turn blurry so he looked down and shut them, trying to pull himself together.

 

He wanted to help Makki. But the other boy wanted to wait – saying he will move out after a couple of months anyway. Iwaizumi respected his decision but also knew Makki was suffering. He wanted to make it easier for him to wait for the rest of the months to pass by. 

 

But how?

 

“Hello mother,” Makki spoke, his voice felt neutral.

 

Makki’s mom turned around to look at them. She waved. 

 

“Takahiro,” She glanced over to Iwaizumi. “Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi gave her a little smile because even though she didn’t take care of Makki at all nowadays, Iwaizumi knew that when Makki’s father was violent, she stopped him whenever she could. He had no idea why she was still with this man. His thought process wasn’t pointless, because he knew Makki’s father loved his wife and had never hurt her in any way. So it wasn't like as if she couldn’t leave because she was scared. 

 

But then what was making her stay?

 

Iwaizumi wanted to know. He really wanted to know.

 

“Could you get that psychologist number for me, please?” Makki asked, his voice careful and patient. “The one who is a professional and your old friend?”

 

Makki’s mom lifted her eyebrow and turned back to her stew, carefully dropping vegetables in the pot. “Why would you need that?”

 

Makki dropped his gaze and Iwaizumi noticed how he had clasped his hands together. Makki did this whenever he was anxious.

 

“It’s for a classmate,” Makki answered. “He needs help. Possibly the best of the best.”

 

Makki’s mother nodded and took out her phone from her apron. She turned back and gave him her phone.

 

Makki gently took it and began to search for the psychologist’s number. When he found it, he took out his own phone from the pocket of his jacket and began to dial into his contact.

 

“How’s Iwaizumi?” Makki’s mother turned towards Iwaizumi. “I haven’t heard of him since a long time.”

 

Iwaizumi realized she was asking about Sora. He raised his eyebrows. “He’s coming home tonight, actually.”

 

Makki’s mom looked surprised. “Really? From New York, right?” She asked and Iwaizumi nodded. “He’ll be tired.”

 

Iwaizumi snorted. “Very, but he’ll still be as energetic as ever.” 

 

Makki gave his mom’s phone back to her and said, “Thank you.”

 

His mom nodded, “Your welcome,” she said and waved at them because Makki had started to walk out of them house, Iwaizumi following him behind. 

 

They agreed that tomorrow Tendou and Makki were going to visit the psychologist and talk to him. They also agreed that tonight, Makki will take care of Oikawa and tomorrow will be Iwaizumi’s turn.

 

Makki was quiet for the rest of the day.

 

And Iwaizumi just couldn’t get the silence of his house out of his head.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The moment Ushijima opened his door and saw Iwaizumi standing in front of his house – they both reached out towards the other at the same time.

 

Iwaizumi loved to see Ushijima’s eyes change as he was starting to remember. 

 

And Makki still goes home everyday into a house where no one looks at him with something like this. 

 

Maybe Makki didn’t have home. He was just in a house where he lived, but it wasn’t his home. He couldn’t call it his home.

 

Iwaizumi’s stomach clenched, he shut his eyes and lowered his head. He felt Ushijima’s gentle pull.

 

“Come here,” Ushijima hugged him. “It’s going to be fine.”

 

Iwaizumi was holding onto him as if his own life depended on it.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“I want to make his life easier,” Iwaizumi said after he told everything Ushijima. “I feel so bad for him, Ushijima.”

 

They were sitting at the terrace, below the dark, starry sky – Park’s light cello echoed through the house. Ushijima gave his hoodie to Iwaizumi because he had forgotten to bring his coat. Iwaizumi put it on, feeling grateful for he already started to feel the warmth surround him. 

 

Ushijima gave him a cup of warm tea and then sat in front of him, at the other side of the table. He was holding his own tea and patiently waited for Iwaizumi to continue.

 

Iwaizumi shook his head. “I knew what was going on at home but I’ve never really thought it through or gone there to see it for myself and – god why didn’t I go sooner?” He put the cup down on the table and ran a hand through his hair, messing the locks. “It’s so quiet there – as if no one lived there and I know we’re there for him. Me, Matsukawa, Oikawa, the team, Tendou and you – but I don’t think that’s enough,” he sighed looking into Ushijima’s eyes. “I just want to give him something that he could hold onto until he’s out of that house.”

 

Ushijima looked thoughtful, deeply concentrating. He was frowning, the tea in the cup giving steam when he said,

 

“I think I know,” his eyes widened. “I know what to do.”

 

 Iwaizumi’s jaw fell. “What?” He asked, feeling excited.

 

Ushijima seemed to think – he started to nod. “Yeah,” he murmured and put down the tea on the table. “This could actually work.”

 

Iwaizumi started to grow impatient. “Wakatoshi!”

 

Ushijima’s eyes snapped at him – Iwaizumi noticed his cheek turn red. He was waiting but he didn’t continue–

 

“Wakatoshi,” Iwaizumi said again, trying to grab his attention, liking how it made him react.

 

Ushijima blinked and cleared his throat. “Um,” he cleared his throat again. “What?”

 

Iwaizumi stared at him. “Your plan?” He asked.

 

“Yeah, right,” he said, still staring at Iwaizumi. “Sorry, I blacked out for a minute.”

 

I really like this awkward boy, don’t I?

 

Iwaizumi sighed, stood up from his chair and made his way towards Ushijima who still couldn’t function. 

 

When he noticed that Iwaizumi was standing close, he gently pulled him towards his direction. Iwaizumi followed until he sat on Ushijima’s lap, who wrapped his hands around Iwaizumi’s waist, hugging him. 

 

Iwaizumi threw his arms around Ushijima’s neck and laid his head on the other boy’s shoulder – his chin close to the crook of Ushijima’s neck.

 

“There are husky puppies at Goshiki’s,” Ushijima said softly, close to his ears. “They’re going to be eight–weeks–old next week. His family wants a home for all of them.”

 

Iwaizumi frowned, sensing venom inside of him. “His mom might allow a dog in the house,” he said bitterly. “But his father would never.”

 

Ushijima didn’t even hesitate. “The puppy can stay at mine until Makki graduates.”

 

Iwaizumi froze. 

 

He leaned back to look at Ushijima, his eyes widened. “What about your grandma? Your mom?”

 

Ushijima tilted his head. “Mom won’t mind and grandma always wanted a dog. They aren’t even at home most of the time. Mom because of work and grandma because she’s in a lot of clubs and goes frequently to church,” he shrugged. “I’ll make the house safe so that the puppy won’t be hurt and Makki can always visit. He can even sleepover, I really don’t mind, I like the kid anyway.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart melted. “And what if you’re busy? Who will look out for the puppy when you’re not at home?”

 

Iwaizumi answered immediately. “Park,” he looked thoughtful for a moment. “Or Sora even – you mentioned he liked dogs, right?”

 

Iwaizumi nodded, feeling a bit overwhelmed, his heart beating fast because–

 

I’m starting to hate you more and more.

 

“What?” Ushijima asked, looking worried because Iwaizumi still didn’t say anything. “Was that a bad idea? I’m sorry, I thought a puppy would make him happy. You know, there would be a little guy who gave him some love, I’m sorry–”

 

“It’s a great idea,” Iwaizumi said lightly, his voice soft like a feather because Ushijima was full of empathy and he cared. 

 

Ushijima cared so much Iwaizumi couldn’t breathe.

 

The other boy gently took Iwaizumi’s face into his hands – Iwaizumi turned his head and pressed little kisses on Ushijima’s palm, fingers and wrist.

 

Ushijima then tried to lower his hand but Iwaizumi stopped him. He was holding Ushijima’s hand, intertwining their fingers, caressing the skin – doing little circles.

 

Iwaizumi smiled, looking at Ushijima who stared back. Something happened then. Iwaizumi didn’t know what but it looked like Ushijima decided something.

 

 Because his eyes held something serious as he spoke again, breaking the silence,

 

“Kageyama is the person who was in a time loop the same time I was.”

 

Iwaizumi stopped. He was staring at Ushijima, not blinking, feeling his heart accelerate because–

 

I know he isn’t joking.

 

Iwaizumi could see Ushijima wasn’t joking.

 

He remembered what Tendou had said a long time ago. 

 

“...Wakatoshi will tell you eventually. He has to...”

 

He has to.

 

Of course he had to. Because Iwaizumi knew that person – he knew him well.

 

“...He needed to change himself...”

 

Iwaizumi remembered, remembered how everyone called Kageyama a King, someone who was a dictator, selfish and just plainly said he was the worst of the worst. He heard the rumors, he heard Kindaichi talking about this.

 

“...The other person who was in the time loop,” Ushijima continued. A light breeze touched his hair. “I couldn’t believe it was him. He couldn’t believe it either...”

 

“He wanted to stop too,” Ushijima said. His voice felt powerful – Iwaizumi has never heard somebody talk like this in his whole life. “The trouble is that he thought he has time. It’s not true. He needed to take the matter into his own hands and that’s what you also need to do. He didn’t know how to do that, he felt overwhelmed because he noticed how broken he was. But I said don’t stop...”

 

Iwaizumi remembered how much respect Tendou had for this person.

 

“...You resent time loops.” 

 

“It breaks people,” the red head answered. “It didn’t break my best friend – Wakatoshi, I mean,” Tendou’s eyes looked down at his toes. He looked comfortable and vulnerable at the same time. “But it broke the other person who was in a time loop at the same time as him...”

 

And how much respect Ushijima had towards Kageyama.

 

“...He feels different from anyone else – I swear Tendou, his soul is something else. He didn't need anyone to make him strong. He became strong by himself...”

 

Became strong by himself?

 

And then Iwaizumi realized. 

 

“...Imagine living in a day where everyone hates you. Even if you change, even if you say nice things, no one will act differently towards you because they think you’re just messing around. You’re constantly being told of how you are the worst...”

 

“Hajime, say something, you’re scaring me–”

 

“Junior–high,” Iwaizumi muttered, looking into Ushijima’s widened eyes. “His time loop happened while he was at Kitagawa Daiichi.”

 

Ushijima nodded. “After you third years went away,” he said.

 

Iwaizumi’s mind went completely blind. He couldn’t think, he couldn’t move, he was just breathing because–

 

Kageyama was the first one to ever be in a time loop and everything is connecting to him.

 

“You said he knew why time loops happened,” Iwaizumi started slowly. “Do you really think that?”

 

Ushijima nodded again. “I know he knows,” he said. “I just don’t know what he knows,” he lowered his head, looked away from Iwaizumi. “Sometimes we meet, Hajime. I know he’s still not okay – I can see he’s not doing well, you know?”

 

And Oikawa’s words appeared in him, like a gold wind.

 

“...I can’t live with my worthless pride. Live every single day thinking about how I’ll never get better, how I’ll never be able to play, how I’ll never find peace with myself, how I’ll never have enough strength to apologize to Tobio...”

 

And Iwaizumi felt shivers down on his spine. Because all of this were terrifyingly connected. 

 

“I want to talk to him,” Iwaizumi heard himself say. His voice felt distant. “I want to see myself.”

 

“Sure,” Ushijima replied in a feathery voice. “Anything.”

 

Iwaizumi closed his eyes and tried to concentrate, tried to process all of this–

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” Ushijima apologized. Iwaizumi opened his eyes. “But you had so many problems already, so many things to stress about, I didn’t want to give you another one. But now I didn’t want to keep it from you either–”

 

Iwaizumi caressed Ushijima’s cheek. “I’m not mad,” he said and pressed a kiss on his forehead. “Thank you for telling me. I don’t know how I feel about this to be honest,” Iwaizumi felt Ushijima’s lips on his collarbone. “I might know how I feel when I see him though.”

 

Ushijima pulled him closer and Iwaizumi could feel his smile close to his neck. 

 

“I’m so glad you’re my friend,” Ushijima’s voice was painted with joy.

 

Iwaizumi laughed. “I’m so glad you’re my friend too.”

 

“I’m so glad you let me kiss you,” Ushijima continued, still making Iwaizumi laugh.

 

“I’m so glad you want to kiss me,” Iwaizumi smiled gently, pressing a kiss on Ushijima’s temple and below the eye.

 

After a couple of minutes, Iwaizumi stood up and went back to his seat, finishing his tea. Park was playing Seung’s song with his cello and Ushijima started humming along with it. Iwaizumi looked up and admired the sky and he only had one thought:

 

He was strong enough to save himself.

 

And Iwaizumi couldn't even imagine how much will power and how big of a soul Kageyama Tobio had.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

When Iwaizumi woke up he heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins.

 

The same today, the same day, the same routine. 

 

He silently began to count in his head.

 

Today was day twenty. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

 

 

 

 

Day 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iwaizumi was putting up his leather jacket when Makki opened the door. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have– whoa,” Makki stared. “I can’t believe it, you’re actually ready?”

 

Iwaizumi sighed and said, “I’m not going to school today and you won’t either.”

 

Makki’s eyes went round. “Well, that’s one hell of an idea.”

 

Iwaizumi rolled his eyes and, without a single word, he went towards Makki – took his cellphone out of his pocket and started to dial the phone number of the psychologist. 

 

“I memorized the numbers,” Iwaizumi said and finished dialing. He gave the phone back to Makki. “You said you would go to him today with Matsukawa.”

 

And Makki

 

just

 

knew.

 

Iwaizumi watched him realize. Watched him remember.

 

His expression turned into something more soulful – more real, breathtaking, serious. 

 

It felt like watching someone change their skin.

 

And it was beautiful. 

 

Iwaizumi realized another thing in that moment. Because of the time loop – now the biggest thing that mattered to him was people showing their true side. 

 

Staying truthful to yourself. Being truthful to yourself and others.

 

Self love.

 

And how rare it was to witness. 

 

And yet how regularly I got to see it.

 

 

––––––––––––––––

 

 

“I’m so glad you asked me to skip school today, Iwa–chan,” Oikawa smiled at while eating his pancake. “It’s just, there are so many idiots there, you know? I get tired so quickly, it’s impressive. I am capable of impressing myself. I think I just did the impossible.”

 

Iwaizumi was honestly surprised how well Oikawa could act. 

 

There wasn’t a single trace – not even one – that he had those thoughts. In fact, Oikawa looked one of the happiest person right now. 

 

I would’ve never noticed without the time loop.

 

And that was the truth. There was no use in lying. The Iwaizumi before the time loop had no idea. 

 

No one did.

 

They were eating in the same place where Iwaizumi and Makki ate a long time ago. Iwaizumi didn’t know why he wanted to go here with him. He only knew that Matsukawa and Makki were currently driving to the psychologist’s place and he had to make sure Oikawa didn’t suspect anything. 

 

“You know Iwa–chan,” Oikawa continued, taking a sip out of his tea. “I remember playing on that playground which is on the other side of the road,” he pointed at the window close to them. “I was always a king and you were a knight, protecting me all the time from common peasants.”

 

Iwaizumi gave out a little smile. He had thought about the same thing the first time he ate here. “We were young, huh?” 

 

Oikawa smiled. That real smile again. And just like that.

 

“You and Sora were my whole childhood.”

 

Just like that.

 

Iwaizumi forgave him.

 

It wasn’t because he had a soft heart for Oikawa. It wasn’t because of how important Oikawa was to him. 

 

It was because Oikawa had spent his whole life making Iwaizumi happy. 

 

He had spent his whole life supporting him. Supporting everyone, being there for everyone. 

 

I forgive you.

 

Because Oikawa was the most human out of any of them.

 

 

–––––––––––––––

 

 

 

It was much easier afterwards. More comfortable with him, at least for Iwaizumi. 

 

It felt different to be honest because for most of the time, Iwaizumi forgot that he was in a time loop.

 

It felt like a typical day between the two of them. 

 

They only walked in the afternoon, through the rushing city. They were eating ice cream when Iwaizumi’s thoughts began to quiet down.

 

 Only one passing thought remained.

 

 It came out of nowhere, it felt like a sudden burst from a long forgotten moment. Maybe it was because Iwaizumi genuinely enjoyed himself today, being with his best friend all day. Maybe it was because he realized he needed Oikawa in order to be fully happy. Maybe it was because he remembered his own mother’s face whenever she saw Oikawa. Maybe it was because of how Sora had been taking care of Oikawa as well. Maybe it was because Iwaizumi was intrigued – maybe because he wanted Oikawa to get to know Ushijima better, get to know for who he was. 

 

Maybe because Iwaizumi realized how hard it would be to live after Oikawa left.

 

Maybe because Iwaizumi wanted Oikawa to make up with Kageyama. 

 

Wanted Oikawa to learn to love himself again.

 

Wanted him to find peace.

 

Because Iwaizumi’s thoughts quieted down. But only one remained. 

 

I want you to grow up with me.

 

So Iwaizumi asked, “What would you do if you lived in the same day over and over again?”

 

Oikawa looked at him with silent eyes. The world seemed to vanish – as if everything had slowed down. Every person who were walking by had slowed down, every car passing by slowed down, the glowing of the lights had blurred out–

 

Because Oikawa’s eyes drifted down as he said,

 

“I think I would try.”

 

And Iwaizumi’s heart stopped for a moment. “Try what?” He asked quietly but he knew already the answer.

 

Try to live.

 

Oikawa was biting his bottom lip. “You know, you would have all the time. All the time in the world,” he was staring at his melting ice cream. “So I would try.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart started beating again, slowly and surely. “Why would you try only then? You can try everything without living the same day again and again.”

 

Oikawa’s smile was soft. “It’d be different, Iwa–chan,” he looks at him, “It’d be like a restart.”

 

Iwaizumi felt goosebumps. “A restart?” He echoed. 

 

And Oikawa didn’t look away as he said something that made Iwaizumi’s soul move,

 

“Sometimes life gives you a second chance because you weren’t ready the first time. It’s kinda like that and that’s what makes it so funny,” Oikawa grinned, shaking his head. “Because all we have is time. That’s all we truly have and we still want a restart.”

 

And Iwaizumi couldn’t answer. Oikawa’s words was so sharp and beautiful and Iwaizumi couldn’t answer.

 

Why couldn’t he answer?

 

Because I’m in my restart. 

 

And there was no way that Iwaizumi hadn’t needed a restart in order to finally notice what really mattered in his life.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

When the sky darkened and the city started to bloom into its breathtaking colors, Iwaizumi decided to go for a ramen with Oikawa. Because he knew Oikawa had never eaten at ‘Mirai’ – where he and the others ate on the day Ushijima told them he had been in a time loop –, he wanted to show Oikawa how good their ramen were.

 

Oikawa at some point went into the wrong direction – almost got hit by a car which ended up with both of them screaming – Iwaizumi decided to hold this idiot’s hand until they reached ‘Mirai.’

 

The name of the bar was glowing with big neon letters. Iwaizumi gave out a relieved sigh.

 

“We’re finally here, my hands are getting sweaty, you idiot,” Iwaizumi clicked his tongue, looking at the entrance. “You’re always stressing about traffic, I’m telling you–”

 

“Chibi–chan?” Oikawa suddenly shouted

 

Chibi–chan?

 

Iwaizumi frowned, turning back at Oikawa and then–

 

“Seijoh’s Ace?!” Iwaizumi could read the words from the mouth from the other side of the glass–

 

Hinata Shouyou. 

 

And his eyes went round – because –

 

 this was the first time

 

 he had seen 

 

Hinata

 

 here.

 

And before he knew he and Oikawa both walked into the restaurant. 

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi had no idea how it happened. 

 

They all ordered ramens and asked about how Hinata had ended up here, and then Oikawa started to threaten Hinata about how he would win the next match – Hinata promising the same thing. And then Oikawa ordered two more beers for himself and for him – Iwaizumi didn’t drink at all, he just made it look like as if he was drinking. In reality he only drink one beer but he doubted the other two noticed that. Hinata then started to take sips out of Oikawa’s beer and then, after all of this–

 

They became friends.

 

Iwaizumi started to wonder though. There was something really interesting here and he couldn’t put his finger on it what was it. 

 

He had never seen Hinata here before – and he ate a lot of time during this hour a lot in the past couple of yesterdays.

 

There was also the fact that Hinata said his team was currently at a training camp. This was all normal and all – but then why was Hinata here?

 

Better question, where was Kageyama?

 

Because that’s where things got interesting for Iwaizumi. There was something weird about this thing.

 

Hinata and Kageyama were a package – even Oikawa knew that.

 

And yet Kageyama was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Hinata hadn’t mentioned Kageyama at all. 

 

And all of this were happening after Ushijima telling him about Kageyama?

 

There is no way these things are coincidental. 

 

“You jump so flawlessly, Chibi–chan,” Oikawa drawled, completely drunk and flustered. Iwaizumi lifted and eyebrow and looked down at him – he almost laughed. Makki would kill to see drunk Oikawa. He was a rare sight after all. “Every time I see it – I swear it’s like you’re flying,” Oikawa gave out a hiccup.

 

Oh yes, Makki would kill an entire country just to see this.

 

Hinata was no better, if Iwaizumi wanted to be honest.

 

The poor kid began to eat the slice of chocolate cake he had ordered an hour ago or so. He looked like as if he had just noticed the cake.

 

“But your spikes are amazing,” Hinata gestured wildly, throwing his little fork. Iwaizumi followed it with his eyes, full of fear until it hit the darts far away, right in the middle. Someone began to clap, another person whistled. “It’s like you’re God sent or something,” he mumbled.

 

Iwaizumi shut down his eyes, already knowing what was about to happen. Because normal Oikawa was already weird when he got a compliment – but drunk Oikawa was on another level–

 

“Did you hear that, Iwa–chan?” he heard Oikawa whimper.

 

Here we go.

 

He opened his eyes to look at him. “No one has ever said something like this to me before–” Oikawa hiccuped.

 

Oh, you’re not getting sick on me and start whining about it later–

 

He handed a tissue to Oikawa. “Hey, stop the crying–”

 

Hinata started to giggle and touched Oikawa’s hand who’s eyes widened with surprised. 

 

“Can I tell you a secret?” Hinata said.

 

Iwaizumi answered with pure reflex. “That’s a bad idea.”

 

“Sure.”

 

He and Oikawa looked at each other after they had said the two sentences simultaneously.

 

Remind me to never let him get drunk again.

 

“This is the fifth time I live this day.”

 

Iwaizumi 

 

froze.

 

What?

 

What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What–

 

“What do you mean?” Iwaizumi heard Oikawa say but he was still so far away from–

 

“I’m stuck in the same day,” Hinata continued. “I have to live it over and over again.”

 

Oh my god.

 

There was no way–

 

Oh my god.

 

“I feel like I’ve heard this before.”

 

Oikawa’s words snapped Iwaizumi out from his thoughts – it sent chills down to his spine. Because yes Oikawa indeed heard this before.

 

He had heard it before he–

 

“Because you did,” Iwaizumi answered, his voice was shaking so he cracked it. Then he began to write down his telephone number on a napkin. He gave it to Hinata – his hands were shaking – and said, 

 

“Memorize this and call me on your tomorrow.”

 

And that’s when he noticed – Hinata’s eyes. 

 

Oh my god.

 

Because even though, he couldn’t feel what he felt towards Ushijima – the feeling about how he wanted to have that person in his life – he should have noticed Hinata’s eyes.

 

But he didn’t search for them. He wasn’t paying attention enough. 

 

Oh my god.

 

Hinata Shouyou was in a time loop. The same time as him.

 

“You don’t mean–”

 

“I’ve been in a time loop,” Iwaizumi sighed and wiped his face. He looked over to see that Oikawa had passed out and was slowly beginning to drift into sleep. 

 

Good. Oikawa doesn’t need to hear this for the second time.

 

“How do I get out, Iwaizumi?” Hinata’s voice sounded desperate and Iwaizumi’s heart clenched because he didn’t know. “Please tell me, how–”

 

Hinata’s time loop must be different than his. And if that is true – then he can’t help. 

 

He didn’t know.

 

I can’t help you.

 

“You don’t know, right?” Hinata asked. Iwaizumi shut down his eyes and shook his head. “Because you’re still in it.”

 

Iwaizumi nodded because that was all he could do.

 

“How many days?” He asked, already afraid of hearing the answer. 

 

No, Hinata.

 

You don’t want to know.

 

Iwaizumi swallowed. “Twenty.”

 

Hinata closed his eyes and pressed his lips into a thin line. He was shaking, Iwaizumi could see that from there and he started to reach out, trying to comfort him–

 

“I have to get out,” Hinata whispered and stood up, taking the little napkin with Iwaizumi’s number on it. “I have to get out, I can’t stay here–”

 

“Hinata!” Iwaizumi called after him but Hinata didn’t stop.

 

Iwaizumi had already his phone in his hand, starting to dial–

 

“Who the fuck are you and how the fuck do you know my fucking number you fucking fucker?”

 

Well damn.

 

“Tendou, what the hell?” Iwaizumi frowned.

 

“Ah, Iwaizumi,” Tendou’s voice completely changed. “What an interesting turn of events, how are you, my friend?”

 

“Look,” Iwaizumi looked at the sleeping Oikawa, laying on the table. “I want you to come to ‘Mirai’ right now. Oikawa is here and drunk and I can’t stay here. Please look after him.”

 

“Sure but where do you need to go?” Tendou asked.

 

“Just come here, okay?” Iwaizumi said. “And please hurry, I explain everything later.”

 

“Roger that,” Tendou ended the call. He didn't live far so he should be here in a minute or two.

 

The moment Iwaizumi saw Tendou – he rushed out of the door, giving him a half hug and chased after Hinata.

 

He let his senses escort him.

 

And turned out he was right. 

 

Hinata ran into a mugging in a dark corner. The woman tried to pull back her purse but couldn’t do it, and then the attacker noticed Hinata. 

 

And before Iwaizumi knew it,

 

 the man fired his gun and the bullet flew right into Hinata’s heart.

 

Iwaizumi was petrified and the woman

 

screamed.

 

That was the moment when he realized. Hinata’s time loop was about death.

 

Hinata died.

 

Every day.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi ran as if he was being chased. Every people on the street was staring at him as he passed by as if they had seen a lunatic but Iwaizumi didn’t care.

 

He only ran.

 

He dialed another number and raised the phone to his ear – not stopping at all.

 

Sora picked up.

 

“I swear to god, James, If you call me again because of your ex girlfriend’s wedding, I’ll fly back and break your fucking nose. She said yes to Scott, get over it, don’t be a fucking dick. Women deserve to make their own choices, goddamn.” 

 

For real, what was with Sora and Tendou picking up their phones?

 

“Sora, it’s me, Hajime!” Iwaizumi panted already seeing his house. “Quick question, can I borrow your car?”

 

“Firs of all, what the fuck?” Sora began. “Second of all, what the hell are you doing, you sound like you’re on the verge of dying. And third of all, you do what you want I really don’t care.”

 

Iwaizumi knew he was lying but decided to ignore it. “Cool, is the key in the glove compartment as always?”

 

“Damn right it is,” Sora answered.

 

“Thank you, bro, can’t wait to see you,” Iwaizumi smiled. “Love you.”

 

“Hajime–”

 

Iwaizumi ended the call as he walked towards their garage. He opened the door with their password and sat in the black BMW.

 

He started the car and drove out from the garage – the door automatically closed down. Iwaizumi drove to the road and then – only then – realized he had no idea where that training camp was.

 

Crap.

 

He called Tendou again and put him on speaker while he drove through the traffic. 

 

He picked up.

 

“The fuck is this?”

 

“Oh for the love of god, Tendou!” Iwaizumi shouted. “You really need to stop starting your phone calls like this.”

 

“Ah, Iwaizumi. What an interesting surprise.”

 

“What are you on?” Iwaizumi asked, completely serious.

 

“Ain’t taking drugs, I’m broke as hell,” Tendou sneezed. “Bless me, goddamn.”

 

Iwaizumi furrowed his brows. “Why didn’t you save my number?”

 

“I am occupied,” Tendou simply said. “Drunk Oikawa here is trying to argue with Ushijima because he thinks he’s stalking him.”

 

“Oikawa is stalking Ushijima?”

 

“No, Iwaizumi, Ushijima is stalking Oikawa,” Tendou snorted. “According to him anyway.”

 

“And what’s your job there in all of this, exactly?”

 

“I am occupied,” Tendou simply said again. Iwaizumi laughed and then suddenly froze. He took a sharp right turn.

 

“So, Ushijima’s there?”

 

He hasn’t even met him today.

 

“Your boy?” Tendou sounded smug. Iwaizumi had a sudden urge to punch him. “He sure is here. Wanna say hi? I put you on speaker.”

 

Iwaizumi drove out of the city and now only valleys and flowers surrounded him under the starry sky.

 

“Hello?”

 

Iwaizumi’s stomach did a flip. He shouldn’t even react to Ushijima like this – they’ve already kissed a lot of times.

 

“Hi,” Iwaizumi voice changed – the tone was completely different that what he had used during his talk with Tendou. “So umm... thank you for helping Tendou... and you know... looking out for Oikawa.”

 

Such a good job, Hajime. You nailed it. 

 

Fuck. 

 

“You sound nervous,” Ushijima answered, completely throwing off Iwaizumi.

 

“Nervous? Why would I be nervous?” Iwaizumi’s laugh was filled with stress.

 

“I have no idea,” Ushijima said. “Tendou told me everything, so if that’s what bothers you then don’t worry.”

 

Iwaizumi’s grip on the wheel grew stronger. “I’m just... I don’t know... I feel weird because I know you don’t remember.”

 

Ushijima got quiet for a minute before he answered, “Well, I was surprised to hear that I was in a relationship with a guy – or in a relationship in general.”

 

Iwaizumi was surprised. “Really? Why?” 

 

“Because I was never interested in anyone,” Ushijima said. “Especially not in boys. So with all due respect, Hajime, if we’re together then you are quite special and don’t need to be nervous at all.”

 

Iwaizumi blinked, hearing his name again from Ushijima’s mouth. It did things to his stupid heart.

 

You are quite special.

 

Iwaizumi felt his cheek turn crimson. 

 

“Hajime?” Ushijima asked. “Are you still here?”

 

Iwaizumi blinked again. “Yeah I’m here, sorry,” he sighed. “Does any of you know a phone number from either Karasuno or Nekoma?”

 

“I know Kuroo’s from Nekoma,” Tendou spoke up. “I’ll send it to you.”

 

“Thank you,” Iwaizumi then realized what Tendou had really said. “How did you get the Captain’s phone number?”

 

“I lost a bet with Fukurodani’s Captain once,” Tendou said. “Long story short, never mention Budapest in front of Bokuto. Especially not when I’m in the same room as well.”

 

Ushijima began to laugh, making Iwaizumi smile immediately. “How’s Oikawa?” He asked.

 

“Passed out,” both of the boys answered simultaneously. It went quiet for awhile.

 

 “I just checked his pulse. He’s breathing,” Tendou confirmed.

 

“What a good babysitters you two are,” Iwaizumi mocked them. “I wouldn’t even leave my nonexistent niece with you two.”

 

He should have known better. He really should have. He literally walked right into it.

 

“What does that mean?” Tendou sounded so offended it moved the phone and it almost fell down from its place. “You won’t bring your children to Uncle Tendou, is that it? Shame on you, Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi almost choked on his own spit. “Children?”

 

“And I thought I was important,” Tendou continued. “I already planned to help with the adoption too. Guess it was all for nothing, huh?”

 

“CHILDREN?” Iwaizumi tried to be louder.

 

“I already decided to have them over on every Sunday – Wakatoshi, are you okay? Hey, big guy!” Tendou suddenly began to laugh. “Oh my god, Iwaizumi! Wakatoshi is so red, it’s unreal.”

 

Iwaizumi – after hearing this – turned red as well. 

 

“I bet you are too, aren’t you?” Tendou’s laugh was louder. “I can’t – Makki, my boy, is going to love this–”

 

“I gotta go,” Iwaizumi was sure that his whole face, neck and ears were red by now. “Bye.”

 

He ended the call and tried to pull himself together. He called Kuroo. 

 

He picked up.

 

“I’m not going back to jail.”

 

What the hell–

 

First Tendou, then Sora and now Kuroo.

 

“I’m Iwaizumi Hajime from Seijoh,” he began. “The Vice Captain to be exact – I got your number from Shiratorizawa’s Tendou Satori. I want to know where your training camp is at. I want to talk to Hinata, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t want to cause trouble.”

 

Kuroo didn’t answer soon but when he did the answer he decided to give was priceless.

 

“You think you can throw me off? I wasn’t born yesterday – that kind of talk won’t get you anywhere.”

 

And then Iwaizumi remembered about what Tendou had said.

 

Kuroo must love betting.

 

“If you tell me where the training camp is at and if you let me in – I will ask Shiratorizawa to participate in a practice match against Nekoma and Karasuno as well.”

 

Kuroo went deadly quiet. “Ushiwaka would never accept it. There is no way you can pull that off.”

 

Iwaizumi had the nerve to smirk. “Wanna bet I can?”

 

Kuroo then gave out the loudest laugh Iwaizumi had ever heard. And then the Captain of Nekoma said,

 

“You crazy motherfucker.”

 

And Iwaizumi knew he was in.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The moment Iwaizumi found Karasuno’s place –his leather jacket turned ruffled, his hair was a mess. He must have made quite an appearance as far as he could tell by looking at Hinata’s widened eyes.

 

“Seijoh’s Ace?”

 

“Iwaizumi?”

 

“The Vice Captain of Seijoh?”

 

After all of them had said it out loud, both the bald guy and the blond first year turned to look at Hinata. 

 

I’ve never thought I’d say this but good to see you, Hinata.

 

Iwaizumi hold up his hands in defense. “I’m not looking for trouble, Kuroo told me the address – don’t ask, we have a bet going on,” he frowned. Fuck, he was not ready for this conversation. “I’m not spying on your practice, I’m alone – no, Oikawa’s not here and I only want to speak with Hinata.”

 

The bald guy stood up with the one who wore glasses, completely bewildered and astonished. “Sure,” the older boy said and then walked out of the room, still looking as confused as ever, the younger following him, who looked back at Hinata for some reason. 

 

Hinata nodded at him, with a slight smile on his face.

 

He looked absolutely devastated, tired and so young and old at the same time and Iwaizumi felt sorry for him so much because neither of them deserved this and Hinata had gotten killed and oh fucking hell–

 

He wanted to hug this kid – so he rushed over to him the minute the door was closed and kneeled in front of him, touching his shoulders. Trying to give him comfort – trying to give him that no one had given him at the beginning of his own time loop.

 

Understanding.

 

“I saw you die, Hinata,” Iwaizumi needed to keep his voice steady, he needed to remain strong before Hinata. “That motherfucking bastard shot you – I followed you and when I saw how that man turned the gun to your–” Iwaizumi squeezed his shoulders, pressing his lips into a thin line. 

 

Stay calm. He needs you. 

 

You already saw death – not in this way but in another way. 

 

Stay calm, you can do this, Hajime.

 

Be like Ushijima.

 

“I drove as fast as I could – my loop will activate soon,” Iwaizumi looked at his watch. Fuck. “I don’t have much time so I need you to listen to me,” Hinata couldn’t stop shaking but he still nodded, biting his bottom lip. 

 

He looked so brave.

 

Iwaizumi remembered Ushijima’s words. “The most important thing in this fucking messed up shit is that you can’t cheat death,” Hinata’s amber eyes widened. “You can feel it, can’t you?” Iwaizumi asked softly.

 

But if Hinata always died–

 

Maybe this was the first time for him to die by someone else’s hands?

 

That’s why he looked so shocked when he heard him say he couldn’t cheat death.

 

“Every other deaths were accidents – I know because it’s the same for me.”

 

Yes, it was the same for him. Oikawa never died because of homicide. He died because of suicide.

 

Yes, that had to be it.

 

“But yesterday was not an accident. He killed you yesterday. That’s not the same. It’s nowhere near to your original death, ” Iwaizumi tried to sound as strong as Ushijima. That was the only thing that kept him going. “This might be your last day.”

 

Hinata looked so lost.

 

“How do you know all of this?” He asked. He sounded tired. “How? There’s no way you could figure this out in 20 days–”

 

Iwaizumi pulled back from the hug at his wristwatch, “Fuck,” he said and then looked up again at him. 

 

I can’t tell him about Kageyama.

 

He won’t take it well. Not in a state like he was currently in. Not while he was in a time loop. And there was no time to tell about Ushijima either.

 

Where was Kageyama anyway? Why isn’t he doing something? He must have touched Hinata once during his time loop – he should have known Hinata was in one by now.

 

Shit, Iwaizumi’s time was running out. 

 

He started, trying to keep Hinata’s hope alive, giving him something to think about in order to not give up–

 

“I promise you one thing, Hinata. Find a way to live through this day and I tell you – I swear to the fucking almighty, I’ll tell you, just don’t die–”

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 Iwaizumi woke up

 

He heard the music and it felt like a jolt, firing his veins.

 

He stood up and ran a hand through his hair.

 

It was day twenty–one. 

 

And Hinata Shouyou was in a time loop.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

 

 

 

The Last 

 

 

 

Endless 

 

 

 

Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makki opened the door. 

 

“It’s Friday, Iwaizumi, not Saturday, so get up. I don’t have– whoa,” Makki stared. “I can’t believe it, you’re actually ready?”

 

Iwaizumi looked down at himself and then back at Makki. “I need to go to Ushijima,” he hurried. “We can talk about what happened at the psychologist, call you later.”

 

And before Makki could’ve answered–

 

Iwaizumi was gone.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“He’s in a time loop?” Ushijima leaned close to him while they were sitting in the pub called ‘Days and Minutes’, at the counter, on stools.

 

Iwaizumi nodded and his fingers tightened around his glass. “I couldn’t believe it, Wakatoshi,” he said, looking at him. “He has the same eyes. And he dies every single day, god–”

 

“Hajime,” Ushijima began gently. “You can’t do anything about it. It’s his time loop. He is the one who can get out – and the only one at that.”

 

Iwaizumi was staring at him in silence. “But I can give him support... as you gave me,” he said. “I just want him to get something that could ease his days.”

 

Ushijima furrowed his brows. “You know, that’s what doesn’t add up actually,” he stopped for a minute. “Why wouldn’t Kageyama say something?”

 

Iwaizumi raised an eyebrow and started nodding. “I know right?”

 

Ushijima’s eyes darted down as he began to concentrate. “It’s just weird,” he said. “I know him. He wouldn't hide something like that,” he shook his head. “Gotta ask about it later.”

 

Iwaizumi nodded again. “Hmm.”

 

He then looked down at his glass. The black liquid shone gold as the light touched the surface. 

 

Ushijima leaned his head on Iwaizumi’s shoulder – nuzzling to his neck. Iwaizumi gently laid his head on the top of Ushijima’s. 

 

“You’re going to do it today,” Ushijima didn’t ask. “You’re saving him today.”

 

Iwaizumi shut down his eyes and let himself to be comforted. The noise of other people filled the whole pub. The clinking sound of the glasses, the talking and laughter. What an easy life. 

 

What a different world.

 

Something Iwaizumi will never have.

 

And he was ready to let go all of it. For some incredible reason, he wasn’t sorry about letting it go. He knew he’d seen things he couldn’t unsee. He knew he was different than anyone else. He knew he will never be the same again. 

 

And yet Iwaizumi was ready to let go. Ready to move one, ready to involve into who he really was.

 

He was ready to accept. For the first time in his life–

 

I was ready.

 

A light cello started to play in the pub, silencing everyone and everything down. There was an enormous mirror in front of Iwaizumi and Ushijima – they saw Park in the reflection, playing the instrument. Next to him, Seung was sitting on a stool with a microphone close to his mouth. His green hair was glowing under a golden lamp.

 

The cello felt bouncy and yet jumpy – as if it was hurrying somewhere, as if it could finally speak and breathe. Park had his eyes close.

 

This was the same song Park had been playing in every yesterday, next to Ushijima’s house, late at night.

 

The bow in his hand felt so otherworldly – he held it elegantly in a hand covered with tattoos.

 

Iwaizumi caught a glimpse of his neck tattoo. 

 

Lord let them see you in me.

 

Lord let me see you in them.

 

And he felt chills run down his spine.

 

I need another story,”

 

Seung’s voice showed his soul – Iwaizumi stared at birds and rain and religion as he was hearing him sing. And the cello, Park’s cello was midnight and miracles. 

 

He let his eyes discover the others’ emotion, and Iwaizumi swore, people were staring at Seung as if he had showed them heaven. 

 

And yes.

 

Maybe he did.

 

Something to get off my chest,” he leaned back, still closing his eyes. “My life gets kinda boring. Need something that I can confess.

 

And Iwaizumi shut down his eyes and listened. 

 

Till all my sleeves are stained red, from all the truth that I’ve said. Come by it honestly, I swear, thought you saw me wink no – I’ve been on the brink, so,”

 

Tell me what you want to hear,” people began to sing and Iwaizumi heard their choir touch his soul.

 

Something that will light those ears,” Seung continued. “I’m sick of all the insincere.

 

So I’m gonna give all my secrets away,” the crowd echoed, their voice blended into the other, creating something that was made of light. 

 

This time,” Seung sang and then stopped.

 

Don’t need another perfect lie,” the crowd finished.

 

Don’t care if the critics ever jump in line,” he stopped again. 

 

I’m gonna give all my secrets away,” the choir continued. 

 

And Iwaizumi realized something right then, right there. It wasn’t something big, something life turning. It was so little as a dust, so pointless as a lie. But for him, for in that moment – it felt like everything. And looking back, maybe it was. 

 

Maybe it was.

 

Because he thought–

 

I’m glad I had a second chance. I’m glad I had a restart. I’m glad.

 

Because Iwaizumi never believed in anything before. He never believed in fate or destiny or God or a second chance. 

 

That life seemed so empty, looking back now.

 

It wasn’t something he needed, it wasn’t something that made him happy. 

 

Iwaizumi was living in the same city he had been living in since he was born. He was walking the same streets he had been walking since forever. He was living his days in the same way he had been living them since years. 

 

And only now he noticed how much he had been missing. 

 

I hadn’t even noticed how desperately I searched for something – anything that could have made me happier, day by day.

 

He was walking the same streets he had been walking since forever. He was living his days in the same way he had been living them since years. 

 

And he only noticed now–

 

How enormously I wanted to believe in something. 

 

Everyone started clapping – a crowd full of claps along the rhythm and the cello. Iwaizumi opened his eyes – candles glowed, people smiled and recorded with their phones.

 

Such a big happiness in one place.

 

Got no reason, got no shame,” Seung’s voice and Park’s cello resonated through the claps. “Got no family I can blame.”

 

Just don’t let me disappear,” the choir sang.

 

That was when Ushijima moved his head, their foreheads were touching, their noses gently bumped into each other. Iwaizumi gently smiled and then heard Ushijima say,

 

“Thank you for sharing your endless days with me.”

 

I’mma tell you everything,” everyone shouted with a beautiful harmony. 

 

Iwaizumi’s heart loved Ushijima so much. His soul was so comfortable with him it was insane. He remembered what Ushijima said to him, not a long time ago.

 

One day you’ll wake up and notice all the happiness in this world. 

 

So he heard himself say this,

 

“Thank you for showing me how to live in my endless days.”

 

Tell me what you want to hear,” people began to sing. “Something that will light those ears,” 

 

Seung and Park continued. “I’m sick of all the insincere.

 

So I’m gonna give all my secrets away,” the crowd echoed, their voice blended into the other, creating something that was made of light. “This time don’t need another perfect lie. Don’t care if the critics ever jump in line. I’m gonna give all my secrets away.

 

All my secrets away,” Seung began, the cello started to quiet down.  All my secrets away.

 

All my secrets away,” the choir echoed.

 

And Ushijima’s gentle smile was as breathtaking as the choir, the cello and the music surrounding them.

 

All my secrets away.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi knew Makki wasn’t at home and neither was his dad. He didn’t even know why he was doing this – what was he trying to prove and to whom exactly. 

 

He only knew that this was his last endless day if everything would go according to plan.

 

So when he knocked on Makki’s front door – and saw Makki’s mom opening it – he had no idea what had came to him. 

 

Maybe he just wanted to know why.

 

So after Makki’s mom invited him in, Iwaizumi didn’t sit down but only stared at the woman before asking,

 

“Do you love your son?”

 

Makki’s mom looked away from him – looking down at the floor, hiding. Iwaizumi bet no one had ever asked her this. 

 

And Iwaizumi wanted to know why.

 

“He’s the best thing in this world, Mrs. Hanamaki,” Iwaizumi’s voice was soft. “He is kind and helpful and generous and has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen and,” his voice began to shake. “I just don’t understand, please help me understand, how can you treat him like this? We both know he doesn’t deserve this so then why–”

 

“It’s too late,” she whispered, still looking away. She hugged herself – her hands began to shake. “He hates me and he should.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened, his breath hitched in his throat. “No,” he said gently. “He doesn’t hate you.”

 

He never hated his mom.

 

“I’ve never done anything to prevent him hitting him – I stayed put and only tried to help when things got worse,” Iwaizumi noticed tears rolling down on her cheek but she was still not looking up. “You know, I just thought – the moment I show I’m on my child’s side – I thought, he would begin to hit me too,” she closed his eyes, her mouth pressed into a thin line.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart clenched and–

 

“And I couldn’t leave – he would never let me take him with me and I would never leave him alone. I’m the worst,” she whimpered and buried her face into her hands. “I’m really the worst because how could anyone do that to their son? I should have done something,” She had started to wipe her tears away but to Iwaizumi it seemed there was more and more. “I had only one hope – that after graduation he will finally be happy because he has you and the boys – but I – I,” her breathing turned uneven, loud. 

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes turned blurry–

 

“I want to be there for him too, live with him but he would never accept me and he’s right, you know? He has every right for that and it’s too late and even after I get divorced – he would never forgive me and that’s okay and,” she sobbed and took a deep breath. “I would leave him alone, I will leave him alone, I promise–”

 

Iwaizumi hugged her and she immediately hugged him back. 

 

“And he got so tall and so mature. He’s so clever and he looks just like me, Iwaizumi,” she cried and Iwaizumi pressed his lips into a thin line, fighting back his tears. “I want to compliment him but I’m scared – I want to hug him and tell him I know, I know that you are too perfect to me. I know you deserve more, so much more than me, so much more than this life and I’m sorry I couldn’t give it to you. I’m sorry I wasn’t brave enough to give it to him,” she screamed into his chest and Iwaizumi started to cry. “He’s all I have and he’ll leave in a couple of months and I will let him because he deserves something better than this, something better than me.”

 

“You need to tell him this,” Iwaizumi breathed, voice shaking. “You need to–”

 

“He won’t forgive me,” she said immediately. “I wouldn’t forgive myself either – and I need to let him go–”

 

“No,” Iwaizumi pulled back to look at her. “No, what you need to do, is to tell him. All of this. Everything you told me, word by word.”

 

She shut her eyes. “He’s going to hate me more,” she whispered. “He’s going to hate me so much more than he already does.”

 

No.

 

“But that’s the thing, Mrs. Hanamaki,” Iwaizumi said. “He hates him more than anything. But you...” He stopped for a minute. “He never hated you.”

 

She opened her eyes.

 

He never did.

 

 

––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“So you’re saying he has to go to America?” Iwaizumi asked Makki and Matsukawa.

 

Makki nodded. “After we explained everything about Oikawa, the psychologist said that he knew a professional in New York,” he looked over at Matsukawa. “What did he say? Is he his old friend from college?”

 

Matsukawa nodded and pointed with his chin at Iwaizumi. “Apparently everyone who was his patient successfully recovered after a couple of months,” he said. “And he only works with patients who are suicidal.”

 

Iwaizumi frowned, thinking. “This will take a lot more money and time than what we thought.”

 

Matsukawa shrugged. “His parents wouldn't think about money in this situation. Not even for one second.”

 

Makki nodded. “That’s true.”

 

Iwaizumi glanced at him. “Well, we need the best of the best.”

 

Matsukawa did a little bow, as if he was saying ‘there you go.

 

 “And he is the best of the best, apparently,” Makki continued. 

 

“Would he go to New York, though?” Matsukawa abruptly asked. 

 

Makki hesitated – his eyes found Iwaizumi’s. 

 

“He has to,” they said at the same time.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Hinata was drinking his smoothie, sitting in a coffee house with Iwaizumi. Iwazumi was drinking coffee, thinking about his plan. 

 

Ushijima will wait in front of Oikawa’s house and call the ambulance – Matsukawa and Makki will get the parents. 

 

Everyone knew what they needed to do.

 

“I don’t know how long I can take this anymore,” Iwaizumi started to speak and lowered his voice, “I know you told me the rules about how to get out but it doesn’t work for me.”

 

I need to act like I don’t know what to do because–

 

Hinata didn’t need to know how terrifying was the thing Iwaizumi needed to do. 

 

The ginger leaned closer. “You need to be in good terms with Oikawa in order to break out.” 

 

Good terms.

 

Iwaizumi’s stomach did a flip. 

 

“What caused the time loop to happen in the first place?” Hinata asked.

 

Iwaizumi crossed his arms, looking away. He really didn’t want Hinata to stress about this – this poor kid had enough stress to last for his whole life.

 

But I don’t want to lie either.

 

“Suicide.”

 

It was silence for a minute.

 

“Who’s?” Hinata’s voice felt distant.

 

“Oikawa’s,” Iwaizumi rubbed his eyes tiredly and then buried his face into his hands. “I have to prevent it everyday.”

 

But not for long.

 

“At first,” Iwaizumi began, still covering his face. “I didn’t even know he killed himself. The first six days were like this: I fell asleep and then woke up again on the same day.”

 

He really only processed the whole thing on the sixth day – even though he found out on the fifth.

 

“And I had no idea why. But then one day,” he whispered, remembering the blood on his hands. “I saw it. And then I put the pieces together.”

 

He remembered his first thought. The first sign of Oikawa having those thoughts.

 

Why do you look so real?

 

“Why?” Hinata knew Iwaizumi understood the question. They both knew what he had asked. 

 

“I still don’t know,” Iwaizumi lied again and then finally looked up again at Hinata. “It must be the key to get out of this mess,” It was. Iwaizumi stared Hinata for a couple of seconds. “It’s weird you don’t forget me like the rest.”

 

Well, weird in a way he didn’t need to touch him and because he wasn’t like Makki or Tendou.

 

Iwaizumi began to wonder. 

 

Did Hinata have someone who was sensitive about time?

 

Hinata shrugged. “I was in your shoes, remember?” He leaned on the table with chin on his two fists. “Besides, you still owe me an explanation.”

 

And Iwaizumi did owe one.

 

But Hinata still looked awful – he recently got out of the hospital after he had gotten out of his time loop. Turned out, his time and Iwaizumi’s didn’t match up at all. 

 

For Iwaizumi – he only found out about Hinata yesterday.

 

But to Hinata – a week and three days had already passed since then.

 

And it wore down Hinata. He told Iwaizumi how paranoid he was, how scared to walk in the city, scared of being killed again, being hit by something again.

 

Scared of dying.

 

Iwaizumi didn’t have an easy life during his time loop either. Ushijima and Kageyama surely did not either.

 

But Iwaizumi was sure Hinata got the worst. Dying every single day?

 

It was a miracle Hinata was still sane.

 

And he barely was, Iwaizumi could see that. He didn’t need to know about Kageyama – not right now. Not until he was completely healed.

 

He took a deep breath. “I know another person,” he said, “who was in a time loop.”

 

Hinata’s eyes widened.

 

“He got out of it a long time ago,” he continued, still looking at Hinata, waiting for a reaction. “He told me everything I know about the time loop.”

 

Hinata gulped and asked, “Who?”

 

Iwaizumi raised his cup of coffee.

 

He doesn’t need another shock. 

 

He didn’t want to say Wakatoshi. 

 

That’s another conversation for another time. After things calmed down.

 

“Ushijima.”

 

And Hinata looked like he wanted to faint.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

It was getting late and Iwaizumi knew he needed to go soon. He had no idea why he was here, at ‘Days and Minutes’ again. Alone.

 

Well, not entirely alone. Park was talking to a customer at the other side of the counter and there were a few people here but it was late.

 

Iwaizumi had no idea why he liked this place so much. Time stood still here.

 

It felt like he could get more time here.

 

Funny.

 

On his last endless day Iwazumi wanted more time. 

 

“You’re Wakatoshi’s boyfriend, right? Iwaizumi?” 

 

Iwaizumi turned around and found himself face to face with the grinning, green haired Seung.

 

For some reason, he remembered what he had said to Sora.

 

“...No one is sent by accident to anyone...”

 

“Can I sit down?” Seung asked, pointing at the seat next to Iwaizumi who nodded. Seung sat down and smiled at Iwaizumi.

 

This boy was so different it scared him.

 

“You are talented,” Iwaizumi told him. “I love your performances.”

 

Seung straightened his spine, looking all smug and happy. “Why, thank you.”

 

“I can hear your ego from here, kid!” Park shouted over them. “Be humble, for fuck’s sake.”

 

Seung turned around, pouting. “But hyung–”

 

“A–a,” Park clicked his tongue. “Shut up, adults are talking over here.”

 

Seung sighed and turned back, looking at Iwaizumi. “He’s nagging too much,” he said. “He’s worse than my dad.”

 

Iwaizumi laughed. “Only because he loves you.”

 

Seung gave out a gentle smile. “Yeah, I know,” he looked away for a moment. “I’m still thankful for the day when I discovered this place.”

 

Iwaizumi was intrigued. “How did you find this place?”

 

Seung turned excited. “It was a long time ago, actually. I was looking for a job – I just wanted a place where I could sing to be honest,” his smile was so wide and kid–like that it made Iwaizumi smile as well. “And I was sitting at the park, playing my guitar when a boy threw some money into my guitar case. He threw a lot of money,” Seung had a nostalgic look in his eyes, remembering back to that day. “And I was very thankful so I started to talk to him. He was a really nice guy. He looked a bit sad, though,” Seung frowned for a moment. “Well anyway, he told me about this place and that the boss was looking for a performer,” Seung shrugged, turning serious. “I haven’t seen him since then. Must have been destiny.”

 

Iwaizumi had a weird feeling all of a sudden. “Do you remember his name?”

 

Seung smiled, nodding. “There’s no way I would forget his name. He’s the reason I was able to meet Park and Wakatoshi – even my fiancée, I’d say. He’s the only reason I’m here right now.”

 

Iwaizumi’s heart stopped. “What’s his name?” But Iwaizumi already knew.

 

And Seung answered,

 

“Kageyama Tobio.”

 

 

–––––––––––––––––

 

 

Iwaizumi was standing in front of Oikawa’s door. He had already sent the message to everyone.

 

They knew what to do.

 

And, for the firs time, Iwaizumi didn’t knock – he opened the door and walked into Oikawa’s house with the speed of light.

 

The ambulance will be here soon.

 

He had to do this fast.

 

Oikawa appeared in front of him, looking relieved. “Ah, Iwa–chan, it’s just you,” he let out a deep breath. “Don’t scare me like that. You should have called me.”

 

Iwaizumi’s chest ached in pain.

 

I wish I wouldn’t need to scare you, Tooru.

I really do.

 

But this was the only way.

 

The only way to stop you for good.

 

Iwaizumi walked towards the kitchen and without a single word – he took out a knife from one of the drawers. 

 

“Iwa–chan, what are you–”

 

Iwaizumi looked back to Oikawa and rolled his sleeves up, without looking away–

 

Oikawa’s 

 

eyes

 

widened.

 

“What are you–”

 

Be brave, Hajime.

 

Iwaizumi took a deep breath.

 

Be brave.

 

He took another shaking breath.

 

Be brave and save him.

 

And Iwaizumi started to cut slowly, starting from his wrist. You need to know I’m serious about this.

 

He started to cut horizontally.

 

Oikawa paled and rushed towards him.

 

 “HAJIME–”

 

“Don’t move or I’ll do it more quickly,” Iwaizumi shouted, breathing fast and loud and Oikawa stopped in front of him – his hands trying to reach towards him. He stopped the knife, wincing in pain, shaking like a leaf.

 

Oikawa’s lips began to tremble and his hands were shaking and he was pale and he looked scared, terrified even and–

 

We switched places, huh?

 

Iwaizumi almost laughed – his blood started to paint his skin, it ran down, dropping on the floor.

 

“I know you want to... kill yourself,” Iwaizumi whispered, voice shaking. “I want you to know.... that if you kill yourself, I’ll do too.”

 

Oikawa winced. “What?”

 

You need to know I’m serious about this.

 

Iwaizumi continued cutting his arms – he gave out a loud sob – up until his forearm, his blood spilling out like–

 

“NO! NO, STOP! YOU CAN’T DO THIS–” 

 

He couldn’t see normally – the pain burnt him,  he fell to his knees, his blood was everywhere, he was shaking, he bit his tongue in order to no scream–

 

Please stay.

 

He started crying. 

 

“Hajime, Hajime – stay with me, listen to me,” Oikawa kneeled down grabbing the knife covered with his blood and throwing it away. “Everything is going to be okay, fuck, where’s my phone, where’s my phone, where’s my phone–” Oikawa’s voice was getting louder and louder to the point where he was shouting. 

 

“It hurts, fuck,” Iwaizumi whimpered, starting to get dizzy, looking down at his arm – there was so much blood – he looked back at Oikawa. “Don’t make me do it again, Tooru – I’ll do it again... if you’re going to... try it again. Don’t make... me do it again,” Iwaizumi almost fell, Oikawa grabbed his shoulders, keeping him steady. He couldn’t breathe normally, tears were running down on his cheek.

 

Please stay.

 

“No, no, no, no, no–”

 

Please stay–

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened, fully realizing what he did–

 

“I don’t want to go,” he whimpered. “I don’t want to go... I’m not... I’m not ready to go–”

 

Please stay.

 

Oikawa’s grip tightened. “You won’t go, you won’t go–”

 

Please stay.

 

“Don’t leave,” Iwaizumi begged, his heart beating fast and his lungs hurting. “Don’t leave–”

 

Please stay.

 

“I won’t,” Oikawa started hyperventilating. “I won’t leave – just please, you can’t die, you’re my best friend, you can’t die, you can’t die, Hajime, don’t leave me alone, no, no, no, no–”

 

Please stay.

 

“Stay for... me,” Iwaizumi begged, crying, feeling cold and weak and he was shaking and started to drift off. “Stay alive.... for me.”

 

“I will,” Oikawa screamed, his cry filled the whole room. “I will, just don’t die – please, stay with me–”

 

And then Iwaizumi felt it.

 

 And he had to say before

 

 it 

 

was

 

 over.

 

“I love you.”

 

And then it was dark.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

When Iwaizumi opened his eyes and he didn’t hear music. He saw a white ceiling, heard–

 

In fact,

 

He didn’t hear anything. Just a beeping sound–

 

His eyes widened as he sat up in his bed.

 

He didn't hear music.

 

  

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing he saw was a machine linked to his pulse – little lines giving out beeping sounds on a monitor–

 

“Oh my god!” A nurse whispered – Iwaizumi just noticed her standing next to him. “Honey, stay put, just slowly, okay?” She gently pushed him back – Iwaizumi felt better lying down. “Nikki, call Doctor Yoshima!”

 

The nurse nodded and then rushed out of the room. Iwaizumi looked up to the other nurse – she was checking the monitor, him, the needle on the back of his hand–

 

“Where’s my family?” Iwaizumi asked – his lips felt chapped and his mouth dry. “Where’s my–”

 

“A lot of people are here, honey,” she said, writing something down. “And when I mean a lot – I really mean a lot. A lot of people love you,” she smiled at him, her gentle eyes glanced at his bandaged arm. “Your friend told us what you’ve done in order to save him,” she looked back at him. “According to him, nothing else could have stopped him yesterday.”

 

Iwaizumi’s eyes widened.

 

Oikawa would have killed himself if he hadn’t done this.

 

“You are so brave, honey,” she smiled gently. “I’m sorry there wasn’t any other way. I’m sorry you had to do that.”

 

Iwaizumi smiled back – his smile felt too raw and real and breathtaking. Because it didn’t matter anymore.

 

He won.

 

I

 

finally

 

won.

 

“Ah,” Doctor Yoshima appeared, walking towards him with the biggest smile on his face. He was rather young despite being a doctor. “Iwaizumi, good to see you, son.”

 

Iwaizumi nodded with respect. “Doctor.”

 

Doctor Yoshima was talking to the nurse for a couple of minutes and then looked back at him. 

 

“Looks like you’re going to be fine, Although, you need to stay here for tonight. You can go tomorrow,” he smiled, looking at his arm. “It was a really deep cut so you have to come back here for check ups next week – just to make sure it heals alright,” his smile changed. It made Iwaizumi frown. “It will leave a scar, Iwaizumi.”

 

Iwaizumi winced. “It’s okay,” he said quietly. “It’s fine.”

 

The doctor walked close to him and grasped his hand. “I know what you did – why you did it. Oikawa told us,” he said. “And I want you to know that it was a stupid idea.”

 

Iwaizumi flinched.

 

“But–”

 

“It was the stupidest idea I’ve ever seen and you need to promise you won’t do it again,” he said in a severe tone. “No matter what he does.”

 

Iwaizumi swallowed, not being able to look away. “I promise.”

 

Doctor Yoshima smiled and then said something that warmed up Iwaizumi’s heart.

 

“You saved a life yesterday,” he said and did a little salute to Iwaizumi. “Thank you, that was supposed to be my job.”

 

Iwaizumi raised an eyebrow, grinning. “Well, you still saved mine, Doctor. I’d say we both did a pretty good job.”

 

They started to laugh but then someone burst through the door–

 

Sora.

 

His black hair looked like a nest – not in a good way – and one of his socks were missing. Sora’s blue eyes found his–

 

“Hajime!” Sora yelled. “You fucking idiot!”

 

I missed you.

 

Iwaizumi started to grin. “Bro!” He yelled back – his voice cracked.

 

Doctor Yoshima looked up at the ceiling and shook his head. “What a weird week this and the last was,” he started to walk out of the room. “Someone got hit by a car last week, I swear, Fridays are cursed,” he bowed in front of Sora. “I’ll talk to the parents,” and closed the door behind him, the nurse following him. She waved at them.

 

Sora turned back to look at him. “You fucking idiot!” He yelled again.

 

Iwaizumi tried to look sheepish. “This is a hospital, Sora,” he smirked. “You’re using bad words.”

 

Sora opened his mouth to say something but then he closed it again – he–

 

He started to cry.

 

“You fucking idiot,” he whimpered, walking towards him. “You fucking idiot.”

 

Iwaizumi pressed his lips into a thin line and reached out with his good hand – Sora accepted it and held it with all his might. “Sora,” Iwaizumi whispered. “Don’t cry.”

 

Sora started to wipe his tears away with his other hand. “Fuck,” he said, breathing unevenly. “Oikawa told me and our parents and everything but– fuck, Hajime–”

 

His eyesight turned blurry. “Sora–”

 

“I forgive you,” Sora said hurriedly. “I forgive you for that day – I know you walked away while I was getting beaten and I know we both knew that I could win and take them and I know you still walked away and it hurt and– I know you did that to show me you had enough of me getting hurt but– you are so perfect Iwaizumi and I thought I’d never fit into the family. Even though I know the best thing that has ever happened to me was being adopted by your parents – being able to be your brother, even if not by blood–”

 

“Sora,” Iwaizumi said in a strong voice. “You’re my favorite person ever, you’re my brother, you’re my family.”

 

Sora nodded, tears rolling down on his cheek. “You’re my favorite person ever too, my family” he said quietly. “I love you, please, forgive me.”

 

Iwaizumi smiled softly. “Only if you forgive me too.”

 

Sora laughed, still gripping his hand. “You fucking idiot,” he grinned. “How could I not forgive you while you’re lying on a bed at the hospital?”

 

Iwaizumi’s shoulders started to shake. “Ouch,” he winced, still laughing. 

 

The door burst wide open.

 

“Hajime!” Iwaizumi’s mother yelled. “You stupid, ungrateful–”

 

The moment she saw him she started to cry, her anger vanished in a snap as she rushed to him and hugged his waist. 

 

Iwaizumi saw his dad walk towards them – he had puffy, red eyes – as he laid a hand on Sora’s shoulder. He looked into Iwaizumi’s eyes and asked, almost crying again,

 

“Want to have a motorcycle?”

 

Sora chuckled.

 

“This is not the time, darling,” his mom told his dad, still hugging him. “But if you want to have something we’ll give it to you, baby.”

 

Iwaizumi didn’t hesitate. “Please don’t be mad at Oikawa.”

 

It was quiet before Iwaizumi heard the answer.

 

“We won’t,” she said, looking at her husband. “Right?”

 

His dad smiled at them. “He’s family too, isn’t he?”

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“I can’t thank you enough, Hajime,” Oikawa’s mom whispered, giving him kisses on both of his cheek. “I don’t know how can I ever repay this to you–”

 

Iwaizumi, still lying on the bed, touched Oikawa’s mom hand with his bandaged arm. “You can, by making sure that Oikawa gets treatment.”

 

Oikawa’s mom nodded. “I talked to Makki and Mattsun,” she said. “They said something about this psychologist, living in New York.”

 

Iwaizumi nodded. “He’s the best of the best.”

 

Oikawa’s mom nodded and then looked up next to her husband. “We’ll move then, won’t we, love?”

 

Oikawa’s dad bowed to Iwaizumi – it was as low as his wife’s who had bowed a couple of minutes ago. “We’ll do everything for him.”

 

Iwaizumi smiled and waved at Oikawa’s dad. Oikawa’s mom pressed a kiss on his forehead and whispered.

 

“You’re our savior,” and Iwaizumi felt goosebumps. She walked out of the room, bowing in front of Iwaizumi’s parents. Iwaizumi’s mom hugged her instead.

 

Oikawa’s sister pressed a little kiss on Iwaizumi’s hand – it was the sign of utmost respect. 

 

“Thank you,” she only said this. “Thank you so much.”

 

Takeru was holding her hand – he looked like he had just finished crying. Iwaizumi touched the little boy’s hand. 

 

Takeru’s lips began to tremble and with wide eyes, filled with wonder and respect, he whispered,

 

 “You’re like a hero.”

 

Iwaizumi gave out a gentle smile and that was when he noticed Oikawa coming in. Oikawa’s sister ruffled Oikawa’s hair. She smiled and then walked away, pulling Takeru with herself.

 

Oikawa sat down next to him and without a single word, held his hand. His eyes was glued to Iwaizumi’s bandaged arm.

 

“You know what’s funny?” Oikawa asked after their families had gone out of the room. He was still looking at the bandaged arm.

 

“What?” Iwaizumi asked carefully.

 

“After seeing you like that – it’s like the first time I stared into the face of death,” Oikawa closed his eyes, furrowing his brow. “After seeing you do something I wanted to do–”

 

Wanted.

 

Iwaizumi stopped breathing for a moment.

 

“– I suddenly realized how wrong, how terrifying it was. To die,” Oikawa’s voice was shaking. “I really don’t want to do it anymore, Hajime. I’m still not fine, I know nothing has changed but I don’t want to – I don’t think I can–”

 

“It’s okay,” Iwaizumi whispered. “You’ll get better.”

 

Oikawa’s eyes found his. “Promise?”

 

Iwaizumi smiled. “I promise.”

 

Oikawa smiled too. His real smile. The one Iwaizumi had been desperately trying to bring back. 

 

“So... Ushiwaka, huh?” Oikawa smirked, looking amused. “Makki just told me – recorded my face, saying you might want to watch it later. I swear, if I have to listen to ‘you should have come to Shiratorizawa’ all day at your wedding, I’ll faint. ”

 

Iwaizumi burst out laughing and Oikawa joined – their laughter echoed through the room, painting even the waiting room outside.

 

Iwaizumi was happy looking at Oikawa’s real smile and real laugh. His soul finally found peace.

 

The question appeared in front of Iwaizumi again. 

 

Why do you look so real?

 

Because Oikawa has finally begun to heal.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

“Iwaizumi!” Makki yelled, bursting the door wide open. 

 

Iwaizumi had been drinking his tea when this had happened – so now he choked and spat it out.

 

“Hanamaki, you good for nothing!” Matsukawa hit Makki’s head with a newspaper. “Pull yourself together, for fuck’s sake. We came here to finally visit him–”

 

“Matsukawa, you’re cursing again.”

 

“Because I’ve had enough of your bullshit.”

 

“Guys,” Iwaizumi looked back, wiping his chin with a towel. “Relax, this is still a hospit–”

 

“Iwaizumi, you motherfucking badass!” Tendou shrieked, bursting the door wide open – hitting Makki with it accidentally on his shoulder. “Oh my god, Makki, my boy, I’m so sorry, we just arrived–”

 

“Tendou, my brotha, I haven’t seen you since thanksgiving–”

 

“Makki, my boy, I haven’t seen you since I’ve gotten out of jail–”

 

“Oh my god, I need to fucking retire–”

 

“Hajime?”

 

Iwaizumi froze when he saw–

 

“Wakatoshi?”

 

Ushijima walked to him with quick steps and hugged him with strength and adoration and Iwaizumi’s heart wanted to hug Ushijima’s heart and he felt so safe–

 

And it meant so much–

 

“I hate you,” Ushijima said in a gentle voice, still hugging him. “Out of everyone – every single person living in this world – I hate you the most.”

 

Lie.

 

Iwaizumi’s heart melted into gold – he nuzzled to Ushijima’s neck and pressed a feather light kiss there.

 

Lie.

 

“I hate you too,” he whispered. “I hate you more than anything.”

 

It was silence.

 

“Makki, my boy, are you getting this?” Tendou whispered, sounding excited.

 

“Tendou, my brotha, I’m recording the full shit.”

 

“Way to ruin the moment, you useless peasants.”

 

“We love you too, Matsukawa,” Tendou and Makki said simultaneously.

 

And both him and Ushijima began to laugh.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

Ushijima was holding his hand – he didn’t want to let go at all when Sora walked into the room.

 

Sora almost dropped the croissant he was holding. “Ushijima Wakatoshi?” Sora yelled and started to stutter. “I’m – I’m – I’m a really big fan oh my fucking god, can you sign my jacket– HOLD UP!” Sora raised his hands, looking at the scene in front of him. “Why is this legend here with you, Hajime? Are you two holding hands – oh my god, hold the fuck up–”

 

“Iwaizumi!” Seung and Park yelled at the same time as they walked into the room. “I heard you–”

 

Sora turned back, his jaw fell down. Seung stopped in his track – his eyes widened. Park gasped as he pointed at Sora.

 

Sora yelled, “SEUNG?!”

 

“SORA!” Seung shouted. 

 

“THE COOL GUY I DID NOT KNOW THE NAME OF!” Park screamed.

 

Iwaizumi and Ushijima’s eyes widened. 

 

“You two know each other?” Iwaizumi asked and Ushijima looked so shocked.

 

Sora looked back at Iwaizumi and raised his eyebrows. “He’s the reason I flew back,” he said. “He invited me to his wedding.”

 

Oh my god.

 

Park snorted. “Of course he did.”

 

Seung grinned and hugged Sora. “My best friend is back in town,” he laughed. “Sora showed me the song that I love so much.”

 

Park’s eyebrows rose. “Down in the Valley?”

 

Oh my god.

 

Seung nodded and the took a step back from the hug. He did a high–five with Sora. “I had no idea Iwaizumi was your brother – the one you’ve told me about over the phone.”

 

Sora started nodding and then looked back at Ushijima. “So then that means he’s the boyfriend of Ushijima – that you’ve told me about.”

 

“I’m fucking done,” Park said, sounding hundred percent done with everything in his life. “The world is so fucking small, what else is about to happen?”

 

And that was the moment when a beautiful girl walked into the room – she must have been the same age as him.

 

Seung kissed her on the lips and that was when everything exploded. 

 

“Is this your fiancée?” Sora smiled.

 

“Great job introducing me, Seung, you idiot,” Park wasn’t amused.

 

“Akira?” Ushijima asked loudly.

 

Akira?

 

And then Iwaizumi remembered, he looked at the girl – Akira–

 

Oh my god.

 

“You’re the girl Ushijima saved a long time ago?” Iwaizumi asked, feeling breathless. “The one he’s having coffee with every Friday?”

 

Oh my god.

 

And somehow it made the perfect sense.

 

Everyone’s eyes were wide, looking around, feeling how their strings of life connected in every unique ways as possible.

 

And Iwaizumi believed in fate. 

 

They all did.

 

“God!” Park said, smiling wide. “What a day!”

 

What a day indeed.

 

And they started to laugh and smile and talk and hug and Iwaizumi just felt so whole, so peaceful and happy and calm and–

 

Everything I’ve ever done led me to this life and I would never undo a single thing.

 

And Iwaizumi could finally walk with open eyes and see the happiness

 

in

 

the

 

world.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

A couple of minutes before the clock struck nine – one last visitor walked into Iwaizumi’s room.

 

He felt like stranger.  To Iwaizumi, after all this time – he realized–, he was indeed a stranger. 

 

The moon’s light from the window shone on his black hair, his blue eyes glowed and contained something Iwaizumi had never seen in another person’s eyes.

 

Not in Ushijima’s.

 

Not in Hinata’s.

 

Not even in himself.

 

“Iwaizumi,” Kageyama said, standing next to his bed.

 

Iwaizumi looked at Kageyama. Really looked. And he found him so much older than he was.

 

There was no other way to put it.

 

Kageyama felt like a god.

 

Iwaizumi reached out and Kageyama intertwined their fingers. Iwaizumi still remembered what Ushijima had told Tendou.

 

His soul is something else. 

 

He said.

 

He feels different from everyone else.

 

And Iwaizumi before he could’ve stopped himself, asked,

 

“What have you done?”

 

And Kageyama didn’t look away as he whispered, 

 

“Something horrible.”

 

 

 

 

End of Part II