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Four of Us

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"So this is Miyagi?" Pedro looked out the car window, eyes at half-mast and earphones half-hidden inside his ear. His music was turned down low—had to be, or his mother would nag him about how earbuds encouraged bacterial growth and facilitated sensorineural hearing loss and that having a Cochlear implant would get in the way of his budding sporting career.

Not that Pedro was really interested in any sport outside of manga. Nothing had ever captured his interest. Right now, his mother had him signed up for tennis back in Rio, but he didn't think he would make it very far before begging his father to please reason with her and remove him from the roster.

"That's right," his father replied from the front seat, smiling widely. The taxi driver had been very impressed by his Japanese, and Pedro's bespectacled sire was still basking in his praise. Personally, Pedro didn't really see why—his father had been adopted and raised by a Japanese couple and had grown up in Sendai, meaning his Japanese was practically perfect down to the local slang. In fact, it was Pedro's grandparent's house that they were currently being driven to right now, the taxi driver humming a jaunty tune as he turned a corner. "What do you think, son?" His Portuguese was perfect, too. Pedro had grown up speaking it, and could safely say he did not know a lick of the oriental language (swear words didn't count) that his father sometimes slipped into when he lost his temper or got frightened.

"It's... nice," Pedro offered lamely, quite disinterested with the scenery. Rio was more vibrant—wild, and exciting, and alive. Sendai in November was probably the driest, most boring thing he had ever laid eyes on—nothing like the beautiful, snowy scenery he had envisioned during the plane flight. If I breathe in hard enough, maybe I'll get a nosebleed and bleed to death. He took a long, hard sniff. The insides of his nostrils felt like they were about to crack, but no blood came dripping out. Shame.

His mother was typing away on her Somy phone—probably making a list of all tasks she had to do once she got home from their family-visit in Japan. She ran a profitable makeup company back in Brazil, while her husband was an accountant. Needless to say, his family was pretty loaded, and Pedro knew that his lifestyle was bricked by a foundation of privilege. It was how his mother got away signing him up for various sports willy-nilly—the cost of professional training didn't even make the slightest dent in their family bank account.

He didn't know when she had come up with the idea of wanting her only son to pursue sports when his interests lay elsewhere—namely in books and cartoons. Sure, there wasn't much he could make out of those things, but it was still something. Something that his mother was quite adamant in ignoring, even if he purchased stacks of stacks of manga with any one of her credit cards.

Pedro turned his gaze out the window, watching the city pass by him in a blur of dull colors and grey sunshine.

Sports, he thought to himself as his father made conversation with the driver in his perfect Japanese, What a waste of time...

When they arrived, Pedro stood to the side with his mother as the driver and his father removed all the unnecessary luggage they had brought along from the boot, composing a message on his own Somy phone that he would later send to his cousin, Felipe, who was anticipating a text once Pedro got a hold of the wifi and some warm blankets. He knew from his reading that his grandparents probably slept in futons.

His grandparents welcomed him with open arms, pulling him inside and chattering to him in a language he didn't understand. For the first time, Pedro felt truly displaced, even when his mother blinked confusedly at what Pedro could infer was his grandmother asking her for a hug. He nodded stiffly and awkwardly as he was ushered to the kitchen and seated at the dinner table.

Pedro's grandmother had prepared a feast for them, and a slew of questions to follow.

As Pedro had expected, his father acted as the translator.

"Grandma's asking how school's going," his father told him, his adopted mother beaming genially at Pedro.

"Oh." Pedro lifted his gaze from his miso soup. He wasn't really fond of the taste of it, but figured it was only polite to finish all of his food. "Yeah, it's great. I have tons of friends." Not really—Felipe was family, so he didn't count, while Eliza only hung out with them so she could make goo-goo eyes at Pedro's obnoxiously handsome cousin.

"What about your studies?"


"Pedrinho," his mother admonished.

"What do you want me to say?"

"Tell your grandma how good at math you are, son," his father insisted, giving him an encouraging smile.

"I hate math."

His mother gave him a disapproving glance, but he merely ducked his head and started eating his rice.

Japan really wasn't what he had expected. It was gloomy, cold, and made the fleshy insides of his nose feel like an arctic desert. He couldn't properly communicate with his grandparents, his mother was being his mother, and his father was too enthusiastic about his return to Japan to pay any attention to his son's growing misery.

Pedro didn't think he was the dramatic type, but he was beginning to feel sick of the place, and didn't see the point in trying to keep a front up. Why should I, when my own grandparents can't even speak to me? At least his mother's grandparents weren't out of touch and out of reach.

He finished his food quickly. "May I be excused?"

"Well, alright, son," his father replied, looking bemused. As if he couldn't comprehend why Pedro wanted to spend the rest of his night in the guest room (he'd been right—his grandparents owned futons, not beds) with the family fat cat, Momo, who would only be there because she liked curling up in his mother's futon, which was the closest to the heater.

Pedro sighed, running a hand through his messy black hair as he removed his phone from his pocket and finished that message for Felipe. He sent it off, feeling lonelier than ever when there was no immediate response. It was only natural, of course, but it only served to remind him how far away he was from the one person who he actually cared about.

Japan was twelve hours ahead of Brazil. While it was evening here, it would be morning there. Felipe was probably at school—Pedro's family had jetted off during the final month of elementary, leaving his cheeky cousin to fend of Eliza's advances by himself.

"... I need a shower."

"Meow," agreed Momo, mouth stretching wide open in a loose, languid yawn.

Mrrph. What the hell? What's this cold thing...? Iwaizumi slowly cracked his eyes open, blinking sleep away to investigate the fleshy thing that was shoved against the side of his face. It wasn't long before he figured out that it was Oikawa's foot dangling off her bed and pressed against his cheek. Even in sleep, she somehow found a way to invade his personal space. Typical.

"Oi, idiot," he grumbled out. It was way too early in the morning. "Get your foot out of my face."

He heard her stir on her bed.

After last night's Friday movie marathon (a series of alien and kaiju movies; the latter was his influence), Oikawa's mother, a pretty black-haired woman named Himari, had brought out a futon just for him and laid it next to Oikawa's bed.

"I know you're awake, dammit!"

The first thing he saw was long fluffy brown hair, mussed from sleep, then Oikawa's brown eyes gleaming mischievously as she sat up. "Good morning, Iwa-chan!"

To his annoyance, she kept her foot on his face. "I'm gonna bite you."

"Ew!" Oikawa recoiled, nose scrunching up. "Why are you always so gross?"

"I'm about as gross as you are obnoxious."

"You play with bugs."

"So do you."

Oikawa gave him a mortified look. "That was one time! Earthworms are fine because they don't fly! They're actually a little cute!"

He smirked. "So should I tell everyone in class that you like worms?"

All the girls would think she was gross, while all the boys would simultaneously lose their crushes on her. Personally, Iwaizumi didn't see why they liked her so much anyway—she was annoying, childish, and immature.

"Iwa-chaaaaan! You wouldn't!"

"I will if you don't stop yelling. What time is it even?"

She reached over to the low shelf on her wall and picked up the clock, squinting. Iwaizumi thought that she would probably need to get glasses soon. "It's seven. Okaa-san should be awake by now. Maybe she made bacon!"

"Ugh. I feel like I barely slept," groaned Iwaizumi, throwing his pillow on his face to block out the sunlight streaming in when Oikawa lifted the blinds to reveal the window above her headboard.

"Iwa-chan is always so grumpy," Oikawa mused, giving him an impish grin as she pulled him out of the futon. To her delight, he allowed her to do so, using his free arm to push himself up from the floor. "Phew! Your breath stinks!" she said accusingly when he nearly planted his forehead into her nose.

"So does yours!" he retorted, flushing. "It's called morning breath, dumbass."

"Oi, my breath doesn't stink! You're the stinky-breath bastard!"

"At least I don't think earthworms are cute, shitty brat!"

"That was cheap!"

They shoved each other aside as they raced for the bathroom on the opposite end of the upstairs hallway, Oikawa crowing in triumph when she got the honor of slamming the door in his face. He could hear her giggling as she took her time brushing her teeth and running the taps until the hot water came into effect.

"Are you standing outside?" she asked after the squeak of taps turning off. "Go away, I'm about to pee."

"Geez, at least lie about it. Gross girl."

"Your breath smells like poop, Iwa-chan!"

Iwaizumi kicked the door, making Oikawa yelp.

"You almost made me fall into the toilet!"

"Serves you right! Also, hurry up, I'm busting!"

After they had freshened up, it was downstairs for breakfast. Himari raised an eyebrow as the two children came rushing down the stairs, both of them still wearing their pyjamas. Oikawa's was a baby blue with an alien pattern, while Iwaizumi's was navy blue with a dinosaur print. It was the closest thing to Gojira at the store, he had said to her once. "Good morning, you two," she said, sounding amused. "Do you want to hear a fun fact?"

Oikawa almost hit her head on the top of the fridge while getting out orange juice. "What is it, okaa-san?"

"Hallways are not made for racing, and doors are not made for kicking."

Iwaizumi almost choked on his spit, ducking his head in shame. "Sorry."

"I'm sorry for kicking the door," Oikawa apologized, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly. Iwaizumi sent her a surprised look, one that Himari thankfully missed. Then his face softened in gratitude.

Himari flicked her daughter's forehead, huffing. "You'd better not, kiddo. Iwaizumi-kun, you want your eggs sunny-side up as usual, yes?"

"Yes. Thank you very much!"

Breakfast would have been a quiet affair had Oikawa not been there. She was fond of conversation, and talked Iwaizumi's ear off about school, aliens, and whatnot. It was worth it, though—Iwaizumi liked seeing the way her eyes lit up as she talked about the things she loved, and how she beamed when she got to especially exciting topics like volleyball (and aliens).

It was Saturday today, but Oikawa was an early riser, and was barely affected. On the other hand, Iwaizumi was bit slower at getting the fuzz of sleep out of his brain, but was mostly okay by the time breakfast was over.

The last one in the house to wake was Oikawa Hotaru, her belly round with pregnancy and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. "Morning, everyone," she mumbled a greeting as Himari scooped some eggs and bacon onto a plate for her eldest child.

"Good morning, dear." Hotaru received a kiss on the forehead from her mother.

"Good morning, Hotaru-nee-san," Iwaizumi added politely.

"Hi, nee-chan!"

"Hajime-kun, you're still here." Hotaru didn't sound surprised or nonplussed. She gave him a warm smile, one that made heat rise to his cheeks. "How was movie night? Tooru-chan didn't scratch you up too bad, did she?"

Oikawa huffed. "What's that supposed to mean, nee-chan?"

Iwaizumi chuckled. "Only when I tried to change the disc before the after-credits scene," he said, talking to Hotaru.

"Traitor!" Oikawa shoved her nose in the air, palming Iwaizumi's back and pushing him toward her sister. "Here, you take him. Obviously, he prefers you. Hmph." She pouted, and Iwaizumi rolled his eyes, poking her cheek.

"Don't be silly, Tooru."

Above their heads, Himari and Hotaru exchanged a knowing glance without the kids seeing.

"I don't wanna talk to Iwa-chan, he betrayed me. I'll only forgive him if he bows to me and kisses my shoes."

"As if!"

"Don't you two have volleyball practice today?" voiced Hotaru, one hand on her belly as she drank a glass of warm water. "Look at you guys—still in your pyjamas, haha."

"Cancelled," Oikawa told her. "Me and Iwa-chan are gonna go look for evidence instead."

Apparently, Oikawa had forgiven him already without him needing to grovel at her feet. Iwaizumi tossed her a sideways glance. "When did we decide this?"

"I decided this for us just then."

Iwaizumi snorted.

"Evidence?" Himari blinked confusedly. "Evidence for what?"

It was then Oikawa dropped her voice into a whisper, as if what she were about to say next was incredibly sensitive and top-secret. "For cryptids."

"Oh boy," sighed Iwaizumi. "Ever since you saw that Bigfoot movie, you haven't been the same. I am not collecting poo for you this time, just saying."

"And I'd better not be the one throwing it out after finding it in a sandwich bag at the back of the freezer," Himari added sternly, hands on her hips.

A nervous laughter streamed out of Oikawa's lips. "I-I don't know what you mean. Anyway, let's go change!" She yanked on Iwaizumi's sleeve. "Come on, Iwa-chan!"

Oikawa's cheeks were puffed out in a miserable pout as she and Iwaizumi crossed the road, bags of groceries hanging on her right arm as she and Iwaizumi crossed the road. I can't believe okaa-san would betray me like this! Hrrnngh!

"Oi." Iwaizumi gave her a side glare. "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably not a good idea."

"I can't believe okaa-san is a traitor, too!" she exclaimed, nearly swinging her bag into Iwaizumi's.

"Careful, there're eggs in there, Shittykawa!" Iwaizumi gruffed. "Look, the only reason why your mom sent us out for groceries is because she doesn't want you bring back poop into the house."

"Well, now I just don't wanna go back home." Besides, it's a Saturday! But practice is cancelled, so... where do we go?

"Your mom will get mad," her best friend pointed out.

"I don't care!"

"You will when she takes away all of your games and movies."

Oikawa gave him an affronted look. "You're supposed to be on my side, Iwa-chan!"

"Ugh, you." Iwaizumi grabbed her hand. "Fine. We can go to the shops if you just stop talking. Come."

Her expression was decidedly smug. "I knew you'd see reason."

"What did I just say about talking?"

"You don't remember? Geez, Iwa-chan's memory is really bad," she teased.


Their gloved hands remained together as he took her through the Satuday crowds of family visitors, the mall automatic doors opening smoothly for them. Inside was warm, and Iwaizumi undid his scarf and let it hang around his shoulders.

Oikawa left her scarf on, still feeling the chill from outside. Izumi Daiei wasn't the biggest mall around, but it was where she and her friends normally frequented after school and volleyball practice due to its close proximity to their residential area.

"Can we get ramen later?" she asked Iwaizumi.

"You're implying that we're going to be staying here until lunch and possibly past that," he deadpanned.

"Hehe." She stuck out her tongue. "So what if I am?"

"You're gonna regret your rebel phase when you get home. I won't be surprised if your mom spanks you like a little kid."

Oikawa looked around. "Can we get a trolley?"

"Did you hear anything I just said?" he barked after her as she trounced off to liberate her sore arm from all of the grocery bags.

Once they had acquired a shopping cart, they proceeded to fill it with their grocery bags.

"You complain a lot for someone who only carried two bags," Iwaizumi remarked as he put his four bags into the cart, cocking an eyebrow at her mock-innocent expression. Her cheeks were flushed from the cold, but the rest of her face was slowly catching up in terms of color as the mall warmth surrounded them.

As Iwaizumi pulled his scarf off his shoulders and shoved it into his backpack, which was sitting on the trolley handle, Oikawa sneaked a glance at him beneath her lashes, pretending to occupy herself by taking off her gloves.

Iwa-chan is handsome.

Oikawa blinked at the intrusive thought. She shook her head, shooing away the thought. She and Iwaizumi were best friends—not that—and she was pretty sure he looked more alive when staring at bugs and Gojira than girls. Besides, she thought with a smile, Once I get to middle school, I'm sure that there'll be plenty of guys to choose from if I want a boyfriend. Volleyball would always take precedence for her, and she knew that. But a caring boyfriend was always a nice thing to have.

"Your face looks stupid." Iwaizumi's voice snapped her out of her daydream. "Are you thinking about Matsumoto Jun again? Because he'll never even know you exist."

"How rude, Iwa-chan!" she spluttered, blushing. "And even if I am, it's none of your business!"

"Yeah, yeah." He pushed the trolley along, and Oikawa couldn't help but nearly burst into giggles at the sight of him—a twelve-year-old boy looking like he was out shopping to feed his family like a salary man. He noticed her amusement. "What?"

"Nothing~ Just that Iwa-chan looks like a responsible grown-up, and not really in a good way."

His leg shot out to kick her feet from under her, but she dodged, pulling a face at him tauntingly. "Nyaah! Iwa-chan's so clumsy, he can't even catch one girl! No wonder he doesn't have a girlfriend~!"

"I cannot believe that this is the girl most guys in our class crush on. If only they knew how immature you really are," he snarked back. "And for the record, you don't have a boyfriend, so you can't talk."

"Please. It's from freedom of choice, not from lack of options."

He kicked out again, and she laughed, nearly tripping over herself trying to avoid his shoe. But she caught her balance in the end, her hand landing on Iwaizumi's shoulder as she tried to steady herself.

"For real, though," she said before Iwaizumi could try to nail her shin once more. "I do know a couple of girls who like you."

"Really?" He raised an eyebrow. "Who?"

"I'll tell you if you buy me ramen."

"Not a chance. I don't even like anyone in our class anyway."

"Ah." Oikawa threw her hair over her shoulder. "I forgot, you're only interested in insects."

"The girls in our class are annoying, more like."

"Oi! What about me?"

"Are you a girl?"

"Uh, yeah?"

"Then there you go."

"Iwa-chan! So mean!" A mock-tear gathered at the corner of her eye as she folded her arms, pouting. "You really show no mercy to my heart, do you?"

Iwaizumi's eyebrows rose. "I'm still not gonna buy you ramen, you know."


In the end, they found themselves at the ice rink connected to the mall, somehow, watching from the bleachers as skaters of all different levels glided across the ice. There was no lesson today, just kids and their parents having fun on a Saturday. They had brought their grocery bags with them, their trolley sitting outside. Hopefully, no one would take it, but even so, it wouldn't be a devastating loss.

"Y'know, Yui-chan told me that she takes lessons on Saturday mornings," Oikawa commented. "There must be lessons today, and not just free skating."

Iwaizumi made a noncommittal noise. He did not know who Yui was, but that didn't matter.

Half an hour later, free skating time was wrapping up, and Iwaizumi's bladder was about to burst.

"Toilet," he simply said as he stood.


Iwaizumi had finished his business, washed his hands, and was heading out when he bumped into another boy who shared similarly tanned skin. His dark hair was spiked up in a way that reminded him of french fries in a WacDonald's packet.

They stared at one another.

"Hi?" Iwaizumi tried. "Do you need something?"

The boy said nothing, looking as if he were concentrating extremely hard. Then he sighed, pulled out his phone, and opened a translator of all things. He began to type, and then showed Iwaizumi the product of his efforts.

Do you know where black hair man glasses and green shirt are? the translation read.

Ah, he was a foreigner? "... You want to buy some clothes?" Iwaizumi tilted his head, a little confused.

The boy hesitated, then nodded, and Iwaizumi knew that he probably had no idea what he had just said.

"Right. Uh, come with me. I'll ask my friend to tag along, is that okay?"

The boy blinked, then nodded again.

The boy tailed after him like a shadow, and Oikawa was suitably surprised when he got back.

"What took you so long? Were you doing a poo? And who's that?"

"Foreigner," was all Iwaizumi said before Oikawa clued in.

"Oh, I see. Can't speak Japanese, huh? What does he want?"

"Hell if I know, but I think he wants to go shopping."

"Shopping?" Oikawa raised her brows. "Are you sure about that, Iwa-chan? Have you tried using your brain a little harder?"

Iwaizumi glared at her before turning to the foreign boy. "Hey, can you...?" He pointed at her phone, then at Oikawa, hoping the kid would get the message.

Thankfully, he did, and repeated the translation to Oikawa, whose brows knitted in concentration.

"Black hair man glasses and green shirt?" she echoed. What are 'man glasses'? "Uh, okay. Just take him to the nearest store, Iwa-chan."

"Excuse me? You're just gonna leave me to babysit him while you sit your lazy ass here and enjoy yourself?" Iwaizumi turned to the boy. "No offence," he added, even though he knew he couldn't understand him.

The foreign boy merely tilted his head, bemused.

"Mhm," Oikawa said absently, not even bothering to deny of any of that. She was facing forward, watching a black-haired boy around their age speak with the instructor as they skated together.

"You're incorrigible." With that, Iwaizumi turned around the walked off with the foreign boy in tow.

Sorry, Iwa-chan, Oikawa apologized silently, eyes gleaming in anticipation. But you didn't see the way he jumped before. She had a vision then, of a future she wanted to see—her, playing on Japan's national women's team, envious of the libero's blue uniform but not minding the red. Iwaizumi would be in the next stadium over, playing for the men's team, and they'd meet up every so often and exchange high-fives and words of encouragement littered in between banter. All while this boy—this short, black-haired boy with a scrawny frame and a haircut that looked like his mom had done it with her eyes closed—skated across the ice during his Olympics.

Watching him exhilarated her—the way he moved, the way he jumped and twirled. He was quite possibly a genius, and Oikawa was certain that she and him were birds of a feather. And Iwaizumi, too, of course. Three geniuses—three tens in a world of fives.

She wondered what his name was, or if she'd ever see him again after this.

But for now, Oikawa merely watched his impromptu, unwitting performance.

Pedro had never thought that his luck was shit until today, when his father disappeared off into the crowd without him. He had wandered around for twenty minutes before finding himself at the ice rink toilets in front of a boy who could have passed as his twin if he were Brazillian and had more gravity-defying hair.

At first, he wanted to ask him if he had seen his dad, but that sounded too childish. Why he cared of this stranger's opinion, he did not know. Maybe it was something to do with the boy being his age.

So he had asked, Have you seen a black-haired man with glasses and a green shirt?

He had no idea what it had come out as, but judging from the boy's confusion, it probably missed its intended mark.

"Screw this," he muttered under his breath as he walked beside the boy, hunching forward ever so slightly. He had even taken out his earbuds for this.

They walked until they arrived at a small clothing store, the boy giving him an apprehensive look. There was no sign of his father inside.

Pedro deadpanned at him. "No," he said. "No, that is not correct."

The boy gave a frustrated huff.

"Look, I'm sorry, but—"

The stranger pointed to himself. "Iwaizumi." At Pedro's puzzled look, he drew the word out, "I-wai-zu-mi."

Is that is name? Returning the gesture by thumbing his chest, he replied, "Pedro."

What Iwaizumi said next was gibberish to Pedro's ears, so he whipped out his phone and translator. He typed in, his shame disappearing, Have you seen my father? His name is Masahiro. Or Ronaldo. He responds to both.

At first, Iwaizumi stared blankly at the written translation. Then he beckoned Pedro to follow him.

The spiky-haired boy seemed more confident this time, which both relieved and unnerved Pedro. Relieved that he would possibly be reuniting his father soon, and unnerved at how Iwaizumi seemed to know where exactly to find him. Was the boy afflicted with some sort of ESP? Pedro had read a manga about that once.

To his surprise, Iwaizumi brought him to an information desk, speaking in rapid Japanese to the smartly-dressed woman at the counter. She shot Pedro a look of concern that he didn't like, said something to her colleague, and then spoke into her microphone.

There was a metallic whine that made both Pedro and Iwaizumi wince before the woman's voice blasted throughout the shopping mall. By the sound of it, she was repeating a phrase, but Pedro couldn't tell what it was.

Iwaizumi said something that sounded remarkably different from Japanese, and it took him a second to realize that this was the boy's poor attempt at English.

Pedro wasn't an expert himself, but he was definitely better than Iwaizumi.

"Father," Iwaizumi was saying, stumbling over himself. "Here."

"Yeah," replied Pedro, also in English. "Okay. He's coming? Here?"

"... Yes? Yes."

An awkward silence fell between them, the woman at the information desk giving them sympathetic looks.

Finally, Pedro was rescued from the cumbersome situation when his father seemingly appeared out of nowhere, looking out of breath and jogging toward where they were standing.

"Pedrinho!" his father exclaimed. "Thank God you're okay!" He drew his only son into a hug, Pedro muttering something under his breath as he was pressed against his father's sweater, which smelled like mothballs. His grandma had given it to him; it was a jumper from his college days that had probably not seen sunlight for decades until now. Then his efficiently bilingual father turned to Iwaizumi and the desk lady, profusely thanking the both of them. Pedro could see the way their eyes widened, could see how surprised they were at this tall, over six-foot tall bespectacled Brazilian man speaking Japanese like he had lived here all his life.

Plot twist, Pedro thought dryly. He practically has.

Wanting to get away from the drama, Pedro grabbed his father's arm and all but pulled him away, the man giving Iwaizumi a backwards wave.

"I can't believe you got lost," his father said as they went to the car.

"Yeah, me neither. I thought only little kids got lost, but apparently not."

He got an amused look. "Pedrinho, you are a child."

"Hmph. Whatever. I'm tired. We're going home right?"

"Yes, yes..."

"Good. Because I'll need energy for tomorrow."

"Huh?" His father gave him a glance. "What do you mean?"

"Before I met Iwaizumi," the name rolled off Pedro's tongue in a clunky manner, but he didn't care, "I saw a boy skating. It was... magnificent. I want to see it again." Iwaizumi's friend was watching him, too. She didn't want to leave either.

It was like the boy had cast a spell on them. Had cast a spell on anyone who bothered to watch him for more than a second.

"I still can't believe you left me alone," Iwaizumi said as he and Oikawa walked home, sounding genuinely aggravated. It was early afternoon.

"I'm sorry, okay?" Oikawa replied, sounding apologetic as well as exasperated.

"Are you really?"


"I knew it." He quickened his pace, leaving her behind.

"Iwa-chan, wait!" Oikawa caught up him, sounding more remorseful this time. In fact, her eyes were starting to get glossy. "... I really am sorry, you know."

His face softened ever so slightly, but he didn't reply.

"I saw a vision of us," she continued. "We were winners, like we're meant to be. And... I saw ourselves in a boy down at the rink. I saw ourselves with him, Iwa-chan, standing shoulder-to-shoulder."

"It was just a daydream," Iwaizumi claimed roughly. "It's not reality."

"No, but it could be. You should have seen the way he skated... it was like he was born to do it."

He gave her a look. "People aren't born great."

"Really?" Oikawa smirked. "But look at me."

"Shut up. I'm still mad. Do you realize how awkward it was? I thought he spoke English, but apparently not! He spoke a language I couldn't even recognize!"

Oikawa laughed despite herself. "Really? How did you even speak?"

"Through his phone, but the translations were barely legible! Stop laughing, Shittykawa!" He smacked her shoulder and she whined, clutching it.

"Okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'm sorry I left you behind with that guy." Oikawa sighed as she fell into his side, wrapping her arms around him. "There. Do you feel better now?"

"I feel worse. You're heavy."

"Ack! Don't say that to a girl!"

Even as he sneered and she pouted, Oikawa could see him beginning to melt. She was glad. Maybe she had done him wrong, but she appreciated his forgiveness all the same. It made her want to lean into him even more and hug him as tight as possible.

But she didn't.

"Hey," Iwaizumi suddenly said, brow arching. "Where are the groceries?"

Oikawa opened her mouth. Then closed it. She looked at her arm, void of heavy bags.

There was a beat.

"Ahh, shit! Shit, shit, shit! I left them back at the ice rink! Okaa-san's gonna kill me! We're already arriving late! Iwa-chan, we have to run!"

"Oi, let go of me! Oi, shitty brat! I have nothing to do with this! I told you you were gonna regret it, Shittykawaaa!"

He lurched forward when a hand slapped him on the back. Looking up, he saw his sister, Saya, beaming at him. "You did good today," she told him earnestly. "Come on, okaa-san's making some great shirumono dishes tonight."

Hanyu Yuzuru, his bowl cut a mess from today's training, returned her sunny grin, a sports bag slung over his shoulder. "Awesome!"