It starts with the empty refrigerator in their shared apartment. Their fridge wasn’t regularly empty, of course (Iwa-chan had always seen to it; Tooru never had anything to do with the cooking in the apartment), but over the past few weeks, homework assignments had piled up, wearing both Tooru and Iwaizumi down until they were simply husks of their former selves.
Okay, a dramatic half-lie, Tooru thinks as he peruses the shelves of the dry food. Rather, he and Iwaizumi had been living on nothing but coffee and instant ramen for almost two—no, three weeks now. There hadn’t been time to go grocery shopping until now, between classes, homework, extracurriculars, and their respective side jobs in order to pay off their apartment rent.
Needless to say, Tooru and his roommate were definitely on a budget—hence one hundred yen store shopping. Sure, the produce wouldn’t be as great as a supermarket’s, but it was doable and edible and both of them agreed not to spend as much money on food; other things were much more important.
Tooru casually tosses several cans of food into his shopping cart, along with another package of instant ramen. At the rate they were going, they’d probably die of malnutrition by graduation.
Well, at least they won’t have to pay their student debt and apartment rent, Tooru chuckles to himself, pushing the cart into the produce area. It doesn’t take him long to spot Iwaizumi, who is standing over the fruit section, staring warily at an apple.
“No fruits, Iwa-chan!” he sings, plucking the apple from his hand, flicking it back into the pile of apples.
Iwaizumi peers into the cart and sighs, massaging his forehead. “Shittykawa, at the rate we’re going, we’re going to die before graduation.”
Tooru laughs and prods the other in the forehead. “Silly Iwa-chan! Dying would be a great thing! We won’t have to pay rent or student debt anymore!”
“Tch. And if we die, you’ll miss that showing of the new alien movie and god knows that I’ll hear you whining about missing it in the afterlife,” Iwaizumi responds sharply with an ever-growing scowl.
“Bold of you to assume we’d be together in the afterlife.”
Iwaizumi arches an eyebrow. “And why wouldn’t we?”
Tooru feels his breath hitch, but Iwaizumi continues on, his lips curling scathingly. “You’ve never bothered to leave me alone while we were alive, so you definitely won’t give me a break when we’re dead.”
“Hey! That’s mean, Iwa-chan!” Tooru musters the biggest puppylike pout, but his best friend is already turning away.
“C’mon Shittykawa,” he calls over his shoulder. “I think we’ve got what we wanted here. And we actually need to stop by the supermarket now; I’ve got almost everything to make a decent dinner so we just need meat and eggs.”
Meat. The thought makes Tooru’s mouth water and he begins to imagine countless possibilities of what Iwaizumi planned to cook for dinner as they make their way to the cashier.
Tooru follows Iwaizumi into the fourth register, lazily pushing the cart into the narrow space, when he sees him.
A young man, about their age, stands at the register. He’s a little shorter than Tooru, though not by much, and much taller than Iwaizumi. But he’s not gangly nor skinny, with his long limbs, but rather lean muscle, steady and sure. His hair is messy atop his head, somewhere in between bedhead and artful, deliberate mess and his skin is pearly pale, accentuated by perfect, pink lips and gunmetal blue eyes, piercingly sharp.
Tooru’s pretty sure he’s in love.
He’s only moving by instinct as he places objects on the conveyor belt, his eyes glued to the beautiful cashier on the other side. There’s something beautiful and effortlessly graceful in the way moves and Tooru can barely tear his eyes away from the long fingers that grabbed and scanned each item. His movements, though minuscule, were unfairly alluring and Tooru can feel his heart pounding in his chest as he pushes the cart by to retrieve the purchased items.
“Your total will be ¥1000,” the cashier says and god, even his voice is unfairly wonderful; a low baritone that wasn’t too deep, but not too high and it sends a shiver through Tooru.
Iwa-chan passes the money over and the cashier takes it, long fingers slipping the bills into their proper place. The receipt prints and he catches the white slip of paper in his fingers and passes it to Iwaizumi.
“Have a good day,” the cashier calls as they exit the dollar store.
The minute the door closes behind them, Tooru whirls on his best friend. “Iwa-chan, did you see that man?” he whispers, eyes darting furtively back the dollar store.
“Yeah, what about him?” Iwaizumi asks dryly, taking control of the cart and pushing it. “Hurry up Crappykawa. I wanna get to the market before it closes.”
“Was he not the prettiest person you’ve ever seen?” Tooru breathes, jogging to catch up with his roommate. “Well, next to me of course, but he was just so... wow.”
Iwa-chan snorts, clearly skeptical. “You say that about every guy and girl that crosses your path. Let me know when you find a new person to obsess over.”
“But he’s different!” Tooru whines, tugging at his own messy hair. “He was so perfect!”
“Uh-huh,” Iwaizumi mumbles. “Whine all you want Oikawa, but keep up. I wanna have an actual dinner tonight.”
“You’re so insensitive, Iwa-chan!”
But nevertheless, he keeps up, chattering about the beautiful cashier boy and he doesn’t see the gritted smile on Iwaizumi’s face.
“Ahh home sweet home!” Tooru drops the grocery bags and throws himself back against the couch as Iwaizumi follows behind, carrying his own bags.
“Take off your damn shoes, Shittykawa,” he deadpans while in the process of removing his own footwear and Tooru pouts but does as he’s told, though with slight reluctance.
Watching as Iwaizumi struggles to remove a show, Tooru gets an idea and he smirks as he picks up his left shoe and tosses it at the other’s head. With some strange instinct, Iwaizumi dodges at the last second and the shoe hits the wall. Tooru feigns innocence as Iwa-chan glares at him.
“I didn’t do it!”
“You’re the only other one in this house, you prick!”
After a delicious dinner of steak and rice that both of them thoroughly savored, Iwaizumi goes to take a shower and Tooru goes to his room, picking up his phone to dial a certain number.
It rings once, twice, before the other line picks up.
“Whatever it is Oikawa, I’m busy.”
Tooru frowns. “That’s not very nice, Kuroo-chan!”
“You deserve it,” Kuroo drawls and Tooru can see him in mind’s eye, dark gold eyes like a cat’s, lazy smirk, and arm thrown across the couch. “What do you want?”
“Thought you said you were busy.”
“I’m going to be when Kenma gets out of the shower,” he answers and Tooru grimaces at the image.
“Too much information, Kuroo-chan!”
“Well, you inquired about my activities tonight, so that’s on you,” Kuroo snickers. “But what’s up? You normally don’t call for small talk.”
“That’s what going to your apartment is for!” Tooru sings, before he finally settles and releases a sigh. “I met someone today.”
“Well…” Tooru feels his face pinch. “Not exactly met, but saw someone today.”
“Oya oya?” Now Tooru can see Kuroo, leaning forward in his seat with anticipation, his cat eyes glittering with curiosity and a tinge of mischief. “ Details, Oikawa.”
And so, Tooru tells him about the dollar store and the beautiful boy with gunmetal eyes and artfully messy hair and natural grace that Tooru could never hope to achieve.
“...and god, his hands are so pretty, like I’d never think hands were pretty and then I saw his and they were so beautiful and wow, I really want to hold his hand.” Tooru knows he’s babbling, spouting incoherent, poetic nonsense about a boy he had barely met to one of his closest friends who was bound to blackmail him with the whole situation at some point.
Finally, Kuroo stops him in the middle of his tirade of the boy’s perfect face (his wonderfully symmetrical face, his skin the palest of pearls, his pink lips, and his gorgeous blue eyes) with a sigh.
“What’s wrong, Kuroo-chan? You can’t be tired if my beautiful voice already.”
“Well I am,” he answers dryly. “And does Iwaizumi know about this guy?”
Tooru blinks. “Of course Iwa-chan knows. He was with me and he was the first person I told, obviously.”
“And what does he think?”
The question strikes Tooru as odd; why would Iwa-chan care about Tooru and the pretty cashier?
“He doesn’t think much of it,” he answers finally, uncertainty lingering in his voice. “He was just being Iwa-chan and told me to shut up and hurry up to the supermarket.”
They’re left in quiet silence, save for the drumming of Kuroo’s fingers and Tooru’s fidgeting. The question sticks in his mind still, swirling and truly unanswered.
And what does he think?
There’s a faint voice on the other line of “Kuroo” and Kuroo snaps back to the call.
“Ah, I gotta go,” he says abruptly. “Kenma’s done.”
“Ah alright. Bye Kuroo-chan.”
The call ends and Tooru sighs, throwing his phone onto his sheets. So complicated. Why did it have to be complicated?
When it’s Tooru’s turn for the shower, the question still hadn’t left his mind along with thoughts of the blue-eyed boy.
What would Iwa-chan think of the gunmetal blue eyes?
The next morning brings no clarity to Tooru’s mind, and he has to rely on pure muscle memory to get him through his early morning routine. His thoughts were fogged by Kuroo’s strange question and the beautiful boy who didn’t leave his mind and well, he’s not used to the clouds surrounding him.
When Tooru finally leaves his room, Iwaizumi is gone, for class no doubt, and there’s a note on their table.
We’ve got a little extra to spend. I know you’ve been wanting to try that coffee place down the street from the school, so go ahead.
The ink is still fresh, still gleaming under the lights and Tooru doesn’t dare run his fingers over the scrawl. The pen was cast lazily to the side, almost as if Iwaizumi was running late and had thrown the pen in a rush.
“Ah, the kindness of Iwa-chan,” he hums as he packs some leftovers for lunch and then moves towards the jar.
The jar is filled halfway, of crinkled bills and coins, and he slips his hand inside to grab enough for the coffee shop. It’s their savings jar, anything extra they could make from work, that went to rent, food, and any other amenities they needed.
Whatever Iwa-chan made belonged to the jar, to them, and whatever Tooru made belonged to the jar, to them. The money was shared, and they didn’t hide anything from each other. It was one of the many deals they had made when they first moved in together.
No secrets, no hiding.
Tooru chuckles as he swings his bag over his shoulder and tucks his wallet and keys into his pocket. No secrets indeed.
The walk to the coffee shop is peaceful; there’s no swarm of people on the sidewalks, no trafficked streets, no Tokyo buzz.
It’s simply Tooru, the mostly empty streets, and the weak morning light.
The sun had barely risen, her lovely golden face only half peering over the horizon, beaming in gentle rays that cast Tokyo in pale shine.
It’s the season between summer and autumn, the transitional period, and in Tooru’s opinion, it’s the most beautiful sight to see: the trees were in mid change between vibrant summer green and leaves dyed in fire, some fallen, some still hanging out to the branches. The sun, though half out, isn’t anywhere near warm, so when the cool breeze slips by, Tooru feels a slight shiver on his arms.
Tooru steps in a pile of leaves as he makes his way down the street, hands tucked into his blue coat. The tips of his fingers are cold (Iwa-chan had always bullied him for being naturally cold), and the early morning chill only makes it worse, sending the freeze throughout the rest of his body.
By the time he reaches the coffee shop, he’s cold from head to toe and moments away from shivering. Iwaizumi would be laughing at him right about now, he thinks bitterly. Stupid Iwa-chan who was warm to the touch, a natural space heater.
A blast of heat hits Tooru in the face when he opens the door and he sighs in relief, pulling his hands out of his pockets to rub them together, soaking up all the warmth he could possibly get.
He’s still rubbing his hands together when he gets to the front of the line and when he approaches the barista.
“Hello, what can I get for you?”
Tooru freezes in his steps. The voice is a beautiful, low baritone, a baritone that scatters goosebumps across his arms and sends a chill down his spine.
When Tooru looks up from his shaking hands, he’s face to face with gunmetal blue and messy ink-black hair and his breath catches in his throat.
What does Iwaizumi think?
It doesn’t matter what Iwa-chan thinks or says, Tooru thinks faintly. Because the beautiful boy—Tooru’s dream boy—is standing in front of him, and Tooru can’t think of anything else.