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opia: n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable


The color of Kageyama Tobio’s eyes are a magnificent cobalt, a smoky blue so dark, they can be mistaken for black. They’re the deep corners of oceans, mysteries swimming around them, but they’re also the cool open night sky, twinkling stars scattered across. When you look into them, it’s like plunging yourself underwater, suffocating you, and it’s also soaring and breathing in fresh air. 

Kei used to think Kageyama was simple: if it wasn’t about volleyball, he wouldn’t give an ounce of emotion. If it was about volleyball, those blue eyes would shine, a calm ocean now the bluest part of a raging fire. But there are times when he doesn’t think he is, when he is proven wrong about how much he knows or understands his teammate because he’s so simple to the point where he wears his heart on his sleeve it’s mind-boggling. He finds it admirable, to be so open and so honest, something he can’t do himself, unwilling to do himself. It is illogical to him because being so open and so utterly vulnerable can lead to the kind of hurt that strikes you to your very core and create imperfect cracks, the kind of hurt that changes you and everything you know. He had been burned once before, so why would he put himself through that again? 

Even when they started dating, Kei could exactly tell everything that Kageyama was feeling just by looking into those eyes, those all telling eyes that never lied to him. If he was upset, they came off as a sad, dull grey, hints of a mellow blue peeking out. If he was angry, electric dark blue shined with bolts of steel grey streaked across. If he was confused, blue and grey melted into each other, creating a different color but still being distinctly Kageyama. If he was happy, his eyes glittered the brightest sapphire, the most beautiful of all the eye colors that Kageyama has. 

It’s the color he sees often from Kageyama whenever they look at each other wherever they are, even if they’re across the room from each other. He can see those brilliant blues glimmering right at him, for him, and it takes his breath away without fail. It’s hard for Kei not to get lost in those eyes and fall in love all over again. 

On the other hand, Kei is the complete opposite. He’s not honest nor is he deceptive, and he’d rather keep people at arm’s length away, a safe distance from inevitable pain that comes the disappointment when people find out what he really is. It’s sabotaging, he knows, but he’s a self-deprecating bastard who doesn’t believe he deserves anything so good.

Despite all of that, it’s still so unbelievable to him how much of an open book Kageyama is that it scares Kei sometimes. How can one person hold him in such high regard? How can one person love him so much? 

Kei has never thought much of himself, always preferring to keeping to himself and not drawing any attention, though that's hard to do with his height and his shock of blonde hair. He was a simple student who grew up to be an honest worker and a reliable teammate. He’s a solid presence on his team, but he’s nothing compared to the god-tier monsters that Kageyama and Hinata were. He doesn’t have many pleasures, only volleyball, cooking, and listening to music. He feels like he hasn’t accomplished much in the 25 years of living he has done. 

Still, though, Kageyama chose him, is still choosing him, and he just doesn’t get it. 

“I’m home.”

Kei looks up from the article he was reading on his phone that he was barely paying attention to. “Ah, welcome home. I’m in the bedroom.”

Kageyama shows up at the door with tired eyes that light up considerably upon seeing Kei, making his stomach swoop. Dropping his bags in the corner of their room, he comes over to where Kei is to lean over and give him a quick peck on the cheek. “What are you reading?”

He looks down at his phone and scrolls up. “Not sure. I haven’t been paying attention.” He stops at the title, big bold letters that read “This Is the Amazing Thing That Happens When You Stare Into Each Other's Eyes”. 

“Eh? What does happen?” Kageyama asks, curiosity piqued as he takes the phone from his hands. Kei only stays silent, finally reading along as Kageyama slowly scrolls up. “You must’ve been thinking really hard if you weren’t paying attention.” 

He bristles at the comment, but he is unable to deny the truth of it. “I didn't realize I even clicked on it.” Tsukishima Kei would honestly never deliberately read an inane fluff piece with a clickbait title like that.

“Oh, here: ‘ The fact is that eye contact between two lovers is the foundation of the dance of intimacy. For this reason it is crucial to nurture this connection in your intimate relationships. The more eye contact you have with your partner, the deeper the intimacy will develop .’” He turns to Kei, stupid smirk on his face as mischief glints at the corner of his eye. “Trying to tell me something?”

“Shut it,” Kei snaps as he takes his phone back. He’s about to close out of the tab until warm, callused hands cover his. 

“Wait, let’s try it out.” 

He raises a brow at this. “Why?”

Kageyama simply shrugs. “Seems like fun. Look to see if there’s any directions.”

Sighing, Kei stands and starts to walk out of their room. “King, aren’t you tired? Or hungry? I made dinner-”

“Yeah, but this won’t take long. There’s no way we have to look into each other’s eyes for more than, I don’t know, ten minutes.” Kageyama settles himself in the middle of the bed, sitting with his legs crossed. He pats the spot in front of him, a clear sign he wants him to sit there. “C’mon.”

He sighs again, and reluctantly makes his way over. “Anything for you, my King.”

The pet name does its intended effect, Kageyama blushing upon hearing it. “Whatever, just hurry up and sit already.”

“Testy.” Kei smirks as he settles himself, their knees touching. He pulls out his phone and starts to skim through the article. “First step: get private . Already done. Second step: lower the lights if possible.

“Ah, let me.” 

Kageyama all too quickly jumps off the bed, eagerness in his movements like an excited kid on Christmas morn, as he jogs over to the light switch to turn it off, darkness falling upon both of them. 

“You do realize we need light, right?”

“Shut it, I know what I’m doing,” Kageyama mutters petulantly as he turns on the lamp on Kei’s side of the bed. It gives a soft, yellow glow, dim enough not to bother Kageyama when he's sleeping but bright enough for reading for Kei to do some late night reading. It feels like an intimate mood is set, and the thought makes Kei's heart race. His partner comes back and sits in his same spot. “Alright. Lowered the lights. What’s next?”

“Uh, the other steps just tell you what to do when looking at each other. Says, ‘ Gaze softly; no talking, just gazing; breathe slowly and deeply; don’t judge; appreciate. ’ And it says to do it for at least three minutes.”

“Just three minutes?” The man in front of him frowns, eyebrows creased in confusion. Leaning back on his hands and creating a bigger distance between them, he says, “Seems pretty short.” 

“Well, let’s just try it out. What’s the worst that can happen?” Kei closes the article and opens up his timer app to set it to three minutes. Once set, he reaches out and pulls on Kageyama’s jacket to bring him back to his original position, which brings a cheesy smile on his face that has Kei rolling his eyes. “Come closer. We can’t be that far apart.” Looking down at his phone, his thumb hovers over the start button. “Ready?”

He hears a grunt of approval and presses start. Taking in a deep breath and exhaling it out, he looks up and into Kageyama’s eyes. 

Kei doesn’t know what to think. He’s just… sitting there, doing nothing, and “softly gazing” into the eyes of his lover. At least he thinks he is. Getting lost in the depths of Kageyama’s eyes is something that happens to him frequently, which he doesn’t mind at all. It’s nice at first, like he’s floating at sea, relaxing into Kageyama’s stare. He thinks about how eyes are supposedly the “windows to the soul”, that you can tell a lot about a person by looking into them, like whether they’re lying or telling the truth. Even the skin around the eyes pull in different directions to amplify feelings, like crinkling when happy or folding back to widen open in surprise or squinting in disgust or anger. The eyes are all telling, and Kageyama, he thinks, is no exception to that. 

As the seconds tick by so painfully slowly, he feels himself less calm in the waters of Kageyama’s oceans as he starts flailing to keep himself afloat, to keep himself from drowning. The staring is intense, and Kei feels like he’s being picked apart, the seams unraveling as Kageyama digs deeper and further to find the essence of him.

He’s never felt this way before, those piercing eyes reaching into his soul, and he wonders: what does Kageyama see? Does he like what he sees? What if he doesn’t? What if he finally sees him for what he truly is: an asshole with nothing going for him? He feels like he’s naked, and he has been naked plenty of times in front of Kageyama before, but not like this, not when he’s defenseless with all his faults and emotions laid bare. 

These thoughts rattle him up, have him shaking to his core, but he tries to clear his head and focus on Kageyama’s eyes, eyes so deep and so blue and so gray, eyes that are filled with so much love, like he looks at Kei like he’s his whole world, like he is his everything, that it makes him breathless, makes him gasp for air. It’s freeing but suffocating at the same time, a heavy weight pressing down on his chest. 

How can one person just see right through him and see everything that Kei is, good and bad, and still love him?

Kei feels his head getting dizzy and his vision getting blurry, clenching his jaw to hold back his emotions from spilling out onto his face and all over their bed. He doesn’t even know if he’s breathing at this point, all that he knows is that Kageyama looking at him, seeing him has turned him into a ridiculous broken mess that he doesn’t know how he’ll fix. 

The timer goes off, and Kageyama is the first to break eye contact, which does nothing to remedy the situation. Even though the spell is broken, Kei is still reeling from those eyes’ haunting effects.

“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” Kageyama spoke as he shut off the timer. “It was kinda nice actu - Kei!?” 

At the sound of his name, he looks at Kageyama, but he can’t see anything, his boyfriend becoming a blurry blob in front of him. He gasps, letting out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Warm hands envelope his face, brushing away tears that have streamed down his cheeks. Hands so warm and so loving and tender with him, it makes him cry harder.

“Kei? What’s wrong?” Kageyama asks, concern clear in his voice. He feels him shift over to sit closer, his legs going around his waist, knees knocking into his sides. He doesn’t dare look into those eyes, eyes that he sees at wake and in his dreams, eyes that bless him and adore him. “Talk to me.”

“Why do you even like me?” Kei rasps out, voice strangled as he suppresses a sob. He covers his face with his hands, hiding from the one man he loves so much and isn’t sure he deserves. He prepares himself for bitter disappointment that he expects to come soon. “There’s nothing good about me. You could do so much better.”

There’s a gentle tug on his wrists, pulling away his only shield of protection from Kageyama. “Hey, don’t hide from me. Look at me.” Even as his hands are taken away and held by Kageyama’s, thumbs stroking the back of his hands in soothing circles, he still looks down and away from his fixed stare. “Oi. No running away.”

That gets a small watery laugh out of him. “Using my words against me, King?”

“I only just want you to look at me.” He feels a hand cradle his chin and tilt it up, up, and up until he’s met with the deep blue grey of Kageyama’s eyes that told him all and never lied. Kageyama lets out a small sigh of relief, leaning in closer as he wipes the tears from Kei’s face. “There you are.”

Kei doesn’t know if this look of utter adoration and loving care is welcoming or not. It makes him uneasy the longer he agonizes over it, and he can’t tell if his heart is beating fast from the anxiety he’s experiencing or from the way Kageyama and everything about him just makes his heart beat so. 

He feels a hand run through his tresses, Kageyama’s manicured nails scratching his scalp calming him down. “You’re lost in that head of yours, aren’t you?” Kageyama murmurs, a statement more so than a question. “Why are you so worried? What did you see?”

“Hard to see anything from you when all you think of is volleyball,” Kei says automatically, his honed ability to whip out biting remarks a self-defense measure he had adopted so early on in his life. He winces as soon as he realizes. “Sorry… I didn’t mean…”

“I know.” He can feel Kageyama’s breath on him, light as a whisper, their noses almost touching. “You know I love you, right?”

It’s said every now and then, and he’d thought he would be used to it, but Kei’s heart still flutters at the admission. “But why?”

“Do I even need a reason? I just do. And I know no amount of me telling you won’t get that into your big brain, but I will tell you every day if I have to,” he huffs, determined pout set on his lips. 

“I just… am I enough for you? Do you even know how much I love you, Tobio? I would be willing to give you up if it meant that you could be…” Kei looks down, biting his lip as he fights back the tears that threatened to spill, the next sentence tough for him to say. “If it meant you could be happier elsewhere. I don’t want to hold you back.”

“For someone so smart, you can be so dumb,” Kageyama scolds, slightly tugging at a lock of his blonde hair. “It’s you, and only you. No one else I’d rather have to be by my side than you.”

“But-”

“But nothing, Kei. It’s me and you. It’s all I ever want. It’s all I ever need.” 

His heart swells, soaking up the light and love Kageyama gives him. Taking his hand from his head, he places it on his cheek, nuzzling into its warmth and planting a small kiss. “I hope you know how much I feel for you.”

He hears an affirmative hum. “I may not see it on your face all the time, and I may not hear it from you, but I see it every day in other ways.”

“What do you mean?” He wonders what else those eyes see, how those eyes can see anything past his cold exterior, past his many masks to hide his honest feelings. He’s not a particularly emotive person, unable to truly express to others, especially those he loves, how much he cares for them, and it has been a constant worry whether or not Kageyama could tell if he felt the same. So to hear him say that confuses more than reassures him. 

Kageyama smiles softly at him as Kei waits with bated breath. With his other hand, he reaches up and continues to play with his hair. “It’s in the way you pack me my bento with all my favorite foods, texting me when I’m out of town for an away game and making sure I’m okay or saying ‘good night’ to me, getting me my favorite brand of milk, offering to massage or draw a bath when I come in feeling miserable and exhausted and I haven’t even told you how my day went, or giving me a slice of your strawberry shortcake, which I know you hate to share. Even the way you mess up my hair and tease me and call me ‘King’.” He looks down shyly, but those eyes peer through his eyelashes to look Kei straight in the eye. “They are little things, but… I know it’s your way of telling me that you love me.”

Kei’s at a loss for words. He never really knew or took into account what he did, only just that he did them because he wanted to do them, not giving them any second thought because… because it’s Kageyama, and he would do anything for this man. But hearing all of this is like a breath of fresh air to him, so relieving, that he wants to cry from the overwhelming amount of happiness he’s feeling.

Kageyama leans forward, pressing featherlight kisses against both of his eyes despite tears streaming down. Cupping his face, he looks at Kei, into Kei, with his eyes the color of his love: glimmering sapphire containing all the blues and greys in the world, a dazzling spectrum that shines vibrantly in Kei’s dull world.

 

 

"I see you, Kei, and I see all of you, and I want all of you.”