The first time Iwaizumi held Oikawa's hand, they were five years old, playing in the backyard under an overcast sky. When the rain had started, a gentle drizzle at first, Iwaizumi's mom had called out to them, but Oikawa had stubbornly shook his head, claiming they hadn't finished their adventure yet. It didn't take long for the drizzle to expand into a downpour, drenching their clothes and plastering their hair to their foreheads.
Iwa-chan, I don't want to go home. Let's keep playing.
Iwaizumi had sighed, grabbing Oikawa's hand and roughly dragging him up the slight incline to the back door, where Iwaizumi's mom waited with arms outstretched, fluffy towels at the ready. She gently fluffed their hair, shooing them inside, and running a warm bath for them. She had called Oikawa's mom, arranging for Oikawa to stay the night.
Oikawa had insisted on holding his hand when they crawled into bed, and maybe it was the way Oikawa had shivered even after Iwaizumi's mom had blow dried his hair, or maybe it was the infectious grin he had when he created a rambling story to conclude their backyard adventure, but Iwaizumi found that he couldn't - didn't want to - say no.
The second time Iwaizumi had held Oikawa's hand was on Iwaizumi's ninth birthday. After the presents had been opened (Iwaizumi became especially fond of the Godzilla plushie Oikawa had gotten him, and, though he would later refuse to admit to it, slept with it every night for years. It was retired to his bookshelf, only brought out when he had trouble falling asleep, or nightmares plagued him) - and the cake had been cut up and enjoyed, Iwaizumi's friends from school were finally starting to file out the front door. A boy in his grade, wide-eyed, with an affinity for starting competitions over everything from who could drink milk the fastest to who could throw a baseball the farthest, accidentally knocked over a vase from the coffee table in the living room. Iwaizumi, barefoot and running to see the source of the commotion, had promptly stepped on a large shard of glass, slicing his foot open cleanly and causing the other boy to cry at the sight of the blood.
Although Iwaizumi gritted his teeth, tears started gathering in the corners of his eyes, and when he blindly reached out a hand, silently asking for support, it was Oikawa's hand that met him, squeezing silently. It was Oikawa that swallowed, squared his shoulders, and allowed Iwaizumi to grip his hand until his knuckles started turning white.
Iwaizumi hadn't insisted out loud that Oikawa accompany them to the hospital, but when Iwaizumi's mother recalled the story - as she liked to do frequently - she reminisced at the fear sparking in Iwaizumi's eyes when she had suggested Oikawa might want to go home. So, Oikawa had held Iwaizumi's hand, during the car ride to the hospital, when he got his tetanus shot, and when they had cleaned up the wound.
We always spend our birthdays together, Iwa-chan. Hospital or no, I won't leave.
At fifteen years old, Iwaizumi and Oikawa were more likely to punch each other in the arm, arguing playfully over the correct answers to homework problems, or slap each other on the back encouragingly during volleyball practice, than they were to hold hands. One notable exception, however, was on the bus on their way to their first high school volleyball tournament. Aoba Johsai's starting setter had come down with a nasty case of food poisoning, and the coach had decided to put Oikawa on the court, letting him know as they were lined up to board the bus. Oikawa was no stranger to playing on the court, but his face had twisted anxiously at the thought of stepping onto the court as a high school starting setter, even if it was only by chance of circumstances, and Iwaizumi had thought exasperatedly that Oikawa looked vaguely like he might throw up.
When they settled into seats at the back of the bus, and Oikawa seemed not to hear Iwaizumi calling his name, Iwaizumi sighed and reached over to grab Oikawa's hand. That got his attention, and he had glanced at Iwaizumi with a soft smile, before looking out the window.
I'll make you proud out there, Iwa-chan. Thanks for looking out for me.
Iwaizumi had been impressed that day, not only by the way Oikawa managed to wear his heart on his sleeve, even if Iwaizumi was the only one ever awarded that honor, but also by the steady face that Oikawa had worn throughout the game, his eyes alert and his grin sharp as he led their team to victory. It had been a close game, but Oikawa's sets had been precise, and if Iwaizumi had imagined himself being out on the court, hitting Oikawa's sets instead of that burly wing spiker proudly wearing the number 4, no one but him needed to know.
Just shy of their eighteenth birthday, Iwaizumi and Oikawa lost to Karasuno. It was a hard loss, bitter to swallow and sharp in their throats. Iwaizumi had been so fucking proud, though, to be out on the court with Oikawa - he'd played volleyball with Oikawa for so long, it felt as natural as breathing, but somehow it never lost its thrill, and when Oikawa had tossed that last set, for him, meeting his eyes with an intensity that had burned fire in Iwaizumi's stomach, Iwaizumi had felt alive.
That'd made it harder, though, to stand in the deafening silence when the ball finally dropped, when he realized it was over. And, sure, there's been plenty of consolatory ramen afterwards, and the third years had headed back to the gym, halfheartedly playing before devolving into crying, but Iwaizumi thought it hit him the hardest when he and Oikawa were finally walking home in silence.
There'd been too much silence that day, he decided - silence in the aftermath of the game ending, silence in the locker room when they had tried to hide their sniffles in the rustling of changing clothes, silence settling between them as they walked home, hearts and feet heavy. He'd stopped, then. Oikawa had been brutally vulnerable with him so many times over the course of their lives - his eyes shining and his smile curving as he spoke so softly and honestly that affection had curled around Iwaizumi's heart - that he decided it was only fair he be the one to lay himself bare for once.
I wouldn't have wanted anyone else by my side, Iwa-chan. Only you.
And as they had resumed their walk home, Iwaizumi had reached over, intertwining his fingers with Oikawa's, enjoying the feel of their palms against each other more than he thought he should admit.
They're twenty-two when Oikawa uses some time off to visit Iwaizumi in Japan. Distance can only wreak so much havoc on a relationship founded on the careless innocence of childhood and tempered by a lifetime of trust, and Iwaizumi wasn't surprised that there was no trace of unease between them. While visits had been few and far between since Oikawa had left the country, phone calls, text messages, even handwritten letters - written in smooth, hurried script by Oikawa, who had insisted that they write letters in the first place, to be able to keep as a memento to look back on, and blocky, dark handwriting by Iwaizumi, who grumbled about the cost of stamps, but had never been able to say no to Oikawa, and didn't really mind anyways - had been frequent.
Oikawa wasn't shy about hugging him when Iwaizumi met him at the airport, and Iwaizumi grunted at the momentum but wrapped his arms around Oikawa tightly, bearing Oikawa's weight carefully when his feet left the ground. It felt natural to pull Oikawa by the hand, make sure they didn't get separated in the crowd - Iwaizumi pretended that was more than a flimsy excuse, considering the reduced traffic inside the airport in the early hours of a Tuesday morning - and if he didn't let go, even on the train, if he found himself reaching for Oikawa's hand again and again, Oikawa didn't say anything.
After a lifetime together, it still doesn't feel right being further than across the street from you, Iwa-chan.
Iwaizumi swore, then, if Oikawa ever came back to Japan, that across the street wouldn't be close enough. On the occasions that he drank, he allowed himself to fantasize about Oikawa moving back to Japan eventually, picking out an apartment together, and falling asleep in the same apartment rather than falling asleep on the phone with each other.
Oikawa had been such an important part of his life for such a long time - his first memory was of Oikawa knocking on his front door, peeking out from behind his mom's legs with an infectious grin - that Iwaizumi couldn't imagine life without him.
They spent Oikawa's two week vacation eating a ridiculous amount of ramen - because Oikawa insisted ramen in Argentina just wasn't the same - and relaxing on the soft gray couch in Iwaizumi's apartment. There was no need to impress him with the sights - he was home, after all - and there was no need to put up pretenses, not when they were both happier drinking cheap whiskey on Iwaizumi's living room floor, laughing and reminiscing.
It was hard, leaving Oikawa at the gate. It was harder, feeling Oikawa's lips brush his cheek, knowing he would still board the plane.
They were twenty-seven when they faced each other across the court at the 2021 Olympics. Iwaizumi found himself drinking in the differences between the Oikawa he'd grown up with and the Oikawa leading the Argentina Olympic men's volleyball team into the court.
His hair was shorter, his smile tighter, more genuine, and he walked with the confidence of a player who couldn't wait for that first set to start.
Iwaizumi was alive, his skin tingling with excitement. He was proud of his team, had worked with them day in and day out, knew they were incredibly talented and driven and hungry to win, but fuck if it didn't set his pulse racing to stare down Oikawa on the opposite side of the court.
He would be lying if he said he would be disappointed to lose this game.
He wanted to beat Oikawa, of course - they were rivals, he was playing for another country's team - but when he thought about Oikawa, the most important person in his life, achieving his dream, winning gold, he couldn't help but smile.
The game was intense - Iwaizumi had expected it to last for five sets, and it did. Japan took sets one and four, and Argentina took sets two and three. Set five was brutal, but a part of Iwaizumi hoped it would never end. It made him proud, to watch his team, players he worked with every day, play their hearts out. It also made him proud to watch Oikawa, who looked so happy out on the court.
When the last whistle blew, when the players lined up to shake hands, sweat dripping off their foreheads, when Oikawa's sharp gaze met Iwaizumi's eyes, softened, for him, Iwaizumi bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning.
He consoled his team, of course, congratulated them for a game well fought, but a small part of his brain whispered, Don't take it too hard. Oikawa is a worthy opponent to fall to.
Dinner had been spent apart, with their respective teams, but after a few rounds of drinks, they met in Oikawa's hotel room, glasses of whiskey in hand, on the living room floor, so reminiscent of five years ago, with so many changes.
Iwaizumi's eyes lingered on the sharp edges of Oikawa's face, the soft curves of his smile. He leaned in close when they laughed, and didn't pull back again afterwards.
When Oikawa finally checked his phone, to no surprise, there were hundreds of notifications. He ignored most of the well-wishes and congratulations, but opened the Aoba Johsai group chat. Pictures pulled up - Matsukawa, Hanamaki, Yahaba, Watari, all with the Argentine flag painted on their cheeks. Oikawa's eyes welled up slightly, but he blinked back the tears.
"I really did it," Oikawa spoke softly, something sharp and fragile, like saying it out loud would make it untrue.
Iwaizumi nodded. "I'm proud of you," he said easily, because it was true, and the embarrassment of being so open had left him long ago, replaced by an constant urge to be the reason Oikawa smiled.
Iwaizumi nudged his shoulder against Oikawa. "I wanna show you something," and it was easy, with the heat of the whiskey pooling in his veins, to pull his shirt over his head.
Oikawa's eyes widened in surprise at the sudden movement, but Iwaizumi knew he saw when the air left his lungs in a gasp. Oikawa's hand reached out, hesitantly, fingertips skimming his chest, where an Argentine flag was painted just above his heart.
Oikawa opened his mouth, lips trying to form a reply, but he seemed stunned. Instead, he let his hand trail down Iwaizumi's arm, interlacing their fingers.
Iwaizumi thought of all the times he had reached out to Oikawa, times over the years he had reached out and grounded Oikawa, grounded himself, but with Oikawa reaching out to him, it felt more like floating, drifting higher and higher until he was looking down at the stars in the sky and saying, I have seen your radiance and it doesn't compare to the sight in front of me.
And Iwaizumi thought of all the times Oikawa had called his name, softly, giving a little piece of his heart away, sharp edges slicing Iwaizumi's fingers, but still the most valuable things he had ever carried.
"I'm going home at the end of the week," Oikawa said softly, and Iwaizumi didn't know why he was bringing up his apartment in Argentina at a time like this, but past experience told him to bite his tongue, because Oikawa was at his most open when their hands were linked.
"You're going home?" Iwaizumi repeated, questioning.
"If you'll have me." Oikawa looked scared, suddenly, his eyes shining with tears. "You're home, Hajime. You've always been my home."
Oikawa leaned forward, then, his free hand resting on Iwaizumi's cheek, and kissed him softly before pulling back.
If Iwaizumi had been asked to describe what it felt like to have his heart stop, he would describe the moment Oikawa's lips first met his.
Iwaizumi had a lot of thoughts in the ten seconds after Oikawa pulled back.
His first thought was that it hurt, a little bit, the uncertainty in Oikawa's eyes. Not only because he had just won a fucking gold medal - and Iwaizumi was certain that should mean there was only pride and accomplishment and excitement shining in his eyes - but because he and Oikawa had spent their entire lives together, and Oikawa was looking at him like something as small as a kiss would be the catalyst of their destruction.
His second thought was that although that kiss certainly wouldn't be a catalyst of their destruction, he thought that it might be the catalyst towards creation. He thought, then, about wanting to get an apartment with Oikawa, wanting to fall asleep close to him. He thought about the fact that every time in his life he had wanted something to keep his feet rooted in the ground, every time he had wanted something to pull him to new heights, he had reached out for Oikawa. He thought about Oikawa's lips brushing his cheek, years ago.
He realized, then, why his mother never asked him when he was going to bring a girlfriend home. He realized why he had never thought about dating, why the string of one night stands he had, had tapered off years ago.
And he thought that maybe he hadn't realized he was in love with Oikawa, because there had never been a time where he wasn't in love with Oikawa.
Oikawa was still close enough that Iwaizumi could feel his breath fanning his cheek. It made it so easy to connect their lips again, adoring the gasp that left Oikawa's mouth, feeling his fingers curl tightly into Iwaizumi's shoulder. Kissing Oikawa was as breathtaking as spiking his sets; Iwaizumi's stomach clenched with the thrill, trust, excitement.
Iwaizumi imagined taking it slow, his lips sliding smoothly over Oikawa's, coaxing him into gentle shivers and hazy eyes, but it was so much better to slip his tongue into Oikawa's mouth and breathe in his whimper. It was hot and messy and Oikawa was so responsive, his breaths coming short and quick in the small gaps where Iwaizumi pulled back between kisses.
Iwaizumi pushed Oikawa back gently, mindful of the wood floor underneath them, settling his weight on Oikawa, one knee outside his left hip, and one knee in between his legs. Oikawa's hands followed the outline of Iwaizumi's muscles like he was worried if he stopped touching, Iwaizumi would disappear.
Iwaizumi, groaned, low in the back of his throat, when Oikawa gently ran his nails down Iwaizumi's back. His nails were short, and blunt, like he'd kept them since they were in elementary school, and left fire in their wake.
When he finally pulled back enough from Oikawa to speak, he was met with the sight of Oikawa with mussed hair, flushed lips, and heaving chest. He thought he'd never seen anything so beautiful.
"I've been waiting for you to come home all these years," Iwaizumi admitted, knowing Oikawa would understand that he was so proud of Oikawa for following his dreams, that'd he supported him every step of the way, but that didn't mean he hadn't missed Oikawa every moment since he'd first gotten on that plane.
"Hajime," Oikawa breathed, low and soft, and Iwaizumi could hear the love in Oikawa's voice, and he suddenly couldn't believe they'd spent so many years apart, when he could have taken Oikawa apart on the living room floor when they were young and bright-eyed, when he could have seen Oikawa looking like this and meeting his eyes with that look.
He kissed him again, because he could, because he wanted to, because Oikawa was soft and willing underneath his lips, and underneath his palms. He didn't know how long they laid like that, his tongue dipping into Oikawa's mouth to taste the whiskey on his breath. Oikawa made the prettiest sounds - whimpers when Iwaizumi bit his bottom lip, sighs when Iwaizumi dragged his hand down the length of his side, nails just barely scraping his skin, and whispers of his name when Iwaizumi's mouth moved to his neck.
He took his time exploring Oikawa's body, teeth and tongue teasing the juncture between Oikawa's neck and shoulder, the sharp ridge of his collar bone. Oikawa, head thrown back in pleasure, moved, curled into Iwaizumi and bit down on his shoulder, tongue flicking out to his jaw line, and Iwaizumi wondered if anything could compare to the heat smoldering between them, the endless give and take of pleasure.
It was hard to stop kissing Oikawa, harder to pull back from the feel of Oikawa's hands on his skin, but it was worth it to carry him to the bedroom, toss him on the bed, move over him and see the want in his eyes, the same burning intensity that had flitted into his eyes when he talked about going to Nationals, going to the world stage, winning the Olympics, and now it was for him. It was enough to send a shiver up Iwaizumi's spine.
He pulled Oikawa's shirt over his head smoothly, leaning in closer to trace his hands without constraint, skin burning under his fingertips. He could feel Oikawa's pulse thrumming when his hands skimmed to touch the inside of Oikawa's wrist, the side of his neck.
"You're so fucking perfect, Tooru," he found himself saying, thinking that if he had remembered how soft and easy Oikawa's given name rolled off his tongue, he would have never stopped saying it in middle school, when he had gotten upset that all the girls in their class called Oikawa Tooru-chan, and insisted they call each other by their last names, because he wanted to be the only one who could say his name like that, eager and honey sweet. "So beautiful."
And it was so satisfying to watch Oikawa tremble at his words. He supposed it should have been obvious, from the way Oikawa had always blushed prettily when Iwaizumi had complimented him, but it was better this way, with Oikawa half naked and shoulders soft with trust, gazing up at him with nothing less than pure adoration in his eyes.
"Hajime," Oikawa keened, broken and needy, surging up and flipping Iwaizumi underneath him. Iwaizumi let out a huff, but allowed Oikawa to take a semblance of control, his lips following a path from his throat to his stomach, a long pause and an extra kiss on the flag on his chest. Oikawa shed their rest of their clothes deftly and then his mouth was on Iwaizumi's thighs, breath ghosting over his cock teasingly, until Iwaizumi's hand threaded through Oikawa's hair, gently, but with a slight tug.
Oikawa grinned up at him, sharp, then, and took him into his mouth, tongue lazily flicking out and around and sending Iwaizumi's mouth on autopilot of, "Fuck, Tooru, you're so good, take me so well." His brain was hazy, and all he could really think about was how good Oikawa looked, positioned in between Iwaizumi's thighs, a strand of spit making a path down his chin, and how well Oikawa used his mouth, teasing with a satisfied smile before making Iwaizumi's brain short circuit as he took all of Iwaizumi in his mouth.
His thumb stroked Oikawa's cheek gently, contrasting the obscene way Oikawa looked with a cock in his mouth, setting Iwaizumi's heart racing until he couldn't take it anymore, tugged Oikawa up to him and slanted his mouth over him, desperate and messy.
"Tooru, baby, where's the lube?" Iwaizumi mumbled against his lips, wanting nothing more than to take Oikawa apart piece by piece, noting with a small smile the way Oikawa's eyes widened at being called baby.
Iwaizumi grabbed the lube from the bag Oikawa vaguely gestured to, and settled in between Oikawa's legs, coating his middle finger before teasing at Oikawa's entrance. "Tell me what you want, Tooru," he said lowly, nipping at Oikawa's inner thighs.
Oikawa whined in response, high in his throat, and tugged his hands in Iwaizumi's hair roughly, like maybe Iwaizumi was nice enough to work him open without being begged. "Hajime," he panted, "Haji-" like Iwaizumi's name was the only word he could think of.
Iwaizumi coaxed his finger in to the first knuckle, pleased at the way Oikawa's hand flew up to his mouth in a futile attempt to stop the filthy sound that ripped from his throat. Oikawa was beautiful, legs spread and head tilted to the side like maybe he was too embarrassed to meet Iwaizumi's eyes, even though Iwaizumi wanted nothing more than to see Oikawa come apart by his hand.
"Tell me, Tooru, or I won't know," he lied, with a sharp grin, because of course he knew, of course he could give Oikawa what he wanted without making him work for it, but it was more fun this way, to see Oikawa's cheeks flush before his hands covered his face for a second.
Pulling his hands back down, and meeting Iwaizumi's gaze determinedly, if a bit unfocused, Oikawa begged, Iwaizumi's name rolling off his tongue so prettily Iwaizumi felt desire clench in his stomach. "Please, Hajime. I want you, have always wanted you, need you so bad," and it was enough.
Iwaizumi had always preferred foreplay over fucking. There was something so intimate about foreplay, something so intoxicating about watching someone fall apart at the smallest movements, and with Oikawa, the sensation was more amplified. Every time he added a finger, every time he curled his fingers just right, Oikawa shuddered. His whole body reacted, his back arching off the white sheets until Iwaizumi had to use a hand to hold his hips down. His mouth opened in silent pleas, for more, or whimpers pulled from the back of his throat, and Iwaizumi was tempted to keep going until Oikawa saw stars, but after playing a full game, he decided Oikawa might be too tired to come multiple times, so he slid his fingers out and stood up to grab a condom.
After applying extra lube, he was sliding into Oikawa, slowly, watching his face for discomfort, seeing only hazy eyes and mouth parted. He leaned forward and kissed Oikawa, because he could kiss Oikawa now, probably whenever he wanted, and he was going to take full advantage of that fact, before bottoming out. There was a few moments of stillness, of Iwaizumi pressing open-mouthed kisses to Oikawa's jaw, his neck, moving back up to capture his mouth again because fuck he tasted like whiskey and something sweet, and Iwaizumi wanted more.
And when Oikawa brought a hand to the nape of Iwaizumi's neck, urging him to move with a soft, almost tired voice, Iwaizumi complied. He had always preferred foreplay over fucking but being inside Oikawa was heaven and Iwaizumi had never been one for religion but he was pretty sure he was five seconds away from seeing the face of God.
"You're so good for me, Tooru, baby. I love you so much, I'm so proud of you, you should have seen yourself on that court today." Iwaizumi had planned to make a more ardent confession, preferably in the morning, over pancakes, but his mouth wasn't keeping up with his brain, and honestly, he wasn't sure his brain was even functioning because the only thing he could think was how good Oikawa felt.
Oikawa kissed him, biting his lower lip, before pulling back, body starting to shake, and Iwaizumi knew what he wanted, snapped his hips harder, faster, until Oikawa was cursing into his shoulder and muffling the small groan he made when he came.
"I love you, Haji," Oikawa said, lips right against his ear, and Iwaizumi came, body trembling and vision blurring.
Iwaizumi cleaned Oikawa up before collapsing in the bed next to him. He ran his fingers through Oikawa's hair, over and over, until his Oikawa's breathing evened out and his body fully relaxed. It was easy to fall asleep, with Oikawa's head on his chest and their feet tangled together like when they were five.
Iwaizumi woke in the wee hours of the morning, with his hand splayed on Oikawa's back, and wondered how he'd ever fallen asleep without Oikawa scrunching his nose in his sleep and shifting even closer. He thought about the absolute trust that Oikawa had placed in him since they were young - trust enough to be completely vulnerable, completely broken, completely human - and he thought about the absolute trust that Oikawa had expected from him in return. He thought about the freedom that came from having known Oikawa his whole life, and the fact that Oikawa kept him safe, kept him steady, pushed him higher, stayed by his side.
Iwaizumi lay there, thinking that if soulmates existed, Oikawa was his, and as light drifted through the blinds on the window, he thought that maybe Oikawa was his home, too.