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Vampires prowled the halls of Aobajousai. Iwaizumi could see them everywhere: in math class, during morning exercises, at clubs after school. He could turn a corridor with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder, look at the students, and count them out one by one: vampire, human, vampire, human, vampire, human, human, human with dental problems that looks suspiciously like a vampire but probably isn't.

It was such a hassle, being a Chosen One. Iwaizumi hadn't asked for this responsibility but it'd come to him anyway on his sixteenth birthday when his cousin bared her fangs during his birthday dinner and tried to kill him. He'd had to dust her with a spatula, which was 1) enormously traumatizing, 2) kind of turned him off cooking for the rest of his life. Fortunately, this was in the alleyway behind the restaurant and no one had been looking. If anyone asked, his cousin ran off to America to marry an artisanal mustard maker.

The Council had gotten into touch with Iwaizumi then, explaining his new roles and powers, and Iwaizumi had proper equipment now, a set of stakes and a knife that he carried with his sneakers and volleyball equipment wherever he went. He made sure his equipment was kept clean and sharp at all times because two years of being a vampire hunter had taught him that vampires could be lurking everywhere. Were lurking everywhere.

90% of vampires were cool. They blended in with humans, drank blood bank donations, and lived peaceful lives. Iwaizumi was totally down with those vampires. Some of them, like turnip-head Kindaichi, were even his friends. The other 10% though, they were bad news. When vampires got bloodthirsty and forgot proper manners, that was when Iwaizumi had to step in.

Iwaizumi was fast. He was strong. Most importantly, he was efficient.

He also had the worst sidekick in the entire business.

"I see one, Iwa-chan, he's running down that street!" Oikawa shouted. "We've got to catch him! Faster, faster!"

"Shut up!" Iwaizumi said. "You're so loud!"

"Then why are you doing all the shouting?" Oikawa pouted.

"Who asked you to come hunting with me anyway, Shittykawa?" Iwaizumi said, because that was the part he didn't understand, why Oikawa insisted on joining him night after night, even though Iwaizumi could do this perfectly fine on his own. Better, actually, because Oikawa made things worse before he made things better. Oh shit, he thought, the vampire was getting away.

He started to run. Nighttime turned him into a shadowy blur as he sprinted down the street after the escaping vampire who they'd caught trying to sneak into a small child's bedroom window. He ran, and Oikawa ran after him, his long legs catching up easily to Iwaizumi, which only pissed Iwaizumi off even more. He barreled down the street and around the corner, catching up with the vampire under a streetlight where he pulled out a stake from his belt and brandished it.

The vampire snarled at him. He was a middle-aged man wearing a Golden Eagles shirt, balding on the top of his head. He lunged at Iwaizumi.

"Not Iwa-chan's face!" Oikawa shrieked.

Iwaizumi blocked the vampire's blow, the first one and the next three to come, before he swung his fist fast and low, knocking the breath out of his enemy before his other hand, with his fingers curled around his stake, plunged the weapon into the vampire's heart. The vampire exploded into a poof of dust.

"Iwa-chan," Oikawa said, starting to grin. The dust had gotten over both of them, speckling Oikawa's hair like flecks of paint. "Even though you're not very cool most of the time, and even though none of the girls at school like you because you're actually kind of mean and boring, even though you'll probably die forgotten and alone — that wasn't bad."

Iwaizumi punched him in the stomach.

:::

Someday, when parents were teaching their children about the birds and the bees, when they got to the part about explaining male genitalia, they would open up a dictionary and there would be, under the entry 'dicks', a giant picture of Oikawa's face.

"You need to run even faster, you know," he said one night after Iwaizumi had chased a particularly speedy vampire all around the city. Oikawa kept pace on his bike, pedaling cheerfully while Iwaizumi ran until his lungs burned. Oikawa didn't once offer him the use of his bike and Iwaizumi was too proud to ask.

"You need to punch harder," Oikawa said the next night when Iwaizumi managed to take one in the jaw.

"You need to be more alert," Oikawa said the following night when Iwaizumi was caught off-guard by an attacking vampire as he stopped to buy a soft drink.

"You should probably just give up right now," Oikawa finally decided, talking out loud while Iwaizumi wrestled a vampire Friday night, Greco-Roman style, pinning the bastard down before dusting him off. Oikawa was watching him, eating dried seaweed on the curb, and the sound of his crunching drove Iwaizumi mad as he rose, straightened, and scowled with the full furious force of Iwaizumi Hajime, Vampire Hunter, Saviour of Nations (or at the very least, Miyagi Prefecture).

Crunch crunch, went Oikawa.

"When did you become my coach?" Iwaizumi snapped.

"I am your captain, Iwa-chan," Oikawa said sunnily. "You should show me more respect and listen to my advice."

"My volleyball captain, not my vampire hunting captain!" Iwaizumi said. "Those are two completely different things!"

"Are they?" Oikawa said.

"Yes!"

"Are they really?"

"Goddamn it!"

"They both start with v in English."

"So what!" Iwaizumi said.

"So," Oikawa said, finishing the last of the dried seaweed and crumpling up the bag, "I've done you a huge favour and written up a training plan for you. See?" He fumbled around in his school jacket pockets and pulled out a piece of paper. "Monday we'll focus on cardio, Tuesday we'll work on strength training, and of course you'll have to cut salt and dairy out of diet because they just make you bloated—"

"Give me that," Iwaizumi said. He tried to snatch the paper out of Oikawa's hand but Oikawa stood up and held it above his head.

"Ah ah ah, Iwa-chan! I'm only doing this for your own good."

"You're the worst thing that's ever happened to me," Iwaizumi said, cheeks turning red as he jumped up on the balls of his feet and tried to get the paper again. Damn Oikawa for being taller than him.

"The worst? How mean. You'll be thanking me when you're the best vampire hunter in the entire world," Oikawa sniffed. "Now say 'thank you, Captain Oikawa.'"

"I'd rather eat my own gallbladder first," Iwaizumi said passionately.

:::

The worst part was, Oikawa's training regime was actually pretty good, a fact which caused Iwaizumi such enormous pain that he wondered if he should see a doctor. But he was fairly certain there was no doctor that could erase the psychic anguish of being Oikawa's best friend. Such miracles didn't seem likely even in a world where vampires walked among humans.

"Are you sure you're not a vampire?" Iwaizumi said after Oikawa had made him run five laps around the track. Sweat was threaded through his hair and the nape of his neck. "Because you're a pain in my ass."

"Vampires don't bite people in the ass," Oikawa said automatically. Then he peered at Iwaizumi, a sly grin lighting up his face. "Unless you know something you're not telling me."

"If you were a vampire, that's exactly where you'd bite."

"How scandalous," Oikawa said. "Is that what Iwaizumi thinks of me? Or is that hope in your voice I'm hearing? Because of course I'll bite my dear precious Iwa-chan in the ass if that's what he wants. I'll do it so tenderly you won't even—"

Iwaizumi shoved him to the ground. Oikawa sprawled out laughing wildly. The moonlight turned his hair a silky grey.

"Come on," Iwaizumi said, "what's next on your stupid plan?"

It was too bad Oikawa was 100% human. Iwaizumi had made sure to check. If Oikawa was a vampire then maybe at least then he would have an excuse for being such an annoying brat, but Oikawa's levels of annoying weren't on a supernatural scale — they were depressingly, ordinarily human. He made Iwaizumi run another five laps before ordering Iwaizumi to drop into pushups, and then he sat on Iwaizumi's back as he did them. Which worked out horribly, as Oikawa was heavy as fuck and Iwaizumi's elbows gave out as he simply collapsed to the ground.

"It's all those cakes the girls give you," Iwaizumi panted. "Stop eating so many of them."

"Excuse you, I'm as light as an angel. If you were a real man, you'd be able to lift me, no problem," Oikawa said.

"You smell too."

"I do not."

"Get off me," Iwaizumi said.

"Nah," Oikawa said. "I like it here." And he braced both knees around Iwaizumi's sides and leaned over so that Iwaizumi could see his smirk, quick and foxlike and so very Oikawa that Iwaizumi felt dizzy with it. Must be the exercise, he thought. Or maybe the gluten.

:::

"He's going to get himself killed one day," Iwaizumi said. "He doesn't understand it at all. It's not a game. Vampires are actually dangerous. When they go bad, they hurt people."

"Huh?" Nishinoya said, slurping his milkshake. "What are we talking about?"

"Asskawa, of course," Iwaizumi said. He picked up his napkin and started dividing it into neat square pieces. "He comes out with me every night to hunt. It's like dragging a cat around with me — and he isn't even on a leash."

"You wish you could leash him, huh?" Nishinoya said.

"I'd do it in a second."

Nishinoya snickered.

"I mean, not like that!" Iwaizumi said. "Why does everyone have such a dirty mind? I just don't want him following me, doing something dumb, and getting hurt. I can't keep an eye on him all the time."

"Sure, it's tough," Nishinoya said. "Asahi used to come with me 'cause he was worried, but that didn't work out so great 'cause Asahi's a wuss. I had to promise him I would take extra good care of myself when I'm on the job. Now I take Kageyama or Hinata instead. They're great sidekicks."

"Oikawa isn't bad," Iwaizumi said, wondering why he even felt the need to defend that jerk. For the honour of Aobajousai, probably. "He's athletic and fast and strong. That's not what I'm worried about at all."

"Then whatcha worried about?" Nishinoya slurped his milkshake even more.

"He's stupid," Iwaizumi said. "Like, dumb as a rock."

"I dunno," Nishinoya said. "Seems smart to me when we're playing each other on the court. He'd probably make a good hunter. Too bad he isn't a Chosen One like us."

Iwaizumi thought about an alternate universe where Oikawa was a Chosen One, not him, and he wanted to punch himself in the face. Oikawa would be distracted by the first pretty girl in a short skirt. All of Miyagi would be burning within a week. "No," he said firmly, "I'm glad it's me. I've just got to make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble."

"Okay," Nishinoya said peaceably. "Hey, are those strawberry tarts they're selling over there?"

:::

In the summer before their third year, the world almost ended. Twice. Iwaizumi managed to save it by teaming up with Nishinoya, and even then he still had to drag Oikawa from the edge of the lava spit that'd opened up in the middle of the street on account of dark magic. Oikawa was clutching to the sides of the pit screaming, and then he was clutching Iwaizumi, still screaming, and Iwaizumi winced.

"I've got you," he said. "You're saved. You can stop busting my eardrums now."

Oikawa refused to let go. He buried his face into the side of Iwaizumi's neck, which was really fucking inconvenient because there were three other people who needed to be saved from the lava pit (but he could see, in the corner of his eye, Nishinoya and Kageyama taking care of that, so it was all right). Oikawa holding onto him was also really awful for other reasons, including the warmth that sprouted inside Iwaizumi's ribcage that was probably indigestion from the taco he'd eaten earlier, but what if it wasn't? He peered at Oikawa's face. What if it was something else entirely?

But wayward thoughts about your annoying best friend/sidekick were excusable when it was the end of the world. Iwaizumi set Oikawa down and tried not to think it again.

Except it kept. On. Happening.

Not the end of the world, though that kept on happening too, with a frightening regularity once everyone realized that all of Japan was sitting on a demon portal. But also Oikawa. Between second and third year, Oikawa had taken advanced lessons in asshole stupidity and had clearly lost his mind because suddenly he went from one near death experience via lava pit to nearly once a week.

"Iwa-chan! Iwa-chan! Save me!" Oikawa said, writhing between the clutches of two vampires.

Or: "Iwa-chan! I'm drowning!" As he slowly sank into the quicksand.

Or: "Iwa-chan! I'm burning up!" As the fireball grazed him on the side of his torso.

Or: "Iwa-chan! There are two gorgeous women trying to sink their fangs into my neck and oh — actually, never mind, Iwa-chan, I can handle this one."

Iwaizumi was saving dumbass Oikawa from the clutches of death and doom on a regular basis, and each time when he did Oikawa would throw his around Iwaizumi, kiss him on the cheek, and then ruffle his hair, all of which he did because he must know how much Iwaizumi hated it. "Iwa-chan is my plain, hardworking hero," Oikawa said, and it was at this point Iwaizumi realized Oikawa had some sort of fantasy where he was a princess meant to be adored, which wasn't actually too different from how Oikawa acted 80% of the time normally, except when matched with actual vampiric peril, it made Iwaizumi's nerves itch.

One time a vampire had captured Oikawa to lure Iwaizumi in (and how obvious was Oikawa's patheticness if even the vampires were noticing?) and Iwaizumi was forced to take down the vampire and then untangle Oikawa from his silken ropes. Silken ropes. Which whispered and slithered against Oikawa's fair skin. When Iwaizumi saw the bruises the vampire had left, a ball of rage started in his gut and traveled upwards, so that when he untied Oikawa he wasn't as gentle as he meant to be.

"Oof," said Oikawa, falling against him. "That hurt."

"If you weren't so easy to capture, maybe you wouldn't get into these situations," Iwaizumi muttered. He checked Oikawa's wrists. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Oikawa said. He smiled up at Iwaizumi. "Because of you."

And it was a moment, a real moment, even Iwaizumi in all his social ineptitude could tell they were having a moment. But then another two vampires burst into the room to avenge their fallen comrade, and Iwaizumi had to pick up his stakes and go back into battle, but not before making sure Oikawa escaped to a safe balcony on the second floor where they couldn't hurt him.

It was more than the two vampires as backup, though. Once Iwaizumi beat them, there were two more, and then three. He fought quickly and nimbly, no thanks to Oikawa's training, but the numbers were too much and he could tell that he needed backup of his own. Was there time to call Nishinoya? he wondered as he drove a stake into a vampire's thigh, slowing his enemy down. No, this place was far from where Nishinoya could reach in a matter of minutes. Think, Hajime, think.

Then a vampire was at his throat, and Iwaizumi reeled backwards, tripping over a table. He felt himself lose his balance and fall. Fuck, he thought, this was no good. But then someone swung a wooden plank against the vampire's head, knocking him out, and it was Oikawa.

Oikawa said nothing. He reached over, slipped one of the stakes out of Iwaizumi's belt, and turned around to face the remaining vampires. Iwaizumi scrambled to his feet, not one to waste time, but Oikawa didn't leave. Iwaizumi watched as Oikawa ran at a vampire and executed a flying kick that would make Bruce Lee weep with happiness.

Holy shit, Iwaizumi thought. Oikawa was good.

There wasn't time to reflect on this startling piece of information. Iwaizumi swung into action, back on his feet and ready to go. He and Oikawa fought alongside each other, Iwaizumi at Oikawa's back, and it was amazing how well they moved together — he didn't even need to think because he knew exactly where Oikawa was going to go, how he was going to move. Years of playing volleyball together made fighting with Oikawa as familiar as setting and spiking a serve.

The vampires didn't stand a chance.

:::

"So," Iwaizumi said afterwards, when they were cleaning up. "You're actually not helpless."

"Uh," Oikawa said, "no?"

Iwaizumi whirled around on him. "Then why the hell were you getting yourself into trouble so much? You didn't need me to save you at all!"

"Well, you're the Chosen One," Oikawa said. "It's your job to save me."

"But you're good."

"You don't need to say that between clenched teeth, Iwa-chan, you know I'm the best at everything," Oikawa said, sing-song. He reached over and patted Iwaizumi's cheek, which was already warming with anger and frustration and something else too, something else he didn't want to name. "I only learned after watching you fight."

"Then why were you—"

"Maybe," Oikawa said, and his eyes were bright, "I like having you save me."

"That doesn't make any sense at all," Iwaizumi said.

"No?"

"It really doesn't."

"Come on, why are you so mad about it?" Oikawa said. "I'm doing you a favour. It's the only time when you're actually sort of cool." He said it flippantly but then ruined it by blushing.

Oh my god, Iwaizumi thought, we're in love.

He touched Oikawa's cheek. His hand was shaking. He hoped no one was noticing, this was so fucking embarrassing. "Just… don't do it again," Iwaizumi said gruffly. He pulled his hand away and was trying to think of something to say, something witty and casual and cool, when Oikawa rolled his eyes, muttered, "you make me do everything, Iwa-chan, you're a total romantic failure" and threw himself into Iwaizumi's arms.

Iwaizumi went down. Oikawa definitely ate too many cakes.

:::

Nothing really changed after. They still went hunting every night, Oikawa drew up more training plans, and he still sometimes needed saving, though not as often as before once Iwaizumi was onto to his tricks. There was more kissing involved in their new arrangement, however, and sometimes some groping when they had both just saved the world in their own small way, night after night, but otherwise things were normal.

"Iwa-chan, come quick!" Oikawa shouted. "I think a vampire bit me on my dick!"

Oh fuck everything.

"I feel the poison in my blood!" Oikawa wailed. "I think you need to suck it out!"

Just your average teenage vampire hunter love story then.