Chapter 1: iwaizumi saves the day!
Iwaizumi was getting really, really sick of instant ramen.
The first week of living solely off dried noodles started off fine. He was twenty-three years old and could survive eating nothing but cardboard if he needed to. It wasn’t advisable, but he could do it. Eating ramen was nothing, and it cost next to nothing, which was even better.
The second week made him think about how he’d wanted to eat nothing but instant ramen when he was seven, and how he wished that he could go back and shake his younger self until he saw sense. By the tenth day the chicken, shrimp, beef, and pizza flavors tasted depressingly similar; on the fourteenth day they tasted like nothing at all.
When Iwaizumi hit the third week he was desperate, hungry, and considering actually considering eating cardboard, if only to get away from the monotony of his new diet.
He was eating his fourth cup of instant ramen that day, mourning the loss of his tastebuds, when he sighed in defeat. “I really need a new job,” he confessed to Kindaichi, who was eating a steaming bowl of curry from their university’s cafeteria. Kindaichi had offered to share, but Iwaizumi had staunchly refused. It was only his own fault that he was stuck with cup noodles, after all.
Kindaichi swallowed his bite of rice and turned toward Iwaizumi in surprise. He rarely talked liked this in front of underclassmen, or at all really. “What happened to your serving job again?”
Iwaizumi winced at the memory of his own temper finally reaching the boiling point. His mother had warned him against a food service job--telling him that he might not have the best temperament for it--but a job was a job, living in Tokyo was expensive, and he was desperate. How was he supposed to know that calling a customer a “fucking asshole” and then spilling his soup all over him in retaliation was grounds for “immediate dismissal”?
Looking back, that hadn’t been Iwaizumi’s brightest moment in any case.
“Just didn’t work out,” he told Kindaichi, instead of admitting to any of that. “I don’t think I could wait tables again, though. I need to do something else.”
Kindaichi frowned, grooves deep in his face like they always were when he was deep in thought, before he brightened. “You know, my sister helps run a babysitting network thing. How do you like kids?”
Iwaizumi was an only child, whose experience with younger children were family gatherings at New Years and birthdays of elderly relatives. They seemed to like him well enough, and he liked them just fine. The demanding and rude customers at his last job were definitely worse than children. Thinking of them helped him making the decision in five seconds.
“They’re fine,” Iwaizumi told him. “Do you really think your sister can help me get a job?”
“Oh yeah,” Kindaichi assured him. “It’ll probably take at least a week, though.”
Iwaizumi nodded just once, before standing up and dumping his ramen into the nearest garbage can. He was going to buy some damn curry.
Kindachi’s sister called him three days later. “Are you sure you can handle kids?” she pressed. “Yuutarou says that you’re good with underclassmen, but there’s a difference between adults with a two year age gap and children ten years younger than you.”
“I can handle it,” Iwaizumi told her, and prayed that it was the truth. He’d sent her references--which were apparently more important for him than they were for the females that sent in applications for because he was a man--and his resume, before waiting another week for the agency to get back to him.
There were three possible job opportunities in the e-mail that he received. One was a job looking after four children, all under the age of ten. Iwaizumi deleted that one immediately, knowing that he could never handle that. The second job had very few details about the children and required that he wear a button up shirt and pants that he could get out of quickly, which seemed suspicious enough that Iwaizumi didn’t read the whole thing.
The third job was written by a man named Oikawa Tooru, with a four-year-old daughter named Kiyomi. There weren’t any other details for that job either, other than an address and a number that Iwaizumi could call to set up an appointment. Iwaizumi took a deep breath and hoped for the best, and then called.
Iwaizumi had gotten in touch with one of Oikawa’s secretaries--a secretary, honestly--and landed an appointment an hour after his last class on Wednesday. He dressed in a suit when he realized that the address was in Hiroo.
That, along with the secretary let Iwaizumi know that there was some serious money involved in this, so he tried to make a good impression. Even though this suit was a bit too small after he bulked up this past summer, and he had no time or money to get a new one.
Oikawa’s building had a doorman, and his apartment was three floors from the top. Iwaizumi could feel himself sweating in his too-small suit, just a little as he knocked on the door and waited for it to open.
A man in a t-shirt and jeans opened the door, glass of water in his hand. His socks were mismatched--one pink with black polka dots and the other blue with white stripes. Iwaizumi focused on the socks because something about this man’s gaze felt weird, like he could see all of Iwaizumi’s flaws.
He was sure he had the wrong apartment number until the man said, “Iwaizumi-kun?” as he looked Iwaizumi up and down, his eyes lingering on the way the material of Iwaizumi’s suit stretched against his arms before glancing away.
“That’s me,” Iwaizumi said, and the man opened the door wider so that Iwaizumi could let himself in and take off his shoes.
The apartment was western, no traditional Japanese anything anywhere in sight. All of the furniture looked expensive, with a huge television and fireplace the centerpoint of the room. There was no hint of a child anywhere--the room was spotless, the kitchen gleaming, and sharp edges everywhere. There was a wall of windows, and the view was gorgeous, overseeing the green of a park, but all Iwaizumi could do was wonder how long it took to clean the windows.
The strange man--Iwaizumi had a sinking feeling that this was Oikawa, and wondered how a guy like this could afford all of this and have a kid. He hardly looked older than Iwaizumi--flopped onto the couch. “Sit wherever you like and let’s get started.”
Iwaizumi sank slowly onto a chair and wondered what he was supposed to do, if he needed to start the conversation. But Oikawa--there was no doubt about who he was now, not with how comfortably he walked around the place--opened his mouth first.
“So, Iwaizumi-kun, have you ever had a job in childcare?” Oikawa took a sip of his water, eyes over the rim of his cup as he waited for Iwaizumi’s answer.
“No. But I’ve worked in the service industry before, and some people that I encountered there were worse than children.”
“And you want to work here because...?”
“Because I need the money and my rent’s a week overdue,” Iwaizumi blurted without thinking, and then cursed himself. “And to contribute to society,” he added, as if that would save him.
Good-bye, job prospects.
But Oikawa grinned at that, looking honestly delighted as he set his glass down onto the coffee table. He pursed his lips as he looked Iwaizumi up and down again--Iwaizumi had to resist the urge to fidget--before his eyes lit up and Iwaizumi could tell he had come to a decision.
“I like you. You’re honest. A very admirable trait to have, shows that you have a very upstanding character. You’re hired, and can start on Monday.” Oikawa’s voice held just a hint of mockery, but his eyes were bright with it.
“What? You asked me two questions! We’re talking about me taking care of your kid and you’re just going to let it go with that? You don’t know me at all.” Oikawa’s casualness set Iwaizumi’s teeth on edge.
“I have good instincts about people, Iwaizumi-kun. And I can tell that you’re a good one. Your letters of recommendation were also excellent, talking about how encouraging you are to teammates and underclassmen. You’re also boringly responsible and hardly ever go out or date,” Oikawa said, counting everything he knew about Iwaizumi on his fingers. “You are twenty-three years old, and have two semesters left to finish your undergraduate degree in sports medicine. After that you are planning to further your education. You’re CPR certified and live all the way across town. Am I leaving anything out?”
Iwaizumi just stared, wondering how the hell Oikawa knew all of this.
“I know plenty about you, Iwaizumi Hajime-kun. Do you want to know the terms of this job or not?”
“Fine,” Iwaizumi huffed. He could admit that Oikawa knew what he was talking about, but this whole thing was beginning to feel surreal.
“Basically I need you to be able to pick Kiyomi up from school every weekday around this time. Is that fine?” When Iwaizumi nodded Oikawa continued on. “Her previous sitter put her down at eight every night, so let’s keep it like that. I’ll need you to be here until midnight at least, unless I come home earlier. You won’t have to work weekends--there’s another sitter for that. And you’ll get paid two hundred and fifty thousand yen a month, is that okay?”
The number made Iwaizumi’s mouth drop. He’d do just about anything for that kind of money right now. That could buy so much not-ramen food and pay his rent for a few months at least. But that was a lot of money--what if the kid was a terror?
Well. He could work for just a month and then get another job.
“I accept these terms.”
“Good, then sign here,” Oikawa said, pushing a paper towards him. They outlined the terms Oikawa had given him to a t, and so Iwaizumi signed it after double checking to make sure that everything was legitimate.
“It’s a good thing that you’re not majoring in business,” Oikawa hummed. “You made this too easy.”
What a fucking prick thing to say. Iwaizumi almost responded but Oikawa was his boss now, so he kept his mouth shut.
Oikawa grinned, like he knew what Iwaizumi was thinking, before cupping a hand over his mouth. “Kiyo-chaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Your new babysitter is here! Come say hi!”
A door opened and Iwaizumi could hear the pitter-patter of little feet. A pink blur launched itself at Oikawa’s leg, before finally sitting still.
There was no mistaking that this was Oikawa’s daughter. Her eyes were just as wide as his, and the same shade of brown. Even her hair was the same color, light brown curls gathered together in the back of her head with a pink bow on top.
She looked at Iwaizumi for a long moment, before looking back at Oikawa. “This is him?” she asked.
“Yes, Kiyo-chan. He’s going to be taking care of you after school from now on, so that I don’t have to.”
“He’s kinda boring lookin’,” Kiyomi said, glancing at Iwaizumi again before focusing her attention on Oikawa. “But okay.” Oikawa bit his lip to hide his smile.
It was obvious to anyone with eyes that the pair of them absolutely adored each other. Oikawa hadn’t moved his hand from her head the entire time that she had been attached to him, and Kiyomi looked at him as if he had hung the moon and scattered the stars in the sky. For the first time Iwaizumi wondered about her mother, but decided it was too early to ask.
“I’m going to go to the store to get some milk bread,” Oikawa said, kneeling down to get eye to eye with his daughter. “So stay here with Iwazumi, okay?”
“Yay! Milk bread is yummy!” Kiyomi shouted, to which Oikawa nodded gravely.
He stood up to look at Iwaizumi. “If I come back and Kiyo-chan is still here and everything is in one piece you got the job. I won’t be long~” He left before Iwaizumi could say another word.
Iwaizumi had no idea what to say to Kiyomi so he just stared at her, trying not to be creepy about it.
“What’s your name?”
“Can I call you Iwa-chan?” she asked, eyes wide, and Iwaizumi knew that Oikawa had a hard time saying no to her when she looked like that. Anyone would. Even him.
“You can’t call me Kiyo-chan, though. That’s only for Daddy.”
“I understand,” Iwaizumi said.
He had no idea how to talk to a child, not really. His mother always affected her voice when she was talking to children, and he knew some people used baby talk or simplified language. But he couldn’t do that for very long, and decided right then to talk to her like a real person instead of a baby.
“Iwa-chan, are you sure you’re qualified for this?” Kiyomi asked him, stumbling over the word “qualified” in her small child voice. She’d obviously heard this being discussed before. Iwaizumi wondered how much Oikawa let his daughter overhear.
“No,” Iwaizumi said.
“Do you want to help me set out my tea set for the milk bread Daddy’s gonna buy?” she asked, and so Iwaizumi followed her lead to her bedroom. He helped her set up a pink plastic English tea set with roses around the rims of each cup and plate on the coffee table.
She worked carefully, concentration furrowing her brows on her little face, so Iwaizumi took care to take this as seriously as she did. Iwaizumi was pouring water, which was the safest liquid that he could find to work as the “tea” for this party, when the door opened.
“Daddy!” Kiyomi squealed, running towards him and grabbing onto his leg. She stepped on his foot as he began to walk and was dragged with his leg, giggling. “Look at what Iwa-chan and I did for the milk bread! Fancy!”
“It looks very fancy,” he told, before grinning at Iwaizumi. “Iwa-chan, huh?” he asked, and Iwaizumi knew that he was in deep shit.
Chapter 2: iwaizumi plays some volleyball!
thank you all for the wonderful reaction to this fic!! i was very surprised--this is so self indulgent that it's ridiculous but i'm glad that other people like it as well. <3
anyway!! there was wonderful fanart based on this fic (i guess ?? unless it's about another nanny!fic, but either way it's gorgeous though and i wanted to share) here.
Kiyomi was a good kid, Iwaizumi discovered, and considered himself lucky.
He could have been stuck with a brat, or an obnoxious whirlwind that left wreckage in their wake, but somehow he had lucked out. Kiyomi liked to do quiet things within her room, and sometimes they went to the park that the windows overlooked and she ran around there.
Most of the time she was perfectly fine entertaining herself, which Iwaizumi thought was odd, but he was grateful for that too. He played along when she wanted, but most of the time he just watched her to make sure that she didn’t get into anything that would resort in a mess or death.
The only thing Kiyomi was stubborn about was bedtime. Iwaizumi found this out the first day when he’d let her to her own devices, convinced that she’d wear herself out. She had, but not until ten at night, and had literally collapsed face down into the blocks that she had been building a castle with.
After that, Iwaizumi always made sure to start winding things down around seven-thirty and getting her into at least her pajamas.
She was stubborn, though, and took to hiding whenever Iwaizumi made noises about getting to bed. She soon learned that Iwaizumi was just as stubborn and determined as she was, and after he found all of her hiding places (under the master bathroom’s sink and under her father’s bed were her favorites, and these games of hide-and-seek were the only times Iwaizumi ever went near that part of the apartment) she started playing along, however reluctantly.
Kiyomi’s new, and more successful, countermeasure against bedtime was becoming particular. She needed a glass of water set beside her bed because if she did not Iwaizumi would get requests for water. She also had to have a certain pair of pajamas and not even the gods could help Iwaizumi if he couldn’t find them in her dirty clothes hamper. She also demanded stories--at least three books a night or something Iwaizumi could make off on the top of his head. They were bad and not very satisfying, so mostly he read the same books over and over, to the point where he practically had them memorized because they were Kiyomi’s absolute favorites.
But the thing that Kiyomi needed the most to go to bed--the one thing she could not live without--was her alien Ugly-kun. He really was ugly--mostly green but a few places a shiny gray where the fuzz had worn through--with huge eyes and antennae and six arms. Despite this, Ugly-kun was cherished, he was always front and center on her bed when she wasn’t playing with him.
“Daddy bought Ugly-kun for me when I was born,” Kiyomi told Iwaizumi solemnly one night when they had gone through a brief panic looking for him after Kiyomi left him in the bathroom. “I love him.”
Iwaizumi thought that was strange--what kind of weirdo bought their newborn daughter an alien plush toy instead of something cute like a bear or a rabbit--but he didn’t voice this out loud, knowing Kiyomi would not take this well.
Kiyomi was clutching Ugly-kun to her chest one night when Iwaizumi had finished reading the last book. “I like playing with you, Iwa-chan,” she said suddenly, sighing as she did so, “but I wish Daddy was here for bedtime like he used to be.”
“He used to tuck you in?” Iwaizumi asked, because he could think of nothing to say to this. She looked so sad and unhappy, like the stuffed alien in her arms was her only friend in the whole world.
“Yes. And he always gave me a kiss goodnight before going to work again. But he hasn’t done that for a looooong time. He’s always too busy now at his big time job.”
“I’m sure he wishes he could be here for bedtime too,” Iwaizumi told her, and she just nodded and clutched Ugly-kun tighter. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Iwa-chan,” she told him, her voice small in the dark.
Iwaizumi knew that it was none of his business, but after he put Kiyomi to bed that night he decided to do a through Google search of his new employer. He’d done a quick skim before he’d gotten his interview, but that hadn’t told him much other than Oikawa Tooru was a real person.
The first thing that came up was the company that Oikawa worked for. Iwaizumi had read this before, but this time he made sure to take a closer look and actually went to the website itself.
The company that Oikawa worked for was one of the biggest computer manufacturers in all of Japan. The laptop that Iwaizumi was using was this brand. And, it seemed, Oikawa was fairly high up in the business. As in, the marketing director.
Not only that but his picture was one of the images that came up on the company’s homepage as well. Beside his picture there was a quote that managed to cross the line between charming and completely full of himself, all the while talking about the opportunities that his company had to offer.
Oikawa was in other pictures on different pages on the website, as well as his name written at the bottom for credit, which was probably the reason that he hadn’t bothered to introduce himself the day of Iwaizumi’s interview. He probably expected for Iwaizumi to know who he was, even though Iwaizumi was only a college student and interested in a completely different field.
Iwaizumi wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that.
More searching also revealed that Oikawa was only four years older than him, which made his job and apartment even more impressive. Iwaizumi couldn’t help but feel himself grow curious about how everything--Oikawa’s single parenthood, his job, his success--had come to be.
But even though Iwaizumi spent the better part of his afternoons and nights at Oikawa’s house, watching Oikawa’s daughter, he knew that it really wasn’t any of his business. He wasn’t about to make it that way.
Oikawa coming home before dinner had never happened before, so when the door opened an hour before the usual time Iwaizumi made Kiyomi sit down to eat he was concerned that a burglar had the keys.
“Daddy!” Kiyomi squealed, abandoning the havoc that she had been wreaking on Iwaizumi’s head to go hug her father instead.
“How’s my best girl?” Oikawa asked her as she ran into his arms. He caught her easily and picked her up so they were eye to eye.
“Good. I was doing Iwa-chan’s hair, doesn’t it look pretty?”
“Beautiful,” Oikawa told her, before turning a sharp grin onto Iwaizumi. He looked far too amused and as a result Iwaizumi wanted to rip out every sparkly clip and ribbon and headband that Kiyomi had put on top of his head, but he resisted. No reason to ruin all her hard work.
Oikawa turned back to Kiyomi, grin still on his face, though it became less sharp when he looked at his daughter, “Guess what today is?”
Kiyomi furrowed her brow, thinking hard, before suddenly the answer came to her and her face cleared. “Volleyball day!”
“That’s right. Volleyball day.” He kissed Kiyomi’s cheek before setting her down. “No go run and change into your volleyball day clothes so we can get going.”
“Can Iwa-chan come too?” Kiyomi asked.
“If he wants,” Oikawa told her. “And if you ask him nicely.”
Kiyomi immediately ran to him. “Iwa-chan will you please come to volleyball day? Please?” she asked, clasping her hands together as though she was hoping with all her might.
“Sure,” he said to her. “I’ll come.” He didn’t have any homework to work on or any other plans, and he had played volleyball in high school. Iwaizumi had no reason to say no, especially not when Kiyomi was looking up at him like that.
“Yay! Rah rah volleyball!” she shouted as she ran to her room to get dressed.
“Rah rah volleyball,” Oikawa said, smiling after her. “Oh, and Iwa-chan? You might want to fix your hair if you’re coming with us.”
He laughed when Iwaizumi scowled at him and set to taking out every hair accessory Kiyomi put on his head.
They only walked a few blocks to a fitness center, and after Iwaizumi had signed himself in as a guest, Kiyomi zoomed over to the volleyball courts, leaving Iwaizumi and her father in the dust.
The first thing that Iwaizumi noticed was the smell of the wooden flooring, and after that was the two teams on either side of the net set up closer to them. There were also bleachers, where Kiyomi was setting up camp, clearly comfortable.
“We’re short a person. Bokuto couldn’t make it today,” a man with messy dark hair calls out when he sees Oikawa, “and he said he couldn’t get a replacement.”
“What a wishy washy guy,” Oikawa said, frowning. “I brought someone that could replace him, though so we don’t have to forfeit because of your friend, Kuroo.”
Kuroo just smirked and turned back to the others on the court.
“What?” Iwaizumi said, voice flat as a yoga mat. This was not what Iwaizumi had agreed to when he’d told Kiyomi that he would come.
“Come on, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said, turning to face him. “Please?” His voice held the same pleading note that his daughter’s had earlier that day.
“Pretty please?” Kiyomi added from the floor. “For daddy?”
“Fine,” Iwaizumi said, not able to deny them both.
Oikawa grinned. “Let’s get started, then,” he said, clasping his hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder and leading him to the court.
As it turned out, Oikawa and Iwaizumi were good on the court together. Iwaizumi didn’t get it himself, but it was almost like he knew what kind of set Oikawa was going to send before he set it, and that Oikawa seemed to know when exactly Iwaizumi was ready for a ball.
More than that, Oikawa was just good at volleyball, which was something that Iwaizumi hadn’t been expecting. He couldn’t have had much time to practice, but somehow his sets were better than someone who just played once a month set’s should have been. He wasn’t professional level or anything, but it was obvious that he had talent and knew what he was doing.
The other members of the team were good as well, and so they won the game easily in three matches. Kiyomi was on the sidelines, cheering every time their team got a point. When their team won she’d jumped up from the bleachers and started clapping, like this particular game of volleyball was the most amazing thing she had ever seen in her life. Oikawa went over to her as soon as the game was over and everyone had thanked each other.
Iwaizumi hadn’t played a game of volleyball in over a year, so he went to the drink cooler with the other players.
“So how did Oikawa manage to pick you up?” the one Oikawa had called Kuroo asked him. He yelped when the guy with a bad dye job pinched him without looking up from his phone.
“I take care of Kiyomi when he’s at work,” Iwaizumi told him before taking a sip of water to hopefully keep from having to say anything else.
“Oh ho ho” Kuroo said, sounding a bit too knowing for a guy who let himself go out in public without combing his hair. Iwaizumi frowned, not quite sure what he could mean by this, when a guy with freckles suddenly changed the subject, drawing Kuroo’s attention away. He gave Iwaizumi a somehow...pitying look when Kuroo was completely distracted, and Iwaizumi didn’t know how to make of that either.
All he’d said was that he was Kiyomi’s babysitter--maybe Oikawa’s friends were the type to feel sorry and look down on service workers like they had all gone back two centuries and status was the first thing on everyone’s minds. Rich people.
“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa called before Iwaizumi could puzzle everything out. “We’re going to go get ice cream if you want to come.”
“Okay,” he called back. “Nice meeting you all,” he said, bowing a little before going to where Kiyomi and Oikawa were, and on much steadier ground.
After ice cream--which had been even more excitement than Iwaizumi expected when Oikawa had dropped his ice cream and had whined about it more than Kiyomi would have, Iwaizumi was sure of it. In the end he’d just told Oikawa, “Your daughter is better behaved than you are,” and handed him half of his own popsicle. Oikawa had stared at him like he was some new species before taking the ice cream from him, while Kiyomi had giggled in the background--Kiyomi crashed hard and had wanted to be carried. Oikawa had gotten to do the honors and her head rolled on his shoulder.
When they were only a block away from the Oikawa’s Iwaizumi felt like he had to ask at least one of the questions that had been bubbling up inside him for the past month. Maybe it was because of the way Kuroo had reacted to learning that he was Kiyomi’s babysitter; maybe it was because he’d spent an extended amount of time with Oikawa for the first time ever. Whatever it was it was stupid, and nosy, but Iwaizumi didn’t stop himself when he asked, “Where is Kiyomi’s mother?”
Oikawa’s eyebrows shot up and Iwaizumi found himself wanting to backtrack, but before he could Oikawa opened his mouth. “Not in Japan,” he said slowly, as if trying to decide something. He examined Iwaizumi’s face with uncharacteristic seriousness, and whatever he found there evidently made him decide to elaborate. “She and I were married a year before she decided a husband and a baby got in her way too much, and now she’s living in Australia with some guy she met in Okinawa.” He shrugged, sending Kiyomi’s head rolling and she snorted in her sleep before settling down again.
“We weren’t together when she got pregnant, and we only got married for Kiyomi,” he continued. “It happens, and it wasn’t surprising. But don’t go telling people that, if you can help it.”
“I won’t,” Iwaizumi said, several things falling into place for him.
“Well if we’re done with the oversharing today,” Oikawa said, “I’m at my building. See you next week?”
“See you next week,” Iwaizumi said, and watched Oikawa and Kiyomi go through the doors of their building before continuing on to the train station.
Chapter 3: iwaizumi gets mad!
this is pretty late, sorry!!! this thing called real life has been killing me. hopefully the next chapter is up sooner. this story is rapidly coming to a close, haha. that's weird to me. but thank you so much for all the support, it never fails to surprise me.
After Rah Rah Volleyball Day, Iwaizumi felt as though Oikawa was easier to talk to. Not only that, but it also seemed like Oikawa wanted to talk more.
Maybe it was because he liked the fact that Iwaizumi kept opening his mouth and blurting out stupid things. Maybe it was just because they had actually done something together that existed outside of Kiyomi.
Whatever it was, Iwaizumi didn’t know, but Oikawa was...interesting. He managed to piss Iwaizumi off seemingly without even trying. He seemed to find this hilarious, and attempted to push as many of Iwaizumi’s buttons as he could, without waking Kiyomi.
Even though he seemed to enjoy making Iwaizumi angry, he still couldn’t help but grow to feel somewhat fond of Oikawa. Oikawa obviously loved his daughter, and lit up whenever he talked about her. This was something that he seemed to try to hide, but Iwaizumi caught glimpses of it anyway.
Iwaizumi honestly liked the more genuine sides of Oikawa, although they didn’t come out often.
Which was why, when their late-night conversations stopped, Iwaizumi started to worry.
Worrying about his boss was stupid, and Iwaizumi knew it. If anything bosses should be the ones worrying about the people that worked for them and seeing to their needs. This was beyond stupid, but it didn’t stop Iwaizumi.
Oikawa had started coming in later and later the longer that Iwaizumi worked for him. His usual time to come home was ten o’clock at night, maybe ten-thirty on a stray Thursday. But eventually eleven was more the norm, which became midnight. One night Oikawa hadn’t come through the door until half-past twelve.
Iwaizumi knew he shouldn’t care. He was paid a flat rate instead of by the hour, so the hours that Oikawa kept was none of his business. But Oikawa’s eyebags had eyebags when he came home so late, and Iwaizumi had a nagging feeling that he worked after Iwaizumi left as well, if the files left on the kitchen counter were any indication.
Worrying about his boss was stupid, but blurting out, “You should start coming home earlier,” was even stupider. Iwaizumi found himself saying it anyway, and immediately felt like punching himself in the face. Talk about overstepping his boundaries. “For Kiyomi’s sake, I mean,” he tacks on the end, trying to save himself.
Oikawa just turned around and looked at him with the same shocked look on his face that he’d had when Iwaizumi had offered to share his popsicle. Like he couldn’t believe that Iwaizumi was a real person standing in front of him. But that look was gone as quick as it came, and Oikawa smiles at him.
Unpleasant was the first word that pops into Iwaizumi’s mind, looking at that smile. It’s too fake, like Oikawa was trying too hard to cover something up, or push something away. And then he opened his mouth.
“I’m sorry, I thought I paid you to take care of Kiyo-chan. Not me,” Oikawa said cooly, with that same smile plastered on his face. Heat rushed to Iwaizumi’s face, like a slap.
“I know,” Iwaizumi replied, beginning to feel annoyed even though there was no reason for him to be. “You just look...tired.”
“Well thanks, Iwa-chan, but I’ll be fine.”
Iwaizumi just nodded, and grabbed his bag to leave. Clearly, he was being told to mind his own business. He could do that.
Iwaizumi only gone into the one hundred yen store to get himself new socks. He’d finally had to retire all the pairs that he’d had for years, the holes in the bottom finally getting to him. He’d planned to buy ten new pairs and hoped that he wouldn’t have to buy any new ones for at least two years.
He’d only come to buy socks, but he found himself coming back to a glittery gold clip in the shape of a crown.
Kiyomi loved glitter. Loved it, and when given the opportunity would jump on the chance to use it. The last time they had done craft times she’d spilled half of the cup that he had given her to use on her project, and as a result Iwaizumi had found glitter in his laundry for weeks. They hadn’t used the stuff since.
She also adored clips. She had approximately a million of them, and when given the chance enjoyed putting them in Iwaizumi’s hair and her own.
Kiyomi would definitely like this clip. There was no way she wouldn’t absolutely adore it, and imagining the joy on her face when she saw it made Iwaizumi smile. The clip was only sixty yen, hardly anything at all.
What would it hurt, to get this for her? Nothing, really. She would like it, and Iwaizumi would enjoy giving it. But after the way Oikawa had reacted a few days ago, Iwaizumi was unsure of himself.
“Iwaizumi-san,” Kindaichi called, when he was still looking at the clip. “You’re up next.”
“Sorry,” Iwaizumi muttered, and grabbed the clip. Fuck it, what did it matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. Within a few years it would be lost anyway, vacuumed up from where it had fallen under the couch or something like that. The fate of most small, cheap things.
He paid for his socks and the clip and got out of there before he could waver anymore over stupid things. Kindaichi kept up with his brisk pace without complaint, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Iwaizumi knew that they usually had lunch together on Wednesdays, because that was the only day that the gaps between their classes lined up. But when he’d told Kindaichi that he was probably going to get a bento from a convenience store off campus because he needed to pick some things up, Kindaichi had been weirdly insistent about wanting to go with him.
In fact, Kindaichi had been acting weird this entire time. He was more fidgety than usual, and didn’t seem to want to meet Iwaizumi’s eye. Iwaizumi couldn’t think of anything that he would have done to cause this to happen. They’d met last semester in a history class, and they’d worked on a group project together which led to them becoming something like friends, but they didn’t have anything like that together this semester, since Kindaichi was younger than him and a different major besides. The only thing they really had together now was lunch on Wednesdays.
Iwaizumi checked the time on his phone so he would have something to do besides watch Kindaichi sweat. “My next class is starting soon--do you want to come with me to the convenience store too?”
“Sure,” Kindaichi answered, his voice lower than usual. Iwaizumi really hoped that this, whatever it was, went away soon. Kindaichi’s awkwardness was slowly seeping into him as well.
They walked to the nearest convenience store together, before something in Kindaichi seemed to snap. They hadn’t even walked inside when Kindaichi opened his mouth. “Iwaizumi-san,” he began. He paused, took a deep breath, before barrelling on. “I like you. A lot. Will you go out with me?”
Stupidly, awfully, Iwaizumi’s first reaction to this confession was to have Oikawa’s face pop into his head. He was smiling that awful smile that he got when he knew that he was annoying Iwaizumi, and thought that it was hilarious.
“Uh,” Iwaizumi said, to get thoughts of Oikawa the hell away from him, “when?”
This wasn’t exactly what he had planned to say--Kindaichi was a friend, and an underclassman. Iwaizumi had never thought of him in that way, ever. He didn’t want to ruin their friendship, but at the same time, he also felt like saying no would also strain things.
He’d rather have that happen, though, than be false about his feelings. But now he’d answered without thinking because he was flustered, and wasn’t sure he could handle Kindaichi being disappointed.
There was no chance of that happening now, though. Kindaichi’s eyes lit up at Iwaizumi’s answer, all awkwardness fleeing from him as though it had never been there.
“Is this weekend good for you? Don’t you work Friday nights, though? And I mean, I work on Saturdays...” Kindaichi frowned. “I can probably ask my boss for the night off, though. I only deliver pizzas and Saturdays are usually our busiest days, but-”
“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll ask for Friday night off. My boss shouldn’t say no.” Especially not with all the late nights Iwaizumi had been working without complaint during the week. Iwaizumi would have words with him about that--again--if Oikawa was difficult.
“Great!” Kindaichi said, smiling again, only this time it was touched with more shyness than joy. “I’m really happy, Iwaizumi-san. So, see you on Friday?”
“Most likely,” Iwaizumi said, feeling a strange sense of dread come over him at Kindaichi’s smile. He ignored it, and smiled back at Kindaichi, stepping on any sort of doubt that got in his way.
Asking Oikawa for a day off ended up making the list of Top 10 Most Awkward Things Iwaizumi Hajime Has Ever Had To Do.
Oikawa had ended up getting home at a decent time for once, which Iwaizumi decided to take as a good sign.
“How was Kiyo-chan?” Oikawa asked, the way he did every day.
“She was fine. She drew a picture at preschool that she wanted to show you. It’s on her dresser.”
“Oh, good.” Oikawa smiled slightly, which was often the case when they talked about Kiyomi. He scanned Iwaizumi’s face when he didn’t move to gather his things and leave. “Is there something you need to tell me, Iwa-chan?”
“Can I have Friday off?” Iwaizumi asked.
“What?” Oikawa raised his eyebrows. “Why?”
“I have a date, and this is the only day that we can go.” Iwaizumi shrugged, trying to diffuse the heaviness that suddenly grew in the air.
Oikawa was looking at him, his eyebrows still raised in surprised, but it was almost like he was actively looking for something. Expecting something. Iwaizumi didn’t know what. He couldn’t read Oikawa as well as Oikawa was apparently trying to read him. Oikawa had always been beyond his reach, in that way, even when Iwaizumi had thought that they might have been becoming something like friends.
“Fine,” Oikawa said, when Iwaizumi didn’t say anything else. “Can you still pick Kiyo-chan up from school, though? I assume you won’t need much time to primp, considering...” He smiled, like his half-hearted jab was hilarious, but it just looked sickly. “I’ll be here before you have to leave as long as it’s not an early date.”
“It won’t be,” Iwaizumi said. He grabbed his backpack and escaped before he suffocated from whatever was in the air. He was pretty sure Oikawa’s gaze followed him all the way to the door.
Iwaizumi picked Kiyomi up like normal. He had an activity for her to do, like normal, listened to her tell him about her day, like normal. Once these things were through they played...and played some more.
He had told Oikawa that he wanted to leave at seven, and Oikawa had sworn up and down that he would be there. But by the time it was ten past seven, Oikawa hadn’t called or come home yet.
By half past seven, Iwaizumi had to text Kindaichi that he might be late. Kindaichi text back and OK!! almost immediately. Iwaizumi called Oikawa, only to receive his voice mail. Again. For the fourth time.
“Iwa-chan, isn’t it my bedtime soon?” Kiyomi asked, by the time it was eight and an anime that she didn’t recognize came on the tv.
“Your dad said that he would put you to bed,” Iwaizumi told her. “So we’re going to wait up for him.”
“Really?!” Kiyomi asked, eyes shining. She seemed determined to stay up with him then, even though by eight thirty she was getting sleepy, her little mouth opening wide as she fought yawns.
Iwaizumi was forced to call Kindaichi by eight forty-five, when Oikawa still wasn’t responding to any of his messages. He was almost an hour late for their date by that time, and felt like the worst person alive. He wasn’t the type of person to stand people up--especially not when they were friends.
“I’m really sorry about this,” he said, when he explained the situation. He was forced to add that he had no idea when Oikawa would be back, and that he wasn’t answering his phone.
Kindaichi was quiet for a moment. “It’s fine, Iwaizumi-san,” he said, his voice quiet. Iwaizumi shut his eyes against the memory of how happy he had been when Iwaizumi had said yes. “Maybe we can try again some other time?”
“Maybe,” Iwaizumi said, and felt a surge of genuine fury at Oikawa. He had just become the reason Iwaizumi had most likely fucked up a relationship with one of his good friends. He just couldn’t understand why. Oikawa didn’t seem like the most reliable guy, what with his getting home at all hours, but this went beyond that.
The more he thought about it, the more Iwaizumi became. He tried to control his expression when he went back to the living room to sit with Kiyomi. He finally softened when he saw that she was asleep, her mouth wide open as she flopped on the couch.
Carefully, so he didn’t wake her, he picked her up and set her on her own bed. Then he went back to the living room to wait.
Oikawa didn’t arrive until midnight. Iwaizumi heard him through the door before he even walked into the apartment. He was humming to himself, and dropped his keys. Iwaizumi almost rushed over to the door to open it himself, but he decided to make Oikawa do this on his own.
Oikawa didn’t bother to carefully take off his expensive leather shoes the way he usually did. Instead he toed them off and kicked his foot so that they landed across the genkan. He giggled as he did so, and then slid in his socks across the room.
“Iwa-chan!” he exclaimed, when he noticed Iwaizumi watching. “Why are you still here? I thought you had a date!”
“I did,” Iwaizumi said, frowning. He took a deep breath, to calm himself. Kiyomi was in the next room asleep, after all. It wouldn’t do any good to wake her up because he was shouting. “But you never showed up, so I couldn’t go. Even though you said you would.”
“I’ll give you a bonus at the end of the month,” Oikawa said, waving the problem away as if that was all it would take. Iwaizumi could’ve punched him. Then he giggled again.
“Are you drunk?” Iwaizumi asked, feeling distinctly horrible.
“Not really anymore. Just a bit tipsy.” Oikawa smiled, trying to be charming, but it didn’t work. “I just went out for drinks after work. I had to. You’ll understand when you have a job that matters some day.”
So he was out drinking while Iwaizumi was stuck here instead of out on his date, calling him at least fifteen times...that fucker. Iwaizumi was so angry for a moment that he couldn’t speak.
Then he moved to act, because that was what he did best. And because if he didn’t do something, he was going to punch Oikawa in the mouth.
“I’m going to make you some coffee,” Iwaizumi said. “And then I’m going to go home. This is absolutely ridiculous. You coming home in this sort of state is fucking stupid. You have a child to take care of. You remember Kiyomi, right? Because she remembers you, and stayed up as late as she could so that you could put her to bed like you used to.”
Iwaizumi bit his tongue before he could say anything else. His little speech seemed to wipe the little smile off Oikawa’s face, though. Iwaizumi pulled out the coffee maker and made Oikawa his stupid coffee while Oikawa sat on the couch and watched.
Iwaizumi made sure he drank the entire cup before he gathered his things to go home. He left in silence, with Oikawa watching him go. Only this time, he didn’t feel a weird mix of guilt and awkwardness. This time, he only felt the clarifying rush of anger.
On Monday, Iwaizumi went to go pick up Kiyomi like usual. She was waiting at the front gate with her teacher, yellow hat on her head, when she saw him and ran over. “Iwa-chan!” she yelled, and launched herself at his leg.
Iwaizumi could only look down at her in shock. Kiyomi wasn’t a very demonstrative little girl to anyone who wasn’t her father. She had never hugged Iwaizumi before, and he was shocked to find just how warm a hug from her could be.
He noticed that she was crying a little, so he pried her arms from around his leg and bent down to get at her eye level. “What’s wrong?” he asked her, reaching out to pat her head.
“Daddy said you were mad at him,” Kiyomi said, wiping her tears as if doing it fast enough would make sure that Iwaizumi couldn’t see them. “And when people get mad at Daddy, they don’t come back.”
She sounded so heartbroken that Iwaizumi’s heart broke with hers.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Iwaizumi told her, and hoped that it was the truth.
Chapter 4: iwaizumi finally uses his words!
if i told you that this chapter was the whole reason that i wanted to write this story, would you believe me? haha, i've always loved my melodrama i guess.
anyway, thanks again for all the lovely support--i never would have expected this much, and am always touched by it. this story is almost to its end (what a weird feeling)~
Iwaizumi wasn’t expecting an apology, and he never got one.
Oikawa did feel bad, though he’d never say it. He started coming home earlier, and stopped teasing Iwaizumi so much, as if he didn’t know where they stood anymore. That was fine with Iwaizumi--he wasn’t sure where they stood anymore either.
The fact that Oikawa’s face had popped into his head when Kindaichi asked him out made Iwaizumi feel unsettled. Oikawa was his boss, nothing more. Couldn’t be more, as long as Iwaizumi was working for him. Iwaizumi didn’t want things to get messy like that.
Thankfully, it didn’t seem like things were headed in that direction. Oikawa was just a fascinating person, one that Iwaizumi got to see at closer range than most people because he worked at his home and took care of his child.
There was nothing more, and nothing less, than that.
“Iwa-chan, you don’t have a date this weekend do you?” Oikawa hummed, his tone a bit lighter than it had been for the past two weeks, more relaxed and playful. Iwaizumi tried not to let himself notice how much that relieved him.
“Why, are you planning on going out drinking again?” Iwaizumi asked.
Oikawa chose not to respond, smiling at Iwaizumi with all his teeth instead, and then moving on. “I’m going out of town for a business conference, and my other sitter can’t take care of Kiyomi. Could you take care of her instead? I’ll pay you extra, of course.”
Iwaizumi considered his options. He had a few things due on Monday, but if he got on them tonight he should be fine as far as homework went. There was nothing else pressing for him this weekend--he didn’t really have any plans, so fine. It’s not like taking care of Kiyomi was a hardship.
“I’ll do it,” Iwaizumi said. What was the worst that could happen?
Kiyomi smiled when she saw Iwaizumi coming to pick her up, but didn’t run to him like had become her way. Instead she waited for him to come to her, and held his hand. He thought she felt a little warm, but put that blame on the extra thick coat and scarf that she was wearing that day.
“This is our weekend together, right, Iwa-chan?” she asked, smiling up at him.
“Yes,” he told her.
“Because Daddy had to go on a trip, right? And Hana-chan couldn’t come because she’s busy taking care of her good-for-nothing boyfriend instead of me, right?” She seemed to need the confirmation of these things, and seemed pleased when she was told that she was right. Iwaizumi had to bite down the smile of her description of her other babysitter’s boyfriend--clearly she had been listening to Oikawa again, and as usual he didn’t feel the need to censor what he thought in front of Kiyomi.
Kiyomi wanted to play, as usual, but she kept tugging at her ear more than usual. Iwaizumi didn’t think anything of it, figuring it was something that she had learned at school. But she didn’t want her snack, and she didn’t seem interested in the dinner Iwaizumi tried to make her eat either.
As the night progressed, Kiyomi grew more tired even though it wasn’t anywhere near her bedtime. Usually she liked to keep herself awake, fighting until the last possible second, but she was more subdued than usual.
Iwaizumi knew something was really wrong when he found Kiyomi dozing against the couch, Ugly-kun wrapped in her arms. She was never sleepy after school, since he picked her up right after her naptime.
“Kiyomi?” he asked, walking over to her and shaking her shoulder gently. The heat that he’d felt on her before was practically radiating now, and her face was flushed. “Kiyomi, hey, how are you feeling?”
“Sleepy, Iwa-chan,” she mumbled, laying down. Iwaizumi went to the bathroom and rummaged through the drawers until he found a thermometer. He also made Kiyomi a glass of ice water in one of her Hello Kitty cups, in the hope that it might cool her down.
She was still dozing on the floor where Iwaizumi had left her when he returned. “Kiyomi, I need to take your temperature,” he told her, and she sat up groggily and let him do it.
The thermometer beeped when it was finished, and Iwaizumi’s heart plummeted when he read what the tiny screen said. Forty-one. Forty-one degrees celsius, which would be dangerous for anyone, but especially for a four-year-old.
“Kiyomi, I’m going to need you to drink this,” he said, trying not to panic. Kiyomi was extremely uninterested in the water, even though it was in her favorite cup, and she whimpered when Iwaizumi made her sit up and drink the whole glass.
Of course this had to happen while Oikawa was hours away by train. Iwaizumi had all of Kiyomi’s insurance information, and Oikawa’s number and her doctor’s as well. But it was currently eight in the evening, so there was no way that her pediatrician's office was open right now.
Kiyomi leaned into him as he tried to decide what to do. He would have to call Oikawa at some point, he knew that, but it would probably be better to take Kiyomi to the hospital now instead of waiting. The first priority should be getting Kiyomi treatment. He could call Oikawa once they were there and the doctor could tell them what was going on, that way he would know with certainty what to tell Oikawa.
Iwaizumi called a cab, deciding that a train ride would be too much trouble, and packed a bag with clothes for Kiyomi just in case, and all of the information that he would need to give the hospital. Kiyomi held Ugly-kun against her, staring at Iwaizumi has he got all of this together.
He considered having her hold his hand as they walked down to the lobby, but she looked so tired that Iwaizumi decided against it and scooped her up into his arms. She pressed her hot cheek onto his shoulder and he smoothed down her curls just once before taking her to the curb where the cab waited.
Iwaizumi tried to set her down onto the seat, but she wouldn’t let him go, clinging to his shirt and he didn’t have the heart to break her hold. The cab driver glanced back at them in the mirror, not seeming surprised when Iwaizumi told him to take them to the nearest hospital.
In his rush to get out Iwaizumi forgot her bag, but the cab driver got it for him. “Your daughter will be fine,” he said when Iwaizumi thanked him, cursing himself for forgetting.
“She’s not my-” Iwaizumi tried to say, lamely, but before he could get it all out the cab driver was already driving away.
Iwaizumi decided to try calling Oikawa as they were waiting for Kiyomi’s name to be called, only to get sent straight to his voicemail. Iwaizumi cursed silently, decided to call him again, this time achieving the same result.
“Fuck,” he said out loud, the word slipping out without his permission. He glanced down at Kiyomi out of habit, but she didn’t even seem to hear him. She was too tired and sick, lost in her own little world.
When the doctor finally called her out, Iwaizumi carried Kiyomi with him. His heart broke a little when he was forced to put her down, and she whimpered and reached out for him again. He held her hand instead, giving her Ugly-kun to hug instead.
“Are you her father?” the nurse asked, and raised her eyebrows when he told her no.
“I’m the only person that she’s got right now,” Iwaizumi said. “Her mom’s in another country and her dad is out of town at the moment, can I please go with her.”
The nurse’s severe lips softened somewhat. “Since it’s only an examination, yes. But if she has to stay here something might have to be worked out. Can you get contact her parent that’s in the country? Things will be easier if we can get his verbal consent.”
Iwaizumi sighed, cursing Oikawa for being so unreliable and hard to get ahold of. He understood that Oikawa was probably in important business meetings at the conference all day, but this late into the evening was ridiculous. The man had to slow down at some point.
Iwaizumi called one more time, forcing himself to step into the hallway when the doctor finally came in to see Kiyomi. “I’m calling your dad right now,” Iwaizumi told her. “I’ll be right back. The doctor will take care of you. Be good for him, okay?”
“Okay,” she said, sitting up and squaring her shoulders. “Is Daddy coming?” she asked.
“Yes,” Iwaizumi answered, hoping he wasn’t just forced to lie. “I don’t know when he’s coming, but I’ll be here until he is.”
Iwaizumi made sure he found a place with a bit of privacy before calling Oikawa for the fourth time.
On the third ring, Oikawa picked up. “Hel-”
“Kiyomi is in the hospital,” Iwaizumi started off, not even bothering to let Oikawa finish. “You need to get here as fast as you can.”
“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said, voice grave. “I can’t just leave right now. We’re at a very delicate stage in our development with-”
“Save it,” Iwaizumi said, feeling his blood start to boil. He made a fist with his hand, feeling the urge to punch Oikawa in the face. He had to take a deep breath through his nose before he could trust himself to speak again. “I don’t care. I don’t need a list of excuses taller than Tokyo Tower to tell your daughter that her dad’s not coming to see her, even though she’s sick and scared and wants him with her.”
“Iwaizumi,” Oikawa said, using Iwaizumi’s full name for the entire time they had known each other. Iwaizumi didn’t have the luxury of being able to figure out what exactly that was supposed to mean, or if he ever wanted to know. “I do want to see Kiyomi, but I can’t just-”
“You can’t? You can’t, or you won’t? Newsflash, Oikawa, Kiyomi isn’t going to be four forever. She might not even remember this. But what she will remember is the fact that her father was barely around because he was too busy working. That he had to employ several caregivers for her, because he couldn’t ever take the time to take care of her himself. She will remember how much she adored you and how much you hurt her, because you stopped being able to put her to bed and give her a bedtime story or spend extra time with her more than once a month for some stupid volleyball match that she can’t even play in. She won’t love you like this forever, and you’ll only have yourself to blame when she starts to hate you.”
By the end of his speech Iwaizumi’s chest was heaving, and he was aware that he was yelling. An orderly walked by with a bed, and looked at him. Iwaizumi had to force himself to calm down, and to stop making such a fuss in public. But God, Oikawa deserved it. There was more that Iwaizumi wanted to stay, but he knew that if he started he couldn’t stop.
Iwaizumi wanted to hang up, but he forced himself to keep calm for Kiyomi. To be polite, even, since Oikawa was his boss and this was his job. He had to keep it together. “I need you to talk to the people at the front desk to give me permission to stay with Kiyomi until she’s released to go home. Can you do that much for her, please?”
“Yes,” Oikawa said, the first thing that he’d said since Iwaizumi had gone on his tirade. “Let me speak to them.”
Oikawa didn’t need more than five minutes to set everything to rights, and then Iwaizumi was allowed back into Kiyomi’s room with no more issues. There was a nurse putting an IV into Kiyomi’s arm.
Kiyomi was crying silently, Ugly-kun beside her. He had a band-aid on his arm now too, as if that was supposed to make her feel better. It was obviously a poor substitute, in any case. Kind of like having a paid caregiver at your bedside instead of your father.
The doctor told Iwaizumi that Kiyomi was suffering from such a high fever thanks to a nasty mix of an ear infection and virus that she had come into contact with, most likely at her preschool. They were going to keep her at the hospital until her fever went down, but that might not be until early the next morning.
“She’s a very brave little girl,” the doctor told Iwaizumi, as though he didn’t know that.
The IV was in when Iwaizumi finally was able to get back by Kiyomi’s side, and she was holding her stuffed alien in her free arm. “Is Daddy coming now?” she asked, hope obvious on her face.
Iwaizumi sighed, and sank down into the chair beside her bed. He was grateful that she had gotten assigned an empty room, at least. This made things much easier, and private in case Iwaizumi had anymore phone calls to make to Oikawa.
“No,” Iwaizumi told her, and watched as her little face crumpled. She hugged Ugly-kun to her closer and started to cry in earnest now. Iwaizumi watched her and wished that there was something, anything, that he could do to make this better.
But there was nothing, and so Iwaizumi watched her cry and felt his heart shatter.
Iwaizumi had managed to fall into an uneasy doze when he heard footsteps entering the room. The sun was peaking through the blinds, in soft dawn tones which meant that the night had passed, and hopefully so had Kiyomi’s fever.
He turned, expecting to see a doctor, but instead he saw Oikawa. There were bags under Oikawa’s eyes and his clothes were messy, obviously worn through the night. This was the least put together that Iwaizumi had ever seen him, but Iwaizumi couldn’t feel pleasure in that. Looking at Oikawa only brought upon a crushing disappointment, not even anger.
For some reason he had really liked Oikawa--had thought he was better than this. But Oikawa had proved him wrong more than once, and this was the final straw. Disappointing Iwaizumi was one thing, but disappointing his daughter was another.
Oikawa was here now, but Iwaizumi wasn’t sure that it would be enough.
He didn’t bother to say anything to Oikawa, just handed him everything the doctors and nurses had given him before turning back to Kiyomi.
Iwaizumi gently shook Kiyomi awake. “Kiyomi,” he whispered. “I’m leaving. Someone’s here to see you.”
She sat up, expecting a doctor. Her face lit up when she saw that it was Oikawa, obviously feeling better.
As Iwaizumi walked out, unsure whether or not he’d be able to watch this, he heard Oikawa say in a soft voice, “Kiyo-chan, Daddy’s here now.”
Chapter 5: iwaizumi and the ever after!
wow!!! it's finally done. i can't believe it, haha. it's been a long time since i've finished a multichaptered fic, or even something this long in general. i kind of can't believe that i got all the way to the end, but i'm glad that i did.
i have a few people i want to thank (award show style). many thanks to mori, who made the eremika fanmix that prompted me to finish the first chapter of this fic. to jordan, who listened to me worry, and cloud who told me to just go for it when i considered not publishing this.
but most of all thanks to the readers. you were all super thoughtful and lovely, and i can't believe anyone read this self indulgent piece of who knows what, but i'm so glad that you all did. you made it all fun. <3
Iwaizumi gave himself time to be angry at Oikawa for the rest of the weekend. He worried about Kiyomi and wished that he hadn’t just walked out of her hospital room, but mostly he just let himself seethe.
He didn’t regret what he had said to Oikawa. He regretted the way that he’d said them, and the reason why that he’d finally blown his top--this certainly wasn’t model employee behavior--but he had meant every word. He wouldn’t be surprised if he was fired. He would miss Kiyomi and all the money that he got a month, but it wouldn’t be a total wash. Iwaizumi had a job at a clinic lined up at the beginning of the summer--he would have another job eventually.
What really worried him was the way everything had been blown open and how his last imagine of Kiyomi was her huddled in a hospital bed with her plush alien toy, sick and scared. He didn’t want to remember her like that.
Iwaizumi wasn’t sure what to expect on Monday. Oikawa seemed to have a nasty habit of throwing things that he didn’t want to deal with under the rug and never mentioning them again. Iwaizumi was sure this would be more of the same, and then Oikawa called him on Sunday night.
“Iwaizumi,” Oikawa said, not bothering with his usual pleasantries. “We need to talk about some things.”
“I know,” Iwaizumi said, his palms suddenly sweaty for no reason. He shifted his grip on the phone so it wouldn’t slip out of his hand.
“Will you pick up Kiyo-chan like usual then?” Oikawa asked. “We can...talk. After that.”
“Yes,” Iwaizumi said, relief flooding him so much that he had to sit down. “Of course.”
Kiyomi was in high spirits the next day. She smiled when she saw Iwaizumi, and talked to him the entire way to the apartment.
“Daddy stayed with me the whoooole rest of the day,” she told Iwaizumi earnestly, her eyes big in her face. “Then he took me home from the hospital because I got all better and we watched my movies for the whole day.”
“Really?” Iwaizumi asked, somehow unable to picture the two of them having a movie day.
"Yes! And then we watched alien movies, but they were too scary and Daddy had to take me to bed instead." Iwaizumi shook his head, trying to imagine showing a four year old a movie starring aliens. Knowing Oikawa, it was probably one of those uber realistic ones that were set at the back of the bookshelf next to the television, as if no one was supposed to notice them.
"A completely perfect day, huh?"
"Yeah." Kiyomi sighed dreamily, before looking at Iwaizumi for a long time. "Why did you leave?" she asked finally, her frown causing lines to appear between her eyebrows. Oikawa’s face did the same thing when he was upset. "Daddy said you were mad at him, but people don't come back when they get mad at him. And you always come back. Why, Iwa-chan?"
"I don't know," Iwaizumi said, and it was the honest truth.
Iwaizumi tried not to let the dread hovering over his shoulder color his day with Kiyomi. Even though it was still cool outside, the sun was shining, which was enough reason to take Kiyomi to the park. He bundled her up more than was probably necessary, but he didn’t want her to get sick again.
They only stayed out there for an hour before Iwaizumi decided that she needed to rest and took her back inside. He let her do whatever she wanted with his hair and face--not something that he let her do often, so Kiyomi took it as the gift it was.
After that she played with her dolls until it was time for bed. By then Iwaizumi was worried, but he tried not to show it, reading Kiyomi her story and putting her to bed.
He tried to act as though things were as normal as possible, even without Kiyomi to act as his audience. His textbook gets flipped through as much as it’s ever going to, but he keept reading the same sentence over and over again. Waiting for Oikawa had never felt like it had taken this long before; every second felt like a month, each minute a year. Eventually Iwaizumi just sat and waited, unable to get anything done.
Finally, after what felt like a millenium, the door opened and there stood Oikawa, looking almost as nervous as Iwaizumi felt. And then he noticed that Iwaizumi was looking and smiled like nothing was wrong.
That was fairly irritating, but Iwaizumi hoped that it didn’t mean that Oikawa didn’t plan to talk about things the way they said they were going to on the phone.
“How was Kiyo-chan, today?” Oikawa asked first thing, like he always did. He loosened his tie as he looked at Iwaizumi expectantly.
“Fine. She behaved well, as always. We went to the park.” Iwaizumi paused, wondering what else he could say about Kiyomi, before taking a deep breath and just taking the plunge. “About Saturday...I’m not sorry about what I said. I think it was true, and something that you needed to hear.”
Oikawa’s jaw dropped a little. “Well that’s...blunt. And to the point. How very like you.”
“I don’t mind if you fire me-”
“I’m not going to fire you for something like that-” Oikawa cut him off, but Iwaizumi didn’t let him finish. Couldn’t let him finish.
“It might be better if you did, actually. Because I don’t think I can work for you anymore.”
That shut Oikawa up. He just looked at Iwaizumi, betrayal on every inch of his face. “And why, exactly, is that?” he asked, eyes wide. “If it’s because of what a horrible father I am, I can tell you-”
“Just let me talk,” Iwaizumi said finally. “I’ll admit, I was really disappointed in you this weekend. Because I thought you were better than that, which was stupid of me. I expected more of you, but I wouldn’t quit because of that. I’m quitting because...I think I like you too much. And neither of us should have to deal with that.”
Iwaizumi wasn’t entirely sure that was it until he said it out loud. But that was definitely it--he liked Oikawa. He wasn’t sure for how long, but he did. Maybe it was the first time that he’d ever seen Oikawa play with Kiyomi. Maybe it was playing volleyball with him, or when he found himself waiting for Oikawa to come home because he wanted to talk to him before he had to leave.
God, but he was so stupid. Oikawa had a kid--a great kid, that Iwaizumi liked a lot He also had a very important job that took up all of his time, and Iwaizumi was just a college student, and was going to be working on becoming doctor with weird hours and academic things to deal with. There was just no possible way that this could work.
None, at all.
“What,” Oikawa began, breaking a long and horrible silence. “What if I want to deal with it?”
And then he leaned in and kissed Iwaizumi. There were a lot of things that they still needed to talk about, but the feeling of Oikawa’s lips on his made all of Iwaizumi’s doubts fade away. If only for a second.
Six Years Later
Iwaizumi woke up to a slightly off key rendition of the American version of “Happy Birthday” the morning of his twenty-ninth birthday. Oikawa and Kiyomi were talented at many things, but singing did not happen to make his mix.
“We made you breakfast in bed, Iwa-chan!” Kiyomi said, placing the tray into his lap before jumping onto the bed. The tray was full of pancakes and bacon and fried eggs, with yogurt and granola and some fruit in a bowl on the side. Very American, and heavier than what Iwaizumi would normally eat for breakfast.
But at ten-years-old, Kiyomi was still going through phases, trying to decide what she liked. Oikawa liked to play along with all of them, claiming that they were something she needed to keep feeling like a kid, even when they were weird.
Iwaizumi was just surprised, but glad, that he didn’t get a hamburger as his birthday breakfast instead. He started in on the fruit, and wondered just how he was going to eat all of this food.
“Did your dad make any of it?” Iwaizumi asked, looking over the spread with a critical eye. He had learned, over the years, that Oikawa was a terrible cook. Even if you gave him the easiest job in the kitchen he would manage to do something to completely ruin it. It was incredible, like an inconvenient superpower.
“Of course not, it was all me!” Kiyomi dropped her voice into a whisper. “I wouldn’t want him to ruin anything on your birthday.”
“Hey!” Oikawa squawked from Iwaizumi’s other side. “Don’t be mean to me, Kiyo-chan! You’re clearly spending too much time with Iwa-chan if you’re acting like this.” He reached over and stole a piece of bacon from Iwaizumi’s plate and popped it into his mouth.
Kiyomi just giggled at Iwaizumi, and he grinned back. “Actually, Dad poured the yogurt into the bowl.”
“And I did a great job. Look at the yogurt. It’s beautiful. It fits the bowl just like a dream. And the granola on top is my best work yet.”
“Yeah, definitely.” Iwaizumi rolled his eyes. “You’ll hurt yourself if you pat your back any harder.”
“Kiyo-chan,” Oikawa said, turning towards her. “Do you want to give Iwa-chan his presents now or later?”
Kiyomi paused, frowning as she considered. “He can have one now, and then another one after we go out.”
“Then go get it from the secret hiding space,” Oikawa said, raising his eyebrows. She nodded and scampered off to find the presents, that were definitely not underneath her sink. Right.
“We’re going out?” Iwaizumi asked. “And presents, as in plural? I told you that I didn’t wa-”
“That you didn’t want to go anywhere and that you didn’t want to get any presents. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I know, I know, Iwa-chan. You say that every year. And we’ve never listened to you. So get used to it. You’re going to have to put up with this for a very, very long time.”
He looked at Iwaizumi in a way that let Iwaizumi know that he wanted a kiss, and probably some more congratulations. Iwaizumi was only ever willing to give him, and so he leaned in and gave Oikawa a kiss that was quick, but deep. A promise.
There was a third thing that Iwaizumi got for his birthday every year, but Kiyomi didn’t know about that one. It wasn’t exactly family friendly, to say the least.
“So what’s the game plan?” Iwaizumi asked, cutting into a pancake. They were good, which was a characteristic of Kiyomi’s cooking. Iwaizumi tried to pick up the slack in the kitchen when he could, but long shifts at the hospital often kept him from doing as much as he’d like. Kiyomi had been forced to learn how to cook out of necessity--something both he and Oikawa felt bad about--but she said she liked it, so that was what mattered in the end.
“Well, Kiyomi and I were thinking about maybe meeting up with the team for lunch? And then walking around the park and going to Tokyo Tower. You know, all those tacky touristy things that you like to do? And then dinner, and maybe that new action movie that you wanted to see. The last bit was Kiyomi’s idea, which probably means that we’re just going to end up seeing whatever she wants to see, but that’s a ten year old for you. So, how does that all sound?”
Iwaizumi thought about Oikawa’s head on his shoulder, picking at his plate. He thought about the sounds Kiyomi was making as she searched for a way to wrap the tie with the sushi on it that she had picked for him herself. He thought about the fact that he was twenty-nine years old today, and that the sun was shining and he was perfectly content. He really was a lucky man.
“It sounds perfect,” he said, and it did.