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One week after their devastating loss to Karasuno, Iwaizumi Hajime kicks off his blanket and sits snap upright on his futon, glaring at his calendar with a vengeance. He’s not sure what’s come over him; Oikawa would probably have some explanation about Uranus being in retroactivity or whatever because Oikawa finds literally everything interesting, even pseudo-sciences (pronounced in Oikawa’s perfect, beautiful voice while dripping audibly with disdain), but Hajime decides this is it. Today is the day.

 

Today is the day he confesses to Oikawa Tooru.

 

This thing with Oikawa has been something simmering low within him for a while now, snowballing in the background until it had hit him full force between the eyes in their first year of high school. Hajime had been purposefully blocking Oikawa’s access to the cups, and Oikawa had just scoffed and reached directly over his head. And that was it. One-shot knockout, complete fatality, Hajime’s proverbial rug being whisked out from under him and then laid on top of him so his feelings could jump up and down all over him for added effect. He’d known for a while that Oikawa was— objectively —attractive, but he hadn’t realised he thought Oikawa was hot. There was a difference between being a horny teenager who finds everyone hot and finding Oikawa hot, Hajime had thought. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe it was a passing infatuation that Hajime would look back on in ten years time with a laugh and a relieved sigh about a bullet dodged.

 

It was not.

 

Instead it was long, gruelling years coming to terms with what being in love meant, what being in love with his best friend meant, and wanting to rip his own hair out every time Oikawa so much as breathed in the direction of any other human being with intent to flirt. Which was often. And doubly painful when the current victim of Oikawa’s coy little smiles and batted lashes was male. At least with women, Hajime had a pretty good answer as to what they had that he didn’t, whereas with men, it often ended up with him feeling seconds away from losing all humanity while turning himself inside out trying to understand what would make him more appealing to Oikawa. Frankly, the corner of his pillowcase that had miraculously detached itself from the rest of said pillowcase and ended up in Hajime’s mouth had been really difficult to explain to his mother.

 

But today is different. Today is a new day, and Hajime is done moping. Today, as he thunders down the stairs to sniff out any breakfast his mother might need help with, he is resolved to tell Oikawa how he feels: no more what-ifs or worrying about Oikawa’s reactions or anything else. Just good old-fashioned honesty.

 

It requires some thought, though. Oikawa doesn’t care about grand gestures all that much, just cares about things being said truthfully and sincerely. Oikawa has grown into someone used to speaking in riddles and complicated trains of thought that need to be unwoven carefully. Hajime makes things simple. Oikawa is, always has been and always will be simple, to him. Being with Oikawa is the easiest thing on the face of the planet.

 

It’s still no excuse to make no effort at all, like Hajime knows if he confessed to Oikawa while wearing the sweats he owns from middle school, the ones with a hole right on the inside seam of his thigh that Oikawa keeps begging him to throw out, Oikawa would probably tackle him to the ground in all-out rage. Being tackled to the ground in other contexts might be fun, but when he’s trying to profess long-repressed love, what he wants is tender cradling of face and kissing like you’re trying to leave a piece of your soul behind.

 

So, he tucks his deodorant and extra body spray and his body-wash into his bag. He can’t confess to Oikawa before volleyball practice, because even though the third years are officially retired, Oikawa still turns up to every practice and so does Hajime because he and Oikawa do everything together, and the end of that is nearer and nearer with every breath, so they savour it while they can. Oikawa hates pre-practice confessions because they throw him off his game, and he finds post-practice confessions both gauche and disgustingly sweaty, so Hajime will be showering after practice, more than the perfunctory rinse of grime, making sure he smells damn fucking peachy for Oikawa.

 

They meet, as they usually do, outside Hajime’s house. Oikawa is chronically early, which means he’s already waiting past Hajime’s front gate, scritching the elderly Ito-san’s portly, fluffy cat under the chin. The cat is named Takoyaki and he thinks Oikawa is the greatest thing ever, and Hajime quite likes him for the small, indulgent smile that settles on Oikawa’s face whenever he pets him. Hajime stands and basks in it for a few moments, knowing he’s mirroring the expression. Oikawa only catches him after a good minute has passed, head tilting just a bit so he can cut a look at him from the corner of his eye.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing,” Hajime says, shoulders his bag a little more firmly and makes his way toward him. “How are you feeling this morning?”

 

“If that’s your subtle way of asking if I’m any less inclined toward murdering Tobio-chan the next time I lay eyes on him, the answer is yes, but only because Ushiwaka got on my nerves last.” This is about what Hajime expected so he nods, sagely, falling into step with Oikawa as Takoyaki wails indignantly at being deprived of Oikawa scritches. Hajime thinks the cat has a point. If Oikawa started touching him and then simply stopped, Hajime’s not quite sure he’d ever be okay again.

 

“It was a genuine question, dumbass,” Hajime says, and then immediately cringes. “Sorry.”

 

“Huh?” Oikawa blinks. “What are you apologizing for?”

 

“For calling you a dumbass?”

 

“Okay?” Oikawa raises a brow, cocks his head. “Did you hit your head, Iwa-chan? You’re usually so fastidious about keeping my ego in check.”

 

“Shut up,” Hajime mutters, feeling himself flush right up to his hairline. He hunches his shoulders, tucking his mouth into his scarf and scowling at the ground. He feels Oikawa’s eyes linger on the side of his face for a moment, before he catches the peripheral view of him shrugging and tilting his head back to the sky.

 

“Fine, if you’re going to be difficult about it. Do you want to come over tonight? I’m supposed to be helping Mattsun and Makki with their math homework but you know how they are whenever I let them study together.” Hajime wrinkles his nose. He can think of at least sixteen things more appealing than trying to help Makki and Mattsun study, with a lobotomy ranking top of the list. As much as he loves his friends, he’s seen Oikawa close to physical violence enough times to know that their inherent comedy factor doesn’t extend to study nights. Which is a shame, because Hajime’s never been terrible at schoolwork, but every now and again he pretends to be worse than he is so Oikawa will lean into his space to help him with the answer. Oikawa makes an excellent tutor, after all.

 

“Maybe,” he says, because if all goes according to plan, he’ll be Oikawa’s boyfriend by the time Makki and Mattsun turn up for study group, and Oikawa’s boyfriend should be there for moral support.

 

“Okay,” Oikawa says easily, and proceeds to launch into a spiel about the latest documentary he’s been hooked on, because Oikawa is the kind of person who watches documentaries for fun. Last week it was some obscure demolition derby in New Zealand which seemed kind of fun at least, this week’s is apparently about some guy who lived with bears until he got mauled by one, which is decidedly less so. By the end of Oikawa’s explanation, Hajime’s kind of worried for him, but he has a gleam in his eye and he’s throwing his hands around like miming indiscernible shapes with them will make Hajime understand whatever he’s talking about.

 

“You make me extremely concerned sometimes,” Hajime says when Oikawa’s done, which just makes him punch Hajime in the shoulder, so Hajime punches back while Oikawa shrieks like he’s being murdered, as if he didn’t start it, the little brat. It makes him laugh though, and Oikawa’s laugh is something to behold; the way it creases his face in pure, undiluted joy, the sound of it dragged from deep within his gut, the way he stumbles around like he’s drunk on the high of it. Hajime grabs him by the back of his shirt and yanks him closer, slings an arm around his shoulders like he’s going to put him in position for a noogie, but Oikawa’s hand curls high against the nape of his neck and he forgets all about it.

 

Oikawa’s just running out of laughter when they make it to the gym, and a lightbulb goes off over Hajime’s head. Oikawa’s complained enough times about the godawful dates he’s been on with other athletes, whinging about chivalry being dead. Well, Hajime thinks with a determination slightly short of deranged, not today it’s not!

 

He darts ahead, swinging open the door to the gym. Oikawa stares at him in blatant confusion, lip curled half up like he was ready to say something, before he closes his mouth and shakes his head, watching Hajime like he might at any second become patient zero in an imminent zombie outbreak.

 

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” Oikawa asks, bending a leg up behind him to shuck off his loafers. Hajime wrestles his sneakers off, hooking his fingers into the heels and lifting a hand in greeting to Coach Irihata. “You know you don’t have to be nice to me just because we lost, right?”

 

“It’s not that,” Hajime shakes his head, nodding to Yahaba who barely acknowledges them with a wiggle of the pen he’s using to adjust the practice plan under Coach Mizoguchi’s careful instruction. Kyoutani is already warming up, hitting balls harder and harder and throwing looks over his shoulder to see if Yahaba is watching him yet. That’s one ticking time bomb that Hajime’s glad he won’t be around to witness when it detonates. If he’s honest, Yahaba kind of scares him. If he hadn’t known Oikawa for almost all his life, he’d probably be a bit shit-terrified of him too. As it stands, he is staring very pointedly at the door of his locker while he listens to the rustle of Oikawa’s clothes dropping behind him.

 

“Do you think I’m mean to you all the time?” He asks as he laces up his shoes. Oikawa pauses whatever he’s doing behind him.

 

“No, I don’t. I know you, Iwa-chan. I know when you’re being mean for real. What’s with all the questions today? Are you sure you’re feeling alright?”

 

“Yes!” It’s starting to frustrate him now, but Oikawa’s not really the source of his anger. Has he really been an ass to Oikawa this entire time? Oh god, what if he has? There’s no way Oikawa would like him back then! “I’m just- I don’t know, I’m making sure.”

 

“Well you don’t have to make sure. Do you honestly think I’d let you treat me like shit and get away with it, Iwa-chan?”

 

“No!”

 

“Well then stop acting like I’m a delicate baby who can’t handle a single loss,” Oikawa huffs, slamming his locker door shut. Hajime whips his head around to see him stomping toward the door, without even putting on his knee-pads or his shoes, water bottle clutched in one white-knuckled fist and the rest bundled under his arm. Hajime swears under his breath and snatches up his own water bottle before chasing after him, jogging to get back into step with him as he stalks toward Yahaba with a vengeance.

 

“Look, I don’t think that, okay? It’s not about that at all, it’s because- well, I had something to tell you and I was trying to say it later but-”

 

Three things happen at once. Oikawa’s beautiful, beautiful face goes from a death glare to panic in about a second flat, Kyoutani swears under his breath, and Kindaichi yells his name with extreme urgency. And then a volleyball smashes into his cheek with the equivalent force of a freight train. It doesn’t quite knock him off his feet, because Hajime stopped being willowy enough for that to happen years ago, and because Oikawa’s hand is instantly gripping his elbow to keep him upright.

 

Hajime touches his cheek in surprise and tastes blood in his mouth. It’s just a cut on his lip from where he clipped it in shock, and not anything more serious like a tooth, if the cursory swipe with his tongue is anything to judge by. This is mildly relieving; not that he would ever admit it to Oikawa, but he had nightmares after witnessing the collision with Karasuno’s captain back at Spring High prelims. Oikawa’s hand moves to the small of his back, free hand coming up to gently touch his cheek.

 

“Iwa-chan?”

 

“Ow?” Hajime says, and Oikawa hums in sympathy. Yahaba puts his hands on his hips and glares at Kyoutani, who looks about as contrite as he’s capable of looking, which is not very much, especially when he’s practically vibrating with glee over attention from Yahaba. Hajime really hopes he’s not that obvious.

 

“Iwaizumi-kun, are you alright?” Mizoguchi puts a hand on his shoulder, making him jump. He nods, reflexively, half-stumbling into Oikawa. He feels Oikawa’s grip tighten in the back of his shirt, keeping him steady as he prods idly at his own tender cheek. Whoever had the bright idea to make volleyballs hurt that much is going to be hearing several strong words from him, he thinks.

 

“I’ve got him,” Oikawa says. “Sorry, Yahaba, we can go over your practice plans later okay? I’ll sit with Iwa-chan, and if he gets any worse I’ll take him straight to the nurse.” Irihata nods, Yahaba waves Oikawa away and turns to unleash, with a volume Hajime was not aware he possessed, his desired punishment upon Kyoutani. Kyoutani glares at him, but slopes off to do his two laps flying without further complaint, so Hajime thinks Seijoh will manage their most notoriously troublesome team member with ease when he and Oikawa are gone.

 

He lowers himself down against the wall with Oikawa next to him, sitting shoulder to shoulder. He closes his eyes, using his tongue to stroke along the inside of his cheek, checking for swelling or excess bleeding. It mostly just feels sensitive, which he suppose is a good sign, and it doesn’t hurt too much, although the sting is starting to set into his skin.

 

“Iwa-chan?” Oikawa says, quiet in the noise of the gym. “Remember our first sleepover?”

 

“Don’t remind me,” Hajime scrunches his face in phantom humiliation. Being five was hard enough, but knowing that Oikawa is some freak of nature who can remember exact details from his childhood like these fundamental moments happened yesterday is even worse. He can literally never stop being Oikawa’s friend, even if he wanted to, because Oikawa just knows too much shit about him. He remembers this one, though, being away from home for the first time, even if was just down the road, and sobbing into his pillow while trying to pretend like he wasn’t so Oikawa wouldn’t notice.

 

“I was really afraid for you, you know,” Hajime cracks open an eye to watch Oikawa tilt his head back against the wall, eyes caught on something near the ceiling. “Back then, it seemed like the world was ending whenever you were upset. You were bigger than the world to me, so seeing you cry… I was scared. But you remember what I said, right?”

 

“We were five, Oikawa,” Hajime says, fondly exasperated. Only Oikawa Tooru could recall a conversation from thirteen years ago with perfect clarity. The details are vague to Hajime; only that Oikawa had shoved their futons together and crawled into Hajime’s space, hung onto him so tightly that Hajime couldn’t shake him off if he’d tried.

 

“I told you it was going to be okay, that we were best friends and you could tell me anything. That hasn’t changed.” Hajime closes his eyes, willing himself not to blurt it out then and there. Oikawa deserves better than that, especially after all these years. But it’s nice. It’s always nice when Oikawa looks out for him, even when he leans his head to the side and half-headbutts Hajime, so gently it’s barely a scrape of hair on hair. Hajime sighs, reaches across to punch his arm with absolutely no force behind it. Oikawa huffs a laugh through his nose.

 

“You’re a weirdo for remembering that much,” Hajime tells him. “But yeah, I know. I was just- it’s not important.”

 

“Okay,” Oikawa says, with certainty, with the all-encompassing trust . It still rocks Hajime to know that Oikawa has that much faith in him, that when everything else in his life is all stormy seas, Hajime is his one tether to safe harbour, the lighthouse that guides the way home. Hajime likes being that for Oikawa, wishes he could find the words to express that Oikawa means exactly the same thing to him. Instead, he prays that Oikawa doesn’t remember what Hajime’s said just now when he finally confesses to him, or he’ll have some grovelling to do. Instead, he leans his head on Oikawa’s shoulder and sighs long and hard through his nose. “Don’t go to sleep, dummy.”

 

“Shut up, Shittykawa,” Hajime mutters, and Oikawa sighs, dramatically.

 

“Oh don’t bring that back, it wasn’t creative the first time and it isn’t now.”

 

“Whatever you say, Sh-”

 

“I’m not above re-injuring an injured man, Iwa-chan, try me,” Oikawa says, and Hajime opens his mouth to taunt him and chokes on a squeal as Oikawa digs two fingers into the ticklish spot behind his knee and almost sends the pair of them sprawling into a pile of limbs as Hajime flails to get away. Oikawa laughs, big and bold, and Hajime laughs too, slapping at his hands while trying to hold his own up in surrender until Oikawa lets up and settles back, making room for Hajime to rest against his side.

 

“If I die, just let it happen,” he mumbles into Oikawa’s shoulder, trying not to feel too light-headed with delight as Oikawa lifts an arm and rests it over his shoulders, finger trailing through his hair.

 

“Not a chance, Iwa-chan. If I have to exist in this cruel, cruel world, so do you.”

 

“Damn,” Hajime says, fighting back a grin.

 

“Mmm,” Oikawa agrees. “But you know what, it’s not so bad when you’re around, so you’re staying alive for my purely selfish reasons, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Hajime manages, but he thinks about it for the rest of practice, the entirety of his shower afterward, and all the way to the shoe lockers. Matsukawa catches him in the hallway after Oikawa has wandered off ahead with his long-legged strides to catch up to someone from his class. Hajime only notices someone else has joined him at all when a heavy arm drops over his shoulder. Makki and Mattsun have stopped coming to morning practices, but they still show up to the afternoons on occasion. Makki’s excuse is just enjoying the opportunity to sleep in, Matsukawa says he can’t keep looking at Oikawa’s ass first thing in the morning or it’s going to quote-unquote awaken something in him. Hajime agrees. It’s a nice ass. Why Mattsun is actively looking, though, is something Hajime’s not sure he wants to know the answer to.

 

“You look like a fucking zombie,” Mattsun says. “You okay?”

 

“Everyone keeps asking me that,” Hajime mutters, touching his sore cheek. Makki materializes over Mattsun’s shoulder. “I’m fine, I’m just- thinking about stuff.”

 

“Please don’t tell me you’re only just realizing you’re into Oikawa,” Makki says, with genuine horror.

 

“No! Fuck, no, that realization happened years ago, c’mon.” Hajime scowls, Makki wipes an imaginary sweat drop off of his brow. Then it clicks, and Hajime whips his head toward him with panicked eyes. “Wait, am I that obvious? Can he tell?”

 

“You are that obvious, but I’m pretty sure Oikawa’s actively ignoring it at this point,” Mattsun says.

 

“He’d have to be,” Makki agrees.

 

“Is that good or bad for me? Do we think that’s good or bad for me, guys?”

 

“Could be either,” Mattsun says, so Makki punches him hard in the arm.

 

“Probably good. I feel like he’d say something if the person who stood to get hurt was you.”

 

“Gee, thanks!” Hajime pushes both hands through his hair. “Fuck!”

 

“That’s not what I meant,” Makki sighs. “Oikawa’s not heartless. If he liked you back, he probably wouldn’t say anything until he was absolutely sure so that you wouldn’t have to reject him, but if he didn’t like you back he would have let you down easy ages ago.”

 

“You are really obvious,” Mattsun adds. “No friend stares at their buddy’s ass that much.”

 

“Why were you looking?” Hajime snaps, then shakes his head. “No, wait, that doesn’t matter. Back up, you think Oikawa likes me too?”

 

“Do you have rocks for a brain, Iwa-chan?” Mattsun asks, so Hajime elbows him roughly in the ribs. Matsukawa retracts immediately and scowls at him, half-ducking behind Makki like Makki’s scrawny ass will be any protection if Hajime decides to unleash wrath upon them both.

 

“Neither of you are helping,” Hajime hisses, conscious of their classmates giving them weird looks as they file past them in the hall.

 

“Why are you so caught up in it today? Normally you’re just… vibing with it.” Mattsun makes a face at his own choice of words. Hajime agrees, but he understands what Matsukawa is trying to convey. Even Hanamaki is leaning in closer, intrigued. He hates that these are his best friends, aside from Oikawa. He would much rather have Oikawa’s advice on this, but unfortunately beggars can’t be choosers.

 

“I’m trying to confess,” Hajime says, folds his arms across his chest. “I’ll lose my nerve if I don’t do it today.”

 

“Oh, is that so?” Makki says. Hajime understands then that this is absolutely not what he should have said to them. Telling Makki and Mattsun was a mistake. They have this twin gleam in their eyes that makes all the danger bells start ringing in Hajime’s head. Full tilt heading for a catastrophe.

 

“Don’t get involved,” he says. He knows it falls on deaf ears, because the pair of them are already turning away, faces close together as they head down the hallway to their classes. Alone, Hajime throws his hands up to the ceiling and stomps to class, flopping down at his desk, putting his forehead straight down on it. He hopes some kind god takes pity on him and simply strikes him with lightning.

 

Usually, lunch is a welcome reprieve, but today its looming eventuality fills Hajime with dread. Lunch means Oikawa, but it also means Makki and Mattsun, and Makki and Mattsun have had hours to plot and scheme. He doesn’t know how the pair of them consistently get away with texting in class, it’s like some supernatural ability they somehow came into possession of. It does not bode well for Hajime. What bodes even worse is Makki and Mattsun getting to Oikawa before he does.

 

The second his class is dismissed, Hajime is on his feet, snatching his books and shoving them into his bag as he makes the short dash to Oikawa’s class and shoulders through his classmates to slam his hands down on Oikawa’s desk. Oikawa jumps a little, whipping his notebook out from under Hajime’s nose, because he’s a nerd who actually goes over his notes during lunch and he hates it when Hajime makes fun of him for it, but Makki and Mattsun are worse about it, which is why Hajime feels like it’s perfectly fine and reasonable to ask;

 

“Wanna eat lunch outside today?”

 

“It’s a bit cold, don’t you think?” Oikawa glances out the window with a little frown. Sure, it’s probably not the best weather to be eating outside, but Hajime thinks they’ll be fine. Oikawa starts downing Vitamin C tablets and copious amounts of the pulpiest orange juice he can find if he so much as feels a tickle start in the back of his throat. He’s funny like that, picking arbitrary little things to try and heal a body he keeps constantly teetering on the edge of exhaustion. He makes a mental note to make Oikawa nap tomorrow.

 

“It’ll be fine,” he lies through his teeth, “I’ll put my jacket down so your ass won’t get wet.”

 

“So vulgar, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says, but he’s already standing, so Hajime knows he’s won. “And yet so chivalrous, for someone with such a foul mouth. I bet you make all the girls swoon that way.”

 

“Don’t be a shit,” Hajime tells him, and barely escapes tacking on that Oikawa knows he doesn’t, just because Oikawa would hold it over his head for literally the rest of their lives. Oikawa just smiles his innocent little smile and bats his lashes, before he sweeps his scarf dramatically around his neck and tucks his hands into his pockets in preparation for facing the cold afternoon air.

 

Hajime puts his club jacket down which Oikawa seems to take as sacrilege, even as they cram onto it together, right up against a wall that shelters them from most of the wind. This little alcove behind Gym 4 has been their spot ever since their first year, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it dent in the building’s facade that Oikawa had wedged himself into one time and refused to leave when stewing in his own anger. So, like most things, Hajime has simply forced his way in beside him, and sat there until Oikawa was ready to talk. Now, they sit in companionable silence, squished even tighter together, Oikawa’s bento half-balanced in Hajime’s lap so he can have his notebook open on his own. Hajime doesn’t mind, sneaking food from Oikawa’s when he’s busy mouthing physics formulas to himself so that he remembers them.

 

It pisses him off a little that Oikawa is going to get into so many good universities without even wanting to go there. Hajime knows about the contact he’s been making with clubs in Argentina, following his idol with single-minded determination. Of course he knows. Oikawa tells him everything, trusts Hajime to keep his hopes and dreams safely sheltered in the sturdy cradle of his palms. He could stand to be less blatantly academic, because at least that way Hajime could feel somewhat triumphant about his own scores. He’ll have to plan around whatever time difference they end up with; force Oikawa to help him study for all his big exams.

 

“Ugh,” Oikawa says, hunching his shoulders as a particularly harsh breeze rushes by, the edges of it catching them even in their little hideaway. Reflexively, Hajime lifts an arm, bundling Oikawa under it as he shuffles and leans more into his side. It makes Hajime feel unbelievably warm, the weight of Oikawa’s legs half in his lap, the brush of his hair against his cheek. “Remind me why we’re outside again?”

 

“Just ‘cause,” Hajime says. “When’s the next time we’re going to enjoy the novelty of eating together outside?”

 

“I don’t know? Maybe when I come to visit you at university, you weirdo.” Oikawa rolls his eyes. “You’ve been acting all kinds of strange today, Iwa-chan I don’t get it. You know we still have a few months before we graduate, right?”

 

“I know how time works, shithead.”

 

“I’m starting to doubt that you actually do,” Oikawa thwacks his pen against Hajime’s forehead. “I’m trying to be patient with you because I know how you hate it when I push you to talk about things you aren’t ready to, but you’re practically jumping out of your skin and it’s just not like you. I’m worried, Iwa-chan. Are you handling our loss okay?”

 

“I’m fine, Oikawa, it’s just. There’s something I’ve been wanting to say to you for a while.”

 

“And that’s stressing you out?” Oikawa’s brows furrow, his perfect face creased by a frown as he taps his pen against his lips. Hajime loves all of his faces, even this one, where he’s trying to seem engaged but his eyes are too sharp, too focused on trying to puzzle Hajime out, rip him open, rearrange him and stitch him back up once he’s figured out how he works. Oikawa’s unsettling like that, but it’s something Hajime has always loved about him. Except for right now. Right now he wishes Oikawa was about as dumb as Kageyama.

 

“Yes. I mean, no? I mean, well it’s not, you haven’t done anything bad, like it’s not a problem or anything it’s just something I want to say and I-” Hajime squints at the vague shape of a classroom block over Oikawa’s shoulder. “Is that… Hanamaki?”

 

Oikawa swivels. Hajime immediately wishes he wouldn’t because Hanamaki’s plan is becoming increasingly obvious, given that Matsukawa is helping him string up a huge banner across one partially fogged window. Hajime is going to kill him. Hajime is going to kill them both, and he’s going to appeal to Yahaba’s admiration of Oikawa to get him to help hide the body. Frankly, Makki’s made enough jokes about Yahaba’s hair this year as if his own situation isn’t equally atrocious since he had that breakdown in the middle of the year and chopped off his bangs that Yahaba would probably help him with little to no wheedling. Hajime’s lucky to have such a great kouhai. Friends? Not so much. He puts making new ones at the top of his university to-do list.

 

Makki and Mattsun’s banner boasts two damning characters. Where they stole the canvas from, Hajime isn’t sure and he desperately does not want to know because he wants as much plausible deniability as possible in this whole scheme. Oikawa’s face looks like a thundercloud, which is possibly the worst reaction he could be having to Makki and Mattsun holding up a big, fat sign that tells them to kiss. Hajime barely fights back the urge to put his face in his hands, because that would just be so obvious.

 

“For fuck’s sake,” Oikawa says, with genuine vitriol. Hajime decides it’s been a pretty good life. He would have liked to have touched several more boobs over the course of it, and also kissed Oikawa at least three times, but all things considered he’s been happy. There’s been a sport he loves, mom he loves, good food, beating Kyoutani at arm wrestling. There have been many joys in his life. So he missed out on a few things? Everyone has regrets, and it’s only natural to die with them when you’re eighteen.

 

“Oikawa,” Hajime starts, plaintively. Maybe if he gets on his knees and begs, Oikawa will go easy on him. Except, Oikawa is already getting to his feet, snapping his notebook shut and shoving his bento haphazardly back into his bag so that he can shoulder it, eyes locked on Makki and Mattsun with violent determination. Mattsun, at the very least, seems to have noticed that they’ve incurred Oikawa’s wrath, given that his end of the banner is starting to droop. “Hey, come on, we can talk about this-”

 

“I told Mattsun not to get involved, and this is involved,” Oikawa seethes, batting Hajime’s hand away and stomping off in the direction of their meddlesome friends. Hajime is already on his feet by the time the implications of Oikawa’s sentence catch up with him and he reels, feeling physically winded as he grips the concrete of the gym’s exterior and gapes after him like a fish. Mattsun wasn’t supposed to get involved in… Oikawa’s feelings? Oikawa’s feelings which involve kisses? Probably kisses with Hajime?

 

Oikawa likes him back?

 

Hajime has never understood the trope of girls fainting in delight before now. He feels like he could pass out. He feels like he could play a full five sets against Ushijima single-handedly and beat his ass by a landslide. And then he could run to the sidelines and dip Oikawa into a kiss while flipping Ushijima off.

 

Because Oikawa likes him back. And Oikawa would probably let Hajime kiss him, especially if it was right in front of Ushijima, who is known to have the biggest, fattest, most hopeless crush on Oikawa ever even though Oikawa clearly can’t stand his guts, the moron. Oikawa’s exactly that kind of petty, and Hajime’s usually nicer, but given that he is also a haver of a big, fat, slightly less-hopeless crush on Oikawa Tooru, he gets somewhat territorial about it. But, he digresses. Sticking it to Ushijima aside, Oikawa would probably kiss him just because he wants to. Because Oikawa likes him back.

 

“Holy fuck,” Hajime says out loud. He puts his hands on his knees and leans into it, huffs a huge breath out. He feels absolutely wrecked, like he always does at the end of practice with Oikawa, when he’s feeling particularly bratty and runs them all into the ground. And it feels good. It feels good to be so fucking caught up in all of it, in Oikawa, in them together, in the future that they could have. Will have, if Hajime has anything to say about it.

 

“Okay, just round here-” Hajime looks up as Yahaba pulls a tall guy around toward him by the front of his shirt. Their eyes meet, and Yahaba starts, violently. “Shit. Iwaizumi-san.”

 

“Yahaba,” Iwaizumi manages, around possibly the largest surprise of his life. He flicks his eyes toward Yahaba’s companion, a guy he vaguely recognizes from the rugby team, which is good because Oikawa would never forgive him if it was basketball. “And friend. What are you doing back here?”

 

“Iwaizumi-san, please don’t make me say it out loud,” Yahaba says, face scrunching up in displeasure. Iwaizumi waves a hand desperately, feeling a full-body flush prickle under his skin. He really does not want Yahaba to say it.

 

“No! No, I mean, I got… that. I meant here? This is our spot. Mine and Oikawa’s I mean, not…” he waves a hand vaguely at Yahaba while making pleading eye contact with his friend. Yahaba’s friend nods, and Iwaizumi mentally breathes a sigh of relief. Fist fights with the rugby boys are always terrible because every single one of them is built like a truck and spend half of their practices slamming into each other full-force. Hajime’s not weak by any means but there’s only so many times you can get tackled by a rugby player before you start fearing them just a little.

 

“Iwaizumi-san, no,” Yahaba murmurs, tipping his head back to the sky.

 

“Huh?”

 

“I hate to be the one to tell you this,” Yahaba says with an expression like he genuinely means it, “but this is the spot for making out with someone when you don’t want to be spotted. The only reason no one comes near it when you’re here is because they’re shit terrified of Oikawa-san.”

 

“But,” Hajime says, feeling a comical question mark materialize over top of his head like he’s a goddamn cartoon character. “But then why—”

 

“Iwaizumi-san, I say this with massive amounts of respect, but you’ve got nothing but air in your brain. Oikawa-san’s been trying to gauge how into making out you’d be ever since I joined the team.” Hajime puts a hand on his forehead. He feels faint. Like he might swoon, of all things, and he’s not sure Yahaba or his friend would be inclined to catch him given that said friend’s hands seem very involved in touching Yahaba’s ass.

 

“Oh,” Hajime says, like this hasn’t fundamentally shattered every preconception of his best friend that he’s had for the last three years. They’ve been meeting up here since before Yahaba, that’s for sure, and there were quiet spots back in middle school too, so it really begs the question of how long Oikawa has been trying to puzzle him out, how long he’s been aching for Hajime the same way Hajime aches for him. Oh, it’s just like them to be this stupid when it comes to something important. They’ve never not been on the same page, but it’s always the big feelings they struggle to get across.

 

“Yes, oh,” Yahaba says. “Can you go now? I’m trying to relieve some stress so I don’t throttle Kyoutani at practice.”

 

“It was nice to meet you,” Yahaba’s friend says half-sincerely as Hajime picks up his dirtied club jacket and slinks away with only a little shame. Watching your kouhai let someone stick their tongue down his throat isn’t an everyday occurrence, and it’s a little like Hajime imagines watching a little sibling date for the first time would be like. Except worse. Because that would be cute. This just makes Hajime at least three times more afraid of Yahaba than he already was.

 

It wears off quickly. It’s hard to forget about all the things that Yahaba said, all the things he’s starting to realize. So Oikawa likes him back. That’s good, better than good, maybe even the best thing that’s ever happened to Hajime, aside from meeting Oikawa all those years ago. It also makes his confession plans a whole lot easier. Just tell Oikawa, and he’ll be happy to hear it, and then they’ll kiss and the future will unfold in new and exciting ways. It doesn’t matter that Oikawa’s imminent departure lurks just over the horizon. Hajime and Oikawa have weathered every storm together. In comparison, this is easy. Loving him will always be easy.

 

He doodles through class and stares wistfully out the window. He tries not to think about what tragic fate could have befallen Hanamaki and Matsukawa if Oikawa caught up to them. If they don’t turn up to practice, he thinks it’s safe to assume that Oikawa murdered the both of them and hid the bodies, and Hajime wouldn’t even be mad if he did. Oikawa is so resourceful it’s sometimes terrifying, but mostly ridiculously attractive. He thinks maybe they should revisit camping. Oikawa could do with a nice trip away to reconnect with nature.

 

Hajime isn’t a terrible student, but it’s not like he particularly likes school either. Still, he’s never been more glad to hear the bell that signals the end of the school day than he is today. He rockets from his desk again, bowling through into the hallway to lean against the wall opposite Oikawa’s class. He exits second to last, having paused to ask his sensei a question, and he’s scribbling a note on the bottom of his notebook page even as he steps into Hajime’s space, like him being there is a given.

 

“School’s over, nerd-brain.” Hajime says, shocking himself at how sickeningly sweet his own voice is. Has he always sounded this fond? Oikawa huffs, the force of it bouncing his silken fringe as he snaps the notebook shut and tucks everything away in his bag.

 

“Try to sound like less of a meathead, Iwa-chan, girls will like you more that way.”

 

“I don’t care about that,” Hajime says as Oikawa stomps off toward the shoe lockers, clearly still in a bad mood. This is shocking to Hajime. Oikawa is never this upset at Makki and Mattsun; they’ve butted heads a few times over the years, but Oikawa has never been genuinely mad. So mad that he gives them the outright cold shoulder even as they slink up beside the pair of them to collect their shoes. Hajime raises a brow at them over Oikawa’s shoulder. Mattsun shrugs helplessly.

 

Oikawa ignores them the whole way to the gym, throwing his stuff into a locker with a vengeance and ripping his clothes off like he’s hoping they take skin with them. When he catches Hajime’s eyes on him, his scowl deepens.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing,” Hajime takes a step closer, gently pulls Oikawa’s shirt the rest of the way off his forearms and smooths his hair back into place for him. “What crawled up your ass and died?”

 

“Nothing,” Oikawa echoes him, his eyes softening a little. Hajime knows that expression though, the one that’s calculating, trying to work him out. Good. He hopes Oikawa figures him out. He hopes he sees right through him. Carefully, Oikawa takes his shirt from Hajime, folding it neatly and settling it into his locker. “Go get changed, Iwa-chan.”

 

“Don’t boss me around,” he says, with absolutely no heat, already moving to do so. Oikawa huffs under his breath in amusement, and Hajime uses the brief window of reprieve that he’s granted by his shirt covering his face to smile a small, private smile. He loves hearing Oikawa laugh, even if it’s just a tiny one like that.

 

“You two can thank Iwa-chan for saving your asses,” Oikawa says flippantly as he laces up his volleyball shoes. “I’ll still tutor you tonight, but if either of you try any dumb shit like that again I swear I will literally disembowel you.”

 

“Sir yes sir,” Makki and Mattsun say in an eerie tandem. Oikawa and Hajime exchange a look, before Hajime trails him out of the locker room and into the club proper. Oikawa makes a beeline for Yahaba and Irihata, draping a companionable arm over the freshly-minted captain’s shoulder, while Yahaba gestures to something in his notebook with a pen. Hajime is proud of him. He’ll make an excellent captain, keeping their rag-tag team of idiots in line. It’s been a heavy burden to bear, Oikawa coaxing the difficult ones out of their shells and Hajime ruling at his side with an iron fist. Hajime’s going to miss it, really, being the right hand to Oikawa’s king.

 

“Iwaizumi,” Kyoutani says from next to him, making Hajime jump a good three inches in shock. Mattsun snickers as he passes him, Makki punching him between the shoulderblades like he thinks Hajime might also make good on Oikawa’s promise. It’s good when they assume that he and Oikawa link like that. Gives Hajime an even more intimidating presence, which means they’re inclined to mess with him less. Just more evidence of him and Oikawa being great partners, which translates well into great boyfriends, which translates well into great husbands, eventually, if Oikawa wants that.

 

“What’s up?” He manages, because if he thinks about getting married to Oikawa for any longer he might actually cry in the middle of his volleyball gym, and tears are only after particularly hard losses, not because he is just really in love with his best friend. Kyoutani sucks in a huge breath like he’s preparing for an absolutely devastating spike. He tilts forward about two degrees. It takes Hajime thirty seconds to realize this is his approximation of a bow.

 

“I’m sorry for spiking a ball into your face,” Kyoutani says. Hajime nods, very consideringly. “I didn’t mean to do it, really. The thing is, I actually like you.”

 

Oh no, Hajime thinks, oh no, no no no. This is not good. This is like a comical freeze-frame, world screeches to a halt car-crash-collision moment. Kyoutani can’t be confessing to him right now, not when the way Oikawa’s standing accentuates the long, muscular stretch of his legs and Hajime is half thinking about kissing him and digging his thumb into the contours of them as he touches like he’ll be allowed to when Oikawa tells him he likes him back. Kyoutani isn’t a bad kid, but he’s had a rough go of it with the team, and if Hajime doesn’t do this very delicately he could ruin Kyoutani’s experience with volleyball all over again, which would be fine and dandy if he were Oikawa. Oikawa has a way with words, whereas Hajime has about as much tact as a bull infuriated by delicacy in a china shop. Which is to say, absolutely none whatsoever.

 

“Uh,” Hajime says, intelligently. “That’s nice, Kyoutani, but I don’t-”

 

“No!” Kyoutani all but yells, eyes bugging comically as he shakes his head. “No, not like that-”

 

“I’m flattered, but-”

 

“It’s not, I didn’t mean it that way Iwaizumi I sw-”

 

“You know you’re not a bad kid-”

 

“I mean I thought you were hot at first but I don’t-”

 

“And I mean, like, you’ll find someone you know, but I?”

 

“I don’t have a crush on you!” Kyoutani yells, at quite possibly the top of his lungs. Hajime thinks he feels a fleck of spit land on his cheek, which he would be more angry about if he were not acutely aware of the whole volleyball team turning to look at them while Kyoutani continues to state his case very, very loudly. “I don’t have a crush on you, okay? I was focused on Yahaba and I wasn’t watching where I was hitting so it’s his stupid fault anyway.”

 

“How is it my fault?!” Yahaba throws his hands up in exasperation. “I was literally just standing here. How am I responsible for you hitting Iwaizumi-san in the face, moron?”

 

“Because!” Kyoutani thunders. “You don’t have any right to throw me around like that and then act like it never happened and stand around looking all like… like… that!”

 

“Ohhhh,” Hajime says, as the gears click into place. “Oh, so you like Yaha-”

 

Yes!” Kyoutani’s breathing hard now, fists clenched at his side. Yahaba promptly tries to brain himself on his clipboard with a muted little scream from behind closed lips. Kyoutani’s nose scrunches, and he stomps his foot impatiently. “Well? Answer me, dumbass.”

 

“I’m going to kill you,” Yahaba seethes, using the clipboard to hide his face as he stomps toward the locker rooms. Kyoutani’s face curls in an impressive scowl as he chases after Yahaba, trying to loom above him which is not very effective when Yahaba is taller than him in the first place and also radiating an aura that is probably more potently nuclear than the Elephant’s Foot in Chernobyl, which Oikawa also watched a documentary about.

 

“Don’t walk away from me!” Kyoutani yells after him, narrowly dodging as Yahaba throws an arm out to point back at the court.

 

“Laps!”

 

“What?! That’s not an answer-”

 

“Laps, indefinitely! Kunimi, make sure he doesn’t slack!” Kunimi salutes lazily. Kindaichi puts his face in both hands and hunches in on himself like that will make him magically disappear from this situation. Kyoutani glares at Yahaba, before he turns and slinks off to jog around the exterior of the court. Oikawa has, in the meantime, caught up to Yahaba, slinging a gentle arm around his shoulders.

 

“Don’t be too hard on him, Yahaba,” Oikawa says quietly, only just loud enough for Iwaizumi to overhear, and only because he’s actively listening for Oikawa’s voice, always. “Let’s just focus on practice, okay?”

 

“I’m going to kill him, I really am. I’m going to beat him to death with this clipboard.”

 

“That’s nice,” Oikawa says, gently steering Yahaba back toward Mizoguchi, ignoring the way Kyoutani’s eyes stay on them throughout his laps. “Let Mad Dog-chan save his energy, alright? No good to tire one of your spikers out right at the start of practice! You want them nice and chipper so you can break them all the way down and have them absolutely destroyed by the end of it.”

 

“I like the way you think, Oikawa-san,” Yahaba says, apparently sufficiently calmed.

 

“There’s something wrong with you,” Watari tells his friend, patting him on the back. Hajime agrees, but given that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Yahaba literally ripping his guts out for a provoking word, he is disinclined to voice that opinion out loud. Instead, he casts a look sideways at Makki and Mattsun, who are looking back like they’re thinking the exact same thing.

 

“Well,” Mattsun says. “It’s going to be hard to get weirder than that.”

 

“Must be true if you’re saying it,” says Hanamaki, side-stepping a swat from Matsukawa.

 

“Uncalled for?!”

 

“No, I think it was justified,” Hajime says, crooking a grin as Mattsun makes a noise that’s half disapproval, half a sound that a horse would make. Hajime ignores him and wanders toward Oikawa to get the lowdown on the schedule for practice. Even if he and Oikawa aren’t really the head of the club anymore, it’s not like anyone is going to tell them that. Which is good, because it gives Hajime a few minutes to stew.

 

Matsukawa is right, the motherfucker. Confessing to Oikawa in the middle of practice like he’d been planning to do would be… stupid. Really dumb. A terrible idea, but especially so after whatever the fuck just happened between Kyoutani and Yahaba. Oikawa hates his focus being broken, which means he’s not going to have any tolerance for any more bullshit in this particular practice, even if Hajime’s brand of bullshit is telling him that he’s literally in love with him and he spends too many nights on real estate websites imagining the house they’re going to buy together. Fuck.

 

It’s easy to get lost in volleyball, especially with Oikawa putting up beautiful toss after beautiful toss, like it’s the easiest thing in the world. That’s the thing about Oikawa, Hajime thinks. He makes it look effortless, hides the sweat and tears and occasional blood that went into getting this good like none of it ever happened at all.

 

It’s harder to miss when Oikawa switches out with Yahaba so that he can work on serving with the first years while Yahaba syncs with the team in preparation for the tournaments they’ll face without Oikawa at the helm. Kyoutani’s hitting impressively hard, turning his head after each one to check if Yahaba is watching him, and Yahaba is always glaring at him from the corner of his eye for a split second before he tunes back into playing volleyball. Begrudgingly, Hajime has to admit that maybe he can understand the feeling, which he really doesn’t want to, because Kyoutani is being embarrassingly opaque about this. Maybe it’s only embarrassing to Hajime because he’s been sitting on his feelings all this time like a coward, instead of going after what he wants. Oikawa’s always appreciated bravery, after all.

 

Oikawa hums in the shower as Hajime washes himself a stall over, scrubbing himself with his body-wash as viciously as possible to make sure it removes every single speck of grime and leaves him smelling impeccable. He can’t risk a single thing going wrong if he’s going to try and drop the bomb before Oikawa has to focus all his attention on Makki and Mattsun. That basically gives him the walk between here and Oikawa’s house, which means absolutely no racing Oikawa back under any circumstances. He’s already going to sweat enough just walking, running is absolutely out of the question.

 

“You look like you’re thinking hard,” Makki says as Hajime zips up his jacket over his t-shirt and thermal. “Try not to hurt yourself.”

 

“Fuck you, man. Stop hanging out with Oikawa so much.”

 

“Is that the reason you’re so mean?” Hanamaki turns his face to the ceiling like he’s considering this. Hajime takes advantage to pinch him right between the ribs, eliciting an inhuman sound as Makki folds on himself. “Ow! You stop hanging out with Oikawa so much! He’s making you evil!”

 

“Iwa-chan’s always been like that, I can’t take credit,” Oikawa says, breezing past in nothing but a towel and smelling frankly mouth-watering. Hajime does something very mature and thunks his forehead against his locker, eyes closed, until the telling wolf-whistles that mean Oikawa’s Perfect Ass has been exposed to the elements are silenced by the snap of Oikawa’s underwear against his waist. When he opens his eyes again, Makki is staring at him with something that seems like pity, so Hajime scowls, making Makki whistle innocently as he loops his scarf around his neck several times and tucks his chin into it.

 

“Fuck, it’s cold,” Mattsun complains, hunching into his extra jacket as Makki hops from foot to foot next to him. Oikawa looks like he’s about to agree, rubbing his bicep vigorously, before his eyes light up.

 

“Just one moment.”

 

“Man, c’mon we said we were sorry-” Mattsun whines, but Oikawa’s already taking off around the corner of the gym. Hajime casts a look at Mattsun and Makki before he shrugs and hurries after him. He hears a beleaguered sigh, before another two sets of footsteps chase him.

 

When the four of them round the corner to Hajime and Oikawa’s spot, it’s easy to tell what Oikawa was checking on. Kyoutani is slumped back into the wall of the gym’s alcove, fingers clutching at the sides of Yahaba’s jacket, barely holding his own weight up, relying entirely on Yahaba pinning him to said wall and holding his jaw firmly in his hand to tilt it at an angle to kiss him better. Neither of them seem like they’re coming up for air any time soon, nor do they seem to notice their upperclassmen watching them like proud older brothers. Oikawa shoos them away with a smug little smile.

 

“I almost feel bad for the poor guy,” Makki says, when they’re a safe distance away. Hajime snorts.

 

“Almost?” Hajime raises a brow.

 

“I haven’t forgotten half the shit he’s said. In a way, he kind of deserves having Yahaba around to kick his ass.”

 

“I’m gonna miss that kid,” Mattsun says, wiping a fake tear from his eyes. Oikawa laughs, but the sound of it is bittersweet. They’re all joking, but the way Oikawa’s breath leaves him indicates he means it, that he’ll miss Yahaba and even Kyoutani too, the stroppy little bastard. That he’ll miss this. Them, both individually and as they are now. Makki whines.

 

“Don’t cry! Please, fuck, I can’t handle you crying again.”

 

“Shut up! I’m not crying!” Oikawa swings a long leg at him, clipping Makki in the back of his knee and sending him stumbling with a gurgled yell of protest. Mattsun laughs so hard he snorts a huge gob of snot, which sends Oikawa into genuine hysterics until he’s leaning on Hajime’s shoulder and barely wiping away tears of laughter before the spill over. Hajime puts his arm around him and pats his back while Makki hobbles along beside them, clutching his sides.

 

“You’re terrible friends,” Mattsun says, digging his pack of tissues out of his bag, but there’s a smile in his voice and warmth sparkling in his eyes.

 

Hajime keeps his arm around Oikawa the rest of the way home, shifts it up to settle over his shoulders when he can no longer justify steadying him. Oikawa doesn’t complain, just shoves his hands into his pockets and teases Mattsun and Makki the whole way there, curling closer to Hajime whenever he provokes them too much. Everyone’s too afraid to swing at Hajime. Well, everyone but Oikawa, who’s grown up tackling him to the ground for control over the TV remote. Perhaps he should have tried harder to train that out of him, because he has a reputation to maintain, and getting his ass kicked by his pretty-boy best friend really wouldn’t help with that.

 

“I’m home!” Oikawa yells into his house as he kicks off his shoes, heading in the direction of the answering call. Hajime abandons Mattsun and Makki to their shoe struggle, flicking his own onto the shoe rack and padding after Oikawa. Oikawa-san is tapping away at her laptop at the kitchen island, swatting at her son as he drapes his arms around her shoulders and peppers kisses over the top of her head. She waves when she sees Hajime, bracelets clanging together elegantly.

 

“Oh, Hajime-kun. Are you staying over tonight?” He hadn’t been planning on it, but now that the offer’s out there, it’s not a bad idea. He thinks spending the night cuddled up to his new boyfriend would be pretty good.

 

“Sure,” he says. “Thanks, Oba-san.”

 

“No problem, just make sure your mother knows,” Oikawa-san says, turning her attention back to her work. Helpfully, Oikawa smooths a piece of hair that’s fallen free of her bun back behind her ear and kisses the top of her head again, before he snags a couple of apples from the fruit bowl on the bench and wanders back through to lead the three of them into the living area.

 

They settle around the low table, Oikawa setting his books out in front of him neatly while Makki and Mattsun miserably orient themselves. Hajime texts his mother to let him know he’s staying at Oikawa’s for the night, and that he’ll be over for some clothes later. Probably when Oikawa makes one of their idiots cry. Usually Makki breaks first, but Mattsun’s been through a fair amount today. Hajime might be willing to put money on him if Oikawa sequences their study session in the right way.

 

It’s fascinating to watch Oikawa teach. Unlike so many of the other volleyball players of high esteem, Oikawa manages to fit room for knowledge other than volleyball in his head. Kageyama’s dumb as shit, and so is Ushijima, but Oikawa understands things almost innately. It’s scary how simply he seems to know things, when Hajime has to bite pencils and run frustrated hands through his hair and stare at pages until he thinks braining himself on the corner of the desk would be less painful to come even close to getting it. Luckily, he’s up to date on his homework for this topic, so he’s free to just watch Oikawa as he leans across and corrects Makki and Mattsun, smacks them across the back of their hands with his pen and conducts them easily the same way he conducts on the volleyball court.

 

Mattsun does break first, slumping forward until his forehead is pressed straight down the centre of his notebook, clutching his own hair while Oikawa huffs about it not being that hard, when it absolutely is. Makki’s lower lip is wobbling suspiciously as well, and Hajime has never been good with other people crying. He is somewhat of a sympathetic crier, which Oikawa always makes fun of him for, so he chooses this moment to wander across the road to his house, say hello to his mother and pack an overnight bag. He even digs into the special snack stash hidden under the fake bottom in his sock drawer that he and Oikawa had made after watching one too many Youtube videos on them.

 

“Okay, I’m heading back for the night,” he tells his mother, slinging an arm over her shoulders and pressing his nose into the part of her hair. She pats him solidly between his shoulders, not looking up from the food she has sizzling in the pan. Hajime holds her there for just a second, debating his next words. “Um. Can I have your advice on something?”


“Sure,” his mother looks up in surprise, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “What’s up, kiddo?”

 

“I’m gonna confess to Oikawa today. Tonight, I guess.” Hajime flushes, saying it out loud. It’s still strange to admit it to himself, out loud. Like he’s trying to will it into existence with his words. “I really like him, Kaa-san.”

 

“Oh,” his mother nods, slowly, like she’s considering this. “So what is it you’re asking me for advice on?”

 

“I dunno. Telling someone you like them, I guess? I’ve never had to confess to somebody before.” His mother sighs, and Hajime pouts. It’s not his fault girls from his classes thought he was hot or whatever. He’s only been on dates with a few of them, and none of them ever really worked out because he was always too obsessed with volleyball and subsequently Oikawa to make a real go of it.

 

“I think you just have to tell him the truth, sweetheart,” his mother says, reaching up to fuss over his hair. “I don’t think you can go wrong with the truth. You and Tooru-kun have been friends for a very long time now, and I’m sure he’d appreciate just hearing how you really feel. It doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant, you know.”

 

“I know. I think I’m kind of nervous.”

 

“Oh, Hajime,” his mother smiles, patting his arm consolingly. “You’ll be fine. You know each other.”

 

“I guess that’s what makes it scary. I’m pretty sure he likes me back, but I’m just kinda worried that I’m reading him wrong and if I tell him how I feel, it’ll make him not want to be my friend anymore.”

 

“Would you do that to Tooru-kun?”

 

“What?”

 

“If Tooru-kun told you he liked you,” his mother says, like explaining something to a baby, which Hajime supposes is fair enough and he’s incapable of being mad at his mother anyway, “would you stop wanting to be his friend if you didn’t like him back?”

 

“No? Do I really seem like that much of an asshole?” His mother clips him around the ears. “Ow!”

“Language. My point is, you and Tooru-kun have always treated each other in similar ways. If you wouldn’t abandon him, he won’t abandon you. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.” She smiles, rubbing his arm gently. Hajime smiles too, wrapping his arms around her for a proper hug.

 

“Thanks, Kaa-san.”

 

“Mhm.” His mother takes a deep breath and draws back. “Now. You’re a good kid, and I trust you to make smart decisions, but I have to remind you to be safe and not get too carried away. If you and Tooru-kun are going to… you know… make sure you communicate clearly and use protection-”

 

“Kaa-san!” Hajime squawks, feeling his face flame as he slaps his hands over his ears and backpedals as fast as possible. His mother glares at him for a second with her hands on her hips.

 

“Well, if you’re going to act like that about it, you’re definitely too young to have it.” She turns and digs around in the medicine cabinet before producing a box of condoms. Hajime feels his whole world implode. Laser beam right to the core. He melts and dies as a pool of goo on the floor. His mother forcibly grabs his wrist and slaps the box directly into his hand. Hajime whines.

 

“Kaa-san, we’re not gonna-”

 

“Well, you can never be too sure, Hajime. In all honesty, I thought you and Tooru-kun already were, but-”

 

“Kaa-san!” Hajime yells over top of her, backpedalling away and desperately shoving the condoms into his overnight bag. “I’m going now! I’m going!”

 

“Goodbye! Don’t make stupid choices!” His mother yells at his retreating back, and then she has the audacity to laugh at the way his blush is crawling all the way down his neck and under his t-shirt, because she’s evil and probably where Oikawa gets it from.

 

By the time he gets back, Oikawa-san is giving him an amused look that is only slightly pained. Hajime feels for her; it must be hard to do actual work when your son and his two friends are yelling their lungs out in the other room. Mattsun still sounds like there’s phlegm clogging the back of his throat, which means his brain probably hurts from the sheer amount of information Oikawa is force-feeding him. When Hajime rounds the corner, Oikawa is jabbing his pen at the pair of them accusingly while Makki drags his fingers down his cheeks and gurgles in the back of his throat.

 

“Just a little break, please,” Mattsun groans. “My brain hurts so fucking bad, Oikawa, I literally have no idea what you’re talking about.”

 

“You just want to play footsie with Makki, so no. Both of you, eyes back on the page.”

 

“You don’t have to be so cranky just ‘cause Iwa-chan abandoned you,” Makki says, earning him an absolutely withering look. Hajime thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong with him for how attractive he finds it. He clears his throat. Makki jumps. Mattsun thunks his head on the table again and Oikawa glares at the window, flushing just slightly across the bridge of his nose.

 

“Fine,” Oikawa says. “You get five minutes.”

 

Makki breathes out a huge sigh of relief as Oikawa gets to his feet, inclining his head for Hajime to follow him. He does so, shooting the remaining pair a look that could kill. Whatever they’re trying to do here, he needs them to stop. They’re severely messing with his game, and he definitely doesn’t need help to confess to Oikawa. He’s perfectly capable of doing it on his own, especially now that he’s dumping his bag in the corner of Oikawa’s room, watching him fuss idly with items on his desk so that he doesn’t have to look at Hajime.

 

“You don’t have to be embarrassed, you know,” Hajime tries, and Oikawa’s shoulders tense up. “Makki and Mattsun are always just joking around like that, you know-”

 

“Yeah,” Oikawa says abruptly, picking up his stress ball and rattling it in his hand a little before he deposits it back in its box where it lands with a heavy thud. Hajime winces.

 

“I mean-”

 

“I know what you meant, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa sighs. “Just- don’t listen to them, okay? They’re always trying to cause trouble, you know how they are.”

 

“Yeah, I’m just, you know it wouldn’t be so bad if you… you know,” Hajime flounders. Oikawa sighs and runs a hand through his hair, before brushing past Hajime and thundering back down the stairs. Hajime slaps his hands against his cheeks and digs his fingernails in. Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid! How is it possible to be so fucking bad at confessing to your best friend? He’s only known Oikawa his whole life, ever since his mother and Oikawa’s mother getting out of cars at the same time across the road and laughing at the small babies cradled in their arms. They’ve always been them- Tooru and Hajime- and that’ll never change. They’ve made enough promises to that extent, and Hajime knows Oikawa doesn’t go back on his word.

 

Hey, Oikawa. I like you, I want to be with you. It’s a simple sentence and yet. And fucking yet! Hajime bites back the urge to scream and stalks back to the living room. Oikawa’s not back yet, but Makki and Mattsun must be picking up on the frankly poisonous aura he’s emitting, because they keep looking at him like they want to say something but are unsure if he’ll bite and death roll them like a crocodile. That’s Oikawa’s fault too; as a kid he was obsessed with those documentaries about apex predators. Oikawa permeates every part of Hajime’s life and that will always be true, no matter how much physical distance is between them. This fact should scare him, but it’s comforting. Which makes it even more frustrating that he can’t get his tongue around the words he needs to say.

 

Oikawa reappears at five minutes on the dot, shoulders just a little too stiff to be natural, smile half-pasted on. He rounds the table in Mattsun’s direction, avoiding having to walk past Hajime to sit. Hajime hates when Oikawa does that. Getting the silent treatment is genuinely the worst punishment Hajime can think of, and it’s not even his bloody fault. It’s all Matsukawa and Hanamaki and their stupid meddling, and now Oikawa is trying to lower himself to the ground without casting Hajime a glance.

 

Matsukawa moves like it’s nothing. His expression remains lazy and neutral, and it’s only the slightest jolt of his shoulders that indicates he’s unfolded a leg under the table and horse-kicked Oikawa in the thigh so violently that Oikawa lurches sideways and directly into Hajime’s lap.

 

Hajime catches him, of course, gripping at the back of his shirt to help him settle a little more comfortably atop his thighs. One of Oikawa’s hands comes down on the table so heavily that it rocks up off one of its legs in the corner, the other one gripping Hajime’s shoulder. The room is silent for a long second as Oikawa processes, before his gorgeous face contorts in pure, undiluted fury.

 

“That’s it,” Oikawa hisses, and proceeds to try and launch himself across the table at Mattsun. Hajime catches him around his waist, his teensy, eensy little waist where Hajime’s hands fit perfectly, dragging him back against him and pushing one hand up to comfortingly pat his chest. Oikawa writhes like murdering Mattsun is his life’s goddamn dream.

 

“Whoa, hey, calm down,” Hajime hauls him back another foot, shuffling back on his knees so that Oikawa’s thrashing legs clear the table. “Come on, it’s not worth it, you don’t want to destroy your hands beating the crap out of Mattsun.”

 

“Yes I do. Let go of me, Iwa-chan.”

 

“No,” Hajime wraps his arms around him tighter and shoves his face directly into the crook of his neck. Oikawa jumps, slapping at Hajime’s forearms and trying to shove them away. Oikawa might have the legs of the two of them, but Hajime has the arms, and by god is he using them. Oikawa’s bigger and heavier than he looks, a fact that Hajime always forgets, but having his weight on his lap is actually quite pleasant. “Matsukawa, don’t kick Oikawa. Hanamaki, if you laugh anymore I’m gonna tell Oikawa everything you’ve ever sworn me to secrecy on. Both of you shut up and do your work.”

 

“Wh- I didn’t even do anything!” Makki throws up his hands as Hajime glares at him from the corner of his eye, using his thumb to gently rub up and down Oikawa’s side. Oikawa weakly shoves at him a few more times before he gives up and simply slumps back into him. Hajime can feel the way the back of Oikawa’s neck is flushing, hot to the touch. He resists the urge to press a kiss against the heated skin to soothe it, pressing his forehead against him instead.

 

It’s nice to feel connected to him in this way. Oikawa and Hajime are close, but this is a line that they don’t normally cross. Hajime hasn’t held him like this since they were kids and Oikawa would fall asleep on him like an oversized cat. Even now, Oikawa mostly falls asleep at the other end of the couch on movie nights, feet propped on top of Hajime’s thighs because they’re too tall to both fit on it without their limbs tangling anymore. It’s wonderfully fascinating to feel the heat of his body, the way his torso shakes and rumbles with his voice as Hajime leans his head against his shoulder and listens to the way his words sound marrow-deep, dragged up and out of his mouth to subject Mattsun and Makki to eternal woe as vengeance for putting him in this situation.

 

Hajime hopes Oikawa doesn’t hate it that much. He half thinks he’d like this to be more of a thing. He wants to do it a lot more, but when it’s Oikawa’s choice. Which will be a hard conversation to have, if he manages to actually tell Oikawa how he feels. Telling someone you like them is one thing, telling someone you liked it when they sat in your lap is a whole other thing. But whatever, it’s Oikawa. He’s always made Hajime feel brave, and he never lets Hajime slack either. He’ll figure something out.

 

By the time Makki and Mattsun are done, both of them seem to have a better grasp on the concepts that Oikawa has been working through, and Oikawa’s own homework is immaculately completed, with additional notes doodled into the margins to help him remember when he inevitably revises obsessively. It makes Hajime smile to think about it, Oikawa chewing viciously at the end of his pen, frowning down at his notes and mouthing them out loud to try and commit them to memory as best as he possibly can.

 

“Crap, I’m tired,” Makki says, yawning so wide Hajime can see the whole way down his throat in the genkan. Mattsun nods, rubbing his eyes.

 

“Thanks for the help, Oikawa.”

 

“Mm-hm.” Oikawa says, still glaring. “I’m not done with you two, by the way.”

 

“Oikawa,” Makki whines, “come on, we were just playing around.”

 

“I don’t care,” Oikawa says, faux-cheery. Hajime stifles a laugh against his shoulder, watching the horror creep over Makki and Mattsun’s faces. It’s always a mistake that people have made when it comes to Oikawa; he’s polite and charming and so ruthlessly handsome it feels like being carved open just to look at him, and he has a high tolerance for bullshit, which Hajime thinks you must have to in order to captain teenage boys in a sport, but Oikawa has always been the scary one of the two of them. Sure, Hajime gets into more fistfights and yells more often and menaces Oikawa into behaving, but Oikawa is the one with grand plans that could ruin lives.

 

“See you guys next practice,” Hajime says, slapping hands with Mattsun and pulling Makki into a quick hug.

 

“Help us,” Makki whispers. Hajime pats him on the back and grins. Makki gives him hopeless, pleading puppy dog eyes, and Hajime delights in ignoring them. Oikawa shuts the door behind them and rolls his eyes at Hajime, giving him a small, private smile from the corner of his mouth. It tugs Hajime’s heartstrings, knowing he can read Oikawa’s thoughts just from that simple movement. They’ve always been like that; a secret language through the movement of their bodies. The knowledge of it pulls him in like a magnet, crowding Oikawa up against his own front door.

 

“Iwa-chan? You okay?” His brows upturn slightly, creasing his forehead. Oikawa is always so concerned about frown lines, even though he definitely doesn’t frown enough for it. He’s shy now, almost worried, and Hajime feels like going back in time and pummelling himself for giving Oikawa any reason to doubt that Hajime wouldn’t feel the same way. He places a hand on Oikawa’s waist again, thumbing the curve of it where it spreads into a strong torso, running over the faint bump of his ribs.

 

“Yeah. I just wanted to tell you that I-”

 

“Are Hanamaki-kun and Matsukawa-kun off- oh.” Hajime jumps, cringing violently as a flush spreads right out to the tips of his ears. Oikawa puts a hand over his mouth and tilts his head to the ceiling with a weird, gurgling noise happening in the base of his throat. Behind them, Oikawa-san clears her throat with what she probably thinks is delicate tact but feels like a shotgun cocking with the crosshairs trained right between Hajime’s shoulder blades.

 

“I was just going to say that dinner’s almost ready. Go wash up.”

 

“Yes, Kaa-san,” Oikawa says, muffled by his hand.

 

“Yep, yeah, sure thing Oba-san,” Hajime echoes, stepping away from Oikawa quickly and hurrying toward the stairs, head lowered so he doesn’t make eye contact accidentally. He can hear Oikawa trailing him, their shoulders brushing as Oikawa rounds him and takes the stairs two at a time to get to the bathroom faster. Hajime thinks he has the right idea and follows suit. As he rounds the corner at the top of the stairs, he hears Oikawa-san exhale harshly, and just about trips over his own feet in shame. Having the equivalent of your second mother catch you trying to stick your tongue down her son’s throat ranks pretty high on the list of worst possible outcomes.

 

Hajime stands outside the bathroom, waiting for Oikawa to finish washing his hands. Normally, he would be right in there beside him, complaining about him taking too long because Oikawa, without fail, always spots some speck of dirt under his fingernail  and becomes obsessed with getting it out, and then he has to inspect his nails to make sure none of them need filing, and then he’ll get worried about hangnails and cuticle health and eventually Hajime just has to shove him out of the way so he can get at the sink.

 

Now, he leans against the wall and puts his head in his hands, thinking about how Oikawa had looked, peering down the elegant slope of his nose at him, all soft lips and worried eyes, like he was just imagining the way Hajime looked at him. God, he’s such an idiot. It should be easy for Oikawa to tell. They’ve always known, and the fact that Hajime hid it so well is- well. He’d always been thankful for it, that Oikawa didn’t know, but now he wishes he’d been more obvious. He wishes he’d been moon-eyed stares and sincere words so that Oikawa would take initiative and just kiss him. It would make things a lot less stressful.

 

Oikawa opens the door, frowning thoughtfully at his feet. He shuffles aside without looking up, pulling his lower lip between his teeth and worrying it back and forth in thought. Hajime pauses in the doorway, before turning and clearing his throat at Oikawa’s back.

 

“Hey.” Oikawa looks up. “We’re okay, right?”

 

Translation: was that okay? You knew what I was going to do and you were okay with it, right? We haven’t fallen off the same page for the first time in our lives? Oikawa’s face softens, turns upward in a brilliant smile, shy and small and new. Hajime’s stomach flip-flops giddily as Oikawa nods, brushing his fringe away from his face.

 

“Yeah. We’re okay.”

 

“Okay. Good. Cool.”

 

“Yeah.” Oikawa laughs, low in his throat, before he turns, and wanders back down the stairs. Hajime bites his lip to tamp down his grin, stepping into the bathroom to wash his hands. The warm water is soothing, calming his frantically beating heart enough for him to make his way to the dinner table without dying of embarrassment.

 

Dinner with the Oikawas is always interesting. At home, he eats with his mother in comfortable silence, enjoying being in her company. In the Oikawa household, dinner is debate time, and whoever can yell the loudest often wins. It’s even more fun when Oikawa’s sister is home, but Hajime is having a great time watching Oikawa and Oikawa-san argue over their bets on the baseball league. Oikawa-san artfully bounces broccoli off her son’s forehead when he disagrees with her, prompting him to snatch pork directly from her chopsticks and scoot as far down the other end of the table as possible so he can continue his rant without interruption. Hajime laughs so hard that tears start to prickle at the corner of his eyes, until the Oikawas inevitably turn on him and start stealing food from his plate.

 

“Stop that!” Hajime yells, kicks Oikawa under the table while Oikawa wails at the top of his lungs and Oikawa-san laughs so hard that she snorts her water back out through her nose, which has Oikawa laughing so violently he tips over backwards and Hajime is pounding his fist on the table-top and taking in huge, gulping breaths around his howling laughter.

 

Oikawa’s family is Hajime’s family. It’s always been like that, ever since they were little. Oikawa-san fusses over Hajime’s hair and smacks both of them around the ears when they try to get into a fistfight over her for the bowl of popcorn while they watch some obscure film out of the US that Oikawa-san has been wanting to watch because apparently being into weirdly niche cinema is a genetic trait that skipped Sachi-nee, who is potentially the only normal Oikawa that’s ever been. It’s comfortable, having an argument about particularly weird shots with Oikawa over his mother’s head while she tells both of them to shut the fuck up.

 

Afterward, when Hajime and Oikawa decide it’s time for bed, she cradles both of them in a hug and smacks kisses to their foreheads, ruffles their hair from the back of their heads. Oikawa leans into her more, giving her a squeeze around the middle.

 

“Are you staying up, Kaa-san?”

 

“Mmm, I have a meeting with one of our overseas investors, so you two be good and quiet or one of you will be going to sleep with the spiders.”

 

“I haven’t been afraid of the spiders since I was like, seven,” Oikawa snorts, pulling back from his mother’s hug. “Because you made me sleep in the shed with them all the time.”

 

“That’s your fault for never shutting up, dumbass,” Hajime says, ducking out of the way of the swat Oikawa aims at his ears.

 

“No, he’s right, I did play that card too early on. I should have saved it for later. And anyway, I was threatening Hajime-kun.”


“What?!” Hajime yelps. Oikawa laughs as his mother shoos them both up the stairs, hands on her hips and shaking her head in amusement. Hajime smiles, chasing Oikawa’s heavy footfalls with much more importance when she yells after them;

 

“Oh! And separate futons, you two!”

 

It should be awkward, the implication, but Oikawa sets up the guest futon for Hajime without so much as blushing. They brush their teeth standing side to side, elbow to elbow, and then waste a good half an hour watching volleyball plays from the college teams so Oikawa can get his fair dose of being a bitch before bed. Hajime watches him more than the games, pillow tugged up under his chin and lashes half-closed in exhaustion. Oikawa is bright-eyed and lively, even as night settles around his room, always the centre of Hajime’s universe, brilliant and radiant and vital. Hajime loves him with everything he has.

 

“I’m not tired,” Oikawa says, around a yawn so violent it almost turns his head inside out. “Stop looking at me like that.”

 

“Bed.” Hajime says, and reaches out to turn his computer off. Oikawa huffs and kicks him square on the ass, but Hajime lets it go with nothing but a half-hearted glare and one solid yank of his ankle that has not so much force behind it because he’s still wary of the injury Oikawa sustained at the start of the year, and even though it’s long since healed, Hajime is always careful of anything that might cause harm to him. Oikawa just rolls his eyes and wriggles out of his hold, flouncing across to flick off the lights.

 

They lie there in unbearable silence, the day having come to a close. Hajime should just say it, should just open his mouth and confess his wonderful secret to the dark, let it swallow it whole or illuminate the world, whatever fate decides. His tongue feels heavy in his throat, and Oikawa is so quiet Hajime can’t tell if he’s asleep already or simply waiting; waiting for Hajime to continue whatever it was he was going to say in the genkan, whatever he was going to do.

 

I like you, he says in his mind, tries to force his mouth around the words. I like you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. He means it with all of his heart and all of his soul and every ounce of his being from the atom that makes up the tiniest hair on his head to the raw power of his beating heart, flooding him with a crucial life force that builds him up with such strength and tenacity and he fucking can’t say it. Frustrated tears prick at the corners of his eyes and he exhales a sharp, shuddery noise into the air as his lower lip wobbles and he clenches his jaw until it hurts to stop from crying because he just can’t tell him-

 

“Iwa-chan?” Oikawa says, quiet and unsure. Hajime refuses to look at him, keeps his eyes trained on the ceiling, his whole body taut like a bowstring as Oikawa rustles in the sheets next to him. Then, suddenly, his curious eyes are right above Hajime’s, his silky hair flopping into his face as he straddles Hajime, his weight settling warm and grounding into his lap. Reflexively, Hajime’s hands land on his hips, holding him up just slightly so he can bear his weight better, thumbs pressing into his hip bones and tracing the shape of them. Oikawa sighs, bone-deep, like he’s been holding his breath for years. His long, beautiful fingers skim Hajime’s jaw, thumb pressing his chin up before his fingers squeeze, and Oikawa’s mouth is on him.

 

Hajime knows he makes a sound in the back of his throat, but he doesn’t know what that sound is. His eyes fall shut instantly, lips parting just the smallest amount under the gentle brush and press of Oikawa’s mouth on his. His lips are unbearably soft, his breath shaky and quick, terrified, like Hajime will say no, like Hajime’s not curling his hands into his t-shirt at his hips and trying to fuse them together so Oikawa can never stop.

 

“This is okay, right?” Oikawa asks, just a whisper away. “This is- I didn’t read it wrong?”

 

“No,” Hajime shakes his head, “no, I’ve been trying to tell you all day that I-”

 

“Yeah?” Oikawa asks, shaky and somewhat desperate. Hajime nods, swallows thickly with the weight of what he’s about to say.

 

“You’re it for me,” Hajime says. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too,” Oikawa says, and then he laughs, and a drop of moisture lands on Hajime’s cheek, startling his eyes violently open. Oikawa wipes his face on his shoulder, his hand sliding up into Hajime’s hair so that Oikawa can tilt his head, press their noses together and hold them close. “I love you, I’ve loved you forever and I-”

“Why didn’t you say anything,” Hajime says, plaintive, clutching Oikawa closer by his wide shoulders, smoothing his hand down the dip in his spine to hold him by his waist. “Asshole.”

 

“God, I wanted to. I just never knew, I didn’t think-”

 

“Fuck, I’m sorry, I should have-”

 

“No, it’s fine-”

 

“It’s not. I love you.” Hajime kisses him again, imperfect and half of his chin in the dim light. Oikawa laughs, giggles high and breathy as Hajime seeks him out, peppers kisses over his soft skin to try and find his lips again. “I love you. I love you. You should have known it.”

 

“I do now,” Oikawa murmurs, cupping his face with both hands and kissing him again. It’s slow, sweet, like they have all the time in the world. Hajime shifts, gets an elbow under himself and carefully lowers Oikawa into the mattress. Oikawa keeps his fingers firmly curled into the soft hair at Hajime’s hairline, slots their legs together as Hajime settles them on their sides, clutches Oikawa close like he never intends to let go. One of Oikawa’s hands slides to the back of his neck, scratches against the bump of his spine there, makes Hajime shudder and open his mouth so that their tongues brush, tentative and gentle, on every other pass.

 

It’s heaven, kissing Oikawa. In the quiet of the night, the noise of it is the only sound, so gentle and whispered like a secret between them. It makes Hajime huff a laugh against Oikawa’s mouth. He doesn’t want it to be a secret. He wants to shout it from the rooftop that he loves Oikawa, loves him, loves him, loves him. Oikawa kisses him more insistently, laughs with him, wraps both arms over his shoulders and hauls him in until Hajime is falling all over himself to try and prop himself above Oikawa.

 

“Come to bed,” he whispers, desperately trying to un-wedge the covers from under Oikawa’s ass, to settle him in beside him. Oikawa nods frantically, kicks and kicks until Hajime can drag the blanket up and over them, settles himself against Oikawa’s chest and kisses him again, slides a hand under his shirt and traces the ticklish plane of his abdomen. Oikawa gasps little noises into his mouth, muscles twitching under his touch. Hajime could die here, and he’d die happy.

 

“Shit,” he says, as Oikawa’s mouth moves under his ear and he does something with his tongue that makes Hajime very aware that they need to chill out or there’ll be problems. “Shit, how long?”

 

“Hm?” Oikawa says, mouthing over the cords of muscle in his neck, pressing little butterfly kisses over his collarbones and playfully scraping his teeth over the clothed meat of his shoulder.

 

“How long could we have been like this?”

 

“We were kids, Iwa-chan, I don’t think it would have been appropriate.”

 

“Oikawa-”

 

“A long time, okay,” Oikawa sighs, kisses him again, pulls him in close to brush his lips over Hajime’s nose. “But it’s not your fault, okay? Don’t beat yourself up about it. What matters is that you finally got your ass in gear and it was before I left the country.”

 

“You’re such a brat,” Hajime tells him, slides his hand up the outside of Oikawa’s thigh and dips his fingers below the hem of his shorts, smoothing his fingertips over the strong muscle there. “God, I love you so much. What’s wrong with me?”

 

“It’s a disease called having excellent taste,” Oikawa says somberly, laughing as Hajime gets a hand around his ass and squeezes. He pulls Oikawa into him, nuzzles into his neck as Oikawa shifts closer and curls into the broad expanse of his chest. “I’m sleeping over every night from now on. You’re never getting rid of me.”

 

“I don’t want to,” Hajime tells him, smooths his thumb over the small of Oikawa’s back, laughing at the ticklish way he squirms away from the touch. “I never want to. You’re stuck with me.”

 

“Truly tragic,” Oikawa mutters, already kissing Hajime again before he’s formed the last syllable.

 

They fall asleep like that, touching and exploring, exchanging sleepy kisses, Oikawa’s head pillowed on Hajime’s bicep, occasionally tilting his head to playfully nip at the swell of muscle. Hajime curls a strand of soft— impossibly soft— hair around his fingers, sighs as Oikawa’s hands trace his stomach, his chest, down his arms. He squeezes Oikawa tight between his legs, nudges his nose under his jaw to trace his lips over Oikawa’s pulse, to feel the reality of him below him.

 

Oikawa wakes before him, because Oikawa is some kind of unstoppable volleyball machine. When Hajime comes to, his arm is still half-asleep, and he feels cold where his shirt has been pushed up his chest. Oikawa is sitting by his overnight bed, casting a cheeky look over his shoulder at Hajime. Hajime scrunches his nose at him, before his expression slackens as Oikawa holds up the box of condoms.

 

“What are you doing over there?” Hajime asks, ignoring the offending item. Playing dumb works.

 

“Looking for a shirt,” Oikawa says, which is Hajime’s cue to realize that Oikawa has swapped out his sleep shirt for the t-shirt Hajime planned to wear today, the little bastard. He can’t even be mad at him, because he looks unbearably beautiful, the dull light of early-morning sun catching his hair and skin and the worn cotton of Hajime’s clothes. “What are these for, Iwa-chan?”

 

“It’s not like that,” Hajime groans, rolling onto his back and putting his hands over his eyes. “Kaa-san gave them to me when I told her I was gonna confess to you.”

 

“That’s embarrassing,” Oikawa says, and Hajime hears him crawling across the futons toward him. “I kissed you first though. I think that counts as me confessing, don’t you?”

 

“Shut up,” Hajime grumbles, opening his arm so that Oikawa can settle into his side, tapping the condoms against his chest and pressing closed-mouth kisses to Hajime’s neck. “You’re such an asshole.”

 

“Yes, and you love me. No take-backs,” Oikawa says, and Hajime grins.

 

“Fuck,” Hajime grins so wide it hurts his face. “What the hell kind of a spell did you put me under if I don’t even want to take it back?”

 

“I’m bewitching like that, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says, leaning in for a chaste kiss. Then, he wiggles the condoms between his lazy fingers, laying his cheek on Hajime’s shoulder. “And I’m a teenage boy, you know. I’ve got lube hidden around here, if you want to figure out what to do with these.”

 

Hajime stares at him, his whole body flushing red from head to toe. His best friend, his Tooru, curled up against his side, chin against his chest with an impish smile, brandishing a box of condoms like a weapon and offering him everything like it’s an easy thing to give. Hajime grins, wide and dopey, and he nods, slowly. 

 

Oikawa smiles too, and he kisses him again.