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He's seventeen years old and it's finally starting to sink in that they won't be spending days like this together much longer. No more walking home after practice like this, no more spending weekends hanging out at Tobio's house. No more Hinata. He's a third year now and he's just signed away his next four to a college far away.

"So Tokyo, huh?"

"Mmm," is his noncommittal reply, because this is just some repeat of the conversations they've had over the last few months, again and again, knocking it to death until Tobio doesn't feel anything anymore.

"You're going to play with the national team's spiker, aren't you?"

He sucks up the last of his milk until the straw is gurgling and it's mostly air. "I guess so," he says. "I don't know if they come to practice though. And I have to study or my scholarship will disappear."

"You? Study? Good luck with that." Hinata snorts, dodging neatly the punch Tobio aims at him. He dances off laughing, hopping up onto the bench and pinwheeling his arms to keep his balance. He jumps from one to the next as Tobio walks along beside him, occasionally reaching out to catch himself on Tobio's shoulder.

They're quiet then, each lost to their own thoughts. Tobio's trying to think about a world without this, without the easy touches and casual contact, without Hinata, always orbiting somewhere around him.

He thinks it's going to be lonely.

"If you get lonely, you can always come back to visit." It's like Hinata read his mind. "Tokyo's only three hours away, and the tickets are only like 4000yen, so you can come back pretty often." He hops again, making the bench shudder under his weight.

For a moment he studies Hinata's expressions, wondering where he pulled those numbers from. Did he look it up? Or is that his runaway heart getting carried away again? "I won't get lonely," Tobio says instead, half to Hinata, half to himself.

He won't get lonely because if he does, it ruins the entire point of going so far away. He's going for volleyball, maybe, but he's not sure if that's entirely it. He doesn't even know how he feels about playing volleyball without Hinata there, not now that he's used to it, now that he's gotten too comfortable.

Volleyball was fun because of Hinata and even though he's changed, even though he's no longer the so-called 'King of the Court', how easy would it be to slip back into that?

He won't get lonely. He refuses to.

"If you say so," Hinata responds, looking like he knows something Tobio doesn't. Before Tobio can ask though, Hinata lets out a yell and leaps, jacket flying behind him, bag gripped loosely in his hand. He hits the ground running, shouting over his shoulder. "Race you to Sakanoshita! Ready-set-go!!"

Tobio doesn't have time to retort. A grin splits his lips and he throws his crushed carton of milk into the trash can, falling into a sprint and chasing Hinata's back.

 


 

He's nineteen years old and Shouyou's never felt so lonely in all his life.

At least, he thinks that's what it is, he can't really be sure. It's the first time he's felt like this, like there's something heavy settling in his chest that refuses to go away, like he's a little lost, flailing around in the dark for something (or someone) who isn't there.

He thinks it's loneliness, but that's weird because he's in the same place as always. He sees Yachi and Yamaguchi at school, he's made lots of new friends in college, he still visits home every weekend cause its only half an hour away on the train.

There's only one person missing, and Kageyama Tobio shouldn't be making him this way.

He likes university. There are so many people to meet and the courses are interesting and sometimes he and a few others manage to scrape together a couple people and play 3-on-3 volleyball matches. Sometimes even Tsukishima visited from Akita, coming down to spend some time with Yamaguchi on his long weekends.

It's fun, it really is. But there's a quiet place inside his chest that refuses to be filled and he knows how to fill it, he does, but it's terrifying.

Kageyama is really far away and it doesn't feel like he's coming back.

"Then go." He doesn't realize he's said it aloud until Yachi's staring at him, chewing her lunch placidly. "Go visit him," she says again.

"Visit who?" he asks innocently.

"It's too hot to play dumb, Hinata." She waves a hand at him, taking another bite and swallowing.  "You said it's only three hours. And haven't you been saving up money from your part-time job?"

"I have, but that's for a car. Not for a random trip to Tokyo."

"It's not random," she points out, and he fumbles around for a retort. But there's nothing to say, probably because a part of him is getting excited at the thought. Visit Tokyo? Exams were coming up soon, but after that there were definitely a few free days. Four thousand yen is only a few dinners worth, it's not actually a huge expense. He can make it back in just a day of work at the restaurant. He can go. He can do this. He can visit Kageyama in Tokyo.

His face falls. "He'll probably get annoyed at me."

"Open," she orders and she holds up a piece of fried chicken in her chopsticks for Shouyou to eat. He takes it obediently, melting at the taste, and forgetting for a moment his woes. Only for a moment though, then it comes right back to him. He flops down on the grass, rolling around and getting grass stuck to him.

"I don't even know where he lives. How would I find him?"

"Yamaguchi probably knows," she replies easily. "I think it's worth a shot."

He rolls onto his back, staring up at the trees and trying to imagine it. He's only been to Tokyo once, with his parents when Natsu was still in diapers. They went to Disneyland, but that's about all he can remember. The thought of Kageyama in mickey mouse ears is probably one of the funniest things he can think of.

"You're smiling, you know," she says, and Shouyou turns red.

"So?" he challenges, and she smiles sweetly down at him.

"So that means it's a good idea." Not many people know this side of Yachi. She's usually quiet in front of people, bad with first impressions, but once she warms up she's friendly and sweet and funny. The exact opposite of Kageyama, now that Shouyou thinks about it.

She begins to pack up her bento boxes, sticking them back into her bag and drawing it closed. "I think it'll be fun for you. And who knows, maybe Kageyama-kun is lonely too."

He shoots upright, making her jump. "I'm not lonely!"

She controls her surprise, wiping her lips with her napkin again, nodding placatingly. "If you say so. When are you going to get a girlfriend?"

The change in conversation is flawless. Shouyou blushes again. "Girlfriend? I don't need a girlfriend."

"Boyfriend?"

He shakes his head violently. "Don't need one of those either."

"Is that so?" she hums as she gets to her feet, brushing her knees off. "I don't think we should eat together so much, by the way."

He gasps. "You don't like me anymore?"

"No, that's not it. You're just ruining my chances to get a nice girlfriend. People think we're together."

He's setting a record for blushing today. "D-do they?"

"Mhmm. I'm not surprised really. I bring you lunch all the time, and we sit together in the courtyard. Anyone would get the wrong idea."

"So we can't hang out anymore?" The thought is physically paining, and embarrassingly enough, he feels something prickle behind his eyes. Losing Kageyama and then Yachi too? Then he'll just be left with Yamaguchi and Tsukishima, third-wheeling hard with the two of them.

Maybe she notices, cause she softens, reaching out to ruffle his hair with a sweet smile. "If you find a relationship we can hang out. Granted, your significant other will have to be okay with us eating lunch together. But that shouldn't be a problem if he lives in Tok—" she catches his expression and she abruptly starts running away, laughing over her shoulder. "Just go to Tokyo, or I won't feed you ever again!"

 


 

"Twenty years old," his mother declares. "Happy birthday, honey."

"Thanks," he says, pressing a bruise on his knee.

"Do you have any special plans tonight? Going out with friends? You can spend some money, I'll give you special permission to treat yourself. Buy some new shoes maybe? Practice must be difficult."

He hasn't played volleyball in a couple months; not that anyone knows that. He can't even remember doing something physical enough to warrant this bruise on his knee. "Maybe," he says ambiguously. He knows he's not going anywhere tonight. Most people went home for vacation, not that he has many he hangs out, much less those who know his birthday. "We'll see. Might have some plans later."

"Good," his mother says, "I want you to enjoy yourself."

"Thanks," he says again, a little more sincerely this time. Theres a sadness in her voice that betrays her, and it occurs to him she's sad that he isn't coming home for break. He clears his throat, "How are you, Kaa-san?"

"Me? I'm doing well."

"How's little Tobio?"

She laughs brightly, admonishing him gently. "He's not your replacement, Tobio, goodness. He was just coincidentally bought the same month you left for college. Coincidence, that's all it is."

"Uh huh, if you say so."

"It is what I say. Listen to your mother." She laughs again, and it's the lightest his heart has felt in weeks. "But Gin-chan's doing well. You'd really love him. He's so active too. It'd be such a big help if you came home once in a while. You could take him running with you." She sighs here, and the light feeling starts to fade away.

"Sorry," he says, before he repeats his old lie. "It's just we still have practice during vacation—"

"Oh no no. Don't worry, honey. As long as you're having fun, I don't mind. You could call more often though, like a good son."

She adds the last bit jokingly, and he forces a laugh because a smile doesn't translate well over the phone. Clearing his throat, he changes the subject to something safe, like the weather or her job, anything but the fact that leaving home was the biggest mistake of his life. The coach is good here. He makes sense and Tobio's certain he's picked up new techniques. And it's not like Tobio's ever shied away from working hard, but his team is...wrong. They care about winning, but it's not the same as back in high school. They're all fighting for themselves and Tobio's forgotten how to do that. They don't take him seriously at all.

They hang up after a few minutes of talking. He suspects when his mother suddenly claims she needs to go take care of dinner that she's doing it for his sake, picking up on something in his tone or inflection or attitude. "Take care of yourself, Tobio. I love you," she says, just before she hangs up.

He's about to say it back, but then she's already gone.

And then the silence closes back in on him, like he's gotten his five minutes of freedom and now he must return to its quiet embrace. He doesn't have a name for this feeling. Or lack of feeling.

Emptiness is the best word for it, but even that gives the impression that he had anything in the first place and he doesn't. Didn't. It's like silence, settling over him and filling his ears with this staticky white noise, just reminding him over and over that he's alone.

He sticks to a daily routine to keep his mind off of it, this fact. Wake up early, go to school, eat lunch in the cafeteria, then work at the restaurant and back home. He's even lost his appetite; it's not like he needs the energy for anything anymore, not now that he's quit volleyball once and for all. It's a repeat of middle school entirely; he can't seem to operate without—

Nope. He refuses to say his name.

He supposes he should eat dinner around now, though his stomach is sticking flat to his ribs and nothing seems all that appetizing. But he can't remember if he's eaten today, so it's better safe than sorry. There's a curry place open late, that should last him for a while. He dithers for a moment over getting fully dressed or not, finally deciding he might as well cause it's his birthday and he can use a change of pace.

So he changes out of his pajamas, pulling on a shirt and a sweater, struggling into jeans, slipping his arms into a jacket and wrapping a scarf loosely around his neck. He notices just as he's out the door that his hair is a bird's nest, so he goes back in only to jam a beanie on his head, hiding it well enough.

And then his doorbell rings.

The sound is so unfamiliar and strange he actually jumps, a full body flinch with his heart pounding and everything.

He stumbles over the pile of shoes by the door as he pushes it open, a minor second delay where he sees only feet first. Then his eyes trek up and—

"Hinata?"

"Kageyama! Thank god! It's you!"

He's caught offguard, his brain feeling like its moving through sludge. Instead he latches onto the only thing he can answer, which is Hinata's strange greeting. "Of course it's me."

Hinata laughs, "That's true isn't it? Oh! Were you going out or something? Sorry, I didn't mean to get in your way—"

His brain finally catches up. "What are you...doing?" 

"I came to see you? Unless, unless—!" Hinata gets all flustered then, waving his hands around. "You mean why am I in Tokyo, don't you? Sorry, that's uh—Oh." He presses his lips together, not making eye contact. "I guess the answer is the same." Then he turns red and Tobio just watches, mystified, trying to process this bizarre turn of events.

"Why?" he manages.

"Why what?"

"Are you here?" he snaps, a little too strongly.

Hinata flinches, but continues bravely. "I came to visit! Make sure you're not lonely or anything." He laughs then, shooting little finger guns at Tobio that are really just embarrassing for both of them. But it's so Hinata, and so badly needed. For the first time, the suffocating weight on his shoulders eases up and he takes a breath like it's his first.

They're staring at each other, Tobio with one hand on the door, Hinata with a bag on his shoulder and another at his feet.

"Where are you staying?" Tobio asks suddenly.

"Nowhere," comes the answer, and that's basically all the invitation Tobio needs. He needs a change of pace, after all.

He clears his throat. "My apartment is small but—"

Hinata laughs and starts coming through, ducking under Tobio's arm and shuffling out of his shoes. "It's okay, I just need a blanket and a pillow. Let's see your fancy city boy place now, shall we?"

Tobio just lets him in wordlessly, because it's Hinata Shouyou and he needs no other reason.

 

- ♦ -

 

They end up going to a nicer place than the 24 hour open curry restaurant on the corner of his block. It's just a small chain izakaya, but Hinata gets all excited anyway, striking up a conversation with the waitress every time she comes around to take their order, marveling at anything and everything.

"Another round?" Saya—fourth year university student, in a medical program, still single and absolutely not interested in anything past being friends—asks when she brings a small pizza and some yakitori, fried chicken on skewers.

Hinata doesn't even ask Tobio. "Two more beers please!" He does some shuffling, replacing the empty glass—his very first beer—at Tobio's elbow with a plate of garlic soybeans and giving her their finished cups. Hinata's already drunk, it's pretty obvious even with the low lighting. His face is red and the edges of his words are slurring together. The waitress is kind though, fending off his flirting words with light smiles and easy laughs. "It's this guy's birthday today; he's finally legal. We gotta get him drunk!"

"Sorry about him," Tobio feels the need to apologize.

Saya shrugs, picking up the empty glasses and setting them on her tray. "No problem. It's better a cute guy than some gross office worker, if you know what I mean."

Tobio has no clue—this is his first time in an izakaya too—but he nods like he does and she wishes him a happy birthday as she leaves, the curtain falling closed behind her. Cute guy, she said, and the thought makes him smile. 

Tobio doesn't know why, but he's missed this. He's missed having Hinata around and it's only become obvious now that he's back. Like his eyes couldn't adjust to the dark once his only source of light went out, and someone finally flipped the switch back on.

"How'd you find me?"

"Yamaguchi had everyone's contact information. He was a good captain, wasn't he?" Tobio doesn't think they're quite old enough to start sounding so nostalgic, but Hinata does and Tobio catches himself nodding in agreement. "I wanted to visit Tokyo," Hinata says, popping a beanpod with his teeth. "And of course you're in Tokyo, so it all worked out!"

Tobio just rubs a finger over his knuckles, not sure how to reply to that.

"Oh hey," Hinata perks up, licking his fingers, a dot of sauce on his chin. "It's your birthday, isn't it?"

"Hmm? Oh. Oh yeah, I guess so."

"What kind of response is that?" Hinata seems miffed, slapping the table with the flat of his hand. He frowns at the wall. "I didn't bring you anything, hmm. Oh! I've got it! Dinner's on me! Where's Saya-chan? Let's order more—"

Tobio catches his hand before Hinata can press the button to call the pretty girl again. "We've already got enough," he says, gesturing pointedly at the numerous dishes taking up all the space on the table.

"Oh," is all Hinata says. He seems satisfied, picking up a french fry and chewing it absently.

Then he says quietly, "I come all the way here, just for your birthday and you're not even excited." All of a sudden, the guy looks hurt and close to tears and Tobio's heart flies right into his throat. "Should I not have come, Kageyama? Do you hate Miyagi already? Or you don't like us anymore? Is that why you haven't come home for two years?"

Tobio listens to this speechlessly. Is this the alcohol talking?

"Is it me? You haven't answered any of my messages since spring—"

"That's not it." Maybe he's drunk too. Maybe. "That's not it," he says again, more firmly.

"Then what?" Hinata reaches for his glass of beer but doesn't drink, holding it in his hands like its anchoring him. "Why don't you come back?"

"Because," he starts, but he doesn't know how to finish. The thought of explaining it all makes him feel physically ill, his stomach twisting. He goes silent. How can he put to words his complete and utter failure? The fact he's no longer playing volleyball is upsetting; the fact that he's lying about it is mortifying.

He's saved by Saya's reappearance and he's strangely grateful for her interruption. "Sorry for the wait," she greets, depositing two new flagons of beer. She seems to notice the abrupt awkward silence, glancing between the two of them. That might be why she doesn't stay long, ducking out once she finishes collecting the dishes.

When she's gone again, Hinata speaks up first.

"If you can't say it, it's okay." He swipes a hand across his eyes so quickly Tobio's not sure if he just imagined the tears or not. Hinata smiles and raises his new glass and it's like nothing even happened. "Let's toast. It's your birthday, after all! Welcome to twenty years old!"

Tobio is relieved. He raises his glass, clinks it against Hinata's, and takes a long deep drink. It's bitter and gross and the foam sticks to the roof of his mouth, but it's cold and clear going down his throat, loosening all the dark feelings that's been suffocating him for months.

Hinata's launched into some story about university, speaking about people Tobio has nearly forgotten, laughing enthusiastically at the weirdest things. "You had to be there maybe," he says, and Tobio just shrugs. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, looking across the table at Hinata's too-bright eyes and his warm smile and he thinks to himself that if this is what it feels like to be drunk, beer is his new favorite thing.

 

- ♦ -

 

He lied. His first favorite thing is Hinata Shouyou.

He's definitely drunk, Tobio thinks, but that doesn't stop him from admitting it, both inwardly and right out loud, directly to the boy himself.

"You're my favorite," he announces, sprawled out on the park bench with Hinata lying on his lap.

"What's that?" Hinata asks, rolling onto his back to look back up at Tobio. He shifts around under Hinata's head, making himself more comfortable.

"I like you," he clarifies, and he's not prepared for Hinata's reaction, the peaceful buzz replaced with a funny look, Hinata's brows knocking together and his lips quirking up.

Maybe it's just the angle Tobio is at that makes it look so weird. So he twists his head to better see only to find that it's exactly what he thought it was: Hinata doesn't look happy and Tobio sobers up some.

Except he's way past drunk and sobering up some doesn't do much in the long run. He just sighs and leans his head back, slouching over the back of the bench. His breath spirals up into the air, disappearing into a dark sky.

It's not like that wasn't the sort of answer he was expecting. That was why he never said anything for the past four, five years, when he first realized he saw Hinata Shouyou as more than his partner in volleyball, as more than a friend. Partly, it's why he ran so far away.

There's no stars here in Tokyo. That doesn't mean it's dark though. Everything is bright, lit up by signs and lamps and people, millions and millions of artificial lights. The small, dinky park too is lit by fairy lights in every tree and every bush. Hinata wanted to see it and Tobio could only comply, bringing him to the only place with Christmas decorations that existed within his narrow world. It's not half as glamorous as the ones near Shinjuku, the ones Tobio figures is what Hinata was thinking of, but Hinata's reaction was almost more than he could handle, drunk shouting and cheering, followed by a bunch of blurred pictures with low resolution and too-bright flash.

He couldn't say how long that lasted, but eventually he got tired and found a bench to sit on, his head pounding. And then Hinata finished with his celebrations, coming to throw himself on the seat as well, sliding down down down until he was making a pillow of Tobio's lap.

"I like you," Tobio repeats now, even though it won't get him anywhere. He can't seem to stop saying it, much less thinking it. He's drunk though and he's going to take advantage of it. He likes Hinata Shouyou. A lot. He didn't at first, when they first met nearly five years ago, but he does now. So much he doesn't know how to say anything else, doesn't know how he's managed this long without admitting it to anyone and everyone. Give him his moment, because he needs it out of him.

It seems obvious now but the revelation has him reeling, feeling like the world's starting to tip and his feet are sliding right out from under him.

He likes Hinata Shouyou.

Loves him probably.

He doesn't realize Hinata's picked himself up until cold hands are gripping his cheeks and Hinata's peering down intensely at him. The boy's legs are straddling his, another fact Tobio's mind only vaguely registers. "What're you saying?" he says fiercely.

"I like you," Tobio responds.

"Like me, in what way?"

Tobio's eyes slip closed and he gives a shrug. "All ways, probably."

"Like friend like?"

He nods.

"And...like like?"

Another nod.

"Like love like?"

Tobio cracks open an eye and lifts his head, bringing their faces really close together. Hinata's eyes are sparkling, reflecting hundreds of lights strung up in trees. He's totally kissable and his chest aches. "That way too," he says, seriously, and this time Hinata's expression is completely, utterly, heartbreakingly perfect.

It's his new favorite thing.

 

- ♦ -

 

He doesn't know how they get home, but the next thing he knows is pressing Hinata against the inside of his door, their lips smashed together, dropping his keys somewhere amongst his mail, kicking his shoes off and peeling off his jacket. His breath runs hot, his skin burns cold, and when he kisses Hinata's neck, he smells beer and smoke and probably the best smell in the world.

"Bed," he chokes out, and Hinata makes a soft sound that Tobio takes as consent. He lifts Hinata without warning, and strong legs wrap around his waist. He has to lean back to counter Hinata's weight, but slender arms wrap around his shoulders and he grips Hinata's thigh, holding him up as he stumbles to the bed.

The stream of kisses don't stop the entire time, lips crashing hard against each others. At least not until Tobio hits his shin against the frame of his bed and then Hinata pulls back, eyes glittering in the semi-dark. "Kageyama," he says and Tobio presses a quick kiss to his collarbone.

"What?"

"Are you drunk?"

Hinata tastes good and he licks the curve of his jaw. "Probably. Are you?"

"Definitely." There's a smile in his voice, but when he speaks again, it's in a low whisper that gets Tobio to stop, their eyes meeting in the dark. "If we do this drunk...what happens in the morning?"

Tobio blinks at him and then says, "We'll go out and eat breakfast together," like it's the dumbest question he's ever heard in his life.

Hinata bursts out laughing and suddenly he's hugging Tobio's head hard enough to suffocate. Tobio goes teetering around the room, his complaints muffled entirely, and just barely, he manages to catch himself so he falls backward on the bed instead, getting a yelp from Hinata as they both go down.

Hinata pushes himself up, straddling Tobio's stomach, silhouette dimly outlined. His fingers fumble with the zipper of his jacket and he tosses it on the coffee table. "You're forgetting—" he says, cutting himself off as he yanks his shirt off. "—about hangovers," he finishes.

Tobio just gives an absent hum, too busy taking this in to listen. Hinata's bigger than the skinny, lean boy in his memories; like he's filled out in all the right places. He's still slender, but soft muscles move under his skin as he dumps his shirt and then leans forward to place his hands on Tobio's chest.

"How long are you gonna stay dressed?" he asks, and Tobio hurriedly sits up and pulls at his sweater, making Hinata fall back with another snort of laughter.

He's trying so hard but he can't seem to remember how buttons work. Hinata tries to help him, but he's not very good at it either, too distracted by kissing each other like they're starving. Finally, Tobio gives a grunt of frustration and tears it, letting the last few buttons pop.

"That works," Hinata says affirming, and Tobio snakes hands up his back, feeling the hard studs of Hinata's spine under his fingers as he bends his neck to press kisses to smooth skin. Hinata also seems to approve of this, the way he gasps Tobio's name sweet in his ears.

Tobio drags his tongue over a hard nipple and the other boy hisses, nails digging into Tobio's shoulders for an instant. He pauses, lifting his head. "Good?" he asks, expression worried.

Hinata whacks him on the back of his head. "I'll tell you if it's not, stupid. Just do it again."

He doesn't need to be told twice, laying Hinata down on the bed, bending his head over him so he can suck on his chest, his other hand flat on Hinata's stomach, feeling every contraction, every time Hinata squirms and struggles to stay still. "H-hold on, Kageyama—"

"Hmm?" He stops again, lips wet with his own saliva.

Hinata doesn't respond immediately. Doesn't respond at all actually, except to prop himself up on one arm and start tugging determinedly at Tobio's pants, pushing him down in the same motion. His fingers fumble on the belt, but Tobio lets him do it, laying still as he loosens it and raising his hips when Hinata begins to pull it off. It rubs against his erection and he hisses, but Hinata doesn't pay any attention, tossing it on the floor and then pushing himself to his feet, shimmying out of his own pants and letting that fall too.

"It's cold," he whimpers as he climbs back onto the bed.

Tobio takes that to mean they need blankets. When Hinata lies down next to him, he smothers the other man's body beneath his and their erections rub against each other, Hinata arches against him and Tobio's breath catches in his throat. He drags the covers up to his shoulders and Hinata hugs him close, guiding their lips together.

Kissing Hinata is like kissing a star, he imagines. It's hot and his lips burn, but the taste of Hinata in his mouth gives him goosebumps and he can't get enough of it. Hinata's lips are chapped, but they feel so good, rubbing hard against his. He can hardly even remember to breathe, sucking noisily, Hinata's tongue smooth and warm against his own, skimming his teeth and sending sparks down his spine.

Again, Hinata arches against the other, whimpering. The kiss breaks off as Tobio pulls back, only far enough for him to slip his hand between them, traveling down the smooth plane of Hinata's stomach and slide under the elastic band of his underwear. He smooths his palm over Hinata's dick without warning and a strangled noise escapes the man beneath him.

Then suddenly Hinata's needy, wrapping his arms around Tobio's shoulders, kissing his temple and licking the shell of his ear, making jolts of electricity shoot straight to his groin. He strokes Hinata's erection slowly, matching the speed and intensity of Hinata's kisses, drawing his thumb lightly over the slit and feeling Hinata shudder each time.

He could get addicted to Hinata's expressions and sounds, soft gasping and whimpers and groans, small noises that were making Tobio's cock strain against his pants.

"K-kageyama," Hinata caught his wrist and stopped him, breathing heavy. His voice hitched, "You too. I can do it—"

He doesn't know what to say to that, doesn't have time to respond. Hinata slides out from under him, forcing them to switch positions. The blanket slips, but Tobio doesn't even notice and neither does Hinata, rocking back on his haunches and sliding his fingers under Tobio's waistband. He pulls his boxers off painstakingly slowly, just low enough to let Tobio's cock slip free, flush against his stomach.

For a moment, Hinata's just staring, eyes going from Tobio's dick to his face and then back. And then, his tongue snakes out, licking the corner of his lip like he's hungry and Tobio's the meal.

"Don't," he says.

"Don't what?"

He covers his mouth with his hands and his voice is low and rough, "Don't look at me like that."

Hinata responds like...Hinata. "Then how am I supposed to look at you? This is my face!"

It is true to an extent. Hinata has a stupid face. Stupid round, glittering eyes, stupid long eyelashes, stupid small lips, stupid adorable, insufferable, kissable Hinata. It must be the alcohol affecting his brain; that must be all it is. But Tobio has the feeling that no matter what, he would have ended up here in some way, alcohol or no.

"Just don't," he repeats, more forcefully, and in the semi-dark he can see Hinata pout, sticking out his lower lip.

"You're imagining it," Hinata says, and there's a flash of white teeth, then warm hands are being smoothed out on Tobio's stomach and he stiffens up at the touch. "You must be really drunk."

"I'm not," he argues, but it's hardly convincing. He's shaking under Hinata's fingers; every touch down his side makes him shiver, ever sloppy kiss on his navel makes a whimpery noise slip out of him, his hands twisting in the sheets.

Suddenly, Hinata stops and Tobio growls cause he doesn't like that, not at all.

But then, Hinata's warm hands are sliding up his thighs, slipping over the bunched fabric of his boxers, and his fingers circle around the base of Tobio's cock and shit, it's worth the wait.

"Shit, Hina—" he groans, words catching in his throat as something warm and wet envelops his cock, his hips jerking.

Hinata makes a laughing sound that Tobio kind of wants to kill him for, except the laugh is a vibration around his erection and he does another hip-jerking thing that he can't help. His fingers twist in Hinata's hair, his breath coming jagged and apart, and he watches Hinata suck him off, pushing himself up on an elbow and staring wide-eyed because he can't look away even if he wanted to.

Hinata's tongue slides up the bottom of his dick and Tobio forgets what he's about to say.

Hinata's tongue traces the flared edge and Tobio forgets how to speak.

Hinata's tongue flicks over his dripping head and Tobio forgets his own name.

He remembers Hinata's though, and it comes out of him now, a broken stream of "fuck Hinata, Hina—" and something in his belly is getting tight and warm. It's the alcohol that's making him react this badly, poisoning his judgment, clouding his mind, making Tobio focus a little too hard on the pink blush on Hinata's nose and the obscenity of his bruised lips, stretched wide around his cock. He can't take his eyes from this sight, not even when Hinata moans around him, and especially not when the hand on Tobio's thigh slips down, disappearing between his own two legs. He moans again, his eyes fluttering closed.

That's about all Tobio can handle. "Stop, stop," he chokes and Hinata looks up innocently, a dribble of saliva on the corner of his lip that makes Tobio swoon a bit. "That's enough."

"Bad?"

"That's not—"

"Good?"

"...Obviously."

Hinata grins and for a second, Tobio's annoyed—everything always has to be a competition—but then he flips Hinata onto his back and straddles him and this time it's Tobio wearing the grin.

"My turn," he says, dropping onto his hands so he can lick the corner of Hinata's mouth and then push his tongue between red lips. That's not enough for him anymore though and he breaks off the kiss with a whine from Hinata, fingers skittering over the smaller boy's chest, brushing over hard nipples and smooth abs. Tobio licks the sharp valley at Hinata's waist, then sucks on it hard, nipping at the flushed skin with small bites. Hinata's hands are in his hair, tangling and tugging, but he ignores it until he's satisfied that there's going to be a mark, then he continues downward. He presses his palms against Hinata's stomach, keeping him from moving, and their eyes meet as Tobio bends his head and kisses the underside of Hinata's dick.

The touch makes Hinata almost kick, his knee suddenly pressed up against Tobio's chest. "Stop that," he growls, and Hinata mewls something piteously back at him, something unintelligible and needy. Tobio spreads apart Hinata's knees again, this time holding him still as he tasted Hinata on his tongue, bitter and yet sweet, a solid warmth in his mouth. The slit of Hinata's cock is his weakness, Tobio discovers, so he lathers a little extra attention there, circling the head with his tongue, kissing the tip, then dragging his tongue across the slit with little warning. Hinata looks like he breaks each time, abs clenching underneath Tobio's palm, fingers winding hard in his hair. And the sounds he makes, sharp, shuddery noises, go straight to Tobio's painful erection, making him ache for friction, ache for release.

Hinata twists, pressing his face into the blankets and gasping something that Tobio only catches the beginning of, and then there's something hot spurting into his mouth. He jerks back in surprise, his mouth open as it pools over his tongue and begins to dribble down his chin.

Hinata sits up, eyes wide and horrified. "I didn't mean—"

"Ih hine—" Tobio tries to say, but he doesn't want to close his lips and he doesn't want to swallow and he doesn't know what to do at all with the sticky, bitter cum sitting in his mouth.

Hinata solves the problem for him. Sitting up, he drags Tobio upright too, sitting practically in his lap, arms wrapped around Tobio's shoulders. And then he holds out two fingers, right in front of Tobio's mouth.

Tobio doesn't say anything—can't say anything—and just holds still as Hinata presses his fingers down on his tongue and sweeps it around, coating his fingers in his own mess. Tobio just stares, transfixed, hardly even noticing as some of it runs down his chin and drips somewhere between them. Once Hinata's satisfied, once his fingers are wet and sticky, he leans forward and kisses Tobio hard as his hand slips between them and shapes itself around Tobio's cock.

He groans against Hinata's lips, not caring now what's in his mouth, just eager for more. Hinata eats up all of his moans, swallows them greedily, his fingers hard against the back of Tobio's neck, pulling him hungrily closer.

Somehow Tobio manages to stop Hinata long enough to move him closer on his lap and he feels Hinata's beginnings of another erection press against his stomach, flush against his cock.

Every time Hinata fidgets Tobio hisses at the friction. He's quick to wet his own fingers, this time using Hinata's mouth, letting the other boy do the work while he bends his head and sucks on Hinata's chest.

When his fingers are wet, when his palm is slick and messy, he wraps his fingers around both of their dicks at once, pumping slow at first, then faster with Hinata's moans in his ear, soft at first, but then louder and louder as they both near the edge.

Hinata comes loudly, shuddering and digging his nails in Tobio's shoulder. His eyes squeeze shut and his mouth opens in a quiet gasp, the very edge of Tobio's name on his tongue, and Tobio seals their lips together as he spends himself too, with just a few more strokes of his rough palm over his cock. He sees stars, bright sun silhouettes in his eyes, groans Hinata's name against rough, chapped lips as the pleasure racks his body, heat washing through him and leaving him spent.

 

- ♦ -

 

He might be in trouble, he thinks, lying in boxers on dirty sheets with Hinata in his arms.

"There's no volleyball team at my school," Hinata's saying, and Tobio is sympathetic at first, then jealous the next. He doesn't interrupt though, because he doesn't mind letting Hinata talk sleepily and his body is still tingling all over, hypersensitive to every point of contact between them.

Hinata is like a living furnace, warm in his arms. He's also wearing one of Tobio's shirts, which is grossly cliche in that my-girlfriend-looks-adorable-in-my-clothes saying sort of way. Worse yet, Tobio's discovered that it's basically true. When Hinata first came out of the bathroom wearing that, Tobio felt his stomach flare with heat.

He kind of wanted to go for a round two, but Hinata was definitely spent, his words slurring together like he's drunk but without that overly excited edge. Instead, it's like he's content, every word strung together to the next with a satisfied purr.

But that's not bad either and Tobio doesn't mind. On Hinata's hip, he can feel the mark of his own teeth and he smooths his fingertips over it in quiet apology and selfish pleasure. He stretches his legs and turns onto his side, and Hinata wordlessly conforms to Tobio's new position, snuggling deeper into the nook of the larger boy's arms like he was meant to be there. 

"You still drunk, Kageyama?"

The question catches him off-guard, his eyes closed as he half-listens. "Mmm, dunno."

"Hmm..." Hinata hums, shifting a little closer. "I don't think I'm drunk anymore."

Tobio pulls the blankets up a little higher, nuzzling into Hinata's hair and breathing in his scent, strangely sweet.

"We should do that again sometime," Hinata mumbles into the crook of Tobio's arm.

His chest grows tight and sore and he knows he can't keep his secret much longer. "I haven't—"

"I'll visit—" Hinata starts at the same time, and they both fall silent. He pokes Tobio's side. "You first."

"No, it's nothing." He instantly feels guilty about lying, but admitting how...not fun volleyball has become is like throwing away a part of his identity. He's not ready for that yet. Besides, this is the first time he's felt at ease in months; maybe it's a turning point for him. He squeezes Hinata a little harder, gratified when the other doesn't go squirming away. "What were you going to say?" he asks, murmuring against Hinata's shoulder.

"I'll visit you," he says. "As often as I can." He suddenly does start squirming, but it's only to change positions so they're facing each other, their noses almost touching. "So you're not allowed to get lonely, you got it?"

He presses a kiss to Tobio's lips and for the first time he looks embarrassed, his cheeks turning a little red.

"I'm already lonely," he says quietly, and he presses his face against Hinata's heart, squeezing his eyes shut, because if this is a dream he doesn't want to wake up.

 


 

"I quit school," he announces.

He's only just turned twenty one, but Kageyama's birthday is still a nearly half a year away, so he feels a little bit of obligation here to act like he's older and wiser. "You what?"

"I quit school," he repeats. It's as largely uninformative as the first time and Shouyou doesn't know where to start.

"You—wh—why—what are—what—" He fumbles for the appropriate thing to say, and finally settles on something that seems about right. "Why the hell did you quit school?"

"I didn't like it," Kageyama says, and Shouyou nearly throws his phone across the room in frustration. Perhaps Kageyama recognizes the silence to be a wordless question, so he continues after a bit. "I found something I want to do and I don't need to go to school for it."

"You have to go to school! It's—it's—!" He's floundering again, all to aware of how poor a fight he's putting up, "It's school!"

"I don't like it," Kageyama repeats, and it's so stubborn and so Kageyama that Shouyou finds himself suddenly resigned. It's not like he doesn't understand that feeling; Hinata Shouyou isn't the ideal student nobody expects him to be. But it's school and he's working hard because he has somewhere he wants to go and something he wants to be. 

Does Kageyama?

He doesn't respond immediately, needing a minute to process this, and Kageyama is patient the entire time, breathing softly on the other end. There's this weird humming sound in the background, not perpetually, but consistently, and in short, sharp, staccato bursts.

Finally Hinata speaks up, "So what are you doing now?"

"Um, I'm eating lunch."

"Not that. Man, so stupid. I mean what are you going to do? You said you have something you want to do."

"Oh, that." Kageyama swallows something audibly, "I'm going to become a tattoo artist."

"What? Why? How? Tattoo artist? What are you talking about? Since when? Are you insane?" The words fall from his mouth without filter, and then because he can't stop, he asks the most important question in a voice barely higher than a whisper. "What about volleyball?" He can't think of any way a university team with let a dropout student play, even if said student is Kageyama Tobio, a shoe-in for the national team.

"I don't want to play," Kageyama says, matter-of-factly.

"You don't want to play?" Shouyou feels strangely faint. "But—but it's volleyball."

"I know."

"Kageyama, it's volleyball." He feels the need to repeat himself because Kageyama obviously doesn't understand.

"I know," Kageyama repeats, and this time there's something defensive and snappy about his tone. Strangely enough, that's the only thing that gets Hinata to calm down, his mind stops spinning a thousand miles a minute and instead settles for looping endlessly, a chorus of questions that need answers.

Shouyou hasn't realized he's stopped walking and he hurriedly moves to the side of the walkway, crouching down against a pillar and covering his head with one arm, enough so that he can think. "...Why?" he finally asks.

"Why what?"

"Why are you quitting?" He's about to say, 'it's volleyball' one more time, but even he thinks that sounds stupidly repetitive.

"I don't enjoy it anymore."

"Why?" he asks again.

Kageyama is quiet for a moment before he answers, a telling silence right before the fall. "Because," he finally says, "you're not there."

Shouyou's mouth forms an 'o'. It forms it, but that's about as far as he gets cause no sound comes out. It feels like air in his lungs just left him in a single whoosh, and he doesn't know what he's supposed to feel but happiness is definitely wrong.

And yet it's there. Definitely there, rocketing around in his chest like a silver ball of light.

He didn't realize how badly he missed volleyball himself until he no longer had it. The tastes of it on the rare weekends he could gather enough people together are more painful than therapeutic; like a constant reminder of what he lost. It felt stupid though, to bemoan the loss of a sport, even if it was his favorite. He had played all throughout high school; he had no regrets.

No regrets at all, but more than enough habits that were nearly as bad. He had a habit of waking up in the morning early to run, of eating his lunch fast so that he could fit in some time to practice, of stopping by the convenience store on the way home to read the latest issue of Spike! magazine. And worst of all, he had a habit of looking to his side when something good happened to him, because there was someone he wanted to share it with and that person was no longer there.

"Kageyama," he says in a quiet voice, covering the mouthpiece. There's an old woman looking in concern over at him and he shoots her a reassuring smile before he looks down again, hiding his face. "I love you—"

"You're embarrassing." He mutters, then starts to say, "I love you t—" but Hinata's not done yet.

"—But you're a huge freaking idiot." He stands up, turning right around and heading straight back to the station. He's got to buy his ticket now, packing will have to be done tomorrow after school, talk with his coworker to cover his shift. There's a lot to take care of. "I'm coming to visit you this weekend, so clean your house."

Kageyama sounds all sorts of irritated and all sorts of pleased. "Don't order me around, idiot," he grumbles, "And you aren't going to change my mind."

"I just want to see you. Is that so bad?"

A pause, and then Kageyama's quiet sigh through the phone makes Shouyou's spine tingle. "What time are you going to be here? I'll pick you up."

 

 

 

- ♦ -

 

He arrives in the morning, as realistically early as he could get himself to wake up, though he did fall asleep on the shinkansen after about twenty minutes and nearly slept the rest of the way. It's for the best though, cause he's bright-eyed when he bounds through the ticket gate, throwing himself on his waiting boyfriend.

"Oi!" Kageyama barks at him, "People are watching!" But he's happy too, even though his face is turning red and he's pressing his lips together hard in that flustered way of his. He looks crazy attractive, even though the heat is making a few strands of hair stick to Kageyama's temple. Or maybe that's actually adding to the ensemble, shirt rolled up at the shoulders and pants hanging sweetly around his hips.

Shouyou reins himself in, settling for slipping an arm through Kageyama's and pressing his forehead against the man's shoulder. Just for a second, then he's looking brightly around the station, trying to take in everything at once.

"Man, it's hot in Tokyo, huh?"

"Got used to it, I guess," Kageyama replies, and it's a little on the edge of terse, enough to make Shouyou glance sideways at his boyfriend. But Kageyama has his content face on, and Shouyou decides to forgive it. Besides, he's hungry and he wants to get treated to a meal and that'll only happen if he acts cute enough.

It turns out that's not too hard with Kageyama, but better than a free meal are the blushes Shouyou's lucky enough to see, granted when he sneaks a kiss at the corner of Kageyama's lips, or ducks down a little and bats his eyes a bit, or locks their pinkies together in an innocuous handhold.

"Where to now?" Kageyama asks when they finish eating, stretching his arms above his head.

That's when Shouyou sees the tattoo.

"What was that," he says, eyes growing wide. It's supposed to be a question. Does it sound like a question?

"What's what?"

"That," Shouyou repeats, and before Kageyama can respond, yanks up the hem of his boyfriend's shirt. "This! What's this?!"

Kageyama flushes red—Shouyou stupid thinks for a moment that that's really cute—and he grunts as he shoves his shirt back down. "Stop!" He hisses, folding his arms around his stomach. "Not here!"

"You have a tat—"

Kageyama clamps a hand over his mouth and his eyes are flashing blue and bright. "Not. Here." Shouyou gives a weak nod and one by one, Kageyama pries his fingers off his mouth. "Let's uh, let's go home first."

He gives another weak nod, following dumbly.

 

 

- ♦ -

 

"So?" He says, sitting on Kageyama's bed with his ankles crossed under him.

Kageyama's pacing and his expression is that worried one, the look he'd get when he's puzzling over something too much.

"If you think too hard, your brain will explode," Shouyou says amicably.

Kageyama flashes him a glare and snaps his teeth.

"What are you even doing?"

The taller man just looks at him again, but the frown is not so angry and more...

"Embarrassed?"

The lack of a response answers that question and raises another. How is Kageyama cute? He doesn't ask that one though; he's not totally stupid.

He grabs his ankles and flops onto his side, turning his cheek into Kageyama's pillow and unintentionally taking a deep breath. "Strip," he says.

This time Kageyama gives him a narrow-eyed look and his hands move like he needs to cover himself up. But Shouyou doesn't really plan to take no for an answer, and he just lies there, patiently waiting for Kageyama to either retort or give in and obey. Time is precious, they both know it. Shouyou only ever comes down to Tokyo once a month and only for a weekend at a time. Time is precious and neither of them want to spend it fighting.

With one last glance and one swift motion, Kageyama pulls his shirt over his head and lets it drop from his fingers. And then he's hooking a thumb in his waistband and pushing down the waist of his pants, shielding his lips with one hand, looking anywhere but at his boyfriend.

Shouyou's too far gone to notice. His eyes go wide and he sits up, mouth dropping open.

There's a bird on Kageyama's right hip, following the curve of his bone, wing tips dissolving into paint splatters. It's all black, a crow mid-flight, a single wingtip nearly reaching Kageyama's belly button. There's an edge of red around it, like the skin still hasn't healed.

"Turn," he whispers, because there's a halo of feathers going up Kageyama's side and for some reason Shouyou needs to see everything. 

He notices Kageyama's giving him a weird look, but the man complies silently, looking under his arm at him.

Finally, Shouyou flicks his eyes up to Kageyama's and he still can't seem to close his mouth. He's supposed to be mad at this; at Kageyama giving up volleyball the way he did. Shouyou didn't get to play volleyball after high school after all, Kageyama was supposed to go far enough for the both of them. He's supposed to be angry about it—What happened to that promise of challenging the world?—but he's strangely not.

Kageyama presses his arm against his side, covering it up. He grunts, obviously embarrassed, "What?"

Shouyou's mouth opens and closes a few times for good measure. Then he says in a reverent whisper, "That's super hot."

 

- ♦ -

 

The afternoon dissolves into near mindless sex. It was too hot for clothes anyway.

Shouyou can hear the sounds coming out of his mouth, humiliatingly lewd, but he can't seem to stop. Kageyama's touches set him on fire and he's scared he'll burn if he doesn't get some release.

"Ngh, Kageyama—" he finds one of Kageyama's hands, brings it to his mouth so he can lick his fingers, tongue slobbery and wet between Kageyama's knuckles. "Put it in me."

The corner of Kageyama's mouth twitches. Then he's pushing off, disentangling himself. He strides to his desk drawer and returns with a bottle of lube, but that's not what has Shouyou's attention. His eyes linger instead on Kageyama's new tattoo, a dark scar that's doing all sorts of things to him.

He reaches out to wrap his fingers around the bird's neck as Kageyama comes back to the bed, kneeling over Shouyou and squeezing clear gel onto his fingers.

"Hurry up," he whines, pushing himself up and settling himself in Kageyama's lap. Sweat-slick skin and fuck it's hot, but he needs the contact, he needs the touch.

"Be patient, dammit," he snaps back. "I have to prepare you first." Kageyama's fingers skip over Shouyou's cock, just for a second, then he's pressing a digit against Shouyou's entrance, his other hand on one cheek and their eyes meet in a quiet question.

Shouyou just presses a kiss to Kageyama's lips and slides himself down, not even caring that it burns, just releasing a stream of oaths at the feeling of penetration. Kageyama kisses him hungrily back, murmuring "okay?" against his lips.

He nods, holding himself still for a second, trying to concentrate instead on Kageyama's lips against his but feeling so empty. He can't bring himself to wait much longer, before he gives a little wiggle of his hips and he asks for more.

Kageyama complies easily, breaking the kiss and taking the lead. Shouyou just lets him, putting the weight on his knees instead, letting Kageyama sink his finger further inside and trembling against his neck, urging him silently to hurry up. Kageyama's finger slides in all the way and then he moves it, curling it back against the knot of nerves.

Shouyou's hips snap forward and he says, "there there there," desperately, carding his fingers through Kageyama's hair.

Kageyama does it again, presses against the spot inside Shouyou that makes his heart fly into his throat and beat there, filling his head with the sound of blood rushing. It makes his knees feel weak and he'd fall right over if Kageyama's strong arm wasn't wrapped around his waist and he couldn't cling to Kageyama's neck.

"Put in another," he demands when he catches his breath. He cracks open his eyes to see Kageyama watching him and that just makes him harder. He repeats more firmly. "Another."

Kageyama obeys again, pressing a finger against Shouyou's entrance and wriggling it in. Kageyama's obedient side only ever comes out in bed and it'd be weird if Shouyou weren't so thankful for it. He can't speak much at all after that, reduced to wordless gasps of pleasure as Kageyama alternates between fingering him and scissoring, loosening him up.

It was strange the first time, strange how easily Shouyou could feel every movement of Kageyama's fingers inside of him. The feeling of his entrance opening up and the drag of Kageyama's fingers as he pulls out. But now Shouyou's grateful for that too, because every sensation has its own pleasure and he wants to memorize it all; imprinting everything into his body so when they can't be together he's still not alone.

"Okay?" Kageyama asks again, his voice low.

Shouyou just nods, biting his bottom lip as Kageyama's fingers slip out of him, lying on his back on the bed as Kageyama squirts more lotion on his hand and coats his own erection with it.

"God," he whispers, looking up at this, "You're so hot."

Kageyama flicks hooded eyes at him, and then falls onto his palms, hands on either side of Shouyou's head. "Yeah?" he flashes a something-smile, half challenging. "You're cute."

"That's not what I want to hear," Shouyou retorts, but Kageyama's lining himself up at Shouyou's entrance and suddenly it's not so important whatever they're talking about what word is used to describe Shouyou, as long as it's enough to keep Kageyama here with him like this, for the rest of his life.

His eyes fasten again on Kageyama's tattoo, dark and almost frightening, hugging his hip like a hand. He spreads his knees, pressing his lips together hard, and Kageyama pushes in, slowly at first, watching Shouyou's face and adjusting his speed.

When Kageyama's all the way in, Shouyou just sighs, pressing his fingertips against his stomach and trying to remember how to breath.

Kageyama kisses his temple and Shouyou latches blindly around Kageyama's neck, urging their lips together cause he doesn't know what else to do with himself. He feels full, and it's not the mind-numbing pleasure of getting fucked, but the warmth inside him is almost as good.

Almost.

"You can move," he murmurs, and Kageyama kisses him lingeringly before he does, pulling out and making Shouyou fist his hands in the sheets under him.

Kageyama goes slow. Shouyou knows it's for his own sake, it's so he doesn't break, but today, right now, that's the last thing he wants.

"Faster," he says, and Kageyama looks at him wordlessly, stopping completely in an agonizing pause. The look of concentration on Kageyama's face is usually endearing, the way he holds Shouyou like he's afraid of breaking him is the only side of Kageyama he refuses to show to anyone else, but he's too far gone and he just wants to be fucked. "Please," Shouyou adds, cause there's no other way to make it clear.

For an instant, Kageyama's eyes widen, and then their mouths slam together as Kageyama pushes in fast, making Shouyou's toes curl and his body shudder. But it's not enough and he fidgets, griding his hips against Kageyama's and trying to change the angle.

He needn't have really bothered; the next thrust presses just the right spot and Shouyou maybe screams, his gasp embarrassingly high and broken. He wants to feel everything and so he winds his arms tight around Kageyama's shoulders, even though it's awkward and painful on his hips. Every thrust makes Kageyama's stomach rub against Shouyou's dick and the pleasure makes him see white and swear, his gasps coming quick and fast, almost swallowing the obscene sounds coming from Kageyama's movements, a suck and slick smack of flesh on flesh.

When Shouyou comes, he uses Kageyama's name like a curse, kissing him so hard it's mostly teeth and tongue, snapping his hips forward as he pushes Kageyama over the edge right with him.

"Shit, I'm—" Kageyama's voice is hoarse when he comes, holding Shouyou tight enough to break him.

 

 

- ♦ -

 

They take a shower together, because as Kageyama argues, he needs to pay the gas bill separately and showering together will save time. They're both sensible people and agree to it; this has nothing to do with the fact Shouyou can hardly stand up on his own and he likes to be pampered. He fills the tub as Kageyama strips the bed and gathers their sweaty clothes, throwing everything into a pile by the door to do later.

Shouyou soaks in the tub as Kageyama washes himself, elbows anchored over the edge. His body doesn't feel like his; he can still feel Kageyama's touches all over his body, on his legs and his hips, curling up his spine and dragging over his chest. It's a nice feeling, though it'll probably hurt a lot worse later. He tries not to watch the soap running rivulets down Kageyama's back, or criss crossing over his abs, or drawing white lines over his tattoo...

The words are out of his mouth before he knows it. "I must have some tattoo fetish."

Kageyama leaves off rinsing his hair, squeezing one eye shut against a trickle of soap to give Shouyou a blank look. Then he goes back to rinsing, ducking his head under the nozzle. "Duh. That was super obvious, idiot."

Shouyou buries his face in the crook of his arm, feeling his face flame up. "Was it?"

Shutting off the valve, Kageyama sets the showerhead back into its hook, pushing back wet hair and rising to his feet. "Move," he says, and Hinata swirls around the tub, making space for Kageyama to slide in beside him. There's some gymnastics involved here, Kageyama grimacing as he tries to make space for his legs. They finally settle, a good portion of the water already lost, with Shouyou nestled in Kageyama's arms like a little spoon. "You made me fuck you sideways the second time, so your leg wasn't cover—"

"St-stupid!" Shouyou yelps, slapping Kageyama's knee at his side. He upsets the water again and Kageyama winces, knocking his head against the spout. "Don't say it out loud!"

Closing his eyes, Kageyama just shrugs and rubs the back of his head, sinking low enough again to submerge his lips, burbling like a little kid. Shouyou's face is burning, but it's cold when his shoulders are above the water and he grudgingly sinks himself down again, leaning his head back on Kageyama's shoulder.

Everything is quiet save for the plip plop from the waterspout.

"It's not that I don't like volleyball anymore," Kageyama suddenly says. "I like it—I love it. But I'd rather play with you than do it by myself anymore." He sighs, burbling in the water again. "That sounds stupid, doesn't it?"

"Yup," Shouyou says agreeably. Turning in the tub is a feat in and of itself, but somehow Hinata manages, straddling Kageyama's hips now and facing him. "But I'd be more worried if you didn't do something stupid."

Kageyama glares up at him. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

Shouyou wraps his arms around Kageyama, pressing their foreheads together. It means Kageyama is stupid as all hell, but he is too and he likes it that way. "Don't worry about it," he says, and Kageyama gives an annoyed grunt, but his fingers touch Shouyou's hip in quiet embrace and the world tips just right.

Only for a second though, then it becomes too cold for Shouyou to stay propped up like that and he needs to sink back into their original positions, between Kageyama's legs and with his back against Kageyama's chest.

Strong fingers start working through Shouyou's hair and he can feel Kageyama shaping it into a wild orange mohawk. He'd complain, but his body is still pleasantly tingly, and Kageyama's fingers feel nice. "Although..." he murmurs, closing his eyes peaceably, "you're going to have to explain how you settled on tattooing."

"And piercing," Kageyama says, and Shouyou shoots up, punching Kageyama in the stomach with his elbow, nearly making him bite off his tongue when his head clips his chin.

"What?"

 


 

They're twenty two years old, and it's their first New Years together.

Tobio bows his head at the shrine, the sound of the bell still ringing around in his head. He pulled it too loud maybe, but he wants the gods to listen. There isn't much in life that Tobio sincerely wants, which makes the singular thing he does ask for all that more important.

Please , he prays, hands clasped together in front of him,  let me stay like this forever.

"What'd you ask for?" he asks as the walk down the steps towards the entrance.

Hinata gives him a wide-eyed look. "You can't ask, otherwise it won't come true."

Tobio elbows him in the side. "That's for birthdays, idiot."

"No! It's for prayers too!" He speaks as if he's knowledgeable about this sort of thing, so Tobio decides to give him the benefit of the doubt, pressing his lips together and resigning himself to this one thing about Hinata that he'll never know. Until Hinata slides his fingers between Tobio's and says, contemplatively, "Although, this is the first time I haven't had anything to pray for really."

He explains quickly, when he sees Tobio's questioning glance. "Like before it was always praying to pass exams. And then last year was job-hunting. And then sometimes I had to pray that you'd fall in love with me." He laughs nervously and the lanterns overhead do little to help hide his blush.

Tobio feels his heart skip a beat, stupidly enough. He glances around them, just to make sure no one's looking, and then he ducks, swiftly pressing his lips against Hinata's. His own cheeks are a little warm, but he doesn't regret it. "I used to wish for that too," he whispers. Hinata's eyes go round as saucers and Tobio allows himself a flush of victory.

Then he gets a punch in the side and he grunts, more in shock than pain. "Don't say that sorta thing so easily!" Hinata scolds him, "That'll jinx it too!"

It's obviously a lie (if not because that's not how prayers work but because Tobio refuses to let anything jinx this irrevocable love of his), but Tobio lets it slide, cause Hinata's face is on fire and it's well worth it. And Hinata soon forgets his embarrassment anyway, hopping along at his side. 

They stop in front of the small shrine shop and Tobio waits off to the side as Hinata dives into the crowd. He can see an orange tuft of hair dodging around, occasionally disappearing under a swarm of people. 

Was it selfish? he wonders. Is it selfish to wish for someone else? He loves Hinata, and he's fairly certain Hinata loves him, but maybe it's wrong to demand that sort of thing from a God when he's already twenty two. Maybe it's wrong to ask for Hinata to stay with him always, when the other man has his entire life in front of him. 

He knows Hinata aimed to find work on Tokyo, but Tobio never asked for that. Which meant it was Hinata's choice, right? Which meant Hinata cared about being together just as much as he did, right? He doesn't know, and the thought makes him anxious. They haven't spoken about it. 

Just when he begins to get nervous after a particularly long disappearance, Hinata pops out on the other side of the crowd and comes jogging back, holding up an thin envelope proudly. "Got it!" he declares, and Tobio tilts his head curiously. 

"What's that?"

"A charm, obviously."

He whacks Hinata on the back of the head. "I know that. But what kind? You said you didn't need to pray for anything."

"For the house! Of course I prayed for something. Just not something silly anymore. We're adults now, just in case you didn't know." Hinata's holding the envelope like it's treasure, pinched between his fingers carefully. "It's for our house," he says, more quietly and this time with a shy smile at Tobio. 

The smile goes right through Tobio's heart and this time he doesn't even bother looking around when he bends down to kiss his boyfriend, a lingering kiss that leaves him feeling a little breathless. Hinata beams back at him, embarrassment forgotten, eyes like stars. "Come on," he slides their hands together again, "Let's go home. We have to hunt down a nice place to live. Your apartment is way too small. And since this is our first year together," he pauses, shooting a sly smile at Tobio and makes a little gesture. Tobio obliges, bending down to Hinata's level a third time.

Slender fingers snake around his neck and when Hinata whispers in his ear, teeth biting gently at the row of piercings on Tobio's ear, he shivers and not from the cold. "We have to form some really good traditions." 

 


 

They're twenty-five years old and Kageyama has too many tattoos to count. 

His back is covered in spiraling black designs, a dragon and a snake on either side of his spine, dissolving into a maze of slender lines, 3D shapes spinning motionlessly on his shoulderblades. His arms are even worse, practically sleeves at this point, endless loops around his upper arm, with words written on his forearm. And Shouyou knows they go further down, hidden beneath the loungewear gray slacks his boyfriend is currently wearing. Not all of them have meanings either. Kageyama always practiced hard when it came to something he loved, and his favorite sketch pad is apparently himself. 

But he won't complain, because he likes to discover the newest ones, rimmed in red, broken skin, and kiss them better in bed. A weird habit he's discovered, though Kageyama's got weird habits of his own. For every tattoo Kageyama gets, Shouyou receives a swollen hickey in turn, bruised purple bitemarks to match, like they're not complete without each other.

He still doesn't really get it though, Shouyou thinks as he watches Kageyama draw, charcoal scratching on thick paper. He's lying in the living room, sprawled on tatami and trying to think of anything but the oppressive heat and the fact that he can't stop sweating. He doesn't get Kageyama's fascination with this sort of thing. 

Really weird, he thinks, stretching out an arm to Kageyama's knee and tapping his fingers on the mat. He can't remember at what point he started to wear his love bites proudly. Absently, Kageyama adjusts his sketchpad on his leg and twines his fingers with Shouyou's. He doesn't look up, and the scratching of his pencil on paper never stops. 

Kageyama's sitting just a foot away, but it might as well be a mile for all the attention Shouyou's getting. Still, he doesn't mind. He likes watching his boyfriend when he works, the look of concentration on Kageyama's face weirdly attractive. It makes heat swirl low in Shouyou's body, but he ignores it because it's, well, the day's hot enough and he doesn't need more.

Right now, he's happy to doze off, his fingers twined with Kageyama's free hand, listening to cicadas chirp away outside. It reminds him a little of home. Miyagi never got this hot, but he can remember summer days eating ice cream on the veranda, chasing bugs with Natsu tripping after him. He's not homesick, not really. Kageyama's become home after all. Or maybe he's always been home, and it just took Shouyou a long time to notice it. No matter what it is, Shouyou's happy.

Their apartment is small and their furniture is nearly all secondhand, but sometimes late in the afternoon, the sun filters through the windows just right, all gold and gorgeous, with the sky turning pink in the distance. And most importantly, Shouyou wakes up every morning pressed against Kageyama's warm skin and he gets a soft sleepy kiss, even if his hair is sticking up funny or he's drooled on his pillow.

No matter what, he's with Kageyama. How could he be unhappy with that?  

 

 

- ♦ -

 

He wakes up to cool hands on his skin and the tickle of hair beneath his chin. 

Shouyou shifts a little, still not opening his eyes. The afternoon light is gold behind his eyes. He had a strange dream about a sunset over the river, Christmas lights strung up in trees, crows in flight.

"Wake up," Kageyama murmurs, licking the curve of Shouyou's neck. 

"I am up," he murmurs, unconvincingly. He tilts his head back a little, letting Kageyama's tongue trace further down his throat. 

"Wake up," Kageyama says again, pushing up his shirt to his chest and running his thumbs over pink nipples. 

Shouyou's breath catches in his throat and his eyes flutter open, only to see Kageyama grinning at him. "G'morning," he greets, his voice slurring. 

Kageyama takes that as permission to continue, but instead of his fingers, it's his tongue on Hinata's chest, following the line of his clavicle down to the dip in his sternum. 

"I'm sweaty," Shouyou mumbles, and Kageyama gives a noise of agreement, not stopping for a second. "Are you turned on or something?" 

"It's your fault." Kageyama pauses, looking up at him, his lips just inches from Shouyou's chest. "Lying there like that." 

"Like what? I was just sleeping." He still can't bring himself to move, and Kageyama's touches are starting to feel really nice, making warmth spin low in his belly and his toes curl. He likes being pampered like this, he's found, though he'd never admit it in case Kageyama forgot his place and decided to play coy. "You were ignoring me for your drawing." 

"I wasn't ignoring you." 

He continued like he didn't hear. "I'm less important than a drawing." 

"You're not." 

"You love me less than a smudge of ink."

Kageyama's kisses stop. "I don't." 

"I'm less—" his words are smothered by lips against his. He's startled at first, but then he softens into it, wrapping his arms around Kageyama's neck and holding him back. They break it off when they're both hungry for air, chests heaving, and Shouyou meets Kageyama's eyes. "Now I'm up." 

"I love you more than anything," Kageyama says and Shouyou just smiles, pulling him down onto the tatami beside him so he can swing his leg over Kageyama's. They're both hard, but Shouyou doesn't feel like moving and sex is anti-climactic after a confession like that.

"Did you finish your drawing?" he says, after a time. 

"Mmm." He kisses Shouyou's nose. 

"Who's it for?" 

"No one. It's just a practice idea." 

"Can I see it?" 

"Later." 

He pouts, but Kageyama can't even see it, not the way Shouyou's head is tucked under his chin. 

"What if I got one?" 

"One what?" 

"Tattoo." 

He feels Kageyama stiffen in his arms. And then he's suddenly being pushed away and Kageyama's face is this close to his, eyes wide. "Really?" 

"I dunno." He's suddenly not sure if this was the right thing to say; Kageyama's looking at him too intensely. "It'd have to be something I can hide though. Is that bad?" 

"No! Are you serious? Do you really want one?" 

It dawns on him then that this is actually familiar. It's the same way Kageyama would get when it had been volleyball, all intense and excited, and Shouyou relaxes a bit. "I dunno," he says again, "but you love it, so it must be pretty cool. I haven't given it much thought." 

"What kind?" 

He shrugs, trying to snuggle back into Kageyama's arms. "Something you make for me, maybe?" 

Next thing he knows he's being pushed back again and Kageyama is scrambling to his feet and pounding away to the bedroom. Confused and abandoned, Shouyou sits up, crossing his legs under him and stretching his arms above his head to work out the kinks. Kageyama is back in seconds, this time with a couple notebooks in his hands. He drops to the floor in front of his boyfriend, opening the top one and flipping through pages and pages of drawings, some with color, some without. 

Shouyou looks on with mingling interest and amusement. If he had known Kageyama would get so excited about this, he might've asked for one a long time ago. "What's all this?" 

"Some ideas I've been working on," Kageyama says vaguely, tossing aside one book and picking up the other. This one he goes through a little more slowly, giving Shouyou the chance to see some of it. 

"Ideas for my future tattoos?" he asks, mostly jokingly. 

Except Kageyama's eyes flicker towards him meaningfully and Shouyou feels himself turn red. 

"Wait really?" 

Blue eyes snap back down to the book, pages flipping back and forth. 

Shouyou slides his hand over the pages, stopping the wild movement. "All this is stuff for me?" 

With a pained expression, Kageyama nods. "Kind of."

"Oh."

"It's not that I expected you to get any!" He seems desperate to make Shouyou understand. "It's ideas. Just ideas. You're like—"

"A muse?" he hazards a guess and Kageyama presses his lips together the way he does when he's embarrassed. 

He wraps his arms around himself, trying to figure out the proper way to deal with this. Dodging Kageyama's gaze, he sees one drawing beneath his fingers. 

A multi-faceted sun drawn on the shoulder blade of a narrow back. His back, he realizes, and the thought makes Shouyou's cheeks flare up and it's all he can do not to smack a kiss right on Kageyama's lips. 

"Well," he says, with a shy smile, "What'dya got?"