It’s seven o’clock in the morning, and a pillow smacks Oikawa Tooru squarely in the face.
This is isn’t the first time, and, considering the unpredictable mood swings of his roommate, it probably won’t be the last. Instead of retaliating like any sane person might, Oikawa merely shoots his disgruntled roommate the fieriest glare he can muster at this early hour.
“What is it now, Tobio-chan?” he grumbles. He doesn’t enjoy Kageyama’s spur of the moment tantrums, but he’s grown used to them for the most part. Unfortunately for Kageyama, it’s the first day of spring semester classes, and Oikawa is not in the mood. Plus, thanks to the dorm’s shitty excuse for a heating system, he woke up several times throughout the night, tossing and turning.
“When’s your first class?” Kageyama asks. He runs his fingers through his tousled black hair, attempting to smooth it back down to its normal state, and yawns, face screwing up as he rubs his eyes.
“You’re kidding me. Was throwing the pillow really necessary?” Oikawa tosses the offending object onto the floor, glaring at it.
Kageyama shrugs and, heaving one gigantic sigh, sits up. “It seemed like the best way to get your attention. I wanted to catch you before you started prancing in front of the mirror.”
“I don’t prance, Tobio-chan,” Oikawa insists, pushing back his blankets, “Not everyone cares so little about their appearance that they only spend five minutes getting ready in the morning. Some of us like to actually look presentable when we go to class.”
As usual, Kageyama starts to tune out Oikawa’s words, peering out the window behind Oikawa’s head instead of meeting his furious roommate’s gaze. Even like this, Kageyama possesses a certain charm that words cannot begin to explain. Of course, he’s clearly too dense to notice how attractive he actually is. Probably because he rarely checks his reflection in the mirror. Although OIkawa would never admit it out loud, not in a million years, he has a pretty good feeling that Kageyama would attract just as many girls as he did if he put a little more effort into his morning routine.
Hoping to reclaim Kageyama’s attention, Oikawa brings the conversation back to the topic at hand. “Anyway, my class is at 9:30. Calc two.”
Kageyama’s lip curls in disgust. “Ew.”
Oikawa shrugs. He’s used to that reaction. “I don’t mind it. But that’s beside the point. There’s no way I’m going to be late on the first day.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t be the only one,” Kageyama sighs, cracking his neck. “A lot of people don’t give a damn about how late they are.”
“No, Tobio-chan, I think you’re mistaken. There’s a big difference between ‘a lot of people’ and ‘you.’”
“Well…” Kageyama’s face scrunches up. “Not everyone is a goody two shoes like you.”
Oikawa considers retaliating, but it’s Kageyama; his comebacks aren’t worth it. He stands, stretching his arms high above his head. His shirt hikes up, boxers sitting low on his hips, and his bare abdomen is suddenly exposed to their frigid room.
The chill hits Oikawa like a freight train. He’s struck by a full body shiver, the awful kind that starts at the nape of his neck, works its way through his chest, and ends at the tips of his toes. As much as he hates thick, bulky jackets, it’s obviously freezing outside, and the weather doesn’t give a damn about what Oikawa wants to wear.
“You’re pissed because it’s too cold outside to wear the clothes you picked out last night, aren’t you?”
Now it’s Kageyama’s turn to take a pillow to the face.
To Oikawa’s relief, the bus’s heater functions a lot better than the one in their dorm. Oikawa sinks into the seat cushions, ignoring the scratchy, hideous material he scowled at countless times last semester. They’re warm and comfortable and, well, in this kind of weather, that’s all that matters.
The trip to his first class goes by fairly quickly. Other students peer down at their phones, earphones snuggly in place, layers upon layers shrouding their frames. The bus driver has settled on a rock station, and, although Oikawa’s focused on the upbeat pop playlist he chose to lift his spirits, he vaguely registers something resembling classic rock filtering through the bus’s speakers.
The short ten or fifteen minute ride gives him some time to sit back and think. Finding a nice, quiet place to do such a thing is remarkably challenging these days. He thinks about the few weeks he spent at home, visiting his high school, socializing with the volleyball club, reminiscing with old teammates. He thinks about his classes, about how they’re likely to be more difficult than most of the courses he’d taken in the fall.
And, as the bus finally comes to a stop in front of its destination, Oikawa thinks back to the conversation he had with one of his teammates the day before break ended. Fixing Oikawa with a pitying stare, mouth set in a thin line, his old friend repeated a phrase that had haunted Oikawa from the moment he decided he’d attend college: “Are you sure you can handle it?”
Are you sure you can handle the curriculum? Are you sure that’s what you want to do with your life? Are you sure you wouldn’t rather do something else? Maybe sports medicine? Maybe business? Are you sure?
Are you sure?
Oikawa wanted to scream, to tear all his hair out and run until his lungs burned. He wanted to storm into the gym and serve, spike a ball against the nearest wall, until his hand stung. He spent the last few months listening to the same questions, the same concerns, voiced by his friends and, worse yet, his own parents. He loved college, and, contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t some mindless airhead who only cared about himself.
A group of students suddenly pushes past, jostling Oikawa around and dragging him back to reality. He shakes his head, quickly trying to shake the uncomfortable feeling that had settled over him. Calm, he needs to calm down. He glances at his phone to double-check the room number of his calculus class, struggling to focus on something else. Thankfully, it functions as the momentary distraction he wanted. His class is on the ground floor and not hard to find.
Oikawa pulls open the door and steps inside, pleased to see that the classroom is awfully small, clearly suited to no more than thirty students. Some have yet to remove their earphones and keep to themselves, broadcasting a silent Leave me alone to anyone that comes near. Others are gathered together in tiny groups, talking animatedly.
Sadly, most of the seats at the front of the room are already taken. Oikawa grudgingly settles for one in the back instead. Weird, he muses. He’s always made it his mission to avoid sitting in the back. He feels off, this far away from the board. He sets down his backpack and slides into the black plastic chair, pulling out a notebook and pencil. Like many of the students in the surrounding area, he turns up his music and continues to drown out nearby conversations.
His gaze sweeps around the room, seeking out any familiar faces. A few seats over, he recognizes a tall girl with cascading chocolate brown curls and, off to her right, a boy sporting a haircut eerily similar to one of Oikawa’s old teammates.
OIkawa’s about to call out to him, curious as to whether he actually does know the guy, but someone slides into the seat next to him and completely eclipses the girl and his target.
The nerve of some people. It’s the first day of class, and he’s trying to function on very little sleep. And that can only mean one thing: terrible decisions abound. His mouth opens of its own accord before he can think better of what he’s about to say.
But the words die in his throat before they even have the opportunity to surface.
The first thing Oikawa notices is the stranger’s jawline. Smooth and strong, it seems perfectly suited to the confused grimace taking shape on his lips. His gaze is off-putting, dark brown eyes that possess the kind of intensity Oikawa recalls seeing many times on the opposite side of the net during games, an unspoken challenge present in the furrow of his brows and intent stare.
“I’m sorry, something wrong?”
Oikawa draws back, caught off guard by the sudden question. Apparently he needs to work on his subtlety. “Oh! Well, no, I suppose not. I’m just… a little surprised you didn’t ask if anyone else was sitting there.”
“Are they?” He sounds disinterested, as if he could care less about taking someone else’s seat.
“Good. Glad that’s settled then,” the stranger decides with a shrug. As if that’s enough and the matter’s now resolved, he turns his attention back to the textbook he’s pulling out of his backpack, paying no mind to Oikawa’s aghast expression.
Oikawa, of course, can’t leave it at that. “Actually, wait. I didn’t catch your name?”
His fingers, carefully poised on the zipper, stop and, slowly, he raises his head to meet Oikawa’s inquisitive gaze. “Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi Hajime.”
For some strange reason, Oikawa experiences an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. The name sounds familiar and yet he knows he’s never met this guy before. For a brief second, he considers asking Iwaizumi if he recognizes him but decides against it. The last thing he wants to do is creep out someone he’s just met.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Iwaizumi-kun,” Oikawa replies, flashing one of his most charming smiles. “My name is Oikawa Tooru.”
Iwaizumi’s smile seems a little forced, but Oikawa takes it as enough of an invitation to keep going. “So, what’s your major?”
“Engineering,” Iwaizumi offers. He’s flipping through the thick pages of his textbook, absentmindedly fiddling with the pencil between his fingers.
“Me too! Which department?” Oikawa feels his body lean closer to Iwaizumi, suddenly possessing a mind of its own. “I’m majoring in aerospace.”
Oddly enough, that comment appears to pique Iwaizumi’s interest. “Mine’s mechanical,” he explains. He casually closes the book, eyes flitting down to the large integral symbol on the cover and then back to Oikawa’s face. “I was almost tempted to major in that myself. Do you like it?”
It takes a moment for Oikawa to muster up a response. He’s still trying to process the fact that Iwaizumi has actually provided him with a lengthier response and question in the same breath. “Oh, I guess it’s alright. I’m only a freshman so I haven’t had to take some of the really challenging classes yet.”
Iwaizumi nods, seemingly satisfied with Oikawa’s answer. He glances away, drawing his bottom lip between his teeth, nibbling it anxiously. Oikawa gets the strangest urge to reach over and poke him, to beg him to stop taking out his apparent frustration on his poor, innocent lip.
“Interesting,” Iwaizumi mumbles.
Oikawa waits for him to go on, but Iwaizumi simply returns to his earlier task of staring at his textbook and ceaselessly tapping his desk with the sharpened tip of his pencil.
“Yes, very,” Oikawa pipes up, hoping that he can encourage Iwaizumi to carry the conversation. Sadly, Iwaizumi doesn’t take the bait and instead provides Oikawa with a slight nod of acknowledgement, nothing more.
“I have a couple friends in the mechanical engineering department.” That statement isn’t exactly true, but oh well. Someone has to keep the conversation going.
“Sure. It seems uh… nice.” He feels like an idiot the second the last word leaves his mouth.
“I guess. I’m only a freshman so I haven’t taken a lot of classes yet either.” A small smile, the closest to genuine so far, graces Iwaizumi’s lips. Oikawa counts it as a little victory. Oikawa, 1. Iwaizumi, 0.
One by one, the students around them remove their earphones, claiming a definite seat before the last stragglers come filing in within the next ten minutes or so. Someone takes the seat on the opposite side of Oikawa, as well as the desk in front of him, both students too engrossed in their own thoughts to care about who they sit near.
“Do you have any other classes after this, Iwaizumi-kun?” Oikawa fights to keep the anticipation out of his voice. Please say no, please say no, please say no, he silently pleads. Iwaizumi’s disinterest makes Oikawa all the more anxious to get to know him, as twisted as that may seem.
Iwaizumi stills. His eyes drift to the board at the front of the room, narrowed. “No I don’t.”
He almost sounds reluctant, as if admitting so pains him. Instead of deterring Oikawa like he’d probably intended it to, it only excites him, curious to solve the enigmatic puzzle that is Iwaizumi Hajime.
“Great! We should go get some lunch together after this,” Oikawa offers eagerly.
To his delight, Iwaizumi responds exactly the way Oikawa hoped he would.
Iwaizumi Hajime is confused.
It isn’t often that someone comes along and surprises him. He’s not easily caught off guard, not at all. Or at least that’s what he likes to think. So, when Oikawa Tooru shows up, a living, breathing oxymoron strutting about on two solid legs, he must admit that he’s a little impressed.
The moment he saw Oikawa, he found himself entranced. And no, it wasn’t because of his striking appearance, although that certainly did catch his attention. It had a lot more to do with the little smile on his lips as he surveyed the classroom, the glint of curiosity dancing behind his wide eyes, the carefree kick of his legs as he sat patiently waiting for everyone to arrive.
Everyone else in the room possessed an aura completely unlike Oikawa’s. Dim, dark specks of light, too afraid to venture out and spread their brilliance, while Oikawa, on the other hand, brightened the whole room, like the North Star on a cloudless night.
That’s another thing; Iwaizumi isn’t human.
He’s from a planet a considerable distance away, a desolate place that went from a flourishing paradise to a rocky wasteland in the blink of an eye. Thanks to the sudden devastation, his people quickly vacated their world and have spent the last few centuries moving about and collecting data, hoping to find new places to call home.
After travelling through space for twenty years, Iwaizumi’s seen many stars. He enjoyed peering out at the universe as they sailed leisurely through the depths of inky black darkness known as space, an entire species crammed within the walls of a ship of staggering size, and often witnessed stars and suns that glowed bright enough to blind anyone irresponsible enough to admire them for too long.
That’s what drew Iwaizumi to Oikawa. His demeanor is light, carefree, and welcoming. He settled into the seat beside Oikawa immediately, feeling almost as if he had no choice in the matter, riveted by every flinch and every fidget. Why? Why is he so much different than his classmates? What makes him unique?
Yes, for some reason unbeknownst to even him, Iwaizumi had to join Oikawa in that classroom. It’s his duty to find someone worthy of being his Subject. And, even after only spending a little over an hour with Oikawa, Iwaizumi feels like there’s something special about him. Something that, hopefully, will make him the perfect person for the job.
But- there’s always a but- a small part of him wishes Oikawa hadn’t been the person to catch his attention. It’s not that he doesn’t like Oikawa. No, it’s more of a… gut instinct. His instincts are practically screaming at him to be careful. Oikawa’s dangerous; Iwaizumi knows it.
His reluctance to engage Oikawa had actually come in handy, though. He made sure not to make one of the most common mistakes in the book. Many Researchers show too much enthusiasm towards their Subjects, specifically during the first meeting. The thought of finally finding an actual human being to observe generally sends their brain into overdrive and lifts their spirits to unbelievable heights. The poor things have no idea how to contain their excitement. Unfortunately, Subjects get suspicious when a person they’ve only just met starts gushing about how fortunate they are and begins worshipping the very ground their Subject walks on.
Iwaizumi’s no rookie. He handled the situation maturely and with the kind of poise expected of someone his age, someone of his status. And, to his delight, Oikawa walked right into his, for lack of a better word, trap.
His mentor always said human beings were drawn to a challenge. They flock to mysteries like mindless flies to a flame. Oikawa certainly isn’t “mindless”, not even close, but he is human. And that’s enough for Iwaizumi’s disinterest to work like a charm.
Class finishes and, as the two leave, Oikawa starts going on and on about what he claims to be “the ideal lunch spot.” Iwaizumi’s not all that surprised when it ends up being nothing more than a dining hall a couple buildings over. Iwaizumi’s new to the whole “cafeteria” thing, forced to blindly follow Oikawa’s lead as he advises him about which foods will destroy his digestive system and which will only cause mild discomfort in the near future.
He takes Oikawa’s word and ends up carrying away a tray topped with a hotdog, small bowl of fruit, and glass of water. It’s nothing exotic, but Iwaizumi vaguely recalls a few lectures he listened to in the past dealing with college campuses and eating choices. If you were searching for exquisite cuisine from across the globe, you’d come to the wrong place.
The very thought of a hotdog or hamburger makes Iwaizumi queasy, but he’d rather stomach some nasty food than discourage OIkawa. He can’t refuse; it’s too late now. Great.
After a bit of searching, they find an empty table in the far corner, plopping their backpacks into the extra seats. Almost immediately, Oikawa begins barraging Iwaizumi with questions.
“So, how are you liking the place? I’m guessing this is your second semester here like me.” Oikawa pulls out several napkins from a dispenser on the table but keeps his eyes locked on Iwaizumi.
“It’s nice. A lot bigger than I expected,” Iwaizumi says, snatching a couple napkins for himself.
“Ah, yes, I know. But I like the size a lot more than I thought I would,” Oikawa agrees.
“Yeah, you get used to it after being here this long.” Totally a bullshit answer. Iwaizumi’s only been on Earth for a month.
“I’ve noticed,” Oikawa replies. “Well, to be honest, Iwaizumi-kun, I’m happy I came here instead of going somewhere closer.”
Iwaizumi quashes the sudden flicker of curiosity. He wants to ask Oikawa about these “closer” schools, about where he went to high school and even his home life, but knows that it’s too early for anything like that.
Oikawa speaks up before Iwaizumi has a chance to say anything stupid and possibly detrimental to his mission. “Maybe I’m being too nosy”- Iwaizumi braces himself- “but where are you living? One of the dorms? Because I’m stuck in one of those sorry excuses for on-campus housing right now.”
Iwaizumi freezes up. Idiot, he silently berates himself. It’s the type of question he should’ve prepared for long before he set foot on campus, long before he set foot on this planet. It’s not even a difficult question! He wants to bash his head into the nearest wall for being so unprepared.
“No, I’m living in an apartment.” That much is true.
“Oh really? Lucky,” Oikawa drawls, leaning back in his chair, “I wanted one but my good-for-nothing friend thought they were too expensive. And my mother sided with him- not me, her own son- because ‘It’s your first year, Tooru-chan, you’re supposed to live in a dorm like everyone else.’”
Iwaizumi smirks. Oikawa’s completely clueless as to how much information Iwaizumi gathers from that single sentence alone.
“Anyway… who are you rooming with?” Oikawa wonders.
Okay, now this response is a lot tougher. He can’t possibly say that he’s living with his Mentor, another of his kind that, although he may not look it, just so happens to be twenty years older than Iwaizumi. No, Oikawa would probably ditch his sorry ass. The only reasonable responses are a “friend” or a “relative.” But, the more he thinks about it, the more he realizes that Daichi sure as hell doesn’t resemble him enough to be a “relative.”
“A friend,” Iwaizumi blurts mere seconds after the mental image of Daichi flashes before his eyes. “He doesn’t go here, though. Just lives in the area and offered me a place to live.” Iwaizumi wants to pat himself on the back for adding the last part.
“So very fortunate,” Oikawa whines, “Stupid Tobio-chan.”
Iwaizumi remembers what he learned about honorifics. Whoever this “Tobio” person is, he must be close to Oikawa to earn such a title. Again, Iwaizumi’s tempted to question Oikawa, but he stops himself before he accidentally finds himself in a rough place.
Oikawa then decides to change the subject. He begins drilling Iwaizumi about his classes, piping up every now and then with random comments concerning his own courses. It doesn’t take long for Iwaizumi to realize that Oikawa enjoys math, just as much as he enjoys talking about himself.
Shortly after, he dives right into a story that Iwaizumi admittedly loses interest in quite quickly. As he scans the surrounding area, more students file into the dining hall, and Iwaizumi can’t help but be spellbound, captivated by the sight of so many people in one place. He and Oikawa’s calculus class pales in comparison.
“And then he pulled a ladybug out of his salad. A ladybug, Iwaizumi-kun. Can you believe that?” Oikawa gestures, pretending to pull a ladybug out of his hotdog. Most of his stories seem to involve hand motions, wild and theatrical ones that remind Iwaizumi of the numerous plays he’d been forced to watch while in training.
Iwaizumi wishes he’d been paying more attention to the first part of Oikawa’s story, but from what he can gather, one of Oikawa’s friends found a bug in his cafeteria food. Which Iwaizumi readily agrees is disgusting. He suddenly feels queasy again. “At least he didn’t eat it.”
“Yes, but that means that all of the food here could have bugs in it. I may have eaten four flies by now, and I’d never know it!” Oikawa’s getting louder and louder by the second. Iwaizumi wonders if he should quiet him down before they get kicked out of the cafeteria, possibly for good. “Is that why you haven’t touched your hotdog, Iwaizumi-kun?”
Shit. Iwaizumi glances down at the food in question, two snaking lines of ketchup and mustard untouched. He wants to say yes, that Oikawa’s gross story has stolen his appetite, but that’s not exactly true. The truth, though, is more embarrassing than that: he’s never eaten a hotdog before. He doesn’t even know where to start.
“You shouldn’t tell stories like that when someone’s trying to eat,” Iwaizumi barks, frustration bleeding into his tone. He can’t let Oikawa know the truth. But he hates that his inadequacy forces the harsh words out of his mouth. It’s not Oikawa’s fault that he’s an outsider with no prior knowledge of cafeteria food.
Surprisingly, Oikawa doesn’t panic or frantically apologize like Iwaizumi thought he may. Instead, he folds his arms across his chest and purses his lips, a hint of frustration in his voice as he mumbles, “It wasn’t my fault, Iwaizumi-kun. We’ve been sitting here for thirty minutes, and you still haven’t touched your food. My story wasn’t that long.”
Had they really been sitting there for thirty minutes? “Well… still, you shouldn’t.”
Oikawa grumbles something unintelligible under his breath, something about Iwaizumi being stubborn, and brings his napkin up to his lips, wiping away a few ketchup smears. They sit in silence for a minute or two before Oikawa decides to call Iwaizumi out again.
“Are you going to eat it or not, Iwaizumi-kun? You’ve already proved your point. I get it; I’ve ruined your appetite with my story.”
Iwaizumi decides right then and there that he never wants to see or hear a disgruntled Oikawa ever again. To most, he’d sound like a petulant child, but, after seeing his warm and welcoming side, Iwaizumi knows that, deep down, he’s not. He doesn’t really know Oikawa, but he can already tell that he’s much more than just a pretty face. A lot more.
It almost feels like… Oikawa’s putting on an act for everyone.
“Of course.” Iwaizumi rolls his eyes to emphasize his point and reaches for the silverware beside his plate. “It takes more than that to get rid of my appetite.”
Iwaizumi pins down the bun and hotdog with his fork and cuts into it. He’s watched several videos in the past about how different human beings prefer to eat. Each region has its own style. The concept always intrigued Iwaizumi, long before he came to Earth.
He swells with confidence as his knife cuts easily through the meat and bun. All of his prior training prepared him for an occasion like this, leading up to the moment he’d be in the field and have to use something he learned in his studies. Once he’s cut off a sizable piece, he pops it into his open mouth, chewing it slowly and carefully.
The entire time, Oikawa hasn’t said a single word. Iwaizumi chooses to ignore him, too intent on the hotdog’s taste and his own pride to notice his surroundings. But, as he lifts his gaze, his stomach plummets to his feet.
Oikawa’s expression is hard to decipher. Iwaizumi hasn’t had much experience with interpreting human emotions, but Oikawa seems torn between laughing and crying.
“What… what the hell are you doing?”
Iwaizumi hesitates. Had he done something wrong? He’s almost certain he’s just displayed a textbook perfect use of silverware. And yet the hand covering Oikawa’s mouth and the crinkled skin around his eyes says differently.
“I’m eating the damn hotdog,” Iwaizumi grumbles, setting down his silverware, “Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Suddenly, Oikawa’s entire body is shaking with the force of his laughter, little tears streaming down his cheeks. He pounds on the table, filling the cafeteria with the clattering cacophony of bouncing silverware and his uproarious cackling.
“What? What’s so funny?” Iwaizumi feels blood rising to his cheeks. He’d done so well, and now he wants nothing more than to scurry under the table and hide.
“Y-you just ate a h-hot dog with a… a… a fork and knife!” Oikawa’s fist makes contact with the table surface yet again, his entire body bent at the waist as he snorts and laughs into his empty plate.
“And? Oh, c’mon, Iwaizumi-kun,” Oikawa chides between chuckles, “Nobody cuts up their hotdog and eats it like that!”
Iwaizumi knows his entire face is beet red by this point. Embarrassment rolls off his body in waves, eyes drawn to the offending fork and knife that got him into this mess in the first place. “S-shut up! I forgot!”
Oikawa lets out the loudest guffaw yet. His eyes are squeezed shut, legs kicking under the table, striking Iwaizumi’s legs every now and then. Iwaizumi really wishes that he’d quit making a scene. He’d give anything for the laughter to stop and for people to go back to eating and gossiping with their damned friends.
“How… how-“ Iwaizumi can’t quite make out the rest of Oikawa’s question, but he can only imagine what it is.
He carries on for another minute before eventually settling down. Panting, clearly out of breath, Oikawa manages to string a few words together in a sentence. “Do you really eat your hotdogs that way? With a… well, you know.”
Iwaizumi has no idea how to answer. On one hand, if he says yes, Oikawa may think he’s weird and leave. And then Iwaizumi would have to find a new Subject. The chances of finding someone equally as unique and enthusiastic on such short notice were awfully slim. Even if Oikawa’s flawed, even if he’s basically the polar opposite of Iwaizumi and may, in fact, drive him crazy by the end of his term on Earth, he’s the best option.
If Iwaizumi says no, though, Oikawa will have more questions. And how the hell is he going to explain why he “forgot” how to eat a hotdog? In other words, he’s screwed.
“Yeah, sometimes,” Iwaizumi sighs. It’s the only (and first) thing his frazzled mind comes up with.
“Only sometimes?” Oikawa’s sporting one of the biggest shit-eating grins Iwaizumi has ever seen. He can’t decide if he’d rather smack it off his smug face or hug the absolute shit out of him. It’s an odd feeling, that’s for sure.
“You’re so damned nosy.” Iwaizumi lifts the hotdog to eye level. “Would it make you feel better if I ate it like this?”
“Actually, better question. If I eat it without cutting it up first, will you stop asking me questions?” Iwaizumi mirrors Oikawa’s smug expression and, to his delight, manages to render his meddlesome companion speechless.
Satisfied with Oikawa’s reaction, Iwaizumi shoves the hotdog into his mouth and bites into it, savoring every burst of flavor. It’s not only the first time he’s eaten finger food but also the first time he’s eaten in the presence of a human.
Oikawa’s jaw snaps shut, and he cocks his head to the side, silently observing Iwaizumi as he enjoys his first foray into cafeteria food. Iwaizumi can’t help but observe Oikawa, too. His gaze traces the slight crinkles at the corner of his eyes, wondering if they’re the result of many years filled with laughter similar to the outburst from earlier. Meanwhile, Oikawa does the same, watching Iwaizumi as if it’s the first time he’s ever seen another person eat before. And, slowly, Iwaizumi glimpses the same warm, welcoming demeanor from earlier.
“You’re something else, Iwaizumi-kun.” Oikawa’s tone matches the fondness in his gaze, soft and prodding, curious but not too forceful.
Iwaizumi’s grin widens, hotdog still perched in his hand. “Look who’s talking.”
Kageyama is definitely a genius on the volleyball court, Oikawa will give him that, but, when it comes to offering advice, he’s far from it.
“I don’t get what the big deal is,” Kageyama repeats for what feels like the millionth time since Oikawa slammed open their door and flopped down onto Kageyama’s bed.
Oikawa isn’t sure why he expected a different response, let alone a helpful one. “There’s something different about him, Tobio-chan. I don’t know what it is but… he’s interesting.”
“Are you trying to get into his pants?” Kageyama deadpans.
Blood rushes to Oikawa’s cheeks. “Oh, hush.” He turns over onto his stomach and buries his face in Kageyama’s pillow. “Do you really think that little of me?”
“I’m just saying, that’s all. I wouldn’t care if you did,” Kageyama insists. Oikawa can’t see his face, but he sounds sure of himself. Plus, Kageyama is a terrible liar; Oikawa could easily sniff out one of his lies from a mile away.
“Whatever.” Oikawa closes his eyes and inhales. The pillow smells a lot nicer than he’d expected. Knowing Kageyama, the poor thing should’ve reeked of body odor and sweat. It’s a pleasant surprise, breathing in the faint aroma of Kageyama’s shampoo and their shared detergent, almost calming. He curls and uncurls his toes, inhales once more for good measure, and slowly lifts his head, pillowing it on his folded arms.
Kageyama stands a few feet away. Leaning against the door frame, he regards Oikawa with his usual nonchalance, a lazy smile quirking up the corners of his lips. But, deep down, buried beneath the indifferent facade, Oikawa knows that a part of Kageyama cares. He just has a weird way of showing it.
“Well, if you don’t want that, what do you want?”
“Friendship, Tobio-chan,” Oikawa sighs, rolling over onto his back. He raises one of his arms and closely examines his hand, watching each knuckle as he bends and extends his fingers. “That’s still a thing, you know. Fooling around isn’t a requirement when you’re talking to someone. I mean, look at us. We’ve known each other for years and we’ve never-”
“Fuck no,” Kageyama interjects, looking utterly scandalized. “That’s never going to happen.”
“And I never said it would, geez, calm down.” Oikawa giggles. It’s just like Kageyama to jump to conclusions like that. “It’s the same with Iwaizumi-kun. I just want to be friends.”
Although Kageyama stares at him like he’s sprouted another head, Oikawa’s being completely honest. The last few relationships he was involved in didn’t exactly turn out well. A couple of them came to a screeching halt when Oikawa explained his passion for volleyball and that it came first. Another ended when his girlfriend started stalking his house over the weekend after he stopped replying to her texts, something that had sufficiently crept him out and kept him from dating for a solid month or so afterward.
And then there’s… well, he doesn’t like to think about his last relationship.
Several break ups later and Oikawa doesn’t quite feel like finding someone new. What he really needs is another friend. Someone other than Kageyama, someone other than- he hates to admit it- his teammates, even Kuroo.
“Alright.” Kageyama sighs and moves away from the door, choosing to perch on the edge of Oikawa’s bed instead. Considering the fact his own bed is taken at the moment. “Alright, I get that.”
“Mmm,” Oikawa agrees. He lets his hand fall back to his side, clutching at Kageyama’s blanket. “There’s something there, Tobio-chan, I swear. He feels… familiar. And I need to know why.”