The letter sits on his desk, untouched; probably since Oikawa’s mother had left it there three days ago. Or at least, Oikawa thinks it was three days ago; he’s not really sure at this point. He definitely hasn’t left his room for the last three days, though, that part’s for sure. Which is to say, Oikawa Tooru is bed-ridden — sick.
In a stroke of bad luck, or perhaps some far-fetched-but-not-impossible bout of karma, he’d caught some magnificently resilient strain of flu, surpassing Oikawa’s and his doctor’s expectations both; the antibiotics had entered and left Oikawa’s system with no effect whatsoever. What have I done to deserve this, Oikawa asked himself, more than once, over the last three days.
I’m a good person, right? Was it because I let go of the ball and sent Tobio-chan flying before our match at Spring High? Trash talking Ushiwaka-chan when he’s the one who started things, again? Or maybe it was letting Makki and Mattsun wheedle themselves an extra serving of ramen after the match, sending my savings into a wallowing void afterwards?
Whatever the reason, though, his doctor was inevitably forced to confirm the worst, patting his shoulder with a resigned sigh as he told Oikawa, “you’ll just have to wait it out, son.”
Oikawa doesn’t like to wait. He’s patient when he wants to be, sure; he’s also more than willing to take things slow when he needs to, as well, most of the time. But it doesn’t mean he enjoys it. And he definitely doesn’t like being left alone. His mom’s at work, and his phone’s shut off in an attempt to block out the frequent buzzes on the volleyball team’s group chat — panicked wails from the first years, daunted by upcoming exams; similarly stressed, but less desperate-sounding second years, more anxious than anything else about stepping up in the club with the current thirds years retired; Makki, Mattsun and even Iwa-chan’s occasional, excited messages about their impending graduation in a few weeks after their final exams.
A graduation Oikawa fears he might not even get to attend, despite his doctor’s and family’s best reassurances otherwise. Iwa-chan had been much less sympathetic, snorting in the face of Oikawa’s distress, but nonetheless fluffing his pillows and visiting every other afternoon, handing him notes he’d copied for Oikawa since he couldn’t come to class himself. He’s been better recently, Iwa-chan. Less subdued over their loss to Karasuno, less freaked about his atrocious marks in Contemporary Literature than before Oikawa’d shared his own notes, and for this Oikawa is glad, even if he himself isn’t able to witness Iwa-chan’s recovery due to his inability to physically recover himself.
His clock beeps, alerting him that it was now time to wake up, had he actually heeded his own advice and taken a nap (he hadn’t, wiling away the last two hours with the same passive, uninspired thoughts that had been circling his head for, oh, the last three days in bed). Oikawa sighs, far more drawn-out and dramatic than necessary.
His gaze falls back once more on the unopened letter on his desk. Looking back, he doesn’t remember his mom mentioning anything about who it was from. How curious.
Picking it up, he runs a finger down the faintly crinkled envelope, probably left at the bottom of someone’s bag before delivery. He turns it over, mouth twitching at the clumsy yet clearly carefully written script addressing it to Oikawa Tooru.
Takeru hadn’t sent him another consolatory post-card, had he? Because while Oikawa appreciated the sentiment, there are only so many times you can sprinkle salt (well-meaning though it may be) over old wounds before opening them up anew. Closer inspection reveals, however, that the handwriting is much more stocky than Takeru’s, the smudged pencil marks pressed more deeply into the paper than Oikawa’s known Takeru to do.
Sliding a thumb under the flap, Oikawa opens it, wincing at the sticky residue informing him the sender had used nothing but their own spit to seal it together. Shaking out the paper inside, his eyes widen as he reads its contents.
To Oikawa, it reads,
I know we were supposed to write this to our future selves five years from now, but I don’t really know what I wanna tell myself, so I’m writing to you instead. I doubt my life’s gonna be much different than usual, anyway. Yours probably won’t be, either, but whatever. We’ll probably be graduating high school by the time you read this, and that’s really weird to think about — we haven’t even started middle school yet. That is, if I pass all my exams. English is stupid, and I’m seriously bad at History. You’re not, though, so you gotta promise to help future-me so we can graduate together, got it!
Oikawa smiles, hard and fierce, as he continues to read.
We’ll probably still be playing volleyball, too. I will, anyway, but it’s not nearly as fun if you don’t stick around with me. Hey, Oldykawa, (Oikawa huffs a laugh at this), tell me — how good are we five years from now? Are your serves still flops on your face? Can I spike all the way from the back row now? Do we get the timing down for our C-quick combo that coach said was looking good? ‘Cause I wanna know. I wanna know about all the things that haven’t happened yet. Is it looking good from there, Oikawa? I think it would be. Five years is a long time, after all.
Then again, I guess I’ll see for myself. ‘Cause I’ll definitely still be hanging out with you, no matter what happens. Who else is gonna make sure you eat at school properly, otherwise? Make sure to brush your teeth before bed, too. Being sleepy isn’t an excuse — sleep earlier, dummy. Otherwise you’ll never grow taller than me, no matter what you say (not that I’d mind).
Well, see you in five years, I guess. If this letter actually gets to you on time, anyway. I hope it does. But I guess it’s alright, even if it doesn’t — I’ll just tell you everything here myself, every day.
You better not be laughing right now, or I’ll definitely punch you.
P.S. And stop calling me Iwa-chan. It’s annoying. Just call me Hajime like you used to, I don’t mind even though I said I did. I lied.
“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa mumbles, ignoring the letter’s closing request entirely as his lip trembles, eyes glossy, dripping over in snotty tears onto the letter. He’d forgotten about the Letters to Your Future Self they did, back before they graduated from elementary school. God, has it really been five years already? Oikawa doesn’t even remember what he’d written in his own letter.
Something embarrassing probably, but surely not as embarrassing as Iwa-chan’s, Oikawa decides, blowing into a tissue and ignoring the overly emotional response Iwa-chan — Hajime had prompted out of him, and he wasn’t even here right now.
However, fate must truly be conspiring against Oikawa recently, because no sooner had he finished his thought before the doorbell rang, front door opening moments after, Iwa-chan’s telltale heavy strides thumping up the stairs.
Oikawa tries to remember the last time Iwa-chan had rung the doorbell because he was actually waiting for someone to let him in. It’d been years since Oikawa left his house key under the potted plant on the porch — partially so he’d never forget his keys when he needed to get in, mostly so Iwa-chan could slip in at unreasonable hours of the night when Oikawa calls and pleads on the phone.
And even when he doesn’t call, sometimes Oikawa would find Iwa-chan with him anyway; always there whenever Oikawa needs him, always there to tell him exactly what he needs to hear, just like in his letter.
“Oikawa,” he hears Iwa-chan hiss, muffled by his bedroom door. Briefly, Oikawa considers what he could possibly have done from his bed to bring about Iwa-chan’s ire on him? Because he could definitely hear his best friend’s gritted teeth and very, well, trying expression as he tries not to smack Oikawa first, seek explanations later.
However, all of Oikawa’s musings are blown clear away when the door opens gentle, squeaking only slightly before the handle knocks against the wall. And while Iwa-chan’s teeth are definitely clenched together, he’s also rather out of breath, features ruffled and trying to look as composed as he can possibly seem in front of Oikawa.
“Oikawa,” he repeats, and Oikawa raises a single eyebrow, waving his hand all well, go on. But Iwaizumi apparently chooses to miss this memo, pushing out another Oikawa from his increasingly strained expression as he treads soft and easy — a sight Oikawa hasn’t seen for a long time; in the daytime, anyway — to Oikawa’s bed.
“Iwa-chan…?” he trails off, questioning, but then Iwa-chan’s gripping his face and pressing his lips against Oikawa’s and what and but I’m sick and shit are we kissing, shit shit shit —
— they break apart, and now Oikawa’s just as flushed as Iwa-chan. Can you transfer embarrassment via skin-to-skin osmosis, Oikawa wonders, but before he can voice this thought (it’s probably just as well he didn’t, he thinks later. It’s a stupid question, anyway) Iwaizumi’s reaching into his coat pocket and shoving something at Oikawa’s face.
Something being a ripped envelope, its weather-worn condition not much better than the letter inside. Between all the rips, Oikawa can make out the envelope as addressed to Iwaizumi Hajime, and above it the words “Iwa-chan” crossed out with fresh ink, probably by Iwaizumi himself, and.
Slipping the letter out, Oikawa reads the note written on it, face paling and realisation dawning as he remembers.
“Alright, another five minutes and then we’re moving on,” Sensei calls, and Oikawa starts to panic a little. He doesn’t know what to write. He has no idea what he wants to say, and now he has no idea what to do about it, either, because it’s not like this has ever happened to him before.
Tick, tick, tick, tick.
The clock is really loud, Oikawa thinks, staring at his blank sheet of paper. They’re supposed to be writing a letter to themselves, five years from now, but. Oikawa doesn’t even know what’s for breakfast tomorrow, has more than enough to worry about when he starts middle school next year, and —
“Two minutes.” Screaming inside, Oikawa hastily scrawls out a quick note, shoving it inside an envelope as Sensei calls out, “time’s up.”
And now, five years later, Oikawa’s brought face-to-face once again with his the source of past distress. At least, he muses wryly, my writing was much neater than Iwa-chan’s, even when I was rushing.
As it is, Oikawa Tooru’s Letter to Your Future Self reads something like this:
What am I supposed to do? I don’t know what to write; I don’t even remember if we have volleyball trials in first or second week of middle school next year — you’re the one who read KitaIchi’s welcoming brochure properly!! I’m not even supposed to be writing to you, but here I am anyway. This is terrible, but. I suppose if I’m writing to future-you it’s safe for me to apologise for lumping my tomatoes into your lunchbox ‘cause I didn’t want them even though I know you hate them, too. So, sorry. Also I’m sorry for always serving into your face at volleyball — I’ll get it right next time, I swear. And I’m sorry about making you stay up when I can’t sleep, you’re way more cranky on less sleep. Is that rude? Sorry for that, too then.
(It’s true though.)
And I’m sorry if you get in trouble for me writing another letter to future-you instead of just yours. Don’t tattle! Best friends don’t tattle. And maybe best friends don’t want to hold hands after practice or treat you to milk bread after school, too, but. But. Ahh, I don’t know, Iwa-chan, help me!!!
P.S. I’m serious. Best friends don’t tattle. And they don’t punch people for extra tomatoes, either, just in case you are still mad at that. Don’t be mad!!!!
Oikawa swallows, face heating as he thinks, and now I’m getting even sicker, great.
Iwaizumi clears his throat. Oikawa looks up.
Carefully, Iwaizumi says, “I’m not mad.” Oikawa blinks.
Then he continues, “and also, you. Owe me, um. A packet of milk bread.”
A pause. Then, “your treat,” Iwa-chan shrugs, glancing away, face starting to resemble one of those tomatoes he hates so much.
All Oikawa says in response to this is, “Hajime,” pulling Iwa-chan back down so they can kiss properly as his head whips back to look at Oikawa.
And they do end up going out for milk bread later, when Oikawa’s well again.
Even better, Iwaizumi doesn’t punch him despite Oikawa buying twice as many packets for himself as he does for Iwaizumi.
“Oi, Oikawa. How come you’ve got less tomatoes than me?”
“Who knows, Iwa-chan. By the way, what did you write for your letter?”